Black Forest Cake

I had to bake a cake for my husband’s Boss Birthday .I am so proud of it since it was quiet a success. Everybody liked it. I wanted to try this cake since a long time. But, I never had the courage to do so. Always had a big doubt about making whipping cream..At first, I was not sure what it is. The 1st time I tried to make, I used Amul cream and whipped with Fork.. Oh God, that was a disaster. After that incident, I researched a lot; I wanted to join a baking class too. However, in my city, it is hard to find baking classes on weekends. On a week day, it is just not possible. Hence, I went through many blogs, youtube and then finally found a store where I could find whipping cream. Believe me or not, I started having night mares two days before I had to actually bake the cake that the whipping cream was disaster 2nd time too. The good bakers must be laughing after reading the story.


2 cups Flour sieved
1/2 cup German Coco Powder sieved
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar sieved
4 eggs
100 grams butter
1 cup milk
3 tsp baking powder ( 2 tsp baking powder + 1/2 tsp baking soda)
1 tbsp vanilla essence

For Frosting :
200 grams whipping cream( Don’t confuse with Amul Cream, it is different. I am not sure if you can use the cream that sits on top of milk. For Puneites, please note whipping crème is available in Dorabjee, Camp, ABC Farms, Koregaon Park and in some DMart Stores)
4 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence

For the syrup:

1/2 cup water
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Some Cherries (15-20) and 1 Chocolate Bar

Method to bake :

Bring eggs and butter to room temperature.
Whisk butter and sugar together till mixed well.
Add 4 eggs to it one after another. Keep blending with electric beater.
Add vanilla essence.
Mix flour, sugar, coco powder, baking powder and baking soda well with a spoon.
Add 2 tbsp at a time to the batter. Keep blending at the same time.
Once all the flour is added , add milk and blend for few minutes till a ribbon like consistency is achieved.
Grease a baking tray on the sides . Cut out a butter paper and place on the bottom.
Pour the batter into the baking try and bake for 45 minutes in a pre-heated oven (at least 15 minutes) at 180 degree centigrade.
Do a clean toothpick test to check if cake is baked properly.
Allow the cake to cool down.
Turn it over an iron rack. Cake comes out clean.
Remove the butter paper. The sign of a perfect baked cake is when there isn’t a dome formed at the top. The top should be flat.(I read it somewhere) This time it was flat indeed.
Once, cake is completely cool, take a serrated knife to cut cake into 3 parts. This requires quiet a skill. If you don’t have that, use a fine strong thread to cut the cake. Hold the rack tightly/ask somebody to hold it. You can move the thread across the cake. It cuts perfectly .Gently place the pieces on three different plates.

For whipping the cream:

Take a steel container deep bowl and beater and put in freezer for at least 1 hour .
Put the whipping cream in freezer for at least 15 minutes.
Take another container bigger than the steel container taken above and pour ice cubes and some cold water in it. Now place the steel container in it. This is called giving an ice bath. The whipping cream needs to be beaten at 5 degree centigrade
Pour the whipping cream into the container and beat with electric beater, starting with low and gradually increasing speed.
Once you see volume has increased slightly, add sugar and vanilla essence at this time.
Beat again till you get soft peaks. This should take about 4-5 minutes. Remember not to over beat as whipping cream will generate butter and then there is no going back.

Chop some cherries and keep few aside for decorating

For assembling the cake:

Take a thick cardboard and cover with aluminum foil.
Take 1 tbsp cream and spread evenly on the board. Keep the 1st layer of cake on it. It prevents cake from slipping off. Sprinkle some syrup on the 1st layer. This prevents cake from drying out.
Now place a good dollop of cream over it. Spread it evenly. Spread some chopped cherries evenly.
Put the second layer gently and repeat the steps. Put the third layer also.
Cover the whole cake with remaining cream. Grate some chocolate and place it as shown the picture.
Decorate with Cherries and our Black Forest cake is ready.

Clustered Beans with Sesame Powder

Ingredients :
3 cups clutered bean cut into 1 cm long pieces
1 potato, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 big onion chopped
3-4 curry leaves
1 tsp hing
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
5-6 garlic pieces crushed
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
2 tbsp roasted sesame seeds

Method to cook :
Boil water in a pan. Add clustered beans and cover with lid for 10-15 minutes. Beans becomes soft.
Heat oil. Add hing and curry leaves. Add mustard and cumin seeds.
Add onion and garlic. Sauté till brown.
Add beans, potatoes, chili powder, turmeric powder and salt. Cover and cook till done.
Add sesame seeds and mix well. Cook for some more time.
Serve hot with Rotis

Konkan Style Pomphret Fry

Ask your fishmonger to cut the pomphret into steaks.

