P for Pangoji (Spicy prawn fritters)

Every PP household worth its salt serves this tea-time delicacy with some regularity. I know I certainly had my share of these in my childhood – vegetarian pangoji on Mondays or Thursdays and pangoji with prawns on any other day. For a true PP, fish or prawns are welcome, no matter what time of day it is!

Pangoji is a dish of anticipation. The wait is as exciting as the dish itself, as anyone who has eaten these will know. It needs the batter to be left to ferment for 4-5 hours, and to us kids, this was way too long. We would be watching the clock every 15 minutes. (It was our version of ‘are we there yet’…)

Be warned, though, these are very addictive, and if you’re watching the calories, make sure you only make these in small batches. It’s the only way to manage portion control with this one.

P for Pangoji

P for Pangoji


125 grams (about 1 cup) wholemeal flour (atta)

1-2 green chillies, finely chopped

1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted

1 teaspoon fenugreek (methi) seeds

a handful of prawns, deveined, cleaned and chopped (Optional)

salt to taste

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

a handful of coriander leaves, chopped

oil to fry


  1. Grind the cumin and fenugreek seeds to a fine powder. It is this combination that gives the pangoji their distinctive flavour.
  2. Next, in a large mixing bowl, add the flour, salt, cumin-fenugreek powder, green chillies. Add a little water to make a thick batter. (It should be thicker than dosa/ pancake batter.) Add the baking powder and coriander and mix well.
  3. If you are using the prawns, add these into the batter now.
  4. Cover the batter and leave it to ferment for about 4-5 hours so that it turns slightly frothy. This helps make the pangoji light fritters instead of turning into stodgy oil sponges.
  5. After it has rested for the 4-5 hours, heat oil in a thick bottomed pan. Drop the batter one spoonful at a time and fry these on medium high heat.
  6. When they turn evenly golden, use a slotted spoon to drain the oil and place the pangoji on a kitchen towel.
  7. Serve hot, possibly with ketchup, if you can be bothered to fetch the bottle while the family attack the serving bowl.
Posted in A-Z 2016, Savoury snacks, Teatime snacks or Brunch ideas | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

O for Orange dessert cups

I have previously written about my mum’s fondness for whipping up desserts. This one bears testimony to one such occasion. This goes back to when we were in school and mum was having the kitchen refurbished. Because the house was a bit of a mess, mum had a makeshift kitchen that could be used only after the builders left. Lunches and dinners were basic and functional affairs. In short, this made us a pretty glum bunch.

However, one evening, mum decided to perk us all up with this dessert. It is a fairly simple fruit salad but mum had served it in hollowed out oranges. (Back then, this was quite a novelty.) In that week, dessert was totally unexpected what with regular meals being a struggle to put together.  The dessert and the way it was served went down an absolute treat!

To this day, I associate these orange cups with being a lovely pick me up on days when the spirits are flagging. Nothing a good dessert can’t solve, eh?

O for Orange dessert cups

O for Orange dessert cups


3 oranges

1 banana, peeled and diced

1 apple, peeled, cored and diced

a handful of berries or pomegranate seeds

1/4 cup condensed milk



  1. Cut off about a third of the orange from the top. Cut a thin slice of the base so it can stand on a plate without rolling off.
  2. With a spoon, carefully scoop out the contents of the orange. Peel and cut into segments.
  3. Place the orange segments in a bowl, add the bananas and apples, berries or pomegranate seeds. You can pretty much use any fruit you like. Make sure you balance a sweet flesh fruit with something crunchy- apples or pears and then another fruit to add a pop of colour – pomegranate seeds, berries etc.
  4. Now add the condensed milk and give it a good stir.
  5. Spoon the mix back into your orange cups and serve.

You don’t have to be feeling blue to make these orange cups. They are a great no cook dessert that can be assembled in a jiffy.

Posted in A-Z 2016, Desserts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

N for Nankhatais

No Christmas at home would be complete without these little powdery sugar pillows that melt in the mouth. It’s Nana’s recipe that mum modified. I’ve changed it slightly too. After all, every generation has to do its bit to claim ownership!

