Wednesday, 30 November 2011



1)    Soy chunks – 200 gm.
2)    Ginger – 1 inch piece
3)    Medium hot green chilies – 3 Nos.
4)    Cumin seeds – ½ teaspoon
5)    Garlic – one pod
6)    Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
7)    Corn flour – 1 tablespoon
8)    Garam masala powder – ½ teaspoon
9)    Salt – 1 level teaspoon
10)                      Any cooking oil to deep fry the nuggets.

To Cook:
Peel and chop the ginger. Separate and peel the garlic cloves.
Set a 3 litre vessel containing 2 litres of water on the stove. As soon as the water comes to a boil, chuck in the soy chunks. Continue boiling for 7 minutes holding down the chunks with a perforated ladle or strainer. Drain and pour in enough cold water to submerge the chunks. Keep for 30 seconds for the water to absorb to absorb the excess heat and drain again.
Now take a handful of soy chunks and squeeze off the excess water. Repeat till all the chunks are squeezed dry. Put the soy chunks and all the other ingredients into a food processor and grind for a minute to get a thick mince.
Set a wok or pan on the stove. Pour in the cooking oil. As soon as the oil is hot and is just about to smoke, make a small bite sized ball of the mince, flatten it a bit between your palms and release into the hot oil. Put in some more without overcrowding. Stir occasionally so that all the sides are fried uniformly. The nuggets will turn a beautiful golden brown. It is time to lift them out and to drain off the excess oil.
Serve hot. You will of course love these beautiful soy nuggets which are so crispy on the outside and surprisingly soft on the inside.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011



Saambar made using your own special sambar powder with dosa


     1)    Coriander seeds – 50 gm.
     2)    Fenugreek seeds – 25 gm.
     3)    Asafoetida – a 20 gram bit
     4)    Dry turmeric (preferably Wayanadan) – 25 gm.
     5)    Hot dry red chilies – 50 gm.
     6)    Tender leaves of pomello or grapefruit – 3 Nos. (if not available, you can make do with 5 or 6 lime or lemon leaves)

To Make:

          Set a thick cast iron wok on high heat. Put in all the ingredients. Stir frequently. As the ingredients get hot, lower the flame and continue to stir frequently, taking care not to let anything burn at the base. As soon as the chilies are crispy, switch off the heat. Continue to stir for another 3 minutes to allow the residual heat in the wok to disperse. Let cool naturally without covering up. As soon as the roasted ingredients are cool, put them in a food processor and grind to fine powder. When cool, store in a dry airtight container for future use.

          You can prepare many different types of sambar or saambar using your own special sambar powder. I often prepare regular saambar, shallot sambar, cucumber sambar, mixed vegetable sambar or roasted coconut sambar using my own sambar powder.

          In my ‘saambar’ recipe, I have used the commercially available sambar powder which needs to be used in much larger quantities along with an extra helping of turmeric powder. If you make your own sambar powder as given in this recipe, you will find that just half the quantity or even less will suffice to give you a much more fragrant, tastier sambar (your own sambar powder contains none of the fillers such as lentil powder or chickpea powder which make up the bulk of commercial sambar powder).

          The pomello leaf and the turmeric from Wayanad district of Kerala have an important role to play in the appetizing, salivating fragrance of the powder.

          If you include a little bit of tamarind juice when you cook the vegetables, your saambar will be still tastier.

Monday, 28 November 2011



1)    Fresh green orange peel of 1 orange chopped and sundried for a day (preferably fragrant sweet orange peel)
2)    Sugar – of approximately the same volume as the chopped orange peel.
3)    Vinegar – approx. 50 ml.
4)    Hot red chili powder – 1 heaped teaspoon
5)    Turmeric powder – ¼ teaspoon
6)    Ginger – one half inch piece
7)    Salt – 1 level teaspoon

To Make:
Chop the orange peel to tiny bits and dry in full sunlight for a day. Select a small (200 ml.) clean airtight glass jar. Put in the semi-dried orange peel. Finely chop the ginger and tip it in. Shake the jar lightly to let the pieces settle tightly at the bottom.
Now put in around the same volume of sugar on top of the orange peel and the ginger pieces. Add the chili powder, the salt and the turmeric powder. Close the lid and shake vigorously to mix and then tap the jar lightly on the table to let everything settle at the bottom of the jar. Now pour in enough vinegar to cover the pieces fully. Close the lid tightly once again. Shake vigorously and set aside.
Shake the bottle a few times once every day for the next seven days. Your sweet n’ hot joyous orange peel pickle is now ready to enjoy. Serve with biryani or with ghee rice.

