Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pepper Chicken

Pepper chicken is extremely flavorful chicken with a spicy peppery taste. It is a simple dish with little ingredients which can be put together quickly. The only spice used here is pepper but you can also add garam masala. What I love in this chicken is its simplicity but at the same time it has a wonderful taste and enticing flavors of pepper,ginger,garlic and curry leaves.

Chicken - 1 lb
( Here I have used boneless chicken)
Onion chopped- 1large
Ginger- 2 inch thick piece
Garlic- 8-10 cloves
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Pepper powder- 1 1/3 tsp
( adjust according to taste)
Whole pepper- 1/2 tsp
Clove- 3
Curry leaves
salt to taste
lemon juice- 1 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves

Heat oil in a pan and add cloves and whole pepper and slightly roast. Now add ginger, garlic and curry leaves and fry till there is a nice aroma. Add onions and when slightly brown add turmeric powder and chicken. Stir fry in medium flame for two minutes. Add pepper powder and salt and half a cup of water and close the lid. When the chicken is cooked and all the water is absorbed add lemon juice and coriander leaves and mix well.

Try this...
Hope you will all enjoy..

Monday, December 27, 2010

Beetroot Sambar

The color and flavor of beets is unique and I love the ruby red color which it imparts to this dish. Beetroot sambar was very common in my grandmothers kitchen and we children used to go crazy with its color when we dip it with idlis.This is a quick and easy sambar and is literally a one pot cooking. It can be served as a side dish for idlis, dosa or rice.

Toor Dal/sambar parippu- 1/2 cup
Onion sliced-1 medium
Beet root- 1 large
Potato- 1 medium
Carrot- 1
Tomato- 1
Drum sticks- 3 or 4 pieces
(you can add any veggies of your choice)
Tamarind one lemon sized
Chilly powder- 1 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder- 3 tsp
Fenugreek powder- 1/3 tsp
Asafoetida- 1/3 tsp
Mustard seeds
Dry red chilly- 2
Curry leaves
Coriander leaves
Salt to taste

Wash Toor dal/sambar parippu and cook with enough water in pressure cooker. After 3-4 whistles remove the lid and mash the dal.
Add in the veggies and sliced onion and salt. Add one more cup of water if necessary and close the lid. Cook till the vegetables is done ( one more whistle in pressure cooker).
Dry roast the turmeric powder, coriander powder,  chilly powder and fenugreek powder in a very low flame and mix well with the cooked veggies and dal along with the tamarind pulp. Bring this to a boil and finally add coriander leaves and asafoetida.
In a pan heat oil and add mustard seeds. When it splutters add one tsp of chopped onion and saute. Fry red chilly and curry leaves and add this to the curry and mix well. Serve with idlis or rice.

Try this..
Hope you will all enjoy...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fish Fried Rice

This is a delicious and easy  fried rice made with fish. It is a healthy and quick lunch box fix. This is inspired by a Thai fish rice which I read in a magazine. The original recipe makes use of salted fish and chicken to make fried rice. But here I have used only fish (unsalted).The first time I tried this recipe I used stir fry method to cook fish and the result was somewhat scrambled fish. So to avoid it I  marinated the fish and fried it before combining with rice. You can also add carrots, cabbage,bok choy or any veggies of your choice.

Fish Boneless- 3/4 lb
(I used King Fish)
Cooked Rice- 3 cups
Onion - 1 medium
Spring onions - a little
Capsicum - 1 cup
Celery- 1/2 cup
Soya sauce- 2 tsp
Fish sauce- a few drops(optional)
Chilly sauce- 1 tsp
Oyster sauce- 1/2 tsp ( optional)
Carrot- 1 small
Ginger- 1inch thick
Garlic- 3-4 
pepper powder- 1/2  tsp
corn starch- 1 tsp

Cut fish into small pieces. Marinate it for 10 minutes with soya sauce and half tsp of pepper powder.Just before frying add in corn starch and toss and fry fish till done. Keep this aside. 
In the same oil add garlic and ginger and fry for a minute.Next add onion and continue stir fry followed by chopped celery, spring onion,capsicum and carrots. When the vegetables are almost done add in all the sauces and fried fish and stir fry for a few seconds. Now add cooked rice and stir and mix well. Fish fried rice is ready.

Try this..
Hope you will all enjoy..

