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.

Happy Halloween !

Here is a stuffed mushroom recipe to scare you, Happy Halloween ! 

Stuffed mushrooms

White mushrooms - 24 nos

Minced chicken breast or minced beef or minced uncooked prawn - 1cup

Panko bread crumbs - 1 cup

Parmesan cheese grated - 3 tbsp.

Onions finely chopped - 1 cup

Garlic minced - 1 tsp.

Ginger ground - 1 tsp.

Fennel seeds crushed - 1/2 tsp.

Curry leaves finely chopped - 1 tsp.

Olive oil - 4 tbsp

Green chilli minced - ½ tsp or less

crushed black pepper - ½ tsp

Salt - to taste

Wash mushrooms, detach and reserve the stems. Pat the cleaned mushrooms dry on paper towels. Chop the mushroom stems finely. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a pan, sauté the onions till translucent . Add garlic, ginger, curry leaves, green chilies and fennel seeds, sauté for 2 more minutes at medium heat till the onion begins to turn golden. Now add the chopped mushroom stems, salt and sauté till the mixture dries up. Turn off the heat and keep aside. In a bowl mix minced chicken/beef or prawn with the sautéed onion mixture, ¼ cup panko bread crumbs and crushed black pepper . Mix and keep aside. Sprinkle the clean mushrooms with salt and toss the with 2 tbsp olive oil. Fill each mushroom with the prepared filling and arrange on a baking sheet. In a bowl mix panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and 1 tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle this mixture on top of the stuffed mushrooms and bake at 350C for 20 minute or till you see the mushrooms releasing moisture. As soon as the baking is done transfer the mushrooms to a another baking sheet so that the shrooms don't get soggy in the liquid released while baking

Soup for dinner

I love everything about fall season, the thousand shades of yellow everywhere, the lingering rain( which we are yet to see), and the wind whirling the fallen leaves around. There is so much going on in nature that I really need my time to sit and soak it all up :) , therefore I make this soup and call it dinner and sometimes lunch too. It really is a complete meal.

Mexican spiced chicken and rice soup


Corn kernels - ½ cup

Cooked black beans- 1/2 cup

Cooked brown rice- 1 cup

Boneless chicken small pieces  -1 cup

Onion chopped - ½ cup

Canned crushed tomatoes- 2 cups

Garlic, minced - 2 tbsp.

Cumin - ½ tsp.

Coriander powder - ½ tsp.

Cilantro, finely chopped - ¼ cup + more to garnish

Tomato paste- ¼ cup

Paprika - 1 ½ tbsp.

Black pepper - crushed - ½ tsp.

Salt - to taste

Celery seeds - ½ tsp

Lemon - 1

Oil - 1 tbsp.

To garnish


Sour cream

Cheddar cheese or Mexican cheese blend or Pepper Jack cheese grated

In a food processor grind the cooked rice till each grain breaks into 3-4 pieces, keep aside. Heat a sauce pan, add cumin, dry roast for 1 minute, transfer to a bowl, crush and keep. Heat oil in the same sauce pan, add onions and garlic and sauté till translucent. Add coriander powder and celery seeds stir well. Quickly add chicken pieces, some salt and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients along with the crushed cumin at this point followed by 6 cups of water, adjust the salt. Mix , cover and cook for 30 minutes at low heat. Gently stir, add the crushed black pepper followed by the juice from one lemon . If the soup gets too thick, add hot water to bring it to the desired consistency, readjust the salt. Mix well, serve hot topped with grated cheese, chopped cilantro, avocados and sour cream.

Serves a hearty meal for 4 people


Panchara palpayasam

I now officially enter the week of nostalgic ramblings, please bear with me. This Friday marks the day of Onam, the state festival of Kerala celebrating the glorious days of yore. Getting together with family and friends and sitting down to enjoy a splendid vegetarian feast known as ‘Sadya” served on a banana leaf marks an important part of the celebrations. There is also a sense of relief and restfulness in my head and a lingering sense at the back of my mind that now since the exams are over I will have more time for my meandering ways. This passing sense of ease is rooted on those days eons ago when as school children we all finished the term exams just before the Onam holidays began. I am never the one to let go off such peaceful thoughts ever , even if I am not writing exams any more !

