April 29, 2012

Amma's Recipes: Hyderabadi Double ka Meetha ( Bread Pudding with Nuts and Raisins) - Revisited

Amma's recipes is a column on this blog, which is very close to my heart. These are the recipes which my mother perfected over many many years and reflects how awesome a cook she is. It is also fun to just photograph once in a while, without thinking about what and how to make a recipe, worrying whether it would turn out well or not. She Cooks, I Photograph. That is the deal. :-) If you guys have any question, do drop in a line or comment on this post. My mom will be more than happy to answer all of them.

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

Such is the case with photography too. You see the same vegetable, do the same chore, visit the same place, but every single time you will find something new, something unique to photograph - the same notion with which I did Project 365 last year. Though, I find little time these days to pick up my camera and click random shots, I do miss Project 365 terribly. That's when, I secretly admire all the lovely shots by fellow 2012 Project 365-ers - Sharmi, Smitha, Lubna, Nithya, Usha and many others. They are doing a splendid job by posting something new everyday. All the very best to all of them and Hope to see you till the very end. :-)

Hyderabadi Double Ka Meetha

Milk Bread from our nearby bakery
There is a certain charm in revisiting the classics. Isn't it. Especially today's recipe is quite old made new, history scrubbed of loads of nostalgia. Ask any Hyderabadi about their favorite dessert and guaranteed most of them will say - Double Ka Meetha. Such is its legacy and a gastronomic delight devoured by all, forgetting about counting calories for a moment.  Even today, no Hyderabadi dawat is complete without a generous serving of meetha at the very end.

Fresh Khoya

When in US, atleast in places where I stayed fresh khoya is a rarity, hence my previous version makes use of heavy cream. But, now that we are in India and almost every nook & corner has a doodhwala, my mom's version is rich, creamy and sinfully indulgent.

Bread slices, shallow fried in ghee

the Ensemble - bread, milk, fried dry fruits, sugar syrup and milk with khoya

{ Recipe} Hyderabadi Double ka Meetha ( Bread Pudding with Nuts and Raisins)


1 loaf milk bread
ghee - for shallow frying
3 cups milk
1/2 cup khoya
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
a pinch of cardamom powder
saffron strands or orange food color (as I was out of saffron)
1/2 cup or more dry fruits and raisins - I used cashews, raisins and almonds


1. Slice bread into thick pieces.

2. Heat ghee in a wide pan and shallow fry bread pieces until slight golden brown. Drain them on paper towels. In rest of ghee (add more if needed), fry the dry fruits.

3. In a sauce pan, boil milk and add khoya. On a low heat, reduce it to half. Add saffron (or food color) and cardamom powder.

4. In another sauce pan, add water and sugar. Boil for 12-15 mins to make sugar syrup.

5. In a wide bowl, arrange the bread slices, sprinkle dry fruits, pour sugar syrup and reduced milk. With hand gently break the bread into small pieces while mixing everything. Make sure its not too mushy.

Serve warm or chilled with vanilla ice cream.

Note: Refrigerate if any leftovers. On the next day, heat up some milk, add the meetha and then serve.

until next time,

April 22, 2012

Cherry Tomato Focaccia with Garlic and Basil

"The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight." ~ M.F.K. Fisher

Until few years ago, the term "homemade-freshly-baked-bread" was non-existent in my food dictionary. I never knew bread can me made at home. Well, that does sound silly today, but at that time that's what I thought. Over and above, I suffered from what I call "yeast-o-phobia". All you bread-bakers know what I mean. At first, bread making may sound like a daunting task, quite intimidating too. It seems difficult just for the fact that - at any step one could go wrong and end up with a chewy, inedible bread. Trust me, it happened to me too!. After couple of batches of bread dough ending up in the trash can, I conquered my fear almost four years ago. It was an exhilarating experience and there is no looking back since then! :-).
nothing beats the taste of freshly baked bread - house smells divine. that's for sure! 
One of my all time favorite bread recipes with yeast  is - No Knead Pizza by Jim Lahey. From New York Times to Huffington Post, almost everybody featured it. My personal experience with recipe gave awesome results and it works for its sheer simplicity. If you are a novice bread baker, then I would go for Jim's recipe and fall instantly in love making bread at home!

