Swetha's Fusion
Where there is Fusion there is Creation!

Avalakki(Poha) PanchKajjaya - Sri Krishna Janmashtami Special

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Poha is Krishna's favorite. Various dishes made with Poha has main ingredient is offered as naivedhya (an offering to God). Pancha Kajjaya is a speciality of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts of Karnataka. This naivedhya is a must for Gana Homa i.e. Ganesha Pooja. This panchakajjaya is prepared as prasadha or an offering in Tulsi pooja also. Sugarcane pcs. are required to be added in this panchakajjaya for Tulsi Pooja. Pancha means five and Kajjaya means sweets, a naivedhya which is prepared with five main ingredients. Beaten Rice, Coconut, Jaggery, Black Sesame seed and ghee are most important one and rest are optional. Since some of the ingredients (like sugar cane pieces and black sesame seeds) are hard to find here, they are missing in the picture. A very easy to make recipe…

Other related recipe Avalakki Chewda


Paper Beaten Rice / Poha/ Avallakki / – 2 cups.
Coconut – ½ cup
Jaggery / Bella – ½ cup.
Black Sesame seed / Yellu – 1 tsp.
Ghee / Thupa / Purified butter – ½ tsp.
Cardamom /Elaichi powder– ½ tsp.
Puffed paddy /Aralu/ Podhol / Rajgira – ½ cup. Or powder form of the puffed paddy(optional)
Sugar cane / Kabbu pieces. – handful. (optional)

1. Clean and sieve beaten rice well so that any powder or dust is removed.
2. Clean and roast black sesame seed till you get a nice aroma.
3. Powder cardamom, grate coconut and Jaggery.
4. Take a deep vessel; add coconut, Jaggery, cardamom, ghee and mix well until soft mixture is formed.
5. Add Puffed paddy and mix.
6. Add poha/beaten rice and mix well till all beaten rice are well mixed with Jaggery and coconut.
7. Add sugar cane pieces. and mix again.
The offering is ready.

Things to be taken care:
Can increase the quantity of coconut, it gives further smooth texture to beaten rice.
Always use black sesame seeds for extra aroma and flavor.
Either or both sugarcane or puffed paddy powder can be excluded.
This can be kept for 3-4 days in fridge.

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~ Avalakki(Poha) PanchKajjaya - Sri Krishna Janmashtami Special ~
Posted by Swetha @ 8/21/2011 01:00:00 AM :: 0 comments

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Paneer Fried Rice

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ingredients :
Basmati rice- 2 cups
Onions-1 or 2 (cut into long strips)
Paneer Cubes – 2 cups
Bell pepper (capsicum) -1 cup (cut into long strips)
Green chilies-1 or 2 thinly chopped
Spring onions-1/4 cup
Salt, pepper-to taste
Tomato sauce – 1 tbsp
Chili sauce-1 tbsp
Soya sauce- 2 tbsp
Coriander leaves-1 or 2 tbsp
Oil - 1 or 2 tbsp

1. Cook Basmati rice ahead of time. Once cooked spread rice on a tray for rice to cool down.
2. Heat oil in a kadai (wide sauté pan). Roast paneer cubes stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, chop the onion, bell pepper, and spring onions.
4. Once paneer is ready, remove it from kadai and keep it aside.
5. To the same kadai add chopped green chilies and sauté for 30 seconds.
6. Now add the chopped onions. Fry until onions are translucent,
7. Once onions are ready add bell pepper and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes or until bell pepper is slightly tender
8. Add Tomato, Chili and Soya sauce to mixture and fry for 30 seconds
9. Add salt, pepper and roasted paneer cube to the mixture. Cover and let it cook for couple of minutes.
10. Add spring onion and turn off the heat. Let it sit for 5 minutes so that all the flavors blend in well.
11. Add cooked rice and mix well.
12. Serve hot with Orange-chicken or Lemon-chicken and spring rolls on the side.

This is my Fusion version of Fried rice. As I don’t like eggs in my rice, I came up with this recipe. … which is now popular among my friends.

