Meen Peera Pattichathu

Meen Peera. How do I describe it? This definitely is one of my favourite fish preparation and as my mom says, just the smell of this fish cooking is enough for a perfectly satisfactory lunch. If there is Meen Peera for lunch, I dont want any other side dish. It will be just rice and fish. Wow, simple pleasures of life!!!

Cleaned Anchovies: 500 gms
Kodum Puli (Gambooge)- 3
Curry leaves: 3 sprigs
Mustard: 1 tsp
Coconut oil: 2 tbsp
Turmeric Powder: 1/2 tsp

To Grind
Shallots: 6
Ginger: 1 inch
Green Chillies: 6 (adjust to your tolerance level
(I use a lot of Kanthari for this preparation)
Coconut grated: 1.5 cups

Pulse the To Grind ingredients just once in your mixie. (Chatachhe edukkuka)
Clean the Gambooge/Kudam puli and keep aside.
In a Kadai or :Meen Chatti" heat the oil and splutter mustard and 1 sprig curry leaf.
Now on low flame, add the ground coconut paste, required salt and the rest of the curry leaves.
After a minute, add the cleaned fish and mix everything together.
You can add a little water  (1/4 cup)to it.
Close the lid and let it cook on low flame.
Stir in between.
Serve warm with rice.


Sardine curry without oil

This is an easy curry for the health conscious.

Sardine Fish: 8
Kodam Puli/Gambooge- 2
Water and Salt; as required
To Grind:
Tomato: 1 small
Shallots: a handful
Coriander Powder: 1 tsp
Turmeric  Powder; 1/2 tsp
Chilly Powder:2 tbsp
Garlic cloves: 6-7
Ginger: 1 inch

Crush all the ingredients in the "To Grind" in your mixie.
Mix it with the Fish.
Add salt, Curry leaves, required water
Cook till done on medium flame.
Serve with rice.


Pepper Sev

Christmas is round the corner and Iam permanently in the kitchen from the past few days. I already baked cakes, made lots of snacks (which unfortunately is getting over and I seriously doubt if any of it will last till Christmas). Most of what I made is sweets- Cakes, Nankhatai, Diamond cuts, Butter Murukku (tho this one is not sweet, its not spicy either!!!). So while I was having my Garam Chai yesterday evening, I suddenly craved for something spicy which took me back to my Chennai days. There was a sweet and snack shop very near to where I lived. The Pepper Sev they sell are just so perfect for a cold evening to go with your masala Chai. aaa... In a minute, I was up from the chair and in the kitchen. So this is how I made it and my hubby gave me full marks!!!!! :)))
(Ive posted the normal sev recipe before, but this one is really spicy and tastes different and better coz of the rice flour and Urad dal flour)

Besan/Bengal Gram Flour: 1.5 cups
Rice Flour: 3/4 cup
Urad Dal Flour: 3 tbsp
Pepper Coarsely ground: 1.25 tbsp
Butter: 2 tbsp
Asafoetida: 1/4 tsp
Garlic Powder: 3/4 tbsp
Water: enough to make a dough
Salt: as required
Oil: to deep fry

Let the butter come to room temperature.
Mix all the ingredients and make a smooth dough.
Heat oil in a kadai.
Fit the Idiyappam maker with the plate that has big holes on it
(not the plate with which we make Idiyappam, but the bigger one)
Press the dough out of the mould directly into the oil.
Make sure the flame is medium.
Turn over once.
Fry till brown and crisp (the vigorous bubbling will stop when it is done.)
Drain on an absorbant paper.
Once cool, store it in airtight container.


Beef Biriyani/ Minced Meat Biriyani

This one is again my mom-in-law's recipe. My hubby and his brothers call it Kalipeeru Biriyani. Even Mom calls it that. Very easy to make and really tasty too.

Im giving a step by step pic of how it is made. Dont get fooled by the pics... the step pics were taken when this was made for 12 people, thats why it looks huge. The recipe measurement Iam gonna give is for a family of four. So over to the recipe.

