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Prawn & Chicken Paella - A great alternative to Biryani

>> May 31, 2014

Paella is a Spanish rice preparation home to Valencia. The original recipe includes chicken and rabbit meat and other goodies available in the region, such snails. This recipe has been customized to use locally available ingredients such as pork, chicken, fresh prawns and few other veggies. As regards the herbs, you can use either fresh rosemary or dried rosemary. Since Paella rice is not available in Kochi, i have used good quality raw rice. Please avoid using Basmati rice, because the aroma can sometimes remind you of biryani.


Fresh unpeeled prawns - 500 gms
Chicken Breast - 2 or 3 (the more the merrier), diced into small pieces as seen in the picture

Pork bits with fat, thinly sliced  - a handful (you can use bacon or pancetta)
Chilly powder or paprika - 2 tsp
White wine - 6 tbsp or Synthetic Vinegar - 1 1/2 tbsp
Carrots, diced - 2
Potato, diced - 1 small (optional)
Roughly chopped tomatoes - 2
Onion - 2 large, roughly chopped
Garlic - 15 small cloves (organic) or 10 plump cloves
Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil - 4 tbsp or more
Saffron - 1 generous pinch

Paella rice or raw rice - 4 cups (400 gms approximately)
Water - 8 cups

Salt to taste

ingredients to marinate the prawn and chicken

salt to taste
chilly powder - 2 tsp (if you want mild heat use paprika)

Vessel to be used - A wide pan (Uruli) or a Paella pan

Salt: Since the marinated meat and prawn has salt, add salt to the rice cautiously


Clean the prawns and marinate it with 3/4 tsp chilly powder and salt. Marinate the chicken pieces separately with the remaining chilly powder and salt.

Rice: If you are using Paella rice, you can add it directly to the preparations. I always like to wash and dry the rice for sometime. In case you are using raw rice, wash it 3 times and then put in a flat plate, to get rid of the moisture.

Heat oil in a pan and sear the chicken (in medium heat). When it is almost done remove it from oil. Make sure the chicken is coated with the marinade ( as seen in the picture). Similarly, fry the prawns , for about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from oil. At this point, drain all the caramelised bits of chicken and prawns. Let only the oil remain in the pan. Add the thinly sliced pork and turn the heat to low. Allow the pork to cook slowly and release all the fat. Once the pork has caramelised, gently move it to the side of the pan and add the onion and garlic and saute it in medium heat. When the sides of the onion and garlic start browning move it to the side of the pan and add the carrots and potato. Saute it for a minute. Now bring all the ingredients to the centre of the pan and add the cleaned rice. Fry it gently along with the veggies and meat for about 2 minutes using a wooden spatula (Take care not to break the rice). Add the wine or vinegar and the red chilly powder or paprika and salt. Give a mix and then spread it across the pan. Pour half of the water (4 cup), alongside the side of the pan. Do not stir. Place the rosemary sprigs in 4 different directions: NSWE :).

When the rice has absorbed the water, add 4 more cups of the water in the same fashion.
Sprinkle the saffron strands. When the rice is almost done, add the fried prawn and chicken and give a gently mix. Taste it. The rice will be done in few more minutes.

Please note , the consistency of the rice is 'just to the right bite'. It will have one bite when you chew it, but it will be done with a little bit of moisture (as you see above in the pic). If you want a more soft consistency just cover the pan, after turning of the heat. But the rice will bloat a little bit, it wont be thin as you see in the image.

Get in touch with me for any doubts. 


Parippu Payasam without Coconut Milk | Easy Payasam Recipe for Vishu | Easy Sadya Recipes

>> April 11, 2014

I just started to write about this 'without coconut milk' recipe and remembered a viral post going around in Facebook about Mallus... today. There is a little bit of coconut story in that too; ......but i hate to use coconut because of all the process that includes scraping it , grinding it, and milking it :). So here is an easy parippu payasam recipe especially after you have done a lot of cooking to put a good sadya and don't wish to involve in another long process. The second best part of this coconutless recipe is that you can make it ahead and refrigerate it. This tastes good in a chilled form too. If you want to serve it warm, defrost it and reheat the payasam just before serving. No one can recognize that this is made of plain milk instead of coconut milk. 

As an experiment i made this using a small quantity. I tried this twice to make sure it really works. You can multiply the measures given below to make a large quantity.

the following recipes serves 6, when served in tea cups

yellow moong dal or payasa parippu or paasi paruppu - 125 gms
jaggery / vellam / sharkara - 250 gms
regular milk (boiled) - 500 ml
powdered cardamom - 6 nos (skin removed)
ghee - 1 tbsp
cashew nuts and raisins - as much as you need.

the method

Wash the dal / parippu 3 times and soak it in 300 ml hot water for about 20 minutes. Place the soaked dal in a pressure cooker and cook it for 4 whistle in medium flame. The dal is cooked in medium flame to make sure it softens completed and does not remain grainy. The number whistle differs with each pressure cooker. I used a Prestige pressure pan. You can cook the dal you do the normal but just follow the two steps of soaking it and cooking it in medium flame. 

While the dal is cooking, place the jaggery in a pan with 3 to 4 tbsp water in low flame. If the jaggery is one whole lump don't worry. As the jaggery gets heated you can use a sharp knife and poke it. It will break into pieces. While the melting is going on, heat ghee in a pan and fry the cashew nuts and raisins. Drain it and reserve the remaining ghee. Meanwhile, strain the melted jaggery to remove any impurities.

Once the dal is cooked, use the back of a large spoon to mash it almost thoroughly. Place the pressure cooker in low flame and add the reserved ghee to the dal and stir it for about 2 minutes. Now add the melted jaggery and stir it till the dal and jaggery has combined thoroughly. Now check whether the dal has given way to a sweet  concoction. It takes about 5 minutes. 

