Chicken Fry(Irachi varuthadu)


Chicken fry: This recipe here is an unconventional style of making chicken fry. Usually in Kerala, chicken fry is deep fried. However, in my home, mom used to always cook the chicken separately and then, roast/shallow fry the chicken later. I have always found that tastier than the deep fried chicken. Also, the chicken is more softer when you cook it this way. And you don’t feel guilty of eating deep fried stuff. The same is the case with fish fry. We always shallow fry the fish instead of deep frying it.

Now, this chicken fry or chicken roast(if that’s how you would want to call this dish🙂 ), isn’t very common preparation style. However, by far, this is the best chicken fry I have had🙂 And it isn’t too much of masala or spices that gives it the flavor, but simple things like the onion paste used for marination and the mint leaves that gives it a different and distinct taste. I have been able to impress every guest to whom I have served this chicken fry and I have been asked for the recipe immediately😉 So this is a tried and tested recipe, with 100% guarantee of being liked by everyone🙂



Chicken(with bone) – 750 gms
Onion – 1 nos, sliced
Green chilli – 2-3 nos, slit
Garam masala – 1/4 tsp
Coriander leaves – 10 strands, chopped
Mint leaves – 4 strands, chopped
Salt – to taste(apprx. 1/4-1/2 tsp)
Oil – 3 tbsp

For marination:-
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp
Garam masala – 1/4 tsp
Onion – 1/2 no, grind to paste
Red chilli powder – 1.5-2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder(optional) – 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste(apprx. 1 tsp)


1. Wash and clean the chicken and cut into medium sized pieces. Marinate the chicken with the ingredients mentioned under ‘For Marination’ section. Keep aside for 30 mins or so.
2. Transfer the marinated chicken into a saucepan(I used an aluminium vessel with lid) and in medium flame, cook it covered. The chicken will leave some water by itself. So keep checking and add water little by little if needed. Occasionally stir the chicken pieces and make sure the chicken doesn’t stick to the vessel.
Note: The good part about this style of cooking chicken is that you don’t need to use much oil for frying the chicken and also, the steaming of chicken will make it much softer and juicier.
3. Once the chicken is well cooked, remove from flame and keep aside.
4. Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan and fry sliced onions in medium high flame. Also add the green chillies and salt.
5. Once the onions turn brown and start to become slightly crisp, add in the cooked chicken and garam masala and stir well so that onions are spread over evenly on the chicken pieces. Fry the pieces till chicken starts to brown and roasted.
6. Add the chopped mint leaves and coriander leaves and saute. Continue to fry and saute the chicken pieces till the chicken surfaces are fried and roasted to your liking.

Serve as appetizer or even as a side dish with rice varieties🙂

Meen achar(Fish Pickle)


Meen achar or Fish pickle: In Kerala, it is very common to find some form of fish in your meal. Though fish pickle/meen achar is not a popular item from the place I come from, it is quite a hit in the Southern-Mid Kerala regions. I first had fish pickle when my roommate got it from her home after our semester break. And it was quite delicious🙂 I had it another time at a friend’s place for dinner few months ago.

I didn’t ask anyone for a recipe as such. My mom prepares shrimp/prawn pickle at home and its to die for😉 So I just modified that a little and tried to make fish pickle my style. I figured that for any pickle/achar, there are few things that you can use in permutation-combination and all of it tastes good😀 Those ingredients are mainly, fenugreek, mustard, asafetida, ginger, garlic, curry leaves, green chilli and vinegar. The must use ingredient is red chilli powder🙂 From my couple of experiences with fish pickle, I saw that ginger, garlic and curry leaves is something thats used in it. My mom uses only garlic for most kind of pickles. So I thought of going for these additions. For a first timer, I wasn’t disappointed😛 This recipe is posted after my attempt a second time. The first time, I did a blunder!!! I made the pickle using catfish. Now, if you plan to make fish pickle, use more harder fish like King fish/Neimeen or Tilapia or even Salmon. Catfish was too soft for a pickle. After deep frying, the fish pieces should be little hard. Thats helps in preserving the fish pickle for a longer duration or may be thats how the texture should ideally be!!!


