Friday, June 30, 2006

Dal Makhani


Of late I think I have been cooking a lot of South Indian food...Wanted to try something North Indian...and here was Sailu's JIHVA for Dal...Going back the memory lane,the fabulous memories of Punjabi Dhaba food suddenly tickled my taste buds and I wanted to try one of my favourite Dhaba dish.Dal Makhani?Balle,Balle!!...Wah!! What a tasty food those Dhabas always served...with pure desi ghee,butter and cream liberally added....Amazing variety!Amritsari stuffed parathas and its umpteen milk products,Dal Makhani(Maha Di Dal),Saron Da Saag(Sarson ka saag),Dal Maharani,Dal Amritsari Lobiya,Rajmah,Punjabi Pindi Choley,Punj ratani dal etc., etc., I have forgotten most of the names...

Punjab's agrarian life style demanded burning up plenty of calories and one could say that most of their recipes are tailor made for their life style.They ate lots of onions,garlic and ginger;plenty of pulse, bean and lentil were included in their daily menu.Imagine eating these dishes with the typical Punjabi flat breads like naan,kulcha,lachha paratha,aloo paratha,mooli paratha or with phulka,jowar ki roti, baajre ki roti or the makke ki roti,with ghee or white butter...God! it is real heaven!!Can anyone resist their tasty nonveg preparations?...All those Tandoori items,Reshmi Tikka,Seekh kabab,Patiala Shahi Murg...I'm drooling here!!Before I sit drooling let me draft my entry forJihva for ingredients
JIHVA...'Vand Chak Khand Chak' as the Punjabis say!!


Black gram 1 cup
Bengal gram 1/2 cup
Kidney beans 1/4 cup
Ginger 1 inch
Green chilli 2-3 (sliced thin)
Butter 4 tbsp.
Cream 2 tbsp.
Tomatoes 3(finely chopped)
Onions 2 finely chopped
Garlic 7-8 flakes
Cumin seeds 1 tsp.
Asafoetida 1 pinch
Red chilli powder 2 tsp.
Garam Masala(optional)-1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Water-3 1/4 cups


Soak the washed dals and the beans in 4 cups of water overnight(needs at least 7hrs).Cook the soaked dals and the beans,adding nearly 3 1/4 cups of water,with red chilli powder,ginger(unchopped)& garlic(unchopped) added to it. Pressure cook it for nearly 10 minutes (3-4 whistles). Then reduce the heat to 'medium' and cook further for about 10 minutes.Dal should become soft but not mushy.Remove ginger and garlic from the cooked grams and grind it to a paste.(You may grind it without cooking as well, but it is traditionally cooked along with dal and then ground to paste).

Heat a deep pan.When the pan starts smoking,add 2 tbsp. of butter.Add asafoetida and cumin seeds to it.Saute them for a minute. Add green chilli.Saute it till it is slightly brownish in tinge. Add finely chopped onions&ginger-garlic paste . Saute them until they turn golden brown. Now add finely chopped tomatoes and salt.Cook the whole mixture to a pulpy sauce consistency(about 3 mins).

Now add the cooked grams and the kidney beans to the mixture.(You may add half a tsp Garam Masala,for a richer flavour). Mix well and cook for 3-4 minutes. If the consistency is too thick,you may add a little water.

Finally add the remaining butter and cook for a minute.Now your Dal Makhani is ready to serve.While serving (with Rice/Naans/Chappathis,) add 2 tbsp Malayi/Fresh cream.....Balle!! balle!!Malayi ho malayi!! Badhayi ho badhai!!...Enjoy!! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 29, 2006

KobbariAnnam&Omelette Curry

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I never knew coconut rice till I went to Andhra... inspite of being a Keralite,who found an excuse to add coconut in every other dish!...It was indeed one of the best items in our hostel menu...Our cook Shanthakka's Noonavankaya,chicken curry,kobbari annam etc was definitely classy.My students used to still crib about the taste but I think Shanthakka added some extra seasoning for me! ;)...And there was a sweet girl,Ratna, who took real good care of me...(poor girl!... was badly misunderstood by everyone else cos of her foolishness at times!)She used to cook some special dishes for me at times...and I should say that I have never eaten a better chicken or a better coconut rice than her's...that Andhra touch was inimitable...(Lost touch with her with the flow of Time...whereever she is now, I hope she is happy and content)...This Kobbari Annam is what I have seen Ratna doing in my hostel room...and the Omelette curry is my mom's, with a little touch ups by me...Whenever Amma ran short of eggs she would make this omelette curry for the uniform distribution!!Mothers know only to share everything...selfless souls!


For Kobbari Annam/Coconut Rice

(serves 2)
Basmati Rice-1 cup
Coconut milk-1 cup
Grated coconut-100g
Green chillies-4(slitted)
Dry Red chillies-2
Curry leaves-2 sprigs
Mustard seed-1/2 tsp
Black gram-1/2 tsp
Chana dal-1/2 tsp
Water-1 1/4 cup
Ghee-2 tbsp
Salt-as required
Bay leaves-2(optional)
Garam Masala-1/2 tsp(optional,traditionally not added)
Roasted Cashewnuts-25g(optional-for garnishing)

Wash the basmati rice and soak it in water for 10 minutes.Fry rice with 1 tbsp ghee added to it for 3 or 4 minutes. Now cook it with 1 cup coconut milk(preferably squeezed out from fresh grated coconut,adding some water-the tinned coconut milk often tastes far from the original) and 1 1/4 cup water with salt added.(I microwave it at hight for 20 minutes).Now to prepare the seasoning, heat the remaining ghee(you could use any edible oil as well) in a wok.Add mustards,blackgram,chana dal,dry red chillies, curry leaves,bay leaves(optional),garam masala(optional)& green chillies. Once the seasoning has spluttered,add grated coconut to it till it turns light brown.Now add cooked rice to it and mix well.Finally garnish it with fried cashew nuts. Coconut rice is ready.(You may use coriander leaves also if u want to make it a little more tasty-but dont blame me if people say it is not coconut rice!!)....Now serve it hot with Potato fry or with my Omelette curry or chicken curry or any spicy curry of your choice!!

