Everyday Simple Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Millet Recipes, South Indian, Sweets, Vegan

Roasted Multigrain Laddu

DSC01641.JPGMost traditional Kerala sweets are healthy and guilt-free – ari unda, ela ada, sweet dosa, and so on. They are not too rich or overwhelming yet utterly satisfying. Unni appam is the only exception that I can think of. Most other sweets including payasam (kheer) are rich in taste yet not fried or sinful.

Ari unda (Rice laddu) is an excellent traditional item that does not need any special expertise to make. If you are expecting guests at home and know that they will be staying over, this is an easy option to stock up. Since it has a week’s shelf life, it makes a wonderful gift item to take along with you while visiting a loved one. I tried my own version of ari unda by blending few other grains along with rice. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients

Ingredients:
Parbolied Rice (Puzhukkal ari)- 1 cup
Whole Wheat/Broken Wheat – 1-1/2 or 2 cups
Green whole mung dal (cherupayar) – 1/4 cup
Ragi – 1/4 cup
Jaggery (grated) – 2-1/2 cup (as much as the quantity of grains. Adjust to taste)
Water – 1 cup
Grated Coconut – 1-1/2 cups
Cardamom – 4-5
Dry ginger powder/soonth/chukku – 1/2 tsp

Preparation time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 45 mins – 1 hr
Makes: 20-25 laddus

Method:
In a thick iron wok, roast the rice, broken wheat, green mung, and ragi separately until the raw smell is gone. The rice should turn crisp and golden brown. The secret to soft laddus is in the roasting of the grains. It has to be very well roasted until the rice breaks and pops up. Bite the roasted rice to see if it cracks easily. The other ingredients should change color and lose the raw smell. Remember to roast each ingredient separately because the roasting time for each is different. Remove from fire and let it cool.

Multigrain ladduGrind the roasted ingredients along with cardamom and dry ginger to a smooth powder. Keep aside. Grind the grated coconut in the mixer to a coarse powder. Do not grind too much as the coconut will turn into a paste. Stop grinding when the coconut becomes coarse. Transfer and mix well with the powdered grains.

Make jaggery syrup by adding a cup of water to the jaggery and heating it. When the jaggery is diluted, strain it to remove impurities. Then, boil the strained jaggery syrup to a string consistency. Turn off the heat. Add small quantities of jaggery syrup to the mixture of powdered grains and coconut. Add enough to moisten the powder. Taste a little bit of this mixture to check for sweetness. Add more jaggery syrup or powdered mixture as required to adjust to desired sweetness level. Use your palm to shape into small firm round balls. You can roll the shaped laddu on some dry powdered mixture to firm it up a little bit and make it less sticky. Repeat until all the blended mixture is made into small balls. Make sure that the jaggery syrup that you add to the powder is warm enough. For this, you may have to reheat the syrup depending on the time you take to shape the laddus. But you cant keep the syrup on flame all the while that you are making the laddu because that will make it too thick and sticky.

Transfer into an airtight container. This will last for 7-10 days. You can refrigerate this and use it for longer.

Multigrain Laddu

These sweet laddus are extremely flavorful with the aroma of roasted grains, smell of grated coconut, cardamom, dry ginger, and with its coarse yet soft texture, you will not stop at just one.

Bachelor-friendly, Everyday Simple Recipes, Indian, Snacks, Tiffin, Vegan

Boiled Peanut Chaat

Peeled peanutsIt is groundnut season again. Bangalore has a unique festival dedicated to celebrating this nutritious nut. Many years back, Basavanagudi, a place in Bangalore, was surrounded by villages where groundnut was cultivated. On full moon nights, a bull used to charge and destroy the crops and the farmers were really upset and prayed to Basava aka Nandi (bull) Shiva’s vehicle) that they would offer their first crop to Nandi if their crops are preserved. Soon after this, a Nandi’s idol was found at Basavanagudi, and the farmers started worshipping Him. The idol started growing in size tremendously and to arrest the growth, the farmers put an iron rod on the idol’s head. You can see this nail in the form of a Trishul when you visit the Bull Temple at Basavanagudi. The tradition of offering the first crop of groundnuts continues till date. The annual Kadalekai Parishe (Groundnut Festival) is on right now.

Eating seasonal and local produce is the best for health as well as sustainability. Buying local produce means that the goods reach you sooner thus ensuring minimal loss of nutrients. By doing this you also support local farmers. Earth knows what is best for us in which climate. All seasonal crops are best suited for the climate of the season in which they get ripe. To give some examples, cucumber and watermelon available in plenty during summer acts as tummy coolants. Peanuts, Chinese potato, and other yam varieties found only in winter gives heat to the body. The recipe here is very simple, easy to make, nutritious, and chatpata. Involve children and all family members while peeling the groundnuts. With all the chitchat and banter, you will not realize how fast the work gets done.

