Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fish Fry


Here is a simple fish fry recipe. Marinate the fish fillets with spices, shallow fry in oil and serve with onions, chillis and seasoning. This can be served as an appetizer or a side dish for biryanis/kichidis/pulaos. I have used tilapia fish fillets and can be replaced with any kind of fish.


  1. Fish fillets - 1 lb
  2. Salt - as required
  3. Chilli powder - as required
  4. Garam masala - 1 tsp
  5. Coriander seeds / Dhaniya powder - 1 tsp
  6. Lemon juice - 1 tsp
  7. Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
  8. Besan flour - 1/4 cup
  9. Ginger Garlic (GG) paste - 1 tsp
  10. Oil - 4 tsps and more for shallow frying
  11. Onion - 1 (sliced lengthwise)
  12. Green chillies - 3 ( or as required, sliced lengthwise)
  13. Popu mix (Mustard seeds, cumin seeds) - 1 tsp


  1. Clean and cut the fish fillets into pieces of 1/2" thickness.
  2. Marinate the fish with turmeric, salt, chilli powder, garam masala powder, dhaniya powder, GG paste, besan flour and lemon juice for 1 hour.
  3. Heat oil in a pan and fry the fish pieces till they turn brown in color. Flip carefully to other side and fry for another 2-3mins. Add oil as required and adjust the heat to avoid over frying the fish.
  4. Heat 1tsp of oil and fry the popu mix, onions and chillis. Add salt as required. Garnish this on top of fish pieces. This step is optional.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Homemade Paneer / Chenna


Paneer is a commonly used ingredient in Indian cooking starting from appetizers, curries and sweets/desserts. It is easy to make at home and soft paneer is the main ingredient for preparing Rasgullas or Rasmalai. I tried using both whole milk and 2% milk and would recommend using whole milk as it's easy to curdle the milk and can prepare good quality paneer. Curdled milk is called chenna (soft) and flattened chenna is called paneer (hard).


  1. Whole milk - 1/2 gallon
  2. Lime - 1/2 no. (extract juice) or White Vinegar - 2 table spoons (dilute with water)


  1. Boil milk in a heavy bottom non-stick pan on a medium-high heat. Stir properly to make sure that milk does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Add fresh lemon/lime juice slowly to the milk, stir properly. Once you see milk curdling, reduce the heat to medium and collect the formed chenna into a bowl. Add the lemon juice to the milk until you see only whey (liquid left after collecting chenna from milk) in the pan.

  3. Drain the excess water from the collected chenna and knot it in a cheese cloth and hang it over sink or drain in a colander. Run cold water over chenna to remove the flavor of lemon.
  4. After removing the water completely, keep heavy weight over chenna and sit it for 1 hour. The more time you keep the chenna under the weight, the more hard the paneer will be. Knead the paneer and cut into desired shapes. This paneer can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1week.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Aloo with Jeera Chilli Paste


Here is a simple, delicious aloo curry made with jeera (cumin seeds), green chillis and coconut mix.


  1. Aloo - 4 medium (boiled and peeled, cut into small pieces)
  2. Onion - 1 no. (cut into small pieces)
  3. Green chillies - 3 no. (or as required)
  4. Salt - as required
  5. Cumin seeds/Jeera - 2 table spoons
  6. Dry coconut pieces - 1 " long two pieces
  7. Ginger - garlic paste - 1 tsp
  8. Oil - 4 tsps
  9. Popu mix (mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chana dal, urad dal) - 1 tsp
  1. Boil th potatoes, peel off and cut into small pieces.
  2. In the mean time, grind jeera, green chillies and coconut pieces into a fine paste.
  3. Heat oil in a pan, add popu mix and fry till dal turns brown in color.
  4. Add onion to the popu mix and fry until transperant. Add ginger-garlic paste to onions.
  5. Add the ground mix (prepared in step 2) and potatoes to the onions and fry for another 2-3mins. Add salt as required.
  6. Serve hot with rice or chapathis.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sooji Upma


Sooji Upma or Ravva upma is a commonly prepared breakfast item in South India. This is also known as Uppindi. It's quick and easy to make and goes well with Pesarattu. But I like it with sugar or peanut chutney. We can use roasted ravva or plain ravva to make this. We also can add vegetables (like tomatoes, carrots, peas, ..) to make it healthier. Here is my recipe for a basic version of upma with few ingredients -


