Tag Archives: south indian recipes

Opportunity ‘Great Australian Curry’ Campaign + a Recipe for Kerala style Prawn Curry

Curry for change!

The ‘Great Australian Curry’ Campaign is back, and I am very honoured to be collaborating again with Opportunity International Australia for their annual fundraising project. In its third year (you can view details of the previous years here and here); the campaign aims to raise funds to help families in developing countries build income-generating businesses.

A bit of background info for those who are hearing about Opportunity International Australia and the Great Australian Curry campaign for the first time…

Opportunity International Australia provides small loans to families in developing countries to steer them towards a path of financial independence and thereby a better quality of life. Founded in the 1970s by David Bussau, Opportunity has come a long way since offering innumerable families a new lease of life.

Opportunity works through a unique system of microfinance, community development, training, local presence, technology and rural outreach programmes. And the ‘Great Australian Curry’ campaign is a great way by which food lovers like us can contribute in a meaningful manner towards poverty and diminishing its impact.

Opportunity International Australia

But why curry?

Most of Opportunity International Australia’s work is concentrated in the Asian countries and a curry is perhaps the most iconic dish to have come from the region. And Australia loves curry – Vindaloo, Rogan Josh, Massaman, Thai green curry…the list is endless.

This year’s campaign was launched last week with a Curry Cook-off between veteran Chef (and MasterChef judge) Ian Curley and MasterChef 2017 winner, Diana Chan.

Opportunity ‘Great Australian Curry’ Campaign + a Recipe for Kerala style Prawn Curry-

Chef Ian Curley said that he is looking forward to cooking up a curry with Diana. “It’s one way we can give a hand up to families less fortunate than ours. It’s important for us to not lose focus of how lucky we are, just the simple fact of where we live. I’m very blessed to have a healthy family and to live In Australia with the opportunity to do the work I love.”

Diana agrees too and she says that it will be an honour to share space and cook alongside Chef Curley. “I am so impressed with the work that Opportunity does to help families end poverty. “I also love that I can contribute towards the same through my cooking skills.”

Oppoyle Prawn Curry

There are so many different ways through which you can participate in this year’s Great Australian Curry Campaign;

Plan a Curry Night – Time to dig out your favourite recipes and invite your friends and family for a curry feast at home. Be generous and plan the entire dinner yourself or make it a curry potluck (so much fun!); even better would be a curry cook-off. If cooking is not your forte, head out for a curry night to your favourite restaurant and let the professionals feed you.

Create a Fundraiser – Once you have planned out the night, set up a fundraiser page and encourage everyone to make a donation. The fundraiser page can also be set up without hosting any curry event. All the details for setting up the page can be found here.

Spread the Word – Encourage your friends, family and colleagues to show support by making a donation or host their own curry fundraising event.

And this year, the Great Australian Curry campaign has another proud supporter – Herbie’s Spices, the artisan Australian spice business.

Since all of you get my fascination for good quality spices, I was thrilled when Herbie’s Spices gifted all the spices that I needed to create this lipsmacking delicious Kerala style Prawn Curry. This is not the first time I am using Herbie’s Spices; it has been one of my go to brands whenever I need to stock up my spice pantry.

The first 20 people to sign up to host a Great Australian Curry fundraiser will win a ‘Flavours of India Spice Kit’. Also Ian and Liz Hemphill, who established Herbie’s Spices 21 years ago, will also give out ‘Pantry Spice Kits’ and their ‘Herb and Spice Bible—Third Edition’ as prizes for an upcoming Facebook competition promoting the campaign,” Learn more and participate in the competition here.

Opportunity ‘Great Australian Curry’ Campaign + a Recipe for Kerala style Prawn Curry-

Ian Hemphill is enthusiastic to be giving a boost to the Great Australian Curry. “As most spices originate from developing countries, we’re keen to support a campaign that strives to improve the lives of people in these spice-producing communities.

Speaking of spices, here is a deliciously creamy and coconuty Kerala style Prawn Curry that you can make for your fundraising curry night.

This year, I wanted to make a seafood curry. Seafood, especially prawns is hugely popular during the spring-summer months in Australia leading up to Christmas and New Year. And I also wanted to make a curry that is light yet packed with flavour that’s perfect for our warm days.

Opportunity ‘Great Australian Curry’ Campaign + a Recipe for Kerala style Prawn Curry-

The title ‘Kerala style Prawn Curry’ is rather generic because there are so many different styles of making seafood curries in Kerala. This particular one is more popular in central Kerala, as coconut milk is used liberally in curries making it light yet so creamy, coconuty and packed with flavour. As for spices, I have kept is simple again and used spices that are familiar to most people.

