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Ruchik Randhap
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 On the blessed occasion of Easter I wish to offer you my readers mouthfuls of this wonderful, traditional Mangalorean coconut milk based kheer that is called as 'Guliyanchi Kheer'. In Konkani 'Gulio' stands for 'tiny balls or tablets' and this wonderful kheer has abundance of tiny rice balls swimming in a rich thick sauce of coconut milk & jaggery aromatic with powdered cardamom. Traditionally this kheer is also prepared for the new mother as part of her post natal diet in which case it is prepared using palm jaggery instead of regular jaggery. Palm jaggery made from the palmyra palm (also called as the 'Eerol/Irvol' palm tree) is considered to be richer in nutrients than the regular cane jaggery made from sugarcane.




The guliyanchi kheer is part of a dying tradition of Mangalore. Not many people have eaten this kheer, especially today's generation whose chances of eating it is very slim. Probably only those women who have had the opportunity to hire post delivery care givers (the traditional Mangalorean 'balnti posteli') and have been fortunate enough to have eaten this preparation if made by them at home. I lucked out both times when this traditional care giver was hired to help me with my postpartum recovery. I fell in love with this kheer when it was made the first time but I didn't bother to ask for the recipe as the blog was not born as yet. After the blog was created and I slowly started recording the traditional recipes of Mangalore I received many requests from readers for this recipe. I then decided to make sure that I got all the traditional post natal recipes from my balnti posteli who came to help me when my second child was born. Although the recipe has been sitting in my drafts since 2012 I never got the time to try it out again in my own kitchen. I finally made this a few weeks ago and I am happy to share this lovely recipe with you.


I know for sure that there are plenty of you who will be delighted to see this recipe and many who will exclaim that the process is too complicated. Well, sometimes it is important to go that extra mile, to work a little hard to enjoy something truly delicious. However there is a short cut to this recipe - the rice balls needn't be rolled out if you don't have the time, patience or inclination to do so. You can grind the batter slightly thin and run it through a slotted spoon so that they drop directly into a pan of bubbling hot, boiling water placed over a high flame so that what you get are 'droplets' of dough that quickly cook in the hot water. You can then fish these droplets out using the same slotted spoon, drain them and add them to the kheer. Easy way, but not so impressive in appearance as the rice droplets don't hold a particular shape so may not look very appetising for some. However, to each his own. There is no hard & fast rule that you shouldn't depart from traditional methods to make life easy and enjoy what you love and crave for. So go ahead & experiment! Break the boundries, change the rules, make this kheer & enjoy it too :-)





Happy Easter! May the risen Lord bless and protect you today & always!

Guliyanchi Kheer
(Printable Recipe)
Prep time: 8 hours + 45 mins (approx) | Cook time: 20-25 mins | Servings 4-6

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup boiled rice (ukda chawal /ukdo/katsambar akki)
  • 1/2 cup parboiled rice (mutambo/idli rice/ponni rice)
  • 1-1/2 - 2 cups thick coconut milk / first extract *see notes
  • 5 cups thin coconut milk /second extract
  • 150 gm palm jaggery, powdered * see notes
  • 1/4 cup (or more) Cashewnuts
  • 1 tablespoon ghee to fry the cashewnuts
  • salt to taste (approx 1/4 teaspoon)
Method:
To Make the Guliyo (Rice Balls) (see notes for alternate method)
1. Wash the two types of rice till the water runs clear. Soak them in plenty of water for 8 hours or overnight.
2. Completely drain the water and grind the rice to a fine thick paste. Use water sparingly. We need a thick dryish batter and not a runny one so use just 2-3 teaspoons of water at a time if required to help grind (if you are using a mixer grinder)
3. Transfer the batter into a non stick kadhai/wok. Place the pan on a low heat and stir the contents using a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together like a ball. This process is called 'ubzounche' in Konkani where the excess moisture gets evaporated & the dough gets partially cooked and turns stiff enough to help roll out balls.
4. When the dough looks dry enough and forms a ball, transfer it onto a wide plate. When it is cool enough to handle knead it gently into a smooth ball taking care to see that there are no cracks on its surface.
5. Pinch out lime sized pieces from the dough and cover the dough ball with a warm wet cloth so that it doesn't dry out quickly. If the dough dries up, rolling it into balls becomes difficult as it tends to crack.
6. Using both your palms roll out the lime sized ball into the shape of a small rope - this makes it faster to make smaller balls. Now pinch out tiny portions of dough and roll them into balls and lightly flatten the balls. Continue with the rest of the dough till everything is used up.

To Make the Kheer:
1. Place the 5 cups of thin coconut milk, jaggery and salt to taste in a sufficiently large pan. Place the pan on a medium heat, stirring the mixture till the jaggery dissolves. Bring the mixture to a boil on a medium high heat. Do not cover the pan at any stage as there are chances that the coconut milk may curdle.
2. When the mixture has come to a boil add the prepared rice balls and continue to cook for 15 minutes stirring every now & then. Do not cover the pan.
3. After 15 minutes, add the thick coconut milk and let it come to a gentle boil. Stir every now & then. Continue to cook for about 3-4 minutes.
4. In a smaller pan heat the ghee and fry the cashew nut halves till they turn golden brown. Add them to the kheer and give it one last boil and remove from heat.
5. Serve immediately. It tastes wonderful anyway, hot, warm or chilled

Notes:
1. The alternate method to make the rice balls is to grind the batter slightly thin and run it through a slotted spoon so that they drop directly into a pan of bubbling hot, boiling water placed over a high flame so that what you get are 'droplets' of dough that quickly cook in the hot water. You can then fish these droplets out using the same slotted spoon, drain them and add them to the kheer. Easy way, but not so impressive in appearance as the rice droplets don't hold a particular shape so may not look very appetising for some. 
2. It is recommended that you use freshly extracted coconut milk. However, you can also use coconut milk powder to reconstruct the milk or canned milk too. 1 cup grated coconut + 3/4th cup warm water yields approx 3/4th cup thick coconut milk.
3. Adjust the amount of jaggery to your taste. If you do not have palm jaggery you may use regular cane jaggery.

