My Unassuming Spicy Fried Prawns

Anjali Venugopal June 20, 2016 NO COMMENTS


My mum reminds me at least once every second day, about how I was the last person she expected to turn to anything homey, let alone cooking. Honestly, even I didn’t realize when my love for cooking got under my skin. I started cooking only as a means to sustenance, to keep poverty at bay, by the time the boy and I reached the end of the month at law school. No, unfortunately we didn’t succeed in the latter, and this may be attributed to our eternal obsession for exotic food and drink. Our love for gastronomy certainly lays at least two of the founding stones in our relationship and I think that’s wonderful. 😛

So, now here I am, delighted to have found for myself something that I genuinely love doing. I have come to realise that apart from developing and improvising on recipes, one thing thing that makes me just as happy, if not happier, is being given an opportunity to stuff other faces. 😀 And I am positive that two of our closest friends from law school (now happily married and would rather be treated as a single entity :P) would most certainly stand testament to that.

Okay, enough of pointless blabber. Moving on to food. In a hypothetical scenario, where two daunting delinquents have me at gun point and I am asked to pick an ingredient which I would swear by, I would certainly pick onions and then tell them that they didn’t need no guns for such a simple task. I think onions are a gift to all food Indian. The only trick you need to master is the art of sautéing (to be read as the art of staying patient.) So, here goes. This recipe of mine is very onion centric and as always, super easy.

Things you will need:

  • Prawns- 500 gms (Any size, cleaned and deveined)

For marination:

  • Onions- 2 large
  • Chilly powder- 1 ½ tbsp
  • Coriander powder- 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder- ½ tsp
  • Fine ground black pepper- 1 tbsp

For sautéing:

  • Onions- 2 Large thinly sliced
  • Curry leaves- 1 swig
  • Cooking oil


How to go about it:

Step 1: The first step would be to make the paste for marination. Take 2 large onions and make a fine paste of it by using the mixer. To the onion paste, add the powders and salt to taste. Mix well and the paste is ready. Marinate the prawns in the paste and keep it aside for half an hour.


Step 2: Heat some oil in a pan and temper it with the curry leaves. The authentic aroma of Kerala food that the curry leaves provide you with, is undeniable. Next sauté the other onions that are thinly sliced. Add a bit of salt to hasten the process by a bit. You need to be patient enough to sauté the onions till they are a golden brown. This step needs to be followed to the T for the desired result. No fidgeting.

Step 3: Once the onions turn a golden brown, add the marinated prawns. Mix it well in the onions and oil and keep the covered on medium heat.

Step 4: Seafood tends to cook very fast and I am not a fan of overcooking seafood. So in a matter of ten mins, the prawns would have been cooked and the water content in the prawns would have oozed out. Remove the lid and get all the water to evaporate by keep the pan on high heat.


Step 5: Once all the water has evaporated, add a spoon more of oil and fry the prawns till you achieve the desired consistency. I like my prawns 90% dry, which means I don’t let them fry till they are absolutely stiff. With this, your spicy fried prawn is ready to be pounced on.


How easy was that? Let me know in your comments! 😀

Panna Cotta with Mixed Berry Compote a.k.a Simple Simon

Anjali Venugopal June 13, 2016 NO COMMENTS


The boy and I have always been the biggest fans of all things milk. The gallons of milk and yoghurt I have quaffed in the 26 years of my existence is no joke. Mommy dearest still maintains that all that lactose and calcium are the primary reasons for my stature and that genes had little to do with it.

So here you go. Six simple ingredients will now drive you to the easiest dessert I have conjured so far. The consistency is apparently not too easy to nail and I will now give myself a pat on the back for nailing it on my first attempt. 😀 This is quite an opportunity to make yourself look like an Italian dessert chef extraordinaire but trust me, even a paralyzed turtle can pull this off. Hmm turtle, may be not.. but you know what I mean.

Things you will need: 

  1. Heavy cream (I used Amul. I do not have a cow in the backyard. If you do, please feel free to ask her.)- 1 litre
  2. Sugar- ¾ cup
  3. Gelatin- 4 ½ teaspoons
  4. Water- ¼ cup
  5. Vanilla extract- 1 teaspoon
  6. Mixed berries- 1 cup

How to go about it:

Step 1: The first step towards a fancy dessert is to transfer the cream to a saucepan along with the sugar and Vanilla extract. (“Cream and Sugar Mixture”)

Step 2: Bring the cream and sugar mixture to a boil while stirring continuously to ensure that the sugar is fully dissolved. Rather important to ensure that the sugar doesn’t caramelize. Keep the Cream and Sugar Mixture aside to cool.

