Sunday, 30 November 2014

Vendakkya (Ladies Finger) Thoran (Ladies Finger Poriyal/Ladies Finger stir fried with coconut)

Ladies Finger or Okra helps reduce cholesterol and improves mental function apart a host of other benefits. In north India, its common to hear someone say to a dumb guy - "bhindi kha" or "eat ladies finger" :)

In South India especially Kerala and Tamilnadu, Okra is used in Sambaar apart from preparation of Vendakkya Thoran (Vendakka poriyal in Tamil)

Below is the process to prepare Okra Thoran - Kerala Style.


Ladies finger - 250 gms
Onion - one, medium sized
Coconut - 1/4, grated
Green Chillies - 2 
Dry Red chillies - 2
Mustard - 1 tea spoon
Turmeric - 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste

Wash ladys finger thoroughly and allow it to dry. Wipe them with a neat cloth if you need to prepare the dish immediately.

Cut it into small pieces as shown. 

Chop the onion into small pieces and keep aside.

In a frying pan, put 3-4 table spoons oil. For cooking dry, sauteed, fried dishes, using an iron frying pan not only engances the taste of the dish but is also beneficial to health owing to the iron that get released from the pan. 

Once the oil is hot, put one teaspoon of mustard into it and wait for the mustards to splutter. Add 2 broken dried red chillies into it and  put the chopped ladies finger into the pan. Also chop the green chillies into lengthy pieces and add the same into the pan.

Add a teaspoon of turmeric powder and a tea spoon of salt. Cover the pan with a lid. 
After sometime, put the chopped onion into the pan and cover the pan. After aroundd 5-7 min, the ladies finger would be almost cooked (NOT completely cooked). At this stage, remove the lid and allow the ladies finger and onion to fry a bit. 

Once the ladies finger has got fried a bit and looks dry, add the grated coconut into it and mix. Donot stir too much since the ladies finger pieces might break and disintegrate, thereby changing the whole taste of the dish.

Serves 2-3 members in a family and is a great dish for lunch/dinner.

#vendakka, #keralarecipes, #keraladishes, #vegetarianrecipes, #vegetarian, #ladiesfinger

Tomato Fry

Tomatoes?? Are they not too common in our lives to write a blog post on a recipie using this humble fruit? Is this humble vegetable/fruit of any health benefit? 
YES!! It indeeds is... Tomatoes are a very rich source of Vitamin A and C apart from Vitamin B6. Tomatoes can help you lose weight. If you are on a diet, build lots of tomatoes into your everyday eating. 
They make a great snack and can be used a lot in salads and other meals.

Because tomatoes contain lots of water and fiber, they are “filling food”; one of those foods that fills you up fast without adding a lot of calories or fat

Lets move away from the usual usage of tomatoes and see how to make something different with this humble fruit.   

Ingredients for Tomato fry:

Tomatoes - 4, medium sized
Onions - 3, medium sized
Coconut - 1/4 of a medium sized coconut, grated
Green chillies - 2
Dry red chillies - one
Mustard - 1 teaspoon
curry leaves - 10 small leaves


Chop the onions, in equal size. 
Chop the tomatoes. 
Chop green chillies lengthwise to around one inch length

chopped onion in the frying pan
Take a frying pan and pour 2-3 tablespoons of oil (coconut oil is preferred). Once the oil is hot, put one teaspoon of mustard into it. Once the mustard splutters, chilly and curry leaves. 

Add the chopped onions and stir till they turn light brown (to be exact, the color of financial/economic times paper colour :). Addsing salt to onions, speeds up the sauteing process.

Add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1/2 teaspoon of chilly powder and the chopped green chillies and mix thoroughly. This dish tastes better when spicy. However, you can add/reduce the no. of green chillies, depending  upon how spicy you want the dish to be.

Once mixed thoroughly, add the tomatoes and close the pan with its lid. Tomatoes get cooked faster, when the cut portion of the tomatoes face down. 

After 2 or 3 minutes remove the lid, add the grated coconut into the pan and mix thoroughly. 

Grated Coconut

Tomato Fry is ready. This is a very good dish for chapattis, pooris etc. and also a side dish for lunch with rice. You can choose not to add grated coconut into this. However, the idea of adding grated coconut into this is that the sour taste of tomatoes is avoided . Also, adding coconut helps people who have acidity and donot eat tomatoes due to this problem since the coconut nullifies the sourness of tomatoes and also is a very good coolant for the stomach.

Final one after adding coconut
Serves 2 people if used as a dish for chapatti and serves 3-4 people if used as a side dish with rice.

#tomatofry, #keralarecipes, #keraladishes, #vegetarianrecipes, #vegetarian

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Ulli Sambar - Shallots Sambaar/Vengaya Sambar - Shallots in Yellow Lentils gravy tempered with Spices

Sambar is a staple dish of South indian states especially Tamilnadu and Kerala. It is an excellent combination for Idli and Dosa apart from Rice for which its the default combination :)

The uniqueness of Sambar is that it is one of the rare dishes that contains 5 of the 6 tastes that human beings can feel - Sweet, Spicy, Sour, Bitter and Salty. 

