Olan – A Kerala Delicacy

Olan is a much sought after keralite dish that is part of any festive occasion,function or wedding. Except for the strong flavor of coconut oil it does not boast of any distinct or tangy flavors yet its fame has spread far and wide and the dish is part of most Hindu weddings in Tamil Nadu as well now a days. The dried Karamani or Black eyed Peas that is added here is an excellent source of protein making this an extremely healthy dish to eat.

Easy to make and wonderfully delicious to eat!

Ingredients:
White Pumpkin [Poosanikkai] – 1 cup
Yellow Pumpkin [Maththan] – 1 cup
Green Chillies – 4
Salt – To taste
Black eyed Peas [Dried Karamani] – 1/4 cup
Coconut Oil – 2 Tlbs
Coconut Milk – 1/2 cup Optional
Green Karamani- 1/4 cup Optional
Curry Leaves
Method:
Soak the Black eyed peas overnight. In the morning pressure cook it and keep aside.
Peel skin and cut both pumkins into 3 to 4cm cubes of about 1/2cm thickness.
Wash green chillies and make a slit in each.
If using green Karamani wash and cut them into 1 inch long pieces.
In a pan cook the pumpkin + slit chillies + green karamani + salt with enough water till the vegetables are tender.
While it is cooking take a cup of grated coconut and churn it in the mixie with a little bit of water and extract thick coconut milk.
Once the vegetables are soft add the pressure cooked black eyed peas + the coconut milk and cook on very low heat till it is absorbed a bit.
Switch off the heat add coconut oil + curry leaves. Mix well, check on salt and serve.

Tips:
Since pumpkin on its own has water content do not pour too much water to cook the vegetable.
Do not over [ pressure] cook the dried karamani or they will get smashed while mixing
While coconut oil is a must coconut milk is optional.
Always pour the raw coconut oil after you remove the dish from the heat for better flavor.

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Potato Bhaaji

This potato bhaaji is extremely flavorful yet quick to make. Makes an ideal side dish for Pooris.The amount of seasoning you add will depend on the quantity of potatoes needed and the spice levels that you require.

Method:
Boil and cube potatoes .
Heat oil in a thick bottom pan and temper with mustard seeds , asafoetida , dried red chillies , curry leaves ,turmeric powder .
Add the potato cubes and keep turning over to coat all cubes with the seasoning.
Add some ginger paste , a touch of red chilli powder and salt to taste.
Serve warm, garnished with freshly grated coconut and finely chopped fresh coriander.

By: Mrs. Shubha Nafrey; http://facebook.com/shubha.nafrey

Quick Cucumber salad

Healthy and delicious this simple salad can be had as a snack or as an accompaniment with a lunch or dinner menu.

Method:
Grate cucumbers
Add coarsely ground roasted peanuts , finely chopped coriander leaves,and some green chillies (if you like)
Add the following to taste : lemon juice, roasted cumin powder, salt and a pinch of sugar
Heat about a tablespoon of oil, add mustard seeds and allow them to splutter
Turn off the stove and add curry leaves and pieces of red chilli and a sprinkle of asafoetida
Pour over the cucumber mixture
To be served at room temperature

By: Mrs. Shubha Nafrey; http://facebook.com/shubha.nafrey

Mambhaza Pulissery

When mangoes are in season they are not spared and are eaten in many forms. Some varieties of mango although sweet are more sour to be consumed directly. These can be used in preparations like Pulissery which is a keralite’s version of the better known Mor Kozhambu. The aroma that arises while preparing this dish is so yummy that your salivary glands tend to over work. The dish has a sweet – sour taste that is amazing and goes well when mixed with plain rice.

Ingredients:

Fully ripe mangoes – 2
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Green Chillies – 2 or 3 [ depends on the spice levels]
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Coriander seeds – 1 tsp [optional]
Curd – 1 1/2 cups
Grated coconut – 1/4 cup
Salt – to taste

For Seasoning:
Coconut oil – 1 Tblsp
Mustard – 1 tsp
Red Chillies – 2
Fenugreek seeds – a few
Curry Leaves – a few

Method:
Peel the shin and cut mangoes into chunks.
If the mangoes are over ripe squeeze the pulp out of the skin too.
Add water in a pan and boil the mango pieces along with turmeric powder.
Grind together grated coconut, green chillies, cumin and coriander seeds to a fine paste.
When the mangoes are tender add the ground paste and let it boil for a few minutes.
Churn the curd into thick buttermilk.
Lower the flame and add the buttermilk along with required salt .
Do not let the mixture boil because it will separate. Just let it absorb a bit of heat and switch off the stove immediately.
Heat the oil and add mustard seeds. When it splutters add the red chillies [ split into two] along with fenugreek seeds & curry leaves and switch off the stove.
Pour over the prepared pulissery.

