Kerala Style Vegetable Ishtu is the perfect accompaniment to Paalappam. It is a classic breakfast dish. The vegetable ishtu is a medley of vegetables simmered in the naturally sweet coconut milk. There is no holy grail in recipes and each one does what they like best. I have blogged a recipe for Ishtu earlier when I wrote the recipe for another favourite of mine, Idiappam or String Hoppers. Here is the current favourite version of ishtu, the addition of caramelized onion on the top, adds a nice depth to the flavour of this dish.
Kerala Style Vegetable Ishtu (Serves 4)
Mixed vegetables – 2 ½ cups, cut into small square pieces (carrot, potato, cauliflower, beans, peas)
Onion – 2 medium, 1 to be chopped roughly, the other to be sliced in semi circles and set aside.
Green chilli – 1, slit lengthwise
Oil – 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon
Whole Garam Masala – 1 star anise, 2 one inch sticks of cinnamon, 2 cloves, 4-5 pepper corns, 1 cardamom split open
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Salt to taste
Coconut Milk (Thick) – 1 cup ( I used coconut milk from a carton)
1 tsp finely chopped / julienned fresh ginger
½ tsp sugar
Coconut Oil – 1/2 te
In a pan heat the oil and fry the sliced onions till golden brown on a gentle heat. Remove the onions onto a plate and set aside. Continue to add the star anise, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and pepper corns in the same oil, after a few seconds add the julienned ginger, chopped onion and green chilly.
When the onions turn transparent, add the vegetables, ½ a cup of water, salt and cover and steam for about 7-8 minutes till the vegetables are tender, cooked but not mushy.
Add the coconut milk, ½ cup of water (or adjust according to the consistency of gravy desired), simmer for a minute. turn off the heat and let it stand for atleast 10 minutes before serving.
Heat the vegetable oil and coconut oil together, add curry leaves and allow them to sizzle, add the caramelized onion to this and take off the heat. pour this over the ishtu just before serving. Serve with Idiappam or Paalappam