The sixth taste is Astringent. For details refer

Ingredients of Ulli (shallots) Sambar:

Shallots (Small onions) - 25-30, peeled
Tomatoes - 2, chopped
Tur Dal - 100 gms 
Tamarind-lemon size
Chilly powder - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric Powder - 1 teaspoon
Sambar Powder - 2 teaspoons
Asafoetida (kayapodi\hing\perumkayam) - 1\4 teaspoon
Curry Leaves - 15 leaves medium sized
Dry Red Chillies - 2-3

Salt to taste

Process - 

Put the tur dal into a cooker, add 2 glasses of water (approximately 300-350 ml) and cook well. 
Clean and soak the tamarind into 50 ml of warm water. Normal water can also be used to soak tamarind but the advantage with warm water is that helps in complete extraction of the tamarind pulp in less time. Keep the soaked tamarind aside.

Cooking the shallots:

Put the peeled and cleaned onions into 3 glasses (approximately 500ml) of water. Add  chilly powder,turmeric powder and salt to taste and cook it in low flame. DONOT cook shallots in a cooker, else it will get over cooked. 
Once the shallots are half cooked, put the chopped tomatoes into it. Once the tomatoes are almost cooked, add the cooked dal into it and mix thoroughly. 

Extract tamarind pulp from the soaked tamarind by squeezing it with your hands. Pour the extracted tamarind pulp into the cooked onion-tomatoes-dal mixture. Add salt to taste. Allow it to boil in low flame. Keep aside.


Ensure the tempering is done only on low flame to avoid the mustard, sambaar powder etc. getting burnt.

Take a small frying pan and pour 2 tablespoons of oil into it. Once the oil is hot, put one teaspoon of mustard. Keep dry red chillies, curry leaves, Sambar powder and  Asafoetida  ready. 
Wait till  the mustard splutters. Immediately after all the mustard splutters, add the broken red chillies into it and mix it with the mustard for it to get fried. 
After that add the curry leaves. Add two tablespoons of sambaar powder and fry it in the pan. Add 1/4 tea spoon of asefoetoda into this and mix the contents. 

Pour the contents of the pan with the onion-tomatoes-dal mix that was kept aside . Mix thoroughly.
Ulli/Vengaya/Shallots sambar is ready.

 It serves 6 members of the family. Can be mixed with rice, Idli, Dosa, Vada, Chapati etc

#sambar, #ullisambar, #keralarecipes, #keraladishes, #vegetarianrecipes, #vegetarian

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Kadala Curry (Bengal Gram/Chana/Karuppu Kadala Curry - Kerala Style)

Bengal Gram (Chana in Hindi, Karuppu Kadala in Tamil) is one of the most important and widely used pulses in India.  It has numerous health benefits. It is a very high source of protein and iron. Sprouted Bengal gram is given to children owing to its high levels of protein and iron. 
Apart from iron, its also a very good source of folic acid and fibre. 
Kadala Curry is one of the most widely eaten food in Kerala as it goes well with a variety of breakfast dishes such as Appam, Idiappam, Dosa and most important of them all - the one and only "PUTTU".   

Preparation method:


250 gms of Bengal gram
Coconut- 1/2, grated
Turmeric powder - 1 teaspoon
Kashmiri chilly powder - 1 teaspoon (normal chilly powder is also fine but quantity would be 1/2 teaspoon)
Black Pepper powder - 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 2 teaspoon
Green Chilly - 1 or 2
Tomato - 1, small, chopped
Onions - 2
Chopped coconut
Curry leaves - 10-15 leaves
Salt to taste


Soak the bengal gram  in water over night. The size of the gram would increase to around 1.5 times. Overnight soaked bengal gram is shown in the picture below

Cook the Bengal gram in the cooker. For every one glass of Bengal gram put minimum of 2 glass of water. Add salt as required.
Roast the grated Coconut till it turns  brownish  color and then put 2 table spoon coriander powder spread it out it into a plate to for it to cool down.

Grind the roasted coconut-coriander mix by adding  ¼ glass (approx 50 ml) of water into it. Add pepper powder into this. Keep this paste aside.

Chop two big onions vertically. Take a pan and pour one table spoon oil. Once the oil is hot, put 2 teaspoons  of mustard into it. Once all the mustard splutters, put dry red chilly, curry leaves and the chopped onions into the pan.  
Sauté till the chopped onions turn brown. Adding salt while sauteing speeds up the process. 

Once the onions turns brownish add chopped coconut..allow the coconut chops also to get fried during which these too would turn slightly brown. Once this happens, put  the  chopped tomatoes, and,1green chilly  into the pan.
Add one  teaspoon of turmeric and one teaspoon of chilly powder to this mixture. Adding these also makes the dish tasty and colorful; apart from the health benefits associated with turmeric. 

