Saturday, March 31, 2007

Basic 1-2-3-4 Cake:

After extensive research, I found this simple, light, tasty vanilla layer cake from a book called "The Perfect Cake", by Susan G.Purdy. It is called 1-2-3-4 cake because of the ingredients used - 1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour, 4 eggs.
The cake tastes heavenly when it is warm. Though I did icing (that was quite an event! I did see many cake decorating vidoes on the internet and also on TV, did read a lot about them, and I thought maybe I was ready atleast to do the basic decorating, but ...I realised that I have a very very long way to go as far as icing goes!!!), but the cake as such was delicious.

Pan preparation:
Two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans. Spread solid shortening or butter all over the bottom and sides f the pan, then dust evenly with flour and tap out excess flour.


All purpose flour - 3 cups
Baking powder - 1 tbspn
Salt - 1/2 tspn
Unsalted butter - 1 cup (at room temperature)
Granulated sugar - 2 cups
Large eggs - 4 (separated)
Milk - 1 cup
Vanilla extract - 1 tspn


  • Prepare the pan. Position the shelf in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degree F (175 degree celcius)
  • Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
  • In a large bowl, with a hand mixer or an electric mixer, beat butter till soft and smooth. Add sugar and neat till light and smooth. Add egg yols one at a time and beat after each addition.
  • With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, starting and ending with flour. Add vanilla extract..
  • In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Stir about 1/2 cup of whites into the batter, then fold in remaining whites in several additions.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the pans. Smooth the batter level and spread it lightly from the center toward the edges of the pan so that it will rise evenly.
  • Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 mins. Then invert them onto the wire racks and cool them completely before frosting.
Kadai Shrimp Masala:


Shrimp - (I used frozen cooked)
Onions - 1 - chopped
Tomatoes - 1 - chopped
Tomato sauce - 1/2 cup
Ginger - 1/2 inch grated
Garlic - 5 to 6 pods - grated
Chilli powder - 1 tbspn
Coriander powder - 1 tbspn
Turmeric - 1 tspn
Cilantro leaves - 1/2 cup
Curry leaves - few


Heat a kadai and add 1 tbspn of oil and add onions, ginger, garlic, curry leaves and fry till raw smell disappears. Add turmeric, cilantro leaves, tomatoes and let the tomatoes cook for a while.
Add tomato sauce, chilli powder, coriander powder, salt. Let the whole masala cook till oil comes out. Now add shrimp and cook exactly for 4 minutes or maximum of 5 minutes.
If the shrimp is cooked any longer, it will become hard. If using raw shrimp, cook till shrimp turns pink and remove it from the stove. Serve piping hot!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Masala boiled peanuts:

We all love to eat boiled peanuts just out of their shell. This is just another fun way to eat 'em.

Boil peanuts in thier shell along with salt. After they are cool to handle, remove them from shells. Add finely chopped onions, tomatoes and green chillies. Add a pinch of salt(optional), squeeze half a lemon and finally add chopped cilantro.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Tomato Pulav:

You will need the following ingredients:

Basmati rice - 1 cup
Onions - 1 ( cut into thin long slices)
Tomatoes - big - 3 or 4 - you would need about - 1 1/2 cups of puree
(Or you could use Tomato sauce - 1 1/4 cups - just add 1/4 cup water)
Green chilli - 1 (cut into long strips)
Cilantro and Mint leaves - 1/2 cup
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tbspn
Peas - 1/4 cup
Turmeric - a pinch
Chilli powder - 1 tspn
Garam masala powder - 1/2 tspn
Cloves - 5
Cinnamom - 1 stick
Bay leaf - 1
Cumin seeds - 1 tspn
Cashews - 10 (fried to golden brown)
Scallions, Cilantro - for garnish

  • Wash and soak basmati rice for 10 minutes. Heat a pressure cooker, add 1 tbspn butter/ghee, 3 tbspns oil. When the oil gets hot, add, bayleaf, cinnamon stick, cloves, cumin seeds and fry.
  • Add ginger garlic paste and fry for 1 minute. Add onions, green chilli and fry well for 4 mins.
  • Now add cilantro and mint leaves and fry for a minute.
  • Add turmeric, chilli powder, garam masala, peas. Mix well and let it cook for about a minute. Now add tomato puree and salt and mix well and lightly close the lid and let the whole mixture start to boil.
  • Check for spiciness and salt and add if necessary. Now add the soaked rice and mix gently. Close the lid and pressure cook for 10 minutes on medium flame and for 5 minutes on low flame.
  • Garnish with scallions, fried cashews, cilantro. Serve with raita of your choice. Enjoy!

This is my entry for Jihva for Tomatoes hosted by RP of MyWorkshop

Friday, March 23, 2007

Fillo dough Appetisers:

I read about small baklava cups filled with nuts and honey in some magazine and they looked very cute. So, I came up with an idea and made these appetisers. I made the cups with The Fillo Factory Organic Fillo dough.

For the cups:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Thaw the Fillo dough according to the package instructions. Once thawed, take 3 layers of dough and cut them into small circles - so that they fit into the muffin tray cups.
So, cut any number of circles as per your need and brush the top layer with some butter keep them in the muffin tray. Bake them for 15 minutes or light golden brown and crisp.
Remove from the oven and take the cups out of the tray and let them cool on a plate.


