Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Clone Marketing Tactic!

Marketing Tactic - Similar Packaging
Some brand shine, few outclass average brands and very few become trendsetter brands. One such brand is ID brand which has carved a niche market from a very modest beginning. ID brand is know for its trail blazing success. I feel it's growth is grounded on the quality, freshness and innovation.

For a long time, I'm a loyal customer of ID idly batter. I've been with this brand for a long time and I've seen how it's has changed the idli batter cover - from an ordinary one to distinct looking plastic cover.

Recently this brand has forayed into other items like -  Kerala Parotta, Wheat Parotta, etc. Along with it's growth, it has also attracted more competition.

Sometime last week, I went out late in the evening to buy few things remaining in the shopping list. The last item was idly batter. I rushed to a near by shop and picked one and rushed into the waiting auto. When I reached home I realized that I picked a different brand and it was not ID brand.

It's apparent that some savvy marketing guys has cloned the cover. And it made me wonder how customers blindly select items based on the color, font and packaging. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Coconut Cake - Ring of Delight

Coconut Cake 

Slice of coconut cake
I grew up with Coconut as my main flavor in food. It's a part of our culture.
And today when I made the Coconut Cake, a familiar flavor whizzed around, waking up an old forgotten memory. This is when I realized how much we are tied to our olfactory senses.

Coconut Cake Experiment
This coconut cake, had coconut milk, coconut essence, coconut oil and dedicated coconut as Icing. Try the recipe given below. When you make this in you home, give a little bit of spin to the recipe or the finish or the final photo. And that becomes your's for sure!

  • Maida            180 gms
  • Egg white          2 
  • Coconut milk   1 Cup
  • Coconut oil    1/3 cup
  • Sugar            170 grm
  • Vanilla essence 1 tsp
  • Coconut essence 1 tsp
  • Baking Powder 1/2 tsp
1. Sieve maida and baking powder 3 times
2.Beat egg white to stiff peak ( make sure your bowl and beater blades are oil free)
3.Use a beater and cream the oil and powdered sugar to a creamy texture.
4.Slowly beat in the flour, milk and essence.
5.Gently fold the egg white into the batter
6.Bake it at 180 degree for 40 mts.

For Coconut Frosting
  • Butter - 1 Cup
  • Vanilla 1 tsp
  • Coconut essence 8 tsp
  • Icing sugar 4 cups
  • Coconut milk 4 tsp
  1. Cream the butter and icing sugar
  2. Add the essence and milk and beat to a creamy texture.
Note: I have jotted this recipe from a website or blog, but I can't recollect the source. Due to this, I can't give the proper source.

If you get any doubt or confusion  while trying this recipe, then you're free to msg or call me for clarification.

Get, Set and Bake!


P.S: Here's a handy checklist for first-time bakers.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Baking Checklist for Newbies

Checklist for Newbies  

                     “We learn from failure, not from success!” ― Bram Stoker, Dracula
 When it comes to learning anything from art to science or to sports, the route to perfection or finish comes with mistakes. So, the question is what did you do wrong today to learn from it. So, just b'cos mistakes is the way the success doesn't mean that you keep making the same mistakes every time. A good practice to avoid repeating mistakes, it's said to keep a checklist or a written note. With a easy to refer note, you can recollect the steps, avoid the no-nos and focus on the end result.

Note: For those looking to perfect the art of keeping checklist, there's a book called - The Checklist Manifesto.

Have a good day!


