Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Aappam or appam (ஆப்பம்) is one of the most comforting foods of South India. One can imagine this as a pancake made with rice flour.  It is a very popular food in Kerala, just like the idli of Tamilnadu. We can get this appam in almost all street side dinner shops in Tamilnadu and Kerala. The side dishes may vary from coconut milk to sambar or egg curry or non veg.  The yeast in the appam has many benefits.

Earlier I have made my mom's recipe for aappam and my own recipe 'easy appam with rice flour' .  The recipes vary from place to place and generation to generation because of the availability of rice quality and weather. Also it varies from family to family also and here is what I got recently from my chithis in Tirunelveli and Tuticorin.
Aaappam with coconut milk

Ingredients: (Makes 12 appam)
Raw rice / Everest basmati - 1 1/2 cup
Idli rice / parboiled rice - 3/4 cup
urid dhal - 1 tbsp
poha (aval) / cooked rice - 1 handful
coconut (shredded) - 3/4 cup
dry yeast - 1 tsp
sugar - 1 tbsp
salt - 1 tsp

Raw rice is the best. But I have used Everest brand rice that serves both ways and it is economical in my place. Soak  rices, urad dhal , poha  for 2 hours or overnight and grind with shredded coconut to a fine paste. Mix yeast, salt, sugar. Let it be a thick batter like dosa mavu.

Keep it closed and place in a warm place for 12-18 hours. I used to make this batter at night by 9 pm and leave inside oven (heat to 300 for 10 minutes and turn off oven) and in the next day morning there will be bubbles on the surface and the batter would  have risen. Mix well.

Now heat the aappam pan and wipe a drop of coconut oil all over the pan by using a clean cloth.

Check the thickness of aappam batter now. It should be in the more thin in consistency than that of dosa batter.If not so add some coconut milk or water.
Pour 2 ladles of batter,keep heat at medium to low.
Then Shake the pan in a circular motion so that the flour spreads and expands along the edges.(If batter is too thick and does not spread, add a little more milk or water to the batter for the next aapams ). The cooked batter forms a layer of 'lace' around the thicker center portion. It is then covered and cooked in it's own steam over gentle heat.
I wait to hear a dripping sound of water(condensation of steam) .Now we can be sure that the aapam is cooked.Then by using a dosa spatula or spoon gently take out the aapam.

Serving suggestions:
Aapam goes fine with coconut milk.Take coconut milk 1/2 can and dilute it with equal amount of water.Spread 2 teaspoon sugar over aapam and add 4 tablespoon coconut milk over the aapam. Enjoy your aapam.
Number of appam using this recipe is 12

Alternate recipe:
(use these ingredients and follow the above instructions)
Raw rice - 2 cup
Idly rice / boiled rice - 1/2 cup
urid dal - 1 tbsp
shredded coconut - 3/4 cup
coconut water - 1/2 cup
salt - 1 tsp

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

How to make coconut milk ?

Making our own fresh coconut milk at home gives much satisfaction than any other version. It creates a good nostalgia for anyone like me who has enjoyed watching their mothers extracting this flavorful milk on a Sunday morning , while cooking the appam on a pan. But somehow I was always for readymade coconut milks.  For many years I have been using a can of coconut milk or coconut milk powder, until I brought my super extractor mixie jar from India. Without knowing the importance of a juicer, some years ago, I had brought only the other jars while we came to USA for the first time and this juicer jar was in our house for  a long time :). Though  I agree that I love the convenience of  readymade milks, I made 2 cups of fresh coconut milk last weekend to serve along with Kerala appam. Hubby dear appreciated this fresh coconut milk with every piece of the appam I made. I was running from kitchen to dining table to meet his appam requirements :) and now I am very sure we will be having fresh coconut milk and appam most of our weekends:).
I am sure most of my blog friends are experts in preparing everything from scratch, but I am just sharing my joy about my coconut milk :) Hope you all like it !
Homemade coconut milk

extracting coconut milk using Super extractor jar.

