Pal Appam — Lace Hoppers

 

 

Hello my wonderful readers,

Do you follow my Instagram feed? Many a times Appam is our preferred breakfast and it is super easy to make once you have the batter. Much like the dosa batter but I use yeast in this recipe. There are recipes that do not include yeast but I love that lovely fermented smell that comes from the yeast and frankly its more like  a – ‘Soak, Dump , Grind and Rest’ method. The reason it is called a Lace Hopper is because of those wonderful intricate lace like weave that it has on the outsides. The inner centre of the circle is thicker and the outer ring is crispier. These are perfect with a coconut milk based egg curry. The recipe for which I will share later. You could also pair with left over curry from the previous day.

My son started school this week and man now I know how it feels to be a mum of child going to school!! no am not talking about the work that goes into getting him ready for school but the fact that this little human being is already ready to start his formal education! The school is like no other school we have ever seen. It believes in being as natural and close to the environment as possible. Infact as you enter into the school you wonder where the building and concrete structures of the school is. Lots of lush green, children learning under trees, no foot wear, greeting each other with a namaste. In all, this is the perfect place for my little one. While the little one is inside his little environment, I sit outside and just breathe! all the fresh air and the sounds of chirping birds, the occasional squirrel running around. It feels like a Gurukula straight out of the Mahabharata! In all this new change is one my little bunny is trying hard to cope up with but is also something he looks forward too. Wish me luck people! I hope he likes it for all the years to come..

So back to the recipe! This recipe makes easily 20 appams and you have 3 breakfasts from the week sorted.

Now before I get into the recipe, I wanted to tell you this. Traditionally appam is make with ” Kallu” / palm wine / Toddy . It helps in the fermentation and it gives the appam its unique smell. But Kallu is hard to find and yeast gives you just about the same smell so why not? My grandmother lives on a property that houses almost 5 dozen coconut trees and so back in Kerala toddy is easier to come across and the appam is so so good! Also the heat and the humidity of the place also helps in making the perfect batter. This is my straingforward recipe and it works all the time. All you need to make sure is it to keep the batter in a warm place of your kitchen over night. Not in the fridge! Not near a window with cold air blowing in etc. A nice warm corner for the yeast fairy to work her magic!


Ingredients :-

  1. Ponni Rice – 2 cups
  2. Boiled cooked rice – 1 cup
  3. Desiccated Coconut – 1 cup
  4. Yeast – 1 tsp
  5. Sugar – 1 tsp + 3 tbsp
  6. Warm Water – 3 cups ( more if required)
  7. Coconut oil for greasing the pan

Instructions :-

  1. In a large vessel, wash the Ponni rice. Then soak the rice in water for 5 -6 hours ( 12 hours is best) I usually soak in the morning and do the rest after dinner
  2. After the rice has soaked in the water for sufficient time, in the bowl of your grinder or blender, add the soaked rice, cooked rice and desiccated coconut
  3. In a small bowl add 1/2 cup of warm water and 1 tsp of sugar. Then add the yeast and let it stand still till the yeast becomes frothy ( activated yeast)
  4. Then add 2 cups of water to the blender jar with the rice and coconut and blend to form a nice smooth paste. There shouldn’t be any coarse rice pieces or coconut pieces
  5. finally just before you remove the blender jar from the machine, add the yeast water and the rest of the water and run the blender for 1 min.
  6. Now use a large vessel / container for the fermentation.
  7. Pour the batter into the container and add 2 tbsp of sugar. Mix well and combine.
  8. Now cover the container loosely and set it on a plate. Place the container in a warm place over night. By the next morning you will see the batter rise up and be bubbly
  9. This is because of the yeast in the batter . Your batter is ready
  10. Now heat up your appam chatti.  ( Appa chatti is a vessel that is used to make these hoppers, the market is flooded with teflon non stick pans, but I DO NOT USE any teflon / non stick pans in my kitchen, so if you are interested in buying a pan I suggest you look for a iron pan, the one I own is from —   the Village Fair 
  11. Heat your Appa chatti on a medium flame. Once it is hot grease the pan lightly with coconut oil. I dip a cotton cloth in oil and then spread it around the chatti
  12. Now using a ladle pour the fermented Batter into the chatti. Slowly swirl the chatti round to spread the batter to all the sides of the chatti and then place it back in the flame. You will notice that the batter settle back to the centre. That is fine, that is what gives it that fully centre and crisp side. Now if you do not like it to thick, just reduce the amount of batter and rotate the chatti for a little longer that way all sides are crisp yet not too thick. Also make sure to use mittens or use a cotton cloth to hold the sides of the chatti
  13. Close with the lid and cook on medium flame for 3 -4 mins
  14. Once it is done, take off the lid and let it cook for 1 min.
  15. Finally using a soft wooden spatula loosen the sides of the appam
  16. Then slowly loosen the centre and transfer to a plate!
  17. Your appams are ready! Serve with egg curry, or Kadala curry 

