Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Kerala's own - ilayada/ഇലയട.....

Even though there are many, I guess, unniyappam and ilayada are two things that can be considered as Kerala's sweet delicacies.. For me, 'Ada' is something that I always relate with onam...

For every onam, at mom's place we used to keep 'Mathevar' or as some people call it 'Thrikaakkarayappan' , which idolizes the great King of Kerala, 'The Mahabali'...  Mathevar is  made using mud into cone shape and there will be three different sizes of them and are placed under an umbrella made of dried palm leaves(patta kuda).. And for the last three days of onam, morning and evening there will be some rituals or poojas that are performed for Maathevar.. And as an offering to Him, 'Ada' is made...

First two days the 'Ada' will be just plain and for the last pooja before removing Him, on 'Avittam' day, the sweet ada is made.. all the adas are made by roasting in a heavy pan usually cast iron with closed lid and flipping it once the roasted smell of banana leaf starts to come and not the usual way of steaming them.. They are also called as ottada... After the pooja, ada is broken to small pieces and are served to everyone as 'prasadam'.... My grand mother makes these adas and all the time I will be the one eagerly waiting for the pooja to finish and get the biggest piece.. especially for the sweet ada... because there will be only one ada to be served among lots of people and that is the only time it is made like that way in a pan... so, if somebody asks me what I miss the most about onam I would say that sweet piece of pan roasted 'Ada' by my grandmom...

As the onam days of this year were getting over, I was left with some plantain leaves and what else is the best way to use them other than making ada... So as it happened, I got myself into making them Sunday morning for breakfast... Sunday and breakfast... hmm, ok some can call it as brunch.. :) But I made the adas the usual way, that is, steamed.. even though I craved for the ottada... because its just not the ada that I miss, I miss her too.. so next time I go to Kerala I will surely get her to make some for me.. till then my poor steam adas will do okay... :)

Ingredients :

Rice flour - 1 1/2 cups
Warm water - 1 cup and as needed
Salt - 1/4 teaspoon
 Plantain leaves - Cut into small rectangular/square shapes

For the filling:
Coconut - 1 cup grated
Jaggery - 4-5 pieces or more if you want to make the filling more sweet.
Cardamom powder - 1/4 teaspoon


Make the rice dough by mixing rice flour, water and salt. The dough should be looser than the 'chappathi' dough.

For the filling, the jaggery is melted in a saucepan with a little water and when it is done, it is filtered and allowed to cool... Once the jaggery is cool enough, the grated coconut and cardamom powder are added and mixed well.

Take one piece of plantain leaf and show it over a burning stove just to warm it up, for a second or two at each side. The green color of the leaf will turn into slightly darker color("vaattiyedukuka"). Don't allow it to burn or turn to black. Repeat the same for the other leaf pieces. This is done so that the leaves when folded won't get torn.

For making ada, take one piece of leaf, brush it with one or two drops of oil. Place one big spoon of dough in the middle and spread it across the leaf using finger tips and flatten into a thin layer. If the dough starts to get sticky, just dip the finger tips in water or oil. The filling is placed in one half (or, if you are someone with a real sweet tooth, you can keep the filling on both sides) and then folded. Repeat the process for making more of them.

In a steamer place these folded adas carefully. Don't over crowd them. I used a pressure cooker without keeping the weight and placed the adas in one of the plates of 'Idli maker'. Fill the steamer with some water and close the lid and once you see the steam coming, turn the heat to medium-low and steam for 5 - 7 more minutes. Carefully open the steamer and transfer those wonderfully smelling adas into serving plate.

The filling can be made with a lot of variations,by adding bananas to them, or using sugar instead of jaggery or using just coconut and adding a little more salt to the dough or with whatever you can com up with, from sweet to savory to spicy... Let the imagination begin..:)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

From where it all started....

Okay, so I started a recipe blog and now I have to add recipes... But I didn't get any idea from where to start.. Then I thought let me begin from where I really started... The great "Urulakkizhangu upperi" (Potato stir fry), that to date, can sweep me off my feet and make me fell in love all over again... yes, am still talking about potato.. don't get any other idea... ;)

It happens to be that I was always a food connoisseur.. and I really liked the science behind the yummy things that comes to my plate, mostly from my Amma's hands... So whenever I got a chance, I was always near her spraining my neck to get a good look at the pots and pans on the stove and asking numerous questions of all the things that comes to mind...

Now, let me tell something about my Mom and me... Even though she would let me near her and would explain all the questions, even the silly stupid ones, she never let me do the real cooking.. She will let me do the small stuff, like peeling the onion, getting the curry leaves from the back yard, stir something in the pot, or something like that... But when it comes to cooking the dish by myself, she will say it won't come right or by the time you make it, it will be tomorrow or find some problems in my method.. And by that time, I would have gotten mad and left the kitchen... Kitchen was her kingdom and she never let anybody else rule it, even it was for a few minutes... :)

But one day, the following happened...