I used tiger prawns for making this curry and if you can source it fresh, then I highly suggest you do so because then this dish is nothing short of an indulgence. And pair it with steaming hot long grained rice; that’s all you need. Maybe some pappadoms on the side….

So let’s get cooking this fingerlickin’ good Kerala style Prawn Curry….

Kerala style Prawn Curry

But before that, here are a few curry recipes for hosting your Great Australian Curry fundraising campaign….

  1. Cambodian (Khmer) Chicken Samlá Curry
  2. Massaman Curry
  3. Duck Kurma
  4. Jaffna style Goat Curry
  5. Hyderabadi Shahi Macchi Kurma (Fish in a Creamy, Saffron induced Yoghurt Curry)

Kerala style Prawn Curry


  1. 800 gms tiger prawns; deveined and deshelled (but retain shell at the tail end)
  2. 3 tbsp coconut oil + 1 tbsp for tempering
  3. ½ tsp mustard seeds
  4. ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  5. 2 small red onions; finely sliced
  6. 1 tsp ginger paste
  7. 5 green chillies (whole)
  8. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  9. 1 tbsp red chilli powder (adjust to heat preferences)
  10. 1 ½ tsp coriander powder
  11. ½ tsp garam masala
  12. Salt, to season
  13. ½ tsp Freshly milled black pepper
  14. 2 dried Kashmiri red chillies
  15. 4-5 sprigs curry leaves
  16. 400ml coconut milk


  1. Heat the coconut oil in a deep pan (use an earthenware pot, if you have one).
  2. When the oil gets warm, add the mustard seeds and allow to crackle.
  3. Then add the fenugreek seeds, half of the curry leaves and green chillies.
  4. Next add the ginger paste and sliced onions; sauté till the onions are softened and translucent.
  5. Then add the turmeric, chilli, black pepper and coriander powder; mix well to combine and reduce heat to avoid the spices from burning.
  6. Add the cleaned prawns and 300ml coconut milk (reserve the remaining). Season with salt and mix well. Bring to boil and then simmer gently on low heat till the prawns are cooked.
  7. Once the prawns are cooked, add the remaining coconut milk and mix well. Adjust seasoning and remove from heat.
  8. In another small pan, heat coconut oil and add the remaining curry leaves and dry red chillies. Fry for a few seconds and add this to the prepared prawn curry. Keep covered for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  9. Enjoy over steamed long grain rice.

And let’s not forget to join hands and support Opportunity International Australia’s commitment to help fight poverty. Start your own Great Australian Curry fundraising campaign today!

Opportunity ‘Great Australian Curry’ Campaign + a Recipe for Kerala style Prawn Curry-


Disclaimer – This post has been bought to you in association with Opportunity International Australia and all the spices were kindly gifted by Herbie’s Spices.



September Favourites

Feels like I wrote the August favourites just yesterday. Where did September go?

Guess days just flew by for us with the packing/shifting/unpacking process. I can’t believe that it’s October and almost the end of the year.

We are finally settled in the new home, few more boxes to get through as I write this but mostly settled and functional again. More importantly, I am back to my daily routine cooking. Eating out can get so boring after a few times that all of us were craving terribly for home cooked comfort food.

And due to all this, we hardly did anything this school holidays. No activities, play dates or fun stuff…Adi was at home helping us get things sorted. He was such a happy kid, hardly uttering the ‘boring’ word, quite understanding of everything that’s been happening.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had managed to test and shoot a few recipes beforehand to ease work during the shifting process. It takes me some time to start feeling inspired again and get back to work during changes like this.

One of the recipes that I had developed for Supreme Seafood was an Andhra style Prawn Curry.

Referred to as Royyala Koora in the native language, this dish can be made using prawns as well as shrimps. I chose to make it with tiger prawns; makes it an indulgent treat.

It was interesting that yoghurt is used as the souring agent instead of tomatoes which lends a tangy, creamy texture and flavour to the final dish. This prawn curry is best served as a thick gravy just coating the prawns and one of my favourite ways to have it is with steaming hot rice and some dal. But it works just as brilliantly as part of a larger thali or with Indian flatbreads.

Find the full recipe on their website; do try it out and let me know what you think…

Andhra style Prawns Curry -

Now let’s get on to my top picks and favourites for the month of September;

Drawing a 3D fried egg. Sheer Magic!

We have a lovely deck space in our new home. I can totally see myself sipping a couple of these mojitos with friends.

Just the kind of snack I enjoy.

A 20 minute ramen recipe is always welcome.

So rustic and simple, this egg curry has become a hot favourite in our home.

