Vellayappam + Beef Masala

I was quite impressed by one mail i got recently. It was about the common breakfast items in kerala. Wow, what a picture, man.. I spent more than 5 minutes seeing the various pictures like idly_+sambhar, dosha+chutney, put+kadala and then i realised i am having these items regualrly . So this is an attempt to recreate all those breakfast items 

Shown here is Vellayappam and Beef Masala 

Chicken Fried Rice

An attempt after seeing numerous fried rice versions in the blog. Fortunately, it didnt turned out bad, but i am not satisfied because of its looks. I dint fry the rice may be thats the reason..The taste was ok and it went well the butter chicken too.

Chicken Biriyani

This is an attempt inspired from so many blogs. While wandering through the blog world, we cannot resist the temptation to have a plate of Biriyani, whatever variety: chicken ,fish, beef, prawn, vegetable..  mouth watering pictures and detailed explanations which make a first grade cookie also an expert biriyani maker. So how can i resist :)

But i have to say my biriyani attempts never started day before yesterday , it started soon after my marriage itself, much before i entered the blogging world. Infact all Keralites have some deep affection to the term biriyani, Kozhikodan, Malabar,or at least a Kottayam version, also the smell of biriyani packets in trains :)  I'm not an exception.
Biriyani's were much familiar in Muslim marriages, Whenever an invitation came from any Muslim friends the first delight was the food--definitely Biriyani.

 My parents also had given opportunities to celebrate our dining table with the smell of caramelised onions, cashenut, chicken ..mmm ...It was very rare, for our birthday's or for their wedding anniversaries, that too i think after we entered the college days ,may be after seeing our enthusiasm or "akrantham" my mother was forced to experiment those..Till then biriyani was a favorite - once in a while from Indian coffee house :) 

My mother was  is a good cook, so she succeeded from the first attempt, I could now see in front of my eyes how we sisters got enlightened when we knew that today lunch special is biriyani , and from nowhere we showed much interest in cleaning, peeling and all accessory parts. It was a fun event with full family in the kitchen under the supervision of my father ...yeah , though amma was supposed to be the main cook, for all these events pappa lead the team, amma will ask each & every thing to him as if she is a new bie, just to get an affirmation that everything is alright.. my duty always was to open the chicken masala cover and read aloud the instructions. Appeared quite funny , but every time i used to cut the new Chicken masala cover and read the instructions and amma listens to it as if she is hearing that for the first time.The processes were always step by step , someone cleaning the chicken, then another peeling and cutting onions. My father is a big fan of small onions so we had to shed lots of tears :) Till the mixing part everyone will be in the kitchen , but i never went deeper to the processes of layering or even the cooking of rice..After the chicken section, we all disappeared from the kitchen and sank to the cushions infront of TV with some cashewnuts and raisins stolen. Pappa & Amma did the layering and sealing in the kitchen "aduppu" and after sealing they kept some fire pieces on top too.. From then the waiting section starts .. The gone enthusiasms reach its maximum when clock struck 1 , all the three jump to dining table where my most fonder memories of biriyani happens. Amma will bring the accessories like salad, pickle, caramelized onions and pappa opens the vessel which makes all of us and neighbors drooling. Pappa was the serving man , he cuts the layered rice as if cutting a cake and very beautifully arranges it in the plate as if we get from Indian coffee house ..a neatly arranged small mountain with an egg hiding inside somewhere .. Every time biriyanis have this egg hidden ..It was really fun to recreate the childish feelings to dig out the hidden treasure. We had to wait till he finishes the job for all 5 plates , then amma again does some final make up sprinkling the onions , raisins , pickles and salad and soon the attack  !!!!!!!!!!! Now i miss a camera or any blog events those days , at least I could capture those fine moments and go back to those good days ! All these memories  make me nostalgic and at the same time a small guilt occurs- whether i am able to recreate these feelings to my daughter, don't know ...have to wait until she starts blogging ..hihihi 

