Monday, 31 October 2011



1)    Alsa Wheat (polished skinned thick whole wheat) – 500 gm.
2)    Jaggery (unrefined cane sugar) – 300 gm.
3)    Sugar – 1½ tablespoons
4)    Coconut – 1 No.
5)    Cardamom – 5 pods
6)    Ghee (clarified butter) – 100 ml.
To Cook:
Soak the wheat for 5 to 6 hours. Grate the coconut. Put a pan on the stove. Pour in 50 ml. of water and tip in the jaggery and the sugar. Stir till the jaggery is melted. Sieve and set aside. Shell the cardamom pods. Crush the seeds and set aside.
Wash and drain the wheat. Put it in a food processor. Pour in the melted jaggery. Tip in the grated coconut and the crushed cardamom seeds. Pour in a glass of water and grind for a minute or two to get a grainy paste. If your food processor is small as it usually is in India, grind in 2 or 3 batches.
Set a cast iron or non–stick kuzhiyappachatty (pan with 7 or 9 or more hemispherical pits) on the stove. Pour around 3 to 5 ml. of ghee into each pit (the non–stick pan needs less greasing). Pour in the batter neatly up to the brim of the pits. Turn down the heat to minimum and cover with lid.
Lift up the lid after 8 to 10 minutes checking once or twice in between to see if the unniyappams are cooked. If you can see no whitish raw batter at the top, sprinkle a few drops of ghee. Use a sharp spoon or a thin knife with rounded edge to gently prise up the unniyappams and flip them over. Cover with lid for a couple of minutes. The underside will be slightly caramelized. Lift out and serve hot or cold.
The outer skin should be slightly crisp when warm. The inside is soft and the grains are chewy. This delicious snack is a hit with children and adults alike. It tastes even better the second day, if indeed; you have any left for the morrow!!!

Sunday, 30 October 2011




     1)    Fresh pomfret (white or grey) – 1 kg.
     2)    Coconut – 1
     3)    Medium hot green chilies – 4 Nos.
     4)    Dry hot red chilies – 10 Nos.
     5)    Medium sized onions – 2 Nos.
     6)    Ginger – 1 inch piece
     7)    Tamarind – 10 gm.
     8)    Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
     9)    Salt – 1½ teaspoons
     10)     Coconut oil – 2 tablespoons

To Cook:

          Cut the fish removing the head, tail and the fins. If it is a big pomfret, cut into pieces. Small ones can be cooked in full but you can make a couple of shallow gashes on either side for the fish to absorb the flavor of the curry. Wash thoroughly. For the final rinse, add a teaspoonful of vinegar to the water to get rid of any fishy smells and set aside. Grate the coconut.

          Set a small pan on low heat. Put in a teaspoonful of coconut oil and the red chilies. Roast on all sides for a minute and turn off the heat. Split the green chilies. Peel the onions and chop to fine pieces. Peel the ginger and chop likewise. Put the grated coconut, the roasted chilies and the tamarind in a wet grinder or in a food processor. Add a little water and grind to fine paste (the smoother the paste, the tastier will be the curry).

          Tip over the paste into a wide terracotta (baked clay) vessel. Add the chopped ginger pieces and the split green chilies together with a tablespoonful of chopped onions and the salt. Pour in 500 ml. of water. Set the vessel on high heat. Put in the turmeric powder. As soon as it comes to a boil, gently slip in the pomfrets. Cook on low heat for 2 minutes. Switch off the heat and cover with a lid.

          Set a small pan or wok on the stove. Pour in the rest of the coconut oil. Add the remaining chopped onions. Roast on medium heat until the onions turn golden brown. Now open the lid of the curry vessel and tip in the caramelized onions together with the flavor rich oil. Cover the lid again and let rest for 1 to 2 hours. The residual heat of the terracotta vessel will cook the pomfret to perfection.

          Serve hot with rice or vellappams. You will simply love this curry.


          The fish bones are picked off while eating. Indians usually cook the fish with the bones to get more flavor and also to avoid wasting the flesh.


