Sunday, April 30, 2006

Kerala Fish Biriyani

Sunday lunch is always biriyani..easy to make and my kids love it. Today I made fish biriyani. I only know to make biriyani using a pressure cooker and this is how I do it

Fish:250gm cleaned and cut in to cubes( i buy fillet and just cut in to cubes)
Chilli poweder:2 t spn
Coriander powder:1 tspm
Pepper powder:1/2 t spn
Turmeric powder:1 t spn
lemon juice:1 tbl spn
Marinate the fish in the above masala and keep aside

Onion:1 cut fine
green chillies:3 split
ginger and garlic paste:1 t spn each
garam masala:1 t spn
oil:1 tbl spn
butter:1 tbl spn( didn't have ghee, so used the oil and butter combination)

Rice:2 cups, wash and soak for 10 mints
1 tbl spn lemon juice
Coriander leaves:1 handful, chopped fine

Heat oil and butter in a pressure cooker, add the ginger garlic paste, when it is lightly browned, add the onion and green chillies and saute, when the onion is lightly browned add the fish and fry till the fish is lightly browned. Now add the drained rice and fry for 5 mints. Add 3 cups of water, lemon juice, coriander leaves and salt. When the steam is coming out, put the weight and off the fire. Keep the pressure cooker still on the burner..the retained heat will continue to cook the rice. Open after 15 mints. Garnish with fried onion and cashew nut. Total time needed to make the biriyani is less than 30 mints.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Nadan Erachi curry:SPICY

Erachi curry and pathiri.. There is nothing more to be made for a wholesome malayalee meal. There used to be a Indian Government Coffee house, near kottayam KSRTC bus stand. I went there to eat, without my mother's knowledge, many times. I am no sure if the thrill was the food or breaking mother's rules.

Meat:500 gm..( use any)
Coriander powder:3 t spn
Chillipowder:3 tspn
pepper powder:1 t spn
turmeric powder:1 t spn
Vinegar:1 tbl spn

Soak the above mix in 1 tbl spn water.

Onion: 1 big. cut fine
Mustard:1/2 t spn
oil:2 tbl spn

Coconut milk:1/2 cup

Heat oil, add mustard, when finished spluttering, add the onion, saute...when the onion is lightly browned, add the soaked masala..fry on low heat till the oil is floating on top.(if the masala is getting too dry, add a bit water), when the masala is nicely done, add the meat and keep stirring for another 5 mints. Add 1 cup water and required salt. Cover and cook. When the meat is cooked, add the coconut milk. Heat and serve.
Note:You can serve this curry without adding the coconut milk.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Fish with Raw Mango

Every summer I would be waiting to go to my grandmother's house. We had plenty of mango trees and My grandmother would make most of the curries with mango. This is one such dish

Fish, cleaned and cut in to chunks: 500 gms
shallots, sliced in to fine slivers:3
garlic, sliced in to slivers:2 cloves
1 inch ginger julienned
chilli powder:1 tspn
coriander powder:1 tbl spn
turmeric powder:1 t spn
Cumin powder:1/2 t spn
green chillies, split in to half:5
green mango, sliced:1
curry leaves:1 sprig

In a chatti,put all the ingredients and 3/4 cup of water. cook on medium flame.

While the curry is boiling, grind 4 tbls spn of fresh coconut very fine. when the fish is almost cooked add the ground coconut and cook till the gravy is thick.

You can add a tbl spn of coconut oil at the end, to make it even more tastier.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Strawberry ice cream

Yesterday, I went to buy my groceries and the three little kids followed. By the time I reached home, I found a lot of things I didn't plan to buy including a punnet of strawberry!!!
Nobody wants to eat it and Straw berries don't last long. I had no intention of wasting it. I made ice cream.. it took a little while, but the end more ice cream left..

500 ml of whipped cream
a pinch of salt

1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
Beat it well

1 punnet strawberry trimmed and cut in to pieces
1 1/2 cup of sugar
1 tbl spn water

Heat the whipping cream with the salt on low fire, till it is very hot. Pour it slowly to the beaten egg and keep stirrring. once it is mixed well, put it back on the fire and make sure the heat is LOW.. Keep stirring till the custard is thick. take it off from fire and cool, stirring once in a while

Place the strawberries and the suga with the water in a thick bottom pan. Heat till the sugar is melted and the strawberry is cooked. use a hand blender and blend. Pour the strawberry mix in to the and freeze.

Note:you can make it without cooking the strawberry..but I liked the cooked version better
if you don't like the seeds, blend it completely and strain in to the custard.
if you have time, when the ice cream is half set, take it off and whizz it once more in the blender and re freeze.

