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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Sheer Khurma | Nylon Vermicelli Payasam ~ Ramadan Special

All festivities are incomplete without a sweet dish may that be Diwali, Holi, Baisakhi, Christmas or Eid. Sheer Khurma is a famous kheer made during Eid in Indian and Afghanistan and the literal meaning of this dish is milk with dates. Not only dates but this is rich with many other dry fruits and nuts. The thin nylon vermicelli is the highlight of this kheer. I don't usually find this thin vermicelli here frequently and is available in super markets during Ramzan time. And so now I make it a point to pick one of these nylon vermicelli packets whenever I go shopping during the Ramadan time. Unlike our regular semiya payasam this is rich and the thin vemicelli is so soft which adds to the thickness of the payasam. The milk along with sugar, dates, raisins and chopped nuts are simmered with ghee roasted nylon vermicelli. This kheer can be served hot or cold but I prefer the cold version at room temperature. I know that many of you might be making this for Eid today and enjoying. Check this out if you would like to make at home for a quick pudding and am sure you will love this yummy dessert.

Hope all my friends had a great Eid and could enjoy as much as they could during this lockdown phase. I had planned to post this on Eid but somehow I moved to my native place as the lockdown was relaxed a bit and my internet wasn't working here. Though I could have scheduled the posts but didn't feel very comfortable doing it without informing you all about my absence from here. Better to post than never so thought to post the drafts now. I may be missing for a few more days now since the network here is swinging and finding time to post is another concern, hope you all understand. Stay safe dears!!

Watch the full recipe video below- 

Preparation time ~ 15 minutes
Cooking time ~ 10-12 minutes
Serves ~ 5 small bowls
Author ~ Julie

nylon vermicelli or thin vermicelli 1 cup
milk 1 liter
cardamom 4-5
ghee 2 tbsp
sugar 3/4 cup ( can reduce 2 -3 tbsp if you like it mildly sweet)
cashews 10-12( split in halves or chopped)
almonds 20 sliced
raisins 1.5 tbsp
dates chopped 10
saffron 1 tbsp ( optional)


  • Heat a pan and add 1 tbsp ghee. Add the cashews, almonds, dates and raisins. Fry the nuts till golden brown. Then remove on a plate and to the same pan, add remaining ghee 1 tbsp, add the cardamom. Fry and then add the nylon vermicelli. Roast this well and remove on a plate(takes about 3-4 minutes).

  • Heat milk in a wide thick bottomed pan. Add in the sugar and bring to a boil. Add in the vermicelli. After two minutes, add the fried dry fruits mix. Boil for 5 minutes and keep stirring until it thickens nicely, vermicelli is cooked too.

  • Leave it covered for 10 minutes. Serve warm.

* This was moderately sweet payasam, you can alter sweetness as per sweet tooth.
* If you are using saffron, then add saffron to 1 tbsp hot milk. Add this to the pan and mix well.
* Reserve about 2 tbsp fried dry fruits for garnish.
* You can powder the cardamom and add too instead of whole cardamoms.
* Dates are a must in sheer khurma. So, don't miss adding. You may add more nuts like pistachios too. I have added pistachios in my video recipe.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Ginger Balls ~ Immunity Booster

Since the time Covid-19 has landed on our planet, many are talking about improving our immunity which looks possible through eating right things at home and eating balanced nutrition. I believe that's true to a large extent for not only enhancing immunity but to prevent many other illnesses too. There are many foods used in our Indian meals that are associated with boosting immunity like turmeric, ginger, peppercorns, honey, lime and many citrus fruits to add on . You can consume all of these immunity boosting foods in whichever forms you wish to have, some boil water and add grated ginger or add lime in warm water and take sips of this warm water or our age old chukku kappi too. Some prefer taking a quarter tsp of turmeric with honey or milk to prevent frequent cold and flu. However, this is one recipe that caught my attention when I was also scrolling recipes to boost my family's immunity. This is a sweet ginger candy made with grated ginger, good quality jaggery and some spices.Though I say sweet to this candy but the spice of ginger is felt soon after you chew these candies. These candies have not only ginger but turmeric, pepper powder, pink salt, jaggery and coconut oil is added to them. Jaggery is iron rich and so will be very beneficial. For kids I gave them half a ball daily and for us we took a ball daily. This is a simple recipe to prepare and can be stored in refrigeration till finishes. I have not made a large batch and stored and have tried making these simple balls in smaller proportions. These ginger balls when rolled soon after preparing are sticky and after refrigeration they can be sorted out without much hassles. Also try consuming these balls as soon as you pull it out of the fridge else it will be sticky as it thaws. Check this out!

