Sunday, January 19, 2014


My most often requested recipe is Samosa.  This recipe is a combination of 2 recipes: my friend Jaishri's filling recipe and my friend Tara's dough recipe. Combine these and you have the ultimate Samosa!

Samosa making is a laborious process, but well worth the effort. Make a whole batch and freeze for later.

Fry a couple and serve with masala chai anytime of the day.



Makes 32 Samosas:

AP flour: 2 cups
Margarine (shortening) - 4 tbsp.
Salt - 1 tsp (or to taste)
Buttermilk - 1/3 cup

Melt margarine.  Add to flour and rub together till combined. Add the rest of the ingredients and make a smooth dough adding a little water only if needed. Keep aside.

Russet Potatoes -  2  grate and wash to remove starch
Carrots - 2 grate
Frozen Peas or Sweet Corn - 1/2 of small bag ( approximately 4 oz)

Oil - 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Green Chilies - 5 (less if you don't want it spicy)
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp.
Lemon juice - 1 - 2 tsp.
Garam Masala - 1 tsp.
Coriander Leaves - 1 bunch finely chopped
Peanut Oil  for frying

 Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds. When cumin is fragrant, add crushed ginger/chile mixture (crush together in a food processor or blender) and turmeric. Saute for a few minutes.  Add grated potatoes (dry with paper towel or kitchen towel to remove excess water). When potato is almost cooked add grated carrots. When the mixture is cooked  (carrots cook fast), crush frozen peas in a food processor/blender and add to the pan. Peas do not have to be cooked, just heated through. If adding corn, do not have to crush it. Add lemon juice, garam masala, and salt to taste. Add chopped coriander leaves. Filling is ready.

Take a small lime sized amount of dough. Roll into approximately 5 inch circle. Cut in the middle to 2 half-moon shaped pieces.  Make a cone with each half and fill with  2 -3 tbsp of  prepared vegetable mixture.  Fold open edge over and seal tightly. May have to use a little bit of water to seal the edges. Repeat process.

 Deep fry Samosa in hot oil and serve immediately.

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Barley Vegetable Vegan Soup

I have been on soup kick for some time now. Recently discovered that pressure cookers are great for developing flavors fast.  To make this soup, I used sweet potatoes, carrots and zucchini.  But whatever you have on hand should work well!

Serves: 4


Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Onion - 1/2 sliced
Garlic - 1 clove minced
Jalapeno - 1 sliced (remove seeds if you don't want it spicy)
Cayenne pd - 1/2 tsp
Coriander pd - 1/2 tsp
Sweet potato - 1 small cubed
Carrot - 1 cubed
Tomato - 1 sliced
Pearl Barley - 1/2 cup
Water - 4 cups
Zucchini - 1 small cubed
Cilantro - 1 tsp minced
Lemon juice - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Lemon slices - 4


Heat olive oil in a medium sized pressure cooker. Saute sliced onion, minced garlic, and jalapeno.  Add cayenne and coriander powders.  Saute for few minutes.  Add cubed sweet potato, carrot, followed by tomato, pearl barley, water, and salt.  Mix together and close the pressure cooker and cook for 5 to 8 minutes.  I have a very old (almost antique) pressure cooker.  Please note that cooking times may vary with newer cookers.

Once it has cooled down, open the pressure cooker and add zucchini pieces.  Close and cook for another 5 minutes.  Take off stove and allow cooker to cool completely.  Barley should be cooked though but still chewy.  Add cilantro and lemon juice.  Serve soup with lemon slices on the side.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Broccoli and Jalapeno Stir Fry

One of the often used tools in my kitchen is a wok I bought from San Francisco Chinatown's  famous Wok Shop. I experiment with it often to make Indian themed stir fried dishes.  The following recipe resulted from one of those happy experiments.

 Broccoli  - 1 medium
Jalapeno pepper  - 1 or 2
Oil - 1 tbsp
*Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp (optional)
Black mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric pd - 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste

Separate broccoli florets and cut into small, bite sized pieces.  Slice jalapenos on  a bias.  If you don't want it too spicy, remove the seeds.

Heat wok at high heat for few minutes till screaming hot.  Add a tbsp of oil to wok.  Add asafoetida and black mustard seeds to hot oil.  When mustard seeds have finished popping (takes just couple of seconds) add turmeric pd followed by prepared broccoli and jalapeno slices.  Add salt to taste.  Stir fry with a quick hand for 3 to 4 minutes.  When broccoli pieces are slightly charred but still crunchy, the dish is done.  Serve with plain rice or as a side dish.

