Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Meen Mulakittathu | Kerala Fish Curry with Kudampuli/Gambojee | Meen Vevichathu | Ayala Fish Curry with Kudampuli

I have had the privilege to taste many yummy fish curries in my life. Be it my mom, grandma, mom-in-law, hubby's aunt, uncle.. All of them make yummilicious fish curries. And for a Malayali, it is a staple as well as pride to make the perfect hot, fiery, tangy and delicious fish curry. Just a spoonful of this perfectly made fish curry is enough for you to eat with scoopfuls of matta rice. Accompany it with some fresh fish fry, boy I tell you, it makes your day and gets you set for an afternoon siesta ;)  This particular fish curry goes well with matta rice but some have it with puttu, idiyappam as well as idly :) But I prefer it with rice the most. There are many ways in which you can make Kerala style fish curry.. Easy Malabar style fish curry with coconut, Fish curry without coconut, yet another fish curry with coconut and so on. For all these recipes I use normal tamarind.

It was slightly difficult for me to get that perfect balanced taste (you call that 'chodi' in Malayalam :)) with this recipe. And hence this was one recipe that I took sometime to master. The base for all the recipes that I saw - both online on blogs and my relatives preparing was more or less the same. The right taste is always in the amount of red chilly powder and salt that you use. I have tried quite a handful of recipes from many blogs and I found the perfect measurements that suited my family's tastebuds here. This is a foolproof recipe and it never has failed me :) And let me tell you one more thing. It is always better to prepare this gravy at least 2 hours prior to serving. The more it stands the better. The flavours sink in to the fish and tastes awesome, to be precise, the next day :) So do make them and let me know how you liked them!

Recipe Source: Here

Serves: 3-4 persons

I Took: 

Preparation Time: 10 mins

Cooking Time: 25 mins

I Used:

Fish (I used Ayala/Mackerel) - 500 gm (3 medium sized fish cut into 3 pieces each)
Gambojee/Kokum/Kudampuli - 4 pieces soaked in ¼ cup of water
Coconut Oil - 2 tbsp + 1 tsp
Shallots - 6-8 nos - sliced
Garlic - 4-6 nos - sliced or chopped
Ginger - A 2 inch piece - sliced or chopped
Green Chilly - 1 no - slit
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Red Chilly powder - 3 tbsp (Kashmiri or normal)
Coriander powder - 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
Pepper powder - ½ tsp
Fenugreek powder (optional) - ¼ tsp
Salt - As Needed
Water - 1 cup

The Way:

1. Rinse the tamarind pieces in water to remove any dirt on them. Then soak them in ¼ cup of water

2. Take all the masala powders - red chilly powder (spice mentioned is a bit on the hotter side, adjust as needed), coriander powder, turmeric powder, pepper powder and fenugreek powder in a small plate or bowl. Mix them with 2 tbsp of water and keep aside

3. Peel and slice the shallots, garlic and ginger and keep ready. Ginger and garlic can be sliced or chopped. Slit the green chillies and keep aside

4. In a earthen pan (or a kadai or pan but preferably an earthen pot as it enhances the flavour of the gravy) heat the coconut oil

5. Now add the shallots, ginger, garlic and green chillies and saute

6. Add 1 sprig of curry leaves too

7. Saute for 3-4 minutes till they turn translucent and slowly start to change colour. No need to make them brown

8. Now add the prepared masala paste and saute on low flame for 3-4 minutes till the raw smell of the masala goes. You can add the powders directly without making into a paste, but then much caution is needed while sauteeing them. They can easily get burnt and change the taste and colour of the gravy

9. The colour attained now will determine the colour of the gravy. So if you want them to be really deep in colour saute them for a tad bit longer on the minimum flame available. And take care not to get the masalas burnt. It simply translates to 'Do not leave the dish unattended at this point'

10. When the raw smell is gone, add the soaked tamarind along with the water. Further add 1 more cup of water (adjust the quantity of water according to the consistency that is needed. Ideally make sure that the fish pieces are immersed in the gravy, that's the quantity of water that you will need) and give a nice stir and allow it to boil

11. Once the gravy starts boiling, add the cleaned fish pieces to it. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes. If the water added is less then you might want to check in between that the fish pieces or the gravy is not burnt or stuck at the bottom of the pan

12. Uncover the pan and check for salt and add if needed. If you feel the gravy is watery then cook uncovered till it thickens to the desired consistency

13. After adding the fish pieces do not use a spoon or spatula to stir the gravy. Gently hold the pan on both sides and swirl them

14. Finally add 1 sprig of curry leaves and a tsp of coconut oil and give a gentle swirl. Close the pan and allow it to rest for some time before serving. Best served after at least 2 hours. The more you allow it to rest it the more tastier it becomes :)

Serve with matta rice or mashed or boiled tapioca.


