Sunday, January 6, 2013

A New Year and New Beginnings- The Kerala Kitchen Facebook Group

Happy 2013! Here's to a new year and lots of delicious cooking!

This year, we are launching the Kerala Kitchen facebook group, so if you want to share your traditional or modern Kerala recipes, do come on over to the group page and share with us there.

This group was created because managing roundups was getting out of control with the large number of submissions we were getting, so I hope you will continue to share your awesome recipes, on the face book group.

It would be great if you could include a link to our new facebook group in your Kerala recipe post to help spread the word.

The Kerala Kitchen blog will now serve as a space for writeups and guest posts on Kerala Food. So if you would like to do a guest post and be featured here, do email me at magpiemails AT gmail DOT com

Looking forward to the deliciousness all this year!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Onam kerala

Wishing all the members of our Kerala Kitchen a wonderful Onam with your loved ones.
For Onam recipes contributed by our members check out our archives of event roundups
Also a note to let you all know that we are looking for hosts to The Kerala Kitchen on your blogs or to contribute guest posts. Please email me at magpiemails AT gmail DOT com if you would like to host the event, or be featured as a guest blogger here with a Kerala specific recipe guest post.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Kerala cooking series: Learn to cook lentils!

Its been one year since the Kerala Kitchen cooking event was launched and our little event has grown by leaps and bounds, thanks to you all! It has been wonderful to see what has been cooking in your kitchens and learn so much over the months, about the cuisine we all love with a passion and also to meet so many wonderful bloggers who share a common love for Kerala,  thanks to this event!

I am so thankful to all of you who have taken part month after month and to those of you who kindly and enthusiastically signed up to host the event and take it forward to your wonderful blogs. We are signed in till May this year and there is space for hosting later on in the year. The current month's host is the lovely Prathiba of Cook- Ezee and I am waiting to see the deliciousness that you all send her this month!

With the round ups for Kerala Kitchen happening across the blogosphere, while absolutely wonderful has left this blog looking a little sad and empty. I thought that it would be a good idea to post a series on Kerala cooking basics on this blog which would be useful to those new to Kerala cooking. This series would focus not just on recipes, but learning the basic techniques and "formulas" so that you can make up your own recipe and don't even need to really rely on one. It's an attempt to put forward how our mothers and grandmothers cook: cooking not just by a recipe but with all our senses: checking the color, smelling something to make sure it is not under cooked/burnt, tasting to check if it is seasoned properly..things that come naturally to a seasoned cooked but maybe skills to be learnt by the new cook. 

The first post is from me, Rose of Magpie's Recipes but I invite all of you to send me articles on simple or advanced Kerala cooking, or other topics focusing on Kerala to be published here.

We would also love to read about a recent visit to Kerala perhaps, a list of must see places or eat outs there, an article on an  inspiring Malayali who is making great strides in any field,  maybe an article on art and culture or even shopping in Kerala.

If you have something to share on Kerala email me your original article or pictures to magpiemails @ gmail dot com to be featured here as a Kerala Kitchen Guest Blogger.

And now to the first in the series of Kerala cooking:

Learn to cook Lentils: Muthira Horsegram Curry 

Many lentil dishes are part of our Kerala cooking repertoire much like the rest of India. There are many varieties of lentil dishes that are made across the state, with little nuances changing from region to region.  All kinds of dals or lentils are used, which are cheap, readily available and long keeping pantry staples like Toor dal or thuvara parippu , chick peas or kadala, red gram or van payar, green gram or cherupayar etc. (Here is a good Multi lingual glossary of pulse terms if you like to know them)

Several lentil dishes form part of the Onam Sadhya ( the harvest festival feast of vegetarian sides served with mounds of rice on a banana leaf, typical to the Hindu community but celebrated throughout Kerala ) They are usually served with rice as a complete meal rich in protein and nutrients. It is one of the first things that most new Kerala and Indian cooks learn to make after they have tackled cooking rice.

