Beetroot Tart

Beetroot Tart…now here is something different…


Prawns in Green Masala…Dhania Jhinga


  • For the masala: 2 tsps ghee
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp urad daal (yellow lentil)
  • 2 green chillies (optional but desirable, so add more or less depending on how hot you want the dish)
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • 1 cup (tightly packed) fresh green coriander
  • 1/2 cup (tightly packed) fresh mint
  • 1/2 fresh coconut grated
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1″ piece of ginger
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Salt to taste


  • The rest: 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, sliced very thin
  • 1/2 kg prawns/ shrimps, shelled and deveined
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh, green coriander to garnish with


  • In a small pan, heat the ghee and then hot add the mustard seeds, curry laves, green chillies and urad daal. all the ingredients will splutter so be very careful. I like to use a splatter cover to prevent accidental burns!
  • Fry till the ingredients stop spluttering and turn darker in color.
  • Remove from the fire and add to the coconut.
  • Add all the other masala ingredients and grind together in a food processor until a smooth paste is formed. Keep aside for later use.
  • Heat the cooking oil in a wok/ kadhai or a deep, heavy bottomed pan. When the oil is hot, add the sliced onions and fry until they turn pale golden in color.
  • Now add the masala made as above and fry. In a while, the oil will begin to separate from the masala and it will turn fragrant. This could take up to 10 minutes and is an indication that it is cooked. Stir almost constantly as the masala could easily burn. Keep heat on medium.
  • When the masala is ready, add the prawns/ shrimps and stir to coat them completely with the masala. Stir fry for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Plate up or put in serving dish and garnish with chopped fresh, green coriander. Serve immediately with hot Chapatis!

Crab Curry

I remember the crab man coming in Sri Lanka with baskets on his shoulders full of fresh crab.


As a child, we would gather around to watch the crabs scuttling away and him catching the ones selected by my mother, and the man splitting them in two by ripping off the shell and putting it straight into a pot for the cook to take away and prepare.

To find this recipe was a delight….as Crab curry is still my to garlic prawns of course…

  • 8 crabs (factored at 2 medium-sized crabs per person)
  • 1 1/2″ lump of tamarind
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 large onions sliced
  • 2 large tomatoes sliced
  • 10 dry red chillies (use less if you do not want a hot curry)
  • 2 tbsps garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 1/2 cups grated fresh coconut
  • 2 tbsps coriander powder
  • 2 tbsps cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 green chillies slit
  • 2 tbsps vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil
  • Hot water for gravy (approximately 3 cups)
  • Salt to taste

  • Remove the crabs legs and keep aside. Cut the crab bodies into halves or quarters with a cleaver. Take off the claws from the legs so the leg is divided into two parts.
  • Soak the tamarind in 1/2 a cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Now mash the tamarind with your fingers to mix it well into the water. Strain through a sieve to extract all the pulp. Keep pulp aside.
  • Put the onion, tomato, coconut, ginger, garlic, dry red chillies, all the spices and the tamarind pureé into your food processor and grind well to make a smooth paste (also called masala).
  • Set up a deep, heavy-bottomed pan on a medium temperature and when it is hot, add the cooking oil and heat.
  • Now add the green chillies and the masala paste you just prepared (as above), to the oil and sauté for 5 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent burning.
  • Now add the 3 cups of water (add more or less hot water if you would like more or less gravy) and bring the gravy to a boil. Reduce the flame to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add salt to taste.
  • Gently add the pieces of crab to the gravy and cook uncovered for 10 more minutes.
  • Turn off the fire and serve immediately with plain boiled rice or Jeera Rice. Crab Curry is best eaten with your fingers

Chilli Crab is virtually the same recipe, just add extra coarsely crushed chilli…as hot as you desire…..

Artichoke with Brie de Meaux Sauce

Delicious way to serve artichoke…looks wonderful…

Cooking in Sens


I saw a woman at the vegetable stand buying two large,  purple, globe artichokes. Because I had never cooked a purple globe artichoke, I asked her how she planned to prepare it.  She replied, “You have to cook them.”  Sotto voce:  “Dumb bunny American!”  I replied, “Thank you.”  Sotto voce:  “Ignorant French cow!”  We smiled at each other artificially as we parted.


