Pothichoru Series 1- Kallumakaya koonu thoran and Pavakka pachadi is something new that I am experimenting with on the blog for few reasons in particular and it all ties back to few conversations I had with few friends.
Sometime back, I had a conversation with a friend who was complaining about always falling short of options to cook. “After all we just have one chicken curry, fish curry, dal and sambar:, she said. No was my reply and then I mumbled few curries she had no clue of and she blinked at me. “Why don’t you put these as meal plans”, she asked me then. I told her my usual reply- something I told anyone who asked me to post more Kerala recipes- “Oh it is all out there, too many mallu bloggers write about it”. ” But we don’t read them all, we read you, she then told me”. I was humbled by her comment and it made me realise I had people looking up to me for naadan recipes on the blog. But this alone did not motivate me. And then one day my bestie told me, your blog has a very ethnic name but your recipes don’t echo that identity. I was starting to understand what my readers and friends were often trying to hint and expecting from me. And that brought me to an introspective mode. When I began blogging it wasn’t about SEO’s or monetisation, it was about writing more than cooking and photography. It was to chronicle food that was celebrated in my culture and my family. And looking back I realise I lost my track somewhere in between.
Pothichoru series is what Ooonuready is all about. Meals ready for everyone who wants to experience Kerala with ready meal plans or ideas. Pothichoru series has a lot of stories to share about this unique Kerala experience that is so close to our heart. A culture perhaps that’s at the verge of extinction, a culture our next generation probably would never see or hear of. In this meal series we bring to you a unique meal plan in the form of a pothi. I will get back to you with more anecdotes next Sunday for now let me introduce you to Pothichoru series no.1- Kallumakaya koonu thoran and Pavakka pachadi
Ingredients for Kallumakaya koonu thoran
Kallumakaya (mussels)- 200 g
Mushrooms- 100 g
Green chilies- 2
Curry leaves- 4-8 leaves
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Chili powder- 1/2 tsp
Kashmiri chili powder- 1/2 tsp
Pepper powder- 1 tsp
Garam masala- 1/2 tsp
Salt- to taste
Grated coconut- 1/4 cup
Coconut oil- 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds- 1/4 tsp
- Clean the mussels and chop the mushrooms, into four.
- Finely chop the onions and chilies.
- Use an earthen wok or pan for cooking if you have one. I use them for all my traditional cooking, it tastes very different.
- Heat oil in the wok and when it is smoking hot, add the mustard seeds.
- After the mustard splutters, add the curry leaves.
- Add chopped onion and green chilies after the curry leaves and saute till the onions brown.
- Add the spice powders one by one and saute them over low flame for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the mussels and salt after this and cover and cook the mussels in spices for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Add the mushroom after this, mushroom when cooked will release some water.
- After 5 minutes of cooking the mushrooms with mussels, increase the flame and try to dry the water content in the curry.
- When the water has reduced and the mussels start sticking to the pan, add the grated coconut and toss the ingredients so that the coconut shavings get mixed evenly.
- You can add some oil and stir fry till the mussels get crunchy, or stop cooking at this point.
Ingredients for Pavakka pachadi
Bitter gourd- 2 small ones
Green chilies- 2
Curry leaves- 4-6 leaves
Ginger- 1/2 inch piece
Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
Asafoetida- 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder- a pinch
Chili powder- a pinch
Curd- 400 ml
Salt- to taste
Coconut oil- 1 tsp + for frying the bitter gourd
- Wash and dice the bitter gourd.
- Marinate the sliced bitter gourd with salt, turmeric and chili powder. Set aside for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, heat a wok and fry the bitter gourd slices till they turn golden.
- After draining the bitter gourd, in the same oil add the mustard seeds.
- When the mustard splutters, add finely chopped onion, ginger, curry leaves and green chilies.
- Saute till the ingredients turn brown.
- Meanwhile whisk the curd with salt. Add 1 cup water to keep the curd slightly diluted.
- Add the fried bitter gourd sliced to the sauted onions.
- Add asafoetida and saute the bitter gourd in onions for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Switch off the flame and allow the bitter gourd to cool slightly.
- Add the bitter gourd with spices to the whisked curd. And pachadi is ready.
Now for assembling the pothichoru take one page of a newspaper and line it with this plastic food wrap.
Layer the rice first. Make it mounted like a flowerbed.
Make well in the center of the rice and add the pavakka pachadi there. Top the rice with pickle. And to the right of left side goes the Kallumakaya koonu thoran.
Tightly wrap the meal packet and your pothichoru is ready.
When you open your pothichoru, it will look like a neatly packed cake.
Enjoy with your bare hands and not some spoon and fork. The pleasure is inexplicable. I am planning to continue this series for a few weeks, and hopefully I will get a banana leaf soon for my next round. Hope you liked this series. Write to me if you have a pothichoru story and your favourite pothichoru combo and I will add it to this series. Till we meet again, stay blessed and eat health.