Kerala Beans Stirfry/ Payar Mezhukkupuratti

Kerala beans stir fry

When ever our large clan gets together in Kerala, all the women folk converge at the kitchen table and you will hear them laughing and talking as their fingers fly splitting open long pods of beans into neat little piles of shiny plump little beans. We kids used to run around the group of aunties who didn't seem to mind or even notice us as they peeled and chopped onions, pounded spices, sizzled mustard seeds, stirred curries and efficiently cooked enough food to feed an army or one hungry brood!

Kerala beans stir fry

This time when I visited Kerala, I very eagerly joined my aunts in the kitchen. They were very patient with how slow I was compared to them and they overlooked the fact my pile comprised of more pod bits. I still don't have the patience to carefully pry open even the stubborn tender parts of the bean pod which house the tiniest of beans so I break off that part of the pod with the skin though my aunts can coax a bean out of even the narrowest parts of the pods.


This simple garlicy and spicy stir fry of beans is made very often and it's one of my favourites. I could eat a bowlful and it is very easy to make, if you can get past the pesky shelling or do what I do and simply break up the pods into little sticks if you don't mind the skin like me.

I was very happy to see these long beans at the farmer's market here. I think they are called Red Chinese long beans here and are available all year round. As soon as I saw the bunch I immediately wanted to make them into this beans stir fry which is all I can imagine making with them! You can use any variety, even french beans which you wouldn't be able to shell but simply break up. 

This type of preparation using just oil and spice sometimes onion and garlic is called "Mezhukkupuratti" in most parts of Kerala, meaning smeared with oil. It is often used to cook a variety of vegetables and is one of the most basic and popular ways to cook vegetables in South India. Thoran is a similar vegetable preparation but with the addition of shredded coconut and often tempered mustard seeds as well.

I know I post a lot of cake on this blog. I enjoy baking and I do love cake. But what we eat most of the time are simple vegetable or lentil dishes like this that get cooked in a hurry, usually about an hour before  dinner time and it's too late and too dark to take pictures. This year I hope to share more of these delicious and healthy dishes which very unfairly didn't get the attention that they deserve. Hopefully this will motivate me to also start cooking earlier, not scramble around in the evening trying to throw a meal together. Thankfully quick, healthy meals like this can also be super delicious!

pressure cooker pork chops kerala style

Valentine's day is coming up and I know I am supposed to post something that involves little chocolate hearts and pink frosting. I may or not be doing that in my next post. But today's post is for everyone who is looking for a great, easy one pot meal idea to cook for your guys for Vday or for a Super Bowl dinner or even an everyday dinner that will knock their socks off.
You know how they say that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach? Well this recipe for Kerala style spicy and tender pork chops is definitely man bait. Cupcakes piled high with frosting might make your girl friends happy. But its no secret that men like their meat. When its this delicious and easy to make so do I!

Pork chops that are tender and flavourful and seem like I have slaved over them all day. I haven't. But I don't have to admit that  :)

This recipe is from my mother. She along with my sister and I are veggie and lentil lovers. My father and brother are serious carnivores and they both love this and request it often and my mom happily obliges because it is so easy to make. When my mom came to stay with us, this is one of the first things she cooked for her new son-in-law too and years later he still remembers "the delicious pork chops your mom made".

This recipe is also popular in a lot of my aunts homes and others in Kerala too although it is not a traditional Kerala recipe. It was probably introduced there by Anglo Indian or British cooks and became popular and later adapted among the pork-loving Syrian Christian community. Another favourite is the Portuguese inspired fiery mouth scorching Pork Vindaloo. This dish is much less spicy and can be made with beef or mutton chops as well. Make it even if you are just cooking for yourself. Leftovers taste even better and this can be easily frozen as well.

Peas and Tomato Curry and Happiness

It's a little late to wish you a Happy New Year. Still I hope you all had a great time and have a truly wonderful, blessed year ahead. 
Our New Year was pretty low key, just the three of us at home, still it was nice. A bottle of champagne, The BEST pizza EVER - and it was home made! (recipe coming soon, I promise) chocolate truffles from Wholefoods (Surprisingly good. Surprising since it is vegan) and a movie in our pj's. 

I didn't even make a long list of resolutions to go and break in a week. Infact it was only today, as I was typing this post-my first, shiny new post of year 2012,  that I decided to make just one. 

No, this year I am not even going to bother resolving to hit the gym or to only eat salad. I know I would rather dance and jump around with my toddler than lift weights right now. It cracks me up that he's learnt to say "Shake it!"  and that most of his dance moves right now involve clapping or spinning around dizzily
I know that I will try to cook healthy food like this green peas curry in tangy tomato gravy that I will enjoy eating too, but sometimes I will want a slice of cake

Tomato and Peas curry

Yes, this year I have only one resolution: To be happy. 
My dad told me once how he read somewhere- that even if you are not feeling happy, if you decide that you are and even if you act happy you can convince your brain that you are!
In other words, happiness is in your mind and you can make up your mind that you will be happy no matter how anxious, guilty, or just plain sad you feel. 
And if you are happy then people around you, you kids, your spouse will be happy and you end up uplifting your whole family, your workplace, heck maybe even the world! 
I really hope you try this easy and healthy peas curry. I am quite sure that it will make you happy -at least while you eat it :)