Saturday, August 12, 2006

Onam ---- Festival Of Kerala -Koottucurry


In this curry, a miscellaneous variety of vegetables and some Bengal gram are used. The difference between this and 'Aviyal' is that no tamarind is added.

Ingredients :

  • Bengal gram
    dal - 1/2cup

  • Pumpkin, snake gourd,
    Long runner beans, yam,
    Cucumber - 1/4kg (all together)

  • Inner flesh of
    drum stick - 1/2cup

  • Grated coconut - 1/2cup

  • Turmeric powder - 1/4tsp

  • Green chillies - 3 (split into 2)

  • Salt to taste

  • Coconut oil - 1/4cup

  • Mustard - 1tsp

  • White gram dal - 2dsp

  • Dried red chillies - 3 (each sliced into 3)

  • Curry leaves - 2sprigs

  • Ghee - 1dsp

  • Grated coconut - 1/4cup

Method of Preparation :

Cook the bengal gram dal with salt and water to a thick gravy. Clean and cut the vegetables into small pieces. Par boil the vegetables by steaming. Grind 1/2cup grated coconut and mix it with turmeric powder and green chillies.

Heat oil and season mustard, white gram dal, dried red chillies and curry leaves. Add the ground coconut mixture. Saute for sometime, till the water dries. Add the cooked vegetables, salt and bengal gram dal. Saute well.

Heat 1dsp ghee and fry the 1/4cup grated coconut in it till golden brown. Add this to the koottucurry and mix well.

Onam ---- Festival Of Kerala -Banana fry

Sarkarapuratty (Fried Bananas Chips in Molasses)

Ingredients :

  • Semi ripe Banana - 1
  • Coconut oil - 100gms
  • Molasses or Jaggery - 75gms
  • Dried ginger powder - 5gms
  • Ghee - 1tsp
  • Water - 1/4glass

Method of Preparation :

Peel the bananas and split it into two pieces. Cut it into 1/4" thick pieces. Fry it in warm coconut oil.

Heat the molasses in 1/4glass of water. Remove from fire when it becomes thick. Add dried ginger powder and fried banana pieces in this molasses solution. Keep stirring till the banana pieces separates.

Kaya Varuthathu (Banana Fry)

Ingredients :

  • Semi ripe banana - 1
  • Coconut oil - 150gm
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4tsp
  • Salt - to taste

Method :

Peel banana and slice into thin round pieces or split bananas into 4 thin pieces and slice. Heat oil and fry the banana pieces. When it is 3/4 done, add turmeric powder and salt mixed in 1tsp water. Fry well.

Onam ---- Festival Of Kerala - special payasam


There are several varieties of 'payasams'. One is in which rice, wheat or vermicelli is boiled with milk and sweetened with sugar. It goes by the name of 'pal payasam'. Another, is made of boiled rice or dal or wheat, to which is added jaggery and coconut milk. Both are flavoured with spices.

Pal Payasam

Ingredients :

  • Milk - 3litres

  • Dried red rice - 180gm

  • Sugar - 700gm

Method of Preparation :

Boil the milk. Add sugar and mix well. When it boils again, add the washed rice in it. Simmer in medium flame. Cook till the rice is done. Serve hot.

Semiya Payasam

Ingredients :

  • Vermicelli - 1 cup
  • Cashew nuts - handful
  • Raisins - handful
  • Water - 3/4cup
  • Sugar - a cup
  • Saffron - a pinch
  • Milk - a cup
  • cardamon - two or three pods

Method of preparation :

Heat the ghee and fry the vermicelli till light brown. In the meanwhile, boil the water. Add the vermicelli to the boiling water and cover it. Keep stirring occasionally. Once the vermicelli becomes soft , add the sugar and continue to stir. Put the saffron in the milk and dissolve it, add this milk to the vermicelli. Powder the cardamom and add it to the mixture. Then fry the cashewnuts and almonds in ghee and add these. Mix well and boil for about two minutes. Your payasam is ready and can be served hot or cold.

Wheat Payasam


  • Broken Wheat - 250g

  • Coconut - 2

  • Jaggery - 500g

  • Raisins -10g

  • Cashew Nuts -10g

  • Ghee -3tbs

  • Cardamom -5g

  • Dry ginger powder-10g

  • Cumin Powder-10g

Method of Preparation:

Grate the coconut. Add1/2 glass warm water to the grated coconut. Extract the first milk. Extract the second milk by adding 1 1/2 glass warm water. Again repeat the process to extract the third milk.