Ingredients :

2 big pomphrets cut into steaks
1 small coconut grated
3-4 green chilies
3 kokum soaked in 1/2 cup warm water for an hour
1 inch ginger
4-5 big garlic pods
1 tbsp cumin seeds
salt to taste
1 tsp turmeric powder
Oil for Shallow Frying

Method to cook:

Roast grated coconut and cumin seeds on tawa till aroma comes out. Grind together with the rest of the ingredients except the fish.
Marinate the fish with the coconut mixture.
Heat oil in a tawa. Fry the Marinated Fish Steaks on both sides till done.
Enjoy the Fish Fry.

Egg Pulusu

I always prepared any gravy for a dish by adding tomatoes to add the sourness. However, recently I am trying out the tamarind version for a change.. I am quite happy with result.It gives variation to my cooking and slight change from the usual..Prepared Egg Pulusu .

Ingredients :

6 hard boiled egg. Remove shell and make deep cuts.You can tawa fry the eggs with little oil to make them golden from outside. Keep aside.

Make a paste of 1 onion, 1 tomato, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 2 green cardamom and 2 cloves after gently tossing them in 1 tsp oil.

1 inch ginger, 5 garlic pods and dry fenu greek leaves crushed
1 tsp sesame seeds ground to powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chili powder
2 tsp coriander powder
salt and sugar to taste
extract from 1 lemon size tamarind
coriander leaves for garnishing
2 tbsp beaten curd
4-5 curry leaves
1 tbsp oil

Method to cook:

Heat oil in wok. Add curry leaves, add the ginger garlic paste. Cook for sometime.
Add onion paste and cook till oil is separated.Add the dry powder masala and boiled eggs. Coat eggs well with mixture.
Add the beaten curd and cook for 4-5 minutes.
Add tamarind extract, sesame seed powder, salt, sugar and 1.5 cups of water. Bring it to boil.
Egg Pulusu is ready to be served.
garnish with coriander leaves

Khada Saaga(Green Bhaji) With Badi(Urad Daal Wadi)

This is an Oriya Side Dish. Very simple and comfort food. Oriya families generally eat it daily as it is available in plenty. It is cooked with Urad Daal Wadi which gives that Extra Punch.

Ingredients :

2 bunch of green saag (Khada Saga in Oriya and Hari Chaulai ki bhaji in Hindi)
3 large onion chopped
3 green chilies slit
5-6 garlic pods crushed
3 tsp oil
5-6 wadis
salt to taste

Method to cook :

Heat 1 tsp oil in a kadai. Add the wadis and cook till onion turns brown on both sides. Crush them coarsely.Keep Aside
Heat remaining oilin same kadai. Add the crushed garlic, green chilies and onion bhaji.Once onion turns brown, add the green bhaji and cook till it is soft and tender.
Add salt and crushed wadis. Mix well. Cover and cook for 2 minutes more.Saag is ready to be served.

Rajasthani Shahi Gatte ki Sabji

Ingredients :

For Gatte :

1 cup besan (gram flour)
1/2 cup chopped methi leaves
pinch of hing
salt to taste
pinch of turmeric
1 drop of oil
pinch of ajwain

Mix everything well with as little water as possible to form a tight dough.
Take small portions of it and mould it into cylindrical shapes of about 2 cm in diameter.
Heat water in a saucepan and put the gattas into it till they are tight and firm.
Take the gattas out of water. Cut into 1 cm thick pieces. Allow the gattas to cool down.

For the gravy :

1 tsp oil
1 cup curd
1 tbsp besan
1 onion chopped
4-5 curry leaves
1 tomato chopped
1 tsp ginger garlic crushed
2-3 black pepper corn
1 green chili slit
1 dry red chili
pinch of turmeric powder

Method to cook:

Heat oil in a kadai. Add onion, curry leaves, ginger garlic, green chilies, dry red chilies, black pepper corn and cook till onion turns brown.
Add tomatoes and cook till it is soft.Add the gattas to the kadai.
Beat curd well with besan.Add it to the kadai. Keep the flame on low.
Pour a cup of water, add salt to taste, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or till shahi gatte is ready.