          A new terracotta pot needs to be cured before it is used for cooking. Usually, rice stock is boiled for 1 or 2 hours a day for 2 days to cure the pot of toxins, strong odours or added colours if any. It is then washed and sun dried before use.

Saturday, 29 October 2011



Ingredients for the filling:
1)    Potatoes – 500 gm.
2)    Onions – 150 gm.
3)    Hot green chilies – 4 Nos.
4)    Tender ginger – 1 inch piece
5)    Tender curry leaves – 2 sprigs
6)    Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
7)    Coconut oil – 1 tablespoon
8)    Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
9)    Salt – 1 teaspoon

Ingredients for the tempura (jacket):
1)    Maida (refined wheat flour) – 400 gm.
2)    Corn flour – 100 gm.
3)    Salt – 1 teaspoon
4)    Coconut oil or other cooking oil to deep fry

To make the filling:
Wash and put the potatoes in a pressure cooker. Add enough water to cover the potatoes. Set on high heat. As soon as you hear the second whistle, turn down the heat. Cook for 5 minutes. Switch off the stove and allow to cool naturally. When all the steam is gone, take out, peel and mash the potatoes.
Peel the onions and the ginger. Finely chop the onions, the ginger and the green chilies. Set a medium sized wok on the stove. Pour in a tablespoonful of coconut oil. Tip in the mustard seeds. As soon as they are about to finish popping, throw in all the chopped vegetables. Add a teaspoon of salt. Stir frequently. As soon as the onions turn brown, add the mashed potatoes and the turmeric powder and mix well. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Switch off the heat. When cool enough to touch, make bite sized balls of the filling.
To make the tempura batter:
Put the maida, the corn flour, the salt and a glass of water into a food processor and blend nicely. Add a little more water and blend to form a batter of the consistency of thick pancake batter. If the batter is runny, the tempura will not cover the filling properly and the bonda will soak up oil. So thick dippable batter is what we need.
To deep fry:
Set a wok or pan on the stove with enough coconut oil or any other cooking oil to deep fry the bondas. Dip the filling balls one by one in the batter and roll around to form a thick coat of batter all around and ease gently into the hot oil. Do not crowd too many bondas in the wok or pan to prevent them from sticking together.
Roll them around in the oil with a perforated ladle until the batter is fully cooked.  You can check by feeling the stiffness of the tempura with your ladle. Lift out, drain off the excess oil and serve hot. If you are a potato lover, bonda is a must for you!!!
Keralites love to eat bondas and other deep fried snacks at teatimes (at 11 am. and at 4 pm.) in small roadside teashops all over the state. Some of these shops use garam masala powder in the fillings and baking powder in the jackets.

You can also make bonda using cassava roots in place of potatoes. These cassava bondas give you a nicely different taste. However, you have to peel the cassava before cooking it and remove the bony central fibre before mashing it. To make delicious yam bonda, go to my yam bonda recipe.

Friday, 28 October 2011




     1)    Coconut – ½
     2)    Hot dry red chilies – 8 Nos.
     3)    Tamarind – 10 gm.
     4)    Garlic – 1 pod
     5)    Ghee (clarified butter) – 2 teaspoons
     6)    Salt – 1 teaspoons

To Make:

          Grate the coconut. Peel the garlic cloves. Set a small pan on the stove. Pour in the ghee. Tip in the garlic cloves and roast on low heat. As soon as the garlic turns golden brown, throw in the chilies and stir for 30 seconds. Switch off the heat.

          Now put all the ingredients, including the contents of the pan into a food processor and grind to fine powder. Your dry garlic chutney is now ready to serve. If you prefer thick wet garlic chutney, add half a glass of water while grinding and make a fine paste.

          Serve with dosas, idlis, uthappams, rice, porridge, baked potatoes and steamed or baked cassava roots.


Garlic chutney tastes incredibly delightful when ground in a hand operated wet grinder.