If you like it milder, use less chili powder. Sweet n’ hot orange peel pickle has a long shelf life.

Sunday, 27 November 2011



1)    Tender ivy gourd (Coccinia grandis) also called baby watermelon / little gourd / gentleman’s toes (Kovakka or Koval in Malayalam, Tendlea in Konkani) – 500 gm.
2)    Dry hot red chilies – 4 Nos.
3)    Garlic cloves – 5 Nos.
4)    Coconut oil or other cooking oil – 1 tablespoon
5)    Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
6)    Salt – ½ teaspoon

To Cook:
Wash the Tendlea nicely. Use a wooden mallet or a small bludgeon or a rolling pin or a smooth round stone to crush the Tendlea one by one. The Tendlea should be crushed to the point that it bursts at the sides but remains intact without shattering to pieces. Crush the garlic cloves likewise. Break the dry hot red chilies each into 2 or 3 pieces.
Set a thick cast iron or non-stick wok on high heat. Pour in the coconut oil and throw in the mustard seeds. As soon as they are about to finish crackling, tip in the crushed garlic. Stir till it turns golden brown. Now add the chilies. Stir once and tip in the crushed Tendlea. Stir and sprinkle the salt. Stir again and turn down the heat to minimum. Cover with a lid.
Every few minutes, open the lid and stir. Continue till the tendlea is cooked. Taste to see if cooked (the cooking time often varies depending on the variety and tenderness of the Tendlea). Add more salt if required. Once the Tendlea is cooked, do not cover with lid but roast slowly on low heat till the skin of the Tendlea is partly caramelized.
Serve hot or cold. You will love this dish so much that the next time you cook; you will be making four times the quantity!
Eat Tendla talaasan as such or serve with rice or with gruel or with porridge.




          Mooga patrodo is a very soft patrodo made by Mangalorian Konkanis. As it does not contain any rice, it is often cooked during partial fasts when rice is strictly avoided for the day. In my ancestral homestead at Kozhikode, my late aunt would invariably cook and serve us this delicious dish on the day of Ganesha Chaturti when the whole family has its annual get-together. Everyone in my family loves this dish. So I happily share this beautiful recipe with all of you.


     1)    Big tender leaves of elephant ear plant (Colocasia esculenta) – 10 to 12 
     numbers depending on size (a type of taro leaf)

     2)    Green gram – 330 gm.

     3)    Hot red chili powder – 5 teaspoons
     4)    Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
     5)    Asafoetida powder – ¼ teaspoon
     6)    Cucumber tree fruit (Bimbul or Bilimbi) – 125 gm.

     7)    Small coconut – 1
     8)    Salt – 1 level tablespoon

To Prepare:

          Soak the green gram for 5 to 6 hours. Select and prepare the leaves exactly as given in my Patrodo Version – A recipe.

To prepare the paste:

          Wash and drain the green gram. Grate the coconut. Cut off the tips of the cucumber tree fruits. Put the grated coconut, the cucumber tree fruits, the turmeric powder, the asafoetida powder and the drained green gram into a food processor or a wet grinder and grind to superfine thick paste. Add a little water if required for the grinding process but the paste should not be runny. Taste and add more salt or chili powder if required. It should taste hotter and saltier than the final taste of the patrodo since you need to compensate for the unseasoned leaves.

To make the rolls and to cook:

Follow the detailed instructions given in my Patrodo Version– A recipe. Please read those notes too.
I want you to succeed the first time and also every time you cook my recipes.


          If cucumber tree fruit is not available at your place, you can use 150 gm. of mature star fruit instead.