Coconut milk served with aappam

Sliced coconut - 1 1/2 cup
(or) shredded coconut - 1 cup
warm water - 2 cups

Common mixie method :
Grind the sliced coconut in a mixer. Add 1/2 cup warm water and squeeze out the milk. Filter it using a fresh cloth. This is the thick milk , which is used in many gravies.
After that grind again and extract milk just like the above three time. Combine all the milks together or keep the thick and thin milks separate as per need.

Using a Super extractor / juicer mixie:
If using a  juicer / super extractor jar from Preethi Mixie, there will not be any need of strainer.
Fix the juicing blade, Fit the filter mesh to the juicer jar.
Put the sliced or shredded coconut directly inside the jar  touching the blade(not in the space outside the filter).
Add 1/2 cup water.
Put the safety lid and close the lid.
Run the mixie in full speed for 30 seconds. The coconut milk will collect in the space between filter and outer jar compartment.
We can pour out the coconut milk straightly out of the jar. This is the thick milk.
After that we can repeat two or three more times to extract all the milk using 1/2 cup water each time.
(I used sliced frozen coconut, which I bought from Indian grocery shop, but fresh coconuts would be excellent).

coconut milk using bare hands:
Add 1/2 cup warm water to the shredded coconut and squeeze the first thick milk using our hands and filter. Then in the same way extract milk thrice.

Uses of coconut milk:
The extracted milk can stay good for at least 3 days in fridge.
Coconut milk can be served with appam, idiyappam.
To thicken curries and gravies in Indian cuisine.
To make biriyani, pulav, coconut milk rice and various rice varieties.
Used in making some kind of kheer like paal kozhukattai.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Brown rice spinach pongal

Making a pongal with spinach and brown rice is one of my favorites. I have coined this recipe for our own taste and I am sure it will be liked by you all too.
Keerai pongal with eggplant curry, pappad

brown rice - 3/4 cup
green gram dal (moong dal) - 1/2 cup
water - 4 cups
spinach - 2 cups (chopped)
salt - to taste
turmeric powder - 1/8 tsp
hing - a pinch
ghee - 1 tbsp (while serving)
ghee - 1 tbsp
cumin - 1 tsp
black pepper - 1 tsp
green chilly - 2
curry leaves - few

Rinse the brown rice , dhal and soak for 30 minutes - 1 hour.  This helps in easy cooking. Pressure cook the rice and dal together with water, salt and turmeric powder.
In another cooking vessel, temper the items mentioned. Heat 1 tbsp ghee. Add cumin, black pepper , chopped green chillies, curry leaves and saute a little. Add the cooked rice+dal.
Chop the spinach finely. Put the chopped spinach and add some more water to cook.
Switch off , as soon as the spinach gets cooked. Add 1 tbsp ghee and mash gently with a  spatula and serve hot.

Serving suggestions:
Serve as lunch.
Good side dishes are coconut chutney, baingan ka parta, sambar, pappad.
serves 2.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Winter recipes

Here in the part of globe where we live, the winters are long and cold. Having a hot cup of chocolate milk before bed is our favorite during this season. Weekends need a hot masala chaai at flask and some spicy fried Indian snacks or homemade cookies to munch on. Any food needs a little more spice level :) Also cooking during winter is a joy for me, as it is the best indoor entertainment :) Keeping a balance between cooking good foods as well as little calorie conscience will work for any season, but winter needs something extra. So I plan on making some foods that suits this weather.

Have a look at my suggestions and enjoy the virtual winter treat !

Chicken tomato soup (chennai recipe)

Crab kulambu (Tuticorin recipe)
Perfect kuzhambu for winter
Goat leg soup (clear):

Idiyappam with paya:
Add caption

Tandoori chicken:

Milagu kuzhambu:

Sukku Kuzhambu:

Scrambled egg chapati:
Add caption

Masala tea:

Bhel poori (snack):

Kara sev (fries):

Baked masala peanut:

Enjoy !

