Kappa Puzhukku with Meen Curry ~ Mashed Tapioca with Fish Curry

Kappa(tapioca) puzhukku is one of the most popular dishes in Kerala. Cooked tapioca is blended with coconut and other spices to create this delicious dish which is most often served with a spicy, tangy fish curry. The two dishes together are no doubt a 'Match made in Heaven'.

Kappa Puzhukku
1 kg kappa/ tapioca
1/2tsp turmeric powder
1cup fresh grated coconut
2tsp cumin seeds
8 dry red chillies or to taste
3-4 big garlic cloves
1sprig curry leaves
salt to taste
1tsp coconut oil

Peel the tapioca and cut into small pieces. Wash it well in several changes of water.
Cook the tapioca in lots of water adding salt and turmeric powder till its soft. When done drain out excess water. 
Grind together the coconut, chillies, cumin seeds and garlic with a little water to a coarse paste.
Add the coconut paste and curry leaves to the tapioca and cook on medium heat. Mash the tapioca when stirring. 
Check the salt and cook till all the ingredients are well blended.
Stir in the coconut oil and serve hot with fish curry.

Fish Curry

500 gms fish (king fish/ mackerel/ tilapia)
1 1/2tbs ginger garlic paste
1/2tsp turmeric powder
3/4cup fresh grated coconut
8 red chillies or to taste ( I used 4 spicy chillies and 4 kashmiri chillies. The kashmiri chillies are not spicy but give a good colour to the gravy)
1tbs coriander seeds
1/4tsp fenugreek seeds(methi seeds)
5 small red pearl onions/ shallots, sliced
1sprig curry leaves
1 big piece Kudam puli (gamboge), torn into 2-3 pieces
1tsp coconut oil

Clean the fish and mix in the ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder and some salt. Let it marinate for at least an hour.
In the mean time dry roast the coconut, red chillies. coriander seeds and fenugreek seeds.
When the coconut just begins to change colour add the the sliced onions and roast till the coconut is browned.
Cool and grind to a smooth paste adding water as required.
Add the coconut paste, curry leaves and the kudam-puli/ gamboge to the fish. Add enough water and swirl the pan to mix. Bring to a boil on medium heat. Cover and cook for about 8-10mins till done. Swirl the pan from time to time, do not stir or the fish pieces may break.
Remove from heat and mix in the coconut oil.
This curry tastes best when allowed to rest for a few hours and even better the following day.

Orange Cake

This is the cake that I bake most often. It is wonderfully light and spongy and the orange flavour is really refreshing.

1 cup sugar
3/4cup oil
1/4cup orange juice
1tsp lemon juice
1/2tsp orange essence (you could add a few drops more according to your taste)
a little orange colour
1 1/2cups all purpose flour
1tsp baking powder
Candied orange peel (this tastes great in the cake, but I could not find it this time)
Chopped mixed nuts for topping

Grease and line a 9"x5" loaf tin.
Preheat the oven to 350F/ 180C.
Sieve the flour and baking powder together and keep aside.
Beat the eggs and sugar together in a for 5mins on high.
Add the oil, orange and lemon juice, essence and colour and beat for about 2mins till well combined.
Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed just until combined.
Pour into the prepared pan and top with the chopped nuts and candied peel.
Bake for 25mins or till done. Unmould and cool on a wire rack.

Sending this to ' FIC-Orange ' event hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen, initally started by Harini of Tongue Ticklers.

Idichakka (Tender Jackfruit) Thoran

You would most likely find at least one Jackfruit tree in most homes in Kerala and when in season the fruit is used in various ways to make several interesting dishes, both sweet and savoury.
Idichakka thoran is one such popular dish in which tender, young, green jackfruit is cooked, then shredded and stir fried with coconut, garlic and some spices and is usually served as a side dish with rice.

