Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Spiced New Year Chicken

Mixed Spice Chicken
This is a recipe worthy of a celebration and deserves to be on any festive menu.  My late mum in law was a great cook and gave me her sister's recipe book nearly three decades ago.  Although it was tattered and the pages falling apart, I was able to salvage many of the recipes from it and thinking about it makes my mouth water.  Those were recipes of a bygone era and hardly anyone makes them today.  This is one which has becomne a family favourite and it could become yours too.

Wishing all my friends and family a Prosperous & Delicious 2015.  May you reach for the stars and achieve all your dreams.

The Recipe:

1 large chicken ( 2 kgs), skinned, jointed, washed and drained; 2 large onions, sliced fine; 2 tbsp oilive oil for cooking.

Masala:  5 cardamoms; 5 cloves; 1 1/2 tsp aniseed (saunf):  Roast in a pan and cool.  Add 2 tsp chilli powder or more to taste; 1/2 tsp turmeric powder; 1 inch piece ginger, sliced; 12 flakes garlic, cut small; salt to taste and grind to a smooth paste with 1/4 cup vinegar.  Marinade the chicken in this mixture overnight in your refrigerator.  Next day, bring to room temperature and keep ready for cooking.

Heat the olive oil in a large non stick pan and stir fry the onions to a beautiful golden brown on a medium flame.  Add the chicken aand gently cook until brown all over.  If there is any marinade remaining add it to the chicken.  Cover and cook for 10 minutes checking frequently to ensure it does not get caught at the bottom.  A little water (1/4 cup) may be added for additional gravy.  Test to see whether chicken is cooked and remove from fire.  Serve hot with Jeera Rice or any of the recipes you find on my blog.  This is one of those recipes that you fall in love with and crave for again and again.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Lemon Garlic Pepper Fish

Baked Fish Fillet
I have been hosting dinners for various friends and family this December and tried out some very intriguing recipes.  One of them was a lemony baked fish that was unbelievably flavoursome and extremely enjoyable.  This recipe can be made in large quantities and the bonus is that it gets ready in 10 minutes flat.  You could bake it after your guests arrive and set the timer for the right moment.

The Recipe:

500 gms boneless fish fillet; rind and juice of 1 lemon or large lime; 1 tsp fresh pepper powder; 1 tsp crushed garlic; salt to taste; 2 tbsp grated mozzarella cheese for garnish and a few coriander leaves to taste.

Wash, drain and cube the fish.  Pat dry with kitchen towels.  Marinade overnight in the lemon juice, rind, salt, pepper and garlic mixture in the refrigerator.  Next day bring to room temperature and bake at 220 C in a preheated oven for 10 minutes.  Take it out of the oven and sprinkle the cheese all over.  It will melt within a minute.  Scatter the coriander leaves on top and serve hot as a main course or with crispy garlic bread.  This dish has a lot of  soupy gravy that is very gratifying.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Magical Christmas Menu

Chicken Ghee Roast
 Christmas will always be Christmas!  No matter what happens to you or where ever you may be this is the time for family, friends, fun, food- lots of it and celebrating the birth of a baby boy who changed the history of the world. "Unto us a child is born, King of all creation, Came He to the world forlorn, The Lord of every nation!"

I always plan my Christmas Menu in advance and have lots of food and everybody's favourites are included in the list.  This year I chose to make Chicken Ghee Roast, a traditional Mangalorean delicacy which is indeed a magical recipe- simple and absolutely delicious.  Chicken Ghee Roast is a favourite in my home town and can be made with any recipe as long as it is cooked in ghee.  I can almost smell it now and I am drooling as I contemplate this special dish.

The Recipe:

1 large chicken ( about 2 kgs), remove skin, joint, wash & drain;

Masala :  1 tbsp masala powder of your choice; 2 tbsp curds; 1 tbsp ginger -garlic paste; salt to taste and 3 tbsp ghee for frying.

Marinade the chicken overnight in the above masala (except the ghee) the refrigerator.  Next day, bring to room temperature and cook for 5 minutes in a covered non stick pan without water.  There is enough water in the chicken to allow it to cook.  Remove the cover and let the water evaporate on a medium flame.   Add the ghee, gently stirring so all the pieces are coated and the gravy begins to thicken.  When the chicken is thick and brown throw in some chopped spring onions.  Remove from fire and cover and keep.  Serve with all the accompaniments as below.

Salads are a blessing to busy housewifes and a quick way to get a lot of vegetables and they always feature heavily at all my parties and feasts.  This year I have made  Christmas Candle Salad, called so because the finished dish resembles a candle of sorts.  I have also made Pineapple Pachdi to go with the Yellow Raisin Rice and two varieties of Seven Layered Salad and of course the inevitable cucumber with strawberries and pineapple.  Enjoy your meal with any of the delicious Christmas Goodies like Christmas Cake, Kalkals or Masala Nuts.  A Magical Christmas Menu Indeed.

Christmas Candle Salad
The Recipe:

1 green zucchini, cut into 5 cm pieces; 1 large tomato, cut into slices and wedges (3 should do); 1 small glass; Herbal Aloe Concentrate for dressing; salt to taste.

Arrange the  zucchini and tomatoes on a plate with the glass in the centre.  See photograph.  Arrange the tomato wedges and a few pieces of zucchini in the glass and pour 3 capfuls of Aloe over.  A crunchy, tasty salad that goes well with Chicken Ghee Roast.