Monday, 8 July 2019

Avakkai Pickle| Avakkai Mango Urugai Recipe | Andhra Avakaya Pachadi | Andhra Cut Mango Pickle

This recipe brings back tons of childhood memories. Almost everyone would beam with pride over the statement 'My mom makes the best comfort food and my grandma makes the best pickle'. And I'm no different. Even now I slurp over the mere thought of my grandma's (lost her 10 years ago) Avakai pickle. She used to make varieties of pickle like grated mango, cut mango, tomato and garlic during summer. There would also be vadams (that too variety flavoured ones like tomato, onion etc) and dried mango etc. 

My favourite of the lot used to be pickles and that too this avakai recipe. Unfortunately my mom didn't have the exact recipe to this pickle, so I had to resort to other blogs and finally found a close match to the taste of my grandma's pickle to Swasthi's recipe :) Now I too make this every year and Deeps too is a die hard fan of this pickle now :) My maternal grandma does not add garlic in this pickle but my paternal does. Me and my mom we both love to nibble to that garlic so I add them in my pickle too. The measurements mentioned here has never failed me, so I always stick to this one to the dot. If you haven't tried making this pickle at home do try once coz it's that simple and it will make you prepare at least one jar every summer :)

Makes: A 500 gm bottle

I Took: 

Preparation Time: 30 mins

I Used:

Cut Raw Mango pieces - 1 - 1½ cup 
Oil - ½ cup (+ ¼ cup or so as needed)
Mustard powder - ¼ cup
Fenugreek powder - ½ tsp
Red Chilly powder - ¼ cup (I use Kashmiri chilli powder)
Salt - ¼ cup
Garlic -

The Way:

1. Heat a kadai. Add the mustard seeds and methi seeds (I take slightly less than ¼ cup of mustard seeds and ¼ tsp methi seeds to roast and grind. If you have the individual powder handy then skip this step) to them and dry roast on a low flame for 2-3 minutes till they turn warm. Switch off the flame and spread the mustard seeds on a plate and allow them to cool. Once cooled, grind them to a fine powder in a mixer/blender

2. Wash the mangoes with water and soak them in water for sometime (30-60 minutes) so that the dirt on them is removed. Then remove them from water and pat them dry using a kitchen towel and allow them to dry completely by spreading on a large piece of cloth. They should be completely moisture free and dry for the pickle to have a larger shelf life

3. The vessels, knife, cutting board and the area that you use for the pickle preparation - cutting mangoes and preparing pickle should also be dry and clean and completely devoid of moisture

4. Trim the edge of the mango where you have the stalk. Then cut each mango into half (lengthwise) keeping the pit (the hard shell at the centre of the mango that encloses the seed) intact. Use a really sharp knife and cut them with caution. If you feel that you are not getting a grip on the mango then use a cotton cloth or towel and wrap it around the mango and hold

5. Remove the seeds if any and keep the pit intact. If the pit gets separated then those mangoes/mango pieces are not used for the pickle as it changes the taste of the pickle by becoming soggy

6. Now after removing the seeds, you can see a thin seed covering on the pit that can be removed using a spoon or knife. I gently use a knife and remove that seed cover as well

7. Now cut each mango halves into 3-4 pieces

8. . And again cut each of those pieces to 3-4 pieces. Each piece have to be around 2-3 inches in length. Make sure that each piece has the pit/shell attached to them as well

9. Measure and keep the mango pieces in a plate. A medium sized mango yields about 1 cup of mango pieces cut as described above

10. Now peel the garlic cloves and keep aside

11. Now take the mustard and fenugreek (methi) powder, red chilly powder, garlic and salt in a bowl. Mix them well

12. In another bowl, measure and keep ¼ cup of the gingelly oil

13. Now take the mango pieces using a spoon/slotted spoon and dunk them in the oil. Then take them from the oil and add them to the spice mix. Coat them well with the spice mix and then add them to a bharani or the glass bottle where you intend to preserve the pickle

