Archive for the ‘Kerala Cooking’ Category

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Only few hours left to catch a flight, to come back to the US. My baggages were a few pounds less than the weight allowance. Quickly took an auto rickshaw to Ambika Appalam Depot in Mylapore http://www.ambikaappalamdepot.com/. Grabbed few papads,vathals, dry powders and also grabbed a packet of Palada(Rice ada). Have heard a lot about Palada Pradhaman, but haven’t tried it myself. Decided to try it out on my daughter’s birthday and it was a blockbuster hit. My husband fell in love with me all over again. Believe me. It was that good!

Ingredients:                                        Palada

  • Whole Milk- 21/2 cup.
  • Palada (Rice ada)- 1/2 cup.
  • Cane sugar- 1/2 cup.
  • Cardamom powder- 1/4 tsp.
  • Ghee- 2 tsp.
  • Cashew nuts- 5.





  1. Soak rice ada  in hot water for 10 minutes and rinse it off with cold running water.                                                                                 
  2. Pressure cook Rice ada with milk until 1 whistle.
  3. The cooked ada turns into a beautiful pale pink color.
  4. Add Sugar, cardamom powder to the pan with cooked ada.
  5. Let it be on the stove top for 20-25 minutes until it becomes thick.
  6. Heat ghee and roast cashews and add it to the payasam.
  7. Can be served warm or chilled.


  • The kerala grocery stores or Patel brothers in the US should carry palada.
  • Rice ada can be cooked straight in the pan without using the pressure cooker also.
Palada Pradhaman

Palada Pradhaman

 Posting this recipe for “Fall in Love with Milk” event. Love to dedicate this dish to my husband, coz he becomes the first prey for all the things I cook. LOL!

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Morekuzhambu is a traditional dish from Tamil Nadu/Kerala, made with buttermilk, coconut and indian spices. It is a dish that is very popular in the weddings and festivals. I would make this for Sunday lunch, along with vegetable dishes that would go with morekuzhambu, so we can enjoy this on a more relaxing day and may be have a short nap after the meal. Sounds good Huh? Cooking 013 

Cooking 014






Cooking 015


  • Chayote or Chow Chow-2.
  • Thick curd-1 1/2cup.
  • Shredded Coconut- 1/2 cup.
  • Ginger- 2 inch piece.
  • Green chillies-3.
  • Cumin seeds-1tsp.
  • Channa Dhal-1/2 cup.
  • Coconut Oil or Vegetable oil-1tsp.
  • Mustard seeds-1 tsp.                                                                                               
  • Methi seeds-1/2 tsp.                                                                                               
  • Red chilly-1.
  • Asafoetida-a pinch.                                                                                   
  • Salt-to taste.
  • Turmeric -a pinch-(optional).
  • Curry leaves-1 arc.


  1. Soak Channa dhal in hot water for 5 minutes.
  2. Peel and cut Chow Chow into small cubes.
  3. Whip the curd with a little water to make buttermilk.
  4. Boil the vegetable with very less water in a cooking pan.
  5. Grind Soaked channa dhal, coconuts, jeera (Cumin), green chillies, ginger to a paste.
  6. Mix the above to buttermilk, add salt, turmeric and add to boiled vegetable in the cooking pan.
  7. Reduce the heat and use a ladle to mix well every now and then, so the buttermilk doesn’t disintegrate.
  8. When it becomes frothy, turn the heat off.
  9. Keep a small seasoning pan, add oil, mustard seeds.
  10. When mustard seeds splatter, quickly add methi seeds, red chillies, curry leaves, asafoetida and add it to the morekuzhambu.
  11. Serve with Hot White Rice.


  • In health perspective, the amount of coconuts can be reduced and channa dhal can be increased. 2 spoonfuls of coconut can be added, not to compromise the originality of the recipe.
  • While adding curry leaves to the seasoning pan, stand a little far, because curry leaves will splatter from the water content.
  • Adding turmeric is purely optional. Some people like morekuzhambu to have white color. I like adding turmeric. Besides giving a rich color to the dish, it also has antibacterial properties.
  • Other popular vegetables that can be used to make morekuzhambu are Okras-ladies finger-have to be sauted in oil and added, white pumpkin, drumstick, potato, Taro or Sivapankizhangu or colocasia.

