Oven Roasted Chenna

This is one snack I associate with train journeys. In Tamil Nadu this is called "time pass" and we get this in every shop from the road side cigarette joint to the biggest supermarket. It is usually roasted in a skillet but here Ive Oven roasted it.
Chickpeas/Chenna: 1 cup
Garlic: 3 cloves sliced
Chilly Powder: 1 tsp or as required
Cumin Powder: 1/2 tsp
Oil: 1 tbsp
Salt: as required

1.Wash and soak the Chickpeas/chenna overnight.Drain.
2.Cook by adding two cups water in a pressure cooker on high flame for five whistles.
(the chenna should be immersed completely and then add a cup more of water)
3.When the pressure has been released completely, take the chenna out and drain in a colander.
4.Now mix the chenna with salt, oil, garlic and chilly powder.
5.Preheat your oven to 220 C
6.Line your baking tray with aluminium foil and transfer the chickpeas to it
7.Bake for 40 minutes stirring in between.
(oven temperatures vary, so keep an eye after 25 minutes)
8.Once done, leave it like that for sometime till it cools down a bit

Crunchy, guilt free, protein rich snack is ready!!!!!

Note: If you are using canned chickpeas, drain, wash and then continue from instruction 4. (no need to cook it)
You can follow the same recipe for green peas as well. I usually buy the frozen green peas and follow from instruction 4.


Mont Blanc

This is a quick and convenient breakfast which my kids simply adore. I got this recipe from Fatafeat.

Egg whites: 2
Egg yolks: 2
Salt and Pepper: as needed
Cheese Slices: 2
Butter: 1 tbsp
White Bread: 2 slices

Add salt and pepper to the egg whites and whisk till it reaches the soft peak stage. Refer the pic below. At this stage, the egg whites hold the shape and will not fall off from the spoon.
Preheat oven.

Grease your baking tray with the butter. Place the bread slices and layer it with a slice of cheese.
Spoon half of the whites on top of the cheese like a heap.

Slip the egg yolk on to the top (make a small hole with a spoon and then do it)
Bake it on 180 C for 15 minutes.
Serve Warm

Caramel Pudding topped with Praline

Ive taken this classic dessert (caramel pudding) and gave it a twist to make it even better (praline topping).

For the Caramel:
Sugar: 100 gm
Water: 1 tbsp
Hot water: 1/4 cup

Heat the sugar and 1 tbsp water till golden brown. Do not stir, only swirl the pan.
When gloden brown, add the hot water and turn off the stove.
Pour this onto a pudding mould and keep aside for steaming.

For the pudding:
Milk: 250 ml
Sugar: 100 gm
Eggs: 3

Whisk the eggs, add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
Pour it over the caramel on the pudding mould.
In a steamer, fill water, Place the pudding mould on a dish, make sure it doesnt touch the water.
Close and stem for 20 minutes.
Take out and keep in the fridge.

After an hour or two, take it out of the fridge and slide the pudding onto a plate.
Now we go on to do the praline topping.

Sugar : 1 cup
Toasted Cashewnuts: 1 cup
Water: 2 tbsp

Lightly brush aluminium foil with a little oil
In a thick bottomed pan, heat the sugar with water till it turns brown in colour.
 Swirl the pan so that it browns uniformly.
When it reaches a beautiful brown colour, turn off the stove, add the cashewnuts and immediately pour it onto the aluminium foil (thin layer like in the picture)
When it cools, crush it and then pulse it in a food processor.
Top the caramel pudding with praline


Fried Prawns in Orange based sauce

This is my hubby's recipe. I was a little apprehensive when I saw him adding orange juice to make the sauce. But believe me, it tasted soooo goood that it got over within minutes of making. All four of us (hubby, me and kids) are big fans of this preparation. This recipe was born from watching a cookery show that used orange juice as the base for the sauce for a meat preparation.

Prawns: 500 gm
Egg Whites: 2
Salt : as needed
White Sesame Seeds: 11/2 tsp
Corn Starch: 3 tbsp
Oil: For deep frying

Devein the prawns. Whisk the egg whites.  Add salt, sesame seeds and Corn Starch.
Mix everything properly.
Dip the prawns in this batter and deep fry. Keep aside.

