Friday, September 22, 2006

Shrimp Fry - A recipe to toast with...

There is a small restaurant in Vadapalani, Chennai (Madras ) Called the R.R.Salem restaurant and per Nirmal ,they are supposed to make the best shrimp fry in town. Imagine my plight – for 3 yrs now the only thing I have been hearing is ‘my mother makes this well..’, ‘my mother makes this differently..’, 'my mother is the better cook' – after having exhausted myself competing with my M.I.L, now I am being compared to some 'lungi clad' cook in remote Chennai who specializes in kothu parota and shrimp fry.

So today was a throwdown between apron_clad_me and my lungi_clad_friend. And I won by letting my 5 month daughter decide the winner – she voted for ‘Ma’ !!!!

Now, shrimp fry can probably be made in ten different ways. But what makes it difficult in the U.S is the shrimp we get in the U.S is of the larger variety and different in taste to the smaller shrimps we get in India. Which means you will have to make good the loss in taste with your masala and preparation method.

Here is a recipe that works!


To Marinate:

  • Shrimp - 1 lb
  • Chilli powder - 3 tbs
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1 tsp
  • Fenugreek powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Lemon juice - from 1 lemon
  • Fresh ground black pepper - 2 tsp
  • Salt to taste

To Chop:

  • Onion - 1 big ( chop finely)
  • Coconut pieces - 3 tbs

& U Need

  • Ginger garlic paste - 2 tsp
  • Fennel seeds - 1 tsp ( Crush coarsely using a stone pestle )
  • Dried red chillies - 4
  • Oil - 3 tbs
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Cilantro and curry leaves


  • Make a paste with the ingredients in the" to marinate" section. Clean the shrimp and marinate it.Let it marinate for 2 hrs in the refrigerator. Finely chop the onion and coconut pieces . Heat oil in a pan,splutter mustard and add the chopped ingredients.Put the red chilly pieces in to it and fry .Add the ginger & garlic paste and fry untill the raw smell goes.Now add the marinated shrimp and cook. Don't add any water as the shrimp has a better moisture content. Now add freshly crushed fennel seeds and fry the shrimp until done.Add the chopped cilantro and fresh curry leaves at the end and serve hot.


  • Finely chop the coconut pieces as u would chop a piece of ginger.Make sure u remove the black portion from the coconut pieces.It is not recomented to add grated coconut insted .
  • Add /reduce the amount of chilli powder according to personal preferences.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Bread Bouquet - Recipe like no other!

I am going to try to do the most unimaginable thing on a food site and hope that you, my fellow bloggers and visitors will let me get away with it!!!

How about posting a NON-EDIBLE item on a food site – well, that is exactly what I have in mind today. Like they say on the Food TV, cooking the best dish is only half the work, it is how you present the table and the dish that catches the guests attention. So here is how today’s post goes – ask your guest to wait; go to your nearest café; buy the most beautiful five/ten grain bread on display; stop feeding your guests; instead display the breads and let their mouths water watching the display!!!

I had watched Café’s like Atlanta Bread and Panera display their breads in such a wonderful fashion that I always thought bread display was like floral display – the manager would throw out the display breads every other day and create a new display – wouldn’t it grow molds otherwise!!! It took some help and some experimentation to realize that not all people are as foolish as me!!!

Seriously – this is so simple that by the time I am finished, you will want to make one of your own.

So here we go…

Buy some bread of your choice... u need one more thing to make it…a hair spray. Buy it from Wal-Mart or dollar store…get the cheapest one. Take the bread and spray the entire surface. Let it dry for a day. Do not keep it in direct sunlight as it causes the color to fade. The next day spray it again. Continue this process for 4 days and the fifth day your bread will be ready for display. Let your creativity roll and arrange the breads in a basket to form ur display.

This is a free tip but I require that u send me a picture of your display – please…

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Hi all...This is my first MEME and thank u PRIYA for tagging me. So we go.....

I am thinking about: Where to get some chloroform to put my baby to sleep, so that I can catch up on some cooking and updating my blog !

I said: Life is beautiful !

I want to: become a forensic expert and solve cases – in my dreams of course!!

I wish: I had met Nirmal in primary school – at least then I wouldn’t have to listen to all the lies about his achievements in school !!

I regret: Cutting my hair short.

I hear: My daughter snoring – just like her dad !

I am: Snore proof !!

I dance: In my heart when I watch Hrithik Roshan on the screen.

I sing: When nobody is around .

I cry: At every movie !

I am: Superstitious – sometimes!

I am not: Superstitious - sometimes!

I write: Only to my 10yr old cousin .

I confuse: Reality with my dreams .

I need: To slow down …

And finally...I tag: meena and linda.

    Wednesday, September 06, 2006

    Columbian Retreat-Tuna Fry..

    How many times have you walked into a restaurant and ordered an entrée that had its name from a U.S city – like New Orleans seafood or a New York steak. Call it an original recipe or a marketing stint, there always is some history that links the particular cuisine to a city or town.

    My entry this week is titled ‘Columbian Retreat’ because every time I cook this dish, the topic on the dinner table is always the life we had then. A small sleepy university town, Columbia (SC) was my first home in the U.S. Nirmal was doing his masters back then.Living a student life, Every thing from gas to groceries were on budget and each penny was treasured. But again being the first months after marriage, there was this constant urge to please your husband (Nirmal now complains that we need to go back to Columbia to find that lost urge – he thinks we lost it while moving!!!). So when it came to fish, the only affordable fish was the Tuna in water that came in small cans and sold for $2.99 each. So I would take tuna and make 10 different versions of the fish curry to please Nirmal. Tuna therefore became the poor man’s version of the Alapuzha_fish curry, Chemeen peera, Mathi Mulakushyam etc !!! Now that nirmal finished his studies, we moved to Florida and the life is luxurious. But now recollecting the memories of those days, that life was real wonderful.

    I used to make a spicy tuna curry with ‘kanthari mulaku’ which was available in Columbia. It was Nirmal’s favorite. But now I forgot how to make the original recipe, as I don’t keep notes. Now being in the costal state we get very fresh catch from the Atlantic Ocean and canned Tuna became an Alien!!!! After a very long time I wanted to eat tuna again and I prepared a tuna fry last week. This Tuna fry is so simple to make that if you have the ingredients on hand, you can have a tasty and SPICY tuna fry in less than 15 min. Imagine having surprise guests at home and being able to wave your magic wand and surprise them with a feast.


    • Tuna (starkist solid white albacore in water- 12 oz) - 1 can
    • Onion - 1
    • Tomato 1/2
    • Green chillies- 4-5
    • Ginger -1/2 tsp
    • Garlic-2
    • Ginger& garlic paste-1/2 tsp
    • Coconut grated - 1/4 cup
    • Chilli powder - 2 tsp
    • Coriander powder - 1 tsp
    • Fenugreek powder - 1/2 tsp
    • Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
    • Curry leaves - 1 spring
    • Oil - 4 tsp
    • Mustad seeds - 1 tsp


    • Heat oil in a pan and splutter mustard seeds. Add thinly sliced onions, ginger, garlic, green chillies and ginger& garlic paste one by one and fry. When the onions starts turning color, add all powdered ingredients and fry for 1 minute. Then add the chopped tomatoes and stir well. Open the can and put the tuna in to the pan including the water with salt, cover the pan and cook until the water is evaporated. Now add the grated coconut and curry leaves to that and fry till done.

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    • Replace the onion with shallots for better taste.
    • Adjust the chili powder according to individual preferences.
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