Monday, December 31, 2007

Another year is drawing to a close.........
Every time we are at this juncture, Iam usually left wondering how fast the year has gone by. This year is no exception.
For the first time in my life, Iam actually going to make some new year resolutions.......and hopefully I will keep atleast a few of them.
I have discovered several wonderful blogs and talented bloggers this year. Here are a few dishes that made their way from these blogs to my kitchen.

Two things I absolutely love are yogurt and spinach. I have never actually tasted a dish that combines these two ingredients, though. So, when I saw Sagari's recipe for Dahi Palak, I knew I just had to try it out. I made no changes except for the quantities....just stuck to her original recipe.....The result was lip-smackingly delicious.

I have always thought of dal as something to be eaten with Parathas.......Meera's recipe that uses dal in a paratha had me reaching out for the rolling pin. I did make a couple of minor changes......left out some ingredients.......added a few others that i like.......the end-product was a wholesome, comforting meal.

Moong dal parathas served with dahi palak

Two other recipes that I tried and loved are Revathi's ragi idli and Seema's Mallige idli. I came across Revathi's recipe at the right time 'coz I am now trying to increase my daughter's iron intake. It tastes just like a good old regular idli but the ragi is definitely helping me out in my pursuit of higher haemoglobin levels.
Seema's Mallige idli is spot lives up to its name. The entire family loved the idlis........this is one recipe that I know Iam going to keep going back to over and over again.

Thank you, dear bloggers for sharing your wonderful recipes.......

Here's wishing all my blogger buddies a Fantastic New Year.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Iam spending a blissful week with my parents....eating good food, sleeping and catching up with old friends and relatives. The little girl(check out what she is up to here) is being fussed over by several people....and she is loving every single minute of it. I am loving it too...'coz that leaves me free to catch up on soooo many things.

Here are a few snaps from the ayyapan vilakku celebrated in my hometown on the 16th.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Pavakka(bittergourd) pitlai

You either like bitter gourd or you don't....there's no grey area between the two. I think this is partly because of the name......when there's "sweet"potatoes, "french" beans, "pearl" onions and other such nice sounding veggies, who on earth wants to eat something that proclaims itself to be a "bitter" gourd???
That's not to say that the bitter gourd is totally without its takers. I for one have always liked it. Pavakka (the Malayalam & Tamil name for bitter gourd) Pitlai is a wholesome, nutritious curry that incorporates a lot of flavours - it has the bitterness of pavakka, tanginess of tamarind, sweetness of coconut and spiciness of chillies....and of course it gets the power of proteins from tuar dal.

Here's what you need to make it:
Bitter gourd - 1 medium sized
Tamarind - lemon sized ball soaked in hot water for 15 minutes
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Tuar dal - 3/4 cup
Fresh grated coconut - 3/4 cup
Chana dal - 2 tsp
Red chilli - 2 (modify according to your level of spice tolerance)

For seasoning:
Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Split urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - a few sprigs

What to do:
  • Cook tuar dal. Mash well and set aside.
  • Heat a tsp of oil in a pan. Fry chana dal and red chillies in this. Add a pinch of asafoetida and switch off the heat. Once this cools, grind it to a smooth paste along with grated coconut.
  • Extract the juice from tamarind. If you are using ready made tamarind extract, use about 3/4 tsp.
  • Slice bitter gourd into thin round slices and deseed it.
  • Cook bitter gourd slices in tamarind water to which turmeric powder and salt has been added.
  • Once it is cooked, add the ground mixture to this. Boil for 4-5 minutes.
  • Then add the cooked tuar dal. Mix well and heat for a minute or two. If you feel the curry is too thick at this stage, add a little bit of water.
  • Heat a tsp of oil. Season it with mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves. Once the mustard seeds pop, pour this over the pitlai.
  • Serve hot with rice, dosa or idli.

Dosa served with pitlai

Iam taking a bowlful of this pitlai over to Linda at Out of the Garden for JFI-Toor dal.

