Cooking · India · Recipes · Sea Food · South India · Tamil Nadu · Tirunelvelli

Tirunelveli Simple Prawn Masala

Prawns are a family favourite .Ever since we discovered, frozen deveined prawns in our local supermarket, I always try to have some in my freezer so that I can make this recipe quickly. This recipe is so simple and and so easy to make , goes really with curd rice, sambar rice or with rasam and rice that I make it when I am lost for ideas to make for dinner.

Ingredients :

250 gms Shelled and deveined Prawns

1 cup chopped Red Onion ,( I like to use shallots or pearl onions)

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1 tsp Fennel seeds

1 tsp red chilli powder ( I use medium spicy)

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1 tbsp ginger garlic paste

a handful of chopped coriander leaves

2 sprigs curry leaves if available

a little less than 1/4 cup water

2 tbsps sesame oil

Salt to taste

Method :

Heat oil in a skillet.

Add the fennel seeds and curry leaves if available. Let them splutter.

Add the chopped onions. Let them become nearly caramelised.

Add ginger garlic paste, sauté till the raw smell goes.

Add the chopped tomatoes, sauté until mushy.

Add in all the powders, sauté until the raw smell goes and oil separates

Pour in the water, let it cook for a minute

Add salt

Add the prawns, let the masala coat over them and the prawns turn a little pink.

Cover and let it cook for a few minutes.

Cook until the prawn are well cooked but not over cooked

Then open the cover , increase the temperature on the stove, ( or flame to medium high) let the water evaporate a little and the masala becomes semi thick.

Garnish with coriander leaves .Serve.

Cook Book Scribbles

Keep track of how much water you add by adding a little at a time as the prawns release some water too when covered.

I also used dried curry leaves because I did not have fresh ones at hand.

Edited to add the video version as well

Cooking · Recipes · South India · Vegan · Vegetarian

Potato Fry

Potato fry is a very simple dish that my children absolutely adore. So much  so, that for the almost one year that we stayed in India, they took it for lunch with curd rice. Almost every single day!! Yes, almost every single day! May sound a little weird but that’s how much they loved it and still do.

I have a video tutorial to go with this recipe . You can check it out here.


Ingredients :

2tbsp  Oil

1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds/Black Gram

2 cloves Garlic (crushed)

A pinch Asafoetida

1 large Red Onion Chopped

4 medium Potatoes Chopped ( Soak chopped pieces in water)

1/4 tsp Turmeric powder

1 tbsp Sambar Powder

Salt to tasteDSC_0897

Method :

Take a pressure pan or a thick bottomed pan.Add 2tbsps of oil, add mustard seeds and asafoetida.DSC_0917Add Chopped onions, sautés till pink.DSC_0919 Drain water and add the chopped potato pieces.DSC_0923Wait for a minute. Add turmeric powder, Sambar powder, and sauté till the potato pieces are well cooked. Sprinkle a little water if necessary. When the potato pieces are dry and look fried, remove from stove.DSC_0930

Serve with curd rice , sambar rice or rice and rasam, or lemon riceDSC_0942








Egg · Recipes


In our family, we love eggs in all forms…..scrambled eggs, omelette, in curries.When I was a kid, there was hardly a dinner without eggs at home………my grandfather bred hens as a hobby so there never was a dearth of eggs in our home.

Whenever I am stuck with the menu for the day,I would ask J and he would say make Muttai Kuzhambu. aka Egg Curry. It’s his absolute favourite.

In this recipe, the egg is broken into the curry , unlike the usual version where the egg is boiled separately and added to the curry.

This is a my mom’s recipe, which I altered a little to use the ingredients that were available to me. (She would use fresh coconut paste ) Also ,I like to blend everything in the mixie as in my opinion it saves time .