Ingredients:
Raw groundnuts – 1 cup
Raw mango (medium size) – quarter portion
Coconut – 2 thin ring slices from a broken coconut
Coriander leaves – 2 tbsp
Green chilies – 2
Lime juice – 1/2 lime
Olive oil – 1 tsp
Rock salt as needed

Preparation Time: 30 mins
Cooking Time: 5 mins
Servings: 3 small cups

Method:
Peel the groundnuts. Boil them in minimal water along with some rock salt. (I pressure cooked them to one whistle). Remove the water if there is excess left after boiling. Chop mango piece and coconut slices into small thin pieces. Slit green chilies. Remove the seeds. Chop into thin pieces. Chop coriander finely. Add all the chopped ingredients to the boiled peanuts. Add lime juice. Adjust salt if required. Pour oil. Mix well and serve.

Dals/OzhichuKootaan/Saaru, Everyday Simple Recipes, Kerala Recipes, South Indian, Vegan

Sprouted Horsegram Curry (Mulappicha Muthiracurry)

Horsegram curryOne of the best ways to include fiber in our diet is to eat whole grains and legumes. Sprouted legume immensely increases the nutritive value of the food. Horse gram is a legume that is high in iron and a good source of protein. It is a fairly good source of calcium as well. Horse gram aids weight loss.

For many years I stuck to the familiar diet that is made at home; sambar, rasam, avial, moloshyam (dal curry), and so on. Recently I have been trying to experiment and include new ingredients in my diet. This is good for a variety of reasons. Most hereditary diseases are passed on due to dietary and lifestyle habits in a family. I personally believe that when you include new items in your diet, it reduces your chances of developing certain hereditary conditions/diseases.

Here is an experiment with horse gram that I am very satisfied with. A simple sprouted horse gram curry.

Ingredients:
Horse gram – 1 cup
Water – as needed
Tamarind – 1/2 lime sized
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste

For grinding:
Coconut – 1/2 cup
Cumin seeds/Jeera/Jeerakam – 1/2 tsp
Shallot – 1
Urad dal – 1/2 tsp
Dry red chillies – 4-5

For tempering:
Coconut oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig

Sprouted horsegramMethod:
Soak the horse gram in water for 6-8 hours. Drain the water and clean the horse gram. Remove all the non-viable ones. Keep the drained, wet horse gram covered in the same vessel for the next 8-12 hours. The sprouting time varies depending on the weather in your region. Wash the sprouted horse gram with clean water.

Pressure-cook the horse gram with water just enough to soak the sprouted horse gram. Horse gram is a tough legume and takes time to cook and needs cooking time of 2-3 whistles. After opening the pressure cooker lid, you can use a masher to mash some of the horse gram. This helps give a good gravy consistency to the curry. Add turmeric powder and salt and cook for 2-3 minutes. Soak tamarind in warm water, extract tamarind juice, and add to the cooked horse gram.

Meanwhile, pour a drop of oil in a pan and add urad dal. Roast until golden. Break the dry red chillies into 2-3 pieces and add it to the roasted urad dal. Roast for less than a minute and turn off. Grind this along with the shallot, jeera, and coconut. Add this to the cooked horse gram. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes. When the curry starts boiling and bubbling, turn off the fire. In a pan, splutter mustard seeds in coconut oil. Add curry leaves to the spluttered mustard seeds, turn off the fire, and add to cooked horse gram curry. Serve with hot rice or roti.

If you enjoyed reading this recipe, please consider subscribing to this blog. It’s free and you will receive e-mail notifications with each updation.

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

Jackfruit Seed Erissery (Chakkakuru Erissery)

Jackfruit seed erisseryErissery is a dish that holds an esteemed place in the Kerala sadya. Classic erissery is made with yam and raw banana cooked in a simple gravy of coconut, pepper, and jeera and tempered with roasted coconut. Erissery is a perfect example of the simplicity of traditional Kerala cooking. During summer season, jackfruit and mangoes are abundant in Kerala. Known for resourcefulness, we use all edible parts of a plant/vegetable. After consumption of jackfruit kernels, the seeds are usually saved for later cooking. The seeds are added in avials or used to make mezhukupuratti (stir fry). Here is an erissery made of jackfruit seeds.

IngredientsIngredients:
Jackfruit seeds – 15-20
Chilly powder – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt

For Gravy:
Grated coconut – 1 and 1/2 cup
Black Pepper/kurumulaku – 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds/Jeera/jeerakam – 1/2 tsp

For Seasoning:
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves – a sprig
Coconut oil – 2 tbsp

Salt – to taste

pressure cooked jackfruit seedsMethod:
Pressure cook the jackfruit seeds for up to two whistles. Jackfruit seeds can be cooked normally, but this can be time consuming. Also, jackfruit seeds are more easy to peel after they are cooked. Hence I prefer pressure cooking the jackfruit seeds and then peeling the outer hard white skin. It’s okay to retain the brown layer on the seed. Cut the peeled jackfruit seeds into inch-long pieces (you can choose any other shape as per your preference). Put jackfruit pieces in a pan, add chilly powder, turmeric powder, and salt. Sprinkle little bit of water and let it cook for two minutes. This ensures that salt is spread evenly in all pieces.

