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Ruchik Randhap
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Ola people! Here I am sitting in the heart of Mangalore writing down a recipe that is a favourite among many Mangaloreans except me. Well, I am sure it would have been if I ate prawns, but since I don't we postponed even preparing this dish while in Dubai. We wanted to have the curry made by my mum in law who is an amazing cook and she cheerfully obliged. So off went Roshan to the fish market. He chose a fine batch of prawns and cleaned them himself. I helped my mum-in-law grind the masala and the 'hult' (taste check/adjustment) was done by her. It was a case of one too many cooks that didn't spoil the broth. The resultant curry was this lovely spicy-tangy one with prawns and potatoes floating in harmony. 

Since it was pouring outside I couldn't click many pictures (our balcony was flooded already) and plus the gloomy weather didn't support my photo shoot. However, I am so glad that we prepared it as I hardly have any prawn recipes on the blog. The only other recipe I have so far is the Prawn Masala Fry which has been a hit on the blog - Roshan's own take on the restaurant style prawn fry. How many of you have tried it? If you haven't tried it already I strongly urge you to give it a try. I am sure you will love it.

Coming back to my story, as we sat down to eat our lunch my mum in law urged me to give the prawns a try. I don't eat them as am allergic to them but in the past have tried eating one or two prawns when fried. This time I was tempted but wanted to attempt eating the curry at least if not the prawns. I said a silent prayer and symbolically sprinkled the precious blood of Jesus over myself and ate the curry happily. Well, what happened next? I am still alive to tell the tale today and hand over this lovely recipe to you. God willing, I will be able to eat more prawns in the future and share a lot more recipes with you.

This is the curry we Catholics make in Mangalore, I am sure that this recipe is more or less the same if compared to how other communities make it. Some versions have methi/fenugreek seeds added to it and some are more spicy. Either ways this is one dish you should not miss if you are vacationing in Mangalore. I hope you enjoy it.  

Prawn & Potato Curry ~ Mangalorean Catholic Style
(Printable Recipe)

Prep time: 20-30 mins | Cook time: 15 mins | Serves: 4-6

  • 1 kg (approx 30) big prawns, cleaned and deveined * see notes
  • 4 medium sized potatoes, boiled, peeled and quartered (or cubed if you wish)
  • salt to taste
Masala to be ground:

  • 3/4th - 1 cup grated coconut * see notes
  • 1 medium sized onion roughly chopped
  • 4 medium sized garlic cloves
  • 1 marble sized ball of tamarind (add a little more if required)
  • 4-5 long dry red chillies (Byadge variety) * see notes
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds * see notes 
  • 1 teaspoon cumin * see notes
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder 
  • 1 teaspoon mustard 
  • 8-10 peppercorns (adjust to taste)
  • a pinch of asafoetida/hing * see notes
For the tempering:
  • 3-4 small garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon oil
1. If desired, sprinkle the cleaned and deveined prawns lightly with salt and keep aside for 5-10mins (or until your masala is ground and ready)
2. Using a little water grind all the ingredients mentioned under 'Masala to be ground' to a very fine paste.
3. Transfer the ground paste into a heavy based pan or kadhai and add a little water to the mixer grinder and empty this water into the same pan. Add enough water to make the gravy of medium thickness (adjust this to the desired consistency)
4. Place the pan/kadhai over a medium heat and bring it to a boil. Toss in the pre boiled potatoes and simmer for half a minute
5. Add the prawns and continue to simmer for not more than 2 minutes. Prawns and squid can turn rubbery if you overcook them, so it's either 2 mins or 2 hours to get them nice and soft - anything in between will lead to hard, rubbery and chewy prawns - totally avoidable!
6. Once the 2 mins are up, remove the pan from the heat and get ready to temper the curry.
7. In a small pan (used for tempering) heat the oil and toss in the crushed garlic cloves, give it a quick stir until they turn light golden (not too brown). Pour this seasoning into the curry and cover the pan quickly.
8. Serve hot with steaming hot boiled rice and any vegetable saute of your choice. Throw in a papad or pickle for good measure and a truly enjoyable Mangalorean meal!

1. We used big sized prawns available in Mangalore, not tiger prawns which are too big.
2. We used 1/2 a medium sized coconut
3. To make this recipe easy and quick you may substitute the use of dry red chillies, cumin, coriander and turmeric with 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons of bafat powder without garam masala added to it. Find the recipe here
4. The addition of hing to the ground masala is optional but recommended as prawns are considered gaseous (causing gastric problems) and hence the hing will combat that problem.


The end of June is here bringing with it a closure of half of the year (I should start writing poetry!). I am so glad that finally the schools will close for the summer and I can relax and do things at my own pace rather than run around like a headless chicken for 5 days a week. While we are busy with some last minute shopping before we head for our vacation I decided to write a quick post and share this amazing chicken recipe with you. It is a recipe that I have adapted from the book 'Recipes For All Occasions' by B F Varghese. It is one of my most favourite cookbooks now. 

Since I love cooking chicken at home I always bookmark several recipes that catch my eye, either on the internet or in cookbooks or magazines. This was one of the bookmarked recipes that I have pinned up on my kitchen pinboard. The instructions were very few but accurate. I have tried this dish several times over making a few changes each time and the results have always been stunning. I have made it with extra gravy, with potatoes and altered the level of spice. Each time it has succeeded in impressing all of us at home. The colour is so smashing and the flavours predominantly come from the freshly ground chillies. This is a keeper of a recipe. I am sure it will be a hit at a party too should you decide to serve it as a starter (cook it absolutely dry) or as a side to chapathis or dosa (cook it semi dry) or as a main course, serve it along with rice (add a little extra water to make a thin gravy)

It is going to be a while before I am able to blog again - everything depends on the speed of the internet connection I get when I am home in Mangalore. In the meanwhile I would love to receive your feedback on the blog, the recipes or anything you wish to share with me. If you have tried and liked any of my recipes please do send me your feedback along with a picture if possible. Send your mail to or catch me on Facebook. I will publish your tried & tested recipe pictures in the albums on FB. Here's the latest - Album#3 so do check it out. 

