Prawns Curry(Sungta ambat)

Sungta Ambat

Shrimp/Prawns are some of the very popular seafood available anywhere in the world. While growing up, we got very fresh ones, since we lived on coast. The fresh ones are so tasty. The big shrimp were a delicacy that we only got once in a while. Now we mostly get big ones, which are not comparable to the big shrimp we get here in supermarkets. So when we visit my parents, my parents get these fresh ones for us and one of the dishes we love the most is this Sungta ambat – a spicy coconut based gravy with shrimp. The gravy itself is very simple with just a few ingredients but it gets its taste from the shrimp.

Fried coriander seeds, red chillies, coconut for grinding.

Grind everything to a smooth paste.

Fry onions and then add shrimp, fry for few minutes.

Add the ground paste, green chillies, kokum, salt and cook till done.

1 cup prawns/shrimps
1 cup fresh/frozen coconut
1/2 cup onion
5 red chillies
1-2 green chili
1 tea spn coriander seeds
4 pieces dried kokum or 1/4th tea spn tamarind extract

Heat oil and fry coriander seeds. Grind with coconut and red chillies to a very smooth paste.
Heat oil and fry chopped onions till they turn slightly brownish. Add prawns/shrimps and fry for some time(till the prawns become white in color, this enhances the taste of the curry).
Add the ground masala, green chili(slitted) and kokum/tamarind(In the traditional recipe kokum is used, since I was not having that I used tamarind extract). Add salt and sufficient water. Cook till completely done.
Serve hot with rice.

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 30min

(Originally posted Mar 9 2006).

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Spicy Fish Fry

Spicy fish fry
Spicy Fish Fry

Being from the coastal region, fish was a big part of our food. While growing up, aayi would make the traditional fish dishes like this fish fry, tepla ambat, alle kande ambat, dhoddak etc. But over the years, thanks to TV and internet, our food has been influenced by other cuisines too. This spicy fish fry is one such dish I make very often now.

Whenever we go out to eat in Bangalore, my brother orders masala fry. He also figured out a recipe for that. This spicy fish fry is inspired by that. Then I started adding few curry leaves to it, inspired by Kerala style fish fry. Over the years, I tried many different masalas and realized what we liked the most was the very basic masala that aayi uses. I just skip the rava coating, add few curry leaves and it tastes just out of this world. I have tried this with many different varieties of fish – salmon, tilapia, king fish, pomfret etc. It really works well with any big fish fillet. I prepared this when I was in India couple of months ago. Aayi told me she also makes it same way – may be a mother-daughter thing :).

Spicy fish fry
Spicy fish fry

Spicy Fish Fry

Fried fish with aromatic curry leaves
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4


  • 4 big fish fillets king fish, pomfret, salmon or tilapia
  • 1 tbl spn tamarind do not use extract, it does not make thick paste
  • 4-5 big garlic cloves if using smaller variety available in India, use about 8-10
  • 1 tea spn chilli powder use more if you can handle the heat
  • 7-8 curry leaves
  • Oil
  • Salt


  • Make a thick paste of tamarind, garlic, chilli powder and salt.
  • Apply the paste to fish pieces and leave it for atleast 30mins.
  • Heat a tava and spread a little oil.
  • Cut curry leaves in few pieces.
  • Spread half of the leaves on the tava.
  • Keep the marinated fish on the curry leaves.
  • Spread remaining leaves on the top.
  • Fry from both sides till the fish is cooked through.
  • Serve hot with lemon and onion rings.

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Venkat Chicken Gravy

Venkat Chicken Gravy
Venkat Chicken Gravy

In Object Oriented Programming word, whenever there is clash between names, programmers prefix it with another name to make whole phrase unique. If there is a clash between function names, prefixing with object names them unique in that space. If there is clash between different objects of different classes, concept of namespaces comes to rescue. Prefixing with namespace resolves clashes when it comes to compiling. We do see this at many places in real life too. This generation of people at Kodkani used this so effectively to identify persons when there is such ‘identity crisis’. When my grandfather was alive, at my native there were multiple ‘Ram Annas’ working at different places. The Ram Anna who was working at post office was called ‘Post Ram Anna’. The other Ram Anna who was having shop called ‘Aangadi Ram Anna’(Aangadi means shop in Konkani/Kannada). There were multiple Mukund annas too. The one who lived in Aachari Hittal(an area in Kodkani) was called ‘Achari Hittal Mukundanna’, the other elderly person lived close to barron land and hence was referred ‘Bena vailo Mukundanna’. Such a simple concept was perhaps adopted while implementing compilers later!!

