Thursday, September 23, 2010

Kadala Curry

Kadala Curry  which is chickpeas  in a roasted coconut gravy makes a great side  for puttu, chappatis etc. Its the flavors of the roasted coconut and shallots with some more Indian spices that make this curry an irresistible and unique one  from the usual chickpea preparations.

Prep Time: 20 mins excluding the soaking + cooking time for the chickpeas.
Black Chickpeas/Kadala: 1 cup (soaked overnight)
Grated coconut: 1/3 cup
Shallots/Pearl Onions: 4-5
Garlic: 1/2 a pod (optional)
Dried Red chillies: 5-6
Coriander powder: 1 1/2 teaspoons
Chilli powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Pepper powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Curry leaves: 2 sprigs
Coconut cuts: 1 tablespoon

* Those who would like to save time and skip the part of making the roasted coconut gravy  can use Saras Coconut Varutha Curry Masala (shown in the pic) which is available in most Indian Grocers as an alternative.
* For 1 cup of chickpeas use 2 cups of water 

Pressure cook the soaked chickpeas adding enough water, salt, garlic (optional) and turmeric powder for about 10-15 mins.  Meanwhile roast the grated coconut, shallots (keep some for seasoning), dried red chilies, curry leaves  till brown. Add chili powder, coriander powder, pepper powder and fry for few mins. Remove it from heat and grind this to a fine paste. Add the paste to cooked chickpeas and mix well. If the gravy is too thick add some water. Adjust the salt and spiciness and let it boil. 
For seasoning heat some oil, fry chopped shallots, coconut cuts until golden brown. Then splutter the mustard seeds, dried red chilies and curry leaves. Serve hot.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Puttu is an all time favorite breakfast item among most Malayalees. It is basically soft steamed rice cylinders with layers of fresh grated coconut. Its best complimented with either Kadala (black chickpea) curry or Banana and sugar.

Prep Time: 20 mins

Rice Flour: 1 cup
Warm Water: 1/4 cup
Grated Coconut: 1/4 cup
Salt to taste

* Puttu gets it unique cylindrical shape because of the mould its steamed in. There are 2 parts to the basic puttu kutti (puttu mould). One pot which is used to boil the water and the other cylinder which rests on top of the pot.

* Typically in Kerala, to make the rice powder for Puttu, we soak raw rice for an hour. Completely drain off the water and spread it on a dry towel to dry. Then powder it fine. Then dry roast the rice flour for 10 -15 minutes on a low flame.  
However for convenience sake, we opted to buy the packeted rice flour. In most Indian Grocery stores, you would also find specific puttu powders that is packed from Kerala under the common brand names Nirapara, Avees, Eastern etc.

Take the rice flour in a bowl. Add  some salt. Sprinkle the warm water lil by lil and keep running your fingers through the mixture until you get a crumby texture. The basic test to know if you have  the texture right is, if you hold a fistful it should stay like a pack and when you break it down with your fingers it should easily crumble.

Keep the water to boil in the pot. Now start to fill the cylinder.Begin the base with a spoon of grated coconut. Fill 1/3 with rice flour and then again some grated coconut. Repeat until you reach the top. Finish up with some grated coconut. Close it with the lid and let it steam for about 10 mins. When the steam starts coming out continuously through the holes in the lid you can take it off from the heat and push out the puttu with a stick onto your plate.

Enjoy it hot either with Kadala Curry or Pappadam, Pazham (Banana) and Sugar.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ela Ada

Ela Ada  is a popular evening snack in most Kerala homes. The specialty here is that the ada (rice crepe) is steamed in the banana leaves because of which it carries a very distinct earthy flavor. The filling can be varied from aval-pazham (rice flakes-banana), chakka varatiyathu (jackfruit -jaggery) to the most simple one of jaggery and coconut.

Prep Time: 15- 20 mins


Rice Flour: 1 cup
Hot Water: 1/3 cup
Salt: a pinch

* You can make a filling of jaggery -coconut or sugar-coconut.

Jaggery (grated): 1/3 cup or Sugar :1/4 cup
Cardamom: 2 pods (powdered with little sugar)
Ghee: 1/2 teaspoon
Grated Coconut: 1/2 cup

Begin by mixing the rice flour, salt and hot water to make a soft dough as you would for making chappathis. Roll out smaller balls and keep aside. Meanwhile mix the grated coconut, grated jaggery, ghee and powdered cardamom to make the filling.Keep the banana leaves washed and ready in medium sized strips.
Slightly oil the banana leaves, press each ball individually on a leaf and flatten it evenly. Spread the filling on half the side and fold the entire banana leaf over as shown in the picture. 

The easiest way to steam these are in the Idli steam cooker. It is usually ready in 15-20 mins or until the whistle keeps blowing. Once slightly  cooled down, serve them.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Coconut Rice

Here's another flavorsome rice that can be made with some leftovers  in a jiffy. With the taste of fresh coconut in every bite, it is truly south Indian by nature.

Prep Time: 10 mins 
Cooked rice: 1 cup
Grated coconut: 1/3 cup
Ginger (chopped): 1 teaspoon
Green chillies (chopped): 2-3
Pearl onions (chopped): 2
Curry leaves: one sprig
Dried red chillies: 2-3
Mustard seeds: 1 teaspoon
Urad Dal: 1 teaspoon
Chana dal: 1/2 teaspoon
Oil for seasoning
Salt & pepper to taste

Heat some oil in a deep pan. Splutter the mustard seeds, dried red chillies, chana dal, curry leaves. Add the finely chopped pearl onions, ginger, green chillies and saute. Add the grated coconut and saute for 2-3 mins. Immediately add the cooked rice. Mix well and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Saute for another 5-10 mins on medium heat.

Delcious coconut rice is ready to be served.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Lemon Rice

Lemon rice is a quick n easy meal you can put together when you don't have too much time to invest in an elaborate meal. Variety rice(Rice with different seasonings) is very popular in south India and Lemon rice is one of the popular ones. This colorful and flavorsome meal is a great option for a lunch pack.

Prep Time:  10 mins (excluding the time to cook rice)

Rice: 1 cup
Turmeric powder: 2 teaspoons
Lemon Juice: 2-3 tablespoons
Green Chilies (chopped): 3-4
Ginger (chopped): 1 -2 teaspoons
Peanuts: 1/4 cup
Asofoetida:  1/2 teaspoon
Mustard seeds:  1 teaspoon
Split Urad Dal: 1 1/2 teaspoons
Dried Red Chili: 3-4
Curry Leaves: one sprig
Sesame/Til Oil : 1-2 teaspoons
Oil for seasoning.

* We used Sona masoori rice.
* There are two ways to make the lemon rice. Either add the seasoning to the left over cooked white rice or cook it fresh. If you cook rice with the intention to make Lemon rice, a tip given to us is that add turmeric powder and salt while cooking the rice to get an even yellow color.
* Some people do the complete seasoning in sesame oil. However we made the seasoning in regular cooking oil and drizzled some sesame oil in the end.

Heat some oil in a pan, Splutter the mustard seeds, urad dal, dried red chillies and asofoetida. Add the turmeric powder, if you have not already added it while cooking the rice. Also add the roasted peanuts, curry leaves, green chillies and chopped ginger. Saute well. Add the rice. Adjust the salt  levels. Pour the lemon juice. Stir well ensuring the rice doesn't get burnt at the bottom of the pan. Drizzle the sesame oil .

Serve hot  with Pappad and pickle.


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