To those of you who have written in to me and have received no reply yet, my apologies, I'll get back to you soon!

Thanks and I hope you enjoy this recipe. Happy holidays!

Hey before I forget,

In the recent past the frequency of my posts has increased and hence the recipe index has grown and gotten more lengthy. It is not always easy to scroll down endlessly on a page especially if you are looking for something in a hurry. Keeping this in mind and upon receiving several requests from readers I have simplified the index to a visual/picture index.

It took me over 2 months, several weekends and holidays to put this together and it was a mammoth task for me but I am finally happy that I have executed it well within the timelines I had set for myself.

It is said that we eat with our eyes first. So go ahead and indulge, salivate over the pictures before you actually decide what to cook! Bon Appétit!

Click to view the Visual (picture) Recipe Index:

Spicy Chicken Dry
(Printable Recipe)
Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 25-30mins | Serves 4

  • 1 kg chicken 
  • 15 dry red chillies deseeded * see notes
  • 1 medium ripe tomato (about 1/2 cup pieces) pulp/seeds removed
  • 3 small-med onions sliced (about 1-1/2 cups of slices)
  • 1 inch (about 2 teaspoons) ginger grated 
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic (about 1 teaspoon) grated/chopped 
  • 2-3 tsp vinegar (adjust to taste)
  • salt to taste
1. Cut the chicken in medium sized pieces, wash and drain well (if you have the time marinate it in 1 tsp salt and keep aside).
2. Transfer the chicken into a big pan and add about 1/4 cup of water and salt (if you have not marinated it with salt before). Boil the chicken till it is cooked but not very tender (or it will begin to shred if overcooked).
2. While the chicken is boiling fry the onions in a non stick pan till golden brown. Take care not to burn them. Remove and keep aside.
3. Powder the chilli skins without using any water (use a dry grinding jar) to as fine a powder as possible. Keep aside. Next, grind the tomato and keep aside. Rinse the grinding jar with approximately 1/4cup of water and retain this water.
4. Once the chicken is boiled, remove the pieces onto a plate and retain the stock.
5. In a large frying pan heat some oil and lightly fry the chicken pieces till they turn golden on all sides.
6. Reduce the heat (or remove the pan briefly from the heat) and add the ground chilli powder - if the pan is too hot there are chances that the powder will burn and cause the dish to taste bitter, so be careful. Add in the ginger and garlic and mix well till all the pieces are coated well with this mixture. Fry on a low heat for 2 mins.
7. Now add the fried onions, ground tomato paste and vinegar (start from 1 teaspoon and increase it - the sourness required depends on how sour the tomato is). Mix everything well and add the chicken chicken stock in parts if you like it dry. Cook with the pan uncovered till the gravy thickens.
If you want some gravy, add the stock in one go, simmer and remove from fire.
8. Serve hot with rice or chapathis

For a moderately spicy chicken I used 8 kashmiri and 4 bedgi chillies (a total of 12 chillies). If you like it spicy use just one variety of chillies. Remember that Kashmiri chillies give a great colour but are less spicy than the Bedgi/Byadge/Kumti chillies. A combination of both is simply great, so I would recommend using a combo.

G'morning ya'll! An 8 am post on a Friday morning only means that I was pulled out of my slumber way too early. The lil boy is too excited to attend his cousin's birthday party at the play area this morning and it was only fair to wake up his mommy and demand breakfast at 6 am no? Grr! 

Anyway, I got a quick chance to wake up earlier than the others who are still enjoying their sleep and write this post. A super quick breakfast option is what I like on most days when I just don't want to make anything elaborate. Since the past few weeks I have been busy trying my hand at making my own Idli & Dosa batter, a multi purpose batter which can be transformed into not just idlis and dosas but also a host of other South Indian breakfasts. I hope to try them out one by one and post them here soon. 

For now here is the recipe of a simple, tasty and quick breakfast option made from crumbled leftover idlis. I keep making so many idlis week after week that leftovers are a given. Normally they don't remain as my lil girl loves idlis, especially when they are freshly steamed and then dunked in some desi ghee, she simply relishes them. Also, we have discovered the joy of eating idlis with anything from chicken sukka to fish curries. The combo tastes awesome.  

You can make this upma in a jiffy. Just crumble them and temper them with any seasonings of your choice. Curry leaves, urad dal and some hing will do if you are not in the mood of chopping the onions and ginger. I don't have amazing pictures cuz I clicked these pictures on a whim, after debating with myself whether to go ahead and share the recipe or not and then I decided to do that anyway since the idli upma is my go-to breakfast or anytime snack option these days. So enjoy and I hope you like it!

