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Karathe Sukhe (Sweet & Spicy Bittergourd Using Palm Jaggery)
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)
Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 15 mins | Serves 3-4
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
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon mustard
1 small-medium sized onion
1 marble sized ball of tamarind
3-4 small cloves of garlic with skin, crushed
2 teaspoons oil or ghee
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.
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.
Breadfruit Fritters | Jeegujje Podi / Devichya Gujyache Podi |Traditional Mangalorean Snack
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)
Prep time: 15-20 mins | Frying time: 3 mins per batch (approx 15 mins for mentioned quantity)
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)
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.
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).
Mince Stuffed Chillies (Keema Bhari Mirch)
When we first spotted these green chillies in Lulu supermarket we instantly decided to pick a few to make fritters. We call them 'podi' in the local languages of Mangalore. Veggies such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, capsicum, green chillies (not the small, spicy variety) and breadfruit are often popularly used in the preparation of fritters. A batter of gram flour/besan/chick pea flour is used to coat the veggies and off they go swimming in some hot oil, returning crisp and delicious.
After we got these chillies home we forgot about them. This is what usually happens when we pick stuff at random, stuff that's not on our grocery list, which we pick up on a whim and want to make something that we neither have a recipe for nor the time. Anyway, after having sat around for almost 10 days in the fridge, these chillies were eventually pulled out and I decided to stuff them with mince as I was preparing some for that day.
Initially I decided to make a biryani with stuffed capsicum from one of my favourite cook books - Biryanis and Pulaos by Katy Dalal, but had to abandon the task midway as I didn't really have the time to pull off a marathon biryani making session before packing off my son for his weekend extra curricular classes. I prepared some quick pulao separately instead and made these chillies as a side dish nervously waiting for my hubby's verdict.
Fantastic! He exclaimed on sampling just a bite of this dish. I never expected that the mince and the chillies together would create such a riot of flavours! The frying of the chillies results in a thick blackish residue/gravy which is oh so delicious! Amazing! You must try making this dish if green chillies are available - not the tiny green ones that you add for seasoning. The green chillies or chilli peppers as they are called are rather big - at least palm sized or bigger.
Since the first attempt I have made it twice more with the chillies I picked up at the
Farmers' Market on The Terrace
. I will talk more about my experience there in my upcoming posts. Nothing can beat the flavour of fresh produce, trust me.
If you have tried & liked any recipe from Ruchik Randhap please click a picture and send it to me at
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Mince Stuffed Chillies (Keema Bhari Mirch)
Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 15-20 mins | Serves 3-4
500 grams chicken mince at room temperature *see note#1
500 grams (approx 8) long green peppers/chillies * see note#2
1 medium sized onion finely chopped
2 medium sized onions finely chopped
1 sprig of curry leaves
2 tablespoons coriander and mint leaves chopped
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1-1/2 teaspoons cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
3 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
Salt to taste
Oil for frying
Cooking grade string/twine/thread
1. Marinate the mince with 2 teaspoons of ginger garlic paste and approximately 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Keep aside till required.
2. Wash the chillies and pat them dry. Leave the stalks intact. Place them on a flat surface/chopping board to steady them (since chillies have uneven sides you need to place them on their most flat side).
3. Slit the chillies lengthwhise starting from just below the stalk all the way to the end. Stop just ahead of the end - don't slit them completely. *see notes
4. Carefully scoop out the seeds and pith from the chillies taking care to see that you don't tear them too much especially near the stalk where maximum seeds are found.
5. Lightly sprinkle each chilli with salt, inside out. Keep aside till required.
Cook the mince:
1. In a heavy based pan/non stick kadhai heat the oil on a medium flame and toss in the curry leaves. Then add the onions and fry them until they turn golden.
2. Add the marinated mince and fry till the water evaporates. Add the powders - chilli, cumin, turmeric, and garam masala, mix well and fry on a low heat for about a minute.
3. Add the tomatoes and additional salt to taste if required (remember that you have added some at the marination stage so go easy with the salt ). Mix everything, cover the pan and let the tomatoes simmer for 3-4 minutes.
4. When the mince is cooked add the chopped coriander and mint. Do a quick taste check and add lime juice if required.
5. Let the mince cool down a little before you stuff the chillies.
Assemble & fry:
1. When the mince is cool enough to handle, stuff it into the chillies taking care not to over stuff as the filling will spill out while frying.
