June 29, 2010

Maanga Vattakuzhambu ~ Sun dried mangoes in tamarind gravy AND a prelude to a giveaway

Remember I had hosted a promotional giveaway sometime back and Shoba of Anubhavati won the waffle maker. Its time for another giveaway. This time its going to different. Watch this space for the details which will be posted soon.

Now on to the recipe. Apart from pickling  raw  mangoes, I preserve them in the form of vathals/sun dried mangoes. Fresh mangoes which are sour and raw is chopped into pieces and marinated in salt and kept for a day. During the course, water will be released from the salt and mango juice. Next day, the mango pieces are squeezed and dried in the sun. The dried mangoes are put back in the squeezed salt water and this is repeated, till no water is left in the jar. A day more of drying in the sun leaves you with salted and dried mangoes. Store them in air tight container. It stays good for a year. This mango vattal is made into a vathakuzhambu.  In this kuzhambu, red chilly is used mnimally and heat is from peppercorns.

You need

Dried Mango pieces - 1/2 cup heaped
Tamarind - goose berry size
Turmeric - a pinch

To roast

Red chilly - 1 nos
Peppercons - 1/2 tspn
Urad dal- 2 tspn
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tspn
Curry leaves - few
Ghee/Oil - 2 tspn to roast

For Seasoning

Oil - 1 tspn
Mustard seeds - 1 tspn
Methi seeds -a pinch
Hing powder - few shakes



Soak the dried mango pieces in a cup of warm water for 20 minutes to soften. You can also microwave the mango along with water for a minute.  Extract tamarind juice. Roast the ingredients in ghee/oil till dal turns brown. Add the cumin seeds towards the end since it gets roasted faster.

Grind the soaked mango pieces along with the roasted ingredients to a smooth paste. You can use the soaked water to grind. Stir in the ground mixture to the tamarind extract. Add salt, tumeric powder and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for a while till the gravy thickens. Season with mustard, hing and methi seeds.


Adjust the tamarind according to the sourness of the dried mangoes. Since the mangoes have salt in it, add salt keeping that in mind.


June 18, 2010

Chakka/Jackfruit Adai

The monsoon has arrived in my part of the world. The late arrival meant few more days availability of mango and jackfruit in the market. In case of jackfruit, once the fruit is cut open, the segments has to be used up in a day or two, in case of refrigeration. I usually buy a small piece from the market. Husband is not very fond of eating jackfruit. I like to eat but there is a limit to which how much I can finish. With the left over fruit segments, I make filling for elai adai, chakkavaratty, chakka pradhaman (Just realised I haven't posted this yet). After a round of all these, I was reminded of the chakka adai. Soaked boiled rice is ground with jackfruit pieces and jaggery. I like the adais not very sweet. The adai with slight sweetness from jaggery and flavor of jackfruit makes a filling  evening tiffin. Those who prefer some sweetness during breakfast can make it in the morning. Adai ,hot from the pan, with a blob of butter- you cannot stop with one.

The quantity of ingredients can be taken as a pointer and not necessary to be exact. Adjust the jackfruit and jaggery to suit your palate


Boiled rice/Idly rice - 1 1/2 cups

Raw rice - 1/2 cup

Ripe jackfruit bulbs - 10 nos

Grated jaggery - 1/2 cup

Salt - a pinch

Oil to prepare the adai


Wash and soak the rice for 5 hours. You can soak both the variety of rice together. Grind rice coarsely. Add chopped jackfruit, jaggery and salt. Grind all the ingredients together. Don't make it too smooth. It will affect the texture of the adai. Let the batter be slightly grainy.

Heat a tava. Smear with little oil. When it is hot, pour a ladle of the batter and spread it like dosa. Don't make it very thin. You can use oil or ghee to make these dosas. Using ghee surely enhances the taste. When one side is cooked, flip and cook till it is golden brown. Enjoy hot with some home made butter.

June 6, 2010

Bourbon Biscuits

After the chocolate cake, the next chocolate bake for my nephew and niece (S & S) was bourbon biscuits. I had bookmarked Nina's recipe as soon as it was posted. As with many other bookmarked recipes, it remained in the to-be-tried list. So when S & S was here, I thought this is the best time to give that a try. And it will surely be a hit with the kids. My niece was truly thrilled to see the look-alike of bourbon biscuits. He was falling short of words to express his feelings. For the first batch, I cut the dough into rectangles and sandwiched two bsicuits with chocolate cream. The second batch I cut with cookie cutter. In the hurry to make, I forgot to prick some holes and sprinkle sugar on top to resemble the store bought ones. For the second batch, I remembered coat with sugar. The glee on their eyes with the first bite said it all.

