Saturday, August 5, 2017

Kaima/Kothu Idli, Podi Idli, Idli Upma & Idli Chaat (Leftover Idli Makeovers)

Leftover idlis got a fabulous make-over by reinventing them as Kaima Idli, Idli Chaat, Podi Idli, and Idli Upma, etc.  Although typically made from leftover idlis, they are amazingly tasty and make great starters, snacks, or even meals. My family loves Kaima, Chaat, Podi, and Upma variations and make a meal of them!

Kaima Idli was apparently popularized in a South Indian restaurant; now they are not only made and served in many Southern as well as Northern Indian restaurants everywhere in various avatars including Idli Chaat. I have eaten different versions in India and the U.S. and all were delicious.

Kaima Idli
Cold idlis are best for frying/baking. When there are lots of leftover idlis, one of these recipes can come in very handy! Idli Upma/Usli is the quickest and easiest and does not require much effort; the others require a little more prep. Except for the Idli upma/usli, the other recipes all start with either pan or deep fried idlis; the idlis may be baked as well.

The spices may be changed as a variation or to suit one's needs or preferences; instead of Sambar powder given in the recipe, you may wish to use Rasam Powder, Biriyani Masala or another spice mix.

KAIMA/KOTHU IDLI 
Note: The following recipe makes delectable Kaima idli. But if making the onion-tomato sauce sounds like too much trouble, flavorful leftover curries like Kurma may be used instead; just reheat the curry and mix the prepared idli pieces in it and you will have Kothu Idli!

Kaima Idli
4 Servings, but may only serve 2!

Ingredients:
6-8 Idlies, chilled
Oil for pan/deep frying

2-3 tsp oil
½ tsp Mustard seeds
½ tsp Fennel seeds (optional)
2 stems curry leaves, thinly sliced
1 onion, diced
1-3 Hot green chiles, cored and minced
½ Green Bell Pepper, diced
½ tsp salt
½ - 1 tsp Sambar powder
½ tsp turmeric
2 large tomatoes, pureed coarsely
4 Green Onions, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp Coriander leaves/Cilantro, chopped

Method:

Cold idlis are best for this; warm or room temp idlis stick and crumbly while frying. Cut each idli into half and halve them crosswise again for a total of 4 wedges.

If pan-frying, heat a seasoned cast iron or non-stick skillet with a little oil - about 1 teaspoon - and cook the idli pieces until golden brown on each side. Let the pieces cook on one side without disturbing until they are browned; then turn over gently and cook on the other sides adding a tiny drizzle of oil as necessary. I used about 1 to 2 teaspoons of oil.

If deepfrying, heat oil sufficient for deep frying; add the idlies to the hot oil. Do not try to turn or otherwise disturb the idli pieces; they will stick to the spoon and fall apart. When they are golden brown, only then flip to cook the other side. Remove and drain on paper towels. Set aside.

Heat the 2 teaspoons of oil in a kadai/skillet/pan and add the mustard & fennel seeds; when they subside popping, add the curry leaves. Wait for the curry leaves to become crisp.

Add the green chiles, diced onions and bell pepper. Saute until the onions are soft. Add the turmeric and the sambar powder. Add the salt. Fry for a minute.

Tip the tomato puree and cook till the tomatoes are cooked. Toss the fried idlies, spring onions and coriander leaves and gently fold to combine.

Remove from heat and serve hot. When eaten immediately, the idlies are a little crisp; but if served a little later, idlies soften and absorb more of the sauce. Both are delicious. Enjoy!

Kaima Idli With Non-Dairy Yogurt


IDLI CHAAT
Idli chaat starts out the same as Kaima/Kothu Idli - cold ildis are cut and either pan or deep fried. Once you have the idli ready, this is easy peasy!

Idli Chaat with Green & Sweet Chutneys
4 Servings

Ingredients:
6-8 Idlies, chilled
Oil for pan/deep frying

Toppings
1 cup Plain Non-Dairy Yogurt
2-3 Tbsp Green Chutney
2-3 Sweet Chutney
2-3 Sev OR Bhujia (Crisp Indian Noodle Snack)
1 Tbsp Red Onions/Green Onions, finely chopped
2 Tbsp Coriander/Cilantro, finely chopped

Method:
Divide the yogurt among 4 small plates or bowls. Plate the prepared idli pieces, drizzle with the chutneys, sprinkle the rest of toppings, and voila! the Idli Chaat is ready to enjoy!

                           Idli Chaat                                   
PODI IDLI
For Podi Idli, make pararell cuts into each cold idli to get 4 long pieces, similar to french fries. They are so delicious on their own and do not need any embellishments. I pan-toasted these pictured here.

Podil Idli
4 Servings

Ingredients:
6-8 Idlies, chilled
Oil for pan/deep frying
3-4 Tbsp Mulagai Podi

Coconut Chutney or Ketchup to serve (optional)

Method:
While the idli pieces are hot after browning, sprinkle the mulagai podi and toss and stir to coat completely. Serve warm or at room temperature. Accompany with coconut chutney or ketchup if desired. Enjoy!
Podi Idli
IDLI UPMA/USLI
This is easiest of all idli make-overs that does not require any cooking at all. Simple and perfect for children or cooking challenged :-). At its simplest form it has only 3 ingredients; but if one is inclined to fancy it up a bit, some sauteed onions, peppers, peas, etc may be added and served garnished with some green onions or cilantro or both.

4 Servings

Ingredients:
6-8 Leftover Idlies, reheated, cooled, and crumbled
1-2 Tbsp Oil, Indian Sesame preferably
1-3 Tbsp Mulagai Podi

Method:
Chop or crumble the cold idlis. The idlis should be reheated well if they are cold; when cold, the starch in the idlis become shrunk, grainy or tuff.

Sprinkle them with a little water and either steam them or reheat them in the microwave oven. Let cool a little so they are no longer hot and sticky; hot idlies would turn to mush if they are handled too much.

Drizzle the oil over the idlies and sprinkle the molaga podi on top; toss and mix until combined thoroughly.  That's it! Eat! Enjoy!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Mysore Rasam (Curry Leaf & Coconut-Scented Tomato Soup With Spices)

Here is another Rasam recipe! Mysore Rasam is another delicious rasam but with the fragrance of roasted coconut. Rasams are typically served clear after letting it settle a bit ending up with a thick sediment at the end from the dal and spices called "Mandi"; don't discard it - it is absolutely delicious mixed with plain rice or served with Yogurt Rice!

