Thursday, August 26, 2021

Festival special Kaithachakka/ Pineapple Pradhaman recipe!



Hello all,

This year's Onam was special, as one of my dessert recipes got featured in The New Indian Express Onam article. People often ask me the difference between Payasam and Pradhaman. Payasam is mostly made of rice/semiya/rice flakes, milk, sugar, and other ingredients. Paal payasam is a very popular payasam that is prepared at home as well as in temples as prasadam. Once in a lifetime, one should try the Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Swamy Temple Paal Payasam. Some payasam does not contain milk and it will be made of jaggery like Aravana payasam which is the main Prasadham from the famous Shabarimala Temple. It's made of red rice, jaggery, ghee, and dry ginger. Nei payasam is also similar one and all the jaggery-based payasam are guilt-free foodgasmic indulgence. My most favorite milk-based payasam is Paalada. The Paalada which we get at the wedding Sadhya is the best, which has a light pinkish color.

Pradhaman is made of jaggery, two extracts of coconut milk, few spices like cardamom, dry ginger, cumin powder, ghee, and other ingredients. Pradhaman is not made in temples because of its making process. Its time-consuming and the popular pradhamans are Ada (rice flakes), Parippu (Moong dal), Kadala (Bengal gram), Mathanga (Pumpkin), Chakka (Jackfruit), Pazham (Banana), etc. Pineapple, Mango Pradhamans are not traditional ones, but people love to explore new flavors and these ingredients make a great flavor bomb. Here is the recipe for my version of Pineapple Pradhaman.

Kaithachakka | Pineapple Pradhaman

Ingredients

Pineapple - 1 (500 gms), finely chopped
Jaggery - 350 gms 
Water - 1/4 cup
Coconut milk (1st extract) - 1 cup
Thin coconut milk( 2nd extract) - 2 cups
Sago/ Tapioca pearls - 1/4 cup (soak for 15 mins)
Clarified butter/ Ghee - 4 tbsp
Cardamon powder - 1/2 tsp
Dry ginger powder - 1/4 tsp
Cashewnut, raisins, coconut bits - 1 tbsp each

Preparation

  1. In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat ghee and fry the nuts, raisins, and coconut bits till golden brown color and keep it aside.
  2. In the same pan, add the chopped pineapple and fry till it turns slightly brown.
  3. Turn off the flame and once it cools down, take out 3/4th portion of fried pineapple and grind it to a fine paste.
  4. Heat the pan, add the ground pineapple mix to the chunks and fry for 1 min.
  5. Boil the sago with the required amount of water.
  6. In a pan, add jaggery with 1/4 cup and bring it to a boil.
  7. Strain the jaggery syrup and add it to the pineapple mix.
  8. Combine it well. Add boiled Sago at this point.
  9. When jaggery starts boiling, add the 2nd extract of coconut milk.
  10. Cook for 5 mins and add powdered cardamom and dry ginger powder.
  11. Keep the flame on low and add the 1st extract and turn off the flame.
  12. Garnish the pradhaman with fried nuts, raisins, and coconut pieces.

Tips
- Make sure you remove the thick part of pineapple as it takes longer time to cook. Use the flesh and chop as finely as possible.
- Always use nicely riped and sweet pineapple. If sweetness is less, add a bit of sugar while making the paste.
- Sago should be cooked properly, before adding it to the Pradhaman. Once the jaggery is added, then Sago won't cook.
- Add a pinch of crushed cumin powder along with cardamom and dry ginger powder (optional).

Thanks Anila Kurian from The New Indian Express for featuring my recipe. Here is the link for Onam article - Festive feast

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Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Have you tried Meamo - the all new Bangalore based meat delivery brand ?



Hello Bengaluru,

Hope all are safe and doing good. I came across this new meat delivery brand recently named Meamo. What makes them special from other brands? Let's have a look - 
The Bangalore-based company is the country’s first e-commerce / online company that is bringing back the traditional way of savoring meat and pioneering the 'Jhatka' method.




Founded by Sudarshan Boosupalli in 2020 under the Dharmic Vibes Group, the brand currently serves all areas of Bangalore. It will soon start expanding to other cities in the country.