This recipe name must be quite puzzling. But this is how it is referred in my house as this recipe comes from a friend Venkat who is ex-colleague. He generally does not like eating outside his house and had invited us to his house once. This dish was prepared at his house and we liked and asked the name. He said for us chicken means this is it. When we say there is chicken today, it means it is only this chicken. We took recipe from him and in fact from his wife and prepared few times. It was liked by everybody. However as we prepare variety of chicken gravies and for us it is one amongst many gravies, we had to give a unique name – now over the years for us ‘Venkat’s chicken’ means it is this chicken gravy. This new brand was born few years back but recipe was perhaps established one at his place but certainly new to us.

Take the garam masala ingredients.
venkat chicken gravy1

Dry roast all the garam masala ingredients and grind to a powder.
venkat chicken gravy3 venkat chicken gravy4

Take gravy ingredients.

venkat chicken gravy2
Fry onions, chilies. Add the chicken.
venkat chicken gravy5
 venkat chicken gravy6
Add the spices.
venkat chicken gravy7 venkat chicken gravy8
Add the ground spice. cook for sometime and then coriander leaves.
venkat chicken gravy9 venkat chicken gravy10

Venkat Chicken Gravy

Venkat Chicken Gravy

Chicken is cooked in a flavorful gravy prepared by grinding fresh spices and coconut to make this spicy and tasty chicken gravy.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 -5


  • 1/2 kg Chicken
  • 1 cup grated Coconut
  • 2 tb spns Ginger garlic paste we always prepare paste fresh and never use readymade paste
  • 1 chopped medium sized onion
  • 5 Green chillies
  • 2 tbl spns Red chilli powder
  • 1/4 tbl spn Turmeric powder
  • 4-5 strands Coriander leaves
  • Salt
  • 4 or 5 tbl spns Oil

For Garam masala powder:

  • 4 tea spns Coriander seeds
  • 1 tbl spn Poppy seeds
  • 2 pieces 2 inch Cinnamon
  • 5 Cloves
  • 2 Cardamom
  • 2-3 Peppercorns


  • Heat 4 tbl spoons of oil in a pan.
  • Add chopped onion and slit green chilies, shallow fry them.
  • Add cleaned and washed fresh chicken to bowl. Fry for 10 minutes under light flame
  • Add salt, turmeric powder, stir it and leave for 5 minutes.
  • Add Ginger-garlic paste, chilly powder.
  • Cook it for 5 minutes.
  • Add water as per gravy requirement (until chicken pieces are immersed in water upto another 1/3rd of content, as gravy thickens later)
  • Cook until water gets bubbles.
  • Dry roast Garam masala ingredients mentioned above along with grated coconut and make powder. Add to the mixture above.
  • Add salt and bring to boil.
  • Add chopped coriander leaves.
  • Cook it for 5 minutes and stop the flame (once the gravy turns thick).
  • Serve with bread or rotis.


We always prepare ginger-garlic paste fresh and never use ready-made paste. We feel that gives a better flavor.
If you like to have slight variation, try adding Gongura leaves to get different taste and flavor. You may want to soak few Gongura leaves in hot water for few minutes, blanch and rinse them with normal water and add, while preparing this dish.
Add coriander leaves.
However this is not part of Venkat’s recipe and we did not want to dilute ‘brand Venkat’.


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Spicy Salmon Kababs

spicy salmon kabab

I have been trying to include more fish and chicken in our diet. It took a while for us to get used to the smelly fish – salmon. Since this is one of the healthiest fishes available in the market here, I try to make something with it atleast once a week. Recently I tried 2 types of kababs with them. I think they looked kinda cool. So Ishaan was ready to try these. The pieces get marinated very well as they are cut into small pieces.