Carrot - Julienned
Capsicum - cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Cabbage - shredded
Green chillies - 1 or 2 finely cut
Green onions or Scallions - 2 - finely chopped
Red pepper Flakes
Soy sauce
Salt - 2 tspns

They should retain little bit of crunch in them. Add cabbage, red pepper flakes, salt and mix well. Heat a pan, add oil and add carrots, capsicum, green chillies and fry them for 3 or 4 minutes. Add soy sauce and fry for 2 minutes. Finally add scallions and finely chopped cilantro and remove from stove. Spoon some filling onto each fillo cup and serve!


I used the recipe from the blog Samayal by SudhaV. I made whipped cream and decorated the cake with whipped cream, raspberries and chocolate shavings.

Whipped Cream:

Heavy Whipping cream: 1 cup
Confectioners Sugar - 2 Tbsp
Vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp

Pour the cream into a well chilled mixing bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer at medium speed. After the cream begins to thicken, increase the speed to next level.

Add Vanilla extract and whip until siff peaks are formed. Add Sugar and beat for 1 minute. Decorate.

Creme Caramel:

I got the recipe from this cool website:
I divided the ingredients into half and made only 4 individual ramekins.

Celebrating Tomatoes. JFI hosted by RP of
My Workshop.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Drumstick Sambar:

My most favorite dish of all times. The thought of it lifts my mood. Whenever my mom made sambar, I used to drink it in a small bowl, even before lunchtime. Her sambar is a lengthy procedure, so I ended up with my own sambar recipe and I love it. Hope you all will like it too.

Toor dal - 1 cup (pressure cooked with little turmeric and mashed)
Onion - 1 medium (chopped)
Tomato - 1 (chopped)
Drumstick - chopped (You may use brinjal, radish, okra, carrot or add a few of everything - it's totally upto you)
Chilli powder - 1 tbpn (use it as per your level of spiciness)
Sambar powder - 2 tbspn
Tamarind paste - 1 tbspn
Curry leaves

Heat a vessel, add 1 tbspn oil, and add onions and fry for 3 minutes. Then add tomatoes and fry for 5 minutes. Now add the drumstick pieces (or any vegetable you are using).
Immediately add chilli powder, sambar powder and 1/2 cup water and mix well and close the lid 3/4th so that there is little gap for the steam to escape.
Take the lid and mix once in a while and when the drumstick is almost cooked, add the dal, tamarind paste, salt and 1/2 cup water. Mix well and let it come to a boil. Check for salt and take it off the stove. Heat a small pan, do tadka and add curry leaves and add this to the sambar. Serve piping hot with rice. Enjoy!

Vermicelli kheer / Semiya payasam:

The ultimate and the easiest sweet on the face of this earth! At any day, I would choose this for any other dessert. This is the first sweet I ever learned to make. I make it whenever I feel like having it.
One thing though - I'm not sure of the exact measurements of milk and sugar or condensed milk. I just add it accordingly - as per my taste.

Required Ingredients:

Vermicelli (I use the thin one) - 1 cup (broken into 1 inch pieces)
Whole Milk - 1 cup
Sweetened Condensed Milk - 2 or 3 tbspn (as per your wish)
Sugar - 3 or 4 tbspn (add as per your preference)
Elaichi - skin removed and powdered

  • Heat a thick bottomed vessel, add little butter or ghee and add vermicelli and fry till light brown.
  • Remove and keep it aside on a plate. To the same vessel, add milk and let it come to a boil.
  • Then add the fried vermicelli and reduce the flame to medium low and let the vermicelli cook. Meanwhile, powder some elaichi. Keep mixing the milk and vermicelli now and then. If it becomes thick, add milk accordingly.
  • Once vermicelli is soft and cooked, add the condensed milk or sugar and mix well and let it boil for another 4 or 5 minutes Add elaichi powder and mix and remove from stove.
  • In a small pan, add some ghee or butter, add cashews and fry till golden brown and add it to the kheer. Serve warm or cold.
I always like to add some fresh elaichi powder just before serving it warm.

The Beginning

After much deliberations and brainstorming sessions, I'm finally here with my own Food Blog.

Why the deliberations??? Well, having my own food blog among such blessedly wonderful artistic cooks, chefs rather, it is a huge feat, if I may say so.

I accidently came across Mahanandi sometime in the last quarter of 2006. I was totally mesmerised and believe me, I spent the next week browsing through 70 or so food blogs. I never wanted to leave my laptop alone.
I was so excited to discover this food bloggin world. After that, everyday I made it a point to visit all the blogs to find out what's cooking! I started trying all kinds of new dishes. I cooked and cooked and cooked somemore. Such was your inspiration, my fellow food bloggers.

The more I browsed, the more blogs I discovered, the more interested I became. For a person like me who never ever wanted to cook in her life, this is quite an achievement. Simply, I amazed myself, not to mention my husband.
I started taking pictures of the dishes I made. For the past 2 or 3 months, I have been thinking of starting my own food blog, but wasn't sure until now. So, I took a bold step forward and here it is - my own food blog! I dedicate this blog to my ever-supporting husband, Krishna.

When I came to US, 3.5 years back, I couldn't cook much. I hardly knew any dishes. I used to think why do we have to cook or eat. How nice it would be if we never felt hungry and ate only because we wish to. My mother is an excellent cook. My MIL also cooks well.
Then slowly I started to search for recipes in the internet, or ask my mom, mil or friends for recipes. But still there was only little improvement. My husband never complained. Only from last year, after seeing all of you cook with so much passion and creativity, I really got inspired.
Within the last 6 to 8 months, I have baked a cake, made fancy desserts like creme brulee, creme caramel, mushroom pulav, navarathna kurma, paneer butter masala, red bell pepper chutney, fish biriyani, etc, etc. So, all those who inspired me, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for bringing out the cook in me.

I welcome you one and all to my humble blog!!!