Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Paneer Mushroom Bread Masala / Paneer Mushroom Stumbler

If you like paneer and mushrooms and are looking for an easy, one pan dish for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even a tea-time snack, then dish is for you. You could say this dish is a spin-off of my earlier post on Stumber which, btw, tastes great if you eat eggs. I replaced the eggs in the recipe with paneer and mushroom one day, because I wanted to, and loved the result. Go ahead and make this. The bite of mushrooms, the creaminess of the paneer and the softness of the bread will make you want to make this again and again! Oh and just a small tip. if you have no problem with using an extra couple of spoons of ghee, go ahead and drizzle it. Ghee lends a lovely flavour to this dish.

4 large onions
2 tsp chilli powder
1 or 2 green chillies
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp haldi (turmeric powder)
2 medium tomatoes
200 g mushroom
200 g paneer
4 or 5 slices of bread
One handful coriander leaves
Ghee or oil


In a large pan, heat 2 tbsp ghee. Add chopped onions and sauté till they become brownish. Now add chillipowder and roast for a couple of minutes. To this add finely chopped green chillies and chopped tomatoes and roast till the tomatoes are completely cooked. Add garam masala powder and haldi powder and roast for a minute. Now add chopped mushrooms and 1 tsp salt and cook for a few minutes. To this add paneer chopped to 1" cubes and mix gently. Cook for a couple of minutes. I added another 3/4 tsp salt. Now add bread chopped to 1" cubes and mix. Cook covered on low flame for a couple of minutes and mix well. Adjust salt and spices according to your taste. Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves and mix well.

Happy Cooking!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Palak Paneer / Indian Cottage Cheese in Spicy Spinach Curry

Many a times when I have had palak paneer, in a restaurant or elsewhere, I couldn't help noticing the difference in the shades of green this dish comes in. Cooking the dish for an extra few minutes can slowly deepen it's colour. Some like to cook the palak minimally to retain it's colour while some overcook it to make it a lot darker (unknowingly so). Some add milk or cream which makes the colour lighter while others prefer to just go by water. Though I like all the different shades (because I love palak paneer), I invariably tend to overcook the dish, probably because in the back of my mind I like the colour to ripen from a rich emerald to a deep olive green.

Ingredients :
2 bunches palak
1" piece ginger
3 tbsp oil or ghee
1 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
3 medium onions
2 tsp ginger garlic paste (or crushed garlic and ginger)
1 large tomato
1 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1 1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
200g paneer, chopped into 1" cubes

Method :
Wash palak (discard the stems) and boil with ginger in half a cup of water for a few minutes. Allow to cool. Drain the water out but reserve it.

In a deep bottomed pan, heat oil/ ghee. When it's hot, add cumin seeds. Once the seeds splutter, sauté chopped onions. Add crushed garlic and ginger or their paste and sauté till the onions turn brownish. Now add the powders and roast for a couple of minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and sauté for  4 to 5 minutes till tomatoes are cooked. Allow to cool.

Transfer half of this into a blender. Add the boiled palak also into the blender. Blend into a smooth paste. Transfer this back to the earlier deep bottomed pan. Mix the blended paste with the rest of the sautéed onion mixture. Add the reserved water and bring to a boil. Add enough water to get a gravy like consistency. You can also add a couple of tablespoons of milk or cream. Add salt and bring to a boil. Now add the paneer cubes. You can fry paneer before adding. I did not fry. Cook for a few minutes.

Tastes best with rotis / chapatis.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Basic Cake / Vanilla Cake

Under all the beautifully hand crafted fondant, the deliciously flavoured frosting and the subtle, creamy filling, lies a simple cake that holds these elements together. Here's a recipe of one such cake.

This is a vanilla cake by virtue of the vanilla essense I added, but you can experiment with any flavour of your choice. Another similar post that I have is of a simple yellow cake which is very easy to make, but I wanted one which required only 1 cake pan. So I went ahead and halved the ingredients of the famous 1234 cake adjusting butter according to the way it's packaged in India. Here we get butter in 100g slabs unlike the sticks it comes in elsewhere. 1 stick equals 113 g or 1/2 cup while a slab weighs 100g.

