Sunday, May 24, 2015

Ambalapuzha Pal Payasam

We are starting the final week of BM#52, this week I will be doing Temple Prasadams. This theme will feature three interesting temple prasadams from different parts of India. I tried not to repeat the state and gather as much as information as I could.

This theme is quite a challenge in many ways. One I am not a great temple goer, two I have given  company to people who think that temple visits are meant to be vacations. So you can imagine I have visited lot of temples all through my growing up years. And continuing now with Hubby dear. I know those are contradictory statements, however these are things that has made me what I am.

Growing up, I have seen two different beliefs, one that begins and ends with daily long hours of prayers and traditional customs. The other that says one does not have to go to temple to pray, or to be religious to be pious.

My parents have never really forced either of their beliefs on me. I have arrived at my own beliefs and stand. However I have been a willing company to all their beliefs and doings. Result is, I have visited lot of temples along with Amma and then with Hubby dear, while still holding on to my beliefs. That has resulted in me gathering much more than what I might otherwise achieved.

Well that's for another post, my beliefs and my spiritual hold can run for pages and this is not really the space to talk about it. Its just that I never do anything in half measures and it goes on to say, these posts were enlightening as much as I could expect.

First in the series is Ambalapuzha Pal Payasam, from the Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple. 

I am sure many would agree that replicating the same taste of a temple prasadam at home, is almost next to impossibility. Even though what we make will taste great, it still would not be the same.

Ambalappuzha is a small town in the Alappuzha district of Kerala state, south India. The town is noted for its Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple, one of the three important Sri Krishna temples in the state of Kerala.

According to the legend, Lord Krishna, in disguise of a sage, won a game of chess against the king and the prize was every square would have double the number of grains. In the end, it meant even if the entire kingdom grains was poured, it wasn't enough. Seeing the king's dilemma, Lord Krishna appeared in his true form and told the King to pay off his debt by offering paal payasam made of rice and milk, in the temple freely to the pilgrims every day until the debt was paid off.

This sweet pudding is made of rice and milk and differs slightly from the regular Rice Kheer that we make. Traditionally Chemba Rice is used, however recent adaptation uses Basmati as well. I was all for getting Chemba rice, but couldn't get it in the last moment. So went ahead with Basmati rice for this pudding.

Ambalapuzha Pal Payasam

Ingredients Needed:

Chemba rice / Basmati Rice - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1 cup
Milk - 1 1/2 cup
Cashew and raisins - handful each
Ghee - 4 tbsp
A pinch of cardamom powder

How to make Pal Payasam

Wash and soak the basmati rice for 30 mins.

Pressure cook the rice and keep aside.

Heat a non stick pan with ghee, fry the cashew and raisins till it turns golden brown. Keep it aside.

Next add 2 tsp of sugar and keep stirring continuously until the sugar melts and the colour of the ghee changes to brown. The sugar also caramelizes.

Add milk to it carefully and slowly from sideways and bring it to boil.

Once the milk starts boiling add the cooked rice to it and again allow it to boil. Now add the remaining sugar.

Continue to boil till the mixture becomes bit thick.

Now add the fried cashews and raisins and cardamom powder. Mix well and switch off.

Offer as prasadam to Lord Krishna before partaking.


When you are trying to brown the sugar, don't wait for long as it will hard.

Simmer before adding the milk, else it might curdle. 

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Vazhaipoo Poriyal | Vazhapoo Thoran

Wondering what happened to me all of sudden, that I am not being regular? Well I think it has to happen sometime right. I was so totally unprepared for the summer vacation and it hit me unaware. First was my nephew and niece coming over and then kids being at home, simply catches up with you and you are left with no interest to do anything!

When school is on, you are pressed with hectic school schedule. When school is closed, you are faced with late nights and sleep induced hangovers the next day. See this happening over couple of days and your entire routine goes for a toss.

Anyway I am slowly getting back to my schedule and seeing all the pending work, really scares me. On top my buddies make sure I am always on my toes, what with them wanting to plan ahead for the next Mega BMs. In a way they keep my sanity or is it vanity? anyway that ensures I am always thinking of themes, ideas and what else to do!

Coming to the post for today, it's a simple poriyal made with Banana Blossoms. We love Masala Vada with Banana Blossoms, and I came to know about other ways to cook this delicious, was when I was doing the Regional Mega BM and went through Assamese Koldil Bhaaji / Dry Banana Flower Sabji.

That was the first time I ever realized there are ways to enjoy these flowers, other than our masala vadais. Not that we would ever give up loving the vadas, still its nice to know other ways. Ever since I made that poriyal, I knew there must be some equivalent and I was right. I came to know about this from my colleague who said they too make it as dry poriyal. That naturally led to Kerala style thoran.

Today's recipe is adapted from what I heard and I can't really say if it Tamilian or Kerala. However its something that you will love for sure!

I am sharing my lunch boxes with you and I know it doesn't look much appealing. Life sometime gives you dry suzji, rotis and a thin dal, one has to get used to it. Especially when you are on eternal diet that advocates more than what you can consume amount of veggies, dals and no carbs, gosh life becomes so gray!
Vazhaipoo Poriyal

Ingredients Needed:

Banana Blossoms - 1 full flower
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Hing a pinch
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Red Chilies - 3 -4 nos
Curry leaves handful
Coconut, grated - 2 tbsp

How to make Vazhaipoo Poriyal

Wash and clean as shown in the post.

Chop it finely and keep it in water till you are ready to cook.

Heat a non stick pan with oil. Add mustard seeds, split red chilies, curry leaves and hing. Saute well

Drain and squeeze the chopped blossoms.

Add to the pan and combine everything well.

Add salt and adjust spice.

Simmer and cover with lid, cook for 10 mins.

Finally add grated coconut and switch off.

This goes for the May Week 4, Cooking from Cookbook Challenge  Group.

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