Extracting fresh coconut milk
Grate the flesh of one coconut (yield should be approx 2 cups) and transfer it to a mixer grinder. Add about 1/2 - 3/4th cup of warm water and pulse the mixer grinder for a few seconds.
Line a bowl with cheese/muslin cloth and transfer the ground coconut into it. Cover the cloth into a bundle and squeeze to extract thick milk. Keep aside
Add a little water (depending on how much thin milk you desire) and repeat process. This is the thin milk.

Preparing coconut milk from coconut milk powder
To make approx 1 cup thick milk - Dissolve 6 tbsp coconut milk powder in 3/4th cup warm water
To make approx 2 cups thin milk - Dissolve 6 tbsp coconut milk powder in 1-1/2 cups warm water

*I use Maggi coconut milk powder

.



Oh the joy of a simple Indian meal! Rice, dal (or a simple rice congee/gruel) a pickle of your choice and perhaps a crisp papad can uplift the most unhappy soul, isn't it? This simple meal is enough to sustain you and help regain your strength if you have been ill. During my childhood my most favourite pickle used to be the lime pickle in brine (Kolache Lonche) and I enjoyed it with some piping hot congee whenever I was ill. Trust me, it was so nourishing despite the fact that there weren't too many items on my plate. Unlike me, my brother used to feast on pickles and loved to have some along with every meal. Years later I met a man who was a bigger fan of pickles than my brother and he is the chief pickle maker in my home today, my husband Roshan.

Preparing pickles at home is an art I would say. Not everyone can get them right, not everyone is patient enough to follow the lengthy,
if not difficult process that is so important to ensure that the pickle stays safe from contamination and has a longer shelf life at room temperature. Yes, the pickles that were prepared in the pre refrigeration era had to be handled ultra carefully. There was no scope for carelessness in the cleanliness department so much so that not only clean and dry spoons were required to be used to remove pickles out of their ceramic jars or bottles but women having menses were not allowed to prepare or touch the pickles - this is not superstition I am told. Contamination of pickles has a lot to do with preparing them at the right temperature and the difference in one's body temperature or moisture from one's hands during its preparation is responsible for how long the pickle lasts. Again, this has a lot to do with science I believe and hence I am not contesting this claim.



When I was little, my grandma used to make the best Kosrache Lonche and a bottle or two would adorn our fridge door all year round. Most times it didn't last that long thanks to the pickle lovers in my house. After I got married, one of our relatives Aunty Jessy used to generously give us a couple of bottles of her lovely home made pickle and recently when we asked her she was most happy to share her recipe with us. Thank you so much Aunty and thank you Raina for jotting it down for us!

In Konkani the term 'Kosor' means 'shreds' or 'shredded/finely chopped' and 'Lonche' means pickle hence Kosrache Lonche means pickle made out of shredded ingredients - the primary ingredient being the raw mango. If you see the pictures you will notice that there is a little extra gravy in them and the pickle is not as dryish as some of you may be making at home. This is because we love that little extra gravy in our pickles but feel free to reduce the gravy if you wish. 


I love to eat this pickle along with any fish curry especially the roce (coconut milk) based fish curry and the combination of the pale yellow, mildly spiced, creamy, coconuty curry and the spicy-tangy, fiery red pickle thoroughly mixed with steaming hot red boiled rice simply has no comparison. Throw in an urad papad freshly deep fried with some drops of fresh and hot oil still clinging on to it and you have just attained nirvana!


Kosrache Lonche | Shredded Raw Mango Pickle | Mangalorean Catholic Style Homemade Pickle
(Printable Recipe)

Prep time: 3 days + 20 mins | Yield approx 300 grams bottle

Ingredients:

For the 'shindaap' (chopped/sliced ingredients)
  • 4 raw mangoes 
  • 15-20 grams green chillies finely chopped
  • 15-20 grams garlic finely chopped (do not grate)
  • 15-20 grams ginger finely chopped (do not grate)
  • 80-85 grams salt
For the spice blend:
For the salt solution:
  • approx 150 ml water
  • approx 15 grams salt 
  • approx 15 ml white vinegar
For the seasoning/tempering:
  • 40 ml sesame/til oil (substitute with mustard/sarson oil) * see notes
  • 2 flakes of garlic, crushed
  • 2-3 sprigs of curry leaves
  • a generous pinch of asafoetida/hing dissolved in 1-2 teaspoons of water
Method:
Prepare the mangoes:
1. Wash the mangoes well, remove the sap if any from the stem, thoroughly wipe them with a clean kitchen cloth to ensure that no moisture remains.
2. Finely chop/shred the mangoes to small pieces. Leave the green skin on. Transfer the shredded mango into a wide porcelain or ceramic dish preferably (but not aluminium)
3. Add the 85 grams of salt and mix well and place a steel plate over the mango pieces and then place a weight (maybe a heavy mortar & pestle) over the steel plate. This is to help the mango pieces to release the excess moisture/water. Leave the pan undisturbed for 2 days.
4. On the 3rd day carefully drain off the excess water released by the mango pieces and with your hands gently but firmly squeeze out any extra water from them - you can even place these pieces on a thin muslin cloth (bairas), tie it into a bundle and place a weight over it for another 2-3 hours to help drain off all the moisture.
5. After 3 hours open up the muslin cloth and spread out the pieces evenly over it.

