Cook's Hideout: May 2014

May 31, 2014

Cucumber & Carrot California Sushi Roll (Vegan Recipe)

We are going on a Culinary tour of California for this month's International Food Challenge. Our host for this month, Joanne T Ferguson who blogs @ What's on the list picked some amazing dishes from California. As Joanne says there are no "official" dishes of California. California cuisine is based on fusion foods, from many cultures and recipes that were adapted throughout the history.
Personally I feel California is a country in itself. One reason being it is one of the largest states in US (FYI: 3rd largest in US and when compared to New Jersey which is in the 47th place, California is HUGE) and the most populous US state. From my working experience in compliance for many years, I know US as a country has many regulations, but California as a state has many many many more complicated regulations.
Cucumber & Carrot California Sushi Roll (Vegan Recipe)

May 30, 2014

Sourdough Carrot Cake

I made this cake first time more than 3 years ago when I first got the sourdough starter. I took it to work and everyone loved it there. But I haven't had a chance to make it again until now. I saw the recipe in the King Arthur Catalog and it reminded me of the moist and delicious cake that I made years ago.
Sourdough Carrot Cake
Sourdough starter makes this cake very moist and there are no tell-tale signs of sourness or the addition of sourdough starter anywhere. I halved the original recipe and made 1 8" round cake. Then frosted the cake with a very simple cream cheese frosting.

May 26, 2014

A Vegetarian Indian Thali

Blogging Marathon# 40: Week 4/ Day 3
Theme: Bookmarked recipes from BM# 39
Dish: Indian Thali
So for the last day of the marathon, I created a thali with some of the recipes that I bookmarked from last month's mega marathon. Indian thali usually consists of a Bread, Rice dish, a dry curry, a gravy curry, chutney and something sweet to end the meal. 
Most of the dishes in this thali are from the North Eastern states of India. To be honest, I had no idea about the eating habits or the popular dishes from any of the North Eastern states. Thanks to the research that all of the marathoners have done last month, I know a lot more about these cuisines now. I also wanted to make this black rice pudding from Nagaland for dessert, but I made this thali for myself and I wasn't motivated enough to make a dessert and also I was tooooo full after eating this meal. buuurp!!

Tomato Chutney from Tripura & Green Chili Chutney from Mizoram

Mosdeng Serma from Tripura: This was one of the simplest tomato chutney recipes I have ever made, with very few ingredients; tomatoes, onions, garlic and chilies. We can taste all of the ingredients in the chutney which are otherwise weighed down by tamarind and the tempering that are usually added in South Indian style chutneys. This chutney can be eaten with rice, roti or even as a sandwich spread.
Mosdeng Serma from Tripura

Panch Phoron Tarkari & Kulath ki Dal

Kulath ki Dal from Uttarakand: Horsegram is a completely new ingredient for me. I bought it just before April's Mega marathon in the hopes of using it in one of the dishes, but I didn't use it for any of the dishes. But luckily I found quite a few interesting recipes using it and here I am with the very first dish I made with Horsegram.
Kulath ki Dal from Uttarakand
This dal is from Uttarakand and it is a very simple and earthy dish which is very mildly spiced. Using rice flour makes the dish thick and creamy.

May 25, 2014

Vegetarian Curries from Himachal Pradesh

Channa Madra: This was one of the most popular dishes made for the state of Himachal Pradesh. It is a yogurt based curry made with chickpeas.
Channa Madra

Vegetarian Himachal Pradesh Thali

Blogging Marathon# 40: Week 4/ Day 2
Theme: Bookmarked recipes from BM# 39
Dish: Himachal Pradesh Thali
Day 2 of the marathon and today we are travelling to Himachal Pradesh all the way in Northern India. This is one of the states that I had bookmarked a lot of recipes and figured its better to feature them all in a thali. All the dishes are very simple to make and it took me a little over 1 hour to make them. My  husband was not too thrilled with this since the channa madra had yogurt and the nashpati ki subzi is on the sweet side. I should have thought about it, but well that was that. I on the other hand enjoyed all the dishes.
Vegetarian Himachal Pradesh Thali

