Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Kappa with Ulli Chammanthi

Kappa and Kanji is one of the most common and affordable Kerala food available in the smallest of pettikadas(small roadside shops) and in small-time restaurants as well.I have always been fascinated by the board outside these shops at 11 in the morning till almost 4 in the evening,which read-kappa,kanji thayyar.There was a small shop next to our school from where the heavenly aroma of kappa puzhukku(kappa side-dish) came..but alas,we were forbidden to go out of the school gates(I wouldn’t have dared also.;-).Appa was very averse to we kids eating roadside foods due to the low hygienic levels.He always told us whenever we felt like eating something,amma will make it for us and we don’t have to buy it from outside.We hated the rule then,but now I wouldn’t trade amma’s food for anything else in the world!!

Kappa is prepared in many ways,but the most common is kappa vevichathu(boiled kappa) and kappa puzhukku(kappa cooked with a ground masala).I love both.My elder bro is an ardent kappa fan and would buy it in kilos..;-).Amma usually boiled the kappas as those days,we didn’t use onions and garlic,without which the puzhukku would taste bland.We had it with dry coconut chutney and pickle.Amma used to prepare kappa upkari too,seasoning it with red chilly powder..yummy!!!

My joy knew no bounds when I saw kappa here,in Chennai.Even though the taste and quality does differ obviously,I don’t mind that at all!!I was not sure how it would taste,so I just boiled it,but to be frank,it tasted superb.Cooking time was more but it was very soft and tasty.I made some ulli chammanthi to go with it,though hubby would have much preferred to have it with fish curry;-)

Read more about Kappa-Tapioca and check out the pictures here.

For a pictorial description on how to clean,peel and cook kappa,click here.
For more kappa recipes,click here.

Kappa Vevichathu with Ulli Chammanthi


Kappa-Tapioca – 1 kg
Salt to taste


Wash the kappa well under running water
Chop off the both the ends.
Cut them into half,vertically,peel the skin(both the soft brown peel and the hard whitish peel).
Again cut them into small pieces.
Boil the kappa with enough water in a big pan,do not cover.
When it starts boiling,switch off the flame and throw away the water.
In a pressure cooker add enough water,salt and cook the kappa till soft(you can cook it on stove top too,but the kappa available here takes more time to cook,hence I use a pressure cooker).
Kappa should be soft to touch,but not mushy.

Serve hot with spicy ulli chammanthi.

To make Ulli Chammanthi

Peel about 10-15 small onions/shallots.
Add 3-5 green chillies(depending on your spice buds).
Crush them together in a mortar and pestle with enough salt(you could also use a mixie,but take care to grind it coarsely).
Pour a generous spoon of coconut oil.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Gooseberry dry pickle

I have never tried making pickles at home,except for a once in a while Dry lime pickle,that too for not wasting the lime peels.We two are not exactly pickle-loving people and can happily live without it.In fact,there's a joke in the family which goes right for appa and my hubby-the moment they ask for a pickle it means the food is either bland or tasteless,incidentally appa asks for pickle only when I cook..;-).My bro and amma on the other hand are absolute pickle fans,they need some pickle or the other on the side..my bro even has it with chapathi!!

We like to have pickle generously only when we are having pej/kanji.Pickle and curd mixed with kanji is an absolute comfort food.Since I really can't make it in small quantities(I am lazy,to be frank!)I prefer to take my share from amma and ma-in-law.Our fridge is stacked with bottles of pickles which I have bought from both places during our visits.Our friends just need to take a peek and woof..the stock is over;-).

Avvalo puddi ghallelle...the name's a bit tricky I know...its just the konkani name for Gooseberry dry pickle.Yup,this one too is made by amma and I got it during my trip to Ekm.Since we were travelling back to Chennai from another place,amma packed a few idlis smeared with this pickle and a dash of coconut oil in a tiffin box for me.We started from home early morning and our train was in the evening.The moment we sat on the train,I opened my tiffin box and goodness heavens..it was too good..lipsmacking good!!Hubby couldn't believe I was having cold idlis with pickle and raving about it too...only if he understood,but he was nose deep in his Biryani and wouldn't even take a peek into my box..!!