  1. Sooji ravva - 1 cup
  2. Onion - 1 (sliced lengthwise)
  3. Green Chillies - 3 (or as required, cut into small pieces)
  4. Ginger (grated) - 1" piece
  5. Cashews nuts - handful
  6. Peanuts - handful
  7. Salt - as required
  8. Water - 2.5 cups
  9. Oil or Ghee - 3 tsps
  1. Heat ghee or oil in a pan. Add chillies, peanuts, cashews and fry till nuts are brown.
  2. Add onion, ginger and fry till onions turn brown in color.
  3. Add water to the pan and heat until water boils. Reduce the heat, add sooji ravva slowly stirring properly to avoid lumps. Add salt to this as required.
  4. Close the pan lid and cook until ravva is done (~3-5mins).
  5. Switch off the heat and serve hot.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Jeera (Cumin Seeds) Rice


Cumin seeds are highly beneficial for digestion and for curing morning sickness. My favourite mouth watering combo is Jeera rice with Mutter Paneer or Butter Chicken. Didn't have time to cook either of them, so I made plain raita (mix of yoghurt, salt, chillies, corriander leaves) this time.

I followed the recipe from Manjusha with minor changes.

  1. Basmati Rice - 2 cups
  2. Water - 3 cups
  3. Jeera/cumin seeds - 3 tsps
  4. Oil or Ghee - 3 tsps
  5. Cloves, Cardamom - 3 no.
  6. Cinnamon sticks - 2 (1 inch long)
  7. Bay leaves - 3 no.
  8. Onion - 1 no. (sliced into thin, inch long pieces)
  9. Green chillies - 3 no.(finely chopped)
  10. Garam Masala powder - 1 tsp
  11. Salt - as required
  12. Cashewnuts - as required


  1. Wash and soak the rice for about 20minutes.
  2. Heat oil or ghee in a saucepan and add jeera, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, green chillies and the cashewnuts. Fry till cashews turn golden brown in color.
  3. Fry the onions until they become transparent. Add garam masala powder.
  4. Drain the rice and add it to the pan. Toss the contents and fry for another 2-3 mins.
  5. Transfer the contents in the pan into a rice cooker. Add water and sufficiant salt and cook till the rice is done.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Floral Arrangements


I learned this beautiful flower vase arrangement from my sister. Total time to make this is less than 30mins and a beautiful center piece is ready to be placed on the dining table or in living room.

Items Required:

  1. A Vase or Basket
  2. Stem cutter
  3. Glue gun
  4. Glue sticks
  5. Knife
  6. Styrofoam
  7. Super moss
  8. Artificial flowers and leaves/stems (of our choice) and
  9. Few pins to stick the moss to the foam.

  1. Cut the Styrofoam to the shape of the bottom of the vase/basket. Glue it to the base of the vase. Fill the foam in the basket till 3/4th full.
  2. Place the moss on top of the foam and stick pins so that moss will stick to the foam and will not fall off.
  3. Now take the flowers and stems, cut them to desire length and insert into the moss to fill the basket.

Here are some creations from my sister -

We can make these beautiful bowls real quick either with natural/artificial flowers and need little enthusiasm and interest.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Andhra Fish Curry/Pulusu


Here is a simple fish curry/chepala pulusu that I learned from my mom. I used Tilapia to make this since it is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and is relatively odorless.


  1. Tilapia fillets (or any kind of fish) - 1/2 kg (cut into small pieces)
  2. Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
  3. Salt - as required
  4. Chilli powder - as required
  5. Coriander / Dhaniya powder - 2 tsp
  6. Poppy seeds - 1 tsp
  7. Tamarind paste - 2 tsp
  8. Water - 1 cup (or as required)
  9. Green chillies - 3 (chopped into pieces lengthwise)
  10. Onion - 1 (cut into small cubes)
  11. Ginger-garlic paste - 1 tsp
  12. Oil - 4 tsp

This is a two step process:

First, marinate the fish for 1 hour with turmeric powder, salt (1/2 tsp) and chilli powder (1 tsp).