Pineapple Pachdi

This is a surprising recipe that I came across in Malaysia and it goes very well with any kind of flavoured rice and meats.  It is also one that we used to eat as kids by the bottle because it was so yummy.  

The Recipe:

1 semi ripe pineapple, skinned and cubed after removing the core.  1 tsp chilli powder; 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste; 1 medium onion, sliced fine; 1 sprig curry leaves; 1/4 cup white vinegar; 1/4 cup brown sugar; a pinch of mustard and salt to taste; 3 tbsp oil for frying.

Heat oil in a non stick pan and add the mustard.  When it crackles, lower the flame, add the curry leaves and onions and stir fry till onions are golden brown.  Stir in the ginger- garlic and cook till it smells good.  Add the chilli powder, salt, sugar, pineapple cubes and the vinegar along with a cup of water.  Stir it well and then lower flame and cover and cook for 10 minutes.  Keep stirring until thick and gooey.  Add more sugar if required.  Cool and bottle.  Store in the refrigerator and erve with any flavoured rice.

                                                    Cucumber Strawberry Salad
This is a wonderful salad that looks good and I always get remarks about the strawberries whenever I serve it as the green and red colours of Christmas show up to a great advantage.  Takes a jiffy to make and can be eaten very fast as you won't be satisfied with one helping alone.

The Recipe:
1 medium cucumber, washed and sliced very thin; 3 strawberries sliced fine; vinegar and salt to taste; 3 strawberries for garnishing.

Marinade the cucunber in the vinegar and salt to taste for 20 minutes.  Drain in a large strainer.  Mix in the sliced strawberries.  Adjust for seasoning and transfer to a glass bowl.  Garnish with remaining strawberies and serve very cold.

Seven Layered Salad
Seven Layered Salad
This has to be one of the most interesting salads I have made.  I read about it a few years ago and have been waiting to try it out.  All you need is your choice of vegetables, fruits and dressing.  The only time you spend is in cutting the vegetables and you'll be more than rewarded for your efforts.  Makes a great centre piece as well.

The Recipe:

Seven Vegetables and fruits of your choice- I used salad leaves, carrots, green and purple cabbage; red and yellow tomatoes, seedless grapes and red apples which I cubed.  Salad dressing of your choice- 1 cup

Arrange the fruits and vegetables in a large glass bowl carefully maintaining a contrast between each layer.  Pour the dressing over and keep overnight in your refrigerator.  Next day arrange some red and yellow tomatoes on top and be as creative as you can.  Make sure you get a good photograph as you want to record your genius for posterity.  Serve cold.

                                                                                      Yellow Raisin Rice

This is another aromatic preparation reserved for festive occasions.  It is very popular and goes well with any kind of meat especially chicken.  As kids we loved to pick out the raisins and leave the rice.  It is one of my favourites and I was pleasantly surprised to see it featured on so many menus when we came to Malaysia many years ago.

The Recipe:

1 cup rice, washed and drained; 1 tbsp ghee; 2 tbsp raisins, washed and dried; 1/2 tsp turmeric powder; 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste; 1 medium onion sliced fine;1 stick cinnamon and a few cloves;  salt to taste and 2 cups hot water.

Heat the ghee in the non stick pan and fry the spices,  onions and ginger-garlic paste to a golden brown on a medium flame.  Add the rice and gently stir fry until all the grains are coated.  Transfer to rice cooker, add salt to taste and hot water and cook until done.  Serve with all the above dishes.

Enjoy  A Magical Christmas  Menu and may each and everyone be blessed!

Dessert:  Macaroons, Cake or kalkals.  Take your pick



Wind up your meal with Cashew nuts &  Hazelnut Liqueur

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Cinnamon Macaroons

Captivating Christmas Goodie
Christmas is here and so is my favourite childhood treat- Macaroons.  The very word conjures up image of delicious smells and melt in the mouth treats made by my Grandma and Mum.  They have passed on their love of food and skill with cooking to us and this is the time I put on my thinking hat and experiment with various spices and recipes and combinations, the results of which are surprisingly good.  This year I added cinnamon for a twist and my house is fragrant and Christmasy and the Macaroons simply Wow!  They are definitely going to be devoured by the handful.

The Recipe:

500 gms sugar, 300 gms cashew kernels or bits, 1 tsp cinnamon powder; a squish of lemon juice; one medium egg white; a pinch of salt
Grind sugar and cinnamon in blender. Place in mixing bowl. Add lemon juice, salt and cashew kernels and mix with spatula. Add egg white a little at the time until the mixture becomes a dough like consistency. Discard unused egg white. If too sticky add more sugar. Break off pieces and place on baking tray 2 inches apart. Preheat oven to 350 F or 200 C. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until done or slightly brown. Remove and cool. Serve as a dessert after dinner or transfer to airtight container. Subsequent batches take less time, so watch macaroons carefully.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Gluten Free Christmas Cake

Gluten Free Christmas Cake

I found this recipe while searching for a cake to bake for someone who has to have a gluten free diet.  Sourced from

As usual I have played around with the recipe and used the ingredients in my kitchen.  Baking is all about being creative and the end result is what matters.  It tastes good and smells good and I hope you enjoy it too.  Merry Christmas.

