Thursday, 1 April 2010

Pesaha Appam and Paalu

Pesaha Appam is usually made in Christian families on Maundy Thursday/Pesaha Vyazhazhcha. Maundy Thursday is marked by a holy mass in Churches which usually ends by tea time.  On returning home, the family gather around the dining table when the head of the family prays and cuts the pesaha appam, dips it in the paalu and passes it on to the family members.  They all then dine together. This is done as a commemoration of Jesus's Last Supper with his Apostles(disciples), on which he shared unleavened bread and wine with them. The story of the crusicifaction and the last supper is usually told to the little ones this day as an answer to their endless curious questions.  The appam is made with great respect and is decorated with a small cross made from the palm leaves received from church on Palm sunday.  Appam is an Indianised unleavened bread which is made as soon as we grind the batter and is not allowed to ferment. Good Friday followes Maundy Thursday and is supposed to be a fasting day. So the leftover Pesaha is the only lifeline on Good Friday and is usually fought over by the younger family members when hunger strikes... :D

You will need...

For Pesaha Appam:
Rice - 1 glass
Urid dal -1/3 glass
Garlic - 1 clove
Jeera - 1 pinch
Grated Coconut - 1 handfull
Salt - to taste

Soak rice and urid dal separately in water overnight or for 6-8 hours. Grind rice and keep 2 tbsp aside from this.  Grind urid dal and mix into the ground rice.  Grind coconut, garlic and jeera together and mix this into the batter. The batter should be of medium consistency as for idli.  Pour into a greased shallow vessel or idli moulds and decorate with a palm cross on top.  Steam cook for 10-12 minutes.

For Pesaha Paalu:
Melted Jaggery(Sarkkara paavu) - 3/4 cup-1 cup
Coconut milk(thick) - 1 cup
Coconut milk(thin) - 2 cup
Cardamom - 3-4 crushed
Mix the melted jaggery and the 2 tbsp ground rice kept aside from appam batter. Let it boil. Add thin coconut milk and boil.  Switch off the heat and add thick coconut milk. Keep stirring and do not let it boil.  Garnish with crushed cardamom. Serve hot with appam. 

Note : 
To melt jaggery, boil jaggery with 1/2 cup water, until melted fully with no lumps.  Strain and use.


Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Pappanga Thoran/Sautéed Papaya With Coconut

Papaya is a tropical fruit and has a sweet musky taste when ripe with a soft orange tinted flesh. Been googling about papaya and came to know about few health benefits of the fruit. Papaya-the fruit, as well as the other parts of the papaya tree, contain papain, an enzyme that helps digest proteins. This enzyme is especially concentrated in the fruit when it is unripe. Papain is extracted to make digestive enzyme dietary supplements.  Vitamin C and vitamin A, which is made in the body from the beta-carotene in papaya, are both needed for the proper function of a healthy immune system. Papaya may therefore be a healthy fruit choice for preventing such illnesses as recurrent ear infections, colds and flu.  It has also got some anti inflammatory effect.  Can read more about the health benefits of papaya here.

In Kerala most of the homes have at least one papaya tree in their backyard!  The raw papayas are used for cooking, usually made into a thoran(sauted with grated coconut)or stir fry.  I'm not very keen on ripe papayas, but when raw and made into a thoran, I'm all 'ga ga' about it. 

You will need...

Raw Papaya - 2 medium
Coconut - 1/4 - 1/2 grated
Green chillies - 3-4 (2 for grinding and 2 chopped)
Jeera - 1 tsp
Turmeric - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1-2 tsp
Shallots(Cheriya ulli) - a handful peeled and sliced
Whole red chillies(dry) - 2-3 split into 2-3 pieces
Curry leaves - few
Salt - to taste

Wash, skin, deseed and grate the papayas into a mixing bowl.  Grind coconut along with 2 green chillies, 2 shallots and jeera.  Add this into the grated papaya.  Add turmeric, salt and mix well.  Keep aside.  In a thick bottomed pan heat oil.  Splutter mustard seeds and saute shallots, red chillies,  chopped green chillies and curry leaves until shallots are translucent.  Add the papaya mixture into it, cover and cook for 7-10 mins in medium heat.  If there is still water left stir fry until all the water is gone. Serve hot with rice.

I'm sending this to the event 'Think Beyond the Usual - Fruits' hosted by Nithu Bala.  She has got an inspiring lovely space, which you can visit by clicking here.