September 12, 2012

Rayalseema Chepa Vepudu - Fish Fry

Sandhya Reddy

500 gms Seer Fish ( slices from the end of the fish without stomach holes )

½ Cup Copra (or roast freshly grated coconut)
1 large Tomato
8 pods Garlic
Lime sized Tamarind - soak in hot water
½ tsp Methi
2 large Onions chopped fine

½ tsp Turmeric
2 tsp Chilli Powder
3 Tbsp Oil
10 -15 Curry leaves
a sprigs of coriander leaves chopped for garnish
Salt to taste

Wash seer with salt and turmeric and clean.  Then cut each slice into 4 without the centre bone and set aside. 

Grind the copra, tomato, garlic and tamarind into a fine paste.

Take a non-stick pan with a flat bottom.  Add oil.  When warm add methi.  Next add onions and curry leaves.  Saute till the onions turn pink.  Add the ground masala, salt, chill and turmeric and fry till the raw smell leaves and the oil separates from the masala.

Arrange the fish around the pan in such a way that the masala coats the fish pieces evenly both the top and the bottom.

Use a medium to low flame and continue frying for another 15-20 minutes.  Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

May 18, 2012

Sindhi Biryani

introduced into my life by Sadaf Hamid

Easy to Cook Hard to Resist! ( I second, third and fourth that!)

Ingredients Required Quantity & Preparation
    •    Beef/Chicken/Mutton 500-750g, small cubed with bones
    •    Rice, Basmatti 500-750g /3-4 cups, washed soaked for 30 minutes.
    •    Yogurt, Plain ½ cup, whipped /100g
    •    Tomatoes 3 medium, round slices /200g
    •    Potatoes 3-4 medium, peeled & halfed /250g
    •    Onions 3 medium, finely sliced /1½ cup /175g
    •    Garlic Paste 1 tablespoon /20g
    •    Ginger, chopped 3 tablespoons /2" piece /25g
    •    Small Green Chillies 25 whole /25g
    •    Green Corriander 1 cup, chopped /1 bunch
    •    Mint Leaves 1 cup, chopped / 1 bunch
    •    Ghee/Oil 1-1½ cups /175-250g
    •    Shan Sindhi Biryani one packet Spice Mix

1. Fry the onions in ghee/oil on medium heat until golden. Add meat, garlic, potatoes and stir. Fry for 10 minutes.
2. Add Shan Masalaydar Sindhi Biryani Spice Mix, yogurt, ginger, green chillies and stir. Fry for 5 minutes.
3. Add one glass of water. Cover and cook on low heat until the meat is tender. When the meat is cooked there should be about two cups of gravy. (If more increase heat, if less add water).
4. Shift the cooked meat to a larger pot. Spread tomatoes, green coriander and mint leaves over the meat Do not mix meat and the green masala. Cover and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes.
5. Separately: In 12 glasses of hot water stir 3 tablespoons of Shan salt. Add soaked rice, boil until the rice is more than half cooked. Remove and thoroughly drain.

Spread the cooked rice evenly over the meat. Do not mix the rice & the meat. Cover and cook on low heat until rice is tender. Mix before serving.

SERVING SUGGESTION: * Garnish with fried onion. * Serve with diced salad in vinegar. * Serves 6-8 persons.

TIPS FOR BEST RESULTS: * Meat: Use breast and shoulder cuts with bones.

My notes :P

I have Sadaf Hamid to thank for introducing me to this fantastic biryani masala.  I've used it successfully many many times over the last decade (felt good to say that!!!) and it has always been liked!!

Folks staying in Colombo - Shan Masala's are available in Arpico and I sometimes find them at Crescat Keel's too.

VERY VERY IMPORTANT :Don't add salt.  It comes mixed with the Masala and tends to make it a bit too salty so don't forget to add the potatoes!

IMPORTANT : reduce the no. of chillies!! i use about 4-5 of the green indian chillies but am brave and go up to a dozen of the sri lankan variety of green chillies which usually are practically like kashmiri mirch but occasionally there is an odd really spicy one!

my deviations after prolonged use!
Mix the biryani masala packet with the yoghurt and then add the mutton.  marinate for a couple of hours.

After the onions have browned and the ginger, garlic added and fried for a few minutes, add the tomatoes and cook till oil leaves the masala.  Then add the marinated mutton and cook till the oil leaves the masala once more.  Then top up with water and pressure cook.  My reasons for drying up the masala is to ensure that the meat doesn't smell and the mutton that is in the biryani falls apart on touch! :D

I use less rice than has been indicated preferring a ratio of 2:3 or so between meat and rice...

Not being a big fan of mint, I use very little but I do use it!

