Sunday, 26 May 2013

Whole Wheat Coconut Cake

How awesome would be it be to have a cake that wasn't so sinful, yet really satisfying on the palette? I'm a sucker for sweet stuff, and I have a terrible habit of needing some sweet after a meal - and I'm sure a lot of you out there share this obsession!

You see, my mother has told me many times that plain flour (maida) is not good for us because it sticks in our bodies, and doesn't breakdown and flush out easily. Wheat flour (atta) is much better for health, so I decided to experiment with it..

This delicious wheat flour based cake came out really soft and had the perfect amount of sweetness. I topped it with some chocolate cream cheese frosting. My mother loved it and it was a big hit!

Whole Wheat Coconut Cake

Total req. time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Yield: Serves about 8 people

Ingredients
1.5 cups of wheat flour / atta
1.5 tablespoons of corn flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
150 grams of unsalted butter
400 grams (1 tin) of condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste (Use vanilla essence if you don't have the paste)
1/2 cup of milk (I used chocolate flavoured soy milk)
1/2 cup of shredded coconut


Method
Preheat the oven to 140 degrees Celsius.

Sift the flour, corn flour, baking powder and baking soda at least 5 times. The more times you sift this mixture, the better. It will come out softer.

In a bowl, melt the butter and add the condensed milk. Whisk it until it is well combined into a smooth paste. Add the vanilla essence. Mix again till it is a smooth, completely combined liquid. Add the milk. Mix again till it is a smooth, completely combined liquid.

Add the flour mixture in three portions, and mix gently with a spatula. Once the entire mixture is well combined. Now add the coconut and fold it into the mixture gently. Add more coconut if you like, because my portion only gave me a subtle hint of coconut.

Leave this mixture aside for 10 minutes.

Use a spring-form pan, spray it all over inside with olive oil and line baking paper around it. Pour in the batter and smooth it out. Bake it at 140 degrees Celsius for 40 minutes on a low level in the oven so it doesn't brown too quickly on the top. DO NOT open the oven while the cake is baking. Allow it to complete the entire 40 minutes before opening it and testing whether it is cooked with a toothpick.

Once it is well cooked, turn off the oven and leave it aside for half an hour till you open it up and take off the baking paper. Decorate with any frosting of your choice. I tried making my own frosting, but it didn't work, so I just mixed cream cheese with chocolate spread to make a light frosting. Worked very well!

Enjoy..

I enjoyed taking snaps of this delicious cake on my new snazzy camera! Thanks to my beloved parents, I was able to purchase a brand new Canon 6D full-frame camera! I'm loving the experimentation, and trying to get better at taking good shots..

I dedicate this recipe to my beloved mother Chandra, and my dear divine Guru, Devima. For this special cake inspired by teachings from my mother, I'm reminded of this lovely melody sung by J K Yesudas, composed by Maestro Ilayaraja. This song brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it; I feel that much power in these words -

"Amma endrazhaikadha uyirillaye,
Ammavai vanagadhu urarvillaye.
Neril nindru, pesum Deivam,
Petra thaai andri ver ondru edhu?

Abhirami sivagami, karumaari magamaayi,
Thirukovil deivangal nee dhaan amma.
Annaikku andradam abhishegam alangaaram,
Purigindra siru thingan nan dhaan amma.
Porulodu pugal vendum maganalla thaye un,
Arul vendum enakingu adhu podhume.
Aduthingu pirapondru amaindhalum nan undhan,
Maganaga pirakindra varam vendume,
Adhai neeye... tharuvaaye..."



Love,
Nitya

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Crunchy Beetroot Poriyal/Stir Fry

Sri Om.
Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers in the world! On this special day, we ought to take many moments to appreciate what our mothers have done for us, sacrificed for us, taught us, and for the fact that they've tolerated us! :P

Nothing compares to a mother's unconditional love, and for her love is as pure as the Lord's, we place them both on the same level. My guru once told me that it doesn't matter whether or not you pray to God every single day or are very religious, but what does matter is your devotion and care towards your parents. Making your parents happy alone is sufficient to please the Lord, and failure to do so is an act against nature, and as bad as betraying the Almighty.

Ma, you have made me who I am today. If I can say I have any morals, ethics, values or abilities, it is a testament to your upbringing and the goodness that you have spread and instilled in me. You have always only wanted to see the good in others, and you have only ever radiated positive thoughts. To the lady who is the reason why I exist and have anything in my life, I thank you, my dear mother Chandra, and also my dear Guru and Divine Mother, Devima.

"Sri Om Adisakthi thaaye charanam Amma,
Unn padhamalare thunai enakku charanam Amma.
Dhinamum undha naamam sollida vendum Amma,
Un ninaivinile vaazhkai vadathida vendum Amma"

Off to today's recipe..
This recipe was taught to me by my Mother-in-law, and I've loved this way of making beetroots every since! Beetroots are a rich source of antioxidants and nutrients, especially potassium and sodium. I had always only had this vegetable as a simple side kaai to my meals, but my mother-in-law introduced me to a new version when I got married. She would make this by roasting it nicely with some peanuts and spices, and finally topping it off with a handful of grated coconut. I was sold!

Crunchy Beetroot Poriyal/Stir Fry
Total Time Required: 30 minutes
Yield: Serves 4 people

Ingredients
3 tablespoons of oil
3 medium sized beetroots
1.5 handfuls of peanuts
1 teaspoon of mustard seeds / cadugu
1 teaspoon of urad dal / ultham parupu
1 teaspoon of chana dal / kadala parupu
A pinch of asafoetida (optional)
A pinch of turmeric
1.5 teaspoons of chilli powder
1 teaspoon of coriander powder / dhania powder
Salt to taste1/2 cup of grated or dessicated coconut

Method

Chop the beetroot julienne style (in small thin strips).

In a wide based pan, add the oil. When hot, add the mustard seeds, ultham parupu and kadala parupu. Add peanuts too. Cook till brown.
  
Add beetroots. Add asafoetida, turmeric, chilli powder and coriander powder. Keep it on a medium flame.
 
Mix well. Splash a bit of water in the pan, and close the lid and allow to cook on a medium flame. After 10 minutes, open it up, stir it once gently, and allow to cook for another 5 minutes until it is cooked all over. Then allow to roast for 2 - 3 minutes on very high heat.

Once it's well roasted, turn off the stove and let is sit open for 5 minutes. Then add the coconut and stir through.
 
Serve hot with sambhar or rasam rice. Or simply enjoy it my way - as is! 
    

Love,
Nitya