May 24, 2014

Simple Vegetarian Tamil Nadu Thali

Blogging Marathon# 40: Week 4/ Day 1
Theme: Bookmarked recipes from BM# 39
Dish: Tamil Nadu Thali
Today we are starting the final week of blogging marathon# 40. After posting the unused posts from last month's mega marathon, this week's theme is still related to the mega marathon. I'm going to post the bookmarked recipes from my fellow marathoners for the next 3 days.
Mega marathon was sure mega in lots of different ways -- mega research, mega posts, mega yapping on Whatsapp and then mega bookmarked posts after the marathon itself. I had bookmarked a lot of dishes, which I'm sure I will not be able to get to if not for this theme. After seeing so many amazing thalis during the marathon, I'm kind of obsessed with the thali concept. So for the next 3 days, I decided to do 3 thalis with bookmarked recipes.
For the first day, I have a very simple thali from Tamil Nadu. Initially I was planning to make an elaborate thalis like the ones Sandhya & Nalini posted. But one the day I planned to cook, one dish after the other got dropped out of the list and in the end it was an extremely simple thali with everyday dishes. In case you are wondering what I took off the list, I planned to make masala vada/ paruppu vadai, sundal and a lentil based dessert.
Simple Vegetarian Tamil Nadu Thali

May 23, 2014

Spicy Cabbage dry Curry

There are some vegetables that get treated the same way ALL the time. In our household, cabbage is one of them. I usually make a dry curry with grated ginger and coconut which tastes great but after a while I got bored of cooking it. So I bookmarked this recipe from the 'India Cookbook' by Pushpesh Pant.
Spicy Cabbage dry Curry
This is a huge cookbook with 1000 recipes (out of which may be 500~600 are vegetarian) and since I'm borrowing it from the library, I don't have too much time to even go through the recipes in detail. Luckily there are pictures of the dishes at regular intervals in the book and I looked through them to find the dishes I want to try. Even with that I have more than 20 recipes to try and I think I can keep the book till the end of this month. I'll be happy if I can try at least half of what I bookmarked.

May 19, 2014

Malai Sandesh and a blog Anniversary

Blogging Marathon# 40: Week 3/ Day 3
Theme: Unused BM# 39 posts
Dish: Malai Sandesh
For the final day of this week's marathon, I made a simple, yet decadent dessert from West Bengal. When I jotting down dishes for Bengal, I was only thinking about sweets/ desserts since it was going to be the last day of the mega marathon and also Bengali dessert are to die for. I had about 4~5 desserts that I really wanted to try. After making Lobong Lathika and this Malai Sandesh, I still have couple more that I really really want to make some time soon.
Malai Sandesh
Another reason for posting a sweet today is Cook's Hideout completed 8 years of blogging this month. After becoming a stay-at-home-mom, blogging and my blog buddies have become my real friends. Blogging gives me something to think about other than household chores and my virtual friends are always there to listen to anything. Big thanks to them for inspiring, motivating and encouraging me to keep blogging. Also thanks to my family for their complete support without which Cook's hideout would not even be possible.

May 18, 2014

Gojju Avalakki/ Huli Avalakki/ Tangy Poha

Blogging Marathon# 40: Week 3/ Day 2
Theme: Unused BM# 39 posts
Dish: Gojju Avalakki
I was very confident that I had this week covered and wasn't even worried about it until a few days ago. I thought I had lot of posts in the drafts but I didn't realize that I used most of them up for CCChallenge (this and this in particular). So I looked through the papers where I jotted down my list of states and dishes to make for BM# 39.
Gojju Avalakki/ Huli Avalakki/ Tangy Poha
My husband studied in Davangere, Karnataka and he always mentions the different dishes that Kannadigas make with poha and murmure. I wanted to try a different poha dish from Karnataka, but thought that would be too simple and also I had planned made Indori Poha for Madhya Pradesh, finally ended up making Pathir Pheni for Karnataka. 

