Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Guest Host Event Announcement: Flavours of Cuisines

Hi Friends,
Julie of Erivum Puliyum has started a new series this year - Flavours of Cuisines. This will be a monthly event and Julie has graciously granted me the opportunity to host the series for the month of February with Mexican Cuisine.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Pavakkaya Sambaru/ Sambar prepared with Bitter Gourd

Bitter Melon / Pavaykka is definitely not one of the popular vegetables; you either grow to like its bitterness or you stay away from it. But bitter melon being an excellent source of vitamins, magnesium, folic acid, zinc, phosphorus and manganese, home cooks are always on the look out for recipes to incorporate this nutritious vegetable into our everyday meal.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Meen Achar/ Fish Pickle

Apologies if you came to this post expecting the recipe for an authentic Kerala-style fish pickle.

The style of pickle presented here is quite common to the coastal parts of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala; this one is my Grandmother's special. Contrary to the authentic fish pickle, fish is not heavily deep fried till it becomes hard. It is only fried till it is cooked through and then coated in a tangy sauce, very similar to a fish pickle sauce. Also it should be consumed within a week of its preparation, as its shelf-life is considerably less than a normal fish pickle. Nonetheless, we still call it a Meen Achar because it holds a very close resemblance. However, you will not be disappointed by the flavours and taste of this spicy, spine tingling fish pickle.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Black Sticky Rice Pudding

This Black Sticky Rice pudding comes from Thailand, the land of smiles. Black rice is a glutinous sticky rice is naturally sweet and nutty and has a dark purple colour to it. It has fibre and lots of antioxidants which makes this a healthy dessert. The rice has a bite to it, even after hours of cooking and when paired with coconut milk, toasted coconut, fresh fruit and ice-cream makes a complete nutty dessert with lots of freshness to it. For the people in Kerala, it will surely remind you of the Aravana Payasam.  

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Murg Kolhapuri/ Chicken Kolhapuri

The word Kolhapuri brings to my mind two things - Kolhapuri sandals that most of my friends had during college days and the famous Bollywood actress, Padmini Kolhapuri, from the 1980s. My relationship with Kolhapuri ended there until one day, my husband started talking about a well spiced, hot and ferociously red chicken curry that he ate from restaurants at Pune.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Goda Masala/ Kohlapuri Masala Mix

This spice is essential for the prepatation of Chicken Kohlapuri - the recipe soon to follow. While my friends have vouched for the Parampara Kohlapuri Masala mix, I always wanted to prepare the masala by myself.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Varuthu Aracha Chemeen Muringika Curry/ Shrimp and Drumsticks in Roasted Spices

The traditional curries of Kerala - Varuthu Aracha Curry. Common spices like coriander seeds, red whole chilly, fenugreek seeds  and cumin seeds are roasted (Varuthu) by tossing in a hot iron skillet until they are fragrant and then ground to a fine paste (Aracha) with plenty of coconut to prepare the Varuthu Aracha masala. The rich aroma penetrated through your nostrils which makes your mouth water to have a morsel of the spicy curry.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Spicy Beetroot Cutlet

Who has been to the Indian Coffee House and not fallen in love with with their spicy, crunchy beetroot cutets. It is the only place I've been to that serves beetroot in almost all their vegetarian dishes and their beetroot cutlets are my favourite.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Leibster Blog Award

Alright! I've been nominated for a Leibster Blog Award by Shibi of Flavz Corner. Since I am new to blogging and had not heard of this award before, my hunt for the origin of the award began. A few google searches has led me to believe that this award was established sometime in 2010 and liebster in German means "beloved" or "favourite". The award was started in Germany to encourage bloggers with less than 3000 readers on their blog. Though most of the rules still remain the same, they have been slightly tailored - I guess it could be because of the increase in the number of bloggers now and also different bloggers have come up with slightly different rules.

The rules that were given to me for accepting the Leibster Blog Award:
1. Write 11 random facts about yourself.
2. Answer the 11 interview questions you've been given by the person who nominated you.
3. Fabricate 11 new questions.
4. Nominate 11 bloggers who have less than 200 followers and mention them in your post.
5. Tell the person who nominated you, along with the people whom you've nominated.

So Shibi, Thank You, once again for nominating me for the Leibster Blog Award. It is indeed an encouragement and inspiration for me. Also, it has actually made me think about myself. Coming up with 11 random facts was the toughest part of accepting this award.

