Friday, October 21, 2011

Mathi Puli (Sardines in a sour and spicy thin gravy)

I am not going to begin this post with an apology though I really owe one…I have too many excuses to offer and sure if I start with the list, you may just want to switch off and refuse to read this post…just one piece of truth - responsibilities at work and home has ruined my daily schedule… worse, my blog has taken a back seat…"ab kaa karein… duty pe jaana hai"[borrowed from an old car commercial…but holds literally in my case :) ]

Today, I’m posting a recipe that I made quite some time back, in fact a few months back [absolutely!, shamless me:( ] It’s another delicacy from Kerala called “Mathi Puli”. Literally, Mathi is 'Sardines' and Puli is 'Sour'. This one is sour gravy made with sardines and spices and lots of kodam puli (it’s a souring agent used in Kerala’s fish curries and other seafood preparations)

You need: 

1/2 kg fresh sardines
3-4 pieces kodampuli (gambooge)
salt to taste
3 tbsp coconut oil

½ tsp each of mustard and fenugreek seeds
2 tsp dhania powder
2 tbsp red chilli powder

2 sprigs of curry leaves
6 pods of garlic, julienned
1” piece ginger, julienned
7-8 shallots, julienned
2 green chillies, slit lenghtwise

Rinse and soak the kudampuli in half a cup of warm water for 20 minutes 

Clean and cut the sardines into 2 pieces and clean it thoroughly, rub rock salt well to remove the smell (discard the head) 

Heat coconut oil in a kadai, splutter the mustards and brown the fenugreek seeds

Sauté the shallots, garlic and ginger pieces, green chillies and the curry leaves till the onions are light brown and the aroma fills the air. 

Add dhania and chilli powder and stir (do not allow it to burn) 

Add the kodampuli along with the water and let it boil. Add water as required (it’s a thin gravy) 

Transfer contents to a flat manchatti (earthern pot) and add the fish pieces.

 Simmer the gravy for a few minutes till the fish pieces turn soft and the oil separates (Keep a watch as fish cooks in no time!) 

And it's ready  to serve!!

Mathi Puli tastes better if prepared at least 4 hours before serving and the best, the second day.

Enjoy  ‘mathi puli’ with steaming hot rice and fried pappads....

Yours Tastefully!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

August 6th… the most memorable date … the most significant, the most important and the most cherished date ‘cos it happens to my dad’s birthday. And I dedicate this post to my father, “the world’s best dad.” He is one in a million (and I can’t count beyond million:) ). Every time I want to write about my dad, I run short of words. He’s my one and only super hero and will always be... There’s so much in life that I have learnt from my dad. He’s simple yet strong with his beliefs, modest yet the most sophisticated with his values, abundant with love…equal with care, tough and practical…yet extremely brittle with emotions. If there was a pedestal for perfection…I guess, he would have defied that too …I am sure all daughters have a special place and space for their fathers. In the words of Joanna Fuchs, here’s an ode to my father that truly expresses my feelings.

Every day the whole year through, I feel grateful you are my father.
Some fathers don't have time for their kids, But for you I'm never a bother.
You always make the effort to listen and share; You're always there when you're needed
It warms me to know how much you care, And with that knowledge my worries are defeated
Dad, you are truly admired and adored, And as your daughter, I hope that you know,
These sentiments fill me each day of the year, And my love for you continues to grow.

I love you Accha !!

Before I push the emotions further, let’s see what I baked for him, “A Pineapple Upside-Down cake” and I am mighty pleased that he loved it…This recipe was passed on by my friend Sangeetha (thanks Sangu!). I had made this cake once before (it was a hit then too!) and I must tell you, it’s a ‘never-fail cake’…so go ahead and try it…it’s damn easy too…!!

Preparation time: 20 minutes 

Cooking time : 35-45 minutes
Serves: 9-10

You need:
6-7 pineapple rings (I used tinned but you can use fresh ones too)
6 -7 cherries
2-3 tsp brown sugar
2 cups maida (plain flour)
1 ¾ cups powdered sugar
1 tsp baking powder
100gms cooking butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp pineapple essence
a pinch of yellow food colour
4 eggs
a pinch of salt

Sieve maida and baking powder 

Take a fairly big tin, grease it with some butter and dust it with some maida

Sprinkle brown sugar evenly on the tin

Arrange the pineapple pieces (do not throw away the syrup from the tin) 

Place the cherries in the center of each of the pineapple rings (’s going to be a pretty cake)

Beat the eggs, butter and powdered sugar till fluffy

Add the maida (with baking powder) and mix carefully

Now add the food colour, pineapple and vanilla essence and give it a good mix (keep the beater away)

Pour the batter on top of the pineapple rings

Bake at 1800C for 35-45 minutes (keep a close watch to avoid burning!)

