Umm Ali

Today, I have a story, a story and a dessert. An easy, yummy, and fast desert. Great for entertaining or just an intimate dessert that can be ready in ten minutes. It is a middle eastern bread pudding called Umm Ali.

Legend has it that once the king of Egypt was out on a hunting trip. On the way he was hit by powerful hunger pangs. He stopped at a village and his courtiers went around looking for food fit for a king to eat. In that village there was a woman who was a great cook, the honour of feeding the king fell upon her. She had nothing fit for a king, for she was poor. She took some leftover bread, some nuts, milk, sugar and baked this dish of deliciousness. Needless to say it was well loved by the king.  The dish was named after the woman. She was Umm Ali (mother of ali) and so was the  dish. Interesting isn’t it… necessity is indeed the mother of invention.

There is another story, a more blood thirsty one. If you want to read it drop me a line and I’ll tell you :).

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Croissants – 15 – 20 (torn into small pieces)

Milk – 2 liters

Sugar – 3-5 tblsp (as per your taste)

Vanilla Essence – 1 tsp

Fresh Cream – 200 ml (beaten lightly)

Mixed assorted nuts – as per requirement

Butter – to butter the dish


Preheat an oven to 260 C.


Boil milk, sugar and vanilla essence. Keep aside.


Add all the croissant pieces to a baking dish and bake until well toasted. Keep aside.

Butter a baking dish.




Add one layer of croissant pieces, top with nuts. Repeat with another layer of croissant pieces and top with more nuts. Ladle the milk on top of the croissants till the croissants are soaked in milk. Top with beaten cream. Bake in a preheated oven @ 200 C for 10 mins or until top is golden.


Serve warm or cold.

I prefer it cold straight from the fridge, most people prefer it warm.

I am sure you have noticed this is a dish that permits a a lot of freedom. It is pretty much put in ingredients as you want. you want more custard like reduce amount of milk. If you want it with more milk well, pour more milk. You want chocolate umm ali use chocolate milk. You can use pita bread, puff pastry, filo pastry… It is so eminently customizable…

I hope you’ll make this in your house and let me know how it was.

Till we meet again..


Roasted Chicken with potatoes

A delicious and simple work night dinner. You can marinate the chicken before leaving to work or even the previous night. The rest is pretty simple.


Chicken – 2 whole (cleaned and with skin)

Marinade for Chicken

Chilly Powder – 6 tsp

Turmeric Powder – ½ tsp

Garam Masala – 3 tsp

Ginger Paste – 2 tsp

Garlic Paste – 2 tsp

Curd – 4 tblsp

Lemon juice – 2 (whole)

Fenugreek Leaves – 1 tsp (crushed)

Salt – To taste

Oil – As required

Onions- 2 (thinly sliced)

Potato – 2 (Wedges)

Oil for shallow frying



Make deep gashes on the chicken. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade and apply liberally onto the chicken. Keep aside for about 2 hours. Preheat oven to 220C for 10 minutes.

Take a deep kadai add a little oil, add the onions and sauté till pink. Add the whole chicken and brown it on both the sides.

Take a deep roasting pan. Add the chicken, onions and the oil. Toss in the potato wedges and cook for 45 minutes.

Remove the potatoes and onions from the roasting pan and spread on a baking tray and bake till crisp.

Just before serving broil Chicken until golden.


Serve with salad.


Potato Gratin

Creamy, cheesy French indulgence from Jamie Oliver.



Potatoes – 7-8 (medium sized)

Onions – 2

Olive oil – 2 tsp

Fresh cream – 100 ml

Parmesan cheese – to cover the surface






Cut the potato in wafer thin slices. Soak them in water. Parboil the potatoes in salted water, drain and keep aside.

Heat a oven and stove proof roasting tray, add oil, when hot tip in the onions. When pink add the stock cubes, sauté well. Add the potatoes and lightly toss. Add salt and pepper as per preference.

Flatten it on the tray. Pour in the cream and spread on the surface. Top with cheese. Broil @ 260 C till top is golden.

Broil in preheated oven @ 260 10251916_10152539900396779_2012176778113088253_n

C till top is golden brown.


Serve as a side dish with chicken or beef.

Banana Bread

Today I have here a baking recipe.

After a really long time decided to bake a cake.  I kept aside a bunch of bananas, patiently waited for them to get black. Mashed it, and added it to flour and other ingredients and yummm.

Its 10:46 at night so I will not go on. Over to the recipe then.



Mashed Banana – 1.5 cups (I used 4-5 small bananas and 1 large plantain that would be poovan payam and ethakka in malayalam)

Eggs – 2 (beaten)
Buttermilk – 1/3 cup
Oil – 1/2 cup (I used Sunflower Oil)
All Purpose Flour – 1 3/4 cups, sifted
Powdered Sugar – 1 ½  cups
Baking Soda – 1 tsp
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Walnuts – 1/2 cup, chopped to bits tossed in 2 tsp APF


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and grease a loaf pan. Whisk the mashed bananas, eggs, buttermilk, and oil. Sift the APF, sugar, soda, salt. Add the sifted flour to the liquid batter and mix till it is a smooth and slightly thick batter.

