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

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Happy Ramzan to all of you!!
dedidcating this fav song of mine to all...

sorry folks...i just realised the song link i put here was not the one i intended..;-P

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Exotica Hamburg la Eggplant dé Soufflé mit Potato gratin

Well…Friends today I am going to explain how a marvelous vegetarian dish was recently made at my state of the art Italian err German kitchen…The Brinjal dish which was made with exquisite care and fineness will surely make any vegetarian go green with happiness for a change…It might look similar to Baingan ka Barthavu and yet taste different.. For my English speaking readers from Europe, Asia-Pacific and Americas…Baingan ka Barthavu is a famous Indian dish roughly translated as ‘The Husband of the Baingan’…Legend as is the name comes during a swayamvar ceremony in 1632 BC a lady from Lucknow called Baingan Sawant told the audience who had to come to attend the show that she would marry a Brinjal rather than the idiots who had come to attend the contest…The news spread like wildfire was a popular tweet those days and it became a part of folklore to make fun of men who were voted out of swayamvar contest those days…

In streets of Lucknow, ladies used to pass snide comments…

“Look there goes a wannabe Baingan ka Barthavu” …hihihi…

The dish I am going to explain has been christened as “Exotica Hamburg la Eggplant dé Soufflé mit Potato gratin” or in other words Brinjal curry.

Brinjal is one veggie like Capsicum which has different names in different parts of the world…Some call it eggplant though scientist have proved that the brinjal is pure vegetarian and has no egg yolk in it…and other like my dad might call it Solanum melongena after all the biologist in him never gives away… Infact given a chance he would go to the palayam market and teach all the vegetable vendors out there that its not pavakka or padavalanga, but rather Momordica charantia and Trichosanthes cucumerina ……. Its only due to the blessings of Velankanni mathaavu that he has not attempted to do the same so far…And it is no solace that the merchants in palayam market are fine exponents of malayalam literature which when spoken with a good tenor and passion can be lethal…Infact the Martyrs column nearby was built in honour of people who tried bargaining with fish sellers inside the market several decades ago.

The Brinjal or rather the eggplants which I get here are much bigger than the ones we get in India...
What appeals me most about brinjal is its super-utility ….It can be fried…it can be can be smashed…it can be made as a curry…it can be used for juggling….

Btw an interesting info for readers which I got in wiki….

“On consuming 9 kilos of brinjal you take as much nicotine in your body as in one cigarette…”

Quite interesting info isn’t… I have been trying very hard to spread this news to unsuspecting people…;-P

I like making Brinjal curry mainly coz it’s easy to cut into small pieces and don’t require any peeling…Secondly Brinjal curry goes well with rice and curd and is a dish to prepare when I am too lazy to prepare something non-vegetarian…I have decided to make a movie sometime in the future considering the deep respect I have for it….tentatively titled.. “There’s something about Brinjal”

Readers would be informed shortly about the release date of the movie as negotiations are on going with the actors…The lead actors are apparently having a busy calendar and I have myself pitched into the negotiation table…Let us hope for the best!!

I followed the recipe as told by the most famous chef in youtube…Though I did my own additions like adding potatoes and adding garam masala to make it a tad spicier…The curry turned out really good and it’s rare that for a veg dish we are left wanting for more…this was an exception…

Aaah...before ending the post I couldn’t resist sharing the pic of a fish curry made recently…it turned out nice and I missed some kappa and kallu to go with it! :-(

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Yeh Dil Maange Moru!!

What has to be one of the most popular catch phrases in the early 90’s, it is no secret the ad gurus created the punch line after the famous bollywood actor had come down to my place and was treated to a nice oonu with lots of curries…And usually the last curry for a typical naadan meal would be our humble moru curry…Shah Rukh was so impressed that day that he told me...

’Yeh Dil Maange Moru’

Poor guy I thought… and I kept serving the moru until he was so full that after 4 rounds of chooru moru and kadumaanga pickle, he got all sentimental:-

‘Bade Bade Deshon Mein, Aisi Choti Choti..uh..sorry..“

Shahrukh suddenly looked so distraught and tears welled in his eyes like in Devdas.....his voice quivered like in Darr...

“kk.kkk.kk..kya boolu .what I really want to say is….. this curry is so awesome ...“

Later as well all know some ad guy who was there for lunch sold the line to Pepsi and raked in all the money. But the history of Moru dates back to a village in US called Baltimoru where once a caveman invented this classic dish by twist of fate. ..There is a intriguing story that links the past and the present.

