Monday, June 8, 2009

Appam and Chicken Stew

Anyone born and brought up in Kerala knows how important an appam n' stew meal is. For some reason appam and stew was always made at home when we have an occasion or when we have some special guests for breakfast. Truth be told the most awesome appam i had wasn't made at home.

We have a family near our place who are famous in Kottayam for their appams. There used to be a long line of cars on the roads waiting to pick up their order from this small house, esp during Easter, Christmas and New Year. This family of 5 doles out the sweetest appam i have ever had, with edges around it looking like white lace made of frosty snow! Whenever we order appam from there, i used to get sent to pick it up and as usual Papachan (the man there) would give me one to eat while i wait. Eat it without any curry and it would still taste divine! Anyway the point is, somehow all this gave me the impression that appam and stew is an extremely difficult dish to prepare and thats the reason why its gets prepared so rarely at home.

So when we invited some friends over for Easter i decided to make it. My mom was against the idea of making something the first time when we are having guests over. I can understand what she means but, i just had to make it this time. It came out so well.....i decided to serve it while making from the pan...and 4guyz ate 33appams, i'm not exaggerating! I was exhausted by the end of it. After that i haven't made appams yet. Its kinda difficult. But the chicken stew is a great dish that's so easy to make and can be served with Bread too.


Fine rice powder (Iddiappa podi)- 2cups
Cooked Rice- 3/4th cup
Coconut (Ground)- 3/4th cup
Sugar- 2tbsp
Yeast- 1/2 tsp
Salt- to taste

Step 1: Grind coconut well in a mixer grinder with just a little water.

Step 2: Add cooked rice to the above and grind well.

Step 3: Add rice powder (with a little water to soak), yeast, salt and sugar to the above and grind the entire mixture until smooth.

* The time required for the mixture to rise is 2hrs- after which the mixture is ready to make appam. (Keep it somewhere or on something hot)
** If to be made later the mixture needs to be stored in the fridge after the above procedure.

Step 4: Use an appam wok to make the ones with the lace or use a normal flat wok for flat round ones like a thick pancake.

Chicken *- ½ kg (medium pieces)
Small Onion- 10nos (crushed or julienned)
Big Onion- 2 big or 3 medium (cubes)
Ginger- 1 inch piece (sliced)
Green Chili- 4-5nos
Potato- 1 (cubes)
Vinegar- ½ tsp
Coconut Milk- 1cup
Milk- 1 cup
Maida- 1 tbsp
Cloves- 2-3 nos
Peppercorns- 5-6 nos (crushed)
Salt- to taste
Mustard Seeds
Curry Leaves
(Vegs like carrot, green peas etc are optional)

Step 1: Cook the chicken pieces, small onions, big onions, ginger, green chili, potato, salt and vinegar in a pressure cooker till one whistle.

Step 2: Mix milk & coconut milk in a separate bowl. Add maida to this and mix well. Add cloves and peppercorns into the milk mixture.

Step 3: Prepare a tadka (oil, mustard seeds & curry leaves)

Step 4: Open the pressure cooker lid (once its safe) n’ light the burner again. Add this milk mixture to the cooker n’ cook on really low fire. Stir well. Once the curry thickens to your preference, add the tadka and the stew is ready.

* you can follow the instructions above to make fish or mutton stew too. For fish, i guess one should avoid using the pressure cooker mentioned in step 1.

Beef Chili Dry- (Beef Olarthiyathu)

I grew up eating this for every other meal….really I could combine this with anything. This also happens to be the only non veg I really like. I don’t like chicken, pork, fish or mutton. So it was very important I quickly learn how to make a decent dry chili beef. Let me specify that this will be the Kerala style with coconut pieces (which my husband picks out from his share n’ dutifully gives it to me). He doesn’t like coconut in his food n’ I love it… my dishes normally tend to be a little spicy. So you can adjust the level of spice according to your taste.


Beef- 1/2 kg (cut into small pieces)
Chili Powder- 1 tbsp
Coriander Powder- 1 tbsp
Turmeric Powder- 1/2 tsp
Ginger- 1 inch piece (crushed)
Garlic- 6-7nos (crushed)
Small Onion- 10nos (crushed) - (Sambar Onions or Kerala Onions)
Coconut Pieces- as per taste (optional)
Cinnamon- Small piece
Cloves- 2-3nos
Peppercorns- 5-6nos
Oil- 1-2 tbsp
Onion- 1/2 (finely sliced) - (big normal indian red onion)
Green Chili- 1-2 (finely sliced) - (can be avoided if you don't like spicy food)
Curry Leaves
Salt to taste


Step 1: Sauté the cinnamon, cloves and crushed peppercorns, add crushed onion, ginger n’ garlic pieces; Add all the powder, salt & coconut pieces once the onion is fried. Stir till the powder looses its raw taste.

Step 2: Add the above to the beef pieces and marinate for 10mins.

Step 3: Cook the beef in a pressure cooker on low fire for 10 more mins after the 1st whistle. No need to add water the marinated meat will have enough water content. (this can be stored for later as it is n’ the tadka can be done just before a meal)

Step 4: Do a tadka (little oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves, onion and green chili) in a wok/deep pan and add the cooked beef, cook it for 5-10mins n’ its ready.


I was never much of a sambar person until i started making spinach i never liked drumsticks either. We have 3 drumstick trees at home and i think that was my reason for not liking them much. Can you imagine a dislike for home grown veggies....gosh i was a lost case. Anyways the fact that drumsticks help make our boobs bigger was an info i got very late. That could be an important reason why i warmed up to this veggie. ;)

I don't think i do any magic with my sambar...but turns out so well every time.


1. Toor Dal : 1/2 cup (i'm not sure about the 'toor/tur/tuvar dal' spelling)
2. Potato: 1no (cut into big pieces)
3. Tomato: 1no (cut into big pieces)
4. Black Pulli (tamarind): size of a small coin- (put it in water)
5. Sambar powder: 1 tbsp (mix it in little water to make a paste)
6. Turmeric powder: 1/2tsp
7. Drumstick- 1-2 nos (cut into medium pieces)
8. Water
9. Salt to Taste
10.Onion- 2nos (cut into big pieces)
11. Green chili- 2nos (split in half)
12. Garlic- 2pods (crushed)
13. Oil: 1 1/2 tbsp (or less)
14. Mustard- 1/2tsp
15. Small Onions or Sambar Onions (sliced)
16. Dried Chili- 2-3nos (cut in the middle)
17. Curry leaves- as per liking

**Vegetable like drumstick or okra (vendakka), carrot are optional....(adding drumstick gives a great taste, apart from the blessing mentioned above!)


Step 1: Pressure cook- Tur dal, potato, green chili, garlic, other vegetables (if any), onion, turmeric powder and salt. Pour 4cups of water (or a little more than the level of the veggies) to pressure cook this. Take this off the fire after the first whistle. Leave it to cool.

Step 2: Open the lid of the cooker (once its safe). Light the gas again and add sambar powder paste, tamarind water (squeeze the pulli in the water) and tomato (can be added during step 1 too) . Let it boil without the lid...Stir occasionally

Step 3: In a pan do a tadka of oil, mustard seeds, small onions slices (optional), dried chili and curry leaves. Pour this tadka into the sambar and allow it to boil a while to avoid a layer of oil on top....

Spinach Cutlets- i didn't think so either!

I didn’t think I would ever make this….but what the hell….life is full of surprises…
Due to some health reasons I have been advised to take in a lot of iron and instead of taking iron tablets I decided to eat healthy. That led me to Spinach. I have never eaten or liked spinach…I don’t know why and I always associated a bitter taste to it. Again I don’t know why. I think it was aplenty at home n’ every other day during the rains, one could be assured of finding a ‘cheera thoran’ (Spinach & Coconut dry dish) on the table.

Anyways, I didn’t want to make that and wanted to try Spinach Cutlets instead. Was pleasantly surprised with the results! I followed the basic meat cutlet recipe. Here goes


Spinach: 250gms (cleaned and finely chopped)
Onion: 2nos (finely chopped)
Potato: 1no (boiled, peeled and mashed)
Egg: 1no. (separate the yolk)
Ginger: ½ inch piece (grated)
Chili: 2nos (finely chopped)
Bread Crumbs: (as required)
Semolina: 1-2 tsp (Optional) - (mix with bread crumbs)
Oil: 2-3 tbsp (for shallow frying)
Salt: to taste
Garam Masala: 1 tsp
Chili Powder: ½ tsp
Meat Masala: ½ tsp (not required while making meat cutlets)
Black Pepper: 2-3nos ground (Optional) - (avoid this if you don’t like spicy food)


Step 1: Heat a wok adding little oil and add the ginger, chili and onion to it.

Step 2: Once the onion is golden, add garam masala, chili powder, meat masala and salt. Stir it till the masala is cooked and looses its raw taste.

Step 3: Add the beaten egg yolk to this at this stage. Stir until the egg is cooked.

Step 4: Add the chopped spinach to the above mixture and cook till tender. 3-4mins should be enough. Ensure there is no moisture retained in the mixture. Add the ground pepper at this stage. Keep it aside to cool down.

Step 5: Add mashed potato to this mixture and shape it into cutlets. You can refrigerate the cutlets for 20-30mins for the shape to set or use it right away.

Step 6: Coat the cutlets with beaten egg white and bread crumbs.

Step 7: Heat a non-stick pan, adding oil for frying and place 4-5 cutlets and shallow fry on both sides till brown. Serve hot.
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