For making Chinese Fried Rice (fast food style), omit paneer completely and stir in beaten egg after step-8
Other variation: Rather then using only bell pepper, other vegetables like green peas or corn may be also used.

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~ Paneer Fried Rice ~
Posted by Swetha @ 8/10/2011 09:03:00 PM :: 0 comments

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Fryums - Nostalgia

My summer break is coming to an end. Not that I’m complaining, but summers bring back memories. Recently, I had a chance to talk to on of my cousins; it brought back few memories. One among them is reading comic books and eating fried snacks (- like the one in the picture 'Fryums'). Especially in the month of May, Bangalore receives heavy rain in the middle of school break. If you can't go out to play on the streets or climb trees, best thing to do is reread all the comic books for the millionth time. It’s even more fun when your friends bring their books to share. This always brought smile on my mom's face, …few friends and cousins piled up in a room, so quite, only chomp chomp …munching sound (just have the supply of Fryums coming) and no need to go out looking for us.

I am sure everybody has a summer break story. What is yours?
~ Fryums - Nostalgia ~
Posted by Swetha @ 8/10/2011 04:17:00 PM :: 0 comments

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Cocadas -From Bolivia /or/ Macaroons from Italy (Coconut Candies)

Saturday, July 23, 2011
This is my daughter's cooking. She made it for a Spanish class potluck.
Cocadas are lot similar to Macaroons.
Very popular that we have a candy bar in honor -'Almond Joy'

. Grated coconut - 2 2/3 cups
. Sweetened Condensed milk - ¾ cup
. Egg - 1
. Almond extract ( or essence) - ¼ teaspoon

1. In a bowl, mix shredded coconut, egg, condensed milk, and almond essence until everything is well mixed.

2. Let rest for two or three minutes.

3. Spread butter on a baking sheet.

4. Using two teaspoons, put small amounts of the mixture in the baking sheet.

5. Bake at medium temperature (European oven: 163 Celsius degrees; American oven: 325 Fahrenheit degrees) for twenty-five minutes or until they are golden, dry and smooth at the same time.

Yields 24 regular-size coconut candies


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~ Cocadas -From Bolivia /or/ Macaroons from Italy (Coconut Candies) ~
Posted by Swetha @ 7/23/2011 07:22:00 PM :: 0 comments

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Chicken Kebab / Chicken Kabob

Friday, July 15, 2011
Summer Time is Barbeque Time!
I got this recipe from one of my aunts. Thanks Ambu aunty for sharing the recipe. I should say she is a wonderful cook; everything she cooks tastes so good. Her fish fry is- to die for. You can check out my version of Fish fry, but its nothing compared to hers. Since my aunt does not have a BBQ grill, she deep fries the Kebab. It’s like Chicken pokoda (see picture below).
. Boneless tender Chicken breast – 3 chicken breast fillets
. Fresh Ginger paste – 1 tbsp.
. Fresh Garlic paste – 1 tbsp.
. Chilli powder – 1 tbsp. (or to taste, depending on how spicy you want)
. Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp.
. Salt – to taste.
. Garam Masala Powder – ½ tsp.
. Kasuri Methi – 1tbsp. (I use MDH Peacock Kasoori Methi)
. Lemon Juice – from 1 lemon
. Egg white – from 1 egg.
. Corn flour – 3 tbsp. ( corn starch works well too)
. Cooking color (Red) – ¼ tsp
. Butter – ½ cup
. Fresh coriander – chopped for garnish

1. Clean and cut the chicken into cubes.
2. Mix in turmeric powder, salt, and chilli powder with chicken pieces.
3. Next mix in ginger/garlic paste, lemon juice and garam masala powder. Keep it aside for 10 - 15 minutes
4. While chicken pieces are soaking in the spices, in another bowl beat in corn flour with egg white and red color. Use a metal bowl, you don’t want to end up with red color stained tupperware.
5. Add the chicken to the egg mixture. Mix it all, cover it and let it marinate for at least an hour or two. . If you are planning a party you could prepare the day before the party and let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
6. Skewer the chicken piece and grill in an oven or on charcoal/electric grill for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
(Hint: Add onion wedges in between the chicken pieces so that it won’t stick together. Onion adds extra flavor too.)
7. Apply melted butter (and remaining marinade) with basting brush over chicken pieces, turn it over and cook on the other side. Repeat the step until chicken is well done.
8. Remove them from skewers & garnish with coriander leaves or cilantro.

