Now we keep excess food in refrigerator and heat in microwave for use again. Olden days, both the storage and readiness were at the same place, the viraku (firewood) adupp. The Kerala fish curry with kodampuli (cambogia) is a case in point. Taste and maturity are enhanced on the second, third day etc
ചക്കക്കുരു (jackfruit seeds) Undas and Bars.
It was a recipe from a friend for chocolate dipped lollipops of jackfruit seeds with a tongue in cheek commentary that prompted this.
I have made chakka (jackfruit), pulinkuru (tamarind seeds) and ari (rice) undas (balls) as part of my experiments with traditional food before.
Here the jackfruit seeds are roasted well in earthen vessel (ചട്ടി) and powdered after removing the skin. The powder is then mixed with honey, sliced dry dates and cranberries.
And I made a variation to my usual style. That’s to try and get the output binding into a ball or bar (I am still searching for a natural healthy ingredient to do that)
So I made some sugar syrup nearing caramelised stage added with a spoon of ghee and poured into the mixture.
Half the quantity were spread on a greased baking tray and the other half made into balls. The mixture in tray was then baked and cut into bars.
Chakkakkuru undas and bars are ready.
My First, it’s the Poocha. But without Eenth Powder
This is a traditional and special Kerala dish, including the name of it. Poocha is Malayalam for cat. Eenth is a practically extinct and unique tree which I have covered here a few days back.
Here the Eenth seed powder is replaced with roasted rice powder. The flavour deficiency is compensated with chakka varatty. The key change is the healthy and conscious avoidance of refined carbohydrate jaggery.
1 and half cups of grated coconut is mixed with one tsp of crushed cumin seeds and 1/2 tsp of cardamom seed flour and a pinch of salt. Crush this in a mixer.
I added a tbsp of pure cow ghee to the mix. And there goes the chakka varatty instead of the usual jaggery. Add the roasted rice powder slowly into the mix while mixing with hand to make into a consistency like a chappathy dough.
Now bring in the flavourful edana leaf, make it into a cone shape and secure with tooth pick. Fill the cones with the dough and steam them for about 40 minutes.
The tasty, exotic and traditional poocha is ready with some compulsive modifications.
Unda Payasam. A Traditional Kerala Sweet Dish.
Childhood memories are probably the fondest and naturally there’s a concern when some of the reasons for such memories disappear over time.
One such thing facing extinction is the ‘unda payasam’ a typical Kerala dish. It’s a true Kerala dessert as a key component is the ‘ethakka’ the Kerala banana.
I used to like Unda Payasam, equal to or more than the ‘Ada Pradhaman’ the numero uno of all payasams.
That’s why I thought of making it when I got some ethakka. Of course, I am drawing from memory and taste as to how it would have been made.
Ingredients: 1. Kerala banana ( ethakka) 2 medium size, 2. Rice powder 1 cup, 3. grated coconut 1/2 cup, 4. Coconut Milk (thick) 1 cup, 5. Jaggery 1/2 cup, 6. Ghee 1 tablespoon, 7. Cardamom seed powder 1/2 teaspoon, 8. Salt.
Mix rice powder with grated coconut and some salt and add hot water to make into a smooth paste.
Take 3/4th of the dough and make into small balls. Make small balls as it will slightly expand on cooking. Place them in a steamer and steam for about 15 minutes.
Cut the Kerala banana into small pieces. Heat the ghee in a pan and roast the banana in it. Roasting for a few minutes is sufficient.
Take the rest of the dough in a hard bottom vessel. Pour about 4 cups of water and place on the burner. Add grated or powdered jaggery according to the sweetness required. Allow the mixture to come to boil.
Add cardamom powder and mix well. Add the steamed undas and roasted ethakka and allow the jaggery to get absorbed in them too.
When the payasam assumes a slightly thick constituency, add the coconut milk. Reduce the flame and allow to simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.
Unda Payasam is ready. The sweet and slightly sour ethakka is giving the payasam a unique and delicious taste. Also the rice undas make it a rare pleasant feeling.
Mighty pleased at recreating the fond memory and in reviving this traditional dish. Simply yummy and absolutely satisfying.
Healthy, Traditional and Exotic!
I am always amazed at my wife’s ability to cook many exciting dishes simultaneously when she’s in the kitchen.
I am not a cook, but I have the passion for it. My focus is to make exotic, traditional and healthy items. And I used to do that by making one item once in a while.
Yesterday I decided to make a change. To do a multitasking, like my wife. And here’s the result.
1. Hulled barley boiled, 2. Chakkakuru mezhukkupuratty and 3. A copy of manga thera.
With health in focus and since the usual grains like wheat and rice are unhealthy, I followed expert advice and made barley rice. It’s almost like boiled brown rice with a welcome nutty taste.
Chakkakuru mezhukkupuratty is as traditional as karimeen fry to a Keralaite. This dish of jackfruit seeds is so very good.
And manga thera (Mango Bars) is the most exotic and time consuming item. Here’s a quick fix, just to prove that next summer, I could be making the weeks long process of real manga thera.
On the whole a very satisfying day of multitasking in cooking.
Cooking Prawns. A Successful Journey Into The Unknown.
I did it, and it’s the most yummy!
We got some fresh prawns straight out of the net of fisherman. Circumstances made me the only cook available to see that the freshness is not lost in the freezer.
Googled a traditional recipe and found something which could be my favourite, ‘prawns with thengakoth (coconut slices).
Marinated the cleaned and about half kilo prawns with salt and kudampuli (cambogia) washed again and drained.
Put in a hard bottom Cooking vessel and added the following ingredients- one sliced onion, 6 shallots, half coconut flesh sliced, 6 garlic pods, one inch ginger finely cut, one tablespoon chilli powder, 3/4 tablespoon coriander powder, 1/4 tablespoon turmeric, one pinch of fenugreek powder.
All mixed well and cooked with water enough to be just below the prawns.
In a separate pan diced some curry leaves and a teaspoon of mustard in coconut oil. Added to the almost cooked prawns with more coconut oil and salt to taste. Covered and cooked till dry.
And it turned out Yum yummy yummiest. Believe me.
(Published in my broadcast group titled ‘Cooking Exotica & Fitness’ where I have my experiments with traditional food and delicacies. Prawns is bold and happily successful).
A Pineapple Revolution In The Offing. Wine and Jam!
As posted in the broadcast group ‘Cooking Exotica & Fitness:
There’s a pineapple revolution taking place in Kerala. Rubber plantations are on the decline and pineapple cultivation is happening in earnest. Kerala government has decided to grant licence for wine production and I can see pineapple wine in a big way. Perhaps it may rival grapes and we even may have wines of the best pineapple region Vazhakkulam, branded as “VAZHAKULOGNE”. Here I made pineapple jam from memory with a big ripe pineapple. A little bit of Chef’s innovation has been there. I crushed half the skinned pineapple in Nutribullet and cut the other half into small slices. Added water, sugar (preservative) and placed on the stove for boiling. When it was half done added Kerala spices of cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. One table spoon of gelatine and lime squeezed are also added. Continued on small fire for the right constituency and taste. Delicious 😋