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Fish curry with a Mediterranean Twist

>> October 20, 2010

This fish recipe is similar to the consistency and taste of a stew.  Not much sour, the Mediterranean spice that has gone into the making is rosemary. The addition of coconut milk keeps the Kerala base of a fish curry. Tastes good with rice as well as bread.

the recipe

Fish fillets or flat soft fish (pearlspot or pomfret) - 8 pieces
Onion - 1
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Green chilly - 1
Pepper powder - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 tbsp + oil for frying
Rosemary - 1 tsp
Tomato - 2
Coconut Milk / Milk  - 1 cup
Salt - to taste

ingredients for the marinade

Lemon juice - 2 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Pepper powder - 1/4 tsp
Turmeric - 2 pinch

the method

Marinate the fish with the ingredients for the marinade for about ten minutes and shallow fry it.

In another pan heat 2 tbsp oil and stir in the onion. When translucent, add ginger and green chilly. Sauté for a minute and add the tomatoes. Stir till the tomatoes are soft. Add the rosemary and pepper powder and stir for ten seconds and then add the coconut milk / milk. Add salt and mix well. Add the fried fish pieces and simmer for ten minutes. Done.


Orange Cake

>> October 19, 2010

Whenever I see citrus fruits, I just think about using them up in my cooking: as a fresh ingredients or a cooked one. The reason is nothing but citrus fruits are very refreshing. Hope you will agree that even a simple lemon juice with a dash of salt is a way of rejuvenation when you are exhausted. If you are apprehensive about using salt in lemon juice, i would say it is highly recommended. This comes from my days in the NCC when salted and sugared lemon juice was served during breaks. 

The idea of an orange cake has been in my mind for quite some time. Somehow the addition of the whole orange peel kept me thinking whether i should try this or not. Finally, I stumbled upon an orange extract recently. I knew I cant buy it just for a one time use. So i thought about preparing orange soufflé, orange cupcakes, orange muffins and of course an orange cake to use the whole thing up. And then I dint buy the orange extract. An orange extract is not actually needed for the cake. Fresh orange is used to bring out the flavor. 

the recipe

Orange - 2
Flour - 3/4 cup
Baking powder - 1 tsp

Egg - 2
Caster sugar - 1/2 cup
Oil - 1/2 cup
Milk - 5 tbsp
Vanilla extract - 3/4 tsp

to prepare the pan

Butter - 2 tsp
Flour - 1 tsp

the method

Chop the one orange into tiny pieces along with the peel. Deseed the orange as you cut it. This can be done by cutting the orange into half horizontally and then cutting through the segments. Keep it aside.

Prepare a cake pan by greasing it with butter and then by sprinkling flour. Dust off excess flour. I used a bundt pan 'coz the cake mixture is moist

Sift the flour and baking powder three times. 

Preheat the oven at 180 C for 5 minutes.

In a bowl, beat the eggs one by one at minimum speed. Add the sugar 1 tbsp at a time and run the electric beater in swirls. When all the sugar is added turn to high speed and beat the egg and sugar mix until it has doubled in volume. Add the vanilla extract and mix well. Pour the oil and beat till thoroughly incorporated. (I use a spatula to mix flour). Keep aside 1/4 of the flour. Add the remaining flour in batches alternatively with tablespoons of milk starting and ending with flour.

Mix the chopped orange with 1/4 of the flour (this is to make sure that the orange doesn't get collected at the bottom of the pan). Add to the cake mix, mix well. Pour it into the prepared pan and bake at 180 C for 35 - 40 minutes. Check whether a skewer or knife comes out clean. Take the cake out of the pan after ten minutes or when the cake has partially cooled. Pour juice from one orange on top of the cake. 


If you feel the top of the cake is getting overly browned / burnt cover the cake pan with parchment paper after the first 12-15 minutes of baking.

I have used a whole orange in this cake - peel on.....kids may be fussy about eating the peel....the peel can be substituted with rind from one orange.


Green Pea Green Kurma

>> October 15, 2010

Green Pea is a favourite at home: be it in curries, biryani or the roasted ones as a snack. I used dried peas for this kurma but wanted to give a green colour by adding some green bell peppers. The addition of coconut however has given a lighter colour to the kurma. Tastes good with chapati or hoppers.

Usually dried green peas turn mushy when pressure cooked. This time I adjusted the soaking time (6 hours)
and reduced the pressure cooking time to just half the usual one (three whistle) and boiled the peas with salt. The peas were cooked but still hard. The rest of the cooking was done along with the masala and then it turned to have a soft texture while not losing its shape.

the recipe

Boiled green peas - 1 1/2 cup

ingredients to be ground to a paste

Onion - 1
Green Bell Pepper - 1 medium sized
Green chilly - 1 or 2
Garlic - 6 cloves
Ginger - 1/4 tsp
Cloves - 3 or 4  small
Cinnamon - 1/2 inch piece

ingredients for the coconut mixture

Coconut, grated - 5 tbsp
Fennel seeds - 1/2 - 3/4 tsp (soak for 5 minutes)
Cumin - two pinch
Poppy seeds - 1/2 tsp (soak for 10 tminutes)

other ingredients 

Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tsp + 1 tbsp
Pepper powder - 1/4 tsp

the method

Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan and saute the ingredients to be ground to a paste for one minute. Grind it to a paste.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and add the cooked peas without water. Saute for two minutes. Add the onion mixture and cook for another two minutes. Pour the water from the cooked peas. Grind the coconut with fennel, cumin and poppy seeds to a smooth paste. Add it to the peas. Add pepper powder. Cook till the kurma gains preferred consistency.


