Jan 31, 2008

Chicken Biryani...

Hmmm, what can I say about Biryani, or do I need to say anything about it :)?? The very name will have most mouths watering. I love biryanis a lot and almost order them in any restaurant. Biryanis in some restaurants have been horrible and other places have been so awesome that the taste still lingers on my tastebuds. Some of them that I remember are Chicken biryani from Nandini Restaurant in B'lore, Nagarjuna in B'lore, Bhima's in B'lore and the Imperial hotel in Hyderabad. These places I mentioned in B'lore, they serve all the meals on the plantain leaf. Biryani on a plantain leaf ???? Yes, isn't that amazing ???

Well, ofcourse, I am nowhere close to any of those places I mentioned in making Biryani, but I tried :)...I make it different ways everytime and adding and omitting a few ingredients, depending on my mood ;)....This recipe is most simple in making biryani and I think it came out quite well too..So, here goes...


Raw Basmati rice – 2 1/2 cups, washed and soaked for 15 min
Chicken pieces – 2 lbs
Bay leaf – 2
Garam masala powder – 1 tsp
Cloves – 3
Black Cardamom – 2
Green Cardamom – 3
Cilantro, chopped – little to garnish
Mint leaves, chopped – little to garnish
Onions, finely sliced – 3 large
Tomato, pureed – 2 medium
Saffron or Orange food color – little

For marination:

Yogurt – 1 cup
Lime juice – 1 tbsp
Bay leaf – 3
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Cumin powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Haldi powder – 1/2 tsp
Green chilies, cut small – 4
Red chili powder – 1 ½ tsp, vary according to your taste
Cloves – 5
Cinnamon Sticks – 1 ½ inch, 2 pieces
Black Cardamom – 1
Green Cardamom – 3
Black peppercorns – 1 tsp
Shahi Jeera(Black Cumin) – 1 tsp….Optional
Ginger-Garlic paste – 2 tsp
Cilantro, chopped – 3/4 cup
Mint leaves, chopped – 3/4 cup
Salt – per taste


- Wash and clean the chicken pieces and add all the ingredients mentioned in Marination list to it. Mix well and keep aside for atleast 2 hours.
- Now, in a big vessel, take water enough to boil 2 cups of rice, bring the water to a boil.
- Add a few drops of oil and salt to the boiling water and add the rice and cumin seeds.
- Keep a check on the rice and strain the water off when it is half-cooked or half-done.
- Now in a separate wide and preferably a non-stick pan, take about 2 tbsp oil, add the sliced onions and fry them till brown and crisp. Take out half of the onions from the pan, and keep them aside.
- To the pan, add the cloves, black and green cardamom, and bay leaves.
- Add the marinated chicken along with all the marinade and juices. Add the tomatoes, and garam masala powder. Stir and mix well everything for about 2 mins on medium high flame. Adjust salt and chili powder at this point. Level all the pieces and spread out evenly in the pan. Reduce the heat to very low.
- Spread out the half-done rice evenly above the chicken layer.
- Put the rest of the cilantro and mint leaves and the fried onions over the rice.
- Sprinkle the food color over the rice.
- Cover the pan with a tight lid. Or else cover the pan with a plate and place a heavy tava on the plate, so that the biryani cooks in its own steam.
- Keep the heat on very low and let it cook for around 30-40 mins.
- Serve hot with raitha or gravy.

The chicken will cook perfectly in the low heat. Do not worry that the chicken has not cooked before putting the rice over it. I got this tip and idea from Vahchef. Click here if you want to see his video.
After removing the lid, do not mix everything. While serving, spoon out from the top of the rice to the bottom of the pan, such that you get the rice as well as the chicken and masala in one spoon.
I sprinkled a little color directly on the rice and mixed a little color in about a tablespoon of milk and poured that over the rice too. Just to get shades in color.

Jan 29, 2008

Raw Papaya Curry with shrimp (Papayi ani Sungta Randayi)

This is a very comforting dish and very common in all konkani homes. It is one of those dishes which is not fiery, but more on the milder sides (rite, we need to give those taste buds some rest)..We usually add shrimp in this curry, which just changes the whole flavour of it. When fresh shrimp is not available, we put in the dried ones. But for those of you, who are vegetarian or do not like shrimp, you can also omit it and make the curry just with the other ingredients. It tastes good any which way. Also, keeping all the other ingredients the same, we can replace papaya for Magge(Dosakai). So, do try it..

I would like to send this to 'A Fruit A Month', originally started by Maheswari of "Beyond the Usual". This month it is hosted by Nags of 'The cook in me' ook and the fruit she has chosen is 'Papaya'. Thanks to you, made me cook this which I had forgotten about.


