Monday, 14 September 2015

Healthier Creamy Chicken Salad...all about compromises!!

Healthier Creamy Chicken Salador the compromise salad...enough yogurt to make me feel good, enough mayo to not make him feel too deprived!! J

Chicken Salad Yogurt Dressing mmskitchenbites

Healthier Creamy Chicken Salad


  • Poached/boiled boneless chicken breast (I add salt, black peppercorns, grated ginger while poaching), shredded or cubed (cubed looks prettier!)
  • Vegetables of your choice, diced, I use – raw: red pepper, yellow pepper, celery, cucumber; sautéed: onions, mushrooms
  • Salad leaves of your choice


(Specifying measurements to give an idea of proportion, adjust to taste and/or qty needed accordingly)
  • Greek Yogurt, 3 tbsp (or plain yogurt hung in a muslin cloth for a couple of hours to drain out most of the water, just ensure it is not too sour)
  • Mayonnaise, 1 tbsp
  • Honey, 1 tsp
  • Dijon Mustard, 1 tsp
  • White Wine Vinegar, 1 tsp (or use lemon juice)
  • Red Chili Flakes, ¼ tsp (optional)
  • Black pepper powder, to taste
  • Salt, to taste


In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt, mayo, honey, mustard, vinegar, chili flakes, salt and black pepper.

Add in the vegetables, shredded chicken and mix well

Cover and refrigerate for about an hour. Serve over salad greens


  • Add grapes or raisins or dried cranberries.
  •  Top it up with some almond flakes. 

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Sweet Corn Thoran/ Sweet Corn Stir Fried With Coconut...old wine, new bottle!!

Sweet Corn Thoran (Sweet Corn Stir Fried With Coconut)...I realized this one needed an updated picture and a separate post of its ownand since we were kind of going through a Kerala vibe here, this was the right time to transfer to a new postsomething the traditionalists would cringe at being called a “thoran”, but it worksyou may decide to call it a salad and have it like a salad (like I do!!) but trust me, it works!! J

Sweet Corn Thoran mmskitchenbites

Sweet Corn Thoran (Sweet Corn stir fried with Coconut)


  • Sweet Corn Kernels, about 1 cup (fresh tastes better but frozen also works. If using frozen corn, thaw first.)
  • Urad dal/ Split black gram lentils/White lentils, ½ tsp (optional)
  • Fresh Ginger, roughly pounded into a paste, ½ tsp
  • Fresh Green chilli, seeds and membrane removed, finely chopped, 1
  • Curry leaves, 4-5
  • Salt, to taste
  • Fresh Coconut, grated or shredded, 2 tbsp (if using frozen, thaw first)
  • Sesame seeds, 1-2 tsp
  • Water, couple of tablespoons
  • Oil, 1-2 tsp


In a pan/skillet/kadhai, toast the sesame seeds till they just begin to change colour. Remove from the pan and keep aside.

In the same pan, heat the oil and add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start spluttering, add in the dal.

Once the dal starts changing colour, add in the green chillies, ginger and curry leaves. Sauté for about 10 seconds.

Add the corn and salt. Sauté for about a minute

Sprinkle in the water and cover to let the corn cook in the steam for 3-4 minutes.

Add in the coconut, mix well and cover. Let the coconut cook with corn for a couple of minutes.

Switch off the heat once the corn is cooked. Toss in the toasted sesame seeds and dig in!!

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Kozhi Thoran/Chicken Thoran (Chicken stir fried with grated coconut) names!!

Kozhi Thoran/Chicken Thoran (Chicken stir fried with grated coconut)...also known as “houseboat chicken” in our home Jthis was part of the dinner feast that we were served during our stay on a houseboat in Alleppey on our way to Kumarakom back in 2010but this one stuck in my head as until then the word “thoran” was somehow only associated with veggies cooked this waythe cook was generous enough to share the recipe and over the years it got its own pet name!! J

Kozhi Thoran mmskitchenbites

Kozhi Thoran/Chicken Thoran (Chicken stir fried with grated coconut)


  • Chicken, skinless and boneless thigh, cut into small bite size pieces, 500gms
  • Shallots, roughly diced, about 50, 1 ½ cups + 1 ½ cups (I normally don’t have shallots at home, so I use an equal mix of Red onion and Brown onion)
  • Mustard seeds, 1 tsp
  • Whole dried red chili, 1-2
  • Fresh Green chilies, 1-2
  • Ginger, 1 inch piece
  • Garlic, 5-6 cloves
  • Curry leaves, about 10-12
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, 2 tbsp + 1 tbsp (traditionally coconut oil is used)

For the marinade:

