Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jilebi / Jalebi

Diwali, the festival of lights (and sweets!), is here. Back home, these days would be filled with light and the sounds of crackers and fireworks. I am missing all that, being in this part of the world. Another main attraction of Diwali is all the different varieties of sweets that are made at home or become available in stores during that time. So this year I wanted to make something too, which is when I landed upon this simple recipe of Jalebi/Jilebi in Vanitha magazine. It was a super simple recipe that I could not help trying and Jalebis have always been (and still is) a weakness of mine!

Print / Save this Recipe

Makes around 40 Jilebis (Depending on the size)

For the dough
Urad Dal- 1 cup
Water- 1/2 cup
Yellow Food Color- 4 drops (Optional)
Refined Oil- as needed to fry

For the syrup
Water- 1 1/4 cups
Sugar- 2 cups
Rosewater- 1 tbsp
Yellow food color- 2 drops (Optional)
Salt - less than a pinch

  1. Soak the Urad dal for at least 1 hour.
  2. Grind the soaked dal into a smooth paste adding half a cup of water.
  3. Add 3-4 drops of food color to this dough and mix well.
  4. In a pan start boiling the water and sugar together for making the syrup.
  5. When the syrup starts to thicken, add the rosewater, salt and 2 drops of food color.
  6. When the syrup reaches a thick consistency, turn the stove to low. The syrup should be on the stove on low flame through out the whole cooking process. Syrup should not be of a thread consistency, but rather that of a simple syrup or syrup of Gulab Jamun. If the water starts to become of thread consistency during the cooking process, add more water and adjust.
  7. In a shallow frying pan, add oil and heat. When the oil is hot, reduce the heat to medium which is the temperature to be maintained through out the frying process.
  8. Fill the dough into a Ziploc bag and make a small cut at one of the corners to squeeze the dough into the oil to make jalebis. Make sure that the hole you make is really small. You could adjust the size of the hole after trying to squeeze out a little bit of batter to the oil. 
  9. Start squeezing out the dough into the oil in any pattern you want.
  10. Fry the jalebis crisp and transfer immediately to the sugar syrup.
  11. Let the jalebi soak in the syrup for 5-8 minutes. 
  12. Remove from the syrup and place it on the serving plate.
Note: Start making the jalebi as soon as the dough is made; do not let it sit too long.

As you can see it is a super simple recipe with very little ingredients. Be sure to try it and I am sure you will like it. A Happy Diwali to all my friends!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Eid Mubarak!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Spicy 'n Sour Fish Curry

I love spicy 'n sour curries, especially fish curries (In Malayalam, these curries would be called "Erivum Puliyum ulla meen curry" - again meaning spicy and sour fish curry).  Fish curries, to me, are not complete without the souring agents like tamarind or kokum. A lunch with rice and fish curry is the staple food back home. I am not a big fan of rice, but a lot of times I do crave for this lip smacking combo.

Serves 8-10 people

Oil- 2 1/2 tbsp
Onion- 2 (1 lbs)
Ginger Garlic Paste
- 1 1/2 tbsp
Tomato- 1 (0.25lbs)
Turmeric Powder- 1/4 tsp
Chilly Powder- 2 tbsp
Coriander Powder- 1 1/2 tbsp
Fenugreek Powder- 1/4 tsp
Tamarind Pulp- 1 tbsp (concentrate form)
Water- 2 cups
Fish- 1 1/4 lbs (I used Mahi Mahi)
Salt- to taste
Curry Leaves- 2 twigs
  1. Heat oil in a pan. I used coconut oil to give it that traditional flavor.
  2. Add onions that are very finely chopped to the oil and saute until they start to slightly brown.
  3. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute until the raw smell is gone.
  4. Add finely chopped tomatoes and saute until they are mashed.
  5. Add the turmeric powder, chilly powder, coriander powder and fenugreek powder and saute for a few minutes.
  6. Add the tamarind pulp to this. I used the store bought tamarind concentrate. If using normal tamarind, use a big lemon sized ball and use the water required as part of the recipe to make the paste.
  7. Add water and salt and mix well and let it boil.
  8. Add the fish pieces and curry leaves and let the fish cook.
  9. Turn off the stove and close the pan and keep aside for sometime before you serve.

