Friday, February 21, 2020


Chickpeas – 250 gm
Tea bag – 1
Onion – 3
Tomato – 2 medium
Ginger garlic paste – 2 tsp
Kashmiri chilli powder – 1 ½ tsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Cumin powder – ½ tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tbs
Garam masala – 1 tsp
Chole masala – 1 tbs
Coriander leaves

To serve
Sliced onions
lemon wedges

  • Wash and soak chana/ chickpea for 7-8 hours or overnight.
  • Pressure cook chana  by adding enough water and  tea bag  for 4-5 whistles or until it’s cooked well.( Tea bag gives a nice colour to the dish)
  • When the pressure releases discard the tea bag.
  • In a pan add some oil and saute the finely chopped onions until it’s brown.
  • Add ginger garlic paste and fry until the raw smell goes.
  • Add the spice powders (except garam masala) with a few sprinkle of water and cook until raw smell goes.( sprinkling water to  avoid the masala burning )
  • Add tomatoes and cover and cook until it’s mashed.
  • Allow it to cool down for a little bit and then blend it in a blender by adding 3 tbs of cooked chickpea  to a paste. ( you can skip this step if u want , but this gives thickness to the gravy )
  • In another pan add some oil/ghee and add the  ground paste. Rinse the blender with some warm water and add it to the gravy  and adjust the consistency.
  • Add the cooked chana/chickpea from the cooker to the gravy.
  • Let the gravy boil for 10 mins.
  • Add garam masala and let it boil for another 4-5 minutes.
  •  Remove from fire and add finely chopped coriander leaves.
Serve with sliced/chopped onions and lemon wedges on the side. Curry tastes better with freshly chopped onions and dash of lemon juice, It's highly reccomended !

 Enjoy with poori/roti/naan or rice. 


I was never a poori fan, mainly because after eating one or two pooris  I  would feel a bit sick because of the oil , so I almost never made pooris. When I saw  Ria’s best poori recipe in her blog,  I bookmarked it straightaway because it looked so perfect ! I have to say I am converted now. It’s undoubtedly  the best poori I ever had. It’s crispy on the outside, soft inside and not greasy at all.  I think adding rava to the poori makes it non greasy and addictive. I would say this is a cross between poori and batura and slightly thicker than normal pooris. If you are looking for authentic poori taste maybe this recipe is not for you. I did try playing around with ratio of original recipe by reducing rava and maida  but I  think the original version gives the perfectly puffed up ones which doesn’t deflate or  drink any oil.
 Thanks to Ria for the recipe :)

Whole wheat flour – 1 cup
Plain flour/maida – 1/2 cup
Semolina – ¼ cup
Besan – 1tbs
Oil heated – 2 tbs
Sugar – 1 tsp
Milk( at room temp) or water – ½- ¾ cup ( I used milk)
Oil for deep frying


  • Take all the dry ingredients in a bowl and add warm oil to it and rub into the flour like we do while making pastry.
  • Add milk and knead the dough for few minutes to form a stiff dough. This is very important. Poori dough has to be stiff always unlike chapathi dough. Cover and rest the dough for 30 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into small balls and roll it with an rolling pin making sure not to roll out too thin like chapathy ( very thin ones will crack , won't puff up and might even end up like pappadam). Do not use flour to roll the dough.
  • Heat oil in pan to medium high heat and when oil is hot enough ( test it by putting a small piece of dough and if it floats to the top it’s ready) and fry the poori by holding it down with a slotted spoon till it puffs up. Flip it  over and fry for few more seconds until it’s golden.
  • Transfer the poori’s into a kitchen tissue to drain the oil.
  • Serve with the curry of your choice !