Add the walnuts to the batter, pour it into a  greased loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes. Keep checking every ten minutes after that. When a tooth pick comes out clean, it is done.

Let it cool on rack completely before you cut them into desired sized slices.


Grilled Fish-Indian style

In my never ending quest for healthy eating I have knocked on many doors, one such door was grilled fish. I tried it with minimum seasonings like lime, salt, pepper and a few dry herbs the way firangs make it… didn’t like it. But I liked the fact it was easily made and healthy. So what I did, the next time I bought some salmon fillets and marinated it using normal fish fry masala and grilled it … jackpot…it was yummy.

Enough introduction now over to the recipe…

Grilled Masaldar Fish

Grilled Masaldar Fish


Salmon Fillets – 2

Chilly powder – 2 tsp

Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp

Ginger and  garlic paste – 1 tsp

Fenugreek powder – 1/4 tsp

Lemon juice – 1 full

Salt – to taste

Fish Sauce/Oyster sauce – 1 tblsp (optional – unhealthy but yummy)

Water – as reqd

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opaque not transparent


Make a paste with all the ingredients except the fish fillets and marinate it for a minimum of 1/2 an hour.  Bake in an oven at 350F for 10 minutes on each side. Broil for a couple of minutes by keeping the tray as close to the heat source. Flit and repeat the same. You know your fish is cooked when it becomes an opaque white, not pink, not translucent.

Serve with Grilled or steamed vegetables.

Steamed Vegetables

Steamed Vegetables and Prawns (a seperate dinner in itself)

Point to note: There will be dripping (of the masala), if you want to avoid it, not possible, but you can make sure the bottom of your oven will be clean by lining your baking tray with aluminium foil. Once the cooking is done just throw the foil. Simple.


Grilled Tandoori chicken wings

Yumm… seriously yumm, so easy, quick (except for the marination time), it is one of my favourite starter food of late. Just marinate the chicken wings in the masala (store bought or home made) and grill it till done… that’s it.


Chicken Wings – 500 grams

Chilly powder – 2 tsp

Coriander powder – 1 tsp

Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp

Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp

Garam Masala – 1/2 tsp

Hung curd – 1/2 cup (normal curd put through a strainer suspended over a bowl for half an hour)

Lemon juice- 1/2 lemon

Mustard oil – 1 tsp (you can use more)

Dried Mint leaves – 1 tsp (crushed)

Dried Fenugreek leaves – 1 tsp (crushed)

Salt – to taste

Water – as required

Tandoori Chicken wings

Tandoori Chicken wings


Make a paste with all the ingredients except chicken wings, using a little water. Marinate the chicken wings for at least an hour. Half an hour is barely sufficient, overnight is awesome. Preheat the oven/grill/tandoor and bake it for ten minutes on one side. Flip it to the other side and cook for 5 minutes. You can test the doneness by touching the surface. If there is any sticky masala pop it in the oven for a couple of minutes more. Thats it.. simple isn’t it?

Serve hot with Mint chutney.

Tandoori Chicken wings

Tandoori Chicken wings

Ingredients for mint chutney
Mint – 1  bunch, cleaned and leaves separated
Coriander leaves – 1/2 bunch
Green chilli – 4-5
Ginger – 1 inch piece chopped
Hung curd  – 3-4 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Oil- 1 tsp
In a pan heat oil and once it turns hot add the ginger, mint leaves and  coriander leaves. Keep sauteing till the leaves wilt. Add the green chillies and salt. Let it cool down well. Blend in mixie with 1 tblsp curd till smooth. Add the remaining curd and blend again. Khallas..
I hope you will make this, enjoy it and let me know through the comments.
Till we meet again……

Baked Hamour

Hamour is called the King of fishes in the Persian Gulf area and loved by the locals. It belongs to the grouper family. Slightly expensive and absolutely tasty, this is a Binish (my husband) specialty. Just as I am passionate about beef, my husband is fish crazy. As winter is approaching it is time to pull out the barbecue kits and this was an experimental try out from my husband. The recipe is as simple as it comes, but the flavors are awesome. When baked the inside of the fish turns buttery and flaky. It is a treat to eat. Though we have used Hamour fish you can use any other fish. This was made using the rotisserie, but I have also baked this fish in a baking tray. Rotisserie or tray, Hamour or any other whole fish, this is a must try. Try it out at home and you will understand what I am talking about.

Whole Hamour - courtesy google


Hamour or any other large fish – 1 (cleaned)


Chilly powder –  2 tblsp

Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp

Ginger – garlic paste – 2 tsp

Lemon – juice of half a lemon

Pepper – 1 – 1 ½ tsp

Salt – as needed

Hamour - In the oven

Clean the fish well with salt, turmeric and vinegar. Pat dry and make gashes on the body so that the masala will really sink in. Marinate the fish with ingredients listed under marinade. Keep askide for as long as you can, minimum being 2 hours.

Skewer the fish with the rotisserie and bake at 200 C for 45 – 50 minutes. To check whrther it is done look for nicely browned and crisp skin and white inside flesh.

Ready to Eat

You can serve it whole with onions and lemon on the side.

It makes a delicious treat and a lovely dinner for three.

Well done inside

Try it and you will make it again and again. This I promise you.