2. Carefully tie the chillies with pieces of string and secure the ends with a knot.
3. Heat oil in a large heavy based frying pan and place the chillies in a row. Ensure that you don't over crowd the pan as flipping the chillies to cook on all sides will be quite a task.
4. Cover the frying pan with a large lid and cook on a medium heat for 3-4 minutes before flipping. The heat should be maintained on a medium high - if it is too low, the chillies will let out a lot of steam and may turn soggy, too high and they could get burnt.
5. When the chillies have changed in colour to a pale green and you see a blackish residue (after having flipped on all sides) you can remove them onto a serving plate and carefully untie the strings.
6. Serve hot with plain rice, chapathis or pulao
1. Mince/ground meat should always be at room temperature as it has a tendency to turn lumpy while cooking. These lumps are undesirable and hard to break.
2. If you don't find green chillies you may use capsicum/green bell peppers too although the taste will be different.
3. If you are well versed with the technicalities of baking veggies then you may bake the chillies instead of frying them. This way if you plan to double the ingredients you can bake all the stuffed chillies in one go in a big oven instead of frying them in batches which may take a long time.
4. If you prefer, you can cut the chillies in half (breadthwise, in the centre) and stuff mince into both halves. This way you can avoid the need of having to tie the chillies with string, however, remember to scoop out the seeds. You can even try opening the chillies near the stalk and try stuffing the mince into them - this is easier if the chillies are large with bigger cavities.
Homemade Baby Food - Ukad (Maharashtrian Style Savoury Rice Flour Porridge)
Today's recipe is something really nice and tasty for our tiny tots. It is one of the 'bases' as I call it. Instead of always serving rice to my little daughter who is now 15 months old, I sometimes serve her pasta or chapathi. But of late I have notice that she gets bored of the same old stuff and hence I have to innovate. Lots of people from previous generations will sigh and say, well, you offer way too many food varieties, so what do you expect? When I hear such statements I just want to exclaim
'Seriously???'. Spare me! Well, new moms of babies born in the past 10 years will know how hard it is to get them to eat well at every meal. Gone are the days when 25-30 years ago we were fed just about anything and we just gobbled it down without complaints.
Today's babies start their fussy eating habits early and I beg for strength during every meal. Honestly, I am waiting for this 'plan meal-cook-clean up-feed-clean up-thrice a day' routine to end soon. But then, I'll have to admit that there are days when I have a good eater on my hands, when something has truly turned out tasty and is eaten without complaints. Those are the days I heave a sigh of relief and say, maybe I haven't inculcated the wrong eating habits afterall.
Well, the point I am making here is that to each his own. Moms, do what really works for you. Don't stress yourselves out. If your baby eats well because you stretched (not stressed!) yourself a bit and tried to make something new, then kudos to you. As long as we have happy, active and healthy children, I think everything is ok!
If you had never heard about this dish until now, well, join the club. I was given this recipe by my dear friend and ex-colleague, Sadhana when my son was a toddler. She gave me a couple of life saver recipes - ones that you can pre-prepare and store and then cook on short notice. They came very handy as I could cook them when I was in no mood to cook anything especially when I was unwell myself.
Ukad (also known as Thakachi Ukad) is a Maharashtrian style breakfast porridge that has a lot more ingredients that make it a little more spicy. I skipped the abundance of green chillies, ginger, garlic, curry leaves among the others. I will try the other version soon. For now, I hope your little one enjoys it. You can serve it for breakfast or lunch as a base (instead of rice/chapathi) along with a veg/chicken/fish curry.
Homemade Baby Food - Ukad (Maharashtrian Style Savoury Rice Flour Porridge)
Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 5 mins | Servings 1-2 (depends on the age of the baby)
1/3rd cup rice flour
3/4 th cup buttermilk * see note for substitute
pinch of salt (or to taste)
For the tempering:
1/8th teaspoon mustard
1/8th teaspoon green chilli minced or 2 pinches of red chilli powder (optional, adjust to taste)
a pinch of asafoetida/hing
1 tablespoon ghee
1. In a bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the rice flour until well blended and lump free.
2. Heat the ghee or oil in a non stick pan/kadhai/wok and add the mustard. When it stops spluttering add the green chilli or chilli powder, hing and give a quick stir, reduce the heat at this point to prevent the powders from burning.
3. Slowly pour the buttermilk and rice mixture from one side of the pan to avoid spluttering. Stir continuously to prevent lump formation.
4. Reduce the heat to low and continue to stir until the mixture thickens and leaves the sides of the pan, almost like a ball of dough. Cover the pan and allow it to cook for half a minute.
5. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Serve warm with any accompaniment of your choice like chicken or vegetables or dal. You may drizzle a few drops of ghee per serving to make it more tasty.
If you don't have buttermilk, just dissolve 1/4 cup thick curd/yogurt in 1/2 cup of water and whisk it well to remove any lumps. Add salt to taste
Chicken Pepper Dry
What is that one thing you really like to cook often? Like on a weekday? I will have to say chicken as I simply love experimenting with this meat. Chicken tastes good no matter what cuisine you want to experiment with. Infact, it tastes good to me even if it has just been boiled with a little salt. I remember stealing tiny pieces of freshly boiled chicken that my mum used to prepare for some dish.
When we were in Mumbai I used to have a designated day for chicken - Wednesday. I would plan our meals for the week in such a way that on Wednesdays we would have chicken in any form - on the bone, boneless or minced/ground. Sometimes I would roast a whole chicken
and serve it with simple steamed or stir fried veggies. Most times we liked to have the chicken, semi gravy type with rice in the afternoons and then with chapathis in the evening.
I have tried to continue the same tradition here and so I generally bookmark chicken recipes and pin up the recipes on my kitchen pin board. I came across this recipe in J.B. Lobo's Home Encyclopedia, the Konkani version and although I was skeptical at first about the outcome, was rather pleased with it. The recipe called for a lot of shallow frying and although you can see the pieces coated with a little masala in the pictures, by evening the chicken had absorbed all of it and what remained were beautifully dry pieces of chicken. Yummy!
Unfortunately I couldn't get the best shots of this dish as we were ravenously hungry and just wanted to gobble it up. Chicken Pepper Dry is something you can try on a boring weekday when you want to make something easy and not elaborate. This dish goes very well with chapathis or piping hot rice and
(watery tomato & pepper soup) or any kind of dal (check the recipes here -
more chicken recipes
(dry dishes, without gravy) - check the links at the bottom of this post
If you have tried and liked any of my recipes please do click a picture of it and email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will post the picture on my
in the tried & tested section called
'I Made This!'
It not only encourages me a lot but also helps new readers and beginners to confidently try new recipes from Ruchik Randhap. Thank you in advance!
Chicken Pepper Dry
Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 20 mins | Serves 4
1 kg chicken
1 small onion finely sliced
2 tablespoons ghee or oil
Juice of 1/2 a lime (approx 1 tablespoon), divided
Salt to taste
For the masala:
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon peppercorns (adjust to taste)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 fat cloves of garlic
1 inch ginger
1 big onion
1. Cut the chicken into medium sized pieces, wash and allow to drain on a colander for 5-10 mins. Transfer into a large bowl and marinate it with salt to taste and 1 teaspoon lime juice. Keep aside till required.
2. Grind the coriander, peppercorns, cumin, tumeric to a fine powder and then add the ginger, garlic, onion to make a very fine paste. Add water only if required. Remove the masala into a bowl and retain the masala water from the grinder.
3. In a heavy based pan heat the ghee/oil and fry the sliced onions till golden brown. Add the ground masala and fry on a medium-low heat till the raw smell of the onions vanishes and the masala leaves the sides of the pan.
4. Add the chicken, mix well so that all the masala coats the pieces evenly. Add the reserved masala water (approx 1/2 cup) and extra salt if required. Cover the pan and cook on a low heat till the chicken is tender and the masala has thickened up - If you need it with a little masala, remove from heat now - or else continue to fry for some more time till the masala reduces - take care to see that the pieces don't get scorched up!
5. When the chicken has cooked, sprinkle lime juice, gently mix and remove from the heat. Serve hot with rice or chapathis.
Have you tried these?
Chicken Ghee Roast
Chicken Molagu Masala
Peshawar Style Chicken Curry
Palak Methi Murgh
Chicken Pepper Masala
Kori Aajadina (Bunt Style Chicken Sukka)
Kombi Sukhi (Catholic Style Chicken Sukka)
Chicken Chops (Semi Dry Chicken)
Sajjige Rotti/Rulavachi Bhakri (Semolina Pancake)
My blogging obsession has kind of caught up with most of my family members by now. While most of them generously share their recipes whenever I meet them some go a step ahead in collecting crockery or 'props' as I call them - kitchen utility items which are either of no use in their own kitchens or those that they chance upon during a trip to the supermarket.
Last year when my mum had come to visit me in Mumbai, just before we moved to Dubai, I saw her going through my collection of Mangalorean cook books and making corrections to some of the recipes and then inserting little slips of recipe variations in addition to those printed in those books.
