Avarakka Thoran

Avarakka: 1/4 kg
Onion: 1 medium diced
Green Chillies: 4-5 sliced
Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp
Salt: as needed
Oil: 1 tbsp
Mustard: 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves: a sprig
Coconut grated: 3/4 cup

Heat oil, splutter mustard and curry leaves.
Add all the ingredients and 1/4 cup (or maybe a little less than that) water, close the lid and let it cook on low flame
(yes, this veggie needs a little water to get cooked or else it will burn if you add only 1 tbsp oil and try to cook it without water.)

Once done, open the lid and let the water evaporate completely. Take off stove
Serve warm with rice.


Fish and Raw Mango curried in Coconut paste (step by step pictures)

Fish: 1/4 kg

Ingredients: 1
Raw Mango: 1 sliced thin
Ginger: 1 inch sliced
Green Chillies: 10 slit

Ingredients 2
Coconut grated: 1 cup
Pearl Onion: 6
Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp
Chilly Powder: 1 tsp
Coriander Powder: 1 tsp
Curry leaves:  2 sprigs
Salt and water: as needed

In a pan, place Ingredients 1, pour some water and cook covered till the mangoes are half done.

Now grind Ingredients 2 properly and add to the half cooked mango mix. Pour enough water and let it come to a boil.

Now add the cleaned fish to it, add required salt, more water and close the lid and let it cook

When done, serve with Kerala rice.


Black Forest for my Son's 8th Birthday

 This is one of my favourite cakes and one of the simplest cakes to bake. But ofcourse theicing/decorating needs patience which I dont have and that can be clearly seen. But whatever, the cake tastes sooooooo yum-o yum!!!!

For the Cake:
Powdered Sugar: 2 cups
Maida/All Purpose Flour: 1 3/4 cups and a tbsp more
Cocoa Powder: 3/4 cup
Baking Powder: 3 tsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Eggs: 2
Milk: 1 cup
Butter: 1/2 cup or 1 stick
Boiling water: 1 cup

For the topping
Whipping cream: 3-4 cups
Canned Cherries: 1 cup
Cherry syrup: as needed
Chocolate Shavings: 1 cup

I used 45% cocoa dark chocolate. You can make the shavings by using a vegetable peeler. just peel the chocolate (which has been kept at room temperature-summer in India). Once you peel, keep it in the fridge, or it will melt....
(For this Blackforest cake, I used Bluebird whipping cream that we get here in India. I whipped the powder with very cold water. The only thing you have to be careful here is never/ overbeat the whipping cream. if u do it, the cream will separate as the fat content is high. and in that case, all u can do is throw away the cream and start fresh... o yes it has happened to me once long back while i was making a tiramisu)
Once you whip the cream, keep it back in the fridge till ready to be used. (Atleast for 15-20 minutes)
Chop a few cherries ad keep aside. Reserve whole cherries too for the topping.
Even the cherries, you get very costly imported stuff and even Indian tinned cherries. Belive me, the Indian ones too tastes as good. But make sure you buy the fresh canned ones and not the dried ones u get in local shops.

Baking the Cake
Preheat oven 180C
Seive the dry ingredients, maida, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and sugar. Mix everything properly.
Add the eggs, milk, butter to it beat it in low speed till everything is well mixed.
Mix in the boiling water and you will get a thin mix.
Grease and flour a cake tin, pour the batter to it and bake till it is done.

For the layering
Cool the cake completely.
Now cut the cake horizontally and you will get two halves (you can even make it 3 cakes, but i did it just once)
On the first half, pour the cherry syrup 
(in case you dont like that cherry syrup, you can boil sugar and water in equal quantities and when it boils, take off fire and let it cool and use it instead of the cherry syrup)
Now spread some of the shipping cream on top pf the bottom layer, place the chopped cherries generously all over it.
On top of it, place the top part of the cake, again pour the cherry or sugar syrup. Again spread the cream generously all over it.
It wont look good, dont worry, just keep it in the fridge for sometime. Keep the rest of the whipped cream also inside.
After an hour or two, take both out and again spread the rest of the whipped cream all over.
Place the whole cherries wherever you want.
Now dab the chocolate curls all over with a spatula or even your clean hands.
Keep it back in the fridge for some more time till ready to be used.


Prawns Pepper Fry

In 2010 May, my Dad, bro and I made a trip to Trivandrum. I had some work there and they both accompanied me. On our way back, we ate at a restaurant and one of the dishes we ordered was Prawns Pepper Fry. It tasted soooooooooooooooooooo good and this is how I recreated it after that trip. This recipe is a regular at my home now.

Prawns; 1/2 kg
Onion; 1 diced
Onion: 1 sliced thin
Garlic: 6 cloves minced
Green Chillies; 5 slit
Pepper Powder: 1.5 - 2 tsp

To marinate the Prawns:
Chilly Powder: 1/4 tsp
Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp

Oil, curry leaves and Salt : as needed

Heat oil in a kadai and fry the green chillies for a minute and then add the garlic.
After a minute add the diced onion and saute till wilted
Add the marinated prawns and let it get cooked.
When it is almost done, add the sliced onions, green chillies and saute everything properly.
Do a taste test and add more salt if needed.
Add pepper, give everything a quick mix and take off fire.