Raw Papaya, cut into small chunks - 2 cups/1 small papaya
Onions, roughly chopped - 1 medium or about 1 cup
Dried or fresh shrimp(small ones,peeled and cleaned)- 15-20
Toor dal - 1/4 cup
Fresh/frozen grated coconut - 3/4 cup
Coriander seeds - 2 tsp
Dried Red Chilies - 4-5
Tamarind - 1 medium piece
Haldi powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste


- Wash the dal and pressure cook till soft(upto 2 whistles is enough).
- If using the dried shrimp, soak them in little water and keep aside( the store bought ones here are all cleaned, so nothing to do at home).
- In a pan, add the cut papaya and onions and boil by adding enough water. Boil till the papaya pieces are tender, but not mushy.
- Grind the coconut, red chillies, tamarind, coriander seeds and haldi powder to make a smooth paste.
- Once the papaya and onions are boiled, add the ground coconut paste to it, add the boiled dal and salt.
- Discard the water from the soaked shrimp and add to the above mix (if using fresh shrimp instead, add at this point).
- Add water to adjust the consistency of the gravy and boil till the raw smell from the masala goes and is done.
- Serve hot with rice.

P.S: This gravy should be liquidy in consistency.

Jan 27, 2008

Black Chickpeas Curry ( Chanya Randayi )

Chanya Randayi is another of the very many randayi's that is liked by many Konkanis. I have had it mostly on festive occassions in functions, at home and in temples. It is just a basic combination of coconut masala and black channa ( black chickpeas). So here goes..

Black Chickpeas - 1 cup
Frozen/fresh grated coconut - 1 cup
Coriander seeds- 2 tsp
Dried red chillies - 6
Tamarind - 1 piece
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste
For seasoning, you need:

Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 4-5
Dried Red chillies - 2


- Soak the chickpeas overnight in enough water.
- Pressure cook the chickpeas with little salt upto 3 whistles or till it is soft.
- Grind the coconut with the red chillies, tamarind, coriander seeds, haldi powder to a fine paste.
- In a pan, take the boiled chickpeas, add the ground coconut paste and add salt. Add water to make little gravy consistency and boil till the raw smell from the paste goes away.
- In another small pan, take little oil, add the mustard seeds, once they start spluttering, add the red chillies and curry leaves. Turn off the heat.
- Add this to the chickpeas gravy and quickly cover the pan to retain the fragrance of the seasoning.
- Serve as a side with rice and any gravy, or can be mixed with rice also.

Jan 23, 2008

Loshni Thoy (Dal with Garlic)

I have mentioned about this Dal before, and a fellow blogger asked me about it also, so thought will blog about it today. This is the most simplest form of Thoy( Dal) in Konkani homes. It is mostly made when the side dishes are spicy and fiery, so this garlicky dal acts as a perfect combination with rice and helps mellow down the spice-effect, and not to forget the garlic which helps aid in the digestion. Also goes great with most fries and fish items. The name Loshni thoy itself will give you an idea that it has a whole lot of garlic in it. I like to pick out and eat the softened garlic in it and then slurrrrrrp on the dal. Simple, soothing and satisfying....


Toor dal - 1/2 cup
Hot green chillies, slit lengthwise - 4 -5
Garlic cloves, slightly crushed - 4
Haldi powder - a pinch
Salt - to taste


- Wash the dal and pressure cook with the green chillies for 3 whistles. It should be very soft and almost paste-like.
- In a vessel, take this boiled dal mixture, add water to adjust the consistency.
- Add the salt and haldi powder and bring to a boil. Take off from heat.
- Heat a small pan, take little oil, and add the crushed garlic cloves to it ( since the cloves are too big here, I crushed and then sliced roughly) and fry till slightly browned and soft.
- Add this to the boiled dal and cover. This way the aroma and flavour of the garlic tempering will remain in the dal.
- Serve hot with rice and fish fry or bangde dhodak or phodis.

Even this simplest form of dal, am sure will have its own variation in all homes. Is this how you make your Loshni Thoy/Garlicky Dal ??

Jan 22, 2008

Bangde Dhodak/ Mackeral Masala Konkani Style...

This is my Aayi's super-hit dish. So spicy that you can feel fumes coming out of ears if you are not the ones who can handle too much spice. Well, even as I think of it, my mouth starts watering :).

Traditionally, they spread a layer of fresh turmeric leaves(haldi paan) and cover the fish and masala completely and cook it, covered till done. Once you keep it on a simmered flame, there is no turning over the fish or any kind of mixing done. The aroma that the turmeric leaves give to the dish is unique and absolutely fantastic. My mom always keeps a stock of the dried turmeric leaves also, to be used for these and many other dishes. Alas, no turmeric leaves for me here. So I made it without the leaves. The whole flavour of the dish is from the turmeric leaves, the Teppal (Sichuan Pepper) and the Bhinda Sol ( dried Kokum).


