Red Moong and Squash Erissery for Veggie Belly as I'm off to India!

I am heading off to India next week! Am really excited-  this will be the little one's first visit to India to meet his adoring great grandmothers, uncles, aunts and cousins! Am also quite panicked because this will be the first time that I am travelling alone with the troublesome toddler, without his Pappa to keep him in check and provide entertainment.

As I am running around like a headless chicken packing tiny t-shirts and miniature nail clippers and all the other sundry things the monkey and I will need,  I decided I also wanted to do a guest post for Sala of Veggie Belly who is on a cross country road trip! How cool right? As a kid my parents would drive us down to Kerala almost every month and I LOVED it! making pit-stops at road side dhabbas for parottas, quarreling with siblings for the window seat, singing out loud and watching the changing landscape as we whizzed by, cities melting into villages and then forests and hills and fields, and the excitement as we spotted "our" river and the road curved into my grandmothers driveway.... and I might get to do atleast some of that soon. Hope that you are having an awesome time Sala, thank you so much for haing me over to guest post for you!

(Update: This picture won me my very first DMBLGIT award for photography! )

Since Sala is part Malayali and loves Kerala food, I am sharing one of my favourite everyday Kerala dishes, Red Moong and Butternut Squash in Coconut ( Van Payar Mathanga Eriserry ) -something simple yet comforting and delicious, and perfect for the transition to the fall season that I will be missing out on. I think it will  make a really different yet delicious addition to your thanksgiving feast :)

Eriserry is a typical lentil dish from Kerala like parripu (Dal or Yellow Moong stew) and cherupayar (Green Moong) and is part of everyday meals being nutritious and easy to digest. It is also often part of the Onam Sadhya or harvest feast. I like to serve eriserry with a heaping mound of rice, pappadam and pickle and don't forget the payasam for dessert!

Do head over to Veggie Belly for the rest of the post and the recipe and well as drool at Sala's glorious vegetarian fare including such awesomeness as chocolate beetroot cake and lovely Chettinad fare!

Also sending this off to this month's Kerala Kitchen hosted by the lovely Divya of Easycooking. Don't forget to send her all the Kerala inspired dishes you cooked up this month!

And please DO pray that the little monkey and I survive our trip ( and each other!) See you all next from India :)

whipped cream cake- soft airy and cloud-like!

I am totally enjoying having my mom here. Whenever I am with her I hardly even enter the kitchen and happily relax and enjoy her delicious cooking. Everything -even things that I make all the time like dal and even coffee tastes better when mom makes it for me. Mothers have some extra special kaipunyam or magic touch, don't you think?
But I am always game to make the dessert so when she said she felt like eating cake, I happily obliged with this treasure from Rose Levy Beranbaum who is considered the Queen of cakes. This cake is apparently one of her most popular and with good reason. It is tender, airy and cloud-like. Perfect as a simple tea cake or as a layer cake underneath oodles of frosting and it is my current and absolute favourite- a definite must try for all cake lovers! 

Here is a close up shot so you can see how tender it is! Similar to an angel food cake in texture but minus all those eggs and so much easier to make! 
The main fat comes from heavy whipping cream and not butter. Yes you read that right, this unusual cake contains no butter, instead using cream. I am dying to buy a carton of cream and make this again with some simple whipped cream frosting or my favourite chocolate nutella ganache frosting with the leftover cream, or maybe slathered in some dulce de leche , or with some juicy fruit? Mmmm the possibilities! Since we practically inhaled this cake though, you can guess that it's pretty awesome on its own! 

ada payasam for onam (sweet flattened rice and milk pudding from Kerala)

Tuesday September 11 2001. Ten years. Gosh has it been that long? I am not from New York. I have never been to New York but I am sure like me, almost everyone around the world will remember what they  were doing that day. Early in the morning, I was in my college hostel room in India prepping for a test when my roommate rushed in with the day's news paper. I will never forget the look on her face. Shock, disbelief. Such a senseless tragedy that impacted so many innocent lives.

I remember asking my grandfather after a trip to the zoo when I was eight or so, which animal he was thought could be the scariest and he answered "Man". I understand today how much cruelty and at the same time, how much goodness man is capable of.

By contrast, September is the beginning of many celebrations in India. There are many religious festivals during this time starting with Ramzan to Ganesh Chaturthi to the week long Diwali celebrations in October and ending with Christmas and the universal New Year's festivities when the air is thick from the smoke of fireworks. In Kerala this weekend many Malayalis like me, whether they be Hindus or Christians or Muslims would have wished each other a Happy Onam although Onam is a Hindu festival unique to the state. They believe that during Onam the good king Mahabali visits the homes of his people and so special feasts are prepared and a carpet of flowers laid out to receive him. Today it is celebrated by one and all. Who would not like to share in a delicious feast? I wish we all can find more such happy reasons to come together.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Onam weekend. I enjoyed having my mom here in the US for Onam and the two payasams she made. The first is my favourite and very simple to make,  in fact I would call it beginner's payasam. Am sending this off to Divya who is hosting this month's edition of The Kerala Kitchen  as well as to Shulie for her Rice Love event :)

grilled chicken wings indian style for the last few weeks of summer

This has been one glorious summer. Beautiful sunny days just meant to be spent outdoors. Picnics, barbecues  melting ice cream, fairs, trips to the park and the  farmers market and a bounty of fruits and veggies and grilling. Let's not forget the grilling!

Especially when it came with views like this..

and days like these..

This is a picture I love of the little monkey going for a walk (or rather a run!) with his Ammama, after which he brought me this flower, sometimes its a leaf or a twig. Once it was a tiny rock. Toddler treasures! 

But back to the grilled chicken which made this summer complete. Simple to make on a grill or under the broiler or even on a pan on the stovetop. Easy and delicious!