- Very healthy recipes from the kitchen to the table in minutes

The last two months I have not been very prompt in posting on " This book Makes Me Cook", but I have always been thinking of pos...

A Tea Party, Plum Cake And Books That Made Me Cook

The last two months I have not been very prompt in posting on " This book Makes Me Cook", but I have always been thinking of posting about it. In Oct I wanted to post on "Naughtiest Girl In School" and wanted to bake a cake as that was what really tempted me when I read the book. In November we needed to post on " Alice In Wonderland" and I got around to baking the cake. I thought it would be appropriate to blog on both the books in one post and make up for the belated posting. On top of it all I wanted to also send this into Aparna's My Diverse Kitchen's birthday celebration.

Elizabeth a fascinating little girl is the main character in Enid Blyton's Naughtiest Girl In School. Her strong will and compassion to help others turns her into a very loveable girl. In Chapter 1 and 3 there is a mention of a current cake. In India during Christmas time at most bakeries they sell plum cake. Its a cake that is made of currants, raisins, dry fruits and fruit mix. While I was reading the book the mention of currants cake made me want to bake a plum cake. This is a recipe that I have been perfecting to taste like the ones that you find in India and I think at last I come close to it. Below is a clipping from the book.

Lines From Chapter 1

Elizabeth's things were packed and ready. She had a neat brown trunk, with "E. Allen" painted on it in black. She had a tuck-box too, with a big currant cake inside, a box of chocolate, a tin of toffee, a jam sandwich, and a tin of shortbread.
"You will have to share these things with the others," said Miss Scott, as she packed the things neatly inside.
Lines From Chapter 3

A bell rang loudly, and the girls looked cheerful, "Good! Tea!" said Ruth. "Come on. Wash first, all of you, and do your hairs. Yours looks awful, Elizabeth." Elizabeth did not like her dark curls being called "awful." She went up to her bedroom and did her hair neatly, and washed her hands. She was very hungry, and thought with pleasure of her currant cake and jam sandwich.
Elizabeth put out her sandwich and her currant cake and took her place too. Grace was said and then the boys and girls began to chatter quietly.Suddenly Nora banged on the table. She was at the head of it. Everyone at her table stopped speaking."I nearly forgot to say something," said Nora.
"Elizabeth Allen does not wish to share her things with anyone, so don't ask her for a piece of her cake, will you? She wants it all herself." "All right!" said the other children, and they stared at Elizabeth in surprise. Elizabeth went on eating her bread and butter. Next to her was Ruth, opening a large pot of shrimp-paste that smelt simply delicious. She passed it round the table-but did not offer Elizabeth any.
She cut her currant cake. It looked quite nice. She suddenly felt that she really couldn't eat it all by her self, she must offer it to the others too. She didn't mind being thought naughty, but being thought mean was different.
Alice In Wonderland by Charles Lutwidge is about a girl who falls into the a rabbit hole and then it is a real adventure. In that story Alice attends a tea party. My original idea was to have a tea party with tea pots, mini cakes and sandwiches with signs that said "Eat Me" and "Drink Me" instead I had a hot cup of tea with a slice of plum cake. Though I am posting it way past the posting date I wanted to still share this recipe.

Baking pan -9 inches
Mixing Bowl
Hand held Mixer
Measuring cups, spoons and scale

All Purpose Four - 250 gms
Sugar for Cake - 250 gms
Baking Powder - 1 tsp
Vanilla Essence- 1 tsp
Fruit Cake Mix - 1/4 cup
Raisins and currants - 1/3 cup
Butter - 250 gms
Eggs - 1 whole at room temp and liquid egg white for 3 eggs
Cinnamon powder - 1/2 ts
Nutmeg powder - 1/4 tsp
Clove Powder - 1/4 tsp
Cashew Nuts pieces - 1/4 cup
Caramel Sauce - use 80% of the liquid
Sugar - 1 cup
Water - 1 cup
Butter - 1 tsp

