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Meen Vaatti Pattichathu

Posted by Annita on October 8, 2008

This fish curry reminds me of my Ammachi (Grandmother) and my ancestoral home in Cherthala. Cherthala is a small coastal town in Alleppy District ,Kerala which is blessed with coconut trees,backwaters and lots of fishes.

Enjoy more pictures of Cherthala here.

We used to get fresh water fishes in abundance there ,and so the fish deliccacies were always prepared with Karimeen aka Pearl Spot only.My Ammachi used to prepare wide variety of dishes with Karimeen,and this is just one among them.

(The above pictures are taken during my last visit to India-curry prepared by my Ammachi using Pomfret)

But now,Karimeen is in high demand and is one of the most pricy fish in Kerala.It is difficult to get fresh Karimeeens like it was before,and even if we could find some,it would be rather expensive and we cannot afford to have it for everyday meals.So we are forced to swallow our pride, and start enjoying many Karimeen deliccacies with other fishes like Pomfret(Aavoli),King fish(Neymeen) etc.And here in U.S i’ve come down furthur and prepared this with even Tilapia fillets.

Here goes my grandma’s recipe of Karimeen Vaatti Pattichathu (with Tilapia)…..

Ingredients :-

Fish cut into small pieces – 1/2 kg
(If using Karimeen,cut each fish into 2 or 3 pieces depending on the size of fish)
Shallots (kunjulli) – 2 cups
Ginger – 1 tbsp
Garlic – 3 big cloves
Green Chillies – 4 or 5
Chilly Flakes (Unakka mulaku chathachathu)-1 tsp
Gamboge(Kodam puli ) – 3
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Thin coconut milk – 1 cup
Thick coconut milk – 1/4 cup
(If using canned milk,always dilute it by adding enough water,for both thin and thick milk)
Curry leaves – 1 or 2 sprigs
Coconut Oil – for sauteing + 1 tsp for garnishing(Optional)
Salt – to taste

Method :-

Soak KudamPuli in 1/4 cup of salt water and keep aside.Crush shallots,ginger,garlic and green chillies together and keep it aside too.

Heat coconut oil in a pan preferrably in a Manchatti,add half of the curry leaves and crushed ingredients along with chilly flakes,saute it for 2-3 minutes in medium heat.Do not let the shallots brown.Stir in turmeric powder and mix everything together.

Now add the kudampuli along with the water ,stir and let it boil.Gently arrange the fish pieces on the bottom of the pan and pour in the thin coconut milk.

Cover it with a lid and let the fish cook in the coconut milk.When it is done,add thick coconut milk,gently mix it and switch off the stove.Add rest of the curry leaves and 1 tsp coconut oil to garnish.Cover and keep it undisturbed for half an hour.Serve with rice/roti.

(This is prepared by me using Tilapia fillets.By looking at the picture itself you could make out that my version pales in comparison .)

Note :- You can completely avoid coconut milk and prepare this in water too.It goes well with rice.


Posted in Lil' Milan's Choice, Seafood, Traditional Kerala Dishes | 12 Comments »

Rava Idly

Posted by Annita on August 26, 2008

Its been a long time since i’ve posted any kids special dishes.So here it goes, my little guy loves this for breakfast.

Rava Idly is not a popular dish in Kerala,but this is a much easier and healthier version compared to plain iddlis.Rava or semolina lightly sauteed in oil is mixed with chopped veggies,grated coconut and curd ,allow to sit for 30 mins and then cook in steam.Serve it with any type of chutneys.

Ingredients :-

Rava/Semolina – 2 cups
Finely chopped or grated veggies – 1 cup
(I use carrots,tomatoes,beans,potatoes,spinach etc)
Turmeric Powder (Optional) – 1/4 tsp
Curd/Yoghurt – 1 cup
Grated coconut – 1/4 cup
Coriander leaves chopped (Optional) – as needed
Baking soda – a pinch
Cashews (Optional) – 10 – 12

Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Urad dal – 1 tsp
Asafoetida(Kaayam) – 1/4 tsp
Green chillies chopped – 4-5
Grated ginger – 1 tsp
Curry leaves chopped – a sprig
Salt – to taste
Oil/Ghee – as needed


Heat oil/ghee in a a pan and allow mustard seeds to splutter.Add asafoetida into it,then add urad dal,ginger,green chillies and curry leaves.Stir for a while and add rava into it.Turn the heat to medium and keep stirring it until the rava is roasted.Turn off the heat and allow it to cool.
Add the veggies,curd,coconut,coriander leaves,baking soda and salt and mix well.You can add little more water/curd to get the consistency of the normal idly batter.Allow it to sit for 30 minutes.
Grease the idly plates and keep 1-2 cashews inside each plate and pour batter over the cashews,just like you pour idly batter.Steam cook it for 10 – 15 mts on medium flame.Allow it to cool in the rack for few minutes and then carefully lift it with a spatula and serve with your favorite chutney.

Posted in Breakfast Dishes, Lil' Milan's Choice | 11 Comments »

Vaazhakka Upperi/Plantain Chips

Posted by Annita on August 19, 2008

Vaazhakka Upperi or Plantain chips is a popular snack from Kerala and is an important item in a traditional Sadya.The preparation is quite simple,raw green plantains cut into thin slices are deep fried in coconut oil until crispy,adding only salt and turmeric.

Here goes the detailed recipe..