Thursday, 27 October 2011




     1)    Maida (refined white wheat flour) – 500 gm.
     2)    Eggs – 2 Nos.
     3)    Milk – around 100 ml.
     4)    Salt – 2 teaspoons
     5)    Cabbage – 200 gm.
     6)    Onion – 50 gm.
     7)    Beans – 150 gm.
     8)    Carrot – 100 gm.
     9)    Hot green chili – 1
     10)     Pepper powder – 1 teaspoon
     11)     Gingelly oil (sesame oil) – 1 tablespoon

About This Snack:

          Tibetan momos are truly delicious steamed snacks with an outer jacket made of maida and a filling of either cooked vegetables or of meat. We first tasted these wonderful momos from a roadside food cart at the golden temple in the Tibetan settlement of Kushal Nagar in Karnataka, India.

          My children loved these so much that they started pestering me to make them every day. At first, I tried to make the outer jackets with maida alone but they would stick and tear on steaming. Then I used milk and eggs to knead the maida and made the jacket. It was an instant success.

          I am happily sharing that recipe with you now. You will love this food. Do cook the momos and also do experiment with different fillings such as eggs, fish, meat, mushrooms, cottage cheese (paneer), prawns or crabmeat.

To Cook:

          Knead the flour with eggs, milk and a level teaspoon of salt until it binds nicely, adding a little more milk if necessary. Make small balls the size of large olives or small gooseberries and set aside.

          Peel the onion and the carrot. Remove the edges and the fibrous strings of the beans. Chop all the vegetables including the green chili to super fine pieces. Set a wok or pan on the stove. Pour in the gingelly oil. Chuck in the vegetables, a level teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of pepper powder. Stir fry for 1 minute and switch off the heat.

          Now flatten the maida bowls with a rolling pin to small round puris. Put a small spoonful of the stir fried vegetables in the center. Fold once and press the edges of the jacket with your thumb and finger to stick them together in a nice half-moon shape. Pour water in a steamer and set on the stove. When the water starts boiling, arrange the stuffed momos one by one in the steam section and put on the lid. Steam for 15 minutes and serve hot with mustard chili sauce (recipe given separately).

Bon app├ętit!!!




     1)    Mustard seeds – 1 tablespoon
     2)    Medium hot green chilies – 6 Nos.
     3)    Hot red chili powder – 2 teaspoons
     4)    Asafoetida – 1 pinch
     5)    Salt – 2 teaspoons
     6)    Gingelly oil (sesame oil) – 2 teaspoons
     7)    Water – 125 ml.

To Make:

          Put the mustard seeds in the food processor and grind to fine powder. Add the green chilies and all the other ingredients. Grind to fine paste. Taste and add more salt or chili powder to suit your palate. If too thick, add a little water and mix well. Dip hot momos (recipe given separately) in your fresh mustard chili sauce and tuck in.


          If you like, you can incorporate tomato flavor in the sauce by adding 1 large fully ripe tomato while grinding to paste. Both the versions are equally tasty.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011



