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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bengali Coconut Prawns Curry

Traditional Bengali food is prepared using mustard oil. Cooking with mustard oil, always intrigued me. How will it be cooking with mustard oil. When you open a fresh bottle of mustard oil, you are taken in by the strong pungent smell and makes you think, will cooking with this oil be okay. I had once asked one of my bengali friend, how is it to cook with mustard oil ? And she said it's like you keralite's like your coconut oil, we like our mustard oil. Today i was bent on finding out how it tastes cooking with mustard oil and went on to make this prawns curry. I was pleasantly surprised. The strong smell of the oil was not found in the curry. Curry had smooth flavors and was soothing to taste.


2 cup - Cleaned prawns / Shrimps
2 tsp - Coriander powder
1/2 tsp - Turmeric powder
3/4 tsp - Garam masala powder
1/2 tsp - Sugar
1 cup thick & sour - Curds / yogurt
4 tbsp - Mustard oil
Salt to taste

Grind to a smooth paste

1/2 shell of a small - Fresh Coconut, grated
2'' piece - Ginger
4 - Green chilies
4 to 6 - Dry whole red chili
1 tsp - Mustard seeds


1 ) Add all ingredients listed to be ground into a grinder, except mustard seeds. Grind to a smooth paste with little water. Then add mustard seeds and grind again to get the mustard seeds just enough ground (not too much ).

2 ) Heat 4 tbsp of mustard oil in a heavy pan till it starts smoking. Reduce heat or remove the pan from fire to cool oil, a little bit. Then place back to fire and add the ground masala paste. Fry on a medium heat till brown. When oil separates, add coriander powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, salt and sugar. Fry lightly for a minute , then add curds, prawns and stir in. Now add about 1.5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer and cook covered, till the prawns is cooked and the gravy has thickened a bit.

Serve hot with plain boiled basmati rice.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dahiwalli Gobi - Cauliflower In Spiced Yoghurt Gravy

A north Indian style of preparation of cauliflower in spiced yogurt gravy. Will go well with Chapati /Roti / tortilla.


1 big - Cauliflower, cut into medium size florets
1/2 tsp - Turmeric powder
1 tsp - Coriander powder
1 tsp - Jeera / Cumin powder
1/2 tsp - Red chili powder
1 cup - Thick & sour yogurt / Curds
Salt to taste

Grind to a smooth paste

2 medium size - Onion
2''piece - Ginger
8 big flakes - Garlic
3 to 4 - Whole dry red chili
1'' piece - Cinnamon
4 - Cloves
1 - Cardamom
1 tbsp - Poppy seeds, soaked in water for 1/2 hr


1/2 cup - Coriander leaves, chopped


1 ) To clean cauliflower well - Take enough water to soak cauliflower in an utensil, add 1 tsp turmeric powder into the water. Add cauliflower to it and keep it soaked for 15 to 20 minutes. Then wash well with plenty of water.

2 ) Grind the ingredients listed to be ground to a paste well. Heat a kadai or a wok with 4 tbsp of oil, add the ground paste into the kadai and fry on medium heat till the raw smell goes and till the oil starts separating. This will take a while, let the ingredients get cooked well and get lightly browned.

3 ) Add turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, chili powder and salt to taste. Stir and fry the powders well. Then add cauliflower florets and saute lightly.

4 ) Add yogurt / curds, stir in well. Close with a lid and cook the cauliflower on low heat till the cauliflower turns tender. Now open the lid and dry off excess liquid gravy on high heat, stirring the cauliflower in between. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve.

Serve with chapati /roti / tortilla.

Note - The dish is more reddish in color, since i used more than suggested chili powder in the recipe.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Chattipathiri - A traditional Malabar Moplah Sweet Dish !

A traditional Malabar Moplah / Muslim dish, which is made on special occasions, like during the time of Ramadan, when breaking the fast and feasting on good food. A sweet dish that is layered with chapati /roti, with filling of sweetened egg mixture and sprinkled with nuts, raisins and poppy seeds. A rather heavy sweet dish, that you can indulge in, occasionally. This is my first attempt at making this dish and am not sure if i have cooked this to perfection.


For the chapati / Roti

1 cup - Wheat flour
1 cup - Maida / All purpose flour

1 tbsp - Ghee

A pinch of salt

For Filling

6 to 7 - Large Eggs
200 gram - Sugar, powdered
2 tsp - Rose water Or Vanilla essence
10 - Green Cardamom, powdered

To Fry

100 gram - Poppy seeds / Khus khus
100 gram - Cashew nuts
100 gram - Golden raisins

100 gram - Ghee


1 ) Make the chapati dough - Mix both the flours, ghee, salt and mix well. Then add water little at a time and make a soft dough.Divide the dough into 6 or more small balls. Then roll out the dough into very thin round chapati's. Size of chapati should be as per the size of the chatti or non-stick pan you are going to cook this dish in.

