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Inji Puli (kinda Ginger Relish)

>> September 29, 2010

Inji puli or puli inji has a prominent or rather a permanent space in the onasadya alongwith the pickles. I have had this in massive amount when I was a kid, when my mother’s friend used to make it for Onam and send a pack of it for further season’s relish.

The making of Inji puli has however remained a quest with me since I did not have the confidence that I can come out with the same taste. Once I bought a readymade version which didn’t taste as good as the aunt made one.

Last Onam, I just set out on a trial of Inji Puli beginning with a recipe search on the web and I was astonished to find about 10 – 12 variants. So I had to pick the ingredients to bring out the same old taste and the result was almost the same but not exactly the same…. : - ) …….

…ingredients that went into the making…

Ginger, cubed into tiny pieces – 5 tbsp
Tamarind  – 2 tbsp (mix with water and make a pulp)
Jaggery, grated – 2-3 tbsp (adjust according to preferred sweetness, you can keep adding and tasting)

Oil – 2 – 3 tbsp ( I used veg oil)
Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
Green chillies – 2
Curry leaves – 5 leaves
Chilly powder – ½ tsp
Turmeric powder – 1 or 2 pinch
Salt – to taste
Rice flour – ¼ - ½ tsp

Yields 1 cup inji puli (as seen in the picture)

the method

Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. Add the ginger and let it fry. When three fourths done, add green chillies and curry leaves. Sauté for few seconds and add chilly and turmeric powder. Add the tamarind pulp and let it boil. Stir in the grated jaggery and salt and mix well. Let it boil. Mix the rice flour in 2-3 tbsp water to make a rice solution. Pour it into the ginger mixture. Boil it again until the mixture turns to a lightly semi- liquid/solid state. Taste it. Adjust taste and turn off heat. The inji puli will further solidify due to the addition of rice flour which also balances the sharp flavour of tamarind. Use it as a pickle with rice or serve as you please. 


Frijole Mole (Chickpea Spread)

>> September 28, 2010

Out of the various addictions i have, reading lifestyle articles is one among them. As you might know nowadays, the newspapers goes beyond reporting news: there is a lifestyle section that includes everything from music, movies, fitness and of course food. 

Frijolemole is adapted from a recipe I found in the newspaper which I would call  is a cousin of hummus. The basic recipe is boiled chickpeas ground to a coarse paste while all the seasoning that goes into the making  is completely different. The seasoning gives an extra freshness to the frijolemole that can be used as a dip or a spread in chapati's, tacos or tortilla wraps.

the recipe

Chickpeas / White Garbanzo beans - 1/4 cup
Salt to taste

Oil - 2 tbsp
Onion - 1 medium
Garlic - 3 cloves
Lemon juice - 2 tbsp or slightly more ( as per taste)


spring onion with greens - 2
green chillies, de-seeded & finely chopped - 2
tomato, blanched, peeled & chopped - 1
Tobasco sauce or chilly sauce - 1 tbsp ( I used chilly sauce)
coriander leaves, chopped - 1 tbsp
sour cream or hung yogurt  (optional )- 1 tbsp ( i did not use them 'coz  i felt the combination of sauce and yogurt wouldn't suit our palate)

the method

Soak the chickpeas overnight and boil it with salt. Reserve the liquid from the boiled chickpeas. 

Heat oil in a pan and sauté the onion and garlic till light brown. Turn off heat.

In a blender, place the boiled chickpeas, lemon juice and the sautéed onion and garlic along with the oil. Grind it to a coarse paste. Add the reserved liquid if the mix is too thick. Place the ground mixture in a bowl and add all the seasonings. Mix well. Use it as mentioned above.


Baby Corn Salsa

>> September 26, 2010

To me, salsa is a versatile food ‘coz anything can go into it as long as the basics are followed for that fresh taste.

Baby Corn salsa happened as an establishment of my longtime  longing to make some tacos, and there couldn’t have been a better timing when I found these fresh, tender and very light baby corns in a store along with a rare citing in our place – red bell peppers. I lightly sautéed the red bell peppers to replace the jalapenos, usually added in a salsa. The sautéing was done to get rid of the raw taste of the peppers which otherwise my kids would reject. Recipe time.

Baby corn – 4
Tomato, chopped – 2 medium
Onion, chopped – 2 tbsp
Garlic, chopped – 1 clove
Lemon juice – 2 tbsp
Red bell pepper (sauted in a tsp of oil) – 2 tbsp or jalapeno, chopped – 1 tbsp
Coriander leaves / cilantro, chopped – 2 tbsp
Salt – to taste

the method

Blanch the baby corns – Boil water (just adequate to immerse the corn) with salt. Place the baby corn in the boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Remove from water. Cool and cut it into preferred shape.

