Creative on the menu

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Category: Recipes (page 1 of 4)

Marbled Pandan Chiffon cake


The title threw you off a little? For those of you who are not familiar with pandan its a plant available in South Asia. Otherwise known as screwpine, I have found this plant growing in my grandmother’s backyard in Kerala where it is known as “Rambaella”. I am not aware if there is any other term for it.

So the very first use I remember having of it is when my mom used this as a flavouring agent in her biryani, and believe me when I say that I could whiff her biryani from the end of the street. Her biryani is by far my most favourite biryani in the world * floats into nostalgic mood*. [Mental note to self: I need to make biryani asap *droooool* ]

Back to reality,  so as I was saying,  another prominent reminder of pandan flavour would be the cendol dessert I had in Malaysia, which has green rice noodles in a pandan palm sugar coconut milk base. Maybe I need to stop talking about all this food because it is making me hungry. Anyway, I just wanted to give you all an idea of  the yummy stuff made with pandan. It can be also used to make chicken dishes, coconut rice, custard and the very soft pandan bread which I had in the 7/11 supermarket in Thailand.

Pandan is well paired with coconut, so when I had this pandan and tender coconut sandwich in Thailand I was inspired to bake something along those lines at home. But I couldn’t find pandan extract or the real deal anywhere ( my grandmother’s plant had long gone too). In comes my aunt to the rescue, she sent me pandan paste and essence too 🙂
So first thing I try is baking a pandan bread and it came out quite well though I would have loved more pandan flavour in it. Now next I kept looking for more pandan recipes, something more related to baking. So when I hit upon “Anncoo Journal”‘s marbled pandan chiffon cake I knew I had to try it.

Now the original recipe uses the juice extracted from pandan leaves but I have used pandan paste as a substitute. I loved the taste all the same. It has a subtle hint of pandan and coconut and couldn’t be more delish!

Source: Anncoo Journal


Plain flour/ Maida – 70g

Corn flour – 2 tbsp

Egg yolks – 3

Sugar – 30g

Coconut milk – 80ml

Rice bran oil – 50g

Pandan paste – 1.5 tbsp

For the meringue

Egg whites – 4

Sugar – 45g

White vinegar – a splash


1. Preheat oven to 165C. Sift flour and corn flour and set aside.

2. In another bowl mix egg yolks and sugar. Add coconut milk, mix well, add the oil and blend well. Sift the flour into the egg mixture and mix well.

3. Divide the batter into 2 portions. Add the pandan paste into one of the portions and mix well. Mine turned a real bright green because of the paste but will become lighter when baked.

4. To make the meringue, beat the egg whites. Add a splash of white vinegar. Beat the egg whites till its nice and foamy. Add the sugar in 3 batches and beat till you get nice glossy white meringue with stiff peaks.

5. Fold the meringue evenly into the plain and pandan mixture. Spoon the plain and pandan mixture alternatively into the prepared cake pan or tube pan if you have one.whatsapp-image-2019-06-13-at-10-00-57-am-1

6. Drop the pan gently on the counter top to remove any air bubbles. Add the pan to the second row from the bottom in the oven and bake for 40 minutes.

7. Remove the cake once it is done and let it cool before removing from the tin.




Mamma’s chilli chicken

img_20190531_120502This recipe is one of our Sunday lunch specials which my mamma made. I absolutely adore it and it is home to me! What I remember the most about this recipe is whenever mamma made it, we had many taste sessions, once when the chicken is boiled, den after the dish is made. Each time we cross the stove a tester piece is sampled, so that means many such kitchen entries.

This dish is so simple that anyone can do it, yes you!! It’s an easy bachelor/beginner/lazy/no chopping recipe. It serves great as a side dish for your rice and curry or as an appetizer for your party.


Chicken boneless/bone-in : 250gms

Turmeric powder – a pinch

Kashmiri chilli powder – 1 tsp.

