December 21, 2014

Thakkali Kai Thuvayal

How to make Thakkali Kai/Green Tomato Chutney

         One of the perks of summer is; you can have your very own vegetable garden. If you have a green thumb, that is! If not, you need to have really nice in-laws like mine; who are all thumbs, that are green too :) You know where I'm going with this, by now. While my in-laws visited us last summer, they started a vegetable garden & tomatoes were top on the list of must have's. Eventually, when summer ended; there were quite a few tomatoes that were unripe & didn't have anymore favorable conditions to ripen either. After waiting for a few weeks - I finally concluded that, it's time for me to use those green tomatoes and decided to make a Thuvayal/Chutney this time. Its a sour & spicy chutney that goes great with your Idli, Uthappam, savory Kuzhi PaniyaramRawa PongalMasala Dosa & BondaSending this slightly adapted recipe from Meenakshi Ammal's cookbook to Sri Valli's CCChallenge #15.

December 7, 2014

Healthy Lentil / Daal Soup

How to make Lentil / Daal Soup

          Seasoned with salt & pepper, hot soups make excellent starters. A simple soup can fill your heart & soul during cold weather. Go ahead & try this golden yellow soup, made with the most common ingredients, from your pantry and you got yourself a comfort food, although you didn't have to spend hours, in the kitchen. 

November 23, 2014

Shimla Mirch Ka Kairsas

How to make Shimla Mirch Ka Kairsas (Goan Cuisine)

             Craving for something tangy, sweet & sour; with crunchy nuts in every bite? Then, this should be on your list of foods, to try. The flavors in this dish and the combination of ingredients were unusually new & unique; well, at least for my family. This zesty and colorful dish is from the Hindu Cuisine of Goa. No onions or garlic are used and the fusion of the ground masala, along with the roasted nuts & the tanginess of the tamarind, makes it a delectable accompaniment. Go ahead and give it a try. You might surprise yourself !!

Goan Shimla Mirch

November 14, 2014

Banana Nut Bread/Muffins

How to make Banana Nut Bread/Muffins (with step-by step pictorials)

            I love baking; but what I love even more, is baking quick breads, muffins & loafs, far more than baking cakes and other sweet treats; simply because of their drastic difference in nutritive value. When it comes to feeding our families; don't we always want the best for them? This is one such recipe, that will please all your loved ones. No special gadgets needed, healthy for all, and best of all - an excellent way to use up your over-ripe bananas, that no one wants to eat at home. 

         I sit here, reminiscing of the good old days -whenever we were stuck with over-ripe bananas at home; I would wait impatiently for the eager cows/calves to pay us a visit. Although I'm sure they love the tasty treat; myself & the kids love the opportunity to get up close to these sweet creatures, & a chance to pet them. It's a win-win for everyone. But this recipe is another way to a 'win-win'; to win the love of your family & friends.

Healthy Banana Muffins


Dry Ingredients:

1 Cup all purpose flour/Maida
3/4 Cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp Cinnamon (powder)
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Nutmeg (powder)
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Sugar/Raw Cane Sugar

Moist Banana Nut Bread

Wet Ingredients:

2 Eggs
3 Tbsp Yogurt
1/4 Cup Vegetable/Canola Oil
1 Tbsp Vanilla extract
4 Well Ripe Bananas, Mashed

Additional Ingredients:

1 to 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar for topping
1/2 Cup broken/chopped Walnuts

Moist Banana Nut Bread

November 8, 2014

Manoli Kadle (Mangalorean Ivy Gourd)

How to make Manoli Kadle (Mangalorean Kovakkai/Tendli)

          Having lived in Bangalore for so many years, has a strong influence on me. Don't  get any ideas, now - I've never been 'under the influence'; but I'm fondly drawn towards Kannada cuisine. Here is one such recipe, for you to enjoy. The combination of the Ivy gourd & Chickpeas, might be new to many of us but, It is a lip-smacking dry curry, to enjoy with your rice platter. Sending this recipe to SriValli's CCChallenge #14 Nov-week 2. This recipe is from Mallika Badrinath's - Classic Lunch Recipes.

