Sunday 2 August 2020

Date Muffins

This is a simple muffin recipe, that I've adapted by adding dates. The dates caramelise slightly when cooked, giving these muffins an extra boost of flavour and texture.
date muffins
Date muffins

Dates pair extremely well with lemons and oranges. In this case, I've used lemon zest, which imparts a beautiful flavour that makes this recipe unique.
Date muffins
Date muffins


1 1/4 cups of plain flour, maida
1/3 cup of granulated sugar
2 tsps of baking powder
2 eggs
3/4 cup of milk
1/2 tsp of salt
4 tbsps of olive oil or melted butter
1 tsp of vanilla essence
lemon zest (the zest of one entire lemon)
1 cup of dates


Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius

Since I used fresh dates from my tree, I softened the dates by putting them in a pan and adding 1 cup of water. Put the pan on the stove and let it cook for about 5 mins on a medium heat, just till the dates have softened. This process doesn't take very long (If your dates are store bought and already soft enough, you can avoid this process). Remove the softened dates and throw out the excess water. Then, chop them up into small pieces.

Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, beat the eggs, then add the butter or oil, milk, vanilla essence and lemon zest.

Add the wet ingredients slowly into the flour bowl, folding the batter with a spoon as you go along. The batter needs to just be incorporated and not smooth. Fold in the dates.

Grease a muffin tin with butter or line it with muffin paper cups. 

Spoon the batter about 3/4 way up the height of the muffin cup, leaving room to rise. 

Bake for 20-25 mins. Remove from the oven, once the muffins have risen and have a nice colour and are firm in the middle. 

Date muffins
Date muffins

Leave to cook in the muffin tray for 5 mins, before removing and letting it cool completely on a wire rack.
date muffins
Date muffins

Vegetable Pulao Rice

This is a classic variation on the regular plain white rice and a sneaky way of getting your kids to eat veggies.

Note! this is not a fried rice. With a fried rice, you boil white rice first and then stir fry in the veggies and add to the rice. This rice is cooked along with the veggies. A one pot dish that saves you a lot of washing up too!. I have cooked this in my regular pressure cooker in exactly 10 minutes! A quick and easy recipe using store bought frozen veggies. I usually keep a packet handy in my freezer for exactly this!
vegetable pulao rice
Vegetable Pulao Rice

4 cups of uncooked rice
3 tbsps of oil
2 medium onions chopped fine
1 tomato chopped fine
9 1/2 cups of water
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cardammom pods
4-5 whole cloves
1 mace (outer covering of the nutmeg)
5 maggi stock cubes. (There are usually 2 in a small box)
1 cup of frozen mixed vegetables 
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of cumin seeds

Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add in the cumin seeds. When you start to smell their aroma, add the rest of the whole spices, i.e. the cinnamon stick, cardamom, cloves and mace. 

Add in the onions and saute till nice and golden. Add the chopped tomato next and the stock cubes. Saute till the cubes have melted and been absorbed into the onion tomato mixture. 

Add in the rice next, and the water. I usually add 1 1/2 cup water more than the doubled amount, so that the rice can fluff up nicely. Add in the frozen mixed vegetables. I usually throw them in straight from the freezer without defrosting. If you don't like mixed veggies, you can substitute it with just corn, or peas, whatever you fancy.

Give it a quick mix and then close the pressure cooker. Remove the whistle. This recipe does not require you to use the whistle of the pressure cooker. 

Put the heat on the highest setting. Stay in the kitchen as you will need to monitor it from now on. When you start to see a steady stream of steam coming out from the vent (wait for those little bursts of steam to flow in a straight line), then lower and time for 10 mins. 

As soon as 10 mins are over, open the rice cooker and remove from the heat. 

Note! These timings and water quantities are for cooking in a pressure cooker and may vary if you cook it in a regular casserole dish.

You will find most of the spices have floated their way to the top. This makes it a lot easier to remove them at this stage so that the kids don't make a fuss later about biting into them. 

Fluff up the rice with a fork and your rice is ready to eat. This recipe will stay nicely in the fridge too, for a couple of days. 

vegetable pulao rice
Vegetable Pulao Rice

Goan Spiced Pulled Beef Roast

This recipe is basically a regular Goan Beef Roast. The only change I've made is taking it a step further and cooking it till it shreds. I wanted to achieve a  "pulled pork" style texture, where it's easy, once shredded, to stuff into sandwiches for both adults and kids.

