Thursday, July 24, 2014

Chena Mezhukkupuratti Recipe

Yam Fry/Chena Mezhukkupuratti

Chena Mezhukkupuratti  is a traditional Kerala side dish. Chena or Elephant Foot Yam is lightly roasted in coconut oil and Kashmiri red chilli powder, a very simple and easy vegan dish.

Mezhukkupuratti in Malayalam means slow roasting vegetables in oil, most vegetables can be cooked/roasted in this way.

Chena or Elephant Food Yam is available all through out the year here and is added to sambar, avial, and curries like errusseri etc. During the monsoons, I like chena mezhukkupuratti with rice and though it is a very common side dish; thought I will share it for the novice cook.

The yam, which I got was very tender and it cooked fast; though sometimes they might take some time to cook and even absorb more water.  I like to cube them, but feel free to slice according to your choice.

Since, I used Kashmiri chilli powder, it has that vibrant red color and less spice; if you are using ordinary red chilli powder, reduce by half. The taste and flavor comes from using coconut oil; though you can use other oil.

You can also use Red chilli flakes instead of powder; but the color wont be so vibrant.

Author: Nisa Homey
Serves: 3-4
Cooking Time: 20

Chena/Yam: 1/2 kg.
Cheriya Ulli/Shallots: 4-5, sliced.
Kashmiri red chilli powder: 1 tsp.
Organic turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp.
Water: To cook, about 1/2 cup or as needed.
Coconut Oil: 1 to 2 tbsp.
Salt to taste.

I used half kg chena/yam.

Clean and cube them, wash them thoroughly 3 to 4 times. Add them in to a deep pan or bowl, add in the Kashmiri chilli powder, turmeric, salt and water. Cover and cook until done or water is evaporated.

Once it is cooked and done, heat another kadai with coconut oil, add in the sliced shallots and once it starts to brown, add in the cooked chena/yam, mix well and slow roast it for 10-15 min on low flame. Make sure you mix it on and off as it might stick to the kadai, but this is not a problem if you are using nonstick pan.
Serve with rice.

Tip: Can add in fresh curry leaves for added flavor.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Baby Corn Masala Curry, Restaurant Style

Restaurant Style Baby Corn Masala Curry.

Baby Corn Masala is a restaurant style creamy and lightly spiced curry. A very easy curry which you can make in about 20 minutes.

My sister in law, Dainey lives in Vizag; Andhra Pradesh and when my mother in law visited them sometime back, she tasted this curry at a friends place and at my request got me a vague idea of the curry. After making it three or four times, I perfected the recipe and thought I must share with you as I fell in love with this rich and creamy curry.

This curry is so easy to make that you will never order a baby corn masala from a restaurant. Here, baby corn is the star, to get that authentic taste it was advised not to add matar or paneer to the curry, though I am thinking of adding paneer when I make next time.

This is a subtle curry and not much masala is added and not at all spicy and so very easy to make....bachelors are you listening??

Onion and tomatoes are sauted and chilly and turmeric powder is added and lastly baby corn is simmered in cream and milk......resulting in a very rich and creamy gravy.

Hope this picture does justice to this luscious gravy.

Restaurant Style Baby Corn Masala Curry.

So, lets bring home restaurant style baby corn masala.

Author: Nisa Homey
Cooking Time: 20 min
Serves: 4
Baby Corn: 1/2 kg, (I got about 250 gm, after peeling the outer cover).
Onion: 2, chopped.
Tomatoes: 2, chopped.
Ginger-garlic paste: 1 tsp.
Turmeric: 1/2 tsp.
Kashmiri Chilly Powder: 1 tsp.
Amul Cream (25% fat): 1/2 packet (100 ml)
Whole Milk: 1/2 to 3/4 cup.
Oil: 2-3 tbsp.
Salt: 1/2 tsp or accordingly.
Coriander leaves: To garnish.

I used 1/2 kg baby corn which when peeled and cleaned weighed 250 gms, two onions, and two tomatoes.

Heat a pan or kadai with 2 tbsp oil (you can add 1 more tbsp; if you prefer) I try to keep the oil as minimum as possible.