Saturday, 26 November 2011



1)    Small coconut – 1
2)    Cumin seeds – ½ teaspoon
3)    Hot green chilies – 2
4)    Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
5)    Fresh curd – 200 ml. or raw sour mango – 50 gm.
6)    Ash gourd – 200 gm.
7)    Carrot – 100 gm.
8)    Beans – 100 gm.
9)    Drumstick – 100 gm.
10)                      Elephant foot yam – 100 gm.
11)                      Raw Nendran banana – 200 gm.
12)                      Potato – 50 gm.
13)                      Tender curry leaves – 3 sprigs
14)                      Water – 200 ml.
15)                      Coconut oil – 1 tablespoon
16)                      Salt – 1 teaspoon

To Cook:
Grate the coconut and put into the food processor together with the cumin seeds and the green chilies. Do not add any water at all. Grind to fine paste. Peel the ash gourd, the carrot, the elephant foot yam and the potato. Cut into long thin pieces (large juliennes) of approximately 5 cm x 1 cm. x 1 cm size. Lightly scrape a very thin skin off the drumstick and cut into 5 cm. long pieces.
Remove both ends and the fibrous string of the beans and cut into 5 cm. long pieces (if the beans are tender, there will be no string to pull out. Cut off both the ends of the raw banana. Cut it into 5 cm pieces and then slice into thinner strips without removing the peel (the peel gives it better texture).
Set a thick large vessel or pan on the stove. Pour in 200 ml. of water and drop in the vegetables. Sprinkle the turmeric powder. When the water starts to boil, turn down the heat and stir once every 2 minutes. Take care to stir with a lightweight ladle without bruising or breaking the vegetables.
Check to see whether the drumstick and the elephant foot yam are cooked by pressing them lightly with the ladle. The ladle will cut through the yam and the drumstick will be soft and watery when cooked. While cooking, if the water runs dry, add just enough to continue to cook without burning at the base.
When the vegetables are cooked, add the salt and the ground coconut paste. Mix well and taste. Add more salt if necessary. Pour in the curd. Just before it starts to boil again, put in the curry leaves and pour in the coconut oil. Do not cook any further. Switch off the heat and cover with a lid. Serve hot or cold.
You will fall in love with this dish!!!

1)    Aviyal is a must for all marriage feasts in Kerala. Do not fail to cook this yummy, tangy, nutritious dish.
2)    Bitter gourd lovers can use 40 gm. in the recipe as some people do. However, I do not like or use bitter gourd in aviyal.
3)    You can include 100 gm. of thinly cut skinned jackfruit seeds if they are in season.


Steaming hot violet konna upkari

1)    Yam – 750 gm.
freshly dug violet yam

2)    Hot green chili – 1
3)    Dry hot red chilies – 3
4)    Cumin seeds – ¼ teaspoon
5)    Mustard seeds – ¼ teaspoon
6)    Coconut oil or other cooking oil – 1 tablespoon
7)    Salt – 1 teaspoon

To Cook:
Peel the yam (use gloves if you have sensitive skin for the raw juice of yam may lead to itching and redness of skin). Wash well and dice into cubes (small or medium sized as you prefer). Split the green chili into 2 halves. Break each of the dry red chilies into 2 or 3 pieces.
Set a thick wok or pan on the stove. Pour in the cooking oil. Throw in the mustard seeds. As soon as they are about to finish popping, put in the cumin seeds. Stir once and add the green chili and the red chilies. Tip in the diced yam and sprinkle the salt. Pour in enough water to immerse the yam pieces.
As soon as it comes to a boil, turn down the heat and cover with a lid. Stir occasionally. Let the yam cook nicely. When fully cooked, most of the water will be absorbed and the rest will become thick gravy.
Your delicious konna upkari is ready to eat. Serve steaming hot and enjoy.

Friday, 25 November 2011



1)    Tender drumstick leaves – 50 gm.
2)    Tor dal (split pigeon pea lentils) – 100 gm.
3)    Small coconut – 1
4)    Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
5)    Chili powder – ½ teaspoon
6)    Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
7)    Cumin seeds – ½ teaspoon
8)    Coconut oil – 2 teaspoons
9)    Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
10)                      Salt – 1 teaspoon

