Category Archives: My Kerala

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Wagamon , You are Beautiful

Wagamon is a very beautiful place with rows of meadows and small hills arranged one after other in perfect shapes and sizes that we may think they have been painted into the nature .

As a child paintings on sceneries with small hills , meadows , flowing stream  and rising sun were my typical creations . What came to my mind first on seeing the meadows and hills of Wagamon were the book binds I used to collect as a student.  After all people did not make them out of the blue . Nature is beautiful beyond our wildest imaginations .

When my cousin hurried to Wagamon to take photo stills for their wedding album I thought they are just blowing it out of proportion . Never thought there would be such a serene and relaxing place with in the arm reach of bustling Kochi . That explains in itself how little we all know about Kerala even as Keralaites and how much we take this beautiful place for granted . Or may be that is just me 🙂

On our way back kids were counting the Kerala districts we have visited and those we haven’t. It seems we haven’t been to Wayanadu . Have drove down the legendary ‘Thamarasserry Chorum ‘ on our way back from Ooty . But kids were then too tired to notice anything.

The meadows of Wagamon are vast and only poetic words can bring out their true beauty . A velvety carpet of emerald green stretching as far as your eyes can see . I felt they resemble the meadows of Ooty.

The hills are exactly what we call ‘motta kunnu’ in Malayalam . They are so inviting that we cannot but climb every one of them .Safe for kids to play . No shops in eyesight to nag their parents 😉

The pine forests . I was reminded of our college trip to Kodai .

In short Wagamon seemed to me a perfect combination of an unexploited Ooty and non- misty Kodaikkanal. I did miss shopping though 😛

An excellent recipe for Chicken Biriyani

I pray most earnestly when the family is huddled around with hungry – eager- hopeful faces and plates in their hand while I try my luck with some new dish .

‘Chicken Biriyani ‘ is one of those dishes which always leaves me depressed for all the effort taken. But today I came across this easy recipe in Paachakam and it came out very well .

I am posting the recipe here . All credit goes to the original recipe .


Ingredients for Chicken Biryani – Kozhikode Chicken Biriyani Recipe
For marinade of Chicken Biryani:
Chicken – 1/2 kg
Yogurt/Curd – 1/2 cup
Coriander leaves – 25 gm
Mint leaves(Pudhina) – 25 gm
Curry leaves – 10 gm
Cumin seeds(Jeerakam) – 1/2 tsp
Coriander seed powder – 1 tsp
Aniseed(Perinjeerakam) powder – 1/2 tsp
Green chillies(chopped) – 25 gm
Garlic – 20 gm
Ginger(chopped) – 2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Lime juice – 1 tsp
Poppy seeds(Khashakhasha) paste – 1 tspFor rice:
Clarified butter – 1 tbsp
Cinnamon(Karugapatta) – 5 – 6 pieces
Bay leaf(Vazhana/karuga ela) – 1 no
Cardamom(Elakka) seeds – 4 – 5 nos
Curry leaves – 4 – 5 nos
Cloves(Grambu) – 4 – 5 nos
Onion(chopped) – 1 no
Broken rice – 250 gm
Water – 1/2 litreFor Biryani masala:
Clarified butter – 2 tbsp
Cinnamon(Karugapatta) – 5-6 pieces
Bay leaf(Vazhana/Karuga ela) – 1 no
Cloves(Grambu) – 4-5 nos
Cardamom(Elakka)seeds – 4-5 nos
Nutmeg(Jathikka) – 1 no
Onions – 100 gm
Tomato(medium) – 1 no
(cut into 4 pieces)For garnishing:
Boiled egg – 1 no
Cashews & Raisins(Onakka munthiri) – roasted in ghee

Preparation Method of Chicken Biryani – Kozhikode Chicken Biriyani Recipe

1)Mix together yogurt, coriander leaves, mint leaves, curry leaves, cumin seeds, coriander seed powder, aniseed powder, green chillies, garlic, ginger, turmeric powder, lime juice and poppy seed paste and marinate the chicken in it. Keep aside for ½ an hour.

2)Heat clarified butter or ghee in a pan.

