This Is Not a Postcard

Tales of 2 people on 3 continents

Yummy Indian recipes

I took a cooking class when we were in Cochin, India and I thought I would share some of the recipes with you all. Give ’em a whirl! A lot of them involve an ingredient called “garam masala” which is actually a spice blend that you can pick up at any market with an international food section. You can also make it yourself. In the ingredients lists, t = teaspoon T = tablespoon C = cup. Let me know if you try any of them.


  • 1 kg chicken pieces (bones are fine, skinned if you want to lessen the fat)
  • 1-2 medium sized potatoes, chopped into 1″-2″ pieces
  • 2 onions, small-medium, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 T chopped fresh ginger
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped roughly
  • 4 T coconut oil or vegetable oil (corn and sunflower are fine, too)
  • 1/2 t turmeric
  • 4 t ground coriander
  • 1 t (or to taste) cayenne
  • 2 t garam masala

Put oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add onions, garlic and ginger and sauté.

In a small bowl, mix turmeric, coriander, cayenne and garam masala with a little bit of water (maybe a T or two) and make a paste. Add this spice paste to the saucepan. Continue to heat until the mixture darkens and the oil begins to separate. Note: if you don’t let the spices roast this way, the ground coriander will end up tasting raw.

Add the chicken pieces. Add potatoes. You can also add a tomato or two, if you’d like, chopped. Add water so that the chicken pieces are 3/4 covered. Add salt (about 1 T). Cover and simmer on med heat until meat is cooked through, about 20 minutes or more.

When reheating leftovers of this chicken curry, you can add some coconut milk. Enjoy!

THORAN (or Spinach with Lentils)

  • 2 bunches of spinach, washed and chopped roughly
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 medium hot pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t turmeric
  • 1/2 t cumin powder
  • 1 C shredded coconut, either fresh or dehydrated is fine too
  • 1 C cooked yellow lentils (optional)

Toss spinach, onion, pepper and all the spices listed above in a large bowl. Cook in a pot over medium heat, covered, until spinach is cooked through. My teacher used a wok. You can add 1 C of cooked yellow lentils at the end. Delish!


  • 4-5 small eggplants, chopped into smallish triangles or cubes
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 3 T coconut or other vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 t ground coriander
  • 1/2 t cayenne powder
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 t garam masala
  • 1-2 small tomatoes, chopped

Put eggplant and garlic in a saucepan with the oil and sauté until soft.

Meanwhile, put all the spices in a large bowl with enough water to make a paste. Add the eggplant once it is soft. Then put everything back in the saucepan and continue to sauté until spices become fragrant.

Add tomatoes, 1 C water, and salt (to taste) to the pot. Cook covered for 5 minutes. Serve immediately. You can add coconut milk this this, but don’t boil it. Yum!

Lunch in Kerala

James enjoying some delicious Keralan cuisine, not prepared by Sonia



  Shawna Bolin wrote @

YUM! I will try one or two of these this weekend! Thanks for all the sharing!

  jim and mary huth wrote @

Looks yummy! Save some for us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):)

  Hannah S. wrote @

Ahh, wonderful! I can’t wait to try the eggplant masala when garden eggplants begin to ripen.

  Amy Nordrum wrote @

I received your postcard AND tried out the thoran recipe tonight- very good and so easy! Spinach is not the greatest in Fairbanks this time of year but I hope to fix that by growing some this summer. Thanks for both and safe travels through China.

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