Friday, November 28, 2014

Semiya payasam(Vermicelli kheer)

Payasam is something I have seen my mom make for birthdays and other special occasions.So even I follow the same practice. Me personally not a big fan of sweets and sweet delicacies, but the rest of my family is. Especially, my husband. Last week, it was his birthday and this payasam was the birthday special.
My mom has a secret ingredient in the payasam recipe, sweetened condensed milk. It makes the payasam rich and creamy, also yummy too.

Usually it is made with just milk and by letting it reduce to get the creamy consistency, which calls for cooking for quite a long time. Well, if there are things like a can of condensed milk that makes life easier, why not go for it ;)
Give it a try, you will like time when its your turn to bring a dessert for the potluck, make a payasam...make ahead and put in the fridge, even better :) omg, life can't get any better..

Semiya payasam (Vermicelli kheer)



  • Vermicelli: 1/2 cup
  • Milk: 2 1/2 cups
  • Ghee: 2 tbsp
  • Condensed milk: 1/2 a tin
  • Raisins :2 tbsp
  • Nuts: 2 tbsp ( cashew/almond/pista)
  • Sugar: 4 tbsp**
  • Cardamom: 2 nos(crushed using mortar pestle)
**Check the sweetness before adding the sugar, if the condensed milk has already given the required sweetness, can skip the sugar in the recipe.


  1. Heat ghee in a heavy bottom nonstick sauce pan.Add the nuts and fry until its lightly browned, drain. Add raisins and fry until it puffs up and drain. Set aside for garnishing.
  2. In the remaining ghee, add the vermicelli and roast on medium low flame until it turns light golden brown.
  3. Add milk, give it a good stir. Cover and cook for 6-8 min until the vermicelli is cooked completely.
  4. Add the sugar and condensed milk and mix it all together and cook for another few min, until the payasam starts thickening.
  5. Add the crushed cardamom and garnish with nuts and raisins.
Serve it hot or chill it in the refrigerator, however you like it :)

Note: Don't let the payasam thicken completely while cooking. It thickens as it sits.If it get gets too thick, add some warm milk to it before serving.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Banana bread

This recipe is dedicated to everyone out there who have over ripe bananas sitting and staring at you in the fruit basket.We all (except hubby dear) eat banana in our house. But the minute you see the brown spots on the peels nobody wants them. Then they start sitting there day after day begging for some attention.
This happens every other week in our house and I desperately needed a way to use them.I can't simply throw food. I get it from my mom, I guess.

This hunt for a recipe to use the mushy bananas in our house, got me to this banana bread.Yummm
Its tasty, everyone loves it, healthy too if you use a portion of wheat flour in it.
You can reduce the sugar to an extend, because the bananas have their role to play, which makes this bread again healthy.All in all its a win win. I get to use the over ripe bananas, kids get a yummy snack,even the banana hater hubby likes them. What more can you ask for ;)
So no more unattended mushy bananas, easy to put together , lets get going :)

Banana bread

Adapted from here


  • Banana:3-4 nos (over ripe ones)
  • All purpose flour: 2 cups
  • Butter: 1/2 cup
  • Sugar: 3/4 cup
  • Salt: 1/2 tsp
  • Vanilla essence: 1 tsp
  • Egg: 2 eggs
  • Baking soda: 1 tsp


  1. Peel the bananas and put them in a mixing bowl. Mash it really well with a fork.Add the butter and sugar and mix well.Add eggs one at a time, mixing well in between. Add the vanilla essence.
  2. Sift together the dry ingredients, ie; flour, salt and baking soda.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture in two batches, mixing well in between.
  4. Pour it into to a 5x9 loaf pan and bake for 55-60 min, until a tester inserted into the middle of the bread comes out clean.
P.S: If you want the kiddos to eat them, pour the batter into a muffin pan and present it as banana muffin.Stir in some chopped nuts of your choice, you have banana nut muffin. Top it with some streusel :)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Vepilakatti (Curry leaves chutney powder)

I graduated from a college far off from my hometown.I used to stay in the college hostel and got to visit my home maybe like once in a month or so. My mom used to pack me all kind of stuffs to eat, say pickles n snacks and what not. The hostel only provided vegetarian food, which was fine with me, but the menu they had was way too different from ours.Then I used to literally survive on these goodies my mom used to sent me with.Not only me, but my roommates and friends also loved them. After college, we get back and munch on the homemade snacks amma made along with the watery cup of tea.

Every time I go to the canteen, I will have a bottle of pickle or some chutney powder, which would help us with that meal of the day.I really don't know how I would have survived without those..Thanks to amma, lots of things we have in life is taken for granted..I guess this is one of such things..don't think we have thanked amma enough for all she had done for us sisters.She used to do the same for all three of us, who all stayed away from home for studies and work.Nostalgia creeping in, i guess..Before I bore you more, let me get on to today's recipe.
Its called vepilakatti, which is curry leaves chutney powder. "vepilla" is the malayalam word for curry leaves.
The best thing about vepilakatti is,it stays fresh for almost a month without refrigeration.
Amma used to send things that stays fresh without being kept in the fridge, yeah, of course we didnt have access to a fridge in our college hostel. And all these dry chutney powders saved a lot of us.
Even today, this is my go to food when I am sick or feeling low. Vepilakatti, steaming hot rice and curd. Nothing the world can beat this combo.

