Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins! (Eggless)

A lot of my blogger friends were trying out Nigella's Double Chocolate Chip muffins and I could no longer resist! They looked so easy and tempting. And noticing those sly chocolate chips staring at me every time I opened the freezer, I caved and got to it! 

I have altered the recipe a little to suit my family's tastes and also based on some viewer comments. I have also substituted the egg for flax seeds which made me feel a little healthy while I indulged. Thank god for little pleasures..:)

These muffins are a little more than just a breakfast muffin. They are a chocolate muffin studded with chocolate chips! Things may not get any better. 
You can play around with this recipe. Add any variety of chocolate chips you like. Add some walnuts or pecans for a little crunch.
The sugar quantity I have used makes fairly sweet muffins. I prefer the sweetness the milk chocolate chips give these muffins rather than sugar. But if you plan to use semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, do add in a an extra 1/4 cup of granulated sugar.

Now let us head towards heaven!

Serves: Makes 12 - 13 muffins
Level: Easy
Adapted From: Nigella Lawson's Recipe

1.75 cups all purpose flour/plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp baking soda
4 tblsp cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate)
Pinch of salt
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
1/3 cup + 2 tblsp vegetable oil
(1 tblsp flax seeds + 4 tblsp water) / 1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup chocolate chips to sprinkle on top


Step 1 - Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Line a muffin pan with liners and lightly spray these with some cooking oil. 

Step 2 - Let us get the egg substitute ready. Grind 1 tblsp flax seeds. Add these to 4 tblsp water. Stir well. Keep aside for a couple of minutes. 

Step 3 - Take a medium sized bowl. Add the all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, granulated sugar and a pinch of salt. Mix well with a spoon. Add the 3/4 cup of chocolate chips. Stir well again till all the chocolate chips are coated with the flour and cocoa mixture. Keep aside.

Step 4 - Take a large bowl. Add the milk, vegetable oil, egg substitute from Step 2 and vanilla extract. With a wire whisk, mix all the ingredients well for a minute.

Step 5 - Slowly start adding the dry ingredients from Step 3 into the large bowl of our wet ingredients. Lightly mix together. Do not over mix. Remember that a lumpy batter makes the best muffin.

Step 6 - Pour the batter with a spoon into the muffin cups. Fill only till it is 3/4th full. Randomly sprinkle the 1/4 cup of chocolate chips on top of the batter. Bake these muffins in the preheated oven for 18 - 20 mins. They are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out batter free.

Serve warm for breakfast or as dessert with some vanilla ice cream.

Remember that while testing your muffins for doneness in the end, your toothpick could have some liquid chocolate stuck to it. Do not worry about this. This is just hot melted chocolate chips. You just have to make sure there is no wet batter sticking to the toothpick.
Chocolate muffins are easily burnt as the color makes it difficult to know if your muffins are burning. So keep an eye on your timer.

If you want to use the egg and not the egg substitute, add it into the wet ingredients in Step 4.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Kakadi Pudina Raita (Cucumber-Mint Raita)

'Raita' refers to a salad with a yogurt base.
Cucumber raita is a summer special at our home. The cooling properties of this raita beautifully balances the spices in Indian cooking.
Cucumbers are a combination of dietary fibers and water. A must have for those nasty summer days!
There are infinite variations of preparing this quick dish. I will share a few of my favorite methods with you. 

Today's recipe is a particularly cooling one. Mint being one of the key ingredients, gives this dish a wonderful fresh flavor. I generally accompany this preparation with spicy biryanis or meat curries. You can also use this as a dip to be served with some sliced veggies or with some flatbreads.
This quick recipe demands to be bookmarked!

Serves: 3 - 4 people
Level: Easy

2 large cucumbers, peeled and finely chopped
1.5 cups yogurt, whisked till smooth
3 tblsp chopped coriander leaves
6 - 8 mint leaves
3 green chillies, finely chopped
1/2 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
1 tsp cumin seeds

Step 1 - In a mortar and pestel, punch together the coriander leaves, mint leaves, green chilies, sugar, salt and cumin seeds. If you don't own a mortar pestel, coarsely grind the ingredients together in a grinder with no or as little water as possible. Your chutney is ready.

Step 2 - In a large bowl  add the yogurt and the coarsely ground chutney from Step-1. Mix well. Add the finely chopped cucumber. Mix everything together.

Refrigerate till you are ready to serve.

This salad can be made ahead for a party. You can keep the yogurt-chutney mixture ready. Just before serving add the cucumber, mix well and serve.
We cannot add the cucumber and keep the salad for a long duration as the salt reacts with the cucumber and the salad starts getting watery!

Hope you enjoy this one!