Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kachiya Moru ~ The simple spiced up buttermilk curry from Kerala

Kachiya Moru

In Central Kerala, or at least in the town I grew up, Kachiya Moru, is the seasoned spiced up buttermilk curry, a regular comfort side dish paired up with fried fish. Some refer the same as 'Moru Curry', though a few claim 'Moru Curry' demands the addition of ground coconut with spices. Kachiya means boiled and Moru, butter milk.
There are versions wherein tomatoes, garlic and chilly powder are added along with the ingredients, but somehow I stick the version to the one I had always savoured while growing up; the natural sourness of the organic buttermilk pepped up dominantly with tiny bits of ginger and green chillies!

 I had drafted the whole post past weekend and trying to publish with a click away, now, I got into this problem. Surprisingly the whole post had been replaced with my previous published post. I tried hard to retrieve but failed! Sigh! Instead of crying over the spilt milk, I am here preparing the post all over again, as I go by.....

Kachiya Moru

Kachiya Moru
Serves a small family of 4
Total time needed - less than half an hour


1. Beaten yogurt / buttermilk- 2 cups / 500ml

2. Coconut oil- 1 tbsp
    Mustard seeds- 1/4 tsp
    Fenugreek seeds / Uluva - 2 fat pinches
    Small Onions 3-4 minced fine
    Red chillies- 3 , broken into 3 pcs each
    Green chilles- 3 ,minced
    Cumin seeds / Jeerakam- 1/4 tsp
    Curry leaves -a sprig
    Turmeric powder-1/2 tsp

Kachiya Moru

Heat oil in a kadai. Splutter mustard and brown the fenugreek seeds. Stir in red chillies, onions and ginger. Sauté for a while and add the crushed cumin seeds or powder, green chillies and curry leaves. When the chillies and sautéed, add the turmeric powder and salt. Switch off the flame and stir in the beaten curd and combine. Now, switch on the flame to medium and heat the curry stirring continuously. This part is tricky. You are not supposed to let the curry boil as it may curdle the buttermilk. So just see to it, it gets heated up well and does not simmer. Shh..I myself am not a perfectionist here ;) Since you keep on stirring you may not be able to notice the point just before boiling but keep this clue, you will see the steam emanating from the curry. :).

Kachiya Moru

Goes well with steamed rice and mezhukkupuratti too :)

  • I use beaten curd. Buttermilk (diluted yogurt or curd) from my kitchen turns the curry watery. Hence I beat the curd and do not use water to dilute. The curry gets thinner as you serve.
  • The final stage of preparation should be handled with care.
  • Ashgourd is a common vegetable which can be used in this curry. I have already posted one with Ripe Kerala bananas here, which is slighly different from the above recipe, though the basics are the same. It's called Ethappazha (ripe bananas) Pulisseri (buttermilk curry).

                                        Thanks for the bowls, Jeyashri :)

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Easy Stir-fried Capsicum

Easy Capsicum Stir-fry

I had the chance to savour this heart warming side dish in my sis-in-law's house. It was one of the humbly placed accompaniment, in a casserole, supposed to be a  'not-so-prompt' one among the lunch spread. When every one was enjoying the speciality meals of the day; vegetable biriyani, sambhar sadam, paruppu thuvayal sadam, raving about the array of rich as well as comfort food all laid on the table, the taste of this simple dish dominated my taste buds. It went perfectly well with the chapathis and all the varied rice meals!  Both Akka ( sis- in law) and her daughter-in-law were busy catering to our needs but as always, the curiosity heads and prompts me to find out the recipe!
 Gayathri, her pretty and homely daughter-in-law, narrated instantly how they made it, smilingly.

The mental note grasped by my recent 'not-so-efficient-n-highly-impatient-brain-cells' again prompt me loud and clear, Cummon , I can't hold it for long babe. Try soon, it's simple!
Succumbed to the instinct, I tried the  following week...

Easy Capsicum Stir-fry

Stir-fried Capsicum 
Serves two
Preparation time: 10 mins
Stove top time: 15-20 mins
Total time needed: less than 30 minutes

You need,
1 large green bell pepper / capsicum
One medium sized large onion
1/2 tsp sambhar powder
A fat pinch of turmeric powder
Salt - 1/4 tsp or to taste

To season,
2 tsps oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds and urad dal each
A sprig of Curry leaves

Easy Capsicum Stir-fry

Wash bell pepper and peeled big onion. Halve the pepper, de-seed and cut into 1 cm cubes. Chop onions.

Easy Capsicum Stir-fry

Heat oil in a non-stick kadai. Splutter mustard seeds, brown the urad dal and throw in the curry leaves. Add the bell pepper bits and sauté along for a few minutes, say for 4-5 minutes .  You may sprinkle very little water after a while only if needed to get them cooked. But see to it it retains the crunchiness. (Mine wasn't quite fresh, so I had to.) Now, stir along the chopped onions. Add salt and turmeric and sambhar powders. [I have used my own recipe of sambhar powder which contains no turmeric. If your version has already the turmeric powder in it, avoid using it again.]
 Remember, do not close the pan at any point while making this dish. Stir to combine. Sauté for 5-6 minutes, until the pieces are shrunk, cooked ( not soft but still, a little crunchy) and the spices seeped in.
Remove from fire and serve hot with steamed rice or Indian breads.

