Author Archives for My Cooking Diaries

About My Cooking Diaries

This is Cecilia Pinto, currently based in Kuwait. Started this blog to share my cooking experiences with the world.

Mixed Vegetable Pickle



1 kg. carrots

½ kg.Tendlis (Ivy Gourd)

½ kg. raw papaya

10 green chillies

2” pc. ginger

2 pods garlic

1 litre vinegar

1 cup sugar

½ kg. oil

Few curry leaves

1 tsp. mustard seeds

Salt to taste

(For carrot pickle, use 2 kgs.carrots and omit papaya and gerkins)

Roast & grind to a paste in vinegar

100 gms red chillies

1 ½ tsp. mustard seeds

1 tsp. cumin seeds

1 ½ tsp. turmeric powder

1 tsp. black pepper

½ tsp. fenugreek seeds

1 ts. asafoetida (hing)


Wash vegetables, drain and cut into thin strips.  Do not wash after cutting.  Salt well and dry in the sun for 2 days.  Chop the green chillies, ginger and garlic finely.  Boil oil in a vessel, add mustard seeds and curry leaves.  Then add the cut masala and fry till light brown.  Add the ground masala paste, remaining vinegar and sugar and cook 5 to 10 minutes.  Then add the dried vegetables and mix well.  Bottle when cool.

Carrot Pickle

An ideal time to make and preserve pickles for use throughout the year!

Carrot Pickle


1 kg. Carrots

5 green chillis

1” pc. Ginger

1 pod Garlic

1/2 litre Vinegar

½ cup sugar

¼ kg. Oil

1 sprig curry leaves

1/2 tsp. mustard seeds

4 tsp. Salt

Roast & grind to a paste in vinegar

50 gms. red chillis

1 tsp. mustard seeds

½ tsp. cumin seeds

1 tsp. turmeric powder

½ tsp. black pepper

½ tsp. fenugreek seeds

½ tsp. asafoetida (hing)

Wash vegetables, drain and cut into thin strips.  Do not wash after cutting.  Add the salt and dry in the sun for minimum 2 days.  Chop green chillis, ginger and garlic finely.  Boil oil in a vessel, add mustard seeds and curry leaves.  Then add the chopped chillis, ginger and garlic and fry till light brown.  Add the ground masala paste, remaining vinegar and sugar and cook10 minutes.  Then add the dried carrots and mix well.  Bottle when cool.

Lemon Pickle without Oil

Sweet & Sour Lemon Pickle Without Oil 2 methods of preparation with same ingredients One is an instant method and the other is over two days as the lemons need to be kept under weight overnight. Check out both methods and use the one that suits you. The end result is almost same though the 2nd method gives the pickle an improved texture.

Method 1
LEMON PICKLE with Jaggery without Oil

Sweet and Sour Lemon Pickle


12 lemons

3 tsp. Salt

3” pc ginger

10 flakes garlic

1/2 cup vinegar

2 cups Jaggery, powdered

4 tsp. Chilli powder

2 tsp. turmeric powder


Wash lemons and wipe dry. Cut the lemons into fours, or eight pieces if lemons are large in size. Remove the pith and seeds. Apply salt liberally about 4 tbsp. Mix well and keep under weight overnight or for 24 hours minimum.  If possible you may keep in the sun in a glass jar.  Mix in between couple of times. Chop the ginger and garlic.  Take a vessel, add the lemon pieces with the liquer, chilli powder, chopped ginger and garlic, jaggery and mix well.

Place on heat, cover and cook till the lemons turn soft. Stir in between.  Cook till lemons are soft and gravy is thick. Then add the vinegar, mix and simmer 10 minutes.  Cool and bottle.  Store in a cool dry place for 2 to 3 weeks to mature

Method 2

LEMON PICKLE with Sugar without Oil

Sweet and Sour Lemon Pickle

A variation in preparation


1 dozen lemons

3” pc ginger

10 flakes garlic

½ cup vinegar

2 cups Sugar

4 tsp. Chilli powder

2 tsp. Turmeric powder


Cut the lemons into four or eight pieces depending on the size of the lemons, remove the pith and seeds, apply salt liberally about 3 to 4 tsp. and keep aside.  Place a heavy weight over the lemon pieces and leave overnight. Chop the ginger and garlic.  Take a vessel, add the marinated lemon pieces, chopped ginger, garlic, chilli and turmeric powder, sugar and mix well.  Place on heat, stirring frequently till sugar dissolves.  Bring to a boil and simmer till lemons are cooked.  Don’t overcook or the lemon skins may tend to harden.  When cooked add the vinegar and mix well.  Check seasoning.  Take off heat and bottle when cool.  Store in a cool dry place for 2 to 3 weeks to mature.

