Relishing the Onasadya: Recipes of Chef Salin Kumar

 Chef Salin Kumar, Executive Chef at The Gateway Hotel shares his special Onam recipes  

Onam is one of those rare festivals that binds every Malayali to his roots. It’s a festival that celebrates history, tradition, culture, cuisine and the unity of Kerala. Although the arrival of King Mahabali, the exotic ‘Pookalams’, the vibrant Vallamkali (boat race), the magical Pulikali and the elegant thiruvathirakali (dances) are some of its enchanting traditions, the Onasadya is definitely an indispensable part of this gala festival. As Kerala prepares to celebrate yet another Thiruvonam, RITZ catches up with one of the top Chefs in Kochi who shares some of the traditional Onam recipes with us! 

Compiled By: Riya Sonny Datson

Photography: Binu Avarachan

Chef Salin Kumar, Executive Chef at The Gateway Hotel

Chef Salin Kumar, who hails from Alleppey, Kerala started his career two decades ago and has worked with many leading hospitality brands. He has been with the Taj group for almost a decade now and specialises in Italian, Western, cold kitchen and Moplah styles of cooking.

 

Dates and moong pradhaman

Ingredients

Split yellow moong dal           250 gm

Dates                                          150 gm

Jaggery                                      750 gm

Ghee                                           50gm

Coconut milk (thick)               200ml

Cardamom                                10 gm

Ginger Powder                          5 gm

Cumin Powder                          5 gm

Cashewnuts                               50 gm

Raisins                                        25 gm

Method

Clean and chop dates finely. Wash moong dal 2-3 times in water, strain and dry it on a tray. Heat 15 gram ghee in a pan and dry fry moong dal till light golden color. Transfer in to a heavy bottom vessel and add 500 ml water, cook till soft or pressure cook to one whistle. Mash well with the back of the ladle. Make Jaggery syrup in a pan by adding enough water and strain. Add jaggery syrup, chopped dates, cardamom, cumin and ginger powder to the cooked moong dal, mix well and cook few more minutes. Add coconut milk slowly, mix well and simmer till it gets the right consistency. Fry the cashews and raisins in balance ghee. Add it to the Payasam and mix well before serving.

Pineapple Kalan

Ingredients

Pineapple                       250 gms

Turmeric powder         5 gm

Chilli powder                5 gm

Green chillies               3 number

Ginger julienne            10 gm

Coconut                         2 nos

Coconut oil                   2 tbsp

Cumin Seeds                5 gm

Curd                               500 ml

Mustard                         10 gm

Fenugreek (uluva)      10 gm

Red chillies                   4 number

Curry leaves                  2 sprig

Salt                                  to taste

Pineapple

Method

Select semi ripe pineapple. Peel, core and cut the pineapple in to cubes. Cook the pineapple with turmeric powder, one number slit green Chilli, half curry leaves, Chilli powder, and little water. Add curd and salt.  Mix well on low flame and allow the gravy to become semi-dry. Grind coconut, ginger, cumin seeds and green chillies to fine paste. Add this paste to the pineapple and cook for 3 minutes on a low flame. Heat coconut oil in another pan, add mustard seeds, then fenugreek and allow to splutter. Now add the curry leaves and fry it for a while. Pour the seasoning over the curry, check the seasoning and serve hot or cold.

Pumpkin Erissery

Ingredients

Yellow pumpkin                                 250 gm

Black eyed beans                                100 gm

Coconut oil                                           50 ml

Mustard                                                10 gm

Cumin seeds                                         5 gm

Dry red chilli                                       4 numbers

Curry leaves                                        10 gm

Turmeric powder                                10 gm

Grated coconut                                   125 gm

Green chilly                                        20 gm

Salt                                                      to taste

Method

Wash and soak black eyed beans for 2 hours and cook in salted water or pressure cook up to two whistles and keep aside. Grind 100 gm coconut, jeera and green chilli together and keep it aside. Peel, remove the seeds and cut pumpkin in to small cubes. Cook pumpkin with salt, turmeric powder, curry leaves and little water till soft. Add ground paste in to pumpkin, mix together and lightly mash with back of the ladle. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seed, allow to pop, add curry leaves and dry chilli, stir for few seconds. Pour the mixture over the curry, mix well and check the seasoning. Heat one table spoon of oil and fry 25 gm grated coconut till golden brown and pour it over the erissery. Serve hot.