Sunday, January 31, 2010

Oma Podi or Kara Seva

This time the recipe comes from my hubby dear! No, he does not cook very much. There is a handful that he makes and comes out excellent. This is one of the new additions to his list. I would call it a combination of Oma Podi and Kara Seva, coz it looks like Oma podi - but does not have Omam/Ajwain and hence the ingredients match more that of Kara Seva. Anyways it came out great that a tin of this snack vanished in a single day!

Rice Flour- 1/2 cup
Besan (Gram Flour)- 1 cup
Ginger Garlic Paste- 1 tbsp
Asafoetida- 2 pinch
Chilly Powder- 1/2 tbsp
Salt- to taste
Water- 3/4 cup
Oil- as needed for deep frying

1. Mix all ingredients together except Oil to make a smooth/soft dough.
2. When adding water make sure it is thick and soft enough to be pressed using an Idiyappam maker (Noodle maker).
3. Heat enough Oil in a pan to deep fry the snack.
4. Fill dough into the Idiyappam maker and press the sev into the hot oil.
5. Make sure to place the sev in oil with enough gap, so that they don't stick together.
6. When almost done, turn them over to fry both sides equally.
7. Take the sev off the oil and put them into a tissue paper to drain off any excess oil.

Once cooled, you could store them in containers (if you can resist the temptation). It is an excellent tea time snack!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Prawn Biryani

I was talking to my sister over the phone last weekend and she was trying to make my mom furious by saying that I have more mention about my MIL in my blog than her. She was specifically referring to my mom's biryani recipe and was asking why I didn't post that yet. All this in front of my mom. My sis was having a good laugh and enjoying the whole scene. I don't think she was able to agitate Mamma (at least I hope so :-) ). Anyways this conversation forced me to make the Biryani following my mom's recipe.  Her recipe is that of a "Pakaa" Biryani. "Pakaa" meaning cooked. So Rice and Chicken are prepared separate and then layered. The other version of Biryani is "Kacha" biryani. "Kacha" meaning uncooked where all the ingredients are cooked together. 

For Rice:

Rice                       - 2 1/2 cups
Oil                          - 2 tbsp
Onion                     - 1/2
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 tbsp
Salt                        - to taste
Water                    - 5 cups
Ghee                     - 2 tbsp

1. Soak the rice in water for 30 minutes. Basmati rice is commonly used. I used Jeera rice this time for a change.
2. Heat oil in a pan and saute the sliced onions until they turn transparent.
3. Add ginger garlic paste and saute until the raw smell is gone.
4. Add water and enough salt and let it boil.
5. Add soaked and drained rice to the boiling water.
6. Also add the ghee and let the rice cook.

For Prawn Masala:

Oil                          - 21/2 tbsp
Prawn                     - 1 1/2 lb 
Yogurt                   - 3/4 cup
Onion                     - 1 1/2
Ginger Garlic Paste - 2 1/2 tbsp
Green Chilly            - 3
Small Onions           - 10
Turmeric powder      - 1/4 tsp
Chilly powder           - 1 1/2 tbsp
Garam Masala          - 1 tbsp
Salt                         - to taste
Water                      - 3/4 cup

1. Mix the prawns and yogurt with enough salt and keep aside for at least 30 minutes.
2. Heat oil in a pan and saute the sliced onions until they turn transparent.
3. Add ginger garlic paste and saute until the raw smell is gone.
4. Add the slit green chilly and smashed small onions to this and saute for a minute.
5. Add turmeric, chilly powder and garam masala to this and saute for another minute.
6. To this add the prawns, salt and water and let is cook.
7. Once the gravy starts becoming thick, turn off the stove.

To Garnish:

Ghee                        - 1/2 tbsp
Raisins                     - a handful
Cashews                   - a handful


1. Make alternate layers of the rice and prawn masala in an oven proof pan.
2. Close it with an aluminium foil and bake in a 300 Degree pre-heated oven for 15 minutes.
3. In a pan, heat ghee and saute the raisins and cashews until raisins becomes plump.
4. Garnish the biryani with the raisins and cashews.

