Thursday, March 13, 2008


Been enjoying this finger food for a long time now….but never knew the right name……never bothered to find out as well! N , a very good friend of mine and her mother introduced me to this combo during one of the group-study sessions at her place…..three of us got together to study statistics and economics, two boring and tough subjects for me and if you ask me to refresh my memory of that particular day, I don’t even remember what we studied……not even the topic of the study but all I can think of is the yummy spread her mother prepared for us……… and the Karimeen Varuthathu/Fried Pearl spot, prepared just for me when aunty found out that it was one of my favourites………a gesture that touched me a lot…….and then this deadly combo…..dont know how many I had that day……whenever I made this , it was a great hit with everyone……so thought of sharing it with you all….but when I sat down to make this post, I was not able to think of a fancy name for it…….sort of in a brain freeze as too many things are happening at my end……we re in the middle of a relocation………shifting to a new place and home here in US itself……I will be traveling for the next two weeks and once we find an apartment and settle at the new place, I hope to resume blogging…till then I will be on a short break………….with so many drafted recipes and photographs in the dashboard, I wont be gone for a long time….so trust me, I will be back soon :). Since all I can think of is how to transport my ‘curry-chatti’ and terracotta decors in one shape and plants alive, I leave the challenge to you friends, to find an apt name for this trio :)

Well, coming to this delicacy in picture, it is a deadly combination of small bite size pineapple chunks, cream cheese and glace cherries on a toothpick/skewer. This can be served as a pre-appetizer or a quick and simple dessert; pairs well with champagnes and wines too which means it is great for cocktail parties too. I am not sure about the availability of cream cheese back home in India but I am certain that Amul cheese squares works well with this as I used to buy that for preparing this one.

Try this and name the trio too :)

Hope to be back soon…..till then you take care and eat well :D


No part of the content ( articles, photographs, recipes) of this blog may be reproduced without my written permission.Copyright © 2007-2010 All rights reserved.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Njandu/Crab Roast

I disclosed one of my deepest fears in public four or five weeks back, remember…? My fear for the crawling beauties! And this was the first crab dish I tried, to conquer the fear of handling crabs and I started out on a safer track, by buying some cooked King crab legs from one of the best seafood stores in town and to my surprise, there was this abundance of seafood flavour and taste, though I always had a biased perspective on buying cooked or frozen seafood meat from the stores.

Remember one of the first charming scenes in ‘Ratatouille’ where Remy, the delightful rat tells his brother Emile about the art of “blending flavors and spices”? While drafting this post, somehow this scene flashed in my mind leaving a smile on my face and now while I am at it, I guess it’s quite appropriate for this particular recipe where the spices really come to embrace the seafood flavor in all its vigor. This is again my mother’s recipe, quite a juicy, spicy one to tickle and dance on your palate. As CJJ puts it, it’s quite an “explosion of flavours “ :)

Before I move on to the recipe, let me note that I first bought the cooked King Crab legs, weighing around 1 lb , inclusive of its shells and then took out all the meat chunks from the shell, which filled around 1 ½ cups. This might vary for each purchase, depending on the size of the crab legs, and hence, please adjust the spices and proportions accordingly.

Ingredients: (Approx.)
  • Around 1 ½ cups cooked crab meat chunks ( I used meat of cooked King Crab legs)
  • 1 small size big onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup small red-pearl onions/shallots thinly sliced
  • 4 green chillies, finely chopped
  • ¾ tsp ginger, finely chopped
  • ¾ tsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp chilly powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • Masala powder (Recipe follows)
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ - ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp oil, preferably coconut oil
For the Masala Powder:
  • 1 ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 1 clove
  • 1 cinnamon
  • Make the masala powder by grinding fennel seeds, peppercorns, clove and cinnamon into a fine powder, in the small jar of a mixer or coffee grinder. Keep ¼ tsp aside before adding the masala powder to the dish.
  • Heat oil in a pan and sauté thinly sliced big onion and small onions till they turn soft; now add finely chopped ginger, garlic, green chillies and 1 sprig of curry leaves and stir till everything turns soft and golden in color. Now add turmeric powder, coriander powder, chilly powder and the freshly ground masala powder and sauté for a minute, in low heat or till the raw smell goes. At this stage, add the cooked crab meat and gently stir to coat all the masala to the meat. Add ¼ to ½ cup water to this and let it cook covered for few minutes, in low heat. When the gravy is thick and masala is well blended with the crab meat, adjust the salt; add ¼ tsp masala powder, kept aside earlier and crush some curry leaves in coconut oil and add the same to the dish; these two last minute touches give a wonderful aroma to the dish.
  • Serve warm with rice or chappathi(Indian flat bread) or palappam (Kerala’s laced pancakes). You may garnish with some caramelized onions (deep fried brown colored onions with a pinch of salt or sugar) as well.
No part of the content ( articles, photographs, recipes) of this blog may be reproduced without my written permission.Copyright © 2007-2010 All rights reserved.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Madhura Curry/Pineapple-Munthiri Pachadi-A sweet side dish for a sweet reason!

