Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Nadan Pazha Manga Curry / Kerala Ripe Mango Curry

You either 'love' Nadan Pazha Manga Curry or 'hate' it. It's all about whether you like  ripe mangoes, made into a curry, tangy, hot and sweet with the flavour of coconut and jaggery blended in.
I should admit, everyone except my dad, back home, in Kerala, love this side dish. Amma makes it   sweeter with lesser amount of coconut, but I thought of blogging the recipe, the Kerala way :). Suma, our maid, assisted me throughout and I enjoyed the luxury of watching her making it, clicking pictures and making a note of what she had been explaining :)

Ammayi, my husband's grandma, used to make Mambazha Kuzhambu, the Tamil counterpart, which I clearly remember as a much 'easy to make' dish with a  flavourful concoction of sliced, half ripened mangoes straight from our side yard, jaggery and sambhar powder with no compromise on taste.

Back to ours, I made up my mind to make the curry, when Amma got hold of a few organic mangoes, the original naadan pazha manga. Most of them were consumed as mangoes as such and I had to battle hard to save some here for the curry :)

Nadan Pazha Manga Curry / Kerala Ripe Mango Curry 
Serves 6
Prep time- 20 mins
Cooking time - 15 mins
Total time needed - 30 mins


8 small sized ripe Mangoes
1 tsp red chilly powder
1/2 tsp table salt
 2 whole green chillies, each slit until 3/4th, lengthwise
A handful or 1/4 cup scant crushed jaggery or nadan sarkara 

To grind to a paste:

1/2 cup grated coconut
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp cumin seeds / jeerakam
2 shallots / pearl onions / ulli
2 small cloves or 1 medium clove garlic

To season:

1.5 - 2 tbsps  coconut oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds / uluva
2 tbsps of sliced pearl onions / ulli 
A sprig of curry leaves


Wash the mangoes well and drain in a colander. These mangoes are small sized as you see.

Peel the skin of each. You can do this easily only if they are well ripened.
Pour 1 cup of water in a sauce pan and, arrange the mangoes.  Add 1 tsp chilly powder, half a tsp salt and the green chillies and cook for 6-8 minutes.

Add along a handful of crushed molasses while simmering . You need to melt the lumps completely. (You may close the pan and simmer in lowest flame and give a gently stir now and then to assure the they are melted) while you do the grinding part, that follows...

Grind grated coconut along with turmeric, shallots, garlic adding 1/4 cup water to a paste, not too smooth, but a bit coarse.

If the jaggery has melted well, it is better to remove the pan from the stove as I did. Combine the paste by a gentle stir. Add water only if necessary. Let the curry be not too runny. Simmer for 3 minutes , to ward off  the raw smell of the paste. Check salt and add accordingly.

In the mean while, you can do the seasoning part.
Heat 1.5 - 2 tbsps of oil in a kadai, Crackle the mustard seeds, brown the fenugreek and add along the sliced onions and curry leaves. Caramelise the onions.

  Add to the curry and combine gently. Keep the curry closed for alteast an hour before serving, for the spices and sweetness to meld.

Serve with steamed rice.

 These country mangoes are fibrous as you see  above in this picture. That's the uniqueness of this delicacy. as well :)

We were four of us and had the curry, the following day too as the spices would seep in better.
So, feel free to halve the recipe :)

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Nadan Pork Ularthiyathu or Kerala Pork Fry ( stepwise method )

This is a dish I love and crave for. Chunks of juicy meat, spiced up with masalas, bits of coconut, with the mesmerising aroma of coconut oil and curry leaves. Both brother and I grew up savoring this speciality dish of central Kerala, though back home, pork was a taboo. After being married to a strict vegetarian family, this one remained a long lost forgotten one. Now that I am here in Kottayam for the summer break, I thought of recreating the dish. As always it was a hit at home err with my brother and his wife :) since the others in my family refrain from eating pork.
I still have no idea about the origin of the dish, whether this belongs to the Syrian Catholic community or as such a traditional Christian recipe which they make during special occasions.

