Everyday Simple Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Pickles, Vegan

Instant Amla/Gooseberry Pickle (Kerala Style)

I have been experiencing hair fall recently despite no apparent diet/lifestyle change. Wondering how to tackle this, I have decided to try including gooseberry/amla in my daily diet. Amlas are considered to be excellent for health and are packed with vitamins. I am not a fan of raw gooseberries but love them in murabbas (candied sweet preserve) or pickle. This pickle version uses very little oil and can be consumed immediately although the taste and flavors tend to be better after a couple of days.

 

 

Ingredients:
Gooseberry/Amla – 10
Red chili powder – 1 tbsp
Asafoetida/Hing powder/piece – 1/4 tsp or 1 small piece (size of half a marble)
Fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
Sesame/til oil – 1 + 1 tsps
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves – 3-4 leaves
Salt

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins
Makes – 1-1/2 cups

Method:
Heat a thick iron wok and dry roast fenugreek seeds until they change color and you get the aroma of roasted fenugreek seeds. If you are using whole asafetida, roast that along with the fenugreek seeds as well. Powder the fenugreek seeds and asafetida piece using a mortar and pestle (or mixer). Set aside.
Wash the gooseberry and pat dry.
Heat a thick iron wok and add 1 tsp of sesame oil. Add the gooseberry to the oil. Stir occasionally and cook in medium heat until the white gooseberries turn soft and tender (approximately 15 minutes).


Remove gooseberry from the kadai. The oil used to cook the gooseberry remains in the kadai. You can use this again for the tadka. When it cools, cut the gooseberry into smaller pieces and add salt. Mix well and keep aside.


Add one tsp sesame oil into the same iron wok that was used to cook the gooseberry. Heat the wok and add mustard seeds to the oil. Let it splutter.
After mustard seeds splutters, add the curry leaves, red chili powder, powdered roasted asafoetida and fenugreek, salt as required and mix well.
Switch off and allow it to cool.

Transfer to a dry ceramic jar (bharani) or glass jar. Steel and plastic containers are not recommended since pickle is acidic in nature. Refrigerate and use within 1-2 weeks. Remove in small batches for daily use. Always use a dry spoon to serve the pickle.

Notes: You could use whole asafetida pieces for this recipe, but this would take a while to melt and blend in with the amla pieces. Although whole asafetida is more flavorful and aromatic than the powder, for an instant pickle asafetida powder is recommended.
The spice level in this pickle is moderate. You can add more red chili powder and oil as per taste.

Chutneys/Thogayals/Dips/Podis, Everyday Simple Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Palakkad Iyer Recipes, Pickles, South Indian

Coriander Chutney Powder/Kothamalli Chutney

Coriander Chutney powderMoms never cease to surprise! Just when you think you have tasted almost everything that your mom makes, there comes a new one. How I wish culinary skills were hereditary! So, the latest one that mom surprised me with is a coriander chutney powder. This spicy chutney powder is made with lentil and fresh herbs. It is easy to make and totally irresistible.

Ingredients:
Fresh curry leaves – 1/2 cup
Fresh coriander leaves – 2 cups
Dry red chilies – 5-6
Urad dal – 1/2 cup
Tamarind – small lime size
Asafetida – 1 tsp, if powder; about one-inch piece, if using whole asafetida.
Salt to taste

Method:
Ingredients

Clean coriander leaves and curry leaves using water and wipe dry with a towel. Remove curry leaves from stalk and keep aside. Chop coriander and keep aside.

In a thick bottomed pan, dry roast urad dal until it turns light brown. If you are using asafetida powder, add it to the urad dal just before you remove the urad dal from fire and lightly roast. Remove from the pan and keep aside. Add the red chilies to the pan and dry roast until the raw smell is lost and the red chilies start turning black. Ensure that flame is in ‘low’ because chillies can get burnt easily. If you are adding whole asafetida, dry roast it until it swells and starts giving out flavor. Remove from pan and keep aside.

In the same pan, add the curry leaves. Dry roast until the curry leaves start turning crisp but retain the green color. Before you start grinding the ingredients, ensure that the mixer jar is completely dry. Add the roasted urad dal, asafetida, and dry red chilies to the mixer jar and grind until the ingredients turn into a coarse powder. At this stage, add the curry leaves and grind again. When the curry leaves are also ground, add fresh (but dry) coriander into the jar and grind again until all the green leaves are powdered well. Add salt and tamarind and grind again until all the ingredients are ground and mixed well. Remove from the jar. Adjust the salt to taste. Freshly ground chutney powder might be a little moist because of the use of fresh coriander leaves. You could even make tiny balls out of the ground powder or store it in powder form.

