April 28, 2011

Stir-Fried Raw Papaya / Kaplanga Mezhukkupuratti Recipe

Amma makes a mean raw papaya mezhukkupuratti. We often use raw papaya grown in our frontyard for this but since I live in the land of raw papaya salads, its not hard to find it here in vegetables stores. 

raw papapa stir fry / kaplanga mezhukkupuratti

Look! Smoke! I love the effect. It wasn't super intense because the stir-fry had spent some time on the table while I fixed the lens, etc. If its fresh out of the stove, the effect will be nicer!

raw papapa stir fry / kaplanga mezhukkupuratti

Stir-Fried Raw Papaya / Kaplanga Mezhukkupuratti Recipe
Serves: 2
Source: Amma

1 medium-sized raw papaya
A generous pinch of turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1 tbsp (coconut) oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
6 shallots, crushed
1/2 tsp minced garlic
3 dry red chillies, broken into halves
A few curry leaves

How I Made It:

1. Peel the papaya and cut into thin pieces. Boil in sufficient water along with turmeric and salt until the pieces are soft. Ideally, add about 1 cup water and add more if needed. This is better than having to drain excess water. 

2. Heat the oil in a pan and add all ingredients listed below oil. When the mustard seeds begin to pop and the shallots and garlic give out a nice flavour, add the cooked papaya. Stir-fry for another 5-6 mins and remove from fire. 

raw papapa stir fry / kaplanga mezhukkupuratti

Serve hot with rice and gravy of choice. 

This recipe goes to Kerala Kitchen hosted by Ria this month. 

April 25, 2011

Marche Restaurant, Vivocity, Singapore

About 2 weeks after we got to Singapore, I was home and jobless one fine evening when a junior from school got in touch with me through Orkut (remember Orkut?). I never knew him that well but he added me as a friend and later sent me a message saying "you are in Singapore? Have you been to Marche?". I said "erm, no". He said "go now!". I said "erm, o..k".

For days and weeks after that, that guy messaged me almost every day asking "did you go to Marche yet?". I am not even kidding. This is a true story guys. 

TH and I even passed by a few times because we love Vivocity Mall. But we never went in mainly because we were not the kind of people who would wait for 30 mins in queue to eat food we pay for. 


After 3 years in Singapore, we are converts. We almost love queues as much as any Singaporean out there. Especially if you are served shots of apple juice while you wait.


Marche is a lovely restaurant guys. It has a marketplace concept. There are fresh food stalls inside the restaurant (air-conditioned, thank God for that!) and you are give a card upon entering, which you hand over to the chef at whichever counter you intend to order food from.


As you near the end of the queue, there's a handwritten board that shows today's specials. I almost always end up ordering something from this list. 


Here's the special dish on the day I took these pics (it was New Years Eve 2010). Fresh pan fried Garoupa with a side salad. 


Hot from the bakery stall - cheese buns. 


This is our absolute absolute favourite. Savory crepes with a mushroom and vegetable filling. That cream sauce on the side is to die for!


Our table that day was next to the fresh fruits stall. What a lovely site!


The salad and savory crepe counters. There's fresh ingredients everywhere and the ambience is amazing.


Sweet crepe are served with fresh fruits inside.


There's also Movenpick ice cream to go with the crepes or to be had with some toppings of choice. 


Our drink for the day - rooibus tea.


Spicy chicken skewers. I couldn't finish the entire thing to decided to pack home the rest.


We have taken countless people for dinner here and never once been disappointed. We also always get raving reviews from folks we take here. They have very recently started a loyalty program and we have 2 stamps on it already.

Marche Restaurant
Average price of meal for 2: SGD 50

April 20, 2011

Veg Thai Tom Kha Soup Recipe | Vegan Tom Kha Recipe

Vegetarian Thai Tom Kha soup recipe, step by step. 

Thai recipes are not supposed to be vegetarian. They like their seafood and their meat, and create magic with it. 

vegetarian thai tom kha gai soup

Since some of us like to be vegetarian and eat Thai food, we need vegetarians versions of Thai recipes. Someone's got to do it! 