Fry broken wheat lightly in one teaspoon ghee. Cook the wheat well in 1 1/2 liters of water.

When it is done add the third milk and the second milk to the wheat and bring to a boil. when it thickens to a semi solid consistency, add powdered jaggery. Add the first milk, fried nut, raisins, powdered Cardamom, ginger and cumin. Mix well and remove from fire immediately. Serve hot.

Parippu Payasam


  • Parippu (Green gram dal) - 250gm

  • Sarkara (Jaggery) - 250gm

  • Coconut milk - From 2 coconuts

  • Ghee - 2 tbs

  • Cashew nuts, Raisins - As required for seasoning

Method of preparation :

Fry dal till light brown. Clean and boil the fried dal well.
Heat jaggery with some water and make a thick solution. Take milk from the coconut thrice. Keep the thick milk taken 1st, aside. Add the 2nd and 3rd milk and the jaggery solution to the boiled dal. Simmer on medium flame till thick. Fry the cashewnuts and Raisins in ghee. Add these and the 1st milk to the payasam . Mix well and remove from fire.

Pal Ada


Ada - 250 gm
Milk - 2 Litres
Water - 3 cups
Sugar - 1 cup
Condensed Milk - 1 tin
Butter - 150 gm


Boil 5 cups of water. When it boils add the Ada to it and boil it.

Drain this and wash the ada in cold water.

In another pan add 3 cups of water to 2 liter of Milk. Boil this on a medium flame. When all the water evaporates and it reduces to 2 liters add the Ada and Sugar.Keep stirring and when it turns slightly golden color add the condensed Milk and boil. Next, add Butter.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Onam ---- Festival Of Kerala

Onam is one of the biggest and most important festivals of Kerala. Festivities of Onam continue for ten long days. Of all these days the most important ones are the first day, Atham and the tenth day, Thiry Onam.

All the religious and traditional people of Kerala sincerely follow the customs and traditions set by their ancestors. People wear new clothes on this day and indulge themselves in dances and sports. The children and the youth join in the entertainment of the season and set about collecting flowers early in the morning to decorate the yards of their houses for the next ten days until the festival ends. The major highlight of this festival is “pookalam” the flower carpet and there are specifications of the type of flowers to be used on each day of the festival. But in today's times the artistic and skilful decorations of the traditional “pookalam” has been lost in darkness.

On the day of Utradam, ninth day since the beginning of the festival, houses are well cleaned and decorated and gala feasts are also arranged. Then the images of deities made up of sticky clay painted red are placed there. They are known as “Trikkakara Appan”. These images are adorned with the lines tastefully drawn from the rice flour mixed with water and then they are worshipped.

The next day, that is the tenth day and the main day of Onam, new clothes are given as presents followed by a grand feast. On the ninth day, tenants of the family, dependents and hangers on present the food of their hard work, such as vegetables and coconut oil to “Karanavar”, the eldest member of the Tarawad in a ritual called “Onakazhcha”. In return they are treated with an extravagant feast on the main day of Onam.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Prawn Coconut Soup Recipe


Shrimps(chopped) - 250 gm
Yam(Chena) - 100 gm
White Pumpkin - 100 gm
Beans - 50 gm
Peas - 50 gm
Yellow Cucumber - 100 gm
Drum Stick(Muringakkai) - 100 gm
Coconuts - 2 nos
Corn Flour - 5 gm
Turmeric powder - 2 gm
Peppercorns - 5 gm
Cumin seeds(Jeerakam) - 1 tsp
Ginger - 2" piece
Green chillies - 6 nos
Oil - 25 ml
Water - 100 ml
Salt - As reqd

Preparation Method

1)Wash, clean and cut the vegetables.

2)Boil them till soft but not mashy.

3)Chop shrimps.

4)Take out milk from coconuts with 100ml of water. Take out 2 extracts with 600ml of water and 400ml of water respectively.

5)Grind together peppercorns, green chillies, cumin and turmeric to a fine paste.

6)Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan.

7)Add ground masala and fry for a minute.

8)Add second extract and simmer for 15 minutes.

9)Mix corn flour with a little water and add to the gravy.

