Friday, August 28, 2009

Aviyal ~ The Coconut based Mixed Vegetable Curry of God's own Country!..


Onappattin thalam thullum thumba poove
Ninne thazhukanai kulirkattin kunyikaikal..

Onavillil oonjaladum vannathikkiliye
Ninne pulkanay kothiyoorum marikkarum...

Onam is just round the corner, another year of festivity, pomp and delight for the people of God's own country, the dear subjects of Mahabali...

Yet another year of Ona Pattu, Puthu kkodi, Ona Pookalam, and Ona Sadya..


A
viyal, as you all might know, is a thick coconut based curry of the down South of our country and can be regarded as a speciality in Kerala cuisine.
The mildly spiced vegetable stew goes well with rice and a must serve for the Sadhya related to Onam.The very own nadan vegetables(vegetables that grow locally) of the state goes into it which is said to impart the exact authentic taste to the same.

The Mythology of this "Mixed Vegetable Curry", according to wiki, goes…

"It is supposed to have been invented by Bheema (one of the Pandava brothers) during his agnaatha vaasa. According to the legend, Ballav (Bheema's name during this time) when he assumed his duties as the cook in the kitchen of Virata, did not know how to cook. One of the first things he did was to chop up many different vegetables, boil them together and top the dish with grated coconut".




Now, let's get ready with the ingredients, that goes to the stove in order :

The vegetables ;

Drumstick-1
Cucumber/vellarikka-cut-a cup
Jackfruit seeds/chakka kuru
Yam/chena-a small piece-which yields a cup when cut
Gherkins/ivy gourd/kovakka-5-6
Brinjal-2
Raw banana/vazhakka-1
Snake gourd-small-1/2
Long string beans/Achinga payar-4(optional)
Raw green mango-sour variety-1/2 (use a whole small mango if less sour)

Green chillies-5-6
Cumin seeds/jeerakam -1/2 tsp-jeera powder can also be substituted
Shallots/kunjulli-5-6

Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
Salt- to taste

Freshly grated coconut- 1 ½ cups
Coconut oil/pacha velichenna- 2 tbsp
Curry leaves-2 sprigs


  • Cut the vegetables lengthwise, a little chunky, to one inch pieces.
  • Transfer them to a broad and wide pan,except the raw mango(as the acidity in it interferes with the cooking of the other vegetables) with just enough water.Close with a lid and ensure even cooking by turning them now and then for a few minutes or till 1/4th done.
  • Crush/pulse green chillies, jeera and shallots coarsely.Add this to the vegetables along with turmeric powder and salt.
  • Grind coconut, not too smooth, adding a little water.Keep aside.

  • Now, rinse the pulser/mixer with ½ cup of water.Add this to the vegetables on the stove and stir carefully not to break the pieces as would have almost cooked or half done, at this stage.Ensure the ‘hard to cook’ vegetables like yam has turned soft.
  • Add the ground coconut and raw mango pieces.Let it simmer for 5 mins.Check salt and *sourness.Make sure the Aviyal has reached the right semi solid consistency.

  • Turn off fire.Coconut oil and curry leaves are to be added last.

  • Press the Aviyal gently and close with the lid of the pan, so that the aroma of the coconut oil and curry leaves seeps in, to give the very own flavour to the authentic dish. :)




*-.If you fail to grab the raw mango, feel free to use curd/tamarind extract for sourness.

Note:
  • The traditional aviyal doesn’t call for veggies like carrots and beans. Yet I compromise on carrots as they always improve the taste of the final curry.
  • Since Vellarikka or that fat yellow cucumber we get in Kerala is not common in Tamil Nadu, ash-gourd/poosanikkai can be used instead.
  • According to Archana, "Zucchini act as substitute snake gourd in an avial". :)
Vaninnevam asuya valarthi
Vazka maveli mangalamoorthy.."

'Long live Maveli, provider of peace and prosperity, inciting jealousy in the heavenly beings!'.



Wishing you all a Very Happy, Peaceful and a Prosperous Onam!!..


Other Recipes for the Onam Feast..


