One another Side dish from Kerala. Very simple to cook yet tasty. Olan recipe has very few ingredients and less time taking dish to prepare. During any festivals in Kerala you can find “Aviyal” , Olan, Kalan, Thoran etc.. served as side dish for steamed brown rice. And most of the recipes including dessert will have coconut as an ingredient. I prepared this recipe for “Vishu”.
“Vishu” is the New year in accordance with Malayalam Calender. It falls on the next day of Tamil New year. The most important event in Vishu is the “Vishukkani” meaning “the first thing seen on the day of Vishu after waking up”. Vishukkani consists of arrangement of various fruits, mirror, konna poo (Yellow flower), raw rice and urli in the pooja room of the house.
Another famous ritual is “VishuKaineettam” where elder people gift money to the young people. We used to wait the whole year to get the gifts from our elder members from family ;).
 Olan is prepared with Ash gourd and coconut milk. In some places it is prepared with Ash gourd and black eyed bean as well. Here I have posted Olan recipe which uses only Ash gourd and coconut milk.

Servings:  4        
Preparation Time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 10 mins
Level: Easy

 1)      Ash gourd                          100 gm 

2)      Coconut milk                      3 Tbsp
3)      Salt                                     as req
4)      Coconut oil                         2 Tbsp
5)      Curry leaves                       8-10
1)      Peel off  the skin of ash gourd and chop into thin slice square  
2)      Take 1 ½ cup – 2 cups of water in a pan. Add ash gourd and salt.
3)      Place it on heat and cook for 8- 10 mins.
4)      When its cooked enough add 1 Tbsp of coconut milk and stir well. After few secs add
 another Tbsp of coconut milk and mix again. Do it same for the rest of milk.
5)      Check the ash gourd for doneness. Turn off the heat and transfer to bowl
6)      For garnishing heat coconut oil in a tawa. Add curry leaves. Pour this on the Olan.
7)      Serve with steamed rice
1)      You can use Black eyed bean and pumpkin along with Ash gourd


One of my favourite side dish is Aviyal which is from my motherland Kerala. I used to be very proud whenever I’d to say I am from Kerala. Mostly the reasons behind feeling that way are it’s been my birthplace, as it got the title “God’s own country”and undoubtedly the cuisine.

My family migrated from Kerala to Tamil nadu even before my birth. So I can say that the relationship between me and Kerala is just my birth and the summer vacation we have at our Grannies home during schooling.

Everytime when we visit Kerala I’d always have these jobs to do, jumping into the lake, walking by the sides of deep Canal (even if I feel nervous), collecting the fallen mangoes, having our meal served in banana leafs 3 times a day ;).. 
Picking the mangoes was always my routine job. We had 4 mango trees of different kind. Since we always go in summer which is the mango season, we would grab a basket half of our size and go to each tree, collect the mangoes and of course one in hand to bite.  
The good thing about their food is they grow vegetables at their garden. And most of the days they cook with their garden vegetables. Hardly few times I see them buying from markets.
So Aviyal is a side dish for rice, prepared with many vegetables whatever available at your garden cooked with Kerala’s identity “Coconut” and a touch of sourness from curd.
Only recipe you need not worry about unavailability of any vegetables I mentioned in here.. But you definitely require coconut and curd. I got this recipe from my mom. Hope you guys find it easy to cook. Traditionally, vegetables like Yam, Drumstick, Raw Banana, Raw Mangoes Carrot, Ash gourd, Pumpkin, Bitter gourd, Cucumber, Green beans and Cow beans are used. Here I don’t get Yam, Drumstick, Raw banana. So it’s all upto you to add or omit any vegetable.

