Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Honey Oat Bread (Can be made in a Bread Machine too)

Bread Baking is a hobby and a passion. The waiting with baited breath to get the yeast to rise and the kneading of the dough and then the wait to get the dough raised to double its size only to punch it down and knead it again. And of course the best part - the aroma of freshly baked bread when it spreads through the house.
I know I know - its too dramatic on my part. But, that's exactly how I feel about baking a bread at home. Its pure excitement. Of Course the family loves home baked bread and that's a big perk in itself.
We bake a bread at home every week. We try to go through just one loaf of bread in a week - so as to give other food items a chance to be part of our consumption too. No other reason. We believe in equality.
I have been baking a whole wheat bread for a long time. Wanted to incorporate oats too. There are a lot of recipes out there. Somehow, it never interested our palette. I tried experimenting and finally came up with this recipe which is a keeper. The bread is a little different texture wise as it is a bit crumbly compared to a white bread or a whole wheat bread - but, its soft and airy and has a beautiful aroma. Can be toasted and had with jam or butter or if you are not a fan of toasting it, you will like it just like that too. We love to toast it on a pan with a drizzle of ghee (Clarified butter) - yummmmm!!!!!!!


1 and 1/4 cup warm water (do not use hot water)
1/3 cup honey
2 and 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast (1 packet)
4 tablespoons oil (I use olive oil)
1 and 1/2 cup oats flour (I used old fashioned oats that were ground in a blender)
1 and 1/2 to 2 cups bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
some extra flour (for kneading if you are not using the breadmaker)


In a stand mixer add the warm water, honey and yeast. Let the yeast bloom. This should take about 5 to 10 minutes. Now add the salt and oil and the oats flour and bread flour (1 and 1/2 cups). Start stirring the mixture. If you see its a little loose, add 2 tablespoons of bread flour at a time and mix well. You should get a soft dough which forms a round on the dough hook, but is sticky to touch.
Mix it with the dough hook on medium speed for about 10 minutes. You could do this by hand too. Remove the dough out and mix it with oiled hands and put it back into the greased bowl. Cover and let it sit in a warm place for about 1 hour until it rises to double its size.
Once its doubled in size. Punch it in the bowl to release all the air. Get the dough out on a clean counter. Mix it well with hands and knead it for about 5 to 7 minutes. Spread some flour on the counter and using a rolling pin roll the dough into a oval shape. Now roll one end of the dough and connect the seams. Place it in a greased 9X5 bread loaf pan with the seam side down. Cover with a soft cloth and let it rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes to an hour.
In the last 15 minutes of its rise - preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Place the loaf pan carefully in the oven and let it bake for 30 to 35 minutes. After 30 minutes, check the bread, if you tap the top and it sounds hollow, you know the bread is cooked.
Remove the bread form the oven and immediately and carefully remove the bread onto a cooling rack. let it cook completely before you slice it.
This bread stays good for 3 to 4 days outside or for a week in the fridge.
Enjoy this yummy bread.


  • Before baking, you could brush the top lightly with a mixture of equal parts honey and warm water and sprinkle some oats on top - to get a beautiful look.
  • You can bake this bread in a breakmaker too. I have used my WestBend breadmaker with the white bread setting for 1 and 1/2 pound loaf. Just add the ingredients in the inner pot and start the cycle. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Rice & Shrimp Taco - #TacoTuesday #2

I have been meaning to post these taco recipes for quite some time now. These tacos were made almost a year ago, but never got around to posting them on the blog. Hopefully, all the tacos will find a home here soon now. 