1)    Chick peas (any variety) – 250 gm.
2)    Elephant foot yam – 150 gm.
3)    Coconut – ½
4)    Medium hot red chilies – 6 Nos.
5)    Cucumber tree fruit (Bilimbi) – 20 gm.
6)    Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
7)    Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
8)    Coconut oil or any other cooking oil – 2 teaspoons
9)    Salt – 1½ teaspoons
To Cook:
Soak the chick peas (brown skinned or white) in water overnight. Peel the elephant foot yam and chop into chunks of roughly 1 inch cubes. Split the cucumber tree fruit lengthwise (see note). Grate the coconut. Set a small pan or wok on the stove. Put in a few drops of coconut oil and drop in the chilies. Roast on low heat for 30 seconds.
Drain the chick peas and put them in a pressure cooker together with the cucumber tree fruit and the chopped yam. Pour in double their volume of water. Put the cooker on the stove. As soon as you hear the second whistle, turn down the heat and cook for 3 minutes. Switch off the stove and allow it to cool naturally.
Set aside 2 teaspoonfuls of the grated coconut and put the rest in a wet grinder or in a food processor. Add the roasted chilies and grind to fine paste, adding a little water for grinding smoothly. When the paste is nice and smooth, chuck in a tablespoonful of the cooked chick peas and grind to fine paste (the chick peas will give the curry a beautiful body and taste).
Put the rest of the cooked chick peas and yam together with their stock if any in a vessel. Add the salt and a little water and boil for a minute. Now put in the ground coconut paste. Stir well. If the curry is too thick, add a little more water. Taste and add more seasoning if required. Boil nicely for a minute and switch off the heat.
Set a small pan on low heat. Pour in the rest of the coconut oil. Throw in the mustard seeds. As soon as the mustard seeds are about to finish crackling, put in the 2 teaspoonfuls of grated coconut and stir. When it turns golden brown, add the curry leaves. Switch off the heat and tip over the contents of the pan into the curry. Stir once and cover with a lid. Let rest for half an hour. Your delicious chana ghashi is ready. Serve with rice.
1)    If the cucumber tree fruit (Bilimbi or Chilimbi or irimban puli in Malayalam) is not available, you can also use 10 gm. of tamarind. The reason I use cucumber tree fruit is that it contains a lot of essential minerals or vitamins and it also makes the cooking of all pulses much easier.
2)    The cucumber tree fruit is used to give some sourness to the curry. If you do not want any sourness in the curry, you can omit this ingredient.
3)    If the elephant foot yam is not available, you can use potatoes instead but the taste may differ a bit.

Cucumber tree fruit (Bilimbi)

Tuesday, 25 October 2011



1)    Roasted Bombay rava (roasted fine wheat semolina) – 500 gm.
2)    Sugar – 500 gm.
3)    Thick milk – 500 ml.
4)    Big coconut – 1
5)    Ghee (clarified butter) – 3 tablespoons
6)    Cashew nuts – 25 gm.
7)    Sultanas or raisins – 25 gm.
8)    Cardamom pods – 6 Nos.
9)    Saffron – 1 pinch
To Make:
Grate or scrape the coconut as finely as you can. Shell the cardamom seeds and crush to powder. Set a thick wok on the stove. Pour in 2 tablespoons of ghee. Add the rava, cashew nuts, sultanas and the cardamom powder. Stir well until hot. Switch off the heat when it is still white in colour (It should turn brown).  Transfer to another vessel and set aside.
Pour the milk into the wok and turn on the heat. Add the sugar, the grated coconut and the saffron. Stir on high heat. The milk will splutter at first as the water escapes. Then it will reduce and thicken and stop spluttering but the air will pop through small craters. Now add the semolina mixture and mix well using a flat ladle. Switch off the heat. As soon as the mixture has cooled down enough to be touchable, grease your hands with ghee and quickly roll into bite sized balls while it is still warm (the mixture will harden as it cools).
If you find it uncomfortable to roll while warm, you can also use greased stainless steel molds to make the rava laddus in the shapes of your choice.
Serve when cool. These delicious rava laddus can be kept for up to a week in room temperature in airtight containers. If you wish to store them, do so only after they are cool. Rava laddus are good to carry while travelling or to serve as dessert for picnics or parties. Rava laddu is an easy to make dessert snack popular all over India.
Do make, eat and enjoy!!!

Monday, 24 October 2011



1)    Green gram (moog) – 1 kg.

2)    Fresh coconut – ½
3)    Hot green chilies – 6 Nos.
4)    Ginger – 1 inch piece
5)    Onion – 200 gm.
6)    Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
7)    Salt – 1½ teaspoons
8)    Coconut oil to grease the pan for each dosa
To make the batter:
Soak the green gram for 3 hours. Wash and drain. Grate the coconut. Peel and chop the ginger. Pull out the leaves from the sprigs of curry leaves.
You can use a 2 litre wet grinder or a food processor to make the batter. The wet grinder batter is tastier. Put the green grams, the grated coconut, 5 green chilies, the ginger, the curry leaves and the salt into the wet grinder. Grind to super fine paste adding a little water from time to time.
While the batter is being ground, peel the onions and chop to super fine pieces together with the remaining chili and set aside. The consistency of the green dosa batter should be that of ordinary dosa batter or pancake batter.
To Make:
Set a thick cast iron flat pan on the stove. Do not use a non–stick pan. Also, use only coconut oil to grease the cast iron pan. No other oil and no other pan can give the green dosa its unique flavor and taste.
As soon as the pan is hot, grease it and pour a small ladleful of batter. Spread the batter using the bottom of your ladle starting from the center and working smoothly to the sides in ever widening circles so that you get a perfectly round dosa. Cover with a lid or cloche and cook for 30 seconds on low heat. Lift up the cloche and lightly sprinkle the onions and chili on top. Cover again for another 30 seconds.
If you like your green dosa soft, lift it out using a flat triangular shovel headed trowel of thin stainless steel or of iron and serve hot. If you like it crispy, keep on low heat until the underside is brown and then serve hot. If you do not like onion or chili toppings, you can omit it. Green dosas are highly nutritious, protein rich and quite refreshing.

