It’s hard to believe that a quarter of the year has passed already. April is special for Malayalees all over the world as we get together with friends and family to celebrate Easter, Vishu, and Ramadan. We celebrate our unique Malayalee traditions for each one of these festivals, which gives us and our kids an opportunity to build and strengthen strong bonds with friends, and share common values regardless of differences in religion and faith.
This edition of the COMA newsletter includes Easter, Vishu and Iftar recipes from culinary experts from our community, and hopefully, a few of you may be able to incorporate these dishes as part of your celebrations. I hope you will all create happy memories that will be cherished for your entire lifetime!
If you would like to submit content for future editions, please reach out to the EC team (email@example.com). Content should be 250 words or fewer.
— Smitha Nishant
Upcoming COMA Charity drive
COMA will be setting up a donation link through which you can contribute funds to Different Art Centre, led by Professor Gopinath Muthukad. Different Art Centre educates and empowers specially abled children with various disabilities, and expands the focus of training from concentrating on magic to art forms such as music, dance, drama, cinema making, painting and skills in various musical instruments, all blended with a magical touch.
A mission that focuses on boosting self-confidence of specially-abled children by unleashing, recognizing and sharpening their raw talents through scientific methods involving various artforms – all leading to their empowerment in multiple ways.
This is a video of Professor Muthukad meeting with the COMA EC team and Trustees when he visited Columbus in March.
Sreejith Chandran’s Random Ramblings
(One half of his brain has gone nomad and the other has gone in search of the first. Glorifying his random ramblings and packaging it is his main hobby! Otherwise sane and grounded.)
എന്റെ ലോകം നീ മറന്നോ…
സഹപാഠികളായ കുറച്ചു പെൺകുട്ടികളോട് സംവദിച്ചു കൊണ്ടിരുന്ന എന്റെ അടുത്തേക്ക് വന്നു ചെവിയിൽ നീ പറഞ്ഞു, “ഓ കൃഷ്ണാ…!” മഞ്ഞു മായുന്നതും മഴപെയ്യുന്നതും കാക്കാതെ നിനക്ക് ഞാനെഴുതിയ അടുത്ത കുറിമാനം ഇങ്ങനെ ആയിരുന്നു, “എന്റെ രാധ!” ഇത്രമേൽ പ്രണയാർദ്രമായി അതിനു മുൻപും അതിനു ശേഷവും എഴുതിയിട്ടില്ല . രണ്ടു വാക്കിൽ എന്റെ മനസ് ഏറ്റവും ആഴത്തിൽ നിനക്ക് ഞാൻ തുറന്നു കാട്ടി! രാധയും കൃഷ്ണനും രണ്ടല്ല, ഒന്നാണെന്ന് മനസിലാക്കി കടന്നുപോയ കാലങ്ങൾ… തുളസിമാലയിൽ കോർത്തെടുത്ത നിന്റെ ഹൃദയമിടിപ്പുകൾ നെഞ്ചിലേറ്റിയ കാലം.
കുരുകുലവും കുരുക്ഷേത്രവും ശൂന്യമായിരിക്കുന്നു… ഗാന്ധാരി ശാപവും പേറി വേടന്റെ ശരവും കാത്തു കിടക്കുമ്പോൾ, നിന്നിലേക്കുള്ള ദൂരം ദ്വാപരത്തിൽ നിന്ന് കലിയുഗത്തിലേക്കുള്ളതാണ് എന്ന തിരിച്ചറിവ് പാദത്തിലേറ്റെക്കാവുന്ന മുറിവിനേക്കാൾ വേദനാജനകം ആണ്. പ്രാണൻ എപ്പോഴേ പോയിരിക്കുന്നു! എന്റെ ലോകം നീയും നിന്റെ ലോകം ഞാനും മറന്നു തുടങ്ങിയിരിക്കുന്നു!
