Tag Archives: coconut

Kappa (Yucca root) fry Kerala style

6 Oct https://mefoodatarian.wordpress.com/

I should be grateful for the number of followers I have on this blog and I should have titled this post as apologetic because I have been so lazy to post! I have been concentrating more on my other blog. But I honestly want to say sorry to all the ones who believe in me and have followed my blog as faithful readers! Sorry! I have backdated this post but I will be try to be more consistent.

My husband has his roots in Kerala as I have mentioned before. It took me time to learn some of the delicacies of Kerala cuisine but I have definitely caught up with a few. I may not have mastered them since the people in Kerala are generous with the use of coconut oil but it will be difficult to guess that a Maharashtrian has made the South Indian delicacies. Well if anyone wants to see the optimum use of a coconut they should definitely visit a native of Kerala.

Yucca root or cassava or tapioca is what we call Kappa in Malayalam(language spoken in Kerala). Its starchy and can replace potatoes. It is high in carbs and low in protein. It is low in fat and cholesterol-free! So I love it and my husband loves it with beef-fry. I will share the recipe soon. Let’s get down to this one.

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Tip : A clean kappa is one with close ends and has no spots or growth on it. To clean kappa, you will need a sharp knife, strong board and strength! Cut the ends, cut in half, peel, or peel first with a peeler and cut in half and then cut half in half lengthwise. You will see the thread that you see in the pic. It also resembles the core of the pineapple. Trim the core where you see the thread. Cut the remaining part into cubes or quarters.

All you need:

  1. 1 whole Kappa/Yucca root/Cassava
  2. 1 tsp turmeric
  3. 4 red whole dried chilies (I also add finely chopped green chili as I love it hot)
  4. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  5. 1/2 tsp cumin(optional as its not traditional)
  6. 4-5 cloves of garlic, remember to crush the garlic for it to release its oil and coarsely chop it.
  7. 1 small red onion or 3-4 pearl onions chopped finely
  8. 2 sprigs of curry leaves
  9. 2 tbsp oil preferably coconut
  10. Salt to taste
  11. 2 tbsp Shredded coconut to garnish
  12. Water for boiling

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Clean, peel, cube and wash Kappa.
  2. Boil Kappa cubes in water that covers the cubes for about 10 minutes or until tender. Remember to add salt and half the turmeric to the water. Drain the water.
  3. Now comes the tempering. Heat oil and add mustard seeds, once they crackle add the cumin(optional), curry leaves and red chilies.
  4. Now add garlic and onion and saute till onions turn pink(you can even brown the onions if you like).
  5. Add remaining turmeric. Adjust salt.
  6. Add the kappa cubes and mix well. Let the kappa get coated evenly with the entire mixture.
  7. Turn off the heat and garnish with shredded coconut.

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Methichi Bhaji (fenugreek vegetable Maharashtrian style)

2 May

Fenugreek (Methi) is often a mystery for many. In Indian cooking, the dried fenugreek leaves are used for a distinct taste which goes really well with any protein based vegetable preparation or meat curry. The seeds are used as a paste or as a crunchy addition to some dishes, they will also render a nutty taste when fried or toasted. This is one  of my favorite green leafy vegetables. I have a very embarrassing story which I cannot tell since its too gross to reveal on a food blog, I can turn away many people from my blog with that story…but I tell it personally when I share my love-hate relationship with this vegetable. Anyway, since I love the vegetable for the most part, I would like to share the quick and easy recipe that is my absolute favorite and I thank my mom for writing it down for me which was a savior. When I was married I carried a book with recipes written down dictated by my mom or dad for my marriage to survive, since I could not cook at all! Ha ha…so here it is which I have mastered years down the line.

Tip: When picking up the vegetable, make sure that the leaves are medium size not too small not too large since it can leave a bitter taste when cooked. Also find ones that are fresh in color and do not have a yellowish tinge.

