Wednesday 23 December 2009

Happy Holidays to all of you !!!!!!



Orkut Scraps Happy Holidays

Kadugu Yera Kozhambu (Prawns in mustard curry) and some awards….

My sister E is an absolute seafood freak who naturally masters all seafood delights. Like whenever we have this crave to eat crab, my teddies will readily ring up or convey straight to their Chithi (aunt) that they would like her to prepare some for us.... so, this is one of those recipes I adapted from her cookbook. There are so many ways in which you can cook Prawns just like the other types of seafood but this is a simple curry tailored with some spices to fit to the Indian taste buds.

I’ve used some shrimps which are indeed succulent and sweet in this curry, but I would recommend choosing the large warm water prawns which are extremely flavorsome too and which adapt well to strongly flavoured and richly spiced Indian curries. Happy holidays to all of you!!!

750g (weighed without the shells) Prawns / Shrimps (shelled, cleaned, and deveined)
2 big onions (peeled)
½ of a whole garlic bulb (peeled)
2 big tomatoes
1 tbsp chilly powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp mustard seeds
A sprig of curry leaves
To roast and grind:
2 tbsp poppy seeds
3 tsp mustard seeds
1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
For garnishing:
Coriander leaves and lime juice

Roast all the ingredients under “To Roast” and powder them finely.
Pat dry the cleaned prawns with a paper towel and place them in a bowl along with salt, turmeric powder, chilly powder and the roasted and powdered spices. Stir well to coat the prawns with the spice mixture. Marinate for half an hour.

Meanwhile, chop the onions roughly and grind it to a paste.
Chop the tomatoes and paste them too along with the garlic pods.

Heat oil in a vessel; splutter the mustard seeds and the curry leaves.
Add the pasted onions and fry until oil oozes out (you may want to leave the vessel semi-covered to avoid being splashed by the hot sauce)

Add the tomato/garlic pastes and continue frying like the above.

When oil separates from the sauce and once the raw smell disappears, add the marinated prawns and stir-fry for 3 to 5 minutes. Correct the taste if necessary and add a cup of warm water. Leave it to cook on high flame for another five minutes and remove off the flame.

Squeeze some lime and garnish with some fresh coriander leaves. It goes well with rice/ rotis. Enjoy!!

It’s Christmas and naturally it's time for gifts!!!

My sincere thanks to:

Ally for honouring me with this lovely award!

and to dear Malar for this beautiful one!!!

As it is Christmas time, I would like to offer the above with ALL my blogger friends, please feel free to collect them and Happy Holidays to all my readers out there !!!

Kitchen Flavours
Dhanya Nambirajan
Mythreyi Dilip
Sailaja Damodaran
Ushnish Ghosh
Lavanya Siva
Sushma Mallya
Soma Pradhan
Sarah Naveen
Latha Biju
Bong Mom


Friday 18 December 2009

Kitchen Mishaps Event and my illtreated Flan/ Crème Caramel..........

Well, this is my entry for the "Kitchen Mishaps Event" hosted by a wonderful cook and friend named Malar!

As soon as I saw the title of the event, I was totally YES to participate in the event, as it was original, new and something out of the usual titles and moreover, I have collected a good number of blunders in my kitchen.... in so many years of cooking experience and my trials and my re-trials to excel a dish, imagine how many times I'd have messed up!!

I've gone through all sorts of disasters, from deserting the boiling milk on the stove to over cooking the ingredients....and I can go on.....yes, I do make mistakes like any other normal human being...and after all I beleive that I make mistakes to learn better....:):):)

You remember my last post Flan/ Crème Caramel that I did for my Papas's Bday? well, the recipe is fine and I got it well..... no doubts in that!!!!

well, actually I had all the ramekins filled and there was a little more of the cream left and ofcourse a lazy bug like me would never want to take the pain to wait and cook it in the next batch...instead of doing that, I filled up quickly another oven-proof dish; PS: I filled up without even greasing the dish (urge to finish up the work and to quit the kitchen soon) and didn't bother to coat the sides with the caramel either!!! In fact, as I was finished with the caramel which became a rock by that time, ofcourse I wouldn't take the time to do the caramel once again, no, no, no, it's too much of work!!! and sothis is how I illtreated my flan without any caramel and baked, as it is, along with my other ramekins.

