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There was a time when “Friday Biryani” was a thing. Every Friday without fail, I used to make biryani. Then it got changed to “fortnightly biryani”, then “monthly biryani”, then “quarterly biryani”, then “special occasion biryani” and finally “no biryani” at all!

It’s been ages since I cooked biryani at home. I’m not sure how and when it happened, I mean the stage of “no biryani”. I guess the abundance of Kerala restaurants in Bahrain is to be blamed for the same ;)

I’ve been reading/hearing a lot about Thalapakatti Biriyani and wanted to try it. Ever since Suguna at Kannammacooks posted it, I’ve been planning to make it and finally, I got around to it! Yey!

Btw, have I told you Suguna and Jose were college mates? Yeah, Jose was her senior and I still remember the time (this was way before her starting the blog) when Jose told me about his college mate who makes amazing cakes and bakes. That’s how I got introduced to her. I love her blog for her easy and straightforward recipes and how she explains each recipe in detail.

So, this time when we were in Bangalore, I finally met her in person. Though I knew her to be a friendly person through our online interactions, in person I realized she is lovely and a very down-to-earth person with so much of warmth. We had a great time with her and her little boy :)

Now, coming to this recipe… This Thalappakatti Biriyani recipe comes from a chef called Nagendran of Thalapakatti hotel in Dindigul (source: Kannamma Cooks). And I completely agree to what Suguna said about this on her blog.

This biryani has a very distinctive flavor from all the other biryani. The flavor mainly comes from the Seeraga Samba rice which is very similar to the Jeerakashala or Kaima rice which is used in Malabar Biryani. Also, the masala for biryani is quite different from the regular biryani masala.

There are no onions and tomatoes and unlike the Kerala biryanis, the “masala” part is not there. Since the rice is cooked in the stock of mutton, it absorbs the flavor of mutton completely. Make sure you use good quality mutton with bone since the flavor of mutton is a major part of this biryani.

We really enjoyed this biryani and what I liked most about it is, the entire cooking is done in a pressure cooker, so cleaning up was easier. Also, there is no slicing of onions, that’s a big plus for me ;)

Hope you will also try and enjoy this biryani.

Recipe adapted verbatim from here and you can read my notes in the “notes” section of the recipe

Thalapakatti Mutton Biryani

Tamilnadu Dindigul style Thalapakatti Mutton Biryani recipe using one pot.

  • Measurements used – 1 cup rice = 250 ml
  • For the Masala
  • 5 Green Chillies
  • 3 small two inch cinnamon sticks
  • 3 cardamom
  • 3 cloves
  • 1/8th th of a nutmeg (Jaadhika(Do not use too much))
  • 1 small piece Mace (Jaadhi Pathiri (refer notes))
  • 2 inch piece grams ginger
  • 10-15 crushed Garlic (refer notes)
  • 15 shallots (small onions)
  • Main Ingredients
  • 500 ml Seeraga Samba Rice (refer notes)
  • 500 grams Mutton with bone
  • Other Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoon Ghee
  • 3 tablespoon Sunflower Oil
  • ½ teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
  • ½ cup curd
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 hand full Mint Leaves
  • 2 hand full Coriander Leaves
  • Juice of half a lime
  1. Before starting to cook, wash and soak the rice for at-least half an hour. Drain the rice and keep aside.

  2. Grind all the ingredients listed under masala paste with half a cup of water(refer notes). Set aside.

  3. Heat oil and ghee in a pressure cooker and add in the Thalappakatti Biriyani Masala paste. Add in the mutton to the pan.
  4. Add in two cups of water and add in the salt. Add in the plain yogurt and red chilli powder.

  5. Mix well and cook the mutton in the masala for 20 minutes on a medium flame. Remove the cooker from heat and wait for the pressure to settle.
  6. Remove the cooked meat to a bowl and roughly measure how much liquid is left behind.
  7. Mine had about 1.5 cups of liquid (refer notes). Just measure roughly. It need not be accurate.

  8. We require 2 times water to the quantity of rice. So we need to add 4 cups water. There was already 1.5 cups gravy that we measured before. So I added 2.5 cups water to the mixture (refer notes). Add in the chopped coriander leaves and the mint leaves. Let the mixture come to a boil.