Mackerals (Bangde), cleaned and cut - 3. I cut each one into 4 pieces.
Grated fresh/frozen coconut - 1/2 cp
Dried red chillies(I used the Byadagi variety) - 20, yes, thts not a mistake :).
Turmeric (haldi) powder - 1/4 tsp
Tamarind (2 big pieces)or preferably Bhinda Sol (dried Kokum ) - 3 pieces
Teppal (sichuan pepper) - 8
Salt - to taste


- Marinate the washed and cleaned fish pieces with salt for 5 mins.
- Grind the coconut, chillies, tamarind, and haldi together to form a semi-fine but smooth paste. What I mean by this is, the paste should not be very fine like for fish curries, but little coarse. Also, the ground paste should not be too watery.
- Spread a layer of the turmeric leaves in the pan (if using).
- Put the fish pieces and the masala all into the pan, along with the teppal pieces. Add salt also. (if using kokum instead of tamarind, add it at this point). Cover with another layer of the leaves.
- Cover the pan and cook on simmered heat till done.
- Serve hot.
- This goes best with rice and Loshni Thoy (dal tempered with garlic).

Some points to keep in mind with this dish:
- Don't keep turning the fish pieces or mixing the masala to cook. It will get done on the simmered heat as fish does not need much time to get cooked.
- If using kokum pieces, do not add tamarind pieces while grinding the masala.
- Do not add water to the pan when cooking. The water used while grinding the paste itself is enough.
- The dish is done when the water content is reduced to minimal or the masala looks almost dry and kind of reddish.
- This dish always tastes better the next day as the fish sits in the spicy paste and gets all its goodness.
- And be sure you drink some lassi or buttermilk after feasting on this spicy dish ;).

Red Bell Pepper Chutney..

Well, with the 'Theme of the Week' happening this week, with colors of the Indian national flag, I thought of blogging about this really awesome chutney that I had at a friend's place. My friend J made this in front of me, and I just stood and took pictures and got to relish it with extremely good Aapams. She said she got it from her friend and that it was a common item in Andhra kitchens, but was something very unique for me. It tasted great with aapams and she said goes very well with Idlis also. Its a spicy variety and the fried red bell-peppers impart a very nice flavour to the chutney.


Red Bell Peppers - 2, diced
Garlic cloves - 3
Dried red chillies - 5
Udad Dal - 1 1/2tsp
Chana Dal - 1 1/2tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Tamarind - 1 big piece
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Haldi powder - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - 4
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 tsp


- Heat a pan with the oil, add the udad and chana dal. When it starts to brown, add the jeera, red chillies, garlic, and the curry leaves.
- Add the chopped bell pepper to the pan and fry for sometime, till the raw smell goes and turns soft, but does not get all mushy. Add the haldi powder, coriander powder, tamarind pieces and salt. Mix well.

- Let it cool a little.
- Then, grind in the mixie, preferably without any water. But if using also, add only very little water.
- You can store this chutney in fridge for long time, if no water added.
- Serve with Appams, dosas, or idlis.

P.S: Also good for side with Rice. Some people mix this with rice and eat.

So, here goes the chutney to Creative Pooja and the event hosted by her Theme of the Week-Orange, White and Green.

I took this picture few days back, when we were driving back home in the evening from a 2-day vacation. Its not a perfect pic and has the car window shield also giving a blur effect, but the orangy ski after the sun-set looked spectacular I thought. Doesn't this fit the theme of 'orange-white-green' too ?? Just a thought :)..

Jan 20, 2008

Garlic Chicken

When I heard about Sunita’s ‘Think Spice’ event this month is Garlic, I started thinking as to what to make. I just love garlic and there are loads of recipes in everyday cooking in which I use garlic. But I had got this one recipe from my mom and thought it would do complete justice to my ever loved spice ‘Garlic’.
A must try, first for the flavor, and then for the simplicity. So here is my entry..


Chicken, boneless – 1 lb, cut into small chunks
Garlic cloves, crushed and chopped – 8-10 large ones
Yogurt – 1/2 cup
Pepper powder, coarsely crushed – 2 tsp
Jeera (Cumin), coarsely crushed - 1 tsp
Haldi powder – 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves – 10-12
Lemon Juice - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - around 4 -5 tsp approx


- Marinate the chicken with haldi, yogurt and salt for atleast an hour.
- Put this marinated chicken along with the marinade in a hot pan and cook uncovered till the chicken gets coated with the juices and it becomes almost dry. (At this point it should still have a little liquid content in it). Adjust and add salt if needed. Put off the heat.
- Then, in a small pan separately, take little oil, sauté the garlic nicely till it is light golden in color, add the pepper, cumin and curry leaves. Stir for a minute or so.

- Put this mixture in the above dry chicken mix. Mix well and cook till the chicken gets properly coated with the spices, and gets cooked and dry ( or slightly browned).
- Add lemon juice to the above, mix well and take off from heat.
- Serve hot with rice and a dal or curry of your choice.

Jan 19, 2008

Ingli Poli /Ginger Chutney–Kerala style

I came across this chutney again in the book 'Flavors of India', by Madhur Jaffrey. This chutney is served at weddings and traditional banquets in Kerala. Ginger is grown in Kerala and is even exported in vast quantities. Therefore, it is not surprising to see keralites use this in their cooking. This is a chutney which can be stored in the refrigerator for many months and can be served anytime with a whole lot of things. This is another of my contributions to RCI-Cuisine of Kerala hosted by Jyothsna of Curry Bazaar.