Pork Fry

Nadan Pork Ularthiyathu
Serves 6
Prep time -30 mins
Stove top time- 35 mins
Total time needed - 1 hour+

To Marinate:
Pork - 1 Kg ( I used mixed meat and didn't confine to a particular part )
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Vinegar - 1 tbsp
Crushed ginger and garlic - 2 tsps
Finely chopped green chillies - 2
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp

To Season:
Coconut oil- 3 tbsps
Ginger- a 2 inch piece,chopped
Garlic- 20 small cloves or 7-8 large cloves, sliced thin, lengthwise
Shallots / Small onion - 2 cups ( I used 2 cups of sliced big onions, though small onions are highly recommended)

Chilly Powder- 1 tbsp
Coriander Powder- 2 teaspoons
Turmeric Powder- 3/4 tsp
Fennel(perunjeerakam) powder- 1 tsp

*Garam masala- 2 teaspoons
Pepper powder-  1 tsp

Thenga kothu (squared thin bits of fresh coconut) 1/4 cup
Curry leaves 4-5 sprigs

Stepwise method:

Crush the peeled garlic and the cleaned piece of ginger. You can pulse in your mixie. Keep aside.

Wash the meat in running water, drain and cut into 1 inch cubes. Marinate pork with ingredients listed above, for at least an hour.

Add 1/2 cup of water and pressure cook until 2-3 whistles, if the meat is tender. Mine demanded  5-6 whistles So, the timing depends upon the quality of the pork

There will be some excess water / stock which has be boiled and brought down.
Do the seasoning meanwhile.

In a kadai, deep fry the coconut bits in 3 tbsps of oil until brown, drain and keep aside.

Throw in sliced garlic and ginger bits, sauté,

followed by the sliced onions, ending with curry leaves.

Tip in the powders, Chilly powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and fennel powder.

 Continue sautéeing in low heat, taking care not to burn the powders.

Dump the meat into the kadai. The remaining water if any can be evaporated here.

After a few minutes the fat part of the meat will get separated and the meat chunks start getting fried in  its own oil. Stir in garam masala at this point.

When you see the meat well cooked, fried, and attains a brownish black hue, stir along pepper powder and the fried coconut bits. Toss and serve.

Pork Fry

Pairs well with Kerala red rice or Kuthari choru and kachiya moru or spiced up buttermilk curry

Related post:
Nadan Erachi Ularthu, where mutton or beef is done the same way.


Unlike mutton or beef, you may find oil oozing out while frying pork towards the last stage, especially if you have pork belly mixed in the meat like I had. Just collect the excess oil carefully. This is pork lard, in liquid form mixed with coconut oil used for seasoning. You can use this to fry fish if you wish to re-use.

-> Addition of coconut oil is a must for the dish.

-> Addition of ginger garlic paste in marination is fine but use julienned ginger and garlic for seasoning.

-> Coconut bits / thengakothu are a must too.

-> I used store bought garam masala. So I have used fennel seed powder for an extra flavour as this is the dominant spice of the dish.

->Home Made *Garam Masala goes a long way and adds the special touch to the dish.

You can dry roast and grind the following ingredients to make Fresh Garam Masala Powder.

Cloves (Gramboo) –  5
Cardamom (Elakka) – 4
Cinnamon stick (Patta/Karukapatta) – 2 pieces of 1” inch length each
Star Anise (Thakkolam/Nakshathra Poo) – 1
Fennel seeds (Perunjeerakam) – 1 tbsp

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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Paneer Chettinad Masala

Chettinad cuisine is all about spices, the blend and perfect balance of which make the cuisine. Pepper, cumin, fennel, coriander cardamom, clove and the heat of red chillies with the balance of fried coconut,  all fried and blended, gives way to the fiery aromatic Chettinad masala. Unlike the addition of the flavorful garam masala to any side dish pertaining to the North, Chettinad masala curries have them all freshly fried and ground along giving life to the dishes.
My daughter was mentioning about this dish she tried past weekend which was a hit at home. I made slight changes, from the recipe she had tried and passed along, to suit my taste.

Paneer Chettinad Masala
 Prep Time : 10 minutes
 Cook time : 25 minutes
 Total time needed: 35 minutes
 Serves : 2-3


Cashew nuts- 2-3

To grind to a fine paste after sautéeing 

Oil- 1 tsp
Paneer or cottage cheese, 200 grams, cut into 1 inch pieces.
Coriander seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
Fennel seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
Black peppercorns - 5-6
Green cardamom - 1, just the seeds
Clove - 1
Cinnamon - 1/2 inch stick
Star anise - 2 petals from one whole star
Dried red chillies - 3-4
Grated coconut- 1/2 cup

To season

Oil - 2 tbsps
Chopped big onion - 1/2 cup
Curry leaves, a sprig
Green chilly - 1, halved and split lengthwise
Ginger garlic paste - 1 teaspoon
Tomatoes chopped - 1/3 cup
Red chilly powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 2 fat pinches

Salt to taste
Chopped coriander - a tsp, for garnishing


Soak 3-4 cashews in 3 tbsps of luke warm water.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a non-stick pan and sauté coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, black peppercorns, cardamom, clove, cinnamon and star anise in order with a gap of 3-5 seconds during each addition, feeling the aroma of each while getting fried. Add chillies lastly and sauté along for 5 seconds. Add coconut and sauté until brown and fragrant.

