Tuesday, 15 September 2015

KANNI MANGA ACHAR (Traditional Fare)

As soon as the mango trees start to bloom, big earthen containers/ BHARANIs would be washed & dried in the sun, getting ready for the next lot of kanni manga pickle for the year. Red chillies had to be dried & pounded too. These are memories of years gone by. Then we started buying them off the shelf. The flavour of the pickle was good enough to down a big bowl of hot KANJI & PAYAR.
(Kanni manga is small mangoes with a soft nut, about the size of big marbles.) 

Kanni manga/small mangoes: 1 kg
Salt: 250g
Red chilli powder: 100 g
Asafoetida/hing: 1 tsp
Fenugreek/uluva powder: ½ tsp


Wash & wipe dry the mangoes, make sure you don’t break the stem fully.
In a dry bottle or bharani, alternately pack mango & salt, ending with salt.
Close the bottle & leave in a cool dark place for 2 weeks. Shake the bottle in between. Water from the mango will ooze out & cover the mango. Do not add water at all.
Now strain the liquid from the mangoes, mix the chilli powder, hing & fenugreek powder into it & pour it back into the bottle, to cover the mangoes.
Keep for another week before using.

NOTE: Do not add water at all. The shelf life of this pickle depends on this! 

Thursday, 18 September 2014


This is my mother’s recipe, given by her Chinese neighbour, probably, the first thing she made after she bought her round baking oven in the mid 60's. As a child, I used to love the smell that wafted in the air when she baked this. She had a particular mould for this. I had never been able to identify “that” flavouring & she didn’t remember the recipe either.  After so many years my sister, Faby, found the original recipe from my mother’s old recipe book.  It’s rose essence which made all the difference. The measurements were listed in “glass & tin”, which I converted to cup size. Try this, if you love baking, very simple & the flavour..... AWESOME!

Courtesy: Rosaline Xavier

 Unsalted butter: 200 g
Clarified butter/ghee: 25 g
Sugar: ¾ cup (measure in a 200 ml cup)
Plain flour/maida: ¾ cup
Whole wheat flour/atta: ¾ cup
Rose essence: 1 tsp
Baking powder: a pinch

Sieve both flours with baking powder & keep aside.
Powder sugar & cream together with butter & ghee till light & fluffy.
Add flour & essence.
Bring all the ingredients to form a dough.
Roll into small balls & place them a little apart on a baking tray.
Bake at 1700 C for 15 minutes or till it browns slightly on the sides.
Cool & store. 

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Duck Roast (Traditional Fare)

We, in Kerala, are familiar with very spicy, masala coated duck cooked in coconut milk.This recipe is very different. The brown colour of the dish is because of the initial roasting with flour. 

Courtesy: May Solomon
Photo courtesy: Priya Abrao

Duck: 1 whole with skin on
Maida/plain flour: 2 tbsps
Onion: 3 sliced & deep fried
Oil: 3 tbsps
1. Pepper powder: 2 tsps
2. Worcestershire sauce: 2 tbsps
3. Garlic paste: 1 tsp
4. Ginger paste: 1 tsp
5. Garam masala powder: ½ tsp
6. Salt: to taste


Keeping duck whole, wash & pat it dry.
Grind 1 to 6 to a paste & marinate duck with this for at least 6 hours (overnight is better)
In a wide pan (uruli is ideal), heat oil & put in the whole duck.
Turn around & roast till it browns evenly.
Sprinkle flour on the duck & roast further till the flour gets a golden hue.
Remove duck from pan & cool it.
When cool, cut the duck into 6 to 8 pieces.
Pour 2 cups of water & make a sauce with the flour & oil left in the pan.
Put the duck back into pan, cover & cook till done.
Before taking off the fire, add half the fried onions & stir well.
Serve garnished with the remaining fried onions.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

CHICKEN MOLEE (Traditional Fare)

