Saturday, December 30, 2006

Tomato Quiche Tartlets

Here are some new year recipes for my loving readers.and iam really sorry for not posting new recipes in these days

Tomato Quiche Tartlets


  • 2 2.1-ounce packages baked miniature phyllo dough shells (30 shells)
  • 1/2 cup finely snipped dried tomato (not oil packed)
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons half-and-half, light cream, or milk
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons snipped fresh basil or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
  • Dash salt
  • Dash ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup finely shredded Swiss cheese (3 ounces)


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place phyllo dough shells on a baking sheet; set aside.

2. For filling, in a small bowl, combine dried tomato and enough boiling water to cover; let stand for 2 minutes. Drain well. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, half-and-half, basil, salt, and pepper. Stir in soaked dried tomato and Swiss cheese.

3. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of the filling into each phyllo shell. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until filling is slightly puffed and a small knife inserted into the centers of the tartlets comes out clean. Serve warm or cool. Makes 15 servings.

4. Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare and bake tartlets as directed; cool. Place tartlets in an airtight container and chill for up to 24 hours. Place tartlets on a baking sheet. Bake in a 300 degrees F oven about 10 minutes or until heated through.

Sweet Cherry Ham

Sweet Cherry Ham


  • 1 7- to 8-pound cooked spiral-sliced ham
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light-color corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened pineapple juice
  • Cherry Sauce


1. Place ham in a shallow roasting pan according to package directions; discard packet of glaze. Cover ham with foil. Bake in a 350 degrees F oven for 1 hour.

2. Meanwhile, for pineapple glaze: In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, cornstarch, and pineapple juice. Cook and stir over medium heat until bubbly.

3. Remove ham from oven; remove foil. Brush ham generously with pineapple glaze. Continue baking, uncovered, about 30 minutes more or until ham is well glazed and an instant-read thermometer registers 140 degrees F.

4. Meanwhile, prepare Cherry Sauce. Cover and keep warm.

5. Transfer the ham to a serving platter. Serve ham with sauce. Makes 15 servings.

6. Cherry Sauce: Drain two 16-ounce cans pitted tart red cherries (water pack), reserving 1/2 cup liquid. In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Stir in the reserved 1/2 cup cherry liquid, the cherries, and several drops almond extract. Cook and stir over medium heat until sauce is thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Makes about 4 cups.

Crunchy Toffee Muffins

Crunchy Toffee Muffins


  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup dairy sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 1.4-ounce bars chocolate-covered English toffee, finely chopped


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease ten 2-1/2-inch muffin cups or line with paper bake cups; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center of flour mixture.

3. In another medium bowl, combine egg, milk, sour cream, melted butter, and vanilla. Add all at once to the flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Gently fold two-thirds of the chopped toffee into batter.

4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, dividing batter evenly. Sprinkle tops with remaining chopped toffee.

5. Bake about 20 minutes or until muffin tops are golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups. Serve warm. Makes 10 muffins.

6. Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare and bake the muffins as directed; cool completely. Place in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw muffins, covered, at room temperature. Wrap the muffins in foil and bake in a 300 degree F oven about 15 minutes or until heated through.

New Year's Almond Log Cake

New Year's Almond Log Cake


  • 5 egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup ground toasted almonds
  • 3/4 cup sifted cake flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Powdered sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups whipping cream
  • 1 8-ounce can almond paste
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons amaretto or 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 cup toasted almond slices
  • Purchased marzipan pigs or assorted fruits (optional)


1. Grease a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Line with waxed paper. Grease and flour waxed paper; set aside. Beat egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight).

2. Beat egg yolks in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on high speed for 5 minutes or until thick and pale. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating on high speed until sugar is almost dissolved. Stir in the 1 teaspoon vanilla and the ground almonds. Stir flour, nutmeg, and cinnamon together; gently stir into egg yolk mixture. Fold about one-fourth of the egg white mixture into the flour mixture to lighten. Fold remaining egg white mixture into flour mixture just until combined. Spread in the prepared pan. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until cake springs back. Do not allow to brown.

3. Immediately loosen cake from pan. Invert cake onto a towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Remove waxed paper. Roll up warm cake and towel together, jelly-roll style, starting from a short side. Cool completely on a wire rack.

4. For almond filling, beat the 1-3/4 cups whipping cream in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl over); set aside. Finely crumble almond paste into a medium bowl. Add the 1/4 cup whipping cream and the amaretto or 2 teaspoons vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until nearly smooth. Fold about one-fourth of whipped cream into almost paste mixture to lighten. Fold remaining whipped cream into almond paste mixture.

5. Gently unroll cake. Spread half of the almond filling on cake to within 1 inch of the edges. Roll up cake, without towel, into a spiral, starting from a short side. Place on a serving plate. Lightly frost cake with remaining filling and sprinkle with toasted sliced almonds. Garnish with purchased marzipan pigs for luck or assorted fruits, if desired. Makes 12 servings.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Kerala Biriyani Recipe


Whole Chicken Legs - 4lbs
Onion - 3 nos.
Green chillies - 5nos
Ginger - 2 inch piece
Garlic - 5 cloves
Turmeric Powder - ½ tsp
Salt To taste
Water - 10 cups
Butter - ¼ cup
Oil - ¼ cup

Ingredients for Masala:

Onion - 5 nos
Ginger - inch piece
Garlic - 4 cloves
Tomato(skinned and chopped) - 5 nos
Green chilli - 5 nos
Chilli Powder - 11/2 tsp Coriander Powder - 1 ½ tsp
Jeera Powder - ½ tsp
Turmeric Powder - ½ tsp
Garam Masala - ½ tsp
Cloves To taste
Cinnamon - 1 inch stick
Salt To taste
Oil - ¼ cup

Ingredients for rice and garnish:

Rice - 5 cups
Saffron - 1 pinch
Onion(sliced thinly) - 3 nos
Raisins - 1 handfull
Cashew nut - 20 nos(optional)
Butter - 1/4cup


Soak the rice in lightly salted water for two hours and remove the water. Grind the masala for the marinade except oil, butter, and water. Clean the chicken (no skin) and cut into big pieces. Put the butter and oil in a big cooking vessel . When it melts, add the cinnamon stick and cloves. Then add the paste into it. Fry the masala till it turns it color to a very light brown. Add the chicken, cook for 5 minutes. Add the water and salt. Cook till the chicken is done. Remove the chicken and keep the liquid for cooking rice. Remove the bones from the chicken and make into small strips and keep.