Step 3: The next step would be to dissolve the gelatin in water. Mix the gelatin in the water in a small vessel. For that, boil some water in a saucepan. While the water is simmering, place the smaller vessel into the saucepan. This is to ensure that the gelatin is not directly heated. (I am told that mixing gelatin in boiling water is good enough, but I have always been a religious follower of indirectly heating gelatin for no real reason. :-/ If you do give the other method a shot, please do let me know.) Keep at the stirring to ensure the gelatin and water form a thin solution with the lumpiness kept at bay. (“Gelatin Solution”)

Step 4: Add the Gelatin Solution to the Cream and Sugar Mixture. Mix thoroughly. Let the mixture cool down to room temperature. DO NOT let it sit there and set. (“Panna Cotta Mixture”)

Step 5: Transfer the Panna Cotta Mixture to pretty little bowls and shove them into the freezer. You may want to grease them bowls with a butter cube. (I was such in a hurry to put my face in the Panna Cotta that I omitted this step. This will help the panna cotta ease out of the mould and look nice and pretty on fancy plate.) In the freezer, the Panna Cotta will set in approximately 40 minutes. As soon as it sets, transfer it to the lower part of your refrigerator. Leaving it in the freezer for longer than it takes to set is not advisable for obvious reasons.

Step 6: Mix Berry Compote: Okay, this just sounds uber fancy. This is achieved by boiling the berries in three to four tablespoons of water with a teaspoon of sugar and maybe half a lemon’s juice. You have the option of adding a tiny piece of ginger and/or a quarter teaspoon of finely ground cinnamon. On boiling, the berries will be mashed and this my friend, is the Mixed Berry Compote.

Step 7: Once the Panna Cotta is eased out of the mould on to a pretty plate, spread the Compote and dig in.

I am positive that not one of you expected Panna Cotta to be this easy. Next time, I’m gonna improvise on this recipe and maybe make it fancier and yummier with a few new hacks that just popped up in my head, but for which you’ll have to be patient. Try this simple Simon out and thank me later. 😀


Anjali Venugopal June 1, 2016 NO COMMENTS


Out of the scores of dozens of times you inspect the refrigerator on a daily basis, seldom does it greet you with fully stacked shelves. I believe that the existence of refrigerators stacked with all kinds of goodies ranging from scones to pastries to beautifully decked cakes to eclairs to roast turkeys to giant jugs of orange juice is a myth that was shamelessly spread by Tom and Jerry cartoons. In a normal household, at least in mine, the maximum I can expect from it is probably that tub of ice cream which pays a visit once in a while apart from the heaps of leftovers saved for a rainy day. Ugh 😐

So, here’s something you can try out (on your own).  This stress-free recipe requires just some basics every kitchen is bound to store, to slay those annoying hunger pangs that can make life miserable for everyone around you.

Trust me, food cannot get easier than this unless you are one of those omnivores who choose to be satiated by a slice of dry bread. 😐 It is food guys! No effort is ever too much. So go ahead and try this out! 🙂

Things you will need for a dozen momos:

  • All purpose flour/ Maida- 1 cup
  • Baking Powder- ¼ teaspoon
  • Eggs- 4
  • Onion- 1 medium sized and finely chopped
  • Green Chillies- 3 or 4 depending on your spice preference/tolerance
  • Chilly Powder, Turmeric Powder- Just enough to sprinkle
  • Soya Sauce- ½ teaspoon
  • Salt, Pepper
  • Olive oil (or any other odourless oil)

How to go about it:

Step 1

Add the baking powder, along with two pinches of salt to the flour and knead into an even dough using water. Keep kneading it till you are certain that there are no lumps formed and the ball of dough looks as smooth as a white pebble.

Step 2

Make small balls (depending on how big you’d like your momos to be) of the dough. Keep them covered with a wet cloth to prevent them from drying up. (“Flour Balls”)

Step 3

Beat the eggs in a bowl with a bit of salt and pepper.


Heat a tablespoon of oil in a wok and sauté the chopped onion and green chillies till the onion bits turn translucent.

Step 5

Sprinkle some chilly powder and some turmeric powder (depending on your spice preference, but my suggestion would be to restrict it to ½ teaspoon of chilly powder and a ¼ teaspoon of turmeric) and keep sautéing till the onion bits are nice and golden brown.

Step 6

Next, pour the soya sauce into the wok and sauté it for another 30 seconds.