We are very familiar with fish molee. The word “ MOLEE”, I think, is derived from the Portugese word “MOLHO” meaning sauce/gravy.
Kerala tourism popularises this dish almost exclusively using Karimeen/pearl spot, Sear fish or Pomfret. These fish are however seasonal & hence, fresh fish is hard to find.
And it is here that, this recipe becomes relevant. Juices from the chicken flesh gels well with coconut milk just as gracefully & the result is amazing & is there for you to try for yourself.
Chicken: 1 kg
Coconut milk: 1 cup thick
Coconut milk: 3 cups thin
Onion: 1 chopped
Green chilli: 8 to 10 slit
Ginger: 1 tbsp sliced
Garlic: 1 tbsp sliced
Turmeric powder: ½ tsp
Cinnamon stick: 1” piece
Cloves: 4
Cardamom: 2
Pepper powder: 1 tsp
Vinegar: 1 tbsp
Tomato: 1 sliced
Curry leaves: a few
Salt to taste
Coconut oil: 2 tbsps


Clean & cut chicken into medium sized pieces, smear a little turmeric & salt & keep aside for half an hour.
In a kadai, heat oil & add the whole spices, after it splutters add the sliced onion.
When light brown, add the slit chillies, ginger & garlic. Fry for a while.
Put in the chicken & sauté till the chicken flesh turns white.
Now, pour the thin milk, stir, cover & cook.
When chicken is done add salt, thick coconut milk & pepper powder.
Last, add the vinegar & curry leaves.
Arrange the sliced tomatoes over the molee.
Take off fire & serve. 

Tuesday, 19 August 2014


With Onam around the corner I thought it is just apt to publish a very different sweet & spicy curry. Usually, ”Mathura “(Sweet) curry for a sadya is made with ripe banana or pineapple. This recipe is with papaya, not too ripe or raw.

Courtesy: Mrs. Sudha Kartha.

Papaya: 500 g
Dry red chilli: 5
Coconut: 1 cup
Turmeric powder: ¼ tsp
Salt: to taste
 For tempering:
Coconut oil: 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds: ½ tsp
Dry red chilli: 3
Shallots: 2 sliced
Curry leaves: a few


Cube papaya & cook with turmeric & salt. Mash a little with the back of a spoon.
Grind coconut with dry red chilli & pour into cooked papaya.
Let it simmer till thick.
In another Kadai, pour oil, splutter mustard seeds & add sliced shallots. Fry till brown.
Put in dry red chilli & curry leaves.
Pour into prepared curry & serve.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Fudge Tarts (Just Bakes)

Tarts cases are made with short crust pastry & the filling can be anything, sweet or savoury. Here, I have filled the tarts with a caramel fudge. The simplest filling for a sweet tart is Jam.

For tart case:
Plain flour: 250 g
Butter: 115 g
Sugar: 1 tsps
Baking powder: ½ tsp
Salt: a pinch
Cold water: to knead (about 2 tbsps) 

For the fudge:

Condensed milk: 200 g
Butter: 2 tbsps
Sugar: 2tbsps
Nuts & raisins: 2 tbsps each


 Grease & prepare tart tins or use paper cups.
Sieve flour with salt & baking powder.
Rub butter lightly into flour with finger tips till they resemble bread crumbs.
Add sugar (preferably powdered)
Add enough cold water to form dough with minimum handling.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll out on a floured board & cut into small rounds to fit the tart tin.
Line tin with the tarts & prick base with a fork (so that it doesn’t rise while baking)
Bake in a hot oven at 2050C for 15 minutes.
Remove from tin & cool. Store in an air tight tin till required.
 Fugde filling:
Make a caramel with butter & sugar. Pour condensed milk & stir till thick.
Add nuts & raisins.
Cool well & fill each tart case with a tablespoon of the fudge.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Duck Fry

This a dry duck preparation, which can be served with almost anything.

Duck: 1 kg
Onion: 2
Ginger-garlic paste: 1 tbsp
Oil: 1 tbsp + ½ cup

For the masala paste:
Pepper: 1 tsp
Coriander seeds: 1 tbsp
Dry red chilli: 10
Cinnamon stick: 1’ piece
Cloves: 5
Vinegar: 1 tbsp
Salt: to taste


Clean duck well, wash & dry it before cutting into big pieces
Heat 1 tbsp oil in pan & fry onion brown, along with ginger –garlic paste.
Grind with other ingredients for masala paste, using vinegar.
Smear this on the duck pieces & keep aside for 4 to 5 hours.
Now, heat half cup of oil & fry the duck pieces, a few at a time, till golden brown & remove.
When all are done, put the pieces into a pressure cooker along with a cup of hot water & cook for 10 minutes.
Open cooker & evaporate excess gravy & fry up the pieces well.
Serve with fried potatoes.