If you would like to have it as slices, just skip the shredding step and cut the roast into slices and serve.

As always, cooking it in the pressure cooker, makes the whole process not only faster, but also renders a nice softness to the beef.

1.2 kilos of beef
2 tbsps ginger garlic paste
3" stick of cinnamon
12 cloves
20 peppercorns
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 lime/lemon
1 tsp cumin seeds
salt as needed
2cups of water

3-4 tbsps of oil
1 tsp tamarind paste (i use store bought from Priya's)
2 tsp sugar
2 large onions finely chopped
3 whole red dried Kashmiri chillies

In a mixer, grind the cinnamon, cumin seeds, cloves, turmeric powder into a fine powder. Fork the beef all over so that the marinade seeps into it nicely, Marinate the beef with ginger garlic paste, salt and the spice mix and juice of 1 lime. Leave to marinate for a few hours.

In a pressure cooker, heat oil. Add the kashmiri chillies (break these into one inch pieces) and onions and fry till the onions get transluscent. Add the beef and any extra marinade into the cooker. Fry both sides of the beef, searing it, to lock the juices inside. Add the water, and cover the cooker. Turn the heat on high. When it whistles, lower and time for half an hour.

Once it's reached half an hour, open the cooker with a fork underneath the whistle and let out all the steam. Remove the lid. You will now need to put the open cooker, back on the heat to dry up all the liquid.

At this stage, if you wish to have it in slices, simply leave the piece of meat as is. If you want to achieve that "pulled texture", shred it in the cooker, as the liquid is drying up. This will also put more moisture back into the beef. To give it a final burst of flavour, I've added 2 tsps of sugar, and 1 tsp of tamarind paste. Do this mid way through the drying process and also check for salt.

Once the liqud has completely dried, transfer to a serving dish, and store in the fridge once cooled.

Ideal for stuffing in buns both adults as well as in your child's school lunch box.

Note: I prefer once stored in the fridge, to remove a little at a time from the prepared dish when needed, and reheat in the microwave, instead of heating the whole dish

Baby eggplant with spices/Baingan masala

Eggplant is one of my favourite vegetables, and I love all things eggplant. But this recipe is one that I especially love. You need the small round baby eggplants for this recipe which are fairly easy to find in the supermarkets today.
baby eggplant with spices, baingan masala
Baingan Masala

500 gms of baby eggplants
2 large onions
2 green chillies roughly chopped
1 heaped tsp of ginger garlic paste
2 tomatoes
1 small tetra pack of tomato paste (135gms)
1/2 tsp of mustard seeds
few curry leaves
1/2 tsp of kashmiri red chilli powder
1 tsp of coriander powder
1 tsp of cumin powder
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
Pinch of sugar
salt to taste

Keep the stalk of the eggplant intact. Do not remove the green part on the top as this will hold the whole eggplant together. You can chop off a bit of the stalk if it is too long and leave just a bit near the eggplant.

Make 2 slits in the shape of a  +  at the bottom of each eggplant. This will help the eggplant to absorb some of the goodness of all those spices later. 

Grind the onions to a paste in a mixer and reserve. In a casserole, heat oil. When hot, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Then add in the onion paste, green chillies and ginger garlic paste. Cook till the onions are transluscent. 

In the same mixer, add in the tomatoes and blend to a puree. Add the blended tomatoes to the onions in the dish. Then add in the spice powders ie. chilly powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and turmeric powder. 

Now add in the tomato paste and salt to taste. Add a pinch of sugar, to balance out the sourness from the tomatoes. 

Add in the eggplants and give it a good stir. Then cover with a lid and cook on low for 10 mins. Take a peak ever so often as you want the eggplants to be soft and cooked but not falling apart. They should hold their shape. 

Serve hot..

Palak Paneer (Cottage cheese with Spinach)

This is one of India's favourite vegetarian dishes. Paneer or cottage cheese as its also known, can be used fresh or frozen for this recipe. It is a simple quick version packed with a lot of flavour.

palak paneer, cottage cheese with spinach
Palak Paneer
1 packet 250 gms of frozen paneer cubes (I used Amul)
2 bundles of spinach leaves
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
2 tsps of coriander powder
1 tsp of cumin powder
1 tsp of garam masala
3 tbsps of cream
salt to taste
1 tsp of kashmiri chilli powder
1 large onion chopped fine
2 green chillies coarsely chopped
2' piece of ginger chopped fine.