Christmas frenzy used to hit us on the 21st of December, when schools usually closed for the annual Christmas break. From then on, it was a countdown to Christmas, and to having everything ready by Christmas eve and Santa’s visit. The tree usually went up first – the ornaments carefully unwrapped from the decades old tissue paper they were preserved in and the more modern lights twinkling in the dark, in anticipation of the festivities.

Next came the coconut toffee, something my mum made herself and hid away from prying fingers. Cake and cheese straws were next on the list. We must have helped with these but my memory fails me here. I do remember tasting the cake batter though, and wondering why we need bake it at all.

Nankhatais, favourites with my sister and I, were made last, and usually just after dinner on the 24th. I remember mum teaching us how to roll and shape these, and telling us off for pinching some of the dough – under the guise of testing if they were sweet enough. This last minute effort ensured that mum could bake them while we were asleep, dreaming of presents that Santa would leave at the foot of our bed. That was, I suppose, the only way they could have lasted till Christmas.

Cut to a generation later, Nankhatais have found a new fan in our four year old, who calls them ‘snowmen cookies’. His doting grandmother always obliges, and he doesn’t even have to wait all year long. 🙂

N for Nankhatais

N for Nankhatais


200 grams all purpose flour (maida)

150 grams sugar

150 grams ghee or shortening, at room temperature

1 teaspoon baking powder


  1. Cream the ghee and sugar together.
  2. Add the flour and the baking powder and mix well ensuring that you don’t over mix the dough.
  3. Lay a sheet of parchment paper each on two baking trays.
  4. Shape the dough into small balls and press them down slightly. Make a little indent on the top of the cookie dough, with you finger.
  5. Place the trays in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes to chill the dough.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 180 C.
  7. When the dough is chilled and firm, place the baking trays in the oven for about 15 minutes.
  8. The nankhatais are ready when you can see the rim of the base turning golden.
  9. Take the tray out of the oven. Cool the cookies down.
  10. Store in an airtight tin.


Nankhatais are also made with spices and nuts. If you prefer this option, add 1/2 a teaspoon of powdered cardamom and a pinch of nutmeg to the flour.

You can also garnish with nuts.

I’ve made our Christmas version, white as the snow they represent. 🙂

Posted in A-Z 2016, Desserts, Festive food, Goan cuisine | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

M for Malai Kulfi

Malai kulfi made the good old fashioned way always takes me back to Wednesdays in my childhood. I’ll tell you why.

Our school didn’t have the weekend off but we had holidays on Thursday and Sundays. Looking back, it was a rather strange arrangement but back then a mid week break was common practice for the schools in the neighbourhood. So, effectively we treated Wednesday as we do a Friday, now which meant that most dinner rules could be bent.

Wednesday dinners were usually a snack or a version of popular street food options like batate wade or the occasional burger. (Everything was home made, but, of course.) Those were great in themselves, because they offered a break from the usual weeknight staples of dal, fish or meat, chapatis and vegetables. But it was the desserts that we really looked forward to. The sweet tooth of our family is legendary and mum leads the brigade.

She loves baking and making sweets and desserts of all kinds – from trifles and puddings to the more traditional laddoos, shrikhand and, of course, this kulfi.

This is her recipe, made exactly as she does. No shortcuts here. It’s made from full fat milk carefully reduced to half, watched over like a hawk and lovingly served. It also reflects her philosophy towards life. 🙂

Aai, this one is for you.

M for Malai Kulfi

M for Malai Kulfi

Makes: 4 kulfis


1 litre full fat milk

6 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon cornflour


  1. In a thick bottomed pan, pour the milk. Add the sugar and stir well.
  2. On medium high heat, boil the milk. Keep a watchful eye so that it doesn’t boil over. Stir frequently, scraping the sides down. This should take about 45 minutes.
  3. When the milk is almost reduced to half, take a tablespoon of it in a little bowl. Add the cornflour and mix well so that there are no lumps.
  4. Add this back to the milk and continue boiling till it turns a pinkish colour and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  5. Take it off the heat and let cool.
  6. Pour into moulds and freeze.
  7. To unmould, hold the moulds under warm running water and upturn them onto serving plates.
  8. Garnish with chopped nuts. (Optional)


  1. I didn’t have kulfi moulds so I have used paper cups. (You can use popsicle moulds too.)
  2. I cooled the milk and poured into these paper cups. I then covered the cups with some parchment paper to make a lid (held together with a rubber band) and put the cups into the freezer.
  3. When the kulfi was half set, I pushed two skewers through each lid to make these kulfi sticks.

