Archive for the ‘Sweets’ Category

Apple Pie!

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

I tasted the home made apple pie(with homemade crust!!) at our friend’s house for thanksgiving 3 years ago. N loves it so much that our friend makes almost a separate pie for N after that!


So, if I have couple of apples in hand and 30 minutes, apple pie what I make for dessert these days. It is so easy and I do not have to worry about syrup consistency or the perfect temperature as I have to do with other desserts.I do not make the pie crust though, I just get pie crusts whenever I stock groceries and when guests arrive for dinner, I stash the pie in the oven- by the time we get to dessert, warm pie is ready to be served right out of the oven!

I usually make double crust(cover the top too) pie, you can even make stripes and cover the top part of the pie in a zig zag way. This recipe is from Pillsbury.

Pie crust- 2 rolls
Pie baking dish/ready to use baking dish-1
For the filling:
Apples- 5
Cinnamon- 3/4 tsp
Sugar- 3/4 cup
Flour- 1 tbsp
Lemon juice-1 tsp
Salt- a pinch


Pre heat the oven to 400 F.

Peel and slice the apples, discard the core. Mix cinnamon, flour,sugar and salt with the sliced apples in a bowl. Add lemon juice and mix again.

Layer one pie crust to the bottom of the baking dish, fold edges as necessary. Arrange the filling to the center of the pie and spread it evenly.


Cover the pie with another crust roll. Pinch the edges together. Poke a few holes in the center with a knife. Use a fork and prick the pie crust for steam to escape.

Place it in the oven. That is it. Do not keep opening and closing the oven door, check if the pie is cooked through after 30 minutes, the top will be golden brown and you can smell the aroma of baked apples. If it is not done, bake for another 5-10 minutes.

Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool down.

Serve warm as it is, or with ice cream or chocolate sauce or caramel sauce. We like it as it is.

The first time I made it, I used granny smith apples, then I just started using whatever apples I have in hand and it comes out well, so you use either red or green apples or combination of both.

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Thiruvadirai Kali and Kootu

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

Growing up in Chidambaram, the best festival for us was the Ther(Car festival) and then Darisanam during the ther festival that happens twice a year. This special kali and kootu is made for the ther festival in the winter(the tamil month of Margazhi). Though the ther and darisanam are over in Chidambaram now, only today I got the time to post this recipe, so hopefully it will be useful for next year :)

You can find the recipe for the kootu here from my old post,and it is made with 7 vegetables and lentils.

For the kali:
Let us say, this will be just enough for two people if you use a smaller measuring cup. If you need more, just measure it with a bigger measuring utensil.

Raw rice- 1 cup
Moong dal- 1/2 to 1 tsp
Jaggery- 1.5 to 2 cups(grated)
Coconut- 3 tbsp
Elachi- 1 pinch
Cashew nuts- 1 tsp
Ghee- 2 tbsp
Water- just enough to soak the jaggery


Soak the jaggery in minimum amount of water, so that it dissolves. Dry roast(toast) the rice in a pan and transfer it to a blender, let it cool down. Toast moon gal to a golden brown color and transfer it to the blender. Blend the rice and dal together to a powder(but not so smooth and not so coarse kind of consistency).

Add 2 cups of water to the powdered rice and dal mixture and pressure cook it like rice, for up to two whistles. Let the rice cool down.

In a pan(I use non stick saucepan), filter the jaggery water and let it simmer. When you see bubbles coming towards the center, after about 5-7 minutes, try testing the syrup consistency by pouring a drop of the syrup on top of a plate- the syrup must look like it is thick, it should make a noise as it hits the plate and it will not dissolve that easily in water.

Now start adding the cooked rice and dal mix to this jaggery syrup. The rice will absorb the syrup and it will start thickening up. Add little amount of ghee and cook in medium flame till you can see that there is no more syrup left and the kali comes together.

Switch off.

Heat ghee in a pan, add cashew nuts, when the nuts turn golden brown in color, add the grated coconut, fry once and pour this over the kali. Add a pinch of elachi and mix well. Offer kali and kootu to Nataraja before tasting!

Though it is not the same, this kali can also be made for Pradosham as prasadam like kappirisi.

Wishing you all a Very Happy New Year with this traditional sweet :)

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Two desserts at two extremes

Monday, June 18th, 2012

This is something I made for Father’s day- one is my dad’s favorite and other one is a bread/muffin N likes to eat every now and then. My dad’s favorite is his speciality in cooking, as anytime any of our cousins/uncles/aunts came home this will be their first request-dad’s special Sakkarai pongal(using jaggery) as a dessert. As I was making this, I just thought- these two desserts have so much in common though they seem so different. You miss the syrup consistency or measuring rice to jaggery ratio, then sakkarai pongal will not taste like sweet pongal at all, on the other hand baking needs precise measuring of ingredients and once it is in the oven, that is it! You cannot add any missed ingredient and stir it as you like :)

I know sakkarai pongal is one of the old recipes, nothing new about it but you gotta make it to realize how many techniques are there to get that ghee dripping finger licking perfect pongal! I still hesitate to make it for a crowd and if I make it for us, I know N will adjust even if it is too thick or too thin :) I called mom after I made this and sort of confessed that yes old recipes might be old but they are second to none in taste.