Some facts about me :

1. I love travelling and also make sure that I try out different cuisines every time I visit a new place.
2. If I like a dish, my next challenge is to re-create it at home. I am patient enough to wait for any number of trials before I get it perfect (to my/ my family's taste).
3. I get bored preparing the same cuisine every day. Hence, I keep switching between Kerala, North Indian, Thai, Chinese, Mexican and Continental cuisines, to help preserve variety in the kitchen.
4. I clean my house due to necessity and am not over-savvy about cleaning. Though, I am picky about how clean things should be.
5. I love reading - mysteries, adventures, cooking, baking and religion are top on my list.
6. I love singing and dancing.
7. Two things I hate - sports and water. But with 3 boys in the house who die for it, I am forced to get involved in some kind of sports and water activities. Lesson 1 - Have to learn how to swim.
8. It takes me months to establish a friendship but I am always available to help anyone who is in need.
9. For better or for worse, I forgive, but I do not forget. Though I have no intentions of taking it to the grave, I am just born not to forget things easily.
10. I donate blood once every 3 months. You never know whose life it can save, so I encourage you also to do the same.
11. I am an IT professional, who is seriously thinking of a career change, to have a better work-life balance. I have a few plans up my sleeve but waiting for the best opportunity. Wish me luck!

Questions I was asked :

1. What was your motivation to start a blog?
With my friends asking me for recipes, I felt that blogging was the best way to log and share my recipes. It is also an easy way to store some recipes that you get right, after months or years of trial.

2. What are your hobbies other than cooking?
Volunteer work. When I was in India, I used to get time to visit Old Age Homes and Orphanages and spend some time with the old people and young children there. Though now, in Australia, this is not easy. But I find time to drive old people to church and back home. I also get involved with other activities in my Parish Church during my free time.

3. What is your comfort food?
Wheat flour Puttu and Chicken Curry, Rice flour Puttu, Payar Mizhukku and Pappadam and Semolina Upma.

4. Which world cuisine do you like the best?
Other than Kerala cuisine, I love Mexican.

5. How do you like to spend your holidays?
Anything to do that helps me relax. Cramping up a lot of things to do, is not my idea of a holiday. In short, a visit to my hometown to visit my family and friends is not holiday for me :).

6. Which is your favourite tourist destination?
Hmm.... That is tricky. Europe, I guess. Coz I've never been to the place and it just looks too beautiful on photographs and movies.

7. What is the most inevitable item in your kitchen?
The dish washer. Anything that makes cleaning easy for me is sure to find space in my house :).

8. What kinds of books do you like?
As I said before, adventures, mysteries, cooking, baking and religion.

9. What would you do to help charity work through your cooking skills?
There are many families in our community, who cannot even buy a decent meal for Christmas. I want to help prepare a Christmas meal for these families. However the formalities to get this started and going is very long. I am looking for more volunteers and maybe an organisation, to help with this purpose.

10. Who is your favourite celebrity chef?
Jamie Oliver. I haven't tried much of his recipes. But he always gives good tips for us to follow in the kitchen. Also he has a purpose for cooking and he inspires all around him.

11. Which is your all time favourite restaurant?
Sree Arul Jyothi Vegetarian Restaurant, M.G. Road, Thiruvananthapuram.

My questions to the blogs I've nominated for the Leibster Blog Award:

1. What is it about you that makes others happy?
2. What gives meaning to your life?
3. What did you want to be when you were 11 years old?
4. If didn't make it happen, why not?
5. Is there anything that you would avoid in your kitchen?
6. Which one would you prefer - a trip to the Mountains or Islands?
7. If you were given a chance to change something in your life, what would it be?
8. Which brings more joy to your heart - cooking or cleaning?
9. What is your idea of a good movie?
10. While travelling by train, would you prefer to sit facing forward or backward. Why?
11. Is blogging a necessity or pass-time for you?

There are 100s of blogs and recipes that continue to inspire me. But I am passing on the the Leibster Blog Award to the following blogs. Thank you ladies for inspiring me and encouraging me, to keep cooking and to keep peeping into your blogs every day.

1. Mahas Lovely Home
2. Nimmy's Kitchen
3. Cooking in Mommy's Shoes
4. Siri's Food Flavours

5. Food Lovers
6. Home Cook Food
7. Hydrebadi Cuisine
8. Indian Food Nest
9. Kauser's Kitchen
10. Laavy's Kitchen
11. Rani's Gourmet

Once again Happy New Year to all my lovely friends!!!!!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Fruit Salad Sundae

2012 just flew by. 2013 is here to stay. Wish you all a very Happy and Blessed New Year - a year with joy, peace, love, hope, share and care.