Payasam is THE dessert of the Sadya spread, and there are many ways to make it using different ingredients. Here is an easy recipe for a timeless classic, Panchara palpayasam- a rice payasam flavored with sugar and milk and nothing else, made the easy way using a pressure cooker.

Panchasara pal payasam ( Made in a pressure cooker)

Rice - ( broken rose matta variety) - ½ cup

Sugar - ½ cup+ 2 tbsp.

Milk -3 cup

Water - 2 cup

Wash the rice, drain, mix with the rest of the ingredients in a pressure cooker. Lock the lid on ( keep the pressure regulator off) heat till you see small wisps of steam coming out of the vent pipe. At this point place the pressure regulator weight on the vent pipe. Now wait till you feel that the cooker is going to let out the first whistle. You will know it by instinct :), or keep an eye on the regulator weight, it will begin to shake a little. Now turn the heat to low and focus on doing something else. Come back to the pressure cooker 45 minutes after and turn off the stove. Open the pressure cooker after another 30 minutes or so, after letting out any residual steam. This payasam tastes best when served at room temperature. I love it chilled as well.

Cherry almond cake

This cake is too good to be existing, really ! Whole wheat flour, cherries, whole almonds, and a no stress mixing method, but the result is a moist and tender cake which is served best with a cup of black tea.
Cherry almond whole wheat cake

Whole wheat flour - ½ cup

Whole almonds - ½ cup

Softened butter - ½ cup

Sugar - ¼ cup

Baking powder- 1 tsp.

Eggs -2

Vanilla extract - 1 tsp.

Pitted cherries - 20-25 nos

Confectioners sugar ( Optional) - 1 tsp.

Mix baking powder and whole wheat flour gently with a wire whisk.. Pulse whole almonds with 1 tsp sugar till coarsely ground, add to the flour mix, mix again with a wire whisk. In a large bowl, using a wire whisk beat butter, remaining sugar and eggs together till it is combined ( 3-4 minutes), slowly add the flour mix and gently combine with a wooden spatula. Pour into a greased and floured 9 inch tart pan. Evenly arrange cherries on top, bake at 325 C for 20 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a skewer, it should come out with tender crumbs attached. Serve dusted with confectioners sugar.


Happy 4th !

To the country I have come to love, more by each passing year, HAPPY BIRTHDAY !

Mascarpone- berry custard tart

Almond tart shell

All purpose flour-1 ½ cup

Almonds-3/4 cup

Sugar- ½ cup

Salt - 14/ tsp.

Softened butter-9 tbsp.

Egg yolk - 1

Grind almonds with sugar in a food processor till coarsely ground. Add rest of the ingredients and pulse till the dough comes together and not more. Press the dough evenly on a tart pan, cover with cling wrap and freeze for at least 2 hrs. Pre-heat oven to 350C. Remove the cling wrap from the frozen tart shell, line the shell with Aluminum foil, arrange pie weights or dried beans on top. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights, bake for another 12-15 minutes or till the shell is golden brown. Cool completely on kitchen counter.

Mascarpone custard

Mascarpone cheese - 1 cup

Milk - 2 cups

Egg yolks -2

Corn starch - 3 tbsp.

Vanilla bean - 1

Sugar - ¾ cup

Unflavored gelatin - 1 tbsp.

Mix milk, eggs and cornstarch in a saucepan. Add vanilla bean, gelatin and sugar and cook in medium heat with constant stirring till the custard thickens. Remove the beans, scrape seeds and add it to the custard. Mix well, cover and refrigerate for 2 hrs.


Chopped strawberries- 1½ cup

Blue berries - ½ cup

Berry jam -2 tbsp.

Keep the prepared fruits in a bowl. Microwave jam to loosen it. Mix with fruits, refrigerate.

Assembling the tart

Remove the tart shell from the pan. Keep on a serving plate, fill the shell with the cooled custard, arrange berries on top. Drizzle some more of the cooled custard on top. Refrigerate for 6 hrs. or more before serving.

Egg pulav for the understocked

This egg pulav is for people like me, whose unrelenting enthusiasm to cook something special for dinner is only matched by their abundant reluctance to go grocery shopping. When faced with empty refrigerators, we dream the impossible, set our bars too low, and go about treading territories uncharted. Mostly we are lost, but at times there is a surprise. This egg pulav is one. I made it for the first time when the only vegetable that was in sight was a big and forlorn onion.
Like you, I also understand the importance of including a lot of vegetables in the diet, here is how I tackle it. After I make this egg pulav, I will ring up T to gently announce that the dinner is ready and most politely ask if he will have time to stop at the grocery shop to buy some cucumbers and carrots and yogurt (may be?) to make a raita rich in vegetables. The moment something close to a nod is conveyed, a three page shopping list is emailed. This is a recipe that works :) ,every single time.

Egg pulav


Eggs boiled and peeled - 6 nos

Basmati rice - 4 cups

Green chilies chopped - 1/2 tsp.

Onion , thinly sliced - 1 ¼ cup

Curry leaves - 10 nos

Very finely chopped cilantro leaves - 2 tbsp. ( optional)

Lemon juice - 1 1/2 tbsp.

Ghee- 1 tsp.

Crushed cardamom - 6 nos

Cumin - ½ tsp.

½ tsp. clove powder

½ tsp. cinnamon powder

¼ tsp. nutmeg powder

Veg oil - 1 tbsp. + for frying onion (~½ cup)

salt -½ tsp + to taste

Wash basmati rice, soak in water for 10 minutes, drain and keep. While the rice is getting drained heat 1 tbsp. oil in a vessel large enough to cook the rice. When the oil is hot, add ¼ cup sliced onions, spices, curry leaves, chilies and salt. Sauté under low heat till the onions are translucent but not browned ( takes 3-4 min) . Add 6 cups of water to the sautéed mix, followed by the drained rice. Mix well, adjust the salt if needed. Bring the water to a rolling boil at high heat. Now cover the vessel with lid, bring the heat down to low, and cook covered for 12 minutes. While the rice is cooking heat the remaining oil and fry/deep sauté 1 cup onions till golden brown, drain on paper towels. In the same oil sauté cashew nuts and drain on paper towels. To the hot oil, roll in the eggs one by one and roast for 1-2 minutes, till the eggs are browned, drain on paper towels. Discard any remaining oil after it cools down. When the cooking time for the rice is over, remove the lid, add lemon juice, ghee, nuts, chopped cilantro and fried onions, fluff the rice gently with a fork. Transfer immediately to the serving bowl and cover with a lid. Let the flavors blend for at least 15 minutes. Serve topped with the roasted egg with pickles and vegetable salad/raita on the side. Yields 6 servings

Baked eggplant curry

This vegetable, to the best of my knowledge has neither bitten anybody, nor has it chased someone into a ditch. So I will never understand as to why some folks in a “certain” household run the other way when egg plants are served for dinner !

Keeping that matter aside, this baked eggplant recipe is my favorite. This is a curry baked in the oven.

Baked eggplant curry


Indian eggplants/small Italian eggplants - 6-12 nos

Chilly powder – 1tsp

Paprika – 1 ½ tsp

Finely chopped ginger – 1 ½ tbsp.

Sliced pearl onions – ¼ cup

Curry leaves – 10 nos

Coconut milk – 1 cup

Oil – 1 ½ tbsp.

Salt – 2 tbsp + to taste

Using a knife make 3-4 deep slanting horizontal cuts on one side of the the eggplant keeping the vegetable intact. Soak the prepared eggplants in salted water ( 2 tbsp water + 4 cups water, scale up according to need) for at least 30 minutes. Drain, and gently squish to get rid off excess water and pat dry on paper towels. Heat oven to 450C. Take a ceramic casserole dish and smear with 11/2 tbsp oil. Neatly arrange eggplants with the cut side facing up without overlapping, bake for 20 minutes or until the skin starts to wrinkle.While the eggplants are baking, mix the rest of the ingredients with some salt to taste in a bowl and mix well by gently pressing down with a ladle or a wooden spoon. To this mixture add 1 ½ cups of water, stir to combine and keep aside. When the eggplants look ready, pour the coconut milk mixture evenly over the egg plants. Bake for another 15-20 minutes or till the gravy is thick and bubbly. Serve with rice. 