Insert a toothpick or a knife to check if your cake is done (it has to come out clean)

Keep the cake in the oven (after you have switched off) for 10 minutes
Allow the cake to cool for another 15 minutes 

Now, turn the tin on to a plate…Voila! The pretty cake is smiling back at you:)
Gently put the cake back into the tin (be careful not to smash the sides) 
Pour the syrup evenly on the back of the cake 
Allow the syrup to sink into the cake (the last wait, I promise) 
Another 30 minutes… over turn the cake again and light the candle… 

Do not allow Pineapple upside-down cake to cool completely before removing from the tin. The caramelized sugar hardens and results in the cake sticking to the tin .

Try it and check how it manages to put a smile on someone you love…!

Here’s wishing the superman, my dad again for the splendid day gone by and many more to come…!!

Yours Tastefully

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Chicken Korma

Chicken Korma, a treasure from the Mughlai cuisine  ...and a celebration for 100 followers on my blog. A big THANK YOU one and all for the love and on-going wouldn't have been possible without you...
This popular dish of North India is mild, rich and bursting with flavours. Made with meat or vegetables, yoghurt, spices and a creamy paste of nuts (almond and cashew nut). It’s not a very spicy dish. In South India it’s called “Kurma" and is made differently. There are many ways of making this dish. Try this Chicken Korma Recipe when you are bored with standard chicken recipes (‘cos this looks and tastes different). 

My apologies for the bad picture quality. Just as I started clicking photos, my camera decided to act stubborn :( …(but you must try was one pretty reddish curry and it was yummmm!) 
Preparation Time: 10 minutes 
Cooking Time : 30 minutes
Serves : 3

You need:
300 gms chicken breasts
1’’ fresh ginger
8 garlic pods
2tsp garam masala powder
1tsp kashmiri chilli powder 
(remember it’s not a spicy dish)
1 tsp shahi jeera (black cumin seeds)
3 green cardamoms
2 mace flowers
1tsp coriander powder
8 almonds
8 cashews
5tbsp thick curd
2 medium onions (chopped fine)
3tsp sunflower oil
salt as required
water as required
few coriander leaves (chopped fine)


Wash and cube the chicken breasts. Rub a little salt and chilli powder. Keep aside for 10 minutes 

Make a paste(smooth) of ginger, garlic, garam masala, chilli powder, shahi jeera, cardamoms, mace, coriander powder, almonds and cashews

Add the curd to the chicken pieces 

Now rub the ground paste on the chicken and let it marinate for 30minutes 

Heat oil in a deep bottom pan and fry the onions till golden brown 

Add the chicken pieces to the pan (without reducing the heat), stir fry for 5-7 minutes (on each side) 

Add the rest of the masala and give it a toss (now shift to low flame)

Wash the remaining masala with water and pour over the chicken. Mix well, cover and let it simmer for 20-25minutes or till the chicken is fully cooked (I love the aroma! And it gets me hungry) 

Add coriander leaves and cook for another 5 minutes

Serve hot with rice or any Indian bread!

Am so upset that my red curry is looking brown:(
Yours tastefully!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pork Vindaloo

Let me dedicate this post to a favourite destination, from the west coast of India, known for its oldest churches, unique architecture, scenic beauty, attractive beaches and not to forget, its unique cuisine. “Goa” it is, I am sure you are already thinking of your last holiday:) . You would have heard of this dish before and tasted also, but Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to present a very distinctive dish, “Pork Vindaloo”. Enough of the drama… on a slightly formal note :), Vindaloo derives its name from the Portuguese dish "Carne de Vinha d' Alhos", a dish of meat, usually pork or rabbit with wine or vinegar and garlic. It is traditionally served for Christmas or Easter.

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking time: 40-45 minutes
Serves: 3-4
You need: 
½ kg pork 
2 medium size onions 
8-9 dried red chillies(kashmiri)
1tsp red chilli powder
1” piece of ginger
10 cloves of garlic
10 peppercorns
9 cloves
1” piece of cinnamon
2-3 pieces of mace
3 tsp of vinegar
salt to taste
2tsp oil
One evening, buy pork meat, (with less fat) wash the pork pieces well and chop them up into cubes. Pat dry. Now rub some salt, this should help dry the pieces even more

Soak the dried red chillies in warm water for 15 minutes (it will be easier to grind) 
Grind the soaked red chillies, red chilli powder, ginger, garlic ,peppercons and cloves using 2 tsp of vinegar ,to a fine paste

Once the masala is ready, add it to the pork pieces and mix it up well (make sure all the pieces of meat are evenly mixed with the masala)

Add 1 tsp of vinegar to the meat, mix it up and store it overnight in the fridge
(the more time it’s marinated, the better it’ll taste…slurp!) 
Next evening, pull out the marinated pork and thaw it

Chop the onions into large pieces. Heat some oil in a kadhai, fry till they turn brown and grind to a paste

Mix together the marinated pork and the ground onions and transfer on to the stove top (Wait! Don’t add any water)

Fry for two minutes. Add some water while frying and let it cook on slow fire (cover and cook for around 30minutes)… 

Serve it with rice, pav, bun or bread…and aren’t your loved ones already showering praises
Soak in all the attention…you deserve it :-)

Note: The longer you store it the better it tastes...yes, in the refrigerator of course :) 

Yours Tastefully!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Spaghetti Aglio Olio (spaghetti with garlic and olive oil)

To start with, a huge apology to all my followers…for being as callous as it can get :(. I haven’t posted a single recipe across the whole of last one month. No excuse but frankly, it’s been a tiring jugglery between work, home and daily chaos over the last few days.

