Thursday, 3 October 2013

Chicken, Bean and Vegetable Soup in Pressure Cooker

Soup is synonymous with cold to me. Soup is quick. Soup is easy. Soup is nutritious. Soup is comforting. So is warmth. Soup is whole. Soup is hearty. Soup is complete. Soup is contentment.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Orange and Almond Cake

You look high and low for recipes when you fall in love with a food. And sometimes it is hard to satisfy your palate with what you make because your hand creations cannot match the great taste that you enjoyed for that food the first time. The Orange and Almond Cake is one such recipe for me. It was a sweet yet refreshing and light dessert. I've been working to perfect this recipe for a long time and I stroke it rich when I landed on the Food Safari show in SBS one day where they presented this exhilarating dessert as a classic Passover confection from the Mediterranean, Morocco and the Middle East.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Heuvos Rancheros Con Frijoles Al Horno

This Mexican-style Baked Beans and Eggs makes a scrumptious and flavourful breakfast for those who love to break into their day like a king. Yet, the benefits are more than sees the eye. It is low-GI, which means you have sustained energy for a longer time during the day. It is packed with proteins which helps in muscle development. The tomatoes have lycopene which is a powerful anti-oxidant.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Vada Kootu Curry

Busy cooking. But yet couldn't let this day pass without the Trivandrum-style Vada Kootu Curry...

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Goan-Style Prawn Curry

It is a cool Sunday morning. There is nothing better on a day like this than to wake up early, when the rest of the house is still in deep slumber from which, it seems, they may not wake up. This is the time I enjoy the most because I can be for myself without any "Where?"s, "Whats?" and "Hows?".

The day looks perfect for a bake. But I am lazy. Should I cook? May be not. Sundays are meant to be lazy, right?

The sun's rays stream through the windows right into my eyes and though I cannot see the ocean, it reminds of home. It is a perfect day to take a stroll down the beach, watching the ladies waiting for their men to return from the sea. Hoots and hows from the fishermen from their boats in the sea fill the air. I think they have a great catch today. They are passing signals to the men on shore to be ready for them. There are children playing in the waves oblivious to what is going around them.

And then I suddenly remember that my home is still miles away from me. Can I catch a glimpse of "my ocean" in all its glory ever? I hope the innocence of those people still lingers in their hearts.

Back to where I am now - I have a recipe that is not from home but from a place that is very similar to home: Goa - the land of beaches. It is a Goan-style Prawn Curry (credits to Sonia D'souza from Goa for her recipe) which stands out from the Kerala-style inspite of the similar spices used.

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: around 20 minutes
(The recipe follows rough estimations. Please make changes to suit your taste)

  • 500g prawn meat
  • 3/4 cup dessicated coconut
  • 3 green chilly
  • 1 tsp garam masala, adjust to taste
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1" ginger, crushed
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground fenugreek
  • 1/2 tsp pepper powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 - 2 tsp kashmiri chilly powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1 - 2 tsp white vinegar
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
To temper
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 3 - 4 dry red chilly
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
1. Place a pan over medium heat and add oil. Stir in onion, ginger, garlic and salt and continue to cook until onion becomes light brown in colour. Add ground cumin, fenugreek, pepper, turmeric and kashmiri chilly powders and mix well. Remove from flame and let it cool. Grind this very little water to make a thick and creamy paste.
2. Dry roast dessicated coconut until it starts to change colour to a light brown. Set it aside to cool. Then add green chilly, garam masala and just enough water to make a thick creamy paste.
3. Add prawns in a deep pan over medium heat with salt and no water. Cook until half done. At this stage the prawns will shrink in size and there will be liquid in the pan. Mix ground onion paste and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Then add ground coconut paste and continue to cook until done. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Pour in vinegar just as you remove the dish from heat and mix well.

Set aside for at least 8 hours.