Tomato Dosa

>> October 13, 2010

Tomato Dosa is a tasty twist to the usual ones. Kids would like this for its color. I like to have this with sugar though it tastes good with coconut chutney also. The cone shape was made to entertain the kids…


Squid in Roasted Coconut Gravy

>> October 11, 2010

Our proximity to the sea and backwaters has an impact on our cuisine. When meat cries fat, calories, cholesterol and an escalating BMI, sea foods come to our rescue. Squid is usually prepared as a stir fry. The need for gravy finally resulted in this preparation. Squid may be associated with a bland taste, but if infused


Tomato Pilaf with Mughlai Chicken

>> October 07, 2010

It has been quite sometime that I wanted to prepare a tomato pilaf. I dint bother to search the web or any other references. Just kept thinking about it. Recently I stumbled upon a tomato and basil pilaf on television.....well 'this is not that recipe'.....just inspired me to cook my version the same night.....

My version of tomato pilaf is very mildly flavored with numerous spice in meagre quantities. The mild flavor was to compliment the Mughlai Chicken I prepared with this.

Similar to the tomato pilaf, Mughlai Chicken has also been in my mind for quite some time. I was not that impressed with the photographs I saw and the recipe, that sounded very mild on heat and spice. But to my surprise, when i finished the cooking and did my final tasting......i was spellbound.....

recipe for Tomato Pilaf 

Basmati rice - 1 cup
Ghee - 2 tbsp (oil or butter is also okay)
Tomato, cut into round pieces - 2
Green chilly, cut at the stem - 2
Salt to taste
Water - 2 cups
Onion - 1 medium
Dry fruits - 4 tbsp


Cardamom - 2 
Cloves - 2
Bay leaf - 1 inch piece
Cinnamon - 1/2 inch piece
Star Anise - 1 petal from the star
Mace - 2 strands from the whole piece

the method

Wash the rice and drain the water thoroughly.

Heat a heavy bottom pan or a pressure cooker. When the pan reaches medium heat pour the ghee and add the spices. Stir for a minute or until the spices stop sizzling. Stir in the onion and sauté till translucent. Add the rice and salt and stir until the rice loses its white color (Use a wooden spatula to prevent the rice from breaking). Add the green chillies, tomatoes and dry fruits and stir for few seconds. Pour the water, bring it to a boil and simmer till the rice cooks . If using a pressure cooker, cook it for one whistle. Open when the steam has completely subsided.

recipe for Mughlai Chicken

ingredients for the marinade

Chicken - 500 gms
turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Curd / Yogurt - 5 tbsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp

other ingredients

Ghee - 2 tbsp
Onion, chopped - 1/2
Onion, ground to paste - 1 1/2
Garlic paste- 2 tbsp
Ginger paste - 1 tbsp
Green chilly - 2
Chilly powder - 2 tsp
Coriander powder - 3/4 tsp
Cumin powder - 3/4 tsp
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
salt - to taste
Cashes nuts / Blanched Almonds,  - 15 - 20 (ground to paste alongwith poppy seeds)
poppy seeds - 1/2 tsp

Whole spices

Cardamom - 2
Cinnamon - 1/2 inch 
Cloves - 2

the method

Marinate the chicken with yogurt, salt, turmeric and garam masala for one hour.

Heat ghee in a pan and add the whole spices. Stir for few seconds and add the chopped onion. When the onion turns translucent, add the ginger garlic paste and sauté for a minute. Add the onion paste and stir till it is cooked (Add salt to speed up the process). Add the green chilly, chilly powder, coriander powder and cumin powder and stir till the raw aroma is gone. Stir in the marinated chicken and the marinade. Add half a cup of water. When the chicken boils, simmer for 20 - 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check salt. Sprinkle the garam masala. Mix well and pour the cashew / almond and poppy paste. Bring it to a boil and turn off heat. 

I have made a slight change to the recipe. I have not added beaten cream and egg mixture. Instead I marinated the chicken with yogurt. The dish tastes very very good. It is a must try.


RoseMary & Garlic Flat Bread

>> October 05, 2010

I have considered baking a yeasted bread to be a challenge….always…..and my yeastophobia increased after reading several account of the same in the blogworld. All my fears came true with my failure at the first attempt…..the dough did not rise......but i went ahead and baked it ......hoping that it would rise once it is in the oven......the dough cooked with multiple extension of the baking time......but the final product looked like a thick vattayappam (a rice cake) ........well I dint give up….

