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Uppum Mulaku (Salt & Chilly) ....an instant pickle from Kerala

>> July 28, 2012

The uppum mulaku is like a traditional dish of Kerala. ‘Uppu’ means salt and ‘Mulaku’ means chilly (either green, red or some red chilly powder).

Please don’t laugh at it because it brings a smile to anybody when you say there is an uppum mulaku in the platter. It is unconventional and so it is traditional too.

Uppum Mulaku is usually prepared when there is no spicy curry or just as an accompaniment for rice gruel or porridge. There is an English word for rice gruel which is Congee. I came to know about this only recently. In Malayalam, rice gruel is called kanji and in Tamil it is kanchi.

I do not know the evolution of this uppum mulaku recipe, however I am gonna write some of my assumptions. It is like a research J

(i) The first recipe should have been just some salt in a side dish (plate or bowl) with a fresh green chilly with stem to be had with rice porridge. There is a method to eat it. You should take a spoon of the congee and bite the tip of the green chilly. The bitten greenchilly is then dipped into the salt before taking another spoon of congee. I have had this combination just to experiment. This is an explosive, you should try it. I am not a fan of green chilly so it remains a one time testing.

(ii) The second type of uppum mulaku I have known is a crushed combination of salt, green chilly and shallots and sometimes with few drops of coconut oil. This probably is an evolved one to give the recipe a oniony zing and a slight creaminess.

(iii) The third type of uppum mulaku is what I have had at home. This is a combination of salt,crushed shallots, chilly powder, few drops of vinegar and few drops of coconut oil.

(iv) The fourth and final recipe is a slightly advanced version, the one which you see in the picture. The recipe is as follows:


Shallots – 15
Chilly powder – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste
Seedless Tamarind – 1 tbsp
Coconut oil – ¾ to 1 tsp
Vinegar – 1 tsp

the method

Roughly chop the shallots and place it in a mortar. Add salt and chilly powder and crush it. Place the tamarind in the mortar and crush it to blend with onion mix. Check salt, pour the coconut oil and vinegar and give a quick mix. Serve it immediately with rice, kanji or boiled tubers like tapioca (Kappa) or greater yam (Kaachil).

This is a Kerala based pestel or an instant pickle and if by any chance you have leftovers you can keep it in the fridge, though it is not known to have been stored for a longer period. Using it fresh, the better. 

If you do not have a mortar, put all the ingredients in the smallest mixer jar and crush it for just 2 seconds.

the recipe goes to EP series Curry leaves or Dried red chillies event started by Julie


Kuccha Baingan Ka Bartha with a Mustardy twist

>> July 14, 2012

This is Kuccha baingan ka bartha. Kuccha means raw but in this recipe, the main ingredient which is eggplant/brinjal is roasted and then mixed with raw ingredients. The mustardy twist was a last minute idea for this recipe to taste our kind of recipes....because too much of experimentation is a big no here.

The idea for this recipe is from Nisha's Kitchen and the recipe is for this month's blog hop.


4 plump eggplants - around 400 gms

ingredients for the seasons

1 tomato, chopped
1 sprig coriander leaf, chopped
1 tsp store bought mustard
salt too taste - add salt only after adding mustard and tasting it. salt is not required if the mustard is on the salty side.

I have not added any kind of chilly or pepper. The original recipe has 1 finely chopped green chilly, onion and lemon juice. Since the mustard has some kind of wine or vinegar in it, i did not add lime juice. The onions, i just skipped it.


Poke a skewer into the brinjal and roast it over direct heat from your stove by holding the skewer above the flames. I did this for about 5 minutes and felt this would take time. So i took the eggplants off the skewer and placed in the oven for 10 minutes in the Grill + Microwave option. The eggplant came very well cooked and it was easy to peel. So the next step obviously is, take the eggplant out of the oven and let it cool. Peel the eggplant.

Cut the eggplant and remove the hard part from the stem. Take out the pulp, chop it or mash it and place it in a bowl. If there is too much seeds, discard some of them. Add the chopped tomato, coriander leaves and mustard and give a quick mix. Check salt.

The interesting part of this recipe is its applicability. You can have it with chappati / roti or serve it chilled with some tacos or use as a topping for a bruschetta or just hid it in a salad. It is really tasty. 

The goes to Blog Hop hosted by Radhika


Mushroom Tarts

>> July 06, 2012

ingredients for the tarts

180 gm flour (maida)
75 gm unsalted butter (chopped into cubes)
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt (if using salted butted dont use salt)
30-35 ml chill water

Method 1: Mix the flour with salt and sugar. Place it in a bowl. Stir in the chopped butter and crumble it with your fingers. You can also use a knife to cut the butter through the flour to crumble it. Sprinkle the chill water and slowly gather the crumbled flour and shape it into a disk.

Method 2: Place the flour, butter, salt and sugar in a mixer jar and use the whip button. When the ingredients reach a crumble form add water through the small lid until  the flour mix is just collected. Take this into a bowl and shape it into a disk.

Refrigerate the dough for one hour.

Roll the dough and cut out circles that fit in muffin cups. Place the circles in muffin cups and leave it in the refrigerator for another one hour. This will make the dough firm and it will not pull down while baking. Use the excess dough to make small rings or whatever you feel like and place it on the filling of the tart.

Recipe for Mushroom filling

Mushroom - 300 - 400 gms ( i used oyster mushrooms - these are soft than button mushrooms). Cut into thin strips. Use only the soft part. I used home grown mushroom, still i rinsed it in a bowl of water mixed with vinegar and salt.

Onion - 2 large
Garlic - 3 cloves
Salt - to taste
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tbsp
Cheese - as much as you need

method to cook the mushroom

Heat oil in a pan and add the onion and garlic. Stir till the onion is translucent. Add salt, turmeric and pepper. Stir for few seconds and add the mushroom. Do not add water. Turn to low flame. Let the mushroom cook in its own liquid for about 6-7 minutes or till tender. Turn off heat. 

Baking the Tart

Usually, tarts are filled and then baked. I am slightly apprehensive about this idea because i feel the juices in the filling will melt the dough. So i baked the crust first and then placed the filling just till the cheese melted.

The original recipe called for baking at 190 C for 15-20 minutes. Since oven temperatures differ you can check after ten minutes. I'll tell you what i did - i baked the crust at 190 C for 10 minutes and then filled about 1 1/2 tsp of mushroom filling, grated some cheese over it and placed a ring of the excess dough and baked for another 5 minutes. I think you should go by your logic for this step. The tart can served as a started or packed as a lunch or just snack.

The recipe for the tart crust is adapted from Joy of Baking. But i have reduced the quantity of butter. Yet the tart had a melt in the mouth texture.


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