Tag Archives: Ginger

Ethiopian Tomato Salad

There’s a new salsa in town!

Yes, I am talking of this humble Ethiopian tomato salad which has become our homestead’s current salsa fixation.

Similar ingredients…yet not similar flavours, the signature flavour that marks this tomato salad different from a traditional salsa is ginger.

Vegetarian meals are quite common in Ethiopia; simple and humble meals yet packed with flavour making the best use of ingredients available locally. Some of the common dishes that make up a traditional Ethiopian vegetarian platter is the yemisir wot – an oily red lentil stew generously spiced, yekik alicha – a yellow split pea stew flavoured with turmeric, tikil gomen – carrots, potatoes and cabbage simmered in a turmeric sauce.

Simple salads are also an integral part of the platter, this Ethiopian tomato salad being an example. And of course, no meal is complete without the breaking of the injera.

Much like the Indian style of eating, Ethiopians believe in a communal meal – friends and family coming together around the food. And fancy cutlery has no place here, pieces of injera are broken and the fingers are deftly used to scoop up the lentils, stews and salads. Eating with your hands might seem like the most natural thing for those who are used to it but for our Western counterparts, this can often be the most challenging part of a meal.

I found some gorgeous heirloom tomatoes at the market and used these for this salad. I used both the green and red varieties but you could use just regular tomatoes. Also, I love chunky pieces of tomatoes in my salsa/salad instead of the saucy types so I went for a rough chop.


Like I mentioned, the signature or defining flavour of this Ethiopian tomato salad comes from ginger. Grated ginger is added to olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to make a flavourful dressing for the tomatoes. And for that touch of heat, chopped yellow onions and fresh jalapenos!



This Ethiopian tomato salad recipe comes from here.


1. 3 large heirloom tomatoes; roughly chopped
2. 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (use white or red if you cannot find yellow)
3. 2 fresh jalapenos, finely chopped (deseed if you wish to)

For the dressing:

4. 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
5. 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
6. 1.5 tsp grated fresh ginger
7. Salt, to season
8. Black pepper, to season


1. Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing and keep aside.
2. Mix the chopped tomatoes, onions and jalapenos in a large bowl.
3. Add the dressing and mix well just before serving.



Enjoy it as a traditional salad or as a chunky salsa….I did both!



Puli Inji/Tamarind Ginger Chutney

A classic, traditional chutney of Kerala, Puli Inji which means tamarind ginger chutney is unheard of in other parts of India and of course, rest of the world.

While the sweet tamarind chutney of the Northern regions of India achieved a cult status because of its use in the chaats (Indian street food), Puli Inji remains virtually unknown.


Puli Inji/tamarind ginger chutney is a common feature in most Kerala households, but especially prepared during the festival of Onam; it has a very important place on the banana leaf feast sitting right next to the pickles.

This tamarind ginger chutney is my absolute favourite and I would request my mom to prepare a bottle for me every time I came home for vacation. She would make two, fully knowing that I would like to carry a bottle back to the hostel (it made the hostel grub much more edible).

I always thought that making this chutney involved a lot of expertise which is why till now, I refused to learn how to prepare it. But this Onam (which went by in September and yes, this post was due long ago), I decided to give it a go and called up my mom for the recipe. She was surprised to hear that I thought it’s a complicated chutney to prepare. After reassuring me that it was indeed very simple, she gave me a detailed recipe with instructions; you know how moms are – even if they know u can cook, they will start from switching on the gas stove.


I was delightfully surprised that this tamarind ginger chutney was indeed an easy affair. I got it right in the very first attempt – a taste of my childhood perfectly captured.

Traditionally, puli inji is served as an accompaniment with rice and other curries but you can use in any way your taste buds desire.

If I had to describe puli inji to anyone, it would go like this…..a tangy chutney with the freshness of aromatic ginger, fiery green chillies balanced by the sweetness of jaggery. Lipsmacking!



