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Spinach Biriyani| Palak Biriyani

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Spinach biriyani or Palak Biriyani is a very easy to make one pot dish..You dont need to make any side dishes other than a simple Raita and pickle to go with.Its also one way you can include spinach in your little picky eater’s diet.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups basmati rice soaked for 30 minutes
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 medium size tomato, chopped
  • 4 or 4.5 cups of water
  • 3 tbsp ghee(I used sunflower oil)
  • some fried cashews for garnishing (optional)
  • salt to taste
Whole Spices needed:
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 1 small star anise
  • 3 cardamoms  slightly crushed
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a pinch of mace

Dry powders to be added:

  • ¼ tsp red chili powder
  • ¼ tsp garam masala powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp fennel
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • a pinch of asafoetida
For the spinach puree:
  • 1 medium bunch spinach (palak)
  • ½ cup mint leaves
  • ½ cup coriander leaves
  • 1 or 2 green chilies
  • 5-6 almonds or cashews
Directions:
To prepare Spinach Puree:
  1. Rinse the palak/spinach leaves well. chop and keep aside. Rinse & chop the green chilies, mint and coriander leaves.
  2. In a blender, add the chopped spinach, mint, coriander, green chilli and almonds.
  3. Now add ½ cup water and blend to a smooth paste.
Preparing the biryani:
First rinse and then soak the rice. When the rice is soaking, prepare the spinach puree as mentioned above.
  1. Heat oil in a thick bottom and deep pan or pot. Add all the whole spices.
  2. Fry for a few seconds and then  add the sliced onions & fry till they are browned. remove some of the fried onions for garnishing.
  3. Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for some seconds. Now add the chopped tomatoes and fry till the tomatoes becomes soft for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Keep on stirring so that the ingredients do not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Add the spinach puree and saute. for 3 to 4 minutes. Now all the dry spice powders one by one and saute.
  6. Drain the soaked rice and add to this. Combine well and saute for 1-2 minutes. Pour 4 or 4.5 cups water. Add salt as needed.
  7. Cover tightly with a lid and cook till the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked.
  8. Fluff the rice gently with a fork and now garnish with fried onions and cashews.Serve hot with a pickle and Raita and Enjoy!

 

BAKED EGGLESS BREAD PUDDING

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BREAD PUDDING Hello everybody..its been a long long time since I last posted anything..guess I was caught up in the waves of time..

Recently I received a very surprising kind of mail from one of my readers..I am not disclosing her name here..well coming to the mail..it said “Hi Shannu..how are you?Its been a long time since I have seen any of your posts..Hope alls well at your side..Yours is one of the few blogs I go through..I used to go through another travel blog with great interest,since I am quite a travel freak..but recently I noticed that for the past few months,the author hasnt been posting anything lately..on googling further,I came to the shocking fact that the author had met with a car crash and he was no more..Hope you are doing good..I wonder why you are MIA..waiting fr your new posts..Love,X”…

This is how it was…!I was happy to see the mail,but also it was a bit of shock..To all those who wonder where I am gone…I am here..ha ha..very much ALIVE in my corner of this world..the sad thing is I dont get much time these days to post anything..with my youngest one out of the three kids I have,starting school.Yes I have been cooking..cooking a lot lately,I hope to post all these some day ha ha..

Coming to todays post,its a simple but extremely delicious and easy to put together Bread Pudding…with minimal ingredients.I served it warm with Vanilla Icecream and a drizzle of honey on the top..I like combos of hot and chilled desserts..You can choose your own combo or serve it alone..its equally good!

Ingredients:

  1. Bread -6 to 8 slices
  2. Milk – 300 ml+50 ml
  3. Sugar- ¾ cup or to taste
  4. Vanilla essesnce-1 tsp
  5. Custard Powder-3 tblspn
  6. Unsalted Butter-2 tblspn

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 380°F / 190°C.
  •  Cut your bread into chunks and set aside.
  • Take 300 ml milk in a sauce pan and add  butter to  it. Heat the milk so that the butter melts(Stir well).Turn off the flame and cool a bit till warm.
  • Now in another bowl, take 50 ml milk and add custard powder and mix well so that no lumps are formed.
  • Now add vanilla, sugar in it and whip it well. Pour the warm milk into this and mix well.
  • Take a baking pan and butter it slightly. Lay the bread pieces in the pan,arranging nicely without gaps and pour the custard over the bread.
  • Press the bread with the back of a spoon so that the bread absorbs all milk-custard mixture(Do not mash).Leave it out for 5 mins.
  • Now put it in the preheated oven for 45-50 mins or until golden and crispy on top.
  • Remove this and let it stand for 5 mins. Serve warm with icecream and Enjoy!

