Cheeni Adhirasam (a Tamil Sweet for Diwali) – Guest Post by Swapna Karthik of Swapna’s Kitchen

Me and Swapna came to know each other through food blogging. This acquaintance quickly turned into friendship  which grew only stronger over time. I feel blessed to know such an wonderful person like Swapna with whom my bond expanded beyond the boundary of blogging.

As my dear friend hails from Chennai, her blog Swapna’s Kitchen is full of amazing traditional Tamil recipes. Also one will be surprised to find a bouquet of recipes consisting of sweets, baked goods, snacks and what not. I am bit indulged to know many nice non-veg dishes from her blog. Do check her blog which is a must visit.

Just a few days back I asked her to do a guest post for me. In return she shared with me the recipe of a traditional Tamilian sweet dish, Cheeni Adhirasam.

As I get to know from her ‘Adhirasam’ is a traditional deep fried sweet specially made during Diwali with rice flour and jaggery or sugar. Those who don’t like the taste of jaggery can try this authentic recipe with sugar. In that case one need to take care of the sugar consistency. If the sugar consistency turns hard then the adhirasams would also turn hard. Try to use ponni pacharisi (raw rice) for perfect adhirasams. Always fry the adhirasam in low flame, it does take time to get cooked.

Swapna’s guest post for my blog is one of my sweetest gifts for Diwali ever. Do try this sweet at home this Diwali and have a fun filled celebrations with your loved ones. Thank you so much Swapna and Happy Diwali to all my friends and fellow bloggers.

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Whole Wheat and Oats Flower Pizza – Guest post by Chitra of Chitra’s Healthy Kitchen

Who can make such an innovative and gorgeous looking pizza other than Chitra !!!! I suppose no one. Yet she makes it look so easy.

Not very long ago, I get acquainted with Chitra and went through her blog Chitra’s Healthy Kitchen. As the name reveals, her blog is a treasure of healthy recipes which is a perfect foil to our daily stressful life. On the top of that I am really impressed with innovative approach and individuality in each of her recipes. She always tries to present a lighter and healthier version of traditional and common foods along with her amazing fusion recipes. Till date I did not find a dedicated blogger like her who manages to post two recipes each single day. Needless to say, if you visit her blog, never will you be disappointed.

Today I am privileged to have her recipe, Whole wheat and Oats Flower Pizza, as guest post for my blog. Though the recipe  sounds common at the first go still is quite new and refreshing for its ingredients and look. Here a circular pizza is given the shape of a flower by some twists, quite similar to the flower shaped bread, as found in Italian cuisine. Again, Chitra used wheat flour and oats instead of plain flour to turn it into a healthier dish. Thus she shows her innovative best for which she is well known.

Whole Wheat & Oat Flower Pizza

Whole Wheat & Oat Flower Pizza

Servings: 2

Preparation time: 15minutes

Baking time: 18-20minutes

Waiting time: 1½-2hours

Ingredients:

  • Wheat flour – 1½ cup
  • Powdered oats – ½ cup
  • hot water – 1cup
  • Yeast – 1tsp
  • Honey – 1tsp
  • Extra virgin olive oil – 2tbsp
  • Salt – 1/2tsp

For topping:

  • Pizza sauce – to spread (link)
  • Sliced jalapenos
  • Cherry tomatoes (cut to half)
  • Low fat mozzarella cheese – 30-50gms
  • Italian herbs-to drizzle

Procedure:

  • In a bowl combine yeast, honey, 1/4cup hot water and let it sit on the counter for 5-10minutes.
  • Sieve wheat flour, powdered oats in a mixing bowl, add in salt, oil mix well to form crumbs.
  • Then add in yeast mixture and hot water little at a time to form a dough.
  • Knead the dough for 5-7 minutes and then transfer into a greased bowl, cover and let it rest until doubles.
  • Pre-heat the oven at 200° C, grease the pizza tray and keep aside.
  • Once the dough doubles, transfer to the floured surface and roll it out to a circle.
  • Place a cup on its middle to separate it from the petals.
  • Brush some olive oil on the remaining part of the dough apart from bowl surface and spread some pizza sauce .
  • Using a sharp knife cut it in equal portions (divide in quarters and then each quarter in four pieces)
  • Twist two times each petal
  • Uncover the middle portion and Brush with olive oil and spread sauce.
Flower pizza steps

Flower pizza steps

  • Bake for 14-15minutes. Then pull the bread out from the oven spread some cheese, top it with olives and cherry tomatoes at the centre circle and place back the tray into the oven and bake for 4-5minutes more/until the cheese melts.

Serve with sauce.

