Onam Special

Onam kerala

Happy Onam to all my fellow Malayalis and Malayalis at heart :) I hope you all enjoy a wonderful feast and have some extra for me :)

Onam is the harvest festival of Kerala celebrated not only by the Hindus for whom it is a religious festival, but by everyone throughout the state and all Mallus scattered worldwide,  as a sort of celebration of everything that is beautiful and beloved to Kerala! If you visit Kerala during Onam, you will see colourful carpets made from flower petals outside every home, beautifully dressed women in their white and gold saris and ornate jewelry with strings of jasmine in their hair, and boat races along the many rivers, and if you are really lucky maybe even some Kathakali performances or Puli Kali ( tiger dance with the dancers bodies painted orange and striped black to look like tigers)

I hope to enjoy a full blown Sadhya this year after ages. Sadhya to all my non-Mallu friends is a large feast of delicious vegetarian dishes ranging from spicy to tangy to sweet, served with a mound of rice, typically on a large banana leaf, which ofcourse is my favourite part of Onam!
I am really looking forward to my Onam celebration with my sister-in-law's family, especially since my cute little niece will be performing a special Onam dance! but this Onam get together is happening only in two weeks. So tomorrow, I will be making just one or two of our Onam favourites. Since it will just be the two of us and the monkey I am not attempting to make a full Sadhya (that might probably kill me!) Preparing a full Sadhya requires a lot of collaborative effort and you need a team of dedicated, chattering aunts or a team of skilled cooks to accomplish!

Here are some of my favourite dishes from the archives that may be part of the Sadhya:

Kerala beans stir fry

And now to my favourite part... the dessert! 

carrot pal payasam collage

For more Onam special recipes visit our Kerala Cooking group- The Kerala Kitchen 

I think the apart from the Payasams, Eriserry is my favourite. What is your favourite Onam item?

Mascarpone Ice Cream with Wine Poached Cherries

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Sitting cross legged on the grass, feeling the sun on our backs, talking and laughing, watching my toddler entertain himself as puppies chased each other, and savouring scoops of ice cream that melted away too quickly, as did the afternoon itself..

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Looking for tree toads! 
There is something about eating ice cream that makes a fun day, even more fun don't you think? Though I think I now enjoy making  ice cream as much, if not even more than eating it! I made this peach bourbon ice cream without an ice cream maker, and we also loved this pistachio honey, salty caramel. and this macaron ice cream sandwich.. so how could I let this summer go by without making even one? 

This time I wanted to make something to pair with all kinds of glorious summer fruits and it so does- it's lightly tangy from home made mascarpone cream, a perfect match for fresh, poached or roasted summer fruit like these deep red cherries which I poached in red wine, but I just know it will be as spectacular with caramelized grilled peaches.

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(See how to pit cherries with a beer bottle!)
Best of all, it requires no ice cream maker! I kind of stumbled onto this when I whizzed together some home made ( yes, yes homemade! and it couldn't be easier- I'll tell you how soon, promise) mascarpone cheese and whipped cream and then froze the whole thing because I knew a tub of THAT would not be safe anywhere else but the freezer!

The resulting ice cream is smooth and rich and so, so lickable! It kind of took me by surprise by how good it was considering how easy it was to make. You must know that we are a household of ice cream snobs, and will allow ourselves only the luxury of Jenny's Splendid Ice Cream or my Bay Area favourite Bi-Rite. This one passed our ice cream test, so you know it is good. Real good!

Mascarpone Ice Cream with Wine Poached Cherries

Also check out this tantalizing Cherry Ginger Chutney , this gorgeous Cherry Ice Cream  and this tempting Strawberry Ice Cream that my friends Prerna, Kankana and Viji made that triggered my cherry + ice cream quest!

How to pit cherries without a cherry pitter

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Pitting a bowl of these can be messy business if you don't have a cherry pitter. Since I already have several gadgets that I hardly use and I hate buying stuff that serves only one purpose, I was thrilled to see this idea from food52. I know I might be a little late to be sharing this, but it was too good not to!
Simply place the cherry in the mouth of an empty bottle with a small neck- your typical beer bottle. 
Use a sturdy plastic straw, a pastry tip or  a plastic spout like I used (something with a sort of nozzle works better, than the chopstick that they suggest I think) to gently push the pit out, right into the bottle! Easy!

How to pit cherries without a cherry pitter