4. Heat remaining oil to temper in a pan. Splutter mustard seeds, curry leaves and dry red chilly. Pour it onto reheated prawn curry and serve hot with rice.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Spicy Apple Pecan Tea Cake

Apples, in my opinion, are the most versatile of fruits. They are crunchy when eaten fresh; this makes a very good addition to a refreshing salad or can be eaten as is. Cooked - they are soft and can be made into pies or tarts. Make them into a juice which can be served fresh in a glass or can be turned into cider or vinegar. With flavours that run from sugary sweet to ones that raises your eye-brows, apples can find a place in every dish - tagines, cakes, cookies and the list is endless.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Grilled Salmon with Lemon Risotto topped with Creamy Prawn Sauce

Today is the first Sunday of September, a special day for us Australians because we are celebrating Father's Day. Interestingly, Father's Day was not started to show the children's love to their fathers but only to complement Mother's day which was widely celebrated to honour motherhood. Personally, I feel that fathers and mothers should be honoured and thanked for all the sacrifices they do for their children and grandchildren everyday day of their lives, until they part from us.

But who are we to blame the chance for a celebration. Most of you may have already planned for a great day; but there could be a handful of you still looking out for something to surprise the special person in your life. What about cooking something for him? If he loves seafood and happy to go Italian, here is a recipe for you - Pan Grilled Salmon with Lemon Risotto served with a Creamy Sauce of Prawns and Sun-dried Tomato.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Meen Thoran/ A Stir-Fry with Shredded Fish and Coconut

Thoran is a style of stir-fry prepared using a main item like vegetables or fish together with crushed coconut and spices. Though thoran is usually prepared by using vegetables are usually chopped very thin, this is a variation where cooked fish is finely shredded after removing the bones to prepare a thoran. Do not mistake this for what is generally called a Meen Peera, where small fish like white bait or sardine is used with their bones.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Vendakka Theengapaal Curry/ Okra in Coconut Milk

Time to break my silence!

The last few months have not been very good for me. I was trying to find myself, which I guess is hard. Especially when you have forgotten what you are! There were changes happening to me - physically and mentally. It was hard for me to compose and collect myself. So I decided to let go of myself! Let go of my singing and dancing, but most of all my cooking. Cooking turned out to be a necessity for me rather than passion.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Cong You Bing / Chinese-style Spring Onion Pancake with Ginger Dipping Sauce

Cong You Bing is a Chinese-style unleavened flat-bread, commonly referred to as Spring Onion Pancakes. It uses very few ingredients and is quite easy to prepare and yet has a very remarkable flavour. The dough is a combination of water, salt and flour. This combined with sesame oil, spring onions, salt and pepper and then being toasted in very little oil creates a delicious snack. The recipe here is from a Chinese colleague from years back.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Prawn Pakora/ Prawn Fritters

Pakoras, also known as Bhajias, are a very popular fried snack in India. Ask any Indian, and this unbelievably addictive fritter is always associated with the cool monsoon weather. It is not very uncommon for Indians to sit down with a hot cup of tea in the verandah, enjoying the beautiful monsoon rains and munching into some crispy pakoras. Originally, a tea time snack, pakoras are nowadays served as an appetiser in an Indian food menu.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Tharavu Mappas/ Duck in a Spicy Coconut Gravy

Cooking has not been at its best for the last few months with the summer heat killing my boys' appetite. But with a cool change, I can see their love for and request for food growing. Today's recipe was a special Easter breakfast request from them and though I am down with flu and fever, I simply couldn't ignore it.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Char Siu Bao/ Chinese BBQ Pork Bun

Char Siu Bao is a Cantonese bbq pork filled steamed bun and is the most popular street food in China. Char Siu is bbq pork and Bao is covered or wrapped. Pork meat is marinated in a maltose-hoisin-rose wine sauce and then grilled over the bbq to a charred, savoury, sweet perfection. Then are then chopped and filled inside a yeast-dough, shaped into buns and steamed. They are served hot, straight from the steamer.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Kallumakkaya Ularthiyathu / Mussels Fry

Mussels, commonly referred to in Kerala as Kallumakkaya or Kadukka, is a very popular seafood in the coastal regions of Kerala. It is harvested from the rocks found on the coastal lines. There are different recipes that Kerala has to offer to savour these shell meat. Here is one of the recipes - a lip smacking simple, yet spicy preparation - Kallumakkaya Ularthiyathu. The rich flavour of the mussels are enhanced by the use of chilly powder, pepper powder and fennel powder. And you can't the forget the coconut pieces that you bite into in between. Nothing much can be said about this dish, except that you have to taste it to fall in love with it.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Garlic-Herb Chicken, Spinach and Spring Onion Pizza