Tips:
Over ripe mangoes can also be used to prepare pulissery.
Ensure that you squeeze all the juice and pulp out since the sweet juice will only add to the taste.
While seasoning take care to add very little of fenugreek because too much of it will make the dish bitter.
Adding coconut oil for seasoning gives an added flavour to the dish

Raw Mango Chutney

Ingredients:

Raw Mango – 1 cup grated
Green Chillies – 3
Grated Coconut – 1/2 cup
Ginger – a small piece
Mustard – 1 tsp
Urad Dal – 1/2 tsp
Oil – 1 tsp
Salt – as per taste
Curry leaves – a few
Roasted Cumin Powder – 1/2 tsp optional

Method:

Add grated mango, coconut, green chillies, salt and ginger and grind to a smooth paste.
Heat oil and add mustard. When it splutters add Urad dal and wait till turns brown.
Switch off the stove and add curry leaves.
Pour this over the chutney. Mix and serve.
Those who like the taste of roasted cumin powder may add it while grinding to a paste.

Tips:
Grated coconut can be replaced with onions and garlic to give a different taste.
Fry a few small onions in oil along with a few pods of garlic in a pan. Grind with rest of the ingredients as mentioned above.
Number of chillies to be added will vary according to your spice levels.

By: Mrs. Mira Balachandran; mira.balachandran@gmail.com

Kuzhi Paniyaaram

Kuzhi Paniyaaram is a round, fluffy, extremely tasty South Indian Snack made of idli / dosa batter.It can be made with left over batter or batter that has turned a bit too sour to make idli or dosa.. Loved by people of all ages, it is easy to make and can substitute as a starter or snack any time of the day.

Ingredients:

Dosa / Idli batter – 3 cups
Besan – 2 tlbs
Onions – 1/4 cup finely chopped
Green Chillies – 3 finely chopped
Ginger – 1 tsp finely chopped
Curry leaves – a few
Oil – To fry,
Appa kaaral or Paniyaara pan made of cast iron or non – stick ware


Method:

Mix all ingredients together to form an even batter . Add a little salt if required.
Place the paniyaara pan [ with 5 or 7 holes as the case may be] on the stove and heat it slightly.
Pour enough oil to fill the holes in the pan.
When the oil is hot spoon the batter into each hole.Keep the heat on low flame to allow even cooking.
When it starts browning turn carefully on to the other side and cook.
Remove with skewers when it golden brown on all sides.
Drain on tissue paper.
Serve hot with chutney or sauce.

Tips: ,
Besan is added only to thicken the batter. If the existing batter is of thick consistency besan can be avoided.
If the batter is of very thin consistency then the paniyaarams will absorb too much oil, which is not healthy.
A little bit of grated coconut and a pinch of asfoetida are optional ingredients.
If you are making it for kids and don’t want it to be spicy for them omit green chillies and ginger,

By Mrs. Mira Balachandran; mira.balachandran@gmail.com

Quick Fix Chutneys – Spicy Besan Chutney

Generally the term Chutney conjures up images of something ground to a paste to be served as a side dish or accompaniment to some main dish. This dish made of besan is extremely easy to make especially when you are loaded with guests without notice. Serves as a fantastic side dish for both Pooris and Chapatthis.

Ingredients:

Besan – 1 cup
Water – 3 cups
Onion – 1 small, finely chopped
Tomato – 1 small, finely chopped
Green chillies – 4 Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Mustard – 1 tsp
Urad Dal – 1 tsp
Chilli Powder – ½ tsp
Finely Chopped Ginger – 1 tlbsp
Oil – 2 tlbsp
Curry Leaves
Salt to taste
Half a lime

Method:

 In a pan heat oil and add Mustard seeds. When it splutters add urad dal & green chillies.Saute till the dal is brown.
 Add Onions & turmeric powder and fry till translucent.
 Add chopped tomatoes and sauté for a couple of minutes.
 Mix besan with water to form a smooth batter.
 Add the batter to the tomato + onion mix and mix with a ladle in low flame.
 Add Chilli powder and salt to taste. Stir continuously till it cooks well and the raw smell of besan disappears. Add some water if required.
 The batter with soon turn into a thick paste. Consistency should be like chutney where it can be scooped and placed on a plate.
 Remove from stove. Add lime juice and mix.
 Garnish with curry or coriander leaves.
 Serve it with hot pooris

Tips:
Depending the spice content in the green chillies you can add or reduce the quantity of Chilli powder. But ensure that it is spicy overall
The same with Lime juice. Add according to your taste

By Mrs. Mira Balachandran; mira.balachandran@gmail.com