Note:

  1. Topping can be personalised as per the choice.
  2. Plain flour can be used in place of wheat and oats

Kakinada Kaja/Madatha Kaja – Guest post by Aruna of ãhãram

I stepped  into the blog world specially for few of my friends who were interested to know the recipes of my dishes. It is worth mentioning that I got immense support and encouragement from my husband in this journey. As a blessing of my new practice, I found a number of wonderful co-bloggers from different part of the world, get acquainted with their culture and of course food. Inspired by them I also started sharing some of very common typical Bengali recipes, so that they also got to know our food and culture.
In order to enhance my knowledge about diverse foods and their ethnicity, I decided to request my lovely blogger friends to share some guest post in my blog. So, today’s post is not about my recipe, instead one from Aruna of ãhãram. As a generous response to my request, Aruna shares the recipe of a traditional sweet from Andhra Pradesh called Kakinada Kaja or Madatha Kaja.
During this course of blog writing I call myself lucky to know a warm person like her. I am glad to have her as a friend and co-blogger. Her lovely comments and responses always work as a boost for me.
She tries to bring the regional variety in Indian food under one umbrella, called ãhãram. Even I got surprised to hit upon few Bengali recipes there. I must admit that along with other South Indian recipes, I am a big fan of her Mumbai Street food recipes. So, it is worth to visit her blog to have an overall idea about Indian food and culture.
Now let me talk about today’s recipe. As I came to know from Aruna, Kaja, plural of which is Kajalu, is a crispy deep fried layerd nuggets made of flour, dipped into sugar syrup. It is the famous sweet from the city Kakinada, so got the name Kakinada Kaja. Again Madatha means folds in Telegu. As layers in the sweet is a result of consecutive foldings, the name is Madatha Kaja.
Aruna’s Kakinada Kaja reminds me of “Khaja” from Puri, Odisha, of which I am a big fan . So as soon as she asked for my opinion on this recipe for guest post, I agreed immediately.
Thank you very much Aruna for all your efforts and such an elaborate description.
Enjoy the flavour of Andhra Pradesh in this sweet, crunchy Kakinada Kaja from Aruna’s Kitchen. 🙂
Madata Kaja or Kakinada Kaja

Madata Kaja or Kakinada Kaja

Makes: 15-20
Time: 60-75 Minutes
 
Ingredients
  1. Maida – 1 Cup
  2. Sugar – 1.5 Cups
  3. Water – 2/3 Cup for Syrup + More for the Dough
  4. Rice Flour – 1 tsp
  5. Ghee – 2 tsp + 2 tsp
  6. Soda – 2 Large Pinches
  7. Oil for Deep Frying
Method to Make Dough
  1. Sieve the maida and soda together.
  2. Melt 1 tsp of ghee.
  3. Pour the hot ghee onto the maida.
  4. Mix to get a crumbly texture.
  5. Using a little water at a time, knead into a firm dough.
  6. Cover with a wet cloth and set aside for 15 minutes.
Method to Make the Syrup
  1. After the dough has rested, add 2/3 cup water to 1.5 cups sugar.
  2. Over medium heat, boil the mix for about 15 minutes to create a syrup.
  3. Once the sugar has melted completely, let the syrup simmer over low heat.
    Sugar Syrup

    Sugar Syrup

Method to Make the Kajalu
  1. Divide dough into four equal portions.
  2. Make for thin rotis with each portion.

    Roll the dough into a roti

    Roll the dough into a roti

  3. Melt the 2 tsp of ghee.
  4. Add the rice flour to the ghee and make a paste.

    Ghee and Rice Flour Paste

    Ghee and Rice Flour Paste

  5. Take one roti.
  6. Apply a thin layer of the rice paste flour all over the roti.
  7. Place another roti on top of it.
  8. Lightly roll the two layers together so that they stick. Do not apply too much pressure. Roll very lightly.
  9. Roll the two layers into a tight tube.

    Roll the roti into a tube

    Roll the roti into a tube

  10. Cut the tube into 1/2″ pieces.

    The kajas in the making

    The kajas in the making

  11. Gently press each kaja so that the layers stick together.
  12. Heat the oil till it is medium hot.
  13. Over low to medium heat, fry the kajalu till they are golden brown. Each batch will take anywhere from 8-12 minutes. Frying like this will ensure that the inner layers are also fried perfectly and that you achieve the layered look.
  14. With a slotted spoon, life the fried kajalu out of the oil.
  15. Immediately dip the hot kajalu in the simmering paakam/sugar syrup.
  16. Let the kajalu simmer for 8-10 minutes.

    kajalu in paakam

    kajalu in paakam

  17. With a slotted spoon life the kajalu out of the syrup and spread onto a plate to cool down.
  18. Store in an air-tight container.
  19. Enjoy!

    Madatha Kaja or Kakinada Kaja

    Madatha Kaja or Kakinada Kaja

Tips
  • You could fan-fold each roti instead of staching two and rolling them. That is the traditional way of doing it. However, it is a skill to be mastered and so I showed you an easy way.
  • Ensure that the syrup is not too thick, otherwise the kajalu will not absorb it.
  • Ensure that the syrup is simmering and the kajalu are hot (straight from the oil) at the instant that you add the kajalu to the syrup. If either one of them is cold, the sugar will crystallize.
  • As the kajalu simmer in the syrup, the syrup tends to thicken. So ensure that you make the kajalu in one or at the most two batches.
  • If you need to dilute the syrup, boil some water and add the hot water to the syrup. If you add cold water, the sugar will crystallize.