Posts Tagged ‘Kerala cooking’

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!

Keerai Milagootal

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Keerai Milagootal:

Keerai Milagootal/Spinach Milagootal/Spinach kootu/Keerai Dal

Milagootal is a very traditional dish from kerala. It is similar to kootu made in Tamilnadu. While kootu is used as a side dish for rasam or thugayal in Tamilnadu , milagootal is a dish on its own eaten with curries or pickles.

The interesting part is that the name milagootal(milagu-pepper) gives the impression of adding pepper to the dish but there is no pepper in the dish. Milagootal is a comfort food that can also be used like a soup. The best comforting food during/after a fever or cold would be rasam and simple kootu. The ingredients are easy to digest yet they give strength.

Serves 2-3:

Spinach- 1 bag(225 g)
Cooked Toor Dhal or Moong Dhal- 1/2 cup
Salt- 1 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp

To grind:

Cumin seeds- 1tsp
Coconut grated- 1/4 cup
Green Chilies- 1-2 (Here I used dry red chilies as variation, though green or red can be used)
Urad dhal- 1 tsp

For Tempering:

Broken red chili-1 piece
Curry leaves- 4 leaves
Urad dhal- 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
Sesame oil- 1 tsp
Asafoetida- 1 pinch


Wash and drain the fresh spinach. Chop coarsely and drop it in a pan with minimum water(1/2 cup) as spinach itself will give out water. Add a dash of turmeric powder and salt and cover and cook till spinach is tender. If using frozen spinach, thaw it well in the pan with some water.

In a tempering pan, dry fry the urad dal and the red chili(green chili can be used as such). Remove from fire and add it to a blender along with  grated coconut, and cumin seeds. Blend to a smooth and thick paste with a little amount of water.

Mash the cooked toor dhal with a cup of water.

When the spinach is 3/4th cooked and starts to look tender(changes color), add the mashed toor dhal, mix well and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Now add the ground paste and combine well. Let it cook for a minute or two. Switch off. Do not over boil after adding coconut for any dish.

Add sesame oil in a pan and when the oil is hot add urad dal. When it turns golden color add cumin seeds, asafoetida, red chili and curry leaves. Pour this over the milagootal.

For the consistency to be like a kootu(thick and to be used a side dish) you can include one tsp of rice flour while adding the ground coconut paste. For serving it as milagootal, its ok if its a bit runny. To increase the quantity to serve more people if you have lesser quantity of spinach, add more ingredients like coconut in the ground paste and that will produce atleast 1/2 cup more kootu.

Serve hot with rice, poppadams, curry and pickle.

I am  reposting this entry Spinach Milagootal for this event MLLA-19, hosted this month by Easy Crafts , brain child of Susan.

Chakka Varati (Jack fruit Jam)

Saturday, November 14th, 2009


Chakka Varatti is a kerala sweet and we can almost call it a desi version of jackfruit jam. Preparing this jam is easy as there is no need to keep paagu(sugar syrup) and check the consistency. This jam stores very well in the fridge/freezer and can be used for many other sweet preparations.

Jackfruit wedges- 1 cup
Powdered Jaggery(Unrefined Palm Sugar)- 1.5 cups
Water- 1 cup
Cardamom powder-1/2 tsp
Ghee(Clarified butter)- 1/4 cup


Pressure cook the jackfruit wedges till soft and discard the blackish water.

Mash the wedges into a pulp.

Measure the jaggery in such a way the ratio should be approximately 1 cup pulp: 1.5 cups jaggery.

Dissolve the jaggery in minimum amount of water and filter.

Pour the jaggery in a thick bottomed pan and let it come to a boil. Add the jackfruit pulp and mix well. Reduce the heat to a minimum.

Keep stirring the mixture every 1-2 minutes and keep adding one tsp of ghee as you go along stirring.

After about 20-25 minutes, you can start seeing the thick consistency of jam. Ghee would start coming out of the thick mixture of the jam and it can be easily moulded into a ball as we stir it.

Switch off and let it cool. Store in a airtight container. This can be stored for upto 1 month in the fridge.