June 24, 2017

Mango Mint Lemonade

Mangoes always brings fond memories of summer vacations. After breakfast, we gather around in the backyard of my mother's house where grandmother had ready for us the mangoes. We called the bigger slices mettha (malayalam for mattress) and the smaller slices talayana (malayalam for pillow). Back home in Udupi, summers began with us racing out to drive away the monkeys from taste testing the mangoes on our tree! The monkeys are ever present around the house during summers jumping from roof to tree and the dogs run under the tree hoping to catch hold of one monkey ( if only one would fall) . The monkeys are very choosy, hard to please group! They taste test several mangoes and drop them to the ground with just a single bite. Obviously that renders the mango ill suited for consumption and leaves a broken hearted mom and two children staring at the useless mangoes underneath the tree. If not consuming the mango as is the other popular use of mango were the milkshakes we made in the evening! Summers also saw us making jar full of lemonade - I remember telling my Dad years back that I am going to start a lemonade business - he laughed it off!


This summer in Dubai is killing. Despite being indoors most of the time, the heat seems to be getting the better of us. For the first time since moving here, we have started drinking refrigerated water. So it is invariable that we try out some cold drinks. So this time I combined the mango with lemonade and there we have the Mango mint lemonade.


  1. Mango - 2 medium sized sliced
  2. Lemon juice - 2 tbsp
  3. Mint Leaves - a handful
  4. Ice cubes
  5. Sugar - 2 tbsp
  • Blend together the sliced mango along with mint leaves, lemon juice and sugar. (add or reduce sugar as per the sweetness of the mango)
  • Pour into glass and serve chilled with ice cubes.
Check out other summer thirst quenchers on the blog - 

June 20, 2017

Kozhi Nirachathu / Stuffed Chicken with gravy


We first ordered Kozhi Nirachathu at a popular restaurant in the UAE. We ended up with a butterflied chicken in a spicy masala along with a side of egg roast which absolutely did not complement each other that too at an exorbitant price! After almost a year we got to taste this dish again at another restaurant. This time the egg roast stuffed inside the chicken and the chicken was deep fried - it tasted heavenly.  I was skeptical of getting a whole chicken deep fried until I read up a few recipes and saw a couple of videos. Yes, you can actually cook a whole chicken on stove top without deep frying it! It is not all that time consuming either.

Kozhi Nirachathu or stuffed chicken with gravy is a dish from Kerala that involves cooking a whole chicken with gravy and egg roast stuffed in the cavity.  Egg roast is made separately and stuffed into the marinated whole chicken before cooking the chicken in the gravy. When you want a whole chicken on table and you do not have an oven to rely on this could be your go to recipe! 