Salted fish chammanthi

How do i explain wht is this dish..How do i explain, the essence of a malayalee life is in the chammanthi.. In the morning we have dosa and thengga chammanthi. In afternoon we have rice and onakka meen chammathi/chemmen chammanthi. Evening it will be kappa and ulli chammanthi. Dinner it will be kanji and thengga chammanthi.

Salted fish and I don't normally get along. Unless it is ikan billis( dried anchovies).
I am addicted to them and whenever I leave Malaysia, I usually carry enough Ikan billis to last a year.

To make salted fish chammanthi,
2 tbl spn dried anchovies
1 tbl spn oil

2 shallots
5 green chillies
3 tbl spn grated coconut

I use dried anchovies. I deep fry washed and drained anchovies in the oil and drain.
In a pounding stone, I pound, shallots, green chillies and of freshly grated coconut, once it is nicely pounded, i add the fried salted fish, pound again and serve it with porridge..

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Mushroom thoran

This is one of the easiest thoran I cook.

Mushroom, either oyster or button mushroom:250 gm
Coconut scrapped:50gm
green chilli:5
garlic:2 cloves

Oil: 1tbl spn
Mustard seeds: 1/2 t spn
Curry leaves: 1 sprig

Cut mushroom to tiny pieces

Pound/grind the coconut, green chillies,garlic and shallots.( not too fine)

Heat a tbl spn oil, add the mustard, when it splutters, add the mushroom, and the pounded ingredients. Stir and cover, keep cooking on med heat. Do not add water. when the mushroom is almost cooked, take off the lid and add salt and curry leaves. Keep stirring till there is no more water. Serve hot.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

pork Steak and onion sauce

Malaysians(non muslims la) are partial to pork. In fact, we make pork perattal instead of beef perattal. we have pork ball mee for break fast, pork curry in different versions for lunch and again, noodles with pork for dinner.
This particular recipe is my favourite. It is very unique

Pork fillet:4

Onion: 1 chopped
garlic:2 cloves
tomato sauce:3 tbl spn
soy sauce:3 tbl spn
brown sugar:1 1/2 tbl spn
Chilli powder:1 t spn

Blend all of the above( not the pork). Heat a tbl spn oil and cook the blended ingredients for 10 mints, till it is nice and thick. Cool, marinate the pork fillet in this mix for 5 hours.( keep refrigerated)..stirring every now and then.
Grill, bbq, or broil.

The remaining sauce is again cooked in a pan for another 10 mints and pour over the cooked steak.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Red fish curry powder

My grandmother would send our farm help to the market to buy fish, the moment she hears my voice calling her name across the fields.. she knows how much i like to eat her Red fish curry with rice. Kodampuli(kokum) is the secret ingredient. When I got married, she gave me enough puli that would last another generation

I make the fish curry powder and it is easy
Proportion is easy to remember
3 t spn of chilli powder
1 t spn of coriander powder
1 t spn turmeric powder
1/2 t spn pepper powder.
I am not good in I take a plastic bottle and keep following the proportion..when the bottle is 3/4 full, i close it and give it to my kids.. They enjoy shaking it and mixing it throughly.

to make the curry

fish..cleaned and cut in to chunks: 500 gms
fish curry powder : 2 tbl spn..mix it with 2 tbl spn water and keep aside
kokkum: one small piece..cut in to small piece and soak in half cup of warm water
Ginger and garlic chopped fine:1 t spn each
onion:chopped fine 1 tbl spn
mustard seeds: 1/2 t spn
fenugreek seed: 1/4 t spn
Curry leaves:1 sprig
oil: 1 tbl spn

Heat chatti, add the oil, when the oil is hot, add the mustard, when the mustard finished spluttering, add the fenugreek and curry leaves, when the seeds turn lightly brown, add the ginger and garlic..when they brown add the onion and saute. When the onion is lightly browned, add the soaked fish curry powder. keep stirring till the oil floats to the surface..if the masala is getting too dry, add a tbl spn more water. when the masala is fried well add a cup of water and the kokkum(plus the kokkum soaked water).. when it boils, add the fish and salt. Cover, when it boils, open the lid and cook on slow fire till the fish is done. I like to eat with hot rice and moru

Monday, April 17, 2006

Fish mappas

I have no idea how the fish curry got the mappas name. Most orthodox Syrian Christian homes have their own mappas recipe. this is how my grandmother made her fish mappas.

