Tag Archive | Kerala

TILAPIA IN A LEMON-PARSLEY SAUCE

This here is such an easy and quick fish recipe, which I first tasted in Florence/Italy in one of our friend’s houses. She knew that Jo absolutely adores fish (coming from the coastal area in Kerala this is no wonder!) – and so this was really for him.

Tilapia recipes are seen in profusion all over the Net but it has not, here in Kerala, quite reached the appeal this fish has outside our State.

Compared to Seer fish/King Fish (which is the absolute number One fish here), the price of which has gone literally through the roof, Tilapia is much easier on one’s pocket and apart from that it is a delicious light fish and our freezer is always well stocked.

So I do hope you will enjoy my “<strong>Italian Tilapia dish” as we do. Buon appetito!

For 2 people you will need the following:

For the fish:
400 g Tilapia fillet
25 g Butter
Juice of ½ lemon
Freshly grounded pepper

For the Sauce:
1 Tbsp Butter
1 ½ Tbsp flour
250 ml Milk
Juice from the other ½ of your lemon
A nice handful of Parsley (finely chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste

And here is what you do:

Line a baking sheet with baking paper and keep aside.
Heat oven to 190 C.
Wash fish well and dry completely, using paper towels.
Melt butter and stir in the lemon juice.
With a pastry brush, spread this mixture all over the fish fillets, grind the pepper over this and bake in the oven for app. 30 minutes.

In the meantime melt butter on the lowest!! heat.
Add the flour into this and cook for app. 3 minutes, keep stirring all the time.
Now add the cold!! milk and with a balloon whisk, mix everything together.
Bring to a slight boil and then turn down heat to medium for 5-10 minutes – stirring all the while.
Finish this off with salt, lemon juice and chopped up parsley.

To plate:
Place your fish on a plate and top it with the sauce and some basmati rice or a few “finger chips” on the side.

That’s it – all done. Enjoy.

Namaskaram
Carina

A FISHY TALE . . . . .

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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.

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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)

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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!?

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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!

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Guten Appetit!
Carina

“Falscher Hase” – or, a meatloaf by any other name

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This is not a dish you often find on the menu card of restaurants in Germany or in other countries. It was known in Germany just after the war as “the poor man’s Sunday roast” – then later it ended up on many of Buffet tables at parties as part of “the spread”, only to fade over the following years slightly into the background – but never ever disappeared completely.

This happened in our house, too – up to now!

My mother used to make “Falscher Hase” (Imitation Hare) when I was little, but I never got the original recipe from her, I had to make it up from memory.

Then, when in my ‘previous life’ we lived in Trinidad + Tobago/W.I. and I had to really learn to cook good food fit for entertaining in our own Residence, it was the wife of the then American Ambassador, herself a superb cook, who taught me to make her kind of meat loaf, which I then adapted to our own personal taste.

I started, originally just as an experiment, a monthly get-together for some of us wives of Ambassadors (and/or their No 2!) and High Commissioners where we only served a typical dish of our home country – a family dish! really – and not something we would serve our official guests. To my surprise, it became a huge huge success. And every time our own British High Commissioner and his wife had to give a big buffet reception, (it was their custom to get each of the wives of our own Mission to contribute a special dish to their buffet table) I was asked (or shall I say correctly “ordered”) to make at least half a dozen of my meat loafs, of which nearly always 2 wandered into their own personal deep freezer for future use. As it turned out that the ones with plenty of garlic and hotness were the High Commissioners personal favourites – a nice compliment, really.

But, over the following years, I somehow stopped making this dish. Did we grow tired of the taste, or what. I really do not know.

And then, only the other day, my friend Heidi in Berlin mentioned “Falscher Hase” in her email and I developed this near urge to seek out my old recipe and make one for JS; so off we went shopping (again!) for the items needed and not readily available in our kitchen at that time and so, here is the result of my first “Falscher Hase” in Kerala.

I like to point out again; as always I give the details for the dish we actually have on our own table – cooked to our own personal taste. Feel free therefore to adjust any measurements and ingredients to your liking.

