Kerala Prawn Ulathiyath, Slightly Crafted by a Mallu.

Here’s the tasty prawn dish, altered slightly from a recipe available on web, to make it truly mallu and immensely tastier.

Ingredients
1 kg of Prawns whole prawns, shell removed and cleaned and vein removed.
1 1/2 tablespoons each of Crushed Ginger & garlic

1 tbsp of chilli powder.

1 tsp of Turmeric powder.
1/2 tsp Coriander powder.
1/2 – 1 tbsp Garam masala (optional, add more if you need spicy).
2-3 small pieces Kokum (kudam puli) ( soaked in water for around 10 minutes.
1/2 cup Thengakothu (tiny coconut pieces, more if you like that mallu special bite).
2 medium Onions (sliced finely).
10 Small onion (shallots, sliced thinly).
Salt.
Curry leaves.
Coconut oil.
Cooking Method

Wash and clean the prawns. Add half of the ginger & garlic and chilli powder. Add turmeric powder, kokum, thengakothu, salt & some curry leaves to the prawns. Mix and marinate well.

Prawn needs only a few minutes of cooking. I remember watching a host family in London cooking paella. The prawn went in to the cooked rice mix and jumped back with it to the dinner plate, ready to eat, in a couple of minutes.

And thus here’s a twist to the original recipe. We mallus (Keralaites are called) like everything cooked well. Also we like coconuts, even when it was accused as poison by other oil lobby. Then it’s important now when coconut is super health food.

So instead of water, I added three tablespoons of thin coconut milk and cooked the marinated

prawns and other ingredients for 5 minutes.

In a separate vessel/ pan heat some coconut oil and add sliced onions and heat till it becomes golden brown. Add remaining ginger & garlic, chilli powder & curry leaves. Add coriander powder & garam masala (if using) and fry till the raw smell goes and oil starts appearing.

Though prawns are not to be over cooked, sliced coconut pieces do well with some cooking. So I separated the prawns and added the half cooked coconut into the mix. Again, I did a mallu thing and added half a cup of thin coconut milk.

Cooked the contents till the mixture became almost thick. Now add the the prawns and mix well in slow heat till we have the right thick consistency of prawns ulathiyathu, truly mallu style.

Serve with rice or roti.

Kerala Prawn Ulathiyath, Slightly Crafted by a Mallu.

Story of Grand Old Tree and Why I am a Teetotaller!

This is the landmark tree (before the branches were cut) that represented my village, Thidanad in Kerala by standing tall and assuming the central position of the small town.

The story about the tree is truly heartwarming and ably narrated in the news channel video, the link of which is given below.

The video is in Malayalam, but please see. You wouldn’t have seen anything like this before, so please don’t miss seeing it.

While the story about the tree is absolutely stunning, my story linking to it is a cock and bull one. The common link is that both talk about being guides to people searching for the place, something like a manual GPS.

The video tells about the age old landmark tree at the epicentre of Thidanad which was sentenced by authorities for removal. And how the passionately loving villagers treated the stem with Ayurvedic meditation for revival when all the branches were cut.

The elaborate treatment process had 14 Ayurvedic ingredients applied to the wood for reviving it in about 6 months. But love and affection can do miracles, the tree sprouted with vigour in a few days.

Ingredients include milk, honey, soil, mud from anthill and others. Watch how the bark was treated in the video.

Seeing the tree, one can know that he reached Thidanad. But there’s a problem if he needs further directional guidance. That’s when my story comes in.

Thidanad was part of the area in Kerala known for alcohol usage. Since people were sort of drunk, a visiting stranger couldn’t get proper guidance if he wants further directions.

So the village chief decided to task one person to be sober to perform the duty. Since no one was willing, he decided to draw lot and I got the number and I became a teetotaller.

That’s my ‘Cock & Bull’ story. Things have changed since then. Now people are more charismatic, worshipping places are chockablock and people are polite and nice. Like all Thidanad born people I am proud of the place and the tree.

https://share.icloud.com/photos/00wij1Lw0NoeGS5gLqS_Buhgg

Story of Grand Old Tree and Why I am a Teetotaller!

“Daivathinte Kunjadukal” (God’s Little Lambs)

The sky above was like this when I was lying down on the terrace for my yoga session.

‘Daivathinte Kunjadukal’ is what we called it in childhood. The clusters of white clouds resembling sheep and it’s God’s Own when it’s on deep blue sky.

