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.

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

Akaara Vadisal

Akaara Vadisal or Sweet Milk Pongal is a very famous dish among the Vaishnavites in the South. Made with milk it is extremely delicious and loved by one and all.

Ingredients
Rice – 1 Cup
Milk – 5 Cups
Green gram dal – 1/3 Cup
White jaggery – 11/4 Cups
Water – 2 Cup
Ghee – 3 tlbs
Cashewnuts – a few
Raisins – a few
Saffron – A few strands [optional]
Cardamom power – ½ tsp

Method:
Boil Milk and water in a heavy bottomed pan. Set aside two cups of this hot milk.
Reduce flame and add rice to milk and let it cook on low flame. Stir constantly.
Cook dal till it is soft and keep aside. When the rice is three fourth done add the dal and mix well.
If the rice mix thickens add the 2 cups of milk set aside earlier and stir well.
When the rice is fully cooked add powdered jaggery little by little till it is dissolved and comes to a thick consistency.
Remove from stove. Heat ghee and fry Cashewnuts and raisins. Add this to Akara Vadisal along with cardamom powder. If using saffron, soak a few strands to warm milk and add in the end.
Mix well and serve hot.

Tips:
Akaara Vadisal can be made with Basmathi rice too. Gives a very different and wonderful flavor.
Always use light color jaggery. Acchu Vellam is the best option.
Ensure that there are no impurities in the jaggery before you add it to the pongal.

Sevai or Rice Noodles

The Italian Noodles is catching up in a big way amongst people of all ages in recent times. The South Indian Sevai or Idiappam can aptly be pointed out as a fore runner of its more international counterpart – Noodles. The rice Sevai is light and easy to digest and can be had any time of the day. Ideal for those recuperating from illnesses it can also be had by patients who are diabetic.

Instant Sevai mixes as well as ready to cook Sevai is available now in the market making it an even easy option and a boon for working women. The traditional method of making the Basic Sevai is as follows:

Ingredients:
Par Boiled Rice – 3 cups
Raw Rice – 1/3 cup
Salt – as required
Oil – to grease

Method:

Soak the rice well for over four hours.

Grind to a very smooth paste like idly batter.

Add salt to taste. Pour in idly plates and steam. Don’t over cook

Grease the Sevai maker with oil

While the idlies are still hot place them in the Sevai Maker and press.

You will get long noodle like thin strings of Sevai. Keep replacing the trays on which you collect the Sevai at the bottom of the Sevai maker. This will ensure that they are separated, easy to handle and cool easily.

Add required seasoning and serve with appropriate accompaniments.

Nowadays ready made Sevai mix is available. All you need to do is drop the contents of the pack in boiling water and follow the instructions given to get instant Sevai ready in a jiffy.

Various Flavoring:

Once basic white Sevai is ready all one has to do is decide the flavor and get started on it. Some of the popular flavors are:

Lime Sevai – Heat oil. Add Mustard seeds. When it splutters add split urad dal, a pinch of asafetida, finely chopped chilies and curry leaves. When the urad dal is brown add turmeric powder and take off the heat. Pour over the white Sevai. Add Lime juice as required and mix well. Fried Cashewnuts are optional.

Coconut Sevai – Heat coconut oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When it splutters add Bengal gram, curry leaves and finely chopped green chilies along with a few red chilies. Sauté for a few seconds. Add grated coconut and fry for a few seconds. Mix well and serve

Sweet Sevai – When the basic Sevai is still warm add/ sprinkle powdered sugar over it. Heat ghee and fry Cashewnuts and kiss miss and add to the Sevai and mix well

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

Kanchipuram Idly

Idly is a universally accepted and sought after dish for its simplicity in terms of preparation, adaptability, digestion and taste. There are innumerable varieties already but you find a new variant coming up everyday. So much for its adaptability to any ingredient added to it.

