Monday, August 13, 2007


Another one of my favorites, this is a simple Rajma/ Kidney Beans curry that goes very well with rotis /parathas and rice.

Rajma / Red Kidney Beans - 1 cup
Onion - 1 to 2 medium sized or 3/4 large finely chopped
Tomato - 2 medium sized chopped
Green chili - 1
Garlic - 2
Ginger - 1'' piece
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chili powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Garam Masala Powder - 1 tsp (This time Sakthi Masala)
Oil - 3 tbsp
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves - a few chopped

Soak rajma in water overnight. Change and add just enough water to cover the rajma and pressure cook the rajma and salt for upto 3 whistles.
In a saute pan, heat 1 1/2 tbsp of oil and add the chopped onion, green chili, ginger and garlic and saute for 6 to 7 minutes until the onions are soft and on low to medium heat. Add the tomatoes and cook for further 5 minutes. Turn of the heat and let it cool for 2 minutes.
Grind the mixture to a smooth paste. In the same saute pan heat the rest of the oil, add the paste and cook on medium to low heat until golden brown, you should start seeing the oil separating from the mixture. You can also do it on high but you would need to keep stirring to avoid burning. I prefer to let it cook on medium. Add the turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder and garam masala. Stir and fry for 2 to 3 minutes more.
Add cooked rajma(along with the water in which it was cooked). Add an additional 1 cup of water. Taste and add a pinch of salt if required. Stir well and cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Bring to boil. Garnish with chopped green coriander leaves and serve hot.

The goodness of Kidney Beans.

You can put a dash of heavy cream on top when you add the garnish.

I sometimes also add 1/2 tsp of Amchur(Mango Powder) along with the dry powders for a tangy taste.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Mixed Bean Adai

My Korean friend introduced me to the mixed bean pack and I was wondering how a dosai or and idli would taste using it and searching online I came across Shaheen's Blog where she had so artistically presented the 16 bean Adai. Kudos to Saffron Hut too. Well here is my version of the same.

16 bean mix - 1 cup (You can also add any other beans you might have at hand)
Urad Dal -1/2 cup
Tuar Dal - 1/4 cup
Channa Dal - 1/4 cup
Idli Rice- 1/2 cup
Flax Seed meal - 1 tbsp
Black Pepper - 5 to 6
Green chili - 4 to 5 finely chopped
Ginger - 1 inch finely chopped
Curry leaves
Onion - 1 medium sized finely Chopped
Coriander Leaves - 2 tbsp
Curry Leaves - a few
Asafoetida-1/2 tsp
Salt to taste

Soak the beans, rice and the dals separately overnight or at least in the morning to make the adai at night.
Drain the grains and grind to a a smooth thick paste adding little water at a time along with the ginger, pepper, 1/2 of the coriander leaves and green chili. You might have to do it in batches. Add the rest of the coriander leaves, onions, Flax seed meal, asafoetida, salt, curry leaves and mix. Ladle and spread the batter to make dosai on a nonstick pan or a dosa kalle. Cover and steam on one side for 5 minutes or cook both sides. Use drops of oil as need over the adai. Serve with Coconut or Tomato Chutney.

Keep the batter overnight to make soft idlis's.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Beetroot Poriyal

Another one of those veggies that I literally ran away from when I was little, I think it was one those major issues with veggies having too much color - red beets, purple brinjals, green spinach and big green and sometimes weirdly red inside bitter bitter gourds - I don't know what I expected a bitter gourd to taste if not bitter!! Anyway thats a whole different story. Now I make beets at such regular intervals that I wonder how I did without them for so long. This is a very simple Poriyal/ Mezhukperutti, I normally have this with Rice, Lemon Rasam and Vattals ... don't ask me if it is a perfect combo but for me its heaven.

Beetroot - 1 1/2 cup small cubes
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Dried Red Chili - 1
Curry leaves - a few
Green chilli - 1tp 2 depending or taste , substitute - 1/2 tsp red chili powder
Oil - 1 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a saute pan and splutter the Mustard seeds, urad dal, dried red chili and curry leaves. After a minute add green chili and followed by the beetroot. If you are using red chili powder wait for five minutes after adding the beets. Stir occasionally. Add the salt. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes minutes of low to medium heat. You can add 1 tsp of water if you want, but you won't need it as the beets would sweat it out.
Remove and serve hot with rice and any gravy/ sambhar or rasam.

The goodness of Beets

Semiya Upma

You will find this versatile quick fix at an early Saturday morning brunch or late Monday nights or even in lunch boxes ... Lot of people prefer this to the regular rava upma and I am no exception. But can't say the same for hubby dear..!!

Semiya - 1/2 pack
Onions - 1/2 chopped
Tomato - 2/3 medium chopped
Carrot - 1/4 cup finely chopped
Beans - 1/4 cup French cut
Soy beans - 1/4 cup - I use from a frozen pack
Peas - 1/4 cup
Red chili powder - 1/3 tsp
Turmeric - a pinch (optional- I have not used)
Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp chopped
Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

Mustard Seeds 1/2 tsp
Urad Dal - 1 /2 tsp
Curry Leaves few

In a deep saute pan dry roast the semiya for 5 to 6 minutes until slightly golden brown. Remove the semiya from heat and keep aside. Boil 4 cups of water in a separate container. I normally microwave the water at the last minute when the veggies are almost done. In the same saute pan heat the oil and splutter the mustard seeds, urad dal, curry leaves. After a minute add the onions and saute for 2-3 minutes. Then add the veggies. cook for 5-6 minutes closed on medium heat. Add the chili powder and after a minute add the chopped tomato. Cook for 5 minutes until the tomatoes are soft. Turn the heat to low and add the roasted semiya to to the saute pan and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Add half the water and and salt to taste. This water will be quickly absorbed, add 1 1/2 cups of water and close the lid and let it boil for 5 minutes on very low heat. When you remove the lid almost all the water should have been absorbed. test the semiya to see if it fully cooked . Add the rest of the water if needed and close the lid and cook for further 2 minutes. Turn of the lid and let it sit for some time. this would finish any remaining cooking needed for the semiya and the veggies.
Transfer to a serving dish and run a fork to separate the semiya. Garnish with Coriander Leaves.