  9. Add back the meat and let it come to a boil again. Check for seasoning. Add more salt if necessary. (I added 1/2 tsp salt at this stage)

  10. Add the soaked and drained rice to the pan. Wait for it to boil. Add in the lime juice.

  11. Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook for the first four minutes on medium flame.
  12. Open the lid. Gently mix once from the bottom, cover the lid again and simmer for 10 minutes on very low flame. After that time, open the lid and mix well. The rice will be three fourth cooked. Cook for a couple of minutes more.Switch off the flame and close the pan with a lid. Do not disturb for the next 20 minutes. The rice will get swollen and absorb all the left out moisture. This time is very important. Do not rush.

  13. After the rest, Enjoy Thalappakatti Biriyani!

I used Jeerakashala (kaima) rice for this recipe. Since I used big garlic, I used only 7-8 cloves. I didnt use mace. I used only 1/3 cup of water for grinding the masala. 

I had roughly 1 3/4 cup of gravy left after cooking mutton, so I added 2 1/4 cups of water to the remaining gravy to cook rice. The total water qty should be double the qty of rice. For 2 cups of rice, you need 4 cups of water. 

I used Aluminium pressure cooker and the rice got a little stuck at the bottom. 

The post Thalapakatti Mutton Biryani appeared first on MariasMenu.

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Here is the recipe for one of my favorite Thoran (stir fry with coconut). Vazhachundu / Koombu (banana flower) thoran is a popular veg side dish. I guess the meaty texture of chundu makes it appealing to the non vegetarians ;)

Koombu and payar is the standard combination, however you can use it on it's own as well. I've used Cherupayar (green gram) here, but you can also use vanpayar (cowpeas). It's a tasty and healthy dish.

So, here you go…

Print
Vazhachundu / Vazhakoombu Thoran (Banana Flower And Lentil Stir Fry With Coconut)
Traditional kerala veg recipe of vazhachundu payar / Vazhakoombu payar thoran. A healthy, easy and simple side dish for rice. 
Cuisine Indian, Kerala Cuisine, Keralan, South Indian
Keyword Banana flower, Vazhachundu, Vazhachundu payar thoran, Vazhakoombu, Vazhakoombu payar thoran
Author Maria Jose Martin
Ingredients
  • 550 – 600 gms Vazhachundu / Vazhakoombu / Banana Flower finely chopped (refer notes for details)
  • 3/4 cup / 150 gms Cherupayar (Green gram) refer notes for cooking procedure
  • 2.5 cups Grated coconut
  • 8 – 10 Shallots / Small Onion sliced
  • 3 – 4 Green chilli slit lengthwise
  • 1/2 tsp + 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper powder
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp Coconut oil
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 10 – 15 Curry leaves
Instructions
  • Combine together grated coconut, sliced shallots, green chilli, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp pepper powder, salt and curry leaves.
  • Heat oil in a deep and wide pan. Crackle the mustard seeds. Add grated coconut mixture and fry for 1-2 mins. 
  • Add chopped banana flower and mix well. Bring the entire mixture to the middle of the pan and pile it up (koonja kootuka). Cover and cook for 8 – 10 mins on lowest flame. Open and check whether it's done. If it needs more cooking, sprinkle some water and cover and cook for another 4-5 mins or till it's done.
  • Add cooked cherupayar and mix well. Cover and cook for another 5 mins. 
Notes
Remove the few outer layers of banana flower and chop it finely by hand. You can also chop it in a food processor. Soak the chopped banana flower in turmeric water (1/2 tsp) for 15 mins. Rinse it under running water 3-4 times. Squeeze out the water completely from the chopped banana flower and keep it aside.  
To cook cherupayar: Rinse the cherupayar under running water a few times. Pressure cook cherupayar with 2 – 2.5 cups of water for 5-6 whistles on full flame. Let the pressure drop naturally. Open the cooker and drain excess water. 
You can also use Vanpayar (Red Cowpeas) instead of cherupayar. Check out here to see how to cook vanpayar. 

The post Vazhachundu / Vazhakoombu Payar Thoran (Banana Flower And Lentil Stir Fry) appeared first on MariasMenu.

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I still remember the first time I had Lasagna. It was 14 years ago and we had it from the Dubai Ikea cafeteria, not an ideal place to have lasagna right… but it was special!

We were newly married and Dubai, was our first trip together, so now you know why I said it was special ;)  Back then, apart from Indian and Chinese (Indo chinese to be specific) cuisine, everything else was new to me.