For masala, sauté the onion, garlic, ginger, green chili in the oil. When it turns light brown add the dry spices and chopped tomato. Sauté the masala till the oil separates. Add the chicken stripes and mix. This is a dry mix.

For cooking the rice, put some butter in the pan and add the rice. Fry for 5 minutes. Add the liquid (if the liquid is not 10 cups, make it up to that level by adding water). Add the saffron and enough salt.

For garnish, fry the onion, raisins, and cashews, separately in butter and keep.

Now take two aluminum or any baking trays, and butter them thoroughly. Put one layer of rice, then one layer of masala, then rice. Go on alternately like that and finally end with rice. On the top, spread the garnish. Cover it and bake for 10 minutes at about 300 degree Fahrenheit.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Steaks in Brandy-Cream Sauce

Following three recipes are Quick Dishes for dinner
Source: Midwest Living
Steaks in Brandy-Cream Sauce


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2, 1-1/2-inch-thick beef tenderloin steaks (8 ounces each)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup brandy
  • 1 cup whipping cream


1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sprinkle both sides of steaks with salt and ground pepper; add to hot skillet. Cook for 2 minutes on each side or until brown. Transfer to a 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Bake the steaks, uncovered, in a 400 degree F oven for 10 to 13 minutes for medium-rare doneness (145 degree F).

2. For brandy-cream sauce, in the same skillet cook mushrooms and onions over medium heat till just until tender. Remove the pan from heat; add brandy. Carefully ignite brandy with a long match (mixture will flame up). Or don�t ignite brandy; return to heat and simmer, uncovered, for 4 minutes or till most of the liquid is evaporated. When the flame is gone or most of the liquid has been evaporated, add whipping cream. Bring the sauce just to boiling. Boil gently for about 8 minutes or until reduced to 1 cup, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, place steaks on warm serving plates and spoon the sauce over the meat. Makes 2 to 4 servings.

Roasted Pepper and Chevre Pizzas

Roasted Pepper and Chevre Pizzas


  • 1 16-ounce loaf frozen whole wheat or white bread dough
  • 2 tablespoons yellow corn meal
  • 3 medium red, yellow, and/or green sweet peppers, roasted*
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or cooking oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into very thin wedges and separated into strips
  • 6 ounces semisoft goat cheese (chevre) or feta cheese, crumbled or cut up (1-1/2 cups)
  • 10 ripe olives, pitted and quartered lengthwise
  • 4 plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (1-1/2 cups)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves or snipped fresh basil


1. Thaw bread dough. On a lightly floured surface, divide dough into eight pieces. Cover; let dough rest for 10 minutes. Pat or roll each piece into a 6-inch circle. Grease two extra-large baking sheets; sprinkle with cornmeal. Transfer dough circles to baking sheets. Bake in a 450 degree F oven for 5 minutes. Remove baking sheets from the oven; place on wire racks to cool, leaving the dough on the baking sheets.

2. Meanwhile, cut roasted peppers into 1-inch-wide strips. Stir together oil and red pepper. Brush the mixture onto the baked circles. Top with roasted peppers, onion, goat or feta cheese, olives, and tomatoes. Sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella.

3. Bake in a 450 degree F oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until mozzarella is golden brown and crusts are crisp. Before serving, sprinkle with fresh oregano or basil. Makes 8 main-dish servings.

*To roast peppers: Halve peppers; remove stems, membranes, and seeds. Place peppers, cut side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake in a 425 degree F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until skin is bubbly and brown. Wrap in the foil; seal and let stand for 20 to 30 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Using a paring knife, gently pull off skin.

Note: You can substitute 1 tablespoon dried oregano or basil, crushed, for the fresh herbs. Instead of sprinkling it on top of the pizzas, stir the dried herb into the oil mixture before brushing it onto the crust.

Nacho Cheese Chowder

Nacho Cheese Chowder


  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 11-ounce can condensed nacho cheese soup
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 of an 8-ounce jar Mexican-style cheese spread


1. In a large saucepan, cook beef, green pepper, and onion until meat is browned and vegetables are tender. Drain off fat. Stir in milk, soup, corn, tomato, and cheese spread.

2. Cook about 5 minutes or until soup is hot. Makes 4 main-dish servings.

Soft Honey Nougat

Soft Honey Nougat


  • 1-1/2 cups hazelnuts
  • 1-1/2 cups dried cranberries and/or cherries
  • Butter
  • Cornstarch
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup light-colored corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp. vanilla


1. Spread hazelnuts in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake in a 350 degrees F oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown, watching carefully and stirring once or twice so nuts don�t burn. Cool slightly. Place nuts on a clean kitchen towel, fold over towel to cover nuts. Rub vigorously to remove the skins. Coarsely chop hazelnuts. In a medium bowl combine chopped hazelnuts and cranberries. Set aside.

2. Line an 9x5x3-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray or heavy foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Butter the foil; sprinkle with a small amount of cornstarch. Set pan aside.

3. In a 2-quart saucepan combine the sugar and the 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Add corn syrup, water, and honey; mix well. Bring to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to dissolve sugar, 5 to 7 minutes. Avoid splashing mixture on side of pan.* Reduce heat to medium. Carefully clip candy thermometer to saucepan.

4. Continue boiling, stirring occasionally, until thermometer registers 286 degrees F, soft-crack stage. Mixture should boil at a moderate, steady rate over entire surface, about 25 minutes. Watch closely at the end as temperature will rise quickly. (Adjust heat as necessary to maintain a steady boil.)

