Meen molee (Keralan fish curry)

All over Kerala, South India, you’ll find varying versions of meen molee, which is just the most delicious fish curry you’ll ever taste (‘meen’ being the Malayalam word for fish). The recipe doesn’t come with a huge list of ingredients either, so it’s very easy to replicate at home.

During my four months in this beautiful Indian state (a few years ago now!), I ate some wonderful food, mostly vegetarian, but also some super fresh fish dishes. Meen molee was always one of my all-time favourites.

Recipes for Keralan fish curry frequently contain tamarind and tomatoes (I love these versions too), alongside the staple ingredient of coconut milk. This recipe today actually contains neither tamarind nor tomato, but is still an authentic fish curry.

You can use dried curry leaves for this dish, which are readily available in Asian stores. We prefer to buy them fresh from our local Nepali store and then freeze them.

It’s from Atul Kochar’s wonderful book Simple Indian (published by Quadrille) which I highly recommend. It’s a great introduction to South Indian cooking, with a modern twist, offering recipes that are uncomplicated and work every time.

Our household was struck down by colds and flu this week, and this – along with my mum’s magical chicken soup (I really should post that recipe too) – helped clear the airways a bit!

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Orange-pepper beef with cashews


This lovely recipe has its origins in southern India – Madras to be precise. My husband (who’s originally from that region) and I have made our own tweaks and modifications to the dish in the time we’ve been making it. It’s traditionally made with lamb, but beef also works well. Also you can either make it with coconut milk or orange juice, but here we use both.

We chose a lean cut of beef (we used topside, cut it into large cubes and pre-cooked it in a pressure cooker for around 30 minutes to tenderise). There’s also no reason why you can’t make this in your slow cooker (crockpot, for my US readers), using a cheaper cut of meat like brisket, and come home to a lovely, warming meal in the evening. Continue reading

Wholegrain risotto (with fish tempura and yoghurt dip)


This is my all-time favourite risotto dish which takes less time to cook than a ‘real’ Italian risotto. Here I’ve matched it with some fish strips fried in a light tempura batter and some lemony yoghurt dressing. Grilled chicken would also be a great accompaniment.

Don’t even think about making this risotto with white rice – it has to be wholegrain all the way! I’ve made this recipe hundreds of times and it’s just so much better and tastier with brown rice.

The recipe comes from a great vegetarian book from Sarah Brown called Vegetarian Kitchen, which accompanied the popular BBC TV series of the same name, first broadcast way back in 1984. It was really the first time that vegetarian food had been dished up to the masses on TV. Continue reading

Minty pea falafels

These make great nutritious little snacks, kids love them (I find the addition of peas makes them more appealing) and they’re easy to make. They’re not crunchy and dry like conventional falafels, but rather soft, so a little care is needed when cooking to avoid them breaking up.

You can experiment with what spices to add and the quantities, giving them more or less heat. I just leave out the chilli when making for my son, Little A. Continue reading

Prawn and green mango curry


Looks as pretty as a picture doesn’t it? This is a lovely, light summery curry with just the right balance of sweetness from the coconut and tartness from the green mangoes. The succulent prawns are actually just the cherry on top – so to speak.

I doubt you’ll find these particular green mangoes at your local Sainsbury’s, but you should find them at any larger Asian store which stocks a fresh supply of vegetables, or alternatively you can buy them in a pack of frozen slices. They’re not sweet like their fruitier cousins (which can also have green skins), but a bit sour and they’re the mangoes you usually find in Indian pickles. Continue reading