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Archive for August, 2006

Kerala Sambar

Posted by Annita on August 30, 2006

As Onam is approaching,I would like to share some recipes that can be used for Sadya.So thought to start with Sambar itself.Kerala Sambar is very much different from that of its neighbouring states.For us,sambar is also a mixed vegetable dish just like aviyal.My amma usually makes Sambar to finish off the leftover vegetables.

Idli Sambar
Kerala Sambar

The vegetables mostly added to Sambar are the following :

  • Potato
  • Plantain
  • Yam
  • Snake gourd
  • Carrot
  • DrumSticks
  • Okra/Lady’s Finger
  • Beans
  • Cucumber
  • Bottle gourd
  • Ash Gourd
  • Ivy Gourd(Kovakka)
  • Tomato
  • Pumpkin
  • Brinjal etc

You don’t have to get all these vegetables to prepare Sambar.The combination and choice of vegetables is purely according to the chef’s taste.And here’s how i make my Sambar…


Mixed Veggies cut into bite sized pieces – 3-4 cups
(I’ve added 1 potato,1 carrot,1 drumstick,1/2 plantain,1 small brinjal,4 okra,1 tomato ,some ivy gourd,snake gourd ,and a few bottlegourd pieces)
Toor Dal – 1 cup
Sliced Onion – 1/2
Green chillies slit – 2
Tamarind – gooseberry sized ball
Chopped coriander leaves – 2 tsp(Optional)
Asafoetida(Kaayam) – a pinch
Ghee/Oil to add with dal – 1/2 tsp (Optional)

Sambar Masala:-
I don’t use any Sambar Masala.Instead i mix all the following powders and prepare my own sambar masala.

Red chilly powder – 1 tsp
Coriander POwder – 2 tsp
Cumin powder -1/4 tsp(Optional)
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek powder – a pinch

For Popping:-

Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
Red chillies – 3
Curry Leaves – a sprig
Oil – as needed


Soak tamarind in 1/2 cup of warm water for sometime,squeeze and take the extract from it.Keep aside.Cook the dal in a pressure cooker,adding required water,salt,1/2 tsp of ghee/oil,sliced onion and green chillies.When the dal is done ,remove the lid and add in the tamarind juice and asafoetida ,stir and simmer for some more time ,so that the dal is mashed well.Now throw in the cut veggies and cook till they are done adding water if needed.(No need to pressure cook the veggies as it can be over cooked sometimes).Mix in the sambar powder and simmer for 5-10 mts.Check for salt and add if needed.Add chopped coriander leaves and simmer for 2 more mts.Switch off the stove and keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan and allow mustard seeds to splutter.Add red chillies and curry leaves and fry for a minute.Now add the seasoning to the sambar,mix well and serve hot with Idli,Dosa,vada or steamed rice.

Idli Sambar
Sambar served with Idli and Coconut Chutney

See Indira’s three-step process of making Sambar here.


Posted in Dals & Pulses, OnaSadya, Traditional Kerala Dishes, Veg Dishes | 42 Comments »

Onion Chutney

Posted by Annita on August 30, 2006

I’ve tried this Onion Chutney last week.This is used as an accompaniment for various South Indian snacks,but i like it a lot with Idli and Dosa.The recipe is from my favorite Womens magazine ‘Vanitha‘.

Onion Chutney
Onion Chutney served with Dosas

Here’s the recipe..


Chopped Onion – 1/4 cup(I’ve used red onion)
Oil – 1 tbsp
Dried Red Chillies – 4
Ginger – a small piece
Tamarind – gooseberry sized ball
Curry leaves – a few
Salt – as needed


Heat oil in the pan and saute onion till translucent.Mix together sauteed onion and all the other ingredients and grind to a smooth paste. Chutney is ready to be served.

Dosa & Chutney

See more recipes of Onion Chutney from fellow bloggers :-

Krishna and Arjuna’s

My Dhaba’s






Posted in Chutneys & Pickles, Vanitha Recipes | 18 Comments »

Trip to Put-In-Bay

Posted by Annita on August 30, 2006

Put-In-Bay Island

We were out on a vaccation for last few days.We went to Put-In-Bay,a small village located on South Bass Island,Ohio.The island is in Lake Erie,and is only 3 miles long and 1 mile wide.
We hired a golf cart to get around PutinBay,did some water sports like para sailing and jet skiing,spent some time in a small beach,saw a crystal cave,winery etc etc..Altogether we really had fun and my little one enjoyed the beach most.He was so happy that he got more than enough Mac Chicken (from McDonald’s)also,his favorite.

From Putin Bay,we had gone to Chicago,to meet some of our friends.We didn’t get much time in Chicago,but somehow we managed to visit Millenium Park, Navy Pier and ofcourse Devon Street, did some shopping in mallu grocery stores.But unfortunately i forgot about payasam rice,which L.G has mentioned in her blog before.You can see the photos of the trip here.

And i am very happy to see all your mails and enquiries.Many many thanks to you all..

Posted in Others | 3 Comments »

Ulli Theeyal

Posted by Annita on August 22, 2006

Theeyal which means ‘burnt dish’ is a typical kerala dish featuring burnt coconut,and is usually dark brown in color.It gets its color from browning of coconut and also from another ingredient, tamarind.In some parts of kerala,theeyal is included in a traditional sadya menu. I’ve already blogged about Eggplant Theeyal,but this one is my favorite among all Theeyals.But cleaning baby onions is very difficult and it is something which stops me to cook this dish often,it is quite time consuming and can water your eyes too.

