Friday, October 3, 2014

Fermented Favourites

Recipe: Mom's Soft and Delicate Vattayappam (Steamed cakes of fermented rice and coconut batter)

"It's so soft and delicate, Amma. Can you give me some more?"

That's what my elder son told me when he had his first slice of Vattayappam.

I used my mother's recipe as I have loved her vattayappams the most.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Toddy Tales

Recipe : Homemade Toddy from Coconut Water

The malayalam word for "shop" is "kada".

But in Kerala, a toddy shop is always called "kallu shaap" and not "kallu kada".

I wonder why.


A kallu shaap is usually a dirty, dingy hut and not a welcome place for a woman. Though these days there are a few family kallu shaaps where you can sit down with the whole family and drink kallu (toddy) and enjoy wonderful spicy seafood.

However, anything in excess is bad for health, especially addictive things like alcohol. Sadly, many lives are ruined due to alcohol addiction.  So, in order to battle the alcohol addiction in the state, the government plans to brings about a ban on the sale of alcohol in Kerala. This could mean that kallu shaaps and will soon be a thing of history.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sweet Celebrations

Recipe: Semiya Payasam / Vermicelli Pudding

There was a time in Kerala, when payasams were inseparable from celebrations, much before the popularisation of cakes and pastries. Be it a birthday or a festival, the payasam was the main dessert with the fragrant smell of cardamom filling the house.


There are mainly 2 types of payasams - the brown one (or the "sharkara" payasam) and the white one (or "paal" payasam).

The sharkara payasam is sweetened with sharkara ie jaggery (hence the brown colour), thickened with coconut milk and is more time-consuming to prepare due to the need for scraping many coconuts, taking out its milk, melting and cleaning the jaggery etc, like this parippu payasam I had made before.

The paal payasam, on the other hand, is sweetened with sugar, thickened with cow's milk and is a quickie.

My favourite payasam has always been the semiya payasam which is a type of paal payasam made with semiya (vermicelli), milk and sugar. 

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