…..hmm….cant remember the last time I attended a Hindu marriage and had Sadya!” , I heard this statement twice, from two different people, in the last three days! One ofcourse was CJJ and the second one was his friend from college, who has not been able to go home in the last 3 years due to some very valid reasons. Sadya, in its pure visual sense, is an artists palette and as I had written in some of my previous posts, is a traditional vegetarian feast of Keralites and is very close to each and every Malayalee’s heart ……….. a nostalgia for some like us , who left home and homeland, soon after marriage because of one’s job demands, making it almost impossible to travel back miles together to attend a close-one’s marriage or cousin’s house-warming function or your sibling’s kid’s naming ceremony or first birthday ….we miss such homely get-togethers, followed by this grand feast, served on a banana leaf with rice and a myriad of vegetable side dishes cooked in ground coconut mixture, both fresh and roasted, and some cooked in buttermilk and curd, in various flavours, mildly spiced up curries, plantain chips, spicy pickles, Payasam & Pradhaman and a fresh banana and Pappadam (Indian wafers). It hurts to say that after our marriage, we got to attend only one wedding and we have missed lots of our friends and cousin’s marriages and housewarming functions. Perhaps, folks staying back home might silently detest these functions, as it happens almost every two weeks, making it difficult for one to enjoy a cozy private weekend, and yes, it is quite understandable…but when we miss all of these continuously for one or two years or more, the yearning is naturally on the higher side…….. the longing to reach across to your family and friends, clad in pretty clothes, cracking a joke, sharing a gossip or two……the desire to be part of a feast where everyone sit in a row of those metal tables draped with white table cloth, and enjoying the Sadya from the banana leaves…….that feeling is something which is difficult to pen down!

I LOVE Sadya so much, I am embarrassed to write it down here, that there was an incident where everyone left the huge dining hall, next to the marriage–reception one, and the only two people left behind were yours truly and her friend and finally we were forced to stop feasting ourselves as we were asked to speed up because they had to set the table for the next batch of invitees!!! It used to be more fun when I used to attend marriages with my cousin, G chechi as both of us enjoyed and shared the embarrassment of asking for second servings of some of our favourite side dishes and one such dish was this Madhura Curry or Pineapple-Munthiri Pachadi which is curried pineapple and grapes, cooked in ground coconut paste, with a touch of curd and seasoned with coconut oil, curry leaves and mustard seeds. After having an ‘urula ’ of rice mixed with sambar (curried lentils and vegetables), a touch of this sweet fruity side dish was quite refreshing for me. Usually the preparations for the Sadya, start on the previous night of the wedding and cooking is done early in the morning to make sure that everything is ready by 10 in the morning. So by the time it is served for lunch, the fruity flavours of pineapple and grapes would have married the ground coconut, giving it a succulent texture and taste.

  • 1 cup ripe pineapple, diced into small bite size pieces
  • 8-10 black grapes
  • ¼ tsp turmeric p/w
  • A pinch of red chilly powder
  • 1-2 Indian green chillies, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Water to cook the fruits
  • 1 ½ tbsp curd
  • 1 tsp sugar, if required
For grinding:
  • ½ - ¾ cup freshly grated coconut
  • 2 Indian green chillies
  • 1 small piece of ginger
  • A pinch of mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric
For seasoning:
  • 2 tsp oil, preferably coconut oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1-2 whole dry red chillies
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • Grind grated coconut, green chillies, ginger, mustard seeds and turmeric powder into a smooth paste, in the small jar of a mixer or blender, adding some water if required and keep aside.
  • In a small saucepan, cook small pineapple chunks with green chillies, turmeric powder, chilly powder and salt to taste, in some water and when the fruit is half-cooked, add the whole grapes, close the lid and cook in low flame, till the juice from the grapes comes off and blends with pineapple. Just before the grape juice colour overwhelms the yellowish-ness of the cooked pineapple, add the ground coconut mixture and cook again, in low-medium heat, till it starts to boil. Add the curd and adjust the salt and mix everything well and if the sweetness is not enough, add a tsp of sugar, stir well and turn off the stove, not letting the curd to boil. At this stage, the curry should have a medium consistency, neither thick nor thin or dry.
  • In another pan, heat oil and splutter mustard seeds, dry red chillies and turn off the stove and immediately add the torn curry leaves and pour the whole things to the dish; Close the lid and let it rest for a couple of hours , allowing all the fruit flavors to gel well with the ground coconut mixture and oil . (Note: This dish takes time to blend all the flavors; so give enough resting time before serving it.)
There is only one problem with this sweet side dish; either you fall in love with this or you break-up at the first date itself!!!.

UPDATE: For Sadya recipes check out SADYA VIBHAVANGAL - Learn to make the traditional Kerala Feast- An Artist’s Edible Palette !

No part of the content ( articles, photographs, recipes) of this blog may be reproduced without my written permission.Copyright © 2007-2010 All rights reserved.