Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My New Love..... Triple Chocolate Brownies


I am sure whoever has watched Nigella, has fallen in love with her. At least, I know I have totally fallen for her (don't get me wrong!). I love the way she cooks, just a dash of this ingredient and a splash of that. The outcome is always simply the best.

I remember the first show I saw of hers was Nigella feasts and I tuned in when she was mixing eggs into this chocolate liquid in a huge saucepan. The chocolate looked too good. I ran to take a paper and pen to note down the recipe. I thought like in all our Indian cookery shows there will be a ingredient round up in the end. She was adding different kinds of chocolates and the end result was this exquisite brownie that she stacked on a red plate and put a dusting of icing sugar! I have never seen such a beautiful sight.

At that time, my friend and co blogger was based here in the UAE and I called her and told her that there is this beautiful lady who cooks great chocolate dishes, her name is Nigella. She told me she had seen Nigella's shows earlier. I asked her if she knew this recipe, but alas she had no clue. I have since then searched high and low for the recipe for this triple chocolate brownie.

Then I was introduced to the world of YouTube videos! After watching tons of videos, it occurred to me that some kind soul would have uploaded my kitchen goddess's video. I searched and voila there it was – some of the videos were there and I started watching the videos and there it was my brownie recipe! I was overjoyed! There were no words to describe my happiness. But the irony of it is that, I have never come around to making the brownie until now. Because my weight issues I was scared to let myself near all those chocolates and butter and eggs.

The other day when I was watching Nigella again, I couldn't resist any longer. I threw caution to the winds and ended up making the brownie. I nearly cried when I took the first bite. WHY DID I NOT MAKE THIS BROWNIE EARLIER? I wouldn't mind putting on some weight for this brownie. I can do that for this brownie.

It is truly a chocolate lovers' dream! I will let you all go to the food network site for the full recipe or to YouTube to watch the video. But I will give you the halved proportions of the recipe. The original recipe is a very huge quantity. So I halved it. The following is the halved version of the original.

Enjoy people. Please don't worry about all that chocolates. Believe me; you will know it was worth it when you bite into this brownie for the first time when it is slightly warm. I surely fell in love with it.



1 ½ sticks of butter

170gm bittersweet chocolate(I used 2 whole bars of lindtt dark chocolate with 70% of cocoa solids and a half of lindtt dark chocolate with chilli pepper)

3 eggs

½ cup+6tbsps of sugar

3/4th cup all purpose flour

½ tsp salt

¼ cup white chocolate chips(here in the UAE I have not come across white chocolate chips, so cut up some lindtt white chocolate and added that)

½ cup semisweet chocolate chips.



For the method please follow the instructions on the food network page. But please note that; don't put in the eggs as Nigella is doing in the video. We are not experts like her! At least I am not. I tried putting the eggs the way she has done it and I ended up having a scrambled chocolate eggs. What a waste of my precious lindtt bars. I had to start over. I put all eggs in a bowl and whisked it up and then added little by little while stirring continuously. It is also better to add your sugar before the eggs. The other thing is that, in my oven even though I halved the recipe I needed to bake for almost the same amount of time as the original recipe. For this I suggest it is best to keep checking the status of the brownie after 10 min. itself. These are the only things you have to be careful about. Rest assured, you will be in brownie heaven.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Kerala Chicken Fry

One day my friend and fellow blogger Faby, were sharing the new blogs that we had discovered (blog hunting is our favorite passtime). I encountered this recipe on one of the sites she found. It was the name of the blog that really caught my attention. SoIMarriedAMeat-A-Holic! The name of the blog really drew me to that site. There are quite a few blogs that I follow for its name (I am like that). I am fascinated by the creative names that people come up for their blogs! If you look at my reader you will understand what I am talking about.

This chicken dish is very spicy and if you like the tang of the masalas, then this one is for you! I loved it. This will go well with appams, idiappams, pathiri's etc. If you like curry with your appams and idiaapams then i suggest you make a vegetable stew with this chicken fry, yummmm!