Like any other fish curry, taste of this curry is also enhanced the next day. In addition to rice, you could also have this curry with chappathy, appam, etc.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Kaju Badam Kulfi (Cashew Almond Icecream)

I do not know if Kulfis can be called ice creams, they are kind of similar though. It has a different texture than that of ice cream. Making kulfi traditionally would have been a cumbersome task, with boiling and reducing milk, making cream, etc. Now that we get evaporated milk, condensed milk and heavy cream - all ready to use in cans - the preparation has become so easy and does not even need any cooking. I still remember the first time I had the chance to dive into this special dessert during my school days. It was a mutka kulfi of pistachio flavor (kulfi served in an earthen pot; mutka means earthen pot) and I think I should still have the mutka back home somewhere! The recipe I have here is adapted from Showmethecurry.com.

Makes around 24 kulfis (depending on the mold used)

Condensed Milk- 1 can (14 oz)
Evaporated Milk
- 1 can (12 oz)
Heavy Whipping Cream- 16 oz
Whipped Cream- 8 oz
Saffron- 1 big pinch
Sugar- 1/2 tsp
Salt- a pinch
Cashews & Almonds
- 1/2 cup (Coarsely ground)

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, heavy whipping cream and whipped cream and mix well using an electric blender or by hand.
  2. Grind the saffron together with sugar using a mortar and pestle and add to the above mixture.
  3. Add the coarsely ground nuts to the mixing bowl and fold in. You could use any nuts of your choice.
  4. Add a pinch of salt and mix well. 
  5. Pour the mixture into Popsicle molds or you could use small cups as shown in the picture below.
    6. If using cups, after pouring the mixture to the cup cover it with an aluminium foil. Insert a Popsicle  
        stick into the cup through the foil. The foil will help keep the stick in place.
   7. Refrigerate the kulfis overnight and serve. To take the kulfis out easily, just rub the cup between your  
       hands and try to take the kulfi out by holding on to the stick.

You could use pistachios alone and make pista kulfis. I have been making this recipe for the last 2-3 years now and it is a hit with kids and adults. A perfect cooler for the summer!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Egg Curry

Egg Curry is always the fallback option when you feel like having something non-veggie and do not want to cook meat. Also egg is that one staple which kind of falls into the veggie and non-veggie category. When I think of egg curry, the first thing that comes to my mind are those breakfasts from "Amritha Restaurant" during my Technopark days (my office location back in Kerala, India), with soft 'n yummy Appams and spicy Egg Curry. As I am writing this, I can run a boat in my mouth! Egg curry is made in different form/fashion in different regions of India and the one I have here is a South Indian style. 

Serves 6-8 people

Coconut Oil- 3 tbsp
- 2 (thinly sliced - around 1.5 lbs)
Ginger Garlic Paste- 2 tbsp
Turmeric Powder- 1/4 tsp
Chilly Powder- 2 tbsp
Coriander Powder- 2 tbsp
Garam Masala- 1 tsp
Boiled Eggs - 8
Salt- to taste
Water- 2 cups
Curry Leaves- 2 twigs

  1. Heat oil in a pan and add the thinly sliced onions and saute it until they start to turn brown. Do not let them burn, the onions should just start to caramelize.
  2. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute until the raw smell is gone.
  3. Add turmeric powder, coriander powder, chilly powder and garam masala and saute for 10-12 minutes in medium flame until the whole mixture has a deep brown color.
  4. Add water, curry leaves and salt to the masala and stir to mix well. If you want a dry curry, you can reduce the amount of water or not even add it.
  5. When the water starts to boil, turn off the stove.
  6. Place the boiled eggs cut into half on top of the curry carefully and pour some gravy over it to make sure they get coated with the masala. You would not want to stir the gravy with the eggs, as it would break the eggs.
  7. It would be ideal to close the pan and keep it aside for 5 minutes before serving.

This curry will be perfect with Appam, Idiyappam, Chappathy, Paalaada or any other breakfast item. This egg curry also brings to my mind, the jingle most Indians would remember! (It is a jingle that used to play on TV as an Ad for Eggs. In a nutshell, it means you should eat eggs daily in one form or the other- omlet, fried or boiled - be it Sunday or Monday)

Meri jaan, meri jaan, murgi ke anday!
Omlet khilaoon, fried khilaoon, boiled khilaoon!
Khilaoon murgi ke, murgi ke, ande hi ande! 
Sunday ho ya Monday, roj khaayein ande

Monday, May 16, 2011

Chicken Roast

This chicken roast recipe is adapted from the "My Treasure My Pleasure" blog by Anita. Her blog and recipes were one of my initial inspirations to start this blog. I have been making this chicken roast for sometime now (read years!) and it is always a hit. There is no fancy ingredient needed and it is a simple recipe, except for the amount of time you need to roast. The more you roast the tastier and darker the roast becomes; and that rule applies to any traditional roast dishes!