Pork Chops

Pork Chops

This recipe is dedicated to all Pork lovers!! Turns out simply delicious and awesome. Those who do not enjoy pork can enjoy the masala gravy, it’s lip-smacking….


1 kg. Pork Chops

1 large Onion, chopped

2 tbsp. tomato paste

1 tbsp. Oil or ghee

Grind to a smooth paste

10 red chillies

1“ pc. Ginger

10 cloves garlic

10 cloves

1” cinnamon

1 tsp. cumin seeds

½ tsp. peppercorns

½ tsp. turmeric

4 tbsp. vinegar

1 tsp. salt


Wash, drain the chops.  This recipe may be used for pork chops, ribs etc. Apply the masala paste to the chops and marinate for 15 to 30 minutes.  At this stage you may pre-prepare and marinate overnight.

Heat a wide pan, add the oil/ghee and fry the chopped onion, when they soften and are translucent, add the tomato paste and saute 2 to 3 minutes.  Place the pork chops/ribs s in a single layer (reserve the excess marinade) and fry 2 minutes on each side.  Add the reserved marinade alongwith  the masala water from the rinsed jar and add to the chops.  Stir to mix well.  Cover and bring to a boil, reduce flame to medium and cook 30 minutes.  If gravy dries up add some more water, l1/4 cup or so, to avoid the masala burning and cook till meat is tender and gravy is thick and oil surfaces.   Check and adjust seasoning.  Serve hot with rice or bread or just as is for an appetiser!

Stuffed Prawns, Extra Colossal Stuffed Prawns

Shrimp have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and low levels of mercury. As with other seafood, shrimp is high in calcium, iodine and protein but low in food energy. A shrimp-based meal is also a significant source of cholesterol, from 122 mg to 251 mg per 100 g of shrimp, depending on the method of preparation.  Shrimp consumption, however, is considered healthy for the circulatory system because the lack of significant levels of saturated fat in shrimp means that the high cholesterol content in shrimp actually improves the ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol and lowers triglycerides

Many shrimp species are small as the term shrimp suggests, about 2 cm (0.79 in) long, but some shrimp exceed 25 cm (9.8 in). Larger shrimp are more likely to be targeted commercially and are often referred to as prawns.

When buying prawns there are several considerations. Firstly, see that they have all of their legs, feelers and eyes in tact and that the tail has a firm spring when curled. It should feel firm in texture and when you taste the meat it should be immediately sweet, with a long clean finish, no strong after taste.

Prawn sizing is based not only on form (HOSO or PDTO) but also on the actual number of prawns per pound or kilogram. The charts below will give you a quick and easy guide on sizing of the two forms. 

HOSO Head on Tail On

PDTO Peeled Deviened Tail On

Stuffed Prawns, Extra Colossal Stuffed Prawns

This recipe may be used for any large sized prawns


4 Nos. Extra Colossal Prawns

4 red chillies

4 cloves

1” cinnamon

8 peppercorns

½ tsp. turmeric powder

1 tsp. ginger garlic paste

1 small onion, chopped

1 tbsp. garlic

½ tsp. cumin seeds

1 tbsp.vinegar

½ tsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt or to taste

1 egg and rava for coating

Oil for shallow frying


Clean prawns by chopping off the tip of the head and then slitting the back including the shell to devein, but not cutting through. Wash well and apply salt, turmeric and ginger garlic paste.  Set aside to marinate.

Grind together the chillis, cloves, peppercorns, cumin seeds, garlic, onion, vinegar, salt and sugar, with a little water to a smooth paste.