In the end it is put in oven for that last finish and to keep it warm so that when it is served it is hot.

I add deep fried cashew nuts and raisins fried to the onions as garnish.

Do let me know what you think if ever you try it.

Shan website :

October 20, 2010

Meetha Puri

Pushpa & Devidas Prabhu

Meetha Puri 

Whilst this breakfast option was a favourite of all three when we were growing up only my younger sister continued to ask for them subsequently.   We've completed a full circle and once again are all there in line to eat them when they are made now.   I prefer to add an extra banana for extra caramelised and crisp puris.   These stay for a day or two and we eat them as a snack through the day.  Grab one or two when you're passing the kitchen counter kind of snack!

2 cups Maida
½ cup curd
½ cup sugar or gud
½ tsp. Soda bi-carb
2 tsp ghee
1 banana mashed
a pinch of salt
refined oil for deep frying

Mix ingredients into a hard dough and keep for a while
Roll into puries and deep fry

About a year ago we went to a restaurant in Chennai where we were served starters which were a cross between modaks and meetha puris. They were absolutely yummy and we had two rounds of it.  Found this recipe online and these too are definitely worth a try.  More sinful when compared with the meetha puris though!

June 4, 2010

Fish Curry Variations

Devidas & Pushpa Prabhu

Slice of Seer fish with Rice

I have had the basic recipe on this blog for 5 years now.  Finally I made fish/prawn curries under my parents supervision several times over a fortnight and learnt a few variations too.   As mentioned earlier the Bedgee mirsange (Red Chillies) and Teppal (Tirphal) are key elements.

Dry Red Chillies

For all 3 variations
1/2 Kg Fish/Prawns
1/2 Coconut (grated)
12-15 red chilies (lightly roasted)
1/4 teaspoon haldi powder
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
Salt to taste

Variation 1  the original
1 tablespoon coriander seeds (lightly roasted)
1 large onion
3/4 of the onion chopped and set aside.  1/4 put in with the coconut and grind.  the coriander seeds roasted and added to the coconut paste.  Fry the onions till golden brown before adding the paste to it.  This variation used by my mother for Prawns and Pomfret.


Variation 2 with Teppal (Tirphal)
Skip the fried onions and coriander seeds in the paste for this variation
Set aside 15pcs of Teppal in a katori with hot water for 1/ 2 an hr.  Then crush the seeds with a pestle so that the flavour mixes with the water.  Dont turn it into a paste.  Lightly crush.   And add along with coconut paste to the curry.  Remember not to eat these as they have been added just for the flavour and aroma.   Used mostly with stronger smelling fish like Mackerel and Seer.

Variation 3 with  Onion / Ginger and Garlic
1 large onion (finely chopped)
1" pc ginger grated
6-10 garlic pods chopped small
fry the onions till golden brown.  Add the ginger and garlic and fry for a few more minutes.  Then jump to the step of adding the paste.  Also add a tablespoon of coconut oil after adding the paste. Used with stronger smelling fish like Mackerel and Seer.

For all variations...
1. Clean and cut fish into pieces. Put aside with salt and haldi (note the fish needs to be washed before it is added to the curry)
2. Grind coconut and spices into a fine paste (should have the consistency of a gravy)
3. Fry onion in a pan to golden brown (skip for variation 2)
4. Add coconut paste to the onions and bring to a boil
5. Add prawns and cook for 5 minutes (till prawns are cooked and it doesnt take long max. 10mins!!) In the case of fish you could wait for the oil to rise to the surface.

A couple of references for Teppal and the special Red Chillies with some recipes
1. Tirphal
2. Teppal - 1 and 2
3. aka Szechuan Pepper
4. Bedgee ( Red Chilli )
5. List of variety of Indian Chillies

June 1, 2010

Arachuvitte Sambar

Ramesh Jayaraman

Serves two
1 sm katori of Toor Dal boiled till soft and set aside.

Take a tsp of Tamarind Paste in a bowl.  Add a few tablespoons of hot water and set aside.   Add a few tablespoons of hot water to a tsp of uncooked rice in another katori and set aside

Any one Vegetable chopped in large pieces - Brinjal, Radish, Drumsticks, Capsicum, baby onions or Ash Gourd - 10-15 small pieces

In a saucepan saute the vegetable along with a few curry leaves for 5 minutes.  Add the tamarind, a tsp of salt and 500ml of water bring it to a boil and then let it simmer till the level of water reduces by half.

In the meantime prepare the Paste
5 Red chillies
1 Tbsp Coriander Seeds
6-7 pcs Methi Seeds ( excess makes the sambar bitter )
1 tsp Uncooked Rice pre soaked in hot water
1 Tbsp Heaped Grated Coconut
1 Pinch of Asafoteida

Set aside the soaked rice and coconut.  Roast the rest of the ingredients with a few drops of oil and then grind all them together into a paste and set aside.