Serves 6-7 people

Coconut Oil- 3 tbsp + 2 1/2 tbsp (as needed)
Onion- 4 (thinly sliced - around 2.75 lbs)
Ginger Garlic Paste- 2 1/2  tbsp
Turmeric Powder- 1 tsp
Chilly Powder- 2 tbsp
Coriander Powder- 3 tbsp
Garam Masala- 2 tsp
Chicken - 2 lbs
Salt- to taste
Curry Leaves- 3 twigs
  1. Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a pan and add the thinly sliced onions and saute it until they turn transparent.
  2. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute until the raw smell is gone.
  3. Add turmeric powder, coriander powder, chilly powder and garam masala and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken pieces and salt and mix well with the masala.
  5. Add a twig of curry leaves and let the chicken cook. There will be water coming out of the chicken, so additional water will not be needed. 
  6. Let the water dry up. If the chicken is not cooked, when the water starts to dry up, add additional water as needed and cook.
  7. Once the water starts to dry up, add additional oil as needed and keep sauting until it reaches a dark brown color.
  8. Add the remaining curry leaves and serve the chicken roast.

This is an awesome roast recipe with not many ingredients and with the tempting aroma of coconut oil and curry leaves. It is a perfect accompaniment to any dish, be it rice, appam, roti or idiyappam.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Malai Vegetable Curry

I am always in search of veg curry options, especially the quick and easy ones with a "different" taste. There are a lot of them that I am familiar with like the Errisery, Kalan, Pachadi, Sambar, etc., which are part of the yummy Sadya (Traditional Kerala Feast). I love all these curries, but I am more of a roti eater and these curries don't go well with rotis (at least for me). So this is one of the attempts to create a veggie dish that will go well with rotis and is easy to make as well.

Serves 6-7 people

Oil- 2 tbsp
Onion- 1 (around 0.75 lbs)
Ginger Garlic Paste- 1 1/2  tbsp
Tomato- 0.25 lbs
Turmeric Powder- 1/4 tsp
Chilly Powder- 1 tbsp
Coriander Powder- 1/2 tbsp
Cumin Powder- 1 tsp
Mixed Vegetables- 18 oz.(1 1/8 lbs)
Heavy Cream- 1/4 cup + 1/8 cup
Kasoori Methi- 1 1/2 tbsp
Salt- to taste
Water- 1/2 cup + 4tbsp
  1. Heat the oil in a pan and add the sliced onions.
  2. Saute the onions until they are transparent.
  3. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes and saute for 3-4 minutes.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the chilly powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and cumin powder with 4 tbsp of water.
  6. Add the powder paste to the sauteed onions and continue to saute for 5-10 minutes in a medium heat.
  7. Add the mixed vegetables and salt to the pan and mix well to coat the masalas. I used frozen vegetables that had vegetables like peas, zucchini, cauliflower, carrot, green beans, red pepper and Baby Lima Beans. You could use any vegetables of your choice.
  8. Add the remaining water and let it cook. Add more water, if needed to cook the vegetables.
  9. Once the vegetables are cooked, add the cream and cook for 3-4 minutes in a medium heat.
  10. Turn off the stove and crush the kasoori methi with your hands and add to the curry.

The addition of kasoori methi makes this dish all the more flavorful. Add more colorful vegetables to make a more colorful feast! This is a perfect combination for Chapathi, Roti, Naan and Ghee Rice.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chilly Fish

I really didn't know whether I should call this Chilly Fish or Fish Manchurian. Finally I settled with Chilly Fish; whatever the name is, this is a lip smacking dish! You could follow this preparation with Chicken or even with some fleshy veggies. You could make this dry and serve as an appetizer or make this with gravy and use as a side for rotis or a rice preparation. I also love the dry version with Roti and rice. This dish is a feast for the eyes as well as for your stomach!

Serves 6-7 people

For the Fry
Fish- 1 lb
Corn Starch/Corn Flour- 3 tbsp
Ginger Garlic Paste- 1 tbsp
Chilly Powder- 1 tbsp
Salt- to taste
Water- 1/4 cup
Oil- as needed to shallow fry the fish
  1. Make a batter with the corn flour, chilly powder, ginger garlic paste, water and salt.
  2. Cut the fish into small cube sized pieces. Use any boneless fish. I used Tilapia fillets.
  3. Dip the fish pieces into the batter.
  4. Heat the oil and add the fish pieces to the hot oil and fry.
  5. It is ideal to fry the fish well/dark brown, which will help it keep its shape when adding to the gravy. Also it enhances the taste.
  6. Transfer the fried fish pieces to a plate lined with a paper kitchen tissue, to absorb any excess oil.
For the Gravy
Oil- 3 tbsp (left from frying)
Ginger- 2 big piece (0.10 lbs)
Garlic- 15 big cloves (0.10 lbs)
Green Chilly- 3 big (0.10 lbs)
Onion- 1 (0.75 lbs)
Tomato Sauce- 3 tbsp
Soya Sauce- 3 tbsp
Water- 1/2 cup
Coriander Leaves- handful for garnish (chopped)
Salt- to taste