To Cook
Pluck out the tender drumstick leaves from their sprigs. Wash, drain and set aside. Wash and drain the tor dal. Put the tor dal in a pressure cooker together with 500 ml. of water and set it on high heat. As soon as you hear the first whistle, lower the heat and cook for 5 minutes. Switch off the heat and allow to cool naturally.
Grate the coconut and tip it into a food processor. Add 120 ml. of water and grind to fine paste. The cooker must have cooled by now. Open it and put in the leaves. Close the lid and cook again till you hear the first whistle (the leaves need to be cooked thoroughly for propped digestion. If the leaves are added at the very beginning, even the lentils won’t get cooked properly). Switch off the heat and let cool naturally.
When cool enough to open the lid, put in the coconut paste. Drop in the chili powder, the turmeric powder and the salt. Mix well and set on high heat stirring occasionally to avoid burning at the base. If you feel that the curry is too thick for you, add a little water. Taste and add more salt if required. Meanwhile, set a small pan on low heat. Pour in the oil and throw in the mustard seeds.
When the mustard seeds are about to finish popping, tip in the cumin seeds and the curry leaves. Switch off and pour the contents of the pan into the boiling curry. Switch off the heat and cover the curry with a lid.
Your mild and delicious muringa ila parippu curry is ready to serve. Serve with rice, chapattis or rotis or just as such.

If fresh jackfruit seeds are available, take 7 or 8 seeds, remove their skins, cut into 4 pieces each and put them in the pressure cooker along with the tor dal. You will have an extra scrumptious curry. The sad thing is jackfruit is seasonal and seeds are not easily available round the year. So make it a point to include them whenever available.

Thursday, 24 November 2011



1)     The ridges of 3 tender ridge gourds
2)    Cumin seeds – ½ teaspoon
3)    Black pepper corns – ½ teaspoon
4)    Dry hot red chilies – 5 Nos.
5)    Ghee (clarified butter) – 2 teaspoon
6)    Tamarind – an olive sized bit
7)    Coconut – ½
8)    Salt – 1 teaspoon

To Make:
Grate the coconut. Chop up the ridges. Set a small pan on low heat. Pour in the ghee. Tip in the cumin seeds, the pepper corns, the red chilies and the chopped ridges. Stir fry for 1 minute and tip over into a food processor. Add the grated coconut, the salt, the tamarind and 100 ml. of drinking water. Grind to super fine paste (the finer, the tastier). Taste and add more seasoning if required.
. Add the grated coconut, the salt, the tamarind and 100 ml. of drinking water. Grind to super fine paste (the finer, the tastier). Taste and add more seasoning if required.
Your super delicious ridge gourd ridge chutney is ready to serve. Enjoy with hot dosas, chapattis, rotis, naan, appos, idlis, biriyani, rice gruel, oatmeal porridge, cherupayar kanji, or as a sandwich spread.
Bon appétit!!!

The cost of food is going up every day. There are many vegetables and other cooking ingredients as well as leftovers that we need not waste but can put to good use in our daily diet, thereby eating healthy and saving money. This is one such recipe wherein the ridge gourd ridges which are generally thrown away while cooking ghosala upkari (see my recipe) can be used to make this wonderful traditional Konkani gourmet chutney.

As the skin of the ridge gourd has a matt finish, it usually harbors some dirt or dust. If you soak the ridge gourd for half an hour in a basin of water to which half an ounce of vinegar has been added, you can see all the dirt falling through the bottom. Wash and cook. You can use this vinegar-water technique to clean mussels, clams, mushrooms and the inside of fish for it removes the odor as well as the dirt without affecting the flavor.



1)    Tender ridge gourd – 1 kg.
2)    Mustard seeds – ¼ teaspoon
3)    Coconut oil or other cooking oil – 1 tablespoon
4)    Mild dry red chilies or Kashmiri chilies – 3 Nos.
5)    Salt – ½ teaspoon

To Cook:
Soak the tender ridge gourd in a basin of water with 10 ml. of vinegar for half an hour. Wash and cut off both the ends. Use a sharp knife to cut out the ridges. Save them for later. Split the ridge gourd lengthwise into 4 to 8 long strips (depending on the thickness of the gourd). Cut them across into 1 cm thick pieces and set aside. Break the dry red chilies into 2 or 3 pieces.
Set a wok on the stove. Pour in the oil and throw in the mustard seeds. As soon as they are about to finish crackling, add the dry chili pieces. Stir once and slide in the ridge gourd pieces. Tip in the salt. Stir and cover with a lid or a cloche. As soon as it comes to a boil, stir and turn down the heat. There is no need to add any water since there is plenty present in the ridge gourd. Stir once every 2 minutes so that the salt combines uniformly with the ridge gourd. Taste and add more salt if required.
The dish takes around 10 minutes to cook from the time it starts to boil. Switch off the heat and serve hot either by itself or with rice. Tender ridge gourd is quite sweet and watery and that makes the dish truly delicious.

