Saturday, April 24, 2010

Zebra Cake

I first saw this impressive cake in Sailu's blog and couldn't wait to try out it. It looked very intricate leaving me in a dilemma whether to go for it or not. When you go through Sailu's blog, you know what an expert she is. The inferiority complex in me surfaced which prevented me from baking this wonder. Then I stumbled upon Divya's blog where she too has written about her inhibitions before venturing into this cake and her success story really gave me the necessary push and here I am TADA!!!

It gives me immense pleasure to share with you all that this cake won me accolades from two hardest to impress critics - Abbas and Ma. Abbas is a miser when it comes to appreciating me verbally coz he assumes that I can anyway read his eyes and mind. But damn it! Don't we women love to hear it? And Ma hates anything chocolatey! Yes such species exist in this world and in the form of my mother-in-law. Strangely this was the first thing she accidentally ate and blurted out that it was good. Yipppeee!


4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup oil (corn, vegetable or canola) - I used sunflower oil
2 cups maida/all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 tsps baking powder
2 tbsps dark cocoa powder

1. Combine eggs and sugar in a bowl till light and creamy. Add milk, oil and vanilla essence and beat till smooth.

2. In a separate bowl, combine maida and baking pwd. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat until the batter is smooth and the dry ingredients are completely incorporated. Do not overbeat.

3. Divide the batter into two. Add the cocoa pwd to one portion and combine well.

4. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease the baking pan. The most important part is assembling the cake batter in a baking pan. Pour 3 heaped tablespoons of plain batter into the middle of the baking pan. Then pour 3 tablespoons of cocoa batter in the center on top of the plain batter. Continue alternating with plain and cocoa batter without pausing for the batter to spread.

5. Bake for 40 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake it should come out clean when ready. Remove from the oven. Run a small thin knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake. Leave aside for 15 mts and invert the cake onto a cooling rack. Turn the cake back over and cool further.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dim Bhaja - Fried eggs

This dish generally finds its place on our table when the menu has some dish that hubby dislikes. Or during dinner times, when what I've cooked for lunch is left over, but nobody is enthusiastic to eat the same for dinner, and being the home maker you can't afford cooking something special at the cost of all those dishes sitting in the refrigertor unwanted. At times like that, this dish comes as a saviour. Me happy preparing it coz it can be prepared in a jiffy, the only effort that goes into this is that of chopping onions. Also when my folks know that Dim Bhaja is gonna do guest appearance, they are fine with any kinda main course. So this is like my trump card.

What you need:

2 Eggs
1 Onion, medium sized finely chopped
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Red Chilli powder
1/2 tsp Cumin powder (optional)
Salt to taste
11/2 tbsp Oil

How to prepare:

I have tried capturing the procedure with the pics below. Initially, heat oil in a pan. Add onions and saute till they turn light golden brown in colour. Add salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and cumin powder and mix well. Using a spatula, spread the onions evenly in the pan. Break the eggs on top of the onions as shown below. When the egg white at the bottom has boiled and has formed thin layer, invert half of it on top of the rest of the portion. Make sure while doing this the yolks are covered. Try to separate both peices as they are getiing cooked. Invert both the pieces again and cook till the yolk inside too has cooked well. I cook this whole dish on low flame to get good results. Depending on the width of the pan you can fry more number of eggs in it. Strain and remove the egg pieces from the pan. You can fry more eggs in the same oil.

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Dal Bharta

I'm composing this post while KKR v/s RCB is being broadcast from 'Namma Bengaluru'. Oh yes, although I am blogging about a Bengali comfort food, I hail from Karnataka and my patriotism towards my state never staggers. I am the lone supporter of RCB while the whole family cheers 'Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo Re'. But when it comes to food, my taste buds fail to see any boundaries. Dal Bharta is my comfort food too.

One of the pros of marrying a Bengali is that I got to explore a whole new culinary world where I ventured into cooking using mustard oil, mustard paste, head of a fish (My Amma used to throw away head of any fish while my in-laws relished various special dishes with fish head in the lime light). Abbas used to ask me before marriage that Seemu, "would you be able to adjust with us?". After marriage when he saw the ease at which I became one among them, he says, "You were in a wrong place earlier. You were meant to be a Bong. Thank me for having brought you to where you belong". Well, Konkanis love Potato too just like a Bong does. Only thing I never compromised with is rice. I couldn't get myself to eat boiled rice. Initially, we had two pots of rice cooked. Now everybody eats raw rice along with me. After all compromise has to be from both ends for smooth running of a family.

Coming to the dish in discussion, Masoor Dal is generally washed and closed inside a small container along with slit green chillies, salt, turmeric powder and mustard oil. The container is called Ghoti, its lid has to be tight. This is cooked along with rice. Bengalis generally eat boiled rice. Since it takes a long time to cook, lentils get cooked just right as required by this dish. But since we eat raw rice which gets cooked very fast, I cook this in a pressure cooker. Texture of dal doesn't match that cooked in a Ghoti. It tastes great nevertheless.


1 cup Masoor dal
1 tsp Turmeric powder
2 Green chillies slit
2 Green Chillies finely chopped
1 tsp Red chilli powder (optional, I add it but in-laws don't)
Salt to taste
1 tbsp Mustard oil


Pressure cook dal, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt, slit green chillies and 1 tsp mustard oil with enough water so that the dal is neither cooked nor over cooked. Well the exact amount of water to be added can be perfected with trial and error.

Mash dal with chopped green chillies, remaining oil using hand. Adjust salt and chillies according to taste. Best Blogger Tips

Kane/Nogli Rava Fry - Lady Fish coated in Semolina and Fried

Kane (pronounced as kaa-nay) is a delicacy in coastal Karnataka. I remember whenever guests would drop by our home in Kundapura, Annu (dad) would buy kilos of fresh catch and amma would prepare Nogli Ambat (Fish curry) and/or this Rava fry. We children would be served first and always given smaller and lesser pieces to ensure the guests always got enough good pieces. When we would bombard our wrath filled looks at Amma at this injustice, she would politely and smirkly say "You always get to eat this fish. But they never do." I even recall one of the guests saying that his Dad always told him "Son, before you die make sure you have eaten Kane in Kundapur". During Diwali the price of this fish in Coastal belt would sky rocket. Coz people have a custom where they have an oil bath. The fish is also given an oil bath where it is deep fried. After marriage, I only cherished the memories of this favourite of mine and never had a chance to indulge in its divine taste when in Kolkata. Now that I am in Chennai and Abbas is in Bangalore, he looked for this fish in the markets and located a vendor who sells it. Finally my inner soul's thirst for this fish was quenched after 4 long years.

5 Lady fish - clean and make slits on both sides
Rava / Semolina for coating
Oil for frying
 For marination
2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
3/4 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp lemon juice
salt to tase


Marinate the fish with ingredients called for marination so that the masala has penetrated into the slits well. Keep aside for an hour in the refrigerator.

Coat the marinated fish in rava. This fish could be deep fried. (In that case keep the rava coated fish in refreigerator for atleast an hour, so that most of the rava sticks to the fish even when deep fried.) I fried the fish in a non stick tava with less oil, tatsted great this way too.

Four years of 'judaai' made me gobble 5 whole fish at a shot and I still yearned for more.
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