  • Coriander powder, 1 tsp
  • Turmeric, ¼ tsp
  • Red chili powder, 1 tsp (for heat, use according to your liking)
  • Kashmiri red chili powder, ½ tsp (for colour)
  • Kerala Style Garam Masala, ½ tsp (Preferably use Kerala style Garam Masala or use about  ¼ tsp of any Garam Masala you have on hand, recipe for Kerala style Garam Masala is in the notes section below)

For the Coconut mix:

  • Coconut, fresh or frozen (thawed), finely grated/shredded, about ¾ cup to 1 cup
  • Curry leaves, about 5-6
  • Black Pepper powder, 1 tsp
  • Coriander Powder, 1 tsp
  • Kashmiri Red chili powder, ½ tsp


Rub the chicken with coriander powder, turmeric,  red chili powder, kashmiri red chili powder and garam masala and leave to marinate for a couple of hours to overnight in the refrigerator. (Traditionally chicken is not marinated for this recipe, but I almost always marinate the chicken – since chicken cooks quickly and marinating first improves the flavors). 

Bring the chicken back to room temperature before cooking.

In a mortar and pestle coarsely pound the ginger, garlic and green chilies together (or a couple of pulses in the food processor)

In a pan/skillet/kadhai, toast the coconut till it is just beginning to change colour to pale brown (again, traditionally coconut is not toasted first but we like it better toasted first). 

Remove the coconut from heat and mix in the curry leaves, black pepper, coriander powder and kashmiri red chili powder. Mix everything well and keep aside.

In the same pan, heat 2 tbsp oil and add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start spluttering, add in 1 ½ cup of shallots/onions.

Fry the shallots till they turn golden brown.

Add in the curry leaves, whole red chilies, ginger, garlic and green chilies. Stir and sauté for a minute.

Add in the balance 1 ½ cups of onions and sauté till onions start to turn golden on the edges.

Add in the marinated chicken and toss well on high heat for a couple of minutes.

Lower the heat, cover the pan and let the chicken cook in its own juices for about 15 minutes.

Remove the cover, stir in the coconut mix and salt. Cover again for about 5-7 minutes.

Remove the lid, add the remaining 1 tbsp oil and toss the chicken well. 

Sauté and stir the chicken till all the water evaporates and oil starts shimmering on the sides of the pan – about 5-10 minutes.

Serve hot with paranthas or ghee rice.


  • Don’t let the amount of chilies used scare you too much!! The coconut balances it all out  but if you are not convinced – for the spices start with half the quantity and add more  later,  remove the seeds and membranes from green chilies

  • Kerala Style Garam Masala


  • Fennel seeds, 1 tsp
  • Cloves, 4-5
  • Green Cardamom, 2-3
  • Cinnamon, about an inch long piece
  • Star Anise, ½


Lightly dry roast all the spices on low heat, cool and then grind to a fine powder. 
Use as required and store the balance in an airtight container.

Chicken Thoran mmskitchenbites

Friday, 4 September 2015

Thengai Sadam (Toasted Coconut rice)...home alone!!

Thengai Sadam (Toasted Coconut rice)one of my favourite go to meals when home alone is to add different tempering to rice (there is always, always cooked rice at home)this one has completely different flavor than the other Coconut Rice on the blogdump in a bowl, grab a book, and dig in J

Thengai Sadam (Toasted Coconut rice)


  • Cooked Rice, about 2 cups
  • Coconut, fresh or frozen (thawed), finely grated/shredded, about ½ cup

For tempering:

  • Black Mustard seeds, ½ tsp
  • Urad dal/ Split black gram lentils OR Chana dal/ Split Bengal gram OR Both, 1 tsp
  • Dried Whole Red Chilies, 1-2
  • Green Chilies, slit, 1-2
  • Ginger, finely chopped, about 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves, a few
  • Hing/Asafoetida, a big pinch (optional)
  • Peanuts OR Cashews OR Both, 2-3 tbsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, 1 tbsp


In a pan/skillet/kadhai, toast the coconut till it just begins to change colour. Remove and add to the rice with salt. Mix everything well and keep aside.

In the same pan, heat the oil and add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start spluttering, add in the dals.

Once the dals start changing colour, add in the green chilies, ginger, curry leaves, hing, peanuts, cashews and dried red chilies.

Stir well and fry everything on low heat till the peanuts and cashews turn golden brown.

Add in the rice mix to the pan. Stir well but gently to allow the tempering to mix well with the rice.

Switch off the heat once the rice is all warmed up.

Tuck in!!


