Wednesday, December 8, 2010



First of my apologies for not updating this blog for quite sometime. Today I am posting something very crucial for all the people who love working with yeast.

Yeast can be fun to work with in summer but it became a challenge for me. With the temperature dropping the yeast started taking a long time to rise and that’s when I started asking my friends what methods did they use during winter.

I got to know many options which even I was using but did not help me to my satisfaction, like keep the dough near the gas stove, preheating the oven etc. I then wrote to Katy of Food For Hungry Soul  stating my agony with yeast and she was kind enough to write back to me in great detail. Thanks so much Katy,I am copying the mail here for every one to read.

“The first thing is to turn the pilot light on in your oven, and set a steaming hot bowl of water in the bottom of your oven.  Put your covered bowl of dough on a rack over the bowl of water and close the oven door.  Enough warmth should be generated between the bowl of water (which may have to be changed a couple of times during rising time to keep it hot) to raise your dough.The dough may be a little moist on the bottom from using this method, but if it's the first rising, it should be okay as you can add more flour when you form it for the second rising.

The second method is to ever so gently warm your oven on the lowest possible heat setting and then immediately turn the oven off.  Put your covered dough into the oven and close the door.  This method can be a little tricky if you have let your oven heat too long, but generally works well if you are attentive.

The last method I use is a variation of the first method, especially for the second rise.  I set my prepared pan of bread dough over (but not in) a bowl of hot water on my stove top (or on my kitchen table in the direct sunlight), cover it so that the covering does not touch the dough (you may have to make a tent somehow.  I tend to use tall drinking glasses and a clean white dish towel). If your pan of prepared dough is too small to sit atop the pan of water, set a cooling rack over the pan of hot water and then your pan of prepared dough.”

I liked Katy’s idea of using warm water bath but since it required replacing the water again and again as it would cool down fast in winter and I am not a very patient person, so my hunt for my kind of method was still on.

A few days back I sat down to read the manual of my microwave oven. Now, I do have a good microwave oven which not only has convection but also has steaming, grilling and broiling facility too. While reading the manual I realized that the oven can be set in temperature range for a time period of your choice. I thought this should solve my problem and for trial  I set my oven in  a temperature range of 40C-50 C for half an hour and checked it’s temperature using a thermometer  after half an hour,  was extremely happy to see that it worked.

So today, I made sweet chelsea buns and after kneading the dough I kept it to rise in the oven which was set in the temperature range 40-50C for an hour and I got a raised dough in 35mins. This method is very safe and convenient as there is no chance that the oven will get overheated at the same time it does not need one to be constantly vigilant. Once you have kept the dough to rise and set the timer, one is free to complete other chores. It is a great method for people like me who do not have loads of patience.

I hope all the yeast lovers would find this method easy to try. At the same time if you have any further suggestions, please leave me a note in the comment box. Will surely update this post with more methods that I get to know.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Basic Eggless Sponge Cake



Today I am sharing yet another basic recipe but this time of a cake. Sponge cake is used in making many desserts and thus has it’s own importance. Since I was planning to make an eggless dessert ( trifle) so made an eggless sponge cake using condensed milk.

As the name suggests the sponge cake is very spongy, when you press the crust it springs back. It’s spongy texture is utilized in making gateaus, pastries where the cake soaks the fruit juices and makes the dessert extremely soft to eat. The sponge texture is achieved by making the batter properly aerated which is achieved by beating but at the same time over beating  can also spoil the cake.

My cake did not become very spongy as I faced three power breaks while baking. As you know baking needs a continuous supply of energy else the end result gets affected. Nevertheless, I still baked the cake and got a decent sponge.


60 gms white butter

1-1/2 cups/125 gms APF

2 tbsp sugar

1/2 can condensed milk

3/4 tsp level soda bicarb

3/4 tsp baking pwd

100 ml soda water

1 tsp vanilla essence


Sift the APF, soda bicarb and baking powder together.


Cream the butter and sugar.



Add the condensed milk and beat again.

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Add the vanilla essence and mix.


Also add the soda water and beat.



Add the APF mix gradually and beat till all the flour gets completely incorporated.

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Grease a 7” dish and pour the cake batter in it gently, precaution should be taken for minimum handling of the batter so that the air trapped in the batter does not escape.


. Bake for 35-40 mins or till the toothpick comes out clear in a preheated oven at 150C.