This is a simple and quick recipe for delicious biryani. You could replace the prawns with chicken and make chicken biryani as well.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Chicken Stew

Chicken Stew is that special dish that goes well with Appam. All South Indian stews are cooked in coconut milk. So being a South Indian when I hear the word stew the first thing that stands out in my mind is coconut milk and its special rich flavor. It is also referred to as "Ishtu" in some regions of Kerala. The Stew could be made with Vegetables as well as with Chicken, Mutton or Beef. The one I have here is with Chicken.

Oil                        - 2 tbsp
Cinnamon              - 2 - 1 inch pieces   
Cloves                   - 7-8
Onion                    - 1 1/2  
Chicken                 - 1 1/2 lb
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 1/2 tbsp
Tomato                  - 1
Green Chilly            - 3
Turmeric Powder     - 1/2 tsp
Coconut Milk           - 1 cup thin & 1/2 cup thick
Curry Leaves           - 1 twig
Salt                         - to taste
Water                     - 1/2 cup

1. Heat oil in a pan (I used Coconut oil to give it a complete traditional taste).
2. Add the Cinnamon and Cloves and saute for a few seconds; then add the thinly sliced Onions.
3. Saute the onions until they turn translucent.
4. Add Ginger Garlic paste and saute until the raw smell is gone
5. Add the slit green chillies and chopped tomatoes and saute for a minute.
6. Now add turmeric and salt to this and saute well.
7. Add Chicken and curry leaves and mix well.
8. Add water and thin coconut milk and let the chicken cook.
9. When the chicken is 3/4 done, add the thick coconut milk and cook it till the chicken is done.

This also goes well with Rice. Potato is a common ingredient in most stews as well. The version I have here, as you can see, is without potatoes. I somehow do not like the idea of adding potatoes to a non-vegetarian dish. Again it's just me; you could add those as well.

Now let me tell you about how excited I was this week - I got two awards and those too my first ones. Thanks Aparna ( and Sarah ( for sharing theses awards with me. It is really inspiring and encouraging for a fresher like me!

Now rules for accepting the "Kreativ Blogger" Award from Aparna:

Rules for Accepting this Award

1) Thank the person giving the award
2) Copy the award to your blog
3) Place a link to their blog
4) Name 7 things people don't know about you
5) Nominate 7 bloggers
6) Place a link to those bloggers
7) Leave a comment letting those bloggers know about the award

7 things about me that you may not know :-)

1. I could spend hours in front of the TV doing nothing.
2. I love to listen to music, especially when I cook.
3. I believe in God and believe all that happens is for good.
4. I work at the IT department of a retail company and love my job.
5. I get things done sooner under pressure.
6. I miss my family back home in India.
7. I love sleeping.

Here is the award from Sarah:

I would like to share both these awards with the following friends:

1. Tina -
2. Maria -
5. Sushma  -
6. Ria -
7. Priya -

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mutta Surka

Mutta Surka is a tea time snack. I do not have any clue about the origin of this snack, whether it is a Kerala dish or a Tamil Nadu one. It is something that my mom and mil makes. It could be made as a sweet or spicy snack. I love the spicy one more and the version I have here is my mom's and it is the spicy one.

Mutta Surka

Rice Flour      - 1 cup (Roasted)
Coconut         - 1/2 cup (Grated)
Ginger            - 1 tbsp heaped (Crushed coarsely)
Green Chilly    - 3 (Crushed coarsely)
Small Onions   - 6 to 7 (Crushed coarsely)
Egg                 - 1
Curry Leaves   - 1 twig
Salt                 - to taste
Water             - 1 cup
Oil                  - as needed to fry 

1. Take rice flour in a bowl.
2. Add Coconut, Crushed Ginger, Green Chilly, Small Onions, chopped Curry Leaves, Egg, Salt and water to the rice flour and make a thick batter.
3. Heat Oil in a Unniappam Chatti (Karol Scoops).

Unniappa Chatti

4. Drop a spoonful of batter into each of the scoops. Fry until slightly golden brown.

Mutta Surka

Enjoy Mutta Surka with your evening tea! The quantity mentioned here would make around 20 mutta surkas. You could make the sweet version by adding sugar instead of ginger and green chilly.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Varutharacha Meen Curry

This Fish Curry is from Trivandrum side, as I understand. Each region in Kerala has a different style of preparation for Fish Curry. The variation of the fish curry comes from the way coconut is used in the curry or the kind of ingredient used for sourness - Tamarind (Vaalan Puli) or Kokum (Kudam Puli). This preparation uses tamarind and dry fried coconut.

