Monday, November 25, 2013

Steamed Fish Fillet with veggies and sauce

Finally I can boast of some recipe that is entirely my own. I had some fish fillet sitting in my freezer and had to finish it off before the start of advent. With half of it, I made Kottayam style fish curry, there was still a good portion left. So thought of making IKEA style fish fillet. But one thing I wanted to avoid was the use of too much butter and milk in the sauce (Remember, as per Ayurveda, fish and milk don't get along well). Plus I wanted my dish to be slightly tangy. And also I wanted to avoid the hassles of baking fish. So came up with an easy and quick recipe as per our liking.


For the fish fillet

Fish fillet (I used mahi-mahi) - 3/4 kg, cut into 4 or 5 big chunks
Salt - as per taste
Pepper powder - 1 tsp
Lemon juice - juice from half lemon

Marinate the fish with all the above and let it sit for 15 min. After that boil it by adding little water. Switch off the stove as soon as the fish is cooked. Reserve the juices, we'll need it for making the sauce.

Steamed Vegetables

Vegetables (I used cauliflower, green peas and carrots) - 3 cups, cut into chunks

Either steam them in a steamer or boil using little water. Boil till they are done. Reserve the remaining water, we'll use them for making the sauce.

Big onion - 1 small, finely chopped
Garlic - 1 pod, crushed
Butter - 1 tbsp
Salt - as per taste
Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice - of half lemon
Corn flour - 1 tsp

In a pan, heat butter. Add the onions and garlic and saute well. When they start to turn brown, add the juices from steamed fish and vegetables. Add more water if required. Check salt and pepper and add as needed. Add the lemon juice and let it boil. Mix cornflour with 2 tbsp of cold water and add it to the sauce. The sauce will start to thicken. When it reaches the right consistency switch off the stove and remove it from heat. Serve it on top of the fish and vegetables. You can even have steamed rice instead of steamed veggies if you need more carbs.

Hot Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Though I have made quite a few cakes, this is the first time I am making brownies. I got a recipe from the net and thought of giving a try...I am no big chocolate fan! So even after I made this, I wasn't too excited. I just had a small piece of it, while it was still warm, had it along with some store-bought ice-cream and a quickly made chocolate sauce. It was good, but tooo chocolaty for me!! But my son (food-lover) and daughter (fussy-eater) came back for a second helping. Then again for a third I am getting to be little surprised and excited...Is it that good?? When they came for the fourth, I scolded them and had to hide the tray on the top of fridge!

Next was my husband's turn. When he came back from office, I happily gave him a piece. "It's too good!" was his verdict. When I was giving bath to kids, I heard him ask where the tray was kept. I replied, and got on with my chores. It was the next day I checked the tray...GOSH...half is already gone!! No wonder he didn't eat much for dinner...

Hmm...Now I need to be careful. We had a little friend visiting us. When she was leaving, I packed half of the remaining half for her (I am making sure that my men and the little lady will have only little to eat). I checked the tray before going to  bed, there is still 1/4th left. The next day morning I got a call from one of our friends, that his family along with his parents are visiting us, in another half an hour. I quickly checked what I could serve them, and had yesterday's image of a quarter tray of brownies left. And this little girl (who is going to visit us) likes cup cakes, so I quickly got onto making some cup cakes. When they came, I happily gave them warm cupcakes first. Next I went onto take the brownies out...OMG..2 small (read Really Small) pieces and some crumbs left!! When did my hubby eat all these? Did he really get up from his sleep (after I slept) to eat these? so many unanswered questions...I was so ashamed to give them those, but was forced to as I didn't have anything else!! BUT WAS REALLY HAPPY TO SEE OUR FRIEND LICK THE TRAY CLEAN!

So, all the chocolate lovers out there....THIS IS THE PERFECT BROWNIE for you!! It's SINFULLY CHOCOLATY and ADDICTIVE. Do try it out yourself.


Unsalted butter - 150g
Bitter chocolate - 185g
All purpose flour - 85g
Cocoa powder - 40g
White chocolate - 50g
Milk chocolate - 50g
Eggs - 3
Powdered brown sugar - 275g
Cashew / walnuts chopped - 1/2 cup


Cut butter into small chunks and put it in a steel vessel along with the chopped bitter chocolate. Melt both together till they are combined well either in microwave or over the stove. Stir well till they are thoroughly combined, take it off the stove and allow it to cool to room temperature.

Chop the white and milk chocolate to very small pieces and keep them aside.  (I used the Hershey's chocolate chips).

