Monday, September 21, 2009

Once upon a time……..

kadalinakkare ponore, kaana ponninu ponore
kadalinakkare ponore, kaana ponninu ponore
poy varumbol enthu kondu varum -- kai niraye
poy varumbol enthu kondu varum
oho..ho.. oho..ho.. oho..ho.. oho..oh..

‘poyi verumbol enthu ondaaki therrum.. vayar niraye ?’…… that was the question Pareekutty asked Karuthamma as he was preparing for a fishing expedition…Karuthamma who was standing demurely behind the coconut tree replied…

‘adhehathinnu fish biriyani undaaki thanaal mathiyoo…’

‘yes Karu darling…that sounds good!! ’ …… Pareekutty replied

Karuthamma holding a palm leaf in her hand timidly stepped towards him ….

‘But kochumuthalaali…. kochumuthalaaliyude Atkins diet enthu aavum……..’

She was worried about kochumuthalaali’s health….After all he was gaining weight these days…

Pareekutty held Karuthamma ‘s hands and said….

‘Atleast not this day karale…namakku fish biriyani adichitttu ee kadalinakkare paadi paadi nadakkam…what say….’

‘Oh chetta…how romantic!!’ Karuthamma mumbled turning her face away shyly with her fingers to her chin…..

Not wanting to waste much time… Pareekutty hurried up to his thoni….It was thundering in the backdrop….. Karuthamma glanced at the rough seas and asked her boyfriend….

“Pakshe chetta….look at the clouds...hear the thunders…and the sea is rough…..”

Karuthamma looked quite worried….but Pareekutty walked ahead unperturbed for he knew it was global warming…..As he was about to launch his thoni to the waters he turned back and yelled in a deep baritone voice…..

‘I ll BE BACK….’

Karuthamma blew a flying a kiss as he faded away into the vast Arabian Sea…

As she was on way back to her hut she went to Foodworld nearby and bought about 1 kilo basmati rice….and ghee… It has been long time since she has made fish biriyani and so she had no choice but to visit a nearby internet café…. There she found a blog by Seenachechi who had written down how to make it… She took a print out and ran home before her dad found her. Once at home she turned on the radio…it came to life….and there was music in Radio Mirchi...

“Maanennum Vilikkilla

That song was not a favourite of hers…she changed the station…..

Maanasamaine varoo… Maanasamaine varoo…

The song touched her heart and no sooner since she finished slicing 6 big onion and 8 green chillies, tears welled up in her eyes…But there was no one to comfort her….After all Kadalamma was her only comfort at times…It was after all kadalamma who gave her both Pareekutty and Salmon which she needed for the Biriyani.. After marinating about 700 gms of Salmon with a paste made of 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste, 4 tsp chilli powder, half teaspoon turmeric, 1tsp pepper, 1 tsp fennel powder, salt and lime juice she rested for sometime…. She picked the nearby Manorama magazine spend reading a story by her favourite author Thakazhi saar for the next 30 min… That’s when she remembered she had to slice the Thakali’s…Wasting no time she sliced 4 tomatoes into thin pieces… But then she was stuck with a big dilemma…But she had no choice…. She immediately set to her parent’s home….


“Entha Karuthammye…..”

“Mummy…enikku alpum kashuvandi theraamo…..”

She immediately went back home collecting 50 gms cashewnut….She was happy to avoid meeting her daddy Chembankunju whom she could not ever forgive….As a reminder of his betrayal there still adorned in her kitchen…the dowry he gave it her hubby….. A LG microwave oven… She put 3 cups of rice along with 6 cups of water, 3 cardamoms, 4 cloves, 2-3 pieces of cinnamon, salt, tsp ghee, bay leaves and a pinch of saffron… She set it to 20 min and fried the fish in the meanwhile… In rhythm to sound of fish getting fried in hot oil she started humming her favourite song…

Pennaale pennaale karimeen kannaale kaanaale
Pennaale pennaale karimeen kannaale kaanaale
Kanni thaamara poomole aha..
Kanni thaamara poomole aha..Pennaale pennaale

She stopped singing coz she could hear a familiar voice humming in the back ground….

Puthan valakkare…puthan valakkare…

“Damn it...” she said…. Any moment Pareekutty would be home….

“Palani chetta… innu chakkara innu povunnu ille…”

Fishing was Palani’s first love...and he was promised fish Biriyani as well when he would be back home…

After frying the onions until brown, karuthamma added 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste to it….And after some time she added 1 tbsp garam Masala, 1 tsp coriander powder, salt and sautéed for sometime.. And finally she added the sliced tomatoes along with coriander leaves and allowed it too cook for a couple of minutes…Once she was sure that the tomatoes were cooked she reduced the flame and added half cup curd to it… And then finally she added the fried fish and allowed it to cook for a couple of minutes…

But meanwhile something was cooking in the deep seas….Pareekutty and Palani were fishing in the same area….It was recipe for a final showdown…. The deep seas and two men fight it out…and both agreed only one man would have the fish Biriyani…

Unaware of it Karuthamma layered the rice and the fish mix on a pan which was coated with ghee…She garnished it with fried cashewnut and coriander leaves….After closing the lid she allowed the whole mix to cook on a low flame for a couple of minutes… She knew the aroma of the Biriyani would go far out into the arabikadal and bring back either of the dudes..

