Apr 29, 2009

Safety tips for your baby

1, Never leave her when she’s eating or drinking.

2, Keep small objects out of your baby’s reach.

3, Always put your baby to sleep on her back.

4, Maintain a moderate room temperature.

5, Do not fall asleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair , or leave her alone in an adult bed.

6, Use a light blanket, or a baby sleeping bag.

7, Make sure her car seat or bouncer is always placed on the floor, so she can’t topple off high surface. Make sure she’s strapped into her car seat or buggy so she can’t fall out.

8, Make sure heavy objects can’t be pulled over.

9, Move any furniture that your baby could climb on away from windows, so she can’t fall out.

10, Put stair gates on all staircases, at the top to bottom for extra security.

11, Don’t ever leave your baby alone in the bath - not even for a minute.

12, Don’t think that using a bath seat or support means you can leave your baby unattended.

13, Always check the water whether it is hot / cold when bathing a baby.

14, Do ignore the phone calls if it rings when bathing a baby , or take your baby with you to answer it.

15, Keep medicines away from your baby.

Apr 24, 2009

Kerala Chicken Biryani ( Chicken Biryani with pineapple )

Here is a biryani inspired from the combined experiences of 3 biryanis.

I read the article tiltled “Able biryani” from Vanitha ( April 15-30, 2009 - Cover featuring Menaka and Keerthi).

During our numerous trips to Kerala, I developed fondness for biryani from 2 restaurants in Cherthala on Cochin to Alleppey ( Kerala ) Highway. They are Apsara Hotel at Bye-pass junction (NH 47 and opposit to Aswathi Petrol station ), Cherthala - famous for its quality. The other restaurant being an old one known as “Gandhi’s restaurant” ( near Ratna Bakery ) in Cherthala- Alleppey route. I requested the recipes of biriyani’s from these eateries and they were kind enough to give me some good tips.

The great success of this biryani was evident from the content looks / smiles on my husband’s and kid’s face after having the biryani. Husband is my best critic and never misses an opportunity to point out a short coming ( as he always pursue perfection). But this time he offered no suggestion - which means this biryani was really nice.

This biryani is without food color and MSG ( ajinomoto )

Here's the recipe of Chicken Biryani ( without Pineapple )

Here’s the recipe

You need

750 g chicken ( wash and drained )
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon chilli powder

Marinate salt, turmeric powder and chilli powder with chicken pieces and keep aside for one hour.

Other ingredients for biryani masala :

1/2 cup cooking oil for frying chicken pieces
5 onions, finely sliced
10 cloves garlic, crushed
2 - inch piece ginger , crushed
5 green chillies, slit lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 /2 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon garam masala powder
2 tomatoes, chopped finely
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
Salt to taste

For rice :

3 cups basmati rice ( soak rice in water for half an hour )
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ghee
Water for cooking rice

Spices :

3 cardamom, crushed
5 cloves ( whole )
3 cinnamon sticks ( whole )
3 star anise ( whole )

For garnishing :

1 tablespoon ghee
1 tablespoon cashew nuts ( split )
1 tablespoon raisins

250 gm pineapple diced to cubes
1/2 cup maida
1/4 cup water for mixing ( mix water and maida together and make a soft dough for sealing biryani pot )

Raita ( May use other options like Dates chutney etc)

1 cup fresh curd
2 onions, finely chopped
1 tomato , finely chopped
Salt to taste

Mix all the ingredients together and serve.


1, Heat oil in a kadai and fry marinated chicken pieces till golden color and keep aside ( fry chicken pieces in batches ) .

2, Add cardamom and whole spices. Fry for 2-3 minutes and add finely sliced onions , crushed ginger, garlic and green chilli. Fry till fragrant. Add chopped coriander- mint leaves , turmeric powder, chilli powder, garam masala , salt to taste and tomatoes. Stir continuously . Fry for 5 - 8 minutes or till the gravy thickens and oil leaves from the sides.

3, Cook rice in water along with salt and ghee . Drained well and keep aside. ( Rice should not be overcooked ).

4, Heat 1 tablespoon ghee in a frying pan. Shallow fry cashew nuts and raisins till golden color.

Final dum preparation

In a heavy - bottomed vessel or biryani pot , spread a layer of biryani masala , half portion of cooked rice, half portion of fried chicken pieces, half portion of pineapple. Make 2 layers with cooked rice, pineapple, fried chicken pieces, biryani masala and fried cashew nuts and raisins.Cover with tight lid. Seal with maida dough on the edges of the lid. Heat a heavy - bottomed iron kadai. Keep biryani pot over it. Cook on a low heat for 30 - 40 minutes. You can find a color change in the maida seal. Open the seal carefully. Serve with raita / pappadam/ pickle.

Apr 21, 2009

Semiya Payasam ( Vermicelli Kheer )

Preparation time : 15 minutes
Cooking time : 35 minutes
Serves : 8 - 12 dessert bowls


1/2 cup /4 oz / 100 ml vermicelli
3/4 cup sugar ( or to taste )
4 cup / 32 oz / 800 ml milk ( do not dilute with water )
1/2 tea spoon ghee for frying vermicelli
1 tablespoon ghee for frying frying cashew nuts and raisins
1 tablespoon cashew nuts ( split )
1 tablespoon raisins
A pinch of cardamom powder


1, Heat ghee in a frying pan. Fry vermicelli on a low heat for 7- 10 minutes or till golden color. Stir continuously. Keep aside.