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pazham Pori

Pazham Pori or Ethakka appam is a popular tea time snack of Kerala. It can be easily found in thattukadas/chayakadas in  Kerala. Have you ever been to a  chayakada before? They are tea stalls found in nook and corner of Kerala.
In olden days these stalls were the hub of village or  small communities and people used to gather morning and evening for tea, newspaper or radio news discussions. My grandmother always used to complain that my grandfather never used to drink morning tea at home. He always used to walk to the corner tea stall to drink tea, listen to news and chat with friends..mostly discuss politics :)  Chayakadas serve  tea, morning breakfast and fitters. Pazham pori made with ripe sweet plantain is a favorite among the visitors or customers.Gone are the days of glory for these humble tea stalls but not the delicious and colorful  fitters that adored their glass shelf  containers. They still look mouth watering.
Pazham pori is also made at home as a quick and easy snack. This is a sure winner if you have sudden guests at home.  The flavor of ripe sweet plantains dipped in sweet cardamon flavored batter and then deep fried in coconut oil to crispy golden is something that cannot be described.Give this recipe a try,you will surely love it. I have added a pinch of turmeric powder for color( otherwise it will be off- white color)and once fried you will never notice any difference in taste.

Ripe plantains - 2
Maida-1 cup
Rice flour-2 tbs
Sugar- 3 tsp ( depending on the sweetness of plantain) 
salt- a pinch
baking powder- a pinch
turmeric powder-a pinch
Cardamon powder- 1/3 tsp
Nutmeg powder- a pinch
oil for frying

Peel the plantain and cut into half and then slit it lengthwise. I cut three pieces lengthwise of each half .
Combine all the ingredients except plantain and oil.Make a batter by adding one and one half cup of water and make a smooth paste.Make a batter not too thick and not too thin. Dip the plantains in this batter and deep fry in hot oil till golden. Drain excess oil using paper towel. Enjoy with tea.

Try this..
Hope you will all enjoy.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chemeen Masala Varattiyathu/ Pan roasted Prawns

Chemeen Varattiyathu is a popular sea food delicacy of Kerala. It is not fried prawns but gravy with is almost semi-dry. It is a great side dish for rice. It has the enticing flavors of garam masala and coconut oil and curry leaves. It is spicy, peppery and a bit tangy due to the use of   Kukum or kudampuli. You can instead add tomatoes or lemon juice. You can also add coconut pieces in the recipes and it gives a crunchy bites along with the prawns.

Prawns- 1 lb
Shallots chopped- 1 cup
Ginger and garlic paste- 2 tsp
Chilly powder - 1 1/2 tsp
Pepper powder-1/2 tsp
Coriander powder- 2 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/3 tsp
Garam masala- 3/4 tsp
fenugreek powder- 1/3 tsp
Kukum- 2-3 pieces 
Fennel powder- 1/2 tsp (optional)
curry leaves
Coconut pieces( Optional)
Coconut oil

Clean and marinate prawns with salt, turmeric, pepper and fennel powder and keep it aside for fifteen minutes.
In a pan heat oil and saute shallots till lightly golden brown. Add in ginger garlic paste, curry leaves and saute for a minute. Add in all the dry ingredients including garam masala and saute and immediately add the marinated prawns. Saute for another minute and add soaked kukum along with its water.The prawns will also release its own water. Cover and cook till the prawns is done. Remove the lid and stir and allow the masala to get well coated on the prawns. Serve with rice.

Try this...
Hope you will all enjoy...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pecan Tarts

Pecan Tarts is a perfect bite sized dessert with a flaky crust, sweet center  and an inviting aroma. Seems it is a small fancy version of the original pecan pie. It will be a perfect dessert for Christmas. This is made in two stages. First the crust and then the filling.

Ingredients for the crust
Flour- 1 cup
Cream cheese- 1/3 cup
Butter- 1/2 cup
salt- a pinch

Ingredients for filling
Pecan - 1 cup
flour- 2 tsp
Sugar- 3/4cup
Dark brown corn syrup- 3-4tsp
Vanilla extract- 1 tsp
salt- 1/3 tsp

In a mixing ball beat butter and cream cheese till smooth.Mix in flour to form a dough. Do not knead too much. Just bring it into one mass and chill it in fridge for an hour. Spread the dough  with a rolling pin and cut out small circles. Press this down with your fingers into a greased muffin tin and keep ready. For the filling beat egg in a small bowl and mix in all the ingredients listed for filling. Carefully spoon in this mixture into the shells( about 3/4 of the shell)and bake at 300 degree F for 15 minutes or till the tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.Allow it to cool completely before serving.

I would like to thank my friends Jaisy, Shanavi, Kitchen Boffin, Kavitha and Kurinji for sharing some beautiful awards with me...sorry guys for being a bit late. All have wonderful blogs and I take this opportunity to thank each one of them for the constant support and encouragement.Thanks Kurinji  for sharing once again with me Lovely Blog Award. It is great joy to receive this award from you friend.