Water – as required

Curry leaves – a handful (optional)

Oil – 1 tbsp

Salt – to taste


In a small kadhai, immerse the cleaned chicken in water. Season with salt. Cook till the chicken is perfectly cooked. Remove the chicken to a bowl and reserve the stock for soups or chicken rice. Shred the chicken with a fork or even your hands are good enough but be careful as the chicken is hot. Add oil to your kadhai( I used the same, saves up on cleaning). Add curry leaves to the oil, add in the chicken.  Give it a good stir and add the masalas. Season with salt but remain mindful of the salt we added in the water while boiling it. I would suggest you do a tester piece 😉 while shredding the chicken.


If you want the chicken to be more fried, add little oil and keep frying to your liking.  Serve hot with some steamed rice, rasam/pulisheri and some veggies on the side.


Eggless Carrot and walnut cake


I think it is becoming a trend that I have to start all my posts with an apology of delay and the whys! Well, am a mom now. So I am guessing all the moms out there know what I mean without me saying a word. Meals now consists of hurried up, thrown in together last minute and none of those elaborate or exotic meals. Its been quite a while since I baked particularly and in between my OTG gave up on me too 🙁

Anyways after what can be said quite a long time I got the OTG fixed and tried some recipes I had been waiting to try out. One such recipe is this eggless carrot and walnut cake. The cake is so moist with a crunch from the walnuts and the beautiful flavour of orange/lime zest, cinnamon powder. In this recipe, I used lime zest and skipped on the nutmeg powder simply because I didn’t have any on me, but the cake tasted wonderful all the same.

For the recipe please click here.

Hope you enjoy this one!

Whole wheat Banana bread with chocolate chips


Are you guys much of a bread fan? Well I was a big fan of the bread and butter when I was a kid and we didn’t have much options other than the humble milk bread. Brown, multigrain whole wheat bread all came in the last decade into the picture. I am yet to discover an easy bread recipe to bake at home. Anyways, why all the talk about bread? Its because today I bring to you a recipe that gets all the ticks on the “health meter” if such a thing does exist. It is made with wholesome meal/ whole wheat flour, no sugar or any kind of artificial sweetener.

So bananas are kind of under-appreciated by me. I love the banana flavor in any ice cream or candy but as a fruit its never got my attention. But, besides me, the rest of my family are banana lovers. We get different varieties of bananas and everyone munches on it as a snack except me. But this all changed when I was pregnant, in fact the only snack and fruit which I could eat without having nausea was banana. So during my whole term I had bananas of all shapes and sizes!

My Aunt B had sent me recipes of many chefs when I had just got married. It all just got archived in my email until recently when I chanced upon them and struck gold. She has been kind enough to send me so many varieties of recipes and I have been trying them ever since. Its during one of these trials that I came across this banana bread and we love it! We love this banana bread as such but you could have it slathered with butter/chocolate spread/lemon curd with your cup of afternoon tea. The key point to be noted in this recipe is the use of overripe bananas (the blacker the better) which lend to the sweetness of the bread as we don’t add in any sweetener in the recipe. You could add cinnamon streusel to your banana bread or nuts/seeds for added crunch or chocolate chips as I did. Hope you love this recipe.


Source: Catherine’s recipes

Makes: 1 loaf


115g / ½ cup butter, plus extra for greasing

5ml/ 1 tsp baking soda

225 g/ 2 cups whole meal (whole- wheat) flour

2 eggs, beaten

3 very ripe bananas

30 – 45ml / 2-3 tbsp. milk

½ cup dark chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and base line a 9*5in loaf tin. Cream the butter in a bowl until fluffy. Sift the baking soda and flour, then add to the creamed butter, alternating with the eggs.
  2. Peel the bananas and slice them into a bowl. Mash them well and stir into the cake mixture adding enough milk to get a dropping consistency. Add in the chocolate chips and give a stir.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and level the surface with the back of a spoon. Bake for 1 ¼ hours or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.



Trissur chicken fry

img_20170610_1342070892Another page from my grandma’s recipe diary. These days its more of repetition of day to day recipes and I haven’t tried out anything new or baked anything. And if I did, I couldn’t click a decent picture for the blog before it gets devoured. So that’s why all this time in posting a recipe.

