Sunday, December 05, 2010

Kerala Prawn Curry

Since one week, it is heavily snowing here. Though I've spent about 3 Winters in Germany, still I cannot stop admiring the beauty of snowfall. Those little soft white flakes, falling gently from above and covering everything in a powdery white... woww... it is so wonderful !!

Though I have an urge to hold them in my hands and feel them, it is quite difficult. The moment, I touch them, my hands go numb of coldness and I'm not able to actually 'feel' the texture of snow.

Anyways, it is awfully cold here and we wanted to eat something a little hot and something Indian. So, we gave a try to the Prawns curry and here is how we prepared it.

Prawn Curry is famous in Kerala, Traditionally, it is made with coconut, ground to a smooth paste and the curry is very rich. But, we made a non-traditional lighter version of it.

Preparation Time: 30 Min
Serves: 3-4

Things you would need:

Prawns - 500g
Onions – 2 big onions, chopped
Coconut milk - 200 ml
Ginger – 1 inch piece
Garlic – 4-6 cloves
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Coriander powder – 1 ½ tsp
Green chillies – 2
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – a few
Canola oil – 2 Tbs
Lemon juice – 1 (or ½ if too sour)
Salt – to taste
Coriander leaves – to garnish


Add the onions, green chillies, ginger and garlic to a mixer and grind to a smooth paste.

In a wide heavy bottom pan, add oil and when hot, add the mustard seeds. When the mustard splutters, add fenugreek seeds, curry leaves and the ground mixture and sauté for a few minutes, till the onion mixture is well cooked.

Now add turmeric, coriander powder and crushed pepper and stir the masaala for a few mins without getting burned. After the raw smell goes away, add the prawns along with coconut milk and salt. Cover the pan and cook in medium heat. Since I used frozen prawns, it took about 10 mins to get cooked. Cooking time may also vary if you use fresh prawns. But, make sure they are not overcooked; otherwise it gets rubbery.

After prawns are done, stir in the lemon juice, sprinkle a pinch of sugar and toss with the coriander leaves.

Serve with freshly prepared rice.

  • Instead of coconut milk, one could also use 1 cup grated coconut, ground to a smooth paste.
  • In the authentic recipe, tamarind juice is used in place of lemon juice.
  • Green chillies could also be replaced by dried red chillies or ½ tsp chili powder, which would naturally give a slightly different taste.

Thursday, December 02, 2010


It's quite some time since my last post. I've been a little tied up with my job. A few weeks back, we bought some things in a Bio (Organic Food) Shop and while shopping I found a tiny booklet with a few Christmas recipes and was excited. I have gained confidence with baking, ever since I tried my hands on it and almost 80% of my baking experiences were a success. With that confidence, this time I wanted to try a cookies recipe.

Printen - They are a kind of cookies, famously called the Aachener Printen. Those authentic ones hail from a place called Aachen. I've never tasted them and neither do I know how those are prepared. I just followed the recipe given in that booklet. It was very easy to make and tasted absolutely wonderful. Here, you go...

Preparation Time: 15 Min
Baking Time: 12 Min

You need:

Plain flour – 250g
Soft Butter – 100g
Sugar – 50g
Honey – 150g
Zest of orange – 1 tsp
Baking powder – 2 tsp
Salt – a pinch
Cardamom – ½ tsp
Almonds – 100g
Fruit spread from Apricot


Blend sugar, butter and honey well to a fluffy mixture. To this, add the flour, orange zest, cardamom and salt and knead to dough. Cover this dough with a thin fresh foil and refrigerate for about half an hour.

Take the dough out and roll to about 5mm thickness. Now, cut into rectangular pieces. Place a baking sheet on a slightly buttered baking tray. Arrange the pieces on the baking sheet, with some distance between each other.

Now, slightly paint the pieces with the fruit spread on the top, using a baking brush. Press an almond into the centre of each piece.

Preheat the oven to 175C and bake the pieces for about 12 mins.

  • The actual recipe called for 75g sugar. We found it a bit too sweet for cookies. So, I have reduced the amount of sugar to 50g in the recipe above.
  • The actual recipe called for gingerbread spice. I have replaced it with cardamom.
My Printen were done exactly on the 12th minute, when they were beautifully brown gold in colour. The fruit spread coating and the orange zest gave a fabulous taste to the cookies. I was overwhelmed with the success.

I stored them in an air-tight container and for the next few days, after coming home from office and before cooking, they helped me keep my hunger away for sometime :-)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mal Seh'n Kino

Recently, I got to see an Indian movie in a theatre called Mal Seh'n Kino (Let's see cinema in English) in Frankfurt. It was a special show on a weekday. We were initially reluctant, but then decided to give a try. We were in the theatre, only surprised to find that we were the only Indians there. All others were Germans and they all gave us a "friendly" smile :-). The movie was 'Peepli Live'. I just find no special words to describe how good the movie was. It shows the sheer reality of life - the life of a farmer in a remote village in India. The movie has a very heavy, strong theme. It revolves around a farmer and his family, who is forced to take a decision to end up his life to pay up his debts. What happens following this "decision" is the story. But, the way it was directed is awesome. Throughout the movie, we enjoy it completely until the end, only when we are given the message. It is a sort of black humour, but you don't actually feel sorry for the state of things. It is rather the acceptance of reality that matters.

