Sunday, December 6, 2020

Port Wine / Homemade Grape wine in Kerala

The history of Port Wine in Kerala/India : A story of Portuguese influence in Kerala. These are sweet Red wine. It is usually made during Christmas season and often enjoyed with the Plum Cake. 

Wine in Kerala are traditionally made in a "Baranni " A unique  earthen ware which is air tight and  dark in the inside and doesn't allow light to pass through however this can be made in a glass container as well, we'll just need to cover it with a thick cloth and keep in a nice dark place. 

Recipe here is how my  Amma makes it and her wine have had good reviews so do give it a try :) 


Red Grapes (Preferred) -  3 kg 
Sugar - 1 kg(May add more if you want your wine to taste more sweet) 
Water - 3  liters 
Yeast - 3 Tsp (I used active dry yeast)  
Wheat Kernels/ Godambu - a hand full or more (Optional)  
Cinnamon and cloves - few (Optional) 


* Boil water and cool completely. 
* Wash the grapes and steam it just for 5 minutes in a steamer , steaming is optional. 
    Do not cook the grapes as then Grapes will not ferment. 
    Steaming is just to eliminate any bugs also to open it a little bit. 

*May blend half quantity of the grapes just for a second to extract the juice from it but this step is optional. 

* Wash and dry glass container or a Baranni. Layer first the grapes (if you decide to blend little of the grapes add first this crushed grapes for layering) and then the whole grapes then add the sugar on top. 
*Pour the boiled and cooled water to the container.
* Add wheat kernels , spices (if adding) and yeast and close the container tight. Keep it in a comparatively warmer and dark place.
* Stir this mixture daily with a dry wooden spoon
*On the 21st day (You may keep it for longer time period)  strain it using a cheese cloth , transfer to store in a  clean and dry wine bottles. 

Tips for color : To add color I used a Beetroot to the wine mixture while fermenting, just cut and put that in.  May  add caramelized sugar syrup too gives it a different brownish tint (make sure the Caramel is cooled to room temperature) 

Adding color is completely optional. Wine will turn transparent overtime. Let it sit for a month untouched and sediments settles down to give it a great natural wine color. 

Note : Wine can be made with pretty much any fruit and my family back in Kerala are exploring possibilities with Banana, Nutmeg, Orange , Pineapples and I tried making wine with Prunes, Peaches and Apples.  
And our Christmas tree 2020 

Merry Christmas! 


Thursday, June 11, 2020

Trivandrum Style Chicken Fry

Life has changed so much within the past few months for us.People have been so busy until  Virus came in to action, busy with the many things in life - work, family, activities, socializing and  it is alarming to see this change now. Like many others I have been under some stress with work, the ability to manage work pressure in this modified lifestyle has been challenging  at times. But on a positive note we will withstand it experiences now will make us wiser  :)

Refreshing our hobbies or starting a new one would be a great idea and may be after few years we can look back to 2020 and see some colors as right now everything looks faded to me am sure it looks the same for many of you reading.
I am inspired by a quote my daughter wrote on her Journal.

No  matter the situation you are in there is always hope, focusing on all good things in life

Since this dish is not actually fried I think it should be called Thatti Pothi Chicken , if you are not a Malayali you might find it difficult to read anyways it taste really great you should definitely give it a try.
This recipe is inspired by the Trivandrum style Chicken fry my good friend  had made for us. She shared the recipe from - Foodie Suz Recipes


Chicken - 2 Pounds (Approx)
Red chili flakes  - 1 tbsp
Kashmiri chili powder - 2 tbsp
Black pepper powder - 2 tsp (Adjust as per taste)
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Ginger- Garlic paste - 2 tbsp
Juice form one Lemon
Salt to taste
Meat Masala - preferably chicken masala powder - 2 tsp
Coconut oil - 1 tsp

For Frying / Sauteing 

Coconut oil - 1/4 cup (May use less per preference)
Curry Leaves - few springs
Green chilies - few Slit
2- 3 medium size Onion sliced
Ginger and Garlic - 1 tbsp each thinly sliced
Kashmiri Red chili Powder - 1 tbsp


  • Cut chicken to medium size pieces , clean and marinate it with the ingredients listed under marination.Keep aside for sometime (10 to 20 minutes) 

  • Heat coconut oil in a thick bottom pan / use a wider pan or wok  so chicken gets cooked evenly. Saute half portion of the sliced onion , curry leaves, green chilies , ginger and garlic until it starts to turn golden brown.Place marinated chicken pieces on it. 