In a bowl mix together, the chopped tomatoes, red bell pepper, onion, garlic, coriander, lemon juice, baby corn and salt. Serve it in tacos or as you please. This can also be served as a salad.


Chocolate & Vanilla Marble Cake

>> September 24, 2010

The original post with the detailed recipe is here.



When it comes to savoury rice it was just the pulao and biryani that I used to prepare. Kedgeree comes as a big difference because it is prepared with eggs and fish and it also gives the option to add whatever you want, like potatoes, raisins and the like.

Kedgeree is eaten as a breakfast in the UK. I would call this an Indo – British dish because it is inspired by the Indian Khitchdi. The protein rich lentil in Khitchdi is replaced by the protein rich fish and egg in Kedgeree.

Though this is officially a breakfast, I prepare this as a quick fix for dinner. As regards seasoning, I have replaced the parsley in the actual recipe with mint leaves and the curry powder with garam masala. 

A vegetarian alternative is of course the khitchdi although the non-veg ingredients can be replaced with paneer or soya chunks (both packed with protein).

More information about the recipe is found here

rice  - 1/2 cup  (i have used short grained basmati jeera rice)
water - 1 cup

oil - 2 tbsp
onion - 1
turmeric - 1/4 tsp
chilly powder - 3/4 tsp (adjust according to taste)
garam masala - 1/2 tsp
salt - to taste
tomato, chopped - 2
potato, cubed - 1
raisins - 2 - 3 tbsp
Mint leaves, chopped - 1 tbsp
Fennel seeds - 1 pinch

Fish - 4 fillets
Egg - 2-3

the method

Marinate the fish fillets with salt and pepper powder. Fry it and flake it. The eggs can be either boiled and chopped or scrambled. I scrambled the egg to save time. 

Heat a pressure cooker and add oil. Stir in the chopped onion and sauté till light brown. Add the turmeric, chilly and garam masala powder and stir for few seconds. Add the tomatoes, salt and sauté for few seconds. Add the mint leaves, potato, fennel, rice, raisins and mix well. Pour the water and close it with the lid. Switch off heat when the first whistle blows. If using a pan, cook till the rice is done.

Add the fish flakes and scrambled egg to the rice mixture and mix well. Serve hot.


Soya Mince Curry

>> September 21, 2010

It is a tough task to zero in on a quickie curry for breakfast and therefore I tried the soya mince curry with inspirations from a mince meat curry preparation I saw in a cookery show. Most of the ingredients are the same as in a spicy curry and the new ingredient is boiled onion paste that gives a rich texture to the gravy and balances the pungency of all the spices.

About soya mince (dunno whether it is readily available in shops), I placed a few soya chunks in the blender for about 3 – 5 seconds. It comes out in a coarse powder form which when soaked in water bloats a little.

Hope you will like my experimentation!!

the recipe

Soya mince – ½ cup (blend about 20 soya chunks – the mince can be prepared in advance and stored)
Ginger juliennes – 1 tbsp
Garlic, chopped – 1 tbsp
Tomato – 1 large
Oil – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste

Spice powders

Pepper powder – ½ tsp
Chilly powder – ½ tsp
Coriander powder – ½ tsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Garam masala – ¼ tsp

Boiled onion paste - boil 1 large chopped onion in ½ cup water and cook till all the water is absorbed. Grind it to a fine paste

the method

Soak the soya mince in hot water for ten minutes. Drain the water and wash again. Use a sieve to drain the soya mince.

Heat oil in a pan and add the garlic. When lightly brown add the ginger. Saute for a minute and stir in the chopped tomatoes till soft. Stir in the spice powders and sauté. Pour the boiled onion paste and ½ cup water. Add salt. Let it boil for a minute. Stir in the soaked soya mince and let it simmer for 5 minutes or till oil separates and is visible above the curry. Check salt. A dash of lemon juice enhances the taste. Serve as you please. We had it with pidis (rice dumplings). 

the recipe goes to Dish it out by Vardhini


Kashmiri Parantha / Kashmiri Paratha

>> September 19, 2010

I came across the name Kashmiri Parantha while dining out in a North Indian restaurant in Kochi. Since the name was new to me, I was euphoric to read the menu that gave a small description about what went into the filling: paneer and dry fruits.

The parantha however had many more flavours which I had to guess ’coz a google search to find the exact recipe seemed to offer only bits of information. The search also revealed that there are veg and non-veg versions.

I prepared a veg Kashmiri parantha with the information from the menu, the web and all the taste I could recollect, and the result was ……..try it and you’ll know it!!

the recipe

ingredients for the dough

Wheat flour – 1 cup
Water – ½ cup or a little less
Salt to taste

ingredients for the filling

Paneer, grated – ½ cup
Raisins, chopped into tiny pieces – 5
Cashew nuts, chopped into tiny pieces – 3
Cherry, chopped – 5
Cumin – 1 pinch
Kasuri methi  – ½ tsp (soak for 2-3 minutes and wash it twice)

Oil / Ghee / Butter – as required

the method

Mix together the ingredient for the filling. Keep it aside.