The chutney has a many flavors combined together, from sweet, spicy and tangy. I served this with pumpkin rotis and dal, but think it will go very well with rice/curd rice.


For the Spice paste:
Coriander Seeds – 1 tsp
Cumin seeds (Jeera) – ¼ tsp
Turmeric Powder (Haldi powder) – ¼ tsp

Other Ingredients needed:
Coconut oil, or any other cooking oil – 3 tsp
Fresh grated coconut – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
Methi seeds – ¼ tsp
Dried red chillies – 4
Curry leaves – 10-15 ( optional )
Red onion, finely chopped – 1 small
Green chillies, finely chopped – 1-2
Fresh ginger, peeled and very finely sliced and then cut into fine julienne strips – 2 inch piece
Tamarind paste – ½ cup, diluted in ½ cup water
Salt – to taste
Brown sugar – 2 tsp


- Grind the 3 ingredients mentioned in the spice paste, to a fine powder. Take the powder in a small bowl and mix with 1 tablespoon of water to make a paste. Set aside.
- Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add the coconut, and now reducing the heat to low, stir and fry until golden. Set aside.
- Heat the remaining oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-low heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds. When the seeds start spluttering, add the methi seeds, red chillies and curry leaves (if using). Stir for 1-2 mins.
- Add the onions, green chillies and ginger. Fry until the onions are soft and beginning to turn brown.
- Now, add the spice paste and fry till the mixture becomes dry.
- Add the tamarind paste, salt and brown sugar.
- Stir and cook till the mixture is thick ( abt 10-12 mins ). Remove from heat, add the coconut and mix.
- Cool and use, or store in a clean, air-tight container.

Jan 18, 2008

Fish Moilly or Fish Stew

I got this recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's 'Flavors of India'. I like the various cuisines and the way she has covered it in this book.

I bought fish yesterday and had plans of trying out some new recipes from this book, but my luck that for every recipe I saw, there was some ingredient which I din't have in my pantry and fridge.( Well, they are no extra-ordinary ingredients, but its just that I haven't done my grocery shopping). So, finally I came across this fish stew and looked at the list of ingredients it needed. I was happy to know that it was a simple and basic recipe which just needed like few basic things. But I had never made or eaten a fish stew before. Being a Konkani, our fish curries always have the bright red color. And this was one recipe which din't use any red chilies or powder. And the color also would be very dull then. Anyways, I went ahead and made it, and am glad I did :). Like they say,'Looks are deceptive', this stew is too. The green chilies themselves gave the stew so much spice, and together with the ginger and curry leaves, it was just superb.

The recipe says the curry leaves are optional, but I strongly suggest you add them, coz the flavor with and without them is completely different.


Fresh/frozen Tilapia pieces - 1 1/2 lb
Red onion, large - 1, finely sliced
Fresh hot green chillies - 8, finely sliced
Ginger, peeled and finely grated - 1 inch piece
Curry leaves - Recipe says 30 and is optional. I used about 15.
Coconut Milk - recipe says 1 cup. I used 3/4 cup, the canned one.
Lime juice -2 tbsp
Haldi powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil(preferably Coconut Oil )- 4 tbsp


- Clean the fish pieces. Rub 1/4 tsp of haldi powder and some salt on the pieces and set aside.
- In a wide pan, preferably non-stick, heat oil. Add the onions, ginger and green chillies and stir once or twice.
- Add the curry leaves (if using) and stir for about 5 mins until the onion is soft.
- Then, add the remaining haldi powder and about 3/4 cup water. Mix well and bring to a boil.
- Then, add the fish pieces gently and spoon over the sauce over the fish.
- Add salt, turn the heat to low, and cook covered for 3-4 minutes. Shake the pan gently to avoid sticking.
- Add the coconut milk. Mix gently, without breaking the fish and adjust salt if needed.
- Cover and simmer for another 3-4 minutes, shaking the pan once in a while.
- Then, add the lime juice, shake pan gently and remove from the heat.
- Serve hot with rice.

P.S: The book says that in Kerala, this is always served with rice.

This goes as an entry for RCI-Kerala, hosted by Jyothsna of Curry Bazaar

Jan 14, 2008

Peach and Cranberry Spice Cake..

Suddenly, we seem to have a liking towards spice cakes, after being introduced to the Pumpkin Bread. I had never realised or paid attention to spice cakes till now. I wanted to try something with another fruit and berry this time, but wasn't sure of what to combine. Finally, when I came across Pushpa's blog and her Peach butter cake, I knew what I wanted.
So, I gathered up a few ingredients and came up with my version of a spice cake and called it Peach and Cranberry Spice cake. The taste was awesome, it tasted yummmmm..Try it once and you will not repent..