Any firm white fish cut in to chunks: 1/2 kg

coriander powder:1 tbl spn
Chilli powder:1 t spn
turmeric powder:1 tspn
Pepper powder:1/4 t spn
Soak the above powders in 3 tbl spn water.

Oil :2 tbl spn
mustard :1 t spn
Fenugreek/uluva:1/2 t spn
onion sliced in to fine slivers:1/2 cup
ginger sliced in to fine slivers:1 tspn
garlic sliced in to slivers:1 t spn
green chillies sliced in to half:5 nos
tomato:2 sliced in to quarters
coconut milk:3/4 cup
Heat oil, add the mustard seeds, when it finished spluttering, add the fenugreek seeds, when it turns brown, add the onion,ginger,garlic, greenchillies..saute till the onion turns light brown, add the soaked powder, keep stirring for another 5 mints.( don't burn!!!, if the masala get too dry add a tbl spn water). Add 1/2 cup coconut milk and 1/2 cup water and salt. When it boils, layer the fish at the bottom and place the tomatoes on top. 10 mints later, turn the fish, when the fish is cooked, add the remaining coconut milk and gently stir. take off from the fire and eat with hot rice.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Raisin pickle

Lent is finally over and we celebrate easter with Biriyani, Raita and raisin pickle. Sweet and the sour taste of raisin pickle goes well with Biriyani. When we stayed in Kottayam, my mother attending a wedding entirely depended on who is doing the catering. This particular caterer made excellent raisin pickle!!! and this is his recipe...How I managed to get it is a long story...

Raisins.. I use california sun dried raisins:200gm
ginger:50gm chopped very fine
garlic:50gm chopped fine
green chillies:50gm..chopped fine in to rounds
Chilli powder:2 tspn
turmeric powder:1 tspn
Sugar:2 tbl spn
Vinegar:3/4 cup
Mustard seeds:1 t spn
oil:2 tbl spn

heat oil, add mustard, when it finished spluttering, add the ginger, garlic and the green chillies, when it is slightly browned, reduce the fire to low, add the raisins and the chilli and turmeric powder.. Continue to stir for another 5 mints. take it off from fire, add the salt, vinegar and sugar. Can be eaten on the same day..keep it refrigerated

Friday, April 14, 2006

Pazha prathaman

First of all wishing all of you a very happy new year. Vishu ashamsakal!!
We had payasam for onam, vishu and for our birthdays.
The best payasam in Kerala is Ambalapuzha temple's pal payasam. although I was born in to a religiously staunch orthodox christian family, i was also taught tolerance. Ambalapuzha palpayasam is the offering to the diety, yet I was never forbidden from consuming it. in fact my grandmother used to pay our hindu neighbours to buy it for us.


6 ripe plantains( the small variety) cut in to 1/2 inch slices.
1 packet coconut milk powder(60 gm) mixed with 1 cup of water
Jaggery 150 gm/brown sugar 1 1/2 cup
Ghee 3 tbl spn

If using jaggery, boil it in 1 cup of water and strain

heat 1/2 cup of water in a pan, add the sliced bananas and the brown sugar. Stir and cook till the bananas are done and add the ghee, keep stirring. Add 1/2 cup of the coconut milk. stir. when it boils, take it off from fire and add the remaining coconut milk. Mix well and serve

You can also fry coconut pieces and cashew nut in ghee and garnish

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


The story of how Avial was invented is historical. But how it can also become a disaster is history.
We had a malayalee cook in the medical school hostel and after begging him for ever, he promised to make avial.. I can still recall vividly, the walk to the hostel mess anticipating a nice malayalee lunch. I took a huge serving of avial with my rice.
I sat down to eat and the avial looked nice and yummy..I mixed rice and avial and placed in my mouth and the whole thing came out faster than Saddam's scud. It was BITTER.. The cook decided to follow the word avial literally and added all the vege available including Bitter gourd!!!

The original recipe calls for yams and colocasia.. Where I stay neither is available so I make do without it.

3 potatoes, each cut in to 8 pieces
2 carrots, cut in to 1/2 inch rounds
handful of green beans cut in to one inch piece

1/2 cup coconut grated
2 cloves of garlic
5 green chillies
1 t spn turmeric
1/2 t spn cumin powder

1 sprig of curry leaf
2 tbl spn thick yogurt
2 tbl spn coconut oil

In a pot add the cut vege and 1 cup water, cook till the veg is almost done. Grind the coconut, greenchilli and garlic fine and add it to the cooked vege, along with salt, cumin powder and turmeric. Reduce the fire and cook slowly, swirling the pan once in a while to mix.. After abt 10 mints, take it off from the fire, add the curry leaf, coconut oil and yougurt, while the vege is hot.. mix well and enjoy with rice

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Orange muffin

My son loves muffins
this one is easy to make

1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup cooking oil
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soda bi carb
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tbl spn orange rind

Mix all together, pour in to muffin pan..bake at 190 for 15 mints

Mix 1/2 cup icing sugar with the remaining juice from the orange.. Spread the glace on top the warm muffin..

