Manga Chammanthi

Mango Chutney: A tangy chutney made of raw mangoes, coconut and mild spices.

It is almost Summer in India. By now the mango trees would be bearing fruits in full form.. At home they would be making all sorts of things with it... pickled mango, mango "achar", mango chutney, raw mango with fish curry,mango juice, ...and that slice from a juicy ripe mango! I would love to go on an on about how much I love mangoes,but I think it would be torturous me and you (if you are a fellow mango-lover).

Here is a basic recipe for a much loved mango-chammanthi. Though Chammanthi translates to Chutney in English, I feel there is a difference in the consistencies; while chutney is more like a dip ( more water-content in it) chammanthi is more dry and holds shape after it is ground.My dad is a stickler for taste..there are somethings which he prefers to be made the conventional way, manga chammanthi is one of them. By conventional I mean the way it is made: stone ground. Though I have been true to the ingredients, since I don't have access to a grinding stone, I ground it in a mixie and hence got the mushier version.

  • 1/2 cup of raw mangoes cut to small pieces
  • 1 cup of Grated coconut
  • 2-3 pearl onions
  • small piece of ginger
  • 1 stalk of curry leaves
  • 1 tsp kashmiri red chilly powder
  • salt to taste

  • Grind all the ingredients together

Cherry Tomato Snack

Spring is in the air! This year I want to try growing some tomatoes (..again!). The last couple of attempts went totally awry .. either lack of watering or too much of it, once there were bugs all over the vines and once i even blamed it on the pot ( it was retaining too much water)! On my last grocery trip, I got an issue of Martha Stewart Living in which there is an article "Tomatoes for all spaces".. so , I am all set now. I would like to tell myself that my black thumb is slowly turning green ; at-least the darkest shade of green :) So today I am off to buy some potting soil and some tomato-plants.. hoping to reap a bounty ( or in the least, a handful).
In the meantime , I would love to share with you this super-easy, healthy and beautiful salad/ snack that I had at one of the parties recently.

  • 1 pint Cherry tomatoes ( or any small variety of tomatoes)
  • 2 tbs Sour cream
  • 1 tbs Capers
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/8 tsp Crushed peppercorn or to taste
  • Halve the tomatoes .
  • In a small bowl mix the sour cream, capers, salt and crushed pepper
  • Put a dollop of this mixture on to the tomato ( If you have a pastry bag and tips, you could even use that ..just make sure to use a wide-tip so that the capers can pass through.
Happy Snacking !

Ethakka Appam

Ethakka Appam : Plantain Fritters

Plantains are quotidian in Keralite cooking. We have found ways to incorporate them in pretty much all meals : Ripe plantains as a fruit or snack, Steamed ripe-plantains for breakfast, Plantain fritters as a snack,Plantains cooked in coconut milk for dessert , Plantain Pulisseri & Pachadi with rice and the list goes on.
Plantain fritters are much sought after snack for us. The ripe plantains are thinly sliced, dipped in a sweetened flour batter and then deep fried. Here is how to go about :

Prep time : 10 min
Cooking time : 20 min
Ready in : 30 min


  • 3-4 Ripe Plantains
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour or maida
  • 1 cup of water ( or maybe 1/4 cup more if needed.. the plan is to get a batter loose enough to thinly coat the plantain slices)
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/8 tsp of salt
  • a pinch of powdered cardamom (optional)
  • 1 cup of cooking oil ( or just enough for deep frying the plantain slices)
You will also need: A small shallow pan & a medium bowl

  • Peel the plantains. Cut them across in two or three. Slit each piece into 1/2" thick slices.
  • In the medium bowl combine the flour, water, sugar, salt & cardamom powder. Whisk into a smooth batter
  • Set the pan in medium heat and once hot, add the oil and wait till it is hot enough*.
  • Dip the plantain slices in the batter, so as to cover all sides evenly and carefully immerse in the oil (I use a fork to do this.. you can use any gadget that suits you so long as you don't burn yourself in the process).
  • Repeat with more slices , making sure not to overcrowd the pan ( about 3-4 slices in one go)
  • Turn them over once they turn golden brown on the sides. Fry till they are evenly golden brown on both sides.
  • Carefully transfer them to a plate lined with paper-towels ( to absorb the extra grease).
  • Serve hot as a snack with tea or coffee :)
Lifesaver : * The fritters wont be half as fun if they are not fried at the right temperature. Here is a simple test to check if the oil is hot enough. Put a small drop of the batter in the oil. If it sinks all the way in , the oil is not hot enough. If it just floats on the surface and turns burnt right away it is too hot. Around the right temperature, it would just sizzle and gradually turn a golden brown.

Kaachiya Moru

Kachiya Moru : Butter-milk seasoned with mild-spices.

This is probably one recipe that evokes most memories for me. The other day I was taking this picture and Joe came with a very intrigued look and aired " are you sure you want to post the kachiya-moru is hardly a recipe".. that's how simple it is to make this curry. No wonder it is such an indispensable item in the day-to-day cooking of a Malayali. The one I am making here is the basic version. The other variations involve the addition of coconut , some more spices and fruits/ vegetables and is then called Pulisseri.
Though the term "kachiya" means heated/ boiled , this curry is hardly brought to tepid temperature to avoid the curdling of the buttermilk. I have seen various methods employed to do this grandmother would just keep the bowl on the stove in low heat and then stir it gently throughout till it just begins to heat up ; my mom-in-law keeps the bowl in a larger bowl with hot water( not on the stove) and stirs the curry till it gets to the right temperature.

  • 2 cups Plain Yogurt
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp red-chilly powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • A small pich of fenugreek powder
For the seasoning:
  • 1 tbs cooking oil
  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 dry red chilly
  • 1 stalk of curry leaves
You will also need : Medium bowl & Saucepan

Procedure :
  • In the medium bowl combine the first batch of ingredients : yogurt, water, salt, turmeric, red -chilli & fenugreek powders. You could use a wire whisk or a hand-blender or even just a plain spoon; the plan is to have a smooth sauce avoiding any clumps of the dry ingredients.
  • Set the saucepan in medium heat and add oil. Once it starts smoking , add the mustard seeds and wait to pop. Lower heat, add the red chilly & curry leaves.
  • Remove from heat. With caution , add the buttermilk mixture to the seasoning & keep stirring gently till the mixture gets tepid. ( I have noticed that the buttermilk warms up with just the heat from the seasoning. So you may not need to take it back to the stove after-all)
Kachiya Moru is a great accompaniment with rice , rice porridge (kanji) and also to just plainly sip on-n-on. As I mentioned , this curry keeps a very special place in my thoughts. My grandmother has this curry everyday single day with rice, from as far back as I can rememeber..and as her choicest brat, I stick to her tradition whenever I am home with her.

For the girl who loves balloons!

Last weekend couple of us friends got together to give a surprise-baby-shower for a friend, Heera: the girl who loves balloons. The plan was for all of us to get-together at a common point and then barge into her house.... for the most part it worked ; some got delayed due to infant/toddler emergencies. It was potluck party with a very relaxed menu and lots of gifts and goodies for the expectant-parents. Good friends, Good fun, Good food ..and some harmless Gossip.. cant think of anything better to brighten up a cold & rainy day!

Above: The cake we made for her. Yellow cake with butter-cream icing. I wish I had practiced a bit more before doing the icing .. the blue zig-zag you see here was supposed to have been shells and the center was to have a baby-silhouette according to my original plan. However, there were some last-minute mishaps and this is what we ended up with. Nevertheless, it ended up pretty edible!

A special note to Heera & family.. Best wishes as you await the new arrival !