Thursday, March 31, 2011

Eggless Sponge Cake

As you all know that cake is synonymous with celebrations. So on my daughter’s birthday I thought, what better way to celebrate it than with a simple home baked cake. I chose a heart shaped pan to emphasize the fact that I am baking this cake from my heart!

The cake turned out so good that I wanted to decorate it but knowing that my daughter's dislike for icing, I refrained from doing it. So I thought of writing her name on it by piping it. I do not own an icing bag besides this was my first attempt at piping.

I prepared the icing cone from a food grade sandwich bag by folding it into a cone and then filled it with the icing mixture that I prepared. The first few letters came out fairly well and then the bag split due to the pressure that I applied on it. I had a tough time cleaning the mess and completing the remainder of the letters. Somehow I managed to complete what I wanted to convey though the result was not very refined.

Finally the look on my daughter’s face when she saw the cake (with her name on it) was all that mattered!!

Eggless sponge cake
  Fresh from the oven

Eggless sponge cake 1
Overturned cake after cooling it completely

Eggless sponge cake with icing
 My attempts at piping

Eggless sponge cake slices 1
Cake slices


Condensed milk
200 gms(or half a tin)
Maida (all purpose flour)
140 gms
75 ml
Baking powder
1 tsp
Baking soda
½ tsp
Mixed (chopped) dry fruits & nuts
about ¼ cup
Melted Butter
60 gms
Vanilla essence
¼ tsp


  1. Sift maida (flour), baking powder & baking soda together (twice) so that they are well combined.  Keep aside.
  2. Lightly smear the baking tin with butter and dust it with flour and keep aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade.
  4. Put all the cake ingredients (except mixed dry fruits& nuts) in a large bowl and beat well for about 10 minutes. An electric beater will do this job quickly.
  5. Now combine the mixed dry fruits & nuts into the batter.
  6. Pour the cake batter into the readied baking tin/pan and shake the pan a little to level the batter and bake at 200 degrees C for 10 mins.
  7. Then lower the heat to 150 degrees C and bake for another 15 mins.
  8. Allow it to cool for few minutes. Then turn it over.
  9. Let it cool thoroughly on a wire tray and then cut into desired slices or pieces.
  10. Decorate it with icing or just leave it plain.

Preparation time : 30 mins
Baking time        : 25 mins

  • Do not add the mixed dry fruits & nuts directly into the batter. Sprinkle a tsp of the flour (maida) over the dry fruits & nuts.  Mix it thoroughly and then gently fold it into the batter. This will prevent the dry fruits from sinking to the bottom of the cake.
  • For mixed dry fruits & nuts, I used dates, raisins, cashewnuts & walnuts.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

"Sambharbali Paan" (Oregano leaves) chutney

I am told that this chutney is quite common and known to the local people of Mangalore, Udupi & coastal areas of Karnataka. However, I was not aware of this chutney until my sister-in-law gave this recipe to me (sometime back) when she saw the "Sambharbali" plant in my balcony garden and ever since I have been preparing this simple,delicious and healthy chutney.
Generally, when my stock of coriander leaves (in the fridge) get exhausted, I pluck a few sambharbali Paan (oregano leaves) from my (balcony) garden and prepare this chutney as all the other ingredients necessary are generally available at home at any given time.

Sambharbali Panna  (Oregano) chutney


Sambharbali paan (oregano leaves)
8-10 medium size leaves
Jeera (cumin)
2 tsps
Coconut gratings
¾ cup
Green chillies
2 or as per taste
a marble sized lump
Ghee (clarified butter)
1 tsp
As per taste


  1. Wash the sambharbali paan (oregano leaves) thoroughly with water and pat dry them with a kitchen towel.
  2. Heat ghee in a pan. Add to it jeera and the sambharbali paan. Fry it on a low flame till jeera has turned light brown and the sambharbali leaves have wilted. Remove from the flame and allow it to cool..
  3. Grind all the ingredients (coconut gratings, fried and cooled jeera and sambharbalipaan, green chilies, tamarind, and salt) to a fine paste.

A variation: This chutney also tastes good when mixed with ½ a cup of curds (yoghurt) and can be served as raita.


This chutney goes well with idli, dosas, or chapattis or pakodas and can be used  as a sandwich spread too.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Methi Crispies

Hello folks ! I have been busy lately with a lot of commitments at home and celebrations too. The good thing about this is I had to prepare a lot of goodies which I shall share with you all !

