Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Owl Cupcakes | Eggless Owl Cupcakes

 Learn how to make eggless owl cupcakes

Though this owl cupcake is easy to make, it is very time consuming. However, these are so cute and the kids will love them for sure. When I carried these for my son’s birthday party at School, the kids starting guessing the ingredients and enjoyed eating them so much. In fact, my son said.., whenever the other kids get cupcakes from stores, they scrape off the frosting and then eat the cup cake. But, in my case, most of the kids came to me and said.., they loved the frosting. They even thanked me for such cute cupcakes. So, all my efforts was well worth it. The icing of the cake was.., my son was so proud of his mom and he thanked me personally too.

Back to the recipe. I am not an expert in making cakes or cupcakes. I have got many requests to show how I made these owl cupcakes for my son’s birthday. You can customize it according to what is available at hand. Do not forget to refer the notes section as I am mentioning the alternatives to most of the items used.

Chocolate cupcakes: About 2 dozens or as much as you want, refer notes
Chocolate buttercream frosting: 1 lb or 1/2 kg, refer notes
Mini Oreos: 1 pack.
Chocolate chips (mini) : 1 pack  |OR|
M&M Chocolates: 1 pack (chocolate color or dark brown color), refer notes
Colorful Skittles: 1 pack, refer notes

Open the mini Oreos carefully with the white cream intact.
Using a knife, cut the other Oreo cookie in half, refer to the pics below.

Spread about a tablespoon or more of frosting on each cupcake.

Place 2 Oreo cookies with the cream side facing up (as shown below).

Dab a little frosting on to the mini chocolate chips and place them on top of the Oreo cookie.

Press in the skittle in the center (for the nose)

Use the cut oreo cookies to make ears. So, your owl cupcake is ready. Repeat the same with the other cupcakes. I made about 40 cupcakes.


  • You could use readymade plain cupcakes or make it using the cake mix. I made the cupcakes from scratch.
  • You could use store bought chocolate buttercream frosting and reduce your effort.
  • Skittles can be replaced with Gems (easily available in India)
  • M&M’s can also be replaced with chocolate colored gems or I am sure you get mini chocolate chips everywhere these days. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Spinach and apple bajji | Palak and apple gojju | Spinach and Apple Chutney

My son is in “chutney loving phase” now. Gone are his love for idli, dosa, and other South Indian dishes. He loves eating chutney now. He wants chutney three times a day and seven days a week. He wants to eat the chutney with hot rice. I challenge myself to make healthier chutney for him every other day. So, you can expect a lot of chutney recipes here J

This is one chutney I prepared couple of weeks ago and since then I have made it thrice already. It is delicious, healthy and easy to make. It takes about 20 mins to make this chutney.

Preparation Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins

Red apple: 1 large, refer notes
Spinach: 2 cups, tightly packed
Green bell pepper: ¼ cup, cubed
Green chili: 2-3 nos, according to taste
Turmeric: a big pinch
Tamarind: 1 small marble sized
Salt: As needed
Asafoetida: a big pinch
Brown sugar or jaggery: 1 tsp
Coconut: ¼ cup, fresh or frozen
Water: As needed

For tempering:
Coconut oil: 1 tsp
Mustard seeds: ¾ tsp
Curry leaves: 3-4 nos, torn


  • Wash, core and cube the red apples.
  • Wash the spinach thoroughly and roughly chop them. Slit the green chilies.
  • Add the spinach, cubed bell peppers, slit green chilies, turmeric and cubed red apples to a sauce pan. Add about a cup of water to it.
  • Boil the vegetables for 3-4 mins.  Add the tamarind, salt, jaggery and asafoetida to the sauce pan and boil until the vegetables are soft and tender.
  • Allow the mixture to cool. If you are using frozen coconut, add the frozen coconut to the vegetable mix and allow to cool.
  • Once the mixture comes to room temperature, make a coarse paste of all the ingredients. Do not add too much water. You can add the water that is used for cooking the spinach and apple. Use water wisely.
  • Scoop out the paste to a bowl and prepare the tempering.
  • Heat oil in a small wok. When oil is hot, throw in the mustard seeds. When mustard seeds crackle, throw in the curry leaves and turn off the heat.
  • Add the tempering to the chutney.
  • Mix well and serve it hot with rice or chapathi. 


