Thursday, March 31, 2011

Preparation of various Garam Masalas

The very mention of Indian cooking makes us think of rich aromatic flavor from the Indian spices. Adding the right spice in right quantity adds to the taste of Indian curries. Spices are used in such manner and quantity so as to bring out the characteristic flavours of a dish.

Garam Masala consist of several spices grounded together. It's added to dry and curry dishes, during different cooking stages. The preparation of  North Indian Garam Masala differ from the South and Eastern India.

Garam Masala prepartion - North Indian Style
Peppercorns - 20gms
Clove           - 10gms
Cinnamon     - 20gms
Brown Cardamoms peeled -15gms
Cumin seeds - 10gms
Lightly roast all the above ingredients. Grind to a powder, sieve and store it.

Garam Masala prepartion - South Indian Style
Sauf/Fennel seeds  - 20gms
Clove                    - 10gms 
Cinnamon              - 20gms
Brown Cardamoms peeled -20gms
Lightly roast all the above ingredients. Grind to a powder, sieve and store it.

Garam Masala prepartion - Eastern Indian Style
Clove  - 20gms
Cinnamon - 20 gms
Green Cardamoms peeled - 20 gms
Lightly roast all the above ingredients. Grind to a powder, sieve and store it


Tip to retain masala flavor while preparing: ( Mom's advices)
  1. Place the pan in stove (high flame)
  2. Keep it till its hot. Turn off the stove 
  3. Remove the pan from the stove
  4. Next put the ingredients for the masala in the pan and roast it
  5. After cooling, grind the mix to make your masala powder
Have a nice masala mix, 

Marina :)

N.B. Pls note masala mix differs from individual taste or based on regional preferences.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hawkins Pressure Cooker Tips

Here're few handy tips to consider while using pressure pans:
  • Always keep the vent tube clean. ( Visually inspect the vent tube and clean the vent by putting wire through it)
  • If the vent tube is clogged, the accumulated steam can make a BOOM!!!
  • Do not wash the cooker in dish washer
  • Use wooden spatula for stirring.
  • Do not use oil to pressure fry ( It can melt the gasket)
  • Always maintain sufficient water in your pressure cooker
  • In case of value replacement, buy a genuine safety valve
  • If leakage develops around the rim of the cooker body, check the gasket 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cake Baking lessons in Bangalore

Black forest and Pineapple pastry cake made by my student Manasa in her class. Thanks to Manasa for her professional photographic skills, I have a good picture to showcase in this post. 

Strawberry torte and Fruit Gateaux 
Learn Cake Baking with unique hands on baking classes
Get solid foundation in baking or become an expert in baking exotic varieties of cakes. I've classes from basic level to pro. You can pick and choose the type of cake you like to learn for each class. If you're familiar with the basics, there are advanced varieties of cakes to learn from each baking session.

Varieties of Cake you can learn:
  • Cupcakes
  • Teacake
  • Black Forest Pastry
  • Pineapple Pastry
  • Swiss Roll
  • Death by Chocolate Cake
  • Fruit Gateaux/ Strawberry Torte
  • Coffee Streusel Cake/ Banana Loaf
  • Apple Cake/Banana Bread
  • Checkered Cake/ Red velvet Cake
  • Walnut cake with American frosting
  • Truffle cake/Mocha cream gateaux
  • Cheese Cake
  • Egg less Cake
  • Upside down Pineapple Cake
  • Rich Plum Cake
  • and more...
Icing class:
  • Buttercream Icing
  • Frosting
  • Piping techniques

Menna's Delight Baking Classes
Learn cake baking with easy to follow instruction and from one-on-one baking classes. You'll learn everything from measuring the ingredients to wiping & folding the batter and frosting a finished cake.

Details of baking classes:
  • Classes - On weekdays and weekends
  • Duration of one session - 2- 3 hrs
  • Timings - 10 am and 3 pm
  • Location - Domlur
  • Mobile # 9379398865
    Email: mennasdelight at gmail dot com
Also join my Facebook and Twitter for latest updates, new recipes and baking tips.

