Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pasta Quickie ( with Capsicum and Onions in a creamy tomato base)

You could prepare an elaborate pasta or a fairly quick one like this one. The original recipe from my friend G is yummy and elaborate... includes cheese, cream, milk and the works. What happens when you don't have some of the ingredients??? You make a quickie pasta like the one I made. I had no clue what to make for dinner last night. I then remembered seeing some elbow pasta stowed away in one of my containers. I sold the idea of pasta for dinner to my dearest husband (he is not too fond of pasta). After convincing him, a bigger problem arose... I did not have any other ingredients (like veggies, cheese etc). I still braved the hardships and made this quickie with whatever I could find. Here is how I made this.

  •  Pasta of your choice (Penne or Fusille are my favs) - 100 gms
  • Tomato Puree - 100 ml
  • Fresh Cream - 100 ml
  • Olive Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Garlic Paste - 1 tsp
  • Capsicum - 1 cut into long pieces
  • Onion - 1 cut into long slices
  • Seasoning of your choice
  • Any other veggies you may want to add (Corn, Peas, Olives, Mushrooms are my favs again)
  • Salt and Pepper

  • Boil the pasta and set aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the garlic paste.
  • Add capsicum and onions and toss well.
  • Add the tomato puree and cook covered for 2-3 mins
  • Add the cream and mix well.
  • Add the seasoning, salt and pepper and cook covered for another 2 mins.
  • Add the pasta and mix well.
  • Your pasta is ready to be served.
Variations - You could add cheese, milk and a host of other veggies. Regulating the amount of cream or tomato puree will give you the kind of sauce you prefer. If you are not too fond of cream or are health conscious(unlike me),  you could cut out the cream and the cheese and add a bit of skimmed milk to the tomato puree and garlic paste and cook.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Malabar Style Kayi Vattan

This recipe probably got its name because the Raw plantain(Kayi) is cut into circular pieces (Vattan). The only reasoning I can think of, probably its the truth too. This is an accompaniment prepared in our parts of Kerala for Kanji (Rice Gruel) along with Cheru payar Puzhuku and Chammanthi. (I'll post those recipes when I take pics of them)

Plantain tree's are grown everywhere in Kerala. You cannot find a house that does not have one. The tree itself is one of the most used utility by Keralites (We use the stem, the flower, the raw fruit, the ripe fruit and the leaves). The only thing we've probably spared is the root.

I always thought making Kayi Vattan was rocket science. I couldn't understand how they made it. Recently, I had my brother in law over for lunch. I wanted to prepare something absolutely mallu, so I called my mother for this recipe. And needless to say, its very simple. Here is how we make it.

  • Raw Plantain - 2
  • Garlic - 5-8 cloves
  • Red Chilly - 2-3
  • Curry Leaves - a handful
  • Grated Coconut - 1/2 shell
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Chilly Powder - 1 or 2 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
  • Coconut Oil - 2 tsp
  • Peel the plantain in a way that only the outer layer of the peel is removed. You should not peel it completely. Just remove the fibrous part of the peel and let the remaining stay on.
  • Cut the plantain into circular pieces.
  • Cook it with very little water, turmeric, chilly powder and salt till done.
  • When done, dry it completely to drain the water.
  • Crush grated coconut and curry leaves coarsely with your hand. Add salt to this and add this mixture to the cooked plantains.
  • Heat coconut oil in a pan, splutter mustard seeds fry the garlic and then add red chilly and curry leaves.
  • Add this tadka to the boiled plantain and coconut mix and your accompaniment is ready.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Spicy Kerala Prawn Curry

I got this recipe from my friend Smita. She had posted a photo of this prawn curry on her album and the next instant I was asking her for the recipe. She gave me a fairly simple recipe and I was sure it was not it... The curry looked way too tempting to be this simple a preparation.


  • Prawns - De veined and cleaned - 500 gms
For the marinade:
  • Chilly Powder - 2 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Garam Masala Powder - 2 tsp
  • Corriander Powder - 1 tsp
  • Pepper Powder - 1 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
For the gravy
  • Shallots - 300 gms
  • Green Chillies - 2-3 (as per taste)
  • Ginger Garlic Paste - 2 tsp
  • Grated Coconut - 4-5 tbsp
  • Tamarind - size of a lemon (or as per taste)
  • Garam Masala Powder - 2 tsp
  • Chilly Powder - 1 tsp
  • Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Curry Leaves - a handful
  • Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
  • Coconut Oil - 3 tsp

  • Marinate the cleaned and deveined prawns with the masala mentioned above and set aside for an hour.
  • Soak tamarind in water and extract pulp.
  • Grind the coconut to a fine paste and set aside.
  • Heat coconut oil in a pan and splutter mustards.
  • Add shallots, chilly and fry till translucent.
  • Add ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell disappears.
  • Add tamarind pulp, ground coconut and bring to boil.
  • Add the prawns, and the remaining dry masalas and cook till prawns are soft and tender.
  • Add curry leaves and remove from the stove.