  • I use red delicious apple or Fuji apple (sweeter apple) for preparing this chutney.  If you are using a sour variety of apple, make sure to use less tamarind and more jaggery.
  • Coconut oil tempering is perfect for this chutney, however you are free to use an oil of your choice. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Uppu Huli Dose | Uppu Huli Dosa Recipe | Sweet n Sour Dosa Recipe : Step by step pictures

South Indians are famous for their dosas. We can make dosa with whatever we have at hand. The South Canara and the Malnad region of Karnataka have their own specialties of dosas. They make cucumber dosa, banana dosa, heerekai dosa, neer dosa and this uppu huli dosa regularly for their breakfast.

Uppu translates to salt, huli to sourness. This uppu huli dosa has all the ingredients that you put to your rasam. So, sometimes they put in rasam powder along with the tamarind to prepare this dosa.
This dosa is nutritious and makes a complete meal. It has vegetables, lentils and rice. Perfect one pot meal kinda dish. You can eat it with butter, ghee, a mild chutney/dip or as is :)

There are two ways in which mom-in-law prepares this. One with the normal dosa batter that she has handy or by grinding soaked rice, toor dal and roasted spices. I am showing you guys the first and the easy one here. Do not forget to refer notes. I have some important tips for you there!

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 1-2 mins for each dosa
Serves: 6-7

Ingredients: (Makes about 25-30 dosas)
Left over dosa batter: ~4 cups
Salt: As needed, refer notes
Jaggery | Brown sugar: 2 tbsp
Spinach: 2 cups, heaped
Onion: 1 large, finely chopped

For the spice paste:
Oil: 1/2 tsp
Coriander seeds: 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds: 2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds: 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves: 4-6 nos, torn
Dry red chili: 4-6 nos, broken
Asafoetida: a big pinch
Grated coconut: 2 tbsp, fresh or frozen, refer notes
Thick tamarind extract: 2 tsp, refer notes

Other ingredients:
Oil: About 1/2 tsp for each dosa

Add oil to a small sauce pan and roast all the ingredients(except coconut and tamarind extract) mentioned for the spice paste until golden brown. Add the asafoetida towards the end.

Allow the spices to cool. Once cool blend all the spices along with coconut and tamarind extract to a smooth paste. Do not add too much water as the dosa batter will thin down.

Mix this spice mixture with the dosa batter. Throw in the salt, jaggery and mix.

Wash the spinach thoroughly and chop them fine. Chop the onions too.
Throw in the chopped spinach and onion. Mix well.

Allow the batter to rest for 5-10 mins.
Heat the griddle. Once hot, spoon a laddle full of batter on the griddle and spread it like a dosa. These will be like pancakes, a little thicker. Sprinkle oil on the sides of the dosa. Cook the dosa covered on a low-medium heat on both the sides for a minimum of 45secs to 1 min.
Once the dosa is cooked, serve it hot with a chutney or as is.
Repeat the same with the remaining batter.

Some of the chutney/dip recipes that go well with this dosa are:
Menthya gojju
Kadale bele chutney
Peanut-Mint Chutney

  • It is very important to cook the dosa on a low-medium heat. Because of the jaggery and the spices, the dosa will turn brown and even get burnt easily. So, take your time to cook them. I am stressing again
  • You could add other leafy vegetables like methi leaves (fenugreek leaves), amaranth leaves, or even cabbage (finely shredded) to make this dosa. 
  • Adjust the salt carefully as the left over dosa batter usually contains salt. 
  • If the left over dosa batter is sour, then add less amount of tamarind. I do not recommend sour dosa batter for this dosa. It is better to have fresh batter. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Menthyada Bajji | Menthya Gojju | Methi Chutney | Fenugreek seeds dip : Karnataka Recipe

Menthya Gojju is a Malenadu Specialty. Malenadu is a region of Karnataka State in India. It literally translates to "Rain Land". I belong to this region and I love love love this place. The fog covered mountains, the dense evergreen forest and the misty air are what this region is famous for. The moment I write or think about Malenadu, I literally go to the dreamland. It takes sometime for me to come back to reality.