In my opinion, Peepli Live is eligible for an Oscar. Mal sehen ;-) A must watch !!

Friday, November 12, 2010


This is my first blog about my travel experiences. Though I dont travel a lot, I love travelling absolutely. It is a way of getting out of the routine normal daily life. Everyone of us, in one way or other, is victim to the set norms and unwritten rules of daily life. We get hardly time to relax ourselves, both in body and soul. Once we get time off our work, some would like to be at home and just idle away; but some would tend to grab the backpacks and get away. Given an option, I would like to fall into the second category.

This year has not been very eventful. Almost every holiday this year was on a weekend. Due to this and for other reasons, we didn't travel much this year. But, finally got a chance in October. We had a company-wide Workshop arranged in a little town in south-eastern Bavaria (Chiemgau region) and I just coupled it with a small 2-days outing in the weekend that followed.

One of the fountains in front of the Herrenchiemsee
Bavaria is a state in the south of Germany, called 'Bayern' in German. It has a culture of its own and stands quite apart from the rest of Germany. We had our workshop arranged in a small Bavarian town called Bernau, situated in a picturesque landscape, sorrouded by the Bavarian Alps. We started our day relaxed. A short tread from our hotel took us to the moors. Later that afternoon, we went to visit the Chiemsee. It is the largest lake in Bavaria and consists of two main islands Herreninsel (translates to Male island), Fraueninsel (Female island) and another small Krautinsel. A boat trip of about 20 mins took us to the Herreninsel. After a small walk around the island, we visited a palace Herrenchiemsee, built by a Bavarian King Ludwig II, inspired by the Palace of Versailles in France. The tour around the palace took no more than half an hour, but every room inside was elaborately decorated and worth admiring. The island also has an age-old monastery, which we didn't have time to visit.

The next day, we went off to a nearby hill called Kampenwand, which was highly recommended by some of my colleagues. We went by cable car up the hill. The day was refreshingly sunny and the view from above was fantastic. On one side of the hill, we could see the entire Chiemsee with all the three islands, another lake Simsee at a distance and the little towns and fields in the neighbourhood. On the other side, lay the beautiful valley with the snow covered Alpen peaks at a distance. We trekked around the hill a little, though many were involved in light and serious mountain climbings on the stony rocks over the hill. We just enjoyed seeing them climb. We then had baked potatoes for lunch in one of the Bavarian restaurants there. Late in the afternoon, we got down and it was time to return back home. On the whole, it was a wonderful small relaxed picnic to be remembered for ever. :-)

Monday, November 08, 2010

Paruppu Paayasam

It is a festive time in India. Diwali and Bakrid on their way… But, here in Germany, winter is on the start. It is mid-autumn here and the temperature drops everyday. The trees shed their leaves off rapidly and prepare to get themselves into their dormancy. The sky is gloomy and so is the mood too sometimes. This makes me miss my own country more. Nevertheless, just the thought of Diwali in India brings a little cheer and the best that could be done is to treat ourselves a sweet. So, here comes a simple South Indian yet delicious kheer.

I’m not a great cook.I’ve tried my hands at cooking mostly after my marriage. (Ya, it’s kinda disclaimer, he hee) So, here I’ve tried to follow my mom’s instructions and the result was amazing. Hope you enjoy too.

Preparation Time: 30 Min
Serves: 5 – 6

Things you would need:

Moong Dal – 1 ½ cup
Adai – 1 cup (a kind of rice noodles)
Water – 3 cups for daal
Jaggery – 200g
Water – just to immerse the jaggery
Cashews – 10
Raisins – 10
Coconut – a one inch piece, cut into very thin slices
Ghee – 2-3 Tbs
Salt – ½ tsp


Add water to jaggery in a vessel, heat it until jaggery gets dissolved. Filter it to remove any impurities and keep this dissolved jaggery(thin paagu) warm.
Cook the daal along with water and salt. When the daal is half-cooked, add the adai to it. Wait until the daal is completely cooked and the adai has got just soft. At this stage, add the dissolved jaggery to it and simmer for 2-3 mins.
Heat the ghee in a small kadai and roast the cashews, raisins and coconut until the coconut slices turn slightly brown. Now, add these to the paayasam. That’s it.

  • Care should be taken not to let the adai over cooked. The adai must be edible, but still the adai flakes must be clearly visible. When it is overcooked, the paayasam becomes cloggy.
  • When using roast cashews, they can be added directly to the paayasam.
  • This paayasam tastes best, when served warm. Can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days and it is enough to heat it up a little, before serving.