That was a good way to begin yoga and workout, with something reminiscence, rekindling the innocence of childhood.

Moreover, the best motivation for a strenuous but welcome workout is to be happy about it. What’s better for it than some sweet memories!

“Daivathinte Kunjadukal” (God’s Little Lambs)

Flowering Seasons in Bangalore!

It’s Jacaranda and Gulmohar trees that colour Bangalore in March. That’s not all. Come September, the trees wear colours again.

Here I have four frames of our terrace view of September. The usual terrace view has been the 270 degrees view of the Bangalore skyline across lush green trees of Jayanagar water works and adjacent Nimhans. The trees entice the eyes with a magnificent display of flowers.

The greenery, sanctuary to an incredible breed of birds, sport flowers during March – April (purple and red), May- June ( rose pink) and now September- October ( crimson and yellow).

I have to keep an eye for what it would be during the rest of the months.

It’s stunningly beautiful!

Flowering Seasons in Bangalore!

Herd Immunity! Through A Layman’s Lens.

The world is fighting an epidemic and most of us have no clue as to how to manage it.

Wash your hands several times, social distancing, wear masks etc are precautions. Then there are lockdowns, quarantine, containment zones etc as imposed restrictions.

Herd immunity is something being spoken about. Let me start with what I imagined what it could be! (Caution: this has no scientific backing or verified results, just a figment of my imagination).

Healthy people get the virus. Their strong immune system attacks the virus and make it very weak or kill it. They in turn pass the weakened virus through contact to others. These transmitted viruses are weaker after being attacked by the strong immune humans. The transmitted weak virus gets resistance inside the new body.

This then become the norm and the virus is defeated. This is what I thought herd immunity is all about.

Look at the above Pinterest image. It’s telling something similar.

No blame on anyone who keep people away indoors. But did the lockdowns and quarantine work? Perhaps yes and perhaps no.

Then we’ve the Swedish model where the government just took the backseat and relied on people to take precautions on their own. No specific lockdown and least damage to economy and livelihood of people.

Now Sweden has the least bad news from the pandemic.

Not many want to experiment which could be termed as playing with people’s lives. But the need to survive is getting countries to unlock even before the vaccine.

There will be a spike, but results already show that the mortality rate is majorly down.

People may go bankrupt and die economically if not unlocked. If herd immunity is acquired in the process, it’s a blessing. Albeit, late!

Herd Immunity! Through A Layman’s Lens.

God’s Own Country Needs God’s Own Intervention.

The pandemic has everyone affected. And we are resigned to the fate of practically writing down one year from our lives.

A recovery is required and it’s happening differently in different places.

It happened in China first and let’s not waste time to know how they recovered too. And there are bright spots where the happening itself is little.

But the world has to bounce back and so does Kerala.

There are a few things special to Kerala. Those include natural beauty, hospitality, emancipation etc.

There are also political dramas and extreme devotion to it.

And ‘Kerala Model’ is something like a self praise and it covers even the pandemic. The only thing that’s not a self praise probably is the title ‘God’s Own Country’. That’s a term used by outsiders as Keralites have some honesty.

Kerala Model is something that’s still talked about but we’re clueless on it. No one knows if keeping people indoors indefinitely, hoping to be vaccinated while still indoors is the right strategy.

So we won’t lift quarantine even if the rest of the country have forgotten about it. Of course, we haven’t acknowledged that people from outside and the tourism inside are the ones who supported us. So hurt them, both!

Again ‘herd immunity’ is a bad word. And Arsenic is poison. But then, we don’t know what’s herd immunity, but we know homeopathy is good.

And we take homeo medicine Arsenic Album 30 to boost immunity. Then herd immunity could be not be by accident! We are basically jealous people and we don’t like gold being brought in by a few. What if we get beaten up by police, it’s worth shedding blood for herd immunity.

We’re clever too. Make the return of non residents the hell, and they will stay back to send money.

But what about tourism! Someone has to pay a price. Let it be tourism industry, which will get killed if tourists are to be quarantined.

I have been waiting for the quarantine to end for the past 6 and 1/2 months for returning home from Bangalore. See we have always a vested interest.

God’s Own Country Needs God’s Own Intervention.

Wellness is Sacred. Business not to corrupt it.

Image credit Pinterest

Wellness is a fundamental right of everybody. Wellness coaches, promoters, researchers are all important in the wellness ecosystem.