1. 300 gm seedless brown tamarind (or remove seeds before use)
2. ½ tsp turmeric powder
3. 1 tsp red chilli powder
4. 200 gm ginger, finely chopped
5. 6 green chillies, finely chopped
6. 3 sprigs curry leaves
7. 80 gm jaggery
8. ½ tsp roasted fenugreek powder
9. 2 tbsp rice flour
10. ½ tsp mustard seeds
11. ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
12. 3 dry red chilli
13. 2 sprigs curry leaves
14. Salt, to season
15. 2 tbsp coconut oil


1. Soak the tamarind in one litre of lukewarm water for 15 minutes. Then grind it into a paste. Strain into another bowl.
2. Place on low heat and add turmeric and red chilli powder.
3. Add the chopped ginger, chillies and curry leaves; continue to cook on low heat till bubbles appear at the edges.
4. Add the jaggery and season with salt.
5. At this stage, it is important to taste and adjust the flavours; it should be a perfect balance of tanginess, heat, aromatic ginger and sweet. If you feel any of the flavours are out of proportion, adjust accordingly.
6. Add the roasted fenugreek powder and mix well.
7. Lightly roast the rice flour and add to above, to thicken the chutney.
8. Once the chutney has thickened, remove from heat.
9. Add a tempering with oil, mustard seeds, fenugreek, dry red chilli and curry leaves.
10. Cool and store in air tight bottles or containers. This chutney can be stored for upto a month when refrigerated; i.e. if it lasts so long!




Pan Fried Salmon (with a Kerala style spice marinade)

As most of you would have noticed, the name change is complete. Skinny Chef is gone and the Spice Adventuress is here to stay. It might seem to many that it is just a name change but believe me, the journey was not an easy one.

To start off, coming up with a new name took longer than I imagined it would. Skinny chef had become my alter ego and to think of a name that captures my food philosophy and interests was really difficult. Every name I came up with was already thought of or in use elsewhere. Let me be honest, I am not super happy with the new name but I went ahead with it as it perfectly captures my love for spices. And yes, I am a little too adventurous with my spice blends and marinades.

The transition from the old domain to the new one on WordPress was easy. But on Facebook, it is a whole different story. With FB introducing a whole lot of money-making schemes and policies, I eventually figured out that the only option for me was to create a new page altogether. And this meant a significant drop in numbers and stats which is a big dampener after all the hard work I have put in over the past year.

So a little help from all of you guys; please take a moment to ‘like’ and show some love to my new FB page;

And so back to what I do best; a lip-smacking seafood recipe from God’s own country.


Pan fried fish is commonly found all across Kerala but the marinade or spice rub used does vary from place to place. This spice marinade uses both spices and aromatics lending a rich and deep flavour to the fish. And it works best with big-sized fish steaks or meaty ones like salmon, tuna or snapper.

It was my first experience cooking salmon using South Indian flavours and was a little doubtful of how it would work out. But the result was delicious and I am sure every seafood lover will agree with me on this one.

So, let’s get cooking or rather frying salmon, with a marinade of chilli, turmeric, pepper, ginger, garlic and shallots.



1. Salmon steaks – 4
2. Vegetable oil/coconut oil – for shallow frying
3. Salt – to season
4. South Indian spice marinade

• Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
• Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
• Freshly milled black pepper – 1 tsp
• Ginger – 1 inch piece
• Garlic cloves – 2 large
• Shallots/small onion – 2
• Juice of half a lemon


1. Clean, wash and pat dry the salmon steaks.
2. Season the steak pieces with salt.
3. Prepare the marinade by blending together all the ingredients given in the list. Adjust the amount of chilli depending on your palate for heat.
4. Rub this marinade onto the steaks making sure all sides are coated well.
5. Refrigerate as long as you can (I did it overnight) to let the flavours seep through the fish.
6. Shallow fry in oil.
7. Serve hot with vegetable salad and lemon wedges.



Achari Jhinga (Spicy Pickled Prawns)

I have had this recipe for ages in my recipe diary (which is currently overflowing!) and has always been my go to prawn dish especially when I have guests over.


