Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Papaya thoran

Papaya is a fruit which I never had to buy during my childhood. It is something that grew in our backyard....something that we made when the tree bore plenty of fruit or when there were no veggies left in the refrigerator.
Raw papayas were put to good use and turned into delicious thoran, olan or milagootal. Ripe papayas were cut up and eaten as is.
What I have for you today is papaya thoran. Dig in!!!
What you need:
Papaya - 1, medium sized, chopped into pieces
Fresh scraped coconut - 1/2 cup
Urad dal -1/2 tsp
mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1 tsp

Cook papaya in a pressure cooker until whistle or microwave on high for about 6 minutes or until well cooked. It should still be firm and not mushy.
Heat the oil in a wok. Add the urad dal and mustard seeds. When the seeds pop, add the cooked papaya, salt and grated coconut. Stir well for a few minutes.
Serve hot with rice.

Note :
  • Do not use ripe papayas in this recipe.
  • An unripe papaya that is just beginning to ripen is the best as it imparts a certain sweetness to the dish and gives it a different taste. If u don't have that, use an unripe green papaya.
  • Instead of using just coconut, u can grind a green chilli along with the coconut and add that to the thoran. These days, I've minimised the spiciness of my dishes 'coz my daughter eats whatever we eat and does not like it if a dish is too spicy.
This is my entry to AFAM hosted this month by Nags......
Nags I cooked this today just so I could send this in for your event as I'd said I would send something ur way.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Putting leftover chapatis to good use

I had company for dinner last night and ended up cooking way too many chapatis. Not wanting to eat the same thing this morning, i just decided to bring it to the table in a new avatar.

Heat some oil. Season it with urad dal, mustard seeds and some cumin seeds. Once the seeds start popping, throw in some chopped onion, ginger, green chillies and curry leaves. When the onion is browned, add some tomatoes and stir fry for a few minutes. Add turmeric powder and salt. Tear the chapatis into pieces. Add this into the pan and stir around for a few minutes until everything gets mixed well. Garnish with freshly chopped corrainder leaves.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A traditional Kerala duo- the uruli and chattukam

A traditional uruli - this one can hold enough payasam for 2,000 people

With an uruli so big can the chattukam(stirrer) be left behind???

Bubbling palada pradhaman

Godambu payasam

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Koorka mezhukkupuratti

I was always under the impression that Koorka is available, cooked and relished only in Kerala. So, imagine my surprise when I found heaps of Koorka at the Koyambedu market, which by the way, happens to be South Asia's largest fresh produce market!!!
It looked like I was the only person interested in buying this veggie, though.....the price was cheap and I came back home and set to work on the koorka almost immediately.
Now, cleaning the koorka and removing its skin is no easy task....but the end result is almost always rewarding enough.
Wash the koorka in plenty of water several times. It is usually very muddy and it will take several changes of water before you can clean it. Use a scraper to remove the skin. My mother used to put the koorka in a sack , wet it with water and then beat it on the ground to remove the skin. I don't have the luxury of space to do that. So I use the scraper, even though it is much more time consuming.
Once you've removed the skin, wash it again. If the koorka is small enough, use it as is...if not, cut into small pieces. Pressure cook it with enough water along with salt and turmeric powder until about 3 or 4 whistles. Once the steam settles down, drain the excess water and set aside.
Heat some coconut oil in a kadai.......transfer the koorka to this and stir fry for a few minutes so that the koorka turns slightly brownish and crisp.
This veggie has a unique taste of its own and does not need any other ingredient to make it more flavorsome.
Serve hot with rice and any koottan of your choice.

After some googling, I found out that koorka is called chinese potato in English.
I did take pics of the dish, but it is very am not posting it here.
This is my first entry to RCI-Kerala hosted by Jyotsna of Curry bazaar.

Friday, January 11, 2008

How to make glue aka disaster in the kitchen

Take grated beetroot in a microwaveable bowl. Add sugar, milk and ghee. Oh....don't forget the cardamom powder. Set the timer for as long as your manufacturers' cookbook asks you to. Take the dish out at the said time. Look at it, and think...What does this manufacturer know...I definitely know better than him/her...this just doesn't look done enough. Set the timer for a few more minutes. Don't even peep into the microwave to see what's happening. Remove.....think to yourself...yes this is it....didn't i say i knew better than that cook book author??? Let it cool.....Oops!!! I didn't realise it would become a "little" hard once it cools down.
Serve it with a smile to hubby dear.....Doesn't he know he really needs to exercise those jaws once in a while???

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Microwave samba rava idli & Onion chutney

Samba Rava Idli

Feeling pretty bored with the usual rava idli, I decided to try the same recipe using samba wheat rava instead of sooji. I enjoyed the result of this experiment.

Here’s what you need:

Samba Rava – 1 cup
Green chilli – 1, minced
Ginger - a small piece, chopped
Curry leaves – a few sprigs
Corriander – a little, chopped
Carrot – 1, grated
Gingely oil – 6 tsp
Oil – 1 tsp
Urad dal – ½ tsp
Chana dal – ½ tsp
Sour curd

Take the samba rava in a microwaveable dish. Spread it evenly and m/w for 2 minutes.