Friday evenings are synonymous with lazy evenings. You simply want to gather round with your family for a long chit chat or sit in front of the television to watch some exciting movies. More importantly, you want to wind down yourself after a hectic and heavy week.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Aloo Tikki: Potato Cutlets

Aloo Tikki is a North Indian street food, prepared with mashed potatoes, some herbs and spices. It is a very popular snack found in Chaat stalls. It is usually served with tamarind sauce and coriander-mint sauce and also at times relished, topped with chick peas, yoghurt, onion, green chilly sauce, tamarind sauce, coriander-mint sauce and sev to make a complete Chaat.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Round Up: Flavours of Cuisines - Mexican

It was a real exciting and thrilling experience hosting the Flavours of Cuisines - Mexican Event for Julie of Erivum Puliyum; exciting because of the fabulous blogs I came across through this event and thrilling because of the wonderful recipes that my fellow bloggers posted. I received a total of 57 entries for the event and looking at the list below, you will realize that you are all well on your way to host a Mexican banquet in your own home with entrees, mains, desserts and drinks.
Thanks to Julie for giving me this opportunity and to all bloggers for making this event a success.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Malai Kofta/ Fried Cottage Cheese Balls in a Creamy Gravy

And finally my 100th post. It has taken me a long time to reach here but the journey sure was thrilling.

There is an ongoing myth that vegetarian menus cannot be as extravagant and lavish as the non-vegetarian menus; and I do call it a myth. There are a myriad of options that can be dished out as exuberantly as its non-vegetarian counterparts.;and the first dish that comes to my mind is the Malai Kofta. 

Monday, 18 February 2013

Pastel de Tres Leches with Dulce de Leche

Another Mexican favourite today and it is a dessert cake; Pastel de Tres Leches ( pronounced pahstayl de tray laychays ) means Cake in Three Milks.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Heuvos Rancheros/ Mexican Rancher's Eggs

Heuvos Rancheros is a popular Mexican breakfast and simply means Rancher's Eggs. The dish consists of eggs fried in rancher's sauce served with tortilla, frijoles refritos, avocado or guacamole and sometimes Mexican-style rice and is usually served in farms in Mexico more as a brunch than a breakfast. So this was our weekend breakfast and a spicy, filling way to gobble up a heavy breakfast instead of the "boring" Big Breakfast! (Look who's talking!)

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Frijoles Refritos/ Mexican Refried Beans

Frijoles Refritos is a Mexican dish cooked and mashed beans which is an indispensable part of Mexican cuisine. It can be served for breakfast with eggs and tortillas, for lunch and dinner with quesadillas, enchilados, burritos or as a dip with plain tortillas or corn chips. It is also a primary ingredient in some dished like tostadas and chimichangas.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Carrot and Walnut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

The cheats' cake is what I call it - Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. It is the most easiest and foolproof cake ever; yet, the cake is very moist, dense and delicious. It is perfect as a celebration cake or a slice cake to share with your friends over coffee. Packed with carrots and walnuts, it is also a nutritious cake that your family will fall in love with.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Ghosht Rogan Josh/ Mutton Curry from Kashmir

A delectable, aromatic, hot and spicy curry dish from Kashmir, India enhanced with amazing flavours of dry ginger, asafoetida and fennel powder - the Ghost Rogan Josh or Mutton Rogan Josh is sure to surprise your senses of taste and smell; more so, if you are from Kerala.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Guest Host Event Announcement: Flavours of Cuisines

Hi Friends,
Julie of Erivum Puliyum has started a new series this year - Flavours of Cuisines. This will be a monthly event and Julie has graciously granted me the opportunity to host the series for the month of February with Mexican Cuisine.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Pavakkaya Sambaru/ Sambar prepared with Bitter Gourd

Bitter Melon / Pavaykka is definitely not one of the popular vegetables; you either grow to like its bitterness or you stay away from it. But bitter melon being an excellent source of vitamins, magnesium, folic acid, zinc, phosphorus and manganese, home cooks are always on the look out for recipes to incorporate this nutritious vegetable into our everyday meal.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Meen Achar/ Fish Pickle

Apologies if you came to this post expecting the recipe for an authentic Kerala-style fish pickle.