Mysore Rasam
Rasams are usually served along with rice in most homes for the second round after another dish like Sambar, Mor Kuzhambu, etc; but others serve it first with rice and then move on to the rest of the meal. Serve this rasam as you would the other types with rice and other accompanying simple vegetable curries, and Papadams. Enjoy it any way you like!

Notes: 
It is easier to make this and other rasams if you save a little dal when making other dishes like one of the Authentic or Simple Sambars, Pitla, Simple Dal, Molakootal, etc; usually about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the cooked dal would be plenty for one recipe. If you are not planning to use the dal within a couple of days, reserve in the freezer until needed. 
Byadagi or Kashmiri chiles are red as well as a bit milder and make a nice red-colored masala; if they are not readily available, use regular hot dried red chiles.
Canned or dried tomatoes work well when fresh tomatoes are not available.

Makes about 6 cups 

Ingredients:

Fresh Masala - Roast and Grind:
1 tbsp Coriander Seeds
1 tbsp Channa dhal
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Peppercorns
1-2 Red chiles
2 tbsp Dried Grated Coconut

Rasam:
1/4 cup Toor dal 
1-2 Tomatoes, chopped
1 stems Fresh Curry Leaves, torn and crushed by hand
3 tbsp Fresh Coriander/Cilantro, finely chopped 
2 tbsp dried Tamarind OR 1 Tbsp paste + 1 cup of water
1 tsp Salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Jaggery

Thalippu/Tadka:
1 tsp Oil
1-2 Red chiles
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 big pinch Asafetida
1 stems Fresh Curry Leaves, finely sliced

Garnish:
A handful of fresh Coriander/Cilantro

Method:

Pick over, wash and soak the dal for about 30 minutes. Drain, rinse, and cook the dal with 1 1/2 cups of water. Pressure cooking the dal makes it go fast. Let it cool and mash it well adding a little water to make it 2 cups total.

Meanwhile dry roast the ingredients given under to roast and let it cool. Add 1/2 cup of water and grind it into smooth paste.

If using dried tamarind, soak the tamarind in about 1/2 cup of warm water for 10-15 minutes, knead well and extract the juice, repeat kneading and extracting 2 more times with 1/4 cup of water each time for a total of 1 cup of tamarind extract; discard solids. If using paste, add it directly to the pan with the water. Alternately, remove any seeds and tough fibers from the soaked tamarind and add to the roasted spices and grind together.

Use a 2-3 quart/liter saucepan, add the tamarind water, turmeric, salt, chopped tomatoes and the curry leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in the ground paste; add a small amount of water to the blender to gather up the spice mixture and add to the pan. When it begins to boil, reduce heat and simmer for another 5 minutes or so.

Add the mashed dal along with 2 more cups of water and the jaggery. Simmer uncovered until it is foamy on top. Remove from heat.

Prepare the aromatic Thalippu: In a small pan/kadai heat oil; when hot, add mustard seeds, red chiles, and cumin seeds. When the mustard seeds finish popping, stir in asafetida and carefully add curry leaves; cover quickly to avoid hot oil spashing. Turn off the heat immediately, let cool for about a minute, and carefully add to the rasam.

Twist and pinch the cleaned cilantro into small pieces and add to the rasam, cover, and let rest for 5 minutes.

Serve hot with rice or by itself in mugs with papadams. Enjoy!!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Karela (Parikkai) Atho (Burmese Style Bittermelon With Onions, Tomatoes, Peanuts & Sesame)

Given a bag of fresh karelas/parikkai, I wanted to make something new and different with them; thus Karela Atho was created!

Karela (Parikkai) Atho is packed with protein from the peanuts and the aromatic sesame. The combination of the sweet caramelized onions, smoky tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients combine to make the bitter of bittermelons/karelas vanish and produce an amazingly delectable dish. Tried, tested, and terrific!

Note: Almonds/cashews may be substituted for the peanuts if you have a peanut alergy. If karela is not your thing, try making this with zucchini; Zucchini Atho makes fabulous eats! If making Zucchini Atho, cook the zucchini briefly so they do not get mushy.

4 to 6 Servings

Ingredients:

1 lb Bittermelons, about 2 or 3
2 large ripe Tomatoes
2 - 3 Tbsp Oil
1 large Red Onion
1 tsp Jaggery/Organic Coconut or Brown Sugar
1/2 - 1 tsp red chili powder/flakes
1 tsp ground Coriander Seeds
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1 pinch Asafetida
1/2 tsp Sea Salt, or to taste
2 Tbsp fresh Cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup white Sesame Seeds, toasted
1/3 cup roasted Peanuts

Method:

Toast the sesame in a dry skillet until golden and let cool. Roast the peanuts also if they are raw.

Wash all the veggies; thinly slice the onion, mince the garlic, and thinly slice the karelas.

Broil, roast or grill the tomatoes until their skins char and blister. When cool enough to handle, peel and strain out the seeds. Coarsely chop the tomatoes and reserve along with the juices until needed.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in the kadai/skillet and add the onions with a pinch of salt and cook until caramelized and golden brown - they should be on the crispy side. Stir in the red pepper and coriander, cook stirring for a minute, and remove from heat. Add to a bowl and set aside.

Wipe out the kadai/skillet and add the rest of the oil to coat it. Tip in the karela with the turmeric, salt, asafetida, and the jaggery/sugar; cook until tender stirring occasionally adding a tiny sprinkle of water only if necessary.

When karela is tender, tip the onion mixture, tomatoes and half of the cilantro into the kadai/skillet and mix well and turn off the heat.

While the karela is cooking, pound the sesame seeds first using a mortar and pestle until they are crushed well; add the peanuts and crush them coarsely. Reserve a pinch or two of each for garnish.

Stir in the nuts and sesame into the karela.

Let the Karela Atho rest for at least 15 to 30 minutes to let all the flavors meld and marry; it is actually tastier the next day!

Serve hot or warm garnished with the rest of the cilantro, nuts and seeds with rice/roti and dal. 

