Local and Seasonal food

Raw Banana Erussery


Banana Erussery   (Chena Vazhakkai Erissery)

Raw bananas have several health benefits so we always find new ways to add them to our diet.  This is a Kerala style preparation and one of the items on an Onam Sadya.  Referred to as Chena Vazhakkai Erissery or Ellisery, this is a simple dish with the use of fresh coconut, curry leaves and cumin seeds as the only ingredients for the gravy apart from onion, red chillies and garlic with some coconut for garnish. Yam, pumpkin and beans are also included as per personal preference.  I have added some pre-cooked jackfruit seeds. Enjoy with steamed rice or appams!

Ingredients

  • 3 large raw bananas
  • ½ cup boiled jackfruit seeds
  • ½ tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup fresh grated coconut
  • ½ tsp. black pepper (optional)
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • ½ tsp. mustard seeds
  • 4 flakes garlic, cushed
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 to 6 small round red chillies (or 2 long chillies, broken into pieces)
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • Peel the bananas and chop into small cubes.  Immerse in water till required.

Boil the banana pieces with turmeric and salt and 1 cup water.  Grind ½ the coconut, cumin and curry leaves to a paste adding water.  Add to the cooked bananas, mix and cook 5 minutes.  Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seed and when they pop add the crushed garlic and onion.  When light brown, add the remaining coconut and fry till nice and brown.  Add to the erussery (reserve some for garnish) and mix well. Remove to a serving dish and serve hot garnished with some fried onion coconut mixture.

Bhaja Maslar Tarkari


Ingredients

  • 4 to 6 medium brinjals
  • 3 to 4 medium green chillies (slit)
  • 2 to 3 dry red chilies
  • ½ tsp. fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tbsp. ghee
  • 1 cup sour curd
  • 1 tsp. corn flour
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ tsp. salt to taste
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp. cumin seeds

Cut the brinjals into four lengthwise, removing the head and soak in salted water till required.  Heat a vessel and add the ghee, when hot add the red chillies and fenugreek seeds and fry for ½ minute.  Add the brinjals and fry till they change colour and turn brown.  Add salt, sugar and green chillies.  Mix the curd with the corn flour (this helps stabilise the curd and prevents it splitting while cooking).  Add the curd to the brinjals and stir then add the water.  Cover and cook till the brinjals are tender and the gravy is thick.  Roast & powder the mustard and cumin seeds.  I usually roast, powder and store the spices separately so have not shown it in the video.  Add the roasted powder to the cooked brinjals.  Stir well and serve hot with pooris or any Indian bread.

Baked Potato with Sour Cream and Corn Salad


Ingredients

  • 6 large potatoes
  • 2 to 3 tbsp. Olive oil (or any oil)
  • ¼ tsp. Pepper powder
  • ½ tsp. Salt

Toppings

  • Sour cream
  • Green onions
  • Corn salad

Heat the oven to 220 deg C. Clean and scrub the potatoes well keeping them whole.  Prick lightly with a fork to avoid the potatoes bursting.  Mix the olive oil, pepper and salt and brush the potatoes with the oil.  For softer skins, wrap the potato in silver foil, for crunchier potatoes leave open.  Bake for 50 minutes to 1 ½ hours depending on the size and oven temperature.  To speed up baking  pierce a metal skewer  through the potatoes so that heat is conducted to the centres.  To test if potato is done pierce with a skewer which should go through easily.

Prepare the filling while the potatoes are baking so it is ready to be stuffed into the potatoes when baked.  Cut a slit or a cross on the top of the potatoes and squeeze the sides so the top is pushed open.  Use oven mitts as the potato will be hot. Fluff the flesh of the potato with a fork.  Top with your desired filling.  Spoon sour cream mixed with a little olive oil and garnish with green onions and serve with a generous helping of corn salad or fill with sour cream and/or corn salad.  Makes a delicious meal or starter or a side.