Avvalo puddi ghallello/Gooseberry dry pickle


Avvalo/Gooseberry - 1/2 kg

Red chillies – 2 handfuls,preferably a mix of byadge chillies and normal ones

Salt to taste-use a bit more than required.Since the pickle takes time to mature,it always helps as a preservative

Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

Methi seeds – 1 tsp

Hing/Asafoetida – 1 tbsp

Gingelly oil – 5-6 tbsp


Wash the gooseberries well,apply enough salt and steam them for about 10 minutes(or till soft cracks start appearing in the top).

Dry them in the sun for a day or two,till completely dry.

In a kadai,add oil and fry red chillies.Add the methi and mustard seeds and switch off the flame.Add enough salt and grind into a powder.Add hing and keep aside.

In the same kadai,add some more oil and fry the dried gooseberries till they become slightly soft.Switch off the flame and let it cool to room temperature.Add the masala powder to the gooseberries and mix well.

Add some more oil if you think the pickle is too dry.Store in dry airtight containers.

This pickle is my last minute entry for this month's AFAM-Gooseberry.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sweet poha - Kalleylo phovu

There is something special about the prasadam/naivedyam you get in temples/religious institutions.I feel they have that extra special taste which we are never able to recreate at home even if we follow the recipe step by step.Living a wall away from Krishna temple in Ekm,I was lucky enough to get prasadams like Pal payasam,Kootu payasam(with jaggery),Cardamom milk,Sweet poha etc on a daily basis.I used to relish on that and still do.I remember,we used to get payasam and sweet poha in the morning after the puja while we were having breakfast.I always used to have a mouthful of poha and a gulp of payasam before finishing the food.

There are different varieties of godu phove or kalleylo phovu.I think this one is the easiest and the tastiest too.Even though the taste never comes close to the ones we get from the temple,this one is very delicious.Perfect for a instant snack or even for breakfast,with a cup of milk this will taste divine!!

Easy Sweet poha/kalleylo phovu


Poha - 1 cup(red/white-thick/thin)

Grated coconut - 3/4 cup

Sugar - 4-5 tbsps

Cardamom powder - a pinch


Mix the poha with the grated coconut well with your hands till the poha becomes soft(use the thinner variety for better results).

Add the sugar and sprinkle the cardamom powder.

Serve immediately-Yes its as simple as that!!

And yes,do offer it to God first to get that special taste!!

If you are wondering why I have kept a flower as garnish,here's the explanation.This phovu is the one I got as prasadam when I was in Ekm and the flower is from the puja.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Eggless Choco-Chip Cake

Encouragement is one thing...appreciation is another.Overlooking is a totally different thing.I have come across these feelings often.Though most of the times its the first two,the third one is also *omnipresent* in my life.At least I feel so.There have been occasions where I have felt people deliberately ignore your work,something like "a food blog...baaah",not that I care,but...beats me!!It is true in terms of criticizing also.Constructive criticism is fine,but doing so just for the sake of it??

There are people who try and sugarcoat too,even before they start chewing the food,comes the compliment-"hmmmm delicious".And some who do the opposite..who put the food in their mouth and say.."salt/sugar is less/more or,I make it differently".Not that I crave for compliments or anything of that sort.But of course,I am human.I deserve a word of appreciation for all the hard work that I have put into it.At least a word "its nice"..?? Hubby says I shouldn't expect people to say anything at all..easier said than done.Sometimes I do accept that logic too,when I see that all food is polished off the plate with a last lick,that is a sign of appreciation too,isn't it?