Semiya(sae-me-ya) is also used to make desserts like semiya payasam etc.
Roasted Vermicelli is available for purchase online at . Regular semiya can be easily found in Indian stores brands I have seen here Bambino, MTR.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Pesto Cavatappi

It has been a very hectic couple of months, with work, technical difficulties with the camera and million other issues. So here is one of my favorite comfort pasta recipes. Pesto Cavatappi is my standard order when I go to Noodles and Co. I believe it is also one of the easiest of the Italian recipes too ...

Cavatappi Pasta - 1/2 pack
Roma Tomato - 1
Heavy whipping Cream - 1 1/2 tbsp
Olive Oil - 1 tbsp
Parmesan Cheese - 1 tbsp Shredded

Basil Leaves - 1 cup
Garlic - 3 to 4
Whole Pepper - 5 to 6
Pine nuts - 1 tbsp toasted
Salt - to taste
Parmesan cheese - 1 tbsp grated
Olive oil - 4 tbsp

I make the pesto at home following Micheal Chiarello's Spring Garlic Pesto and Blanched Basil Pesto recipes modifying the quantities and texture to my liking. Make a coarse paste of all the ingredients listed under pesto in a blender. You can also increase the quantity for later use. I normally make extra and freeze the pesto and use it when I am in a hurry. While you are making the pesto cook the pasta according to the instructions on the pack. When the pasta is almost done, heat a separate deep saute pan and pour 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the tomatoes and saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the pesto (at least 2 tbsp - you can add more if you like) and slowly stir in the the drained pasta . After 1 minute add in the heavy whipping cream. Let the liquid reduce in the pan for about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Serve immediately. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

The original recipe also calls for sliced sauteed mushrooms and white wine. Add sauteed mushrooms along with the tomato and then add 1-2 tbsp of any good Italian white wine after you have added the pasta.

Cavatappi is a ridged pasta like penne. You can find it in the pasta aisle of any grocery store like Safeway/ Wholefoods/Jewel etc.

For this recipe to top off I have used Parmigiano Reggiano, as I ran short of the american Parmesan cheese after making the pesto. Parmigiano Reggiano has a fruity/nutty taste and a slightly gritty texture. This cheese is also way suprerior (in gourmet points) in flavor and taste to the regular American parmesan cheese available in most stores available grated/ shredded.

I like to have this pasta with the Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Thakkali Kuzhambu

This is very simple everyday kuzhambu is my contribution to Jihva For Ingredients: Tomato


Tomato - 1 large
Pearl onion - 4-5 Sliced
Garlic cloves - 6 Sliced
Puli /Tamarind - lemon size

Chili Powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1 1/2 tsp

Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Dried red Chili - 1 to 2
Kadala Parippu / Bengal gram - 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves - a few

Nallenna / gingelly Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Coriander / cilantro Leaves - few chopped

Chop the tomato and crush is between you fingers. In another bowl soak the puli in water to extract 2 1/2 tbsp of thick juice. In a saute pan heat the oil. You can also use regular oil but it won't have the same taste or smell. Splutter the mustard seeds then the fenugreek seeds, urad dal, kadala parippu, red chili and curry leaves. Add the onions and garlic fry till the onions are golden brown , make sure not to burn it. Add the crushed tomato and let it simmer for 10 minutes until the oil starts to float to the top and leaves tomato leaves the sides. by this time the tomatoes will be fully mashed. Put the Chili powder and Coriander powder and fry for another minute. I have put a pinch of turmeric too, you can do away with it if you want that lovely brown color kuzhambu. Pour the puli vellam / extract, salt, 1 1/2 cup of water and let kuzhambu simmer for another 10 minutes until it is thickened. Garnish with the chopped cilantro. Kuzhambu is ready to be served with piping hot rice.

You can also use 2 tsp of Sambhar powder instead of the chili powder, coriander powder and turmeric.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Spinach dal

This is a very simple and common recipe. We all make it but when my friend makes it comes out simply delicious. So I got the official recipe from her.


Tuar dal - 1 cup
Spinach - 1 pack of Frozen chopped spinach
Tomato - 1 1/2 chopped
Onion - 1 chopped - Medium Sized
Garlic - 2 minced.
Tamarind ... 1tsp
Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
Urad Dal - 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 2 pinches
Coriander Powder - 2 tsp
Jeera /Cumin Powder - 1 tsp
Green chili - 2 to 3 according to taste - sliced
Coriander leaves - chopped
Salt to taste

Pressure cook the tuar dal, spinach, a drop of oil and a pinch of turmeric powder up to 4 whistles. The amount of water I usually put is enough to cover all the ingredients in the cooker. Let it cool and then mash the dal and spinach.
In a saute pan heat 2 tsp of oil and splutter the mustard, urad dal and then add the tomato. Add the green Chile and continue frying for 6-8 minutes then add the turmeric powder , jeera powder and coriander powder. Fry for another 2 minutes. Add the mashed dal and spinach, 1 1/2 cup of water and boil on low to medium heat for 15 minutes. Garnish with Chopped coriander leaves. This goes very well with rice, idli, dosa, name it and it goes with it.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Parippu vada

One of my favorite snack with hot piping tea. The best parippu vada I have eaten are from the road side stalls that come to life after dusk. I would bribe friends to get some of the best tasting parotta mutta curry, parippu vada etc to gobble up. Getting the perfect reason to make them was easy this weekend - the winter snow storm in Chicago. Huddled indoor with nothing pressing to do except watch the snow wistfully, the parippu vada was the perfect foil.