For this dish there are most likely as many recipes as there are families. It is an ideal dish for which to use your imagination in regards of ingredients, spices, herbs, etc. etc. Feel free to experiment – I do; quite often.

Oh – and one more thing I have to mention – we never used a hardboiled egg inside the meat, but served halved hard boiled eggs on the side at buffets, for those guests who loved their eggs.

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For the Pyrex dish in the photograph I used:

Ingredients

750 g Mincemeat (I could only get Buffalo that day)
2 slices of stale bread, soaked in broth (from a Knorr cube) and squeezed out
1 leek (white only, very finely cut into rings)
10 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
10 green olives, chopped
3 Tbsp good tomato ketchup
2.5 tsp of Mustard (readymade)
1.5 Tbsp of Lingham’s Hot Chilli Sauce (optional)
Fair amount of chopped parsley
Fair amount of chopped chives
Pepper and ‘black salt
1.2 Tbsp Paprika powder
1 whole egg
½ cup of stock cube broth

Method

Make broth, soak the bread, squeeze out and keep aside.
Pre-heat your oven to 200 C.

Add all the above ingredients into a large bowl, mix well, taste and maybe adjust your spices.

If you are using a dish, like I did, for baking, make sure it’s very well-oiled or buttered (this is my preferred method)

Or, if you like, take a baking sheet, line with paper and add your mixture, shaped as a loaf, on top.

Bake in pre-heated oven for app. 1 hour. After 30 mins just add a little bit of your broth to the dish (to keep it moist).
After 1 hour check to see if it’s cooked. Switch off heat and leave inside the oven for a little while longer in order for the meat to settle.
That’s it – serve with either smooth mashed potatoes or boiled potatoes, Carrots, Peas, Cauliflower, Beans. But most importantly – ENJOY!

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Guten Appetit!
Carina

Speedy Mock Fish Biriyani

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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.
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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’.

Ingredients
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
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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.
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½ hour before you start cooking, wash and soak 1 cup of Basmati rice and keep aside.
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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.
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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.
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Serve with a nice refreshing cool raita and some pappadums and maybe a fish fry for extra luxury.
Note:
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!
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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.

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Guten Appetit…………
Carina

Scheiss Wetter! . . . and the friendly Umbrella

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Something woke me up in the middle of the night – it was a noise I had not heard for many months – the sound of rolling thunder, sometimes near, sometimes a bit further away so it seems and then……Rain!!!

A quick peek at my bedside table clock told me that it was just after 2 am – and the thunder and the heavy rain ‘stayed’ over our area for the next few hours, bringing the temperature from the previous day down quite a bit to a more tolerable level – oh, what Bliss!!!

We are at the end of February (by the time of writing) and it normally never rains in February – after all the refreshing Monsoon does not arrive here until June and then normally stays with us for 4 months, bringing much relief from the scorching heat to the farmers, their cattle and for us humans too (never mind the chaos on the waterlogged roads etc.).

Lying now half-awake on my bed I started “daydreaming” (I do not think the word “night dreaming” really exists in this context, or?).

Many many years ago, in my previous life in fact, we had just arrived in Berlin/Germany from a nearly 5-year posting to a certain West-African country. Berlin – this beautiful city I had visited so many times during Fashion Week and on other occasions seemed to welcome us with open arms.
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Our official house, smaller than all the previous ones but very comfortable, was near the famous Olympic Stadium in a very nice area, the streets lined with plenty of beautiful trees, a sight which pleased our eyes tremendously.
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The house had a standard sized city garden at the back and I could not wait to get “my hands dirty” digging in the soil and planting roses, roses and more roses. But my hopes for a lovely ‘English rose garden’ were soon to be shattered, due to the extremely poor i.e. neglected soil condition.

In the first few days after arriving in the house I used to sit quite frequently on the terrace nurturing a decent cup of hot German coffee and trying to visualise 2 main things; who were our neighbours right and left of the property and where should I plant this and that.