 

 

Nadan Chicken Cutlet – Kerala style Chicken Croquettes

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Hello my Dear Wonderful People!

How are you all doing? Happy Valentines day! A day for love, a day to be loved and a day for love to be loved! Yup.. Its one whole day when we get to show our special people that they matter to us. And unlike many people, I absolutely love the idea of having this day. No it doesn’t not mean that we can’t show love on other days, and if you see it like that then I feel sorry for you. If you giving me another chance to show you how much you mean to me and you make it mandatory on the 14th of every Feb then I am taking it! Cause you know what? no matter how hard I try, some days, I forget to tell you how much you mean to me. Somedays I try but I might not be able to get to you cause you were having a bad day. But today I am going to take that day. Also maybe 20 years from now, this day might not mean as much as it does today but so what? Today is what matters right?

So on this special day, I decided to make my husband his favourite deep fried snack. These cutlets. I do not make them often, infact the last time I made them was close to a year ago. Simply cause they are deep fried and they involve quite a few steps. But once you make them, you could make a large batch and freeze them and use them as and when you want. That is what I did this time 🙂 This recipe is from my grandmother and her cutlets are out of this world. These little bites of heaven are perfect for a evening snack or a great side for dinner time. There are many variations to these cutlets, some people add cashews to the meat and some others fry the meat and add rice flour. My recipe is quite straightforward. Boil / cook each part of the recipe. Combine , dip , coat and fry! FINISH!

 

Ingredients :-

  1. Chicken – 500 gms ( boneless)
  2. Potatoes – 4 large
  3. Onions – 3 cups ( chopped fine )
  4. Green Chillies – 10 ( adjust to taste)
  5. Ginger – 4 inch knob
  6. Garlic – 14 cloves
  7. Turmeric Powder – 2 tsp + 1 tsp
  8. Coriander Powder – 4 tsp + 1 tsp
  9. Garam Masala Powder – 3 tsp
  10. Pepper Powder – 2 tsp
  11. Fresh Coriander Leaves – 1 cup ( chopped)
  12. Mint leaves – 1 cup (chopped)
  13. Salt – 1 tsp + 2 tsp + 1 tsp ( adjust to taste)
  14. Oil – 2 tbsp + more for deep frying
  15. Eggs – 2 ( beaten )
  16. Bread Crumbs – 1 cup ( more according to shape of cutlet)