Loosely translated, achari jhinga means spicy pickled prawns. The pickling effect is due to the use of vinegar as base for mixing the spices and aromatics. This dish is meant to be spicy but you can of course control the amount of chilli powder to suit your taste buds.

A delish lip-smacking starter or the perfect accompaniment on a thali – prawn achari is a winner all the way!



1. Prawns (large, juicy ones preferable) – 500 gm, cleaned, deveined and washed
2. Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
3. Kashmiri chilli powder – 1 tsp
4. Ginger – 1 inch
5. Garlic – 4 cloves
6. Peppercorns – ½ tsp
7. Vinegar – 2 -3 tbsp
8. Vegetable oil – 3 tbsp
9. Red onion – 1 medium, finely chopped
10. Tomato – 1 medium, finely chopped
11. Green chilli – 2, slit
12. Salt – to taste
13. Sugar – ½ tsp
14. Coriander leaves – ½ cup, chopped


• Grind the chilli powders, peppercorns, ginger and garlic into a paste with vinegar. Do not add water.
• Heat oil in a large pan; add the onions and sauté till light brown.

• Add the tomatoes; sauté on high heat for a minute and then add the ground spice paste. Saute on low flame till oil clears.

• Add the prawns, season with salt and cook till done. This is a dry dish and hence addition of extra water is not required.

• Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Note – The quantity of spices is optional and can be changed according to spice preference.




Malaysian Pickled Chicken

Malaysian cuisine is highly varied and exotic due to the culinary influences of the different ethnic groups like Indians, Malay and Chinese. Malaysian pickled chicken is an amalgamation of both Chinese and Indian flavours with the generous use of spices along with vinegar for the tart pickling effect. Reminds me of our very own vindaloo which uses a similar set of ingredients.

Malaysian pickled chicken is usually served with roti jala – traditional flat net-shaped bread. I did try to make it but the result was a disaster – it came out nothing like it was supposed to and I ended up with something like chappathis. Anyway, that is an experiment to be perfected later. But the chicken was a roaring success – all of us loved it!

The aroma and flavours of the fragrant whole spices, lemon grass and the aromatics is taken a notch higher up with the addition of vinegar. A dish you definitely have to try!


Recipe Courtesy – Gourmet Traveller


1. Coriander seeds – 2 tbsp
2. Cloves – 4
3. Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
4. Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
5. Nutmeg – 1 tsp, finely grated
6. Cardamom pods – from 4 cardamoms
7. Cinnamon bark – ½ inch
8. Chicken (on the bone) – 1 kg
9. Dry red chilli – 8
10. Shallots – 10, thinly sliced
11. Ginger – 1 tsp, grated
12. Garlic cloves – 4, grated
13. Lemon grass stalk (white part only) – 2, finely chopped
14. Ghee – 2 tbsp
15. White vinegar – ½ cup
16. Sugar – 1 tsp
17. Mint leaves – for garnish
18. Coriander leaves – for garnish


• Dry roast the whole spices, cool and grind with the powdered spices (except dry red chilli) in a grinder/mortar and pestle.
• Marinate the chicken pieces with the spice mixture and salt; leave for at least 30 minutes. (It is not necessary to use the entire spice mixture, use according to taste and spice preference)
• Soak the dry red chillies in water for 30 minutes. Squeeze excess water and process along with shallots, ginger, garlic and lemon grass to get a coarse paste.
• Heat ghee in a deep pan, add the aromatics paste and stir-fry on medium heat to remove rawness. Add the marinated chicken pieces and brown.
• Then add enough water for gravy, vinegar, sugar and salt to taste. Cook till the chicken pieces are tender.



Dr. Moffat’s Beef Madras

My desire to experience and prepare global cuisines stems largely from the travel bug inside me. Both I and my husband are avid travelers though we really haven’t seen/travelled as much as we like. But we are always planning about the next trip; both of us love visiting places and experiencing the culture, traditions, history and culinary delights of the region.