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“Maligapoo Madiri”- is an expression used to describe idlis which are as soft as a Jasmine flower. Yes,this is the Most famous dish of south India that is as soft as a jasmine and melts in your mouth. There is no household that would not make this dish. It’s a typical breakfast dish that  is easy to make, provided the dough is ready. Some households have this as a staple breakfast. It’s such a comfort food, even when somebody falls sick or running a  fever, they would be allowed to  have Idli’s because, its so easy to digest. This is one of the dishes, that is appealing to both kids and adults.

Ultra table top grinder


I have a lot of North Indian friends and friends from East and West India, that always ask me “how to make Idlis? “Things that are simple to me could be of interest to others. So, thought, why not post the very famous Idli. Idli’s range from Kanjeevaram,menthya idli, plain rice idli to Kushboo Idlis. I am going to be posting the simple regular Idli. Idli preparation needs some prior planning. The rice and Urad dhal has to be soaked for 8-9 hrs and ground to paste and allowed to ferment. So, if you are planning to make Idlis tomorrow, you have to start the preparation today. But  when the dough is ready, Idlis can be made in a snap!                                                                   

Idli Steamer

Idli Steamer


  1. Preboiled Rice -Idli rice or Idli Rava-3cups.
  2. Whole Urad Dhal-white-1 cup.
  3. Salt-1tspn. 


  1. Soak  rice and urad dhal  for 8-9 hrs.
  2. Grind them to a smooth paste with salt added to it. 
  3. Allow it to ferment- if required  a little yeast can be added in the winter time.
  4. Use the top layer of the fermented dough for Idlis and the bottom layer can be used for Dosas.
  5. The Idli plates can be coated with a little oil , so Idlis come out without sticking.
  6. Steam the idlis in a idli plate in a cooker.
  7. To check if the idlis are done, just take a small spoon and insert in the center.If it comes out clean, the idlis are done. You can also tell the idlis are done with the aroma.
  8. Enjoy them with a drop pf gingelly oil and milaga podi-or idli podi , chutney and sambar.     

Idli Milagapodi recipe from my Mom     

  • Channa Dhal-1/2 cup. 
  • Urad dhal-1/2 cup.
  • Dry red chillies-2cups.
  • Black sesame seeds-2 tsp.
  • Salt-2tspn.
  • Asafoetida-1tspn. 

Keep a little gingelly oil in a pan-roast all the ingredients. Sesame can be added at last.Grind them to a coarse powder and store in a container. Use it with gingelly oil.

I got both Idli grinder and steamer from the US.

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Malabar Adai

Adai is one of this wholesome tiffin dishes that is very filling and healthy. It’s rich in protein from the lentils that are used. It’s easy to prepare. My daughter loves to eat this with sugar and ghee. My husband and I enjoy eating this with Avial,Jaggery and a dollop of butter.


  • Rice- 1/2 cup.
  • Preboiled rice-1/2 cup.
  • Thoor Dhal-1/4 cup.
  • Channa Dhal- 1/2 cup.
  • Urad Dhal-whole-1/4 cup.
  • Dried Red Chillies-3.
  • Salt to taste.
  • Asafoetida(Hing)-a pinch.
  • Finely chopped onions.
  • Curry leaves-1 arc.
  • Coconut scrapes-2 tbsp.


  1. Soak the Rice and Dhals for about 2-3 hrs.
  2. Coarsely grind it in a mixer with salt, asafoetida,red chillies.
  3. You can allow it to ferment, if a slight sour taste is required.
  4. Add coconut scrapes,chopped onions and curry leaves just before cooking.
  5. Add water just enough, so the batter becomes easy to handle and pour in a flat pan.
  6. Heat the pan in medium heat and pour the batter with a ladle and make it into a round.
  7. You can make 2 or 3 small holes randomly in the adai, so it gets cooked evenly.
  8. Add oil on the sides and the holes you made,and turn when the bottom looks golden brown.
  9. Let the other side cook well and serve with side dishes shown in the picture.