Idli Upma
(Printable Recipe)

Prep time: 5-10 mins | Cook time: 5 mins | Serves 1-2

  • 6-7 small-medium idlis
  • 1/2 of a medium sized onion, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 inch ginger finely chopped (optional)
  • 2-3 long dry red chillies (preferably Byadge variety), broken into 2-3 pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard 
  • 1 teaspoon black gram dal / urad dal
  • 1/8th teaspoon asafoetida/hing
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh coriander, chopped
  • salt to taste (if required)
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil
1. Crumble the idlis into a bowl - not necessarily into fine crumbs. If you are using leftover idlis straight from the fridge you could steam them lightly (for about 3-4) minutes if possible to give that fluffy light texture to the crumbs, otherwise you can simply microwave them for 30 seconds and then crumble.
2. In a heavy based pan/kadhai heat the oil and toss in the mustard. When it stops spluttering add the urad dal and reduce the heat to a medium low. Fry until the dal turns light golden.
3. Toss in the curry leaves, broken red chillies and let them sizzle a bit on a medium heat. Stir and then add the chopped ginger (if using), toss about for a few seconds and add the onions (if using), fry until they turn pale/translucent.
4. If you are not using the ginger and onions, then proceed to add the asafoetida right after you add the curry leaves and chillies, then add the crumbled idlies and mix well. Season with salt only if required (idlis already have salt added to them).
5. Garnish with chopped coriander, mix once and remove from heat. Serve hot!

1. I used smallish medium sized idlis. Depending on how many idlis you wish to use adjust the quantities of the rest of the ingredients accordingly.
2. This recipe is great when you have leftover idlis - whether homemade or from the restaurant (seriously, if you have ordered too much and don't want to eat them forever, this is the best way to get rid of them!)

At my place eggs are prepared as a last resort when there is nothing else that I can think of and we are in no mood to eat fish or chicken again. Red meats are generally reserved for special occasions or are eaten like once a month or two. Since the little fellow is averse to eating eggs I don't force him but insist he eats them in the form of an omelette on weekends. Now you know why eggs for main course are a last resort! Baby Zee and I love eggs and enjoy eating them fried, scrambled or hard boiled. I personally love eating eggs sunny side up - love mopping up the yolk with some bread. Yum!

Anyway, today I had to take my lil girl for her vaccination and I returned pretty late. There wasn't a lot of time to make something elaborate and I had not kept the fish out to thaw. I flipped through almost every cook book I owned to see if I could find a recipe that wasn't repetitive and I could make quickly. Most curries required grated coconut or coconut milk and I wasn't in a mood to grind anything. So I decided to throw in some ingredients together and create something of my own. I was rather pleased with the outcome and proud that my creation wasn't so bad after all as the sonny boy ate it without a fuss.

The key ingredient in this recipe is the freshly ground paste of Kashmiri chillies - this is something Roshan had prepared just a couple of days ago for another recipe. In the past I was of the opinion that Kashmiri chillies were only good for their colour and didn't score much on the flavour meter. I was so so wrong. A couple of months ago I replenished my stock of Kashmiri chillies and we have noticed that they have an awesome flavour, especially when the stock is new. Freshly ground chillies taste so much better than store bought masala powder, trust me. To make the paste all we did was soak the chillies (without seeds) in freshly boiled water for about an hour and then ground it to a smooth paste. Then a little olive oil was mixed to help it stay fresh for longer and into the fridge it went. We are using this paste liberally in many of our dishes now and the taste is remarkably fresh and earthy. The colour is amazing while the spice is moderate - just what we need as we have toned down our spice level because of the kids.

This recipe is really simple if you consider that there is no grinding involved (if you substitute the chilli paste for chilli powder). A perfect bachelor's recipe! I let my taste buds guide me and build on the flavours. The curry leaves impart a great aroma and flavour to this dish and frying the tomatoes parallely helps you to speed up the job. The trick is to fry everything really well on a slow fire. A half hearted job may render this dish mediocre in terms of flavour and texture, so don't be lazy. 

I hope you enjoy this very simple dish with some piping hot rice and 'daliso saar' (Mangalorean style watery dal). A simple vegetable stir fry/saute and perhaps a papad will complete your meal. 

Egg Masala
(Printable Recipe)

Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 25-30 mins | Serves: 3 (2 eggs per person)

  • 6 eggs boiled, peeled and halved vertically * see notes
  • 1 large onion (about 1 cup) finely chopped 
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes (about 1 cup) finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs (about 18-20) curry leaves finely chopped 
  • 1-2 small green chillies finely chopped (de seed if you wish)
  • 1 inch ginger finely chopped
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (optional)
  • 3-4 teaspoons freshly ground (deseeded) kashmiri chilli paste * see notes
  • vinegar to taste (about 1 teaspoon) - adjust to taste * see notes
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped coriander + extra for garnishing
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
  • 2-3 tablespoons oil
  • salt to taste
1. Heat the oil in a heavy based pan/kadhai and toss in the chopped ginger, curry leaves and garlic and fry for half a minute on a medium heat.
2. Add the chopped onions and fry them until translucent. While the onions are frying in a separate frying pan fry the tomatoes until they turn to a paste - do this on a medium low heat. This helps to speed up the cooking and also gives the dish a nice flavour as the tomatoes are already fried when you add them to the onions.
3. When the onions have turned pinkish (not brown) add the chilli paste and the spice powders - cumin, coriander, turmeric and fry for a couple of minutes on a low heat.
4. Add the fried tomatoes and mix well. Add salt to taste, coriander, mint and continue to fry on a medium low heat until the oil starts to leave the sides of the pan.
5. Check the taste and add the vinegar if required. If you need a little thick masala add about 1/2 cup of water little by little and continue to simmer until you get a thick gravy.
6. Place the egg halves face down on the masala. Gently cover them with the masala, cover the pan and reduce the heat to a low. Simmer for a minute and remove from heat.
7. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot with rice, chapathis or parathas

