Monday, May 30, 2011

Palm Fruit / Nungu Desserts


I have spoken enough about the tortures of summer and scorching sun. Nothing has changed even though the peak of summer called as Agni Natchathram is over.

We have been feeding on loads of mangoes and also try to balance it with natural body coolants like butter milk, cucumber and palm fruit to beat the heat.


Palm fruit is a very delicious jelly like fruit which is highly nutritious too.

They are seasonal fruits that we find in summer. I have loved them since childhood and have had them in many ways :)

When they are freshly cut open from the shell, they can be consumed as it is without pealing the skin. The skin would be almost white when it is fresh and would turn to pink or brown after a while.

Choose soft and tender palm fruit kernels when you buy them. Remove the skin and enjoy them in various ways as said below :)


Palm fruit cardamom delight


Palm fruit (Nungu)
Cardamom powder(Elachi)


Peel the outer skin of the palm fruit and chop them into equal sized cubes.

Boil the milk along with cardamom powder and allow it to come to room temperature.

Add the chopped palm fruit to the milk and refrigerate for a while.

Serve chill :)


Kesar Badam Nungu


Palm fruit(Nungu)
Saffron strands(Kunguma poo)
Almond powder(Badam)



Peel the outer skin of the palm fruit and chop them into cubes.

Boil milk with few saffron stands and allow it to come to room temperature.

Mix in sugar and almond powder to it and add the chopped palm fruit to it.

Refrigerate for a while and serve chill.


You can use the ready made kesar badam mix to make the base.

Use condensed milk to make a thicker and richer dessert.


Palm fruit rose milk


Palm fruit(Nungu)
Rose milk syrup or essence


Remove the outer skin of the palm fruit and dice them in cubes.

Boil milk with sugar and allow it to come to room temperature. Mix in the rose milk syrup and the chopped palm fruit and serve it chill :)


Palm fruit and mango salad


Palm fruit(Nungu)


Peel the skin of the palm fruit and chop them into cubes.

Peel and chop the mangoes into equal sized cubes.

Toss chopped palm fruit and mangoes together and drizzle some honey.

Serve chill :)


You can add some milk to this and make it a dessert as well.

You can add condensed milk to make it a richer dessert.


Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Eggless Custard Powder Cake


Most of you would have already known the fact that I'm a cricket freak and enjoy the sport to the fullest :)

I have been enjoying this season of IPL and yup with no doubt I support my home team Chennai Super Kings :) They have been rocking and are all set to fight in the finals this Saturday :) So doesn't that demand for a celebration by itself?? :)

Now this post of a yellow cake is a dedication to the team in yellow and I'm wishing them all the best to bag the trophy again this year :)

Let the Mighty Lions roar again!! :) Good luck CSK :)


Custard powder cake is one of the most popular cake that I have been seeing among co-bloggers and has been rated to a favorite of many.

Aparna of Diverse kitchen was the one who initially tried it out and tempted all of us too much :) She is one of my most favorite among food bloggers. I was just waiting for an occasion to try this cake and here it comes :)

The flavor of custard powder makes this cake unique and tasty too :)



All purpose flour(maida) - 1 1/2 cups
Custard powder(vanilla flavor) - 3/4 cup
Powdered sugar - 3/4 cup
Baking powder - 2 1/4 tsp
Butter - 3/4 cup (150 gms)
Milk - 1 cup



Sift maida, custard powder and baking powder together.

In a bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add the sifted flours to the butter sugar mixture and mix well. Add the milk gradually and beat slowly until everything comes together.


Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C. Line the muffin tray with liners.

Fill muffin cups with batter upto 3/4th and bake it for 15-20 mins at 375°F or 190°C. Adjust the time according to your oven settings.

I baked 6 muffins and the rest in my 4" Silicon mould which took around 50 mins to bake at 180°C.

Check if cooked by inserting a skewer in the center. Once done, allow it to cool on a wire rack for a while.

Delicious and pretty looking custard powder cake is ready :) Enjoy eating :)



To make different flavors of cake, replace the custard powder with respective flavors and enjoy :)

You can replace the custard powder to corn flour and add few drops of vanilla essence to it to make the same cake too.


Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Raw Mango Rice / Maangai Sadam

Manga rice2

Me and dad rate rice varieties more than sambhar and rasam. So atleast 2 days of a week would surely have some kind of rice variety in the lunch menu.

