Tuesday, August 30, 2011


This summer I tried my hand at baking and enjoyed doing it with my kids. Just remember one thing...

When baking, follow directions.  When cooking, go by your own taste.  
~Laiko Bahrs
I came across this shortbread recipe in bon appetit magazine.  I can't tell you how simple, easy,  and yummy it is....


Whole wheat flour- 2 cups
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Baking powder - 1 1/2 tsp
Salted butter (room temp) - 10 1/2 tsp
Large egg (room temp) - 1 
Large egg yolk (room temp) - 1
Any jam of your choice 


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Sieve the flour, sugar, and baking powder. Whisk the flour, sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl.

Add the butter and mix it with your hands. Whisk the egg and the egg yolk in a bowl. Add this to the mixture and stir well. Use your hands to mix this well.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or use buttered aluminum foil. Use an ice cream scoop to measure the dough and roll it into a ball. Place them on the sheet with 2" space between them. 

You can either leave it plain or make an indentation in the center of each ball and  fill it with 1/2 tsp of jam. I  used Strawberry jam.

Bake these cookies for 12-14 minutes until they turn golden. Transfer to a  plate or a wire-rack to cool.

Enjoy your cookies!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Yellow Plantain Fry (Ethakka appam/Pazham pori) with Coconut chutney

This is one of my favorite snacks. I can literally binge on them. Every time I make this, it takes me back to those days when we used to travel during our summer vacations to my native place Kerala. I used to urge my parents to buy this for me in the train. Today, I was desperately craving for this and ended up making it with Coconut chutney and wanted to share it with all of you.
Here it goes........


Ripe plantains - 2
Flour - 1 cup 
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric - few pinches
Sugar - 1-2tbsp
A pinch of salt
Oil for frying


Peel the bananas and cut them into 3 parts. Now cut each part lengthwise into 4 thin slices.

Prepare the batter by mixing flour, baking soda, turmeric, sugar, salt, and some water. Make sure that the consistency of the batter is not too thick nor too thin.
On a high flame, heat some oil in a shallow pan. Once it is hot and sizzling, dip one slice of banana into the flour mixture and slide it slowly into the oil.

Using tongs, flip it to the other side. Take it out once it is golden brown in color.
These Ethakka appams can be enjoyed either with some coconut chutney or by themselves. 

Making Coconut Chutney:


Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
Green chilli -1/2-1 (depends on your spice level)
Ginger - 1/2" (peeled)
Curry leaves - 4-5 leaves
Salt to taste

Add all these ingredients to the mixer with very little water just enough to pulse. Pulse it for 5-6 times until the ginger, green chilli and the curry leaves gets finely mixed with the coconut. The chutney has to have a coarse texture not a smooth paste.

Enjoy this yummy snack with fresh coconut chutney!

Fried dried fish (Unakameen/Karuvaadu )

This is a quick and easy recipe for enjoying fried dried fish. The best way to enjoy this dish is to mix the hot rice with the left over spicy sauce from the pan and have your fried fish with it. It's just scrumptious! If you are a dried fish fan like me, stock up a few packets of dried fish in your freezer. I usually have some white fish(para meen), anchovies(netholi meen) and some silver belly fish(mullan). Trust me...It really comes in handy on  a lazy day.

Here I have used silver belly fish(mullan). It is best to fry this type of fish since it has a lot of bones.

Dried fish 
Red chilli powder- 1-1 1/2 tsp 
Coconut oil 

Cleaning the fish: Remove the head and tail of the fish. Also peel the outer skin of the fish. Clean it well with few changes of water to remove any silt  that is sticking to the fish.  

Marinate the cleaned fish with few pinches of salt and red chilli powder. Let it marinate for few minutes.

On medium heat, add some oil to a frying pan. Add the marinated fish once the oil has started heating.

Do not flip it immediately. Once the fish has browned on the bottom part, turn them to the other side.

Have this mouthwatering fried dried fish (Unakameen fry) with some hot rice. 
Do not forget to mix the rice with the left over sauce from your pan. Enjoy!

Friday, August 26, 2011


 This summer I was reading this  interesting cook book on Polish cuisine and desperately  wanted to taste some of the dishes as I was reading.


I wasn't sure if there were any Polish restaurants in our area. So I yelped and found  very good reviews for "Bona" located in Menlo Park. That same evening, I was at Bona looking at their menu ordering almost everything that looked and sounded familiar to that I had read in the Polish cookbook. Luckily for my husband, their menu was small!  BONA has now become one of my/our favorite restaurants especially when I crave beef Pierogis.

Bona is a small restaurant which can probably seat around 25 people. The service is excellent. I have been there a couple of times. The first time we went there, we had sourdough soup, mixed pierogis with three different stuffings, stuffed cabbage rolls, and hunter's stew. Everything was well served and lip-smacking. I basically fell in love with their beef pierogis. I can snack on them any time.
The second time we went there, we had beef pierogis, polish goulash stew, and crepes with mushrooms.

We topped our Polish dinner with Poppy seed cake which had a very mild sweetness.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Dried fish (Unakameen/ Karuvadu) curry

Here is one of my favorite dried fish curries. Yesterday I had been to the Kerala grocery shop and found some good Parava Unakameen. This is called White fish or False Trevally. Back home we have it fried or as a curry. It was almost a year since I had some Onakameen curry and couldn't wait to prepare it. This time, I made this curry with eggplant. We can also make it with raw green banana or even jack fruit seeds.


Dried fish(Onakameen/Karuvadu) - 5-6 small ones   
Eggplant - 4 small ones (cut length wise)
Green chillies - 2-3( slit)
Curry leaves - few
Coconut oil 2-3tsp
Salt to taste

For grinding:

Grated coconut - 1 cup
Pearl onions - 4-5
Tamarind - 1-2 walnut size pieces 
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - 1-1/2 tsp
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp

Cleaning the fish: 

Remove the head , fins and the tail of the dried fish with hands. Peel the skin slowly. Clean it well  with several changes of water to remove any soil that is sticking to it. Place fish in shallow pot or pan. I usually make all my fish curries in a clay pot.


Grind all the 6 ingredients with 1/4 -1/2 cup water. Make sure not to grind it to a smooth paste. Add the ground paste to the dried fish and mix  a little more water. Add the slit green chillies and the eggplant slices to the fish. Close the pot with a lid and cook it on a medium heat. Shake the pot once in a while so that the curry cooks evenly. It should probably take 15-20 minutes. Towards the end, add some coconut oil, and curry leaves.

Enjoy it with hot steaming rice!