Kashmiri Chilly powder is preferred due to the color that it gives to the dish. please note that the main source of spice in this dish is the black pepper powder.

Now, add the cooked Bengal gram into the pan. Add the coconut–coriander pepper paste also into the pan. Add salt if required. Mix it well.

Bengal curry of  Kerala  is ready. 

Serves 6. 
#kadalacurry, #keralarecipes, #keraladishes, #vegetarianrecipes, #vegetarian

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Achinga/Pairu Mezhukkuparatti (Karamani/Cowpeas pods cooked)

Cowpeas and Cowpeas pods are immensely beneficial to our health and hence these are widely used in our traditional dishes. 
Health benefits include maintaining Standard Cholesterol Levels, Removing Free Radicals, Regulating Blood Sugar Levels, Treating Stomach and Pancreatic Problems etc. Due to its high soluble  fibre levels, it play significant role in decreasing the amount of bad cholesterol present in the plasma of our blood...

Given below is the preparation method of one of the most commonly prepared traditional dish in Kerala using Achinga (Cowpeas pods).

Cowpea pods - 250 gms
Onion – one, medium sized
Red Chilly flakes – 1 table spoon
Turmeric – 1 teaspoon
Salt  to taste


Take the cowpeas and clean it. Chop the cowpeas at lengths of about 2 cms. If there are pods from which you can take the peas out, do the same. The combination of pods and peas improve the taste of the dish to a very great extent.
Chop onions into small pieces and keep aside.

Take a frying pan/kadai (cheenachatti in Malayalam) and pour 2 tablespoons of oil. Once the oil is hot, put the chopped onion into it.  Add salt to the onions (adding salt will speeds up the frying of the onions). 

When onions turn into light brown colour, add the red chilly flakes and turmeric powder into it. 

Add the chopped cowpea pods into it and add salt to taste. Mix thoroughly and close the pan with a lid.
Once the cow peas almost cooked, open the lid. 

Mix the contents thoroughly and allow it to fry for 5 or 10 minutes with the lid open. 

Pl. note that this is not deep fried and hence only 2 table spoons of oil would be required to cook this.

Serves 3…

#mezhukkupuratti, #cowpeas, #achinga, #payar, #vegetarianrecipes

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Kerala Istu (Kerala Potato Stew) for Appam as well as Sadya/Feast

Kerala Istu

Stew can be made with a variety of vegetables. Explained below is Istu (Kerala Potato Stew) which is one of the most widely prepared stews in Kerala. The usage of coconut milk as an ingredient gives it a typical Kerala flavor.

Istu can be prepared for both as a side dish for Appam, Idiyappam chapati etc. as well as one of the dishes for rice. Istu prepared for sadya/feast is thicker than the one prepared as a side dish for appam. 

Here we show the method to cook both the types.


Potatoes – medium sized - 3 
Coconut – half - grated
Green chilies - 3
Ginger – 3-4 pieces
Salt - to taste
Coconut oil – 1 table spoon


Clean the potatoes, remove the skin and chop into medium sized pieces. Keep aside.

For preparing Istu for feast, dont chop the potatoes since we need to cook it as it is.

First Coconut Milk
Preparation of coconut milk:

Step 1 - Take the grated coconut and grind it in the mixie. Take the ground coconut and squeeze it with your hands to extract the milk out of it. You will get approx. 200 ml of coconut milk. This is called the first coconut milk. Keep it aside.

Step 2 - Once the first milk is extracted, add around 100ml of water into the ground coconut and grind it again in the
mixie. Now take the ground coconut and squeeze it with your hands again to extract milk. This is the second milk and this will be dilute compared to the first milk. 
Second coconut milk

The second milk would be approx. 300 ml. 

Cut ginger vertically into long pieces as shown in the picture. Length of each piece must not be more than an inch. 
Also, cut the green chillies in half across its length as shown. 

In a pressure cooker, put the chopped potatoes and the second dilute milk. 

You can add a little bit of water if the second milk is not enough to cook the potatoes.

Add the chopped ginger, chillies and salt into the pressure cooker and cook. 

For Istu being prepared for feast, pressure cook the potatoes as it is without chopping. In this case, the ginger and chillies are not to be put into the cooker.

Cooked potatoes mixed with coconut milk
For Feast Istu
Once the pressure of the pressure cooker is released, open the cooker and transfer the contents into a separate vessel. Partially mash the potatoes to bring in consistency in the stew

For Istu being prepared for feast, once the potatoes are cooked, peel off the skin, cut them and  add the second coconut milk into it. Add the ginger and green chillies and cook in low flame till the ginger gets cooked.

Now add the first coconut milk into the above. Mix thoroughly.
Garnish with a table spoon of coconut oil.

Istu with Coconut Oil Garnish
Istu is ready. Serve hot!

Serves 3-4 members if taken as side dish for appam, idiyappam etc.

Ishu makes a great combination with Idiyappam and Appam… Can also be had with Chapatis and rice!!

Istu as a side dish for sadya/feast
#keralarecipes, #Istu, #keralaistu