Sunday, June 28, 2009

Coleslaw Circles

This superbly simple yet delightful open sandwich recipe is inspired from a friend’s idea and works great in kids lunch packs or as an after-play snack. It is one of those recipes which use a creative combination of vegetables to make a tasty filling. We are alternating the ingredients slightly to make 2 kinds of filling with a similar base.


Bread Slices : Cut in circles

Filling I

Mayo: 1 cup
Cabbage (Grated): 1/2 cup
Carrots (Grated): 1/4 cup
Seedless Grapes (whole or cut up): 1/4 cup
Pepper: a pinch
Salt if necessary

Filling II

Mayo: 1 cup
Cucumber (Grated and squeezed): 1/4 cup
Carrots (Grated): 1/4 cup
Cabbage (Grated): 1/2 cup
Garlic powder: 1 teaspoon
Pepper: a pinch

Mix up all the ingredients of any filling you choose and simply scoop it and spread on the bread slices. Didn't we tell you its only a 5 min job!! Add a hint of ketchup or mint to decorate it!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Chicken Tikka Pizza

Last minute notice of friends coming over n don’t know what to make??? Or are you simply surfing around for innovative recipes to make your “weekend night special”. Here is our attempt at the very Desi Chicken Tikka Pizza to impress all your taste buds!!!


1 x 12” Pizza crust (Store bought for now n hopefully soon we’ll post our own recipe for it)
Red onion (sliced): 1 medium
Tomatoes (chopped): 2 medium
Green bell peppers (Sliced): 1 (You could also use red/yellow peppers/mix of each for a colorful look)
Cilantro/Coriander leaves (Chopped): 1/2 a bunch
Mozarella cheese (Grated): 1 cup (You could also use any other blends of cheese with the mozarella)
Tomato marinara sauce (Commonly found in the grocery stores, we have used tomato in basil and garlic for this recipe)
Chicken (Cubed): 1 cup
Mushrooms (sliced): 1/4cup
Ginger (chopped): 1/ 2 teaspoon
Garlic (chopped): 2 pods
Green Chillies(slit): 2-3 ( or red chilli flakes)

Tikka Marinade (Combine the below ingredients to make a smooth paste)
Turmeric powder: 1 teaspoon
Chilli powder: 2 teaspoon
Chicken masala : 2 teaspoon
Jeera Powder : 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander powder : 1/2 teaspoon
Chat masala:1/2 teaspoon (optional)
Star anise powder: 1/ 4teaspoon
Garam Masala : 1 teaspoon
Ginger garlic paste: ½ teaspoon
Lemon Juice: 1 tablespoon
Curd: 1 tablespoon
Kasoori Methi: 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste

* For all vegetarians, use paneer instead of chicken in the pizza.

Begin with marinating the cubed chicken and mushrooms in the marinade and let it rest for a minimum of 20 mins. Heat some oil in a pan, sauté the chopped up garlic, add tomatoes and mix well. Now add the chicken, mushroom and let it simmer in the tomato gravy until thick. Take off from the heat once the chicken is cooked.

Now take the crust and spread the tomato marinara sauce evenly. Spread one layer of cheese, add the sliced onions and green peppers. Spread the chicken and mushrooms. Meanwhile mix the chopped ginger, green chillies with the chopped up cilantro. Spread a layer of this mix and finally top it up with the mozzarella cheese. Preheat Oven at 400° F. Bake the Pizza for about 20 mins until all the cheese melts.

Enjoy these warm with a chilled glass of soda !!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Idiappam (String Hoppers)

Idiappams or Noolputtu are a common breakfast beauty in mallu land. Equally popular in Srilanka and Tamilnadu, these tender rice noodles are great by themselves and only get better when served with a spicy stew. Made from the simplest of ingredients, their delicate taste and texture seems to be sole reason for its gaining popularity. For those not familiar with the gadget to make them, here is a picture.