Transfer the ground chutney powder into clean, dry jar. Refrigerate and use. This will last up to a month. This chutney powder can come to your rescue on a lazy day when you are too lazy to make an elaborate meal. Just make rice and serve this chutney powder with warm rice, ghee, and papad. You will not miss sambhar or any other subzi! You can try this chutney powder with idli/dosa also.

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Breakfast, Everyday Simple Recipes, Indian, Snacks, South Indian, Tiffin, Vegan

Tangy Poha

Tangy Poha

Here is a tangy variety of poha that almost tastes like puliyodarai. I tasted this at a friend’s house and soon after tasting the first spoon, me and my mother were after my friend and her mother-in-law to get the recipe secret out. I tried making it soon enough so that I don’t forget the ingredients. Dry roasted and powdered whole masala ingredients are used for this recipe. Store this powder in an air tight container and then making this tangy poha is just a matter of few minutes. Let’s look at how tangy poha is made.

Ingredients:
Poha (beaten rice flakes/aval) – 6 cups
Tamarind juice – from a lime-sized tamarind ball
Water (optional, only enough to lightly moisten the poha)
Jaggery powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste

For masala:
Coriander powder – 2 tbsp
Fenugreek (uluva) – 1/2 tsp
Jeera – 1/2 tsp
Red chilly powder – 1 tsp
Black pepper – 1/2 tsp
Asafetida – 1/2 tsp

For seasoning:
Cooking oil – 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tbsp
Urad dal – 1 tsp (optional)
Chana dal – 1 tsp (optional)
Roasted Peanuts – one fistful
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp

For garnish:
Coriander leaves – 4-5 stalks
Curry leaves – 2 stalks

Method:
Soak tamarind in half a glass of water and extract the juice. Choose the amount of tamarind very carefully. If you feel later that it is not sufficient, you can add lime juice to balance the taste.

Grind the poha in a mixer to make a coarse powder (slightly bigger than rawa consistency). Transfer to a large bowl and keep aside. Mix the tamarind juice along with water and salt to moisten the poha. Use water carefully because the poha should just be sufficiently moistened. The consistency should be moist powdery but neither lumpy nor dry. Add jaggery powder. Mix well. Jaggery helps balance the tanginess and enhances the taste. Keep aside for 10 minutes. Since I used matta rice variety of beaten flakes, I could not get a fine powdery version. The white rice variety helps you get a nice powdery version.

Masala for tangy pohaIf you are using whole masala ingredients, dry roast each ingredient separately and powder them. I used powders except for fenugreek and jeera. Dry roast fenugreek and jeera in an iron kadai. Powder the roasted ingredients using a mortar and pestle before it cools down. Dry roast the remaining ingredients (coriander powder, black pepper powder, chilly powder, asafetida) together in the iron kadai in low flame for about 2 minutes until the raw smell is gone. Add the powdered fenugreek and jeera to this roasted masala and mix well.

TangypohaIn an iron kadai, pour oil and crackle mustard seeds. If you prefer to add urad dal and chana dal, you can add them now. When the dals turn red, add curry leaves and peanuts. Roast for a minute. Add the masala powder along with turmeric powder and stir for half a minute. Add the powdered poha. Stir and cook for about two minutes. Add coriander leaves. Tangy poha is ready.

An extremely easy alternative is to use ready-made Puliyodarai mix for this recipe. Coarsely grind the rice flakes using a mixer. Add sufficient salt and water to this coarsely ground powder and moisten the powdered rice flakes. In a kadai, heat oil and crackle mustard seeds. Add sufficient puliyodarai paste to this oil and mix well. Cook for a minute. Add the moistened rice flakes powder to this. Mix well and serve.

