Prawn Balachau

Serving : 12                      Time : 1 hr 10 min                        Difficulty : Easy
Prawn Balachau

Prawn Balachau


2.2 lbs(1 kg) small prawns – shelled & deveined

Grind to a fine paste – 6 red chillies, 1 inch piece ginger, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp tamarind paste

Mince coarsely together (I use a mini food processor) -4 to 6 green chillies,3 large onions, 1 inch piece of ginger, 1 whole pod of garlic(approximately 10 cloves of garlic)

1 to 2 tsp of chilli powder

1/2 to 1 cup vinegar

1 sprig of curry leave

Salt to taste

Oil for frying



  1. Wash the prawns, apply salt and keep aside for an hour in the ‘fridge.
  2. Meanwhile heat 1/2 cup oil in a dekchi (wok), add the curry leaves. Once they splutter, add the minced mixture.
  3. Stir fry for about 5 minutes, till a pale golden brown.
  4. Next add the ground mixture, chilli powder and salt. Stir fry till the raw smell dissipates and the color of the mixture is a deep golden brown. Take it off the heat.
  5. Fry the prawns in batches for around 1 minute each. Drain on a paper towel.
  6. Place the dekchi with the masala back on the fire. Add 1/2 cup of vinegar. Let it come to a boil. Boil vigorously for 1 to 2 miutes.
  7. Add the fried prawns, simmer for around 1 minute.
  8. Take off the flame. Cool and bottle
  9. Serve with rice, dal and some vegetables.
  10. Lasts about a week.
Posted in Chilli Powder, Cumin, Curry leaves, Garlic, Ginger, onions, Prawns, Turmeric, Vegetable oil | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

German Chocolate Cake

Serves : 12 to 18                            Time : 1 hr 30 min                              Difficulty : Medium
German Chocolate Cake

German Chocolate Cake

Already eaten while still hot!!!

Already eaten while still hot!!!

This is a rich moist chocolate cake which tastes great with or without a filling and frosting on top! I baked it today and before I knew it my grand children and their friends had swooped down and half the cake was gone. This in my aunt’s recipe which I started baking when I was 13 and it is almost foolproof. It is a great recipe for large gatherings. I usually serve it with whipped cream or ice cream without any filling or frosting. Delicious!!

Ingredients :

Cake –

1 cup cocoa powder

1 3/4 cups boiling water

3 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 cup butter

2/1/2 cups sugar

5 eggs

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 – 2 tsp zest of orange (optional)

Orange flavored frosting and layering –

Heavy whipping cream

Orange juice

Zest of orange

Confectionery sugar



Directions :

  1. Pour over the boiling water on the cocoa powder. Stir well. Cover and let cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F
  3. Line a spring form 10 inch cake pan base with grease proof paper. If you wish to layer the cake, use 8 inch round pans – 3 or 4 pans which you line with grease proof paper.
  4. Sift salt,flour,baking soda & baking powder together and keep aside.
  5. Beat together butter, sugar and eggs till light and fluffy.
  6. Alternately add the flour mixture and cocoa mixture beginning and ending with flour. Continue beating between each addition of flour and cocoa, till the cake dough is completely mixed.
  7. Add the vanilla extract and zest if using.
  8. Pour into the 10 inch spring form pan or divide it amongst the 8 inch pans – 3 or 4 of them.
  9. Bake the 8 inch pans for 30 minutes or the 10 inch pan for 70 minutes, till a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  10. Cool on racks
  11. Beat the heavy whipping cream with confectionery sugar, orange juice and zest till thick.
  12. Layer and frost with the orange flavored cream


Posted in Cake, Chocolate, Cocoa, Confectionery sugar, Heavy Whipping cream, orange juice, sugar | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Mixed Fruit Chutney

Serving: 24                        Time : 1hr 45min                           Difficulty: easy

I had just seen Aruna Panangipally’s blog “ãhãram” (which I follow) in which she had posted a Dahiwalae Achari Baingan recipe. She used the 5 spices for tempering which is called ‘panch phoran’. Panch Phoran is a combination of 5 seeds – mustard,cumin, nigella(also called kalounji or onion seed),fenugreek and fennel – mixed together in equal quantities and bottled. Panch phoran is also used in the Indian style pickles made of raw mangoes, mixed vegetables, lime, chicken, fish etc.,.