Meamo seeks to cater and nurture a community of discerning meat lovers who are looking to embrace traditional cruelty-free meat processing techniques along with great taste and freshness. With a focus on 100% Jhatka method of processing meat, they hope to encourage and cultivate a community that enjoys meat while ensuring that animals are spared any unnecessary pain. The product range includes Poultry, Goat & Sheep, Seafood, and Pet food.

Meamo has a processing plant in Hosur and 9 Distribution Hubs in Bangalore. They have enjoyed a positive growth trajectory with over 3000 customers acquired in 4 months.  Their current expansion plans involve going to 5 more Cities and start the aggregator model in Tier 2 cities. The farm to fork model owns the entire back-end supply and cold storage chain ensuring quality control.

Among the traditional practices they are reviving, the most popular one includes the Turmeric Wash and Clean -Up. Much like in the earlier days, Meamo has an option of unique Turmeric Clean-Up, a process in which the meat is coated in turmeric and thoroughly cleansed. Turmeric has proven Ayurvedic benefits and helps kill any bacteria that might be present in the meat and readies the meat perfectly for cooking. Meamo does not source the meat from third parties but processes it in a completely controlled state-of-the-art facility owned by them, following all authentic and scientific guidelines. Another secret behind their juicy and fresh meat is the antibiotic residue, hormone, and chemical-free policy. They also ensure that their poultry feeds only on organic matter.  From the moment the meat is processed till it reaches your door, it is handled only by the Meamo team ensuring strict quality and hygiene control.



I tried their two products - White Pomfret steaks and Chicken Drumstick. The freshness, packaging and the quality of the products were impressive. I am happy that I came across one more interesting brand like Meamo. Do check out their products. To know more, visit https://meamo.in

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Saturday, July 17, 2021

Make this Monsoon interesting with Karkidakam special food and drinks| ഈ മഴക്കാലത്തു ആരോഗ്യം കാത്തു രക്ഷിക്കാൻ കർക്കിടക കഞ്ഞിയും പത്തില തോരനും.



ഈ മഴക്കാലത്തു ആരോഗ്യം കാത്തു രക്ഷിക്കാൻ കർക്കിടക കഞ്ഞിയും പത്തില തോരനും.


PC: iStock images

Today is the first day of Karkidakam (the last month in the Malayalam calendar). In Kerala, heavy rainfall is expected during this monsoon season. This is the time ayurvedic experts suggest some rejuvenation therapies for the body and mind. The age-old Ayurvedic traditions are now followed by the entire world for immeasurable wellness.

PC: iStock images


After the peak season of Summer, when the monsoon starts, there will be a sudden change in climatic conditions which will create a lot of health issues. To beat the cold and build immunity during monsoon time, in the month of Karkidakam we follow certain ayurvedic rituals. In this blog, I would like to share a few important food and drinks we take during the rainy season.

Karkidaka Kanji/ Oushadha Kanji (Medicinal gruel)



Karkidaka Kanji/ Oushadha Kanji/ Marunnu Kanji is the rice gruel made of Njavara/Navara rice (de-husked rice) or Podiyari (broken red rice) along with a concoction of medicinal plant extracts, powdered herbs, Ashali seeds (Garden cress seeds), Uluva (fenugreek), Jeerakam (Cumin seeds), Elakka (cardamom), inthuppu (rock salt), and coconut milk. Every household will make this gruel with different herbs and ingredients. It's a very common practice to add green gram as well. Once the Kanji is made with the above-mentioned ingredients, add a tempering with shallots and curry leaves fried in ghee. The aroma and taste profile will completely change once the tempering is added.

To make the sweet version of Marunnu kanji/gruel, one can skip rock salt and add karippatty (palm jaggery). Usually, this Kanji is taken for a minimum of 7 days (preferably at dinner time). It's difficult to find medicinal plants if you live outside Kerala. Nowadays many brands sell Medicinal Kanji mix online.