2, Heat 1 tablespoon ghee and separately fry cashew nuts and raisins on a low heat till golden color. Store in an airtight container.

3, Bring milk to boil in a heavy - bottomed vessel or non - stick saucepan. Add fried vermicelli, cover with a lid and cook / simmer for 10 - 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

4, Add sugar and cook / simmer again for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. You can find a reduction in the quantity and a slight change in the color.... Remove from the heat . Keep aside for 15 minutes. Add fried cashew nuts and raisins. Sprinkle cardamom powder.Serve hot or cold.

Apr 17, 2009

My husband's new Apple - iPod touch

See what my husband an avid music lover got for himself. I can see him shaking his head in rhythm listening to Carnatic music ( my son and me have several option other than Carnatic music though... Jai Ho ).

An apple a day keep him busy.....

Apr 15, 2009

Nelliampathy - A hill station in Palakkad , Kerala

Welcome to Nelliampathi Village

Nelliampathi is a popular hill station 60 km away from Palakkad in Kerala a small state in south India. It is famous for its tea and coffee plantations and the excellent weather condition. The journey to Nelliampathi itself is an experience. The road is very narrow and requires a skilled driver behind the wheels. On the way, one can see wild animals like monkey, deer and porcupine. The view of the Pothundy dam from the height is a breathtaking sight. There will be many waterfalls by the roadside during the rainy season.

A couple of days back my brother went with his family and they enjoyed well. My nephew mailed these photos....

Visit here for home stay and more details

Apr 14, 2009

Manga Chammanthi / Mango Chutney

Manga Chammanthi / Mango Chutney

You need

1 cup grated coconut
1/4 cup chopped raw mango
2 green chillies or 2 red chillies
1 - inch piece ginger
2 shallots
1/2 teaspoon salt ( or to taste )
1-2 teaspoon water


Mix all the chutney ingredients together and make a thick and smooth paste in mixer. Serve with Kanji ( rice porridge ). Find out here the recipe of Kanjiyum Payarum....

Parippu Payasam / Parippu Pradhaman for Onam / Vishu

Parippu Payasam / Parippu Pradhaman

You need

Moong dal - 1/2 cup ( 4 oz / 100 ml )
Water -1 1/2 cups (150 ml )
Ghee- 1 teaspoon ( for roasting moong dal )
Melted jaggery - 1 cup ( 8 oz / 200 ml )
Thin coconut milk - 400 ml
Thick coconut milk - 100 ml
Raisins - 2 teaspoons
Splits of cashew nuts - 2 teaspoons
Ghee - 2 tablespoon (1 tablespoon for jaggery mixture and 1 tablespoon for frying cashew nuts and raisins )
Cardamom powder - 2 pinch

Cococnut milk : If unable to obtain fresh coconut milk, mix 50 g coconut powder + 400 ml water for thin coconut milk and 25 g coconut powder + 100 ml water for thick coconut milk.


1, Wash moong dal , spread it on a kitchen towel for drying.

2, Heat 1 teaspoon ghee in a kadai and fry dried moong dal on a slow heat till golden color. Keep aside. ( You may prepare this a day ahead if convenient ). Pressure cook moong dal with 1 1/2 cups of water for 15 - 20 minutes.

3, In a non -stick kadai / urli / heavy - bottomed vessel, heat 1 tablespoon ghee. Add melted jaggery and cooked moong dal. Saute slowly on medium heat for 4 - 6 minutes. You will get a nice aroma .

4, Add thin coconut milk. Mix well. Cover with a lid and cook on a slow heat for 30 - 40 minutes. You can notice a reduction in volume. Stir occasionally. Switch off the heat.

5, Finally add thick coconut milk. Mix well. Heat on a low flame for a couple of minutes. Do not bring to boil again.

6, Heat 1 tablespoon ghee in a kadai. Shallow fry cashew nuts and raisins till you get a golden color. Pour this fried raisins and cashew nuts over parippu payasam. Sprinkle cardamom powder. Parippu payasam is ready now. Do not heat / boil after adding these ingredients.

Apr 10, 2009

I too bit the Apple ..... My new Apple MacBook !!!!!!

My birthday falls in May. This time when my husband returned , I got a surprise gift, which was nothing other than the great MacBook. It came as a total surprise to me and I was totally bowled over. It is a real piece of equipment which is really worth to own. I still cannot believe it. I really liked that awesome gift. I was so excited so that I forgot about this blog. I would like to share some photos of MacBook.

Apr 5, 2009

Konna poovu / Kanikkonna for Vishu

One noticeable feature was the blooming of “Kanikkonna” ( Botanical name : Cassia Fistula) like a golden shower. It's a wonderful site from our balcony and kitchen- the Kanikkonna in full bloom next street.

The cascading golden yellow bunch of flowers is a symbol of prosperity for the people of Kerala and is usually associated with “Vishu” a harvest festival which is also celebrated in other parts of India ( eg- Bihu in Ahom- Assam).

Konna Poovu ( Poovu - poo – meaning flower) is an indispensable component of Vishukkani – the auspicious Ist sight ( the first thing to see ) on the new year’s day break ( Other components being gold, fresh vegetables, rice, and what ever you consider precious and essential). Luckily I got a few snaps. Vishu normally falls on 14th of April which normally coincides with this annual flower bloom. Enjoy these wonderful photos !!!