Prepare the salt solution:
6. In a pan add the 150 ml of water, salt and vinegar and bring this mixture to a boil for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool completely. Add the chopped ginger, garlic and green chillies, cover the pan and keep it aside for a day.
7. The next day mix the shredded mango pieces and 80-100 grams of the prepared spice blend (pickle powder). Add according to your taste, you can increase it as you go. Add the prepared salt solution with the chopped ginger, garlic & green chillies in it, little by little until you achieve the desired thickness of the gravy. If you want more gravy in your pickle add more salt solution. Now your pickle is almost ready.

Prepare the seasoning/tempering:
1. Heat the sesame oil in a small pan meant for tempering and add the crushed garlic and curry leaves. Add the asafoetida mixture too. Let this tempering/seasoning cool down completely. Do not add it when it is hot.
2. When the tempering has completely cooled down add it to the prepared pickle and mix well.
3. Transfer the pickle into clean and sterilized glass or ceramic bottles/jars/containers with an airtight lid. Alternatively you can refrigerate and consume quickly.
4. If prepared properly and hygienically the pickle will last for over a year.

Notes:
Indian sesame oil needs to be used - there is another variety of sesame oil that is used in Chinese cuisine, do not use that.



The summer season in India is a time to enjoy the season's bounty. Mangoes, jackfruits, jamoons and a whole variety of seasonal fruits make their appearance in the local markets. Given that there is plenty of sunshine which allows you to dry anything you wish in a few minutes or hours a lot of food preserving is indulged in. Pickles are the first thing that come to one's mind when we talk about preserving foods.

The preparation of pickles is a tradition handed down from generations for over thousands of years in India and every region has its own range of pickles made from a whole lot of ingredients. What makes each type of pickle different from the others is the spice blend that is used to create the gravy base or the 'masala' that further enhances the flavour and aroma of the salted ingredients. While most spice blends include the quintessential Indian dried red chillies, the variety of which varies from region to region, some may make use of the fresh green chillies. So the colour of the pickle greatly depends on what goes into the spice blend.

Today's recipe is the typical pickle powder or spice blend for pickles that is used to prepare a host of pickles in Catholic homes in Mangalore. I say Catholic homes because every community in Mangalore has their unique way of preparing their basic spice blends and this is how we prepare our pickles. The recipe below is the basic one which can be used to prepare the Kosrache Lonche (Shredded/Finely Chopped Raw Mango Pickle) or Fodinche/Phodinche Lonche (Chunky Raw Mango Pickle) or Tendli-Carrotache Lonche (Ivy Gourd & Carrot Pickle). In my upcoming posts I will provide the recipes for the various type of pickles.

Thank you Aunty Jessie Castelino for this recipe!

Lonchyaso Pito | Pickle Powder | Mangalorean Catholic Style Spice Blend for Pickles
(Printable Recipe)

Prep time: 2 days (for sun drying) + 15 mins | Yield: Sufficient for pickles made from 25 raw mangoes (Bellary variety)

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 kg dry red chillies (long (Bedgi) and short (Harekala) chillies mixed) * see note#1
  • 200 grams mustard (large grains)
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds/methi * see note#2
  • 4 tablespoons white sesame / til
  • 1" piece of dried turmeric (or approx 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder)
Method:
1. Place all the ingredients on large steel platters and dry in the sun for 2-3 days - this is done to remove any traces of moisture in the ingredient and will help increase the shelf life of the pickles. * See note#3 for alternate method for drying spices if sunshine is not available.
2. Heat a tawa/skillet and dry roast the cumin seeds, peppercorns, fenugreek seeds and white sesame one by one. Do not roast the chillies, turmeric and mustard. Transfer onto a plate and once the roasted spices have cooled down grind to a fine powder. See note#4
3. Store in an airtight container and use as mentioned in the pickle recipe.

Notes:
1. If you are preparing this spice blend for shredded mango pickle (kosrache lonche) then use more number of long red chillies (Bedgi/Byadge).
2. Reduce the fenugreek seeds if you want the pickles slightly less bitter. However, do not increase it beyond 1 tablespoon.
3. If it is not possible to sun dry the ingredients you can dry them in your oven. Simply spread out the spices evenly on baking sheets and place them in a preheated oven on the lowest temperature (we placed it for 5 mins in a temperature of 50 degrees C). If you keep it for too long the spices will roast instead of drying and the aroma and flavours will completely change so be careful.
4. Make sure that each of the ingredients are dry roasted on a medium heat and care should be taken not to burn them. The sesame seeds should be lightly roasted, don't wait till they begin to pop on the tawa.



This week is literally moving at snail's pace and recipe testing has taken a backseat. I have so much catching up to do with the blog posts and today is the last day of school for my son before the spring break starts. Yippeee! This very thought put me in a mood to party. Seriously, who likes to wake up at 5 am to churn out contents for the lunch box that eventually come back half eaten? Not me. I prefer holidays when I wake up at a decent hour, make a decent breakfast and do the rest of my chores on auto pilot mode - in other words, relaxed enough to think what I need to cook for the next meal.


Since the sonny boy loves this rice I decided to put it on my menu that I have roughly prepared for the upcoming holidays. I realised that the last time I had made it I had not even bothered to dump the pictures from the camera onto the computer. I just did that and here is today's recipe. 


My close family friend who is like my sister, Jenifer gave me this recipe and its a keeper. When I was in Mumbai she used to always send me some home cooked goodies and on a couple of occasions I got to taste this lovely pulao. The rice would be so aromatic, fluffy and oh so delicious that I can't describe it in words. The minute the food parcel entered my house the entire place would be filled with this amazingly delicious aroma that beckoned us to grab our plates and gobble it down. 

Saffron rice is so very delicate in its aroma and flavour that you can pair it with any accompaniment - a vegetarian or non vegetarian curry or kebabs or just simple plain curd or raitha. Although it may look 'plain', it is fit for royalty and people of all ages will definitely enjoy it should you decide to serve it during a party. 