5. Remove saucepan from heat; remove candy thermometer from saucepan. In a large mixing bowl, immediately beat egg whites with a sturdy, freestanding electric mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Gradually pour hot mixture in a thin stream over egg whites, beating constantly on high speed and scraping sides of bowl occasionally, about 3 minutes. Scrape sides of bowl again. Add vanilla. Continue beating on high speed for 3 to 4 minutes or until candy begins to lose its gloss. When beaters are lifted, mixture should fall in a ribbon, mounding on itself, then slowly disappear in the remaining mixture. The final beating should take 5 to 6 minutes.

6. Immediately stir 2 cups of the fruit and nuts into candy. Quickly turn candy into prepared pan; spread to corners. Sprinkle top with remaining 1 cup fruit and nuts. Lightly press fruit and nuts into warm mixture. While still warm, score into pieces. Let stand about 3 hours or until completely cool. When cool, use foil to lift candy from pan. Cut into pieces using a hot knife. Wrap in plastic wrap. Store in refrigerator up to 1 week or in freezer up to 4 months. To serve, unwrap and place in waxed candy cups or bonbon cups. Makes 35 pieces

Party Meatballs

Party Meatballs


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 slightly beaten egg
  • 8 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and finely crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup snipped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt or dairy sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 lb. uncooked ground turkey


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two 15x10x1-inch baking pans or large baking sheets with foil. Lightly coat foil with nonstick spray; set aside.

2. In a large bowl combine egg, bacon, bread crumbs, basil, yogurt, pepper, and salt. Add ground turkey; mix well. Shape into 75 one-inch meatballs (about 1 tablespoon each). Place on pans.

3. Bake on separate oven racks for 15 to 20 minutes or until no longer pink. Serve with sauce or skewered. Makes 25 (three-meatball) servings.

Alfredo Sauce: In a saucepan combine one 16-oz. jar purchased Alfredo sauce and 1/4 cup milk. Heat through. Stir in 8 slices crisp-cooked, crumbled bacon (about 1/2 cup). Season to taste with pepper. Sprinkle sauce with 1/2 cup snipped fresh basil.
EACH SERVING (1 meatball, 1 tsp. sauce): 40 cal., 3 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 16 mg chol., 94 mg sodium, 1 g carbo., 3 g pro. Daily Values: 1% vit. A, 1% calcium, 1% iron.

Sweet and Sour Chili Sauce: In a saucepan combine one 10-oz. bottle sweet-and-sour sauce; 1/3 cup mango nectar; 1 tsp. chili powder; 1 large clove garlic, minced; 1/2 tsp. finely shredded lime peel; and 1/4 tsp. salt. Heat through over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
EACH SERVING (1 meatball, 1 tsp. sauce): 28 cal., 2 g total fat, 13 mg chol., 72 mg sodium, 2 g carbo., 3 g pro. Daily Values: 1% vit. A, 1% vit. C, 1% calcium, 1% iron.

Peach Sauce: In a saucepan melt 2 Tbsp. butter. Add 1�2 cup coarsely chopped pecans and 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion. Cook over medium heat about 5 minutes or until onion is tender and pecans are toasted. Stir in 2 Tbsp. yellow mustard and 2 Tbsp. molasses. Add 3 cups coarsely chopped fresh or thawed frozen peaches. Heat through. Just before serving, stir in 2 Tbsp. snipped fresh parsley .

White Cheddar Shortbread Sandwiches

White Cheddar Shortbread Sandwiches


  • 8 oz. white cheddar cheese, finely shredded
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt or salt
  • 1/4 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
  • Sea salt or salt
  • 1 recipe Red Onion Marmalade


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl place cheese, butter, flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper; let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Using your hands, work dough until it holds together. Divide dough in half.

2. Line two 8x8x2-inch baking pans or 2-quart square baking dishes with plastic wrap. Press half the dough evenly into each prepared pan. Cover and chill about 30 minutes. Invert one pan onto a very large (17x13-inch) ungreased baking sheet. Lift pan and carefully peel off plastic wrap. Using a floured knife cut dough into eight 1-inch-wide strips. Cut strips crosswise into four 2-inch-long rectangles to make 32 (2x1-inch) rectangles (do not separate rectangles). Repeat on the same baking sheet with remaining dough. With a floured fork, prick each rectangle 2 or 3 times. Sprinkle very lightly with sea salt.

3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until light brown. Cut through the rectangles again while shortbread is still warm. Transfer to a wire rack and cool. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 2 days or in the freezer up to 3 months.

4. To serve White Cheddar Shortbread Sandwiches, top half the crackers with about 1 teaspoon of the Red Onion Marmalade. Top with remaining crackers. If desired, top with additional marmalade. Makes 32 sandwiches.

Old-Fashioned Bread Stuffing

Old-Fashioned Bread Stuffing


  • 1-1/2 cups chopped or sliced celery (3 stalks)
  • 1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 Tbsp. snipped fresh sage or 1 tsp. poultry seasoning or ground sage
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 12 cups dry bread cubes
  • 1 to 1-1/4 cups* chicken broth
  • Sage leaves (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a large skillet cook celery and onion in hot butter over medium heat until tender but not brown. Remove from heat. Stir in sage and pepper. Place bread cubes in large bowl; add onion mixture. Drizzle with enough chicken broth to moisten; toss lightly to combine. Place stuffing in a 2-quart casserole dish. Bake, covered, for 30 to 45 minutes or until heated through. Top with fresh sage. Makes 12 to 14 servings.

Test Kitchen Tip: If using to stuff a turkey, reduce broth to 3/4 to 1 cup. Try a mix of whole wheat, white, and multi-grain bread cubes for extra flavor.

Stuffing Additions:
- Stir 2 medium cored and chopped apples into bread cubes.
- Omit 1 cup of the celery and substitute 2 cups sliced mushrooms. Cook mushrooms with the celery in Step 1, above.
- Stir one 15-ounce can chestnuts, drained and coarsely chopped, into bread cubes.
- Stir 1 cup cooked wild rice into bread cubes.