Dunk in the chopped onions and put the flame on high for a minute so that the onions get nicely coated with oil.

Add in salt and stir well, simmer the fire and occasionally give the onions a stir, let it simmer for 3 minutes.

Add in 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste and you can see that the onions have started to brown. Once ginger garlic paste is added keep stirring on and off as it might stick to the pan.

Once the onions browned lightly, add in the chopped tomatoes, remember the fire is on low.

Stir well for a minute. Add in the turmeric powder.

And the Kashmiri Red Chilli powder (if using ordinary chilli powder, reduce by half). Psst! can you see the oil coming out.

Mix well, and allow it to simmer for a minute....or until the oil starts to come out and tomatoes are cooked and incorporated. (If you do not worry about adding oil as much as I do, you can add a total of 3 tbsp oil, since I started with 2 tbsp, I kept the fire on low and kept stirring on and off)

Add in the milk and the cream (I mixed them together).

Mix well and add in the baby corns, I used very tender ones and sliced like this; though you can slice it thinly as it will help in cooking faster. You can also add the baby corns once it is steamed or cooked, but I prefer this way as these baby corns were very tender.
Cover and cook the baby corns until done.

Once done sprinkle coriander leaves. You can see that the gravy is creamy and thick. If you want to thin a bit you can add in a dash of milk or cream.
I served with bhatura, though roti or tandoori roti is also perfect to go with this curry and my kids totally enjoyed it.

1. The first time, I made this curry I wondered whether cooking the baby corns in the cream and milk will make it curdle. It did not curdle to my surprise, but it became thick after 4 to 5 minutes of simmer. I did add in a bit of milk to thin out. Once it cools down also it can become a bit thick.....use cream or milk to thin.
2. Since I used less oil, I made the whole curry in low-medium heat.
3. A word about baby corn; you can either steam or cook it before adding to the gravy. Since I used very tender one; I was sure it will cook fast though simmering it in the gravy until it is cooked did make the gravy thicker and I had to thin out with milk and a dash of cream. And I would definitely steam it before adding if the corns were not so tender and fresh.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Ceylon Spinach Pulao/Pilaf, Sambar Cheera Pulav

Ceylon Spinach Pulao is an easy and healthy pulao packed with all the goodness of Spinach. A power packed lunch for kids and adults alike.

Let me introduce you to Celon Spinach aka Philippine Spinach (Talinum fruticosum) aka Kerala's own Sambar Cheera. These leafy vegetable grows in most backyards of Kerala, rich in Vitamin A and C, calcium, iron, and dietary fiber (wow!)

A friend of mine has this nutritious and power packed organic spinach in her backyard and gave some to me just before the monsoons started here in Kerala. Whenever I get them, I put them in a Ziploc bag and use them in curries, sambar, omelettes etc. 

Nidhi, my daughter loves pulao so much and while making vegetable pulao, I thought why not add this to the pulao the way I made spinach pulav.....the recipe is same as my easy vegetable pulao. And I was right, my kids loved it so much; and I was glad that I could give them this nutritious and power packed meal, if you have this in your backyard; you really should give it a try.

These organic spinach can be used raw in salads. Can also be added in fried rice and stir-fried greens.

Author: Nisa Homey

Recipe Source: Nisa Homey.
Basmati Rice: 1.5 cups, wash and put on a strainer.
Ceylon Spinach: A handful, chopped.
Vegetables: : 1 carrot, chopped, 1/2 cup chopped cauliflower, half capsicum chopped.
Onion: 1 large, chopped/sliced.
Kashmiri Chilly Powder: 1/2 tsp.
Coriander Powder: 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp.
Garam Masala: 1/2 tsp.
Tomato: 1 large, chopped.
Cinnamon: 1 stick.
Cloves: 3.
Cardamon: 4.
Mace: A small piece.
Oil: 2-3 tbsp
Salt: 1 1/2 tsp or as needed.
Lemon: Juice of half lemon.
Water: 3 cups, minus 1 tbsp.

To Grind Coarsely:

Green Chilly: 2.
Garlic: 1 pod.
Ginger: 1 inch.
Coriander leaves: 2 sprigs.

