Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Simple, boneless chicken fry

This is a post done on request - for someone who is attempting cooking non-veg for the first time...

Personally, I always like a chicken fry with the bone. But for a novice cook, a boneless one maybe easier - in terms of preparation.

N, this is just a very basic style and as you get better at cooking you can try and experiment with as many ingredients as you want.

Boneless chicken - 250 gms (breast or thigh pieces)
Red Chilly powder - 1/2 tsp (add more if you want )
Turmeric powder - a good pinch
Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste
Few drops of olive oil or vegetable oil.

Mix all the ingredients together. Marinate for half an hour.

After that you can deep fry, pan fry or even stir fry the same, if they are cut in strips.

I prefer to shallow fry the chicken. Heat a flat pan well, add about 1/2 tbsp oil. Wait till the oil is hot. Then add the pieces one by one with a bit of space for turning them. When the bottom changes color, turn it to the other side. now, I just lower the flame to a medium , and let it cook through for about 8 - 12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the pieces. Then lid off and cook till both sides are lightly brown .

Garnish with some coriander leaves.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A basic curry

If you have a basic Indian curry recipe, it is just easy to add one or two ingredients and tweak it to make a variety of vegetable or meat dishes that go with rotis or rice.  This recipe is for about  600 - 800 gms of meat or vegetables.

Onions - 2 (peeled, and diced/ sliced)
Green chillies - 2 (slit)
Curry leaves - 1 stalk
Ginger - 1 inch (finely chopped)
Garlic - 2-3 cloves (finely sliced)
Coriander powder - 1 tbsp
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Tomatoes - 2 (diced)
Salt to taste

In a wok, heat about 1/2 tbsp oil. Add the onions and the curry leaves.
Once the onions turn golden , add green, ginger and garlic and saute till the raw smell is gone.
Add the coriander powder, chilly powder and the turmeric powder with a tsp of water so they do not burn. Saute  till the water is gone and the paste is oily. Add the tomatoes and cook them soft. Add powdered garam masala.

Now add the meat ,or vegetables. Cover and cook. Add water or chicken/ vegetable stock for more gravy.

Add salt to taste, when it comes to a boil. Cover and cook till the main ingredient is cooked to your satisfaction.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves/ fried onions/ friend chillies/ a mustard tempering/ spring onions etc.

I usually never have a strict recipe that I follow. Also adding a 1/4 cup of coconut milk, or a squeeze of lime juice OR even a 1/4 tsp of soy - just before the final garnish can do wonders.

Friday, October 12, 2012

A few tips for budding cooks ...

For those who like cooking, the earlier trial and error episodes in the kitchen may later become fun memories... especially, if the poor guinea pigs (read parents, siblings, friends or husband ...) are good sports and take the hits and misses in their strides .... If not, cooking could also become a huge chore. These are a few things that I observed while doing my own experiments and now are a normal part of my cooking process..

Raw Rice -

  • If using the draining method, and you are using any kind of raw rice, top up with at least 2 inches of water above the rice level. Once the water comes to a boil, switch off and wait for 15 minutes, with the lid on. Most of the raw rice gets cooked. If the rice is not done, just bring the water to a boil again and then drain immediately. This is a good way to get perfectly cooked rice, and also save on gas. 

  • In a pressure cooker, for 1 measure of rice, add exactly double the amount of water. then remove 1 tbs of water from it. Switch off after three whistles. Once the pressure is off, open the lid and fluff up the rice. 

Dal/ lentils

  • Even the blandest dal curry tastes better with a few drops of lemon juice added after tempering.  

  • When you do the tempering / tadka, add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, a pinch of cumin seeds,dried red chillies (your choice of tadka) and switch off  the stove. Finally, add 1/2 tsp of finely chopped green chillies. 


  • Sauteing the ingredients properly is the key to any good curry. Before adding the powders and the masala, the aromatics - onion, garlic, ginger should be well sauteed and not raw. 