Servings:  6        
Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Level: Moderate
1)      Carrot                                  100 gm 
2)      Green beans                       50 gm
3)      Ash gourd                           100 gm
4)      Pumpkin                              50 gm
5)      Cow beans                          50 gm
6)      Bitter Gourd                       100 gm
7)      Green chillies                     2 nos
8)      Cumin seeds                      1 Tbsp
9)      Coconut (Grated)               1 Cup
10)   Curd                                    1 ½  cups (Adjust depending on sourness)
11)   Turmeric powder                ½ Tsp
12)   Red chilli powder               ½ Tsp
13)   Coconut Oil                        1 Tsp
14)   Salt                                     as required
15)   Curry leaves                       8- 10 nos
1)      Chop all the vegetables approx. 5cm in length. You need to peel the skins of Ash gourd & Pumpkin before chopping them.
2)      In a deep pan, add all the chopped vegetables with turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt.
3)      Pour 1 cup of water and cook by closing lid with reduced flame.
4)      Grind together grated coconut, green chillies and cumin seeds to a coarse paste by adding little water time to time.
5)      When the vegetables are half cooked pour in the coconut mixture and combine gently.
6)      Again close the lid and cook for 5 more mins or till the vegetables are soft.
7)      When all vegetables have been cooked, add the beaten curd and mix very gently. Make sure not to break the vegetables.
8)      Turn the heat down and transfer to another bowl
9)      For garnishing heat coconut oil in tawa and add curry leaves.
10)   Pour on the Aviyal. Serve as side dish for steamed rice.

1)      As I mentioned earlier you can use yam, raw papaya, raw mango, drumstick or any other kind of vegetables. But make sure the vegetable are little hard like yam or carrot. So that it won’t disappear while cooking
2)      Adjust the quantity of curd upon the sourness. If it is too much sour reduce the quantity of curd and add little water to it.


Sambar is very common side dish for rice in South India. Every home prepare sambar everyday for rice, idli, dosa etc.. It’s a mixture of split pea and vegetables. Throughtout the south the sambar has been cooked in different way and the recipe varies widely region to region. I know to cook sambar in three different ways, one from Kerala which i got it from my mom, the second one a Tamil nadu style and the third one is easy & fast sambar cooked in pressure cooker. This recipe is from Tamilnadu. I will post the other ways of preparing sambar later. I have used brinjal in this recipe.

Servings:  6        
Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Level: Moderate
1)      Brinjal                                  250 gm 
2)      Toor Dal                               100 gm
3)      Pearl Onion                          10 nos
4)      Tomato                                 1 medium
5)      Tamarind                              10 gm
6)      Garlic                                   2 cloves
7)      Green chillies                      2 nos
8)      Asafoetida                          A pinch
9)      Coriander powder               1 Tbsp
10)   Sambar powder                   ½ Tbsp
11)   Turmeric powder                 ¼ Tsp
12)   Dried Red chilli                   2 nos
13)   Fenugreek seed                  1 Tsp
14)   Mustard seeds                    ½ Tsp
15)   Curry leaves                        8- 10 nos
16)   Salt                                      as req
17)   Vegetable oil                      2 Tbsp
18)   Coriander leaves                For garnishing
1)      Soak dal in normal water for about 15 mins. This is usually not necessary if you are going
to pressure cook it. Soaking dal will save your cooking time when you cook dal in pan.
2)      Soak tamarind in 1 cup of warm water for 10 mins. Do these two procedures before chopping
vegetables. So that when you are ready to turn heat on dal and tamarind paste would have soaked well.
3)      Start preparing by chopping brinjals. If you need large chunks you can cut it into two halves.
Otherwise chop them into four pieces lengthwise. You need to right away immerse the chopped
Brinjals in cold water in order to prevent it from oxidizing. If the chopped brinjals or potatoes
are exposed to air it turns the colour to black or brown due to oxidization effect.
4)      Peel the skin of pearl onion and keep aside. No need to chop them. We are going to add it wholly.
5)      Chop the tomato into lengthy pieces, crush the garlic and slit the green chillies.
6)      Now turn on the heat and place the pressure cooker
7)      Pour in 2 cups of water and add the soaked toor dal (Split pigeon peas). To it add asafoetida,
¼ Tsp turmeric powder,crushed garlic, green chillies and ½ Tsp Vegetable oil. Close the cooker.
Bring to full pressure, reduce heat and cook for 5 mins. Let it cool naturally before opening the lid.
8)      Meantime heat another pan and add oil.
9)      When oil is hot add the pearl onion, sauté  well.
10)   After a minute add the chopped brinjal.
11)   Stir fry them till the brinjal’s skin colour change to brown approximately 3-4 mins.At this stage
add the tomatoes. Now reduce the flame since we are going to to add the masalas.
12)   Add remaining turmeric powder, salt, coriander powder and sambar powder. Stir well.
13)   Now squeeze the tamarind and extract the water. Pour the tamarind water into the vegetable mixture.
14)   Add one more cup of water and cook for about 10 mins closing the lid.
15)   While the vegetables are cooking, open the lid of the cooker ( make sure pressure has been released fully)
and mix the dal mixture well with spatula or use any mashing tools and combine well.
16)   Add the dal mixture to the vegetable and mix well. The consistency of the sambar at this stage should be
little watery. If it is very thick add some more water.
17)   Cook for another 5 mins in medium flame.
18)   Turn off the heat and add coriander leaves. Transfer to a bowl
19)   For tadka place the tadka pan or any other normal pan on the heat.
20)   Heat ½ Tbsp oil. Add mustard seeds. When it splutters add a pinch of asafoetida, fenugreek seeds,
curry leaves and red chillies respectively.
21)   Pour this tadka on the sambar. Serve with steamed rice, idli or dosa.