Ingredients :
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour (maida)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt
100g butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk

-All the ingredients, specially butter, should be at room temperature.
-Baking powder is different from baking soda.
-Please check the contents of the butter. If it has salt, don't add extra salt. You can add a small pinch if you want to. I forgot the butter was salted and I did add a pinch, but the cake turned out fine. Besides, I like salt. If the butter is unsalted, add a good pinch of salt.
-Try and use castor sugar (thin granules) if you want the butter and sugar to cream beautifully. I used granulated sugar which I found in my nearest small grocery store. The kind you run to after you start cooking. This sugar was very stubborn and did not want to get creamed easily.
-Try to get your hands on good quality vanilla essence. Always smell it before you add it. There was a time when I threw my cake because the synthetic vanilla essence I used was horrible. It was horrible. Did I tell you it was horrible?
-Try to get your hands yet again, on good quality parchment paper. It's a big boon. You don't have to grease too much and your cake will pop out right out when you invert the baking pan.
-Before using all purpose flour (maida), sift it to remove lumps/ impurities, if you wish to do so. To sift, just pass it to a large sifter / strainer.


First mix the dry ingredients. For this, in a bowl, add maida, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Mix well.

Now in a large bowl, take some butter. The butter should be soft enough to be mixed easily. Add sugar and mix with a spoon or spatula. With a hand held electric mixer, blend the sugar and butter for a minute or two till you get a nice creamy mixture. Add eggs and vanilla essence [ Notice how well I've succeeded in highlighting the eggs and not focus on the "creamed" sugar and butter, because, well, it did not cream well]  Blend to get a creamy mixture. To this add milk and flour mixture [the dry ingredients which you had mixed earlier] little by little and blend gently as you add. Towards the end, mix well with a large spoon or spatula, scraping the sides.

Preheat the oven to 170C [340F].

Grease the sides and bottom of an 8" or 9" baking tin with oil, butter or ghee. I also lined the base with parchment paper. Pour the batter into the tin. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or till a fork inserted in the centre comes out clean. [ I baked for 35 minutes so the cake browned a little more, but the taste was great. Infact I like it that way. I'm not justifying]. Allow to cool and invert on to a cakeboard / plate.

So now that you have a simple basic vanilla cake, you can experiment with flavours, fillings, icings, toppings and what not. Happy Baking!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Easy Eggless Banana Cake

Usually when I buy bananas, I end up buying a dozen of them. They come home with me and sit stubbornly in the fruit basket, as if gesturing to stay away for a few days till they ripen. And ripen they do, all together, making me wonder if they take a silent pledge of equal fruition. Almost always a couple of these bananas, specially the ones that stay at the bottom of the pile, end up getting ignored, and they seem to vehemently make this clear by quietly changing colour.

That, ofcourse, is not an excuse to bake this cake. Infact, I made this cake just as the bananas ripened, because I was waiting to lay my hands yet again on my new OTG after the delicious outcome of my earlier experiment - Eggless mini mango muffins. Just like the mango muffins, this is an eggless cake that comes out soft and light.

So here's the recipe. It's easy to make with ingredients probably available in your house right now.

2 medium-sized ripe bananas
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup yogurt (curd)
1/4 cup oil
1 pinch salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cup maida or all purpose flour

Roughly chop bananas and blend with sugar and yogurt for about 20 seconds to get a smooth paste (there shouldn't be any banana chunks).
Transfer this paste to a large bowl. Add oil, mix gently till you fold it in and then mix thoroughly. Add salt and baking soda and mix. To this add maida little by little mixing as you add. Mix thoroughly, scraping the sides, and get rid of all lumps to get a nice and smooth paste. [You can use an electric hand mixer]. Make sure there are no lumps and that all ingredients are mixed really well.

Preheat oven to 180C (350F).

Line a baking tin with parchment paper or grease it well with oil. [ Use a 7" round tin. I used 8" and the cake became thinner than I'd have liked].
Pour the cake batter into the baking tin. Bake for 35 minutes (+ or - 5 minutes depending on the oven), till a fork inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool. Invert the cake (gently peel off the parchment paper if you have used it).

My husband's serving suggestion - have this hot with ice-cream. Sounds yum!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Eggless Mini Mango Muffins

[Video update on 30/4/2015 :


Mango is such a divine fruit.  Mangoes are pulpy, juicy, sweet, luscious. Their bright orange-yellow colour plays with your eyes and their succulence makes them totally irresistible.