  1. Whole chicken - 900 gm
  2. Egg - 2 no.s
  3. Onion  - 4 big ones finely chopped
  4. Tomato - 2 finely chopped
  5. Green Chilly - 2 finely chopped
  6. Ginger garlic paste  - 2 tsp
  7. Chilly powder - 1 tbsp + ½ tsp +¼ tsp
  8. Coriander powder - 1 tbsp
  9. Turmeric powder - ¼ tsp
  10. Fennel powder - 1 tsp
  11. Garam Masala - 1 tsp
  12. Curry Leaves - 3 sprigs
  13. Water - ¼ cup
  14. Coconut Oil
To Marinate
  1. Chilly powder - 1 tbsp
  2. Turmeric powder - ¼ tsp
  3. Lime juice - 2 tbsp
  4. Salt
  • Hard boil the eggs, shell and keep aside. Create cuts on the egg and roll it in ¼ tsp of chilly powder until well coated. Fry this for 2 minutes in a teaspoon of oil rotating until done on all sides
  • Remove the skin, clean and pat dry whole chicken. Create deep gashes on the chicken. Make a marinade by mixing together the chilly powder, turmeric powder, salt and lime juice.  Rub this well onto the chicken and the cavity too. Let it rest on counter top for about an hour.
  • Heat oil in a deep pan ( use extra oil than you would use for normal chicken curry). Add onions into the pan and saute till transparent.
  • Add ginger garlic paste, curry leaves and green chilly. Let it cook down.
  • At this point,separate 4 tbsp masala into another pan. Add ½ tsp of chilly powder to this and cook well.  Add 2 tbsp of chopped tomato and let it melt.  Add the fried eggs and coat the masala. Let it cook for another minute. Turn off the flame and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, add the remaining chilly powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, fennel powder and garam masala into the main pan. Let the masala cook before adding tomato. Mix well and keep it covered until the tomato melts.
  • Add salt and water to this bring it to boil and turn off.
  • Stuff the egg masala into the cavity and using a twine tie together the legs of the chicken to close the cavity so that the masala stuffed in does not seep out. Tie together the wings as well. 
  • Place this in the deep bottomed pan. Spoon masala over the chicken and let it cook on high for 5 minutes. Reduce the flame and let the chicken cook. Flip over the chicken once a while ensuring that the chicken is always well coated in the masala. It takes about 30 minutes to an hour for the chicken to cook completely. Uncover and cook the chicken for the last ten minutes. The masala reduces and begins to change color to brownish red.
  • Transfer to a serving dish and serve it with choice of bread or rice.
You may also note - 
  • Turning over a whole chicken may be difficult, use two spatulas to support while turning it over.
  • Keep pouring spoonful of the gravy onto the chicken top and let the flavor seep in.
  • There are chances that the chicken may stick to the vessel and burn. So make sure to turn it over frequently!

June 15, 2017

Koshari - a popular dish from Egypt

With the MENA cooking club giving a free reign to cook something traditional to any of the MENA countries, the ball was completely in our court this month! I kept mulling on it for a few days and then my husband decided to ask one of his Egyptian friend from office - he gave us a list of popular items that included Kousa mahshi, Cabbage mahshi, Koshari and Hamam Mahshi which were popular during Ramadan. The same friend had once suggested a restaurant to try out the Egyptian cuisine. We had feasted on Koshari, Fattayer and kebabs that day. So when this came about, we only thought it was fitting to try out Koshari - an Egyptian dish; as traditional as it can get!


Koshari is a popular Egyptian folk food and a look at the dish will definitely reveal the way it has come. Koshari comprises of lentils, rice, pasta, chickpea, crispy fried onions and a tomato based sauce. The influence of rice and lentils is believed to be from Indian cuisine. The pasta and the sauce reflect Italian influence as well.It was a popular food cart dish before it made its way into the restaurants. The dish is usually vegetarian but sometimes comes topped with chicken. This dish although comprises of various components is easy to make and assembled only while serving.

Here we go -

  1. Brown lentils - 1/2 cup
  2. Basmati rice - 1 cup
  3. Macaroni - 1 cup ( you could use any type of pasta)
  4. Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
  5. Cinnamon - 1 inch stick
  6. Chickpea - 1 cup boiled
  7. Onions - 2 thinly sliced
  8. Vegetable oil
  9. Salt to taste
For the sauce
  1. Garlic - 1 tbsp chopped
  2. Tomato sauce - 1 cup
  3. Onions - 2 tbsp fried
  4. Vinegar - 1 tsp
  5. Cumin powder - 1 tsp
  6. Sugar - 1/2 tsp
  7. Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
  8. Paprika - 1/2 tsp
  • Soak the lentils in water for 2 hours and the rice for about 1/2 an hour. Rinse and clean until water runs clean.
  • Take oil in a pan and once hot, add the finely sliced onions. Fry them until brown and crisp. Set aside on kitchen towel to drain excess oil.
  •  Into the same pan add the cinnamon and cumin powder. Add the rice along with lentils and let the rice crackle. Pour in 3 cups of hot water to this, add salt and let the rice cook covered.
  • Cook the pasta separately until al-dente. Take off heat, drain the hot water and run it through cold water. Sprinkle salt , 1 tsp of oil and give it a good mix.
  • For the sauce: Heat oil in a pan and add the garlic. Cook until the raw smell disappears. Add the onions, cumin powder, pepper powder and paprika, Stir for a minute before adding the tomato sauce along with vinegar. Finally add the sugar and bring it to a boil before turning it off.
  • Serving - Layer the bottom of the plate with the rice and lentil mix. Top that with pasta. Drizzle the sauce over this. Top it with chickpea and finally the fried onions goes on top. End it with a cup of hot black tea!