4 Eggs
1 tbsp Coriander Seeds
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
3 dry red chillies
1 medium sized onion
1 small Tomato
A tiny pellet (about an inch ) tamarind ( soak in a little water and squeeze out juice)
Salt to taste,Oil
A small amount Coriander leaves

To season

1/4 tsp Tumeric Powder
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/4 tsp mustard seeds

2 cloves garlic (Chopped into thin pieces) small amount of chopped onions


Dry Roast Coriander seeds, cumin seeds ,red chilies till slightly golden in a skillet.

Blend the dry ingredients with onion,tomato in a mixie to a fine paste adding a little water.


Pour oil in a pan, add the garlic pieces, fenugreek seeds  and mustard seeds.

Add the chopped onions , the garlic pieces and allow the onion to brown slightly.

Then add the ground paste. Sauté the ground paste for a minute .Rinse out the mixie bowl with approximately two small  cups of water, Pour into the pan.

Squeeze out the juice from the soaked  tamarind, add the  tamarind water.Add salt to taste.Let it boil till oil separates.

After a minute, lower the flame add in the coconut milk..Allow to simmer .

Break the eggs into a bowl and gently without breaking the yolk, slide them into  the curry.

Close with a lid and let it simmer till the eggs become firm.When done and the oil separates , sprinkle with coriander leaves .


Serve hot with Rice and a vegetable kootu.


I have also shared a video of this Egg Curry on my YouTube channel

This egg curry also tastes good with roti or pita bread (kubuz)

If you decide to try it out,  please let me know what you think.

Breakfast · Cooking · Dairy Free · Dessert · Gluten Free · Recipes · Rice · Snack · Sweet · Vegan · Vegetarian

How to make Rice dumplings in sweet Coconut milk aka Paal Kozhukattai

Growing up in Nagercoil, a small town in South India, paal kozhukaatai was one of the very traditional dishes that was made often in my home. Sometimes for breakfast and sometimes as an evening snack.

I favour savoury dishes over sweet ones and I was not a big fan of the dish.  In general ,during my growing up years,  I didnot appreciate many of Nagercoil breakfast dishes. I was a more’ Paandi girl’ as they called me then. who preferred idli/dosa over puttu and idiyappam!

As the universe often conspires, I ended up getting married to a man who would eat the Nagercoil breakfast dishes all three times of the day !! So I learnt to make puttu , idiyappam, Aapam and paal kozhukaatai !

And like the icing on the cake for J, Lil B also loves ‘paal kottai ‘ as he calls them in his broken Tamil.

Overtime, I have come to appreciate all these dishes, I mentioned. Specially the subtle sweet  delicate creamy  taste of coconut milk and rice flour dumplings with a hint of cardamom for flavour and aroma. Above all its one of the easiest quick dishes to make that never fails to bring a smile  on my dear ones’ faces

Ingredients to serve 4

1 cup Roasted Rice flour

1/4 cup thick Coconut milk

1/4 cup light coconut milk

1/2 cup Boiling water

1tsp oil


2 tsp sugar

2 cups Water

5 tbsp Sugar ( add or reduce to taste)

4 Cardamom – crushed


Take flour in a mixing bowl, add salt and sugar. Pour boiling water slowly little by little mixing with a wooden spoon to form a soft smooth dough.Pour in the oil. When it cools down enough to touch, form into small balls .Taking care not to knead too much

Keep a couple of balls aside. Mix the thin coconut milk with water and heat it to boiling point in a saucepan.Boil 2.5 cups of water in a medium size sauce pan

When the water starts boiling, add in the rice flour balls

When the ball start looking glassy ,Reduce the flame to low.

Add  sugar and mix gently. Continue to cook . Take a couple of teaspoons of the thin coconut milk mixture from the saucepan,  dissolve the balls  in it , to form a smooth mixture.

Add this dough mixture back into the saucepan. Mix well. Once it begins to thick, add the thick  coconut milk and stir well. 

.Add crushed cardamom and mix well. Let the flavour of the cardamom blend in .Remove from stove top after 5 mins.Take care not to boil the coconut milk .

