I love to combine prawns with vegetables, maybe because in my family prawns were never combined with other vegetables. I have posted several recipes combining prawns with vegetables (Prawn and Bitter Gourd Fry, Prawn and Ridge Gourd Curry, Prawn and Colocasia Curry, Prawn and Snake Gourd Fry, and many more). Okra is not liked by children, mainly because of its slimy texture when it comes in contact with water. I have avoided this in this preparation. The Mexican Spice Mix was suggested by my daughter. I have modified it to suit the Indian palate, and also deleted garlic powder to improve shelf life and because Indians are used to consuming fresh garlic.
As my ancestors were originally vegetarians, our meat dishes were very limited – we only had 2 chicken recipes! This is a version of a chicken fry made by my grandmother that I heavily modified. Her masala powder was milder, and only few curry leaves were used in the powder. Being a nutritionist, I saw the potential of using a large amount of curry leaves to increase the nutritive value of the dish, and thus escalated the curry leaf content to half a cup, and to my delight this easy to make product was a very big hit with my family.
After the internet developed so much, buying fish has become easier these days. Fish vendors either call you or message you on your preferences, and deliver the fish all cleaned and ready to cook. I got some lovely prawns recently. I didn’t have the time to grind the masalas, and I created this very simple and easy to prepare prawn fried rice. I used an extra amount of water to cook the prawns so that I will have sufficient stock to cook the rice. This enhanced the flavour of the fried rice, and we just couldn’t stop eating it.
I have always been fascinated by the idea of Caramel Chicken. I came across both English and Tamil recipes but I found them to be impractical. I have combined and modified the recipes to make it easier to prepare and reduce wastage. I decided to use country tomatoes instead of the hybrid variety for their acidic flavour. The caramel chicken goes very well with Dinner Rolls, fried rices, and pulavs.
When I flip through my collection of cookery books, if a photograph of some preparation fascinates me I try to make an Indian dish to suit our palate and kitchen. I came across a photograph of sausages and potatoes, beautifully presented but in a curry form – curry meaning western style bland curry. Therefore I decided to combine sausage and potatoes in what the Tamilians call a poriyal, meaning fry. The cocktail sausages available in India are quite spicy; therefore I decided to keep the add-on spices to a minimum. We usually get chicken sausages, but if you’re lucky you might find pork sausages in the stores. I have used chicken sausages to prepare this dish, but you can also use pork sausages.
In Thirunelveli, we make two kinds of curries using prawn/fish and coconut milk. I have already posted the recipe for Meen Asadhu using marine fish. Moli uses totally different kinds of spices for seasoning and does not include coriander powder. To me, both taste absolutely divine :), but I prefer moli for prawns. This is a quick and easy preparation if you are using reconstituted coconut milk and also purchase already shelled and deveined prawns. I serve this with either plain rice or chappatis.
Coorg cuisine is famous for pork dishes. I have already posted Chillikana Pandi. A friend from Coorg told me that pork dishes are a must in their wedding feasts. This curry uses a variety of dry and green spices, and also kokum (Garcinia indica), which is a type of tamarind substitute. Kokum has a smoky flavour which usually appeals to those from the West Coast of India, and is not part of Tamil cooking. I had tasted kokum in some fish curries which my colleagues brought, and I was intrigued by the flavour, though my family didn’t really care for it. Pork blends very well with the flavour of kokum, and we all love it.