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Unnakaya/ Unnakai /Kayi ada

Unnakaya is another Malabar special delicacy made with medium ripe plantain which is stuffed with a sweet coconut filling.
This time, it was my 11 year old  who did the stuffing part and I think he did a pretty good job shaping it like unnakayas.
Here goes the recipe

Ingredients ( makes 8 unnakayas)
Medium ripe plantain – 2
Grated coconut – ½ cup
Cashewnut – 1 ½ tbs ( chopped pieces)
Raisins/sultanas – 2 tbs
Sugar – 2 tbs
Cardamom – 5 pods
Ghee -1 tbs
Oil for frying

  • Steam cook the plantain for about 8-10 minutes. Do not overcook it, otherwise it becomes too watery and you won’t be able to shape it.
  • Peel the skin and slit the banana into half to remove the black seeds inside.
  • Mash the banana well without any lumps to form smooth dough.
  • Powder 5 cardamom seeds with 2 tbs sugar and keep it aside.
  • Add ghee in a pan on medium heat and when it melts add chopped cashews.
  •  When it starts to turn light brown, add raisins. Fry it until it plumps up.
  • Add grated coconut to it and fry for a minute or so. 
  • Add cardamom sugar and cook for few more seconds until sugar melts.Filling is ready.
  • Take a lemon sized ball of the mashed banana and flatten it with your palm.
  • Place some filling in the middle and seal the edges and shape it like unnakaya.
  • Repeat until all the dough is used up. I got 8 unnakayas from two  medium sized plantain.
  • In a pan add oil and heat it on a medium flame. When the oil is hot fry the unnakaya in batches by flipping the sides in between until it’s golden brown.                                           

Enjoy !

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Kalathappam in non stick pan/ Kannur style Kalathappam

Kalathappam is an extremely popular malabar delicacy. I grew up eating this as my Amma is a bit of a kalathappam expert. She used to make this as one of our afterschool treats and  for all  special occasions. Usually kalthappam is made in an aluminium  pressure cooker but I don’t own one, as all  my cookers are steel. Steel cookers don't work for this, as it burns the bottom. So I had to look for other options.
In 2010,  I posted the recipe of how to make kalathappam  in an oven . You can find that recipe here.This is an alternative way of making it and my Amma gave me confidence as she has tried it in non stick pan many times. So for people who don’t own an aluminium cooker, please go ahead and try it in a good quality  non stick pan. It didn't burn at the bottom and I got the beautiful 'aaru" !
You get judged whether it’s a good kalathappam  by checking whether ‘aaru"  (icicle-like structures) has formed inside. It’s a bit like getting a feet for macarons !

Kaima rice/ Jeerakashala rice/ Biriyani rice or non-starchy rice – 1 cup
Cooked rice – 2 tbs
Cardmamom – 5 small
Shallots ( thinly sliced ) – 5 -6
Coconut slices/Thenga kothu – 2 tbs
Baking soda – ¼ tsp
Salt – pinch
Jaggery – 250 gm
Water – 1 cup
Coconut oil/ghee  – 3 tbs

This is wha t' Aaru " looks like

Soak the biriyani rice for 5-6 hours.
Grind the rice with cardamom seeds and  cooked rice adding ½  cup water into a fine batter.
Meanwhile melt the jaggery with ½ cup water and strain any impurities.
Add the melted jaggery to rice batter and make sure you mix well while adding to avoid cooking the batter.
In a pan add 1 tbs oil and fry the sliced shallots until light brown. Add this to the batter and mix well.
In the same pan, add another tablespoon of oil and fry coconut slices until light brown and  add it to the batter and mix well.
Add a pinch of salt and baking soda and mix well. Batter should be like a thin dosa batter consistency and should be warm to touch ( this is important)
Take a non -stick pan and heat it on medium flame just like you prepare the pan for making dosa.
Add 1 tbs oil and swirl it around.
Pour the warm batter to the pan and  cover. Cook it  on medium flame for a 1 minute.
Reduce the flame and cook it for further 18-20 minutes on low flame.( cooking time may vary depending on the depth of your pan/ gas  flame  etc)
Turn off the flame and let it rest for another 20 -30 minutes. Donot open it. It cooks more in that heat and that’s when the ‘ aaru’/ icicle like structure forms.
Let it cool completely for another 15-20  minutes before cutting.
Enjoy !