All-purpose flour - 1 1/2 cup
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Nutmeg powder- 1/2 tsp
Cloves powder - 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon powder - 1/2 tsp
Cranberries - 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup
Oil - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Eggs - 2
Canned peach halves - 1 tin


- Puree half the tin of peach halves combined with 1/4 cup of the cranberries. Keep aside.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and the spice powders.
- In a separate bowl, cream oil and sugar till mixed well. Add eggs one at a time and beat well.
- Add the puree of peaches and cranberries and beat till well combined.
- Now, add the flour mix slowy to the above and mix till well combined.
- Dust the cranberries with flour and fold them in lightly in the above mix.
- Bake in pre-heated oven at 350F for about 30-45 mins or till skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Take out from oven, cool completely before cutting into pieces and then, enjoy :)...

I would like to send this to the event 'My favourite things- Cakes and Muffins', hosted by Bindiya of InLoveWith Food. Thank-you Meera about letting me know about this event.

Jan 10, 2008

Tila Laddu for Sankranti...

Wishing you all a very happy Makar Sankranti...

Makar Sankranti is perhaps the only Indian festival whose date always falls on the same date every year i.e. the 14th of January. However, this year, I have heard that some people are observing it on the 14th and some on the 15th. I came across this read somewhere that a decade ago Makar Sankranti used to be observed on January 12 or January 13. But depending on the sun’s shift from south to north Makar Sankranti date will progress in future. This year it is on January 14 and January 15. In future, it will be on January 16 or 17. This is because the Sankranti is based on the Solar calendar, unlike the rest of the festivals, which are based on Lunar calendar. Makar Sankranti is based on the movement of the sun and is unlike other Hindu holidays which are based on waning and waxing of moon.

Makar literally means 'Capricorn' and Sankranti is the day when the Sun changes its position from one sign of the zodiac to the other. This happens every month, but it is very auspicious in the month of Magha (January), as it coincides with the harvest season and marks the end of the winter season.

The only fond memories I have of Sankranti are the delicious Tilgul and the Tila Laddu( Til Laddus )..As kids, on this day, we would carry small dabbas filled with Tilgul and take to schools for distributing to teachers and students. The boxes would never get empty, coz we exchange the tilgul, that means you give to a person and that person either gives you their tilgul or a little from what you have given them. Tilgul and laddus just flock from friends and relatives. A few days before the festival, Aayi would make small packets with the tilgul and haldi-kumkum, and mail to all married women in the family and to friends. I rememer myself writing the addresses on the postal envelopes those days :). Same goes for receiving also. So then for a few more days, there would be an overdose of tilgul, but no complains :)..There is a famous phrase that we say while giving the tilgul.
Tilgul ghyaa ani god god bola,
Tilgul saandhu nako, majhyashi bhandu nako.

It means, take sweet, talk sweet, don't drop the sweet and don't fight with me ( rather let our friendship/bond remain strong )..Isn't that sweet ??

I remember my maternal grandma used to always make the tilgul and would always save one big batch for us when we went to native in the summer holidays. They would make it with different seeds, nuts, saunf and jeera. The taste of these home-made tilgul is just amazing and no match or even anything to compare with just the sugary stuff which you get commercially. My mom always bought the ready-made one, thats why we waited for the tilgul from Amma( grandma )..These days, I know hardly few people who actually make the tilgul. It takes a lot of time and patience to make it I've heard.
I will give the recipe here below. I haven't yet tried making it myself, but will try soon.

Til laddus, as I've mentioned above is also what we make for Sankranti.
The recipe for the laddus is here below. I made the laddus for the first time, I thought they came out a little hard. I think I heated the jaggery a little too much. Well, better luck next time.

Til (sesame seeds) - 1 cup
Grated jaggery - 1 1/2 cup
Peanuts - 1/2 cup
Ghee - 1 tsp


- Dry roast the til till it turns slightly brown and keep aside.
- Dry roast the peanuts. When little cool, remove the skin from it, by rubbing between palms of hand. Then make a coarse powder of the peanuts.
- Heat the kadhai, put the jaggery in it. Keep mixing well, till it melts and starts lightly frothing.
- Add the ghee to it, and the til and peanut powder. Mix well. Put off the heat.
- When still very warm, but able to handle, make laddus from the mixture immediately.
- Cool completely before storing.

Update : I made another batch of the Laddus. This time, the jaggery I used was also very light in colour and I heated it also to the right consistency I think. The result is the first pic you see on this post :)..

This is how to make the Tilgul..


Sugar - 2 cups
Water - 2 cups
Yogurt - 1 tsp
Milk - 2 tsp
Lemon juice - 1 tsp
Fresh muslin kind of cloth for filtering.

You will need 1 tsp each of the following. You can increase, decrease or avoid any of them as you wish.
Jeera,Saunf,Putani( Roasted Chana Dal ), Peanuts, White til, til,Coriander seeds, Cloves (lavang), Pumpkin seeds, Elaichi ( the skin or cover removed ) - All 1 tsp each.

Method of preparation

- Put 2 cups each of water and sugar in a Kaayli (Kadhai) and keep it for
- When it comes to a boil, put in the yogurt. After boiling, take off from stove and filter in a clean cloth.
- Again keep the strained liquid for boiling and add the milk, boil it and filter it.
- Keep this filtered liquid for boiling again and add lemon juice and filter again.
- Now heat this again and after ensuring that the Paank (Syrup) is not very thick, take the vessel off from the heat and keep it for cooling.( Ensure that the syrup holds like a thin wire between the Thumb and first finger ). Now the syrup is ready.