The result: There's nothing to say, look at the face of the cream, it is making a disastrous face on me!!!

You see? My kitchen disasters are dated not too far than yesterday.....Good Luck and Happy Hosting Malar!!

Please don't think this is the recipe and don't scold me searching for the recipe, (I think you'll don't even search for a recipe like that...), just zap this post and come back later :):):)  Have a nice week-end , all of you!! Cheers!!!

Thursday 17 December 2009

Flan / Crème renversée au Caramel ( Caramel Custard)

Anyone can be a father but MY papa is a wonderful person, someone so special to me, whom I admire, cherish and treasure so heartily!! Unlike my beloved J, he has not always been a great cook but he masters two dishes like a Chef, one is Paal Kova (Milk Peda) and the other one is this Flan/ Crème Caramel. He finds great pleasure in doing it for us, each time we fly back home and so, today, it’s my chance to show him how special he is to me and how much he’s loved and appreciated and that all my thoughts wander around him....

The above is what he did for us during our last vacation in India. He didn’t use any oven or pressure cooker to cook the cream; he does it in an ordinary vessel. See how gorgeously it came out!!

So, I’ve done my version of the Crème caramel / Flan to celebrate on this special day to wish him a very happy Birthday in my own manner and to remind him how fortunate I feel to love a papa like him! Enjoy your day Papa!!!


750 ml whole milk
5 eggs
150g sugar
2 vanilla beans
For the caramel:
135g sugar
45g water


Use a better knife than that one please!! :(
Split open the vanilla beans into half along it’s entire length and scrape the seeds with the tip of a knife and put them along with the pods in the milk and bring it slowly to boil.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Grease the pudding moulds or any other oven proof dish (the edges should be high) and keep it in the oven for few minutes.

In a big bowl, beat the eggs along with the sugar until the mixture becomes beige in colour.

Gently add the hot milk over the egg/sugar mixture little by little, while whisking vigorously and continuously.

Prepare the caramel by heating a pan with the sugar and the water. (we don’t need to stir the mixture). As soon as the caramel begins to turn to golden brown, pour it into the greased moulds so that the caramel coats the bottom of the mould well. (This part should be done very quickly or else the caramel tends to harden). Keep it aside.

Meanwhile, remove the vanilla pods and the foam using a slotted spoon. (I didn’t do it here) and pour the mixture into the ramekins.

Place the ramekins in a baking tray lined with a baking sheet and pour some hot water just till half way up to the ramekins and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted, comes out clean. Remove and let it cool down at room temperature. Cool in the refrigerator until serving.

Before serving, just insert a knife towards the walls of a ramekin and move around the ramekin to detach the pudding from the walls. Place the serving plate on it and turn back at once and tap slightly so that the cream detaches delicately by itself. Enjoy your crème caramel and Cheers!!!

Drinks suggestions: Champagne

Monday 14 December 2009

Meen Varuval (Fish Fry)

As I was brought up in a coastal area, precisely in Pondicherry, a small paradise which overlooks the Bay of Bengal, seafood has always been a major part of our regular meals and we used to have fish in particular, at least 3 or 4 days a week.

I love fish fries with Curd Rice (reminds me of my childhood days when we used to go to Velangani for excursions, a place located on the Coromandel coast, in Tamil Nadu. I remember, though the trip was meant to be a religious tour (as the place has a Catholic Church dedicated to "Our Lady of Health" ) my sister & I, were truly devoted to the Curd Rice and hot fried fish they serve in the restaurants facing the sea. Am I right Eli? :)  As this part of the country is very hot, we used to love the soothing curd rice along with these fresh fish fries and each time we went there, we awaited this eating moment eagerly. Hmmmmmmm, that was pure heaven!! Treasurable souvenirs of the wonderful days back in India........

As you might already know, whatever fish you buy, pick up the ones with a shiny skin, stretched tight and springy to touch, with a firm flesh and with dark uniform gills and the eyes should be well bulged. This is a quick and simple way of relishing the fine and delicate flavour of the fish (I' ve used Silver Hake, a mild-flavoured, flaky and moist salt water fish ).

