25 March 2013

Nannari Cherunaranga Sarbath / Nannari Lime Cooler

Feeling hot already? Summer seems to be never ending. So lets forget the heat outside and cool our body with the Nannari Sarbath. Nannari is well known to people of Kerala. It is a plant with the scientific name hemidesmus indicus. The root of this plant is used. Nannari Dravakam is prepared by the distillation of this root. We prepare this at our Ayurvedic Manufacturing Plant. It is in high demand during the summer months in Kerala. Even if you go to roadside petty shops for a lime drink they will serve you with Nannari syrup. It purifies the blood and cools your body. It also quenches your thirst. So go ahead and try it at home.

Makes 2 glasses

Lime Juice- 3 tbsp
Nannari Dravakam - 2 tbsp 
Water - 400ml
Honey - 4 tbsp

Squeeze out 1 1/2 tbsp lime juice into each glass.
Pour 2 tbsp each honey and  1 tbsp each Nannari dravakam.
Add cold or room temperature water and stir well. Enjoy!

The above picture is of products - Nannari Dravakam and Honey manufactured at Asoka Pharmaceuticals. You can see the nannari root (from which this dravakam is prepared) in the second picture.

This drink can be made with soda instead of water to make a fizzy drink.

23 March 2013

Ayakoora Kudampuli Curry / King Fish Gambooge Curry

Ayakoora or King Fish tastes good if you fry it or make curry. It is one of the easiest to cut and clean. The recipe I am sharing today is cooked using Kudampuli. This curry can be made on a regular basis every week. Love the flavour of Kudampuli (Gambooge / Vrikshamla) - scientific name Garcinia cambogia. It is also called as Malabar Tamarind. It is supposed to have good health benefits and highly used in ayurvedic medicines. 

The methi powder, gambooge and shallots(pearl onions) give a distinct flavour to the curry. I really like to try different types of curries. 

Recipe Source - Shantha Aravindan

Ayakoora/ King Fish - 600 gms cut into square pieces

Kudampuli / Gambooge - 5 
Water - 1 1/2 cup

Coconut Oil - 2 tbsp
Kaduku / Mustard - 1/2 tsp
Uluva /Methi Seeds - 1/4 tsp

Cheriya Ulli / Shallots - 2 tbsp finely chopped

Inji / Ginger - 1 tbsp finely chopped
Veluthulli / Garlic - 1 tbsp finely chopped

Green Chilly - 3  slit into 2

Thakkali /Tomato - 1 big

Manjal / Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Piriyan Mulaku Podi/ Kashmiri Chilly Powder - 2 tbsp
Salt - 1 1/4 tsp or as per taste

Kurumulaku Podi / Pepper Powder - 3/4 tsp
Onnam Pal /Thick Coconut Milk - 1 cup
Kariveppila / Curry Leaves - 3 sprigs
Uluva Podi/ Methi Powder - 1/4 tsp


Soak the gambooge in 1 1/2 cups warm water.
Heat oil in a wok/ kadai. Tip in the mustard and methi seeds and let it splutter. 
Reduce heat to medium.
Add in the shallots and saute it.
Now add the green chilly, ginger, and garlic.
Add the chopped tomato and saute.
Reduce the flame to low and tip in the turmeric and chilly powder.
When the raw smell of the masalas are gone add the gambooge along with the water. 
When it comes to a boil slowly add the fish. Let cook for 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked on medium flame.
When the fish is cooked and the gravy thick add in the coconut milk, methi powder, pepper powder and curry leaves.
Switch off and close with a lid. Serve after 5 minutes.

