Puli Inji

Cooking up and preparing for Onam is fun but missing home terribly and so is the case at home too. Said that, can’t wait to be home soon in a couple of months and really looking forward to that now.  
And today’s recipe is a very essential part of the sadhya. Call it a sweet and sour ginger pickle of Kerala where ginger is cooked in a tangy-sweet sauce.  Just recently did I know that inji puli and puli inji are two different recipes (of course a slight difference not huge).  One has little more chili while the other has more Puli.  
There are many variation of this in different part of Kerala and here’s how my Mom makes it. You may alter the addition of chili or Jaggery to suit your taste. 
You need –
  • Fresh ginger – finely chopped, 1 cup
  • Tamarind – a lemon size ball, soaked in 3/4 cup of hot water.
  • Jaggery – grated, 2 tablespoons
  • chili powder – 1/2 teaspoon or as per taste
  • Green chili – 2, finely chopped
  • Asafetida – a pinch
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Coconut oil – as required
  • Salt to taste
How to –
Squeeze the soaked tamarind; extract the juice and set aside.
Heat oil and fry the ginger till golden brown. remove and set aside. In the same pan add oil if required; once heated add the mustard seeds and allow to splatter. Tip the green chili, curry leaves and fry briefly for a couple of seconds.
Add the chili powder, asafetida and saute for 2 minutes over medium heat. Add the fried ginger and mix well.
Add the tamarind water, jaggery, salt to taste and mix well and cook till mixture is thick and pulpy.
Turn off the heat and let it rest for an hour before you serve. cool completely before you jar it.

Ishtu / Kerala potato stew

Kerala’s potato stew is a creamy and mildly spiced, which is pretty easy to make.  It is served with Appam and is also a must during festivals and special occasions.  
Appam and Ishtu/stew is yet another favorite at home. This makes to our dinner table at least once in a week.  We like our ishtu a bit thick (not too runny). So please adjust the consistency of the gravy to your choice. 

You need –

  • Potatoes – 2, large boiled, peeled and roughly mashed
  • Thick coconut milk – 3/4 cup
  • Onion – 1 medium, thinly sliced
  • Green Chilies – 1 or as per taste
  • Ginger – I small piece, finely sliced
  • Salt – to taste
  • Curry Leaves – 1 sprig
  • Coconut Oil – 2 teaspoons
  • Water – 3/4 cup

How to –

In a pan add the water, sliced onion, green chili, curry leaves, ginger and bring to a rolling boil.

Add the potatoes and mix well. Continue to cook for 2 minutes.

Add the coconut milk, salt and bring to a gentle simmer but do not boil.

Drizzle the coconut oil and cover and let it sit for a few minutes before you serve.



Kadala parippu pradhaman / Chana dal Kheer

Onam is here again! and I have planned to post onam sadya recipes this week. Unsure if I will be able to do all of it by 16th; yet promise to fit in as much as possible. I already have a few that you might want to check out

And today I have this delicious payasam/pradhaman made of coconut milk and chana dhal. Traditionally fried coconut pieces are also added in but I forgot to buy them and realised only when I started making the payasam. 

You need –

  • Chana dal – 250 grams, cleaned & washed
  • Palm sugar/ Jaggery – 400 grams, grated
  • Coconut milk
    • Think Coconut milk – 3/4 cup
    • Medium thick coconut milk – 1.5 cups
    • Thin coconut milk – 3 cups
  • Ghee – 2 tablespoon + 1 tablespoon of frying cashewnuts
  • Cardamom powder – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Cashewnut and coconut pieces – 40 grams each

How to –

In pressure cooker, cook the dal with enough water (around 3 cups). Once done mash roughly and set aside.

In pan melt the palm sugar/jaggery with 1/4 tablespoon water and aside. Now heat a heavy bottom pan and add 2 tablespoons of ghee. Add the cooked dal and melted jaggery and mix well. Be careful as the ghee will start to splatter so take care.