Chemmeen Curry Recipe


Shrimps(Chemmeen) - 1/2 kg Raw mango - 1 no (cut into pieces) Tomato - 100 gm Grated coconut - 1/2 cup Pearl onions(Kunjulli) - 2 nos Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp Chilly powder - 1/2 tsp For seasoning: Coconut oil - 1 tsp Curry leaves - A few Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Preparation Method

1)Heat up a vessel or a pan. 2)Add shrimps, mango pieces, tomato, turmeric powder, chilly powder, 1/4 cup of water and salt to taste. 3)Allow it to boil. :- Do not boil for more than 15 mins b`coz if overcooked, the shrimps will become hard. 4)Grind together grated coconut and pearl onions. 5)Add the ground coconut into the pan or the vessel. 6)When it starts boiling, switch off the flame. 7)Heat coconut oil in a pan or a kadai. 8)Splutter mustard seeds and curry leaves. 9)Pour the above seasoning into the curry and mix well.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Persian Rice Cookies

Persian Rice Cookies

Here's the latest recipe I tried for the first time. Persian Rice Cookies. Again & again I am astonished & happy to discover the similarities between Indian & other cuisines. This one for example tastes & looks very much like the Indian Milk Pedha. If you compare the 2 recipes, you'll see they are very similar.

This is one of the sweet spots of food blogging for me : broadening my horizons and at times discovering that we have been looking at the same view from different angles.

Persian Rice Cookies
Adapted from Source


for Rose Syrup :
3/4 sugar, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 tsp lemon juice, 1/8 cup rose water

1.5 cups rice flour, plus more if required
1/2 cup melted ghee (melted clarified butter)
2 egg yolks+2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp cardamon powder
a handful of finely chopped pistas, plus more for garnish


Syrup : In a saucepan, bring the sugar & water to a boil on med-low heat & simmer for 2 min. Remove from heat, stir in rose water & lemon juice. Cool to room temp. The syrup should not be too thick.

In a bowl, beat the yolks & 2 tsp sugar, add the ghee, cardamon powder & beat well. Stir in 1.5 cups rice flour & handful of finely chopped pistas. Add enough syrup to be able to form a dough (knead with hands) which doesnt stick to your hands. For that add more flour or more syrup, as required.

Make walnut sized balls of the dough, lightly flatten, place 1 inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 min in a 350 degrees pre-heated oven. At the end of the baking time, the cookies should start to crack on top & turn white, which means they are done. Mine did crack but stayed a pretty yellow (as you can see from the photo). I took the photo after they were reasonably cool & still yellow . Now completely cooled, they are light yellow.

Dont handle the cookies until they cool for a bit. Then, sprinkle very finely chopped pistas over the top & lightly tap in place. Store in an air tight container only when completely cool.


Delicate, elegant, yummy. If you like Pedha you'll definitely like this. Compared to the Pedha, these are less sweet & not really fudge-like. Thats probably because of the rice flour while Pedha uses milk powder, which is inherently sweeter & creamier.

Oooh...and the rose syrup is simply seriously divine ! I didnt require all of it, so dreaming of ways to savor the remaining.

Pedha is something Indians usually buy from sweet shops. But after this, I am confident of making it at home. And will definitely do so during Diwali and Ganapati festival. Would love to make the Persian cookies, but they have eggs, which wont do for Hindu festivals. Hmm...I guess I will make them for Christmas instead :).

Quick Chicken Kurma

Posting after a long time. I just wrote my midterms and got my driving license too ! Midterms were ok. Waiting for the has been almost 5 years since I wrote any exam and I was really nervous. Let's see how I did !

Meanwhile, here is something quick for a weekday meal. The star of this dish is store bought Laziza brand Chicken Kurma paste. The Kurma paste has been a good find. Really a blessing when I am too tired to cook or use my brain ! I also always keep fried onions at hand which I have used in this dish.

Quick Chicken & Mushroom Kurma

About 1 pound chicken pieces
1/2 cup store bought fried onions
1 small packet button mushrooms (can substitute diced potatoes)
a handful chopped coriander leaves
2-3 rounded tbsp readymade Kurma paste ('Laziza' brand)
2 tbsp oil, salt to taste, red chilli powder - if required

Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel & chop into quarters. Clean the chicken & pat dry. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a flat non-stick pan. Add the Kurma paste. Saute on medium heat, stirring constantly for about 5 min. Add the chicken pieces & mix to coat well. Add 1 cup water and the onions, mix well, cover & cook on medium heat till almost done.