Varutharacha Meen Curry-Fish Curry

Coconut                - 1 1/2 cup (Grated)
Small Onions         - 6
Turmeric Powder   - 1/4 tsp
Chilly Powder         - 2 tsp
Coriander Powder  - 2 tsp
Fenugreek Powder - 1/4 tsp
Curry Leaves         - 2 twigs  
Fish                      - 1/2 lb
Drumstick             - 6 to 7 2" pieces  
Tamarind              - a small lemon size ball
Water                   - 2 cups
Salt                       - to taste

1. Fry the Grated Coconut with a twig of curry leaves until completely dry. This should not be brown yet.
2. Add Small onions and fry for a few minutes.
3. Add all the powders (Turmeric, Chilly, Coriander & Fenugreek) and fry till the raw smell goes. At this point the mix should be brown in color.

Varutharacha Meen Curry-Fish Curry

4. Once the mix is cooled, grind it with 1/4 - 1/2 cup water in a mixer to a fine paste.
5. Pour this into a vessel.
6. Extract the tamarind juice in 1/2 cup water and add this to the vessel.
7. Turn on the stove and also add drumsticks (slit side wise), salt  and remaining water.
8. Once the curry starts to boil, add the fish and let it cook for 5 minutes.
9. Add remaining Curry leaves and turn off the stove.

Varutharacha Meen Curry-Fish Curry

Your fish curry is ready. Making this in a clay vessel (Manchatti as shown in picture) enhances the taste. This goes well with Rice, Kappa and Chappathi.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Vellayappam / Paalappam

Vellayappam is a specialty of South India. It is pancakes made from fermented rice flour and is one of the main breakfast dishes of the region. The bowl-shape of these appams with the thick-soft center and crisp lace-like sides makes it a feast to the eye; not to mention about the taste buds. The best combination for appam is Stew - be it Mutton, Chicken or Vegetable.

Uncooked Rice      - 2 cup
Cooked Rice          - 1/2 cup
Coconut                - 1/2 cup
Yeast                    - 2 tsp
Luke Warm Water - 1/4 cup
Water                   - 1 1/2 cup
Sugar                    - 3 1/2 tbsp
Salt                       - 1/4 tsp
Oil                         - as needed

1. Soak the rice in water for a minimum of 4 hours. I used Sona Masoori rice. Any raw rice (Pachari) can be used)
2. Once soaked, grind the rice into a very fine paste using 1/2 cup of water. Transfer this to a bowl.
3. Grind the Cooked rice with 1/4 cup of water into a fine paste and transfer along with the rice batter.
4. Grind the coconut with 1/4 cup of water coarsely and add to the bowl.
5. In the luke warm water add yeast and let it dissolve well.
6. Add this yeast, remaining water, salt and sugar to the batter and mix well.
7. Keep the batter in the oven with the lights turned on. This is for places with cold climate; otherwise you could leave it outside.

The batter would be ready, if kept in an oven, in 1 hour. It would ferment and rise. Now adjust the sugar and salt if needed. You need to use the Appa-Chatti to make appam and follow the below steps.

1. Heat the appa-chatti and smear a little oil.
2. Pour a spoonful of batter and swirl the pan - this leaves the center thick and the sides thinner.
3. Now close the pan and leave it to cook for a minute or two.

Take off the appam from the pan when cooked and serve with stew. This measurement would make around 20 appams.

Note:- 1 cup = 250ml

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Shahi Murgh

Royal Chicken cooked in yogurt... doesn't that sound great? That was the description given by Madhur Jaffrey for Shahi Murgh in her book Quick & Easy Indian Cooking. This recipe is a slightly altered version of Shahi Murgh from Madhur Jaffrey's book. I love reading cook books and watching cookery shows. So I borrow a lot of cookbooks from the local library and this book is one of them. And not to mention, this particular recipe is a real quick one.