– ശ്രീ (കൃഷ്ണൻ)
Kerala Style Spicy Dry Roasted Chicken / നാടൻ കോഴി പെരട്ട് – Simple Subin
(Simple is an IT professional residing in Powell with her husband Subin and two children, Kevin and Trisha. She enjoys cooking and likes to experiment with new recipes. She loves traveling with her family, watching Bollywood movies, and loves spending time with her friends.)
Treat yourself to an authentic Kerala Style Spicy Dry Roasted Chicken / നാടൻ കോഴി പെരട്ട്. This recipe serves about 6 people. The naadan roast pairs very well with rice, Malabar paratha, or roti.
- 3 lb cut chicken, medium size pieces
- 3 big onions (thinly sliced)
- 3 green chilies (slit)
- 2 tbsp chopped ginger
- 2 tbsp chopped garlic
- 3 tomatoes (chopped)
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tbsp red chili powder
- 2 tbsp coriander powder
- 1 tbsp pepper powder
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- ½ tbsp cumin powder
- 3+1 sprigs of curry leaves
- salt – as required
- oil – as required (I prefer to use coconut oil)
Heat some oil in a pan over medium heat and once it is hot, add the chopped ginger and garlic to the pan and fry it for a minute or two so that the raw smell is gone. Make sure to not burn them in the process. Add the tomatoes and a sprig of curry leaves and cook it till the tomatoes become soft and mushy.
Reduce the heat to low and add turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander powder, and cumin powder. Roast them on low heat till the raw smell is gone while making sure to not burn the spice powders. Add the chicken pieces, salt to taste, and ¾ cup of water. Mix it well so that it is combined. Cook the chicken on medium heat and once the water/gravy has reduced to a thick sauce texture, turn off the heat.
Meanwhile in another pan, heat oil. Add curry leaves, sliced onions, green chilies and a little salt. Sauté until onions become translucent and golden brown. Now transfer the cooked chicken to the pan, add the rest of the sprigs of fresh curry leaves, sauté well to mix the chicken and the onions properly, and cook for another 3-5 minutes with the lid on.
Lower the heat, remove the lid, add pepper and garam masala and dry roast the chicken for another 10 minutes until all the liquid is dried out and the chicken is coated well with the masala. Garnish with curry leaves and allow it to rest for a few minutes.
Unniyappam / ഉണ്ണിയപ്പം – Sudeepa Pramod
(Sudeepa, a Columbus resident for over 15 years, is a software engineer and foodie who also loves to travel and cook. She lives with her husband and two teen daughters in Powell, OH)
“Unniyappam illade endu Vishu aghosham”. Here is a recipe for making soft and yummy unniyappams. I learnt this recipe from my mother and it has been a huge hit among my friends and family.
- Raw Rice – 3 cups
- Ripe Plantain (Nendra Pazham) – 2 nos
- Jaggery – 10 to 12 cubes
- Black Sesame Seeds – 2 tbsp
- Coconut bits – 1 cup
- Baking Soda – a pinch
- Salt – a pinch
- Cardamom Powder – a generous pinch
- Oil (Canola or coconut oil) for frying
- Unniyappa Chatti
- Steamer or idli vessel for steaming the plantain
Wash and soak the rice overnight or at least 5-6 hours. Drain the water and grind to a smooth paste.
Steam cook the plantain for 10-15 mins. Cooking time depends on how ripe the bananas are. The skin of the banana loosens once they are cooked and the bananas have turned soft. This is the indication that it’s done. Peel off the banana skin, grind the banana to a smooth paste, and add it to the rice batter.
Fry the coconut bits in a small amount of ghee and keep it aside.
Melt jaggery in 1 cup water, strain it, and mix with the rice/banana batter. Next, add cardamom powder, sesame seeds, fried coconut bits, salt, baking soda, and mix well. Batter should not be too thick or too thin. Add wheat flour (atta) if the batter is too thin, or add water if too thick.