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Meen vevichathu

About 14 years back ,when I first came to U.K in 2006, we lived in a little village called Ipswich. Life was a bit boring and dull  there, as I was new to the place and didn't have any friends.There were hardly any malayalees or Indians  around and I had trouble understanding british accent, so I used to be a bit hesitant to step outside on my own.  
When boredom hit me real hard, I decided to venture out on my own and it was during one of my casual walks that  I met Marina chechi. She was from Kottayam and was a great cook !  She  made this Kottayam fish curry/meen vevichathu for one of the dinner parties at her place. She confessed before dinner  that she messed up with kashmiri( milder) chilli and hot chilli powder and ended up adding hot chilli powder  instead of kashmiri chilli and gave us all a heads up !
My husband was in for a real treat..he can’t handle too much red chilli..he sweats like crazy ! As soon as we started eating, he started sweating nonstop . He was sweating profusely at one end and she was handing him tissues one after the was hilarious ! So if you are attempting this recipe and can’t handle spicy, please make sure u used kashmiri chilli instead of normal chilli.

Fish – 500 gm ( I used pomfret/ avoli)
Shallots/ cheriya ulli – 4- 5 number
Fenugreek seeds – one small pinch ( 1/8 tsp)
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Ginger crushed – 1 tbsp
Garlic crushed – 1 tbsp
Curry leaves
Kashmiri red chilli powder – 3 tsp or according to your spice level( more  u add  better the colour)
Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
Coconut oil – 2 tbs                                                                         
Kudam puli – 2 petals
Fenugreek powder - 1/8 tsp ( a pinch)
Water as required
In a chatti/ clay pot or pan add coconut oil and sputter mustard seeds.
Once it sputters add fenugreek seeds and saute until its light brown.
Add thinly sliced shallots and fry for 4-5 minutes until light brown.
Add crushed ginger and garlic and saute for a minute or so , or until raw smell goes.
Add chilli powder, turmeric powder and fry the powders until raw smell goes( sprinkle some water if it’s sticking to the bottom of the chatti)
Add water, salt,kodum puli, curry leaves and let the gravy boil for 2-3 minutes.
Add the fish pieces and cook for 5-8 minutes until done. Add a pinch  fenugreek powder and remove from fire.
Drizzle some coconut oil in the end.
Leave it untouched for few hours before serving
I usually make it the overnight and boil it again next day  before serving.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Ferraro Rocher cake

Ingredients for the cake
Plain flour - 225 gm / roughly 2 cups
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Cocoa powder - 1/2 cup
Boiling water 250 ml
Unsalted butter (softened)- 125 gm 
Vanilla extract - 2 tsp
Dark muscuvado/brown sugar - 100 gm (tighly packed 1/2 cup) 
Caster sugar - 150 gm ( 1 1/2 cup )
Eggs - 2 large  at room temperature )

Chopped hazelnuts ( for assembling )

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and keep it aside.
In a bowl measure cocoa powder, dark brown muscuvado sugar, boiling water and whisk. Keep it aside.
Cream butter and sugar until soft and creamy.
Beat one egg at a time and beat well,add a  tbs of  sifted flour and beat for few seconds, break the second egg  and beat well.
Add vanilla extract and beat.
Add the rest of the sifted flour and beat.
Finally add the cocoa mixture and fold in.
Pour the batter into two 8 inch greased cake tins and bake them in a preheated oven at 180 degree celcius for 30 minutes.
Cool the cakes completely on a wire wrack.
Note – This recipe is for two layers,  I needed three layers so I adjusted the ingredients proportionately

For Nutella buttercream icing
Unsalted butter – 200 gm
Nutella – 100 gm
Icing sugar – 250 gm
Cocoa powder – 2 tbs
Beat Butter for a minute or so until creamy
Add cocoa powder and icing sugar and beat until it’s mixed.
Finally add Nutella and whip for 3-4 minutes.

