Eeril Fugad / Goan Snake Beans Stir Fry

Today I have a very humble treat lined up for you. I happen to be a huge fan of beans. Fresh, dried, kidney beans, snakes beans, butter beans the whole lot, really. Growing up, every summer, the family would go to our ancestral home in Goa. We’d look forward to it. Our home had a massive edible garden. Back when I was too little to remember and even before I was born, the family grew a lot of vegetables and fruit. When my grandmother was little, they also had cattle and goats on the property.But in more recent times they had plenty of fruit trees. We had mangoes (a few varities), cashews, coconuts, chickoos, guavas and jackfruits growing. The only vegetables we had was some tapioca, dumsticks (moringa), tamarind and kokum. I have very fond memories of those summers and hope I can someday go back to something like this again. Though I may seem like I’ve digressed, I haven’t, not much. I had to build a setting of sorts 🙂

Every summer, snake beans were at the peak of their season. We didn’t grow this but there was a local farmer in the village who did. And he did a fantastic job of it. I loved and to this day love snake beans. We cook this up in a very simple way, a traditional Goan fugad. A fugad has its roots in Portuguese food. It is a stir fry of vegetables with some spices and seasonings and a sprinkling of fresh grated coconut. Most Goan households still cook their vegetables this way. The snake bean version was my favorite. I volunteered to prep 2 massive bundles every single day. Yes, I managed to convince my mother and aunt that I wanted to eat this every single day while I was there and that I would clean it and get it ready to be cooked myself. Thankfully, they obliged and so someone from that good old farmers household would graciously drop off a couple of bundles at the house on their way to the market. The simplicity of the dish may fool you. But the end result is fantastic. In my humble opinion, it is delicious. The beans turn out tender and sweet I’m sure kids would love it too. I could eat it by itself or with steamed rice or chapatis.

I recently managed to get some gorgeous bundles of snake beans and had to make this fugad again and I thought it was a perfect opportunity to share it with you. So if you can find some good, fresh snake beans or if you grow them yourself, I hope you try this out.

Eeril Fugad / Goan Snake Beans Stir Fry


3 small bundles of snake beans, the fresher the better
1 large onion, diced
2 fresh green / red chillies
Salt, to taste
1/4 cup freshly grated coconut
1 tbsp olive oil

Break off the ends of the snake beans and break off into inch sized pieces. Rinse through and drain and keep aside.

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.

Slit the chillies in length, but not all the way through. This way you get all the flavor but not much of the heat.

Let the chillies fry up for a few seconds till they get fragrant.

Add the chopped onions and saute till the onions have softened and get slightly brown on the edges.

Add the snake beans and stir them in for a while. You will see the green color of the beans turn a darker shade.

Add the salt and let the bean stir fry for about 2 minutes.

Add a splash of water, a very small amount to prevent the beans from burning and help them cook through.

Cover the pan and let it cook. Add more water, if needed.

When the beans are almost cooked, add the freshly grated coconut and stir through.

Serve hot as a side dish with some Goan fish curry or prawn curry and rice or with some chapatis.

Some other Fugad recipes –
Cabbage Fugad
Black Channa (Chickpeas) Fugad

Breakfast Hash with Potatoes, Kale, Peppers and Green Peas

Ever so often, life gets busy for everyone. When that happens in our home, I love having quick and easy recipes that I can fall back on even if I haven’t had the time to cook dinner. My tolerance for take away and ready meals has steadily fallen in the last few years to the point where its non existent now. I do prefer home cooked food, even if its something as simple as breakfast for dinner.

Actually, I really like breakfast for dinner. This breakfast hash is a nice way to fancy things up. What I love about this hash is its made from scratch. That being said, it comes together so quick and easy and all in one pan. If you’re using an oven proof skillet, you can crack the eggs right in and let them cook off in the oven. I didn’t want to switch the oven on, so I used a second pan to fry the eggs. You could use poached eggs or scambled eggs too. This hash obviously uses potato. The addition of red peppers and kale makes it so colorful, not to mention, delicious. And kale in a recipe must definitely make it healthier.

 So if you’re ever in a situation where you need a meal on the table in under 30 minutes or if you feel like a fancier breakfast, or for that matter, breakfast for dinner option, try this hash out. You’ll love it. We certainly did. And leftovers keep quite well, refrigerated. Simple heat it up the next day and serve with an egg, if desired.