Step 7

Pour the beaten eggs into the wok and make a scramble of the entire mixture up. This is one thing most of us are pros at. Let’s take a moment to count the number of prospective omelets that took the road more travelled- to become a scrambled mess. That’s exactly what is expected of you here. Once that is done, keep the scrambled eggs aside. (“Filling”)

Step 8

Next step would be to flatten out our Flour Balls. You could use your rolling pin for that or you could even choose to flatten it out with your hand considering it’s flour and not concrete. Here, the trick would be to flatten it out very well to make them as thin as possible. And for that, you may need to grease out the stone with a tad bit of olive oil to prevent it from sticking to your rolling pin. The thinner you flatten the dough out, the higher the chances of getting yourself crispy momos, despite not frying them.

Step 9

Scoop up a tablespoon of the Filling and stuff it into each portion of the dough. You may want to be careful to not put more than it can take. So assuming that you have managed to flatten the Flour Balls to form circles, put the filling in the centre and seal the dough from both sides using your fingers. Follow the same procedure for all the flattened Flour Balls.

Step 10

Now you have the choice of either frying the momos or steaming them like I did. I am not a fan of fried food hence, on being given a choice, I always resort to steaming or baking. So if you plan to make a healthier choice like I did, all you need to do is steam them momos for about 20 minutes.

And that will be give you a plateful of delicious egg momos as a tea time treat! They taste best with some spicy chilly garlic sauce, which I will attempt to make on a less ‘hangry’ day. This time I made do with some tomato chilly ketchup and it did just fine.

I urge you to try these out to make an effort to channel the inner Hestia in you. 😀

PS: The boy just suggested that I put in a bit on what steaming is all about. 😐 I had used a steamer for the process. It is the same thing the mallus use for Idiyappams. So if there are any of you who aren’t aware of this tremendously complex process.. NOT! Please take a look at the links below.

My oh-so-creamy Egg Curry

Anjali Venugopal May 27, 2016 NO COMMENTS


WhatsApp Image 2017-06-15 at 12.38.17

It is yet another rainy day outside, and I have no option but to sit cooped up in a corner. As much as I try to be one of those romantic rain lovers, and as much as I try to picture myself as the protagonist in an imagery created by RK Narayan, by the window, sipping on a cup of hot coffee, it inevitably and invariably ends up in vain, for two reasons: 1) I do not like the rain. Yes, it’s true. I understand that we need it for geographical purposes but the dampness and the humidity that it brings with it… shudder! I may secretly be a cat you know, meow! And 2) I am not friends with coffee. Period.

So, I shall jot down the recipe for that wonderfully creamy Egg Curry that I had promised three long weeks ago. I swear I have been meaning to write this down for the longest time now. However, being the primary errand-runner in the house who also happens to be enrolled in a super intensive Deutsch course, I haven’t had much time on my hands of late but hey! I now know a tad more Deutsch than ‘Das Auto’! 😀

So here goes the recipe. Very easy and very tasty.

Things you will need:

  • Eggs- 4
  • Tomatoes- 2 small/ 1 large
  • Onions- 4 small/ 2 large
  • Chilly powder- ¾ tablespoon
  • Turmeric powder- ½ teaspoon
  • Coriander powder- 1 teaspoon
  • Coconut milk powder- 2 sachets of 25 grams each
  • Salt
  • Oil
  • A mixer-grinder

How to go about it:

Step 1:

Hard boil the eggs, slit them vertically and keep them ready.

Step 2:

Get your mixer-grinder out. Grind the tomatoes and the onions together to make a nice, even paste. Please ensure that there are no lumps in the mixture. (“Veggie Mixture”)

Step 3:

Next, you would want to heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a nonstick wok. Put the Veggie Mixture in and sauté on medium heat. Sauté it till it loses the raw smell the veggies have to offer. At this point let me warn you. Unlike sautéing sliced onions and tomatoes, our mixture here has a tendency to form bubbles that burst. So I would suggest that you keep your face at a distance a reasonable, prudent man would.

Step 4:

Once the Veggie Mixture turns translucent, add the chilly powder, the coriander powder, the turmeric and salt. Continue to sauté till the raw smell of the turmeric is lost. In order to get an idea as to whether this mixture is cooked just right, you just need to see if the water from the Veggie Mixture (the vegetables have water content. No extra water was added) has evaporated and if it starts to look thick and separate. (“Gravy Mixture”)

Step 5:

Mix one sachet of the coconut milk powder in a glass of water and pour it into the Gravy Mixture and mix it well while the wok sits on the heat. (“Gravy”)

Step 6:

Put the hard boiled eggs into the Gravy the yellow facing up. Gently coat the eggs with the Gravy. Now you may want to stop using the mixing spoon or spatula excessively. I happen to be rather particular as to how the eggs end up looking even in the end.