Preparation time ~ 15 minutes
Cooking time ~ 15 minutes
Serves ~ 14-15 balls

grated ginger 2/3- 3/4 cup
jaggery 1 -1 1/4 cups
turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
black salt a good pinch
pepper powder 1/4 tsp
sesame seeds 2 tbsp or Coconut flakes
coconut oil 2 tbsp


Clean and grated ginger finely, keep aside. Heat the jaggery in 1/4 cup water and melt down. Strain to remove impurities.
Add the grated ginger, melted jaggery and spice powders and salt. Keep on heat and cook for 8-9 minutes till the mixture comes together like a sticky ball. Add a tbsp of coconut oil and switch off flame.

Leave to cool slightly and then apply little oil in you palm and roll in small gooseberry sized balls. Roll these in sesame seeds or coconut flakes. Keep aside.
Repeat till you finish making all and then keep covered in air tight containers.

* I used 1 1/4 jaggery which was good for kids to eat too.
* I used coconut oil as its healthier than other oils but you can always use any other neutral oil.

Friday, May 08, 2020

Karnataka Style Chicken Curry | Kozhi (Koli) Saaru ~ Step by Step Pics

Its been a long time since I posted a non- veg recipe, the reasons were obvious that we were observing lent before lock down and then it was Easter during lock down.  I always love exploring different chicken curries from all over India and many have made to the blog space like Goan Chicken curry, Mangalorean Chicken Sukka, Chettinad Chicken Curry and so on. This is a Kanadiga style or Karnataka style chicken curry where there is hardly any use of chilly powder and all the flavours is from the fresh roasted garam masala and green chillies. I had not tried making a chicken curry with green chillies alone and was apprehensive whether the spice levels will be ok with green chillies alone. The grated coconut added to the roasted spices balances the flavors. The ground paste of coconut along with green chillies and garam masala was good enough to spike the spice buds. The slow cooked chicken is soft and brings out all the flavours due to the slow process. We all loved the gravy of this curry the most which is thick and rich. Do give this a try if you love a siuth indian version of chicken curry. 

Preparation time ~ 15 minutes
Cooking time ~ 30 minutes
Author ~ Julie
to marinate
chicken 500 gms / 1/2 kg or 1 lb
chilly powder 1 tsp
turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
pepper powder 1/2 tsp

to make paste
coconut grated 1/3 cup
ginger 1 " piece
garlic 10 cloves
onion 1/2 chopped
green chillies 8-10 small or 5 big ones
coriander seeds / malli 1 tsp
cloves / grambu 5-6 
cinnamon / karugapatta 1" piece
fenugreek seeds / uluva 1/8 tsp
cumin seeds / jeerakam 1 tsp
fennel seeds / perinjeerakam 1 tsp
coriander leaves 2 tbsp
oil 2 tsp

to make masala
onion 1 big sliced
tomato 2 sliced
turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
curry leaves 2 sprig
oil 2 tbsp

  • Wash rinse and clean the chicken till the water runs out clear. Drain all water and keep aside, add in the spice powders and marinate. Leave overnight or atleast one hour. I usually do it overnight and you can always leave out the marination process for this chicken curry if you use nattu kozhi or nadan chicken but I prefer marinating as the broiler chicken as such has less flavours than nattu kozhi. If you have marinate and left in refrigerator then thaw before proceeding to make the curry.

  • Heat a pan and add oil mentioned under 'to make the paste'. Heat the ginger garlic and dry spices, saute for a minute on low flame and then add the chopped onions. Saute until the onions looks translucent. Switch off flame and add the grated coconut. If you are using coriander leaves then add at this point. i have used only curry leaves instead. Mix well and leave to cool. Grind this mixture to a smooth paste by adding little water.