560gms tender green jackfruit (I used 2 cans of tender jackfruit available in most Indian grocery stores)
1cup fresh grated coconut
2big cloves of garlic, grated
1 heaping tsp crushed cumin seeds
1/2tsp turmeric powder
1heaping tsp red chilli powder
1tbs oil
1tsp mustard seeds
1tbs urad dal
a big pinch of asafoetida/ hing
1 sprig curry leaves
2 dry red chillies
salt to taste

Clean the jackfruit and cut into small chunks. Add some water, salt and 1/4tsp of turmeric powder and pressure cook for 1 whistle or cook covered in a pan till soft.
Drain the remaining water. 
Shred the cooked jackfruit by pounding the pieces using a pestle or pulse in a food processor.
You can shred them finely or coarsely according to your preference (I like small pieces in my thoran).

Combine the coconut, garlic ,crushed cumin seeds, 1/4tsp turmeric powder and chilli powder.
Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. When they begin to splutter add the urad dal. 
When golden add asafoetida, red chillies and curry leaves and fry for few seconds.
Add the coconut mixture and fry for about 2mins on low heat.
Add the shredded jackfruit and salt and mix well. Cover and cook on low heat for about 2-3mins.
Serve hot with rice.

Sending this to 'AFAM-Jackfruit' event hosted by Lakshmi of Taste of Mysore and initiated byMaheshwari of Beyond the Usual.

Chocolate Walnut Bars

I had an irresistible craving to have something chocolate today and half a bar of  Twix from the fridge didn't help at all :). I was all prepared to make some brownies when I saw this recipe in my book 'Cakes and Bakes'. These double-decker bars looked so good I just had to make them and they did satisfy my craving....

For the base:
1/3cup (50gms) walnuts
1/4 heaping cup (55gms) sugar
1cup all-purpose flour, sifted
6tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

For the topping:
2tbs unsalted butter
6tbs water
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1/4tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten with a fork
icing sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 180˚C/ 350˚F. Grease the base and sides of an 8" square pan.
Grind the walnuts with 2tbs sugar to a coarse powder.
Combine the powdered walnuts, remaining sugar and flour in a bowl.
Add the cold butter and rub it in using your finger tips or pulse in a food processor till the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
Pat the mixture evenly into the base of the pan. Bake for 25mins.
In the meantime, for the topping, melt the butter with the water. Add the sugar and cocoa and mix well using a balloon whisk. 
Remove from heat and stir in the salt and vanilla extract and cool for 10mins.
Whisk in the eggs until blended.
Pour the mixture over the baked crust. Return to the oven and bake until set, about 20mins.
Place the pan on a wire rack to cool. Once cold cut into bars and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Sending this to 'Let's go Nuts -Walnuts' hosted by Aquadaze.

Cauliflower Lollipops

Fried foods may not be a very good idea but sometimes especially on cold rainy evenings when you are trapped at home the only thing that will elevate your mood is some fried, spicy snack with a hot cup of tea. This Saturday was one such day and here is what we had....

1/4cup all purpose flour
1/4cup cornflour
1tbs green chillies, finely chopped
1tbs ginger, grated
1tbs garlic grated
1tsp red chilli powder
1/2tsp white pepper powder
1/4tsp ajinomoto/msg
1/4tsp sugar
1 1/2tbs lemon juice
a pinch of baking soda
salt to taste
a little orange food colour
water, as required
oil for deep frying
10-12 cauliflower florets, keep the stems long

Wash the florets and leave aside to drain or pat dry.
Mix all the ingredients except the last two with sufficient water to make a slightly thick batter.
Heat the oil and when hot enough dip the florets in the batter and deep fry for about 5-7mins on medium flame till crisp. 
Drain well and serve hot with a sweet and sour sauce.

This is going to 'JFI - Cauliflower' event hosted by Mythreyee, initially started by Indira of Mahanandi.

And to 'FIC-Orange' event hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen, initiated by Harini of Tongue Ticklers.

Potato Bread

Finally baked my first bread!! Can't tell you how excited and anxious I was. I spent most of the day in the kitchen staring at the dough, waiting for it to rise:) and even throughout the baking.
It's true, 'Nothing compares with the aroma of freshly baked bread'.