Defrost the paneer by leaving it out on the counter for an hour or so.

Wash the spinach leaves carefully, and remove any thick stringy stems. Blanch in hot water for a minute. (Blanching means quickly immersing the spinach in a big pot of boiling hot water and then immediately removing).
Keep another bowl of cold water with a few ice cubes ready. Once the spinach has been in the boiling water for a minute, then add it into the cold water. This will help preserve the green colour of the paneer, and stop it from cooking any further.

Blitz it in a mixer or food processor till you get a puree. You can add a bit of water if the puree is too thick. Reserve and set aside.

Saute the onions in a casserole. When it turns transluscent, add the ginger and green chillies. Add your spice powders, i.e. the turmeric powder, coriander, cumin, garam and chilli powder. Add salt to taste.

Add in the pureed spinach and cook for about 10 mins on a medium low heat. Add in the cream. You can add a little cream and some milk instead of all cream, if you would like to keep the calories on the dish low.

Gently add in the defrosted paneer cubes and give it a stir. Cook for a further 5 mins and once the paneer has softened turn off the heat. Check for seasoning and serve.

How to use a Pressure Cooker

A lot of us find the concept of using a pressure cooker a bit daunting. We've heard about how it can shorten the cooking process and how it helps to tenderise the meat, but for those who have never used one, one always has that worry at the back of their heads whether they will do the wrong thing and blow up the whole kitchen!

My mom being a working mum, started using a pressure cooker very early in life. She perfected each and every timing to the tee. Watching her, I've also mastered the art of using one, and today will share my tips and tricks on how to get the best from your pressure cooker.

The first thing you need to do is go and buy a pressure cooker. There are so many companies making them today, its hard to choose. And now they've come out with fancy versions like the non stick variety, extra safety gadgets etc..

There are 2 main companies, at least in India, that specialise in pressure cookers. One is Hawkins and the other is Prestige. If you've grown up with one, you won't touch the other. It's almost like the Nikon vs Canon debate in cameras. Once you are comfortable using one brand, it's hard to move to another.

So of the two which do you choose, and more importantly, which do I use? Well, I'm a Hawkins girl. The main plus point Hawkins has going for itself, is the lid sits in a lock like position from the inside, where as Prestige has it's lid sitting on top. Now, reviewing it from a safety angle, I'd say Hawkins seems more safer as the lid can't ever pop out and blow in your face. I know Prestige has come back with extra safety valves now on their pressure cookers, but like I said earlier, I'm a Hawkins girl, and I see no faults from the beginning in their cookers.

My pressure cookers are now 5 to 10 years old. I love the aluminium ones. You can get them in all sizes to suit your cooking requirements. I cannot remember right now, whether there was any curing instructions to start off with your new cooker. So check the manual for that. What I'm giving you are tips to keep in mind when using one.

1. Always make sure the quantity of water used is never more than 3/4 of the height of the cooker. The whistle will otherwise keep letting off jets of water to combat this.

2. Once the lid is on, put the heat on its maximum setting, till the whistle blows off, then lower to the second lowest(for electric) or lowest setting(if using gas) and time. Please do not go by the number of whistles. Firstly, a good pressure cooker, once you lower the heat, should not whistle again. Counting by the number of whistles (which I'm not sure how that can happen unless you keep the heat high the whole time) can cause you to forget and then mess up the whole dish. Full heat - then lower and time!

3. Never put in a completely dry dish into the pressure cooker. There should be some moisture in the dish or else add 1/2 cup to a cup of water, depending on how long you want to cook the dish.

4. Recipes that have meat and potatoes for eg., Cook the meat in the gravy first, then once almost cooked, open and add the potatoes and cook again. The reason being that meat would take a lot longer to cook than potatoes, so if you add both in the beginning, your potatoes are going to turn out like mash.

5. When washing your pressure cooker after use, if you would like it to have a nice shine, once in a while, give it a scrub with some steel wool. You needn't do this step everytime. But, please remember to remove the whistle when washing so that the vent gets cleaned. When reusing the pressure cooker, once dry, blow into the whistle to make sure again that the vent is clear, before putting on the whistle.

