Friday, February 27, 2015

Squid /Calamari Roast (Kerala Style Spicy Squid) / Koonthal Roast.

I was lucky to spent an evening in Marari Beach near my place during this vacation.
Happy and excited to stay in a Fisherman's Home there, which they have upgraded to give
 "Bed and Breakfast" facility -a side business some of them started recently.

Usually they go fishing early in the morning and comes back by noon ,some leave during night and comes early in the morning. Its interesting to hear their experiences when they are in the Sea.
They do take breaks in between fishing, in some other sea shores where there'll be some Tea -shacks open for them in the mid night,interesting isn't it ?
They say there is total quietness once they reach deep Sea though at times there is a storm or high tide, it looks scary but they enjoy it as they believe that the Sea would never forsake'em.
They call the Sea "Kadalamma" meaning Mother Sea.

Here's someone who came to say "Hi" :)

Have uploaded a video which my bro captured, that beautiful scene of  fisher men bringing in fresh caught fish from the Arabian Sea.

And we had those Sardines - fried for dinner. :) 

Sad that I haven't witnessed  a  "Chakara" anytime while growing up.
That's a peculiar marine phenomenon in which large number of fish and prawns throng together, a boon for the local Fisherman, but usually it happens only after the Monsoon there (July - August)
Watch this Youtube Link to get an Idea about "Chakara"

This recipe of Squid Roast is from my friend's mother who made these for me.
It should be noted that the squid/Koonthal just needs 10 to 12 minutes of cooking,
as it turns rubbery even if lightly over cooked.
And the main ingredients while cooking squid are - Black pepper , Coriander Powder & Fennel Seeds (Perumjeerakam) crushed.


Squid/Koonthal/Calamari - 1 pound (Cut in to desired shape)
Turmeric Powder - 1 tsp
water - 1/4 cup or less.
Vinegar - 1 tsp
Salt to taste

For the Gravy 

Onion - 1 medium sliced
Ginger - 1/2 inch size -crushed
Garlic - 4 to 6 No's crushed
Green Chili's - 1 or 2 sliced
Curry Leaves - 2 or more springs (Optional)
Fennel seeds Crushed ( Perumjeerakam) - 1 Tbsp
Crushed Black Pepper - 1 to 2 tsp (Adjust as per your tolerance level)
Coriander Powder - 1 Tbsp
Kashmiri Chili Powder(Paprika)  - 2 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp ( Cinnamon sticks+Cloves +Cardamom - crushed) or else use store bought Meat Masala or Garam Masala Powder.
Salt to taste
Coconut Oil - 2 to 3 Tbsp (may use any other oil)


* Clean Caramari/Squid , add turmeric powder ,Vinegar , salt and 1/4 cup water to it and keep to boil. Cover with a lid leaving little space for the steam to escape. Cook for not more than 12 minutes covered (after boiling), stir in between, if there is water left, cook on high heat and allow to dry.

* In an other pan , heat oil, add crushed Fennel seeds ,followed by crushed ginger, garlic, sliced green chili's & curry leaves (if using) saute for a minute and add sliced onion. Saute till lightly brown.

* Add Coriander powder , Garam masala & Kashmiri Chili(Paprika) - stir and add the cooked squid.

* Stir well to combine and sprinkle black pepper powder , add salt (if needed) , a final stir and its ready.

Also some fried sardines :)

Yummy Yummm !

Notes :
          : Do not over cook Squid as then it turns rubbery.

          :  May add finely chopped tomato instead of vinegar, to this recipe,
          add it while adding onion.

          : May use some fresh Coconut pieces/cubed - 1 or 2 Tbsp, if you like add it while adding sliced              onion.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Pista-Elaichi Pudding with China-Grass

A truth that I realized this time while in India was that what ever globalization and modernization happens, those familiar faces, topic of  discussion among the common people, few old places there and the usual scene of fishermen near the Sea shore trying their best to make a day luxurious in their own way, will always remain the same.

And my love for the beach in Alleppey-Kerala  (My place) will also remain unchanged,
like how I loved going there when I was a child , from the time I can memorize things.
as no where else can I breath in happiness and calm with the Sea breeze.

Red flags are not permanent :)
Flags of  CPI (Communist Party of India) were placed because they had some conference going on in Alleppey.
The CPI & Congress Party usually rules alternately in Kerala (State) 

Morning walk with friends to the beach and the tea that I usually had from the beach shack there was the best, am not sure what secret ingredients made that tea extraordinarily refreshing.

It was nice to see people exercising, practicing Yoga, some playing volley ball , and some others playing soccer altogether an inspiration to live healthy and happy.

Neither the spirit nor the flesh is willing to get timed to the new schedules here in the US,
though its almost a week that we have reached here after the vacation.
Have a lot to write about my trip but may be because half of my brains are still following Indian time, am not getting words to express any of my thoughts at present. 
I feel my trip to India was just a dream as time flew away so fast, the smell of pickles and chutney powders here in my kitchen reminds me that I was in India last month. 

With lot many new memories to boost up my spirit, I decided to try something sweet today.
A pudding with China grass, here they call it Agar-Agar (for China-grass) its a veggie alternation for Gelatin, usually seen in Asian grocery stores here in the US.

Recipe is from one of my cousin, who made it with Pineapple layering underneath, almost similar to Easy Pineapple Pudding (Egg less recipe) which I have in this blog, but that was made with gelatin and there isn't any milk powder in it, though milk powder makes it more dense in consistency,
so its good to add the same.

I tried it with Pistachio- Elaichi (Cardamom) essence, though I don't prefer Elaichi, didn't have any other option this time in the grocery store :(


Milk -  2 cups / Half Liter
Sugar - 2 to 4 Tbsp -Optional (Adjust sweetness as per your preference)
Sweetened Condensed Milk - 1/2 a tin
Milk Powder - 1/2 cup (I used Nestle Milk powder)
Pistachio Essence - 1/4 tsp (I used Pistachio- Elaichi/Cardamom essence)
China grass / Agar Agar - 1/2 cup when dry (soak these in little water for sometime)

For Topping

Praline Nuts crumbled
Click here for Praline Nuts Recipe 


* Soak Chine grass in water for some time.( 1/2 an hour to 2 hour's)

* Mix sugar, condensed milk and milk powder with 2 cups milk,keep to boil, stirring occasionally.

* Heat the soaked China grass in water till nicely melted, pour this to the boiling milk mixture.Switch off the heat.
(May strain this milk mixture to get rid of any undissolved china grass butI didn't strain it :(
 as usual I was lazy)

* Add Pistachio essence to it, stir and allow to cool.

* Pour this to any pudding bowl or glass, keep in refrigerator to set (at least 2 hour's)

* Top with Praline nuts/ Caramelized Pistachio nuts before serving.

Enjoy !