Alamelu Vairavan, a Whitefish Bay resident, is an author and culinary instructor. Alamelu has a passion for educating the public about the use of spices and legumes in preparing healthy and tasty foods. She is also interested in educating the public about the growing research that points to the enormous health benefits of spices in preventing many diseases. Her mission is to enrich people's culinary experience and to inspire them to discover that cooking and sharing healthful foods can be an especially joyful experience.
Visit Alamelu's web site, CurryOnWheels.com.
Farmer’s Market is my playground during summer and fall weekends. I love the vibrant fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers that farmers so enthusiastically bring to us in their trucks for bargain prices. I feel so happy to talk to the farmers and enjoy buying farm fresh vegetables, herbs, and flowers. To me, farmers look like so divine when they bring the nutrient-rich, fresh produce harvested from their farms.
I was invited to do cooking presentations in two open air farmer's markets in Milwaukee this summer and fall. In both places, it was a beautiful sight to see people so relaxed, talking to each other and asking farmers, what is this, what is that, and how do you cook this vegetable and so on.
In one of these markets, I remember several visitors taking a variety of eggplants and asking what each was? I was standing next to them and told them to come to my “Chef Demo” tent and to see these vegetables being cooked. They got excited and many came to see me cook eggplant and zucchini (green and yellow).
While I was cooking, many volunteered to wash, cut the vegetables and were eager to be my assistants. So, I put them to work and it was fun. It was a great bonding experience with the community. Many came to me and said, they had enjoyed my cooking TV programs on MPTV. I was thrilled to hear some say that they cook a lot these vegetables after watching my shows.
After the cooking presentations, my assistant, Sharron Jewell and I packed everything, then bought a lot of vegetables, fruits, and herbs and came home. My husband, KV asked me how everything went and I showed him all the fresh chilies, tomatoes, vegetables that I bought at the market. He was happy to see me so energized by the “treasures” that I brought back home.
After about an hour, my doorbell rang. I went to answer and there was this young woman standing with two bowls of vegetable dishes. I immediately recalled that she had attended my cooking demonstration at the farmer’s market. I was surprised and invited her into my home. She said, “What you cooked in the market was amazing, I am glad I bought your cookbook and your start-up spice package after your demonstration. I went home and cooked what you showed us in the market. I brought these dishes for you to taste and to tell me if this is what they should look and taste like”.
I said, “Oh, wow, let us see what you cooked”. This young woman had cooked the same Eggplant Masala and Seasoned Zucchini Poriyal that I had just demonstrated in the market.
I could not believe my eyes and it was like I made it. She followed our recipe and there it was. I tasted it and it was delicious. I was amazed that I could motivate someone to do what I did in the market within a very short time. It was truly a magical and memorable experience for me!
Note: I will be thrilled to read your comments to this blog.Thank you.
When I read the “Food Section” of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel dated June 6, 2012, I was saddened and surprised to see what “Lousy Cooks: Class of 2012” were quoted as saying.
Here are some quotes followed by my own reaction (shown within parenthesis).
What do you think?
To all the so called “lousy cooks”, I say, there is hope. Cooking is love. Cooking and sharing foods will enrich your life and health. Explore and learn cooking. Say, "I can become a good cook" and cook with confidence. You will see the joy you bring to yourself and to your loved ones! Happy Cooking!!!
I am thankful that so many of you took the time to send me feedback about the first three episodes of my MPTV series titled, “Healthful Indian Flavors with Alamelu”. I hope you are enjoying the cooking shows on MPTV. I want to let you know that I have prepared many of the dishes from my shows for kids in middle schools. I found their response to be one of excitement and enjoyment in trying the flavorful foods. Cooking is love and is very nurturing. As Pensey says, “Love people, cook them tasty food”!
Let’s look ahead and see what is coming up on MPTV on Saturdays at 12:30PM on Channel 10, with repeats on Sundays at 2PM on Channel 36 and 16, and on Fridays at 6PM on Channel 10. Shall we?
