Friday, October 30, 2009

Thenga varutharacha Njandu/Crab with roasted coconut

Crab has one of the most tender and tasty meats among the shell fish family. For those who might shun it away because of its dreadful look, we recommend each one of you to give it a try. And for some who have gone beyond the looks and don't know how to eat, give it a shot at home with this recipe without worrying about the mess on your hands and teeth.


Crab (Cleaned & cut): 4-5 small/medium ones marinated in salt, pepper, turmeric and chilli powder
Shallots /red onions (finely sliced): 1/2 cup
Green chillies (slit): 2-3
Ginger (finely sliced):1 teaspoon
Garlic (finely sliced): 1 1/2 teaspoons
Tomatoes (finely sliced): 1/3 cup
Curry leaves: handful
Tamarind pulp: 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste

*Coconut dry roast masala: 1/2 cup

This can be made by roasting the following in some oil until golden brown and rawness of the masala goes away.
Grated Coconut: 1/2 cup
Shallots: 2-3
Dried red chillies: 4-5
Curry leaves: 2-3
Coriander powder: 1 1/2 teaspoon
Chicken masala: 1 teaspoon
Chilli powder : 1 teaspoon

* We have used pre cleaned and cut crabs available in Asian food stores. However, here's a video that can help you understand how to clean and cut crabs.

Heat some oil in a deep pan. Fry the green chillies, sliced ginger, garlic and curry leaves. Add the sliced onions and saute well until golden. Now add the sliced tomatoes and marinated crab and mix well. Keep stirring until the tomatoes get soft. Meanwhile take the dry roasted coconut masala, tamarind pulp and grind it with just enough water to make a smooth paste. Add this paste to the crab and let it simmer in this gravy on medium heat. Keep mixing while adjusting your salt and spice levels until all the rawness of spices is gone. Crab meat cooks very fast and can be recognized when it turns into a whitish color. Keep stirring well until all the gravy has fully reduced to coat the crabs. However this dish can also be served with a little gravy.

Enjoy this on a warm bed of rice or with plain hot parathas.

Ayala/Mackerel curry

Mackerel has a very meaty texture and is equally delicious in both curry and fried form. Being a tropical specie it is a commonly found fish in India and even more popular in the fish loving state of Kerala. Here is a very simple yet elegant recipe of a fish curry that can make any of your meals a little more enjoyable.


Mackerel/Ayala (cut into medium size): 5-7 pieces marinated in turmeric, chili powder and salt
Green Chilli (slit): 2-3
Ginger (finely sliced): 1 teaspoon
Shallots/Red Onions (sliced): 1/4 cup
Curry Leaves: handful
Grated Coconut: 1/2 cup
Turmeric Powder: 1 teaspoon
Chili Powder: 1 1/2 teaspoon
Jeera/Cumin seeds: 1 teaspoon
Uluva/Fenugreek: 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Coconut Oil

*Adjust the sourness in the curry by using any one or a combination of the following
Tomatoes (Chopped): 1/4 cup
Tamarind pulp: 1 teaspoon
Raw Mango (cubed): 3-4
Curd: 1/4 cup

In a dash of coconut oil slightly saute uluva, onions, green chillies and ginger. Add chopped tomatoes and curry leaves. Add the marinated fish pieces and pour some tamarind water. Cover and let the fish cook in the steam. Make sure not stir the fish too much as it tends to break. Meanwhile grind the grated coconut, turmeric powder and jeera with little water to make a smooth paste. For those using curd you can mix it to the coconut paste. Now pour this coconut paste to the simmering fish. Cover and cook for some more time until all the rawness is gone. Adjust salt and spice level to your liking. Add a teaspoon of coconut oil and curry leaves and keep it covered. You can do a optional seasoning with finely sliced shallots fried until golden brown.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Prawns Biryani

Biryani can easily be crowned as the most popular dish to add grandeur to any occasion. It is a preparation of rice with vegetables or meat and some of the most flavorful spices slowly cooked to perfection. The etymology of the word Biryani speaks for its great importance within so many cuisines and the various adaptions made of the recipe with every new region it has entered. From Hyderabadi to Lucknowi to Bangladeshi to Malabari, there are different styles in making Biryani and we are here giving you a simple recipe of our home style Biryani.