She also jotted down her own recipes on sheets of paper and quickly slipped them in between the pages. I love the little notes that she writes below each recipe. Her recipes are full of clarity and leave no room for doubt. She also gives cross references to incidents and mistakes that have possibly happened in the past.
One such recipe was the Sajjige Rotti which she had jotted down. This was something she used to prepare as a tea time snack when I was in school. Somehow, years down the line it was put on the back burner and we never ate much of it. Just the other day I was wondering what I could prepare for my son's lunch box. It's always a pain to think of something that's both nutritious and quick for him to eat. I refrain from packing him store bought things with little nutrition. Since he has almost 9 hours to go between breakfast and lunch, I pack him 3 varieties of snacks to be eaten during breaks. The Sajjige Rotti was very well received as it was tasty, filling and easy to eat when rolled up.
Sajjige (semolina as it is called in Kannada in Mangalore) Rotti (pancake) is a typical Mangalorean breakfast/tea time snack that is prepared in homes and available in tea stalls (hotels) too. There are two variations of it, I will post the other one soon. For now, its the savoury version with bits of green chilli and curry leaves that makes it looks so inviting.
Sajjige Rotti / Rulavachi Bhakri (Semolina Pancake)
Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 15-20 mins | Yield 8 small pancakes
1 cup fine semolina / bombay sooji/rawa
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons freshly grated coconut
1 small-medium (approx 1/2 cup) finely chopped onion
2 small green chillies minced (adjust to taste)
1 inch ginger grated or minced
3 tablespoons thick curds/yogurt (use less if it is too sour)
1-1/4 cups water (add in parts)
4-5 curry leaves minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
1-2 teaspoons sugar or powdered jaggery (optional but recommended)
salt to taste
ghee or oil for shallow frying
1. In a bowl add the semolina, wheat flour, grated coconut, onions, green chillies, ginger, coriander, curry leaves and mix well. Add the curds and water in parts to form a thick batter almost like idli batter. Add salt & sugar/jaggery to taste and keep aside for 15-20 mins. This will help the semolina to fluff up a bit and cook faster. After 20 minutes if you feel that the batter is too thick add a few teaspoons of water or curds at a time to loosen it up a bit.
2. Heat a cast iron tawa or a non stick pan and spread about 2 heaped tablespoons of the prepared batter in the centre of the pan. Using the back of the spoon/ladle gently help the batter to spread out using a circular motion.
3. Cover the pan and cook on a medium heat for approximately one minute. Open the lid, drizzle some ghee around the sides of the rotti and some drops over the surface and flip. Cook on the other side as well till golden brown. Remove and place in a hot box/casserole.
4. Serve hot with chutney, sambhar or simply a dollop of fresh butter.
Bombil Fry / Deep Fried Bombay Duck (Fish) ~ When The Hubby Cooks!
Despite its name, the Bombay Duck is not a duck! It is a variety of fish that is found in the Arabian sea especially on the coast of Mumbai and Kutch (in Gujarat). Bombay duck is pretty popular in Mumbai (it has to be!) and is eaten both fresh and in its dried form (salted fish). There two forms of consuming this lovely fish are distinctly different from each other because of the way it smells. While the fresh fish has no odour (apart from a mildly fishy smell inherent to any seafood) or any distinctive taste (just a delicate flavour that takes any kind of marination well) the dried form is well, loved by some and hated by the rest. Although I love seafood of any sort (except for those which I am allergic to) I have a particular aversion to the dried Bombay duck as it smells like crazy! My friend in Mumbai once sent me a small portion of salted Bombay duck which she had prepared. It was her favourite she said.
I never fathomed how terribly nauseous I would feel when the stink (or aroma if you please!) wafted towards my house from the lift/elevator area! Gosh! One look at it and into the bin it went. Sorry to those who just gasped that I wasted good food. In my defence, I normally never throw food away no matter how it tastes. But if it smells bad there's no way in hell I am going to eat it man! Ok, now that I sound sufficiently arrogant, let me continue with the etymology of the this fish!
Nobody knows the real reason behind its name. Why is it called the 'Bombay duck'? A bit of Googling brought me to this answer on
which I quite liked and will go with until someone throws some more light on it. Apparently the shoals (groups) of fish around the Eurasian continent (combined landmass of Europe and Asia) were separated when the Indian plate moved into it (in short, parts of the land on planet Earth moved some donkey's years ago, like a million years ago and the current map of the world is what we see as a result of this). So basically the waters surrounding the Eurasian continent were divided by the land that is now called as India. The species of this fish was thus divided into what remained on the Western coast of India (around Mumbai and Kutch) and a small part of this fish can be found in eastern Bengal.