Mangalorian Kovakkai

November 3, 2014

Instant Bonda

How to make Instant Bonda (Spiced & fried dumplings)

           I'm usually not, a 'fried-food' person; but my better half, can live on oil-bathed, munchies. Although I cannot pass up, a serving of deliciously golden & crisp snack; I would just opt for something 'un-fried', when given a choice. On the day of Diwali, hubby dear was in the mood for some Bonda (Deep fried spiced dumplings). Since I couldn't refuse - I just wanted to make it as easy as possible for me, with ingredients on hand. Luckily, I had some Idli batter, chilling away in the refrigerator & within minutes, the batter was transformed into scrumptious Bonda's. Serve them, hot & crispy with Coconut chutney, along with mug of piping hot Tea or Coffee. 
             On another note - Does your kid bring back half-finished lunches? Are your kids bored of the same old foods, in their lunch boxes? If you are constantly thinking of what to pack for your kids - check out this 100 Kids Lunchbox Recipe Book from Indus Ladies. You are sure to find something, that interests your little ones. 

Thideer Bonda

October 24, 2014

Susiyam / Sugiyam

How to make Susiyam /Sugiyam (with step by step pictures)

           Susiyam, Seeyam, Suzhiyan, Suyya Urundai, Suiyam, Sugiyam, Suzhiyam - I wonder how many more names there are, for these mildly sweet, soft & nutritious balls; that's liked by kids, adults & seniors alike... This is a must-have on the day of Deepavali, in almost every Tamil household. My mom made these on the morning, of  Diwali. It was part tradition & partly because, it was one of dad's favorite. In my tweens & teens, i used to fill up on other sweets & savories and would ultimately end up, having to skip these goodies, because I was too full to have another sweet. I later realized, these are far more nutritious, with no empty calories & also, provide iron & protein. When serving to kids, you can poke a hole on one side & pour a tsp of warm ghee into it; to make it even more delicious. Please check the notes, for additional tips.

         I can't help but think of my dad - as this is my first Diwali without him. One thing, i did not mention in my Tribute to Dad - Last Diwali, I was contemplating on shipping him, some of my home made goodies & finally ended up, not sending any; since I thought it would be too late, by the time he receives it . I only wish, i had known - that was my last opportunity to send him my goodies! He never got a chance to taste any of my Deepavali Sweets & Savories, which had many of his favorites & now, he never can. May be that's why they say - Listen to your heart & go with it!! :( Life is short - Live, Love & Laugh.

October 10, 2014

Corn & Capsicum Masala/Shimla Mirch aur Makai ki sabji

How to make Corn & Capsicum Masala/Shimla Mirch Aur Makai Ki Sabji

       Bell Peppers in the west, Capsicums in the east; these colorful fruits are also known as sweet peppers, because of their lack of Capsaicin, the compound responsible for a pungent nature. They come in a variety of bright & vibrant colors, which makes them a treat for at least three, if not four of a diner's senses. They also impart a unique aroma, to anything it's cooked with. Have a few of these peppers on hand? Why not try this recipe, the next time you are wondering what to cook tonight? Goes great with any Roti or Pulao.

Corn & Bell peppers in gravy


Steamed,Corn Kernels - 1 Cup
Cut, Green Capsicum - 2 no:s
Cut, Red/yellow Capsicum - 2 no:s
Chopped, Onions - 2 no:s
Chopped/Pureed Tomatoes - 2 no:s
Fresh Coriander leaves - 1/4 bunch, Chopped
Ginger - Garlic paste - 1 Tbsp
Oil - 3 Tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 Tsp
Red Chilli powder/Paprika - 1/2 Tbsp
Coriander powder - 1.5 Tbsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 Tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 Tsp
Salt to taste
Garam Masala powder - 1 Tsp
Thick fresh yogurt/Curd - 1/4 Cup, beaten  
Lemon Juice - 1 Tsp

Corn & Bell Pepper Masala

September 26, 2014

Karivepillai Thayir Pachadi / Curry Leaves Raitha

How to make Karivepillai Thayir Pachadi/Curry Leaves Raitha

         Have you ever thought, that a Raitha; could be the right accompaniment for Mango Rice? I was skeptical too, but I urge you to try this combination before you come to any conclusion. The flavors of this raitha unite in harmony with the flavors of the rice.


         The Curry leaves / Karivepillai / Kadi Patha is believed to possess numerous health benefits when consumed; aids in digestion help keep anemia at bay, fights diabetes, lowers cholesterol, prevents graying of hair; to name just a few. Here's another option to use up your fresh curry leaves (before they dry out) & store for later use - The Spiced Curry Leaf Powder.