So what did you guys do this summer? We basically hung around, took a trip to Coorg (nearby hill station) saw a famous Tibetan monastery enroute had some good Tibetan food as well as Coorgi food especially the famous Pandi curry (pork curry) and Pidi (rice dumpling)! Yum yum. Oh and in case I forgot to mention we bought some pretty good varieties of mangoes too! Ok all this talk about food is getting me hungry!

This recipe is something I remember specifically watching on TV and then jotting it down so that well, someone would make it for me later (that never happened). Since it didn’t have any specific measurements I just tried with what I liked. The amount of spice can be adjusted according to your tolerance.


Chicken – 500gms washed and cut into medium size pieces

Red chili powder – 1.5 tsp – 2 tsp

Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp

Salt – to taste

Lime juice – ½ lime

Onion – 1 chopped

Curry leaves – 3 stalks

Small onion/shallot – 3 nos.

Tomato – 1

Garlic – 5 nos.

Ginger – ½ “piece

Garam masala – ¼ tsp

Pepper powder – ½ – 1 tsp

Fenugreek powder – a pinch (optional)

Oil – for frying

Water – ¼ – ½ cup


Marinate the chicken with turmeric, red chili powder, salt and lime juice overnight. In a flat bottom skillet or dish shallow fry the chicken pieces in batches and keep aside.

Blend together the shallots, ginger, garlic and tomato. In the same skillet sauté the chopped onions and curry leaves. Once the onions have turned translucent add in the blended paste. Fry till the raw smell goes off. Add in garam masala and pepper, sauté and add the fried chicken with ¼ cup of water. Cook till the water disappears and the masala coats the chicken well adding more water if required. Sprinkle some fenugreek powder(if using) just before removing from heat. Serve hot!

Tomato curry


I had decided that for my next visit to my native(Trivandrum), I would check into my grandma’s and mom’s combined recipe book for some recipes to steal! Our recipe book is an old diary with some of the pages having some recipes which over the years my grandma, aunties, mamma, and some of them me and my brother have written. Don’t get me wrong, me and my brother were not much into cooking unless it was to go into our mouth. So those recipes we copied down into the recipe book were because well it was our only chance to write with pen when we were only allowed to write with pencil in school!
So, this book was a medley of recipes handwritten from what my grandma and her kids found in magazines or on TV shows or what friends/relatives passed on.  We even had addresses stored in that diary! Good old days when we used to write down a letter and the address and post them. Sometimes I really miss those days! No offence technology is great, but its just that sometimes writing with your own hand gives a good vibe, if you know what I mean?! Do you?


You must be wondering I started talking about an old recipe book and ended up talking about handwritten letters! Sorry I just got carried away. So as I was telling you, I go this time with all the intention of getting this book and I find it sitting on my mom’s kitchen table. Pleased that I found it without taking any trouble, I thank my mom only to find out she had taken it out to dispose it, as it was all in bits and tatters. Her argument that everything can be found on the internet! Oh my heart almost sank to my feet to think if I had just missed it. Anyways, rest assured, I have dutifully scanned everything before any harm can be done. Come to think of it I would like to have my own recipe book which, maybe in the coming years, the next generation would be reading off from very proudly. It would be a legacy from my grandmother to the next generation! Gives me the chills J


Finally, I get into the recipe. So usually for weekday dinners we have chapatti and curry. And after breakfast and lunch preparations along with running after a toddler, sometimes even the thought of coming up with some curry is tiring let alone cooking it. Tomato curry is one such easy curry and I bet we all have tried different versions of it from the tomato fry to the “ketchup” sweet tomato curry. I have had my fair share and I have also tried coming up with my own recipe. To my surprise I find not one but 2 recipes for tomato curry, of which the very first one I tried, I am going to be sharing. It’s a simple no nonsense curry, which I downsized to serve 2-3 people. Also though the original recipe calls for tamarind, I have opted it out as for me the tanginess from tomatoes is sufficient. Long post.? Well its been long since I spoke with you guys and also I wanted to share this page out of my “life” book with you all. Onto the recipe.



Onion – 1 medium sliced

Tomatoes – 3 numbers cut into 8 pieces each

Green chilly – 3 numbers

Chilly powder – ½ tsp.

