The first day of 'Medam' marks the Malayali New Year, popularly called as Vishu. It is generally celebrated around March- April. Elaborate preparations that begin days in advance marks this festival that is one of the most significant festivals of Kerala. Religious overtones and social merry making are both observed during this particular event. Feasts are held in every home and a variety of delectable food is prepared. Food items and recipes in Vishu have been carefully preserved and passed on to generations and are still prepared and enjoyed in the same way, as they were earlier.
Some of the renowned and most loved Food items and recipes in Vishu have been mentioned below. You may celebrate the festival in your own sweet way and to make it authentic, you could prepare a dish or two from the Malayali cuisine repertoire. And most importantly serve the food on a banana leaf!
Some interesting Food items and recipes in Vishu have been picked, especially for you:
Ingredients for the preparation:
2 medium sized bitter gourd, cut into thin slices
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 cup coconut (grated)
1 thinly sliced shallot
1 tbsp ginger pieces (thinly sliced)
4 dry red chilies
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/8 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/8 tsp cumin seeds
4 green chilies
1 tbsp tamarind paste
1 bunch curry leaves
Salt to taste
1 tsp oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1 small thinly sliced shallot
1 pinch fenugreek seeds
Few curry leaves
2 dry red chilies
Cook the bitter gourd pieces with the turmeric powder and salt to taste. Water should be just enough to cook. Remove it from the oven, once it is half done. In the meantime dry roast the grated coconut till brown and keep it aside. Use the same oil to dry roast the red chilies, coriander powder, fenugreek seeds and cumin seeds. Keep them aside too. Sauté the shallots and ginger pieces one after the other, by adding a little more oil to the pan and fry till they turn brown. Make a smooth paste of all the fried ingredients by grinding them all, adding a little water.
Heat some more oil in the pan and sauté the cooked bitter gourd pieces along with the slit green chilies. Sauté the blend till they turn brown. Now, once it is cooked well enough, add the ground spice paste to it. Mix the tamarind paste, throw in the curry leaves and salt and a cup or more of water to the pan and stir well to further blend all of them. Cook till the gravy thickens. Taste and add more tamarind paste to make it tangier.
For the seasoning, heat oil in a pan and crack some mustard seeds in it. Once the seeds start to splutter, add the remaining seasoning ingredients and fry well. Pour this over the prepared gravy. Serve with steamed hot rice, spread over a banana leaf.
Ada - 1 cup
Milk - 3 cups
Sweetened condensed milk - 1 small tin
Sugar if necessary
Water - 2 cups
Cardamom - 1/2 tsp (powder)
Clarified Butter (Ghee)- 1/2 tsp
Method Add 3 cups whole milk in a wide vessel with a long spoon in it. Keep the same inside a pressure cooker till 3 whistles blows. Cook the milk for 1/2 hr over low flame. In the meanwhile, boil 2 cups water and add the Ada to the boiling water. Remove it from the heat and keep it closed till it becomes soft (20min). Drain the ada and keep it till all the water is drained (10 min).
Take the milk out from the cooker that will have become pink color by now.
Cook the milk further over medium flame and add the ada to the milk. Once it is done, add the sweetened condensed milk and cook for 1/2 hr. Add more sugar to your taste.
Stir it with a spoon every now and then to avoid making lumps and so that it does not stick to the bottom of the vessel either.
Once it is well cooked, add the cardamom powder and 1/2 tsp ghee (clarified butter) to enhance the taste and its aroma.