Ingredients for 2 servings:

Fresh Yogurt - 1 Cup
Cleaned, Tender fresh Curry leaves - 1/2 Cup 
Grated Coconut - 4 Tbsp
Ghee/Oil - 2 Tsp
Salt to taste
Black Pepper corns- 1/2 Tsp
Cumin seeds/Jeera - 1/2 Tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 Tsp

September 16, 2014

Avo-Carrot Savory Muffins

How to make Avocado-Carrot Savory Muffins

         When my friend asked me about different ways she could use Avocados, apart from the usual ones we already know; the first thing that popped into my head was a muffin with Avocados. If you are tired of sweet breakfast muffins, then you should try this healthy savory muffins that are great for breakfast, picnic, a snack or even for dinner with a soup & salad. With absolutely no butter or alternative used, this is light & healthy for everyone. You can play around with the ingredients, according to your taste & you will still end up with a great muffin. Works well in your kid's lunch box as a healthy option to keep them nourished.

Avocado-Carrot Savory Muffins

September 13, 2014

Carrot Methi Pulao

How to make Carrot & fresh Methi (Fenugreek leaves) Pulao

            Fenugreek leaves are called Vendhaya Keerai in Tamil and Methi in Hindi, Marathi & Nepali. Fenugreek is used as an herb (dried or fresh leaves), spice (seeds), and vegetable (fresh leaves, sprouts, and micro greens). While the fresh greens are best for nutrition value; the seeds & dried leaves have a long shelf life and can be used as an substitute when the fresher version is out of reach or even otherwise.

                  Most of the time, It's a challenge to serve greens, to kids and adults alike. Here's a way to turn fresh fenugreek/methi leaves into a delicious rice, that will please your family at the table. But, do you know why I like, recipes like this one? The greens are almost invisible and yet it makes the dish so flavorful & aromatic. Au contraire, It's not the greens I'm hiding in here; it's actually the carrots, I'm trying to get into my child's gut. Can you believe it? The greens don't bother him; it's the carrots!

Fresh Methi Carrot Pulao

September 11, 2014

Sweet and Spicy - Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

How to  make Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

           Hot sandwiches are so very comforting, when the weather is cold. We all know, the popular Grilled Cheese Sandwich! But plain old 'Grilled Cheese' just doesn't cut it for me! I need more going on, in my sandwich - more texture, more flavors & more layers ;o) This is by far, my most favorite kind of homemade sandwich (I hope, I have taken all of them into account). The crust is crispy & crunchy, the melted cheese in between is chewy & gooey, the caramelized onions impart a hint of sweetness & of course, the flavor of your favorite sauce will add some heat to your sandwich. 

Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwiches to satisfy your sweet & spicy cravings.

               To get the best results, just be sure to slowly cook the onions in butter/oil; over medium heat, to caramelize the sugars naturally present in the onion, bring out the rich color & gradually pull out the flavors from the onions. This recipe is from a paper clipping, in my recipe file - sadly I cannot make out, where i got it from. Sending it over to Valli's CCChallenge #4 week 4. This is such an easy & delicious recipe - I cannot believe, it took so long for me to post this. Well; better late, than never! But, you gotta try this one :) Goes great with a cup of soup or salad. Try this Strawberry Spinach Salad, instead of the usual.

Ingredients for 2 servings

3 Tbsp Butter/Margarine
2 large red onions, finely sliced
1/2 Tsp Freshly ground black pepper
4 slices sharp Cheddar cheese
8 slices White/Wheat bread
4 slices  Pepper Jack/Monetary Jack cheese
Hot & Sweet Sauce or BBQ Sauce
Salt to taste

September 8, 2014

Thakkali Kai Kootu

How to make Thakkali Kai (UnripeTomato) Kootu

       Thakkali kootu is a common south indian accompaniment, that is usually served with steamed white rice or a meal platter on festive occasions. My first venture with the green tomatoes were years ago; when bought a pound of these beauties & had no idea what to do with them. So I tried making the same dish with unripe tomatoes & loved it even more, because of the sourness that these green tomatoes impart to it. 

       This is a great way to use the bountiful yield of tomatoes from your garden. The tomatoes you see in the pictures are from our patio garden. If you have been hesitant of cooking with green tomatoes, now is your chance, to try this simple & delicious recipe. Use the same recipe with ripened tomatoes (scroll down for the pic), if you don't have green tomatoes at hand & enjoy!

unripe tomato kootu

Green Tomatoes

September 5, 2014

Chocolate Bundt Cake/Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Glaze

How to make Chocolate Bundt Cake with Bitter Sweet Chocolate Glaze (with step by step pictorials)

         Are you looking to cure your chocolate cravings? Look no further! Imagine a mildly sweet Chocolate Cake - topped with a silky smooth Chocolate Glaze & served with fresh strawberries ..... Pure Bliss!! My kids love chocolate in anything, so this is my go to recipe of Chocolate cake. The best part is, you don't even need a mixer for this recipe.

