Friday, January 28, 2011

Keerai Masiyal

Spinach and all greens are a real powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. Rich in iron, calcium and folic acid. It is recommended that we eat greens on daily basis: - at least a small portion.
Here’s a very simple recipe, which can be prepared within 10 minutes time. Most of the Keerai Masiyal recipes incorporate garlic, onions and tomatoes. The recipe that I am posting today is a typical Brahmin recipe in which the taste of the keerai is dominant.


1.       Spinach or any other greens – 1 big bunch
2.       Dried red chillies – 2
3.       Urad Dal – 1 tsp
4.       Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
5.       Coconut Oil – 1 tsp
6.       Salt to taste


Wash the greens very well. Drain out excess water. Chop them roughly.
Heat a pan, add the greens. (No need to add water if you are using Spinach i.e. palak. For other varieties like Ara keerai, mula keerai etc add a little water) Cook covered till the greens are soft.
Allow to cool. Grind it for a just about 30 seconds. Take care that it does not become a very fine paste.
Transfer into a bowl. Add salt to taste and mix well.
Heat coconut oil, add mustard seeds, urad dal and red chillies. Once the mustard splutters and the dal turns red pour this on the Spinach Paste.
Keerai Masiyal is ready. Can be served as an accompaniment to Sambar or Mor Kootan. Or you can simple mix the Masiyal with rice and have it.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Adai is a traditional evening tiffin in most Kerala Iyer families. Adai is a kind of Dosai but a little thicker. This yummy tiffin is made out of a combination of rice and dals. The types of dals and their quantity vary from house to house. As vegetarians we have to depend on legumes for fulfilling our daily protein requirements and Adai comes as a savior.

It was not one of my favorite dishes though. But my husband likes adai very much. And he loves it with the combination of Avial, More kootan or Pavakkai Pitali. So whenever we make any of these kootans for lunch guess what the dinner would be - Adai. And so I have also grown to like the taste of these Adais.

Must say that Adai and Avial make the best combination. Unsalted butter is also a good combination. Though we have it at dinner time my personal advice would be to have it at breakfast as it is quite a heavy dish. Or if you really want to have it for dinner then have it early.


Boiled Rice – 2 cups
Tuar Dal – ½ cup
Channa Dal – ¼ cup
Black Urad Dal – ¼ cup
Dried Red Chillies – 4 -5 Nos.
Curry Leaves


Soak rice for about 2 to 3 hrs. Soak Dals and red chillies for about ½ an hour. Grind the rice and dals into coarse paste by adding little water. Add salt to taste. Trasnsfer the batter into a vessel and keep this batter aside for about 2 hrs.

Before preparing the adai, add asfoetida, and lots of curry leaves. (This gives a very good flavor and aroma to the adai). Mix well. If the batter is too thick dilute with water. Heat a tava, apply little oil. Take a ladleful of batter, put it in the center of the tava and spread like dosa. With the spatula make a hole in the middle of the adai. Pour a tsp of oil. Once adai is cooked on one side turn it add some more oil and allow to cook on the other side. Cook on low flame if you like it crisp.

Serve hot with avial, mor kootan or butter. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Vendakkai Uppadan

Happy Republic Day!

For those who are wondering what happened to me…….got a little busy with my daughter’s birthday celebrations. She turned one on 19th January. We had her ayushomam function at home. So, with a house full of relatives, last minute shopping etc know how it is.
Hoping to blog more regularly in future.

Here’s today’s recipe –

One of my favorite dishes. Very easy to make. This is one of the traditional Palakkad recipes. The highlight of this dish is that it does not require any dal or coconut. Can you beat that – A Kerala dish without coconut…The main ingredient of this recipe is a spice powder.
So here comes the recipe-


1.       Lady’s Finger – 10 nos. Cut into 1 inch size pieces
2.       Tamarind – a gooseberry size
3.       Raw Rice – a fistful
4.       Methi seeds – ¼ tsp
5.       Dried Red Chillies – 2 - 3 nos. (or according to taste)
6.       Asfoetida – a pinch
7.       Turmeric Powder – a pinch
8.       Jaggery a little
9.       Salt to taste

For the seasoning

1.       Cooking oil – 2 tsps
2.       Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
3.       Curry leaves – a few
4.       Coriander leaves – a few


Soak tamarind in hot water for about 5 to 10 mins. Squeeze and extract the pulp.
Heat a kadai with a tsp of oil. Add the lady’s finger and fry for a few mins. This ensures that the Ladys’ finger pieces remain intact and don’t become very mushy while being cooked in the tamarind extract.
Pour the tamarind extract to this. Pour about 2.5 cups of water. Add a pinch of turmeric, asafoetida, jaggery and salt to taste. Allow this to boil till the raw smell of tamarind gone and the vegetable is done.
In the meantime, wash and drain the rice. Heat a small pan, dry roast the rice (fry without oil) after the rice is half done add the methi seeds and chillies. Fry till rice turns brownish and good aroma of methi seeds emanates. Cool and grind to a fine powder.
Dissolve this powder in about 1/2 cup of water. And add to the tamarind lady’s finger concoction. This powder gives the necessary spice and acts as a thickening agent. Adjust salt and check consistency.
Season with mustard seeds, curry leaves and coriander leaves. Serve with steaming hot white rice and some papads.

Note: This Kootan is usually a little watery. It is not as thick as Sambar. You can prepare Uppadan with Yellow Pumpkin also.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pavakkai Pitlai

Bittergourd – definitely not well liked by most children and even adults. Thanks to its bitter taste. I am also not a great fan of this vegetable, but have grown to like its taste over the years. Bittergourd is a excellent source of vitamins B1, B2, and B3, C, magnesium, folic acid, zinc, phosphorus, manganese, and has high dietary fiber. It is also rich in iron. A great vegetable for the diabetics. Keeping all its health benefits in mind I make sure to have it atleast once in 10 days.