Breakfast Hash with Potatoes, Kale, Peppers and Green Peas


2 potatoes, peeled and diced (the smaller the cubes, the quicker it will cook)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 cups kale, roughly chopped
1 cup green peas
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cumin powder
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1 egg per serving (You could use 2 eggs per serve, if desired)

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.

Add the potato to the pan and let it cook, stir every now and then to ensure even cooking and avoid any burning.

When its half cooked, add the onion and red pepper.

Saute and let the onion and pepper soften.

Add the paprika, cumin, salt and pepper.

Add the green peas and the chopped kale.

Let it cook for about a minute till the kale and the peas have warmed through.

Serve hot, topped with an egg (or two) cooked to your liking.

Quick and Easy Crab Cakes

I’ve always been in awe of Costco outlets. Back in India, we had nothing even close to those kind of outlets. When we moved to Australia, I was eager to get into one. I had also heard that shopping at Costco meant buying huge quantities and it was a while before I had the space for larger quantities. But a few months ago, when we moved, we finally had the space needed and we made our first trip to Costco.

For someone like me, who loves grocery shopping (There, I said it. Please don’t hate me), Costco was a grocery shopper’s heaven. From the time I set foot in it, I loved it. Fortunately for me, my husband enjoys our trips there too. On our last trip, I found some crab meat there and picked some up.

I’ve been longing to try some recipes for crab cakes, crab dip and crab rangoon, to name a few crab dishes. And while we always have fresh crabs available, I have been on the look out for some crab meat. It quickens the process and makes it easier. So buying crab meat was a no-brainer for me.

Recently, after a busy day of flower making, I found myself looking for a quick and easy dinner option and decided to make some crab cakes. I found a recipe I thought would be really nice and decided to try it out.

In a few minutes, I was frying up some gorgeous crab cakes. I served these crab cakes up with some sweet chilly sauce, some salad greens and bread. I loved how these crab cakes turned out. They were full of flavor and I had a delicious meal on the table in about 30 minutes. That’s a winner of a dish for me. You wanna hear a little secret? They would make fantastic burgers.

Quick & Easy Crab Cakes
Yields: 10-12 patties (depending on size)
Adapted from: Jo Cooks

12 oz crab meat
3 green onions, finely sliced
1 red birds eye chilli, finely chopped
1 egg
2 tsp lemon juice
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp Sriracha sauce
2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves and stems, finely chopped
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
Salt, to taste
Freshly crushed black pepper, to taste
A couple of spoons of olive oil, to pan fry the patties.

Salad leaves, to serve with
Sweet chilli sauce, to serve alongside

In a large mixing bowl, place all the ingredients, except the olive oil, salad leaves and sweet chilli sauce.

Mix it all together till everything is evenly distributed. Mix thoroughly but gently.

Heat a spoon of olive oil in a pan on medium heat.

Form the mix into crab cakes and place on the pan. You may need to do this in batches.

Let the crab cakes fry till golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.

Carefully flip the crab cakes and fry on the other side till golden brown as well.

Serve them up with some salad leaves, sweet chilly sauce and some bread, if desired.

Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal

So baked oatmeal is apparently a thing, and I didn’t know until now. I’m wondering where I’ve been all this while. In a few short months, I’ve stumbled upon Smoothie Bowls and now Baked Oatmeal. We love the smoothie bowls. They were perfect for summer and we’ve had a long, hot one. Its not over yet, but the weather has started cooling down a tiny bit and I am looking forward to winter. Enter this awesome Baked Oatmeal.

In our house, we love oatmeal for breakfast. It does take a little more hands-on time to whip up in the morning compared to making toast. However, we all know that oatmeal is healthier for you than bread. And overnight refrigerator oatmeal is perfect for summer, but I prefer a warm breakfast when the weather is cooler. And how good would it be if someone could make me this warm breakfast in the morning while I got an extra ten minutes of sleep. That ain’t happening so this baked oatmeal is the next best thing. You make a batch up one evening and it reheats beautifully for breakfast the next morning. The flavor options that I found on the internet are endless. This breakfast option is an absolute winner in my book and I know I’ll be making it very often as the weather cools down.