Thank you,


Baby Steps in Cooking - Summer Cooking Classes

2011 Summer Cooking/Baking Class for School kids 
Menna's cooking classes offer your kids an opportunity for hands-on experience in culinary skills and basics of cooking. This class can be customized on the interest of your son/daughter. Topics range from baking skills to specialty dishes ( South Indian or North Indian)  or a simple familiarization with ingredients, food items or for high-tea items.

Cooking activities can help kids better understand nutrition, the science of food, knowledge on measurement, and inspire creativity. Parent's from Bangalore looking for a children's summer cooking program can contact me to discuss your personalized cooking classes.

TOP 5 REASONS to send your kids to cooking classes:
  • It exposes your kid to a new world of 'cooking' experience
  • Gives a new idea on nutritional choices.
  • Learn about measurement used for cooking 
  • Enables them to complete simple kitchen task 
  • Expand your kid’s horizons beyond textbooks 
Cooking Classes in Bangalore - Summer Cooking Camp
Give your kids a different reason to be excited with this summer vacation. Give them the opportunity to get hands-on culinary adventures and experiences this vacation.

Contact me at 9379398865. I take class from my house at Cambridge Layout, Close to Air force Command Hospital, Bangalore. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dry Netholi Recipe

Dry Netholi with Chilly flakes
Dry Netholi Recipe ( Dry Fish Vazatiyath)
Here's another twist to the dry fish recipe. This time I used chilly flakes with onion along with the dry netholi fish ( Dry salted Anchovies). This simple recipe brought out different flavor, taste to this drys dish. Here's how I made this dish.

  • Dry Netholi (Anchovies) - 1 cup
  • Dry Chilles - 5
  • Onion Sliced - 1/2 cup
  • Garlic finely chopped - 6 cloves
  • Curry leaves
  • Salt
  • Coconut oil
  • Mustard seed
  • Turmeric powder -1/2 tsp
Method to prepare Dry Netholi
  1. Soak dry netholi for one hour in water
  2. Drain and squeeze the water out
  3. Crush dry chillies, onion and garlic ( Masala)
  4. Take a pan add oil
  5. When the oil is hot, add mustard seed
  6. When it splutter add curry leave, turmeric powder, crushed masala and salt 
  7. Sauté ( fry briefly) it for 3 min in high flame
  8. Now add the drained Netholi to this mixture and cover it with a lid
  9. Cook for 10 min 
  10. Serve hot with rice and rasam
you will love it.......


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A vegie Day in B'lore

Assorted Veg Dishes
Vegetable Dish Delights
Once in a while, I get into a vegie frenzy. It mostly happens by chance. This time I prepared three vegetable dishes as I was planning to leave Bangalore for couple of days. I used all the remaining potatoes, bringal and onion flower remaining inside the vegetable tray.

I used potato to make Aloo methi, Bringal to make ( Mezhukkupuratty) and onion flower thoran. All these three vegetable dishes filled my lunch table into a mouth watering treat for our small family. In Kerala, such a sight is not uncommon. Often in Trivandrum, I find people having two or three vegetable dishes, a fish curry and some gravy ( dal kind) for lunch.

Next time you leave out of town, don't leave behind the poor vegetables in the chiller, have a feast, call your friend and enjoy a good company.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cup Cake Tray

Prestige Muffin Pan

Here's the latest addition to my baking unit. It's another gift from my brother. This muffin pan has six muffin moulds to make those extra big muffins. But here's the catch. This pan doesn't fit in my oven. I'm a fix.

One thing most people forget while buying baking tray is about its size. Before you shop for muffin tray, have all dimension of your oven in your hand. This can help you avoid all the confusion and disappointment.

Size does matter


Cake Whipping - Cake in Progress

Whipping Egg, Butter and Sugar  

Last week there was a series of  4 cake baking classes. All of a sudden the whipping sound of the egg beater filled my silent house. Of the four classes, three were young Moms and one a college student. Previous month I took 7 classes for school kids. In the coming summer vacation, I expect more kids to join for basic level cake baking classes. 