Add the coconut paste to jackfruit seedsMeanwhile, grind one cup grated coconut, cumin seeds, and whole black pepper (instead, you could use pepper power) into a smooth paste. Add this to the jackfruit seed pieces. Mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes and then turn off.

Heat a pan and pour oil and add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds crackle, add curry leaves and half a cup coconut. Fry until the coconut turns golden brown and you start getting the aroma of roasted coconut. Turn off and add to the cooked jackfruit pieces. Mix well. Serve with hot rice.

If you enjoyed reading this recipe, please consider subscribing to this blog. It’s free and you will receive e-mail notifications with each updation.

Everyday Simple Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegan

Thaal Avial – Colocasia Stem Avial

“Naattinpuram nanmakalaal samruddham”
This line from a Malayalam poem loosely translates to “Goodness abounds in the village.” Life in the village is so much about sharing. Produces from your garden, special items made in the kitchen, sweets and savories that relatives bring, everything is shared with neighbors. Commonly cultivated backyard vegetables like drumstick, drumstick leaves, mango, jackfruit, all these items are shared with neighbors. Colocasia is one such plant/vegetable that neighbors share. Pictured here is a very sweet and super-efficient Saraswathi chechi, a great lady. One of her many roles include being a domestic help to my mother and many other families in our neighborhood. All special items such as banana stem, drumsticks, colocasia stem, tender jackfruit, raw mango, pass hands through Saraswathi chechi and a portion reaches all households in the vicinity.

Tender leaves inside colocasia stemI would say that the colocasia plant is highly underrated. All parts of the colocasia plant – leaves, stem, and bulb can be used for cooking. Not all varieties are edible. Some that grow in wilder areas are to be avoided, I hear. Gujarati cuisine has colocasia leaf rolls called Paatra. The Mangalore region also has recipes using the leaf. I am not sure if any cuisine apart from Kerala uses colocasia stem. At home, we make 3-4 different varieties of dishes using colocasia stem and the leaf.

Thaal (colocasia stem) avial is a dish that I learned from a neighbor while I stayed in Kochi. The best part about learning a recipe from someone is that you can never forget them even after many years. The first time you tasted that dish and how it smelled then lingers in your mind forever. Along with that the people involved with that memory stay on too.

There have been many requests for this recipe. Due to lack of availability of ingredients, I have had to wait long before I could make the dish and click photographs. I was super excited yesterday when I finally got to make the dish after waiting for several years; all thanks to Saraswathi chechi.

IngredientsIngredients:
Colocasia stem (medium sized) – 2
Long beans – 100 gms
Raw banana (long) – 1
Raw papaya – 200 gms
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Red chili powder – 1 tbsp
Tamarind – lime sized
Water – as needed
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Coconut oil – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

To Grind:
Grated coconut – 1 half coconut
Jeera – 1/2 tsp
Shallot – 1

Peel colocasia stemMethod:
Wash all the vegetables. Peel the skin from colocasia stem. Remove the edges from long beans. Peel raw papaya and raw banana. Cut all the vegetables into one-inch long pieces. Keep the raw banana pieces separately. Add 1/4 tsp turmeric powder to a bowl of water and put the raw banana pieces in this bowl of water. Keep aside. The colocasia stem pieces seem like a lot but it shrinks to 1/4th size when cooked.

Keep raw banana pieces separately

Soak tamarind in 4-5 tbsp of water and keep aside.

Add tumeric, chilly powder, and saltPut all the vegetables except raw banana in a thick-bottomed vessel. Add 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, red chili powder, and salt. Add 1/2 cup water to the vegetables, close the lid, and maintain medium fire. Stir occasionally and cook for 5 mins. When the vegetables start looking pale and getting cooked, add the raw banana pieces. Stir well and close and cook for another five minutes. Extract tamarind juice from soaked tamarind. Add to the vegetables being cooked. Mix well.

Meanwhile, grind the grated coconut, shallot, and jeera to a coarse paste without adding much of water. When the vegetables are well-cooked and the salt and tamarind extract has been absorbed into the vegetables, mix the ground coconut paste with the vegetables. Cook for two minutes. Add curry leaves. Turn off. Add coconut oil and mix well. Enjoy the wafting aroma when you mix fresh curry leaves with the hot vegetables and coconut oil. Serve hot along with rice.