Zaffrani Pulao | Zafrani Pilaf | Saffron Rice
(Printable Recipe)
Prep time: 10 mins | Soaking time: 15-20mins | Cook time: 20 mins | Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 generous pinch of saffron strands
  • 3 tablespoons rose water (not essence)
  • 2 tablespoons raisins 
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts (substitute with cashew nuts)
  • 1 medium sized onion finely sliced
  • 1/2 star anise (approx 3 petals)
  • 1 inch piece of cinnamon
  • 2 cloves, 
  • 3 cardamoms slightly bruised
  • salt to taste (I used 2 teaspoons)
  • sugar to taste (I used 4 teaspoons)
  • 2-3 tablespoons ghee for frying
Method:
1. Soak the saffron strands in rose water for at least 15 minutes.
2. Wash the basmati rice a couple of times till the water runs clear. Soak it in sufficient water for at least 20 minutes. After 20 minutes drain the rice.
3. Heat the ghee in a wide, heavy based pan/kadhai heat and fry the raisins on a medium-low heat till they just puff up. Take care not to burn them. Remove. In the same ghee fry the pine nuts till golden and remove. Keep aside.
4. In the same ghee fry the onions till golden brown, remove and spread out on a plate. Keep aside.
5. Add some extra ghee if required to the pan and toss in the warm spices one by one - star anise, cinnamon, cloves and cardamoms. Add the drained rice and fry it on a medium heat till the rice is well coated with the ghee.
6. In the meanwhile, in another pan bring the 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the sugar and salt to it and check the taste. It should be a fine blend of sugar & salt. Adjust the salt and sugar if desired.
7. When the rice is fried and the ladle begins to feel a little heavy it is time to add the water. If you fry the rice beyond this point it will begin to break.
8. Add the boiling water-salt n sugar mixture, saffron-rose water mixture and stir once. Bring the rice and liquid mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat completely (to sim), cover the pan with a well fitting lid and cook for exactly 5 minutes. Keep a timer.
9. After 5 minutes turn off the heat and let the rice cook in its own steam for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes open the lid carefully, fluff up the rice gently with a fork (give all the flavours a mix) and then cover for another 2 minutes.
10. Serve hot with a simple yogurt raitha or any accompaniment of your choice.




Now that lil baby Zee is almost 15 months old her appetite is ever increasing making it absolutely necessary for me to innovate on a daily basis as I have to feed her interesting things almost every 2-3 hours. I rummaged the internet for some interesting ideas to create a healthy meal plan for my baby. Honestly I am not excited by the prospect of waking up every morning and drawing a blank when it comes to give her something nutritious and fun. Thankfully I came across this very nice article on babycentre.in which had a meal plan chalked out for Indian babies aged 1 and above. I immediately took a printout and pinned it up on my pin board in the kitchen.




I don't follow the meal menu to the T but it saves me the heartburn when I am running out of ideas sometimes especially on the first two days of the week when I am still in the weekend hangover mood and I can't think of any fresh ideas. That's when I glance through it to give her something I can put together in a few minutes. One such recommendation was to give the baby a banana muffin. Now who doesn't like muffins? And who doesn't like bananas in cakes? Instead of muffins I decided to make a banana loaf which I could cut into slices and store easily, freeze if need be. I totally love banana bread and I keep hunting for new recipes although I have already posted a couple of baked goodies with bananas in them. The Banana Choco Chip Muffins are an all time hit with my family and a lot of readers have tried it too. The Banana Bread with choco chips is another favourite too. And who can resist the Chocolate Banana Cake with all that gorgeous chocolate ganache?



I found this recipe in the Friday magazine and since all their recipes have worked for me I tried this one too and boy was I amazed with the results! This cake with the addition of dates was amazing. Simply stunning! It was such a hit when I made it the first time that I decided to make it again but with a healthy twist. Since Roshan and I are watching our diet and always try to eat desserts that make us feel less guilty I experimented by replacing part of the all purpose flour (maida) with whole wheat flour (atta) and threw in some oats. The result was even better and I am so glad I have this new recipe to hang on to. My daughter freaked out on this cake for the next two days - yeah, I am guilty of feeding her cake for her evening snack on two days, but not so guilty because it is healthier than store bought cakes and she gets to eat sweets very very rarely.


By the way, I know that most of those who observe the holy season of Lent may have given up sweets and hence baking too. But I urge you to make this as soon as you are able to. This bread is a wholesome food (for the soul) I would say, not too sweet and with a nice dose of dates that are extremely good for health. So I am dedicating this post to two people. My dearest grand-uncle Fr. Francis Rodrigues, who lives in Nairobi and had requested me a while ago for a banana bread recipe and my new and lovely reader turned friend Susanna Farias Mendonza whom I promised I would post this recipe soon.


Banana Loaf with Whole Wheat Flour, Oats & Dates
(Printable Recipe)

Prep time: 15 mins | Bake time: 45-55 mins | Servings 12-15 big slices from a 10x5 inch loaf

Ingredients:
  • 2 ripe bananas mashed * see notes
  • 125 grams all purpose flour/maida * see notes
  • 25 grams oats
  • 75 grams whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon soda bi carb/baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons hot milk
  • 125 grams butter
  • 175 grams caster sugar
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 125 grams dates, pitted & chopped * notes
Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180 C and grease and line a 10x5 inch loaf pan with parchment. Sift the flour with the baking powder and keep aside. Take aside a little flour and roll the chopped dates in it so that they don't sink to the bottom of the cake.
2. In a mixing bowl mash the bananas to a smooth consistency. Keep aside.
3. Dissolve the baking soda in the hot milk and when it turns frothy pour into the mashed banana mixture. 
4. Add the butter, caster sugar, eggs, flour (in parts) and mix well. Stir in the dates and mix. 
5. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 45-55 minutes. My loaf was done in exactly 55 minutes. To check doneness of the cake, insert a skewer or knife into the cake and if it comes clean the cake is done.
6. Remove the tin and place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Invert the loaf onto the wire rack and let it cool completely before serving. Garnish with chopped banana slices if desired.