You may also note - 
  • Make sure not to overcook the rice. Once the rice is done, transfer to an open plate and fluff using a fork help it release the heat, making sure that the heat does not cook it further,
  • Coat the onions with a 1/2 a tsp of corn flour to help it get real crisp.

June 12, 2017

Irachi Petti - Malabar Iftar recipe

I always knew of Ramadan but it is only after moving to UAE, I realised how religiously it is observed and what iftar and suhoor mean! The world of blogging introduced me to a lot of Malabar snacks mostly fried but really mouth watering. I tend to stay away from deep fried stuff, primarily because I have pimples popping on my face as soon as I relish on anything fried. Since it is shorter office timings during Ramadan, my husband one day happened to come home with some snacks that he picked up from the local Kerala cafeteria for our evening tea together (that is a rarity too - happens only during Ramadan). It was all deep fried stuff and I could not resist it - pakoda, samosa, irachi petti, chatti pathiri, mulagu bajji, ulli vada. It was all there. I waited for two days after we had this - Yay! No pimples and that made my resolution to prepare a fried malabar snack stronger.

That is how I ended up making irachi petti with the minced meat I had in the fridge. Irachi means meat and petti means box. So basically this dish has meat filling that is sealed in a box made of crepe!
So here is a recipe to try this Ramadan!



For the filling

  1. Minced meat - 400 gms (beef, mutton or chicken)
  2. Onion - 3 medium finely chopped
  3. Ginger - 2 tbsp
  4. Garlic - 2 tsp
  5. Green Chilli - 3 finely chopped
  6. Pepper powder - 1 tsp
  7. Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  8. Coriander powder - 1 tbsp
  9. Garam masala - 1 tsp
  10. Lime juice - 1 tbsp
  11. Salt to taste
  12. Oil
For the crepe
  1. All purpose flour - 1 cup
  2. Egg - 1 beaten
  3. Salt to taste
  4. Water as needed
For coating
  1. Egg - 1 beaten
  2. Bread crumbs
  3. Oil
  • Heat oil in a pan. Fry the onions until it softens and add the ginger, garlic and green chilly. Saute till the raw smell disappears.
  • Add the turmeric powder, corriander powder and pepper powder. Cook the masala and add the minced meat. Mix it well to coat.
  • Add salt and keep it covered until it is cooked. Adjust salt if need be and add lime juice. Turn off the flame.
  • Prepare the crepe batter by mixing together the flour, egg, water and salt in a bowl. Add water as needed to form a runny batter.
  • Heat a tawa and pour a laddle full of batter onto the hot tawa. Ensure that the flame is on medium and prepare the round crepe by running the laddle in a circular pattern on the batter.
  • Flip over once and cooked gently. Do not let it get crisp as it might break open while placing the filling.
  • This batter makes around 8 crepes.
How to fill the crepe and fry
  • Take one of the crepe and place two spoonful of filling on the center of the round crepe. Using the same spoon adjust the filling to form either a square shape or a rectangle shape. This is done just to make the irachi petti hold the shape.
  • In order to cover the filling, first fold over one side towards the top of the filling, such that the bend in the fold is at the point where the filling ends.Repeat the same with the opposite side.
  •  Now fold the other two ends one at a time thereby sealing the filling in ( may form a square or a rectangle shape). It is always better to have larger crepes made so that the folding is easy and it stays. Smaller folded flaps tend to open up while cooking.
  • Place this on a plate with the folded flaps facing down. Repeat the same with other crepes.
  • Heat oil in a pan,  Dip each of the petti in the beaten egg and coat it with bread crumbs. Then place the petti in the pan with the flap side facing down. Cook till it browns well on one side and then flip over.
  • Serve hot !!