- Put the rest of the items like Jeera,etc for sometime under hot sun( well, here, you can just keep in the oven for 2 mins, not more, else it will burn and give bitter taste ).
- Then put them all in a thick steel plate and keep it on the stove on very low heat. When it is slightly hot, add half a teaspoon of the prepared sugar syrup and toss with your fingers for about 10-15 minutes very slowly, so the seeds all get coated with the syrup.
- Once the plate cools, again keep the plate on the gas till it becomes hot. Take care not to burn the stuff on it.
- Take off the plate from the gas and again add half a teaspoon of the syrup and pour over the seeds.This process of heating, adding of syrup and coating for 10-15 minutes is to be repeated till all the sugar syrup is used up.
- If required, you can also add colors to this. For this, mix different food colours in 2-3 Tsps of syrup and repeat the same process on the seeds.After adding colours, keep the Tilgul in the hotsun for sometime. If colour is not added, then there is no need of keeping in the sun.
- Tilgul is now ready.

The above picture is of some tilgul my mom sent for me. This is the store bought one and is plain sugar. There are no seeds inside it.

Jan 9, 2008

Sugandhi - A Flower

Image source :http://www.hear.org/starr/hiplants/images/thumbnails/html/hedychium_coronarium.htm

The Sugandhi (in Konkani) flower is something which I grew up with all around me as a kid, hence its very nostalgic. A wonderful flower that many of you might have seen and are aware of. The flowers are so fragrant, that from a distance of the plant, you know there is a bloom. It blooms in the evenings only, so the fresh scent fills the air and the house if you have a plant near the window or so. From a single bud, there will be a whole cluster of flowers and I specially like them coz they look so clean, and crisp and elegant. Unfortunately, the life of each flower is only one day. Also, if you cut it from the stem, it will wither away very soon. So, it’s best left by itself to adorn the garden.

So, a little google search on this wonderful flower gave me some info, and I thought it would be nice to share with all.

The common English name: White butterfly ginger lily, or simply ginger lily
Also known by these names in India, Dolan champa (Hindi), Takhellei angouba (Manipuri), Sontaka (Marathi), Suruli Sugandhi (Kannada)
Botanical Name: Hedychium coronarium

It is a plant native to India. It is a popular landscape plant throughout Florida, the Gulf Coast, California, the Caribbean and tropical and subtropical areas worldwide. Ginger lily also is grown in mild winter temperate regions of North America and Europe where it dies back in winter but re-emerges in spring. It is a very vigorous growing plant and needs to be divided often. The plant is easy to grow and needs wet and moist soil.

The species is said to be introduced by settlers in Hawaii. The Natives refer to white ginger as ‘Awapuhi’, using the juice of mature seed as a hair and skin treatment.

It’s a very common plant in Brazil and considered to be an invasive seed. It seems it was brought to this country by African slaves who used the leaves of this plant as mattresses.

It is the national flower of Cuba, known as ‘Flor de Mariposa’, meaning ‘Butterfly flower’, coz its similar to a flying white butterfly.

Uses: A very interesting article I read talks about the medicinal values of this plant. The Gulbakawali Ark (extract) sold in the Chhattisgarh region of India, is an extract from the flower. The flowers are collected and through indigenous method of steam distillation Ark (extract) is collected. The rhizomes (a stem which grows underground and sends out shoots above and roots below ) are the source of essential oil that is used in perfumery and pharmaceutical preparations. The rhizome of Gulbakawali is used in Chinese natural medicine and has been prescribed and used in treatment of headache, lancinating pain, inflammatory and intense pain due to rheumatism etc. It also has uses as tonic, excitant and anti-rheumatic in the Ayurvedic system. An essential oil obtained from the flowers is valued in high grade perfumes.

This picture was clicked and sent to me by my cousin, from their garden in India :)

I would like to send this as my entry to Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Vani of Batasari and originally started by Kalyn.

These are the sources of my info and you can read more here

Jan 7, 2008

Vayangana Bajji ( Eggplant Chutney )

This a often-made side dish in Konkani homes. An easy to make, good to taste, kind of dishes. It is usually made as a side for a kind of rice rotti for breakfast.
This can be prepared with onions or without it. At my home, my mom makes it always without the onions and I like it that way too. But the most important thing in this dish lies in how to roast it (I'm not getting the right word here ). Back home, they do it on charcoal, and the taste imparted to the eggplant this way is the best and almost not replaceable any other way that you do it. But hey, that doesn't mean you can't do it other ways. Like I used the oven :)...


Whole Eggplant - 1 big
Fresh coconut,grated- 1/4 cup
Green Chillies - 2, chopped
Tamarind - 1 tsp or 1 piece
Salt - to taste


- Wash the eggplant. Wipe it clean. Apply little oil all over it and bake it in the oven at 350F for about 30-45 mins. Keep checking so that it doesnt get burnt.
- Then, peel off the skin with your hands and keep the whole inside mass aside.
- In a bowl, take the coconut, tamarind, chillies and salt and squeeze all together with your fingers.
- Add the eggplant mass to it and again mash/mix everything together till it mixes well.
- I served this with Avocado Rotis.