Step 7:

After the Gravy sits on the flame for another ten minutes (wok closed with the lid), add the next sachet of coconut milk. (Mixed in water, of course! ¾ cup should be ideal) Post this step, leave the Gravy on the flame for another ten minutes (Lid back on the wok)

Step 8:

The last touch to your Egg Curry would be to add to it some mustard seeds, curry leaves and some dried red chillies tempered in oil in a small pan. Add this to the Egg Curry sitting on the stove and you are done!

Your oh-so-creamy Egg Curry is now ready to be devoured with Iddiyappams or Appams or even Rotis for that matter. Why don’t you try this out over the weekend and let me know? 🙂

My easy-peasy pancakes

Anjali Venugopal May 4, 2016 2 COMMENTS


It is almost like the sun is trying to prove a point outside, which makes it next to impossible to even try and venture out. So here I am huddled up indoors jotting down the recipé for my pancakes as promised. Trust me, this unassuming pal is supremely easy going and quite a rockstar when it comes to your tastebuds.

Things you will need: 

  1. All purpose flour/ Maida- 1 ½ cups
  2. Sugar- ¾ cups (use the same cup as above. The sugar can be powdered or not. I leave that to you.)
  3. Eggs- 2
  4. Baking powder (Not soda. Those two are two very different things. Moving forward on the assumption that you are not here for a Chemistry lesson)- 2 teaspoons
  5. Salted butter- 50 grams (melted)
  6. Milk- 1 cup (the same cup. Duh!)
  7. Salt- 1 teaspoon
  8. Vanilla- ½ teaspoon
  9. Honey
  10. An electric beater if you have one. Otherwise a mixing spoon with your arm should be good enough.

How to go about it:

  1. Blend the flour and the baking powder using a sieve. This is to ensure the baking powder is spread out evenly. (“Dry Mixture”)
  2. Next, in a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar, melted butter and vanilla. (“Wet Mixture”). You don’t need to beat it too much. Beating the mixture till it achieves an even consistency and till it reaches a light yellow colour should be good.
  3. Now add the Dry Mixture to the Wet Mixture and and blend it well using the milk. Keep blending till you are sure that there are no lumps.
  4. Place a non-stick pan on your stove. Make sure you don’t over heat the pan. Medium heat is ideal.
  5. Grease the pan with a butter cube.
  6. Scoop up some of our batter (approximately ¼ cup for each pancake) and pour it on to the pan. You do not need to spread it because the idea is not to make a dosa.
  7. Once you start seeing bubbles on the top of the pancake and the edges reach a golden brown colour, flip it over with a spatula.
  8. As both the sides turn evenly golden brown, transfer it to a serving plate. Serve with a generous helping of honey and a dollop of salted butter on top.
  9. Dig in! 🙂

PS: Pardon the legal drafting tendencies that may have crept in (in re the definitions :P).

My song

Anjali Venugopal April 26, 2016 NO COMMENTS


I don’t know if this is something everyone goes through, but it’s quite a routine for me.

Let me explain it to you. Imagine you’re sitting quietly at your favourite pub (the one where the waiters know you by your first name and you have your table even if you choose to walk in on a Friday night at 8pm), in your own favourite corner by the large French window, sipping on a cold mug of fine wheat beer, on a sunny Sunday afternoon, away from the crowd, the noise and the dust the city has to offer. You are alone. Not sad, worried or anxious. Not a thought as to whether that young woman in red sitting at the table to your left is wondering if you’re a loner or friendless. You are completely at peace with your own being; you are happy and alone.

Just as you take your first sip from that familiar mug and you wipe that froth off your lip with your sleeve, that acoustic riff starts playing. Of a song you haven’t heard before but you immediately know in the inner depths of your soul that you’ll love, no matter what the song may progress into. As indecisive as you may be with every other aspect of your life, this is one of those rare occasions when you just know..” Yes this is me. This song just knows me.”

You were one of those songs. I was happy in my corner in life when you just walked in. But that moment you walked in, I knew you were that song. That song I’d listen to every single day, till the day I die, maybe after. That song that can pick me up even when I’ve hit rock bottom. That song I’d want everyone I love to listen to; but the song I’d treasure forever. That song which brought a flood of emotion I couldn’t describe. My song.


Hi, I am Anjali

A lawyer who gave up law to pursue her one true love, food.

I was born and raised in Trivandrum in arguably one of the most beautiful corners of the world, Kerala (the southernmost state of India). I have now made a home in Paris with the love of my life.

If I had to pick two things that made me the happiest, I would pick cooking and meeting new people.

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