In this post I will not mention the recipe. I will give you the link for the recipe. Please do try the recipe. I am putting in the pictures of my version of the recipe, and the variations I made.

I did not have chicken drumsticks, so I used a full chicken cut to medium pieces which was under a kilogram.

I did not have corriander seeds, so i just substituted it with the powder of the same quantity.

For the ground masala, insterad of 1 onion sliced I used 4 shallots.

These are the only changes I made. And I got a really wonderful chicken fry.

One more thing, for my family we don't usually take the full 1 kg chicken. So I marinated the whole chicken and made only half of it for dinner. I froze the rest in a ziploc bag and used it the following week. Its a blessing for those days when you hate to cook. Just defreeze it and fry!

THANKYOU Manju, for the great recipe!

* The watermarking of the pictures has the name www.momster.me . Don't worry, we did not take it from any site. www.momster.me is our humble attempt at a new website.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I am in a PICKLE!!!

When my dad brings all those raw mangoes from the market when it is in season, I groan inside. I can't think of things to do with those mangoes other than using it for fish curries or making pickles. People out there, if you have any more ideas- please, I request, please let me know. Don't tell anyone, but there are times I have had to throw out mangoes when it turned bad! (I know it is not a very good thing to waste food!).

Now, I will waste no more. This time when I went to India for my annual vaccation, I went to my aunt's place for lunch. In Kerala, it is a crime not to have all the small condiments like pappadom, achar(pickle) etc.. on the lunch table. All those chammandi podis, Kondattams, hmmmm..... lunch was so good. Good for my evergrowing waistline and buttline(if there is any line like that!). So, getting to the point, my aunt had this achar kuppi (pickle bottle), on the table, looking at me (I think only achar kuppi's and things like that look at me anymore) from the far end of the table. I told my cousin to pass it over, I tried it with my rice. I asked my aunt why she made all those curries and upperies!!! I didn't want any. This pickle was just right with hot matta choru!

To tell you the truth I didn't ask the recipe. I love cooking and all things related to cooking(including eating), but making pickles are not my forte'. I ask myself why go into all that trouble when you get perfect achar's from eastern, melam, caico and all that! Why do you have to cut the magoes into fine pieces, why clean tiny, microscopic prawns, why wash, dry and fry the whole limes in oil and go through all those tiresome process for a mere pickle? No, totally not worth it!

Even though I didn't ask for the recipe, my aunt told me,”Zeri, this is an easy pickle. Nothing complicated.” When I heard the word, easy I got excited. Pickle and easy??? Tell me, Tell me more!! So she told me, for this recipe there is no particular shape for the mangoes to be cut into. You can just take a knife and start cutting into thick slivers(chethal, as we say in malayalam) in no particular order. I love the recipe already. Next, mix some salt and red chilli powder and start layering the mangoes and the spice mix alternately till you finish with a spice layer. The next step ensures that the pickle is preserved. Heat some coconut oil and fry a teaspoon of asfoetida for a min or so and pour this oil into the bottle. Voila! There you have your pickle that can be used in 3-4 days. What say, ladies? Is this easy or what?

When I was small I used to love eating the raw mangoes with red chilli powder, salt and uncooked coconut oil. This pickle brings back that taste to your toungue.

There is no set amount of ingredients and method for this recipe.(Don't you like it already?)

I made this pickle with 5 raw mangoes. This I sliced into thick slivers.

In the mean time, sterilize the bottle in which you are planning to put the pickle in. I decided I would pickle the mangoes in a traditional "Bharani". So I took a big vessel and filled it with water and put the bharani in it and boiled it till I finished cutting up the mangoes. Not exactly till I finished cutting the mangoes. Half way into cutting the mangoes I switched it off and took out the bharani and put it to dry. So by the time I finished cutting the mangoes I had sterilized, dry bharani ready for the pickle.

Here is my Bharani being sterilized.

After the mangoes are sliced, it is time for the spice mix. Don't get scared by the term spice mix. There are only 2 things, Red chilli powder and salt. I took a nescafe bottle and put 4 spoons (the spoon is the one that is shown in the picture) of chilli powder and 3 of salt. That was my proportion, but you can change the proportion according to how salty or how spicy you want it. Now Shake the bottle so that that chilli powder and salt are thoroughly mixed. Be sure to hold a tissue around the lid, just to be prepared for the leakage from around the lid.