        Once refrigerated; it tastes divine, when it's slightly warmed in the microwave so the cake is warm & the glaze is gooey. I had some Glaze left over, as i was beginning to think what I could use the glaze for, the bowl disappeared from my kitchen :) Although the recipe will serve at least 10, you family will compete over who gets the biggest slice & it'll be gone in no time. I also made these as cupcakes for the kids - see image below ;o)

How to make Chocolate Bundt Cake with Bitter Sweet Chocolate Glaze (with step by step pictures)

Chocolate Cupcakes with chocolate glaze

August 29, 2014

Sweet Coconut Kozhukattai/Modak

How to make Sweet Coconut Kozhukattai

         I have been wanting to do a post on Ganesh Chathurthi, (also known as Vinayaga Sadhurthi) for so long now - but for some strange reason, i keep missing it every year. I'm glad, I've no regrets at least this year. The Modak/Kozhukattai is supposedly lord Ganesha's most favorite treat. Once you know how to make the outer covering, your filling options are unlimited, with numerous sweet or savory fillings. 

        What I like about Ganesha, is that he's really not particular about how good, his treats are shaped; or for that matter, how his shape & form is either. He's loved, worshiped & displayed in over a 100 ways as figurines, paintings and statues. Ganesha is associated with auspicious beginnings, remover of obstacles &  to bring good fortune.

         Psst!! If you would like to take a sneak peek at our first attempt (with the help of our local temple) at making a clay Ganesha idol, scroll down all the way, to see our humble creation. I must confess, at first I thought my Ganesh looked pretty good for a first timer - in the end; i was all in love with my son's infant  Ganesh, wrapped in a blanket with the cutest li'l trunk. His original idea, won many hearts.(Your comments are welcome, as always)

Vella Kozhukattai

June 12, 2014

Thengai-Pottukadalai chutney / Coconut-Dalia Chutney

How to make Thengai-Pottukadalai chutney / Coconut-Dalia Chutney

         Many of the Tamilian households, get away with repeatedly making this Chutney for breakfast and dinner to accompany their popular tiffin items like Idli, Dosai, Upma, Pongal, Kichadi etc. I have seen people requesting this Chutney for Poori's or even steamed white rice. The pro's of this Chutney are that, this can be made in a jiffy; is equally liked by all age groups (my kids call it the 'White Chutney') and goes with almost any south indian tiffin. 

How to make Thengai-Pottukadalai chutney / Coconut-Dalia Chutney

Choco-Nana Sweet Sandwiches

How to make Choco-Nana Sweet Sandwiches

         I try my best & succeed most of the time, in my attempts to not stock Nutella at home. If I do buy, I have to make it a point to hide the jar from my kid! Now; if only I had an episode of selective amnesia every time my craving hits - that would be great for my waistline too ;o) Truth be told, I prefer stocking Nutella, over most brands of milk chocolates, as this can do more, than just satisfy a sweet tooth - like being a part of this delectably sweet & crunchy sandwich.

         Have you tried a sweet & crunchy sandwich before? Simple everyday ingredients make up this delicious sandwich, that's crunchy on the outside; soft & creamy on the inside. This is an all time favorite with kids & a must have for weekend breakfast in my home. The soft banana slices add an interesting texture to this otherwise crunchy sandwich. Add slivered nuts of your choice to make it more healthy & appetizing. 


Thick slices of White Bread -4 slices
Butter - for toasting
Ripe Banana - 1
Sugar - 1 Tbsp
Cinnamon powder - 1 to 2 tsp
Nutella (Chocolate Hazelnut) spread
(Optional) chopped Nuts - 1 Tbsp

Choco Nana Sweet Sandwich

May 19, 2014

Red Grapes Rasam

How to make Red Grapes Rasam

               Do you shop in bulk? Or just have a bunch of these succulent berries on hand? May be, you are just looking for an exotic recipe, that you have never tried before. The 'Rasam' is a traditional & customary concoction in many South Indian homes, for lunch. Although, tomatoes are the commonly used fruit in this digestive broth, I decided to use the Grapes that I had, just too many of - Thanks to Costco! The juicy grapes add an exotic fruity flavor to the otherwise ordinary Rasam.

