Sunday, October 31, 2010

Nellikka Uppilittathu

Green chilly-5
Salt -3 spoons

Wash the goose berries. Put it in the air tight container with salt, water and chopped green chillies. If kanthari is availabe it is the best for this preparation. It will be a nice combination with Kanji. Water must be cooled enough after boiling and the container must be air tight.
It can be taken after two weeks.
This can be easily prepared. If we have some fresh gooseberries and we have not enough time to make a pickle this can be made. I had used 'Kalluppu' for this. It is the crystallised form of salt. In most of the Ayurvedic medicines they are using 'Kalluppu' . Nellikka is of not 'Nadan' variety. Nadan variety will be small and there will be a reddish shade in the skin.
A common saying in Malayalam is 'Kshamyude nelli palaka kandu'. That means the last word of apology. May be in a dispute one who keep silent and do not utter a word . There was a system of using a log of gooseberry wood(Nelli palaka) in the basement part of Wells. This wood will not erode in water and it has excellant medicinal qualities. This may be the truth behind the saying
'Kshamayude nellippalaka'.

In funny talks also there will be a presence of this tree as 'Nellikka thalam' (a treatment for mental disorders) as a remedy to awkward solutions. Trees will become part of our language too. We may not even think of the tree when we say 'Nellikka thalam' or 'Nelli palaka'. These thoughts are dedicated to our mother nature who cares us through all these green shades....

Guava-Milk shake

Recipe of Guava Milk shake

Ripe Guava-2
Milk-one cup(cooled)
water -one cup
sugar-1/4 cup
Vanilla Essence-4 drops(optional)
After thourough washing peel off the Guava. Make a puree of it with a small amount of water and sugar using a mixie. Strain it. Add the milk and serve . We can add 3-4 drops of vanilla essence into it for better taste. A nutritious and colourful drink with lot of Vitamin C.

Malar (Popped Rice)

Malar or Popped rice is an inevitable part in our poojas. Its very good for our stomach too.
English:Popped rice
Water boiled with malar is given as a refreshing drink in ayurvedic medications. Malar kanji is also a great rejuvanator.
'Malar nanachathu' is an easy snack. Even if we are calling this snack as 'malar nanachathu' we don't have to add any water to it.
Malar-3 cups
Scraped coconut-1 cup
sugar-1/4 cup
Mix all these ingredients and squeeze them to soak the malr. It can be made within 5 minutes. It may be the most nutritious homemade snack within a short preparation time.

PS: You may heard about these words' Oru malar podikkarante swapnam'

Its a small folk story about our fascinations. Now I am attaching this story with this recipe because the main item in this story is 'Malar podi'

This story is about a man who is selling 'Malar podi' for his living. One day he had made a pot full of 'Malar podi' for the sale of next day. Then he thought that after selling this full pot malar podi he can buy a hen. After some calculations about the eggs, he thought he can buy a goat by selling that eggs. The thoughts continued and the last he reached at a point where he had a herd of cows from this pot full of malar podi. At this time in his dream he picked a stick and swayed it to redirect his cows. But in real life also he picked a stick near to his bed and swayed like in the dream but on the top of the bed he had that pot filled with malar podi. He had beaten that pot with the stick and the whole dream finished. His body and face filled with malar podi. This story is from my lovely ammoomma. There may be slight variations from the original. Its a famous saying in malayalam'Malar podikkarante swapnam pole' about an event that can not be happen or the possibility will be less and someone dreaming so impractical.

In those days people will place food in pots and they will hang from the rope with the help of ropes. This way is used to protect the food from ants and insects. These type of storing method is called 'Uri' in malayalam. In this story he had stored the popped rice powder in 'uri' . My ammoomma always tell about these small things in detail and duirng his story telling process always move her fingers over my hair. Every story has some nostalgic memories.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ragi Puttu