May 17, 2014

Therakkal -- Chettinad Eggplant Curry

Blogging Marathon# 40: Week 3/ Day 1
Theme: Unused BM# 39 posts
Dish: Chettinad Eggplant Curry
My theme for the 3rd week of blogging marathon# 40 is 'Unused posts from BM# 39'. I think I speak for the whole group when I say that we were so enthusiastic in trying new dishes from the Indian States that we cooked more than we can post for last month. So Valli gave us a chance to post them this month.
As I was looking for Chettinad recipes to make for Tamil Nadu I found this Chettinad Eggplant Curry from Gayathri's space. As you all know, I see eggplant I make eggplant and that's what I made. I made the curry right away, but I wasn't too happy with the clicks, so I made Chettinad Vegetable Biryani later. These are the original clicks since I didn't get a chance to redo the dish, will definitely try to update the pics some time soon.
Therakkal -- Chettinad Eggplant Curry

May 16, 2014

Summer Pasta Puttanesca (Vegan recipe)

Weather in our neck of woods is very Spring like -- hot one day, sprinkles and chilly the next day. Spring is one of my favorite seasons -- I love the budding trees, blooming flowers and the crisp mornings. Not many might agree with me, which includes my husband and my son, who suffer from Spring allergies. But I still like spring.
Coming back to today's pasta dish, I watched this being made on America's Test Kitchen cook show and I really liked how the chef made a fresh tomato sauce using grape tomatoes. Grape tomatoes are consistently good all through the year, so this is a great dish to make any time of the year.
Summer Pasta Puttanesca (Vegan recipe)

Fabulous Feast# 15

Welcome to this week’s edition of Fabulous Feast Friday. What are you feasting on this weekend? Join the Link Up Party so we can all feast with you! 

My blogger friends and I have teamed up so that every week there are two link up parties – One for Vegetarian Recipes ONLY and one for All Recipes. Vegetarian Recipes can link up to both parties. 

Let’s meet the team:
This week’s hosts are me for 100% Vegetarian recipes and Usha for any and all recipes.

There’s only a few simple steps to join the party: 
• Your post must include a recipe with at least one photo.

• You must follow all of the Hosting Team on one social media platform, per your preference. 
o Srivalli Twitter Facebook Pinterest 
o Priya Twitter Facebook Google+ 

• Please insert our logo either in the post or somewhere on your site. 
• Add your post using the Linky Tool below. 

• Support each other by visiting and commenting on a few blogs. Vote for your favorite recipes of the week. Each week the top 3 recipes will be featured.

May 15, 2014

Uppu Seedai

We are making Uppu Seedai. a Tamil Nadu specialty for this month's Indian Cooking Challenge. Valli gave us 2 recipes to choose from, one from Sharmi's blog and another from her friend's mother. These seedai are traditionally made for Gokulashtami. These crispy and crunchy rice flour balls are very addictive and we couldn't stop eating them.
Uppu Seedai
The main concern with making this snack is the bursting of the seedai in the oil. Reasons could the moisture in the seedai before frying, seedai rolled too tight and any improperly ground particles in the flour. Luckily my seedai preparation went without any incident/ accident.

May 12, 2014

Mango Lassi

Blogging Marathon# 40: Week 2/ Day 3
Theme: Mango Mania
Dish: Mango Lassi

This post is possibly the least planned and last minute one in the past couple of months. I didn't have any mango recipes in the drafts and neither had I planned for anything. I was dilly-dallying until the last minute today as if miraculously the post will 'post' itself. But one good thing we did was to buy a case of ripe mangoes from the Indian store this weekend and the yellow beauties inspired me to make one of my kids favorite, Mango Lassi. 
Mango Lassi
I have never tried making Mango lassi at home mostly because my son orders it every time we are in an Indian restaurant and making it again at home is quite boring. Also my husband being a yogurt-phobic, doesn't drink it -- so I usually make mango juice instead of lassi or smoothie. But today, it was finally time to try my hand at making the classic Mango Lassi.

May 11, 2014

Rose Raspberry Macarons

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mothers out there. 