Omelette curry

For the Omelette

Eggs - 3
Onion, finely chopped - 1
Green chillies, finely chopped - 2
Milk-1/4 cup
Corn flour-1tbsp
Chopped coriander leaves - one small bunch
A pinch of ground pepper

For the Curry

Grated coconut - 2 tbsp.
Cumin seeds (jeera) - 1/2 tsp.
Fennel seeds (saunf) - 1/2 tsp.
Coriander powder - 2 tsp.
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp.
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp.
Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp.
Oil - 2 tbsp.
Small onions, finely sliced - 3
Green chillies, chopped - 2-3
Tomatoes, finely chopped - 2
Vinegar - 1 tsp orTamarind paste-3/4tbsp)
Chopped coriander leaves - 1 tbsp.


Grind together coconut, cumin and fennel seeds, coriander, red chilli, turmeric and garam masala powder very less water(may be 1 or 2 tbsp)to a paste. Set it aside.

Whisk the eggs along withmilk,corn flour,green chillies, chopped coriander leaves, a pinch of black pepper powder and salt.Heat oil in a wide pan.Saute onions till they become transluscent and slightly golden.Spread it uniformly in the pan.Now pour in the whisked egg mixture. Cook till both sides are cooked and puff up.Remove from fire and cut into probably one inch size pieces and keep it aside.

Now heat oil in a deep bottomed wok.Fry the chopped onions till they turn slightly brownish.Add all the ground masala paste and saute for 4 minutes.See to it that the gravy doesnt stick to the wok.add the green chillies and tomatoes and saute further till tomatoes become soft.Now add vinegar/tamarind paste,2 cups of water and salt as required.Simmer the gravy for nearly 8 minutes.Add the coriander leaves and the omelette pieces into the gravy.Simmer it for another 3 minutes...Now serve it hot with the coconut rice!!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Tapioca pudding

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Tapioca Pudding? I never knew anything beyond our 'Kappa puzhukku',Kozhikkaal and Kappa ularthu....Never knew that one could make pudding too with it until I came to this country and happened to stumble upon some white pearly granules with the name 'tapioca' on it in the local
  • Sainsbury shop
  • I took the packet out of curiosity and 'with the some day I'll use' phrase, stacked in my pantry and had blissfully forgotten until recently I rediscovered it while cleaning my pantry.A little bit of research on these cute pearls,which resembled sago(sabudana),told me that it can be used for pudding,Taiwan's drinks like bubble tea,tapioca jelly,as a food thickener,as a binder in pharmaceutical tablets etc.These pearly granules are basically flavourless and starchy and it seems that they are produced from treated and dried cassava (manioc) root...Well, I'm going to experiment more with these pearls...Let me start off with a sweet...So here goes my easy Tapioca Pudding recipe...

    Tapioca granules-1 cup
    Milk-3 cups
    Sugar-4 tbsp(You can personalise it)
    Cardamom powder-1 pinch
    {Almond Essence/Vanilla essence-A drop or two(optional)-If you like saffron flavour you can use probably just two strands, I used a little more,and it was a bit too strong and slightly unpleasant}
    Salted Butter-1 tbsp.
    Roasted Almonds/Cashew-for garnishing


    Take a deep bottomed Sauce pan.Soak the tapioca granules in the milk for 30 minutes in it.Cook the tapioca in milk over a slow fire till the milk is reduced in quantity and the pudding thickens.Add sugar,butter,cardamom and your flavouring agent. Mix well.Cook for another couple of minutes and transfer it to a pudding bowl.Serve it hot or cold as the choice may be!

    Chicken Pickle

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    I was treasuring that last morsel of chicken pickle that my mother had given me for a long time....and once it got over,I had to think of making it....for September is still a long way for me to go home....So called up home and asked amma, the recipe!...Amma was laughing at the transition of her daughter....who most of the times only ate and never bothered to cook,unless the situation badly demanded, was here trying even pickle...Amma's greatest concern when my marriage was fixed was as to what I will cook for my husband....and here I am blogging my recipes!It was only my brother who said 'Chechi'will make a wonderful cook,the certificate came from a few trials I had done for him...and I would look at Amma with a taunting 'air' of a great chef!!...I was very much her daughter...I wouldnt ask her the recipe, but I would try to match the taste of the recipe in the best possible way!!...Then later I realised that I need to cut down my 'airs' and take her advice too...for the years of experience do matter...Here is the recipe for the chicken the source of the recipe is my amma and her source is a friend in Guntur , the pickle capital of South India!!'Pachadilu ante Guntur Pachadilu!'....Guntur, in Andhra, is synonymous for its great variety of hot pickles...I think 'Gunturites' would pickle anything that comes to their hand!!...Here it goes...(hmmm...I'm drooling already!!)


    Chicken breasts-1 kg(cut into very small pieces,nearly minced)
    Turmeric-1/2 tsp
    Ginger-2 inch piece-chopped fine,pounded fine(dont grind)
    Green chilli-8-Chopped fine,pounded fine
    Garlic-50g-chopped,pounded fine
    Red chilli powder-2 cups
    Coriander leaves-1/2 cup(chopped fine)
    Curry leaves-2 sprig
    Copra-1 half(cut into small pieces and pounded well)
    Vinegar-1/2 cup
    Water-1/2 cup
    Salt-2 tbsp(or as required)
    Oil- as required for sauting the ingredients
    Oil-4tbsp oil for mixing the masala.


