Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sweet Pulao.

Sweet Pulao......... This dish transports me back to many years. Why because I relate this pulao to weddings!! As a child I remember getting excited on knowing there would be a wedding round the corner. Simply because I knew I would get to eat the sweet pulao along with the sweet chutney. Once upon a time, this rice dish was a must on the menu in mangalorean catholic weddings. Now it seems to have disappeared, making way for biryanis, fried rice and other rice preparations. Also it has become common for us to now prepare it in our homes. Maybe because cashew nuts, kismis and basmati rice are now affordable to the common man.

         The sweet pulao is prepared by me on a regular basis on Sundays. The kids love it!!! However, I do not prepare the sweet chutney, but we have it with any meat curry!! I prepare it in a non stick deep bottomed vessel and not in a pressure cooker.

Ingredients :-

  1.  1 cup Basmati Rice
  2. 50 gms Kismis
  3. 50 gms cashew nuts
  4. 2 onions sliced fine
  5. 4 cloves
  6. 2 inch piece cinnamon
  7. 2 cardamom
  8. 2 bay leaves
  9. 4 tbsps ghee
  10. salt and sugar to taste
  11. 2 cups hot water
Method :-
  • Heat ghee in the vessel. Add spices and bay leaf. When the spices splutter add kismis and cashew nuts and fry.
  • Then add the rice and fry well.
  • When done add the hot water along with salt and sugar. Cook till all the water has evaporated and rice is cooked.
  • In a pan fry the sliced onions till dark brown. Be careful not to burn them. 
  • Garnish the sweet pulao with the fried onions and serve hot with a meat gravy of your choice!!!

Pictured  along with the sweet pulao are lamb green curry and cucumber raita!!!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Food at Stuttgart!!!

       I am back from a very nice holiday at Stuttgart!! The purpose of our visit was to attend the integration workshop conducted by the husband's company!!! We planned so that we could go 3 days earlier and sightsee a bit, which also meant we stayed in a hotel which we booked last moment, since the company provided stay for a night only. Holiday Inn Express where we lodged first was okay in terms of comfort. Nothing fancy and the breakfast was plain and simple. I would say that variety was limited. A choice of salamis, fruits, cereals and breads and a boiled egg daily!! I would prefer a choice on eggs too and some pastries also to go along!! Anyway, I could not expect much considering the delay in our booking.

                                 Breakfast at Holiday Inn Express

The days saw me enjoying very good food wherever we went. Since this was my first time wanting to write on the food I ate while on holiday, I forgot to note down the restaurants we ate and eighty percent of the time saw me dig into my meals and then remember to click a snap!!!!

           Day one we shopped at a toy store behind the Altes Schloss. Having spent close to 3 hours in with fretting kids had gotten us hungry. The restaurant next to the store had seating out and wanting to enjoy the pleasant weather, we seated ourselves.

My lunch was grilled meat(lamb, pork and beef) with french fries, and a yummy yoghurt dip!!! The night saw us viewing the ICE trains from the Bahnhof(railway station), following which there were plenty of restaurants to choose from. Mind you, the restaurants are very good unlike India!!! Infact the dinner at the Bahnhof was one of the best I had!!!

Since I was not hungry because of the heavy lunch I had, I chose to have this salad with crab meat on top and french loaf to go along!!!

Day two, we spent at the Mercedes Benz Museum.. With 1500 exciting exhibits spread in an area of 16,500 sqm, you are famished at the end. The restaurant in the Museum was classy and good. Be it the ambience, service, the food, just BENZY!!!

I had schnitzel( a thin cutlet of any meat which is seasoned, dipped in batter and fried), along with french fries and a salad. The salad was so crunchy and (my mouth waters as I am writing!!!) consisted of mashed potatoes, lettuce, grated carrots, radish and red cabbage!!!! The night saw us dine at one of our favourite joints, PIZZA HUT!!!

Day 3 was spent at the Wilhelma Zoo. which meant we had to make do with their cafeteria!!! That meant there was a very little choice on offer. I chose noodles to go along with a piece of chicken and boiled veggies!! Very bland, I quite struggled to have this meal, but had no other option since we still had another four hours of viewing!!!

That night we moved to our next lodge Holiday Inn. Since this was provided by the company, the place was good with sights of scenery and mountains, quite peaceful. The food was awesome, breakfast, lunch and dinner!!