Making baked oatmeal couldn’t be simpler. Whisk the wet ingredients. Stir in the oats and bake. An added advantage is that this is clean eating at its best. No refined sugars in this breakfast option. Its like eating banana bread for breakfast, without the guilt. You use the oats instead of flour and maple syrup instead of sugar. Throw in some coconut oil and pecan nuts and you have taken this humble oatmeal breakfast up a couple of notches nutritionally. Don’t take my word for it. Make a batch today and you’ll have a household that actually enjoys oatmeal for breakfast.



Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal


2 large ripe bananas (or 3 small)
3/4 cup milk, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans (additional for garnish)
2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 180ºC.

Grease an 8×8 baking dish and set aside.

Spread the chopped pecans on another ungreased baking tray and let them roast for 4-6 minutes or till they are toasted light golden brown. Cool.

In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas.

Add the milk, eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla to the mashed bananas and mix well till smooth.

Add the oats, salt, cinnamon powder and toasted pecans and stir till combined.

Pour into the greased baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes or until set and golden brown on top.

Let it cool for a while (around 5 minutes) in the baking dish itself before cutting and serving.

Serve warm by itself or with some greek yogurt or milk, as desired. You could top it off with some fresh fruit and nuts as well.

If you’re making this ahead of time, refrigerate and cut and reheat in the microwave as needed.

Mango Smoothie Bowl

A couple of days ago, I came across something I instantly new was going to be a wonderful find. Now I am guilty of constantly looking for and saving interesting recipes that I want to try out. I have a list of bookmarks that grows every minute and a pinterest account that will prove my point. But this little treat flew straight to the top of that list. Turns out that smoothie bowls have been very popular for a while now. I was probably stuck under a rock for a really, really long time given that I hadn’t seen these beauties before. But when I saw the first one, I had to look them up. There are so many combinations possible that it blew my mind. A smoothie bowl is bowlful of refreshing goodness with a choice of flavors and toppings only limited by your imagination. These smoothie bowls are like a cross between an ice cream, a soft serve, a frozen yogurt and a smoothie without the bad stuff. It is great for summer. And seeing how hot a summer it is turning out to be, these are going to be perfect for breakfast, Or once you see how good these are, a smaller portion as a snack.

Since this is my first smoothie bowl, I kept it simple. It is so easy to make and so refreshingly delicious, I know I’m going to be making more than a few more of these All you need is the fruit of your choice, milk and a little yogurt. Onto the toppings. You could use your choice of cereal, granola, nuts, seeds, chocolate chips pretty much whatever you feel like.

So go ahead and give these bowls a try. They will be a hard summer option to beat. You know you’ll be seeing a few more of these. Oh, have I mentioned these just take a couple of minutes to make. Its a winner all the way.

Also, I have news. I have finally been bitten by the Instagram bug. I hope you can join me there. My Instagram username is @TheAspiringHomeCook. You can find the recipes from this blog making an appearance there at #theaspiringhomecook. Have you tried a recipe from this site. Post a picture on Instagram with  #theaspiringhomecook and tag me in the picture to be featured in my feed.

Mango Smoothie Bowl
Serves 1-2

1 cup frozen mango cubes
1 banana, frozen
1 cup milk
4 tbsp Greek yogurt

For the toppings –
A few fresh blueberries
Peanut butter granola

Place the mango, banana, milk and yogurt in a blender and blitz on slow at first.

Scrape down the sides and blitz till you are left with a soft serve consistency.

Pour the smoothie into a bowl.

Top off with fresh blueberries and some granola.

Serve chilled.

Prawn Pulao

One whiff of this prawn pulao takes me back years, or is it a couple of decades back to when I was growing up (yikes, I feel old now). My mum used to make this pulao for us. I grew up in a house of prawn lovers. Yes, you heard that right. Mum has a few go to recipes for prawns – this Prawn Chilly fry with Coriander speckled rice (my absolute favorite), a Goan prawn curry (I still cannot get mine to taste like hers so I will get her to make me some for the blog) and this prawn pulao.