14. Repeat the above step until the entire mango pieces are pickled. If you run short of oil, then add the remaining ¼ cup into the bowl and continue pickling

15. At the end, if there is any oil or spice mix remaining, then add them to the pickle

16. Cover the bharani/glass bottle with a lid. If needed you can use a extra covering of cotton cloth to tie it up

17. Keep it in a dry shelf for 3 days. After that open the lid and mix it up with a wooden spoon or laddle. Check if salt is sufficient. If not add more. Wait till next day to see if there is enough oil to cover the pickle. If not add a little more to cover it

After 3 days, the pickle is ready to eat. You can keep it in a dry place and use as needed. It stays good for an year without refrigeration


  • If you are using 1 cup of mango pieces, the yield of the gravy will be rich and more. But if you do not want more gravy then use 1 ½ cup of mango pieces for the remaining quantity of ingredients mentioned
  • Do not go stingy on the oil or the salt, as they are the ingredients that preserve the pickle and give it a long shelf life
  • Always use clean, dry spoons to take for the pickles. If you have made a large batch then I strongly suggest to use a small bottle for regular use. Opening the pickle frequently diminishes the flavour and quality of the pickle

Friday, 5 July 2019

Yam Fry | Elephant Yam Fry Recipe | Senaikizhangu Varuval | Masala Coated Yam Fry | Chena Fry Recipe - 2 Methods

This yam fry is one of my most favourite and go-to side dish during Saturdays as a non-veg equivalent :) Coz I do not eat non veg during Saturdays.. As most of my recipes are, this too is very easy to make and tastes as good as a non-vegetarian roast or dry fry would do :) So this is a family favourite as well. Here I have detailed 2 methods of making this fry. First one is the one I follow when I do not have much time in hand. It is just mix the masalas and marinate the yam with it and just shallow/pan fry them. 

The second method is slightly elaborate with the peeling of the shallots and grinding a paste to make the marinade. It is the same masala that I use for my fish fry. So if I have that masala handy or if I have time to make them from scratch I go for this method. This is obviously more tastier coz of that extra work involved ;) So let's see how to go about to make this yummilicious fry :)

Serves: 2-3 persons

I Took: 

Preparation Time: 20 mins

Cooking Time: 30 mins

I Used:

Elephant Yam/Chena - 150 gm (1¼ cup after cutting)
Chilly powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - ¼ tsp
Garam Masala - ½ tsp
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - 2 pinch
Oil - 2-3 tbsp
Salt - As Needed

The Way:

1. Scrape the skin of the yam. Rinse them in water. Then cut them into slightly (not very) thick slices

2. In a plate take the red chilly powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, asafoetida, ginger-garlic paste and salt and mix well. You can add 1-2 tsp of water and make a paste or you can mix it without water

3. Then coat the yam slices on both sides with the masala paste and place them in a bowl

4. In a pressure cooker take about 1-2 glass of water. Place the plate used for double boiling in the cooker. Then place the bowl with the yam pieces on the plate. Close the cooker and put on the weight. Pressure cook it for 1 whistle. Don't cook for more else the yam will get very soft or mashed and cannot be used for the fry

5. Heat oil for shallow frying in a frying pan. When the oil is hot, reduce the flame to simmer and arrange the yam slices

6. After 1-2 minutes, flip the yam slices gently using a spatula

7. After another 1-2 minutes flip one more time. Slightly increase the flame and allow the slices to get roasted and get a nice deep red colour. It may take about a minute or two. Be cautious not to get the slices burnt

8. Now flip over and get the other side also a deep red colour. Switch off the flame. If you have another batch to fry, then proceed with the next batch

Serve with rice and a mild gravy 

Method 2:

I Used:

Elephant Yam/Chena - 150 gm (1¼ cup after cutting)
Shallots - 5-6 nos
Garlic - 3-4 nos
Pepper - ½ tsp
Red Chilly powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - ¼ tsp
Salt - As Needed

The Way:

1. Scrape the skin of the yam. Rinse them in water. Then cut them into slightly (not very) thick slices

2. Take the yam slices in a pressure cooker. Add the coriander powder, turmeric powder and salt. Add about ¼ cup of water and give a gentle mix