Nutella Ganache
Double cream – ½ cup
Chocolate – ½ cup ( I used equal parts of milk and dark )
Nutella – 1 heaped tablespoon
In a pan add the cream and bring it almost boil.
Remove from fire and pour over the chocolate in a bowl.
Add Nutella. Let it stand for a minute. Mix until its smooth. Let it cool down for sometimes until it thickens. ( As u can see, I didn’t have time for that and had to  use it  while it was still warm, so   my drip was very  thin and didn’t get the look I wanted )

Place the cake on a stand.
Spread the Nutella buttercream icing evenly
Drizzle some nutella ganache on top of the buttercream ( 1 1/2 tablespoon)
Sprinkle some chopped hazelnuts
Place the second layer on top and cover the cake with buttercream.
Pour the ganache on the top of the cake and also on the edges for the drip if you desire.
Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and decorate it with some ferraro rocher chocolates if you like ! 

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Thalassery Biriyani/ Telicherry Biriyani

There was a time when we used to make biriyani every weekend. Every Sunday without fail  ! Once the health consciousness started kicking in, we cut down the biryani a lot and now I make this only when I have guests.
My other half is from Telicherry and the biriyani that we get there is so tasty , especially the ones served for weddings. Eventhough I like to experiment with biriyani’s from differerent regions, this one has to be  my favourite.  We use a special biriyani rice calles kaima or jeerakasala rice for it and every year when I go home I bring a few packets of biriyani rice with me. But unfortunately I ran out of it and had to  make this one with basmathi  rice.
Chicken – 1 kilogram
Onions – 6 medium thinly slicled ( for sauting)
Onions -5 ( thinly sliced ) for frying
Cashewnuts – 2 tbs
Golden sultananas – 1 tbs
Tomato – 2 medium
Ginger –  1  inch piece
Garlic – 5-6 pods
Green chillies – 5 ( according to your spice level)
Mint leaves –1 small bunch
Coriander leaves – 1 small bunch
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
For biriyani masala powder
Fennel seeds – 1 tbs
Cumin seeds – ¼ tsp
Shahi jeera – ¼ tsp
Cinnamon stick – 1 small stick
Cloves – 5
Cardamom – 5 no
Pepper – 1 tsp
For rice
Khaima rice/ jeerakashala rice/ basmathi rice  - 3 ½ cup
Boiling water – 5 cups ( depends on the rice)
Cinnamon stick – 1 small pices
Cardamom – 5
cloves -4
Fennel – 1 tsp
Bay leaves – 1
Onion – 1 thinly sliced
Fried onions

Soak the rice for 30 minutes, drain and keep it aside.
Preparing the chicken masala
First take a pan add oil and deep fry the onions until golden brown.
Strain and keep it aside.
In a big pan add enough oil and saute the thinly sliced onions( 6 onions ) until it’s golden brown.
Add the chicken pieces to this and fry for about 5 minutes to seal the juices.
Meanwhile In a blender make a paste of ginger, garlic, green chillies, mint and coriander .
Add the  paste to the onions and saute until the  raw smell goes.
Add  biriyani masala powder, turmeric powder and saute until the raw smell goes
Add chopped tomatoes , salt and give it good mix.
Cover and cook the chicken for 10 minutes.
Open the lid and add the half of the crushed fried onions ( reserve the rest of the fried onions for the rice) to the chicken and cook for another 10 minutes or until chicken is done.
Cooking rice
In a big pan add some ghee add the whole spices and saute until nice aroma comes.
Add sliced onions and saute until soft and light brown.
Add the drained rice and fry for a minute.
Add salt, lime juice, boiling water and cook until water has been absorbed.
Fluff up the rice gently with a fork.
Fry some cashew nuts and sultanas in ghee until cashew nuts have browned lightly and sultanas plump.
Layering the rice
Grease the bottom of a big vessel with some oil.
Add chicken masala on the bottom.
Add one layer of rice, sprinkle with some fried onions, some ghee, some chopped mint and coriander
Repeat until all rice has been used.
Finally top it with fried cashews and sultanas.
Cove it with a aluminium foil tightly and place the lid on top and dum it  on the  stove top or in the oven. If using the stove, place the the vessel on top of a pan, so that the masala doesn’t get burnt . dum it for about 20 minutes, 5 minutes on high and 15 minutes on low flame. Of using the oven place it in a preheated oven 180 degree C for 20 minutes.