For the Sweet Vellam Pongal:
Uncooked Rice- 1 cup ( I used a ladle full of rice)
Powdered Jaggery- 2 cups
Water- Less than 3/4 cup to make the syrup and 3 cups water to cook the rice
Elachi- 1/4 tsp
Nuts and raisins- 1 tbsp together (you can add more if you like)
Ghee- 5 tbsp
Red Food color- a pinch
Milk- 1 tsp to dissolve the food color


Wash the rice and cook the rice with 3 cups of water to a well cooked consistency. Mash it well while it is warm.

Soak the jaggery in water, so that it dissolves. Filter the jaggery water to remove any sand particles.

Heat 1 tsp of ghee in a pan. Fry cashews and raisins to a golden brown color. Set aside.

In a pan(non stick preferably) pour the jaggery water and let it simmer on a low medium flame. The syrup consistency is where when you leave a drop of the syrup on a cup of water it does not dissolve and is thick(or it makes a noise as it hits the vessel as they say it in tamil). This will take about 10-15 minutes, the correct amount of water added to jaggery will make it faster to get to the syrup consistency.

Now slowly add the mashed rice to this syrup and keep mixing and mashing it well till the rice absorbs the syrup and starts coming together like a mashed ball of rice.

Now slowly add ghee in 1/2 tsp quantities and let the pongal cook in ghee for 3-4 minutes. When you can see the ghee glistening on top and it looks glossy like a pongal, remove the pan from the flame. Pour the food color mixed with 1 tsp of milk to the pan, Mix well. Transfer to a serving dish.

Top the pongal with fried nuts and raisins and serve warm or chilled. Tastes good either way, and this can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. The more ghee you add, the tastier the pongal will be(obviously, right?)

My mom sometimes adds milk to the pongal and adds rock candy(kalkandu) to the pongal too. Tastes so divine, especially on a month like Margazhi(December) along with some hot ven pongal :) And even more tasty and special if dad makes it for us :)

Now for the Bread part- I asked N what he wanted for Father’s day. He said he does not need anything, but I had to make something to make it special and so I cooked one of his favorite meals- cauliflower rasam with slow roasted ennai kathirikkai kari and this bread.

For the blueberry bread:

I usually make banana bread with this recipe of mine, I only changed it a bit this time, instead of orange juice I added 1/4 cup more oil(yup, no butter) and added 1/4 cup of blueberries. N has been having this as his evening snack with tea for the past 2-3 days. You can even make it as a muffin if you do not want it as a bread.

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Sheera and Vishu Wishes

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Wish you all a Very Happy Tamil New year/Vishu kani.

April 14 is the Tamil New Year and according to our calendar, the year Vikruthi starts today. The tradition for vishu celebration is to keep a tray filled with coins and cash, clothes and fruits infront of a image of deity and seeing the reflection of the tray in a mirror and seeing it as the first object, the first thing in the morning. This image is also a representation of materials one can expect in the new year (hence the reflection in the mirror).

Though a feast is prepared for Tamil New Year back home which includes a bitter neem rasam and a sweet and sour mango chutney, I just kept it simple this year with some Sheera, instead of the usual payasam(kheer).

Sheera can also be made as a prasad(offering) for satya narayana pooja. This is a quick and simple dessert too, and can be served either hot or cold.


Sooji/Rava/Semolina: 1 cup
Sugar : 1.5 cups
Ripe Banana-1
Milk- 2 cups
Ghee- 4 tbsp

Cashews/almonds/saffron- to garnish
Cardamom powder- 1/4 tsp


Heat ghee in a frying pan and fry the rava till it turns golden brown in color and you can smell the aroma of toasted rava.

In the mean time boil 2 cups of milk in a sauce pan. Finely chop the banana.

Once the milk is bubbling, simmer the flame and add the bananas. Lightly mash them and add the toasted rava(slowly). Take care while adding the rava to the hot milk as rava bubbles vigorously.

After adding rava, add in the sugar and stir well. The melting sugar will thin out the sheera. Stir on low flame for 2-3 minutes and switch off.

Grease the insides of a pan(any shape) with a tea spoon of ghee. Transfer the sheera to the pan and level it. Once it has cooled, you can slice it and serve it as kesari slices, instead of a gooey-pudding.

Roast cashews in ghee. Garnish the sheera with cashews, saffron and cardamom powder. If you are making it for satya narayana pooja, just use the five ingredients milk, ghee, sugar, banana and rava.

I am sending this Sheera to Priya’s Cooking with Cardamom seeds event.

Kiran tagged me in for a chain link, and I have to share about 10 women I admire the most. Actually going through Kiran’s list, I thought pretty much she has covered about women who young girls and others look up to. Your post was awesome Kiran!

Thanks for tagging me in for the link- Since I should keep it going too, I’d say I admire women who are like an all rounder in cricket field- especially the home makers and working women who juggle a lot of chores in a day and still manage to run the show! That includes women I haven’t met or heard about yet, but who go about doing these tasks as though it is nothing!

What do you say gals? Do you agree with me?

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