After marriage , means after we jump into the cooking world alone , i never got confidence to try a biriyani alone. Further  hubby dear was not at all interested in Biriyani, we were sharing accommodation with one Telugu couples for a short span and my friend always make some specials for Friday's.She was an excellent cook and  did very elegant presentations as well. She is a hotel management student , so i didn't feel the jealousy..hmm they are supposed to do all these, no..if i were also..............My husband after seeing her daily biriyani's got fed up and reluctant to those as well..Later when we shifted to our flat and after the busy schedules of office and mom job, someday i started making biriyani's ..It was a flop initially ..may be seeing my attempts hubby dear always ate them trying hard not to show his true feelings in face :) But he hated biriyanis . 

My true interests for cooking originated only when my daughter starts her schooling, till then cooking was only to satisfy the hunger. I had no real interest in cooking, always it was a tedious job - a never ending- no variety-no excuse-no fun job,someone forcefully dedicated for women. Hubby never wanted any experiments, will be happy if i serve the kerala motta rice and fish curry  ..24/7 ..his only demand was whatever we eat should be neatly prepared and should be a little upper than his "Rejected marks" , Most of the time i stood a little upper than Rejected and in some cases utter flops..But when my little princess grew , i realized her taste buds too are growing..The old habits of spitting, picking up, hiding when dinner announce etc slowly started disappearing and she became a critic of my dishes! What else do i need than a sweet kiss when i serve some appam+egg , rice+sambhar etc..I still remember my feelings when  i saw the  three year kiddie , sitting like a grandmother, enjoying the tumbler of rasam with the small spoon and commenting.."Amme ollam , ollam nalla ..nalla..", means mom this is very good. I realized this critics award is the last one i need to get and started aiming that..I think i used internet and find out this wonderful cooking blogs only to make my princess (of course the king too ;) ) happy. I wandered crazily over the blogs and initially surprised seeing how these ladies present all these yummy dishes and later wondering, "Am i the only one with no skills "..

Annitta's Fish Biriyani put a flame in my mind , till then for me biriyani is always chicken biriyani and for the first time in life, i looked computer and started cooking ..the end result was surprisingly convincing ..I was hearing first time to saute after adding curd, don't know due to that or what..everything turned very well..biriyani hating Hubby had it with a very pleasant face, assuring me that this is much above "Rejected" , and the critic ...supplied endless kisses:) From then my experiments with Biriyani  keeps on growing...........Later i served the same fish biriyani to a guest and i saw him commenting whole heartedly " this was perfect, all spices apt, taste was very nice" ..we could understand from the way people comment how much they mean it,right ? and i understood he really meant them..The cook in me raced proudly without limits.Now whatever biriyani you require just tell me-------> i will search the blogs to find it from Mishmash, Sig or whoever and here comes the dish hot and yummy :) 

The culprits.. Biriyani hating Man turned a  reasonable biriyani lover and now the 5 year princess drooling on the term Biriyani (like her mother)..Friday's once or twice in a month will be filled with caramelized onion smells and a full filling lunch/dinner to all the three...

I can't stop without mentioning the Inspirations for this : 
Thanking all these wonderful ladies Annitta  , Sig , Mishmash and the list continues ..............

Starting with a satisfying lunch..