Add mushrooms, some red chilli powder if desired and salt to taste. Mix well. The Kurma paste already contains salt, you will need to add only a little for the mushrooms. Adjust as per your taste. Continue cooking till chicken is fully cooked, by which time the mushrooms will be just done and not overcooked. Mix in the chopped coriander. Serve immediately.

We ate this with plain rice & it was very good. It will go very well with Naan & Raita too.


Mix a handful of finely chopped onion, tomato & coriander leaves into 3/4 cup natural yogurt. Add a pinch of sugar, salt to taste and some water to get the consistency you want. Serve cold.

Chocolate Rum Cookies

Celebrating with Cookies

Grades are out and I got an A. Yay. To celebrate, I baked these cookies.

Chocolate Rum Cookies

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup nuts & dried fruits (or as much as you want)
1/2 tbsp corn flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
Jamaican dark rum

Procedure :

Finely chop or coarsely ground (pulse 3-4 times in the mixer) the nuts & dried fruits and soak in Jamaican dark rum for minimun 1 day, maximum for couple of months. Store in the fridge in a air tight container. In a big bowl, beat an egg. Add all the remaining ingredients to it, plus a couple tsp of the rum in which the nuts were soaking, then slowly mix in the melted butter at the end. Mix together thoroughly with a rubber spatula, so that no flour streaks are seen and you get a glossy dough.

Make walnut sized balls, flatten and place 1" apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for about 12 min at 425 F, in upper 1/3rd of the oven. Cool & store. Makes 12 good sized cookies.

Verdict :

Easy to put together and good to eat. Cakey texture, not too sweet. Distinct rum flavor (that goes nicely with chocolate...), especially when you bite into the bits of dry fruits plumped up with the rum ;). Check the batter as you are forming the dough and add more brown sugar, if you want it sweeter.

Variation :

If children are going to eat these, skip the rum. Instead add 1 tsp vanilla

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Wheat Berry-Watercress Quiche

Wheat Berry-Watercress Quiche

Wheat Berry-Watercress Quiche


  • 1 9-inch unbaked pastry shell
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped watercress leaves
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2/3 cup cooked wheat berries*
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese (6 ounces)


1. Line the bottom of pastry shell with a double thickness of foil. Bake in a 450 degree F. oven for 8 minutes. Remove foil; bake 4 to 5 minutes more or until set and dry. Set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. In a bowl stir together eggs, egg whites, milk, mustard, watercress leaves, green onion, salt, and pepper.

2. Sprinkle cooked wheat berries in the bottom of pastry shell. Top with shredded Swiss cheese. Slowly pour egg mixture over wheat berry mixture. Bake in a 325 degree F. oven about 50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. If necessary, cover edge of crust with foil to prevent overbrowning. Let stand for 10 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

*To cook wheat berries, in a small saucepan bring 1 cup water and 1/3 cup uncooked wheat berries to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Drain well on paper towels.

Make-Ahead Tip:Cook wheat berries up to 48 hours ahead; cover and chill until needed.

Spanish-Style Chicke

Spanish-Style Chicken


  • 1 3- to 3-1/2-pound broiler-fryer chicken, cut-up
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 28-ounce can whole Italian-style tomatoes, cut up
  • 4 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (4 cups)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup halved pitted ripe olives
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons capers (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons snipped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch


1. Remove skin from chicken. In a large plastic bag combine flour, salt, and ground red pepper. Add chicken, a few pieces at a time; shake to coat. In a 4-quart Dutch oven heat oil. Cook chicken in hot oil over medium heat about 10 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned, turning to brown evenly.

2. Add undrained tomatoes, potatoes, onion, olives, wine, capers (if using), dried basil and dried oregano (if using), and garlic to Dutch oven. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 35 to 45 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink. Remove chicken to a serving dish; cover and keep warm.

3. In a small bowl combine the water and cornstarch; add to potato mixture in Dutch oven. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Stir in fresh basil and oregano (if using). Pour thickened mixture over chicken in dish. If desired, garnish with a sprig of fresh basil or oregano. Makes 6 servings.