Friday, April 15, 2011

Palada Pradhaman

Ellavarkum ente Vishu Ashamsakal - Wishing you all a very happy New Year. 
“Vishu” is an important festival of Kerala. It marks the start of a new year. On this day, every malayali wakes up to see the ‘Vishukani (look below for mine)which is an arrangement of auspicious articles. Generally consists of an idol or photo of Lord Krishna, a decorated ‘Uruli’ (a shallow circular metal vessel) that contains raw rice, a gold ornament/ coin, yellow coloured fruits and vegetables, a mirror, a sacred book, betel leaves, yellow flowers 'konna' (cassia fistula), etc. Each member in the family is taken blindfolded and then they are made to see the Vishu Kani (that’s the first sight of the day). Then the children set out to burst crackers. After bath they wait for a very exciting custom, ‘Vishukkaineetam’ where the elders in the family distribute money to the younger ones (I still wait for it!). Then it’s time for the next best agenda of the day, ‘food’. Saddhya (feast) is a major part of all Kerala festivals and celebrations. My saddhya is going to be at mom’s place and it’s incomplete without a dessert, so here’s my contribution. “Palada Pradhaman” is the queen of payasams. Here’s an easy recipe of Palada Pradhaman 

Preparation time: 15minutes
Cooking time: 1 - 1.5 hours
Serves: 10-15

You need: 

200gms ready made rice ada(cooked rice flakes - I used double horse)
3 litres milk ( prefarably full fat milk)
1 cup water
750gms sugar
5-6 cardamoms (powdered)
2 tbsp ghee
15-20 cashew nuts (broken into two)
10 - 12 raisins

Wash ada in cold water
Soak in half litre of boiled water. Keep it covered for 10minutes and drain completely 

In a pan, heat 1 tbsp of ghee. Fry the cashew nuts and raisins and keep aside 

In a pressure cooker, add milk,water, sugar and ada. Cook on medium heat until the cooker releases one whistle. Turn off the heat 

Wait till it’s safe to open the cooker (instead of making it in a cooker, you can heat milk, sugar and ada in a thick bottom kadhai and stir continuously until it reaches a thick consistency, but a pressure cooker helps you save time) 

Open the cooker and you’ll notice that the pradhaman has changed to a light pink colour
The payasam shouls now be of a slightly thick consistency. (If not, stir gently on a medium flame for another 10mintes) 

Add powdered cardamom and fried cashwenuts n raisins…

Serve hot or chilled! Enjoy your feast!

Benefits of making pradhaman in a pressure cooker:

  • It’s faster 
  • It’s less stressful as you don’t need to keep stirring for hours together 
  • It helps in quick caramalisation of the sugar (so you get that pink colour faster) 
  • It tastes exactly like the traditional palada pradhaman 
  • It is the easiest way to make this yummy dessert!

Try it and post your comments...
Yours Tastefully!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tomato Thokku/ Tomato Pickle

A few weeks ago, my friend (Virgie) suggested that I should post a recipe with tomatoes since they are dead cheap and are available in plenty these days. So I picked up 2kgs of pretty and juicy red tomatoes. I had to come up with some solution to put them to use before they all go stale. “Tomato Thokku” was the best option I could think of. This tomato pickle can be refrigerated and used for months together. It’s typically a recipe from Andhra Pradesh (with my twist) 

Preparation time: 10minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
Serves: many

You need: 

2 kg tomatoes (super ripe)
6 tbsp chilli powder
1 tbsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp methi seeds (fenugreek seeds)
1/4 tsp hing (asafoetida)
1 tbsp black salt (kala namak)
salt to taste

For tempering:
¾ cup gingelly oil (sesame oil)
2tbsp mustard seeds
5-6 sliced garlic pods (optional)


Wash and chop tomatoes into big pieces (ideally blanch them and remove the skin, but I was lazy) 
Heat a non-stick pan. Tip in the chopped tomatoes, cover and let it cook (occasionally, give it a stir and keep mashing them)
Meanwhile, heat a kadhai and toast the mustard seeds (on low flame) Once they crackle, transfer on to a plate. In the same pan, roast the methi seeds and add it with the mustard seeds. Cool and powder the seeds (our pickle masala is ready)

(Almost forgot about the tomatoes?) The tomatoes will be soft and mushy by now. Keep stirring so that they do not stick to the pan. (Allow the tomatoes to cook in the water that it releases. DO NOT add extra water, at any point of time!) 