Mandas Traditional Mangalore Cucumber Cake


The traditional Mangalorean cucumber cake, both steamed and baked versions.  A favorite cake of the south especially mangaloreans relished by young and old. Also called Tavsali or Tausali from the Konkani name for the local cucumber ‘Tousche’. Other names are Thekkare Adde, Thekkare Ghatti.  Using only raw (white) rice make the cucumber cake quite dense and firm but this texture is preferred by many.  I prefer mixing both raw and boiled rice so that the texture is a bit softer. 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups boiled rice (1 cup basmati + 1 cup boiled)
  • 1 coconut
  • 2 cups jaggery
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 6 cardamoms, powdered
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ cup cashewnuts/almonds (optional)

 Method

  1. Wash and soak the rice for 3 to 4 hours.
  2. Grind to a paste alongwith the coconut, grated cucumber, jaggery and salt.
  3. Add the cardamom powder and let it stand for about an hour.
  4. Add the chopped nuts, if desired.
  5. Bake or steam till done.
  6. To test if the mandas is ready, insert a toothpick or a knife in the center and it should come out clean.
  7.  It really depends on the size of container, thicker the mandas more the time.  Having said that, you can initially steam it for 30 minutes straight, after which you may test with toothpick or a knife and if it comes out clean it’s done.  If not steam further and check at 10 to 15 minute intervals.  The centre should be set and not jiggle.  It firms up further upon cooling. 
  8. Baking takes a fairly longer time about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Baking also renders the mandas a bit hard, hence I prefer steaming.

Stuffed Giant Mushrooms


Stuffed Giant Mushrooms (A variation in the filling from the stuffed mushrooms baked)

Ingredients

  • 800 gms. Large White Giant Mushrooms (about 15 nos)
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 green chillies
  • Garlic, chopped
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1tsp. Herbs,
  • 1 tbsp. coriander leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Bread crumbs to sprinkle

Method

  1. Clean the mushrooms, remove stems and keep aside. 
  2. Peel the mushrooms and discard the skin. 
  3. Chop the mushroom stems, chop onions and chop and deseed tomatoes. 
  4. Chop green chillies and coriander leaves and mix together and season with salt and pepper. 
  5. Stuff the mushrooms with the filling, top with mozzarella cheese and sprinkle with bread crumbs. 
  6. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 20 minutes.
  7. Serve hot.

Mushrooms and Peas Curry


A rich South Indian preparation of Peas and mushrooms.  It’s a breeze if you are going to use frozen peas and canned mushrooms, like I have done. Those who don’t like mushrooms can substitute with eggplant, zucchini, tofu, sweet potatoes. And those who don’t prefer peas, you may substitute with corn.

Mushrooms and Peas Curry

Bataani Kaal Kari

Ingredients

  • 250 gms. mushrooms
  • 250 gms. Green peas
  • ½ tsp. mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp. cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp. fenugreek seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp. urad dal (black gram dal)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ginger paste
  • 1 tsp. garlic paste
  • ½ tsp. chilli powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. salt or to taste
  • 1 tbsp. coconut cream powder
  • 1 tbsp. cashewnuts
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • ¼ cup coriander leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. oil

Method

  1. If using fresh peas, peel, wash and boil.  Set aside. 
  2. If using fresh mushrooms, rinse under running water and cut into fours or slices or halves if they are small. 
  3. Saute in a tsp of oil on medium for 3 to 4 minutes and set aside.    
  4. I have used canned mushrooms (drained) and frozen peas, so will be cooking both directly.
  5. Heat oil and add the mustard seeds, when they cackle, add the cumin seeds, curry leaves and fenugreek seeds and the urad dal and saute till the dal changes color. 
  6. Add the chopped onion and cook till translucent and light brown. 
  7. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry till liquid evaporates. 
  8. Add red chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric and salt. 
  9. Add a little water so the spices do not burn and saute for a minute.
  10. Add the chopped tomatoes and saute till fat separates. 
  11. If using canned mushrooms and frozen peas add and mix and add 1 cup hot water for gravy and cook, stirring in between till fat at surfaces. 
  12. Meanwhile dilute the coconut cream in 2 tbsp. water and add to the mushroom peas curry, stir. 
  13. Blend the cashewnuts with a little water to a paste or powder fine and dilute with some water to a paste. 
  14. Add the paste to the curry and simmer 5 minutes. 
  15. If using fresh peas (boiled) and mushrooms (sauteed), add them at this step.  
  16. Add fresh coriander reserving some for garnish. 
  17. Adjust seasoning. 
  18. Remove to a serving bowl and garnish with fresh coriander.
  19. Serve hot with steamed rice or any bread.