For detailed step by step tutorial, please go to my easy vegetable pulav recipe.
Clean and wash the rice and keep it in a strainer.
Chop the vegetables and Ceylon spinach and keep aside.
Grind coarsely listed under to grind and keep aside.
Heat a pressure cooker with oil, add in the spices and once they crack add in the sliced/chopped onions and saute for a minute or two. Then add in the coarsely grinded green chilli mix and mix for a minute.
Add in the Kashmiri chilli powder, turmeric, garam masala, and coriander powder...mix for a minute so that the raw flavor diminishes.
Add in the tomatoes and a little water as it is easy for the tomatoes to blend quickly. Saute on low flame till the tomatoes have nicely blended and oil starts to come out.

Add in the chopped vegetables and saute for a minute or two.

Add in the chopped Ceylon spinach and mix well, so that it is incorporated with the vegetables.

Add in 3 cups minus 1 tbsp water, lime juice salt, and salt. Once the water boils add in the strained rice and cover the cooker. Do not put the weight on the hob. Once steam starts to come, simmer for 7 minutes. Switch of the fire after 7 minutes and open only after 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff the pulao with a fork and serve.

Tip: Note that the weight is not put on the cooker, once steam comes, simmer for 7 min and switch off the fire. Open after 15 to 20 min.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Chats

Happy Sunday To all.

Masala dosa has become a part of my Sunday breakfast; I frankly do not remember how and when it started, but Sunday morning Masala Dosa is the King....though sometimes I prefer Indian Coffee House Masala Dosa.

Lets leave food out for the rest of my chat (hopefully).

"What do you do?" is the question I face everyday when I am out of my home. The first (or last) question a person who meets me asks; it could be by another parent whom I met at my kids school, or the person I started talking at the hospital reception, or the milkman, or the postman, or a neighbor..... I mean the list is short people I come across ask me this question in the first 5 to 7 minutes of meeting!

Have you experienced this at least once?? If you are a stay-at-home-mom, then it might irk you to the core like it does to me. But if you are a working woman; then hey! you will smile and tell them exactly your job, position and how you manage home and office.

I am a stay-at-home-mom by choice and when I am asked this question, sometimes I get irritated (remember I am human, ha!) and retort back, ya! of course I work 24/7. And most of them would raise an eyebrow at me questionably! and some would try to carry on the conversation saying, Oh! you are a doctor?? and then it would be my chance to roll my eyes into a No!

Fourteen years ago, I made a choice and I loved every bit of that journey, each one has different priorities in life and mine was spending time with my children and as they grew older I started having some extra "me" time. I did some online work for sometime (from home, of course) back in 2007 to 2011 and in between blogging became a part of me and I started enjoying it more than anything and eventually started taking it seriously. But when someone asks me the question "What do you do?" I do not know how to tell them about blogging. And if at all I mention blogging, then it is understood as 'Okay! so, you take cookery classes online" and again the next question is "how much do you earn". Of course, I smile a lot these days, when you have crossed the big 40 mark, you should smile and act mature :)

Since, I started taking my blog seriously, I started working more on it, creating recipes in my tiny kitchen, take pictures and show you exactly how to make them perfectly. My kids have grown up and they do not need me much and I have plenty of spare time these days and I am happy about it and I am glad that God gave me this platform to show my passion.....without HIS guidance and blessing along with your love and inspirations, this would not have been possible....I am ever thankful to each and everyone who stops by.

This space is the place I spent most of my day-time and I enjoy every bit of the time I spent here, the comments you put some times make me smile, sometimes frown, sometimes so very happy....but I love every bit of it. Because of blogging my mind is always busy thinking of possible new recipes or short, blogging does keep me busy and happy.

Thank you!

Have a fantastic week ahead and stay safe.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Onion Tomato Uthappam Recipe

Onion Tomato Uthappam is a popular easy and healthy South Indian Breakfast; most popular in vegetarian restaurants across South India.