The neighbour on our left turned out to be an old lady who lived all alone in her big house and who’s main concern was a possibility of a number of small children running freely in our garden screaming their heads off (she softened a bit when she realised that there were no children to disturb her precious peace!) She softened even more over the following months when she found out that in fact I was born in Germany and therefore actually spoke her language.
But it was the property on our right which stirred up my curiosity somewhat. And before I actually ever saw my neighbours our dogs, their 2 beautiful German Shepherds and our big black Labrador, whom we had flown in from West-Africa, had made friends, ‘talking’ through the dividing chain-link fencing. Then one day I saw her, a nice looking blond woman my own age, standing in one of her upstairs windows and when she saw me looking she waved with a big welcoming smile, signalling me to come down to our mutual fence, so we could talk.

Herzlich willkommen, Frau Nachbarin (welcome, Mrs Neighbour) I am Heidi “ she said extending her hand over the fence. And then something very strange indeed happened to me (and to her as well, as she later told me) by shaking her hand and introducing myself to her I suddenly had this feeling, like I had known her most of my life – something I only had felt with one other person previously.

Of course I invited her immediately to my house for “Kaffee und Kuchen” (Coffee and Cake) according to German custom. The next day she came over and we sat, chatted and generally enjoyed each other’s company.

By the time she had to leave and walk just a few steps to her own house next door, the heavens had opened and it was pouring with rain – so I lent her one of our big golf umbrellas to see her home safely.

The next morning our Security –on- duty brought me a nice little thank you note returning my own umbrella and a gift. What was it? Wrapped tightly, decorated with a big big bow and suspiciously looking like a stick of some sort.

But, when we unwrapped this ‘stick’ it turned out to be yet another umbrella.

Quickly I rushed into the garden and only there did I open the gift, since I was brought up that one must never open an umbrella inside the house – bad luck indeed!! And then seeing the writing I just burst into laughter, so much in fact, that a tear or two ran down my cheek, since I had neither heard nor seen this quite standard phrase “Scheiss Wetter” for what seemed to be an eternity, but soon I got used to hearing this every time the rain, snow, fog or just cold came.

In fact it seemed that all the Foreigners posted to Berlin have learned this phrase right from day one of their arrival in the city.

Over the years this umbrella has brought so many happy smiles and even comments while living in London and now here, too. After all we do get quite a number of German speaking tourists into Kerala.

Of course all this is now a long time ago, the umbrella is still with me, having survived all those years, all those moves but most of all, my friendship with Heidi and her lovely family. We do write to each other frequently and talk occasionally on the telephone. She is still very much in my heart and I pray that one day JS and I can fly over to Berlin and we can all meet again

Tschuess for now, Carina

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PS
According to the German/English Dictionary “Scheiss Wetter” literally means “Shit weather

…so ein Scheißwetter! what awful etc weather! …

RED PRAWN & KOKUM CURRY

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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.
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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)
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Grind all this to a nice paste (not too fine, thou) and keep aside for later.

Now the real fun starts:
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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.
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Now add all your earlier prepared paste and sauté until the oil separates. Mix well.
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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.
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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.
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At this stage adjust the seasoning to your own taste.
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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).
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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

KADALA and Puttu!

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K ……. Is not only for KERALA but also for one of our most favourite breakfast dishes….. KADALA and Puttu!
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It is an easy dish to make; it only takes just under 1 hour to bring it to your table, providing you have remembered to soak the Kadala (black Chickpeas) previously for around 10-12 hours. I hate pressure cookers, I refuse to have one in the house, still filled with memories of my mother’s carrots decorating her kitchen ceiling, so I work the old-fashioned way and even soak my Kadala for 2 nights, changing the water in between.
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No need to keep in fridge. The final cooking takes place the evening before we want this for breakfast and true to the saying “….. a good stew tastes even better the next day …..” We feel this applies here, too. In our opinion anyhow.
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Kadala (Chickpeas) Curry and Puttu