07 March 2013

Spicy Rasam - Best Remedy for Cold

I have been down with cold and fever the last week. Rasam is something that gives instant relief for the cough and cold. It is a natural cure. I could feel the throat clear and my cough gone. It even clears your blocked nose.An instant relief. It is a must try recipe. Just sip it down or enjoy with rice.
I can have rice with just rasam. It was a hit at home. I was so happy to see my younger son enjoying rice with rasam. Now I know what to make when they fuss about having rice. :)


For dry roasting

Dry Red Chilly - 4
Pepper (whole) - 1 tbsp
Garlic - 8 cloves
Cumin Seeds - 1 tbsp

Tomato - 4 medium size
Tamarind - size of a small gooseberry
Water - 1 cup + 1/2 liter
Curry Leaves - 1+ 1 sprigs
Coriander Leaves - 5 stalks
Coconut Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Salt - As required


Heat a small kadai or pan. Dry roast in the order given - First the dry red chilly for approx 6 secs, then pepper, garlic and last cumin seeds. Keep stirring till the ingredients are heated and begin to splutter.
Remove and transfer to a dry grinder. Grind it. Keep aside.
In the meantime, cook the tomato along with the tamarind in 1 cup water for 5 minutes.
Remove the tomato and add it to the ground masala. Grind it along with 1 stalk curry leaves and 5 stalks of coriander leaves. Ground it coarse.
Add the ground masala  to the water with the tamarind. Add the remaining water and bring it to boil. Add salt.
Heat a seasoning pan. Add oil. Tip in the mustard and let it splutter. Reduce flame to very low.
Add 1 stalk of  curry leaves, turmeric, asafoetida. Stir well. Add it to the rasam mixture.
Serve hot with rice or in a glass.

You can increase the level of pepper by 1/2 tsp if you like it really spicy.
Use ripe tomatoes.

02 March 2013

Kerala Fish Biryani

Biryani's are my favorite when it comes to weekend cooking. And there is a long list of to-be tried biryani's. I made Mussels Biryani one weekend but it got over soon and nothing was left for me to photograph. I don't like my people waiting for me to finish my photography to eat. :) But I will surely post it. I have tweaked the recipe to suit our palette. Everyone enjoyed it at home. The only change I would like to make next time I make it, is to remove the fish bones fully and make smaller pieces so that we don't have to worry about biting into them while eating. 

Recipe for masala adapted from here

For marination and frying:
King Fish  / Ayakkora - 1 kg sliced
Kashmiri Chilly Powder / Piriyan Mulaku Podi - 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder/ Manjal Podi - 1/2 tsp
Biryani Masala - 1 tsp* See notes 1
Salt - 1 tsp
Lemon Juice - of 1 large lime
Oil - 1/4 cup for shallow frying

For the ghee rice:
Short grain rice / Jeera Rice / Neychottari - 4 cups
Ghee - 1/4 cup
Water - 8 1/4 cup
Cloves/ Grambu - 3
Cinnamon/ Patta - 1" three pieces
Cardamom/ Elakka - 2
Mace/ Jatipathri - 2
Fennel Seeds/ Perumjeerakam  - 1 tbsp
Star Anise/ Thakkolam- 1
Nutmeg /Jathikka - 1/4 piece

For Masala:
Onion - 3
Tomato - 2
Coriander Powder - 2 tsp
Biryani Masala - 1 tsp
Pepper Powder - 1/4 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/4 tsp
Yoghurt - 1/2 cup
Fish Fried Oil - 1 tbsp
Bay Leaves - 2
Oil - 3 tbsp
Salt - as required

To be ground to a fine paste:
Mix 1:
Onions - 3
Ginger - 2 (2'' pieces)
Garlic - 10 cloves
Green Chilly - 5
Coriander Leaves - 1/2 cup (tightly packed)
Mint Leaves - 1/4 cup (tightly packed)

Mix 2:
Cashew - 4
Fennel Seeds - 2 tsp
Khus- Khus - 1 1/4 tbsp
Water - 1/4 cup

Onion - 1 cup thinly sliced
Cashew - 1/2 cup
Kismis - 1/2 cup
Coriander Leaves - 1/2cup tightly packed
Pudina Leaves - 1/2 cup tightly packed
Garam Masala - 1 tsp

Ghee -  1 tbsp to coat the biryani vessel
Oil - for deep frying onions
Rose water - 20 ml