The style of pickle presented here is quite common to the coastal parts of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala; this one is my Grandmother's special. Contrary to the authentic fish pickle, fish is not heavily deep fried till it becomes hard. It is only fried till it is cooked through and then coated in a tangy sauce, very similar to a fish pickle sauce. Also it should be consumed within a week of its preparation, as its shelf-life is considerably less than a normal fish pickle. Nonetheless, we still call it a Meen Achar because it holds a very close resemblance. However, you will not be disappointed by the flavours and taste of this spicy, spine tingling fish pickle.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Black Sticky Rice Pudding

This Black Sticky Rice pudding comes from Thailand, the land of smiles. Black rice is a glutinous sticky rice is naturally sweet and nutty and has a dark purple colour to it. It has fibre and lots of antioxidants which makes this a healthy dessert. The rice has a bite to it, even after hours of cooking and when paired with coconut milk, toasted coconut, fresh fruit and ice-cream makes a complete nutty dessert with lots of freshness to it. For the people in Kerala, it will surely remind you of the Aravana Payasam.  

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Murg Kolhapuri/ Chicken Kolhapuri

The word Kolhapuri brings to my mind two things - Kolhapuri sandals that most of my friends had during college days and the famous Bollywood actress, Padmini Kolhapuri, from the 1980s. My relationship with Kolhapuri ended there until one day, my husband started talking about a well spiced, hot and ferociously red chicken curry that he ate from restaurants at Pune.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Goda Masala/ Kohlapuri Masala Mix

This spice is essential for the prepatation of Chicken Kohlapuri - the recipe soon to follow. While my friends have vouched for the Parampara Kohlapuri Masala mix, I always wanted to prepare the masala by myself.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Varuthu Aracha Chemeen Muringika Curry/ Shrimp and Drumsticks in Roasted Spices

The traditional curries of Kerala - Varuthu Aracha Curry. Common spices like coriander seeds, red whole chilly, fenugreek seeds  and cumin seeds are roasted (Varuthu) by tossing in a hot iron skillet until they are fragrant and then ground to a fine paste (Aracha) with plenty of coconut to prepare the Varuthu Aracha masala. The rich aroma penetrated through your nostrils which makes your mouth water to have a morsel of the spicy curry.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Spicy Beetroot Cutlet

Who has been to the Indian Coffee House and not fallen in love with with their spicy, crunchy beetroot cutets. It is the only place I've been to that serves beetroot in almost all their vegetarian dishes and their beetroot cutlets are my favourite.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Leibster Blog Award

Alright! I've been nominated for a Leibster Blog Award by Shibi of Flavz Corner. Since I am new to blogging and had not heard of this award before, my hunt for the origin of the award began. A few google searches has led me to believe that this award was established sometime in 2010 and liebster in German means "beloved" or "favourite". The award was started in Germany to encourage bloggers with less than 3000 readers on their blog. Though most of the rules still remain the same, they have been slightly tailored - I guess it could be because of the increase in the number of bloggers now and also different bloggers have come up with slightly different rules.

The rules that were given to me for accepting the Leibster Blog Award:
1. Write 11 random facts about yourself.
2. Answer the 11 interview questions you've been given by the person who nominated you.
3. Fabricate 11 new questions.
4. Nominate 11 bloggers who have less than 200 followers and mention them in your post.
5. Tell the person who nominated you, along with the people whom you've nominated.

So Shibi, Thank You, once again for nominating me for the Leibster Blog Award. It is indeed an encouragement and inspiration for me. Also, it has actually made me think about myself. Coming up with 11 random facts was the toughest part of accepting this award.