Sunday, 23 October 2011




     1)    Maida (refined wheat flour) – 400 gm.
     2)    Chick pea flour – 200 gm.
     3)    Asafoetida powder – ¼ teaspoon
     4)    Chili powder – 1¼ teaspoons
     5)    Salt – 1 teaspoon
     6)    Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
     7)    Gingelly oil (sesame oil) – 1½ tablespoons
     8)    Tender curry leaves – 4 sprigs
     9)    Water – 150 ml.
     10)     Hot green chilies – 3 Nos.
     11)     Any cooking oil to deep fry

To Make:

          Finely chop the tender curry leaves and the green chilies. Put all the ingredients except the cooking oil in a large bowl and knead thoroughly. Make small balls the size of small gooseberries or of large olives. Use a rolling pin to flatten the balls into thin round puris. The thinner the better. If sticky, gently dust with a little flour and pierce 2 or 3 times with a fork and set aside (If not pierced, the papdi will puff up and will be difficult to store).

          As soon as all the papdis are ready, heat up the cooking oil and deep fry them on medium heat 2 or 3 at a time taking care to flip over and crisp up both the sides. Lift up, drain off and put them in an airtight stainless steel container, keeping the lid open for 30 minutes for the papdis to cool naturally (If you put on the lid while the papdis are hot, they will go soft).

          When the container is cool, put the lid on tightly. Serve fresh for maximum taste. You can easily store at room temperature for 2 weeks. You will find that papdi is an excellent snack to enjoy while you watch T.V.

Saturday, 22 October 2011




     1)    Fish, preferably anchovies (veloori/chooda or nattal) or mackerel (ayala) – 1 kg.

     2)    Onions – 500 gm.
     3)    Coconut oil – 100 ml.
     4)    Ginger – a 2 inch piece
     5)    Hot green chilies – 4 Nos.
     6)    Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
     7)    Tamarind – 20 gm.
     8)    Hot red chili powder – 2 tablespoons
     9)     Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
     10)     Salt – 2 teaspoon

To Cook

          Clean the fish removing the head, the fins, the scales and the guts. If you are using mackerel, cut into 2 or 3 pieces, but the anchovies need not be cut. Bones are not to be removed, but picked out as you eat. Marinate the clean and washed fish with 2 teaspoons of salt.

          Put the tamarind in a small bowl with 50 ml. of water. Squeeze to leech out the paste. Sieve the tamarind water and add to the fish. Peel the onions and the ginger and chop to super fine pieces. Put one quarter of these chopped pieces into the vessel holding the marinating fish. Split the green chilies and add to the fish. Pull out the leaves from the sprigs of curry leaves and throw them in.

          Set a thick vessel on the stove. Pour in the coconut oil and tip in the rest of the chopped onions and ginger. Stir frequently until the onions are nicely caramelized (browned without burning). Tip in the chili powder and the turmeric powder and stir for 30 seconds. Now pour in 500 ml. of water. When it comes to a boil, gently tip in the fish along with its marinate. Allow it to boil again.

          If you are cooking anchovies, switch off the heat and allow cooling naturally for you do not want the fish to be overcooked. If you are cooking mackerel, boil for a minute or so longer for the fish to cook nicely and switch off. Taste and add more salt if required.