            The Grapes, impart a beautiful color & makes it sensationally sweet, (based on the color & quantity of the grapes added) which is what makes this Rasam unique. Since, there is no cooking of  lentils/pulses required in this recipe, you can prepare this in a jiffy. To give you a perception of what this would taste like, think of a Rasam prepared with a lump of jaggery. Not too sweet, just enough to balance the sourness of the tamarind other spices. So go ahead & give it shot!

Red Grapes Rasam

May 5, 2014

Pico De Gallo/Tomato-Jalapeno Salsa

How to make Pico De Gallo/Tomato-Jalapeno Salsa

Feliz Cinco De Mayo, people!! Cinco de Mayo is a celebration that is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride on the 5th of May. I should admit, I was a little surprised & 'duh'-ed when i found that Cinco de Mayo's translation, simply means "fifth of May"! Check out this interesting video to find out more about this holiday, that's apparently celebrated more in the US than in Mexico.

The colors in the Pico de gallo, instantly remind us of a Mexican fiesta. Mexican Cuisine is probably the next best thing; for people like me, who find it hard to sustain without chillies in some form or the other. Any kind of Salsa is good - all I beg for, is some heat in it. The Pico de Gallo is probably the easiest variety to make. All you have to do is, chop up the ingredients & serve chilled. My son, who has a chronic distaste for tomatoes, loves Salsa - I wonder, if i should tell him what the main ingredient is?

Tomato Jalapeno Salsa

April 28, 2014

Rawa Pongal

How to make Rawa Pongal

                  You've possibly tried the Rawa Upma that is commonly made at home and the popular Pongal that's typically made with rice; but have you tasted Rawa Pongal? If Indian cuisine is new to you, you can relate this dish to the popular Grits, except that this is made from wheat grits, lentils, veggies & flavored with Indian spices. This is a colorful, flavorful & tasty Pongal, can be served as such or with an accompaniment of your choice & has all the qualities to make it on the list of your family favorite. For those who haven't heard about this before - this pongal is creamy, moist & soft. Add veggies of your choice to make it healthy & nutritious.

Rawa Pongal

April 20, 2014

Chocolate Brownies

How to make Chocolate Brownies

      I fell in love with the chewy chocolaty heaven on earth; the first time I ever tasted these yummies which was well into adulthood & I thought, OMG! I have been deprived of this delicacy, all my life!! :) After all, what's not to like about them? I like to think of it as a cake, without the frills; which makes it a no mess, on the go dessert. The easy to make, brownie is a cross between a cake & a cookie, in texture. But, you can have them as you like - sprinkle with powdered sugar, Take it with some milk, drizzle some chocolate sauce on top, warm it up & serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, you could also use it on top of this delectable, Oreo Shake. I chose to eliminate nuts in this recipe for my son & added a few white chocolate chips instead, but you could add walnuts if you like. This recipe is also great in the sense, that it does not give off an eggy smell in your brownies.
       While thinking about this post, I was intrigued to find out about the origin of the decadent brownie & it goes like this - A chef at Chicago's Palmer House Hotel created the confection after Bertha Palmer requested a dessert for ladies attending the Chicago 1893 World Fair; it should be, she said, smaller than a piece of cake, though still retaining cake-like characteristics and easily eaten from boxed lunches. These first brownies featured an apricot glaze and walnuts, and they are still being made at the hotel according to the original recipe. (Source: Wikipedia)

April 13, 2014

Honey Wheat Bread

How to make Honey Wheat Bread at home

      Since the time, I heard about the yoga mat chemical in fast food breads (McDonald's, Burger King, Subway, and KFC & many more); I remained, ever so slightly bothered about why the FDA permits Azodicarbonamide, while it is banned as a food additive and in food packaging in most European countries and Australia. And its use in Singapore has some pretty severe penalties. The reason being - two suspicious chemicals are formed when bread with Azodicarbonamide is baked, which is linked to respiratory problems & potentially carcinogenic.

      While we do like to have an occasional meal at fast food chains (in spite of it being high in empty calories)  & have nothing against them; the fact that we might be compromising our health, affects the decision to go back there. While reading about the additive, I learnt that this particular chemical is also used in numerous other popular brands of packaged breads. Next thing to do, was to check my regular (multigrain bread) brands for the additive & there it was listed among a ton of ingredients - decided not to buy that anymore. A week later I found that it was also on my white bread - another brand had to be kicked off my list. While your visit to the fast food chains can be controlled, the packaged breads will be consumed on a daily basis, through out the year (at least, in my home)!! At this rate, chances of any reactions from the additive are enormously higher from packaged breads than from fast foods, I would say.