* A pungent spice available in Indian grocery stores.  A word of caution, use sparingly. A little goes a long way!


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Cauliflower, Carrot, Daikon Radish pickle

I took a long hiatus from blogging!  Life got in the way, but ready to restart now!

I have been wanting to make this pickle for a long time.  While at the grocery store last week all the glorious, fresh, summer vegetables caught my eye and gave me just the  inspiration I needed! Wallah, here is the pickle recipe!

Small Cauliflower - 1
Carrots                  -  3
Daikon Radish      - 1

Separate cauliflower into bite sized florets.  Peel and cut carrots and radish into 2" long pieces.  Boil water in a 2 -3  quart pot.  When it comes to boil add salt to taste. Add prepared cauliflower and blanch for 20 - 30 seconds. Spread on large baking sheet. Repeat process with carrots and radish pieces.  Leave vegetables in full sun for few hours till dry and extra moisture has evaporated.  Take care not to over dry.

Onion - 1 medium
Garlic - 1 whole
Ginger - 3" piece
Canola oil - 1 cup

Asafoetida 1/4 tsp (optional)
*Cayenne powder - 5 -6 Tbsp
Black mustard seeds - 1/4 cup (grind coarsely in spice grinder)
Brown Sugar - 1/3 cup
Red wine vinegar - 1 cup
Salt - to taste

Grind onion, ginger, and garlic separately to a paste. Heat oil in a heavy bottom pot. Sprinkle asafoetida in hot oil. Add ground onion and saute for 4 - 5 minutes or till raw smell disappears. Add ginger and garlic paste.  Saute for few more minutes or till raw smell is gone. Watch closely to prevent burning.  Add cayenne powder and saute for few more minutes. Turn off heat and let it cool down. Add coarsely ground mustard seeds, brown sugar, followed by vinegar.

Let mixture cool down completely.  Add prepared vegetables.  Add salt to taste and adjust seasonings.

Pickle is ready to eat immediately.  I like to store it in the refrigerator. 

*Reduce if you prefer mild.  Also, perfectly fine to substitute with paprika for a much milder version.

Vegetables Drying!

Pickle is ready!

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Rustic Chicken Curry/Nadan Kozhi Curry

Chicken curry is a generic term that encompasses an immense variety of dishes. In a nutshell, it is chicken braised with spices and some kind of liquid. The spices used and the braising liquid (coconut milk, stock, or just water) differs from dish to dish. The addition of ground coconut, ground nuts (cashew, almond), and /or yogurt make the variety endless.

Southern Indian curries tend to be more spicier than their Northern Indian counterparts. Both are equally delicious!

I prefer to use the whole chicken for curries, makes for a more flavorful dish.

Ingredients:chicken - 3 lbs (skinned, cleaned, and jointed into small pieces)
curry leaves - 6
onion - 1 sliced thin
green chilies - 3 slit
tomato - 1 small sliced
potato - 1 small cubed
salt to taste
oil - 3 tbsp

wet spices:
fresh ginger - 1" piece
garlic - 5 cloves

dry spices:
cayenne pd - 1 tsp
coriander pd - 3 tsp
turmeric - 1/2 tsp
fennel seeds whole - 1 tbsp
whole black pepper - 1 tsp
cinnamon - 1" piece (optional)
cloves - 2 (optional)
cardamom - 2 seeded (optional)


Using a small food processor or blender, blend garlic and ginger together to a paste, keep aside. Add water as needed to facilitate somewhat smooth griding. Do not make it too watery.

Mix coriander pd, cayenne pd, and turmeric pd together in a small bowl. Powder fennel seeds, whole black pepper, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom together in a spice grinder. Add to the bowl along with some water to make a paste, keep aside.

Heat a heavy pot. Add oil. When oil is hot, add sliced onions, green chilies, curry leaves and saute till onions are translucent. Add the ginger and garlic (wet spices) paste. Fry till the raw smell disappears, approximately 3-4 minutes. Now add the spice paste (dry spices) to the pot. Continue to fry on a low flame till the spices are fragrant, and starting to brown. If the spices start sticking to the pot, add a tbsp of oil. Now add the sliced tomatoes. Keep stirring till the tomato pieces are soft and the whole mixture is uniform.

Add chicken pieces ands stir to coat with the spices. Add salt and cover the pot. Turn the flame down. After 5 minutes, add 1.5 cup of water and cubed potato. If you are using a fast cooking variety of potato, add towards the last 15 minutes.