In the initial days when we went out, I entrusted Jose with the menu decisions. Though he was very happy and excited in the beginning, the feeling didn't last long.

Ours was a typical arranged marriage. I’ve met him in person just twice before our wedding and that too with all the family around. The only food we had together before the wedding was a cup of coffee from the Best Bakery near my house ;) So we both were kinda clueless about the other person’s food preferences.

Jose was so excited to introduce me to all the different cuisines and share his fav food with me. He is a foodie and eats almost anything, but it doesn't work that way with me. My food preferences depends on my mood! Though it took him sometime to get used to the correlation between my mood and eating, he has made commendable progress ;)

So back to our Ikea Lasagne… as I said I was clueless about most of the items and so I left the choice to Jose. Ok, I missed a major point when it comes to Jose’s fav food. According to him, any food with tons of butter and cheese tastes the best and deep fry the whole thing and he’s hooked! That’s how we ended up with lasagna at Ikea.

Fun Food Fact: Did you know that billionaire Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad, liked to eat from the Ikea cafeteria?! He was a very frugal man. Furniture & Food? He believed that “It’s difficult to do business with someone on an empty stomach.” (I’m not sure what Jose was thinking when he said this!)

Funny thing is, though I remember the exact place, where I tried Lasagna for the first time, I don't remember anything about it’s taste! I just remember tons of cheese and red sauce, nothing about the taste, flavor or texture, hhmmm..

Anyways, I made this Lasagna for our anniversary in January. You know just revisiting some old memories through food. But this time, I knew exactly what I was supposed to get from the dish.

If in case you are wondering, I still leave the menu decision making to Jose, but I’ve the veto power now ;)

So coming back to our lasagna, it's a very good recipe. It takes some time to put it together and assemble the dish, apart from that, it’s easy. No complicated steps whatsoever! Follow the instructions and you end up with a plate full of tasty, comforting and warming dish. It’s good for a get together or for a potluck party. You can prepare all the steps in advance, which is a big plus if you’re preparing this for a party.

Btw, before going to the recipe, I want to share something else. Yesterday, while I was writing this post in the night, my phone pinged. It was a message from one of my longtime readers, Divya Jencil. She sent me the pic below

At first, I was like, wait a min, how did she know I was writing about lasagna at this very moment!!!

Anyway, onto the recipe ;) ;)

Recipe adapted from here

Please read the “notes” before proceeding with the recipe.

Print
Author Maria Jose Martin
Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 medium onion chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 250 gms white mushrooms thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. dried basil refer notes
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano refer notes
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt divided
  • 170 gms 6 oz. bag fresh baby spinach
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken refer notes
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock refer notes
  • 1 1/2 cups milk I used whole milk
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg optional
  • 1/4 cup Plain flour
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese I didnt use but its recommended
  • 8 sheets no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese I used cheddar cheese
Instructions
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C, 10 mins before baking.
  • Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add oil and add  onion. Cook till it begins to soften. 
  • Once the onion becomes soft, add garlic, mushrooms, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Sauté for 5 minutes or until the mushrooms soften. Make sure all of the liquid has evaporated from the mushrooms before going to the next step.
  • Stir in spinach and cook until the spinach wilts. 
  • Then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cooked chicken. Set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the chicken broth, milk, nutmeg, and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a slow simmer over medium heat. Once the mixture starts to bubble up around the edges, gradually whisk in the flour and let simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in Parmesan cheese and then remove from heat.
  • Pour 1/2 cup sauce into bottom of 10X10 square baking dish, top with 2 noodles (lasagna sheets) and 1 cup chicken mixture. 
  • Top the chicken mixture with 1 cup sauce, and 1/4 cup mozzarella, making sure noodles are covered with sauce. You can even press them down lightly. Repeat 3 more layers with noodles, chicken, sauce, and cheese. Last layer will have slightly more sauce and remaining cheese on top.
  • Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes longer. If desired, broil for 2-3 minutes for golden brown top. Let stand 5-8 minutes before serving.
Notes
Instead of dried basil and oregano, I used 1.5 tsp of mixed Italian seasoning.
I used chicken breast for this recipe. Cooked chicken with 3 cups water, 2 tsp chopped garlic, 2 bay leaves, salt & pepper. I used this stock to make the white sauce. 
Though I followed the method mentioned in the recipe for the white sauce, I prefer the other method of adding flour first, followed by the liquid. In the method mentioned in this recipe, I found the sauce becomes quite lumpy. Check out here to see my fav method of making white sauce. For this, you need to use 30 gms butter. 
Make sure the lasagna rests for at least 25 mins before slicing and serving, otherwise the layers will not hold and it can be messy while serving. 
For a veg version, you can skip the chicken and double the qty of mushroom & spinach.
 