I have never made polenta before. Guess it’s time to give it a try…

This slow roast spiced lamb shoulder is definitely going to be a part of my Christmas menu.

Kids don’t damage women’s careers, men do. 100% true and for all the men to think about….

Spring racing, summer parties, Christmas dinners….the list is endless and I am broke. Hiring might be the solution.

Pandora ‘Grains of Life’….truly my style.

Need a spring makeover for my bedroom, starting with this floral linen set.


Andhra Egg Curry

I have begun to read a lot more cookbooks these days compared to a couple of years ago.

Earlier, cookbooks were like glossy magazines to me. Filled with mouthwatering, high quality images, a cookbook was only to gaze at and sigh. In fact it seemed like a distant, unknown world to me akin to reading a film or lifestyle magazine.

But this journey of food blogging has exposed me to the behind-the-scenes part of a cookbook. Today, I understand food in its entirety. Now when I read a cookbook, I try to find the author in every page of the book. What is the author trying to tell me through the book? What is his or her food philosophy? I am finally able to see the blood, sweat and tears that go into collating recipes, cooking all the food, styling, photographing, printing, publishing…..the whole journey flashes through my mind which makes me appreciate it and look much more beyond the glossy pictures.

Today’s recipe comes from a cookbook I have begun to admire much. ‘Indian Kitchen (Secrets of Indian Home Cooking)’ by Maunika Gowardhan is exactly my idea of an Indian cookbook. In fact, if anyone ever gave me an opportunity to create an Indian cuisine based book, it might look very similar to this one.


Indian Kitchen is a perfect tribute to the vastness and rich culinary heritage of Indian cooking. The book does not focus on a single region; it showcases the gems (some forgotten ones) of traditional Indian cuisine from across the country. Maunika has picked out classics from every region and presented it to us in the most beautiful manner.

And according to me, the ultimate compliment you can give to a cookbook author is to actually cook from her book and that’s what today’s dish is all about.

The Andhra egg curry is one of the dishes featured in the Indian Kitchen. In spite of being quite familiar with the cuisine and flavours of this South Indian state, I have never made an egg curry from this region before. The final flavour of the dish was exactly as I imagined while reading through the ingredients.



While I have followed the same recipe, adjustments have been made to quantities of spices and aromatics. And I would strongly urge you to do the same if you are trying out my recipe too since the flavours would depend a lot on the brand of spices and ingredients that is used.

Extremely flavourful and delicious, this Andhra egg curry is a wonderful accompaniment to steamed rice, rotis, naan, string hoppers, appams…..just about anything that can soak up the richness of the gravy.

And remember if you try out my recipes, I would be overjoyed to see the pictures and please tag using #thespiceadventuress so that I would not miss it.

Let’s get cooking this tangy, spicy, moreish Andhra style egg curry.



1. 8 eggs; hardboiled, peeled and halved
2. 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
3. 1 tsp black mustard seeds
4. 2 medium onions; finely chopped
5. 1 inch cinnamon bark
6. 3 green chillies; slit
7. 2 ½ large ripe tomatoes; finely chopped
8. 1 inch ginger; julienned
9. ½ tsp turmeric powder
10. ½ tsp red chilli powder
11. 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
12. 2 sprigs curry leaves
13. 1 tsp tamarind paste
14. 100 ml thick coconut milk
15. Salt, to season
16. 2-3 sprigs coriander leaves; finely chopped


• Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan; when hot, add the mustard seeds and allow to crackle. Add the onions and sauté on low to medium heat till light brown.
• Add the cinnamon and chillies; sauté for another minute or two. Then add the chopped tomatoes and mix well. Keep stirring to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom and sauté for another 4-5 minutes on low heat till the tomatoes are completely broken down and become a thick, mushy mixture.
• Add most of the sliced ginger (reserve a few for garnish) and all the powdered spices. Mix on low heat for another minute or till the mixture comes together and oil starts to leave the sides of the pan.
• Add the tamarind and one cup of water. Mix and bring to boil and simmer covered for two minutes. Next, add the curry leaves and thick coconut milk. Mix and continue to simmer on low heat for another minute.
• Season with salt and add the halved eggs. Stir gently so as not to break the eggs and simmer covered on the lowest heat for another 3-4 minutes.
• Garnish with chopped coriander and sliced ginger. Add slit green chillies also if you wish to.
• Serve warm.



Chicken Chettinad Pepper Masala (Milagu Masala Kozhi)

The cookbook industry is growing at an exponential rate but truth be told, there are very few cookbooks that excite me, let alone make it a part of my collection.

