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.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ramdan Kareem.

May Allah Bring in joy and prosperity to all.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Chemeen Biriyani

Biriyani, is always associated with festivities and celebrations in almost all parts of our country. Depending on the state, district and province our biriyani has different taste all over India. We can name the “HYDERABADI KACHI BIRIYANI” as the maharajah of the biriyanis.

In our small state of Kerala, ranging from the north to south we have differently tasting biriyanis. Towards the north we have biriyani with the rice and the masala separately served. The other parts of kerala have their biriyani more spicy and layered. The palghat biriyani has a small influence from our nighbouring state Tamil Nadu and lastly, the southies put pineapple to their biriyani….

If we are to go on about biriyani, there are stories to write about it. So let’s get into my version of the chemmeen (prawn) biriyani. This time when I made it, I got it right(I am not a biriyani expert), so I thought I would share it with the blog world.

Cast of Characters(Ingredients)

  1. Prawns – 1 kg.
  2. Basmati rice- 4 cups
  3. Onions – 6 (medium ones)
  4. Tomatoes – 4
  5. Garlic – 8 cloves
  6. Ginger- 3” piece
  7. Chilies- 2(you can change the quantity depending on the hotness of your chilies, mine were really hot)
  8. Chilly powder – 1 tsp
  9. Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  10. Kudam puli – 1 small piece
  11. Eastern Fish biriyani masala – 3 tbsp. (it really works)
  12. Yoghurt- 3 tbsp
  13. Salt – to taste(I always use too much salt, so I would like you all to adjust it according to your taste)
  14. Coriander leaves – a handful
  15. Pudina leaves- a handful
  16. Red-orange color- a pinch diluted in water (optional)

The Steps Involved (Method)

  1. Clean and de vein the prawns. Here in the UAE, we get fresh prawns – shelled (it’s a bliss). All we have to do is de vein it,wash it and add a little lime juice to it.

  2. Marinate the fish with the chilly powder, turmeric powder a bit of salt and the kudam puli. Now pressure cook the fish for about a whistle (My mother always does this) .

  3. Slice the onions finely, chop the tomatoes in tiny bits, crush the ginger, garlic and chilies together and finely chop up the coriander leaves.

  4. In a heavy bottom pan, heat oil and add the onions and fry till golden brown(dark brown), to this add the ginger-garlic-chilly paste and fry till it loses the raw smell.

  5. To this add tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Let it cook (keep stirring in between).

  6. Once the mixture in the pan starts releasing oil, add the eastern fish biriyani masala and fry for a min.

  7. Add the yoghurt to this and stir for another 5 min.

  8. Now add the fish from the cooker along with water in it.

  9. Cook this gravy for about 10-15 min., by this time you will have got a thick curry. Now switch off the heat.

  10. In between all these steps a thing that needs to be done is wash the rice and soak it for about 20 min.

  11. In a big pan boil enough water with 4 cardamom pods, 3 cloves and 2” of cinnamon stick and salt. 

     warning:Be careful with the salt if you have more than enough of salt in the masala. The water in which you boil the rice should be salty, but reduce according to the amount of salt you have in your masala. I have had a bad experience in this respect the first time I made biriyani after my wedding. The story is said at the end of the post.

  12. Once the water boils, add the soaked rice and cook until it is 45% is done(hehehehehe.....). I hate it when a recipe says this, I really don't know when it is 45% done... The trick is test the rice at regular intervals. Bite the rice and test, cook it until you feel there is a bite to the rice but it is cooked. The rice gets cooked again during the dum, so if your rice is well done, after the dum it will cook again and become mushy.

  13. Switch off heat and drain immediately.

  14. Now all our prep work is over. The next step is to layer.

  15. Take a pot which you use to put the biriyani on “DUM” and start layering with rice and alternate with the masala, ending with rice.

  16. When you put a layer of rice put a teaspoon of ghee and swirl of diluted color and a couple of pudina leaves on top of it.

  17. Now close the pot as tightly as possibly and put it on dum for 15- 20 min.

Dum Instructions

Dum, is traditionally done in an “aduppu”(it is a traditional stove top used in an Indian household) where the biriyani chembu(pot) is sealed tightly and heated at the top and bottom. But here in the UAE and all cities I don’t think aduppu is an option. So, we poor souls have to make do with our poor old stove top(as if i know to use an aduppu).

On a stove top, take the burner which you can reduce to the lowest flame, heat a tin lid till it is very hot and reduce the flame. Put on your biriyani pot and leave it for at least 30-40 min.

If you have a convection microwave, one where you can fit in your biriyani pot, then the dum can be done in it (like I found recently). I have a Panasonic dimension 4, the Genius and I am in love with it!!!! I have an option call auto kebab in it, I took that option and used the tikka setting for my dum and it works well (I put it in this setting for 20min).
I think, for all the convection microwaves we can use the grill setting for dum (20 min).

