Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Prawn with Raw Mango & Drumstick in a ground coconut sauce- Chemmeenum Mangayum Thenga-arachu Vechathu

Excerpts from some of the comments I have received from my readers:

R1: “…..Love your passion for cooking…..
R2: “…And ah I shud say this, you are really turning me passionate about cooking, i was always on the lazy side when it came to cooking.Thank you!!!
R3:” ……today,I love to explore and taste new ones...better ones..And you are the one inspiration..Thank you…

Responses of some of my friends from junior college, when they find out about this blog:

F1: “….heard about your cookery site……couldn’t believe it…haha..:)
F2: “ Saw your blog today…..how come u ‘re into cooking?
F3: “ why you never baked a cake for me while in college?

Well……why the disparity in impressions between these two groups …..a group who knows me only through the words I have scribbled here and another group who knows me in the real world, in flesh and blood? Am I projecting a different personality to each group? NO, NEVER!

I am trying to find an answer for this inconsistency in opinions and come out clean here……..it’s going to be an introspective post…..so those who don’t have time to read the whole thing, please scroll down for the recipe part.


With the prior experience of “two cups of tea and an omelet”, I started cooking after marriage to feed our two hungry stomachs, returning from work. The glitter in CJJ’s eyes, in the initial days, when I served him a plate of “cooked” rice and a “not burnt” stir-fry or “ not-curdled” Pulisseri, gave me the confidence to try more . Every evening I was greedy to see his excited smile or his beaming face …… that made me pick up the phone and make an STD call to my mother, to learn a new dish. Besides, I was scared…..yes, scared that someone from my extended family might pass a remark that, “ohh…I saw C last week…..he has lost weight….I don’t think that girl is cooking anything…..poor guy! “. So I made sure that I gave him a glass of milk with two heaping tablespoons of Horlicks or Bournvita or a bowl of oats slow cooked in lot of milk and an egg, everyday!! Trust me, it worked! On our first visit to home, after a month – an eventful month of kitchen adventures – everyone had only one thing to say, “ Aww….C has put on weight!!! So she is cooking something, huh?

Well, the glitter in his eyes is still my motivation ………the confidence on our friends’ part to come home and dare to eat something I cooked, is my accomplishment and if someone asks for a recipe, that’s icing on the cake……and the fact that my parents and brother has not really enjoyed anything beyond a “30 minute Biryani” I cooked for them in the initial days of my cooking escapades, is my sorrow…….

Though my friends’ responses always leave me with a smile on my face, comments from my readers always gets me into a reflective mood as it makes me wonder if I really deserve those compliments or not. I am not someone who is really passionate about cooking. Neither do I consider cooking therapeutic nor do I find kneading the dough relaxing. An odd vegetable in the produce section may invoke my curiosity but that basic level of curiosity ends there, it does not exceed to the point of that peculiar vegetable making it to my shopping cart. A tiramisu or a Caramel Pudding might be my favourite desserts but that does not make me jump up and down when I see a new recipe for the same with a variation. Years back when my friend sent me the recipe for Fruit cake, she shared two equally good recipes and I tried one and it was a success. I bake the same cake, follow the same recipe year after year without even considering the second recipe in hand, as I am someone who sticks to a single recipe if that works for me and satisfies me and my family. BUT I have been writing a food blog for the last two years and two weeks! So I ask myself, “ Is it the blogging part that motivates me or am I really into cooking? If it’s the activity of blogging that I enjoy, why did I choose to write a food blog? It could have been any other topic! “

Well, I am a foodie, no doubt and food blogs had a charming appeal one me…..I developed some sort of infatuation with the idea of food blogging as I moved from one foodie site to the other. I was really taken aback by the way my predecessors featured a recipe……the creative component in all those blogs fascinated me. And before I knew CJJ pushed me into the crocodile pool!