Serve hot with lemon wedges on the side.
For Deep fried chicken Kabob.
Follow the procedure until step 5. Add a bit more corn flour/starch to make the coating thick. Deep fry the chicken pieces on medium-high flame until golden brown. Fry in small batches of 5 to 6 pieces at a time. Remove from the oil and drain the excess oil on a paper towel.

Serve hot with lemon wedges on the side.

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~ Chicken Kebab / Chicken Kabob ~
Posted by Swetha @ 7/15/2011 10:16:00 AM :: 0 comments

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Thursday, July 14, 2011
Hummus is a popular food throughout the Middle Eastern countries. Its basic ingredients are Garbanzo (chickpeas), Tahini (sesame paste), lemon, and garlic. Hummus is high in iron and vitamin C and also has significant amounts of folate and vitamin B6. Like other combinations of grains and pulses, it serves as a complete protein when eaten with bread. Hummus is served as an appetizer and dip or accompaniment with other Middle Eastern food like Falafel, grilled chicken, fish, or eggplant.

In my house, besides hummus being scooped up by Middle Eastern flatbread, pita bread or pita chips, I serve Hummus with crackers, tortilla chips or potato chips. I also use hummus has a spread on my sandwich or tortilla wrap – a healthier substitution for Mayonnaise ;)

Garbanzo = chickpeas/Kabul Channa(hindi)/Kadale(Kannada);
- if you don’t want to use canned Garbanzo, Soak 1 cup dry Garbanzo in 5 cups of water over night (about 10 to 12 hours) and use.

Here is my version of easy & delicious middle-eastern hummus recipe.

Makes about 3 cups

. Canned Garbanzo – 1 Can (drained, rinsed)
. Garlic – 3 cloves, crushed
. Olive oil - 100ml
. Chilli powder- ½ tsp (or to your taste … I like it spiced up)
. Ground cumin - 1/2 tsp
. Juice lemon – from 1 lemon
. Tahini paste - 2 tbs (optional)
– I don’t use tahini, for some reason I stay away from Sesame

1. Place all the ingredients -Garbanzo, garlic, olive oil, chilli powder, tahini paste, cumin and ½ of the lemon juice in a food processor and process until combined. Add 1/4 cup (60ml) of water and process again until quite smooth.

2. Now for extra flavor( my fusion version), add salt, cilantro or coriander, dried basil and parsley. Pulse couple of time to mix them all. Do a quick taste and add more lemon juice if needed. Since nature has made lemons in different sizes, I don’t want you to blame me if your hummus turn out overwhelmingly lemon-ish.

3. Spoon hummus in a bowl and top it with a table spoon of olive oil and cut olives.
Serve with toasted Turkish bread, pita bread wedges, pita crisps, bagel chips, tortilla chips or potato chips.

It's amazingly quick and super easy to make, delicious, and healthy. No cooking involved. Good summer cooking, I hate standing near the stove on a warm day. Just grab the blender and you are good to go.

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~ Hummus ~
Posted by Swetha @ 7/14/2011 11:48:00 AM :: 0 comments

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Weekend Beading - III

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~ Weekend Beading - III ~
Posted by Swetha @ 7/14/2011 10:53:00 AM :: 0 comments

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Karjikai - Karanji - Sihi Kadabu

Saturday, July 09, 2011
Karjikai is a South Indian traditional sweet. It is like a samosa but it’s sweet! Karjikai is made during Ganesh Charthuthi, Ugadhi, or Deepavali. Depending on region of South India it is referred to by different names. This is my mom’s recipe; she always used dry ingredients for the filling so the dish would keep for a long time ….as long as some mischievous hands didn’t eat it away by then! I mention other versions of the filling at the end.

