Royyalu Iguru (Prawn Curry/ Shrimp Curry)

Makes 4 servings

Prawns, head removed: 1/2 lb (20 prawns)
Onions: 2
Garam Masala: 2 tsp
Red Chili Powder: 2.5 tsp
Green Chilies: 4
Ginger Garlic Paste: 2 tbsp
Turmeric: 1/4 tsp
Olive Oil: 2 tsp


Royyalu Egarapettadamu: This is a way the prawns are marinated while being cooked in their juice. To marinate, place the shelled, de-veined, cleaned prawns in a skillet. Add salt, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp red chili powder, 1/2 tsp olive oil and 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste. Cook on a low flame till the prawns curl up and absorb all the liquid.

To make the curry:
To the same skillet, remove prawns, keep aside; and add the remaining olive oil.
Add the onions, green chilies. Saute till the onions turn golden brown.
Add 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste, saute for 3 minutes.
Add salt, red chili powder, garam masala. Mix well.
Add the marinated prawns. Add 1 cup water.
Lower flame and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
Serve hot with rice, biryani or roti.

Note: Chopped cilantro makes a great garnish for this dish.


Muruku or Murukulu: Easy to make snacks; easy to store and easier to munch on!
Makes approx 12 x 12 x 4 box full:
Urad dal: 1 cup, dry roasted and powdered
Rice flour: 4 cups
Salt: 1.5 tsp
Red Chili powder: 1.5 tsp
Cumin seeds: 2 tbsp (zeera, jillakarra)
Carom seeds: 2 tsp (ajwain, vaamu)
Sesame seeds: 4 tbsp (optional)
Ghee: 1 tbsp
Add all the above ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
Add enough water to make a thick dough.
Fill into muruku maker and press out into hot oil.
Deep fry on a low flame till it turns a beautiful brown color.
Drain and layer on an absorbent (paper) kitchen towel.
Cool and store in an air tight container.
Note: I made them in large circles and broke them up to smaller pieces, much faster this way!



Sunnunda... If you aren't from Andhra, you might not know what I am talking about. Sunnundalu are one of the most-made all-purpose, storage-friendly sweets made in South India. Just one week away from the Christmas break, I know I need to stock up on comfort food, and having just made fresh ghee, it seemed obvious that the urad dal ladoo's are the easiest things to make.

Makes 65 medium sized sunnundalu:
Urad dal: 4 cups (minapappu)
Ghee: 1 cup
Powdered sugar: 5 cups

Layer the urad dal on a cookie sheet and bake at 300F for 20 minutes, mixing occasionally. If you cannot use an oven, dry roast the dal in a large skillet till the dal turns brown.... it smells wonderful at this point.
Let the urad dal cool. Grind dal to fine powder.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the 1 cup urad dal powder, 1.25 cups powdered sugar and heated ghee.
Shape into round balls. Store in an air tight box.

Tips: The longer you take to make each sunnunda, the smoother it is, and the firmer it is. (Won't crack or become powdery.)
Use more hot ghee if it becomes difficult to shape. Once the ghee cools, it is difficult to mould.
Powdered sugar can be replaced by an equal portion of grated bellam or gur or molasses.


Royyalu Biryani (Prawns Biryani/Shrimp Biryani)

Cooking prawns the Hyderabadi style.... a simple recipe for the royyalu biryani, not as famed asa the Hyderabadi "Paradise" Chicken Biryani. If you aren't from Hyderabad, you probably are wondering what I am talking about. Paradise is an almost road-side joint in Secb'd that is renowned for its chicken biryani. This recipe though, is not a "restauranty" recipe. It is a recipe built from the basics taught to me by my mother. Absolutely no one makes prawns like my mom!!!!!

Headless Prawns: 1/2 lb, about 20 prawns
Onions: 2 medium, chopped
Green Chilies: 6
Tomatoes: 2, medium, chopped
Ginger-garlic paste: 2 tbsp (preferably made fresh)
Garam masala: 1 tbsp
Cinnamon: 2 small pieces (dalchini, chekka)
Cloves: 4 (lavanga)
Cardamom: 3 (Elaichi)
Bay leaves: 2 halves (tej pattha)
Mint leaves: 1 bunch, cleaned, chopped (pudina)
Cilantro: half a bunch, chopped (kothmere)
Basmati Rice: 2 cups, boiled, drained
Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
Red Chili powder: 2 tsp (adjust according to taste)
Shah zeera: 1 tbsp
Cumin: 1 tbsp
Olive Oil: 3 to 4 tsp


Royyalu Egarapettadam: This is the first step to making prawns. Shell and de-vein the prawns. Place in a pan with 1.5 tbsp ginger-garlic paste, salt, turmeric, red chili powder and 1/2 tsp oil.
Let sit on a low flame, mixing minimally till the water that oozes out from the prawns is absorbed back.

To another large pan, add the remaining oil. Add the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, bay leaves, shah zeera and cumin seeds to the oil. Saute for one minute.
Add the chopped mint leaves and the chopped cilantro. Saute for 2 minutes.
Add the chopped onions and green chilies. Saute till the onions are light brown. Add 1/2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste and saute for another 3 minutes.
Add the chopped tomatoes and salt.
Simultaneously, boil rice in lots of water with 2 tsp salt added till well done. Drain. Cool.
Add the prepared prawns and the garam masala. Let cook on a small flame for 10 minutes.
Add the rice. Mix well.
Serve hot and enjoy!!!

Neyyi (Ghee)

Making ghee, I guess, is one of the few things I cook that makes me home-sick. It brings forth the realization that I no longer am the carefree kid sitting in the kitchen eating tasty bites of food, fresh as they were prepared, but am now in the unenviable position of the responsible adult. Well, nostalgia aside, making ghee is one ritual I love and enjoy. It brings warm memories of being in India. When I first moved to California, the only ghee we bought came off Amul tins and the only time I ever used ghee was for making prasadams.

Since I discovered the ease with which I can make ghee at home, it has become an integral part of my cooking. I cannot wholeheartedly say that it is the healthiest diet possible, but I know for sure that "moderation is better than abstinence"!

Nutritional Information:*
(As obtained from CalorieKing)
Per tsp of ghee:
Calories: 45
Calories from Fat: 45
Total Fat: 5 g (8% of DV)
Saturated Fat: 3 g (15% of DV)
Trans Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 8 mg (3% of DV)
Sodium: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 0 g
Dietary Fiber: 0 g
Sugars: 0 g
Proteins: 0 g

Making ghee:
What you need: Unsalted butter and a large heavy bottomed vessel.

Unsalted or sweet cream butter is available in most grocery stores. Two one pound bars of ghee make about 600 g of ghee.

To make ghee, place the unsalted butter in the pan and heat on a low flame for 10 minutes. Then lower the flame and heat for another 30 minutes to one hour till the lower layer turns clear.

Filter the white layer that forms on the top out and store the lower clear liquid ghee in an air tight glass or metal container.

Things to remember:
Make sure that the container is not moist at all. Ghee is best stored at room temperature. Presence of any moisture will result in fungus forming in the ghee. Formation of fungus can be identified by the appearance of thin black filaments.

Another thing to remember is that ghee needs to be made at a very low flame. If you make the ghee on a high flame it will result in the ghee turning dark brown. This liquid does not have the taste or flavor of ghee.

I have never tried this out, but I remember reading that you can use cinnamon, cardamom or pepper to flavor ghee if you use it mostly for biryani's and gravies.

*Percent daily value are based on a 2000 calorie diet and may vary based on individual requirements.

Please note that Ghee is 100% Fat!!!

The Colors of Health

The Colors of Health