Kerala Style Vegetable Mappas (Vegetable coconut milk curry) and Cassava Paratha

  Mappas is a coconut milk based curry that is unique to Kerala and particularly among the Kerala Syrian Christian community.  Fish mappas, Chicken Mappas and also vegetable mappas. Last week I wanted to make some kind of vegetable korma since I was so excited that I was finally able to make grain free parathas using cassava flour. After being deprived of all kinds of breads the past two years, I am now ecstatic that I can finally eat parathas. And so I was looking to make a curry that will go well with parathas / rotis – I was craving for a flavorful and rich curry where I could use my cassava paratha to soak up all the gravy.  I suddenly remembered my friend Reena’s mixed vegetable curry that she had brought to a potluck some several thousand moons ago!  Yes, I am weird like that – I remember everything about who brought what dish to what potluck even if it was several years ago 🙂

Reena doesn’t stay near us anymore but in these days of whatsapp messaging, distances hardly matter! So I messaged Reena to give me her recipe and lo and behold, a very beautifully crafted recipe was delivered to me 2 days later. I wasn’t surprised since Reena is the most meticulous of all my girl friends – she likes to go about things in an organized fashion. And she is a fabulous cook too being a Keralite brought up in Chennai, she has the best recipes from both the worlds! Thank you Reena for this fabulous recipe. I made it exactly as her recipe only replacing peas with carrots and then also adding green beans. We had the curry with rotis (for the family) and my cassava paratha. The gravy was finger licking good and even my 10 year old daughter who is allergic to vegetables(not clinically but you know what I mean right?) also took seconds!  God bless you Reena darling 🙂

Hope you all enjoy this recipe. I have also included the recipe for cassava (tapioca) paratha here. Check out my youtube channel for a video of this curry and my grain free cassava paratha recipe.!

 

Kerala Style Vegetable Mappas (Vegetable coconut milk curry) and Cassava Paratha
Author: 
Recipe type: Main course
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-5
 
A finger licking, flavorful curry of mixed vegetables like cauliflower, potatoes, green beans and carrots cooked in a rich gravy of coconut milk and spices
Ingredients
For masala:
  • Red chilly powder or cayenne pepper - 2 tsp (I used Kashmiri chill powder for a mildly spicy and for color)
  • Coriander powder - 3 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - ¼ tsp
  • Fennel seeds - 2 tsp
  • Cinnamon - 1 inch long piece
  • fresh Ginger - about 1 inch by 2 inch piece
  • fresh Garlic - 4 big cloves
  • ¼ cup warm water
For making coconut milk:
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen grated coconut
  • about 2½ cups hot water
  • Coconut oil - 1.5 tbsp
  • Shallots/red onions, chopped 1 cup
  • Potatoes- peeled and cubed - 2
  • Carrots - ¼ cup
  • Green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces, 1 cup
  • Cauliflower - florets - 2 cups
  • Vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar but any vinegar is fine)- 1 tbsp
  • Thinned Coconut milk (2nd extraction) - 2 cups
  • Thick Coconut milk (1st extraction) - 1 cup
  • Salt about 1 tsp (or per taste)
  • fresh Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
  • extra coconut oil for drizzling on top
For cassava parathas:
  • ½ cup cassava flour
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or avocado oil
  • pinch sea salt
  • ½ cup hot water (water that has been boiling and just removed from heat)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients listed under 'masala' in a small blender jar and grind together to form a fine paste. Keep aside.
  2. In a blender mix the grated coconut with about 1 cup of the hot water and blend for 1 minute. Using a strainer, extract the coconut milk. Keep aside this first coconut milk. Now add the rest of the water and blend again. Strain to get the 2nd extract. Keep both extracts aside.
  3. Heat the coconut oil and sauté the shallots for 2-3 mins.
  4. To this add the ground masala paste and sauté for about 1 minute on low heat until the raw smell dissipates.
  5. Add all the veggies, stir to mix veggies with the spices, cover with a lid and cook for 5 mins.
  6. Add the 2nd milk, vinegar and salt. Cover and cook for about 8-10 mins or until the vegetables are cooked.(Take care not to overcook)
  7. Now add the 1st milk and the fresh curry leaves.
  8. When the curry comes to a boil, remove from heat and drizzle extra coconut oil on top and serve warm with rotis or parathas!
For making cassava paratha:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, add the cassava flour. Add the salt and the oil. Then add slowly the hot water in 2-3 portions and continue stirring with a spoon. When all the water is added, add 1 more tsp of oil and then knee with your hands to form a smooth dough.
  2. Roll dough into chapatis and cook on a frying pan cooking about 2 mins on each side. Apply ghee or oil as needed.
Notes
This curry tastes best with homemade coconut milk. But you can use organic canned unsweetened coconut milk too. If using canned milk, you can just use the entire quantity - 3 cups of coconut milk together.
For AIP, skip red chili, coriander and fennel powder