. All purpose flour 2 cups
. Sooji Rawa 1 cup (Semolina)
. A pinch of salt
. Ghee (purified butter) 3 tbsp
. 1/2 cup warm Water to make dough
. Oil for deep frying

For Filling:
. Chickpeas ½ cup
. Grated Dry coconut ½ cup
. Sugar ½ cup
. Cardamom pdr ½ tsp (from 3 – 4 pods)
. Any dry fruit [Optional] Cashew or Almond (roasted and powered coarsely); or Raisins.

1. Mix the flour, Semolina and salt together. Heat 3 tbsp ghee in low flame, pour the boiling ghee into flour mix. Carefully blend the mixture.
2. Add enough water to make a stiff dough. Keep aside covered in a wet cloth or paper towel for half an hour.
3. Knead well again to make the dough soft and pliable.
4. In a blender, powder Chickpeas. Remove the content into a separate bowl.
5. Add grated dry coconut, sugar, cardamom powder and dry fruit. Mix all together and keep aside. – for filling
6. Make small balls from the dough. Roll and flatten each ball into thin circles (about 4 to 5 inches in diameter).
7. Spoon in the filling on one half of the circle and fold along the center. Seal the ends with some water or milk. As you see in the picture I have taken the edges and overlapped to form a design. Start from one corner, take both edges together from the tip of your finger, fold it over and press a bit; repeat the step until you reach the other end. This sounds like a lot of work, but believe me it is not. After practicing on couple of karjikai, your fingers will move very fast. In this way you are sure you have sealed the pouch well. You don’t want the filling to come out while deep frying. Hint: Give this job to the kids (or your husband :P) it will keep them busy and help develop their fine motor skills :D
8. Deep fry the Karjikai in oil on medium flame till crisp and golden. Since Karjikai puffs up while frying, fry 1 or 2 at a time.
9. Remove from oil onto paper towels and allow them to cool completely before storing.

Filling Variation 1 - with jaggary
Dry grated coconut - 2cups; Jaggary ¾ cup(grated); Sesame 4tbsp(roasted & crushed); Cardamom powdered ½ tsp.
Heat a thick bottom pan and add coconut and grated jaggary, fry them together for 6-7 mins, then add crushed sesame and cardamom powder and mix well, again fry for 2-3 mins then turn of the heat.
Filling Variation 2 – with milk
Grated Coconut-1 cup; Sugar-3¼ cups; Milk-1½ cups; Few Almonds; Few Raisins; Cardamom powder ½ tsp; 1 tbsp poppy seeds
Cook grated coconut (use fresh or dried), sugar, milk, chopped almonds and raisins, cardamom powder, and poppy seeds (optional) till the milk evaporates.
Filling Variation 3 – with cashew and melon seeds
Cashewnut – ½ cup; Musk Melon seeds – ½ cup; Powdered sugar – 1 cup; Cardamom powder – ½ tsp.
Dry cashewnuts, melon seeds under hot sun for one hour -- or microwave for 20 seconds :D --and let it cool. Powder separately, and mix together with powdered sugar and cardamom powder.
Filling Variation 4 – With Koa
Crumble sugarless thick milk Koa (if necessary put in a hot pan and keep on low flame and stir for a minute) and mix it with equal measure of powdered sugar, finely chopped cashews, raisins, cardamom powder and grated dry coconut.

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~ Karjikai - Karanji - Sihi Kadabu ~
Posted by Swetha @ 7/09/2011 09:22:00 AM :: 0 comments

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Gajar Ka Halwa - Carrot Halwa

Thursday, April 21, 2011

. Grated carrots - 3 cups
. Milk - 1 ½ cups
. Sugar - 1 ½ cups
. Ghee - 1 ½ tbl.sp
. Cardamom(Elaichi) powder - ¼ tsp.
. Sliced Almonds or Cashewnuts and raisins - as per taste.
. Edible Silver foil/wark (optional) - for garnishing

1. Add milk to grated carrots and pressure cook till one whistle.
2. After the cooker is cooled, transfer the mixture to a heavy bottom vessal and cook it on stove on medium flame.
3. Mix sugar to the mixture and keep stirring.
4. When most of the liquid is gone, mix ghee and almond & raisins (or slightly roasted cashew) to the mixture. Stir for a minute and turn of the flame.
5. Stir in the Cardamom powder.
6. While it is still warm transfer the halwa on to a serving tray and apply silver wark for garnishing.

