Archive for the ‘Kerala’ Category

Arachu Kalakki- The 5 minute Kerala Sauce/Chutney

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

Looking at the picture without the title, you’d think it is some kinda soup right? But it is the simplest and flavorful- spicy-tangy sauce called arachu kalakki, usually made to go with molagootal in pakalad families. It’s super simple, arachu means grind, kalakki means mix..and that’s it!

Now since I grew up in Tamilnadu, my mom makes something similar with mango called azugina manga pachadi (almost rotten mango pickle chutney), the speciality of the recipe is the really ripe and soft mangoes in mango pickle(mavadu), mixed with chilies and yogurt which makes a wonderful side dish from lemon rice to adais.

There is not much of a difference between arachu kalakki and the mango pachadi my mom makes. Only thing is that arachu kalakki may or may not need mangoes(depends on your taste) while the main ingredient in pachadi is mango from the pickled mavadus. You gotta use only mavadu pickle, not avakkai mango pickle.

Looking for something that you can make out of nothing? Then this is your chutney/sauce. Pair it with milagootal, kootu, coconut rice, lemon rice or even as a raitha.

Let’s start the clock and look and the ingredients shall we?


Medium size mango from mavadu pickle(very soft and ripe mango) – 1-2 pieces (you can leave it out using plain yogurt)
Red chilies- 4
Ginger- 1/2″ piece
Coconut- 4 tbsp
Sour yogurt- 1 cup
Tamarind paste- a dash, less than 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste


The first minute mark:
Chop the mango pickle in to two, add red chilies, salt, ginger,tamarind paste, coconut to the blender. Make a coarse paste.

Second minute:
Add half the yogurt, blend the ingredients to a thick, smooth paste, add the rest of the yogurt and beat well.

Third minute:
Transfer to a bowl..Hah! See you don’t even need 5 minutes!

Tempering is optional, you can use cumin or mustard seeds and curry leaves. But this tastes good on its own.


If the yogurt is really sour, you do not need the tamarind paste. Have a taste and alter the recipe according to your taste, make it more tangy or spicy or with more coconut or more yogurt. This almost tastes like the gravy of aviyal, but without adding vegetables or even cooking it!

If you do not have mango pickle(vadu mango), use peeled and cubed mango slices(1 or 2). Check the salt, as pickled mangoes already have salt in them.

Since this sauce is made with leftover yogurt/pickle, this is my entry for PJ’s Scrumptious delights from Left over’s event.

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Slow cooker BiseBela Bhath

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Bisebela bhath is a wholesome rice dish(bhath=rice dish) and it is a good one to hide the vegetables too as it will be a well mashed rice and it has lentils, rice and vegetables and makes a good one pot meal. I often make it in a slow cooker on a weekend and our brunch is ready without standing next to the stove for hours the next day.

I often wonder how to place Bisebela Bhath as a regional dish. It is famous in Karnataka as well as Kerala(Palakkad). Almost all the Palakkad men I have met know how to make BB-Bhath. N, makes excellent Bise Bela Bhath too, and often he takes over the task of making it. Point to note: His BB-Bhath will be served with dozens of dollop of ghee on top, mine will be without the ghee, hence the offer 😉

It is a very common dish served in weddings as well, and one of the combinations for a typical south Indian dinner for guests will be Bise Bela Bath and stir fried potatoes(aloo curry) with onion raitha.

Now this is real incident that happened with Bisebela bhath to me. Much before our wedding, when N was in the East Coast,one of N’s uncles visited him. And N made his ghee dripping version of authentic Bise Bela bhath (made with MTR powder, if I can say so). After enjoying all the glorious varieties of food made by N for Uncle K for a week, uncle K decided to email me to say how lucky I should be to marry someone who can cook!

He addressed the email to N, copying me on the same and after praising N for a couple of paragraphs, he ended it exactly with this line, forgetting in the enthusiasm that I was also on the mailing list 😀

” Dude, don’t cook like this when S asks you to, make something miserable and she will never ask you to cook again”.

Now by the time uncle K realized that he wrote that, it was already on our email group and poor N was caught and so he makes BBB the same way he made it for everyone else 😉

Ingredients for Bise Bela Bhath:

The list for the spice powder is quite a long one, you can either use MTR Bise Bela Bhath powder or you can use some arachu vitta sambar powder to sprinkle on top, after flavoring the rice with usual sambar powder.

