Sunday, May 25, 2008

Double Chocolate Pudding Parfait

A chat between Child Ego and Adult Ego of yours truly.

Child Ego: I want chocolate pudding
Adult Ego: No, you shouldn’t! It is full of fat….you should stay away from it and eat healthy
Child Ego: No, it is good for bones!
Adult ego: What?? Who said so?
Child Ego: Susan said so!
Adult Ego: Susan? Who?
Child Ego: Susan of Food Blogga!
Adult Ego: What did she say?
Child Ego: She asked to eat chocolate pudding to get enough calcium for bones!!
Adult Ego: Really?
Child Ego: She also said that building strong bones early in life helps prevent osteoporosis later in life…..she eats chocolate pudding to get calcium….she is quite wise.
Adult Ego: hmm…interesting!
Child Ego: I want chocolate pudding….I want chocolate pudding…..
Adult Ego: well……let’s make then!!!

Adult Ego heads to kitchen and Child Ego sits there happily thinking of the silky and creamy chocolate pudding :)

Double Chocolate Pudding Parfait
(Recipe Source: Gourmet Magazine, 2008)

  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • ¼ cup + 2tbsp sugar, divided
  • ¼ cup + 1tbsp unsweetend cocoa powder, divided
  • 2 cup whole milk
  • 4oz fine quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt
  • Mix together cornstarch, ¼ cup sugar, ¼ cup cocoa powder and a pinch of salt in a saucepan, then gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, whisking until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in chopped chocolate and butter until melted. Transfer pudding to a bowl and give a quick chill by setting in an in ice bath and stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, beat cream with vanilla and remaining 2tbsp sugar and 1 tbsp cocoa powder until it holds stiff peaks.
  • Layer pudding followed by cream, into serving bowls. You may repeat the layers. Chill for one hour and dust it with some cocoa powder before serving.
Verdict: Both adult ego and child ego gave a thumbs up after enjoying the pudding parfait. The silkiness of the choclate pudding complemented quite well with the creaminess of whipped cream. Easy to put together and dangerously addictive.

Enjoy the long weekend !


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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ela Ada –Sweet Rice-flour Parcels in Banana Leaf

Mother lovingly plates some leafy thin steamed Adas, carefully unfolding from the banana leaf parcel, and serves her teenager daughter with a glass of warm milk mixed with her favourite Bournvita……

Teenager makes a face…..and says.."…mm…I'm bored of this…..cant you make something else…you should have asked Acha to get some Meat rolls or burger on his way back…:( "

Years later……..the same teenager now grown up , sitting in Uncle Tom's land, far-far away from her family, missing the smells from her mother's kitchen ,clinking of the steel plates, and craving for those for those steamed sweet delicacies, she picks up the phone and dials a long distance number and asks," Mummy……how do you make those ela adas ….? I cant remember the last time I had 'em…. feel like having some of 'em now…!!!"

Irony of life? Part of growing up? Lord's way of teaching us to appreciate the simplicities of life? Or just a nostalgia of a non resident Indian? Whatever that might be….there is a part of me that yearns to run to my parent's place and grab those simple pleasures of life, those simple delicacies of my homeland…….Sigh!!

Ela Ada, a traditional Kerala delicacy, is rice-flour parcels, encased in a dough made of rice flour, with sweet fillings, steamed in banana leaf and served as an evening snack or as part of breakfast. Grated coconut and rice flour are the two main ingredients. The simplicity and taste of this dish is accentuated by that distinct flavour and subtle aroma emanating from the fresh banana leaves while it is steamed.