PC: iStock images

Pathila Thoran

Thoran (stir-fried vegetables with coconut) is an integral part of Kerala cuisine. Pathila Thoran is different from the usual thoran recipes. The word Pathila means 10 types of leaves. This stir-fry is made of 10 types of medicinal plants which are available in your house surroundings. The tender leaves from the following plants and root vegetables are used - Thaalu (Wild Colocasia), Thakarayila (cassia tora), thazhuthama (spreading hogweed), chembila (colocasia leaves), payarila (cowpeas leaves), chenayila (Elephant yam leaves), kumbalam (Ash gourd leaves), cheera (Amaranth leaves), choriyanam (climbing nettle), mathan (pumpkin leaves), koovalam (Ivy gourd leaves), etc. Any ten types of locally grown leaves are used in this recipe.

I was surprised to know the medicinal properties of Choriyanam leaves which used to create rashes and itching in the skin when accidentally comes in contact with these leaves in childhood. If handle with care, this leaf can be used like any other greens we use. While plucking just apply a bit of coconut oil to your hands or wear gloves. The leaf is then washed and immersed in hot water for ten mins before using it in the stir-fry.

Wash and finely chop all the leaves and make stir fry using coconut oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves, garlic, turmeric powder, grated coconut, green chillies, and salt. This thoran can be taken with Kanji (rice gruel).

Ada (Steamed pancakes with coconut and Jaggery filling)



Ada is one of my favorite teatime snacks. Gothambu (Wheat) Ada is hassle-free to make. This is the time when Jackfruit season is getting over, so we make Kumbilappam/Chakkayappam with Chakka (Jackfruit)/Chakkavaratti (Jackfruit jam).

Kumbilappam/ Chakkayappam


On a cold rainy evening, I just need a plate of Ada and a hot cup of tea to keep my energy high.

Chukku Kappi

Chukku (Dry ginger) Kappi/Coffee is taken throughout the year. This medicinal coffee is good for boosting immunity. This herbal drink is made of coffee powder, dry ginger powder, basil leaves, black pepper, Indian Borage leaves (Panikoorka in Malayalam), and Palm jaggery (Karipatty). Boil all the ingredients in water for few mins; filter it and drink it hot. This is our preferable drink when we are slightly under the weather. This drink work wonders when you have cold or chest congestion.

I will share some of my favorite herbal drinks in another blog post very soon.

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Monday, July 5, 2021

Pahadi Mutton Curry - A recipe from the land of snow-clad mountains!



Pahadi Mutton Curry sounds as good as it tastes. This recipe is very close to my heart. I got this recipe from my trekking guide from Himachal Pradesh. On the last day of our trekking (in June 2019), our trekking guide Budhi Singh made this amazing dish for the group. This simple mutton curry literally saved us from the bone chilling cold. You can try this recipe with kathal (raw jackfruit) as well. It taste heavenly. So here is the recipe with ingredients available in your kitchen -

Pahadi Mutton Curry

Mutton                  - 500 gms
Onion                    - 300 gms (finely chopped)
Green Chilli          - 3-4 nos
Ginger                   - 2" inch (crushed)
Garlic                    - 6-7 cloves (crushed)
Tomato (chopped) - 2 medium
Turmeric powder   - 3/4 tsp
Meat Masala          - 1 tbsp
Coriander powder  - 1/2 tsp
Jeera powder          - 1/4 tsp
Pepper powder       - 1/2 tsp
Kashmiri Chilli powder - 1 tbsp
Water                      - 200 ml
Coriander leaves    - one handful
Mustard oil / Sunflower oil - as required
Salt                         - as required

Preparation

  1. Wash and clean the mutton. Cut it into small pieces and transfer the meat to a strainer for removing excess water.
  2. Heat oil in a pressure cooker and fry onions till golden brown.
  3. Once onions turn nice and brown, add chilli powder, turmeric powder, and other masala powders.
  4. Add finely chopped tomatoes and stir well. Add crushed garlic and ginger as well. Fry tomatoes till it turns mushy.
  5. Add mutton pieces, salt, and fry on low flame till water starts coming out from the meat.
  6. After frying for 8-10 mins, add 1 cup water and put on the pressure cooker lid.
  7. Cook the mutton on low flame till 2-3 whistles (almost 10 mins). Turn off the flame.
  8. Once the pressure is settled, cook it for 8-10 mins (add water if required). Add sliced green chillies at this stage.
  9. Adjust salt and garnish the curry with coriander leaves.
  10. Serve Pahadi mutton curry with hot parathas/rice.