This recipe is also my entry to te event "Sunday Snacks - Hot n Spicy" hosted by the lovely Pallavi of All Thingz Yummy.


Tuar Dal - 1 cup
Onion - 1/2 Chopped
Green Chili - 3 chopped
Dried Red Chili - 1
Ginger - 1" finely chopped
Curry Leaves - 5 to 6
Kayam / Asafoetida - pinch
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Rinse and soak the tuar dal for at least 4 hours. Drain the water and leave it in a colander for 10 minutes until the water drains completely. Grind the Dal,1/2 of the chopped onions and ginger, Red chili, green chili and salt into a thick coarse paste with no additional water. Mix the rest of the onion, ginger, curry leaves, kayam.
Heat the oil. In the meantime take handful of the mixture and make it into patties with a dimple on the top onto a cling wrap. carefully transfer the patties into the hot oil. Flip after 5 minutes and cook for another 5 minutes. Cook until the vada is a dark golden brown. Don't make the vada too thick as it would take a longer time to cook.
Remove from the oil to a paper napkin. Serve with hot piping tea.

You can also add 1/2 cup of soaked channa dal or masoor dal to the mixture.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Quick Vegetable Biryani

This is a quick and simple biryani. I normally make rice separately these days for two reasons - We currently have the electric stove which seems to have a mind of its own, and the rice cooked on the stove gets, lets just say, crispy!! The other reason is that once the rice is already cooked I can change my recipe until the last minute depending on what I want that instant ..
This recipe is simple in the number of ingredients and vegetables used.

Cooked Basmati Rice - 1 1/2 cup
Onion thinly sliced - 1/2 cup
Carrots small cubes - 1 cup
Peas - 1/2 cup
Cauliflower - 5 to 6 Florets
Chili Powder - 1/2 tsp
Malli podi/ Coriander Powder - 1 1/2 tsp

Malli Ela /Coriander Leaves - 1/2 cup
Saunf/Fennel seeds - 1 1/2 tsp
Ginger - 1 " finely chopped
Garlic - 1 pod
Clove 3 to 4
Bay leaf -1
Cinnamon Stick - 1"
Nutmeg - 2 pinches
Cardamom - 2

Salt to taste
Ghee / Clarified Butter - 1 tbsp

When the Rice is cooked half the way you can start with the biryani masala. Once the rice it done cool the rice. In a blender make a smooth paste of 3 to 4 slices of onion, malli ela, saunf, cloves, garlic, ginger, cardamom, bay leaf, cinnamon, nutmeg using very little water. In the meantime in a wok / large kadai heat the ghee (you can also use any refined oil and 1 tsp of ghee for smell instead). Add the rest of the onions and fry it until golden brown and slightly crispy. Add the carrot, cauliflower and peas and cook for 10 minutes. I used cauliflower that I had already boiled and frozen. If yours is raw it would take slightly more time for the veggies to cook well. Once the they are done add the chili powder, coriander powder and fry to 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the paste you created earlier and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Add the salt. Turn of the heat.
Now using a fork add the rice and mix with the masala. Run the fork and blend well. Serve hot with yogurt raita and pappadum.

If you would like to make the rice and the veggies together - after the paste is added and cooked add the uncooked rice and fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Add twice the amount of water for the rice, cover and cook on medium to low heat until the rice is cooked and the water evaporates. You might need to add additional 1 cup of water if you think it has not reached the consistency of the cooked rice you like.

To make a simple Yogurt Raita:
Mix finely chopped 2 tbsp of onion, 1 tbsp of finely chopped tomato, 1 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves, 1/3 tsp of chili powder, 1/4 tsp jeera powder in 1 cup of yogurt. Add 1/3 cup of water and salt to taste.

You can also garnish with fried cashews, golden raisins and chopped Coriander leaves.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Rava - Flaxseed Dosa

This is one of the of the dishes that I made modifications to incorporate more healthier options. Here I use ground flax seeds meal. This Rava - Flaxseed dosa can be made and used instantly if needed, so this is perfect for those rush times when you have very little time and yet you want something as comforting as dosa.

Fine Rava / Semolina - 1 Cup
Rice Flour - 1 tbsp
Ground Flaxseed Meal - 1 tbsp
Onion - 2 tbsp finely chopped
Jeerakam / Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
Red Chili Powder - 1 tsp
Curry Leaves - 7 to 8
Green Chili - 1 finely chopped
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Water - 2 1/2 cups

In a mixing bowl make a smooth batter of all the ingredients except the oil. Let it sit for 5 minutes. In the meantime heat a griddle or dosa kallu. Pour 1 ladleful of the batter and spread into a 5 to 6 inch wide thin crepes. If you are using dosa kallu make sure you oil the kallu before using of the dosa would stick. When using the non stick pan add a few drops of oil after spreading the batter. Let it get crisp for 5 minutes and then flip. Let it cook for another 3 minutes. Remove and serve hot with dosa podior sambhar.