1. To boil the eggs, place them in a sufficiently large pan filled with enough water (at room temperature) to cover the eggs. Once the water comes to a boil,.turn off the heat, cover the pan and keep them covered for 12 minutes. Remove from heat, discard the boiling water, refresh with fresh water and peel them after a couple of minutes. If you wish you can add a little salt while the eggs are boiling as it is believed that it makes peeling them easier.
2. I used homemade Kashmiri chilli paste. Soak the desired number of Kashmiri chillies (de seeded) in freshly boiled water for at least 30 minutes and grind to a fine paste. Mix olive oil and store in a clean, dry bottle/jar. Refrigerate and use as required. For this recipe you may substitute the chilli paste with Kashmiri chilli powder, but reduce the quantity as store bought powder is prepared using whole chillies, seeds and all, so it will be spicier - just make a paste of the powder using a little water and follow the recipe.
3. Use the vinegar only if required. Adjust the quantity depending on how tart/sour the tomatoes are.
4. If you wish you may substitute the chopped ginger and garlic with homemade ginger & garlic paste. Avoid using the store bought ones for best results.

One of the best experiences I had during my time in Mumbai revolved around food. No prizes for guessing that as I have been saying this for a while now but although I have lived for almost a decade there I had the opportunity to eat the famous mawa cake just three or four times mostly when I was working there. I had this colleague who was also my 'train-friend', someone who travelled with me on the Mumbai local train on my way back from work. On most days we took the local together and on rare occasions we shared an auto rickshaw. On the days when we left office early (around 6 pm) we made sure we hopped over to Merwans, the quintessential Irani bakery on S.V Road, Andheri West (right outside the Andheri W station). My friend Shaili was the one who always stopped by this place to pick up snacks and I got to taste the very famous mawa cake on a few occasions. After that the visits kind of stopped as she got married and moved out of Mumbai and the luxury of leaving office earlier than 8 or 9 pm came to an end for me when I took up a new role. 

I had almost forgotten about these small cakes (almost the size of big cupcakes) till another friend bought me some when she visited home and we relished them together. I guess I didn't ever consider making them at home as the process was tedious or so I believed till I actually made them. If you buy store bought mawa, then making the cake is a breeze. If you are inclined towards making the mawa at home then trust me, its the best decision you can make although the process is lengthy, I won't deny that. You can be assured that the mawa is fresh and there is the joy of having accomplished a great feat. 

Well, let me tell you that I made the mawa in order to make gulab jamoons from scratch. I have always prepared them using ready mixes like MTR or Gits but since I keep seeing people making gulab jamoons using home made mawa I was tempted to try my hand at it. While I am yet to perfect them, I decided to use the rest of the mawa to make this deliciously rich mawa cake that has such a heritage behind it. I Googled for a recipe and came across this lovely blog called Cakes and More dedicated to cakes and bakes by Suma Rowjee. Suma's blog is an ode to baking. Whether you are an expert baker, a beginner or simply clueless about baking this website is a treasure trove of great recipes, tips and suggestions on how you can bake like a pro in the comfort of your own home! So do check it out!

For those of you who have only heard about 'mawa' it is nothing but a mass of milk solids that is arrived at by cooking milk over a low heat until the moisture evaporates and reduces to almost a quarter of the original volume that you started off with. This long procedure results in a deliciously thick and crumbly mixture that is used in the preparation of many Indian sweets such as gulab jamoons, pedas, kalakand, laddoos, barfi etc. Sadly I didn't take any step by step pictures of the process of making mawa as I started off with the job late in the evening and wound up pretty late. Once cooled it went straight into the fridge only to be used a couple of days later.  

I was very happy that I could recreate the memory of having eaten this cake in Mumbai albeit a few times. The subtle hint of cardamom adds a charm of its own and makes it so 'Indian' in its own way. It is the perfect cake that I would have along with my chai - plain or with spices (masala chai). You could compare the texture of this cake to be almost like butter cake but the mawa cake has a slightly more dense texture and an after taste that is reminiscent of condensed milk or peda perhaps. 

It is a rich cake so don't binge if you are watching your calories. While it is not an everyday kind of a cake which you can put together in a jiffy (unless you are buying store bought mawa) it is a perfect cake to indulge in when you are inviting someone over. Share the love (and calories) won't you? ;-)

Mawa Cake
(Printable Recipe)

For the Mawa

  • 1 litre full fat milk

For the cake:

  • 2 cups cake flour * see notes
  • 1/2 cup grams unsalted butter softened at room temperature
  • 3/4th cup mawa, crumbled
  • 1-1/4 cups castor sugar
  • 5-6 cardamom pods, powdered
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • (blanched) almonds or cashew nuts to decorate

Prepare the mawa:
1. Place the milk in a heavy based saucepan or non stick kadhai and bring it to a boil, reduce the heat and continue to cook the milk until it reduces to just about a quarter of the original volume. Do take care to see that the milk does not get scorched/stick to the bottom of the pan so keep stirring every now and then. Scrape down the milk from the sides of the pan as it thickens. When the milk reduces to almost half in volume you will need to be extra cautious as it can burn quickly, so maintain the heat to a medium. The whole process will take a little over an hour.
2. When you see the milk reduced to a thick, lumpy paste continue to cook a little longer until the extra moisture evaporates and the mixture leaves the sides of the pan - the mawa needs to be moist yet dryish (not too dry as it will turn very crumbly). Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Place it in an airtight container and refrigerate it for upto 2 days. Bring it to room temperature before using it.

