Chakka (Jack Fruit) Chips

Raw Jackfruit: 1 big
Salt: as required
Oil: for deep frying

Cut open the Jackfruit, throw away the outer cover/husk.
Deseed the fruit

Take off the white strips on the fruit and chop the bottom and top edge.

Now cut each fruit lengthwise in strips.

Heat oil. Fry the jackfruit strips till done.
You can either add salt water to the oil while the jackfruit is getting fried, or you can add salt after you take the chips out of the oil.
Drain on an absorbent paper.
Let it cool and then store it in airtight containers.


Praline cake for my daughter's 3rd Birthday.

This is what I baked for my daughter's Birthday..... it is different...yes, this time I baked a chocolate cake and topped it with buttercream and praline- unusual combi, right? well, she is a die hard chocolate fan which is why I made a chocolate base but she doesnt like chocolate icing (go figure) that is why i did vanilla buttercream...and she loves nuts, which is why the praline!!!!!

For the chocolate Cake:

Butter: 1 cup
Sugar: 13/4 cups
Eggs: 3
Vanilla essence: 1.5 tsp
Milk: 1.5 cups
All Purpose Flour: 2.5 cups
Cocoa Powder: 6 table spoon
Baking Powder: 1.5 tsp

Sift the all purpose flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together thrice. Keep it aside
Preheat the oven. Grease and flour your cake tin.
Cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
Add the eggs to it and beat till combined well.
Add the flour mix and the milk alternately. You can work your stand mixer at speed 1 till everything is mixed well. (don't overdo it as the baking powder is added)
Pour the batter into prepared pans and bake at 180 C till done.
As it is cooling, we will start with the butter cream icing and the topping preparation

For the Icing:
Butter: 200 gms
Icing Sugar; 4.5 cups
Milk: 1/4 cup
Vanilla essence: 1 tsp

Let the butter come to room temperature. Keep this in a bowl and beat it on speed 1 for a minute.
Now add the sugar and beat on low speed (otherwise there will be a lot of cleaning to do later!!!!)
when it is combined well, increase the speed and let it get beaten to an icing consistency.
Add the vanilla and then the milk ( add milk slowly, if you feel the consistency is reached, stop adding to the mix, you can drink it instead...) see my icing getting done in the pic below...

Now we go on to the praline topping....

Sugar : 1 cup
Toasted Cashewnuts: 1 cup
Water: 2 tbsp

Lightly brush aluminium foil with a little oil
In a thick bottomed pan, heat the sugar with water till it turns brown in colour.
 Make sure you do not meddle with it with ur spoon.... I understand the temptation....BUT NO..... swirl the pan so that it browns uniformly.
when it reaches a beautiful brown colour, turn off the stove, add the cashewnuts and immediately pour it onto the aluminium foil (thin layer like in the picture)

When it cools, crush it and then pulse it in a food processor.

By this time, your chocolate cake would have cooled down.
Cut the cake horizontally in the middle so that you get two cakes.
Apply the frosting on top of the bottom piece and place the top piece on that so that it is sandwiched with the frosting.
Now a pply a thin layer of frosting all over the cake with a spatula and place this in the fridge for half an hour.
After that take it out and generously spread the frosting all over.
Immediately top it with the praline with the help of your hands.
If you want, you can again pipe the icing on top.
Refrigerate till set.


Wheat Puttu and Boiled Egg Fry

Wheat puttu is a healthier and tastier version of the original rice puttu (I say tastier coz me loves wheat more than rice) . Wheat puttu is made almost the same way as rice puttu..the only difference is we steam the wheat flour first for a few minutes in an idly cooker/Appa Chembu/Pressure cooker without the weight and then  sprinkle water to make the puttu flour into a wet powdery form. This is done so that no lumps are formed (coz wheat unlike rice forms into dough fast) 
Wheat puttu goes well with ghee and sugar or even with banana but I LOVE it with boiled egg fry. So heres the recipe.

Wheat Flour: 2 cups
Coconut grated: 3/4 cup
Salt: as needed
Water: as needed

Mix the wheat flour with salt and keep it in a bowl.
Pour 3 cups of water in your Idly Cooker/Appa Chembu/Pressure cooker and bring to boil.
Place the bowl with the wheat flour in the steaming vessel (make sure the bowl doesnt touch the boiling water) as shown in the picture below. Close with a lid.

 Take off fire after about 5 minutes and then sprinkle a little water to get a wet powdery texture.
Be very careful with this step or you will get chapati dough!!!