All the moisture from the tomatoes should completely evaporate (at this stage, some people like adding a tbsp of tamarind pulp) add salt, chilli and turmeric powder. Mix well and let it cook. Keep stirring. Now it should look almost dry (will take approximately 2 hours) 

Heat gingelly oil in a pan. When hot, add 2 tbsp mustard seeds. After it crackles add garlic (if using, you can add a few curry leaves too!) and asafoetida (hmmm…smelling good!!) 

Pour the hot oil mixture into the tomato mix and give it a good stir. 

Add 2tbsp of pickle powder (the one you ground) and stir
Fry for 10 more minutes / till the oil surfaces on the top 
Turn off the heat and allow the tomato thokku to cool completely before you transfer it into a container (check the salt and adjust accordingly)

 Tastes excellent with chapattis, curd rice or dosas too!

Whenever you feel lazy, just remember to pull out the magic bottle from your refrigerator and enjoy!

Yours tastefully!

I am sending this recipe to Cooking With Seeds Event(CWS) by Priya Ramesh and

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sabudana Khichdi

I tasted “Sabudana Khichdi’ for the first time at my aunt’s place almost a decade back. And this was the first time I was introduced to this divine dish! I instantly learnt how to make it. It was easier ‘cos I watched her through the entire process (didn’t take long) It’s a Maharashtrian breakfast which is very tasty and extremely filling. In fact, Maharashtrians have sabudana khichdi, milk and fruits on their days of fasting. (What an awesome way to fast! It’s got most of my favourite ingredients like potatoes, peanuts, and coconut) It’s a very tricky dish ‘cos if it comes out well, it tastes heavenly or it can get soggy and sticky (first timers be a little careful!) 

Preparation time: 20 minutes plus time to soak sabudana
Cooking time: 15minutes
Serves: 3-4

You need: 
2 cups sabudana
½ tsp sugar
salt to taste
3 potatoes (peeled and cubed)
½ cup peanuts
few coriander leaves
1 tbsp grated coconut
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
2 green chillies (chopped fine)
juice of half a lemon
2tsp ghee

Wash sabudana thoroughly (till all the fine powders are removed) Leave very little water in the bowl so that the sabudana can soak it up and become soft (do not leave excess water or the sabudana pearls will stick to each other) Leave it overnight (or for 8 hours) 

First thing in the morning, r
un to check your sabudana (am sure it’s looking perfect!) just give it a toss, add a little salt and sugar

Take a pan and roast half a cup of peanuts (the more the yummier!) When they turn dark brown, take it out from the fire and spread them on to a plate. Once cool, peel them (keep some aside for garnishing) coarsely grind the rest (just one rotation in the mixer’s fine or you’ll powder them) 

Simultaneously, put the potatoes in the microwave (of course in a microwave safe bowl) on high, for just 5 minutes 
Chop coriander; toss it along with the peanuts and grated coconut into the sabudana 

Take the same pan (in which you roasted peanuts) heat 2tbsp oil (keep the flame low) wait for the oil to heat up, then add the cumin (Warning:turn on your chimney, you’ll know why!) once the jeera starts changing colour throw in the green chilles and give it a stir. Now drain and add the partly cooked potatoes

Sprinkle a little salt on top of the potatoes 

Let it fry for a couple of minutes. Add this into the sabudana and give it a mix
Squeeze the juice of half a lemon and mix again 

Transfer into a microwave safe bowl and let it cook for 4 minutes. Pull it out and give it another mix (so it’s evenly cooked) and put it back into the microwave for another 4 minutes. (the sago would have turned translucent from white, which is when you know it's done) 
Let it remain in the microwave for 2minutes 

Take it out, pour the ghee on top and decorate it with a couple of lemon wedges, roasted peanuts and a few coriander leaves 

Serve steaming hot sabudana khichdi for a delicious day!!!