I like to make onion uthappam with left over idli batter; especially on Lazy Sundays. Uthappams are slightly thicker and topped with vegetables of your choice, like onion uthappam where only sliced onion and green chilies are topped, vegetable uthappams with an assorted mixed vegetables are chopped and topped.  Sometimes, I like to mix the vegetables in the batter and make dosa; though Homey and kids prefer this restaurant style uthappam.

During my teens, I had spent many holidays at my moms sisters place at Ernakulam and used to visit Bimbis restaurant many times with cousins and my brothers. The one thing I loved so much was the uthappam at Bimbis; their uthappam was so filling and as a teen I used to devour on them. It was topped with cabbage, grated carrots along with sprouts, onions, and tomatoes....I do not know whether it is still available at Bimbis...but you can give it a try if you live around there.

Uthappams are very filling and healthy and perfect way to finish any leftover idili batter and easy for bachelors and working ladies.

Author: Nisa Homey.
Cooking time: 10 min
Preparation Time: 10 min.
Serves: 1

Idli Batter: 1 1/2 cups.
Onion: 1 large, chopped.
Tomato: 1, chopped.
Green chili: 1, chopped finely.
Curry leaves: 1 sprig, chopped.
Oil: 1 to 2 tsp.
Salt: Two Fat Pinches.

Get the vegetables ready.

Chop them up and mix them.

Grease an iron tawa/griddle or nonstick pan and pour about 1 to 1/2 ladle full of idli batter and lightly spread it should be slightly thick more like a pancake. Spread the mixed vegetables on top, drizzle a dash of oil, and lastly sprinkle a pinch of salt. I like to the press the vegetables lightly into the raw thick batter with a it stays in sticked to the batter. Let it stay there for a minute or two on medium flame or until the under side is lightly browned.

And turn it over, let it stay for a minute. And then transfer to a plate....vegetable side up.

Serve with chutney, sambar or pickles.


Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Kappa Puttu, Kerala Kappa Puttu Recipe

Kappa Puttu is Kerala's own traditional Puttu. Puttu is a traditional Kerala breakfast and is healthy as rice flour is steamed to cook. Kappa puttu is an easy and quick puttu recipe. Kappa or Tapioca is made into soft puttu and can be had as a breakfast. These traditional dishes are healthy and filling and should be included into our diets as it is steamed, gluten free and vegan.

I have noticed some recipes on the internet where raw kappa or tapioca is grated and the water is squeezed out and mixed with rice flour to make kappa puttu. I personally do not have the patience to grate raw kappa (tapioca), you know how hard that job could be....grating raw hard stubborn kappa!! No way!

Traditionally, to make kappa puttu; kappa is sliced and then added to boiling water and then strained and sun dried....these sun dried kappa is then powdered and stored to make kappa puttu....well, this method is also hard job for I always rule out these two methods mainly because grinding the sun dried kappa is not that easy....and slicing them, sun drying them etc etc....not my kind of cooking....if you are a regular here, you kind of cooking is EASY!

So, you might wonder how I make soft and delicious kappa puttu?? okay, I am about to spill out my secret and yes, you will not find this published anywhere on the internet or any cookery books....its my own creation :) and all it takes to make the kappa puttu flour is less than 5 minutes! 

Your do love kappa puzhungiyathu or boiled kappa, dont you? (I love it!!) and I am sure you might have some left over kappa puzhungiyathu in the fridge. Just takeout that cold refrigerated leftover kappa and follow my can have soft kappa puttu with meen curry...yum!

Working ladies (this is for you, Mitha) you will be so glad that I created this recipe; if you have some left over kappa in the fridge make this for dinner or as after school snack for kids with meen easy!

Healthy and filling for growing kids....and get traditional the easy way.

No more grating raw kappa!

Author: Nisa Homey
Recipe Source: Nisa Homey/
Serves: 2 to 3.
Preparation Time: 5 min.
Cooking Time: 10 min.

Boiled Kappa/Tapioca: 1 cup, chopped into smaller pieces.
Raw Rice Flour: 1/2 cup, homemade or store-bought (you can get this in grocery shops)
Salt: 1/2 tsp.
Grated Coconut: 1/2 cup.