Anyway..you guys must be wondering why such a description for a cake.Well,let me explain.Last night,few of my hubbies friends made a demand.They wanted cookies and cake.It gives me great pleasure to make something when someone asks for it.These guys are matter-of-fact,if its good-its good and if bad-its bad.They love the cookies I make(even though I have only limited baking prowess,about which obviously they have no idea).As I put the last batch of cookies into the oven(I made about 3 dozen),I set about making the cake.It was getting late and I decided to make it in the MW.Ever since I saw Sowmya's Chocolate cake,I've been wanting to make that.I followed the same recipe,except for one ingredient,added 1/2 cup of chocolate chips into the batter.The cake came out excellent-it didn't rise much,but was very soft and moist.They simply loved it,an empty container coming back is a lovely proof!!

Eggless Choco-chip cake(adapted from Sowmya of creativesaga)


Maida - 1 cup
Milk - 1 and 1/2 cup
Cocoa powder- 1tbsp
Baking powder - a small pinch
Oil- 1/2cup
Sugar- 1 cup
Dried fruits- 1cup(I used almonds,apricots,cashewnuts)
Chocolate chips - 1/2 cup
Vanilla essence- few drops

Add milk in a pan and boil it.
Add the dried fruits and leave it for sometime till they become a little tender and allow the milk to cool down.
Blend this mixture in a blender till the fruits are ground well.
Add the oil and blend it again to a thicker consistency.
Add the sugar and again blend it for a few minutes.
Transfer this mixture to a bowl.
Add the choco-chips,mix well.
Sieve the flour along with baking powder and cocoa powder.
Add this flour in small parts into the mixture mixing it gently.
Add few drops of vanilla essence. Mix gently.
Grease a microwave proof bowl and pour the batter in it.
Microwave on 80% power for 8 minutes checking in between. Allow to stand for a minute. Remove the cake and cool it.
Sprinkle some icing sugar on top.

Chocolate and Microwave...does it ring a bell..?? Yeah,off this goes to dear Srivalli for her MEC-Chocolate.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bread Pizza - Instant gratification!!!

There is no food in the world which could make you feel so happy and content than a snack..and that too on a Sunday..after that heavy lunch and a relaxing nap!! I am sure most of you are nodding your heads now;-).I wish someone would wake me up with steaming hot cup of chai and a plate of..anything would do yaar..finger chips,banana chips,pazham pori,onion pakodas..the list is endless.But I don't have that luxury,so I make myself happy by making something myself.Hubby is not too fond of deep fried snacks and always insists that I try and make some non-fry alternatives.Oh how do I make him realize that there isn't any no-fry version to match that piping hot molagu bajji..!!!

Last Sunday,after our nap hubby was seated in front of the TV with a clear *dont disturb* sign coz he was watching his favorite team playing against thier rivals,yeah Manchester United Vs Chelsea.I knew this was the right time..he wouldn't mind eating anything at this time coz he was too engrossed in watcing the match.I scanned the kitchen for possible culprits,but to be frank,even I was in no mood to make something elaborate-even deep fried goodies.Then I saw a loaf of bread,didn't want to make the usual toast or usli.It didn't sound exciting at all.And then I knew what to make.After my last trial with pizza..I was hooked.Decided to make Instant pizza this time using bread.

There is no particular recipe for this one.Just go ahead and add whatever toppings you fancy,add the sauce and the cheese and you have the tasty bread pizza ready!!!

Bread Pizza


Sliced Bread - as required
Pizza sauce - I used ready made sauce
Veggie toppings - Chop the veggies and saute them in a little olive oil.Add crushed pepper,oregano,chilli flakes and salt to taste
Mozzarella cheese grated - as required


Spread the pizza sauce over the bread.
Add the toppings and the grated cheese.
Add some more oregano.
Arrange on a grill rack and bake in a pre-heated oven for about 5 minutes or till the cheese melts.

Serve hot!!
A Sunday snack-mine goes to SnackORama for the Sunday snack event.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pizza-Ooh la la!!

Pizza..a soft chewy base loaded with vegetables and showered with a generous sprinkling of Mozarella cheese..oh my!!!I can't stop raving about the good ol' pizza.I never tried making it at home coz it looked like so much of hardwork!!While all we did was call up Dominos and order one or rush to the nearest Pizza hut and relish it there.Due to our dietary restrictions,Pizza was really a once-in-a-while treat.I always wished I could make my own pizza base,but couldn't muster enough courage for that.Had read so much about people's failed attempts with yeast,that I really didn't want to try.But I also read about so many people emerging victorious with yeast,so that was a thought tucked away in the back of my mind.