  • ALWAYS, savour steaming sabudana khichdi ‘cos cold sabudana tastes horrible (don’t even try it!) 
  • NEVER cover the bowl during the cooking process since you might end up with a rubbery khichdi 
  • DO NOT add or sprinkle water in this dish at any time 
  • GO ON and blindly follow this recipe to make sumptuous sabudana khichdi 
Yours tastefully!!

Sending this to Srivalli's Breakfast Mela.

Friday, April 8, 2011


Since I started this week with a sweet from Karnataka (Kesari bhath), I thought I’ll end it with another favourite dish of Karnataka. This dish has been a childhood favourite of mine. Bisibelebath is also called “Bisi bele huli anna” (In Kannada, bisi=hot, bele=dal, huli=tamarind,anna=rice) can be termed the "king" of Kannadiga cuisine. Having lived in Bangalore (Karnataka) all my life, it would be unfair if I don’t share this recipe. I enjoy this heavy but nutritious dish and yet feel healthy as it has everything…rice, dal and veggies… (ideal for kids!) This is a perfect one-pot meal for a weekend lunch or brunch . The recipe list seems long but it’s worth the trouble

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30minutes
Serves: 5-6

You need:
¾ cup rice (I used sona masoori)
½ cup toor dal (pigeon pea)
1 cup vegetables – carrot,beans,potato(cut into medium size)
1 cup peanuts (raw)
¼ tsp turmeric powder
lemon size tamarind

For the Bisibelebath masala powder:
2tsp dhania (coriander seeds)
3 tsp urad dal (black gram)
3 tsp channa dal (bengal gram)
¼ tsp methi seeds (fenugreek seeds)
5 red chillies
a fairly large pinch of hing (asafoetida)
¼ cup grated copra (desiccated coconut)
salt to taste
2tsp cooking oil

To Garnish:
Ghee (as required)

Soak tamarind in a cup of warm water and extract the juice. 

Pressure cook rice with dal, veggies and peanuts with double the water (for two whistles)
Meanwhile let’s make the masala for the bisi bele bath (either you can double the quantity, make and store this masala or make it fresh each time) 

Heat 2 tsp of oil in a pan and roast (on low fire) coriander seeds, urad dal, channa dal, methi seeds, red chilies and asafoetida (roast till the dals turn brown)
Add the grated copra and remove from the fire.
Once cool, grind it in a mixer
In the same pan (in which you roasted the dals), pour the tamarind extract with a little salt and turmeric powder. Let it boil
Add the ground masala powder and 1/2 cup of water to the boiling mixture. Stir well and cook for 2-3 minutes 
Open the cooker, pour this mixture in and mix them thoroughly ( the rice and dals should be mashed, so don't be careful while stirring!)
Bisibelebath is ready!! (this dish thickens as you keep it. It needs to be steaming hot and slightly watery, that's the best way to eat it!)
Pull out your plates and you'll see this dish vanish in no time!
Garnish with ghee
Serve hot with potato wafers or mixture

Yours tastefully!!

Sending this recipe to Kiran's "Cooking with Whole foods" hosted by "Veggie Platter"

Monday, April 4, 2011

Kesari bhath / Rava Kesari

Happy Ugadi!!  Ugadi, also know as Yugadi is celebrated as the new year in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. While it is called Ugadi in A.P. and Karnataka, in Maharashtra it is known as Gudi padwa. Ugadi marks the beginning of a new Hindu lunar calendar with a change in the moon's orbit. Bevu Bella, or Ugadi Neem leaf Pachadi, is an indispensable offering on Ugadi. This unique Bevu or Neem leaf preparation symbolically represents the different facets of life – sweet and bitter experiences of life. Bevu Bella is just a simple mixture of fresh neem leaves and unprocessed broken jaggery. It is eaten on an empty stomach on Ugadi.