The improvisation was rather fun, the kulfis looked fine and tasted like Aai’s. In my books, that’s a success. 🙂

Posted in A-Z 2016, Desserts, Summer Food Fiesta | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

L for Leftovers Lottery – Paavacha bhuja

Every home has their favourite way to jazz up leftovers and this is one of my favourite thing to do with stale bread.

Bread upma or phodnichi bread is quite a common brunch option across India. This one is slightly different because it uses cloves and cinnamon for flavouring instead of the more common chillies-curry leaves- cumin combination.

Mum used to make this in a cast iron pan. The bread would stick to the bottom and turn crispy and golden. My sister and I would look forward to these scrapings, possibly, more than the bhuja itself.

I have used an anodised pan and did manage to get some crumbs but if you do have a cast iron beauty, I would definitely encourage you to use it for this one.

It is a quick fix and it took me all of 20 minutes from plan to plate. It lasted about half that time on the table. 🙂

Do give it a go and I’d love to know how it fared at your home.

Paavacha Bhuja made from stale bread

Paavacha Bhuja made from stale bread


8-10  slices of bread, cubed

1 tablespoon each, oil and ghee

1 large onion, chopped not too fine

3-4 cloves

1 inch stick of cinnamon

salt to taste

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon paprika or chilli powder

1/2 teaspoon PP sambhar masala (or a tiny pinch of garam masala)

1 tablespoon chopped coriander to garnish



  1. Sprinkle the cubed bread with a little water or milk. Keep aside.
  2. Heat the pan. Add the oil and ghee.
  3. Add the cloves and cinnamon. When you can smell the aroma of these spices, add the onion and fry till golden brown.
  4. Now add the salt, tumeric, chilli powder and PP sambhar (or the garam masala). Mix them with the onions and sprinkle a little water.
  5. Now add the bread and toss until it is coated with the onion and spices mix. Turn up the heat for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Take the bhuja off the heat and garnish with some coriander.
  7. Serve piping hot.
Posted in A-Z 2016, Savoury snacks, Teatime snacks or Brunch ideas | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

K for Kheema (mince) on crackers

My family has always been crackers over Cream Crackers and we treat them like toast, slathered with strange and various toppings. The origins of this version go way back to the 1930s when my grand-aunt, Ini, was a young child.

Apparently, there was this one time when the large and extended family had all gone on a day long picnic. In those days, restaurants didn’t quite exist and food was either taken along or cooked on the spot. The custom in my grandaunt’s family was to take the family cook or ‘khansama’ along so that they could all enjoy some hot food, alfresco.

Fresh air and the outdoors bring on the hunger pangs rather quickly – after all, the whole point of a picnic is the food! Now, the cook didn’t relish being checked on every half an hour by a gang of hungry kids. So he served them mince on crackers to keep the little mouths busy and the tummies full enough to stop them from annoying him while lunch was cooking.

I remember eating this while we were waiting for many a late Sunday lunch to be brought to the table. Clearly, my grandaunt had learnt the secret to calming rumbling bellies while lunch was still on the hob.

The days of cooking a picnic alfresco may have long passed, but kheema on mince is here to stay, at least in our family.

Do you have fond memories of a favourite childhood snack?