 

Kadumanga Achar| Kerala Mango Pickle

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Have you noticed this strange fact?We crave for a particular food/dish/fruit more when its not in season or is not easily available at our part of the world.. 🙂 This is strange but true.Its October and I crave for Mangoes.So I satisfied myself with some tinned Mango 😦 …though its taste comes no where near a  fresh juicy and ripe mango 😦 ..

Yesterday was Market day or Thamu(as it is locally called here).I was lucky enough to see a lady selling some raw mangoes.So I immediately bought them.First I thought of making Mango pachadi.Then I thought Pachadi wont stay for more than 4 days..So I decided to make this Kadumanga achar…or kadumanga uppilittathu..that way i could Mango everyday 🙂

This is my mother’s recipe…its simple and easy and a perfect recipe.I strongly recommend to use gingelly oil in this recipe.It imparts that typical nadan ruchi(taste) to the achar(pickle).

Ingredients:

  1. Raw Mango – 2 cups(Lightly pared and chopped small)
  2. Ginger – 1 tbsp(finely crushed)
  3. Garlic  – 1 tbsp (sliced)
  4. Dry Red chilli – 2 to 3 (broken into two)
  5. Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  6. Mustard seeds – 1 tbsp
  7. Water – 1 cup
  8. Red chilli powder – 5 tbsp(according to your spice level)
  9. Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp.
  10. Asafoetida – 1 fat pinch
  11. Gingelly oil – 3 tbsp
  12. Salt to taste

Method:

  1. In a big bowl,take the chopped mango pieces.Add salt to it and mix thoroughly.Leave aside(covered with lid) for about 8 hours,preferably overnight.
  2. After 8 hours/overnight,heat oil in kadai/or deep pan.Add mustard seeds and when it splutters,add the curry leaves and Dry red chillies.Then add the crushed ginger and sliced garlic and saute till the raw aroma disappears.
  3. Now add the powders from ingredients 8 to 10.Saute for 1 or 2 minutes and then add salt and then water and bring to boil over  a low flame until thick.Remove from heat.
  4. To this add the Mango pieces(from step 1) and combine well.Add salt is needed.Allow to cool.Transfer to clean and dry bottles.Leave aside for two whole days in a cool dry place.
  5. After that serve when needed with a clean dry spoon, along with Curd Rice/Thayir sadam or plain Rice.Enjoy!!

Sambaram| Pacha Moru| Morum vellam

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Sambaram….being a down to the earth mallu..I love this drink…At home we simply call it pacha moru…its an everyday drink back at my home in kerala..but living in my part of the world here..I dont make it that often,only because fresh milk is not easily available here 😦

This drinks to my mind those memories of my dearest grandfather..who used to love farming a lot.He was a college principal and  a Botany professor,a chancellor at a famous university,an Ncc Major..the list is endless…back from college,he spent his time and energy in  in our backyard….a really simple man.He had that special love towards farming in our parambu(huge farm behind the house)..where there used be a zillion different varieties of trees and plants..It used to be  a pleasure taking a walk in the parambu with the wind blowing through the sugar canes and bamboo trees..the swaying Thengu(coconut trees..if i start taking about his plants and plantations..this post would not suffice!He was truly a man with a green thumb…!It was my duty(being the only grandchild) at those times, to carry for him this Pacha moru,prepared by my grandma, in a steel jug.I used to take special pride in doing that…He was a person I respected and admired a lot right from my childhood.Now he is no more..He was a highly respected man in the society and a truly handsome gem of a man, a pride of his children,grandchildren and great grandchildren!Even now when I go back for holidays to my native in kerala during holidays,I am still known to people and places where I go as his grand daughter!Memories of him truly brings tears to my eyes ..This post is dedicated to my dearest Vellya papa(Grandpa)!!

