Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Grilled Fish (Karimeen/Pearlspot)

I hope everybody had a wonderful Easter with family and friends. If someone asks me which fish I like most, I would shout out karimeen/pearspot at the top of my is that one fish we the people of Kottayam relish.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Indri Appam and Paal/Passover Unleavened Bread

how to make indari appam - indri appam - pesaha appam for maundy thursday

Easter is just around the corner and since we are observing Lent ....which makes Easter extra special. Indri appam is a bread made only on Maundy Thursday. It is made with urad dal, rice flour, coconut, jeera, onion or shallots, garlic, and salt. Appam is steamed in a steamer or appachembu. Paal is made with jaggery and coconut milk spiced with dry ginger, black sesame seeds, and jeera. Appam is had dipped in Paal. In our Knanaya community, the making of this bread is a special ceremony and is prepared with much respect and care. The palm leaf, which we get from church on Palm Sunday is placed on the bread in the form of cross before steaming it. This bread/appam and the paal is only made on Maundy Thursday. This is cut by the head of the family on Maundy Thursday evening and distributed among other family members to commemorate the Last Supper.

This appam is not fermented. This appam and paal is only made on Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday.

Recipe Source: My amma.
For the Appam:
Urad dal: 1/2 cup, soak for half an hour.
Coconut: 1, grated.(Keep aside the coconut water).
Jeera: 1 tsp.
Shallots: 5 or 6 (can use half an onion also).
Garlic: 3 or 4 cloves.
Roasted rice flour: 2 cups.
Salt: 1 tsp.

1. Rub coconut water and salt into the rice flour till it resembles breadcrumbs.

2. In your grinder, put in the soaked urad dal, coconut gratings, jeera, shallots, and garlic cloves.

3. Grind all this together with little water.

4. Put the flour into this and mix well.

5. Rub with your hands just in case there are lumps.....this batter should be that of idily batter consistency....thick batter.

6. Pour into a well greased steaming tin or pan. Place the palm leaf in the shape of a cross.

7. Put this into hot appachembu or steamer and let is steam for 15 to 20 min...pls remember to put the fire on low once steam comes. The rest I made on banana leaves.

For the Paal:
Jaggery: 500 gms.
Dry ginger: 1 small piece, crushed.
Jeera: 1/2 tsp.
Black sesame seeds: 1 tbsp.
Coconut Milk: 1 cup first milk and 2 cups second milk.
Roasted rice powder: 1 to 2 tbsp.

1. Melt the jaggery with little water and strain it into another pan. Pour the second coconut milk into the strained jaggery along with the sesame seeds, jeera, and crushed dry ginger. Put in the palm leaf. Let it boil and simmer for another 15 to 20 tends to spill if put on high flame.

2. Mix the rice flour with the first coconut milk and pour it into this. Let it simmer until it thickens. Switch off fire and serve it with indri appam.

Wishing all my friends a blessed Passover!!!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cappuccino Muffins.....step-by-step pics.

With Easter just around the corner, seasonal sweets are filling up the bakeries.....I actually made this addictive cappuccino muffins half a dozen times is quick and easy to need to powder sugar or bring butter to room temperature.....and just one egg!!! and the surprise!!  it is filled with ooey gooey chocolate chips....hmm coffee and chocolate.....HEAVEN!!! will be gifted with 12 pillow-soft coffee flavored-melted chocolate filled muffins....perfect for your Easter weekend.

Now why did I picture it beside son, Cheriyan was so addicted to these kids channels: Pogo, Cartoon Network, Jetix etc etc....since school closed for summer vacations he has been hooked on one night without anyone knowing I fine tuned all the kids channel into the place of other, the next day when Cherry came to watch his fav programs he could'nt find any...and he blamed it on satellite error :)....anyways after that I could get him out of the house....mornings Nidhi and Cherry will ride their bicycles.....and slowly I started introducing him to comics....Good old comics !!! which I used  to devour in the with no TV Cherry had plenty of time (he was not interested in any other channel) we both pulled out old comics.....and he was so engrossed in Mickey, Donald, Phantom, Mandrake....that he really started enjoying them....and guess what when I was making these muffins...I saw some drawings on the table......apparently Cherry drew them........and I was surprised and happy that I could bring out his hidden talent.....and glad that I could get him out of the house and away from the idiot box.