Serve hot or cold.

Cooking · Dairy Free · Dip · Gluten Free · Recipes · Vegan · Vegetarian

Roasted Beet Hummus

Lil B and I love watching My Kitchen Rules. It’s our thing. We love the mom and son team of Anna and Jordan . Lil B hopes one day we will be just like them cooking on some cooking competition. Haha. However he does love helping me in the kitchen.Let me tell you, he has a mini repertoire of dishes he can make for us.

“You should write a family cookbook Mumma ” he said . “That’s why I’m writing the blog darling” I said, “So you can have all the recipes for the food I made when I’m dead and gone”.

‘Don’t ever use the word “dead and gone ” he admonished me. ‘I don’t like the term at all !!’

So I’ve now been made to  pink promise cross on heart  and all, never to say the words again.

Coming to the recipe, J found the recipe online somewhere he cannot remember and modified it to suit our tastes.

Having lived in the Middle East and being so used to the beautiful flavours of the middle eastern street food, this became an instant hit.

Not only does it bring  with  it  memories of eating out from our favourite Turkish restaurant,it also gives them a chance to have a taste of Kuwait at home.

Stored in an airtight container, it stays fresh for a few days in the fridge,tastes great with fresh cut cucumbers, carrots or  crackers or pita bread or pita chips.Making it the perfect mid morning, late evening snack.Whats more, its so easy to make. The only timetaking process is the roasting of the beets.

Roasted Beet  HummusDSC_0111

Ingredients to serve 4

3 large cloves of garlic 
2 x 400g tins of chickpeas 
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 1/2 tbsp tahini ( sesame paste , available in super markets)
salt to taste
fresh black pepper to taste.
½ tsp  ground cumin powder
1 medium beetroot.
4 tablespoons of olive oil


Peel the skin of the beetroot, chop into big chunks . Preheat oven to 200 degrees C

Wrap the beetroot chunks in aluminum foil and roast them until soft and tender, takes about half an hour to an hour in my oven. When done, remove and let it cool.

Drain chick peas and rinse well. Keep aside. Peel garlic 



In a blender, add the cooled down beet, chickpeas, and garlic.Blend into a paste.

Add tahini, cumin powder lemon juice, salt to taste. Blend till hummus is smooth and creamy like a dip.  Add pepper and drizzle olive oil over it.Serve with pita, or with veggies.


Cookbook Scribbles :

Add water only if necessary.

Taste and adjust  the seasonings as you like.

In a pinch I have also used precooked beets.

If its too much work roasting the beets, skip and just blend the other ingredients and you still have a yummy hummus dip 😉






Briyani · Cooking · How to · Recipes · Rice

How to make J’s chicken Briyani

biriyani 2Briyani or Biriyani or Birinani as Big B calls it, is a family favourite. Specially for Big B ,it has been his favourite ever since he was a wee little boy . My mom loves making it for him whenever we are there.Left to himself,he will eat it three times a day ,all year.

Briyani being a tasty one pot meal that gets ready in no time once the preparations are done, J has taken it upon himself to make it often during the weekends for lunch or dinner. Thought I will share the recipe with my readers as  we all love this version.

Ingredients to serve 4 

375 gms Chicken ( we like to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs.)

250 gms Basmati rice

2 Onions  thinly sliced

3 tbsp Greek yogurt

2tsp chill pd

1 tsp coriander pd

1/4 tsp turmeric pd

1/2tsp Garam masala

1small bunch fresh coriander leaves

2 green chillies

2 bay leaves

1″ stick cinnamon

2 cloves

4 garlic

1″ ginger

2tsp ghee/oil

1tsp oil

1/4 cup Kara coconut milk.



Make a fine paste of ginger and garlic using a pestle n mortar.