During the British Raj when the railways were formed, people in eastern Bengal were made aware of the great availability of the locally prized fish on India's western coast and hence they began importing them by the railways. When the dried fish was being transported by the railways its overpowering smell compelled them to later transport the consignment via the mail train, the Bombay Mail (or Bombay Daak). 'Daak' is the Hindi word for 'mail'. The Bombay Mail that reeked of the fish smell thus helped coin the popular term 'You smell like the Bombay Daak'. 'Bombay Daak' was eventually corrupted to 'Bombay duck'. Anyway, this theory is not supported by the Oxford English Dictionary which mentions the term 'Bombay duck' two years before the first railroad in Bombay was constructed. As per local Bangladeshi stories, the term Bombay duck was coined by Robert Clive who tasted this fish during his conquest of Bengal and associated its pungent smell with that of the newspapers and mail that would come into the cantonments from Bombay. If you ask me, I liked the first theory better than this, but since nobody really knows, lets just leave the name and move ahead with how the fish tastes. What's in a name after all eh?
During my initial years in Mumbai I never had the courage to buy the fish from my fish market, especially because it looked too soft and wobbly when fresh and too stinky when dried. Moreover, we didn't know how it was to be cleaned, although the fisher women would have gladly although improperly cleaned the fish for a few extra bucks. We always considered buying it and gave it a pass and settled for other types of fish. However, we eventually tried the deep fried version of this fish - simply marinated and coated with something that made the fish so ultra crispy and firm that Roshan and I fell in love with it. We would particularly order it at the Pebbles restaurant on Andheri Link road (they have another restaurant opposite the Mariott Hotel, Juhu) and this dish would always be the highlight of the evening, especially if we had out of towners visiting us, we made sure they got a taste of the Bombay duck!
Roshan was hell bent on trying it out at home and eventually we bought it a couple of times before we left Mumbai. The fisher woman did clean it for us and all we had to do is marinate it, coat it with batter and deep fry it. The first couple of attempts failed so we brought our passion to Dubai, hunted the fish down in the Diera fish market and set to work. A couple of attempts is all it took to perfect it. If you wish to taste it before trying it out at home, you can find it on the menu in the Gajalee restaurant at the Circuit House, one of our usual haunts whenever we visit Mangalore. In Mumbai, Pebbles restaurant is excellent for all kinds of Mangalorean and Malvani fare especially seafood. Hey, by the way, I didn't get paid to review these restaurants - these places are my personal favourites hence the mention.
Bombil Fry / Deep Fried Bombay Duck
Prep time: 15 mins (if you are using pre cleaned fish) | Marinating time: 30 mins | Frying time: 2 mins per batch | Serves 4
9 or 10 Bombay ducks / Bombil
Oil for deep frying
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
salt to taste
2-3 teaspoons of lime juice
3/4th cup rice flour
1 tablespoon corn flour (cornstarch)
1. Clean the fish well (but gently as it is soft) and place on a colander to drain off excess water. Then pat each piece of fish dry with an absorbent kitchen tissue or clean tea towel. Ensure that no water remains.
2. Marinate the fish with the chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt and lime juice and keep aside for half an hour.
3. After half an hour heat oil for deep frying in a wide and deep kadhai / wok. The oil should be really hot but not smoking. It is ideal to maintain the heat on a medium high. To test the readiness of the oil, drop a small ball of batter into the oil, if it comes up within 3-4 seconds with bubbles around it, the oil is ready.
4. In a large wide plate sift or mix the rice flour and cornstarch together. Place each piece of marinated fish on this mixture and pat gently so that it coats nicely on both sides.
5. Slide the fish, inner part first (stomach portion facing the oil first) into the hot oil. Add 1-2 pieces at a time to fry. Do not touch the fish for 25-30 seconds.
6. When extra moisture starts to evaporate from the fish and the coating turns light brown flip the fish and fry on the other side for roughly one minute. Each fish piece should be fried roughly for 2 minutes (both sides included).
7. Carefully remove the fish using a slotted spoon, drain excess oil from it into the pan and then place on an absorbent kitchen tissue. The fish should be crisp and firm.