  • Turn heat to medium -low , allow chicken pieces to get cooked (10 to 15 minutes on each side).Close the pan with a lid to thoroughly cook the pieces , do stir in between. This is why I want to call it  thatti pothi , you'll need to slightly turn the chicken pieces to get it cooked, also lightly fry the outside of the chicken piece along with the fried onions which has been frying along with the chicken. 

  • When chicken pieces are almost cooked.Add in the rest of the sliced onion and 1 Tbsp Kashmiri Red chili Powder, let fry in high heat for another 5-10 minutes stirring as needed until everything is cooked and combined well. 

And your Thatti Pothi chicken fry  is now ready. Perfect for a Friday night Dinner  ;)

Stay safe !


Thursday, April 9, 2020

Pesaha Appom / Indri appom

Beautiful it is to see the trees in white flower gowns, buds of colorful flowers everywhere a sight spreading good hope, happiness and laughter, however the World is right now in a standstill ironically this is caused by something a human eye cannot even see. Nature is fighting back and it is alarming to see how this has stumbled powerful leaders and Nations. 

All we can do to save the world is to be at home. 
I am spending time with my kids, I feel they are enjoying too everything is good while staying home but anxiety peaks at times when I read the news and different articles. We have nothing much to do other than to wait and see how this goes if Man will ultimately conquer his unseen enemy.
I have some time for everything now, I cook, clean , play with my kids, read and do all household chores without stress and I felt i should update my blog too after a long break. 

Today being Maundy Thursday, Pesaha Appom and Pesaha Paal are the stars.
Pesaha Appom is a traditionally made unleavened bread made only once in a year on this day in Christian houses in Kerala. 


1 cup White rice ( I used Sona Masoori rice)
2 -3 tbsp Urad Daal
Coconut grated - 1 cup (may use more)
5 to 7 No's Small Onion
Cumin seeds / Jeeragam - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste


  • Clean and Soak Urad dal and Rice separate in water for at least an hour 
  • Grind Urad dal first, pour this to a bowl.Use less water to bring this to a paste. 
  • Grind Rice with little water ( to get consistency of Appom batter)   Pour this to the ground Urad dal.Use 3/4 cup to 1 cup of water to grind) 
  • Coarsely grind Coconut, Small onion and cumin seeds together -  do not grind coconut to a smooth past. Mix this to the above mixture.Add enough salt and keep aside for an hour. 

  • Pour the batter to a greased plate and steam until done (20 - 30 minutes in medium to low heat) 

Waking up to see this beauty is a blessing I am thankful for :) 
though the flowers wouldn't stay for long and may shred soon , the crisis now will also pass. 

Let this time bring a lovely change to the Human kind when each of us would think about  other living beings here and make our Earth even more beautiful for the generations to come.
Happy Easter in advance 


Saturday, May 4, 2019


When I was my daughters age, my after-school unlike her's used to be time at my Grandparents home, usually my Mom would go to the church in the evenings. I remember the disappointment when I don't see her home when I reach from school. I would then go with my Achachen (Dad) to his home, he would be near there where he had his business and I would spend the time talking, playing,eating but I wait for my Mom. There's always something missing when she was not around, that is the magic in Motherhood I feel now. Happy Mother's Day to all mothers who are reading :)  enjoy the heavenly gifts that you have, blessings of patience, love and sacrifice that you think no body notices, is knowingly or unknowingly very much valued.

My Mom used to bring for me a "Bun" from the church  and also a packet of "Unniappom" that she gets from a bakery near by the church and I must write that is still the best "Unniappom" I have ever had.When I reach home during my vacation, one among the first places that I visit in my hometown would be this Bakery :)

I make Unniappom at least once every month, but it was always made it using rice flour but this time I tried it the almost authentic way of making it.
Got the recipe from my friend, tested/tried and approved by many friends who had it when she made it.


Raw Rice (Pachari)  - 2 cups
Banana - 1 (big sized)
Maida - 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup (I mixed 1 tbsp of Wheat flour-optional)
Water - 1/2 cup (may need more)
Jaggery /Molasses - 2 cups ( adjust as per taste)
Coconut Bits - 1/4 cups
Cardamom pods -  2 no's powdered
Black Sesame seeds/ Ellu - 1 /2 tsp
Pinch of salt and Oil / Ghee for frying.


* Soak rice in water for few hour's (2-4 hour's)

* Melt Jaggery with water , might need to add little more water initially but boil it in low heat until  syrup starts to turn thick, keep to cool.

* Strain away excess water from rice, add cooled jaggery syrup, banana , cardamom pods and salt to the blender,blend it until smooth.  Keep this batter aside for few hour's to naturally ferment (4-6 hour's) please see video below, it would show the consistency of the batter that I made, adjust the consistency adding water / or Maida/ wheat flour to make it thick or thin as required.

