Thursday 30 March 2017

Garam Masala Recipe | Easy Homemade Garam Masala Recipe | How to make garam masala (spice blend) powder at home

Anything that is homemade from scratch is awesome right? For me it is.. It gives a sense of satisfaction when I make something at home from scratch rather than resort to store bought ones. Be it idly batter (store bought is possible only if you are in India though ;)) or garam masala or sambar powder or rasam powder, mine is almost always homemade.. So coming to this recipe of garam masala, I have been using this recipe for the past 4 years now. Deeps is a fan of this garam masala and he always feels that this one makes his Ambur Biryani extra special ;) I have tried many different recipes for garam masala but the ratio of the spices used in this one is perfect as it uses more of spices and less of seeds like cumin and coriander and that is what makes it authentic.. Do try out if you are looking for an authentic flavourful garam masala.. 

Recipe Source: Adapted from here

Makes: ¾ cup

I Took: 

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

I Used:

Cinnamon - 3 sticks (around 3 inches each)
Bayleaf - 2
Cloves - 2 tsp
Cardamom - 2 tsp
Pepper - 2 tsp
Coriander seeds - 4 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 3 tbsp
Poppy seeds - 1 tsp
Star Anise (optional) - 3
Mace (optional) - 1 tbsp
Salt (optional) - To Taste

The Way:

1. Gather all the required ingredients in a pan or kadai and dry roast them over low/medium flame

2. Keep roasting for about 4-5 minutes till a nice aroma of the spices come. Take care not to burn the spices else the garam masala will not give you the required flavour

3. Remove the pods of the cardomom and use only the seeds. This step is purely optional. I have read and heard from many that the use of pesticides is heavy in spices like cardamom and the pods will have their residue and hence it is not recommended to have the pods. Hence I remove them before using in any dish

4. Allow the roast spices to cool and then grind them in a mixie/blender. Make sure that the mixie is dry. And store the masala in a clean, dry and air tight container


  • The spices can be ground to a fine powder or a coarse one depending on your preference. I always make them coarse
  • Once the spices are ground and powdered, you can sieve them if required. I generally do not sieve
  • Salt is optional. And other spices like mace, star anise, nutmeg are also optional. I generally do not stock them. So if available at hand, I add them


Wednesday 15 March 2017

Homemade Ghee | Homemade Ghee from butter | Ghee made from malai

So a few months back, I had posted how to make butter at home from malai/cream collected from milk boiled daily at home. Now as a continuation of that post, I will write on how to make ghee at home from that homemade butter. This is quite simple once you get the butter making right. All you have to do here is melt and heat the butter on a low flame in a thick bottomed vessel and take care that it is not burnt.. Yes, it is as simple as that.. Who doesn't love homemade stuff and that too when it is as easy as this, then it is a double win situation, na? So read through those instructions. I have left some pointers that will help you get ghee making right at the first attempt itself !

The pictures show the sequence in which the clear brown coloured liquid ghee solidifies as it sits a while :) Usually I'm in a hurry to take pics as I do that (including a lot of other chores ;)) while Dhruv is sleeping. This time I had finished all my chores and had the whole time for clicking pics when he was sleeping. And the sun was at it's best after a long time, hence photo spamming this post ! Hope my photography skills have improved a bit !!!

Recipe Source: Amma

Makes: 200 gms

I Took: 

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

I Used:

Homemade Butter/Store bought unsalted butter - 2 cups
Rock Salt (optional) - 3-4 stones
Curry leaves or Drumstick leaves - A sprig

The Way:

1. Take the homemade/store bought butter in a kadai or thick bottomed vessel. Heat it in a low/medium flame. Take care not to burn. You can also stir in between

2. The butter will melt down completely. Then it will start boiling and become very cloudy

3. Then it will become frothy and after a few minutes the milk solids will settle at the bottom and on the sides and the liquid will become thinner and clearer. Keep the flame medium or low at all times and avoid burning

4. After that it will turn colour and become brown in colour. Allow the ghee to be cooked properly till this stage else it will taste very raw 

5. Now add rock salt or moringa (drumstick) leaves or curry leaves and leave in sim for a few minutes. Be cautious now as not to burn the ghee. In a few minutes the milk solids will turn golden brown in colour and clear bubbles at the top of the ghee. Now switch off the flame

6. Allow the ghee to cool a bit around 5-10 minutes. Then using a strainer, strain away the solids and store the ghee in a clean, dry and airtight container 


Tuesday 14 March 2017

Restaurant style Mushroom Pepper Fry | Pepper Mushroom | Kaalan Pepper Fry

Mushroom & Capsicums sauteed with onions, freshly ground pepper and fennel powder

Updated with more pics on 25-Sep-2018

I am a huge fan of mushrooms ! By now, you all must be knowing that as mushroom recipes seems to make it's way out here often ;) The lesser the ingredients used in a mushroom recipe, the more I'm happy.. It's like that :D This recipe also falls in that category. No tomatoes, less ingredients, it's more of a saute or stir fry with some pepper powder and very few Indian spices ! This side dish is more of roti/phulka type and lesser of a rice accompaniment. But if you are an ardent mushroom lover, that will not stop you, will it? Now off to the quick and easy recipe.. 

