A harvest festival that is celebrated all over Kerala..a celebration that brings many hearts together .Its that time of the year again when the festive spirit is on. A festival that has no caste, creed or religion is Onam . A festival that is celebrated to welcome King Mahabali.Each day of Onam has its own significance.
My childhood memories take me to those joyful moments when I used to come to my ancestral home and get together with my cousins trying to pick flowers and decorate flower carpets. On the day of Thiruvonam is when the Sadya is laid out . But we all used to help out with the preps for the big day.
Payasam or the dessert is an inevitable part of the Sadya(the meal on the banana leaf). I am always a huge fan of the jaggery based puddings that is served after the meal. Thought of sharing a recipe that I learned from my mother. The traditional Parippu Payasam or Parippu Prathaman. This is basically made from the green gram split lentils or moong dal .
- 1 Cup of Moong Dal
- ⅛ Cup of Sago (Sabudana)
- 2 Cups of Jaggery Syrup
- 2 Cups of Thin Coconut Milk
- 1 Cup of Thick Coconut Milk
- 2-3 Cardamom (Crushed)
- 4 TBSP of Ghee
- 3 Cups of Water
- ¼ Cup of Coconut Chips
- 1 TBSP of Raisins
- Start by soaking moong dal for half an hour.
- Heat ghee in a pan.
- Fry the moong dal in the pan for 10 mins.
- Now, add water to the lentils.
- Cook until lentils are soft and add the jaggery syrup.
- Cook for some time till the mixture thickens.
- Next, add the thin coconut milk.
- Add the crushed cardamom and let the mixture simmer.
- Wash, boil and strain the sago (Sabudana)
- Add the sago to the pan and mix well.
- Simmer until mixture thickens.
- Next, add the thick coconut milk.
- Turn the flame off once the payasam starts simmering.
- Next, take ghee in a pan for tempering.
- Fry the coconut chips and add the raisins too.
- Once they start puffing, take them off the flame.
- Now, pour this on top of the payasam and mix well.
- Serve this warm !
Singing the traditional onam song ,
“Maveli Nadu Vaneedum Kaalam
Amodhathode Vasikkum Kalam
Kallavum Illa Chathiyumilla
Maveli Nadu Vaneedum Kaalam
Manusharellarum Onnupole “
Wishing you all a wonderful Onam !!!!
This month had quite a few surprises in store. Really overwhelmed, humbled & honored to share that I received the “Best Show Kitchen Award ” representing India during this year’s “Gourmand Awards 2019” held in Macao, China. I was selected for the show kitchen that I had showcased during the Gourmand world summit in March 2019. in Paris.
The Gourmand Awards are unique in the Food and Drink sector and is quoted out as the Oscars of Gastronomy. They are in fact the most international book awards for any kind of books, Only the Olympics can compare in scope. This competition for 2018 had Food and Drink Culture entries from 216 countries.
It was an honor to have been cooked Indian flavors at the Chef’s Kitchen at the Macao International Bookfair and to be among one among the best. It was truly lovely to have a wonderful crowd to whom I could cater out our flavors.
An added experience was to have cooked with World Food Programme team, helping children worldwide in the fight against hunger. It was a delight to cook Indian flavors of the provided Armenian ingredients. Thankyou Alessandro & his team for roping me in.
My effort has always been to bring the authentic flavors of our country to the outside world. My second cookbook “Lip-Smacking dishes of Kerala ” won me the title of “3rd Best local cuisine book in the world” for 2013-14 and later on my third cookbook “4 o’clock temptations of Kerala” went on to win the “Best Indian cookbook in the world” for the year 2015-16. This is the third time that I have had a chance to witness the awards but the most exciting part was to be acknowledged. I am thankful to the Gourmand team for finding me worthy of it.
My sincere thanks also go out to my friends, family, and well-wishers for all the encouragement and support even when the tides were rough to keep my dreams alive. Thankyou Masterchef Cyril Roquet for hosting the show.