        The necessary ingredients in bread are pretty basic. You need flour, water, yeast, and salt for sure. And then maybe add a little fat for dough consistency and a little sugar to get the yeast going. A little flavoring, if you like. You take a look at the commercial breads or any packaged food for that matter and the ingredient lists are freaking scary!

         Now, will I stop buying breads altogether & make my own bread, hereafter? Very unlikely! Will I read the ingredient list, before i buy any packaged bread - of course, Duh...! Although more than 500 grocery store food items have this foaming agent, you can easily get commercial breads without the additive. Even if you are not the kind of person, who fusses over what you eat, remember to check the ingredient list of all packaged foods. It's always better to go with products that have a short list with mostly natural ingredients. It's best to err on the side of caution, when it comes to health; but hey, that's just me! Eat, Thrive & Stay Healthy!!

Home made - Honey Wheat Bread

April 6, 2014

Pineapple Mensakai (Sweet & Spicy Pineapple Curry)

How to make Pineapple Mensakai

          You know how, sometimes a song gets inextricably stuck in your head & refuses to go away, whether you like it or not? Yeah, I have that too - the Stuck Song Syndrome!! If you are a foodie, you should be able to relate to something similar - If I fall in love with a new or exotic dish; the flavors & that memory gets tattooed on my grey matter & rises out of my long term memory, every time I see a relevant ingredient even if it's eons later. Today's post, is about one such memory/side dish called Pineapple Mensakai. You could also add a small amount of boiled bitter gourd into this dish, it will probably go unnoticed (good, if you have any bitter gourd haters at home)

       The Mensakai is similar to the Pachadi (in Tamil), from the popular Udupi Cuisine (Mangalore, Karnataka). When I first sampled, this exquisite side dish at a friend's house warming ceremony, the foodie in me was so curious to know it's name & the recipe. I ended up walking out, extremely disappointed, since all I could figure out at that time, was that it was made with Pineapples - was sweet, tangy, spicy & oh so.... mouth watering!

Pineapple Mensakai - Sweet & Spicy Pineapple Curry

March 28, 2014

Milk Poori's / Fried Indian Puffy Bread

How to make Milk Poori's/Fried Indian Puffy Bread


                Poori's are a must have, on Sunday mornings in many homes especially, coz' the kids love it. My better half can eat Puri's morning, noon & night; although he's a substantially big kid, now. Since he went on & on about, how I rarely make these high calorie, fried flat breads for him - I decided to give in this time & serve the Puri's he was longing for. Most of us are familiar with the regular Puri's, so I decided to make these Milk Puri's where the dough is made with cold milk, instead of water. A sneaky way to include milk into the kids meal if they do not like to drink it. Mr.S decided to stay by the frying pan to make sure, I didn't change my mind about making these & helped with the frying part of the process, giving his special touch of browning them a little more than required & adding a few age spots on them. Hopefully, your Puri's will come out in a beautiful golden color, unless you have an over enthusiastic helper in your kitchen, as well :o) 

              Goes great with Vegetable KurmaPotato Masala if you want to go for South Indian side, Pindi Chole (make it into a semi-gravy), Makki Chi Bhaji or Lobia Rassedar. An excellent way to serve up left over Puri's (for dessert) is to tear them up into bite sized pieces & drop them into warm milk mixed with a little sugar. Now guess who demonstrated, this manner of gobbling up more Puri's ;o)

Milk Poori/Fried Indian Puffy Bread

March 23, 2014

Vegetable Kurma

How to make Vegetable Kurma

      The Vegetable Kurma or Korma can be a versatile accompaniment, that can go from breakfast to lunch & lunch to dinner, depending on what it is served with. Some even, prefer the Kurma over the popular Potato Masala as well, due to the aromatic flavors going on in this, lip-smacking Kurma. Although there are various versions of veggie Kurma, this beats the rest of them because of the variety of vegetables that goes into it; which makes it all the more colorful & healthy. We gobbled our Milk Puris with this delectable Kurma. You can play around with whatever vegetables you have at hand & also use frozen or canned ones to cut down on your cooking time.