I bought two also because I like artichokes and though not the same color as our California artichokes, I thought they looked interesting.  I don’t really care for stuffing the artichokes with bread crumbs; it’s okay but I think it’s some how too bulky.  I found this great recipe at Food Republic that I changed very little.  When you fill and broil the artichokes, you end up with a golden crust that you break open to access the rich bubbling sauce in which you dip the leaves.  This…

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Coquelet Sel Fou

Looks delicious….try making your own salt if you cannot buy this one…

Cooking in Sens


At the spice stand in the market, I found a mixture of salt, herbs and spices called Sel Fou or crazy salt.  Well, you know me, I had to try this!


I had two coquelets in the refrigerator, so I spatchcocked them, rubbed them with a mixture of the crazy salt and some olive oil and roasted them in the oven.  Easy and delicious.  If you are not in France and can’t find this spice mixture, any good chicken rub will do, although it won’t be quite the same 🙂  I’ll try to find out the exact ingredients next Saturday and let you know.


Nico, Babou’s husband made a red bell pepper stuffed with cream cheese,  herbs and tuna.  We ate it sliced as an entree.


Very nice.  Thank you Nico!

Coquelet Sel Fou

2 coquelets or small Cornish game hens, spatchcocked

1 tbsp Sel Fou or Bavarian essence or…

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Georgian Inspired Romano Beans

Love this way of cooking beans…

Cooking in Sens


Today I went to the farmers’ market with Babou.  She wanted to introduce me to her spice seller.  What a revelation!  I’ve noticed his tables before but because he has placed bottles of wine at the front table, I assumed the side tables contained more wine.  Not at all.


After trawling the supermarkets and health food store, I’ve pretty much given up on finding exotic spices here in Sens and, on trips to Paris, I load up with the things I need. Also a quick look into M. Parret’s barren spice cupboard confirmed my opinion that the French, while excited about fresh herbs and some spices, preferred the tastes of France. Fallacy.  I was just shopping and eating with the wrong people 🙂


M. Henno has a shop, Ma Petite Epicerie Fine in Presnoy, about an hour away from Sens. He comes to the Sens market every Saturday.  This is…

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Chocolate caramel crispy bites

Chocolate caramel Crispies

Chef in disguise

Chocolate caramel crispy cakes

It is time for our secret recipe club reveal for the month of March. For this month my assigned blog was Trisha’s  My Hobbie lobbie.Trisha is a talented baker who gave up her corporate job to focus on her passion for baking and of late, crafting. My Hobbie Lobbie is her way of trying to keep track of all the recipes and patterns that she has tried so far. She also shares traditional Goan food that her mother taught her.

With the whole family sick with a nasty flue, yours truly included, I choose to make something quick, easy and tasty.  I made the chocolate caramel crispy cakes from Trisha’s Christmas post. The post has a wonderful collection of last minute treats that you can make for a party to enjoy with  friends and family or for the kids to enjoy after school or in the lunch…

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Jackfruit Pilaf in a Clay Pot

Love a pilaf and this looks great


Jackfruit Pilaf

Okay, some more jackfruit recipe – because you guys seemed to get very excited to learn about this exotic fruit and also because I might happen to have some leftover fruit from the last post – but mainly because you were excited and curious. 🙂 I also found a picture in my phone that I had taken sometime back in Coorg, karnataka while visiting a coffee plantation. I realized I had taken the picture after I posted the jackfruit tacos recipe and instantly felt that it should have been a part of the post because it was a photo of jackfruits on a tree….well here it is now for all you curious souls who had not heard about the fruit before.

I had mentioned in my last post about the rice preparation with jackfruit that I ate as a kid – today’s post is a take on that recipe. It’s…

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Jackfruit Tacos

Jack Fruit…is now available in many areas..try this


Jackfruit Tacos

Jackfruit is one of those exotic tropical fruits that only grows in specific parts of the world and is not too popular. Its available everywhere but grows only at a few regions. India is one of those places where it grows in abundance and infact is consumed differently in the north and the south region of the country. Before coming to Pondicherry I had eaten jackfruit as a vegetable in stews. It was the first time in Pondy that I ate it like a fruit and also saw ice creams being made with fresh jackfruit. It makes sense to eat it like a fruit since it IS a fruit…..but for some reason in north India its not allowed to ripen completely and is consumed while its still very tender and small in size. As a kid I remember eating rice preparations with it (one of my favorite).

The fruit is…

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