CLASSIC MARGHERITA PIZZA

Sourcing Authentic Ingredients for making global cuisine has always been a headache for me… The Place where I live does not have Walmart’s , Food Halls or any other big grocer giants where you can get all international products. So , At times I get irritated that I cannot explore my potential…. rather I cannot make what I want to…What A Bummer ! But I got to make peace with it. Then I try harder to make the best out of what I have with me. So this Margherita Pizza that you see is sans ‘San Marzano Tomatoes/ Plum Italian Tomatoes and fresh Mozzarella ( Buffalo or otherwise)’

But This Pizza was nothing less than Delicious for me and my Fam ! I used : Amul’s Mozzarella Cheese, Rolled out the Pizza Dough at Home, @Dr. Oetkers Pizza Sauce, Regular Tomatoes and plucked few Fresh Basil Leaves from my Garden !

Coming back to my dough making story – Making Homemade Pizza dough is such a fun task. Its a time consuming process but a very satisfactory one though ! I love kneading with hands ( like many do) shaping the dough , the whole process , ahh The Joy of biting into a perfectly baked crust is something else, don’t you agree ? Making this pizza from scratch has given me some different kind of confidence I would say. Will be exploring many variants hereafter ! Meanwhile ,whilst I bask into my pizza making glory… y’all may take a look at my Margherita Pizza Recipe !

Margherita Pizza – Some Say Margherita Pizza Is A Neapolitan Pizza that was named after Queen of Italy Margherita of Savoy, some also say that the Pizza got its name because of the daisy flower shaped arrangement of mozzarella and basil leaves since Margherita translates to ‘Daisy’ in Italian.Whatever the origin is. It was definitely a beautiful creation out of few and simple ingredients !

Preparation Time : 2 Hours

Cooking Time : 30 minutes

Yields: 2 – 12 inch Pizzas

INGREDIENTS:

1) Homemade Pizza Dough:

•3 1/2 cups of Plain Flour/ All Purpose Flour

•2 tsps Dry Active Yeast

•1 tbsp Sugar

•3 tbsps of Olive oil

•2 Cups of Warm Water

• Salt

2) Other Ingredients:

•Pizza Sauce

•Pepper Powder

•Mozzarella Cheese

•Basil Leaves

•Mixed Herbs

Method :

1. Proof the Dry Active Yeast with 1 cup of warm water and a Tsp of sugar , mix well and let it sit for 5-6 minutes . The yeast will froth up ( Note :the water should be too hot or too cold it’ll kill the yeast if it’s so, check the temperature with a Thermometer should be around 110 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 to 40 degrees Celcius )

2. Sift the all purpose flour in a Big mixing bowl ,make a well , add a Tbsp of olive oil, a tsp of salt and add the frothy active yeast mixture.

3. Start kneading the dough,it’ll take about good 8-10 minutes, add only warm water to the dough (do not add mire water) and knead it well, it should be a soft dough.

4. Now Grease the bowl with little oil and let the dough rest for about 1 hour , cover it with a cloth and let it rise. Meanwhile you could make some salads or mock tails to go with your pizza, and get your toppings ready.

5. After about an hour the dough has risen and doubled its size, Punch your dough to release air bubbles and knead it again nicely. Now Divide the dough in two portions.

6. Preheat your oven at 250 degrees C for 20 minutes.

7. Lightly grease your Pizza Pan, Baking Sheet with Olive Oil.

8. Sprinkle some flour onto the work surface and start shaping the dough, you may shape your dough with your hands or use a rolling pin. Make a nice round shaped pizza working with light hands, making a 12 inch disc (using your hands is the best way of doing it )Shape it nicely and lift up the edges to create a rim.

9. Now gently lift up the shaped pizza and place it onto your pizza pan or baking sheet, let it rest for 5 minutes

10. Now take little olive oil and crush the garlic into it, brush this over the pizza base, smear a tbsp of Pizza sauce over the base making sure you don’t overdo it and dont do it Over the edges,

11. Time to added chopped/ shredded mozzarella cheese. Place the thinly sliced fresh Tomatoes over the Pizza, sprinkle some cracked pepper, and mixed herbs over it.

12. Bake it for about 15-20 minutes at 250 degrees Celcius,or until the crust looks lightly browned.

13. Once the Pizza is done, remove it from the oven top it with garden fresh Basil. Slice it and serve immediately.

EGGLESS HONEY CAKE

This one is pure Nostalgia ! A Childhood Favourite, way before all the black forests, chocolate truffles , Chocolate mousse pastries hit our Indian Markets. My love for this cake began in Bengaluru , where we used to happily relish it during our vacations to my granny’s place ! An evening stroll around my granny’s house meant nothing but ‘Benne Biscuits’ , honey cakes and Dilpasand’ ! From Iyengar Bakery ! Also I love it so much because my mother loves them too, unlike me, she literally grew up eating them.She introduced these delicacies to us. So you know now how exactly I fell in love with this cake !

