Tag Archive | Prawns

Mango Prawns and Thrissur Pooram

It’s been now close to 9 long months since I have been able to post my last Recipe.

Unfortunately I had a couple of health issues to deal with. But now it seems that I am ok again – toi-toi-toi (as we say in Germany wishing Good Luck!)

And so I use one of the famous (film) quotes of Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger “…. I am back” and so happy too.”

Actually I intended to post this last week Thursday, but I had forgotten that it was the famous “Thrissur Pooram” – meaning to sit in front of the TV for a few hours to watch this incredible spectacle and so unique to our part of India – our Kerala!

A few years ago, I had the chance to visit Thrissur with Jo. Thrissur (Trisivaperoor) is less than 70 kms by road from our Cochin. Perched on top of a beautiful hillock right in the heart of Thrissur (in central Kerala) is the ‘Vadakkunnathan Temple’ – one of the oldest temples in Kerala. Having begun in the 11th century, it underwent modifications and additions until the 19th century. The annual festival of Pooram with its elephant pageantry is celebrated on these temple grounds.

Amongst the Pooram festivals of Kerala, the most famous is the magnificent Thrissur Pooram. Introduced during 1789 – 1805 by Shakthan Thampuran, the then King of Cochin, and it takes place in the month of “Medam” (April/May in the Malayalam calendar).

During this year’s Pooram held on April 25, for 1 ½ days, a great parade of thirty richly caparisoned elephants carrying ceremonial umbrellas with ‘Aalavattoms’ and ‘Venchamaroms’ were displayed. On the elephant in the centre rides the temple deity ‘Vadakkunathan’ (Shiva). They come out through the magnificent temple entrance tower and line up in the open ground. A most beautiful site, those magnificent creatures clearly enjoying all the fuss and the extra culinary titbits of leafs, bananas etc. and their giant ‘earlobes’ flapping in unison to keep the heat and flies away.

Fifteen elephants in a row facing the other fifteen for the famous ‘Kudamattom’ (exchange of those colourful umbrellas).

For ‘Kudamattom’ two parties representing the two divisions of Thrissur. ‘Paramekavu’ and ‘Tiruvampadi’ each puts forth their best exertions to make their display grander than the other while bands of musicians playing their traditional instruments of drums, cymbals, etc., add local melodies to the occasion.
During this grand community event celebrated by the entire citizens of Thrissur, a vast crowd from near and far gather on the grounds to witness and support the Pooram. The renowned grand display of fireworks related to the Pooram should not be missed.

The next Pooram is on Medam 29th, which is Monday, May 13th 2019 (for those who might be interested visiting)

But now to our “meal of that Pooram day” – a most delicious Prawn dish with green mangoes – a recipe which I extracted from Jo, whose Indian cooking I absolutely love.

Prawns with Mango Jo’s Style
Altogether you will need:

½ kg prawns, peeled and deveined
19 Ullis (keep of those appr. 8-10 whole for curry)
4 green chillies, to be used for blending in Mixi (keep 2 for curry)
5 dry red chillies, halved for tempering
2 green mangoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tsp Ginger & Garlic paste
1 1/4 Cup of grated coconut
3 Tbsp of coco oil
½ tsp Fenugreek
3 medium sized Kokum’s, washed and soaked in warm water for 15 minutes
5 tsp coconut powder
1 ½ cup of water
1 ½ tsp black pepper powder
1 ¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
½ Tbsp of coconut oil
½ tsp of mustard seeds
2 sprigs of curry leafs
Salt to taste (to be added only at the very end!)
Prepare in advance
Grind 4 x Ullis and 2 x green chillies and 1 x tsp Garlic and Ginger paste and 1 1/4 cup grated coconut, and if available, some left-over home-made chutney, very very finely.

Peel 2 x green raw mangoes and cut into large pieces and keep aside.
Put aside 5 x dry red chillies, cut in halves, and 5 x sliced Ullis for tempering later with some Curry Leafs.

Preparation
Take a large pot, heat up 3 x Tbsp of coco oil (or Veg oil), ½ x tsp Fenugreek,– stir and add 10 x sliced Ullis and 2 x green chillies, sliced, stir and sauté.
After 5 minutes add fully drained Kokum’s (3 x) and half fry only – do NOT add salt yet -.
Mix 5 x tsp of coconut powder in 1 ½ x cup of water and keep aside.
After some time add around 8-10 x Ullis (for bite) and sauté.
Add 1 ½ x tsp black pepper powder and 1 ¼ x tsp yellow powder (Turmeric).
Add 1 x tsp Coriander powder (heaped) and mix.
Add grinded lot and fry for appr. 10 minutes. Only now add cut mangos and salt to taste. Boil for another 10 minutes until raw mango is cooked.
Now add all the earlier prepared prawns and add the 1 ½ x cups of coconut milk, cook for 5 minutes until prawns have all turned pink,

TEMPERING

Heat ½ x Tbsp of coconut oil, add ½ x tsp Mustard seeds and 5 x dry red chillies, cut in halves, 5 x sliced Ullis and 2 x sprigs of Curry leafs, stir for 1 minute and pour over the curry.