Take out left over cold and refrigerated boiled kappa/tapioca slice thinly, or cut into cubes or whatever shape you prefer....fill into a should be heaped.
What I do always is; I just take a handful of kappa puzhungiyathu (boiled kappa) and slice or chop them into the dry grinder and top with a handful of rice flour, for your easy understanding I have made it into a recipe with cups.

Put this kappa into the dry grinder jar of your mixie (use only the dry grinder jar). Then top with 1/2 cup of roasted rice flour or iddiyappam podi.

Add in half tsp salt.

Close your dry mixer bowl and pulse 30 - 40 seconds and you will get this lightly crumb like kappa puttu podi....I told you its easy!! No grating of raw kappa is needed.....easy kappa puttu podi :)
Note: That there is not a drop of water is used to make this podi....and use your dry grinder only.

Lets steam the kappa podi.
Into the puttu maker or if you do not have puttu maker do not worry, you still can make puttu with chiratta (coconut shell) add in 1 to 2 tbsp of grated coconut.

Top it with kappa puttu podi....I prefer to spoon in the podi.

I like to use my pressure cooker to steam puttu, this particular chiratta puttu kutti can be placed on top of the hob of cooker filled with water and steamed. You can also use this puttu maker on top of a puttu kudam but it will take longer time to cook. Steaming in cooker takes about 2- 3 min.
With this measure, I got three kutti.

Soft kappa puttu is ready, making this easier than writing this post for you :)
I served with Nadan Meen Curry or you can have with Mathi Mulakittathu.

Want to know how to make Easy Kerala Puttu; no need to wet the podi with water and I know how difficult it is for a novice cook, check out my easy method to make puttu podi.


Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Kaddu Ki Sabzi Recipe

kaddu ki sabzi

Kaddu ki sabzi, is a quick an easy no onion-garlic pumpkin curry. A very mildly flavored easy pumpkin dish perfect with poori and roti.

Pumpkin is known as " kaddu" in Hindi and "mathanga" in Malayalam, my husband just loves this dish so much that my mother-in-law says, while growing up Homey never liked any curry which has a slight sweetness to it. But once, he tasted kaddu in his Punjabi friends house while living in Haldawani (Nainital) he was so smitten with this curry that whenever she makes poori, kaddu ki sabzi is a must for him. I do often make for him and these days he has with phulka, the best part of this sabzi/curry is that the ease at which it can be made. No onions or tomatoes to be cut....the pure simplicity of this curry always amaze me.

Pumpkin has a slight sweetness in itself, so to balance that Kashmiri red chili powder and green chilies are added along with other spices. The main flavor of this curry comes from the addition of fenugreek seeds (uluva) and asafoitida (hing, kayam).

Next time you buy pumpkin and you should definitely try this low calorie curry; yes, very little oil is used say about 2 tsp for the whole curry. This sure is a dieters delight, have you checked out my lauki curry (bottlegourd stew) which also is a low calorie and light curry.

Author: Nisa Homey
Serves: 2 to 3
Cooking Time: 10 min.

Kaddu (Pumpkin): 1/2 kg, peeled and chopped.
Green Chili: 3, chopped (reduce or decrease accordingly)
Ginger: 1/2 to 3/4 inch, chopped.
Whole Red Chilies: 2, broken.
Asafoitida (kayam): 1/4 tsp.
Organic Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp.
Kashmiri Chilli Powder: 3/4 tsp.
Coriander Powder: 1 tsp.
Fenugreek Seeds (Uluva): 1/4 tsp.
Amchur (mango powder): 1/2 tsp.
Water: About 1/2 to 1 cup.
Refined Oil: 2 tsp
Coriander leaves: A handful, chopped.
Salt: 1 tsp or as needed.

Peeling of the pumpkin skin is the hardest part....if you have tough peeler it will help otherwise, you will have to peel with a knife. I chopped them up on the cutting board and it sure was easy

Heat a pressure cooker (pressure cooking makes it more easy to cook and only one pan to clean) with 2 tsp of oil. Add in the fenugreek seeds, broken red chilies, green chilies, and ginger....mix it for a minute and then add in the asafoitida or hing. (I know the oil cant barely be seen, you can add more oil if you prefer, but lets make this as low cal as possible). Keep the fire on low.

