Thursday, 18 June 2009

Green Peas Curry in Coconut Milk

This is a very simple curry to go with Ottil pollichathu , chappathis or pooris. This curry with Ottil pollichathu is one of the favorite breakfasts at home. Like peas, you can also make this curry using potatoes. You can't find the vibrant colours of the peas here as I have used the dried ones. You can also use the frozen peas for this. But reduce water and you dont have to use the pressure cooker. As simple as that!

1 1/2 cup dried green peas
3/4 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 tomato chopped
2 small onions, chopped
2 Large garlic cloves
2 green chillies, slit lengthwise
a small piece of ginger
4 cups water
3 twigs curry leaves
1 tbs veg.oil
3/4 cup thick coconut milk
salt- as reqd.

1. Soak peas overnight.
2. Heat a pressure cooker, add oil. When hot, add Curry leaves, green chillies and chopped onions and saute until onions go soft. Add ginger and garlic grated and saute until the raw smell goes off and the onions start to turn golden.
3. Add chopped tomatoes and saute until tomatoes go soft.
4. Add chilli powder,turmeric and saute for few seconds. Add the drained peas to this and mix well. Add water and pressure cook for around 35 minutes or until the peas are cooked completely and the gravy is thick. Add more water if needed. Or if there is too much of water left,let it boil on high heat with lid open until there is just enough water.
5. Add coconut milk and just boil for a minute. Sprinkle garam masala and close lid.
Serve with chappathis, pooris and Ottil pollichathu.


Kaayada is one of the most famous and favorite snacks of Muslim Cuisine in Kerala. These are very very tasty and use all healthy ingredients. But since it is fried in ghee at the end, I cant call it a healthy snack. It is known all over kerala as unnakkaya or unnakkayi. In our place we call it Kaayada. Kaayi is a colloquial term for plantains and ada means something that is stuffed. So kaayada just means stuffed plantains. Normally people from the our region makes the stuffing by using a mixture of eggs and sugar with nuts and dried fruits. But in some areas people also uses a mixture of sugar and coconut and nuts for the filling.

If you visit a Muslim house in North kerala, (Sorry, I am not sure how it is in south) where a wedding has just gone by, you sure will find kaayada as one of the main tea time snacks, sometimes it is eaten as breakfast also. These are one the snacks that are served for guests during evening tea. Normally newly wed men are given these treats almost everyday for breakfast and evening snacks, along with other varieties including cutlets, Irachi ada, Kallummakkaya nirachathu and many other fried snacks. Unlike other regions in Kerala, the groom stays at the bride's place in Kannur and Thalassery region and I guess, in many parts of Calicut as well. So these grooms would be having these snacks almost everyday. Even if they dont want to have it, they will be force fed. So gradullay, they will grow fatter in few days being over pampered by the in-laws!:)

4 Large Plantains( AROUND 1.4 KGS)
5 large eggs
10 tbs sugar
3 tbs raisins
3 tbs Cashew nutes
3 tbs Clarified butter (Ghee)
5 cardamom crushed
1/4 cup freshly grated coconut (Optional)
Extra ghee for frying


1. Steam cook the plantains with the skin on until soft. if they dont fit in your steamer you can cut them into half and steam them.
2. Once they are completely cooked and soft, grind them into smooth in a food processor in two or three batches without using any water. Make sure you dont grind them to puree. Normally back home the grinding in done on a large 'Ammi and Kutti', a kind of Pestle and mortar to mash the cooked plantains. Before I had used potato masher to mash it. If you are using potato masher, make sure there are no lumbs, but it is very time consuming. Food processor is best for this. Set them aside.
3. For preparing the filling, Break the eggs and add sugar to it. Mix well with spoon. Sugar doesnt have to dissolve. Keep them aside too.
4. Heat a large frying pan, add ghee and add the chopped cashews.When they gets a golden colour, fish them out and drain them on a kitchen towel. To the same pan, add the raisins and leave there for few seconds until they puff like like little balls. DONT LEAVE them for long because they will get charred and taste bitter. Tke them out and keep them along with the cashews.
4. In the same pan, add the egg - sugar mixture, coconut (if adding), raisins and nuts and scramble them by stirring continuously until the egg is completely cooked. Add the crushed cardamom and stir well.
5. While the plantains are still warm, grease both hands and make small balls out of it. You should be able to get around 20-25 balls with this amount.
6. Flatten the balls into disk shapes of about 3/4 cm thickness, by placing the plantain ball in one hand and flattening it using the fingers of other hand.
7. Place 1 tbs of filling inside and seal the edges. Dont put too much of filling in; else it will be difficult to seal them. Smooth the stuffed plantain balls in to rugby ball shapes by rolling it in hand. Make sure there are no cracks anywhere. Grease your hand well, incase needed to avoid the mashed plantains sticking to your hand.
8. Do the same with the rest of the planatains and filling.
9. Place a kadai/deep frying pan on medium heat and add Ghee. When the ghee is hot enough, Add few kaayadas at a time and fry until light browned on all sides. Drain and serve warm as a tea time snack.