6. Rice is another easy dish to prepare using the pressure cooker. The trick for using white rice, is to remove the whistle completely.
For eg, if you are making a pulao, fry your whole spices, add your onions, tomatoes, veggies and your rice. Add the required quantity of water. Usually double the amount and a half glass more. Then cover (remember no whistle!) Put the heat on high as usual. After about 5 mins or so,you will see steam coming out from the vent. Wait for the steam to come out in an even line then lower and time for 10 mins. Open immediately after 10 mins and fluff your rice.

7. How do you open the pressure cooker. Well there are 3 ways to do this. Once is to completely let the dish cool, the steam dissipate and the lid should open easily (not good however if you want a dish precisely timed as this could overcook the dish), Two, is you run the sides of the dish under a running tap to cool down the steam and Third and my preferred way is to take a fork and slowly lift off the whistle resting the fork on the cooker, so it can slowly let go of the steam. Then open!

Chocolate chip cookies

My girls love helping out in the kitchen. Who won't want to help out, when you get a chance to lick the bowl once everything is finished! Baking is a great way to spend quality time with the kids and also get them involved in learning how to cook.

This one is Nigella's recipe, straight out of her book, Nigella's express. I made a little adjustment as I had regular brown sugar crystals not the powder form and I found the batter a bit too thick so I added a bit of oil to compensate.

Baking more often and with my kids is something I plan on doing more often so you may see a lot more recipes up on the blog. However to me baking is a science, so I don't plan to mess around too much with a recipe, just tweaking it slightly with a few additions here and there. So I will share ones that I have tried and tested and that in my opinion pass the test! Most of them won't be mine however, just ones I highly recommend you try and more importantly that are easy to make!

These were so good, that the kids wanted to take them in to give their teachers, more so, so they could brag that they helped make them, I think..
chocolate chip cookies
chocolate chip cookies

100gms butter brought to room temperature
150gms of powdered brown sugar
1 tsp of vanilla essence
1 egg
150gms of flour
35gms of cocoa powder (cadbury's)
1/2 tsp of baking powder
200gms of chocolate chips
2 tbsps of oil

chocolate chip cookies
Chocolate chip cookies
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Use a hand mixer to cream the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla essence and egg.

In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients together, i.e the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder. Add gradually into the butter mixture. Once nicely incorporated, fold in by hand the chocolate chips.

Using a tablespoon, scoop out the dough and place on a flat baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Leave space between the cookies as they will almost double in size.

Bake for 12 minutes and remove from the oven. Let them sit for a few minutes on the tray and then move to a cooling wire rack. 

Tomato and Raisin Fried Rice

Who doesn't love a fried rice! This is an unusual take on the regular fried rice. One of my mom's many amazing dishes, we always looked forward to this one on a Sunday afternoon with some nice juicy kebabs.

tomato and raisin fried rice
Tomato and raisin fried rice
 Adding raisins to the rice, gives it a lovely texture and sweetness. I have added some precooked pepperoni, which you can substitute with sausages or bacon. Make sure you prefry the sausages if you add them. You can completely skip the whole sausages or meat if you would like it to be completely vegetarian.
As with all kinds of fried rice, it is best to use a day old boiled rice which is cold from the fridge. Adding fresh cooked rice, can cause the grains to break while stir frying.

Another key step is to remove the skin from the tomatoes before adding, so that the tomatoes get absorbed well into the rice.

2 cups of white rice, pre cooked the day before.
handful of raisins
3-4 large tomatoes
handful of curry leaves
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
1 small stock cube box (contains 2 cubes) or substitute with salt
2 tbsps of maggi's hot and sweet sauce (optional)
2" piece of ready to eat pepperoni or substitute with bacon or sausages
1 tsp of mustard seeds
2 large onions
2 tsps of ghee (optional for additional flavour)
tomato and raisin fried rice
Tomato and raisin fried rice

Blanch the tomatoes by soaking them in hot water and then dunking the tomatoes in cold water to keep their colour. Do this by making a cross at the back of the tomato with the knife. Then putting the tomatoes in hot water. Keep for a few minutes till you start to see the skin peeling off.

Peel and chop the onions fine. In a wok, heat regular oil. Then add the 2 tsps of ghee if you would like to give it a little extra boost of flavour. Once hot, add the mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the curry leaves (wash and dry).

