Thursday, October 11, 2012


Yes, the best authentic modaks, even if it is a bit late to make them for Ganesh Chaturthi. This recipe is from my friend Sulabha Kulkarni who is an acknowledged expert on the subject. This recipe is for Meena and Lavanya, who missed their quota this time.

The dough:

Rice flour 1 cup,  water, ghee, peanut oil .

Mix in *cold*  water until the flour has the consistency of batter for pakodas. Add ghee and 2 1/2 tsps of peanut oil. Cook on stove top till translucent. The mixture should be steaming well, for at least 5 to 10 minutes.  Let the steamed dough sit till it is cold enough to touch. Knead to a stiff dough. The dough should be stiff enough to roll out. Add more rice flour if necessary. Roll into rounds.


Mix grated coconut 2 cups, cardamom powder 1/4 tsp, roasted ground poppy seeds and grated jaggery (1 1/2 cup). Cook on stove top and cool.

Put the stuffing in the  rolled out dough and shape as in the picture above. Put them into a container with holes at the bottom and steam for ten minutes. Eat with ghee, of course after offering them to Ganpati Bappa, as below.

Here is a microwave version.  Mix the ingredients for the stuffing in a bowl. Microwave on medium power for 3 minutes. Then stir and microwave on high power for 2 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to dry out.

Mix the ingredients for the dough with one cup water and knead into a ball. Sprinkle some water on the kneaded dough and microwave on high power for 2 minutes. Remove from microwave, knead again with oil and water. microwave on medium power for 30 seconds just before rolling out and forming into modaks with the stuffing.

Put the modaks in a plate, cover with a paper plate and microwave on high for 2 1/2 minutes.
Meena, tell me if it worked out. It should, it even worked for me. I had the best P.G. Vaidya flour, from Pune, however. It helps!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Goan fish curry

Here is a staple of Goan as well as restaurant food. However, the homemade version has an entirely different taste. This version is from a newspaper cutting and has been contributed by Ms Diana Raja. It has a few variations by us.


Fish (Sliced 400 gms ) (Best with pomfret)
Onion - 1/2 -1
Chopped tomatoes- 2
Green chillies- 2
Coconut milk - 1 cup
Oil- 1/2 tbsp
Salt - to taste

For the paste
Dry chillies- 8-9 nos
Corriander seeds 1-1/2 Tbsp
Cumin seeds -1/2 tsp
Chopped ginger-1/2 tsp
Tamarind paste-3/4 tbsp
Turmeric powder -1/2 tbsp
Water - as required

(Grind to a fine paste)

Clean the fish fillets thoroughly with water.
Rub the fish slices with salt, turmeric powder and red chilli powder (one pinch each). Set aside for 30 minutes.Grind the onions to a paste. Fry in oil till the paste turns pink and add the rest of the masala paste. Fry the mixture and add the chopped tomatoes (tomato paste is fine, too). Fry for a few minutes, and then add coconut milk and water and allow to boil.

Add the fish, green chillies and salt. Cook till the fish is done and the gravy reaches the desired consistency. Garnish with green corriander leaves.

(Leave out the tamarind paste if you don't like it, but I don't think Goans would do that. Again, curd can be substituted for coconut milk, but the same warning holds.)

Short cuts:

You can buy standard Goan fish curry masala. Some versions do not require you to add anything other than fish and water. Parampara has a good version, but use 1/3 what the packet recommends.

Nothing gives the taste that fresh extracted coconut milk does, but the standard versions in tetrapacks are not bad at all. In fact, nothing gives the taste that fresh ground masalas do, if you can do it, and that starts with ginger garlic paste.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Chocolate log

Many years ago, Kasturba Nagar in Adyar used to boast of a Gourmet club, which assembled every Saturday to cook assorted delicacies, and polish them off. This Sunday, a truncated version of this club assembled to remember old times, and also Rahul on his birthday. Meena dug out this hoary recipe for chocolate log for the dessert. It worked pretty fine and also came out really pretty as you will see in the photos.

Meena says:

This is a major assembly job. You have to make a filling (can be
warmedup jam, but we made chocolate custard), a frosting, and a sponge
cake sheet, and then you have to assemble it all at the right times.
The end result is worth all the trouble!

I made things in the following order: first the custard, then the
sponge, then the assembly. While it chilled, I made the frosting, and
put it over an already chilled log.

The chocolate custard filling (about 1 cup)

3/4 cup milk
1/2 cap vanilla essence
5-6 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp flour
1 egg 1 yolk
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tbsp butter

Scald milk + vanilla + chocolate. Blend and mix over very low heat
(the recipe calls for heating over, not in, water in a double boiler,
but I can't be bothered with that) the sugar, flour, and eggs. Cream
until light. Add scalded milk gradually, stirring, and cook until
boiling point, stirring continuously. Remove from heat and continue
stirring until all steam is released.


The roll cake (10.5 x 15.5 x 1 inch pan)

4 eggs, separated.
3/4 cup powdered sugar.
1 tsp vanilla essence.
3/4 cup maida
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

Place a butter paper sheet on the pan and grease it well.

Beat egg yolks until light. Add sifted sugar gradually, and beat until
creamy. Add the vanilla.

Sift together the maida and baking powder Add gradually to egg mixture
and beat until smooth.

Whip egg whites until stiff, not dry. Fold lightly into batter with
the chopped nuts.

Pour the batter onto the greased butter paperin the pan. Spread it out
to cover the surface. Bake for 13 minutes in a preheated oven.

Keep ready a damp tea towel on which another butter paper sheet is
spread out. Sprinkle some confectioner's sugar on the paper.

As soon as the cake is done, invert it onto the towel+paper. Peel off
the butter paper from the cake. With a sharp knife, trim off any
crispy edges of the cake. Using the towel for support, roll up the cake
(from the short side, to get a 10 inch long roll) while still warm,
and keep rolled for a minute. The cake will be about half an inch
high, and may crack a bit while you roll it, but hopefully will not
crack through. Now unroll, spread with warm filling (stop an inch from
the edge), and re-roll. Place the roll, seam side down, on the serving
dish and let it cool.

Spread the frosting evenly all over the roll. Cover up the sides
too. Let the roll chill for a while. Then, using a fork, score lines
in the frosting to make the cake resemble a log.

Fudge frosting (makes 1 and 1/2 cup)

1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup cocoa
5 tbsp butter
1 cup finely powdered sugar

In a small heavy saucepan over very low heat, combine the cream and
chocolate. Stirring constantly, heat just until melted and
smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the powdered sugar.