Chak Hao Amubi| Manipuri Black Rice Pudding (Kheer)

The recipe I present to you today, Chak Hao Amubi, comes from the mystical land of Manipur. This pudding or kheer is made using black rice, Chak Hao in the local language. I tried this kheer recently for the first ever time, and was absolutely thrilled with just how delicious it turned out.

Black rice is a healthier alternative to the regular white rice in this kheer, imparting a gorgeous purple colour to it. It has a nutty, earthy taste to it, which goes beautifully with the milk and sugar in the kheer.

You have to try this out too! Check out the recipe, just in on my blog!

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Postcards From The 75th Ayappan Festival, Tattamangalam, Kerala

The village of Tattamangalam, near Palakkad in Kerala, is where my mother-in-law grew up. For the last 74 years, Tattamangalam has been conducting festivities to commemorate ‘Ayappan season’, the period between Diwali (October-November) till Pongal (January 14), which is when the maximum number of pilgrims visit the holy temple of Lord Ayappa at Sabarimala. These festivities in Tattamangalam, typically held towards the end of every December, are quite grand, I have always been told, including parades by elephants, performances by music artistes, large-scale community meals, frenzied beats of drums and cymbals, and the blowing of trumpets.

In December 2018, Tattamangalam celebrated the 75th edition of the Ayappan Festival Celebrations, and my extended family and I figured it was time to pay a visit. I am glad we booked our tickets at the very last minute (we were lucky to even get them, indeed!) and visited, for the festival was bigger and better than ever.

Check out some glimpses from the celebrations we were witness to, just in on my photo blog!

Ezhu Thaan Kootu| Pongal Kootu| Thiruvathirai Kootu

Pongal is just around the corner!
 
I’m here with a Pongal-special recipe today – one for Ezhu Thaan Kootu or Pongal Kootu, a traditional recipe from Tamilnadu.
 
Ezhu Thaan Kootu is Tamil for ‘a curry with seven vegetables’. This preparation uses at least seven local, seasonal vegetables – largely raw banana, pumpkin, cluster beans, potatoes, elephant yam, sweet potato, broad beans and the like. One can add in more than seven vegetables too, but using them in odd numbers (seven, nine or eleven vegetables) is the norm.
 
This Ezhu Thaan Kootu is a thing of beauty. It is a blend of sweet, salty, tangy and spicy flavours, a great thing to prepare on festive occasions and ordinary days alike.
 
It makes for a wonderful accompaniment to Sakkarai Pongal, typically served on the day of the Pongal festival – the savoury Ezhu Thaan Kootu and the sweet Sakkarai Pongal perfect complements to each other.
 
Check out the recipe, just in on my blog!
 
 

Panel Discussion: Resurgence Of Millets In My Plate

Last week, I was thrilled to be offered the opportunity to be part of a panel discussion, titled ‘Resurgence Of Millets In My Plate’, by eminent personalities from the state of Karnataka. This discussion, organised by the Government of Karnataka’s Department of Agriculture in co-ordination with the Department of Home Science of the Mount Carmel College, Bangalore, was held at The Capitol on Raj Bhavan Road.

The panel discussion was a lead-up to the next Organics & Millets International Trade Fair, which is scheduled between January 18 and 20, 2019, at the Bengaluru Palace. As always, the discussion opened up to me the immense world of millets, all that one can do with these wonder grains, in one’s own kitchen and at the country level.

Read all about the discussion by the esteemed panel members, in my latest blog post.

Agathi Poo Poriyal| Vegetable Hummingbird Stir-Fry From Tamilnadu

Have you heard of the Vegetable Hummingbird, an edible flower called so because its shape resembles the beak of little hummingbirds? These flowers – called Dok Khae in Thai, Agathi Poo in Tamil, and Bokful in Bengali – possess several health benefits. They are quite commonly used in Thai, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Lao, Maldivian, Sri Lankan and, to an extent, Indian cuisine as well.
 
The Tamilians make a lip-smackingly delicious stir-fry with these flowers, called Agathi Poo Poriyal. With grated coconut, onions or beans, and a bit of sugar added in, the poriyal makes for an awesome accompaniment to piping hot rasam or sambar rice.
 
Read all about this wondrous flower, and find the recipe for the stir-fry, just in on my photo blog!
 
 

Edible Rice Flour Lamp Or Maa Vilakku Recipe| Making Adhirasam From The Leftovers

Have you ever heard of Maa Vilakku?

For the uninitiated, Maa Vilakku are edible lamps traditionally made from hand-pounded rice flour. In Tamilnadu, these lamps are considered hugely auspicious and are prepared on sacred occasions like Thai Velli, Karthigai Deepam and Purattasi Sani. They are also prepared as an offering to Mariamman, the powerful Goddess, to ward off diseases.

My latest blog post gives you a step-by-step guide to preparing Maa Vilakku the traditional way. It also goes on to include a guide on how to prepare Adhirasam, a typical South Indian festive sweet dish, from the leftover Maa Vilakku dough.

Do check out the post, and share your comments!

Upma Kozhukattai| Kara Pidi Kozhukattai

A popular offering to the elephant-headed Lord Ganesha on Ganesh Chaturthi, the Upma Kozhukattai or Pidi Kozhukattai is also a very healthy snack. With the goodness of rice and toor daal, it is a steamed snack made with minimal oil. It is a simple thing to make, but quite delicious and filling, which makes it great as a lunchbox filler.

These dumplings can be either sweet or savoury, with different families making big and little variations of their own. Today, I present to you the savoury version, called Kara Pidi Kozhukattai, the way my family makes it. I made these for the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in our apartment this year, and they were a huge hit.

Here is the recipe for these Kara Pidi Kozhukattai, on popular demand.

Kara Ammini Kozhukattai| Spiced Mini Kozhukattai

Today, I present to you another traditional recipe for Ganesh Chaturthi – Kara Ammini Kozhukattai or Spiced Mini Kozhukattai.

For the uninitiated, these are little dumplings made out of cooked rice flour, steamed and then tempered. Very little oil is used in the preparation of ammini kozhukattai, making it quite a healthy snacking option. These are quite a popular offering to Lord Ganesha for Ganesh Chaturthi, and a great lunchbox filler too.

The Kara Ammini Kozhukattai recipe I am sharing with you today is my mother’s. This is the way Amma makes them, the way she taught me to.

Check out the recipe, just in on my photo blog!

No-Cook Fruit & Nut Modak

Right about now is a beautiful time of the year to be in India. The air is so festive right now, and you cannot help but get into the spirit yourself. This is the time for a whole lot of minor and major festivals to be celebrated across various Indian communities. Janmashtami just came to an end, and Ganesh Chaturthi is around the corner. For those looking for a quick dish to make for Ganesh Chaturthi, I present to you today a super-simple recipe for Fruit & Nut Modak.

Getting the rice flour covering and the sweet stuffing for the traditional modak right needs quite a bit of practice. For people who fear trying their hands out at them, these Fruit & Nut Modaks can be a saviour. This is a highly simple recipe, one that doesn’t need much time or effort or practice. These Fruit & Nut Modaks do not require any hard-core cooking, but they turn out wonderfully well – absolutely lovely in taste and pleasing to the eyes. They are healthy too – all the sweetness in these modaks comes from the raisins and dates added to them, with no refined sugar going in.

Check out the recipe, just in on my photo blog!