Instructions :-

  1. Peel potatoes and boil till soft. Set aside
  2. In a pressure cooker add the chicken pieces. Then add 1 tsp turmeric powder + pepper powder (2 tsp) + Coriander powder 1 tsp + 1 tsp salt. Pressure cook the chicken for 3 whistles. ( If you do not have a cooker, just use a pot and boil the chicken till cooked well.)
  3. Once the chicken is cooked, open the cooker and look for water. If there is excess water, cook the chicken on high flame till all the water has evaporated. Same for when cooking in a pot. Once all the water has evaporated, set aside to cool down
  4. Then in a blender, blend the chicken to form a coarse paste. Make sure not to grind it too much. You want some chucks of chicken to remain
  5. In a large flat bottom pot, add 2 tbsp of oil. Once the oil is hot. add the onions and fry till golden brown. During this time in a mortar and pestle add the ginger + garlic and green chillies. Crush to form a nice coarse paste
  6. Add the ginger paste to the onions and fry till the garlic looses its raw smell
  7. Then add the rest of the turmeric powder + coriander powder + garam masala powder. Give it a good mix and fry till the masala has cooked well into the onion mixture
  8. Set aside to cool. During this time lets get our assembly line ready 🙂
  9. In one plate add the boiled potatoes + the onions spice mixture. Add the fresh mint and coriander
  10. Mix with your hand to evenly distribute all the ingredients. Then add the ground chicken
  11. after you have mixed the chicken with the rest of the spiced potato mixture, make small patties of equal size and set on a large cookie sheet or plate
  12. Now with one hand dunk the patties into the light beaten egg mixture and then into the bread crumbs to coat evenly
  13. Set aside in a large plate ready for frying!
  14. In a large wok or Khadai, heat oil
  15. Once the oil is hot ( on medium heat) fry the patties till golden brown
  16. Reserve on kitchen paper to drain excess oil
  17. Serve right away with ketchup!

Ari “Rice” Muruku – Deep fried, crisp and with a touch of spice!

 

 

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Hello My Dear Wonderful Readers!

How are you all doing today? So my next recipe for the season is the Rice and Urad Dal Murukku. In case you have never had these before, let me tell you, this is the Indian version of a deep fried snack that comes in a number of variations that is a staple at your 4 o clock tea / coffee. Yes, we love to have a little some thing to “bite into” every evening. But of late these savory snacks have been reserved only to be savored during festivals such as Diwali etc. So I decided why not make a batch of these pinwheels. They are really easy to make but you do need a “Murukku Maker / Press” The theory is the same as a piping bag for cream, just that the mixture is tighter and thicker so you need a little more force when squeezing them.

These murukku makers are available in both brass and stainless steel. I have the brass one and they come with various ends / nozzles just like your piping tips. Best enjoyed with a cup of tea or coffee these Murukku’s can last 2 – 3 weeks if kept in an air tight container. Make sure to use a good brand of oil. I used rice bran oil and you are sorted for a long time 🙂

Ingredients :-

  1. Rice Flour – 3 cups
  2. Urad Dal – 6 tbsp
  3. White Sesame Seeds – 1 tsp
  4. Black Sesame Seeds – 1 tsp
  5. Red Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
  6. Pepper Powder – 1/2 tsp
  7. Asafoetida – 1/2 tsp ( more if you like it pungent )
  8. Salt – to taste
  9. Oil – 3 tbsp
  10. Oil to fry
  11. Water to bind ( depends on the quality of the rice flour)

Instructions :-

  1. Heat a heavy bottom Khadai and fry the urad dal till they start turning golden brown. Make sure to stir continuously or else the dal might burn
  2. Once they are ready , add into a blender and powder to a fine powder
  3. In a large plate/ even your kitchen counter, drop the rice flour, urad dal powder, salt, white and black sesame seeds, pepper powder and asafoetida. Give it all a nice mix with the tips of your finger to spread the ingredients evenly
  4. Then add the 3 tsp of oil and mix into the mixture till they almost resemble  bread crumbs
  5. Finally add water little bit at a time to make a nice tight dough. Remember all you need is the dough to come together
  6. Take small portion of the mixture and run it through the murukku maker to see if you are able to make nice round circles. If you find that the circle keeps falling or breaking then you need little more water in the dough
  7. Once you have your dough ready, heat oil in a khadai ( enough to be able to deep fry these wheels)
  8. Cut a baking paper into equal sqares and at the back draw circles of equal size. you can use these as a stencil to make all your murukkkus
  9. Now attach the start tip to the murukku maker and fill the barrel with the rice flour dough
  10. Slowly make round shapes of the murukku on your prepared baking paper
  11. Start from the inside and go round towards the outside
  12. Once you reach the outside, pinch the end towards the murukku
  13. Once you oil is nice and hot ( make sure the oil is always at medium flame not too hot and not too cold)
  14. Fry these in batches of 2 – 3 depending on the size of your khadai. Wait til they turn golden bown on both sides. Keep turning them when in the oil for even browning
  15. Lay them on kitchen paper tower to soak up the excess oil
  16. You Murukku is ready! Store in an air tight container

Beetroot and Carrot Thoran – Stir Fry with Coconut and Curry leaves

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Hello My Dear Wonderful Readers!