8. Serve with steaming hot rice and curry or just as it is with green chutney.
1. The oil has to be at the right temperature for the fish to fry properly. Only then will it turn crisp. If the oil is not hot enough the fish will absorb excess oil. If the oil is too hot the outer covering/batter will get burnt quickly leaving the flesh uncooked. When in doubt, use a tiny piece of fish to test instead of frying a whole piece (don't waste!)
2. The bones/thorns are very delicate so there is no need to remove them while eating. The crispiness that deep frying provides makes it really easy to eat this fish as you can just bite, munch and swallow without bothering to pick out the bones. However, please be careful while serving this fish to small kids as they may not like to swallow the bones.
3. Always fry the fish when you are ready to serve. Deep fried foods are best eaten piping hot and fresh. When kept at room temperature for too long they can turn 'flat' and uncrispy (if there is such a word!)
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Almost all the food websites and blogs are splashed with pictures and recipes of special treats for the upcoming Valentine's Day. A majority of the foods are red or pink in colour. I followed this trend for the past 2-3 years and now I am simply bored of it. Does everything need to be red? Is that the only colour that stands for love? Love doesn't have to be the mushy, romantic types between a man and a woman. Love blooms in different forms - the love between parents and their children, between siblings and friends. This year I didn't think too hard about what to post for V-Day as I had already prepared this lovely cake last week.
The Pineapple Upside Down Cake has been on my mind like forever. Ever since my cousin Prema sent me pics of the cake I have been dying to make it. I looked for umpteen number of recipes before that and after she told me that she got it from
, I looked it up and compared it with the one I found on
The Joy of Baking
and found them to be almost similar with the exception of rum.
Adding rum will bring out a very nice flavour but you can leave it out if you don't want alcohol in your cake. This recipe is really simple to make especially if you are using canned pineapple. Initially I was very apprehensive and thought such fancy dessert cakes were rocket science but my fears were put to rest as I started to make it.
The cake was much loved by all the adults. The kids (my brother's and my little fellow) found the sticky pineapple topping a bit too gooey and refused to taste it. Eventually I coaxed my little man to try at least the sponge beneath the pineapple and he willingly ate and enjoyed it.
The big boy of the house couldn't resist eating more than one slice per day. I had to eventually hide it in the fridge to avoid overeating. We warmed it up in the microwave the next day for about 20 seconds and wolfed it down greedily. This cake will serve you well for a formal or informal party. It's a showpiece for sure. Trust me, it will light up your dining table and be the charm of the party. And just in case you don't need an excuse to make it, just prepare it on any boring weekday and watch the smiles on everyone's face!
P.S: A tin of pineapple has approx 10 slices in it. I used 7 for this cake and guess what I did with the remaining? Pineapple Sheera ofcourse. Get the recipe
Don't forget to check out my new V-Day visual recipe index right on top of this page!
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Prep time: 20 mins | Bake time: 45mins | Yield: 9 inch cake, 8 servings
For the topping:
1/4 cup / 55 grams unsalted butter, cut into chunks
3/4th cup / 160 grams packed, light brown sugar
1 medium pineapple, cleaned, cored, quartered and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces or about 7-8 slices from a 20 oz can (560 grams) - I used Delmonte
10-12 Maraschino cherries or candied/glacé cherries (optional)
For the cake:
1-1/2 cups /195 grams all purpose flour/maida
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup /113 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup /200 grams granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs separated (place each yolk in a separate bowl and whites together in a bowl)
1/2 cup (120ml) milk or 1/4 cup thin yogurt plus 1/4 cup reserved syrup from the can
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (optional)
1 tablespoon rum (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Grease (or use Pam spray) a 9 inch (23 cm) round cake pan.
2. To prepare the topping, place the butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan and stir until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Allow it to cook for a few minutes without stirring, until bubbles just start to appear around the outside edges of the mixture. The sugar will start to caramelize. Remove from heat and pour into the prepared cake pan. Spread the mixture evenly with a spoon. Arrange the pineapple slices on top of the sugar caramel and then place the cherries in each hole. Keep aside.
3. Next, to prepare the cake batter, sift the flour, baking powder and salt twice and keep aside.
4. In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla extract. Beat once and then add the egg yolks one at a time beating well after each addition.
5. Add the flour mixture in three parts alternating between milk in two additions (flour, milk, flour, milk, flour). Gently fold the mixture with a spatula once flour is added, do not beat.
6. In a separate bowl take the egg whites, add the cream of tartar to it if you are using it. It will help the egg whites achieve the fluffiness and hold firm peaks. But its optional. Beat the egg whites till stiff and add this mixture to the cake batter in two additions folding the batter gently as you add.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smoothen the surface.