Indian Steamed Cake

Ingredients:

Urad Dal – 1 cup

Raw Rice – 1 cup

Par Boiled Rice – 1 cup

Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp

Pepper – 1 tsp [coarsely powdered]

Salt to taste

Ghee – 1 tsp

Cashewnuts – a few

Oil – 1 tlbsp

Ginger – 1 tsp [ finely grated, optional]

Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp [optional]

Method:

Wash & soak urad dal and rice separately at least for 4 to 6 hours.

Grind them separately in a grinder to a thick batter. The rice can be ground a bit coarsely.

Add salt as required and mix together.

Let is ferment for 6 to 8 hours.

Add ghee to a pan and fry the Cashew nuts till brown. Add to the batter.

Pour oil in the pan and add mustard seeds. When it splutters add cumin, pepper and ginger and fry for a few seconds. Add to batter and mix well.

Pour the idly batter in idly plates after greasing them with oil and steam till it is done.

Serve hot with appropriate chutneys or sambar.

Tips: Thick Sour curds can also be added to the batter if it has not fermented well. However ensure the batter does not become watery.

Instead of Idly plates this batter can also be poured in long tubular cylinder like vessels [puttu Koralle] or even in your normal tumblers after greasing them well. Alternatively they can also be poured in shallow plates with at least 2 inches depth and then steamed. This can be cut into squares and served.

Rava Idly

Ingredients

Rava – I cup

Thick Curds – 2 ½ cups

Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp

Channa Dal –  ½ tsp

Green Chillies – 2

Chopped Cashew – 1 tlbsp

Fruit Salt – 1 tsp

Salt

Curry Leaves

Oil

 Variation [Optional]

Finely chopped onions – 1 small

Grated Carrot – 2 tlbsp heaped

Finely chopped tomato – 1 tbsp

Finely chopped ginger – 1tsp

Fry onions till golden brown. Add the rest of the ingredients and sauté for a minute. Add to batter and mix well.

Method

Pour 2tlbsp oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds. When it splutters add Channa Dal and green chilies.

When Channa dal is golden brown add Rava and fry in low flame till well roasted. Switch off stove and cool.

Add half the curds and salt and mix well. Let is rest for 10 minutes.

Add rest of the curds and the vegetable mix [Given above as ;Variation’. This is optional] to the batter and mix well. Add fruit salt and mix. Check for salt.

Grease Idly plates and pour the batter and steam for 5 to 7 mins or till it is done.

Serve hot with chutney of your choice.

Paal Ada Pradhaman [Rice Flake Milk Payasam]

Another delicacy from God’s own country – Kerala. This payasam is made using rice flakes which are specially made at home for this purpose. But now a days good quality ready – to – use rice flakes are available in all departmental stores. Extremely delicious, this payasam is part of any big celebration or feast in a Kerala household.

Ingredients:
Rice Adai – 1/4th cup
Thick Milk – 2 ½ cups
Sugar – 1/4th cup
Ghee – 2 tsp
Cardamom Powder – ¼ tsp
Fried Cashewnuts – optional
Condensed milk – 1/3 rd cup

Method:
Soak Rice adai in boiling hot water for 15 mins.
Drain and rinse in cold water.
In a pressure cooker add adai + milk and pressure cook till you get one whistle.
Switch off the stove. Heat a heavy bottomed pan [or retain the cooker itself] and transfer contents to it and place it on medium flame to thicken and reduce further.
Keep it on the stove till the milk is reduced considerably and the payasam takes on a pinkish tinge.
Add Condensed milk and stir well for 5 mins.
Add sugar and cardamom powder, stir till sugar dissolves completely and switch off the heat. Roast the cashew in ghee and add if required.

Tips:
If you do not have too much time on hand to reduce and thicken the milk, more of condensed milk can be added. If you do so, remember to use less sugar than mentioned otherwise you will land up with a dish that is too sweet to consume.
Always remember to add sugar carefully to boiling milk since it is likely to curdle. So always switch off the stove after sugar is added.
Adding sugar will also dilute the payasam. So thicken it first to the maximum and then add sugar.