  I utilized this sponge cake in making coffee trifle.


Sending the sponge cake to my event  ‘Only’- Kids delight.

only kids delight

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How To Make Frozen Peas At Home

Hi Friends.

Today I share another important technique used in the kitchen for storage, that's freezing. In this fast moving , hasty world we tend to use many frozen products as they come out handy. Freezing helps us store seasonal vegetables for a longer time and one of the most commonly used  frozen vegetable  is Peas. The peas made in this way can be stored in the freezer for an year. My mom used to make frozen peas  and now I follow the same trend and make them in winter when one gets peas at a cheaper rate (helps me save a few hundreds in the year).

The procedure is very simple..


Peas shelled

water for cooking

a large pan

Thick towel

zip lock bags

slotted ladle


Take a pan and take enough water in that. Once the water starts boiling add the shelled peas (do this in batches, I made about 8kgs).



Once the peas are blanched you will see them moving to the top surface and floating there, remove them.


Once the entire batch is done, spread it on  a thick clean towel and allow them to cool.


Once cooled, fill them in washed and dried zip lock bags and place them in the freezer.


Once frozen they can be thawed and used.

Sending this to Jaya’s Back to Basics Event.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Masala Potato Upma

This is a traditional Upma from Karnataka that is made on festive occasions or in weddings. It is quite quick to make if you have the Palya Podi in hand. At my place I have my three podis in stock all the time Saaru/ Rasam podi, Palya and Sambhar podi.
Morning when I asked S what he would like to have for breakfast he demanded this Upma. He is very fond of this as it's quite flavorful and spicy. It tastes best with ghee on top and curds to go with it. A perfect wholesome breakfast.

(serves 2)

2 medium potatoes cut into small cubes
about 3/4 cup semolina
1 tbsp of urad-chana dal mix
1 sprig of curry leaves
3 tbsp Palya podi
3 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
cup and a half of boiled water
salt to taste
chopped cilantro


Heat oil and the mustard. Add the dal mix. Once it turns golden in colour add the curry leaves. Put the chopped potatoes, salt to taste and the palya podi. Mix thoroughly.
Tip in the semolina and saute it with the entire mix thoroughly Keep the flame on low(to avoid splattering) and add the boiled water gradually and keep mixing simultaneously. Stop adding water the minute you see that the semolina has absorbed the water and doubled in volume.
Cover and steam cook for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle some chopped coriander and add a dash of ghee and serve it along with some curds.


While making Upma one must ensure that a right quantity of oil is being used else the Upma turns dry and hurts the throat while eating. If you feel that the Upma looks dry on completion, put a tablespoon of ghee and mix.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bottle gourd in yogurt gravy.

Hello every one!
Welcome to my new blog Kitchen Basics.
My friends might wonder why another food blog. Well this blog is for all the beginners who have not ventured into the kitchen yet. I will be posting simple recipes which are helpful in every day cooking as well as recipes which are very basic. These are the recipes for which the trained cooks might say why does this recipe needs to be posted, it's way too simple. I am writing these post for my kids, who when they grow up and start cooking, whenever they want to refer, can just peep in this blog, read and cook.
Bottle gourd as we all know is a very nutritious, extremely rich in minerals and vitamins. Because of it's bland taste it is disliked by many. It is an extremely good vegetable to eat when it comes to summer as it's easy to digest. Every time I cook bottle gourd I want it to taste appetising and folks  not to complaint for that. I have posted various versions of cooking bottle gourd in my other blog Foodelicious a few of which are

This particular version is a blend of Kadhi and Curry. It has the tanginess of Kadhi and is spicy as a Curry goes perfect with rice as well as phulka. Light to eat and quick to digest.

1 medium Bottle Gourd Peeled, seeded and chopped
To be mixed together
1/2 cup of sour curds
1 tbsp besan
1 tsp red chili pwd
2 tsp coriander pwd
2 tsp kitchen king masala
1 tsp jeera pwd
salt to taste
1 tsp amchoor pwd
oil to cook and mustard seeds for baghar
a pinch of asafetida
Mix all ingredients under 'to be mixed' to a smooth paste. Add a cup of water and further dilute it.
Heat oil and add mustard seeds, followed by asafetida and bottle gourd. Mix thoroughly and cook it  covered for a few minutes.
Add in the diluted paste  and give a stir. Cook it covered again till it's done. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve.