December 16, 2017

Cranberry Cobbler Dump Cake

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, 
and behold, 
everything is softer and more beautiful. 
                                     -Norman Vincent Peale

Dump it all together - there you have a dessert on your table!
Cranberry sauce, topped with cake mix and butter drizzled on top - that is the name of the dish deconstructed for you!
This is my first guest post and I am happy I got to do it with thebigsweettooth . Rafeeda of The Big Sweet Tooth is one of first bloggers I got introduced to through blogging. Her blog is a repository of recipes - a go to website for all your recipe needs. I am so glad I could add to her repository. Head over to her blog to check out my recipe for Cranberry Cobbler Dump Cake.

December 6, 2017

Kerala Mutton Stew

Christmas is a time that brings back so many memories. Some are funny as can be!
Good food comes with any celebration and Good food comes after so many failed attempts too! Christmas is no less.

Our first Christmas together was within a month of moving to Dubai. The cooking range oven and the griller were totally new to me. All that Shibin wanted for Christmas was 'Karangunna Chicken' - loosely translated rotating chicken. Don't whack your brains! He only meant to have those rotisserie grilled chicken :) I had my chicken marinated and for reason best known to no one I decided to place the marinated chicken in the freezer! We went out shopping got back a little late - just in time for dinner which was till in the freezer. I had no time to defrost. I placed it in the oven to melt the stubborn ice. After a while onto the rotisserie. The chicken was big and the marinade was all dripping down which is when I realised that I needed a dripping pan too. After all the trials , we still had an uncooked chicken two hours later and a messy oven. Then we did what we could do best. Cut the chicken and pan fried them. That is how we ended up eating our Christmas dinner at 12 am! Boy, I am glad we did not have any guests.

Moving onto the recipe. Whenever I hear mutton stew I cannot help but suppress a smile. Tell the same to my mother - she will have her volley of justifications. You will know why soon:) We were never very fond of mutton, so mutton was almost never bought at home. Once I happened to taste mutton stew with appam at a friends place for a wedding. I came home with a demand that it be mutton stew for Christmas morning instead of the usual chicken stew. Pappa bought mutton and Mamma set out to make it. The stew turned out fine but it tasted a wee bit different and had a sour taste. We went on to eat a stomach full. On her hunt for the curd she kept in glass mug to marinate the chicken for biriyani  (our Christmas lunch) did my mom realise that she had poured the curd into the stew instead of coconut milk that was in a similar cup! Nevertheless she says the stew turned out good and this how new things are discovered:) She is not going to spare me for this!

Here we go - 


  1. Mutton  – 500 gms
  2. Potato – 2 medium sliced
  3. Onion – 1 big thickly cut lengthwise 
  4. Green Chilly – 3-4 slit
  5. Ginger – 1 tbsp finely chopped
  6. Cardamom – 3 to 4
  7. Cinnamon sticks – 2 sticks of 1 inch
  8. Cloves – 3 to 4
  9. Thin coconut milk – 2 cups
  10. Thick coconut milk – ½ cup
  11. Salt as needed
  12. Water as needed
  13. Coconut oil

For Tempering

  1. Coconut oil – 2 tbsp
  2. Curry leaf – 2 sprigs
  3. Onion – 1 small sliced in cubes
  4. Peppercorns – 3 to 4


  • Heat oil in a thick bottom pan. Add the whole spices and fry until aromatic.
  • Next, add onions, ginger and green chilly. Saute until the ginger is cooked.
  • Add mutton pieces and cook until the mutton is almost done. Pressure cook if need be.
  • Add the potatoes and adjust salt.
  • Add thin coconut milk and cook it covered until the mutton is done.
  • Add thick milk and switch off the flame as soon as the stew begins to boil.
  • For tempering, crush onion and pepper in a mortar and pestle.
  • Heat oil in a pan, add the crushed onion and pepper along with curry leaves. Saute till done.
  • Temper the stew with this mix. Keep it covered for a while.
  • Serve hot with appam!


November 28, 2017

Lovlolikka Wine ||Cooking with Family and Friends - #5||

Does the word Lovlolikka ring a bell? I am sure atleast a few malayalees have heard of those red cherries that grow abundantly in their backyard and that grand moms fondly fed you in pickles. Lovlolikka is mildly sour, tangy with a tinge of sweetness and may not be as popular for eating as is when compared to the pickles and jams that are dished out from these cherries.

I did a hunt for the English name of this cherry and google threw up names like Indian sour cherry and Indian coffee plum. To keep things simple let's call it cherry:) My mom in law has a lot of these cherries peeping into her backyard from the neighbor's garden. The neighbors have graciously offered her all the cherries that grow on the branches hovering in her yard and trust me they are a basketful. So that is how Lovlolikka wine came into being for us. She did not use yeast for fermentation but the wine came just as good with a lovely color.

Hardly a month for Christmas and if you start now, I bet your wine would be ready just in time for Santa!

So here is the 5th recipe in the series of Cooking with Family. This time again with mom-in-law.


  1. Lovlolikka/Indian sour cherry - 1 kg
  2. Sugar - 300 gms
  3. Cloves - 5 to 6
  4. Cinnamon stick - 2 pieces of 1 inch
  5. Water - as needed
  • Wash the berries in water to remove any dirt and pat dry them.
  • Dry a big glass jar and add the berries into the jar.
  • Add the sugar along with the cloves and cinnamon sticks.
  • Pour warm water till the level of the berries in the jar.
  • Using a wooden spatula give it a good stir. Cover and keep in a dark and dry place for a week.
  • Stir again on the 5th day and 10th day by when the berries would have grown softer. Crush the berries using the spatula in the process.
  • Leave it covered and untouched for next 10 days.
  • On the 21st day, using a sieve filter out the liquid from the pulp. Store the wine in glass bottles until ready to consume.
  • Hurry up, if you start now your wine will be ready by Christmas.
You may also note 
  1. Sweetness can be increased or decreased as you like.
  2. Most of the recipes call for addition of yeast but it works fine without it as well.
  3. You may try using other berries/ fruits in the same recipe.

November 18, 2017

Karimeen Fry|Pearl Spot Fish Fry || Cooking with Family and Friends - #4||

Another vacation has come and gone by. Every food restrictions you impose on yourself goes for a toss when at home in India. Initially I struggle and some how maintain a balance. After a point in time, all the determination fades and I end up eating without a second thought ( The angel in asks me to eat the food cooked with love by your family and the devil in me reminds me of the weighing scale. After conflict of interests, the devil surrenders to the angel) The first few days after the vacation is again a transition mode. Trying hard to suppress my cravings and get back into routine ( not to forget the yummy stuff you have tugged along all the way from India) One week into our return and I am still fighting off the eating frenzy.

My series of Cooking with family took backseat for a while and now I am back with the 4th in the series. Recipe from my mother-in -law's kitchen. Her fish fry always tastes different from the normal ones I have had and here is the recipe for you.

  1. Karimeen/ Pearl Spot - 2 medium size
  2. Garlic - 2 to 3 pods
  3. Fenugreek powder - 1 pinch
  4. Kashmiri Chilly powder - 1 tsp
  5. Pepper powder - 1 tsp
  6. Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
  7. Salt to taste
  8. Water 
  9. Oil for shallow frying
  • Clean the fish, let excess water drain off and create deep gashes.
  • In a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic pods. 
  • To this add chilly powder, pepper powder, fenugreek powder, turmeric powder and salt and combine well. Add just enough water to form a thick paste.
  • Apply this marinade on the fish and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  • Heat oil in a pan and place the fish in the pan. Let it cook for 5 to 8 minutes or until done on one side uncovered. Flip and cook the other side as well.
  • Drain excess oil on kitchen tissue and serve hot with some vegetables

October 23, 2017

Fish Chilly with crushed peanuts

I am in India on vacation and I did crazily hope to see the rains. As luck would have it, rains were not so benevolent on me and decided to stay clear! The weather is definitely good but to witness rains would have simply been bliss. I still have time left and I hope to see the showers of blessings at some point.

It is hard to be on vacation and stay off food!So I am busy eating, at the same time hoping that I do not add kilos on the scale! (All of us know how hard that is right!!)

Anyways, here is a recipe to try. What makes it special is, as the name states the addition of ground peanuts!Try it to believe it!

  1. Fish - 400 gms
  2. Onions - 3 finely chopped
  3. Garlic - 2 tbsp finely chopped
  4. Green chilly - 3 to 4
  5. Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
  6. Peanuts - a handful
  7. Soy Sauce -  2 tbsp
  8. Vinegar - 1 tbsp
  9. Salt to taste
  10. Vegetable oil
To marinate
  1. Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  2. Pepper powder - 1 tsp
  3. Ginger- garlic paste - 1 tsp
  4. Soy Sauce- 1 tbsp
  5. Salt

  • Clean and pat dry the fish slices. Prepare a marinade of turmeric powder, pepper powder, ginger garlic paste, soy sauce and salt. Marinate the fish in this for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Roast and coarsely grind the peanuts in a mortar and pestle.
  • Shallow fry the fish in oil till crisp on both the sides. Drain excess oil on a kitchen towel.
  • In the same pan add the chopped garlic and fry for a minute. Add the onions and saute until it wilts.
  • Add slit green chillies and fry for another minute before adding in the pepper powder, vinegar, salt and soy sauce. Let this cook for a minute on low flame.
  • Toss in the fried fish along with the ground peanuts. Give it a good mix before turning off the flame.
You may also note
  1. Be careful while adjusting the salt level as soy sauce has salt in it already.
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