          Serve only after an hour for the phanna upkari takes at least that long to come together and to give you the perfect flavor. Serve with rice.


     1)    In the ancient method, Konkanis did not use chili powder for fish curry. Instead, 150 gm. Of dry hot red chilies were roasted in coconut oil. These roasted chilies and the tamarind were ground to fine paste in a hand operated wet grinder which gave even tastier results.

     2)   Phanna upkari can keep safely for up to 2 or 3 days which increases the taste, but you have to boil it once in the morning and once at night.

     3)    While using mackerel, you can substitute the tamarind with 150 gm. of tomatoes to get a better taste. Tomatoes do not go that well with anchovies. So you need to use tamarind only.

Friday, 21 October 2011



1)    Fine wheat semolina (Bombay rava) – 200 gm.
2)    Milk – 200 ml.
3)    Strawberry syrup – 175 ml.
4)    Water – 25 ml.
5)    Rose essence – 5 ml.
6)    Cashew nuts – 25 gm.
7)    Raisins or sultanas – 25 gm.
8)    Almonds – 25 gm.
9)    Walnuts – 25 gm.
10)                      Ghee (clarified butter) – 2 tablespoon
11)                      Sugar – 100 gm.

To Cook:
Set a thick wok on the stove. Pour in 1½ tablespoonsful of ghee. Tip in the semolina, the dry fruits and the raisins. Roast on low heat, stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Set another vessel on the stove. Pour in the milk, the strawberry syrup, the water and the rose essence. As soon as it starts to boil, tip it over into the roasted semolina. On low heat, stir with a flat ladle taking care not to allow the mixture to stick to the base. The semolina will cook and thicken up.
Now add the sugar and stir for another 2 to 3 minutes. The mixture will thicken nicely. Switch off the heat. Grease a plate or tray with half of the remaining ghee and transfer the hot mixture to the plate. Pour the rest of the ghee on top of the mixture. Pat and flatten the mixture to form a cake and set aside to cool. Cut into pieces and serve.
You can also chill the strawberry shira in the fridge and serve with topping of ice cream and fresh strawberries.
Tuck in. you are in heaven!!!

Thursday, 20 October 2011


1)    Bread – 500 gm.
2)    Beetroot – 300 gm.
3)    Carrot – 200 gm.
4)    Potato – 500 gm.
5)    Onion – 100 gm.
6)    Fresh or frozen green peas – 100 gm.
7)    Black pepper powder – 1 teaspoon
8)    Garam masala powder – 1 teaspoon
9)    Coriander leaves of one plant
10)                      Butter – 50 gm.
11)                      Salt – 1½ teaspoon

To Cook:
Peel the potatoes, the beets and the carrots. Wash, chop into large chunks and put in a pressure cooker. Pour just enough water to immerse ¾ portions of the vegetables. Close the lid and cook till you hear the second whistle. Turn down the heat and cook for 5 minutes more. Turn off the heat and allow to cool naturally.
Peel the onion and chop to fine pieces. Chop the coriander leaves and set aside. Crumble the bread with your fingers. Mash the cooked vegetables. Set a large thick wok on the stove. Tip in the butter, the chopped onion and the green peas. Stir on low heat till the green peas are cooked (pop one in your mouth to check if cooked).
Now add the mashed vegetables. Stir well. Sprinkle the salt the pepper powder, the garam masala powder and the chopped coriander leaves. Stir again. Taste and add more pepper powder or salt if you want it spicier (if you like it very hot, you can add 2 or 3 finely chopped hot green chilies). Stir well and switch off the heat. Now add the bread crumbs. Mix well. When the mixture is cool enough to touch, make around 30 balls with your hand.
Set a flat non–stick or cast iron pan on the stove. Grease it with butter or cooking oil. Press each bowl flat using your palms and put on the pan. Roast slowly on low heat. When the bottom side is caramelized, flip over and roast the other side. Serve hot with fresh tomato sauce or sweet n’ hot date sauce or with hot and sweet beetroot sauce (recipes given separately).

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