You can decrease the amount of rava and increase the flaxseed according to your preference.
ground Flaxseed meal/ powder are available at most grocery stores.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Blogger Postcards Around The World #2 - Valentine Card Recieved

Here is the lovely handmade post card I received from Ilva Beretta of Lucullian Delights. Thank you so much Ilva for the time and care, and wish you too are happy and peaceful on Valentine's day and every day after.

The event was organized by Meeta of Thanks meeta for hosting this wonderful event.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Kadai Paneer

While I was busy with the Ginger Naan, my always better half was making the side of kadai Paneer. He used Chef Alfred Prasad's Kadai Paneer Recipe from Video Jug , making minor modifications on the way.

It came out Excellent!

Ginger Naan

This is my version of the Ginger Naan. This is also my contribution to Jihva For Ingredients: Ginger. This simple bread has been tweaked for ease and convenience.

Maida / All purpose flour - 2 1/2 cup
instant Yeast - 1 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Sugar - 1 tsp
Oil or Butter - 2 tsp
Milk - 2 tbsp
Warm Water - 1 cup

Ginger - 1 cup grated / finely chopped
Chili Powder - 1 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1 tsp
Coriander Leaves - 5 to 10 leaves
Pepper - 1/2 tsp
Salt to Taste

Mix all the dry ingredients(Maida, salt and sugar) first including the yeast. Then pour the milk, 1/2 tsp of oil and slowly add the warm water as needed to knead into a firm dough. Pour some more oil over the dough, cover with a wet cloth and let it rise for 1 hour. The dough should become twice it's original size.
In the meantime in a mixing bowl combine the ginger, chili powder, cumin powder, pepper, coriander leaves and salt. Once the dough is ready, take a fist size of the dough, put a drop of oil on it and roll the dough into a small disc. Rolling becomes easy when the dough is placed between to cling wrap sheets. Then place a tsp of the ginger mixture in the center of the dough and bring all the sides together to form a ball again. Place the top cling wrap back and roll it into a oblong shape. Here is where you need a tandoor - traditional Clay Oven. Well since I don't have that and as my baking skills aren't exactly spectacular, I used a cast iron griddle that I normally use for Dosas.
Heat the griddle and carefully place the naan. Let it rise for 3 to 4 minutes and then flip it over. At this time you can add a drop of butter over the naan. Remove and serve hot. Naan or any other kind of bread made from Maida should be consumed hot as they tend to become rubbery when cold. And if you are wondering will using the griddle actually make soft naans - you bet, it will be soft and puffy.

Simple Aloo Baingan Subzi

Potato - 1 cup cubed
Baingan/ Eggplant - 1 cup cubed
Peanuts - 1/2 cup
Jeerakam / Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Chili Powder - 3/4 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 1/2 tsp

Soak the potato and eggplant in salt water for 15 minutes. In the meantime in a saute pan, heat oil. Saute the Jeerakam and then add the peanuts and fry for 5 to 6 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin powder and coriander powder and saute for 2 minutes. add the veggies after straining the water and stir fry for 4 to 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of water, additional salt if needed, cover and cook on low - medium for 15 minutes. Another way to quickly cook the veggies are to microwave them separately and then mix with the peanuts and spices. Uncover and then let is cook for 5 mire minutes until the water totally evaporates. Serve with Chappati, also tastes good with Rice and yogurt.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Pazham Puzhangiyathu / Steamed Plantains

All you need for this is Nethra pazham / plantain. I have found them in most vegetable market - Indian or otherwise. Cut the plantain into 2 or 3 pieces. Cut the edges off too. In a Pressure cooker add 2 cups of water and place the pieces on the 2nd idli thattu.Pressure cook upto 4 whistles. You can also use other methods of steaming - using the rice cooker with steaming options etc.

Let it cool and then open the cooker. Remove and serve.

Kadala Curry and Idiyappam / Nool Puttu

well, I thought I would make puttum kadalayum (puttu and kadala) with Pazham Puzhangiyathu / steam plantains. So got the kadala ready and the plantains going ... when I thought maybe I'll make nool puttu instead... So here they are..
Here I have made few modifications. I have made a dry kadala curry. But the taste/ ingredients are the same. Similarly for the Idiyappam sometimes I add 1 to 2 tbsp of coconut milk to slightly change the taste and texture. And though generally Puttu and kadala curry are the happening team, kadala curry goes very well with nool puttu/ idiyappam.

kadala Curry

Kadala/ kala Channa/ Black Chickpeas - 1 cup
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
Pearl Onion - 1
Onion - 1/2 Sliced
Green Chili - 1
Tomato - 1/2 Chopped
Ginger - 1" Chopped and Crushed
Curry Leaves - a few
Red Chili Powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 2 tsp
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Mustard Seeds -1/2 tsp
Oil - 1 1/2 tsp
Salt to Taste

wash and soak the kadala overnight. Change the water and cook it in a pressure cooker adding salt and enough water so that the kadala is submerged with 1/2 inch of water above it. cook up to 4 whistles. Let it cool. In the mean time in a saute pan heat 2 drops of oil and add the coconut, Coriander Powder, 1/2 tsp Chili Powder, Pearl onion, 4 to 5 Curry leaves and saute until the coconut becomes a brown without burning and the powders start to release their smell. Remove from heat and let it cool for 3 to 4 minutes and then grind to a very smooth paste. Here is where I changed it to make a coarse paste.. This affects the texture of the gravy. In the same saute pan used earlier add rest of the oil and then splutter the mustard seeds, curry leaves, ginger and add the sliver of green chili, onion. Add turmeric powder and rest of the chili powder. After 5 minutes add the paste, tomato and stir fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the kadala and 1 1/2 cups of water. Here I changed the amount of water to make it more of a dry curry than a thick soupy gravy. Let it cook for 5 minutes. Add more salt it need be. Remove and serve hot with puttu or idiyappam.