2011 Summer - Cake Baking Lessons for School Kids
Compared to last year, I got more enquiries from parents for details on cake baking classes. With the start of vacation, I'm sure most of the kids will be off to many summer camps in and around Bangalore. And now for a change, I think parents should expose kids to basic culinary skills. Wont it be nice to get a head-start at a young age. 

Cup Cake Baking - Lessons for School Kids or beginners
If you're interested, you can send you kids for basic cake baking classes. In my one-to-one class, your kids can learn to bake in their own pace. Here's the basic coverage of my class:
  • Theory, Tips & Techniques on baking
  • Explanation on baking equipment
  • Detailed learning on raw materials
  • Cake Decoration Tips
  • Tips to measure and how to weight
  • Muffins - (Vanilla, Strawberry, Choco-chips, Orange marmalade)
  • Teacake with fudge icing
Start then young - basic culinary skill training for young kids? 
Contact me for customized class for kids from 7 year onwards. I can teach young ones basic cooking ideas & baking. Give your kids the opportunity to know the art of baking/cooking.

Claim your kid's slot for culinary adventures! Contact me at 9379398865


Sunday's Special - Chicken Grilled

Oven Grilled Chicken Wings
Here's a new dish for a spirited Sunday. Grilled chicken wings with boiled carrots and beans. Recently I got into experimenting different variation with chicken wings. This time I prepared chicken wings with soya sauce, pepper, spices and boiled vegetables to it.

Here is the main steps:

Step 1: Grill chicken wings ( Approx 10 min in OTG)
Step 2: Boil vegetables separately in a steamer ( 7-10 min)
Step 3: Add little cooking butter in a pan
Step 4: Now add crushed pepper to the pan and stir it.
Step 4: Add boiled vegetables to it - toss it
Step 5: Add grilled wings in the pan and toss it for 2min.

If you follow these steps, then your grilled chicken wings is ready. It's a great starter to a great Sunday. You can improvise with your choice of ingredients making it richer or leaner.

Good day & keep experimenting


Friday, March 18, 2011

Sardine Cleaning!

Cleaned Sardines Ready for Cooking
Full the Dorsal Fins to cut

Keep sardines in water before descaling

Cooking Sardines Indian Way 
Indian Sardines contain a good measure of heart-healthy omega-3. But most people avoid buying sardines for obvious reasons. Some find sardine cleaning a messy affair, some can't take the thorns in sardines, and many avoid buying this fish b'cos of its offensive smell.

Tips to buy Sardines

Avoid buying sardines that looks bruised, with torn belly or those having the guts falling out. These are tell tale signs of stale fish. Also, look out for the shine, and red gills. It's an indication of fresh sardines.

We buy Sardines from 'Sargar fish' stall or from 'NLP fish stall' at Domlur. In Bangalore, the price of Sardine vary from Rs 40/- to Rs 50/- ( in 2009). Now the price is hovering around 120 - 150.(2015) . We end up buying Indian Oil Sardine as it is affordable and for its taste.

How to Clean Sardines
Cleaning Sardines requires patience, and time. Most of the fish shops in Bangalore don't clean Sardines. If you request them to clean it , they retort back with a flat 'NO'. Few fish stalls like Frosty's or Sagar Fish stall clean Sardines, but they don't do a great job. After getting it home, you've to do you cleaning job. Most fish stalls chop the head portion while cleaning, but I like it with the head.

Here's my cleaning process:
  1. Put sardines in a vessel along with water
  2. Water softens the fish scales, making it easy to remove
  3. Take a sardine and place it on the cutting board
  4. Use knife to remove the scales on the body
  5. Remove scales from both sides and top
  6. Next pull out the gill cover with the hand
  7. Clean inside out and remove the intestine
  8. Use cleaning scissors to chop the fins and tail section
  9. Use running tap water to clean inside
  10. Use your fingers to clear the gut area
  11. Next put rock salt in a pan
  12. Then put the sardines and run it around
  13. This removes the strong fishy smell ( Do the last three steps for cleaning all fishes)
Cleaning Sardines with Kitchen Scissors

After inside out cleaning, use Rock Salt to remove the fish smell
Kerala Sardines Curry in Mud Vessel ( Mann Chatti)

Sardines curry made in traditional clay pot ( mann chatti)
Fish curry taste best when prepared in clay pot. But these days, it's a rarity. While making Kerala Fish curry, you can add drumsticks or tomatoes or unripe mangoes in sardine fish curry. Tomatoes in fish curry brings in tangy taste to the fish curry making it lip smacking. Often we fight at the dinner table for the tomato in the fish curry. What about you? Do you enjoy having the tomatoes in the fish curry?