    Marinate the chicken pieces with a small pinch of salt and turmeric.Heat oil in a deep bottomed wok.Saute curry leaves,pounded ginger, garlic,and green chilli,in a simmering flame, till they give a fine aroma(Do not grind these please, but pound very well)and slightly changes colour(it shouldnt get burnt).Keep it aside. Now in the same oil saute copra(I'm not sure whether the dessicated coconut that we get in the Indian store will do the trick, I would prefer you to use the real 'copra' that you get in the Indian shops).Copra and parsley gives a very tasty twist to the whole pickle.I was quite surprised to see it for the first time in a pickle,but was told by the Guntur aunty that they add it with chicken for a richer taste.Now keep the roasted copra aside.Dry roast(without adding oil) the required salt in a wok and keep it aside.Now heat 5tbsp oil in a wok.Add Red chilli powder,a pinch of turmeric powder and mix well.Saute the powders very carefully in a very low flame for a couple of minutes till you get a very strong aroma of the chilli powder.Now add vinegar and half a cup of water to it. Mix well...once it starts boiling add the dry roasted salt(abt 2tbsp).Mix well.Add the remaining roasted ingredients kept aside. Mix well and finally add the roasted chicken.Remove from the fire.Mix thoroughly with a wooden ladle,there should not be any trace of water.
    You may mix it with hand for the masala to really seep into the chicken pieces, but sterilise the pickle by simmering it on the stove again for 3 minutes....Once cool, transfer it to a sterilised bottle with a tight lid.You can store it in the refrigerator as long as 6 months(provided you always use a dry spoon) and it still taste great, in fact greater!!

    Here's a tip added by my 'sweet nellore girl',(my student),an easy way, she says, to make chicken pickle."Clean the chicken and add turmeric, chilli powder, salt and green chilli paste(little),cook it in pressure cooker (4-5) whistles.. no water
    then take kadai with more oil ... add chicken.. deep fry then rest of ingredients... and at the end... add some cumin powder".Probably I will try this next time...

    Tuesday, June 27, 2006

    Fried Modakam

    'Harisree Ganapathaye Namah Avighnamastu'....Ganesha or Vigneshwara,the elephant God of the Hindus,the Lord of wisdom,enjoys a lot of priorities over the rest of the great pantheon of Hindu Gods.Known for his 'bhakthi'(devotion) and 'bhukthi'(eating),Lord Ganesha has the prerogative of being the first one to be invoked in any Hindu Puja.He is the lord responsible for removing all our obstructions(Vighnas) for our Satkarmas(good actions)and no Hindu puja generally starts without invoking him. The Ganesh festival is perhaps one of the most important among the several democratic festivals of India where every Indian take part in the celebration.Elders and children alike love this sweet and naughty God,the benevolent protector of the righteous,ruthless destroyer of the evil and the most generous when pleased!Ganesh festivals in Mumbai Sidhi Vinayak temple,Kanipakam temple in Andhra etc are perhaps the most famous....

    Here is an interesting excerpt about Lord Ganesha:"Ganesha's elephantine head and human body are in fact symbolic of 'tvam'- His elephantine countenance representing 'tat' and their joining together signifies the the union of 'tvam' (You) and 'tat' (Brahman,the cosmic consciousness). Thus, the body of Ganesha is the visible representation of the highest reality, Brahman, realised from 'tat tvam asi'. Another explanation is that Ganesha's head signifies 'Atman' the Highest Reality, while the body below the neck represents mAyA, the principle of phenomenal existence. The Atman's involvement with the world is characterised by the assumption of mind and speech. Ganesha's ears, which appear like large winnowing baskets, have a philosophical significance too. Just as one uses a winnowing basket to separate grains from dirt, one must use discrimination (viveka) to separate the real (Brahman) from the unreal (mAyA) in life. Here the grains stand for Brahman and the dirt signifies mAyA. Or, Ganesha's ears indicate that such discrimination between Brahman and mAyA is to be gained by taking recourse to SravaNa or hearing."

    Lord Ganesh was born on the 4th day of the bright half of Bhadrapad (August/September). This festival is celebrated for 10 days from Ganeshchaturthi - birth -date-to Anantchaturdashi - the final 10th day of his 'immersion'.
    In several states of India, clay idols of Ganesh in varying sizes are brought home the day previous to Ganesh Chaturthi,the day of Hartalik when women keep fast and invoke the blessings of goddess Parvati,Ganesh's mother.Mass worship made to life-size or even bigger images of Ganesha in most streets.Lord Ganesh is very fond of sweets and so kheer, panchamrit,modaks(in counts of 21 or 108),fruits and sweets are placed before him as "Naivedya" or "Bhog" (offering). After the rituals are over,this "Bhog" is distributed as "Prasad".On the day of immersion,on the 10th day after performing "Puja", the idol is taken out in a huge procession-a rich camaraderie of Indian culture with people who dancing and singing..."Ganapati Bappa Moriya", Pudhachya varshi lavkar ya" (Return early next year, oh Victorious Lord Ganesh).
    (hope my Marathi is right!)On the 10th day the sea fronts are packed with surging crowd and the idols are immersed in the water.Ganesh festival over a period of time has acquired such a democratic face that often it has been a platform for our several freedom struggle leaders for the political awakening.
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    Well,coming back to Modak, it is one of the most important home made speciality of the Ganesh pooja.My Iyer ponnu never forgot to bring me a box full of modaks everytime she came back to the hostel after the Ganesh puja.It was she who shared me the recipe.She used to bring me the modakam and the 'karanji'.Modak is made of rice flour while karanji is made of maida.....but in some parts of India, karanji is also called modak for the filling is almost the same.These Modaks are distributed daily on these festival days to all those who come home.Well, with time Modak has also evolved the filling has become richer but the shape remains the same and the taste, amazing!Usually, modaks have an outer crust of rice flour, and a sweet filling of coconut and jaggery.Some add Khova/Khoya/evaporated milk ).Modaks are then steamed(covered with turmeric leaves for aroma)and are served either hot or cold. They are deep-fried to increase their shelf life.