How are you all doing today? How has the week been so far. I can’t not wait for this week to end. It has been such a landslide of incidents! From my husband falling sick, to my camera dying on me during a shoot, to my phone falling from my hand and losing its display. It has all been one eventful week. My son has on the contrary been so understanding and cooperative. I think children just know when some thing is wrong and its not them just misbehaving 🙂

Now coming back to the recipe. “Thoran” is basically any vegetable (or sometimes meat)  that is cooked on high flame almost like a stir fry and is accompanied with freshly grated coconuts and a variety of tempering. In this recipe, the tempering is made up of Urad Dal- Black (gram without the skin), red chillies, loads of curry curry leaves, mustards seeds fried in a little bit of oil. This is what gives the entire dish its wonderful fresh yet spicy taste and aroma.  “Thoran” can be made with all kinds of vegetables but the spices used for different vegetables vary. For some you could use garlic and cumin seeds and others may require other spices.

In the coming weeks,  I wanna make a conscious effort to share more Malayali cooking on my blog. Also I firmly believe that pure coconut oil is a very healthy alternative to refined oils like sunflower, peanut and mustard. But thats just me 🙂 What you should know is that this dish is the perfect, light, accompaniment to a bowl of hot rice and maybe a dal or sambar.

Ingredients :-

  1. Beetroot – 3 cups ( chopped)
  2. Carrot – 3 cups (chopped)
  3. Shallots – 6 (chopped fine)
  4. Coconut Oil – 3 tbsp
  5. Urad Dal – 2 tbsp
  6. Dry Red Chillies – 4
  7. Mustard Seeds – 1 tbsp
  8. Fresh Desiccated Coconut – 1 cup (packed)
  9. Salt – according to taste
  10. Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
  11. Curry Leaves – 10 – 14

Instructions :-

  1. In a heavy bottom wok, heat oil.
  2. Once the oil is nice and hot, add the Urad dal. When the Urad Dal turns from white to light yellow add the mustard seeds
  3. This way you will fry both the Urad dal and the mustard seeds cooking and popping at the same time
  4. Now add the red chillies and the curry leaves
  5. Once the leaves have fried well, turn off the flame and with a slotted spoon, spoon out the the mixture. Make sure to drain out all the oil in the same wok. Set the curry leaves tempering aside ( we will use it at the end)
  6. Now turn on the flame again and when the oil is nice and hot add the shallots. Once the shallots are translucent add the beetroot. Give it a quick mix
  7. Cover and cook the beetroot till they are cooked half way through
  8. Then add the carrots and cover and cook till they are both cooked well. ( I find that beetroot takes a little longer than carrots to cook thats why I use this method)
  9. Finally open the cover and add salt and turmeric powder
  10. Give it a good mix cook for 2 mins on high flame
  11. Then add the fresh coconut and turn off the flame
  12. Just before you serve add the curry leaves + urad dal tempering on top of the beetroot and carrots and give it a quick mix
  13. Serve with hot rice and dal or sambar

Chemmeen Theeyal – Prawns cooked in roasted spices and coconut gravy!

Hello my Dear Wonderful Readers!!

This time around I am taking you back to my roots. This recipe has been on my ‘to do’ list for quite sometime now but I honestly haven’t had the time to make it. Simply put, this one is a little tough and time consuming to make and for me this recipe is complex.