The spicy prawn curry is ready.  Serve hot with rice or dosa.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Chammanthi Podi - Spicy Coconut Powder

This is the mallu equivalent for Andhra Pappu Podi - yeah, when it is the mallu equivalent, it goes without saying that it is loaded with coconut. This podi, called the Chammanthi Podi is made from coconuts and other spices. Chammanthi is the mallu term for Chutney/Thogayal in Tamil. We make varieties of Chammanthi's to go along with rice and Kanji (rice gruel - a staple mallu food). If I am not mistaken, we have one Chammanthi made out of every seasonal veggie that we know of. My favourite ones are the ones made with Ginger, Garlic and Raw Mango. I can have Rice and that Chammanthi for days together without getting bored. Add a papadam to it and it becomes a wholesome meal :-)

This Chammanthi Podi though is predominantly a south Kerala preparation (that's what I was led to believe as my parents are not too aware of this yet). I googled and borrowed this recipe from various blogs and prepared my desired concoction yday. Here is how I made it.

  • Grated Coconut - 1 shell
  • Red Chilly - 15 nos.
  • Ginger - 2" piece
  • Garlic - 5-6 cloves
  • Shallots - 15-20
  • Curry Leaves- a handful
  • Cumin Seeds - 1/4 tsp
  • Fenugreek Seeds - 1/4 tsp
  • Split Urud Dal - 1 tsp
  • Channa Dal - 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Pepper Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Corriander powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Coconut oil - 2 tsp
  • Tamarind - small ball
  • Salt - to taste
  • Heat coconut oil in a pan.
  • Add red chillies and fry.
  • Slowly add all other ingredients one by one and finally add the coconut.
  • Fry till all items are brown and crispy.
  • Set aside to cool.
  • Dry grind them with salt.
  • Preserve in an airtight container.
Note: You could fry and grind the items separately but you need to make a larger quantity to be able to do that. The problem when you grind them together is that the shallots, garlic and ginger bring out moisture that makes this look more of a chutney than a chutney powder.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Malabar Prawn Curry

My husband loves prawns, but we rarely buy them because of the smell they emit when being cooked and the tedious proceedue of deveining them and cleaning them up. The last time we went to the supermarket, I found a packet of freshly cleaned prawns for sale. So I picked it up and tried my hand at the prawn curry that my mother and mother in law make so deliciously (BTW, my father and father in law are better cooks than their respective spouses).

I was never too fond of the prawns curry till before my marriage. I always prefered Prawn prepared in the "Thoran" style with lots of onions and coconut. Husband dear on the other hand is an ardent lover of the prawn curry. So now, everytime there is prawns at my mom's place, its this preparation that my better half so loves. Here is the recipe I picked from my mom.

  • Prawns - 1/2 kg, deveined & cleaned
  • Raw Mango - 1/2 piece
  • Tamarind - the size of a lemon
  • Coconut - 1/2 shell grated
  • Cumin Seeds - 2 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Chilly Powder - 2 1/2 tsp
  • Onion - 1 cut into long slices
  • Tomato (optional) - 1
  • Ginger - 1 inch piece
  • Green Chilly - 3-4 slit lengthwise
  • Sour Curd - 3 tbsp
  • Curry Leaves - a handful
  • Salt - to taste
  • Coconut Oil - 2 tsp
  • Marinate the prawns with turmeric powder, chilly powder and salt
  • Add onion, ginger. raw mango and green chilly to the marinated prawns and set aside for 2 hours.
  • Soak the tamarind in water to extract the pulp.
  • Grind grated coconut with the curd and cumin seeds to a fine paste (It is this consistency that decides how good your curry is going to be - so take care!)
  • Cook the marinated prawns in the tamarind pulp till soft.
  • Add the ground cocunut and curd mix and bring to boil. 
  • Add salt to taste, curry leaves and a little bit of coconut oil and remove from stove.
  • Serve with Rice or Dosa.

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