2 ) Heat a tawa or a griddle to cook the chapati's. Place one chapati at a time and cook very lightly on both side. Chapati should not get fully cooked. Just cook one side lightly, flip and cook the other side too lightly and take off the tawa. Do like wise to rest of the chapati dough. Spread little milk on each chapati.

3 ) Heat little ghee in a pan, add raisins and fry till it puffs up, drain off ghee and set aside in a plate. Then add cashew and poppy seeds and fry in ghee. Once they have browned lightly, drain off ghee and set aside alo
ng with raisins.

4 ) Egg mixture - Beat egg well then add sugar, rose essence, cardamo
m powder and beat well.

5 ) To Arrange and cook the chattipathiri - Take a non stick kadai, spread some ghee all around the bottom and sides of the kadai. Then sprinkle a little of the raisins, cashew and poppy seeds( sprinkle little, since you need to sprinkle this in each layer and then finally there should be some to garnish on the top ) Then pour little of the egg mixture evenly all around.Now dip one chapati in egg mixture and place the first layer of chapati in the pan. Pour little egg mixture evenly all around on top of the chapati.Then sprinkle some raisins, cashew and poppy seeds. Pour some ghee all around
the chapati. Now do the same process to the next layer of chapati and layer one after the other. Finally top with, pouring egg mixture evenly all around the top chapati, and garnishing the top with raisin, cashew and poppy seeds. Pour some ghee all around.

6 ) Place the non-stick pan on stove on a very l
ow heat. Cover and close with a tight lid and cook for 30 to 45 minutes on very low flame. Do not open in between to check. Once cooked, take it off the stove to cool a bit then cut in to pieces and serve.

Serve when still warm and enjoy this chattipathiri.

You can bake this dish, by preheating oven to 350 degree, place dish in the middle rack and baking 30 to 45 minutes. Depending upon you oven heating, it will take 30 t0 45 minutes.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mixed dal & Rice Vada - Maharashtrian Cuisine

I am introduced to Marathi cuisine, courtesty of my maid, who helped me to make this mixed dal vada. I am not sure if there is any other name to this vada. If anyone knows the name of this vada please let me know in the comment section. A nutritious snack that is deep fried. It puffs up a bit like a poori and is soft to bite into. This can be had as a snack with tea or you can have this with any veg curry or chicken curry. Instead of deep frying you can even make this like a roti and cook on a tawa/ griddle.
A combination of dal is used here, which is dry roasted, powdered and mixed with rice flour along with spices to make this vada. I am told you can dry roast the dals and spices, powder it and store it, to be used as and when required.


1/2 cup -Chana dal
1/2 cup - Moong dal
1/2 cup - Urad dal
2.5 to 3 cups - Rice flour
2 tsp - Jeera
2 tsp - Whole coriander seeds
2 tsp - Fennel Seeds
1/2 tsp - Methi / Fenugreek seeds
2 tsp - Pepper corns
1.5 tsp - Red chili powder
1/4 tsp - Turmeric powder
1/3 cup - Sunflower oil Or vegetable oil
About 3 cups ( or more if needed ) - Lukewarm water
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying


1 ) First you have to dry roast each dal ( chana, moong , urad ) individually on a low flame, till it gives out a good aroma and turns lightly brown in color. Transfer to a plate to cool.

2 ) Secondly individually dry roast, jeera, coriander seeds, fennel, methi and pepper corn. Add to the dal mix to cool. Mix dal and the spices well. Once cool, grind to a smooth powder in batches.

3 ) Collect the powder to a big mixing bowl. Then add chili powder, turmeric powder, salt to taste, stir and mix well. Now measure this powder you obtained, with measuring cup. Then add exact same quantity or a little more of rice flour. I got about 2.5 cup of dal + spice powder and used 3 cups rice flour. You can use exact same amount of rice flour or a little more. Mix all the powders well.

4 ) Now make like a well in the center of the powder. Heat 1/3 cup oil and pour this in the center of the powder. Stir and mix well with a spoon. Now add lukewarm water little at a time, knead to make a dough( like a roti dough). Rest the dough for 1/2 hour, covered with moist cloth.

5 ) Keep a small container with water to help shape the vada. To shape vada, you will need the help of a plastic cover or a banana leaf or a aluminium foil. I used a aluminium foil. Wet you hand then take a small amount of dough and make a ball. Flatten on the foil, dip fingers in water and then gently press and shape the vada. Lift foil and take the shaped dough off the foil.

6 ) Heat enough oil to deep fry in a kadai or wok. When the oil is hot , gently slide in the vada dough to deep fry on both sides to a light brown color. Increase heat before sliding the dough into the oil, then lower the heat to medium and fry. Drain off the oil and transfer to a serving plate.