This is the amount of red chilli powder and salt I took.

After shaking up, all the red chilli powder and salt are mixed up thoroughly.

Next, let's take the bharani and make sure the insides and the lid are dry. Then start layering, first the mangoes then the spices(I know it is not a lot of spices, but it kind of has a cool ring to it). Continue till you fill up the container.

Now, for me the bharani could not contain all the mangoes. A slight miscalculation on my part. So I opted for my spice mixing bottle. I did not sterilize it! so I guess we will find out is the sterilization part really needed. Now I have two bottles of pickle.

Since, there was some spice mix inside my bottle and also because I was too lazy to do the layering process again this is what I did. I just dumped in all the mangoes that were left behind and shaked up the bottle.

Neat! right! After this I wondered, why the layering process??? I could have done this all the while! Next time, maybe. The next step is to heat up 1 cup coconut oil and fry a 1 tbsp of asfoetida in it and pour it into the bottles. Close the bottles and let it rest for 3-4 days.

Since, i am writing this post, way after the 3-4 days waiting, I have a picture of what happened after 3-4 days.

This is the picture of the pickle after 4 days and a couple of spoons of tasting later...

And, no - the sterilization was not required. The pickle is fine in this bottle also.What do you ladies out there think about this???

I have not yet opened the bharani. I am planning to open it after this bottle is finished. So will update those photos also.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Adukku Pathiri

This is one dish I have been trying to perfect from the time I started cooking full time. Every ramdan I try this dish out and I fail. This ramdan, a childhood friend of mine told that, her sister-in-law makes this and it turns out great. She gave me the recipe and I thought, yet another recipe and started making it without any expectation of success in my mind. But what do you know, the adukku pathiri turned out great! This was the best one that I had made till date and I loved it. The layers of the rice paste and the meat in between is really just wonderful.


For the rice layers

  1. Raw rice – 1 cup
  2. Coconut – 2 cups (more you use the coconut, the softer the layers will get)
  3. Shallots(optional) – 5-6
  4. Fennel Seeds (optional) – a pinch
  5. Salt – 1 tsp

For the Meat Filling
The meat filling can be made according to personal taste, but make sure it is spicy because, since the rice layer has no spiciness in it, the dish tends to get a little bland when the meat filling is not so spicy.
  1. Beef (cooked with turmeric and salt and minced) – 2 cup
  2. Onion – 1 big
  3. Tomato – 1 medium sized one
  4. Ginger garlic Paste – 1 tblsp
  5. Fennel Powder - ½ tsp
  6. Green Chilli – 2 or 3 (depends on how spicy your chillies are)
  7. Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
  8. Turmeric powder – a pinch
  9. Garam Masala - ½ tsp
  10. A handful of corainder leaves
  11. Salt – to taste (I hate this quantity of “to taste” but I am a person who likes my salt on the more side, so I better not mention how much salt I put. So please bare with me and put the salt according to “your taste”)

Rice layer

  1. Soak the rice for about 3 to 4 hours.
  2. Grind it along with the coconut till the consistency is very smooth.
  3. If using the small onions and fennel seeds, grind it coarsely and add it to the rice batter.
  4. Give it a stir and add the salt.
  5. The batter should have a loose consistency, little bit thinner than the appam batter. You can add water to loosen it after the grinding is done.

* When grinding replacing the water with coconut milk will give a nice flavour to the rice layer. If using the coconut milk, the amount of desicated coconut can be reduced. The tinned coconut milk will do.