Step 1: Marination

Cut the fish into medium size slices. Wash and drain out all water.
Marinate the fish for 1/2 hour. * See notes 2

Step 2: Preparation of Ghee Rice:
Wash and strain the rice.
Measure 8 1/4 cup water in a pan and boil it along with the spices - Cloves, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Mace, Cumin Seeds, Star Anise and Nutmeg. Add  salt.
In the meantime, in a  non stick pan heat the ghee.
Fry the cashews on low flame till they turn golden brown. Switch off the flame. Add in the kismis. Stir and fry till they bloat up. Transfer them to a plate lined with kitchen roll.
Switch on the flame. In the same ghee fry the rice for 5 minutes. Keep stirring.
Strain and pour in the boiling water into the rice. Stir once slowly. * See notes 3
Check salt and close tightly. Lower flame to medium low. The rice will be done in 10-15 minutes. You will see craters formed on top. 
Switch off the flame. Fluff up the rice after 2-3 minutes.

Step 3: Frying the fish
Heat oil in a flat large pan. 
Fry the fish on medium high flame till it is slightly golden browned. It should get fried fully.
Fry on both sides. Transfer it to a plate lined with kitchen roll.* See notes 4

Step 4: Preparing the masala:
Transfer the khus-khus into a small sieve. Hold it under running water to wash it. Soak it.* See notes 5
Chop the onions into thin slices. Ginger and garlic  into small pieces
Heat oil along with the fish fried oil in a medium size pressure cooker. Tip in the onions. Fry them till they turn translucent. 
Make a fine paste of mix 1 ingredients.
Add it to the onions in the cooker. Saute till the raw smell is gone.
Make small pieces of 2 slices of the fried fish. Add it to the onion mixture.
Meanwhile grind the mix 2 - cashew, fennel seeds and khus -khus into a fine paste by adding very little water. After it is ground to a fine paste add the remaining water pulse again. Add it to the masala in the cooker. 
Add the bay leaves.
Pour in the yogurt. Check salt. Let cook on slow flame for 5 minutes.
When the masala is thick, add the fried fish slowly coating each fish with the masala.
Cook on low flame for 5 minutes. Switch off.

Step 5:Preparing the garnish and Layering
Heat oil in a small kadai /wok.
When the oil is hot fry the onions.* See notes 6
Transfer it to a colander. 
Chop the mint leaves and coriander leaves fine.
Use the same pan used to make rice. Grease the base with little ghee.
Switch on the flame to low.
Put a layer of the fish masala at the bottom.
Now a layer of ghee rice. 
Sprinkle garam masala, cashew, raisins, coriander leaves, mint leaves and fried onions.
Continue to layer in the same way sprinkling rose water in each layer over the ghee rice.
Once done close the pan with tight fitting lid and place a heavy object or an inverted mortar on it.
Let it cook for 15 minutes on very low flame. Remove lid and check if you can see steam coming up from the top layer. Switch off the flame.
Start serving from one side of the pan.
Serve it with mint chutney, raitha, pickle and pappad.

1. I used Nirapara Biryani Masala. You can use any brand available in Indian Stores.
2. If you are marinating the fish longer keep it in the refrigerator.
3. I like to cook the water for the ghee rice with the spices and then remove them before adding to the rice. I prefer not to bite into these spices while having the biryani. You can avoid the straining if you prefer to see the spices in the biryani.
4. Make sure you do not over fry the fish as it will not absorb the masala later.
5. You have to wash the khus- khus thoroughly as there will be impurities in it.
6. For frying onions make sure you slice it very thin. I slice it in my Philips Food Processor (HL 1659) which makes it so easy to slice it real thin and evenly, all in seconds. Stir once you see the tips of the onions start to turn golden. You have to be on the watch as it will get burnt easily. Once it turns golden remove and transfer to a colander.
7. This is a little spicy biryani. Please adjust the spice level as per tolerance level.