Pazhampori/Banana Fritters. One of the many popular evening snacks in Kerala

Nice and ripe plantain slices coated with lightly sweetened white flour batter and deep fried, it just melts in your mouth after each bite… My love for Pazhampori started since the time I could trace back my memory, we had a neighbor, who made Pazhampori every single day, and she would get me a few... every single day. There came a point when I kind of got addicted to it, then mom stepped in and told me I couldn't have em regularly, with the promise that she would make it for me once in a while, she kept her promise, but still, I wasn't too happy about foregoing my daily share of Pazhampori, and was quite sour at that point... it took me a few years from there to put together things like hogging on fried items, putting on weight, the troubles of losing that weight, the health issues and so on and on. I got over the craze gradually, and settled down to rejoicing at the occasions when  Mom made em at home. Later on, when I was on a train journey once, I happened to pass through Palakkad railway station, amongst many other noises around the station, one in particular caught my attention, the monotonous calls of one food vendor, it was none other than the one selling Pazhamporis. Not that you don’t get Pazhampori elsewhere, but I had heard from many that the ones you get at Palakkad railway station are yumm. I had my hubby running for the Pazhampori guy... It is quite good for the store bought standards, but definitely nowhere close to the homemade ones, but I still loved it nevertheless. 

For homemade Pazhampori 

You’ll need…

Ripe plantains – 2; sliced slanted or lengthwise into ½” thick, and about 2-3” long pieces
Maida/All-purpose flour – 1 cup
Rice flour – 2 tbsp.
Sugar – ¼ cup
Cardamom – 1; powdered
Salt - 1 pinch
Egg – 1 (optional)
Baking powder – 1 pinch (Optional)
Water – 1 cup (just enough to make a thick batter)
Oil – for deep frying

Heat the oil in a deep bottomed pan, on a medium flame. While that is getting heated, you can prepare the batter.
In a bowl, mix all the ingredients, except the plantains. Add the water gradually; the batter should be of thick but pourable consistency.
Dip the plantain slices into the batter to coat it well, and immediately drop it into the hot oil, you could fry 4 or 5 at one time, turn them around to fry both the sides, till they turn to a golden color.
Strain out of the oil onto a tissue paper to remove excess oil.  
Serve hot!

Sausage Rolls

3 cups warm water
3 tsp. active dry yeast
1 cup honey
5 cups Maida/All-purpose flour
3 tbsp. butter, melted
1 tbsp. salt
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, plus 2 or 3 cups if necessary
Sausages, for as many rolls as you are making
1 to 2 tbsp. melted butter for brushing

  • Mix warm water, yeast, and half the honey. Add the all-purpose flour, and mix well. Set aside for 30 minutes, or till it has risen a little.
  • To the above, add 3 tbsp. melted butter, remaining honey, and salt. Add the whole wheat flour; knead until it’s just pulling away, but still slightly sticky to touch. This may take an additional 2 or 3 cups of whole wheat flour. Grease the entire surface of the dough with a little butter or oil. Cover with a soft cloth and keep it in a warm place. Leave it aside till it has risen and doubled in size, this may take about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Once it has risen well, pat it down, and divide into small balls in the size of the rolls that you prefer - small, medium or large. I made small ones.  Flatten out each ball to about an inch thickness, place half of a regular sized sausage, or 1 cocktail sausage, in the middle and roll it up, making sure the ends are stuck firmly and does not come loose.
  • Place in greased baking pans, and leave it until dough has risen to at least about half an inch.
  • Bake at 350°F /175°C for 20 to 30 minutes; do not over bake. Lightly brush the tops of rolls with melted butter when done to prevent the crust from getting hard. Serve warm.

Prawn Roast

A worldwide favorite and definitely the most versatile seafood.... the vote would most certainly go to Shrimp/Prawn. Shellfish usually are more popular than other kinds of seafood, for most people mainly due to the ease of cooking, versatility, the ease of eating, since there's no bones to worry about (with the exception of crab of course!) and more than anything, the taste! 
I don't really wanna go on to the part where I'd have to admit to prawn being high in cholesterol... for now we'll jus skip that and get to the interesting part...