For the uninitiated honey cake is a famous Iyengar Bakery delicacy.
It’s a simple vanilla sponge cake drenched in honey syrup and topped with strawberry jam/mixed fruit Jam glaze and Dessicated coconut. I must say I nailed this one… m very bad at baking…. so this one was amazeballs , perfect to the core ! so yayy , pat on my back 🤗 Take a note of my recipe below , go ahead and bake it for your loved ones ❤️

Preparation Time : 15 minutes

Cooking/Baking Time: 50-60 minutes

Serves: Makes around 8 pieces

For the vanilla sponge cake :

• All purpose flour/Maida- 2 Cups

• Baking Powder-1 tsp

• Baking Soda-1/4 tsp

• Pinch of salt

• Powdered Sugar – 1 Cup

• Vegetable Oil -3/4 Cup

• Fresh Curd -3/4 Cup

• Vanilla Essence -1 tsp

• Milk -1/2 cup

For Honey syrup:

• 2 tbsps Sugar

• 1/4 cup water

• 1/4 cup honey

For Jam Glaze :

• Mixed Fruit Jam/ Strawberry Jam -3-4 tbsps

Dessicated coconut: ( you may use store bought too) I didn’t find it here( thanks to lockdown🙄) so I made it at home !!

Break a coconut , Cut fresh coconut pieces and remove the outer skin. Only white pieces are used. Now pulse them coarsely in a blender. Now take that grated coconut and dry roast them without browning on a low flame until all the moisture dries off. It takes about 10-15 minutes for the process. Once it cools off, store it in an air tight container.

Method:

• Wet ingredients: In a bowl add Curd,powdered sugar, vanilla essence ,vegetable oil and milk ,whisk them all together for a good 5 minutes.

• Preheat your oven at 180 degrees for 10 minutes.

• Dry ingredients: In another bowl sieve the plain flour, add baking powder, baking soda and a pinch of salt mix together very well. Now take all these mixed dry ingredients and add it to a bowl of wet ingredients. Use cut and fold method and mix everything together nicely and gently. Do not mix rigorously.Batter should be of pouring consistency.

• Now grease your cake tin ( preferable use a square cake tin) with little oil/butter and place a parchment paper in your cake tin. Pour the cake batter into it and tap the cake tin ,so that no air pockets are formed. Place your cake tin into your oven and bake it for 40-45 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.

• Insert a tooth pick if it comes out clean it means your cake is done !

• Take out the cake tin ,Let the cake cool.

• Now in a sauce pan add sugar , water and honey ,boil it for few seconds on medium flame while stirring in between till the syrup thickens a bit. Once done transfer it to a bowl.

• Now in the same pan take mixed fruit jam and melt it on a medium flame. Take it off the heat and place it aside.

• Take the cake off the tin and place it on a platform now poke few holes into it using skewers or tooth pick,start pouring the sugar +honey syrup into the holes. The cake absorbs al the syrup instantly.

• Time to top the cake with melted jam. Spread the melted jam all over the cake evenly.

• Sprinkle dessicated coconut all over the cake and let it rest for 10 minutes.

• Cut the cake into pieces and serve it immediately.

KOTHIMBIR VADI | CILANTRO AND CHICKPEA FLOUR FRITTERS

This delicious plate of Kothimbir Vadi seems perfect for this weather right ? These crispy cilantro/ coriander leaves and chickpea flour fritters are insanely delicious & full of flavours. I love how easy and effortless this Maharashtrian snack is. Takes very few ingredients and could be made in no time. It’s also served as a snack/sidey in a Maharashtrian Thali. I Love to eat these crisp, gluten free cakes as a Tea- Time Snack ! Take a look at my recipe for it.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time : 25 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • Fresh Coriander leaves – 2 Cups
  • Besan/ Chickpea flour – 1 Cup
  • Rice Flour -1/4 cup
  • Turmeric powder- 1tsp
  • Red Chilli Powder – 1tsp
  • Green chillies Garlic Paste – 2tbsps
  • Baking Soda-1/4 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Water to knead the dough
  • Oil to shallow fry

Method:

  • Wash the fresh coriander leaves thoroughly , pat them dry on a towel nicely. Finley chop them and add it to a big mixing bowl.
  • Add chickpea flour, rice flour, turmeric powder,a bit of red chilli powder, chilli garlic paste, cumin seeds , white sesame seeds,baking soda/eno and salt to taste.
  • Mix everything well, add just a bit of water and knead the dough, the coriander leaves will get sweaty after some time, hence add very little water.
  • Apply some oil on your palms (to avoid the stickiness) knead it nicely to make a smooth dough.Once the dough is ready drizzle little oil and grease your pan. I have used a cake pan to steam the dough. You may use a tray or a plate to steam your dough.
  • you may steam the dough in a pressure cooker, steamer or an Idli Patra. (I used Idli Patra)
  • Steam the dough for about 15-20 minutes. Once done, remove the pan and let it cool off. Now ,loosen up the edges with a knife, flip the steamed dough on a flat surface and cut them into square pieces.
  • now you may shallow fry/ air fry or deep fry these Kothimbir Vadis. I always prefer shallow frying them. Serve it with ketchup or chutney along with a cup of Chai.

