Sunday, October 19, 2008

Thoran - A Veggie-Coconut Preparation

I received an award from Geeta of paytpooja. Geeta's blog is very informative and I love browsing there. It was a wonderful way to start an otherwise ordinary weekend. Thanks Geeta! I pass it on to all my readers and bloggers.

Thoran does not need an introduction for Malayalees. Nostalgia at its height is the smell of fresh grated coconut cooking with vegetables in coconut oil. I was not too much into any form of veggies when I was home but realized my folly when the smell hit me here and I felt this pang in my heart for the long lost days. Like mallugirl once said I guess it is better to try to recreate memories rather than abandoning them altogether. As usual once I hit the stride I just couldn't be stopped:-) So here I am with Thoran made of two veggies!! The recipes are alike, only the veggie changed. I used beans and tindora in these pictures and we ate it like treasured items. You know, when you finish most of the rice and curries but keep the yummiest portion to the end for a lasting taste.

Reminds me of an old forgotten story. My sister and I used to daringly pick 'champakka' from the rose apple trees in our yard and eat them with relish. I always kept the largest almost red fruits to the last for maximum enjoyment and most of the time ended up having no space for them:-) So it is not always a good idea to keep the best for the last...

Coming back to the Thoran, which nancy reminded me of, let me go over the short details of this delightful soul filling recipe below:

In The Mix
beans - 2 fresh bunches or 1 frozen packet (any veggies ex: tindora, cabbage etc can be prepared like this)
mustard - 1/4 tsp
urad dal - 1/4 tsp
onion - 1/2 sliced
green chili - 3 diced into circular shapes
curry leaves - as much as you want or 1 sprig
coconut powder - 1/2 cup (optionally can be hydrated in water a half hour or so before)
salt to taste
oil - 1/2 tbsp

How To Do
Cut the veggies or shell them as applicable if you are using fresh veggies. I had fun shelling some of the well grown beans which of course brought back memories of sitting with my mom and grandmother to shell them whenever they would let me. It was a kitchen duty grandmother enjoyed and therefore was her main responsibility just like shelling boiled eggs. If you can shell some beans, that will make it extra tasty. I couldn't get as much as I hoped and had to cut the rest but what I had still made a difference.

Cook the veggie with little or no water. Add salt to taste. Cook covered in high heat for 6 to 7 minutes. Dry out any remaining water. Since you are cooking on high heat, be sure to be somewhere close by so you won't have to be jolted back into reality by a burning smell..

Heat oil in a separate pan. Break mustard and urad dal. Add thinly sliced onions, green chilies and curry leaves in that order. Mix well and saute for a while. Add the coconut, mix and saute well. Now add the cooked veggie, blend all together and remove from heat. Enjoy with hot rice and butter milk curry. If the rice, thoran and butter milk are rolled into 'bally balls' as my kids would call it, you will keep on eating without realizing one's tummy getting to burst levels:-)

The appearance of the end result will slightly differ depending on how long you were willing to saute the coconut/onion mix as evidenced by the two preparations above.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fried Chicken - From Vanitha

Vanitha Magazine has this series where they write up on small local restaurants made famous through word of mouth. I find that I am becoming a fan of the one recipe that they usually give out from one of the popular items. So far everything I have tried have come out well. This is no exception.

The smell of the marinade is appetizing even before you start cooking. So I don't have to elaborate much on the aftermath. Guys and gals, get out your pans and aprons and get ready for a short and rewarding cooking experience.

In The Mix

Boned Chicken - 2 lbs (cut into medium pieces)
lemon drops - squeezed from 1/2 a lemon
salt to taste
oil - 1 cup or as needed

to crush
crushed red chili - 1 1/2 tbsp
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
cumin powder - 2 tsp
ginger - 2" piece (cut into 2 or 3 pieces)
garlic - 10 lean cloves

How To Do

Crush the 'to crush' items by adding one at a time to the mix. Add salt and lemon drops to this and mix well.

Marinate the chicken in the mix for 1/2 to 1 hour.

Heat oil and fry/cook the chicken on both sides. Drain on paper towels and enjoy as is or with rice and veggies. It is as easy as it sounds and yummy to boot. Want to try? Go for it!

Sunday, October 5, 2008


I don't have a recipe today. Wanted to post about something which probably is well known among the initiated. This is best done when making fried chicken curry. I had almost forgotten the way my Mom used to do this and how I used to just wait for it. Well, the picture says it all. How to get three items with the labor of one!

Make sure some cooked rice is on hand.

Start making your favorite chicken curry. On its way to the finish line, stop right before where you reduce the gravy so it forms a thick coat. Scoop some up into a bowl with enough light gravy so it can accompany appam, porotta or chapathi. Item 1 is ready:-)

Now reduce the gravy to your end and Item 2 is ready as intended. Remove to serving dish.

But wait! Don't wash of the wok/pan/cheenachatti that you used to make the dish. I hope you left some small chicken crumbs and stuff in the pan. Bring out the rice and add to the pan. Mix all together with some salt and your instant fried rice and thus Item 3 is ready!

Enjoy the fried rice with yogurt, papad and if you must, the chicken dish you prepared.

Enjoy the earlier gravied dish another day with suitable accompaniments.

My Grandmother and I were opponents when the rice was prepared in this manner. No one else I guess even knew this was available since the two of us saw to it immediately! Then of course we won't be 'that hungry' for the subsequent lunch or dinner:-) Mom always did this in a special cheenachatti made of bronze that shone like gold on the inside and like onyx on the outside. Another household favorite here.