 

Methi Aloo Paratha with south indian flavors (Potato and Fenugreek leaves stuffed flatbread)

Paratha is typical North indian food right? So why am I trying to ‘southernize’ it? He he…just happened like that one day by accident and a new ‘paratha’ was created in our household 🙂 So here is what happened. Once in a week I make Methi theplas for my kiddos’ lunch box.  And usually I make more theplas for them once they come home from school for a healthy snack. One time I had a boiled potato left over too and so I thought of stuffing the thepla with the potato. I just wanted to keep it simple and decided to just add some ‘chaat masala’ to the potato stuffing. I quickly grabbed the ‘chaat masala’ pack from the fridge and sprinkled on the mashed potato. But after I had added it, I realized that I had actually added ‘sambhaar masala’ 🙂 So that was the birth of this Methi Aloo paratha with sambhaar spices!

 The kids just loved the hot, spicy parathas and gobbled them all up in a few minutes. Then I made them again on a weekend when my husband enjoyed them too and that’s how these parathas came to become so popular in our house now. My youngest always wants me to make the ‘stuffed Aloo’ ones instead of just the plain methi theplas 🙂

Isn’t it fun when mistakes lead to sweet (or in this case, spicy) innovations ? 🙂

Methi Aloo Paratha with south indian flavors (Potato and Fenugreek leaves stuffed flatbread)
Author: 
Recipe type: Main course, Breads
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
 
A whole wheat flatbread stuffed with fenugreek leaves and potatoes with a hint of south indian spices
Ingredients
For the dough (outer covering):
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen methi(fenugreek) leaves
  • 1 tsp ajwain seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper powder (use kashmiri chill powder for mildly spiced)
  • about ¾ cup water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
For potato stuffing:
  • 2 large Boiled potatoes, peeled and mashed
  • 1 tbsp sambhaar powder (I use Aachi brand)
  • 1 tsp salt (check if your sambhaar masala has salt already before adding)
Instructions
  1. Add all the dough ingredients except water and oil in a large mixing bowl. Slowly add the water little bit at a time and form a dough. (You can use a stand mixer also to form the dough). Add the oil and mix again so that the dough is soft and smooth. Divide dough into small balls about a golf ball size.keep aside covered.
  2. Mix all the stuffing ingredients in a small bowl and use a potato masher to make the mixture really smooth - there should not be any lumps. Keep this aside.
  3. Heat a chapati pan (or any non stick pan).
  4. Roll each dough ball into a small circle and place 1 tbsp of the potato stuffing in the center. Bring the outer edges of the circle into the center to pinch at the center (like a dumpling) and then again roll carefully to form a paratha. (use lots of extra wheat flour for dusting to prevent sticking)
  5. Place the paratha on the hot pan and cook for about 2 minutes on one side before flipping. Apply oil or ghee on the flipped side and again flip to the other side and apply ghee again. Flip once more to cook on the second side and when you see golden brown spots on both sides, transfer to a dish. Keep warm covered with foil until serving.
  6. Repeat process for the rest of the dough and stuffing.