Ingredients :-

Raw green plantains – 2
Turmeric powder (Optional)- 1/4 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Oil – as needed

Method :-

Peel the plantains,wash them and immerse in water for sometime.Now take a bowl with 1/2 cup of water and add turmeric powder and salt into it.Mix well and keep it aside.

Heat coconut oil in a medium heat.Please make sure that you fill only the half of the wok.

Take 1 plantain out of the water,pat them dry using a clean towel and then cut it into thin slices using a knife or a kitchen slicer.Gently seperate the slices and keep it aside.Alternatively you can slice it directly into hot oil with a slicer.

Throw one slice into the wok and see whether the oil is bubbling.If so ,then throw the rest of the slices into it.Do not overcrowd the pan, you can fry them in batches depending on the size of the wok you’re using. Gently stir them inside the oil using a slotted stainless steel spoon.

Alow it to cook for 2-3 minutes stirring in between.It will start to make a peculiar sound when it turns crisp.Now sprinkle the reserved turmeric water into the oil.It will make a bubbling noise and the oil might come up a little(this is why you should not fill the wok fully with oil),dont be scared,just move away from the stove.Also you can cover it with a lid if you want to.

When the bubbles are almost settled,you’ll hear that crispy sound again.Gently stir it and carefully remove them from oil onto a paper towel to drain the oil.Check for salt and yellow color ,and if needed you can add more to the turmeric water accordingly. Repeat the same procedure for other batches too.

When they are completely cooled,store them in an airtight container.

Posted in Lil' Milan's Choice, OnaSadya, Snacks & Appetizers, Traditional Kerala Dishes | 18 Comments »


Posted by Annita on July 15, 2008

I’ve been getting so many requests to post a recipe for Vattayappam.So here it comes…

Back in my home,this is a regular tea time snack,but i’ve seen families serving this for breakfast along with Fish molly ,spicy curries ,stews etc.

Ingredients :-

Raw rice – 2 cups
Cooked rice (preferabbly rosematta rice cooked ) – 1 cup
Grated coconut – 1 cup
Yeast – 1/2 tsp
Sugar – 1/4 cup or use it accordingly
Salt – a pinch
Roasted Cashews and Raisins – as needed (Optional)
Cardamom powder – a pinch (Optional :-Personally,I like it better without this)

Method :-

Soak the rice in water for 5-6 hours and drain it. Grind this with grated coconut,sugar and cooked rice adding just enough water to a smooth batter.Be careful while adding water,the batter should not be very watery,it has to be in the consistency of idly batter.Add the yeast and salt and mix well together.Cover it with a lid and keep it in a warm place for 8 – 10 hrs to ferment.

Just before preparing,check for the sugar and also add cardamom powder if you’re using it.Gently stir it and keep it aside.Grease a flat pan or idly mould with little oil and spoon in the fermented batter.Top it with cashews and raisins.

Steam it for 15 mts in a medium heat or until it is done.

Allow it to cool in the pan for 20 mts and gently take it out .

Tip :- For soft vattayappams,carefully spoon only the foamy part from the top of the fermented batter into the pan.Stir the rest of the batter well and again allow it to ferment.With 20- 25 mts,it will ferment again and you’ll get a foamy batter on top.

Check out Maria’s Vattayappam here

Update :- Instead of sugar,you can also use jaggery.Just heat the jaggery adding little amount of water and allow it to melt completly.Pour it through a sieve and collect the melted jaggery in a bowl.Allow it to cool and then add it to the batter .Again be careful about the consistency of the batter,it should be similar to idly batter.

Posted in Breakfast Dishes, Lil' Milan's Choice, Snacks & Appetizers, Traditional Kerala Dishes | 56 Comments »

Elmo Cake

Posted by Annita on July 8, 2008


My little boy turned 4 last week.And this time he wanted an “ELMO” cake.He’s not a great elmo fan,still he asked for it.Donno why…Kids..ah..they keep on changing their likings .

But i was not prepared for an elmo cake and i got only little time to plan something.So the easiest thing was to get a character cake pan. Personally,i don’t prefer character cake pans .If we could borrow them from someone,then its fine .Otherwise they are waste of money,how many elmo cakes are we going to bake ?

Anyway this cake is baked in a Wilton Elmo Face Cake Pan and is piped with hairs using Icing tip #233

I baked 2 elmo cakes and filled them with buttercream icing .

Check Sesame street cakes and leran how to make an elmo cake.

Simple White Cake

Ingredients :

All purpose flour(Maida) – 1 and 1/2 cups
Baking powder – 1 and 3/4 tsps
White sugar  – 1 cup
Unsalted Butter – 1/2 cup
Eggs – 2 large
Vanilla Extract – 2 tsps
Milk – 1/2 cup

(Note : All the ingredients have to be in the room temperature.)

Sift together flour and baking powder and keep it aside.Preheat oven to 350 F and grease and flour a 9X9 inch cake pan.

Take a bowl and beat together sugar and butter until creamy.Beat in the eggs one by one,then stir in vanilla. Add the flour to the creamed mixture and mix them together.Finally stir in the milk until you get a smooth batter.

Pour it to the greased cake pan and bake for 30 -0 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.Cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then gently tap into the cooling rack.

Recipe adapted from All

Posted in Cake Decoration, Desserts & Cakes, Learning Series, Lil' Milan's Choice, Uncategorized | 9 Comments »