Category Archives: This, that and the other

Goan Lunch Thali

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And we are in Goa today.

I visited Archana’s space for recipe ideas. And I based this thali (though the okra recipe has garlic) from this post of hers. She mentions about “shivrak”(vegetarian) days, where the diet is “chanyacho ras”, a vegetable, rice, batat kapa and toi. Toi can be made with and without coconut. This version has coconut in it.

I found that there are some similarities between Goan and Kerala cuisine. It’s not that they are alike, it’s just that when you say Goa, the image is that of Portuguese influenced Catholic cooking. So when you find recipes that strike a chord somewhere with your comfort food even if it is distant by a mile, all of a sudden it’s not foreign any more. That feeling is actually comforting.

For example, this dal has a ground coconut mix added to it, just like the Kerala Parippu Curry. It’s just that I hadn’t expected ground coconut in Goan dishes.

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This payasam is another example. This is very similar to our Kadala Parippu payasam. The Kerala recipe is also a blend of Chana dal (split chickpea), jaggery and coconut milk. I didn’t have the sabudana/sago pearls with me, so went ahead and made the payasam without it.

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Now coming to the bhindi/okra recipe here, this one is a bit different from how it’s usually prepared at home. There is a little bit of ginger and garlic that makes a whole lot of difference to the dish.

Yummy!

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Futi kadhi is something I have tried before, again from Archana’s space. I used kokum gifted by Pradnya then. I have been holding on to that batch of kokum and finally realized that life won’t end if I use up the rest of it.

So I have put the last of the kokum to some good use. Made another batch of futi kadhi and my man was a happy man that day!

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And coming to the batata kapa (fried potatoes), I don’t think I need to say anything. As long as potatoes feature in the menu, you are safe. If you fry it, then you are double safe.

The semolina(rava) coating is a new thing for me, but somehow with the rava that fell into the oil from the potatoes left a real bad mess in the pan. I don’t think I will be trying the coating again until I am more comfortable with deep frying.

Anyway, the man was happy with it and that compensates the messy dishes.

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The Menu:

  • Rice : Plain rice, cooked with water in 1:3 ratio. Yes, we like it a bit overcooked on a regular basis.
  • Futi Kadhi     : A drink made with kokum. Spicy, sour, sweet, salty….a burst of flavours in there.
  • Goan Dal with drumsticks : A dal made with ground coconuts and wonderful home-grown drumsticks that my husband’s friend gave.
  • Batata Kapa : Deep fried potatoes with a semolina (rava) coating…need I say more?
  • Okra – Goan style : A different version with chopped ginger and garlic in it.
  • Mangane : Chana dal payasam with jaggery. Not too different from the Kerala version.

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An year older…an year wiser?

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Time rolls by and I turned a year older sometime back.

And yet, the man forgot about it. And so did the kid.

And I was preoccupied with a hundred things to remind them.

The day almost got over before the kid and the man wished me.

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But my friends didn’t forget.

Calls started coming in from 6:30 in the morning. STDs, roaming calls and ISDs. Few in numbers, but it kept coming for the whole week.

And some of them came in with really beautiful gifts.

A personalized cup with the message: ‘Ageing is just a cakewalk’. My eyes popped out when I saw an old picture of mine (when I could easily fit into a jeans) in it.

Thoughtful indeed :-). And thought-provoking (diet-wise) indeed!

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Another gift came in the form of a beautiful caramelized banana cake. It made me really happy, because nothing completes a birthday the way a cake does.

There was no candles, no ceremonies, I just cut the cake and popped a piece into my mouth. Somehow, cakes make everything right.

It does, it really does.

With my man across the seven oceans at the moment, I need all my friends, all their love and of course all their cakes to keep life sweet.

Love you all. God bless!

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Achari Bhindi

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For the past some months, my sweet little ‘weekend world’ has come crashing down.  Earlier we would sleep late, get up late, roam around, drive somewhere and just relax the whole day. The best part was that I wouldn’t cook as we would almost always eat outside.

But now, the man and the kid are totally into sports. So now the alarm rings at 6 AM (midnight for me). I would be wondering whether the world has come to an end when it rings. 

But on the other side of the bed, the man springs out like a jack-in-the-box and gets around with so much of energy that it’s almost unbearable for me to watch. All I want to do is to curl up under the sheet and sleep till 9 AM and here, the man gets ready, wakes up the kid. You have two bright-eyed, energetic people in front of you when you are groggy and half your mind is still in la-la land.