Prawns/Shrimp (Deveined& cleaned): 3/4 cup
Chili Powder: 2 tablespoons
Turmeric Powder: 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves: one whole sprig
Basmati Rice: 1 cup
Onions (finely sliced):1 cup
(kept in 3 portions - one for the rice, one for the prawns mixture and the rest for garnishing)
Green Chilies (slit): 3-4
Ginger-Garlic paste or whole ginger/garlic finely sliced: 1 tablespoon
Tomatoes (finely sliced): 3/4 cup
Coriander leaves: 1/2 a bunch
Mint leaves: 1/2 a bunch
Biryani Masala: 1 tablespoon
Cloves: 1/2 teaspoon
Pepper corns: 1/2 teaspoon
Cinnamon Stick: 1-2
Bay leaves: 3-4
Cardamom pods: 3-4
Fennel seeds/Saunf/Perinjeerakam: 1 teaspoon
Khas khas (optional): 1 teaspoon
Ghee: 2 tablespoons
Oil as required

* We have used the pressure cooker to make the rice, however you can also make the rice in the rice cooker to suit your convenience.
* For one cup of rice use one and half cup of water
* Note that the below procedures needs to be done simultaneously.

Wash the rice and drain well. Heat some ghee in a pressure cooker, add some of the whole garam masala mix, sliced onions and saute well. Add the rice and fry about 5 mins. Sprinkle salt and add one and half times boiling hot water and mix well into the rice. Check the salt level as the prawns mixture will also have salt in it. Cover it with the pressure cooker's lid without the whistle until steam starts to come. Now keep the whistle on and cook at medium heat for about 10-15 mins. Turn off the heat and keep aside. Once cooled a little, take the rice out.

Marinate the prawns with chili powder, turmeric powder, salt and keep it aside overnight or a minimum of 2 hours. Heat some oil and fry the prawns. Once soft, take it off from the heat and keep aside. Don't let it overcook as the meat gets rubbery. Also note that all the water coming out from the prawns does not need to completely dry up. Now with the rest of the oil, add in the whole garam masala (bay leaves, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, cloves) and saute. Stir in the ginger garlic paste, green chillies and half of the sliced onions and saute until the onions start to turn golden. Grind the fennel seeds and the khas khas with a little water and add to the onions. Add the Biryani masala and saute well. Adjust the salt and spiciness by adding more chilli powder if needed. Add the sliced tomatoes and mix well. Also add in the chopped coriander and mint leaves. Cover and let it cook until all the spices have mixed well. Add the fried prawns and keep stirring until all the masala is well coated on the prawns. Turn off the heat and keep aside. Now layer this prawns masala with the cooked rice.

Fry the raisins and cashews in ghee. Also fry some of the sliced onions until caramelized. Chop some coriander and mint leaves. Garnish the topmost layer with these. Cover tight and keep on low heat or bake for 10 mins in the oven at 350 F.

Serve hot. The best accompaniment would be a bowl of Raita and Pappad.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Unnakkai is a specialty commonly made in parts of North Malabar during the holy month of Ramadan during the fast opening ceremony. This recipe blends in two of the most commonly seen items from a Kerala kitchen,i.e, Coconut and Plantains. This sweet rich explosion of taste is sure to win over your stomachs.