Dinner consisted of chunks of roast pig along with some kind of pasta with a mushroom sauce!!! The next two days were quite busy with the workshop and restricted breakfast and lunch time, that I never got the opportunity to click pictures of our meals!! Except for this last hurried one!

Pictured here is a warm mushroom greens salad with a piece of veggie lasagne, slices of roast beef, potatoes in cheese and curried beef!!!! I had such a great time that on return I experienced  a kind of holiday hangover!! I do not know if this is normal, but I did have one!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chicken and Fenugreek Greens Gravy!!!

The day I cooked aloo methi (aloo methi is fenugreek greens cooked  along with potato) would see me and the kids fight during meal times. They would  want nothing to do with the dish with leaves. I have to  admit that the greens available in the Bangalore markets would be quite bitter and fibrous. It was then that I decided to plant fenugreek at home, and I must say the greens taste far better than the ones available in the market. I cook the greens when quite tender, as a result the bitterness is far less and they taste crunchy too. 

This was my first pot planted here in Lohr, and the greens looked quite tempting. Not wanting to cook the usual aloo methi, I searched for recipes and found one in Lolita Crasta's cookbook. The best part was, the children never realised the presence of their favourite greens :-)

Ingredients :-

  • Chicken -1 kg cut into medium pieces
  • Cloves  - 4
  • Cinnamon - 2
  • Cardomom -2
  • Onions -3 (chopped finely)
  • Ginger-Garlic paste -2 tbsp
  • Turmeric Powder -a pinch
  • Chilli powder - 1 tsp
  • Garam Masala powder -1 tsp
  • Tomatoes- 2 pureed
  • Water -1 cup
  • Fenugreek leaves ,1-2 bunches chopped
  • Curd -3 tbsps
  • Salt- to taste
Method :-

  1. Clean chicken well and keep.
  2. Heat oil in a vessel. Add cloves, cinnamon and cardamom.
  3. Fry onions, ginger garlic paste, chicken along with turmeric, chilly and garam masala powders for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add 1 cup water, salt and cook.
  5. When nearly done, add pureed tomatoes and fenugreek leaves. Close lid and cook for 8 minutes.
  6. Finally add the curd, stir well and leave for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Serve hot with roti.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spicy Prawn Curry!!

           Growing up in the western coastal belt of India, namely Mangalore, saw me relishing sea food on a daily basis, be it in the form of gravies or fry!!! Fish was never stored in refrigerators but always cooked fresh. Mom or Dad  go to the market on a daily basis to buy fish, at times there are fish mongers getting their catch home. Unlike other places where fish is sold by the kilo, Mangalore fish mongers sell it by portions (or "vante" in konkani). They quote a price and after rounds of bargaining, you finally get your catch!!!! So if you were a newcomer especially a Gulfie on holiday, it would be likely that you would be taken for a ride.

Now what I like about Mom's curries are that she never grinds the curry paste in a mixer but in a stone pestle(pictured below) by hand. To this day she grinds not only gravies also batters by hand(it is a tiring processs) and must I say, the gravies turn out awesome.

When I got married, I swore by the grinder and vowed never to use the mixer to prepare my gravies. One problem though, I did not see myself sitting over a stone pestle day in and out, crushing the spices and coconut to make a paste. Then, there were these tilting wet grinders(pictured below) available in the market which crushed the spices using a stone but which were running on electricity. After having heard me lament about Mom's gravies for six months, Vinay finally decided to get a grinder for me.

I have had the Santha grinder for the past 10 years and I must say, whoever have dined at my house wanted to know the secret of the delicious gravies( be it meat or fish). I would proudly point out to my wet grinder. Now having moved to Germany, I had to leave my grinder behind and have to make do with the Philips Mixer( which I had to buy) for the gravies that I prepare. The thing about mixers is that they fail to grind coconut to a fine paste. I know I can substitute it with coconut milk, but there is nothing like a gravy made out of freshly ground coconut.

                 My children both love prawns very much. I also felt it was high time I prepared my Mangalorean sea food curry. So, I got these frozen tiger prawns from E-centre ( They are also available in Kupsch).  Though prawns fried in oil and spices seem to be everybody's favourite, I decided to make the curry from Sanjeev Kapoor's Konkan CookBook (I am a big fan of his) !!!!