Hyderabadi Baghara Baingan

I wanted to try this recipe since a long time..But getting good quality brinjal is sometimes a task. So when I found one, I instantly grabbed them...Also it was my moms bday..So I thought ,why not prepare this special dish to relish her bday..She had prepared mutton for her hubby on her bday back at home...I am managing with vegetarian food though not simple ,here at Pune.

Ingredients :

10-12 brinjals

To grind to paste :

2 big onions
1/2 inch ginger
6-7 garlic pods

To dry roast and grind to powder :

1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp dessicated coconut
A handful of peanutes
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seed
2 dry red chilies
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 bay leaf
1 black cardamom
1 green cardamom
2 laung
2-3 whole black pepper
1/4th inch cinamon stick

For baghar :
1/2 tsp onion seed(kalonji)
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
4-5 curry leaves
Extract from lemon size tamarind
1 tbsp oil
sugar and salt to taste

Method to cook :

Remove the head from brinjal and give two slits horizontally and vertically.Dont cut them completely into 4.
Heat oil in a pan. Add curry leaves, onion seed, fennel seed and mustard seeds.
As seeds start spluttering ,add the onion paste. Cook till it turns brown.
Add the brinjal and cook for few minutes.
Add the powder made above, tamaring extract, sugar and salt. pour about 1 cup of water. Cover and cook till done.
Serve hot with Rice/Roti

Vegetable Stuffed Shami Kebab

Ingredients :
1 cup channa daal soaked in water for 4-5 hours
1 cup chopped green beans
2 onions chopped
3 dry red chilies
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 black cardamom
2 green cardamom
2 laung
5-6 black pepper corn
salt to taste

For the stuffing :

Finely chopped onion
finely chopped mint leaves
finely chopped coriander leaves
chopped dry fruits (optional)
Mix everything well.

Method to cook :

Heat 1/2 cup of water in a pot. Add all the ingredients to it except the stuffing . Cover and cook till water is absorbed.
Grind to fine paste.
Divide the dough prepared into equal portions. Stuff with the stuffing made like stuffing the parathas.Give the shape of kebab. Once all kebabs are prepared, heat oil in a not stick pan.
Put the stuffed kebabs and cook on both sides till done.
Serve with mint chutney & chopped onions

Kaddu Gavar ki Sabji

Ingredients :

2-3 cups of chopped beans
1 cup chopped pumpkin
A handful of roasted and crushed peanuts
1 onion chopped
1 dry red chili broken to two
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp ajwain
2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chili powder
salt to taste
sugar to taste

Method to cook :
Boil water in a pan. As water starts boiling, add the gavar to it.Cover with a lid and switch off the flame.
Allow gavar to remain immersed in boiling water for 5 minutes.Strain and keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seed, fennel seed, dry red chili,ajwain and turmeric powder.
Add onion and cook till brown.
Add gavar, pumpkin, roasted peanuts. Mix well. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Open lid, add salt , sugar and cover and cook again for 2 minutes.
Its ready to be served with Roti

Mango Pickle - No Oil No Sugar (My Grand Ma's Recipe)

Recently I went for a vacation to my village, both mom and dad side. I saw my granny after a long long time.. She has grown old and leaner and thinner. Don't know I will get to see her again..But I Miss her so much.. This time she gave me the secret to her mango pickle recipe.. which I am going to cherish through out my life. And to make all you calorie conscious people happy, its absolutely sugar and oil free which can still be preserved for 15 years.

Ingredients :

3-4 cups Raw Mangoes Cut into Medium-large Size
1.5 -2 cups grated jaggery (can adjust depending on how sweet or sour you want it)
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp turmeric powder

To be ground to powder :

1/2 cup fennel powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp onion seed

Roast everything separately, mix and ground to a very fine powder.

Method :

Mix salt and turmeric powder to the mangoes and toss it well. Keep under direct sun for 3 four days.During these 3 days,drain any excess water .
Heat 2 tbsp water in kadai. Add jaggery. As it melts , add the sun dried mango pieces to jaggery.
Add the powdered spices. Cook for some time till jaggery becomes little darker.
Allow it to cool.
Store in air tight containers.