Now take the puttu maker and add a little grated coconut followed by the puttu flour mix, again the coconut grated followed by the flour mix till you get to the top. Top it with coconut grated (always!!!!)
Close the lid and steam till done (5 to 6 minutes is fine...) 

Boiled Eggs: 4 halved
Chilly Powder: 1 tbsp
Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp
Pepper Powder: 1/2 tsp
Ginger Garlic paste: 1/4 tsp
Salt: to taste

Make a paste of all the ingredients by adding water. Apply it on the boiled and sliced eggs.
Shallow fry and serve hot with Wheat Puttu.


Ghee (Clarified Butter)

Clarified butter is known as ghee and it is one of the main ingredient for any speciality Indian dish. As a child, I used to love the aroma when mom used to process the butter into ghee. (I still love it).

Mom's store room will always have 5 to 6 bottles of Ghee that she makes at home and whenever a family member or a dear friend visits us, Mom used to give a bottle when they leave.

Whenever you boil full cream milk, keep it in the refrigerator for 24 hours, before you use it.
 After 24 hours, take the milk out of the fridge and you will see a thick layer of cream on top.
Take it with a spoon and refrigerate it.
Do this everyday till you get a big bowl of fresh cream.

After youve collected a big bowl of fresh cream, take it out from the fridge and let it get to room temperature.
Dump it into a blender and pulse till the butter milk and butter separates.

It will take a while (10-15 minutes)

You can see the butter milk and the butter in the pic below. Either save the butter milk for your curries or you can throw it away.

Now take the butter and either store it in the fridge (to spread on bread or to make ghee at a later stage) or go ahead and make the ghee.

Place the butter in a heavy bottomed pan on medium heat.
Keep stirring in intervals. First it will froth

 Then the milk solids separates and your ghee is ready
Turn off the stove and allow it to cool

Strain it into a glass container.

and when it comes to room temperature, it looks like this.... what a beauty!!!!


Parippu Vada

Homemade Parippu Vadas tastes better any time!!!! Dont u think? For a first timer, maybe the vadas will look funny (that is if you are not careful with the water content or if you've not drained the lentils properly) but still it can beat the tea shop Vadas hands down.
Here, Ive made the Kerala style Parippu Vada (Tamil Nadu Masala vada tastes different and its a different recipe)
Ive seen people making Lentil vada with Toor Dal, Chenna Dal but believe me, vadas made with PEAS DAL tastes the best.

Peas Dal: 4 cups

Curry Leaves: a few sprigs
Dried Red Chilly: 3
Salt: to taste
Oil: for deep frying

Shallots: 100 gm
Green Chillies: 12 (Pls adjust to your tolerance level)
Ginger: 1 inch

Wash and soak the lentils for about 2 hours.
Drain well and coarsely grind it without adding water.
Keep a handful of the soaked and drained dal aside as it is.
Now mix this with curry leaves and the dried red chilly.

Now pulse the shallots, ginger and green chillies once.

Mix everything properly and add salt to taste.

Scoop a small ball and flatten it in your palm as shown in the picture below.

Heat oil and reduce it to medium and drop the flattened balls gently into the oil.
Fry both sides till cooked well and is dark brownish red in colour.

Drain it on an absorbent paper and serve hot with Tea.

Divya Thomas tried this recipe and sent her photo. Well, Iam drooling over her picture... too good, Divya...and thanks a lot for trying it out.



 This is one of my favourite Kerala Snacks. I remember my mom making this in large quantities during New year, Christmas and every month in between. The process will start at around 6 am and by lunch time, we will have Kuzhalappams neatly stacked in tall Biscuit tins. I remember the the Uruli in which the dough was made,Banana leaves that were used to cover the prepared balls and the rolled out dough, Banana leaf stem to roll the flattened dough into cylindrical shapes..... And making the dough itself was a long procedure... beating it till a very smooth dough is formed.....hmmmm....memories....  

Rice Flour: 4 cups
Sesame Seeds: 1 tbsp
Salt : as needed
Boiling Water: as needed
Coconut Oil: for deep frying

To Grind:
Shallots: a handful
Garlic: 2 pods
Coconut grated: 1 cup
Cumin: 1.5 tbsp

Heat the rice flour in thick bottomed pan.

Now add the grated coconut, sesame seeds and the ground mix and make a smooth dough with hot water.

Make small balls out of the dough.

Flatten each ball with the help of a poori press or with the palm of your hand.

Roll them around your forefinger as shown in the picture

Heat oil and deep fry till golden brown on medium heat.