My mom made sure I learnt both as soon as I could be trusted to watch over milk being boiled without forgetting and letting it boil over! Whenever she was away, my dad and siblings were subject to many, many dinners of parripu curry, rice and and inventive omelets which included everything from grated carrots to mango pickle! Those first attempts might have not been very good. But thankfully over the years I have cracked the lentil code and perfected many types of lentil dishes!

Most lentils are usually cooked in the following way:

1 part dried lentils boiled in 2 parts of water and 1 tsp of salt per cup of lentils till soft + a tempering 

Tempering or tadka in hindi and kadugu pottikuga in Malayalam is the spluttering of mustard or cumin seeds/ heating of spices/ and aromatics like onions or garlic, curry leaves etc. lightly sauteed or browned in hot oil  that is an essential flavour building block. Tempering enhances the spices making them come alive and also ensures that they become better digestible. The sizzling hot tempering is usually added to lentils after cooking them and the dish is left to simmer to combine the flavours. 
This is the crucial part about cooking Kerala and other Indian food.  You must ensure that the spices are fully cooked so that they darken slightly and no longer smell raw. If using mustard seeds you must hear them pop. Cumin seeds sputter and turn a light brown. You must be careful not to burn them because this can happen in a few seconds and then you must abandon it and start over.

Sometimes in Kerala add-ins like grated coconut is added to the tempering. A pinch of  asafoetida  kaayam in malayalam / hing in hindi  is also sometimes added to the tempering to make digesting some lentils easier. Cooked vegetables like tomatoes, potato, drumsticks, pumpkin etc. are also added in the end or cooked alongside the dal itself.

Today I would like to share one of the simplest lentil dishes- my grandmother's muthira or horsegram curry, made with very few ingredients. She is from trichur and this is the way that she makes it usually as a chaaru or gravy and in my husband's home they evaporate the water so that it is dry. I prefer it with the liquid as I think it has lots of flavour and one spoonful is enough to whisk me away to my childhood in Kerala.

Muthira called horsegram in English is a tiny brown lentil that is popularly used to feed cattle although it is also commonly found in Kerala and other South Indian cuisine. In other parts of India it is called Kollu (Tamil Nadu), Kulith ( Maharastra), Ulavu ( Andhra Pradesh) Muthira is nutritious and rich in iron. If Muthira or horsegram is not available, you could try this simple preparation with other lentils like green gram.

Muthira / Horsegram Curry 


  • Horsegram or muthira 1 cup ( If you don't have it you can use green gram or most other lentils) 
  • *Salt 1 tsp or to taste
For tempering:
  • Large onion or sabola  1/2  - chopped fine  or use shallots or cheria ulli  4-5
  • Garlic or velutha ulli 5-6 cloves
  • Curry leaves or kari vepalla 1 sprig or 5-6 leaves
  • *Red chilly power  or chummantha mullagu podi 1 tsp
  • *Red Chilli flakes or unnaka mullagu 2 tsp (Optional)
  • Turmeric power or manjal 1/4 tsp
  • Oil ( coconut oil preferably else any other neutral oil like canola, corn, sunflower etc. Olive Oil is generally not used) 
*Note: Please adjust seasoning as per taste and spice tolerance 

Cook the Lentil: 
Check that the Muthira is free from stones as is common if you buy it in small local stores, although most supermarket brands would be already picked over.
Wash the Muthira with clean running water and soak it overnight in enough water to cover it.
The next day cook the soaked Muthira in a deep covered pot or pressure cooker with the salt and  2 cups of water until soft but not mushy.
( If you prefer it as a chaaru or liquid y add more water and if you prefer it dry then only add as less as 1/2 a cup of water while cooking the pre-soaked beans )
Empty the cooked Muthira into a serving dish along with the water that is left after cooking it.

Make the tempering: 
Dry the pot you used to cook the muthira or in a separate pan heat some oil in it on medium heat for the tempering:
Add the chopped onions/ shallots that have been crushed in a mortar and pestle to the hot oil.
Add the garlic and stir occasionally until it is just starting to turn brown.
Add the curry leaves and stir till they crisp a bit
Add the chilli powder, turmeric and chilli flakes and stir just until the spices darken but careful not to burn it.

