Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Chammanthi Podi | Nadan Chammanthi Podi | Nalikera Podi | Kerala Style Roasted Coconut Powder for Rice


Chammanthi Podi needs no intro for a Malayalee ;) It is a staple at many Mallu homes and almost every other mallu going abroad would have taken this condiment, packed & sealed tightly and buried deep inside the suitcase :D If they do not take it during their first visit, they will definitely remember to pack some when they come & go back after the vacation :)

It is really yummy, easy to make, can be stored for quite some time if handled properly and can be had with just rice and curd. It is the most yummax combo if you ask me :) And we eat a pot full of rice when we eat them with matta rice & curd combo. Of course, we make a fluffy omelette loaded with onions also to go with it ! So now without much talk, let's see how this is made.. 

P.S: This one is made by my mil & I took only the pics :D And these are one of the first set of food pics taken with iPhone XR. Am going to ditch my SLR for a while now...

Recipe Source: Amma


Serves: 3-4 persons


I Took: 

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes


I Used:


Coconut - 2 medium sized coconuts - Around 4 cups - grated
Tamarind - 3 tbsp - A big lemon sized 
Shallots - 15-20 nos - medium sized
Curry Leaves - 4-5 sprigs
Red Chilly - 20-22 nos


The Way:


1. Grate the coconut finely without bigger scrapes. If you get big scrapes while grating, then you can add them in a mixie jar and give a quick pulse so that the scrapes are even. This will ensure that the colour of the powder/podi is even and dark without white specks

2. Take the grated (& pulsed) coconut in a wide and thick bottomed pan/uruli. Roast them on a low/medium flame. Keep roasting them as often as possible to ensure that they do not get burnt or get stuck at the bottom of the vessel

3. Once the coconut starts to brown slightly, add the tamarind pieces (If you wish, can wash them and add) and keep roasting

4. After 2-3 minutes add the curry leaves and shallots. If shallots are bigger, slice them and add



5. Keep roasting them till they turn deep brown in colour. Keep caution to not to burn them else the taste of the podi will not be up to the mark

6. In a separate kadai/vessel roast the dry red chillies for 2-3 minutes till they swell up and give out a good glaze. Do not roast for long as it will get burnt 

7. Now allow them to cool till they reach room temperature



8. Then add all the contents including the red chilly to a large mixie jar and grind them coarsely. Ideally it should be a little coarse. You can grind them as fine or coarse as you wish though :)

Serve with matta rice, curd & pickle :)

Cheers,
Chitz

Monday, 3 February 2020

Dal Palak (without onion and garlic) | Palak Dal | Easy Dal Palak Recipe


Recipe for the day is this warm and yummy Dal Palak which always reminds me of our Pune days. This hot bowl of simple yet flavorful palak dal was enough for us to eat scores of phulkas and extra extra helpings of rice. Did I slightly go overboard? Maybe ;) But you get the drift right. It is healthy too. All you need is that bowl of dal and maybe a sabzi. Even if I don't get time to make a sabzi, we manage with boiled egg fry or paneer burji. I love to make this with the palak I used to buy in Pune which gives an earthly flavor to the gravy. With the Chennai palak I feel that's missing. So without much further talk, let's get to the recipe.




Recipe Source: Here


Serves: 3-4 persons


I Took: 

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes


I Used:


Palak - 2 cups
Tur Dal - ½ cup
Oil/Ghee - 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Ginger - An inch piece - chopped
Green Chilly - 2 nos (medium sized) - chopped 
Red Chilly powder - ½ tsp
Asafoetida - ¼ tsp
Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
Salt - As Needed

The Way:


1. Rinse the lentil with water for 2-3 times. Then take them in a pressure cooker and add around 2 cups of water. Add salt and turmeric powder to it. If you have time soak the dal for 15-20 minutes before cooking so that they cook faster

2. Pressure cook the dal for 5 to 6 whistles till it becomes soft and mushy


3. Now rinse the palak in water for 2-3 times. Drain them of water. Then chop finely and keep aside. Also clean and chop the ginger and green chillies and keep aside