8 small tortilla (6 inch ones) - I used the ones made at home - Recipe Here
1 pound medium shrimp (about 25 shrimps)
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp roasted cumin powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 TBS lemon juice
salt to taste
1 tbs oil
1 onion - sliced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup cooked rice
Chipotle mayonnaise (store bought)


Mix together the cilli powder, roasted cumin powder, garlic powder and salt along with lemon juice and form a paste. To this add the shrimps and coat each piece well with the marinade. Let it sit for atleast an hour. In a wok, add the oil and then cook the shrimps till they curl up and become a pink color - about 4 to 6 minutes. Remove shrimp on a plate.
In the same wok - add the sliced onions and get a nice seat on them on high heat. Remove on a plate.
I just warm the tortillas a bit. You can do this on a griddle or in a microwave too.
To assemble the tacos - take a tortilla, place a tablespoon of rice and then some of the onions. Add about 4 shrimps per taco. Top with chopped cilantro and drizzle some chipotle mayo on top. Serve as is with a side of Pico de Gallo and Guacamole.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Mexican Sweet Corn Soup - #SoupSwappers

We have never been much of soup lovers. The occasional soup we have is Chicken Noodle Soup or Tomato Soup or the Manchow Soup and ofcorse the yummy Indian Chinese Sweet Corn Soup.
I joined this group called Soup Saturday Swappers in an attempt to learn more about the various other soups out there. The challenge this month was to cook a Mexican Soup. I further challenged myself and attempted a full vegetarian soup.
My research gave me so many options - all yummy pork and chicken soups out there. The one that caught my eye was the simple Sweet Corn Soup with Mexican flavors of roasted cumin and paprika. Its a very simple recipe and a very tasty soup too.

Its the peak of winter here and we have had icy storms around. So, there was no fresh corn on the cob available anywhere. I made use of the frozen sweet corn here. I am sure fresh corn taste would have been amazing - but, the frozen corn soup was yummy too.


4 cups corn kernels
1 yellow onion
4 garlic cloves
2 celery stalks
2 teaspoons roasted cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder
2 tablespoons oil
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup cotija cheese (I used romano as cotija was not available)
1/2 cup corn (steamed) - for garnish)
2 tbs cotija or romano cheese - for garnish
1/2 cup chopped cilantro - for garnish
sour cream - for garnish (optional)
salt to taste


Heat a huge saucepan or dutch oven and add the oil to it. Then add the garlic, onions, celery and 4 cups corn and let it saute for about 10 minutes - stir it occasionally. When you see the onions are transparent and the corn looks a bit cooked, add the cumin powder and paprika powder and mix well. Add the vegetable stock to this mixture. Cover the pan and let it come to a boil. Once it boils, lower the heat and let this mixture simmer for about 20 minutes.
Remove it off the heat and let it cool down a bit. Use either a immersion blender or a blender like vitamix or blendtec to puree the mixture. To this add the cotija or romano cheese and salt to taste. Bring it back on heat and let it cook for about 5 minutes. Add the black pepper powder and mix well.
Soup is now ready to be served.
When serving - add soup to a bowl, top it with some steamed corn kernels, some shredded cheese and chopped cilantro. You can add a dollop of sour cream for extra creamy soup. Enjoy!!!

Sending this to #SoupSwappers

This month the theme is  - Mexican Soup, Caldo & Sopa
Hosted by Karen’s Kitchen Stories

Do check the posts of the different Mexican Soups made by fellow bloggers.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Fish & Chips - #FishFridayFoodie

Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone who is celebrating. I do not know much about this day - just know that it is the traditional day when St. Patrick passed away and its a Public holiday in Ireland as they celebrate the feast of his life.
St. Patrick used the 3 leaf shamrock (clover) to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish and I guess hence its all about clover leaves this day. I learnt from Lil Miss A that the reason everyone wears green on this day is because green is the color associated with Catholics in Ireland and Orange is associated with Protestants. I was not sure about this as she is just 6........... so, I did read about it online. She is right........ ofcorse she learnt it at school.
Ofcorse then there are legends or myths about rainbows and leprechauns and pots of gold. 
And ofcorse #LuckOfTheIrish

I wanted to make something special for this day that was from the region of Ireland.Wanted to try something simple that the family would love. So settled with fish and chips. I know, people associated Fish & Chips with UK........ but, it is very much found in Ireland and in Irish Pubs too. I just joined the group  #FishFridayFoodie  and they had a theme for Irish Inspired dishes. So, that was another reason for this dish.  