Caribbean Chow/Indian Chaat Style Salad

I think you can guess from the title of my post that I was struggling to come up with a proper name for this creation 🙂 It started with me coming across a caribbean mango cucumber chow recipe on a recipe forum. My sensory buds tingled at the mention of mango. And with cilantro and lime thrown in? Wow, even more mouthwatering stuff.

So that was the inspiration for my salad. So I got myself a mango two weeks ago – yes mangoes have started making an arrival here in our grocers! And note I said ‘ got myself a mango’, which meant that I was NOT willing to share this with anyone else at home. Yes I mean it. When it comes to mangoes, I become an infant …’Its mine!”  OK OK so my family left me alone.  They had the infinite wisdom that once mangoes start making more of an appearance especially at the Indian grocers, mom would get a crate of them and at that point she will be willing to share some with us.

So the recipe I had seen was fairly simple – onion, garlic, green chillies, lime juice and …Culantro.  Yes no typo there, it is Culantro.  I looked it up and it says that culantro or shado beni is a special herb grown in the caribbean.  It is supposedly slightly different from Culantro or shado beni but cilantro is a close substitute.  I am definitely very interested in laying my hands on this herb!  Please let me know if any of you know where I can get it in the US?

Continuing with my salad, I added diced avocado, cucumber and mango together.  For the caribbean chow,  you pound together the onion, garlic, chillies and culantro and add this to the mango/cucumber pieces. Toss with salt and pepper and you are good to go! So I did this and then decided to add some chaat masala since the green chili and cilantro mixture along with lime was so reminiscent of the chaat we used to have back in the streets of Mumbai.  So I added some chaat masala – the salad started tasting so good and I continued to sprinkle more and more of the chaat masala till I felt that it was just perfect – ‘You could eat the whole bowl’ kind of perfect!  Yum!

After that day I started getting mangoes every week and I have made this salad at least three times in the past two weeks!. This last time I made it, i also added cooked beets and sweet potatoes to it.  Tasted wondrous and a perfect side dish to my pan fried salmon.

Chaat masala btw is a blend of several different spices and has a dominant sour/tangy flavor from the dry mango powder and the black salt (pink salt) but it has a little bit of heat also from the other spices and cayenne pepper. I always buy store bought chaat masala but here’s a recipe for it if you would like to see the ingredients – Chaat masala recipe

Linking this delicious salad recipe to Plant-Based Potluck Party Link Up and Saucy Saturdaythis week.

Caribbean Chow/Indian Chaat Style Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad, Paleo, Vegan
Cuisine: Caribbean , Indian, Fusion
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1-2
 
A tangy and sweet tropical salad consisting of cucumber, avocados and mango deliciously spiced with cilantro, garlic, lemon juice and chaat masala
Ingredients
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ¼ red onion
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
  • ½ ripe mango, cut into medium size chunks
  • ½ cucumber, peeled and diced
  • ½ boiled potato (or sweet potato), diced
  • ½ of a medium beet cooked (optional), diced
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp chaat masala
Instructions
  1. In a mortar or pestle or a small food processor, add the cilantro, garlic, red onion and the lemon juice. Blend well until you get a chunky kind of paste. Keep aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add the avocado, cucumber, mango, potato (or sweet potato) and beet (if adding). Add the cilantro mixture to this. Add the salt, pepper and the chaat masala. Toss well to mix the spices well with the vegetables and fruits. Serve fresh!
Notes
For Paleo version, Use sweet potato instead of potato
For AIP version, Use sweet potato instead of potato and Skip chaat masala

Link up your recipe of the week

Vegetable Korma – Navratan Style (Vegan, Paleo)


Navratan Korma is a rich, creamy and highly delectable dish of vegetables, fruit, nuts and paneer.  It is very rich since butter/ghee, heavy cream and cashew nut paste is used to make the gravy. A blend of different spices is used in this curry along with several garnishes like nuts, seeds and herbs like mint and cilantro.  ‘Navratan’  or ‘Navratna’ means nine jewels and this dish having originated during the Mughal regime really is befitting for a king.! The nine jewels stand for a combination of nine different vegetables, fruits and nuts.