Add in Kashmiri chili powder, coriander powder, and turmeric....

With flame still on low, mix them up....(you have to be pretty fast otherwise it might get burnt).

Add in the pumpkin pieces, salt, and water.
Close the cooker, put the heat on high...and after 1 whistle, simmer for 3 to 5 min....and switch off fire.

Once the steam has been released, open the cooker, add in amchur (mango powder) and lightly mash pumpkin.

Mix well and add chopped coriander leaves.

Serve hot with Whole Wheat Roti or Poori.
Pumpkin Curry

In case you do not have amchur (dry mango powder) you can use tamarind in its place; just soak lime sized tamarind in little water, squeeze out and add the water to the curry.
Pumpkins can be really sweet, so to balance that both green chilies and red chili powder is added; but if you love the the pumpkin sweetness, you can reduce the chilies.
Some like to add in a bit of sugar or jaggery; but I prefer without them.
Coriander leaves gives out the much needed flavor, so do not miss them.
Can adjust water to your likeness.
Oil is very minimally used; if you like you can add in more.


Sunday, July 06, 2014

Sunday Chats

Hershey's Brownies, is my favorite brownie and since I have found that I never looked further as it is perfect! Crunchy outside and ooey gooe inside. These brownies never failed me and I have made them countless times, I have also tweaked them a bit by adding some rum and raisins during Christmas time and also used as a base for my ice cream brownie pie. I have to tell you that these brownies are the BEST! and you got to try them ASAP.

For the perfect brownie/cake, you should make sure that all the ingredients are brought to room temp and preheat oven. Do not place the batter in a cold oven and always understand your oven as each one is different. I always try to use the freshest ingredients while making cakes or brownies....and make sure that they are cooked through with the help of a toothpick. Though for brownies a slightly under-cooked texture is preferred....but the crust should be also depends on personal tastes.

This past Saturday, I celebrated 42 years of life in this beautiful planet, I was born in a rainy day and grew up hearing stories of how my dad braved the rains to get the doctor that night, and all through my life rain played an important part during my birthdays.....until now! This year, the first I can ever remember; it was sunny and sun shone so fiercely that  one wondered whether its Monsoon season or its Summer! Monsoons are Kerala's only indulgence and as far as I can remember, I have not seen fewer rains in my life especially in June. Kerala, is hugely dependent on its monsoon rains, and with lesser or fewer rains, I wonder what could be the reason. Is it the so-called-global-warming really on us? If so, then it is high time that we as global citizens do something about it and preserve our natural resources as much as we can.

Chicken tikka, nothing beats them, my kids and hubby just love them and it always brings me immense pleasure to serve them once in a while. Have you felt the same...when you serve your loved ones favorite?? food has that power to make you smile. If you haven't made them yet, you should definitely try them.

With Fifa world cup in its peak, my son who is all of 12 years is much into it and taking me along with him and I am becoming a football freak these days. He just could not understand Neymar's injury and idolize Messi and that means I am also kneed into his football fever. Much of his talks and readings center around the world cup and over today morning's breakfast it was Neymar and Neymar's pain. What about you?? are you also into world cup?

On a lighter note, did you know that sniffing rosemary enhances your memory, plant them, and sniff them! It seems in ancient days it was kept beneath pillowcases (wow! no wonder the older generation has good memory power) it was also said that it could protect the sleeper from nightmares too....well, that would really make me have one underneath my pillow, ha!

My kids want a pet dog, but I have no idea how to raise them in a flat. If you have any suggestion regarding this please share with me..

On the food note, though I was pretty much sick for some days, I did manage to cook some new things; Homey is again on a diet mode and he wanted a low fat - low cal fish dish; and yes, I did invent one with mackerel and he did love it and gave me a thumbs up sign, hopefully I will share in the coming week.

I do hope you will try my new recipe on the blog for lunch today; it sure will make your family smile.

Thanks for all the support and love and have a wonderful week ahead.

Happy Sunday!