Add the onions next and the fry till transluscent. Add the tomatoes. Once the tomatoes have softened, add the stock cube or salt, and the turmeric powder and the raisins.

You can add the hot and sweet sauce or any favourite sweet chilli sauce next (This is totally optional and you can completely skip this step if you wish).

Add the pepperoni or sausages next. Make sure if you are adding bacon or sausages, that you pre fry them first separately.

Add the cooled cooked white rice last, giving it a few gentle stirs so that you don't break up any grains in the process.

Serve hot with some nice kebabs. 
tomato and raisin fried rice
Tomato and raisin fried rice

Rice Pulao Parathas

Love parathas, but looking to try out some new versions of it? Look no further. A friend of mine gave me this idea and it instantly got me hooked. My kids love parathas and chappatis, and they love the mince, potato or paneer stuffed ones. Though not too keen on the mooli (daikon) ones or any such strong flavoured ones.

I was looking to find alternative stuffings so when I heard about this recipe I knew I had to try it out. She made this with white cooked boiled rice and some left over dal but mentioned that you could use leftover khichdi (pulao, or vegetable rice) as well.

I happened to have some pulao rice sitting in the fridge (which I also added a bit of the orange masoor dal to, when making) and since the kids had already eaten the pulao the day before, I thought it would make an interesting change for them.

I made roughly around 20 or so of them, and was hoping to have a few left over to put in their lunchbox, but there wasn't a crumb left! All gone! Vanished! Into their little tummies.

So here's the recipe. My advise would be to add ingredients slowly as you may need a little more or a little less, depending on how moist or soft your rice is, and how much quantity you have leftover.
Theplas, Parathas, dal parathas.
Rice Pulao Parathas

5 cups of cooked pulao rice (you could use khichdi, or just dal mixed with rice)
1/2 tsp of salt to taste
2 cups of wheat flour and some more for dusting.
3 -4 tbsps of water
4 tbsps of ghee and some more for frying.

Warm the left over rice, so that it's easier to mash. Mash it nicely and add the salt and ghee. Add the flour slowly to the mixture and see how it binds together. You can add more or less than what I specified. Add the tbsps of water as and when you need it to help in the binding process. Form a big ball of dough, similar in texture to a regular chappati dough.

Form smaller dough balls and keep ready for rolling. Cover with a tea towel so they don't dry out.

Keep your rolling pin and board ready and your frying pan heated on a medium heat. Keep a small quarter plate of flour for dusting. I also used some ghee for frying. You could use oil instead if you would like it to be more healthier.

Dust one small ball in some flour and then roll the ball into a nice round shape. Put on the frying pan and add just a little ghee to help it get that nice paratha like texture. Keep doing the same for all the balls. Once the parathas are made, store in a foodwarmer container lined with cloth, to absorb any moisture.

Indian Stir Fried Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower rice seems to be the new thing at the moment. A fabulous way to avoid eating rice and believe you me, you won't even notice the difference. I thought I would give it a shot and see what the fuss was all about. I made this recipe in a similar style to the way I make my tomato rice, but you could treat it like you would any fried rice, whether you want to keep it simple or in an asian style with egg and spring onions or like I did, in an Indian way.  I have seen some just made with cilantro and lime and sounds great with a fillet of fish or a piece of steak! Go ahead and experiment!

I used a medium large cauliflower head and if you plan to eat it in a similar portion as rice, it would suffice for max 2 to 3 people. I grated the cauliflower in the food processor or you could chop it really fine with a knife to achieve that rice like texture. 

Indian Stir Fried Cauliflower Rice
Indian Stir fried Cauliflower Rice


1 medium large cauliflower
3 small onions
2 tomatoes
1/2 tsp of mustard seeds
1 tsp of coriander powder
1 tsp of cumin powder
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
2 Maggi vegetable stock cubes (there are 2 cubes in one small box) or use salt to taste
few fresh curry leaves
handful of raisins
fresh chopped coriander leaves to garnish
squeeze of lemon
Indian Stir Fried Cauliflower Rice
Indian Stir Fried Cauliflower Rice


Wash the cauliflower. Break into smaller florets and grate in a food processor until it resembles something that looks like coarse breadcrumbs. 