Me: Mommy dear...
Mom: hmm.. yes..
Me: Can I make some "urulakkizhangu upperi" ?
Mom: Why do you want to make it now?
Me: Can I make it ..please... and you see I don't like the "Mathi curry"(sardine curry), so I don't have anything else to eat with rice...
Mom: You don't have to eat the "mathi".. you can just have the curry...
Me: But I don't want to... please mommy ..please..
Mom: hmm... Okay, if you want to..
Me: Oh..Thank you... thank you.. So how many potatoes should I use?
Mom: Two.. Use that small ones.
Me: Okay..

And I started peeling them and cleaned them and cut them into very small cubes..

Me: Okay, now what? Shall I boil them or should I first cut the onions and green chillies and then add the potatoes??
Mom: You can do either ways... I usually boil them first..
Me: hmm, Okay.. So can I take this pot.. and how much water should I add?
Mom: Just to cover the potatoes.. not more not less.. By the time the water evaporates they would be cooked and before covering it with lid add some salt and turmeric powder...
Me: hmm, how much salt? Would two teaspoons be enough?
Mom: Don't add that much.. Start with one teaspoon.. Remember that you could add salt later if you find it is less...

Me: hmm.. okay... so now I have to wait for the water to evaporate, rite?
Mom: Yes... you can cut some shallots and green chillies by that time..
Me: how many shallots and green chillies?
Mom: 2-3 shallots and 1-2 green chillies, you can omit this part too as you are adding the spices later...
Me: But I like shallots and chillies in this... So am going to use them...

So, I took shallots and green chillies, sliced them really thin and kept aside... I was checking the potaotes in between and after a few minutes all the water was gone... Then I took another pan, added some oil, when mom saw that she told me not to use that much oil, but anyways, added the shallots and green chillies to the hot oil... stirred them for a few seconds... added some red chilli powder and coriander powder..may be a teaspoon each... stirred it just for a second or two, then added the potatoes to it, switched off the stove and stirred everything so that the potatoes got coated with all the spices... Finally added some chopped cilantro... And Voila! There was infront of me the first curry I ever prepared... lip smacking... finger licking...yum!!

I got so addicted to this, that I made this dish any chance I got.. It is so delicious with just plain rice and curd... And I should warn you that by the time you start really enjoying, you might have been to your second or probably third servings...:)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Kitchen confessions to begin with....

                    ഹ്മ്മ്മം....എല്ലാരും വിചാരിയ്ക്കുണ്ടാവും ല്ലേ... അയ്യോ, ഇതാ വേറൊരു പാചക ബ്ലോഗ്‌ കൂടി എന്ന്.... സത്യം പറയാലോ... ഇതൊരു പാചക ബ്ലോഗ്‌ തന്നെയാണ്... കടലു പോലെ ബ്ലോഗുകള്‍ ഇങ്ങനെ കെടക്കുമ്പോള്‍ എന്തിനാ വേറൊരെണ്ണം കൂടിയെന്ന് വെച്ചാല്‍... ഇത് ആരും കാണാത്തതും കേള്‍ക്കാത്തതും ആയ പാചക പരീക്ഷണങ്ങളോ വിഭവങ്ങളുടെയോ ബ്ലോഗ്‌ ഒന്നുമല്ല...  ഇത് ഒരു ഡയറി.. എന്റെ പാചക പരീക്ഷണങ്ങളുടെയും അബദ്ധങ്ങളുടെയും തിരുത്തലുകളുടെയും ഓര്‍മപ്പെടുത്തലുകള്‍ സൂക്ഷിയ്ക്കാന്‍ ഒരു ഡയറി... അത്ര മാത്രം...

                     'ബ്ലോഗ്‌' എന്ന വാക്ക് ആദ്യം കേട്ടത് കോളേജില്‍ പഠിയ്ക്കുമ്പോള്‍ എപ്പോഴോ ആയിരുന്നു... അന്ന് കേട്ടതും ഇതായിരുന്നു... പേനയും കടലാസുമില്ലാതെ കമ്പ്യൂട്ടറില്‍ എഴുതുന്ന ഡയറി കുറിപ്പുകള്‍.. പാചകം തുടങ്ങിയിട്ട് വര്‍ഷങ്ങള്‍ ഒരുപാടൊന്നുമായില്ലെങ്കിലും, ഉണ്ടാക്കിയതിന്റെ എല്ലാം  പാചക കുറിപ്പുകള്‍ സൂക്ഷിച്ചു വെയ്ക്കണം എന്ന് കരുതിയിട്ടു കുറെ ആയി... അതു കൊണ്ടു മാത്രം ഇങ്ങനെ ഒരു സംരംഭം.... ആവശ്യം എന്റെ മാത്രമാണെങ്കിലും ആര്‍ക്കെങ്കിലും പ്രയോജനപ്പെടുന്നുവെങ്കില്‍ സന്തോഷം....:)

കടലിലേയ്ക്ക്  അപ്പൊ ഇറങ്ങിയേക്കാം, അല്ലെ??