Thursday, 29 April 2010

Chilli Garlic Prawns

Recently we went on an amazing Scotland trip for few days where we visited many places in and around Scotland and tried different cuisine on all days. One among them was a Thai lunch from a Thai restaurant near the Edinburgh Castle called ‘Thai Orchid’. I vaguely remember when I had Thai food before that. At Thai Orchid, we ordered a platter of starters to start with, which included chicken satay with peanut butter dip, Thai omelettes, Thai samosas, and deep fried prawns wrapped in wonton wraps, along with three other dips. They all had certain names in Thai language which I would never remember any ways. For the mains we ordered a seafood Pad thai, chicken Red curry and coconut rice. And Boy, it was finger licking good. The only negative point that I could point out was the amount of oil that was added to each dish.

If you have never eaten Thai, I strongly recommend you should. I have tried creating it at home, but cheated on it using ready-made curry paste. I would try to post the recipe when I try the authentic way rather than the cheat’s way. Thai dishes uses coconut milk immensely in their dishes and it has slight resemblance in taste to our Kerala dishes. Thai dishes are very aromatic as well due to the use of different flavours like lemon grass, galangal, Kaffir limes leaves, basil, Shrimp paste and most importantly fish sauce and coconut milk. I really got hooked to Thai cuisine ever since I had it from Edinburgh and badly wanted to recreate it at home. So started for researching on the net for Thai recipes, came up with many recipes from many sources and Finally I planned to make Thai red curry. When I went over the ingredient list, there were many ingredients that were not at home. Went to the supermarket and found that they dint have many either. So I thought I would cheat on the recipe for the time being by using a ready-made curry paste. So brought home a readymade Thai red curry paste and made a delicious meal consisting of a simple chicken red curry, Thai coconut rice and these Garlic prawns that I posted today. It was really easy to prepare all the dishes. I also tried garlic stir fried in red curry paste which was amazing too. You can find many of Thai cuisines at I was always looking forward to make red curry paste at home, but it never worked until now. May be in future I would be trying it. And you too can create amazing Thai flavours at home.

I also bought a really good book on Chinese-Thai-Indian cuisines and can’t wait to try the dishes out. If you are in the UK, and you have W.H.Smith nearby, Go and grab this Asian book on deal: 400 recipes WOK & STIR FRY. RRP was £14.99 and now down to £2.99. I guess they are clearing them off. It was £5 before that when I purchased a similar book on cake decoration book. The book is really a chunky one and has 512 pages which also includes step by step preparation and pictorial representation of each dish. Below is how the book:

400 Wok and Stir-Fry Recipes: Discover The Delights And Simplicity Of Successful Stir-Fry Cooking With Sensational Classic And Modern Wok Dishes For Every Meal And Every Occasion

Ok, stories apart, when coming to todays recipe, Chilli garlic prawns, as the name indicates is a very simple garlic dish packed with garlicky flavour with a kick from the chilli heat. I prepared these as a side to go with Coconut rice and red curry. The flavour was very good but I guess it will only pair with Thai – Chinese dishes. It went well with Thai coconut rice. This can also be served along side noodles and fried rice.

Chilli Garlic Prawns


250g cleaned Prawns
5 large garlic cloves
4 whole Dried Kashmiri chilli (Reduce if you are using a Hot chilli)
1-2 Tablespoons butter/Vegetable oil
Salt- as required


1. Heat a sauce pan and add butter. When melted, add chopped dries chillies and garlic and sauté till garlic goes soft.

2. Add prawns and required amount of salt; Cook for around 10 minutes or until done. This dish will pair well with noodles, fried rice etc..

Note: Too much of cooking will make the prawns hard, so check in between and if the prawns turn juicy and soft, that should be done. Cooking time may depend on the heat and medium of saucepan used.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Malabar Style Pepper Mutton Curry in two ways.

This curry is one that my mom prepares at home quite often whenever she gets hold of some mutton/goat meat. I love it when she prepares it, she makes them to go with the famous Malabar Neypathal, chappathi or sometimes Malabar Porotta. She prepares one of the best porottas at home. I have said it a zillion times here, but I can’t stop saying it; My mom is one of the best cooks and I just love her food. It’s not only my opinion, but anyone else who ever had her food. I don’t know if I will ever be able to create her taste in my kitchen, but I do try hard to bring that taste. Even if I cook exactly like her, and even under her guidance, I feel something is missing.