Heat the unniyappa chatti, add a teaspoon of oil in each cavity. When the oil becomes hot, reduce the flame to medium and fill the cavities with batter. When the bottom starts browning, flip it over to the other side using a spoon. Once the other side turns golden brown, remove and drain on a kitchen towel. Repeat the same process for the rest of the batter. Soft Unniyappams are ready to be served.
Note: This recipe will make 50-60 medium sized appams.
Ernakulam style Chicken Biriyani (കോഴി ബിരിയാണി) – Shinimol Saidumuhamed
(Shinimol Saidumuhamed is a Quality Analyst by profession. She lives in Dublin, Ohio with her husband, Aslam, and their two children, Minha and Ayaan. Cooking has always been a passion of hers since childhood, inspired by watching her mom cook. In her early years of cooking, she was interested in making puddings, but after marrying Aslam (who is not into sweets), she stopped making them. Shini’s passion then turned to making Biryani and other spicy foods, which her husband, kids, and friends love.)
For me, cooking is a way to show love and bring people together. I believe that sharing a meal can create a sense of community and foster deeper connections between people. Whether I am whipping up a batch of my favorite Chicken Biryani for a family gathering or experimenting with a new fusion recipe for my friends, I approach cooking with passion, creativity, and a deep love for those around me.
Kerala is known for its wide variety of Biryanis. And it is important to note that there are different styles of Biryani in Kerala, each with its unique blend of spices and preparation techniques. For example, the Malabar Biryani from northern Kerala is made with short-grain rice, while the Thalassery Biryani is known for its fragrant rice and use of oil. The Kozhikode Biryani, on the other hand, is famous for its generous use of ghee and caramelized onions.
Despite the variations, one thing is certain: Biryani is a dish that is cherished and celebrated across Kerala, with each region adding its unique touch to this beloved dish.
As someone from Ernakulam, I would like to share the unique preparation method and ingredients we use to make Biryani in my hometown, which is distinct from other styles of Biryani in Kerala.
Note – this recipe serves three people.
Ingredients set 1 – Chicken marination for fry
- Chicken – 600 gm, cut into pieces – almost 10 pieces (half of a chicken)
- Ginger-Garlic paste – 1 Teaspoon
- Turmeric powder – ¼ Teaspoon
- Coriander powder – 1 Teaspoon
- Chilli powder – 1 Teaspoon
- Garam Masala powder (mix of cinnamon stick, cardamom, bay leaf, and cloves) – 1 Teaspoon
- Salt – 1 Teaspoon
- Lemon juice – 1 Teaspoon
- Curd – 4 Tablespoons
Ingredient set 2 – Garnish
- Red onion – 2 (medium size) / 250 gm, for onion deep fry. (You can get fried onions from any Indian grocer’s, so you can skip this process)
- Ghee – 3 Tablespoon
- Cashew nut – 1½ Tablespoon
- Raisins – 1½ Tablespoon
Ingredient set 3 – Chicken masala
- Refined Oil – 3 Tablespoons
- Garam Masala powder (mix of cinnamon stick, cardamom, bay leaf, and cloves) – 1 Teaspoon
- Red onion – 3 (medium size) / 300 gm
- Ginger, Garlic and Green Chili paste – 2 Tablespoon
- Salt – ½ Teaspoon
- Chilli powder – ½ Teaspoon
- Crushed Black Pepper- ½ Teaspoon
- Turmeric powder – ½ Teaspoon
- Hot water – ¾ Cup (180 ml)
- Chopped tomatoes – 2
- Curd – 1 Tablespoon
Ingredient set 4 – For cooking the rice
- Basmati Rice or Jeerakasala Rice (Kaima) – 2 Cups (400 gm)
- Water – 3¾ Cup
- Bay leaf – 1
- Cinnamon stick – 1½ Inch Piece
- Cloves – 4
- Cardamom – 2
- Lime juice – ½ Teaspoon
- Refined oil – 1 Tablespoon
- Salt – 1 Teaspoon
- Onion – ¼
Ingredient set 5 – For Dum
- Mint leaves – ¾ Cup
- Coriander leaves – a small bunch
- Ghee – 2 Tablespoons
Ingredient set 6 – Toppings
- Eggs – 2
- Pineapple bits – a little
- Saffron – 1 small pinch
- Milk – 1 Tablespoon
- Coriander leaves
- Mint leaves
Step 1 – Half fry the chicken – Use Ingredient set 1
In a mixing bowl, marinate the chicken with Ginger-Garlic paste, Turmeric powder, Coriander powder, Chili powder, Garam Masala powder, Salt, Lemon juice, and Curd. Set it aside for an hour in the fridge. After an hour, deep fry the chicken until half cooked, using refined oil, and keep it aside.
