Thursday, October 28, 2010

Kumbalanga Cherupayar parippu Curry / Ash gourd & Moong dal Curry

Here's another signature dish from God's own country!

As the name says this is a curry made with Kumbalanga/ash gourd and cherupayar parippu / moong dal in Kerala, a mildly spiced comfort dish I make often with phulkas or plain rice that serves fine at any time of the day!

The simple intro part is over ;)


...and can I proceed to the recipe directly? ;)

(whew !! it relieves me quite a lot when I do this coz I get much hooked with words and nothing flows in lately)

Get ready with:

Ash gourd- diced- 1 large cup
Moong dal - dry roasted - 1/4 cup
Small onions- finely chopped- 1 tsp

To Grind:
Freshly grated coconut- 1 1/2 tbsps
Garlic- 1 clove
Jeera powder-1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp scant

To season:
Coconut oil- 2 tsps
Mustard seeds- 1/4 tsp
Small onions- minced- 2 tsps
Green chilly-1- sliced lengthwise
Red chilly-1- broken into 3 pcs(optional)
Curry leaves- a sprig

A 3 ltr pressure cooker- ;)

How to make :

Transfer the lightly dry roasted moong dal to the cooker, give it a quick rinse, add 1/2 cup of water and bring to a boil. Lower the flame to simmer and cook in open without the lid on) for 2-3 minutes keeping an eye not to let it boil over.

In the meanwhile grind coconut, garlic, jeera and turmeric powders to a smooth paste adding a little water.Stir in to the cooking dal along with the ash gourd pieces and the sliced green chilly and 1 tsp of finely cut onions. Add salt and mix well. The liquid part should NOT be more than 1/2- 3/4 cup at this stage as ash gourd lets out water while cooking. Close the lid and cook till 2-3 whistles.

Open, after the steam vents off. If the curry seems to be a little watery, add a tsp of rice powder or corn starch and bring to a gentle boil. Even otherwise the curry tends to thicken after cooling down a bit!
For the seasoning, heat oil in a kadai, splutter the mustard seeds and next the minced onions. Let the onions get fried to a brown hue and impart the aroma. Throw in the red chilly bits followed by the curry leaves. Pour the seasoning over the curry.

Serve warm with phulkas or steamed rice.

If you find it difficult to get the ash gourd, substitute it with lemon cucumber or vellarikka (malayalam) for a closest taste.This recipe is off to The Kerala Kitchen.
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Kaya Mezhukkupuratti / Stir-fried Raw Bananas

An easy to make side dish with raw banana made back home at my mom’s place in Kerala!
The picture was taken in a lazy way and this had been sleeping in my drafts for a long time, eventually waken up as left with no other choice than this to update ;)

Stir-fried Raw Bananas or Kaya Mezhukkupuratti


Raw banana; the green skin removed and cut into inch long pieces- 2 cups
Salt- to taste
Turmeric powder- ¼ tsp

Grind/pulse to a coarse paste avoiding water:
Shallots- 5-6
Garlic cloves-3-4
Dried red chillies-1-2

To season:
Coconut Oil- 1-2 tbsps
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves- A sprig or two


Cook the banana pieces in just enough water in a closed pan with salt and turmeric powder added to it. Be careful not to over cook the pieces.They should be ‘just cooked’.The time taken should be not more than 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a colander to drain off the excess water.

Heat oil in a thick bottomed kadai, splutter the mustard seeds, curry leaves followed by the coarsely ground paste.Sauté for a few seconds till the raw smell goes off. Add the banana,toss gently so as to coat the spices on to the pieces. Check salt. Toss once in a minute (for 3-5 minutes in all) till the pieces acquire a golden brown hue and done.

Kaya Mezhukkupuratti tastes best with rice and coconut based curries or Sambhar.

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes!

I happened to read somewhere that chocolate lava cake was the result of a major culinary disaster; the dessert meant to be individual chocolate cakes which didn't get cooked well resulting in a soft runny chocolaty centre. The resulting "uncooked centred" cake was duly favourited by the baker as well his guests!

Obviously being in my should-try-once list I was excited when Divya announced the recipe for October's sweet punch! The very Molten Chocolate Lava Cake!