Rice Flour: 2 Cups
Water: 1 cup
Grated coconut: 1/2 cup
Salt to taste

Bring the water to boil, add some salt and a drop of oil. Take it off from the heat, add the rice flour and stir quickly to avoid making lumps. Mix this well to make a firm dough. Scoop this dough into the Idiappam press. Meanwhile, slightly oil the idli racks and put a teaspoon of grated coconut in each case. Noodle out the dough from the idiappam press in each of the cases. Top it up with some more coconut and let them steam in the Idli cooker for about 10-15 mins. Let them rest for about 10 mins after they are done so that the hot steam settles.

Enjoy your meal!!!


Appams tend to be one of the most loved breakfast choices in Mallu homes. And why not, it is soft, light on the stomach and simply delectable. Palappam or Vellappam are other names used interchangeably for this delicate rice cake across different parts of Kerala. These appams use a specific pan called the Appam chatti to get its distinctive look. It couples well with any kind of stew, chicken curry, egg curry or even with just plain sugar.


Rice flour: 2 cups
Coconut milk: 3/4 cup (The thick milk as available in the cans)
Cooked rice: 1/2 cup
Grated coconut: 2 tablespoons
Sugar: 2 1/2 table spoon
Yeast: 1/2 teaspoon
Water: 1/2 cup
Salt to taste

Grind the rice flour, coconut milk, cooked rice, grated coconut in the mixer. Meanwhile heat the water, add the sugar and yeast and let it dissolve well. Add this to the ground batter and run the mixer again ensuring a smooth batter. Keep it overnight and the batter starts to rise up as it ferments. Add more sugar and water if necessary. The key is to have a batter that is fermented and not too runny at the same time.

Once the appam pan is hot, scoop out a big spoon of the batter and swiftly move it in a circle spreading the batter all around. Cover and let it cook. Once the appams are ready, they easily slide out. Enjoy them warm with your loved ones!!!

Vegetable Stew

From the prehistoric days, stew has been the name for the union and dancing of different ingredients on slow fire to create a magical gravy. Here we are presenting the simplest vegetable stew infused with true South Indian flavors. They are absolutely fast and easy to make and best compliment appams and Iddiappams. For all those non veg lovers, you could alternate the stew by adding some chicken or mutton .


Potatoes (cubed): 2-3
Baby Carrots (sliced): 5
Green French Beans (sliced): 4-5
Onions (sliced): 1/2
Green Chilies (slit): 2-3
Ginger (chopped): 1 teaspoon
Curry Leaves: 1 sprig
Coconut Milk: 1/2 cup
Pepper corn/powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Cardamom pods: 2
Star Anise: 1
Cinnamon sticks: 1-2
Bay leaves: 1-2
Cloves: 4-5

Heat some oil in a pressure cooker. Add the raw spices, green chili, ginger, onions and sauté. Add the potatoes, sprinkle a little salt and sauté. Add some water and pressure cook for one whistle. Once the potatoes are soft, add the beans and carrots and let it cook on low flame. After about 15 minutes the vegetables get cooked and flavored with the spices. Add coconut milk and let it simmer once again. Garnish the stew with the seasoning of fried small onions (chopped) and curry leaves.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Nadan Chicken curry with a Jamaican twist

When you feel like eating something truly nadan (homely) and don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen, here an easy life saver that takes just a few minutes to bring together a relishing gravy that goes great with rotis, rice or even Appams. This curry is a rare but delightful combination of Kerala and Jamaican spices.


Chicken pieces cubed: 1 ½ pounds
Saras coconut varuthara paste: 1/2 cup diluted in some water
Jamaican jerk seasoning: 3-4 tablespoon
Onions (sliced): 1/2 cup
Tomatoes (sliced): 3/4 cup
Green chillies (slit): 2-3
Ginger (chopped): 1 teaspoon
Garlic (chopped): 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Star Anise: 1
Cinnamon stick: 1 piece
Cardamom pods: 1-2
Bay leaves: 1-2
Pepper corns or powder: 1/2 teaspoon

* Saras coconut varuthara paste is available in most Indian grocery stores.
* Jamaican jerk seasoning is available under different brand names in most Supermarkets like Safeway or walmart in the spice aisle.