Ingredients: (serves-2)

List 1:

Vegetables and Rice:

Pearl onions- about a dozen
Mixed vegetables( Carrot, Beans, peas, Potato, Drumstick, Suran, Taro root, Cauliflower, White Pumpkin, Gourds, Long beans)- any combination- 1 cup
Rice- 1 cup
Cooked toor dal- 1/2 cup

List 2:
Sesame oil- 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds- 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves- few springs
Salt to taste
Asafoetida- 1/4 tsp
Tamarind – one Lemon size ball or paste 1/2 tsp
Sambar powder- 1 tsp

List 3:
Special Spice Powder for BBB:

Chana Dal- 1 tbsp
Coriander seeds- 2 tbsp
Cinnamon stick- 1″ piece
Cloves-2 each
Fenugreek seeds- less then 1/4 tsp
Dried red Chilies-6
Dried coconut- 3 tbsp


Toast the ingredients given under List 3 to a golden brown color (toast them one by one). Let them cool and grind it to a fine powder.

Finely chop the pearl onions. Chop other vegetables into any desired shape. Soak tamarind in a cup of warm water and extract the juice, discarding the pulp. Add another one cup of plain water to the tamarind juice. Keep aside.

Wash the rice under running water once.

Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add asafoetida and curry leaves. Once that sizzles, add chopped onions and stir fry well. Add salt and turmeric powder and when onions turn transparent, add all other vegetables, sambar powder and stir fry well.

Using a slow cooker:

In the slowest setting, slow cooker takes 8 hours to cook and on the fast setting, rice will be cooked in 3 hours.

In the slow cooker pan, add the cooked vegetables, cooked toor dal, rice, tamarind water and the spice powder. Slow cooker also needs more water than regular pressure cookers, and so if you use 1:3 ratio for rice: water, add almost double the quantity of water (here, I added about 6 cups including the water used for tamarind extract).

Cover the slow cooker with some kitchen paper towels,make sure that the paper towels will not fall in, but it extends to the rim of the cooker. Place the glass lid on top of this kitchen towel (so that the extra water- the steam from the cooking will not make the rice soggy). Switch on the slow cooker according to your desired time level.

If needed, you can mix them once while cooking. Do remember that every time you open the lid of the slow cooker, it adds 20 minutes more to the set cooking time.

Once the rice is cooked, turn the setting to keep warm. Lightly mash and mix the rice with vegetables. At this stage, just before serving, you can also saute some whole pearl onions in ghee and add it to the rice.

If you are planning to add onions at the end, skip the step where vegetables are stir fried in a pan, add all veggies, tamarind water, powders,rice and dal to the slow cooker directly and cook. Then, do the tempering with mustard seeds, onions(list 2) and pour it over the bhath before serving.

Serve the rice with a dollop of ghee on top, with potato chips, onion or cucumber raitha.

If you are using a pressure cooker, you can simply stir fry the vegetables in the cooker pan, add rice to it and cook like normal rice for 3 whistles.

Adding roasted peanuts and cashew nuts as a garnish is also another way to serve BBB.

This wholesome rice with lentils is my entry for My Legume Love Affair edition 22, guest hosted here this month, brain child of Susan.

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Mango Morekuzambu (Mango in Yogurt-Coconut Sauce)

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

During weekdays, half the time, unless there is the urge to cook variety rice(which we make on the weekends),or to try something new, the menu is almost set for lunch. There are quite a lot of varieties to choose to go with rice. Regulars for the show are  Sambar, Rasam, Vathakozhambu, or hubbys favorite Milagootal.

Once in a while, when the home made yogurt is not used up and is slightly sour, I make the fastest side dish for rice – a sauce that can be completed in 15 mins flat, Morekozhambu!!  In the language Tamil, More- means yogurt and kuzhambu means sauce. In Kerala, this is called as Mango Kootan.