But just because I said that, please do not be dissuaded from trying this one out. If you have never tasted authentic Prawn Theeyal from Alapuzha, Kerala then trust me, you have missed out on something really unique. This dish does not use a single drop of oil. All its colour, taste, texture, flavour and aroma is derived from the roasted fresh coconuts. The prawns may also be substituted for fish, vegetables or just potatoes and cashew nuts (with certain minor changes to the recipe)

We Malayalee’s have a way of adding coconuts to everything! It’s actually quiet interesting to note that there is not a single part of the coconut tree that gets wasted! Every part finds a very unique use in our culture. The coconut itself is used in almost every Malayalee recipe, the leaves of the coconut tree are used for thatched roofs and chicken huts, the flowers are used in every Hindu Malayalee wedding, the branches are used for cooking fuel, the list is endless! So when I say, I am going to share a Malayalee dish, 99.9% chances are that there is a coconut or two used in the recipe! LOL

Now another thing with this recipe is that, this dish tastes better the day after it is made. Yes! Somehow the flavour just enhances overnight and by the next day the dish has so much more flavour and tastes divine. The recipe is divided into two, first is the roasted spice coconut and then the main dish. The roasted spiced coconut mixture (Araap) can be made in large batches and stored in the freezer. But remember you have to bring the mixture back to room temperature and then heat it a little bit in order to be used again for the recipe. Also fresh coconuts have to be used throughout the recipe an not the dry dehydrated kinds.

Ingredients for the Araap / the roasted spiced coconut mix

  1. Coconut – 1  large (grated fine)
  2. Dry Red Chilli – 4- 5
  3. Fenugreek Seeds – 4 – 5 seeds
  4. Coriander Seeds – 1 tbsp
  5. Curry leaves – 10 leaves ( fresh)
  6. Shallots – 10 ( cut into three)
Instructions :-
  1. In a large kadai, add the coconut and start to fry on low heat. Make sure to stir constantly and on low so that you do not burn the coconut. Roast the coconut evenly till light brown
  2. Then add the rest of the ingredients and fry till the coconut is golden brown to a little dark brown
  3. At this time you will be able to smell the coconut roast and the spice also emit a wonderful pungent aroma (it takes around 15 – 20 mins, be patient and ensure the heat is on low)
  4. At this stage turn off the flame and let the mixture cool down
  5. When the mixture is just a little about room temperate, empty into a mix jar and blitz on medium
  6. Do not add water to the mixture
  7. Open the lid at every one min interval and give contents of the jar a nice stir
  8. Finally you will see the mixture begin to become wet! that is because of the oil that comes out of the roasted coconut. This is key to the recipe. Make sure to blitz till you achieve a nice paste-like consistency
  9. Your Araap is ready!
Now to assemble the main dish
Ingredients :-
  1. Prawns – 1 kg – de shelled, de veined
  2. Coconut Pieces – 1 from one coconut ( cut to small rectangles)
  3. Green Chilli – 3
  4. Tamarind Paste – 3 tbsp
  5. Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp
  6. Water – 1 cup ( divided into 3)
Instructions :- 
  1. Place a khadai / Mann Chatti on medium flame.
  2. Then add the turmeric and 1/3rd of the water
  3. Once the water is hot add the coconut, green chilli and tamarind paste and bring to a boil
  4. Then add the prawns and cook for 5 mins
  5. Finally add the Araap to the mixture in the Mann Chatti and add a little more water
  6. Cover the pot and let it cook for another 5 mins
  7. Now if you see that you do not have enough gravy, add rest of the water and cook for 2 mins
  8. You will see the gravy thicken and turn from light yellow to golden dark brown
  9. Your Theeyal is ready!
  10. Serve with hot rice or crisp dosa 🙂

Simple Onion Salad / Kerala style / Challaas

My next post is an authentic Kerala style fish fry for which the perfect accompaniment is a “Nadan” salad. Back in Kerala it’s called Challaas. Usually when alcoholic drinks are served with fish fry, Challas is a must. So here it is.

Simple Onion Salad
Simple Onion Salad

Ingredients –

Onions – 2 large
White Vinegar – 2tbsp
Green Chilli – 2
Salt – ½ tsp

Instructions –

  • Cut onions length wise and green chilli’s into small thin round circles.
  • In a bowl add the onions, chilis, vinegar. Toss in the salt and mix it all up nice and well. Serve straightaway or the onion will lose water and it will become soggy .