Sadly, it’s been some time since I cooked an interesting dish (I did try one last week but I can only curse myself for having forgotten to take pictures). To add some solace, here’s a recipe post of a slurrppy dish which I made some weeks ago and fortunately, managed to retain relevant images.

The inspiration is a recipe that I came across while flipping through channels one afternoon. 

It’s an Italian traditional pasta dish (I’m sure you got that!) and is called "Spaghetti Aglio Olio" which literally means spaghetti with garlic and olive oil and pronounced as “Spaghetti Ahl-yo Ohl-yo” (sounds interesting but complicated? It’s the simplest pasta I’ve come across so far!!) 

I love Italian food and this dish comes to my rescue when I haven’t done my grocery shopping (or if you are lazy to cook too!) Let’s gather stuff for the recipe…off to your store…

Preparation Time: 5minutes
Cooking Time: 15minutes
Serves: 4

You need: 350 grams of spaghetti 
5 tablespoons of olive oil
8 garlic cloves (peeled and smashed a little with the side of the knife) 
1 tbsp red chilli flakes
parsley (chopped fine)
salt to taste


Cook spaghetti in hot salted water, drain them and keep aside 

In a wide pan, add olive oil and brown the garlic

Throw in the chilli flakes too

Add the cooked spaghetti and salt (always remember to taste as you have already added salt while cooking spaghetti) 

Garnish with parsley

It’s done…didn’t I tell you it’s very simple…and yummy too!

Serve hot!!...

Yours tastefully!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pazha Manga Kaalan (Ripe mangoes in curd and coconut)

I am back from Kerala after a series of family visits and functions…was a much awaited vacation but didn’t feel like one with the chaos and hectic travel. Adding to the misery, we witnessed heavy showers all through the trip…that’s putting it mildly…though I love rains, the thundershowers and miseries along with it was quite a dampener this time round. But yes, the yummy Kerala food was the super stress-buster. This trip will be long remembered for the many dishes and snacks I feasted on…some of them that I’d not even heard of (gosh! now I want to go back!)

To sum up with a tribute and get over the fever, this post is another specialty of Kerala ….dedicated to all those unsung heroes who have been whipping mouth watering delicacies in quaint kitchens of Kozhikode…this one is called “Pazha Manga Kaalan”. It’s a sweet mango curry with curd and coconut (thankfully, mangoes are still in season). This dish is very simple and is loaded with mixed flavors (sweet and spicy). In Kerala, there’s a mango called “Chandrakaran” (the smallest variety) which is used for this dish.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25-30 minutes
Serves: 2-3

You need:  

 5-6 small ripe mangoes
½ tsp turmeric powder
2tsp red chilli powder
salt to taste
water as required
1 cup grated coconut
1 cup curd (yoghurt)  

½ tsp jeera (cumin)
2 stalks of curry leaves
1tsp coconut oil
a small piece of jaggery (optional, in case the mangoes are not sweet)

For tempering:  
2tbsp coconut oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
2-3 stalks of curry leaves
2 whole red chillies (each broken into two)


 Wash and peel the mangoes 


Cut the mangoes into cubes (do not throw away the seeds)  

Take a wide bowl and add the cubed mango with the seeds, salt, turmeric powder and red chilli powder 


Add water (just to cover the mangoes) and let it cook well (will take about 10-15 minutes). If the mangoes are not very sweet, you can add jaggery at this stage 
Meanwhile grind the coconut, jeera and curd (add very little curd at a time or you’ll not get a smooth paste)
If there’s any curd remaining, just give it one churn in the mixer (or it will start separating once added to the curry)

 Add the ground paste to the boiling mangoes (hmmm…jeera truly adds to the flavour) 

Cook on slow fire and remove when the mixture foams up 

Pour a tsp of coconut oil ad immerse two stalks of curry leaves (enjoy the sweet aroma)

Heat oil in a small skillet and splutter mustard, red chillies and curry leaves. Pour it over the kalan.

Serve mouth watering Pazha Manga Kaalan with piping hot rice and pappadam

I’d also take the opportunity to express my heart-felt gratitude to Kalyani (
) for sharing these lovely awards.

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