Since hubby is from Palagat(but grew up in Karnataka) and Im from Tamilnadu,  I have seen variations in cuisines, even in the simple dishes like morekozhambu. Back in Tamilnadu if I have to make morekozhambu I soak coriander seeds, dal, coconut and other ingredients in water and grind to add to the sauce. But in Palagat way of making morekozhambu it is plain coconut sauce. The taste is different too, considering that is a simple coconut yogurt sauce. Either way, it is finger licking good and the you would want to make more of this morekozhambu :)

Ingredients (Serves-2)

Ripe Mango- one small fruit

Well whisked yogurt- 2 cups

Water- 1/2 cup

Salt- to taste

Turmeric Powder- 1/2 tsp

To grind:

Coconut- 1/4 cup

Green Chilies- 4

Cumin seeds- 1 tsp

To Temper:

Oil- 1 tsp

Cumin seeds- 1 tsp

Curry leaves- 4

Asafoetida- 1 pinch

Red chili- 1


Peel the skin of the mango and dice the mango in to 1″ cubes. Boil the mango cubes with water in a pan, adding salt and turmeric powder. Boil for 10 minutes or till mango cubes are tender and can be mashed.

Grind coconut, green chiles and cumin seeds to a fine powder and then add water(about 4 tbsp) and grind it to a fine paste. Add this paste to the bowl of whisked yogurt. Whisk again to avoid lumps.

Pour this yogurt mix into the pot with mango. Simmer for 2-3 minutes only (till you can see slight bubbles). Never boil a sauce with coconut as it will impact the taste and flavor. Switch off.

Heat oil in a separate pan and add asafoedtida. When it sizzles, add cumin seeds, curry leaves and broken red chili. Stir for a minute. Pour this over the morekozhambu. If the sauce is thin and you want to thicken it, you can add a teaspoon of rice flour to the yogurt when mixing yogurt-paste to the mangoes.

Serve  the morekozhambu with any stir fried karis, appalams with rice or even with plain dal rice(paruppu sadam). The dal rice with a drop of ghee and morekozhambu is an amazing combination.

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Aviyal (Steamed Vegetables in Coconut-Yogurt Sauce)

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

Aviyal(means steamed) is typical kerela food and one of the simplest of dishes to prepare. Aviyal is healthy in the sense that it does not have any masala or chili powders and there is no frying of any vegetable. Its also very easy to prepare and goes well with plain rice, lemon rice, coconut rice etc., Adai aviyal is a classic combination and so is pongal- aviyal.

Ingredients( Serves-2)

Carrots- 3 each chopped into 2″ sticks

Potato- 2 each chopped into cubes

Drumstick (Murungaikai)- 6 chopped pieces

Colacasia/Arbi/ (Sepenkizhangu)- 5-6 cubes

Green Plantain- 1

White Pumpkin- couple of cubes

Frozen Suran (Elephant foot Yam)- couple of cubes

Green Peas- just less a handful

Yogurt- 1/2 cup

Salt- to taste

To grind:

Coconut- 1/4 to 1/2 cup

Green chilies- 4

Cumin Seeds- 1 tsp


Oil- 1 tsp

Curry leaves- 4

Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp

Hing- 1 pinch


Chop veggies in bigger size (at least 1″) . Pressure cook all vegetables together without adding too much water(3 tbsp of water should do). Else, cook all vegetables on a saucepan with less amount of water adding salt while it cooks. Adding too much of water will result in a soggy sauce. Aviyal has to have a thick sauce. You can include any veggie you have in hand but those veggies should be of the kind which can be steamed easily.

Grind coconut, green chilies and cumin seeds into a thick paste with little amount of water.

When the vegetables are tender, add the ground coconut paste, well beaten yogurt and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Switch off. In a separate pan, pour oil and hing and add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds splutter add curry leaves. Pour this over aviyal and serve hot with rice and appalams.

I think of my nephew A, every time I make Aviyal as at is one of his favorite dishes to eat with rice. For him it is aviyal as the main dish and rice as a side dish. His favorite game is to name each vegetable from his picture book as he eats and recognizes the veggie from aviyal. I think my sis did a good job in binding food with learning in cooking with kids also. Asking them to collect vegetables from the fridge is also a good learning-identifying process.

She also adds some cooked peanuts or chana as a variation along with other veggies and if my nephew A finds one of these he’d be so happy as though he found a treasure and vanish them it in a bite.

I am sending this aviyal as an entry for Lakshmi’s Cooking for kids event running till Dec 15th and started by Sharmi of Neivedyam.

Suma of Veggie Platter has a Side-Dish theme event but not about dals and this aviyal goes there!

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