  • Heat a heavy bottomed pan or a cooker and add the oil mentioned under' to make masala'. Add in the sliced onions add a dash of salt and saute until wilted nicely. Add in the chopped tomatoes and curry leaves. Cook till the tomatoes are mashed well. Add in the marinated chicken. Mix well with onion tomato paste and saute for 3-4 minutes till chicken starts to leave water. Add in turmeric powder and salt. Then add the ground paste and clean the mixer jar using a cup of water. 
  • Add to the curry and add a little more say about two tbsp of water and mix well. Cook covered on low flame for about 20-25 minutes till the gravy loos thickened and oil floats on top. Switch off flame, garnish with few tbsp of chopped coriander or sprigs of curry leaves. Serve warm with rice or chapathis.

* Marination is not part of this recipe and the authentic style kannadiga style recipe doesn't use chilly powder but I prefer marinating the broiler chicken to enhance flavours.
* Adding green chillies is as per tolerance and modify as per your family needs. The 5 big chillies that I used yielded a moderately spicy curry. 
* I didn't use corainader leaves and instead added curry leaves.
* The recipe is adapted from here.

Monday, May 04, 2020

Carrot Pola (Malabar Special) ~ Ramzan Special

The whole world is finding hard to move around freely due to a small tiny virus that has shaken many lives. The intial days here too were very scary and the news from around the globe is still alarming. The biggest q is when will the world be free of this virus? None has the answers to this and I was feeling so bad for all the people who lost their dear and near ones. Lock down was initiated here too and everyone at home, our work in the kitchen also increased. However, I wasn't feeling good to get hold of my camera and shoot food pics as there were many who were finding it hard to make ends meet. I cooked a lot during this lock down much more than I usually do but all were the basic recipes that I already shared in my page or cooked with whatever I readily had in hand, no fancy or festive cooking. Its more than a month since I posted something new in this page. Easter and Vishu got over in this lock down without much zeal and enthusiasm. Anyways life has to move on and so does this page. Today's recipe is an old draft that was made two years back and was buried there. Finally am happy that this recipe could be published in Ramadan time.

There are many recipes that I have treasured from my muslim friends especially the Malabar ones. All of the Malabar recipes tastes distinct and love them very much. I have posted many such recipes in the past and also have a kaya pola in the published ones.Many of the Malabar style recipes are  very calorie rich and so all health conscious may shy away or you may have to miss a meal to compensate. Carrot pola gives a beautiful colour and so its quite appealing to eyes.Unlike kaya pola there are no pieces to bite in and carrot pola is smooth like a dessert. The outside cover is crisp and can be easily cut. This is very easy to prepare and all y ou need is a thick bottomed small pan that holds the carrot batter. Try this out if you haven't, am sure you will love it !!

Preparation time ~ 20 minutes
Cooking time ~ 15-18 minutes
Author ~ Julie
Serves ~ one pola 8" size
carrot 2 large (3 medium sized)
eggs 3
all purpose flour/maida 3 tbsp
sugar 4 tbsp
cardamom powder / elakka podi 1 tsp

to garnish
raisins 1 tbsp
cashews 1 tbsp
ghee 1 tbsp

  • Peel the carrots and wash them under running water.Cut in cubes and cook them with half a cup of water. Cool these down and add to the blender jar.
  • Add eggs,maida,sugar and cardamom powder to the mixer jar and blend this mixture well until carrots are ground well and the eggs are nicely mixed.

  • In a thick bottomed pan or use cooker, add a tbsp of ghee. Fry the raisins and cashews. Drain them on a plate and retain the ghee in the pan or cooker.
  • Pour the blend carrot mixture in the pan and garnish with the fried cashews and raisins on top. Cook covered for 15-18 minutes(remember to put the flame on lowest, I usually use my small burner and set on low flame) or until the tooth pick inserted in the center of the pola comes out clean. Use a spatula to transfer the pola on  a plate with the garnished side up. Cut and serve once cool.

* Adding all purpose flour adds to the thickening consistency of the carrot mix.
* Cardamom powder gets rid of the egg smell. Use more as needed. One tsp was just correct as there was no obvious egg smell.
* Depending on the size of the pan or cooker,the cooking time and the thickness of pola may vary. I used a 8" pan.