Idiyappam / Nool Puttu

Rice Flour - 2 cups
Boiling water - 1 cup max
Grated coconut - 3 tbsp
Salt to taste
Coconut milk - 2tbsp (this is optional)
Oil - 1/2 tsp

In a mixing bowl add salt to the rice flour. Slowly stir in the water. You would not need the whole 1 cup. You can do away with just more than 3/4 of a cup. At this point I also added the coconut milk - if you want to do that reduce equal amount of water. Once the lumpy mix cools enough for you the work on it with your hand, knead it into a firm dough. Do not add any more water or it will be come sticky and unwieldy. Pour the oil over it and spread it all over the dough, cover and let it sit for 15 min.
Now you you will need a Idiyappam naazhi /press - you can find them in most Indian stores. I believe you can use a pasta hand press too using the spaghetti setting. Slowly press thie dough in circular motion into the the idli thattu / plate. Sprinkle each cup with a little coconut(I did away with this as I had added the coconut milk.)
Steam in idli cooker for 30 minutes. Remove and serve hot with the kadala curry. This also goes very well with Kurma or Istu

There is also a idiyappam thattu that is available in the market. It is a stand with 3 to 4 plates with small holes. You can also use this.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Blogger Postcards Around The World #2 - Valentine

Its time !! ... lovely Meeta's Bloggers Postcards Around The World #2 event she had announced on her What's for Lunch Honey blog.

Did'nt realize how difficult it would be to find a valentine post card... and here I was thinking the only thing difficult would be to make up my mind and zoom in on that special one. Boy, was I way off ...and would those creative juices help!!!..nope - they did'nt.... and so, losing a well fought battle I was forced to pick up a card....

The words of the card was so approriate that I had to pick it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Lime Rice

Rice being one of the most versatile grain can be prepared in so many ways that I think we can have a blog just dedicated to rice dishes. Lemon here adds to the tangy taste to this super easy rice dish. It was be enjoyed with narengya achar ( Lemon achar - made kerala style)
Basmathi Rice - 2 cups cooked and cooled
Raw Peanuts - 1/4 cup
Ginger - 1 tbsp finely chopped
Mustard Seeds - 1tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Channa dal - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 5 to 6
Asafoetida - a pinch
Lemon Juice - 2 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves - a few chopped

In a deep saute pan heat the oil. Once the oil is hot splutter the mustard seeds, channa dal, urad dal, curry leaves, asafoetida, ginger and finally the peanuts. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes on very low heat until the peanuts are fried well and begin to crack without burning. Add the salt and then slowly stir in the rice. Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice. Mix well. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Tasty Manoharam - Spicy chappati Bites

This is one recipe I haven't had anywhere but at home. Amma would make it when we would come hungry in the evenings, when it was too early for dinner and to late for lunch. we would call it manoharam - not sure how the name stuck ...but it definitely tasted manoharam. Manohar means "snatcher of hearts" or "fascinating". It is now a favorite of my better half too! ... Made using bite size pieces of chappati, I sometimes make extra roti just to make manohar. You won't need any side dish with it. If you want you can also have it with plain yogurt.

Ingredients :
Chappati/ Roti - 3 to 4 torn into bite size pieces
Onion - 1/2 finely chopped
Chili Powder - 1/2 tsp or more according to preference
Coriander Powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
Jeerakam/ Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Lemon juice - few drops
Salt to taste
Oil - 1tsp

Heat oil in a saute pan and add the jeerakam. Then add the onion and saute for 4 to 5 minutes on medium heat until the onion become translucent. Then add the chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and salt. Saute for 2 minutes until the raw taste of the powders. Add the chappati, mix it well with the onions and let it cook for 2 to 3 minutes. turn off the heat and add the lemon juice. Serve hot.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

ButterMilk Rasam

The taste in this Moru Rasam is the fresh masala paste and the moru combination.The ghee only enhances the aroma to a delightful level.


Toor Dal - 3 tbsp
Tomato - 1 chopped
Moru /Butter milk - 3/4 cup
Salt to taste
Coriander Leaves - a small handful chopped

Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
Red chili - 1 add more according to preference
Toor Dal - 1 tsp
Black Pepper - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek - 1/4 tsp

Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Red Chili - 1
Curry Leaves - 4-5
Ghee - 3 tsp

Cook the Toor Dal in a pressure cooker with 1 cup of water (the water level should be just more than the dal) up to 4 whistles and set aside.
In a saute pan add 1 tsp of ghee and roast the coriander seeds, red chili, pepper, toor dal, asafoetida and fenugreek for 2-3 Min's.Now make a smooth paste of the above ingredients using very little water and set aside.
Heat the cooked Dal and add 2 cups of water and let it boil. Add the chopped tomato and salt and cook till the tomatoes are soft. Let the liquid simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.
Heat the rest of the ghee in a saute pan and splutter the mustard seeds. Add the cumin seeds, Red chili and curry leaves. Pour this over the rasam and remove the rasam from the heat. Now slowly stir in the moru. garnish with the coriander leaves.

