Everyday Simple Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegan

Long Beans Stir Fry – Kerala Style

A dry vegetable side dish perfect to go with rice. You can make it with all the three vegetables suggested here, i.e. long beans, elephant yam, and raw plantain or you could cook them individually in the same method. This dish tastes best when Kerala nenthra variety of raw plantains are used but you can make it with other variety of raw bananas also. This dish used to be a favorite and a regular at my paternal ancestral home. I still remember the taste of this dish when my aunt made it. It would taste so delicious with the earthy flavors of the yam and delicate smell of the coconut oil and curry leaves. Since not many spices are used, the taste of the vegetables and the curry leaves fried in coconut oil is predominant in this dish. My aunt usually made this along with pulingari (a dish similar to sambhar) which was a much loved combo.

Long beans – 200 gm
Elephant yam – 100 gm
Raw plantain (banana) – 1 medium sized
Chopped shallots / onion – 2 tbsp (optional)
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Red chili powder / Whole dry red chili – 1/2 to 3/4 tsp or 2 whole pieces
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Coconut oil – as required
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Water- as required
Salt to taste

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 – 30 minutes
Serves: 4 to 5 people

Clean the long beans, cut the ends and chop them to 1 to 1.5-inch long pieces. For beans that are mature (you can identify this from the seeds bulging out slightly), slit them open and use only the seeds. Remove the skin of the elephant yam, wash thoroughly, and cut into 1-cm cubes. Remove the outer skin of the raw plantain and cut into small pieces. Put all the cut vegetables into a pot, add half a cup of water and turmeric powder. Cook in slow fire with a closed lid, stirring occasionally.
Once all the moisture dries up and the vegetables are tender, turn off the fire. Heat an iron kadai (this is preferred as it enhances the flavor) and pour oil.
Add mustard seeds and once they crackle, add shallots that are lightly crushed using a mortar and pestle. (you can chop the shallots / onion but I prefer crushing them lightly). Onion is optional. You may skip it also.
Saute the shallots well. Add curry leaves and chili powder. Mix well.
Add the cooked vegetables, add salt, mix well,
Reduce the flame and cook flame to low,add  turmeric powder and red chili powder.Saute for few minutes until all the moisture is absorbed and the stir fry dish is lightly roasted. Turn off the flame and serve with rice.

Kerala Recipes, Side Dishes, South Indian, Vegan

Koorka Mezhukkupuratti (Chinese Potato Stir Fry)

It is koorka season once again. This root vegetable, mostly found in Kerala, is a close cousin of potato, but with much more character and flavor than the mundane potato. Koorka has a very earthy flavor and is very tasty. I prefer cooking koorka using minimal spices so that nothing else overpowers its original flavor and aroma. Hence I do not use any garlic or masalas. Many a times we do not even use shallots/onion but just plain koorka cooked in coconut oil along with mustard seeds and curry leaves. The taste is in retaining the unique koorka flavor.

Since koorka is small in size and is hairy and muddy, cleaning koorka is a time-consuming task. But there are some shortcuts. The easiest method is to pressure cook it along with water (just like potato) to 1-2 whistles, cool it, and then peel it. Cooking it this way makes koorka soft. Another method is to wrap the koorka in a gunny bag or moderately thick cloth and beat it against a rough stone surface and use your hands to scrape over the cloth so that the koorkas brush against each other. Do this for 5-10 minutes and most of the koorka peels come off. But then again, you will have to clean/remove the leftover peels from individual koorkas and this can be time consuming. Wash and rinse the koorka multiple times until all mud/peel goes off the koorka. Cut it to desired pieces and cook with some water. Personally, I prefer the second method because it retains firmness of the koorka.

Koorka – 250 gms
Shallots – 5-6 (optional)
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Chilly powder – 1 tsp
Oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Water as needed
Salt as needed

Preparation Time: 30-45 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves: 2 to 3 people

Wash, clean, and cut the koorka into long thin slices. As mentioned above, you may choose to pressure cook it or peel the raw vegetable and cut it into slices. If you are peeling it raw, make sure that you immerse the pieces in water until you are ready to cook it. Just like potato, if exposed to air, koorka gets oxidized. Immersing it in water prevents discoloration/oxidation.
In a pan, add the sliced koorka pieces,turmeric powder, chili powder, and water just enough to immerse the pieces. Cover and cook until water is completely absorbed and the pieces are tender. Be careful not to overcook. Add salt and stir well.
Crush the shallots using a mortar and pestle. It is desirable to use mortar and pestle because a mixer would turn it into a paste. The idea is to just crush it to bring out the flavor.
Heat oil in a pan, add mustard, and let it crackle. Add the crushed shallots and curry leaves. Saute until the shallots turn golden brown. Add cooked koorka and mix well. If you prefer them crispy, add a little more oil and simmer for about 5-10 minutes until the koorka pieces turn slight golden brown. Serve with rice.

Notes: Cleaning koorka using the second method can make the skin in your fingers dark and a little rough. The easiest way to clean your skin is to apply some oil on your hands and then slowly rub a pumice stone against the affected areas in the skin. You can see the normal skin texture and color return in few seconds. After you are done with all affected areas, wash hands with soap and water.

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

Chakkakuru Mezhukkupuratti – Jackfruit Seed Stir Fry

We Indians don’t need lessons in frugality. Every tiny thing that can be used will be utilized and will not be wasted. When a ripe jackfruit is cut at home, the fruit is deseeded and eaten. The outer covering of the fruit is given to cattle. Cows love munching on the thick outer covering leftovers. So now the only thing that remains is the jackfruit seed. In mallu land, we make chakkakuru mezhukkupuratti (jackfruit seed stir fry) which is a very easy and tasty dish. It is also added to many different subzis such as avial. Jackfruit seeds are rich in protein, antioxidants, good sources of riboflavin and thiamine, and good for the skin, complexion, and hair.

Jackfruit seeds – 15-20
Onion/Shallots- 1/10 shallots
Dry red chilies/Red chilly powder – 2 Nos/1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Water – 1 cup
Salt – To taste
Coconut oil – 1 tbsp

boiled jackfruit seedsMethod:
There are two ways to clean and prep the jackfruit seeds to make this dish.

Method 1 – Like potatoes, jackfruit seeds take some time to cook. The easiest way to cook jackfruit seeds is to pressure cook them for one whistle along with some amount of water. After pressure cooking the seeds, remove excess water and the off-white outer covering of the seed. Beneath the off-white peel is a dark brown covering. This can be retained. Dice into desired shape (long pieces or into cubes).

Method 2: This is the method I often follow. Place the seeds on a newspaper and place this on the floor. Use a pestle to pound the seeds lightly with force just enough to crush them. The peel comes off easily. Cut into desired shape. Cook them in a pan along with water until they turn soft.


You can either grind the onion and red chilies into a smooth paste or you can use finely chopped onion and red chilly powder.

Heat a thick bottomed frying pan and pour oil. Add mustard seeds. After the mustard seeds splutter, add the onion paste/finely chopped onion and curry leaves. Fry until chopped onion is soft/onion paste loses its raw smell. Add the cut jackfruit seeds and salt. Stir fry for about 10 minutes. You might need to add more oil if you want the edges to turn crisp. Serve as a dry subzi along with rice.

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