This prawn pulao is pretty amazing. It is a meal in itself served with a nice, light, fresh salad alongside. It comes together fast and easy and if you love prawns like us, you’ll be glad to have this recipe to fall back on. Throw in a few drinks and you could make this to serve a crowd too. The recipe below makes 2 generous portions if served as a meal. If you intend making a larger quantity, you just need to keep in mind the rice to water ratio. As long as you use 1 portion of rice to 2 portions of water, you’ll be fine. All the other ingredients can be multiplied and adjusted to suit your taste. As long as the rice and water ratio is right, you will be left with a perfect rice dish. It wont be mushy, the grains will be whole, the rice will be fluffy and all will be well.
Prawn Pulao
Serves 2
For the prawns:
10-12 medium to large prawns, shelled and deveined (5-6 per person) (I used the local Aussie Banana Prawns, but you could use King Prawns or any other type you can get your hands on)
Salt, to taste
Lime / lemon juice to taste
A pinch of turmeric powder
1/4 tsp red chilly powder
1 tbsp olive oil
For the rice:
2/3 cups Basmati rice
5 cloves
2 bay leaves
2 cardamom pods
5 pepper corns
2 pieces of cinnamon, about an inch each 
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 green / red chilly, finely sliced (optional)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt, to taste
1 1/3 cup water
1-1 1/2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves and stems, finely chopped, to garnish
Marinade the prawns with some salt, a little lime juice, turmeric and chilly powder and keep it aside for 15-30 minutes.
Wash the rice and drain the water. You will need to do this about 2-3 times, till the water runs clear. 
Place a tablespoon of oil in a frying and and when it is hot, carefully place the prawns in the pan without over crowding the pan. Fry the prawns till they turn opaque with a little char and flip them over and let them char on the other side too. This takes just a couple of minutes, don’t leave them unattended. You just want some color on the outside. They don’t need to cook all the way because they will continue to cook with the rice. Take the prawns out of the pan and keep aside.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in the pot that you want to cook the rice in. Add the cloves, bay leaves, cardamom pods, pepper corns and cinnamon. In a few seconds, the spices will smell fragrant. Add the onions to the pot.
Saute the onions till they have softened. 
Add the ginger garlic paste and let it cook of for a minute. 
Add the turmeric powder and the sliced chilly and stir it up.
Add the tomato and stir well. 
Drain the rice and run some fresh cold water through and drain it again. 
Add the rice and the fried prawns to the pot and stir gently till the rice and prawns are coated with the spices. Season with some salt and add the water.
Stir a little and check the seasoning. I taste a little of the stock and see if more salt is needed.
When the water comes to a boil, cover the pot and lower the heat to a simmer. Let it cook till all the water is absorbed. As soon as all the water is absorbed, take the pot of the heat and leave aside covered for a couple of minutes. Loosen the rice gently with a fork.
Serve hot and sprinkle the chopped coriander over the rice just before serving.
Enjoy!!!

Chicken Fried Rice

Today I’m going to share with you a much loved recipe. This one packs a lot of flavour and comes together easily. Most of the work involved actually is prepping the veggies. And yes, this fried rice has more than its fair share of veggies, which makes it quite nutritious. If you’ve never made fried rice at home before, I urge you to try it out. You’ll ditch the take-out version for the home made one instantly.

What I also like about this fried rice is you can pretty much use whatever you have on hand. You can switch up the veggies. I almost always use onion, spring onion, capsicum and carrot. I also add zucchini, snow peas, cabbage and baby corn if I have any of them on hand. The same is the case with the protein. Almost always I use a little bacon for flavour and some egg. Then I either use prawns, shredded chicken and sometimes even ham depending on what I have available at the time. So like you see, this fried rice is one of those meals you can put together almost any day of the week, even when your grocery run is due the next day. Apart from cooking the rice, it comes together in one pan – I now use my wok and love it.

This is the quickest way I find to get this on the plate. Soak my rice and when the rice is soaking and cooking, I prep my protien and veggies. When everything is ready, the final dish takes about 10 minutes tops to put together. Its one of my favourite quick and easy weeknight meal options. I tend to add a lot of vegetables and I like it that way, you could drop the quantity of vegetables to suit your liking. This is just a guide to making this fried rice and the quantities are suggestions. Go with what you think you’ll enjoy and adjust to your liking.