But the good part is that they both will be away for their cricket match and stuff . So I get to finish off the cooking and then relax as much as you want. Since we hardly eat out now a days, an easy to put together restaurant style meal does uplift the mood. So presenting achaari bhindi and soya pulao, our weekend lunch sometime back.

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Recipe Source: Zesty South Indian Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 kg Okra/ Ladies finger
  • 2 tsp ginger, chopped
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 14 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder (or per taste)
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • Oil
  • Salt 
For the Achaari masala
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds/saunf
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp nigella seeds (I didn’t use)
  • 1/4 tsp methi seeds (fenugreek seeds)
  • a pinch of hing

Method:

  1. Wash and clean the ladies finger. Let it dry by itself or pat it dry with a clean kitchen towel. Cut it into 1″ long pieces.
  2. Microwave it with 1 tbsp oil until 3/4th cooked or saute in stove top until slightly brown and almost cooked. If doing in stove top, you might need a bit more oil. Keep aside.
  3. Heat oil in a pan and add the achaari spices (saunf, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, nigella seeds and hing). Once the mustard crackles, add the chopped ginger and green chillies. Saute for half a minute and add the chopped tomatoes.
  4. Let the tomatoes cook and become soft, stir often to avoid sticking to the pan.
  5. Add the turmeric powder, chilli powder, salt and coriander powder to the yogurt along with 1/4 cup water. Mix well.
  6. Add this mix to the tomato mix and cook for a couple of minutes.
  7. Add the cooked ladies finger and cook for sometime until it absorbs all the flavour, about 4-5 minutes. Taste test and adjust seasoning as required.

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Easy Chana Chundal

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Even when the man is at home, I am always looking for ways to cut down the cooking. So when the man is not in town, you bet that the cooking is minimal.

For luring the kid, I give nutella sandwiches, peanut butter dosa, marmalade idli and what not!

And for dinner, it’s these quick to make ‘chundal’ varieties. I don’t even know whether it qualifies as a chundal as it doesn’t have coconut. But I call it chundal anyway.

Scroll down for the recipe if you are also looking for a short cut curry for dinner!

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Serves 2-3 as a side dish

Ingredients:

  • Whole chana/chickpeas         :             1 cup
  • Sambar powder                        :              1 tsp (or per your taste)
  • Salt, per taste
  • Oil
  • Mustard seeds                           :               1 tsp, optional
  • Red Chillies                                :               1, optional

Method:

  1. Wash, clean and soak chana overnight. Pressure cook with salt the next morning for 5-6 whistles or until its cooked fully.
  2. Once the pressure is released, drain and keep the chana aside.
  3. In a kadai, heat oil. Add the mustard seeds and red chillies, if using. Add sambar powder after the mustard crackles and saute for 20-30 seconds. Once the powder starts turning brown, add the chickpeas. You need to switch on the chimney before adding the sambar powder, else it will smoke and you will end up coughing!
  4. Mix the chickpeas well, taste test and add salt, if required. Cook for 3-4 minutes and take off the heat. Serve as such or as a side dish for rice.

Note:  I always soak and cook a whole batch of chana. After taking out what I need, I deep freeze the rest. That way, you don’t have to go through the soaking and cooking process again making life really easy.

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Chocolate Oatmeal

Rajani:

Happy Valentine’s Day to all who celebrate.

Originally posted on My Kitchen Trials:

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There are only a few things in life, better than waking up to chocolate in the morning. So when I saw ‘Chocolate Porridge’ in the breakfast aisle in the Supermarket, I thought of buying it.

Then I remembered about the big packet of oats sitting at home and decided to try a chocolate version of oatmeal. Bit of Google search and I found that the idea was already implemented.

Add a spoon of cocoa powder to your regular oatmeal and you are done. Add some chocolate chips on top and you are looking at the best way to start your day.

Check out the Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal too while you are here.

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Recipe Source: 5 Minute Oatmeal

Serves : 1

Ingredients :

  • Oats                                  :          2 heaped tbsp
  • Milk                                  :          3/4 cup approx
  • Cocoa Powder             :           1 tbsp
  • Sugar                               :           2 tsp (or per taste)
  • Vanilla essence           :           1 tsp (optional)
  • Banana, grated apple :  …