1. Heat the sauce pan and add the sugar. Add some water and allow the sugar to melt and change into a dark amber color and thickens.
2. Remove the saucepan from the stove and very carefully add 1 cup of water(watch out there will be a lot of smoke and splattering of caramel) and put it back on the stove to melt again.
3. When the liquid is completely melted the liquid starts to boil remove from flame and allow this liquid to cool.
4. Heat the oven to 375 degrees and start to make the cake after the caramel has cooled.
5. Add sugar and butter and blend well using a hand mixer. Add eggs, vanilla and mix well. Add the caramel sauce and mix well.
6. Using a sieve mix the baking powder and APF. Take a 1/4 cup of this mix and coat the dry fruits, fruit mix and nuts so that they get distributed evenly and not settle to the bottom of the cake.
7. Add the flour and the flour coated fruit mix a little at a time and mix with the liquid mix.
8.Transfer to a baking pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until it passes the tooth pick test.
The other "This Book Makes Me Cook" blogger's:
Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen - Orange Marmalade Cake
Harini of Tongue Ticklers - Vegan Cheesecake Brownies
Sweatha of Experiments, Emotions, Experiences with Food - Chocolate Pudding Cake
Siri of Siri's Corner - Veggie Finger Sanwiches
Rachel of Tangerine's Kitchen - Sandwiches For My Mad Tea Party


In every Indian store around the country you will find Chakli, which is the most sought after savory snack. It is spicy, crunchy, savory a...

Chakali / Mullu Murukku

In every Indian store around the country you will find Chakli, which is the most sought after savory snack. It is spicy, crunchy, savory and tastes perfect with a hot cup of tea or coffee on any given afternoon. The traditional mullu murruku is a mix of rice flour and udad flour, but chakili is just rice flour and a spices deep fried. I did not follow any recipe, I just went with the flow and made them yesterday. Thought it would be perfect to snack on the whole of next week when my family meets. Its really easy and I was done in 15 minutes from start to finish.


The mold to make the chakili
The press to make the chakili
Tin to store


Rice flour - 2 cups
Chilli Powder - 1 tsp (for spice)
Paprika powder - 1 tsp (for flavor)
Butter - 3 tbsp
Asafoetida powder - 1/2 tsp
Oil for deep frying


1. Preheat oil on medium high. The oil is ready when you drop a piece of a dough in oil and it raises swiftly to the top.

2. Add all the dry mixture into a bowl.Add butter and mix it well into the flour.

3. Add water 1/4 cup at a time and mix well to form a dough that is wet but not sticky.

4. Put this into the press with the star shaped mold and press it over the oil that has been preheated.

5. Deep fry to golden brown. Remove and allow to drain over a paper towel to remove excess oil. When it cools store in an air tight container.


Channa Masala Or Chole has always been one of my favorite side dishes. There are a zillion ways to make it and I think every family or hou...

Channa Masala Or Chole

Channa Masala Or Chole has always been one of my favorite side dishes. There are a zillion ways to make it and I think every family or household must have their own recipe. Sometimes when I taste chole I always think about one of two places where I have tasted some memorable ones. Some like it with potatoes, with lot of gravy, with very little gravy, made with different types of channa or garbanzo beans. To me what I really enjoyed as a kid was bread Chole from Richie Rich restaurant. Its the flavour and taste that is so embedded in my head and I always want to recreate that in my kitchen. So I must have tried a lot of recipes and at last come across the one that my sisters friend Sandhya from Detroit had given her. The closest to the RR chole for me. But then my sister told me that she adds the channa masala while cooking the beans and this added a very nice taste to the recipe.So there I Incorporated that into the recipe as well. The end product is a chole /channa masala that I totally enjoyed for dinner with some Tandoori Roti. I like this recipe for its taste and simplicity. So give it a try and let me know for all those who are ready to venture into making another version of channa masala.


Pressure Cooker
Cutting Board
Measuring Cups and Spoons


Channa/Garbonzo Beans - soaked in water over night 1 cup
Onion - 1 medium size
Tomato - 4 Roma ( more than the onion)
Cilantro - 1/2 bunch
Garlic - 4 cloves
Ginger - 1 inch grated
Green Chilli - 1 ( seeds removed)
Turmeric - 2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
Channa Masala - 3 tsp
Chilli Powder - 1 tsp
Pepprika - 1 tsp
Pepper 4 or 5 whole
Bay leaves - 1
Cinnamon - 1 inch sticks 2
Oil - 1 1/2 tbsp
Potato - 1 boiled (optional)
Sugar - 1/4 tsp


1. Place the soaked Channa/beans in a bowl add some water, salt, 1/2 tsp of channa masala and turmeric powder. Add some water inside the pressure cooker and then place this bowl and pressure cook for 4 whistles on medium heat.

2. Heat the wok add oil 2 tsp and add onion then garlic, ginger and cook. When the onions are well cooked add tomatoes and cook until they are well done. Cool this mix and add fresh cilantro bfore blending them into a paste or sauce.

3. Heat the remaining oil. Add bay leaves, pepper and cinnamon. Allow them to get roasted for a few seconds and then add green chillis and the paste.Cook them on medium heat for 5 minutes.