During our last super market trip,I got myself a packet of yeast.I looked at it lovingly and all..just hoping that it works for me too.And then I did it...thought to myself-what the heck,I'll try it once and see if it works..or else,I will never try again.I should say MBP-Cheese was really an inspiration.I had decided that if I participate,it has got to be Pizza.I hopped on to dear Shilpa's blog and saw what I really wanted to make.A guilt-free recipe for the pizza dough-base,that of whole wheat-just what the doctor ordered.I hit jackpot and went about making it.My joy knew no bounds when the dough rose-giving me a teeny weeny hope that it might work after all!!And it did..I followed the insructions carefully..and voila!!!I made my Pizza..ooh la la!!

Whole wheat Vegetable Pizza
Ingredients(for the base)
Whole wheat flour/atta- 1 cup
Active dry yeast - 1/2 tsp
Sugar - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Italian seasoning(I used Oregano+chilli flakes) - 1/2 tsp
Olive oil - as required


In about 1/4 cup of warm water, add sugar and salt. (Heat water for 10secs in microwave). Add the yeast, slightly give a shake to the bowl and leave it for about 5mins. Now add flour, Italian seasoning and make it into a dough (of about chapathi dough consistency). Add more water if necessary.Pour some olive oil and mix well.Cover the dough with a damp muslin cloth.Leave the dough for 10mins.

The dough increases to about double the volume in this time. If the dough is of same size as you started, then there is something wrong and you might want to leave the dough in a warm place for a little more time.

Press the dough to remove air. Roll the dough into a round using a rolling pin or just spread with fingers.Prick the base with a knife/fork at few places.(refer Shilpa's recipe for more tips)

Drizzle a little olive oil on top. Bake it in a preheated(heated to 150C for 10mins) oven for about 5-8mins.

I did not have many veggies in stock,so I just used the basic ones.Onions-Capsicum-Tomato-Mushroom.I sauteed all of it in a little olive oil,added salt to taste and crushed pepper and some more oregano.
For the sauce-I used ready made Pizza sauce.
A cup of mozzarella cheese.


Spread the sauce on the base and spread all the veggies.
Spread the grated mozzarella cheese on top.
Bake in a pre-heated oven-180C till the cheese melts(approx-15 mts).
Serve hot.

I am sending this Pizza to Siri for MBP.This months theme is Cheese. MBP is a Monthly blog patrolling event started by Coffee-The spice cafe.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Koottu Curry ~ Channa,Yam and Raw banana curry

Its been a while since I posted,was away in Ekm during the Onam week.Had a great time with family,had Ona sadya,went for a short one-day trip to Athirampally-vazhachal falls,went to a few temples,attended a wedding and came back to Chennai with a sulking face.Hubby always has a grin on his face whenever he sees me sulking and says that I behave like a kid.Come on..I feel sad that I couldn't spend more time with my parents.Its totally a different story as to I will always behave like this even if we come back from a month's holiday..or a years(if ever I get such a luxury!!).

Amma packed a whole lot of goodies for me on our way back.The one which topped the list was home grown Yam/Surnu/Chena.We have a small piece of land near our house where my parents have a small time vegetable garden.Appa got some freshly dug out yams and I happily bought it along.I should say they taste better than store bought ones.They cook pretty fast and are soft and tasty.
As we were still reeling from a sadya hangover,I prepared this koottu kari.This is one of the first sadya dishes I learnt to prepare.I absolutely love the sweet-peppery taste of this curry laden with roasted coconut..one of hubby's favorites too.