Notes:

•you may skip adding Baking Soda to the batter.

• you may also freeze these vadis and store them in a zip lock bag for later use.

MOONG DAL PAYASAM | MOONG DAL KHEER

A very Simple humble dessert prepared using yellow moong beans that are soaked for about 2-3 hours and pressure cooked for a whistle and further cooked & flavoured with jaggery, cardamom and coconut milk.

Here, I made a paste of grated coconut and khus khus added it to the kheer along with milk ,sweetened it with jaggery and later added in ghee fried, cashews, raisins and almondettes( Chironji/charoli) I also added in a hint of nutmeg to make the kheer so very flavourful 🧡 an easy kheer recipe to make it on special occasions or rather anytime you wish to !

ANDHRA- STYLE RAW MANGO DAL | MAMIDIKAYA PAPPU

There are myriad ways in which Raw Mangoes are used in our Indian Kitchen. Kacchi Kairee/ Kaccha Aam is used to make Aam Panna ( Indian Summer coolant) it’s cut pieces are also added to Bhel to give that extra crunch and tart. It’s also used in Panakam, ( juice) lentil salad (Koshimbir) . And who doesn’t like Smearing salt and chilli powder over Kacchi kairee pieces huh ??? Amirite ? tastes absolutely divine !

It’s also used in varieties of dal. Raw mango as a ‘souring agent’ in Dal is such a refreshing change though ! One such popular dal made in most Telugu households is ‘MAMIDIKAYA PAPPU’ ( RAW MANGO DAL). It’s absolutely delicious. This pappu (dal )is prepared using raw mangoes, toor dal and green chillies. The tanginess of raw mangoes, the heat from green chillies and the tempering makes this dal darn delicious. I got few Raw mangoes from a vendor who stopped by our street, it’s a blessing to get vegetables and fruits in such difficult times . I am definitely making this again whenever I get raw mangoes.This dal goes so well with a hot plate of rice ,some pickle and poppadum as accompaniments. Read Further to note down my recipe.

Ingredients:

  • Toor dal/ Split Pigeon Peas – 1 Cup
  • Turmeric Powder- 1 tsp
  • Raw Mango – 1 peeled and sliced into small pieces
  • Ginger+Garlic Paste – 1 tsp
  • Jaggery ( to balance the sourness) Optional
  • Salt to Taste

For Tempering :

  • Ghee or oil – 2tbsps
  • Mustard seeds – 1tsp
  • Methi/ Fenugreek seeds- 1/4 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • A pinch of Asafoetida/hing
  • Green chillies – 2 slit lengthwise
  • Onion – 1 medium finely chopped
  • Dry Red chilly – 1-2

Method:

• Rinse and wash the toor dal thoroughly and pressure cook along with a tsp of turmeric powder and ginger-garlic paste & cut mango pieces,for about 3-4 whistles or until the dal is done.

• Now once the pressure settles open the lid and mash the lentils nicely.

Now off to tempering:

•In a small Pan heat 2tbsps oil or ghee add mustard seeds and let it crackle, then add in Methi seeds, add Finley chopped onions, slit green chillies, a pinch of hing & curry leaves and dry red chilly .Let the onions turn translucent. turn off the heat.

• Now add this tempering to your cooked dal. Add in salt to taste and add little jaggery to balance the sourness.Mix everything well and let the dal simmer on a low flame for about 5-8 minutes.

• Andhra- Style Raw Mango Dal is ready , serve it piping hot along with rice , dollop of ghee and poppadums!

KASHAYA | KAADHA | HERBAL DRINK


Kashaya is an immunity booster drink made out of few spices that helps fight cold, cough , sore throat & phlegm. This medicinal drink could be easily brewed with the basic spices from your kitchen !

I have used these spices (dry roasted them and blended Into fine powder) Coriander seeds + Fennel Seeds (Saunf) + Cumin Seeds + Black Pepper Pods + Dry Ginger Powder + Cardamom + Cloves + Turmeric Powder.