Let the magic of yeast begin..
....and if ever you want for a bread which rarely fails and very forgiving, perfect to dip in olive oil sprinkled with salt or balsamic vinegar, then this is it: Focaccia. I tried my hand for the first time with Roasted Sweet Pepper Focaccia Bread in a cast iron skillet. Oh my, the taste still lingers in my mouth. It was that good to be one of popular posts on this blog and got featured on food52 as well.

bread dough...after two hours, doubled in size
Today's recipe - Focaccia with cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and hint of garlic is an ultimate classic combination. One could easily take this idea and come up with other topping such as - rosemary, roasted garlic, mixed herbs, caramelized onions, olives etc. In any form or shape, I promise you will end up with an absolutely delicious piece of bread.

cherry tomatoes with basil..
The trick here in this recipe is to let the tomatoes, basil and garlic sit in olive oil as long as possible to get an excellent infused oil, which works best as a topping for focaccia. If fresh herbs are not available, use dried ones. It is important to use olive oil (extra virgin, if possible) and  please note that such flavored oils mostly depend on personal taste and involves some trial and error to get the right amount of zing that suits one's palate.

cherry tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and garlic induced in extra virgin olive oil

focaccia .. fresh out of oven..

Cherry Tomato Focaccia with Garlic and Basil

{Recipe} Cherry Tomato Focaccia with Garlic and Basil


Makes 2 medium sized loaves

For Bread Dough:

1.5 cups of milk
1 tsp sugar
2.5 tsp of active dry yeast
3 cups of all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or just olive oil works too)
1 tbsp cornmeal or semolina (coarse sooji)

For Topping:

20-25 cherry tomatoes, halved
10 basil leaves, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil  (or just olive oil works too)


1. In a sauce pan, dissolve sugar in milk. Heat until luke warm and transfer in a small bowl. Add active dry yeast and let it proof for 10 mins. (it will form foamy bubbles and slightly  increase in volume)

2. In a large bowl, add 1.5 cups of all purpose flour and salt. Add in the yeast mixture with olive oil. Mix. Add in rest of the more flour little by little until the dough is slightly sticky. Transfer on a floured surface and knead for 4-5 mins. the dough should be smooth and elastic. Place in a greased large bowl. Make sure there is enough room for the dough to double. Cover with a plastic wrap or damp towel and leave in a warm place for approximately 2 hours.

3. For the topping - heat olive oil until warm in a pan. Add garlic, basil and cherry tomatoes. Cover and let is stand for atleast 30-45 mins.

4. On a greased baking sheet, sprinkle some corn meal or semolina. Slightly punch down the risen dough and divide into two portions. Gently roll into desired shape. Transfer onto the baked sheet and gently stretch. Cover again with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let it rise for another 45 mins.

5. Preheat oven to 425 F or 220 C. Poke indents on the dough and generously drizzle tomato-basil-garlic olive oil. the oil must pool in the indentations. Sprinkle some salt and bake for 20 minutes. Once done, let it still for 5 mins and Serve with olive oil or balsamic vinegar on the side. Yum! :-)

~*~Have a great week ahead folks!~*~

until next time,

April 11, 2012

Siri's Eat Outs | Restaurant Visits: The Egg Factory, Bangalore

The Egg Factory, Bangalore 
Location: St.Marks Road Bengaluru, Karnataka 560001
Phone: 080 4211 0041
Twitter: @theeggfactory
Recommendations: M`enage`a trois, Burritos, Fried Egg Sambal, Quesadilla