In an electric mixer, combine eggs and powdered sugar. Beat on maximum speed till you get a thick creamy consistency. Now pour the cooled chocolate + butter mixture into this, and gently fold in. Sift flour and cocoa together, mix in the nuts and gently fold these also into the mixture, a little at a time. Keep folding in till all are combined well. Finally stir in the milk and white chocolate chips.

Pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees. Prepare a loose bottom rectangular tray and pour the prepared mixture into this. Place it in the oven and bake it for 30 - 40 min. Mine got done in just over 30 min, so keep checking after 30 min. It should be done if an inserted skewer comes out clean. e
The top of the brownie will look flaky with a thin papery crust. Take it out, let it cool and then slice. Enjoy with a scoop of ice-cream and chocolate sauce.

Recipe for chocolate sauce

Chocolate - 100g
Double cream - 100g

Boil both of them, till well combined.

Kerala Mussels Roast / Kallummakkaya Varattiyathu

I first tasted kallummakkaya (Kerala mussels) while in engineering college, when my kannur friend brought "kallummakkaya nirachathu" which her mom made. It was really yum!! ..I can still get that taste in my mouth! I have never seen it in Cochin times have heard my mom (she was raised in Calicut) sigh about the taste of this wonderful dish. I am happy to see these now a days in Dubai. I grabbed half a kg during the weekly shopping, but this time I wasn't lucky..the guy at the counter refused to clean it for me :) ...I hate the cleaning process...its a long and hard one, but the end product is worth all the effort that you put in.


Mussels / Kallummakkaya - 1/2 kg
Salt - as per taste
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Small onions - 8, crushed
Garlic - 4 pods, crushed
Chilly powder - 1 tsp
Pepper powder - 1 tsp (as per your tolerance level)
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Sliced coconut - 1/2 cup (optional)
Coconut oil -  as required


Clean the mussels thoroughly (beware! cleaning mussles is a long painstaking process, so be prepared for it). Wash it under running water 2-3 times. Drain the water, and marinate the mussels with salt and turmeric powder. Let it rest for 20 min. Then cook the mussels in little water (less than half cup). Let all the water get evaporated (Don't cook the mussels for too long, as it will become rubbery). Remove it from stove.


Crush the small onions and garlic using mortar and pestle. In a chatti or kadai, heat coconut oil. If using coconut slices, add it first. Saute for sometime till its cooked. Then add the crushed onions, garlic along with curry leaves. Saute till the raw smell goes. Add the chilly powder and saute for a minute. Now add the cooked mussels and mix well with the masala. Let it get cooked for approx 5 min. Sprinkle the powdered pepper, mix well and switch off the stove. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Achinga payar mezhukupuratti / Long String Beans stir fry

A great accompaniment for rice along with fish curry and moru kaachiyathu. I have seen the same dish prepared in Kottayam side in a different way - adding sliced coconut and using green chillies instead of chilly powder. But I guess I inherited my taste buds from my grandmom and prefers chilli powder for all my mezhukupuratis...the chilly powder provides an instant kick to your taste buds. I just love that kick especially when other curries are bland or subtle, like thoran, fish curry in coconut gravy, moru kachiyathu etc. So here goes my favourite mezhukupuratti recipe.


Long string beans / achinga payar - 3 cups, washed, cleaned and cut
Shallots - 6-8, crushed
Garlic - 4 big pods, crushed
Chilly powder - 1.5 tsp (as per your tolerance level)
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Salt - as per taste
Coconut oil - 2 tbsp


Boil the chopped string beans in enough water and salt. Once cooked, drain the water and keep it aside. In a kadai, add oil. Once hot, add the crushed onions, garlic and curry leaves. Saute well till its brown and almost crisp. Now add the chilly powder and saute till the raw smell goes. Add the cooked string beans and mix well. Saute till the mezhukupuratti is almost dry and then switch off the stove. Serve with some hot rice.

Kerala Fish Curry in Coconut gravy

I guess the use of coconut milk is fish curry is more prevalent in the northern part of Kerala. In my hometown, we cannot imagine a fish curry without the rich delicious coconut milk. We do not need too many side dishes if there is a fish curry with enough "chaaru" (gravy), and it need to be tangy. We either add green mango or vinegar for the tartness. We like our rice to be soaked in the coconut gravy and slurp in the chaaru alone at the end of lunch...yum...