  • Mix the powders in just a bit of water to make a paste so they do not burn and go black. 

  • A pinch of sugar rounds off all the sharp edges in a curry. 

  • Bring the gravy to a boil and simmer it on a medium low flame to get best results. 


  • Marinating in lemon juice and /or curd for even a half hour can enhance the taste of most meats. 

  • Once the meat is put in the pan , and changes color on high heat, put a lid on, and cook on medium to get the best results. 


  • Before frying fish , heat the frying pan evenly, then add the oil and heat it , and finally add the fish. This ensures that the fish will not stick to the pan. When the first side is done, the oil in the fish will bubble up . This will show that it is time to turn and cook the other side. The second side takes much lesser time than the first . 

  • Cooking fish for a long time will not improve it's taste. Make sure the gravy is proportionate in taste, add the fish and cook for a maximum of 15 minutes. Lesser time, if the fish is small. Switch off, and the fish will cook more, in the curry. 

Hope this helps atleast a few of you out there...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Crab and prawns medley

I do not have a better name for it.. I have my hands full, - with my daughter's Ist quarterly exams, a website in progress, a couple of custom jewelry orders, and teaching 3-D murals to a student who is so nice, I feel like thanking her for coming to learn !!

But ... we still have to eat ... and I got some fresh crabs and prawns all on the same day!! Hubby wont eat the crabs, and I can NOT have them !!! And i did not have enough time to make different preparations... to my way of thinking, they came from the same place, and were going to the same place.. so I just decided to make them together ..

The result was what my husband called in his words, - 'Restaurant quality ' ..high praise indeed !! So how can I not post this ????

Crabs - 500 gms
Prawns - 500 gms

All cleaned, de-veined,

Marinate the crabs and prawns in for 15 minutes

Chilly powder - 1tsp (or less)
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Oil - Sunflower/olive/coconut oil - 1/2 tsp
Garlic paste - 1 tsp (freshly crushed is great)
Lemon juice - 1/2 tsp

Do not add salt to the marinade because it will draw out all the moisture and freshness. Next,

Onion  - 1 large , ( chopped into cubes)
Green chillies - 2 slit
Curry leaves - 1 stalk
Tomato - 1 large (cut into cubes)
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves - optional
Salt to taste.

Now in a wok, add 1 tbs oil , same as the one used to marinate. Saute the onions,  then the green chillies and curry leaves till the onions go golden.

Add the cumin powder and fry it a minute. Now add the prawns and crab with the marinade and toss in the chopped tomatoes.
Add about 1/2 tsp of salt now.
Lid on, and cook, for about 12-15 minutes stirring just about twice in between.

The prawns should be red , the crab shells should change color and tomatoes gone soft and mushy . If oil starts bubbling up, it is time to get it off the stove. Add more salt now, if needed.

Garnish with coriander leaves, some pepper and maybe a few drops of lemon juice.

Monday, August 27, 2012


One year just flew past ... It has been an eventful year, from last Onam.

This year our folks are renovating our home , So they will be having a grand get-together at our mom's ancestral place. And here in Chennai, thankfully my daughter is having a day off on Thiruvonam, but my husband will be having one of his busiest days at the office, and so will be coming home, only at evening, as usual. Somehow an Onasadya at night does not have that same excitement...especially since it is just us...

Anyway, I wish all the malayalees around the globe, a very very HAPPY ONAM.

This image has been taken from the internet.

And for easy access to a few of the recipes that make up an Onasadya, here are the links from the previous years.

Mambazha pulisseri  , Olan  , Vendakka khichdi , Mathanga - vanpayar errisseri, Rasam, Beetroot Pachadi ,

Gothambu Payasam , Ulli curry, Beans Thoran,


Monday, August 6, 2012

Fairy tales too unreal?

