Goan Prawn Curry

Everyone has atleast one meal that takes them right back to their childhood. For me its this prawn curry. This curry with some rice, for me, is the ultimate soul food. And I must say, my mother makes the best prawn curry in the world. Atleast I think so. This is her prawn curry recipe that I’m sharing with you today.

Goan Prawn Curry


1/2 kg prawns, peeled and deveined
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 chillies, slit in half
1 piece of amsol (dried mango)
3-4 pieces of kokum
A walnut sized ball of tamarind
1 tbsp coconut oil
Salt, to taste
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vinegar
For the masala – 
1/2 cup grated coconut
6 Kashmiri chillies
2 large cloves garlic
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp black pepper corns
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Sprinkle salt, squeeze some lemon juice and drizzle the vinegar over the prawns and set aside.
Pour a little warm water over the tamarind and set aside (I use about 1/4 cup of water). 
Grind all the ingredients for the masala to a fine paste, using a little water as needed.
Heat some oil in a pot. 
Saute the onions till they have softened and turn translucent. 
Add the masala and let it saute for a few minutes. 
Add some water to thin out your masala and get it to the consistency you like. Remember the curry will thicken as it cooks. So add a touch more water. 
Add the chillies and bring it to a boil. 
Turn the heat down to a simmer, add the amsol and the kokum and let the curry simmer for 6-8 minutes. Halfway through, stir the curry through and add water to adjust the consistency, if needed. 
When the curry is almost ready, add the prawns. Add some of the tamarind extract and cook for another 2 minutes or till the prawns are just cooked. Don’t overcook the prawns. 
Check for seasoning and adjust as required. 

Serve hot with rice. 

Enjoy!

Lamb Kebabs … and how to make quick pickled onions and a yogurt dip.

Nothing says ‘Spring is here’ more than some Lamb kebabs. Spring Lamb is in stores now and while some of the premium cuts can be very pricey, today’s recipe uses ground lamb (lamb mince). This is not just easy on the hip pocket, but cooks up really fast too.

You can serve these kebabs as a starter, or with a salad as a main too. Today I’m serving it up as a wrap with some homemade, quick pickled onions and a yogurt dip. Start off by making the pickled onions and the dip, so that they have a little time to let the flavors develop. 

Quick Pickled Onions

1/2 onion, sliced
Salt, to taste
1-2 tbsp Lemon juice
Separate the half rings of the onion slices. 
Sprinkle salt and lemon juice over the onion and mix well to let the seasonings get to all the onion slices. 
Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour. 
Yogurt Dip / Spread

1/2 cup Greek yogurt
Salt, to taste
1/2 tsp sugar, or to taste
1/2 clove of garlic, finely chopped
A few mint leaves, finely chopped
Mix all the ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour. 
Lamb Kebabs

500g lamb mince
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
2 chillies, finely chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1-2 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
Oil, for frying
Mix all the ingredients and shape into kebabs. 
Heat some oil in a pan. 
Fry kebabs for a couple of minutes on each side, or till you get a beautiful golden brown color on each side and till its cooked through to your liking. 
Serve hot. 
** To make the wrap, I use some homemade, whole wheat chapatis, layer some salad greens on top, add a couple of the kebabs, smear some yogurt dip over and top with some pickled onions. Wrap up and enjoy.  

Moong Dal Khichdi

Up until a few years ago, I wasn’t the biggest fan of khichdi. At the time, I had never made it myself and the few versions that I tried, always fell short. That is till I tried Gloria’s recipe. Gloria used to be my brother-in-laws housekeeper and she was very skilled in the kitchen. While I didn’t have the opportunity to spend to much time with her, this was one recipe, she very willingly shared with me. I have tweaked it to suit our tastes and I love this version. To me this khichdi has now become comfort food. So, whenever I’m under the weather or even if its just a cold, wet day, I feel myself yearning for a bowl of this moong dal khichdi. Have I mentioned that this is a ridiculously easy recipe? Well, it is and today I’m sharing this little gem with you. I hope you try it out and like it as much as we do.