For Fish

5 big tilapia Loins cut into 3 inch pieces - we got about 15 of them.
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
7 oz beer (I used corona)
2 cups oil

For Chips (in Air Fryer)

4 Russett Potatoes
2 tablespoons Al Purpose Flour


For Fish

Wash and pat dry the fish pieces and let them sit on a paper towel.
In a pan add the oil and let it heat till it becomes very hot (about 380F).
In a bowl whisk together the  flour, salt, chili powder, paprika, black pepper, and garlic powder and baking powder. Take half of this dry mixture on a plate. With the remaining half in the bowl, add the beer to this mixture and mix well till you get a flowy batter.
Take the fish. Put it on the dry flour mixture and then dunk it in the beer batter and then again in the dry mixture and dust extra flour off and let it sit on a baking sheet. Use tongs to do this. Get all the other fish pieces ready in the same fashion.
Keep cut potatoes in ice water after cut, and let sit 5-10 minutes
Meanwhile, dry the fish with paper towels and dredge each piece in the flour mixture on the baking sheet.
Add 3 fish at a time to the hot oil and fry for about 8 minutes till it turns a beautiful golden brown. Once done, remove and transfer to on a paper towel lined plate to drain.

For Chips

Peel the potatoes and cut them into big sticks like french fries. Keep them soaked in cold water for about 1 hour. Drain the water and pat dry the potatoes with a paper towel. Take half of them in a bowl, add 1/4 tsp salt and 1 tsp flour and dust each stick with it. Add 1 tbspoon oil and shake the bowl again. Add this to the airfryer at 375F for 20 minutes. Halfway through the cycle, just open the airfryer and give it a shake. Repeat with the other half potato sticks. Remove them on a plate and sprinkle some more salt on top.
You can fry these chips in oil too. You will need 2 cups oil. Heat it to 375F. Add potatoes in batches (do not overcrowd). They should turn a nice golden brown in about 5 minutes. Remove onto a paper towel lined plate to drain. When all the chips are done, add salt and mix well.

Serve the fish and chips together on a plate - if you line it with a magazine page or newspaper, you can get the authentic street side way of having the same food.

Sending this to #FishFridayFoodie
The theme this month was “Irish Fish & Seafood Recipes” - hosted by Heather at All Roads Lead to the Kitchen

Would you like to join Fish Friday Foodies?  
We post and share new seafood/fish recipes on the third Friday of the month. 

To join our group please email Wendy at wendyklik1517@gmail.com. Visit our Facebook page and Pinterest page for more wonderful fish and seafood recipe ideas.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Kerala Style Mutton Stew (InstantPot)

The man of the house (Mr. A) had a real tough job yesterday. He had to go out and clean our huge driveway after the beautiful snowfall that dumped almost 10 inches of snow. He is okay doing this work as long as he gets some nice yummm food. So, he asked for Kerala Style Mutton Stew and Appams as a reward for his hard work. So, the preparations for the feast started at home and the results were pretty much appreciated by the man and the kid too.
This is a very easy and tasty stew to make and its so warm and comforting on such cold and windy days. 
Here is wishing for the winter to go bye-bye untill December 2017.


