Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Kanji vellam

‘Rice water is the suspension of starch obtained by draining boiled rice or by boiling rice until it completely dissolves into the water.’
Rice water, yes its our own ‘Kanji vellam’.  Its our life drops,  linked with the love of our dear ones.  Kanji vellam has some etched images in every Keralites mind. 
‘Uppitta Kanjivellam’  is a must for our mild diseases.  My father who is an adamant fan of Kanji always tell me about the nutrition of kanji and its suppliments.  In my mind it has the firmness of my father’s hand and coolness of his smile.  I like to drink this with some salt in it.  Whenever I refuses to drink this water without any sweet or spicy taste he makes it more acceptable with few drops of ‘Pulissery’  or ‘Rasam’.  Life had changed a lot and now I insist my children to drink this precious water during sick days and  I have to search Web to convince its nutritious benefits.
‘Mole ithiri Kanjivellam’  the most familiar tone of  my childhood memories.  Its thanka ammoomma who was the helping hand of my mother.  After lot of works she will come to the kitchen door and asked for a large bowl of Kanji vellam.  I will watch their with great eagerness to see the way she drink the water with great respect and relief.  This water remembers me the labourious days of ‘Thanka ammomma’ .
Its our practice to starch cotton clothes with this water.  It has the shades of lines and lines of cotton sarees spread across the neighbouring yard.  During rainy days clothes drained in Kanjivellam will have a bad smell.  Still munching my mother’s rules for clothes in these water.  We have to remove the ‘Kanji pada’  first and then remove any rice remained in the vessel.  Still I am continuing the practice with my cotton churidars. 
I had read lot of stories related with this kanjivellam in Malayalam literature.  Some books also make some images in our mind.   An autobiography written by Sri Mannathu Padmanabhan he had described the Kanjivellam and countable number or rice in it.  He had got this during his journey towards to make educational institutions for his society.  In my mind I consider this water with great devotion given energy to a great man with great aspirations. 
My grand mother was also a great devotee of kanji vellam.  She had topped up this ‘Kadumanga curry’  or ‘Uppumanga vellam’  or some butter milk.  She had told me about its importance in summer days for those in working under the scorching sun. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Kappa Puzhukku

An ethnic dish from Kerala.  A fusion of Kerala's Kappa,  pachamulku and grated coconut.  Its a mouth watering dish and I think it may be a nostalgic dish of every malayalee.  The everlasting smell of the dish when we pour the last ingredient,  pure coconut oil is incredible.  Kariveppila is also an inevitable part of thi puzhukku.  Its a correct combination to our Kanji. 

We have to cut kappa as small pieces and boil it for 10-15 minutes.  Add some salt into the vessel.     If its cooked enough drain the water.  Grind grated coconut with jeerakam and pachamulaku.  Add this with a pinch of turmeric powder with the Kappa.  Mix it well in low flame.  Pour some coconut oil and some curry leaves.  The taste of the dish lies in the last mixing with kappa and the coconut mixture. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Onam special

Onam always bring some long lasting memories of special dishes.  One of them is 'Kaliyadakka' or 'Cheeda'.  Its an ona palaharam.  The smell of its dough and making the small balls with my cousins still remains in me as an onam special memory.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Most of the dishes in this blog prepared by me are learnt from my mother and some from my mother in law.  Some dishes will turn out good by experience only.  Vellayappam falls in this category.  My mother still does not know how to make this properly.  I had done lot of assumptions to make this appam.  But now I can make soft and tasty vellayappams without too much tensions.
Firstly we must have good quality rice to make soft appam.  We are calling this rice as 'Pachari'.  Soak the rice for minimum four hours.  Grind this thoroughly with some cooked rice and grated coconut.  Add a pinch of yeast two spoonful of sugar in the mixture and allow it to ferment.  It will take around 6 hours for this.  After that add sufficient amount of salt.  We can make appams in 'Appa chatti'.  Now appa chatti is available in non stick versions also.  Its a nice breakfast item. 
All my memories related to this dish related to my neighbouring christian family.  They will come in early mornings with heaps of appam on Christmas and Easter.  I had tasted this in hotels also.  But most of the hotels will not add coconut to this item so we will not get this much taste.  In this dish when we add toddy or 'Kallu'  for fermentation its known as 'Kallappam'.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chakka Appam

Chakka appam is my all time favourite.  My options for getting ripe jack fruit is so limited but every year my father will arrange one or two jack fruits on my occasionsal visits to my home.  We had a vazhana plant in our yard.  Last time we had collected some leaves of vazhana to make chakka appam.  It was very tasty.  Aroma when we cook this in vazhana ela is unbeatable.  I am very proud to post this authentic cuisine of Kerala.
We have enough time to make this item.  Firstly we have to separate chakka chulas and then clean it removing chakka kuru.  I had cooked it in pressure cooker with some water.  Then we have to add jaggery and roasted rice powder to this cooked jack fruit.  Mix it well and then add small pieces of coconut roasted in ghee.  Last ingredient is powdered cardamom.  Then clean the vazhana leaves and put the mixture according to the size of leaves.  Cook it in steam.  Its a nice palaharam. 

