25 March 2012

Cauliflower and Peas Masala Kerala Style

Everyone loves a change from the usual routine. When it comes to curries for chapathi, the most common in our house are moong, garbanzo beans, mixed vegetables and potato bhaji. Sometimes we tend to get bored of the same taste. Cauliflower peas masala was something new. At home no one is  fond of cauliflower but with this gravy everyone loved it. 

Cauliflower - A medium one ( the one I used weighed 356g)
Peas - 1/2 cup ( I used frozen)
Turmeric/Manjal - 1/4tsp +1/4 tsp
Split Black Gram/ Uzhunnu parippu - 1/2 tsp
Coriander seeds/ Malli - 2 tbsp
Red Dry Chilly/ Vattal Mulaku - 4
Scraped Coconut/ Thenga  - 1 cup (tightly packed)
Shallots/ Cheriya Ulli - 10
Garlic/ Veluthulli - 4 cloves
Curry leaves/ Kariveppila - 1+ 1 sprig
Onion/ Savala- 1 large (thinly sliced)
Lime juice -  of 1 medium size lime
Coconut Oil - 2 + 1 tbsp
Water - 1/4+ 1/4+ 2 cups ( approx 1/2 cup more to grind the masala)
Salt - as required

  • Cut cauliflower into small florets.
  • Cook cauliflower and peas separately after adding 1/4 tsp each turmeric powder, 1/4 cup each water and salt.Keep aside.
  • In a kadai heat oil. Add split black gram when it turns golden add coriander seeds and dry red chilly.Remove and keep aside.
  • In the same kadai add the coconut, shallots, garlic and 1 sprig curry leaves and roast till brown in colour.
  • Remove and grind it into fine paste along with the split gram, coriander and dry red chillies.
  • Heat a kadai. Add 1 tbsp oil and saute the onion. 
  • Now add the cauliflower, peas, ground masala and water. 
  • Add the lime juice. 
  • Add the required salt and let it come to a boil.
  • Add a sprig of curry leaves. 
  • Serve hot with roti or jeera rice or ghee rice.

Cooking Tips:
This is a medium spicy curry. Adjust chilly as per taste.
It is better to grind the masala in a grinder as the masala needs to be ground into a nice paste.

17 March 2012

Vella Kinnathappam / Steamed Rice Cake

One post that I am really proud of is the Kinnathappam in an Uruli (Jaggery based). The effort and time that went into making it was compensated by the mouthwatering delicacy which tastes so good when made at home. While on the look out for healthy snacks, I came across this recipe for Vella Kinnathappam/ White Kinnathappam (sugar based) in my favourite book of cut outs from newspapers and magazines which my Amma made for me. I am so glad I tried it. It came out so good.

Makes 3 kinnathappams

Ponni Ari / Sona Masoori rice - 1/2 kg
Thick coconut milk - 3 cups
Water - 4 cups
Sugar - 1/2 kg
Salt - a pinch
Ghee - 4 tbsp
Kismis - 25 g
Cashew - 25 g (broken into pieces)
Cardomom - 10 pods

Wash and soak rice for 3 hours.
Grind the rice into very fine paste in a grinder adding the 4 cups of water slowly.*see note 1
In a dry mixer add 1 tbsp sugar with the cardomom and powder it. Remove husk.
In the same mixer add the coconut and pulse it slightly. Add slight warm water to extract coconut milk.*see note 2
In a bowl mix the rice batter with coconut milk, sugar and cardamom powder.
Strain it using a thin muslin cloth.*see notes 3  The batter will be watery.
Heat water in a steamer/ cooker/ Idly maker adding enough water to last for 30 - 40 minutes. *see note 4
Pour the batter into a round plate with sides or a cake pan. Fill only about 1 1/2 to 2 inch height.*see notes 5
Cover the plate or pan with foil. 
When the water starts to boil in the steamer carefully place the pan in it. And cover the steamer.
Steam for 30 - 40 minutes on high flame or till a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Remove from steamer and let cool.
Invert it on to a plate and serve.

Cooking Tips/ Notes:

  1. It is better to grind in a grinder rather than a mixer. The batter has to be really fine.
  2. I had to add 3 cups water to extract coconut milk. It may vary depending on the coconut used. So add 2 cups first then check the quantity and only if required add the third cup of water or as much as required.
  3. Wet the muslin cloth slightly and then tie it tight on a steel vessel. Slightly press the center of the cloth to make a dip.Then pour the batter to strain. Stir with a spoon so that the batter passes through the cloth.The actual recipe says the batter has to be strained thrice but I did it just once. If you feel that there are particles yet to be strained then do so twice or thrice.
  4. If you are using a cooker then place a ring at the bottom and then place the pan on top of it. Close the cooker but do not place weight on it. Let the steam pass through the nozzle. Make sure you add enough water to last for 40 minutes. Cook on medium flame.
  5. It is better to add only 1 1/2 to 2 inch batter because if you add more it will take a long time to cook. The best option is a steel plate with sides. Fill batter an inch below the top brim so that you can easily lift it using a pakkad/ vessel lifter. 
  6. This dessert is of medium sweetness just perfect for me but for people who like it very sweet can add more sugar.
  7. This batter makes 3 kinnathappams. 

