Kale !!

Here is some poetry for you.

Kale I may,
eat some day.
But hey,
that day was yesterday!

The end

 Raw kale thoran
A thoran is a Kerala style mildly spiced stir fry of vegetables seasoned with plenty of  grated coconut. This recipe veers slightly off the course since kale here is not cooked, would have never told you about this otherwise :) Cooked kale is not my pal, don't tell anyone.

Kale very finely chopped - 4 cups

Carrot finely chopped - ¼ cup

Beetroot finely chopped - 2 tbsp.

Grated fresh coconut - 1 cup

Mustard seeds - 1 tsp.

Cumin - ½ tsp.

Turmeric - ¼ tsp.

Green chilies chopped ( optional ) - ½ tsp.
Garlic minced - 1/2 tsp.

Lemon juice - 1 tsp.

Olive oil or coconut oil - 1 tbsp + 1 tsp.

Salt to taste

Add 1 tbsp. olive oil, lemon juice and salt to the chopped kale. Mix well with your hands, pressing the Kale down frequently for 2-3 minutes. Toss in the finely chopped beetroot and carrot, mix well and keep aside. Heat 1 tsp. oil in a small pan. When the oil is hot , add mustard seeds, wait till it stops spluttering. Add cumin, green chilies and  garlic, stir fry for a couple of seconds. Add coconut, some salt and ¼ tsp. turmeric,mix well. Turn the heat off. Sprinkle the seasoning over the marinated kale mixture in the bowl. Toss with a wooden spatula, pressing down firmly. Keep covered for 5 minutes before serving

The Arthinkal Dal

Okay there is no such thing, I just made it up, easy !

If you ask a random lot of people from India what their comfort food is and jot down all the answers, you will notice a rather high incidence of a three letter word. That word will be “Dal” which translates simply in to “lentils”. Dal is a preparation of lentils, a collective name for a simple sustenance accompaniment to rice or roti and to many the fondest remembrance of the way things were done in their homes. 
We have Dal recipes attributed to entire states, ethnic groups, villages and even households. That is why we have such culinary gems like “My Dal”, which must be just as good as “Your Dal” which in essence is your own take of your “Grandma’s Dal” which passed through a state of being your “Moms Dal” while you were growing up.

What we are talking about today is one such Dal out of the many million forms in which it exists and I am calling it “The Arthinkal Dal” :) which hopefully will convey the point that this recipe has its roots in Arthinkal, my hometown.

I am not quite sure if everyone in Arthinkal makes Dal this way, but my mother surely does and as a result I do too. We both love our quaint little village and so I have decided to commemorate :)

Happy weekend everyone !

The Arthinkal Dal

Split yellow lentil - 1 cup

Thinly sliced pearl onions - 2 tbsp.

Whole pearl onion - 2 nos

Curry leaves - 10 nos

Coconut oil - 4 tbsp.

Chilly powder - 1 tsp ( or to taste)

Salt - to taste

Cooking lentils for this recipe is the most important part of getting this curry right, along with the use of some good quality coconut oil. To achieve this add 2 ½ cups of water to the lentils along with the sliced pearl onions, 5 curry leaves and 2 pinches of salt. Heat the pan till the water comes to a rolling boil At this point, lower the heat to a minimum ,cover the pan with a lid and cook for 15-20 minutes. You might want to check it after 10 minutes. When the lentils are ready for the next step it will be soft but still holding its shape. Remove the lid,using a wooden ladle mash about ¼ of the dal, adding some water if the mixture is dry. Crush whole pearl onions with the remaining curry leaves using a stone mortar . Add it to the cooked lentil along with the chilly powder. Turn the heat to high and cook for 2 minutes. Turn of the heat and add the coconut oil on top, cover with the lid,do not mix. Open the lid 5 minutes later, stir well and serve with rice

All you need is......

ten minutes or less !!!! What were you thinking ? 

Here is a versatile, made in a jiffy chocolate shot cake, called aptly so as it is baked in a shot glass in a microwave oven. It doesn't get any easier than that!

Happy Valentine’s Day, revel in the delights love brings you!

Chocolate shot cake

Making of this cake happens in three simple steps. Bake the cake, moisten with flavored light syrup to take it out of the mundane mug cake realm, and then top it off with a dollop of whipped cream.


¼ cup flour

1 egg

1 tsp. sugar½ tsp. baking powder½ cup dark chocolate chips

1 tsp. cocoa powder

12 shot glasses


¼ cup sugar

¼ cup warm water

¼ tsp orange extract

Whipped cream for topping/ cocoa and chocolate shavings for decoration.

Melt chocolate chips by microwaving for one minute. Add softened butter, sugar and mix well till the mixture is glossy. Add the egg and blend well. Add cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and mix well till the batter is smooth. Dispense the batter equally into 12 shot glasses. Do not fill more than a quarter of the shot glass used. If you are making the dessert for two, divide the batter into 2 coffee mugs. Microwave for 20- 30 seconds at high for the shot cakes and 30-40 seconds for the mug cakes. You might need to adjust the timing according to the power settings of the microwave oven. You are about done.

Now prepare the sugar syrup. Dissolve ¼ cup sugar in ¼ cup warm water. Add ¼ tsp orange extract, mix and pour about 1 tsp each on the shot cakes.
Serve chilled topped with whipped cream, decorate with cocoa powder and shaved chocolate.

There are ways to make this dessert extremely indulgent.