Prepare the Cake:
1. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom powder a couple of times and keep it aside.
2. Preheat the oven at 175 degrees C. Grease and line the bottom of an 8 inch (20cm) spring form pan / pan with a loose bottom with parchment.
3. In a large bowl beat the butter, sugar and the crumbled mawa (at room temperature) till it is well incorporated.
4. Add one egg at a time beating it well between each addition. Pour in the vanilla and the milk and beat well.
5. Add the sifted flour mixture in parts and mix using a spatula until all the flour is mixed well.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin. If desired decorate the surface of the cake with almonds/cashew nuts, don't press them into the batter or they may sink. Bake in the preheated oven for about 55-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. It is ok if the surface has a light golden colour, if you over bake it, it may turn out too dry.
7.  Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cook for 10-15 minutes, then carefully release the cake onto the rack, peel off the parchment and allow the cake to cool completely.
8. Cut, serve and enjoy with a cup of tea!

Cake flour is different from your regular all purpose flour (maida) - it results in cakes that are lighter in texture. To make 1 cup cake flour, place 2 tablespoons of cornstarch (cornflour) into your measuring cup (1 cup = 237 ml) and then sift maida into the cup and level it off using a knife. For this recipe you need 2 cups cake flour, so measure accordingly.


Hey guys! It's time for another chutney! I don't remember the last time I posted a chutney recipe and I think its been a while. Actually I am terrible at making chutneys, Roshan is a champion at that so I usually make him do the honours or simply make sambhar to go with idlis or dosa. A while ago I was going through my recipe index and realised that I didn't have many chutney recipes and it is always a delight to have a different chutney to relish along with neer dosa or idli - something that we have almost every week for breakfast. 

I had seen so many recipes of the ridge gourd peel chutney on the various food groups on Facebook that I was always keen to try it out. It is such a great way of saving and utilizing peels of vegetables as they are packed with nutrition. So far I have tried only the ridge gourd peel chutney amongst the many chutneys that one can make out of vegetable peels. They are not only a great accompaniment to rice breads such as idlis, dosas, neer dosa and sanna but also go well as a side dish to a simple meal of rice gruel and perhaps a papad on those days when you don't feel like cooking/eating anything elaborate. So go ahead and give this chutney a shot. I am sure you'll like it!

Ridge Gourd Peel Chutney
(Printable Recipe)
Prep time: 5mins | Cook time: Nil | Serves 2

You Need:
  • 3/4th cup firmly packed ridge gourd (sponge gourd/gosale/hirekai/turai) peels * see notes
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 3-4 tablespoons grated coconut
  • 1-2 small green chillies (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped raw mango or tamarind/lime juice to taste
  • salt to taste
For the tempering:
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard
  • 3-4 curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp oil
1. In small pan/wok heat some oil and saute the ridge gourd peels for 2-3 minutes. Remove and allow them to cool. Once cooled, grind them along with the rest of the ingredients to a thick paste. Use approx 2 tablespoons of water to grind it. Transfer into a bowl.
2. In a small pan heat the oil and toss in the mustard seeds, when they pop, add the curry leaves and toss for a couple of seconds. Turn off the flame and immediately pour the chutney into the seasoning - this will slightly heat up the chutney which will help remove the raw taste of the peel and at the same time retain the nutrients/vitamins.

1. I used 2 medium sized ridge gourds weighing approx 450-500 grams that yielded approx 3/4th cup
2. Ensure that the ridge gourd is properly washed before peeling. Run your fingers through the ridges
3. I have made this recipe in two ways - by lightly sauteing the peels before grinding and without sauteing (grinding them directly). You can try either way, but if you are using the peels directly, unless they are ground nicely there are chances that you may get some coarse fibre that remains unground so it is better to saute them before grinding.

As I take over from Shireen to write this post for the first time (and may be many more posts in the future if she allows me ;-)) this dish, “Nimbu Chicken” is one of my favorites. My love for this dish began after my first visit to Urban Tadka in Versova, Mumbai a few years ago. The ambience of the restaurant was lovely, complete with a village kind of a setup. The food was served on an unique colored plate, the stirrer for the drinks was made of sugar cane, the dum biriyani was served in earthen pots and finally the 'last order' was announced by beating the dhol (drum). All these things made me feel like visiting this place more often. 

Thereafter it became a routine to order our office lunch from this place at least twice a week. On Fridays especially extra portions of the spicy dum biryani and jalebis were ordered to celebrate an early weekend that started almost as soon as the heavy lunch was finished. DS (my biz partner) and I must have eaten this dish (Nimbu Chicken) umpteen number of times. I still remember DS commenting right after the heavy meal "Now go to your office, switch off lights and take a nap" while our office staff smiled mischievously as they had gotten used to my post Urban Tadka meal siestas. Furthermore, I used to order this at home and I never got a no for an answer from Shireen and our little fella Yu as they also started loving it.