Dum Instructions

Dum, is traditionally done in an “aduppu”(it is a traditional stove top used in an Indian household) where the biriyani chembu(pot) is sealed tightly and heated at the top and bottom. But here in the UAE and all cities I don’t think aduppu is an option. So, we poor souls have to make do with our poor old stove top(as if i know to use an aduppu).

On a stove top, take the burner which you can reduce to the lowest flame, heat a tin lid till it is very hot and reduce the flame. Put on your biriyani pot and leave it for at least 30-40 min.

If you have a convection microwave, one where you can fit in your biriyani pot, then the dum can be done in it (like I found recently). I have a Panasonic dimension 4, the Genius and I am in love with it!!!! I have an option call auto kebab in it, I took that option and used the tikka setting for my dum and it works well (I put it in this setting for 20min).
I think, for all the convection microwaves we can use the grill setting for dum (20 min).

It was only a couple of weeks after my wedding. One of my husband’s friend called and told us that he will come over for lunch along with a friend of his!!! I told my husband don’t worry, I will make lunch.” I will make biriyani”, I said. He asked, “Can you do it?”. I told, ”Mere daaye hath ka khel hein!!! I can do it with my eyes closed”(I was dangerously overconfident that day, had to shine in front of my darling husband). I started making my biriyani, made the masala. The masala had a little bit of extra salt in it, but I thought will reduce the salt in rice. The guests came, I served them breakfast,talked to them a bit, and went back to make rice. By this time I had forgotten all about the salt issue of the masala and made rice with the usual salty water and all. To top it all, I remembered the said issue only when I opened the dum to serve lunch. By this time, the damage had been done. Since, we were newly married and considering the fact that I had never attempted to make a biriyani alone in my life, everyone ate the biriyani with raita in which I had not put salt!!!(GOD, I am laughing my head off right now!!! I was close to tears on that day) Poor things…… Thampi… if you ever read this post, I am really sorry and I promise you I make better food now. Please come for lunch some time.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Chembappam & Erachi Porichathu....(Fried Dumplings & Beef Fry)

This is my vellimma's (grandma's) recipe for the unexpected guests and Puthiyappilas (bridegrooms). Whenever there is an unexpected guest, I always remember my vellimma, tucking her saree palloo and setting out to get the ingredients. I would be sitting on the kitchen slab and watching all the proceedings. Everyone, would be running around trying to get the snacks and tea on the table.

My favorite place on this earth is my maternal grandma's house in a small town in Perinthalmanna, Kerala. I feel totally at peace when I am there. Me, being the first grandchild, I was always treated like royalty. When there is talk about memories, I always go back to Perinthalmanna, all my best chilhood memories lie there. Those 2 month vaccations were just awsome. But when the chance came for me to stay there and study for my Engineering, I cried, I cried a loot. I wanted to get back to the UAE. I missed UAE. Strange.......

This is a very very simple recipe... NO PRIOR COOKING EXPERTISE REQUIRED!!!!

This snack tastes the best with erachi porichathu(Beef Fry). Our kunjumol chechi(another important character in our household), makes the best beef fry.. My sister is a beef freak, her mouth waters when she smells the beef cooking in the pressure cooker. I have not mastered KC's beef fry, but I have my not so bad variation.

So for the Chemabappam recipe:


Rice Flour (the one we use for pathiri) – 1 cup

Eggs – 2

Coconut Milk/Whole Milk - ½ cup

Soda powder – a pinch

Salt – to taste


Mix the eggs, milk, salt and soda powder. To this add rice four in small quantities and mix togather to form a thick batter. The batter should be like the batter for cakes. You can add more milk to get the right consistency. Now heat the oil, when it is piping hot, take the batter with your hands and drop it into the oil in the shape of water drops(messy way, I like it this way), you can also take it in a teaspoon and drop the batter into the oil by pushing the batter with another spoon (This will give another shape to the chembappam.)

That is all for the chembappam recipe.

This is the consistency the batter should have.

Let's look how to cook the beef. Lets see... I have,

Beef - ½ kg

Ginger –1” piece

Garlic – 8 cloves

Green chillies – 2

Red chilli powder – 1 tsp

Pepper – 1 tsp

(yes it is HOT!!!)

Garam masala – 1 tsp

Salt – to taste (I use lots of salt, so its better to use according to your taste)

Turmeric powder - ½ tsp

Corriander powder – 2 tsp

Put all these ingredients into a pressure cooker (its better to grind the ginger,garlic and green chillies) just mix everything togather with your hands. Put one or two sticks of curry leaves and close the pressure cooker and cook this for 3 whistles on high heat, and 2 whistles on low heat. Sometimes the beef gives out lots of water, that is the reason i did'nt mention any water addition, but you can always add a little bit of water if you think the beef will not give out any.