A weary Snow White with a passel of kids and a couch potato Prince Charming, Rapunzel with her lovely locks shorn, bald and treated for cancer.... the first one funny, the second one grim.... so goes the theme of an article I saw over the weekend... the 'Fallen Princesses' by Dina Goldstein.

While I do applaud her creativity, I object to her reasoning behind taking the pictures. She says that she wanted to show her kids aged 7 and 3, that fairy tales do not have happy endings ... !!!

'Fairy tales' - by their basic definition do mean, tales that have fantasy characters. No one who makes fairy tales claim their work is rooted in reality.

I know quite  a few people , including my siblings and I,who have grown up, enjoying their share of fairy tales, both written and animated. And I do not see even one person needing therapy because they blindly believed those tales and now cannot deal with real life.

At age 6, my daughter already deals with her share of bullies, teachers who are partial, and a lot of cautionary tales from us grown-ups because of the times we live in. An at the end of each tiring day, our little princess dons a glowing crown and sits down to finish her homework. She knows she has to learn, to get where she wants to be, in life, There are no short cuts...... you cannot be more in tune with reality than that.!!!!

In actual fact, I think we need more feel good stuff in the world.... kids are incredibly resilient and bounce back better from calamities than grown up, not because they do not understand..but because they have not given up HOPE...

Any person who has nothing good to look forward to, has a wasted life.... It just makes them unable to appreciate any good that comes their way... they don't expect it, they do not look for it and they do not recognize it.... !!!

So if a parent thinks shocking their kids with awful pictures of reality is good parenting, I think she doesn't know much about kids or being a parent....OR she is not capable of doing the caring and nurturing so she is sending a message to her kids ..this is what will happen in the future... so this is what you get from me !!!

I find it S.A.D...!!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Easy Chilly Chicken

I cannot promise that this recipe will taste much like the one from the popular Chinese restaurants. There is no MSG (Ajinomoto)  to add that unmistakable taste. But I can guarantee that this is an easy to follow recipe and the  result is tasty. AND, it is safe to serve to our children.

The first step is to marinate chicken for 20 to 30 minutes.

Chicken - 500 gms. (You can use boneless chicken, I used medium sized curry cuts , with bones)
Soy sauce - 1 tsp (dark soy)
Corn flour - 2 tsps
Ginger garlic paste - 1tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp

Mix all the other ingredients together and then add the chicken. Coat well and keep aside for 20 minutes minimum.

Onion - 1 large (peeled and chopped into cubes)
Green pepper / capsicum - 1 large (chopped into bite sized squares)
Garlic - 4 cloves (peeled,chopped fine)
Tomatoes - 2 (diced fine, with or without peel)
Spring onions - 2 stalks or more (finely chopped)

Mix together the following ingredients

Tomato sauce - 1 tbsp
Red Chilli powder - 1 tsp ( use more or less according to preference)
Vinegar - 1 tsp
Water - 1/4 cups

In a deep pan, heat oil, add the marinated chicken pieces (leave the marinade), and shallow fry the pieces.

Once the chicken turn golden brown on both sides, add the shallot part (whites) of the spring onions and the chopped garlic.
Next, add the chopped tomatoes. cover and cook on low heat for about 7 minutes.
Now add the tomato sauce, vinegar, chilli powder and water and the left over marinade, if any. Cook on a medium flame till the sauce bubbles and the chicken is cooked.
Add more salt to taste. Take off the heat.

In another fry pan, saute the chopped onions , add a pinch of salt so that they don't brown. Once the onions turn golden brown, add the capsicum and cook them to your taste. I like mine with a little crunch, so I don't let them cook through.

Add this to the chicken. Heat through, to mix all the flavors, and garnish with the remaining spring onions.

Note: an even easier way, is to toss in the onion and the capsicum when we add the chopped garlic. But when the sauces are added , these will turn soggy. and the capsicum won't retain the green color. Hence I used a separate pan.  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Kerala style clam - Kakka irachi thoran

Kakka irachi are the tiny clams that are found in abundance in the backwaters of Kerala. There are a lot of amazing recipes around, but this one is the typical 'thoran' style. Lightly flavored, and complimented by the freshly ground coconut.