Breakfast, Chutneys/Thogayals/Dips/Podis, Dosas, Everyday Simple Recipes, Pickles, South Indian, Tiffin

Milaga Podi (Dry Chutney Powder)

There are two items that you will definitely find in every South Indian household – curd and milaga podi (dry chutney powder or gun powder as non-Southies call it). Podi is potent gun powder that can make any food item tasty! It is a must-have in every household as it has a good shelf life and can accompany most food items such as dosa, idli, and even rice. Lazy to grate coconut and grind a chutney? All you need to do is take few spoons of podi, mix some oil in it and serve along with the dosa or idli. You wont even miss the juicy coconut chutney! Podi is also a safe bet when you are packing food for long bus/train journeys.

dosa and idli served with podi and chutney

Every household has their own secret recipe for podi and it tastes different in every house. When in school, I used to taste podi from my friends’ lunch boxes and each of them would taste different. Podi would differ in texture, taste, and visual appeal. Grainy, powdery, spicy, orange, greenish black, they come in all varieties. Recently, I tried MTR chutney powder (they market podi by that name) and I quite liked the taste of it. Unlike authentic Tamil Nadu style podi, this one is tangy. I believe tamarind is an ingredient in that recipe. Though I liked the MTR taste, being the conservative types when it comes to food, I prefer the authentic spicy taste without any tanginess.
This recipe is a mix of 2-3 different types of podis that I have had.

Ingredients:
Black gram/urad dal/uzhunnu parippu (white or black) – 1 cup
Bengal gram/chana dal/kadala parippu (optional) – 1/4 cup
Raw rice (optional) – 1/4 cup
Dried red chilly – 10
Black pepper (optional) – 1 tbsp
Curry leaves – 6-7 stalks
Asafoetida – size of a marble/2 tsp
Sesame seeds/Til/ellu (white or black) – 2 tbsp
Salt – as required

ingredients for gun powder

Method:
In a heavy bottomed pan (preferably iron), dry roast the grains one after the other until the grains turn red. First roast black gram. Then roast chana dal, followed by rice. Okay, I cheated! I roasted chana dal, kept it aside and then roasted the raw rice and black gram together. That works. When the black gram and rice are half done, add red chilies, black pepper, asafoetida, and curry leaves. If you are using asafoetida powder, you can add it towards the end of the roasting exercise. Turn off the fire and then add the sesame seeds and salt. Keep aside and let it cool down a bit.

While the roasted grains are still warm, dry grind them in a mixer. You can choose to make it powdery or grainy as per your preference. Store in a dry air tight jar. Will stay good for 3-4 months.

Gun powder

Choice of oil to be mixed with podi is a personal preference. Podi is served along with sesame seed oil (til oil/ellenna/nallenna) in most parts of Tamil Nadu. No points for guessing the oil that Keralites prefer!

Idlis and dosas soaked in spicy podi are a rage in restaurants these days. Whether you have a chutney and sambhar to go along with it or not, a well-made podi can up the taste quotient of even a poorly made idli/dosa.

Palakkad Iyer Recipes, Snacks, South Indian, Tiffin

Killu Kondattam (Rice Crisp Fries)

Coming up with good translations of traditional South Indian dishes is a huge challenge for me. The closest I can think of is Sun Dried Rice Crisp Fries. But that’s such a long name!

Killu vadaam served with curd rice

Kondattams (or Vadaam as some call it – the Va is pronounced briefly and the daaam is slightly longer) are made from gooey mixtures prepared by grinding rice (or some other grains) along with spices and passing the dough through a seva nazhi (a kind of press or extruder). These are then sun dried and fried before use. Some of them are made from cut vegetables boiled in salt water and then sun dried. Both versions taste very good and have long shelf life.

The other day the rice I made got overcooked and had too much kanji which refused to budge even after several attempts at draining it out. Newly harvested rice most often pose this problem. So I decided to make killu kondattam out of this rice. Add some chilly powder, salt, and asafetida to the overcooked rice and grind into a smooth paste in the mixer and that’s your dough for the killu kondattams. I am unable to come up with a proportion for this. It’s really is a matter of your taste.

Killu kondattam, as the name suggests, are made by scooping up a small portion of the dough in your hand and letting small round dollops of dough fall through on to a cotton cloth or a thick and clean plastic sheet.

Dollops left to dry in the sun

This is then sun dried until it hardens and there is no moisture left. These stay good for years and can be fried as and when required. Excellent accompaniment for rice, especially flavored rices such as tomato rice, lemon rice, or curd rice. Kondattam comes handy when you are too lazy to make a side dish (subzi accompaniment for rice). They are crispy and yummy. Try it out. You just cant stop at one.

