Steamed Fish

There are many ways to steam fish. I do it with banana leaves, idiyappam trays and a pressure cooker.

A fillet of Seer fish. To fit it, I cut into two halves.

Made a paste of cumin, coriander, garlic, green chilies and salt.

Rubbed it on the fish and wrapped it in the banana leaf. If you warm the leaf on an open flame for a few seconds it becomes soft and much easier to shape.

Pressure cooker with gasket but no weight on it. Ten mins. Let it cool a little before removing from the leaf.


Easiest Chicken Ever

This is beyond easy. It takes more skill to clean the chicken than making this simple dish.

If you are buying chicken from an online store, then get chicken with skin, cut into biryani size pieces.

Take a bowl and combine together salt, paprika powder, garlic powder. If you are comfortable with the amount of seasoning , simply put these powders on top of the chicken. Drizzle some olive oil. Drop in black pepper corns, chilly flakes…whatever you want except the cat.

In a glass dish, spread out thick slices of onions. Put chicken on top of it. Cover the dish with aluminum foil. Put it into a preheated oven at 200C for about 30 minutes. Remove the foil at the half hour mark and then let it continue cooking for another 20 minutes. Remove the chicken pieces and return the dish with the onions and collected liquids into the oven. Now set the temp to the max that your oven can handle. Only top heat and broil this for about 4 minutes or so. This will reduce the liquids and char the onions a bit.


Crispy Fried Fish

Fish is yum. Crispy fried fish is super yum.

They trick is to have it dry when it gets into hot oil. Cornflour is the easiest way to do that.

Pat the fish dry. Marinate it in chilly powder and salt for about 10 – 15 minutes. Pat into corn flour and using very dry hands, spread the corn flour all over the fish. Fry in medium heat. If the fish is sticking to the pan, just give it an extra minute or two. Once its crisped up, it will let go of the pan on its own.

I used the same method for both sardines and black pomfret. Both turned out to be super yum.


Garlicky Pomfret Fish Fry

I find people who don’t like fish as being very fishy…in other words, my cat does not like them.

Take a whole garlic. Remove all the pods. Pulse them in a mixie and you have this wet paste that smells awesome. But you can’t really fry anything in it.

So we start a balancing act. Add some spices like chilly powder and turmeric. Season with salt. Add rice flour. Let the rice flour soak in the moisture to form a paste. Add oil to this. Mix into a paste that will adhere to the fish.

Coat the fish and let it sit for a couple of minutes.

Heat oil in a pan. Pan fry the fish. If the fish sticks to the pan, be gentle with it. When cooked the fish will usually release the pan on its own.

This method of frying the fish will not result in a lot of splatter. You kitchen will not be a mess and your hands are also safe.


Water Chestnut (Singada) Savory Pancakes

Water Chestnut Flour

I love playing with different flours and this Singada or Water Chestnut Flour is one of the easiest to work with. Its also a very healthy flour and although gluten free, it has a very sticky nature that makes it easy to spread.

The base for this is incredibly simple. Add a mild acid like curd with a little cooking soda. Dilute with water till its the right spreadable consistency.

But we need some spices to kick it up a few notches. What I do is get to my spice rack, choose whatever catches my eyes. For today that was pepper, cumin, fennel, caraway, turmeric and some others that I can’t remember now. Grind them up in a mortar-pestle. Add it to the base.

Leave it for a couple of minutes. Then get a nice cast iron tawa to good heat. Make your dose or roti or pancake.

Cook on medium heat to avoid burning it up.

I spread out some fresh basil, tomatoes, olives and feta cheese.


Tilapia Sandwiches

Tilapia is a very healthy and easily available fish. I don’t like its skin and hence prefer to get it filleted. This boneless pieces are just the perfect option for making Sandwiches, Shawarma and Salads.

  • Tilapia, boneless and skinless.
  • Cumin Powder.
  • Coriander Powder.
  • Paprika Powder.
  • Turmeric Powder.
  • Salt.

Combine the powders and taste it to adjust the salt and spice. Coat the fish with this “spice mix” and marinate it for a couple of hours in the fridge.

Get get the fish out just 10 minutes before you plan to cook it.

