Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Let the roads that you take be less traveled and may each path take you to the best of things in Life!! Hoping and wishing the best of happenings in this New Year for all you beautiful people out there..


Friday, December 26, 2008

Achari Murg or Chicken made in pickle spice

It was Christmas yesterday and we got onto task to try out something special and we browsed through the internet for what to be made!! We came across lots of recipes and got all the more confused and hence thought of referring to our good old (treasure) recipe book and found this recipe which was a cut out from a magazine.

Without much of preface I am directly writing the recipe. There are couple of reasons for no story this time. One is that I am leaving for my hometown tonight for a 10 day long vacation and the excitement to meet my family is bubbling and bursting . And secondly I have nothing to write about this time(probably my brain is not working well today)

  • 700 gms - Chicken, curry cut pieces
  • 2 - Onions, chopped finely
  • 1/2 tsp - Nigella seeds or Kalonji
  • 1 tsp - Cumin or Jeera
  • 1 tsp - Fennel or Saunf
  • 1/2 tsp - Fenugreek Seeds or methidana
  • 3 tbsp - Thick curd
  • 1/2 tsp - Red Chilly powder
  • 1/2 tsp - Turmeric powder
  • 2 - Tomatoes, chopped finely
  • 2 - Green Chillies, slit
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • Coriander leaves for garnish
  • 3 tbsp - Oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Heat a kadhai or wok. Add the chopped onions and saute till it turns brown(a little more than golden brown).
  • Now add the nigella, fennel, fenugreek and cumin seeds. Mix well. Add the cleaned chicken into this and roast well on high flame for around 4 minutes. The chicken might stick to the kadhai thus stir gently.
  • Once oil starts separating, add the yoghurt and saute on medium heat till the curd is mixed well. Then add the red chilly powder and turmeric powder and saute till oil separates further. Add the tomatoes, green chillies and required salt and saute well. The more you saute the more darker the gravy gets.
  • Add 1/2 cup of water and cover amd cook for 10 minutes or till the chicken is soft.
  • Add lemon juice and garnish with coriander leaves.
  • Serve hot with rotis, parantha or naan

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas with a Easy Fruit Cake

Its Christmas time and unfortunately I really do not feel it here in the air, except for the surprisingly cold weather and for the malls being lit up and decorated - the colors of Christmas is not showing up elsewhere. No unusual shopping spree, no multi colored stars hung on the roads for sale, no Santa Claus in front of shops, no specially lit disco lights on the streets, no carols being heard in the neighbourhood.. And above all no one to invite us home for a Christmas Lunch with mouth watering dishes, wine and cake!!

So we decided that why not celebrate it on our own in our small home, eating good food, shopping and by watching the special Malayalam movies telecasted on TV :)!! The thought that no one is going to gift us a bottle of wine and fruit cake made me make the favorite Christmas time must have, the fruit cake.. I have my mom's version which doesnt need any liquor like rum or brandy. (We never used liquor in our fruit cakes because we never had anyone who drinks!!) And moreover when the final product tastes as good as a cake with liquor, what is the need to add something which is anyways not so good for your health!!

  • 250 gms - All purpose flour
  • 225 gms - Sugar powder
  • 200 gms - Butter, at room temperature
  • 250 gms - Mixed dry fruits (Golden raisins, Black currants, Dates, Glaced cherries, Cashewnuts, Almonds)
  • 20 gms - Candied orange rind
  • 1.5 tsp - Mixed spice powder(cinnamon, cloves, caraway seeds(shahjeera))
  • 1 tsp - Baking powder
  • 3 Nos - Eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp - Vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup - Sugar
  • 1/4 cup- Water
  • Heat a deep pan, put 1/2 cup of sugar into it and let it melt. Do not stir at this point. When its starts browning stir occasionally and when it comes to a boil switch of the gas and shift the pan into the sink and slowly, pour the 1/4 cup of water into the pan and stir. Empty this into a bowl and allow it to cool.
  • Sieve flour, baking powder and spice powder.
  • Chop all the dry fruits and add to the sifted flour mixture and mix well and keep aside. If this process is skipped, the fruits will settle down on the bottom after baking
  • Grease a butter paper and insert into a lightly greased cake tin. I opted for a round tin.
  • Preheat the oven at 180° C
  • Beat butter and sugar powder until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time with vanilla essence and beat well.
  • Add the caramel syrup and mix well.
  • Now fold the flour into the butter-egg mixture and mix well.
  • Empty the batter into the tin and keep it into the preheated oven and bake it for minimum 45 minutes. Insert a toothpick and check if done. If the toothpick comes out clean, then take it off the oven and let it cool.

  • Serve with home made sweet wine if available.
So you all out there having a visual feast of colors, have a great Christmas!! Have lots of food and wine but don't drink and drive ;)

Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Easy Doughnuts

I never knew doughnuts were so easy to make until the day I saw this site and made up my mind to make it the very moment forgetting the calorie and fat content in it.

It was around 5:30 in the evening today when I started the prep, thinking that I can finish off by the time my hubby is back from work. But to my surprise I finished of my work, cleaned up the place, washed the dishes, took pictures, formatted them and now posting it at 6:30 p.m. It was that easy and just too good. Off late I haven't had such good doughnuts. It just melted away in the mouth.