Take chicken in a bowl , add the yogurt, chilli powder, coriander pd, Garam masala powder, ginger garlic paste , salt and 1tsp oil. a little chopped coriander. Half of the whole spices.Mix well and keep aside for 1/2 an hour.

Wash the rice and soak for 10 mins.( ideally soak the rice just when you start preparing the cooking )

In a skillet, pour 1tsp ghee add one half of the onion and sauté till they turn golden brown. Keep aside.

PicMonkey Collage 1.2

In a pressure cooker, pour 1tsp ghee, add other half of the whole spices, when they splutter add the other half of the onions.

When they turn pink, add in the marinated chicken . Sauté for 5 minutes. Add 1 and 3/4 cup water. Allow the water to boil . When the water boils add the coconut milk and just as it begins to boil add the rice, and coriander leaves.. Mix once and close. When the steam comes, place the weight, cook for 10 mins.

After 10 mins, let the pressure come down completely . Open .sprinkle the fried onions. Serve with cucumber raita.


Cucumber Raita

1 medium cucumber

1/2 cup greek yoghurt

1 small green chilli

1 sprig mint leaves

salt to taste


Chop the cucumber into small cubes. Beat the yoghurt till smooth. Add the diced cucumber , finely chopped green chilli and mint leaves. Season with salt. Chill and serve.




Cooking · How to · Recipes · Soup · Winter

How to make Pepper Rasam aka Milagu Rasam

rasamRasam is another one of  those recipes that I make often during Winter. With the flu virus doing the rounds in our home, I make pepper rasam almost everyday! Served with piping hot rice, scrambled eggs and papadam, it is one of our favourite comfort food  .
Sometimes I just like to drink it as it is so soothing to the throat.Trust me,it really is simple yet wonderful cure for cold and chest congestion.
Even though there are so many varieties of Rasam, I make milagu rasam or Pepper Rasam often because of how easy it is to make.

In traditional tamil feast, rasam was often served after Sambar a lentil based vegetable stew , to aid with digestion .My dad often said that to earn the title of a good cook , one had to first learn to make a good rasam.  For according to him, getting the flavours right for this very simple dish was an art in itself.

Ingredients to serve 4

rasam 3


To grind Coarsely
1 1/2 tsp whole black pepper
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 cloves garlic

To season
1 tsp ghee/oil,
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
2 dry red chillies
Curry Leaves

1 small tomato.
a gooseberry size of tamarind
Coriander Leaves a few sprigs (torn with hands not chopped)


Soak Tamarind in 1 cup of hot water for about five minutes and take out the pulp. Keep aside.

Take a cup of water in a bowl,Cut Tomato into four pieces , add salt, microwave on high for one minute. Mash the boiled tomato roughly and Keep aside

Mix the tamarind pulp water ,boiled mashed tomato water and the coarsely ground mixture. Add one more cup of water. Keep aside.

In a sauce pan heat oil/ghee, add mustard seeds, asafoetida ,dry chillies and curry leaves. Let it splatter, Now add the pepper water to it. Keep on the stove until just before it starts to boil.Do not allow to boil.

In the serving bowl, add the coriander leaves,salt to taste. Pour in the Pepper rasam over the coriander leaves and salt into the bowl.Serve hot with rice or drink as soup.


DSC ras

Beverages · Cooking · Drink · How to · Recipes · Winter

How to make Turmeric Pepper Milk

turmeric milk.jpgTurmeric in the Tamil language is  called Manjal, which when directly translated means yellow. Obviously the name came from the colour of the spice. Not only was Turmeric or Manjal a commonly used ingredient in  almost all our south Indian preparations , it is also often used as a home remedy.

When we were little and hurt ourselves when playing,and there was blood involved, the wounds were washed and dressed with a mix of crushed small shallots and turmeric.Women applied turmeric paste on their faces to protect the skin from acnes and other skin blemishes. The most common medicinal use however, is for common cold and cough.