The name says it all ! This is the stuff dreams are made of, if you happen to dream any dreams comprised of exemplary desserts. In non-exaggerating terms Falooda is a splendid dessert both visually and taste wise, an astounding blend of textures and colors ! There !! You just can't  describe it in ordinary terms, I tried.

There are many ways to make this dessert, but Tukmaria ( sweet basil/sabja) seeds and corn flour noodles are the ingredients which makes this parfait a FALOODA !
You know this already, but Tukmaria ( sweet basil) seeds are not Chia seeds even though the looks are deceptively similar, read why one is not the other here
Falooda noodles cooked, rinsed in cold water, and drained - 2 cups tossed with 1 tbsp. rose syrup. You can substitute the falooda noodles with thin vermicelli

Rose syrup (I use Dabur brand ) - 2 tbsp.

Dry tukmaria( sweet basil) seeds - 3/4 cup Soak in 4 + cups of water for 30 minutes, drain, rinse with more cold water, drain and refrigerator

Strawberry Jell-O cut into small pieces - 3 cups (Make Jell-O according to packaging instructions, but with half the amount of liquid suggested, so that you will have a sturdier Jell-O to chop into fine pieces. ( Optional)

Very finely chopped mangoes, pineapples, bananas etc.- 3 cups
Finely chopped assorted toasted nuts ( pistachios, cashew nuts and almonds) - 1/2 cup to garnish
Kulfi cream
4 cups milk
½ tsp. crushed Cardamom
5 pistachios
1 ½ slice white bread with edges removed
½ cup sugar
Pour milk over bread, keep for 10 minutes. Grind the soaked bread milk mixture with rest of the ingredients in a blender till the mixture is smooth. Pour the mixture into a thick bottomed saucepan and add sugar. In low heat, cook with constant stirring till the mixture thickens. Chill for at least 1 hr.
Rose cream whipped topping
( This is my quick fix ice cream substitute, but if you have ice cream in stock use it by all means)
Whipping cream - 2 cups
Gelatin - 1 tbsp.
Rose syrup - 1 tsp.
Cardamom powder - ¼ tsp.
Confectionery sugar - ¾ cup
Add 4 tbsp. boiling water to gelatin, stir well till the mixture is clear. Allow it to cool down to room temperature with occasional stirring. Mix all the ingredients and the melted gelatin and immediately start whisking and keep whisking till stiff peaks form. Transfer the whipped cream to a freezer container and freeze at least for 3 hrs. or overnight
Assembling the Falooda
This I promise, is the best part. Take a tall Sundae glass and spoon/scoop in the prepped components in the following order. I usually eyeball the quantity and try to divide the stuff equally between the glasses that I am using . So depending on the size of the serving cup used the quantities listed here will make 12-24 servings
Soaked Tukmaria seeds
Kulfi cream
Chopped Jell-O
Mixed fruit
Kulfi cream
Chopped nuts
Rose cream whipped topping
Now drizzle with rose syrup and top with more crushed nuts.

A simple salad

This is the closest to a real time post in this blog in a while photo-wise. Many of the other pictures you saw here recently are ancient artifacts; I am as surprised as anyone else when I discover them.

But for today, since it was a sunny sprightly summer kind of day, allow me to introduce you to our dinner, or more precisely to my favorite salsa-ish salad dressed with “Almost burned chili pepper lemonette”, served just barely three hours ago with a baked piece of fish.

Chopped salad with “Almost burned chili pepper lemonette”

The lemonette

Red chili flakes – 1 tsp.

Coconut oil – 2 tbsp.

Lemon juice – 3 tbsp.

Heat a frying pan. When the pan is hot, add the red chili flakes and dry roast till the flakes are deep brown (and not black :) ). Immediately transfer to a bowl. Add coconut oil and lemon juice and whisk together for 1-2 minutes. Keep aside for 5 minutes.
Chopped salad

Cucumber finely chopped – 2 cups

Tomatoes finely chopped – 1 cup

Semi ripe mangoes finely chopped – 1 cup

Red onions finely chopped – ½ cup

Cilantro minced – 3 tbsp.

Salt – to taste

Mix all ingredients for the salad together. Add the vinaigrette, toss well and serve

Throwback Swieback !

I am unearthing piles of pictures of food from days past ,it confirms my hazy memory of running for my camera soon as I finish cooking anything reasonably accountable. These rusks in the pictures here for example were made for my daughter when she was teething, and that was about six years ago. Now we are more excited when one of those precious milk teeth wiggles. The rusk did not help much with the process back then though, the child managed to teeth by biting on the headboard of our then brand new bed ! Now when I see those marks I can only smile, it takes a couple of years to attain that level of composure sweet people :)

This rusk recipe is adapted from a Zwieback recipe from King Arthur flour’s website, tweaked  to get the Indian style rusk, tea’s best friend. My childhood breakfast, lunch and dinner whenever I spiked a fever, like it was for many other kids of that time. Indian style rusk is usually spiced with Caraway seeds or Ajwain seeds or a combination of both.


Indian Tea Rusk


All purpose flour - 2 cups

Sugar- 4 tbsp.

Yeast - 1 ½ tsp.

Salt -½ tsp.

Shajeera ( Caraway seeds) ground - ¼ tsp.

Ajwain seeds ground- ¼ tsp.

Butter softened - 3 tbsp.

Egg - 1

Milk - ½ cup

Raisins ( optional) - ¼ cup

Mix all ingredients and make a soft and sticky dough, adding enough water if needed. Keep in a warm place for 1½ - 2 hours or till the dough doubles in size. Shape the dough into a 12 inch log, longer if you would like smaller rusks. Cover the dough and allow it to rise for another one and half hour. Towards the end of this rising time, preheat the oven to 350 C. Bake for 20 minutes , take the loaf out of the oven and leave it on the kitchen countertop loosely covered with an Aluminum foil till the next day. Heat the oven to 200 C. Slice the bread into half an inch thick pieces and arrange the cut slices on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn the rusk pieces over and bake for 10 more minutes. Turn the oven off. Leave the rusks inside the oven for 20 more minutes. Take it out and cool in the countertop for at least three hours. The recipe yields about two dozen rusks. Serve with black tea


Less is more

One of these days I will stare at a potato for a couple of minutes hoping for an amazing dish to happen ! My love for fewer ingredients in a recipe is growing by leaps and bounds. Here is a new favorite.

Lemon Chilly Prawns

Prawns - Tail on and cleaned or cleaned and unpeeled - 1 lb

Kashmiri chilly powder - 2 tbsp

Sugar - 1 tbsp

Lemon - 1

Coconut oil - ¼ cup

Salt - to taste

Keep the prawns in a bowl, sprinkle the chilly powder and salt, squeeze half of the lemon on top, toss well to combine. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Heat oil in a wok, add the sugar and stir well till the sugar is deep golden brown. Add the marinated prawns,stir fry at high heat for 3 minutes. Now turn the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, gently tossing every two minutes or so, do not cover the wok. Squeeze the remaining half of the lemon over the prawns and stir fry at high heat for 2 minutes until the prawns are dry and coated with the spices. Turn off the heat, keep in the wok covered for 5 more minutes before serving


"മനസ്സിലുണ്ടാവട്ടെ ഗ്രാമത്തിൻ വെളിച്ചവും
മണവും മമതയും, ഇത്തിരി  കൊന്നപ്പൂവും"
എല്ലാവർക്കും  സ്നേഹം നിറഞ്ഞ വിഷു ആശംസകൾ !
Golden chain tree (Laburnum Alpinum) in bloom close to where I work

Sunny side up

We did not use a single egg for making this sweet tart, I promise. Even if we wanted to, there was no choice other than hopping off to the grocer’s to grab some eggs. We ran out of eggs you see, painting them away on Easter day ! So we give you this Peach Mascarpone tart, a recipe inspired purely by what was left over.