4tsp active dried yeast
1cup lukewarm milk
225gms potatoes, boiled (reserve 1cup of the cooking liquid)
2tbs oil
4tsp salt
7-8cups strong white bread flour (I used about 7 1/2cups)

Mix the yeast and milk in a large bowl and keep aside till the yeast has dissolved and become frothy, about 15mins.
Mash the potatoes well. Add the potatoes, oil and salt to the yeast mixture and combine thoroughly.
Stir in the reserved cooking water. Add the flour in six separate batches to form a stiff dough.
Transfer to a floured surface and knead till well combined and smooth, about 10mins.
Return to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and keep in a warm place till almost double in size, about 1 1/2hrs.
Knock back (punch down),cover and leave to rise again for 40 mins, or till doubled in size.
Grease two 9 x 5in loaf tins. Divide the dough into two parts and arrange in the two tins.
Leave the dough uncovered till it has risen above the rims of the tins, about 1 1/2hrs.
Preheat the oven to 200˚C/ 400˚F. Bake the dough for 10mins, then lower the heat to 190˚C/ 375˚F.  Bake for about 40mins or till done. Cool on a wire rack.

The bread looked perfect, had a great crust and was soft on the inside.
My only complain was that I could not taste any potatoes, the bread tasted like simple white bread. Nevertheless we enjoyed every bite.
P.S.: I did build some muscle kneading the dough :).

Recipe is adapted from Cakes and Bakes 500.
Sending this to Susan's 'Yeastspotting' and to 'BBD#17- Bread and Potatoes' hosted by Lien.

Shrimp/ Prawn Biryani

Yet another one of my quick-fix meals. Though I call it a biryani (coz I'm always thinking of eating some), this recipe involves none of the hassles of actually making one. It is really simple and yet delicious...

1/2lb raw shrimp
1tbs lemon juice
2tbs oil
8-10 peppercorns
1small stick cinnamon
1star anise
1bay leaf
1medium onion, finely chopped
1medium tomato,finely chopped
2tbs ginger-garlic paste
5 green chillies or to taste, finely chopped
1/4tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2tsp garam masala powder
1/2tsp pepper powder
1cup rice
2cups water
salt to taste
coriander leaves for garnish

Clean the shrimp and marinate adding the lemon juice and some salt. Keep aside.
Heat 2tbs oil in a pan and add the cardamoms, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, star anise and bay leaf and fry for 30secs till fragrant.
Add the onion and green chillies and fry till brown. Add tomato and ginger-garlic paste and cook till the oil separates.
Add the turmeric, garam masala and pepper powders and fry for another minute.
Add the shrimp and mix well to coat. Mix in the rice, salt and water and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover and cook for 15mins. 
Switch off the flame, but do not open the lid. Let it sit covered for another 10mins.
Fluff the rice with a fork and garnish with coriander leaves.
Serve hot with a raita.

Paneer-Capsicum-Mushroom Subzi

I love the combination of paneer, capsicum and mushrooms. This is a dish I make often especially when I have vegetarian guests over for a meal. Here's the recipe...

100gms paneer
100gms capsicum
200gms mushroom, quartered
50gms sweet corn kernels
1 medium onion, sliced
1tbs ginger-garlic paste
1 big tomato
1tsp chilli powder or to taste
1/4tsp turmeric powder
1tsp coriander powder
3/4tsp garam masala
2tbs yogurt mixed with 1/4cup water
salt to taste
2tbs oil
chopped fresh ginger for garnish

Heat 1tbs oil and shallow fry the paneer till golden. Drain and keep aside.
Add the remaining oil to the same pan and saute the onions till brown.
Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry till the raw smell disappears.
Add the masalas and fry for a min. Add the capsicum, mushrooms, corn, the yogurt mixture and salt. Mix well.
When it starts bubbling cover and cook for 5mins till the mushrooms are cooked. There will be some gravy at this point.
Uncover and add the paneer and cook on medium flame till the gravy has evaporated and the masala coats the paneer and other vegetables.
Garnish with chopped ginger and serve hot.