Notes and tips:
1. While choosing plantains make sure that they are not too ripe, I mean, you should still be able to see a touch of light green colour by the tip and skin should be yellow with no black spots or just few of them. Ones the plantains starts ripening, they develop lot of black spots hence making the flesh more soft. If you steam them and puree them at this stage you will get very mushy mash and will be difficult to manage. If at all it has started getting a bit ripe and the plantains are mushy when mashed and difficult to manage, you can add a little bit of rice powder. 2. I normally make big unnakkayas cos smaller ones takes too much of time to shape them up. And who cares when the taste is same. Well, smaller ones look cuter.
3. If you wan the authentic taste of kaayadas/unnakkayas, you MUST fry them in ghee or clarified butter. You can also use half clarified butter and half vegetable or coconut oil. Believe me, it doesnt taste good when it is fried in vegetable oil alone.
4. Normally it is deep fried in Kadai/Wok. But you can also fry them in Frying pan by filling them with ghee half way through and them flipping the kaayadas over to evenly brown on all sides.
5. One more important thing to be noted, I used the proportion of 2 tbs of sugar for 1 large egg. Here I have used extra refined sugar which is slightly less sweeter than the sugar we get in India. But if you are using the sugar in India use 1 tbsful of sugar for 1 egg, the eggs in India are smaller as well. So you might need to use around 7-8 eggs and 7-8 tbsful of sugar for the above amount of plantains.

Ottil pollichathu (Rice Pancake 2)

Unlike marichedutha Appam, these are paper thin pancakes made out of rice and is so easy that we make it at home almost everyday either for dinner with any non-veg curry or during breakfast with any vegetable curry. 'Ottil pollichathu' ( or Aridosa) literally means some thing that's cooked on a heavy base cast iron griddle (Odu). Long before the non-stick pans and gridlles conquered the cuilinary world, these rice pan cakes were prepared in cast iron griddle that was cooked on stone stove (kalladuppu) (large blocks of stones kept at a distance in a certain way to hold the dish on top and to put the firewoods underneath) by using dry woods and palm leaves or even dried coconut husk for fire. The firewoods needs to be frequently blown to keep them lit up else the the fire will be put off and you will have to light them up again. What lot of hardwork isn't it? I think it would have tasted better then. But these days who would bother using such heavy griddle and even think of stone stoves?But, we still have a modified version of the Kalladuppu back home, which is used mainly for cooking rice or for any long cooking.

2 cup Long grain rice (pachari)
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1/2 medium onion
3 cups water
salt as required
oil- as required

1.Soak rice in tap water for a minimum of 2 hours.

2.Grind it along with cooked rice,onion and water until very smooth and no grains of rice can be felt when you touch it.

3. Add enough salt and mix well. When u taste the batter, you must feel it a bit salty but again not too salty.

4. Heat a frying pan at medium high heat, add few dashes oil and pour 1 ladleful of batter (½ cups of batter) in the centre and just swirl the pan around to spread the batter all over thinly. This also can be done by pouring the batter in the centre and using the back of the ladle, spread the batter by moving the ladle over the batter in coil motion starting from the inside and gradually moving towards outside to spread the batter all around as we do in Dosa. It needs a bit of practice. I normally do the swirling way to spread the batter.

5. COVER with a lid and cook until the batter changes colour or set. At this stage, using a spatula, flip over the pan cake. If you find it breaking, and is difficult to flip, close the lid and wait for some more time until the pancake sets even more and you can turn them easily. Cook the other side also in the same way until cooked. Keep turning a couple of time to ensure that it is fully cooked. It just have to set and don't wait for the golden spots to appear. Because if it is over cooked, they will turn harder later on. It takes around 4 minutes to cook one ottil pollichathu.

6. Continue the same process with the rest of batter until all batter is used up. Store them in a hot-pot/casserole to retain the heat. Serve hot with its best combination King prawn varattiyathu, or even simple chicken curry or Malabar fish curry, prawn and okra curry, potato curry in coconut milk, green peas curry in coconut milk,Chemmeen muringavaal curry that I will be posting soon..etc..
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