Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Cornbread breakfast muffins

Though we do not make muffins as often as we would like to, we are all for the simplicity of muffins. Especially the savory ones. It is - just throw in the flour, oil / butter and some vegetables and mix it and spoon it into the tray - simple. When I found this recipe for Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins at Damn Delicious, I knew it was a must-do. As you can see, I used her entire recipe (down to the styling of the dish) but made it savory by skipping honey.

The challenge though, will be the availability of cornmeal in India. What we did was simple. We bought dried corn from the supermarket (not the frozen ones, but you get dried ones in the pulses section) and ground it coarsely. That became an effective cornmeal for this recipe. Don't let the unavailability of ready cornmeal deter you from making these little beauties. Just make your own!

Here's how I made it.

Your dry ingredients

Your wet ingredients

whisk together to form a spoon-worthy batter

Pour the batter in muffin trays and bake

This recipe yields 4 large muffins. Good enough for a breakfast for two.

1/2 cup of corn flour
1/2 cup of plain flour (maida / all purpose)
1/2 cup of buttermilk
1/4 cup of cooking oil (we use rice bran)
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
Salt, according to taste
1 egg
1 block of cheddar cheese
2 green chillies 

Here's how you make it:

1) Combine the dry ingredients - flour, soda and salt
2) Combine the wet ingredients - buttermilk, egg and oil
3) Pour the wet over dry mixture and whisk gently to combine
4) Add shredded cheese, chopped green chillies and combine
5) Spoon the batter into greased muffin trays and bake in preheated oven for 200 F for 15 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test (poke a toothpick and see if it comes out clean, if it does, your muffins are ready)
6) Serve hot over coffee.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Cucumber dosa with green chutney - Easy Breakfast Recipes

If Tamil Nadu is the Masala Dosa capital, Karnataka stakes its claim for the Dosa crown with many easy to make variants - neeru dosa, cucumber dosa and so on. While I haven't mastered neeru dosa as yet (it is made with a super thin batter and takes good expertise to swirl it around in the dosa pan), making cucumber dosa wasn't a difficult task. It makes for an easy breakfast / dinner recipe with only a teeny bit of planning. 

When I started looking for recipes (on the internet as well as asking around colleagues who are native to Karnataka) to make cucumber dosa, I found an overwhelming number of variations to this recipe. Some suggested urad dal, some plain rice, while some fermentation. In the end, I picked and chose the techniques from various recipes and arrived at this one.

The measurements yield about 10 tiny dosas. Here is the recipe for dosa and green chutney.

Ingredients for the dosa:

1) 1/2 cup of uncooked raw rice (pre-soaked, preferably overnight)
2) 1/2 cup of uncooked boiled rice (pre-soaked, preferably overnight)
3) 1 tiny piece of ginger
4) 1 green chilly 
5) 1 cup of grated cucumber
6) 1 handful grated coconut

How to make dosa:

1) Wash and grind the rice along with the rest of the ingredients (do not add a lot of water while grinding because the cucumber has water in it)
2) Let the batter sit for about half-hour (if you are in a hurry, go on and pour your dosas)
3) Heat up your dosa pan and spread the dosas

Your cucumber dosa and chutney are ready to be served!

Here's how you make the green chutney to go with it.


1) 1/2 cup of grated coconut
2) 1 tiny bunch of coriander leaves
3) 1 tablespoon of roasted gram dal (pottukadalai)
4) 1 pod of garlic 
5) 1 green chilly
6) 1 teaspoon of oil

How to make chutney:

1) Heat up the oil and fry chilly and garlic
2) Grind the rest of the ingredients along with the fried chilly and garlic. Your chutney is ready.

Enjoy your quick-fix breakfast.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Can you make Cappuccino at home? Without a machine? With instant Coffee? Yes.

Some things hide in plain sight - like this supremely simple method of making a mug of steaming, frothy coffee with instant coffee. We are coffee drinkers (actually sort of snobs) and believe a day without coffee in the morning is a day not worth spending altogether. 80 - 20 is our blend and instant coffee is frowned upon. It is only for those days when real coffee runs out and we did not realize we are out of it. 

Recently, when we went on a weekend holiday with a friend, I discovered a new method of making coffee (actually if you are a North Indian who is reading this, there is nothing new you will learn from this post). My friend took some instant coffee and sugar and beat it with a drop or two of water until the mixture got fluffy. And voila, we all have frothy cups of cappuccinos in a few minutes.

And I became an instant coffee convert. Beating instant coffee with sugar does something to the flavor. Try it to experience it. Though it is not as frothy as your cafe cappuccino, it comes close.

Here is a three step method of making cappuccino with instant coffee.

Step 1: Take a tea spoon of instant coffee with two teaspoons of sugar in a mug

No excuse for the bad picture, but it is visually representative!

Step 2: Beat the hell out of the mixture with just a droplet or two of water until it froths up like this

You can store this mixture in the fridge for a later time, I was told
Step 3: Add hot milk and stir nicely!

Your steamy cup of frothy cappuccino is ready.

This is as close as you can get to a home-made cappuccino with instant coffee, without a coffee machine or the added froth.