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.

Red Mullet Grilled

Fishes come in all colors and shapes. But one of the prettiest fishes is the Red Mullet. Its called Nagarai Meen in Tamil. It has a lovely color and soft white meat. It does have quite a few bones but they are manageable. With fishes that have such delicate flavors, I prefer using minimal spices. So just a lot of very finely garlic with butter and some chilly flakes for heat.

Just clean up the fish and if you are planning to grill this the way I did, its very important you remove the blood vein that runs along the spine. A toothpick works very well to dig it out completely.

Melt some butter and mix it with garlic and chilly flakes. Season with salt. Now liberally coat the fish with this. Place it on a grill rack. Keep a flat pan under it. To make clean up easier put some on the flat pan. A lot of people prefer using aluminum foil or parchment paper. I like my reusable silicon sheet as its reusable and does a much better job.

If you have space on the grill tray then rub the same buttery goodness of any other vegetable like the butternut squash I have used.

Grill at 180C for about 20-25 mins. Till the fish is cooked. Avoid overcooking the fish. If the vegetable is not fully cooked, then simply remove the fish from the grill and return them to the oven.


Tomato Sauce

I was driving back home when I spotted a truck loaded with tomatoes. They were parked by the kerb and selling these bright red beauties. Picked up 2.5 kilos for fifty rupees. Even before I reached home, I knew exactly what I would be doing with these.

I took my large 11 Liter stock pot. Filled in about three liters of water and started brining it to a boil. Scored a cross on the base of each tomato. When the water started boiling, I dropped in the tomatoes. Within 3-4 minutes the skin started curling away at the incision points. Removed the tomatoes and peeled all of them. Emptied the stock pot and once it had dried over high heat, I added a half cup of olive oil. Sautéed a chopped onion and bay leaves.

When the onions had softened up, I added the tomatoes and let them roast for a couple of minutes. Removed the bay leaves and used a hand blender to puree them inside the pot itself. Seasoned with salt and let this cook on low heat. Occasionally giving it a stir or two. Slowly and steadily the tomatoes started to reduce and the color started to change.

I added a little garlic powder, paprika and dried herbs.

When the sauce was thick enough that it no longer drip thru my perforated spoon, it is ready.

Let it cool and use for anything from Pasta’s to Pizzas.

Add in any more flavoring you want to up the taste.


Lemon Butter Prawns

Fresh prawns are such a delight to cook and serve.

  • Prawns.
  • Coarsely ground black pepper.
  • Grated Garlic.
  • Olive Oil.
  • Lemon Juice.
  • Salt.
  • Butter.

Marinate the prawns in olive oil, pepper and garlic for about 30 minutes.

Add salt and mix well just before you cook them.

Melt butter in a pan. Add the prawns and take care to spread them out. Let them sizzle for about 3-4 mins. Flip them over. Drizzle lemon juice. Stir them up and cook till they are done.


Roasted Butternut Squash

A simple dish that is healthy and yummy.

Simply mix together pieces of butternut squash with garlic powder, paprika and olive oil. Roast at 180C in the middle tray of your oven for about 20 minutes.

Remove and mix it up a little. Return to the oven and let it roast for another 10-15 mins on the middle tray at 180C.

Remove and check if they have become soft and tender. Now return to the top shelf, use only top heat and blast it at 210C for about 5mins.