Apr 252010

I have been to kerala twice. Once for an entire year to attend my mariners training. I was so mesmarised by its beauty, that I went the second time for my honeymoon. The surrounding and the environment is very beautiful, but being a a person with a taste for good food, I was knocked off by the traditional food down south. I had been under the impression that the south food drips with coconut oil, which can be a turnoff for many, but having tried it, I can say that such is not the case. Of course there is a hint of coconut oil in most of the dishes, but it enhances the tastes. Especially the “meen”(fish) delicacies and overall, the non veg dishes are very good. And any non veg curry should be had with Iddiappam( a typical dosa which seems like it is made from inter wooven fine noodles). And from the kitchens of kerala, I tried out chicken stew today. Results are put up in photographic form, but the final result was my family members emptying the frying pan and trying to scrape off the final bits and pieces from the pan using steamed rice. Of course, there were none….

And here’s the recipe for those who care enough to try. Its a bit of judgement from myself, few tips from here and there, and a bit of effort.

You require( for a family of five heavy eaters):

Chicken ( about 750 gms), skinned off, no fat.

A cup of thick coconut milk(better if fresh)

2 chicken stock cubes

1 Carrot

2 medium sized potatos

1 tomato

2 spring onions( with the leaves)

About handful of green peas

5-6 garlic cloves

1 tablespoon of ginger garlic paste.

A teaspoon of cummin seeds

3-4 full cardamom

A stick of cinnamon

A teaspoon of black peppers(full)

2 Green Chillies

Curry leaves


a pinch of ground spices(garam masala)

Salt to taste

How you go about :

Dice the carrot. Cut the potatos in to big pieces. Chop the tomato into fine pieces. Chop the leaves of the spring onion to julienne and dice the onions. Cut the chicken in to medium sized pieces. Slit the green chillies and remove the seeds.

Boil three cups of water and add the two chicken stock cubes. then keep on boiling till the quantity reduces to about 2 cups. Set aside.

1. Heat about 5-6 table spoons( enough to saute the quantity of chicken till its golden in colour and firm) in a pan and add cummin seeds, cinimon, black peppers, cloves and cardamom. Then add the garlic cloves and the ginger garlic paste and fry the mixture.

2. As the cloves and the paste turns brown, add the chicken pieces and saute the entire contents while stirring it periodically. Once the chicken becomes firm and light brown we can go ahead.

3. Add all the vegetables( carrot, tomato, potatos, green peas, spring onions and its leaves, curry leaves), and fry till the vegetables are sauteed lightly, stirring continuously. Then add the chicken broth and green chillies and a pinch of ground spices(garam masala). Mix well and cover the pan. Keep on boiling for about 10 minutes, while stirring it. Check that the potato is well done by poking it with a knife edge.

4. Once this is done, add the coconut milk and mix well. Simmer for about 3 minutes( enough to thicken the gravy). Garnish with coriander.

5. Serve hot with steamed rice, garlic bread, puttu( a traditional keralite rice cake), iddiappam, appam, or anything in that catagory. Stew can also be consumed independently.

Enjoy your stew and share this recipe. Tell me how your’s turn out…..

Apr 042010

Look what I did this Easter Sunday!! I barbecued my own food for the festival, and I have to say that it turned out to be a 100 % success. My family just loved the food, and didn’t get time to compliment me about it, till the entire portion was down in our tummies. I had been on a lookout for a barbecue kit for quite some time, but had postponed buying it on few previous occasions. But this time I threw my hat across the fence when I saw an advertisement in a local magazine selling the kit and promised my family that I would do it this year. The sauce for marination was home made by me and it turned out to be of top quality.

After an unsuccessful attempt to light the barbecue yesterday, I woke up early today( even after attending the night service at the church) to get the fir going. And it took about an hour to fire it up fully, but when it was up, it was much easy. As I ate the food, I realised that all the hard work at the barbecue pit was worth a lot.

Check out the results of my first venture!! The way my brother was eating it, he is sure to invest if I start this business 😉

Dec 232009

So its that time of the year, when all the paper mache and the bells, stars and the decorative lights, come out of the attic. And the Christmas tree is decorated, with an expectation of pleasant season ahead. And in my house, I cannot neglect to bring out the Getco, my humble oven, which has assisted me during my countless baking experiences in this short life.

Yes, it’s also the time for Cake. Though, I would agree that there is no specific time to have a cake( and eat it too.) Eating a good cake is one of the most pleasing experience, a person can have in life. Cake is said to be the dispersant of all the worries and troubles. An entire novel has been written around the cake(which I read and found to be light and interesting).

Personally I have never loved a cake, if its not the mawa cupcake from the merwan bakery(at Grant Road in Mumbai)(here, I deviate from my rule of not advertising any establishment or product through my post, simply because I have not found any competition to those light, delicious cakes, and they are worth making an exception.), or if I have not made it personally. I have had many cakes from different bakeries, and many I liked, but none I loved.

I personally bake a cake atleast twice a year(Cooking being one of my hobby, and baking a cake being at the core of it). Once for Christmas and once for the Easter. I have tried many cook books, seen many TV shows, to find out the best method of preparing a cake. But I never seemed to get it right. The cake was either heavy, or more crumpled. Until last year, when the brother-in-law, of my brother-in-law(whew!! exhausted while typing it twice), gave me a very basic recipe for preparing a cake. And I found it to be one of the best for home made cakes. So let me share it with you all.

You require 1/4 kg butter, 1/4 kg Refined flour, 1/4 kg Powdered  Sugar, 6 Eggs, Vanilla Essence and Half a teaspoon of Baking powder and a pinch of Salt. You can also use equal quantities of Semolina(Rava) and Refined Flour to get 1/4 kg of the mixture instead of using refined flour. Any bigger size you require, increase the ingredients in proportion. And finally you will need all the dryfruits that you want to have. Some people prefer to soak the dry fruits in white rum, to get a different flavour. I am extremely sorry for all my veggie friends, but I do not know how to make a veggie cake. I can’t imagine how a cake can be without eggs. No offense meant.

Its very easy. Whip the butter, Whip the eggs. Mix them. Add sugar. Mix well. Add flour ( or flour and semolina mixture) and mix well. Add a teaspoon of vanilla essence and mix well. Then add half a teaspoon of baking powder and a pinch of salt. And mix again. Be sure not to leave lumps of butter, sugar or flour during all this mixing. And loo!! You have the batter.

Now just add some dryfruits(if you need a fruit cake), and get it baked at your local bakers or in your oven. Use the oven’s manual for correct temperatures since I do not know them( my getco didn’t have a temperature indicator. There were only two modes, baked or unbaked, which was determined by a thin poking stick).

My getco is no longer functional after all these years of service. But my neighbouring baker is in good business. So I am destined to bake my own cake this year too.

Happy Baking to all…… and Eat Cake.

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