Banana ChipsTender Mango Pickle Nadan Parippu CurryDrumsticks SambharA Simple Kerala Lunch with Fish Fry OlanMango SaladVendakka ThoranUlli ThoranPapaya ThoranStir-fried TindorasStir-fried Green PapayaIdichakka MezhukkupurattiGhee Fried BananasAda PradhamanChakka VarattiCherupayar parippu PayasamSemia/Vermicelli Payasam

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Few Awards and a Tag...


My lovely blogger buddies have always supported my place with blog awards, which I'd never missed out on.I believe I 'd not failed to acknowledge each and every one of my friends for their loving gestures. :).

No words to Thank all of you for all the Love, Care and Concern!..:)

Accepting the Lovely Awards received lately.



Thank you Ammu, Kitchen Queen and Suma..:)

The rules are:

Put the logo on your blog or post.
Nominate at least 7 blogs
Let them know that they have received this Scrumptious award by commenting on their blog.
Share the love and link to this post and to the person you received your award from.








Thank you Lissie and Mythreyi and Suma.. :)

The Kreativ Blogger award comes with some rules:-

1. You must thank the person who has given you the award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who has nominated you for the award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
5. Nominate 7 other Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on which of the blogs to let them know they have been nominated.

...here goes the 7 facts about myself..:)
  • Loving and caring.

  • Easygoing and friendly.

  • Possess a great passion towards Art.

  • Short tempered and impatient(working hard on it ;))

  • When it comes to unpleasant experiences I never take up anything "to the heart"and am forgiving and forgetful and try my best to compromise.

  • The few things with which I cannot live are: Mom's place in Kerala, dear and near, internet access ;) and personal freedom along with the usual stuff..food.. water..clothing..shelter..oxygen etc..;)

  • Lazy and a bad cook..yes, I mean it :)!!..






The long pending award from Swapna, Renuka, Lena, Suma and Prajusha :)..excuse me girls, for this late pick up.. :)..

I am passing this to the budding blogger, Shalini :)




and I'd been tagged and awarded by this lovely girl :)


1. What is your current obsession?

Chatting/(fun) fighting with my childhood/school/college pals.

2. What are you wearing today?

Printed Cotton Saree.

3. What’s for dinner?

Sorry!...Dining out ;) (with my sisters-brothers in law, their families).

4. What’s the last thing you bought?

Healthy/organic and edible goodies from this lady's ;) shop, Eat to Live which got inaugurated day before yesterday.

5. What are you listening to right now?

The office girl's 'heated up' conversation on phone ;) with her colleague, going louder than the lovely guitar riffs of Hotel California melting down my ears through the head phones.. :)

6. What do you think about the person who tagged you?

A pretty, friendly, loving and an enthusiastic girl.A Great Cook for sure!..:)

7. If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?

Luxury brings comfort but not happiness. So I would choose to be in any place where I can be calm and peaceful.

8. What are your must-have pieces for summer?

Loose fitting cotton clothes. Sunglasses for long travel.

9. If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?

To Bali ;) where WE would love to FREAK around.Minus THs and my children of course... ;)..

10. Which language do you want to learn?

Telugu(script).

11. What’s your favourite quote?

Minds are like parachutes.They function only when they are open.Sir James Dewar

12. Who do you want to meet right now?

Arthy, my long lost second cousin(I get to chat/mail every week but haven't met her ever since our childhood days).

13. What is your favourite colour?

Nothing in specific.Love all lighter shades.Black, when it comes to cars/gadgets.

14. What is your favourite piece of clothing in your own closet?

The Salwar which I got designed, personally.

15. What is your dream job?

A smart IT Pro.(..you asked "dream", right?) :)..

16. What’s your favourite magazine?

Any magazine that provides interesting stuff for a long and tiring journey.

17. If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on?

Would spend it for my husband and children(could readily answer this as I have my life's very first earning in my hand bag right now) ;)..Thanks to Food buzz team..

18. What do you consider a fashion faux pas?

Any attire/accessory which doesn't really suit the person.

19. Who are your style icons?

..hmm..sorry!..None !..