  1. Heat a pan and add 3 tbsp of oil (used for frying the fish) to it. 
  2. When the oil starts to heat up, add the finely chopped ginger and garlic to it.  
  3. Saute the ginger and garlic until the raw smell is gone (for about a minute). 
  4. Add the finely chopped onions and a little salt and saute it well.  
  5. When the onions are almost translucent, add the chopped green chillies and saute for a minute. 
  6. Add the tomato sauce and soya sauce and mix well. 
  7. Add 1/2 cup water and mix well.  
  8. When the water just starts to boil, add the fried fish pieces and mix well to coat the sauces to the fish pieces.
  9. Adjust the salt, if needed and garnish with chopped coriander leaves. 
  10. Turn off the stove and leave the pan closed for at least 10-15 minutes for the fish to absorb the sauces and the taste to set in.
Note: - If you want a gravy version, you could add more water (around 1/2 cup) mixed with a little corn starch/corn flour (about 1 tsp). Make sure the corn starch is mixed well without any lumps.

This is an easy version of Chilly fish with just the basic ingredients. You could also add red bell peppers and spring onions to make it more colorful, if needed.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Old Fashioned Banana Cake

Looks like I am becoming a hard core Ina Garten fan. This is another one of her recipes from the Barefoot Contessa book series "How easy is that?". Now what is the difference between banana cake and banana bread? The only thing I know of is that the banana bread is made in a loaf pan and the other one in a regular cake pan. If one of you has a better answer than that, let me know. This is a super moist 'n soft cake recipe and the taste reminds me of the unniyappams (a traditional fried snack made with rice flour, banana, etc). I have slightly altered the recipe to reduce the amount of sugar.

Makes a 9" Cake

Very Ripe Bananas - 3 (mashed)
Granulated Sugar- 1/2 cup
Light Brown Sugar- 1/2 cup (lightly packed)
Vegetable Oil- 1/2 cup
Eggs- 2
Sour Cream- 1/2 cup
Pure Vanilla Extract- 1 tsp
Grated Orange zest- from a small orange
All Purpose Flour- 2 cups
Baking Soda- 1 tsp
Salt- 1/2 tsp
Coarsely chopped walnuts- 1/2 cup

  1. Using an electric mixer or blender, mix the mashed bananas, granulated sugar and brown sugar on a low speed until combined. The original recipe calls for 3/4 cup granulated sugar. So if you want it to be sweeter, you could add 3/4 cup.
  2. Add the oil, eggs, sour cream, vanilla essence and orange zest to the banana-sugar mixture and mix at low speed until smooth. If you do not have orange zest, you could avoid them.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking soda and salt to combine them well.
  4. Add the dry ingredients slowly to the wet ingredients in a slow speed and combine well.
  5. Stir in the chopped walnuts to the cake batter.
  6. Pour the batter into a greased 9" baking pan.
  7. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 50-55 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. The heating time varies by the oven, so keep checking towards the last 10-15 minutes.
  8. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes and turn on to a cooling rack and cool completely.

You should also be able to bake it in a loaf pan or even make this into muffins.  This is a perfect snack which has the goodness of bananas and the crunchiness of the walnuts. You could also make this cake without the walnuts, if you do not like them.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Scrambled Eggs

Does this even call for a posting in this space? Scrambled Eggs are so simple to make, that I was confused as to whether I should do this as a post in here. But then, this is my life saver recipe and one of my family favorites. I make this when I do not have that much time to cook or when I am not in a mood to cook and still want to eat something tasty.

Serves 4-5 people

Oil-3 tbsp
Eggs- 4
Onion-1 big (around 1 lb)
Green Chilly -3
Chilly Powder-3/4 tsp
Grated Coconut -1/2 cup
Salt -to taste

  1. Heat the oil in a pan and add the finely chopped onions and little salt and saute well.
  2. When the onion turns translucent, add the finely chopped green chilly and chilly powder and saute for a minute.
  3. Add the grated coconut and mix well for a minute or two.
  4. Beat the egg with enough salt.
  5. Add the beaten egg to onions and keep mixing. Add salt, if needed. Continue this until the egg is completely dry and scrambled. This could take up to 10 minutes.