To Grind

1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 green cardamoms
3 cloves
1/2 piece of mace
1 black cardamom
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 star anise
1 tsp poppy seeds (optional)

To Marinate

1 pound mutton/goat meat (cut into 2 inch pieces)
2 tablespoons yogurt
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp turmeric

To Make Stew

2 tsp coconut oil (you can use any other oil too)
1 onion - thinly sliced
2 tsps ginger garlic paste
1 can coconut milk
1 potato (cubed)
2 carrots (cubed)
20 green beans (halved)
salt to taste
chopped cilantro for garnish


Take the ingredients in the 'To Marinate' tab and mix well. Let it sit aside for atleast an hour. Now take the ingredients in the 'To Grind' tab and using a spice grinder/coffee grinder, grind it to a fine powder. Keep it aside.
Take the instantpot and put the inset. On saute mode add the oil. Now add the onions and fry them till they get transparent (we do not want to brown them). Now add the ginger garlic paste and saute till the raw smell goes away, Add the marinated mutton and half the potatoes. Add 1/2 cup water. Close the intantpot and put the seal on. Manual pressure for 12 minutes. Then Natural release for 10 minutes and do a quick pressure release. Mutton would be partially cooked. Now add the other vegetables and the ground spice mixture. Stir and mix well. Cover the instantpot again with the vent sealed. Manual cook for 5 minutes and Natural release for 5 minutes. Do a quick release after that. Generally all the vegetables and the mutton are cooked perfect by this time. If not - just do a manual cook for another 4 minutes.
Put the instantpot on saute mode and add the coconut milk and salt to taste to the mutton and vegetable. Mix well and let this mixture come to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve with Appams.


  • This stew can be made using a pressure cooker to cook the mutton too.
  • Just fry onions in a pressure cooker, add the mutton and half the potatoes. Give it 2 whistles. After pressure is released. Add the other vegetables and cook for another 2 whistles. Wait for pressure to release. If cooked, just add coconut milk and the masala and salt and give it a boil. If not...... cover and cook for another whistle. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Thandai Powder

Today is the festival of colors also called 'Holi' in India. It is a festival to welcome spring and all its colors. People color each other with different colors and use water to play around. Significance of water is actually to cool down. 
As always food plays a vital role in any festival and Holi is not far behind either. My mother used to make Puran Polis (I need to update the picture here). But there are so many other sweets and snacks that form part of the festival.
Thandai is a drink that is served during this festival. Its a milk beverage infused with mild aromatic spices and dried fruits and rose petals.
People do add bhang (marijuana) to make it an intoxicating adult beverage too. 

We visited friends who had arranged a Holi party at their beautiful home. I volunteered to make thandai along with something else. It was an amazing feeling to see how much everyone loved the drink. 


1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup pistachios
1/4 cup almonds
2 tablespoons poppy seeds/khuskhus
2 tablespoons melon seeds
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon black pepper
10 green cardamoms
2 tablespoons dried rose petals (optional)
a few strands of saffron
1 cup sugar


Take all the ingredients and using a very dry grinder, grind it to a powder. Sieve and grind the coarse leftover powder again. Repeat this process till its fully done.
The above ingredients should yield roughly about 2 cups of thandai powder.

I use whole milk to make thandai. For one cup whole milk (boiled and completely cooled), use about 5 to 6 ice cubes and 2 tablespoons of 'Khus Sherbat' and 1 tablespoon of thandai powder. Blend it all together in a blender/mixer. You can serve it in tall glasses. Straining it is optional.


  • Using the Khus Sherbat  is optional - I like it as this adds a nice green hue and some extra sweetness.
  • When you are blending the thandai, you can adjust the amount of sugar as per your like - more or less does not matter.  

