Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chickpea/Kabuli Chana Fugad

We Mangaloreans are good at making fugad of every available legume or vegetable...:D That is one of the reasons why I feel I am unable to prepare any other vegetable!! Ask my husband as to how I break into a sweat when we have shudh vegetarians over for lunch. Cause my basic knowledge of preparing veggies is reduced to fugad!!
Since our arrival to Germany and having gotten ourselves acquainted with Indian families who are vegetarians has encouraged me to take a bold step and whip up some veggie delights. I will definitely post some of the delicious vegetable gravies I have prepared, but for now, back to this dear chickpea fugad of mine.

Every family will have it's own unique way of preparing it. Here is mine.


  • A cup of chickpeas soaked overnight.
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 large tomato
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • a sprig curry leaves
  • 1 tsp bafath powder
  • a handful of freshly grated coconut.
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • salt to taste
  1. Soak the chickpeas overnight for 12 hours.
  2. Drain them. Place them in a pressure cooker with enough water so that they are soaked well(roughly an inch above the peas). Add salt to taste and pressure cook till just about tender(They shouldn't be too soft). Since I use a german pressure cooker with no whistle, it takes me about roughly 15 to 20 minutes to cook.
  3. Meanwhile, slice the onion fine. Chop the tomato. Crush the garlic with skin.
  4. In a deep bottomed vessel or kadhai, heat the oil. When sufficiently hot add the mustard seeds. As they splutter drop in the curry leaves and crushed garlic. Fry for a few seconds.
  5. Add the sliced onion, fry for 2 minutes. Drop in the chopped tomato and fry well till both onion and tomato blend together. 
  6. Toss in the grated coconut and bafath powder. Mix well.
  7. Now add the cooked channa, a little of the stock(depends on how dry you want it). Mix well so that the coconut and masala is coated well around the peas. Adjust salt.
  8. Cook on a slow flame till peas are well cooked and water is absorbed. Do not allow it to burn.
  9. Have it with hot rotis or rice and sambhar.

Note: Since I had very few strips of fresh coconut, I added a fistful of dessicated coconut.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Malabar meatball curry

One of the things hubby loved to come home with is fresh flowers(smiles) and at times a newly purchased cookery book. While I used to love the flowers, the sight of the book used to literally amuse me. I would have have barely prepared a few recipes from the last purchased book and bang, a new one would have arrived. 
One such book was Modern Cookery by Thangam Philip. A no frills, no fancy kind of book with just recipes jotted down along with a few chapters dedicated to how to go about in the kitchen with your ingredients and food. This particular book also didn''t restrict itself to a particular region or cuisine of India. Thangam Philip had it all. Pretty soon, it turned out to be the most loved and used book of mine. I thought it fitting to note down the most loved recipes of her's in this blog. 

Source: Modern Cookery for teaching and the trade by Thangam Philip

For the meat balls:

  • Minced meat 500 gms(beef)
  • Green chillies 4
  • 1 large onion
  • 1" piece ginger
  • salt to taste
For the curry:
  • 7 Red Kashmiri chillies
  • 2 short red chillies
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1" piece ginger
  • 8 flakes garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 6 cloves
  • 1/2 " cinnamon
  • 4 cardamoms
  • 12 peppercorns
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds(saunf)
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 5 tbsp water for grinding spices 
For tempering:
  • 1 tbsp each oil and ghee 
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • a pinch of mustard seeds
  • 2 pods red onions or 1 small onion sliced

  1. Grind the minced meat in a mixer with the ingredients mentioned in for the meat balls.
  2. Add salt and form into 25 balls.
  3. Dry roast the red chillies and coriander seeds.
  4. Grind together along with the ginger, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns, fennel seeds, turmeric powder, tomatoes and water(The paste should be thick).
  5. In a vessel, heat oil and ghee together.
  6. When hot, add mustard seeds.
  7. As the seeds crackle, add the curry leaves and sliced onions. Fry them well till brown.
  8. Add the ground curry paste and fry for 10 minutes till you get a nice aroma.
  9. Rinse the mixer of the ground paste with a cup of water. Add this water to the fried paste and bring it to a boil.
  10. Add the meat balls one by one to the simmering liquid. Cook over a slow fire for 20 to 30 minutes.
  11. Add the coconut milk and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes. Adjust salt and serve with hot rice or bread of choice.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mackerel Pickle

Growing up in the coastal town of Mangalore, South India, brown rice and fresh fish curry was our staple diet. Mum's "gandh kadi" with "fresh masli" was something we looked forward to everyday. Monsoons were hard on the food front when fresh fish was replaced by "sukhi masli"(dry fish) and an occasional bikna(jackfruit seeds) curry. While mum enjoyed these delicacies I always waited for the time when the fishermen could venture out into the seas once again.
Post marriage, the firs thing I did was to search for a place where I could buy brown rice along with a fish merchant. I was fortunate to find the very best of fish shops wherever and whenever we moved within Bangalore. The last five years saw me become chaddi dosth with a fish merchant in Jakkasandra, Koramangala. The freshest fish was home delivered to me week after week, month after month for five long years. Friends always asked me whether he ever cheated or sent me rotten fish home. Never!!! Such was my trust in him to provide me with the very fresh. The regret I have of not having been able to properly bid him goodbye..:-) Such are my memories of the fish delicacies I had back home, thanks to him.