20. Describe your personal style.?

Very casual at home.Would dress that would suit the occasion.Love ethnic stuff, prefer 'comfort-clothes' rather than fashionable ones.

21. What are you going to do after this?

Hoping to click the Orange button right down which reads "Publish Post" ;)

22. What are your favourite movies?

Nandanam, Nayakan,...is all what I can think of now..

24. What are three cosmetic/makeup/perfume products that you can't live without?

Eyeliner, henna, mild n pink lip stick.

23. What inspires you?

Beauty of Heart.

24. Give us three styling tips that always work for you:

Decent clothes, matching jewellery, simple make up.

25. What do you do when you “have nothing to wear” (even though your closet’s packed)?

This happened once while V n me were about to leave for an evening function.Got frustrated all of a sudden with the closet wide open ;) and dropped the idea to go out.. ;)..

26. Coffee or tea?

Plain/black Coffee in the mornings and tea in the evenings.

27. What do you do when you are feeling low or terribly depressed?

Listen to some soothing music and sleep for longer hours.

28. What is the meaning of your name?

Bharathy-Goddess Saraswathi.

29. Which other blogs you love visiting?

Love all, for sure!!..

30. Favorite Dessert/Sweet?

Caramel custard.

31. Favourite Ornaments. ... (replacing with the question...)
Favourite food

Anything edible and NOT vegetarian ;)..

32.Question invented-In fact this happens to me lately with blogging, how about you?.. how do you solve ?
"I have an ocean of photos, an encyclopedia's worth of recipes, but nothing flows out from my head, when it comes to rants".

**The rules of the Tag are : Respond and rework – answer the questions on your own blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your own invention, and add one more question of your own. Then tag eight or ten other people.



I would like to nominate the Kreative and Scrumptious, One Lovely Blog awards to my following blogger friends..and tag them..;-)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Vendakka Thoran / Stir-fried Okra with Coconut n Spices...


As children we were not great fans of Okra, though amma had tried her best to get us have this nutritionally rich green veggie when we were growing. She never used to deep fry vendakka( which we used to love and insist her to make) with this strong opinion that it loses all its goodness when done so and cooks them the right way to get rid of the sliminess and retains the greenish hue with the final outcome-the ‘crunchy n chewy outsides’ and ‘soft n creamy insides’….

Vendakka Thoran, mingled with that coconutty- spicy, touch; cooked just the way it should be, I’d learnt from Amma…


To serve two;

Get ready with:

Vendakka/Okra- sliced round- a large cup


To Temper

Coconut oil- a tbsp
Kaduku/Mustard seeds-1/2 tsp
Uzhunnu parippu/urad dal-1/2 tsp
Finely minced shallots- a tsp
Curry leaves- a sprig


To Pulse/Grind Coarse,crumbly, with minimum water

Grated coconut – 2 tbsps
Chilly powder-1/2-3/4 tsp
Jeera /cumin powder- ¼ tsp
Kunjulli/shallots- -2 nos
Garlic-a clove

Salt-to taste


Method:


Wash the Okra well in running water.Trim the edges and cut each to about half a cm wide rounds.

Heat a tbsp of coconut oil in a thick-bottomed wide kadai (preferably a non stick/iron).Splutter the mustard seeds, brown the urad dal and sauté the minced shallots until they acquire a deep brown hue.Throw in the curry leaves.

Add the sliced okra, turning now and then to get rid of the sliminess and cook till half done.If you feel the okra would take time to cook, sprinkle water, close the kadai with a lid, keeping the flame low, for a few minutes. Add the pulsed ingredients and sauté for a few seconds so as to get rid of the raw smell, stirring all the while.Turn them well so as to avoid sticking to the bottom of the kadai, taking care not to turn the pieces mashy. Sprinkle some more water, if too dry, add salt and keep closed, again. Adjust the flame to low-medium, stirring the mix once every 2 minutes enhancing 'even cooking' and the spices to get coated all over slices. Sprinkle water, if necessary and keep the pan closed until just cooked.

Remove from fire and serve hot with boiled rice and curry.