Serve hot as a snack with tea or serve with chicken curry. Tastes like soft poori had with good chicken curry.

This dough can be used to make roti, which will be more healthier than deep frying.

To make Roti -

Now if you do not want to deep fry then with this same dough you can make roti and cook on a tawa / griddle. You can add finely chopped onion and mix with the dough and roll or flatten the dough to make roti.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bittergourd Pepper Fry

As bitter as it can be is a bittergourd. But then even that bitterness can be relished, when you have a little of a bitter dish along with other curries. If you are a person like me who likes to relish a bit of bitter bittergourd, then try this simple dish which is spiced up with black pepper powder.


4 medium size - Bittergourd, washed & chopped to small pieces
2 to 3 tsp - Black pepper powder
1/4 tsp - Turmeric powder
10 big - Shallots Or 1 medium - Onion, diced
3 to 4 sprigs - Curry leaves
Salt to taste
Coconut oil


1 ) Heat oil in a big pan, simmer, then add pepper powder, turmeric powder and fry for a few seconds, taking care not to char. Then add curry leaves, shallots and fry till onion is lightly browned.

2 ) Add bittergourd pieces, salt to taste, add more oil if needed. Close with a tight lid and cook on low heat till the bittergourd is fully cooked. In between give a good stir.

Serve as a side dish with rice or roti.

Other bittergourd recipes you could try -

1 ) Kaipakka /Bittergourd Curry

2 ) Pavakka Pachadi

3 ) Pavakka pulli curry

4 ) Pavakka Thoran

5 ) Kaipakka / Pavakka Kondattam

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Chicken Cooked With A Touch Of Oriental Taste

I would say this chicken preparation has all the making of a naadan chicken dish, but for the inclusion of soya sauce. This gives it a oriental touch and flavor. This dish comes from my mom's kitchen, which we relished on a recent visit. A dry preparation, which will go very well with roti/ chapati, naan, likes of Indian breads or a tortilla.


1.5 kilo - Chicken, cut to pieces
4 to 5 medium - Onions, sliced
4 - Green chilies, slit in center
2'' piece - Ginger, grated
4 sprigs - Curry leaves
4 tsp - Soya sauce
Coconut oil Or Peanut oil

To marinate chicken

2 tsp - Red chili powder / Kashmiri chili powder
1 tsp - Turmeric powder
Salt to taste


1 ) Wash, clean & drain chicken well. Mix red chili powder, turmeric and salt with little water and apply on the chicken pieces. Marinate for one hour.

2 ) Transfer marinated chicken to a pan and cook covered with a tight lid, on a very low heat. Chicken will give out a bit of water, when cooking. If not you can add a little water to cook the chicken.Once the chicken is fully cooked and all the water is used up, add soya sauce and stir in. Let the chicken suck up the soya sauce. Add coconut oil and fry the chicken for 2 - 3 minutes.

3 ) Meanwhile in another pan, heat oil, add curry leaves, ginger, green chili and fry for a minute. Then add onions and fry the onions till they become lightly browned. Add this fried ingredients to the chicken and fry further for a minute or two with the chicken to mix in well.

Serve hot with roti, naan, roomali roti ...types of indian breads.Try this and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Chana dal Cabbage Upperi

Some simple preparations are so delectable that you feel so satisfied by that simple meal. I found this combination of chana dal and cabbage along with coconut, shallots and seasoning very comforting to have with rice. Apart from being tasty, chana dal has a low glycemic index, which will keep the blood sugar level low.


1 medium size - Cabbage, shredded

1 cup - Chana dal / Kadalaparippu
1 cup - Freshly grated coconut

15 big - Shallots, diced

1 tbsp - Red chili flakes

1/4 tsp - Turmeric powder


1 tsp - Mustard seeds
4 sprigs - Curry leaves
Coconut oil


1 ) Wash chana dal and soak in enough water for one hour. Then in little water cook chana dal till it is fully cooked, but should not get mashed up. Add salt to taste. Check dal while cooking, so that it doesn't get over cooked. Switch off stove and drain off excess water, if any and set aside. ( you can use this stock, when making any curry or use for this upperi itself if it needs any additional water )

2 ) In a big kadai / wok , heat oil, add mustard and let it pop on low heat. Add chili flakes, turmeric powder and stir for few seconds till it's fried. Add shallots and curry leaves. Stir and fry till shallots turn lightly brown in color. Add coconut, stir and fry for few seconds. Add salt to taste, then add cabbage, stir and cook till cabbage is almost fully cooked, but still retaining the crunchiness.

3 ) Add cooked chana dal and stir in well. On low flame cook covered for a few minutes. Add a little coconut oil, stir and fry for a few seconds. Switch off the stove and it's done.

Serve hot with rice or roti.

Wishing everyone a ' Happy Onam ' !