Ingredients :

  • 18-20  medium sized                   Prawns( shelled and de-veined)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup                                          Coconut(scraped)
  • 2 medium sized                           Onions( sliced)
  • 4                                                Red Chillies (whole)
  • 2 tsps                                         Coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp                                          Cumin seeds
  • 8-10                                           Peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp                                       Fenugreek seeds (methi)
  • 1/2 tsp                                       Turmeric powder
  • 5 cloves                                      Garlic
  • One and a half tbsp                     Tamarind Pulp
  • 3 tbsps                                       Oil
  1.  Wash prawns thoroughly under running water, drain and pat them dry. Sprinkle salt and keep aside for an hour.
  2. Grind scraped coconut, half the sliced onions, whole red chillies, coriander , cumin, fenugreek seeds, peppercorns, turmeric powder, garlic and tamarind pulp to a smooth paste using sufficient water.

     3. Heat oil in a vessel and fry the remaining onions till light brown.
   4. Add the ground paste and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add two cups of water and mix well. When the  mixture comes to a boil add prawns and adjust seasoning. 
    5. Simmer for five minutes or till cooked. Serve hot with rice.

Note :-I have not scraped but cut the coconut due to lack of a scraper and I have also added diced potatoes in the gravy since potatoes cooked in a fish gravy taste yummy!!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Warm Lemon Syrup Cake

It's been four years since Vinay gifted me this book for my birthday. I didn't have an oven then, so even before he could buy one, he decided to gift me this book with glorious cake recipes. So it was with this book that I continued to dream of an oven and baking. When the oven did arrive, I was a busy working woman, no time to try laborious recipes.

So now that I have all the time in the world, and have mastered the art of baking, I pulled out my dear book and here goes what I prepared today.....

Ingredients :-

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • One and a half cup self raising flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 5 tablespoons candied lemon peel, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
For the syrup :-
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • juice of 3 lemons

  • Place all the cake ingredients in a large bowl and beat well for 4-5 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 deg. Grease a deep round 8-inch cake pan.
  • Put the batter into the prepared pan, spread level and bake for an hour or until golden and firm to the touch, ( I baked for an hour and a half).

  • Make the syrup with the sugar, lemon juice and 5 tablespoons of water in a pan. Heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then boil without stirring for 1-2 minutes.
  • Turn out the cake onto a plate with a rim. Prick the surface with a fork, then pour on the hot syrup.

  • Let soak for about 30 minutes. Serve the cake warm with coffee. ENJOY!!!!


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pepper Pork

Ingredients and Method :-

  • 1 kg pork (cubes)
  • 3 tbsp pepper powder
  • a pinch of turmeric
  • salt
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
Mix all together and cook until done. Then add 1 tbsp soya sauce and 2 tbsp tomato sauce. Mix together and keep.

In another vessel heat 2 tbsp oil. Add 4 big onions(cubes), 1 pod garlic, 1" ginger, 4 green chillies and fry.
Add this to the cooked pork, mix well and serve with hot rice.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Apple Pancakes.

Here is a quick and easy snack for tea-time. The best part about this snack is the use of apple and you do not even notice it. These pancakes were a sure hit with my children. Here goes the recipe :-

You need :-

  • 250 gms plain flour
  • 1 and a half tsp baking powder
  • 4 tbsp castor sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 15g/half ounce butter melted
  • 300 ml milk
  • 1 apple
  • Chocolate sauce or maple syrup to serve
Method :-
  1. Sift the flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the egg and melted butter. Gradually whisk in the milk to form a smooth batter.
  2. Peel, core and grate the apple and stir it into the batter.
  3. Heat a heavy based frying pan over medium heat and grease it lightly.
  4. For each pancake, place about 2 tablespoons of the batter onto the frying pan and spread to make a 3 inch round.
  5. Cook for a few minutes until you see bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake. Turn over and cook for a further 1 minute. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
  6. To serve, stack 3 or 4 pancakes on a serving plate and serve them with chocolate sauce or maple syrup.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Minced Meat with Vegetables.