Edited to add: This also goes to Pooja for her Veggie of the Week event featuring bittergourd this week.

Monday, December 03, 2007

The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--
and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

-from Lewis Carroll's Walrus and the Carpenter-

It's time for us today to talk cabbage.....
My little girl loves fact, any veggie that she doesn't know the name of is promptly named cabbage. If I serve her rice and cabbage on a plate I can be pretty sure that she'll do a better job than an industrial grade separator in separating the two and eating just the cabbage. Well, for now, Iam just happy that something is going into that little tummy of hers.

Cabbage milagoottal is a simple and nutritious dish that goes well with rice/rotis.

Here's what you need to make it:
Cabbage - 1 cup finely chopped
Tuar dal - 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder - a little
Grind together:
Fresh grated Coconut - 1/2 cup
Red chilli - 3 (adjust to your taste)
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
For seasoning:
Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds
Urad dal
Curry leaves

How you make it:
Cook tuar dal with enough water. Mash and set aside.

Take the cabbage in a pan. Add some water, turmeric powder and salt to it and heat until the cabbage is cooked. Add the ground mixture to this. Stir well and boil for a few minutes until the raw smell is gone. Stir in the cooked tuar dal and heat for a minute or two.
Heat a tsp of oil(I use coconut oil). Add mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves to it. Wait until the seeds pop and then pour this over the milagoottal.

Njoy hot with rice or chapatis.

Instead of tuar dal, you can use black eyed beans, or green peas or a mixture of either with tuar dal.
Carrots and potatoes can also be added along with cabbage.

This is my entry to JFI-Toor dal hosted by Linda of Out of the Garden.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I finally have my broadband connection up and running...... and have uploaded some pics.
It's been over a month since I got broadband.....but then my ILs were visiting and I didn't have much time to post 'coz I was busy with them.
I have sworn never to even look at that S........L........O.............W Tata Indicom data card again.

Monday, September 17, 2007

How to make Rava Idlis when you have almost run out of rava
Latha's rava idli recipe had me drooling and ready to grease my idli plates. I've been waiting for god-knows-how-long to find the perfect rava idli recipe....and I tell you, this is it!!! Now, I had all the ingredients on hand except rava....I had just about a quarter cup of this main ingredient. So I packed hubby off to the store to get me some. So what if it was a lazy Sunday evening and he really didn't want to get off the bean bag? Well, it was going to be rava idli or no dinner.....that threat had the desired effect. Only thing is, instead of getting me rava he ended up getting idli rava.....and he blames the store for this....says they don't label stuff properly.......aaaaaarrrrgghhh....MEN!!!

Neways, there was no changing my mind....nothing would come between me and a plateful of fluffy idlis. Latha's recipe is perfect. I've got to thank her for sharing this. I followed it to the t ....except that I used 1/4 cup of rava and 3/4 of idli rava.....the rest of it exactly as she has detailed here.
The idlis turned out soft, fluffy....and I don't know how but they were this wonderful shade that's somewhere between cream and the lightest of yellow.
I do have pics to show, but like I've said in many of my previous posts, it's going to be a while before I upload those.
Iam sending Asha of Foodies Hope a serving of these idlis for her RCI - Karnataka event.

Pic updated..........FINALLY!!!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Janmashtami treats

Lord Krishna was my first love. Nope, Iam not kidding...when most other kids were content with bowing their heads before the lord to seek his blessings before exams, I could be found hugging a mini-statue of his and making grand proclamations of my plans to marry him and none other than him. A streak of atheism during my high school days made sure that I did not become wife no. 16,001. Past high school, I got over my atheism and chose a middle path....neither extreme belief nor total disbelief.

Celebrating Krishna's birthday has always been something that I've enjoyed mostly because of the food. This year I tried my hand at making uppu cheedai and vella cheedai for the first time. Here's a peek at what I made to celebrate His birthday.