Moong Dal Khichdi
Serves 2
1/3 cup basmati rice
1/3 cup moong dal
1 tbsp oil
1 chilli, cut into large pieces
1/2 a medium sized onion, chopped 
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
Fresh coriander, chopped (leaves and stalks)
For the tempering – 
1 1/2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
Wash the rice and the dal separately. Repeat this process a few times, till the water runs clear. Soak the rice and the dal separately. The rice needs to soak for about 20 minutes and the dal for about 10 minutes. (So I soak the rice first, and 10 minutes later, I soak the dal). Drain the water in each of the bowls and run some fresh water through and drain again. 
Heat the oil in a vessel on medium heat.
Add the chillies and saute for a few seconds. 
Add the onions and saute till they have softened and are a little translucent.  
Add the pepper and turmeric powder and stir well, to coat the onions. 
Add the rice and the dal and stir through. 
Now, add 2 1/3 cup of water. (I use a 1:3.5 ratio. That is, 1 part rice to 3.5 parts of water. Towards the end if you feel the need to add some more water, you can. I added another 1/3 cup towards the end. So this time I used a 1:4 ratio. The quantity of water will depend on your rice. So start off using 3.5 parts)
Add salt to taste and stir through. Once the salt has dissolved, you can taste the liquid in the pot and see if it is seasoned to your liking or add more salt, if needed. 
Bring the water to a boil. Then cover the pot, reduce the heat to a simmer and let the rice and lentils cook off till tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. (At this point if you feel the need to cook it further, add a little more water and continue cooking as stated above.)
When done, take off the heat and start working on the tempered spices. 
In a small vessel, melt 1 1/2 tbsp ghee. 
Add the chopped garlic and stir around. Let this cook gently till a little of the rawness of the garlic goes away.
Then, add the cumin seeds and gently cook a little more. This will infuse the ghee with beautiful flavors. Make sure to watch carefully, as you don’t want the garlic to take on any color or burn. 
Add this to the pot of khichdi and stir through. 
Finish off with some chopped coriander and stir to distribute well. 
Serve hot. Garnish with a little extra coriander and serve with a pickle of your choice. I recommend a Mango Chundo / Chunda (a sweet and slightly spicy Mango pickle).
Enjoy!

Chana Masala

Chickpeas! If you’ve been around this space a bit, you’ll know that I love my beans and lentils. Chickpeas happen to be right on top of that list. The best part is, they are so easy to work with. And No! I’m definitely not talking about using the canned stuff. While you can use canned chickpeas in most recipes that call for chickpeas, and I have too (when I didn’t have access to my pressure cooker), there is nothing like cooking your chickpeas or any other beans for that matter, from scratch. I haven’t bought the canned stuff for years now. I buy dry beans and lentils by the kilo.

To cook the beans, simply wash and soak them for 6-8 hours, drain and refresh the water. I use a pressure cooker to cook my beans in my stovetop pressure cooker with water, salt and a couple of whole Kashmiri chillies. It takes me just 5 minutes of cooking time after the pressure has built up to cook my beans through. However, each pressure cooker is different. Please refer to the user guide for your cooker, to see how long you need to cook the beans.  If you done have a pressure cooker, cook it in a pot with sufficient water till tender. 
Once, you’ve boiled your chickpeas, you can use them in so many different ways. I have shared a recipe for Chole on the website previously. That is still a great recipe but I have since tweaked it a little and I’m going to share that new version of the recipe today. I will call it Chana Masala to avoid any confusion. You can also use the boiled chickpeas in a simple chickpea salad, make some Hummus or use the kala chana (a darker version of the chickpeas) to make this amazing stir fry called Black Chana Fugad. They are all delicious. 

Chana Masala 

1 cup dry chickpeas (Wash, soak for 6-8 hours and cook till tender. Reserve the boiling liquid.)
1 bay leaf
2 inches of cinnamon
5-6 cloves
8-10 peppercorns
2 green cardamom pods
1 black cardamom pods
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
2 green/red chillies, split lengthways
1/2 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilly powder
1 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1 cup tomato puree / passata
1 tbsp oil
Salt, to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
Fresh coriander leaves and stalks, finely chopped, to garnish
Heat the oil in a large vessel.
Add the bayleaf, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns and cardamom pods. 
When the spices turn aromatic, add the cumin seeds and stir. 
Immediately add the chillies and onion. Saute till the onions have softened and have starting getting a little brown around the edges. 
Add the ginger and garlic paste and stir through. Saute for another minute.
Add the turmeric powder, chilly powder and garam masala powder and stir well.
Add a couple of tablespoons of the stock from cooking the chickpeas to deglaze the pan and prevent the spices from burning. Stir through thoroughly.
Now add the tomato puree and cook for 3-4 minutes stirring every once in a while. 
Add some more stock to bring the curry to the desired consistency. Please note, the curry will thicken a little as it cooks. 
Bring it to a boil. Cover the pot and simmer for 5 minutes. 
After 5 minutes, stir and check for seasoning. Add more stock if needed. Add more salt, if needed. Add 1/2 tsp of sugar. (Depending on the tomatoes you’re using, you may need to add a little more sugar. Add to taste.) Stir through. Cover and simmer for another 5-7 minutes. 
At this stage your curry should be cooked. Lastly add in the boiled chickpeas. Cook for another couple of minutes till the chickpeas have heated through. 
Garnish with chopped, fresh coriander and serve hot. 
Enjoy!!!