K for Kheema on crackers

K for Kheema on crackers


500 grams chicken mince

1 inch piece of ginger, finely grated

3 cloves of garlic, finely grated

1.5 teaspoon turmeric

2 teaspoons paprika or chilli powder

1.5 teaspoons PP sambhar powder or garam masala

salt to taste

1 tablespoon yoghurt

2-3 tablespoons oil or ghee

1 large green chilli, finely chopped

1 large onion, chopped fine + 1/2 cup fried onions

1 large tomato plus 4 tablespoons tomato passata

1 cup peas

1 tablespoon mint

2 tablespoons coriander



  1. Add the ginger, garlic, turmeric, paprika, PP sambhar powder (or garam masala powder) to the mince. Add yoghurt and mix well. Keep aside for about 30 minutes.
  2. In the meanwhile, heat the oil or ghee. When it is hot, add the chilli and let it splutter.
  3. Add the onions and fry well. When they start to brown, add the tomatoes. Cook this well until you have a thick mixture. Add the peas and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  4. Now add the marinaded mince along with the tomato paste. Mix well and add salt to taste. Add water, cover and cook till mince is done.
  5. Uncover and add the mint and coriander. Cook uncovered for 3-4 minutes till the water evaporates. When it is done, take the mince off the heat and let it cool.
  6. Lay out your crackers on a serving platter and spoon some mince onto them.
  7. Serve warm.


I have used chicken mince but you can use lamb mince, if you prefer.

Posted in A-Z 2016, Fish and Meat, Meat and Poultry, Savoury snacks, Teatime snacks or Brunch ideas | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

J for Jeere-Mire (Cumin- Black pepper) Prawns

This is my version of the original ‘jeere- mire chicken’. I found this rather unusual dish in Nana’s recipe book but it was more ‘a notes to myself’ page than a recipe. I’ve substituted prawns for the chicken, but used all the other ingredients described. I made up the measurements as I went along as these were conspicuously absent in the original notes.

I don’t have anything to compare it with, but I quite liked the kick of the pepper along with the heat of the red chillies. I have added some curry leaves which aren’t in the original notes.

The spice mix is quite similar to some of the other Goan recipes that call for ginger-garlic and chillies to be ground together with cumin and a splash of malt vinegar. It’s quite a heady aroma, so I wouldn’t recommend trying to sniff it while you’re grinding the masala. It can set off a proper sneezing fit.

It is quite a fiery dish and I would highly recommend balancing it with some milder accompaniments. I imagine that Nana might have served this with some coconut rice but we will never know.

As for me, I like the idea of serving this with some Prosecco. 🙂

J for Jeere-Mire Prawns

J for Jeere-Mire Prawns


300 grams prawns, shelled and deveined

1 medium onion, chopped fine

1 small tomato (or 2 tablespoons tomato passata)

3-4 curry leaves

4 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons chopped coriander

For the spice paste:

1 inch piece of ginger

2 cloves of garlic

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1-2 dry red chillies, seeds and all

8-10 peppercorns

salt to taste

1-2 teaspoons malt vinegar


  1. Grind all the ingredients for the spice paste with a 2 tablespoons water. You need a smooth paste.
  2. Marinade the prawns with the paste and add some salt. Keep aside.
  3. Heat the oil. Add the curry leaves and the onions. When the onions are caramelised add the tomato paste or chopped tomato. Cook till the tomatoes are mushy and the onions and tomatoes have come together.
  4. Add the prawns along with all the spice paste they were marinaded in. Add 1/4 cup of water and cook on high till prawns are done and the water has evaporated.
  5. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot.


  1. To serve this as a curry simply add more water when cooking the prawns.
Posted in A-Z 2016, Fish, Goan cuisine, Gravy dishes, Seafood | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I for Idli stuffed with chutney (aka Vafole)

The puritans may argue that idli and vafole are not interchangeable. However, for all practical purposes, I think that idli batter does the job beautifully.

In the days of yore, when everything was made from scratch, I would watch in fascination as the ingredients, were soaked, pounded and left to ferment. The coconut chutney was hand ground on a special stone called ‘paata-varvanta’ till it was the texture of fine velvet. Aji didn’t think that mixer-grinders could do the job as well and that the heat from the appliance would ruin the taste of the chutney, which had to be just so. Sadly, for us creatures of the modern conveniences era, a food processor/ mixer-grinder will have to do, although I am still envious of those who enjoy the luxury of being able to do this the old fashioned way.