The Recipe:

450 gms mixed fruit ( I used a combination of mixed fruits that I had soaked last year in whisky)
For flour use the following:  30 gms rice flour; 15 gms cornflour; 15 gms almond meal; 1 tsp cinnamon powder.
80 gms almond nibs; 125 gms soft brown sugar; 125 gms salted butter; rind of 1 lemon; juice of 1 lemon ( I added this because none of us like treacle).
 Preheat oven to 150 C.  Grease and line a 9”  square pan (bottom and all round.  Cut an extra square for the top later on.
If you do not have pre soaked fruits, soak the above fruits overnight in 2 tbsp of alcohol.   Next day add in the lemon rind and juice and almonds.  Mix well and keep aside.
Beat the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon together until pale and fluffy.  Add in the eggs one by one.  If the mixture curdles add  a tsp  of the flour.  Gently fold in the rest of the flour maintaining a flowing consistency with a little water if required (the mixture should not be too stiff).  
Add the fruits and stir to combine.  Do not mix it vigourously as the cake will be very heavy due to loss of air.
Secure a layer of brown paper around the outside of the tin with string, extending 5cm above the tin.
Cover the top of the cake with the extra square and make a hole in the centre to allow the steam to escape.
Bake for 3 ½ - 4 hours. Do not open the oven door until the cake has been cooking for 3 hours or it may collapse.
Read a book or exercise or watch your favourite programme on tv while the cake bakes.  It is a very slow process believe me.  You could even take a nap!
Remove the greaseproof paper, cover and allow the cake to brown for the last half an hour. The cake is cooked when the cake is evenly browned on top, feels firm in the centre and a skewer, inserted into the middle of the cake, comes out clean.
Turn the cake out of the tin and allow to cool in its lining paper on a wire rack.   Store in an air tight container.
NB:  I used foil pans to bake this cake and it has turned out too good to be true.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Quick Grill

Cheesy Tomatoes With Mixed Herbs

I always have a good stock of fresh, red tomatoes in my refrigerator to use in salads, sandwiches, pasta sauce, grills and so on.  Once in a way we love to indulge in a  Quick Grill of Tomatoes and Cheese with Mixed Herbs.  This is a visual, satisfying, mouth watering treat.

The Recipe:

3 large, firm, red salad tomatoes; 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese; 1/2 tsp of dried, mixed Italian herbs; 2 tsp of olive oil; salt and pepper to taste.

Cut the tomatoes into thick slices, add salt and pepper to taste and drain completely.  Grease a pyrex dish with a little olive oil and layer the tomatoes in it.  Top with the grated mozzarella cheese, herbs  and drizzle with the olive oil.  Grill in a pre heated oven at highest setting for 7 minutes or until cheese melts and tomatoes wilt.  Simply divine with hot garlic bread.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Baked Soy Chicken

Chicken With Wine
One of my favourite occupations when I have the time is browsing through cook books and magazines for different recipes and then creating my own recipe.  I am also doing my best to come to my ideal weight and have just 2 more kgs to go.  So I have changed my cooking method to baking or grilling and counting my calories while eating delicious meals every day.

The Recipe:

1 kg chicken, skinless- jointed, washed and drained; 1 small head of broccoli cut into finger sized pieces; 2 tbsp light soy sauce; 1 tsp dark soy sauce; 1 tbsp brown sugar; 3 tbsp olive oil; 2 cloves garlic, minced; a small bunch of celery leaves (about 1/2 cup); 3 spring onions, cut fine; 1 small onion, sliced fine; salt and pepper to taste.

Marinade chicken overnight in the above ingredients in the refrigerator.  Next day bring to room temperature and bake in a preheated oven at 425 F or 220 C for 30 minutes until brown.  Turn the pieces over and bake for another 10 minutes or till cooked (metal skewer inserted into a piece of chicken should come out clean and there should not be red liquid coming out).  Serve with crusty bread or wholemeal toasted buns. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Better Than

Classic Cappuccino Morning Shake

What could be Better Than starting the day with a thick, frothy delicious, low calorie Cappuccino Shake with dates?  It tastes so good and we have got used to having this concoction every week.  We look forward to it and we savour it down to the last drop.  And shall I tell you a secret?  When you taste it, you will too!

The Recipe:

250 ml cold water; 2 dates, de seed; 3 large scoops (45 gms)  F1 Cappuccino Flavour Nutritious Soy Mix; 2 large scoops ( 30 gms)  F3 Blended Soy & Whey Protein Powder.  Blend together for a minute until thick.  Garnish with 1/2 a chopped date and 1 date (de seed).  Sip and enjoy yourself.  

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Ideal Breakfast


November has been a great month and as we come to the end of the year, I have been experimenting with various combinations for our daily shake and love the outcome of ginger and strawberry whipped up with soy milk and Formula 1 Strawberry.  It's so delicious you'll be using your fingers to lick up every Gingerlicious drop of The Ideal Breakfast.

The Recipe:

125 ml cold water; 125 ml sugarless soy milk; 3 large scoops F1 Strawberry Flavour Nutritious Mixed Soy powder Drink; 1 inch piece ginger, grated.