It’s a billion dollars business and rightly so. But it’s sacred too. Biased and thus corrupted misinformation should be banned.

Researches and some of them winning Nobel Prize are important source of information. Role of experts then are to communicate these findings to people in simple explanations and advices.

Such experts do well to personalise the expertise by offering coaching and practice sessions and charge for that. That’s alright and welcome.

But there could be instances where such experts with large following, adjust the concept to favour business lobby for extra money. This is dangerous. This could make the wellness efforts less efficient. This should be avoided and prevented.

We need honest advices. Participants should see the truth and adjust their routine to derive maximum benefits.

Be healthy, be happy!

Wellness is Sacred. Business not to corrupt it.

It’s Cricket! Not Quite!

Bats’ in

Kudos to the Indian Premier League (IPL) organisers for conducting this year’s matches among the difficulties of the pandemic.

But it’s not quite the same without the crowds and the cheer leaders in their magnificent costumes, or the shortage of it.

IPL is a bit too much, as it’s every night for many days. But we tune in for the excitement it brings. And when you don’t have a team from your territory, you tend to support your favourites.

That’s why many people like me, support Chennai Super Kings as Mahendra Singh Dhoni is there.

And yesterday’s was a mixed bag, as it was okay for either team to win.

But someone wins due to carelessness of the officials is not exciting finish. Third umpire has the support of digital proofs to take care of any ‘bare eye’ decision of on field umpires and for that matter spectators in the stadium.

But when millions of us are getting the review of the third umpire with the digital replays, it’s not cricket Mr. Third Umpire to make such a mistake. The bat’s clearly in and a team is robbed of the victory by a studied decision which became stupid.

It’s Cricket! Not Quite!

Growing Avacado From Seeds.

Growing tree from seeds is the natural process. But modern planting is about faster methods like budding and grafting. Except of course the staple grains which are broadcast with seeds.

Avacado is good fat and for a Keralaite like me, an acquired taste. Then why not grow avacado!

I have seen the trick of growing it in water and decided to try. Pierce the seed on sides with small sticks so that it can rest on the sides and float on water in a small container or bottle. And i placed it on the terrace for the ample supply of sunlight. The right way is to use three sticks, but I have used only two.

Success, it’s sprouting. First the root came down into the water to draw the nutrients and then the leaves. I have to transfer it to a pot and eventually to the land for my own avacado tree.

Growing Avacado From Seeds.

Unda Payasam. A Traditional Kerala Sweet Dish.

Childhood memories are probably the fondest and naturally there’s a concern when some of the reasons for such memories disappear over time.

One such thing facing extinction is the ‘unda payasam’ a typical Kerala dish. It’s a true Kerala dessert as a key component is the ‘ethakka’ the Kerala banana.

I used to like Unda Payasam, equal to or more than the ‘Ada Pradhaman’ the numero uno of all payasams.

That’s why I thought of making it when I got some ethakka. Of course, I am drawing from memory and taste as to how it would have been made.

Ingredients: 1. Kerala banana ( ethakka) 2 medium size, 2. Rice powder 1 cup, 3. grated coconut 1/2 cup, 4. Coconut Milk (thick) 1 cup, 5. Jaggery 1/2 cup, 6. Ghee 1 tablespoon, 7. Cardamom seed powder 1/2 teaspoon, 8. Salt.

Mix rice powder with grated coconut and some salt and add hot water to make into a smooth paste.

Unda

Take 3/4th of the dough and make into small balls. Make small balls as it will slightly expand on cooking. Place them in a steamer and steam for about 15 minutes.

Ethakka

Cut the Kerala banana into small pieces. Heat the ghee in a pan and roast the banana in it. Roasting for a few minutes is sufficient.

Payasam

Take the rest of the dough in a hard bottom vessel. Pour about 4 cups of water and place on the burner. Add grated or powdered jaggery according to the sweetness required. Allow the mixture to come to boil.

Add cardamom powder and mix well. Add the steamed undas and roasted ethakka and allow the jaggery to get absorbed in them too.

When the payasam assumes a slightly thick constituency, add the coconut milk. Reduce the flame and allow to simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.

Unda Payasam is ready. The sweet and slightly sour ethakka is giving the payasam a unique and delicious taste. Also the rice undas make it a rare pleasant feeling.

Mighty pleased at recreating the fond memory and in reviving this traditional dish. Simply yummy and absolutely satisfying.

Unda Payasam. A Traditional Kerala Sweet Dish.