Heat ½ tsp. oil in a pan and fry the ground masala on low heat till the raw smell disappears, about 1 or 2 minutes. Take off heat and cool.

Stuff the prawns with the masala paste.  Then tie with thread, roll in beaten egg and rava and shallow fry 3 to 5 minutes on each side. 

Remove the thread if you wish and serve immediately with lemon wedges and sliced onion.

Tisreo Sukkhem, Clams dry, Khube Sukhe

The nutritional composition of clams is very rich and diverse. 100g of clam contains 140 mg of Omega-3, 240 mg of Iodine, etc. Adding clams to the menu every week will effectively strengthen health.


1 Kg. Tisreo (Clams)

1 cup fresh coconut

1 Onion, sliced

5 flakes garlic, crushed

1 tbsp. tamarind pulp or 4 to 5 flakes kokum soaked in water

1 tsp. jaggery or sugar (optional)

2 tbsp. oil

½ tsp. Salt or to taste

Roast and grind to a powder

8 Kashmiri chillis

1 tbs. coriander seeds

1 tsp. cumin seeds

1 tsp. mustard seeds

½ tsp. black pwpper

½ tsp. turmeric powder


Immerse the clams in plenty of water to separate the sand and other dirt and wash well in several changes of water to completely remove the sand.  Discard any open or broken clams.  They should be completely closed, which means they are alive and fresh.  Wash the shells well to remove dirt is any.

Place the clams in a vessel, add some water and steam the clams just until the shell opens to facilitate cleaning.  Cool and remove one half of the shell, retaining the shell on the other half and discard the empty shell.  Discard the water used for steaming as it would contain some sand and impurities.

Heat oil in a vessel and add the sliced onion and garlic till light brown.  Then add the powdered masala, add a little water and toss for a minute.  Add the Tisreo with 1 cup of water and ½ tsp. salt, bring to a boil and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. 

Add the fresh coconut and the tamarind pulp and cook further 3 minutes till oil surfaces.  Adjust seasoning.  Serve hot.

Misal Pav, Kholapuri Misal Pav

Ingredients (This recipe may be used for 2 to 4 cups sprouts)

2 cups Sprouted Matki (Moth beans)

2 cups Sprouted Mong (Green Gram)

2 medium potatoes, chopped finely

1 large tomato, chopped

2 tbsp. red chilli powder (I used Kashmiri lal) Normal chilli powder will make it extra spicy!

1/4 tsp. Asafoetida (Hing)

1/2 tsp. turmeric powder

1 tsp. cumin seeds

1 tsp. mustard seeds

10 curry leaves

3 green chillis

2 medium onions chopped

4 flakes Kokum, wash and soak in 1/4 up water

1 tsp. full garam masala powder

2 tsp. full coriander seeds powder

1 tsp. cumin seeds powder

1 tsp. sugar (optional)

Salt to taste

3 tbsp. oil

To roast and grind to a paste with small ball tamarind

1 medium onion, sliced

8 flakes garlic, peeled 

1 tbsp. poppy seeds ( forgot, would have loved to add)

1″ pc. ginger, cleaned and sliced

3 tbsp. dry coconut

Garnish: Chopped onion, Coriander leaves, Mixed Farsan or Chivda, Lemon, Pav to serve.

Rinse sprouts and boil with sufficient water.  Add the potatoes, 1 tsp. of the chilli powder, 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder, hing and 1 tsp. salt till soft for 30 minutes. In a cooker 3 whistles.  Usually potato bhaji is made separately but I added with the sprouts, eliminating this step. Meanwhile, roast the ingredients for the misal masala and grind to a paste with tamarind and required water.

In a separate vessel, heat the oil, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, then curry leaves, chopped onion and green chillismand saute till translucent.  Add salt and sugar and the chopped tomato and cook till tomato turns soft.  Then add the ground masala paste, garam masala, cumin and coriander powder and mix well.  Add the kokum with the water.  Mix and cook till oil surfaces.  Then add the sprouts mixture and add more water if required as the consistency of the gravy should be thin.  Adjust seasoning and simmer 10 minutes till gravy appears red and glossy.
To serve:Take a bowl and add 2 tbsp. farsan, top with the misal.  Garnish with 1 or 2 tbsp. farsan, chopped onion, coriander leaves and serve with pav and lemon.  Optional serve with yogurt and sliced carrot, cucumber and tomatoes.  Enjoy spicy, tangy zanzhanith misal pav!!