Some facts about me :

1. I love travelling and also make sure that I try out different cuisines every time I visit a new place.
2. If I like a dish, my next challenge is to re-create it at home. I am patient enough to wait for any number of trials before I get it perfect (to my/ my family's taste).
3. I get bored preparing the same cuisine every day. Hence, I keep switching between Kerala, North Indian, Thai, Chinese, Mexican and Continental cuisines, to help preserve variety in the kitchen.
4. I clean my house due to necessity and am not over-savvy about cleaning. Though, I am picky about how clean things should be.
5. I love reading - mysteries, adventures, cooking, baking and religion are top on my list.
6. I love singing and dancing.
7. Two things I hate - sports and water. But with 3 boys in the house who die for it, I am forced to get involved in some kind of sports and water activities. Lesson 1 - Have to learn how to swim.
8. It takes me months to establish a friendship but I am always available to help anyone who is in need.
9. For better or for worse, I forgive, but I do not forget. Though I have no intentions of taking it to the grave, I am just born not to forget things easily.
10. I donate blood once every 3 months. You never know whose life it can save, so I encourage you also to do the same.
11. I am an IT professional, who is seriously thinking of a career change, to have a better work-life balance. I have a few plans up my sleeve but waiting for the best opportunity. Wish me luck!

Questions I was asked :

1. What was your motivation to start a blog?
With my friends asking me for recipes, I felt that blogging was the best way to log and share my recipes. It is also an easy way to store some recipes that you get right, after months or years of trial.

2. What are your hobbies other than cooking?
Volunteer work. When I was in India, I used to get time to visit Old Age Homes and Orphanages and spend some time with the old people and young children there. Though now, in Australia, this is not easy. But I find time to drive old people to church and back home. I also get involved with other activities in my Parish Church during my free time.

3. What is your comfort food?
Wheat flour Puttu and Chicken Curry, Rice flour Puttu, Payar Mizhukku and Pappadam and Semolina Upma.

4. Which world cuisine do you like the best?
Other than Kerala cuisine, I love Mexican.

5. How do you like to spend your holidays?
Anything to do that helps me relax. Cramping up a lot of things to do, is not my idea of a holiday. In short, a visit to my hometown to visit my family and friends is not holiday for me :).

6. Which is your favourite tourist destination?
Hmm.... That is tricky. Europe, I guess. Coz I've never been to the place and it just looks too beautiful on photographs and movies.

7. What is the most inevitable item in your kitchen?
The dish washer. Anything that makes cleaning easy for me is sure to find space in my house :).

8. What kinds of books do you like?
As I said before, adventures, mysteries, cooking, baking and religion.

9. What would you do to help charity work through your cooking skills?
There are many families in our community, who cannot even buy a decent meal for Christmas. I want to help prepare a Christmas meal for these families. However the formalities to get this started and going is very long. I am looking for more volunteers and maybe an organisation, to help with this purpose.

10. Who is your favourite celebrity chef?
Jamie Oliver. I haven't tried much of his recipes. But he always gives good tips for us to follow in the kitchen. Also he has a purpose for cooking and he inspires all around him.

11. Which is your all time favourite restaurant?
Sree Arul Jyothi Vegetarian Restaurant, M.G. Road, Thiruvananthapuram.

My questions to the blogs I've nominated for the Leibster Blog Award:

1. What is it about you that makes others happy?
2. What gives meaning to your life?
3. What did you want to be when you were 11 years old?
4. If didn't make it happen, why not?
5. Is there anything that you would avoid in your kitchen?
6. Which one would you prefer - a trip to the Mountains or Islands?
7. If you were given a chance to change something in your life, what would it be?
8. Which brings more joy to your heart - cooking or cleaning?
9. What is your idea of a good movie?
10. While travelling by train, would you prefer to sit facing forward or backward. Why?
11. Is blogging a necessity or pass-time for you?

There are 100s of blogs and recipes that continue to inspire me. But I am passing on the the Leibster Blog Award to the following blogs. Thank you ladies for inspiring me and encouraging me, to keep cooking and to keep peeping into your blogs every day.

1. Mahas Lovely Home
2. Nimmy's Kitchen
3. Cooking in Mommy's Shoes
4. Siri's Food Flavours

5. Food Lovers
6. Home Cook Food
7. Hydrebadi Cuisine
8. Indian Food Nest
9. Kauser's Kitchen
10. Laavy's Kitchen
11. Rani's Gourmet

Once again Happy New Year to all my lovely friends!!!!!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Fruit Salad Sundae

2012 just flew by. 2013 is here to stay. Wish you all a very Happy and Blessed New Year - a year with joy, peace, love, hope, share and care.