So here we have to be careful not to cook the cake 'a little too much' thereby resulting in a 'well cooked centred' chocolate cake ;)

Preparing the batter was a breeze. For the very first time I enjoyed melting chocolates in my double boiler milk cooker, the baking bars brought down by my sister.
As mentioned earlier I wanted to cook them carefully to get used to the baking time and chose to bake them one by one. The first ramekin got cooked a little too much with 19 minutes, while the second one was too mushy with 15 minutes. Now I knew the time and controlled it as 17 minutes. Remember, the baking time varies according to your oven model and setting.

Only when I placed the cake on the plate did I realise that the uncooked centre was sticking at the bottom, resulting in a 'not so smooth finished top part'. Besides, the cakes failed to hold their shapes :( letting down my expectations of having those firm dark cakes with the lava flowing out, beautifully!
When the 5th ramekin hopped out hot from the oven, I couldn't wait any longer.....
..scroll down to the last but one picture, please ;)

Molten Lava Cake (yielded 5 ramekins for me)
Recipe source -


Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate – 4 oz (113g)
Butter – 4 oz (113g)
Eggs – 2
Sugar – 1/3 cup (75 g)
All-purpose Flour – 1/4 cup (40g)
Butter – for greasing ramekins



1. In a double boiler, melt chocolate.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, beat Eggs and Sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Once chocolate is melted, remove pan from heat and add in butter. Mix until the butter melts fully.
4. Add chocolate/butter mixture into the eggs, add all-purpose flour and mix until well incorporated.
5. Butter bottom and sides of ramekins (small glass/porcelain bowls) and pour in mixture about 3/4 way full.
6. Place ramekins on a baking tray and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 C) for 10 – 15 minutes. Shorter for gooey (molten) inside, longer for stiff inside.
7. Serve hot with vanilla ice cream.

The little 'over baked' lava cake on the farther end! The rest of them waiting to get in the oven!

A bit over exposed :) but just to have a peep into the ramekin at that 'rightly baked' molten lava cake..

..confirmed by digging in a spoon and licking it clean ;)
Warning: Extremely Hot Product- No burning tongues please ;)

P.S - Some people find it gross to have cakes with uncooked centers[not me too Divya :)!!] and feel the lava is nothing but uncooked batter.I have a solution for that too--if you feel so too,just place a chocolate chunk in between--pour half the batter into the ramekin and place a chocolate chunk,and pour the remaining batter and cook for a longer time than mentioned.You could also place cold ganache in between,choices are numerous!!

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Steamed and Stir-fried Okra

A much healthier version of okra I learnt to make from my ma in law; a simple dish which goes well with steamed rice or any Indian bread!
The guilt free recipe of this side dish is again special as the veggie is steamed and later stir-fried in minimum oil to spice up in a perfect Tamil way!


  • Okra / vendakkai / ladies finger- ¼ kg
  • Marinate with..
  • Turmeric power-1/4 tsp
  • Sambhar Powder- ¾ tsp or more or less according to your spice level (you can substitute with 1/2 tsp red chilly powder+ 1/4 tsp dhania powder+ a pinch of jeera powder. Feel free to use a little garam masala if you like the flavour in it)
  • Water- a few drops
  • Salt- to taste
  • Season with..
  • Oil- 2 tsps
  • Mustard seeds- and urad dal- ¼ tsp each
  • Small onions-sliced thin, lengthwise- 3 tbsps
  • Garlic-sliced thin, length wise-1 tsp (optional) I avoid garlic
  • Ripe tomato-1 large (less sour variety)-cut into small even sized cubes
  • Curry leaves- a sprig


Wash the okra, chop off the edges and cut into 1 inch pieces.
Mix salt, turmeric and sambhar powders with your fingers and rub onto the pieces with minimum amount of water sprinkled in. You may just toss them altogether in a bowl too, but see to it that the powders are coated evenly. Let it stand for 20-30 minutes.

Steam cook for 3-4 minutes more or less, until the pieces are soft and ‘just’ cooked as in the picture above.

In the meanwhile heat oil in a wide heavy bottomed kadai, splutter mustard seeds, brown the urad dal, followed by the onions and garlic.Throw in the curry leaves.Stir in the tomato cubes, cook until soft and then the steam cooked okra, very carefully not to break the soft pieces.
Check salt and toss or stir gently to coat the seasonings evenly on them.

Tastes best with rice and phulkas!
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