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Next on my Wish List ( Note to Xmas Father)

Good Morning friends, Have a wonderful day!!!
Few days back I went to Foodhall @ 1MG Mall to kill that evening, and check new items/products kept on display. While walking around the aisle, I went bonkers seeing the red machine on display. It's not the first time I've seen it but this time, I got carried away by the utility of this machine. With this feeling, I put KitchenAid, on my wish list. :-)
So when I got back home I went through the brochure given by them. On the manual book there was a chocolate cake recipe, then I decided to whiff it up. And, what you see below is the chocolate cake with caramel buttercream icing and chocolate ganache to top it up.
The entire cake was enjoyed by my neighbors, couldn't taste a piece of it due to my health issues.
Love to bake, bake and bake
Chocolate Cake ( Experimental Cake)

Slice of Chocolatey Delight

Monday, September 12, 2016

Restaurants serving Onam Sadya in Trivandrum -2016

Onam Sadhya in the Capital City

Onam Sadhya - Top 10 Finalists in Trivandrum

2017 Update  List of restaurants serving Onam Sadhya 

It's Onam frenzy in the state capital. The places around East Fort area in Trivandrum are packed with scores of last minute Onam shoppers. It's a sight to see the rush in shops like Ramachandra Textiles, Pothy's Super market, Civil Supplies depot in East Fort, vegetable market in Chalai market, and of course the packed gold shops. Close to these shops are the road side cloth sellers who attract sizable bargain hunters.

Apart from these stores, home appliances stores are making big bucks and attracting scores of people.

What is Onam without Onam sadhya?

It's the feast of feasts for Malayalees. Onam Sadya served on a banana leaf is a traditional feast which has over 12 to 18 items or more, depending the preparation. However, these days nobody has the time, patience or energy to prepare all these dishes in their kitchen. The trend these days is to order Onam Sadya or dine at any of the restaurants. It's not unusual to see many family members making a beeline to the popular restaurants in the locality.

Restaurants serving Onam Sadhya in Trivandrum

Call it a new trend or the lack of time, more people are used to eating out, especially during festivities, such as Onam. Due to this, each year there're new hotels serving Onam sadya, offering wider choices to suit different budget.

In Trivandrum, there're many good restaurants serving Onam sadya. Here's a list of restaurants serving Onam sadya in Trivandrum. from ( Source:

Biverah Hotel & Suits, Kumarapuram

Sept 13 till 16, 2016
Onamsadya Rs 325
Parcel Rs 349 ( Free delivery)
Onasadya & Payasam at Biverah

Onam Special Payasam at Biverah ( 1 ltr and 1/2 ltr)
Semya Rs 200 for l ltr
Elaneer ( Tender coconut) Rs 260 for 1 (L)
Dates Payasam Rs 240 for 1 (L)
Ada Payasam Rs 200 for 1 (L)
Chowaree Rs 200 for 1 (L)
Kadala payasam Rs 200 for 1(L)

Onam sadhya @ Apollo Dimora
Onam Sadya at Apollo Dimora

Date: From Sept 5 to 15
Time: 12:00 noon to 3:PM
Rate: Rs 500, plus taxes

Location: Opposite Railway Station,
Thampanoor, Trivandrum
For details or reservations, call +91 471 3060333, +91 8129114455,

Steampot at Pottakuzhi
Onam Special at Steampot

Sept 13 and 14 ( Only takeaway)
2 pax - Rs 1,200,
5 pax - Rs 1,800
Ph # 0471 2553663, mob 9142134992

Chirag Inn, M.G.Road, 

Onam Sadya Rs 279
Home delivery: 299

Till Sept 16
Location: Statue, Trivandrum - 1
Phone : 0471-2555556

Grand Master's kitchen
Jubilee Hospital Rd, Palayam
GrandMasters Sadya  The price per sadya is Rs.250

Onam Sadya at Ruby Arena, Medical College, Tvm
Onam Sadya at Ruby Arena ( Medical College)

Onam Sadya with payasam Rs 275
Rs 300 for takeaway ( Free home delivery for more than 5 pack)
September 12th to15th

Onam Payasam Mela at Ruby Arena ( Sept 12 to 15)
Payasam Mela

( Price for Payasam - 1 ltr Rs 175, 1/2 ltr Rs 90, and 1/4 ltr Rs 45)
Ada Pradhaman
Pazha Payasam
Mathanga Payasam
Chena Payasam
Semya Payasam
Gothambu Payasam
Ambalapuzha Pal Payasam
Aval Payasam

