On a recent trip to Kerala, certain dishes from the kitchen tasted a lot better. On enquiry, these little beauties emerged as the taste boosters. They are hot and the heat they offer is unlike any other. It is something that makes a malayalee homesick. This is kaantari mulaku.
How to make kaanthari mulaku sammanthi- Learn from Inji
This year I was decided on planting some heirloom tomatoes. We planted Brandywine and Cherokee tomato. Along with these we also planted Green Zebra, a roma tomato and a grape tomato plant. The only plant that bore fruit so far is the Green Zebra.
Green Zebra is a tomato cultivar with characteristic dark green and yellow stripes, although there are newer variations that blush a reddish color instead of yellow when ripe. It is slightly more tart than regular tomatoes, and it is an unusually early breed.
Green Zebra was bred by Tom Wagner of Everett, Washington, and first introduced in his Tater-Mater Seed Catalog in 1983. Given its recent origins, it is not an heirloom tomato, despite often being mistakenly designated as one. ( Link )
For lunch we made sandwiches inspired by this recipe. We used green tomatoes, basil and chives from our garden.
They were easy to make and so yummy. Since the Green Zebras were still not ripe, I did a quick saute in olive oil with salt and pepper before they went into the sandwich.
The ricotta spread was also a breeze to make. We had an assembly station and from there the sandwiches went onto a skillet and I used a cast iron lid to flatten the sandwiches. We had fun making these!!
This goes to Jugalbandi who is hosting Grow Your Own event. Grow Your Own is a twice-a-month blogging event that celebrates the foods we grow or raise ourselves and the dishes we make using our homegrown products and is a brainchild of Andrea.
Related: Fried Green Tomatoes.
The click theme for this month is yellow. Yellow to highlight the fight against cancer. There is a fundraising over at Jugalbadi for Bri who is fighting breast cancer. More about it here.
This is a cabbage thoran made almost 2 years ago. It is a favorite of mine and is my entry.
Sending along with the dish are some flowers from our garden for Bri. Hope you feel better, Bri.
Chembu is used widely in Kerala in a wide variety of recipes.This is a starchy vegetable and is quite delicious steamed, fried or smothered with seasonings. This is found growing in most homes in Kerala and thrive without any attention.
This is a simple recipe that goes well with rice.
Chembu – 1 cup ( Remove the skin and cut into small pieces)
Turmeric powder- 1/3 tsp
Salt- to taste
Coconut grated- 1/2 cup
Green chilies- 4 (Add more if you like it with more heat)
Cumin – 1/3 tsp.
Tamarind- one tablespoon. Mix well with some water to obtain tamarind extract. Discard the seeds.
Cook the diced chembu with the turmeric powder and salt with about 1 cup water, over medium flame.
While the chembu is cooking, grind the coconut, chilies and cumin to a smooth paste.
Once the chembu is cooked, add the coconut mixture to it and cook on low heat.
When the chembu curry starts to boil, add the tamarind extract and mix well. Turn off and keep covered for a few minutes.
In a seperate small pan, add oil. When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds.
As mustard seeds start to pop, add the shallots and curry leaves and fry till they turn brown.
Pour this over the curry. Mix well. Adjust salt.
Serve warm with rice.
Note: Chembu can get mushy if overcooked.
It’s been a while since we did some real cooking. Or some real food shopping. The visit to the farmer’s market this weekend was such a joy for us. After some shopping, we enjoyed a light breakfast in the park. It was a few miles drive from where we live, but we combined it with other errands we had to do in the area.
This salad was inspired by the beautiful bunch of baby beets that came home with us. We also had some really great goat cheese from the market. The combination was inevitable.
For the salad:
The beets were roasted .
We left a bit of the tops on and peeled the skin after roasting. Make sure you scrub the beets well, if baking them whole. Also added some fresh thyme, rosemary, and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
Quarter the beets, combine with goat cheese and greens. Drizzle some olive oil. Salt and pepper, of course.
It was really good and it is a great way to enjoy the real taste of beets.
RP blogged about kale thoran last year. Ever since, it’s been a regular at our household. Coffee’s MBP ( Monthly Blog Patrol) is the perfect event to give thanks for the recipes from fellow bloggers. The theme this month is Going Lite. This was the perfect oppurtunity to thank RP for this wonderful healthy and lite recipe.
The beautiful leaves of the kale plant provide an earthy flavor and more nutritional value for fewer calories than almost any other food around ( Link)
Raw chopped kale leaves
While preparing greens, I have seen that urad dal is added along with mustard. But I used raw rice instead, as my mother would.