Cool and grind to a fine paste adding the soaked cashews and its water. You may add a little more water if needed to grind fine.

Heat the 2 tablespoons oil in the same non-stick pan and sauté the chopped onions until well browned followed by the green chilly.

 Add red chilly powder and turmeric powder, followed by curry leaves chopped tomatoes.

Let the tomatoes turn mushy. Stir in ginger garlic paste and sauté until the raw smell disappears.  Add the ground paste at this point.

Sauté until oil separates.

Pour along 1/2 cup of water and add salt. Add along the paneer cubes and stir gently to combine taking care not to break the pieces. You may shallow fry the paneer cubes before adding. I added them raw, after a gentle rinse in luke warm water. Cook with a lid closed for 5 minutes or until the oil separates.

Garnish with chopped coriander. Paneer Chettinad Masala goes well with any main dish, steamed rice or any mildly flavoured rice like pulao or ghee rice. Pairs better with Indian breads.

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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Idly / Dosa Podi

Idli Podi

There would be no home in South India that has not prepared this spice powder as an accompaniment to the breakfast mains; idly or dosa. Each South Indian state has its own version. Chammanthi podi of Kerala has an addition of roasted coconut and curry leaves, while in Karnataka and Andhra, addition of roasted peanuts and more of chillies make it unique. In Tamil Nadu, roasted chick peas, sesame seeds add to the taste of Idly Milagai Podi.

The one I am posting now, is my mom's version of podi, we grew up savouring and a real special one. The fact that astonished me is that while each home , around the states has varied versions of the this spice preserve, the Reddiars of Kerala had a standard recipe of this one. In one word, truly addictive, with that perfect balance of chillies, garlic and dal with a touch of coriander!

My sis and me still have this habit of  having podi with hot idlies along with sambhar and coconut chutney. My brother, an idly hater who is forced to have them after amma's strict rules would have it with podi, sesame seed oil and lots of sugar :). Strange, but he still loves that way, all mashed up :D
My daughter is an ardent fan of this one, and demands in bulk!

This post is for Maria and Evin, the girls I love :)

Idly / Dosa Podi

Yield - 1 3/4 cups
Cuisine - South Indian.
Prep time - 10 minutes
Time needed for frying - 20 minutes 

Get ready with:

1 cup broken urad dal /uzhutham parippu (sun dried)
3.5 tbsp coriander seeds / kothamalli (sun dried)
50 nos medium sun dried and destalked redchillies / milagai (weighed approx 50 gms)
1/2 tsp Hing
1 tsp table salt
15 nos slender garlic pods (I used nattu poondu or country variety)
3-4 sprigs washed and wiped dry
Few drops of oil- for frying


Assemble the ingredients. As mentioned above, I sun dried urad dal, coriander and the red chillies. Esp the chillies until they were light and crisp. The hing, you see near the table salt, is the rock variety for the added flavour. The garlic is country variety which also adds to the final flavour.

Mince the garlic and let it sundry for a couple of hours. This is to absorb the extra moisture in them. The fresh garlic if used directly would interfere with grinding of dry powder, towards the final stage.

Heat a wide thick bottomed kadai with a few drops of oil. Add urad dal and coriander seeds and fry together in low-medium heat to 5-7 minutes, or until they are golden brown in colour. Transfer to a stainless tray. Always use a heat resistant metal tray as the fried ingredients transferred, tend to be too hot.

Fry the curry leaves for a few seconds and transfer to the plate. Do not bother to fry them until crispy. The heat of the dal is enough to turn the leaves, crispy.
 Fry the hing next, for a few seconds and transfer.

Trickle a few drops of oil and fry the chillies for a few seconds until the aroma emanates, taking utmost care not to burn them.

