March 24, 2016

Dates Vattayappam

Vattayappam is a popular Kerala delicacy, which traditionally was made in households with left-over appam batter. However now, most of the bakeries in Kerala sell packaged Vattayappam. This can never beat the freshly prepared homemade ones.  

Vattayappams are steamed soft rice cakes with a perfect blend of coconut and fermented by yeast to make it fluffy. This is definitely on my Easter Menu.You guy's better rethink yours:)

Vattayapam usually has cashew nuts and raisins for richness along with a tinge of cardamom. My recipe has a whole lot of dates which gives it the sweetness and of course you may do away with the sugar that you add. 
I picked this recipe from my mother-in-law :)


  1. Dosa Rice/White Rice -1 cup
  2. Dates - 40 to 50 - you may reduce or increase as per your choice.
  3. Coconut - 3/4 cup grated
  4. Cardamom powder -1/4 tsp
  5. Boiled rice - 1/4 cup
  6. Cashew nuts and raisins -a handful
  7. Salt to taste
  8. Yeast -1tbsp
  9. Water -1 cup


Soak the rice and de-seeded dates over night in water separately. Wash the rice and strain the water.

Blend together the rice, dates, water, boiled rice, grated coconut in batches and pour into a deep vessel since the batter rises after adding yeast. Add cardamom powder to this and mix well.

Soak yeast in 4 to 5 tbsps of warm water for about 20 minutes till it becomes foamy and is fermented.

Mix the yeast with the batter and keep the vessel closed and in a warm place to let it ferment for at least 6 hours or till it rises.

Add salt once the batter has risen and stir it just enough for the salt to mix.

I have used cake pans in idli cooker to steam the cake. You may alternatively use a deep steel plate. Just grease the plate with a little ghee. Pour the batter into the dish and top it with nuts and raisins. Kerala bananas also make a good topping.

Steam this for 20 minutes. Remove from the flame and set aside for cooling. Wedge it out of the dish once cool and cut into shapes of your choice.

March 5, 2016

Kashmiri Pulao

Just like the place, Kashmiri Cuisine can also leave you spellbound.

While generally known for the rich lamb dishes, Kashmiris pride in their vegetarian delicacies like the Kashmiri Dum Aloo, Kashmiri Rajma and the Lotus stem curry. One such cuisine that is very popular and eaten with equal frenzy across the country is Kashmiri Pulao. What makes Kashmiri Pulao different from the rest is the use of dried fruits and fresh fruits in addition to the vegetables cooked in milk and saffron.

Raitha alone is an excellent accompaniment or you may chose to have this with any gravy. It took me two years after my visit to Kashmir to finally try this out and I was lucky enough the very first time. The flavor filled aroma was more than what I could possibly ask for.

There you go -

  1. Basmati Rice - 1 cup
  2. Milk - 1 cup
  3. Water - 1 cup
  4. Saffron Strands - 3-4
  5. Cardamom - 3
  6. Cinnamon - 2 inch stick
  7. Cloves - 3
  8. Pepper Corns
  9. Cumin seeds
  10. Bay leaf - 2
  11. Mint Leaves - 5-6
  12. Ginger chopped - 1 tsp
  13. Onion - 1
  14. Ghee - 3-4 tbsp
  15. Dry fruits - Walnut, Cashewnut, Almond, Raisins - a handful mix
  16. Fresh fruits - Pomegranate, apple - a handful chopped
  17. Carrots - 1 no.
  18. Paneer - 50 gms
  19. Salt to taste

Wash and soak the Basmati Rice in water and soak the saffron strands in 1/4 cup of warm milk for for 15 minutes.

Heat a skillet and add 2 tbsp of ghee to this. Add roughly chopped almonds, cashewnuts and walnuts to this and saute it till the color of the cashew begins to change. Transfer this to a tissue paper to drain off the excess oil. Add raisins to the ghee and saute it till it fluffs up. Drain off the excess oil and keep it aside. 

Thinly chop the onion and fry it in the ghee till the color changes to brown. Keep this aside for the garnish later.

Add ingredients 5 to 10 to the ghee and saute on medium flame for 1 minute. Add chopped ginger along with mint leaves and saute till the raw smell goes away. Toss in the Basmati Rice and once it heats up, pour water, the saffron soaked milk and the remaining milk to this along with salt. Keep on medium flame and covered till cooked. Fork the rice to prevent it lumping.

In the mean time chop the carrots and paneer, in a separate skillet saute this till cooked.

Add this to the rice along with the dry fruits and mix on low flame ensuring that the rice doesn't get mushy.

Switch off the flame and add the pomegranates and apples( you may use pineapples also). Do not cook once the fresh fruits are added. Garnish with the fried onions and serve it along with raitha.