Uppu Cheedai

Raw rice flour - 1 cup
Urad flour - 1/4 cup
Jeera - 1.5 tsp
Pepper - coarsely crushed,3/4 tsp
Butter - 3 or 4 tbsp, softened
Oil - for deep frying

Dry roast both the flours if you are using store bought flour. Mix the flours, jeera, pepper, butter and salt with enough water to form a stiff, firm dough. Shape this into small balls and spread on a newspaper for a few minutes so that it becomes just a little bit dry. Heat oil and gently drop into it a few cheedais at a time. Fry until the cheedai turns reddish brown. Drain oil and store in an air tight container.
I've often been told that cheedai, if not prepared properly will result in disastrous explosions. Expecting nothing short of tiny blasts, I stood a safe distance away from the kadai and dropped a few cheedais in...but luckily for me...there were no explosions...not even a tiny one....and the cheedais turned out quite crisp and brown.

Vella cheedai

Raw rice flour - 1/2 cup
Urad flour - 1 tsp
Jaggery - 1/4 cup
Water - 1 cup
Cardamom powder - a little

Boil water in a pan. Add jaggery to this. When it melts completely, add the two flours, cardamom powder and stir well until it comes together into a smooth dough.
Let it cool for a bit and then shape it into balls. Deep fry a handful at a time in hot oil. Remove when dark brown, drain oil and store in an air tight container.


Raw rice - 1 cup
Jaggery - 3/4 cup
Cardamom powder - 3/4 tsp
Ripe banana - 1
Ghee - a little

Soak the rice in plenty of water for about two hours. Grind it using as little water as possible to a fine paste. To this, add the rest of the ingredients and grind again until everything is well mixed. Some people swear by certain kinds of banana to get soft appams..I've tried several kinds and found that if you make sure that the batter is ground really well, it doesn't matter which kind u use. Set the batter aside for an hour or two.

Season your appakarai(an aebelskiver pan can be used) with a few drops of ghee( I use a non-stick I use just about a drop or two of ghee in each hollow). Fill about three-fourths of each hollow with the batter. Enjoy the sizzling sound and the delicious aroma that will wrap you up in a loving embrace. When the under side is done to a delicious brown flip it around so the top gets cooked too. Remove....let it cool just a little bit and store. Repeat this process until all the batter is used up.

This is my entry to Latha's Janmashtami event.
Iam also sending a plateful of appam to JFI Banana hosted this month by Mandira of Ahaar
All three snacks are a huge favourite at home....which makes it a perfect entry to the WYF Snack event hosted by Hima.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Simple Okra subji

Ladies finger/okra is said to be good for the brain. As a child I remember being told that I would grow up to be super intelligent if i ate plenty of this pretty green veggie. I don't know if I achieved the promised end result, but I did eat plenty of okra as a child and I still do so now as an adult.
This is a simple yet delicious dry curry that goes well with roti/puri.

What you need:
Ladies finger/okra - choose small, tender ones that can be cooked whole.
Onion - minced
Garam masala
Turmeric powder
Cumin seeds

Wash and wipe dry the okra. Make a small slit upto the middle of each one. Stuff some garam masala into the okra using the back of a spoon or a knife and set aside.
If you do not find baby okra.....use normal okra....just cut it into two halves and then make a slit in each half and proceed.
Heat a little oil/ghee in a pan. Add the cumin seeds. When they sputter, add the onions and fry until golden brown. Now add the okra, turmeric powder, salt and any remaining garam masala. Stir well. Cover and cook until done.
Serve hot with roti, puri or rice.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Who doesn't love a deep fried,crispy,spicy snack on a rainy day???
Did I hear you gasp "Calories"!!!
What if I were to tell you that this snack is made out of a flour packed with nutritional benefits???
Not a rainy day, you say???
Well, I live in Chennai and I still love this any time of the day.

Now if you've run out of excuses, let's move on to the recipe.....