You may also note
  • You may add corriander leaves to the meat filling.
  • Once the crepe has been folded always place it with the flap facing downward so that the weight tends to hold the flap in place.
  • I prefer shallow frying but you may also deep fry it.

June 4, 2017

Kerala style beef ellu curry / Kerala style beef (with bones) curry


India is in the middle of a beef debate and this post is in no way a protest against the ban. I just happened to make beef curry exactly on the day beef ban was declared in India. Yet, if the government of my country decides to ban beef I am liable to obey it, if it were only for the right reasons! Doesn't my country have so many other pressing issues that need attention? Hinduism reveres cows, but doesn't Hinduism and every other religion hold human beings in high value? Aren't Goddess' also worshiped? Then why on earth aren't women in our society held in high regard? Sexual harassment cases are on an unprecedented high and the culprits walk free or are meted with special treatment in jail. But it is ok to take law in hands when someone decides to transport cow? Even if it was not for slaughter? Don't we women deserve a bit more respect in the society and severe actions taken against those who wrong us? Despite all this, fear of punishment will hold us back from eating beef in India. I dream of a day when fear of punishment will stop people from committing atrocities against women. I envision a day when women in the society can walk as free as the cows do now! This is the least the government can do for our country! If the men who go out of their way to find out who is slaughtering cow and punish them could take a little of their time to ensure that country is a safe place for women, India would have been a much better place. Do we not deserve even so much? These are purely my thoughts and am not on for a debate on the ban:)

Having placed my thoughts on the beef ban, let me move to the recipe. This is from my family kitchen - when I say family, I have seen my mom and aunt make it and mostly served with puttu/steam cake. So that is what I did too - so here is the recipe for beef ellu curry.


  1. Beef with bones - 1 kg
  2. Potato - 1/2 kg diced
  3. Tomato - 2 medium sliced
  4. Onion - 3 medium sliced a little thick
  5. Green Chilli - 5- 6 slit
  6. Ginger - 1 tbsp grated
  7. Garlic - 1 tbsp grated
  8. Garam masala - 1 tbsp
  9. Coriander powder - 2 tbsp
  10. Chilli powder - 1 tbsp
  11. Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  12. Coconut milk - 1/2 cup thick
  13. Coconut milk - 1 and 1/2 cup thin
  14. Cinnamon - 1 inch
  15. Green cardamom - 2
  16. Cloves - 3
  17. Curry leaves
  18. Shallots - 2 tbsp
  19. Peppercorns - 1 tbsp
  20. Salt to taste
  21. Oil
  • Heat oil in pressure cooker and add the whole spices - cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Saute till fragrant.
  • Add the onions and saute till transparent. Tip in the ginger, garlic and green chilli. Cook until done.
  • Add the masala powders - turmeric, corriander, chilly and garam masala one at a time, Stirring it well to combine and cook.
  • Add the beef, potato and the tomato. Stir well to combine the masala. Pour in the thin milk of coconut and pressure cook until the beef is done. The cooking time may vary according to the beef used.
  • Release the pressure of the cooker. Add salt and the thick milk of coconut. Let it simmer for 2 minutes and then turn off  the flame.
  • In a mortar and pestle, crush the chopped shallots ( alternatively onions) and pepper corn coarsely.
  • Heat oil in a separate pan , add the crushed pepper and shallots. Fry till the color of the shallots begin to darken and add curry leaves.
  • Garnish the beef ellu curry with this and serve hot with puttu.
You may also note
  • Do not boil the gravy once you add the thick milk of coconut.
  • You may make this with boneless beef as well but with the bones it gets more flavorful.
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