This could be eaten like a thoran (stir fry) with rice, on its own or with rotis. My favorite combo with this is Chapathi. Also you could make sandwiches with this mixture. I am sure most of you make this in one form or the other. This is definitely a quick 'n easy recipe which is super yummy! Sending this to Any One Can Cook Series.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Fish Molly

It's been a month since I posted something in this space! I am still very much here - alive and kicking! It's just that I have been so busy this last month with my move to my new home and my son's birthday. It is kind of tough to get out of the non-blogging mode now, but I am trying hard. The emails that I am getting from my friends out there are the main inspiration to get back! So here is my first attempt towards that with the Fish Molly/Fish Molee recipe. Don't ask me how this curry got its name - I have no clue! But sure it is an interesting name, as is the dish. Presenting another traditional Kerala Recipe!

Serves 6-7 people

For the Fish Fry
Fish- 1 lb (cut into cube pieces)
Turmeric Powder- 1/4 tsp
Red Chilly Powder- 1 tsp
Salt- to taste
Coconut Oil- 2 tbsp

For the Gravy
Coconut Oil- 1 tbsp
Onions- 1 big (around 0.9lbs - thinly sliced)
Garlic - 6-7 big pods (around 0.05lbs)
Ginger- 1 big piece (around 0.05lbs)
Green Chilly- 3
Tomato- 1 (around 0.25lbs)
Turmeric Powder- 1/4 tsp
Thin Coconut Milk- 1/2 cup
Thick Coconut Milk- 1/2 cup
Water- 3/4 cup
Curry Leaves- 2-3 twigs
Salt- to taste

  1. Marinate the fish pieces with turmeric powder, chilly powder and salt and keep it aside for a minimum of 10 minutes. I used Mahi Mahi fish for this preparation.
  2. Shallow fry the marinated fish pieces in coconut oil until slightly brown and keep aside after draining the oil. This is to just make the fish a little firm (and tasty, of course) so that it will not break when put into the gravy.
  3. Add a table spoon of coconut oil to the same pan which was used to fry the fish together with any remaining oil from frying.
  4. Crush the ginger and garlic coarsely using a mortar pestle or a mixer and add to the oil.
  5. Saute the ginger and garlic until the raw smell is gone.
  6. Add the sliced onions and saute until they are transparent.
  7. Add the green chilly and turmeric powder and saute for a minute.
  8. Add the chopped tomatoes and saute for few seconds. Do not overcook it.
  9. Add water and thin coconut milk to the pan and let it boil.
  10. Add the fried fish pieces and salt to the gravy and slightly mix it and let it cook for 3-5 minutes.
  11. Add the thick coconut milk and let it boil for 2-3 minutes.
  12. Add the curry leaves and turn off the stove.

The coconut oil and coconut milk in this curry makes it really flavorful and yummy. This Fish curry goes perfect with Appam, Rice, Idiyappam and bread as well. I love eating this even with Rotis.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Easy Beef Chilly Fry

I think by now most of you know my special affection towards beef recipes. I love dry preparations of beef.  So when I saw this recipe in Magic Oven in Kairali TV, I could not stop myself from trying this out.  I already have a Beef Fry Recipe in this space, but this one had a different set of ingredients. One of the best things about this recipe is that it does not have too many ingredients nor too many steps is needed to cook up this dish. So this being an Easy Beef Fry recipe, I had to try it out!

Serves 5-6 people
Beef- 1 kg
Red Chilly Flakes- 4 tbsp
Garlic - 8 big pods
Fennel Seeds- 1 tbsp
Turmeric- 1/2 tsp
Vinegar- 1 tbsp
Curry Leaves- 2-3 twigs
Coconut Oil- 3 - 4 tbsp
Salt- to taste

  1. Cut the beef into small cube pieces.
  2. Smash the Fennel Seeds and Garlic into a coarse mixture. You could grind Red chilies to make the red chilly flakes.
  3. Mix all the ingredients except coconut oil and curry leaves into the cubed beef pieces and let it marinate for 15 minutes. Marinating is optional, if you need to rush through.
  4. Pressure cook the beef until it is 3/4th done. No need to add any water.
  5. Release the pressure carefully & slowly and open the cooker when it is safe to and continue cooking it until the water from the beef is almost evaporated.
  6. Add the coconut oil and curry leaves to the cooker and keep stirring until it reaches the dryness you need.

You could use more oil, if you need to fry it really dark. This beef goes well with all kinds of rice and breads. For a beef lover, this would also work as an appetizer.
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