Episode 3 (Jan. 21st): Let us see how to cook light and flavorful meals, as follows.. Kohlrabi Sambhar (Kohlrabi vegetables in lentil sauce); Lima Beans Poriyal (a seasoned stir-fry with lima beans with coconut); Tuna Masala…sounds good?
Episode 4 (Jan. 28th): An all-time Indian favorite…Chicken Biriyani Rice (Aromatic Basmati rice cooked with chicken and garnished with cashews); an easy-to-prepare Garlic and Pepper Chicken; Cabbage with Ginger and Coconut Poriyal ( a quick, flavorful stir-fry) and Onion and Tomato Yogurt Salad!
Episode 5 (Feb.4th): A colorful blend of Carrots and Peas Pilaf Rice with Walnuts; Chicken Kurma (tender pieces of chicken cooked in almond, ginger, coconut sauce); vibrant green Brussels sprouts with Chick Peas and coconut Poriyal (a stir-fry)
Episode 6 (Feb. 11th): An enticing range of flavors….a mouthwatering Lamb Saag (lamb enhanced with fresh baby spinach), a Seasoned Mushroom and Onion stir-fry, and absolutely delicious Seasoned Sweet Potatoes with Coconut!
Episode 7 (Feb. 18th): Family-friendly meals such as Black Pepper Rice with Cashews, delicious Shrimp Masala and Green Beans with Ginger and Coconut (aka “Green Bay Packer’s Poriyal” as I call it.)
Episode 8 (Feb. 25th): Cooking made easy……Flavorful Bell Pepper and Radish Sambhar (vegetables in a lentil based saucy dish); Curried Eggplant and crunchy, vibrant Zucchini with Coconut Poriyal and Carrot Raita.
Episode 9 (March 3rd): Home cooking at its best…. Egg Kulambu (hard-boiled eggs in an aromatic tamarind based dish), Cauliflower Kootu (Cauliflower with lentils) and the amazing delicious Broccoli with Coconut.
Episode 10 (March 10th): Absolutely delicious dishes…Shrimp in Eggplant Sauce, Potato Masala, and Seasoned Fresh Spinach in Yogurt!
Episode 11 (March 17th): Learn the power of the plate through two wholesome vegetable dishes such as Beets with Coconut Poriyal, Spinach Poriyal (spinach cooked with moong lentils), spinach poriyal made into Spinach Rice with Cashews, also if you happen to be in a hurry, I will show you how to make Chicken Curry in a Hurry !
Episode 12 (March 24th): Add spice to your life with Fish Kulambu ( Fish in a seasoned garlic, tamarind sauce); Mixed vegetable blend of Cauliflower, Potatoes and Peas Masala and an ultimate cooling, comfort food Yogurt Rice enhanced with lemon and ginger.
Episode 13 (March 31st): Turn bland to grand foods using spice and legumes and join me as I prepare Black eye Peas with Mango Kulambu, Swiss Chard with Lentils and Coconut and Cracked Wheat Uppuma and the popular yard long coffee called Madras Coffee (like cappuccino)
All but a very few recipes from the shows are from our cookbook, “Healthy South Indian Cooking-Expanded Edition”. Cookbook available through MPTV and also on amazon.com
I will be delighted to hear from you with any questions or comments. You can contact me through my website www.curryonwheels.com
“Healthful Indian Flavors with Alamelu”
Saturday (January 14) at 12:30 p.m. on channel 10.1
Repeats Sundays at 2 p.m. on channel 36.1 or 16
Fridays at 6 p.m. on channel 10.1.
In this second episode of this series, I will prepare two wholesome breakfast dishes with two great accompaniments – dipping chutney, and an aromatic and easy-to-prepare saucy potato dish.
The menu is the following: Uppuma – a common South Indian breakfast item prepared with cream of wheat, peas and carrots, and garnished with cilantro and cashews Adai – A multigrain lentil pancakes made with moong, red lentils and yellow split peas loaded with nutrients. Peanut Coconut Chutney- a creamy chutney made of peanuts and coconut. Onion and Potato Kose – a delicious blend of onions and potatoes cooked in a tomato-base sauce!