* Fry coconut bits in coconut oil (preferably) until golden brown, keep to cool , add this and the ellu/ sesame seeds to the batter . Mix well.

* Heat Unniappom chatti in medium heat, add oil (just enough to cover 3/4th of each appom kuzhi / hole else when the batter is poured for frying, oil may over flow.

* Fry until brown on each sides, transfer to a tissue paper lined plate.

When cooled store in air tight containers, stays outside  for a week but mine got over soon.

Happy Mother's Day !!


Thursday, April 11, 2019

Chocolate Fondue for a Dripping cake

Happy New Year !!
I have been waiting to get to this new year. I have taken with me life experiences from 2018 when I had some health issues like never before, it was indeed my toughest year.I  am one among the luckiest to undergo 3 surgeries in 2 weeks time and I am so done with the unexpected twist and  turns life gave me last year. Situations forced me to believe superstitions at-least to some extend (that is the worst part ) as the very human mind was desperately wanting to find the reason why bad things kept happening in life. Anyway it helped me to realize all the blessings that I enjoy, my family and friends were of great support and help though more than my health I was concerned about my kids but thankfully they could understand things well and tried their best to adjust, these are crisis anybody who lives far away  from your family would need to think.
Was waiting to say good bye to the toughest memories. Life experience if it changed my life in a positive way is all that I want to keep. A warm welcome to this year with lots of happiness and hope. Everything happens for a reason is what I want to believe, that's how I console myself.
On that note, I request all who read my blog to forgive my imperfections, I have never spent dedicated time to make this blog any better but it is my wish to continue writing and sharing my life experiences and cooking experiments here.

December is usually the busiest month of the year for me, apart from baking and little bit of shopping for Christmas, all members of my family celebrate their birthday around this time and our wedding anniversary too, but everything was just like a passing day like every time :) But I managed to make a quick fix cake for our 12th wedding anniversary (you can make out by its looks) A cake for every special occasion has now become my tradition now and I didn't want to break it this time no matter what.

This cake should be typically called a semi naked-  dripping cake, that was what I tried here  LOL :D
You may buy any sponge cake - I made it from scratch, it is very simple and delicious too, here's the recipe -  Hot milk sponge cake  
For dripping cake frosting ,  recipe everywhere says just cream and chocolate chip (to be double boiled together) but I tried fondue because I could store it too, my kids love to have fruits dip.
Chocolate fondue - Recipe is adapted from -  "Joy of Baking"

There's no better description than how Stephanie does in her YouTube channel. Her recipes are always easy to try.

Semi sweet chocolate chips - 3/4 cups
Milk - 1/4 cup
Heavy cream - 1/2 cup
Butter - 3 tbsp
A pinch of salt
( I did not use sugar , may add 2 tsp brown sugar as in the original recipe)

*  Mix all ingredients in the list except chocolate chips, in a saucepan. Heat the same in medium heat until milk starts to boil.
*  Pour the boiling milk to the chocolate chips (in a heat safe bowl) and whisk nicely to melt the same and fondue is ready.
I also added a pinch of coffee powder, as described in the youtube below, you may add any other flavoring.
If making this for a dripping cake, cake needs to be chilled little bit to slow down its flow

Add caption

Pour the fondue over the lightly chilled cake slowly, so it flows and stops while on its way down. I then decorated the cake with some fondant flowers and berries.

I also want to share the candy cake made for my NA's  Birthday who turned 9 this year, cake was not that great, because it was just after my surgery  -  now that I have an excuse  ;)

Along with the imperfect cakes, sharing picture of a letter from my 9 year old while I was hospitalized, tiny things which makes you feel loved and happy.

Wishing you all a very happy and prosperous New year

Chakka Halwa

Memories keeps flooding in when I think about this fruit Chakka/Jackfurit ...but none to be shared when there is lots to talk about the recent tragic flood that hit my native land -Kerala. When people there have lost all of their memories and lifetime savings. They had to helplessly watch their memories getting drained away with the water which gushed in to their homes and all that is left now are layers of mud.
It is heartbreaking to see the different shades of green swallowed by the roaring water.When people stand still not knowing where, what and how to start to get life back again. My thoughts are to help at least one flood affected family to buy some/any of their necessary items which they lost. Rays of hope when it flows from many directions would definitely make it brighter.