I had been wanting to make vegetable korma since the past few weeks. Now that I am on a paleo diet, I need to eat lots of vegetables to keep me satiated!  My favorite dish lately has been the Keralan Avial which is mixed vegetables in a coconut gravy.  Since this has plantains and other root vegetables like taro root, yam etc this really fills me up.!

Vegetable Korma in Kerala is made using coconut paste or coconut milk and that is what I wanted to make. However, I had some leftover pineapple and so I decided to add some pineapple too and make it spicy and sweet …kinda like ‘navratna korma’. As I began to make it, I thought of adding some swiss chard leaves too! Greens are not common in either vegetable or navratan korma but hey I thought it can’t go  wrong.  And hence this dish was born!  I used only five jewels – cauliflower, carrot, winter melon, swiss chard and pineapple. maybe I should call it panchratna (five jewels) korma 🙂 I decided to make my own spice blend for this curry adding fennel and cardamom along with other whole spices. I loved it very much and this is going to be another of my staple mixed vegetable paleo dishes for now. For a Paleo AIP version, you can still make this curry omitting all spices and using only cinnamon, star anise and cloves.

Vegetable Korma - Navratan Style (Paleo, Vegan)
Author: 
Recipe type: Main course
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Delectable curry of mixed vegetables cooked with an aromatic blend of spices and coated in creamy coconut milk sauce to be served over white rice.
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4-6 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • ½ cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup cubed winter melon (or you can use any other vegetables like squash or zucchini etc)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup swiss chard leaves, chopped roughly
  • ¼ tsp red chilli powder (optional)
  • 2 tsp spice blend (see recipe below)
  • 1 1 /2 cups thick coconut milk (fresh* or canned full fat)
  • ½ cup pineapple chopped
For Spice blend:
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 -3 green cardamoms, outer shell removed
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 4-5 black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 one inch long cinnamon stick
Instructions
To make spice blend:
  1. First lightly roast the fennel seeds on a small heating pan for about 2 minutes on low heat. Then add the rest of the whole spices and heat stirring frequently for another minute. Transfer to a spice (coffee) grinder and blend till you get a fine powder. Place in an air tight container.
  2. In a large cooking pot, add the coconut oil and heat. When hot, add the onion,ginger and the curry leaves and sauce for 2-3 minutes. Then add the cauliflower and carrot pieces and stir fry for about 2 minutes. Then cover and cook for about 3-4 minutes or so until the vegetables are cooked. Then add the winter melon, salt and water and again cover and cook for about 4 minutes.
  3. Open the lid and add the spice blend, red chili powder and the swiss chard leaves. Stir to mix well.
  4. Next add the coconut milk and let cook for about 2 minutes till it comes to a boil. Turn heat off and add the pineapple pieces and mix well.
  5. Serve warm!
Notes
For making fresh coconut milk:
1cup of freshly grated coconut or fresh frozen grated coconut that has been thawed
1½ cups of warm water
Blend the coconut with 1 cup of the water and strain using a fine mesh sieve. Add the strained coconut meat back into the blender and blend with the rest of the water. Again strain milk thru the sieve. You should have about 1½ cups of milk.
For AIP version:
Omit all spices not permitted under AIP - use only star anise, cinnamon and cloves for spices

