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Monday, August 28, 2023

Caramel Vermicelli Sago Payasam | Caramel Semiya Payasam ~ Happy Onam !!

Happy Onam all !!

If you are tired of trying the simple vermicelli payasam, then this is a twist to the usual taste and flavour. Vermicelli sago was the simplest payasam, mom would prepare at home for every small functions. And so, I kinda got bored with vermicelli, and so I hardly prepared semiya payasam in home. However, my elder son likes no other payasam other than this vermicelli. So, this was a limited edition at home. 

This time I thought to prepare this caramel vermicelli sago payasam. The only difference from the usual payasam is that the sugar is caramelized and added. But the look and taste is really delicious than the regular semiya payasam. The best part is that it can be prepared in no time and so go ahead and try!!

Preparation time ~ 10 minutes
Cooking time ~ 15 minutes
Author ~ Julie
Serves ~ 4-5
vermicelli 3/4 cup
milk 1 liter
water 1/2 cup
granulated sugar 2/3 cup (10 tbsp)
raisins 2 tbsp
cashews 2tbsp
ghee 1.5 tbsp
cardamom powder 1/2 tsp

Watch on YouTube -

  • Heat a pan and add ghee. Fry the cashews lightly followed by raisins, Drain from ghee and keep aside.
  • In the same ghee, add the vermicelli and roast on low flame till evenly browned. Keep aside.
  • In another pan, add half of the sugar and wait to caramelize. Wait till the caramel is golden brown. Pour the 1/2 cup water and move the caramel to dissolve, but don't worry if there are lumps. Add the milk to boil, when milk starts to boil-caramel will dissolve.
  • To the boiling milk, add the remaining sugar. Add the fried vermicelli with ghee. Cook covered for 10 minutes.
  • Then, add the fried cashews and raisins.Add cardamom powder and give a quick stir. Simmer for another 2–3 minutes till thickened. The payasam further thickens on cooling, so switch off the flame accordingly.
  • Serve in bowls, warm or cold. Enjoy !!

* You can add more sugar to caramelize if you like deeper shades of caramel.
* Adding cardamom powder adds a nice flavour to the payasam.

Monday, August 07, 2023

Lemon Dates Pickle | Naranga Eenthappazham Achar

Lemons were my first tasted pickles in life, and I think most of the Indians have more or less tasted this pickle. Mom always had a batch of lemon pickle freshly prepared at home. Over the years, I too brought up the same tradition in my family and have a lemon pickle ready at hand always. This is the lemon pickle frequently prepared at home and the vella naranga achar prepare for sadya. I had tasted the sweet and sour lime pickle from one of my North Indian friend and liked it, that used sugar in the pickle. Then I tried the nimbu ka khatta meeta pickle at home, which is nice in its own way. Here dates are used to sweeten the pickle and dates adds a nice thick blend in the pickle. This pickle taste best after one week of preparation when the lemon skin is softened nicely with the pickled dates masala. 

This pickle must have the sure balance of all the three predominant flavours to taste best. Use fresh lemons to prepare this pickle to avoid any bitterness, and follow the step-by-step instructions to reduce bitterness.I don't generally use vinegar in my pickles and use either lemon juice or make without vinegar and keep refrigerated with enough oil floating on top of the pickle. However, in this pickle I have used vinegar. These pictures are taken two weeks after pickling, and so the lemon pieces are very well blended with the pickle spices and flavours.

Why use vinegar in this pickle?
Vinegar helps to soften the skin of the lemon pieces faster and prolongs the shelf life of the pickle.