Note: Cup used for measurement is US measurement cup, 1 cup = 237 ml

Fish(I used Neimeen/King fish) – 200 gm
Garlic – 4 nos, chopped
Ginger – 1 inch piece, chopped
Curry leaves – 1 strand
Green chilli – 2 nos, slit
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
Fenugreek powder – less than 1/4 tsp
Kashmiri chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Vinegar – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste(apprx. 1 tsp)
Boiled water – 3/4 cup
Oil(Sesame preferred) – 2 tbsp

For fish marination and deep frying:-
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Kashmiri red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Oil – as needed(apprx. 1 cup)

1. Wash and clean the fish and cut it into small 1 inch cubes/pieces. Drain the water well and dry it with paper towel if needed(this will prevent the oil from spluttering when you fry the fishes).
2. Marinate the fish with turmeric powder, kashmiri red chilli powder and salt mentioned under ‘For fish marination and deep frying’ section. Keep aside for an hour or so.
3. Heat oil in a deep frying dish/pan and deep fry the marinated fish pieces in batches(about 10 pieces at a time). Fry (in medium high flame) till the fish pieces have cooked well and drain the oil using a paper towel and keep aside.
Note: The oil should be really hot before you put the fish pieces for frying. Else, the fish pieces will absorb lot of oil. This is the case while deep frying anything. If the oil isn’t heated well, it leads to a lot of oil absorption.
4. For making the pickle, heat oil in a saucepan and put mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds splutter, put curry leaves and let it splutter. Reduce the flame to medium.
5. Put chopped ginger and chopped garlic and slit green chillies. Saute till the garlic and ginger turns light brown.
6. Now add the fenugreek powder, red chilli powder and kashmiri red chilli powder. Saute for few seconds. Make sure that the red chilli powder doesn’t burn.
7. Add 1 cup of boiled water. Put the fried fish pieces and salt into it and mix well.
8. Remove from flame and pour the vinegar into the saucepan and give a good mix. At this point, do a taste check and add more salt or vinegar per your taste.
9. After the pickle cools down, transfer it into a jar and store in the refrigerator.

Strawberry Milk Shake


When you hit a grocery store now, you are sure to find some good strawberries and somehow the color of strawberries always tempt me to buy some. During summer, you always look forward to some chilled beverages and drinks that can cool your body. Some of the natural drinks that could cool your body are buttermilk, tender coconut water or watermelon juices like this one here🙂

Better than drinking store bought juices, is to make some ‘easy-to make’ fresh juices, milk shakes or smoothies at home and have it fresh. Atleast you can be sure of the amount of sugar thats in it😐 One such easy drink is Strawberry milk shake. It would hardly take 5 mins of your time to come up with this simple yet delicious milk shake. Top it with some generous amount of whipped cream and your kids are gonna love it too😉


Note: Cup used for measurement is US measurement cup, 1 cup = 237 ml

Strawberry – 15 nos
Milk(chilled) – 1.5 cups
Whipped cream – 5 tbsp
Vanilla extract – 1/4 tsp
Sugar – to taste(apprx. 5-6 tsp)
Ice cubes(optional) – 5-6 nos


1. Wash and clean the strawberries and slice them into halves.
2. In a blender/juicer, put all the ingredients and blend it till there are no more strawberry chunks in the milk shake.
3. Serve chilled Strawberry milk shake topped with some whipped cream(optional).

Cherry Achar(Pickled Cherry)


It is the season of berries and cherries🙂 Some of our friends had gone for cherry picking couple of weeks back. And they shared some of their picks with us too😉 Well, who wouldn’t enjoy relishing freshly picked cherries..they were spotless and so fresh, that you could eat as many as you can..Well, did you know that eating cherries can put you to sleep??😮 Ya, so if you know of someone who finds it difficult to sleep, like DD😉, give some cherries at night and they will have a sound sleep.

We finished our cherries that our friends had shared with us, the very same day, they gave it to us. But that left us wanting for more fresh cherries. Guess what?!!! We ended up buying a lot more of cherries from the store. And since the expert wasn’t with DD😛 , he failed to recognize that the cherries he bought were over ripe. They were too many in number too😦 I didn’t want to waste all those cherries. I had to come up with some innovative idea of using up these cherries, which I would otherwise end up putting in trash!!! So I thought, why not try making some achar with these cherries. It is a good way of preserving the cherries and being Indians, we enjoy eating achar with absolutely anything!!! I loved this pickle and for a change, I made it sweet and sour. Of course, the sweetness from cherries would have been enough, but I had to put some jaggery to bring in that flavor I wanted🙂 I am glad I could increase the shelf life of those cherries😉