The above pic has been taken from the net, just to show how it looks raw.

We get this already out of the shells. All we have to do it, squeeze it in the middle, and a sac of dirt will push out. Just remove that dirt sac . wash the flesh in water twice.

Clams - 250 gms
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilly powder - 1/4 tsp
Sliced green chillies - 2
Curry leaves - 1 stalk
Salt - to taste
Tamarind / kudam puli - 2 pieces
Water -just to cover the clams in the pot

Add all the ingredients to a pot and cook on medium, lid on for 5 minutes, and then off to let the water reduce as much as possible. Take off the stove.

Meanwhile, lightly grind (or pulse twice), the following ingredients..

Grated coconut - 1 tbsp
Jeera /cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Shallots - 4 nos

Add  this lightly ground paste to the cooked clams.

In a  hot wok, add
Coconut oil (what else ?) - 1 tbsp (use olive oil or sunflower oil if u feel like it)
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves  - 1 stalk
Dried red chillies - 2

Just stir though the clam and coconut mixture, add more salt of needed, and switch off..

Enjoy as a side dish with rice n some curry.. great combination with moru curry.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Cheese and Garlic Rolls -

I have been clicking a lot of pictures of my dishes, and not getting the time to post. And after seeing this recipe for the Garlic pull-apart rolls on Edible garden, I just had to experiment!!!. Especially, since her pictures are drool - worthy and difficult to resist...

This is a totally vegetarian recipe. And even though it uses yeast, the directions are so easy to follow, and results are virtually fail proof.... I made two batches within 24 hours !!!

The recipe from Edible Garden is here . She has step - by step pictures too, So please check it out.

I did slightly tweak it. I did not have any fresh coriander leaves, so used those mixed herbs from the Pizza hut .. you can also use dried oregano.

So this is how I did it.

After reading a few comments on the Edible garden blog, I let the yeast rise separately.

Flour (maida) - 1 and 1/2 cups
Sugar - 1 tbsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Yeast - 1/2 tbsp
Warm Water - 1 cup + 1 tbsp (approximately - according to the flour, you may need to use a bit less or a bit more)

Olive oil - about 1 tbsp (keep aside)
Grated cheese - 2 tbsps

Garlic butter - I used 50 gms of Amul butter (salted), at room temperature and mixed through with 4 cloves of finely grated garlic. Mix well and keep aside.

In a glass, take about half of the warm water, yeast and sugar and mix.. in minutes (5 to 10), you can see the yeast frothing.

Add this to a bowl with the flour and salt and the remaining water, and mix well. This will become a slightly sticky dough.

Knead through the dough with some olive oil -  approximately 1 tbsp till the dough is elastic, cover the bowl with Cling film and let the dough rise, by leaving it in a warm place for about 45 minutes.

Take the dough and knock the air out. Then divide into 2 equal portions.

Grease a baking tray with olive oil or butter and keep ready.

Now, take one of the dough balls and flatten it out in a rough rectangle shape.

 (usually, when I try to roll out round chappatis, i get a rectangle or square shape.. this time when i tried to make a rectangle, i got a circle...I got a bit carried away with rolling, so the rectangle shape was a bit thinner than it should have been.. I realised that only after i spread butter on..)

Spread on half of the garlic butter. Then i sprinkled over with the pizza herbs and a bit of grated cheese .

Then roll the rectangle into a log. cut into half and then the two pieces into halves again.  So you get four. Repeat the entire rolling out, spreading butter, rolling and cutting with the other half of the dough ball and u get 8 pieces.

(Since my roll was longer and thinner, to keep the shape, i had to cut each half into 8 . So i had 16 mini rolls when i was done.)