Steamed Cabbage


Ready in minutes, makes an instant addition to a dinner table and a great side or accompaniment to any meal. Smaller the cabbage, the better! Steam just before serving. You can adjust the amount of butter required and make sure to use salted butter for extra flavor.

Steamed Cabbage

Ingredients

  • 1 medium cabbage or 2 small cabbages
  • 6 to 8 cubes butter (size as per choice) preferably salted
  • Pepper and salt, to taste

Clean the whole cabbage by removing the outer leaves if they have any blemishes and look stale.  Trim the stem and cut the cabbage into wedges but keeping  the stem intact. Place the cabbage in a vessel to compactly arrange.  Put the butter cubes in between two wedges of the cabbage and sprinkle some water.  Cover and cook on medium flame for 10 minutes or till tender, but not overcooked.  The cabbage should be tender but still have the crunch.  Serve hot, sprinkled with salt and pepper.   It’s best to steam the cabbage just before serving.

Quick Stir Fried Bhindi


Subscribe to my Youtube channel for video recipes

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCW_pKpvwuFiKolLWqOZlutw

A Quick Stir fried Bhindi (Lady Fingers, Okra) with tips on cutting down on the slime and making them tender and crunchy and tips on how to retain the vibrant green colour. Cooked with a minimum of spices, both healthy and enjoyable! Watch video on youtube for tips.

Ingredients

  • ½ kg. Lady Fingers, Bhindi, Okra
  • 2 medium onions, cut into larges pieces
  • 2 flakes garlic
  • ½ tsp. turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp. pepper powder, or to taste
  • ½ tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. vinegar (helps dissipate the sliminess quicker)

Method

  1. Wash bhindis. Dry with a napkin.
  2. Cut off the head and tail and cut into wedges. 
  3. Place in a cooking vessel. 
  4. Add the chopped onions, turmeric, pepper powder, oil, salt and vinegar.
  5. Mix thoroughly and keep aside. 
  6. Cook just before serving. 
  7. To cook, set the vessel on medium high flame and stir fry (keeping the vessel open) till the sliminess in the bhindi disappears.
  8. This happens as soon as the bhindi is cooked and tender. 
  9. Do not over cook and don’t close the vessel while cooking or immediately after as the vegetable will lose its vibrant green color. 
  10. Serve immediately with rotis or as an side with any main meal.

Sprouted Moong and Jackfruit Seeds Curry


Sprouted Moong (Green Gram) and Jackfruit Seeds (Bikna) Curry

A super easy, quick, delicious and highly nutritious curry.

When I last prepared the sprouted moong bhaji (check  out  the video recipe) I had saved the excess sprouts in the freezer.  The Biknas I had frozen a large batch of boiled jackfruit seeds.  These proved handy when I had to rustle up a quick nutritious meal before rushing to work!

All you need is some steamed rice or chapatis any bread of your choice, with your favorite pickle (aachar).

For a more elaborate meal, serve with fried fish or fish cutlets!!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sprouted moong (green gram)
  • 1 cup boiled jackfruit seeds (Bikna)
  • 1 medium to large Potato (optional), cubed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 flakes garlic, sliced
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp. Bafat masala, or to taste
  • 4 tbsp. coconut powder
  • 1 tbsp. tamarind pulp
  • 1 tsp. Salt, or to taste
  • 1 tbsp. Oil

Method

  1. Rinse the sprouts and drain.   
  2. In a vessel add oil, when hot add the mustard seeds, when they splutter, add the curry leaves, garlic and onion and saute till onions are light brown. 
  3. Add the bafat masala and fry for ½  a minute. 
  4. Add the moong and and potatoes, if using, and more water, salt and bring to a boil and cook 10 minutes till potatoes are cooked. 
  5. Add the boiled bikna and tamarind pulp and cook 5 minutes. 
  6. Meanwhile dilute the coconut powder with some water and add to the curry, adjust gravy by adding sufficient water. 
  7. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes or till fat suraces. 
  8. Serve hot.