Mutton Korma

Mouth watering Mutton Korma!! 
Yes! Mutton Korma is one of the South delicacy. It’s a rich Mutton gravy usually made with coconut and spices. Goes great with Paratha, Dosa or Chapathi. Same recipe can also be adapted for making Chicken Korma. What I have understood about korma is, in North India usually Korma is based on Yogurt and Nuts and in South the gravy is based on Coconut. Both the Korma’s are different when u taste. Here i have posted south Indian Korma. Cook & relish.

Servings: 2
Preparation Time:20 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
1) Mutton                                200 gm
2) Potato                                 100 gm
3) Onion                                  1 medium

4) Tomato                                1 medium
5) Ginger                                 15 gm
6) Garlic                                  4 cloves
7) Cinnamon                           5cm stick 1 nos
8) Clove                                  4 nos
9) Cardamom                          2 nos
10) Fennel seed                       1 Tsp
11) Cumin seed                       1 Tsp
12) Coriander powder             1 Tbsp
13) Cumin powder                  ½ Tbsp
14) Red chilli powder             ½ Tsp
15) Green chilli                       2 nos
16) Turmeric powder              ¼ Tsp
17) Coconut (grated/milk)      ½ Cup
18) Coriander leaves
19) Salt                                    as req
20) Vegetable oil                     2 Tbsp


1)      Make a paste of ginger garlic.
2)      If you are using grated coconut grind to a smooth paste.
3)      Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pressure cooker.
4)      Add fennel seed, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves
5)      Add half of the chopped onion, half the ginger garlic paste and fry till brown
6)      Add coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder, salt and chilli powder
7)      Mix well and add mutton.
8)      Stir for 3 mins, add enough water to cover the meat and pressure cook them for 10 mins.
9)      In another pan heat 1 tbsp of oil
10)  Add cumin seeds and allow to splutter.
11)  Add remaining chopped onion, salt and fry till golden brown
12)  At this stage add a little turmeric powder and red chilli powder. This not only gives flavour but also gives the color to the gravy.
13)  Add remaining ginger garlic paste and stir well
14)  Add chopped potato and tomato .
15)  Once the tomatoes are soft, pour in the pressure cooked mutton and mix well.
16)  Reduce the flame to low and cover the pan with lid. Let it cook for 10 mins
17)  Check the potatoes for doneness. If the potato is soft add coconut paste/milk
18)  Cook for another 5 mins.
19)   Garnish with coriander leaves


1) As I mentioned before this recipe can be also used for making chicken korma 

Kerala Style Sardine Curry


Recently I have been posting few multicuisine and north indian recipes. Yesterday i got a chance to cook my regional cuisine. When i was crossing the seafood section in local supermarket the name sardine (Mathi) caught my eyes. With my eyes wide opened i rushed to the shelf  and i gave a big smile to those sardines lying just in front of my eyes. Actually sardine fish is hard to find in China. Its been years i saw them and tasted them. So walked back to home thinking whether to fry them or to curry them. I had some coconut lying in the fridge so finally i decided to make the fish curry. Since its been long i cooked mathi curry i made a call to my mom and asked for her recipe. She is from kerala so the curry is. This is truly my mom’s recipe.  I love her recipe as much i love her. 🙂