Cherries – 600 gms
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
Fenugreek powder – 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves – 2 strands
Garlic – 15-20 pods, sliced
Green chilli – 2 nos, slit
Red chilli powder – 1 – 1.5 tsp(depending on how spicy you want the pickle to be. I used 1.5 tsp)
Kashmiri red chilli powder – 2.5 tsp
Jaggery(grated) – 2 tsp
Vinegar – 4 tbsp
Oil – 3 tbsp
Salt – to taste (apprx. 1.5-2 tsp)


1. Wash the cherries and wipe them with a kitchen towel to dry them up. Keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a saucepan and put mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds splutter, put curry leaves and let it splutter. Reduce the flame to medium.
3. Put sliced garlic and slit green chillies. Saute till the garlic turns light brown.
4. Now add the fenugreek powder, red chilli powder and kashmiri red chilli powder. Saute for few seconds. Make sure that the red chilli powder doesn’t burn.
5. Add 1 cup of water and let it boil. Add the grated jaggery into the water and let it boil till the jaggery melts.
6. Now put the cherries and salt. Cook in medium high flame, till the cherries soften up and start to tear up easily.
7. Remove from flame and pour the vinegar into the saucepan and give a good mix. At this point, do a taste check and add more salt or vinegar per your taste.
8. After the pickle cools down, transfer it into a jar and store in the refrigerator.

Serve with rice or with absolutely anything whenever you want to have a spiced up side with sweet and sour element!!!

Veg Uthappam


Uthappam can be described as a pizza made of rice flour topped with your choice of toppings. It can be visualized as a savory pancake with some toppings too😛. It is again a South Indian breakfast which is a popular item in all the tiffin type restaurants like Saravana bhawan, Uduppi etc. Uthappam is made using regular dosa batter. And though dosa was literally the breakfast in our home as far back as I can remember, Uthappam was never a part of our menu. We used to have it once in a while, during our road trips, when we make a stopover at one of those ‘thattu kadas’ (roadside fast food stalls)🙂

One summer break, we were in our native place at my uncle’s house. And one morning, for breakfast, my ammayi(aunt) presented ‘Mama special breakfast’. And that was the first time I had a homemade uthappam and it tasted pretty good. We all praised his cooking talents and saw how easily he was making the uthappams🙂 Well, after that, I have never had uthappams from restaurants. When I feel like having an uthappam, I make it at home😀 The good part about uthappam is that you could customize it to your taste. That is, you could put the toppings of your choice. It could be just onions or onion and tomato uthappam. If you want to eat more vegetables with your uthappam, you could also try putting some grated carrots to your uthappam🙂 Doesn’t it sound very simple?? Believe me, it is as simple to make it as it sounds🙂


Note: Cup used for measurement is US measurement cup, 1 cup = 237 ml

Dosa Batter –click for recipe – 3-4 cups
Onion – 1/2 of a small sized one, chopped
Tomato – 1/2 of a large sized one, chopped
Bell pepper/Capsicum – 1/4 of a medium sized one, chopped
Green chilli – 1 no, chopped
Coriander leaves – 4-5 stands, chopped
Salt – to taste(apprx. 1/4 tsp)
Oil – as needed


1. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients except, dosa batter and oil and give a good mix.
2. Heat the dosa tava/griddle. To check if your tava is at the right temperature, sprinkle some water drops on the tava and it should sizzle away and dry up immediately.
3. Grease the tava lightly with oil. Pour 1 ladle of dosa batter to the tava. Do not spread it like you would otherwise do for regular dosa. The dosa should be thick. Lightly spread it to look like a pancake.
4. Now, take a spoonful of the mixed vegetables and top it on the dosa so that it is spread out evenly. Gently press the toppings to the dosa.
5. Cover the dosa with a deep steel/glass lid/cover and cook in medium high flame till the dosa cooks through and it gets a light brown color at the bottom.
6. With an oil applicator, grease the top of the dosa and vegetables with little oil.
7. Turn the dosa over and let it cook for few seconds till the onions(and other veg) and dosa brown a little and get slightly crispy. This is why greasing the vegetables and the top portion of the dosa becomes important. If you do not grease it, the dosa will stick to the tava and the vegs won’t get the desired texture.

Serve with sambar and coconut chutney🙂

Tomato Rice


Tomato rice or thakkali sadam is another one of the most popular flavored rice in South Indian cuisine. There are 2 kinds of tomato rice. One is spiced with garam masala, which is what I have made here. There is another kind, mainly made in Tamil Nadu, which uses some typical South Indian spices/seasoning. I will share that recipe another time.