Monday, February 6, 2017

Red Chowli / Cowpeas Sukka in Instantpot

Today when I opened the fridge to see what I could cook for lunch, I was pleasantly surprised. There was nothing out there except a bunch of tomatoes. How did I forget about getting groceries? Not to worry when you have pulses in the pantry, right?
Now to think of what pulses to cook. Man, cooking is fun, but thinking of what to cook is stressful. I would love for a genie to decide a menu (simple for everyday cooking and elaborate when we have guests) and I wouldn't mind cooking all the stuff.
I saw these cute cowpeas staring at me through their container. It had been a while since I cooked these beauties. So, today finally it was their turn. I am sure they were ecstatic to be out of the container to fulfill their duty of feeding the humans - okay, I am just imagining things now. Well, I do possess a great imagination power and it is known to my family and close friends. 
Generally these pulses need to be soaked for atleast 8 hours before cooking. But, since I decided at 10 Am to cook lunch with these, I had a little over 2 hours to soak and get them ready. So, in came my handy electric kettle. I just boiled water in it and soaked the cowpeas in that boiling water for 2 hours. I got nicely soaked cowpeas in that time. I have done this for a lot of other pulses too. It sure helps.


2 cups cowpeas
1 cup chopped onion (I used 1 big onion)
1 cup chopped tomato (I used 1 big tomato)
10 garlic cloves (crushed using mortar and pester)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)
10 to 12 curry leaves
1/2 cup shredded coconut (I used fresh shredded coconut - you can use frozen ones too)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons red chilli powder (you can add more if you like it hot)
2 teaspoons coriander cumin powder (Dhania Jeera Powder)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek powder
pinch of asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon sugar/jaggery
salt to taste
chopped cilantro and shredded coconut for garnish


Wash the cowpeas and put about 5 cups of water and soak them for 7 to 8 hours. Once soaked, they will plump up. Drain the water and keep aside.
With the Isntantpot (IP ) in saute mode, add the coconut oil. When it gets hot add the mustard seeds and let them crackle. Then add the cumin seeds and sesame seeds along with the curry leaves. After about 15 to 20 seconds add the crushed garlic and stir the mixture lightly. Add the chopped onions and half teaspoon salt. Let the onions turn a nice golden. You will need to keep stirring during this process. Then add the chopped tomatoes along with turmeric, chilli powder, coriander cumin powder, pepper powder, fenugreek powder, asafoetida and mix well. Add the cowpeas to the mixture along with the shredded coconut and mix well. Add 1 to 1and 1/2 cup water (I added enough water to cover the cowpeas). Cancel saute mode. Cover the lid with the vent sealed and manual for 30 minutes. After its done quick release. This will be a dry curry with very little to no liquid/gravy. Open and see if the beans are cooked. If they are then add salt to taste and about 1/2 teaspoon sugar or jaggery. Mix well with a light hand. Garnish with cilantro and shredded coconut and serve wit chappatis, appam or dal and rice.

Note - this can be cooked on the stovetop too. You would want to cook the cowpeas in the pressure cooker for about 4 whistles. Drain any water it may have after cooking. In a karahi, add the oil and follow everything to get the onion and tomato and spice mixture. To this add the cooked cowpeas, salt and sugar and about 1/4 cup water and mix well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes before garnishing with cilantro and shredded coconut.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Shrimp Biryani in Instantpot

We are a biryani loving family. Give us biryani with kachumbar or raita and we are a very happy family. Even Lil Miss A loves this spicy aromatic rice preparation. 
I have been using the instant pot for over a year now. Love this gadget.
Its not like I use it everyday. Well, there are a few things that I love cooked in pots over the stovetop or in an oven. But, I must say, this is used atleast 3 times a week in 'merakitchen'.
This shrimp biryani was made in the instant pt (IP) when a friend came over to visit. It was something that I could do with what I had on hand....... yes, busy week had made me skip grocery shopping. One of those times the IP came in very very handy. It was a nice treat as she loved it and the tiffin box I packed for her was relished by her family too. 