Turkey Paella Salad

Turkey Paella Salad

Turkey Paella Salad


  • 1 8-oz. pkg. saffron-flavored yellow rice mix
  • 2 to 3 cups chopped cooked turkey
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 1 cup broccoli florets or frozen baby sweet peas
  • 1 medium red or yellow sweet pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries or golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 2 oz. prosciutto, crisp-cooked,* or cooked ham, cut into thin strips
  • 3/4 cup bottled vinaigrette salad dressing
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 2 Tbsp. snipped fresh basil or tiny fresh basil leaves


1. Prepare rice according to package directions. Spread on baking sheet. Cover; refrigerate 20 minutes or until cooled. In extra-large bowl combine turkey, tomato, broccoli, sweet pepper, cranberries, onions, and prosciutto. Add rice and dressing; toss to coat. Cover; refrigerate 2 to 24 hours. Sprinkle with almonds and basil.
Makes 6 (1-1/2 cup) servings.

*Note: To crisp-cook prosciutto, arrange slices in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in a 450 degree F oven for 6 to 8 minutes or until browned and crisp. Remove from oven; cool on baking sheet.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Chocolate Harvest Cake

Chocolate Harvest Cake

Chocolate Harvest Cake


  • One-Bowl Cake:
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 cup cooking oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pumpkin Cream Filling:
  • 1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Chocolate Glaze
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • Cake Toppers:
  • Seedless red grapes, whole blackberries or raspberries, toasted hazelnuts, or shredded orange peel


1. PREPARE OVEN AND PANS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9x 1-1�2-inch round baking pans; set aside.

2. COMBINE INGREDIENTS: In an extra-large bowl combine buttermilk, water, oil, sugar, eggs, baking soda, and salt. Using a large wire whisk, whisk until well combined. Add flour and cocoa powder; whisk vigorously until smooth. Divide batter between prepared pans.

3. DO THE TOUCH TEST: Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until top springs back when lightly touched in center. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely.

4. PREPARE PUMPKIN CREAM FILLING: In a medium bowl whisk together cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, and cinnamon until thickened. Place one cake layer on plate. Spread filling over top. Top with second cake layer.

5. MAKE CHOCOLATE GLAZE: In a saucepan bring whipping cream just to boiling over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate (do not stir). Let stand 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Cool 15 minutes or until slightly thickened. Pour over cake, allowing glaze to drip down sides. Chill until set, about 30 minutes. Top with desired toppers.

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes


  • 5 medium sweet potatoes (10 oz. each)
  • 1/2 cup cranberry relish
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins, snipped or chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Scrub sweet potatoes and pierce all over with fork. Place on oven rack. Bake for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until tender. Set aside to cool slightly.

2. Cut each potato in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop pulp from each potato half, leaving a 1/4- to 1/2-inch shell. Place pulp in medium bowl. Set aside shells.

3. Using a potato masher or fork, mash potato pulp until smooth. Stir in relish, cranberries, butter, and salt. Spoon potato mixture into each potato shell. Place, filled sides up, in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Sprinkle with walnuts.

4. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until heated through. Makes 10 servings.

Fall Fruit Soup -Low-Calorie

Fall Fruit Soup

Fall Fruit Soup


  • 1 cup cranberries (4 ounces)
  • 1 medium pear, cored and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 medium cooking apple (such as Rome, Jonathan, or Fuji), cored and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3 plums, halved, pitted and cut into thin slices
  • 3 cups cranberry-apple juice
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 3-inch pieces stick cinnamon


1. In a large saucepan combine cranberries, pear, apple, and plums. Stir in cranberry-apple juice, brown sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon stick. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 5 to 6 minutes or until fruit is tender and skins on cranberries pop. Remove cinnamon sticks; discard.

2. Makes 6 servings (6 cups)

Buttermilk PancakesLow-Calorie

Buttermilk Pancakes

Buttermilk Pancakes


  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk or sour milk (see tip)
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • Desired fruit options (optional)*
  • Desired syrup (optional)


1. In a large bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl use a fork to combine egg, buttermilk, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be slightly lumpy). If desired, stir in desired fruit.

2. For standard-size pancakes, pour about 1/4 cup batter onto a hot, lightly greased griddle or heavy skillet, spreading batter if necessary. For dollar-size pancakes, use about 1 tablespoon batter. Cook over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until pancakes are golden brown, turning to second sides when pancakes have bubbly surfaces and edges are slightly dry. Serve warm. If desired, top with syrup. Makes 12 standard-size pancakes or 40 dollar-size pancakes.

3. *Fruit Options: Stir one of the following fruits into the pancake batter: 1/2 cup chopped fresh apple, apricot, peach, nectarine, or pear; 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries; or 1/4 cup chopped dried apple, pear, apricot, raisins, currants, dates, cranberries, blueberries, cherries, or mixed fruit.

4. Pancakes: Prepare Buttermilk Pancakes as above, except substitute milk for buttermilk, increase baking powder to 1 tablespoon, and omit the baking soda.

5. Whole Wheat Pancakes: Prepare Buttermilk Pancakes as above, except substitute whole wheat flour for the all-purpose flour and packed brown sugar for the granulated sugar.

6. Buckwheat Pancakes: Prepare Buttermilk Pancakes as above, except use 3/4 cup all-purpose flour and add 1 cup buckwheat flour.

7. Cornmeal Pancakes: Prepare Buttermilk Pancakes as above, except use 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour and add 1/2 cup cornmeal.

8. Bran Pancakes: Prepare Buttermilk Pancakes as above, except use 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour and add 1/4 cup oat bran, wheat bran, or toasted wheat germ

Ratatouille Pizza-Low-Calorie

Ratatouille Pizza

Ratatouille Pizza


  • 1 small eggplant (about 3/4 pound)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or cooking oil
  • 4 medium red tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (about 2-2/3 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh oregano or thyme or 1 teaspoon dried oregano or thyme, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 16-ounce package Boboli (12-inch Italian bread shell)
  • 2 medium red and/or yellow tomatoes, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 small zucchini, thinly sliced (2 cups)
  • 1 small yellow summer squash, thinly sliced (2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sliced pitted ripe olives
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (2 ounces)


1. Chop enough of the eggplant to make 1 cup. Halve remaining eggplant lengthwise and cut into thin slices; set aside.

2. In a medium skillet cook onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon of the oil until tender but not brown. Add chopped eggplant, chopped tomatoes, oregano or thyme, sugar, salt, and pepper. Cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat about 15 minutes or until liquid has evaporated and mixture is of spreading consistency, stirring occasionally.