Note: Other veggies that can be used are cabbage,carrots instead of onions. I usually do plain for my daughter, as she doesn’t like onions in them.

Can also be served with Chutney if desired.

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Avial is a traditional dish of Kerala. It is a very tasty and healthy dish, as it contains lots of vegetables. My mother used to cook this a lot. Whenever she does avial, she would also make plain thur dhaal, so we can have parupu saadham with a drop of ghee with avial side. And she would make the avial little dilute, so we can have avial mixed with rice-with lemon pickle as side.

Avial veggies Vegetables Used: Clockwise

Carrots, beans,potatoes,White pumpkin,Raw bananas,Avaraikai-broad beans,chakottai-jackfruit seeds,Chowchow-chayote,Drumsticks.

Other vegetables that may be used in avial preparations:

Raw mango pieces,Orange pumpkin,Cluster beans-kothavaranga, suran-senaikizhangu or  malabar Yam.


  • Vegetables peeled and chopped lengthwise into 1 1/2 inch pieces-3/4th cup in each variety.
  • Coconut oil-3tbl sps.
  • Curry leaves-1string.
  • Fresh thick Curd-1/2 cup.
  • Salt to taste.
  • A pinch of turmeric.(optional).

Grind to a paste

  • Grated fresh coconut-1 cup.
  • Cumin seeds-11/2 tsp.(optional).
  • green chillies-6 or depending on your spice level.
  • Raw rice- 1tsp-soaked in water-for better consistency.(optional).


  1. Keep a wide pan with a little water in heat.
  2. I would start by putting drumsticks first, allow it to cook for 3 or 4 min, followed by carrots, broad beans, beans etc. I would add soft vegetables like potato in the last-so all the vegetables are evenly cooked.
  3. Mix the ground paste to whipped curds, with a pinch of turmeric and salt and add it when the vegetables, when theyare about to be done.
  4. Reduce the flame and stir the gravy occasionally, so the curds don’t disintegrate
  5. Garnish with curry leaves just before removing it from heat.
  6. Pour warm coconut oil over and avial and cover it, so the aroma doesn’t escape.

Note: Avial  is a customary side  dish for Malabar adai. Can be done with 4 or 5 vegetables also.

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Chakka Pradhaman

This is my first post. I would like to start with a sweet note. My Cousin Harini visited me from Texas after finishing her graduation. I was planning something sweet for her, for having completed her studies successfully. I asked her what would she like me, to cook for her. The first thing that came out of her mouth was- “induka, I want chakka pradhaman”. Wow, what a choice!. That was one of my all time favorites.

My grand mom hails from palakad. She used to make this for us, which would be heavenly. Since we don’t get fresh chakka here in the US, I got the tinned chakka(Jackfruit cholai-pieces). Here is how I made it.



  • Ripe Jackfruit- 10 numbers.
  • Coconut milk – 3/4 Cup.
  • Coconuts shredded-1/4 cup.
  • Grated Jaggery(Vellam)-3/4 to 1 Cup( depending on how sweet you want it).
  • Ghee-11/2 tsps.
  • Cardamom powder-1/4 tsps.
  • Sliced Cashewnuts.
  • Chopped Almonds.




  1. Grind coconut with little water and take extract coconut extract.
  2. Chop jackfruits into very small pieces.
  3. Heat 1 cup water in a vessel.when it starts boiling,add jackfruit pieces and cook till it becomes soft.
  4. Add jaggery and let it melt completely and add cardamom.
  5. Now add the coconut milk along with little( regular milk if required).
  6. Fry cashew nuts and chopped almonds in ghee and garnish.
  7. When a nice aroma comes from payasam and its thickened, remove from heat.
  8. Can be served warm. Best tastes chilled.

Note: I personally grind the jackfruit pieces once its cooked with water, for a better consistency.

When ever i do a sweet dish, I also do “Neivedhyam“-offering to GOD, before consuming.

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