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Focaccia Caprese

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I am quite chatty usually, but now a days past 11 PM, the energy is completely concentrated on keeping your eyes open! That’s funny considering that I have always been a late night person. But life style changes with time and age and different stages in one’s life…
So there is a good chance that I will be hitting the bed early till my son goes off to college. Until then, my midnight chatter is going to be on the shorter side. 
This Focaccia Caprese was Aparna’s ‘We Knead to Bake’ group’s bread for January. I got around doing it only now. But at least a little late than never! Head out to Aparna’s space for more information about the bread. Scroll down below to check out the step by step pictures for making this bread.
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Recipe Source: My Diverse Kitchen
Ingredients:
For the Dough:
  • Instant Yeast             :      2 tsp
  • Sugar                             :      1 1/2 tbsp
  • Flour                              :      3 1/2 cups**
  • Vital Wheat gluten  :      1 tbsp (optional)**
  • Salt                                 :      1 tsp
  • Oil                                   :     1/4 cup (preferably olive oil)
  • Warm Water                 :    1 to 1 1/2 cups
  • Oil for brushing dough

**I don’t get bread flour here, so Flour + gluten is a substitute for that

 For the Topping: 
  • Tomatoes               :           3 big, sliced thin
  • Mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4” slices. I used up about 150 gms, I guess!! 
For the Herbed Oil:
  • Olive Oil                         :     1/4 cup
  • Dried Oregano            :     1 tsp
  • Dried basil                    :     1 tsp
  • Red chilli flakes         :      1/2 tsp
  • Garlic                              :      1 big pod, crushed
  • Salt to taste

Method:

Make the herb oil. Whisk the chilli flakes, oregano, basil, crushed garlic, salt and oil together. Keep aside.

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Get the ingredients for the bread.

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In a big bowl, add the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, gluten, oil. Whisk. Add a cup of warm water and make the dough. You might have to add more water as you go till you get a slightly sticky but soft dough.

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Cover and keep it undisturbed for an hour or so. The dough should be double in quantity – that’s our target.

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Once the dough doubles, punch it down. I wanted only two. So I divided the dough into two.

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Roll out one portion into a thick oval-ish rounds. You can shape the dough with your hands as well. The thickness should be uniform all over. (Mine wasn’t, as you can see :D)

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Transfer to a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Let it sit for 20 minutes or so. 

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Once its risen, make dimples on it with your fingers. You can lightly oil your fingers before you do it. Brush generously with oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 210C till it’s golden brown. Take out the bread and raise the oven temperature to 230C.

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Drizzle the herb oil generously. Place the cheese slices all over and then arrange the tomato slices. The top should be covered with the fillings. Drizzle some more herbed oil on top and bake again for 5-10 minutes until the cheese has just melted.

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Beat eaten fresh and hot :-). Serve with a bowl of soup for a complete meal.

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Gobi Manchurian – Step by Step pictures

Originally posted on My Kitchen Trials:

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Words are extremely difficult to come at times. The more so, when there is a pressure. When you really wish, hope and even demand, the ‘word well’ inside us just seem to dry up.

I am trying my level best here, to write something. And I am not able to. This is funny, especially when you consider that I am quite a yakety-yak. It’s a fact that there are people who really run away or hide when they see me – cause they know I yack their head off. They know I don’t stop once I start.

My friend who was staying with me, tried her level best to hide her relief when she moved out. No more midnight yack-yack-yack to listen to. Cramped her hostel may be, but there will be peace and calm when she reaches home from work now onward!

Oh well! I have done it again. Four paragraphs…

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Welcome 2014

I am still amazed at how hours crawl by so slow, yet days and years fly by so fast.

Before I could even start my 2013 new year resolutions, the year is over! So I guess I will bury it right there and concentrate on 2014. But before that, here are some precious memories from the year that’s sailed past by.

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Blogging Marathon #25 Meet!

Going to Ahmedabad, staying there for three days, meeting other BM members for the first time- yet getting on like we have known each other all our lives..those three days are really special! It was love for food and love for friendship coming together. Fun filled and three very very precious days of my life :-). And Vaishali, I can never thank you enough for your hospitality and warmth you extended to all of us!

I needed three whole lengthy posts to cover some of the details of the trip. You can read more about the meet in this, this, and this post and this whole different post about my luggage back.

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My New DSLR – Canon 600D

I have always maintained that photographer matters more than the camera, but now – with a DSLR in my hand, I stand corrected. The photographer matters a lot – yes, but so does the camera. A good camera can do wonders to a picture.

With out the SLR camera, I don’t think my pictures would have made to the Taste spotting or Food gawker sites. Some of the pictures are taken with a P&S camera, yet SLR makes a lot of difference.

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Onam 2013

I have never been a traditional kind of person. Life just moves on and I have stopped making efforts to make the festivals special. But this year, I took every effort to make Onam a special one.

A month long marathon posts covering as much as I could about Sadya – the traditional feast of Kerala, was a satisfying experience. Again, the push came from Valli and the Blogging Marathon group.