Gajar halwa may be served warm or cold.

. Add 2 Tbl.sp of crumbled plain khoa when halwa is three fourth cooked.
. Reduce the amount of sugar and add sweetened condensed milk for a rich taste.
. Grind the carrots to smooth paste after cooking, and then follow the recipe.

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~ Gajar Ka Halwa - Carrot Halwa ~
Posted by Swetha @ 4/21/2011 04:02:00 PM :: 0 comments

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Onion Pakoda or Pakora

. Besan flour (Gram flour) - 1 cup
. Rice four - ¼ cup
. Coarse Sojji/Rawa/Semolina – 1 tbl.sp (optional)
. Onion – 1 cup (finely sliced)
. Red chilli powder – . 1 tsp or to taste
. Green chillies - 2 (finely chopped or paste) (optional)
. Curry leaves – 4 (finely chopped)
. Coriander leaves – 1 cup (finely chopped)
. Cashew pieces – ¼ cup (optional)
. Ginger paste – 1 tsp
. Asafetida – 1 pinch
. Salt – to taste
. Oil – for deep frying

1. Without adding any water , in a large bowl mix Gram flour, Rice flour, Sojji, onions, green chillies, red chilli powder, curry leaves, coriander leaves, cashew, chilli powder, ginger paste, Asafetida and salt.
2. Sprinkle very little amount of water to blend all the ingredients together. Keep it aside for 10 to 30 minutes. Due the salt in the mixture, onion will become soft and coriander leaves will leave some water. Less water in the mixture will result in less oil the Pakodas will observe while deep frying. …this in turn will stay crispy for a longer period of time.
3. Before you start frying, check for the consistency of the mixture. The mixture should not be watery nor very dry. The flour should be lightly coated over the onion. If needed add some more water and mix.
4. Heat oil in a deep frying pan. To check the oil for right frying temperature, drop a small amount of the mixture which should bubble and float to the top.
5. Take a tablespoon of the mixture and drop gently in to the oil. Try to keep in a flat and uneven shape. I have noticed if the pakoda pieces are thick, it won’t cook well in the center. Fry them in small batches
6. Fry stirring and flipping the Pakodas until it turn into golden brown in color.
7. Remove from the oil and drain the excess oil on a paper towel.

Serve with chutney or ketchup.

Tip-1: I found out that by using only rice flour makes the pakodas hard after a while, so by adding Sojji rawa the pakodas stayed crisper for longer time.
Tip-2: If you like your pakodas soft, Don’t add sojji rawa and reduce the amount of rice flour.

~In Picture - Vermicelli(left) and Onion Pakodas(right) ~

Vermicelli/Semiya Pakodas: Roast Vermicelli till golden brown. Pour hot water and cook till just soft. Drain water well and add to the above mixture. ( I usually prepare Semiya pakoda when I have leftover Semiya upma. Just add a cup of Semiya upma to the above mixture)
Spinach Pakodas: Omit Onion, add a cup of thawed frozen spinach and kasuri methi instead. If you are using fresh spinach leaves, omit ->onion, coriander leaves and Cashew. Mix rest of the ingredients and make a thick batter. Dip spinach leaves in the batter to coat the leaves evenly and fry it in hot oil.
Paneer Pakodas: Reduce onion to ½ cup. Crumble paneer well without any lumps and and it to the mixture. Follow rest of the recipe as above.
Mint or Coriander Pakodas: Omit or reduce the amount of onion. Add more coriander or/and mint leaves.
Hash Brown Pakodas: Use frozen hash brown instead of onion. (I use Safeway's Ore-Ida's Potatoes O'Brien - with Onions and peppers)

Enjoy Pakodas with hot tea or coffee!!

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~ Onion Pakoda or Pakora ~
Posted by Swetha @ 4/21/2011 02:06:00 PM :: 1 comments

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