As I learned to swim in the pool, I developed some misconceptions too. I blogged only those recipes which I thought “blog worthy” and since I was not a serious cook, my honeymoon period with food blogging was fading away until the day I wrote a post on Kanji & Payar. That was the turning point, the last U turn before food blogging had the probability of joining the endless list of my dead hobbies. The response and feedback I got made me believe that people love to read and learn about every day dishes as much as they appreciate an exotic creation. Exactly around the same, I came across a discussion forum where my post on Kerala Potato Stew was referred by a westerner, to the other members in the forum, mentioning specifically that it was a tasty Indian vegetarian dish usually served with a lacy pancake!!! It was hard to believe that Kerala’s humble potato stew could find a place with mighty Paneer Masala and Aloo Gobhi!! That’s the day I realized the potential of food blogs and the opportunity to be food ambassadors, inviting people around the world to enter our home kitchens and show them what we cook/eat on regular day ….the opportunity to share a slice of our culture presenting it’s cuisine in all its nakedness. In some way or the other, my dreams of becoming a travel journalist blended smoothly with the opportunity in hand, though that is not what I was really doing.

As I tried to feature traditional recipes, weaving stories from my childhood and adulthood, in an attempt to show how that particular dish is significant to us, I was also allowing myself to open the window to the world of traditional or old-world cooking. It did not take much time for me to develop a genuine desire to record the culinary traditions of my family and the one I married into. I did not want our grand mothers’ culinary legacy to go waste and the best way to cherish them was sharing those recipes with others.

So that’s the inspiration behind this food blog…….!

I hope I tried to bring both the groups - my readers and friends - to the same platform :)


This dish is a classic example of Keralites’ clever way of sneaking in some seafood into a vegetarian dish or vice versa or a good example of using the bits and bobs from the kitchen.

For boiling:
  • Around ¼ kg prawn/Chemmeen, peeled, deveined and washed thoroughly (I used 15 jumbo shrimp)
  • A handful of sour green mango, skin removed and cut lengthwise (add depending on the sourness you need)
  • 10-12 drumstick pieces of 1 inch length, cleaned and split lengthwise
  • 3 green chillies
  • 1 tsp ginger, thinly sliced
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp chilly powder
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Around 1 ¼ cup water
For Grinding:
  • ¾ cup grated coconut
  • 3-4 green chillies
  • A small pinch of cumin seeds/Jeerakam (Optional)
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt
½ cup water to make the gravy

For Seasoning:
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds/Kaduku
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds/Uluva
  • 2 dry red chillies
  • 2 small red pearl onions
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut oil
  • Grind grated coconut, green chillies, garlic, cumin seeds, turmeric powder with a dash of salt into a fine and smooth paste and keep aside. Add some water if your mixer gives you a hard-time and in which case, use little water from the one kept for making gravy to thin it out, so the dish will not turn out to be too watery in the end.
  • In a curry-chatti/earthenware, cook - prawn, mango slices and drumstick pieces, mildly spiced with red chilly powder, turmeric powder, salt, curry leaves, thinly sliced ginger and green chillies in 1 ¼ cup water or enough to cover all the ingredients- until everything is cooked well. To this add the ground coconut paste and pour water, suggested in the ingredient list or enough to get your desired consistency and bring to a boil in medium heat; try to stir occasionally when it bubbles start to appear and turn off the stove.
  • In a shallow pan, heat coconut oil and splutter mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, dry chilly and sauté small onions and curry leaves for a minute and pour it to the curry. Let it rest for minimum one hour for the sourness of mangoes to embrace the seafood flavor of the prawns and blend well with the creamy coconut paste.
  • Serve with warm rice/chappathi(flat wheat bread)


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


  1. I have mentioned in my first-ever blog post that your story about the crocodile pool was one of the inspiratons for me to start my blog.While reading through your post,I felt that you were sharing feelings that are true in my case too.I was never a good cook and nor do I look forward to it passionately.But still,I blog-about new dishes,I blog hop-for new recipes.I have not succeeded always,but that has never stopped me from trying.I have made many a dishes which I never ever dreamt of making-your fruit cake recipe is one of those.When I took a heavenly slice of the xmas cake,I just had one thing on my mind-thank you Mishmash..!!!Keep entertaining us with your new posts and I am enjoying the peep into your kitchen manyfolds..;-)

  2. I left out the actual recipe... but read everything else. :-)

    I hear you... I went through very similar thoughts... why, why not :-) My FB profile still has people from my real world astonished that I cook. And even I blog about the mundane everyday stuff... because at the end of the day, we eat that as well :-) and more often than the rest :-)

  3. shn...
    ahem ...u got me droooling here......Keep it up...