4. Remove the beans from the pressure cooker and add them to the sauce. Add all the powders , potato (optional) and cover and cook for 10 minutes on medium head.

5.Garnish with cilantro and serve it with some hot naan, roti, batura or bread.


The Santa Ana winds were blowing yesterday and it was so hot to be out doors. I decided to stay home and catch up on things. With lunch to...

Spicy Broccoli Paratha - An Experiment

The Santa Ana winds were blowing yesterday and it was so hot to be out doors. I decided to stay home and catch up on things. With lunch to prepare I was thinking of what to serve. Ever since I had aloo paratha at the Indian Diwali Mela in San Diego last week I was thinking of making some soon. But then when I opened the fridge I saw this huge bag of broccoli looking at me and so I decided to experiment with them to make a paratha. On mentioning it to my husband he told me that it would not taste good as the veggie has an after taste, but he was ready to try. I followed the ground rules for making the paratha and what turned out was a very delicious spicy paratha that made me want to blog about. If you are wondering if it was that good I invite you to try them and believe me it might be your favorite soon. Since the parata was very spicy serving them with store bought Greek yogurt and sweet pickle was so perfect.


Grater or food processor
Towel or salad spinner
Measuring spoons and cups
Cutting Board
Rolling pin


For dough:

Whole wheat flour/atta - 3 cups plus extra for rolling paratha
Salt - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp plus 1 tsp for coating the dough
Water - 1 cup plus 1/4 if required.
Ghee - a few tbsps for the paratha

For Filling:

Broccoli - 4 cups shredded
Ginger - 2 tsp grated
Garlic - 3 cloves
Red Onion - 1/4 thinly sliced
Jalapeno - 1/2 deseeded
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Cumin powder - 2 tsp
Coriander powder - 2 tsp
Oil - 1 tbsp
Cilantro - 1/2 bunch washed and finely chopped


1. The flour salt and mix well. Add oil and mix well and then the water. Either using your hands or using the food processor work the dough into a ball.Apply some oil, cover and put the dough in the fridge for 20 minutes.

2. Heat the wok with some oil.Add garlic, ginger, onions and green chilli and cook it well. Either using the grater or food processor grate the broccoli that are pre washed and all water is removed using the salad spinner.

3. Add this grated broccoli to the wok and cook well. Add the powders and cilantro and allow it to cool before making the parata.

4. Taking a little over a golf ball size dough roll it out the dough into a circle in such a way that the center has more dough and the outer area are thin.

5. Place a ladle full of the cooled broccoli mix in the center and gather the corners of the dough to the center so as to cover the mix inside.

6. Flatten it with your palm and remove all air bubbles that might have been trapped with the poke of a knife reseal it and roll out the paratha.

7. Heat the griddle to med high and cook the parata on both side by adding some ghee.

8. Serve them hot with some thick yogurt, sweet it spicy pickle and lassi.


Ven pogal is south version of kichidi. They serve it at all weddings for breakfast and also made as prasadham during pooja times. The trut...

Ven Pongal

Ven pogal is south version of kichidi. They serve it at all weddings for breakfast and also made as prasadham during pooja times. The truth is I never liked ven pongal until Dec of 1998. I was visiting my sister that Christmas and she had 2 other families there. It was a task to decide on what to prepare for lunch, breakfast or dinner. My sisters mother in law Mrs. Viswanathan was the main chef there and decided on ven pongal for the day because most of them liked it. But she did not know that I was not a big fan of it. I decided to avoid her that morning with concern that she would ask me to taste the pongal. But then the inevitable happened. It was lunch time and I was thinking of having some snacks and escape from the kitchen. I thought no one would notice as there were so many people there. To my luck my sisters mother in law saw me and she asked me to have lunch. Since I usually enjoy all the food she prepares she could not understand why I was not interested in having the pongal. I decided to tell her the truth. She suggested that I give it a try and out of respect I agreed. Well! I was  since then I have made it so many times.

Little did I know that my amma did not like ven pongal like me. When she visited me I told her I will make ven pongal and guess what she kept giving me other options. With a knowing smile I asked her if she disliked ven pongal and she said yes. I told her my story and asked her to try it and she was ready to taste it and became a convert like me.

So if there is anyone out there who does like ven pongal please give it a try and let me know if this recipe converted you.