The post Chicken, Mushroom And Spinach Lasagna appeared first on MariasMenu.

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Remember this recipe? Well, this Hariyali Chicken Tikka is a different version of it.

I love the combination of coriander and mint, add some fennel seeds to it and the end result is packed with flavors. Now, let me rewind my earlier cooking days.

Mint never made an appearance in my kitchen for the first few years of my cooking. Even when I made biriyani, I never used it. I remember people asking me in the comment section of biriyani recipes, why there is no mint and can they add it.

The thing is we never used mint at home, it was just coriander leaves. So I continued the same. I dont know when exactly Mint made an entry into my kitchen, wait a min… now I remember! I started buying Mint as a garnish for the food photos and slowly from being a prop, it got promoted to an extra and from there it slowly worked into being a “must buy” member of my shopping list.

So, tell me is there any such ingredient which you've started using at a later stage and wondered why you never used it before?

Anyways, these days I tend to use Mint lavishly, may be I'm trying to make up for the lost time. So as I said, I love the combination of coriander and mint, with a touch of fennel. Needless to say, I love this kabab.

It's a very easy recipe with easily available ingredients. You can prep it in advance and the cooking time is also kinda less. I served it as starters for one of our dinner parties and our friends loved it.

I do hope you also enjoy this flavor packed kababs. Give it a try!

Print
Hariyali Chicken Kabab (Green Chicken Kabab)
Author Maria Jose Martin
Ingredients
  • 250 gms Skinless boneless chicken thighs refer notes
  • 1/2 cup Coriander leaves
  • 1/4 cup Mint leaves
  • 1.5 tsp each Chopped ginger & garlic
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp Lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp Fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp Whole black pepper
  • 1 Green chilli chopped
  • Salt
  • 2 – 3 tsp Ghee
  • 2 tbsp Oil
Instructions
  • Clean the chicken pieces and pat them dry with a kitchen towel. 
  • Grind together all the ingredients from coriander leaves to green chilli to a smooth paste. Do not add water.
  • Marinate the chicken pieces with the ground paste and salt for 1 hour. 
  • Heat oil in a wide pan. Add chicken pieces. Cover and cook for 5-6 mins. Remove the lid and flip the chicken pieces. Cover and cook for another 5-6 minutes. If you want charred chicken, increase the heat to medium and cook for 2-3 mins on each side.
  • Brush the cooked chicken pieces with 2-3 tsp of ghee. Apart from giving a nice sheen, the ghee adds extra flavour and keeps the meat juicy. 
  • You can serve it with some yogurt dip. Add some minced garlic, lemon juice and some herbs like dill or parsley. 
Notes
You can also use chicken breasts (skinless & boneless) instead of thighs. The cooking time might vary. However I prefer the taste and texture of thigh pieces to breast pieces. You can refrigerate the marinated chicken pieces for a day. 

The post Hariyali Chicken Tikka appeared first on MariasMenu.

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Here's something that you can whip up quickly with minimal ingredients and no cooking. Having been away from the kitchen for two months, I had a bit of starting trouble to get back into the full cooking mode.

When we were back, my fridge was stocked with milk and eggs and I had two packets of bread and some fruits on my kitchen counter, thanks to our wonderful friends :)

The breads and eggs came handy the first few days. After having toast for a few days, I decided to make some sandwiches. This is a very basic sandwich recipe, even the kids can do it by themselves. That reminds me, I get mails asking for recipes for kids to eat and cook (or recipes that involves no cooking), this is a good one.

It's very light and refreshing, you can make this in advance and refrigerate. It's good as morning breakfast, mid morning or evening snack or as a light dinner. Also, this is great if you've company for tea or breakfast.

If you ask me, you'd definitely want to eat this, only question is how and when? With company, by yourself, for breakfast or for tea, pick and choose!

Here you go with this simple, quick, tasty and may I say healthy, sandwich.

Please read the “notes” section before you make this.