If you don't have a pressure cooker you can boil the dal until they are soft and mashable. If you want to buy a pressure cooker, you would find then in Indian stores or from They are definitely a time saver.

Chenna Masala

This dry dish goes very well with rice and yogurt.


Chenna /Yam - 2 cup cubed
Pearl Onion - 1
Puli / Tamarind - lemon size pulp
Coriander Seeds - 1 tbsp
Jeerakam / Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Pepper - 1 1/2 tsp
Red chili - 1 to 2 based on preference
Salt to Taste
Oil - 1 tsp

Boil and drain the chenna, you can also just steam it for 10 minutes and keep aside. Make a smooth paste of the puli, onion, coriander seeds, peeper, jeerakam, turmeric powder and red chili.
Apply the paste on to the chenna so that it coats it from all sides and leave it for 10 minutes.
Heat a saute pan and add oil. Once the oil is hot add the chenna. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes. You can add 1 to 2 tsp of water if you think it is sticking to the pan, you want it a little crispy so don't worry about it browning a little , make sure though that you don't burn it. Adding the water and letting it cook on simmer will ensure that.

When working with raw yam make sure you oil you fingers. This will reduce the itching associated with the working with the yam peel.

You can also substitute the yam with boiled and drained Cauliflower.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Dosa Maavu Unniappam

Another one of those days when you wonder what to do with that extra bit of dosa batter that you find at the end of the dosa container that you know is not going to be enough for one thing or another. This one will definitely finish it off for you.
And no need to guess... it's going to be simple....

Leftover Dosa Batter - what ever you have in hand
Onion - 1/2 finely chopped (increase according to batter)
Green Chili - 1 finely chopped.
Curry leaves - 4 to 5
Dried Red chili - 1
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
urad dal - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tsp

In a small pad heat the oil and add the mustards. Once they start sputtering add the urad dal, curry leaves, chili, red chili, asafoetida. Now add the onions. Saute for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour the tempering in the batter and mix well with salt. You can add a 1/2 cup of water if the batter is too thick. Now heat the unniappam chatti/ paniyaram. I have a non stick one, if you use cast iron, you would b=need to brush with oil lightly. The pour the batter into each cup 3/4 of the way up. Cover and let it steam for 5 to 6 minutes. By this time it is fully cooked. In case you want it more crispy you can also flip it and let it cook on the other side. Remove and serve it sambhar or dosa podi.

You can also add coriander leaves.
If you don't have an unniappam chatti/ paniyaram, that you didn't want to carry back from India, don't sweat, you can get an aebleskiver pan right here from amazon. Aebleskiver is a danish delicacy that look very similar in shape to our very own unniappams, that traditionally had apple fillings and was served during advent.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Carrot Paratha

This is a crunch time dish that I make if I am out of ideas and more importantly out of time. One or two ingredients change depending on the seconds I have...The following recipe is makes about a max of 3 parathas. Please increase according to requirement.

Carrot - 1 finely grated
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp (you can also use green chillies chopped instead)
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 2 pinch

Wheat flour - 1 cup
Salt to taste

In a shallow wide container mix the wheat flour, 1/2 tsp of oil and salt. Slowly add about 3/4 cup water, just enough to form a firm dough (very similar to the puri dough) and knead till smooth. Pour 1/2 tsp of oil over the dough and spread it. Cover, let rest at 10 minutes. In the meantime mix the carrots, powders and salt and keep it ready.
Divide the dough into ball the size of golf balls. Roll them out using a rolling pin into 4" diameter discs. You can use some flour for dusting so that the dough does not stick. Now place 1 tbsp of the mixture in the center and bring all the sides together to form a ball again. Dust some more flour and turn the ball down and start rolling the ball into parathas, according to the size you want the parathas to be. Use more flour to dust if you think it is sticking ... but use very little at time or the paratha will become very dry. Also note that the juice of the carrot will spurt. I have found that rolling it on just that one side instead of flipping, reduces the spurt, but you never know from which side the juice is going to hit you.
Heat a tawa or a non stick pan on medium to high, and place the paratha carefully in it. Turn it after 3 - 4 minutes when you see the underside slightly browning. Add a drop of oil on the flipped side and flip it back again. Then add another drop of oil on the other side. Press the paratha and turn every 3 minutes. Remove from heat when both the sides are golden and well cooked. This should only take up to 5-6 minutes.
Remove from heat and serve with plain yogurt.

You can also add 1/2 tsp of MDH Kitchen King masala if you have it in hand.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Vegetable Puffs

One of my all time favorite snack, the puffs come in so varieties. There is the veggie puff, egg puff, mince meat etc etc. And depending on what part of the country you are in, the basic ingredients and veggies change. Some use beans others beets, cauliflower and what not. Some add lemon juice or amchur (mango powder) others skip the garam masala altogether.

Potato -1 large
Onion-1/2 finely chopped
Green Peas - 1/2 cup
Carrot - 1/2 cup chopped into small cubes
Ginger - 1' piece finely chopped
Garlic -1 clove finely chopped
Turmeric Powder -a pinch
Red chili Powder -1/2 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala -1/2 tsp
Green Chilli -3 finely chopped
Coriander leaves - chopped a few sprigs
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil 2 tbsp
Puff pastry sheet (thawed)

Steam the potato in the jacket until soft, the idea being not to boil it with water where there are chances of it absorbing lot of the water. You can also use the microwave achieve the same result using the baked potato setting. Let it cool, in the mean time coarsely grind the ginger and garlic with a mortar and pestle. Heat 1 1/2 tsp of oil and splutter the seeds, add the crushed ginger garlic paste, green chili. Then add the chopped veggies (onion, green peas and carrots) and saute for 5 minutes until the onions become translucent. Add the turmeric powder, chili powder, cumin powder, garam masala and salt and stir for 2 minutes. Mash/ crumble the cooled potato and add it to the pan. Cook for 5 more minutes. Add the lemon juice, coriander leaves and mix. Turn of the heat.
Preheat the oven at 400C. Using a rolling pin spread the puff pastry. Cut the pastry into desired shape and place 2 tbsp of the mixture on one side of it and then bring the other side over the the mixture. Use a little oil to stick the edges firmly. Place the puffs in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes, until you see the golden color.
Remove from the oven and serve.