What to Start.. How to Start ..these were the questions troubling me last 2,3 days soon after i got the courage to publish a food blog. Though i am a regular vistor of all these georgeous food blogs around this world, i never thought of starting my own.But now i cannot resist the temptation, i want to do something, i wont reach anywhere near to all these magnificant ladies but still i can just track down ..may be my daughter will find this useful in a later stage..huh who knows :)  the big question is how long i will stick to this !! With a 'wonderful' history of non ending hobbies, i suspect this new interest will soon diminish , anyway lets see..
            I was thinking which dish should i start with, Thought of starting with a Vilakku (Lamp) and a sweet dish, the way we start all things with this pooja ...hmm no ..i dont want to make dishes for the sake of blogging, let me start with something wont surprise my family members, otherwise they will start asking when did you prepare this ?hmm...
           When thinking about food and cooking , definitely the first one to remember is my Amma.. Dont know how she taught us cooking, dont remeber an instance where she actually taught us something,by giving a systematic lesson on any dish, but things were smooth and at the time of marriage we all were able to manage something in the kitchen. Also now i always wonder how she handled everything with three hungry kids and a perfectionist husband.I cannot recall a single instance where she lament about what to cook for today, how to cook or even the time for doing all these things before 9:30 AM so she can go to school. We always had one or other very healthy food for breakfast, packed lunch boxes (including the big tumbler for pappa) and in the evenings too we had some evening snack followed by dinner..Her school was very near so by the time we come home, evening tea and snack will be ready in the table..We never bothered about all these things at that time, in fact she too never asked for any of our company in the morning time , sometimes in the evenings we did some cleaning works and chapathi making etc..but now with so many time saving machines and a single 5 year old, I lament daily twice or thrice, making menu plans, fuming brain on what to cook, searching blogs to see how to cook ,what else ..phew...... Hats off to Mom ..Moms are always like this( will my daughter get any feelings like me..hmmmmm) ..
So the first dish to open should be my moms favorite..When I remember her favorites always the first thing is Kappa & Meen (Tapioca & Fish), for her birthdays, wedding anniversaries or any other occasion we celebrate for her the smell of tapioca & fish spread in our house. At the time of planning itself pappa will tell with a smile..what else "korachu kappem varalu thalayum ", and the next day we all have the smooth tapioca with some good fish curry. After giving everyone good center pieces Amma will sit in the table with the fish head and everyone starts teasing her..everytime the head was for amma and she eats it  satisfactorily.. We got good back water fishes those times, the fresh jumping fishes.. mmmm ..yummy ..

Though we all loved this Nadan keralite dish very much, it was not served for any of our guests. It was always considered as a local food, not glamourous for guests, it was always a favorite for our private celebrations, never for any distinguished guests like uncles/aunts..Always guest tables were decorated with chicken, beef, or fish curry but not tapioca ..But things changed with the entry of first son-in-law, he was served the hi-fi dishes first but later my sister told amma secretly that he is so simple, will be satisfied with kappa-meen.. it was hard to change our regular guest dishes, but seeing his smiles and facial expressions on the yellow color of tapioca, we all sighed relief.  Then comes the second son-in-law , ya none other than my sweet heart :). Our relief sigh became a surprise sigh because he loved only tapioca & fish , I was confused to find Tapioca as the main dish in his surroundings, wherever we go everywhere tapioca followed. Later i followed the same dialogues my sister told amma and she happily started introducing Tapoioca & fish to the main stream. I started to hate seeing the yellow color always in all the celebrations and always wondered what these guys find in this.
Later after coming to Kuwait i started missing Tapioca again and then only i understood the impact of NRI feelings in this local dish ..yeah all gulf NRI's ( dont know much about other NRI's) miss Kerala badly, the rains, the greenery, the rivers, the backwaters, the fish and of course Tapoioca ..So amma's two son-in-laws were struck with those feelings and later daughters also followed the same.Now whenever we go for vacation, the good old yellow color cordially invites us in the table and happily all greedy NRI's jump into that. Now we buy frozen tapoioca sometimes here and try to recreate the same smell but the good old memories smell much more while eating :)

What else should i select to start my blog, a loving gift to my Amma and my hubby dear ..

          A filling lunch for us

My New Journey

At last i started my own blog. I'm not a new bie to blogging..but i wanted a place where i can scribble my little thoughts and feelings . Blogging is my favorite hobby for the last 1 year, huh ..i never thought i can stick to any hobby in my life..Always there were hobbies some age it was reading, then gardening, then stamp collection which turned to collecting pictures of aiswarya rai :) then cooking(lasted only 1 week ) then ..then..then.. The list is endless with the final result as nothing. Somehow i was pushed into blog world last year.. even when my friends had blogs i was not fascinated by this, infact i hated blogging.. but later in bore office times i was taken to the blogs of some wonderful guys and gals..Slowly but steadily and now addictively , i entered the blog world.