1 kg fish
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp chilly powder
2 tbsp corn flour
150 ml lime juice
1 tsp garlic paste
500ml oil

Prepare the fish (Remove the scales and the gills; Make a cut from the gills to the vent and remove the entrails. Rinse the cavity well. Wash the fish inside and outside in fresh cold water. Pat dry with a kitchen towel. Chop into two or 3 pieces ) if you want it whole, then skip the above and make deep slits on both sides of the fish.

In a wide bowl, add the lime juice, salt, turmeric powder, cumin powder, chilly powder and the garlic paste . Mix well to make a paste. Correct the taste if necessary.
Take a piece of fish at a time and apply the prepared paste all over the fish pieces. Cover with a plastic food wrapper and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Just before frying the fish, toss all the pieces gently in the corn flour and fry in preheated oil on medium flame for about 5 minutes each side until crispy and brown. (Adjust the cooking time according to the thickness of the fish pieces) Once the fish is properly fried, Remove and place it on a power towel to remove the excess fat. Serve it hot. Enjoy!!!

PS: Reduce or increase the ingredients (chilly powder) according to your tastes.

Friday 11 December 2009

Chicken 65

As a south Indian and moreover as an incorrigible meat-lover, if I didn't mention "Chicken 65" at least in one of my pages, then, I wouldn't be a believable non vegetarian, isn't it? Chicken 65 is one of the popular dishes served in the non-vegetarain restaurants and fast foods in India.

There are so many anecdotes revolving around the curious name of this dish, why Chicken 65 and what does 65 mean? and why not Chicken 20, 85, 69 or 75?

I'm definitely not the one who is going to ponder about the origin of this name but sufficiently inquisitive to puzzle over the addictive savor of this mysterious dish!

Chicken 65 has always taken a significant position in most of my party menus, in my family gatherings as well as the neighbour gathering (which is celebrated once in a year, as "Fête des voisins", which literally means Neighbours Party where this particular dish along with the Tandoori has always been a great success among the Frenchies in my neighbourhood) and it is a wonderful hot and spicy appetizer which can also be served as a side dish. I've tried so many differnet versions of this recipe and have relished them dearly but I found "the best of the best", my favourite recipe for this dish, HERE, while I was going through the remarkable notes of a wonderful chef named Ushnish Ghosh, (you can find his culinary delights HERE) who is also an absolute habitué of the majestic Himalayas! He has demonstrated the recipe so brilliantly (note the important tips he gives here and there) that one can far excel the taste of the best chicken 65 served in the restaurants.

Actually, I cooked these tender, hot, succulent and irresistible chicken pieces at first, for my guests two weeks back and was stupid enough to think that I'd take some clicks when all of them were gone....but I was totally wrong as the chicken pieces were gone too.....there was absolutely not a piece left.

But this tasted so divine that I did this once again exclusively for the four of us (ok, I agree, for the purpose of blogging it too) and we enjoyed it heartily !!

The recipe: you can see HERE   

Thanks to Ushnish Ghosh for this treasurable recipe!!! Enjoy and Have a nice Week-end!!

Wednesday 9 December 2009

Kossu Poriyal ( Kale Stir-fry)

In spite of my knowledge about the nutritional values of this variety of cabbage (rich in vitamin C, poorly caloric, contains a considerable amount of dietary minerals and highly rich in fibers), I have always disgraced this variety by using it as an accessory for my stews, for stuffing some meat or for using it as a wrap for my baked fish /poultry but never highlighted it as a separate dish until I was inspired by my friend Viki’s preparation HERE, (a wonderful cook who concocts incredibly delicious recipes at Viki’s Kitchen and a lovely person too); Thank you for the recipe Viki dear, we enjoyed it !!).


I followed exactly the same procedure as Viki with some minor changes:

Since the taste of this cabbage is quite strong and tastes slightly bitter, to make it more palatable, I blanched it in some hot boiling water for five minutes before cooking it. (Refresh it at once with some ice water to stop the chlorophyll and keep our beautiful vegetable green)

And remember that like for many vegetables, a short cooking helps us preserve the vitamins, increase the flavor and makes it easily digestible too. Enjoy!!!