4. In a pan heat oil/ghee. Using ghee gives a very nice aroma and flavor to the gravy. Then temper the cumin seeds 


5. Reduce the flame to low and then add the chopped ginger and fry till the raw smell goes off

6. Then add the chopped green chillies & fry for 30 seconds

7. Now add the chopped palak and saute for a minute

8. Then add the red chilly powder and asafoetida


9. Now cover the pan and cook for 6-8 minutes till the palak is cooked. Palak will release some water. So no need to add additional water at this point. Just open the lid and saute twice or thrice in between so that the palak doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan

10. Mash the cooked dal so that it is smooth. Once the palak is cooked, add the mashed dal to it

11. Add water (1-2 cups) depending on the consistency you want or the gravy and give a nice stir

12. Check salt and add if needed


13. Simmer the dal for about 5 minutes and then switch off

Serve with nice phulkas/rotis, rice & a sabzi of choice :)

Cheers,
Chitz

Friday, 8 November 2019

Ponnanganni Keerai Poriyal | Ponnangani Greens Stir Fry | Dwarf Copper Leaf Stir Fry


Here I go with yet another greens stir fry recipe. This time it is none other than the iron & calcium rich Ponnangani leaves. They come in two shades - green and red. Here I have prepared the stir fry using green leaves today. You can follow the same recipe for the red leaves as well. Ponnangani leaves has many medicinal benefits. To mention a few, it is recommended as a very good medicine for all your eye problems and for also maintaining a healthy and glowing skin. It is said to reduce body heat and is a good remedy for piles problems. And it is very effective against stomach ulcers, gut problems and also to improve your overall health. And so I guess by now you must have very well understood how great these greens are for your health, so let's go check out how to make a simple and tasty stir fry with them :)

This is how it looks :)


Serves: 4-5 persons


I Took: 

Preparation Time: 15 mins

Cooking Time: 25 mins


I Used:


Ponnangani Keerai - 2 cups
Sesame oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard - ¼ tsp
Urad Dal - 1 tbsp
Red Chilly - 4 nos (slit)
Onion (chopped)
Asafoetida
Turmeric Powder
-
-
-
½ cup - 1 medium sized
2 fat pinch
¼ tsp
Mung Dal - 2 tbsp (boiled) (Take 1 tbsp raw and soak)
Grated Coconut - 2 tbsp


The Way:


1. Take the moong dal in a bowl. Rinse well in water. Then soak the dal in ¼ cup of water for 15-20 minutes

2. Once soaked, add a little salt (not much coz we will be adding in the poriyal as well) and cook them till done. First keep the flame in high till the water boils and then simmer and cook covered till done. The dal should not turn mushy. They should be cooked and retain their shape. It should take around 8-10 minutes for them to get cooked

3. Meanwhile clean and keep the greens (keerai). Remove old or wilted or yellow coloured leaves. I use only the leaves and discard the stem

4. Rinse the greens (keerai) in water 2-3 times to remove the dirt and mud particles. Then drain the water and chop them roughly and keep aside


5. Chop the onions and keep aside

6. In a pan, heat sesame oil. Use sesame oil for this stir fry. It is highly recommended. If you do not have it replace with sunflower or coconut oil

7. Splutter mustard. Then reduce the flame and add the urad dal and broken red chillies. Saute them. Take care not to burn the red chilly or dal


8. Add the chopped onions and saute. The onions should turn translucent and slightly start to turn colour

9. Then add asafoetida and turmeric powder. Give a quick saute

10. Add the chopped greens and give a nice stir. Add 2-3 tbsp of water and give a quick stir. Cover and cook for 5-6 minute till the leaves wilt and get cooked. Check in between to see that they do not get stuck at the bottom and saute to avoid that


11. Once the greens are cooked, add the cooked moong dal and give a gentle stir and leave it for a minute

12. Then add the grated coconut and give a quick and gentle stir


13. Switch off flame and serve with rice and a gravy of choice

Cheers,
Chitz

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Chiranga Olan | Bottle Gourd Olan | Churakka Olan | Surakka Olan | Lauki Olan



When the family loves Olan, I try to sneak in as many kind of veggies as I can into it :) Cheranga as such is not liked by us, but Olan with it is an exception. We love it when the bottle gourd is paired with the mild coconut milk and the soft crunch from the boiled red eyed beans.. I have already made olan with Zucchini and Pumpkin & Ash Gourd and this one is no different from them. It is simple to make and healthy and yummy too :) So let's see how to make this easy Olan with bottle gourd..