Some of the sweets made to celebrate Ugadi are Holige / Bobbatlu / Puran Poli (sweet stuffed rotis), Khus- Khus Payasam, Mango Shrikhand, etc. I just decided to make another delicacy of Karnataka, “Kesari Bhath”. It is a recipe that's great for beginners. Be it a dessert or an evening snack, this one is simply perfect and easy!! Let’s get started…

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Serves: 5-6

You need:
1 cup chiroti rava (sooji/semolina)
1 cup sugar
2cups water
3tbsp ghee
1 pinch of yellow colour
5-6 strands of kesar or saffron
15-20 cashew nuts
8-10 raisins
3-4 cardamoms

Remove the skin and powder the cardamoms (if you have the practice of boiling your drinking water, add the cardamom skin to it/ add it while making tea, gives a good flavour)
Fry cashew nuts and raisins in ghee till light brown and keep aside
In the same pan, add little more ghee and fry rava until there is a slight change in the color (it’ll also smell different)
 Boil 2 cups of water in a vessel. When it begins to boil, add kesar, yellow colour and sugar
Add the rava little by little to avoid lumps (be a little slow and careful here)
Sprinkle cardamom powder (hmmm! Love the smell?)
Simmer and cover with lid so that rava cooks well. 
Top it with the remaining ghee (sinful…but you don’t make it everyday!)
Garnish with raisins and cashew nuts.

This dish can be served hot/ at room temperature or chilled…

Sending this recipe to “food for little champs" hosted by Indu get cooking (Indu Mathew)
Yours tastefully wishes all of you a very Happy Ugadi!!
Yours Tastefully!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Beef Varattiyathu/ Spicy Kerala Beef Roast

My immediate connection to “Beef Roast” are those blissful school days when my uncle used to surprise us (on his way back home) with beef roast on some damp evenings…needless to say, it used to smirk me up. And I remember, messy plantain leaves were used for packing…the sight then (some would say) was awful with oil dripping from the leaves…not to me, I used to be wide-eyed and drooling at the mere sight of the packet. My hubby is an equal beef lover as I am (so many similarities…can’t help but smile) and he encouraged me to make beef at home. We do our best not to buy red meat regularly, but an occasional feast on this……
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30-40minutes
Serves: 3-4

You need:

500 gms beef (cubed)

To marinate:
1 tbsp chilly powder
½ tsp pepper powder
1tsp coriander powder
1tsp fennel powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp garam masala
salt to taste

For the masala:
1 cup shallots (pearl onions)
2 sprigs of curry leaves
¼ cup coconut cuts (cut into tiny squares)
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp fennel powder
½ tsp coriander powder
1tbsp pepper powder (adjust accordingly)
½ tsp garam masala
salt to taste
water as required
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp coconut oil


Wash the beef cubes thoroughly

Mix it with the first set of ingredients and allow it to marinate for an hour (If you are running short of time, you can cook beef directly without marinating)

Pressure cook the beef with all the masala for 5-6 whistles (water is not required while pressure cooking beef, but I don’t want it to burn so I add 1/4 cup water)

Heat cooking oil in a non-stick kadhai. Add the julienned shallots and curry leaves. Fry till golden brown. Add the coconut bits and fry for another minute (I’ve not added coconut bits today but it’s usually added to beef roast)

Add all the masala powders and fry for 2-3 minutes

Add the cooked beef along with the stock and simmer until it is partly dry (relax and enjoy the aroma...hmmm:) )

Turn off the flame and sprinkle a tbsp of coconut oil

Your Beef Varattiyathu is ready to be served… it tastes best the next day, so keep some aside.

It’s a yummy accompaniment with kerala parotas or chapattis. It can be served as an appetizer too!!

Yours tastefully!!