Pavakkai Pitali, another Palakkad Special. Pavakkai (the Malayalam and Tamil name for bitter gourd) Pitlai is a nutritious, curry that integrates a lot of flavors. The taste of ground spices, tangy tamarind and sweet jaggery compensates for the bitterness of the gourd.   So here’s presenting Pavakkai Pitlai:

                                                                         Serves 2 - 3
1.       Bitter gourd – 1 big
2.       Tamarind – Lemon sized ball
3.       Tuar Dal – 3 tblsps
4.       Jaggery – 1 tblsp
5.       Turmeric  Powder – ½ tsp

To be roasted and ground

1.       Asfoetida – small piece
2.       Channa Dal – 1 tsp
3.       Black pepper – ¼ tsp
4.       Dried Red Chillies – 3- 4
5.       Grated Coconut – ½ cup

For Seasoning

1.       Coconut Oil – 1 tsp
2.       Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
3.       Curry leaves – a few


Soak tamarind in hot water for about 10 mins. Squeeze and extract tamarind juice. Keep aside.  Pressure cook tuar dal. Once cooked mash it well and keep aside. Cut bitter gourd into small pieces. In a pan, add a tsp of oil and fry the bitter gourd pieces with a little salt for about 5 – 7 mins. (This is done to diminish the bitterness of the gourd).  In a vessel pour the tamarind extract; add the fried bitter gourd pieces, turmeric powder, salt and jaggery. Allow this to boil till the raw smell of tamarind goes and the vegetable is cooked.

For the spice paste:

Heat a tsp of oil, add asfoetida, allow it to fry, then add channa dal fry for a minute then add the pepper and finally add the chillies. Fry this till the Channa dal turns a nice golden color. Take this out in a plate. Fry the grated coconut for a few mins. Grind the spices with coconut to a smooth paste by adding little water.
Once the vegetable is cooked add the mashed dal and stir well. Bring to boil. Then add the spice paste and allow to boil for about 2 mins. Add water by checking for consistency. Remove from heat.
Heat a tsp of coconut oil. Add mustard seeds. Once the seed start spluttering pour it on top of the Pitlai and garnish with curry leaves.
Nutritious Pavakkai Pitalai is ready. Goes well with steaming hot rice and some vegetable curry. Also try it as an accompaniment with Idly, Dosa or even Adai.

(Note: Pitla requires a little extra tamarind, and Chillies to even out the bitterness of the gourd when compared to the regular Sambar)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Upma Kuzhakattai (Steamed Rice Balls)

This is one of the traditional Tiffin items. A light yet filling dinner and very healthy as well. You can have it as a snack too. Certain changes have been made to the original recipe. The original does not make use of dals as mentioned below. 


1.     Rice – 2 cups
2.     Tuar Dal – ¼ cup
3.     Urad Dal – ¼ Cup
4.     Grated Coconut – ½ cup
5.     Dry Red Chillies – 3 to 4 (or acc to taste)
6.     Salt to taste
For Seasoning

1.     Refined oil – 1 tblsp
2.     Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
3.     Channa Dal – 1 tsp
4.     Asfoetida Powder – 2 pinches
5.     Curry Leaves a few

Dry grind the rice into coarse powder (rawa or sooji) consistency. Soak the dals and red chillies in water for about ½ an hour. Drain the water completely and grind the dals and chillies with salt coarsely. Grease a idly plate and steam the dal mixture. Once cooked allow to cool and then run it in the mixer for a few seconds.
Heat a Kadai, add oil. Once the oil is heated season with mustard, Channa dal, asfoetida and curry leaves. Add 4 cups of water. (rice to water ratio should be 1:2). Add salt to taste. Once the water starts boiling add grated coconut and dal. Then slowly add the rice powder. Keep stirring until all water is absorbed. Remove from heat.
Once the rice upma cools a little, take a fistful of the upma and shape them into oblong shaped balls. Shape the entire upma into balls and steam them for about 15 mins. Upma Kuzhakattai is ready. These soft Kuzhakattais can be had with Sambar, Chutney or simply with sugar. Try it and your bound make it again and again.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Paal Payasam

Wishing everyone a very happy and prosperous new year. Let’s start the year on a sweet note.
Payasam is a traditional South Indian Sweet. No feast or festivity is complete without a payasam, be it a birthday, a wedding day, or any festival. The first thing that is prepared is the payasam. There are different kinds of payasams like Nei Payasam, Semiya Payasam, Ada Pradhaman, Parippu Pradhaman, the list continues. But surely Paal Payasam is the king of them all.
I dedicate this recipe to my mother in law, as she is the one who taught me this simple but delicious recipe.

Ingredients                                         Makes 3- 4 small cups

  1.  Milk – ½ litre
  2.  Rice – 1 fistful (yes that is the measurement, double the quantity of rice in case of using 1 litre milk)
  3.  Sugar – 150 gms


Wash rice thoroughly in water, 2 to 3 times. Drain the water completely. Now pour ½ liter milk to this. Do not add any water. Now, place this in a pressure cooker close it and place the whistle. The payasam should cook on low flame from the beginning for about 30 to 45 mins. Turn off heat. After the cooker cools down, remove the vessel from the cooker, you will  find that the milk has turned a nice pink color. Now add the sugar (Adjust sweetness according to taste) and keep stirring for about 10 to 15 mins on low heat.
Paal Payasam is ready. Traditionally no garnishing is done. If required cashews and raisins can be added. (The green leaves in the pic are tulasi leaves added for neyvedyam purpose:-) Serve this Payasam hot or cold. I prefer it hot though.
Do try this recipe and let me know how it turned out.
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