09 April, 2015

Eggless Carrot Cake with Pistachios and Raisins




Ingredients (Baking cup quantity measures)

Grated Carrots - 2 cups
Light Brown Sugar - 3/4 - 1 cup (depending on how sweet you like the cake) (I used 3/4 cup)
Unsalted Butter - 125 gms (For healthier options, use canola or corn oil)
All purpose flour - 1 1/2 cups 
Pistachios - 3/4 cup 
Raisins - 1/3 cup
Milk - 1/4 cup (I used full cream milk not skimmed milk)
Salt - 2 pinches
Baking Soda - 1 tsp
Baking Powder - 1 tsp
Apple Cider Vinegar or Distilled White Vinegar - 2 tbsps
Vanilla Extract - 2 tsp
Cinnamon powder - 1/4 tsp 
Grated nutmeg - 1/8 tsp (optional)


1. Coarsely grind the pistachios.  Just a couple of whizzes in the food processor.  If you have the patience, you could chop the pistachios :-).

2. Take a deep dish just so it makes mixing easier :-).  Add the grated carrots, salt, sugar and the pistachios and give the whole thing a good mix.  Set aside for about 10 mins for the carrots to release moisture.

3. Then add the raisins, all purpose flour and give it a good mix so that the raisins get coated in flour.  This prevents the raisins from sinking to the bottom once the cake batter is in the oven.

4. Add the baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon powder and grated nutmeg.

5. Melt the butter and pour the melted butter into the mix. Gently fold the batter with a spatula.  It does not need an electric mixer or a whisk.

6. Once all the ingredients are mixed, add the milk and vanilla extract.  Fold the mixture with a spatula until just mixed.  The batter will be lumpy.

7. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C.

8. Finally, add 2 tbsps of vinegar and gently mix.  The batter will foam a bit because the vinegar reacts with the baking soda.  

9. Line a baking pan with foil and coat with butter.  You could reserve a bit of the melted butter to coat the pan.  I usually use foil and leave a bit of overhang because it makes it so much easier to take the cake out of the pan, once done.

10. Move the rack in the oven lower else the top of the cake will get done while the insides would not have cooked enough.  Since this is a dense batter, it takes longer to cook.

10. Pour the batter into the greased, foil lined tin (I used a 8" x 7" baking tray).  Bake at 175 degrees C for about 35-40 mins.  

11. Don't leave the cake in the oven once the timer goes off.  Let cool outside before taking the cake out of the pan.

12. The vinegar gives this usually dense cake a fluffiness and airiness.  It is a delicate cake because there is so much for the all purpose flour to hold together.  

Variations

1. The spices - I used cinnamon.  You could use cinnamon and nutmeg or cinnamon and ginger powder, depending on your taste.

2. I've used pistachios in this recipe.  These can easily be substituted with walnuts / pecans / cashews / slivered almonds.

3. Raisins can be substituted with cranberries if you want a slight tinge of sourness to the cake.

4. If not using spices like cinnamon or nutmeg, you could use the zest of lemon or orange to give it a lovely citrus flavour.

08 April, 2015

Kothamalli Podi / Dry Hara Dhania Chutney / Dry Green Coriander Chutney




Ingredients

2 medium size bunches of coriander leaves (about two baking cups measure)
12-14 dry red chillies
1 lime size ball tamarind
1/2 cup Urad dal (baking cup measure)
2 tsp (flat) asafoetida
Salt to taste


1. Wash and dry the coriander stem and leaves.

2. Chop the stem and leaves into little pieces.  This helps with the grinding process later on.

3. Heat a pan on low fire and dry roast the red chillies.  This takes just a few seconds.  Don't over roast else the chillies start turning black and this will give the powder a bitter after taste. Set the roasted red chillies aside to cool.

4. Roast the urad dal until the dal turns a light shade of brown.  Set aside to cool.

5. In the same pan, on a low fire, now roast the chopped coriander stem pieces and leaves.  Roast until it wilts / has considerably dehydrated.  It does not completely dehydrate, there will be a bit of moisture left but the leaves and stem pieces should have a rather blanched / shrunk look.  

6. Blend the coriander stem / leaves in a blender while still warm.  The cooler it gets, the more fibrous it becomes and hence more difficult to grind.

7. Once the coriander is a bit ground up, transfer the coriander to a bowl.

8. Get the rest of the ingredients into the blender and grind until the dal and the chillies have broken up into little bits.  

9. Now add the previously ground coriander and give the whole thing a good whiz in the blender / food processor.  

10. Once the powder has cooled down, transfer to an airtight bottle.  Would be better to refrigerate the powder because the coriander retains some of the moisture even after grinding.

This powder / dry chutney is one of the most versatile of Tambrahm recipes and can liven up anything from simple toast to idlis and dosas to plain rice with the dollop of ghee to yoghurt rice :-).