Hotel Arul Jyothi
Onam Sadhya at Rs 250
Time: 12 to 2:30
Available till Sept 15, 2016
Advised to take prior reservation, 0417 2333300

Imperial kitchen
Onam Rs 289, plus tax
30 Rs parcel charges

11:30 to 3:PM
Onam Sadya will be served till 15th
Reservation call +91471 2311 789 or +91471 2311 798

Villa Maya

Onam Sadya at Villa Maya

Rate 750, plus tax
Timing 12:AM to 3:PM
Till Sept 14

Location: 120, Airport Road,
Injakkal, West fort,
Call +91 471 25789 - 01, 02,03,04,05

Hotel Rajadhani

Rajadhani Buildings, East Fort, Thiruvananthapuram
For Reservation enquiries : Tel. No. +91 -471-2547755,
Mobile: +91 9446046450

Hotel Maurya Trivandrum

Onam Sadya only on Sept 13 and 14
498/ inclusive of tax
Timing 12:30 to 3:00

Windsor Rajadhani Hotel

Onam Sadya only on Sept 13 and 14
498/ inclusive of tax
Timing 12:30 to 3:00

Park Rajadhani at East Fort and Uloor,

Rate for Onam sadya  Rs 260, inclusive of taxes
Timing:12:30 to 3:30

Free Home delivery of Onam sadya - Rs 1,750 per kit ( Serves 5 people)

Arya Nivas

Onam Sadya@ Rs 150
Parcel rate: Rs 270 ( Collect from the hotel)

11:30 to 3:00 PM
Only on Thiru Onam day ( 14/9/16)
Phone 0471 233 0789


Onamsadhya spread @ Mothers

Location: Bakery Junction, Near Russian Culture, Palayam
Phone: 0471 401 2255
Hours: Open today · 7AM–11PM
Onam sadya - Rs 160/ (All inclusive)

Travancore Aramana restaurant

Only dining Rs 250 per head
Pls call 0471 406 4060 to confirm your reservation.
Oottukuzhy-Vanross Rd, Statue, Palayam, Tvm

The Trivandrum hotel
Onam sadya Rs 299/-
YMCA Rd, Statue, Palayam
Phone: 0471 233 4433 for orders

Pls call the respective hotels to make reservation and get all details before you visit.

Onam Sadya ( Easy Sadya Tips)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Food License for Home Bakers and Caterers

Akshaya Centre at Kumarapuram ( Simplifying Govt Process)
Trending in Kerala - Small Business Enterprises by Women
We're now witnessing a spurt in the growth of women run small business initiatives in Kerala. In Trivandrum, I know many women who have left their day job to purse their passion - to follow their heart's calling.

One such business is home-based baking and catering business. It appears that this trend is like the start-up culture in B'lore and else where. The best part in these ventures is the love and passion towards doing something they love. Moreover, it gives them the freedom, and motivation to do things their way.

However, starting a home-based baking biz is not a cake walk. In the initial stages, one has to be wear many hats - from being a cleaner, innovator, creator, marketer, delivery person, etc. As I read somewhere, it's important to stand out in the crowded and competitive market place

In a crowded and competitive market, how will you stand out?
Another important aspect of any biz is to find a niche and claim it. But, often in the race to get started, many people (including me) often try to be everything. It's kind of being jack of all trades. However, it's not a place to stay for a long time (Note to self :)

So, now you got an incredible idea to start a biz: So, what's next?

If you're starting any kind of catering or food related biz, ( from home based to five star), first thing you should have is food license. Taking a food license may be a hassle, but it's better to on the safe side of law, than to face any kind of problem with the authorities.

What kind of food license is required?

FSSAI license is mandatory for anyone involved in home based food biz to hotels.

Where can I apply for food license?

In the recent past Govt of Kerala has created another agency called Akshya to simplify many task related to applying of govt certificates to many licenses. This agency is a big relief to the public as you don't have to wait in front of dusty corridors to gain permission or certificates. |

So, you can approach Akshya centeres located in your locality for applying the food license.