Add all ingredients to your blender and blend on high for 1 minute until thick and frothy.  You can also  add 5 to 6 ice cubes and blend for an additional 30 seconds.  Pour into large mugs and enjoy your delicious breakfast which gives your body all the micro-macro nutrients it requires on a daily basis.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Simply Scrumptious Butter Crabs

Malaysian Butter Crab
If there is one recipe that is truly Malaysian, this has to be it.  Malaysia is truly a food paradise and the vast array of food left me gasping for breath when we first arrived two decades ago.   We all enjoyed trying out various cuisines and soon had our favourites.  This recipe was given to me by a  friend after we ooohed and aaahed over it after dinner one day.    Best eaten at home with your fingers as you will want to lick up every single drop of the delicious sauce.
3 large crabs, cleaned, cut, washed and drained;  1 can evaporated milk; 3 tbsp. butter; 3 sprigs curry leaves;  ½ tbsp. minced green chillies (optional); 1/4 tsp brown sugar.

3 slices bread:   Heat oil in a medium sized wok and when very hot deep fry the bread till brown and crisp on both sides. .  Takes less than a minute.  Drain and keep aside.

Heat the butter in a large wok.  Lower heat to medium and saute the curry leaves for a minute or two until crisp.  Add the crabs, chillies, sugar and evaporated milk and cover and cook until the crabs change colour.  This takes about 5 minutes.  Serve with deep fried bread.  Simply Scrumptious and don't worry about making a mess at the table.  This is one dish you will thoroughly enjoy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Deepavalli Oreo Cake

This is a cake that I made for a friend and I got the icing recipe from Ranita.    It looked spectacular and I was really proud of my efforts.  Make it yourself and see how easy it is to bake a cake that not only looks fancy but tastes out of this world as well.  Happy Deepavalli and may the Festival of Lights brighten the coming year.

The Recipe:

For cake:  1/2 cup butter; 1 cup caster sugar; 1 1/2 cups flour; 2 large eggs; 1 tsp baking powder; 1 tsp vanilla essence OR 2 tbsp cocoa powder;  3 )reo biscuits (remove the icing), crushed.

For Icing:  125 gms cream cheese; 125 gms cream; sugar to taste; 3 Oreo Biscuits (remove icing), crushed.

For Decoration :Oreo Biscuits- Icing Removed and two Almonds.

Mix all cake ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon till thick and glossy.  Bake in a preheated oven in a greased and lined  9 inch round cake pan at 160 degrees C or 325 degrees F for 35 minutes or until skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Cool overnight.

Next day beat the cream cheese (room temperature), cream, crushed oreos and sugar to taste till smooth.  Unmould cake onto a board and spread the  icing all over the top and sides.  Smooth it with a knife.  Take the Oreo biscuits and halve them.  Press them on the sides of the cake.  Cut one half of a biscuit into two and place both on the top of  the cake.  These are the Festive Deepavalli Lamps.  Put the almonds in place.  These are the flames.  Make sure you admire it and take a photograph for your album before you eat it or give it away.  Wishing you a Deepavalli sparkling with joy and glowing with warmth.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Nutty Cheese Cake

Cashew Nut Cheesecake
Early this month, I decided to bake to please myself.  I  have been wanting to try this out ever since I read about it a few years ago.  And it seemed the best time to do so.  As usual I mixed and matched and combined a few recipes.  The end result was scrumptious- even if I say so myself.

The Recipe :

3/4 cup dates, de seed; 3/4 cup almonds; 1 cup broken cashewnuts; 1/2 cup honey; 2 tbsp lime juice and 1 tsp vanilla; sliced peaches or fruit of your choice.

Soak cashew nuts in water overnight.   Grease a cheesecake pan with oil and keep aside.  Grind the dates and almonds seperately to a coarse texture and mix together to form a soft dough.  This is the base.  Gently press it on to the bottom of the cheese cake pan with your fingers and keep in the freezer for 20 minutes or until set.   Next day drain the cashew nuts completely and grind to a smooth paste.  along with the lime juice, honey  and vanilla essence  Pour onto the date and almond base and freeze for two hours.  Decorate with the sliced peaches and serve as a dessert after dinner.  This is a rich, smooth cheesecake that simply melts in your mouth.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Spicy Fish Vindaloo

Pomfret Vindaloo

This is a recipe I got from my Mum's collection of recipes, painstakingly written down  when she went for cookery classes soon after her graduation.  I was frantically copying every thing down as we were leaving Bangalore for Malaysia.  Soon after I was going through my recipe book and came across this one.  The best joke is that when I made it for my Mum she said, " this is a nice .  Could you give me the recipe?!!!"  That being said, let me get on with the recipe.

The Recipe:

1, medium sized pomfret, sliced, washed and drained; 3 tbsp oil; a few coriander leaves; 1/2 a medium sized onion, sliced; salt to taste.

 Grind to a smooth paste:  1 tsp chilli powder; 1/4 tsp haldi; 2 pods cardamom, seeds only; 6 flakes garlic; 1 tsp jeera seeds;  3 tsp vinegar.        

Heat the oil in  a shallow non stick pan and fry the coriander leaves and sliced onion for a few minutes until onion is glazed.  Lower flame and fry the masala (ground paste) until thick.  Add 1 cup water, the sliced fish and salt to taste.  Cover and cook on a medium low flame till done.  This goes well with white rice and is one of the tastiest curries I have cooked.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Apricot Bread Pudding

An Old Favourite
This is
 An Old Favourite with a twist.  Instead of steaming or baking this bread pudding, I merely drenched it with an extra large Herbalife French Vanilla  Shake and left it to soak overnight in the refrigerator.  The result was stupendous and this is a dessert we have frequently because of it's taste, nutritional content and low calorie count.