Mascarpone peach tart


Ready to use frozen puff pastry sheet (10”x15”)  - 1
Jam - 4 tbsp
Yellow or white cake crumbs - 2 1/2 cups
Mascarpone cheese/or cream cheese - 1 cup
Confectioners sugar - ¼ cup
Rum flavoring - 1 tsp
Corn starch - 2 tbsp
Milk - 2 cup
granulated sugar -1/2 cup
Gelatin - 1 ½ tbsp
Canned peaches or apricots in syrup - 8-10 halves

Thaw puff pastry, leaving a half an inch border on all sides prick or score with a knife.The unscored part will serve as an edge for the tart  when the pastry is fully baked. Heat oven to 400C. Bake the puff pastry on a baking sheet for 12-15 minutes or until the pastry turns golden. Cool. Microwave jam for 1 minute. Spread it evenly over the puff pastry, refrigerate for 15 minutes. While the pastry base is getting cooled, whisk  the cheese with confectioners sugar and rum flavoring, till the mixture is smooth. After the cheese mixture is ready, add the cake crumbs in 4 batches, gently mixing with a fork. Spread this mixture over the cooled puff pastry base evenly and smoothen out the top with an offset spatula. Drain the peach slices, and tap it try on paper towels. Arrange the peach halves on the pastry base with some space in between. Refrigerate 10 minutes.

Warm the milk with granulated sugar, add ½ tbsp gelatin, whisk to combine. Make a paste of cornstarch and ¼ cup water, add it to the warm milk with constant whisking, keep whisking till the mixtures thickens. The mixture needs to be of pourable consistency. Transfer the mixture into a mixing bowl with a beak to help with pouring. Keep whisking for 3 more minutes. Pour this over the prepared tart in such a way that it spreads around the peach halves.

Mix 1 tbsp gelatin with 4 tbsp water. Melt the gelatin completely by microwaving for a minute. Mix very well to make sure there are no lumps and the mixture is clear. Using a pastry brush, gently apply the gelatin mixture over the peach slices.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving


Happy Easter !

Sending you all much love and rolling these watercolor painted eggs your way. We had great fun working on this very cool Easter egg project, all you need is a set of watercolors and some blown eggs.

Lupines ? May be !

Ranunculus or rose, do we really care ?

Pink and purple flowers of some kind

And now perched neatly on top of Sarah's well used egg cup is the egg that she painted.

Have a fantastic day !

Currying a fruit !

We loved our mangoes so much

that we stoned them off the trees !

When we saw that they aren't rightly sweet

we stewed them in haste !I!

Around this time of the year in Kerala, when the ripe mangoes are plenty at the local markets and cluster in abundance on the mango trees left to be, we curry the fruit in many ways. The most popular is “Mampazha pulissery”- mangoes in yogurt sauce. There are also other ways of tackling the fruit curry wise ,here is one, ripe mangos in a roasted coconut sauce - “Thenga varutharacha pazhamanga curry”.

Ripe mangoes in a roasted coconut sauce

Thenga varutharacha pazhamanga curry


Semi ripe Mangoes - 2

Grated coconut - 1 cup

Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp.

Chopped green chilies - 1/2 tsp.

Turmeric - ½ tsp. + ½ tsp.

Curry leaves - 10

Coconut oil - 1 tbsp.

Dried red chili flakes - ½ tsp.

Salt - ½ tsp.

Cut mangoes into 10-12 pieces without peeling. In a pan dry roast the coconut at medium heat with constant stirring till the color turns pale golden. Add coriander seeds, 3 curry leaves and ½ tsp. turmeric. Roast at low heat till the mixture turns golden brown, Turn of the heat, immediately transfer the mixture to another bowl and cool down. Grind the roasted coconut adding just enough water to a fine paste, keep aside. In a saucepan, toss together the mango pieces, ½ tsp. turmeric, green chilies and salt. Add 1 ½ cup water and ½ tsp. salt. Cook in medium heat till the water begins to boil. Cover with the pan with a lid, turn the heat to low and cook for 5 more minutes. Remove the lid, add the coconut paste, mix well and cook for 5 more minutes at medium heat . Turn off the heat. Heat oil in a pan. When the oil is hot add mustard seeds, wait till it finish spluttering. Turn the heat to low, add the curry leaves and fry for 30 sec. Turn off the heat, add the chilly flakes. Quickly pour this seasoning over the mango curry, mix gently with a spoon. Keep the curry covered for at least 20 minutes before serving with rice.

