World Peace Cookies- Chocolate Choco-chip brownie cookies after the war!

"What use are cartridges in battle? I always carry chocolate instead." - George Bernard Shaw in Arms and the Man
Cricket is like a religion in India. There is nothing that can incite more passion or patriotic zeal. When there is a major match happening, offices are empty, children mysteriously fall "sick" and can't attend school. In my family my father and brother are the fanatics, and sometimes my mom joins in the fun too, making 'patriotic' food- green mint, cheese and tomato pasta, sandwiches or tri-coloured pulao to reflect our national flag! This one time my normally stately grandmother who was visiting during a world cup final got so involved she was actually praying that our team would win!
Yesterday, I guess because I am so homesick, I got all excited and stayed up with T ( another sports fanatic) to watch THE match between India and Pakistan. Our rivalry runs deep, because our two countries are often like squabbling siblings. When the 6th wicket went down and the sun was out already, I couldn't take the tension or the sleep deprivation any longer and missed out on all the excitement that ensued. But what wonderful news to wake up to! We had won! Time to celebrate, and what could be more apt on the day after a raging war than World Peace cookies :)

These may not be as pretty as these cherry blossom lemon cookies, or colorful macarons, and Ria's Whole wheat cardamom Nankhatais still remain my favourite cookie ever, but these intensely chocolate cookies come close, really close. They are the world famous Korova sables better known as World Peace cookies from Dorie Greenspan's book Paris Sweets. So named by her neighbor who said that if everyone in the world ate these, they would be so happy, there would be no more fighting.
They are more like fudgy chocolatey brownie tops than cookies, with puddles of melty bittersweet chocolate chunks- sooo goood. My Pakistani friends, I offer you these cookies, to soothe your troubled hearts :)

Cherry Blossom Lemon Spritz cookies, Baking for Japan

"Small acts when multiplied by millions of people can transform the world"- Howard Zinn via

I love these lemon spritz cookies which are buttery, crunchy and delicious and so pretty! I first baked these for my good friend and awesome baker Ria when she visited me a while ago. Since then I have baked these quite often especially when I have a lot of egg yolks left over from baking macarons. They remind me of the cookies we used to get from the small bakeries in my hometown, where they would be piled high in glass jars and were so buttery they left imprints on the paper bags we brought them home in. 

They are really quite simple to make, but you need a spritz cookie gun ( which thanks to my baking equipment obsession  and a clearance sale at Marshall's I happen to own)  to make them into these cute flower shapes, or you can also use a piping bag (or hey, snip the end of a zip lock bag) to pipe the dough into little rosettes or circles. 

I think they would be perfect to bake again for a bake sale I'm hoping to attend this Saturday, where the proceeds will go towards the Japanese earthquake relief. I will be going to the one in San Jose, though it is happening in many other cities too. Do click on the button below to go to their site for details, to volunteer or donate.

Lebni (strained yogurt) Tart for Spring!

Its Spring! Although that means erratic rains in this part of the country, some days when its cloudy and very much like the monsoons back home, other days the sun is out, the air is crisp and you notice flowers, all kinds of them everywhere! 
In this riot of colours, sometimes what stands out is a lone white flower, a calla lily perhaps? or a white gardenia with the dew still on its petals. Pure, simple, ethereal and beautiful in a totally non-showy way. 
That's exactly what this dessert is like. It is also light, delicate, tender and fresh- perfect for spring.

Lebni, Labneh or Keffir cheese is a type of Mediterranean cheese, but it really is just strained yogurt.

Praying for Hope

May Hope fill the hearts of the people of Japan, not despair, as they rebuild their lives.

KK Challenge: Whole Wheat Chatti Pathiri- Savory layered crepes with chicken masala filling

This is my new favourite fancy party dish, the one that will wow my guests and have them think I am some sort of culinary Goddess. This is my new favourite, "Look T! see what I made for lunch!" dish. I may even make it for breakfast, infact this might be the biggest motivation to get up in the morning!

Chatti Pathiri also called Chatti pathal is commonly made by the Malabar Muslim community in Kerala during Ramadan at Iftar, the period where Muslims break their fast, and also at wedding and special occasions. It can be made with sweet filling as a sweet dish and also made with savory meat filling, it is also called Atti Pathal. (As from Shab's Cuisine

What it is- layers and layers of soft, spongy crepes with a spicy masala / or sweet cardamom scented coconut and raisin filled in between them. Malayli's Lasagna is definitely the best description for it! 

