Caribbean Coconut curried Grouper

grouper Grouper (filet preferred) – 2 pounds (Cut into medium size pieces… I usually cut into 2 X 3 inch pieces)
Red Bell pepper – 1/2 (cut into 2 inch long narrow strips)
Green Bell pepper – 1/2 (cut into 2 inch long narrow strips)
(You can just use just one kind of bell pepper too if you dont have the other)
Onion – 1 (large)
Garlic chopped – 3 large cloves
Ginger chopped – 1/2 tspn
Tomato – 1 (Slice into long pieces)
Green chilly – 4 (I used thai hot pepper)
Thyme fresh – 3 sprigs
Curry powder – 3 tbsp (add more if needed after tasting curry)
Water – 1 cup
Salt – to taste
Coconut milk – 1/2 can (from 14.5 oz can) (Also add more if needed after tasting)

Saute ginger, garlic, onion, green chilly. When it gets soft add bell pepper and saute for some more time.
Add the Curry powder, thyme and Salt and saute for some more time.
Add water and let it boil. Once it boils Add grouper pieces and allow it to cook. Water should be just enough to the level of fish (not too much, as we will add coconut milk later). Allow the fish to cook in low-medium flame. Add more curry powder if needed after tasting. Add the tomato slices to it. Once fish is cooked well (about 20 mts), add coconut milk. Shake the pan little bit so that the coconut milk and everything gets mixed well. Add more salt if needed. Allow it to cook for 10-15 more minutes.

Caribbean Peas and Rice

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1 can kidney beans with its liquid (Usually has about 0.5 cup of liquid in it, we will use this for cooking)
1/2 can coconut milk (14.5 oz can)
1.5 cup rice
Water – 2 cups (as coconut milk and beans liquid will add up to 1 cup)

Ground all spice (from 5-6 seeds, optional)
garlic – 2 cloves
Yellow or white Onion (medium) – 1
1 scotch bonnet pepper (whole, do not chop up. Optional)

Thyme – 2-3 fresh sprigs

Salt – to taste

Combine all of the above in a rice cooker and cook (You can do this on stove top too). Remove thyme sprigs and bonnet pepper before serving.

Kerala Fish roast

Fish – 1 pound (approx 1/2 kg)
(Thick flesh fish like King fish, Salmon etc are good for this recipe)

For marinating fish:-
Chilli Pwdr — 2 tsp or as reqd
Black pepper powder – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric pwdr – 1/4 tsp
Lemon juice – from 1/4 lime
(Mix all this together and if needed add little water to make a nice paste to marinate fish.)

For roast:
Onion – (Yellow or red) – 3 nos
Tomatoes (Roma preferred) – 4 nos
Chilli pwdr – 1/2 tsp or as reqd
Turmeric pwdr – 1/4 tsp
Green Chillies – 4 nos
Ginger – 1 inch piece
Curry leaves – 2 stems
Oil – As reqd for frying and sauteing

1)Clean and cut fish into 1 inch pieces.
2)Marinate it for atleast 30 mins outside or in refrigerator for 3 – 5 hrs.
3)Fry fish in oil. Keep it aside.
4)Saute minced ginger in 6 or 7 tbsp oil.
:- You can use remaining oil from frying fish. But don`t use that, if it is burnt/black etc. Also you can use the same pan used for frying fish.
5)Add more or reduce oil depending on your health restrictions.
6)Add onions to it.
7)When it is soft and golden yellow, add 1/2 tsp chilli powder and 1/4 tsp turmeric powder and saute again.
8)Add tomatoes, green chillly pieces and curry leaves and saute that until it turns to a nice roast mixture.
9)Add fried fish to it and mix slowly so that it won`t break.
:- If it looks dry and if you want, you can add more oil.
10)Mix everything well and cover it.
11)Cover and cook on low heat for some more time for 15 – 20 mins.
12)Mix in between and make sure it is not getting burnt and not sticking to the bottom of the pan so that the flavor of different ingrediants will blend together.

Note: This is good with Chappathi, appam, rice etc.