But the minute I heard of the book, ‘The Bangala Table – Flavours and Recipes from Chettinad’, I knew I had to own this one. Two reasons; the first one being that Chettinad cuisine is one I admire and enjoy tremendously and the second, this one is real with a definitive glimpse and understanding into the food, culture and traditions of the region.

‘The Bangala Table – Flavours and Recipes from Chettinad’ - cookbook time -


For those who aren’t aware, Chettinad cuisine refers to the food of the Chettiars, residents of a small region in Tamil Nadu (a 600 square mile area which lies east of Madurai), southernmost state of India.

I love cookbooks that take me beyond food; it must transport me to the region, get beneath the superficialities and provide a glimpse of the life and culture of the people who eat this food. The Bangala Table is just that; I live and breathe the Chettinad air while I am reading and cooking from this book. A detailed book review will soon follow, so more about the book there.

There are plenty of restaurants serving Chettinad cuisine in India and abroad but very, very few get it right. Just as Indian cuisine is shrouded in the myth that it is spicy and fiery at all times, Chettinad cuisine enjoys its fair share of myths too, especially the ‘spice’ myth. But the truth cannot be far from that.

A delicacy that is famous from the region and that is religiously placed on every Chettinad themed restaurant’s menu is the ‘Chicken Chettinad Pepper Masala’ or ‘Milagu Masala Kozhi’ in the native tongue.

Roasting spices - Chicken Chettinad Pepper Masala (Milagu Masala Kozhi) -



Chicken Chettinad Pepper Masala (Milagu Masala Kozhi) - Chettinad cooking at its best -

And after relishing the original, I can safely say that most of them get it wrong!

Like its name, this chicken dish is all about the peppercorns; the flavourful little dance that it plays on your taste buds yet imparting only subtle heat aptly balanced by the fennel, cumin, dry chilli and coriander, all infused into the succulent meat of the chicken.

The balance of flavours is the essence of this Chicken Chettinad Pepper Masala. It is an easy dish to prepare but give it time to slow cook, which helps to draw out the flavours from the spices and aromatics and infuses into the chicken.

Chicken Chettinad Pepper Masala (Milagu Masala Kozhi) - Chettinad cooking at its best -



1. 600 gms chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2. 2 medium ripe, red tomatoes, pureed
3. ¼ cup oil
4. 2 inch cinnamon bark
5. 2 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
6. 1 ½ medium red onion, finely chopped
7. Salt, to season
8. Wet spice paste:

• 1 tsp fennel seeds
• 2 tsp black peppercorns
• 1 tsp cumin seeds
• 4 dry red chilli (round variety/Gundu Milagu preferred)
• 1 tsp coriander seeds
• ½ tsp turmeric powder
• 4 garlic cloves
• 1 inch ginger


1. Dry roast the fennel seeds, peppercorns, cumin seeds, dry red chillies and coriander seeds till fragrant; take care not to burn. Remove and cool.
2. Grind to a paste with turmeric powder, garlic and ginger; add a little water, just enough to make the wet paste. Keep aside.
3. Heat oil on high in a large kadai or wok; when the oil is hot enough but not smoking, add the cinnamon, cardamom and chopped onions. On medium heat, sauté the onions till light brown.
4. Add the tomato puree and sauté for another 2 minutes.
5. Add the prepared wet paste and mix well to combine, breaking up the lumps, if any. Saute on low heat for about 12 to 15 minutes till the masala comes together and you notice the oil separating at the sides of the pan. The masala would have considerably darkened by this stage.
6. Add the chicken pieces, season with salt and mix well to combine. Cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes; then add 1 cup of water. Scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze and mix well so that the masala coats the chicken completely.
7. Bring to boil and then cook on low heat for about 20 minutes covered. Stir occasionally. Add more water only if necessary as chicken releases water of its own.
8. Uncover and continue to cook till the sauce has thickened well and coats the chicken pieces.
9. Serve hot.

Note – Chicken Chettinad Pepper Masala pairs well with Indian flat breads but I recommend it with steamed rice, sambar (South Indian lentil stew) and a side of vegetables.

Chicken Chettinad Pepper Masala (Milagu Masala Kozhi) - Chettinad cooking at its best -


Rasam with Fresh Spice Paste

Rasam – the one dish that I always have trouble making. In spite of the best recipes and hands-on training by both my mothers, I simply cannot make this one perfectly every time. Achieving the balance between tangy and spice continued to elude me till I used this recipe. The fresh spice paste is what makes this rasam different from most.

