Fish !

Have you ever had rice served with three kinds of fish curries, two types of fish fries and no less than two other varieties of fish preparations accompanying it ? If you have not, you must time travel to Arthinkal of some 20 years ago. That is what we served to the people we absolutely loved, when they came visiting, in that quaint coastal village, back in the days, etc etc :)

A simple fish curry


Fish, cut into 1 ½ to 2 inch pieces- 2 lbs.

Onion - thinly sliced - 1 ½ cups

Ginger minced - 4 tbsp.

Garlic minced - 2 tbsp.

Curry leaves - 15 nos

Fenugreek - 3/4 tsp.

Green chilies chopped - 1 tbsp. or more if you are using paprika

Kudam puli - 5 nos

Coconut milk - 1 ½ cup

Coconut oil - 2 tbsp.

Salt - to taste

Kashmiri chilly powder or Paprika - 2 1/2 tbsp.

Turmeric - 1tsp

Dry roast fenugreek seeds, grind to a fine powder, keep aside. Soak Kudampuli in water. In a wok, heat oil, add onion and curry leaves, sauté till the pieces are translucent. Add salt, continue to sauté until the onion slices are golden brown. Add ginger, garlic, green chilies, curry leaves and sauté till tender. Add turmeric, stir well. Add the coconut milk and keep sautéing till coconut milk almost completely dries up ( This is the most important step, make sure to stir well  until coconut milk dries up, but be careful not to burn it. At this point you will see oil separating).Add 3 cups of water, chilly powder/paprika and soaked kudampuli to the cooked coconut mixture, mix well. Heat till the gravy starts to boil. Add the fish pieces, cook covered in medium heat for 10 more minutes. Turn off the heat. Sprinkle with the fenugreek powder. Cover with the lid again and leave it covered for at least 1 hr. before serving

A grape drink

The memory is so vivid that I really don’t know what it is about :) There was a grape juice drink that we used buy from a restaurant in the town where I stayed while in school. We always shared this drink among friends in a dedicated effort to stretch our pocket money. The deep purple juice was always served in a tall glass with a long stemmed spoon in it to help you scoop up the pieces of cooked grapes floating in it. It had a fancy name and also a fancy price. I remember the money we paid, but the name has since left my brain. So here it is, a grape drink!

Cooked grape drink


2 lb. black grapes

1 cup sugar ( or more )

Wash grapes thoroughly, discard stems. Reserve 1 ½ cups of grapes. Keep the rest of the grapes in a sauce pan, pour 6 cups of water or more to cover the grapes. Boil for 5 minutes. Using the back of a ladle crush the grapes, keep boiling for 5 more minutes. Add sugar, cover the pan with a lid, turn the heat to low and simmer for 5 more minutes. Add more sugar if needed at this point. Turn off the heat, cool. In a blender set at low speed, blend the cooked grape mixture for just one minute and not more. Using a sieve strain the cooked grape mix. Add two more cups of water to the sieve to rinse the grape skins. Mix the strained juice and store in refrigerator till use (store for up to 2 days refrigerated). Now sit back, relax and peel the reserved grapes. Cut each grape into small pieces. Microwave for 2 minutes, cool. You can clean and peel more grapes if you would like to add more texture to the drink.

Dilute the grape drink with water if needed. To serve , fill a glass 3/4th with the juice, top with 1 tsp. of cooked grape flesh. Alternatively you can serve the drink topped with chopped up grape jello.

Yield ~ 12 cups

We wish you a Merry Christmas !

Light !

Just because I can never have enough Christmas bokeh , here is a plateful of cardamom doughnut holes placed right in front of our Christmas tree :) 

Cardamom doughnut holes

Recipe : Add 1/2 tsp. cardamom powder to this King Arthur Flour's Vermont Doughnut Holes recipe. Sprinkle with cardamom sugar after lightly brushing with melted butter


Pictures from a gingerbread village !

The child made these mini houses from a Wilton gingerbread village kit, and the mom did the landscaping :)

All is merry in the village and they have a Christmas tree up !

The pink tomato sauce

During the Thanksgiving weekend,I casually sat and reflected about many scattered matters. My other two options were to clean the whole house or fold a pile of washed clothes, I decided to take the tough way out and sat thinking for the longest time. Then purely by chance I remembered the pink tomato sauce ! This sauce is now long forgotten, replaced by the omnipresent tomato ketchup that you pour out of a bottle at will. But back in the times when you made almost everything from scratch because it was your only option, this sauce was a popular accompaniment for meat cutlets served in wedding feasts at Arthinkal. The sauce has personality, it is sweet with the right amount of zest, has beets in it, therefore it is pink !

Beetroot - tomato sauce


Peeled cubed beetroot - 1 cup

Blanched , seeded tomatoes-chopped - 3 cups

Minced onion - ¼ cup

Green chilly skin finely chopped - 1 tbsp

Garlic - 2 cloves

Cloves - 2

Cinnamon stick - ½ inch length

Sugar - 3 tbsp

Salt - ½ tsp or to taste

Vinegar - 3 tbsp

Cheese cloth - A small piece

Coarsely crush garlic. Keep the crushed garlic, cloves and cinnamon on the cheesecloth, and tie the cloth up together to make a bundle. Mix beetroot, tomatoes, onion, green chilies, the spice bundle and salt in a saucepan, add a cup of water.Bring it to a boil, keep boiling for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and

keep the pan covered for 30 minutes or till all the beetroot pieces are tender. Turn off the heat, and keep the pan covered till the mixture cools down to room temperature. Remove the spice bundle. Puree the rest of the mixture till very smooth in a blender. Pour the puree back into the sauce pan, add sugar, adjust the salt and cook with constant stirring till the sauce becomes thick- it will take about 5-10 minutes. Add vinegar, mix well and allow the sauce to cool. When the sauce cools down transfer to clean dry bottles and store refrigerated for up to one week. This recipe yields ~ 2 cups of sauce. Serve with meat cutlets.

Light !

May your inner light shine so bright year around, Happy Diwali !

Karikku payasam ( Tender coconut payasam )


Tender coconut pulp - 2 cups ( more the merrier)

Condensed milk - 14 oz ( 1 can)

Tender coconut water - 5 cups

White rice cooked - 1 ½ cup

Cooked tapioca pearls ( optional ) - 3 tbsp

Cardamom crushed - 2 pods

Pistachio crushed - ¼ cup

Coarsely chop the tender coconut pulp, keep aside. In a food processor grind the cooked rice till each grain breaks into 3-4 pieces. Take out half of the ground rice and then grind the remaining to a smooth paste. In a saucepan boil the tender coconut water,add the rice paste, semi ground rice, chopped tender coconut and tapioca pearls for 5 minutes with constant stirring. Add the condensed milk and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Turn off the heat, add crushed cardamom and pistachios. Serve chilled.


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