Mango Cheesecake

Happy Valentine's Day!!! I know I'm a little late, hope you guys enjoyed your day. I had a wonderful time with my hubby and friends. We had a lunch party and one of the dishes I made was this cheesecake.
I had my first cheesecake at an office party some 3yrs back and loved it. I wanted to make it but was so disappointed when I could not find cream cheese at any of the stores( I was in India at the time ). It was much later that I got this recipe at chococraft. This is a wonderful cheesecake. The best part - No Cream Cheese and No Baking. It's a breeze and to be honest I like this much better. I hope u do too......

Ingredients: (Makes a 9"-10" cheesecake)
For the base
200gms plain biscuits; you can use marie, graham crackers or nilla wafers
50gms butter, melted

For the filling:
4 egg yolks
50gms sugar
20gms unflavored gelatin
1/2cup water
200gms whipped cream (measured after whipping)
300gms plain thick yogurt
Mango puree, according to the taste of the mango (I used about 1 1/2cups), or canned puree
color & essence - if desired

For the topping:
Mango Puree and/or fresh fruits

For the base:
Crush the biscuits with a rolling pin or process it in a processor to fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and mix well. Press it into the base of the spring form pan and chill for 15mins.

For the filling:
Mix egg yolks and sugar with a balloon whisk till well blended.
Sprinkle the gelatin on the water and then double boil till dissolved and transparent.
Add the hot gelatin slowly to the yolk mixture whisking continuously to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Beat till the sugar melts.
When at room temperature, fold in the yogurt followed by the whipped cream. Mix only until just combined.
Add the mango puree and mix. If desired or if you smell the egg(normally there is no egg smell) you can add few drops of essence. Add color if desired.
Pour into the prepared pan over the base and leave to set for 1hour in the freezer and then transfer to the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
Top with some puree or fresh fruits.

Use any other puree and fruits to make different flavours.
For a chocolate cheesecake add cocoa powder to the base and use chocolate ganache in the filling.

Thank you Yasmeen for passing 'Token of gratitude award' to me, you're really sweet :)


Sending this to Bindiya's event "Love - Heart Shaped Foods

and to

Priyanka's "Cook for luv wid luv"

Tomato Rasam and Potato Fry

Although I have always had an interest in cooking, my kitchen experience before marriage was limited to helping mom with a little chopping or stirring and since me and Manoj were moving to Hyderabad after the wedding one of my major concerns was managing a kitchen all by myself. And you know how as a new bride you want to impress everyone, and your culinary skills are such a major judging factor especially with elders in the family.
Little did I know that my worries were so needless. I cannot thank God enough for a hubby who is not at all fussy about food (but is as crazy about it as me) and is so patient and supportive of my endless experiments in the kitchen. We have lots of fun trying out new cuisines but our favourites still remain simple home made dishes.
I was looking for something when I came across the event 'Just for you' and I knew I had to post something. Since the event ends tomorrow I wanted to make something Manoj loves and yet simple. So here are two dishes Just for Manoj...

Tomato Rasam

4 big ripe tomatoes
5cups water
1/4tsp turmeric powder
1heaping tsp coarsely ground pepper powder
2heaping tbs rasam powder, homemade or store bought (I use MTR)
1tbs grated jaggery or brown sugar
1-2tbs tamarind paste (according to taste)
1 sprig curry leaves
salt to taste
lots of coriander leaves, chopped

For the tempering - 
2tbs oil
1/2tsp mustard seeds
1/2tsp cumin seeds
2 dry red chillies
a big pinch asafoetida
2 green chillies, finely chopped
4 big garlic cloves, finely chopped

Soak the tamarind in some warm water. Squeeze and extract the pulp to get a thick paste and discard the seeds.
In the meantime pressure cook the tomatoes adding 1cup water, salt and turmeric powder for 2 whistles. 
Open the cooker after the pressure is completely released. Mash the tomatoes well, you can remove the skin if you want to, I like to leave it in.
Add 4cups water, tamarind paste, pepper powder, rasam powder, jaggery, curry leaves and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5mins. Remove from heat and stir in the coriander leaves.
For the tempering, heat oil and cumin and mustard seeds, when they splutter add the rest of the ingredients and fry till fragrant (do not brown the garlic). Pour over the rasam.