Tuesday 8 December 2009

Bhapa Doi (Steamed sweetened Yoghurt)

Do you believe in love at first sight? I don’t know how far will it last and I don’t bother about my capacity to be true to one but for the moment, I’m so truly in love that I’ve decided to be shamelessly unfaithful to my other beloved ones like Rasamalai, Kulfi and Gulab Jamun and Co. and go in wholeheartedly for a passionate adventure with this Bhapa Doi (literally Steamed Yoghurt)............Eeeeeeeeeeeehhh!!!

Actually, I was receiving some friends a couple of weeks back, and that day I had so many other items to prepare and didn't have so much time for an elaborated dessert, but I desesperately needed one urgently to complete the, while I googled for a quick and simple Indian dessert, I fell in love with this Bhapa Doi, at the very first sight of Mallika’s version HERE  ( besides I thank her for sharing this recipe) and thus enjoyed the freshness of this saffron flavoured, delectable, custard textured Bengali sweet which left no one unimpressed ……

Ingredients: (for 6)

500g natural yoghurt

400g condensed milk

1 tsp finely powdered green cardamoms

12 saffron strands

5 tbsp milk

50g Slivered almonds (optional, I added to give a crunchy texture to the soft Doi.)


Preheat the oven to 190°C.

Heat the milk slightly and dissolve the saffron strands in it. Keep aside.

In a big bowl, whip together the yoghurt and the condensed milk until smooth. Add the cardamom powder and stir well.

Fill up small oven proof ramekins with the above mixture and cook in a bain marie (Place the ramekins in a baking tray filled with hot water). Don’t fill up the tray with too much of water; add just enough water to immerse half way up tao the size of the ramekin will do)

Bake it for about 10 minutes. Top each ramekin with a spoon of the saffron milk and let it bake for 5 more minutes; add the slivered almonds on the top of the mixture and bake for the last 5 minutes or until the mixture is set. A toothpick inserted into the mixture must come out clean.

Remove from the oven and bring down to room temperature and refrigerate until serving.

People like it to be served chill but I love it just warm. Enjoy!!!

Thursday 3 December 2009

Vendakka Poriyal (Okra Fry) and some awards....

Okra has always been my favourite vegetables since my childhood and no wonder how it is prepared, all at home including my teddies, appreciate this vegetable very much….this is one of the simple and basic way to prepare this vegetable and the way I like too, a bit tangy, mildly flavoured and slightly crunchy and so pleasing to the palate that it leaves a persisting desire to reserve yourself as soon as you finish it!!

700g okra
2 onions
2 or 3 green chillies
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp chilly powder
1:2 tsp amchur / dry mango powder
4 tbsp lime juice
5 tbsp oil
A pinch of asafetida

For tempering:
A sprig of curry leaves
1 tsp urad dhal
3/4 tsp mustard seeds

Wash the okras and pat dry them well with a kitchen towel.
Chop the tail and the head of the okras and throw it away.
Chop the rest into small pieces.
Peel and chop the onions finely. Deseed the green chilies and slit them vertically. (You may also like to chop them into small pieces for some esthetic reasons, but I leave it whole so that my teddies don’t confuse with the okra pieces)
In a bowl, combine the okras together with lime juice, turmeric powder, mango powder, salt and chilly powder. Correct the taste if necessary.
In a wok, heat the oil and splutter the ingredients under “tempering”.
Add the asafetida followed by the chopped onions and the green chillies.

Fry until the onions become translucent; add the okras and stir-fry on medium flame for about 10 minutes or until done.

PS: My dear meat lovers may like to add some fried prawns to the okra :)
      Some of you might like to add some freshly grated coconut at the end of the recipe…
      This can be ideally served as a side-dish for Rice or Rotis. Enjoy!!
Now, place for some awards……

My heartful thanks to dear Susri for the following award!!! I'd like to share this with, Malar, Sarah Naveen, Solai Chidambaram, Ushnish Ghosh and Viki!! Please accept :) Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhh!!

And then comes another special gift which means a lot to me, offered by two dear friends Viki and Malar, two wonderful foodies, who are one among those special people whom I respect very much for what they are and whom I thank very sincerely for the lovely intention and for all their encouragements!! I’d love to share it with dear: Jaishree, Poornima Nair, Priya Suresh and Vibaas. Cheers!!!