Hope all of you are having a fabulous Mother's day and are being pampered by your kids. I wish my mom was here :-( One of my dear friends has a Mother's day picnic today and that is where we are going to spend our time and have lots of delicious food and loads of fun.
My family has become fans of Macarons after I made tried them for the first time couple of months ago. My son's love actually started after his favorite characters in Pokemon ate macarons and he keeps asking for different flavored ones.
Rose Raspberry Macarons
We bought 3 tiny macarons from a local specialty bakery and spent about $4 on them. After tasting them, the whole family agreed that they tasted just like my homemade ones, so why spend so much on them when I can probably make them for much less at home?

Mango Pachadi (South Indian style Sweet Mango Chutney)

Blogging Marathon# 40: Week 2/ Day 2
Theme: Mango Mania
Dish: Mango Pachadi
As I was thinking for recipes to make for this weeks theme, I saw this sweet mango pachadi as part of Tamil Nadu thali on both Sandhya's & Jayanthi's blogs. It sounded sweet, tangy and spicy. I had some chopped mangoes in the freezer and I went ahead and made this chutney. It tasted great with white rice, curd rice and even roti.
Mango Pachadi (South Indian style Sweet Mango Chutney)
The jaggery I used was a little dark that made the chutney a little darkish instead of the golden color in Sandhya's and Jayanthis blogs. Taste was however right on point.

Recipe from Sandhya's recipe:
Mango - 1 large, peeled, deseeded and diced
Jaggery (or brown sugar) - ½cup, grated (adjust as per taste)
Sugar - 2tbsp
Green Chili - 1 small, finely chopped
Mustard seeds - ½tsp
Salt - to taste


  • Cook mango pieces with some water until cooked through and tender.
  • Add jaggery and sugar, mix well and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the mixture thickens, about 4~5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Heat 1tsp oil in a small saucepan, add the mustard seeds and green chilies. Once the seeds start to splutter, add the oil to the mango mixture and mix well. Enjoy!!
Mango Pachadi (South Indian style Sweet Mango Chutney)
Lets check out what my fellow marathoners have cooked up today for BM# 40.
Also linking to Fabulous Feast# 14, being hosted this week by Valli & Prachi.

May 10, 2014

Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

This month's Home Baker's Challenge is all about Red velvet. Our host Shazana wanted us to try our hand at baking various red velvet themed bakes like cake, cookies and cheesecake. I decided to try my hand at red velvet crinkle cookies. The recipe Shazana gave us was for oreo stuffed red velvet crinkle cookies, but I didn't have any Oreos at home, so made without the stuffing.
Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

Mango & Roasted corn Salsa

Blogging Marathon# 40: Week 2/ Day 1
Theme: Mango Mania
Dish: Mango & Roasted Corn Salsa
We are starting our second week of blogging marathon today and my theme for this week is 'Mango Mania'. We get mangoes here in the states all through the year, even though the quality of the off-season mangoes is questionable. I don't buy ripe mangoes from regular grocery store unless it looks really really good. I like the ripe mangoes we get at the Indian store and last year we totally enjoyed the mango season. I'm so looking forward to summer for some juicy, ripe mangoes.
Mango & Roasted corn Salsa
I made this mango salad/ salsa couple of months back when I had couple of ripe mangoes and fresh corn in the fridge. There is hardly any recipe here, it is more of a guideline. It is very easily customizable too. Add some cooked black beans or any other beans to add some protein and make it more filling. I served it along with some avocado rice for a simple dinner.

May 09, 2014

Mashed Potato Poriyal (Urulaikizhangu Podimas/ Mashed Potato Curry)

My husband is a big potato fan and leave it to him, he can eat potatoes in any form for all meals. SO I'm always looking for interesting recipes with potatoes. I'm not sure why it took me this long to make this super simple curry from Dakshin by Chandra Padmanabhan.
Mashed Potato Poriyal (Urulaikizhangu Podimas/ Mashed Potato Curry)
This is basically mashed potato curry not unlike the one I make for dosas, but the addition of grated coconut at the end is new for me. I think this curry tastes good even with rotis.