Puttu is a main break fast dish of Kerala. It can be made with rice flour, rava , wheat and with raggi. It is healthy dish because it is coocked in steam. Steam coocked food has so many advantages than other methods. Loss of nutrients will be less and texture and colour of the food remain as such. For this dish I had used a Puttu maker we can use a chiratta puttu maker or puttu maker made with bamboo.
In this puttu I preferred to Ragi because of its nutrition. It can be eaten as such or with banana (Njalipoovan pazham).
Malayalam-Ragi/Panjappullu/Koovaraku /Muthari
English-Finger Millet
It contains high amount of Calcium. It is recommended for children, pregnant women and elder people who need more Calcium in their daily diet. It is suitable for diabetic patients also. Its fibres prevent constipation. In Kerala its a must food for small children as 'Kurukku' . Its a protein rich food.
Raggi puttu is a health concious version of our normal puttu
Recipe of Ragi puttu
Ragi flour:1 cup
Coconut grated: 1/2 cup
Salt :as per your taste
Mix the ragi flour with salt and water. Water must be sprinkled to the flour and make the mixture slowly. When we press the mixture inside our hand if the dough keep in shape, the amount of water is correct. After thorough mixing remove the lumps. Then fill the puttumaker with half amount of raggi flour and then grated coconut. Repeat the other half in the same method. Put it in the steam. It will be ready after 10 minutes. Its an easy nutritious breakfast item most suited for children.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Guava is a common tree in Kerala. Mostly we use fruits in raw form. It is known as 'poor man's Apple' and 'Apple of the tropics'. Its a delicious tropical fruit. The flesh of the fruit is pink, yellow or white filled with hard seeds. It is used to make Jams and Jellies.
Botanical name: Psidium Guajava
In Malayalam:Perakka
In Hindi:Amrood
In Marathi:Peru
In Sanskrit:Swaduphala
Guava tree from my nature blog
Mainly two types of guava available. The pink type and the white variety. In Kerala we always eat it fresh. In Tamil nadu we can see street vendors with spicy half ripe guavas. I had seen it in Chennai and in Bangalore. Guava can be spicy...... We can make juice or milk shake with this fruit.
Yesterday I had made a juice of Guava. Guava is always the first in my fruits list. It has 10times more Vitamin C than citrus fruits.

Guava juice seasoned with Cherries
Guava, Pink variety
Guava juice is a thirst quencher and a multipurpose healer. Its laxative property prevents constipation. Its Vitamin C content make it a healer for cough and cold.

Guava Juice is a great refreshing drink and its good for your stomach too. Its a highly nutritious drink for our tiny tots , rich with vitamin C . Its always cheaper than other fruits. If it is available in your yard, always consider it as a precious fruit and consume it in raw form, juicy version or a milk shake. One of my friend who is a veteran cook treated me with a guava milk shake and I am also eager to make few glasses of guava milk shake and to see the thrilling faces of my children!!!
Recipe of Guava Juice
Ripe Guava: 2
Sugar: as per your taste
Water :One cup
After thorough washing peel off the guavas and cut it into small pieces. Using a mixer make a puree of the guava with small amount of water and sugar. Strain it. Serve it with ice cubes or as you like... I had seasoned this juice with one or two cherries because my children like it. Actually they are the inspiration behind these.

The beautiful flower of Guava from Idukki District
Leaves of Guava are used extensively in some areas of Kerala. Leaves are boiled in water. This boiled water is considered to be good for diabetic patients. Its a medicine to diarrhea also.
I am always interested to know more about the fruits around us
If you are interested to know more about the details of the vitamins in a Guava fruit and also its calorie this link may be helpful, Health Benefits of Guava
Guava tree has many medicinal qualities. Its leaves and bark are used in medicines. More therapeutic uses of Guava.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Nellikka Achar-Gooseberry pickle

Botanical name-Phyllanthus emblica

English-Indian Gooseberry

Nellikka, the best rejuvanator of Ayurveda has excellent healing properties. Fresh nellikka has the power to slow down the ageing and has better cooling effect in our body. Its the main ingredient in 'Chywana prasa'. The tree is known as 'Nelli' in Malayalam.
This round glowing green fruits are my favourite in school days. We had an experiment with its fruit to taste the water sweet after eating the fruit. This maybe because of its bitter taste, the water will be more sweeter.
An adage (pazhanjollu) related to nellikka in malayalam is
'Moothavar chollum muthu nellikka adyam kaykum pinne madhurikkum'
Means that the advices given by elders will feel bitter first and then it becomes sweet.
A treatment for psychatric problems in Ayurveda is 'Nellikka thalam' . According to Ayurveda it cools the body. They used it in dried form also.
Children doesn't like its bitter taste. It has 10 times more Vitamin C than an Orange. This is a precious fruit with rich vitamins. I have heard that the Vitamin C content of Nellikka will not diminish after cooking. Its nice news because of its sourness children will not eat it. We can give them nellikka pickles, it may be accepted. My inlaws always make nellikka arishtam/nellikka vine. I am trying to post the recipe of that home made medicine.

Pickles are an inevitable part of our life. We make pickles with whatever we get. Every home two or three glass bottles filled with pickles. I always make nellikka achar/gooseberry pickle. 'Nellikka uppilittathu' is a nice combination for kanji. My inlaw's use the kanthari for this preparation. When we pickle we have to add some more salt because after some days the pickle will become more sour than we expect.