Here's a recipe of typical Kerala sardine curry with drumsticks (Trivandrum fish curry recipe)

Seasonal taste of Sardines
During June, July months of the year, Sardines have oil deposit in its body. You can make it out while cleaning the Sardines. When you buy oily Sardines, clean it twice to remove extra oil from its body.

Tip to use man chatti ( Clay pot):
Soak the new clay pot overnight in water. It help to filter away the impurities and takes away the strong smell of mud. 

P.S: If you're looking to learn Kerala fish curry, I take fish curry lessons in Bangalore. I teach fish curry lessons which includes three to four varieties of Kerala dishes. ( Fish Molee, Meen Vattichathu, Red Fish Curry, Fish Fry). I have meen chatties (mut pot ) which you can buy. :)

St Andrews Halwa

Family reunion - Topped with St Andrews Halwa
                                                                           Starting with bread with fish molly 

Have you heard of St Andrews halwa? Even if you're from Trivandrum, the chances of hearing this type of halwa is remote. I wonder how St Andrews Halwa got it's unique recipe. Is there a Portuguese or any other influence. I think St Andrews is a cusp of various culinary influences from Portegese, Ceylon, Singapore, Malaysia and our regional Kerala flavor.

Here you can see a spread of  Bread and Stew with cutlets and the most tasty St Andrews Halwa

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Soya with Green Peas Masala

Cooked Soya with Green Peas

I'm in a lazy mood. Blame it on the Bangalore weather or me. To shrug off the effect of the moody weather, I'm sharing a very simple, quick, and nutritious soya-based recipe. The main ingredient for this recipe is soya and green peas.

This side dish goes well with chapattis.

  • Soya chunks soaked and drained - 100 gms
  • Green Peas - 50 gms
  • Garlic chopped -2 tsp
  • Green chillies chopped - 2 tsp
  • Ginger chopped - 2 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1 tblsp
  • Chilly powder - 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 2 pinch
  • Garam Masala - 1tsp
  • Chopped Onion -1
  • Oil  - 2 tsp
  • Chopped Tomatoes -2
  • Jeera -  2 pinch
  • Mustard -1/2 tsp
  • Chopped Coriander leaves
Steps to Prepare:
  1. Soak the soya chucks in hot water and salt
  2. Drain well and cut into small pieces
  3. Take a kadai, pour oil and season with jeera and mustard
  4. Add onions, ginger, garlic and green chillie
  5. Saute well till the fresh smell goes away
  6. Now add turmeric, coriander and chilly powder and saute for 2 mts
  7. Add in the chopped tomatoes and stir for while tilll the oil appears on top
  8. Now add the green peas and pour little water and cook for 2mts
  9. Add in the soya chunks and cover and cook for another 2 mts
  10. Add gram masala and corriander leaves
  11. Remove from the stove
This is all I've time for today. Next time I'll be back with more vegetarian dishes. Till then enjoy madi.


Flower vase

For a change, I'm posting the flower vase I got as gift from Sandya. She had bought this flower vase from IKEA, Dubai. For long I kept red rose in it, but today for a change I kept Lilly along with asparagus kind of leaf. I hope this picture of fresh flower cut adds fragrance and beauty to my blog.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cast Iron Appachatti

Appachatti Vs Non-Stick Pan
Is there a difference between an Appam made from Appachatti (cast iron pan) or from a non-stick Appam pan? I feel there is. I find the main difference in the finished Appam. The ones made from Appachatti gives Appam a beautiful brown (roasted) crusted border, while the other looks white and pale. What do you say about it? What your point of view? Have you tried making appam from both the pans?