I came to hear of the several health benefits of ragi(millet) only after having a baby. In fact, my little girl's introduction to the world of solid foods was through ragi koozhu (porridge???)
Now I make sure that it is a part of our weekly diet in one form or the other.

Here's a quick snack that can be made using ragi.

What you need:

Ragi flour - 1 cup
Rice flour - 1/4 cup
Fried gram - 1 tsp
Cashew (broken into small pieces) - 1 tsp
Groundnut - 1 tsp
Red chilli powder
Curry leaves & cilantro - a handful each, chopped fine
Onion - 1, minced
Carrot - 1, chopped into tiny pieces

Mix all the ingredients to a stiff dough adding water a little at a time. Take care not to add too much water. The dough should be a little stiff.
Tear off unevenly shaped bits from the dough and deep fry in hot oil until crisp.
Serve hot.

Recipe source: A cookery show on a TV channel(don't remember which one, though) watched while I was channel surfing....

This is my entry to Hima's new event What's your Favourite Snack.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Most of us associate Punjabi food with rich, creamy, aromatic curries and wholesome breads like naan, kulchas and rotis . The restaurant culture often makes us forget that there are other simple, yet delicious foods that are prepared at home. Here is one such refreshing treat.


Fresh thick curd/yoghurt - 1 cup
Chilled Water - 1.5 cup
Sugar - to taste

Blend all the ingredients together and serve chilled.
Now, wasn't that simple???
For those among you who don't like the idea of adding sugar to yoghurt, try this out with salt instead.

This is my entry to RCI-Punjab hosted by Richa of As Dear As Salt.

Edited to add : For some reason blogger and my comp are acting up and not letting me upload pics. So, it will be a while before you can see the goodies that I whip up....until then, it is going to be just recipes.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Dec. 6, 2006......No, that's not a date that's going to be immortalised in history for any reason. It's just the date on which I last posted here.....
Thank you, blogger buddies for checking in and asking me how I am doing. It's been a long absence, but what with moving across continents and taking my little girl to visit all her relatives for the first time....I've been extremely busy.
What better way for a foodie to make a comeback to blogosphere than to send in a recipe for the mother of all events - Jihva for Ingredients???

When I found that this month's JFI hosted by Sangeeta features brinjals, I knew that I just had to post. Needless to say, brinjals are a favourite in my household. Be it the slowly simmered baingan bharta, the spicy vangi baath or just plain sauted brinjals, my family loves their eggplant.
The dish that is featured here today combines my love for eggplants with my love for all things is a simple Koottu curry. Traditionally this koottu curry is made with yam or pumpkin, but I substituted that with brinjals with lip smacking results.

Here's what you will need:
Brinjal aka eggplant - 3, cut into medium sized pieces (I used the long green ones. If u are using the small, oblong ones, use more and if you are using the larger chinese eggplant, use less......How many brinjals u need also depends on how many people you are cooking for)
Channa dal - 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Coconut (grated) - 1/3 cup
Red chilli - 4 ( U can use more or less depending on your tolerance for spices)
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Sugar/Jaggery - a little

Heat some coconut oil. Fry about 2-3 tbsp of the grated coconut in it until it turns reddish brown and keep aside. Take care not to burn it keeping in mind that there's a very fine line between aromatic reddish brown and charred coal black.
In the same pan, fry the cumin seeds and red chilli for about a minute or two and then grind it with the remaining coconut.

Cook channa dal in a pressure cooker until one whistle. It should only be about three-fourths cooked....not mushy. Add brinjal pieces to the cooked dal along with some salt and turmeric powder. Cook until the brinjals turn soft...but do not overcook or you will end up with a gooey mess that'll taste fine but you won't be able to discern the brinjal in it.
Add the ground mixture to it along with a tiny piece of jaggery. Stir well and cook for a few minutes.
Remove from fire and mix in the fried coconut.
Tamper some mustard seeds and urad dal in oil and pour it over the curry.
Garnish with fresh curry leaves.