Thanks Jaisy and Shanavi  for this sweet award
I would like to share this with some of my blogger friends..

And also ..Thanks Fezi of Kitchen Boffin for sharing with me this beautiful award

This award has certain rules and it is to share seven things about myself and to pass the award to blogger whom I have recently met and who I think is fantastic. I would like to share this with

Anand Rajasekaran
Nisa Homey
Priya Sreeram

Kavitha has tagged me with a questionnaire ( set of eight questions) twice and I am posting my answers. Thanks dear for tagging and it was real fun.I was also asked to tag eight blogger friends and keep the ball rolling :)The intention is to help us know each other better.Kavitha's questions and my answers...

1. What is your take on organic food , is it a big deal for you ?
It is not a big deal for me. There are some things in my shopping list which has the label organic like milk, eggs etc, but not all... as it may not be good for  my purse to pay 25- 40% etc to regular market price:)
I do love the concept of safe methods of farming and protecting nature. But it seems gone are those days when it was declared as a motto of organic foods-know your food and know where it is grown. Today due to increasing demands organic farms are adapting new techniques and it is a prestige for large corporate farms to develop  as part of their huge farms a division called Organic farm.

2. Do you time your breakfast,lunch & dinner or eat when you are hungry ?
Usually I eat breakfast and lunch when I am hungry, but have a time fixed for dinner as it is fun to have dinner together with my family. This is the time I can spend with my husband and son who is a  preschooler.

3. What inspired you to write a food blog ?
I am not sure about it. My husband used to take photos of food that I prepare and we made a separate file. One day I took up the idea of writing down the recipes tried and tested when I was chatting with my mother. She was very sad that she lost some of the family recipes of my late grandmother and great grandmother.

4. You try a new recipe and it does not turn out good,what will you do ?
I try to improvise on that dish by adding some other ingredients that I feel might improve its taste, but if it does not work I tell hubby about it and just dump it.

5. Name three ingredients you consciously avoid or eliminate even when the recipe calls for it ?
Store brought broth, canned fish, veggies and canned meat and vegetable shortenings.

6. Name three things you have to use in most recipes ?
Coconut, Pepper powder and garlic

7. How important is eating meals together as a family to you?
Its very important for me as it gives us the sense of being together and it is fun

8. You do not like a particular dish at your favorite restaurant,what will you do ?
I will never order:) But if it part of the main meal I will just keep it aside.

Now to the second set of questions

1)Are you a vegetarian, or have you thought about being one?
Those who come to my blog will surely know the answer:) I am not.. I have not yet thought of being one but I do enjoy vegetarian as much I love non vegetarian food.

2)Who inspired you to cook or bake?
I learned cooking from my mom and later after marriage from my Mom-in -law. I used to help my mother and my mother in law in their kitchens and they were very particular to reserve the less burden jobs for me ... probably they had a fear that I will make a mess of their kitchen:(.
Baking I learned after I came to US and am still  learning. I began with big holes and tunnels in my cakes but now  I have started to understand little secrets to make it somewhat perfect.

3) How do you celebrate Christmas?...or a favorite holiday of your choice?
We love to celebrate Christmas as my son love Christmas lights and decors. We also celebrate Onam and Vishu. Now we are away from family and relatives but we still try to imbibe the joy and happiness of these festivals.

4)Do you prefer to celebrate New Year's Eve with friends and/or family, or prefer to ring in the New Year quietly, and privately, at home?
We love to celebrate with friends and family while we were in India. But now ours is a small family with my husband, kid and myself. We will be mostly at home, we stay awake to welcome the New year, cut cake and then ring up our parents and relatives in India to be part of their happiness.

5)If someone were to ask you to bring dessert to a party, what would you bring? Store bought, or homemade, and if you were to make homemade, what would you make?
It has always been a tough decision for me. I ask hubby dear as he is my best critic. It is he who has tested all my recipes ..poor thing... hehehe:)

6) How will you celebrate your next birthday?
I love celebrating my husbands and sons birthday..I love planning and doing something different and to make the day special. But mine I leave it for them to be truthful I am not sure..last minute plans.

7)Do you have a New Year's resolution-and will you be sticking to it?
I do make New Year resolutions but I sadly admit that I did not stick to it last year.