Not only my mom, my younger sis ‘Sham’ is also a great cook. One thing that never stops amazing me about her is that even if she doesn’t eat fish, she prepares one of the best fish curries! I don’t know how she does it without even tasting it. When I asked her that question, all she told me that she watched our mom cooking and cooks exactly like her! I sometimes call her to clarify the recipes because she was the one who learned all recipes from my mom exactly. I was also told by few of my family members who got a chance to eat her food; that her food is real tasty! This is one recipe that I called her up to clarify before sharing with you here.

Coming to the recipe part now, as I mentioned in the title, this curry can be prepared in two ways: One is by adding the roasted coconut and spices to the gravy, giving it a rich aroma of coconut and blended spices. That’s is pepper mutton in roasted coconut gravy. The other one is a simpler version without the hassle of adding the coconut – simple pepper mutton. This curry will be quite darker in colour since there is no coconut involved and is much easier since no grinding or anything is involved. Its tastier either ways, but adding freshly ground spices and coconut gives the curry an entirely different taste.

520g mutton/lamb
240 g onion chopped (1 ½ large onion, 1 ½ cups)
160g tomatoes chopped (1 ½ large ones, ¾ cup)
1 tbsp minced garlic
½- ¾ tbsp minced ginger
3-4 tsp pepper powder
4 tsp lightly roasted coriander powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1-4 green chillies split lengthwise (opt out if you like it less spicy)
1/3 cup water or as required
Salt - as required
2-3 Tbsp coconut oil/vegetable oil
2 twigs curry leaves

To roast and grind:
½ cup freshly grated coconut tightly packed
2 cardamoms
2-3 cloves
1 small piece cinnamon stick
¼ tsp fennel seeds (perumjeerakam)
1 – 1 ¼ cups water


1.Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add chopped onion and salt. Saute on medium flame until it becomes soft and starts taking golden colour.

2. Add ginger,garlic and green chillies and sauté for a minute or two until the raw smell goes away.

3. Add pepper powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder and sauté for 2 minutes. If the masala starts sticking to the pan, add few drops of water and continue cooking.

4. Add chopped tomatoes, cover the pan and cook till tomatoes gets mushy and all oil starts leaving the sides.

5. Add washed mutton pieces, stir well. Add water and pressure cook till done. If mutton has released lot of water, boil of excess water until you get thick gravy.

6.In another pan, add coconut and other whole spices. Saute on medium flame stirring constantly until coconut turns golden colour. Grind this into smooth paste by adding required amount of water.

7. Add this coconut paste along with curry leaves to the mutton curry cooked earlier and cook for further 4-5 minutes.

8. If you don’t want the coconut based curry, after step 5, just add curry leaves and ½ tsp of garam masala and some water if necessary. Cook it covered for 2-3 minutes to infuse flavour.

This curry pairs well with almost anything including neypathal, paratta, chappathi, pooris, ghee rice and even plain rice.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Low-fat Banana Bread

As I have mentioned in my previous version of banana bread which contained nuts and spices, this one is even a simpler one; a no nuts - no spice version and a cake with full of banana goodness in it. By the way, even if it says banana bread, it's texture and taste is just like that of a cake and not a bread. This recipe is also a low fat one compared to other banana breads around , using only 4 tablespoon of oil than many other cakes! It still was very moist due to mashed bananas in it. I gave half of the bread to my neighbour the day I baked them and they shared it with their guests. She told me all of them liked it and took the recipe from me. So, I share that same recipe here as well. In case you have some bananas lying in the corner crying for help, this fool-proof recipe would sure come handy.

Simple Banana Bread
1 ¾ cup (250g) all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
¾ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup (4 Tbsp) vegetable oil
5 Large bananas mashed (1¾ cups)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten with whisk
2 tsp vanilla extract/essence
1 lemon’s rind


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place oven rack to middle position. Cover the base and the longer side of a 1 kg loaf pan with a baking paper. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. In a medium-sized bowl combine the mashed bananas, grated lemon rind, eggs, oil and vanilla. Mix well with a spoon.

4. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, lightly fold the wet ingredients (banana mixture) into the dry ingredients just until combined and the batter is thick. (The important thing is not to over mix the batter. You do not want it smooth. Over mixing the batter will yield tough, rubbery bread). Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake until bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 60 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool and then remove the bread from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. This bread can be frozen.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Dark Chocolate Mousse - a Chocolate Lovers Heaven!

If you are a regular visitor of my blog, you would have noticed a chocolate mousse before. It is almost the same recipe, but I slightly modified the ingredients and changed the method of preparation to an easier one. Took some better pics than the previous one and so thought of reposting it. I made this again quite a long back and thought will repost again replacing the old post. It was one of the desserts that I perfected over time. Chocolate mousse is one luxurious dessert of a kind. I first time had chocolate mousse during my college days and loved it. But when I made it at home, I just realized how easy it was to prepare at home and we can even give better flavourings as well. This is a simple and an elegant desert and something that feels real light. There are eggless versions of mousse around, but mine contains raw eggs. Don’t be put off by that. You wont even know that there are eggs in it because it doesn’t give any feel or taste of egg. You won’t even know there are eggs in it until somebody tells you it has! And the chocolate flavour is so strong that it will contradict any egg-y affair. Since the main ingredient calls for chocolate, use the best chocolate you can get hold off.

As you can see, this dessert is a simple one, but if you don’t do it properly, it can affect the texture intensively. Whipping of egg whites is one important factor. When you whip egg whites, you must make sure that the bowl you use for whipping the eggs is grease-free and is squeaky clean. All these will affect the volume of the whipped egg whites. Also make sure that there is no yolk in the egg whites when you separate them. If there is even a teeny bit of yolk in the whites, you can’t whip the whites properly. In this recipe, egg whites are whipped into soft peaks; that is when you lift up the egg whisker after whipping, you should get a wobbly peak at the end of the whisk rather than stiff peaks; something like froth that you get when you shampoo your hair:)(Don’t know if that’s a good example though). This mousse can also be made with milk chocolate, but make sure you reduce the amount of sugar because the chocolate would be sweet already unlike the bittersweet ones.

Other flavours you may try: You may add 1 Tbsp orange rind while scalding the cream to give a subtle orange flavour. I have never tried this, Just because I make all these kind of simple desserts in a jiffy and in hurry and nothing comes in mind at the time. Only when the pudding sets, I would think, Oh! I should have added that and this and so on. But this is one that I am looking forward to try, since orange and chocolate is a heavenly combination. You can also try adding 1 teaspoon of coffee or espresso granules to the hot cream and mix it to give another lovely intense coffee flavour to the mousse.

Before I get in to the recipe, if you are a fan of Malabari cuisine and you are in Toronto, Canada, there is a Malabar restaurant situated in the heart of Toronto, which is one and the only one Malabar restaurant there. You can treat yourself and your loved ones with rich and yummy Malabari food. They also condust an yearly Malabar Food festival where they display an array of Malabar delicasies. Details of their restaurant and more can be found at its homepage Maroli and their blog.

This post goes for 'Thanda Mela' Thanda Mela Event hosted by Srivalli of Cooking 4 all Seasons.

Dark Chocolate mousse:
Serves 6

150 gm Dark chocolate (72% cocoa)

150 mls double cream

1/3 cup sugar (Taste and add more or less as required)

2 – 3 large eggs, separated (I sometimes add 2 and sometimes 3.)


1. Heat cream in a bowl until scalding point, i.e. until you start seeing the bubbles appearing on surface, but not boil.(I heated it in the microwave)

2. While the cream is being heated, cut the chocolate into small pieces. When the creamhas reached scalding point, add the chocolate pieces. Let it stand for couple of minutes. Stir well until all the chocolate pieces have melted and the mixture is smooth. If at all chocolate din’t melt completely, place the chocolate and cream mixture on a double boiler and heat till all the lumps have melted completely. Alternately you can heat the cream along with the chocoltae in the double boiler or even microwave. If your are doing this way make sure you keep stirring in between and make sure not to burn the chocolate bits.