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Thursday, May 20, 2021

Chemmeen Pananungu Peera / Recipe for Prawns and Ice apple in Coconut masala!



Pananungu/Nungu/Ice apple is a seasonal fruit and in the Summer season, you will see cart vendors selling this in bulk. Ice apple is a powerhouse of nutrients. For beating the Summer heat and to avoid dehydration this fruit is consumed. I came across many posts on drinks using Pananungu. I wanted to try something different with this and made my favorite Kerala dish using Ice apples. Peera is a dish cooked with hand-crushed masala made of grated coconut, ginger, green chillies, garlic, curry leaves, shallots, and turmeric powder. Ideally, for the Peera recipe, we use Prawns/Anchovies/Sardines. Adding chunks of Nungu in this recipe was purely experimental and the result was fabulous. My family and I just loved it. So here is an amazing recipe with Ice apples - 

Ingredients

Pananungu/Ice apples (cubes)  - 3 pieces/1 cup
Cleaned and deveined Prawns  - 500 gms
Coconut (grated)                       - 2 - 2.5 cups
Green Chilli                              - 6-8 nos
Shallots                                     - 8 nos
Ginger (finely chopped)            - 1" inch
Garlic                                        - 6 cloves
Turmeric powder                       - 1 tsp
Kudampuli/Malabar Tamarind  - 3 pieces (soaked in water for 15mins)
Water                                         - 1/2 cup
Coconut oil                                - 1 tbsp
Salt                                             - as required
Curry leaves                               


Preparation

  1. Remove the Ice apple skin and cut it into small cubes.
  2. In a bowl, mix grated coconut, slit green chillies, chopped ginger and garlic, crushed shallots, curry leaves, and turmeric powder. Combine it and crush the mix using hand.
  3. In a cooking/earthenware pan, add cleaned prawns and the coconut masala. Mix well.
  4. Add turmeric powder (optional), half cup water, kudampuli pieces and combine well.
  5. Keep the pan on low - medium flame and cover and cook for 10 mins. Add salt in this stage.
  6. Once the water content is almost dry, add the ice apple cubes.
  7. Stir it and cook for another 1-2 mins.
  8. Drizzle coconut oil and sprinkle a handful of curry leaves.
  9. Switch off the flame and let it rest for few mins.
  10. Serve Prawns -Pananungu Peera with rice and curry.
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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Kappa Chakka Kandhari reopens in Bengaluru with all new dining experience for its patrons!





Walking into your favorite restaurant after almost 1+ years and seeing all those familiar faces again with the same vibes is a special feeling. Think about that drool-worthy Karimeen fry, Vazhappoo Cultlet, Lacy appam with mutton stew, Prawns Kizhi, Ramassery idli, Netholi fry, Kandhari (Bird's eye chilli) ice cream, Cloud pudding (Tender coconut pudding) etc; which restaurant comes to your mind? Without any second thoughts, it'll be Kappa Chappa Kandhari in Koramangala. Yes people... Your favorite Kerala restaurant has reopened a few weeks ago and the best part is they are having set menus (Chef's special tasting menu) this time.

Kappa Chakka Kandhari literally translates to the three main and inevitable ingredients from the Kerala Cuisine - Kappa - Tapioca, Chakka - Jackfruit, and Kandhari - Bird's eye Chilli. What caught my attention this time was the nostalgic names which goes like Naadan memories (Veg), Monsoon Magic (Veg), Snehatheeram (Veg), Vayanasala specials (Non-veg), Ammachi specials (Non-veg), Toddy Shop Memories, Naaduvazhi, Rajayogi, etc. They even have 'one-pot meals' and also a curated menu for kids.