Ripe plantains (steamed): 2
Grated coconut: 1/2 cup
Sugar: 1/2 cup
Cardamom pods: 1
Cashew nuts: 1 tablespoon
Raisins: 1 tablespoon
Ghee: 2 teaspoons
Oil to fry

Cut the ripe plantain and steam it until cooked and soft. Pull out the center black seeds and mash up the soft banana with a teaspoon of ghee into a nice soft dough. Next, heat some oil and one teaspoon of ghee for an additional flavor. Add the raisins, cashew nuts and fry until golden. Add the grated coconut and saute well. Add sugar, sprinkle cardamom pods powdered and mix well. Saute well until everything gets mixed well. Turn off the heat. Now take the banana dough, divide into small balls and make little scoops by flattening it on your palm. Fill some of the coconut mixture into these scoops. Seal the edges and roll it into the shape as per the picture. Now shallow fry these until slightly golden . Serve them warm and enjoy.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Rum n Raisin Chocolate Cake

Here's a delicious chocolaty cake with a little kick for our dear readers to try this weekend. This cake with a subtle hint of rum is a perfect kill for all the chocolate craving in you. So just go ahead and give it a shot.


Golden raisins: handful
Walnuts (Optional): handful
Spiced rum: 1/4 cup
Eggs : 2 small
Butter: 3/4 cup
All purpose flour: 1 1/2 cups
Sugar: 1 1/4 cups
Unsweetened cocoa powder: 1/3 cup
Baking powder: 1 teaspoon
Water: 1 cup

* Butter and eggs at room temperature will contribute towards a better cake.
* Those who do not want to use rum, can simply add dry raisins. However note that the taste of the rum is very subtle.

Soak a handful of golden raisins in the spiced rum for a minimum of 2 hours, though its best if kept overnight. Begin by beating the sugar and butter until nice and creamy. Add the eggs and beat well until ivory. Sieve the all purpose flour, cocoa and baking powder well and keep these dry ingredients aside. Meanwhile boil the water and let it cool. Slowly fold in the dry flour mix to the beaten egg and mix well simultaneously loosening the batter with warm water. Beat well. Add the soaked raisins and walnuts and give a final mix.

Preheat the oven at 350° F. Butter a baking dish and pour out the cake batter and bake for about 25-35 mins. Keep a close eye and let it bake until you poke a knife in the center and it comes out clean. Turn off the oven and keep the cake outside. Once completely cooled, cut into little bites and indulge into these at anytime.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Caramel Custard

Caramel custard which has an European origin can be easily considered the most famous home made desert because of the simplicity in its ingredients and procedure. Like any custard it is very delicate and the soft caramel coating makes it a total lip smacking desert.


Warm milk: 2 cups (1 pint)
Eggs: 2 large
Sugar:1/2 cup + 1/3 cup for caramelizing
Vanilla Essence: 1 teaspoon
Milk chocolate (Optional): 1/4 cup, melted
*If you don't use the milk chocolate, you should increase the sugar level to your liking.

Beat the eggs and sugar until smooth in a blender. Add the warm milk and vanilla essence and beat it once more. If you are using milk chocolate, melt the white chocolate chips or the white chocolate bar to the above mix and whisk it well. Meanwhile preheat the oven at 350° F. Take a sauce pan and heat the sugar with a teaspoon of water until caramelized. Pour the hot caramel into a large dish or the individual ramekins and let it set. It takes about 5-10 mins for the caramel to get hard. Now pour the beaten mixture into these ramekins and prepare for a water bath before baking it.

Water bath is a procedure of immersing a container (a pan, a bowl or a ramekin) of food in a larger shallow pan of water. The water surrounds and protects delicate foods like custard or cheese cake by maintaining an even, low-moisture heat while cooking it. Make sure the water level is just below half of the container placed.

Bake this at 350° F for 30-40 mins keeping a close eye at it until your able to poke the custard with knife and it comes out clean. Turn off the oven. Take it out, cover it with a foil and let it cool in the refrigerator. Once it is completely cooled, turn it upside down carefully onto your serving dish. Add a dollop of whipping cream, a mint leaf or a slice of strawberry on the caramel before you serve. Enjoy !!


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