"Onam "for Malayali's was disastrous this year, but it was amazing to see how people helped each other in times of hardship when everyone was striving to keep their heads from drowning.  Different religions opened their doors for people from other religious groups to offer prayers, they helped and supported each other  without any hesitation, there's no better example to prove communal harmony in Kerala, this state which is other wise called God's Own Country
As it is now in a stage of recouping,  I am sure it will take many years for people to get back to their normal life. I hope  and pray they don't get discouraged and disappointed  instead strengthen their heart and fight to win this challenging situation.

Coming to the recipe for the most delicious Chakka Halwa

I am very satisfied and happy that I tried to make this because am a huge fan of Chakka and the various dishes that they make with it.

Chakka/ Jackfruits - de seeded 1/2 kg
Jaggery - 350 gms (adjust as per tatse)
Water - 1.5 to 2 cups
Ghee and coconut oil - together half to 3/4th cup (Approx)
Cardamom  - 2-4 no's optional
Dry Ginger powder /Chukku podi - 1/4 tsp (Optional)
  • Cook Jackfruit pieces in .5 to 3/4th cup of water(cover and cook in medius heat for 15-20 minutes) stir occasionally. I read about pressure cooking the same in many other blogs, it says it will need more water if you are planning to pressure cook the Jack fruit pieces. Once this is cooked allow to cool.
  • In an thick bottom pan, heat jaggery in 1 cup water until melted, strain if need. Pour the strained jaggery syrup into the pan again and turn heat to low.
  • Nicely blend cooked jack fruit until no big lumps are seen, add this mixture to the melted jaggery. Turn heat to medium and start to stir and cook.
  • After 15 minutes of cooking, add the powder ingredients  if using (chukku podi/dry ginger powder and cardamon) and also add ghee or coconut oil little at a time. I used both ghee and coconut oil to make this. You may use only Ghee if you don't like the taste of coconut oil.
  • Continue stirring and cooking this mixture until it turns its color to dark brown, add ghee /oil when ever it tends to stick to the bottom of the pan. It takes at least 1.5 to 2 hours time to get this to a  Halwa consistency, the oil then starts to separate.
  • Transfer this to a greased pan and allow to cool, after a few minutes you'll be able to cut these to desired shapes.

I made it yesterday and to be honest I  was disappointed with the quantity of halwa I could make at the end , it was very less than I expected. Making of any Halwa isn't easy, you'll need lots of patience (I am working on it) Thought to give you heads up before you try it...
But the disappointment lasted just for few minutes as this chakka halwa is very sweet and it is really precious :D
if you are a fan of Chakka like me, you should try it :D


Thalassery Chicken Biriyani

I wanted to post a very special recipe as its Eid al-Fitr and Fathers Day this weekend. Biriyani being one of the most popular dishes in my State and believed to be brought in by the Arab traders to Malabar (North Kerala) there's no better dish that I can think of making, to part take in this celebration.

Also, because Biriyani was my Dad's favorite dish,
I think about my Achachan (Dad) everyday, regret for not spending time with him when he was alive. When I was my daughters age I thought my Dad is a Super man and he was the ultimate solution to all my problems then, but I failed to realize that my Super Man is growing old, though he never was very old,he decided to quit his life when he was 69 years old. Glad that I could be with him when he was really sick and was about to leave us. I saw my Super Man slowly loosing his power, his strength fading, and at last he stopped thinking about all the things in the world he was concerned till then and I saw how the fear of death conquered my Super Man. Period.

But how I wish if he was alive and see his Grand kids grow and also be my support in life especially instances like these when I break down emotionally.
Wishing all proud Dad's a very happy Father's Day !

Pre preparation

Biriyani  is easy to prepare if you have everything ready before starting to cook, it saves you lot of time, keep the following things ready before starting to cook and it will make your life so much better on this day...
Make Biriyani Masala , keep in an air tight container (you may grind and store this powder in an air tight container)
Have your ground mixture ready  (Ginger,garlic and chili) , slice/chop all other ingredients and keep aside (tomatoes, shredded cilanto , mint etc)
Soak and grind cashews with little water, though this is optional I felt this makes biriyani gravy thick in consistency ( especially  in this special biriyani because we don't add thick curd or thick coconut milk )
Soak Saffron with cream or whole milk, keep aside. Fry onion, cashews , kishmish/dried grapes etc and shredded leaves ready for layering.
Last but not the least (May be the most important part in Thalaserry Biriyani) is to keep Bista or fried onion ready for the gravy.

All set to make this special Biriyani ?? here's how I made it.