What documents are required for applying FSSAI license?

Here're the list of documents to be submitted at Akshya centres for processing your application:

1) Passport size photo
2) Address proof
3) Photo ID proof
4) If own residence, then the corporation tax receipt. In case of rented building, then you can provide rental agreement.

Along with the documents, you need to pay an amount of Rs 100 ( for 1 year), depending on the tenure of the license.

In case the turnover of your business is over Rs 3000 a day, then you require a different license. In such cases, you the license fee if  Rs 5,000. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Restaurants serving Onam Sadya in Bangalore -2016

Chingam Vanne Onam Vanne.. Ohoy..... For Malayalees, Onam is synonymous with grand vegetarian spread called Onam sadya, or the floral decoration which called as attam or the thiruvathira kali, where women perform a unique and slow dance or if you remember the younger days, it was Onam kodi ( new dress) which everyone used to wear during Onam time.

For me, Onam is a mix of all. It's about school vacation, going to my grand mother's house in Kazhakuttam, having siesta under the tree and the carefree and fun times with all the cousins. I feel all us have our share of Onam memories which might be quite different or similar to all of us

Onam Then and Now 2016 

Life in 80's or 90's is all different from the current Whatsapp era. Today, life has become more superficial like the 'likes' we get on Facebook page. Well, we know changes are inevitable, but today's fast paced change is like a science fiction movie.

For Malayalees living in Kerala or those living outside the state, life too have changed. Many of us has prospered, we're going places, we have more comforts, etc. However, there're few things which we cherish. And, one such thing is the Onam Sadhya.

Onam Sadya - at home or restaurant

So, how are Malayalees settled outside or living in cities like Bangalore or Hyderabad or even in far away cities like Dubai or London celebrating Onam?

While it's typical for people have Onam sadya at home. But, the practical difficulty of making all the side dishes, payasam, etc makes them think of the next easy option i.e to have Onam sadya outside at a restaurant or at Kerala samajam  or a club.

If you're in Bangalore, there're quite a number of hotels and restaurants which serve Onam Sadya. Apart from the hotels, Malayalee association like East Cultural Association arrange different cultural activities during Onam time and sadya.

So, for those looking for a quick and easy Onam Sadya, here're the popular places to have Onam Sadhya in Bangalore.

1) Ente Keralam
Onam Sadhya at Ente Keralam

This restaurant located near Ulsoor is a crowd puller during Onam season. For those planning to enjoy the wide onam spread, Ente Keralam brings to you authentic  Onam sadya spread to its patrons. If you're planning to visit during thiru Onam day, make sure that you've an early reservation in place.

Onam Sadhya from Sept 5 till 12, Rs 495, plus tax ( serving only for Lunch)

Onam Sadhya on thiru onam day ( Lunch & dinner) 695, plus tax

Takeaway Rs 1,225 ( Serving for two)

Location of Ente Keralam: Old No 12/1 Ulsoor Road , Near Sultan Jewellers, Ulsoor, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560008
Phone: 080 3242 1002

Get home delivery through:
Call Ph # +919353039698

2) The Paul Bangalore

Onam sadya at Vembanad at The Paul, Bangalore offers a Onam sadya in the typical onam style ( sadya on ella). The onam sadya has over 14 dishes, and payasm and it's served only on thiru onam day.

14 th Sept lunch 12 to 3:30
1,350 taxes, ( Ella sadya, 14 dishes)

Located at Near Domlur flyover, 39/28, Amar Jyoti Layout, Domlur
Bangalore 500071

Call for reservations: 080 4047 7777

3) The Gateway Hotel Bangalore 

  Karavali at The Gateway Hotel, Bangalore, located at Residency Rd,

Date: 14th ( Sadya only at lunch time)

Rs 1500 for sadya ( all inclusive)
What's in the sadya: 13 items
Timing: 12:AM to 3:PM