Arrange these in the greased baking tray. Brush the tops with some milk, instead of egg wash.

Let them rest for a half hour, so they will increase in size. Meanwhile , preheat the Oven to 180 C.

I have a convection oven. So I set it for 30 minutes. After 20 minutes were done, I sprinkled the grated cheese mixed with the bits of garlic butter and baked the rest of 10 minutes.

If kept for the whole of 30 minutes, the cheese would have burnt.

Take off the oven, It tastes equally great served hot or even cooled, but mostly getting to sample it cold may be impossible.... Absolutely tasty... It is definitely moreish ...

I loved this recipe because of the guaranteed results, that even an 'iffy' baker like me could do it. I made a second batch the very next morning...  !!!!

Try it out and let me know....

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mutton - fusion style.

This is a fail safe recipe - especially for those people who may not have tried making anything with mutton. The cooking time is long, but once the ingredients are in place, it does not need a lot of babying to turn it into a perfect dish.

In fact, perfect for those days when one is not in the mood for elaborate cooking, but still want a neat tasting dish.

Mutton - 500 gms (cleaned)
Red chilly powder - 1 heaped tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder - 2 tsp
Soy sauce - 1 tsp
Vinegar - 1/2 tsp
Ginger - 1 inch piece cut into big pieces (if  you like the bite of ginger, dice it)
Cardamom - 2 whole
Cinnamon - 2 pieces
Cloves - 2 pieces
Salt - 1 tsp
Sugar - 1 pinch
Water - 1/4 glass

In a pot, add all the above ingredients , bring to a boil, and then turn the heat to medium - low . Keep a lid on let it cook for approximately 30 minutes . Stir the meat at intervals and make sure there is enough water so the meat won't burn.

There should only be enough liquid coating the bottom of the pan and the meat will be cooked and tender.

Onion - 1 large (peeled n diced)
Garlic -  8 to 10 cloves (peeled n diced)
Green chillies - 2  (diced)

You can also mince the above in a grinder to make it easier.

In a hot wok, add 1 tbsp oil, saute the onion, garlic and green chillies till the raw smell is gone, add curry leaves and then the pieces of the cooked mutton.

Sieve the pieces of ginger and whole garam masala from the liquid or leave it, according to preference. Add more salt if needed.   Add the liquid until it coats the meat well and oil shines through.

Garnish with a chopped tomato and some freshly ground pepper.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Back to - school work

Our daughter has started learning Hindi at school and she was given an assignment - to stick pictures of objects that begin with the alphabets.

However, the charts that we could get ready made, were of different things than those given in her text book. So it fell to me, to do something about it.

Outlined with a black gel pen and coloured with pencils. It was an enjoyable time for both of us.  And the 'very good' from her teacher was great too!!!!.


I just hope that all the future projects will come be with ample notice like we had this time..!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Easy Orange cake

This is a very easy cake that my little sis-in-law, Manju gave me when she visited us in Chennai. It is very versatile and I feel confident enough to change the ingredients about according to my choice or availability of ingredients needed to flavour it.

And I made it in my rarely used food processor, so it took no time at all.

Sift together the ingredients

Flour - 200 gms
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Baking soda   - 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon powder - (Optional) - 1/2 tsp

Keep this aside.

In the food processor, add

Sugar - 175 gms (then powdered)
Butter - 100gms (unsalted, melted)
Eggs - 2
Orange zest - of 1 orange
Orange juice - 1 and 1/2 tbsp
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp

Now lid on and process till everything mixes well.

Slowly start adding the sifted dry mix till the batter is smooth and mixed through.

Preheat oven. Bake in an 8 inch greased tray , at 160 C for 40 minutes in a Convection oven.

I decorated the cake with some shaved chocolate truffles before serving.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Jumbo prawns and pasta

I got some really fresh jumbo prawns , And teaming it with pasta was just so, that the prawns could shine and not become just a side dish if I had made rice and the usual accompaniments along with them. 