Once the tamarind water reduces by half, add the boiled toor dal and the paste and bring it to a boil once more and take off the flame.

The last thing that needs doing is a tadka.  Take a tsp of oil (or ghee) in a small kadai.  When it is hot add a tsp of mustard seeds.  When they start to splutter add 5-6 Curry leaves and a pinch of Asafoteida (Hing).  Remove from the flame and add to the Sambar.  Close the lid on the Sambar to retain the aroma of the tadka.

April 10, 2008

Prawn Malai Curry

Lipi Kapoor

This one is Vini's mothers recipe.

1 kgPrawn - ( shell and devein and then add turmeric and salt and set aside. REMEMBER TO WASH OFF TURMERIC AND SALT BEFORE COOKING!)
50gms Ginger
4-5 medium onions
1 packet of Dabur Coconut Milk Tetrapack - if small then two (100ml)
6 small Cardamom
2 1" pieces of Cinamon
1-2 Tej Patta / Bay leaves
1/2 tsp of Sugar
Salt, Turmeric, Chilli Powder to taste

1. Par boil the prawns in salted water ( put in boiling water for less than two minutes)
2. Drain completely in a colander
3. Saute the prawns in a little bit of oil for a few seconds. Remove prawns and reserve excess oil if any.
4. Reheat oil adding more if necessary. Add the cardamom, cinamon and bay leaves to this oil
5. Add the ground onion/ginger paste. Add the turmeric, red chilli powder, salt and sugar and cook till the paste looks golden 3-5 minutes. If the masala looks dry and sticks to the kadai/wok, keep adding a little bit of coconut milk or water to avoid the masala burning.
6. Add the prawns and mix.
7. Add coconut milk and cover and cook for 3-5 minutes.
8. Just before serving make a tadka of a pinch of ground methi seeds and add to the top of the curry.

December 11, 2006

Green Chutney

Philomena Dias

Green Chutney with Cheese spread on Gootlis or Brun ( hard and soft bread in Mumbai) were a favourite for breakfast. It's been a while but just last week we made this chutney and I've had it over the last few days either for breakfast, lunch or as an evening snack :D

1/2 a coconut
1 bunch of coriander including tender shoots
4 garlic pods
1/3" ginger
3 green chillies - deseed
1/2" tamarind
1/2 a small onion
1 tsp jeera (cumin)
1 tsp sugar
salt to taste

Grind together. Check for salt and chillies and add more if required. makes a good sandwich paste.

July 19, 2006

Beef curry

Philomena Dias

We lived in the Dias house for quite a bit of the 11 months that we spent in Mumbai the year we got married. The commute to Andheri was long and tedious and Julius' house was midway. There was a standing invitation to spend the weekends with them. We sometimes forgot to go home for the week and stayed on 9 days at a stretch. Aunty is a wonderful person and a great cook. We always felt at home. In addition to Aunty, Julius and Audrey, there were usually 4 weekend guests - Annie, Claudette, Ramesh and me. Those days were wonderful!

This is the first of Aunty's recipes

250 gms beef - cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp - Jeera (cumin)
1/2 tsp - Pepper
4 pods - Garlic
3 pcs - Cloves
1" pc - Cinammon
2 pcs - Cardamom
1/4 tsp - Turmeric
3 - Red Dried Chillies
1 Large - Tomato
1 Large - Onion - finely chopped

First fry onions till light brown. Add diced tomatoes and then add the meat which has been washed and salted. let the stock dry. Add the Masala. Add Vinegar and sugar to taste. Then add water till it almost covers the meat. Add potatoes if required. Cook for 45 minutes.

Note: We've tried this recipe with mutton and that tastes fantastic too. Cooking time gets reduced though. Also we always use a pressure cooker to cook meat dishes.

July 1, 2006

Meat Loaf

Philomena Dias

500 gms minced beef
250 gms bacon ( remove sides)
1 tsp pepper powder
4 green chillies
6 pods garlic
1/2" ginger
2 eggs

Wash mince well and drain in a sieve. Put the kheema in a pan on high flame and dry. Dont forget to stir constantly. Cut all the other ingredients very fine and grind into a smooth paste along with the mince. Add salt and pepper later. Soak a bun in water or 4 slices of bread. Squeeze out the water and add along with 2 eggs to the mince mixture. Line the vessel with oil/ butter, pour mixture and cover with brown paper. Tie the paper to the vessel firmly with a string. Put this dish into a larger one half filled with water. Cover the larger vessel with a lid and put a weight on it. Let the water come to a boil and then lower the flame. Cook for half an hour.

