Chicken Vindaloo

It is snowing now; the strange white stuff does not fall from the sky very often where we live. When it does and accumulates to anywhere near 1 inch, we call it a snow storm and make snow men with zest. A certain person makes chicken vindaloo; I am not naming names, but will share a recipe with you today.

vindaloo 1

After being surrounded by so much food trivia these days, we now know that vindaloo, originally had no “aloo” in it. The name is derived from Portuguese words for wine and garlic. But I wouldn’t be upset if you decide to throw in some potato chunks into the recipe that we have here, the curry can definitely stand it

vindaloo 2

Like many other Goan recipes Vindaloo is a blend of the best of both worlds. The spice mix is very easy to make, as you do not need all the components of the garam masala, but having some Kashmiri chilly powder in your pantry is very helpful.

vindaloo 3

Chicken Vindaloo

Chicken pieces (bite size) – 2 lbs
Garlic cloves – enough to fill ¼ cup
Ginger chopped – ¼ cup
Whole cloves – 8 nos
Black pepper – 10 nos
Cinnamon – One 3 inch stick
Cumin – 1 tsp
Kashmiri chilly powder – 3 tbsp
Vinegar – ¼ cup
Onion thinly sliced – 1 ¾ cup
Oil – 3 tbsp
Salt- 1 tsp
Cilantro – to garnish

Heat a thick bottomed pan, lightly brush with oil. Add garlic cloves; roast it for about five minutes at medium heat, frequently tossing with a spoon. Do not let the cloves char. Transfer the roasted garlic cloves to a bowl. To the hot pan now add whole cloves, black pepper and cinnamon and roast for a minute, add cumin, stir well, turn off the heat and quickly add the chilly powder. Mix everything together with a spoon. Let it cool down. To a blender jar add all the roasted ingradeints, ½ tsp salt, ginger and vinegar. Grind to a fine paste. Pat dry the chicken pieces with a paper towel, add the ground spice mix, and toss very well to coat. Cover the bowl and refrigerate over night (at least 6 hours)

On the next day, heat a pan and add half a spoon of oil. Add ¾ cup onions, sauté until tender, do not let the onions change color. Transfer to a blender jar and grind to a smooth puree. Add to the marinated chicken and mix well to combine. Heat a large pan for making the curry. Add 1 tbsp oil, when the oil is hot add the remaining onion pieces and sauté till golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain excess oil on a paper towel, keep aside.

Add 1 tbsp oil to the same pan, when the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces, and stir well for the first 1 minute. Now keep the heat at medium, and stand back till the chicken pieces start caramelizing. This could take 5-10 minutes. Toss the pieces occasionally to help with even browning. The more time you spend on this step, the tastier the curry gets. After some time you will see oil separating. Now add 1 1/2 cups of water and caramelized onions, give the curry a final gentle toss with a spoon. Keep the lid on, and turn the heat to medium. Let the curry slowly simmer for the next 20 minutes. Turn of the heat and keep 5 more minutes with the lid on before serving. Serve garnished with cilantro. I some time add some sautéed strips of jalapeno skin at this point, but that is purely optional. Serve with plain cooked rice, or with flat breads.

* If you are not able to find Kashmiri chilly powder use half regular chilly powder and half paprika.

The marble cake ! What are you making amma? Marble cake, YUM ! Oh.. But why honey bee , why?

My child then launched herself into a frantic search under the couch, inside a box, and unearthed a couple of marbles she plays with, picked it up, puffed a weensy sigh of relief and left the place without looking at the cake again. Now may I ask, why do we loose our inherent ability to connect the dots as we grow up? Offer me many leads on anything and I am still clueless. When you are three you need only one to get going! Chocolate vanilla marble cake is one of the three desserts I fondly remember from when i was young. Back then it was always served plain with out any frosting which undoubtedly was the best way to enjoy a cake with such intense milky taste and a melt in the mouth texture.


Unlike I did while making this cake you see in the photo, mix coco with only 1/4th of the batter, which helps in getting a finer marbling. There are many ways to make this well working recipe taste even better. Add 1 tsp of instant coffee granules to the coco mixture and you could call it a mocha marble cake, or just add ¼ tsp instead and make people wonder about what kicks the chocolate flavor up a notch in the cake. Substitute milk with evaporated milk and the cake tastes out of this world, trust me.


I am sending this post to the Kerala kitchen event hosted by Ria this month celebrating recipes from or inspired by the cuisine of the state

Vanilla-Chocolate Marble Cake

Recipe All purpose flour – 1 ½ cup Corn flour/starch – ¼ cup Sugar – 1 cup Butter – ½ cup (1 stick) Eggs -3 Baking powder – 2 tsp Vanilla essence – 1 tsp Coco powder – ¼ cup Milk- ¾ cup Salt – ½ tsp

Make sure all ingredients for this cake are at room temperature. Pre-heat oven to 350 degree F. Butter and flour a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Mix all purpose flour, corn starch, salt and baking powder with a wire whisk for about 1 minute, keep aside.