1)    To have more flavor, you can substitute the dry red chilies with mild green chilies. Try out both versions and choose the one you like best. You can also try black pepper powder in place of chilies.
2)    Remember to save the ridges to prepare super delicious Ghosala Shiré chutney (ridge gourd ridge chutney); see my recipe.
3)    Use tender ridge gourd only. Mature ridge gourd is too full of fibre.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

109) APPO


Appo with piyyava gojju

     1)    Dosa batter (see my dosa recipe) – 2 litres for 4 persons (approx.)
     2)    Coconut oil or any other cooking oil to grease the kuzhiyappachatty

To Cook:

          Set a cast iron or non-stick kuzhiyappachatty (pan with 7 or 9 or more hemispherical pits) on the stove. As soon as it heats up, pour in half a teaspoon of coconut oil into each pit. Stir the dosa batter well and use a small ladle to pour in the batter neatly up to the brim of each pit. Turn down the heat to minimum and cover with a lid.

          Lift up the lid after 7 to 8 minutes checking once or twice in between to see if the appos are cooked. If most of the batter at the top of the appo appears to be cooked, sprinkle a few drops of coconut oil on the top. Use a sharp spoon or a thin knife with rounded edge to gently prise up the appos and flip them over in their pits. Cover with lid for a couple of minutes. The underside will be slightly roasted by now. Lift out and serve hot with piyyava gojju (see my recipe) or with coconut chutney (see my recipe). 

          These easy-to-digest appos are so tasty they will make you crave for them over and over again. Be sure to try this recipe.



Onion Gojju with Appo


     1)    Onion – 100 gm.
     2)    Tamarind – 10 gm.
     3)    Hot red chili powder – 1 tablespoon
     4)    Coconut oil – 1 tablespoon
     5)    Salt – 1¼ teaspoons

To Make:

          Peel the onion. Remove the hard basal portion. Chop to super fine pieces with a very sharp knife. Transfer to a bowl. Pour 100 ml. of drinking water in another bowl. Tip in the tamarind and squeeze well with your fingers till must of the tamarind dissolves in water. Sieve the tamarind juice and pour it over the chopped onion. Add the salt.

          In a small pan, pour in the coconut oil and add the chili powder. Warm it up lightly on low heat. Stir for a few seconds and switch off the heat. Tip over the contents of the pan into the bowl of onion pieces and mix well till the salt dissolves

          Your hot and spicy onion gojju is ready to enjoy. Serve with hot Appo (see my recipe) or with Green Dosa/Paserot (see my recipe). You can also enjoy balls of soft sticky cooked rice by dipping them in piyyava gojju and gulping them down as people used to do centuries ago.


          The recipe given here is my tasty and much milder version of the original traditional scorching hot piyyava gojju which is quite capable of making the common man shed tears of agony. For such super-hot chili lovers, here is the traditional recipe:


     1)    Kaandaari chili (tiny, but very, very hot green or white pigeon eye chili) – 3 Nos. (or more)

Capsicum frutescens

     2)    Onion – 100 gm.
     3)    Tamarind – 10 gm. (or more)
     4)    Dry hot red chilies – 5 Nos. (or more)
     5)    Coconut oil – 1 tablespoon
     6)    Salt – 1¼ teaspoon

To Make:

          Chop the onion as in the earlier recipe. Set a small pan on low heat. Pour in the coconut oil. Tip in both types of chilies and fry for half a minute. Turn off the heat. In a bowl, pour in 100 ml. of drinking water. Put in the tamarind and the fried chilies along with the oil. Let soak for half an hour. Now squeeze the chilies and the tamarind nicely with your fingers for as long as you can (You must use a glove, but remember, there were no gloves in olden times and the cooks used to suffer the burns of the chilies for a whole day). Now add the chopped onion and the salt. Mix well and serve.


          Kaandaari chilies are used by Keralites in treatment of cholesterol, diabetes and blood pressure. The wild ones grown here are often just an inch in length but are packed with flavor and with excruciating heat. Many poor South Indian peasants often eat their cooked rice with no other accompaniments than just a bit of salt and the kaandaari chili.

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