Kale Thoran ( original recipe here)
Kale – 1 bunch ( sliced fine)
Green chilies – 6
Grated coconut- 1/4 cup
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Raw unccoked rice- 1 tsp
Oil – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste.
Add oil to the hot pan. Add mustard seeds and when they start to splutter, add the rice. The rice will start to puff up. Add the kale and give a quick stir.
In a small mortar, mix the shallots, green chilies and coconut. Just a coarse mix is fine. Make a small area in the centre of the pan and add the coconut mixture. Cover it with the kale like this. ( You can add the coconut to the kale and give a mix but my aunt used to make thorans this way. I happened to think of her and followed her method)
Cover and cook for 5 mins on low medium heat. Stir, add salt and cook covered again till the leaves are at your desired texture. Kale leaves take longer than other leafy greens.
Serve with rice.
Swap baked kale for potato chips- ??
See the bee?
Last year, I had planted some radish plants. They were the simplest things to grow, and I had a very good yield. Apart from crunchy radish, they also produce the most beautiful flowers. These pictures are from last year.
This years radish are still waiting to sprout. If anyone out there is a newbie to gardening, and want some easy-to-grow plants, radish is the way to go. I didn’t use the flowers in cooking last year, but I am sure they would be great as a garnish.
It’s been a while since I have participated in my favorite event. Submitting home grown radish flowers for Flower Fest.
If you like spicy and tangy flavors in a dish, this recipe is for you.
Recipe source: Adapted from Suvir Saran’s Crispy Okra Salad
Preheat the oven to 350degrees.
Clean and pat dry the okra. Don’t spend much time drying, just a quick pat and dry will do.
Cut the okra into juliennes. I slice the okra into two along the middle. Hold the two halves and make long slices.
Spread the okra onto a baking sheet. I spread them onto my cast iron pizza stone.
To this, add turmeric powder (1/4tsp) and red chili powder ( 1/4 to 1/2 tsp), and salt to taste. I added some fresh crushed black pepper too. Drizzle some olive oil on top.
Mix everything together and spread onto a single layer.
Cook in the oven till the okra is cooked and starts to attain a brown shade. It took me about 20 minutes or so to get to this stage.
Remove from oven, and to this add some thinly sliced red onions and julienned tomato.
Add the juice of half a lemon, sprinkle with chaat masala. Mix well and serve.
One more okra dish in my efforts to win Satish over to the okra loving side.
Familiarity breeds contempt. We see it all around us. I think that is what is happened to the potato. Take a lot at these sayings and tell me if I am wrong.
A couch potato — someone who is glued to the TV and never exercises
He’s a cold potato. — someone who is not warm-spirited
Small potatoes — not much
Hot potato — a problem nobody wants to deal with ( Link)
Potato has never been a favorite in our home. We usually buy one or two when we need it. Anytime we bought any extras, they are left to sprout or shrivel, as the conditions in the kitchen permit. Inevitably, they end up in the garbage( the extra ones).
When JFI was announced, I bought 4 idaho potatoes. And after a consultation, this dish came alive.
Boil potatoes in salted water till cooked. Slice into quarters.
Spread cumin onto a surface. Take a potato slice and press the slice onto the cumin gently.
The cumin will attach to the potato. Fry this with the cumin side down on medium heat.
Remove from fire using tongs. Sprinkle salt. Serve warm.
I also applied red pepper on some potato slices.
To make things a little more happening, pour the remaining oil with bits of cumin and crushed pepper over the potatoes.
Serve as an appetiser with some chutney or as a side dish.
Head over to to Vaishali’s Happy Burp in Pune to give dear potato some well deserved show of affection!
We recently tried a recipe from this blog and it turned out great. And last week we tried this dish from the same blog. It was spectacular. Thank you Shiny for posting these favorite dishes. Her blog is like a cookbook dream come true for me.
The dish is made of dried shrimp. This is available in Kerala grocery stores in the US. Fish and coconut are integral to Kerala cuisine, and this dish is a happy combo of the two. Dried fish are stinky, but taste great. The prepared dish doesn’t smell of the dried shrimp at all. Dried shrimp is cooked with some water and mango, coconut ground to a silky paste is added to it and finally dressed up with shallots and curry leaves in coconut oil.
Although I didn’t have fresh mango, I substituted amchur powder as the recipe suggested. It worked quite well.
This recipe is a keeper. It is easy to make and tastes great. Thank you Shynee!!
Rice with chemmeen curry and radish saute.