Beat softened butter with sugar till it is light and fluffy. This step is very important to get the right texture for this cake. You will have to mix at medium speed if using a stand mixer for about 6 minutes. Now add eggs one at a time mixing in between. Add vanilla essense.Keep mixing for 2 more minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Add the flour mixture in four batches, alternating with milk. Mix till everything is well combined. Add 4 tbsp boiling water to coco powder, mix well with a spoon. Take out 1//4 th of the batter to a separate bowl and whisk in the coco mixture. Mix very well. Spoon the white and chocolate batter in an alternating fashion to resemble a checker board. (Use a big spoon for white and smaller one for chocolate to make it easy) Once you spoon in all the batter, tap the pan twice strongly on the work bench to remove the gaps between the two batters. Now run a knife deeply through the batter going from one side to another from one end to the other in a swirling fashion. Repeat the swirling process 2 more times.

Bake for 40 minutes or till a tooth pick inserted at the center comes out clean. Keep the pan on a wire rack and let the cake cool for 10 minutes. Unmold the cake and allow to cool down completely ( ~ 1 hr). Enjoy with a cup of tea.

* I used Hershey's Special dark coco to get the deep chcolate color you see in the cake
Craving street food

This post is for you if you crave street food and good health (not necessarily in that order) all at the same time. Indian street food dwells in a realm of its own. That is where interesting flavors first got juggled together, red food color was whisked in with zest and monosodium glutamate was never put under a taboo. Who could resist the reddish orange fluorescent glow of a piping hot plate of chilly idli, eaten from a brightly lit peddler stand where a tea samovar is always brewing? You can then enjoy whatever you have ordered listening to the cacophony of cast iron spatulas pounding on giant cast iron griddle in the process of making kothu parotta, to the tang of which to this day I am an addict. Also, I have suffered dearly for it. That is all I am saying.

Kothu parotta-2

You could order a kothu parotta, from many of the restaurants in India now, it is that time in the country, when big hotels are running street food stands. Also you could easily make something very similar at home according to your own terms, with out compromising the taste, with out adding MSG or food color or anything that annoys you even if that is broccoli! Here is how.

Before we begin, please suffer though some trivia. In India, you would make this with shredded up porottas (not to be confused with parathas), a flaky oh –so-good flat bread, which is toothsome to eat on its own. However, the
making of porottas requires talent, patience, training and a good amount of vegetable shortening called Dalda, all of which I am in short supply. So I usually make some crepes, over cook them, shred, chop some vegetables and throw in some left over chicken curry if I have it, stir fry everything together with some spices and call it a complete meal. To make everything immensely better, these days I use whole wheat crepes, and declare it healthy, with out compromising the taste of course. I am starting to develop an affection towards using King Arthur Flour Company’s white whole wheat flour these days, that way you could be on a secret little mission to serve whole grains to the family and they will never have a clue! KAF Company is not paying me a dime to write this, but I am still doing it because I have a good hunch that you will like it too.

Kothu parotta - 3

If you don’t have left over chicken curry, you have to make something which vaguely tastes so, by following a quick method described below, which should only be used for the purpose using in this recipe. It will not really taste that great otherwise as a regular chicken curry.

Kothu parotta - 4

Spicy Stir fried crepes (Indian street food style)

*Crepes chopped - 4 cups
Onions cut into ½ inch squares - 1 ½ cup
Ginger- finely chopped - 2 tbsp
Garlic - finely chopped - 1 tsp
Green chilies -cut into rounds - ½ tsp
Carrot thinly sliced - ½ cup
Bell pepper sliced - ½ cup
Cabbage shredded into long strips - 1 ½ cups
Tomatoes - cut into 1 inch pieces - 1 ½ cup
Zucchini/radish/or any other vegetable - ½ cup
Green onions- chopped - 1 cup
Cilantro chopped - ½ cup
Boneless chicken pieces from a chicken curry -shredded to pieces - 1 cup
Gravy from the curry - 4 tbsp
Vegetable bouillon cube - 2
Cumin - ¼ tsp
Fennel - ½ tsp
Black pepper - crushed - ½ tsp
Lemon - 1
Oil - 2 tbsp

Heat Oil in a wok. When the oil is hot, add cumin and fennel, quickly followed by onion, ginger, garlic, green chilies and crushed bullion cubes. Stir fry for two minutes. Then add carrot, bell pepper, zucchini, and stir fry for a minute. Now add chicken pieces, followed by gravy and toss very well to mix. Add chopped crepes and cabbage, stir fry for 1 more minute at high heat Turn the heat to low and add tomatoes, crushed black pepper, half of shopped cilantro, half of green onion. Toss very well to mix everything. Serve piping hot with a wedge of lime squeezed over, sprinkled with cilantro and chopped green onion Serve with a simple cucumber raitha.
*Recipe follows