Raw mango being in its peak season surely deserves to be cooked in as many ways as possible. So out of the infinite varieties it can add taste to food, this is one among my most favorite :)

A tangy and spicy rice with potato chips made my day :) It would surely make yours too :)

Manga rice4


Raw Mango - 1
Green chillies - 2
Red chillies - 2
Asafoetida - a pinch
Jaggery - 1 tsp
Salt - for taste
Mustard - 1/2 tsp
Urad dhall - 1/2 tsp
Channa dhall - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves

Manga rice5


Peel the skin of the mango and chop them roughly.

Grind the chopped mango pieces with green chillies, red chillies, asafoetida, salt and jaggery into a smooth paste.

Take a pan and add 5 tsp of oil. Splutter mustard, urad dhall, channa dhall and curry leaves. Now add the ground paste and fry for five minutes. Switch off the stove and collect it in a clean bottle.

Manga rice1

Add few tspn of this paste to cooked rice and mix well to make raw mango rice. Serve with potato chips.

Yummy and tangy raw mango rice is ready :)

Enjoy making :)

Manga rice


You can store the prepared raw mango paste in the refrigerator for 10 days and use.

Manga rice3

Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lavender Cookies - Arusuvai Friendship Chain


As I have said in my previous post, I have made a lot of friends through this little space of mine. What just started as commenting on each others post went on to sending emails, exchanging phone numbers, visiting each other etc.. Now I proudly call a lot of them as my good friends for life time :)

One other interesting way to keep in touch and know more food bloggers was through what is called as "Arusuvai Friendship chain". The large gang of Indian food bloggers have formed this chain in which one would receive a secret ingredient from another :) Isn't that sounding super exciting!!!

Sayantani restarted the Arusuvai chain in November I guess and it has reached me now. Its quite a long time since I received my package from the super blogger Bombay Foodie. Simran was too sweet to send me a very rarely found ingredient in India - the Lavender. She also sent me a very touching letter and few tartlet molds as a gift :) Thanks you so much dear and hugs to you :)


Though I could identify the ingredient, I found it hard to get a perfect fool proof recipe to make. I really wanted it to come out perfectly since the ingredient was close to impossible to get additional or again just in case something goes wrong. :(

Extensive googling and suggestions from friends did help me to know more about the ingredient but somehow I managed to incorporate it in a totally different recipe. The cookies were so good and linzer cookies were so attractive to all. The flavor and smell of the lavender were so so so damn good :)


Lavender Cookies Recipe


All purpose flour(Maida) - 1 1/2 cups (300 gms)
Powdered sugar - 1 cup (200 gms)
Unsalted Butter - 1/2 cup (100 gms)
Almond powder - 100 gms
Dried Lavender - 1 tblsp
Salt - a pinch
Milk - 2 tblsp



In a bowl mix the lavender petals with the sugar thoroughly. If you are powdering sugar, just drop in the lavender and pulse it along with the sugar.

Chop the butter into chunks and beat it with the sugar lavender mixture.

Now add the all purpose flour, salt and almond powder to it and mix well until everything comes together.

If you find the dough dry and crumbly, add 2 tsp of milk and mix well until it forms a soft dough.

Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for half an hour.

Flour the work surface and roll the dough into a 1/4 inch thick sheet. Use cutters of your choice to cut out shapes. Place the cut cookies on the lined baking tray.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the tray with cookies in and bake for 12-15 minutes, watching closely so that they don’t get too brown. 12 minutes did is perfectly in my convection oven.

Enjoy the strong lavender aroma while baking :)

This quantity would make around 30 round shaped cookies.

Happy eating :)


To make Linzer cookies:

You will need one large cookie cutter and one small cutter of same shape and some jam.

Roll the dough and using a 2 to 3 inch cookie cutter (round, square, heart, etc.) cut out the dough. Place the cookies about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Use a smaller cookie cutter (1 inch) to cut out the centers of half of the cookies on the baking sheet.

You will be sandwiching two cookies together and there will be a small window in the top cookie so you can see the jam underneath.

Bake the cookies as said above.

Meanwhile take the jam(I used black current) in a sauce pan and heat in low flame until it becomes slightly thick.

To assemble - place the cookies with holes on a plate and dust some powdered sugar over it.

Apply 1/2 tsp of the jam on top the base cookies and sandwich it with the sugar coated cookies.



The cookies are crisp and apt for tea time.