The Recipe:

For The Shake:  500 ml low fat milk; 4 scoops (60 gms Herbalife French Vanilla Nutritional Mix; 30 gms almond powder/ meal; 1 tsp vanilla essence.  

Blend together for one minute and keep aside till required.

For The Bread Pudding: 8 slices, brown bread, buttered on one side only; 20 apricots.

Soak the apricots in warm water just enough to cover them, overnight.  Next day stone them and boil apricots in the same water till thick and soft.  Extract the kernels from the seed.  

Heat a large nonstick pan and toast brown bread on medium flame both sides till crisp and golden brown.  Layer in a glass dish.  Pour the shake over and leave to soak in the refrigerator.  When well soaked decorate with the apricots and kernels.  Drizzle the juices over.  It is so delicious, it leaves you wanting for more.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Coloured Jewelled Capsicum

Three Coloured Capsicum
I love cooking this dish because the end result is so appetising and colourful.  The brightly coloured, jewelled capsicums just beg to be eaten.  Besides, it's simple and quick and I promise, you will spend about 15 minutes in the kitchen.  It can be served as an accompaniment or eaten alone.  

The Recipe:

3 medium sized capsicums, one of each colour; 3 cloves garlic, minced; 1 tsp pepper corns, crushed; 2 tbsp olive oil; salt to taste;  1 tbsp thin soy sauce.

Wash, halve, de-seed and cut the capsicums into thin strips.  Heat oil in a non stick pan and stir fry the garlic till fragrant.  Add the capsicum and stir fry on high heat for 2 minutes only.  Lower flame, add the pepper and salt to taste.  Transfer to serving dish.  Drizzle soy sauce over just before serving.  Lip smacking delicious and crunchy to boot.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mutton & Vegetable Stew With Spices

Mangalorean Mutton Stew
 Just looking at this photograph evokes fond memories.  And I can practically smell the savoury aroma wafting from the kitchen through the house and into the garden where we kids were playing.  This is a traditional Mangalorean dish served with ghee rice or neeru dosa for practically all festive occasions and was a special favourite with us.  Tender mutton chunks cooked in coconut milk and seasoned with spices, onions and curry leaves this is an extra special recipe.

The Recipe:

1 kg mutton with bones, cut into pieces and washed; 2 green chillies slit; 1 cup mixed vegetables, cut into pieces- I used carrots, beans and potatoes; 2 medium onions, sliced fine; 2 tomatoes, diced; 1 inch piece ginger , minced; 3 large flakes garlic, minced; a handful of coriander and mint leaves, chopped; a few spring onions, cut fine;   1 cup thick coconut milk; 1 inch piece of cinnamon; 2 cloves; 2 cardamoms; salt to taste and 2 cups water; salt to taste.

Seasoning:  1 medium onion, sliced fine; 1 sprig curry leaves, 1 tbsp oil 
Heat oil in a shallow non stick pan, add the curry leaves and stir fry a minute.  Next add the onions and fry till golden brown. Remove from fire and keep aside till required

Place the washed mutton with all the ingredients except the coconut milk and vegetables in a large pressure pan and pressure cook 30 minutes or until mutton is tender.  Remove from fire, cool and open the cooker.  Add the vegetables and 1/2 cup water if required and bring to the boil.  Simmer covered until vegetables are cooked.  Now stir in the coconut milk (I used ready to use coconut milk which is a boon to the modern housewife).  Remove from heat and add the seasoning.  Serve with ghee rice or Neeru Dosa.  This is a hot favourite with most of our friends and I often cook it on request.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fusion Quinoa Pulav

Quinoa, A Healthy Option
I have been wanting to try this recipe for sometime and a couple of weeks ago, I got the opportunity.  I had some quinoa which I had bought some time ago and I had some rice which I wanted to use.  I decided to follow my usual recipe for Pulav and use Quinoa instead.   It was really delicious and a little will make you full .  And it's also very appetising to boot and the bonus is it has less calories than the traditional pulav.

The Recipe:

125 gms rice; 125 gms quinoa; 1 tbsp olive oil to fry the rice; ½ kg chicken.  Wash and dry.  Cut into large pieces.
Blend the following to a smooth paste:  1 large pod garlic, peel, wash and cut small; ½ inch piece of ginger, wash and cut small; ½ tsp turmeric powder; 3 cloves; 1 small piece cinnamon;2 cloves; 2 cardamoms, whole;  a few coriander & mint leaves; 2 green chillies, cut small; 1 large tomato, washed and  cubed.  This is the masala.
2 large onions, sliced fine; 3 tbsp olive oil.
500 ml hot water.
Place the masala, cut chicken with salt to taste and cover and cook in a large pan till tender.  Takes about 10 minutes. Next, heat a non stick pan and fry onions till golden brown.  Reserve half for the garnish.  Add the meat to the remaining onions and fry on a medium flame till gravy is thick. 
In the meanwhile, wash and drain the rice and quinoa seperately and fry in 1 tbsp oil in a 
nonstick pan till all the grains are coated.  Transfer to rice cooker, add the chicken masala
 and 500 ml hot water and cook till done.  Garnish with halved hard boiled eggs and serve hot with Curd Salad.  A very appetising dish indeed.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cardamom Panna Cotta

Creamy Panna Cotta Dessert
I got this idea while browsing through some recipes some time ago.  My family loves Panna Cotta and what better than a low calorie version of it.  One of the most satisfying and delicious desserts to make.  The best part, we can indulge in it any time thanks to our daily Ideal Breakfast of the Herbalife Shake.