Serves: 2-3 persons


I Took: 


Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Soaking Time: 8 hours

Cooking Time: 30 minutes


I Used:



Cheranga/Bottle Gourd
Red Eyed Beans/Vanpayar
-
-
1 cup - cubed
¼ cup heaped (after boiling)
Green Chilly - 2 nos - slited
Salt - As Needed
Coconut Milk - ½ cup
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Coconut Oil - 1 tbsp

The Way:


1. Rinse and soak the vanpayar (red beans - I used 1/8 cup of the beans to soak) overnight for around 8 hours. In the morning, discard the water. Take the beans in a pressure cooker. Add enough water (around 2 cups) and salt and pressure cook till done. It took me 2 whistles in high and 2 in low. Keep aside

2. While they get cooked, extract the coconut milk and keep ready. I used around ½ cup of grated coconut and ¼ cup of water and ground it in a mixie till the coconut was smoothly ground. Then using a muslin cloth, extracted the milk from the ground coconut


3. Cut and discard the skin of the bottle gourd. Discard the thick pith if it's too ripe. Then cut them into thin cubes as shown in the picture. The thickness should not be more than ¼ inch along both width and length

4. Now take the cut pieces in a saucepan and add required salt and green chilly along with little water (¼ cup) (Instead of water you can also use 2nd coconut milk and boil the bottle gourd) and cook it till done. It will take around 15-20 minutes to get cooked

5. If there is excess water after cooking the bottle gourd, I remove them. Else the coconut milk becomes very thin


6. Add the cooked beans (a heaped ¼ cup) without water to the veggies. Give a gentle stir


7. Then add in the coconut milk and curry leaves and again give a gentle stir. Check the salt now. Add if required. Once the coconut milk is added, it should not boil. It should only get warm. And it would take about a minute or so. Switch off the flame. Add coconut oil and just swirl the pan



Transfer to the serving dish and serve along with rasam and pickle or as a dish in your Onam Sadhya leaf !

Cheers,
Chitz

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Nadan Chicken Curry | Kerala Style Simple Chicken Curry | Easy Chicken Curry without Coconut - Type 2 :)


Nothing gives me more pleasure than the food I cook being wiped clean by my 2 boys :) And I'm sure that would be the same for every person who loves to cook, right :) Though we love to cook chicken in myriad number of ways, this is that recipe that we go back to every now and then mainly coz it's sooper easy (the basic Indian chicken gravy recipe) and my little one loooves it.. Even if I make it a little extra hot he will have this with the same enthusiasm and a little moist eyes ;) This is nothing fancy, just the basic onion-tomato base gravy and the normal spices simmered with lots of love :) 

During my initial days of cooking I never used to get the dense gravy in my chicken curry and it would be loose or watery. I always used to wonder what was going wrong and finally found that adding a bit of onion and tomato puree while preparing the base gravy changes the consistency. It was partly my laziness of grinding them to avoid washing an extra set of utensils that kept me away from that consistency for quite some time ;) So if any of you wondering why your gravy is watery, now you know! I love having this versatile gravy with practically anything from steamed rice / chapathi / porotta / appam / dosa / idly / idiyappam / puttu / ghee rice / coconut milk rice. Do try out and let me know which combo is your favourite :)

My other chicken recipes that you can find in the blog would be

Chettinadu Kozhi Kulambu
Chicken Masaledar | Spicy Chicken Masala


Recipe Source: Amma

Serves: 3-4 persons


I Took: 

Preparation Time: 20-30 mins

Cooking Time: 45 mins


I Used:



Chicken - 750 gm
Coconut Oil - 2-3 tbsp
Onion - 3 nos - medium sized (2 chopped & 1 for grinding)
Tomato - 2  - medium sized
Ginger - A fat 2 inch piece
Garlic - 15-20 nos (medium sized)
Green Chilly - 2 nos - slit
Red Chilly powder - 2 tbsp
Coriander powder - 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
Salt - As Needed
Curry leaves - 2-3 sprigs
Coriander leaves
Water
-
-
2-3 sprigs
As Needed (½-1 cup)