Whole Wheat Dosas- Savory pancakes

The four year old me looked down at my plate and then at his. In his plate was a special dosa- it was darker than mine, and quite different. A quick look around the breakfast table confirmed it. My grandfather was the only one who had been served this unique dosa and thus it had to be really special. "I want Appa's dosa!" I insisted, which elicited smiles from the adults, because Appapa's dosa was the healthier whole wheat dosa or Godhamb dosa, specially made for him as he was diabetic while the rice batter based dosa that was the popular choice, was served to us. Since then,  my grandmother made sure to serve me wholewheat dosas, or whole wheat puttu ( usually made with steamed rice flour) rava idlis or whatever else Appapa was having and I beamed with pride to have these special things just for Appapa and me :)
It must have started then, my preference for this version, (and for whole wheat and whole grains in general) which may be healthier, but in my mind is special-ler! and oh soo much more easier to make!

Chocolate filled Orange Whole Wheat cookies

I discovered my favourite thing to bake ever a few days ago- a deliciously nutty, crunchy, cardom scented, buttery, Indian style whole wheat cookie called Nankhatai. They are so easy to make- just mixed in a bowl and so incredibly tasty that its hard to resist baking  and eating them every day.

Whole Wheat Cardamom Nankhatais- The Indian Cookie

When my blogging buddy Ria visited me a few months ago, she brought me these wonderful cardamom scented, buttery, crunchy cookies. T and I fought each other for the last ones and I have been longing for them ever since.
Ria finally posted these on her site yesterday and I had to bake them immediately! 
I ate a little of the yummy cookie dough while I was mixing it in a bowl with a fork. I breathed in the cardamom aromas that filled my kitchen while they were baking. I popped one still hot into my mouth straight out of the oven- It burned my mouth but it was sooo good! Finally when they had cooled T and I began competing for them all over again.

Kerala Kitchen for the month of March is now open!

Kerala Kitchen warmly welcomes you to another month of cooking, Kerala style! So grab those uralis and get cooking, making sure you mail in our Kerala inspired  (either by the cuisine or common Kerala ingredients and flavors) delicacies to me by the 30th of March 2011 to magpiemails AT gmail DOT com with the subject line Kerala Kitchen, and with your name, link to the post as well as a picture ( preferably a thumbnail, no wider than 300 pixels) 
  • Make sure to add a link to this post as well as the main event page of  Kerala Kitchen to the posts you are submitting! 
  • You can submit older posts too- simply add a link to this post as well as the main event page Kerala Kitchen and mail me the links to your posts. Due to popular demand, you no longer need to re-post older posts
  • For more info and guidelines and for the event logos check out the main event page here
  • CHALLENGE RECIPE: Also this month, in addition to any Kerala inspired dishes you are cooking,  I thought I would invite you to join me in a challenge, and try out something that not many may have tried before, making the Malabar Chatti Pathiri from Riascollection. I urge you all, in case you haven't already, to go to her beautiful blog and check out the awesome recipe and stunning pics here 
When I first saw this layered and filled "Malyali Lasagna" as she calls it, on her blog, I immediately fell in love with it, but was somewhat intimidated to try it. So why not try it out together this month? We can share tips and maybe even come up with inspired versions of this awesome dish! I am excited by a common challenge that we can all tackle together this month. Would welcome suggestions for challenging and unique dishes (inspired by Kerala of course) for us all to try together in the future. Do leave your thoughts and comments on this.

Updated: Since a few people asked for suggestions to make a veggie version of this, Ria suggests replacing the chicken with cooked veggies like peas, carrots, potato, mushroom etc. and also chopped paneer and soy nuggets.
Shabs recommends using a Simmer Plate in case you have problems with the bottoms burning ( haha that sentence just made me laugh!) This gadget is useful in even heat distribution and protecting your pans and food from burning during prolonged cooking- like when making dum biriyani. Or you can just keep an aluminium or steel plate or flat lid ( without a knob) under the saucepan. Or just make sure you use a heavy bottom saucepan and very gentle heat.

As usual badges will be awarded to:
  • Top Dish
  • Best Pic
  • Top Contributor : Most number of entries
  • Member: All participants will get Kerala Kitchen member badges
So get your game on!

The round up for the March Kerala Kitchen should be up by the 1st of  April (will try not to play any pranks :) The round up for last month will be posted soon on a brand new blog for Kerala Kitchen that we are working on, so watch out for it soon! 

Daring Baker's challenge: Vanilla bean Yogurt Panna cotta with Blackberry coulis

I recently joined the Daring Baker's group because I thought in addition to chasing after a little monkey who is all over the place, making sure he doesn't climb into cabinets, eat insects or paper ( his treat of choice) hang upside down from his swing ( when he's feeling a little xtreme sportsy) and other unpredictable heart attack inducing (for me)  feats, I needed to be challenged. That I needed even more worrying, meltdowns, anxiety attacks.