Beef: 250 gms

Wash the meat. Mix it with a tsp of pepper powder and tsp of salt.
Add required water and pressure cook till done.
(After the first whistle, I lower the flame and cook for 20 minutes.)
Once it cools, take the meat out and mince it in your processor.
Reserve the stock to cook the Biriyani.

Oil: 3 tbsp
Cinnamon: 1 stick
Cloves: 3
Onion: 2 medium sliced
Tomato: 1 large chopped
Ginger Garlic paste: 1 heaped tbsp
Green chillies: 2 slit (adjust to your tolerance level)
Coriander powder: 1 tsp
Garam Masala Powder: 1/2 tsp
Chilly Powder: 1/2 tsp
(instead of the above three ingredients, you can use 1 heaped tsp of meat masala, Saras or Eastern)
Turmeric Powder: 1/2 tsp
Coriander Leaves chopped: 4 tbsp
Minced Beef: 2 cups
Basmati Rice: 2 cups

Wash and soak the Basmati rice in water for 15 minutes.
Heat oil. Add the cinnamon and cloves. After a few seconds, throw in the onions and green chillies.
Saute till it is slightly brown. Make sure it browns uniformly.

Now add the ginger garlic paste and saute for a few minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes and cook till it is all mashed up and oil separates.
Then add the masalas and saute for a few minutes on low flame.

Add the minced beef and let everything get mixed properly.
Add the coriander leaves and mix well.

Pour 3 cups water (measure the stock from cooking beef and add water to it to make it 3 cups)
 and the two cups drained basmati rice, required salt. and transfer it into a pressure cooker.
Close the lid and when the steam starts coming out steadily, put the weight and wait for 20 seconds.
Turn off the stove and leave the Kitchen immediately.
Come back after 20 minutes and open the pressure cooker. By this time, the pressure would have been released fully and your rice would have cooked to perfection.
Serve warm with raitha, pickles and Papad.


Bitter Gourd/Pavakka Thoran

Uniquely bitter yet wonderfully tasty!! Oxymoron??
Well, if you use pavakka in theeyal, Aviyal etc, ofcourse, it will be bitter. But try this thoran once, and your idea of bitter gourd will completely change. I love this thoran and it could be the onion and grated coconut thats responsible for the enhanced taste.

Bitter Gourd: 1
Coconut grated: 1/2 cup
Green Chillies chopped: 3
Onion: 1 medium chopped
Turmeric Powder: a pinch
Curry leaves: a sprig
Mustard: 1/2 tsp
Coconut oil: 1 tbsp
Salt: as required

Finely chop the bitter gourd like in the picture. (somewhere in between chopping and grating)
In a kadai, heat oil, splutter mustard.
Throw in the onions, green chillies and curry leaves.
Saute for 2 minutes on low flame and then add the finely chopped bitter gourd, coconut, turmeric powder and salt.
Mix everything properly, sprinkle water and cook on low flame with the lid on.
After a few minutes, stir again and cook closed till done.
Serve with rice.


Oven Roasted Chenna

This is one snack I associate with train journeys. In Tamil Nadu this is called "time pass" and we get this in every shop from the road side cigarette joint to the biggest supermarket. It is usually roasted in a skillet but here Ive Oven roasted it.
Chickpeas/Chenna: 1 cup
Garlic: 3 cloves sliced
Chilly Powder: 1 tsp or as required
Cumin Powder: 1/2 tsp
Oil: 1 tbsp
Salt: as required

1.Wash and soak the Chickpeas/chenna overnight.Drain.
2.Cook by adding two cups water in a pressure cooker on high flame for five whistles.
(the chenna should be immersed completely and then add a cup more of water)
3.When the pressure has been released completely, take the chenna out and drain in a colander.
4.Now mix the chenna with salt, oil, garlic and chilly powder.
5.Preheat your oven to 220 C
6.Line your baking tray with aluminium foil and transfer the chickpeas to it
7.Bake for 40 minutes stirring in between.
(oven temperatures vary, so keep an eye after 25 minutes)
8.Once done, leave it like that for sometime till it cools down a bit

Crunchy, guilt free, protein rich snack is ready!!!!!