Servings:  2

Preparation Time:30 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins


1)       Sardine fish
250 gm
2)       Pearl onion
10 nos
3)       Dried red chilly
5 nos
4)       Fenugreek seeds
1 tsp
5)       Coriander seeds
1 Tbsp
6)       Coconut (grated)
½ cup
7)       Tamarind
10 gm
8)       Mustard seeds
½ Tsp
9)       Curry leaves
10)   Vegetable oil
2 Tbsp
11)   Salt
As req


1)       Heat 1 tbsp oil in a hot pan.
2)       Add 8 nos of pearl onion, 3 nos of red chilli, fenugreek seeds and coriander seeds.
3)       Toast gently for few mins .
4)       Grind the coconut to a paste
5)       Grind them by adding water to fine paste.
6)      Soak the tamarind in 1 cup of hot water for 15 mins and extract the paste.
7)      To the same pan which used for roasting pour the tamarind water and let it boil.
8)      Add turmeric powder and salt.
9)      Now add the ground masala paste and mix well.
10)  While the masala is still boiling add the cleaned fish one by one gently.
11)  Turn the heat to low and close lid. Cook for 10 mins.
12)  Now add the coconut paste and cook for another 5 mins.
13)  Transfer the curry to the serving bowl
14)   Heat remaining oil in a separate pan for tadka and add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves and remaining red chilli respectively
15)  Once mustard seeds splutter fully add chopped pearl onion. Fry till golden brown.
16)  Pour the tadka onto the curry. Serve with steamed rice.

1) This recipe can be also used for making prawn and any other fish curry.
2) Curry which is one day old tastes the best.
3) Clean the fish by removing its scales, head, tail and gills. Wash it in cold water with little salt 

Rogan Josh

Rogan Josh with a twist!!!

Rogan Josh is from Kashmir, meaning  cooked in oil at high heat. Tradionally Rogan josh is a Lamb dish cooked with Kashmiri chillies which gives the red color to the curry. But I made a twist by swapping Chicken for Mutton. I have also cooked Rogan josh with Mutton. But I couldn’t find any big difference in the taste of the curry except the meat. The gravy is enriched with all kind of spices and curd is added to lessen the intense taste of red chillies. I make most of the non veg dishes in my pressure cooker to get a well blended gravy. You could also use skillet, but cooking time varies little longer than the pressure cooker. This recipe is adapted from Hawkin’s recipe book.

Servings: 2
Cooker time: 10 mins
Preparation time : 20 mins
Level: Moderate


Mutton / Chicken 500 gm
Vegetable Oil  1/4 cup
Bay leaves  2
Cinnamon  2 ½ cm stick
Green cardamoms  2
Onions  200 gm
Tomatoes  150 gm
Turmeric powder  1 Tsp
Red chilli powder  1 Tbsp
Curd beaten ¾ cup
Salt  as required

Roast and Grind:

Coriander seeds  1 Tbsp
Cumin seeds  2 Tsp
Poppy seeds  1/2 Tbsp
Almonds  10
Brown cardamoms peeled 1
Peppercorns  ¼ Tsp
Cloves  2
Mace  a pinch
Whole dry red kashmiri chillies  3
Ginger  15 gm
Garlic  5 flakes
Nutmeg grated A pinch


1. In a pan, roast together coriander seeds, cumin seeds, poppy seeds, shelled almonds, brown cardamoms, peppercorns, cloves, mace and grind to a paste along with whole chillies, ginger, garlic and nutmeg adding little water.
2. Heat oil in cooker. Add bay leaves, cinnamon and green cardamoms. Stir for a few seconds.
3. Add onions and fry till golden brown.
4. Add ground paste, tomatoes, turmeric and chilli powders. Stir.
5. Add 1/3rd of the curd and stir fry till curd is well blended. Do the same for remaining curd .Stir fry till oil shows separately.
6. Add meat and salt. Stir fry for 5-10 minutes.
7. Add 1/4 cup of water and mix well
8. Close cooker. Bring to full pressure on high heat. After the first whistle reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes.
9. Remove cooker from heat. Allow to cool naturally.
10. Open cooker, transfer to serving bowl and garnish with cilantro.


1. Goes well with nan, chapathi or pulao
2. If you are using chicken reduce the frying time from 10 to 5 mins ( see no.6 in method)

3. You can also substitute cashewnut instead of almond.