Meat Layer

  1. Chop the onions finely
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and add the onions to it and saute till it is a light golden color.
  3. Add the ginger garlic paste and finely chopped green chillies to it. Saute it for a min or two.
  4. Next add the coarsely chopped tomatoes.
  5. Add all the powders except the garam masala to this. Keep stirring.
  6. Once all the ingredients in the pan begins to come together, add a couple of tablespoons of water and let the tomatoes cook.
  7. When this mixture begins to give out the oil add the minced meat to it with about ½ a cup of water. Stir it to mix and close the lid and cook for about 2-3 min. When the mixture looses almost all of the water add the garam masla, and the coriander leaves and cook for another 2-3 min while stirring. By this time the masala should be a little bit dry but with a bit of moisture in it (I hope you understand what I mean.

Putting it all together

Take a steaming pot or the Idli Thattu. Put about 2 glasses of water in it, now take a small metal bowl and keep it inverted in the water(this makes for a stand to put our dish on). Take out another metal vessel, baking tray or a glass dish which is oven safe and smear it with oil (make sure it fits in the steamer pot). Pour the batter in a thin layer and place it on the inverted bowl in the steaming pot. Let it cook for about 5min. Next put the meat filling on top of this and pour another layer of the batter. Cook that for 5 min and continue until you have finished all the batter. If you have meat left over, make some sandwiches later with it, so save it. Once you have finished layering, let the whole thing cook for 15 min. (Keep checking if there is enough water in the steaming pot, replenish it as the water reduces.) Take the dish out and let it cool. Once it is cooled, run a kife around the pathiri and invert it to a plate and serve.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Easy Chatti Pathiri

This is an item I learnt from a friend of mine who also was my junior in college. She is a great cook, hailing from Kozhikode. I love the food cooked in the calicut region of malabar . Women from this region are so good at cooking that the way they cook makes us feel that cooking is a very simple task. They can put up a feast in no time. Food is the main character at any special occation. These ladies have so many innovative recipes that you cannot imagine the pains they have gone through to achieve the end result.

This dish I am making today is a Kozhikode special-Chatti Pathiri. It is traditionally a layered dish. Thin chapathi's are rolled out and half cooked in a griddle. Then filling is made out of eggs, sugar, dried grapes, cashews, cardamom and cuscous. The chapathis are dipped is beaten eggs then laid out in a pan and altenated with the filling and cooked on a low fire. I am not a big fan of it, because of the large amount of eggs involved in its preparation and rolling out chapathis are not one of my strong points(I CANNOT MAKE A PERFECT ROUND TILL NOW!!). For a good chatti pathiri recipe you can go to shaheen's blog Malabar Spices , great recipes and you won't go wrong. But the same version is made with a meat filling. That is the one I love to make. But again, the chapathi rolling is a difficult procedure in this (for me). My friend saved me from this by telling me how to make chatti pathiri easily by using bread instead of the chapathis.

Today I am making it for iftar so I am posting my recipe for this particular chatti pahtiri.

Ingredients for the filling.

Chiken – 3or 4 pieces
Chilly powder – ½ tsp
Turmeric powder- a pinch
Fennel seed powder- ¼ tsp powder
Salt- 1 tsp
Onion -1
Ginger- ½ “ piece
Garlic – 3 cloves
Oil – 1 tbsp
Garam masala- ½ tsp
Bread for the layers should be dipped in a mixture of egg (slightly beaten with milk), a bit of salt, pepper and chilly powder.

Method for the filling

Marinate the chicken with chilly powder, turmeric powder, fennel seed powder and salt. Cook the marinated chicken covered with a couple of tablespoons of water. Let the chicken cook until all the water has evaporated. Now shread the chicken pieces. In a pan heat oil, saute the onions, ginger, garlic and green chillies until it is brown colour. Add few drops of water to this and add a pinch of chilly powder and put the shreded chicken to it.If all the chicken is not coated with the masala add a few more drops of water to it. Add the garam masala to this mixture and stir for a minute or so and switch the heat off and wait till it cools down.

For Layering

Oil the pan in which you decide to cook the chatti pathiri. (Iuse a small non-stick saucepan that I have, but our kunjumol chechi, in india uses a regular non-stick frying pan for this.)

Cut the edges of the bread. Dip the bread in the egg mixture.

Arrange the bread at the bottom of the pan so that the entire base is lined with the bread.Cut up the bread to sizes that fill the cracks in between.