Keep all the ingredients prepped for your fried rice. Chop your onions and tomatoes and set aside. In a large wok, heat oil. Add in the mustard seeds. Once you hear them start to pop, add in your curry leaves. Be careful though, as it will splutter. Add in your chopped onions. Saute till translucent. Then add the tomatoes and the stock cube or salt. Saute well, then add your spice powders, i.e. coriander, cumin and turmeric powder. Once nicely incorporated into the onion and tomato mixture, add in your raisins. 

Next add in the grated cauliflower. Give it a good stir so that the masala is well mixed into the cauliflower. Cover and cook on a medium low heat for about 10 minutes.

NOTE: No additional water is required in the cooking process, as we have already used tomatoes when cooking this dish. The steam from covering the dish while cooking will also help soften the cauliflower.

Indian Stir Fried Cauliflower Rice
Indian Stir Fried Cauliflower Rice

Once the cauliflower rice is ready, add in the chopped coriander leaves and a squeeze of lemon to freshen it all up, then transfer to a serving dish  and serve hot with some nice kebabs on the side.

Goan Pork Vindalho

This is a classic Goan dish that is always served at special occasions.

You do not require any oil in this cooking process as the oil from the pork will naturally come out. It is a very simple dish actually to make, as all it requires is marinating the meat, which must be done at least overnight for the flavours to fully absorb in the meat, and then cooking it later.

Key things to get the best flavor out of this dish are like I mentioned earlier, leaving it to marinate overnight, and once it's cooked, leaving it to sit for at 2-3 days before you actually eat it. This will help the vinegar to soften in flavor and create a depth of flavor to this dish.

It is best enjoyed with Goan Sannas, or with some pav bread.

I have as always, shortened the whole cooking time, by using a pressure cooker still keeping all the goodness and flavor in check, and giving you the most tender meat you can imagine.

To get the right balance of flavor, you must use a mix of lean meat and pork belly fat. you can do it in a 50-50 ratio of a 75-25 ratio. But doing this recipe with just lean meat will not give you the same results. It needs the fat to get that right balance. So if you are weight watching, save this recipe for a time when you aren't counting those calories.
Pork vindalho
Pork Vindalho

1 kilo pork
2 medium onions
15 Kashmiri dry red chillies
2" piece of ginger
12 garlic cloves
8 cloves
10 peppercorns
2" piece of cinnamon
1 cup of vinegar
1 tsp of cumin seeds
1 1/2 tsp of sugar
1 tsp of chilly powder or 2 fresh green chillies
1 1/2 cups of water
salt to taste
Pork Vindalho
Pork Vindalho

Grind the Kashmiri chillies to a powder first. Add in the cumin seeds, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, peppercorns and cloves. Grind again. Add in the onions roughly chopped and turmeric powder,  next into the mixer. Grind. Lastly add the vinegar into the grinder. This time you should get a nice paste.

Salt the pork cubes and add in the spice paste. Clingwrap and let it sit overnight.

The next day, add the marinated pork into the pressure cooker. Put the heat on and let it cook, till the gravy gets a bit hot. Add in the sugar, and the water and cover the cooker. Put the heat on full and let it whistle. Lower and time for  25-30 minutes. Open the lid carefully with a fork and check for flavor. I wanted it a bit more spicier so I added 1 tsp of chilly powder at this stage. You could also add in a few green chillies instead. Cook this time, without the lid for a few minutes, When you see the oil separating from the curry, you know it's ready to go. Turn off the heat and transfer to a glass dish.

Remember to keep this in the fridge for at least 2-3 days to get the full flavour. Serve hot with sannas for pav bread.
Pork Vindalho
Pork Vindalho

Goan Meatball Coconut Curry

This had to be one of my favourite recipes growing up. Which kid doesn't like meatballs?!!

This recipe is a quick and easy version, that is made in the pressure cooker and doesn't require you to fry the meatballs before.  My mom tried several techniques when it came to the meatballs. She used to squeeze out all the water from the mince, before adding any spices to it. Another friend of hers suggested she use only fresh mince, to help keep the shape of the meatballs. The latter made no difference at all to the shape, and squeezing out all the juice from the meatballs just made them dry.

I haven't used any egg to help bind the meatballs either. I don't think it requires it. Even after pressure cooking, they still held their shape just fine. You can make the meatballs earlier in the morning and then just make the curry fresh, so this recipe is one that you can split, if you are in a rush. I've added potatoes to this recipe, to give it a little extra something, but you can avoid that if you just want to keep it plain.