The Way:

1. Clean the chicken and cut them into small bite size pieces. Cutting the chicken into small 2 inch size pieces makes it easier for the gravy and masala to sink in to the pieces and make them more succulent 


2. In a mixie jar, take the peeled ginger (15-20 medium sized ones), garlic (A fat 2 inch piece) and onion (1 no - cut into 8-12 chunks) and grind them to a smooth paste. If needed you can add 2-3 tbsp of water for grinding. Keep aside

3. Heat 2-3 tbsp of coconut oil in a pan/kadai. When the oil is hot, reduce the flame and add the 2 medium sized onions (finely chopped) along with 2 slit green chillies. Saute them well on medium flame till the onions turn translucent. You can add salt as well while sauteing the onions to help them cook faster



4. Now once the onions are translucent, add the ground onion paste to it and saute on a low flame till they start to turn brown. Keep sauteing occasionally else they might get burnt

5. Once the gravy starts to turn brown add the masalas - 2 tbsp red chilly powder, 1 tbsp coriander powder, 1 tsp garam masala and ½ tsp turmeric powder and saute well again. Keep sauteing for another 2-3 minutes till the raw smell of the masala goes

6. Meanwhile, roughly chop 2 medium sized tomatoes and add them to the mixer jar. Grind them to a smooth paste



7. Once the raw smell of the masala goes off, add the pureed tomato to the gravy and saute well. Allow it to cook for 5-6 minutes on low flame and keep sauteing occasionally

8. Then add the cleaned chicken pieces and give a nice stir. Add the required amount of water for your gravy and also 1 sprig of curry leaves. Keep in mind that the chicken will ooze water while cooking, so adjust the quantity of water accordingly



9. Cover the pan/kadai and cook in medium-low flame for 15-20 minutes till the chicken pieces and cooked tender. Keep stirring occasionally to avoid the gravy getting stuck to the bottom of the pan and getting burnt

10. Once the hicken is cooked, uncover the pan and add the remaining 1 sprig of curry leaves and 2-3 sprigs coriander leaves. Give a quick saute



Switch off the flame and serve the gravy hot with steamed rice / chapathi / porotta / appam / dosa / idly / idiyappam / puttu / ghee rice / coconut milk rice of your choice !

Cheers,
Chitz


Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Meen Mulakittathu | Kerala Fish Curry with Kudampuli/Gambojee | Meen Vevichathu | Ayala Fish Curry with Kudampuli


I have had the privilege to taste many yummy fish curries in my life. Be it my mom, grandma, mom-in-law, hubby's aunt, uncle.. All of them make yummilicious fish curries. And for a Malayali, it is a staple as well as pride to make the perfect hot, fiery, tangy and delicious fish curry. Just a spoonful of this perfectly made fish curry is enough for you to eat with scoopfuls of matta rice. Accompany it with some fresh fish fry, boy I tell you, it makes your day and gets you set for an afternoon siesta ;)  This particular fish curry goes well with matta rice but some have it with puttu, idiyappam as well as idly :) But I prefer it with rice the most. There are many ways in which you can make Kerala style fish curry.. Easy Malabar style fish curry with coconut, Fish curry without coconut, yet another fish curry with coconut and so on. For all these recipes I use normal tamarind.

It was slightly difficult for me to get that perfect balanced taste (you call that 'chodi' in Malayalam :)) with this recipe. And hence this was one recipe that I took sometime to master. The base for all the recipes that I saw - both online on blogs and my relatives preparing was more or less the same. The right taste is always in the amount of red chilly powder and salt that you use. I have tried quite a handful of recipes from many blogs and I found the perfect measurements that suited my family's tastebuds here. This is a foolproof recipe and it never has failed me :) And let me tell you one more thing. It is always better to prepare this gravy at least 2 hours prior to serving. The more it stands the better. The flavours sink in to the fish and tastes awesome, to be precise, the next day :) So do make them and let me know how you liked them!