Once we moved to Dubai I was determined to try Nimbu chicken as I started missing it so much. Having found no recipes on the internet that came anywhere close to what I had eaten, the experiment began and after a few tries, I think I have almost perfected this. It is the closest in terms of the taste & texture although the original served at the restaurant still remains to be my favourite

Nimbu Chicken
(Printable Recipe)

Prep time: 15 mins + 2 hours (marinating time) | Cook time: 20 mins | Serves 3

  • 750 grams chicken on the bone (preferably, or you may use boneless too)
  • Juice of 3 medium size limes (approx 3 tablespoons) (adjust and use as required) * see notes
  • 3/4 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 200 grams fresh cream (I used Almarai, you can use Amul fresh cream)
  • 6 green chilies de seeded & cut julienne
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 75- 100 grams unsalted butter
  • salt to taste
1. Wash and cut the chicken in medium sized pieces. Allow to drain on a colander till the excess water drips away. If need be, wipe with a kitchen tissue. Then transfer into a bowl and marinate it with salt, turmeric and half of the lime juice for about 2 hours.
2. In a heavy based wok/kadhai heat the butter and fry half the green chillies, garlic and ginger for about a minute.
3. Add the marinated chicken and cook for about 5-7 minutes.
4. Reduce the heat a bit and add the powders (turmeric, red chilli, coriander, cumin, garam masala) and mix well till all the chicken pieces are coated well.
5. Add the fresh cream and mix it until well with the chicken. If you need more gravy you can add a little whole milk (full fat)
6. Cook for about 3 minutes on a low heat and then add the remaining lime juice and the reserved green chillies and cook for a further couple of minutes. Do a taste check and adjust the lime as required. The gravy should predominantly taste tangy from the lime.
7. Remove from heat and serve hot with rice, rotis, pulkhas or plain parathas!

1. In Dubai we get limes of various sizes, we used medium sized ones. 1 lime yieleded us approx 1-1/2 tablespoons of juice. For this recipe you need approximately 3-4 tablespoons (in total). However, not everyone prefers a tangy curry, so please add less initially and then add extra juice only if required after tasting.

Last year I tried my hand at making two dishes from tender cashew nuts. This was when I was in Mumbai and had packed half my bags to come here. Mum had come to help me and she brought with her a pack of tender cashew nuts which I divided into two. One batch was used up in making a typical Konkani curry called Bibbe Sagle. We enjoyed that with some piping hot rice and dali tove another classic Konkani style dal which tastes oh-so-wonderful with rice and papad on the side. After we had gobbled that up I decided to make this Brahmin style payasam but not on the same day as we would have died of a heart attack (kidding!). Tender cashew nuts are supposed to be 'heaty/garmi' as we say in India and one is advised not to eat too much of it in one go. A few days later I made the payasam and it was finger licking good.  I got the recipe from my sister-in-law Sumana who gave me her version of making it with freshly extracted coconut milk. I tried my own short cut method of making the coconut milk out of coconut milk powder instead of slaving over the process of extracting fresh milk from grated coconut. With a 5 month old baby and a load of packing to be done there was no way in hell that I would spend more than 30 mins in the kitchen, especially during the peak of summer in Mumbai!

The payasam was relished and promptly forgotten in the hustle of my final days in Mumbai and once I landed here the only time I remembered it was when I opened my folder of pictures or the freezer where I had another packet waiting to be used. I decided that since the cashew is typically a summer fruit in Mangalore and tender cashew nuts are available only during this short span of time and almost disappear from the shelves come monsoons, I would make it in March-April. But somehow I just couldn't manage to make it until today - when the calendar says that it is technically the last day of summer in Mangalore. I know, I know that there is no such thing as a last date of summer! But in my head, June is when monsoons start. At least that's how it used to be when I was little and schools would resume on the 1st or 2nd of June  and the skies would be heavily laden with clouds waiting to burst and drench us. But let me keep these stories on hold for a while.

(My mum's nimble hands at work!)

In those days summers in Mangalore were something else. There used to be an abundance of seasonal fruits especially mangoes - not the alphonso but many varieties, the names of which I didn't care to know. It was enough to just sink my teeth in them and enjoy the sweetness. Summer also reminds me of this great aroma of roasted cashew nuts - oh man! Only those of you who have been blessed to take a whiff of this A.M.A.Z.I.N.G aroma will relate to me. Wasn't that the best thing ever? The juicy cashew fruits, the roasted nuts, mangoes, love apples, black jamoons (zambla) all remind me of the best time I had in Mangalore. 

I know that it may be a little too late to find the tender cashew nuts in Mangalore. But if you are very keen to make this payasam then you may find really expensive ones at the flower market at Car Street. A small packet of 100 tender cashew nuts will set you back by like Rs. 200.

I am given to understand that this payasam (payasa as we call it in Mangalore) is prepared by the Havyaka Brahmin community so I am happy that I got to try one more traditional recipe from one of Mangalore's niche communities. A big thank you to Sumana for her perfect recipe! Enjoy!

Godambi Payasa | Hasi Geru Beejada Payasa ~ Mangalorean Brahmin Style Tender Cashew Nut Payasam
(Printable Recipe)

Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 10-15 mins | Servings: 4


  • 1 cup tender cashew nuts
  • 2 cups thin coconut milk * see notes
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk
  • 125 grams (2/3rd cup) jaggery, powdered
  • 2 tablespoons ground rice paste * see notes
  • 3-4 cardamom pods, husked and powdered
  • pinch of salt
  • saffron to garnish (optional)

1. Soak the tender cashew nuts in a bowl of warm water for about 10-15 minutes. Then gently remove the skins and discard them. Discard the cloudy water and refresh the cashew nuts in 2-3 changes of water. Keep aside.
2. Place the thin coconut milk and salt in a heavy based pan/non stick saucepan or kadhai and bring it to a gentle boil. Add the tender cashew nuts and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the powdered jaggery and stir until it is melted. Bring the mixture to a boil.
4. Reduce the heat and add the thick coconut milk and let it come to a gentle boil. Take care to see that it doesn't bubble or sometimes it may curdle.
5. Now add the rice paste and stir the mixture continuously to avoid lumps. Finally add the cardamom powder and remove from heat.
6. Serve hot garnished with saffron if desired. It tastes great at room temperature or when chilled too.

