Category Archives: Coconut

Dried shrimp in coconut sauce – Unakka chemmeen curry



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.


Dried shrimp

Although I didn’t have fresh mango, I substituted amchur powder as the recipe suggested. It worked quite well.

Recipe: Here

This recipe is a keeper. It is easy to make and tastes great. Thank you Shynee!!


Rice with chemmeen curry and radish saute.

Brinjal theeyal



Theeyal was made at our house only ‘ on demand’. It does take a bit of time and is not suited for those ‘curry in a hurry’ moments. When we think of coconuts and some delicious Kerala dishes to go with it, theeyal definitely is the one for me.

We make this with shallots, bittergourd or brinjal. I am sure there are more variations, but these are all I know. I decided to use whole baby eggplants instead of slicing them, only because I thought the baby eggplants would look very cute dressed up in a dark brown coconut sauce. And it did!!

Recipe source: by Mrs. K.M.Mathew


Step 1: Making the coconut paste

Coconut – 1 cup

Shallots – 1 small sliced

In a pan, add a bit of oil ( 1 tsp). Add the coconut and shallots and fry till dark brown in color. You might need to stir frequently and keep a close eye on them. Add the browned coconut to the blender.


Dry coriander seeds – 1/2 tsp

Dry red chilis- 3

Fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds – a small pinch of each


In the same pan, dry roast the above ingredients and add them to the blender also. ( You could definitely add these to the coconut as it is turning brown and roast them)

Grind all these to a smooth silky paste. Add water as necessary to help with the grinding.


Step 2: Dressing up the brinjals

Brinjals – 9 baby brinjals.( Substitute with 2 larger slender asian eggplants)

Turmeric – a small pinch (optional)

Tomato- 1 plum tomato, sliced.

Green chilies 5 small slit.

Tamarind water – add a small piece to 1/4 cup water, use your hands to extract the tamarind.

Make slits on the brinjal ( make the slits as if you were stuffing the brinjal, but leave the stem intact).

Add a teaspoon of oil to the hot pan, add turmeric (optional), followed by brinjals. Then add green chillies and tomato and saute for a few minutes.

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To this add the ground coconut paste, tamarind water, salt. Add more water if needed to make enough gravy.Cover and cook till the brinjals are cooked.

Final step:

Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp

Curry leaves – one sprig

Fenugreek seeds- a small pinch

Sliced shallot- 1

Dry red chilies – one, cut into small pieces.

Take some oil, add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, shallots, and dry red chilis. Fry till the shallots are dark in color. Add to the brinjals. Stir well and serve.

Another entry for JFI Coconut hosted by Ashwini.

Related recipes:

Annita’s recipe here

Ulli theeyal from Priya here

Inji’s Bittergourd theeyal here.

Coconut ‘sammanthi’



Sammanthi or chammanthi – this was a debate that was always going on in my head, but till now it hasn’t surfaced to the open.

Coconut sammanthi (thenga sammanthi ) is how we call it in our house, but I strongly believe the real word is chammanthi. All I can say with 100% surety is that this dish is perfect with idlis and dosas.

I was determined to participate in JFI coconut hosted by Ashwini. I felt like I would let myself down if I didn’t participate in it as coconut is something I absolutely can’t imagine living without. For us Mallus, it is a taste you just can’t resist. Anyone who did their schooling in Kerala must have dealt with this question in school:

Write a short essay on coconut

You start writing….Coconut tree is a kalpavriksham ( a malayalam word indicating that all parts of the plant can be used). And then you go on to describe eloquently all the different uses of coconut that you crammed the night before.

This essay writing, for strange reasons, had left me with the notion that coconut was available only in Kerala. When I found out later that it wasn’t the case, I tried to comfort myself thinking that Kerala coconut was the best. It is:)

Anyways, here is a breakfast known to every mallu- idli with cha(sa)mmanthi.

The sammanthi routine in our home always went like this- do you want red or green sammanthi?
Green meant mother would use green chilis and if the answer was red, she would get dried red chilis. They taste different, but as kids our decisions were based on which color we thought was more cool at the moment.

Recipe for chammanthi

Coconut – 2 cups

Dried red chillies – 6 0r 8 . Roast them over flame. They will develop black spots all over. Sometimes they catch fire while you do this, but just snuff the fire and use the chilis.

Shallots- 2

In a blender, grate till very smooth the coconut, shallots and chilis. Add water in small amounts, just enough to make a thick paste.

For tempering

In a pan, add some coconut oil. Add mustard seeds. While they splutter, add curry leaves and thinly sliced shallots (1 shallot). Fry till dark in color. Lower the fire, and add the coconut mixture. Mix water ( usually we pour the water into the blender and give a nice whirl to get all the coconut remaining in the blender), and add salt.

Do not let it boil. Just warm. If you boil, the sammanthi will look curdled.

Traditionally, the chilis are roasted by adding them to the wood burning stove. And then all the ingredients are ground to a smooth paste in an arakallu ( a grinding stone).

Kid favorite: Add some sugar when you eat the idlis with sammanthi. Use fingers to mix everything. Tastes divine!!!

For idlis I used Priya’s recipe. Great results even in winter. Thanks Priya.

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Idli with red sammanthi Dosa with green sammanthi

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Cabbage thoran- cabbage with coconut



This is a signature Kerala dish…If there is an event which serves lunch then this dish is a sure thing as an accompaniment. Super easy to make, good to look at,nutritious and delicious are some things going in favor of this dish. Cabbage thoran and fish with some rice is one of those ‘perfect food pairings’.