The Recipe:

2 cups curds (yoghurt); 2 cups milk; 1/2 cup castor sugar or to taste; 12 large scoops milk powder; 1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds, crushed; 20 gms gelatin; ¼ cup water; a few grapes, sliced; honey to drizzle on top (optional).
Whisk the curds, milk and sugar together.  Add the milk powder and whisk to a smooth consistency.  Heat ¼ cup water and sprinkle the gelatin over it.  Steep the bowl in a pan of simmering water until the gelatin has completely dissolved.  This takes about 15 minutes.  Pour it into the yoghurt mixture and whisk till completely mixed.  Stir in the crushed cardamom seeds.  Pour into glass bowl and transfer to the refrigerator.  When half set, arrange the sliced fruit on top (it should not sink into the pudding).  Return to refrigerator.  Drizzle honey on top just before serving.  Can make individual portions too.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Butterly Delicious Chicken

                               Chinese Butter Chicken

Indulging in food at one of our favourite Chinese Restaurants, we stumbled across a mouth watering dish called Butter Chicken.  Our tastes buds ran riot when the beautifully presented dish was brought to our table.  It had a hint of coconut milk in it and could easily pass off as a Mangalorean dish.  It is very similar to Butter Prawns and tastes just as good. I couldn't wait to make it myself.  And now that I have, here is the recipe.

The Recipe:

250 gms boneless chicken, cubed; 5 sprigs of curry leaves; 1 tbsp butter; 400ml Evaporated milk ;  (I used coconut milk);1 tsp sugar;  salt to taste.

Coating: 1/4 cup plain flour; 1/4 cup corn flour; 2 medium sized eggs, beaten.

Combine plain flour & corn flour in a bowl.  Beat up egg in a separate bowl. Add a pinch of salt. Drain and dry chicken cubes.  Heat oil in a deep pan.  Dip chicken in the beaten egg, then the flour.  Heat oil to smoking hot and deep fry on medium heat until golden brown.   Drain on kitchen towels and cool.  Heat  butter in a non-stick pan, add curry leaves and stir fry till fragrant.  Pour in the evaporated milk, simmer on low fire till  thick.  Add in sugar and salt.  Pour onto chicken arranged in a serving dish .  Serve hot with plain rice.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Mutton Chops

Mutton Chops Cooked With Milk
When we were children, the festival of Ramzan  was one to look forward too.  Back then everyone celebrated all the festivals with each other and my Muslim friends would send the most delicious mutton biriyani faithfully every year or call us to their house to enjoy a variety of sumptious dishes.  One of my Dad's friends would always send a leg of mutton amongst other things and my Mum would wield her culinary skill and concoct amazing dishes for as long as the meat lasted.  This recipe is one I got while browsing a book years ago and tried out when as a young married couple, our very friendly neighbour presented us with 2 large Mutton Chops for Ramzan.  The aroma is enough to entice one and all to the kitchen.

The Recipe:

2 large mutton chops, trimmed of all fat; 1 cup low fat milk; 1 tbsp ghee; 1 large tomato, grates;1 large onion, grated; 1/2 tsp chilli powder or to taste; 1/4 tsp garam masala powder; 1/2 tsp ginger, grated; 1/2 tsp garlic, grated; few spring onions, chopped fine; salt to taste.

For Garnish: 1 hard boiled egg, cut in half (optional);  few coriander leaves.

Put the chops milk and ghee in a heavy bottomed pan.  Bring to the boil, lower flame and simmer till the milk dries up, stirring frequently.  Add the onion, tomato, spring onions; ginger, garlic and garam masala and fry well until the ghee oozes out.  Add the salt last of all.  Serve hot with chappathis or puris.  A heavenly dish and I have a hankering to make it for our next dinner party.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Clams With Spinach

Traditional Mangalorean Clams With Spinach
Another traditional recipe that I miss which was a frequent dish in our house at least twice a month.  Every house had a chapra (frame) of basale (spinach)  growing in their garden and we could pluck it anytime we wanted to cook it.  Fresh and green and oh so delicious.  Cooked with fresh clams and freshly ground coconut and other condiments, this is a lip smacking, simple delight.

The Recipe:

500 gms of Indian spinach or basale, cut into finger sized pieces discarding the tough stems; 1/2 cup Indian Dhal (Tur dhal or yellow lentils); 1 kg  clams; salt to taste.

Masala:  Grind 1/4 cup grated coconut; 3 tsp coriander seeds; 1/4 tsp mustard; 2 pinch cumin seeds; 6 black pepper corns; 1/4 tsp turmeric powder; 4 flakes of garlic; 1 tsp chilli powder; 1 onion.  Consistency should be a thick, smooth paste.

Seasoning:  1 sprig curry leaves; 1/4 tsp mustard; 2 flakes crushed garlic; 1 tbsp oil.

Wash clams in running water till all the grit and sand is removed and water is clear.