    Rice flour-1 cup
    Water-1 cup
    Ghee-1 tsp
    oil-½ teaspoon
    A pinch of salt


    Fresh grated coconut-2 cups
    Jaggery-a cup
    Roasted poppy seeds-1 tsp
    Rice flour-1 tsp
    cardamom powder-1/2 tsp
    Almonds-50g(optional)(chop into small pieces,rub and remove the husk)

    Oil-for deep frying(for fried variety)

    Prepare the filling by mixing grated coconut,roasted poppy seeds,khoya,almonds and cardamom flower on slow fire,stirring continuosly into a brownish mixture.If you are not sure of the quality of your jaggery,you can melt the jaggery in a sauce pan,sieve it and remove the impurities and the add it to the coconut,khoya mixture.Once the mixture is ready remove from fire and keep it to cool.

    Boil water with a table spoon of oil/ghee and a pinch of salt. When it starts boiling, add the rice flour slowly(just like you do for 'pathiri') and mix well on reduced flame. It has to become a continuous pliable dough. Remove from the fire and then cool it. Once it has cooled enough to be kneaded with your hand,knead it well with oiled hands,it should be neither sticky nor dry.Make small balls of the dough.Oil your hands and press the dough to make a circle (thinner the better).Make a small indentation in the middle.Take a tsp of the filling and place it in the middle of the circle,pull together the edges and twist twist them to the shape of a fig/ kiss chocolate .Now keep it ready on a greased plate and then steam it like idlis.See to it that one modak does not touch the other.If you are using a pressure cooker, do not place the cooker weight/whistle.But if you want fried modakam/karanji, heat oil in a wok and fry the filled modaks in oil; or alternatively you can use maida for preparing the outer covering.(Mix Maida,water and salt and make a pliant dough,like the chappathi dough, make small rounds and fill in with the same ingredients and deep fry till golden brown).Serve it hot with a drizzle of ghee over it!

    Mulakaya Paluposinakoora

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  • Krishnaarjuna
  • &
  • Sailu
  • Mulakaracha Meen Curry

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    Fish and coconuts have always been a weakness of most Malayalis...A fish fry or fish curry always brings an additional grin on a Malayali's face...As Lg's mom used to say many Malayalis keep telling malayalis are beautiful and have good skin because of the fish and coconut!!...Good reasons to justify their obsession with both!!Well, this is a very common style of making fish curry in Kerala.I have earlier blogged Thalassery Ayila curry too.This is slightly a different style.


    Green chilli-2
    Red chilli powder-1 1/2tsp
    Fenugreek seeds-1/2 tsp
    turmeric powder-1/2 tsp
    Oil-as required
    Mustard-1/2 tsp
    Curry leaves-2 sprigs
    Tamarind paste-2 tsp(Coccum is used in the southern districts)
    Water-as required
    Salt-as required

    Marinate cleaned and cut fish pieces with a pinch of turmeric and salt.Keep it for 10 minutes.Grind together red chilli powder,turmeric powder,ginger,garlic and green chillies into a coarse paste.Heat oil in a wok. When the oil starts smoking, add mustard, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves.Once the seeds have spluttered add the ground masala.Saute it for a couple of minutes till a fine aroma comes.Now add the marinated fish pieces,water,tamarind paste and salt, as required.Mix carefully everything and allow it to cook under closed lid for nearly 7 minutes or till done.Serve it hot with rice or chappathi.

    Kappa Vada/Tapioca Fritters


    Everytime I go to the Birmingham Kerala shop, I'm lost in a world of nostalgia.... and come back.... missing home terribly...A reasonably good size poster of Mammootty is what welcomes anybody to the shop and the racks are filled with Nirapara,amma's, brahmin's,mohanlal, melam, eastern and what not!....The freezer is full of ayila, mathi,koonthal,chemmeen.....almost all those fish that we get back in Kerala is there... waiting for release!And how can I leave those Nenthrappazham, Chakka,Mathan,Vellari,and Kappa untouched....I unload half the shop and as a gesture of love that shop 'chettan' always gave me generously bunches of curry leaves, my greatest treasure in the pantry.

    Kappa/Poolakizhangu/Kollikizhangu/Tapioca/Cassava is for many Malayalis a hot favourite and is available even in hotels and thattukadas with fish curry as accompaniment.You can get it in
  • Lg's thattukada
  • and
  • Sumi'sKitchen
  • or in
  • Annita'sTreasure
  • .

    My Kappa Vada idea originated actually from my
  • Tellicherry
  • memories
  • of a very common snack called 'Kozhikkaal'...Kozhikkaal in Malayalam means Chicken legs...If you are expecting a Roasted chicken leg to be served, you are bound for a surprise......What comes to you in a plate would be Kappastrips held together by a spicy batter and deep fried,resembling a chicken leg fry and you need to really bite out like the way you eat chicken drumstick!Malabaris seems to have had very creative names for many of their dishes like unnakaya,muttamala and kozhikkaal!!I still remember the college days when we all used to swarm into a small shack called 'hotel' during the break time to eat kozhikkaal and is a royal treat...But with the tapioca that I got from Birmingham, I had no scope to make a kozhikkaal...for it needs more fibrous Tapioca...not very fleshy, mushy ones...So probably next time....and Kozhikkaal paved the way for Kappa Vada...A wonderful snack for the evening time...So here goes the recipe:


    Tapioca-1/2 kg
    Red chilli powder-3/4tbsp(you may reduce it if u want it less hot)
    Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
    Garlic powder-1tsp
    Dry Red chilli-2
    Mustard-1/2 tsp
    Green chilli-2(cut into small pieces)
    Curry leaves-1 sprig
    Onion-1 medium
    Kasoori Methi/Dried Fenugreek leaves-1tbsp(soaked in water)
    coriander leaves-1small bunch,chopped fine
    Oil-as required
    Water-as required

    Remove the skin,both the top brown and the inner pink layer.Cut into an inch long slices and remove the thick fibre running thro' the middle.Cook with plenty of water(double the quantity) and once it has boiled, drain off the water.Drain once again like this to avoid the 'kattu' or that unwanted layer of glucosides,which could be harmful.Now cook the Tapioca with half the quantity water.Once cooked well, mix salt and mash it well.