Ingredients:

  1. Thick yoghurt – 2 cups(chilled)
  2. Water – 1 cup
  3. Salt – to taste
  4. Green Chilli – 1
  5. Curry Leaves – a small sprig
  6. Ginger – 1/2 tsp finely chopped

Method:

  • Add the water to the chilled yoghurt and whisk well.To this add chopped (green chilly,curry leaves and ginger).Add salt and whisk well again.
  • Transfer into serving glasses and serve chilled and Enjoy!!

Aamras

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Todays is a very simple but extreeeeeeemly delicious post…its “THE AAMRAS”…I am a mango lover…And I totally love aamras.I can eat it 3 times a day.. 🙂 forever 🙂 I came to know about Aamras from my mother in law…from her stories as a young bride,newly married in Mumbai…and their Maharashtrian friends,dinner evenings,and travels..her stories are  endless..It is she who gave me the recipe of this “mango heaven”.

Aamras as the name suggets is nothing but mango juice..Aam being mango and Ras meaning Juice..Basically its nothing but Mango pulp..or may be Mango nectar.Alphonso mangoes are perfect for making aamras..though you can also use just any variety..the only things is that the Mango variety should not be the fibrous kind.I make this extensively during the Mango season with Pooris and even Rotis.You can even have it as a dessert after a meal.I like my aamras cardamom flavoured..because I just love the flowery scent of cardamom with Mangoes.You can also use dry ginger powder instead of cardamom according to your preference.

Ingredients:

  1. Mangoes – 2 large(preferably alphonso)
  2. Cardamom powder – 1 /2 tsp/Or you can use dry ginger powder -1/4 tsp
  3. Sugar if needed(I didnt use since the mangoes were very sweet)
  4. Milk – 1/4 – 1/2 cup(as needed)

Method:

  • Clean/wash the mangoes.Peel and chop them and  add them into a blender.
  • Then add powdered cardamom,sugar(if needed),milk and blend into smooth puree.
  • Transfer to small bowls and refrigerate.
  • Serve with hot pooris/chapathis and Enjoy!!!

APPLE CUSTARD(Eggless)

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Hellloooo!Do you experience those lazy afternoons when you cant resist the urge to have something sweet and chilled after lunch?Well..I am one of those persons!During my college years,I used to argue with my Mom when I used to see her nibbling on some thing sweet after lunch…ofcourse thinking of health reasons..But now me being in my early thirties..I find myself doing the same thing 🙂 Hope my Mom doesnt see this post ha ha!

So today this urge led me to make this eggless Apple Custard.Its extremely easy and your family will love it to the core!!

Ingredients:

  1. Apple – 1 (Skin peeled,deseeded and chopped finely)
  2. Milk – 2 cups
  3. Custard Powder – 3 tbsp
  4. Vanilla essence – 2 tsp
  5. Sugar – 5 tbsp(as per your taste)

Method:

  • Take about 1/4 cup of milk from the 2 cups of milk mentioned above in a bowl.To this add the custard powder and dissolve well by stirring.
  • Boil the remaining milk in a sauce pan.
  • To this add the custard powder dissolved in milk, slowly and stir well continuously.It will get thick immediately,so be careful.After few minutes,remove from heat and allow to cool and refrigerate.
  • At the time of serving,chop the apples,add it to the custard and serve chilled and Enjoy!!

 

 

BREAD HALWA

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Halwas are one of the most popular and loved Indian sweets..There are many kinds of halwa made from different ingredients like Flour,Fruit etc…!The halwa recipe I am sharing here today is a total variation..!Its Bread Halwa !Sounds new?It is something I developed with left over Bread(Not Stale Bread).Its a perfect -to- go halwa recipe for Moms like me who are always in a hurry burry 🙂 My kids and hubby just loved it.Do try it out.You will love it!