Based on studies conducted on the cave paintings archaeologist have found the origin of the curry. It had happened that a Caveman by the name Sasi Kazhakuttom did not manage a kill one particular night. The furious wife and cavewoman Mrs. Gloria Fernandez (she was half Mexican) scolded the poor hunting skills of her hubby and hollered how they are going to feed their 32 kids that night. Sasi was heartbroken and timidly walked out of the cave…He went to the hilltop nearby and shouted at the sun god..

‘thilothomia thilothomia…why on earth did you do this to me!!’

But the sun just kept shining like as usual and Sasi trotted back home…but he knew it would not be glorious to meet Gloria under current circumstances. Back in those times it was legally possible in the state of Baltimooru for the wife to file for divorce if the husband did not bring atleast one wild boar for dinner every night. Sasi was heartbroken and could not imagine a life without his wife and 32 kids (20 of which he could remember by name).

Desperately Sasi decided to visit the chief priest S.R. Kattabomman and ask him for a solution to maintain harmony in the family. S.R.K was a very wise man…a man of knowledge…a man who was known to have magic powers from years of meditation.

When Sasi told SRK his sad tale he felt sympathetic towards him. He wanted to help him by giving the secret formula which would keep Gloria happy ever after. But there was the curse of the pagan gods that would kill SRK if he ever disclosed the formula to anyone. And thus SRK did the supreme sacrifice by sharing the recipe of Moru curry to Sasi for the greater good. In a dramatic heart wrenching moment while SRK was losing consciousness ,Sasi promised that he would never forget this noble deed and he swore to pray for his return to life. SRK passed away peacefully due to the curse of the then powerful god Coca Cola.

Sasi ran to his home in slow motion and made the moru curry using the secret formula which was passed on to him. In honour of SRK he immediately spread the word of Mooru curry to make it popular and even uploaded the recipe in from where this author got the recipe.

The lip smacking Moru curry with rice and pickle was served that night at the Cave instead of the usual steak. Gloria and the 32 kids were content and Sasi was finally smiling ….A family disaster averted and peace restored.

Several several centuries later.

Moru curry was by now popular throughout the world….it had spread wide across to places as far as Kerala, Tamil Nadu...etc….And one day when a Sasi Junior had gone to the movies the karma of what happened several 1000 years ago unfolded in front of him in a dramatic climax. As the movie Karan Arjun moved to the final scenes and SK and SRK met face to face...there was a drop of tear in Sasi’s eyes… was sign of a prophesy that came true….

*Salman Khan is supposed to have a uncanny resemblance to Sasi Kazhakuttom.
*SRK is believed to be a direct descendant of S.R Kattabomman and Pepsi had adopted the line Yeh Dil Maange Moru in honour of the legend from Baltimooru.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

April showers bring Cauliflowers!

Its spring time and you can see flowers every where…..The city looks now at its beautiful best…blue skies…long sunshine hours….green promenades….gardens with myriad colors…..And the only blemish on an otherwise great day was our landlady who was coming down to say that she is not happy with our gardening skills in the humble balcony of ours…..So that day she told me…

“Mathew….it is high time you remove the weed out and plant some flowers!”

Flowers….and me…haa…

Now that she was insisting I took out the cauliflowers from the refrigerator and adorned our balcony with it…It’s a pretty sight for onlookers walking by and the neighbors are jealous coz everyone is looking at my cauliflowers instead of Tulips and Dahlia’s which they meticulously had grown for springtime…Art enthusiasts drop by and stare from the streets towards my balcony trying to identify the hidden meanings in the piece of modern symbolic art as they see it as…

Cauliflower in the midst of tulips….very eclectic design…

It did not take much time for me to realize that people don’t appreciate cauliflower in flowerpots…people these days don’t have any sense of taste!!

Talking of taste I was informed by my roomie that this idea may invite the wrath of Neo-Nazi’s and the Ku Klux Klan who may not have any clue about my artistic intents…And rather his all day kvetching forced me to take them to where it belongs…to the kitchen.

Cauliflower is not a typical south Indian vegetable…infact it’s not even Asian and is more caucasian in nature…white and tastes bland…But it was not until discovered by Gopi in 1623 the vegetable became a hit in Indian cuisine…Things have come a long way since then….Gobi Masala is like naan and butter for every Punjabi now…

So this recipe which I got from YouTube is as follows...