  4. delicious snap as always...will give it a try and let u know for sure :)

  5. From the post the best take-away was "Don't let your hubby loose weight during the first month of marriage"!!

    If not a secret, can I ask what is that on top of the rice.

  6. I always go away from here homesich seeing your delicious kerala food, but then i amback agai to see them, isn't that depressive. Hi hi i just love all your traditional recipies, justlike this prawn on.
    My mom used to make these too.
    Looks super delicious.

  7. U know wat Shn?? I started reading your blog for recipes..but now..its 2 in 1... u write so well!!! i love reading ur blog! I have just started blogging recently.. its very plain..i am really inspired by your write up for each dish! I am definately going to improve on mine.. check my blog wen free!! its http://riascollection.blogsot.com/

  8. hey shn...amazing post..happy to read the genesis of ur blog

  9. A very honest post..thats the first impression i got reading it..and you have definitely go both groups on one line...For me it was indeed shocking when you mentioned in an old post of yours that you starting cooking only recently(now thats ages ago ;-P)and the sheer progress you made from that is admirable..

    I am someone who was never interested in cooking..but I was ofcoz a food appreciator (nice job it would be)..and I must say this blog has delighted me in both the recipe (a few of which i have tried) and the stories laced behind each one of it...thanks a lot for that!!

  10. I have never tasted this preparation before..i guess the prawns and mango would give an unique tangy taste..i like any curry with a raw mango flavour!!

  11. Glad I caught up with you early today!
    HeHe!! Yeah, our childhood friends would be very surprised to see out foodie blogs today. Life changes us so much, doesn't it? Got to roll with the punches, as they say! ;D

    Great looking plate there shn. You know, suddenly Trisha is interested in Shrimps too these days. Last week I had to buy some and make breaded and fried Shrimps for her! :))

    Can't wait for Super Bowl Sunday!!

  12. Hi Shn,
    You remind me a lot of myself. I came to the states when I was about 5. My mom was always an adventurous cook. Whatever she had a taste for she would make. Like a typical kid, it wasnt till I got married and married to someone who grew up in kerala did I start to really cook.
    But unlike most malayalee husbands, my husband like yours, he is very appreciative when he gets a good meal. It can be as simple as kanji and payar. But the sparkle in his eyes makes me want to cook more. Its been about 22 years now and he hasnt changed. At present I live in the western suburbs of Chicago. I truly look forward to each of your blogs. It is practically the first thing I look at each week. At present it is a little difficult to prepare your recipes as my laptop doesnt work. So I now have to write down your recipes in long hand, have you changed the format so that your readers cannot print or cut & paste. I realize many people may be trying to steal your recipes as their own but I think those who really want to do will try any way. So it would be great if I could just print out the recipe.
    I just use it for myself. Dont worry I would never take anyones recipe as my own. But in this day and age I dont blame you for being careful.
    Take care, cant wait for the next recipe.

  13. You are very honest and down to earth person..this is the impression i got after reading..Shn, your blog is the best for authetic kerala food...I usually read the whole story before going to the recipe..i look forward for your stories....thanks for such remarkable stories and recipes which takes me back to my childhood summer vacations at my grandparents house in Palakkad...


  14. It was a nice post. I have always admired the way you give the story behind, the wonderful presentation and of course the recipe itself. And I think most girls can identify with you. I also wasn't much into cooking back home. Even now when I go home, I never enter amma's kitchen. But here I do experiment and yeh it's fun :)

  15. first i have to say that i was very surprised to learn u weren't doing this for a long time.... i came across ur blog while searching for the perfect fruit cake recipe which was only a couple weeks ago.. and i am addicted to ur blog ever since!!!don't know if its the mouth-watering pics or the the way u present them...i hope u continue to insipre.

  16. I can well relate to your post here. Even now I try to tell people that I am not a great cook, but I do like to record for my own benefit in the blog, before it is lost out from memory. I love this prawn curry, have tasted it many times at a friends place.

  17. LOL, I know exactly what you mean... Passion for cooking, yeah right, it is more like passion for eating which drove me to cooking. :). And I totally agree with blogging about the basic naadan recipes, I remember a time when I had to look up even a simple pulisseri recipe. I am sure there are many out there like that.