While making linzer cookies, its best to assemble them just on the day of serving so that it doesn't lose its crispness.


I'm happy to send this post as an entry to Food Palette purple event :)

Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Jeera Pulao & Punjabi Aloo Amritsari

Jeera rice & amritsari

Blogging has given me the boon of getting introduced to a lot of like minded friends from different parts of the world :)

One such sweetest buddy blogger is Sharmilee of Sharmis passion :) We got to know each other a year back and since then the friendship has grown to an extent that we even talk on phone for hours :) I was even more happy when I met her a couple of months back. Blogging has brought me a friend for life time :) awww sorry sorry too many friends for life time infact :)

Sharmilee is a very talented cook who manages to have minimum of 30 posts on draft on any day :P Now food bloggers would know how passionate she is towards cooking and blogging!! She is awesome at photography as well and we keep sharing our ideas all the time :)

This recipe that she posted a week back tempted me too much that I instantly cooked it up and all of us at home loved the combi a lot. All credits and thanks to her for the recipe :)

Jeera rice & amritsari6
Ingredients for Jeera Pulao:

Basmathi rice - 1 cup
Jeera(Cumin seeds) - 2 tsp

Cloves - 2

Cinnamon - 1/2 inch piece

Bay leaf - 1

Curry leaves - few
Green chillies - 2

Onion - 1 large

Ghee - 1 tblsp

Oil - 1 tblsp

Salt - for taste

Water - 2 1/2 cups

Jeera rice & amritsari2

Method for Jeera pulao:

Wash and soak rice for 15 mins. Chop onions finely.

Take a pressure pan and add oil and ghee. Drop in the cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf and cumin seeds. Saute for just one minute. Now add the curry leaves and split chillies and fry for a minute again. Add chopped onion and saute until it turns golden brown in color.

Drain the rice and add it to the pan. Mix it well with the other ingredients. Now add water and salt to it. Mix well and taste a tsp of this water to check on salt levels. Close the pan and pressure cook for just two whistles on medium flame.

Jeera rice & amritsari1

Jeera pulao is ready.

Serve it hot with Punjabi Aloo Amritsari or any gravy of your choice :)

Jeera rice & amritsari3

Ingredients for Punjabi Aloo Amritsari:

Potato - 5
Curd - 1/2 cup
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 1/2 tsp

Salt - to taste

To make paste:

Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Besan - 2 tbsp
Ajwain seeds(omam) -1/2 tsp

Salt - to taste

To grind:
Onion - 1
Green chillies - 1
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Cashews - 5

Jeera rice & amritsari5

Method for Punjabi Aloo Amritsari:

Cook potatoes and dice them into small cubes.

Make a paste of besan, salt, ginger garlic paste and ajwain by adding just a little water. Coat this mixture on the potatoes and allow it to marinade for half an hour.

Now take some oil in a pan and shallow fry the marinated potatoes until crisp and golden brown. Keep this aside.

Grind roughly chopped onion, green chilly, ginger garlic paste and cashews together by adding little water into a smooth paste.

Take two tsps of oil in a pan and add the above ground paste. Fry till raw smell leaves. Add a pinch of turmeric powder, garam masala powder, chilly powder, coriander powder and salt to it and mix well. Allow it to boil for two mins and simmer the stove. Add the curd and mix well. Finally drop in the fried potatoes to it and mix well.

Serve the creamy aloo amristari with jeera rice and enjoy eating :)

You can make this as an accompaniment with ghee rice or even roti, chapathi etc :)

Jeera rice & amritsari4

Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Raw Mango Pickle / Maangai Thokku

Manga thokku5

Summer is the right season for raw mangoes as well as ripe mangoes. Missing to eat or cook them could be a sin ;)

You wouldn't believe if I say one entire rack of my fridge is filled with bottles and bottles of pickles!! All of us at home have our own choice of pickle and are damn fond of them. We prove to be a typical South Indian when we enjoy creamy curd rice with pickle :)

My choice of pickle would always be a sweet and sour one. I don't prefer them extremely spicy. So this thokku is one of my kind. Sweet, sour and hot just upto a level that makes you drool and not smoke your ears ;)

Manga thokku


Raw mango paste - 1 cup
Jaggery - 10 tsp
Chilly powder - 6 tsp
Asafoetida - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds (Jeeragam) - 1 tsp
Fenugreek (Vendhayam) - 1 tsp
Salt - 5 tsp
Curry leaves
Sesame Oil - 5 tblsp



Remove the skin of the raw mango and chop it roughly. Grind the chopped raw mango into a semi smooth paste and keep it aside.