Tambdi Bhaji Tel Piyav


Tambdi Bhaji Tel Piyav (Red Amaranth Vegetable)

Ingredients

  • 4 bunches Tambdi Bhaji
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 red dry chillies
  • 4 flakes garlic
  • ¼ cup fresh coconut
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • ½ tsp. salt or to taste

Method

  1. Clean the tambdi bhaji, discarding the damaged and insect eaten leaves. 
  2. Save only the clean and complete leaves and the tender stalks.  To find out if the stalks are tender, they should snap easily on breaking. 
  3. Immerse in plenty of salted water and leave for 10 to 15 minutes to loosen the dirt and kill insects if any. 
  4. Slice the onion, crush the garlic, break the red chillies into 2 to 3 pieces and transfer to a cooking vessel.
  5. Wash the soaked bhaji well, drain and chop roughly.
  6. Add the vegetable to the vessel, add salt and oil and 1/4 cup water if desired and place on heat and cook 10 minutes till vegetable is tender.  Stir in between.
  7. Add the fresh coconut, mix and cook further 5 minutes. 
  8. Take off the fire and serve hot.

Karela Bitter Gourd Stir Fry


Karela Bitter Gourd Stir Fry

Karela Bitter Gourd Stir Fry, is usually cooked at home on a weekly basis. This is the only way we enjoy it besides is easy and quick to prepare.

Ingredients

  • 3 Large Karelas (Bitter Gourd)
  • 2 to 3 tbsp. Coconut or Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. chilli powder, or to taste
  • ½ sp. Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. Amchur (Dry mango powder)
  • 1 tsp. salt, or to taste

Method

  1. Wash the Karelas. 
  2. Chop the head and tail and slit vertically (lengthwise) in half. 
  3. Scoop out the seeds. 
  4. Cut the vegetable horizontally into thin slices.
  5. Add the salt to the sliced Karela, mix well and set aside 10 minutes.  Then squeeze out the karela to remove the excess juice (this removes some of the bitterness, but this step is optional). 
  6. Transfer the karela to a vessel. 
  7. Add the oil, chilli powder, turmeric powder, amchur and mix well. 
  8. If you skip step 5 then , set aside for 10 to 15 minutes.
  9. Cook on medium flame and stir fry till karela is cooked and lightly fried, but do not burn. 
  10. Serve with rotis or as an accompaniment with any meal.

Raw Banana and Yam Curry with Jackfruit seeds


Raw Banana and Yam Curry with Jackfruit seeds

This is a satvick preparation, no oil,  onion, garlic, chillies.  Can be had as a fastiing food as well.

Ingredients

  • 2 Raw green bananas
  • ¼ kg. yam (suran, soorn, elephants foot)
  • ½ to 1 cup boiled and peeled bikna (jackfruit seeds) or substitute with boiled red kidney beans
  • 1 cup fresh grated coconut
  • ½ tsp. cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp. pepper corns
  • 2 tsp. turmeric powder (1 tsp when boiling the vegetable & one tsp to add when grinding)
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 tsp. salt

Method

  1. Clean and cut the raw bananas and yam into cubes and immerse in water until required.
  2. Boil with water, 1 tsp. turmeric, salt and curry leaves, till tender.
  3. Boil the jackfruit seed, cool and peel, boil red kidney beans if using.
  4. Add to the yam and plantains.
  5. Grind the coconut, cumin, pepper corns, turmeric powder to a smooth paste. 
  6. When the vegetables are tender, add the curry paste, mix well and heat through. 
  7. The curry paste is not to be cooked too much just heated through, so make sure the vegetables are cooked well before adding the curry paste. 
  8. You may mash some yam pieces against the sides of the pan to thicken the gravy if you must. 
  9. Serve hot.