For 4 good servings I use the following:
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1 cup uncooked Kadala (this doubles when cooked)
A pinch of Turmeric powder, to add to Kadala cooking water
2 good sized onions, roughly chopped
1 good handful of Pearl Onions (Ullis), sliced
4-5 green chillies, split
Some curry leaves, according to your taste
¼ cup or so of sliced fresh coconut pieces
¼ cup or so of chopped tomatoes (remove skin first)
½ tsp Mustard seeds
2-3 dry red chillies
2 tsp Ginger/garlic paste
1 tsp Garam Masala
Nicely chopped fresh Coriander to sprinkle over the Kadala before serving
Coconut oil, for nice taste but sparingly, think “waist” here
Salt, to taste
Method
If you possibly can, wash and soak Kadala for 2 nights like I do, changing water in between.
Cook Kadala with pinch of turmeric and salt until soft, but not mushy.
In a pan heat 1 – 2 tsp maximum of coconut oil, add grated coconut, chilli powder, coriander powder and the garam masala and on medium to low heat fry until coconut changes colour.
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Keep stirring all the time or it might burn (and you will have to start again from scratch with a fresh batch). Once cooled down a bit grind in your Mixy to a paste and keep this aside.
Now take a large wide pot, on medium flame heat some more of your coconut oil, add mustard seeds and red chillies; and when all this splutters, add the sliced coconut pieces, keep stirring. Add ginger/garlic paste and all the onions and the tomatoes and some curry leaves.

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Mix all this gently before adding your cooked Kadala in their cooking water. Add some more hot water if you, like us, prefer lots of delicious gravy.
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Check on your salt before adding the previously prepared coconut paste.
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Stir, cover and bring all this back to a nice gentle simmer.
As a final task add ½ cup of coconut milk, stir this gently into your finished Kadala Curry and on a low heat simmer for another 5 minutes.
When you are happy with the softness of the Kadala and love the taste, switch off and enjoy.
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Notes:
Since we all like chillies, garlic, onions in this family you might find that you would prefer less of my given quantity in your own food. Feel free to adjust.
Chickpeas, pre-boiled and tinned, are not available here. So I always have a small portion of either, brown and white (for salads) ready in my fridge.
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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

Our MiniMini – Samosas

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This year January came and went in a flash, at least for us and I am breathing a sigh of relief about this too.

Who does not know the moments when nothing goes right, but everything seems to be going wrong? You do? Then of course you will understand how I felt in the past few weeks. The dreaded flu kept one or the other of us down, small repairs to the house needed attention, lots of paperwork was waiting on my desk and then, to my horror, His Majesty the Computer decided enough is enough and literally stopped working; just like that! Right in the middle of writing my first food-blog of this year

The usual Mechanic too was down with the dreaded flu and it took some time for him to be able to come and see what the problem was – and unfortunately he could not solve the malaise. So, after some time we managed to get a reputable Mechanic, recommended by a friend, who after a whole mornings work sorted the problem out. Oh, what a relief!

So, now I am once again running between my kitchen and my desk in order to plan, cook, taste (!) and photograph etc. some recipes for the blog.
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But, what to do when in the midst of all this suddenly the odd friend from another part of Kerala pops in for coffee, snack and chat. Like most Kerala houses we too serve Samosas and/or cutlets which vary between Keema (minced beef), chicken, prawns or vegetables – in short, whatever is on hand at that moment when they are needed. Luckily for me I had used some of the time waiting for the Computer repair making bags of our favourite Samosas for the freezer. “MiniMini” as we call them, since we prefer those snacks to be on the dainty side, proper Fingerfood in my opinion, I do not like those oversized Samosas, Cutlets, Bondas etc. which I find slightly off-putting; but that’s just me!

So here are my MiniMini Vegetable Samosas.
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I normally always have a container filled with cooked mixed vegetables in my fridge. Anything goes really, but we like a mixture of Potatoes, Carrots, Cauliflower, green beans and/or peas and Onions. Here I use mainly Ullis (shallots) for taste.

Add all those prepared Vegetables to a pot of water to which I add a Knorr Vegetable cube.
When cooked, drain and keep aside.

Add 1 Tbsp of Coconut oil to a pan (or any good Vegetable oil)
Add ½ Tbsp of Mustard seeds and wait for them to ‘pop’.
Add 1 big green chilli, finely chopped (optional)
Some curry leaves, finely chopped (optional)
1-2 Tbsp. Garam Masala
Salt and pepper powder to your taste
Stir and cook on low heat for 2 minutes and then add the cooked vegetables;
Stir and cook for another minute or two. Now mash all this slightly (if you prefer like me the tiny Samosas, this mixture will have to be very fine – in other words, no lumps).