I wish I could sit near the paddy fields, I wish I could soak in the rain, and I wish I could watch the fog covered, lush green mountains until my heart desires. I wish I go back there soon.......You can search for the Malenadu or Malnad region pictures to believe me.

Now back to the recipe. This side dish can be served with rice, dosa, pundi gatti (unde), idli or chapathi (Indian flat bread).

Preparation Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 5 mins

Channa dal | Gram dal | Kadalebele: 1/4 cup
Urad dal | Black gram dal | Uddinabele : 2 tbsp
Fenugreek seeds: 1 tsp
Dried red chili : 6-8 nos, non spicy variety, refer notes
Mustard seeds: a pinch, optional
Grated coconut: 1.5 cups, fresh or frozen, refer notes
Tamarind pulp or extract: 1 tsp. thick extract
Jaggery or Brown Sugar: 2 tsp
Salt: As needed
Oil: 1 tsp
Water: As needed

For tempering:
Oil: 1 tsp, preferably coconut oil
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves: 4-6 nos, torn
Asafoetida: a big pinch

Heat oil in a wok or sauce pan. When oil is hot, throw in the channa dal, and urad dal.
Roast the dals on a low-medium heat until they turn slightly golden brown. This will take about 4-5 mins
Add the fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds and roast again for couple of minutes.
Break the dry red chili and add it to the wok. Roast again until the raw smell of the chili is gone and chilis are nicely roasted.

Turn off the heat and allow it to cool.
Once cool, grind the roasted spices along with coconut, jaggery, salt, and tamarind extract. Add little water at a time to make a smooth but thick paste.
Scoop the chutney/dip. Prepare the tempering.
Heat oil in a small wok. When oil is hot, throw in the mustard seeds. When seeds crackle, add the cumin seeds. When cumin seeds turn golden brown, throw in the curry leaves and turn off the heat.
Add the asafoetida to the tempering and pour this tempering over the chutney/dip prepared.
Mix it well and serve it.


  • You could adjust the spice according to your needs. I normally add Kashmiri or Byadagi chilies for their color and mild flavor. 
  • You can make this chutney with dry coconut or coconut powder too. Coconut powder is easily available everywhere. 
  • I sometimes add finely chopped onion to this dip. I do not blend the onion, but after the chutney is made, I mix in the raw onion. It tastes very yummy. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Mixed Veg Korma | Vegetable Kurma Recipe : Karnataka Style Mixed Veg Sagu Recipe

This one is one of the simplest kurma recipe ever. This doesn't call for the cinnamon, clove and other garam masala spices. It's very unique and tastes awesome. Do try it and let me know.

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Serves: 4-6

Mixed vegetables : 3 cups (cut into strips or cubes), refer notes
Salt: As needed
Turmeric: 2 big pinches, divided use
Water: To boil the vegetables
Tomatoes: 2-3 nos
Oil: 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Onion: 2 tbsp, finely chopped, optional
Curry leaves: 4-6 nos, torn
Red chili powder: 1/2 tsp, or to taste
Kitchen king masala: 1 tsp
Milk: 1/4 cup

For the spice paste:
Cashew nuts: 2 tbsp, refer notes
Poppy seeds | gasgase: 2 tsp
Sesame seeds | yellu | til : 2 tsp
Cilantro: 1/4 cup (use it with the stem)
Green chili: 2 nos
Grated coconut: 2 tbsp
Onion: 1 small or 1/4th cup, roughly chopped
Ginger: 1/2 inch
Garlic: 1 large clove or 3-4 small ones


Soak the cashew nuts and poppy seeds in water for 30-45 mins.
Add about 1 cup of water, salt and a pinch of turmeric to the chopped vegetables. Boil the vegetables until they are cooked and yet firm.

Make a smooth paste of poppy seeds, cashew nuts and sesame seeds.
To that paste, add grated coconut, green chili, coriander leaves, onion, ginger and garlic. Add little water and make a smooth spice paste.