Everyday Simple Recipes, Pickles, Side Dishes, South Indian, Vegan

Green Tomato Pickle

Green tomatoes, fenugreek, and chilly powder?

ingredients
They combine to create something that will leave you drooling and smacking your lips!

Green Tomato pickle

My friend Anjana brought this green tomato pickle to office. Thus began the green tomato movement. Now I am a green tomato pickle propagator!

I leave it to my friend to explain how this can be made in the best possible way. Watch this space. She will be sharing her secret recipe.

Green Tomato Pickle Recipe
The green tomato pickle is a personal favorite. To call it a pickle is actually a mistake, considering that I eat it like a chutney (which is in unimaginably huge quantities).

This is a versatile pickle / chutney. It can be had with idli/dosa, chapati, parathas, upma, rice, and even bread. Two slices of bread with a slice of cheese and this pickle in between must be tried at least once.

It’s actually really simple and hardly takes any time. As a random and irregular cook, I am very bad with the proportions. But my mother, who is a non-random and measured person (pun intended), has helped with the proportions and the method here. She makes the tastiest green tomato pickle that I have ever had.

Roasted FenugreekIngredients:
Green raw tomatoes – 250 gm
Roasted fenugreek seeds powdered (uluva, venthayam, methi) – 1/2 tsp
Red chilly powder (spicy variety) – 3/4-1 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida (kayam, hing) – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Salt – to taste
Sesame Oil (nallenna, til oil)- 1 tbsp

Method:
grind fenugreekDry roast the methi seeds in a pan and powder it. Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. Let it crackle. Add a little asafoetida. To this, add the chopped raw tomatoes, salt, turmeric powder, and let it cook. After about five minutes, when the tomatoes cook (show signs of peeling), add the red chilly powder, roasted methi powder, and the remaining asafoetida.

After about 10 more minutes of cooking, its ready to eat. Tastes best when rested for a couple of hours because it takes some time for the flavors to blend and soak in.

Most pickles that are made during the yearly mango or gooseberry season are shelved in a cool, dry, dark place and untouched for months before they taste their best and are ready for consumption. But some pickles (especially the ones made during Malayali weddings and special occasions are made just the day before). This is one of those ready-to-eat kinds. It does not have a very long shelf life – lasts a week at the most. Hope you like it!

– Contributed by Anjana Nagabhushana

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Dals/OzhichuKootaan/Saaru, Kerala Recipes, Main Dish, South Indian

Sambar

Sambar is a versatile dal curry. It tastes good with almost everything. You can have it with rice, dosa, idli, even chapathi!

There are various types of sambar and different styles of making it. This is a simpler version, which can be made even if you do not have whole ingredients or a ready-made sambar powder but turns out equally tasty. Try it!

Ingredients:

Toor dal – 1 cup
Drumstick – 2
Malabar cucumber/ash gourd – 100 gms
Potatoes – 2
Tomatoes – 2
Lady’s finger – 6-8
Tamarind – a lime-sized ball
Curry leaves – 2 stalks
Coriander leaves – 1 tbsp chopped
Salt to taste
Water – 3-4 cups

For seasoning:

Coriander powder – 2 table spoons
Asafetida – 1/4 tea spoon
Red chilly powder – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tea spoon
Methi(fenugreek) seeds – 1/4 tea spoon
Oil – 1 tsp

Preparation Time: 15 mins.

Cooking Time: 20 mins.

Method:

Wash toor dal and add some turmeric powder and pressure cook it. Mash the dal and keep it aside.

Soak the tamarind in warm water and extract the juice.

Wash, peel, and cut the vegetables in 1/2 inch sized cubes. Put all the vegetables except tomato in a vessel. Add enough water to cover all the vegetables and a pinch of turmeric powder and cook. When the vegetables are cooked, add the tamarind paste and add tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the cooked dal to this mixture. Add salt and mix boil for 2 minutes. Add more water if needed.

Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard and methi seeds. When they crackle, add coriander powder, red chilly powder, asofetida. Take care to not burn the powders. Add half a glass of water and cook this mixture for 2 minutes. Instead of adding these powders, you can buy sambar powder from the market and add 2 tbsps of that. Add this to the vegetables. Add curry leaves and chopped coriander leaves and garnish. Hot sambhar is ready.

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