You can either make your own Pastry or purchase from your local Supermarket blocs of ready made Samosa Pastry (this is what I normally do). Cut little squares and place some of your vegetable mixture in the centre before folding the square into shape.

For authentic Kerala taste heat up Coconut oil and when really hot add your Samosas carefully (the oil will splutter), turning them constantly for the next 4-5 minutes. Drain on sheets of kitchen paper and enjoy them with a nice hot cup of coffee or chai (tea). Namaskaram.

Carina
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Meine eigene freie Uebersetzung

In diesem Jahr kam und ging der Januar wie ein Blitz, wenigstens fuer uns und ich atme auf.

Wer kennt nicht die Momente wenn nichts richtig geht, aber alles scheint falsch zu laufen? Ja Ihr? Dann koennt Ihr Euch ja gut vorstellen wie ich mich in den letzten Wochen gefuehlt habe. Die graessliche Grippe hat einen oder den anderen von uns erwischt, kleine Reparaturen am Haus waren notwendig, jede Menge Papierkram erwartete mich an meinem Schreibtisch und dann, zu meinem Entsetzen, Seine Majestaet der Komputer entschloss sich, genu gist genug und hoerte ploetzlich auf zu funktionieren; einfach so! Gerade in der Mitte meines ersten Artikels fuer meinen Foodblog in diesem Jahr.

Der uebliche Mechaniker lag auch mit der Grippe zu Hause und es dauerte eine ganze Zeit bis er endlich in der Lage war zu uns zu kommen und zu sehen was das Problem war – aber leider konnte er das nicht loesen. So, nach einiger Zeit endlich kame in neuer Mechaniker, der von einem Freund vorgeschlagen war, der dann endlich nach einem ganzen Vormittag Arbeit das Problem geloest hat. Oh, welche Erloesung!

So, nun renne ich mal wieder zwischen meiner Kueche und meinem Schreibtisch hin und her wo ich plane, koche, probiere (!) und photographiere etc. einige Rezepte fuer den blog.

Aber, was macht man wenn in der Mitte von all der Hektik ploetzlich eine Freundin aus einem anderen Landesteil in Kerala herein schaut fuer Kaffee, Snack and Chit-Chat. Wie die moisten Haeuser hier in Kerala servieren wir auch Samosas und/oder Cutlets die entweder mit Keema (Rind Hackfleisch), Huhn, Garnelen oder Gemuese gefuellt sind – in anderen Worten, was immer halt so vorhanden ist wenn man es benoetigt. Gluecklicherweise hatte ich vorher die Zeit genutzt, wo ich auf den Mechaniker gewarted habe, um viele unserer liebsten Samosas fuer den Gefrierschrank zu bereiten. “MiniMini” nennen wir sie hier , weil wir diese Snacks so lieben, richtiger Fingerfood meiner Auffassung nach, Ich mag wirklich nicht diese uebergrossen Samosas, Cutlets, Bonds etc. – ich finde sie etwas abstossend; aber das ist meine persoenliche Geschmacksrichtung.
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Culinary Memories of Madrid

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The Festivities are over – children have gone back to school and our two daughters also came and went for an only too brief a visit to Cochin. Bianca went back to her job as a Fashion Designer
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with her company in Bangalore and Andrea, having after 5 years graduated as an Architect now started her first full time job on the 1st of January.

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Like all parents we too kept looking at them surreptitiously occasionally and wondered “…where has time gone, only yesterday they were still little girls with white bows in their hair and wearing their school uniform and now they are all grown up, gaining more and more self confidence by the day and proofing their own worth in their chosen profession”. Seeing them leave is still very much a pull on our heart strings and yes, I do admit, a tear or two always escapes from my eyes once the door is closed behind them.

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Having the girls here only for such a short time we were not really able to do all the things we hoped to do, like learning yet another House-recipe to take along to their own places. Kerala cooking of course from their father, who is a brilliant cook and has taught me nearly everything I know about his kind of food, The-rest-of-the-world, especially German and Italian cuisine from yours truly, but of course, there is always the next holiday, like Easter, just around the corner.