Cleaning the prawns : I just took off the heads L left the whole of the remaining shell intact and de-veined the prawns by using a toothpick.  Choose a point to the middle of a prawn, between the gap in the shell and insert the toothpick..slowly tease back a tiny bit of flesh at the top till u see the vein. Push the toothpick beneath the vein and pull upwards.. the vein will slide off intact, with a bit of practice. 

You can also shell the prawns, leave the tails intact and de-vein them with a knife, or take off the shells fully. 

The pasta : I used about 350gms for 4 adults.
Boil more than double the amount of water needed to cover the pasta. Salt the water liberally. Let the water boil well. tip in the pasta. Once the water with the pasta again boils, take off the stove, carefully stir once,cover and keep for about 8 minutes. This should yield perfect al dente (cooked through, yet chewy) pasta. 

Drain off the hot water, cover the pasta in cold water and drain well. Now toss with some extra virgin olive oil to coat the pasta and keep it from sticking.

For this dish , all I did was, add some dried oregano and thyme and toss the pasta in some ready made, lite Caesar salad dressing.

Cooking the jumbo prawns with shell :

Prawns - 1 kg (prepared as above)
Garlic - 1 clove (peeled and crushed coarsely)
Butter - 1 tsp
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
turmeric powder - a pinch
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
freshly crushed pepper - 1 tbsp (or to taste)
tomatoes - 2 (chopped fine)
dried thyme - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste

In a wok, put in the butter and olive oil . once the butter melts, add in the crushed garlic and let it cook..add the turmeric and chilly powder and saute. Add in the prawns, and the thyme. finally strew the chopped tomatoes and let the prawns cook with the lid one, till they change color to a beautiful coral, the tomatoes are soft and the oil shows on top.
Now add the salt to taste. Make sure to add salt in very small quantities because prawns do not need a lot of salt.  The result will be juicy prawns with a little gravy. Add the freshly ground pepper as the final garnish. Freshly chopped coriander would be great too.

To serve : Individual plates can be prepared with a serving of pasta , with  a scoop of prawns on top.  Slightly messy with the shells to tackle, but absolutely satisfying.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Beans thoran

Vishu sadya this year was a combined effort from my sister-in-law and I. The strain was halved and it was double the fun.

This dish was made by my sis-in-law and it tasted great.
Many vegetables can be made into a thoran, following the same recipe.
You may substitute it with cabbage, carrots, beetroot, string bean, or even drumstick. I sometimes put in a mix of vegetables and it tastes superb

Wash beans well. Top and tail them .

Beans - 1/2 kilo (chopped )
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
green chillies - 1 or 2
Shallots - 3 - 4 (peeled)
Onion - 1 medium (diced) optional
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin - whole ( 1/2 tsp or powder - 1/4 tsp)
Salt to taste

Tempering - mustard seeds, curry leaves and dried red chillies

Coarsely grind the grated coconut, cumin, shallots, green chillies, turmeric and  chilly powder .
Now add this grated stuff to the beans, and mix well with salt to taste.

In a wok , add a bit of oil, add the tempering one by one, and  if adding the onions,  saute them first till golden, add in the beans, mixed with the ground coconut.

Put a lid on , and steam till the beans are done.

The rest of the items were, Sambar, aviyal, kaalan, pappadam, pickle and Semiya payasam.

The Vishu-kani in our puja room

Our daughter in her new Vishukkodi :)

The sadya  ready for serving.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Life Update

The gaps between posts just seem to be ever-increasing now. But though I have been away from blogging, I have been working towards something... so I guess I don't feel as guilty. I just want my favorite folk to know that I haven't abandoned the blog world, but am gearing up to do something really great (to me, atleast ) !!!

I got interested in making jewelry, nearly two years back. And until two months back, whatever I have made is all my own, self-taught stuff. During this time, I also discovered Cold Porcelain, and have successfully made three batches of the clay , from scratch, at home.