I was so apprehensive about making them because I am not too good with confectionery and baking, thus ended up taking just half the quantity of ingredients. I also considered the fact that 18 doughnuts(according to the author of the recipe on would be too much for 2 of us to eat, even if it turns out to be good. I got 8 doughnuts out of this quantity. So my recipes goes like this. I also followed couple of comments mentioned by some reviewers which made the process easier.

  • 1.5 tbsp - Yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup -Powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp - Butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 of an Egg
  • 3 drops - Vanilla essence
  • 3/4 cup - All purpose flour
  • A pinch - Baking soda
  • A pinch - Salt
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Some flour for dusting the marble
  • Some sugar powder for dusting


  • Cream butter and sugar in a bowl till smooth
  • Add the egg and vanilla essence and mix well
  • Sift the baking soda, salt and flour and keep aside
  • Stir in the flour mixture into the butter-sugar mixture alternating it with yogurt.
  • Mix and kneed well until you form a soft dough out of it.
  • Clean the kitchen marble and dust it with some flour and roll the dough on to the surface in 1/3 inch thickness.
  • Cut the dough using a doughnut cutter and let it stand for 10 minutes. As I did not have a doughnut cutter I used a small bowl with a sharp edge and bottle cap to get the shape. The dough which is cut from the center was collected and rolled again and cut.
  • After 10 minutes, heat enough oil in a wok type utensil and fry them till golden brown on medium low flame. It wouldnot take more than a minute to fry them. Strain onto kitchen paper towels and when still warm roll them on a pile of sugar powder and dust them well. Serve immediately.
My doughnuts have become cold and hubby has still not come home. :( Guess its his bad luck!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Kurumulaku ittu Mathi Varuthathu or Sardines Fried with ground pepper

ohile browsing through some of my old pictures on my system, I became all nostalgic about home, Cochin and above all, Kerala!! Suddenly my thoughts ran up to those narrow lanes of Fortkochi, Jew Street and Broadway which was infused with the distinct smell of spices. Cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, cloves, nutmeg, mace - you could smell it all there. The Broadway(on the contrary, not at all a broad street) was one of the streets I had to pass by every evening after work to get to the nearest bus stop. The smell of the spices enthused me even at that hour of the day. And ever since I remember the place, it always smelled and looked the same sans a few new shops.

Staying in this city rich for its spice trade, every family who has some land around their houses or in their backyard would make sure that they plant few essential spices. We too have some pepper vines climbing onto couple of adakkamaram(Arecanut trees), a nice and shady nutmeg tree, an all spices tree and a cinnamon tree in and around our house. Thanks to my father who planted all those trees that I could grow up seeing all of those spices. And no matter how far away from home I am, I would definetly carry a nice jar full of home grown black peppercorns for sure.

This fish fry is something which is very special to me because I crafted out of my own imagination using our own peppercorns and my hubby just loves it. We could have it everyday and still want for more. The taste obviuosly comes out of the pepper which is the main ingredient.

  • 5-6 Nos - Sardines
  • Coconut Oil or refined oil, to shallow fry
  • 1 tsp and more - whole balck peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp - Turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2-3 - Shallots
  • 1 tsp - Ginger Garlic paste
  • 2 sprigs - Curry leaves


  • Clean and cut the fish and score them and keep aside
  • Roughly grind all the ingredients and apply on to the fish. Apply it thoroughly on to the fish and smear the masala on the cuts. Let it remain for minimum half an hour
  • Heat a pan and pour some oil according to your wish. I use coconut oil most often, which increases the flavor. When the oil is hot, place the marinated fish and let it fry for sometime on both the sides over a medium low flame. As the masala paste is coarse there are chances of it getting browned faster and might sometimes burn also. So make sure the masala is just browned and not burnt(like what happened to couple of my fishes). This preparation is at its best when the fish is not too crisp.
  • Serve hot and sizzling with rice.

Note: If you can manage to get fresh green peppercorns, you can replace the black ones with them, which would taste even better.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cocoa Coffee Souffle

It was on a lazy afternoon(when I had absolutely nothing to do), that I was flipping through my recipe book. This book was created around 5-6 years back, from a bundle of cut outs from magazines and news papers my parents & I collected over a period of 2 decades. My mom used to cut the recipes and dad used to carefully keep all those cut outs in an old blue briefcase. And often on Sunday afternoons we used to browse through it to see what new can we try for that afternoon.

Years passed by, the collection increased and my parents transfered the responsibilty to me. Thats when I meticulously sorted it out and discarded the once which I would not give a try and pasted and indexed that book for an easy reference. And today because of this reason I consider this book of ours as a Treasure Book.

A small excerpt from my book. Now this book has some handwritten recipes too, which I have either noted when aired on the television or told by my mother over the numerous STD calls we make discussing recipes.

And last week while I was flipping through those pale yellow pages, I came across this recipe of a souffle which I have been eyeing for a long time. I have never tried my hand on souffles ever before. And now because of this blog I had the motivation to try it out.