My other recipes with mushrooms are Mushroom Dry FryMushroom Do pyazaSauteed Mushrooms & Kadai Mushroom

Other mushroom recipes:
Mushroom Dry Fry
Sauteed Mushrooms

Serves: 2-3 persons

I Took: 

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

I Used:

Mushroom - 1 cup - cleaned and sliced
Capsicum - ½ a capsicum - cut lengthwise
Oil - 3 tbsp
Onions - 1 medium no - sliced
Green Chilly - 1 no - slit
Ginger-Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 2 tsp
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
Salt - As needed
Curry leaves - A sprig
Coriander leaves - To Garnish

To Roast & Grind:

Pepper-1 tbsp
Fennel seeds/Sombu-1 tsp

The Way:

1. Dry roast the pepper and fennel seeds/sombu for 2-3 minutes. Allow it to cool and powder it coarsely in a mortar and pestle or mixie and keep aside

2.  Heat oil in a pan. Add the onions, green chilly and salt and saute

3. When it turns translucent add the ginger-garlic paste and saute for 2-3 minutes till the raw smell goes

4. Now add the coriander powder and garam masala and saute

5. Add the mushrooms and give a stir. Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes till the mushrooms are half-cooked. Do not add water. Mushrooms will start leaving water and will get cooked in that itself

6. Now add the powdered pepper-fennel masala and give a stir

7. Add the sliced capsicum and cook covered for another 4-5 minutes. Do not overcook. Let the capsicums be crunchy  

8. Add curry leaves and give a stir and switch off the flame

Garnish with coriander leaves and enjoy with hot rotis/phulkas


Monday 13 March 2017

Kerala Style Meen Varuthathu | Meen Fry | Kerala Style Fish Fry

Fish fry ! Ahh, I love it the most with sambar rice and it was one of my most favourite lunch box menu during my school days. I still love fish fry the most with sambar rice though now we mostly go for fish curry - fish fry combos as that is Deeps' favourite. And since it is just the two of us, we try to finish it soon as we are not very great fans of freezing the fish and prefer to eat it as fresh as possible ! Now Dhruv has also joined the gang and lovvvvves fish. He knows it by 'mi-mi' and would immediately open his mouth when we say 'Its mi-mi' ;)

Coming to the recipe, I learned it from my mil and it's a typical Kerala style masala as in it has no coriander powder. Kerala cuisine uses less coriander powder compared to Tamil cuisine. Also this has only garlic and no ginger. Usually my mil uses pepper mostly for fish that has more of that 'fishy' smell like sardines or mackerel. She does not use it with big fishes like salmon or pomfret. But I use it with all the fishes as I like that peppery zing in the masala ! Mostly I grind the masala in bulk and keep it in fridge. As and when needed, I add the powders and marinate the fish and fry. This way I can also grind the shallots without adding water at all. Addition of water makes the masala loose and will not coat properly to the fish pieces and also you will not get the crispy outer layer on the fried fish. So that's about this fish fry. Now off to the recipe.. 

Recipe Source: Amma

Serves: 2 persons

I Took: 

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Marination time : 45 minutes 

Cooking Time: 12-15 minutes

I Used:

Fish - 200 gms
Small Onions/Shallots - 10 nos
Garlic - 5 cloves
Peppercorns - 1 tsp
Red Chilly powder - 2 tsp
Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
Salt - As needed
Oil - To fry

The Way:

1. Clean the fish and cut into desirable pieces for frying 

2. Peel the shallots and garlic. Grind together the shallots, garlic and peppercorns to a smooth paste. Do not add water. Adding water will make the masala loose and will not coat properly to the fish pieces

3. Now add the red chilly powder, turmeric powder and salt to the ground paste and mix well. 

4. Now coat each and every fish piece with this masala evenly on both sides. Marinate them for half an hour to 45 minutes

5. Heat oil in a pan. I normally shallow fry the pieces. If preferred it can be deep fried also

6. Layer the fish pieces when the oil is hot. Fry the fish on low or medium flame and take care that it is not burnt

7. After 2-3 minutes, flip over the fish and cook on the other side, You can flip the fish twice or thrice and cook so that they are crispy on the outside and does not get burnt

Serve hot with rice and fish gravy !