Avocado Rotis..

You might be surprised that this is the first time I made something with Avacados. Have seen it so many times in the stores and was aware of the Gaucamole and all, but always thought this needed a lot of effort in cutting and getting the pulp out. How wrong was my thinking, I know now. One thing I can say about blogging is, it has made me open my eye to new vegetables and using them differently, although I still have a long way to go. I came across the Avacado Chapatis in Indira's site and got the idea from there. She said in her site, that she came across the Avacado Parathas in GM's blog.
I can't agree more with them on how smooth and soft the rotis turned out to be. Also, I added a fair amount of finely chopped mint leaves to the dough and alongwith the ajwain, the flavour was very nice.


Firm, but ripe avocado - 2
Wheat flour - 2 1/3 cups
Mint leaves - 1/4 cup, finely chopped
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Haldi powder - 1/4 tsp
Ajwain - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Water - 2 tbl spns, approx
Oil - to fry


- Cut the avocado lengthwise and remove the pit and scoop out the flesh. Take the flesh in a mixing bowl and mash it nicely.
- To this add the haldi, chilli powder, ajwain, mint, and salt. Mix well.
- Add the wheat flour to it. Make the dough my mixing all these ingredients itself.
- Add water only if needed. Avocados will yield all the fat and moisture to the dough, so you might not need any more water.
- Keep the dough covered for about 15 mins.
- Then, roll out into rotis and fry on tawa by applying oil on both sides.
- Serve with chutney or any vegetable dish.
- I served them with Vayagana Bajji( Eggplant Chutney ) and Sambar.

Jan 6, 2008

Fish Curry ( Aalle-Kaandya Aambat )

This is one kind of fish curry we make and goes best for particular varieties like Paaplet(Pomfret), Baangde (Mackeral), Iswan (Kingfish),Taarle (Sardines) and Belanji ( think its called Silver fish ). This curry is not made very spicy like the Teppla Ammbat.
I like this curry all by itself so much that sometimes, I just replace potatoes and green mango for fish and just keep licking my fingers.This time, I used Paaplet( Pomfret) in the curry.


Fish pieces - about 6
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
Red chillies - 8
Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
Tamarind - 1 small piece
Ginger - 1 1/2 inch piece, finely sliced
Onion - 1 big, chopped
Green chillies - 1 cut into small pieces
Haldi - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste


- Grind the grated coconut, red chillies, coriander seeds, tamarind and salt with water in a mixie to get a smooth masala.
- Take little oil in a vessel, add the onions and ginger pieces and fry till translucent.
- Put the masala in it, green chilli, add salt and boil.
- Then add the fish pieces and cook till the fish is done ( fish cooks very fast, so dont boil too much ).
- Enjoy hot with rice....

Jan 5, 2008

Orange And Veggie Crunchy Colorful Salad...

This is again inspired from the book 'Cooking with 1 Teaspoon of Oil', by Tarla Dalal. The original one is called Sweet Lime and Pepper Salad. Just looking at the picture in the book, I wanted to try this salad, but neither did I have sweet lime or any other pepper other than the green one. So decided to make my own version with oranges instead.
As the name suggests, it is a very crunchy salad, and very simple, easy and quick to make. Its a great choice for take-away lunches and for entertaining. Just add the dressing just before you are ready to eat it. This will ensure the veggies remain crisp...So, this is my version of it...

You will need
Green Pepper (capsicum) - 1, thinly sliced
Tomato - 1, sliced
Red small radishes with leaves - 4, sliced. Chop the leaves.
Red Cabbage - 1/4 cup, shredded
Seedless Orange segments - 1 whole

These below are to mixed together for the dressing
Mustard powder or optionally mustard paste - 1 tsp
Pepper Powder - 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste


- Combine the salad ingredients together well in a bowl. Chill if using after sometime.
- Just before serving, pour the dressing over the salad and toss till mixed well.
- Serve immediately and enjoy..

P.S: You can also use lettuce and cucumber slices in the salad.

Mansi of Fun and Food has announced a Game Nite Party event that she is hosting. So, hopefully this qualifies for it. Here goes this colorful salad as my entry to her wonderful event.

Jan 4, 2008

Roasted Pear and Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Sauce..

Chocolate Chocolate everywhere and yet din't know what to make. It took me quite sometime thinking of what to prepare with chocolate and even when I decided on cake, there were hundreds of varieties to choose from, of which some of them were either too plain or others too complicated for me. So after much thought and apprehension, I finally got an idea from one and combined it with another. The original one is a Torte, which I found out means a cake which uses very less flour and lots of eggs and nuts. We are as it is having too much of a sugar dose these days, And too many eggs and nuts, would mean too rich a cake. So decided to skip that, but still go with the idea of using the pears. You can see the original Torte recipe here. Din't have any expectations or hopes for the final outcomes, but must say, I was pleased with it...The pears when roasted with the lemon juice and butter get a very nice flavour, and then ofcourse with combined with Chocolate cake, its yummmm...

