If you love eating, you can surely be a good cook, but to be an excellent one, you should have good critics at home. For that I owe to my husband and my children.

I dedicate this blog to the young ladies - "the starters".

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Onam Ada

Banana leaves -2
Rice flour -1 cup
Boiling water -2cups
Grated coconut -1 ½ cup
Jaggery - ½ cup
Water -4tbsp
Cardamom powder- ½ tsp

In a bowl put rice flour and sprinkle some salt.
Make a well in the middle and pour boiling water
little by little, while mixing with a spoon. Pour
as much water to get a smooth dough.

On a low flame in a wok , pour water and put jaggery.
As the jaggery melts, add grated coconut and cardamom
powder. As it turns thick, yet juicy, turn off the flame.

Wash and wipe the banana leaves.Tear the leaves into
rectangular pieces. Apply a drop of oil in each piece.
Dip your fingers in water, take a lemon sized dough,
keep on the rectangular leaves and lightly press
backward and forward to get a paper - thin look
on the leaves. On the half of the thin dough on the leaves,
put the coconut in jaggery and fold the leaves and press
it on three sides. In a steamer ,keep these
ada and steam for about 3 to 4 minutes.
Paper thin ada is ready. Have it hot,
it almost melts in the mouth.

You can also roast the adas on a frying pan.
Which will give the ada a firm texture;
but will have a different flavour of the roasted banana
Youcan make variations in stuffing ,by adding sliced and boiled
ethapazham (Kerala banana) with grated coconut and jaggery.

In different parts of Kerala ada has different adjectives.
Onam ada –made on onam for breakfast, ela- ada as
it is made on Leaves, poovada as it is
soft and beautiful as a flower.

During festivals , from Maharashtra to south, ada is made in
different shapes with stuffings. In Karnataka ,
it is made in jack fruit leaves or turmeric leaves.
During Ganesh festival , it is modak and
in Kerala among Christians ,
it turns kozhukatta during kozhukatta-perunal.
With any shape or stuffing, ada is a healthy snack.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Fish Portuguese ( kochi style )

Fish - 2
Onions - 2
Green chillies - 2
Ginger - 2 inch
Garlic - 5 pods
Tomato - 1
Curry leaves - 3 sprig
Grated coconut - 1 coconut
Pepper - 15
Cloves - 3
Coriander powder – 2tsp
Chilli powder - 3tsp
Meat masala - 1tsp
Turmeric - ½ tsp
Ginger powder - ½ tsp
Vineger - 1tbsp
Salt to taste
Oil to fry

Kanambu is the suitable fish for this curry. Mackrel can also be used.
Cut the fish, clean with salt and water. Make 3 slits and apply a mixture
of chilli, pepper, turmeric powder and salt. Fry the fish and keep aside.
Reserve the fish- fried oil to use again.

Chop thinly onion, ginger, garlic and slit green chillies.
Grate one full coconut . Reserve ½ cup grated coconut to make a fine paste.
Of the remaining grated coconut, extract first and second milk.

In a chutney grinder, put ½ cup grated coconut, pepper, cloves,1tsp chillipowder,
coriander powder, meat masala and grind it into a fine paste.

In a earthen ware, pour oil, add chopped onion, ginger, garlic, curry leaves and chillies. Add some salt and sauté on low flame till it is translucent. Put 1tsp
chilli powder, turmeric, ginger powder ,sauté for a minute and then add the
coconut paste. Stir till it is dry. Now add one tomato cut into 4 and pour the
second coconut milk and salt. Let it simmer till the sauce thickens.Now slowly keep the fish inside. After a minute pour the first milk . On low flame itself
let it simmer for two more minutes. Now add 1 tbsp of vineger.Add salt if needed
and turn off the flame.Now you can add the fish fried oil on top and serve with
chappati or rice.

I always wondered how this Portuguese name is attached to this curry; may be when the Portuguese came to Kerala ,their cooking style of using vineger, tomato and spices blended with the Kochi style of using coconut.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Clams in Pepper Masala ( Kakka -erachi varuthathu)

1. clams -50 nos
2. shallots -20
(sambar onions)
3. garlic -10 pods
4. ginger -1 inch
5. curry leaves-2 tbsp
6. pepper powder -1tbsp
7. chilli powder - ½ tsp
8. turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
9. vineger - ½ tsp
10. maida(flour) – 1tsp
11. water - ¼ glass
12. oil - 2tbsp
13. salt -to taste

Wash clams in water thoroughly to remove sand .
In a steamer , as the water starts boiling, steam the clams
for about 3 minutes. Watch, as the clam shells starts to open,
turn off the flame and scoop out the clams .In the corner of
the clams meat , you can see a black point which can be discarded.
Squeeze it out with your fingers. Now , keep the cleaned
clams aside.

Cut shallots and garlic , grate ginger and keep aside.
Deep fry curry leaves, as it turns crisp, spoon it on a paper to use

In a wok on medium flame , pour 2 tbsp of oil , add shallots
and garlic. When it turns golden brown, and the aroma fills
your kitchen, add grated ginger, lower the flame and add
turmeric , chilli and pepper powder.
Saute for a second and pour maida , dissolved in water. As
it starts to thicken, add vineger ,salt and clams. Keep on high
flame and stir continuously till it becomes dry. Now crush the
crispy curry leaves and sprinkle on top.

Tips –

1. This dish is best in a sandwich, chhappati roll or with rice.
2. You need at least 200 clams to serve four.
3. Add little salt than usual .
4. Shell fish should not be cooked for longer time as it tends to get
5. Clams are eaten raw, boiled or fried.
6. Varieties of Clams are abundantly found in coastal areas.