7. Bake in the preheated oven for 45-55 minutes or until the top of the cake has browned and a toothpick inserted into the cake (not pineapple) comes out clean.
8. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 10-12 minutes. Then use a sharp knife and run it around the edge of the pan and carefully invert the cake on to a serving plate or cake stand.
9. Cut and serve along with whipped cream or ice cream.
Tom Yum Goong (Thai Style Shrimp Soup) - When The Hubby Cooks!
My love affair with Thai cuisine didn't really start off as a love affair. In fact, years ago when I first tasted something which was in my opinion, an apology of Thai cuisine. I ate at some random hut in a food court in a mall in Bangkok. Disliked it so much that I felt it was a stomach churning experience. I think for a first timer, it was a very wrong choice of place to taste Thai food for the first time.
It was on my first trip to Bangkok after I got married. Like most Mangaloreans I had not travelled out of India for the major part of my life and I loved the idea of savouring new flavours in a new land. My hubby was all excited to show me around the place he had previously been to a couple of times. Since I was not the type who liked to lose sleep on a flight, my first moments after landing in Bangkok were ridden with jet lag and crabbiness. While I loved the shopping and the amazing collection of stuff available in Bangkok that one experience of bad food remains etched in my mind to date. However, I am glad that the mister quickly tried to wipe that experience off my mind by taking me to this lovely restaurant called Red Chilli where I gorged on delicious Thai red curry and steamed fish served with piping hot Thai sticky rice. Later on we enjoyed some delicious dessert of mango and sticky rice that we picked up at the supermarket.
Roshan found this recipe while browsing for one on Youtube. A very nice tutorial with great tips on how to make this lovely Thai soup can be found both on Pai's website
Hot Thai Kitchen
or on her Youtube Channel. Since I don't eat prawns/shrimp, a separate portion of the soup was kept aside for me to which boiled chicken pieces were added. The whole experience of having the soup was so enjoyable. Even better was the photo shoot as I loved the different colours on display. The Thai trinity - the three main ingredients - lemongrass, galangal & red chillies are such a beautiful trio that I just couldn't stop clicking away. But since the tummy ramblings could be heard loud and clear we decided to cut it short and savour the flavours.
So, for those who are still new to Thai cuisine and this soup, well, 'Tom' pronounced as 'thom' means 'to boil', 'Yum' refers to a category of Thai salads and 'Goong' stands for Prawns
Tom Yum Goong (Thai Style Shrimp Soup)
Prep Time: 15 mins | 20 mins | Serves 4
For the soup base
4 cups shrimp or chicken stock or just plain water
1 stalk cleaned lemon grass, bruised and chopped
7-8 thin rounds of galangal * see notes
5-6 kaffir lime leaves, roughly torn * see notes
2 Thai red chillies/bird's eye chillies bruised and slit in 2-3 pieces (adjust to taste)
3 cups oyster mushrooms cut into bite sized pieces ( or any other Asian mushrooms like enoki or shimeji)
7-8 prawns, cleaned (peeled and de veined, retain the heads for garnish if desired)
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 cup lime juice (adjust to taste)
1-2 teaspoons sugar (adjust to taste)
3-4 tablespoons Thai chilli paste (optional)
Shrimp paste to taste * see notes
Salt (only if required - the fish sauce has enough salt in it)
1. Place all the ingredients mentioned under 'for the soup base' in a large saucepan and bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes till the aromas begin to waft. If you want to remove the items for seasoning (lemon grass, galangal and lime leaves) do so now as they are only used for flavouring the soup and are not meant to be eaten. You can leave them in as a pretty garnish to your soup but make sure you don't eat them.
2. Add the mushrooms and wait for the soup to boil again. Add in the prawns and bring the soup to a gentle boil (just 1 boil) and take the pan off the heat. This is because the prawns will continue to cook in the heat so you don't want them to overcook and turn tough and chewy.
3. Now add the lime juice, fish sauce, shrimp paste and sugar and stir. Do a quick taste check - the salt content in the fish sauce differs from one brand to another so adjust the salt, check if the soup is tangy enough, add more lime juice if required. The soup should taste predominantly tangy and spicy and the salt and sugar should just about round off the flavours.
1. If you are using plain water instead of shrimp or chicken stock you will know that the flavours have been adequately unfused into it when the water starts turning yellowish and aromatic and that's when you can add the mushrooms.