Palm Sunday treats

We went on a spring break trip to the Olympic Peninsula last week, got floored by the wonders of nature, and got back just in time yesterday to make “Kozhukattas”, the rice flour dumplings filled with jaggery sweetened coconut for celebrating Palm Sunday today.
Sweet Kozhukatta ( Coconut rice dumplings)

Rice flour – 2 ½ cups

Grated jiggery – 1 1/3cup
Coconut – 2 cups

Ground cumin – ¼ tsp

Ground dried ginger – ½ tsp

Cardamom powder – ¼ tsp

Salt – ¼ tsp

Hot water – 3 cups +

Oil -1 tbsp.

Mix grated coconut and jaggery in a pan, cook with constant stirring at medium heat, till the jiggery is melted and mixed thoroughly well with the coconut. Cook for 5 more minutes till the mixture is dry, at this point add cardamom, dried ginger and cumin powders. Mix well, turn of the heat.

Mix rice flour and salt in a large bowl, add the hot water while mixing with the handle of a wooden spoon to make very soft but lumpy dough. Allow the dough to cool enough for you to knead with your hands, a stand mixer with the dough hook attached works just as well. Knead till the dough is soft and pliable.

To make the dumplings. Make key lime sized portion of the dough. Make a deep thump print on the dough ball at the middle and work around it with your hands to make it bigger. Fill with 1 tbsp. of the coconut filling, and completely cover the filling by working the dough around it. You can smoothen the dumpling further by gently rolling it in your hands.


Simple strawberry verrine

Here is an easy dessert that you can serve to friends no matter how awesome they are !

Fruit Verrine


Recipe here. Cut the cake into rounds fitting the dessert cups you have. You need two cake rounds per /serving. I usually slice the 9X13 sheet cake into two layers before punching the circles out

Thin custard

1 ½ cups milk
1 cup water
1 egg yolk
½ tbsp. corn starch
 ¼ cup sugar
 ¼ tsp vanilla essence

Blend all ingradients together and cook at low heat with constant stirring till the mixture bubbles plus one minute. Cool down, do not refrigerate. Add 1 tbsp. rum if you will

Thin fruit syrup

1 cup strawberry jam
2 cup water
1/2 tsp gelatin
2 tbsp rum ( optional)
Mix all ingredients together in a blender and warm in a sauce pan till the mixture looks clear. Cool down, do not refrigerate.


Finely chopped banana and strawberry – 3 cups

Whipped cream

Whip 2 cups of cream with ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar till soft peaks form

Putting it all together:

Take two cake circles. Keep the first one in the dessert cup and add the thin fruit syrup till the cake is soaked. Arrange the fruit pieces on top and keep another cake circle on top, gently press down. Spoon some thin custard over to soak the cake. The custard will take some time to seep in , wait 10-20 minutes before proceeding to the next step. Top with whipped cream and level with a spatula. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hrs. Decorate with thin strawberry slices

I have made 12-36 individual servings out of the measurements given here, depending on the size of the serving glass used

Hello spring !

When spring gently tiptoes in, there is no denying it. Almost every tree here is in bloom, air is brisk, and I sneeze twice for every word I speak. Hello spring, also hello Zyrtec !
Last weekend I was going through some of the food photographs I have taken in the past couple of years. Most of these pictures were hastily taken and therefore much begs to be focused in many. There were also a couple of photos of some of my favorite desserts, here is one. This is a version of the delicate “Pastel de Tres Leches”, the three milks cake. The milk mixture for this recipe has whole milk,coconut milk and condensed milk instead of the classic combination of condensed milk, evaporated milk and cream. I have made this cake many times over but managed to take pictures apparently only once, and that was two years ago in summer when Petunias were in bloom. 