Pour back the cooked muthira, stir to mix with the tempering and simmer for about 10 minutes.
If you like it dry, you can cook it longer until the water has evaporated, although I like it with some liquid.
Serve with rice or even with bread.

Here are some more recipes for cooking lentils:

How to make Parripu curry/ Mung dal curry  
How to make Cheru Payar Olathiyathu/ Green Gram stir- fry 
How to make Eriserry/ Red beans with Pumpkin / Squash in Coconut 

Am sending this to my good friend Prerna of Indian Simmer's event Indianfoodpalooza held by her and the other awesome bloggers Kathy and Barbara Do join them with your Kerala and other Indian dishes with  prizes to be won too!
And don't forget this month's Kerala Kitchen Host Prathiba of Cook- Ezee   is waiting for your Kerala food entries to reach her by March 31st too!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Round up of round ups and call for 2012 hosts!

Update: For the coming month's hosts please check the Event Calendar Page 

Happy New Year to you all, my fellow lovers of Kerala Cuisine!
I am back from my visit to Kerala and in the meanwhile a wonderful group of our members  have taken over  The Kerala Kitchen and I am so blown away with the awesome round ups and response to the event which has grown even more in their capable hands:

September 2011 was hosted by Divya of Easycooking and the Round up featuring many Onam specialties  is posted on her blog here

October 2011 was hosted by Khushi of A Girl's Diary in between moving to the US! Her round up is posted on her blog here

December 2011 was hosted by Sonia of Dinner Recipe Guide
January 2011 is being hosted by Kaveri of Palakkad Chamayal. Entry Period: January 1st to January 31st 2012
February 2012 will be hosted by Roshan of Roshanscucina Entry Period: Feb 1st to Feb 29th 2012 

Thank you girls for being such awesome hosts! 

I would also like to announce that there are spots open if you are interested in hosting the event this year. Just drop me a mail to magpiemails @ gmail . com with the subject KK hosting if you are interested in bringing The Kerala Kitchen to your blog. 

Here's to a fantastic 2012!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Aug 2011 Event Round-up

The wonderful host for Aug was Vidhya of Sugar N Spice

Head on over to her blog to read the round up and see the winners. Also the current month's Host is Divya of Easycooking. Do send your Onam special dishes and other Kerala inspired food to her here

Here is a list of the dishes that were sent in: 

Ramya of Ramya's Recipe sent in this Mathanga Vanpayar Erisseri
 Ramya of Ramya's Recipe sent in this 
Yam Fries

Shoba Shyam of Good Food sent in this Coconut rice

Ramya of Ramya's Recipe sent in this Koottu Curry


Ramya of Ramya's Recipe sent in Egg Kothu Porotta

Ramya of Ramya's Recipe sent in Fish Biriyani

Umm Mymoonah ofTaste of Pearl City sent in Neythili Meen Aviyal

Rinku Naveen of Rinku's Kitchen Treat sent in Kallumakkaya Upperi

Reshmi Mahesh of Easy Cook sent in this Collard Green Stir fry

Reshmi Mahesh of Easy Cook also sent in this Kerala Puttu

Kaveri of Palakkad Chamayal sent in this Chammanthi Podi

Karishma J Anand of Effortless cooking, Easy baking sent in thisMultigrain power-packed dosa

Nashira of Plateful sent in these Chicken puffs

Najla of Foodie Corner sent in this Layered Moss Pudding

Kaveri of palakkad Chamayal sent in this Mangai Kootan

Indu of Indugetscooking sent in this Kottayam Style Red Fish Curry

Najla of Foodie Corner sent in this Spring Roll

Sobha Shyam of Good Food sent in this Savoury Kozhukattai

Sobha Shyam of Good Food sent in this Vegetable Kurma

Jehanne of The Cooking Doctor sent in this Stir-Fry Tapioca with saffron

Roshan of Roshan's Cucina sent in Pazham-Puttu

Divya of Easycooking sent in this Neichoru ~ Ghee Rice

Smitha Mohanan of Food my companion sent in this Fried dried fish

Lastly Vidya's dish Kaya Bhaji

Onamashamsagal! Happy Onam :)

Dear Kerala Kitchen Team,

Hridayam Niranja Onamashamsagal you all and to your families!