Serve with Rice and Poppadums.

That’s it – enjoy your meal.
Namaskaram
Carina

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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

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

Valentine – Memories of Torcello

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                                                          Love is indescribable and unconditional.
I could tell you a thousand things that it is not,
but not one that it is.
– Duke Ellington

2V ….is for VALENTINE!
Right now the Internet is crowded with advertisements to buy this, that and the other for your loved one on the occasion of Valentine Day. Buy, buy, buy is the bombardment onto your brain, conscience and purse. So a small fortune will be spend on highly overprized flowers, mainly deep red roses, chocolates, champagne etc. etc.

Not in this house thou, take me for example – I loathe deep red roses (call it bad memories), don’t particular care for chocolates and champagne…….! hmm, now that is a totally different matter, but sadly this we cannot get here easily (so we will have to wait for another trip to Le Paris!).
JS today surprised me with two things: he wants to take me out for Dinner and a bit of dancing on Valentine’s Eve and he also wanted me to cook for him one of his favourite Pasta dishes for Lunch taking him (and me!) down a very beautiful memory lane.

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Venice lovers know of this beautiful little island just off the northern end of the Venetian Lagoon. For JS and I there has and never will be a time we visited Venice when we would not take the boat and motor away from the main frenzy of tourists from all over the world in order to enjoy nearly a whole day in the far more peaceful surroundings of this beautiful little island – Torcello!

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On the odd occasion we not only had our customary lazy lunch there but even spent a night in the famous LOCANDA CIPRIANI. Heaven – sheer Heaven!

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The Locanda and the Island deserve their own story, but another time, for now just enjoy the recipe given here and maybe you too have your own memory of this place; do let me know. So, at my very own Valentine’s request I give you today

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Memories of Torcello
(i.e. Spaghetti, Prawns in a creamy caper-white-wine sauce)
For 2 servings I used today:

½ lb spaghetti
½ lb of cleaned/deveined prawns
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Tbsp capers in their brine
1 big handful of Spring onions (greens and all), chopped, app. 2 cups
1 Tbsp crushed dry red pepper flakes (adjust to your personal taste)
1 large lemon, zest and the juice of…
½ cup of dry white wine (adjust to your personal taste)
¼ cup of heavy cream
Salt to taste

Preparation:
Boil your Spaghetti in a large pot of salted water until just ‘al dente’.
Wash prawns, pat dry and add some salt, mix.
Heat ½ of your olive oil in a wide pot (I used my Wok), add prawns and cook only for 2-3 minutes maximum i.e. until they turn just a bit pink. Lift out of the oil and keep aside.
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Now add the rest of the oil and all the spring onions for another 2-3 minutes, keep stirring all the time. Add the capers and the chilli flakes and cook these for app. another minute. Add lemon zest and juice and white wine and simmer for another 2 minutes or so.
Take ¾ – 1 cup of the cooking water from the boiling spaghetti, add this to the pan together with the cream. Simmer very gently for another couple of minutes.
When Spaghettis are cooked remove from their water with a tong and move them straight into the sauce.
Gently mix all this together. Garnish with a few more red chilli flakes, green Spring onions and prawns and serve with a big smile to your loved one.
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Mangia Bene – Enjoy our memories.
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PS: For a more in-depth story re. Valentine’s Day, please read JS own story on his personal blog http://www.manningtreearchive.com : “The Roots and Wings of Valentine

PPS: Sadly I lost most of my pictures in a computer crash, hence I used other sources.

VIVANTA BY TAJ – KOVALAM

…… and Prawn Mango Curry

(Part 2 of 3)

We arrived in Kovalam early afternoon, having stopped for lunch en route down south.

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Turning right into the approach road to our hotel for the next few days was like driving through a colourful picture postcard. Just in front of the hotel entrance are a few large trees showing off their seasonal blossoms in all their glory. The road was thickly littered with fallen petals (just like at one of our many wedding functions here) in bright red and orangey yellow. In order not to spoil the magic I just concentrated to photograph the crowns of the trees, because for once I did not want evidence of everyday life turning up in my shots.

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Slowly we went through the strict security control into the property and uphill towards the actual hotel entrance where we were greeted with huge smiles, a cheerful “Namaskaram” (Welcome) and a pretty necklace made entirely out of tiny local seashells. As much as I like fresh flowers, they sadly do not last long in this tropical heat – but those sweet necklaces do!!!!