Aam Panna

Aam panna or Aam Jhora is an Indian drink renowned for its cooling properties. It is made from unripe mangoes and is yellow to light green in color, and is consumed to fight against the intense Indian summer heat. Mint leaves are often added to the drink, enhancing its green color. Raw mango is a rich source of pectin, which gradually diminishes after the formation of the stone. Unripe mango is sour in taste because of the presence of oxalic, citric and malic acids. Aam panna or Aam Jhora, which is prepared using raw mangoes, cumin, and an assortment of other spices, quenches thirst and prevents the excessive loss of sodium chloride and iron during summer due to excessive sweating. The drink is considered beneficial in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. It is also a good source of vitamin B1 and B2, niacin, and vitamin C. In Indian culture, it is regarded as a tonic believed to increase resistance against tuberculosis, anemia, cholera and dysentery.

Recipe: Aam Panna

Ingredients 2 green Mangoes

Sugar or Jaggery equal proportion to mango pulp

1 tsp cardamom powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp. Pepper powder

1 tsp. Salt

Mix well and store the concentrate in the refrigerator in a glass bottle. Method Wash the mangoes. Boil (with the peel). When cooked, and cool enough to handle, peel and deseed the mangoes and extract the pulp. Measure the pulp and add equal quantity of sugar or jaggery. Place in a blender and add the cardamom, cumin, pepper and salt. Blend till smooth. Transfer to a glass jar or bottle. To prepare Aam Panna Take 2 tbsp. Aam panna concentrate and add to a glass or goblet and top with chilled water. Stir to mix well, garnish with mint leaves and enjoy chilled.

Morning rituals, First hour of my day!

What are your morning rituals? What does the first hour of your day look like?

My day usually starts on a busy note!

Upon waking and going through my morning ablutions… I make a cup of tea for the ‘man of the house’!

Then get going with preparing breakfast which is usually Indian breakfast of Dosas, Idli, Upma, Chapatis, once a week Omlette, fried eggs with bacon, etc. A variation in daily breakfast.

So the first hour of the day, I am literally on my feet.

Raw Jackfruit Vegetable

Raw Jackfruit Vegetable

Raw Jackfruit blooming time is from December until February, March and the fruit matures during the rainy season in India i.e. from July to August.  Raw Jackfruit is fibre rich and excellent for gut health in addition to containing moderate levels of Vitamin C and Potassium.  For optimum health benefits, it is always advisable to consume local and seasonal produce.


1 Small Raw Jackfruit

½ cup fresh coconut

2 tbsp. Tamarind pulp

2 tsp. Jaggery or to taste

Salt to taste

2 tbsp. oil

Roast, each separately and grind coarsely with the coconut

1 tbsp. coriander seeds

2 to 3 red chillis

½ tsp. cumin seeds

½ tsp. mustard seeds

½ tsp. peppercorns

½ tsp. fenugreek seeds (methi)


1 medium onion

4 to 5 garlic crushed

1 sprig curry leaves

½ tsp. mustard seeds.


Cut the Jackfruit and peel it.  Cutting the jackfruit is the difficult part as skin is very hard and the sap is sticky and will also make the knife sticky.  This can be controlled by oiling your fingers and palm and the knife.  Alternately, the sticky sap can be washed off later by first rubbing some oil all over your hands and the knife.

Cut the jackfruit into wedges and discard the pith.  Then cut into small slices and immediately immerse in plenty of water.  Once cut, wash well and place in a vessel, add some water and bring to a boil and cook 10 minutes.  Add a tsp. of salt.


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Stuffed Brinjals with green masala

The simple brinjal turned into an exotic dish with a fragrant green masala stuffing. From Mai’s Recipes!