1. If you are unable to use freshly extracted coconut milk you may use the one that comes in a tin or tetra pack. Usually it is very thick so to make a thin extract just dilute it with water. Alternatively you may use coconut milk powder that needs to be dissolved in water to reconstruct the coconut milk. To make thin coconut milk dissolve 4-5 tablespoons of coconut milk powder in 1-3/4th cups of warm water. To make thick coconut milk dissolve 4-5 tablespoons of coconut milk powder in 3/4th cup of warm water. If the milk looks too watery you can always add extra powder later but do remember that the payasam tends to thicken when chilled so it is good to leave it a little thin in consistency.
2. Adjust the thickness of the payasam by adding 2-3 tablespoons of rice paste or rice powder (flour) dissolved in a few teaspoons of water. Mix it very well to avoid lumps.
3. The ideal consistency for this payasam is of thin custard but if it turns out a little thin it is okay as it will turn out fine after being chilled. 

Today I added one more dish to my culinary repertoire - apae! These lovely little dumplings are also called as hoppers and are primarily made from ground rice and black gram (urad dal) and have various other versions that call for whole wheat or even beaten rice (poha) as the base ingredient. Just in case you thought that hoppers are 'sheviyo', well those are 'string hoppers'.  Apae (plural) is called as the 'apo/appo' (in its singular form) and is a favourite of the Konkanis (GSBs) of Mangalore and hence a regular fare on their breakfast menu. Ever since I joined whatsapp and formed groups with my school and college friends where we share our daily ramblings I have been getting to see various kinds of apae - sweet & savoury. I have always been tempted by the display and planned to try it out myself as I have owned the skillet for it since ages but never put it to use. 

While the rice apae are made with a batter that has both rice and black gram (urad dal) in it, I tried this recipe without the urad especially because my niece has severe lentil allergy and initially I intended to try making sanna (Mangalorean idlis made of yeasted batter) without urad so that she could enjoy them too. My aunt Frenny is a fantastic cook and keeps making all kinds of Mangalorean PoLi (a collective term for Mangalorean breads made from rice batter) on a regular basis. Last year when I went to stay at her place she had made these lovely apae for breakfast. I thoroughly enjoyed eating hogging them with some piping hot potato sambhar garnished with loads of fresh coriander. Such a beautiful combo! I polished off like a dozen apae in one sitting and then asked her for the recipe which she generously gave me. However, I never got around to trying them out as I heavily banked on ready-made idli batter for my idli-dosa needs. It was just recently that I decided to don my invisible chef's hat and start making batter at home. Now I am all set to explore many more almost forgotten Mangalorean breakfast options and other sweetmeats. 

And hey, if you have tried and liked any recipe from my blog please give me a shout! Drop me a line at or simply click a picture from your mobile before you gobble up the food and send it to me. I will post it in the folder for tried & tested recipes on my Facebook page. So far I have uploaded the pictures sent in to me by many readers in these albums here. Do spare a moment to go through them - you don't need to have a Facebook ID for that! 

And yes, it encourages me a lot when you try out my recipes, write to me or send me the pictures. It boosts my spirit even more when you share my recipes with your friends, so if you have a Facebook account, do join me there - its a sure shot way to make sure that you don't miss a single post! 

I Made This! 

Apae / Appe / Paniyaram (Pan Fried Plain Rice Hoppers)
(Printable Recipe)

Prep time: 3 hours (soaking time) + 2 hours (fermenting time) | Cooking time: 15 mins | Yield: 21-25 apae

  • 1 cup boiled rice (ukda chawal/ukdo/katsambar)
  • 1/2 cup raw rice
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk powder (or approx 1/2-3/4th cup thick coconut milk)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (adjust to taste)
  • salt to taste
To activate the yeast:
  • 1 teaspoon active dried yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (to activate the yeast) 
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
1. Wash the two types of rice separately till the water runs clear and soak them (separately) in plenty of water for 3-4 hours. 
2. Drain the water and grind the rice along with the coconut milk powder and a little water till you get a fine paste.
3. Transfer into a large deep pan that should be big enough to accommodate batter that has almost tripled in volume. 
4. To activate the yeast place all the ingredients mentioned under 'To activate the yeast' in a small bowl. Stir the contents gently and leave the bowl undisturbed for 10 minutes. The yeast gets activated and mixture will turn frothy (foamy) and cloudy. * see notes
5. Add the yeast mixture to the batter, the sugar and salt to taste and give the batter a quick good mix. 
6. Cover the mouth of the pan with a thin muslin cloth and keep it to ferment in a warm spot of your kitchen, undisturbed. 
7. Depending on the quality/brand of yeast used and the weather it could take anywhere between 1-1/2 hours to 2 hours for the batter to ferment and almost triple in volume. Take care not to shake the vessel or place it on the kitchen counter with a thud. This can cause the air bubbles to escape and the batter will 'fall' or reduce/turn flat.
8. To fry the hoppers you can either use a traditional appe kail or paniyaram kadai as it is called in India or an aebleskiver pan. Just heat it and put a drop of oil in each of the slots. Pour about 1 tablespoon of batter or fill it upto 2/3rds with the batter.
9. Cover the pan and cook on a low heat for about a minute. Using the sharp wooden tong that comes with the pan, lift a hopper and check if the base has turned a golden brown. If yes, flip all of them over to be cooked on the other side, if not, cover and cook for another half a minute.
10. Once done, remove and continue the process till all the batter has been used up.
11. Serve hot with chutney or sambhar. 