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A fluffy hot towel to refresh our faces and a cooling tender coconut drink arrived. Check-in was completed in no time

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and soon we were driven in a golf-buggy uphill to our room, where our luggage was already waiting for us.

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A short refreshing nap, shower and a change of clothes put us in the right mood to enjoy the view of the Ocean from our little terrace – and savour a decent cup of coffee.

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A short time later we were joined by Mathew Thomas, GM of our hotel and also a close friend of Jo’s from Cochin.

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We all travel quite a lot and so there was much catching-up to do.

We of course had been over the past years many times to this hotel but then had stayed away  for some time, since we felt something was very much missing from this particular TAJ property.

But now it became very quickly clear to us that many things had changed for the better since Mathew had taken charge at the helm – once again, like previously before in the TAJ properties he had managed, he in only a short time had put his very own personal stamp onto this Kovalam property. For one the staff looked so much happier than before which proved to us, that his motto “…COME on, and not GET on” worked wonders here.

–         For more details on this property and bookings please refer to the following link: http://www.vivantabytaj.com/Kovalam-Kerala/Overview.html

This wonderful secluded property is build on a 10 acre hillside, but comfortable

Golf buggies take you more or less straight to your own front door.

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The swimming pool is so inviting and offers a much needed respite from the tropical heat and the staff is always there to attend to your slightest whim.

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And for you, who would not want to miss out on their daily exercise find a more than adequate gym within the complex.

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After a quiet dinner “a deux” and watching a beautiful floorshow by local dancers,

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we were ready once again to be driven back to our suite, where we sat on our little terrace

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enjoying our drink and watch the many fishing boats far out at sea, their lights blinking – like giant fireflies so far out there. It truly was a most romantic sight, the flickering lights out at sea in competition with the flickering stars up in the sky. Not a sound to be heard apart from the occasional bird in some tree nearby. This poses the question; do birds talk in their sleep? (Joke!)

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The breakfast buffet laid out in the semi open poolside restaurant “Jasmine Bay” is quite extensive and offers a wide choice of delicious Kerala and European fare.

We spent the morning down at Kovalam Beach (see my previous Blog entry) and taken lots of pictures to share with you.

For Lunch we were back at our Hotel, in our “Deluxe Allure Suite” for a brief rest and a cold drink before meeting Executive Chef Elangovan who, knowing how much we like prawns  “in all shape and sizes” and taking into account that it is the mango season here right now, he had prepared a truly wonderful Prawn dish for our Lunch and of course for you, my friends out there.

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(from left to right: Ankit Tandon, F & B Manager, Executive Chef Elangovan, Chef Vishnu and Basil)

Chef Elango (as he is popularly known) is a truly welcomed addition to VIVANTA  by TAJ Kovalam. He hails originally from the culinary city of Trichy in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu.  He finished his further education in Malaysia before he returned to India and joined the TAJ Group of Hotels in Chennai before taking up his present position here in Kovalam.  He specializes mainly in his home cuisine – typical dishes from the South, from Kerala.

I briefly joined him and Chef Josephkutty in their kitchen to catch them “stirring the pot”,

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before we sat down and enjoyed his truly delicious Prawn Mango Curry

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PRAWN  MANGO  CURRY

200 g Prawns, peeled and deveined

100 g Mango , raw (green), sliced into medium size pieces

20   g Coconut Oil

10   g Shallots, sliced

2      sprigs of Curry leaves

5      red dried chillies, whole

3      green chillies, each cut into 3 pieces

5      cloves of garlic, sliced

Small piece of fresh ginger, sliced

A pinch or two of salt

1 tsp of red chilly powder (or more, if you like!! J

½ tsp of turmeric powder

5 Tbsp thick coconut milk (can be made from powder)

½ tsp of black Mustard seeds

Heat coconut oil in a wok, crackle mustard seeds, red chilly powder, curry leaves, green sliced chilly, ginger, garlic and sauté well.

Add sliced shallots and cook nicely, then add a pinch of turmeric, salt and the prawns. Add sufficient water and cook gently for a couple of minutes.

Add raw sliced mango pieces and cook this for 2 more minutes until prawns have turned pink and are done. Add thick coconut milk and add the tempering made out of sliced shallots, curry leaves, red whole chillies and a little curry powder.

Check the seasoning and serve hot with garnish of fried curry leaves.

Serve hot with the garnish of tempering, kerala paratha and/or plain rice.

That’s for today my friends – more from me and Chef Elangovan in a couple of days. Hope to see you then.

Carina

(Photos: Carina/JS-Manningtree Archive)