Pan fry on medium heat in any neutral oil. Take care to not use very high heat. We want the spice rub to lightly brown and not burn while the fish is getting cooked. If in doubt, simply break open one of the pieces to see if its cooked thru.

Serve with a dash of lime and some raw onions, tomatoes etc on a flat bread.


Salmon with Butter and Garlic

A fillet of Salmon goes a long way in taste and flavor. I was quite lucky to find a couple of beautiful slices at a local supermarket. Each slice weighed exactly 250 grams. I split each such piece into 4 portions. This is usually more than enough for my family of 4.

Salmon has its own subtle flavor. Its best to add very few ingredients and maintain its simplicity. I used the mild Himalayan garlic but regular garlic will also work. Crushed pepper, butter and some salt were the only other ingredients.

Got a non stick pan to medium heat. It should be hot enough for the fish to sizzle but not more than that. Keep the fish on the pan and watch its color start changing. When more than 1/2 the color has turned to white, add the butter, garlic, coriander and pepper powder. Slowly swirl the pan and let it coat the fish on all sides. This will sort of lubricate the bottom of the fish and let it get free from the pan. Flip it over. Cook till the fish is done.

A fatty fish like salmon will taste good even if its a tad overcooked. So don’t worry too much about it. Use your learning for the next time you cook this amazing fish on the color, texture changes it has.


Chicken Dahi Masala

Think of this recipe as a series of steps that slowly build towards a final dish instead of a single task. This will allow you to break it down to small tasks that don’t take a lot of skill or even time. I am not going to post any ingredients. But will describe the steps hopefully in enough detail that it makes sense and you are tempted to try it out.

Marinating the chicken in a curd base. Use only legs and thighs. This chicken will marinate overnight and also get cooked without a lot of checking. So any lean breast piece may dry out and become stringy. These redder cuts of meat are a lot more resilient to heat and will remain tender.

Before you add the chicken pieces, prepare your marinade. Combine together chilly or paprika powder, garam masala, garlic powder, ginger powder, cinnamon powder and lemon juice. Using a spoon mix them really well. Taste IT. I cannot emphasize this enough. You must taste the raw marinade before you add the chicken to it. Adjust the salt and heat as per your preference. If you feel that a little more masala will be good. Add it. A little more acid, add more lemon juice or even vinegar.

Into this add the chicken. Using your fingers massage the paste into the pieces. Put this into a box, seal it up. There should have been enough marinade to have the chicken fully covered in it. Leave this overnight in the fridge.

The fry base. Heat oil. We want to get some flavors into the oil. So a little Shah-Zeera and a bay leaf go into it. Like a little more heat, drop in a green chilly or two. Then thinly sliced onions. Saute till the onions start browning. Add lots of grated garlic. When the raw smell is gone, spread out the chicken into this. Add half a cup of water into the marinade container. Use it to dilute the marinade and put it into the pan.

Cover and cook for some 8-9 minutes on low heat.

Open and add in chopped coriander. Mix well. There will be a lot of moisture accumulating in the pan. Cover and cook till the chicken is almost cooked. This might take another 7-8 minutes.

Get to high heat and start reducing the curry sauce. If it looks like the chicken is cooked and may start to break apart, remove it. Continue cooking the sauce on high heat. Keep stirring. A magical transformation will start. The oil will start separating and the color of the curry will start taking a beautiful enchanting color. When its reduced and you are not able to keep up with it, add the chicken back into the pan. Coat it with this reduced sauce. Cook for a few minutes more. Time it in such a way that you do this just when the food service will start.

Isn’t it the easiest thing to cook for a weekend party.


Egg Bhurji

This might just be one of the first egg based recipes in our world. Simple and easy to make. Kids love it and its super healthy as well.

  • Beaten Eggs.
  • Spring Onions. Chop the roots and stems separately.
  • Some Garlic.
  • Butter.
  • Turmeric Powder.
  • Chilly.

Melt butter in a nonstick pan. Saute the garlic and onion roots. When the raw smell is gone add the chopped stems to it.

Meanwhile beat the eggs and season it with some chilly flakes and turmeric etc.

Season with salt and add to the pan. Cook on low heat till the eggs start to set. Add a little more butter, increase the heat. Get a little frisky with the spatula and break the eggs into small pieces. Let them fry up a little.

Serve and Enjoy.