You will see these breakfast items are loaded with flavors using wholesome vegetables. The pancakes are prepared from multigrain lentils all soaked and ground together with aromatic spices to make a thick batter.
With pancake, instead of sugared syrup, we serve high protein chutney made with peanuts and coconut. You will see how quickly you can whip up this chutney that can also be used as a spread in regular bread or as dip with vegetables.
Cream of wheat in South India is often cooked with mild spices and vegetables. This common South Indian breakfast, called Uppuma, will appeal to everyone including children. Cream of wheat is straight from our grocery store and is also known as “Enriched Farina” (2 ½ minutes cook time). See how quickly we can cook this dish with vegetables.
Onion and potato kose is a thick, flavorful tomato-based sauce. This aromatic sauce can also be served over rice or as a side dish to any meal.
Let us prepare these breakfast delights with easy-to-prepare accompaniments! Shall we?
Feel free to contact me through my website www.curryonwheels.com and I would love to hear from you. Thank you!
“Healthful Indian Flavors with Alamelu”
TV Series Begins: Jan. 7th, 2012 Saturday
13 (1/2 hour) shows
Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. on channel 10.1
Repeats Sundays at 2 p.m. on channel 36.1
Fridays at 6 p.m. on channel 10.1.
For more Info: www.curryonwheels.com
In this first episode, please join me as I prepare the following aromatic and flavorful dishes:
Lemon Rice, Butternut Squash Masala, Spice-Rubbed Seared Salmon!
I am excited about the upcoming TV series on MPTV. I believe it is a timely series that will help people discover easy-to-prepare, delicious healthful dishes. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Looking back, the year 2011 was a remarkable year for me in my culinary journey!
Now, looking ahead to 2012, I feel energized to promote my passion in healthful cooking to the public. Have a great, productive, healthy New Year!
Green Bay Packers are great this season. They have continued where they left off last year. I love the Packers and I also love their green and gold colors- not only in their uniforms but also in preparing my foods. The colors make my vegetables appealing and come alive.
Let us see… how we can make “green beans” a star vegetable on our dinner table for the holidays. We will enhance “green beans” with lentils (yellow in color), ginger and coconut. Does it sound good? I assure you, that this dish with its vibrant colors will be so appealing to the eye and the palate that even the kids would love it.
Green Beans cooked as a stir fry with yellow split peas (or moong lentil), ginger and coconut is known as “Green Beans Poriyal” in South India. But I will suggest a different name: Green Bay Packers Poriyal! I was so happy when this particular recipe from my cookbook, “Healthy South Indian Cooking”, appeared a couple of years ago in the newspaper, Green Bay Gazette, published in Green Bay, WI. It was recommended as a tailgate party dish for the Packer games!!
The color of the dish is vibrant with a green and gold treatment. This dish is appealing, wholesome and tasty. Coconut adds delicious richness and is used as a light garnish. Now you can try it in your kitchen for Thanksgiving or for any other occasion.
Green Beans Poriyal: (Green Beans with Ginger and Coconut)
*1/4 cup yellow split peas or moong lentils
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp.cumin seeds
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp. minced green chili
1 pound green beans, diced (stems removed) , about 3 cups
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1/4 tsp. salt (more, if desired)
*1/4 cup unsweetened coconut powder or fresh shredded coconut
1. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a sauce pan. Add split peas or moong lentil with 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric. Cook over medium heat, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside. If water seem to evaporate while cooking, add 1 cup of water to lentil until they become soft and tender. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. When oil is warm add cumin seeds until they become toasted. Add onion and chilli. Stir for a minute.
3. Add green beans and stir into above mixture. Add ginger, salt and 2 tablespoons water to facilitate the cooking process. Stir and cook covered over medium heat. When beans are crisp tender add cooked split peas (moong lentil) and coconut powder. Stir and serve warm.
(Yellow split peas are available in small packets in regular grocery stores and yellow moong lentil, powdered coconut, and fresh shredded coconut in the freezer.. are available in natural food stores like Outpost and in Whole Foods. This recipe is a slightly varied recipe from our cookbook to make all ingredients easily available from local grocery stores.)
Go Packers Go and Happy Thanksgiving!