Monday, February 2, 2009

Chembappam & Erachi Porichathu....(Fried Dumplings & Beef Fry)

This is my vellimma's (grandma's) recipe for the unexpected guests and Puthiyappilas (bridegrooms). Whenever there is an unexpected guest, I always remember my vellimma, tucking her saree palloo and setting out to get the ingredients. I would be sitting on the kitchen slab and watching all the proceedings. Everyone, would be running around trying to get the snacks and tea on the table.

My favorite place on this earth is my maternal grandma's house in a small town in Perinthalmanna, Kerala. I feel totally at peace when I am there. Me, being the first grandchild, I was always treated like royalty. When there is talk about memories, I always go back to Perinthalmanna, all my best chilhood memories lie there. Those 2 month vaccations were just awsome. But when the chance came for me to stay there and study for my Engineering, I cried, I cried a loot. I wanted to get back to the UAE. I missed UAE. Strange.......

This is a very very simple recipe... NO PRIOR COOKING EXPERTISE REQUIRED!!!!

This snack tastes the best with erachi porichathu(Beef Fry). Our kunjumol chechi(another important character in our household), makes the best beef fry.. My sister is a beef freak, her mouth waters when she smells the beef cooking in the pressure cooker. I have not mastered KC's beef fry, but I have my not so bad variation.

So for the Chemabappam recipe:


Rice Flour (the one we use for pathiri) – 1 cup

Eggs – 2

Coconut Milk/Whole Milk - ½ cup

Soda powder – a pinch

Salt – to taste


Mix the eggs, milk, salt and soda powder. To this add rice four in small quantities and mix togather to form a thick batter. The batter should be like the batter for cakes. You can add more milk to get the right consistency. Now heat the oil, when it is piping hot, take the batter with your hands and drop it into the oil in the shape of water drops(messy way, I like it this way), you can also take it in a teaspoon and drop the batter into the oil by pushing the batter with another spoon (This will give another shape to the chembappam.)

That is all for the chembappam recipe.

This is the consistency the batter should have.

Let's look how to cook the beef. Lets see... I have,

Beef - ½ kg

Ginger –1” piece

Garlic – 8 cloves

Green chillies – 2

Red chilli powder – 1 tsp

Pepper – 1 tsp

(yes it is HOT!!!)

Garam masala – 1 tsp

Salt – to taste (I use lots of salt, so its better to use according to your taste)

Turmeric powder - ½ tsp

Corriander powder – 2 tsp

Put all these ingredients into a pressure cooker (its better to grind the ginger,garlic and green chillies) just mix everything togather with your hands. Put one or two sticks of curry leaves and close the pressure cooker and cook this for 3 whistles on high heat, and 2 whistles on low heat. Sometimes the beef gives out lots of water, that is the reason i did'nt mention any water addition, but you can always add a little bit of water if you think the beef will not give out any.

Once the cooker has lost the pressure and check if the beef has cooked. When its done,heat up a big frying pan or a wok and put in some coconut oil and let it heat up. Once the oil is hot, add 1 onion when it browns lightly add a handfull of curry leaves and just after that dump the contents in the cooker into this.

Caution: If there is too much water in the beef just take out the beef with a spoon and put it into the oil, and light up the pressure cooker once again and let the liquid reduce.

Let the beef fry in the oil on slow fire. Keep checking the gravy(if you have followed the cautionary notice!!), once the gravy has reduced, add this to the beef. As soon as the beef has come down to a semi gravy, fry form, switch off and add some more curry leaves.

The chembappam needs to be consumed when it is warm. It looses its taste when it is cold.