Rum orange shot cake

Make rum syrup by mixing the prepared syrup with 2 tbsp. rum. You could add some more rum to the syrup and call it Rum orange extravaganza chocolate shot cake or something equally charming

Chocolate ganache shot cake (as seen in the picture)

Make a runny light ganache. Melt 1/4 cup chocolate, mix in 1 tbsp. butter, 4 tbsp. warm water, ¼ tsp. orange extract and spoon over the cake after poking 2-4 holes on the cake with a skewer stick

Duck Pepper Piralan

It was like a wisp of fading memory, hence in grayscale :)

Made some Duck piralan the other day, a spicy curry about which I have memories going back to many years ago. Alappuzha, the place that I am from is a coastal landscape with waterways, backwaters, lush green paddy fields and a thousand little ponds strewn all over. This abundance of water once supported a thriving duck farming industry, which now unfortunately is facing hard times. We were spoilt for choice with fresh fish, and a special indulgence on a day we are having guests over could very well be a duck curry. No wonder that Karimeen( Pearl Spot fish) pollichathu, and Kuttanadan Duck curry are the two most often cited culinary accomplishments of our part of the country.

Duck piralan is a spicy curry where the gravy is reduced enough to evenly coat the pieces of meat. It is very aromatic and tastes best the next day. 


Duck meat- cut into pieces - 2 lbs.
Cumin - 1 tsp.
Black peppercorns - 1 tbsp. to roast and 1 tbsp. or more to garnish
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp.
Cardamom - 3 pods
Whole coriander seeds - 3 tbsps.
Cloves - 6
Cinnamon - 1 two inch piece
Star anise - 1
Garlic - thinly sliced ¼ cup, whole 5-10 
Ginger - julienned ½ cup + chopped 1 tbsp. 
Green chilies halved - 4 
Turmeric - 1 tsp.
Vinegar - 1 tbsp.
Tomato very finely chopped - ½ cup
Curry leaves - 15 
Pearl onion - sliced thin 1 cup + chopped 1 tbsp.
Coconut oil - ¼ cup
Ghee (optional) - 1 tsp.
Salt - to taste

Heat a pan, dry roast Cinnamon, cloves, coriander, black peppercorns, cardamom, star anise, fennel seeds and cumin, stirring often for about 2 minutes in medium heat. Turn of the heat, transfer to a bowl. Now grind the roasted spice mix to a fine paste along with 1 tbsp. sliced onion and 1 tbsp. ginger by adding just enough water to get the blender going. Marinate the duck pieces for at least 30 minutes in a mixture of 1 tbsp. of the above spice mix, ½ tsp. turmeric, 1 tbsp. vinegar, and ¾ tsp. salt. 

Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a frying pan; add the sliced garlic, ½ tsp. turmeric, half of curry leaves, 2 slit green chilies and quickly sauté for a minute. Add the remaining ground spice mix and tomatoes, stir fry for another minute. Now add the marinated duck, and stir fry at high heat for about 2-3 minutes. Turn the heat to low, cook covered for 30 minutes. 

While the curry is cooking, heat the remaining oil and fry sliced onions till golden brown. Drain and keep in a bowl. Fry the remaining ginger, garlic, curry leaves and green chilies one by one till it begins turning brown, reserve. After the duck meat is cooked, turn the heat to high, add the fried ingredients and stir fry at high heat till the gravy thickens and coats the meat pieces evenly. Turn off the heat, add ½ tsp. ghee, and sprinkle with ½ tsp.- 1 tbsp. coarsely crushed black pepper. Mix and keep covered for 20 -30 minutes before serving

Summer !

Today is one of those lucid summer days which makes you believe that anything is possible. Know the ones when your entire backyard gleams like a big blurry ice cream sundae topped with glistening streams of golden caramel running down? Today is that kind of a day. On such days I close my eyes and dream wide and far, but almost always ends up thinking about getting on to an escalator for a change. Suddenly all my little ambitious thoughts comes to a halt . Some things are better left untried J On the other hand; frying some okra, taking some pictures, and posting it in the blog after about two and a half years looked completely feasible. So here it is, because today is beautiful!

Spicy crunchy fried okra

Okra – 12
Turmeric – ½ tsp
Chili powder – 1 tsp
Chickpea flour – 1 tsp
Rice flour – 1 tsp
Salt – ½ tsp (or to taste)
Oil – to deep fry

Trim and halve okra, keep in a bowl. Sprinkle all listed ingredients except oil over the cut okra pieces, and mix well with hands. The mixture will be dry; please do not be tempted to add some more water. Let it marinate for at least 15 minutes. Heat oil in a pan, and fry the marinated okra pieces till golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Have some with rice; snacking might work just as well.

Off we go to coconut land !

This fall we will be walking around in flip flops, basking in the sun, strolling in verdant stretches of beaches,slurping on fresh coconut water every now and then to rev up our spirits. Not really but close ! We are off to Kerala for a month long vacation,although we surely will be walking around wearing flip flops ,this time it is all about spending most of our time driving back and forth on NH47, the main thoroughfare in my home state, shuttling between the preparations for two weddings in the family. My brother and T’s brother are both getting married.

We are looking forward to seeing most of our extended family this time and to facing all that comes with it :) We will be back in time for Christmas, until i see you all again, keep having fun. Here again is a cake, made for a friend’s baby shower.

A deep sea party!

sarah 4th-1

Our little girl who would like to be known hereafter as “BIG GIRL SARAH” celebrated her 4th birthday last week.

sarah 4th-3


She wanted a mermaid cake; I made one, turns out now that she had the deep sea princess Ariel in her mind. She is very happy about the cake I am assured, but the mermaid’s hair should have been the color red!


That is the fun with a 4th Birthday, you realize that your itsy bitsy, once flannel bound bundle of joy has a very detail oriented plan about everything !

sarah 4th-2

A quote from her favorite Dr. Seuss book Horton Hears a who describes it best.

"A person's a person, no matter how small."


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