This recipe will also be extra-special for one other reason too. When the idea of first starting a food blog entered my mind, I wanted to get some sensible, no-nonsense advice from somebody who has been doing the same (and quite successfully too!). So I scoured through all the food groups that I was a part of looking at several different blogs and finally chose to ask advice from Nivedita of Panfusine. In spite of not knowing me personally, she gave me real good advice on how to go about my research and some key aspects to food blogging. A big thank you Niv, and what better way to give you tribute other than by trying out a recipe of yours and enjoying it too, immensely.

So, coming back to this rasam – it will always be one that tops my list every time I prepare south Indian food.

tomato rasam with fresh spice paste


1. Water – 4 cups
2. Tamarind extract – 1 tbsp
3. Asafetida/hing – a pinch
4. Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
5. Curry leaves – 5-6
6. Ripe red tomatoes – 2
7. Salt – to season
8. Coriander leaves/cilantro – a good handful, chopped
9. Fresh spice paste
• Coriander seeds – 1
• Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
• Red arbol chillies (or use dry red chilli) – 2
• Toor dal – 1 tbsp

10. For tempering
Ghee – 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp


• Soak all four spice paste ingredients in scalding hot water for about 20 minutes until soft. Grind to a fine paste with as little water as possible. Set aside.
• Combine the water, tamarind, tomatoes, asafetida, turmeric and salt with the water and bring to a boil. When the tomato has cooked down, add the torn curry leaves along with the spice paste. Allow to simmer until the spices appear to have lost the raw smell. Remove from the stove top.
• Heat the ghee in a small skillet until it just begins to smoke. Toss in the cumin and allow the seeds to split. Pour the sizzling mixture over the rasam. Garnish with coriander leaves prior to serving.

tomato rasam with fresh spice paste

What is your favourite rasam recipe?

Chicken Chukka Varuval (Indian style slow cooked chicken with spices and aromatics)

Chukka or sukka usually refers to a South Indian meat dish (mostly mutton but these days, you can find all kinds of meat being used) that is prepared using a myriad of spices and aromatics. The meat is cooked on low fire so that the spices get to do its work. A spicy, flavoursome preparation where the meat is juicy and succulent with the aroma of the spices wafting through……


Recipe Courtesy, from this site.


1. Chicken (boneless) – 500 gms
2. Red onion – 1, finely chopped
3. Cinnamon bark – ½ inch
4. Cloves – 2
5. Fennel/perinjeera seeds – 1 tsp
6. Curry leaves – a big handful
7. Black pepper powder – 2 tsp
8. Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
9. Coriander powder – 2 tsp
10. Ginger paste – ½ tsp
11. Garlic paste – ½ tsp
12. Salt – to season
13. Oil – 5 tbsp


• Marinate the chicken pieces with salt, chilli powder, ginger-garlic paste for upto 1 hour or longer.
• Dry roast cinnamon, cloves and fennel; grind to fine powder.
• Heat oil in a kadai/pan and sauté onions till translucent.
• Add all the spices and curry leaves, sauté for a minute on low heat.
• Add the marinated chicken pieces and cook on low fire, occasionally stirring, till the meat becomes juicy and succulent.


Is chicken your favourite protein? Then click here for a delish spread of chicken dishes from around the world…..

Coconut Rice

My association with Tamil Nadu started from my undergraduate years, then the postgraduate years and finally culminated in a life long journey, having married a Tamilian. The cuisine of this state is highly varied just like its rich history and culture. Apart from the idli/dosa/sambhar trio, the next popular dish of the region has to be its variety rice prepartions. Tomato rice, sambar rice, coriander rice, tamarind rice, lemon rice….the list is endless!

My favourite among all these is the coconut rice (blame it on my Mallu roots!). The rich, creamy texture of the grated coconut mixed with rice and tempered with spices is heavenly and I love to eat this dish like a true non-vegetarian – with chicken curry. But for vegetarians, the classic combination is fried potatoes.

Coconut rice is a simple dish which can be done in seconds and works well with leftover rice. Easy, delicious and highly affordable!

Coconut Rice -


1. Rice – 2 cups, cooked
2. Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
3. Split urad dal/Vigna mungo/white lentil – 1 tsp
4. Chana dal/Bengal gram – ½ tsp
5. Dry red chilli – 2-3
6. Curry leaves – a handful
7. Hing/asafetida – a pinch
8. Coconut – scraped or grated, ½ cup
9. Oil – 1 tbsp
10. Ghee – 1 tsp
11. salt – to season


• In a large kadai, heat oil and ghee.
• Add all the ingredients except coconut and rice and mix well.
• Next, add the scraped coconut and sauté for a minute till the rawness goes. Do not overcook or allow the coconut change colour. Season with salt if necessary.
• Turn to low heat and add the cooked rice; mix well without breaking the rice.

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