Stir till everything is well combined. Now add the thin coconut milk and bring to a rolling boil. Add the medium thick coconut milk and cook till the payasam thickens and reduces to half. Stir frequently. Add the Thick coconut milk and bring to a gently simmer.
Turn off the heat add the cardamom powder and mix well.

In a small frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of ghee and fry the cashew and coconut pieces (if using) till golden brown. Add this to the payasam and mix well. Serve hot.



Kozhi Varuval / Chettinad pepper chicken

This spicy and so flavorful dish is from Chettinad, Tamilnadu, south of India. Chettinad is famous for their use of spices and very aromatic dishes. If you would like to read more of then click here
I am an absolute lover of Chettinad cuisine and this being one of my favorite. I love this with my rice and rasam. Please adjust the quantity of pepper and green chili to suit your taste and I would also recon to use freshly ground pepper. I have used store brought tomato paste but if using whole tomato then make sure to cook till mushy before you add the chicken. 

You need –

  • Chicken – 750 grams , cleaned and cut into bite size pieces
  • Shallots – finely chopped, 1 cup
  • Green chili – 1, slit length-wise
  • Ginger and garlic paste – 1 tablespoon each
  • Tomato paste – 2.5 teaspoon
  • Freshly ground pepper (coarsely) – 3 teaspoons
  • Coriander powder – 1 tablespoon
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Fennel powder – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Garam masala – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Curry leaves – 2 twigs
  • Oil – 1 tablespoon or as required
  • Salt to taste

How to –

Heat oil in a pan and add the finely chopped shallots. Cook till translucent. Add in the ginger-garlic paste, green chili and continue to cook till the raw smell of ginger-garlic is gone and the onions turn golden brown.

Add 2.5 teaspoons of ground pepper (reserve 1/2 teaspoon for the last) , coriander powder, turmeric powder, fennel powder and cook till the oil start to separate. Add the tomato paste (add a tablespoon of water if the mixture too dry), salt to taste and  cook briefly for a few seconds. Add the chicken pieces and mix well to coat. Add about 1/4 cup water and curry leaves; cover and cook till done.

Uncover, continue to cook till the gravy is almost dry and stirring continuously .  Now sprinkle the remaining 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper and garam masala and mix well.

Turn off the heat and serve hot with rice and curry.


Cherupayar curry

Kerala’s mung dal/ green gram curry  is preferred with Puttu (steamed ground rice breakfast dish of Kerala , a combo made in heaven according to my hubby. Well for me the two are sure my favorites but not the combo. I like my puttu with banana and sugar and the later with rice. But being true to my roots, I do like to savor puttu with the curry once in a while.

You need –

  • Mung bean – 1/3 cups
  • grated coconut – 1/3 cup
  • Coconut milk – 1/4 cup
  • cumin seed – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 teaspoon
  • green chilies – 1-2, slit length-wise
  • Shallots – 3-4, finely sliced
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  • dried chili – 1
  • curry leaves – 1 stwig
  • coconut oil – 1 tablespoon
  • salt to taste

How to –

In a blender, put the grated coconut, cumin seeds and whiz to a fine paste; adding just enough water. Set aside.

In pressure cooker, cook the payar/mung been with green chili, turmeric powder and add water a required. Once done, uncover and keep the heat over medium heat.Stir the coconut paste, salt and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the coconut milk, (add water to adjust the consistency of the curry if need be) few curry leaves; bring to a gentle simmer and turn off the heat. 

In a small pan, heat the oil. add the mustards seed and once they start to pop add the curry leaves and dried chili. Sauté briefly. Add the chopped shallots and cook till golden brown. Turn off the heat and add this to the curry and mix well.

Serve hot with Puttu , rice or roti.



Sakkarai Pongal

A famous South Indian delicacy and yet another favorite of mine.  Made during the harvest festival in the State of Tamilnadu, South of India.   Traditionally made with newly harvested rice and cooked with milk. This is also served in most temples during the auspicious days /festivals. 

