Friday, March 30, 2007


Dosa for breakfast today, from yesterday's idli batter.

Chamanthi, gun powder/mulgapodi and yummy dosa


Olan is one of the simplest and tastiest dishes I have ever come across, just green chillies and coconut oil to flavor the whole dish. My mom would make it using coconut milk, but I like it just plain and without the richness of the coconut milk. When I use to cut the pumpkin for my mom she would always remind me to cut them into flat squares and not cubes. She had all these rules about how each vegetable should be cut for each dish, and these rules I think are followed by most Keralites. Because when I got married my husband and his family had the same vegetable cutting rules. I usually serve this with something sour like rasam or tomato dal , just to offset the blandness and balance the meal. Indian meals are all about balancing different flavors.

1 cup white pumpkin

1/2 cup yellow pumpkin

3 green chilies

1 sprig curry leaves

1 tbsp coconut oil

salt to taste

Slice the pumpkins into flat squares(not cubes) about one inch in size.

Cook the beans in a pressure cooker for one whistle.

Cook the pumpkin and beans in 1 cup water, with salt and green chillies till tender.

Once cooked take off heat, add curry leaves and coconut oil.

Serve as a side-dish with a sour based curry(tomato dal, sambar, rasam etc) and rice.

Tomato dal mixed with rice and Olan

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Kuruku Kalan

From the top Vazhaka mezhuvaratti(Raw plantain fry), Muringa ela kootan(Drumstickleaves curry), Kuruku kalan, and Rice

I had a lot of sour curds in the fridge, and what else can a Mallu make with sour curds but kuruku kalan. I could also make moru curry or puliserry,but I was feeling nostalgic, and kuruku kalan would be the perfect remedy for my homesickness. In this recipe the curds are cooked and evaporated till it reduces to almost half and can be stored in the refrigerator for a long time. I usually make it with 2 cups of curd, so I have enough evaporated curd to make kalan twice. I learned to make this dish from my mother-in-law, who is from Puthcode. This curry is very different from Moru kootan where raw curds are added to the dish and then cooke. Whereas in kuruku kalan the curd is cooked and exaporated first and then added to the dish and cooked again. This is the traditional way it is made for sadyas, weddings or festivals.

To make the kuruku or evaporated curds
2 cups sour curds
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp black pepper powder
1/4 tsp salt

Kuruku or evaporated curds

Cook this down to 1 cup on medium heat, keep stirring ocassionally. It will look like yellow cottage cheese. Store this in the fridge till you are ready to make the kalan. you could make more kuruku just increase the quantity of sour curds. I sometimes microwave the whole thing it take about 15 minutes. Keep cooking it at 5 minute increments till it reduces to half.

To make the kalan:
1/2 cup of the kuruku from the above recipe
1/4 cup white pumpkin
1/4 cup chena/yam
1/4 cup raw plantain
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp mehti powder
salt to taste

Grind to a paste
1 cup coconut
6 green chillies if using jalapenos use 1 or 2
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 cup water

1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp mehti seeds
1 red chilli
4 curry leaves

Cut the vegetables into one inch cubes.
Cook with a cup of water and salt and turmeric.
Grind the ingredients for the paste.
Add to the cooked vegetables.
Add the kuruku or evaporated curd to this mixture.
Once it boils and thickens, add mehti powder.
Remove from heat and keep aside.
To season heat oil add mustard seeds, once they splutter add red chilli mehti seeds, and stir.
Add curry leaves, pour over kalan.
Serve as a side dish with rice and muringa ela kootan or any dal based curry.

Idli and Thenga Chamanthi

Idli and chamanthi reminds me of the lazy summer mornings in Kerala eating b'fast on small banana leaves. In those days I could devour ten of these and not worry about where it was going to show. Anyway today's b'fast was idli and thenga chamanthi(coconut chutney). I'm enjoying my spring break and cooking up a frenzy of long forgotten dishes. My idli recipe is simple, and I use just regular Sona masuri rice to make the idlis. I use the same batter to make dosas or uthappams the next day. It's usually idlis the first day, then dosas the next day, and if any batter is left uthappams. I soak the rice and dal on Friday morning and grind it in the evening in my Oster blender. Leave it in the oven to ferment overnight with the pilot light on, and the batter is ready on Saturday morning for idlis.