So while shopping at the Farmer’s Market in my little town, I saw that there were a variety of luscious fruits for sale – Plums, Peaches, Nectarines, Bing Cherries etc.,. Still thinking of the panch phoran, I decided to make a mixed fruit chutney using these 5 tempering spices. It came out really good – hot, sweet and sour. Great with rice, roti or even toast.

Mixed Fruit Chutney


4 each – Peaches, Plums, Nectarines – peeled and chopped

1/2 cup oil

1/8 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp  panch phoran

1/2 tsp asafoetida powder

1 – 2 tsp chilli powder

1 bulb garlic pods – sliced

1 cup or more  of sugar

salt to taste



Heat oil in a saucepan, till smoking hot. Add the panch phoran spices and let them splutter, then add the asafoetida. Stir fry for 10 seconds , then add the chopped fruit, salt, chilli powder and let it cook on a medium flame, for about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Next add the sugar, vinegar and the sliced garlic, stir well. Let it simmer for another 15 minutes. Taste the chutney to adjust salt/sugar/chilli powder etc. Cook for another 5 minutes. Take off the heat and bottle.

You can add dates, raisins, dried cranberries or cherries, if  you require, to add another dimension to the chutney.



Posted in Chilli Powder, Garlic, Nectarines, Panch phoran, Peaches, Plums, sugar, Vegetable oil, Vinegar | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Whole Wheat Waffles

The Schools are out for the summer. The kids don’t go back to school till the 1st week of Sept. This is the time for Play Dates, Sleepovers, spending time at the  Beach or Pool etc.    My grand daughter had a play date that turned into a sleepover. Next morning the girls were hungry and demanded waffles for breakfast. Checking the pantry I found that I had no AP Flour or enough milk. Instead I substituted whole wheat flour (Atta) for the AP flour and Blue Diamond Almond Milk for regular milk. The result was awesome!!

Whole wheat Waffles


1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour ( I used the ‘Golden Temple’ brand Atta – used for making Indian rotis, found in stores selling Indian groceries)

2 tsp baking powder.

1/2 tsp salt

3 1/2 tbsp sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Vanilla

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/3rd cup canola oil


Mix the 1st 4 dry ingredients in a bowl. Keep aside. Meanwhile heat the waffle maker.

In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs, add the remaining wet ingredients and beat together till combined. Now add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix well.

When the waffle maker is ready, pour a ladle of the waffle dough on to the waffle iron. Let it cook till done.

Serve hot with syrup, butter, fruit couli or a bacon cheese sauce. Makes 4 large round waffles.

Full of fiber and wholesome goodness, yum!



Posted in Almond Breeze, sugar, Vanilla extract, Whole wheat flour (Atta) | Tagged | Leave a comment

Spinach Ambat – Coconut Spinach Dal

Serving: 4                     Time: 1 hr                                     Difficulty: easy

This is a toovar or arhar ( husked yellow pigeon peas) preparation from the ‘Bhanap’ community of the Saraswat Brahmins of the South West coast of India. Served with steaming hot rice, it is delicious! It is generally made with a green leafy vegetable with thick leaves and stems called Vaal. Since it is not readily available where I live in the US, I usually use regular spinach, which is called Palak in India.

Palak Ambat

Palak Ambat


1 cup Toovar dal – cooked in a pressure cooker with 3 cups water, salt and 1/4 tsp of turmeric.

2 large bunch of spinach – washed and cut up into 1 inch shreads.

2 medium onions – chopped

1 cup of freshly grated coconut

8 to 12 fenugreek seeds

2 tsps of tamarind paste

3 – 5 dried red bedgi chillies – roasted in a few drops of oil.

2 tbsps  coconut oil.


Stir the cooked toovar dal till it is totally a paste. Add 2 cups of hot water and place this in a large pot. Add salt, spinach  and half the onions and let it come to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer for about 15 -20 minutes. In the mean time,  grind together the shredded coconut, red chillies, tamarind and fenugreek to a fine  paste.  Add the ground coconut paste to the simmering spinach dal, stir thoroughly. Meanwhile heat the coconut oil in a small fry pan, add the remaining onions and stir fry till a golden brown. Do not let it burn. Add the golden brown onions to Palak Ambat and serve with rice.

One can also make ‘Ambat’ with a whole lot of combinations of vegetables. The ground coconut paste remains the same for any vegetable combination.The vegetable combinations to make Ambat are – Potatoes and peas: sprouted mung; cauliflower etc; The dal is only used for spinach or any other leafy green.



