Monday, August 23, 2010

Wish you all a very Happy Onam



Sunday, August 22, 2010

Recipe: Naranga Achar (Lemon/Lime Pickle)

Today is Uthradam, the day before Thiruvonam, the busiest day for all those who celebrate Onam. My mother was reminiscing about how busy they used to be on Uthradam day with a full house bursting with all the family members. We had to prepare Kalan, Pulinji, Naranga Achar, fry Chips(Varuthupperi and Sarkkaraperatti) and if Avaniavittam follows Onam, then grind Idli batter (some 5kg rice and dal for the same), she was saying.

The Naranga Achar prepared during Onam is not the usual lemon pickle, this lemon is different in that it is much bigger in size than the usual lemon used for lemonade. The leaves of this lemon(citron) are used for making another pickle known as Veppilakatti (recipe later). So having fried the chips, and prepared puliinji, I prepared naranga achar also this time. This is a very simple pickle to prepare.


Citron lemon : 1 cut into small pieces
(about one cup pieces)
salt: 3 tbsp
Red chilli powder: 3 tbsp
Sesame oil: 2 tbsp.
Mustard seeds: 2 tsp.
Fenugreek (methi) powder: ¼ tsp.
Hing powder: ¼ tsp.


Mix the cut lemon pieces, salt and red chilli powder in a clean and dry dish. Let it sit for half an hour. Water would have oozed out of the lemon pieces. Mix well.

Heat the sesame oil in a pan. When the oil starts smoking, add the hing powder and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start crackling, remove from the stove and add to the prepared pickle. Add the fenugreek powder and mix well. Naranga achar is ready for use. It is an instant pickle but will keep good for long.

The caterers when preparing this pickle in large quantities for wedding parties etc., prepare this slightly differently. Boiling water is poured over the prepared lemon pieces for immediate maturing of the pickle. This will also keep for up to 10 days.


Happy Onam

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Recipe: Erissery

Atham was last week. Thiruonam is round the corner. It is not Ponnin Chingam yet. All the same, Onam festivities begin with Atham. How soon time flies. I cannot believe one year has passed since we last celebrated Onam. Happy Onam to all my readers.

As usual, I started my Pookkalam on Atham day. I was pleasantly surprised to see a nicely done Pookkalam in front of a house during my walk this morning. I regretted not taking my camera along. I did the next best thing I could at that moment, I went upto the door and rang the bell and congratulated the lady of the house for the beautiful Pookkalam.

As I have said in my earlier Onam blogs, Onam means good food, happiness and well-being. I would like to give few of the Onam special recipes during this Onam season.

I will start with Erissery. Erisserry is an exclusive Kerala dish. Erisserry can be prepared using Yam and Banana, Red Pumpkin, Jackfruit, etc. Though the Onam special is erisserry made of Yam and banana, today I am giving the recipe of Mathan Erisserry (pumpkin erisserry) which is a favourite of all at home. During our younger son’s early days in America, he used to say he was not able to get red pumpkin (though when I visited US I found that varieties of squash and pumpkins were available). I used to tell him to go to the pumpkin carving during Halloween and collect all the pieces the carver would cut as waste.:) Let us get moving with erisserry.


cow peas : 2 tbsp.
Red Pumpkin: ½ kg
Turmeric powder: 1 tsp.
Red chilli powder: 1 tsp.
Salt to taste
Jaggery: 1 tsp.
Grated coconut: 4 tbsp.
Jeera: ½ tsp.
Coconut oil: 1 tbsp.
Mustard: 1tsp.
Urad dal: 1 tsp.
Curry leaves: 2 sprigs.


Soak the cowpeas in water for 3-4 hours and pressure cook.

Grind 2 tbsp grated coconut and jeera to a fine paste.

Cut the pumpkin into 2” pieces. Cook the cut vegetables with turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt, adding 1 cup of water. Add cooked cowpeas.Add jaggery (this is optional. If the pumpkin is naturally sweet, you may omit the jaggery). Add the ground coconut paste and boil. Remove from the stove and add one sprig of curry leaves.

Heat the coconut oil in a wide fry pan, add mustard, urad dal and curry leaves. When the urad dal turns to light pink, add the remaining grated coconut and fry till the coconut turns red in color. Pour the seasoning on top of Erisserry.

This erisserry can be served with rice, chappathis, dosa, etc.