There is no overt theatricality when it comes to food served at The Egg Factory (TEF), nestled on the buzzing St. Marks Road in Bangalore. The name says it all. It is a winsome tribute to all dishes made with the humble “egg”. Every dish on the scrapbook-like menu looks and tastes as enticing as it sounds. And a special mention about the ambiance of the restaurant itself. The tables are wide, wooden, and provide a comfortable stage for the food. It renders a beach-like casual setting where you quickly drop by to grab a bite in your flip-flops. ;-)

For me, Restaurants are always more than just the food served - ambiance, service, how friendly and knowledgeable the waiters are, how fast the service is, make up the whole experience. Served with good ingredients, prepared simply, unadorned, TEF scores well on the food and ambience fronts, but sadly it stumbles a little on the service aspect. With a seating capacity of thirty five and just three waiters, the service was not upto the mark. When this issue was raised with the management, they patiently listened to the feedback. Hopefully they will take note of it and have some quick, agile and cheerful waiters around.

M`enage `a trois

Here, there are more than 60 egg-based dishes served primarily from Indian and Mexican cuisines, each succulently paired with respective sauces and condiments.

It is a Sunday afternoon when we, four hungry people arrived at TEF. Our first dish, M`enage`a trois may sound like a tongue twister but is a delight indeed for the tastebuds on the tongue, with a stuffing made out of a variety of veggies, wrapped in a thick omelete and finished with a tangy, delicately flavored pepper sauce on the top. It is delectable and vanished from our table in the blink of an eye.  

Cilantro Chilly Sauce Frittata
However, the Cilantro Chilly Sauce Frittata is rather disappointing. It does not come close to the appetizing description on the menu –(“Potato, Zucchini and Feta topped with Cilantro Chilly Sauce”) and is merely a plain omelete smeared with a rather salty cilantro sauce with buttered, garlic bread on the side. It is worth a miss.

The Quesadilla is simple yet immensely satisfying. It is s essentially a perky egg salad folded in a tortilla, served with cream and salsa. A must try if you are a fan of Mexican cuisine.


Fried Egg Sambal, a classic dish in Malaysian and Singaporean cuisines. It can be made a million ways (here is one way of making it) and the one served at TEF is made just right and an absolute must-try. It is a convergence of oriental flavours with onions, tomato and spices. It comes with a serving of rice on the side and is a meal in itself.

Fried Egg Sambal
Who doesn’t love Burritos? It is quintessential in Mexican cuisine and very popular as they are easy to grab and eat. At TEF, scrambled eggs are used as a stuffing into a tortilla with cream and salsa. The harmony of flavors works well and tastefully created.

Anyone familiar with Kerala cuisine would have certainly heard about – Malabar Egg Roast which is a curry combo served with 2 baby parathas, rice, a raw mango salad and pickle. The parathas are chewy but the egg roast itself has an alluring shade of golden gravy because of subtle spices and with a taste not too intense for the palate.

Malabar Egg Roast
To end your meal on a happy and sweet note, try TEF’s French Toast stuffed with Cream Cheese and Blueberry Preserve . Revel in its incredible play of flavors with creaminess from the cream cheese, fruity goodness from the blueberries and the sweetness from maple syrup which is served on the side. It works splendidly as a light, wholesome dessert. Can I add my mouth waters at the very mention of it! :-)

French Toast stuffed with Cream Cheese and Blueberry Preserve
The beverage section at TEF is quite limited. Their Morning Burst - banana, orange juice pureed in yogurt and milk is simple and nothing out of the ordinary and Chlorophyll fix, a green concoction of basil, mint and soda. The latter works for those who love a herby feel as basil and mint are known for their pungency.

Morning Burst
Chlorophyll fix
Final Words: The folks at TEF definitely need to work on their service. Nevertheless, if you are in a mood to have some delicious egg-y dishes, look no further. Head to this quaint place for a taste of delectable food. Once finished, you will sink in a little deeper into the seat with your stomach and hearts filled with contentment. Enjoy!