Naadan Chicken Curry (With Eastern chicken curry masala)

Chicken – 2 pounds
* Chicken with bones -or- whole chicken cut into small pieces will give the best taste.
* You can also use boneless chicken thighs. But remove all fat, skin etc if there is any.
* Chicken breast/tenderloin is easy, but wont give the best results.
But if you want to go with breast, tenderloin will give slightly better result than chicken breast
Chopped Ginger – 1 inch piece
Chopped Garlic – 7 large cloves
Curry Leaves – 15
Garam Masala Powder – 1/2 tspn
(I make mine with Fennel seeds, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Cloves. Ratio: 2 tsp fennel seeds; 1 inch stick of cinnamon, 2 cardamoms, 5 cloves. You can make bigger quantity and store in air-tight container for months for later use)
Tomato – 1 (I use Roma tomatoes)
Onion (Yellow or Red) – 3 medium sized (size of cricket ball)
Green Chillies – 4 (change if you like it less/more spicy. I use Thai Hot green chilly)
Coriander powder – 3 tspn
Easter Chicken Curry Masala – 3 tspn
Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tspn
Oil – 4 tspn

Clean and cut chicken into small pieces and keep aside.
Cut onions into thin 1 inch pieces. (You can use the `Slice1` method explained here: )
Slice Green chilly lengthwise into half.

– Heat a pan/vessel with 4 teaspoons of oil (Medium heat). When it is hot add chopped ginger, garlic and curry leaves. Saute for a minute or less.
– Add onions to it before ginger/garlic become brown. Now add turmeric and salt. You can add salt for the whole curry considering chicken you will be adding later. Saute this in medium heat until it softens and becomes golden brown. This will take about 10-15 minutes. You can keep it covered after 5 minutes for 5 minutes to make the softening process easier. But open the lid and saute in between so that it wont get burnt. Also saute it without covering for last 5 minutes (more/less depending on how fast/slow it gets sauteed).
– Once onion is well done, and softens, reduces in size, add eastern chicken curry powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder. Saute this well (approx. 5-6 mts. Add bit more oil if it is so dry).
– Add chicken pieces, mix it well. Let it stay open for 5 minutes. Mix in between so that bottom wont get burned. Now add water to it and mix well. I usually keep a cup of water near and add little by little mixing in between. that will help me to stop when I see desired consistency. More water will come out of chicken when it is cooked. So, add water considering that too. After it starts boiling, keep it covered in low-medium heat. Let it get cooked for about 15 minutes. Mix it in between to avoid sticking to bottom of the vessel.
– Check a chicken piece with curry for salt, spiciness etc. If desired add some more of salt, eastern chicken masala etc
– Add tomatoes with salt for that (chopped into 1 cm pieces), and some more curry leaves and cook it covered for another 5 minutes or so.

Variations (sometime I do these variations):
v1) Add 1 cup of chopped methi leaves along with tomatoes, and cook until methi leaves blends in (5-10 mts)
v2) If I want a thick gravy, I wont add water, and work with water that comes out of chicken
v3) You can also make it dry by keeping it longer on stove and letting all water evaporates.

Naadan/Fusion fish curry (Fusion of two kerala fish curry recipes)

Chef’s note:

This is a fusion of two kerala style fish curries. I liked few things in both curries and wondered how it will be if I combine only the things I like. Here is the result, and I love it!!! I made it when our friend Siji came over, and he wanted the recipe. So, adding it here 🙂
Don’t have any pictures. Will add when I make this next time.

The two curries are:
1) Puliyum Mulakum curry: Courtesy to my mom. I think she learned it from her mother in law
2) Varutharacha Meen curry: Courtesy to my mom.
** One more courtesy to Mani chechi in Chattanooga. She shared a recipe which added Garlic to fish curry, and I liked the flavor. So, decided to include that as well

1. Fish (Salmon, Pampano, King fish etc): 2 pounds (cut it into 1 inch pieces, and cleaned/washed/drained)
2. Scraped coconut (fresh, frozen, dried): 4 table spoons (not heaped)
[Fresh is best, frozen second best)
3. Chilli powder: 4 table spoons (not heaped)
4. coriander powder: 5 table spoons (not heaped)
5. turmeric powder: 1/2 tea spoon
6. finely chopped Garlic – 6-7 cloves
7. finely chopped Onion – 1/2 cup (red onion preferred)
8. Curry leaves – 18 leaves (3 stems)
9. finely chopped Green chilli – 4
10. finely chopped Ginger – 1 inch piece
11. Fenugreek seeds – 15 nos
12. Kokum (Kudam puli) – 4 pieces (wash well and soak it in 1/2 cup water)
13. Salt – as needed

1. In a pan, pour 1 table spoon of oil (olive/vegetable/coconut oil), and heat it. Once it is hot put the fenugreek seeds.
When seeds are brown (not burnt), add the coconut. Saute that until it is light brown and dry.
Add the chilli and coriander powder and saute it until it gets a darker brown color (this will be the color of the curry).
Saute frequently so that the mixture wont get burnt.
Just before taking it out the stove add turmeric powder and mix well. Let this cool down.