On arrival to Deutschland we were in for a rude shock. Having arrived during peak winter, fish was hardly available. The two or three local varieties of fresh water fish that we tried had to be promptly thrown into the bin. It was with dismay that we passed the first few months without our fish delicacies. Once spring arrived, so also familiar fish in the markets. Mackerel was one of them. I still remember the excitement we had to bring the fish home and fry it..:D Over a period of time, we had mussels and squids making a rare appearance. My Indian friend in Switzerland recommended Pangasius which also made for delicious curries. We were content till winter arrived again and the fish slowly stopped in the markets. By then we figured out that fish in winter was simply not available.  By the third winter we decided to give freezing three months of fish supply a shot. It worked like a charm. This year, our fourth and last season of winter I chose to go a step further. Apart from freezing some, I thought I'd make some pickle too, for the cold wintry days. Thus began my search for a simple recipe. Having found one and also hitting a jackpot with the fresh curry leaves, the following was the end result. 

Source:  BBC Food recipes(adapted to suit our palette)


For the marinade:
  • 1 kg oily fish such as king fish or mackerel cut into 1 cm cubes.
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • sunflower oil for frying

For the pickle base:
  • 6 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 5 sprigs curry leaves
  • 150 g fresh ginger chopped
  • 150 g fresh garlic chopped

For the fish pickle powder:
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground fenugreek
  • a pinch asafoetida
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 100 ml white vinegar

  1. Place the fish pieces in a bowl. Add the salt, chilli and turmeric powders(for the marinade ingredients). Mix well so that all the pieces are coated evenly with the spice powders. Set aside for an hour.
  2. Heat oil in a deep heavy based frying pan. Carefully lower the marinated fish pieces into the hot oil and fry for 3-5 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on kitchen paper.
  3. Prepare the fish pickle powder by mixing all the powders with 1 tbsp water  and NOT the vinegar. Mix well to make a paste.
  4. For the pickle base, heat oil in a separate frying pan. When the oil is hot add the mustard seeds. Once the seeds have popped, add the curry leaves, chopped ginger and garlic. Fry over low heat for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add the fish pickle paste to the above and stir well until combined. Fry well for 3-5 minutes or until the mixture darkens in colour.
  6. Slowly add the fried fish pieces into the above mixture and stir well. Add the vinegar and bring the mixture to a boil. Remove the pan from heat . Adjust salt. Set aside to cool.
  7. Once the pickle has cooled, transfer it into a vacuum sealed glass jar. Store in the refrigerator for 2 weeks before using.


  1. Since this was my first time preparing fish pickle, I attempted to separate the bones and flesh in the raw state, cut it into 1 cm cubes and then deep fry. It was tiring, cumbersome and I ended up with small bruises on my hands. What I would do the next time would be to cut the fish into 2 or 3 pieces, deep fry them and then separate the flesh into the required size. 
  2. I have used a little more of ginger and garlic than what the original recipe called for. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Chicken Sukka

A big hello to all..:-)
I am back with the recipe of a favourite dish of ours. 
Having come to Germany with limited cargo, one of the things I chose to leave behind were my precious cookery books. Isidore Coelho's "The Chef" being one of them.The decision was made thanks to our week's pre trip 3 years ago.  I more or less came to the conclusion that sourcing basic Indian ingredients would be hard and was I right. The first few months were indeed a struggle to cook for a well seasoned chef like me. 
Over a period of time I learnt to substitute wherever possible or make do without some ingredients like fresh curry leaves. Last week when I spotted some in an asian store we regularly visit, I felt I had hit the jackpot. I grabbed whatever packs were left much to the amusement of my hubby. He couldn't figure out what would I do with so many leaves. I told him to leave that worry to me. Since then, I have been taking a leaf or two from the refrigerator just to take a whiff of the strong scent. I had forgotten what it smelt like. This week's meals have been tasting oh so different too. Thanks to the seasoning with this special ingredient.
Coming back to the chicken sukka, you may wonder how did I get the recipe? My sister has been kind enough to mail me some of my favourite recipes from the book. Thanks a ton Annie..:-)

Source: Isidore Coelho's THE CHEF


  • 1 tender chicken
  • 1 cup scraped coconut
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp pepper corns
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 8 long dry red chillies
  • 3 short dry red chillies
  • 1 tbsp raw rice
  • salt to taste
  • vinegar to taste
For the seasoning:
  • 3 tbsp ghee
  • 1 sprig curry leaves


  • Wash the chicken, cut it into small sized pieces.
  • Cook it in very little water and salt to taste till tender.
  • Dry roast in a pan or thava the coriander, cumin seeds, peppercorns, dry red chillies. Roast the rice too till it is puffed up and brown. Powder all together with the turmeric powder.
  • Slice the onion fine. In a deep bowl mix well the cut onion, powdered masala and scraped coconut together.
  • In a  deep bottomed vessel heat the ghee. When hot drop in the coconut masala mixture along with the curry leaves and fry well for around 5 minutes till you get a nice aroma.
  • Drop in the cooked chicken pieces(without the water) one by one, mixing carefully so that the masala coats the pieces well. Depending on how dry you want the dish, you can add the required amount of water. I added only 6 tbsps of the chicken broth as I wanted a dry but moist dish.
  • Cook for 8 - 10 minutes till done.  Adjust salt and add vinegar to taste. Serve hot with rotis or brown bread with a side serving of salad.