You can see other Sandwich recipes here

Here's the recipe…

Recipe adapted from here

Print
Cucumber Sandwich
Servings 2
Author Maria Jose Martin
Ingredients
  • 4 oz (113 gms) whole cream cheese softened to room temp (refer notes)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill refer notes
  • Zest and Juice of half a large lemon
  • Salted butter softened for spreading on bread slices
  • Salt
  • Pepper powder
  • 6 slices Bread white/brown/multigrain
  • 1/2 large cucumber seeded and thinly sliced, thoroughly dried with paper towels
Instructions
  • In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, fresh dill, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Add enough salt and pepper to taste.
  • Butter each slice of bread (prevents sogginess.) Lay slices with butter side up on a work surface. Evenly distribute the cream cheese mixture onto each slice.
  • Arrange towel-dried cucumber slices on top of the first 3 slices of bread. Top with remaining bread. Slice off the crusts. If not serving immediately, wrap tightly in cling wrap and chill for up to 24 hours. When ready to serve, slice into 2 or 4 triangles per sandwich.
Notes
I've used Labneh (Middle Eastern cheese) instead of cream cheese and mint leaves instead of dill. I guess for a healthier option, you can use Greek Yogurt (hung curd) or you can use a combination of greek yogurt and cream cheese or a combination of labneh and greek yogurt. I think Parsley will also work well for this recipe.
I used only lemon juice and skipped lemon zest.
Make sure the cucumber slices are thin (I used mandoline slicer) and you absorb the water completely with kitchen tissues. Also, dont skimp on the butter since it prevents the sandwich from becoming soggy. Please be careful with salt, since the cream cheese and butter (if using salted) is already salted. 

The post Cucumber Sandwich appeared first on MariasMenu.

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Let me get straight to the point, I was in India for two months and I hope that explains the long absence on the blog. Honestly, am kinda ashamed to come up with reasons for the radio silence here. I know… I sincerely hope it will change in the coming days, keeping fingers crossed!!

So, you know, how I always keep telling you how I wanna come back to Bahrain after a week or so of being away from here? It doesn't matter, wherever I go, I wanna get back to Bahrain after a couple of days. Having said that, this time it was kinda different. I knew I had to stay longer in Kerala, so I prepared myself for that and so it was ok ;)

After all when you are open or ready to accept (be it situation, change, people…) everything tends to work out. Now, whether you want to accept it or not is the question. For me, when it comes to the theory part of anything, I do alright, but practicals is a different story ;) How about you?

Anyway, I don't want to bombard you with loaded questions like “are you ready to accept change” or something like that, I know you’re here for the recipe, so let’s get to that now.  

Being Lent season, I thought I'd share a veg recipe here. This recipe was on my mind for quite some time. As I’ve said earlier, I tend to make Paneer Peas Masala all the time and I wanted a different flavour. We tend to have Paneer with Chapathi mostly and so I wanted a gravy side dish. This recipe worked out well. It goes well with rice too.

Btw, I’ve used coconut milk here, if you can't just go with the combination of coconut milk and paneer, you can always use water ;) Hope you get to try this dish and like it too.

Here is the recipe…

Print
Paneer Pepper Masala
Author Maria Jose Martin
Ingredients
  • 200 – 250 gms Paneer
  • 2 med – big Onion sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp each Chopped ginger and garlic
  • 2 Green chilli
  • 3/4 – 1 tsp Whole black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 2 – 3 Cardamom crushed
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garam masala
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp Cumin powder
  • 2 tsp Coriander powder
  • 3/4 – 1 cup Thin coconut milk
  • 8 – 10 Cashew nuts soaked in hot water for 10-15 mins
  • 1 tbsp + 2 tsp Oil or Ghee I used ghee
  • Salt
  • 1 – 2 tbsp Chopped coriander leaves
Instructions
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil or ghee in a deep and wide pan. Add sliced onion and cook till it browns. 
  • Add chopped ginger, garlic, green chilli and whole black pepper. Cook for 3-4 mins or until the raw smell goes. Remove from fire and let it cool for 15 – 20 mins.
  • Grind the above mixture with 2-3 tbsp water to a smooth paste.
  • In the same pan, add 2 tsp oil / ghee and add cumin seeds and cardamom. Add the ground masala with 1/4 cup water and cook for 2 – 3 mins.
  • Add turmeric, coriander, garam masala and cumin powder. Mix well and cook for 2 – 3 mins, till the raw smell goes and oil starts appearing. 
  • Add paneer pieces and mix well. make sure the paneer is coated with masala. 
  • Add 3/4 – 1 cup thin coconut milk. Bring it to boil. Reduce the flame, cover and cook for 8 – 10 mins, till the gravy becomes thick. 
  • Grind the soaked cashew nuts to a smooth paste. 
  • Remove the pan from fire and add the cashew paste gradually (this is done to avoid curdling of the gravy). Mix gently, bring back to fire. Cook on lowest flame for 4 – 5 mins.
  • Add chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice or roti. 