  • 1 ½ cups rice flour, mildly roasted
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 - 1 ½ cups hot boiling water or enough to make a smooth dough
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • ¼ cup melted and filtered jaggery/sharkkara - medium consistency
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 ½ tbsp coarsely chopped cashew nuts
  • 1 ½ tbsp coarsely chopped raisins
  • 2 cardamoms crushed.
  • Banana leaves for wrapping
  • Make the filling: In a small pan heat ghee and fry coarsely chopped nuts and raisins until the nuts turn golden brown and raisins turn plump. In another small saucepan, pour the melted jaggery/sharkkara and add the grated coconut and let it cook for 1-2 mins in medium heat; to this add the fried nuts, raisins and also the leftover ghee as well the crushed cardamoms and blend well and keep aside.
  • Make the rice flour dough by first mixing rice flour and salt; to this add the boiling hot water, just enough to make a soft and smooth dough; use a spoon to blend everything well and when it is warm enough to touch, knead gently and make the dough and divide them into 6 balls (Note: the dough should be looser than the chappathi/roti dough but as soft as the Idiayappam/string-hoppers dough)
  • Making the Ada: Take a piece of banana leaf in rectangular shape, as shown in the pictorial; place one rice dough ball and flatten it gently; then with fingertips, stretch the dough onto the leaf, flattening it very thin . Dipping the finger in water, once in a while, will make this process easier, especially if the dough is a bit sticky or dry. Once the dough is stretched out, keep some sweet filling on one half and fold the other half and press the edges gently, making sure that it is sealed well, else the filling might come out.

  • Steaming the Ada: Place these prepared Ada in banana leaves, in a steamer or Idly –steamer or in a pressure cooker without keeping the weight, filled with enough water, and steam for 7-12 minutes, or till it is fully cooked, in medium heat.
  • Once the Adas are cooked, transfer it to a plate and leave it aside for 10 minutes for all the steam to settle. Serve warm, either taking the adas out of its wraps or in the banana leaf itself. I prefer the latter for that distinct aroma and flavour coming from the banana leaves.


  • You mad add some chopped pieces of ripe bananas aka Aethappazham, to the coconut- jaggery mixture which gives a fresh fruit flavour to the filling.
  • You may also use Chakka-varatti/Jackfruit preserves as filling.
  • Another variation is using a simple filling of grated coconut, sugar and crushed cardamoms; there is no need for stove-top cooking for this filling.
  • Instead of steaming, you may cook the prepared ada in banana wraps, on a flat non-stick pan, by flipping each sides, until it is cooked. This is tastier and different from the steamed ones. UPDATE : The roasted ones are called Ottada. You can check my post on Ottada HERE.
Note: If banana leaf is not available, you can use parchment papers, you will get tasty steamed Adas, sans the aroma and flavor of banana leaves.

For Kozhukatta: You can follow the same cooking method and list of ingredients for the dough and filling. The only difference is that, instead of flattening the rice balls on the leaf, you can directly fill them, as in the pictorial given at the end of this paragraph, and while steaming, you need not use banana leaf for covering these sweet balls; you can steam them placing directly on an idli steamer or placing them in a flat plate on a regular steamer pressure cooker without keeping the weight, filled with enough water, and steam for 7-12 minutes, or till it is fully cooked, in medium heat. The steamed balls may turn out sticky sometime and that depends on the quality of the rice flour. For a step by step pictorial, click here.


No part of the content ( articles, photographs, recipes) of this blog may be reproduced without my written permission.Copyright © 2007-2010 All rights reserved.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Kozhukkatta – ‘Naadan’ edible bomb!!! ??

Q: “What did you have for tea this evening?”
A: “…..bomb “, replies with a broad playful smile.

Strange!!! Something doesn’t make sense, right?? :D This is the reply you can expect from any of my uncles or aunts or cousins at the paternal side not because they eat bomb but they are actually referring to a delicacy called Kozhukkatta! I don’t know who came up with this funny thing or how it came up….it could be probably because of its round bomb-like shape……but all I know is it is a sweet edible bomb!! ‘Naadan’ means old fashioned or country style. It is Kerala’s traditional sweet and soft steamed dumplings, stuffed with sweet fillings, generally a combination of grated coconut, chopped nuts and raisins, sweetened with either sugar or jaggery, flavored and perfumed with a touch of cardamom.

Here is a pictorial for making Kozhukkatta, steamed sweet dumplings.

After Steaming...

Recipe coming soon with a bonus post of Ela Ada –Sweet Rice-flour Parcels in Banana Leaf. :)

No part of the content ( articles, photographs, recipes) of this blog may be reproduced without my written permission.Copyright © 2007-2010 All rights reserved.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Stopover at the Konkan Coast!