1 lb salmon cut into 2×2 inch pieces
1 tbl spn chopped coriander leaves
Lemon wedges

Marinade : Make a smooth paste of following
1/2 cup thick yogurt
1 tea spn ginger
1 tea spn garlic
1 tea spn chilli powder
A pinch turmeric
1/2 tea spn coriander powder
1/2 tea spn cumin powder
1/2 tea spn amchoor powder

Apply the marinade to salmon pieces. Add the coriander leaves. Leave it aside for atleast 2hrs.
Arrange the pieces on skewers. Grill them till done. I use my cast iron grill pan for grilling.
Serve hot with lemon. Serve it as a starter or as a main dish with some rice and a simple dal.

Serves : 2-3
Preparation time : 30mins


spicy salmon kabab1

spicy salmon kabab2

spicy salmon kabab3

spicy salmon kabab4

spicy salmon kabab

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Chicken hariyali kabab

When I was in Bangalore, I had a habit of ordering chicken hariyali whenever we went out for lunch/dinner. I loved this kabab so much that, my brother and husband were tired of eating this dish. I would order this every single time. Chicken biryani and this kabab was my staple every time. My brother finally decided not to go out with me because I would never agree to eat anything else, and since I could never eat it all alone, they had to share these with me.

After coming to US, this is one of the dishes that I missed a lot. I tried making it couple of times, but was never satisfied with the results. Finally I can proudly say, I have learned to make the perfect hariyali kabab. I also made a yogurt-mint dip(grind some mint with yogurt and salt) that is usually served in the restaurants in Bangalore. The dip was not exactly same as the restaurant version, but was quite good and went very well with kababs.

Few years ago, V’s uncle owned a kabab center in Bangalore. Once we went there to talk to him and he offered us their specialties. While V was chatting with uncle, I was totally immersed in devouring the kababs. Finally I asked him the recipe for this kabab. I don’t remember his exact recipe, but this is what I could recollect. Now that it came out so well, I am going to stick to this.

I think my pappa(dad) would have loved this. So I am dedicating this recipe to him.

1 lb (0.45kg) boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves
3 tbl spn chopped mint
3 green chillies
1 tea spn ginger pieces
1 tea spn garlic pieces
4 cloves
1″ cinnamon
1/4 tea spn pepper
2 tbl spn very thick yogurt
1 tea spn lemon juice
Chaat masala

All the ingredient quantities are approximate only. So increase/decrease to get a thick coating on chicken.

Make a paste of coriander-mint leaves, ginger, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, lemon, chillies to a paste. Do not add water.
Cut chicken into 2″x2″ pieces. Add the paste, salt, yogurt to the pieces and mix well. Keep it refrigerated for atleast 4hrs (I left it overnight).
Preheat the oven at 300F for about 10mins.
Line a baking sheet with foil. Arrange the chicken pieces on skewers. Keep the pieces on the sheet.
Cover the sheet with another foil(this is very important, otherwise the pieces get dry). Bake in oven at 300F for about 20mins or till chicken is cooked.
Take them out. Remove the covering foil. Bake it again for 2mins. Flip the pieces and then bake again for another 2mins (this helps to get the dry thick coating on top).
While serving, sprinkle chaat masala on top. Serve hot.

Serves : 2-3
Preparation time : 40mins

PS: If you don’t have oven, shallow fry the pieces on tava.

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Fish in tomato-yogurt gravy

Thanks to all who gave me suggestions about different fishes at my tilapia in spices post. I will be trying them all soon. This is another dish which I have been preparing, lot many times these days. It is inspired by Kerala style fish curry.

1 cup tomato
1 cup yogurt(curds)
1 tea spn ginger-garlic paste (freshly made)
1 tea spn coriander seeds
2-3 strands coriander leaves
3 cloves
1″ cinnamon
7-8 curry leaves
1/2 tea spn cumin seeds
1/2 tea spn chilli powder

1/2 lb(about 0.22kgs) any white fish fillets
1/2 tea spn chilli powder
A pinch turmeric

If you need more gravy, increase the amount of yogurt and tomato.

