Category Archives: My Kerala

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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 .

December

January

January

February

On Makravilakku

Since childhood I have heard ‘Makaravilakku’  is the Adivasi (tribals) conducting their Pooja . My earliest memories of Makaravilakku is listening to the live radio commentary while at my Father’s place in Harippad . I can feel the kitchen bench where I had sat with my father and I can smell my Grand mother’s curry in the air .

As a child I had thought of the place or “Ponnambalamedu ”  as a calm dwelling place of the tribals whose grand fathers might have known Ayyappan in person . But surely as there are no tribals there now somebody else is doing it now . Even though we would like to believe it to be the tribals .

It is true that now with LIve telecast and all it has been commercialized . ( We even got a call from a channel to place an ad for the 45 minutes for a huge amount . )

I have also heard that the ‘ Makara Nakshatram ‘ or the star can be seen from the near by districts during this time of the year . Sirius is the brightest star in the sky . ( something I learned while at 6th or 7th std along with my friend who was a space enthusiast )

I am not an authority . I am just a common Hindu . The point is information is available if you look for it and if you want to know the truth and if you don’t fall for the gimmicks and superstition .

People should have the wisdom to understand your beliefs and religion rationally and to respect others’ .

Anyway I believe and pray to the Supreme power which dwells inside me and is present every where . I would be gratified with praying at the temple any day . Makara Sankranti is just a change in the sun’s path . And was important when we were predominantly a agricultural society.

If at all this happens on its own ( which by now I know for sure it is not ) I would be interested to know the science and phenomenon behind it . Just like I am fascinated by the Garuda ( eagle ) which accompanies the ‘thiruvabharanam’ every year and then goes away. I am keeping my eyes and ears open . If anybody know the secret please do share.

I agree that it should be disclosed in public. Actually , the first thing that I said after knowing about the dreadful tragedy was that ‘ it is high time they make it public what goes on there ‘ . But it is also important that people accept it is endorsed for common good and not to scandalise a religion or belief.

People should accept the ritual as a part of History of Kerala . ‘That some tribals who lived there used to conduct a pooja at the time of Makara Sankranti and it could be seen from Sabarimala.’

At this point I can’t help remembering the rush and stampede and fight that occurs in front of the shrines and temples or public functions or queues where no magic is involved and the only point is ‘to be the first’ . I think it all comes down to self discipline and that includes me.

May the bereaved families find the strength to survive and peace in life . Nothing would change what they have lost .