Steamed Swiss Chard Roll ups (Alu Wadi using Swiss Chard leaves)

dsc_0237 dsc_0247One of the best things I love about food blogging is the chance to come across so many different food bloggers and their recipes. One such blogger, Archana (who blogs at Ministry of Curry )and her recipe attracted me a few weeks ago when she posted the recipe for the traditional Maharashtrian delicacy of Alu wadi using Swiss Chard leaves.  I was so excited to see that since ‘Alu Wadi’ is traditionally made using Colocasia leaves and they are available in our Indian grocers only seasonally plus they are usually not of good quality. Plus Colocasia leaves have to be carefully picked otherwise they can cause itchiness in the throat. That happened to me once when I bought the leaves once to make all wadi in the early days of our marriage and after that I never again experimented with them 🙂

Alu wadi using swiss chard leavesGujarati cuisine also has a similar dish and it is called as patra however I always liked the Maharashtrian version better since the Gujarati version is a little too sweet for my palate.

So anyways, seeing Archana’s post made me want to try this recipe once again since Swiss Chard is so readily available here plus there is no issue of choosing the leaves carefully! Plus Archana did such a fabulous job of showing the detailed steps pictorially.  Archana blogs at Ministry of Curry and judging by her lovely and detailed recipes, she definitely can be called an authority in Maharashtrian cuisine as well as in other Indian cuisines as well. Thank you Archana for this wonderful idea. I am going to be making Alu wadi ..oops Swiss chard wadi quite often now!

I made a couple variations to the batter mainly because of my health issues. Since I am going light on legumes, I used Bajra flour (millet flour) for the batter mainly adding only a little bit of besan (chickpea flour). And replaced the tamarind (as that’s a big no for my arthritis) with lemon juice.  And oh yes, replaced the jaggery with some maple syrup.  The end result was so good…the kids and the Mr. loved it a lot. Since I had made a small ‘experimental batch’ it was all over too soon! Now that’s what I call a ‘super duper hit’ recipe!

Here’s my version of the recipe. Since Archana has posted step wise photos, I suggest you go to her post if you need detailed directions.

Steamed Swiss Chard Roll ups (Alu Wadi using Swiss Chard leaves)

  • Servings: Makes about 12-14 pieces
  • Time: 30 minutes preparation time and 25 minutes cooking time
  • Difficulty: Moderate
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Ingredients:

10-12 Swiss Chard leaves

For the batter:

  • 5 tbsp basra flour (millet flour) plus 2 tbsp Besan flour (chickpea flour) or use 7 tbsp chestnut flour (singhare ka atta)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp ajwain seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (or honey)
  • about 1/4 cup water

Olive oil for light frying

sesame seeds for topping

Method:

Clean the swiss chard leaves and cut the stems off.  Fold each leaf vertically in the center and trim off the bulging vein in the center slightly. This will help in rolling the leaves

Pat dry the leaves using paper towels and keep aside.

Mix all the batter ingredients together adding the water slowly to form a thick paste – it should have  a spreadable consistency but should not be too thin.

Now take the leaves one at a time and spread a thick layer of the batter (paste) on each leaf. Place a second leaf on top and repeat the same thing until you have a stack of 5-6 leaves. Now roll the stack of leaves as you would roll a towel rolling tightly as you go.

Repeat with the remaining leaves so that you have two rolled stacks.

Place a steamer on the stove to heat (Or you can make a steamer using a large cooking pot and a dish on the bottom. Fill this large pot with a little water. And place a small pan on top of the dish.)

Once the steamer is ready, place the rolled up stacks on the steamer (or in the small pan inside the large pot).  Cover the steamer and cook for about 15 minutes on medium heat once the water in the steamer starts boiling. Turn heat off and let cool for 10 minutes before taking the rolls out and cutting them into 1/2 inch rolls.

Finally, place a frying pan on the stove with a little bit of oil (about 2 tbsp ).  Top the cut rolls with sesame seeds and carefully place them sesame seed side down one by one in the pan.  Cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat until crispy on the bottom.  Sprinkle sesame seeds on the top and then turn the rolls to cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes.  carefully take them out on paper towels to catch the excess oil.  Serve the rolls warm!

Notes: You can also make a paleo version of this replacing all flour with chest nut flour (singhare ka atta)

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