Monday, 19 April 2010

vishu 2010

OH what a start I had to my month! From the horrible cold in the first week (don’t blame me it was the ice cream ! ) to celebrating our first Vishu after marriage. To all those folks who don’t know what Vishu is then..... Vishu is the astronomical new year for keralites.It is also known as the harvest festival.We start the day by watching the Vishu kani (see pic above) and then having a sadhya/feast.

As usual I was full of anxiety & could not sleep the night before Vishu. I have always watched food network challenges and could not believe that this was my food challenge in reality! Normally the Vishu feast /sadhya is a vegetarian feast which consists of 24 dishes served on banana/plantain leaf.My grandma used to say that overall the sadhya should have something from sweet to sour in taste.So keeping the same principle i also prepared a small Sadhya with lesser dishes & yes i also managed to get plantain leaf from an oriental store! Lucky me.. :) My day was tiring but at the end there was a feeling of fulfillment, i guess thts why i enjoy cooking.A very remarkable way to start a new year for both of us!

Spicy Tempura Prawns

TGIF ....! Fridays is party day and that's when mostly friends come over or we go to their place. So all the new dishes and experiments are also on Fridays! After all it’s good to cook with company :) for bad or for worse! & all credit to my friend for going creative on the plate and taking the pic for this recipe. Thx D! Will miss you :(

Now coming back to the recipe, I love this dish not only because it’s very easy to make but also retains the prawn flavour. What I essentially meant is that the coating does not overpower the prawn flavour. It just took me approximately 20 minutes to prepare this amazingly simple starter!

  • Large prawns - 25o gms (Clean and devein )
  • Plain four - 150 gms
  • 2 tbsp corn four
  • 1 egg
  • salt - as per taste
  • pepper - as per taste
  • ice cold water - 1 cup ( or 2 -3 cubes of ice )
  • Oil - for deep frying
  • Beat the egg , to this slowly sift in the flour and cold water and keep this batter aside for 15 minutes ( the batter will set properly and get the right consistency)
  • To this add salt & pepper as per taste
  • Now dip the prawns in the mixture and deep fry them until golden brown in colour
  • Drain them well and serve with any sauce you like.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Smarties Cookies

I am not at all trained in cooking. Till last year it was confined to chai n maggi ..(thanks to my hostel life) so from there to here is quite a journey ! I love food and that's why i love cooking, and cooking + love for books = cookery books. Tht's right, once i discovered my passion for cooking i started to read more n more cookery books n now a days cook books are always in my shopping list.

I love the GOODFOOD BBC Books.They have a range of books across all categories from salads to desserts.This recipie is from one such book. Now just because you have a book does not mean you are a good cook / baker.. right??

Ill explain why. This was my first attempt in baking cookies and it was a complete disaster! Something somewhere went wrong... :( But i did not lose hope, I tried it again and this time I got it right. I also learnt my lesson - Overconfidence in the very beginning is harmfull... :)

At the end of the day i was happy to see my cookies in good shape ( i neglected my kitchen mess though )

  • 350 gm Plain flour
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 250 gm unsalted softened butter
  • 300 gm cater sugar
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tubes/ packs of smarties / gems
  • Pinch of salt
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degree celcius /fan
  • Take a mixing bowl and to it add the plain flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and a pinch of salt & set aside
  • Beat/Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. TO this add beaten egg and vanilla extract
  • To this add the sifted dry ingredients to from a stiff dough
  • Roll the dough in balls and place them on baking sheets spaced apart
  • Press smarties/ gems to each simultaneously flattening them
  • Bake for 15 minutes until pale golden brown
  • Leave for 3- 5 minutes to cool down.
Cookies ready! this recipie will make 10 - 12 cookies and will stay for 3 days in a air tight container

Veg Upma with steamed banana

Anyone from Kerala or been to a temple there will be able to relate to this dish. Upma with steamed banana is one of the dishes on the breakfast menu that is served to the devotees after offering prayers. I always looked forward to have the temple prasadam on a banana leaf.It always had a different taste which has lasted with me forever.This is however a version which my mom makes.You can use any vegetables of your choice. I have used peas, carrot and sweet corn.


  • 1 onion - finely chopped
  • 1 tsp - ginger finely chopped
  • 2 green chilli finely chopped
  • 1 tsp - mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp chana dal
  • 1tsp urad dal
  • 1 strand curry leaves
  • 2 whole red chilli ( dried )
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • 1 cup semolina/ rava / sooji
  • 1 cup water / coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Sat to taste


  • Heat oil in a pan. When the oil heats up add mustard, when this splutters add chana dal, urad dal, ginger, curry leaves and red chilly.
  • Keep on stirring this for 2- 3mins on medium flame. To this add finely chopped onion, green chilli and saute till onion softens up.
  • Now at this stage add the veggies and stir well and cook for about 3 - 4 mins
  • To this add the rava / semolina and stir well, till the raw smell of rava is gone.
  • Now take another pan and heat 1 cup water approximately 250 ml.
  • When this water boils add the semolina mixture and stir well .
  • Keep on stirring till the water is absorbed by rava and till the veggies are cooked and tender - 5 minutes on small flame
  • Garnish with coconut ( you can add coriander also if you want)

Steamed banana :

  • I did not steam the banana in a steamer , instead i put it in microwave on high power for 2 minutes and it was done, no fuss! and tastes the same :)
  • You need to slit the skin of banana before you microwave it as the banana tends to expand in a microwave. (See pic for reference)

That's it .. veg upma ready..


Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Tandoori Chicken

This is certainly my family's favourite dish! They are hard core carnivores who love this dish. What more it’s easy to prepare, its ingredients are easily available and yes I have added a small twist to this!

You ask anything about history and you will get an answer from my husband. And i frankly don’t know how he knows all that stuff. Nonetheless, when I told him my plans to make tandoori chicken he told me a lot of itsby bitsy details or should I say the story which led to the discovery of this world renowned dish. We all know that tandoori is word derived from Tandoor which means's a cylindrical clay oven used in cooking and baking. Egyptians were the pioneers of the Tandoor technique which later on travelled to Middle East where marinating the meat and cooking in tandoor was discovered. From there it travelled to India, Punjab to be precise and there it was ta daaa.....Tandoori Chicken!

Now that we know the legacy behind the dish well go to the twist which i mentioned on earlier! Marination is the key to this dish and the ingredients i guess everyone knows it... but then i added kasuri methi to it.. dont think its weird.. it worked.. as rightly said by Chef Sanjay of I came across this vedio and thought to try it out and we certainly loved it!


I used chicken quarter pieces (500 gms)

  • 2 tbsp Chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 cup curd
  • 1 tbsp tandoori masala powder ( i used Eastend powder)
  • Salt as per taste
  • 2 tbsp Fenugreek leaves ( dried methi )
  • juice of 1 lemon


  • Take the chicken and make gashes / cuts into it like we do for fish.
  • In a mixing bowl take all the ingredients given above ( you can add or minus as per individual taste) and mix well.
  • Keep this for marination in the fridge ( as the masala settles in well ) for 3- 4 hours
  • Now grill this for 45 minutes at 160 -180 degree celcius or according to individual grills
Tandoori Chicken Ready!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Puran Poli

After making besan poli ( check my last post) i had picturised puran poli in my head and i so badlywanted to eat it. Now this is the not so good part of being married.... i miss my mom coz earlier whenever I wanted anything or before me telling mummy used to prepare it and now ... well i have to do it right from scratch!

Puran Poli is to some extent complicated and it is made in puran yantra , which translates into puran machine.. funny! But i am not so fortunate with this and replaced the yantra with another yantra – The mixer grinder! I was preparing this for the first time and I thought my husband would love the Sunday morning surprise breakfast, but it ended up being Sunday brunch!

So try this dish only if you have enough time coz it took me 2 hours to prepare. All said and done ... not so bad for a first attempt , right guys?? And i cracked it ..... im so happy and btw here goes my hubby’s comments

“ Your Puran poli’s are small in size but high in taste” It just made my day!


For stuffing:
  • 2 cups chana dal
  • 3 tbsp Cardamom Powder
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 200 gms jaggery or sugar (as per your taste )
  • 1 pinch salt

For the covering:
  • 1 and 1/2 cups wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour / maida
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Pressure cook the chana dal (3 whistles) and drain the water and let it cool. If you want it to be cooled fast put it below a fan.. It works!
  • Now take this chana dal in a mixer jar and grind well till its broken down into fine paste ( add water drop by drop in case it turns out hard to powder it .Also note too much water will spoil the consistency , so be careful while adding water)
  • If you have a food processor then you can powder it in that also
  • Heat a pan , to this add the chana dal paste, jaggery, ghee, salt and cardamom powder and stir well on a low flame.
  • Now the jaggery will start to melt and the chana dal will start to absorb the water.It is very important to stir continuously i'm stressing again 'continuously'
  • It took me 40 - 50 minutes of stirring on slow flame, it felt like doing exercise in the gym with dumbells. It hurts a lot! so switch between hands
  • So this was the stuffing adjust the sweetness as per your taste.
  • Now for the covering just knead atta like we do ti for chapatis.
  • Now stuff into the atta , just like we do for paratha's and roll them without the stuffing coming out of the covering
  • Put on hot pans and cook both sides for 3-4 minutes , A doolpo of ghee or oil can be added to both the side while cooking on pan
Puran Poli ready! Enjoy with aamti or just like that!

Besan Poli

I have a very sweet neighbour in India who prepares the most amazing Maharashtrian cuisine and I absolutely love it. Actually i love food be it any cuisine in part of the world and anything eatable i will try it!

Besan poli along with Puran poli was introduced by her to my mom. Besan Poli its a very simple dish which takes just 5 minutes to prepare and a good as an evening snack or may be even breakfast ... guess it works whenever you r hungry and don’t have time in hand. . hehehe :)

Speaking of Maharashtrian food.. then bakhri with chicken curry is undoubtedly the dish I miss the most.. oh ya n puran poli n thalipeeth n...the list goes on.. but for now I am satisfied with Besan poli.

  • 1 cup Besan / Chick pea flour
  • 1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder ( this is spicy , you can lessen it if you want a milder version )
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 3-4 tbsp Oil
  • Salt as per taste
  • Corainder leaves - a handfull
  • Water
  • Take a mixing bowl with besan , to this add chilli powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, salt and coriander leaves and add 3/4 cup water and stir well till there are no lumps.
  • Now heat a pan to this add 1 tbsp oil.
  • To this pour the mixture like an omelette and cook both sides for 4 - 5 minutes on a medium flame.
Besasn Poli ready! serve with sauce