3. Pressure cook for 1 whistle. Don't cook for more else the yam will get very soft or mashed and cannot be used for the fry

4. Meanwhile in a mixer jar add the shallots (or onions, preferably shallots),peppercorns and garlic. Grind it to a smooth paste with little water

5. Now take the paste in a plate. Add red chilly powder and salt to it and mix well. Coat the yam pieces with the paste and keep aside

6. Heat oil for shallow frying in a frying pan. When the oil is hot, reduce the flame to simmer and arrange the yam slices

7. After 1-2 minutes, flip the yam slices gently using a spatula

8. After another 1-2 minutes flip one more time. Slightly increase the flame and allow the slices to get roasted and get a nice deep red colour. It may take about a minute or two. Be cautious not to get the slices burnt

9. Now flip over and get the other side also a deep red colour. Switch off the flame. If you have another batch to fry, then proceed with the next batch

Serve with rice and a mild gravy 


  • If you may like, add a 1 tsp of tamarind paste also while marinating the yam pieces. Some add it as the yam can make the tongue itchy sometimes
  • If you like your yam fry more crispier, add 1 tbsp of rice flour & besan flour also to the marination. But I like the fry without them itself. So I never add them



Friday, 28 June 2019

Paruppu Keerai | Sirukeerai Paruppu Kadayal | Sirukeerai Paruppu Masiyal | Quick Spinach Dal Recipe

This preparation used to be the only spinach dish that I liked when I was a child. And still this remains my favourite. I basically never liked spinach and that's the reason I loved this recipe. It masks the taste of the spinach to a good extent with the tur dal in it. And it's a one pot recipe, so it saves a lot of time on a busy day morning provided you can cleaned spinach ready :) If you are in Tamil Nadu, then there is no dearth to the varieties of spinach that you can get. And this recipe tastes great with Sirukeerai, pasalai keerai (Malabar spinach), paruppu keerai and palak as well. 

If you would like to peek into my other spinach recipes, then here they are - Cheera Parippu CurryCheera Thalippu, Cheera Thoran, Vallarai keerai PoriyalChembila MezhukkupurattiChembin Thandu Parippu Curry & Palak Paneer

Serves: 3-4 persons

I Took: 

Preparation Time: 10 mins

Cooking Time:  mins

I Used:

Keerai/Spinach - 1 ½ cup - chopped
Tur Dal - ½ cup
Tomato - 2 medium sized ones
Green Chilly - 3-4 long ones
Garlic - 4-5 pods
Tamarind (optional) - A blueberry sized
Turmeric Powder - ¼ tsp
Asafoetida - ¼ tsp
Salt - As Needed

To Temper:

Oil - 1-2 tbsp
Onion Vadagam (refer notes) - 1 tbsp
Mustard - 1 tsp
Red Chilly - 1-2 nos - broken

The Way:

1. Rinse the tur dal 3-4 times with water. Then add around 2 cups of water and soak it for 20-30 minutes

2. Meanwhile, rinse the spinach leaves (refer notes) in water 2-3 times so as to remove the dirt and mud from it. You can use the leaves and the tender stem. This recipe is best suited for Sirukeerai, pasalai keerai (Malabar spinach), paruppu keerai and palak 

3. Then chop the spinach leaves and keep aside

4. Roughly chop the tomatoes as well. Peel the skin of the garlic and slit the green chillies and keep

5. Now take the soaked tur dal along with the soaked water in a pressure cooker. Add turmeric powder, asafoetida, chopped tomatoes, garlic, green chilly and tamarind to it. Addition of tamarind is optional. If the tomatoes are tangy enough then you can skip tamarind

6. Pressure cook the dal for 2 whistles on high and then 3-4 whistles on simmer

7. Then switch off the flame and allow the pressure to release naturally

8. Once the pressure is released, open the cooker. Check how much water (or stock) is there. If you have more than a quarter cup of water then take them out onto a glass or container and keep aside. This is done because it is difficult to mash the gravy to a smooth consistency is more liquid is present

9. Then mash the dal-spinach using a masher so that the gravy becomes smooth. Now you can add the stock that you have kept aside, depending on the consistency of the gravy that you need