    I am familar with this prawn+mango+drumstick combo as my mom used to make this, I always thought she made up the recipe. :)

  18. that looks terribly yummy, mango with prawns, mmmmm..., that must be delicious!

  19. I would belong to second group of friends who never knew in the good old days what shn had hidden in her palms. She was normal kid, who was never or seldom hyper and i dont think she revealed too much. The first time I saw the blog I was humbled. The passion behind the blog is what drew me . She wasnt bothered about showcasing the exotic never heard before recipes. Kanji vellom , cutlet , pazham pori , shared their limelight with the beautiful cake. I truly admire her spirit to give Kerala cuisine a place in world cuisine and when i read comments from bloggers all around the world I feel proud. Hey common, it is great to say Mishmash, I studied with her she is my friend. Thats what is called stealing (sharing)the limelight. CJJ kudos to you to for the wonderful behind the scenes work . You deserve it

  20. That was a wonderful read, really why do I blog, I think sometimes. Maybe more because of what I can write and thus get ppl to read !!!

    Can very well imagine your friends' reactions, now you know why I don't even tell my friends I blog ;-)

    A very different Prawn Curry for me.

  21. A very similar story got me cooking too. It's never too late to develop a new passion!

  22. Ok so u practically described every blogger's feelings ,rt from fumbling start,then posting like possessed, to the lull period and then back with bang
    Every blogger goes thru the same roller coaster of emotions i guess,its just that u gave wonderful words to that universal feeling;-)
    Though cooking is my passion,but at times (read many times)i wish someone else cooked for me on daily basis..it do take away loads of my time....and regarding that simple everyday food,then yes i do believe that its as important to blog about daily food ,as for some exotic ones.There is a general misconception that whole world know how to cook dal or make omlette or a decent tea,but i am amused by many emails that i get ,wherein ppl requests such simplest on earth recipes coz,they crave for that ROZ KA KHAANA after stuffing themselves with pizza,takeway food or more worse ,brimming with calories restaurant food..and all that they wish for is Dal rice....a typical Indian home made ,Dal rice :-)

  23. Hey Shn,

    I'm soo glad blogging never became one of your 'dead hobbies'...have I ever told you before how I faithfully scour through and try your recipes...? Well I have now :)

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  25. Nags, :) are u pakka veg now? or getting ur non veg dose regularly?

    Divya, yes, i remember vaguely...i think you left a message here too.....so thats how u decided to jump into the pool , huh? :)) I enjoy ur blog and recipes.....not heard much about konkani dishes....and u have such a treasure in ur blog....and it does show your passion too :)

    Raaga, yeah, i get it :) You cook so much Raaga....and blog even the simplest ones which is helpful for a lot of people....I still remember the admiration I had for you the first time I came across yours...:)

    Suchi, thanks :)

    Resh, thank you...and thanks for the feedback on the fish curry too....quite happy to know that you liked the prep :)

    Pramod, it's a big secret but dont mind sharing it with u ! it's a rough cut i made in a haste from a cheera thandu/red spinach stem :) thats all i could find on my kitchen counter to balance the look on my plate and i never thought it will catch someone's attention :D Btw, that thumb rule applies to wives too :P

    Happy Cook, though i have never met ur mom, she is so familiar to me , through ur blog and the comments u leave here....!

    Ria, thank you :) i checked out your blog....have fun :)

    Divz, thanks dear :)

    Mathew, your comments are like energy drinks! btw,i am intersted in a job for the position of food appreciator....i think we should start a consultancy:P pinne , I am surprised to learn that u have never tasted this prep....it's so common....add it to your list of must eats in next vacation :)

    Asha, looks like your young lady is developing some very interesting taste buds....send her to my place...will treat her well :D so all set for super bowl party? hope to see ur array of foods next wednesday :)

    Anon, I am so surprised and humbled to learn that someone so experienced like u is following this blog....thanks a ton for such warm remarks....and i wish i see the same glitter in my case after 22 yrs too :) About the print option, let me see what I can do with the current limitations I have.Thanks again!