Fish  -1 kg, sliced
Big onion - 1 medium, thinly cliced
Ginger - 2 inch piece, thinly sliced
Garlic - 4 big pods, thinly sliced
Green chilly - 4, slit lengthwise
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 1/2 tsp
Coconut milk (thick) - 1 1/2 cups
Coconut milk (thin) - 3 cups
Green mango (sliced) - 1 medium or Vinegar - 3 tbsp
Coconut oil - 2 tbsp

For tempering

Coconut oil - 1 tsp
Shallots - 4, thinly sliced
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Chilly powder - a pinch


Add coconut oil to a manchatti. Once its hot, add the sliced ginger, garlic, chilly and curry. Once the raw smell is gone, add the sliced onions and saute well. Once sauteed well, add the powders (turmeric, chilly and coriander) and saute till raw smell is gone. Now add the thin coconut milk and let it boil. Meanwhile check salt and add as per your taste. If adding green mango, add at this stage. When the coconut milk is boiling, add the cleaned, sliced fish (the fish pieced should be immersed in coconut milk). Keep the lid closed till allow the fish to cook well. Once the fish is cooked, add the thick milk and switch off the stove when its almost boiling (shouldn't allow the thick milk to boil, it might curdle).


In another pan, add 1 tsp of oil and saute the sliced onions and curry leaves. The shallots should be brown and crisp. Then switch off the stove and add a pinch of chilly powder. Stir it and then add it to the prepared fish curry. (The chilly powder adds a nice grainy red shade to the fish curry). Immediately close the lid of meenchatti (manchatti) and allow the flavours to set in. You can use it after 10 min. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Kerala Koonthal / Squid / Kanava / Calamari Roast

I never had a liking for squid until now..In fact, I hated the look of it in the fish section. Moreover, my husband is allergic to such exotic seafood, which means all the more reason to avoid it from weekly shopping. But in one of my recent blogosphere expeditions, I came across a beautifully presented kanava roast. I should say, there was an immediate spark within me and waited till the next shopping day to buy some squid. Luckily the guy at fish counter cleaned it well for me. I made it as per instructions in this blog (except that I used small onions instead of big onions as in the blog), since I have no experience eating / seeing it prepared earlier. We never used to get koonthal, neither in my hometown nor at my husband's. But good that I tried it out, it made our lunch delicious and spicy. My son loved it!! and thankfully my hubby didn't develop any allergic reaction to this is gonna be a regular in our lunch.


To marinate
Cleaned koonthal / squid - 1/2 kg
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - as per taste

For the masala
Small onions - 1cup, thinly sliced
Green chilly  - 3, slit lengthwise
Garlic - 4 pods, crushed
Ginger - 1 inch piece, crushed
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Tomato - 1 medium, chopped
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Pepper powder - 1 tsp (as per your tolerance)
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Salt - as per taste

Coconut oil - 3 tbsp


Clean and wash the squid thoroughly under running water. Cut into rings. Marinate them with the items mentioned under "To marinate". Let it sit for about 30 minutes. Heat coconut oil in a manchatti, and saute the marinated squid along with some curry leaves till they turn hard. Care should be taken not to cook it too much at this stage as the squid will turn rubbery if cooked too much. Drain oil and keep it aside. In the same oil, saute the sliced onions, green chilly, curry leaves and crushed ginger and garlic. Saute till the raw smell is gone and onions slowly starts turning brown. Add the tomatoes, saute well till they are mushy. Now add the powders one by one and saute till raw smell is gone. Add the shallow fried squid at this stage and mix well. Let the squid gets cooked well in the masala (about 5-8 min). After that switch off the stove and let it rest (covered) for another 10-20 minutes.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Quick Fried Rice

Ok...I have just got 30 minutes before my son comes back home for lunch, and I haven't yet prepared lunch!! Checked the fridge...have got little bit of prawns curry (only 5 pieces and some gravy left), yesterday's beef curry (3 small pieces left - after I sent lunch for hubby), some french beans and just 1 egg left. Have to do something very quick...checked for rice..have 1.5 cups of basmati rice left. Immediately put for soaking. Meanwhile I worked on the veggie, chopped them really fine. After 10 minutes of soaking, immediately boiled the rice. It got ready in another 10 minutes while chopped the prawns and prawns to smaller pieces. Kept the cooked rice under fan so that it gets cooled fast..In another kadai, immediately added some oil, added the chopped veggie, prawns & beef with a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. When they were almost crisp, they were removed to one corner of pan, the egg  was added, immediately sprinkled with salt and pepper. They were fried too. Mixed everything again together. Checked the rice, its cold added them to the kadai. Thorough tasted added the prawns gravy (whatever was left) ..tasted..oops..I forgot to add more salt, pepper and even forgot the soy sauce..added them..mixed up.. tasted could still be better ...checked the Nando's Lemon n Herbs sauce (I somehow dont like adding tomato sauce to fried rice as it makes the entire dish red) ...added generously... mixed up..tasted ...WOWWW.... Switched off the stove, closed the pan with the lid for the amazing flavours to set in and ran down to pick up my son...
That was one of the best fried rice I have ever tasted...

