Plantain Chips

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Plantain chips or β€˜Upperi’ is not the same as Banana chips. Atleast in the US, that’s a huge difference. Banana and plantain are 2 different fruits. Some of these information you realize or learn only when you have to deal with it πŸ˜› To me, banana and plantain was one and the same. When I had to make chips, which is made of Plantain(Nendrakkaya), I had to be sure not to pick raw banana instead. To me it was a new thing that I learnt this time πŸ˜› Some of you, like DD, might think that how could I not know the difference and how can I act dumb!!! πŸ˜‰ But for me, it was the same experience as finding out that Lime and Lemon are 2 different fruits and are NOT the same πŸ˜€

Whether or not I should make plantain chips was a difficult decision to make. Its so much more easier to just buy it from stores. But when I thought I will make a special page for Onam, I thought I should try every recipe however tedious or easy it is. After I made it, I felt so happy because these things are so easy to make at home and I feel our generation already doesn’t know so many cooking techniques our previous generations practised. Afterall, Kerala is famous for its Banana chipe or rather Plaintain chips. So I feel proud that I learnt how to make the most popular snack of my homeland πŸ™‚

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INGREDIENTS:
Note: Cup used for measurement is US measurement cup, 1 cup = 237 ml

Oil – 2 cups
Coconut oil(optional) – 1/2 cup
Raw Plantain – 1 no
Turmeric powder – a pinch
Salt – to taste(approx. 1/4 tsp)

METHOD:

1. Remove the plantain skin well. You would need to use a small knife for ease of removing it. Do not use a peeler!
2. In a bowl of water, put some turmeric powder and immerse this plantain in it.
3. Meanwhile, heat oil(+coconut oil) in a kadai(deep cooking pot).
4. Also, mix salt in approx. 1/2 cup water and keep aside.
5. Once the oil is heated, take the plantain and wipe it well using a kitchen towel. Using a slicer, slice the plantain into thin slices and put into hot oil. Slice it directly into the oil to prevent plantain slices from sticking to each other.
6. Let the plantain cook in medium-low or low flame. You will have to let it cook for a long time for it to get crispy. So ensure that it doesn’t burn or turn brown in the process of frying them.
7. Once the plantain chips is almost getting ready(when it makes a hissing sound), sprinkle the salt water on the chips evenly(Be careful when you do this. The oil will splatter. A splatter guard will be handy in this case.)
8. Take out a plantain chip and if it is not chewy/uncooked, remove the chips and place on kitchen towel till the excess oil is removed. Else continue to cook till the chips are crispy.

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ONAM SPECIAL !!! Sadya Vibhavangal…

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Onashamsagal…Happy Onam πŸ™‚

Onam is a festival celebrated in Kerala during harvest season. It has a story behind it too. Since this is probably the only festival that most Keralites celebrate, I will briefly explain the story behind it and the celebrations and activities done during this season πŸ™‚

Story telling time πŸ˜› Long ago, there was a mythical King called Mahabali who ruled Kerala. This is considered the golden era of Kerala because during his rule, the subjects were very happy and joyful. The people felt very secure and there was not a lot of crime, supposedly! It is believed that King Mahabali visits his people every year to see how they are doing. So during the harvest period, post the autumn season, people celebrate the homecoming of King Mahabali and commemorate the Vamana avatar of Vishnu.

The festive time falls during Aug-Sep. During this time, children and ladies put Pookalam, a floral arrangement on the floor with various designs. When we were in school and colleges, we used to have Pookalam competitions. The team that puts the best design wins the title. It used to be so much fun during those times. We would go 5-6 hours before the competition. While some of us take out the petals of the flowers, getting the flowers ready for the pookalam, others draw the design on the floor and few others contribute by just cheering us up to bring out the spirit of Onam πŸ˜€Β We have other activities very unique to Kerala that are held during this festive time. Vallamkali (Boat race), Pulikkali etc. are just couple of them.

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However, of all these things, the highlight of Onam for most of us is the Onasadya or the Onam Feast. Since this is the harvest season, there is an extravaganza of food during this time. Onam is celebrated for 10 days. It starts on Atham-First day and ends with a bang on Thiruvonam-Tenth day. On Thiruvonam, during lunch time, the onasadya is served on a banana leaf and there areΒ about 15 items served for that meal. From region to region the dishes could vary and the numbers could differ too. There is a way that the banana leaf is placed and the way each dish holds a specific place on the leaf.

I have been wanting to put together a page which would give a good repository of all the items/dishes made during Onam. Enjoy this great season with great food, be cheerful and bond with your family, for that’s the spirit of Onam πŸ™‚ Once again, Happy Onam to all !!!