Now add the milk and increase the heat to medium while stirring to make sure the dal mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pan and does not form any lump. When the milk is thoroughly infused into the parippu payasam mix, add cardamom powder and the fried cashew nuts and raisins. Serve after 15 minutes. By this time the payasam will slightly thicken and the heat will reduce to a palatable temperature. 

If you wish to serve the next day, follow the method given in the beginning of the post.

Here are some of the other easy to make payasam recipes in this blog

Ambalapuzha Pal Payasam | Rice Pudding - Pressure Cooker Method

Simple Flavourful Semiya Payasam (without condensed milk)

You might also like to make some Neyyappam for this Vishu

Click here for Vishu Sadya Recipes like Mixed Veg Theeyal, Pacha Manga Pachadi, Idichakka Thoran, Pavakka Pachadi, Olan, Pazham Pulissery, Erissery, Beetroot Pachadi, Pavakka Pachadi, Puli Inji, etc.

Have a nice time!


Prawn Moilee | Kerala Prawn Stew | Chemmeen Ishtew

>> March 26, 2014

I was trying to test a new method of cooking with prawns. The recipe for this is the same as the recipe for a Fish Moilee . This tastes good with bread, idiyappam, palappam or even chappathi and Kerala parotta.
Palappam / Velleppam
Rosemary & Garlic Bread


Kerala Wheat Parotta
Stuffed Vegetable Paratha


Fish Wrapped in Curry leaf chutney | a substitute for Puliyila Chammanthi

>> March 07, 2014

This recipe is the outcome of a long wait and search to find some tender tamarind leaves. I couldn't find any tamarind leaves, so i made a chutney using tender curry leaves. In addition to the taste, this dish is also good for your hair. Eating plain curry leaf may not be very appetizing for many, but if you add some fish or prawns or even some paneer, it becomes exotic and inviting. Try to find curry leaves from your backyard so that you can find the tender ones.

25 sprigs of curry leaves
1/2 inch piece ginger
rock salt or common salt to taste
1 small tomato for the tangy taste or juice of 1/2 a lime
1 clove of garlic
4 tbsp  grated coconut
bird chilly or kanthari mulaku - 5 or just use green chilly
small onion - 4 or half of an onion

20 - 25 small fish - anchiovies / kozhuva or white sardine / veloori (Marinate it with salt and chilly powder)


place all the ingredients other than fish in a mixer jar and grind it coarsely as seen in the image.

Use a banana leaf (softened in fire) or a silver foil.

If you are using a banana leaf, spread half of the chutney on the leaf and then place the fish evenly on it and then spread the remaining chutney on the fish. Wrap the leaf and place it in a wide pan or uruli and follow the steps in this Karimeen Pollichathu recipe. Need not use oil though.

If you are using a silver foil, place the foil in a baking tray and  spread half of the chutney and place the fish evenly on it and then spread the remaining chutney. Wrap the foil and place the baking tray in a preheated oven at 200 C for 25 - minutes.

Serve hot with rice or just snack on it.


Black Forest Ice Cream Cupcake - Eggless recipe

>> January 20, 2014

Hello All,

This is another sinful indulgence, you may like to prepare at home. A very easy recipe with home made iced cream rather than ice cream layered in a soft spongy eggless chocolate cup cake.

the recipe

maida / flour - 75 gms
powdered sugar - 75 gms
cocoa powder - 1 tbsp
baking soda - 1/3 tsp
baking powder - 1/3 tsp

yoghurt - 60 ml
vegetable oil - 30 ml
vanilla essence - 1/2 tsp

paper cupcake moulds - 12 (optional)

ingredients to assemble the cake

whipping cream - 100 ml
powdered sugar - 5 tbsp
vanilla essence - a drop
few chopped cherries
cooking chocolate or chocolate shavings


assembling the dry ingredients

Place a sieve on a bowl and sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder.

assembling the wet ingredients

Place the yoghurt (beaten), oil and vanilla essence in a bowl.

Preheat oven at 200C. Place paper moulds into muffin tins.

Add the dry ingredient mix into the wet ingredient bowl in 2 portions. Gently stir with a spoon till fully combined.

Pour 1 tbsp of the batter into the prepared moulds or into prepared muffin tins. The batter should be only half of the mould. Bake in the preheated oven at 200C for 10 to 12 minutes. You will get soft and spongy cupcakes as seen below.

Once the cake has cooled down to room temperature, place it in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours.

To assemble the cake, keep the whipping cream in the refrigerator (dont keep in the freezer). Once cold, use a chilled bowl, chilled balloon whisk to beat the cream. Pour the cream in the bowl and whisk it till soft peaks forms. Drop the one drop of essence and gradually add the powdered sugar. Freeze the mix for about 1 to 2 hours. I could wait only for one hour so the ice cream started running when i placed it on the chilled cake.

Cut the cupcake into 2 as seen above. I had added some apricots and almonds, because  initially i had no plans to ice this cake.

Place a dollop of ice cream on the lower half of the cake and  place the upper half on top and sprinkle the chopped cherries and then place a big dollop of ice cream on top. Once this is done for all the cupcakes, place it in the freezer for about ten minutes or else it will melt away. Take the cake out and use a peeler to shave the chocolate directly on the black forest ice cream cupcakes. Serve it immediately.

If you like to serve as seen in the first picture above, follow these steps.

Take a serving bowl and place a dollop of ice cream and then place the prepared black forest cupcakes. This would be more interesting because you can get to eat a lot of ice cream along with the cake.



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