Sunday, December 2, 2007

A healthy homely meal

This is what we had for our dinner one of these days. A healthy meal including rice, My husband's trade- secret dish, Moong-dal, Odi (that delicious thing was given by my cousin:) , and Plantain Flower upperi.

My husband's trade secret:)

I name it so because I have no information as to how my husband brings out the best taste in this dish. He prepares it very well and its the best food I like:) Anything prepared with love is the best food in the world and for me its my husband's trade-secret dish:) Its prepared with sprouted green - gram with onions and the tampering. Unfortunately I cant write down any further details. Guess its only possible if you can come over to our home and taste it and then ask him for the recipe;)

Fish Curry in coconut milk

This is a easy dish which has a very nice taste because I used thick coconut milk using the store bought coconut paste. It tasted like the nadan meen curry from kerala . I sauteed thinly sliced onion, tomato, ginger, garlic in 2 tablespoons coconut oil, until the oil separated varying the stove temperature between high and medium to get a nice paste out of the above added ingredients. I also added a pinch of salt and garam masala powder to coat the mixture on the stove. I then added the fish pieces (which were marinated in turmeric powder (a pinch) , coriander powder(1 teaspoon), pepper powder, lemon juice and salt for 1/2 hour) and carefully gave a light stir to combine everything uniformly. Then I added a bit of thin coconut milk to prevent anything from getting burned in the vessel. It also helps it to infuse the coconut milk flavor in the dish if they are added bit by bit and stirred in between. I added this thin coconut milk just to cover the fish pieces. Waited for the fish pieces to be cooked completely and then added the thick coconut milk. and lowered the fire to medium and gave a nice stir. Switch off the stove. Add one tablespoon of coconut oil and to finish garnish with curry leaves,thinly sliced fried shallots, and red chilli tampered in oil. When you hear the sizzling sound of heated coconut oil while you add the tampering, you know you just cant wait to gobble the whole thing with steamed rice or steamed tapioca:)

Vaazhakkoombu upperi (A dry vegetable side dish using Plantain flower)

Its one of the most popular recipes of Kerala. I especially loved the taste (it brings back lots of good ol' memories of mom's cooking). I have never actually noticed how my mom chops the Plantain Flower (Vazhakkoombu) for making this dish, so I took for granted that it just has to be chopped as it is without removing its first few outer leafy segments. These days after my India visit I became an expert in preparing the plantain flower for cooking. My fil taught me the exact way , which was by first removing the few outer leaves of the PF (Plantain flower) and as you remove you will notice the short segments below each leaf. Don't throw it away. Collect those. They are to be chopped later. After removing the first few leaves. Cut the sharpened tip of the PF to get a flattened surface. Then with your knife start putting small cuts on the surface and on the sides too. Then put the PF horizontally on the chopping board and slowly chop away the cuts you made on the PF using the knife. This ensures you get very small pieces. (I used to cut the same way for raw papaya when mom used to make Papaya upperi). When the cuts are no longer visible on the flat surface you get after chopping away, again make the cuts and repeat the same process, all the while managing to hold the PF steady and taking extra care not to cut your fingers if the knives are very sharp (I use a bit blunt knife to make the cuts and a sharper knife to chop away the cuts ;) (That's my idea, not my fil's ;) .......As and when you chop away the bits of PF, put the chopped bits in water. At the end chop the short segments I was talking about and add it with the rest of the chopped PF. Chopping PF stains your hands black, but I found a nice tip for avoiding that and that is to use a stainless steel blade knife. Drain the water. In a vessel heat 2 teaspoons oil,mustard seeds , cumin seeds (wait for them to splutter).....then add dry red chili, and curry leaves....then add the chopped up PF, salt to taste and on medium heat, cover the vessel and cook until done. It cooks pretty fast. It turns pale and the raw taste is gone when it is cooked.


This is another dish I learned from my fil. Liked it as it was nutritious and easy to make. Here goes the recipe:

Moong Dal (the yellow color smaller in size dal) : 1/2 cup

Raw rice: 1/4 cup

Water to cook the above two ingredients together

salt: to taste


Oil:2 tablespoons

Mustard seeds: 2 teaspoons

Cumin seeds: 2 teaspoons

Crushed pepper: 1/2 teaspoon or according to taste

Curry leaves: a few


Dry roast dal and rice until they are a golden brown on medium flame. Add water and salt and cook dal and rice together until all water is absorbed. In another vessel, heat oil and add the rest of the ingredients in the order mentioned. Add the cooked dal-rice mixture and stir well to combine everything. Serve it along with raita or pickle.

Egg Cutlet

I had come across this recipe from Seena's blog and found it very tempting to try. It came out well and we enjoyed it lots. It was something which I never could think of doing. For the original recipe, you may refer Seena's blog.

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