I really think we moms becomes creative and the best comes out of us when we are under pressure.. So here goes my "Fried Rice in 30 minutes" recipe.


Basmati rice - 1.5 cups
Water - 3 cups
Salt - as required

Cooked Prawns (I used curried) - 1/2 cup
Cooked meat (beef or chicken) - 1/2 cup
Veggies , chopped - 1/2 cup (carrot, beans etc)
Egg - 1 (you can add upto 2)
Soy sauce - 1 tbsp
Lemon and Herbs sauce - 3 tbsp (I used Nando's)
Salt & Pepper - as per taste


Soak rice for atleast 10 min. Then cook the rice with double the amount water, add some salt too. Once cooked, keep it for cooling. Meanwhile, heat a wide mouthed pan (big enough to hold rice), add some oil (ideally, gingelly oil). Once the oil is hot, add the veggies and sprinkle some salt and pepper. Let them get crisp. Keep it aside. Now add prawns and meat. Remove them from oil once crisp. Scramble egg into left-over oil, sprinkle salt and pepper immediately and scramble well. Once egg is cooked, keep it aside. In the remaining oil (add more oil if there is not enough left), add the cooled rice, give it a good stir. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Now add the fried items that were kept aside. Give everything a nice mix. Add the sauces, and thoroughly mix again. Check for salt. Once everything is mixed well and taste is ok, keep the pan closed with its lid for sometime. This allows for all the flavors to set in.

You can either have it just like that or serve with some chinese side dishes.

Churakka unakka chemmeen curry / Bottle gourd and dried prawn in coconut gravy

This is one dish that my grandmom makes with churakka / bottle gourd and trust me tastes awsome...and we like dried prawns in almost everything..


Diced churakka / Bottlegourd - 2 cups (cleaned, peeled and diced)
Dried prawns - 1/2 cup (slightly roasted, head n tail removed and thoroughly washed)
Chilly powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp

To grind
Shallots - 6, thinly sliced
Green chilly - 2
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Grated coconut - 1 cup

For tempering
Shallots - 2, thinly sliced
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Dried chilly - 2
Salt - as per taste
Coconut oil - 1 tsp


Boil the bottlegourd pieces in 1 cup of water, along with required salt, turmeric powder and chilly powder. When they are half cooked add the washed dried prawns. Let them get cooked well. Meanwhile, in the small jar of the mixer, grind the items mentioned under "To grind" to a coarse paste. Add this paste to the almost cooked bottlegourd. Add more water if needed (it should have a medium thick consistency). Switch off the stove once the coconut mixture is about to boil.

In another pan, add coconut oil. Once hot, add the sliced shallots, dried chilly and curry leaves. Let the onions turn brown and crisp. Add them to the coconut gravy, stir gently and close the lid immediately for the flavors to set in. 

Cabbage-carrot thoran

Another easy and quick thoran recipe..


Grated cabbage - 2 cups
Grated carrot - 1 cup
Small onions - 5-6, thinly sliced
Green chilly - 3, slit lengthwise
Garlic - 2 pods, crushed
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Grated coconut - 1 cup
Coconut oil - 1 tsp
Salt - as per taste


Gently mix together all the above ingredients (yes, including the oil) with hand and keep it aside for 10-15 minutes. Heat a kadai and place this mixture in it. Sprinkle some water and keep it covered. Stir in between. Check and sprinkle more water if needed. Once the cabbage is cooked, open the lid and let it get cooked for atleast 5 min more. This will dry up the thoran to needed consistency.

Kovakka / Ivy gourd quick fry

This is an easy and quick recipe ..and which makes an excellent side dish for rice or even rotis.


Thinly sliced ivy gourd / kovakka - 2 cups
Salt - as per taste
Chilly powder - 2 tsp

Oil -  as needed to fry


Marinate sliced kovakka with salt and chilly powder and let is sit for atleast 10 minutes. Heat a kadai and add atleast 3 tbsp of oil. Once its hot, place 1 tbsp of marinated kovakka and fry them. Keep stirring in between. It should be removed from oil within around 4 minutes. Drain oil completely.