In March it was an honor to have my cookbook “4 o’clock temptations of Kerala” (Winner of the Best Indian cookbook in the World 2015-16) represented India at the UNESCO headquarters during the Gourmand World Summit in Paris, France from 20-22nd of March. The summit was a huge network of food culture professionals, around a big exhibition of 2000 books from 170 countries. It was the opportunity to see what is done and written around the world, by alphabetical order, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. So many topics, styles, layouts, formats, angles, traditions, fusions, and research are there to be discovered and shared. So many talented authors and creative publishers to be met. VIPs including ambassadors, chefs, distributors, agents, photographers, food and tourism journalists, bloggers, publishers, authors, and designers attend the Summit.
It was even more exciting to have had the opportunity to be one among the 25 chefs from different countries representing their cuisine during the “Village International de la Gastronomie”.I did a live show kitchen cooking up some of the authentic flavors of Kerala, representing the regional cooking from India in show kitchen facing the Eiffel Tower during the “Village international de la gastronomie” on 24th of March 2019. The four days of the event was mesmerizing representing culture and flavors from different parts of the world.
A huge thanks to Gourmand team and Anne Laure Descombin creator of Village International de la Gastronomie for the huge support. Denis Nidon and Virginie Petorin, thank you so much for capturing and sharing with me the moments from the events.
This festive season with the start of the new year I am launching the ebooks of my award-winning cookbooks “Lip Smacking Dishes of Kerala” (3rd Best Local Cuisine book in the world for Gourmand awards 2013-14) and “4 o’ clock temptations of Kerala” (Best Indian cookbook in the world for Gourmand Awards 2015-16).
I will be giving away 10 ebooks ..make sure to grab your copies by entering the giveaway. If you would like to celebrate the regional flavor of Indian cooking through Kerala cuisine or would like to gift your friend or loved one…
The results will be announced on the 2oth of January 2019
If you would like to get the paperback copies of the books, you can order them here.
Wishing you all the very best!!
Let’s welcome the year which is fresh
Let’s welcome the year which is new,
Let’s cherish each moment it beholds,
Let’s celebrate this blissful new year.
Sweets have always been an integral part of festivities in India. Today being Karthigai Deepam / Thrikarthigai -the festival of lamps which is celebrated in the states of Kerala and Tamilnadu, I thought of sharing a sweet recipe with you all. The lighted lamp is considered an auspicious symbol during this festival. It is believed to ward off evil forces and usher in prosperity and joy. On the day, all the houses, streets and temples are well lit with traditional oil lamps. After the floods, it has taken up quite some time to get things back in order. So
Carrot Halwa or Gajar ka halwa is one sweet pudding that you can easily whip up with the ingredients. This batch was made with homegrown carrots…so it was super yum 🙂
5-6 medium sized carrots (peeled and grated )
6tbsp of sugar
1 cup of milk
4-5 strands of saffron
2-3 cardamoms crushed and skin off.
1/4 cup of halved almonds, cashews and raisins
1/8 cup of ghee
Heat ghee in a pan, fry and separate the almonds, cashews & raisins on to a plate. In the leftover ghee, fry the carrots till it shrinks in size and darkens in color. Pour in the milk, add in the cardamom seeds and sugar. Cover and cook the mix till it thickens. Make sure to keep stirring it so as to avoid it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Garnish with saffron, almonds, cashews & raisins. Carrot Halwa is ready to be
May this festival of lights bring us brightened and enlightened life like that of lamps …Wishing all a Happy Thrikarthika / Karthigai Deepam!!!
Kulfi is a super popular frozen Indian dessert. Its the Indian ice cream but is much denser and creamier than the regular ice creams. The word “kulfi” was derived from the Persian word for covered cup. Since kulfis are loved by kids, I had posted a Dates and Almonds Kulfi recipe earlier.
Coffee lovers are quite familiar with the cafe’ mocha. Being a true coffee lover, I just love trying out coffee flavored recipes. This was a recipe that I came across in a food magazine a few years ago and having a husband who is crazy on coffee …its quite fun to pop up with different flavors. So today’s recipe is Mocha Kulfi!
Here’s the video link to this frozen delight. Stay tuned and subscribe to my youtube channel for more recipes.
- 2 cups of milk
- 200ml of condensed milk
- 6-7 tbsps of sugar
- 2 tbsps of instant coffee powder or espresso powder
- (Instant Coffee Powder or Espresso Powder)
- 2 tbsps of cornflour
- Boil milk with sugar and stir in the coffee powder .Mix in the condensed milk.Add 3-4 tbsps of water to the cornflour to make a smooth paste .Pour it into the boiling coffee mix and continue stirring .Make sure to stick to stirring the mix as it can easily get quite lumpy .Once the mix starts thickening up , turn off the flame and pour it into kulfi molds or into a deep tray.Freeze the kulfis for about 4-5 hours .When you are trying to demold the kulfis , it best to slightly show it under hot water so that you can easily pull out the kulfi. In a tray you can slice them into cubes and dust with coffee powder before serving .
Growing your own vegetables for your daily needs makes food so much tastier. Organic farming is so much into these days. Making use the soil to grow your own vegetables and fruits make cooking much more divine. Born and raised in Abu Dhabi, living a city life, I haven’t actually had a great exposure to farming or growing food during my childhood days. The vacation visits to Kerala to my parent’s ancestral homes always excited me so much. I really awed the moment s when the whole family gets together spending time chatting, cooking, eating …It was a real fun to do things that you were not used to doing. Going fishing in ponds, picking fresh veggies, helping my mother and grandmother in cooking. There’s a flush of memories that flow in when I look back.
After marriage, now a mother to two boys and living in Kerala … I also want to instill in my kids the value of growing their own food. I have a small backyard to the house where I live and every season it’s a different set of veggies that are grown.A few months back I had asked one of our staffs to buy a batch of potatoes for home and the person wasn’t very good at picking up the right potatoes and I ended up having slightly sprouted ones. In two days’ time I had to travel to my in-laws home for family reasons and by the time I was back in my kitchen, it was pretty much all sprouted up. They were all cut up and shoved into the soil. Last week as my husband and kids were plucking some fresh tomatoes from our backyard, I noticed the potato plant and pulled out one to find the potatoes were all ready to be taken out of the soil. We got about 2-3 kilos of potatoes which pretty much a good amount to use up for our home cooking. And yesterday I used some of those to make some really crispy “Aloo tikkis” for my children as a snack for tea time. The rains have started off pretty quick this year round….So it’s pretty much very satisfying to have some hot snacks with chai.
- 3-4 medium sized potatoes boiled and peeled and mashed
- 3-4 green chillies chopped
- ½ tsp of cumin seeds
- ½-1tsp of chilli powder (u can vary it according to your spice preference)
- ½ tsp of turmeric powder
- 2 tsps of coriander leaves chopped
- ¼ tsp of dry mango powder or ½ tsp of lemon juice
- 2 tbsps of rice flour
- Salt to taste
- Oil for frying
- In a bowl mix in potatoes, green chillies ,cumin seeds, chilli powder , turmeric powder , coriander leaves , rice flour ,lemon juice or dry mango powder and salt . Pinch golf ball sized small portions, roll and flatten to make patties .Once shaped in to patties, heat oil in a wok and deep fry them till they are golden brown in color. Serve with green chutneys
- 1 cup of fresh mint leaves
- 1/2 cup of fresh coriander leaves
- 2 green chillies
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/4 inch piece of ginger
- 1 teaspoon of lime juice
- 1/2 cup of yoghurt
- salt to taste
- Grind mint leaves , coriander leaves , garlic , ginger and lime juice into smooth paste in a blender.Mix in the yoghurt and salt .Serve it with the aloo tikkis !
Holidays have started off but the break is just too small this year.In 1o days time, the school reopens and I am back to square one .Have plans to visit my parents home before the whole break is over. On the occasion of Easter, the recipe that I am very keen on sharing is one that many have requested me to.Kerala’s Beef Roast recipe is one of the most famed recipes. Beef has a prominent place in the Kerala cuisine among the meat lovers. The buffalo meat is meant to be much tougher than other meat, so it’s mostly pressure cooked as it takes more time to tenderize.This is equally good with the flaky Kerala porottas as well as rice.
- 1kg of beef
- 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
- 4tsps of Kashmiri chilly powder
- 2tsps of Coriander powder
- 1 1/2 tsps of garam masala powder
- 1-2 tsps of black pepper powder
- 4 green chillies slit
- 2medium sized big onions sliced thin
- 1inch piece of ginger crushed
- 10 cloves of garlic crushed
- 1/2 cup of coconut chips sliced
- 1tbsp of vinegar
- 1 cup of shallots sliced .
- Coconut oil
- Curry leaves
- Salt to taste
- Cut the cleaned beef pieces into small cubes .Marinate the beef pieces with chilli powder, green chillies , ginger , garlic , turmeric , coriander powder , garam masala, vinegar , curry leaves , big onion and salt to taste.Pressure cook the meat or cook the meat in a pot with water till it is very tender .In a wok , heat coconut oil , fry coconut pieces till crispy , add the sliced shallots , saute till translucent , pour the cooked meat with stock and mix.Evaporate the stock water so the meat is marinated ,Add in the pepper powder and continue frying .You can add in oil to the sides of the pan if it sticks too much .Once it becomes really dark brown in colour , all the moisture would have evaporated out .Garnish with curry leaves and take it off heat .
When festivities are up the magic that unleashes is unique in every way. It feels like it’s been almost a decade since I last posted.The number of posts in the drafts section has piled up as always …the Christmas break is winding up in a few days time. This break I had come down to my parents home due to a family issue…hoping to have things sorted out soon. When I was packing up from Munnar I was in high hopes to finish reading up the books that have been on my shelves. I always get hooked up on one matter or other and then there’s no time to read…
By the end of October, I had the chance to represent my books at the Frankfurt world book fair for the third time at the Gourmet Gallery. The opportunity to present a live show kitchen on “Food from Kerala” was, in fact, the most awesome experience.It was in every way the proudest moment to have been able to showcase the regional diversity of Indian cuisine which was highly appreciated and welcomed.I truly had butterflies in my stomach before going on the podium …the similar kind of cramp that gets me before I start my show. Well, little did I know that there were more of things to happen. The worst part was when I popped in all the chopped pineapple into my shiny little red mini pressure cooker and explaining out to the viewers.I tried to turn on the induction …..and it wasn’t working.Well, there were a few lovely ladies who were there to help me and they jumped in to help me out with the knobs but unfortunately, my elegant induction based pressure cooker would just not work on the induction top I had at the show kitchen.I ended up cooking them up in a normal pot.50 minS was the time allotted for my show.I am happy that even though there were a few mishaps I could convey the message to the viewers. Heres a glimpse of the event below…
The most memorable and the greatest privilege was to have an invite to visit the “Le cordon bleu “culinary institute in Paris in October. Le cordon bleu is a world renowned network of educational institutions dedicated to providing the highest level of culinary and hospitality instructions through world-class programmes.Founded in Paris in 1895, it is considered today as the largest network of culinary schools in the world.
After all the stories now let’s move on to the recipe to pep up this festive spirit. Musambi or sweet lemon was pretty in season and I wanted to use them up for a recipe. That’s when I thought of using them up in making up a sweet lemon cake.
- 175 g cake flour
- 3 eggs
- 175 g sugar
- 175 g butter
- Juice of 2 sweet lemon /musambi
- Rind of 1 sweet lemon finely grated
- 1 tsp of vanilla essence
- 1 tsp of baking powder
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1/2 cup of almonds
- 1/2 cup of milk
- Preheat oven at 350 degrees .Sieve the flour , baking powder and salt into a bowl.In an other bowl beat butter and sugar about 2 mins and slowly beat in the eggs on by one .Once the beaten mix is pretty smooth , stir in milk , musambi rind , its juice and vanilla essence .Slowly fold in the dry ingredients with almonds into the mix. Grease and line a cake tin with butter paper and pour in the cake batter .Level the top and bake the cake for about 30 minutes or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean .
India being a country with remarkable diversity has always been the abode to a rich culinary heritage .As a child I always fancied our motherland not sure if it was of me being born and brought up outside India . The vacations were always days that I would wait for our trips to India . Indian cuisine in itself is so vast that you can never get tired exploring .The huge regional diversities from states , to borders to homes is just unbelievable .
With this new post I would also like to share the officially launch my you tube channel “Nimi’s Recipes “.This is an attempt to give a breath of life to some of the recipes that I have loved trying ..Hoping to have your support !!
The recipe that I wanted to introduce today is a Sindhi bread -“Koki”. This Sindhi breakfast is a really good combination with green chutney .
- 4 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 large onions chopped
- 4 green chilies chopped
- 3 tbsp fresh coriander leaves finely chopped
- 2 tsps cumin seeds
- 2 tsps pomegranate seeds
- Salt to taste
- Oil for shallow frying
- In a bowl mix all ingredients except for oil and add water to knead it into a firm dough .Cover the bwl and set aside for about 10-15 minutes .
- Divide the prepared dough into small balls and shape into thick flat patty .Place patties on a warm griddle and roast both sides on a very low heat .Roll these patties into slightly thick round discs and shallow fry in oil , turning to cook both sides.Serve the koki roti with green chutney .
It’s strange how you meet up with new people every day in your life .There are moments when you feel that you are at the verge of existence but its inspiring how a total stranger can create a new character in your life …Its a similar kind of experience that I had travelling for the research of my new books.Its pretty much amazing to see that there are people in the villages who love what they do in their life despite facing day to day crisis.
Dal pakwan has always been one of the highlight recipes from my recipe diary .Its traditionally a very famous Sindhi breakfast .Recipes have always been a fascination and their collections a hobby .May be I might have got that from my mother .During school days I fancied clipping out all the recipes that had fancy photos.Its crazy how I used to stick them up in a diary and try to try them out on weekends.My kids are the ones who have taken up those crazes now all they would love to do on a holiday is to cook something of their own .I guess I have two budding foodies all set to conquer my kitchen …
- 1/2 cup of chana dal /chick pea lentils soaked for 30 mins
- 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
- 1tbsp of oil
- 1/2 tsp of dry mango powder
- 3-4 green chillies chopped
- 1/2 tsp of red chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp of onion finely chopped
- 1 tsp of tamarind extract
- coriander leaves
- salt to taste
- For Pakwan
- 1 cup of All purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
- 1tsp of oil
- Salt to taste
- oil for deep frying
- Wash and pressure cook the lentils with turmeric powder, water and salt to taste for about 5-6 whistles.Once cooked slightly mash the lentils with a wooden spoon . Heat oil in a wok , fry cumin seeds and green chillies .Add in chilli powder and dry mango powder .Make sure that you stir and keep it on low flame so that you are not burning the powders. Stir in the cooked lentils and turn off the flame .Garnish with chopped onions and coriander leaves.
- For the pakwans, mix salt , flour , cumin seedsin a bowl .Pour in water slowly and knead it into a dough .You can also add a teaspoon of oil to the dough to smoothen out the dough .Let the dough sit for about 10-15 minutes.Divide the dough into balls and roll each ball into discs.Prick with a fork on the rolled out dough . Heat oil in a wok and deep fry the pakwans till they are golden and crisp.
- Serve warm with dal .