Daily Archives: September 22, 2011

Baking Cakes Healthy! – Oats and Apple Cake

Passion for traditional food has always been there within me. But, when I was young and started trying my hands in cooking, I would attempt only exotic recipes from cookery books. Biriyanis, Pulavs, North Indian Specialities, and especially Cakes and other baked items used to be favourites. There was always amma and aachi to make the Tamilnadu specialities.

One such item which was always on my list of exotic recipes was cake. Cakes are hugely popular among young and old ones – irrespective of age. The soft, fluffy, sugary, sometimes nutty – vanilla, strawberry, pineapple, caramel and the king of all flavours if I can say – chocolate – cakes and their flavours steal the show in many places.

I remember amma baking cakes on stove – in a cake making vessel with sand as the base inside. First, sand used to be filled in the cake making vessel and preheated on the burner. The cake baking vessel looked like an idli kopparai or traditional idly steaming utensil. The cake batter would be prepared, poured in the metal baking tray, which would be placed on top of preheated sand and the vessel would be closed with lid. After an hour or so, cake would be ready. In the meantime, the exotic smell of cake being baked on top of sand would spread in the house… kids waiting for the minute to open and have the king and queen’s share!

Now, with oven in every household, cookery books, blogs and cookery classes – baking cakes have become a household affair – everything made easy. Though, baking cakes of different varieties has become easier now, I have always not been a great fan of the self-raising flour/all-purpose flour or maida as it is called locally. Maida, a refined product, too fine and sticky is considered as empty calories and quite often a waste material to the system. The usage of maida in my cooking is near to nil. So, I try baking a bit healthier cakes. Sugar is another empty calory intake – I try substituting sugar with other healthier options. Not compromising on the fluffy texture and basic nature of cakes, I have tried some cake varieties. At least, the guilt feeling of having an empty calorie sweet is reduced and the cake is also made fibrous and more nutritious for kids!

I always told my daughter sugar was bad. I substitute jaggery for sweetness in her porridges. Till today, she is not interested in the various sweets made at home or outside. She always says ‘sugar is bad amma’! So, when I started baking cakes with whole wheat flour, she immediately asked me – can we bake cakes without sugar? I seriously took that in mind and tried it. Next time she said – ‘butter is also bad amma’ – so I started baking cakes with whole wheat flour, any natural sugar substitute like raisins or dates with very little unrefined cane sugar and oil instead of butter.

When I plan to bake a cake,I would take out all ingredients and arrange them and just call my daughter to mix. She is the true mixer at home. My work is to give her all the ingredients and after she blends them well, keep the baking tray inside the oven. (I lend a helping hand to bring it to proper consistency). Though she loves to beat the eggs and roll the batter, she doesn’t try tasting any of them. She only bakes for others. Just that the sweet tooth forgot to appear till today!

 

Oats and Apple Cake

 

hands of my little one beating the cake batter

 

arrange apple pieces

 

 

Ingredients

  • whole wheat flour – 50 gms
  • Oats – 50 gms
  • cane sugar – 75 gms
  • eggs – 2 nos
  • refined oil – 50 gms
  • milk – ¼ cup
  • apple – 1 small
  • baking powder – ¼ tsp
  • baking soda – ¼ tsp
  • Vanilla extract – 1 tsp

Method of Preparation

  1. Take sugar and oil in a wide bowl and mix well
  2. Beat eggs well
  3. Mix eggs with the sugar – oil mixture
  4. Sieve whole wheat flour, baking powder and baking soda twice
  5. Add oats to the wheat flour and mix well
  6. Slowly fold in the flour with the egg-sugar-oil mixture little by little
  7. Add the vanilla extract for flavour
  8. To bring the batter to better pouring consistency, add milk
  9. Cut apple into long slices
  10. Grease a baking tray and arrange apple slices
  11. Pour the cake batter on top of slices
  12. Preheat oven at 200°C
  13. Place the cake batter in and bake for 30 minutes
  14. Check after 20 minutes with a knife if the cake is done
  15. If the knife comes out without batter sticking to it, cake is done. If batter sticks, take it out at 30 minutes.

 

 

baked well

 

 

 

 

Note:

  1. This is a small cake and might give about 12 small pieces.
  2. If one needs a bigger cake, just double the quantity of all ingredients
  3. Sugar content might be less in this cake – if one feels to add more, sugar quantity can be slightly increased.

Carrot-Muttaikose Thuvayal/Carrot-Cabbage Chutney

This is a non-coconut base chutney. Healthy, vegetable base and a colourful one, suits well with idlis, dosais and sometimes to mix with plain rice too.  I have learnt most of the vegetable chutneys from my mother-in-law (athai as I call her). Thanks to her, she taught me many more healthier ways of cooking apart from more coconut based high calorie foods.