But as soon as Bianca reached Bangalore a request for one of her favourite soup recipes arrived. Favourite because it is Spanish (and we all have very fond memories of our family holiday in Madrid), its cold (the heat here right now is getting to all of us) the main ingredients are fresh tomatoes and best of all, no actual cooking in a hot kitchen after her long day at work.
The following recipe was given to me by a friend in Madrid whose roots are in Andalusia. And so, yes, you guessed it, what this daughter wanted was GAZPACHO .

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And finding myself with a slight glutton of fresh tomatoes in the kitchen I decided to make this deliciously refreshing soup for our lunch as well.
I do not always work using exact and detailed measurements – so, just follow me and use your own judgement here according to your own taste buds.

G A Z P A C H O (partly rooted in Andalusia!)

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5 x large ripe tomatoes, skin removed and ‘blitzed’ a couple of times in your blender
1 x onion, peeled and roughly chopped
4 x fat garlic cloves, peeled
1 x Capsicum (l/2 green and l/2 red), deseeded and roughly chopped
1 x large cucumber, washed and de-seeded
Pinch of ground cumin
3 x Tbsp of red wine vinegar
Salt and black pepper to your taste
1/4 cup of good virgin olive oil
4-6 drops of Tabasco (optional – gives your soup that ‘kick’)
2 x slices of bread (or more, if you like soup to be thicker)

Method:
Soak your bread in some water until soft. Squeeze out and keep aside
‘Blitz’ your tomatoes briefly and keep aside.
‘Blitz’ garlic, capsicum and cucumber briefly and keep aside.

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Add all the above into a large bowl and add vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and if you wish also the Tabasco, stir. Now add the previously soaked bread and mix gently. Cover and keep in the fridge for a couple of hours or longer. If you find the soup a bit too thick for your liking, just add some iced water and stir. Decorate with some finely chopped Coriander or Parsley (whatever you have in your fridge) and for a little Dinner-Party-Edition serve separately with one or all of the following: chopped almonds, some orange segments, small selection of finely chopped red, green and yellow capsicums, some finely chopped spring onions and some fresh mint and cumin crushed. Delicious.

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Variation:
Depending on our mood at the time I might just add all the above into the blender and puree this until smooth. And if you do not have time to cool it in your fridge, just add a few icecubes to your soup just before serving.

രുചിയോടെ ഭക്ഷണം ആസ്വദിക്കാന് കഴിയട്ടേ
(ruchiyode bhakshanam aaswadikkan kazhiyatte) this is in our local Malayalam language meaning:
Guten Appetit – Enjoy! – Buen apetito!

Carina
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Meine FREIE Uebersetzung:

Kulinarische Erinnerungen an Madrid.

Die Feierlichkeiten sind vorrueber – die Kinder sind wieder zurueck in die Schule und unsere zwei Toechter kamen and gingen wieder, leider nur fuer einen kurzen Besuch nach Cochin. Bianca ging wieder zu ihrem Job als Modeschoepferin mit ihren Firma in Bangalore zurueck und Andrea, die nach 5 Jahren ihr Studium als Architektin absolvierte fing auch ihren ersten Job am 1. Januar an. Wie alle Eltern schauten wir sie beide hin und wieder Heimlich and und wunderten uns ….”wo ist die Zeit geblieben, nur gestern waren sie noch kleine Maedchen mit weissen Schleifen in ihren Haaren und trugen ihre Schulkleidung, und jetzt sind sie alle erwachsen, gewinnen mehr und mehr Selbstbewusstsein tagtaeglich und beweisen ihren eigenen Wert in ihrem gewaehlten Beruf”. Aber wenn wir sie weggehen sehen, tut das Herz doch etwas weh und ich gebe zu, das seine oder zwei Traenen aus meinen Augen kullern, aber erst wenn die Tuere hinten ihnen geschlossen ist.