There are a few steps to this recipe, but mainly because it is cooked in the pressure cooker.  To give you a brief summary, the meatballs are cooked in the cooker, then later the potatoes are added and cooked again in the cooker, then we do away with the lid of the cooker, and just add in the coconut milk and curry leaves.

The spice level of this curry is absolutely perfect for adults, but if you wish to give them to younger kids, I would omit the fresh green chillies, that I added in the curry. My older one was able to handle the spice, but not so with the little ones.

Ingredients to form the balls:-
1 kilo beef mince
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
handful of fresh coriander leaves chopped fine
1/2 tsp of cumin powder
3/4 tsp of coriander powder
2 tbsps of vinegar
salt to taste

Ingredients to be ground for the curry:-
8 dry red Kashmiri chillies
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
5 peppercorns
5 cloves
5 cloves of garlic
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
1" stick of cinnamon
1 cup of water

Other ingredients:-
2 green chillies cut into 3 pieces
1 large onion
1 large tomato
salt to taste
2 cups of water
1 large potato, or 2 medium ones (optional), peeled and cut in fairly big pieces
6 tbsps of coconut powder reconstituted with 1 cup of water
6-8 curry leaves

Start by making the meatballs. Simply add all the spice powders, cumin powder and coriander powder and salt to taste. Add the vinegar, ginger garlic paste and fresh coriander leaves. Form into balls. Clingwrap and set aside in the fridge.

To make the curry, you need to grind a few ingredients first.
In the mixer, add the red chillies, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorns, cloves, ginger, garlic , turmeric powder and cinnamon. You will need to add around a cup of water to get a nice thick paste.

In a large pressure cooker, heat your oil. Then fry the onions till golden. Add the tomatoes and green chillies. Add in the spice paste. Cook for a few minutes then add in 2 cups of water and salt to taste. let the curry get nice and hot, then add in your meatballs. Make sure they are all covered nicely in the gravy, but do not fidget with them too much. A quick shake of the pressure cooker will do. Cover and put the heat on high. When it whistles, lower and time for 10 minutes.

After 20 minutes is over, use a fork to let out the steam, then open the cooker. In the meanwhile, peel and cut the potatoes. Do not dice them too small or they will disintergrate. Wash your curry leaves and pat dry. Prepare your coconut milk by adding around a cup of water to reconstitute it.

Ok back to the recipe, Add the potatoes, give it a little shake to make sure the curry covers the potatoes, then close the cooker and put the heat back on. As soon as it whistles, turn the heat off, and open the lid of the cooker with a fork. If you delay at this point, the potatoes can overcook. Once you've opened the cooker, put the heat back on, add in your coconut milk and your curry leaves.  Let it get to just about boiling point (do not over boil your coconut milk as it could cause it to curdle). Turn off the heat and serve with cooked white rice. Enjoy!

NOTE: I add the potatoes after the meatballs have been cooked, as the potatoes do not require as much time as the meatballs. The coconut milk is also added later so that it won't split. And finally, I like to add the curry leaves along with the coconut milk, as I found it helps gives the curry a fresh burst of flavor when added right at the end. I do the same with my coconut meat curry too.

Monday 13 February 2017

Goan Red Pumpkin Vegetable with Coconut

Pumpkin is an amazingly sweet vegetable once cooked. The hardest part about this dish is probably peeling the skin. It doesn't take long to prepare and is a nice addition to the table. Even though this dish is Goan, it would go nicely with a roast dinner as well, just because it isn't spicy at all.

You do not need to add any water while cooking as the pumpkin will naturally release it's own water and cook in its own steam.

Goan Red Pumpkin Vegetable
Goan Red Pumpkin Vegetable

900gms red pumpkin
2 medium to large onions finely chopped
2 dry red Kashmiri chillies
salt to taste
5 tsps. of dessicated coconut
Goan Red Pumpkin Vegetable
Goan Red Pumpkin Vegetable

Remove the seeds from the centre of the pumpkin. Peel the pumpkin skin off with a sharp knife and cut into 1" cubes.

Put a large cooking pot on the heat. Add some oil. If you have coconut oil, it would lend a better taste to the dish. Fry the onions in the oil till translucent. Add the dry red chilly and some salt to taste. Add in the pumpkin pieces and cover and cook till almost done.

