Allow me to say…..


to all my readers for being very nice to me. It has been more than 4 years since I jotted down my first blog post in a moment of passing curiosity. This blog has gone through bouts of hyperactivity, stretches of inaction and everything in between ever since. But for some reason beyond my brain, you have decided to stick with me, choosing to visit, even when this space was dormant for over a year. Such gracious acts should be remembered, and I will.


This post will be open for comments till the end of this month. The winner will be randomly picked, and will be announced here on Dec 1st.

Wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving and a relaxing long weekend. Try not to fret over your turkey, will you? We are going to take it easy, and visit our pals over the long weekend, so lots of chatter is assured to be on the table. Have a very nice time folks, and please enter your name for the drawing.

Here is a recipe for a sort-of – Indian -inspired-cottage pie – (but made with chicken instead) we made this weekend to ward off the cold weather blues.



Chicken pie with Indian spices

Potatoes – medium size – 4 nos

Cooked, shredded chicken – 2 cups

Green peas – ½ cup
Carrots-chopped – ¼ cup
Onion- chopped – 1 cup
Tomato- chopped -1
Garlic-minced – 1 tsp
Ginger –finely chopped -2 tsp
Jalapeno skin –chopped- 1 tbsp
Cilantro- chopped – ¼ cup
Turmeric – ¼ tsp + ¼ tsp
Paprika- 1 tsp
Black pepper –crushed – ¼ tsp+ ½ tsp
Cumin powder – ¼ tsp
Cardamom-crushed – 1 pod
Nutmeg powder – ¼ tsp
Cinnamon powder – ¼ tsp
Clove powder – ¼ tsp
All purpose flour – 2 tbsp
Coconut milk – ¼ cup
Oil – 2 tbsp + ½ tsp
Salt- to taste
Butter or cheese – 2 tbsp

Heat ½ tsp oil in a pan; when it is hot add ¼ tsp turmeric powder and ¼ tsp cumin powder, fry for a couple of seconds. Add coconut milk, stir well, and turn off the heat. Cook the potatoes, peel and mash with the coconut milk mixture prepared above, ¼ tsp crushed black pepper and salt to taste. Keep aside. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, add chopped onion, ginger, garlic and jalapeño. Sauté till the onion pieces turn golden brown, add all other spice powders, all purpose flour and sauté for 1 more minute,. Add carrots, green peas, chicken pieces, tomato, and mix well. Cook covered at low heat for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and add ½ cup water (or vegetable broth). Mix well, cook till the mixture thickens and all the water evaporates. Add chopped cilantro and mix.

Fill ramekins about 3/4th with the chicken mixture, and top with mashed potato. Fluff the mashed potato with a fork. Grate some frozen butter, or cheese over it. Bake at 375 oC for 20 minutes or till the potato layer turns crusty and gets golden brown specks
You can never eat just one

apple chips1

Apple chips are very easy to make, easier if you have a mandoline, but easy nonetheless. I have always used my knife for this purpose, but at times demand for the chips exceeds my supplying power, and my chopping skills go astray. If a certain someone in my household is reading this by chance, look no further to see what is in my wish list for this year’s Christmas. Wow, we are talking Christmas already, with due respect to all the months in the calendar, where did this year go?

apple chips2


Apples (like Gala or Pink lady or Granny smith) – as many as you like

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degreeF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. If using a mandoline slicer, slice the whole apple into very thin rounds. If using a knife, it is easier if you halve the apple first, anchor the half on the flat side on a chopping board and slice lengthwise as thin as possible. Now arrange the pieces without overlapping on the baking sheet. Bake/dry for 1 hour in the oven. Check to see if the pieces are sticking to the paper. Loosen the pieces if necessary, dry for 10 more minutes or till the pieces are crispy. Enjoy!
A bowl of noodles for the weather

At the beginning of summer, which now seems was like eons ago; I picked up a weakling of a lemon grass plant from a garden sale. No aspirations were harbored about brewing pots of flavored soup, liberally distributing bundles of the herb to my friends, freezing some to survive the winter or even selling some lemon grass to get rich fast ! All we wanted was to see if the plant will fare in our back yard, may be setting forth a leaf or two on the go, which will be put to good use in a soup. But as life will have it, we were able to do everything I have listed above except for the getting rich part, for which it turns out that we will have to wait!!

noodle cup

The plant is still going strong despite the weather getting colder. If it fails to come back next spring it will still be alright with us, the plant has served us enormously well already, I will be buying one again next year.
noodle cup2

This season brings steamy hot noodle bowls to our table once again, with a plentiful supply of lemon grass at hand; we have been making this favorite yellow curry noodle dish very often.