Apply chilli powder, turmeric, salt to the fish and leave it for around 30mins.
Shallow fry the pieces on a tava or grill them on a grill pan (I grilled them) till they are done. Take them on a plate and keep aside.
Heat a little oil and add cloves, cinnamon, coriander seeds. Powder them.
Heat a little oil in a vessel(kadai) and add cumin seeds. When they pop, add curry leaves, ginger-garlic paste, spice powder and fry for few minutes till the raw smell goes off. Now add chilli powder, yogurt(curds), tomatoes, salt and cook till the tomatoes become mushy and gravy becomes thick. (yogurt separates when you heat it, but that is fine, cook till all the water evaporates).
At this point, I picked up few tomato peels from the gravy and ground them to get a better texture to the gravy.
Now add enough water to bring the gravy to required consistency. Carefully slide in the fish. Cook for couple of minutes. Do not mix too much after adding fish, tilapia is very delicate, it will fall apart if mixed again and again. Garnish with coriander leaves and take off the heat.

Serves : 2
Preparation time : 20mins

PS: For a better consistency, instead of adding tomatoes and frying them, blanch them in water for few minutes, grind and add.
Do not use yogurt/curd that is very sour.

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Tilapia in spices

We have been trying to make fish a regular ingredient in our food, primarily due to it’s health-related benefits like rich protein, Omega-3 etc. So far, I have tried tilapia, catfish and salmon. (Those who don’t know about these fishes, please don’t ask for translation as I don’t know). For the first 2 years in US, I din’t have any courage to try any fish here. Whenever we tried any fish dishes in restaurants here, we didn’t get to like them. Coming from coastal India, where we always get very fresh fish, it was a bit of let down.

But finally I took that one step of trying a catfish. We liked it, so next time, we tried salmon. For the first few of times, we really loved it. But it is a very smelly fish, so we don’t like it in any Konkani dishes. Then one fine day, someone told V about tilapia. It does not have any smell at all. After we tried it once, now we are hooked to it. I use it for all Konkani fish curries and it comes pretty good.

This is something I cooked over the weekend. I had one fillet of tilapia left. It was a last minute fix, got ready in 15mins flat. I loved it :).

1/4 lb tilapia
1 tbl spn coriander seeds
1 tea spn cumin seeds
2 tea spns chilli powder
A pinch turmeric
1 tea spn chopped ginger
1 tea spn chopped garlic
1/4 tea spn tamarind extract
10-12 curry leaves

Roast cumin seeds and coriander seeds.
Make a paste of ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, tamarind, turmeric, chilli powder, salt with very little water.
Heat a little oil and fry the paste till the raw smell goes off. Now add 1/4 cup water, and add tilapia (cut into 2×2 inch pieces). Add the curry leaves cut into two. Cover and cook till done.

Serves : 1-2
Preparation time : 15mins

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Chicken ghee roast

First of all, let me be very clear. This is NOT THE AUTHENTIC RECIPE of this delicious dish. Since I have been getting a lot of requests for this recipe, I wanted to give it a try. Now, on to some background.

As I have mentioned before, my brother is a big foodie. He lives in Bangalore and he knows a lot about restaurants and their specialty there. I sometimes wonder how he gathers all the information.Because of him, I could get to know different types of restaurants/cuisines in Bangalore. This time when we visited India, he took us to a restaurant called “Coast to Coast”. He had all praises for this restaurant. He told us that the specialty of that place is the ‘Chicken ghee roast’. I went there half heartedly as I wanted to eat my favorite chicken hariyali – most of the restaurants in Bangalore serve this and I am a huge fan.

Anyway, V and I became instant fans of the ‘ghee roast’. As the name suggests, the prominent taste of this dish comes from the ghee :). You can taste the ghee in every bite. It is very spicy but just out of this world. He took us there once more, along with my parents and pachi(mom’s sister) before we returned to the US. This time around, the focus was to figure out the ingredients. Pachi guessed fenugreek seeds and probably coriander seeds.

After coming back, I got many requests for this dish. When I searched over the internet, I could gather following information:
-This is a Mangalore specialty.
– As this article says – It can’t be eaten everyday,” says the chef, with understatement, “but once in a while its great.”
They also mention, cinnamon is used in this. But I did not use it. I used normal skinless, boneless chicken for my version, but the article says, for best results, we have to use chicken with skin on.