Stuffed Brinjals

Aubergine, Eggplant, Bathinjan, Baigan


6 to 8 Brinjals, small round variety

2 tbsp.oil

1 large onion

Grind to a paste

1 Onion

4 green chillis

5 to 6 flakes garlic

1 bunch coriander leaves

½ tsp. black pepper

½ to 1 tsp. cumin seeds

¼ tsp. turmeric

1 tbsp. lemon juice

Salt to taste

1 tbsp. sugar or to taste (optional)


Remove the stem and slit each brinjal into four taking care to leave the stem side intact.  Immerse in water till required. Chop the onion.  Heat oil in a pan, add the chopped onion and fry till soft.  Add the ground paste and fry well till oil separates.  Stuff this masala paste, when cool, into each brinjal and arrange the brinjals in a pan in a single layer,  sprinkle some water and cook on medium low flame till water evaporates and brinjals are tender.

How to make thick creamy Yogurt in a Nutricook Smart Pot Instant Pot

Nothing like fresh home-made delicious and healthy yogurt. Simple and easy and foolproof using the Instant Pot.

Minimum quantity shoud be 1 Litre and Maximum 5 Litres. Store in the refrigerator and use for upto one week!!

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Goa Restaurant and food review – July-August 2022

Being monsoon season, Shravan and Ganesh, we had to sacrifice some items on the menu as the options available for seafood were far less than expected.  Pomfret, King fish, Oysters, Mussels were not available in most places! Hence all the special fish thalis (we love seafood!) which are either King Fish or Chonok were restricted to only Chonok. Secondly, due to monsoon season we were not able to visit as many restaurants as planned.

1.Copper Leaf, Porvorim – 7th July, 2022

We obviously start our Goa restaurant hopping with Copperleaf and their Special Fish thali is always our first meal.  Although Copperleaf Sp. Thali is the most expensive among all the thalis we have had, we have found the taste, quality and also quantity exceptional, having  most number of items in the thali!  Price Rs. 380/-.

2.Copperleaf, Porvorim – 12th July, 2022

Lunch ‘A la Carte’, Ordered Prawn curry rice, King Fish Rawa fry, Rawa fried Mussels. For take-away ordered, stuffed crab, fish platter and bombil fry.  Took pictures only of mussels and stuffed crab.

3.Soyre, Gauns Vaddo, Mapusa – 24th July, 2022

This restaurant was a revelation and an amazing find.  Happened to google for seafood restaurants in our area (being seafood fans!) and chose Soyre from the lust that came us.  On our first visit we ordered al la carte, Squid butter garlic, Tisreyo sukhe, King Fish recheado, Prawns Rava fry, and Prawn Curry Rice!  My sister who does not eat seafood ordered a Chicken Thali.  The food was amazing, fresh, cooked to a perfect texture and delicious.  The recheado was the best I have ever tasted.  Prices were very reasonable. For 4 persons with drinks the bill was Rs. 2,100/- approx.

Happens to be a fairly new 3 month old restaurant.  Ony hope the restaurant continues to maintain their food quality and taste!

4.Souza Lobo, Calangute – 31st July, 2022

Chose a beachside restaurant to enjoy the beach ambience.  We have often patronized this place.  They do not serve fish thali.  Ordered Sol Kadi golgappas, Stuffed papad with crab, Mackerel Rechado, Chonok Rava fry, Prawn curry rice. 

Food was not that great.  Golgappas were good.  Mackerel rechado was simply some chilli powder smeared on the inside of the mackerel which had no taste at all. Understand the cooks have changed at Souza Lobo so to give them the benefit of the doubt, we hope they are able to rise to their previous standard of food quality and taste soon.

Despite the food we enjoyed the beachside ambience….

5.Turmeric, Porvorim – 3rd August, 2022

Located on the Porvorim main road opposite Mall de Goa.

Planned to try their fish thali but were disappointed as they offered only “A la Carte” although their menu listed fish thali for lunch!

Ordered prawns rava fry, chonok rava fry, king fish curry and rice. Food was ok but the curry had just one slice of king fish shreded into 4 to 6 pieces, ridiculous!  I don’t think I would want to go back to Turmeric.