Dudhi and Chana Dal Bhaji


Dudhi and Chana Dal Bhaji

Dudhi and Chana Dal bhaji

(White pumpkin & split chick peas vegetable)

We love this vegetable gravy. Only turmeric powder is added as a spice in addition to the fresh ingredients. So even though it is cooked with minimum spices yet turns out delicious, light & nutritious.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chana dal
  • 1 medium pumpkin
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 2 lakes garlic, sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. salt or to taste
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 2 tbsp. chopped coriander leaves to garnish.

Method

  1. Wash and boil the dal in 2 cups water. 
  2. Peel the pumpkin, cut into cubes, wash and drain. 
  3. When the dal is half cooked add the pumpkin cubes and salt and cook till dal and pumpkin are tender.  Don’t overcook the dal, should be tender yet whole.
  4. Set aside.
  5. Take another vessel and add oil. 
  6. When hot add the chopped onion and garlic and green chillies. 
  7. Fry till onion is translucent
  8. Then add the chopped tomatoes and cook till tomatoes are soft. 
  9. Add turmeric powder, mix and add the cooked dal and pumpkin, sufficient water for gravy and bring to boil. 
  10. Lower flame and simmer for 10 minutes or till oil surfaces. 
  11. Adjust seasoning and add the chopped coriander leaves, mix.
  12. Serve hot with any Indian bread or steamed rice.

Methi Bhaji with Prawns


Methi Bhaji with Prawns

Ingredients

  • 8 to 10 bunches Methi leaves
  • 1 Cup prawns
  • 2 medium Onions, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • ½ tsp. ginger garlic paste (optional)
  • 1 heaped tbsp. mixed masala (Sunday/Bafat/East Indian, etc.
  • 1 tsp. Salt or to taste
  • 2 tbsp. Oil

Method

  1. Chop off the roots of the methi and cut each bunch into two or three pieces.
  2. Immerse in plenty of water so that the sand settles to the bottom.
  3. For methi grown at home without soil, there is no sand or soil but do soak in water to remove as much of the husks as possible.
  4. Wash in two to three changes of water and drain well.
  5. Clean, devein and wash prawns.
  6. Dain and set aside.
  7. Heat a pan, add oil, then add the onions and saute till translucent.
  8. Add the chillies and the tomatoes and fry till tomatoes turn soft.
  9. Add the masala powder, salt and stir.
  10. Add the methi bhaji, a cup of water, mix and cook for 10 minutes covered.
  11. Then add the potatoes and mix, cook for 10 minutes covered.
  12. Then add the prawns, ½ cup of water if required, mix and cook for further 10 minutes.
  13. Open the lid, check seasonings and cook further 2 to 3 minutes till oil appears on the surface.
  14. Serve hot with rotis, chapatis, phulkas, etc.

Check out how to grow Methi indoors

https://cooklikececilia.com/Growing-Methi-indoors-without-soil

Chana Dal and Tendli Curry


Chana Dal & Tendli Curry

(Split lentils/split Bengal Gram/Baby Chick Peas/Tendli/Ivy Gourd)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Chana dal
  • ¼ kg. Tendlis
  • 1 tsp. Salt

Grind to a paste

  • 2 Kashmiri chillies
  • 1 tbsp. Coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp. cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp. peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric powder
  • 2 flakes garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 to 4 flakes tamarind
  • 4 tbsp. coconut powder

Tempering

  • ½ tsp. mustard seeds
  • Few curry leaves
  • 3 to 4 crush garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 tbs. oil

Wash the dal well and soak in water for 15 minutes.  Place in a vessel and boil till almost soft.  Clean and cut the tendlis into 4 and add to the dal, add salt and cook till vegetable is tender.  Grind the masala to a paste and add to the dal vegetable mixture.  Rinse the grinder jar and add to the curry adjusting to desired consistency.  Bring to a boil and simmer 10 to15 minutes.  Meanwhile prepare the tempering.  Heat oil in a pan, add the mustard and when it splutters add the garlic, curry leaves and onion and fry on medium low till light brown. Just before switching off the heat, garnish the curry with the tempering.  Serve hot with rice or any bread of your choice.

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