Simmer for approximately 30 minutes or more. If you want a lot of gravy, leave the pot covered. If you want a more thicker gravy, simmer with the pot uncovered.

The curry is done when chicken is cooked and the oil separates and start to float on top. Serve with Chappathi or rice.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Fried Fish / Meen Varthathu

Kerala fried fish is similar to the blackened fish of Louisiana. The fried goodness of fish and spices go well with white rice. Plain yogurt and a vegetable thoran would round up the meal nicely.

Almost any fish can be fried using this recipe. Here, I used Sand dabs.

Sand dabs - 2 skinned/scaled and cleaned
cayenne powder - 2 tsp (+/- to taste)
turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
salt to taste
oil - 1/3 cup

Score sand dabs across with a sharp knife. The scores help the spices to permeate the fish and reduces cooking time. If the fish is large, cut into smaller pieces.

I also prefer to leave the bone in when frying. Bones seem to hold the fish together better. Fillets would work well too, but in my experience bone-in is better!

Make a paste of cayenne powder, turmeric, and salt with a little bit of water. Liberally slather both sides of the fish with the spice paste. Leave aside for 15 minutes.

Heat a cast iron pan (or a heavy pan) and add oil. The oil should just come to a depth of less than half an inch. The fish is NOT meant to be deep fried immersed in oil, but rather shallow fried. When the oil heats up, gently place the fish in it. Fry till the fish and spices have caramelised, approximately 3-4 minutes. Flip the fish gently and repeat frying the other side. When the fish is done, drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Spicy fish in coconut milk /Meen Curry

Fish is a big part of Kerala non-vegetarian food culture. The meal is often planned around the fish dish which in turn depend on the fresh fish available that day. Growing up we always had some kind of fish dish for lunch and dinner. In rainy season, when fresh fish is scarce, the dried fish would make an appearance.

There are numerous ways to prepare fish Kerala style: stewed in coconut milk, pan fried with spices, cooked with fresh ground coconut, spiced up with coccum, raw mango, or erumban puli (Averrhoa bilimbi). Ripe and even unripe tomatoes are used in flavoring. Sometimes fish is wrapped in banana leaves with a layer of shallots and ground green pepper (unripened black pepper) picked off the vine just that day. The whole package is slowly roasted in a clay pot or a kal chatti (turned rock vessel) traditional Kerala cooking vessels. The fish cooks in its own juice and comes out fragrant, tender, and absolutely delicious!

The day starts with the fisherman coming to the door with his fresh caught wares. He announces his arrival with loud hoots "oooh" as he cycles down the narrow roads, balancing a large basket of fish precariously behind him. He would take off the jute cover to reveal the bounty inside: shining sardines, glistening mackerels and pom frets, king fish, mullets, black and flat pearl spots, crabs, shrimp some still twitching, as fresh as can be! People gather around the basket, commenting on the freshness and haggling to get the best price.

The recipe that follows is for a basic fish curry in coconut milk. Numerous variations can be made by varying the ingredient used for tartness: mango, coccum, tomato, tamarind, erumban puli. The smooth taste of coconut milk tones down the fieriness of the curry.


*fish - 1 lb
onion - 1 small + (1/4 cup thinly sliced for optional garnish)
ginger - thumb size
green chilies - 4 (+/- to taste)
curry leaves - 6
cayenne powder - 1 tbsp (+/- to taste)
turmeric - 1/4 tsp
tomato - 1 small sliced
coconut milk thin - 1.5 cups (second extract)
coconut milk thick - 1/2 cup (first extract)
white vinegar - 2 tsp
ghee - 2 tbsp (optional)
oil - 3 tbsp
salt to taste

* Almost any variety of fish may be used. Some options are Pomfret, King Mackeral, Mullet, cod and so on..


Crush onion, ginger, green chilies to a coarse mixture in a food processor or with a mortar and pestle. Heat clay pot and add 2 tbsp of oil. When oil heats up, saute the crushed onion mixture and curry leaves till the raw smell disappears.

Make a paste of cayenne and turmeric with a little water and add to the sauteed onions. Fry for 2-3 minutes till the raw smell disappears. Add sliced tomatoes. When the tomatoes and onion are well blended, add the thin coconut milk and salt.

When the coconut milk comes to a boil, reduce heat and add fish. Simmer for 5-10 minutes till the curry starts to thicken. Add the thick coconut milk and heat through. Add vinegar and take off heat.

Heat a tbsp of ghee in a pan. Fry the sliced onions till golden brown and add as a garnish. This step is optional. Serve with rice or chappathi.

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