While I may not be the first, this is an awesome vegetarian Tom Kha recipe. Tom Kha is my favourite Thai soup and I usually order the one with chicken and mushrooms. However, my homemade vegetarian version has tofu and no mushrooms (because I was serving this to someone who doesn't eat mushrooms either!). 

vegetarian thai tom kha gai soup

In Singapore, we get something called a Tom Yam set on most supermarkets that has all the essential ingredients to make vegetarian Tom Kha soup, namely, galangal, lemongrass, thai chillies, kaffir lime leaves, lemon, and shallots. 

Veg Thai Tom Kha Gai Soup Recipe | Vegan Tom Kha Recipe

Galangal is not optional and ginger is a very poor substitute. Galangal tastes nothing like ginger, although they look very similar. 

Veg Thai Tom Kha Gai Soup Recipe | Vegan Tom Kha Recipe

Tom Kha soup is supposed to be watery, not thick, so water is a reasonably good base for the soup. However, if you have the patience to make your own vegetable stock or have access to good vegetarian stock cubes, please use that for added flavour. 

Veg Thai Tom Kha Gai Soup Recipe | Vegan Tom Kha Recipe

For more Thai recipes, check out pad thai recipe, vegetarian green curry recipe and also how to make Thai green curry paste at home. Oh and by the way, if you haven't tasted a good Thai mango sticky rice dessert, you haven't lived. Just saying.

Vegetarian Thai Tom Kha Soup

Serves 2 generously

1.5 cups thick coconut milk
1 cup water / vegetable stock
2 stalks of lemongrass
2-3 1" pieces of galangal
5-6 kaffir lime leaves
4 shallots
1 block of soft tofu cut into 1" cubes
12 button mushrooms, quartered (or any other variety you like)
4-5 Thai chilli padi / serrano chillies
1 tsp sugar
1 lime
Fresh coriander leaves / cilantro to garnish
Salt to taste


1. Discard the bottom 2 inches of the lemongrass. Discard the top woody part and use the middle portion (about 8" of it) for the soup. Cut this part into small circles and set aside.

2. Roughly chop the galangal, chillies, and shallots. Tear the limes leaves into two.

3. Bring water or vegetable stock to a boil and lower fire to a simmer. Add the galangal, lemongrass, shallots, chillies, sugar, and lime leaves. Keep on simmer for 5-7 minutes.

4. Add the coconut milk and the tofu and mushrooms with some salt. Keep on simmer for another 7-10 minutes until the mushrooms are soft.

5. Remove from fire. Squeeze in fresh lime starting with half a lime and then increasing the quantity as you like. Garnish with roughly torn coriander leaves / cilantro. Serve hot.

Veg Thai Tom Kha Gai Soup Recipe | Vegan Tom Kha Recipe

The flavour of Tom Kha soup should be spicy, sour, and sweet from the coconut milk and added sugar. Adjust the ratios according to personal taste.

April 18, 2011

Rava Idli-Rava Idli Recipe-How to Make Rava Idli

Rava Idli Recipe

When MTR does such a great job of producing a great instant rava idli mix, you may ask why I even bother with a from-scratch rava idli recipe. 

south indian rava idli recipe

Well, SJ did it *points fingers* so I wanted to as well. Plus, I had some eno salt in the house and decided that rava idli would be easier than making dhokla from scratch, or something.  

Rava Idli Recipe - From Scratch
Adapted from here
Makes about 10-12 idlis

1 cup sooji / rava / fine semolina
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp channa dal
1 tbsp chopped cashews
1/4 tsp hing
2 tbsp oil
2.5 cups curd / plain yogurt
1 tsp Eno fruit salt (secret ingredient for spongy rava idlis)
A handful finely chopped coriander leaves
Salt to taste

How I Made It:

1. Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds and chana dal.

2. Once the mustard seeds pop and the chana dal starts turning golden brown, add the hing and cashews. Fry until the cashews start turning golden brown.

3. Now add the rava and fry till it turns golden brown (a lot of golden-brown-turning needs to happen in this recipe), approximately 5-7 mins.  Add salt (regular, not eno), mix well, and let it cool.

4. Then add 1 cup of curds to the dry mixture and mix well. Let it rest covered for 10 mins. Add the rest of the curds and mix well ( it should be little thicker than idli batter). Add the Eno fruit salt and mix well. Ladle the batter into idli moulds. Steam in an idli maker or pressure cooker for 10-12 mins (without weight). Allow it to cool and unmould.

south indian rava idli recipe

The best combination for rava idli is onion-tomato chutney but I didn't have the patience for that so served with regular coconut chutney.