3)Add cinnamon, bay leaf, cardamom seeds, curry leaves and cloves.

4)Add onions and saute, till they turn translucent.

5)Add washed and cleaned rice.

6)Cook, till rice turns translucent.

7)Add water and allow it to boil.

8)When the water comes to a boil, lower the flame and cover the pan.

9)Cook on low flame for at least 15 minutes, after which the rice would be done.

10)Heat clarified butter or ghee in a pan.

11)Add cinnamon, bay leaf, cardamom seeds, nutmeg and cloves.

12)Add onions and sauté, till brown.

13)Add tomatoes and saute`.

14)Add marinated chicken.

15)Cover the pan and cook for at least 5 minutes on a medium flame.

16)Remove the cover and cook on low flame for another 10 minutes to allow gravy to thicken.

17)Layer the serving bowl with alternating layers of rice and the chicken masala.

18)Garnish the top with a boiled egg cut in four pieces, roasted cashews and raisins.

:- Malabar Chicken Biryani is ready.

:- Enjoy the chicken biryani.

:- Serve chicken biryani with raita and papad.

Simply follow the recipe . I did not have coriander , mint leaves and nut meg powder .

Also I added 1/2 tsp perinjeerakam (aniseed / saumph ) and 2 nos Thakkolam (star anise ) for the biriyani masala. (  About 3-4 small green chillies and 8-10 garlic cloves for marinating . Two onions for masala .

After layering it microwaved for 5 minutes. Then mixed it lightly .

Added fried onion rings also for garnishing .

Try it out .                                                                                                                                                                                                         

‘Balakarunyam – 2011’ Donate an Onakkodi to a child

Appeal for support

More than dreaming and chanting about the beautiful days of Maveli, let’s all take a small step towards attaining it !

Onam is here at our door steps and every soul in Kerala is getting ready to welcome it in style.All around us we can see only Discount boards , Mega sales and Exchange offers which make us feel we need everything in those ads to be content while partaking our ‘Onam Sadhya’. All we can think about are the goodies that will fill our houses, the new dresses we will buy, the trips we are going to make and the parties we will attend on behalf of Onam.

But spare a moment to think of those desolate children who neither have a home or parent. No Onam – Sadhya or any happiness to look forward to. Think of the smile that will fill their faces to know someone is out there to hand them an ‘Onakkodi ‘even when fate has abandoned them.

Image courtesy : Google

If goodhearted people like You can lend us a helping hand these children will not have to spend their Onam in gloominess. Each of them will have an ‘Onakkodi ‘like any other child in Kerala and they will also have a grand ‘Onam Sadhya’ .

Bala Karunyam’  is an humble endeavor with a vision to make it possible for the young inmates of Bala – Balika Ashrams across Kerala to celebrate Onam just like any other child in a family . Viswa Hindu Parishad- Sewa has been conducting Onam Celabrations since 2004 co-coordinating all the Bala-Balika Ashrams in Kerala. 

Their motto is ” A home away from home ” . The vision is to provide destitute children belonging to under privileged section of the Society with Food, Clothing , Shelter , Education, Healthcare and Everything needed and thus give every child an opportunity to soar high into the sky .

Website : www.balasramam.org  

To Donate an Onam Sadhya or an Onakkodi to a child and to spread the smile of love :   

Donate ‘Onam Sadhya’ for a child – Rs 75
Donate ‘Onakkodi’ for a child – Rs 500

Contact : Sree Poornathrayeesha Balasramam ,
Balasramam Road,Near Palace High School, Kottakkakom,
Tripunithura., Kochi (Cochin), India
Phone : 0484-2775866, 9447658178 , Email : balakarunyam2011@yahoo.co.in

Beware of Fraud Parcels and Couriers

We had registered a company last week . On Thursday we received a message from the post office about a VPP courier awaiting us in the Company’s address . It was given at the office and staff signed it  . It turned out to be a parcel of books from Mega Book Co, Delhi .

We do get parcels from book companies and that too also from Delhi and other North Indian states but we hadn’t started using the Company name and address yet . It was registered only a couple of days ago .