3. Add sugar and stir well with a spoon until you get a thick glossy mixture.

4. While still warm (but not hot), add the egg yolks and stir well until combined. Keep it aside.

5. In a clean and spotless dish, whip up the egg whites until soft peaks.

6. Add little of the whipped egg whites to the chocolate mixture and fold gently to loosen the mixture.

7. Add the rest of egg whites and gently fold without knocking out the air. (Folding slowly is very important because if you mix it thoroughly, you will knock out all the bubbles in the mousse and ends up in a chocolate cream rather than airy mousse.)

8. Serve in a small individual ramekins or dessert bowls and cover with cling film, if you don’t like the thick film forming on top.

8. For serving: You can whip up some cream and spoon on the mousse and sprinkle cocoa, or add some chocolate shavings sprinkled with icing sugar. Here I stewed few strawberries with some sugar and little corn flour and sprinkled icing sugar.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Beef Ularthiyathu and a Set of Awards!

I am a core fan of beef meat even though I don’t prepare many dishes with it. Back home, we normally have very few dishes with beef like Aana pathal with beef gravy, Beef porichathu to go with Malabar pathiri (a famous rice roti from Malabar region) which is a unique and popular combination, irachi ada or beef samosas and a simple beef curry. My favourite has always been the beef porichathu or the beef fry, the recipe of which I will post as I prepare it. Here is a simple yet an interesting recipe for beef; does not belong to Malabar, but quite a common preparation found in the central and southern part of Kerala. The curry is strongly flavoured with the spices and is much different from the Malabar recipes. The recipe is quite similar to my Mutton ularthiyathu recipe, but I played around by shuffling a bit with the ingredients.


500g Beef cut into required size, small or big as preferred.

For marinade:

1 ½ Tbsp lightly roasted coriander powder

½ Tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder

1 tbsp minced ginger

5 large flakes of garlic, grated (1 heaped Tbsp)

¼ tsp turmeric powder

Salt – as required

To roast and grind:

1 – 1 ½ tsp fennel seeds

3 cloves

3 cardamoms

2 small pieces of cinnamon sticks of 1 inch length

1 tsp pepper corns


1 ½ cup sliced shallots (1 used ¾ cup onion and ¾ cup shallots)

1 large tomato

¼ - 1/3 cup sliced coconut (Thengkkothu)

3 twig curry leaves

3 Tbsp coconut oil (Vegetable oil may be substituted)

Salt-as required


1.Wash the beef well, marinate with ground coriander, Kashmiri Chilli powder, turmeric powder, ginger, garlic and salt for half an hour.

2. Heat a pressure cooker, add this marinated beef and cook on low- medium heat making sure not to burn the meat. When it is well cooked, turn off the heat. If there is lot of liquid released from the meat, turn the heat up and boil off the excess water until the meat is smothered in thick gravy.

3. In another sauce pan/frying pan, heat oil. Add sliced shallots, little salt and sliced coconut and sauté on medium heat until onions starts turning golden colour. (It may take around 15-20 minutes on medium heat, but it may vary on the pan and medium of heat used).

4. At this stage, add the gravy smothered meat, tomato,2 twigs of curry leaves and powdered spices leaving ½ teaspoon behind for the final sprinkling and mix well. Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes on low flame until it gets really thick. Keep sautéing until the curry is quite dry and starts taking a light blackish/dark brown colour.

5. Sprinkle the rest of spices and 1 twig of curry leaves and mix well.

This curry tastes better the next day, so you may prepare it ahead of time if you are preparing for any parties. Garnish with chopped coriander and sliced coconut. Can be served as a side dish for rice, chappathi, porotta, pathiris etc.

This post also comes with a set of awards from two of my fellow bloggers. Food lovers had shared this sunshine award. Thanks you dear.Another set of award including sunshine award is shared by Ayesha of lifetoday. Thanks u Ayesha.