Right now, having just migrated to a new country, we have put our travel dreams on hold for a while. And this is why I am constantly looking for international cookbooks in the library – books which will not only give me a glimpse into the food but also the history and culture of a particular region or country.

During my last trip to the library, I came across a cookbook focusing on Botswana and sub-Saharan African food culture. The book ‘Mma Ramotswe’s Cookbook’ by Stuart Brown weaves the different foods from the region as a narrative through the eyes of Mma Ramotswe, a colourful lady detective who believes in being ‘traditionally built’. Now I scoured through the book wanting to re-create a dish from the region but to my surprise, this is the dish that caught my attention the most – A Madras beef dish in an African cookbook. It’s a small world indeed!!

There is no way I was not going to make this dish at home…and so here it is. This beef dish is spicy, tangy and sweet – the typical Madrasi flavours! And this is the first beef dish I have done in my life which uses tamarind.

Dr. Moffat’s Beef Madras -


1. Diced beef – 600 gms
2. Fresh coconut – 1 cup, grated
3. Ginger – 1 tbsp, grated
4. Onion – 2 large, sliced finely
5. Tamarind concentrate – 1-2 tbsp (depending on the strength of the concentrate)
6. Cumin powder – 1 tsp
7. Coriander powder – 2 tsp
8. Smoked paprika (if not, use kashmiri chilli powder) – 2 tsp
9. Tomatoes – 2 ripe, diced
10. Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
11. Vegetable oil – 3 tbsp
12. Garlic – 3 cloves, crushed
13. Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
14. Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
15. Curry leaves – a big handful


1. Blend coconut, tomatoes, ginger, mustard seeds and tamarind into a paste.
2. Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed vessel and sauté the onions and garlic till light brown.
3. Add the spices and cook till the rawness goes and oil clears.
4. Add curry leaves, beef, coconut mixture and enough water to cook the beef.
5. Close the lid and cook for 1 to 1 ½ hours till the beef becomes tender and juicy. Stir occasionally and check for water content. The final dish must have a thick gravy consistency.

Note – You can prepare this dish in a pressure cooker also. Carry out steps 1-4 in a PC, close the lid and cook for 4-5 whistles or more till the beef is tender. Add only 1 cup water if cooking in a PC.

Shrimp Noodles with Chicken and Enoki Mushrooms

After a decade of eating Indo-Chinese food, true Chinese flavours were a culinary revelation for me. The flavours are so different, a stark contrast to the chatpata Manchurians and Schezwans! But I must admit I did like the authentic flavours too though most Indians actually find real Chinese food bland.

The Chinese love their sauces – soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce…the list is endless. I am slowly grappling and trying to comprehend the different flavours and how to incorporate these sauces along with the sugar and spices. Chinese food is all about balance, very much like their philosophy of yin and yang.

This recipe incorporates the true Chinese flavours – the ‘fishy’ shrimp noodles against the ‘earthy’ enoki mushrooms with the ‘succulence’ of chicken all tied together to create a wonderful dish.

shrimp noodles with chicken and enoki mushrooms

1. Shrimp noodles – 1 packet (plain noodles can also be used, but the flavor of the dish will be different as this one has got a distinct and strong shrimp flavor)
2. Chicken – 200 gm, small boneless pieces
3. Enoki mushrooms – one cup
4. Soy sauce – 3 tbsp
5. Fish sauce – 1/2 to 1 tsp
6. Salt – for seasoning, only if necessary
7. Pepper – to season
8. Ginger – ½ tsp, grated
9. Vegetable oil – 2-3 tbsp
10. Spring onion – for garnish

• Cook the noodles in salted boiling water, drain and keep aside.
• In a large wok or pan, heat oil and add the chicken pieces; cook for 3-4 minutes till ¾ ths done.
• Add enoki mushrooms and mix well for 30 seconds.
• Add soy sauce, fish sauce, grated ginger and pepper and mix well.
• Add the cooked noodles and toss well.
• Garnish with chopped spring onions.