Pressure cook the spinach and dhal with 250 ml water for 7 minutes.  Remove from stove. Open the cooker after 10 minutes cooling time and stir in the masala.  Return to the stove and add the clams.  They will open out within minutes.  Simmer for 3 minutes.  Add salt to taste.  Remove from stove and keep hot.

Heat oil in a shallow pan.  Add mustard and when it spurts, add the curry leaves.  Stir for a couple of minutes and then add the crushed garlic.  Fry till garlic is golden brown.  Pour it over the cooked Spinach and Clams  and serve hot with plain rice and home made mango pickle.

NB:  Can use prawns instead of clams.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Stuffed To The Gills

Stuffed Capsicum
This is a lovely recipe that can be made with left over mince.  While growing up, we had mince on more than one occasion and it remains one of my favourite foods today.  The aroma of mince being cooked is enough to send me into a frenzy and coupled with capsicum, this is literally to die for.  Those who have eaten it will vouch for it.  So add it to your list of Absolute Must Recipes To Try!
The Recipe:

2 green or yellow capsicums.  I used one of each.  Wash the capsicums and slice off 1/4 from the top.    Reserve the tops to cover the stuffed capsicum.  Gently de seed with a sharp knife retaining the shape of the capsicums.

1/2 kg mince; 2 onions, chopped; 2 spring onions, chopped; 3 flakes, garlic, minced; 1 inch ginger, minced; 2 green chillies, minced;  few coriander leaves, chopped; salt to taste; 2 tbsp oil for frying; a handful of green peas; 2 slices stale bread, crumbled.
Wash and drain mince.  Heat oil and add chopped onion, spring onion, ginger, garlic, corriander leaves and minced chillies.  Stir fry on medium heat until onions are golden browm.  Add the mince and fry till brown.  Add peas and 1/4 cup water and cover and cook 5 minutes.  Add salt to taste and the crumbled bread.  The bread will soak up all the liquid.  Cool.  Keep aside while you make the white sauce

White Sauce
 White Sauce:  1 whole egg; 1/2  cup chicken stock; 1/2 cup milk; salt & white pepper to taste; salt and pepper to taste; 1 dsp flour; 1 small onion minced.
      Heat oil in non stick pan.  Fry the minced onions until glazed and transparent.  Add flour and stir fry for a minute till crisp.  Lower flame and slowly pour in the chicken stock, stirring all the while to avoid lumps.  Next add the milk and keep stirring until thick and creamy.  Add the whole egg and gently mix.  Season with salt & white pepper.  Pour the sauce into a pyrex dish.  

a    Take a few spoonfuls of the mince and stuff it into the hollowed capsicum, to the brim.  Top with the sliced off lid.  Repeat with second capsicum.  Place capsicums in the dish on the white sauce and sprinkle remaining mince around it.  Bake at 200 Celcius in a preheated oven for 20 minutes or until done.  Serve hot with crusty bread.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Cashew Nut Indulgence

Cashew Nut Payasam

Mangalore is known for a surplus of cashew trees and summer time is a feast of fruits.  Most houses have  cashew trees in the compound and a single tree could have many hued pear shaped fruits ranging from yellow to orange to dusky red.  While the fruit is seldom eaten ( I made cashew fruit wine once which was a real hit, and that recipe will be shared some other time), the nuts are highly prized and a delicious addition to any menu.

The Cashew tree is large and evergreen and contains fruits which are pear shaped called the cashew apple. The fruits come in a variety of yellow, orange and red and has a very sweet aroma and taste. The fruit has a single whitish seed called cashew seed or cashew nut. The seed is surrounded with a double shell. It is a popular nut  which  can be eaten in numerous ways.  They are mildly sweet in flavor and packed with energy. The nuts have a buttery texture and are cream in color. It is used generously in Mangalorean cuisine and is a must in any Mangalorean household. 

Nutritional Value 

It helps to lower the bad cholesterol. It is a good source of magnesium which keeps our bones strong.It provides us with great energy and is packed with dietary fiber. It is a 'high-satiety food' which keeps us full and therefore are known to play a great role in weight maintainence.

Did you know? 

The cashew plant belongs to the family of poison ivy but surprisingly it produces a delicious nut.
The nuts last for about 4-6 months but if they are roasted at a very high temperature then it can easily get destroyed.

The Recipe:

1 cup cashew nuts; 3 cups milk; sugar to taste; 3 pods cardamom, crushed; 1 tsp sooji (semolina for thickening); 2 tbsp ghee; 1 leaf of vark or edible silver foil (optional).

Soak the cashew kernels overnight in warm water.  Next day drain and wash.  Heat a heavy bottomed pan and add the ghee.  Lower the flame and add the sooji, stir frying till golden brown.  Takes hardly a minute.  Next add the milk, sugar and cashew nuts and cardamom and bring to the boil.  Lower heat and cook till thick, stirring constantly to avoid burning.  Serve hot at the end of the meal with a tsp of ghee (optional).  Decorate with silver foil.  

NB:  Vark is stored in books of tissue paper.  Gently remove one leaf, open the tissue paper and invert over the payasam.  Avoid touching with your fingers as this is very delicate and will stick to your hands.  Adds a very professional twist to any dessert.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Green Masala Grilled Fish

Easy Grilled Fish
This is a recipe that I make very often as we love to entertain and barbecues are the best occasion for it.  Just get a medium sized pomfret and ask your fishermonger to clean it, retaining the tail and fins and head.  Marinade it overnight in this unusual green masala and you have a lip smacking flaky masterpiece.