2. Grind this mixture with just enough water to grind it. Add water as necessary to grind it. Don’t make it too watery, as the curry will be too watery too
Keep this mixture aside

3. Now put the vessel/pan/pot in which you will be making fish curry (I like the clay pots (chatti) from kerala) on the stove in medium heat and add 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil.
Once it is heated add green chillies, onion ginger, garlic and curry leaves and saute for a minute until it becomes slight golden brown colour.

4. Now add the mixture from step 2.

5. Add the soaked Kokum(puli) also (you can add the water in which it was soaked. but dont use the bottom part of the water as it may have sand/dirt etc).

6. Add Salt and water. Water should make it the consistency you like in your fish curry. It is always good to keep it little less than your actual needed consitency, as water will come out of the fish when you add it and cook.

7. Once it starts boiling, add fish to it, and cover it. Once the whole thing starts boiling, simmer the stove and cook it for 20-30 minutes. (fish cooks pretty fast)

8. You can taste fish and curry and add salt, kokum or water if you need more. Cook it for some more time. Switch off the stove, keep it covered for 10 minutes before serving.


Yummy Kerala Style Biriyani (My mom’s recipe)

BiriyaniIngredients for Rice:
Basmati rice – 2 cups (Soak rice in water for atleast an hour)
Cinnamon – 4 one inch pieces
Cloves – 6 nos
Cardamom – 4 nos
Fennel seeds – 1 tbsp
Water – 3 cups
Ghee & Salt


Ingredients for marinating  chicken:-
Chicken – 3 lbs  (Cut the chicken into big pieces – 2 inches piece. Don’t need to cut chicken If you are using Chicken leg pieces. Just make some slits on the piece, so that masala will go in.
Chilly powder – 1 1/2 tbsp
Coriander powder – 1 1/2 tbsp
Turmeric powder – A little
Black pepper – 1 tsp
Garlic-ginger-Green chilly-Cilantro-Mint Leaves paste – 3 tbsp  (you can make more, so that you can use rest for biriyani gravy too)
Masala powder – 1-2 tsp  (I make masala powder  from Fennel seeds-Cinnamon-Cardamom-Cloves- star Anise-Bay leaves)

Ingredients for Chicken gravy:-
Onion(big) – 3 nos (Sliced, Red onions preferred)
Chilly powder – 1 1/2 tbsp
Coriander powder – 3 tbsp
Masala powder – 2 tsp (same from above)
Garlic-ginger-Green chilly-Cilantro-Mint Leaves paste – 2 tbsp
Mint leaves(Pudhina) – 2 stems
Coriander leaves – 2 stems
Roma Tomato – 2-3 (quartered – one tomato in 4 pieces)
Oil- As required
Yogurt – 1/4 cup

Ingredients for Garnishing:
Ghee – As required for frying (I take like 1/2 inch high ghee on a small pan for frying this)
Thinly sliced Onions (red onions preferred) – from 1/2 – 1 onion
Cashews – 20 nos
Raisins – 20-30 nos
Mint leaves(Pudhina) – 3 stems
Coriander leaves – 3 stems

Fry the above garnish items one after other in the order listed above, and keep them aside separately. Onion should be added when ghee is very hot and make sure it doesn’t get burnt. Don’t overcrowd while frying onion. If you have more, do separate batches of frying. After frying onions, you can lower heat to medium. Raisins are done frying when they expand to form balls. Cashew just need to be slightly brown outside.

Note: If you want to reduce amount of ghee used, don’t do this step. Instead use cashews, raisins and leaves for garnishing, without frying in ghee.

Ingredients for Aroma and color:
Rose essence – 1 tsp
Yellow color powder – a pinch
Mix  Rose essence and  color powder, and keep it aside.

Preparation for pan frying Chicken and then making Biriyani Gravy:

1)Mix together all the ingredients for marinating the chicken.
2)Marinate the chicken with the above paste for approximately an hour.(You can do/prep this previous night and refrigerate it)
3) Pan Fry this chicken in oil. Don’t fry the chicken pieces for long time. Otherwise, it will become very dry and hard. Just want the outside to be sealed and fried, inside may not be cooked well. But this will get more cooking time when we make gravy with chicken.  The purpose of doing this is to make the pieces little stronger so that it won’t split into small pieces while making curry.