Whichever way you choose to make these vafole or stuffed idlis, no one can argue that they make a perfect snack. Hot, stuffed with a spicy filling (chutney, potatoes, mince – the choices are many) and a smooth texture that allows your taste buds to lull you senses into a general feeling of ‘all’s well with the world’. Add a cup of steaming coffee and I’m in food heaven.

Stuffed Idlis or Vafole - Work in progress

Stuffed Idlis or Vafole – Work in progress


1 kg of idli batter

1 cup of green chutney

2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil for greasing the moulds

ghee (for topping the vafole – optional)

I for Idlis (or vafole), stuffed with chutney

I for Idlis (or vafole), stuffed with chutney


  1. You can choose to use a traditional idli stand or you can use metal muffin trays that can withstand the steaming process.
  2. Grease the moulds lightly with the oil.
  3. Fill the moulds with the batter to the half way mark. Add a table spoon of the chutney (or potatoes/mince). Top with batter so that you mould is full but still has a little breathing space for the mixture to rise.
  4. Place the moulds in a steamer. (I use a rice cooker.)
  5. Steam for about 10-12 minutes until the vafole are cooked through and fluffy.
  6. Run a blunt knife around the base of the vafoles to release them from the moulds.
  7. Top with some ghee (optional) and serve hot.



  1. I have chosen to make the vegetarian option today. You can use a variety of fillings like leftover potatoes. Mince is a popular choice at home, but naturally. 🙂
  2. Try and use up the vafole on the same day. They don’t heat very well and the microwave destroys the chutney, in this case.
Posted in A-Z 2016, Savoury snacks, Teatime snacks or Brunch ideas | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

H is for Kelyacha Halwa (Banana Halwa)

Kelyacha halwa or halwa made from very ripe plantains is my Aji’s specialty. She made it a few times during the Indian monsoons, when the long red plantains (known as rajeli keli) are in season. We ate it as fudge, and Aji sometimes stuffed a version of it into flatbreads to make kelyachi poli. It made going back to school after the long summer holidays much more bearable.

The month of Shravan was a special one with many different reasons to celebrate. It featured a veritable smorgasbord of seasonal ingredients and festive food and this halwa featured often.

Kelyacha halwa is a labour of love, but the final product is worth the time and patience it soaks up. If I were to make a top 5 list of the recipes that I treasure as my culinary inheritance, this would be the jewel in that list.


3 very ripe bananas

180 grams sugar

2 tablespoons ghee + 1/2 a teaspoon for greasing the plate

Kelyacha halwa

Kelyacha halwa


  1. Mash the bananas with a fork, until you have a smooth and lump free mash.
  2. Mix the sugar and the ghee in.
  3. Heat a thick bottomed pan.
  4. Add the banana mixture and stir frequently so that the mixture does not stick to the bottom.
  5. Keep stirring for about 8-10 minutes which is when it should start becoming thick and sticky. Scrape down the sides and mix the bits in.
  6. When it turns a deep golden brown and it is difficult to stir the spoon through the mixture, take it off the heat. The consistency should be that of a sticky toffee or dense fudge.
  7. Grease a deep plate with 1 teaspoon (approx.) ghee.
  8. Spoon the halwa into this plate. Smooth out the ridges and furrows with the back of a spoon and let cool for a couple of hours.
  9. Cut the halwa into pieces and serve.


  1. I have used regular Caribbean plantains for this recipe. If you are using sweeter plantains or bananas, you may want to reduce the amount of sugar you use.
  2. Some versions of this halwa also call for cardamom powder to be added to it while cooking. I have stayed true to the version my Aji makes and have left this out.
Posted in A-Z 2016, Desserts, Festive food, Seasonal food | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Ganpati special – Green Peas or Vataanyachi bhaaji

I wrote about the Ganpati celebrations at my grandparents’ home and the festivities that followed. If you’ve read about it here, you will have noticed the rather unusual menu for that day.