This easy to prepare snack, apart from being tasty is also very healthy as these crispies are not deep fried but baked.
I made slight changes from the original recipe which had appeared in the Times of India column (Food Line) sometime back. And this time, I also doubled the quantity of the ingredients mentioned here.

The original recipe asked for fresh Methi (fenugreek) leaves or spinach. I have tried this recipe earlier using fresh fenugreek leaves. However, at the time of preparing this, I did not have fresh fenugreek leaves so I used Kasuri Methi (dried fenugreek leaves).  I did not find much difference in the taste.
In my opinion, using Kasuri Methi is a better option as it involves less work (no picking the tender leaves, washing, and chopping). :)

 Methi Crispies
This is the second batch I baked. The first batch I made were round in shape.

Methi Crispies 1
Cut into different shapes and ready to be baked.


Whole wheat flour
½ cup
Gram flour (besan)
½ cup
Chilly powder
1 tsp or as per taste
Turmeric powder
¼ tsp
Kasuri Methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
2 tbsps
A pinch
1 tsp or as per taste
about 1 cup for kneading


  1. Mix all the above ingredients together and make a stiff dough by adding enough water while kneading.
  2. Divide the dough into four balls.
  3. Roll out each ball like chapattis (not very thick) using wheat flour and with the help of a cutter, cut the chapattis into small round, heart or rectangular shapes.
  4. Prick each piece lightly with a fork.
  5. Continue till all the dough has been used.
  6. Arrange them on a well greased baking tray and bake in a hot oven at 150 degree C (or 330 degrees F) for 15 minutes.

Makes: about 20 pieces depending on the size and the shape.

Serving suggestion:
  • It can be had plain as it is or can be eaten with any chutney or ketchup or a dip
  • You can also serve it as a starter – place about 10 pieces on a plate. Top each piece with chopped onions, tomatoes, imli (tamarind) chutney etc. (Use your imagination) 


  • This is a good alternative to the fried snacks generally had during tea-time.
  • For round shape, I used doughnut cutter (detached the inner round piece), for heart-shape, I used heart-shaped patties mould and for rectangle shape, I used the “Tukdi” or “shankarpali” cutter.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Gulla Bajji (Green Brinjal Bajji)

“Guul” or “the right name for it would be “Matti Guul” (the GSB community knows it as). It is grown in a small village called “Mattu” and hence the name “Matti Guul”. This may look like a green brinjal to a layman but for the Amchis or GSB community, this is something to die for!

Legend has it that the seed for this variety was given by one of the swamiji’s of Shri Krishna Math in Udupi. Hence it has some divine connection !

This vegetable is seasonal (available during the months of Jan and Feb) unlike the normal brinjal which is available throughout the year. So, during this time of the year almost every housewife in Udupi, Mangalore and surrounding places will stock this vegetable and prepare various dishes as Gulla Bajji, Gulla Sagle, Gulla Phodi (one of the most sought after dish) and of course it can also be used in Sambhar, Gajbajje etc

This is a simple and a tasty dish. 

Gulla Bajji


Gullas (green Brinjal)
Green chilies ( chopped)
2 or more as per taste
Tamarind lump
Marble sized
½ tsp
As per taste
2 tsps
½ cup
Garnishing (optional)

Onion chopped
1- 2 tbsps
Corriander leaves chopped
1 tbsp


  1. Wash the Gullas and wipe them clean with a kitchen towel. Do not remove or cut the stalk – as with the help of this stalk you can easily roast the Gulla over the flame directly.
  2. Smear the Gullas with little oil and then roast them over the gas directly. Alternatively, If you have a conventional oven, then cover these Gullas with aluminum foil and roast them in the oven till they are cooked which will take approximately about 20 -30 mins. depending upon the type of your oven and the temperature settings.
  3. When cooled, peel the roasted Gullas and mash them with a potato masher OR use your hands to mash them and keep aside.
  4. In a bowl, crush chopped green chilies, salt, add to it tamarind, asafetida and water. Mix well.
  5. Add the peeled and mashed Gullas. Combine it well. Top it with 2 tsps of oil and mix again.
  6. Garnish with chopped onions and coriander leaves. This is optional.

Serves: 4

  • Traditionally, in this recipe, coconut oil is used. Any other oil can also be used.
  • This is geneally prepared as a side-dish  Goes well with chapattis too.
  • “Guul” can also be boiled and mashed but the taste of the “Bajji” will differ slightly. When roasted over flame, the taste is enhanced due to the slightly burnt skin of the Guul.
  • A roasting pan with handle is available which I find quite helpful and easy to use. But this time I roasted it in the oven.