This recipe is from my Amma who is a veteran pickle maker. In my college days, she was very busy with making various types of pickles, Chammanthi podi, Avalos podi, aval vilayichathu and snacks. Dedicating this post to my lovely amma

Recipe for Indian Gooseberry pickle/Nellikka Achar



Vattal mulaku-2

Gingelly oil-2 table spoons

Mustard seeds-1/4 tea spoons

Pickle powder -5 table spoons

Salt-As per the taste

First wash the nellikka well in running water. Cook them in a vessel with enough water. After 5-10 minutes take all the nellikka from the vessel, after cooling cut them into small pieces. That water in the vessel can be used in the last stage.

In our home we don't use vinegar in pickles. Instead of that we use Gingelly oil.

In a pan heat the gingelly oil and add mustard seeds . When the mustard seeds begin to splutter add the vattal mulaku and curry leaves. Then add the garlic pieces and fry it till brown then add the pickle powder I used the 'Eastern pickle powder', stir well. After some time there will be a slight colour change to the pickle powder then add the nellikka pieces. Stir continuously and then add the water to it. Switch off the stove when the pickle starts to boil. If you are too concious about the aroma we can add a pinch of Asafoetida poder to it. After thorough cooling pour the pickle into air tight bottles. Refrigerate only after 8 days. It will be a nice accompaniment for rice.

If you are interested to know more about the nutritional benefits of Amla. This link may be helpful to you.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sprouts and Fruits Salad

I had done a post about this salad in my nature blog. Reposting it, thinking that it may be more acceptable in this food blog.
Recipe of sprouts and fruits salad
Pome granate-1
Mung bean sprouts(cheru payar mulappichathu)-3 table spoon (Moong dal in Hindi)
Cow pea sprouts(van payar mulappichathu) -3 table spoon
Peel off the pome granate and separate the seeds. Peel off the Apple and cut it into small pieces. Mix it with the sprouts. Use it fresh. If the ingredients are cool it will be more nice.
Sprouts are easily digetible and rich with vitamins. During their germination the vitamin level increases. It can be made at home.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Papaya Halwa

Welcoming all of you to my food blog with a sweet dish made of the vitamin rich Papaya. Images right from my kitchen. I had not added any food colour to it. Original colour of papaya.
I am not a kitchen expert but it was a long time wish to start a food blog only to share some of recipes very common to Kerala. I am always eager to know about the health benefits of the food. Beyond all the measurements, this blog may focus on the nutrition of the dishes. Expecting more cooperation from my blog friends.

Papaya is an all time available fruit in Kerala. Because of the ignorance we are not giving much importance to this fruit.

Scientific name of Papaya:Carica Papaya

English name:Papaya

Sanskrit name:Chirbhitha,Eranda Chirbhitha



Origin: It is believed that it is from Southern Mexico. It is now present in every tropical country. It is also known as Paw Paw and tree lemon in England.

Papaya is a healthy food especially for our skin.

Some nutritional benefits of Papaya from the net

  • Rich with VitaminC, folate and Pottasium
  • Good source of Vitamin A and Vitamin E
  • It contains anti oxidants which give protection against heart diseases
  • Digestive Aid
  • 13 times more Vitamin C than Apples
  • 33 times more Vitamin C than Oranges

Its always to good to eat the fruit as it is but children always deny Papaya because of the special taste. Thus it ended up with a sweet Halwa.

Recipe of Papaya Halwa

Ripe Papaya -2Cups

Rice powder roasted-3 table spoons

Sugar -According to your taste

Ghee-3-4 table spoons

Cashew nuts -5-6


After peeling cut the Papaya into small pieces. Using a mixer make a puree of Papaya. First roast the cashew nuts. Place a thick bottomed a vessel with 1 spoon ful of ghee. After removing the nuts we can add the papaya puree to the vessel and stir occasionally. After 15 minutes we can add sugar and rice powder to it. Then add the rest of the ghee to the vessel. After some time we can see the mixture will come out of the vessel surface. continue stirring till it becomes a ball. Then spread it into a flat vessel which must be coated with ghee. Garnish with Cashew nuts. After thorough cooling we can cut it into pieces.

It will take around 45 minutes to complete the dish. According to my opinion it is not an easy dish. If we have enough time we can do it and children will love the dish.

It can be served as a Dessert or a tea time sweet.

'Halva refers to many types of dense, confections served across the Indian subcontinent' wiki

We, Keralites have lot of names for Papaya, some of them are Omakka, Papparakka, Kappalanga and Kappanga.

If you are interested to know more about papaya tree