Tag Archive | Fort Cochin

A FISHY TALE . . . . .


So that’s it – ONAM (and all the other combined Festivals which come up every year around this time) is now over and everything in our beautiful State of Kerala, where the people are blessed with an abundance of Coconuts, Spices and most of all with the Treasures of the Sea, has returned to the usual normality.


This year we did not make our own Sadhya of 18 delectable dishes – instead we went out visiting!!!

But when JS went out to our little local market ‘around the corner’ to visit his ‘friendly fish man’ – you know the kind who quietly lets you know of some special kind of fish coming in, when the price of prawns will go up or down! Who takes trouble in cleaning your order etc. etc. – in order to maybe get some extra treats for the long ONAM week, he not only succeeded in getting some lovely looking Karimeen (Pearl spot)


which he and the girls love fried with just the right amount of his ‘secret’ masala massaged into the fish, but he returned home with also a special surprise for me!! A whole THIRUTHA (Grey Mullet).

This is a fish extremely popular especially with the visiting Tourists, who love to order this fish whole so it can be shared amongst two to three people.
Thirutha is available normally in abundance, but because of its very delicate taste any catch gets snapped up by Hotels, Restaurants and even certain vendors, especially in places like Fort Cochin, where domestic and foreign tourists can choose their own fish, have it grilled right there and then and enjoyed ‘al fresco’ mainly along the seafront by the famous “Chinese Nets”.

But now I have to confess something here to you – when it comes to fish I am just a little bit squeamish. I am certainly not a female Rick Stein, the seafood master himself, and so looking at and handling a large fish, head, eyes, etc, does not come easy for me. But surely . . . one is never too old to learn, right!?


And so, with JS’ help and under his guidance, I set about in tackling this nice, fresh, slippery ‘friend’. This being my first attempt of cooking Thirutha I decided to keep it simple and just steam the fish in foil with some vegetables (after all – it’s healthy, too) – and here now is the result!

It turned out to be a really delishes meal and now I want to think up a different recipe using the same kind of fish– there is of course always a curry!!

This fish may look big for you – but in the end it was just enough for the two of us. Unfortunately I did not weigh him, just as a matter of interest.

And here is what I did:
1 x whole Thirutha, scaled and gutted by “Friendly Fish Man”
At home washed and dried thoroughly.

I made 5 incisions into the back of the Thirutha and then rubbed a mixture of salt, pepper and 1 tsp of dried Dill all over the fish (including the inside).
Sprinkle fresh lemon juice over the whole fish incl. the inside.

Prepare vegetables: I used carrots, leeks, onion slices and parsley
I blanched the three vegetables in photo for just 2 minutes, not more!! Drain well.


Preheat oven to 180/200 C
Put fish onto a double layer of foil, drizzle a tiny amount of olive oil around fish, add blanched vegetables incl. a couple of half cooked potatoes.


Now make the foil into a parcel and leave in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes – check!!! Ovens vary in temperature.


When done open foil carefully, averting your face – steam is really hot! Taste and when cooked (fish should not be dry) keep fish parcel open on top of oven in order to cool down slightly.

Carefully take the fish off the bone from one side first and put on a plate with the vegetables and just a few plain boiled potatoes.

As an edition I served separately some dill-lemon-butter-sauce.


There is a saying in German, my mother tongue, which goes:

……Uebung macht den Meister”. (Meaning: Practice maketh the Master) – so now I will try and make fish more often!

But for now, THAT’S IT!


Guten Appetit!


Speedy Mock Fish Biriyani

1 Cooking-Today
Speedy Mock Fish Biriyani

Mock Biriyani! What is that, you may well ask. It is just what it says; a ‘Biriyani’ without all the many procedures involved in making “the real McCoy”; which by the way I do actually make on the odd occasion, but with mutton.
So therefor let me say here right from the start this is NOT a proper Biriyani, but my own version of a ‘biriyani’ whenever one or the other family member asks for one and there is no time at all to go through the proper preparations.

This dish needs very few ingredients, only a tiny bit of preparation and little time in my (hot!) kitchen.
But the end result nevertheless is a tasty dish to be enjoyed by all.

This recipe is for 2 people with a good appetite or for 3 ‘on a diet’.

For marination, pref. 1-2 hours before cooking,
1 Tbsp of Ginger/Garlic paste
1 Tbsp of Chilli powder
1 generous pinch of Turmeric powder
1-2 tsp of lemon juice
Mix all of this together and then add
¼ kg (or more!) of nice firm fish, (I used Red Snapper, filleted by the fishmonger in the picture) de-boned, cut into largish cubes and marinate for some time.
½ hour before you start cooking, wash and soak 1 cup of Basmati rice and keep aside.
Take a big wide pot and add 1 tsp (or maybe even 2) of vegetable oil, and on medium heat sauté 2 large onions, finely chopped (I just ‘blitz’ the peeled onions in my “Mixi” for just a second), until they turn a nice golden colour as well as a cinnamon stick, 1 bay leaf, 5 peppercorns, 1 Staranis and 4 Cardamom. Stir and then layer the marinated fish gently (so the pieces don’t break) on this before adding the pre-soaked rice with the water and a dash of salt. Stir gently again.
Cover and let this cook for 15-20 minutes, only then lift your lid and check that your rice is cooked. My own version only takes 15 minutes cooking time on medium heat.

Before bringing your Biriyani to your table, decorate with some previously well fried small onions (Ullis), some golden Raisins (Kismis) and chopped Coriander leafs.
Serve with a nice refreshing cool raita and some pappadums and maybe a fish fry for extra luxury.
We do like spices in our family, but you may want to adjust to your very own taste.
We try to use oil very sparingly, especially ghee!
Instead of fish you can also use prawns; lobster etc., which all will taste delicious!
I have also previously added a pinch of turmeric, for colour, to the soaking rice, but JS likes to ‘ring the changes’ and so sometimes I just leave the rice white.