Let it cool to room temperature. Transfer to a mixie and pulse for a few seconds. Do not pulse too fine. Add the sun dried garlic bits, while still coarse and pulse / dry grind again. It's again a personal choice to make it a bit coarse or fine. I prefer my podi, slightly coarser.

Sun drying the ingredients before frying, enhances the shelf life. We do not want moisture in them so that it grinds fine after frying as well. If you cannot sundry, microwave the dal and coriander for a few seconds, toss and return for some more time. You can do the same with minced garlic too.

My family prefers  podi, a bit towards the spicier side. Addition of gingelly oil while serving would bring down the heat and spice levels . If you are still apprehensive, you may cut down the number of chillies to 25-30, for a milder version.

Bring down the numbers to 5-6, if you use larger cloves of garlic.

 2.5 kgs of  fresh podi for my daughter,  packed right away all set to go to the US.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Paal Poli ~ Pooris Soaked in Sweetened n Flavored Milk!

As the name says it all, Paal Poli is a  dessert made by soaking fried pooris in flavoured milk. Yes, it's just simple as it sounds! The best Paal Polis, I savoured are the ones made by my son-in law's grand ma, who resides in her beautiful ancestral home, in the neighboring village, Peruvalanallur! These cuties were what she opted to make, while throwing the feast for her grand kids. My husband and myself  couldn't make it to the village for her heartwarming lunch as the post wedding paraphernalia had  left us thoroughly exhausted. Back from the village late evening, my daughter hopped in with a lovely container in which soft paal polis were packed, with loads of love and care. I could feel that when the first bite hit my taste buds, and ah! I found myself devouring the heavenly morsels!!
I called her up, the next minute and typed the recipe, right away in my blogger. The simplicity of the dish surprised me that I had to suppress my urge to rush into the kitchen, knead the dough, fry the pooris and soak them, immediately!!

It had been been several months since then and had wanted to prepare the sweet as the first recipe for the year, but then got postponed. Better late than never!

Peruvalanallur athai's Paal poli, recreated, with lots and lots of love... :)

Paal Poli 

Makes 8 large or 10 medium or 13 small sized pooris
Serves 4-6

 Prep time: 20 mins
 Standing time; dough: 1-2 hours
 Soaking time of the finished dessert: at least an hour to *one day


100 gms all Purpose Flour / Maida -  ( this is between 3/4 to 1 cup)
2 tbsps rava (sooji/semolina) ( not roasted)
A pinch of yellow food colour
50-60 ml luke warm water

Oil- for deep frying

600 ml milk (I used milk with 3% fat content)
1/4 cup heaped white sugar
A fat pinch saffron

A few almonds and pistachios, chopped, to garnish


Paal Poli

Whisk together maida and rava in a bowl. Measure 60 ml of water in a microwavable jug and warm a bit. Just to make it luke warm. Dissolve a pinch of edible yellow food colour. Add to the flour mix little by little and knead well until you get a soft pliable dough like poori dough. I needed exactly 55 ml of water. Make into into a ball and cover with a wet kitchen towel or  cling film and rest it for 2 hours. We do not want the ball to get dried up in the outsides. So make sure you cover it to retain the moisture. After a couple of hours, knead again and roll equal sized balls ( 8 or 10 or 13 acc to your size preference) I divided into 8 balls to make larger pooris. Also I had spread them into slightly elongated ones than perfect rounds, since as to get larger semicircles as we fold them into half for serving.

Paal Poli

Heat oil for frying the pooris. Fry one at a time. Let them the soft and not crisp. Drain in paper towels so as to absorb excess oil. Keep them aside.
Soak saffron strands in 1/4 cup hot milk for 10 minutes. Heat the remaining milk in a sauce pan. Add sugar followed by the saffron milk and bring to a boil. Simmer for a minute in low flame and switch off. You don't have to thicken the milk.

Arrange the pooris in a tray, half folded and pour the hot milk over them generally so as to soak them. after an hour you may need to add more, as they absorb the milk. Whole pooris soaked in milk as such weren't looking pretty in pictures. So had to revise the garnish idea to make the dessert prettier. Thanks to Raks, my lovely buddy  :))) for the pretty looking garnish idea :).

They have to get soaked at least for 2 hours before serving. *You can prepare Paal polis,
 soak them up the previous day and refrigerate, for your guests. Thus, your dessert is done, hours ahead!  Oh yeah! I love them chilled :)

 Garnish with chopped nuts (microwave for a minute and toss). Sprinkle a few strands of saffron before you serve.
Sure to receive compliments!

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