Notes:
1. I used two big bananas - golden bananas or cavendish variety. You may use 4 small bananas (Elaichi/Kadholi variety)
2. The original recipe called for 225 grams of all purpose flour/maida. I replaced part of with oats & whole wheat flour. You may make it healthier by adding any other healthy flour of your choice or just make it out of maida. 



A couple of weeks ago on one of his routine visits to the fish market the husband bought plenty of fish to last us at least 3-4 weeks. We are predominantly seafood eaters and love experimenting with new recipes. This time's prized catch was small sized mackerels as we don't prefer eating king mackerels, the really big ones. To me they are tasteless and too meaty. The smaller ones which we usually get in Mangalore and in Mumbai (from Gujarat as the fisher woman used to claim) are tastier and have more delicate flesh. 

Since I thought I was not so great at making fish curries I had abandoned or rather delegated the task of making all kinds of seafood to Roshan and whatever he prepares is so tasty that we just don't wait to click pictures instead we are literally waiting next to the pot of fish curry to scoop out some fish and splash its gravy generously on the pile of piping hot rice on our plates. 


This particular type of fish curry was long due on my blog. Especially because I had made it several times before but had never written down the exact recipe. The mackerels lying in the fridge were a perfect reason to make this curry.

'Shirko Shindaap' technically means 'Vinegar & Sliced Ingredients' - that's probably the direct translation of the Konkani term. However, a lot more goes into the curry paste - chillies, peppercorns, coriander and tamarind to name a few that give the curry its rich red colour, spice and tangy flavour. Mangalorean Catholic cuisine has a standard set of ingredients in the 'shindaap' - ginger, garlic, green chillies and onions. In this particular style of making the curry, these sliced ingredients are not fried in oil (although some people still do it). Instead they are simply tossed into the gravy and boiled to yield their flavours. The fish is then added and cooked to perfection. One must note that this typical curry among a few others doesn't yield a lot of gravy. However this was ok in those days when people ate rice and fish curry for lunch and congee/kanji (rice porridge) for dinner with the leftover pieces of fish and so no gravy was necessary to finish their meal. 


In order to have a gravy that is sufficient in quantity yet not too spicy I have deseeded the chillies in the recipe. If you can manage the spice, go ahead and use whole chillies without deseeding them, adjust the quantities too if you wish. 


Shirko Shindaap  | Spicy & Tangy Fish Curry with Vinegar & Sliced Ingredients
(Printable Recipe)

Prep time: 15 mins (does not include time taken to clean the fish) | Cook time: 5-7 mins | Serves 4

Ingredients:
  • 5-6 medium sized mackerels (approx 650-700 grams) or 12-13 medium sized sardines
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • salt to taste
For the masala, to be ground:
  • 7-8 kashmiri chillies, deseeded * see notes
  • 3 bedgi chillies, deseeded
  • 7-8 peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 3-4 sol (vonti sol) * see notes
  • 1 marble sized ball of tamarind
  • 1 small-medium onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
For the 'shindaap', ingredients to be sliced:
  • 1 small-medium onion finely sliced
  • 1 inch ginger minced
  • 1 green chilli deseeded and slit lengthwise
  • 4 fat flakes (or 8 thin flakes) of garlic sliced 
Method:
1. Clean the fish well and cut them into 2 or 3 pieces depending on their size. Keep it aside. 
2. Grind all the ingredients mentioned under 'For the masala' to a very fine paste. Tip: Grind the dry ingredients first in the dry grinding jar of your mixie and then add the wet ingredients. First transfer the ground masala into a wide based pan or kadhai (which you will use to cook the fish), then rinse the grinder with approximately 1 cup of water and add this to the pan. 
3. Place the pan over a medium high heat. Add the ingredients mentioned under 'For the shindaap', vinegar, oil and salt to taste and bring the mixture to a boil. 
4. When the mixture has come to a rolling boil, reduce the heat to medium low, add the fish gently taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Use a ladle to gently cover the fish with the gravy. Alternatively you can just shake the pan gently until all the fish is covered with the gravy. Cover the pan and simmer for approximately 2-3 minutes (time may vary depending on the size and variety of fish used) - do not overcook as fish normally continues to cook in its steam, long after you have turned off the heat.
5. Serve hot with piping hot rice and a side dish.

Notes:
1. In order to have a gravy that is sufficient in quantity yet not too spicy I have deseeded the chillies in the recipe. If you can manage the spice, go ahead and use whole chillies without deseeding them, adjust the quantities too if you wish.
2. 'Sol or 'Vonti Sol' is similar to dried kokam skins derived from a sour fruit called Dheu/Monkey Jack/Jaregey Puli or Lakoocha. If you don't have them, just substitute with tamarind (to taste)



Since my son was a little boy, curd/yogurt has been his favourite comfort food. So much so that sometimes he used to only snack on a bowl of curds and nothing else. It is said that curds is extremely beneficial for people of all ages especially children. It is great to develop a sharp mind and I guess my son is an example of that. In India, curds is a part of every meal. At least a majority of people like to have a small bowl of curd along with their afternoon meals. I think hot rice and some curd mixed with it is one of the most simple and comforting foods ever. It can nurture you back to health after illness especially if you've suffered a stomach flu (although there is a debate about whether curds can be allowed to a person ailing from the common flu)
During my growing up years in Mangalore I must have eaten it a few times only while I attended Hindu weddings where curd rice is a must on their very elaborate vegetarian wedding spread. But later when I started working in Bangalore I had the opportunity of eating it several times at the office canteen or at restaurants. Like how most North Indian meals end with a simple dal-khichdi, down South, it is the curd rice which people can't do without after a heavy meal. Curd rice is an absolutely wonderful way to end your meal - vegetarian or non vegetarian.