You need –

  • Raw white rice – 1/2 cup
  • Yellow moong dal – 1 tablespoon
  • Jaggery/palm sugar – grated, 1 cup
  • cardamon powder – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Cashew nuts – 10-12 nos
  • Raisins – 10-12 nos
  • Ghee/ clarified butter – 2 tablespoon

How to –

Slightly dry roast the rice and dal together in pan making sure not to brown the rice and dal. Add 1 & 1/2 cups of water and pressure cook till the rice and dal cooked through and mushy.

In a sauce pan, melt the jaggery with 2 tablespoon water,  and bring to a boil. Now add the cardamom powder. Add this mixture to the rice and stir well.

Heat the ghee in a small frying pan and fry the cashew nuts and raisins. Add fried nuts with the ghee to the rice and mix well.On a low flame continue to cook for a couple of minutes stirring continuously till everything is well combined.

Serve hot.


Lemon Rice

A popular South Indian rice specialty where the rice is flavored with lemon juice, turmeric and tempered with few spices and peanuts. 
This fresh citrus flavored rice is one of the most loved dish at home. Infact this is a favorite of my mom too; one the first dish she learned to make after she moved to Bangalore from Kerala. So a lot of fond memories attached.

You need –

  • Basmati Rice – 1 cup
  • water – 2 cups
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Lemon juice – 1 tablespoon
  • Peanuts – 1/4 cup
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Urad dal – 1 teaspoon
  • Green chilli – 1, slit
  • Curry leaves – 1 twig
  • Asafoetida  – a pinch
  • Dried chili – 1
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil – 2 tablespoon
  • Water – 2 cups

How to –

Wash the rice and soak for 15 minutes. Drain the water completely off.

In a pan, bring the water turmeric and salt to rolling boil and add the rice. Cook till done. Once the rice is cooked. Keep it uncovered for a few minutes before you use a fork to fluff up the rice slowly. Set aside.

Heat oil in pan, Add the mustard seeds. when they start to pop, add the add the dried chili, urad dal, Asafoetida, curry leaves, Green chili and peanuts. Cook till the peanuts are slightly browned, stirring  constantly.

Pour this over the rice along with lemon juice and mix well. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly.

Serve hot with you favorite chutney or pickle.


Rava Dosa

You need –

For the batter

  • Semolina/Rava – 1/2 cup
  • Rice flour – 1/2 cup
  • All purpose flour – 1/4 cup
  • Yogurt – 1/4 cup (beaten)
  • Onion – 1 medium ,minced or finely chopped
  • Green chili – 1, chopped
  • Ginger – finely chopped, 1 tablespoon
  • coriander leaves – chopped, 2 tablespoon
  • Curry leaves – 1 twig, chopped
  • cumin seeds – 1/4 teaspoon
  • water – as required for mixing
  • salt as required

Oil/ghee for drizzling

How to –

In a bowl mix the above ingredients under “for the batter” with enough water and set aside for an hour.

Heat the dosa griddle. Take I ladle of batter and spread into a circular motion (If you are not using a non-stick pan then add a teaspoon of oil and then spread the batter), Drizzle oil/ghee along the edges of the dosa, cover and cook till the base begins to brown.

Uncover and flip the dosa over and cook briefly for a couple of seconds. Flip it back and fold it into half and remove the dosa from the pan.

Into a serving plate and serve hot with your favorite chutney.


Semiya upma

You need –
  • Dry Roasted Semiya/Vermicelli made from hard wheat – 200 grams
  • Onion – 1 medium
  • Ginger – 1 cm, thinly sliced
  • Green chilli – 1, slit (de-seed if need)
  • Curry leaves – 1 twig
  • Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
  • Urad dal – ½ teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder – ¼ teaspoon
  • Dried red chili – 1
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Hot water

How to –

Heat oil in pan and add the mustard seeds and allow crackling. Tip in the dried chilli and urad dal and curry leaves. Fry till the urad dal turns golden brown.

Add the onion, green chili and ginger; fry till the onions turn golden brown. Add the turmeric and cook briefly. Add the roasted vermicelli and mix well. Add 2 – 2 ½  cups of hot water  and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low; cover and cook till done and the water has evaporated.

Serve hot.