You may just consume the decoction by boiling water+ Kashaya powder or add milk to it. I prefer adding milk and sweeten it with Jaggery. Remember if you are adding Tulsi, Do not add milk

SAARINA PUDI | RASAM POWDER

The hypnotic aroma of these roasted Indian spices is pure magic !! I just love that aroma. I made a fresh batch of Rasam Powder yesterday and I immediately added the freshly ground powder to my Tomato Rasam & boy it was Hella Good !! I loved it totally !

It feels so nice to make Saarina Pudi /Rasam powder all by myself now, all these years I’ve watched my mum making it, now I do it all by myself for the family. I use Rasam Powders in Gojju Recipes & for various types of Rasams . I also add a bit in My Sambars too. I am sharing my Rasam powder recipe here,do try it out !

Ingredients:

  • Oil- 2tbsps
  • Coriander Seeds / Dhania Seeds – 2 cups
  • Mustard Seeds- 2tsps
  • Fenugreek Seeds- 1tbsp
  • Black Pepper – 1tbsp
  • Cumin Seeds – 1/2 cup
  • Byadagi Red Chillies – 35
  • Guntur Red Chillies – 25
  • Turmeric Powder- 1tsp
  • Fresh Curry Leaves – 2-3 sprigs
  • Hing – 1/2 tsp

Method:

  • Take a Kadai and heat 2tbsps of oil , add in mustard seeds ,fenugreek seeds, black pepper pods and hing start roasting on a low flame until the mustard seeds splutter.
  • Now add in Cumin seeds, and both varieties of Red Chillies and roast them on a low flame. (Do not roast these spices on a high flame.) roast them till they get hot, keep lifting these spices with a ladle and roast them.
  • Now quickly add curry leaves , coriander seeds and turmeric powder and begin roasting.roast them till you get a fragrant aroma of it and till they turn golden brown.
  • Now turn off the flame once everything is roasted transfer it to a plate and let it cool.
  • Once all these spices cool off , transfer it to your mixie jar and blend it into fine powder. transfer it into an airtight container and store it in a cool and dry place.

Notes: I have roasted all the spices together on a low flame, You may roast them individually and then mix them together and blend.

SHEER KHURMA

EID MUBARAK 🌙


To all my friends who are celebrating!! SHEER KHURMA – A traditional Eid delicacy, A very popular & must have dessert recipe during Eid ,is made using fine Vermicelli which is roasted in ghee and cooked in full fat milk, sweetened with chopped dates / sugar and of course its loaded with dry fruits, ghee , saffron and rose petals/essence🌹

I am writing the recipe down below in short !!

•Roast the fine Vermicelli in Ghee till it turns golden and rust orangey in colour .

•Add in full fat milk , drop in few saffron strands and boil, keep stirring in between so that the Vermicelli does not get stuck to the bottom of the pan.

•Now keep the flame low and add in sugar, cardamom powder and a little bit of rose essence mix everything well.

•and lastly garnish with ghee roasted nuts of your choice & edible rose petals

•Serve warm or chilled 🌹

Stay Home, Stay Safe !

Royal Rajasthani Platter – Dal Baati Churma

Rajasthani cuisine is a huge gastronomical affair. Out of many such delicacies Dal Baati Churma is the most loved and endeared food of the people of Rajasthan! A big meal in itself, which is wholesome and Satisfying ! I first had it in Udaipur around 6 years back and fell in love with it. Small round baatis made of wheat, semolina & ghee are cooked over tandoor which lends a nice smoky aroma when mixed with Dal. The Dal is made using 3-4 variants of lentils and simmered with basic spices. Dal & Baati are ideally served along with Churma which is made by crushing the unsalted Baatis and adding ghee+sugar/jaggery along with few nuts.The only rule here is to eat everything with UNGODLY amounts of GHEE !! Dip the baatis into the ghee, crush em and pour dal over it and Devour !

Baati
Churma

Holy Elixir- Teertha/ Teertham

We make Teertha/Teertham at our home daily.. for the uninitiated , Teertha is a holy drink that is offered as a ‘Prasadam’ in Temples to the devotees who come to oblige before God and offer prayers! It is believed to have medicinal properties and it cleanses your system. There are many ways to make teertham. Some add cloves, some add saffron or Bael leaves to the teertha. Teertha is also prepared at home by taking some water and mixing it with holy basil leaves I.e Tulsi, edible camphor and cardamom by chanting a mantra( Hindu sacred Hymn) I made this Teertha today which I believe is the best DETOX WATER ! I Just added in rose petals ( boiled it a bit) then added in a pinch of edible camphor , Tulsi leaves and cardamom pods into it.
Also this is my entry to the #belightinspireddrinks photography challenge hosted by @twolovesstudio & @bealubas 💕 was excited to participate in this photography challenge. For me the most mesmerising light is the natural Light – Sunlight !

TEERTHA -Water + Rose petals+ Edible Camphor + + Tulsi + Cardamom