Now about the muffins, I dedicate this to all the coffee lovers.....and this one holds a special place in my kitchen because.....this is the first muffin/bake.....which Nidhi has whenever she gets that mood to make something.....she bakes this....all by herself......she is waiting for school to she can show off her baking skills to her friends at school.

Recipe Source: The Pioneer Woman.

I tweaked the orginal recipe a had only 1/4 cup of melted margarine, I increased it to 1/2 cup.
UPDATE: Dec 6, 2011: Add 1 tsp cocoa powder and 1 tsp coffee powder to get a more chocolatey taste.
Instant coffee:  2 tsp, I used Nescafe.
Warm milk: 1/2 cup.
Melted butter or margarine: 1/2 cup, I used veg shortening (Dalda).
Egg: 1 whole.
Vanilla essence: 1 tsp.
Flour: 1 cup.
Sugar: 1/2 cup.
Baking powder: 1 1/2 tsp.
Cinnamon powder: 1 tsp (optional, I dint use).
Salt: 1/2 tsp.
Chocolate chips: 1 cup.

1. Warm 1/2 cup milk, dissolve 2 tsp of instant coffee powder and mix well.

2. Lightly beat 1 egg, keep aside.  Melt 1/2 cup butter or margarine, add 1/2 cup sugar and mix well. Now add the beaten egg, vanilla essence, and coffee-milk mixture. Whisk lightly.

3. In a separate bowl whisk together 1 cup flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, and cinnamon powder (if using). Dunk this into the wet mixture.

4. Mix together your arms here ladies :).Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips and mix well again. If the batter is very thick can add 2 or 3 tbsp of milk.

5. Grease or line your muffin tins with paper liners. Fill the muffin cups 2/3 full with batter and sprinkle some more chocolate chips. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 to 25 min.

6. Cool completely.

Enjoy the goodness of coffee and chocolate right in your home!!!



Sunday, April 17, 2011

Rajma Curry/Spicy Kidney Beans Curry.

I love Rajma and this is my favorite curry with roti..... when I cook for my family, it's often a little of this, a dash of that, a taste test, test again, add some salt, taste again, oh yeah! needs another splash of this etc etc.....this is how I do my everyday cooking....of course with Baking I am very strict... I follow the recipe down to the last detail.
Summer is at its peak and we had gone to Wayanad to escape from this enjoyed the short break and we all had a great time...the weather was pleasant...I mean perfect weather!!!
Now back to cooking!! Rajma curry is a typical Punjabi dish...and needs plenty of oil to bring out its taste....Since I am trying to reduce oil intake....I prepared this with the minimum oil and still could bring out thick spicy starting today, check out for low-oil curries!!

Some of the red beans/rajma that I had soaked to make this curry. I soaked it for about 6 to 7 hours.
I tried to reduce the oil to 2 dsp and made this gravy in a non stick pan.....then along with it and the rajma I pressure cooked it for 15 min. These days I am trying to reduce the oil intake of my is best to slow cook the gravy right from the beginning....

Rajma: 500 gms, cleaned and soaked.
Onion: 2 medium, sliced.
Green chilly: 2, slit.
Ginger: 1" piece, grated.
Garlic: 1/2 pod, grated.
Tomato: 2, cubed.
Red chilly powder: 2 tsp, I used Kashmiri chilly, if using ordinary red chilly powder reduce 1 tsp.
Coriander powder: 2 tsp.
Turmeric powder: 1/4 tsp.
Garam masala: 1 tsp.
Oil: 2 dsp.
Salt to taste.
Cardamom, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon: 2 or 3 each.
Coriander leaves.

1. Heat 2 dsp oil (I used sunflower oil) in a nonstick pan. When the oil is hot put in all the spices and let it splutter. Add the sliced onions, green chillies, ginger, garlic, and salt. In slow heat let it saute till the onions turn  light brown colour.
2. Add the red chilly, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala, fry till the raw smell goes.
3. Add the chopped tomatoes and a little water (this is for the tomatoes to incorporate). Fry till the oil comes out.