Vegetable Kurma with Coconut & Poppy seeds

March 18, 2014

A Tribute to my Father

In loving memory of my Dad

              Where do I begin? How do I start? No matter how hard i try, there are not enough words I can say to describe just how important my father was to me. Today, would be my first birthday, without my dad. My father was my hero, whom i looked up to. He was my encyclopedia. As a li'l girl - I believed, there wasn't a subject in the world, that he wasn't aware of. I was in awe, at his mental math skills, but dreaded the time he would tutor math for me. More than anything, there was an unconditional love for him; he always had a special place in my heart - not for anything he had done, but for just being my dad! I truly can't remember a time when i was mad at him, such was his fathering. 

A Tribute to my Father

February 7, 2014

Quick & Easy Dahi Puri

How to make Quick & Easy Dahi Puri

         I don't know if there is anyone, who can resist the popular Indian street food called 'Chaat'. Even if you are not a fan of one variety, there are so many more to choose from & you are sure to be hooked onto one of these mouth-watering delicacies. The Dahi Puri is one of the cooler Chaats - meaning they are not as fiery as some of the other Chaat varieties, thus making it an apt snack for kids & adults. Here's a practically No-Cook recipe, so you can enjoy your favorite Chaat without breaking a sweat!

If you live far away from home (India), I can vouch from personal experience that when something triggers your memory of the 'Chaat', you crave for these piquant snacks more than you normally would, just 'cos they are inaccessible. Although some restaurants have Chaat on their menu, it just doesn't taste as good as the ones made by the street-food vendors back home ;-) The different varieties of Chat include - Sev Puri, Pani Puri, Bhel Puri, Masala Puri, Papdi Chaat, Raj kachori, Samosa Channa, just to name a few. Sending this recipe from 'The Hindu' over to Srivalli's CCChallenge #5 week 2.

Quick & Easy Dahi Puri with ingredients on hand.

January 31, 2014

Tomato Masale Huli / Tomato Coconut Sambar

How to make Tomato Coconut Sambar / Tomato Masale Huli

               I still remember the first time, I tried out this dish from The Hindu during my late teens. I was at my Grandma's place & one fine day, she got busy with other chores far away from the kitchen. That's when I decided to make use of the opportunity & try to cook. I read & read the recipe, word by word countless times, to be sure I got everything just right. I didn't want to get into trouble with Gram pa, plus I wanted to prove to myself that I could cook (After all, I hardly ever got a chance to explore my culinary skills). I was so happy with the results, I went hopping over to my friends/neighbors to share, what i had whipped up - OK fine, you caught me!! To 'show-off' that I could cook :o)

             So, it doesn't matter whether you are a novice cook, just exploring your culinary skills in the kitchen or an experienced culinarian; this recipe will not disappoint you for sure. It goes great with Rice & a curry - I served it with Vendakai Poriyal/Okra fry. It can also be served with other Indian breakfast items like Idli, Dosa, Uthappam etc, which reminds me about the Uthappam post, dozing off in my draft. Will get to it sometime soon. Anyways, linking this post to Srivalli's CCChallenge, which is a wonderful way to share recipes from print, on the blogosphere.               

Tomato Masale Huli (Tomato Coconut sambar) from Udupi.

January 25, 2014

Pindi Chole (Dry Version of Punjabi Chole)

How to make Pindi Chole

            A variation of the popular Channa Masala, this is different from the regular preparation in terms of texture and color. The tea leaves in this recipe imparts a beautiful brown & earthy tone. Although it does not have a lot of gravy, it has the right amount of moisture in it; which makes it versatile. There are so many ways to serve this Chole, just make sure you don't forget to serve raw onions on the side - it goes with Milk Puri's , Roti, Batura, Cutlet, bread or rice. I even made quick samosas with this as the filling which turned out delicious.

Pindi Chole (Dry Version of Punjabi Chole)

January 18, 2014

Kakarakaya Vepudu in Gravy (Fried Bitter gourd dumplings in Gravy)

How to make Kakarakaya Vepudu in Gravy

             After Paavakkai Pitlay, it's been a while since i posted anything like it. So here is yet another recipe with Bitter gourd (Paavarkaai in Tamil, Karela in Hindi), which is an unpalatable vegetable for some (although, there are a whole lot of people who would beg to differ). This is a two-in-one recipe cos' you can stop half way through the process & enjoy the Bitter gourd Pakodas as a starter or go all the way making the gravy to enjoy it with your meal. Either ways, you will not regret trying this recipe. As I've revealed earlier, I have grown to like this bitter vegetable over the years - if i can relish this dish; then the die hard Bitter gourd fans out there will love this for sure. These Pakodas are the soft kind (so they absorb the gravy & stay soft); if you want to make it a little crispier, you can add a Tbsp of Rice flour to the batter. This is one more recipe of Chef Jacob's that i had written down in my recipe diary. Sending this over to Srivalli's CCChallenge #4 week 3.

