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!!!
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 .