You can get the puff pastry from the frozen section at your local supermarket or stores like Dominick's and Jewel. You can also get it online from

You can also substitute this whole stuffing with dry/ gravy (you will need to make the gravy dry) leftovers you want to finish.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Potato Curry

I thought of making a new dish for JFI event. But then decided I like this recipe so much, I wanted you to give it a try too. This is my contribution to Jihva For Ingredients: Potato.

Puri with potato masala is well know and loved.. and though I like it, I must say that I am very partial to this potato curry that amma makes. Normally made on Sundays I would sit cross legged on the sofa in front of the TV watching those weekly runs of Ramayana and then later the Mahabharatha ... normally forgetting the count of piping hot puffed puris I would eat. But as tasty as it is, this is a very simple dish to make.

Potatoes - 2 large cubed.
Onions - 2large sliced
Ginger - 1 inch piece chopped
Green Chilli - 1 to 2 adjust to taste
Tomato - 1 large cubed
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
water - 1/2 cup
Coriander leaves - chopped small bunch

Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad Dal - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 5 to 6

In this recipe I'm using a pressure cooker. If you don't have a cooker you can use a deep pan the procedure will be the same although cooking time will vary. Just cover and cook until the potatoes are soft.

Heat oil in the cooker and splutter mustard, urad dal and curry leaves. Add ginger , sliced green chillies, potato, onion and saute for 5 mins. Add the chilli powder, turmeric, tomato, salt and stir for 2 mins. Add water and pressure cook on medium flame until the first whistle and on simmer for 2 more whistles.
Once the pressure is released remove and garnish with coriander leaves.

Ps note : This is a little watery dish - you can thicken it a little by mashing some of the potatoes.

Dosa Podi

This is a simple version of dosa podi. Goes great with dosas and idlis.

Urad Dal - 1 cup (rinse and pat dry)
Channa Dal - 1 cup (rinse and pat dry)
white Sesame seeds -3 tbsp
Tamarind - 1 small marble sized, you can also add more if you think it is not tangy enough.
Dried Red Chilli - 9 to 10
Jaggary - 1 tbsp grated.
Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

Dry roast the urad dal, channa dal and sesame seeds for 10 minutes, until you start getting the aroma. take care not to burn / blacken. Remove from heat and set aside. Heat oil in the same pan and add the red chilli and saute for 2-3 minutes and then add it to a blender along with the roasted dals. Add the tamarind ball, jaggary and salt and make a coarse powder. You can also do this little at a time if you think it is not grinding properly.
You can store this in a air tight container for a month.

The more tamarind is added the darker you will find the color of the podi

Monday, January 15, 2007

Ven Pongal

Today is Pongal, and it gives me another reason to make the savory Ven Pongal. I must say I am more partial to it than the sweet Sharkkarai Pongal.

Rice - 1 cup
Moong Dal - 3/4 cup
Ginger - 2 1/2 tsp Finely chopped
Asafoetida - 1 small piece or 1/4 tsp
Peppercorn - 1 tbsp ( Can add more as per taste)
Cashew nuts - 1 1/2 tbsp - broken
Ghee - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Curry Leaves - 7 to 8 leaves

Wash and cook the rice and dal in 4 cups of water with the asafoetida . Add the salt - enough so that the water tastes salty. It should be well done and sticky but not too loose ... so start with 4 glasses and if it is dry then add some more water. You would just need this much if you are using the pressure cooker - 3 whistles on medium. Let it cool. The prominent smell at this time would be the asafoetida.

In a shallow pan heat the ghee, once it is hot add the pepper, cumin seeds, curry leaves, ginger and saute for 2 -3 minutes then add the cashewnuts. The prominent smell at this time would be the fresh ginger. Remove and pour the tempering over the rice and mix well.
Serve hot with coconut chutney and sambhar.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Today has been a very busy day and coming home almost at dinner time, meant no time for anything elaborate but something quick and effortless. This upmavu, that took less than 1/2 hour to make, is one of my less favorite dishes. I remember sneaking out without eating breakfast to school, whenever amma made upmavu, lest I was forced to eat it ..:). Today too, it was was the case and I decided to make just enough for hubby dear ( you can see the quantity in the picture) and me eating cereals. But once it was done, I tasted it for salt and realized it did come out very delicious, contrary to my fast held beliefs. So, it just so happened that we decided that I had to have my fair share- 1/2 of it with bananas and pappadams- those being the quickest to put on the table next to achars. :). The measurements are based on what I did today. Please increase according to your requirement.

Rava/ Semolina - 1 cup
Onion - 1/4 medium sized. Finely chopped
Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
Urad Dal - 1 tsp
Ginger - 1 inch finely chopped
Curry Leaves - 5 to 7
Green Chilli - 3-4 small. Finely Chopped
Dried Red Chilli - 1
Oil - 1 1/2 tsp
Water -1 1/2 cup
Salt to taste.