3. Place the bread shell on a lightly greased baking sheet. Spread the warm tomato mixture over bread shell. Arrange the tomato slices and eggplant slices on the tomato mixture. Arrange zucchini slices and summer squash slices on top. Brush sliced vegetables with the remaining oil. Sprinkle with feta cheese and olives. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

4. Bake in a 400 degree F oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until cheese melts and vegetables are heated through.

Teriyaki Beef and Lettuce Wraps-Low-Calorie

Teriyaki Beef and Lettuce Wraps

Teriyaki Beef and Lettuce Wraps


  • 1 large head iceberg lettuce
  • 4 large carrots, shredded
  • 2 green sweet peppers, cut into thin strips
  • 6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 6 tablespoons roasted-garlic teriyaki liquid meat marinade
  • 2 fresh jalapeno chile peppers, seeded and finely chopped*
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons roasted-garlic teriyaki liquid meat marinade
  • Green onions


1. Remove and discard core from lettuce. Carefully remove at least 16 whole lettuce leaves; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine carrot, sweet pepper, 6 tablespoons vinegar, and salt; toss to combine.

2. In a large bowl, combine ground beef and 6 tablespoons teriyaki marinade. Shape beef mixture into 1/2-inch meatballs.

3. Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add one-fourth of the meatballs to hot skillet. Cook for 3 minutes, turning meatballs to brown on all sides. Transfer meatballs to a bowl. Repeat with remaining meatballs.

4. Return all meatballs to the skillet. Stir in chile pepper, water, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and 2 tablespoons teriyaki marinade. Bring to simmering. Cover and cook for 3 minutes.

5. To serve, fill lettuce leaves with vegetable mixture and meatballs; roll up. Garnish the platter with green onions. Makes 16 servings.

6. Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare the lettuce, vegetable mixture, and meatballs as directed. Cover and chill separately for up to 24 hours. Fill and roll up as directed (you don't need to reheat the meatballs).

7. *Note: Because chile peppers contain volatile oils that can burn your skin and eyes, avoid direct contact with them as much as possible. When working with chile peppers, wear plastic or rubber gloves. If your bare hands do touch the peppers, wash your hands and nails well with soap and warm water.

Prosciutto with Asparagus and New Potatoes

Prosciutto with Asparagus and New Potatoes

Prosciutto with Asparagus and New Potatoes


  • 1-1/2 pounds fresh asparagus spears
  • 1 20-ounce package refrigerated new potato wedges
  • 1/4 cup bottled Italian salad dressing
  • 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
  • 6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto slices
  • Parmesan cheese ribbons


1. Snap off and discard woody bases from the asparagus spears. If desired, scrape off scales. Cut into 2-inch pieces. Set aside.

2. In a large saucepan, cook the potatoes, covered, in a small amount of lightly salted boiling water for 11 minutes. Add asparagus. Cook, covered, about 4 minutes more or until asparagus is crisp-tender and potatoes are tender; drain. Transfer to a serving platter.

3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine salad dressing and lemon peel. Drizzle salad dressing mixture over potatoes and asparagus. Arrange prosciutto rolls beside vegetables. If desired, top with Parmesan cheese ribbons. Serve warm.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Kerala Prawn Soup Recipe

Recipe Ingredients:

1 tsp black peppercorns

  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/8 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 3 ground onions
  • 12 curry leaves
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp red chili paste
  • 750 ml fish stock
  • 750 gm prawns ? without shells
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 125 ml coconut milk


Roast peppercorns, mustard, curry leaves and fenugreek seeds. Grind to a fine powder. Heat oil. Add onions; curry leaves, garlic and ginger. Stir and fry for 3 minutes. Add a couple of tablespoons of water to prevent sticking. Add dry masala and red chili paste. Cook for a few minutes before adding the stock. Season and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add prawns and cook until tender. Stir in limejuice and coconut milk. Heat through and serve.

Recipe for Masala Tea


Recipe Ingredients:

  • 3 tsp Tea
  • 2/3 cup Milk
  • 1½ cups Water
  • 2″ piece of Ginger
  • 4 tsp Sugar (or to taste)
  • A pinch of Cardamom powder
  1. Boil one and a half cup of water in a saucepan.
  2. Add in the tea and boil for a minute.
  3. Add the ginger and cardamom powder. Let it boil.
  4. Now add milk and sugar and bring to boil.
  5. The mixture will rise and may spill over the top, so be aware and remove from the heat.
  6. Strain the tea into cups and serve.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Thiruvonam-Tenth and Main day of Onam

Thiruvonam - Day Ten

ThiruvonamThiruvonam Aashamsakal ! The enchanting state of Kerala reverberates with the chants of Onaashmsakal, "To everyone, Onam Wishes" as people exchange warm greetings of the occasion on the tenth and the most important day of the carnival of Onam. People believe that it is on Thiru Onam that the spirit of legendary King Mahabali visits the state of Kerala. Activities begin early in the morning. People clean their house, take early bath, wear new clothes and participate in special prayers organised in individual homes and then in local temples. Later a very special and the biggest of all days Pookalam is prepared to welcome Maveli. Clay mounds in the shape of pyramids representing Lord Vishnu and Mahabali are prepared and placed in front of the Pookalam. In the noon the grand feast of Onam called Onasadya is prepared. The strictly vegetarian meal consists of 11 - 13 mandatory dishes and is served on a banana leaf. The eldest member of the family presents gifts and new clothes to the family members. Various cultural events are organised all over the state to mark the day. Dances, games, shows and get together are the other highlights of the day. Patassu (fire crackers) are also burnt to celebrate the occasion. There are some rituals also marked for the eleventh and twelfth day called Avittom and Chatayam or Chathayam respectively. But the major celebrations get over on the tenth and the most important day of Thiruvonam.


