December 13, 2015

Kollu Milagai Podi/Horse gram Spice Powder

How to make Kollu Milagai Podi / Horse gram Spice powder

                The Milagai Podi, aka the Chutney powder, is one of the items that is a must-have in a Tamil household. It is the savior of many individual's breakfast & dinner. If you have Idli/Dosa batter on hand & some Milagai podi - you have a meal! Short on time, to make other accompaniments for your tiffin ? - no worries. For a few of us, this is a must-have, side; even if you are served, an array of other Chutneys & Sambhars. This lip-smacking Milagai Podi, sure keeps you fuller, longer as it is made with an extra diabetic friendly lentil.

            Apparently, this legume took its name from its use as a staple food for horses and cattle (primarily fed to race horses, to control weight gain & provide energy). If the name sounds unappetizing to you, read on, for its exceptional nutrition profile. The low-profile, humble, Horse gram is considered the most protein-rich lentil found on the planet & one of the richest vegetarian sources of protein. They are high in iron, calcium, anti-oxidants & protein. Low in fat & lipids. It's slow digestible starch make it ideal for diabetics & people trying to control their weight. 

Horse gram Chutney powder,


Kollu/Horse gram/Kulthi bean - 1 Cup
Ulunthu/Urad dal - 1/2 Cup
Dry Red chillies - 6 to 8 no:s
Copra powder/Dehydrated coconut flakes - 1/2 Cup
Asafoetida powder- 1/4 Tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 Tsp

Horse gram chutney powder, Accompaniment for Idli/Dosa,

November 29, 2015

Kothambari Palye Gojju / Sweet & Sour Coriander Chutney

How to make Kothambari Palye Gojju (Sweet Sour Coriander Chutney)

                I had posted the recipe for the lightest, softest, whitest, thinnest, lace like dosa, called Neer Dose from Mangalore, last week. If you haven't tried making it; I strongly suggest that you taste these beautiful dosa's at least once, before you judge them. Both these recipes were jotted down from a television show & has now become a family favorite for us. You may not be able to see how watery this chutney is, cos' the ground coriander leaves tend to float on top, but a diluted chutney, rather than a thick chutney, is ideal for Neer dosa's.

Sweet Sour Coriander Chutney


One big bunch of fresh coriander/cilantro leaves - cleaned & roughly chopped
Green Chillies - 2 or 3 no:s
Grated Jaggery - 1 Tbsp
Salt to taste
Tamarind pulp - lemon sized or an equivalent amount of tamarind paste

For Tempering

1 Tsp, cooking oil
1 broken red chilli
1/2 tsp, mustard seeds
a few, curry leaves

                               How to make Kothambari Palye Gojju

November 22, 2015

Neer Dose/Neer Dosa (No fermentation required)

How to make Neer Dose / Neer Dosa (No Fermentation Required)

       Neer Dose, in Tulu (a language spoken in the southwestern part of  the Indian state of Karnataka) literally means a crepe made with water. The name refers to the consistency of the batter here. This is probably the lightest, softest, whitest, thinnest, lace like dosa you will ever come across. It stays super soft & moist for hours, which makes it an excellent food to pack for your kids. The dosa's are as white as snow, delicately flavored with coconut milk & salt. Once you get the hang of it, you will make these dosa's over & over again; but please take note of the bold, underlined words in the steps below, to get the best Neer Dose. When made right, the Neer Dose should feel like a wet lace in your hands; but beware - since the Neer Dosa, is so light, you are sure to eat more than your usual share of dosa's ;o) Enjoy your softest Neer Dose's with a side of Kothambari Palye Gojju/Sweet & Sour Coriander Chutney, another Konkani dish.

How to make Neer Dose/Neer Dosa (No Fermentation Required), How to make Konkani Dosa,

November 2, 2015

Nutritious Moong Bean Laddoo

How to make Moong Bean Laddoo / Pachaipayaru Laddoo

          You must have heard of Moong Dal Laddoo's. These on the other hand, are made from ground whole moong beans/pachai payaru maavu which is more nutritious, with a low glycemic index &  is a high fiber alternative to the moong dal. Go ahead & try these healthy laddoos this festive season & make your family's health a priority while celebrating Diwali.

