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Kerala Dishes

Nenthra Pazhapulissery – Water Lilies and Sweet Melodies

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” – John Keats

While in Kerala recently, I saw this beautiful Aambal flower in the languidpond. It struck a chord  in  my heart . This wonderful  flower  has been a source of inspiration for many a Malayali  poet. Innumerable immortal melodies like

“Alliyaambal kadavillinnarakkyu vellam
annu nammal onnayi thuzanjille kothumbu vallam

(Film: Rosy, Singer: K J Yesudas, Lyrics & Music – P Bhaskaran-Job)


“Aambal poove… Aniyam poove…

Neeyarinju, neeyarinju… Ivalente Murapennu, murapennu…”

(Film: Kavaalam Chundan, Singer: K J Yesudas, Lyrics & Music – Vayalar-Devarajan)

have enthralled us for decades.The charm of these songs exist in all  its vitality  today and for all  tomorrows.

Overwhelmed by the sweet strains of a long-gone time, I savoured the nostalgic flavours of a period very precious. I wish I could freeze this delightful moment, lock it in a casket and throw away the key.

Pulissery has been a constant  for lunch in my house. Whenever I make pazha pullisery it is a big hit. The sweetness of the banana  with fresh coconut – chili paste and the sourness of curd makes it a topper.

Preparation Time20 min.       Cook Time25 min.           Serves4


  1. Nenthrapazham / Ethapazham / Ripe Plantain – 1, big, quartered, cut into pieces
  2. Red Chilly powder – 1/4 tsp
  3. Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  4. Fenugreek powder – 1/4 tsp
  5. Sugar – 1 tsp
  6. Curd – 1 cup
  7. Salt – to taste

 Grind To A  Very Fine Coconut Paste

  1. Coconut , grated – 1 cup
  2. Green chilly – 1
  3. Jeera seeds / Cumin seeds – 1 pinch

For Seasoning

  1. Coconut oil – 1 tbsp
  2. Mustard – 1/2 tsp
  3. Red Chilly – 1, cut in two
  4. Curry Leaves – 1 stalk


  • Cook ethapazham pieces in a thick bottomed pan with chilly powder and turmeric powder in  2 cups of water.
  • When  pieces are cooked, mash a few pieces with a ladle.  Add coconut paste, fenugreek powder and salt.  Simmer for 5 minutes .Take off heat. Beat curd and add to it. Sometimes it happens that the plantain is not sweet enough to combat the heat of the curry. Why worry – as my aunt would say – when sugar is available on the kitchen shelf. Add a teaspoon (or two) of sugar.
  • In a kadai, heat oil, season with mustard, red chilly and curry leaves, and pour into the pazhapulissery.

Quick TipDid you know that coarse coconut fibre is excellent  for cleaning pots and pans.

Quick Snack – Take a few dates. Slit it carefully on one side only. Deseed them. Insert one whole roasted cashew nut in the seed’s place. Close each date. Now you have a healthy and tasty snack ready.


About Paddy

When I married and came to Bangalore, it was a real ‘Pensioners’ Paradise.’ The climate was as today’s generation would say – ‘Awesome’. It was cool and pleasant throughout the year. My parents cautioned me to keep warm and have given me the loveliest Kashmir shawls, which I treasure to this day. Since I could not distinguish between rice and dal, cooking was an uphill task. I had a cook from Kerala, but the cold weather did not suit her and in a month’s time, she went back. Looking back, I have come a long way now… Cooking for me has metamorphosed from a daily routine of making edible and nutritious food for my family to an exciting journey of creativity by experimenting with different flavors and ingredients. To me, food is not only for nourishment and sustenance. Its taste and flavors take us back to our good times too. Food is nostalgia and comfort. It brings home our culture. Food is a treat and nourishment for the soul too. I dedicate this blog to my parents, who instilled in me a strong sense of ethics and discipline, and whose affection, love and support gives me strength in this journey of life. I feel the need of today’s generation, who come away from their homes and crave for home cooked food. To you too, I dedicate this blog, where I will share the recipes that I have learnt and grown to love over the years.


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