Enjoy!!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Kollu Rasam (Horse Gram Rasam - Soup With Tamarind & Tomatoes)

Kollu Rasam
Kollu Rasam is a delicious light soup often served during cold and cough season for its power in assuaging the winter blahs. Kollu is considered very strength-giving and helpful in cold and cough relief as well as maintaining fitness. It is not surprising that kollu is recommended for maintaining fitness; as with other beans, kollu is rich is proteins and fiber and keeps one feeling full longer.

Kollu Rasam is a bonus dish when making other kollu dishes like Kollu Thoran or Puzhukku; decant the excess broth from cooking the kollu and voila! you have the magic ingredient for a lovely new recipe! Kollu Rasam is similar to other rasams like Jeera Charu, Lemongrass Rasam, Everyday RasamAmma Rasam, and Lemon-Lime Rasam.

NOTE: Tamarind gives the rasam a lovely tang; if tamarind is not available, add lime or lemon juice to taste. If using lime or lemon, do use the optional jaggery as it mellows the acidity. If fresh tomatoes are not an option, canned or dried tomatoes work well.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup dry Kollu OR Reserved Broth from cooking Kollu (Horse Gram)
1 tsp Tamarind Concentrate OR 1 Tbsp dried Tamarind (about half the size of a ping-pong ball)
1 tsp Oil
1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1-2 tsp Rasam Powder
1 Tomato, chopped
1 tsp Salt, or to taste
1 sprig Curry Leaves, sliced finely
1 tsp Jaggery/Coconut or Brown Sugar (optional)
2 Tbsp fresh Coriander/Cilantro, chopped

METHOD:

Click here for soaking and cooking the kollu. Cook the kollu/horsegram with 3 cups of water in a pan or pressure cooker. Decant the cooking broth and set aside; reserve the kollu for Thoran or Puzhukku.

Soak tamarind in warm water for 15 minutes and make a puree out of it and set aside.

Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, cumin and cook untill it starts to pop; and the curry leaves.

Add in one medium chopped tomato. Add in the salt. Add in the tamarind juice, pepper, jaggery and rasam powder.

Let it simmer on low flame for 10 minutes. Cook the tomatoes till they are soft.

Add in the kollu/horsegram broth. Cook for a few minutes more until rasam begins to foam. Sprinkle the coriander leaves. Remove off heat.

Serve hot with rice or rasam may be served in a cup or mug as part of the meal, or to begin or end one!

Enjoy!!

Kollu Thoran/Sundal/Chundal (Horsegram With Coconut)

Kollu Thoran/Sundal
Kollu Thoran/Sundal/Chundal is a delicious and delightful dish. This homey chundal is an everyday recipe and not served for festivals or special occasions. 

I love savory chundals any time of the day; as snacks or part of a meal. Most whole beans or split legumes may also be used to make chundals, like one of my all time favorite brown chick pea chundal. Dried peas and split legume chundals taste great with a squeeze of lime/lemon.

Although traditionally chundals are made with unsprouted dried legumes, I like to make them with sprouts also. If you have sprouts on hand, it takes just a few minutes to make nutritious and delicious chundal. 

NOTE: Do reserve the cooking broth for making delicious Kollu Rasam; it is an awesome treat and so worth the few minutes it takes to make it! 

4 to 6 Servings of about 1/2 cup each

Ingredients:

1 cup dried Kollu (Horsegram), soaked and/or Sprouted
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1 pinch Turmeric

Thalippu/Tadka:
1 Tbsp Oil
2 dry Hot Red Chiles, broken in half
1 Tbsp Urad Dal (Optional)
1 sprig Fresh Curry Leaves, finely sliced
1 pinch Asafoetida
2 Tbsp Fresh Coconut, cut into small pieces about the size of corn kernels or shredded

Method:

Sort to pick out foreign objects such as stones and debris, wash, and soak for about 6 hours or overnight in plenty of fresh water in a large bowl or container. Drain, rinse and add fresh water to cover. Bring to a boil, and simmer until soft but not mushy. A pressure cooker makes the cooking very quick. Drain and cool; do reserve the broth for Kollu Rasam or other soups - it is a rich source of soluble fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

If using sprouted beans, cook them in water as mentioned above or steam or just use raw with the seasonings and cook for a few minutes longer until done.

Heat oil in a large kadai (Indian wok) or skillet and add the mustard seeds, urad dal and red chiles. When the mustard starts to pop and the dal is turning pink, stir in asafoetida. Quickly add the coconut pieces, the curry leaves, and the cooked kollu or the raw sprouts along with the salt. Heat stirring for a few minutes until dry and well mixed. (Add a pinch of turmeric if using raw sprouts and cook until tender with a sprinkle of two of water).

Remove the chiles before serving so no one chews on them inadvertently; chiles, other whole spices, or even curry leaves are not generally eaten unless the diner specifically wishes to do so.

Serve hot, warm or at room temperature with rice, breads, curries, etc or as a snack. Enjoy!!



Thursday, July 27, 2017

Mattar Pulav (Fragrant Basmati Rice Pilaf With Fresh Peas)

Matar Pulav With Minty Chopped Salad
Fresh peas are showcased in this saffron-scented mild pulav! A simple and easy recipe, awesome accompanied by succulent Chopped Salad, roasted papadums, chutneys or pickles. Most saucy curries are delicious served alongside -  try Okra (Bindi)-Capsicum Salaan, Aviyal, Korma, any bean dishes like Chole or Rajma, etc. If fresh ones are not an option, use frozen or cooked rehydrated dried peas.

Notes:
Keep the chiles whole for a mild pulav and fish them out and discard before serving; another option is to core and mince the chiles, or use a bell pepper. Keep the core and seeds for a spicy dish.
Do add the mint and cilantro for a delicious pulav; when cooked, mint imparts a lovely mellow flavor.
If you wish the peas to remain bright green, saute them in a tiny bit of oil and a sprinkling of water if needed; cook stirring and shaking uncovered for just a couple of minutes or until done to your taste. Season with a pinch of salt and add to the rice before serving.