Potato Fry

2 big potatoes
1tbs oil
1/2tsp cumin seeds
3-4green chillies, slit
1/8tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
2-3tbs chopped coriander leaves

Boil the potatoes and cut into small cubes.
Heat oil and add cumin seeds. When they splutter add the potatoes, green chillies, turmeric and salt and toss to mix well. Fry till the potatoes brown a bit, for 3-5mins. Mix in the chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with rice.

Sending this to Alka's event "Just for You".

Badam/ Almond Burfi

Almonds are a wonderful source of so many essential nutrients like calcium, folic acid, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins B2 and E. Although they have a good amount of fat like most nuts, almost 90% are unsaturated fats. Almonds are also believed to lower blood cholesterol levels, help prevent osteoporosis and regulate blood pressure.
My mother always gave us a few almonds each morning, a routine I still follow. Almond paste is also a great face pack.

Almond of course has a lot of culinary uses. Toasted almonds are a great garnish for desserts, biryanis and gravies. The paste is used as a base for curries and to make several sweets. My favourite is Badam Burfi. 

1cup (150gms) almonds
1cup milk
3tbs ghee
3/4-1cup sugar
2 cardamom pods, crushed
few strands of saffron

Put the almonds in hot water and soak for 5hrs. Drain and peel off the skin.
Slightly grease a small dish.
Grind the almonds with the milk to a paste.( You can either make it a smooth paste or a little grainy, but not very coarse). I like to add about 2-3strands of saffron while grinding. This will give it a slight colour without making it yellow.
Heat the ghee in a thick bottomed pan. Add the almond paste and cook on medium-low heat till thick and sticky (about 6-8mins). 

Add the sugar and mix well. Cook, stirring constantly till the mixture becomes very thick, comes together and the ghee separates. At this stage the mixture will almost be dough like. If you take a little bit and roll between your fingers it must feel firm but not hard.
Remove from the heat and mix in the cardamom powder.
Spread onto the greased dish. When almost cool, cut into desired shape and cool completely. Garnish with saffron threads.

Penne in Cheese Sauce

Ingredients: (serves 2)
150gms penne or other pasta
2tbs butter
2 1/2tbs all-purpose flour
2cups milk
1/3-1/2cup cheese (I used medium cheddar)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2cup sweet corn kernels
1 big capsicum, cut into 1" strips
1 tomato, cut into 1" strips
salt and pepper to taste
a pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp dried basil
2-3tbs grated Parmesan cheese( for garnish)

Cook the penne as per pack instructions. When the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce and vegetables. 
Heat the butter in a pan on low heat. When it melts add the flour and fry for 1 minute. Take care that the mixture does not brown.
Add the milk gradually, stirring constantly. Ensure that there are no lumps, use a wire whisk if necessary.
Return to fire and cook till the sauce thickens and coats the back of the spoon. 
Remove from fire and add the cheese and mix well. Season with salt and pepper and nutmeg and keep aside.
Heat 1tsp oil in a pan. Toss in the garlic and vegetables and stir fry for a few minutes till tender. Add the sauce, pasta and basil and mix well.
Serve hot garnished with parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.


I have been pestering Manoj since a couple of months now to help me change my blog template. He finally found some time this weekend (hope you noticed the change?). In exchange he asked me to bake Nankhatai, his favourite cookies. I was more than happy, not only would my blog be ready but I now had an excuse to bake, yet again.

80gms fine sugar
150gms all-purpose flour
120gms butter
50gms semolina
1/4tsp cardamom powder
1/4tsp nutmeg powder
cashew nuts, split in the middle

Cream butter. Add sugar gradually and beat till light and fluffy.
Add spices and beat. Add semolina and beat well.
Add the flour and mix gently to make a soft but firm dough.
Make small balls (this makes about 18), and place on an ungreased baking tray one inch apart.
Make a cross pattern on each with a knife and place a split cashew in the center.Press lightly but do not flatten the dough.
Bake at 350˚F/ 180˚C for about 12-15mins and then at 300˚F/150˚C for 10mins till done (the cookies may not be very firm but will turn crisp as they cool).