It has been almost 1 hr since she has been waiting… She got worried… Where are they!!!

Then someone knocked the door… She couldn’t bear to know who was it…

“Karuthammyeeeeeee…..” A deep voice echoed……..

She opened the door slowly… Stood in front of her…the man….the man who was her real love…her childhood crush.. The man who deserved the fish Biriyani…

“chettaaaaaaaa……..” karuthamma cried……

The man sniffed the air inside and he knew what was cooking…
karuthammykku fish biriyani ishtamaano…”

“Marikunathu vere…” Karuthamma replied in a shivering voice..
That evening Jayan chettan and Karuthamma had a candlelight dinner at Neendakara….while 2 bodies washed ashore somewhere nearby....

Jayan chettan had a camera which he got after a recent fight with some he took some pics too..

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A thoran and Egg situation…

When I was a little kid and comparatively new to the world of sin and crime, there were occasional instances where I had my brush with unlawful activities….like stealing toffees from the fridge or mom’s wallet….And apparently I was taught by the nuns in sunday class that all you need to confess it during confession to negate any after effects and maintain status quo….So it happened that this jolly good fella confessed one day to the priest…

“achoo….njan mutaayi kattu eduthu”

What followed was a lengthy sermon….

makane…ee mutta eke ellavarkkum vendi ullathu alle…karthavvu orortharkkum arhikumbol mutta kodukkum……”

“but actually achoo….”

“ee thettinnu prayachittam aayittu….”


“entha mone ..nee ethra mutta kattu eduthathu….”

achoo…njan mutta alla eduthathu…muttayyiyaaaaaa….”

I don’t remember what exactly transpired after that…but the achan had a lengthy pause….and I couldn’t stop laughing thinking this priest was assuming that I stole eggs all this time..

But history as is…Following the heartbreaking confession, I took a sudden liking for egg…probably it has to do with the remarkable similarity in shape with numbers that adorned in my progress report…Or it could be due to the fact that I was hen pecked as a little kid to eat more nutritious food… And to this day I have been laying my eyes on any kozhimutta or any kozhi planning to lay one in the vicinity.. To put it simply, Kozhimutta and me is epitome of a harmonious partnership that has withstood the test of time and the only crack in our relation was when I occasionally needed a bulls eye!

Dear readers, while the eggonomic benefits of consuming eggs during recession time should not be overlooked, we have to be careful not to put all eggs in one basket… Every egg has a character and personality of its own. A good egg connoisseur can make out which egg has to be boiled, which one has to be scrambled and which one is bulls eyed. Though only a few aashans are still alive who can claim to possess these skills, our state is lucky since a few in my family are the finest connoisseurs I know…If you think I am joking about how serious we are about eggs, even the place we settled down in Trivandrum was chosen after a lot of considerations, pondering over muttashasthra….at Muttada….

Although the mistake which happened to the priest as mentioned earlier in the post was a linguistic confusion, its true to an extend that humans have affinity to steal eggs. That’s why in Kerala the most reported thefts are eggs especially from kallu shaaps and hostel messes.. Infact people who could steal eggs from our college canteen were looked at with immense respect by juniors and professors alike. People used to line up in the streets to watch these folklore heroes walk up to the nearby restaurant where they sell their prized catches!!

Friends I can write eulogies about egg and its influence in our culture and heritage…but since it’s a food blog I ll rather share with you all a egg dish which was served for the French aristocracy during the times of Napoleon. It’s a exquisite French dish but MAY sound like a Kerala dish….anyways….

Hard boil 6-7 eggs, peel off the skin and slice into small pieces…
Heat vegetable oil on a cooking pan and sauté 3 big onions until they are transparent
Add 1 tsp of ginger-garlic paste, 3 thin sliced green chilies and plenty of curry leaves..
Once the raw smell of ginger is gone and the onions started browning, reduce the heat and add 2 tsp pepper powder, 1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder, 1.5 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp turmeric powder and half tsp garam masala, salt to taste.
Sauté the entire mixture on medium flame until the masala’s are cooked..
Now add the sliced egg and crush it along with the onion mix using a spatula, Allow the egg yolk to get crushed and blend it suitably with the onion-spice mix…
Once the masala’s are coated properly garnish it with coriander leaves and cook in a low flame for 2 min.

The egg thoran is ready and is a lip smacking combo with rice and curd…

I must say it’s a very difficult recipe for people who are not versed with the nuances of cooking food…but maybe all you need is beginner’s egg…err…luck!! :-D