*Boil the cauliflower florets in water for 10 min after slicing them into small pieces..
*Meanwhile in 3-4 tsp of oil crack mustards and jeera…
*And then sauté 3 thinly sliced onions 3 green chilies and few curry leaves
*Once they are transparent add 2 sliced tomatoes to it and keep sautéing the mix.
*After a few min add 1 tbsp of ginger garlic paste and keep sautéing.
*And once the tomatoes are cooked add 1 tsp turmeric, 2 tsp chilly powder and salt to taste…
*Once the raw smell is gone add the semi-cooked cauliflowers minus the water to it…
*Allow the Masala to coat well over the florets and after a few min add 1.5 tsp of coriander powder, mix well and cover the lid for a few min…
*Now open and add to it half a cup of water and mix well again…
*Allow it to cook for 10 min or until the cauliflower is sufficiently cooked while stirring it occasionally..
*Garnish it with coriander leaves in the end before serving it with piping hot chapattis... ;-D

And though as a consequence today when I look at my balcony I feel sorry for myself….it now sports tulips and dahlia’s... far from the once glorious veggie garden I had… and no necks turn as passerby's walk by…what a shame!! :(

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rajma aur Sherry!!

Few years ago I was completely ignorant about north Indian cuisine…Even during college time, the only north Indian dish I knew was Butter chicken which is now quite pan-Indian. Its so popular at restaurants in Trivandrum that this sardar I know says, a few minutes at Kalavara restaurant reminds of his paaji in Jalandhar. Even the cook out there is called Cherian Singh!

And after getting acquainted with many friends from north, I became familiar with things like Paratha…palak paneer…dahi vada….gajar ka halwa….The problem with this kind of naming is that they wouldn’t possibly be able to name something like Avial !!

Though I enjoyed these delicacies, I never really ventured into cooking any of em myself.. So last week I decided to make a typical north Indian dish called Rajma masala…Talking of Rajma, I was not familiar with this dish either…Imagine a few years ago, if someone actually quipped from the kitchen..

’Do you know where is Rajma’

I would have said...’I have no idea…I don’t even know her!!’

Rajma was simply a girl’s name for me …like in Rajma Chowdhary or something.

So it was with much apprehension when I saw Rajma for the first time at Dostana supermarket in Hamburg...Popular know as kidney beans this is supposedly be very healthy which made me extra cautious coz I have strange medical condition of being allergic to such food…But on that instance, I didn’t care much and ‘transplanted’ the kidney beans to my shopping cart. I reaching home carrying approximately 500 such kidney beans that evening. The racket was soon busted when my roommate saw the 500 kidney beans hidden behind the shelves and he asked me the dreaded question that a man would fear most at such times.

‘Do you have any idea what to do with this stuff?’

You know, there are the times when you simply wish that a meteor would pass by so that you could divert the topic. But that day I couldn’t count on my luck for such possibilities and had to rely on the life saver of our times, the internet.

I searched in youtube and found a beautiful Pakistani lady making Rajma masala. After watching that for approx 10 min, I saw another Pakistani girl doing the same…and then another……Since I found it very interesting I began searching in youtube for “Pakistani girls making Rajma masala”…Finally I realized that youtube is the wrong place for searching recipes and decided on regular websites…Again I ended up mixing several recipes to suite my taste. So this a mix all recipe.

The problem here is that if you want to make this curry today, you have to start thinking of it yesterday and keep the beans soaked in water overnight…In other words you should be a far-sighted person to make this curry…and you need a vision and immaculate planning!! Such remarkable qualities enable you to make this wonderful dish…I did it!! hic...hic….;-D

Pressure cook the beans(abt 300 gms) along with 2 tbsp of toor dal for around 5-6 whistles…

Heat oil in a pan and do the usual thing with mustards and jeera….add 1-2 red chilies as well.
Sauté the onions(sliced thin 3 nos) along with 2 green chilies until sufficiently fried and add the ginger-garlic paste(3 tsp)...Now add 2 cardamoms, 3 cloves and 1” piece of cinnamon…Once the raw smell goes, add a paste of 3 tsp of coriander powder, 1tsp turmeric, 1tsp pepper powder and half tsp red chilly powder with 2 tbsp of water to avoid the masala’s getting burned. After 2 min add the sliced tomatoes(2 nos) and allow it to cook…When the oil starts separating out and the mixture of onion and tomatoes are smashed properly. Add salt to taste and a pinch of garam masala…Now reduce the flame and add 2 tbsp of curd to it….Finally add the cooked Rajma along with water remaining in the pressure cooker and cover the lid for 5-10 min or until the masala mix has blended well with the Rajma…Check the spice and salt level and adjust maadi accordingly!!

I thought the curry came out decently well...infact way beyond my other words this time I haven’t accumulated miles unlike the last time when the kadala curry created a record of sorts by earning me 10000 miles in a span of few days….and a frequent flier card to the loo!!

P.S. The chappatti is ready made...