Hours of Operation: 8.00 am-10.30 pm, 7 days a week
Cuisine type: A touch of everything - American, European, Mexican, Pasta, Indian, Parsi, Coffee, Desserts, Snacks, Asian, Sri Lankan
Reservation required: No. Only walkins.
Servers liquor: No
Valet parking: No
Time taken between placing order and food served: Minimal
Average Cost of a meal for 2: INR 500
Here is a quick run-down of ordered and their prices (as of March 2012):
Cilantro Chilly Sauce Frittata (INR 95)
M`enage `a trois (INR 120)
Quesadilla (INR 120)
Fried Egg Sambal (INR 100)
Burritos (INR 110)
French Toast stuffed with cream cheese and bluberry preserve (INR 100)
Malabar Egg Roast (INR 105)
Morning Burst (INR 70)
Chlorophyll fix (INR 70)
Fresh Lime Soda (INR 45)

Previously featured:

Jalpaan, Bangalore

Please note this is not a paid review. All the food ordered is paid and photographed by yours truly. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are my own and may change in the event of future visits to the featured restaurants.

Cya at my next eat out,

April 2, 2012

Indian Spiced Peanuts | Fried Masala Peanuts

“What keeps me motivated is not the food itself but all the bonds and memories the food represents.”        ~ Michael Chiarello

Such is the case with me too.. 

Most of the recipes featured on this blog until now are associated with a certain reminiscence of the past.
For instance, the most popular recipe is Vegetable Biryani and Mixed Vegetable Korma. These two remind me of our leisurely, late-afternoon Sunday lunches when all four of us are at home, with no pressure of homework,  watching an old classic on Doordarshan. You see, we never had cable connection until I was 18 years old as my parents thought it would distract us from our studies :-). Atleast two times a week, my mother used to make  Khara Pongal for breakfast, which is a sumptuous meal in itself and fill our tummies until lunch time.

Every weekend we used to stay back at my grandmom's house. Very often, my uncle used to get fresh khoya from a nearby doodhwala and within an hour, each of us used to devour on these delicious sweet treats, at which my ammama is a pro - Khoya balls (Kova Billalu). If craving for something spicy, we always used to fall back on some Mirchi Fritters.

I could just go on and on linking recipes from this list :-)

spicy, crispy, crunchy peanuts - perfect for munching..
Today's recipe - "Spiced Peanuts" or simple said, desi-ishtyle "Fried Masala Peanuts" is one such easy recipe which falls perfectly under the "Munchies" category, for that time of the day - between lunch and dinner, when our stomachs grumble a little and crave for a spicy treat. It was just pure fun to dig our little hands into the jar and nibble on these while my mom is not watching. ;-)

Go on, make these for your loved ones too, gift them a jar-full and I promise, they will be super-duper happy!

Peanuts or Groundnuts

Spice mixture - chickpea flour, rice flour, salt, chilli powder, garam masala

Peanuts coated with spice-flour-oil mixture, ready to be fried.

Fry them until light golden. they gain a little more color once they reach room temperature.

these make an excellent gift to near and dear ones. :-)

{Recipe} Indian Spiced Peanuts  | Fried Masala Peanuts


3 cups peanuts
1.5 cups besan (chickpea flour)
2 tbsp rice flour
1.5 tbsp chilli powder
1 tbsp garam masala
salt to taste
5 tbsp oil
vegetable or canola oil for frying


1. Dry roast peanuts. Keep aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, add rest of ingredients with peanuts. Add water (little by little) and mix the nuts with spices so that its evenly coated with the mixture. (see pic above). It shouldn't be wet.

3. Heat oil in a kadai. Once hot, carefully drop a small batch of spiced peanuts and fry until golden brown. Drain them on paper towels (or newspaper works too!) to remove excess oil. Cool them to room temparature and then store in air tight container. Munch when you crave for some with hot tea or cool beverage on the side :-)

Variation(s) - the same recipe can be easily adapted to any kind of nuts like cashews, almonds, pistachios etc.

..or just grab some when hungry  or as snack with hot tea on side. Bliss!

 cya next time,
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