Last week when the hubby made Squid Butter Garlic, I was wondering what I could make to serve it with. My son is not too fond of sea food and would be utterly disappointed if I told him that the day's menu consisted of fish curry, rice and squid butter garlic so I quickly made this curd rice for him and he thoroughly enjoyed it and so did we. The combination of curd rice with a non vegetarian side dish is simply stunning! 

These days I make it on demand several times. In fact, these days my little daughter loves it too. If you wish to make it for young children you may want to reduce the amount of spice in it. Curd rice when decorated with pomegranate arils makes a pretty picture!

Curd rice is called as Mosaranna (mosaru (curd) + anna (rice) in Kannada and Thayir Sadam in Tamil.


Mosaranna | Curd Rice 
(Printable Recipe)
Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 20 mins | Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup basmati rice (or any short grained raw rice)
  • 3 cups water * see notes
  • 1-1/2 cups curd/unsweetened yogurt, whisked
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander
  • 2-3 tablespoons pomegranate arils
  • Salt to taste

For tempering:
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black gram dal/urad dal
  • 1 long green chilli minced (adjust to taste)
  • 1-1/2 inch ginger finely chopped
  • 7-8 curry leaves
  • 2 long dry red chillies, broken (optional but recommended)
  • A pinch of asafoetida /hing
Method:
1. Wash the rice in a couple of changes of water and soak it for 10 minutes. Then drain and keep aside
2. In a large pan bring the 3 cups of rice to a boil and add the drained rice, cover the pan with a well fitting lid and bring it to a rolling boil. When the water bubbles and spills over, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cook undisturbed for 15-17 minutes. If required place a weight over the lid so that the steam is trapped. This is how I make rice - it saves energy/fuel.
3. After 15-17 mins open the lid and give a good mix mashing the rice lightly - don't over mash, it should be slightly grainy. Once the curd is added the rice will absorb it and turn soft and mushy.
4. Add the curds and salt to taste. Some people add the green chillies at this stage but I find that method too spicy so i add the chillies to the tempering. 
5. Heat oil in a smaller pan for the tempering. When the oil is moderately hot toss in the mustard, when they stop spluttering add the cumin and then the urad dal, reduce the heat if required just to ensure that the dal doesn't burn. Fry until it turns golden then add the green chillies, ginger and red chillies. Turn off the heat, add the curry leaves and asafoetida, stir once and allow the seasoning to cool a bit before pouring it over the curd rice. Mix everything gently
6. Transfer the curd rice into a serving dish, garnish with chopped coriander and  pomegranate arils. Serve warm with pickle and papad or just enjoy it plain.

Notes:
Since curds should never be re heated prepare the curd rice just in time to serve. It tastes best at room temperature or slightly warm. If it is too cold just place a bowl of curd rice over a bigger/wider bowl of warm water for 20-25mins.



I love Thursdays! It's the day when I can finally unwind after a maddening week. School routine here is killing! What with the waking up at 5 a.m (which is midnight for me) and packing the lunch box and coaxing the little fellow out of bed and prepping him up for the long day at school that awaits him. On days like these, especially if I'v not had proper sleep, I can't wait to kiss him goodbye at the bus stop and come back to snooze for another hour and a half if not more. Life is even better when the hubby offers to whip up the main course for the day's meal and I just have to get the carbs ready and maybe a dal to go with it. 
Although I am allergic to prawns and crabs (one reason why you may rarely see their recipes on the blog) I am thankfully not allergic to squid which I totally love. Infact, I tasted squid when I was doing my M.B.A and my bunch of friends and I visited this little restaurant somewhere between Mangalore and Konaje (I have forgotten the names of the places although it was my daily route shuttling between home and college). Since I was younger and bolder and didn't care if I could die if I ate something out of my comfort zone I simply gorged on the squid. The Shireen of today may not have had the guts to do so because by now I have read up a lot more on food intolerance and how, depending on the severity it can be the cause of one's sudden death.


Anyway, I am glad that I did what I did and I am glad that I didn't die eating the squid, cuz if I did, there would be neither this blog nor this dish staring at you today :-) Coming to the point, the reason why Roshan makes squid despite the fact that I can cook it (unlike prawn which I can't even touch) is that firstly, he is an excellent cook. Secondly, he can dish out seafood much better than I can. So I stick to making the rice and dal. Haha! I did however, try my had at cooking squid when I was in Mumbai. It was the first year of our marriage and it was our first time ever buying, cleaning and cooking squid. It was a nice recipe from a Goan cook book but the squid was overcooked and a big disaster. Later I saw some tips on the net that squid takes either 2-3 minutes to cook or over 2 hours (damage control which doesn't really work you know). So please be cautious when you cook squid at home. Keep all necessary ingredients ready and then start the process and be vigilant! All the best!