Thank you all soo much for being part of this community and helping to celebrate, preserve and share our wonderful heritage and our cuisine.
I hope you all have wonderful (and delicious) Onam celebration and a lifetime of blessings!

I am wishing you all on behalf of Ria as well as she is traveling between Kannur to Kashmir having a great time with her family and friends and in the meantime conducting cooking classes, winning all Kerala cooking competitions and making thousands of chocolates for a cousin's wedding favours!

I am enjoying having my mother visit me ( she is making not one, but two types of  payasam as I type :)  and delayed posting the July round up for which I apologize.
Also want to thank those who signed up to host, especially last month's host Vidhya who posted the August round up on her blog here and the current host this month Divya of Easy cooking who is waiting for all your Onam goodies!

Here finally, is the wonderful dishes you all sent in for July 2011 Kerala Kitchen


Vidhya of Kurry leaves sent in cherupayar dosa a breakfast crepe made with lentils

Ramya of Ramya's Recipe sent in Idli Upma a breakfast dish made with steamed rice idlis and spices

Swapna of Swapna's Cuisine sent in Dates Pickle which goes especially well with biriyani and aloo paranthas

Vidya of Kurry Leaves sent in Kadachakka Theeyal 

Ramya Ramya's Recipe sent in  Broccoli Thoran  /Broccoli stir fried

Ramya of Ramya's Recipe sent in Mushroom thoran / stir fried Mushrooms Kerala style

Ramya o Ramya's recipes sent in Kalan a spicy and tangy buttermilk dish

Vidhya of Kurry Leaves sent in Kumblanga Puliserry / a spiced yogurt or buttermilk based curry

Vidhya of Kurry Leaves also sent in Avial a medley of vegetables in coconut

Zareena My experiments with food Mampazha pulisseri  mangoes in coconut and yogurt


Sarah of Spooful of delight sent in some delicious Pepper roasted chicken 

Najila of Foodie corner sent in some Chicken Cutlets perfect for appetizers or as a side.

Ramya of Ramya's recipes sent in some Chicken Stew 

Akshaya of Akshaya's Recipes sent in some Kerala chicken curry

Ramya of Ramya's Recipe Mutton Biriyani

Vidya of Kurry leaves sent in some Mutton Biriyani 

Lena Rashmin Raj  of Lemon & spice sent in Kerala Mutton Roast


Lena Rashmin Raj of Lemon & spice sent in  Mathi Mulaku Curry Sardine in spicy red gravy

Ramya Ramya's Recipe Mussels thoran

Ramya of  Ramya's Recipe sent in some Mathi or Sardine curry

Ramya of Ramya's Recipes sent in some Dried Prawns Chutney 

Nashira of Plateful sent in some Chemmeen muringakka curry /Prawns and drumstick curry


Vidhya of Sugar N Spice sent in Unniappam

Najila o Foodie corner sent in Mango Layer Pudding 

Najila also sent in Banana Fritters 

Vidhya of Kurry Leaves sent in some delicious Mango Ice cream with carmelized mango 

Vidhya of A portion to Share sent in Banana Fritters

Sudha of Sabda's kitchen sent in Jackruit Halwa

Sarah of Spoonful of Delight sent in Banana Mango tango 

Jehanne of The Cooking Doctor sent in Neyappam

Swapna of Swapna's Cuisine sent in Passion fruit wine

Here are the winners!

For the best dish, I had to choose Swapna's Passion fruit wine!

For the best pic, I chose Vidya's mango Ice cream!

The Top contributor is Ramya of Ramya's recipes with 8 delicious entries!Congrats winners and thank you all for your amazing dishes! Here is your Kerala Kitchen member badges, do display them proudly on your blogs, we are so proud to have you on our team!