Posted in fenugreet seeds, grated coconut, onions, Red chillies - Bedgi, Spinach, Tamrind, Toovar Dal, Uncategorized, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Watermelon Rind Doddak

I come from a community known as Bhanaps or Saraswat Brahmin from the Chitrapur Math. We use a lot of fresh coconut- either freshly grated or as coconut milk, in our curries, dals, dosas, chutneys  and for garnishing salads and vegetable dishes. For tempering our food we use coconut oil. I am tickled pink to note that the entire food community has jumped onto the coconut oil and coconut milk band wagon, whereas the Bhanaps have been using coconut products forever! The Bhanaps also use the rind of watermelons to make a thick pancake type Dosa called Doddak. They are delicious, served with freshly churned white butter, which in my community’s part of the woods is called ‘Loni’! This is definitely a breakfast food!

Watermelon Rind Doddak

Watermelon Rind Doddak


1 1/2 cups  rice rava(coarsely ground rice) or medium fine semolina(called rava or suji)

1 tbsp beaten rice (poha)

1/4 cup grated fresh coconut

1 to 2 cups of grated watermelon rind

1 inch piece of fresh ginger

4 green chillies – more or less according to heat level

1/2 a small  bunch of fresh coriander leaves(cilantro)

1 sprig of fresh or frozen curry leaves.

Salt and Jaggery to taste.


Soak the rice rava for 2 to 4 hours or if using semolina there is no need to soak in water. Crush the ginger and green chillies with salt till almost a coarse paste. Finely chop the fresh coriander and the curry leaves. Mix these with green chilli ginger paste.

In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients and mash it well using your fingers. Adjust the seasoning and jaggery. Do not add water as the watermelon has enough water in it.                                                                                                                                                                                The dough should be thick. Heat a griddle or tava till it is medium hot. Take a ladle of dough and spread it on the griddle/tava till it is about 1/4 inch thick. Spread oil all around the Doddak and then cover with a lid, for about 3 to 4 minutes on a low flame. Flip the Doddak and let it cook on the other side for another 1 to 2 minutes or till it is brown.

Serve with butter and chutney or Indian pickle.

In place of watermelon rind, one can also use, grated cucumber,  grated winter melon.

Posted in Beaten rice or Poha, Butter, Ginger, Green Chillies, Indian Pickle, Jaggery, Rava, Rice Rava, Semolina | Leave a comment

Surnoli – Sweet

Surnoli is served for breakfast  amongst the  Saraswat Bhramin community from West Coast of India. It is a spongy pancake and is served with freshly churned butter and curry leaves dry chutney(called Pitti chitni) The secret of the spongy and light surnoli is the slice of bread that aids in the fermentation. This was my late Channi Masi’s trick to get the lightest of Surnolis!!




1/2 cup grated coconut

1  cup buttermilk

1 slice bread

1 cup beaten rice ( Poha)

2 cups rice

1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds

1/2 to  1 1/2 cups of  jaggery

1/4 tsp turmeric

A  pinch of salt


Soak the rice and the fenugreek seeds in water for about 2 to 4 hours.

Soak the bread and the poha in the buttermilk – mix together and set aside.

Grind to a slightly not too fine paste-the soaked and drained rice, fenugreek seeds, the buttermilk soaked poha and bread, along with the grated coconut. Add minimal water, as the dough has to be very thick, it will thin down, when the jaggery is added. Add the turmeric & salt. Mix well. Cover and place in a warm place to ferment. Once the dough rises, usually overnight, add the jaggery to taste.

To make them into Surnolis, heat a tava or griddle. Oil it well.When hot, take a laddle of the dough and in a circular motion, pour the dough onto the tava or griddle. Put a little oil around the surnoli, let it cook  covered for a 2 to 4minutes on a medium flame. The surnoli should have holes in it and edges should have caramelized. There is no need to flip the Surnoli over as it has already cooked.

Serve with butter and pitti chitni or any kind of Indian pickle. Some like it with mango or lime pickle, either spicy or sweet and sour


P.S. – One can omit the turmeric and the jaggery if you want plain unsweetened Surnoli.