Vepilakatti (Curry leaves chutney powder)

Published 11/14/2014


  • Curry leaves: 2 cups, loosely packed
  • Grated coconut: around 4 cups (from one coconut)
  • Shallots: 10 nos
  • Dry whole chili: 7-8nos
  • Tamarind: a small lemon sized piece
  • Oil: 2 tbsp (preferably coconut oil) 
  • Salt: as per taste


  1. Wash and dry the curry leaves on a kitchen towel. Peel the shallots and cut into halves.
  2. Heat oil in a pan on medium heat.Add the whole chillis and fry for 2 min, add the shallot pieces,grated coconut and fry for 5 min.
  3. Add the tamarind piece and the curry leaves and stir well continuously until the coconut turns slightly golden brown in color and becomes crispy.
  4. Turn off the flame and let it cool for a while.Once completely cooled, transfer to a mixer, add the salt and grind to a fine powder.
Store in an airtight container. Stays fresh in the pantry for 3-4 weeks.Make sure you use a dry spoon every time you devour it :)

P.S: Feel free to add more curry leaves if you have it on hand.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Parippu manga curry (Dal & raw mango curry)

We Indians have dal on our plates almost every day in one form or the other.Its kind of our staple food. Dal with rice, dal with roti, its an all time favorite in our house. My hubby can survive on dal and roti for days together without complaining ;)
Be it plain dal tadka, or sambhar or rasam, i love it. We all love it. Every time we travel out of home for a few days and don't get to eat Indian food, we all would be dying to get back home and eat hot rice with dal. It relaxes everyone in our family.
Parippu manga is another version of dal, i would say its the tangy version. Because it has raw mango in it.yumm...i am in for anything tangy or spicy :)
The ground coconut gives the rich texture to the curry.Simple, but a different flavor of dal. This is one of my all time favorite curries. I guess its more of a south indian, or to be precise Kerala take on dal.
Have it with steaming white rice and a sabzi( vegetable stir fry), oh my, that makes me one happy soul ;)

Parippu manga curry (Dal and raw mango)

Published 11/12/2014


  • Toor dal : 1 cup
  • Raw mango: 1 no, medium sized
  • Grated coconut: 1/2 cup
  • Turmeric powder : 1/2 tsp
  • Chili powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Salt: 1/2 - 3/4 tsp

For Tempering:

  • Coconut oil: 1 1/2 tbsp
  • Mustard seed: 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves: a few sprigs
  • dry whole chili: 3-4 nos, cut into halves


  1. Wash and cook the dal in the pressure cooker with turmeric powder and chili powder with 2 cups of water. The dal should be cooked really mushy.
  2. Peel the mango and cut the slices into small cubes and add to the cooked dal. Add salt and 1/4 cup water, cover and cook for 2 min.
  3. Grind coconut with a few table spoons of water, into very fine paste.
  4. Once the mango pieces gets cooked, add the ground coconut paste and boil for a few minutes. Add a little bit of water if the curry is too thick.Check the salt level and turn off the flame.
  5. For the tempering, heat oil in a small pan, add mustard seed. Once it splatters, reduce the flame and add the dry whole chili pieces and curry leaves. Turn off and add it to the currry.
Serve with hot rice and paapad. Stays fresh for couple of days in the fridge.
P.S: The curry thickens when it sits, so make sure to leave it watery enough when you finish cooking.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Pepper chicken

My mother makes a meat masala at home.It adds all the good flavours to any nonveg curries she makes. Every time one of us visits her, she makes it for us, and it lasts for almost a year. Its like if you have it handy you don't dread cooking chicken or beef....and as soon as you are out of  it, you get a kind of panic attack.
Its like you get appreciated for the yummy chicken fry you made, but its got nothing to do with your cooking skills, its all amma's masala...its like a little secret in your spice stash :)
I stumbled upon this recipe at mariasmenu when I didn't have amma's meat masala on hand, and wanted to make a chicken fry for a Sunday lunch.
Its the fresh pepper that attracted me to this recipe. I like chicken spicy. By spicy i mean, i should get the taste of the gravy first and then the meat. And this recipe did justice to it.

Pepper chicken

Adapted from here


  • Chicken: 1 whole chicken, cut into medium sized pieces
  • Pepper powder: 1 tsp (for marination)
  • Lemon juice: 2tsp
  • Salt: as per taste
  • Onion: 3 nos, medium sized, thinly sliced
  • Ginger garlic paste: 2 tbsp
  • Whole black peppercorn: 2tsp
  • Green chilli: 4 nos
  • Garam masala: 1 tsp
  • Meat masala: 1tsp
  • Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Fennel powder(perumjeerakam): 1/2 tsp
  • Soya sauce: 2tsp
  • Tomato sauce: 2 tsp
  • Curry leaves: a few sprigs


  1. Marinate chicken pieces with pepper powder, lemon juice and salt. Keep it aside for 2 hours
  2. Crush the whole pepper using mortar & pestle. Heat a skillet on medium heat.Add oil and sliced onion. Add ginger garlic paste,green chili and saute for 5 min till the onion turns brown and translucent.Add crushed pepper, garam masala, meat masala, turmeric powder and fennel powder.Mix it all together.Add soya sauce and tomato sauce.To this add the marinated chicken pieces. Combine everything together and let the chicken pieces get coated with the masala.
  3. Once the chicken starts cooking, add half a cup of water and mix everything together and let it boil. Reduce the flame, cover with the lid and let it cook till the chicken is completely done, stirring in between.Once chicken is cooked, open the lid and dry roast for another 5 min. Serve it hot with white rice or roti

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