Koottu curry


Kadala/Bengal gram/Black channa - 100gms(a handful)
Yam and raw banana - 1 cup,chopped into small cubes
Crushed pepper - 1 tsp
Grated jaggery - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

To be ground to a paste
Grated coconut - 3/4 cup
Jeera - 1 tsp

For the tadka/seasoning
Coconut oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Grated coconut - 1/4 cup


Soak the kadala/channa overnight and cook in a pressure cooker till done.
Add the yam and raw banana cubes and cook for another whistle(or till done)-drain the water or cook till the water dries up because the curry has to be semi-solid.
Add crushed pepper,jaggery and salt to taste,let it boil.
Add the ground paste and stir well-simmer.
Prepare seasoning in a pan with oil,mustard seeds,curry leaves and coconut.
When the coconut turns a golden brown colour,add it to the simmering curry and give a final stir.
Drizzle with some more coconut oil,serve hot!!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Shevai-Rice Semia/Idiyappam

If there is a favorite breakfast for me after puttu,it has got to be shevai.I got introduced to this delicious breakfast after marriage.At my place,we make idiyappam which is almost similar to this,but the procedures and taste differ a lot.I fell in love with it the moment I had it first.The best part about this shevai is,it can be had with any curry or just plain..drizzle a drop of coconut oil,mix and eat,as simple as that!!Even though the process might appear difficult,when you devour it after all the hard work you feel it was all worth it!!

Whenever we go to my in-laws place,amma makes sure she makes it for breakfast the day we reach.In fact my father-in-law teases me saying that if there's shevai on the table I don't need anything else coz I'll eat it for lunch and dinner as well;-).I had not ventured into making this,of course mainly coz of the hard work involved,but also due to the fact that I feared that if I made it and it flopped..well!!Last year,when we had gone to Mangalore to attend a cousin's wedding,we got a shevai danthe(the shevai press).I have been a part of shevai making process with amma,so I had a vague idea as to how to go about it.I feared asking her for instructions coz if it flopped,she would feel bad and so would I.

I made the batter,made the shevai dough,steamed it and it was ready to be put into the press.Hubby willingly pressed the danthe for me while I collected the shevai from beneath.When he pressed it,my heart was literally in my mouth..!!When I saw perfectly looking shevai coming out of it..I almost jumped with joy..!!Hubby was wondering how these things could make me so happy..if only he understood!!I have been making shevai proudly ever since,but if given a choice,me and hubby would definitely prefer amma's shevai.I think she makes the best shevai I have ever eaten..love you ma,for all the hard work,just for whetting our palettes..!!



Boiled rice/matta ari - 2 cups
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp


Soak the rice for 4-5 hours.
Grind with grated coconut to a smooth paste,add enough water.
Add salt to taste.
In a thick bottomed kadai add the oil and twist a little so that the oil is spread all over.
Pour the batter and keep stirring till the batter resembles a paste,stiff enough to be shaped into balls(this method is called alavche,in Konkani).
When the dough becomes a little cool to touch,shape balls in oval shape.
In a steamer or an idli cooker(called pedavan),steam the balls for 30-45 minutes till well cooked.
Keep the steamer closed and take out the balls one by one,closing after each turn.(if the balls become cold,it becomes extremely difficult to press through the mould)
Put the balls into the danthe and press it,while collecting the shevai from underneath.(use a small plate to do this)

Collect the shevai in a plate layered with a wet muslin cloth,transfer to a container once its cold.
Serve with vaagu/batata song or have it plain with coconut oil and a drop of pickle!!

I am sending this to RCI-Konkani hosted by Deepa of Recipes N More!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Spicy Egg roast~Mutta roast

There are vegetarians..there are non-vegetarians..and then there are those who choose the middle path.I do not claim myself to be a vegetarian even though I do not eat meat or meat products.I do not eat egg also but I do eat stuff in which egg is added,like cakes and brownies.I know so many people who eat egg and say they are pure vegetarians.Now,I am not going to find fault with either of the food group.My hubby is a pucca non-vegetarian and he enjoys his seafood among other stuff.He hates it when people vie for vegetarianism and say that non-vegetarians are harming animals and stuff like that.In fact,when we got married,the first thing he told me was that he would never force me to have non-veg and I shouldn't force him to be a veg,fair deal.I had some relatives asking me how I am gonna live with a "pure non-veg";-),they sure are not counted among endangered species,are they;-)?