PS: Excuse the picture quality. This was dinner on Saturday and I didn't have the patience to set up the light box. 

April 13, 2011

Chow Chow Kootu Recipe | Tamil-Style Kootu Recipe

No kootu I've ever made has looked as pretty as this Chow Chow Kootu. The mom-in-law made this the day after they landed in Singapore earlier last month. Thank God I had some chow chow languishing in the fridge. Sometimes, letting vegetables stay in there results in good things - like this kootu.

You can also try making chow chow chutney recipe and chow chow sambar if you love this vegetable (also known as chayote squash) as much as we do. 

Chow Chow Kootu Recipe | Tamil-Style Kootu Recipe

 Chow Chow Kootu


  • 1 chow chow cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup channa dal / Bengal gram / kadala paruppu

  • Grind Together:
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • A pinch of turmeric
  • 1 tsp jeera / cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 green chilli (optional)
  • Salt to taste

  • For Tempering:
  • 2 tsp (coconut) oil
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp urad dal (optional)
  • A generous pinch of hing / asafoetida
  • A few curry leaves


  1. Wash the Bengal gram and add to the cut, cleaned chow chow. Add 4 cups water and cook on a low open flame until the chow chow is cooked soft and the Bengal gram is cooked yet firm (about 15-20 mins). Add salt and turmeric.
  2. Grind the ingredients in the list well with a bit of added water and add to the cooked chow chow mixture. Mix well and simmer until all extra water is absorbed and the mixture takes a thick consistency.
  3. Heat oil for tempering and add ingredients in the order given. Once the mustard seeds pop and the urad dal turns brown, dunk everything into the kootu mixture and mix well. Adjust salt. Serve hot with rice and kozhambu of choice.
Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 00:10
Cook time: 00:30

Chow Chow Kootu Recipe | Tamil-Style Kootu Recipe


- If the chow chow kootu is too watery even after simmering for a while, mix 1 tsp rice flour with some water and add to the mixture. Bring to light boil and the mixture should get thicker. 

- Another alternative is to drain the water once the chow chow and channa dal have cooked. I don't prefer this method too much because of the loss of nutrients through the water.

April 11, 2011

Tomato Basil Pizza with Gouda Cheese From Scratch - Step by Step Recipe

Making pizza at home from scratch is probably the most satisfying thing you can do as a cook or baker. I have made many pizza recipes at home since this first one with gouda cheese but the recipe for the base of the pizza has always remained the same because it works so well each time.  I am a few days late to post this month's Sweet Punch entry but I had to do it, even if it late. Its pizza from scratch, how can I not?! Update: here's a new 30-min pizza base recipe you may like.

Pizza from Scratch with Gouda Cheese

The first and only time I made pizza from scratch was when I went for cooking classes at Palate Sensations. It was amazing (especially because I didn't partially burn it then) and since then I stopped buying pizza base. What that also meant is, I didn't make pizza at home for ages.

April 6, 2011

Marble Cake Recipe | How to Make Marble Cake, Step by Step Pictures

How to make Indian marble cake recipe - I grew up eating marble cake. It's almost a comfort food for me - warm, spongy marble cake fresh out of the oven being served with Maltova when I am back from school. Ah, bliss. While a chocolate fudge cake was always on top of my favourite cakes list, marble cake was a very close second, as a child.

marble cake recipe

Amma baked pretty often when I was a kid so I don't remember us buying this from outside during the early years of my childhood. When I started college, a family friend opened up a bakery called Johns and Pauls. They sell the best marble cake in Kottayam - hands down. Since they opened shop, I don't think we've made this at home.

For other fabulous tried and tested cake recipes check out apple streusel cake, chocolate cake in microwave (in 7 minutes), tutti frutti cake, and also this pressure cooker cake recipe.

April 1, 2011

Dry Indian Chilli Chicken ~ Indian Chilli Chicken Recipe

Chilli Chicken is probably one of the dishes I crave the most on odd days. There are some restaurants that serve good Indo Chinese food in Singapore but they usually leave me feeling dehydrated because of the amount of oil and MSG they use.

indo chinese dry chilli chicken recipe

This is a super simple version that I cooked at a friend's place. The two non-vegetarians at the table really enjoyed it. If you love similar dishes, check out this Chilli Fish recipe, a South Indian favourite - Chicken 65, and Chicken Majestic, a spicy chicken starter from Andhra.