A Weekend Breakfast Favourite – Masala Omelette

For most of us, the working week always flies by. There’s little or no time for an elaborate breakfast. And in our house, its pretty much the same. But come the weekend, there’s a little more time. You can sleep in, have a lazy breakfast or brunch before you start with your activities for the day.

Breakfast happens to be one of my favorite meals of the day. Well, a weekend breakfast, that is. Its the perfect time to whip up a batch of pancakes or French Toast or muffins. And if you’re the mood for something savory, then eggs and toast with the optional bacon and sausages is a great option. If you’re in a slightly more adventurous mood, then only a masala omelette will do. We love a good omelette. It needs to have nice bold flavors, a little spice and a little bite as well. We love it so much, that it sometimes makes an appearance as “breakfast for dinner”. Anyone else like “breakfast for dinner” as much as I do? I cannot believe that I haven’t shared this recipe with you before. It is super simple and so good. We usually serve it with some plain / buttered toast or some hot chapatis. They also make a fantastic sandwich when served between 2 slices of buttered bread. Try it out this weekend and let me know what you think of it.

Masala Omelette
Yields 1 omelette

2 eggs
2 tbsp finely chopped onions
2 tbsp finely chopped tomatoes
1-2 tsp finely chopped coriander leaves and stalks
1/2 birdseye chilly, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
A good pinch of turmeric powder
1 tsp oil

Add the onions, tomatoes, chilly and coriander to a bowl.

Add the salt, pepper and turmeric powder to the bowl and mix everything thoroughly.

Heat a pan over medium heat.

Drizzle the oil in the pan. When the oil has heated, pour the omelette mix into the pan.

Cook it over medium heat till the bottom side has set and turned a light brown.

Carefully flip over and cook on the other side as well.

Serve hot.

Enjoy!

You can watch how I make it here –

The Best Chocolate Brownies

Hi guys! Today’s post is a special one. It’s my favorite chocolate brownie recipe that I’m going to share with you. It’s my go to recipe for chocolate brownies and I’ve used it for years now. It yields, what I consider, the perfect Chocolate Brownie. You get a beautiful crust on the outside and a fudgy, gooey center.

It’s the perfect baking option for holidays or when you’re baking for a crowd because of its simplicity. The recipe can be doubled if you like. And when simple recipes yield such fantastic results, you know you’re on to a winner.

So I do hope you try these brownies out.

The Best Chocolate Brownies 


110g all purpose flour
185g salted butter
175g dark chocolate (either buttons, or roughly chopped bars, both would work)
175g sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
A pinch of salt
50g chocolate chips.

Melt the butter and dark chocolate in a heavy bottomed pan on low heat. Once everything has melted, take the pan off the heat and set it aside to cool.

Halfway through the cooling process, turn the oven on and preheat it to 180ÂșC. Line an 8 inch square baking tray with some foil and leave an overhang on the sides. The foil makes clean up so much easier and the overhang helps take the brownies out of the try very easily.

Crack one egg into a small bowl and lightly whisk it. Add it to the melted and cooled butter and chocolate mix and whisk to incorporate. Repeat this with the second egg.

Add the vanilla, salt and sugar and whisk well, making sure everything has mixed well.

Now add the flour and whisk until just combined.

Add the chocolate chips and fold it through the batter with the help of a spatula.

Pour the batter into the foil lined tray and bake for about 25-30 minutes.

Take the brownies out of the oven and let them cool completely.

You can now cut them into squares and serve. 

Pin now and try later!

Nonya Chicken Curry

Growing up in Bombay and spending most of my summer breaks in Goa, I have had more than my fair share of curries. My Mum and my Aunt were great cooks and both could whip up a mean curry with great ease. So whether it was a meat (Chicken, mutton, beef or pork), seafood (fish, prawn or crab), lentil or vegetable curry, they were all really good. The best part is, they could do a lot of this without looking at a recipe. Now I haven’t reached the ‘no recipe’ stage for some of the more intricate curries, but I do know a thing or two about them.