Salt – to taste

Water – 1.5 – 2 cups

Tamarind – size ½ of a gooseberry

To temper

Mustard seeds – ½ tsp

Small onion/ shallots – 3 sliced

Garlic – 4 crushed/minced

Red chilly – 2 broken

Curry leaves – 1 – 2 stalks

Maida – ½ tsp

Oil – 1 tbsp.


Heat oil and add all the ingredients for tempering except Maida. Sauté till the shallots are slightly browned. Then add the Maida and sauté it for a minute. Next add in the sliced onions with green chilly. Stir till the onions become soft. Next add in the tomatoes. Sauté till they start to slowly soften. Add in the red chili powder, salt and stir till its raw smell goes off. Add water and let the tomatoes cook down to your liking, and the gravy thicken. Switch off and serve immediately with roti!

Chicken rice


How have you guys been? All good? Well things are bit hazy for me with an infant in the house!

At times I have no track of time or days! Is that the case for every mother? But something I do got to admit is I have learnt to appreciate and respect my parents and all other parents more!

So this is a recipe I learnt from Grandma which graced our tables for Sunday lunch! She used to make this chicken rice with this chilly chicken. But traditionally from my last visit to Malaysia they serve chicken rice with the poached chicken (from the chicken used to make the stock), some cucumber, a chilly sauce and maybe some of the leftover soup (the chicken broth). This recipe has got flavor labelled all over it. I served my chicken rice with double poached chicken with chilly oil.

For the lazy times, you can always make the chicken rice with store bought chicken broth or the chicken stock cubes (been there, done that). But I have to admit nothing can beat the home made chicken broth. Parents, this is a kid friendly recipe, am pretty sure your kid will lap away the rice and chicken. Ok before I share the recipe, it might look like a whole lot with the whole list of ingredients but it can be broken down into steps which can be prepped and kept beforehand.

Usually, from what I have read, a whole chicken is cooked with aromatics and seasonings and the resultant stock is just used to cook the rice. The chicken is cut up and served with the rice. The chilly sauce is just a condiment and totally optional, but adds a lovely heat to this dish. I have done this my way but you can always cook to what suits your taste.  Hope you enjoy my recipe and do write to me how you made this rice and what tweaks suited u J


Serves: 2-3

For the chicken

Chicken – 500 gm (preferably with bone)

Bay leaf – 1

Star anise – 1

Spring onion – 3 tied into a knot

Soya sauce – 3 tbsp.

Lime juice – ½ lime


Peanuts – a handful crushed

Sesame seeds – 2 tsp.

Coriander leaves – 2 tbsp. chopped.

For the chicken rice

Rice – 1.5 cups

Water + Stock– 3 cups

Garlic – 5 big cloves

Green chilly – 3-4 nos. (suit to personal preference)

Oil – 1 tbsp.

Salt – to taste

Chilly sauce

Red chilly – 5-7 numbers


Ginger – ¼ inch piece

Garlic – 1 -2 cloves

Stock – ¼ cup

Salt – to taste

Lime – to taste

Chilly oil

Oil – ¼ cup

Chilly flakes – 3 tbsp.

Garlic minced – 1 tbsp.

Spring onion chopped (optional) – 1

Salt – to taste


For the chicken

In a big pot of water immerse the chicken, cover and let it cook till the chicken is cooked thoroughly but not yet falling off the bone. Season with salt. Remove the chicken and save the stock for your rice.

This is plain chicken stock which can be prepared beforehand and stored in the fridge.  You could also add aromatics (ginger, garlic) or any flavorings of your choice to this stock. This is what goes into flavoring your rice. I didn’t add any flavorings to my stock as I do it while cooking the rice.

Now in a pot, put the chicken and fill halfway with water. Add soya sauce*, bay leaf, star anise and spring onions. Cook it down till the water is almost reduced and the chicken is falling off the bone. Take off the flame. Let it cool and then remove the flesh from the bones. Discard the bones, bay leaf and star anise. Reserve around ¼ cup stock for the chilly sauce. Now heat up around ¼ cup oil. In a heatproof bowl add the chilly flakes, garlic and spring onion. Season with salt and give it a mix. Add the boiling hot oil to this. Voila! Chilly oil is ready. Pour half of this chili oil** into the chicken and give a toss.  Add crushed peanuts, sesame seeds and chopped coriander leaves and give a final toss.