Ingredients :-

  • 750 gms minced meat
  • 2 big onions(finely chopped)
  • 1" ginger (finely chopped)
  • 6 cloves garlic(finely chopped)
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 150 gms green peas
  • 2 big potatoes( chopped)
  • pepper powder to taste
  • salt to taste
Method :- Heat ghee in a vessel. Fry onions, ginger, and garlic till golden in colour. Add tomatoes to the above and fry well till it forms a paste. To this add the minced meat along with pepper powder and salt. Fry on high for 5 mts. Finally add peas and potatoes and cook on a slow flame till done. Serve hot with brown bread or roti.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Banana Choco-Almond Muffins.

The past week, we have been experiencing glorious sunshine. The temperature was still cold, nevertheless the bright rays were enough to uplift my spirits and warm my heart. To complement with this feeling, the urge to try something different arose. My children always have asked me to bake muffins for them, a treat I always bring from the bakers, never tried at home.  The first thing I did was purchase a muffin tray.

The ingredients that went into my muffins were as follows :-

  • 350 gms flour
  • 250 gms sugar
  • 250 gms butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 bananas
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup choco chips
  • 1 tsp baking powder
Sieve the four, baking powder together and keep aside. Beat egg whites till fluffy, then add yolks and beat well. Add butter and sugar to the egg and continue beating. To the above mixture, keep adding sieved flour and beat. When done, add chopped bananas, choco chips and almonds. Mix well together.Preheat oven to 160 deg. Pour batter into the muffin tray and bake for 45 minutes or until done. Serve with tea or coffee!!

For a first timer, they didn't turn out all that bad!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Chilly Pork

Growing up in a Mangalorean household, saw me helping my mother, sunday after sunday, year after year, preparing the shindap( a combination of onions, ginger, garlic and chillies which is chopped and mixed with the meat) for the pork dish. Yes, I am talking of the pork bafath, which is every Mangalorean's favourite dish, wherever in the world they may be. Not that it was my favourite, I did eat it, but never relished the fat that came along with it. And to make matters worse, my mother would see that we never left any bit of food that was served to us.
       Fast forward now to my children. They too faced the similar problem of not liking fat in the meat and hence not wanting to eat pork at all. Believing in not forcing children to eat what they don't like, saw me cooking less of pork which did take other mangaloreans by surprise. Not until I came across Lolita Crasta's recipes of pork with a twist. She uses the bafath powder along with other ingredients and mark my words, I now face no problem with my the combination of kids and pig . Here goes the recipe :-

  • 1 kg pork washed and cut into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp Bafath Powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup tamarind pulp
  • 1 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp chilli sauce
  • 1 tbsp oil 
  • 4 onions (cubes)
  • 1 pod garlic(chopped)
  • 1" ginger(chopped)
  • 4 green chillies (slit)
  • 2 tbsp vinegar optional


  1. In a thick bottomed vessel, mix the pork along with the bafath powder, salt and tamarind pulp.
  2. Cook till almost done.
  3. Switch of the flame, add the tomato and chilli sauces. Mix well and keep aside for an hour.
  4. In another vessel, heat the oil.
  5. Drop in the cubed onions, chopped garlic, ginger and slit chillies. Fry well on a high flame till everything looks a light brown. Take care to not burn.
  6. After frying well, add this to the above pork and mix thoroughly. Cook the pork and fried onion mix for another 5 to 10 minutes. If needed add the vinegar. Adjust salt to taste. Garnish with spring onions. Serve hot with rice or bread.

Monday, March 1, 2010

My Kitchen Garden!!!

My Kitchen Garden is slowly expanding. Along with the mint, I have now got Rosemary too!!! Yet to find a recipe to use the Rosemary. Suggestions anybody?

Coriander seeds were planted about a month ago. Seeing no development, I had given up. when lo, shoots sprung out all of a sudden. Now I have the aroma of coriander wafting through my kitchen. Finally I am getting the hang of an indoor kitchen garden.

And finally the mint plant after using a few leaves for my chicken gravy!!

Bafath Powder

Ingredients :-

  • 1 kg red chilli (long)
  • 1/4 kg red chilli(short)
  • 1/4 kg coriander seeds
  • 100 gms cumin seeds
  • 100 gms pepper
  • 50 gms turmeric
  • 100 gms cloves
  • 75 gms cinnammon
Method : Powder all of the above and store in an airtight container.