Friday 10 March 2017

Easy Potato Fry | Urulakizhangu Upperi | Easy Potato Stir fry

Today's post is a very simple recipe. I do not even have to post it here, it's that simple. But it's a very favourite side dish of mine and one among the first dishes that I learnt to make. So I thought I should post it :) All of you would have your own variants of potato fry. Deeps' family never make a upperi/poriyal out of potato. They use it only in kurma,olan and for potato masala for poori. And that too they do no eat the whole pieces of potato,only the mashed part is had. For me, potato is one of my fav veggie ! And Deeps also loves this fry and enjoys it with pulissery. Now even Dhruv has started eating this. He picks it up from our plate and eats on his own ;) So off to the recipe.. 

Serves: 2-3 persons

I Took: 

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 10-12 minutes

I Used:

Potato - 2-3 medium sized (cut into small cubes)
Coconut Oil - 3 tbsp
Mustard  - ½ tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Red Chilly powder (refer notes) - 2 tsp
Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
Salt - As needed

The Way:

1. Peel the potatoes. Rinse them well and cut them into small cubes

2. In a pan, heat coconut oil. Splutter mustard and curry leaves. Add the cubed potatoes. Give a nice stir so that the oil coats well into the potatoes

3. Add red chilly powder, turmeric powder and salt. Give a nice stir so that the masala is coated evenly on the potatoes

4. Now close the pan and allow the potatoes to get cooked. I do not sprinkle/add water. I allow them to cook in their own steam. This allows the potatoes to be crisp and not get soggy 

5. Stir occasionally so that they do not get burnt or stick to the pan. Do not get very stingy on the oil here as that is the what will make the potatoes crisp ! 

Serve with bisebella bath or curd rice or sambar rice or rasam sadam as you prefer !


  • You can use sambar powder instead of red chilly powder or can use a combination of red chilly powder and coriander powder. You can even use any meat masala powder or chat masala as per your taste and preference. Make sure that you saute and cook the potatoes well until the raw smell of any masala is gone


Thursday 9 March 2017

Malabar Style Meen Curry | North Kerala Fish Curry | Kerala Fish Gravy without coconut

North Kerala Style Sardine Fish cooked with pounded shallots, tomatoes and tamarind pulp

This is one gravy that is a family favorite and is devoured by all very happily especially with kappa (tapioca). Now I'm wondering why it took so long for me to post it here :) Maybe I was waiting for a manchatti (earthen vessel) to get a decent & authentic looking pic. Now that is another way of flaunting my new manchatti ;) We were planning to buy one for a long time but the frequent location changes and the difficulty of finding a good potter and a vessel delayed it. And finally it's here !

Ad back to the recipe, this is a hot and tangy fish curry that can be had with rice (esp. matta) and kappa puzhungiyathu (boiled and mashed tapioca) and even idly (I like that combo but not Deeps ;)) The chilly and tamarind ratio that I have used here is in accordance with the taste buds of the family. You can always adjust them to suit your preferences. This recipe does not call for coconut. Do try out and let me know how it turned out !

Recipe Source: Amma

Serves: 3-4 persons

I Took: 

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

I Used:

Fish (I used sardines) - ½ kg
Small Onions/Shallots - 25-30 nos (Mine were really small)
Tomato - 1 no
Tamarind - A goosberry sized
Ginger - An inch piece 
Garlic - 4-5 nos
Red Chilly powder - 2 tbsp
Coriander powder - 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Coconut Oil - 2-3 tbsp
Mustard  - ½ tsp
Fenugreek seeds - ½ tsp
Salt - As Needed
Curry leaves - A sprig

The Way:

1. Clean the fish and cut them into small pieces as required. Add little salt and turmeric powder and keep aside 

2. Soak tamarind in 1.5 - 2 cups of warm water and leave aside for 15-20 minutes. After that extract the pulp out of it and keep aside

3. Peel the shallots, ginger and garlic. Chop the ginger roughly to small pieces. Grind the shallots, ginger and garlic coarsely in a mixer. Just a pulse or two is sufficient. Do not make a paste.

4. Chop the tomatoes to 6-8 pieces. Similar to the shallots, grind them also coarsely in a mixer

5. In a bowl, take the red chilly powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder. Add 2-3 tbsp water and make a paste and keep aside.

6. In an earthen vessel/kadai/pan, heat the coconut oil. Splutter mustard and fenugreek. Take care not to burn. 

7. Now add the coarsely ground shallots and salt and saute for 3-4 minutes till they turn slightly brown

8. Now add the masala paste and saute. Let the raw smell of the masala go away. Saute occasionally so that it does not get burnt

9. Once done add the coarsely ground tomatoes and saute. Let it cook for around 2-3 minutes

10. Then add the curry leaves. And then the tamarind pulp. Check salt and add if required

11. Let it come to a boil. Now reduce the flame and add the fish pieces. Let it cook for about 10-12 minutes (as required for the fish) and the gravy reduces to a thick consistency as required. Lastly add a tbsp of coconut oil and remove from flame 

Serve with rice, pappad and fish fry !