  • Traditionally coriander leaves are never added. I add them when I eat this rice on its own and omit when serving with a curry.
  • Also, when serving with a curry, I reduce the amount of coconut to about ¼ cup.
  • You can toast the coconut along with the tempering after the nuts turn golden and then add the rice. I find the flavor is better when coconut is toasted earlier and mixed with the rice first (plus the fact that I can toast the coconut in a big batch for a few things in one go)
  • I also add onions to this at times (finely chopped and fried till it starts going soft with the tempering). I like the texture even though it’s never ever used traditionally.
  • If not serving immediately, I prefer to also fry cashews/peanuts separately and keep aside. Top the rice with nuts only when serving or else they tend to go soft and lose that crunch factor. 

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Parrippu Payasam (Mung dal pudding cooked with Jaggery and Coconut milk)...celebrating Onam!!

Parrippu Payasam (Mung dal pudding cooked with Jaggery and Coconut milk)...past week my Facebook feed was flooded with Onam Sadya spread and I could not help but make something as well to celebrate this harvest festival from the state of Kerala...and don't wait till Onam to make this!! J

Parrippu Payasam (Mung dal pudding cooked with Jaggery and Coconut milk)

 (Recipe adapted from Annie Alexander)


  • Cherupayar Parrippu/ Dhuli Mung dal/Yellow Split Mung lentils,  ½ cup or about 100 gms
  • Jaggery, grated/shaved, ¾ cup or about 125gms-130gms ( or according to taste/ the quality of jaggery)
  • Water, 1 ½ cups  to cook the lentils + ½ cup to melt the jaggery
  • Coconut milk, thin, 2 tbsp coconut milk powder mixed with ½ cup lukewarm water ( refer to notes  below)
  • Coconut milk, thick, 4 tbsp coconut milk powder mixed with ½ cup lukewarm water
  • Cardamom powder, ¼  tsp
  • Dry Ginger Powder, a small pinch
  • Cumin powder, a small pinch (I skipped)
  • Salt, a small pinch
  • Cashews, a handful
  • Raisins, a handful, I skipped (I skipped)
  • Coconut slivers, a handful (I skipped)
  • Ghee, 1 tsp + 1 tsp


Heat a large non stick heavy bottom skillet on medium low heat. Dry roast the dal in a pan over medium heat, stirring continuously till it changes colour to golden to medium of the brown – some of the mung will be darker than the others and that is ok as long as they don’t burn!! The roasted dal will smell nutty. Don’t try and multitask while roasting the can go from that perfect golden to burnt in the blink of an eye.

Before and After Roasting

Switch off the heat and spread the dal out on a plate or a bowl. Let it cool down and then wash the dal till water runs clear. Drain the water completely.

Use fresh water for cooking and cook the dal with 1 ½ cups of water in a pressure cooker for 2-3 whistles till it turns mushy and can easily be mashed into a paste.


  • Add ½ cup of hot water to the shaved jaggery. Stir well till the jaggery melts completely. Strain using a muslin cloth or a super fine mesh strainer to remove any impurities. Keep aside. 

  • Prepare both kinds of coconut milk. In the thin coconut milk add the cardamom powder, dry ginger powder, cumin powder and salt. 

  • Heat a tsp of oil in a skillet and fry the coconut slivers, cashews and raisins to a nice golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep aside.

Once the dal is cooked, mash it well into a paste with the back of the spatula (I found using a balloon whisk much easier for this and for cooking the payasam further)

Add the strained jaggery water and the remaining 1 tsp ghee to the dal paste, whisk well and cook on low medium heat till it starts to simmer and thickens up.

Add the thin coconut milk, whisk well and let it cook further for another 15-20 minutes stirring continuously, till the mix thickens up again and reduces/evaporates by about a half.

Add the thick coconut milk, whisk well and cook it till the mix comes to a simmer again.

Serve hot, warm or chilled garnished with the fried cashews, coconut slivers and raisins fried earlier.

Do remember that the payasam will thicken up more and go slightly darker as it cools.


  • Traditionally coconut milk extracted from fresh coconut is added in two to three stages. But with the arrival of instant constant powder, the chances of coconut milk splitting while cooking is next to nil, it reduces the effort and time considerably without comprising too much on the taste. Thin milk to cook and thick added at last stage to ensure the sweetness and flavor is retained in the pudding. Needless to say using If using canned coconut milk: Shake the can well. Mix equal quantity of water with canned coconut milk for thin and use as is for thick coconut milk. 
  • Typically dal to jaggery ratio is 1:2 (by volume). But I have made this payasam thrice now and ½ cup: ¾ cup works well for us for the jaggery I have. 

  • To cook the dal – if using pressure cooker, 1: 3 ratio of dal to water; if using an open pan, 1:5 ratio.

  • The mung dal family...