I have been writing about Kerala cuisine for more than a year now and so was wondering if I can show you the sign board, ‘Detour Ahead’! I feel like taking a stopover at the Konkan Coast as I happened to enjoy the Konkan flavour a bit!! Wondering who lured me into this and gave me an opportunity to cook something with a very quintessential ingredient in Konkani food? Who else can it be? Shilpa of Aayi’s Recipes! I know, she doesn’t require any introduction in the blogging world, and when she very lovingly asked my interest in being a part of the Arusuvai Friendship Chain, which “is about sending along a surprise ingredient as a gift to your friends for them to prepare something tasty with it, share the recipe, and pass on other surprise ingredients to more people”, I was excited and more thrilled when the mail-man dropped the package at the door. The contents of the package, especially the secret ingredient was as though Shilpa clearly understood my interest in anything authentic and traditional giving me a taste of the Konkan flavour. Along with the surprise ingredients came a batch of her homemade Tomato Pickle, which was really tasty and some chocoloates, accompanied by a cute card. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of all the gifts Shilpa sent as I was really amidst our relocation and was not in a position to click the picture but I did save the card!

The surprise ingredient was Poha Masala Powder known as Phova pitto/Kumta Masala in the Konkan region. After receiving the package when I read her notes on the same, I was really happy that she chose to send me something that is widely used to cook a classic dish at her place. In her own words, “What is the first thing any Konkani person can remember when you say “breakfast or evening snack”? Almost 90% of people say it is ‘Kalayile phovu‘ (Kalayile means mixed, phovu is phoha/avalakki)…… So this is even given to people who work for long hours in sun. Basically it is a food very famous in rural areas”.

Once I settled at the new place, I set off to try this masala powder and my first stop was at ‘Kalayile phovu‘ , from Shilpa’s blog itself. She had written in her post that “This was a must in all Konkani wedding breakfasts along with upma. But these days idlis and wadas have replaced this traditional dish”. What more can stir up my curiosity!! With the desire to enjoy a traditional Konkani dish with one of their classic ingredients I made that classic dish and did enjoy Kalayile phovu, which is flattened/beaten rice mixed with the freshness of grated coconut and embellished with a touch of Poha Masala Powder/Phova pitto/Kumta Masala and jaggery. I liked the sweetness of jaggery correctly balanced with the mild heat from the Masala. From her other posts, it was clear that it could be used in other vegetable dishes too and I started experimenting with vegetable stir-fries which really worked well. I liked the way it spiced up the vegetables. Our favourite discovery was the use of this Masala Powder in Potato Fry and believe it or not, we like it so much that I made a batch yesterday and one this evening too! Potato Fry with Masala Powder/Phova pitto/Kumta Masala tastes better when cubed potatoes are cooked in lot of oil and it holds its shape well, unlike the ones cooked in microwave first and then sautéed in little bit of oil with Poha Masala. This can be a side dish or a spicy appetizer. The one in picture slightly got overcooked in microwave as I did not want to use that much oil again and hence the bad shape.

To Cook Potato Fry with Masala Powder/Phova pitto/Kumta: In 2-3 tbsp oil, splutter some cumin seeds/jeera; add ½ tsp red chilly flakes and stir well; to this add ½ cup of finely chopped onion and cook till it is transparent and now add 2 tsp Poha Masala and stir well. At this stage, add cubed pieces of two medium size potatoes with salt to taste and cook covered, until the potatoes are soft. Switch off the stove and add a tablespoon of chopped mint and coriander leaves to dress up the entire dish. For a health friendly version, cook potatoes in microwave first and then sauté in oil with onion and Poha Masala and garnish with herbs.

Shilpa, Thank you so much for such a thoughtful gift :)

To continue this Friendship chain event, I passed a packet to Shaheen of Malabar Spices and to another friend of mine.

Check out Shilpa’s blog for the authentic Konkani dishes!

Wishing you all a great week ahead!

No part of the content ( articles, photographs, recipes) of this blog may be reproduced without my written permission.Copyright © 2007-2010 All rights reserved.