Posted in Beaten rice or Poha, Buttermilk, fenugreet seeds, grated coconut, Jaggery, Rice, Surnoli, Turmeric | 2 Comments

Ginger Scallion Sauce


Chinese Ginger Scallion Sauce

This is a very versatile sauce. The origins are Chinese, but this sauce can be adapted to any cuisine! It is mainly used as a condiment along with Chinese style Roast Duck or Roast Pork. This sauce also tastes fantastic on hot or cold Chicken, lightly steamed cauliflower (then chilled), cold or hot potatoes, plain rice, fried rice or noodles – your imagination is the limit! Since this sauce is salty, a little goes a long way.

Ingredients :

16 Scallions – chopped                                                                                                                       180 gms(6 oz) ginger                                                                                                                           1/2 tbsp salt                                                                                                                                          1/2 cup oil( use sunflower or peanut or vegetable oil – Do not use olive or canola oil)


Using a food processor chop the ginger and scallions till coarsely done.                               Place in a metal  bowl, add salt and mix well.                                                                   Meanwhile heat the oil and let it come to almost smoking point. Pour the oil over the scallion ginger mixture, taking care that it does not splatter over you.                                     Adjust the salt and let it cool. Bottle. Place in the ‘fridge and use  judiciously!!










Posted in Ginger, Sauce, Scallion, Vegetable oil, Vegetarian | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Tomato Pickle

Serving: 12 to 18                                Time: 60 min to 90 min               Difficulty: medium

In India we pickle a lot of vegetables and sometimes chicken, goat meat and sea food. Pickling in India is more complex than just braining in or using vinegar as a pickling liquid. We use a lot of different spices  like mustard seeds, chillies (both red and green), cumin, ginger, garlic and of course vinegar, oil, lime juice and salt.

Tomato Pickle

Tomato Pickle


2 1/2 lbs Tomatoes – blanched and skin peeled off and cut into little pieces

2  oz. ginger – ground in vinegar

2 oz. garlic – peeled and sliced

Grind to coarse paste – 1 oz. green chillies, 1 1/2 oz of dried red chillies, 1 1/2 oz. of mustard seeds and 1 oz of cumin seeds in 1/2  to 3/4 cup vinegar.

1/2 oz. turmeric

1 oz.  salt

3 to 6  oz. sugar

1cup oil

2 – 3 cups   vinegar

10 to 15 small green chillies – whole – slit at the end – optional



Mix together the following – ground spices, turmeric, ground ginger in a bowl.

Heat oil till it is  smoking hot. Take it off the fire and add the ground spice mix and stir fry for a minute.

Put back on the fire and stir fry for about 2 to 3 minutes till the raw spices smell dissipates.

Next add the blanched and chopped tomatoes, sliced  garlic, sugar, salt, slit green chillies and vinegar.

Cook the pickle on a low flame till the tomatoes disintegrate. The consistency should be thick with the oil on top.

Bottle. Let it cool.

Do not store in the refrigerator. Use a dry spoon to take the pickle out.

I got this recipe from Joyce Johar in the late 70s and have made it umpteen times. Tastes fantastic on toast, with Roti or rice. Great as a condiment to a Roast!

Posted in Cumin, Green Chillies, Indian Pickle, Mustard seeds, Red chillies - Bedgi, Tomato | Leave a comment

Rosemary Chicken with Potatoes

Chicken with potatoes


Ingredients :

4 small chicken legs                                                                                                                                4 chicken thighs – split into 2.                                                                                                              6 slices of bacon – Chopped into 1 inch piece                                                                                    1 lb. red bliss potatoes, halved.                                                                                                            2 tbsp olive oil.                                                                                                                                        2 large onions – sliced.                                                                                                                           4 small red cherry peppers or 1   red bell pepper sliced                                                                   2 sprigs of rosemary.                                                                                                                          Salt and pepper

Directions :

In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Brown chicken pieces in batches along with some of the bacon. Keep aside in another dish till all the bacon and chicken are browned.

Add the potatoes in  the dutch oven and let them cook till slightly done. Next add the sliced onions and peppers. Once they wilt a little, add the chicken, bacon,the rosemary.  salt and pepper. Let them cook till done.Check to see that the potatoes are cooked and the onions and peppers are  brown.

Serve with crusty bread.

You can deglaze the dutch oven, after transferring the contents onto a serving dish. Serve the sauce with the chicken. It came out absolutely great!


Posted in Bell pepper, Cherry pepper, Chicken, Entree, olive oil, onions, Rosemary | Leave a comment