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Onam 2013.

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My son has started liking the cakes I bake now, it’s fondant time at my place! Angry birds, Cricket bat, Cricket cake, Ice cream cone cakes – everything gets done and everything gets appreciated for a change :-).

My breads have started coming out soft and decent too, thanks to Aparna’s We Knead to Bake group.

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On a personal level, this year granted all of us health and happiness. Most importantly, it blessed me with a healthy positive attitude. I have learnt that there is only so much I can control and I am learning to leave the things I can’t do anything about…it brings something called peace of mind :-). Do your bit and leave the rest = Peace of mind to your piece of mind.

Bye bye 2013 – you have been good to me and my family :-). Welcome 2014 – I love you already :-).

I wish this year ahead brings everyone joy, health and satisfaction.

This post goes to Valli’s Best of 2013.

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Kerala Sadya Recipes/ Onam Sadya Recipes

 

Here is the recap of all the recipes from A to Z done as part of Blogging Marathon 32. My theme was Sadya recipes for this BM.

A for Avial, Ada Pradhaman, Achinga payar and chena Mezhukkupiratti

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B for Beetroot Kichadi, Beet root thoran, Beans Thoran
Mini meals 

C  for Carrot Thoran, Cabbage Thoran

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D for Daal – Parippu Curry

parippu curry - daal

E – Erisseri – Chena & Mathan Vanpayaru
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F for Fruit Pachadi
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G for God’s Own Country – Kerala 

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H for How to Serve a Sadya

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I for Inji Puli

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J for Jackfruit Payasam / Chakka Pradhaman

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K for Kalan & Koottu Curry

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L for Lemon Rasam 

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M for Mambazha Pulisseri & Mathan Pachadi
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N – Neer Moru/ButterMilk

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O – Olan 

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P - Payasam & Pookkalam

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Q for Quaker Oats Payasam 

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R for Rice and Rasam

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S for Sambar

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T for Thenga paal

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U for Upperi

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V for Vegetable Cutting

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Wfor Wheat Payasam

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X for Xtra Tips for Preparing a Sadya

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Y for Yam Fry

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Z for Zebra Green Tomato Avial

green tomato avial

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Xtra Tips for Preparing a Sadya

The letter X  tripped me down. Forget a sadya recipe, I am not even able to think of a Kerala recipe with X. So a bit of cheating here and I am serving you eXtra tips for making a sadya.

The time savers, you know!

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When it comes to preparations, the first thing to do is to make a list. A list of the dishes want to make. Its best to make this list before the weekend, so that you can buy the required items on the weekend. When making the list, note your choice of payasams as well and cross verify whether you have all the ingredients, including cashews and raisins.

Traditionally, a sadya needs the following items.

This is not an exhaustive list, but what I know. If there is any additional dishes that you make at your place, please share with me :-).

Side dishes

  • Kichadi
  • Pachadi
  • Avial
  • Thoran
  • Erissery
  • Olan
  • Kalan
  • Koottu Curry

Ozhichu curry varieties (Gravy to mix with rice)

  • Parippu
  • Sambar
  • Rasam
  • Pulissery
  • Moru

Pickles (3 or 4 varieties)*

  • Inji puli / Inji curry (must)
  • Lemon pickle
  • Mango pickle
  • Wild lemon pickle (Vadukapuli naranga)

*Inji curry is must, other pickles are of your choice

Upperi (Fries) – 3 or 4 varieties

  • Sharkara varatti (must)
  • Banana chips
  • Any one/two of your choice

Payasam: (3 or 4 varieties)

  • One milk based (must)
  • One jaggery based
  • Your choice of payasams

Other Items:

  • Rice
  • Pappadam (sometimes big and small pappadams are served, the big one is to go with rasam)
  • Banana
  • Steamed banana (Pazham vevichathu)
  • Boli (in Trivandrum side)

And the most important one – Vazhayila (banana leaf) for serving the sadya.

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Based on the dishes you want to prepare, make a list of the vegetables and groceries to be bought. Don’t forget to add the coconut, banana and the banana leaf to the list!

A very important thing to remember is that, if you are cooking for four, don’t cook each and every item for four people. Keep in mind that there are many dishes and if you cook everything for four, you might be wasting a lot of food.

The pickles, esp. inji curry, can be made well ahead. Sharkara varatti and banana chips too can be made ahead (or bought ahead). Kalan can be made 2-3 days before, it stays good for over a week in the fridge.