The one which I thought of trying was the Chocolate Souffle but when I started accumulating the materials required, I found that I just had only 1 tbsp of cocoa whereas it required 3-4 tbsps. Thats when I thought I would alter it according to my availability of products and ended up with a new souffle all together, and I christened it as the "Cocoa coffee souffle".

  • 1/3 tbsp - Cornflour
  • 2 tsp - Gelatin
  • 1/2 tsp - Instant coffee powder
  • 50 gms - Sugar
  • A pinch of Salt
  • 1 tbsp - Cocoa powder
  • 25 gms- Sugar
  • 1.5 cup - Milk
  • 1 - Egg, separated


  • Separate the egg yolk and egg white into two clean dry bowls.
  • Mix together cornflour, gelatin, coffee powder, 50 gms of sugar and salt in a heavy bottomed pan and swtich on the gas, keeping the flame low. Pour the milk slowly into it the pan while stirring the mixture continuously. Pour the milk in installments and not at once.
  • Once the entire milk has been stirred in, add the 25 gms of sugar and cocoa into the milk mixture and keep stirring. You will see that the mixture is thickening. Remove the pan from the gas when medium thick.
  • Beat the egg yolk with a fork and slowly pour it into the milk mixture. Stir well and keep the pan again on medium heat. Let it start boiling. When you see the first bubble come, switch off and keep the pan onto a tray of ice water. Let it cool.
  • Simultaneously, beat the egg white with a beater or whisk and make it stiff.
  • When the mixture has completely cooled down, slowly fold the stiff egg white into the mixture with a spatula. You will notice that the volume of the mixture suddenly increases when you add the egg white. That is how it ideally should be. And this is the difference between making a mousse and souffle.
  • Now transfer it into small glasses and let it set in a refridgerator till you serve. Serve chilled.
  • When serving you may decorate it with grated chocolate, cherry, icing sugar etc.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Njandu Varutharachathu or Kerala Style Crab curry - Obviuosly with oodles of coconut oil and coconut

Whenever I eat crab, I just get reminded of one thing which my mom always says. "Njandu curry ondankil, randu curry venda!!"(means if there is crab curry, you neednot have another curry). And I often I related that statement of my mother as her laziness to cook more dishes the day crab was cooked.

As a kid, I never adored it as it was so difficult to eat them. The art of eating crab is something that one learns through years of practice. The day I learnt to eat them, I started enjoying it. To be frank, it is so difficult to eat crab minding your table manners. The day this thought struck my mind, things bacame easier!! And from then on I made it a point not to eat crab at a restuarants(unless and until its some preparation using the crab meat and doesn't involve the shell)!! Not having tasted many preparations with crab, I always tend to love the good old Kerala preparation, which my mother, aunts, mother in law and hubby makes!! This version comes from my hubby who is an expert in making sea food!!


To cook:
  • 1/2 Kg - Crab, cleaned and cut
  • 1" piece - Ginger
  • 1 sprig of curry leaf
  • 1 tsp - Turmeric Powder
  • 1/2 - Raw banana or 1 potato, cubed (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Water to cook

To roast and grind:

  • A ittle more than 1/2 cup of lightly packed finely grated fresh Coconut
  • 4 - cloves
  • 1" piece - Cinnamon
  • 1 small pod of cardamom
  • 1 tsp - Black peppercorns
  • 2 cloves - Garlic
  • 2 tsp - Coriander powder
  • 2 tsp - Chilly powder
  • A generous pinch - Fennel seeds or perinjeerakam
  • 1 tsp - Coconut Oil

For Tempering:(Optional)

  • 1 tsp - Mustard seeds
  • 2-3 - Shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 sprig - Curry leaf
  • 1 tbsp - Coconut Oil


  • Clean the crab and cut the major part into two. The legs need to be crushed a bit. You can ideally just give a light crush with a pestle until you see cracks on the shell. This is done so that the spices and salt gets into the juicy flesh.
  • Now, in a pan, put all the ingredients in the 'To cook' section and pour required water and bring it to a boil and simmer and cook till the crab turns orange in color. If excessive water, turn the flame to medium high and evaporate it till the level you desire. We like a little thick gravy thus not much of water was retained.
  • Meanwhile, in a pan, pour the coconut oil and roast all the ingredients leaving the chilly and coriander powder. When the coconut turns nice and brown, add the coriander and chilly powder and stir continuously till the raw smell is gone. Make sure the mixture doesnt get burnt, for which you need to keep the flame medium low and keep stirring continously. Let it cool and grind it with very little water to a fine paste. The finer the paste, the better the curry's texture gets
  • Once done empty the masala paste into the cooked crab and mix well. If water is required add water according to your wish. Let the crab simmer in this masala for 10 minutes till all the aroma gets into the crab.
  • In a pan, pour 1 tbsp of oil and put in the mustard, shallots and curry leaf and pour on top of the curry. Close the lid and let it stand for 10 minutes and serve with Rice. Tempering is not a must do. I generally skip it as I cannot simply wait to have it. And yet another reason being less oil too