Paal payasam is a delicious dessert of Red rice cooked in milk and garnished with nuts. I prefer making this Payasam in the pressure cooker as one needn’t constantly keep stirring it and the milk takes on a beautiful pinkish hue. You can garnish it with nuts of your choice roasted in Ghee.
1.5 litres Milk
250 gms sugar
100 gms Red rice
10 pods Cardamom
10 cashewnuts halved
1 tbsp Ghee/clarified butter
Wash the rice and tip it into the pressure cooker along with the milk and sugar. After one whistle, lower heat and allow to cook for 20 minutes. Allow the pressure cooker to cool thoroughly before opening the lid. Powder the Cardamom. Tip it into the Payasam. Heat Ghee in a pan. Add the cashewnuts and Kishmish and roast to a golden yellow. Drop it into the Payasam, allow to boil for a minute, cover and keep aside for half an hour for the flavours to infuse before serving.
This recipe calls for all the ingredients to be roasted afresh and ground together with coconut and curry leaves. The whole house is filled with the aroma of ground spices.!
Ingredients for the Spice Powder:
2 tbsps Coriander seeds
1/2 tbsp Chana Dal/Bengal Gram Dal
1/2 tbsp Urad Dal/Black gram Dal
1tsp Jeera/Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Methi/Fenugreek seeds
10 pepper corns
2 sprigs Curry leaves
2 heaped, tbsps Coconut
9 dry red chillies ( you can use as per your spice level)
A pea sized piece of Hing /asafoetida
1 tbsp oil
Heat oil in a pan and roast all the ingredients except the curry leaves and coconut to a golden yellow. Drop in the curry leaves and coconut. Roast to a golden brown. Dry grind to a fine powder and keep aside.
Ingredients for the Sambhar :
125 gms Arhar Dal/Split Pigeon peas
1 tbsp Tamarind paste
A small piece of Pumpkin
2 tbsps Ghee/clarified butter
3 sprigs Curry leaves.
Wash and pressure cook the Arhar Dal in three glasses of water till done. Deskin the potato, Pumpkin and carrot. Chop them into bite sized pieces. Slice the onions roughly. Chop the drumstick into two inch pieces. Grind the Powdered spices with tamarind paste and water to a Chutney like consistency. Keep aside. Once the Dal is cooked, churn it well. Heat two glasses of water and cook the potato, onion and carrot with salt. When they are three fourth done add the Drumstick. When the Drumstick is three fourth cooked add the Pumpkin pieces and boil for a few minutes till they are done but firm. Drop the churned Dal and the spice paste into the cooked vegetables. Adjust salt and boil well. Heat Ghee in a pan. Drop in the mustard and after it splutters add the curry leaves. Pour the seasoning into the boiling Sambhar. Switch off and keep aside for about fifteen minutes to allow the flavours to infuse before serving.
Another delicacy from Kerala where Pumpkin and Cowpeas cooked in coconut gravy along with other condiments uses grated coconut in the seasoning to enhance the flavour of the Curry. Though one can use oil of one’s choice, authentic Kerala cuisine calls for the use of fragrant Coconut oil!
300 gms Pumpkin
100 gms Cowpeas
2 green chillies
1/2 of a small coconut grated
1/2 tsp Chilly powder
A pinch of Turmeric powder
1/4 tsp Jeera/Cumin seeds
1 tbsp Coconut oil
1 tsp Mustard seeds
2 sprigs curry leaves
1 dried red chilly
1 tbsp grated coconut
Deskin the Pumpkin and remove the seeds. Wash and chop into one inch by one inch pieces. Boil in a glass of water with a little salt till soft, but firm to touch. Pressure cook the Cowpeas with salt in two glasses of water till done. Grind the grated coconut, green chillies, red chilly powder and Jeera to a smooth paste. Pour it into the cooked Pumpkin and Cowpeas mixture. Add the turmeric powder, adjust salt and boil well. Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and after they splutter drop in the dry red chilly. Toss. Add the grated coconut and curry leaves and roast till the coconut changes colour. Drop the seasoning into the boiling Eriserry. Switch off and keep aside for fifteen minutes for the flavours to infuse before serving.
Olan is a traditional Keralite preparation. Kerala the Southern most state of India, known as God’s own Country with its beautiful back waters, beaches, swaying palms and a host of other tourist attractions uses coconuts in plenty in their cuisine. Olan is a must during auspicious ocassions. Vegetables cooked in coconut milk, flavoured with green chillies, curry leaves and ginger, drizzled with Coconut oil, make it so fragrant, that one can make a meal of it!
200 gms Ashgourd
100 gms Cowpeas /Lobhia
1 small Coconut grated
4 green chillies
1 inch piece of ginger
2 sprigs curry leaves
3 tsps Coconut oil
Deskin the Ashgourd, remove the seeds and chop it into bite sized pieces. Wash and pressure cook to one whistle in a glass of water with salt. Drain the water and keep it aside. Pressure cook the Cowpeas with a little salt in two glasses of water till done. Drain the water and keep this aside too. Chop the green chillies, grate the ginger and drop it into the cooked Ashgourd and Cowpeas mixture. Use the drained water to grind the coconut to a smooth paste. Strain the extract through a thin cloth. Keep it aside. Similarly, extract coconut milk twice, till the residue is devoid of any coconut milk. Pour the second and third extract into the Ashgourd and Cowpeas mixture. Adjust salt. Add the curry leaves and boil well for five minutes. Now add the first extract and after it has come to a boil allow it to simmer for a minute. Switch off and drizzle with coconut oil. Keep aside for fifteen minutes for the flavours to infuse before serving.
Bottle Gourd is well known for its therapeutic uses and a variety of dishes can be made from this vegetable. Sambhar, a variety of subzi, Soup, Kofta, and even desserts can be made from this vegetable. Posting a simple, easy to make and delicious Halva today.
1.5 kgs bottle gourd
200 gms sugar
5 tbsps Ghee/clarified butter
A large pinch of Kesar/Saffron
21 pods of Elaichi/Cardamom
Cashews and Almonds to garnish.
Wash and deskin the bottle gourd. Save the peel to make a stir fry. Grate the Bottle gourd and tip it into a pan along with the milk, Cashews and Almonds. Cook it on a gentle flame till done. Add the sugar and saffron and keep cooking till it starts leaving the sides of the vessel. Add the Ghee and stir for a while. Add the powdered Cardamom, mix well and serve hot.
Note: I prefer adding the Cashew and Almonds whole to the Halva without roasting them. You may sliver them and roast them in a tbsp of Ghee and add them too.
A variety of dishes can be made from Red Cowpeas also known as Lal Chowli or Tambdi Alsandya Bee. Stir fries, Coconut based Gravies, Chaat, Soup, the list goes on. Posting a simple stir fry today.
125 gms Lal Chowli / Red Cowpeas
5 dry red chillies broken into bits
A large pinch of Hing/asafoetida
Grated coconut for garnish
2 tbsps Coconut oil
1 tsp mustard
Wash and pressure cook the Red Cowpeas with salt. Heat oil in a pan. Add a tsp of mustard and after it splutters add the broken red chilly bits. Toss. Drop in the cooked Lal Chowli. Boil well till all the water is absorbed. Tip in the Hing. Garnish with coconut. Keep aside for ten minutes for the flavours to infuse before serving.
There is nothing more soothing than a bowl full of Tomato Saaru to sip on, or to pour over your rice. The earlier one I posted was with a garlic seasoning. This one is flavoured with Asafoetida and Curry leaves.
1 tbsp Tamarind paste
1 tsp jaggery
1 tbsp Chilly powder
3 tbsps Ghee/clarified butter
1 tsp Mustard
4 sprigs Curry leaves
A kidney bean size of Hing/asafoetida powdered
1 litre of water.
Wash and quarter the tomatoes. If they are large, cut them into eight pieces. Tip them into a pan with a litre of water. Add the salt, jaggery and tamarind paste. Cook the tomatoes well. Heat Ghee in a pan. Drop in the mustard and after it splutters add the powdered Hing. Toss. Drop in the curry leaves. Toss and pour the seasoning into the boiling Saaru. Switch off. Garnish with Coriander leaves.
This is a traditional Thali that is prepared on ‘Sutha Punnav’ /the full moon day of the month of Shravan, when men of the Konkani community of Mangalore, Goa and Kerala change the sacred thread/Yagnopavitra worn by them after Upanayanam/A ritual initiating a boy into reciting the Gayatri Japa. A couple of other Indian communities too follow this tradition, but the cuisine differs depending on the region where they come from. The only similarity is that since all these communities come from the rice growing areas of India, Rice is their staple. On the Thali is Rice, Dalithoy, Khotto/ Idli batter steamed in Jackfruit leaves, Okra Sambhar, Ivygourd and Tender Cashew Stir Fry, White Pigeon peas Ghashi, Coriander leaves Gozzu, Yam Pickle, Bread Fruit Fritters, Pathrado, Sevya /Vermicelli Kheer and Buttermilk.
For the chai lovers here comes a freshly brewed cuppa. Ginger and Cardamom or the intoxicating fragrance of the freshly ground spices added to the chai while it is boiling away merrily add a zing to the good old method of brewing a cup of plain Chai.
1 tbsp each of the following spices:
Heat all the above mentioned spices in the microwave for about a minute. Powder them fine and store the spice powder in an airtight container.
250 ml milk
100 ml water
1/2 tsp of spice powder
3 tsps sugar
2 tsps tea leaves
Pour the milk and water into a pan. Add the spice powder and sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer gently for a minute and then add the tea leaves. Simmer again for a minute. Switch off and shut the pan tightly with a lid. Allow the flavours to infuse for about two minutes. Strain the tea and serve hot.