Step 2 – Fried garnish – Use Ingredient set 2
Add three to four tablespoons of ghee to a pan. Fry the cashews until lightly golden, then add the raisins. When they turn plump, transfer them to a plate.
In the same pan, add finely sliced onions and fry them until golden or light brown. (You can skip this step if you are using store bought fried onions). Set them aside along with the cashews and raisins for garnishing.
Step 3 – Chicken masala – Use Ingredient set 3
Heat oil in a pan (you can reuse the same oil used for frying the chicken). Add sliced onions and sauté until they are translucent. Add ginger, garlic, and chili paste, and sauté until their raw aroma dissipates. Add chopped tomatoes and sauté until the masala is cooked. Then, add turmeric powder, chili powder, pepper, and salt. Mix well.
Add the half-cooked fried chicken to the masala and mix well. Cook for ten minutes on low flame. Finally, add curd and sauté for two minutes. By the end of this step, the chicken and masala will have combined into a thick gravy.
Step 4 – Rice cooking – Use Ingredient set 4
In another pot, heat ghee and add the whole garam masala and thinly sliced onions. Sauté until onions are translucent. Add water and bring to a boil (for 1 cup of rice, take 1.75 cups of water). Add basmati rice to the boiling water and let it cook on low flame until the water is fully absorbed.
Step 5 – Dum, garnishing, and topping – Use Ingredient sets 5 and 6
For Dum, take a large pot and create layers by adding chicken masala at the bottom, followed by cooked rice, another layer of chicken masala, and some freshly chopped coriander and mint leaves. Add another layer of rice on top of the chicken masala. Garnish with fried onions, cashews, raisins, pineapple bits, and more chopped coriander and mint leaves.
Drizzle some ghee over the top. To give the Biryani a yellow color, mix saffron with hot milk and pour the mixture over the rice.
Cover the pot with a tight lid and cook on low flame for five minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the pot covered for another thirty minutes.
Step 6 – Boil eggs
Boil eggs in a pan.
The Biryani is ready. Enjoy this mouth-watering Biryani with your family and friends. Don’t forget to add a boiled egg on top of the served Biryani like in the picture.
Note: It will take approximately three hours to prepare this Biriyani if you follow all the steps. This includes the marination time.
COMA Meals on Wheels
COMA volunteers covered 7 routes in the first quarter of 2023. If you are interested in volunteering, please reach out to the EC team. Here’re the routes we covered this year.
- March 26, 2023 Arun Kumar, Priya Arun, Aishwarya Arun, Adithya Arun
- March 26, 2023 Kurian Uthup, Preetha Uthup, Keziah Uthup, Marissa Uthup, Hannah Uthup
- March 12, 2023 Arun Kumar, Priya Arun, Aishwarya Arun, Adithya Arun
- February 26, 2023 Remya Krishnan, Madhu Parameswaran, Sreya Madhu
- February 12, 2023 Gayatri Thampy, Sumitra Thampy-Norton, Chris Norton
- January 22, 2023 John Patrick, Anitha John, Stevie Rajesh, Dannie Rajesh
- January 8, 2023 Joseph Abraham, Nancy Joseph, Joshua Abraham, Rachael Abraham
Upcoming COMA events
COMA is conducting a badminton tournament in April, and the event is open to both members and non-members. Details will be announced soon on the COMA website.