May 05, 2014

English Muffin Bread

Blogging Marathon# 40: Week 1/ Day 3
Theme: Yeast Breads
Dish: English Muffin Bread
Today's bread is very simple to make and needs only 1 rise, it can be made in less than 2 hours from start to finish. A great bread for newbies, not much kneading involved -- mix up the ingredients, scoop into the baking pan and let rise, then bake it off to get a nice textured bread that is perfect when toasted and with some jam or chocolate hazelnut spread.
English Muffin Bread
I enjoyed my bread with some spicy jalapeno flavored cream cheese.

May 04, 2014

Soft Wholewheat Bread

Blogging Marathon# 40: Week 1/ Day 2
Theme: Yeast Breads
Dish: Wholewheat Bread
Making homemade bread is quite satisfying. I'm not a pro at bread baking and I always follow the recipes to the T. Baking is a science and I don't think I have the expertise to make up my own bread recipes yet. I go-to site for everything related to baking is King Arthur flour site. The only changes I usually make is to add wholewheat flour for a part of white flour other than I don't take too many chances in baking.
Soft Wholewheat Bread
Wholewheat bread is a challenge to make. I've tried quite a few recipes and most of them turn out 'almost cardboard-like'. I added molasses in one recipe and the bread turned out a strange brown color with a strong molasses flavor -- I didn't get the seal of approval from the family members. So in my quest for whole wheat bread, I tried this recipe from King Arthur Flour.

May 03, 2014

Costa Rican Refried Rice & Beans (Vegan Recipe)

Cinco de Mayo (5th of May) is on Monday and I wanted to post a quick and easy recipe to make on that day. I found this recipe in Viva Vegan cookbook that fits the bill perfectly. If you have cooked rice and beans, then this recipe is a breeze to make.
Costa Rican Refried Rice & Beans (Vegan Recipe)
Each Latin American country has its own version of Rice and beans. In Costa Rica and Nicaragua, it is called Gallo Pinto -- which literally means 'painted rooster'. It is a delicious mix of precooked rice, beans that are refried with extra vegetables, herbs and spices.

Banana Yeasted Sandwich Bread

Blogging Marathon# 40: Week 1/ Day 1
Theme: Yeast Breads
Dish: Banana Yeasted Sandwich Bread
We are back to the regular weeking marathons this month. It has been quite a roller coaster ride exploring the dishes from all the Indian states. So I'm taking a short break from Indian food and decided to bake some yeast breads for the first week of Blogging Marathon# 40.
My husband bought me this Bread maker recently. He wanted to buy one a while back, but I was resisting the idea -- didn't want to clutter the kitchen with another appliance. But when it went on sale couple of months ago, we went ahead and bought it. Since then we have stopped buying bread unless it is absolutely necessary and I bake about 2 loaves of bread every week.
But what I found out was that the bread baked in the machine is rather unsightly -- awkwardly large and has a gaping hole in the bottom. I couldn't even pull myself to take a picture of that monstrosity -- don't get me wrong, it tastes amazing, but it is just not camera ready (you know what I mean.. right!!!!)
Banana Yeasted Sandwich Bread

May 02, 2014

A-Z Culinary Journey through Indian States Recap (Indian Food Odyssey Recap)

Indian Food Odyssey is a culinary journey through the Indian states and selected union territories. It has been quite a journey, I have to say, that I thoroughly enjoyed taking. A lot of Googling, Wikipedia reading went into this. Here's a recap of the 30 dishes I made for this series:

Andhra Pradesh -- Madatha Kaaja:

Kanchipuram Idli & Kara Chutney (Breakfast Thali from Tamil Nadu)

The month long mega marathon is still lingering in the air and I have quite a few posts in the drafts that I made and could not post. So here we are with a breakfast mini thali from Tamil Nadu that I wanted to post for Tamil Nadu, but changed and did this Chettinad Vegetarian Biryani.
Kanchipuram Idli
Kanchipuram idli has been on my to-make list for a very very long time. I think I saw the recipe in a Telugu newspaper many many years ago and it stayed in my head, though it wasn't until very recently. I jotted it down for Tamil Nadu, but with the winter lingering around a little too long, I wasn't sure if the batter would rise. I waited till it started to get a little warm again to make the idlis. It took me 48 hours for the batter to ferment and the idlis turned out fluffy and delicious.


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