Usually the cabbage thorans that I make were quite watery…I could never figure out how to make a dry cabbage curry. At a potluck lunch, one of the members at my church had brought this dish and I managed to get the secret from her, and now I share it with you.

Cabbage is rich in nutrients and antioxidants.
And so I guess this post can be be submitted for Stephanies ARF Tuesday.

Cabbage shredded into small pieces- one small or half of a big cabbage head.

I usually cut the whole cabbage into 4 or 8 small quarters, and then slice them at an angle into super fine shreds

Carrot 1 small ,cut or shredded into small pieces
Coconut 1 cup shredded
Greenchillies 5-6( add more or less to suit yr level of spiciness)
Jeera/cumin seeds 1/4 tsp

Shallots or onion diced 1/2 cup
Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp
Turmeric 1/2 tsp
Oil 1 tablespoon
Curry leaves one sprig
Salt to taste

Combine the cabbage, carrots, coconut, salt, crushed green chillies and cumin. Use your hands to mix them well.

Add oil to the hot pan. When the mustard seeds splutter, add the onions and stir for 2-3 min. Add the curry leaves now.Then add the turmeric powder and fry for about 30sec. Then add the cabbage mixture, mix everything well and then close the pan with a lid. After about 2 min, remove the lid, give a light stir and return the lid. Remove the lid and stir the cabbage every 2 min. After about 6-8min, the thoran should be done. There is no need to add any water at all…use a nonstick pan for this recipe. The cabbage will retain some of its color, have a bite to it and wont be all mushy.

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Madakku saan…Kerala breakfast




Madakku saan was one of my favorite breakfast items when growing up. This was one of the most requested items at our home . In addition to being served as breakfast, it can also be served as an evening snack. Coming home hungry after school, these were devoured with great joy. So when Meena of Hooked on Heat was holding breakfast theme for her ‘From my Rasoi’ event I couldnt think of anything better..The beauty of this dish is that it can be preparedd fast and is quite tasty.
List of ingredients
All purpose flour 3/4 cup
Water enough to make thin batter
Coconut grated 3/4 cup
Sugar 1 tablespoon ( you could add more depending on your level of sweetness)
Cardamom 1 crushed
Crushed cumin 1/4 teaspoon
Make a batter of water and all purpose flour. The consistency should be such that it can be made into a crepe. Add salt to taste to this batter.

Mix together coconut,sugar, crushed cardamom and crushed jeera seeds.



Make a crepe using the batter. It is hard to describe what to do after this. So hopefully the pictures will help.


Pour the batter into the shape of a crepe or dosa. Then you wait for about a minute or so while the top looks cooked.


Then you flip it over and put the stuffing on one half side of the crepe.


Fold the other side over the filling, and seal the edges with the spatula..just press the ends together real hard.
Then serve hot.


Simple yet delicious

Bittergourd saga


So yesterday I was all ready to make some Goan fish curry when unexpectedly the front bell rang. It was one of S’s friend who kindly took it upon himself,(bless his heart) to bring us some bittergourd or ‘karela’ or ‘pavakka’, all the way from New Jersey. These gourds are grown locally in a farm over there and these were handpicked.
I am not sure if the non-Indian public is aware of this vegetable. It is a quite common veggie in India. In the North they stuff and fry it.If you are from Kerala, I am sure you have been subjected to the horrors of this quite bitter tasting vegetable in many different forms when you were a kid. My mom has made many futile attempts to get me to eat this vegetable. But as I grew older, I somewhat grew out of my dislike but S is a diehard fan of this vegetable.
These beauties are so gorgeous with a waxy outer surface but don’t let these looks deceive you. They are really bitter and one way to get rid of the bitterness is to soak them in salt water and then wash them again, but I believe this will drain away their vitamins too..So I would rather eat it with its bitterness.
There were atleast 20 of these huge gourds sitting in a box just looking at me and I was not sure what to do with them. I couldn’t bear to see them sitting there and so we took some to our dear friends who lived a few miles away, although it was late at night, and shared our bounty with them.
So this morning I set out on my mission of ‘taking care’ of these beauties…

The sun was shining really bright and so I took 4 of them and used my mandolin and cut them into thin slices and put them out in the sun to dry them. After two days in the sun, they will turn brown and crisp and they can be stored to be fried later.

Then I took another 3 of them and made the following dish
I took this recipe from a malayalam cookbook by Mrs. K.M.Mathew and it turned out quite nice. S will be quite happy to see this treat for dinner….

Bitter gourd with shredded coconut
(pavakka thoran)


Finally chopped bitter gourd 1 cup
Finally chopped onion 1 cup
Salt as needed
Oil 3 tsp ( I used coconut oil)
Mustard seeds half tsp
Raw rice 1 tsp
Hot green peppers 4( cut each into two)
Grated coconut half cup
Finely grated carrot 1/4 cup


1. Boil 1/4 cup of water. Add the bitter gourd and onion to the water. Cover and cook for about 5 mins. When cooked add salt and keep aside.

2. To a hot pan, add oil and then add the mustard seeds and when they start to pop, add the rice. The rice will start to turn into crispies and then add the green peppers. To this add the cooked bitter gourd and the grated coconut. Combine well. Just before serving add the shredded carrot. This adds a nice contrast.

There are another 6 of these pavakka on the kitchen cabinet. I think I will chop those up and freeze them for later.
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