Remove it to a broad vessel and let it cool.

Heat 1 tsp of oil in a microwaveable bowl. Add the urad dal, chana dal, green chilli, ginger, curry leaves, coriander and carrot to it. Microwave on high power for 2 minutes. Stir well and microwave again for another minute.

Add this to the samba rava.

Add salt and enough sour curd to make a batter of pourable consistency. It should not be too runny nor should it be too thick. I used about 2 cups of curd…..this quantity will vary, though, depending on the quality of the rava.

Add the gingely oil to this batter. Mix well and set aside for 2 hours.

Grease your microwave idli plates with a little oil or non-stick cooking spray. Pour the batter into the idli plates and microwave at 750 watts for 6 minutes.

Serve hot with coconut or onion chutney.

Onion chutney is really easy to make. There's no excuse for not making it.

Chop up 2 medium sized onions. Heat some oil in a microwaveable bowl. Saute the onions in that for 2 minutes. Add 1 red chilli to it and microwave again for 1 minute. Let it cool and then grind it along with a gooseberry sized ball of tamarind and some salt.

There, didn’t I say it was easy???

Rava idli served with onion chutney

Notes :

  • The batter will thicken after you've set it aside for 2 hours. Mix in some more sour curd at this stage to get it to pourable consistency again.
  • Samba rava can be replaced with regular sooji rava to make rava idlis.
  • A lot of people usually complain that microwave idlis are not as soft as their steamed's a trick that'll help you keep them soft. Take the idli out of the idli plate while it is still hot and put it in a hot pan. The steam that condenses on top helps to keep the idlis soft. You can always reheat it if you are going to eat it later.
  • As always, do remember that microwave powers vary…so you will need to find the time settings that work out best for you.


Rava idli is my entry to Srivalli's Microwave Easy Cooking event with a theme of Tiffin this month.
Onion chutney goes to Radhi's kitchen to be a part of JFI Onion.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

(Wo)men and food

“Njan cinema director akumbol ninne ente padathile nayika akkam”
“Njan director akumbol ninne ente padathile naya akkam”

(Roughly translates as:

When I become a director, I will make you the heroine in my film.
When I become a director, I will make you the dog in the film.

If you know Malayalam, you can truly appreciate the humour in the words….it doesn’t sound quite as funny when translated into English.)

This was a conversation between a guy and my friend back when we were in school. Those days, eve teasing as far as I was concerned meant comment-adi (commenting) and ended up in us thinking of the smartest repartees that we could……and sharing them with our friends over the lunch break.

Of course, my college days helped me rethink my definition of eve teasing once I came into contact with the pinching, grabbing, touchy-feely types. To this day, I do not understand what pleasure a man gets from pinching the butt of an unwilling female.

The Mumbai molestation is a classic case where the power of the mob has overpowered the sensibilities of the individual. I think many of those involved are probably quiet people in their individual lives who wouldn’t dream of doing something like this. But in a group, their basest, most raw selves came out….

A group often hides the individual ‘coz when u are in a group, you often feel that nobody can see you……

Reminds me of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies…….Do you see the similarities???

There I go…..I’ve digressed so far from the recipe that I wanted to talk about today. But then, news like this often has that kind of effect on me…..

On days like that, I long for food that is soothing to the palate….not too spicy……just a delicate blend of familiar ingredients that taste good and fills the tummy up with a comforting warmth. Vegetable Kichdi is almost always the feel-good dish that I fall back on. It is a fuss free one pot dish that can be cooked entirely in the pressure cooker or by using the microwave. What I have here is the microwave version.

What you need:

Rice - 1 cup (I used ponni raw rice)
Masoor dal - 1/4 cup
Moong dal - 1/4 cup
Onion - 1, chopped
Tomato - 1, chopped
Green chilli - 1
Veggies - 1.5 cup(I used potato, bell pepper, carrot, and green peas)
Cloves - 4
Cardamom - 3
Oil - 2 tsp

Wash the rice and dal and then soak it in 5 glasses of water for 45 minutes.

Take 1/4 tsp of oil in a microwaveable dish. Add the cardamom and cloves to it and heat for 45 sec or until the aroma comes out.

Add the onion, green chilli, tomato to this and m/w for 3 minutes or until the onions brown well. Now stir in the chopped veggies and m/w for another 4 minutes.

Add the rice and dals to this along with the water in which it was soaked.

Cook on 750 watts for 10 minutes. Then lower the power to 650 watts and cook for another 10 minutes. While it is still hot, stir it well....the khichdi should be well cooked and a little mushy.......the grains of the rice should not be separate.

This is a whole meal in itself......does not need any accompaniment. If you'd like to, though, you can pair it with some fresh yogurt or kadhi

Note: Microwaves vary vastly as far as cooking times will need to experiment and find the right time settings on your microwave.

This goes to Srivalli for her MEC-Tiffin event.