The above picture shows the kinnathappam made in a 'Kinnam' the brass vessel. Hope you all enjoyed this recipe. Keep coming back for more..    :)

Sending this to the Kerala Kitchen event hosted by Prathiba of Cook Ezee

10 March 2012

Njandu Varutharachathu/ Crab with Roasted Coconut and Spices

It's been so long that we cooked crab at home. I just love it. I know its another non veg recipe but can't stop myself from posting it. It turned out so delicious and it was the first time I made it myself. Usually Amma makes it and it is so yumm. I remember my childhood days when my dad and his friends would go crab fishing in the shallow beach at Ras- Abu- Aboud , Doha. Yeah..Yeah! They used to go with just simple nets and get such huge crabs. I used to be horrified seeing them crawl. There used to be jelly fish too. Really miss those days...

Njandu Varutharachathu
Recipe Source - Grihalaxmi


Njandu/Crab - 4 or 5 

Masala 1 (to be roasted and ground into fine paste)
Coconut - 1 1/2 cup
Shallots - 3
Curry Leaves - 1 + 3
Coriander Powder- 1 tbsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Water - as required

Masala 2
Chilly - 2 (slit)
Ginger - 1'' piece (finely chopped)
Tomato - 1 large (thinly chopped)
Tamarind / Valan Puli - size of half a lime.
Water - 1/2 cup (to soak the tamarind)
Chilly powder-  1 tbsp
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt - as required

Water - 1 1/2 cup*

For seasoning
Mustard - 1/2 tsp
Shallots - 6 (chopped round)
Garlic- 2
Curry Leaves - 1sprig
Coriander Leaves - 1 tablespoon
Coconut Oil - 2 tbsp

Roast the coconut along with shallots and 1 sprig curry leaves in a kadai.
When it turns brown switch off the flame and add the remaining masala along with 3 sprigs curry leaves and mix well.**
Grind the masala into fine paste adding very little water.
In a clay pot keep the masala 2 ready. Squeeze the tamarind well in water and pour the water it into the pot.
Clean and chop the crab into half.
Add the crab into the masala. Mix well.
Add salt and let it cook on medium flame and bring to a boil. Let cook for appox 5 min on medium low flame.
Add the roasted and ground masala. Add water and mix well.
Check salt and let it come to a boil.
Let it cook for about 5 minutes on medium low flame or till the gravy thickens.
In a kadai heat oil. Add mustard and let it splutter.
Add shallots and garlic. Stir.
Add curry leaves. Remove from flame. Add the seasoning to the curry and garnish with coriander leaves.
Serve it with steaming rice or with any roti.

Cooking tips:
Make sure you refrigerate the crab and remove it just before cooking ie. after all the required masala is ready.I used small crabs.
**There is no need to add any oil while roasting the coconut as oil will come out of the coconut as you roast. Keep stirring and be careful not to burn it. As you see it is about to brown lower the flame. Add very little water while grinding. The water specified here is to be added while mixing this masala with crab.
* Make sure you stir the masalas well as the heat of the roasted coconut is enough to remove the raw smell  of it.
Add more warm water if you like thinner gravy as the gravy tends to thicken even after cooking.

04 March 2012

Mutton Varattiyathu / Mutton Masala

Mutton Varattiyathu/ Mutton Masala is a speciality of Kerala. This is one of the current favorite with all my family members. I have made this so many times and I knew this has be on my blog which has not been fed for long now. :)
This will take time but worth the effort. Nothing to beat slow cooking method. All the masalas gets absorbed in the mutton and it can be relished to the last bite.

Mutton Masala
Recipe Source - Suguna Aunt (my Dad's lovely sis)

Mutton - 1 kg

For marination
Pepper - 1/2 tsp
Vinegar - 2 tbsp
Salt - as required

For masala
Onions - 1 3/4 cup (loosely packed, thinly sliced)
Shallots/ Cheriya ulli - 1 cup (finely chopped)
Garlic - 1/4 cup ( loosely packed)
Ginger - 1/4 cup (finely chopped, loosely packed)
Green Chilly - 2 slit
Tomato - 2 large sized
Mutton Masala - 4 1/2 tbsp*see notes
Coriander Powder - 4 tbsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Coconut Oil - 2 tbsp
Salt - as required
Water - 1 cup

For garnishing
Coriander Leaves - 1/4 cup(tightly packed)
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs

Marinate the mutton for about an hour.
Heat oil in a kadai. Saute the onions, shallots, ginger, garlic and green chilly till brown for about 5 minutes.  Keep stirring.**see notes
Add mutton masala and coriander powder. Stir till the raw smell is gone.
Add tomatoes. Cook for 3 minutes.
Add the mutton. Mix well. Saute for 5 minutes.
Add 1 sprig curry leaves.
Add water and check salt. Transfer it to a cooker.
Let it cook on slow fire until 2 whistle comes .***see notes
When cooked add coriander and curry leaves.
Serve with chapathi or any roti.


*You can use any mutton masala. I used Eastern Mutton Masala.
**I used a kadai first and then transferred to a cooker as its easier to stir and the masala does not stick to the bottom. I tried making it just in the cooker and found that it had to be stirred continously else the masala sticks to the bottom.As there is very little water used make sure its cooked on very low fire after transferring to the cooker. The juices from the mutton will suffice to cook.
***The cooking time will vary depending on the tenderness of the mutton.