So I send this as my entry for the JFI -Chocolate hosted by Deepz of LetzCook...Jihva series is brainchild of Indira of Mahanandi.

So, this here it is..


For the Roasted Pears:
Firm-ripe Pears - 2, such as Bartlett, Anjou or Bosch
Unsalted Melted Butter - 1 Tbl spn
Lemon juice - 1 tsp
Sugar - 2 tbl spn

For the Chocolate Cake:
All purpose flour - 2/3 cup (150 ml)
Cocoa powder - 1/4 cup (50 ml)
Brown Sugar - 1/3 cup (75 ml)
Baking powder - 1/4 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Salt - a pinch
Egg - 1
Unsalted Melted Butter - 2 1/2 tbl spn
Sour Cream - 1/2 cup

For the Strawberry Sauce:
I used the frozen strawerry slices with sugar. Just heat about 2 tbl spns of this in a vessel on low heat, till it forms a sauce of required consistency.

For optional garnishing you can use :
Whipped Cream
Fresh Blackberries
Toasted Sliced Almonds
Fresh Mint


Making the roasted pears :
- Preheat the oven to 450F.
- Wash and peel and core the pears. Cut them into halves lengthwise.
- Combine the butter and lemon juice together and coat the pears evenly on all sides with it.
- In a baking tray, place the pears with the cut side down and all in one layer. Sprinkle on top with sugar.
- Bake for about 15 mins keeping in center rack, than baste with the pan juices.
- Bake for another 5-10 mins till the pears become tender but still hold their shape.
- Remove from oven and let it cool completely.
- Reduce the oven heat to 350F now.

- Now, slice each pear half lengthwise into 3 wedges each.
- Grease a round baking dish with butter, and place each wedge with the cut side down all around at the bottom of the dish in a circular pattern. Leave about 1/2 inch gap from the edge of the dish. This ensures that the pears are perfectly set in the cake when baked( I forgot to do leave this gap).Fill in the extra spaces by cutting small pieces with the remaining pears and filling in between.

Now for the Cake batter:
- Mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and the brown sugar in a mixing bowl.
- Combine the egg, melted butter and sour cream and whick till well blended. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

- Pour this batter evenly over the arranged pears mentioned above and slightly tap the dish so that the batter fills in between the empty spaces between the pear wedges.
- Keep in the oven at 350F and bake for about 45mins to 1hr or until skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Take out from oven, let it rest for sometime. Then invert the dish and take the cake out with bottom facing up.
- Cool completely and cut into pieces.
- Serve with strawberry sauce and mint.

Jan 3, 2008

Soya Cabbage Matar Pulav..

I had borrowed the book ' Cooking with 1 teaspoon of Oil ' by the famous Tarla Dalal, from a friend. Ofcourse, Tarla Dalal needs no introduction. I followed her recipe for Soya-Matar Pulav today, but with a few changes of my own. Firstly, I added red cabbage also to it, so I call it Soya Cabbage Matar Pulav. Will mention the other changes as I write the method below. But hey, as the title of the book suggests, I used only 1 teaspoon of oil. Now, that is an achievement for me :)...


Basmati rice, raw - 1 1/2 cups
Soya chunks - 1/2 cup , I used the mini chunks
Green peas, fresh or frozen - 1/2 cup
Red Cabbage, shredded - 1 cup
Onions - 1 big, finely chopped
Tomato - 1 medium
Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
Cinnamon stick (dalchini) - 1 inch piece
Cloves (lavang) - 3
Bay leaf - 1
Cumin seeds (jeera) - 1/2 tsp
Cardamom (elaichi) - 1
Haldi powder - 1/4 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1 tsp
Yogurt - 2 tsp ( the original recipe doesn't use yogurt, but I did )
Salt - to taste

Grind the following to a paste
Garlic cloves - 5
Whole red chillies - 4

Note: The original recipe called for grinding into paste the garlic and chillies, but I ground the coriander seeds and the tomato also along with it. So it was a nice red paste.


- Wash the rice, soak in water for 10 mins. Drain and keep aside.
- Now pressure cook the soya chunks with 1 1/2 cups of water and salt for 2 whistles. Then drain and keep aside.
- Heat the oil in the cooker, add the cumin seeds, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf and cardamom.
- When seeds start crackling, add the onions and saute till light brown.
- Then, add the ground paste and fry well.
- Add the haldi, garam masala powder, green peas, rice, cooked soya chunks and salt and saute for 2 minutes.
- Add 3 cups of water, add the yogurt, and cook for 2 whistles. Else, cook till done in electric cooker.
- Serve hot with a raita. I served with a simple red cabbage raita.

An update here: Thanx to Asha and Meera for letting me know of the 'Soya Event'.
Am sending this across as my entry to Rajitha of HungerPangs for WBB-Soy and its By-Products.