-Best wishes to you all!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Kerala Kitchen June 2011 Round up

This month's round up has my mouth watering. I am happy that since Ria will be making a trip home, I get to host again this month :) To participate, click here to go to my announcement post. 
However, I too intend to be travelling soon ( trip to India- home! eating! shopping! lots of family recipe learning from my grandmas, moms and aunts! can't wait) so if you are interested in hosting The Kerala Kitchen in the coming months Aug-Dec 2011 do drop me a mail to magpiemails ATgmail DOT com or leave a comment here with your email id so I can get in touch with  you and send you the details. There are still a few slots left  to be filled for this year so do hurry and let me know! Really appreciate all your interest and willingness to host this event :) Seriously am so happy to have made so many wonderful and talented friends through this event! ( a little panjaram so you will forgive my lateness in posting the roundup :P) 

Here are the awesome dishes we received:

Vegetarian Side Dishes:
  • Nashi of Plateful  with Rasam  I love Rasam and can happily drink it like a soup, although it is heavenly poured over mounds of soft rice! 
  • Anisha of Anisha the Foodie  with Chembu Fry  If you are in the US you can ask for Taro root if you are looking for Chembu, and make this now for a taste of home! 
  • Ann of Anzzcafe  sent in Beetroot Pachadi don''t you think that is just the prettiest pink ever? this dish will be a hit for all of you with pink and purple crazy little girls or nieces

  • Julie of Tasty Treat sent in Sweet Pachadi, the traditional buttermilk based side dish enlivened with fruits- sure to be a hit with the kiddies! 

Non Veg Dishes

    • Ann of Anzzcafe  with Kappa biriyani/ Tapioca and beef this is a a very popular street food, starchy,  filling and deliciously comforting for many after a hard day's work, though it is not at all like the traditional rice based biriyani! 

    • Anisha of Anisha the Foodie  with Pomfret Fry Oh Anisha, you have no idea how much I am craving Karimeen! Thanks for sending it to me, albeit virtually :) 
    • Ramya of Ramya's recipes with Malabar Prawn Biriyani Biriyani is just the perfect one dish meal don't you think? sea food biriyani is a little more interesting than the usual chicken biriyani for sure! One of my favourite party foods :) 
    Sweets and Snacks
    • Rinku of Kitchen treats with Malabar style Kinnathappam Yet another malabar dish that I have never tasted :( Rinku wish you could send me a slice :) 

    Sweets inspired by the flavours of Kerala:

    • Nashi of Plateful   with Fruit salad  with oodles of exotic fruit! Perfect for the fruit filled summer days! 

    • Julie of Tasty Treat sent in Plantain Pancakes Pancakes may not be traditional Kerala fare, but these with the addition of our favourite Kerala fruit ripe sunny yellow bananas is just a perfect breakfast sweet treat! 

    • Divya of Easycooking sent in this almost miraculous invigorating drink which is a favourite when one is ill from a cold or fever as it clears the nasal passages and contains the healing properties of ginger: Chukkum Kaapi ( Ginger Coffee)  

    For the best dish, I had to choose Sangeetha's unique Pappadam thoran though with so many great dishes, it was a really tough decision.

    For the best pic, I chose Sunitha's Mango Prawns curry where I  loved how she used the frayed gunny sack to make a wonderful rustic background for this bright orange curry.

    The Top contributor is Julie of Tasty Treat  with 5 truly tasty treats this month :)

    Congrats winners and thank you all for another delicious month! Here is your Kerala Kitchn member badges, do display them proudly on your blogs, we are so proud to have you on our team!

    Update: Here are the wonderful members who will be hosting the Kerala Kitchen in the coming months:

    July- Me, Magpie of Magpie's Recipes Announcement post click here
    August- Vidhya of Sugar'N Spice
    September- Divya of Easy cooking
    October- Khushi of A Girl's Diary 
    November- Fajeeda of Faji's Hot Pot 
    December- is still available ( email me at magpiemails AT gmail DOT com if you would like to host)