Ulli Theeyal
Ulli Theeyal

Here’s the recipe..


Ingredients for Theeyal

Pearl Onions/shallots sliced into thin pieces- 10 – 15 nos
Grated Coconut-1/2 cup
Tamarind -small lemon sized
Red Chilly Powder – 1 tsp
Coriander Powder- 2 tsp
Cumin Powder -1/2 tsp
Pepper Powder -1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder-1/4 tsp
Asafoetida(Kaayam)- a pinch
Fenugreek Powder(Uluvappodi)- a pinch
Mustard Seeds – 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves – a few
Whole red chillies – 2
Sugar -a pinch(optional)
Salt – to taste
Oil – as needed

Soak tamarind in 1/2 cup of warm water and take the extract from it.Heat 1 tsp of oil in a small pan and saute coconut till brown.Add chilly powder,coriander powder,cumin powder,pepper powder and turmeric powder and stir fry till it gives an aroma.Be sure to simmer it, thus preventing masalas from getting burned too much.Keep aside and cool.Grind it to a smooth fine paste.

Browning Coconut
Browning of Coconut & Masalas

Heat 2 tbsp of oil and add mustard seeds,curry leaves and whole red chillies and allow it to splutter.Add shallots,asafoetida,salt and fenugreek powder into it,and saute for a while .Add tamarind extract into it and allow it to boil for 2-3 mts.If necessary add water.Now add the ground paste and sugar into it and simmer for furthur 4-5 minutes.Switch off the stove and serve hot.

Theeyal served with rice
A Nostalgic meal for us

See some more Theeyal recipes from fellow bloggers :-

L.G’s Paavakka Theeyal

Priya’s Ulli Theeyal

Kitchenmate’s Potato Theeyal

Posted in OnaSadya, Traditional Kerala Dishes | 38 Comments »

Chakka Varatti(Jack fruit jam)

Posted by Annita on August 19, 2006

Chakka Varatti -A Jackfruit delicacy which is solely associated with God’s own country.Keralites always prefer locally and seasonally available ingredients like plantains,mangoes, jackfruits,coconut,tapioca etc in their regular diet.Variety of delicious dishes can be made using these simple and commonly available ingredients.

My last visit to home was during monsoon,when Jackfruits are seen in abundance.Jackfruits when tender,can be used to make variety of savory dishes and when ripe,can be eaten as a fruit or for preparing a kind of jam called Chakka Varatti.Fully ripe jackfruit pulps along with jaggery and ghee, are boiled for a long time and stirred to remove the water content, to make a thick black paste which can be preserved for over a year.Again this Chakkavaratti is used as a key ingredient in authentic dishes like Chakka Pradhaman, Kumbilappam and Ela Adai .

Eventhough it’s a day long process that demands much patience ,the end product is simply worth it.Believe me,you wont have to regret about the efforts.Chakka varatti is usually made in a traditional “Uruli”.(preferrably copper or bronze ,but people uses aluminium “Uruli” nowadays as it is quite cheap and popular).See more about Uruli in LG’s blog.

Chakka Varatti
Chakkavaratti without adding coocnut

This is my Amma’s recipe and here it goes..


Chopped Jackfruit
Chopped Jackfruit pulps

Ripe jackfruit pulps chopped fine – 5 cups
Jaggery – 3 cups
Ghee – 1 and 1/2 cup
Grated coconut – 1 and 1/2 cup(Optional)
Water – as needed


Pressure cook jackfruit pulps till soft by adding 1/4 cup of water,and smash it well using a spatula.Then grind it to a smooth paste in a blender,but it is again optional.If you like small pieces in your’varatti’,you dont have to do the grinding part.My amma never does this,but some kind of jackfruits with hard pulps,cannot be smashed easily,then you’ll be forced to do the grinding.

Take jaggery in another pan and melt it by adding little water.Filter and remove any stones from the jaggery liquid.Mix in the jaggery into the smashed jackfruit and turn on the stove.Allow the mixture to cook on medium-low heat till the water is reduced.Add one tsp of ghee and grated coconut ,and stir it again.

Chakka Varatti in progress
Cooking Jackfruit & Jaggery mixture

Remember to stir continuosly and not to increase the heat,to prevent it from sticking to the vessel.Add 1 tsp of ghee,whenever it starts to stick,probably in every 15 mts.Continue the process,until you get a dark brown colored,thick and tight jam.Allow it to cool naturally and keep it in a dry air-tight container. This can be stored for 2 weeks in refrigerator.

For longer shelf life,omit grated coconut from the recipe and make the jam real thick,so that all the water content is removed.If properly kept in an air tight container(with no water) in the refrigerator,this stays for atleast 6 months.You can add grated coconut as and when you consume it.

Chakka Varatti

P.S:-You guessed right,I dont get good jackfruits here and photos are taken in my home.My amma prepared Chakka Varatti for me to carry along after my vacation.She hoped it’ll stay for a year,and its all over within 2 months.

Posted in Desserts & Cakes, Fruit Dishes, Jams, Traditional Kerala Dishes | 33 Comments »