There is a simple explanation to it. The Ganpati set up used to be an elaborate and laborious one. Since the idol was made at home by my granduncle it had to be perfect, as did the decorations. This meant that the idol would only be ready to be installed that evening, unlike most homes where the idol is installed and the puja done in the morning. This evening schedule meant that the first proper meal of the day could only be had after offering it to Ganpati. Lunch was therefore a bit of a compromise, and could not include grains of any sort. Salads being an alien concept back then, the next best thing was this dish of spicy peas washed down with some cool lemonade.

There was always something special in the air that day that made this rather frugal meal simply delicious.

It’s fabulous on its own but now I sometimes serve it with steamed rice and plain lentils as a quick weekday dinner.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and continue to do.

Ganpati chi bhaaji (Vataane)

Ganpati chi bhaaji (Vataane)


400 grams green peas, shelled

2 tablespoons oil

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1 teaspoon each turmeric, chilli powder and sambhar powder*

salt to taste

1 onion, finely chopped (optional)

a pinch of asafoetida

Green Peas

Green Peas


  1. In a large saute pan, heat the oil. Add asafoetida and cumin seeds.

  2. Once the cumin seeds splutter, add in the spices. Take the pan off the heat and swirl the oil so that the spices are well mixed. Add in the onions and put the pan back on the heat.

  3. Cook till the onion is transparent and add the peas. Add salt.

  4. Cover and cook on low-medium heat till the onions are mushy and the peas are done.

  5. Serve hot.



  1. The onions are cooked till they are mushy and almost invisible to the eye.

  2. It’s the peas that are the stars of this dish so use the best of the season. If you are using petit pois you may not need to cook them for as long.

  3. This also makes a great filling for hand pies/samosas.

  4. The sambhar masala is a garam masala unique to the Pathare Prabhu community. You can omit it altogether or use a pinch of regular garam masala in its place.


Posted in A-Z 2016, Festive food, Seasonal food, Seasonal Veggies, Vegan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Fasting and Feasting in true Maharashtrian style

Fasting and Feasting may seem contradictory, but not to a true blue Pathare Prabhu. The logic is simple – you can abstain from food groups but you don’t have to eat boring. Can’t argue with that, can you?

There is a Marathi saying which goes ‘Ekaadashi, duppat khaashi’. Loosely translated, it means that on the Ekadashi day (which is traditionally a day of fasting) you end up eating twice as much.

So what is it that gets us all excited about denying ourselves?

Try these for a start. These are made on the days when you are required to abstain from grains.

First up is Varyacha rava (also called Bhagar), made from sawa millet (seeds of a wild grass).

Fasting food : Variche tandul or bhagar

Fasting food : Variche tandul or bhagar


1/2 cup variche tandul (aka samo seeds or sawa millet)

1 tablespoon ghee

1 small potato, peeled and cubed

1 small green chilli

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 tablespoons peanuts, roasted and crushed

salt to taste

1 tablespoon grated coconut (optional)


  1. Wash the variche tandul and keep aside.
  2. In a pan, heat the ghee and add the cumin seeds and the chopped green chilli. When they crackle, add the tandul and the potatoes and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add 1 cup water and salt. Stir, cover and cook till done. This can take about 5-7 minutes for this quantity.
  4. Top with peanuts and coconut.
  5. Serve hot.

Note: This is usually served with a small bowl of lightly sweetened yoghurt.


Here are some other fasting foods that we feast on.

Sabudana vade

Konefal ani chatni (Purple yam with green coconut chutney)


Duppat khashi, indeed. It’s quite apt considering the variety of delicious foods to choose from.


This post is part of the A-to-Z Challenge and I’m blogging all through April on the theme ‘Befores and Afters’. #AtoZchallenge

Posted in A-Z 2016, Potatoes, Savoury snacks, Teatime snacks or Brunch ideas | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

E for Eggs on crackers

Now this certainly does not qualify as an heirloom recipe by any stretch of imagination. And no, it didn’t come from my grandmum’s recipe books, though it does come from my mum’s repertoire. That’s excuse enough – because with a theme like Befores and Afters, I can’t not include this one here.

This was one Before that mostly used to be an afterthought. It was put together in haste when we had unexpected friends drop in unannounced for a drink and a chinwag. Yes, they did do that in the good old days. But I digress.