Coconut Tres Leches cake
2 1/2 cups - all purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons - baking powder

1/4 teaspoons - salt
1 ½ cups - sugar

½ cup - butter

2 - eggs

1 teaspoon -vanilla essence

1 1/4 cups -water

Milk mixture

1 can -condensed milk

1 cup -milk

1 cup -coconut milk

½ tsp -rum flavoring

¼ tsp -cardamom powder


1 ½ cups-Whipping cream

¼ cup-Confectioners sugar

Assorted fruits chopped

Toasted coconut flakes ( dry roast the coconut flakes in a pan over low heat)

Mix all ingredients for the milk mixture, refrigerate till use.

Lightly butter and flour a 9x13 pan. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together, keep aside. Cream butter and sugar together till light and fluffy ( 4-5 min). Add eggs one by one, and mix till the mixture is creamy. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture in three batches alternating with water till everything is thoroughly combined. Add vanilla, mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, bake at 325C for 25-30 minutes. Check doneness using a wooden skewer, it should come out clean

Once the cake is done, quickly unmold to a serving plate ( keep the cake upside down, it will give you a flat surface to decorate), press lightly so that the cake sits even. Poke holes all over the cake with a skewer stick. While the cake is still hot, spoon the milk mixture over the cake and refrigerate for at least 2 hrs. If you see any milk that seeped through, spoon it over the cake.

Whip cream with confectioners sugar till soft peaks form. Spread or pipe over the cake. Sprinkle with toasted coconut flakes and assorted fruits, serve chilled

Quick Mango Phirni

I have hit upon a writer’s block :) This I presume is due to the thirty eight sentences I wrote in this bog in the past one month. This too shall pass, but for now here is a recipe for a quick “phirni”ish dessert, a flash drama in leftovers.

1 cup - leftover cooked rice straight out of the fridge

3/4 cup - ripe mango chopped

¼ cup - condensed milk

2 tbsp. - crushed/shaved almonds

Cardamom powder - a pinch

The rice needs to be cold to get the right texture for the dessert. In a food processor pulse rice and mangoes with 1/ 4 cup water till the rice is coarsely ground (aim for the cooked grain to be chopped into 5-6 pieces). Transfer the ground mixture to a bowl, add condensed milk, cardamom powder and almonds. Mix well, refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. I love to serve it with more toasted nuts and mango pieces on top. Pistachios work great in this recipe too.

Makes 6 shot glass servings + a little more


A very rustic flatbread

Some of the true gems of Indian cuisine are never to be found in restaurants, here is an example. This is akin to my child saying five times a day that “Amma you are the best ’. Has she made a study in comparison? No ! Do I doubt the genuineness of that statement for a split second,not a bit ! So all I am saying is, this rich in coconut, whole wheat flatbread made in a cast iron pan is a national treasure :). Just kidding, but it is really good.

This flatbread goes by the name “Roti” in my house, not overly helpful of a pointer I know. The whole wheat flour in the recipe is an absolute must and so is the requirement of a cast iron pan to make it. We used to get freshly ground wheat from the local flour mill back in the days, which was coarse, wholesome and just perfect for making this bread. 


Cast iron pan - You absolutely need it to make it

Whole wheat flour - 1 ½ cup

Grated coconut - 1 cup

Coarsely crushed cumin - 1/2 tsp.

Coconut oil - 2-3 tbsp.

Salt - ¼ tsp.

Water- to make the dough and also for shaping the bread

Mix whole wheat flour with salt,grated coconut and cumin. Make a soft and sticky dough by adding  1 to 1 1/4 cup water. Divide the dough into 3 equal portions. Spread some oil on the cast iron pan and heat. When the pan is ready ( sprinkle some water, it should sizzle),take one portion of the dough and place it right at the middle of the pan. Using your hand dipped in cold water, spread the dough to a 1/4 inch thick round. Cook at high heat till the edges of the bread looks cooked - the center will still look uncooked. At this point sprinkle about ½ tsp coconut oil on top of the bread, and turn over. Turn the heat to low, and cook the bread till it is is fully cooked through ( about 4 minutes). Quickly turn the bread and cook for 1 more minute in the other side. Serve immediately with any curry you happen to have in stock or as an over indulgence involving even more coconut, with a crushed coconut chutney. The chutney is made by pulsing ¼ cup grated coconut with one green chilly, 2 curry leaves, ⅓ tbsp chopped ginger, and a pinch of salt together in a food processor.



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