For the sauce

Orange Juice: 250 ml
Pepper: 1 tsp
Soya Sauce: 2 tsp
Garlic Minced: 1 tbsp
Ginger Minced: 1 tbsp
Sugar: 1 heaped tsp
Spring onion: for garnsih

In a kadai, mix all the ingredients for the sauce and let it boil.
Lower the flame and let it simmer till the sauce reduces a bit.
Pour this over the fried prawns and serve warm as an appetizer.


Achanga Payar (string beans) Thoran

A very tasty variety of beans-string beans, fresh and ready for eating :) . This is my mom's backyard and when Iam there, I never have to worry about what chemicals went into growing them!!!!

 Even if you are someone who doesnt like vegetables, this one will change your whole outlook. I love Achanga stir fry and also thoran.

String Beans (Achanga Payar) - a handful
Coconut grated: 1/2 cup
Green Chillies slit: 3
Onion: 1/2 chopped
Turmeric Powder: a pinch
Curry leaves: a sprig
Mustard: 1/2 tsp
Coconut oil: 1 tbsp
Salt: as required

Slice the string beans round.
In a kadai, heat oil, splutter mustard.
Throw in the onions, green chillies and curry leaves.
Saute for 2 minutes on low flame and then add the beans, coconut, turmeric powder and salt.
Mix everything properly and cook on low flame with the lid on.
After a few minutes, stir again and cook closed till done.
Serve with rice.


Uzhunnu Vada/ Medu Vada/ Urud Dal Vada

I absolutely love this...  I can have this for every single meal from breakfast through dinner!!!.. But no, I dont do it coz If I did, I would be very famous in the neighbourhood for the lady with the jiggliest arms!!! Unlike Parippu Vada (although deep fried isnt greasy) this is really greasy!!!

Urud Dal: 2 cups
Shallots Chopped: a handful (8-10)
Ginger: 1 tsp minced
Green Chillies: 2 chopped
Pepper: 5 crushed
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Salt: as needed
Oil: for deep frying
Soda Bi carbonate: 1 tsp
Soak the Urud Dal in water for 2- 3  hours.
Grind it without adding water.
Pulse the shallots, ginger, curryleaves, pepper and green chillies just once and add to the urud dal batter.
Add required salt and mix well.
Heat oil.
Wet your palms, scoop a ball from the batter, flatten it and make a hole in the centre.
Drop it in oil and fry till golden brown.
Serve with coconut chutney.

Ethakka Appam/ Banana Fritters/ Pazham pori

Can anyone say NO to this?
 If youve never heard of it before, you might be skeptical, a fruit batter fried???? well, yes, the recipe might not look convincing to the calorie conscious---All purpose flour, deep fried fruit.... ah!!!! but believe me,its worth a try atleast once in your life. This is a "staple" :) where I come from and you are sure to get it anywhere and everywhere in Kerala... tea shops, railway stations, the pantry in trains, hospital canteens, hostel mess, restaurants, bakeries, well you name it!!!!

Plantain /Etthapazham/ Nenthra Pazham - 2 (riper the better)
Maida/All Purpose Flour; 1 cup
Water: 3/4 cup
Salt: a pinch
Sugar: 1 tbsp
Black sesame: 1 tsp
Coconut Oil: for deep frying
(pls use only coconut oil, for best results)

Mix the flour, sesame seeds, sugar and salt in a bowl.
Now pour the water and make a batter, the consistency of dosa batter.
Quarter the nenthrapazham and slice each quarter in to thin pieces( about 3 to 4 pieces) like in the picture below.

Coat the plantain pieces in the maida batter and deep fry in oil.
Drain it on absorbant paper and serve with tea.


Munthiri Kothu (Moong Dal balls)

I always associate Munthiri Kothu with the Christmas season. That was when Mom and Ammachy used to make this in large quantities. This is how my mom makes it. I know there is another version with rice also as an ingredient. But this version has only jaggery and Moong dal as the main ingredients.

Moong Dal: 2 cups
Jaggery: 400 gms
Cardamom Powder: 1 tbsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Maida/All Purpose Flour: 1.5 cups
Water to make the Maida batter
Oil: for deep frying.