Recipe Source: Here

Serves: 3-4 persons


I Took: 

Preparation Time: 10 mins

Cooking Time: 25 mins


I Used:


Fish (I used Ayala/Mackerel) - 500 gm (3 medium sized fish cut into 3 pieces each)
Gambojee/Kokum/Kudampuli - 4 pieces soaked in ¼ cup of water
Coconut Oil - 2 tbsp + 1 tsp
Shallots - 6-8 nos - sliced
Garlic - 4-6 nos - sliced or chopped
Ginger - A 2 inch piece - sliced or chopped
Green Chilly - 1 no - slit
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Red Chilly powder - 3 tbsp (Kashmiri or normal)
Coriander powder - 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
Pepper powder - ½ tsp
Fenugreek powder (optional) - ¼ tsp
Salt - As Needed
Water - 1 cup


The Way:


1. Rinse the tamarind pieces in water to remove any dirt on them. Then soak them in ¼ cup of water

2. Take all the masala powders - red chilly powder (spice mentioned is a bit on the hotter side, adjust as needed), coriander powder, turmeric powder, pepper powder and fenugreek powder in a small plate or bowl. Mix them with 2 tbsp of water and keep aside

3. Peel and slice the shallots, garlic and ginger and keep ready. Ginger and garlic can be sliced or chopped. Slit the green chillies and keep aside


4. In a earthen pan (or a kadai or pan but preferably an earthen pot as it enhances the flavour of the gravy) heat the coconut oil

5. Now add the shallots, ginger, garlic and green chillies and saute

6. Add 1 sprig of curry leaves too


7. Saute for 3-4 minutes till they turn translucent and slowly start to change colour. No need to make them brown

8. Now add the prepared masala paste and saute on low flame for 3-4 minutes till the raw smell of the masala goes. You can add the powders directly without making into a paste, but then much caution is needed while sauteeing them. They can easily get burnt and change the taste and colour of the gravy

9. The colour attained now will determine the colour of the gravy. So if you want them to be really deep in colour saute them for a tad bit longer on the minimum flame available. And take care not to get the masalas burnt. It simply translates to 'Do not leave the dish unattended at this point'

10. When the raw smell is gone, add the soaked tamarind along with the water. Further add 1 more cup of water (adjust the quantity of water according to the consistency that is needed. Ideally make sure that the fish pieces are immersed in the gravy, that's the quantity of water that you will need) and give a nice stir and allow it to boil


11. Once the gravy starts boiling, add the cleaned fish pieces to it. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes. If the water added is less then you might want to check in between that the fish pieces or the gravy is not burnt or stuck at the bottom of the pan

12. Uncover the pan and check for salt and add if needed. If you feel the gravy is watery then cook uncovered till it thickens to the desired consistency

13. After adding the fish pieces do not use a spoon or spatula to stir the gravy. Gently hold the pan on both sides and swirl them

14. Finally add 1 sprig of curry leaves and a tsp of coconut oil and give a gentle swirl. Close the pan and allow it to rest for some time before serving. Best served after at least 2 hours. The more you allow it to rest it the more tastier it becomes :)


Serve with matta rice or mashed or boiled tapioca.

Cheers,
Chitz

Monday, 8 July 2019

Avakkai Pickle| Avakkai Mango Urugai Recipe | Andhra Avakaya Pachadi | Andhra Cut Mango Pickle


This recipe brings back tons of childhood memories. Almost everyone would beam with pride over the statement 'My mom makes the best comfort food and my grandma makes the best pickle'. And I'm no different. Even now I slurp over the mere thought of my grandma's (lost her 10 years ago) Avakai pickle. She used to make varieties of pickle like grated mango, cut mango, tomato and garlic during summer. There would also be vadams (that too variety flavoured ones like tomato, onion etc) and dried mango etc. 

