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Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Raw Banana Koftas/Kaanch Kolaar Kofta >> Via Amma

I am not going bananas- he he, not yet! I thought while, we are at bananas, why not add another banana post. Only, this one has to do with raw bananas. This post is for Amma, our cook in Hyderabad- at my In-law’s place. She has been with us for close to 13  years now, and continues to support the house hold. Kaanch Kolaar Kofta or Raw Banana Koftas , in Bengali style is one of my husband’s favourite. And Amma made it well, when she was in a good mood, of course. I make many versions of this. Here is Amma’s version.

Deep Fried Raw Banana KoftasRaw Banana Kofta Curry


  1. Pressure cook 2 raw bananas with 2 potatoes. 2-3 whistles are enough.
  2. Once done, peel off the skin form the bananas and potatoes and mash it in a bowl.
  3. Add to this mash one small chopped onion, green chillies, salt, Garam Masala powder, a handful of chopped coriander leaves an mix well.
  4. Make round balls of this mash. If the mash is too soggy, then add a spoon of gram flour or besan to this.
  5. Shallow fry this. Be careful with this, the kofta balls tend to break. Be gentle in turning them. Drain the fried Koftas.
  6. In a non stick pan, pour 3 tablespoons oil.
  7. Add whole spices- a few cardamom, a small stick of cinnamon, 2-3cloves, and 1 bay leaf.
  8. Add 1 big chopped onion to this and sauté till it browns.
  9. Add ginger and garlic paste and sauté some more.
  10. Add tomato paste or puree, 11/2 spoons of Dhania/coriander powder, red chilly powder, 1/4 spoon sugar, 1/4 spoon turmeric powder. Mix well and wait till oil separates.
  11. You can add green chillies if you want it spicier.
  12. Once the oil separates pour one big cup of hot water and bring it to a boil. Don't be very conservative with water- you can add another half a cup.
  13. The Koftas tend to sap all the gravy, so you need not worry about the gravy going too watery.
  14. Once done the gravy boils well, sprinkle with Garam Masala, and add coriander leaves to it.
  15. Transfer this to the serving dish and let it cool down a bit.
  16. Once its warm, add the Koftas, else they will break. Do not add the Koftas to hot boiling gravy.
  17. Enjoy with hot steamed rice or rotis!


Other versions:

1. If you are watching your diet, you can pan roast the banana koftas. Just make flat patties and roast them like we do with tawa cutlets.

2. Some add cream, to make the gravy richer

3. Dip the round kofta balls in a batter of gram flour/besan and deep fry them, for a totally different taste.

4. Instead of chopped onions, if you have the energy and inclination, add onion paste, that makes the gravy thicker.

So long, then!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Walnut Banana Bread >My Daughter’s Current Favourite

when my daughter says- ‘My favourite’ to something edible, it somehow becomes my moral responsibility to make it myself at home, instead of buying it readymade. I haven’t understood the nature of this mad streak in me, yet, but for now it seems to satisfy her immensely. So be it baby cupcakes or banana bread, I'd rather bake them at home, than pick it from the supermarket or the local baker.

There’s one more thing- each time I make a very complicated dish, like say Dum Biriyani, preparations for which, which span over 2 days, my husband only comments on the taste and never about the effort. But when I bake something like a banana bread or a cheese cake, he  looks at the piece of creation in mock disbelief. Its strange that he never thought baking banana bread at home was possible. That’s R for you.


The bread was awesome, you know. It was my first attempt and it came out just right- like the ones my daughter picks from those Boost Juice bars….so yaaay to my banana walnut bread. Here’s how you make it- its simpler than making a cuppa coffee.



Mash 3 ripe bananas in a wide mouthed bowl. Add 3/4 cup of brown castor sugar and 1/2 cup of softened butter. Mix well with a spatula. Add two beaten eggs to this and mix again. Add 2 spoons of sour cream (optional)to this mixture and beat more till the mixture is creamy.

In another bowl take 1 1/2 cups of self raising flour and sift it with 1 spoon of cinnamon powder. Add chopped walnuts (as much as you’d like- I added about half a cup of them), to this. Slowly add this mixture to the wet batter and mix well. Add 3/4 teaspoon of salt and 1 spoon of Vanilla extract. Fold with the spatula.

Grease a bread making dish and pour batter into this. preheat oven to 180 degree C and then bake the bread for 40 minutes or till its crisp golden brown.

Slice it and have it hot and fresh with a cuppa or leave it for the next day, when you toast it and spread butter over it to be instantly transported to bliss land.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Spice Temple, Sydney

One of the things R and I hadn’t done in Sydney was to try out cool new restaurants and have a nice relaxing lunch. We did that often back in India where we’d leave our lil rascal with mum and go gallivanting about the streets of Koramangla or Indiranagar in Bangalore, trying out the newest restaurant or watering hole on the block. So R decided to take me out as a prelude to my birthday, on Friday, when junior goes to day care. We chose Spice Temple at Bligh Street, in the city. I had read enough and more on Time Out Sydney about Spice temple and I was very very keen on eating something spicy, exciting and new. So we decided to try Chinese but not the run of the mill  fare.  We chose Spice Temple only based on what Timeout Sydney wrote-  And special it is – a Chinese restaurant that does not serve any Cantonese dishes. Instead, you'll find a menu that roams China from Sichuan to Yunnan to Guangxi. But the question tingling on everyone's lips is the chilli factor. "The dishes [on the menu] that are in red, they're hot," explains Perry. "Chilli isn't just about blowing people's minds out. It really is about adding that flavour and mouth-feel and excitement." Go with a bunch of friends and try as many different dishes for the table as you can. You're guaranteed to taste something here that your mouth has never experienced before. In a very, very good way.