Orange Goli Soda <3


Absolute Kandhari


When I visit KCK foods, I won't miss their Goli Soda and Absolute Kandhari drink. These drinks go well with the exotic Kerala food you try there.


A must try Poornachandran njandu (Soft-shell crab)

Karimeen fry


From the curated set menus, we tried the 'Naaduvazhi' and 'Rajayogi' from the non-vegetarian selection, and OMG.. both the combos were mind-blowing. The Naaduvaazhi set menu had 'one beverage and dessert of our choice', Grilled Jumbo Prawn, Toddy shop style Irachi Fry, Koondal (Squid) roast, Chicken cutlet, Pineapple Nendran Masala (which reminded me how badly I miss Kerala wedding Sadhya), Vattayappam with Duck Mappas, Idiappam with Prawns Thengapal curry (this combo is to die for <3 ), Thattum muttum (Kappa/Tapioca biriyani), and Suleimani tea.

Appam with Mutton stew

Thattum muttum

Pidi with Chicken curry



The Rajayogi menu was comparatively elaborate one with interesting dishes like Prawn kizhi (Prawns cooked with coconut masala and kudampuli), Chicken Peralan, Mutton Coconut fry, Kozhuva fry, Karimeen fry, Poornachandran Njnandu (Softshell crab) fry, Pineapple Nendran Masala, Pidi (rice dumplings in coconut milk) with Chicken curry, Appam with Mutton stew, Prawns Puttu Biriyani along with Suleimani, and one beverage and dessert of our choice'.




For desserts, I tried my all-time favorite Kandhari ice cream, Cloud pudding, and palada payasam and ended our meal with a piping hot Suleimani tea.



Man who creates magic in the kitchen - Chef Regi Mathew


Culinary Director & Co-Owner Chef Regi Mathew and his team always succeeded in bringing the traditional and home flavors to people who enjoy the beautiful Kerala cuisine. The flavor profiles just take you back to either a toddy shop, backwaters, or that simple ammachi (Mother's) kitchen you have visited on your Kerala trip. The food is way beyond amazing and it's a treat for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

Overall the set menu is a feast for any food lover and its pricing starts from INR 575++. They are following all safety precautions and for a better experience book your table well in advance.



As always, I had an exceptional dining experience here and can't wait to visit again to savor all my favorite dishes.

Address:
Kappa Chakka Kandhari
#438, 18th Main Road
Koramangala 6th Block
Next to Devi Eye Hospital
Bengaluru - 560095
For table reservations, contact - +91 6364671010

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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Sunday Funday - 'Brunch by the Blue' at Splash at Aloft Cessna Business Park, Bengaluru!






Brunch in Bangalore is a usual weekend ritual for ooru people. It's not about the brunch, where you go for it matters. One of my favorite hotels - Aloft Cessna Business Park is back with their weekend brunch, 'Brunch by the Blue'. The Poolside brunch is truly an experience with an eclectic array of food and view. They have Indian, Oriental, Mexican, and European cuisines included for the Sunday brunch along with live - grill counters.










Before getting there I was a bit worried about the hot weather, but their settings are so perfect the diners will be so relaxed near the poolside.







I tried very selective dishes - I loved their fresh salads, roasted Chicken, Paneer Tikka, Thai green curry with steamed rice, noodles, and Egg appam with Chicken stew. The special dishes need special mention and Grilled Seafood was the best of all. They had Anchovies, Pomfret, Mackerel, Butterfish, Seer fish, and much more ready to be grilled in delicious masala coating. The Gondhoraj lemon drink spiked with Vodka was so refreshing.








If you're a sucker for desserts, then you will be spoilt with choices as they have a variety of Indian and European desserts on display. Their Chef is amazing with the artwork created through the pastries.
Overall, I enjoyed a fabulous poolside brunch and would love to visit this hotel for more interesting dining experiences.





Pricing: INR 1199/- per person (Food package)
              INR 1799/- per person (Food + IMFL package)

For more information, Call+91 8884452271
Address:
Aloft Cessna Business Park
Marathahalli
Outer Ring Road
Bengaluru - 560103
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