If you enjoyed reading this recipe, please consider subscribing to this blog. It’s free and you will receive e-mail notifications with each updation.

Chutneys/Thogayals/Dips/Podis, Everyday Simple Recipes, Kerala Recipes, South Indian, Tiffin, Vegan

Navaratna Chutney

Dosa served with Navaratna chutney and podiBreakfast options for most South Indian households are usually standard – dosa or idli. A chutney or a gravy accompaniment can turn the standard breakfast into an exotic one. Here is Navaratna chutney that is made from raw ingredients. This chutney is a great way of including the goodness of raw greens in your diet.

Ingredients:
Coconut – 1 cup
Shallots – 6-7
Coriander – 2 cups (tightly packed)
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Green chilies – 2 big or 3 medium sized
Ginger – 1/2 inch size
Garlic – 2-3 cloves
Tamarind – marble sized
Salt as needed

Method:
All you need to do is to blend the ingredients together to get a smooth but slightly coarse paste.

After you spread your dosa and drizzle oil, sprinkle some chutney podi on the surface and spread it using the spatula. Flip the dosa and cook. Serve this podi dosa along with chutney. Tastes awesome to all those who crave for that extra punch!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Notes: 1. You can add mint leaves also if you like the taste and flavor.
2. You may add the tender stems of the coriander leaves also in this chutney.
3. If you do not have tamarind at home, you can replace it with lemon juice although there will be a very subtle variation in taste. Both are tasty in their own unique way.

Recipe courtesy: Rajuchechi and Indrachechi

If you enjoyed reading this recipe, please consider subscribing to this blog. It’s free and you will receive e-mail notifications with each updation.

Kerala Recipes, South Indian, Sweets, Vegan

Ari Unda (Rice Laddoo)

Kerala’s very own sweet. Quintessential Kerala ingredients; rice, coconut, and jaggery; are used to make this unassuming sweet.

Ari unda

Popping an ari unda into your mouth after a meal can be an utterly satisfying experience and the best part is that you can do so without feeling sinful or guilty. It is a very healthy sweet since it is devoid of oil, ghee, or sugar. It is a very good gifting option also as it has good shelf life and can be enjoyed by all age groups.

Ingredients:
Parboiled rice – 1 cup
Whole wheat grain – 1/2 cup (optional)
Whole green mung beans – 1/2 cup (optional)
Jaggery – 2 cups (Same amount as the grains used)
Grated coconut – ½ cup
Dry ginger – ½ tsp/half inch
Elaichi/cardamom – 2-3 pods

Method:
In a thick iron wok, dry roast the grains (rice, wheat, and mung beans) separately until they change color and start giving out a wonderful aroma. In case of rice and wheat, they will start to pop. Green mung turns brown. Rice and wheat takes roughly 10-15 minutes of roasting time each in medium fire. Remove from fire and allow the rice to cool.

Parboiled rice before and after roasting

Grate coconut and powder the jaggery. In a mixer, grind the rice into a powder, not too fine but not very coarse either. If you are using whole dry ginger, powder it along with the grains. Add the elaichi pods along with the rice while grinding. Keep two tablespoonfuls of powdered rice aside.

Mix well

After you finish powdering the rice, add jaggery, grated coconut and some powdered rice into the mixer jar and blend well. Remove from the mixer jar and mix the powdered rice, jaggery, and grated coconut well. The moisture from jaggery and grated coconut moistens the rice. If you are using dry ginger powder, add it now. Using dry ginger adds a nice flavor and aids digestion.

 

Make balls out of this mixer and use the powdered rice that you kept aside to coat the moist balls.

rice laddooThis stays good (in normal temperature) only for 4-5 days because of the presence of fresh coconut. However, you can refrigerate this for up to 15-20 days. Another version that is made traditionally in my house involves mixing the powdered rice with jaggery syrup. This version uses copra instead of grated coconut and hence has a good shelf life of 2-3 weeks. The only downside to this version is that due to the use of jaggery syrup, depending on the consistency of the syrup the laddus harden and breaking them with your teeth can be quite a task!

Some jaggery varieties are not moist enough to hold together and firm up the laddus. In such cases, you will need to use jaggery syrup instead of powdered jaggery for the laddus. Make jaggery syrup by adding a cup of water to the jaggery and heating it. When the jaggery is diluted, strain it to remove impurities. Then, boil the strained jaggery syrup to a string consistency. Turn off the heat. Add small quantities of this syrup to the mixture of powdered grains and coconut/roasted copra. Add enough to moisten the powder and then use your palm to shape into laddus. You can roll the shaped laddu on some dry powder to firm it up a little bit. Make sure that the jaggery syrup that you add to the powder is warm enough. For this, you may have to reheat the syrup depending on the time you take to shape the laddus. But you cant keep the syrup on flame all the while that you are making the laddu because that will make it too thick and sticky.