Lastly add in the dessicated coconut. You could use fresh coconut as well, but I always have dessicated coconut on hand in my pantry so it's a quicker alternative if you don't have the fresh one.

Once you've added the coconut, cook for another 5 mins so that the coconut absorbs all the flavours of the pumpkin and then serve.

If you do like to have this dish more spicier, then add a few more red chillies. Overall it should be a mild sweetish dish with a hint of chilly coming out in the background.
Goan Red Pumpkin Vegetable
Goan Red Pumpkin Vegetable
#ericasyummyfood #goan #redpumpkin #goanfood

Monday 30 January 2017

Nepali Sesame Seed Chutney for Momos

Momos is the Nepali version of the Chinese dim sum. The Nepalese make their momo filling slightly differently to the Chinese, using a bit of butter in the filling, along with some turmeric powder cooked in butter or ghee. The rest of the ingredients are more or less the same.

This sesame seed chutney is one of the typical chutneys served in Nepal along with their momos. I fell in love with its unique taste and it's one of those chutneys that can easily be used elsewhere as a dip too, maybe for some carrot sticks or as a dip for kebabs etc. It's roasted nutty flavour will have you hooked once you taste it too.

I have used a green chilly in this recipe as the only dry red chillies I have are the Kashmiri ones, which are known for their colour not spice. I wouldn't recommend using the Kashmiri one as it will alter the colour of the chutney. The Nepalese however use a spicier dried red chilly instead. You can completely omit the chilly if you want this chutney to be child friendly.

The chutney tastes best, served cold with the hot momos. So keep it in the fridge once made.


1/2 cup dry roasted sesame seeds
1 clove of garlic (I used a bigger sized one)
salt to taste
small sprig of fresh coriander leaves
1 deseeded green chilly
1 medium tomato
1/4 cup water

Nepali  Sesame Seed Chutney for Momos
Nepali Sesame Seed Chutney for Momos


Roast the sesame seeds on a pan on low heat till they turn a nice golden brown colour and they give off that lovely nutty smell. Reserve and keep.

In a mixer, add in the sesame seeds, garlic, coriander leaves and green chilly. Grind to a paste. Then add in the tomato and grind again.

Add the water last. This paste is not too thick or too watery either. Somewhere in between.

This chutney can easily be stored for a few days in the fridge. Served best cold.

Try it out! I'm already thinking of multiple ways in which I can use this amazing chutney!

Monday 23 January 2017

Gajar (Carrot) Halwa

This famous Indian dessert is made by cooking grated carrots in milk and reducing that mixture down till all that's left is the grated carrots. This is not one for those who are calorie counting, as it's cooked with ghee and sugar too.

You can also do a cheat's version of this dessert, by using condensed milk to shorten the cooking time. In this case, I would suggest you use just a little milk, say half a cup or about to cook the carrots before adding the condensed milk.

I have tried to make a slightlier healthy version of this dish (if that's even possible with carrot halwa!), by using lesser sugar and a lot less ghee. Makes me feel a little less guilty later on!

A note to keep in mind is to make sure the carrots are cooked properly. You do not want that raw taste of the carrots coming through. Cook it the first time with the milk and the slow frying at the end should finish it off nicely.
Carrot Halwa
Gajar (Carrot) Halwa
9 medium sized carrots
5 tsps of ghee (good quality cow's ghee for the best flavour)
2 cups of full cream milk
10 cardamom pods (remove the inside black seeds and crush them to a powder in a pestle and mortar) or alternatively use a pinch of cardamom powder
1/3 cup each of raisins and cashews
1 cup of sugar
Carrot Halwa
Gajar (Carrot) Halwa

First grate the carrots after peeling off the skin. Put a big non stick pan on the heat. Put 5 tsps of ghee in the pan. Fry the grated carrots till softened. Then add in the milk, sugar and the cardamom powder.  Keep the heat on a medium, making sure you are constantly stirring the mixture so that it doesn't burn.

Keep stirring till the milk is almost evaporated. For a richer flavour, fry the cashews and raisins separately in a tsp of ghee before hand and then add that to the carrot halwa.

Once you've added the raisins and cashews, fry the mixture slowly on a low heat, taste for sugar (I have used a little less in this recipe) and once the oil starts releasing from the carrots you know that the carrot halwa is ready.

It tastes best served warm with cold ice cream.