10. In a tadka pan, heat oil. Splutter the onion vadagam. If you do not have the vadagam, you can make a tadka using mustard seeds & red chilly. You can add sliced shallots too in the tadka if you like

11. Now add this tadka to the dal and mash it again and mix it well

Serve with rice and a stir fry of choice. I usually like to pair it with yam fry, plantain fry or beetroot thoran


  • This gravy will taste yummiest when made with siru keerai, pasalai keerai (Malabar spinach), paruppu keerai and also palak
  • After buying the spinach, clean them properly. Remove any leaves that have turned yellow or starting to turn yellow. Also discard the leaves that are infested with pests or have small holes or white coloured formation in them. Also use only the tender stalks
  • I use onion vadagam for tempering. If not available you can make a tadka of mustard, red chilly and shallots

Friday, 21 June 2019

Vallarai Keerai Poriyal | Brahmi Leaves Thoran | Pennywort Stir Fry

Now that we have shifted our base back to Chennai, I am able to buy and cook some native veggies and greens :) Vallarai Keerai is one such green that I have not seen even once in Pune. So last week when I saw some in the local market, I immediately grabbed a bunch. When I bought them I thought that they are used to make dosas but when I checked with my mom it turned out that the greens used for making dosa is 'Mudakkathan Keerai' and not this. And she told me the recipe to make this poriyal. She said that this Vallarai Keerai (Brahmi) is bitter and hence to make it into an appeasing poriyal you need to add some supporting ingredients like tomato, dal and coconut. 

This is how it looks :)

Generally when we make keerai (greens) poriyal we do not add any of them . Just plain saute of onions and chillies and then the spinach. And as she said, when I tasted the poriyal before adding dal and coconut it was very bitter. But once it was done, it tasted yum and there was only a very faint bitterness to it that even my little one relished it :) And also this leaves are very good for our brain, so if you get hold of some Vallarai Keerai, do buy and make them, now that you have a fool proof recipe :) Also let me know how it turned out..

My other keerai recipes are - Cheera Parippu CurryCheera ThalippuCheera Thoran, Sirukeerai Paruppu MasiyalChembila MezhukkupurattiChembin Thandu Parippu Curry & Palak Paneer

Serves: 4-5 persons

I Took: 

Preparation Time: 15 mins

Cooking Time: 25 mins

I Used:

Vallara Keerai (Brahmi)-2 cups
Sesame oil-1 tbsp
Mustard-¼ tsp
Green Chilly-3 nos (slit)
Asafoetida-¼ tsp
Onion (chopped)-½ cup
Tomato (chopped)-½ cup
Tur Dal (or Mung Dal)-2 tbsp
Grated Coconut-2 tbsp

The Way:

1. Take the tur dal (or moong dal) in a bowl. Rinse well in water. Then soak the dal in ¼  cup of water for 15-20 minutes

2. Once soaked, add a little salt (not much coz we will be adding in the poriyal as well) and cook them till done. First keep the flame in high till the water boils and then simmer and cook covered till done. The dal should not turn mushy. They should be cooked and retain their shape. It should take around 8-10 minutes for them to get cooked

3. Meanwhile clean and keep the greens (keerai). Remove old or wilted or yellow coloured leaves. The stem is edible too. If the stem is clean and tender use it as well

4. Rinse the greens (keerai) in water 2-3 times to remove the dirt and mud particles. Then drain the water and chop them finely and keep aside

5. Chop the onions and tomatoes and keep aside

6. In a pan, heat sesame oil. Use sesame oil for this stir fry. It is highly recommended. If you do not have it replace with sunflower or coconut oil

7. Splutter mustard

8. Add the chopped onions and slit green chillies and saute

9. The onions should turn translucent and slightly start to turn colour

10. Then add asafoetida and turmeric powder. give a quick saute

11. Add the chopped tomatoes and give a nice saute. Maybe you can close and cook for 2 minutes till the tomatoes slowly start to turn mushy

12. Add the chopped greens and give a nice stir. Cover and cook for 5-6 minute till the leaves wilt and get cooked. Check in between to see that they do not get stuck at the bottom and saute to avoid that

13. Once the greens are cooked, add the cooked tur dal (or moong dal) and give a gentle stir and leave it for a minute

14. Then add the grated coconut and give a quick and gentle stir

15. Switch off flame and serve with rice and a gravy of choice