Ingredients:

  • Bread – 7-8 slices
  • Ghee – 1/2 cup+( 2 tbsp for later use)
  • Milk – 2 cups
  • Sugar – 1/2 cup +3 tbsp
  • Cashew nuts – 15
  • Cardamom – 3
  • Almond – a few slivered(For garnish)

Method:

  1. Soak the cashews in a little warm water for about 15 minutes and keep aside.
  2. Cut the bread in to tiny pieces.
  3. Heat ghee(1/2 cup) in a pan.Add the bread pieces to this and roast till a golden brown on low to medium flame,tossing it frequently.
  4. Meanwhile boil the milk with sugar.
  5. Add this milk to the roasted bread pieces.Bring this mixture to a boil and then turn the flame to low,allowing it to cook for a few minutes,mashing the bread pieces with a big spoon as it gets cooked.
  6. Grind the soaked cashewnuts with a little water to a smooth paste.
  7. Add this to the cooked bread-milk mixture,along with the 2 tbsp of ghee and combine well on low flame until oil appears on the sides.Turn off the flame.Transfer to serving bowls.Garnish with slivered almonds.Serve and Enjoy!

 

 

FISH CURRY ~ THRISSUR STYLE

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Hello there!Hailing from the beautiful backwater surrounded Kuttanad in kerala,the dishes usually prepared by my mom had been the typical syrian christian ones..with Non veg mostly sea-food being compulsory three times a day..!Believe me…I am telling the truth…Taken after my mother or Amma as I call her..we too cant almost do without Non- Veg in our diet..well  atleast for lunch and dinner.

Recently after reading a newspaper article on health,me and my hubby decided to avoid meat for two entire weeks..So it would be sea food instead..Fish,Prawns,crab etc..The fish curry I usually prepare at home is the typical Kottayam Style Red Fish Curry..I love it and can never ever get fed up of it…ever..same goes for my 3 kids too.. 🙂 .Occassionally I prepare Thenga aracha Meen curry~Trivandrum Style for my husband..when he craves for Mil’s Fish curry.

One day ,my hubby told me about the Fish curry he had eaten on his visit to his friend’s home in Thrissur during his college days..Eversince he has been asking me to prepare that for him.I asked my friend here who hails from Thrissur and she gave me the recipe.What my hubby said was true!Its extremely delicious!!

Ingredients:

  • Fish – 1kg (Cleaned and cubed)
  • Coconut Milk- Take from  1 coconut
  • Shallots(small onion) – 3
  • Water- 2cups
  • Ginger- 1 inch Piece
  • Green Chillies- 2(slit into 2)
  • Chilly Powder- 3 1/2tsp(depending on your spice levels)
  • Turmeric Powder- 1/2 tsp
  • Fish Tamarind (kudampuli) – 3 to 4 pieces
  • Salt -to taste
  • Curry Leaves-2 spigs

Tempering:

  1. Coconut oil – 2 tsp
  2. Fenugreek powder – 1 pinch
  3. Chilli powder – 1/2 tsp.
  4. Shallot – 1 (sliced)

Method:

  1. Wash and soak kudampuli in 1/4 cup of warm water and keep aside.
  2. Crush ginger and small onion together in a pestle and mortar
  3. Take a manchatti/deep pan.Pour the coconut milk(make coconut milk by adding 2 cups of water ) into the kadai and add chilly powder,turmeric powder,ginger-small onion crushed mixture ,salt, curry leaves,and kudampuli and Mix well.
  4. Now add fish .Place this Manchatti/Deep pan over the fire/stove over low to medium flame(Taking care that the coconut milk doesnt curdle)
  5. Allow the fish to cook till the gravy becomes thick …When the curry is 3/4 th done  add  green chilly slits  and curry leaves..
  6. Let the gravy become neither too thick nor too thin (a semi medium gravy).Add more salt if required.Turn off the flame once the fish gets cooked.Keep aside.
  7.  Heat a pan and add 2tsp of coconut oil ,add a sliced shallot and saute well.Now add chilli powder and fenugreek powder.Turn off the flame and pour this into the Fish curry.Serve hot and Enjoy!!

Note:

  • I suggest allowing this fish curry to sit for a day in the fridge and serving it the next day.The flavours merge and becomes more tasty that way!

 

PUMPKIN CHAPATHI

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I was born and brought up in the beautiful country of Tanzania situated in East Africa.Though I might be an Indian..that african impact is always there deep down within me…be it the way I think..the way I cook…or almost everthing else..!So today I bring an African dish to you!!Pumpkin Chapathis!