6.Vinayak Family Restaurant, Assagao – 8th August, 2022

Heard a lot about this restaurant.  Tried their fish thali, as usual the special fish thali.  They had King Fish so ordered one King Fish Thali and One Chonok Thali and what do you think they served as one of the items – Ross omlete, instead of crab curry!!  That was truly disappointing.  Again, I would give them the benefit of the doubt, being off season, etc. etc.  May try them again to see if they have better dishes during season.  Alongwith the thali also tried their Stuffed Mackerel Rechado and Bombil Rawa Fry, which was good. The thalis were priced at King Fish Rs.380 and Chonok Rs. 320.  Mackerel Rs.200 each and Bombil Rawa Fry Rs.430 per plate (3 pieces)

7.Soyre, Gauns Vaddo, Mapusa – 13th August, 2022

Visited Soyre again just to try their Chonok Fish Thali.  Priced at Rs. 250, it was good value but could have been better in taste and quality although the Chonok was fresh, crisp and delicious.

8.Kamalabai, Mapusa – 20th August, 2022

Kamalabai AC section is not opened yet and should be functioning October 2022 onwards.  Their Special Fish thali is always good and love the roti that is always served with the Thali.  The Chonok Thali was priced at Rs.300 which compared to Copperleaf is quite reasonable.

9.Le Jardine, Near Municipal Gardens, Mapusa – 23rd August, 2022

We would have never found or ventured into this restaurant had I Rickshaw driver not recommended it as a good seafood and thali place.  A decent place for family, situated in the heart of Mapusa, bang in front of the Mapusa Municipal Gardens.  They serve Goan Rice Lager, which we tried and was good. Ordered the Chonok Fish Thali and here too were disappointed to find ‘Egg Burji’ instead of crab curry. Anyway need to try them again during “Season”.  Prawns Rava fry was delicious and the mackerel recheado was OK!  Thali is priced at Rs.265, Mackerel Rs. 120 each and Prawns Rs.325.

Clink on the below kinks for further reviews:-

Goa, Restaurant & food review

A Memorable holiday week in Goa

Taikulo ani Bikna Cassia Tora and Jackfruit Seeds Vegetable

Taikulo ani Bikna (Casia Tora & Jackfruit seeds Vegetable)

The early monsoon brings an array of wild foods that are super healthy and delicious. The rain makes wild vegetables grow in abundance alongside roads and in the hilly regions. Taikulo is one of these seasonal, local, monsoon vegetables, available for free, with all of its healthy goodness.  I, however, purchased this lot from the ladies at Mapusa market for Rs.30/-.  The vegetable looks a bit faded as I could not cook it the same day.

Taikulo also called Senna tora or Casia tora (Botanical name) is a wild leafy vegetable that grows along all the roadside and can be plucked straight from the plant and cooked into a simple and nutritious vegetable.  Only the tender leaves are used in cooking. Although the whole plant and roots and seeds are widely used in traditional Indian and South Asian medicine. It is said to have numerous health benefits. From an Ayurvedic stand-point the leaves and seeds of this plant are said to contain acrid, laxative, anthelmintic, ophthalmic, liver tonic, cardio tonic and expectorant properties. Adapted from : Vayuvision


4 to 6 cups Taikulo leaves

3 red chillies

6 flakes garlic

1 medium onion

½ tsp. Turmeric powder

½ cup coconut

10 to 12 jackfruit seeds (pre-boiled)

2 tbsp. oil

½ tsp. salt or to taste

Remove the tender leaves from the stems and discard the thick stems. Wash the taikulo leaves well, add some salt and soak in salted water for 15 minutes.  Drain and chop finely.  Slice the onion, crush the garlic and break the chillies into bits.  Heat the oil, add the red chillies, garlic and onion.  When onion is translucent, add 1/2 tsp. turmeric and mix.  Avoided excessive spices to get optimum benefit from the vegetable. Then add taikulo leaves, salt, some water and cook for 15 to 20 minutes till tender.  Add the boiled jackfruit seeds, cut in half and the coconut, mix and cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve as an accompaniment with any main meal.

N.B.: When jackfruit is in season, collect the seeds and dry they for a day or two which makes the skin a bit loose and becomes easier to peel. Then, wash and boil jackfruit seeds, cool and store in zip lock bags in the freezer. 

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