You need

All purpose flour - 1 cup

Sugar - 1/2 cup

Butter - 1/4 cup

Baking soda -1/4 tspn

Honey - 1 tspn

Baking powder -1 tspn

Cocoa powder - 3 tblspn

Vanilla essence - 2 tspn

Cold milk - 4 tblspn


Cream butter and suga until light and fluffy. Add essence, honey and baking soda. Seive together flour, cocoa and baking powder. Fold in the dry ingredients into butter vream mix. Bring together the dough. Roll into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Cut into bars of sixe 3 " x 1/2 ".

Bake in a preheated oven at 180 C for 15 minutes. Though the cookies are brown in color, you can make out from the color change from a dark to pale brown on cooking. The timings may change depending on the thickness of the cookies. Cool the cookies before filling with the chocolate cream.

For the filling

Butter -1/4 cup

Icing sugar -1/3 cup

Cocoa powder - 1 tspn

Vanila essence - few drops.

Beat all the ingredients together till its creamy.  Sandwich two biscuits with the cream and press lightly. It sets very fast.
Have a look at the bookmarks made by my neice, S , for me.

June 2, 2010

My experience of the TV shoot for a cookery show

Sometime in February, my cousin Rajesh called to ask if I would be ready to shoot for cookery show. At first I couldn't believe what he asked me and thought that he is just trying to pull my leg. But when later he told me the details, I understood he wasn't joking. The reference had come through Soori Etta (elder brother in Malayalam) , who is very well known to Rajesh. He has already done a shoot for the channel. The channel people were to come again for another shoot and they had asked Soori Etta if he can arrange for a shoot of Brahmin special cuisine. And when consulted with Rajesh, he had me in his mind and agreed then and there. Rajesh told me, the channel will intimate at least a week before the shoot. I didn't give much thought to it thinking there is no guarantee that they will come and since it is not a direct call from channel, I wasn't sure if it will happen. And told myself that in case it happens, I will have time to think of the dish and other things.

Cut to 28th May, 9:00 PM. Rajesh called me to ask I will be ready for the shoot the next day. The shoot will be in my home town, which is an hour travel from my home and should be there by 10:00 A.M. The call came when it was least expected and I had to tell him what I will prepare. The first thing that came to my mind was Uppittu and he, after consulting with his friend and confirmed it.

No instructions or guidelines whatsoever. I was left to decide on my own. I wasn't very sure if the crew will wait for the whole cooking process. Since I didn't have any of their contact numbers, I decided to go by my instinct. I prepared the dough and the filling and made 4 Uppitu before hand. Reached my home town by 9:30 loaded with all the ingredients, bowls etc.

Soori etta came home to check if everything was ready. He suggested that this one dish alone may not take more than 15 minutes of telecast time, so I can prepare one more dish. The time was already 11:30 a.m. The shoot was expected to begin by 1:00 PM. After some discussion, decided on Pulingari, which was special to Puthucode village. The next hour went in getting things and doing the necessary cooking for that.

The shoot was organised in our ancestral house. I was very happy that the shoot was held there where I have lived my childhood. We had a joint family system and the house was full of people and activity. And now, my father’s youngest brother stays there. I am happy that at least the house is retained as such. The channel people came at 2:00 p.m. They just let me go ahead. No instructions from their side. The anchor, Vijay, who is to engage me with his questions, during my cooking, asked some basic questions about the recipe. Both the dishes were completely new to him. The first few minutes, I was very conscious. But later on, when I started to explain the recipe, I forgot all about the shoot and was so engrossed in cooking and the conversation with the anchor. Anchor, Vijay was very spontaneous and lively. During the course of the shoot, he asked me about my blog.

He was very much surprised to know food blogs are very active. All in the entire shoot took 2 hours. The experience was new and I very much enjoyed. I expected to be more nervous. But I could pull it off much better than I expected. And once it is telecasted, it’s for the viewers to decide how well I have done it. It will take more than a month to telecast. I have never imagined myself on a cookery show. All thanks to Soori Etta and my cousin who were instrumental in getting the opportunity for me. The shoot was for the cookery show titled, ‘Swad’, a weekly show in Jai Hind channel (Malayalam) on Sunday 12:00 PM.