Prepare dough with the wheat flour, water and salt. Divide the dough into 8 equal parts and roll it into paranthas.

placing the filling

Take a parantha and place 1 – 11/2 tbsp of the paneer filling. Close it with another parantha and seal the edges. Cook it on a griddle and apply ghee/ butter / oil.

Kashmiri paranthas tastes good with pickles and raita. A recommended accompaniment is Kashmiri Paneer.

the recipe goes to Stuffed Paratha event by Vardhini


Fish in Coconut milk gravy

>> September 15, 2010

Fish curry is an inevitable part of the Malayali meal .... am talking about the non-vegetarians. This should be the reason why there are so many recipes for a fish curry with more and more improvisation made by various influences. Fish in coconut milk gravy is like a staple curry that is prepared on a day-to-day basis or rather on a daily basis in most homes. 

The color in the curry looks fiery as the photograph suggests but the taste was mellowy. Coconut milk balances the taste of the cocum and the chilly and does not even reveal the presence of ginger which contributes a significant flavor to the taste of any fish preparation. 

I mentioned about the improvisation that comes with each homes / cooks: I have improvised this fish curry with a dash of cumin, mustard and fenugreek seeks and I have sauted the ginger and have also ground ginger along with the coconut. This adds to the zing of the curry and leaves a nice taste in the taste buds even after you finish the meal. .........try it yoursel!!

the recipe

Fish – 1 kg
Small onion, chopped – 3
Green chilly – 2
Curry leaf – 2 sprigs
Oil – 3 tbsp

ingredients for the crushed mixture

(to be crushed in the mixer for about 3 seconds – this is similar to pounding)
Small onion – 5
Ginger – 1 ½
Cumin – 1 generous pinch
Mustard – ¼ tsp
Fenugreek – 1 pinch

Tomato – 2 medium sized
Cocum – 6  medium sized pieces
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Chilly powder – 4 tsp or more
Salt – to taste

Coconut milk ( extracted by grinding together ½ part coconut and ½  inch piece ginger)

First extract – ¾ cup
Second extract – ½ cup

the method

Heat oil in a pan and add the three chopped small onions. When brown, add the crushed mixture, green chilly, curry leaves and salt. Saute till light brown. Add turmeric and chilly powder. Stir well for a minute or so. If it starts burning add a little water. Stir in the chopped tomato and cocum. Pour the second extract of the coconut and boil for ten minutes. 

Add the fish pieces and cook for about five - ten minutes in medium heat (Adjust this time based on the type of fish). Swirl the pot instead of using a spoon to mix the fish pieces. Check salt.

(Coconut milk tends to split if poured into a hot sauce, therefore, cook in medium to low heat before and after pouring the coconut milk.)

Add the first extract of the coconut and swirl the pot again. Simmer for 1-2 minutes and then turn off heat.  Serve after one hour.

The recipe goes to Food Palette Red Event


Elephant Foot Yam cutlets

>> September 12, 2010

I am making a disclaimer that this is not my recipe but this is one I watched on television a loooooooong time ago.....probably when i was in college or school....and this is the first time that i ever tried......it tasted good

Yam tastes best during July and August.....it is also a time when most tubers taste the best. The veggie cooks faster during these months and I particularly don't taste that itching sensation that usually comes with it. 

Yam  can be cooked in various forms and this is one recipe which even the kids couldn't resist. 

Yam being the common name, the specific name for reference is Elephant foot yam. Stored with immense medicinal value a good read about the benefits of the vegetable is found here.

the recipe

Yam, grated – 400 – 500 gms
Oil – 1 tbsp
Cumin – ¾ tsp
Chillie powder – 1 tsp
Rice flour – 1 ½ - 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Oil to fry

the method

Sprinkle 1 tbsp oil in the yam and mix well. Steam the grated yam so that the water content in the yam evaporates off. Blend together the steamed yam, cumin, rice flour, chilly powder and salt. Shape it and deep fry in oil. While frying make holes in the middle of the cutlets gently to ensure that proper frying takes place in the middle of the cutlets also. Can be snacked or served with rice.

the recipe goes to the event - - dish name starts with E


Meen Vattichathu (Hot & Tangy Fish Curry)

>> September 11, 2010

Meen Vattichathu is a fish dish specific to Kerala. As the English name suggests, it is hot with lots of chillies and tangy with lots of cocum. The curry is usually served with rice as a side dish or as an accompaniment with tapioca or even with vattayappam or you can savor it with whatever you feel is appropriate. 