4) Achayans 

   Rs 300 per plate
    Ph# 9620284

 5) Coconut Groove

     Rs 850 Per head
     Timing: 12 to 3:30
     Location: Church Street
     Reservation or details, call Phone: 080 2559 6262

6)  Bon south
      Onam Special buffet 850 ( all taxes)
      Location: Koramangala

        Slots 11:30 AM
                   1:00 PM slot ( Booked fully)
                   3:00 PM

7) Rasa

Onam Feast at Rasa

Rate 650 plus tax
Location: CMH Road
Timing from 11:45AM till 3:30 PM
Call 080 41518237 to reserve your seat

8) Kumarakom Restaurant

Cost of sadya Rs 470 + tax
Location: HSR Layout
For reservation call, Ph# 08065000114

9) Radha Hometel

Opposite SAP Labs,
Whitefield, Bengaluru
12:30 PM to 3:PM

Rate 550 plus tax
Call for reservations Ph # 08066226969

10) Little Home

Dining Rs 300
Parcel 350
Family Pack Rs 1000

Contact # 080 25525950
          080 25631504

1015, 80 Feet Road, 1st Block,
Near Wipro Signal,
Koramangala 1st Block, Bangalore

Timing from 1:PM

11) Onam Sadhya at Anju's Cafe, Ranga Sankara

Onam Sadya on Sept 11 at Anju's Cafe

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Pot Luck -2 with my Students

"Food, in the end, in our own tradition, is something holy. It's not about nutrients and calories. It's about sharing. It's about honesty. It's about identity."

On 9th August 2016, I conducted a Potluck - “Potluck with a Purpose!”, All the students who participated in the potluck event got a packet of lunch separately which was distributed to Regional Cancer Center(RCC), Trivandrum. We were able to give about 30 lunch packets to the needy

Around 25 Students gathered together and had a potluck were the students bought different dishes starting from fish fingers, Unnakaya, fish curry, chicken curry, chocolate cake, date and honey cake and wide range of desserts from Pink lady pie to rice payasam.

It was a platform for the students to share the doubts and queries about baking, Was amazed and surprised that I even had students who were coming from faraway places.

The Creative Hands shared the experience of the sales they had on 6th and 7th July at Women’s Club, Trivandrum. Thanks to all the volunteers who had done an amazing job Rajani Nair Tonia Lawrence Tess PradeepBincey Annamma John

It was a joyful event were we could plan bigger in the field of baking and cooking fraternity and also plan for a bigger bake and craft sale in the month of December 2016.

Thanks to everyone who had turned up for this Potluck event. A Special Thanks to Brinda Menon who had organized it in a beautiful way.

A Word From Each Person ( Knowing each other)

Caramel Delight

Dessert Session 

Special and Surprise Cake Gift 

All of Us Who Made The Show Happen

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Bake and Craft Sale at Trivandrum

If you work just for money, you’ll never make it. But if you love what you are doing,and always put the customer first, success will be yours.”
A concept of selling your products was born on the potluck day which I had on 4th May 2016 at my home with my students, from there it has bloomed to a beautiful flower as "Creative Hands." We had an amazing 2 days sale on 6th and 7th August 2016.
A big thanks to Trivandrum City and also to all them who ran behind this to make it a success. Lisa Melbith Beena Enose Shinu Varghese Bindu Gs Gs Neethu Ann Mini Pradeep Anju Shibu Chithra Sreekumar Nabila Shanavas Aswani Abhiram Veena John Marietta Mathew Liji Jayalal Chittakath Rajani Nair Tess Pradeep Tonia Lawrence Bincey Annamma John
Looking forward to conduct the next event soon!!!!
Watch out this page for the next date - 
Painting on Ceramic vase

Customers at the venue!

Home treats for sale

Orchids for sale

Fresh and fast selling items!

Team of creative people!

Hand-made Jewelry on display! 

Red Velvet Cake!

My Little Brothers

I wish I could see my little brothers more.