All purpose or whole wheat flour - 2 cups
Water -1 ½ cup.
Salt -¼ tsp

Mix all ingredients together in a blender to make a thin batter (crepe/dosa batter consistency). Heat a griddle, brush lightly with oil, Spread ¼ cup batter in a thin layer. Cook for a minute. Turn it over and cook the other side, till brown spots form. Lift it from the griddle and keep uncovered on a baking tray. Make crepes using the whole batter. When the crepes cool down, roll two of them up, and shred with a knife

Quick fix chicken masala
(If you don’t have left over chicken curry)

Boneless chicken pieces - 1 cup
Garlic chopped- ½ tsp
Ginger chopped - 1 tsp
Tomato chopped - ½ cup
Clove crushed -1
Fennel seeds crushed – ¼ tsp
Cinnamon powder - ⅛ tsp
Chilly powder - ½ tsp
Paprika - 1 tsp
Coriander powder – ½ tsp
Cilantro chopped – 2 tbsp
Salt – ¼ tsp

Heat a sauce pan, when the pan is hot, add all ingredients except tomato and chicken. Stir to combine (for less than 1 minute). Now add tomatoes, chicken, salt and ½ cup water. Mix everything together and cook covered till the gravy coats the chicken pieces. Cool and store till further use. This amount of masala prepared substitutes the chicken pieces and gravy listed in the recipe.

Cucumber raitha
Finely chopped cucumber – 1 cup
Yogurt -1 cup
Minced onion – 1 tbsp
Minced green chilies – ¼ tsp (or less)
Salt – to taste
Mix everything together in a bowl. Keep covered for 10 minutes before serving.

Indian food and blogging

Food blogging is one of the most enlightening activities I have ever done. It is such an amazing feeling to be surrounded by so much talent and dedication. Together, my fellow food bloggers capture the most amazing food pictures, bring out the beauty of simple things, demystify the complicated and then most importantly remind all of us that cooking is essentially all fun.

spinach cake 1

To me many of these blogs also offer a revised understanding of the diverse cuisine I root my feet deeply in. You know this already; Indian food served in restaurants world wide represents only a minuscule fraction of the country’s intensely diverse cuisine. Each state in India has its own very unique dishes that the people living in a neighboring state might not be even aware of. Also with in these states lie niches of culinary identity emphasizing the fact that unless you purposely make an effort to understand it, you will never get a glimpse of it, even if you are living close by.

This could sound like an exaggeration, but it is not! The delicious, twelve layered
chatti pathri is as much of a foreign dish in my neck of the woods as potato gnocchi, yet the Malabar region from where the delicacy is from is in my home state Kerala and is only a couple of hours drive away from the place I lived many years. Of course the situation has improved with the advent of local travel cookery shows in TV, but it seldom cross language barriers.

spinach cake 2

This is where Indian food blogs are increasingly playing the part in unraveling the secrets of dearly local Indian cuisine. When people share an heirloom recipe or reminisce on a local favorite dish in the town that they grew up, or blog about a popular street food from a place they lived in India, I am sitting here in front of the computer, feeling very lucky that I chanced upon it. Almost 6 years into reading Indian food blogs, I am increasingly getting illuminated about the umpteen ways to cook curry, make a pulao, or make a dessert from just plain milk and sugar!

Thank you fine people !
Five Indian dishes I never knew about before I started blogging.

Bakkar wadi

Lemon Sun pickle

Naksha Bori

Dal Dhokli

Mango rice

The following is not an authentic Indian recipe, but an inspired creation based on the comforting flavors I like in an Indian style snack. Serve it with a cup of tea on the side. These toasted cakes will happily go very well anywhere a falafel goes, most importantly in wraps.

Toasted spinach cakes

Garbanzo beans/Kabuli chana – 2 cups
Whole wheat flour - 1/4 cup
Onions finely chopped – 1 /2 cup
Ginger minced – 2 tbsp
Spinach chopped - 2 cups
Coriander leaves chopped – ¾ cup
Cumin crushed – ½ tsp
Jalapeño chilies chopped – ½ tsp
Baking powder – 1 ½ tsp
Oil – 3-5 tbsp

Soak garbanzo beans in water for 6 hours. Drain, and grind it along with ginger and jalapeño to a coarse paste in a blender. At this point take out half of the mixture out. Continue blending the remaining half till the mixture is smooth. Mix both coarse and smooth purees and stir in the whole wheat flour. Add onions, spinach, coriander leaves, baking powder, cumin, and salt. Mix very well to combine. Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan, spread the mixture evenly in the pan (you can use a baking pan of any dimension; make sure that the mixture is spread to half inch thickness). Loosely cover with Aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degree for 15 -20 minutes or till a tooth pick inserted at the center comes out clean. Cool the cake for 10 minutes in the pan. Brush the top of the cake with some oil. Turn it over to a parchment sheet, and brush the bottom part also with oil. Cut out shapes using a cookie cutter like I did, or simply cut into squares. Heat a pan, brush generously with oil. When the pan is hot arrange the cakes on top of it. Cook for 1-2 minutes each side, or till you see toasted dark brown spots on the cakes. Serve with coconut chutney and of course tea!


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