I have given a slight twist to this fish curry; tomatoes are not part of the basic recipe, but i have added them to give a thicker consistency to the gravy and to reduce the heat of the chillies. A tablespoon or two of coconut milk is another option to reduce the heat (the taste doesn't change with both these options but enhances the taste as per our tastebuds).

In Kerala, fish curries are usually prepared using an earthen pot......and i have followed the protocol :-)

the recipe

fish, marinated with 1/2 tsp each salt, turmeric and chiily powder - 500 gms

small onion - 8 + 3 
ginger - 2 inch piece
green chilly - 2 (kanthari mulaku gives a very good taste but beware of the side effects)
mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp

curry leaf- 2 sprigs

cocum - 4 - 5 medium sized
chilly powder - 3 tsp 
turmeric powder - 3/4 tsp
tomato - 1 
salt to taste
Oil, preferably coconut oil - 3 tbsp

the method

Pound the 8 small onions, ginger, mustard, fenugreek and chillies (alternatively these ingredients may be crushed in the mixer for 1 second). Keep it aside.

Heat oil in a pan and add the 3 chopped small onion. When light brown add the pound onion mixture. Saute till it turns light brown. Reduce the heat. Add curry leaves, turmeric powder and chilly powder. In low flame continue stirring the chilly powder till the sizzling almost stops. Add the chopped tomato and stir till it is soft. Add 1/2 cup water and cocum. Let it boil for ten minutes in medium flame. Add the fish pieces and salt. Hold the pot on either side and give a lightly swirl to mix the gravy with the fish or lightly stir. Continue boiling in medium flame until the fish is cooked. The time required to cook varies according the texture of the fish. Serve after 2-3 hours.


Beef Stroganoff

>> September 08, 2010

A vegetarian version of the recipe can be prepared with mushrooms and meat substitutes for beef are chicken and lamb.

Beef Stroganoff is a Russian dish that evolved during the late 19th century and has adapted its way into the plates around the world. After reading the recipe from various sources, I had a tendency to prepare a fusion recipe with Indian spices. But I just went with the basics and mildly spiced it with rosemary, which is thoroughly optional.  

It is interesting to note that the recipe can be prepared with whatever is available at home though the name sounds completely strange – well it sounded strange to me when I heard it the first time. Some interesting read about the recipe is found here.

Beef Stroganoff is served on a bed of rice or noodles. I tried it with lightly seasoned pasta and it was fabulous. The recipe serves 4.

Beef – 400 gms
Butter – 4 tbsp ( can be substituted with veg oil)
Veg oil – 2 tbsp
Salt – taste

Garlic – 8 cloves
Onion – 2 big, cut into rings
Carrot – 1 , chopped into round pieces
Celery, chopped (optional) – 2 stalks
Rosemary – ½ tsp
Pepper powder – ½ - ¾ tsp
Sour cream – ½ - ¾ cup ( can be substituted with curd / yoghurt)
Flour – 1 ½ tbsp

The method

Cut the beef into 2 inch long, ½ inch wide thin strips. Heat 2 tbsp butter plus 1 tbsp oil in a pan and fry the beef pieces in batches. Add the remaining butter and oil as and when required till the beef is fried. Keep the beef strips aside.

To the remaining oil add the finely chopped garlic, onion, carrot and celery. When soft, sprinkle the flour and stir till it is completely mixed with the veggies. Add the rosemary, pepper and check salt. Ligthly beat the sour cream and pour it over the veggies in two batches stirring briskly (If you are using curd / yoghurt add 2-3 tbsp water to reduce the sourness). When the cream boils add the meat and simmer for 3 minutes.

To serve

Boil pasta. Heat oil (as required for the amount of pasta) in a pan and add chillies flakes. Add the pasta and toss it.

Place pasta in a plate and top it with Beef Stroganoff.


Nutty Fruity Oats Mittai

>> September 04, 2010

the recipe

Oats – 6 tbsp
Sugar – 3 tbsp

Almonds / cashew nutss – 10
Dates – 6
Raisins – 10
Veg oil – 1 tbsp

the method

Lightly roast the oats: for about 3 minutes in a low flame. Chop the dates, raisin and nuts into tiny pieces.

Caramelise the sugar – place the sugar in a flat aluminium pan, let it melt and turn light brown. Add the chopped fruits and nuts and veg oil and cook for 1 minute in low flame. Spread it evenly in the pan. Sprinkle the roasted oats evenly on the fruit and nut mixture and let it stay for 10 seconds. Mix the mixture thoroughly for about two – three minutes till the oats is thoroughly coated with the caramel mixture. Turn off heat. Quickly shape the mixture into preferred shapes. I used the lid of a tiny bottle to make the shape. Use it after the mittais cool completely to get a crunchy consistency. Yields 20 mittais. 


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