6-8 Servings

INGREDIENTS:

1½ cups Basmati Rice
3 cups boiling water
2 Tbsp Oil
½ tsp Fennel Seeds
½ tsp Cumin Seeds
3 Cloves
2-3 Cardamom Pods
1" piece Cinnamon
2-3 Bay leaves
A few of turns of the Pepper mill for freshly ground Pepper
1 medium Onion, finely chopped
3-5 young Green chiles OR 1 small Green Bell Pepper, diced
1 tsp Freshly grated Ginger
1½ tsp Salt
1 tsp ground Coriander
1 tsp Garam Masala
½ tsp ground Kashmiri Chile OR Paprika
3-4 Tbsp Mint leaves, finely sliced in a chiffonade
4 Tbsp fresh Coriander/Cilantro, include stems and leaves, chopped
1 pinch Saffron
2 cups Green Peas, freshly shelled

Garnish:
4 Tbsp toasted, chopped Cashews OR Almonds
A few sprigs Mint & Cilantro

METHOD:

Wash and soak the rice in plenty of fresh water for 30 minutes. 

Drain and rinse the rice.

Soak the saffron in a little warm water - about 2 tablespoons - in a small bowl. 

Heat the oil in a large pan with a lid (a 3-4 quart/liter size will work nicely); swirl to coat the bottom of the pan with oil. When the oil is hot, stir in fennel & cumin seeds, cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon, and bay leaf and let the spices sizzle for about 30 seconds. Stir in the ground pepper.

Tip the onion into the pan and cook until onions are translucent and soft.

Add the green chiles/bell pepper, ginger and cook for about one or two minutes.

Stir in the ground coriander, garam masala and salt and carefully add the boiling water. 

Add the rice, stir to mix well, and bring back to a boil.

Distribute the cilantro and mint evenly over the rice on top.

Turn the heat down to low, cover the pan with a well fitting lid and cook the pulav undisturbed for 10 minutes.

Turn off the heat, drizzle saffron water along with any strands of saffron, sprinkle the peas on top, cover again and let rest for 10 minutes.

Gently fluff the rice. Garnish with the nuts and herbs, serve hot with your favorite accompaniments. Enjoy!!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Chembu Thal Kadalai Kootu (Taro Leaves & Stems Stew With Chickpeas)

Chembu Thal Kadalai Kootu
Taro leaves and stems are tasty cooked with chickpeas; the coconut and tamarind turn the homey ingredients into this delicious curry! In this photo of the curry, there are both brown and tan chickpeas; they were delicious - one tender but firm and the other very soft.

Although one can get the corms (potato-like parts of the plant), leaves and stems are not usually available for purchase; I grow taro just so I can have leaves and stems for cooking. Choose young stalks and leaves without any yellow telltale signs of age; carefully cut at the base of the plant without injuring the new growth in the center.

It is lovely to have greens from your own garden to make a meal any time. I love collecting various greens and veggies from the garden instead of running to the store especially after being away from home for a few days. I usually keep a stash of cooked chickpeas in the freezer; so it is a breeze to have a yummy homemade curry after eating out for a few days! Check here for information on home-cooked tasty chickpeas as well as various other beans at a fraction of the cost of store-bought ones.

Taro Plant
Notes: Tamarind paste and concentrate are usually available in Indian markets; check to see which kind you have as there is a big difference in the amount used. Blackeyed peas may be used instead of the chickpeas. Fresh or canned tomatoes - about 2 - may be added if you like. For a more or less spicy dish adjust the spices according to your preference.

Chembu Thal Kootu may be prepared thick or thin as you prefer; just increase the water content - with rice it is great to have more liquid whereas with rotis it is great either way. When adding more water, a little more salt and spices may be needed.

As always when cooking with chiles, you may wish to leave them whole so it is easy to fish out and discard at the end of cooking to avoid unpleasant surprises to unwary diners who may be unaware that chiles may be present and typically not eaten.

INGREDIENTS:

12-14 Taro leaves with stems (about 12-14 oz)
1 Tbsp oil
½ tsp Mustard seeds
1-2 dried red chiles, broken into two or left whole
1 tiny pinch Fenugreek seeds
1 stem fresh Curry Leaves, leaves finely sliced
1 large shallot or ½ small onion (optional)
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp tamarind paste OR ½ tsp Tamarind concentrate
1 cup cooked Brown or Tan chickpeas + cooking liquid

Freshly ground Masala (Spice Mix)
½ tsp cumin seeds
1-2 dried Red Chiles
1 tsp uncooked rice
½ cup grated Coconut, fresh/frozen

METHOD:

Prepare the spices and coconut: Grind together the coconut, cumin, rice and chiles using a blender with just enough water to make grinding feasible.

Caveat: Taro leaves and stems may cause skin irritation if you have sensitive skin; you may wish to wear rubber gloves while preparing the them. 

Prepare the taro leaves and stems: Wash the leaves and stems thoroughly. Separate the leaves from the stems by cutting them at the base of the leaf. Keep the leaves and stem separated; they will be added to the pot at different times.

Peel and slice the stems finely; the outer fibers peel off easily sort of like celery. If the stems are young and tender, I do not peel them.

Stack a few of the leaves, then cut in half lengthwise. Roll each half into a cylinder and cut across into a fine chiffonade - very thin ribbons. 

In a large pot (about 2-3 liter or quart) on medium-high, add the oil. When oil is hot, add mustard seeds and dried chile.

Add the fenugreek seeds along with the curry leaves and the onions if using. Reduce heat to low and saute for about a couple of minutes. Add a little water if the onions are dry and sticking to the pan.
Next toss the stems into the pot, stir, add a little water, cover and cook for about 10 minutes over low heat.

Tip in the leaves and a pinch or two of salt. Add a little water or the cooking liquid from the chickpeas, stir and then cover. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 30-40 minutes. A pressure cooker may be used to shorten cooking time.

Stir occasionally and add water or chickpea cooking liquid as needed so that the greens do not dry out. You may mash the leaves with the back of a spoon or use the immersion blender to obtain a little soft, creamy texture but not into a paste. I like to mash with a spoon to preserve some texture.

Add the tamarind, chickpeas and the ground masala. Stir, cover, and let cook for another 10 minutes. Mash a few of the chickpeas too with the back of the spoon to get a nice and creamy kootu.

Turn off the heat, taste and adjust the salt if necessary.