The post Paneer Pepper Masala appeared first on MariasMenu.

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First post of 2019! I know it's a bit late, but I promise you that this recipe will make up for it ;)

I considered different recipes as the first post of this year and finally out of nowhere this cake recipe happened! I was thinking something healthy, since everyone is still hanging (or so I think) on to their new year resolutions and I don't wanna spoil it. Well, since it took me this long to post, I thought I should share something that's worth the wait.

So, it was our Anniversary last Wednesday and I baked this cake. I wanted a plain but not too plain cake. This one worked out beautifully. It's a plain cake but at the same time packed with wonderful flavors of lemon and almond. Also, it's good looking too ;)

Lemon Almond Cake

Now, about the cake, it's a very simple and basic recipe. No complicated steps whatsoever… The flavors of lemon and almond pairs really well and the addition of almond flour gives a beautiful texture to the cake. The topping of toasted almonds gives a crunchiness and the lemon syrup keeps the cake wonderfully moist.

I do hope you give this recipe a try and love it like we did.

Recipe from here

Lemon And Almond Cake
Course: Dessert
Keyword: Baking, Cake, Dessert, Lemon Almond Cake, Lemon Cake, Moist Lemon Cake
Author: Maria Jose Martin

A simple, easy and delicious Lemon Almond Cake recipe. The flavors of lemon and almond pairs really well and the addition of almond flour gives a beautiful texture to the cake. The topping of toasted almonds gives a crunchiness and the lemon syrup keeps the cake wonderfully moist. 

Print
Ingredients
For the lemon almond cake:For the cake:
  • 1 cup Unsalted butter / 2 sticks / 227 gms softened
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 3 Eggs at room temp
  • 2 tbsp Lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup Lemon juice
  • 1 cup Plain flour / maida
  • 1 cup Almond flour refer notes to see how to make it at home
  • 2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 cup Almonds slices or slivers
For the lemon syrup:
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven at 180 C, 10 mins before baking. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

  2.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat after each addition.  

  3. Mix in the lemon juice and zest.

  4. Mix flours, baking powder and salt. 

  5. Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients.

  6. Pour into a greased 9 inch baking pan and sprinkle on the almonds before baking in a preheated 350F/180C oven until the top is lightly golden brown and a toothpick pushed into the centre comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

  7. For the lemon syrup:

    Simmer the sugar and lemon juice until the sugar has dissolved. Let the cake cool for 20 minutes, puncture it all over the top with a thin knife and pour the lemon syrup over the cake and let it soak in before serving warm.

Recipe Notes

I used a combination of Lemon and lime for this recipe. I used lemon and lime zest and lemon juice in the batter. For the syrup I used lime juice. Also instead of baking as one big cake, I baked it in two different tins. I baked in a 8 inch round tin and a small – medium size loaf tin. The round cake was ready in 30-35 mins. If you want to brown the almonds on top, put the last 2-3 mins of baking in broiler. 

To make almond flour at home, check out this recipe

The post Lemon And Almond Cake appeared first on MariasMenu.

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Christmas is almost here. I knew I wanted to share a Pork recipe for Christmas. Though I don't eat Pork, I do like cooking Pork ;)

The reason is, it's comparatively easy to cook and the end result looks so appetizing, that I almost feel like kicking myself for not eating pork. It happened this time also, by the time I finished cooking, the color, the texture and the cooking aroma was sooo tempting and I found it so hard to resist.

I used pork belly for this and in the end all the fat oozing out forming a glistening layer around the edges of the masala coated tender pork pieces was a treat to the eyes and it sure was a treat for the taste buds.

Since I don't eat it, I made sure to give it to a number of people to get proper feedback. Got raving reviews and so I'm sharing it with you.

Before you go busy with all the Christmas preps…let me wish you.

We, Jose and Maria, Wish You and Your Loved Ones a Very Merry Christmas! Let the season of Joy, Peace and Happiness stay with you!