Combining CP and Jewelry making has been a natural progression. But I thought that I could use more help - some workshops on Jewelry making... but as such, had no luck finding something beyond what I already knew. then FINALLY, I found an institute for professional Jewelry makers and I signed up for a certificate course in Costume Jewelry manufacturing.

Now - The Question

Was this course absolutely necessary?

Well - the answer is ... Yes ....and NO !!!!

The NO - I can make, and have made a lot of Jewelry, with the things I had learned already from the various websites, as well as the books I bought.

The YES - I can never stick on to just what I know, when I am very interested in something. Thus - my experiments with cooking, the crafts and now Jewelry making.   Since I plan to pursue this as a career option, I decided that the certification would be a bonus.

Ultimately, no matter what techniques I apply, the imagination and designs have to be my own, to make them work. And this is not the end of trying to know more, where I am concerned. I just know better in technical terms, what to search for ..!!

So In a month's time, I should be back with more stuff to blog about. Meanwhile, I have some good recipes to post . I just have to find the time to type those up !!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sago (chowwari) pudding

This is a very simple recipe and I am sure we can come up with a lot of variations to make it great. I just made this with what was available in my store.

Sago - 1 and 1/2 cups . (soak for an hour and cook till the granules double in size . )
Condensed milk -1 tin
Warm milk - 1 tbsp (must not be hot - just warm)
Gelatin - 1 satchel
Vanilla essence - few drops
Chopped cashew or pistachio nuts - 1/2 cup

Drain the water from the sago granules. Dissolve the gelatin into the warm milk till all the granules dissolve.
Now add the gelatin to the sago, pour in the condensed milk, and the Vanilla essence. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours.

Sprinkle the crushed cashews or pista n serve. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Lobster - fresh

I can tell you that this recipe is totally my own, Though the ingredients are familiar with everyone who knows Indian cuisine.
In Kerala, I have seen only lobster cooked the traditional way . With roasted and ground coconut and a variety of spices, which is also another way we make prawns and crab.

This is one way , I thought the flavor of the lobster would really be enhanced, and also would suit people who would like the lobster meat lightly spiced.

A very easy preparation, and I am sure would be great for crabs as well.

Lobster - 1 kg (  remove the shell of the head portion and leave that of the tail intact. Then split each lobster lengthwise.)

Onion - 1 large (peel, wash and cut in 4)
Ginger - 1 inch piece (peeled and halved)
Garlic - 1 pod ( peeled)
green chillies - 2 large (cut off the stalk)
Curry leaves - of one stalk

Coarsely grind the above ingredients. (3 pulses in a grinder )

In a wok, heat 1 tsp of olive oil and a tsp of butter.(can add more or less butter according to choice.)
Add the ground ingredients and saute till the smell is not let the onions brown.

Add the lobster,flame on medium, put a lid on, and toss twice to make sure the paste mixed well. After about 5 minutes, open the lid and the shell should have changed colour.

Now add

Lemon juice - 1 tbs
Crushed pepper - 2 tsp (or more )
Salt to taste.  ( it is always better to add less salt than more)

Keep the lid back on, And wait for another 7 minutes. These lobsters are comparatively tiny, so about 12 to 15 minutes are ample time for them to cook through . Also , they have been halved, so cooking time is even less.

Take off the stove, remove to a serving plate, add more lemon juice and crushed pepper and ENJOY.

Friday, January 20, 2012

A little clay craft, and a Triple strand necklace.

It all started with a dear friend, who asked me to make a necklace with a clay pendant. At first , the idea was to just make a pendant to match the colours of a Saree, she wanted to wear for an occasion.  Then I decided that I could try and duplicate the paisley type print on the saree to give it that 'custom' design feel.

Then it became a triple strand, and since there was black on the saree, we decided that black crystals would really give added glam rather than just try and match the colours of the saree..