This was the only tomato rice I knew till I came to US🙂 and was definitely a dish I liked a lot. My mom would make it very rarely, and so each time she would make it, it was one of those special dishes. The ‘special’ tag was given also because of the deadly combination she would serve it with. Wondering what it was??? Chilli chicken!!! Ya, you read it right😉 I have never heard about this combination anywhere else. Tomato rice with chilli chicken. I don’t even know how she came up with this combination. Somehow it clicked for us. Not just for us! I remember, when I used to go home for vacation from hostel, my roommates and friends would wait for my return. Tomato rice and chilli chicken was something my mom would pack for me on my return journey, so that I could have it for dinner. I remember one time, I got a big vessel full of tomato rice and lots of chilli chicken upon popular demand from my friends😀 And that night was a feast. We were left finger licking after literally fighting over the food😉 Those days were awesome. I am getting nostalgic🙂 I miss my friends😦



Basmati rice – 2 rice cups
Tomato – 4 nos medium sized, sliced
Onion – 2 nos. small sized, sliced
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp
Green chilli – 2 nos, chopped
Cinnamon – 1/2 inch piece
Cloves – 5-6 nos
Bay leaf – 2 nos
Cardamom – 2 nos
Black peppercorns – 7-8 nos
Red chilli powder – 3/4 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Coriander leaves – 5-6 strands, chopped
Salt – to taste(apprx. 1.5 tsp) – 1/2 for rice and 1 for masala
Oil/Ghee – 5 tbsp


1. Cook the rice(add apprx. 1/2 tsp salt and 2-3 drops of oil while cooking rice) and keep it aside.
2. Heat oil/ghee in a sauce pan. Add the whole garam masala(cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf, cardamom, black peppercorns) to the oil and let it splutter.
3. Put curry leaves, onion, ginger garlic paste, green chillis and the remaining salt into the saucepan and stir well. Cook till the onions turn light pink.
4. Then add the red chilli powder and turmeric powder and saute. Cook for few seconds.
5. Add tomatoes and cook covered till the tomatoes cook well in medium flame. The tomatoes should leave all juices and crush completely.
6. Once the tomatoes are cooked and the cooked masala looks like a paste, add the cooked rice into the saucepan and mix it well lightly with the masala. The masala should be coated well on the rice. But if you mix it hard, the rice will break and will loose its texture.
7. Remove from heat and garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve with chilli chicken or omelette🙂

Lemon Rice


Lemon rice is a delicious South Indian rice dish that you can easily put together if you are in a hurry or if you are running out of your pantry stock🙂 Seriously, if you have some rice and lime at home, you can easily put together this simple dish. It is hot and sour and very flavorful rice item which would take less than 10 mins to prepare if you have some leftover rice. Since this dish is mainly seasoned with Lime juice and oil, it doesn’t spoil easily too. So this can be a good option to consider if you are one among those people who likes/prefers to eat homemade food (aka comfort food), when you go for road trips or are set for a journey.

Also, this dish doesn’t call for any side dish to go with it. You could just relish it with some fried appalams or papad. However, since this dish is little dry in nature, I prefer to have it with a side condiment. I had never thought of it before, but one day when my colleague got it with Chicken 65, I absolutely loved the combination. So now when I make lemon rice, I prefer to have it with chicken 65 or pepper chicken(dry) or something of similar kind🙂 You could make you own combination to go with it. Enjoy this simple, yet flavorful rice🙂


Note: Cup used for measurement is US measurement cup, 1 cup = 237 ml

Rice(Raw rice/Basmati) – 1.25 cups
Lime – 1 no. large and juicy or 3 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp, heaped
Cumin seeds – 1/4 tsp, heaped
Asafetida – 1/4 tsp
Chana dal/Bengal gram – 1 tsp
Urad dal/Black gram – 1/4 tsp, heaped
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Dry red chilli – 2 nos
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Green chilli – 4 nos, chopped
Salt – to taste (apprx. 1/2 tsp)
Oil – 3 tbsp


1. Cook rice and keep aside in a bowl. While cooking the rice, put 2 drops of oil or 1 tsp lime juice so that the grains don’t stick to each other.
2. In a pan, heat oil. Put mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add cumin seeds, chana dal(bengal gram), urad dal(black gram) and dry red chilli. Saute till the dals turn light brown.
3. Then add curry leaves, green chilli, asafetida and turmeric powder and saute till the raw smell goes off and remove from heat. Put the contents of the pan to the rice bowl.
4. Mix lime juice and salt well so that salt gets evenly spread to the rice.
5. Add the lime juice also to the rice bowl and give it all a good mix so that everything is spread evenly with the rice.

Serve with papad or Chicken 65 😉