You can use what you have to hand to assemble these – crackers, Monaco, Ritz biscuits, saltines – whatever you call them in your part of the world.

I do think the ketchup on top was just to prove that some effort had gone into it. I remember being served these for an afternoon snack in a hurry. As a child, there was nothing I wouldn’t eat if it was topped with ketchup. Some things never change!


Eggs on Monaco crackers

Eggs on Monaco crackers


Hard boiled eggs, one per person

A pack of crackers

A few tablespoons of ketchup



  1. Peel the hard boiled eggs and slice them.
  2. Spread the crackers on a platter. Top with the slices of hard boiled eggs.
  3. Top with a dollop of ketchup

Enjoy your very fancy Oeufs aux Monaco. 😉


This post is part of the A-to-Z Challenge and I’m blogging all through April on the theme ‘Befores and Afters’. #AtoZchallenge

Posted in A-Z 2016, Teatime snacks or Brunch ideas | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

D for Dhapate

Dhapate, in Marathi, usually means a sharp slap on the back. These pancakes, similarly, derive their name from being slapped onto the griddle. They are a close cousin of ‘Thalipeeth’ – a fiery, tear inducing version of the same and also served with some ghee and pickles.

Dhapate are traditionally made from jowar (millets or sorghum) flour while Thalipeeth is made from a mixture of wheat, gram and other flours. As with most gluten free flours, this one lacks elasticity and is difficult to roll out, so you use your wet palms to pat them into shape and ‘slap’ them onto a hot griddle.

There’s something very satisfying with kneading the dough, shaping it and hearing the dhapate sizzle in the heat.

I have made mini ones that can be dipped into a sauce or used as a scoop for dips.

Be sure to serve them hot and watch them disappear. The only thing you will be smacking is your lips.


D for Dhapate

D for Dhapate


3 cups jowar/millet flour

1 cup grated onions

1 teaspoon grated garlic

1 green chilli, chopped fine

1 tablespoon lightly toasted sesame seeds

1 tablespoon peanuts, toasted and crushed

4-5 tablespoons chopped coriander

1/2 teaspoon paprika or chilli powder

salt to taste

oil to knead the dough

3 tablespoons melted ghee


  1. In a large bowl, sift the flour and the salt. Add the onions, garlic, chilli, sesame seeds, peanuts, paprika. Add about 3-4 tablespoons oil and knead the dough using water sparingly. You need a firm but pliable dough.

  2. Heat the griddle and brush it with the melted ghee.

  3. Divide the dough into 12-15 balls, about the size of golf balls.

  4. Wet your palms and flatten each ball into a disc, pressing down to make sure you have an even thickness all over.

  5. Slap these discs down on the griddle. Brush them with some more melted ghee, drizzling some around the circumference too.

  6. Turn them over after 3-4 minutes, ensuring they are golden brown on both sides.

  7. Place them on paper towels to get rid of any excess ghee.

  8. Serve hot with ketchup or a yoghurt dip.



This post is part of the A-to-Z Challenge and I’m blogging all through April on the theme ‘Befores and Afters’. #AtoZchallenge

Posted in A-Z 2016, Savoury snacks, Teatime snacks or Brunch ideas | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

C for Chicken Cafreal

I can truly say, hand on heart, that I have never eaten chicken Cafreal in my childhood. This dish often featured in stories about Marianne, reportedly an outstanding cook, and also the housekeeper of the ancestral home in Goa. My dad would tell us about how she would cook the most exotic food, over a roaring wood fire in her very basic kitchen. Marianne would delight in feeding him and his cousins when they visited Goa in the holidays, turning out culinary masterpieces for every meal.

My Nana (dad’s mum) was too old to cook, as far as I can remember. Her passion was making pickles. So it’s no surprise that this dish eventually fell off the menu.

I finally got to taste the famous Cafreal at Souza Lobo’s in Goa. It was every bit as delicious as the stories I had heard.

I’ve had fun recreating it from Nana’s notes and felt like I was in the Potion’s classroom in Hogwarts, conjuring up some magic. 🙂

I think it is so good that it deserves the singular attention that one can lavish on an appetiser – without the distraction of other competing food on the plate.