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All you need:

  1. 1 bunch of fresh Fenugreek leaves, chopped (sometimes you need to use 2 since it can be too small and it shrinks down a lot after cooking. Refer to Point 1 for more details.)
  2. 2 medium sized onions, finely chopped
  3. 1-2 green chilies, slit (de-seeded if you like less spicy)
  4. 3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped (I use like 4-6 since I love the flavor)
  5. 1 cup of freshly grated/shredded coconut (I won’t substitute dried coconut here, it just doesn’t give the exact taste)
  6. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  7. a pinch asafoetida (‘hing’ as we call it, just too good for dals and Indian vegetables, a must-have in Indian pantry)
  8. 1 tbsp oil
  9. salt to taste

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. First of all, sort and pick out only the fenugreek leaves. In a colander rub gently the fenugreek leaves with salt and run it under water it might wash out some color, but don’t worry, that also helps get rid of any residues of dirt. Alternatively you might dunk the leaves in a large bowl of water mixed with salt and let it sit for about 2-3 minutes, lift them up gently  and throw away the water(my mom used this to water her plants) and the residue that will settle down.
  2. Chop the leaves. Set aside.
  3. Heat a wok or a deep pan with oil on medium heat. When the oil is hot enough, add the mustard seeds. Let them crackle, add the asafoetida, let it sizzle for a second or two, add the green chilies. Saute for half a minute.
  4. Toss in the garlic. Saute for a minute.
  5. Add the chopped onions and let them cook down until soft and transparent.
  6. Time to add the fenugreek leaves. Mix well. Add half of the grated coconut and salt, be careful with the salt here, you can always add more later.
  7. Cover it and cook for about 8-10 minutes. The leaves will shrink down and cook in its own juices.
  8. Turn off the heat, sprinkle remaining coconut. Serve hot with chapati/roti/bhakri.

Not just in the kitchen – Coconut Oil

24 Dec

As more and more people are discussing the benefits of coconut oil, let me give you a background of how coconuts are used in my community. Hailing from the Western part of India, my family roots trace along the coastal regions. Thankfully my spouse’s family also comes from a coastal region from the south of India. Both our families are aware of the different uses, traditional, religious whatever the need is for this wonderful tropical fruit called ‘Coconut’. I will be listing down the uses of mainly coconut oil however, for centuries Coconut in India has been considered sacred enough to be offered to the Hindu Gods. Because of its variety of uses of this amazing fruit is undoubtedly holy indeed. The husk is used for making coir which is found in brushes, mats, mattresses, baskets, fishing nets etc. The flesh is used for cooking countless items of food and to extract coconut milk . The trunk of the tree is used to make furniture or charcoal. The shell is turned into a variety of handicraft items. The leaves make a good roof or brooms. The coconut water is filled with electrolytes and is super hydrating, the water without fermentation is known as ‘Nira’ and once fermented is ‘Toddy’. It can further be used to make wine or sugar. Finally, the oil extracted has the following uses:

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  1. Coconut oil is mainly used for cooking.
  2. A regular good hot oil massage on the head will help in growing long and thick hair.
  3. The oil is also used as a moisturizer, try some immediately after a bath.
  4. If suffering from dandruff, mix a tablespoon of lemon juice in coconut oil as needed for covering the entire scalp and massage it lightly,leave on for 15-20 minutes. Wash off with shampoo.
  5. I remember as kids we were told to rub oil in our hair and body whenever we went out to play Holi(festival of colors). It would help in washing off the colors easily.
  6. If you suffer a minor burn, applying coconut oil helps in healing the burn faster.
  7. A mosquito, ant, bug bite has swollen your precious skin, a little oil rubbed on the bump will ensure the swelling goes down quickly and stops the burning sensation too.
  8. Cracked heels or lips, coconut oil works well.
  9. Prevent stretch marks in pregnancy, massage coconut oil daily and watch them melt away.
  10. I remember when my mom removed her make-up she always used coconut oil on a piece of cotton.
  11. Mix in some sugar for a lovely body scrub.
  12. A mix of clove and coconut oil is great for pain in the gums.
  13. The oil can be treated as a natural multipurpose skin cream for rashes, etc
  14. I remember when I had pain in my ears, my dad crushed a garlic pod and mixed it with warm coconut oil, strained and poured a little in my ear, how relieved was I!
  15. Apply some warm oil on a cotton swab inside the nose for a dry nose in winter.