For the chicken rice

While your chicken is poaching second time, heat up 1 tbsp. oil in a pressure cooker. You could also use a rice cooker or a big pot to cook your rice. I used the faithful old pressure cooker. Once your oil is hot, sauté your garlic – green chilly paste (you can also use ginger here) till the raw smell goes off. Add the rice and stir till all the rice is coated with the oil. Next add in the stock. (If the stock water doesn’t measure up, add water too). Season with salt. Pressure cook for 3 whistles, or if you are cooking on stove top cook till all the water is evaporated and your rice is cooked.

For the chilly sauce

You could make this with fresh red chillies but I didn’t have any so I made do with dried chillies. Soak your dried red chillies in hot boiling water for half an hour. In a blender, add the red chillies along with all the other ingredients for the sauce. Blend. Add lime juice and salt according to your liking. I just eyeballed it.

Serve your chicken rice with the double poached chicken on top of it, some chilly sauce on the side and some sliced cucumber. Enjoy!


*While using soya sauce to poach the chicken please be careful with the quantity you use. My soya sauce is quite strong so I limited it to 3 tbsp. If you are unsure about your soya sauce start with 3 tbsp., taste and add accordingly.

Also note I haven’t added salt to the chicken while poaching the second time because of the soya sauce as well as the salt I added in the first poaching liquid.

** You can use as much chilly oil as you’d like. I didn’t want to use the whole of the chilly oil so I restricted to half the quantity. You can use more or less as per your personal preference. You can easily store up the remaining chilly oil and use it to flavor your stir fries or noodles.






Soy Grilled chicken with grilled veggies


img_20161003_215710481 Its been a while since I ate grilled chicken or posted anything on the same. Well truth be said I was getting fed up of finding gravies for our humble chapatti, and didn’t want to eat rice after having it for lunch.

Also maybe, just a little I was craving for some chicken n crispy vegetables! All I had to do was convince my family that they too craved it. After having achieved that I had to sort out what kind of grilled chicken recipe I wanted to try. So I thought of trying something a little different from the usual salt pepper version or the herbs or the mushrooms!  This recipe has a lot of Asian flavor packed into it. I would recommend marinating the chicken over night. You could also do this in your oven but I have done it on stove top. So onto our recipe!



Chicken breasts – 500g

Soya sauce – 1-2tbsp

Lime juice -1/2 lime

Worcester sauce – 1 tbsp.

Garlic minced – 3 cloves

Green chilly -4-5

Cilantro – handful chopped

Oil – any 1/2tbsp



Score and marinate the chicken for at least 5-6hrs. Heat oil in a skillet or brush oil over your grill and then add the marinated chicken (reserving the remaining marinade). Grill till u get a nice char on both sides. Remove from flame and allow to rest.



Onion – 1 sliced

Garlic -5 sliced

Carrot -1 julienned

Potato -1 julienned

Zucchini -1 julienned



In the same skillet add the potatoes along with garlic. Once it starts turning golden add the onions and carrots cook till they start turning a shade of golden brown. Add the zucchini and sauté for 2-3 mins. Season with salt and pepper and remove to your serving plates.

Now for the sauce pour the rest of marinade with little water into the same skillet. Add a knob of butter into this and let it reduce. Give it a taste and season with salt and pepper accordingly.


Serve your grilled chicken over the veggies and drizzle the sauce on top!



“Healthy” Nutella / Chocolate Hazelnut butter/ gianduia

I know I am a bit late (ok very late) in wishing you guys but I sure did remember you all during the holiday season! J So here’s wishing you all a very beautiful new year from the Creative on the Menu team.


I think I can somehow compensate for all the delay with the recipe I am going to post. I am pretty sure all of you are Nutella lovers out there! So recently I saw this post, which was showing that 75% of Nutella was sugar and the rest was hazelnut and chocolate. I don’t know how far it is true! Well that made me looking out for a good Nutella recipe. I mean why have all that sugar?