KalanIt is a preparation of buttermilk with thick gravy. Sliced plantains known as nenthra-kaya and yams (chena) are boiled in water with salt and chillies. Buttermilk mixed with ground coconut pulp is poured in proper time and the preparation is flavored by the addition of mustard, fried in coconut oil.

Yam sliced into small pieces 100gm
Small raw banana 1no
Green chillies (slit the edge) 3nos
Mashed yogurt (without water) 1/2litre
Grated coconut 1/2quantity
Cumin seeds 1/2tsp
Pepper powder 1tsp
Water 1cup
Turmeric powder 1/4tsp
Salt to taste
Fried and powdered fenugreek 1/2tsp
Ghee 3tsp
Dried chilli (split into 2) 2nos
Mustard 1tsp
Ghee 1tsp
Curry leaves 1sprig

  1. Remove the skin of the plantain and slice it into small pieces.
  2. Grind the coconut and cumin to a smooth paste without adding water. Keep it aside.
  3. Dissolve the pepper powder in 1/2cup of water and strain it through a clean cloth. Cook the vegetables in this water. Add the turmeric powder and salt. Stir well. When the water dries, add 1tsp ghee. Pour the yogurt and mix well. Lower the flame. When the curd boils and becomes dry and thick, add the grinded coconut mixture and fenugreek powder into it. Stir well. Brings to a boil and remove from fire. Season with mustard, dried chillies and curry leaves.


Uthradam-ninth day of Onam

Uthradam - Day Nine

UthradamUtradam or Uthradam is the ninth and the penultimate day of the festival of Onam. There is jubilation all around as people prepare to welcome the spirit of King Mahabali. In some regions of Kerala festivities of Onam starts in a full fledged way from Utradam itself. It is a public holiday on that day. Some people also call Utradam as the first Onam and the next day Thiru Onam as the second Onam.

On the day of Utradam tenants and dependents of Nayar Tarawads (traditional large joint families sharing a common kitchen) bring produce of their farms or the product of their toil to the Karanavar (eldest member of the Tarawad). These gifts from the tenants to the Karanavar are called Onakazhcha. Karanavar greets these people warmly and treats them with a sumptuous meal on Thiru Onam. Village artisans also bring their handicrafts to the Karanavar and are graciously rewarded.

Houses are cleaned up on this day and people get charged up to participate in the events to take place on the following day. Pookalam is given a nice design with new and special flowers on this day.

Onam recipe-Kootukari


KoottucurryIn this curry, a miscellaneous variety of vegetables and some Bengal gram are used. The difference between this and 'Aviyal' is that no tamarind is added.

200 gm: Kadala Parippu (Chena dal)
Vegetables - 200 gm each: Chena, Banana (Pacha Nendrakaya), Mathan, Carrot ( all cut into small pieces)
Spices: Mulakupodi, Manjalpodi, Kurumulakupodi, Jeerakam, Kaduke (mustard seed), Vattal Mulaku & Karuveppila
1 no: Cocunut
2 tsp: Coconut Oil


  1. Cook Chena Dal and then add vegetables along with Manjalpodi, Mulakupodi and Kurumulakupodi as per requirement.
  2. Cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Grate and grind the coconut with jeera and add to the curry and cook well. Add salt.
  4. For tadka - put mustard seeds, vattal mulaku and Kariveppila in two spoon coconut oil and pour this into the curry. Delicious Kootukari is ready.
  5. Kootukari can be served with rice or roti /chappathi.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Pooradam-Day Eight of Onam Festival

Pooradam-Day Eight
Pooradam is the eighth day of the ten-day long carnival of Onam. On this day the devotees create clay idols called Ma. As the idol is created on the day of Pooradam, it is also called Poorada Uttigal. Each Ma is decorated with flowers.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Moolam-Seventh day of Onam

Moolam - Day Seven

MoolamMoolam is the seventh day of the festival of Onam which continues for ten days. With just two days left for the festival now, enthusiasm grips the state of Kerala. Bright colours of the festivities can be seen in commercial areas of the state where the shops are loaded with goods and people are jostling for a space. There is hustle and bustle everywhere as excited people do their last bit of shipping. What is even more apparent on the faces of millions of people of Kerala is the spirit of joy and happiness. People get the feel that the time to meet their Onathappan has just come. A year long wait is going to be over and there will be celebrations all around.

Pookalam is made in a new design with kondattam (gaiety) on this day with the most beautiful flowers. For Maveli is coming and there is mirth all over.

Thumbi Thullal

Thumbi ThullalThumbi Thullal is a fascinating all women dance and singing event performed in Kerala on the occasion of Onam. While men engage themselves in energetic sports, womenfolk perform Thumbi Thullal and have their share of fun.

Wearing their best sarees, stunning jewelery and fragrant gajras, a group of women sit in the formation of circle to play Thumbi Thullal. In the centre of the circle sits the main performer.

Lead singer initiates a song in her melodious voice by singing the first couplet which is taken up by other women. The sequence continues song after song with the lead singer initiating the couplet every time followed by a chorus from other women. Joyful clap dance also goes on in rhythm with the singing.

It is a colorful spectacle to watch women in their carefree mood. The event continues amidst jeers and laughter till the day comes to its end.

Onam special-Banana Halwa

Banana Halwa

Banana HalwaIngredients:

Nutmeg ground 1/2 tsp
Pure Ghee 1 tablespoon
Bananas (ripe, peeled and mashed) 3 (medium)
Sugar 1 cup

  1. Heat ghee in a heavy pan. Add bananas and cook over low heat, stirring to prevent the mixture from sticking. Cook for 10 minutes, or until bananas have browned and resemble soft toffee. Add more ghee as necessary.
  2. Add sugar and continue stirring until dissolved.
  3. Add nutmeg and cardamom; remove from heat.