I did my schooling in a convent school and being around with friends who ate non-veg,I was quite comfortable when we dined out with friends out of whom I was the lone vegetarian.Just like vegetarians who seem to find fault with non-vegetarians,it does happen vice versa too.I have had people asking me how I will get enough proteins and nutrients if I don't eat eggs and meat..!!Some friends have mocked me saying I am eating tasteless pizza and burger since its vegetarian..!!

Mutta roast was one of the dishes which tempted me very badly during one such dining outs.I just couldn't resist the aroma coming out of this dish and the way my hubby was eating it with puttu..oh boy!He suggested that I avoid the egg and eat the gravy.I was actually waiting for him to say that and dug into the curry.It was so tasty that I didn't touch my veggie gravy that day and finished up my share of puttu with the egg roast sans the egg!!It is truly amazing and to this date whenever I prepare it,I avoid making a veg gravy for me..!!Yummy!!

Spicy egg roast ~ mutta roast


Eggs - 4
Onions - 3 big,chopped lengthwise
Tomato - 1 big,chopped lengthwise
Coconut oil - 2-3 tbsp
Salt to taste

For the masala

Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp


Hard boil the eggs,peel and keep aside.
In a thick bottomed kadai,add the oil and fry the onions.
Onions should turn light brown,simmer and let it caramelize.(this may take upto 10 minutes,at the end of which the onions would have become half the quantity)
Add the tomatoes and mix well.
Make a paste of the ingredients required for the masala adding a little water.
Add the masala to the onions-tomato,add salt to taste and mix well.
Add 1/4 cup of water and let it boil.
Cover and cook for a minute.
Make small slits on the eggs and add to the masala.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
Serve hot with puttu or idiyappam!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Happy Ganesh Chathurthi

Ganesha Chaturthi or Ganesha Festival is a day on which Lord Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati, is believed to bestow his presence on earth for all his devotees. It is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chavithi in Sanskrit.Tamil,Kannada and Telugu and Chavath in Konkani. It is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesha. The festival is observed in the Hindu calendar of Bhaadrapaada starting on the shukla chathurthi(fourth day of the waxing moon period).The festival lasts for 10 days, ending on Ananta Chaturdashi. This festival is observed in the lunar month of bhadrapada shukla paksha chathurthi madhyahana vyapini purvaviddha.

Ganesha, the elephant-headed son of Shiva and Parvati, is widely worshipped as the supreme god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. (Source-Google)
Wishing all of you a very happy Vinayaka chathurthi.May Lord Ganesha bestow his blessings on all of us!!

I share a love-hate relationship with our favorite God's naivedyam-Modak.I never seem to get it right,either the rice flour dough won't hold its shape or the filling doesn't stay in place!!I've tried and tried so many times..but in vain.Almost every time I end up making these pathalis/ela ada in place of modak.Even though the recipe and procedure is similar for both,modak is what is offered to Ganesha on Chavath.This year too I ended up making modak packets(thats what I called them!) for dear Ganesha!!I hope He doesn't mind;-).

Pathali/Ela ada/Modak packets


Rice flour - 1 cup
Hot water - 1-1 1/2 cups
Salt-a pinch

For the filling

Grated coconut - 1 cup
Grated jaggery - 1 cup
Powdered cardamom - 1 tsp


Mix the flour and hot water(start with 1 cup water) with a spoon and wait till it cools down bit.
Knead into a smooth dough,adding more water if required.
Mix the ingredients for the filling.
Using a foil,spread the dough into a round shape and keep a tbsp of filling inside.
Seal the sides so that the filling stays in place.
Steam in a steamer or idli cooker for 10-15 minutes.
I kept the pathalis in an idli stand.
You could also use banana leaves in place of foil,which will give the adas a nice aroma.
Enjoy the pathalis...but not before you offer some to Lord Ganesha!!

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