Cook the marinated fish using the process below.
  1. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan and fry onions until they become transparent. Let these cool completely and grind them into a paste.
  2. Heat the remaining oil in the same pan, add green chillies and fry for 2 mins. Add the grounded onion paste, ginger-garlic paste and fry for another 2mins.
  3. Add the coriander powder, poppy seeds and tamarind paste and fry for another 2mins. Add the marinated fish pieces to the pan and pour the water until the pieces are covered.
  4. Fry the fish (flipping them gently) till it becomes tender and the oil begins to appear at the edges. Add salt and chilli powder if required.


  • It is said that fish curry/pulusu tastes better the next day after it's cooked.
  • Pour vinegar in a bowl and keep it adjacent to the stove to absorb cooking odors.
  • Don't stir the fish rigorously as it spoils the texture of the fish. Gently turn it once or twice.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ganesha Wall Hanging


On a recent trip to my sister's place, I got a chance to explore her creative skills. Here is one of the beautiful wall hangings of Lord Ganesha she made with felt cloth, beads and lace on a white card board.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Chapati with Aloo Curry


This is a frequently made breakfast combination at home. It is easy to make, healthy and tasty. The Aloo gravy goes well with pooris/chapatis/rotis.

  1. Chapati/Wheat flour - 1 cup
  2. Water - as required
  3. Salt - as required
  • Mix chapati flour, salt. Add water little at a time and make chapati dough to a firm but not stiff dough. Knead the dough for at least 10mins (the more it is kneaded, the lighter the chapati will be). Cover the dough with clear plastic wrap and set aside for 1 hour.
  • Shape dough into round balls about the size of a large lemon. Roll out each one on a lightly floured board to a circular shape as thin as a French crepe.
  • Heat a griddle or frying pan until very hot. Put chapati on griddle and leave it for about 1 minute or until it is done. Turn and cook other side a further minute, pressing lightly around the edges of the chapati.
  • Serve these chapatis hot along with a favourite side dish.
Aloo Gravy Curry:
  1. Aloo /Potatoes - 4 no.
  2. Onion - 1 no.(finely chopped)
  3. Popu mix (cumin seeds, urad dal, mustard seeds, chana dal) - 1 table spoon
  4. Oil - 3 tsp
  5. Turmeric - 1/4th tsp
  6. Curry leaves - 1 stem (optional)
  7. Salt - as required
  8. Green chillies - 3 (or as required, finely chopped)
  9. Besan flour - 2 tsp
  10. Water - 1/2 cup
  11. Coriander leaves - for garnishing
  • Boil the potatoes with water in a pressure cooker until they become tender (~about 15mins or one whistle). Cut them into 1/2" cubes and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add popu mix, curry leaves and fry for 2mins.
  • Add green chillies and onion and fry until onions turn brown.
  • Add turmeric. Add the boiled potato pieces and fry for 2mins.
  • Mix the besan flour in water and add to the pan. Add salt as required. Close the pan lid and cook for another 5mins.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Karapu Chekkalu


Here is another Andhra snack called karapu chekkalu/rice crackers. This is commonly prepared during festivals in South India. It's crispy nature makes it a perfect snack along with tea.


  1. Rice flour - 1 cup
  2. Water - ~3/4th cup
  3. Green chillies - 2 (or as required, can use red chilly powder too)
  4. Salt - as required
  5. Cumin seeds - 1 table spoon
  6. Moong dal + Chana dal (soak in water for an hour and drain) - 2 tsp
  7. Ghee or butter - 2 tsp (optional)
  8. Curry leaves - 1 stem (optional)
  9. Oil for deep frying


  1. Bring water to boil.
  2. Grind the chillies, curry leaves and cumin seeds in a mixer along with salt.
  3. Add the above paste, butter, and chana, moong dals to rice flour. Combine well with boiled water. Batter should be little thicker than murukulu batter. Check for salt/chilly taste, can add more if required. Cool this dough completely.
  4. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan for deep frying.
  5. Place the round ball (smaller than a lemon) size of the dough on an oil coated plastic sheet and using poori press or with hand make a 2″ circle.
  6. Peel the round shaped chekkalu off the plastic sheet and fry in hot oil. Reduce flame to medium and deep fry the chekkalu till golden brown.
  7. Place the fried chekkalu onto an absorbent paper and cool. Repeat the same process till the rest of the dough is done.
  8. Cool completely and store in an air tight container.

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