Once the cooker has lost the pressure and check if the beef has cooked. When its done,heat up a big frying pan or a wok and put in some coconut oil and let it heat up. Once the oil is hot, add 1 onion when it browns lightly add a handfull of curry leaves and just after that dump the contents in the cooker into this.

Caution: If there is too much water in the beef just take out the beef with a spoon and put it into the oil, and light up the pressure cooker once again and let the liquid reduce.

Let the beef fry in the oil on slow fire. Keep checking the gravy(if you have followed the cautionary notice!!), once the gravy has reduced, add this to the beef. As soon as the beef has come down to a semi gravy, fry form, switch off and add some more curry leaves.

The chembappam needs to be consumed when it is warm. It looses its taste when it is cold.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Chicken Honey Roast - Desi Ishtyle.

Atlast, I have a recipe to post here.
There were two things that was keeping me from posting.
1. I had photos of dishes which I got right but the recipe was just pick and throw.
2. I had recipes but no photos. (this problem I could solve, but I did not find anything sooo interesting in my kitty)

Now atlast today, my husband told me at 10:30 am that he will have some friends over for lunch!! that too 6 people.I thought of a simple menu and I pushed him off to the supermarket to get me stuff, with a list so that he would not forget anything(but there were many things that I forgot to put on the list). SO my menu was:
1. Ghee Rice
2. Mutton Curry
3. Full Chicken Roast
4. Salad
5. Rasmalai

That is all I could manage, that too with a valuable help form my mother.

First of all what I did was, go to
www.malluspice.blogspot.com and checked the recipes for ghee rice and the full chicken roast or kozhi nirachathu (as we say in malayalalm).
My mother got down to the chore of cutting up the onions. She cut a batch for the mutton, then she got another batch for the ghee rice. Then I thought that, she has to go through all this again for the chicken. By this time I had marinated 2 chicken and put it in my microwave. Then suddenly, I remembered the other day I had watched Anjum Anand's cooking show, Indian Food Made Easy and in that she had roasted a marinated lamb leg and poured a sauce made with youghurt, badam and honey once the lamb was half done. I did this with my chicken. It works well with chicken also. Its a nice combination of sweetness, sourness, hotness, spicyness and all the ness's. The best part of it was there wsa no more cutting onions..
So, to make the loooong story short – I got a recipe and a photo(yes I managed to take a photo in all the maddness!!!! Yippppeee!!).You guys might think i have gone crazy, but I am just plain happy that at last I will have a post to put on my blog (WITH A PHOTO). Yes now I sound a wee bit crazy. Let me get down to the recipe.

You will need:

All these ingredients are for marinating the chicken. Time for marination depends on how much time you have. I made it with just 15 min of marination. But longer the better.

Chicken – 1,100 gms (smaller the better)
Chilli powder – 3 tsp
Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp
Corriander Powder – 1 ½ tsp
Pepper Powder – 1 tsp
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 tsp
Juice of 1 lime

For the sauce
Yoghurt – 2tbps
Almonds – around 5 or 6
Honey – 2 tsps

Now that you have all the ingredients proceed as follows:
Mix all the marinating ingredients in a big bowl and marinate the chicken, which has been incised deeply.
Now, for some tips -

1. Try to keep the skin on, you can always remove the skin while eating. Keeping the skin on makes the meat tender and juicy.
2. Keep the chicken in the marinade as long as you can. Put the marinade all the way inside the chicken.

Next the baking, is the tricky part. I browsed through the site www.allrecipes.com and I came accross this method of baking and it works fine for me. If you guys have some other method, go ahead and try it. The thing we have to be careful is that, the chicken should be cooked and it should not burn. So the baking steps are as follows:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Bake uncovered 1 hour and 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from heat, and baste with the drippings.

These are the steps I adopted from http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Juicy-Roasted-Chicken/Detail.aspx
So go ahead and make this one... a real twist to our koyi nirachathu.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Yippppeeee!!!! OUR BLOG

Hello world.

We are Faby and Zerin. Room mates, Class mates, Bench mates, from MES College Of Engineering.

Yes, that is right we are "engineers"..... We passed out in the year 2000. Since then, the most dangerously engineering stuff that we have done is operating our stove.

After college, we married our college sweethearts and settled down to have a "wonderful" life. Did I mention that we are computer engineers?? no i guess not. Yes we are!

In our domestic lives, we have developed a new passion.... that is food.

We don't particularly love cooking it, but yes we have managed to get our Guinea pigs (husbands) rave about our cooking skills. We love eating it!!!!

We just love reading anything, but cookery blogs are our favorite. All our recipes come from the blogs that we read regularly. There are quite a few blogs that we visit regularly.

This blog will be hosted by the two of us:

Host 1

Name: Zerin
Age: 30
Born On: 22.10.1978
Living In: UAE
Marital Status: Married
Children: 3

Host 2

Name: Faby
Age: 30
Born On: 25.10.1978
Living In: Qatar
Marital Status: Married
Children: 1