    Now Heat oil in a wok.Once the oil starts smoking add mustard seed,dry red chilli, curry leaves,onion,green chillies,red chilli powder,kasoori methi,and garlic powder(in the same order) and saute well till onions becomes transluscent.Add this seasoning to the cooked tapioca along with chopped coriander leaves and mix well.(You could use this as a curry for chappathi too).

    Now make small lemon size balls out of the seasoned tapioca.Press it with your hand to small patty and shallow fry it on a griddle with a dash of oil, till the sides turn golden brown.Serve it hot with any sauce of your choice!

    Monday, June 26, 2006

    Mutta Kuzhalappam/Love letter!


    Love letter....a name for a snack?...Yes indeed....We have love letters which have become history and mythology....This is no 'Meghasandesham' or 'Hamsasandesham' of our mythology....or the sms love liners of the modern age....this is pure love folded in a pancake!!....Loveletters are known for the dollops of sweetness flowing out of the heart of the amorous lovers....... and this Loveletter, also known as Mutta Kuzhalappam are sweet filled pancakes rolled into pipes(Kuzhal),served of course with a lot of love!!...A common snack in Kerala during Christmas and a quick recipe which kids love and all those with sweet tooth love....There are different versions of making it, I have Malabarified it a little bit.

    For pancake:
    Maida-1 cup

    Grated coconut--1/2 cup
    Poppy seeds-2tsp
    Cardamom powder-1 tsp
    Cashew nuts
    Cashewnuts-25 g(broken)
    Ghee-1 tbsp
    Salt-a very small pinch

    First prepare the filling.Heat ghee in a wok.Roast cashew,raisins,poppy seeds,coconut shavings,add beaten egg,cardamom powder and sugar.Scramble the egg and mix well.(Same as Unnakkaya).Keep it aside.
    Mix maida,egg,and salt with water and make a dosa like batter of thinner consistency. Heat a griddle.Grease it with oil.Pour one ladle of batter and spread it out as thin as possible,like dosa/pancake.Flip the sides and cook it well. Now scoop out 2tsp filling into each dosa, roll it into a pipe and just lay it on the griddle for a couple of minutes, till the sides turns golden.Now serve your love letter with a lot of love!!

    Well, Traditional Kuzhalappam is a little different story.....I mean the filling is very simple....('simble!')...It is jaggery(Sharkara/Bellam/Vellam) mixed with cardamom, cumin seeds, and grated coconut....some use sugar instead of it is all'apna' choice!!...If you fold the crepe/dosa with the filling inside and just press down the edges with the spatula,it becomes something we call Madakku Saan/Madakku Dosa

    Sunday, June 25, 2006

    My Spice Bazaar


    Yesterday was the destined day for clean my pantry!!...To edit and delete all those masalas that I had accumulated over a period of time, in addition to the vestiges of my husband's bachelor days....where he picked up every masala available in the Indian shop, hoping to make his bachelor cooking spicier, rather easier!The most amazing thing that I saw in my pantry here when I saw it for the first time was the huge 5kg sack of Red chilli powder!It was sitting royally with a gleeful smile!!Five kg of chilli powder for a bachelor!...Wasnt that a bit too hot days?!!(My husband is a kind of megalomaniac,wants everything big and large,except for his wife, who is sincerely trying to match his expectations with all those food churned out from the kitchen!)Everytime we went to an Indian shop...we avariciously looked at the Masala racks and stacked our cart as though we might never get it again!...My husband would ask me ritualistically an innocent question..'What do you use that for?'...for which at times I did not really have a definite answer...I would murmur...'Ri...Irili (=let it be,kannada),I'll use it someday...we might find it useful...So saying I have piled up so many masalas...and some of them had reached their yesterday was the day for me to bid them adieu and prepare the pantry for another refill!!...I was thinking about the amazing collection of spices and seasoning agents that we have...Turmeric,Chillies,Pepper,Cloves,Mace,
    Cinnamon,Bay leaves,Curry leaves,Thyme,Rosemary,Basil,Chamomile,Dill,
    Kalonji,Onion Seeds,Ajwain,Fennel seed,Cumin,Ginger,Cardamom,Saffron,
    lemon grass,Nutmeg,Sesame seeds,Anise,Annatto,Arrow root,Caraway,
    Fenugreek,Flax,Paprika,Chervil,Marjoram,Mustard,Tilo leaves
    ....Oops! the list is unending....Having a very flexible palate, we have been able to enjoy the myriad spices of both the East and the West...Salutations to all the Spices of the World which has spiced up our life!! Posted by Picasa


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    A packet of Soya chunks was lying in my pantry for quite some time.Before buying itself my husband had declared that he doesnt like soya...Hence I was quite apprehensive and kept on postponing....Yesterday I thought of putting a little wool over his eyes...Made a Soya Masala with some chinese leaves(cabbage's cousin)and served it as minced mutton masala! Once the certificate came as first class I dramatically revealed that it was his hated soya chunks...he gave me a clownish look and said that he was too hungry to notice!!I keep telling him not to keep any prejudice about any food as some combinations they may taste really good...and it did taste good...
    So here is my Soya Masala.


    Soya chunks-100g(soaked slightly &cut into pieces)
    Meat Masala-2tbsp(Available in any Indian shop)
    Chilli powder-1/2 tsp(optional)
    Garlic powder-1tbsp
    Chinese leaves-250g(chopped fine)
    Cardamom powder-1/2tsp
    Fennel seed powder-1/2 tsp
    Cinnamon powder-1/4tsp
    Bay leaves-2
    Curry leaves-1 sprig
    Turmeric powder-1 pinch
    Baby potato-4(cut into pieces)
    Tomato sauce-1tbsp
    Parsley-1 small bunch
    Water,Salt,Oil-As required


    Pressure cook the chopped soya chunks&potato with 1 cup water,a pinch of turmeric,meat masala,and chilli powder added to it for 4 minutes.(Soya balls are chopped so that the masala really seep thro' and it is pressure cooked so as to save the soaking time).Now Heat oil in a wok.Saute bay leaves, curry leaves,fennel seed powder,cardamom powder, cinnamon powder,ginger and garlic powder(I was running short of garlic).Now add this to the cooked soya and potato.Mix well.Add enough water(half a cup) and add the chopped chinese leaves.(It gives a peppery taste).Saute everything together for nearly 5 mintues.Finally add chopped parsley and serve it hot with Chappathi/Paratha.