Murukku / Chakli

An all-time favourite snack...can be eaten at any time of the day...can gorge on any number of chaklis at a of the best accompaniments for tea...enjoyed by every age-group...

The explanations above shows how much this snack is enjoyed by Indians...and perhaps this is one snack that can be seen throughout India ...south to the north..

There are various ways of making this delicious snack, although the ingredients (urid dal, rice powder, asafoetida, sesame) remain the same..
One way is to dry-fry urid dal, powder it and then mix it with rice powder and rest of the ingedients to form a firm dough.
Another way is to soak urid dal, and then wet grind it and then mix it rest of the ingredients. My grandma suggested to add grated coconut while wet grinding the daal, which gives a rich coconuty flavour to the snack.

However, my favorite method is the one I saw in Vanitha few years back...which is to cook the daal and then mix it with other ingredients. The chaklis made these way are not as hard as the ones prepared by other methods and also very crunchy and easy on kids. The only disadvantage is that the dough need to be handled carefully as its very soft and extra care should be taken while squeezing it out of the achu (chakli maker) as they could easily break.

So here goes the recipe..


Moong dal - 1/4 cup
Urid dal - 1/2 cup
Rice powder - 1 1/2 cups (double the amount of dals)
Asafoetida - 1 tsp
Black sesame seeds - 2 tbsp
Salt - as needed
Cumin seeds - 2 tsp (optional)
Chilly powder - 1 tsp (optional)

Oil - as required to fry the chaklis


Cook the moong and urid dal in a pressure cooker by adding 1 cup of water. Once cooked, keep it aside to release the pressure and let it cool down after that. Once cooled, add all the ingredients and knead with your hand to form a smooth dough. Take a chunk of dough and place it inside the chakli maker and squeeze it onto a butter paper in the desired shape of chakli.

Heat a deep bottom pan and pour the required amount of oil. Once its very hot (keep on high flame), carefully transfer the shaped chaklis into the pan. Fry them till golden brown.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Idiyappam & Egg curry

One of our favourite breakfast items...initially when my kids use to make a fussy face to it, I used to tell that these are healthy rice noodles.. Now they enjoy it as much as we do..

Ingredients - for idiyappam

Rice powder (I use pathiri podi) - 2 cups
Water - 2.5 cups
Sugar - 1 tsp
Salt - as needed

Grated coconut - 1 cup

Method (I use my food processor for kneading)

Place the rice powder in the food processor bowl with the kneading hook. Boil water in a bowl. When its about to boil add sugar and salt and let it boil well (Sugar make the idiyappams very soft and imparts a nice glace). Add this water straight out of the stove to the bowl and start kneading. When the rice powder has combined well switch off the processor and cover the bowl with a lid or towel. Let it sit for sometime. Once the heat of the dough is bearable, knead for some more time with your hand to form a smooth shiny dough. Take a portion of the dough and place it inside the idiyappam achu.

Boil water in idli steamer. Take the idli thattu, place 1 tsp of freshly grated coconut in each of the impressions. Now squeeze the idiyappam dough through the achu into these impressions above the coconut. Place them in the steamer and steam for about 10 min.

Ingredients - for egg curry

Hard boiled eggs - 3
Big onion - 1 medium, sliced
Green chilly - 3, slit lengthwise
Ginger - 1 inch piece, thinly sliced
Garlic - 2 pods, thinly sliced or crushed
Tomato - 1 medium, chopped
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Chilly powder - 1 tsp
Coconut milk (thin) - 2 cups
Coconut milk (thick) - 0.5 cup
Coconut oil - 2 tbsp


Heat a kadai. Add coconut oil. When its hot enough, add ginger, garlic and curry leaves. When they are slightly sauteed, add the sliced onions and green chilly and saute till the onions turn transparent. Now add the powders one by one. Saute till the raw smell is gone. You can add some garam masala, if you wish, at this stage. Add the chopped tomato and thin coconut milk and let it boil. Take the hard boiled eggs and make slits on it (so that the masala seeps into the eggs). Add these eggs into the boiling coconut gravy. Let it become thick. Then add the thick coconut milk and when the curry is warm enough (do not let it boil after adding thick milk), switch off the stove and serve hot with the idiyappams.

If you like your egg curry to be more tangy, you can add a tbsp of vinegar towards the end (I like it that way)