Spread halwa into a deep, large plate. Allow it to cool and cut into squares.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Thriketa-Sixth day of Onam

Thriketa - Day Six

ThriketaTriketta or Thriketa is the sixth day of the carnival of Onam. A feeling of joy and jubilation can be felt amongst the people of Kerala at this time. Cultural programmes and social gatherings are organised by various cultural societies all over the state. People of all religions caste and creed participate in these events as the festival of Onam has come to be seen as a secular festival. Government of India too celebrates Onam as the National Festival of Kerala.

There are no set rituals marked for the day of Triketta. It marks the time for home coming for people staying away from their families for various reasons; Onam is the time for family get together and nobody likes to be away from family and dear ones. Joys of festivities doubles in the company of family members and close friends. On this happy note, Pookalam gets a more beautiful design and fresh flowers.

Onam recipe-Erissery With Yam


ErisseryIt is made of raw plantains and Yams sliced and boiled in water with salt and chillies or pepper added. The pulp of the coconut is ground with a little cumin seed added to it. When the whole thing is properly boiled, a few mustard seeds along with scraped coconut pulp fried in coconut oil, is added in to it to give it flavour. Erissery is also made with pumpkin and red oriental beans, the recipe is given below.

Erissery With Yam


Yam cut into small pieces 60gms
Big raw banana 1 no
Pepper powder 1tsp
Turmeric powder 1/4tsp
Water 1cup
Salt to taste
Grated coconut 1/2coconut
Cumin seeds a pinch
Ghee 10gm
Coconut oil 1tbs
Mustard seeds 1/4tsp

  1. Split the banana lengthwise into 3 pieces. Do not peel the skin. Cut it into small pieces.
  2. Boil yam and banana with pepper powder, turmeric powder and salt in 1 cup of water. Grind one fourth quantity of grated coconut and cumin seeds together and add to it.
  3. Grind the remaining coconut and saute in a low flame till brown in colour. Keep it aside.
  4. Season mustard seeds in ghee. Add the coconut oil, seasoned mustard seeds and the sauted coconut to the vegetable mixture. Mix well.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Anizham - fifth day of Onam

Anizham - Day Five

AnizhamAnizham is the fifth day of Onam celebrations. High point of the day is the grand Snake Boat Race event called Vallamkali, which takes place on the fifth day of the Onam. The hugely popular competition happens on the banks of the river Pamba at Aranmulla. A multitude of domestic and international tourists come to witness the colourful spectacle of the race.

A large number of long snake like boats called chundan vallams participate in Vallamkali. Each picturesquely decorated boat is oared by hundreds of oarsmen dressed in the traditional dhoti and turban. Boats are oared on the rhythm of vanchipattu or boat songs. Vallamkali is essentially a team event as a single mistake by a oarsman can lead to overturning of the boat.

On the home front, more flowers are added to the Pookalam laid in the front courtyard of the house. Women become extremely busy making preparations for Thiru Onam and a general atmosphere of excitement prevail at this time in Kerala.

Onam recipes-Lady's Finger Kichadi

Lady's Finger Kichadi

Lady's finger pieces 3 1/2cup
Thick Curd from 1/2 litre milk 2cups
Green chillies 2
Dry Red chillies 3
Mustard 1dsp
Grated coconut 1/2cup
Curry leaves 2 springs
Oil 2 tsp
Salt to taste


  1. Slice the ladies finger in small round pieces.
  2. Fry lady's finger in oil till crisp. Ground coarsely grated coconut, green chillies and mustard. Season mustard, red chilli and curry leaves in 2 tsp oil. Lower the flame add curd and the ground ingredients. Keep stirring. Add fried ladies finger and salt. Remove from fire when it boils.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Visakam -forth day of Onam

Visakam - Day Four
VisakamVishagam or Visakam is the fourth day of the Onam festivities. As the number of days left for the big days are very few now, excitement becomes palpable amongst the people of Kerala. Brisk activities in the market and households can be witnessed on the day of Visakam. Women who have to prepare the elaborate meal of Onasadya on Thiruvonam, gets engaged in the prior preparations on Visakam. Making of various types of pickles and pappadams (papad) besides various other things begins now. Girls engage themselves in making new designs for Pookalam with flowers of different colours and shapes. It is an endearing sight to watch women dressed in their traditional attire working on the Pookalam. They sing and make merry as and at the same time give shape to their creativity. Pookalam designing competitions are also organised at various places. These are extremely popular in Kerala and witness a participation of large number of designers and onlookers.

Athapoovu Competetions
An integral tradition of Onam, Pookalam has come up as an art form. Competitions for decorating Pookalams are organised all over the state. Creativity of the designers is unleashed through such competitions as they come up with innovative designs each year

Onam recipes-Pineapple Pachhady

Pineapple Pachhady

Pineapple PachhadyIngredients:

Ripe pineapple cut into 2cups
1/2" square pieces

Turmeric powder 1/2tsp

Salt to taste

Grated coconut 1 cup

Dried red chilli 1

Coconut oil 2dsp

Mustard seeds 1/2tsp

Dried red chillies 3 (cut into 6 pieces)

Curry leaves 1sprig

Crushed mustard 1tsp

  1. Boil pineapple, with turmeric and salt in 1/2cup water. Grind coconut with dried chilli to a fine paste.
  2. Heat the oil and season with mustard seeds. Saute the coconut paste and add the curry leaves and dried red chillies. When it is done, add the boiled pineapple pieces. The gravy should be thick and the cover the pineapple pieces. Add the crushed mustard just before removing the pachhady from fire.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Chodhi-Third day of onam

Chodhi - Day Three

Third day of the ten-day-long carnival of Onam is called Chothi or Chodi. The day is marked by buzz and lot of activities. Frenzied shopping can be witnessed in the market place all over the state as everybody buys new clothes and accompanying accessories for the grand festival of Onam. Gifts are also procured for everyone in the house including the servants. Some shopping is also done for closed relatives. With the increasing hype for the festival, thanks to the media, shopkeepers too come up with innovative incentives to lure the customers who are in the mood to spend. These days even electronic good keepers offer attractive discounts to cash in on the bullish mood of the festivities.