To be honest, I have made this dish many times in the past, alternating between prawns and fish, whatever is readily available from the freezer at the time of need and nobody so far has found out my little ‘speedy Gonzales’ secret, yet!

So my friends, why not give it a try and maybe you like to let me know how you liked this dish.

Guten Appetit…………


1 Cooking-Today
Now of course is the time when millions of Christians around the world observe 40 days of Lent, the time of fasting starting on Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter Sunday.
So, until Easter I therefore will not be posting any meat dishes on this site.
Mind you, from a cook point of view I find it somehow challenging to come up with nice delicious non-meat dishes for our family.
We are of course extremely lucky living here in this beautiful coastal area with its abundance of the treasures of the Arabian Sea – Fish and Shellfish.
So, without long ado, here is yet another delicious, typical Kerala Prawn dish, which I made only yesterday. This preparation contains Kokum (known as Kodampuli here) – an absolutely vital ingredients for this dish.
For 2 generous helpings I used:
a. 300 gr of cleaned, shelled and deveined prawns
b. A pinch of turmeric powder and
c. A pinch of pepper powder
d. 3 pieces of washed Kokum
e. Water, enough to cover the prawns
Mix all this and boil just long enough for the prawns to turn pink (1 minute), take off the flame immediately and keep aside for later. Keep the water for use later on.
a. Next take the small bowl of your Mixy (Blender), add
b. 1 Onion, medium to largish! Roughly chopped
c. 50 gr of peeled garlic
d. 1 inch of fresh ginger and
e. 3 green chilli (more or less, depending on your heat intake)
Grind all this to a nice paste (not too fine, thou) and keep aside for later.

Now the real fun starts:
In a large heavy bottomed vessel heat up app.
1-2 Tbsp of Coconut oil, splutter ¾ tsp of mustard seeds and 3 dried red chillies, broken in half.

Now add all your earlier prepared paste and sauté until the oil separates. Mix well.
Next add ½ tsp turmeric powder, 3 Tbsp red chilli powder (I use Kashmiri powder here for colour), 1 – 2 Tbsp. of Coriander powder, salt and black pepper to taste.
Mix well and cook for app. 5-8 minutes.
The smell wafting through your kitchen now makes you already wanting to sit down and eat.
Add 2 large tomatoes, skin removed, and chopped up very finely. Let this simmer for at least 10-15 minutes, until tomatoes are very very soft.
Take the Kokum and all the water you used to boil the prawns in and add to your vessel. If you want more gravy later, just add a bit of hot water to this.
At this stage adjust the seasoning to your own taste.
Now add app. ¼ cup of thick creamy coconut milk and stir. A sprig or two of curry leaves should be added now; continuing to simmer on lowest possible heat for another couple of minutes.
At the very end only add the previously boiled prawns (they must not be rubbery from overcooking).
Stir and remove into a pretty dish ready for serving with either just plain rice or Appam.

രുചിയോടെ ഭക്ഷണം ആസ്വദിക്കാന് കഴിയട്ടേ
(ruchiyode bhakshanam aaswadikkan kazhiyatte) this is our local Malayalam language meaning: “….let your food be enjoyed tastefully”
Enjoy your meal – Guten Appetit

Namaskaram, Carina


Christmas in Fort Cochin in Kerala

After I posted my previous video here I had a sort of minor brain wave; why not take you on a little journey around some of the many many places in the world we have either lived in or visited (in some cases many times over). And knowing how busy you are all during those last hectic days before Christmas I thought that just a little musical introduction to these places is just enough – for now!

So – why not sit back, with a cup of coffee or tea (and a biscuit or two) and enjoy my “Christmas music from near and far”.


The journey starts here right on our own doorsteps – with the Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica (one of the only eight Basilicas in the whole of India) in Fort Kochi, who’s history goes back to the sixteenth century, beginning with the arrival of Portuguese missionaries in 1500 CE. (pic. Above and below)


The following musical video features CSI Immanuel Church Choir, Cochin/Kerala, India singing “Whispering Hope”.

I wish you all a happy and peaceful Third of Advent.


Nachdem ich mein vorhergehendes Video hier zeigte, hatte ich einen kleinen Geistesblitz ; warum nehme ich Euch nicht einfach mit auf eine kleine Reise zu den vielen vielen Plaetze in der Welt wo wir entweder gelebt haben oder die wir besuchten (in einigen Faellen mehrmals). Und da ich weiss wie beschaeftigt Ihr alle seid waehrend dieser letzten hektischen Tage vor Weihnachten, dachte ich dass nur eine kleine musikalische Einfuehrung zu diesen Plaetzen gerade genug ist – fuer jetzt!

So, warum macht es Ihr Euch nicht bequem mit einer Tasse Kaffee oder Tee (und ein oder zwei Plaetzchen) und geniesst meine “Weihnachtsmusik von Nah’ und Fern”.
Die Reise beginnt hier “vor unserer eigenen Haustuere” – mit der Santa Cruz Kathedrale Basilika (eine von den nur acht Basiliken in ganz Indien) in Fort Kochi, deren Geschichte zurueck geht bis auf das Sechzehnte Jahrhundert, angefangen mit der Ankunft der Portugisischen Missionare in 1500 CE.
Einen schoenen, geruhsamen Dritten Advent wuensche ich Euch allen.



Monsoon Football

Wonderful – the Monsoon rains bring much needed relief from the heat, but of course, amongst other things, creates havoc on the roads!

But look here, those youngsters in Fort Cochin were not put off by the heavy downpours (I was – I stayed in the car, :)) and played their football games with vigour.






It was great fun just to sit in the car and watch them.

Carina 🙂