You can see all Christmas special recipes here

Recipe adapted from Suriyani Pachakam

Kerala Style Pork Peralan Recipe
Author: Maria Jose Martin
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Ingredients
  • 600 – 650 gms Cleaned Pork, cut into medium size pieces I used pork belly
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Fennel seeds (perumjeerakom)
  • 1 long piece Cinnamon
  • 3 Cloves
  • 3 Cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp Whole black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 3 medium Onion sliced
  • 2 tsp Crushed ginger
  • 2.5 tsp Crushed garlic
  • 1.5 – 2 tbsp Kashmiri Chilli powder
  • 2 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 2 small – medium Tomato sliced
  • 1.5 tbsp Vinegar
  • Salt to taste
  • 2tbsp + 1 tsp Coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Crush together cumin and fennel seeds, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, black pepper and mustard seeds to a fine powder. Keep aside.

  2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a deep and wide pan. Add sliced onion and cook till it browns.

  3. Add crushed ginger and garlic. Cook for 3-4 mins, till the raw smell goes. 

  4. Add 2 tsp of ground spices. Cook for 2-3 mins.

  5. Mix together kashmiri chilli, coriander and turmeric powder with 1 tsp oil and 2 tbsp water. Add this to the masala. Cook for 4-5 mins, till the raw smell goes and oil starts appearing.

  6. Add sliced tomato and salt. Cook till tomatoes soften.

  7. Add cleaned pork pieces and mix well. 

  8. Add 3/4 cup hot water and vinegar to the curry. Bring to boil. Reduce the flame to lowest. Cover and cook for 35 – 45 mins, till the gravy is reduced and pork is tender. Let the curry rest for at least half an hr, before serving. 

Recipe Notes

The remaining ground spices can be stored and used for other non veg recipes. It took almost 40 mins to cook the pork. The time may vary depending on the cut you use. I recommend using fresh pork belly for the maximum flavour and right texture. The color of the dish tends to darken as it rests. Also, if you like it extra spicy, you can add some pepper powder towards the end. The flavor tends to develop as it rests. You can make it advance and let the dish rest for a while. 

The post Kerala Style Pork Peralan appeared first on MariasMenu -

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Every year for Christmas, I try to post a cake recipe that is an alternate for traditional Christmas Fruit Cake. I've come across many people (including Jose) who aren't a big fan of raisins. So this cake recipe is for all those people :)

Dates is something I love and have on a regular basis. I love it's caramel toffee kinda flavor. Adding dates to the cake makes it moist and rich. I've already posted some other dates cake recipes, but this one is different.

This is almost like a fruit cake but without raisins. It has dates, carrots, orange, nuts and some spices. It's very apt for the season. The dates and carrots make the cake moist and rich with a subtle orange flavor laced with a hint of cardamom and cinnamon. 

I do hope you'll enjoy this wonderful cake. Btw, if you're looking recipes for holiday baking, here are some of my fav ones…

Orange Pound Cake

Kerala Fruit Cake

Eggless Fruit Cake

Dates Butterscotch Self Saucing Pudding

Sticky Toffee Cake

Mocha Marble Bundt Cake

Carrot Dates And Orange Cake
Author: Maria Jose Martin

Adding Intro

Print
Ingredients
  • 1.5 cups Plain Flour (maida)
  • 1/2 tsp Baking soda
  • 1 inch piece Cinnamon
  • 6 Cloves
  • 6 Cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp Grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup Semolina (rava)
  • 2 cups Chopped dates measured after chopping
  • 1/2 tsp Baking soda
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 2 cups Grated carrot measured after grating
  • 100 gms Chopped cashews and walnuts refer notes
  • 2 tsp Vanilla essence
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1.5 cups Powdered sugar you need 1 cup regular sugar to get 1.5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable oil I used sunflower oil
  • 3 Eggs @ room temp
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven at 180 C, 10 mins before baking. Grease and line(with parchment paper) two 7 inch cake tins. 

  2. Soak dates in 1/4 cup water and 1/2 tsp baking soda for 1 hour.

  3. Using an electric beater, mix the powdered sugar and oil, till it's combined well. 

  4. Separate the egg yolk and whites. Add the yolk, one by one, to the sugar and oil mixture. Beat well after each addition. 

  5. Add soaked dates, chopped nuts and grated carrots to the above mixture. Mix well using a wooden spatula or manual whisk. Add vanilla essence, orange juice and zest to the above mix and combine well.