So, a while ago, when I saw this episode of Poh & Co, where Poh (one of my favorite TV chefs) whipped up a Nonya (a type of Malaysian) Chicken Curry, both, my husband and I knew we had to try the recipe out. The recipe does call for a few specialty ingredients, but the first time I made this curry, I didn’t have them and so I left them out. Even then the curry was a great one. But I knew I wanted to try the recipe with all of the ingredients. So I picked up the Pandan leaves and the Shrimp Belachan at a local Asian grocery store and made the curry again. This time with all the ingredients. The result was a mind-blowing curry. Now I don’t often refer to a curry as mind-blowing. A cake, maybe, but never a curry. But this curry is all that, and then some. It is one of my favorite chicken curries. And today I’m going to show you how I make mine. I have altered the method a tiny bit, to make the recipe more convenient and I hope you try this out the next time you want to make a chicken curry.

If you’ve never made a curry before, don’t let the idea scare you. It is easier than you think. I’ve put together a video to walk you through the process.

Let’s move on the the detailed recipe for this Nonya Chicken Curry.

Nonya Chicken Curry 
Recipe from: Poh Ling Yeow

3 tbsp Coriander seeds
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Fennel seeds
15 dried red chillies
2 onions, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic
20g toasted Belachan
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
8-10 curry leaves
2 tbsp oil (I use olive oil for all my cooking. You can use whatever oil you normally cook with.)
1 star anise
3 cloves
1 inch cinnamon
1 1/2 kilo chicken pieces
2 potatoes, cut into large cubes
2 birdseye chillies, slit lengthways
1 can coconut cream (400 ml can)
2 pandan leaves

Take the skin off the chicken, cut into pieces, trim the fat off and set aside.

Deseed the dried chillies and soak them in hot water till they’ve rehydrated and softened.

In a dry pan, on medium heat, roast the coriander, cumin and fennel seeds till fragrant. Take them off the pan and set aside to cool.

Using a blender or food processor (you can also use a mortar and pestle if you dont have one), grind the roasted coriander-fennel-cumin seeds mix, drained red chillies, onion, garlic, belachan and turmeric to a fine paste, adding a little water as needed.

Heat oil in a large pot / pan over medium heat. Add the star anise, cinnamon and cloves and let them fry till fragrant about 20-30 seconds.

Add the spice paste (rempah) to the pan and saute for 6-8 minutes till the sauce is very fragrant.

Tear the pandan leaves into 3 strips lengthways and knot them together. Add the pandan and curry leaves to the spice mix.

Add the chicken to the pan and stir to coat with the spice paste. Saute for 1-2 minutes or till the chicken pieces start to look opaque.

Add the coconut cream and stir well.

Add the potatoes, salt and sugar. Add a little water to thin down the sauce a little to reach the desired consistency. Let it come to a boil.

Add the slit birdseye chillies, lower the heat, cover the pot and simmer till tender. Check after 5-7 minutes, add more water if needed, stir to make sure the curry doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Cover the pot and continue cooking till the chicken and potatoes are cooked.

Serve hot with rice. I tried to serve it up like a Nasi Lemak, but with plain rice instead of coconut rice. I added some fried baby anchovies, peanuts, boiled egg and some cucumber slices.

This curry also goes really well with roti or even bread. If you can get on hands on some Roti Canai, even better.

Enjoy!!!

Goan Beef Cutlets

I have always had a love affair with food. Even as a kid, both my brother and I, were never picky about food. I guess we had Mum to thank for that. She was, and to this day is a fantastic cook. Given, now because of her health, she cannot do as much as she used to, back in the day. But when we were growing up, every meal was home cooked. I don’t remember eating out till much later, when I was in college. Right from breakfast, through to lunch and dinner, snacks and desserts, she made everything. And a great variety of it too. I’m happy that now, I can proudly say, I try to do the same. I still have a lot to learn and experiment with, but I owe my love for cooking and good food to my Mother.

These Beef cutlets have got to be one of my favorite recipes. When we were kids, my brother and I would wait for Mum to make a batch of these cutlets at home. It wasn’t made very often, but when it was, it was a real treat. I have, for the most part, stuck to my Mum’s recipe, with just a few tweaks.

These cutlets are very versatile. Make them smaller in size and serve them up with some tomato ketchup or Barbecue Sauce as starters or Finger food, make them larger and use them as patties in Burgers or make a medium size and serve it up with some Mashed potatoes / Roasted potatoes / Fries and a salad .