Ada Dosa

A delicious healthy breakfast dish, I love the spicy taste and the best part is that the batter does not require fermenting. Just soak the rice and lentils at night and you can have a nutritious breakfast with very little effort and time.

1 3/4cups rice
1/2cup urad dal (black lentils) 
1/3cup toor dal (yellow lentils)
1/3cup mung dal whole (green gram)
1/2tsp fenugreek seeds (methi seeds)
8-10 dry red chillies
1/4tsp asafoetida (hing)
8-10 curry leaves, chopped
salt to taste

Soak the rice and the dals in separate containers (the toor and moong dal can be soaked together) for 6hrs. Soak the fenugreek seeds with the urad dal.
Grind the urad dal with sufficient water for about 5mins till smooth and fluffy. Add the rice and grind for another 5 mins.
Add the toor dal, moong dal and red chillies and pulse a few times. The chillies and dals must be ground only coarsely. The batter should be medium thick, not as thick as idli batter or it will be difficult to spread.
Add the asafoetida, curry leaves  and salt and mix well. Let the batter sit for 30mins.
Heat a dosa pan and smear with a little oil. Spread a ladle of batter to desired thickness (I like mine thin). When the under side is golden brown, flip and cook the other side till golden.
Serve hot with Onion Chutney or Molaga Podi.

This also goes to 

Ashwini's "Lentils Mela"
& to

Parippu Vada

Parippu vada was the most frequently made snack at our home. "If you will eat only deep-fried snacks might as well make them with something healthy"- was what my mom used to say. 
Lentils are super healthy, low in calories and high fibre content. A must have ingredient in one's diet. 

3/4cup yellow lentils (toor dal)
3/4cup bengal gram dal (chana dal)
4-6 dry red chillies or to taste
6 shallots (small red onions), finely chopped
1 1/2tbs finely grated ginger
8-10 curry leaves, finely chopped
1/4tsp turmeric powder
a big pinch asafoetida
salt to taste
oil for deep frying

Soak the dals in water for 4-5hrs. Drain well to remove water.
Grind the dals along with the red chillies without adding water. The mixture should be slightly coarse and not a paste.
Take the mixture in a bowl and add in the ginger, curry leaves, turmeric powder, asafoetida and salt. Mix well.
If you add onions and keep it long it will release water and the vadas may crumble in the oil. So I like to take as much mixture as I would fry in one batch and add some onions to it.
Mix well and shape into vadas and deep fry on medium flame for about 5mins till brown and crisp on the outside.
Drain the oil and serve hot with chutney or chilli sauce.


Sending these vadas to

Ashwini's "Lentils Mela"

My First Award!!

Akal of Akal's Saappadu passed this award to me. Thank you so much.
This is my first award and it feels great. What a wonderful start to the day :)...

Marble Ring Cake

Few of us friends had planned to meet for snacks yesterday and I offered to bake a cake. I wanted to bake something that looked as good as it tasted. This recipe is from Radhika's Chococraft. I've been wanting to try this recipe for a while now. I love the combination of chocolate and orange and the vanilla helps to blend the two flavours even better. 
The cake was light, spongy and a smash hit!!

225gms butter
225gms sugar
4 eggs
225gms all-purpose flour
4tsp baking powder
1tbs cocoa powder
2tbs hot water
1tsp vanilla essence
few drops orange essence
few drops of orange food colour

Sieve the flour and baking powder and keep aside.
Grease and dust a 9"ring tin.
Pre-heat the oven to 350˚F/ 180˚C.
Mix the cocoa and hot water and leave aside to cool.
Beat butter and sugar for about 5mins till light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.
Add flour and beat on low speed just until well blended.
Divide the batter into 3 parts.
Mix as below-
1/2tsp vanilla essence in one part, 
orange essence and colour in the second and 
cocoa mixture and 1/2tsp vanilla essence in the third part.
Spoon the mixtures alternately in the prepared tin making two layers.

Tap the tin well to level the batter.

Bake for 45mins or till done.