I was so unprepared for what came on the table that afternoon - the aromas were invigorating, heady and mysterious and the food tasted like nothing I have had before. By far, my best dining experience, yet. Very very different from what you might expect. The ambience is perfect and they also have a scintillating white bar. Below are some pictures of what we ordered and ate. If you are in Sydney, don’t give this place a miss at any cost!

IMG_0142 IMG_0143

 IMG_0146 IMG_0147

  IMG_0155IMG_0161IMG_0159 IMG_0158

(In the pics from top left: A beautiful bowl :), Bloody Mary in a  chilli, sesame, sugar and salt rimmed glass, Chicken Wings – Super Hot!, Fish with green and red chilli sauce (I’ve forgotten what it was called),  3 shot chicken, Ginseng tea, peanut, caramel and chocolate parfait, dessert menu :-) )

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Maju’s Simple and Sipcy Prawn Masala

photo We know very few people in Sydney. And the ones we know are thankfully gastronomes. Especially, the Jacobs. We love dining at their place, though the much promised Appam and Stew are yet to savored. The first time Maju and Manoj had us over, we came back so content and gloating with happiness – all thanks to Maju’s spicy prawns settled in our tummies. For many days we couldn’t get the taste out of us, especially, Raj couldn’t. So yesterday, I finally decided to give Maju’s recipe a try. Its amazing how simple it is. I was done in 10 minutes flat! If you are a lover of south Indian food, this recipe rocks. Simple and most kickass!

Here goes:

You’ll need

250 gms prawns – medium sized, shelled and deveined

Tomato- 1 medium sized

Onion- 1 medium sized

Garlic paste/crushed- 1 teaspoon

Chilly Powder- 1 –2 teaspoons (totally depends on how much you can take- for me the spicier the better)

Curry Leaves

Oil- 2 to 4 teaspoons

Tamarind – Maju suggests we get the Mallu variety of tamarind – round ones, apparently. I used regular tamarind. Though i vouch for her version. She had an altogether Mallu touch. So if you can find that tamarind go on and add 2 of those. Else just soak a little tamarind in water.


If you are using fresh prawns then par boil it (2 minutes) with very little water, turmeric and chilly powder and keep aside. If you are using frozen prawns they can be used directly.

In a pan pour oil, add curry leaves, onions and sauté till they go just about brown. Add garlic and sauté more. After a few minutes add tomatoes and mix well. Let the tomatoes soften, and oil separate. Add chilly powder, turmeric and salt, mix well. Add the cleaned prawns to this and mix well. On medium flame keep mixing this till the mixture dries and stick to the prawns. Add the soaked tamarind pulp and mix. Don’t add water.  The masalas have to cook well and dry out. Don’t take it off flame when still soggy.

I added some ground pepper too- that’s optional. It adds to the flavour, and I recommend freshly ground pepper.

Serve with hot steamed rice on a nice wintery day.

Lemme know how it goes!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Spice is the only variety of my life

DSC_0252 Raj’s 32nd birthday and the long weekend coincided, so we took off to Port Stephens. I love the little getaways in Australia, especially the beach towns, and Port Stephens was a lovely getaway. But one thing that I really really miss in these holidays is a variety in food. The sea food available is brilliant, but after a while the regular breaded fish, grilled fish and chips fare kind of gets to me. The picture here is that of grilled Fish with greens and some sauce- I forget, and it was phenomenal, but we did want fish in a hot, spicy sauce. Or may be even a Goan version of this.  But then, we did enjoy what we got to eat, missed spice a little bit, but were happy nevertheless.









So, the minute I got back yesterday, Raj suggested we order in. Oh, no! How can that be. Order in more Pizza? No way! I had to have my spicy fare! So in  I went to the kitchen to make my favorite – jhatpat spicy Chicken pulao. Thought I’ll share this with you all.

You’ll need:

Chicken thighs and breast pieces – 500 gms

1/2 cup curd

Onions- 2 large- thinly sliced

Basmati Rice Soaked half an hour before preparation: 1 1/2 cup

Ginger and garlic Paste-2 spoons

Green Chilies- 8 (i like it SPICY)

Coriander chopped- 1 cup

1 spoon red chilly powder

Mint – fresh or dried flakes (I suggest you buy a bottle of the dried mint flakes- they are handy and very very good on flavor)

Tomatoes- 2 large

Whole garam masalas- a few of whatever you have- i had only cinnamon and cloves.

salt to taste

Dhania/Coriander Powder- 2 teaspoons

Ghee – 2 tbsp



In a non stick vessel (ideally deep and wide mouthed), melt the Ghee and add garam masalas. Add green chilies and onions and sauté till it browns. Add ginger garlic paste and sauté some more. Add chopped tomatoes, coriander chopped , 1/2 spoon of mint flakes or a 1/2 cup of fresh mint  chopped, and mix well. Add Dhania Powder, chilli powder, salt and curd and mix. let the tomatoes soften. Now add the chicken to this and mix well. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes. Now add the soaked Basmati Rice and mix. Add 3 cups of hot water, stir well, and cover with lid. In low flame let it cook. Else, just pressure cook it, if you are in a tearing hurry!

This is heaven. I am home.