Oil                           - 3 tbsp
Cardamom                - 4
Cloves                      - 4
Cinnamon                 - 1" piece
Bay Leaves               - 2 small leaves
Salt                          - to taste
Black Pepper powder  - 1 tsp
Chicken                     - 1 lb
Yogurt                       - 1 cup
Chilly Powder             - 2 tsp
Coriander Powder      - 1 tsp
Cumin Powder           - 1 tsp
Coriander Leaves      - few twigs
Raisins                      - 1 tbsp
Almonds                   - 5-6 (blanched)
Ghee                        - 1/2 tsp

1. Marinate Chicken with 1/2 tsp of pepper powder and salt to taste.
2. Heat oil in a pan and add Cinnamon, Cloves, Cardamom and Bay Leaves.
3. When smell of the spices starts coming, add the marinated chicken and let it cook.
4. In another bowl, mix yogurt, chilly powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, 1/2 tsp pepper powder and coriander leaves. Blend this into a smooth mixture.
5. When the chicken is almost cooked (should start to become light brown), reduce the flame to low and add the seasoned yogurt mixture and keep stirring.
6. Yogurt will start to loosen up. Increase the heat to medium at this point.
7. Continue cooking until the gravy thickens and starts clinging to the chicken. Turn off the heat at this point.
8. In a small pan, heat the ghee and add raisins and almonds and fry until the raisins are plump and almonds become slight brown.
9. Add this to the chicken to garnish. You could also sprinkle some chopped coriander leaves on top.

You could omit the raisins if you do not like those on a spicy dish. But I would say it gives a twist to the curry. This goes well with Rice and Roti. You could also make this with prawns. I make it with the cooked prawns which kind of help make the curry in a jiffy.

Punjabi Lassi

Origin of Lassi goes back to Punjab. The main ingredient in Lassi is yogurt. Different lassis are made by combining yogurt with different spices or fruits - Salted Lassi, Sweet Lassi, Mango Lassi, Makhaniya Lassi and what not. It is an excellent drink for summer. There is nothing better than having a big glass of lassi during a hot summer day. The recipe I have here is one for a sweet lassi.

Yogurt - 1 cup
Water  - 3/4 cup
Salt      - 1/4 tsp
Sugar   - 2 1/2 tbsp

Blend all the ingredients together in a mixer and your drink is ready. Now drink this and cool off!!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Easy Egg Curry

Curries that can be made in a hurry always come to help. This recipe is one of those. It is an Egg curry where you do not need to hard boil the eggs. When making egg curry, hard boiling the eggs is the part that is time consuming, at least for me - boil it, cool it and then de-shell it. So this curry takes off all that additional steps out of your cooking.

Oil                              - 2 tbsp
Onion                          - 2 chopped
Ginger Garlic paste      - 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder          - 1/4 tsp
Kashmiri chilly powder  - 1 tbsp
Coriander powder        - 3/4 tbsp
Garam Masala             - 1 tsp
Eggs                           - 6
Curry Leaves               - 1 twig
Water                          - 2 1/2 cup
Salt                             - to taste

1. Heat the oil in a pan and add the curry leaves.
2. Add the onions and saute it till they start to turn brown.
3. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute.
4. Add Turmeric powder, Chilly powder, Coriander powder and Garam Masala and saute for a minute or two.
5. Add water and salt to taste and let it boil.
6. Break the eggs and drop it into the boiling gravy. Space it evenly.

7. Close the vessel and let the eggs cook for a few minutes. Once the eggs are done, your curry is ready.

Enjoy your egg curry with Roti or Bread!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Pepper Rasam

Rasam is a comfort food for my family and I would say for any malayalee. It is also served as part of the Kerala Sadya. Another good thing about this dish is that it is good for digestion and may be one of the reasons that it is served as one of the last courses of the traditional sadya. It is considered as a soup as well.

When I started cooking I used to use the rasam powder that you get ready made and it never yielded good results; may be I was not making it right. Now this one here is a simple and quick recipe with no ready make rasam mixes.