    Rashmi, Thank you Rashmi....you ve been a great support ...but me down to earth ? hahaha...even my family won't buy that :D njan bayankara saadhanamaa :))

    Dhanya, pleasure to have you here and feel nice to get such a compliment from you :) I think u shd have been my twin sis....if mummy is around, whether it is her kitchen or mine, i dont even peep into the kitchen...but i will be right on time at the table :D here , i have no choice, :(

    Malli, hahah...i find 2 yrs a long time as i dont have a track record of continuing a hobby for more than a month or two :) Thanks a lot for nice words.....:)

    Maya, you re so right....for me this is the best way to record my mother's recipes...it saves the trouble of calling her at the middle of night to clarify a recipe again...and in my case i have a very bad memory too...so mostly, i find myself coming back to my own blog for clearing a doubt :)

    Sig, :D ditto....i need variety food and when u re away from home,especially india, i have no choice but cook on my own....so i am sort of forced to cook ! pinne...whether ur mom made it up or not, it is a tasty one right....one of my favs, especially with naadan chemmeen :)

    Akal, yes it is :)

    Pooja, Save all these for that documentary they would be doing about me !! :)) and I am preparing one for you when you release your autobiography.......am assuming that u wd invite me for the book launch :P njan next week vilikkam.....after ur superbowl party....

    Sandeepa, I enjoy your writing more...you re so natural....and thats one of the reasons why i keep coming back to ur blog and keep missing u when u disappear all on a sudden :P Pls never stop writing....:)

    Mallika, you re absoluetly right...but in my case cooking as a passion has not yet happened :)

    Alka, Thank you :) "There is a general misconception that whole world know how to cook dal or make omlette or a decent tea," hehehhe.....i was right in that group when i got married.....I was even scared to use pressure cooker....:O


  26. hahha...yes consultants are having a tough time now..ee sectoril pidichu nilkaam...

    yeah..am sure i ll love this coz i like both prawns and anything with mango...vannu vannu ippol seems like there is no dish which i dont like!;-D

  27. i love your honesty! and your writing style and honestly for me i like to come by more to read your posts rather than the recipes - I am sorry :|... your stories are like a shot to my own taste memories to remember to savour tastes long forgotten. It also reminds me that oh yah i can make this, this and that!!! no chemmen for me thank you, but i have some fish that needs to get made today for hubby so I am going to look around your archives. keep writing:)

    oh and we have crossed the stage of let hubby not lose weight oh god!! to hubby and me need to lose weight desperately!

  28. Mini, Thanks for letting me know :)

    Mathew,aum bhakshanaaye namaha ! :P

    Rajani, Thank you ver much for those series of messages this morning...I first thought it's all repetitive one until I started reading them :) Thanks a lot for going through my previous posts. Btw, nice profile pic :) Pls give my love and hugs to ur lil girl who is already into kanji-payar -chammanthi..:)


  29. Hey Shn,
    I have been reading your blog for about a year now...its my fav food blog on the web....u r very creative, gal...an excellent cook and a great photographer!
    I am a foodie and have thought about creating my own blog a million times...i have not been 'pushed into the crocodile pool' as yet! :)

    Wish you all the best.

  30. Why do you torture me so? Prawn, green mango, drumstick and coconut?! You are a lady that does not play fairly :)

  31. Okay, This is the food police. From where are you getting your hands on the red kerala rice? Please report back to the station or you will be persecuted.

  32. hi...ur blog realli superb!! wth colorful food pics and presentation..feel hunrgy each time i saw ur foods pics...well done...keep it up...raw mango n prawn sounds yumm..surely will give a try.....

  33. I am a regular here...you have one of the best kerala recipies. And I think I have tried out most of your seafood recipies. You have been a great inspiration. Checkout...I have posted 2 of your recreations. Thanks

  34. Hi Shn,
    First of all thank you for the wonderful recepies that u post.I have been following for abt a month I have tried out a few and its all turned out good.You have helped me be a better cook as I love to collect new and reliable recepies and try them out.I live in the east coast and it makes me wish that you were my friend who lives somewhere out here as there is so much to learn from you.Your blog has inspired me to cook.I love cooking but am just an average cook.Its like now I do not have to keep searching for a good recepie..I know i can rely on you...thank you again Mishmash.I am gonna try you Tiramisu soon...
    Congratulations too as i guess you just had a baby.I am sure you will get all the more creative as the lil one grows...so keep writing...


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