Do you want to buy Appachatti
 If yes, you can buy appachatti online. I bought couple of appachatti from Kerala. If you're interested to buy appachatti, you can give me a ring at Ph # 9379398865 or send a mail to

Now, what's stopping you from making lovely fluffy appams. 



BTW: Check out the Appam recipe

Banana Dosi / Banana preserve

Banana Dosi 
Traditional Banana Dosi
My grand Mom, Lydia Gomez used to make banana dosi. Now I hardly see anyone making this food at their home. Maybe, it is forgotten or lost its value with time. Anyways, let me share what I know about Banana Dosi.

Here's a bit of history:
My Grand Mom stayed at Ponmudi estate during 40's and 50's. At that time Ponmudi was isolated from the outside world - no proper roads or transport facility. Once a week, people walked all their way to the market to buy provisions. Due to the distance, people stored and preserved food. My folks used to dry meat about the stove (smoked meat) or dried fruits in the open sun to preserve it for a longer time. 

Dosi Connection with Sri Lanka
When I Googled about Dosi, I found Sri Lankan recipes with dosi (preserves) word. During 50's many Indians worked in the estates in Ceylon now Sri Lanka. The Indians who worked in that country might have introduced this dish to our folks in Trivandrum. Well, this could be the food link. 

This is how I made banana dosi.
  1. Kerala Banana - 2
  2. Sugar               - 100gms
  3. Cinnamon         - 1 Stick
  4. Water               - to make the syrup
  5. Salt                   - a pinch
  • Boil sugar and water to make a syrup
  • Add Cinnamon sticks
  • Add the half boiled sliced banana to the syrup 
  • Cook for 4 mts in low flame
  • Now it's ready to serve
You can either serve hot or cold, good combination with Appam or Puttu...

Enjoy traditional dosi...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pool of Mini Idlies

We had this treat of mini idlies at Madurai Idly situated close to Coastal Junction, at Tipasanda, Bangalore. I had mini Idli while he had ghee dosa. First time I tasted button idlies (mini idlies), it was in Pondichery. That was a long time ago, and now I rekindled those memories with this pool of button idlies. 

Eating Out - My logic
It makes sense to order two different dishes when two people go to a restaurant. Why take chance when you get to taste two different flavors.  

Yours through Idli,


Omelette Fans Unite

Omelette Read to Serve
Here to all the Omelette fans of the world. Omelette is one of the most simple egg dish you can try at your home. Though it's simple, you can make it special by adding other ingredients. For bachelors, egg is the most easiest dish to prepare.

Here's a simple kerala Egg curry recipe you can try out. 

Shubha bhojana,


Idly with Sambar

Yummy fluffy idly and south Indian sambar is just right breakfast item to start your day. This dish was prepared by my MIL. There is a lot of difference between Kerala sambar, Tamilnadu sambar and Kanada sambar. I prefer sambar with lot of vegetables. 

Appam and Egg roast

Here's another delightful combination of dry egg roast with appam. Egg roast is as easy as it looks. Just few slices of onion, pepper, chilly, seasoned in mustard seeds. It's just a 10 min affair.

Taste Appam from Restaurants in Bangalore
In Bangalore, Appam is gaining popularity beyond the Malayalee folks. These days I find many restaurants serving appam for breakfast/supper. Recently a banner in front of Annapoorni Restaurant ( Mouli's Catering) displayed Appam in the special menu.

You can have Appam from Koshy's Restaurant during weekends or try it from joints like Ente Keralam, Vembanad at The Paul, Coconut Groove, Coastal Junction, etc.

At Empire Restaurant at Church Street, they make Appam at the road side counter. Chicken stew from Empire hotel far too many bonny pieces ( ribs and neck) . I've never seen so much neck pieces in the stew than from Empire hotel. Despite the mediocre taste this I find it worth for the price.

Appam Recipe
If you're a newbie, then try this Appam Recipe or egg recipe or try out bread and stew.