Watch on YouTube -


Preparation time ~ 15–20 minutes
Cooking time ~ 20 minutes
Author ~ Julie
Serves ~ approx 800 g of pickle
lemon 1/2 kg (12-13)
dates 1 cup tightly packed, deseeded
garlic sliced 2 tbsp
ginger sliced 2 tbsp
green chilli 3 cut
curry leaves 2 sprigs
mustard seeds 1tsp
fenugreek seeds 1/3 tsp
kashmiri chilli powder 4 tbsp
hot chilli powder 1.5 tbsp
turmeric powder 1/2 Tsp
roasted fenugreek powder 1/3 Tsp
asafoetida(hing/ kayam) powder 1/3 Tsp
salt 2 tbsp
gingelly oil 6-7 tbsp or 1/3 cup
vinegar 1/4 cup
water 1/2 cup-3/4 cup

  • Wash the lemons under running water and drain water completely. Boil water in a pan and add the lemons in it. Boil for exactly 3–4 minutes, switch off and drain. Leave to cool completely before cutting.
  • Cut the lemons in 6-8 quarter pieces or as you wish (I cut it smaller to help the lemon skin faster). Discard any seeds when cut. Add to a bowl and add 1.5 tbsp salt and give a quick mix, leave for 0 minutes.
  • Heat a pan and add gingelly oil. When hot, add mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. Splutter mustard seeds and fry fenugreek lightly.
  • Add the sliced garlic, ginger followed by green chillies and curry leaves. Fry until crisp or sauté 3 minutes. 
  • Add all spice powders on low flame and sauté without burning. To this, add 1/4 cup vinegar and give a mix.
  • Add the 1/2 cup water, bring to a boil. Add the deseeded dates and give a quick mix. Add 1/4 cup water and cook for 2–3 minutes, or until softened. Add salt 1/2 tsp.
  • Slide the cut lemon pieces with the juice. Give a quick mix and cook for 2–3 minutes. Switch off flame.
  • Cool completely and store in clean, dry airtight containers. Leave on counter top at room temperature for a week for the lemon pieces to get softened. Refrigerate thereafter.

* I generally use gingelly oil for all my pickles. You can use any preferable oil, but I feel pickles in gingelly oil lasts longer and tastes better.
* The dates must be of soft variety so that the soaking can be avoided and can be cooked easily.
*Use majdool or sukhari dates.I have used sukhari dates, which is very sweet and doesn't need added sugar.


Saturday, August 05, 2023

Passion Fruit Punch

Passion fruit has always been a favourite to me when it comes to selecting citrus fruits. The only fruit that gave me the confidence of trying citrus fruits after a long time. And so, I make maximum use of this fruit whenever I get hold of the seasonal fruit till the stocks last in market. Nowadays, it's again hot in Kerala, the monsoons have vanished, and we are back to hot sunny days. This fruit punch is perfect to quench the thirst of the heat and give you a refreshed feel. A simple fruit punch that has the all the good flavours to keep you energetic throughout the day. You may add soda to make a passion fruit mojito if you wish instead of chilled water. I personally don't like the soda drinks, so don't add. This is my version of the simple fruit punch, which is ready in minutes. Try on and enjoy !!

YouTube #shorts on passion fruit punch, please watch and support.

Preparation time ~ 5 minutes
Cooking time ~ nil
Serves ~ 2 glasses
Author ~ Julie
passion fruit 2
sugar syrup 1/2 cup
ginger 1 small piece
pudina leaves (mint leaves)  few
green chillies 2
salt a pinch
ice cubes
chilled water


  • In each of the glasses, add the pudina leaves, ginger, green chillies and crush with the back of a spoon /ladle. To each glass, scoop out one passion fruit pulp. Mash with a fork lightly. Add a pinch of salt and sugar syrup. Add chilled water, ice cubes to both glasses. Mix and enjoy.
  • To make sugar syrup: Dissolve (1 cup)sugar with (1 cup) water. Boil this mixture over low heat until the sugar is dissolved completely, Switch off flame and leave to cool. Refrigerate to cool or preserve for later.

* You may add soda to make a passion fruit mojito if you wish instead of chilled water. I personally don't like the soda drinks, so don't add. 
* Adding green chillies is a personal choice but believe me, it just spikes the flavours and has a mild spice touch.
* Ginger and mint leaves aid in digestion and adds a unique flavour to the drink.

* Passion fruit Lemonade