Dry roast the fenugreek seeds and cumin seeds for few mins and powder them once they cool down.

Take a pan and add 5 tblsp of oil. Crackle mustard and curry leaves. Add the ground raw mango paste to it and fry for ten mins or until the raw smell goes.

Now add chilly powder, salt and asafoetida and mix well. Let this cook for few more minutes. Once it gets well cooked and the oil separates, add the cumin fenugreek powder to it and mix thoroughly.

Transferred to a sterlized bottle once it comes to room temperature.

Refrigerate and use for max of three months.

Serve it with curd rice, dosa, idly, adai or even with snacks like kai murikku and thattai :)

Enjoy making the tangy raw mango thokku :)

Manga thokku3


You can grate the mangoes using a grater instead of grinding.

This pickle is suppose to be sweet and sour, but reduce the jaggery to get a sour pickle if you like it that way.

Manga thokku1


Once you transfer the pickle to the bottle, there should be a layer of oil on top covering the pickle completely. This is a mandatory step to keep the pickle fresh always.

The oil coating prevents it from fungal formation. This thumb rule applies for most of the pickles.

Manga thokku2

Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Grape Squash / Grape Juice Syrup

Grape squash6

The number of juice recipes on my blog shows up how hot it is at Chennai. My intake has been 75% of liquid food and 25% of solid food. I hardly feel like eating anything and just don't like to feed on hot stuff at all :(

Moreover spending long hours in the kitchen is like burning one alive(that sounds a little harsh though :P). But yes!! it has been extremely exhausting to do anything at all when the heat reaches upto 40°C at day. Hence you can quite expect such chill and refreshing juices from my blog :)

Its so good to have a mom who holds a BSc Home science degree. She knows how to make squashes and is an expert at it too :) This time I took up her recipe book and tried it all by myself to make our family favorite grape squash. It came out so well that my mom was praising me for my effort :) :)

Grape squash5


Grape extract - 1 ltr
Sugar - 2 kgs
Citric acid - 2 tsp
Tonovin (Grape essence) - 4 tsp
Water - 1 ltr
Sodium Benzoate - 1 tsp

Grape squash


To make grape extract:

Choose well ripen black grapes.

Remove stems and wash them thoroughly.

Take the grapes in a large vessel and add one cup of water(from the 1 ltr water) to it and boil it until the fruits get cooked. While its boiling, keep crushing the grapes with a masher until it is thoroughly juicy. Strain the extract and collect the juice.

Measure the juice now and proceed with proportioning the other ingredients accordingly.

Grape squash3

Method to make squash:

Take the sugar, citric acid and water in a pan and heat it until the sugar dissolves and it bubbles up.

Allow this sugar syrup to come to room temperature and then mix up the above made grape extract to it. Now add the Tonovin to it and mix well.

Take a tsp of warm water and dissolve the Sodium Benzoate(preservative) in it. Add it to the squash and mix it up.

Now pour the squash into a sterilized bottle and store in refrigerator :)

To serve, fill 1/3 of serving glass with the grape squash and remaining by water. Mix up well and serve chill topped with ice cubes. :)

Grape squash4


Black grapes with seeds or Paneer grapes are apt and cost effective for making this squash.

To get a pulpy texture to your grape juice, use a large holed sieve to strain the grape extract. We do this since we like our juice to have a puply sediment :)

Grape squash2

The method of making other fruit squashes are the same.

Hence I have put down the measurements of ingredients for various fruits :)

The measurements would yield 2 ltrs of each fruit squash.

Enjoy making them :)

Fruit extract



Citric acid



Mango extract - 1 ltr

1.5 kgs

1 ltr

2 tsp

Pottasium Meta bisulphite (KMS)– ½ tsp


Orange extract – 1 ltr

1.75 kgs

1 ltr

1 tsp

Pottasium Meta bisulphite (KMS)– ½ tsp

Food color(orange) – ¼ tsp

Orange essence – 2 tsp

Lemon extract– 1 ltr

2.5 kgs

1 ltr




Pineapple extract– 1 ltr


1 ltr


Pottasium Meta bisulphite (KMS)– ½ tsp

Food color(yellow) – ¼ tsp

Pineapple essence – 2 tsp

Grape squash1

Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here.

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