Carrot-muttaikose thuvayal/Carrot-cabbage chutney (serves 2)

 

Ingredients

  • Carrot – medium size – 1 no.
  • Cabbage – 1/4 portion of a medium one
  • onion –  medium – 1 no.
  • garlic – 4 cloves
  • red chillies – 3 no.s
  • kadalai paruppu/channa dal/bengal gram – 3 tblsp
  • tamarind – small piece
  • salt – as needed
  • water to grind
  • oil – 2 tsp for roasting

Thaalippu – Thadka

  • oil  – 2 tsp
  • mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • urad dal – 1/2 tsp
  • curry leaves

Method of Preparation

  1. Grate carrots or chop into small pieces
  2. Chop cabbage and onions  randomly
  3. Peal skin of garlic
  4. Wash all vegetables thoroughly
  5. Take oil in a kadai, roast channa dal till golden brown
  6. Add red chillies, garlic cloves and onion and roast till onion becomes opaque
  7.  Add chopped cabbage and carrots and mix well
  8. Let this get roasted for a while – till cabbage becomes slightly opaque
  9. Turn off the stove and let this cool
  10. In a blender, add the cooled chutney mixture with tamarind and salt and blend it to a smooth paste with just enough water
  11. For tadka, heat oil in a small pan
  12. Add mustard seeds
  13. When they splutter add urad dal
  14. When it becomes golden brown, add curry leaves
  15. Pour this into the thuvayal
  16. Serve with idlis, dosais (https://dosaikal.com/2011/09/16/idli-steamed-rice-cakes/) (https://dosaikal.com/2011/08/14/basic-dosaidosa/) or plain rice.

Muttaikose-Carrot Poriyal/Cabbage-Carrot Dry Vegetable Curry

This is a variation to Cabbage poriyal. This has grated carrots added to finely chopped cabbage. The procedure is the same as cabbage poriyal.

Muttaikose-Carrot poriyal/Cabbage-Carrot dry vegetable curry (serves 4)

 poriyal in kadai

 

Ingredients

  • cabbage – medium size – 1 no.
  • carrots – 2
  • onion – medium – 1 no.
  • green chillies – 2 nos
  • turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • oil – 1 tsp
  • mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • urad dal – 1 tsp
  • curry leaves – a few
  • salt – as needed
  • perungayam/hing/asafoetida – 1/2 tsp

Method of Preparation

  1. Finely chop cabbage, onion and green chillies separately
  2. Grate carrots separately
  3. Take 1 tsp oil in a kadai
  4. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter
  5. Add urad dal and when it turns golden brown add curry leaves
  6. Add chopped onions and green chillies
  7. Fry for a while and add chopped cabbage
  8. While adding cabbage keep flame in full position for a while
  9. After couple of minutes of flame in full position, reduce flame
  10. This is believed to remove the acidic content of cabbage
  11. Add grated carrots and mix well
  12. Add turmeric powder and salt and mix well
  13. Sprinkle water in between, close the kadai with lid and cook till done
  14. Sprinkle perungayam/hing and transfer to a serving bowl
  15. This is usually served with rice and kuzhambu/gravy of the day as a vegetable accompaniment
  16. Can also go well with chappatis and dal in place of a dry vegetable
  17. Cabbage – carrot can be taken out crisp or well cooked as per family’s preference
  18. Onions can be omitted
  19. Garnish with grated coconut (optional)

ready to serve

Cabbage Poriyal/Cabbage Dry Vegetable Curry

One more poriyal – dry vegetable curry – with very little oil and very easy to prepare too. Cabbage poriyal can be made just with cabbage alone or sometimes mixed with carrots. This is plain cabbage poriyal.

Cabbage poriyal – Cabbage dry vegetable curry (serves 2)

Ingredients

  • cabbage –  medium size – 1 no.
  • onion –  medium – 1 no.
  • green chillies – 2 nos
  • turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • oil – 1 tsp
  • mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • urad dal – 1 tsp
  • curry leaves – a few
  • salt – as needed
  • perungayam/hing/asafoetida – 1/2 tsp
  • grated coconut – 1/2 cup for garnishing

Method of Preparation

  1. Finely chop cabbage, onion and green chillies separately
  2. Take 1 tsp oil in a kadai
  3. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter
  4. Add urad dal and when it turns golden brown add curry leaves
  5. Add chopped onions and green chillies
  6. Fry for a while and add chopped cabbage
  7. While adding cabbage keep flame in full position for a while
  8. After couple of minutes of flame in full position, reduce flame
  9. This is believed to remove the acidic content of cabbage
  10. Add turmeric powder and salt and mix well
  11. Sprinkle water in between, close the kadai with lid and cook till done
  12. Sprinkle perungayam/hing and transfer to a serving bowl
  13. This is usually served with rice and kuzhambu/gravy of the day as a vegetable accompaniment
  14. Can also go well with chappatis and dal in place of a dry vegetable
  15. Cabbage can be taken out crisp or well cooked as per family’s preference
  16. Garnish with grated coconut. (optional)

 

cooked cabbage poriyal

 

Note:

  1. Always keep in mind the less oil in pan
  2. So, fry everything for a short while and keep the burner in sim position
  3. Sprinkle just enough water – if there is too much water – cabbage might lose its colour or become soggy.
  4. When cabbage is cooked with closed lid, it might leave out some water. Most of the times, this water is enough to cook cabbage.
  5. If one finds water is insufficient, and as such there is very little oil, sprinkle water. Otherwise, cabbage might get burnt in the base of the pan.