Biriyani Masala Powder - grind the following ingredients together,
keep in air tight container
1 tsp Shahi Jeera
1/2 tsp Cumin
1-1/2 tsp  Fennel Seeds
4 Cardamom
1 Star Anise
4 -6 cloves
2 inch size Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg

For Cooking Rice 

Jeerakashala Rice/ I used Kalijeera Rice - 2-1/2 cups
Water - 5 cups
Lime Juice-  from 1 lime
Bay leaves - 2 no's , Pepper corns - 1 tsp, 1 small pieces Cinnamon, 3-5 Cardamom & 3 Cloves
Cilantro/ Malli leaves - 1/2 cup shredded.
Ghee - 1 tsp
Gravy from the cooked Chicken Masala - 1/2 cup (Optional)
Salt to taste

For Chicken Gravy 
Chicken - 1 whole (Cut to medium Pieces)
Onion - for Bista (as they call it, basically fried Onion) - 2 medium size thinly sliced
Turmeric Powder - 2 tsp
Pepper Powder - 1 tsp
Green Chilies - 7-14 no's (Depending on your preference)
Ginger - 1 medium size piece
Garlic - 2 whole heads
Cilantro/Malli Leaves/Coriander leaves - 2 cups shredded
Mint Leaves / Pudina - 1/2 cup Shredded
Tomatoes - 4 no's chopped
Lime juice - juice from 2 lime's
Vegetable Oil or Dalda/Vanaspathi - 2 tbsp & Ghee/Clarified Butter - 1 tbsp (NOT including oil for frying Onion (Bista)  )
Biriyani Masala Powder - 2 -3 tsp ( Ingredients given above)
Cashews - 1/4 cup -soak in water for 1/2 an hour and grind. keep aside.
Salt to taste

For Assembling Biriyani before Dum/Baking 
Onion fried - 2 small no's (thinly sliced) fried
Cashew nuts & Kishmish/Dried Grapes - 1/4 cup together
Biriyani Masala - to sprinkle
Saffron - a pinch & Cream or Milk - 2 tbsp (to soak Saffron)
Cilantro/Malli Leaves/Coriander Leaves - 3/4 cup Shredded
Ghee - few drops (Optional)


  • Grind together ginger, garlic, green chili's to a coarse mixture(do not over grind) keep aside.
  • Make Bista/ fry onion for the gravy, with 2 medium onions fry in enough oil until onion looks golden brown in color, keep aside.

  • Take out excess oil (just need 2 tbsp oil) and add 1 tbsp ghee/clarified butter, let heat for few seconds, add the ground mixture(Ginger,Garlic & Green chilies), saute for few minutes ( 5-7 minutes in medium heat), add chopped tomatoes and continue sauteing until everything looks cooked.

  • Add the chicken pieces, combine, add mint leaves, Malli/Cilantro leaves, salt, turmeric powder, lime juice and 3/4 of the Biriyani Masala powder (freshly ground). Add little water ( 3/4 cup to 1 cup ) , combine and close the lid.Cook this for another 15 minutes in low heat until chicken is almost cooked. Stir occasionally while cooking.
  • After Chicken is cooked add the bista/fried onion stir then add ground Cashew stir again to combine , cook for another 2 minutes and switch off the heat.

Cook Rice 

Wash and drain rice, keep aside.
Heat approximately 5 cups water , add all the whole spices , rice, ghee/clarified butter, salt, Cilantro/Malli Leaves and salt, cook rice in medium to low heat, may add 1/2 cup of the prepared chicken gravy (optional) , cook rice until all of the water in it is dried.Cover and keep for 10-15 minutes. (May cook rice initially before preparing gravy (then you need not have to add the gravy to the rice while cooking)

Final-  Layering the Biryani for baking/Dum  

Soak Saffron in enough Cream/Milk , keep for at least 5 minutes.

I am baking the Biriyani here instead of dum/covering and cooking, transfer the chicken pieces with little gravy on a flat baking dish/foil tray.

Spread 1/2 portion of the rice evenly over the chicken pieces, sprinkle Biriyani Masala powder, little bit of the gravy , fried onion , malli leaves & fried cashews and kishmish.

Pour the Saffron -milk mixture evenly over the layered rice.  Layer again the left over rice over the top, cover with the rest of the fried onion, Malli/Cilanto leaves, fried cashew and raisins/ dried grapes.Cover with an aluminium foil and bake in 350 F for 30 minutes to an hour.

And let your Biriyani bake away to glory !

I referred many recipes to make this Biriyani also made few variations to make it my own.The youtube video below gives a better idea about Thalassery Biriyani.

Thanks to all my friends here in Utah who are from near and around Malabar for the tips and tricks to make this special Biriyani, were truly inspiring.

Wishing you all a fun filled and happy celebration this weekend.