Squid (Calamari) Butter Garlic
(Printable Recipe)
Prep time (doesn't include time to clean the fish): 10-15 mins | Cook time: under 5 mins | Serves 2-3

Ingredients:
  • 200 - 250 grams of squid/calamari (approx 2 medium sized)
  • 8 big cloves of garlic finely chopped (approx 2-3 tablespoons)
  • 4-5 cubes of butter (the size of sugar cubes, approx 1 tsp per cube)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of lime juice (Add 1 tsp of olives / caper brine - optional)
  • freshly ground pepper (approx ½ teaspoon or to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh coriander or parsley finely chopped
  • 1 tbs of olive oil (not extra virgin)
  • salt to taste
For garnishing:

  • 1 tablespoon of spring onion greens finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon of chilli/paprika flakes 

Method
1. Clean the squid and cut it into rings. Keep aside on a colander till required.
2. Heat the oil in a frying pan that is big enough to accommodate the squid without over crowding the pan. Set the heat on a high and when the oil is really hot (but not smoking!) add the squid and spread it evenly on the pan. Sprinkle salt to taste and let it fry for about a minute.
3. Next, add the garlic and crushed pepper and stir fry the squid for about a minute
4. Toss in the fresh coriander or parsley and the lime juice and stir for about half a minute
5. Now add half of the butter and salt only if required (only if you have used unsalted butter) and mix well till all the butter is melted.
6. Finally, reduce the heat and add the remaining butter. When it has melted, garnish with spring onions greens and chili flakes.
7. Remove from heat and serve hot with rice as an accompaniment to a meal or just as a party starter.

Note:
1. Once the squid has been cleaned the preparation of this dish does not take long as squid ideally needs just a few minutes to cook. When over cooked it tends to turn chewy and rubbery.




The Lenten season has begun last Wednesday and I have decided to wean myself off blogging for sometime. Plan to spend more meaningful time with my family. Ok, I am not sure how long I will do that and sooner than later I will be back to blogging obsessively. What's the harm in trying eh?

Since a lot of people I know are on a vegetarian diet I decided to post this recipe first. It is one of our favourite ways to prepare bittergourd. The first time I tried it from a book, almost 9 years ago, it was an instant hit. I substituted palm jaggery with the regular cane jaggery that the recipe asked for and I think it made all the difference. Not only does palm jaggery impart that rich, deep brown colour to any dish you add it to, the flavour is unmistakably of Mangalorean cuisine.



Palm jaggery is known for its health benefits and is supposed to be more healthy than cane jaggery. A lot of Mangalorean recipes call for the palm jaggery, especially the post natal ones. This recipe is specially for Anitha Sarathy, my ex colleague & close friend who has just had a baby. She totally freaked out on this dish when I prepared it for her a few years ago (much before the blog came into existence). Although I promised her that I would give her the recipe, I forgot all about it. Now is the perfect time to share it. Its a great dish for lovers of bitter gourd and I am sure that after tasting this preparation even non bitter gourd lovers will soon turn into converts :)


Karathe Sukhe (Sweet & Spicy Bittergourd with Palm Jaggery)
(Printable Recipe)
Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 15 mins | Serves 3-4

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 kg bittergourd/karela
  • 2 hog plums (ambade) or 1 marble size ball of tamarind, soaked and juice extracted
  • 50-70 grams palm jaggery/ole bella/pele god (substitute with regular cane jaggery) * see notes
  • Salt to taste
For the masala:
  • 4-5 long red chillies, spicy variety (deseeded) I used Bedgi chillies * see notes
  • 2 kashmiri chillies deseeded
  • 7-8 peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 small-medium sized onion
  • 1 marble sized ball of tamarind
For tempering:
  • 3-4 small cloves of garlic with skin, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons oil or ghee
Method:
1. Wash the bittergourds well, snip the ends and cut them vertically. Scoop out the pith & seeds and slice them into 1 cm pieces. If the bittergourds are large then you can quarter them vertically and then slice them.
2. Optional step: If you prefer eating bittergourd that doesn't taste too bitter, then transfer the slices into a pan, add enough water to cover them, add salt to taste and boil them for about 3-4 minutes. Discard this water and immediately refresh the pieces with cold water to prevent over cooking. Please note that from a health point of view you should not drain the water as it leads to loss of precious nutrients.
3. Grind all the ingredients mentioned under 'For the masala' to a fine paste. Transfer it into heavy based/non stick pan and add the bitter gourd pieces. Add salt to taste if you have skipped Step#2
4. Place the pan over a medium heat, sprinkle water to ensure that the pieces don't get scorched. Add the powdered jaggery and allow to cook for about 8-9 minutes (cooking time will vary if you have pre boiled the bitter gourd - take care not to overcook them). See notes. When the bitter gourd is cooked, remove from heat.
5. For the tempering, heat the ghee or oil in a small pan and add the garlic cloves and toss them about for a few seconds. Pour this into the pan and cover the lid. 

Notes:
1. This dish tastes best if palm jaggery is used. In Mangalore we get the Palmyra Palm Jaggery which is available in the form of discs. Each disc roughly weighs 50 grams - these are medium sized ones available these days. Earlier I used to bring those that weighed approx 150 grams each, so please use a weighing scale and add the correct amount to the dish. Alternatively you may add as you go and do taste checks to determine the sweetness you prefer.
2. Bedgi/Byadge chillies are long and crinkly and often mistaken for Kashmiri chillies which are less spicy than the Bedgi variety. Bedgi chillies impart a great colour and spice that is so inherent to Mangalorean cuisine. I suggest deseeding chillies so that you can get enough masala base that doesn't too spicy.
3. Depending on the size of the slices you may need to adjust the cooking time. Adjust the sweetness as desired by adding more jaggery. Add more tamarind juice if you like. The resultant dish should have all the 5 elements - saltiness, spiciness, sweetness, sourness and bitterness to it.




The first two months of this year have swiftly flown by and we are already in March now. Soon the summer season will be in full bloom bringing with it all the goodies like mangoes, jackfruits, jamoons among many that I have conveniently forgotten right now. Ha ha! Breadfruit, a close cousin of the jackfruit used to be available mostly during the summer and then the availability used to taper off into the early months of the monsoons. However, since in today's times seasonal fruits are available even when not in season thanks to crazy climatic conditions or their availability in other countries. We found a handsome breadfruit almost free of any blemishes in Lulu supermarket a couple of weeks ago. Whenever we find breadfruits here (or even when we were in Mumbai) we grab them with both hands and tom tom the news to everyone we know.