Found this recipe on Pinterest, which is a “healthy” take on Nutella. Guess what! It just takes 4 ingredients to make it!

Source : Minimalistbaker


Hazelnuts – 100gms

Dark chocolate – 1/3 – ½ cup broken to pieces

Salt – a pinch

Vanilla essence/extract – ½ tsp


Preheat the oven to 175C/375F. If using raw hazelnuts, like I did, dry roast them for around 15 minutes [ this step is necessary to just get the oils of the nut out which will help form the nut butter]. If using already roasted hazelnuts just roast them for around 10 minutes. Take them out of the oven and let it cool. Once it is cool to touch put in a blender/food processor and blend till you can see the hazelnuts blending to a smooth butter consistency. Meanwhile in a double boiler, melt the chocolate. Put the melted chocolate along with salt and vanilla essence into the hazelnut butter. Pulse till its completely combined. Voila your hazelnut chocolate spread is ready! Transfer to a mason jar and enjoy!


I found the chocolate hazelnut spread sweet enough so didn’t find the need to add anything to it. But it again depends on the chocolate you are using. You can easily add a tbsp. of honey or maple syrup if you wish, but according to the recipe I followed this could firm up the end result.

Note: If using hazelnuts with skin, once they are roasted just let it cool slightly put in a kitchen towel and roll with your hands. Try to get off as much skin as possible because the lesser the amount of  skin, the creamier your Nutella will be.!

Figs and almond chocolate truffles


img_20161205_1822402562So before I forget and get too busy with all celebrations I thought of posting this recipe as an usherer for the Christmas spirit. Have I told you that December is my favorite month? I must have…if I haven’t then there you you know! Well what’s not to love about December rt? I mean I guess its everybody’s favorite month with all the Christmas festivities and the new year lurking just around the corner.

But for me its just not Christmas I have got lots of birthdays and anniversaries in this month so all in all you know I am in kind of a double festive mood! 😀 Well so for this festive season am sharing this quick and easy recipe for a chocolate truffle. Its quite healthy too and it can be gifted to your loved ones.! This recipe is a Rachel Khoo inspired chocolate truffle recipe.

Hope you like it.


Dried figs – 200gms

Almonds – 50 – 75gms

Dates – 5 -6nos

Goji berries – a handful (optional)

Dark chocolate/ Milk Chocolate – 250gms


Check first if your figs are real hard to blend. If yes, then place the figs in a dish and pour over some boiling water to soften it. Keep aside for 30 minutes. You can even use any sort of liquor to soften the fig, thereby giving a liquorish touch to your chocolate. I opted for water well, because I was gifting it and there were kids too! Once you feel the figs have become soft and plump, put it in a food processor. Pulse it along with the rest of the ingredients till you can see them coming together. I added in goji berries because I had them in hand. Its totally optional. You can substitute almonds for pistachios as Rachel Khoo does! Portion out the mixture into bite size balls and start rolling them in the palm of your hand. Keep aside the rolled out balls in the fridge for around 30 minutes to an hour for them to firm up.

In a double boiler(bain-marie) start melting your chocolate (watch it like a hawk, don’t leave it and go). Usually you do need to use a candy thermometer but since I didn’t have one I just kept stirring till all of the chocolate melted and u get nice shiny liquid chocolate. After melting the chocolate, place each dried fruit mixture ball on a fork and drizzle the chocolate using a tablespoon over it seeing that it coats well. The fork helps the excess chocolate fall back into the bowl thereby saving chocolate (hurray!). Slowly slide the chocolate ball onto a baking paper lined sheet. Repeat the process for the rest of the balls. Whenever you feel that the melted chocolate is setting, put it back on the double boiler.

I did half of the dried fruit mixture balls in dark chocolate and half in milk chocolate. You could totally do as per your liking! Once the chocolate truffles are set, refrigerate for an hour or so and enjoy.



  1. Keep in mind that while doing the bain-marie or double boiler method the boiling water shouldn’t touch the container (the one with the chocolate) placed on top as it could seize the chocolate.
  2. The bowl used to melt chocolate should be completely dry and any contact with water could eventually seize the chocolate again.







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