2. Galangal is also popularly but wrongly referred to as Thai ginger. Galangal is a rhizome and not a root like regular ginger. Its properties are considered to be more cooling unlike regular ginger which is more hot (heaty as we say). Galangal cannot be substituted by ginger.
3. If you are substituting prawn with chicken (to make Tom Yum Gai) or fish ( to make Tom Yum Pla) then do not add the shrimp sauce as it is meant only for the shrimp soup and cannot be used as a seasoning for the chicken or fish soup.
4. While serving you may add some extra oil floating on top of the jar of the fish sauce.
Homemade Spice Blend ~ Kundapur Masala Powder / Taal Powder ~ Mangalorean Bunt Style Basic Curry Powder
I have had the good fortune of meeting great people - many of them have stayed on to become great friends over the years. So also, I have been lucky of having friends from all walks of life and from almost all communities in Mangalore. Probably this has helped me learn a lot of their respective cuisines - the big differences, the similarities and the nuances.
When I was in college my dear friend Savri gave me a pack of Kundapur masala powder - a spice blend that is used by the Bunt community of Mangalore for almost all kinds of food preparations - seafood, chicken or mutton and sometimes veggies too, to make a curry or fry some fish. A very versatile blend of spices that lifts any dish in terms of flavour and aroma. It is something like the Bafat masala powder used by
the Catholic community. We loved the blend when she gave it to me like 15 years ago, it has been a staple in my house since then. You can actually substitute any spice blend, especially the Bafat masala powder with the Taal powder if you don't have the Bafat on hand. For those of you wondering what/where Kundapur is, it is a coastal town of Karnataka about 85 kms from the Mangalore airport.
I made this spice blend at home when I ran out of the store bought one. I used to buy it without fail from that little spice and condiment store in Karangalpady, Mangalore, along with my other spice purchases of Bafat powder, Stew powder and Vegetable masala powder which I bought from Raysons, Don Stores or Konkan Traders, Mangalore. Since the past few years I have started making my own spice blends. My MIL gives me my quota of the Bafat masala powder, but I do have the recipe on the blog for times when I want to make it at home. The links to the same are provided at the bottom of this mail. Next on my to-do list is to make the stew powder at home. For now, here's the recipe of the Taal powder, the recipe of which is an adaptation of several sources found on the internet. I have scaled it down to suit my mixer jar's capacity to powder it. If you wish to make a larger quantity you may have to get the spices powdered at your local spice/flour mill for a hassle free and fine texture of the blend.
Based on the feedback received from several readers, I have introduced a new style of printable recipes - the PDF file which is attached in the link below (Printable Recipe). Please open the file and then take the desired printout - recipe with picture or without picture (select only the desired page to print). Do let me know what you think of it. Write to me at
Homemade Spice Blend - Kundapur Masala Powder / Taal Powder
Prep time: 20-30 mins (wholly depending on the size of the dry grinding jar) | Cook time: Nil | Yield : approx 175 grams
125 grams long dried chillies (Bedgi) * see notes
7 tablespoons / 30 grams coriander seeds
3/4th tablespoon / 5 grams pepper corns
1/2 tablespoon / 5 grams fenugreek seeds (methi)
3/4th tablespoon / 5 grams jeera (cumin)
1 teaspoon / 2 grams turmeric powder (haldi)
8-10 / 5-6 grams small garlic flakes (Indian garlic)* see notes
Remove the stalk of the dried chillies and dry roast each of the ingredients on a tawa till you get a nice aroma - ensure that you do not burn any of them so heat the tawa on a medium flame. Remove and allow to cool completely. The chillies will turn crisp.
Powder all the ingredients except the garlic cloves in a dry grinding jar. Sift and re-grind the coarse mixture until you get a fine texture of the powder. If possible get the ingredients powdered in a flour/spice mill.
Finally add the turmeric powder & garlic and mix well. Store in an airtight container and use as required.
1. You may use a blend of kashmiri & bedgi chillies for a toned down spice quotient. Alternatively you can use short (harekala) variety of chillies popularly available in Mangalore - these are very spicy though.
2. If possible dry all the ingredients in the sun for two days and then powder - it will remain fresh for a longer time when stored at room temperature
3. You may use readily available dehydrated garlic cloves if you wish.
If you like this recipe do check my other homemade spice blend recipes:
Bafat Masala Powder (Making it in bulk)
Bafat Masala Powder (One time use - check the ingredient list within the recipe)
Vegetable Masala Powder
Meet Mirsaang/Puli Munchi (Spice Paste/Salt & Chilli Paste)
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