Note: If you are using canned chickpeas, drain, wash and then continue from instruction 4. (no need to cook it)
You can follow the same recipe for green peas as well. I usually buy the frozen green peas and follow from instruction 4.


Mont Blanc

This is a quick and convenient breakfast which my kids simply adore. I got this recipe from Fatafeat.

Egg whites: 2
Egg yolks: 2
Salt and Pepper: as needed
Cheese Slices: 2
Butter: 1 tbsp
White Bread: 2 slices

Add salt and pepper to the egg whites and whisk till it reaches the soft peak stage. Refer the pic below. At this stage, the egg whites hold the shape and will not fall off from the spoon.
Preheat oven.

Grease your baking tray with the butter. Place the bread slices and layer it with a slice of cheese.
Spoon half of the whites on top of the cheese like a heap.

Slip the egg yolk on to the top (make a small hole with a spoon and then do it)
Bake it on 180 C for 15 minutes.
Serve Warm

Caramel Pudding topped with Praline

Ive taken this classic dessert (caramel pudding) and gave it a twist to make it even better (praline topping).

For the Caramel:
Sugar: 100 gm
Water: 1 tbsp
Hot water: 1/4 cup

Heat the sugar and 1 tbsp water till golden brown. Do not stir, only swirl the pan.
When gloden brown, add the hot water and turn off the stove.
Pour this onto a pudding mould and keep aside for steaming.

For the pudding:
Milk: 250 ml
Sugar: 100 gm
Eggs: 3

Whisk the eggs, add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
Pour it over the caramel on the pudding mould.
In a steamer, fill water, Place the pudding mould on a dish, make sure it doesnt touch the water.
Close and stem for 20 minutes.
Take out and keep in the fridge.

After an hour or two, take it out of the fridge and slide the pudding onto a plate.
Now we go on to do the praline topping.

Sugar : 1 cup
Toasted Cashewnuts: 1 cup
Water: 2 tbsp

Lightly brush aluminium foil with a little oil
In a thick bottomed pan, heat the sugar with water till it turns brown in colour.
 Swirl the pan so that it browns uniformly.
When it reaches a beautiful brown colour, turn off the stove, add the cashewnuts and immediately pour it onto the aluminium foil (thin layer like in the picture)
When it cools, crush it and then pulse it in a food processor.
Top the caramel pudding with praline


Fried Prawns in Orange based sauce

This is my hubby's recipe. I was a little apprehensive when I saw him adding orange juice to make the sauce. But believe me, it tasted soooo goood that it got over within minutes of making. All four of us (hubby, me and kids) are big fans of this preparation. This recipe was born from watching a cookery show that used orange juice as the base for the sauce for a meat preparation.

Prawns: 500 gm
Egg Whites: 2
Salt : as needed
White Sesame Seeds: 11/2 tsp
Corn Starch: 3 tbsp
Oil: For deep frying

Devein the prawns. Whisk the egg whites.  Add salt, sesame seeds and Corn Starch.
Mix everything properly.
Dip the prawns in this batter and deep fry. Keep aside.

For the sauce

Orange Juice: 250 ml
Pepper: 1 tsp
Soya Sauce: 2 tsp
Garlic Minced: 1 tbsp
Ginger Minced: 1 tbsp
Sugar: 1 heaped tsp
Spring onion: for garnsih

In a kadai, mix all the ingredients for the sauce and let it boil.
Lower the flame and let it simmer till the sauce reduces a bit.
Pour this over the fried prawns and serve warm as an appetizer.


Achanga Payar (string beans) Thoran

A very tasty variety of beans-string beans, fresh and ready for eating :) . This is my mom's backyard and when Iam there, I never have to worry about what chemicals went into growing them!!!!

 Even if you are someone who doesnt like vegetables, this one will change your whole outlook. I love Achanga stir fry and also thoran.