Put the chicken masala on top of this in a fairly even layer.

Repeat the earlier bread layer and continue until you get the desired number of layers, finishing with the bread layer.

Put some ghee around the edges.

Cook this pan on a burner with the lowest sim.

Let it cook for about 5- 10 min. After this it is time to turn it over.

This is a tricky part. So it is better to use a pan with a long handle.Use a spatula around the edges to get the chatti pathiri to leave the edges. Put a lid or a wodden cutting board on top of the pan and just flip it (If using a good non-stick ware this should turn without a problem.)

Now put the pathiri back in the pan with the top side of it inside the pan.

Cook it for another 5 min and switch the heat off.

Once it cools down take it out and serve.

* Wanted to give a foto explanation of the process but could not get around to take the pics.

This is our entry for the ongoing event hosted by Kitchen Flavours Joy From Fasting To Feasting (Season-II)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Meat Cutlet

Ramadan is a Holy month of the Islamic calendar. During the month of Ramadan, Allah showers on us rewards for each and every good deed that we do. Ramadan also shows the importance of food, teaches us what hunger is.

Iftar, is the time when we can have food after a whole day's fast. In our household,Ramadan used to be the time when all the oily and delicious snacks were prepared . We never make samosas, cutlets, puffs and all those things on normal days. Weight was the major issue. But during Ramadan all of these things were prepared and we ate to our hearts contend. We had Saina Itha those days who used to make these snacks abundantly and we used to wait for iftar just so we could eat these things. Me and my sisters used to love Ramdan when we were kids. One of my sisters used to bid farewell to cutlets and samosas on the last day of ramdan, she would say,"bye, bye will see you next year".

So in this month of Ramadan I will be posting all the iftar treats that I make in my kitchen. Today the first day of Ramadan and my menu for iftar is Cutlet, Shawarma, Fruits and Thari Kanji. We will have Pathiri and Mutton curry for dinner. I guess this makes for the whole day that we go without food or water (I guess more than makes up).

This is the recipe I used for the meat cutlet today. It changes everytime I make. Today it turned out really well so thought let it be my first post for iftar recipes.


Beef (cooked with salt and turmeric and shredded) – 2 cups
onion- 1 large
ginger – 1” piece
garlic – 5-6 cloves
green chillies - 3
fennel seeds - ½ tsp
turmeric powder – ½ tsp
chilly powder - ½ tsp
coriander powder - ½ tsp
garam masala - ½ tsp
coriander leaves- ½ bunch
pepper powder– 1 tsp
Potatoes (boiled and mashed)-3

  1. Cook the meat with salt and turmeric in a pressure cooker.
  2. While is meat is cooking, cook the potatoes. Microwave the potatoes in a microwave safe bowl covered with a cling wrap. If you have root vegetables menu on the microwave put it in that setting or else just microwave it on high for 5 min. Check for readiness by inserting a fork.
  3. Once it is cooked mince it and keep aside.
  4. Slice the onion finely. Crush ginger, garlic, fennel seeds and the green chillies. (I just put all of them together in a chopper and give it a whirr..)
  5. Saute all this with a pinch of salt till everything comes together and looks a little brownish.Add turmeric and saute a for a few seconds more.
  6. At this point, add a little stock of the meat you just cooked.
  7. Add red chilly powder and coriander powder and saute for a few min.
  8. Now add the meat and let it cook in the masala for around 3-4 min.
  9. Peel the potatoes and crush it into the meat masala.
  10. Once the whole mixture cools down knead the masala until it holds shape.
  11. Make it into balls and flatten it out to circles. To make all the cutlets in same shape you can use, cookie cutters. Or if you are really talented you can get it into same sizes without the cutters (but i am not that talented or professional, so my cutlets vary in shape.).
  12. Now take an egg beat it lightly and dip the cutlets in it.
  13. In another bowl take some breadcrumbs. Dip the cutlets that have been egg dipped into this to make a coating.
  14. Deep fry in hot oil
  15. Serve with ketchup.

* If the meat mixture is a bit watery even after adding potatoes, add in some breadcrumbs that will take away the moisture.