Chicken Fried Rice
Serves 3 (as mains)


1 cup basmati rice
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 birdseye chilly (optional – we enjoy hot food but you can leave it out if you dont)
3 spring onions
1 red pepper
2 carrots
6-8 green beans
A handful of finely sliced cabbage (about a cups worth)
2 eggs
3 rashers of bacon (I used streaky bacon)
A cup of shredded chicken (you could used poached, roast, or rotisserie chicken)
A couple of tablespoons of oil (vegetable, olive or sunflower or any other cooking oil of your choice)
1 tsp sesame oil
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Approx. 1 tbsp soy sauce (I use salt reduced soy)
1 tsp rice wine vinegar

Rinse the rice a couple of times and drain. Soak in fresh water at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes.

Bring a pot of water to the boil (just like you would for pasta). Add a spoon of salt to the water and carefully add the rice. Cook the rice till almost done (al dente). Don’t cook the rice through as it will turn mushy once you add it to the wok.

Drain the cook rice and using a fork lightly loosen the grains and leave to cool.

In the meanwhile, clean and chop all your vegetables. I like to chop mine in like sized pieces. You could julienne everything or slice it on the diagonal into little chunks. (I will try and get a picture of the chopped up veggies when I make this next, I was in a hurry this time and forgot.)

Dice the bacon rashers and keep aside.

Keep all your ingredients handy. The trick to cooking a delicious fried rice is to cook it on a high heat and cook it quickly.

Heat your wok or pan. Add a little cooking oil to the pan. Crack 2 eggs in a bowl, add a little salt and lightly whisk. Now either make a plain omlette and cut into chunks or a plain scramble. Take the egg off the pan and keep aside.

Next step is to fry off the bacon. Add a little oil if needed and tip the cut bacon into the work and let it cook a little and add some flavor to the pan. Dont cook till crisp. You just want the ends to start changing to a light brown. Now add the garlic and chilly and saute till it gets fragrant.

Add the sesame oil and then tip in the diced pepper and the rest of the veggies and stir fry on high heat till they cook off a little. You still want them to have a little bite.

Add the chopped spring onions.

Add a light sprinkle of salt and some freshly cracked black pepper.

Add the soy sauce and rice wine vinegar and stir to let it coat the veggies. Please adjust the sauce to suit your liking.

Tip in the chicken and egg and stir well to incorporate.

At this stage add the rice to the wok and gently mix everything but mix thoroughly. I use a spatula and a pair of chopsticks to do this.

Once the rice has warmed through, serve hot and top with finely sliced spring onion greens to garnish and if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, some finely sliced fresh chilly.

Enjoy piping hot.

**Leftovers warm up really well the next day too.

3-ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

A couple of weeks ago, before we left on our holiday, I found myself longing for some home baked treats. There was just one tiny problem – I wanted it right then. Now, anyone who has baked know that yummy, home-baked goodness usually takes a little time and a few ingredients. Given the urgency of the craving, I suddenly thought of something a dear friend of mine (my soul sista, actually) told me about a few months ago. She’d told me about these quick and easy peanut butter cookies that she’s whipped up one afternoon for an after-school snack. I knew that’s what I was going to try out.

After a little looking, I settled on a recipe that asked for just 3 ingredients. I was SOLD. Yummy cookies with just 3 ingredients – I couldn’t wait to try them out. Making the cookie dough was super easy and after a few minutes in the oven, I had a pile of little cookies. I split the dough and to half of it I added a fourth ingredient – some chocolate chips. You don’t have to do this, but who can resist a little chocolate. With this cookie you get a little sweet and a little salty. If you are going to use some crunchy peanut butter like I did, you’ll have a few small pieces of nuts in there too. I love having a quick and easy recipe like this one in my arsenal. I would, however, cut down the sugar in this recipe the next time I make them. I did find them a little too sweet for my taste. I’d probably drop it to 3/4 of a cup the next time and take it from there. The recipe below has the original quantities.

3-ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies
Recipe from: KitchMe
Yields:18-20 depending on size

1 cup peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
1 cup sugar
1 egg

Preheat oven to 170ºC.

Mix the peanut butter, sugar and egg till smooth.

At this stage, if you’d like to add chocolate chips to some, or all of the dough, you can do so.

Portion out and roll into balls. I just use my hands for this.

Press down lightly with a fork. The tines of the fork give you a criss cross pattern. You could either press down just once to give you some lines across the cookie or turn the cookie a little and press the fork down again to get a chequered pattern.

Place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Don’t let it overbake or brown it off too much.

Enjoy!!!