Dry roast the rava on medium to high heat for 5 to 6 minutes, until you see it is changing to golden. Be careful to not totally brown or burn it if you have the heat on high by making sure you keep pushing it around with a ladle. Remove it from heat and keep aside. Heat the oil and once it is hot enough add the mustard so that it starts spluttering immediately. Add the urad dal, ginger, onion, green chilli and curry leaves. Saute on medium heat for 3-4 minutes until the onions are golden to dark brown. Add salt and rava and mix well. Meanwhile heat the water in a seperate bowl. I just put it in the microwave for 1 minute. Slowly pour the water - 1/2 a cup at a time continously stirring the upmavu, you might not need to pour the whole water, depending on the consistency and texture you prefer. stir for 1-2 minutes more, making sure all the grains are cooked and there is no dry patch. Remove and serve.

You can also add mixed vegetables like carrots, peas, beans etc - .. and add turmeric to give it more color. When adding more veggies, make sure you saute them for 3-4 minutes then add an additional 1 1/2 of water and cook for 6-8 minutes until they soft.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Istu - Traditional Coconut Milk Stew

Istu - Coconut Milk Stew, is my contribution to Jihva For Ingredients: Coconut. This simple kerala dish is one of my favorites.

Potato - 4 medium size
Onions - 4 medium sized - white or yellow
Green Chilli - 2, 3 to 4 if small variety
Ginger - 1" piece
Curry leaves - 6 to 7
Coconut Milk - from 1 1/2 coconut or 3/4 of the canned coconut milk .
Salt to taste
Coconut Oil - 1tsp

Cut Onions into thin long slices and potatoes into big cubes. Wash and put into pressure cooker, if you don't have a pressure cooker a deep pan with a lid will also do. Add the crushed ginger, chilli, 1/2 the curry leaves and salt. Add the second milk (this is for when you manually strain the coconut milk from a coconut - first milk is the thick milk that is first removed, the second milk is then then remain thin milk that is remove by adding water and removing the remain juice) and pressure cook for 15 minutes ( 3 whistles on low flame), if you are using the pan then cook for 30 minutes until the potatoes are 3/4 cooked. Open the cooker / remove lid and cook till water is almost dry. Add the remaining coconut milk , curry leaves and coconut oil. Serve hot with vellappam.

If you are using the canned coconut milk pour half in the beginning and the rest in the end. You can thin the milk by adding 2 cups water the first time.

If using a cooker wait for 5 to 10 minutes before you open the cooker - make sure that there is no steam left.

This recipe is the basic simple stew most families in kerala make, you would find that there are variations found from place to place, like more veggies and spices are added, but these basic ingredients remain the same.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Manathakali Vatral Kuzhambu

This is one of the recipes that my husband's mother taught me. This recipe uses sun dried manathakali which I brought back from a visit to India. Manathakali I believe is the Tamil name for Solanum Nigrum aka Black Nightshade, sunberry, wonderberry, wonder cherry. The green berries are supposed to be poisonous and should not be consumed. You can check it out on wikipedia.

Manathakali - 1 1/2 Tbsp
Tamarind - Lemon size.
Salt to taste
Sesame Oil/nalle enna/gingelly oil - 1 1/2 tsp

Dry Powders
Red chili Powder - 1 tsp
Coriander Powder - 2 Tbsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp

Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
Begal Gram/ Channa dal / kadala parippu - 1 tsp
Methi Seeds - 1 tsp
Dried Red Chilli - 1 to 2
Curry Leaves - 5 to 6

Take the puli, salt and soak in 1 1/2 cup of water and keep aside. In a saute pan heat the oil. Once the oil is hot add the manathakali and after a minute add the mustard seeds. then the kadala parippu, methi seeds , dried red chilli and curry leaves. The order is decided on how was they would fry. Stir for a minute and then add the dry powders - red chili, turmeric and coriander powder. keep stirring for a 2 -3 minutes until the manatakali are nicely coated in the powders and the powders lose their raw taste. Make sure that the heat is on simmer. Then add 1 cup of puli vellam and let it boil for 5 minutes. Add some more juice if you think that the gravy is too thick. If you think that the gravy is too thin then in 1/2 cup of water add 1/2 tsp of corn flour or rice powder and add it to the kuzhumbu. Remove from heat and serve with hot rice and ghee.

If you want to enhance the taste you can also add freshly grated coarse coconut paste.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Tomatoes & Onion Chutney

This is a excellent condiment to go with idlis or Dosas. Not just the taste but the ease and speed with which this chutney can be made, makes it so much more appealing.

Ingedients :
Onion - 1 large or 2 medium sized. Chopped - no need to worry about shape or size.
Tomato - 2 medium size. Chopped

Mustard Seeds (kadugu) - 1 tsp
Curry Leaves (Karuveppila) - 8-10 . Be Generous.
Salt to Taste
Oil - 1 1/2 tsp

In a saute pan heat oil. Add the mustard and wait til they splutter. The add the curry leaves. Add the chopped onions and tomatoes. Stir once till the oil coats everything. Cook on medium heat for 10 -12 minutes until the onions are soft and the tomatoes are almost mashed up on touch. Make sure that they dont get burnt. Turn off the heat and let it cool.
Once cooled put the miture in a blender and blend until smooth, 4 -5 pulses should do the job. You will not need to add water as the water released from the tomatoes should be enough.
Move to a bowl and add salt as needed.

You can increase/ decrease the amount of Onion or tomatoes to vary the taste.