4. Put the drained and soaked rajma in a pressure cooker, pour in some water, and the above masala, mix well, add salt if needed and pressure cook for 15 min. Open cooker and sprinkle coriander leaves and let it sit for another 10 min.....your spicy rajma curry is ready!!!

Serve hot with roti!!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Homemade Tomato Sauce.

Nidhi, my daughter loves tomato sauce...she needs sauce for bread rolls, cullets, samosas, puffs, pizzas etc etc.....and that's how I started  making homemade sauce....I think it was way back in 2000 that I got the book, "Pickles, Chutneys, And Preserves" and got hooked to simple homemade Tomato Sauce recipe (Chinese). Since Nidhi, cannot do without sauce and I did not want to pump her with store brought sauce with all the preservatives, colours, emulsifiers, God only knows what else??....

Whenever I see nice red plump tomatoes I give ones weakens me!!!....I got these gorgeous babes for just Rs 5/kg..

I follow the recipe completely and Nidhi always says this taste better than store brought ones.....Infact when she was 5 years old I used to pour this sauce into her favorite tomato sauce bottle and she never used to think otherwise.

The recipe calls for a spice bag....its nothing just tie up the spices in a cloth and dunk into the tomato puree while it is simmering. I have not used any artificial colour or preservatives....I bottle and refridgerate it...for me the sauce lasts anywhere around one month or so....remember Nidhi is sauceholic!!! And oh! the standerd recipe is for half kilo tomato....but I always make 2 my spice bag contains more spices than stated in the recipe. I usually add the vinegar depending upon the sourness of the is always better to decrease vinegar a bit.                                                                                Spice bag!!

Recipe Source: Pickles, Chutneys, Preserves, by Vasantha Moorthy.

Tomatoes: 1/2 kg.
Garlic cloves: 4.
Onion: 1 medium, sliced.
Sugar: 2 tbsp.
Spice bag:
Cloves: 3.
Cardamoms: 3.
Cinnamon stick: 1".
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp.
Peppercorns: 1/2 tsp.
Vinegar: 1/2 cup.

Pls note that I double up the recipe for 2 kg tomatoes.

1. Wash and chop the tomatoes. Chop garlic and onions. Put them into a pressure cooker.

2. Let it cook for 1 or two whistle. Allow it to cool and open when completely cooled.

3. Put this pulp into a mixer jar and given it a run, pass this through a sieve into another large vessel.

4. Add the sugar, salt, vinegar, and the spice bag into it and put on fire and once it boils, reduce heat and let it simmer. (It is advisable to keep an eye on it as it tends to boil over and spill).

5. Reduce heat and simmer for some time (for 2 kg it takes anywhere between 15 to 25 min) till it thickens. Remove from fire....bottle it. (regret the bad picture quality...I made this at night and lightening was poor).

Well thats it.......its really easy and exciting to make homemade tomato sauce.....and I am glad my princess is getting good quality real tomatoes into her system :)

Use as a dip for almost anything!!!.
Can use in curries when you ran out of tomatoes!!!. Enjoy!!!


Friday, April 08, 2011

The Never Fail Cake!!!

World cup fever is almost down....I still remember the first time when the Indian team won the world was way back in 1983....I was 11 at that time..... fast-forward to 2011, I watched World cup match with my kids and time flies.....

As soon as summer vacation set in my brothers kids gave a surprise visit....they were here for almost a with 5 kids in and around the house....made me completely busy.....and the reason for my absence from blogging.

I made this cake and was totally impressed with its texture and how quick and easy it was to make. Infact I made this cake thrice in a row now....I stumbled upon this Betty Crocker recipe here. Now, why did I title the cake as The Never Fail Cake and not The Yellow Cake or The Sponge Cake.....because it came out perfect each time I made did not sink...did not crumble...had the most perfect texture....too perfect....well you can see it for yourself....and lets get baking!!!.


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup/100 gm butter or stick margarine, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs


1. Preheat oven. Grease bottom and sides of 2 round pans with butter and dust flour.

2. Beat all ingredients with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly.

3. Beat on high speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally; pour into pan(s).

4. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes at 180 degree C or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center.
5. Cool completely on wire rack.

When completely cooled cut into squares and store them for your hungry brats!!!

An update:
This has become a huge success with my blogger friends so sharing Savita's post here
Check out how Sabina made this cake and posted on her blog.


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