Starting On A Sweet Note With Chef Salin Kumar !

Chef Salin Kumar shares special recipes of traditional yet exotic delicacies of Kerala  

When it comes to health and diet, research now suggests that it’s best to ‘Go back to our roots’. The traditional methods of cooking and the use of home grown organic veggies is definitely the way forward. Ritz catches up with the Executive Chef at The Gateway Hotel, Kochi who shares some of his special recipes of traditional yet exotic delicacies of Kerala. Chef Salin Kumar hails from Alleppey and he started his career in crafting delicacies almost two decades ago. He has worked with many leading hospitality brands and has been with the Taj group for almost a decade now. He specialises in Italian, Western, cold kitchen and Moplah styles of cooking.

Compiled By: Riya Sonny Datson

Photography: Binu Avarachan 

Pineapple Kalan is a sweet yet savoury delicacy of Kerala that is served with rice and curry especially in a Sadya setting.

Ingredients

  • Pineapple 250 gm
  • Turmeric powder 5 gm
  • Chilli powder 5 gm
  • Green chillies 3
  • Ginger julienne 10 gm
  • Coconut 2
  • Coconut oil 2 tbsp
  • Cumin Seeds 5 gm
  • Curd 500 ml
  • Mustard 10 gm
  • Fenugreek (uluva) 10 gm
  • Red chillies 4
  • Curry leaves 2 sprig
  • Salt to taste

Method

Select semi ripe pineapple. Peel, core and cut the pineapple in to cubes. Cook pineapple with turmeric powder, slit green chilli (1 no.), half of the curry leaves, chilli powder and little water. Add curd and salt to this mixture. Mix well on low flame and allow the gravy to become semi-dry.

Meanwhile 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, next add fenugreek and allow to splutter. Now add the curry leaves and saute it for a while. Pour the seasoning over the curry, check the seasoning and serve hot or cold.

Pumpkin Erissery is a traditional dish of God’s own country that uses coconut, pumpkin, beans as its main ingredients. Perfect accompaniment for rice or Chappathi.  

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
  • 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. Cook the soaked beans in salted water or pressure cook up to two whistles and keep aside. Next Grind 100 gm coconut, jeera and green chilli together and keep aside.

Peel, remove the seeds and cut pumpkin in to small cubes. Cook the cubes with salt, turmeric powder, curry leaves and little water till it softens. 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 it to pop, add curry leaves and dry chilli, stir for few seconds. Pour the mixture over the curry. Mix it 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 dish. Serve hot.

Dates and moong pradhaman is a rich dessert. This payasam uses moong dal, dates, jaggery and the goodness of coconut milk.

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, add 500 ml water and cook till it softens or pressure cook to one whistle.

Mash this well with the back of the ladle. Make jaggery syrup in a pan by adding enough water and then sieve the syrup to avoid lumps and impurities. Add this jaggery syrup, chopped dates, cardamom, cumin and ginger powder to the cooked moong dal. Mix well and cook for 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.