The Recipe:

1 medium sized pomfret (it's easier to turn over when the fish is the right size), cleaned, washed and drained.

Marinade:  1 small bunch coriander leaves; 1/4 tsp turmeric powder; salt to taste; 2 green chillies; 1/2 inch piece ginger; 3 flakes garlic.  Grind everything to a smooth paste.

Marinade fish in this paste overnight.  Next day preheat oven to  250 C .  Place fish on oven tray lined with foil.  Dribble 1 tbsp olive oil over fish.  Grill 5 to 7 minutes each side.  Serve with slices of thin lemon and crusty bread.  

Sunday, May 25, 2014


Just Quinoa 
Quinoa seems to be the fashion at all food stores I visit and whether intentionally or not I seem to be bumping in to a number of people who have included it in their diet on a daily basis. I was curious to know how it tasted and bought some and stored it in my kitchen while I hunted for a suitable recipe.  After googling a bit I came up with some interesting facts which caught my attention.  

Culinary ethnologists will be interested to know that Quinoa pronounced as keen-wah  was a staple food for thousands of years in the Andes region of South America as one of just a few crops the ancient Incas cultivated at such high altitudeWhile quinoa is usually considered to be a whole grain, it is actually a seed, but can be prepared like whole grains such as rice or barley.  
 it takes less time to cook than other whole grains - just 10 to 15 minutes,  tastes great on its own, unlike other grains and quinoa has the highest protein content, so it's perfect for vegetarians and vegans. Quinoa provides all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. Quinoa is a gluten-free and cholesterol-free whole grain, is kosher for Passover, and is almost always organic.

You can make it into anything you like- pulav, biriyani, use it as a breakfast cereal or a salad.  Just follow these guidelines for that perfect meal.

Basic Quinoa Facts
How much cooked quinoa does 1 cup dry quinoa yield?
1 cup dry quinoa yields about 3 cups cooked quinoa.
How much liquid do I need to cook quinoa?
To cook 1 cup quinoa, you need about 2 cups liquid.
How long does it take to cook quinoa?
1 cup quinoa will cook in about 20 minutes.
How do I make quinoa less bitter?
Nearly, if not all, of the natural bitterness of quinoa's outer coating can be removed by a vigorous rinsing in a mesh strainer.
How do I make better-tasting quinoa?
Quinoa is really excellent when cooked in vegetable or chicken broth. Also, add about 1/4 teaspoon salt to each cup dried quinoa when cooking. Try adding other spices aromatics during cooking as well: A clove of smashed garlic, a sprig of fresh rosemary, a dash of black pepper.
Can I use my rice cooker to make quinoa?
Yes! Just use the 2:1 liquid to quinoa ratio and follow the instructions on your rice cooker.

I made it into a stir fried meal for two with chicken and it turned out really well.  My only regret is that I made just enough for two and there were no leftovers to tide me over the next day.

The Recipe:

1 cup Quinoa, washed three times in a large wire mesh strainer;  salt to taste; 1/2 cup shelled peas; 1 tsp ginger garlic paste; 1 dsp olive oil; 1 onion sliced; 2 cups warm water; 1 medium sized pandanus leaf.

Heat olive oil in a non stick pan and stir fry the onions and ginger garlic till golden brown.  Add the Quinoa and stir fry on a medium flame till all the grains are coated.  Transfer to rice cooker, add the peas, pandanus leaf, warm water and salt to taste.  Cook till done and serve with Roast Chicken.  Smells good, has a lovely nutty flavour and am certainly going to make it again.

Recipe for Roast Chicken 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Whole Grilled Baby Salmon

Spicy Grilled Baby Salmon
Last week, while shopping for groceries at the supermarket I cam across whole baby salmon for a very reasonable rate.  So I decided to take the plunge and carefully selected one that looked good.  I have numerous recipes that I have been saving for a rainy day and I found one that I wanted to try.  Grilling salmon is very easy.  Since it is an oily fish, all you have to do is marinade it overnight and transfer it to the grill or oven the next day.  The result was delectable and Nehru & I finished it all by ourselves.

The Recipe:
1 whole baby salmon, about 600 gms, scaled, gutted and washed with salt.  Retain tail and side fins.
For the Marinade:  1tsp chilli powder; 1/2 inch piece ginger, minced; 1 tsp garam masala powder; 2 cloves garlic, minced; 2 tsp coriander powder; 1/2 tsp jeera powder; 1/2 tsp coarse black pepper powder; salt to taste and 1 dsp olive oil.  Grind to a coarse paste and rub all over and inside the salmon.  Marinade in the refrigerator overnight.  Next day, bring the salmon to room temperature before grilling it.  Discard the watery part of the marinade.  Line an oven tray with foil and preheat oven at 250 C (grill setting).  Wrap salmon in foil or banana leaves (this makes it easier to turn the salmon over) and grill 10 minutes each side.  Open the foil and return salmon to the oven and grill top again for 5 minutes till brown.  Serve with green salad and warm garlic bread. A must try for busy days when there's simply  too much to do.
NB:  Once the salmon is grilled, you can peel off the skin before browning the flesh.  I left it on and peeled it off while eating.