When I googled, I got couple of recipes, but I stuck to what pachi had guessed. This requires loads of ghee to get the real taste, so you can’t eat this frequently. But I convinced myself saying – if I had made a pastry or a cake, I would have used loads of butter anyway, so whats wrong in indulging once in a while?. It is totally worth trying this.

Verdict – Just out of this world, awesome. I had no hopes that this would turn out so good. I could not believe when I tasted this. I don’t remember if it is exactly same as the restaurant version, but was very very good. The leftovers were better tasting than the freshly made version.

If you want to make it less in calorie, you can leave out or reduce ghee, but then it won’t be ghee roast anymore because that is the main ingredient for this recipe.

Updated on March 12 2010 : According to Lakshmi Shetty’s comment below – Ghee roast is not a Mangalore specialty, it’s been originally tried by late owners of the restaurant called ” Shetty lunch home ” in Kundapur(a part of Udupi).

1 lb chicken
2 tbl spn chilli powder
1 tbl spn coriander seeds
1/4 tea spn fenugreek seeds
1/4 tea spn tamarind extract
1 tea spn chopped ginger
1 tea spn chopped garlic
1 and 1/2 tbl spn ghee

I added all the spices by “andaaz“. So increase or decrease them according to individual taste. The chilli powder I used was not very hot but gives a nice color. The ghee quantity can be increased by another 1 and 1/2 tbl spn for better ghee taste and flavor.

Make a paste of coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, ginger, garlic, tamarind, chilli powder, ghee, salt. Do not add too much water, if needed, just add few drops.
Apply this paste to chicken pieces and keep it refrigerated for about 4-5hrs.
In a pan, heat a little more ghee and add the chicken along with all the masala. Fry till chicken is done. Serve hot.

Serves : 2
Preparation time : 20mins (plus marination time)

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Egg curry with goda masala


This is a simple egg curry that I made a couple of days back. Goda masala gives a very good aroma and taste to this gravy. It goes very well with yellow rice or chapathis.

3/4 cup fresh/frozen coconut
4 boiled eggs
1 tea spn goda masala
1/4 tea spn tamarind
1/2 tea spn ginger pieces
1/2 tea spn garlic pieces
1/2 tea spn chilli powder (optional)
1/2 cup onion
7-8 curry leaves
A pinch turmeric

Dry roast coconut with ginger, garlic and goda masala, tamarind. Grind to a paste.
Heat oil and fry onion. Add the ground paste and enough water to bring to desired gravy consistency. Add turmeric, salt.
Cut the eggs into two and add to gravy, add curry leaves and cook for few minutes.
Serve hot.

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 20mins

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Chicken masala

After a long time I cooked chicken in Indian style. Since my cousin loves non-veg, it was all non vegetarian meals for the long weekend. He was very excited when he saw I had bought chicken with bones, he was very tired of eating boneless chicken here in US :).

I saw a Goan chicken recipe a while ago which I wanted to try. So this time I tried this. But as I stared cooking, I changed it quite a bit. I am not a big fan of too much vinegar. So I used different spices and also reduced the vinegar quantity. I simply loved this very fragrant gravy. It tasted better the next day. The gravy was so fragrant that, I barely managed to click a picture of this before attacking on the food :).

1.5 lb chicken pieces
3/4 cup coconut
1 cup onion
3 green chillies
3 red chillies
1 tea spn vinegar
1/2 cup tomatoes
1 tbl spn dagad phool(optional)
1 tea spn coriander seeds
1/4 tea spn fenugreek seeds
1 tea spn poppy seeds
1/2 tea spn chopped ginger
1/2 tea spn chopped garlic
3 strands coriander leaves
A pinch turmeric
1 tea spn lime juice

Apply salt and lime juice to chicken pieces and keep aside.
Heat oil and fry 1/2 cup onion till they are brown. Grind them with coconut, green and red chillies, coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, ginger, garlic, turmeric, dagad phool, vinegar, poppy seeds to a smooth paste.
Heat little oil and fry remaining onions. When they start browning, add chicken and fry for few minutes. Then add tomatoes and cook for 2-3 mins.
Add the ground paste and cook till chicken is tender. Towards the end, add coriander leaves, cook for 1min.
Serve hot.

Serves : 4-5
Preparation time : 30mins

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