I buy the coconuts 3-4 days ahead at least, scrape them and freeze/refrigerate in tupperware containers. I buy one or two extra, just in case. For garnishing wheat based payasams, cut thin coconut slices and refrigerate in airtight containers.

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In olden days of joint families, the work was divided between the ladies of the house. Now with nuclear families, it’s almost always one single person cooking the entire sadya. So bit of preparing ahead is fine, in my opinion.

A day before:

  • Traditionally, everything is made of the day of Onam. But I get some of the work done the day before, just my way of making life easy!
  • If possible, I cut the vegetables a day before.
  • Fry the pappad and store in an airtight container.
  • Extract coconut milk. Keep in mind that you are taking a risk here as coconut milk is best used on the day of extracting it. (I keep a tetra pack of ready made coconut milk as a back up, anyway).
  • Soak the pulses. (Chana for koottu curry, red beans/ black eyed beans for olan and erisseri).  I cook the pulses a day before, it makes cooking really easy.

On the day, let’s start cooking!

Have a simple breakfast and then get into the main cooking.

Traditional rules for making the sadya:

  • Take bath before you start making the sadya. This will help you be fresh and energetic.
  • At my place, my mother never tastes the food before serving, esp on auspicious days. It’s usually because food is served to the Gods first and it shouldn’t be your left over. This is up to you, however.
  •  In some places/communities, garlic and onion is not used on auspicious days. Again, your call!

With so much to do, people sometimes forget about rice. At lunch time, you will have a dozen dishes – but no rice. Rice takes time to cook, so start with it.

Pressure cook rice and toor dal first. You can prep the vegetables while the rice is cooking. Dal can be used for sambar, rasam and parippu. If you are making parippu curry, you need to cook moong dal separately. 

Clean the kitchen counter and your dining table. You are going to have 16-20 dishes coming out of the kitchen. Its best to identify a place and bring it there once a dish is done. 

Get into vegetable preparations. 

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Try clubbing as much chopping as possible and as much grinding as possible. For ex. Pumpkin can be used in olan, sambar and erissery. The vegetable cutting is almost same for all three.

Once cutting for a vegetable is over, transfer it to a MW proof dish (if you have MW) and get it going there.  Believe me, MW speeds up the process like nothing else!

If you have to extract coconut milk for the payasam/olan, do it first before you start grinding for the curries. You don’t want a jeera flavored payasam! 

Grind coconut together for kichadi and pachadi. Its  the same mix. With little variations, its a combination of coconut + cumin + chillies for almost all the dishes. It’s the consistency that varies (smooth, coarse) most of the time. 

Roast coconut together for Erissery and Koottu curry (if preparing both).

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Once a dish is done, bring it to the dining table (that’s what I do), or keep it in a separate place so that it doesn’t crowd the kitchen counter.

If have a big pressure cooker, try to use separators and get as many dishes as possible cooked at the same time. Ex. when cooking for avial, you can cook for koottu curry or erisseri too along with it. It requires the same number of whistles.I made kalan and koottu curry with yam and raw banana. I was able to pressure cook the vegetables together this way.

Get to the payasams. I do it last, because that needs the most attention.

Check out ‘How to Serve a Sadya‘ on serving the spread.

By now, you will be in the full run and things will just fall in place – or fall out place, whatever ;-P! The thing to remember is that the sadya is for your family and its OK if you make a couple of items less. Its more important that you spend a good day with your family, enjoying the food than collapsing at the time of serving!

Happy Sadya everyone :-)…

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Previous Posts:

  1. A – Avial, Ada Pradhaman, Achinga Payar – Chena Mezhukkupiratti
  2. B - Beetroot Kichadi, Beet root thoran, Beans Thoran
  3. C  - Carrot Thoran, Cabbage Thoran
  4. D – Daal – Parippu Curry
  5. E – Erisseri – Chena & Mathan Vanpayaru
  6. F - Fruit Pachadi
  7. G – God’s Own Country – Kerala
  8. H – How to Serve a Sadya
  9. I – Inji Puli
  10. J - Jackfruit Payasam – Chakka Payasam
  11. K - Kalan & Koottu Curry
  12. L - Lemon Rasam
  13. M - Mambazha Pulisseri & Mathan Pachadi
  14. N – Neer Moru/ButterMilk
  15. O – Olan
  16. P - Payasam & Pookkalam
  17. Q – Quaker Oats Payasam
  18. R – Rice and Rasam
  19. S – Sambar
  20. T – Thenga paal
  21. U – Upperi
  22. V – Vegetable Cutting
  23. W – Wheat Payasam

Logo courtesy : Preeti

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 32

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