Oil                           - 2 tbsp
Mustard                   - 1/4 tsp
Pepper                     - 1 tsp
Ginger Garlic Paste   - 1 1/2 tbsp
Green Chilly              - 1
Cumin powder          - 3/4 tsp
Tamarind                 - small lemon size ball
Water                      - 5 1/2 cups
Curry Leaves            - 1 twig

1. Heat oil in a vessel and splutter the mustard and curry leaves.
2. Add split green chilly, ginger garlic paste and saute until the raw smell is gone.
3. Add Pepper powder and cumin powder and saute for a minute.
4. Extract tamarind juice in a cup of water and add it to the vessel.
5. Add the remaining water and let it boil.

Your rasam is ready. You could drink it as a soup or have it with plain rice.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Unnakka - A Variation

Unnakka (Unnakai / Unnakaya) is a specialty of the Malabar region. The name of the dish comes from its shape. My mom used to make this yummy snack especially during the fasting season (Ramzan) as one of the items for breaking the fast. It is one of my favorites. Let me tell you that this is not the real traditional version of unnakka, but a quick and easy version with some variations of mine.

Print / Save this Recipe

Makes around 25-30 pieces (depending on the shape)

Plantains  - 2 big (Ripe, not too much ripe though)
Sugar- 3-4 tbsp (to taste)
Egg- 4
Salt- a pinch
Oil- 2 tbsp + Additional for frying
Raisins- 3/4 cup
Cashew Nuts- 1/2 cup (broken into small pieces)
Ghee             - 1 tbsp
Coconut- 1/2 cup (grated)
Bread- 3 loaves
  1. Pressure cook the plantain for a single whistle. You could also cook it in a little water or steam it.
  2. Take a pan and heat 2 tbsp oil. To this add the beaten eggs (with a pinch of salt) - around 3 1/2 eggs. Keep 1/2 egg for frying later.
  3. Scramble the egg and transfer to another bowl.
  4. Add the ghee to the pan and fry the Cashews and Raisins till plump. Transfer it together with the scrambled eggs and turn off the stove.
  5. Now mash the plantain well and add coconut, scrambled eggs, raisins and cashews to it.
  6. Mix everything well and add sugar as needed, depending on the sweetness of the plantain.
  7. Take a small ball of this mixture and roll it into the shape of unnakka or any shape you want. Continue this process for the complete mixture.
  8. Put the bread in a mixer and make it into crumbs. You could also use store bought bread crumbs instead.
  9. Take each unnakka and dip into the kept aside beaten egg.
  10. Roll this in the bread crumbs.
  11. Heat enough oil in a frying pan to fry the unnakka.
  12. When the oil is hot, fry each of the unnakka that is rolled in bread crumbs till golden brown.

I don't think the ones I made shows the proper shape of unnakka nor have I followed the traditional style; but still they taste yummy. It is a great evening snack.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Mutta Appam

First let me Wish a Very Happy Twenty Ten to all my friends out there!

Mutta Appam is a quick and easy snack/breakfast. This is something I learnt from my MIL. She has a lot of such easy and quick fix dishes, most of which I have just eaten without wondering how it is made, when I used to live with R's family back in India. Now I have started calling her up for these easy dishes. So you could expect more of these kinds coming up soon... I guess these may have an origin from South Tamil Nadu, as she is from there...

For making Mutta Appam, you would need the following:

Rice Flour      -  1 cup (flour used for Idiyappam - Roasted flour)
Egg                -  2
Coconut         -  3/4 cup (Grated)
Sugar             -  2 - 3 tbsp
Salt                -  1/4 tsp
Water            -  1 1/4 cup
Small Onions  -  2
Oil                 -  1 tbsp

1. Take the rice flour in a mixing bowl and add the Eggs to it and mix well.
2. Add Coconut, Sugar, Salt and Water to the rice flour and make a batter as thick as the Dosa / Pancake batter.
3. Chop the small onions into small pieces.
4. Heat a tawa / frying pan (at least an inch deep).
5. Pour 1/2 tbsp oil into the pan and add half the onions to this when the oil is hot enough.
6. Let the Onions slightly brown.
7. Pour half of the batter to this and ensure that the heat is at medium.
8. When the top of the mixture is almost set, turn it over (this would take 8-10 minutes).
9. Give the other side 5-6 minutes and take it out.
10. Repeat the same steps for the next one.
11. Sprinkle some sugar on top, if needed. 

You could divide the batter into 3 portions and make 3 appams, if you want a slightly thinner version.
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