    Chicken Upma

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    Upma is unfortunately a less privileged dish with many...people frown at the mention of the name Upma....Probably the frown came because of all those who manipulated it to miserable clones, especially in the hostel menus....Upma being an easy dish for bulk cooking it often takes a place in the menus of several hostels and school(eg.,Kerala govt's Upma Program for the school children)...I love upma and feel sad at the ill reputation that it suffers because of a few mishandlers....You can make really heavenly upmas with Semolina(Rava) or with Vermicelli(Semiya)....Semiya upma is considered to be of a better class as considered to poor semolina...Those who are strongly prejudiced against Upma and if they prefer anything in the name of Non-veg this is a recipe worth trying...Well, I should say that this indeed is a travesty in the name of Upma...far from the Original....but definitely tasty...


    Vermicelli-2 cups(broken)
    Boiled water-1 1/2 cup
    Ginger+Green chillies-50g
    bay leaves-2
    Garam masala-1 tsp
    Onion-2 medium(chopped)
    Tomato-2 medium(chopped)
    Ghee-2 tbsp
    Salt-as required
    Parsley-1 small bunch

    Brine the chicken pieces for 10minutes till they are cooked.Remove the flesh from the bone and shred it.Heat ghee in a wok,roast Vermicelli to golden brown colour.Heat ghee in another wok.Saute bay leaves, aniseed,garam masala,ginger,chillies,onion and tomatos in the same order.Once the tomatos have become soft add shredded chicken. Mix well with the remaining ingredients.Now add the roasted Vermicelli.Mix well.Add 1 1/2 cup boiled water. Mix well. Close the lid and allow it to cook.See to it that it doesnt stick to the vessel. Stir well and finally garnish with roasted cashews and chopped parsley.Serve it with grilled chicken and tomato sauce.

    Here is the recipe for the real Upma:

    Semolina/Rava-1 cups
    Salted,Boiled water-2 cups
    Green chillies-4
    Ginger-25 g(Pounded)
    Dry Red chillies-2
    Curry leaves-1 sprig
    Black gram dal-1/2 tsp
    Mustard -1/2 tsp
    coriander leaves-2 sprigs


    Roast the semolina in ghee till it changes colour slightly.Leave it to cool.Now heat oil/ghee in a deep bottomed wok. Add mustard, dry red chilli,black gram dal, cashew, curry leaves, green chilli and ginger.Saute it for a couple of minutes till you get a fine aroma.Now add boiling water to this seasoning. Mix well. Allow it to boil for a minute. Now add the roasted semolina slowly and keep mixing it with the other hand. See to it that there are no lumps...Mix well.Close the lid and cook till the rava is done. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve it hot with chutney or pazham puzhungiyathu or plantain(Kerala style).

    Friday, June 23, 2006

    Scrambled Prawn

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    Malabar Meen Biriyani


    Having spent a major part of my life in the Malabar region of Kerala,Malabar recipes have always been my top favourites.One should say that Malabar Muslims have really contributed a lot to the moulding of a very distinct culinary culture, which is now identified as 'Malabar' style...During Ramzan,as I said earlier in my
  • Ari Pathiri
  • post, our Muslim friends flooded our table with all those Muslim delicacies like Meen biriyani,Adukku Pathiri, Meen Pathiri,Kozhi porichathu,Kozhi Ada,Chatti pathiri,Unnakkaya, Muttamala,Alsa,Tharikanji,Kalathappam,Kinnathappam etc..I'm drooling here already!!(I shall blog some of these recipes soon)My mom had learnt this Meen biriyani from those good hearted Muslim friends that we had in Beypore, a port town in Calicut, which has plenty of history to tell....The legacy is passed on to me..... My husband says that he has never heard of 'Fish biriyani' before, and was thinking that it was one of my experiments! He wouldnt believe it when I said it is in fact a traditional dish which Malabar Muslims prepared during Festive seasons or on occasions like treating their 'Puyyapla'(Puthiya Mappila/New Bridegroom- who remains 'Puyyappla' even at 80!)....Treating 'Puyyappla' was a big ritual often....with many dishes prepared and all his comforts arranged. I have heard my 'ithathas' in Beypore telling that there have been occasions when many girls have been given 'talaq'(divorce) for the simple crime of not treating(feeding with all these delicacies) the Puyyapplas properly...but those are the stories of yesterdays when tradition ruled and women were lesser beings...but now things have changed tremendously...with education permeating the grass roots....people are more enlightened....and women more empowered...Perhaps the present generation cannot even believe that many traditions like 'Mootakalyanam' etc existed in the same society!...Let me not digress into those old stories...So here is the recipe for the famous Malabar Meen Biriyani.
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    For Rice:

    Ghee - 2 tbsp
    Bay leaves-2
    Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
    Fennel seed powder-1/2 tsp
    Cinnamon- 4 sticks
    Aniseed-2 or 3
    Cloves - 4
    Pepper powder - 1 tsp
    Onion(sliced) - 1 (medium) onions
    Basmati rice - 3 cups
    Boiled water - 5 3/4 cups
    Lemon juice-1/2 a lemon
    Salt - as required