1) Heat little oil or ghee or both together in a pan or a kadai (for cooking chicken with gravy).
2)Add ginger-garlic paste and saute for sometime. Before that starts browning, add onions and cut green chillies and and saute` well.
3)When it is sauted well and turns slightly brown, add chilly powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder,  black pepper, masala powder and salt and saute again until it makes a nice soft mixture. (About 15mts)
4)Add fried chicken pieces to it. Mix gently without breaking chicken pieces. Cover and  cook in medium heat. So, all mixes well. This will take sometime (like 30mts or so in low medium heat, so that chicken and onion mix can blend well and create a thick biriyani gravy. All water should be gone, and result in a roasted style. It will loosen up when we add curd and tomato later.  You can save the time by cooking rice while this gravy is going on, as you don’t have much to do other than mixing and making sure chicken and gravy is not getting burnt or sticking to the bottom of the vessel.
9) When it is almost dry and roasted, Add yogurt and mix it well. Taste and add more salt if needed. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
10)Add tomatoes, cover and cook. Make sure Tomato layers at the bottom, so that it cooks fast, and gets a roasted feel. You don’t have to blend tomato into the gravy much. It is nice to have pieces of roasted tomato to eat in biriyani. Taste and add more salt if needed. Add Cilantro and Mint leaves to this and mix in.
12) Mix in between. The gravy should be like a  roasted paste. It should not be too dry or watery.  Check salt and add more, if needed.

Preparation for Cooking Rice:

1)Soak rice in water and keep for an hour. Drain water from rice and keep it aside.
2)Heat 2 – 3 tbsp of ghee in a thick bottom vessel (for cooking rice).
3)Add 3 – 4 pieces of Fennel Seeds, cinnamon, Star Anise, cloves and cardamom and stir for a while. (Optional: nutmeg Pieces).
4) When spices gets roasted and a nice aroma comes, Add water. For 1 cup of rice, add 1.5 cups of water. Add Salt to the water for your taste, and allow it to boil.
5)Add the drained rice into it. Mix well, and cover and allow it to be cooked in medium high heat. Keep a close eye, when water starts disappearing, open lid, mix well, cover again, and turn heat to low.  Keep it covered and cook some more time (may be 5-8mts), so that water will disappear from bottom of the vessel too. Turn off the stove, and Don’t open the lid. Leave it covered for 20-30 mts. (it continues to cook while it stays  closed and warm)

For Baking Biriyani:-

For Oven Style:-
1)Take a big shallow oven safe dish. You can use Aluminum foil  trays too instead of flat dish. I usually use 9X13 inch thick baking dish (Glass, Ceramic etc). They are close to two inches high.
2)Coat it with ghee.
3)Put the chicken with gravy as a layer followed by a layer of  the rice. Usually for 2 inch dish you can have only one layer of chicken and rice.
4)Sprinkle few drops of Rose essence and color mix on top of the rice with a spoon carefully. Too much of this will give a very strong smell. So, be careful and drop only few spoons. You can use the same spoon to spread these drops across so the colors spreads bit more.
5)Sprinkle 1 tbsp of ghee on top of it, and spread it. Sprinkle the fried Mint and Cilantro. Sprinkle the fried cashews and raisins on top of it. Press the top layer down with a flat spoon so that the content is packed without much air inside. Cover tightly with an oven safe lid or aluminum foil.
Optional: You can add few slices of pineapple, and boiled eggs on top of the rice, before baking, if you like it.
6)Bake this in the centre of the oven at 350 F for about 20-30 minutes. If you are making more quantity, you can put that in multiple shallow dishes and bake in the oven at the same time.

For Stove top Style:-
Use a big wide vessel coated with ghee or butter to make biriyani. Make layer of chicken,  rice, color/essence, mix, ghee and garnish as described in the above step. You can make repeat the layer if needed. Press the top layer down with a flat spoon so that the content is packed without much air inside. Cover it with a lid and heat the filled vessel on a low flame for approximately 20 – 25 mins. Check the bottom of the vessel in between with a spoon or something to make sure it is not getting burnt. If it is getting burnt, reduce the heat.

For Serving:

Take portions vertically from the baked biriyani so that a serving plate will have both rice and chicken with masala. Accompaniments listed below:

– Biriyani goes well with with lime pickle, Yogurt raita or Sarlas (Vinegar and Red Onion Salad) and pappadam. Raita can be made with Red onions, tomato, green chillies(optional), curd and salt.  Sarlas – I make by mixing thin slices of red onion with, green chillies chopped, white vine vinegar to cover onions, and salt. Leave it mixed for atleast 20-30mts. Can be refrigerated too. I prefer Sarlas over raita for Biriyani. May be Mallu taste buds 🙂
– Use the same quantity of Mutton instead of chicken to make Mutton Biriyani with the same recipe.