1 pound medium uncooked shrimp - devined (its approximately 40 to 45 shrimp)
1/2 cup fried onions - I get these fried onions from the Indian store. But, you can make it at home too
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup chopped mint leaves
1/2 cup yougurt
2 teaspoons biryani masala (the link is to masala powder made at 'merakitchen')
2 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
1 tomato - chopped
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 green cardamoms
2 cloves
2 tablespoons coconut oil OR Ghee (Clarified Butter)
2 cups Long Grain Basmati Rice - you can use any rice you prefer
2 cups water
salt to taste
Chopped Cilantro for garnish


Wash the rice and soak it in water for atleast 30 minutes. Marinate the shrimps in fried onions, chopped mint, chopped cilantro, ginger garlic paste, biryani masala, turmeric powder, chili powder, yogurt and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let it sit for 30 minutes too.
Heat the IP in saute mode. Add the ghee/oil. Once it melts, add the cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cardamom, cloves and black peppercorns. Saute for about 15 seconds and then add the shrimps into the oil. Cancel the saute mode. Mix everything well. Now add the rice and and add 2 cups of water. The water will just about cover the shrimp and rice mixture. Add some salt to taste. Cover the IP. Set manual for 7 minutes.
Once done, you can Quick release and open the lid once the floating valve goes down. Biryani is ready. Remove it onto a serving dish and garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with kachumbar.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Biryani Masala Powder

We are a biryani loving family. Chicken biryani, mutton biryani, shrimp biryani, fish biryani, paneer biryani, veg biryani.............. well, you name it and we eat it. We also cook it at home. 
We have been making our own masalas at home for as long as I can remember. My mother and grandmothers made their own masalas and I guess that legacy is continued at 'merakitchen'.

I generally make these masalas in small batches which last about 4 to 6 months. I keep them in the freezer to retain their aromas.

Follow the link 'some-spices-used-in-indian-desi-kitchens' to get a picture of the spices used here. This is not an exhaustive list. 


Cloves / Lavang - 30 pieces
Black cardamom / Badi elaichi - 5 pieces
Green cardamom / Choti elaichi - 25 pieces
Cinnamon / Dalchini -5 (big)
Nutmeg / Jaiphal- 1/4 piece
Cumin seeds / Jeera - 5 tablespoons
Black cumin / Shahi jeera - 4 teaspoons
Mace / Javitri - 7 pieces
Stone flower / Dagad phool - 10 pieces
Star anise / Chara phool - 8 pieces
Fennel Seeds / Saunf - 4 tablespoons
Coriander seeds / Akkha Dhania - 1/2 Cup
Black pepper / Kali mirch - 3 tablespoons
Bay leaf / Tej patta - 7
Fenugreek seeds / Methi dana - 1/8 teaspoon


Dry Roast all the ingredients one at a time and let them cool in a plate. Once they are at room temperature, grind the entire batch into a powder. I do not sieve the ground spices, but you may do so if you please.
Let it sit on a plate to let go of any heat it may have generated in the grinding process. Store it in a glass jar with a tight cap and keep it in the freezer. This way you keep the aromas intact.
Makes about 2 cups of masala powder. And it has a life of 1 year in the freezer. But, if you are a biryani lover like us................ this will be over in no time.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Some Spices Used in Indian (Desi) Kitchens

I have posted a few masala powder recipes on my blog. I have yet to write about a few other spice powders that I usually have in my freezer.
I just thought - why not write a post showing the different spices used in these masalas. This is not an extensive list. These are a few key ingredients that are used in making spice/masala powders that we use to enhance the taste of curries or biryanis or dry vegetable or meat preparations.
The pictures are pretty self explanatory.

Now I will go ahead and write about the spice/masala powders that are made and used in 'merakitchen'

Monday, January 16, 2017

Apple Pie Cake (with a crunchy cinnamon sugar topping)

Apple pie is one of those American Desserts that makes you go 'yes please!'. I have always loved apple pie with the flaky crust and the gooey apple cinnamon filling. Well, I had no patience to make the pie crust and I wanted to have an apple pie. What is the next best thing to do? Yes, you try and make a cake that tastes like the apple pie.
While I was looking for pie crust recipes - I had stumbled upon this cake recipe. Something that had been on my mind but never got to the oven. I took inspiration from this recipe at 'Pinch of Yum'
I tweaked the recipe a bit in terms of the sugar I used (used a little less than mentioned) and the amount of apples I used too (used a bit more - just because I did not want to munch on raw apples). I also had an orange sitting on my table, so used the zest and the juice. Was not my intention to change the recipe......... lets just say.....it happened.
We loved the cake. It tasted good warm and cold. And we had it with a side of vanilla ice-cream on one occasion too.