Heat oil in a wok or sauce pan. When oil is hot, throw in the mustard seeds and cumin seeds.
When seeds crackle, add the curry leaves and finely chopped onion. Saute till the onion becomes translucent and cooked.
To the same pan, add the spice paste and a pinch of turmeric. Cook the spice paste on a low-medium heat for 5 mins. This is to ensure that the spices are properly cooked and there is no raw smell. Keep stirring as the spice paste thickens very fast and can burn easily.
Meantime, make a puree out of the tomatoes. You could blanch the tomatoes, if needed. I normally do not blanch it for this recipe.
When the spices are cooked, throw in the red chili powder and mix.
Add the tomato puree and cook further for 3-4 mins. Ensure the tomatoes are properly cooked.
To this, add the boiled vegetables along with the water. Adjust the salt. Add kitchen king masala and milk.

Boil the kurma for another 7-10 mins until the spices are well blended with the vegetables.
Serve the kurma hot with roti, poori, chapathi or rice.

The vegetables that I normally use are green beans (French beans), carrots, potato, chayote squash, and green peas or any other legumes.
Instead of cashew nuts, you could use almond meal or putani/daliya (roasted channa dal).
I have an another vegetable saagu recipe here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Garlic Pull-Apart Rolls | Eggless garlic roll recipe

I have been making these garlic rolls for more than 3 years now and it is a huge hit at parties and potlucks. I avoid making breads and buns because of the efforts needed to knead the dough. However these are a breeze to make. The garlic pull apart rolls doesn't need kneading. It looks good, tastes good and you get compliments for making these. What else do you need? Hope I inspired you guys to try them at home. If I can, I am sure you all can too.

Preparation Time: 5 mins
Baking Time: 25-30 mins
Makes : 16 rolls
Recipe Source: MySingaporeKitchen

AP flour | Maida: 3 cups
Active dry yeast: 1 tbsp, refer notes
Warm Water: 1 cup
Salt: 1 tsp
Sugar: 2 tbsp
Olive Oil: 2-3 tbsp

For the garlic spread:
Butter: 1 stick, refer notes
Garlic cloves: 4 large or 1 small lobe
Salt: As needed, refer notes
Coriander leaves: 3-4 tbsp

Other ingredients:
Sesame seeds: 1 tbsp, for garnish

Bring the butter to room temperature
First important thing is to proof the yeast.  Add salt, and sugar to the warm water and mix.
Sprinkle the yeast on the warm water and gently mix. Keep the yeast mixture aside on a warm place for 5-7 mins (I always keep it in my oven with the oven lights ON). The yeast will froth and become goo-ey.

Meantime, sieve the AP flour.
Add the frothy yeast mixture to the AP flour and mix well. I let my food processor do it for me.
Add a tbsp of olive oil and knead for 2-3 mins (just like you knead the atta to make chapathi).
Coat the oil on the dough and cover it with a damp kitchen towel. Keep the covered dough in a warm place for 1 hour. The dough would have doubled in 60 mins.

During the dough resting time, prepare the garlic spread. Mash the room temperature butter well.
Grate the garlic cloves and add the grated garlic, salt (refer notes), coriander leaves to the mashed butter. Mix in well and let it rest.

After the dough has doubled, remove the damp kitchen towel and punch the dough back. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts.

Take one of the dough balls, dust the kitchen table and start rolling the dough.
Make a slightly rectangular shape (about 6-8 inches long).
Take about 1 tbsp of garlic spread and spread it over the rolled dough. Roll it and cut them into 4 equal sizes.

Place the rolls on a greased baking tray. Keep the rolls 1/2 inch apart from each other. The dough will rise again and will stick to each other.

Repeat the same procedure with the remaining dough balls. You will get 16 rolls. Spread the garlic butter on top of the rolls. Garnish with sesame seeds (optional) and allow the rolls to rise again for 30 mins.
After 20 mins of resting, preheat the oven to 350F or 180C.
Bake the rolls for 25-30 mins. Keep a close watch after 20 mins. The rolls will start turning golden brown..
Allow the rolls to cool for 20-30 mins and dig in!!

Yeast plays an important role to make any bread. So, it is very important to proof the yeast first. If the yeast doesn't become frothy, start it all over again or get a new batch of yeast.
I keep my yeast in the freezer for up to couple of years without any issue.
You could use about 2 tsp of yeast and allow it to rise for 1.5 or more hours.
Use about 100 grams  or 1/4 cup of softened butter. If you use salted butter to make the garlic spread, do not use additional salt. I normally use unsalted butter, hence add about 1/2 tsp of salt to make the spread.

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