Monday, April 10, 2006


When I left for my medical college My grandmother made 2 dalda tins of Pakkavada.. When I want to think of her, I make the pakkavada, the way she used to make.. It is easy

Besan :250gms
Rice flour: 100gms
Uzhunnu(black gram) flour:50 gms
chilli powder:2 t spn
Asafoetida: 1/4 t spn
baking soda:1/4 t spn

Place all the stuff in a bowl, Add enough water to make a soft dough. keep it aside for 15 mints
Heat oil, put some dough in the press and press in to the oil like a long coil of ribbon.. fry until crisp and drain

Note: The uzhunnu pody should be fine, otherwise it will really EXPLODE( speaking from experience!!!) in the oil.. so sifting the flour is a good idea

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Vada pao

If I have choice between MacD burger and Vada pao( aka poor man's burger), I would pick Vada pao any day.When I was posted to Mumbai, My driver would take me to Mattugodi market and I would sit on the pavement and eat freshly made Vada pao in a soft bun with lots of chilli mint sauce. I certainly would have diarrhoea in the evening after eating Vada pao..but enjoy now suffer late was the motto then.

I don't know how to make the soft bun or the chilli mint chutney. But I learned how to make the Vada

250 gm potato..boiled, skinned and mashed
1 onion chopped fine
1 inch ginger chopped fine
a small bunch of coriander leaves chopped
6 green chillies chopped fine
1/2 t spn mustard seeds
1 tbl spn oil

for the batter
1 cup of besan(chickpea flour)
1/4 cup rice flour
1 t spn baking soda
1 t spn chilli powder
a pinch of asafoetida powder
3/4 cup water

oil for deep frying

Mix all the ingredients for the batter and make a smooth batter. Keep aside.

In a fry pan, heat oil, add mustard when it finished spluttering add the ginger, onion and greenchilli. Saute till the onion is light brown. Take it off from fire. Add the onion mix, coriander leaves, salt, turmeric and mix well with the mashed potato. Make in to small patties 2 inch in diameter and 1/2 inch thick.

Heat oil for deep frying. Dip the potato patty in the batter, coat well and deep fry till it is golden brown. Serve hot with chilli sauce.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Coffee cocoa cake

I was given this recipe in the 80's by a very close friend. Why I like this recipe..3 reasons..Easily available ingredients , easy to follow, and the best chocolate cake recipe without using real chocolate, but using cocoa.

1 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup of sugar

125 gm melted butter
1 cup of yogurt
2 eggs
3/4 cup of freshly made strong coffee(or 2 tsp of instant coffee in 185 ml of water)

Mix the flour, cocoa , sugar and baking powder in a bowl and use a spn to mix it well.
Melt the butter in a pan. Take it off from fire, and add the egg and yogurt and mix well
make the coffee
Mix the coffee with the egg butter yogurt mix. Check the shouldn't be too hot. when it is not cold or hot add it in to the flour mix and stir well with a rubber spatula. Don't overbeat.
Pour the mix in to a lined 8 inch pan and bake at 350 for abt 35 mint.

2 tbl spn freshly made hot coffee
1 tbl spn butter
2 tbl spn cocoa
1 1/2 cup icing sugar

Mix the butter and coffee till the butter is melted and add the rest of the ingredients.. More icing sugar if the mix is too thin and more coffee if the mix is too thick.
Pour over the cooled cake.
Warning: This cake don't last more than 2 days( I never had to keep it more than a day because my kids would finish it in no time)

Friday, April 07, 2006

Kon lau mein

Wan tan mein Aka kon lau mein is a comfort food for me. It is easy and not at all complicated. I used to drive all the way to Ampang to eat breakfast at the hawkers near Ampnag point on most sundays.