Here's an easy, eggless recipe with easily-available ingredients to make mini muffins out of these delicious mangoes. I prefer mini muffins to muffins because they are smaller, good for a quick bite and can be very appealing. If you don't have a mini muffin tray, you can use a regular muffin/ cupcake tray (baking time will increase by about 10 minutes), but I would urge you to get yourself the mini muffin tray. A few online stores seem to sell them. Mini muffins look very cute and you can serve them at a party or take them to your friend's house or to your child's play date and they will be immediately liked. You can even slip one into your child's tiffin box.


1 ½ cups Maida or all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
¾ cup sugar
3 to 4 cardamom pods
½ cup melted butter OR ghee
½ cup thick yogurt/ curd
2 large or medium mangoes (for 1 cup thick
mango pulp)

Note :
- I used 2 regular sized mangoes for the pulp/ puree. For best results use ripe and sweet mangoes.
- All ingredients, specially the mango, should be at room temperature.

In a bowl, combine maida and baking soda and keep aside.
Discard the skin and blend cardamom with sugar for about 10 seconds. Take this powdered sugar into a large bowl. Add ghee and mix well. Get rid of lumps. To this add curd and mix thoroughly. Get rid of lumps.

To make the puree, chop mangoes roughly and blend for 10 to 15 seconds or till you get a fine puree. Measure out one cup [You may need more mango depending on the size. ] Add puree to the above mixture and mix really well. Get rid of lumps. You don't want any lumps.

To this, add the maida+baking soda little by little and mix thoroughly [ I used my handheld whisk. You can use an electric hand mixer to get a smooth mix.]  Make sure you get rid of lumps. The batter should be smooth and lump-free.

Preheat the oven to 170˚C or 340˚F.

Line a mini muffin tray with paper liners. If you don't have a mini muffin tray you can use a regular muffin tray. The baking time will vary.
Using two spoons get the batter into each liner till it's 3/4th full.
Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, till the muffins are done and a fork inserted in the centre comes out clean.
[If you are using a regular muffin tray, bake for about 22 minutes.]

Allow to cool. You can frost these muffins and make cute cupcakes out of them. [If you are using a regular muffin tray and you realise only later that the inside in still a little sticky, then refrigerate the muffins and they should be good after an hour].

Enjoy these cute treats with your family or friends!

Friday, March 7, 2014

(H)ap(p)y 4th B'day Apy Cooking! Celebrating with Churmundo (Wheat Flour Laddoos)

Long before I relished rasgullas and rasmalai, tasted tiramisu and tres leches, or polished off pies and puddings, the homely, humble and hearty burst-in-the-mouth churmundo, stood tall as one of my most favourite desserts in my early childhood. Memories of my granny, Amma and Pachi (aunt) sitting around a huge vessel and shaping these laddoos as I hovered around 'sampling' a couple here and a couple and a half there are still very vivid.  

Today being the 4th 'Bloggiversary' of Apy Cooking, I thought of making these simple, easy laddoos  just to walk down the memory lane a little bit, and sought help from my Pachi for the measures. There are a few variations to this laddoo - some people add besan (gram flour) and some prefer to throw in raisins and cashewnuts.  I have kept it simple with the usual four ingredients.

Ingredients :
2 cups wheat flour (chapati atta)
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp ghee
1 1/4 cup sugar
7 to 8 cardamom

Note: Reduce sugar if you don't like the laddoos very sweet.


Pour 1/2 cup ghee into a  heavy bottomed pan and place on low heat.  When the ghee turns slightly warm, add wheat flour little by little and keep mixing and roasting for about 10 to 15 minutes on low heat till you get a nice aroma and the flour appears to change in colour. Remove from heat and keep aside till it cools completely.
Meanwhile, grind sugar along with cardamom (skin removed) in a blender for about 15 seconds till you get a fine powder. Add this powdered mixture to the roasted flour. Mix really well. Add another 2 tbsp ghee and mix well (knead with your palm).  Grease your palms with a little ghee and taking about a fistful of mixture at a time, shape into lime-sized balls.

To shape the laddoos, press the mixture by tightening your fist and move it along the fist as you press it hard. As the laddoo gets it's shape, decrease the pressure, or else it can collapse in your palm. 

You can add a little more ghee to the mixture if the balls don't hold their shape. Just mix well again and rework the laddoos.

The recipe yields 20 to 22 laddoos.


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