Whenever we got the sniffles or scratchy throat, during the monsoon season in India, my mum always  made manjal paal aka  turmeric pepper milk for us to drink . Although I did not appreciate it much during childhood, I appreciate it a lot now as I find it very smoothing with its amazing healing properties for cold , sore throat and cough during Winter here.

Since Winter is the season where these ailments are largely rampant in most homes, I thought I will share this simple but very effective time tested  Winter remedy with my readers  here today.

Ingredients to serve 1

ingrMilk :   1 cup

Turmeric :1/2 tsp

Black Pepper: 1/4 tsp

raw sugar/honey or palm jaggery to taste.


In a small saucepan, take milk.Heat on medium heat uncovered, until almost boiling.Add in turmeric and black pepper. Stir well.Reduce heat  and  and let it simmer for  five minutes. When the spices have blended evenly with the milk , remove from flame.Add raw sugar/honey or palm jaggery to taste. Serve warm.


Cookbook Scribbles

Turmeric milk also aids  with getting a goodnight’s sleep at night.

Cooking · Fish · How to · Recipes · Sea Food

Dry Masala Fish

serve Growing up , I never knew that cooking a recipe from a cookbook was looked down upon as the hallmark of a bad cook!

I was the typical eager beaver tween trying out recipes from magazines and random recipes book I happened to chance upon, in my grandparent’s kitchen.
My grandparents ,my parents , my brother , cousins , uncles and aunts were very indulgent and appreciated all the efforts  that went into following a recipe from a cook book and  presenting the dish at the table.I had no clue I could go wrong with a recipe from a recipe book.Not because every recipe I tried was a success, but because there was always someone aka my mom at hand, ready to help and convert the dish into something edible .

It was only early into my married life that I heard disparaging remarks about the connection between bad cooks and recipe books! Since it was not from J, I did not care about those remarks. I happily carried on with my penchant for trying out recipes from Recipe books with J cheerleading me  and being a willing guinea pig for all my attempts.Later when the children came along, they also joined us on the culinary journeys we undertook through these recipe books.
Not only did it expose us to a variety of  regional  Indian and International cuisines.It has also helped us learn quite a lot about different cultures and be open to new ideas.

With age and experience I kind of know which ones will work or won’t .what to add and what to leave out so that it will satisfy the tastebuds of my family.

My family  is the ultimate touchstone for the recipes I try. If they give the thumbs up, the recipe goes into my Cookbook, if its thumbs down, then I never make it again.

The other day at the library I chanced upon Madhur Jaffrey’s book and decided to check it out in the hopes of trying out new recipes. I gave the book to the boys and asked them to choose a recipe each from the book.

Big B was hoping to find a recipe for Butter Chicken which sadly this book did not have. Lil B is fond of fish and so he chose the Dry Masala Fish recipe.


The recipe, turned out to be one of those easy and quick , no fuss , yummy preparation that everyone loved.

Recipe adapted from “100 Essential Curries”by Madhur Jaffrey

Ingredients to serve 4

Salmon Loins- 250 grams
Salt to taste
Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp
Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
Garam Masala Powder – 2tsp
Ginger -1/2 ” grated
Garlic – 2 cloves-grated
Lemon Juice  -1 tsp
Greek Yoghurt -2 tablespoon
Vegetable Oil enough to smear on fish.


Rub salt on the washed and dried fish filets.Keep aside for 10 mins.Mix yoghurt,lemon juice,the tumeric powder,chilli powder,garam masala powder
grated ginger and garlic .Rub this mixture on to the fish fillets on both sides so the masala is spread evenly on both sides.
Place the fish on a baking sheet on the oven tray.Drizzle oil on top and keep aside..
Now preheat the oven in the grill setting at 185 degrees C.When the oven is sufficiently hot, place the oven tray in the middle in oven

Grill on one side till it becomes slightly brown, turn to the other side to get the same colouring.fishRepeat turning once more until it is golden brown evenly on both sides.

Serve hot.DSC_0117