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Friday, April 29, 2011

Elephant Yam - Chena Masala Curry

Wonder how this vegetable got the name elephant yam. Now this is called chena in Malayalam. A very naadan taste is achieved in this recipe, where masala ingredients are roasted and ground. Replace yam with potato and make a potato masala curry.


400 gm - Chena/ suran/ elephant yam, cut to smaller cubes
3 to 4 - Green chili, slit in center
2''piece - Ginger, finely chopped
2 medium size - Tomato, chopped

Roast & Grind to smooth paste

3/4 cup - Freshly grated coconut
1 piece - Cinnamon stick
4 to 6 - Clove
1 - Star anise
5 to 6 big - Garlic
4 to 5 - Shallots / small onions
4 to 5 - Whole dry red chili
2 tbsp - Coriander powder
1/2 tsp - Turmeric powder


1 tsp - Mustard seeds
1/2 cup - Shallots/ small onions, chopped
1/4 cup - Coconut chopped, thenga kottu
3 to 4 sprigs - Curry leaves


1 ) Pressure cook chena with ginger, green chili, tomato and salt to taste, adding enough water. Pressure cook for one whistle.

2 ) In a kadai, fry & roast grated coconut, on medium to low heat. Add cinnamon, clove, star anise, dry red chili, garlic and shallots. Add little coconut oil in between roasting, for good taste and flavor. Fry till the coconut turns light to medium brown in color. Now add coriander powder and turmeric powder. Further fry till the powders changes color to a slight darker shade. Take off the stove and cool.

3 ) When cool, grind to a smooth paste with enough water. Now add this coconut paste to the cooked chena. Add enough water for the gravy. Add salt to taste and some curry leaves. Bring to a boil and take off the stove.

4 ) Meanwhile, in a kadai, add coconut oil and pop the mustard seeds. Then add, coconut bits, small onion and fry to a light brown color. Add rest of the curry leaves and fry for a second. Garnish the curry with this and stir in. Serve hot with rice. Serve as a side dish with rice or roti.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Vishu and a Koottu Curry

The Malayalam new year, Vishu is celebrated on the first day of medam masam (Malayalam month ) It generally falls on 14th or 15th of April. This year it's on April 15th. Very early in the morning, i woke to light the lamp and then woke rest of the family to see the auspicious Vishukkani.
Later in the day starts preparation for a small sadhya. This koottu curry is a combination of vegetables and chana dal, that when seasoned is delicious and will be a good add to the sadhya dishes.


1 cup - Chana dal
1 and 1/4 cup - Chena /suran/yam, cut to small cubes.
1 and 1/4 cup - White pumpkin, cut to small cubes
1 and 1/4 cup - Red pumpkin, cut to small cubes
1 - Raw banana, cut to small cubes
Salt to taste

To roast and grind

1 tbsp - Coriander seeds
1/2 tsp - Turmeric powder
8 - Whole dry red chili
3 - Pepper corn
1 tsp - Urad dal


1 tsp - Mustard seeds
2 to 4 - Dry red chili, broken into two
8 - Shallots, sliced
3 sprigs - Curry leaves
1/2 cup - Freshly grated coconut
Coconut oil


1 ) Soak chana dal for 2 hours in enough water. Transfer the dal to a pressure cooker, add 2 cups of water and pressure cook for 5 minutes. Now turn off the stove and cool. Then open the cooker and add the vegetables. Add salt to taste and again pressure cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the stove and cool.

2 ) Meanwhile, roast the ingredients listed to roast in little coconut oil. Then powder and grind to a smooth paste with little water.

3 ) Add this masala paste to the cooked dal and veggies. Simmer and bring to a boil. Adjust salt to taste.

4 ) Now heat a pan with coconut oil to season. Add mustard seeds and let it pop. Then add dry red chili and fry it for a second then add onion and curry leaves. Let the onion light brown in color. Then add the grated coconut and fry the coconut to a light brown color. Add more coconut oil, if necessary. Pour this seasoning on top of the cooked dal and veggies and mix in. Close with a lid immediately to capture the aroma inside the pan.

Serve as a side dish with rice. Wishing every one a Happy Vishu !

Check out the malabar style koottu curry preparation here