Da wir die Maedchen hier hatten, besonders fuer eine solche kurze Zeit, wir konnten nicht all’ die Dinge unternehmen die wir vorhatten, wie z.B. wieder mal ein anderes Haus-Rezept fuer ihre eigenes Leben zu erlernen. Kerala Kueche selbstverstaendlich von ihrem Vater, de rein brillianter Koch ist und mir uebrigens fast alles beigebracht hat bezueglich Kerala Cuisine; und ‘den rest der welt’ speciell Deutsche und Italienische Cuisine von mir aber dann ist natuerlich immer noch der naechste Urlaub, wie z.B. Ostern, das ja nicht mehr weit we gist.

Aber sobald Bianca wieder in Bangalore ankam erhielt ich eine Anfrage bezueglich eines ihrer Lieblingssuppen Rexepte. Lieblings Rexet weil es Spanisch it (und wir alle haben noch sehr schoene Erinnerungen an unseren Familienurlaub in Madrid), sie ist kalt (die Hitze here macht allen sehr zu schaffen) die Hauptzutaten sind frische Tomaten und das allerbeste ist, dass man nicht zu kochen braucht nach einem langen Arbeitstag.

Das folgende Rezept wurde mir von einer Freundin in Madrid gegeben deren Wurzeln bis nach Andalusien gehen. Und so, ja, Ihr habt es erraten, was diese Tochter wollte war Gazpacho.

Und da ich selbst einen kleinen Ueberfluss von frischen Tomaten in meiner Kueche hatte, entschloss ich mich diese leckere und erfrischende Suppe auch fuer unser Mittagessen zu machen.

Ich arbeite nicht immer mit exakten und detailierten Messungen – so, folgt einfach meinem Rezept und folgt Eurem eigenen Urteil bezueglich Euren eigenen Geschmackes.

GASPACHO – verwurzelt in Andalusien.

5 x grosse reife Tomaten, Haus abgezogen und 1x, 2x oder 3x ganz kurz nu rim Mixer ‘blitzen
1 x Zwiebel, geschaelt und grob geschnitten
4 x dicke Knoblauchzehen, geschaelt
1 x Paprika (1/2 gruen und ½ red) entkernt und grob gehackt
1 x grosse Salatgurke, gewaschen und entkernt und grob gehackt
Prise gemahlener Kreuzkuemmel
4 x Essloeffel Rot-Wein-Essig
Salz und Pfeffer nach eigenem Geschmack
¼ cup gutes Olivenoil
6-8 – Tropfen Tabasco (gibt der Suppe den “Kick”)
2 x Scheiben Brot (oder mehr, wenn Ihr die Suppe etwas dicker haben moechtet)

Anleitung:

Tauche das Brot in etwas Wasser bis es weich ist. Druecke es aus und halte bereit.
“Blitz” die Tomaten ganz kurz und halte bereit
“Blitz” Knoblauch, Paprika und Gurke ganz kurz und halte bereit.
Alle Zutaten und nun auch Essig, Oil, Salz und Pfeffer und wenn gewuenscht den Tabasco in eine Schuessel und umruehren. Jetzt kommt noch das eingeweichte und ausgedrueckte Brot hinzu, wieder umruehren. Klingfilm ueber Schuessel und ab in den Kuehlschrank fuer mindestens 2 Stunden, besser laenger. Wenn Euch die Suppe fuer den eigenen Geschmack etwas zu dick ist, dann fuegt einfach etwas Eiswasser hinzu. Dekorieren mit etwas feingehacktem Koriander oder Petersilie (je nachdem was im Kuehlschrank vorhanden ist). Und fuer eine kleine Dinner-Party serviert doch entweder das eine oder alle in kleinen Schaelchen, gehackte Mandeln, feingeschnittene Orangenscheiben, fein gehackte rot, green und gelbe Paprika, ein paar feingehackte Fruehlingszwiebeln und etwas frische Minze mit Kreuzkuemmel zerdrueckt. Hm Lecker.

Variante:
Je nach Lust und Laune kommt es auch schon mal vor, dass ich einfach alle Zutaten in dem Mixer zusammen puriere bis die Suppe ganz fein ist. Und wenn dann auch noch keine Zeit vorhanden ist die Suppe im Kuehlschrank zu kuehlen, kann man ein paar Eiswuerfel kurz vor dem servieren in die Suppe tun.

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”.

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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)

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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.

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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.

Carina