String Beans (Achanga Payar) - a handful
Coconut grated: 1/2 cup
Green Chillies slit: 3
Onion: 1/2 chopped
Turmeric Powder: a pinch
Curry leaves: a sprig
Mustard: 1/2 tsp
Coconut oil: 1 tbsp
Salt: as required

Slice the string beans round.
In a kadai, heat oil, splutter mustard.
Throw in the onions, green chillies and curry leaves.
Saute for 2 minutes on low flame and then add the beans, coconut, turmeric powder and salt.
Mix everything properly and cook on low flame with the lid on.
After a few minutes, stir again and cook closed till done.
Serve with rice.


Uzhunnu Vada/ Medu Vada/ Urud Dal Vada

I absolutely love this...  I can have this for every single meal from breakfast through dinner!!!.. But no, I dont do it coz If I did, I would be very famous in the neighbourhood for the lady with the jiggliest arms!!! Unlike Parippu Vada (although deep fried isnt greasy) this is really greasy!!!

Urud Dal: 2 cups
Shallots Chopped: a handful (8-10)
Ginger: 1 tsp minced
Green Chillies: 2 chopped
Pepper: 5 crushed
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Salt: as needed
Oil: for deep frying
Soda Bi carbonate: 1 tsp
Soak the Urud Dal in water for 2- 3  hours.
Grind it without adding water.
Pulse the shallots, ginger, curryleaves, pepper and green chillies just once and add to the urud dal batter.
Add required salt and mix well.
Heat oil.
Wet your palms, scoop a ball from the batter, flatten it and make a hole in the centre.
Drop it in oil and fry till golden brown.
Serve with coconut chutney.

Ethakka Appam/ Banana Fritters/ Pazham pori

Can anyone say NO to this?
 If youve never heard of it before, you might be skeptical, a fruit batter fried???? well, yes, the recipe might not look convincing to the calorie conscious---All purpose flour, deep fried fruit.... ah!!!! but believe me,its worth a try atleast once in your life. This is a "staple" :) where I come from and you are sure to get it anywhere and everywhere in Kerala... tea shops, railway stations, the pantry in trains, hospital canteens, hostel mess, restaurants, bakeries, well you name it!!!!

Plantain /Etthapazham/ Nenthra Pazham - 2 (riper the better)
Maida/All Purpose Flour; 1 cup
Water: 3/4 cup
Salt: a pinch
Sugar: 1 tbsp
Black sesame: 1 tsp
Coconut Oil: for deep frying
(pls use only coconut oil, for best results)

Mix the flour, sesame seeds, sugar and salt in a bowl.
Now pour the water and make a batter, the consistency of dosa batter.
Quarter the nenthrapazham and slice each quarter in to thin pieces( about 3 to 4 pieces) like in the picture below.

Coat the plantain pieces in the maida batter and deep fry in oil.
Drain it on absorbant paper and serve with tea.


Munthiri Kothu (Moong Dal balls)

I always associate Munthiri Kothu with the Christmas season. That was when Mom and Ammachy used to make this in large quantities. This is how my mom makes it. I know there is another version with rice also as an ingredient. But this version has only jaggery and Moong dal as the main ingredients.

Moong Dal: 2 cups
Jaggery: 400 gms
Cardamom Powder: 1 tbsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Maida/All Purpose Flour: 1.5 cups
Water to make the Maida batter
Oil: for deep frying.

Dry roast the moong dal on medium flame
When it becomes this colour as in the picture below, take off fire.
Let it cool and then coarsely grind it in your dry grinder. Keep it aside.
Melt the jaggery by adding one cup of water. Strain it and again bring to boil.
Now add the cardamom powder and the ground dal. When mixed properly, take off fire.
When it is still warm (not necessarily hot) make small balls out of it and keep aside.
Mix the maida with enough water to get a batter. (consistency of dosa batter)
Dip each ball in the batter and deep fry in oil.
You can store it in airtight containers and have it with your tea.