For the Prawn roast, we'll need

Prawn or shrimp - 1/2 kg
{Marinated for 30 minutes in 1/2 tsp chilli powder, a pinch of turmeric powder, a tsp of lemon juice and 1/2 tsp salt}
Onion - 1 big, chopped
Tomato - 1 big, chopped
Green chillis - 1, chopped
Garlic - 5-6 cloves, crushed and chopped
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Hot red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Kashmiri chilli powder (for color) - 1 tsp
Pepper - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Coriander leaves, chopped - 2 tbsp
Coconut oil - 3 tbsp
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a shallow pan and fry the prawns just until they turn white. Remove and keep aside. 
In the remaining oil, add the onions and saut√© till they turn pink. Add the tomatoes, green chilli and garlic, saut√© till the tomatoes are softened and the oil starts to rise through. Add salt, turmeric and both the chilli powders. Fry for a minute, just enough to get rid of the raw smell of the powders. Add the prawns and mix it in well, so that the masala is well coated on the prawn. Throw in the curry leaves and the coriander leaves. Prawn roast ready to serve!!

Tomato jam

The most easiest, and my personal favorite of all homemade jams. Its simplicity is probably its best part.

Ripe red tomatoes, chopped – 4 cups
Sugar – 4 cups
Juice of 1 lemon
Cloves – 3 to 4

Add all the ingredients to a heavy bottomed non-stick pan and cook till it’s mashed and turns into a sticky dropping consistency. When it cools, store in jars. It’s as easy as that!

Tagging the recipe with the event "Any One Can Cook: Series 38" @ Taste of Pearl City hosted by 

Raspberry Cheesecake, with a little twist

Cheese cakes are a pleasure indeed, combine that with raspberries, its just amazing. And that’s exactly what I did. I find the crunchy, fruity, cheesey combination a treat for the mouth. I couldn’t get my hands onto any fresh raspberries to decorate, so  I decided to make do with something I had around—Willy Wonkas Gobstoppers.. I know its silly.. but I thought that adding one more ingredient which I love to something that’s already so lovable was harmless, and anyhow since there were no fresh raspberries, this seemed like a fun replacement.

Bottom layer – the crunchy biscuit layer:
Digestive biscuits – 100 gms, crushed finely
Butter – 50 gms
Take a shallow, loose bottom, microwavable cake dish, around 6” in diameter, put the butter into this, heat it up, in a microwave oven till the butter has melted, this takes just around 20 seconds. Add the crushed biscuits to this, stir it in, and press it down  evenly around the base of the cake dish. Heat on high in a microwave oven for 1 minute. Keep aside.

Middle layer – the cheesy layer:

Philadelphia cheese (or any soft and full fat cheese) – ½ cup
Cottage cheese – ½ cup
Egg – 1, beaten
Lemon juice – 1 tsp
Powdered sugar – 3 ½ tbsp
Raspberry essence – ½ tsp
     Add all the ingredients to a bowl and beat lightly till its all well combined. Pour it through a seive into another bowl. You will have to press the mixture down to help it pass through the seive.
·        Place the bowl in a microwave oven on high for about half a minute. Take it out, whisk it with a wire whisk, put it back into the oven and cook for another 30 to 40 seconds, remove and repeat the process of whisking and cooking once more. The mixutre would be thickened now, whisk once more and pour over the biscuit layer in the cake dish.
·       Place it into the microwave oven and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Keep turning the dish a bit after every half minute. Keep aside till it cools down.
·       Now store the dish in the chiller section of the refrigerator till the remaining parts for the cheese cake are done.

Top layer – the fruity layer:

Canned raspberries in syrup – 1 can, about 250 gms  
Corn starch – 2 tbsp  

·         Strain canned raspberries and keep the raspberries aside. Pour the syrup into a bowl.
·         Mix the corn starch with equal amount of water to make a loose paste. Mix this with the raspberry syrup and cook in a double boiler for a few minutes, stirring continously, till the mixture thickens up to a dropping consistency.
·         Add the raspberries to this mixture and stir it in. Keep it aside for 5 minutes.
·         Now pour it evenly over the chilled cheesecake and put it back into the refrigerator.
·         Let it chill for atleast 4 to 5 hours.

You can decorate it with whipped cream and fresh raspberries, which is your typical cheesecake deco, or you could get whacky and use something you have on hand, like Gobstoppers.. ;-)

Tagging the recipe onto the event "ABC Series: DESSERTS" @ Ramya's recipe... hosted by Ramya