We used to fight all the time during our childhood but now that I don't see them very often I cherish the time I have spend with them.
 — with Marvin Stephen Gomez and Martin Stephen Gomez.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Learn Eggless Baking

I get frequent call from individuals in Bangalore asking me for eggless cake baking classes. As most of my cakes recipes taught in the class are with egg, I keep telling then that I have very few eggless baking classes. So, with repeated class, I decided to look around for eggless bakes and cooking sessions in Bangalore.

So, this is what I found. Here are the list of popular bakers who conduct egg-less baking classes regularly in Bangalore

1) Cook and Bake with Deepali

Deepali's Cooking Class ( Sarjapur)

A treat and numerous choices for individuals looking for eggless bakes, Deepali Sawant's class covers popular baking lessons and seasonal treats. Visit her website to browse through the classes offered by her. 

2) Manju's Cooking Class ( Manju's Cooking Class)

Manju's Cooking Class ( R T Nagar)
Located at RT Nagar, Manju's Cooking class has a wide assortment of cakes, cooking and short-eats. Visit her website for the upcoming class and information on other bakes and cooking classes..

3) YummyWhipsByVaishali (

Eggless Bakes & Fondant Creations by Vaishalii

This baker specializes in bakes, pastries and fondant cakes made without egg. She also takes orders in fondant cakes for b'days and other occasions. This place is located at Basaveshwaranagar, 8th main. Contact # 9886320404 for class details or to order fondant b'day cakes, etc.

4) Anjali Cooking School

Anjali Cooking School

Anjali cooking school(ACS), is one of the pioneering cooking school dedicated at imparting knowledge and training in vegetarian cooking lessons. It's started by Mrs. Pushpa Tated in 1987. It has a wide range of eggless bakes and vegetarian dishes are covered in the class. The courses offered here range from sizzlers to Thai cuisine.

Located at 5th Block, Near Karur Vysya Bank, Rajajinagar, Bangalore, 560010

For details, pls call 080-23405032, 9448925759

Best Way to Learn Baking - Try New Recipes

Like any skill, baking can be learnt with practice and repeated experiments. Well, as you begin, don't get too disheartened with the failures ( sticky cake, or dry cakes). Take the imperfections as the stepping stone on the path of perfection. And, as always stick to the recipe. Don't skip any step or add a new method, which is not mentioned in the recipe. Well, you can do tweaks when you become more confident with your baking.

So, start learning by reading recipes from food blogs, watch videos on YouTube, or buy a recipe books from popular bakers.

If you're looking for an egg less recipe, here's one posted on my blog. It's a recipe of whole wheat egg less chocolate cake posted earlier.    

Bread Aroma at Cantonment Railway Station

Recently, I started travelling by Kochu Veli Express, instead of the green Garib Rath Train from Kochu Veli, Trivandrum. One reason I switched is that it reaches B'lore earlier than Garib Rath. Moreover,  Kochu Veli stops at Cantonment station, where it's easier to reach the entrance of the station. Also, hiring cabs ( Ola) or the pre-paid counter is right at the entrance.

Charming Cantonment Station 

This station has a old charm - probably it's the granite arches, the big clock, the low platform, or the easy access to the entrance. Apart from these good old feeling, I love the bakery unit running inside the station building.

Bakery World - At Cantonment Railway Station
It's one-of-the-kind bakery unit which is running in this station. If you come to this station by evening time then you can buy fresh loaf, and pastry cakes that are out from the bakery. If you're curious, then you can take a peek inside the bakery and get a glimpse of the activities going inside. Isn't great!

First thing you'll notice inside the unit is the bread baking racks, super big oven, large size mixing bowl ( big brother of kitchen aid ) and such kind.

So, far I haven't seen such a well run bakery unit inside a railway station. And it crosses my mind that it could be a good idea to have similar unit in each station. Probably, someone can prepare a detailed plan and propose a plan to setup a bakery unit in each station.

Subh Yatra!
Bakery World ( Bakery in Cantonment Station)

Peek inside the bakery 

Pic Collage  ( Bakery inside a railway station)

Cantonment Station ( People moving towards the entrance)