  6. Powder cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Add grated nutmeg to this and mix well. Combine together plain flour, baking soda and the spice mixture. Sift this and add to the batter along with semolina.

  7. Beat the egg whites till a stiff peak forms. Add this to the cake batter and fold in gently, till no white traces are visible. 

  8. Transfer this to the prepared cake tins and bake in the preheated oven for 35 – 40 mins or till the tooth pick inserted comes out clean. 

Recipe Notes

I used a combination of cashew and walnuts, however you can use any nuts of your choice like almonds, pecans etc; 

You can bake this in a single cake tin, if you've a 10 inch deep baking tin. The baking time may vary depending on the size of your tin. 

The post Carrot Dates And Orange Cake appeared first on MariasMenu -

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This chicken curry is one of the most popular recipes on the blog. The old pic wasn't doing justice to the recipe and I wanted to give it a makeover for quite sometime. Finally I got around to it and took a decent pic, along with step by step pictures. If you've already tried this recipe, you know how good it is and if you haven't tried it yet, make sure you do! It's a good one.

So, here you go to the original post.

Let's just pretend that there wasnt a small break in between the posts. After all, without the game of the pretending, its kinda impossible to deal with the stuff around you, right? While we are still on the game of pretending… for the past few days, I was pretending that I didnt have a food blog at all! There's no MariasMenu, no dotcom, nothing…. I just wanted to cook, without worrying about teaspoons & tablespoons, without worrying about how to plate the dish, without worrying about whether I'll get the right color in the photos, without worrying about what to write as intro etc etc..you get the picture, right? I guess, now that phase is over and I'm slowly switching back to the blogging mode. There is a reason why I did that, but I'll tell you about it later ;)

About this recipe…somehow I've a soft corner towards recipes that have ‘roast' as its surname. Yeah, I do love their family. They usually have a thick bonding between the ingredients (read thick gravy) & some how I like that strong bonding thing ;) I'm referring to the Kerala style roasts here. One of my fav recipes here is the prawns roast, I just love it. So when I saw this chicken tomato roast, I was sold instantly & it didnt disappoint me. I do hope you will also like this.

(Btw, we had some issues with our comments section lately. Though we fixed it, I might have missed a few comments in between. So if you havent got a reply yet, please do buzz me again, ok?)

Here goes the recipe:

If you are interested in more Chicken recipes, check out our Chicken ebooklet
Recommended sides for this dish: Peas Pulao, Jeera Rice, Ghee Rice, Neer Dosa, Appam, Chapathi

Chicken Tomato Roast

  • 1/2 kg Chicken (cut into medium size piecec)
For Marination
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Vinegar
  • Salt (to taste)
For Masala
  • 3 medium Onion (sliced)
  • 1 tbsp Ginger & garlic paste (each)
  • 2.5 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1.5 – 2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1/2 tsp Fennel Powder
  • 2 medium Tomato (sliced)
  • 3/4 cup Thick coconut milk
  • Curry leaves
  • Salt
  • Coconut Oil
  1. Marinate the cleaned chicken pieces with ingredients listed under ‘for marination’ & keep in the refrigerator for half an hour. 

      

  2. Shallow fry the marinated chicken pieces till it becomes golden brown & the chicken is half cooked. Remove the chicken pieces from the pan. 

  3. To the same pan, add sliced onions & salt. Cook till onions become golden brown in color. 

  4. Add ginger & garlic paste & cook for 3-4 minutes.

  5. Add coriander, red chilli, garam masala & fennel powders. Fry for a minute or so or till the oil starts appearing. 

  6. Add sliced tomatoes & curry leaves. Mix well & cook till tomatoes become soft.

  7. Add fried chicken pieces & give a good stir. Add thick coconut milk & cover & cook till the gravy is very thick. The chicken pieces should be cooked well & coated well with masala. This curry has a semi gravy consistency.Serve hot with rice/roti/appam.

 I didn't fry the chicken pieces, I just cooked the marinated chicken pieces in a non stick pan with very little oil. I initially cooked the chicken on low – medium flame and once the chicken is half cooked, increase it to med – high ,to brown the chicken on both sides. 

This curry has a semi dry consistency, the chicken pieces are coated well with thick masala (refer the main pic). I forgot to take the final version for the step by step, hence you see the curry with gravy in the last step ;)

The post Chicken Tomato Roast appeared first on MariasMenu -

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