The award also comes with a bunch of questions to write about yourself. I have done that part sometime back and yoou can see that here.
I would like to pass on these awards to the following fabulous bloggers:
Sarah of Vazhayila
Gulmohar of Collaborative curry
Divya Kudua of Divyascookbook
Maria of Mariasmenu
Nithya of 4thsensecooking.
Tina of  Kaipunyam
Parita of Paritasworld
Sailaja of Sailaja kitchen.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Orangey Palmiers and a Note of Thanks!

Palmiers or elephant ears are crunchy and flaky French pastries. These are made of simple readymade puff pastry sheets, rolled and sprinkled with sugar and then baked after slicing them to required thickness of your choice.These are just a breeze to make and tastes simply yum. As you see, it requires just 2-3 ingredients and varies what you like to flavour it with, savoury or sweet. Recently these heart shaped cookies were cooking on few blogs when I kept an eye on it just because of its simplicity. I made an unusual twist by adding the orange rind which gave it a zesty boost. You may simply make the original version by omitting the zest and using just plain sugar. The savory ones would make a lovely appetiser for large parties since it is so easy to make and will taste good.

Other variation that you may try instead of orange zest and sugar (I haven’t tried yet though):

1. Substituting orange zest by equal amount of lemon zest.

2. Sprinkling a bit if cinnamon instead of orange zest to get a lovely cinnamon flavour

3. Sprinkling cocoa along with sugar.

4. Sprinkling 3- 4 tbsp of grated parmesan to make a savory version.

5. Sprinkling ground nuts of your choice and sugar - (This sounds quite yummy.)

6. Spreading a thin layer of nutella.

7. A light spread of pesto..etc..

I came across some of the above on many sites, so you may try your versions or leaving it simply plain, just by adding sugar alone.
Here, I have used unrolled puff pastry which you need to roll. You can use the ready rolled pastry which makes the job even more easier, i.e you don’t have to roll the pastry if you are using the ready rolled ones and you can follow the same method given here.


1 block of unrolled puff pastry (375g); (I used Jus-rol Puff pastry)

4 Tbsp granulated sugar + 2 ½ Tbsp for coating

2 tbsp finely grates zest of orange (A large orange’s rind)


1. Thaw the puff pastry block as per the packet instruction. But make sure that the pastry is cold when you roll it; for the ease of rolling, without the pastry sticking to the rolling pin. (Mine was not really cold so i had a bit of trouble rolling the pastry.)

2. On a clean work top, sprinkle 2 tbsp of sugar. Place the block of puff pastry on the sugar. Start rolling the pastry until you get a large rectangle.

3. Sprinkle another 2 tbsp of sugar all over and rub with hand to uniformly distribute it. Sprinkle the orange rind all over.

4. Now, make a marker on the centre of the rolled pastry. A light depression with your finger or a knife will do. Start rolling the pastry from the longer side until it reaches the centre of the pastry, where you have marked it. Roll the other longer side in the same manner until it reaches the centre of the pastry where it meets the other rolled end. When both rolled ends are next to each other, bring the one rolled side over the other. (See the pictorial representation). Press gently to stick the rolls together.

5. Cut the pastry into ¾ inch pieces and chill if for ½ an hour in the refrigerator. You will get about 20 – 24 pieces. Dip each sliced pastry in sugar (It will need around 2 ½ Tbs of sugar for coating.) until it is completely coated in sugar and place the sugar coated pastry on a cookie sheet lined with grease-proof paper, cut side facing down.

6. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Bake it in the centre of oven for about 15 minutes until the bottom part is golden brown. Flip all the palmiers with a spatula, bake for another 5-7 minutes until golden. serve with tea.


The note of thanks that I mentioned in the title was thanking my dearest friend Shabna, lovingly known as Shabbu. She also hails from the malabar region and She is one of the gifted freinds that I received through blogging. Shabbu is my regular reader, one of my strong inspirations and a sisterly friend. Shabbu is a non-blogger but She regularly tries my recipes, gives me feedback and sends me the pictures after she makes them. I have to apologize, she had sent me these pictures very long back and its a shame that it took me so long to post it up here. There were times when I just thought of dropping blogging and it was shabbu who kept encouraging me to keep going. Thank you shabbu and Sorry it took me so long to post your pics. Here are few of the foods she prepared from my blog:

Malabar Chicken curry

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