I am passing the first set of Kavitha's questions to some of my friends :) Please keep the ball rolling:)

Savitha Ramesh
Cool blogger
Kitchen Boffin
Kairali sisters

Thanks dear friends..
Have a great day:)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Kappa/Tapioca Curry and Ayala curry/Fish curry

Kappa/Tapioca Curry and Ayala curry/Fish curry

Tapioca puzhakku and spicy tangy fish curry is very popular in Kerala- a very famous combo.Earlier it was considered as common man's food but today it is served in star hotels and famous tourist attractions like house boats.Tapioca is widely used in Kerala both fresh or dried and there is a wide range of dishes from breakfast to snacks and chips made from tapioca.But this combo of puzhakku and fish curry brings out the authentic taste of Kerala and is definitely the best.

To make Tapioca curry
Tapioca-  1 1/2 lb
Shredded coconut- 1 cup
Turmeric- 1/2 tsp
Cumin- 1/2 tsp
Garlic-2 pods
shallot- 1
Green Chilly- 4-5
Curry leaves- 2 springs

Remove the skin of the tapioca ( till you see the white part ) and cut into small pieces. Put into a large vessel and pour water to the same level as tapioca. Bring this to a boil and then stain out the water. Again put back the tapioca pieces in stove and again pour fresh warm water .Add enough salt and cook till it is soft and can be easily mashed. (if there is excess water drain it out). Make a paste of coconut, cumin, turmeric, garlic, and shallot into a fine paste.Crush chilly and curry leaves and mix to the paste. Blend till well with the cooked tapioca and simmer for a minute in medium heat. You can also temper with oil mustard and red chillies or just sprinkle a few curry leaves and a few drops of coconut oil on top. Tapioca curry is ready.

Meen curry/Fish curry

Fish- 1 lb
Coconut- 3/4 cup
Shallots- 1/2 cup
Ginger- 1 inch thick
Tomato- 2 small
Turmeric powder- 1/3 tsp
Chilly powder- 2 tsp
Coriander powder- 3tsp
Fenugreek powder- 1/2 tsp
Tamarind- a small ball
Mustard- 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves- 1 spring.
salt to taste

Clean and cut fish and keep aside. In a pan pour two tsp of oil and add coconut and stir fry till golden brown. Now add onion and ginger and saute till onion turns golden brown. Add all the powder and saute till raw flavor disappears. Add tomato and saute till it becomes soft. Let this cool and then make a fine paste of this mixture.
Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds and when it splutters add curry leaves. Now add the paste and saute for a minute. Add one and half cup of warm water and also tamarind pulp. Allow this to boil till you find traces of oil on top. Slide in the fish, lower heat and cover and cook till the fish is done. Serve fish curry with tapioca.

Try this...
Hope you will all enjoy.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Capsicum Chicken/Varutharachatu

Varutharacha Capsicum chicken is a spicy and delicious chicken curry with bell pepper and roasted coconut gravy. I love adding potatoes and capsicum to my chicken. Here it is only capsicum or bell pepper ,but three different colors, red,yellow and green.You can add all three or just any one.The addition of capsicum gives this chicken curry a wonderful flavor and goes well with naans, chapathis and fried rice.

Chicken- 1 1/2 lb
Bell pepper diced( all three colors) - 2 cup
Onions sliced- 3 medium
Ginger garlic paste- 3 tsp
Green chilies- 4-5
Chilly powder- 1 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder- 3 tsp
Turmeric- 1/2 tsp
Garam masala- 1 1/2 tsp
Coconut grated- 3/4 cup
Pepper powder- 1/2 tsp(optional)
Curry leaves
Coriander leaves
Mint leaves- 1 tsp (optional)
salt to taste

Clean and cut chicken into desired sized pieces and marinate with salt, pepper powder and a few drops of lemon juice and set aside for 30 minutes.
Dry roast coconut till evenly brown. Allow this to cool down and make a fine powder out of it.

Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan and pour one tsp of oil and saute the bell peppers for a minute. Drain and keep aside. (You can also add bell peppers and cook along with onions, but this method helps the bell peppers retain its crispness and at the same time imparts flavor). 
In the same oil  fry  mint leaves, curry leaves and ginger garlic paste. Fry till there is a nice aroma. Add onions and fry till golden brown.Add sliced tomato and cook till it becomes soft. Now add all the powder masalas and fry for a minute without getting burned. Add in chicken pieces and fry for a minute till chicken turns color and the masalas get well coated. Close the lid and lower the flame and cook for 3 to 4 minutes till the chicken starts shedding its water. Pour one and half cup of hot water and close lid and cook in medium till the chicken is almost done. Finally add the bell peppers, roasted coconut powder, a little of garam masala and simmer for two more minute. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Try this...
Hope you will all enjoy..