I have posted a beef cutlet recipe before, but that was a really long time ago. This recipe is the same, with just the addition of some Worcestershire sauce. I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to take some new pictures. After all, its been a long journey from ‘My Hobbie Lobbie’ to ‘The Aspiring Home Cook’. I’ve also filmed a little video with some handy dandy tips too. I will link the video at the end of this post.

Goan Beef Cutlets
(Makes about 14-15)


500g ground beef (beef mince)
1 large or 2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 birdseye chillies, finely chopped (optional)
3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2″ ginger, finely chopped
1-2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 egg
1/4 tsp black pepper powder
1/4-1/3 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Salt, to taste
2 slices of bread
Bread crumbs, to coat the cutlets
Olive oil, for frying (You can use whatever cooking oil you have on hand)






Soak the slices of bread in water for a few seconds, drain out all the liquid and crumble. Mix together all the ingredients except the bread crumbs and vegetable oil.


Make sure all the ingredients are well mixed and evenly distributed.


Shape into cutlets.


Coat with bread crumbs.


Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan. Carefully place the cutlets in the pan and let it cook on a medium heat till its done to your liking. Turn over and cook the other side as well.





Repeat till you’re done with the meat mix, adding more oil to the pan as and when you need to.


Serve hot.



Enjoy!!!

Here’s the video –

Quick and Easy Pasta with Spinach Pesto

** This post contains affiliate links.

Looking at my collection of recipes on this blog, it might be hard to tell that I actually love pasta. Nothing specific, just about all shapes and sizes and all kinds of sauces too. There is just one condition, they need to have flavor. Unfortunately, I’ve had pasta at too many restaurants, including a couple of Italian restaurants around Sydney and it has been disappointing, to say the least. So I usually end up eating the pasta I make at home. And I can’t to that too frequently, because my husband is not the biggest fan of pasta. What then is this pasta-loving soul supposed to do?

Here’s what I do. Ofcourse, I make pasta atleast once a fortnight, but I try and switch up the sauces each time I make it. So with lesser retpetition, I seem to get away with a big bowl of pasta for dinner. Happy hubby and happy me!!!

Because of this, I’m always on the look out for new ways to serve pasta. And when I saw this pasta, I knew I was onto something. I have two versions of this pasta. Today, I will share with you the basic version, which I happen to really like. Sometime soon, I will share a more dressed up version, something my husband and I came up with while eating a bowl of this gorgeous green. The sauce comes together in sheer minutes and the only cooking it needs, is blanching the spinach. So you can easily serve this up on a busy weeknight in under half and hour. That is one of the many things I love about this recipe. If you have ‘littles’ in the house who might be a little skeptical about eating green pasta, call it something fun like ‘an alien dinner / alien pasta’ or ‘the Hulk’s pasta’ or something fun like that, and watch it get gobbled down. An extra sprinkle of cheese on the top doesn’t hurt either. 

So, now that we know how quick, easy and fun this pasta is, let’s get on to the actual recipe. 
Pasta with Spinach Pesto
Recipe from: As Easy As Apple Pie
Serves 4 -5
8 nests of Vermicelli, or any pasta of your choice
200g fresh spinach 
1/2 clove of garlic, chopped
1 heaped tbsp pine nuts
3 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
200g ricotta cheese
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of water to the boil. 
While the water comes to a boil, keep a large bowl of ice cold water ready.
Place the spinach in the boiling water for a minute or two, till it turns a shade of darker green and is wilted and slightly softened. Immediately, take the spinach out of the water (a large pair of tongs 

works well) and immerse in the ice cold water. This will stop the cooking process immediately and help the spinach retain a vibrant shade of green. You may need to do this in batches. Repeat the process till all the spinach has been blanched. 

Use the same pot of water to boil the pasta. You may need to top up the water in the pot. Add a generous teaspoon of salt and when the water has reached a rolling boil, add the pasta to the pot and cook it till al dente. 
While the pasta is cooking, drain the spinach from the ice cold water and squeeze out and discard as much liquid as possible. Roughly chop the spinach and set aside. 
I place the spinach in a bowl, along with the pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and the extra virgin olive oil and puree using an immersion blender. If you don’t have one, a food processor or a regular blender would work well too.
Then add the ricotta cheese to the puree in the bowl and blend till smooth. Check for seasoning and add the salt and pepper, if needed
Drain the pasta when it is done and add the pesto to it. Stir gently or toss with a large pair of tongs to coat the pasta evenly.
Portion out on plates and generously grate some parmesan cheese over the pasta. I find that a Microplane zester does the job well.

Enjoy!!!