Serve with rice or roti accompanied by any kind of dry vegetable curry, dal or dried bean curry and chutneys or pickles and papadums. Enjoy!!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Poori (Whole Wheat Fried Puffed Breads)

As delicious as they are, I am usually reticent about making Poori as they are deep fried. But when I do make them, the trick to keeping them from being too oily is to keep the oil hot enough (but not smoking) to cook them quickly so they don't sit in the oil and absorb much of it.

Although Pooris are eaten all over India, they are paired with saucy potato curry, chana/chole (garbanzos cooked with spices), Halwa, Aamras (Ripe Mango puree), etc depending on the region. The usual family favorite at our house was the potato curry. Try pooris with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup too for satisfying a sweet tooth!

Makes 16 Pooris - About 4 Servings

Ingredients:

2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 Pinch of Salt
Water, about 1/2 cup

Method:

Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl; add water carefully to form a stiff dough. Flour tends to dry up or absorb water so when making the dough add about 3/4 of the water at first and then add more if needed by teaspoons until just enough. Knead well until smooth and elastic.

Roll the dough by hand into a cylinder and pinch off or cut into 16 pieces. Knead the dough briefly and shape into small balls; keep them covered so they do not dry out.

Roll out each ball into a thin circle - about 4 - 5 inches - with a lightly oiled rolling pin on a lightly oiled surface. Don't worry if the circle isn't exactly a circle - it could look like America, Australia or any other continent or island - all good fun!

Start heating the oil  for deep frying half way through rolling out the dough; add a small pinch of the dough to see if it is hot. If the dough sizzles, and rises to the surface, it is ready.

Gently slide the circles into the hot oil avoiding splashing.

Immerse the edges of the poori into the oil gently with a metal skimmer (a shallow spoon with holes for the oil to drain); it will puff up.

When the bottom is golden brown, flip to cook the other side.

When golden brown on second side, remove and drain on paper towels. Stack the pooris standing on edge to drain well.

Pooris are best eaten while still warm although they are still good at room temperature.

Serve with traditional Saucy Potatoes or any dal (dried bean) dish like Chole, Rajma, Simple Dal, any vegetable dish such as Basic Potato Curry, or Winter Squash & Sweet Potato curry, pickles, a raita, etc.

Enjoy!!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Mushroom Methi Malai Do Pyaza (Mushrooms In Tomato Onion Sauce)

Mushroom Methi Malai is pretty easy and quick once you have the masala ready, see note below. It is quite mild but can be spiced up - a little more red chile or a tiny - and I do mean TINY - smidgen of ground Bhut Jolokia or Ghost Pepper will do the trick; start with 1/16 teaspoon or less! Be careful when handling Bhut - it is a very potent pepper albeit tasty. Earthy succulent mushrooms brighten up with a little touch of chile heat!

Kasuri Methi is dried fenugreek (methi) leaves which add an amazing aroma to this curry; in fact it would only be Mushroom Malai without it! Fresh chopped methi leaves may be added instead of the dried if available. 

NOTES: Biriyani Masala may be used instead of the freshly ground spices. If fresh tomatoes are not an option, canned will work very well. Use about half of a 14 1/2 oz can. Canned tomatoes are great when good fresh ones are unavailable. Any type of mushrooms may be used; I have used button type - white or cremini or baby Portobello. For a richer tasting curry, 1/4 - 1/2 cup of coconut cream may be stirred in at the end of cooking.
Mushroom Methi Malai
2 - 4 Servings

INGREDIENTS:

Fresh spices: roast and grind:
1 dried red pepper, broken into two, discard seeds
1/2 t Cumin seeds
1 pod cardamom
1/2" stick Cinnamon, Indian type if available
3-4 whole Cloves
1 tsp Coriander seeds
5-7 Black Peppercorns

Curry:

8 oz Mushrooms, thickly sliced or quartered
2 Tbsp Oil
2 Red Onions, 1 finely chopped, 1 thinly sliced
1-2 Green Chiles, blossom ends slit
2 tsp Ginger, finely minced
1-2 cloves Garlic (optional)
1 Bay Leaf
1 pinch Asafetida
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp  Kashmiri Chile Powder/Paprika
1- 2 Tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 cup Coconut Milk
1 T Kasoori Methi (Dried Fenugreek leaves)
1 tsp Salt
Fresh Coriander/Cilantro for garnishing

METHOD:

Dry roast all the spices lightly until fragrant, pour into a plate to cool completely. Grind into a fine powder. Reserve.

Prepare all the ingredients and have them ready. Keep the green chiles whole and intact; slit only about 1/2 an inch on the blossom end.

Heat oil and cook the sliced onion with a pinch or two of salt slowly until golden and slightly caramelized.

Tip in the chopped onion, green chiles, ginger, and garlic if using with a couple of pinches of salt on low heat until soft; sprinkle a few drops of water if needed to keep from burning.

Add the asafetida, turmeric, chile powder/paprika; stir and cook until fragrant - about 1 minute.

Stir in chopped tomatatoes along with the bay leaf and cook until softened and a thick sauce forms.

Add the mushrooms, strring to coat with the sauce and cook over low-medium heat for about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle the ground spices and mix well. Simmer for another 3-5 minutes.

Remove from heat, sprinkle with Kasoori Methi, and let rest for about 5 minutes.

Fish out the green chiles so no one gets an unpleasant surprise of biting into one accidentally. Garnish with the coriander/cilantro.

Serve hot or warm with your favorite grains or breads. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Jackfruit Biriyani (Rice Pilaf With Jackfruit)

Young and tender jackfruits are used to make this biriyani; although fresh is prefered, canned ones do when fresh jackfruit is unavailable. Flavorful and filling, Jackfruit Biriyani can be spicy or mild. If you really like it spicy, add half to one teaspoon of cayenne/red chile powder when adding the biriyani masala during cooking. All one needs to complete the meal is some fresh crunchy chopped salad, a green or coconut chutney, and fried or roasted papadams.
Jackfruit Biriyani
INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 cups Basmati rice, soak
2-3 Tbsp Oil
1/4-1/2 cup Cashew pieces 
1 Bay leaf 
2 Green Cardamom Pods
2 Brown Cardamom Pods
Cinnamon - 1 inch piece 
Cloves - 2 
1 large Onion, thinly slivered
1-2 cloves Garlic, minced (optional)
1/2 - 1 inch piece Ginger, finely minced
3-4 Hot/Mild Green chillies, minced OR 1/2 Green Bell Pepper, diced
1 Tomato, chopped
1 can Green jackfruit, drained well, and torn into small pieces
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder 
1 small handful of Mint leaves, about 15 + more for garnish
4 Tbsp Coriander leaves, chopped + more for garnish
2 tsp Salt

METHOD:

Soak basmati rice in  water for 30 minutes. 

