Sunday, January 25, 2009

Vazhapoo / Banana Flower Thoran

I had no idea that banana flower could be cooked and is edible until the day i tasted this thoran cooked with it. It tasted so good and i wanted to have more of it. Deep purple in color with shades of pink to it, this flower's outer layers are discarded until you get a inner layer that does not have this deep color. Rather a pale colored inner layer is used for cooking. Discard till you reach that layer, then chop the flower in the center into two parts and then chop into small pieces. Immediately immerse chopped pieces in water, in which a little turmeric powder has been added. Wash well before using for cooking. keep immersed in water till you have to cook.


Ingredients

2 – Banana flower
1 cup – Chana dal
½ cup – Shallots chopped
½ cup – Freshly grated coconut
1.5 tsp to 2 tsp – Crushed chili flakes
½ tsp – Turmeric powder
Salt to taste


Seasoning

2 tsp – Mustard seeds
3 to 4 sprigs – Curry leaves.

Coconut oil

Method

1 ) Wash chana dal and soak in enough water for one hour. Then in little water cook chana dal till it is fully cooked, but should not get mashed up. Add salt to taste. Check dal while cooking, so that it doesn't get over cooked. Switch off stove and drain off excess water, if any.

2 ) Heat a pan with little coconut oil, add mustard seeds and pop it. Then add shallots, curry leaves and fry till shallots are very lightly browned. Now add chili flakes, turmeric powder and fry for a few seconds. Then add coconut and fry for a minute.

3 ) Squeeze out all the water from the banana flower and add to the pan. Stir and mix in well. Cook on low heat till the flower is cooked, stirring in between. Add salt to taste. Once the flower has cooked, add chana dal and mix in. On low heat cook stirring occasionally, till ingredients are mixed well and cooked. Adjust salt to taste. Turn off the stove and serve.



Serve hot with roti or steamed rice.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Mani Puttu

Kerala culinary is so intertwined with the use of coconut in its cooking. This palaharam (snack) is so rich with coconut, were rice flour and coconut compliments each other to make a delicious and a filling snack.


Ingredients

2 cups- lightly roasted rice flour
1 cup – finely grated fresh coconut
1 and ¾ cup – Water
¾ tsp – Salt
1.5 to 2 cup – Thick coconut milk
Sugar to taste

Method

1 ) Combine grated coconut, water and salt in an utensil. Place on stove and just bring to a boil. Turn off the stove.

2 ) Add rice flour to a mixing bowl, pour the hot water mixture slowly on the rice flour and stir well with a spoon to make a dough. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes. Then knead the dough. To test if the dough is ready to make small balls out of it. Take a little dough and roll on the palm and if it rolls out well without sticking, dough is ready to be rolled to small balls. Otherwise if it is sticky add little more rice flour, to get the desired proportion.

3 ) Take little dough at a time and make small balls out of it. You can make elongated shape too. Place the shaped dough in a plate. You can pile up dough balls on one another. It will not stick.

4 ) Use a steamer to steam or a pressure cooker. In a pressure cooker place the plate and steam without the placing the weight. Steam for 15 to 20 minutes.

5 ) Meanwhile keep coconut milk ready, sweetened with sugar. Take the steamed dumplings out and immediately immerse in coconut milk. Keep soaked for 15 minutes.


Serve mani puttu along with coconut milk.