From Inji Thairu to pookkalam cake

Onam sadya has undergone several makeovers these past years. The latest to face the white heat on the culinary anvil is payasam. TNIE brings you the latest changes and how Malayalis view them.
Chenathandum Cherupayar Thoran, Dragon Fruit Nurukku Gothamb Payasam and Zucchini Olan. (Photo | Express)
Chenathandum Cherupayar Thoran, Dragon Fruit Nurukku Gothamb Payasam and Zucchini Olan. (Photo | Express)

KOCHI: Chenathandum Cherupayar Thoran

By Vijayalekshmi Sarang, a former school teacher and food enthusiast from Attappadi


  • Elephant yam stem: 1 stem (washed and cleaned well)
  • Green gram (soaked overnight): 1 ½ cup
  • Chopped shallots: ½ cup
  • Grated coconut: 1 cup
  • Rice: for spluttering
  • Dry chilli: 2 
  • Curry leaves: as required
  • Salt: as required
  • Turmeric powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Green chillies: 4 (slit and seeds removed)

Method of preparation 
Cook the soaked green gram and drain the water, and keep it aside. In a pan, pour coconut oil and splutter a few rice grains in it, then add dry red chili pieces and curry leaves. Add the sliced shallots and stir well, until it change colour. Add salt and turmeric powder, and sauté well. Later, add the chopped elephant yam stem and stir well. Close the lid and cook on low flame. Add the grated coconut and cooked green gram to the mix and stir well. Close the mix by covering a banana leaf on top of it and then close the lid. Cook for a few minutes. Stir well and serve hot. 

Kiwi Pachadi 

By Keerthi Nair


  • Kiwi: 3 (not too ripe)
  • Green chillies: 3
  • Cumin seeds: 1/2 tp
  • Mustard seeds: 1/2 teaspoon ( crushed ) and one teaspoon for tempering
  • Coconut oil: 1 tablespoon
  • Dried red chillies: 3 to 4
  • Curry leaves: 2 to 3 strands
  • Jaggery: 2 tablespoon
  • Chilli powder: 1/2 tablespoon
  • Turmeric powder: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Yoghurt: 3 tablespoon
  • Salt: to taste

Method of preparation 
Peel and dice 3 kiwis and keep it aside. Grind 1/2 cup of grated coconut with 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds, water and keep it aside. In a clay pot, add diced kiwi, curry leaves, slit green chillies, two tablespoons grated jaggery, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1/2 tablespoon chili powder, water and salt to taste; cook on a medium flame until it becomes soft. Put the flame on medium, add coconut paste to the kiwi and mix well.

Add 1/2 teaspoon of crushed mustard seeds over the curry and mix well. Turn off the flame and add the yoghurt and more salt if needed; mix well. Heat coconut oil and splutter some mustard seeds, curry leaves and dried red chillies; pour over the curry and enjoy.

Inji Thairu


  • Yoghurt/curd: 1 cup
  • Finely chopped ginger (Inji): a handful
  • Finely chopped green chillies: 3-4
  • Curry leaves: as required 
  • Salt: to taste

Method of preparation 
Add the finely chopped fresh ginger, salt, and green chilies into a bowl. Mix them well with your hands and keep it for half an hour. Add the fresh curd or yoghurt as per need and stir well.

Avil Payasam 

Recipe by Mohammed Shaji,  executive chef, South Park Hotel


  • Avil: 300 gm
  • Milk: 1.5 litres
  • Saffron: 1 gm
  • Ghee: 250 gm
  • Raisins: 20 gm
  • Cashew: 50 gm
  • Cardamom powder: 10 gm

Method of preparation 

Heat the pan on a medium-low fire and add the 100 grams of ghee. When the ghee melts, add cashews and raisins and fry them till they turn golden. Keep them aside. In the same pan, stir and mix the avil well in the ghee. Roast till the avil changes to a light golden colour.

Then add milk and saffron. Keep the heat on low and bring the mix to a boil for 3 minutes. Then add sugar and cardamom powder and mix well so that sugar dissolves. Continue to simmer the avil payasam for 3 to 5 minutes. Turn off the stove. Add the roasted cashews and raisins to the payasam. Serve hot.

Dragon Fruit Nurukku Gothamb Payasam

By Najiya Ershad, founder of Yummyspot


  • Dragon fruit ripe (pink): 1 nos
  • Ghee: 100 ml
  • Sugar: 200 gm
  • Broken wheat: 1 cup
  • Milk: 1 litre
  • Cardamom powder: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cashewnuts, raisins: 100gm

Method of preparation 
Wash the broken wheat well and soak in water for half an hour. In a pressure cooker, cook the soaked broken wheat and keep it aside after one whistle. In a pan, put 150 gm ghee and add the smashed dragon fruit pulp. Stir well. Once the consistency starts to become thick, add sugar and stir for 15 minutes till the water gets drained out. Later add 1/2 litre milk and cardamom powder and stir well. Add the cooked broken wheat into the dragon fruit mix and stir well for five minutes on low heat. When it becomes thick add the rest of the milk and ghee and let it boil. Then add the roasted raisins and cashew nuts, mix everything well.

Zucchini Olan

By Keerthy Nair


  • Zucchini: 2 medium size
  • Thin coconut milk: 1 cup
  • Thick coconut milk: 1/2 cup
  • Curry leaves: 2 to 3 strands
  • Green chillies: 3
  • Coconut oil: 1 tablespoon
  • Salt to taste

Method of preparation 
Wash and chop two medium-sized zucchini with skin. In a clay pot, add chopped zucchini, three slit green chillies, one strand of curry leaves, 1 cup of thin coconut milk( second coconut milk), and salt to taste and cook well. Once the zucchini becomes soft enough, reduce the heat to low and add 1/2 cup of thick coconut milk; mix well. Turn off the heat and season the olan with coconut oil and lots of curry leaves. Cover the pot and allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes. Serve with Kerala Matta rice.

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