Well, there are no set rituals for Chothi. Specific flowers are added to Pookalam on this day too. It may be noted that different types of flowers are added to Pookalam on each day as each flower is devoted to a particular deity. As a result Pookalam increases in diameter on this day and gets a refreshing new design.


Pulikali / Kaduvakali Pulikali is a colorful recreational folk art from the state of Kerala. It is performed by trained artists to entertain people on the occasion of Onam.

Pulikali, also known as Kaduvaakali, is a 200 year old art, carefully preserved by the artists of the state. Literal meaning of Pulikali is the 'play of the tigers' hence the performance revolve around the theme of tiger hunting. The folk art is mainly practiced in Thrissur (Trichur) and Palghat districts of Kerala. Best place to watch the show is Swaraj Ground at Thrissur on the fourth day of Onam, where Pulikali troupes from all over the district assemble to display their skills.

The Appearance

Striking feature of this folk art is the colorful appearance of the performers. To get the semblance of a tiger artists paint themselves in bright yellow with patterns of black and red. A tiger mask on the face completes the get up.

It is a painstaking job and artists spend a whole night prior to the performance day on their make-up. Patience of artists must be appreciated, as most paints contain toxic chemicals which create a burning sensation when applied on newly shaved bodies.

The Play
It is a wonderful sight to see humans in the guise of tigers roaming in the streets. Children, specifically take great delight in their performance as the entertainers dance, pounce and walk like a tiger. Scenes of tiger hunting goats and tiger being hunted by a human beings are also beautifully depicted by them. Beat for the dance movement is provided by percussion instruments like 'udukku' and 'thakil'.

Onam Recipes-Theeyal




Baby onions1 Cup

Curry leaves 5 no

Mustard seeds 1/2 teaspoon

Tamarind paste 2 tablespoons

Sugar 1/2 teaspoon

Asafoetida 1 Pinch

Grated coconut 1/2 c up

Red chillies 7 no

Coriander seeds 1 tablespoon

Cumin seeds 1/4 teaspoon

Black peppercorns7

Turmeric powder 1/4 teaspoon

Oil 3 tablespoons



Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a small pan and saute coconut till it is light brown. Add 5 red chillies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns and fry till it emits an aroma. Add the turmeric powder. Stir-fry for 2-3 seconds. Keep aside to cool. Grind into a coarse powder

Heat 2 tbsp. oil and add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and remaining red chillies. When the seeds start spluttering, add asafoetida and onions. Saute for 5 minutes on a medium flame. Add the ground masala powder and cook for a few seconds. Add water, tamarind extract, salt and sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5-7 minutes.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Chithira - second day of onam

Chithira - Day Two Chithira

Today Chithira-second day of onamChithira is the second day of celebrations in the ten-day-long Onam festivities. There are not any marked rituals for the day but people offer their prayers to evoke divine blessings.

For girls the importance of the day lies in the fact they will add new flowers to Pookalam which they started on the day of Atham. So they have to unleash their creativity and think of the most innovative and creative design. Boys of the house will get the job of arranging flowers for the girls. After all everybody wishes to invite Lord Maveli in their own house by making the best Pookalam in the neighbourhood.

Planning and intense discussions for the big day of Onam begins from this day. Each event is discussed in detail so that nothing remain undone or incomplete. A long shopping list is prepared and children get the opportunity of putting in their long pending demands in the elaborate list. A time for wish fulfillment for everyone!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Atham - Day One Of Onam

Atham - Day One
Atham is the first day of festivities in the ten-day-long Onam carnival. The day of Atham comes ten days before the asterism Onam or Thiru Onam hence Atham is regarded holy and auspicious by the traditional people of Kerala.

To complete the rituals of Atham people take early bath and offer prayers in the local temple. There is also a set breakfast for Atham consisting of steamed bananas and fried pappadam (pappad). This breakfast remains the same till the tenth and the last day of Thiru Onam. A swing decked with flowers is also slung from a high branch and youngsters take great delight in swinging and singing Oonjal (swing) songs.

Major highlight of Atham is that people start making pookalam from this day. Pookalam, also called Athapoo, is an intricate floral mat laid in the front courtyard by maidens of the house. This is done to welcome the holy spirit of legendary King Mahabali whose spirit is said to visit Kerala at the time of Onam. In subsequent days more flowers and new designs are added to this pookalam. Selection of flower is also an important matter as a particular flower is selected for each day for a specific deity. Great deal of thought and creativity is employed in the making of Pookalam as girls vie with each other for the best design.


A grand procession called is also carriedAthachamyam
on the day of Atham to mark the beginning of the grand carnival of Onam. The procession is carried out to commemorate the royal custom of the erstwhile state of Kochi when it was customary for the King to travel with his entire entourage to the Thripunithura Fort. Even in the absence of King today, the custom still retains its majestic charm. Elephant processions, folk art presentations, music and dancing make Athachamyam a spectacular event. The procession of Athachamyam is of marked importance at Thripunithura, Kochi.

From the day of Atham an atmosphere of joy and jubilations envelops the very air of Kerala as people get engaged in one activity or the other. Everybody wishes to celebrate Onam in best possible manner.

Onam recipes Tomato Rasam

Tomato Rasam

Tomato RasamIngredients:

Red Gram Dal 3-4 tbs
Tomatoes (finely chopped) 4 large
Garlic paste 1/2 tsp
Ginger (finely chopped) 1-inch piece
Water 21/2 cups
Garlic grated 1tsp
Green chilies finely chopped 1 or 2
Coriander leaves finely chopped
Salt to taste
Chili or pepper powder to taste
Turmeric powder 1/2tsp
Mustard seeds 1tsp
Cumin seeds 1tsp
Whole dried red chili (halved) 1-2
Asafetida a pinch
Curry leaves few
Oil 2tbsp

  1. Pick, wash and pressure cook the dal and keep side.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, dried chili and asafetida. When mustard seeds start to splutter add garlic, ginger, tomatoes and green chilies. Add salt, chili & turmeric powder and a cup of water. Simmer for 5-6 minutes and add the cooked dal and 11/2 cup of water and bring to boil.

Serve hot garnished with coriander leaves.