Masoor Pulao (Red lentil Pulao)

24 May

My mom being on tours never really stepped into the kitchen in her younger days. My Dad was a catering student and someone who enjoyed cooking never complained. But once my mom started taking it easy and started to age gracefully, she wanted to try her hand in the kitchen, and moms when they cook somehow turn food magically into something they pour love into, real love. I can’t figure it out how they do it, but I know  everyone loves moms who cook and can never find the same taste from their sisters, girl-friends, wives and mother-in-laws or grandmoms who by the way are really close in competing with moms that cook.

Well, my mom has mastered this recipe. I don’t know where she learned it from, if its her original recipe or not, but now-a-days who cares, sharing food is the one the greatest virtues! So here goes, the recipe of masoor pulao. I have purposely clicked a picture of red lentil just in case. Any Indian store will have them easily available.split red lentil

Tip: Scraped coconut flakes and fried onions taste best and for the presentation part, wet your fingers and run them through a small bowl or just grease it lightly with ghee(clarified butter) and press the pulao in the bowl and turn it upside down on the serving plate. Dig a little hole in the center and fill it with the coconut flakes and fried onions.

Masoor PulaoAll you need:

  1. 1 cup Masoor or split red lentils (washed and soaked overnight in water)
  2. 2 cups of Basmati or long grain rice (washed and drained)
  3. 2 medium sized sliced onions
  4. Whole garam masala: 8-10 black peppercorns, 1 inch cinnamon stick, 2 green cardamoms, 1 black cardamom, 4-5 cloves
  5. 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  6. 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  7. Powdered spices: 1 tsp red chili powder ( I obviously add more, adjust as per your spice level), 1 tbsp coriander powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1/2 tbsp garam masala powder
  8. Optional 1 tomato pureed (chopped tomato will also suffice)
  9. Water double the amount of rice taken
  10. Salt as required
  11. Oil as required
  12. Coconut flakes scraped for garnishing (optional)

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil and fry on low heat one of the two onions until brown and crispy. (I prefer them a little soft, but crispy are more fun). Drain on a paper towel, keep mixing them up on the paper, or else they will wilt down due to the moisture. Once this is done or simultaneously, boil double quantity of water that was measured for rice in a separate vessel.
  2. In the meanwhile, heat up a thick bottomed pot or a saucepan. I like to add 1 tbsp of ghee(clarified butter) and 1 tbsp of oil, but you can adjust oil as required. Add the whole garam masala. Fry it for about a minute or till the spices are fragrant, add the other raw sliced onion and fry till it changes color, do not brown the onion, just fry till it changes color. Check if you have started boiling water separately. Refer to step 1.
  3. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell disappears, take about 30 secs to a minute.
  4. Add all the powder spices (in order of appearance) one by one carefully not burning them, if you feel your spices are burning, just add two tablespoons of water. Stir them and mix them up nicely.
  5. Drain the water from the lentils and add them along with a little salt, rice and stir the mixture gently try not to break the rice.
  6. Add tomato puree and mix well. Skip this step if you are not using tomato.
  7. Add the boiling water. Stir gently
  8. Cover the vessel tightly and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Keep checking if the rice needs more water or is not sticking to the bottom. I recommend using a thick flat iron pan underneath the pot so that it doesn’t burn or stick the rice to the pot.
  9. Refer to the tip for garnishing. Serve hot with yogurt, Indian pickle or any spicy gravy dish.
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