It is always recommended to use good quality and fresh (new packaging) of yeast. When you activate the yeast if there are no signs of froth then the yeast is no good - discard it.

I thought I should make something out of mangoes and post it before the mango season gets over. Also, I have seen such wonderful pictures of desserts made with mangoes that it was impossible not to get influenced and tempted to try something mangolicious. Well, to be honest, making a cheesecake was never on the cards. I am not much of a cheesecake fan simply because I know how calorie rich it is and even if I am not counting calories, I think it is an expensive dessert to make if you are buying imported stuff. So it is definitely not something you would want to indulge it on an ordinary day. But if you are having company and some nice company at that, then why not?

If it wasn't for Roshan coaxing me to give this dessert a try I probably would have never attempted making it. I Googled a bit and found a recipe on the Philadelphia Cream Cheese website for a recipe and then there was Siba's own recipe. So I adapted the two to arrive at my own measures that would put all the stuff in my pantry and fridge to good use. I am glad I did because not only did I realise how ridiculously easy it is to make a cheesecake, it was also delicious and an easy dessert option to make when you are expecting guests. Just make it the previous day and chill it overnight in the refrigerator and you have one less dish to make on the D-day. One less headache to take care of at the last minute. I guess you can use pretty much any fruit you want. Just replace the mangoes with your choice of fruit and follow the same recipe. What's more, you can make this dessert in individual serving bowls if you don't have a springform pan. Wine glasses look very beautiful and everyone can tuck into their own individual dessert bowl. 

I wish I could have taken more pictures but I had to click a few quick shots and then proceed to serve the guests. If you notice, the cream cheese had started to melt a bit thanks to the very hot weather outside. The best part about this cheese cake is that it does not require gelatin or agar agar to be used to help firm up. The chocolate does that for you. It helps the cream cheese set into shape. Unless you place the cake out for too long the shape will remain fine until you serve it, so make it quick! Take the cake out of the fridge only when you are ready to serve it. Bon Appetit!

No Bake Mango & White Chocolate Cheesecake
(Printable Recipe)

Prep time: 15 mins | Chilling time: 12 - 24 hours | Servings 8

  • 150 grams oreo or digestive biscuits (I used a combination of the two) * see notes
  • 50 grams butter, melted
  • 175 grams mango pulp, fresh or frozen (I used 2 alphonso mangoes)
  • 300 grams cream cheese (I used Philadelphia) * see notes
  • 300 grams plain white chocolate, roughly chopped * see notes
  • 150 ml thick fresh cream (double cream/heavy cream preferably)– I used Almarai, you can used tinned cream like Nestle too
  • 90 grams sweetened condensed milk (smallest tin available)
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice and zest of 1/2 a lime
Other things:
  • an 8" round spring form pan or a cake tin with a loose/removable bottom * see notes
  • zip lock bag & rolling pin to crush the biscuits (optional)
  • hand or electric whisk
1. Place the biscuits in a zip lock bag, seal the open end and crush them using the rolling pin until the biscuits turn into sand like texture. Empty into a bowl. Pour in and rub the melted butter into it.
2. Grease the base of the spring form pan and press the biscuit crumbs firmly and evenly using the back of a spoon, the base of a flat drinking glass or your fingers. Place the pan in the fridge to chill until you prepare the rest of the mixture.
3. Puree the mango pulp along with the lime juice and zest. Divide into two parts.
4. Place a small bowl containing the white chocolate over a saucepan of simmering water. Take care to see that the base of the bowl does not touch the water. Also, be very cautious and don't let even a drop of water come in contact with the chocolate or it will harden and turn into a lumpy mess. Gently simmer until the chocolate has melted into a creamy sauce.
5. In a large mixing bowl, whip the cream until stiff, add the cream cheese and whisk until well mixed. Add half the mango puree and the condensed milk and three fourths of the melted white chocolate. Mix everything well.
6. Pour this mixture into the prepared springform pan and spread it out gently using a spatula. Even out the surface.
7. To the remaining half of the mango puree and the reserved white chocolate mixture and mix well. Pour this over the cream cheese mixture and use a clean spatula to even out the surface.
8. Cover the pan with a plastic/cling film and place in the fridge to chill overnight.
9. To serve, carefully remove the base of the pan and cut the cake using a sharp knife dipped in hot water and wiped clean or a sharp edged spatula. Serve carefully onto a plate. Decorate with fresh mango slices and mint leaves if desired.

1. You can use any kind of biscuits for the base of the cheesecake - Graham Crackers, Marie Biscuit or Oreo. I used Weetabix breakfast biscuits which were lying around, some Mc Vites digestive biscuits and added some oreo biscuits without the cream. Use any combination you like.
2. If you are in India, cream cheese may not be easily available. Please note that cream cheese (what is used for cheesecakes) has a different texture than 'creamy cheese' or 'spreadable cheese' like Amul cream cheese or Brittania or Kraft cream cheese - these are of spreadable variety and more salty too - not suitable to make cheesecake. You need to look for 'cream cheese' which is available in the form of blocks or tubs, preferably Philadelphia, but since it is imported it may be very expensive (a tub of 200 grams can set you back by like Rs 350-400).
3. Depending on the sweetness of the mangoes and white chocolate you may need to adjust the use of condensed milk. If you are using eating chocolate try using the best quality. If you are using cooking chocolate do check if it has sugar added to it, in which case you will need to adjust the amount of condensed milk used
4. If you don't have a spring form pan you may prepare this cheese cake in individual servings by using any serving glass of your choice. Vodka shot glasses, wine glasses, ramekins, dessert bowls all work very well. The method of layering remains the same.