My favourite of the lot used to be pickles and that too this avakai recipe. Unfortunately my mom didn't have the exact recipe to this pickle, so I had to resort to other blogs and finally found a close match to the taste of my grandma's pickle to Swasthi's recipe :) Now I too make this every year and Deeps too is a die hard fan of this pickle now :) My maternal grandma does not add garlic in this pickle but my paternal does. Me and my mom we both love to nibble to that garlic so I add them in my pickle too. The measurements mentioned here has never failed me, so I always stick to this one to the dot. If you haven't tried making this pickle at home do try once coz it's that simple and it will make you prepare at least one jar every summer :)


Makes: A 500 gm bottle


I Took: 

Preparation Time: 30 mins


I Used:



Cut Raw Mango pieces - 1 - 1½ cup 
Oil - ½ cup (+ ¼ cup or so as needed)
Mustard powder - ¼ cup
Fenugreek powder - ½ tsp
Red Chilly powder - ¼ cup (I use Kashmiri chilli powder)
Salt - ¼ cup
Garlic -
 cup


The Way:


1. Heat a kadai. Add the mustard seeds and methi seeds (I take slightly less than ¼ cup of mustard seeds and ¼ tsp methi seeds to roast and grind. If you have the individual powder handy then skip this step) to them and dry roast on a low flame for 2-3 minutes till they turn warm. Switch off the flame and spread the mustard seeds on a plate and allow them to cool. Once cooled, grind them to a fine powder in a mixer/blender

2. Wash the mangoes with water and soak them in water for sometime (30-60 minutes) so that the dirt on them is removed. Then remove them from water and pat them dry using a kitchen towel and allow them to dry completely by spreading on a large piece of cloth. They should be completely moisture free and dry for the pickle to have a larger shelf life



3. The vessels, knife, cutting board and the area that you use for the pickle preparation - cutting mangoes and preparing pickle should also be dry and clean and completely devoid of moisture

4. Trim the edge of the mango where you have the stalk. Then cut each mango into half (lengthwise) keeping the pit (the hard shell at the centre of the mango that encloses the seed) intact. Use a really sharp knife and cut them with caution. If you feel that you are not getting a grip on the mango then use a cotton cloth or towel and wrap it around the mango and hold

5. Remove the seeds if any and keep the pit intact. If the pit gets separated then those mangoes/mango pieces are not used for the pickle as it changes the taste of the pickle by becoming soggy


6. Now after removing the seeds, you can see a thin seed covering on the pit that can be removed using a spoon or knife. I gently use a knife and remove that seed cover as well


7. Now cut each mango halves into 3-4 pieces




8. . And again cut each of those pieces to 3-4 pieces. Each piece have to be around 2-3 inches in length. Make sure that each piece has the pit/shell attached to them as well


9. Measure and keep the mango pieces in a plate. A medium sized mango yields about 1 cup of mango pieces cut as described above


10. Now peel the garlic cloves and keep aside




11. Now take the mustard and fenugreek (methi) powder, red chilly powder, garlic and salt in a bowl. Mix them well


12. In another bowl, measure and keep ¼ cup of the gingelly oil




13. Now take the mango pieces using a spoon/slotted spoon and dunk them in the oil. Then take them from the oil and add them to the spice mix. Coat them well with the spice mix and then add them to a bharani or the glass bottle where you intend to preserve the pickle


14. Repeat the above step until the entire mango pieces are pickled. If you run short of oil, then add the remaining ¼ cup into the bowl and continue pickling




15. At the end, if there is any oil or spice mix remaining, then add them to the pickle


16. Cover the bharani/glass bottle with a lid. If needed you can use a extra covering of cotton cloth to tie it up


17. Keep it in a dry shelf for 3 days. After that open the lid and mix it up with a wooden spoon or laddle. Check if salt is sufficient. If not add more. Wait till next day to see if there is enough oil to cover the pickle. If not add a little more to cover it




After 3 days, the pickle is ready to eat. You can keep it in a dry place and use as needed. It stays good for an year without refrigeration



Notes:

  • If you are using 1 cup of mango pieces, the yield of the gravy will be rich and more. But if you do not want more gravy then use 1 ½ cup of mango pieces for the remaining quantity of ingredients mentioned
  • Do not go stingy on the oil or the salt, as they are the ingredients that preserve the pickle and give it a long shelf life
  • Always use clean, dry spoons to take for the pickles. If you have made a large batch then I strongly suggest to use a small bottle for regular use. Opening the pickle frequently diminishes the flavour and quality of the pickle
Cheers,
Chitz