Saturday, 8 December 2007

Kerala Eral Kuzhambu (Kerala Prawn Curry)

A Madhu Jaffery recipe again with a twist. This is from her book ‘The flavours of India’ and she opens the recipe with the line ‘I Love this dish with a passion’. I have made a twist, a tip I found here. Having spent 21 years of my lifetime in Coimbatore, means that the Kerala influence is inescapable. We had a neighbour from Kerala who also happened to be a great cook. She would share many of her special dishes with our family. I was lucky enough to spend a few days in Kerala and I cherish that experience. Lots of yummy food everywhere we went. Unfortunately I was with a gang who was fussy about food and was complaining. Nevertheless I enjoyed the food and loved it. Nothing I am ever going to say will do justice to Kerala food. Here goes the recipe,

  • Prawns - 600 gms (Shelled and deveined)
  • Onion - 1 (medium sized thinly sliced into half moons)
  • Garlic - 5 (cut into thin pieces)
  • Ginger - 1 inch (grated)
  • Chilli powder - ½ tsp
  • Paprika - 2 Tbsp
  • Turmeric Powder - ¼ tsp
  • Coconut milk - 400 ml
  • Curry leaves - 1 twig
  • Green chillies - 3
  • Tamarind - lemon size
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Oil - 2Tbsp
  • Salt as required


    • Coriander seeds - 3 Tbsps
    • Fenugreek seeds - ¼ tsp
    • Pepper - 1 tsp
    • Curry leaves - 1 twig

Dry roast the coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds and pepper and powder it in a blender with the curry leaves. Once the powder is fine add 5 raw prawns to it and grind it with some water. Heat the tamarind with water for 2 minutes on high. Dilute with cold water and extract the juice. Heat oil and add the mustard seeds and when they pop add the curry leaves, onion, garlic and fry till brown. Once brown add the ginger and sauté for one more minute. To this add the chilli, paprika, turmeric powders and the ground paste and fry till blended. Add the tamarind extract, salt,green chillies and let it bubble. To this gravy add the coconut milk and the prawns. When the prawns are cooked, remove from fire and enjoy with hot boiled rice. If you enjoy very spicy food, the paprika can be replaced with chilli powder. The gravy is thick and would go well with Chapatti as well. This dish is a treat for your senses. It looks, smells and tastes divine.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Beans and Chickpeas Salad

Apologies to all for subjecting you to my bad photos in my previous posts. Today I found out that one of my younger troops had changed the settings in the camera and the results are – well you have already seen them. To be fair, bad photographic skills run in my family line. My dad took pictures of my mom in London with her head cut off. We ended up with many pictures of my mother from neck down. Till date I am not sure if my dad has poor sense for photography or if he did take those pictures on purpose. Anyways back to food it is salad time again. There was a warning in my previous post about S wanting to eat salad everyday (before you get all the wrong ideas, let me clarify that salad is considered a snack by S and not a meal). Now that the purpose is clear, I can go ahead with the recipe


  • Chickpeas – 1 can
  • Haricot beans – 1 can
  • Onion – ½ sliced
  • Carrot – 1 (cut in the middle and slice into thin half moons)
  • Cucumber – ½ cut thinly
  • Lettuce – ½ shredded
  • Sesame seeds – 2 Tbsp (dry toasted)
  • Green chillies – 2 (slit in the middle)
  • Jalapeno peppers – 10 pieces (optional).

Salad dressing

  • Sesame oil – 2 parts
  • Olive oil – 1 part
  • Soy sauce – 2 parts
  • Lemon – 1 part
  • Salt as required

Drain the peas and beans from the can and run them under cold water. Warm them up in a microwave and mix with other salad ingredients. The Jalapeno peppers are optional, I added them as I wanted to finish off the bottle. For the dressing combine all the dressing ingredients and whisk until an emulsion is formed. Since soy sauce is salty and hence less salt is required for this salad. This dressing is simply delicious. I am planning to make plenty of it, store in the fridge and add it in small amounts to any salad I make. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix it well. Since this is a warm salad, it is perfect for those cold winter evenings as a snack. As an after thought I added some dill to the salad (for no particular reason) and the dill actually went very well with salad. In retrospect, a pinch of the fennel falvour with fennel bulbs and/or seeds would also lift the salad. That is an idea for my next recipe.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Avocado Salad

A few years back, I went vegetarian (don’t ask me why) and ended up eating yogurt rice all the time. I did not have the energy or time to cook something vegetarian for me, while the family ate something else. Re entering into the Non-Vegetarian world (not because I didn’t like eating yogurt rice all the time, in fact I still love it) made me realize that my family ate very little veggie food. Since then I have made it a point to limit meat and chicken to one day a week. It has been a battle ever since. My blog is a good reflection of my battles and their outcomes. Before this entry the veggie score stands at 14 while the non-veggie is close behind at 13. Leveling the scores would mean a loss and who likes loosing. So here I am with a vegetarian salad recipe. Oh yes you read that right, a salad it is and a vegetarian one at that. It is my own recipe made with ingredients that I could reach in my store cupboard and fridge without much effort.

So here goes my recipe with a toast to all things veggie

  • Avocado – 2 (Chopped into bite size pieces)
  • Lettuce - ½ (tear into bite size pieces)
  • Jalapeno chillies – 10 cut pieces (straight from the jar)
  • Cucumber – ½ shredded
  • Red Onion – 1 thinly sliced
  • Coriander leaves – 2 Tbsp (roughly shredded)

Salad Dressing

  • Olive oil – 3 Tbsp (preferably extra Virgin)
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Chilli flakes as required (how else can I convince S to eat a salad)
  • Salt to taste

Place the avocado, lettuce, jalapeno chillies, cucumber, red onion and some coriander leaves in a salad bowl. To make the dressing combine the salad dressing ingredients with a whisk until it form an emulsion like liquid and adjust seasoning. Pour the salad dressing over the veggies and mix well. That is how this yummy salad can be made and can be enjoyed any time of the day. The salad turned out so yummy that S wants salad everyday – now that is something I never even dreamed would come out of his mouth. To make this salad a meal by itself, grilled or any kind of cooked chicken can be added. There I go again, am I ever going to win the battle!!!!