Tanzania is a kind of mini India…there is a humongous population of Indians..Gujaratis,Punjabis etc settled here from generations..their presence have had a huge effect even on the local cuisine.One such dish  or street food as we foodies put it is the Pumpkin Chapathi..The first time I had it..I was totally blown out..It has got this exceptional taste..a little bit sweet…a little bit salty…!I like to have this with a little extra spicy side dish…All flavours on the go!!!

The real recipe uses All purpose Flour,but I have used Whole wheat Flour to be on the healthier side.And Pumpkin chapathis are a good waay to sneak up some pumpkins to your kids diet..They wont even suspect!!! 🙂

Ingredients:

  • Pumpkin – 1/2 kg(Skin cut off and diced)
  • Water – 1/4 cup(To cook pumpkins)
  • Whole wheat flour – 2 1/2 cups(You can also use All purpose Flour)
  • Warm water – as needed
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil – 2 tbsp

Method:

  1. Cook the diced Pumpkin with a little water(lid closed) until soft and easily mashable.After cooking,allow it to cool down.
  2. Puree this cooked pumpkin in a blender and keep aside.
  3. In a big bowl,add  the flour,salt,Pumpkin puree,oil and knead with clean hands.If needed add a little water and knead into smooth chapathi dough consistency.
  4. Cover the dough with wet cloth and leave aside for 20 minutes.
  5. After this,knead the dough again and divide and roll into small balls.Dust the balls with some flour to avoid sticking on the surface. Flatten each ball and roll out thinly into sizeable circles.
  6. Heat an ungreased, heavy skillet or griddle over a medium flame. Lightly grease the pan and slowly heat the first chapati. Cook on one side for about 1 minute or until lightly brown, then flip and cook the other side. Press the sides of the chapati with a spoon until it puffs up.
  7. Remove and transfer to a hot casserole or wrapped up in a foil paper to keep warm. Repeat similarly for all other balls.
  8. Serve with some spicy vegetable or Meat curry and Enjoy!!

 

 

 

BASIL SEEDS LEMONADE

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Today after quite a long gap I come to you with a very simple easy to prepare Basil seeds Lemonade…I am sure many of you will be knowing whats Basil seeds..Basil seeds are small seeds which come from the Basil plant…In appearance they closely resemble black sesame seeds…but are comparatively smaller…I came to know of it from my college days.I had a muslim room mate in my hostel…who used to break her ramadan fasting with basil seeds lemonade…I always wondered why…then later I came to know it was due to its calming ,soothing and cooling properties…

Basil seeds are also known as sabja seeds,sweet basil seeds or even as tukmaria seeds…These seeds have a wonderful property of welling up when soaked in water for about 5 minutes…It becomes jelly like…and is quite crunchy with no taste of its own..however one must not underestimate these little guys as they consists of a huge bundle medicinal properties..like being a natural laxative…a natural coolant and even also known to cure urinary tract problems..!

Days in my part of the world these day are extremely hot…so hot that sometimes we feel breathless with the humidity…thanks to the air conditioner..we are surviving..!So making fruit juices becomes a necessity…So today its lemonade day.I like to call this drink “My lemonade with a crunch”…after all who doesnt love a crunch in their lemonade 🙂

P.S – FOOD PASSION AND LOVE is now on instagram too!Catch me at FOODPASSIONANDLOVE in instagram.

Ingredients:

  1. Lemon – 1
  2. Chilled water – 2 cups
  3. Basil seeds – 1 1/2 tsp
  4. Sugar/Honey to taste
  5. Salt – a tiny pinch

Method:

  • In small bowl soak up the basil seeds in 1/2 a cup of water for about 5 minutes.
  • You will see the seeds absorbing the water and welling up!(I love to watch that 🙂 )
  • Squeeze the lemon into a pitcher and add the chilled water,sugar/honey and salt and stir till sugar is dissolved.Now add the soaked,welled up basil seeds.
  • Pour into tall glasses .Serve..Enjoy!!

Note:

  1. You can replace sugar with honey for a healthier option.
  2. If the Basil seeds settle to the bottom,just give it a stir before serving!