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Vendakka Pachadi | Bhindi Raita


Vendakka pachadi is a Kerala based delicacy, usually served as a side dish for rice. It's a quick and easy dish with vendakka (okra / ladies finger / bhindi) fried and mixed into a coconut and curd gravy.

Ingredients:

Vendakka - 10 to 12
Green chillies - 2
Curd - 4 tbsp
Oil - to fry
Salt - to taste

To grind:
Coconut - 1/4 cup
Green chillies - 4 to 5
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curd - 2 tbsp

Tempering/Tadka:
Coconut oil - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Red chillies 1, halved
Curry leaves - 1 sprig

Method:

1. Grind together coconut, green chillies, mustard along with the curd to a paste without adding water.

2. Wash the vendakka and pat them dry. Cut them into thin round slices. Heat oil in a pan. Add green chiilies (whole) and vendakka. Fry till vendakka turns brown. Do not make it crispy.

3. In a bowl, mix together the fried vendakka, green chillies and the ground paste. Add curd, salt and mix well.

4. Heat oil in a tadka pan and add mustard seeds. When it crackles, add red chillies and curry leaves. Pour into the pachadi and mix.

Serve with rice.
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Vazhakkai Poriyal | Raw Banana Stir-Fry


Raw banana (plantain) stir fry or vazhakkai poriyal is a simple stir fry with coconut. I have added garlic here but you can skip it and make a no-onion no-garlic stir-fry. This can be served as an accompaniment for rice and any South Indian curry like sambar, rasam and morukootan.

Ingredients:

Raw banana - 1 big
Garlic - 4 to 5, crushed
Mustard - 1 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Red chillies - 2, halved
Curry leaves - few
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp + 1/2 tsp
Green chillies - 3
Grated coconut - 5 to 6 tbsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Salt - to taste

Method:

1. Crush the green chillies in a mortar and pestle or grind them coarsely in a mixer and keep aside.

2. Peel the skin of raw banana and chop into small cubes. Add 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, mix well and set aside for 2 minutes, then strain the water and wash well.

3. Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When it crackles, add urad dal and red chillies. When dal turns golden, add garlic and curry leaves and fry for few seconds.

4. Then add raw banana, turmeric powder, salt and mix well. Sprinkle some water, about 1/4 cup and mix. Cover and cook till it becomes soft, stirring occasionally.

5. Stir fry the raw banana in medium flame till all the water is evaporated and the banana becomes dry and lightly roasted.

6. Now add grated coconut, green chillies and stir well. Fry for 3-4 minutes.

Serve hot with rice.

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Arachu Kalakki


Arachu kalakki is a curd based gravy prepared using kanni manga (mango) or nellika (gooseberry) preserved in brine (salt water) or chenai (yam) ground with green chillies, ginger and coconut and tempered with mustard seeds, red chillies and curry leaves.

This is a simple and tweaked version of the traditional arachu kalakki cooked without using mango, gooseberry or yam.

Ingredients:

Grated coconut - 1/4 cup
Green chillies - 4 to 5
Ginger - 1" piece
Tamarind paste - 1 tsp
Curd - 4 to 5 tbsp
Salt - to taste

For Tempering/Tadka:
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Red chillies - 2, halved
Asafoetida - a pinch
Curry leaves - few
Oil - 1 tsp

Method:

1. Grind together coconut, green chillies ginger and tamarind paste to a smooth paste. Add curd, little water, salt and mix well.

2. In a tadka pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds. When it crackles, add red chillies, asafoetida and curry leaves. Pour over the arachu kalakki and mix.

Serve with rice.
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Carrot Rice


A nutritious rice dish with carrots that can be served with a simple raita or pickle. This easy recipe with minimal spices, can be prepared quickly. A perfect lunch box recipe!