1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
2 cups chopped apples
1 teaspoon allspice powder
1 teaspoon orange zest
4 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 325 F and grease a 9X13 pan. 
Cut the apples into small pieces and add the orange juice to it (this will prevent it from browning). Sieve the flour, allspice powder, baking powder and baking soda together and keep aside. In a bowl, mix the brown sugar, oil, buttermilk and egg. No need to beat the mixture. To this add the vanilla extract and the orange zest and mix well. To this add the dry flour mixture and incorporate the mixture well. Add the chopped apples and incorporate everything well. I used a spatula to do this. Pour the batter into the 9X13 pan and spread it evenly using the spatula. 
Mix together the butter, cinnamon powder and sugar. Using your fingers spread this mixture on top of the batter very evenly. Pop it into the oven.
The recipe said bake for 45 minutes. Insert a toothpick and check for doneness. If it comes out clean, your cake is baked, if not, you need to bake for another 5 to 10 minutes. 
At 45 minutes my cake was still very raw. So, I had to bake for another 10 to 15 minutes. 
Remove from oven and cool a bit. Slice and serve warm with vanilla ice-cream or just like that. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Saagwala Chicken (Chicken in Spinach Gravy) in InstantPot

Writing here after a very very long time. Its not like I don't want to cook or I do not wish to write. I somehow do not get that undisturbed time to sit and write a blogpost. Towards the end of the day, all I want to do is snuggle in the cozy blanket and just snooze away. I guess, that's what the cold winters do to you............. they make you lazy and also 'fat'.
My InstantPot had been doing a good job in my kitchen. I do not use it everyday. Well, there are a few things that I like to cook on the good old stove or sometimes its just the oven or the airfryer that is made use of. But, I can say that all these appliances are used pretty regularly in 'mera kitchen'
Today was a very crazy day. Lil Miss A had a holiday at school and so we woke up a bit late and then it was fun and games till I got a message from a friend about going out to lunch. Mr. A was working from home and he needs his lunch too. I had to leave home in 45 minutes and had to get ready and get the bub ready too and had to make lunch arrangements for the hubster. The InstantPot came to my rescue. There was spinach, tomatoes, chicken and spices....... and that how this curry came about. 


2 pounds chicken - I used boneless skinless chicken thighs and breasts - cut into bite size pieces
4 medium tomatoes
10 garlic cloves
1/2 inch ginger piece
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 green cardamoms
1 black cardamom
3 cloves
1/2 inch cinnamon
2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 big onion or 2 medium ones - thinly sliced
5 cups spinach - I used baby spinach
2 tablespoons oil
salt to taste


Grind the tomatoes, garlic, fennel, cumin, cardamom, black cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, chilli powder, ginger, turmeric and black pepper to a fine paste, You do not need to add water as the tomatoes help with their liquid. Make a puree of the spinach. Add a little water just to aid the puree process.
Put the InstantPot in saute mode. Add the oil. Once it heats up, add the sliced onions and a little salt. Fry the onions till they turn a golden color. Now add the ground paste and mix well. Keep stirring occasionally untill the oil starts to leave the sides. Add the chicken pieces and the spinach puree and mix well. Add 1/2 cup water. Cancel saute function. Cover the lid of the InstantPot with the vent on sealing. Manual for 10 minutes on high pressure. Let the InstantPot do its magic. Let the pressure release naturally.
Open the lid and check if the chicken is cooked. Mine was done well. If not, just put it on saute mode for another 5 minutes.
Serve with steamed rice, chapatis or naan

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