Easy Capsicum Stir-fry

I had them with warm phulkas.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Gothumai Rava Upma ~ A simple spicy meal made with broken wheat

Gothumai Rava Upma

While I am still clearing and organising the things put away carelessly, or rather dumped, during the post wedding phase, I stole some time to check my unread e-mails. Among loving enquiries of absence, ad requests, and personal mails, a few ones from my readers caught my attention. Their common and prime request had been nothing else but to post healthy meals. Simple dishes rich in fibre, wholesome and easy to make with available ingredients. I realised  I had been doing injustice with blogging  with not a good combination of recipes though I take extreme care with my everyday cooking.

Lately, I have been making this 'broken wheat meal' or 'Godhumai upma' made by 'Gothumai rava' for my better half twice a week for dinner but haven't really thought of blogging about it, probably because the portion gets over by night and there wont be anymore left for the next day's photo shoot. So, this one you see was made in the morning, shot, blogged and reserved for his dinner :)

I have made this according to his palate preferences; soaked in butter milk instead of water as he likes the natural tanginess of the same, extra ginger bits and no addition of vegetables. He insists Rava Upma has to be made this way and the addition of vegetables makes it a 'Khichadi'.

Soaking time- 15-20 minutes
Total stove top time- 15-20 minutes

Now, to make the 'Upma' to serve one,
Get Ready with:

Broken wheat rava - 3/4 cup
Table salt- 1/2 -3/4 tsp
Oil- 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds- 1/4 tsp
Urad dal- 1/4 tsp
Bengal Gram dal- 1 tsp
Ginger, a one inch pc, chopped fine
Green chillies- 2, slit across
Big onion- 1 chopped
Thin and slightly sour butter milk - 3/4 cup or enough to soak the rava
Chopped coriander leaves- 1-2 tbsps
Curry leaves- A sprig


Godhumai Ravai Upma

Soak rava for 15-20 minutes in butter milk and salt, enough to cover and the liquid stays 1 cm above it. In the meanwhile chop the onions, ginger, chillies and coriander. After the rava has soaked well (press the grains to check whether they are fully hydrated and soft), heat a tbsp of oil in a non-stick kadai, splutter mustard seeds, brown the urad dal followed by the bengal gram dal. Throw in the ginger bits, chillies and onions in order and sauté until the onions are translucent and partly cooked. Say for 2-3 minutes in medium flame.

Godhumai Ravai Upma

Add in the soaked rava. Stir gently to combine. Close the kadai with a lid for 5 minutes keeping the flame low. Stir the upma at intervals, twice or thrice during this phase and close to lock the steam in. Open after 5 minutes. The Upma will be sticky at this point. Keep stirring at intervals, adding curry and coriander leaves in the open kadai, until the stickiness wades off and the rava is cooked with the seasonings infused well enough, for around 8-10 minutes. The Upma shouldn't be too dry as well. There should be a tint of moisture when you feel it between your fingers.
Serve hot with Coconut Chutney. I made it later in the evening and could not include here :)

Godhumai Ravai UpmaGodhumai Ravai UpmaGodhumai Ravai Upma

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

All is Well :)

Iam filled with awe, if asked to explain how the past 6 months flew, ever since my previous post!
Each moment had been eventful; full filled, hectic, emotional, exciting, worrying, stressful, anxious... Yes, my kid had grown up to a young lady of 21 in between these months and was already engaged to my friend's son who lives in the U.S. Nimmy and me are good friends living in the same area of this town. Probably we have never thought of a union of our children, but our relatives did! Those were the moments of anxiety which carved our minds. We stepped into a non-comfort zone called 'dead silence' and seldom talked over phone for a fortnight: what if the other one denies the proposal? Would we be able to face each other with the same spirit, the relationship unmarred? Chilly February nights saw the mothers sleepless in their bed rooms. What if the children weren't interested? How can a successful business based family merge comfortably with another one supported by strong educational background, again equally successful? We never uttered a word to the wide circle of common friends we had. Delicate moments. We literally walked on 'thin ice', as Nimmy recalls the situation. Finally our husbands broke the ice by arranging a casual meet of both the families by the end of the same month and ever since all happened over coffee table chats. We were too comfortable with one another.The talks were open and straight forward. We cared less about formality and more about practicality. We, the parents blissfully shopped together, dined together, made fun of one another and dared the so called 'evil eyes' :).  We worked hard, prayed and wished for our childrens' well being as any parents.
 All the ceremonies went smooth and importantly, traditionally elegant! The massive support of the extended families on both the sides had been overwhelming. If I missed to say this, the chemistry between the kids went perfect!
The simple wedding followed by a grand reception were held earlier this month. The boy is back in the U.S 2 days back and my girl is preparing to join him soon.
Thank you for all who had enquired the absence through lovingly concerned mails. The roller coaster, which has missed many aspects in the big world called blogging, non- updated with novices, is slowly getting back to its station with a soft screech!
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