Pressure cooker
Measuring cups and spoons


Rice (long grain, basmati or any other kind) - 1/2 cup
Moong Dhal - 1/2 cup lightly roasted
Milk - 1/2 cup (skip this if vegan)
Ginger - 1 inch grated
Pepper (whole) - 1 tbsp
Cumin - 1 tsp
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Water - 4 1/2 cup
Cashew nut- 1/4 cup cut into smaller pieces
Oil - 2 tsp
Ghee - 1 tsp
Curry Leaves - a few


1. Measure rice and dal into a bowl and wash it well.

3. Place the rice and dal  in the pressure cooker after adding some salt, 4 cups of water and milk and cook it on medium heat for 3 whistles.

4. Open the pressure cooker and using a potato smasher mix the rice well.

5. Heat the wok add the oil and ghee. When it warms up add cashews and whole peppers. The pepper will pop so please cover it with a lid and then add the cumin seeds and let it roast a little. Add ginger  and curry leaves. Give it a mix and add 1/2 cup water.

5. Add to rice and mix well.. Taste for salt and serve it hot with a dab of ghee and coconut chutney and some tomato sambar.


A tradition in our house for Diwali is making ribbon pakoda. Though I am not too fond of  frying or standing in front of the oil forev...

Crunchy Ribbon Pokoda

A tradition in our house for Diwali is making ribbon pakoda. Though I am not too fond of  frying or standing in front of the oil forever, I still have the zest to prepare ribbon every year. To make these you need to have the press that allows the dough to make strands of ribbons to be deep fried in oil. This year I made it again and documented it. There are many versions to making this and this is my version. What I liked about it was the oil in the wok did not reduce at all.


Heavy bottom pan or a wok
The press to make ribbons
Mixing Bowl
Measuring cups and spoons


Rice Flour - 1 cup
Besan Flour - 2 cups
Butter - 2 tbsps
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Asafoetida mixed in water (I used the solid piece of asafoetida and soaked in 2 cups of water)
Turmeric - 1/3 tsp
Oil for deep frying


1. Add rice and besan flour with salt, chili powder and turmeric in a bowl.

2. Add room temperature butter and mix it well and for making the rest of the dough add the asafoetida water little by little and make into a dough that is not sticky.

3. Heat the oil on medium high and add a tbsp of the heated oil to the dough and mix well. Add a little bit of the dough into the heated oil and when it raises up fast the oil is ready for frying ribbons.

4. Add the dough into the press and make ribbons and fry in the oil.

5. Fry until golden brown and crunchy. Transfer into a paper towel for any oil to drain off.

6. Store in a air tight container.


I have been thinking of posting this recipe but never got down to it. I always make this spicy mixture for Deepavali. Mixture is a blend ...

Healthy Spicy Corn Flakes Mixture

I have been thinking of posting this recipe but never got down to it. I always make this spicy mixture for Deepavali. Mixture is a blend of nuts, deep fried beaten rice or poha, small sticks of deep fried besan flour, chips, crunchy murukku, roasted channa dhal, deep fried corn flakes etc because its so cruncy salty, spicy and just the perfect munch with a cup of tea or coffee. My version is however is a little different. I had no intention of deep frying and came up with my own version that is healthy. I used toasted corn flakes that we get in the store and substituted that for the deep fried version, rice crispes instead of deep fried poha, roasted peanuts and cashews instead of the deep fried ones. Took me a few minutes to mix it all up and season it with some oil once the puff pastry was baked. There was no change in taste or flavor and I could eat it guilt free. Next time you are in the mood for some mixture try this and you would never regret.


Huge bowl
Measuring cups and spoons
Cutting Bard
Baking Tray


Corn flakes - 4 cups
Rice Crispes - 3 cup
Peanuts - 3 cups roasted with skin
Potato chips baked - 1 cup cut into small pieces
Puff pastry sheets 1/4th sheet
Ribbon pakoda - 1 cup (optional)
Cashew Nuts - 2 cups roasted
Curry leaves - 1 cup
Asafoetida - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tbsp ( add more for spice)
Pepper powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Sugar - 2 tsp
Oil - 2 tbsp


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and cut the puffed pastry into small squares. Bake them until they get crunchy. Mix baked mini puffed pieces, corn flakes, crispes, ribbon pakoda, chops and nuts in a large bowl.

2. Heat the oil in the wok and add asafoetida, chilli powder, turmeric, salt and curry leaves and when the curry leaves get crunchy remove and allow it to cool.

3. Powder this mix in the blender and add to the mixture bowl.

4. Toss well and add the pepper. Adjust the spice and salt as per your taste.

5. The mixture tastes better the next day.