This flatbread is a result of my second attempt and I did it….the dough did rise and the bread had a good texture….both outside and inside. But my anxiety played a little part……I forgot to grease the bread mould and as a result I had to pluck it out….carefully though…….for the photo session……hope it doesn’t look that bad ….

the recipe

Flour / Wheat flour – 11/2 cup
Yeast – 1 ½ tsp (alter quantity according to the kind of yeast being used)
Sugar – 1 tsp
Salt – ¼ tsp
Veg / Olive oil – 3 tbsp
Water – a little less than ¾ cup
Dried rosemary - 1 tbsp
Garlic - 6 - 8 cloves, finely chopped

the method

Mix the flour with rosemary and garlic.

Place the yeast, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Heat ¼ cup of the water just above luke warm temperature (if the water is too hot it will kill the yeast). Pour it to the mixing bowl and gently stir it. Close it with a lid and set aside for about 6 – 10 minutes.

Heat the remaining ½ cup water to a luke warm temperature. Open the bowl and the yeast would have melted. Add the oil and mix. Stir in the flour and pour the ½ cup water in batches till the flour is completely over. The dough should now be moist. If it is not, sprinkle some luke warm water or oil. Oil would be better b’coz the dough doesn’t get sticky. Knead the dough well for about 5 -7 minutes. 

Grease a bread mould or whatever pan you wish to use and flatten the dough. Make marks as seen in picture if you please. Leave it to rise.

I dint want to take another risk. So I boiled a pan of water, covered it and placed the bread mould on top of the boiled  water. It took about  1 ½ hours for the dough to rise to double its quantity. Punch down the dough and let it rise again. It took about 45 minutes. Preheat oven for  5 minutes at 180oC.

Brush the top of the dough with milk or egg whites. Bake for about 16 – 20 minutes. Do the toothpick test (check whether a toothpick or skewer comes out clean).

Take the baked bread out and brush it with butter. Enjoy with more butter. We snacked it.


Golden Soup

>> October 02, 2010

Golden soup, as the name suggest is equal to eating gold, said the person from whom i learnt this recipe. Golden soup rejuvenates the body after a brief illness like fever and is a good food for the elderly. With less butter and pure veg ingredients this is a sinless soup that can be had during any time of the day. The croutons in the soup makes it more interesting and crave for more. 

the recipe

carrot - 1
tomato - 2
onion - 1
celery - 2 stalks
butter - 1 tbsp
salt - to taste
sugar - 1 pinch
pepper - 1/4 tsp (adjust to taste)
Milk - 1/4 cup - 1/2 cup
Croutons –  1 slice of a bread or as much as you need
Water – 1 cup

the method

Chop the tomato, onion and carrot into medium sized pieces. Cut the celery into tiny pieces.

Heat butter in a pan and stir in the onion, carrot and salt and saute for about three minutes. Stir in the tomato and sauté for a minute. Pour the water and cook till the vegetables are soft. Let it cool.

Remove the vegetables from the stock and place it in a blender and grind it to a smooth paste. Return the vegetable puree to the stock. Stir in the celery and cook for 2 minutes. Reduce heat and pour the milk. Adjust consistency. Add pepper and sugar. Check salt and pepper. Turn off heat.

Croutons – Cut the bread into small pieces and fry it in oil or place it on a greased griddle or place it in the oven at 180oC, for 6 minutes (3 minutes either side) to make it crispy.

Serve it in soup bowls or tea cups. Garnish with croutons.

Serves - 4

The recipe goes to Dr.Sameena's Soup Recipes Event


Ginger Chicken

>> October 01, 2010

It was just another weekend and time to prepare some meat dish. The usual ones are curried for the need of gravy. Settled down with a not so much gravy ginger chicken….

Ginger chicken is sometimes fried in batter and then sautéed in sauce. I prepared a slightly healthier version without the frying part.  Tastewise, it does not taste that gingery but still has a different flavour when compared to a chilly chicken. Can be had with chapatti or fried rice. 

the recipe

chicken – 500 gms

ingredients for the marinade

ginger juice – 2 tbsp
soya sauce – 1 tbsp
salt – ½ tsp

for the tempering

onion – 1 or 2
garlic – 6 cloves
ginger juliennes – 2 tbsp
soya sauce – 2 tbsp
tomato sauce – 1 tbsp
kashmiri chilly powder –  1 ½ - 2 tsp
salt to taste
spring onion – 2 plants ( i used only the green part)
oil – 2 tbsp
sugar – 1 pinch
pepper powder – ½ - ¾ tsp

the method

Marinate the chicken pieces for an hour with the ingredients for the marinade . Heat oil in a pan and sauté the chicken pieces till three fourth done. Drain it from the oil and water mixture. Heat oil in another pan or use the same pan and stir in the garlic and onion. When soft add ginger juliennes. Saute for about a minute and add the soy sauce and a pinch of sugar and salt. Add the sautéed chicken and mix well. Let it cook for about 2 minutes. Stir it and add the tomato sauce.  Check salt. Mix well and sprinkle the pepper powder and spring onion. Cook for a minute and serve hot as mentioned above. or as you please.


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