June 16, 2006

Nizam Kathi Rolls

Ujwala Prabhu

If you're from Kolkata you'll surely know what i'm talking about. When I first left home and went to Pune to study the one thing that I kept talking about to my new college friends whenever the topic of food came up was Kathi Rolls. When they didnt understand me I told them that they were Chicken Rolls. They said no problem you can have some delicious ones at Marz-O-Rin. And then I waited eagerly till we could go to Camp, where the shop was located - near Kayanis - the Shrewsberry biscuits shop. When it was eventually put in front of me I was terribly disappointed, the Pune Chicken Roll turned out to be hot dog bread with lettuce and chicken with a sweet mayo dressing. I grew to like these too but nothing compares, nothing compares to Nizam Rolls.

Out of Kolkata I tried the Frankies and the Baida rotis but that was not what my taste buds yearned for. For years I've tried to replicate it at home but not very successfully. So I'd save up all the wanting for my annual visit home and eat these rolls every time! And then a few years ago we heard that Nizam had shut down - labour problems. Kolkata has changed so much from when I lived there as a kid. Nizams was an important part of eating out for us and now it's no longer there. Nor is Skyroom or the Chicken Champ place at the petrol pump. For a while when we were in Bangalore, I think for the last two years of our stay, a Nizam outlet opened up in Indira Nagar and their Rolls were finger licking good.

When I went to Kolkata a few weeks back, I decided to try out the Park Street guy. His rolls are good too but he adds some kind of red and green sauce. I didnt let him add those in mine but there was just that something missing.

While writing for the meme that Sonali tagged me for I googled for Nizam Kathi Rolls and was dismayed with the recipe that appears all over the web which has mashed potatoes as a stuffing! Scandalous :D

Here's my version for Chicken Anda Parathas. You could replace the Chicken with Aloo, Paneer, Mutton or Beef. I'm willing to try any suggestions that you may have to make it taste more authentic.

Knead dough for 6 parathas - i use atta but i'm told that maida makes them more authentic and that's what i'm going to try out the next time.
Make Chicken Tikkas - about 4-5pcs in each paratha - shouldnt be made too dry - soft and succulent is what you want
6 eggs - beat, add salt and keep aside
Onions - halve, finely slice and seperate into half rings. mix with chopped coriander, finely chopped green chilly, salt and pepper and a generous amount of lime juice. Mix well and set aside.

Cook one side of the Paratha. Flip over and add egg on top - a ladle full. Spread across the top of the paratha with a spoon. Make sure the flame is on low. After a few minutes flip the paratha and move around on the pan to ensure that the egg remains below and stuck to one side of the partha. Be generous with the oil prior to the flip. When the paratha starts to expand and bloat upwards flip it again and let that side cook. Remember it has to stay soft. Dont let it turn crisp. And I repeat be generous with the oil while cooking. You can wipe some off on tissues later.

Keep the other two ingredients - chicken and onions - ready. Remove the Anda Paratha from the Pan and put on the counter. Put the next Paratha in the pan before proceeding further. In the middle of the paratha spread some onions mixture in a line. Add the chicken tikka pieces over this. Squeeze some lime. Add another layer of onions. Roll the paratha and roll half of it in some brown paper. This will catch the extra grease and keep the paratha in a roll format. Eat hot.

One other change that I intend to make the next time is to lightly saute the onions prior to making a salad out of it. I saw the Park Street guy doing this :P

Update: While surfing to find a picture to put temporarily before I make my next lot and take a picture. I discovered on that a Nizams of Kolkata has resurfaced in Delhi!

Update : Jul 1, 2006 : Viki Saigal : More locations for similar rolls - Ayub's in Bombay in Kala Ghoda or Sardars at Ballygunje Phadi in Cal or Nizam's at H Block C Circus Delhi and if in SIngapore and reeeeely homesick, try the Prata pepper sausage roll at the Takashimaya food Court in Singapore !! July 01, 2006 4:52 PM - more details in his comment on this post

Update: Sep 8, 2006: anonymous says "Nizam's in Kolkata has re-opened on September 6th with a newly renovated with the same food from the same people. Once again we all can enjoy our good old kathi rolls" - i hope that this is true and now i have one more reason to look forward to the my next trip to Kol :P

Update: Dec 11, 2006: We found a restaurant in Dhaka which serves Kathi rolls almost as good as those made at Nizams. For those in Dhaka the restaurant is called Dhaba and it is in Banani.

Update : June 25, 2008 : Vinita Nayar : An article on Nizam, "Beef it up", by Nondon Bagchi on how good the food still is. Have to put this on the top of my list for my next visit to Cal. Thanks Vinita, for the link.