Mambazha Pulissery-Ripe mango with curd

A traditional dish of Kerala.  Its a must dish during 'Vishu sadya'.  Main ingredients are nadan mampazham and curd.    I had got this mampazham from my neighbour.  Its an easy dish to prepare and a nice accompaniment for rice.  
Firstly we have to cook the mampazham.  We can slice it sideways and cook it without discarding the seeds.  Add sufficient amount of water to immerse these mangoes.  Add sufficient amount of salt,  chilli powder and turmeric powder.  Allow it to cook for 10-15 minutes.  In that time we have to make coconut paste.  Grind scraped coconut with jeerakam.  It must be a fine paste.  Then we have to take the curd.  Beat it in the mixie for uniformity.  After thorough cooking of the mangoes we have to add the coconut paste.  When the mixture boils add the beaten curd and do not allow the mixture to boil.  We can put off the stove after some time when the bubbles come from sides of the vessel.  
For garnishing pour some oil in kadai.  Add mustard seeds followed by 'Uluva',  vattal mulaku and Kariveppila.  After thourough spluttering add this to the curry.    

Matha poo thoran -Pumpkin flower stir fry

Mathapoo and thalir (tender leaves) thoran is an ethnic dish of Kerala.  This pumpkin flowers are from my yard itself.  For this we have to collect the flowers and tender leaves of pumpkin.  Wash well and cut to very small pieces. 
Add one teaspoonful of coconut oil to the kadai.  Add some mustard seeds.  After that we can add the chopped leaves and flowers to it.  Add turmeric powder,  chilli powder and salt according to your taste.  Stir well and allow it to cook in low flame.
Mix some Jeeraka and one or two pieces of garlic with scraped coconut.  Add it to the leafy mix.  Allow 10 more minutes in low flame.  Its a nutritious side dish with rice. 
This is a nadan curry with extra nutrients.  I was very curious to make it because its from my yard and its without any pesticides.  Its a great pleasure to pick something from the yard to cook.  Our ancestors have the chances to do that.  We have also options but we have to prepare our mind to spend sometime among the greens. 
Last day we had participated in a marriage at Thalayolaparambu.  The bride is my husband's cousin.  We had a great gathering with maternal family of my husband.  One of his cousin's husband is a herbal consultant and he has a great passion for nature.  I had seen her over loaded bag and asked about the reason.  She had told me that at the bride's home they had noticed a 'Marotti'  tree.  They had collected all the fruits fallen below the tree.  They had no marotti plant in their compound.  They need some because its a rare tree in these days.  I was really wondered to see this.  They have a great passion for the nature. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012


'Unniappam' is a sweet dish made of rice flour and jaggery. Its an all time favourite of our gods too. We can offer this sweet dish to our diety in most of the temples. I had eaten the unbeatable 'Kottarakkara Unniappam' its very famous like 'Ambalappuzha palpayasam '.
I had made this for our tea time. I have some guests also. That's the reason behind these pictures...
Usually unniappam is made up of rice flour. This time I had made this by grinding rice with jaggery and banana.
At first we have to soak the rice. We are using pachari for these snacks. It needs two hours of soaking. I had taken one cup of rice. For this I had used one ball of jaggery 'Unda sharkara'. Just break it and add some water. Put these in a vessel and allow to boil. Its to make 'Sharkara paani. When the jaggery reaches a clear liquid form switch off the stove and allow it to cool. After that we have to grind the rice. Instead of water we have to add the sharkara paani. For fermenting the mixture we have to add some fruits. In this I had used banana. Its also added in the grinding process. After thorough grinding of the mixture I had added a pinch of yeast for better fermentation. I had also added some small pieces of coconut fried in Ghee as a topper. Allow the mixture to ferment atleast for 2 hours.
The vessel to make unniappam is known as 'Appakkara'. I had one from my mother.
After 2 hours place the appakkara in the stove add sufficient amount of coconut oil. Pour the mixture to the holes in the appakkara. Allow some time to fry and turn it around. We can take them within minutes. Children will love it and its also an elegant snack for guest time.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Vazha Pindi Thoran

Vazha Pindi is the stem of Plantain. It is cool and rich with fiber. Its very good for reducing Cholestrol.
Even if its a good food. It needs lot of physical strain to get this stem from plantain. My father will always do this with great patience. Last week he brought some stem from my home town. Because of its fibre natre we have to remove the fibres with our fingers. Lastly we will get a nice covering for our finger with these fibres.
Chop the stem as small as possible. Remove the fibres as far as you can. Pour some oil into the kadai and add some mustard seeds, some urad dal and some kariveppila. After spluttering add the copped stem with salt, chilly powder and turmeric powder. Cook these for 10 minutes in sim mode.
Grind coconut, jeeraka and garlic. Add this to the cooked stem. Allow some time to dry.
Its a great dish in summer times. Its a homely food. Here we get this in shops also.

We can make this recipe more healthy by using some green gram also. For that we have to add cooked green gram to this mixture. 'Vazha pindiyum cherupayarum' is a nice combination in Kerala.

In Kerala different varieties of plantains exists. We can not use all the stems. Some variety stems are not used in cooking. Anyway if you have any plantains try it out.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Veli cheera thoran

Yesterday I had made veli cheera thoran. Its very healthy, tasty and easy to make dish. We have to pluck the tender part of the cheera with leaves. Inspect it thoroughly and wash it. Chop it as thin as you can. Add some oil to the kadai, splutter some mustard seeds. Put these cheera pieces with salt, turmeric powder and chilli powder. In medium flame close the kadai and allow the leaves to cook. Grind the shredded coconut, cumin seeds and some garlic seeds. Add this to the cheera, open the lid and leave them open till the water content evaporates. Its a nice accompaniment with rice.
I like to collect these cheera from yard. Its rich with Vitamin A. Good for our eyes. We have to consider these natural sources of vitamins other than taking artificial supplements.