Yellow curry noodles recipe

*You can cook the noodles and make the sauce ahead of time and keep it refrigerated. Before serving, keep the noodles in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain. Heat up the sauce in a microwave oven. Then serve with freshly stir fried vegetables and meat

Rice noodles (any width) - 8 oz
Sliced mixed vegetables - 3 cups
Quick yellow curry paste - made using the recipe given below
Thinly sliced boneless chicken pieces - 1 cup
Chopped Thai basil - 4 tbsp + for garnishing
Chopped green onion - 2 tbsp + for garnishing
Chopped cilantro - for garnishing
Corn flour - 1 tbsp
Coconut milk - 2 1/2 cups
Soy sauce - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Lemon grass leaves - 3 leaves made into a knot
(or chopped stalk – 2 tbsp)

Yellow curry paste

Cumin - 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder - ½ tbsp
Ginger - 4 tbsp
Lemon zest (optional) - ½ tsp
Fish sauce - 1 ½ tsp
Brown sugar - 1 tsp
Chopped cilantro - ¼ cup
Turmeric - ¼ tsp
Cinnamon powder - a pinch
Lemon grass stalk chopped - 2 tbsp
White pepper - 1/2 tsp
Green onion chopped - 2 tbsp

Grind all ingredients together in a blender adding just enough water to make a smooth paste. You will need to use the entire recipe of the paste for this noodle dish, but you can easily scale up the recipe and freeze it for future use. Spread the paste in half inch thickness on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for 2 hours. Peel the parchment backing off; break the frozen paste into pieces and store frozen in a zip lock bag. When you need it you can simply take out the required number of pieces.

Preparing the noodle bowl

Boil 5 cups of water in a sauce pan. Add the dry rice noodles, cover with a lid and turn off the heat. After 20 minutes, drain the water, spread the noodles on a plate, and keep covered.

Heat ½ tsp oil in a pan, add the curry paste and corn flour, fry the paste for a minute with stirring, add 2 cups of water, stir very well to break apart clumps, add a bundle of lemon grass leaves (or chopped stalk) and cook till the mixture starts to thicken. Then add 2 1/2 cups of coconut milk. Taste the sauce and adjust salt. Turn of the heat. Add 2tbsp of chopped green onions, and 2 tbsp of chopped Thai basil. Before serving, reheat the sauce if needed and discard the knot of lemon grass leaves if using.

Thinly slice vegetables and keep aside (carrots, broccoli, choy, bell pepper, zucchini etc.) Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Add ½ tsp sugar, when the color turns to golden brown add chicken pieces and stir fry at high heat at for 4 minutes. Now toss the pieces with soy sauce. Add vegetables, ½ tsp of crushed ginger, 2 tbsp of chopped basil and stir fry for 5 minutes or till the vegetables are just about tender. Taste and adjust the salt.

To serve, arrange some noodles on a bowl, ladle ¾ cup of sauce over, and top with stir fried vegetables. Sprinkle with some chopped green onions, cilantro, and Thai basil.Serve hot.

Serves 4.
Spaghetti squash thoran


What else do you think we made with some spaghetti squash we had? THORAN! The quintessential everyday meal dish served with rice in Kerala and in many other Indian states, yet so unfairly denied a place in Indian restaurant menu cards. Versatility makes this dish popular, with a miniscule amount of creative thinking thrown in; you can make perhaps ten different thorans based on a head of cabbage! I am not saying anything further.



Thoran recipe
Spaghetti squash strands prepared – 3 cups
Cooked beans (Moth beans/Mung beans/Cowpeas) – 1 cup
Grated coconut – ¾ cup
Green chilies minced – ½ tsp (or less)
Onion chopped – ¼ cup
Cumin seeds – 2 pinches
Garlic – one clove, minced
Curry leaves – 10-15 nos
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Oil - 1 tbsp
Turmeric – ¼ tsp
Salt – to taste

Spread the prepared spaghetti squash on a chopping board and make several cuts with a knife to shorten the strands. Crush the grated coconut in blender adding turmeric and green chilies, or with a wooden spoon thoroughly mix the three ingredients in a bowl. Heat oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds. When it stops spluttering add chopped onion, chopped garlic, cumin and curry leaves. Cook at medium heat till the onion pieces are translucent. Add the prepared spaghetti squash and salt. Mix very well, till all the clumps break up. Add the beans and mix again. Turn the heat to low and add the crushed coconut mixture. Mix well, cover the pan with a lid and cook at low heat without stirring for 6- minutes. Serve with rice.

How to prepare spaghetti squash ?


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