I’d love to know what you think.

C for Chicken cafreal

C for Chicken cafreal


350 grams chicken, chopped into bite sized pieces

10-12 peppercorns

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon poppyseeds (khuskhus)

3 cloves of garlic

1 inch piece of ginger

2 green chillies

25 grams coriander leaves

1 inch piece cinnamon

2 cloves

1 small ball of tamarind (a little smaller than a walnut in size)

1 small onion, chopped fine or 1/2 a cup fried onions

salt to taste

2 tablespoons oil or ghee

Chicken cafreal wraps

Chicken cafreal wraps



  1. Soak the tamarind in some warm water. When it has soaked for about 20 minutes and has turned soft extract the juice, squeezing the tamarind pods with your fingers. Keep this juice aside.
  2. Grind into a fine paste the cumin, poppy seeds, ginger-garlic, chillies, coriander, cloves and cinnamon. Use the tamarind water to grind the spices. Use just enough water to allow you to grind these to a fine paste. Add salt.
  3. Marinade the chicken in this paste and keep aside for an hour or two.
  4. Heat the oil or ghee and fry the onions till golden brown.
  5. Now add the chicken and fry on medium heat, turning the pieces until they are cooked through.

Serve hot.

This version makes 2-3 servings.


This post is part of the A-to-Z Challenge and I’m blogging all through April on the theme ‘Befores and Afters’. #AtoZchallenge

Posted in A-Z 2016, Chicken, Goan cuisine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

B for Batatewade

These golden balls are a very popular street snack in India. The one rule of eating out in India is that if it’s fried, hot, and spicy, you’re probably good to go. Oh, and always follow the crowds. That won’t be too difficult where these batate wade or potato dumplings are concerned. It’s one of Mumbai’s signature dishes and you will find yourself following your nose and a stream of people in search of your next fix.

My mum and grandmum used to try and wean us off eating street food by making these at home, accompanied by generous lashings of garlic chutney that’s an integral part of this dish.

As much as I enjoy these when I am in the mother city, I need to have my quick fix when I’m homesick and the cravings hit hard. So, here’s my version of a classic. I hope I can do it justice.

Batatewade - classic Mumbai street food

Batatewade – classic Mumbai street food


For the mash:-

4 large potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed

1/2 a teaspoon mustard seeds

8-10 curry leaves

2 small cloves of garlic, chopped fine

1-2 green chillies, chopped fine

a pinch of turmeric

salt to taste

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the batter:-

1/2 cup gramflour (besan)

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon chilli powder / paprika

salt to taste


Oil to fry the wade


  1. Heat the oil until it is really hot. Add the mustard seeds, garlic, chillies and curry leaves. When they crackle and splutter, take this off the heat. Add the turmeric and swirl it around in the oil.
  2. Pour this fragrant oil into the potato mash while it is still warm. Add the salt.
  3. Mix well until it is well incorporated.
  4. Now make the batter. Add the turmeric, chilli powder, salt to the besan. Mix well.
  5. Now add enough water to make a thick batter. Thin enough to run off the spoon but thick enough to leave a trail in the batter. (The batter needs to coat the wade and hold on to them.)
  6. Now grease your palms and divide the mash into evenly round balls.
  7. Heat your frying pan and add enough oil to deep fry the batate wade. The balls need to be submerged in the oil.
  8. Dip each ball of the mash into the batter and add them to the frying pan.
  9. Each wada needs its own space in the pan so add fewer than you think can fit into it.
  10. When they turn golden and crunchy, take them out onto paper towels that can soak up excess oil.
  11. Serve hot with generous portions of chutney. Green chutney is fine but the fiery garlic one is what will establish your credentials of being a true blue Mumbaikar.


This post is part of the A-to-Z Challenge and I’m blogging all through April on the theme ‘Befores and Afters’. #AtoZchallenge

Posted in A-Z 2016, Batate (Many ways to cook potatoes), Savoury snacks, Teatime snacks or Brunch ideas, Vegan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments