Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Indeed the thrill and joy of achievement is just unexplainable. Last year in the month of July when I was at my parents place for the monsoon break from school , I least expected the outcome of my long awaited cookbook “4 o’ clock temptations of Kerala” .I have had the craziest as well as the most unexpected circumstances when I look back .I lost the data of my book thrice and then send it for print .Things were totally haywire with my harddisk broken , my laptops display dead and so on ….it was just never ending and I had time constraints as I was to exhibit my books at the Frankfurt World Book fair …When the book print was all sorted just two days before my flight I am informed that my visa got rejected ..It was totally devastating 🙁 ..to top all these my son was down with pneumonia .I tried my level best ..but unfortunately I couldnt make it to Frankfurt .The books were exhibited there as my brother was there for the event ..but it took me months to recover from the mishaps .
Whatever happened, happened for good.
Whatever is happening, is happening for good.
Whatever will happen, that will be for good as well. –
Its taken me a very long time to share with all of you the news of my book , but as its told better late than never ..so I am very happy , excited, thrilled, ..you can take up all the synonyms that can go with it ….to share with you all tht my cookbook , “4 o’ clock temptations of Kerala ” which is on the snacks of Kerala cuisine has won “Best Indian cookbook in the world ” for the Gourmand world cookbook awards 2015-16 from 209 countries representing India .I seriously had no words to say on stage… when I was called up I was in all tears ….
Its great to win the Gourmand awards the second time and experience the whole event .Earlier it was for my cookbook “Lip smacking Dishes of Kerala” which won the 3rd Best Local Cuisine book in the world for 2013-14 at the Gourmand World cookbook awards from 187 countries representing India , held at Beijing , China .
Now to spice up all this news I have a recipe for a pickle that I made from the garden fresh cherry tomatoes…
- 1/4kg cherry tomatoes
- 2tbsp of kashmiri chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
- 2-3 green chillies chopped
- 1 small piece of ginger finely chopped
- 1 tsp of mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp of fenugreek seeds
- 1/4 tsp of asafoetida powder
- 2-3 tbsp of oil
- 1/2 tsp of sugar
- 1 tbsp of vinegar
- salt to taste
- 2-3 sprigs of curry leaves
- Heat a pan , add oil and fry the tomatoes till they shrink in size and seperate.In the remaining oil , pop mustard seeds, add fenugreek , ginger, green chillies and stir fry them for a minute or two on med flame .Lower the flame and stir in the turmeric and kashmiri chilli powder .Once the oil starts seperating add in the vinegar .I added a little extra vinegar so that i can cook the the sauce a bit more .You can also add water but that at times accelarates mould growth in the pickle .
- Now mix in the fried tomatoes , add sugar , asafoetida , salt and curry leaves .Turn off the flame and let it cool before you bottle them .
- Enjoy these pickles with rice or rotis ...
A few months back when Facebook team contacted me to do a video on my journey from a homemaker to an entrepreneur I had no clue of what to expect .My latest cookbook “4 o’ clock temptations of Kerala ” won the “Best Indian cuisine book in the world” for the Gourmand world cookbook awards 2015-16.A few weeks back I received an email from Facebook India with the statistics of the reach…”The video had reached 600,000 people across India! The video itself has been viewed 300,000 times ”
I whole heartedly thank all the wonderful people who had viewed,supported,encouraged ,shared and liked the video .Kudos to YourStory for the wonderful video 🙂
Greg Grano and Sarah Sellman two wonderful filmmakers from SanFrancisco did a portfolio on me for the website Hooplaha-Only good news ..it was just magic as the video is very close to my heart ..
Its crazy when I look back and see how my passion for food has created magic …the magic of following my heart!!!
In two days the holidays come to the winding stage and its back to normal .The temperature has been really hot in Thrissur ..I think its been almost the same in most parts of Kerala.Being accustomed to the Munnar climate , changing over to the tropical climate it was a bit difficult.But its nice to have a little rain although the heat doesnt come down very much .
Todays post is an Andhra style mixture with poha or beaten rice.A mixture that looks complicated but which is super simple to try and can be kept bottled for some time.I love this snack as its a wonderful melt in the mouth snacker with a very distinct taste.
- 500 gm thin white Poha (beaten rice flakes) dried in sunlight for 2hrs
- 1 cup of coconut chips
- 1 cup of peanuts
- 1 cup of fried gram
- Salt to taste
- 2-3 tsp of chilli powder
- 1 ½ tsp of chaat masala
- 1 tsp of cumin powder
- ½ cup Curry leaves
- Oil for frying
- Fry the poha till it is crispy in a dry pan and separate.
- Fry and separate coconut chips, peanuts, fried gram and curry leaves in to a
- colander so that the oil oozes out.
- Mix the fried ingredients and poha together, add in salt and mix.
- Mix in chilli powder, chaat masala, and cumin powder.
- Once cool store them in air tight containers.
It’s the 31st of Jan and in Munnar the nights have been pretty much cold..well although we haven’t had snow the temperature had dropped down to -3/-2 a few days back. Tomorrow it’s my little ones bday and he’s super excited..of course how would he not be excited… I too was very much the same. He’s been advising me for the past few weeks of how his cake should be …he was more into getting me to make Ben 10 figurines for him. Hmm..but I wasn’t able to strain much and did him a cake .When I just got over with the frosting part the icing bag slips and falls on the edge of the cake causing a havoc on the frosting. Hearing me squeak ..he came near me and voiced smiling at me,”Amma ..Don’t worry its still a very beautiful cake ..I am so happy you made it for me.” I felt my heart sink at that moment…I hugged him and told him I would do the best I could. And I could do justice to an extend to his cake…really happy that I could.Tomorrow it’s the first time he has some of his friends for his birthday and so it’s a Big day for my boy as he’s turning 7!
“Mother’s Recipe”, the market leader in After accepting their invite in a Indian Pickles has a Product range that now consists of Pickles, Condiments, Blended Spices, Papads, Appalams, Curry Pastes, Curry Powders, Ready to Cook Spice Mixes, Ready to Eat meals (Canned and Retort Packing), Mango Chutneys, Ethnic Chutneys, Canned Vegetables, & Mango Pulp. It was indeed pretty much exciting to have an invite from them to participate in their Mother’s Recipe: Innovative Recipe Challenge’!
After accepting their invite in a week or so I have my hamper of their variety goodies at my doorstep.So heres my entry for the challenge.I took up the pack of the ready mix of “Chicken Chettinad “ and the pack of “Gujarati Choondo pickle”.I wanted to bring in a traditional fusion to the recipe. The pickle was very sweet compared to the normal pickle with a had a wonderful tangy taste. I infused the chettinad chicken with the Chattipathiri a traditional keralan Lasagne and popped up a dip with the pickle.Heres the recipe..
- Chettinad Chatti Pathiri
- 2 cups of Wheat flour
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup of thick coconut milk
- ½ tsp of black pepper powder
- Salt to taste
- For the filling
- 1 pack of Mothers recipe Chicken Chettinad mix
- ½ kg chicken (boneless) pieces
- Make a batter of flowing consistency with wheat flour adding water and salt.
- With the batter make 6-8 dosas on a hot flat pan and keep them aside.
- Fry the chicken pieces in 2 tbsp of oil till the chicken goes golden in colour.
- Take it off the pan and shred the chicken pieces in a chopper/mixer.
- Now as per the directions on the pack, mix the contents of the pack to 1 ½ cup of the
- water without any lumps.
- Add this into a pan, let it simmer, add in the shredded chicken and cover and cook till
- the chicken is cooked.
- Evaporate the stock once cooked so that it coats the chicken well and dry fry it in the
- pan and keep aside.
- Beat the eggs well with black pepper powder and salt.
- Dip all the dosas in the egg mixture.
- Place a dipped dosa on a plate and on the top lightly coat the coconut milk on thee
- dosa with your fingers.
- Spoon in and spread the filling on the dosa and place another dipped dosa on top
- smear coconut milk , the spoon the chicken filling and place another dipped dosa
- making a sandwich Stack at the least 6 to the max 8 dosas in the stack.
- Heat a wok /a heavy pan with 2 tbsp of oil, place the stacked dosas and cover it with
- a lid and cook on medium flame.
- Remove from flame once cooked.
My kids were very much fascinated by this version of the lasagna .In an hour there was nothing left. ..
Onam holidays have started a break of ten days Onam being the state festival of our Gods own country titled Kerala! All over the state of Kerala, festive rituals, traditional cuisine, dance and music mark this harvest festival. The ten day Onam festival is celebrated floral carpets, traditional dance forms , onam sadhya-the feast on banana leaf, boat race….At school we had the teachers day and onam celebrations on adjacent days.The Thiruvonam day..the tenth day and the most sacred day of the celebrations…..its great fun all members in the family get together ,friends and relatives all ..the onamsadhya is prepared and served on the banana leaf with different curries , rice and desserts. This Onam I wanted to post the recipe of a special payasam .Payasam is basically the dessert that’s served after the feast. Today’s post is Mathanga Payasam /Pumpkin Payasam..
- 2 cups of pumpkin cubes (de skinned &deseeded)
- 3/4 cup of jaggery syrup
- 2 cups of thin coconut milk
- 1 cup of thick coconut milk
- 2 cardamoms crushed
- 4 tbsp of sago cooked in water
- 2 tsp of ghee
- For Garnish
- 2 tsp of coconut pieces
- 2 tsp of cashews and raisins
- Ghee for frying
- Cook the pumpkins in water, sieve and blend into a smooth paste.
- Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed vessel and fry the pumpkin paste for about 5-10
- minutes on medium flame.
- Mix in the jaggery syrup and keep on stirring.
- Let the jaggery syrup blend well in to the mix and then pour the thin coconut milk and
- continue stirring.
- Add in the cooked sago balls and cardamom.
- When the milk starts thickening, pour in the thick milk and when it is on the verge of
- simmering, turn off the flame.
- Fry out the coconut pieces in ghee along with the raisins and cashews and garnish
- the pudding.
Serve it warm or cold and enjoy this onam !
It was while writing this post , I was reminded of a website I stumbled on to while browsing on apps that help you order food online in India.It has got everything that a foodie would want to devour from mughlai cuisine to south indian to pizzas..With a userfriendly interface and a catchy name “Foodpanda”
They cover most cities in India and when you have the app on your phone its pretty much more easier. Theres also city based pages like for Bangalore , Mumbai and Delhi .Well I have my foodpanda app on my phone..planning to use it once am in the listed cities. 🙂 Hope you all would find it equally handy 🙂
Being up all in festive mood,Heres the writeup on me that came up in Grihasobha Malayalam magazine (Delhi press publication)this September
So signing off for now …Wishing all a happy and prosperous onam!
Back after the rice porridge recipe with a new post. Its been quite some time since I posted a non veg recipe. Soya chunks have always had their fav place with my kids and I keep trying out more variations with it .The soya chunks have the best source of fiber and is quite high in protein content.
Its like the magic pill bundled up with all the good things. Last Sunday I was planning on what to cook for dinner and then popped up with this recipe of Soya Ginger Chicken.I have been using both sizes of soya chunks for my cooking..but have always found a soft spot for the mini soya chunks on count of their delicacy.
- ½ kg of Chicken cut into small pieces
- 1 cup of mini soya chunks
- 2 tsp of Soya sauce
- 2 tbsp of ginger sliced finely
- 2 tbsp of garlic sliced
- 2 large onions chopped
- 1 tbsp of Kashmiri chilli powder
- 1 tsp of Garam masala powder
- 2 tsp of coriander powder
- 3 tsp of Chicken masala powder
- 1 tsp of black pepper powder
- 1 tomato pureed
- 3 tsp of oil
- Salt to taste
- For Tempering
- ¼ cup of sliced big onion
- 4-5 green chillies slit
- Curry leaves
- Soak the soya chunks in hot water for about 15minutes.
- Heat oil in wok, sauté ginger and garlic, chopped onion till translucent.
- Pour in the soya sauce and keep stirring, add in the chilli powder, coriander powder,
- pepper powder, garam masala powder and chicken masala powder.
- Stir till the raw smell from the powders subside.
- Add in the pureed tomato paste, ½ cup of water and let it simmer.
- Wash the soya chunks in cold water and squeeze them out into the sauce along with
- the chicken pieces.
- Add required amount of salt and cover and cook the chicken till tender.
- Thicken the sauce so that the chicken & soya are coated and turn off the flame.
- In a small pan fry out the sliced onions till in caramel color along with the slit green
- chillies and curry leaves.
- Temper the dish with the fried items and add 2-3 tsp of chopped coriander leaves
- before serving.
- Best served with rotis and fried rice.
Heres the feature that came up in the magazine Mahila Chandrika a Chandrika daily publication..
It’s been like ages that I have been wanting to post on my space.. There’s loads of things that had gobbled up my time to write n my blog. Well when school closed up for the monsoon vacations this time round I was the most eager one compared to my munchkins to go “home”.Oh yes…even though you are married although you have a home here ,you still quote ur parents place as “home”. It’s not only my personal experience,but I think most women have this “home”sickness.I really chucked on this only when my colleague brought it to my notice.It was almost a month that I got with my parents in Thrissur..but this time round there came up a few surprises with media interviews, write-ups and the best part was being felicitated by the Thrissur Mayor , Mr.Rajan Pallan at the Council Meeting.
Karkidaka masam/Ramayana Masam /Karkidaka month is considered the last month ie. the twelfth month according to the Malayalam calendar followed in Kerala.This year the Karkidaka masam started on July 17th and ends by August 16th.The sacred scripture , Ramayana is recited during this month and so this month is also known as the Ramayana masam. It is to welcome the new year ie.The Chingam month that the Ramayana is recited from the starting to the end of the month. In Kerala , Karkidaka kanji is very famous which is a medicinal rice porridge that is very much healthy .The monsoon months are considered to the most appropriate time to have medicinal rice porridge. On my stay in Thrissur , I had the opportunity to meet up with Dr.K.S.Rajithan (Medical Superintendent ) of Oushadi Panchakarma Hospital and Research Institute,Thrissur.Dr. says ,”Its during the monsoons that the immune system of our body deteriorates and we are more prone to sickness, digestive issues and many ailments. .Our ancestors used to have many practices with Ayurveda to boost their immune system . So this is in fact is the most suitable time to have different kanjis (rice porridges) in your diet.” During my period of stay in Thrissur there was a “Kanji Mela”(Rice Porridge fest ) organised by the Oushadhi Panchakarma Hospital Canteen.It was indeed a feast out there with 11 varieties of rice porridges each with special benefits.It was the Kudumbasree unit(a women empowerment cluster ) working in the fabrication of flavoursome dishes and variant rice porridges.
So coming over to the recipe, for this post..it is Jeeraka kanji /Cumin rice porridge.The courtesy for the recipe goes to Dr.Rajithan. This is a pretty easy recipe and its only the ingredients that you have to get hold on to to make the medicinal mix.Its best to have it for 14 days in the monsoons..
- For the Medicinal Cumin mix
- 2 tsps of cumin (jeerakam)
- 2 tsps of black cumin seeds (karinjeerakam)
- 2 tsps of long pepper (thippalli)
- 2 tsps of Carom or Thymol seeds (Aimodagam)
- 2 tsps of Black peppercorns
- 2 tsps of dry ginger powder
- For the porridge
- 80g of broken rice /podiari
- 1 litre of water
- 450ml of coconut milk
- 5gms of the medicinal mix
- Salt to taste
- 2 tsps of ghee
- 3-4 shallots sliced
- Dry roast the ingredients for the medicinal cumin mix and powder it finely in a
- Store this mix in an airtight container.
- Wash the rice and cook it in a vessel with the required amount of water.
- When half cooked add in the powdered mix.
- Take care to keep stirring the porridge and keep on medium flame.
- Pour in the coconut milk and add salt.
- Cook till the rice is soft.
- Heat ghee in a small pan fry the shallots till caramel in color and pour over the rice
- If you feel that the porridge is a bit bitter, add in 2 tsp of jaggery syrup to cut down the
- You can serve this hot /warm with pickle, vegetable stir fries, pappad or even with
- fried salted curd chillies.
Here’s a glimpse of the media coverage..
Hah! Laggin on posts ……………………….
I’m not able to update up my news after Beijing….Its been running around most days ………travelling up and down ,classes, school,kids, welcomings, interviews…….Achoo…………… sniff.. …..Achooooo…..yikes its Monsoon back in Munnar and I have been haywire in my schedules…latest update am down with a cold…..Sniff! Sniff! Theres just one more week left for the school to close for monsoon vacations here in Munnar..
Here are a few paper reports that came up in a few regional papers…
Season is up for coughs and colds……so how about a special rasam???This Rasam is the best thing to have with rice if you are down terribly with a cold or fever. It’s more like a curry in its looks but is super Yumm soup!
- ¼ cup of scraped coconut
- 2 tsp of cumin seeds
- 2 tsp of peppercorns
- 1 pod of garlic
- A gooseberry sized ball of tamarind
- 1 tomato (medium sized)
- ½ tsp of turmeric powder
- ¼ tsp of asafoetida powder
- 1 ½ tsp of Kashmiri chilli powder
- 1 cup of water
- 8-10 shallots sliced
- 1tsp of mustard seeds
- Coriander leaves
- Salt to taste
- Grind scraped coconut, cumin seeds, pepper, garlic and tamarind into and separate
- the smooth paste.
- Slice the tomato and grind it into a paste and mix it with the coconut mix.
- Heat oil in a wok, splutter mustard seeds, sauté the shallots, add in the turmeric
- powder and chilli powder, fry and pour in the ground mix.
- Keep stirring and when it starts boiling; add in a cup of water and salt to taste.
- When simmering, mix in asafoetida powder and a few chopped coriander leaves.
- Serve with rice and enjoy the monsoon.
How should I start off? I am head over heels in happiness that my hard work is paying out as fruits..Ok so I am back in Munnar after a week’s spree tour and happenings in Beijing. The best news that I have to share is that my book has bagged the third place as for the “Best Local Cuisine book in the world.”Gourmand World Cookbook Awards also known as the Oscars of Gastronomy was founded by Edouard Cointreau .To be a part of it was really an awesome experience. Getting to meet the top personalities in person, learning and sharing insights on each other’s books….. It was an experience that I could have not even dreamt of.
I had travelled with my family to Shanghai on the 16th of May and then on the 19th of May to Beijing and our stay was at the Daxing Hotel where the Beijing International Cookbook fair was held. I was very much impressed by the hospitality of the Gourmand staff and the hard work that they had put into the arrangements. As it calls for celebration I thought of sharing a sweet recipe to with my sweet news..so heres the recipe for Badam Halwa…
- 1cup of Almonds (soaked in water and blanched)
- ½ cup of milk
- 1cup of sugar
- ½ cup of ghee
- 1/2 cup of water
- 8-10 strands of saffron soaked in 1 tsp of milk
- Grind the almonds with milk to a smooth paste.
- In a saucepan boil water and mix in the sugar till it dissolves and keep aside.
- Heat ghee till it melts and add in the sugar syrup on low flame and mix in the almond
- paste without any lumps.
- Add in the saffron and keep stirring on low flame till the almond paste becomes thick
- and flaky.
- Turn off the flame and mix in a teaspoon of ghee.
- Devour on your badam halwa!
Being shortlisted for the Gourmand World Cookbook awards came in as a big bundle of surprise for me to shortlisted among the 7 finalists from 187 countries for the title “The Best Local Cuisine in India “..:) I never knew that more surprises were yet to come ..thats when I get a tweet from reknown celebrity Indian chef Sanjeev Kapoor..congratulating me on being shortlisted…..phew..the night I saw that tweet ..hehe..left me sleepless..:P
Puliyodharai reminds me of tamarind ..and tamarind reminds me ..licking licking..;) makes my mouth water.I remember how I used to collect tamarind during my vacations in Kerala..depod nd lick o lick ..:D Wish to be a kid once more..hmm..it is funny though..in that age all I had in mind was just to be a grown up ….:P
The courtesy of the Puliyodharai recipe that I am posting here today goes to the book “Festival Samayal -an offering to the Gods ” by Viji Varadarajan. Her cookbooks are explicit eyeopeners to the Tamil Brahmin cuisine. Her book Vegetarian delicacies of South India has also been shortlisted for the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards..kudos Viji Mami ! Although we have been chatting over phone ..really excited to meet this wonder lady in person 🙂
2 cups of Rice
1/2 cup of thick Tamarind pulp
1/4tsp of Turmeric powder
1/2 tsp of Asafoetida powder
1/2 cup of skinned roasted peanuts(optional)
1/2 cup of sesame oil
2 tsps of salt
1/4 tsp of Mustard seeds
1/2 tsp of husked split black gram
1/2 tsp of Bengal gram
5 dried chillies , halved
Cook the rice in 5 cups of water. Each grainn of the cooked rice should be seperate. Set aside to cool . Heat a tablespoon of oil, add the mustard to pop.Add the dals , stir for ten seconds till golden .Add the chillies and fry till it turns a bright red.Add the peanuts and saute for 20 seconds. Add tamarind pulp , a cup of water , turmeric powder, asafoetida and salt.Cover and simmer over a medium flame for 5-7 minutes.Open the lid and cook until it becomes a thick sauce .Add the remaining oil and take it off the stove.This is called pulikaachal.Mix the sauce and rice well without mashing it.Wet , crush the curry leaves add and stir for 5 seconds.Keep the tamarind rice for a couple of hours before serving.Add1/2 teaspoon of jaggery to balance the hot and tangy flavour of the tamarind rice.A dash of fresh lemon juice will make the dish more exotic.
So Happy tangy tamarind cooking ……:) !
Its in the midst of Feb and I am reminded of the climate during the months of Dec & Jan in Munnar…its been pretty cold for the past weeks .There were nights when the temperature dropped down to minus 2 and 3 and that’s pretty unusual during this month.The laziest part of all is getting up in mornings to go to school ..phew…:P when you just wish to stay curled and cuddled in the warmth of your quilt in bed..and ur alarm goes beep beep..ahh..:(
I was recently featured in the Deepika news portal..
Green peas is quite in season ..so thought of posting my fav Peas uppuma recipe..which is a great time saver and is ready in a jiffy..;)
Green peas Uppuma
2 cups of Semolina
5 cups of water
1 cup of green peas
2 tbsp of ghee
1/2 cup of grated coconut
7 green chillies chopped
2 large onions chopped
1tsp of mustard seeds
a pinch of asafoetida
Coriander leaves chopped
1 tsp of lemon juice
Salt to taste
Roast semolina in a teaspoon of ghee till light golden brown and separate.Heat a wok, pour oil or ghee, splutter mustard seeds, saute green chillies and onions till the onions caramelize.Add in the green peas , fry them a little , pour in the water, let it simmer, add in salt to taste , asafoetida and let it cook.Once cooked , add in the semolina , stirring continuously .Add lemon juice , stir well and cover and leave on low flame for five minutes.When done turn off flame mix in chopped coriander and grated coconut and serve .