Hubby got suspicious and asked me to check the net for Mega Book Co’s phone number . He wanted to clarify it with them before sending some one to collect the parcel.

Instead of the phone number I stumbled upon these links and lo.

It is a Mega fraud friends . Check this site for reports from other people .

Indian Consumer Complaints Forum .

( Please do check it . You will be shocked to see their ‘modus operandi’ and the long list of people who got cheated and thier comments .)

Be careful about accepting any parcel or courier .

Pavakkulathammakku Pongala 2011

I dedicate this post at those beautiful lotus-petal- like feet of that great power,  just like I have laid my humble life at her disposition . It is impossible to separate my life from Pavakkulam temple . My every breath and every step belongs to Lord Shiva and Parvathi who resides there .

Pongala is being conducted at Pavakkulam temple since 2002 . The ‘Jyothi’ taken from Attukal was merged with the ever lit lamp (kedaavilakku ) in front of Devi (Pavakkulathamma ).

I was fortunate enough to participate in all of them except one or two . I remember the first few years when my father and hubby would go early in the morning like 3-4 am to get tickets for me and mother to put pongala inside the temple premises .

Taking part in Pongala is an unique experience . The ‘ Noyambu ‘ which is usually observed at least two days before or even more disciplines your mind and body. The preparations for the ceremony is in itself a celebration . And the morning of Pongala is filled with crowds of  women beautifully clad in ‘ settu mundu ‘ . The atmosphere resounds with prayers and chants .

Once the lamp is lighted it is all about concentration and your mind is directed towards only one thing ‘ Praseeda Praseeda Parameswari ! ‘  It is a meditation in its own way . When you see the white foam rising to the tip of the pot your heart gets filled with boundless joy . You then see the prosperity and happiness showered  upon your family .  It feels as though Devi has come to bless you. You feel her just beside you .

Simharoodam trinethraam kara thala vilasath,
Sankha chakrabhi ramyam,
Bhakthabeeshta pradathreem ripu madana kareem,
Sarva lokaika vandhyam,
Nana alankara yuktham sasi yutha makutam,
Syamalangeem krusangeem,
Durgam devim prapadhye saranamaha asesha apath unmoolanya.


Over the years ‘Pongala at Pavakkulam ‘  has grown in leaps and bounds .  And so has the belief. Now it is not allowed inside the temple ground and the roads near will be booked even days before. People come from far off places to take part in this holy ceremony.

This year for the first time it is being conducted in the month of April ( Medam )  along with the festival for 10 days ( From April 8 to April 18 ) . Every day of the festival would be  graced with brainstorming – talks where eminent personalities come to share their views on various Hindu ideologies. I am really looking forward to attend all of them .

Then there are all those splendid programmes where a genuine effort has been taken to bring forth the various temple art forms like Theyyam and Chakkiar Koothu , Bharatha natyam , Kuchipudi, Devotional Ballette and more.

Let Jagadamba bless all and make this grand function a great success !

“Amme Narayana Devi Narayana

Lakshmi Narayana Bhadre Narayana “

pongala

My sweet mother with her friend at Pongala – All joyful that they could bunk office and complete pongala 😀

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A few words about Pongala :

The offering of Pongala is a special temple practice prevalent in the southern part of Kerala and some parts of Tamilnadu . The ceremony is exclusively confined to women folk and includes instant cooking of rice with jaggery and coconut (Nivedyam) in the temple premises . Around  9.30 am the Priest  lights the hearth  in  front of  the  temple amidst prayers and chanting of sacred Mantras. This is then passed  on from one woman to  the  other who light their hearth  and prepare “Neivedyam”. At about 12 pm on that day,  Priests come out of the temple carrying  holy water and sprinkles it one each and every Ponakala pot the women has prepared .This marks the finale of the  Ponkala  and  the devotees  then go to the temple and partake in the huge feast ( Prasadamoottu ) conducted here . They then return home with happiness  and satisfaction in their  mind , but only  after making  an appeal  to the Goddess for  Her permission and blessing to participate in next year’s Pongala.

Thursday Challenge : trees

Have been tracking this Banyan tree for a while .

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