Kakarakaya Vepudu in Gravy (Fried Bitter gourd dumplings in Gravy)

Kakarakaya Vepudu in Gravy (Fried Bitter gourd dumplings in Gravy)

January 11, 2014

Very Easy Berry Ice-Cream

How to make easy Berry Ice-Cream

           I can hear some of your mind voices going "Ice-Cream, in this kind of weather!!" :) There are 2 kinds are people I know; people like myself, who relate ice-creams to classic Summers, when the mercury is soaring & the Sun is shining bright. And then; there are people, like my older son who loves to lick up an ice-cream, even if the Polar Vortex is going around freezing everything in it's path, including the awe-inspiring Niagara falls. The record-breaking chill last week was so frigid, it literally stopped Niagara Falls in its tracks. On the day, when the sub-zero temperatures were breaking records - I asked him how his early morning walk to the bus stop was & he simply replies "Good!". What else can i say... So, here goes - a very quick & easy recipe with just three ingredients to make your loved ones, something they will like with no added color, preservatives or high fructose corn syrup etc. Just simple, fruity, all-natural & delicious Ice-Cream.



1.5 cups frozen Berries 
5 Tbsp powdered Sugar
1/2 cup Whipping Cream

Very Easy Berry Ice-Cream

January 5, 2014

Spinach Rice / Keerai Saadham /Palak Rice

How to make Spinach Rice / Keerai Saadham /Palak Rice

                Being a descendant of a Tamil family, I have mostly eaten Spinach in the form of Masiyal, Poriyal, Kootu & Kuzhambu during childhood, but never as a Rice or Raitha. So this caught my eye & made it into my collection of  recipes. This dish is from my Recipe diary & often makes it to our lunch box and dining table; because of it's ease of preparation  & well known health benefits. 

             The Spinach gives the rice some color, the ground spices give a nice kick to the otherwise, bland Spinach. Top it with roasted peanuts to add some crunch to your bite & you have a hearty one (almost) pot meal to feed your family. Although I've been making this for more than a decade now, sadly there is no mention in my diary, of where I got this recipe from. Anyways, this goes to Valli's CCChallenge #4 week 1Serve hot with a Tangy Kuzhambu or Pappad & Indian Pickle for a delicious meal.

Spinach Rice / Keerai Saadham

January 1, 2014

Sour Cream Apple Pie with Streusel Topping

How to make Sour Cream Apple Pie with Streusel Topping

              Happy New Year, folks!! I'm glad, that I got around to crossing off, something on my to do list. For a long time now, I have been wanting to make a pie & I finally got myself to make this amazing 'Sour Cream Apple Pie' for new year's eve to bid farewell to 2013 & welcome 2014 with some sweet stuff. I don't remember, the last time; I went Oooooh & Aaaaaah over any dessert. I don't mean to be boastful but when i tasted this warm pie, I felt like taking a bow, for every bite i took. Not that I, did anything great - the magic, is in the ingredients &  the method. The butter in the topping caramelizes the brown sugar, roasts the flour & oats to perfection to make an out of the world crunchy, sweet & chewy Streusel topping and it is balanced well by the tart apples & sour cream beneath it. To be more precise, let me just tell you that the 'Apple Pie' is not my favorite kind of pie.

            You could even, try this recipe without the bottom crust/shell. Yeah, you read it right, that is if you want to cut down big, on calories & fat. If you want to make something that's just the right size for a sm all family & not feed a crowd, just use half of the given ingredients, skip the crust & call it a cobbler !! Trust me, I have done that too ;o) Scroll down for that picture.

Sour Cream Apple Pie with Streusel Topping

Buttery & Flaky Pie Crust

How to make a Buttery & Flaky Pie crust

Buttery & Flaky Pie Crust

Ingredients for the Pie Crust: 

8 Tbsp or 1/2 Cup Butter - Cut into pieces & frozen 
2.5 Tbsp + 1/2 Tsp shortening - measured & frozen
1.5 Cups Flour
1/2 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp baking powder
1 small Egg yolk 
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
Ice cold water

Special Equipment's required:
A food processor

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