Prep the ingredients: Thinly slice onion, finely chop tomatoes and measure out all other ingredients and have them ready. Crush the cardamom pods so their pods crack slightly.

Heat the oil in a large pan - 4-5 quart/liter capacity - and add the cashews; cook until slightly golden. They can be left to cook with the rest or removed and reserved to top the biriyani.

Stir in the bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamoms, and cloves; cook for about 30 seconds.

Add  Add sliced onion. Fry till golden.

Stir in the ginger, garlic if using, and green chiles; cook for about 2 minutes.

Add tomato, salt, biryani masala powder, and turmeric. Cook until tomatoes become soft. 

Sprinkle the mint and coriander leaves.

Tip the jackfruit, drained rice and two and 3/4 cups water; mix gently. Bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook on low for 10-12 minutes undisturbed; turn off heat. Let rest for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Gently fluff the biriyani with a fork, transfer to a serving dish if desired, and garnish with mint and coriander leaves and cashew pieces if reserved.

Serve hot with chopped salad, raita, chutney/pickles and pappadams.

Enjoy!!

Biriyani Masala (Homemade Spice Mix For Rice Pilaf & Curries)

Biriyani Masala is a must in the pantry if you love biriyani or pilaf. This spice mix is not limited to flavor biriyanis only; it is a fantastic way to flavor and spice up curries also. Start with a teaspoon of the mix to spice a curry to serve four and adjust according to your taste.

Although commercially prepared biriyani masalas are available for purchase, there is no comparison to the freshly ground flavor of the homemade one. This will make enough masala for a couple of months. The masala will stay fresh and flavorful stored in an air-tight jar.

NOTES: If Indian bay leaves are not available, leave them out of the masala; instead add a regular bay leaf or two to the dish during cooking. Kashmiri/byadagi chiles are milder than the regular ones and also lend a vibrant hue to the dish; lesser amount of regular chiles may be used instead along with a tablespoon of paprika.
Biriyani Masala
INGREDIENTS:

7-8  one inch Cinnamon sticks, preferably Indian type
4 T Coriander Seeds
1 Tbsp White Poppy Seeds (optional)
1 Tbsp Cloves
2 Tbsp Fennel Seeds
2-3 Star Anise, broken to pieces
12 Cardamom Pods
5 Brown Cardamom Pods, seeds only
5-7 dried Kashmiri OR Byadagi Chiles, broken into small bits
1/2 Nutmeg, cracked into small pieces
1/2 T Mace
1 T Cumin Seeds
2 tsp Black Peppercorns
6-7 Indian Bay Leaves, torn to bits (optional)

METHOD:

Gather all the ingredients in a large pan and dry roast over low-medium heat stirring constantly for about 6 -7 minutes or until all is warm and beginning to be fragrant. Alternately, place the spices in a baking pan and toast at 300 degrees F for about 5-6 minutes, stirring once or twice. The other choice is to use all the spices raw without toasting; this will be different but still good.

Pour onto a wide plate or platter and let cool completely.

Grind the spices into a fine powder using a spice grinder; this may need to be done in batches depending on the capacity of the grinder. Small bits and pieces of the spices are just fine; but if preferred, sieve the ground spices to remove larger pieces. 

Let cool and store in a clean, dry, jar with a lid.

Use about 1 teaspoon of the masala for a recipe for about 4 servings. 

Enjoy!!



Saturday, June 17, 2017

Quick & Easy Korma (Vegetables In Cashew-Coconut Sauce)

Quick and Easy Korma really is pretty easy and fast as it doesn't require undue attention of sauteing or stirring; a great recipe for a busy day or evening. Just layer all the ingredients in the pot and in minutes delicious korma will be ready to go with your favorite grains or breads!

Omit or add tomatoes depending on what other dishes are being served at the same meal; if other dishes include lots of tomatoes, leave them out. Cooked chickpeas - tan or brown type - make a nice addition to the korma; add them along with the potatoes and carrots.

4 Servings

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
½ tsp Fennel Seeds
1 small piece Cinnamon
1 Bay leaf
1 medium Onion, finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped (optional)
1-2 green chillies, cored and minced
1 medium Potato, diced
½ cup Green Beans, diced
2 Carrots, diced
½ cup Corn Kernels, fresh/frozen
½ cup Coconut Milk 
½ cup Green Peas, fresh/frozen
½ cup Chayote/Zucchini, diced (optional)
4 Tbsp Coriander leaves, chopped for garnish

Spices
½ teaspoon Turmeric
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon ground Coriander
½ teaspoon Red chile powder OR Paprika
1 teaspoon Garam Masala

For Masala Paste, grind together
8-12 Whole Peppercorns
3 Cloves
4 Whole Cashewnuts
4 whole Almonds
1-2 Cardamom Pods, use the seeds
1 teaspoon White Poppy Seeds
4 tablespoon grated Coconut, fresh/frozen
1-2 cloves garlic (optional)
½ inch piece ginger

METHOD:

Grind all the ingredients listed under masala paste to a smooth paste with a little water, about ½ cup. Set aside.

Add the oil, fennel seeds, cinnamon, and bay leaf to a large pan with a lid, a 3-4 quart/liter size will work nicely; swirl to coat the bottom of the pan with oil.

Sprinkle onions and green chiles evenly over the oiled pan; layer the tomatoes on top if using.

Next, spread the green beans, potato, carrots, corn and chayote if using evenly on top of the onions. Reserve the peas and zucchini for later.

Sprinkle the spices and the salt over the veggies.

Lastly, pour the coconut milk and the ground paste over the veggies. Pour a tablespoon or two of water in the blender jar and swirl to gather up all the ground paste and add to pan. Do not stir.

Cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes on low to medium heat. You can take a peek to check that all's well; but let the korma simmer covered undisturbed. It will not need additional water or stirring.

Turn off the heat, sprinkle the peas and zucchini if using on top of korma, cover again and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Check for seasoning, and coriander leaves.