Dry roast the moong dal on medium flame
When it becomes this colour as in the picture below, take off fire.
Let it cool and then coarsely grind it in your dry grinder. Keep it aside.
Melt the jaggery by adding one cup of water. Strain it and again bring to boil.
Now add the cardamom powder and the ground dal. When mixed properly, take off fire.
When it is still warm (not necessarily hot) make small balls out of it and keep aside.
Mix the maida with enough water to get a batter. (consistency of dosa batter)
Dip each ball in the batter and deep fry in oil.
You can store it in airtight containers and have it with your tea.


Pineapple Jam

I prefer homemade jams to the store bought ones and whenever Pineapples, Mulberries, Guavas, Mangoes, Strawberries, Bananas or Oranges are in season, I grab the opportunity to make tons of Jam- In short, all throughout the year!!!!! :)
So heres the all time favourite-pineapple jam recipe!!!

Fresh Pineapple: 3, peeled and chopped
Sugar: 1.5 cups
(if the pineapples are not very sweet, you will have to add more sugar)
Lime juice: of 2 small lime
Cinnamon: 1 stick
Cloves: 3

Take a thick bottomed pan, mix all the ingredients and heat over medium flame.
Stir in between so that it doesnt stick to the bottom.
Skim off the foam.
When it reaches a thick consistency, take off fire.
(the whole process will take a long time, almost an hour, so be patient!!!)
Pour into sterilized bottles.
Spread on a slice of bread and enjoy delicious homemade Jam!!!


Cashewnuts (Roasting to make them edible)

For those of you who has no idea how cashewnut is taken out of the kernel... ;)
The nut is attached to the lower portion of the Cashew apple. The Cashew apple is either yellow, orange or reddish yellow in colour. When the fruit is raw, you can take the nut and eat just like that... its soft and chewy and ofcourse delicious. But when the fruit ripens, the outer kernel of the Cashewnut becomes hard, like the picture below.

At this stage, dont dare to open it and eat it... yes, the liquid in this shell is DANGEROUS!!!! it will cause burns.
 You have to sun dry it for some days and then heat these nuts over an open fire (the dangerous liquid is drained, that way)

This is how it will look at this stage....

When it cools, you can shell it.... :)


Ellum Kappa/ Kappa Biriyani

This is a dish Ive heard a lot about, had just once in my life when I was in school. Ive always wanted to make it, but never did till the last summer's visit to India. I was talking to my neighbour, ofcourse about food, what else? and she told me that Ellum Kappa is one of their main dish when guests come. We had bought kappa that day (thats how the whole topic came up). Then she gave me her recipe, I wrote it down just like she told me and started to make. Ofcourse, she came in between to check and give inputs...:) so this is it, Ellum Kappa aka Kappa Biriyani of Chingavanam. Thanks Nisha, for the recipe.

To cook the Tapioca
Tapioca: 1 kg
Turmeric Powder: 1/2 tsp
Salt: to taste

Cook the tapioca with enough water in a wide, thick bottomed pan. Add the salt and turmeric.
When it is done, drain the water and keep aside. (it should be really soft, when cooked)

To cook the Beef ribs
Beef ribs with meat: 3/4 kg
Onion: 1 large sliced
Ginger and garlic crushed: 1 tbsp
Salt: as required
Chilly Powder: 1 tsp
Coriander Powder; 1 tsp
Garam Masala: 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder: 1/2 tsp

Marinate the beef ribs with the rest of the ingredients.
Let it sit for 20 minutes.
Cook this in a pressure cooker with a cup of water, low flame for 30 minutes.
When pressure is gone, boil again till it becomes a very thick gravy.

For the Masala:

Shallots: a handful
Grated Coconut; 3/4 cup
Coriander Powder: 1 tbsp
Chilly Powder; 1 tsp
Garam masala; 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder:1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves: 2 sprigs

Dry roast the shallots, coconut grated and curry leaves till coconut turns brown.
Add the masalas and turn off the stove.
Once cool, grind it in your dry grinder. You will get a paste like consistency (even without adding water, but if needed, you can add 2 tbsp water)


In a big vessel, mix the cooked tapioca, cooked beef ribs and the masala paste.
Cook again on medium heat so that everything mixes and combines well.
Turn off the stove.

Heat a tbsp oil and splutter mustard, dried red chilly and curry leaves.
Pour it over the Ellum Kappa.
Serve warm