Marinate the cleaned cubed chicken with the salt, pepper, jerk seasoning and keep aside. Meanwhile, heat some oil in pan, add the raw spices (anise + cinnamon + cardamom + bay leaves), onions, green chillies, ginger, garlic, curry leaves and sauté well. Before the onions start caramelizing add the chicken pieces and sauté. Add tomatoes, sauté, cover and cook. Once the chicken is almost cooked, add the diluted varuthara paste and mix well. Let everything come to a boil and then add a final seasoning of red chillies, curry leaves and chopped up onions.

If you find the gravy too pungent, you can lighten it by adding some coconut milk.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Uzhunnu Vada (Spicy Lentil Doughnuts)

Crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, Uzhunnu vadas are the Indian spicy counterparts of the KrispyKreme or Dunkin doughnuts most of us love. Originating from South India, these vadas are popularly adorned in a breakfast platter mostly as a festive delicacy. However they can be great as an appetizer or just a teatime snack. These vadas served hot with Sambhar and coconut chutney make it surely a mouth-watering combo.


Black gram/Urad Dal/Uzhunnu parippu(Split or whole): 2 Cups
Rice Flour: 1/4 cup
Red onions (finely chopped): 4-5 tablespoons
Ginger (finely chopped): 2 teaspoon
Green chillies (finely chopped): 3-4
Curry leaves (torn into pieces or whole leaves): One sprig
Asofetida: a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil to fry

Soak the urad dal/uzhunnu in water for 3 hours minimum. Drain out the water and grind the urad dal and rice flour into a smooth fine paste. Make sure the batter is thick and not runny due to excess of water (Check if you are able to make firm peaks with a spoon). Add the chopped onions, ginger, chillies, curry leaves, salt and a pinch of asofetida (Optional) you could also add a few pepper corns and some chopped up coconut pieces). Mix the batter well. Heat some oil in a deep pan.
To get a perfect doughnut shape can be tricky :
  • Either oil your palm, scoop the batter onto your palm, wet your finger and cut through the batter to make a hole and gently slide it into the hot oil.
  • Or the easy way out, drop a scoop of the batter into the oil and immediately make a hole in the center using the head of a small spoon.
Turn over to cook both sides and pull them out once they are golden brown.
Happy eating!!!!

Parippu Vada

Something you can’t escape in Seattle are the rains and there’s nothing more perfect on a damp evening than sitting in your patio munching on these crunchy Parippu vadas with a cup of hot tea. Even without the rains, they can be great to nibble on while reading your favorite book. These vadas gain their popularity from the south Indian chai kadas (tea shops) where they are most sought for.

Channa Dal: 1 cup
Toor dal: 1/4 cup
Red onions (finely chopped): 3 tablespoons
Ginger (finely chopped): 2 teaspoon
Green chillies (finely chopped): 2-3
Curry leaves (torn into pieces or whole leaves): One sprig
Asofetida: a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil to fry

Soak the channa dal and toor dal separately in water for 2 hours at least. Drain out the water completely and grind the toor dal into a fine paste and keep aside. Similarly drain the water and coarsely grind the chana dal and now mix both the ground paste with a spoon. Add the chopped onions, ginger, chillies, curry leaves, salt and a pinch of asofetida. You could run the mixer one final time to bind all the ingredients well, but make sure it does not turn into a smooth paste.
Make small balls out of this paste and flatten them in your palm to make small discs. Heat some oil in a deep pan and fry these discs until golden brown and crisp. Tastes best when served hot with regular ketchup or any kind of coconut chutney.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tuna Thoran

Tuna becomes unique amongst its other fish friends because of its red or pink colored meat. The most commonly found canned tuna can work as an easy and cost effective alternative for all fish lovers. Even if it ends up sitting in your kitchen pantry, showing up only on the day when all the grocery is over, it is not only a great savior, but a delicious find too.