I am sure those of you who love breadfruit will relate to me that the feeling of having a breadfruit for lunch - fried or curried or as an evening tea time snack in its deep fried form is simply marvellous. When we bought the breadfruit we initially planned to cut it up, smear it with some chilli-salt paste (meet mirsaang) and shallow fry the slices. We would then eat them as a side to simple rice and saar or maybe a fish curry. The combination is always fantastic, no matter what you eat breadfruit with. 


In Mangalore, not many people have the breadfruit tree in their yards anymore. Those who do, lament that the crop is negligible. Some generous ones share their bounty with their neighbours. We were fortunate to be bestowed with such kindness by our neighbour when I was in Mangalore. 

Mr. Bhat, our neighbour had 3 trees that were modestly laden with the golden fruit. He distributed some fruit with his closest neighbours every season when most of the masses paid through their noses for them. My mum would then cut up the breadfuit to make a curry or a sukka of it. She fried them very rarely for two main reasons. One, fried foods didnt make their appearance on the dining table often due to health reasons. Two, there was always war declared between us siblings as to who would get the bigger share of the fried pieces. So i guess, mum pretty much got fed up of settling the battles and cited reason No.#1 to over rule any other reason.


For those of you who have never eaten the breadfruit, well, I am not sure how I can describe its taste. It has this mealy taste similar to the potato but different in many ways. The texture doesn't mush up when fried but does turn mushy if overcooked in a curry. Breadfruit tastes fabulous when deep fried with a batter made of chickpea/gram flour. This is one of the many popular tea time snacks available in small hotels dotted across the coast of South Kanara district. In Mangalore, 'podi' is the local term that means 'fritters or bhajiyas'. You will find many small joints selling fresh and piping hot podi in the by lanes of Car Street where people throng to buy their favourite type of podi. What's your favourite?


Did you try the curried version of breadfruit? Click here for the recipe of Breadfruit & Dal Curry

Jeegujje Podi / Devichya Gujyache Podi (Breadfruit Fritters)
(Printable Recipe)

Prep time: 15-20 mins | Frying time: 3 mins per batch (approx 15 mins for mentioned quantity)

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 - 1/2 of a big breadfruit * see note#1
  • oil for deep frying
For the batter/coating:
  • 1 cup gram flour/ chick pea flour/besan
  • 1 tablespoon rice flour
  • 3/4th-1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 pinch asafoetida/hing
  • 1/8th teaspoon ajwain (carom seeds)
  • 1/8th teaspoon cumin
  • 1 pinch turmeric powder
  • 1/8th teaspoon (approx 1 pinch) baking soda / eating soda/ soda bi-carb * see note#2
  • Water as required (approx 3/4th cup)
  • Salt to taste (approx 1 tsp)
Method:
1. Vertically slice the breadfruit in half. Smear a sharp knife (only the blade) with a little oil and remove the skin. Then vertically cut the two slices again - so you have 4 parts in all. Carefully remove the center portion (the pith) of the breadfruit & discard. Now cut the breadfruit into thin slices. Keep aside.
2. Prepare the batter by placing all the ingredients in a wide and shallow bowl. Add water little by little (not all at once), stop, mix/whisk and proceed - do this till you get a smooth, lump free and runny batter. See note#2
3. Heat the oil for deep frying in a wok/kadhai and test the readiness of the oil by dropping a small drop of batter into it. The droplet should come up within 3-4 seconds forming bubbles around it. See note#3
4. Dip about 7-8 slices of breadfruit (or as many as your frying pan can accommodate without overcrowding) into the bowl of batter and coat all of the slices till they are well coated. Do this in advance so that you don't waste time coating the slices one by one and then dropping them into the oil to fry. To ensure evenly fried pieces, keep 7-8 slices coated and ready to go.
5. Gently slip the batter coated slices into the hot oil one by one in such a way that slices dropped in immediate succession don't touch each other - this will prevent them from sticking to each other. So drop one slice and then the next one a little far from it. Leave the slices undisturbed for approx 40-50 seconds before gently flipping them over to fry on the other side. The fritters should be slightly puffy and golden in colour. * see notes
6. Carefully remove the fritters with a slotted spoon to drain off excess oil and place on an absorbent kitchen tissue. Repeat process until all the slices are fried.
7. Serve hot with coconut chutney or tomato ketchup as an evening tea time snack.

Notes:
1. I missed to weigh the breadfruit but used up approximately 1/4 - 1/2 of it to prepare fritters. The whole breadfruit may have been close to 900grams - 1kg. I suggest you cut and peel half of the breadfruit and prepare fritters. You can always top up with more batter and fry more podis if you like later. The unused breadfruit can be used to prepare a curry or shallow fried with red chilli paste & salt.
3.  To test the consistency, just drop the batter from height into the bowl - it should be a thin paste like stream and form droplets while falling. If it is too runny it won't coat the slices properly. Too thick and the coating won't cook while frying.
4.  It is important that the oil is maintained on a medium-high temperature. If it is too hot (high) then the fritters will brown too soon on the outside and remain uncooked inside. Reduce the heat and wait for the oil to cool till just right. If the oil is not hot enough the fritters will absorb too much oil and remain flat (un-crisp) even after frying for a long time.
5. When the fritters are frying do not pour extra oil over them with a ladle like you would do while frying pooris. This is a trick normally used to aid puffing up of the pooris but the fritters may flatten if you do this, so just leave them alone and let them puff up on their own.
6. The addition of baking soda is optional but helps the fritters to puff up and the covering doesn't stick to the breadfruit but forms a cavity (as seen in picture#4 above).