 After the sanding, painting, polishing, sanding again and painting, applying some gold and bronze dust, the varnish and finally adding the stones AND making the necklace, the end result was this ....

I also made earrings with huge black crystals,hanging on gold coloured rings. Just so, they would not clash with the busy necklace, but would still be the perfect compliment to it.

And finally, it reached it's rightful place. This is the biggest piece that I have worked on so far. 

My friend has given me permission to use her picture. I am absolutely thrilled to show her off as I think that the necklace was made for her ( as indeed it was ..!!) 

But what I am trying to tell is, it just seemed to suit her to a T. And it was a pleasure to behold. 

So without more boring talk ... my friend, and her adoring hubby.... :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Tangy mint marinade for Chicken

This is a very fresh tasting marinade with a tangy touch. I made some chicken and veggies in one pan . Somehow the easy to make dishes taste great .

I had about 350 gms of chicken thighs.  I used 2 potatoes and one carrot cut into roughly the same size too.

For the marinade , grind or mince

Garlic - 8 to 10 cloves peeled
Green chilly - 1 or 2
Pepper corns - 6 to 8
Mint leaves - a bunch
Coriander leaves - 1 bunch
I added a few flakes of sea salt to crush everything well.

to this, Add..

Curd - 1/2 cup
Lemon juice - 1 tbsp or more

Mix well, add more salt of needed and marinate the chicken in it for half an hour or more.

I used a flat pan , heated olive oil and shook the pieces out one by one and placed it on the pan. Once the chicken changes colour, turn on the other side. after about 5 minutes, add the veggies agter tossing them also in the left over marinade.

when the chicken and veggies are well cooked and the oil in the pan shows, switch off the stove, add 1 thinly tomato , keep the lid on for 5 minutes .

Serve hot. I made kaboos and a dip to go with it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Immortals of Meluha and The Secret of the Nagas

I love books on Hindu mythology . I read a lot of other Genre too, but for each and every book that I enjoy, the thing that makes me enjoy a book most is not even a great plot, but the narration.

There are already a lot of reviews on these two books and I liked this review by Sundari Venkatraman on her blog called Flaming Sun 

Set in 1900, the language was really out of place , but as I read on, (that is a compulsion with me... I almost always finish a book even if it gives me a head ache. Am totally intolerant with movies in that respect, though...)

But the characters, the plot... and the language just grows on you.  The author makes that journey or transition of Shiva from a 'barbarian' to the Savior really interesting.... and I noticed that in the sequel, the language is not as rustic either. Does it indicate the change in stature of the central character , or is it just an effect of the reviews that called for more refinement in the language ???- I do not know...

All I can say is that I am glad that I could pounce on the second book as soon as I finished the first ... that abrupt end really worked  ... !! And I could have turned my nose up at some of the language, but it just would not be fair to such a brilliant story.

And it is interesting to note that there is mention of snakes, yet, the Nagas don't just mean snakes....!!
I am absolutely looking forward to the third of the trilogy and really really hope with all the selfishness of a book worm, that it will be a fitting end to these absolutely good books ...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Memo board - 1st post in 2012

Wow... one of my resolutions involved posting more frequently on my blog ..and before I know it, it is already 9 days into Jan when I post for the New Year !!!

This is one project that has been on my mind for some time...  a Memo board... of course, I looked into a few that I could buy, but the crafter  in me, could not resist making one , especially since I saw this tutorial. 

I found some more sites with tutorials...
 Like this one on Little Miss Momma 

Mainly , mine was an attempt at recycling.

I used a cardboard that came with a  artist's drawing pad . I had some left over rolls of sponge sheets from over a decade. The maroon cloth is a dupatta that had seen better days .

The only new things are the ribbons and the pins . at the back I glued the ribbons and also stitched them on to the fabric .

So one ticked off from the 'try to make' list ...!! Only thousands more to go...!!