Mix well and serve hot. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Non-Dairy Mor Kuzhambu (Delicious "Yogurt" Stew With Coconut)

Mor Kuzhambu is a classic South Indian coconut and cumin seed scented stew of vegetables with yogurt. It is another one of our family favorites from my childhood days. I had missed this delicious recipe as a vegan; when I figured out that if tofu can be substituted for the yogurt just like in "Yogurt" Rice and Non-Dairy Kadhi, life is good again :-)! Mor Kuzhambu over plain rice and a simple vegetable stir-fry - to live for!
Non-Dairy Mor Kuzhambu with Rice & Okra-Capsicum Stir-fry
Choose your favorite vegetables similar to the original Mor Kuzhambu; some favorites are winter melon (ash gourd or elavan), okra, moqua/chayote/opo squash, taro root, cucumbers, Jack fruit seeds, ripe or green mangoes and green or ripe plantains. Green mangoes may be added to any vegetable; mango-cucumger or mango-squash is a delightful combo. When using green mangoes, adjust the lime/lemon as the mangoes may contribute to tanginess also.

If you like to avoid soy, omit the tofu and increase the amount of coconut to 1 cup.

About 6 Servings

Ingredients:

2 cups of vegetables of your choice
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Salt, or to taste
1-2 Lemons/Limes

Grind Together:
1 block (14 oz) Tofu
1/2 cup Grated Coconut, fresh or frozen
2 tsp whole Cumin Seeds
1 or 2 Hot Green Chile, core removed for a milder dish
1 Red Chile
1 tsp uncooked rice

Thalippu/Tadka:

1-2 tsp Oil
1 tsp Brown Mustard Seeds
1/4 tsp Fenugreek (Methi) Seeds
2 Dry Red Chilies, broken into two
1 stalk Fresh Curry Leaves, minced

Method:

Choose your favorite vegetables from the suggestions above.

Prepare the veggies: wash well, trim or peel as needed; cut into large chunks.

Place the prepared vegetables in a large non-reactive pot (stainless steel, ceramic, etc) with 1 cup of water, the salt and turmeric. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until just tender.

While the veggies are cooking, tip the drained tofu into the blender carafe along with the coconut, cumin, chiles, and rice; process into a nice smooth puree with a little water (1/2 cup or so).

When the veggies are tender, add the coconut puree; add a few tablespoons of water to the blender to gather all the remaining puree and add to the pan. Add a little more water if the kuzhambu is thick.

Simmer uncovered gently until slightly thickened, foamy and beginning to just get bubbly. Remove from heat.

Heat the oil in a small pan and do the thalippu: add mustard and fenugreek seeds and the red chilies. When the seeds pop, add curry leaves carefully and cover quickly. When all is calm, pour the thalippu into the Mor Kuzhambu. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

Stir in lemon/lime juice to taste before serving; Mor Kuzhambu should be slightly tangy.

Serve hot with rice; the usual favorite sides are some kind of thoran or dry veggie dish like Stir-fried Okra, Cabbage ThoranParuppu Usli, Parikkai Fry, Potato Roast, and/or papadams. Mor Kuzhambu will last a week to ten days in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Easy Tofu Makhani ("Buttery" Tofu in Mild Tomato Sauce)

A very flavorful and satisfying curry, it is even better the next day; so plan to make enough for fabulous leftovers! Another option is to use chickpea tofu or seitan/vital wheat gluten instead of regular tofu.

You may use purchased Butter Chicken Masala spice mix instead of the individual dried spices and garam masala; but proceed with caution and use less at first as ready-made mixes may be heavy on hot pepper.

Ingredients:

1 lb Extra Firm Tofu cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon Cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp Salt & Freshly ground Pepper
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Hot Green Chile, Serrano or Jalapeno, core removed and minced
½ - 1 inch fresh Ginger, grated 
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp coriander powder
¼ - ½ tsp cayenne
1 tsp garam masala
1 Red or Green bell pepper, diced into big pieces
3-4 ripe Tomatoes, finely chopped or 1 (15 ounce) can crushed or pureed Tomato
½ cup coconut cream
1-2 Tbsp of dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)
Scallions, Spear Mint, or Cilantro for garnish
Earth Balance, to serve

Method:

Heat a non-stick skillet with 1 Tbsp of the oil and saute the Tofu with a pinch of turmeric, a generous pinch of salt, and a little freshly ground pepper until slightly browned. Set aside.

While the tofu is cooking, heat a kadai or pan, add the rest of the oil and cumin seeds; when they start to pop and are fragrant, add onions along with the salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir-cook over low-medium heat until the onions just begin to brown, about 7-8 minutes.

Add the garlic, minced chile, and ginger, cook for about a minute.

Stir in the spices and cook for about 30 seconds until well combined.

Tip in the bell pepper and stir cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the tomato, cover and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the tofu to the curry, mix gently to coat with the sauce, cover, and simmer gently for 10 minutes stirring gently occasionally. Turn off the heat.

Uncover, stir in the coconut cream and fenugreek leaves and leave covered for about 10 minutes for the flavors to meld.

Garnish with your choice of the herbs and serve hot topped with a little pat of Earth Balance with your favorite grains or breads. Enjoy!!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Mexican Fiesta Bowl (Simmered Beans, Cilantro Rice & Pan-Toasted Veggies)

My family adores meals that can be ladled or piled into bowls whether they be Indian, Mexican, Thai, etc! Here is another do-it-yourself Mexican-style meal to suit a family or a crowd and one of our all-time favorites! Have all the ingredients ready and let everyone serve themselves in a bowl/plate in layers or on crisp tortillas for tostadas, soft chapatis/tortillas for wraps/roll-ups, in fact any which way is perfectly delicious.

The beauty of this fabulous meal is that most of the ingredients may be made at least a day or two ahead; warm the rice, beans, and veggies just before serving.  The veggies may be roasted in a 400 F oven for about 30 minutes if you wish instead of pan-toasting; I like either way depending on the moment.

8-10 Servings

1 recipe Frijoles de la Olla or  Black/Pinto beans
1 recipe Pan-Toasted Veggies, recipe below
Shredded Romaine Lettuce to serve
Radish slices, chopped Onions, chopped Cilantro
Guacamole made with 2 avocados or 2 Avocados, diced
Salsa III, OR III to serve
Escabeche (Picked Jalapenos & Veggies)
Tortilla chips
Vegan Cheese & Sour Cream

Beans

Follow the recipes to cook the beans until very soft but not mushy; for this meal I do not mash the beans; but mashed beans are fine too.