When picking the canned tuna from the market, choose the ones in water as they are soaked up with “The heart friendly -Omega 3”. Tuna can be varied in its preparations and here is our very first one-Thoran (which in Malayalam means anything sautéed with a hint of shredded coconut)

Can of tuna in water: 1
Red onions / pearl onions (chopped) : 3 tablespoons
Tomatoes(chopped): 2 tablespoons
Green chillies: 2-3 slit lengthwise
Garlic (chopped): 1 teaspoon
Ginger (chopped): 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Turmeric powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Chilli powder: 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder: 1 teaspoon
Chicken masala: 2 teaspoon
Pepper: 1/2 teaspoon
Grated Coconut: 1 tablespoon
Salt to taste

Heat some oil in a pan, add the chopped garlic, ginger, green chillies and curry leaves and saute. Add the onions, salt, turmeric, chilli, coriander, pepper, chicken masala powder and saute well. Once the onions are done, add the tomatoes and saute until mixed well. Squeeze out all the water from the canned tuna meat. Now add the tuna and saute well.Finally add the grated coconut and take off from heat. Serve as a side dish, suited best with plain steamed rice.

***For those not very fond of curry leaves and coconut, it can be replaced it with some jeera powder, coriander/cilantro leaves and a drop of lemon juice.

Fish Fry (Smelt)

Fish for most Keralites or anyone from the coastal towns across southern India is more of a staple food than a luxury. While fish fry can be made in lots of different marinades, here is our version that can go hand in hand with steamed rice to make the most easy yet delightful meal on a lazy day. Smelt which is a common catch from the Atlantic and pacific waters resembles Natholi by its looks and taste.

Easily available in the Asian food markets, this fish is very easy and quick to clean. Being so tiny in size, they turn out very crisp when fried also letting us to chew up the bones.

Cleaned Smelt: 1 pack ( About 20-30 fishes)
Turmeric powder: 11/2 teaspoon
Chilli Powder: 3 teaspoons ( Depending on your spice levels)
Pepper: 1/2 teaspoon
Curry leaves: One sprig
Vinegar/Lemon juice: 2 teaspoons
Salt to taste
Oil to fry
First mix the turmeric, chilli, pepper and salt in the vinegar or lemon juice to make a fine paste. Tear up the curry leaves and mix in the marinade. Apply this paste on the cleaned fish. Let it sit for a minimum of an hour. Coat the pan with little oil and fry the fish until golden brown.
Serve on a warm bed of rice and enjoy this great meal.

Parmesan Mushroom Toast

This toast which captures the wild distinct taste of button mushrooms along with the striking Parmesan is truly a splendid indulgence. Its great as appetizers or just an evening snack for the hungry kids after play. Very flexible with its ingredients, it can be made with plain mushrooms or colored peppers or even with some added chicken for the non veg lovers.

Bread Slices: 3-4
Mushrooms: 7-8 sliced finely
Chicken (Optional): Cubed: 2 tablespoons
Garlic: 1 table spoon (finely chopped)
Red or white onions: 3-4 table spoons
Jalapenos or green chillies: 1-2 cut up in discs (depending on the spice)
Thyme (dried or fresh): 1 ½ teaspoons
Tomato marinara sauce/ketchup: 1 tablespoon
Parmesan cheese: 2 tablespoon (Grated)
Mozzarella cheese: 3 table spoon (Grated)
Salt to taste (You could instead use celery or garlic salt)
Pepper: 1 teaspoon
Olive oil (or any regular oil)

Heat the oil, add the chopped garlic, chilies and onions and sauté well. Add the salt and pepper. When the onions are golden, add the mushrooms (chicken/peppers) and thyme to it. Sauté well until everything gets golden brown and mixed well. Take off from the heat and let it cool. Meanwhile spread a little ketchup or the tomato sauce on the bread slices and scoop the mushroom mix onto it. Sprinkle some mozzarella cheese and top it up with the grated Parmesan. Bake in the oven for about 10-15 mins at 375 deg F until the cheese melts. Serve these toasts warm.


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