Ingredients:

Cooked rice - 1 cup
Grated carrot - 1 1/2 cup
Onion - 1 medium, chopped
Green chillies - 2, finely chopped
Ginger - 1" piece, grated
Curry leaves - 1 sprig, roughly chopped
Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp, chopped
Asafoetida - a pinch
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Jeera/Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Red chillies - 2, halved
Oil - 2 tsp
Salt - to taste

Method:

1. Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When it crackles, add asafoetida, red chillies, urad dal and fry till dal turns golden. Then add ginger, green chillies and fry for few seconds.

2. Add onions, curry leaves and fry till onions turns pink. Then add grated carrots, turmeric powder, jeera powder and mix well. Fry till the carrots become soft.

3. Add salt, garam masala and coriander leaves. Mix well and fry for a minute. Add the cooked rice and combine well with the carrots. Stir for another 2-3 minutes.

Serve with raita or pickle.

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Potato Capsicum Fry | Aloo Shimla Mirch Fry


A simple and quick, mildly spiced curry with capsicum and potato that can served with chapathi and rice.

Ingredients:

Potato - 3 medium, cut into cubes
Capsicum - 2 medium, cut into cubes
Onion - 1 big, chopped
Tomato - 3 medium, chopped
Ginger-garlic paste - 1 tsp
Jeera/Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Fennel seeds - 1/4 tsp
Ajwain - 1/4 tsp
Red chillies - 2, halved
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Jeera/Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder - 2 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp
Coriander leaves - to garnish

Method:

1. Heat oil. Add jeera, fennel seeds, ajwain and red chillies. When jeera pops, add onions. Fry till the onions become translucent. Now add ginger-garlic paste and fry till the onions turn golden.

2. Add tomatoes, potatoes, salt and turmeric powder. Mix well. Close and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once in between.

3. Then add jeera powder, coriander powder, red chilly powder and 1/2 cup water. Mix well and cook till potatoes become soft.

4. Add the capsicum and mix well. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes. Add garam masala, mix well and fry for 4-5 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve hot with chapathi.
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Pulikuthi Poduthul


Pulikuthi poduthul is a specialty of Palakkad Iyer's, usually served with tomato rasam. Its a combination of vegetables like sundakkai (turkey berry), potato, brinjal, raw banana, chembu (colocasia/arbi), chembu leaves, pumpkin (mathan), ladies finger (okra/vendakka) and raw rice, urad dal, red chillies, fenugreek and tamarind.

Ingredients:

Sundakkai - 20
Potato - 1 big
Ladies finger/Vendakka - 8 to 10
Raw banana - 1
Brinjal - 4
Pumpkin - 100 gms
Tamarind - 1 lemon size ball
Red chilly powder - 1 ¼ tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil

To roast & powder:
Raw rice - 1/4 cup
Urad dal - 1 tbsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
Red chillies - 5 to 6

Preparation:

1. Soak the tamarind in water and extract the pulp.

2. Crush the sundakkai lightly and keep aside. Wash the vegetables and cut them lengthwise into 1 inch long pieces.

3. In a pan, heat little oil. Add the raw rice and fry till its brown. Then add the urad dal and fenugreek seeds and roast till dal turns golden. Add red chillies and fry for 2 minutes. Cool and powder.

Method:

1. Boil the vegetables (except vendakka and brinjal) separately in little tamarind water along with little salt, a pinch of turmeric powder and 1/4 tsp red chilly powder till its 3/4th cooked.

Note: You can boil the vegetables together (except vendakka and brinjal) by first adding chundakka and after 2 minutes add the potato and raw banana. When they are half way done, add the pumpkin.

2. Heat oil in a pan. Fry vendakka and brinjal for 2-3 minutes. Then add little tamarind water, salt, a pinch of turmeric powder and 1/4 tsp red chilly powder and fry till its cooked. Keep aside.

3. In the same pan, fry the sundakkai, then add potato and raw banana. Fry till the vegetables are lightly roasted. Then add pumpkin and fry till its lightly roasted.

4. Now add the fried vendakka and brinjal and mix the vegetables together. Add the powder and mix well. Stir fry for another 2 minutes.

Serve with rice and rasam.
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