You may use canned beans - canned beans especially will benefit from simmering with the spices.  If using canned beans, drain, rinse and simmer with a tsp of ground cumin along with a little ground chipotle chile, cayenne or smoked paprika and simmer for another 5 minutes.

The beans may be prepared ahead of time and reserved in the fridge. If made ahead, reheat well to serve. 

Pan-Toasted Veggies

2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 pinch Crushed Hot Red Pepper (optional)
1 or 2 Cloves Garlic, finely minced
1 purple or brown onion, cut into thick slivers
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
2 cups Corn kernels, freshly cut or frozen
1 Carrot, cut into slivers/sticks the same size as the peppers
2 Bell Peppers, any color, cut into slivers 
1 large Zucchini, cut into sticks the same size as the peppers (optional)
1-2 sprigs fresh Oregano, chopped

Heat the wok until hot; add oil in and the hot pepper and let it sizzle for a few seconds.

Add the onions and garlic with a pinch of salt; stir cook for a couple of minutes until the onions are slightly softened.

Tip in the corn and carrots with the turmeric and stir-cook until carrots begin to brown a little - about 5 minutes.

Stir in the peppers and zucchini with salt to taste and keep stirring and cooking until veggies are done to your preference.

Sprinkle the oregano on top, give it good stir, and turn off the heat.

If you find that there are too many veggies, this could be done in two batches.  Keep warm or cool and store until needed. If made ahead, reheat just before serving.  

Assembly

Have all the ingredients ready to serve.

Allow each person to serve themselves.  Enjoy!!
Buen Provecho!!

Simple Cilantro-Lime Rice (For Mexican & Indian Meals)

This simple and wonderful recipe, a simpler version of the Indian Lime Rice, is fabulous to serve alongside Mexican or Indian meals! Some of our favorites to pair with cilantro lime rice for a Mexican meal are Frijoles de la Olla or Cooked  Black/Pinto beans; and if you add Guacamole, diced Avocados, Salsa III, OR III  and Escabeche (Picked Jalapenos & Veggies), etc, then you have a feast! Cilantro-Lime Rice is delicious with any type of stews, Vegetable Chili, Indian curries, chutneys, etc too!

Note: Some people do not enjoy cilantro; in this case, add a generous pinch of dried oregano and substitute a mixture of finely sliced green onions and parsley for the cilantro.

Variation: Saute 1 finely chopped onion, 1 minced Serrano or Jalapeno chile, and 1 minced clove of garlic in 1 tbsp oil; add boiling water and rice and proceed with the rest of the recipe.

About 6 Servings

Ingredients:

11/2 cups Rice, any type
11/2 tsp Sea Salt
1-2 Limes - freshly squeezed
1 tsp Lime zest
1 small bunch fresh Cilantro stems & Leaves, finely chopped

Method:

Rinse the rice well and add plenty of fresh water to cover; allow to soak for 30 minutes, drain and rinse.

Bring scant 3 cups of water to a boil and cook the rice until tender.  Let sit covered for about 30 minutes or so to cool slightly.  If not using right away, the rice may be cooled well and stored in the fridge until ready to use.  When ready to use, warm it gently until hot.

Pick over the cilantro, wash well and drain thoroughly. Trim any rooms and the stem ends if they are brown. Chop finely.

Mix together the salt, the lime zest and juice (start with juice from one lime and add more if desired); gently stir into the warm rice.

Stir in cilantro just before serving to prevent discoloring. Enjoy!!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Blo's Whacky Cake (Vegan Chocolate Cake) With Chocolate Frosting

When a dear friend made this delicious cake, all who tasted it wanted the recipe - and she graciously passed it on - sweet! She said this was a favorite frugal family recipe from the 30's and 40's when times were tough and butter, milk, eggs etc were scarce or pricey. Even though neither cake nor the frosting uses any dairy products or eggs, a reflection of the times, the results are quite amazing.

I love to serve Blo's Whacky Cake without the frosting - who needs the extra empty calories, right? - but for company add a little whipped coconut topping (homemade or purchased) and fresh berries, cherries, etc; the beautiful jewel-like fruits brighten up the cake as well as make it more delectable!

Although the cake may be mixed and baked in one pan, I prefer to prepare the batter in a bowl and transfer it to the oiled pan for baking especially for company.

For a lower calorie treat, replace all or part of the oil with mashed bananas, unsweetened apple sauce or pureed figs.
Blo's Whacky Chocolate Cake
Ingredients:

1½ cups Unbleached flour
3 Tablespoons unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
½ tsp Salt
3/4 cup Sugar
6 tbsp Oil
1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp Vanilla 
1 cup fresh cold water

Powdered Sugar for dusting OR Chocolate Frosting, or non-dairy Whipped Topping
Fresh Strawberries, Rasberries OR Cherries 

Combine all dry ingredients, mix well, and add to an oiled 8" square cake pan -preferably a glass or ceramic pan.

Make 3 wells in the flour mixture; add vanilla to one well, oil to another, and the vinegar to the 3rd. Pour the water on top, then mix all together thoroughly in pan using a fork.

Bake at 350 degrees F, 25-30 minutes (test center with toothpick to see if done), then cool completely.

When the cake is cooled completely, simply dust the cake with some powdered sugar or frost with the chocolate frosting. Decorate with the berries. Let the frosting set for 15 minutes before cutting.

If you are serving the cake without frosting, whipped non-dairy topping is a delicious addition. Add a dollop of the whipped topping to each serving, decorate with the berries and serve. 

Enjoy!!

Blo's Whacky Cake With Frosting

Quick & Easy Chocolate Frosting - Makes 1 cup

1½ cups unsifted Confectioners Sugar (powdered sugar)
6 Tbsp  unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 pinch Salt
About 3 tbsp non-dairy Milk, any type
½ tsp Vanilla 
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp butter substitute, like Earth Balance, at room temperature

Combine the ingredients except the butter substitute in large mixing bowl, beat until smooth.

Add butter substitute, beat until spreading consistency adding a few drops of extra milk if too thick.