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Mutton varuval (in pressure cooker)

Here is our family recipe for mutton curry or varuval. It is easier than my version of preparing this curry in a thick wok (kadai).
I call this my family recipe (or Tirunelveli version), as my amma and mother inlaw both do the same way.  My MIL's mutton gravy is one of the best. We will definitely need a pressure cooker to prepare this gravy.
After buying my small pressure cooker, I too started following this method.
Here is a very easy way to make a delicious mutton varuval using pressure cooker.

Try and enjoy this Tirunelveli mutton curry  

Goat meat (with bone)- 1 lb
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
ginger - 2 inch
garlic - 1 whole
curry masala powder - 2 tsp
red chilly powder - 2 tsp
coriander powder - 6 tsp
tomato -2
brinji leaves -2
Red onion- 2
curry leaves- 1 sprig
cilantro - 1 handful
mint leaves - 1 handful
sesame oil - 2 tbsp
fennel - 1 tsp
salt - to taste

Rinse the meat and cut it into small pieces.
Pressure cook it with turmeric and handful of water. Cook for 8 whistles in medium heat (after 1 whistle reduce to medium).
Open the pressure cooker after it becomes cool. It should be cooked perfectly by now.
In a kadai , heat 2 tbsp sesame oil. Add 1 tsp fennel seeds and after it turns red add brinji leaves,curry leaves, chopped onion. Let the onion get cooked and becomes mild pink.
Then put cilantro and mint leaves one by one .
Add the ginger garlic paste and saute for a while.
Then add finely chopped tomato and saute till it gets cooked.
Add chilli powder,coriander powder, garam masala powder and saute again.
Add this to the cooked mutton in pressure cooker.
Put enough salt and pressure cook till 1 whistle. Reduce to low heat and cook for 5 minutes.
Open the cooker. If there is some excess water, then cook it without lid in open fire and take out the mutton gravy. It should be a thick curry.
Garnish with chopped cilantro.
Mutton varuval is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve as side dish with plain rice , coconut milk rice, ghee rice.
Tastes very good with idli, dosai or parotta.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Mixed vegetable poriyal

A colorful bowl of side dish is always attractive. We can see 'mixed vegetable stir fries' in any cuisine in the world. In USA, any grocery store will have these chopped frozen vegetables that are easy to cook. Those packets makes the cooking very easy. But in India , our mothers had followed a different way to get those colorful vegetables. I follow the olden method and I reserve a small piece of many vegetables I use everyday to make a poriyal or aviyal that weekend. Instead we can make this poriyal with a store-bought pack or fresh too. Anyways try this and enjoy a Tamilnadu poriyal and let me know how you like it !

Cabbage - 1 cup (shredded)
carrot - 1 (diced)
fresh green peas - 1/2 cup
cooked channa dal - 1/2 cup
green beans -10
shredded coconut - 2 tbsp
green chillies - 2
curry leaf - 1 sprig
onion (chopped) - 2 tbsp (optional)
ginger (finely chopped) - 1 tsp
oil - 1 tsp
salt - to taste
mustard - 1/2 tsp
cumin - 1/4 tsp

Shred the cabbage into fine pieces. Chop the carrot into small cubes and green beans to small pieces. Peel and wash the green peas (pachai pattani).

Heat oil in a wok. Let the mustard seeds pop. Then slide in the onion, ginger, green chillies, curry leaves and saute for 10 seconds. Don't let it get red.

Then add the finely chopped veggies along with green pea and stir fry for a minute.
Immediately sprinkle a handful of water. Add salt and cook covered till the vegetables are done. Tender crispy cooking making the poriyal more tasty. So don't over cook them. Then add the cooked channa dal.

Now sprinkle the shredded coconut and cumin seeds. Mix well and switch off.

Mixed vegetable poriyal is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve as side dish with sambar rice or any rice.
Serves 4.

Happy New year,

Wishing all a
beautiful, Prosperous , peaceful and Blessed
Happy New year,
May God protect us all and
Bless us with a happy life,
Happy New Year

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