2 balls of wan tan noodles can be bought at any chinese shop

1 tbl spn cooking oil( peanut oil is the best)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbl spn dark soy sauce
2 tbl spn chicken stock powder
4 tbl spn water

Char siew sliced fine and choy som

cook the noodles and drain.
Dissolve the stock in the water and mix all the ingredients
Place noodles on a plate, pour the sauce on top, garnish with char siew and choy

Bubble and Squeak

If you are a Malayalee, lived in Malaysia, Singapore, India,England,Dubai,Holland and Canada, your cooking tend to be Rojak..Although I like to eat very spicy food, I also make western food. This recipe was given to me by my Scottish class mate who when I met for the first time told me "Hi, I am Sean, I am British, but not English". He probably saw the stunned look on my face and began to explain about Scottish people. I celebrated Burn's night with his family and this is his mother's recipe.
250 gm potatoes boiled and mashed
200 gm cabbage, chopped fine and boiled in a cup of water for 5 mints and drained.
1 onion chopped fine
2 tbl spn oil
Add the boiled cabbage to the mashed potatoes, add salt and a dash of pepper and mix them very well.
In a cast iron fry pan heat 1 tbl spn oil, fry the onion, reduce the heat to medium, add the cabbage potatoe mix and stir. using the spatula press down the mix in to the pan. When brown on one side, pour a spn of oil on top turn over and brown on the other side. Serve hot.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Most christian family in Kerala celebrate easter and christmas with appam & stew. The church service starts around 4 in the morning and I used to wait hungrily for the service to be over, so we can rush back home and eat the freshly made appam and stew. It was one time my grandmother would let me help her in the kitchen. I get to peel the potatoes and onions.

2 potatoes each cut in to 8 pieces
1 carrot cut in to 1/2 inch pieces
1 small onion chopped in to long slivers
6 green chillies split in to two
1 inch ginger chopped very fine
3 cardamom crushed
1 inch piece of cinnamon
1 cup coconut milk
2 tbl spn oil

Heat oil in a pyrex bowl with a lid, add the cardamom and cinnamon and stir for 30 sec, add ginger, fry, now add the onion. Once the onion turns slightly brown add the potatoes, carrots and green chillies. Saute them for 5 mints on medium heat. Add 2 tbl spn coconut milk a cup of water and salt. Cook till the potatoes are done. Add the remaining coconut milk and heat for 2 more mints. If the stew is too watery, smash one or two slices of boiled potatoes and mix in to the gravy.
Now we are observing lent and hence the stew is veg... to make meat stew, add 250 gm of meat along with the potatoes..

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

pal appam

My memories of Kerala, always start with the softest fluffiest kallu(toddy) appam and stew that my grandmother always made for christmas and easter. I also remember gulping down the toddy and topping it with water without anyone seeing. My grandma's appam making process starts 2 days prior to christmas. She buys the special rice, soaks it, then place it on a sheet to dry, then pound it, sift, fry the sifted flour, mix with toddy and sugar...I haven't eaten the traditional appam for 25 years now.. But I make my own version of easy appam.. comes almost close to the original version.

rice flour(I use thai brand and make sure itsn't glutinous rice flour) I packet,400gm
coconut milk powder. 1 packet(60 gm)
instant yeast 1 t spn
sugar 4 tbl spn

warm half cup water to blood heat and add a table spn of sugar and yeast.. Keep it till the yeast is frothy.
In a microwave safe bowl, mix one cup of water and 2 t spn rice flour well.. cook it the microwave on high for abt 2 mint stirring every 10 sec till it to blood heat.
(Note: tradiationally, the rice flour & water mix is cooked over the fire, till it is thickened. But I prefer the microwave method, only draw back is opening the microwave every 10 sec to stir..but it is fast. If the bottom part of the mix is too clumpy, don't worry, add a few table spn of warm water and stir well)
In a bowl, mix the remaining flour,coconut milk powder, sugar, salt, yeast, the cooked rice mix and 1 1/2 cup of water. Mix well.. If the batter is too thick, add a little bit more water. Close the bowl, keep it for 6 hours till it is fermented. I use a small wok with a lid to make the appam.. If you go to India, buy a nonstick appam chatti. makes 25 appams

Monday, April 03, 2006

Cheese Dhal

I was really surprised to eat dhal cooked with cheese. My Bangladeshi friend cooks dhal with cheese. Apparently they do cook this way in Bangladesh. I was sceptical at first, like you are while reading it.. But once you try this, you will know how tasty it is


Red(massor dhal) lentils. 1 cup
1 onion chopped fine
1/2 t spn turmeric

I tbl spn oil
5 green chillies sliced in to julienne
2 tbl spn grated cheddar cheese
1 tbl spn lime juice
2 leaves of kaffir lime leaves( optional)

Boil dhal with onion and turmeric. blend it well and add salt. Take it off from fire.
Heat oil, add sliced green chillies, fry for 30 sec, pour it in to the dhal mix, along with the cheese, lime juice and kaffir lime leaves.
Serve hot.