    For fish masala:
    King fish - 1/2 kg(Any Hard fleshed fish)
    Chilly powder - 1 tbsp
    Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
    Pepper powder-1/2 tsp
    Salt - 1 tsp
    Oil - 100ml
    Onion(sliced) - 3 large
    Ginger-garlic-green chillies paste - 2 tbsp
    Coriander leaves+Mint leaves+Curry leaves paste-2tbsp
    Tomato(chopped) - 2
    Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
    Curd - 1 tbsp
    Lemon juice-1/2 a lemon
    Thick coconut milk - 1/4 cup
    Ghee - 2 tbsp

    For garnishing:
    Cashew nuts(roasted)-25g
    onion-1 medium size-(finely chopped)


    Wash the basmati rice(long grain rice).Soak the washed rice for 5 minutes.Drain off the water completely.Boil water with salt.Heat ghee in a pan.Add bay leaves,cardamom,fennelseed,aniseed, cinnamon, cloves and pepper. Saute it for a couple of minutes.Add onions and fry till golden brown.Add rice,lemon juice and stir for about 5 min or till the grains become soft when you bite it.Pour boiled water and cook till it is done.Then using a fork stir the rice so that the grains separate out and keep it open so that excess water, if any, will evaporate completely.

    Fish may be cut into pieces, removing the bones. If it is really large fish like King fish you may retain the bone, for it adds to the taste.If served to kids it is better to remove the bones and cook.Marinate fish pieces with chilly powder, turmeric powder,pepper powder and salt for 30 minutes(pref. in the refrigerator).Fry the marinated fish pieces in oil.In the same oil used to fry the fish ,addd sliced onions and fry on a simmering flame, till it becomes golden brown.Add ginger-garlic-green chilly paste,coriander-mint-curry leaves paste, and tomato.Saute it for nearly 6minutes.Keep the flame medium.Stir it for 6 min.Add curd, coconut milk, and salt and stir it for 5 min.Add fried fish pieces and reduce the flame.Cook till it becomes a good thick gravy.

    Roast cashew nuts, raisins and onion in a small wok(deep brown).Take a deep bottomed vessel and layer rice,fish masala,Roasted nuts,raisins& roasted onions alternatively.Pour 2 tbsp of ghee and tightly cover with a lid.Keep it on a very low flame for 10 min.(Alternatively you can bake it in an oven for 10 minutes at 180 degrees).Traditionally the lid is sealed with Maida, and coconut husk embers are kept on top.( 'Dum').Serve it,the Biriyani please! ; ) hot with Onion/Potato Raita. Posted by Picasa

    Of late RP and I seem to be having a lot of telepathy.She has posted on Idli Sambar while Idli was sitting idle in the draft,I had posted a prawn fry while she too had one...Interestingly now she too has posted a Fish biriyani recipe,slightly different from that of mine...So for another variety try
  • RP's Fish Biriyani
  • Thursday, June 22, 2006

    Padavalanga Parippu Erissery

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    Erissery, Pulissery,Uppery etc are all the Kerala Veg recipes which are part and parcel of any 'Sadya',the traditional banquet....For many a Keralite Erissery is a daily say that Erissery is a must in their daily menu! A variety of Erisseris can be made by using different vegetables like Vazhaykka Erissery, Mathan Erissery,Chakka Erisseri,Chena Erissery,Vellarikka Erissery,Padavalanga Erissery etc.,The basic menu remains the same for all,just substitute the required vegetable.Here is my Padavalanga Erissery/Snakegourd Erissery. I think it was LG who had mentioned that her mom was scared of Snakegourds...Snakegourds have nothing to do with the Snakes,except perhaps the long shape!Rather Snakegourds are considered to be highly medicinal. It is used to treat certain cancer of the lungs, stomach and the oesophagus in the Chinese Traditional goes my recipe for the Erissery:


    Snake gourd/Padavalanga-100g( cut into small pieces)
    Dal-1 cup
    Red chilli powder-1 tsp
    Turmeric powder 1/4tsp
    Water 3cups
    Salt -as required
    Grated coconut - 1/2coconut
    Cumin seeds -1/4 tsp
    Ghee -1tbsp
    Coconut oil-1/2 tbsp
    Mustard seeds 1/4tsp
    Curry leaves-1 sprig
    Dry Red chilli-2

    Cut the Snakegourd vertically.Remove the fibrous matter inside with a spoon and cut into smaller pieces.Add 3 cups of water to the snakegourd pieces and dal along with chillipowder(some add pepper powder, instead) and turmeric powder and pressure cook till the dal becomes soft(5 minutes).Grind half the grated coconut and cumin seeds together into a medium fine paste and add to the cooked dal.Cook for another 3 minutes.
    Saute the remaining coconut in a low flame till brown in colour.Keep it aside.
    Season mustard seeds,curry leaves, dry red chilli in ghee and coconut oil(optional).Add the seasoning to the cooked dal along with the roasted cococnut shavings. Mix well. Serve hot with steamed rice!

    Unnakaya-A Malabar Speciality

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    I think I'll break the suspense/no be honest I can't wait long to publish my recipe once I have it sitting in the draft...bad obsession?!!This is one of my all time favourite Malabar Snack-Unnakaya which my mom used to make so gorgeously....Yes the name owes to its shape, the shape of 'unnakaya' or the cotton pod....creative, isnt it, whoever has invented the name!We had an unnakaya tree in our garden back home, with the unnakayas hanging like hermits in deep meditation....and their souls at times escaped the pods of their transient existence as light free flowing cotton..... and how I wished they were all the Malabar Unnakayas!!What a scrumptious snack, made of banana....In Malabar area you get this in many of the hotels as a snack...Whenever we passed by the 'Paris hotel' in our place we used to sniff the beautiful aroma of the Unnakaya and would give a longing look at my father...and he would go and get a big parcel of hot unnakayas...My brother and I would be just waiting to reach home to attack the unnakayas,only to be joined by my father! He loved anything sweet!Well many people hesitate to make this Unnakaya at home, for the mess it can create if a little bit careless during the preparation.Just a few tips to avoid the mess: the Kerala banana(Nenthrappazham) that you use should be semi ripe(Karimpazhukka).Too ripe bananas can create a mess.While grinding the modern mixer is very likely to make it more soft,it is better to use a grinding stone, if you have one or even the mortar and pestle will do.Or else while grinding in the mixer,dont add any water and dont overgrind it.If the consistency is not right you can have a real mess with the filling coming out or not being able to mould at all or bananas getting charred. I have had my share of casualties when I tried it for the first time, but has been able to perfect it with time.So much said, here is the recipe:



    Indian Banana/Kerala Banana/Nenthrappazham-4(Half ripe)
    Grated coconut-150g
    Sugar-2Table spoon
    Cashewnuts-25 g(broken)
    Ghee-1 tbsp
    Salt-a very small pinch
    Cardamom powder-1 tsp
    Oil-For deep frying
    Cut Bananas into 3 pieces.Blanch the pieces in boiling water,till the peel starts separating from the fruit.(Pazham Puzhungiyathu)For a detailed post refer LG's
  • PazhamPuzhungiyathu
  • Peel off the skin,run a knife thro' the middle and remove the black seeds in the middle and mash it or grind it to a chappathi dough like consistency without adding any water for you should be able to mould it into the unnkaya shape.Keep it aside.(In case you feel, the consistency is a bit loose, put it in the refrigerator for a while).

    Now prepare the filling.Beat egg lightly, with sugar and a very small pinch of salt,just enough for scrambling.Heat ghee in a wok.Once the ghee is hot, add cashews, raisins,poppy seeds and saute for a couple of minutes till everything turns golden.Add the grated coconut.Saute it for a couple of minutes and finally add the beaten eggs. Scramble it and mix well with the remaining ingredients.Remove from the fire. Let it cool.

    Grease your hands with a little ghee.Make a lemon size ball out of the banana 'dough',flatten it to small discs.Spoon in the egg(2tsp) filling.Close the edges,press lightly and roll it in your hands into the elongated shape of cotton pods(the edges tapering).Now heat oil in a wok.When the oil starts smoking, carefully slip the unnakaya into the oil.Wait for a minute before turning sides.Lower the flame or else the banana will get charred easily.Keep turning the sides till all the sides become uniformly golden.Enjoy the Royal Malabar treat!

    Wednesday, June 21, 2006

    Meme:Ten things I miss of Mom's cooking...


    Blogging...It is all a new world for me .....still a novice ....started just 3 months back... it has now become more of a passion....Unfamiliar with the rules and customs of this cyber community I have been slogging and blogging...LG was commenting that my blog was perhaps not getting the attention it deserved(so kind of her for always leaving a genuine comment)....Perhaps tis due to my own reticence and reluctance to socialise in the blogosphere...Basically quite reserved,flamboyant once the shell broken, and loyal once attached.....I'm a typical Aquarian....I take time to really sink naturally, I am more likely to be ignored....Like every evolving community, the blog community,as I understand, has also evolved lot of forms and formalities,reciprocities...which I need to really get grips with...I shoud mention here that
  • Antony
  • has been really kind enough to include me in his Curry Mela a couple of times,I feel bad that I never really made an attempt to send my entry to him, but he has rather found the time to cull out mine....Sorry Antony...I shall try to ward off my indolence.I think I have a classic reluctance to socialise for the sake of passing comments just for the sake of commenting etc...(I hope I'm not being arrogant...I dont mean to...).for I believe in being genuine...Comment when you feel it.... but.... straight from heart!.....So I have been very slow at building up my links...but gradually I have indeed found some good friends with amazing culinary skills and literary skills....I think I'm slowly sinking in...

    A Meme?...I really did not know the rules of the game when
  • RP
  • tagged me first and then
  • Bindu
  • .Thanx buddies for introducing me to my first Meme.Meme-the more things change the more they stay the same...paradoxical?...that's how life is at times!...Well, I understand that I am supposed to write about ten things that I miss of Mom's cooking....As Bindu rightly pointed out, I am indeed influenced by two mothers-my amma and bellary amma-my mom and m-i-l....two great women,generous at heart and cooks of great brilliance...Well,I have had very less chances of tasting Bellary Amma's cooking in this 10 month old marriage....But whatever little I tasted,was classy,lip smacking!! Missing...?....a lot many things....first of all I miss that generous hand which served those brilliant dishes with a dollop of love and the affection flowing out!I miss you Amma....

    Hmm...I need to stick to the rule of ten,that is a difficult job....for I miss so many...ok.... I'll sort it.... so here goes my top ten list:


    1.Malabar Chicken Biriyani(She was such an expert that whenever there was a get together in our family circles she was summoned for supervision, and she would go as early as 5 in the morning with her big 'Biriyani Chembu'(A big copper bottomed vessel)and Iron Stirrer in the car boot(her darlings!).... and by evening she would be almost swooning but with a big smile at the thumping success of her biriyani!)
    2.Idli & Sambar-How much ever I try I havent been able to reproduce the taste of her Sambar.
    3.Puttu and Chicken curry-It was mindblowing !
    4.Vellayappam and Mutta curry-made for each other!
    5.Kanji and Idi chakka/Chammanthi-I love it...My husband is a big 'anti-kanji element',so I cant have it often...: (
    6.Palada prathaman....oooooooooo...I want it now!!
    7.Chatti pathiri-A Malabar Muslim speciality and

    Bellary Amma's

    8.Cheppa Pulusu(Tangy Fish curry)-I'm drooling here!!
    9 Obattu(Poli)...that's a real treat! and her
    10.Mutton Korma(hmmmm...wah! what a combination with her soft chappathis!)

    Ok...I have to apply a sudden break here...or else I'm very likely to get accelerated by all those dishes tingling my taste buds...So now I pass this Meme to
  • Deepa

  • Syam

  • Daagh

  • Antony

  • Maya

  • Hope they will enjoy!!...So guys, now it is your turn!! Posted by Picasa