3 cups sona masuri rice

1 cup udad dal

1/2 cup cooked rice

2 tsp salt

Wash and soak separately for atleast six hours. Grind udad dal with water till very smooth.

Grind rice with water and cooked rice till smooth.

Mix both batters well add salt and leave to ferment in the oven with the light on.

When the batter rises usually takes about 8 hours or more depending on where you live, pour into idli mould and steam idlis for 10 minutes after the steam starts coming.

Serve with chamanthi.


1 cup fresh grated coconut

3 red chillies

1/4 tsp tamarind paste

salt to taste


1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1 red chilli

3 curry leaves

1 shallot(cheri ulli/ sambar onion) finely minced

Roast the red chillies till crisp.

Grind the coconut, red chillies, tamarind paste, and salt till smooth adding a little water.

Heat oil for seasoning, add mustard seeds, add red chillies, once they splutter add curry leaves and shallots.

Fry till the shallots are brown add the coconut mixture, let it warm through on medium heat.

Serve with idlis.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Easter Bunny is here!!!

Isn't this bunny cute, found him in my backyard, looking for food. We fed him carrots. By the end of the week he would come and eat the carrot out of our hands. Good timing I thought with Easter around the corner.

Bhindi Fry

This is one of my favorite dishes, from my childhood. It is such a simple dish and so easy to make. Another reason I like it is because it does not have a lot of masalas in it. Enjoy!!

1 cup chopped into slice tender bhindi/okra/lady's finger

1/2 medium onion chopped

3 green chilles minced

1 garlic clove minced

3 curry leaves

1 tbsp oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

a pinch hing

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp pepper pwd

Heat oil, add mustard seeds, once they splutter add hing, turmeric, and pepper pwd.

Add onions, green chillies, garlic, and curry leaves.

Saute till translucent, add bhindi, stir well.

Cook till on low heat till tender, add salt, and remove from heat after another five minutes.

Serve with rotis or rice.

Puthcode Pulinkari

My husband is from Puthcode, and he always talks about this Pulinkari. I decided to try and make it, but he still seemed to think that it didn't taste the same. Oh well!!! I was just trying to please him.

1/4 cup Red Pumpkin
1/4 cup White Pumpkin
1/4 cup Raw Plantain
1/4 cup Suran/Chena/Yam
1/2 tsp turmeric pwd
1 tsps tamarind paste
1 tsp jaggery
salt to taste

Grind to a fine powder:
Red Chillies 4

Rice 1 tbsp
Udad Dal 1 tsp
Mehti seeds 1/2 tsp

Coconut Oil 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds 1 tsp
Red Chilli 1
Curry Leaves 4

Roast each item till well browned and grind into a fine powder.
Cut vegetables into cubes about an inch in size and boil in 1 cup of water with salt and turmeric.
Add tamarind paste, hing and jaggery, boil for a few minutes.
Add the ground powder,and stir well, so no lumps are formed.
Add 2 cups water and let it cook till it looks like a nice gravy.
Remove from heat.
For the seasoning, heat oil add mustard seeds and the red chilli, once it splutters add the curry leaves.
Pour over pulinkari and serve with rice and olan.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Spicy Potato Podimas

Traditionally this dish is made with green chillies and ginger, but I like it with the red chilli powder especially served with rasam and rice. The chutney powder gives it an additional kick.

4 boiled and mashed potatoes
a pinch hing
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp chutney powder/mulgapodi (normally used to eat with dosas)
salt to taste

2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp udad dal
a few curry leaves

Heat oil add seasoning ingredients in the order given.
Add hing, turmeric powder, and chilli powder, immediately add the mashed potatoes and salt.
Stir well to combine. Cook for 10 minutes on low heat, add chutney powder, stir again and remove from heat after five minutes.
Serve with rice, roti or bread.