Monday, December 6, 2010

Pineapple Coconut Cake

Pineapple coconut cake is now my top favorite cake:) This is an easy and fragrant cake,sweet a little tangy,flavorful and buttery.If you like the combined flavor of pineapples and coconut you will surely love this. I have used sweetened pineapple in this recipe. You can use fresh pineapple with its juice which will make it even more flavorful. I did not add sugar as I have used sweetened pineapple, coconut and sweet condensed milk. You can add sugar as per your taste.It would be great with butter icing .  I used  whipped cream and pineapple rings and dusted with a little of confectionery sugar.


Flour- 1 1/4 cup
Baking powder- 1 1/2 tsp
Salt- 1/3 tsp
Sweetened Coconut- 1/2 cup
Sweetened Pineapple- 8 oz container
Eggs- 3
Butter- 1/2 cup
Vanilla essence- 1 tsp
Condensed milk- 1/2 cup
nutmeg powder- a pinch

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Prepare cake pan by greasing with butter and dusting with flour and set aside.
Mix well the dry ingredients like flour,baking powder,salt coconut and nutmeg powder. Using a hand mixer beat egg and butter till light and fluffy. Blend in condensed milk and essence. Add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture little at a time and slowly incorporate. Mix pineapples with  two tsps of flour and slowly incorporate into the batter.Pour into the pan and bake for 20 minutes or till the tooth pick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Try this...
Hope you will all enjoy..

Friday, December 3, 2010

Okra Stir fry

This masala okra stir fry is inspired by the masala stuffed okra with I have been seeing around made by my fellow blogger's. But I was not patient enough to silt and fill in the stuffing and some got slitted  all the way through :(.I ended with this recipe which tasted equally nice:)

Okra- 20-25
Onion- 1 medium
Green chilly slit- 2

Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves
hing - a pinch

Roasted peanut powder-2tsp
Roasted Sesame seeds- 1 tsp
Chilly powder- 1/2tsp
Coriander powder- 1/2tsp
Garam Masala- 1/2 tsp
Salt a pinch

Cut okra into desired shape. Heat one tsp of oil and add in the ingredients listed under masala and lightly roast it in low flame till the raw flavor disappears and set aside. Heat another two tsp of oil and add mustard seeds. Allow to splutter and add in green chilly, curry leaves and hing. Add onions and fry till golden brown and finally add okra and stir fry for two minutes. You can close with a lid for a few seconds and then continue to stir fry. When the okra is cooked add in the masala powder and stir fry for a few more seconds till it well coated and dried up. Enjoy with rice and rasam.

Try This...
Hope you will all enjoy..

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tandoori Chicken

When it comes to my favorite North Indian recipes there is a long list but topping it would be the spicy roasted tandoori chicken.This is definitely the most loved recipe by all chicken lovers in India.This tandoori chicken  is  not cooked the traditional way but in the oven and to my happy surprise it came out well imparting some of the rich the flavors and taste of traditional Indian cooking. The original recipe I have taken from Sanjeev Kapoor show and have brought a little changes according to taste and to get it roasted in the oven. It tasted delicious but I was a bit sad that the beautiful gashes are not visible:(

Chicken legs 3 or 6 chicken drumsticks

First marinade
Kashmiri chili powder- 3/4 tsp
Ginger- garlic paste- 1 1/2 tsp
lemon juice-a few drops
salt to taste

Second marinade
Kashmiri Chilly powder - 2 tsp
Coriander powder- 1/2 tsp
Gram flour- 3 tsp
Ginger garlic paste- 1 tsp
Clove- 3-4
Cinnamon- 1 stick
cardamon-  3
nutmeg- a pinch
Fennel seeds- 1/2 tsp
Yogurt (hung) 3/4 cup
Mustard powder- 3/4 tsp
Kasoori methi powder- 1/3tsp
Oil 3-4 tsp

Give two or three slits on the  chicken pieces till close to the bone. Mix the ingredients listed in marinade one and set aside for half an hour.
Heat 2 tsp of oil and add gram flour and roast it in a slow flame for about a minute till you get a nice flavor. (You can also add a pinch of ajwain seed- I did have so did not add) Be very careful as it has a tendency to burn. The best way is to bring the pan to heat and then off heat and then again to heat and whisking continuously.Allow this to cool a bit. 
Dry roast garam masala and make it into a fine powder.Mix all ingredients listed in the second marinade (except oil) along with the gram flour paste and coat the chicken with it.Finally add the oil on top.Leave it in refrigerator for at least four to five hours. Preheat oven to 450 degree F and place it on a greased baking tray. Cook for 10 minutes and then turn around and cook for another 10  minutes. Bast with the juices in between so that it does not get dry. For the next ten minutes reduce to 250 degree F.Take out of the oven and allow to cool a bit before serving.

Try this...
Hope you will all enjoy
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