Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Goan Style Masoor Amti

Every Goan or Manglorean house will always have something cooked with a coconut based gravy. Food somehow seems incomplete without that special ingredient. The method of cooking remains the same as some ingredients may change from households to households. But, this food is amazing and gives you a feel of home away from home.
I learnt to cook this food from my Mom. Well, I have changed my style a little bit from hers - but, the basics still remain the same. We do not cook this kind of food everyday at home and hence it has become a delicacy whenever we make it.


I cup masoor (whole red lentils)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 big onion
7 cloves garlic
1/2 inch ginger piece
1/2 teaspoon tamarind paste
2 tablespoons coconut oil (you ca use any other oil - but coconut oil works best)
5 kashmiri chilis (you can add more to make it spicy or less to make it less spicy)
2 tablespoons whole corinader seeds (akha dhania)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
1 teaspoon garam masala powder
salt to taste


Soak the masoor in 3 to 4 cups of water for about 4 to 6 hours. Wash the soaked masoor well and drain it. In a saucepan add 2 cups of water, the turmeric powder, the asafoetida and the soaked and drained masoor and let this mixture come to a boil. Once it boils, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes. This is to get the masoor cooked.
In a karahi - dry roast the whole coriander seeds and the kashmiri chilis for about 2 minutes. Remove them onto a plate. Now add the coconut oil to the karahi, add the chopped onions and garlic and fry till the onions become a nice golden color. Add the ginger and mix well. Now add the tamarind paste, the garam masala and the coconut and let this mixture roast for about 5 minutes - stir it continuously and do not let it burn. Add dry roasted corinader seeds and the kashmiri chillis to this mixture and let it cool.
Add a cup of water and grind this mixture to a fine paste. You can a little more water to ease the grinding - but, be careful not to make it too watery.
Add this mixture to the cooked masoor - you can use the same saucepan or use another one. Bring this mixture to a boil. Add salt as per taste.
Serve hot with steamed rice, chappatis or Dosas - even our humble bread tastes good with this. I serve it with some yogurt too.
I served this curry with waffle dosas (well, thats dosas made in a waffle iron).
Waffle dosas is something that I had seen on pinterest and a few blogs too. Its an interesting way to get your kids to eat the Indian dosas as the American waffles :)

My Mom's Yummy Vanilla Cake

MY mom used to bake this awesome cake at home almost once every month. The whole house used to smell so yummy with vanilla flavors floating in the air. Our neighbors knew instantly that a few slices of cake would be coming their way for their evening cup of tea. She still bakes the cake just this way and it is still one of the yummiest cakes I have ever eaten.

I love baking breads and cakes. I have experimented baking a lot of different types of cakes and lots of different types of breads too. But, her recipe is still the closest to my heart - and when it comes to baking a simple vanilla cake or a chocolate cake - I just run to this no fail recipe. The spongy and yummy cake is a favorite even at my home now. Thanks Mom for this yummy treat and the most awesome cake recipe. 

Sharing her recipe here for all the friends who have asked for this recipe over and over again. The picture here is of a chocolate cake I baked using this recipe for my Daughter's Christmas Party at school. Pardon me for the unflattering image as I just clicked it using my phone before heading for the party. Will bake this cake again and share new photos soon.


1 cup oil/ghee/butter (for best results always use butter)
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour (maida)
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk
4 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice (this is optional - but, mom always added a bit)


In a big mixing bowl - mix together the butter and sugar till all the sugar is melted. Then add the eggs and beat well till all is mixed well. Then add milk and maida little by little and keep mixing to avoid lumps. Add salt, baking powder, lemon juice and essence and mix well. 
Take a baking pan and dust it well - add the cake mixture to fill the pan to 1/2 to 3/4 capacity. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake it till the center of the cake when pierced with a toothpick comes out clean.

I generally bake this in my bundt pan - which is bigger than the usual 8X8 square pan. 

  • To make chocolate cake - mix 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder to the mixture and mix well.
  • To make layers - divide the batter into 2 parts - leave one as is and in the other one add 1/4 cup of coca powder and layer in the baking pan. 
  • I make strawberry cake - by substituting the vanilla essence with strawberry essence and 2 drops of red coloring - and to add some effect I add diced fresh or dried strawberries.
  • You can add dry fruits or tutti fruity to make a fruit cake - just dust them with all purpose flour and add to the cake batter before pouring it into the baking pan.
  • You can add two tablespoons of lemon zest and increase the lemon juice to 1 tablespoon to get a nice yummy lemon cake.
  • I have baked these into cupcakes too and they come out amazing.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Meen Mulakittathu - simple kerala fish curry

Dear Husband has been the master of the kitchen for a few months now. Thanks to my health and a recent surgery. He has made some real good food with instructions from me (sitting on a chair munching grapes). I will post all of those food pictures and their recipes soon.......... Oh Yes! he has made sure that I click pictures of everything that he has cooked int eh past few months.
I cannot say this enough - But, recovery would have been tough had it not been for his and our 3 year old kiddo's love and affection and constant care. Love them both to bits. I thank the Lord every second of every minute of every day for this.
Yesterday he joined his office after a 2 week leave (for my recovery). He was working from home and hence he shut his laptop at around 5:30 PM and came to the living room where kiddo and I were playing - He said he was tired of eating the frozen (home cooked) food and wanted to cook something for dinner. Well, we did not have a lot of groceries, as we were not making food everyday. Found some fish fillets in the freezer - onions, tomatoes, garlic and ginger is always available in the house - and spices......... well, every Indian house has a lot of spices always readily available.
So, we set out to make a quick fish curry that could be eaten with steamed rice and that could be cooked with minimal effort.


2 pounds fish - I used boneless and skinless swai fillets - you can use Tilapia, Catfish or any other fish of your choice.
1 onion - finely chopped
1 tomato - finely chopped
5 to 6 cloves of garlic - grated
1/2 inch piece of ginger - grated
2 strings of curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
3 teaspoons kashmiri chilli powder - you can add more if you like the heat 
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon tamarind pulp - kodampuli (fish kokum from kerala)  is used for this curry, since I did not have it at home, we used some tamarind pulp
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek powder
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 cups hot water
salt to taste
chopped cilantro for garnish


A clay pot is generally used to make kerala fish curries - Well, I have a stoneware pot and I used that - you can even use a non-stick saucepan or a karahi to make this curry.
In the vessel of your choice, add the coconut oil, when it gets hot, add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add the fenugreek seeds add the curry leaves and fry for a few seconds. Add the chopped onions and fry till they turn a nice pink color. To this add the tomatoes, ginger and garlic and mix well. Cook till the tomatoes are softened and the oil leaves the side of the vessel. Now add the turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander powder, fenugreek powder, tamarind paste and asafoetida and mix well. Keep stirring for about 2 minutes till the masala powders are well integrated and the mixtures get a nice red hue. Now add 2 cups of hot water (you can add more if you want the curry to be a little less thick). Add salt to taste. Cover and let this mixture come to a boil. Once it starts to boil, bring the heat to medium low and add the fish pieces one by one. Be careful not to stir this mixture a lot, or the fish will break. Simmer for about 20 minute on medium low flame. Check if the fish is cooked, else simmer for another 10 minutes. Shut the heat, cover the vessel and let this curry sit for about an hour (you can actually make it a day in advance and let it sit for the flavors to get mulled together). Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with steaming white rice.
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