Ingredients for about 30 Laddoo's:

1 cup pachai payaru maavu/whole moong dal flour/green gram flour (check notes*2)
1/2 cup kadalai maavu/besan/gram flour
1.5 cups fine sugar (check notes*1)
3/4th of a cup of ghee
Elaichi/Cardamom powder - 1/2 Tsp

How to make Moong Bean Laddoos, Nutritious High fiber Laddoo,Pachai payaru laddoo

October 31, 2015

Moist Walnut Cupcakes

How to bake Moist Walnut Cupcakes

                 I crave chocolate. My better half doesn't; so I wanted to bake something else for him on his special day. I chose to bake these delicious treats from Cupcakes by Susanna Tee. I thought it would make us less guilty, if it had at least one healthy ingredient in it (walnuts). The ground walnuts in this cupcake give it a nutty flavor, while the lemon zest & juice adds a zing to it. To make it appetizing to my kids, I chose to add chopped chocolate on top of some of the cupcakes. You can even skip the frosting all together & eat these like muffins, as they are sweet enough all by themselves. Sharing these nutty cupcakes with my fellow bloggers at CCChallenge.

How to bake Moist Walnut Cupcakes, Moist walnut cupcakes,

Ingredients for about 8 to 10 cupcakes:

3/4 cup walnuts
4 Tbsp softened butter
½ cup fine sugar
½ cup self-rising white flour (make your own - see notes below)
2 Tbsp lemon zest
2 eggs
walnut halves, to decorate

For the frosting:
4 Tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered/confectioners' sugar
2 Tbsp lemon zest (optional)
1 tsp lemon juice

How to bake Moist Walnut Cupcakes, Moist walnut cupcakes,

October 16, 2015

Karuppu Ulundhu Sundal

How to make Karuppu Ulundhu Sundal / Whole Black Lentil Snack

         When Navarathri comes around, the first things that cross my mind are Golu, Paatu, Pattu, Sundal & a goody bag of auspicious stuff, along with a one rupee coin :o)  Every house we visit will serve a bowl of warm Sundal. Although delicious, the kids could only eat so many bowls of Sundal. So we would take home the remaining Prasadham to share with our families.

                Navarathri brings along its own share of sweet memories from childhood. It is probably the only time of the year when kids are invited with respect/importance; by grown ups, who normally wouldn't have anything to say to you; except "Where's your Amma"? or "Where's your Patti"? I would come home from school; eager to dress up in pattu pavaadai's & wear some real jewelry (finally!!) and go to almost every house on our street to see their seven or nine step arrangements of beautiful dolls & idols; that are strategically organized in to groups & categories.  Kids, mostly girls would be asked to sing songs in praise of the gods & goddesses. The funny part is, when a girl is singing, there would be so much activity going on around her; It almost feels like no one is paying attention to her song. So much for the respect, I thought we were getting...LOL!!

                 This was probably my first Sundal recipe that was written down in my recipe diary, when I only knew, how to eat :)

How to make Karuppu Ulundhu Sundal/ Whole Black Lentil Snack

October 11, 2015

Vaazhaipoo Thirattu / Plantain Flower Curry

How to make Vaazhaipoo Thirattu

            Here is a mildly spiced, home style south-indian curry made with fresh plantain flowers and pearl onions, spiced with black sesame seeds & pepper corns that give this curry the dark earthy color & flavors. If you like, you can add about 1/4 cup of coconut milk towards the end & finish off, for a creamier version. 

             If the plantain flower is a new ingredient in your kitchen, please make sure, you check my notes on how to clean it; before you begin. 

How to make Vaazhaipoo Thirattu, How to make Plantain flower curry

October 4, 2015

'Spreads' Cookie Bars

How to bake quick & easy Cookie bars 

             Although, I like to challenge myself in the kitchen with a tad bit of time consuming, intricate and difficult recipes; there are times when I prefer to keep things quick & simple - so I can do a few more dishes, rather than slave over one item in the given amount of time. Recipes like this one from Ms. Ree Drummond -The Pioneer Woman, which was jotted down in my recipe diary; is just what I needed when company was coming over for a few days. That way, this batch of cookie bars will keep everyone will have something to snack on, anytime of the day; which gives me time to focus on other preparations :o) You can easily double or triple this recipe for a bigger event/crowd. Just dump, spread & bake the dough - it can't get easier than that. 

Easy cookie bars

           These cookie bars are barely sweetened by the brown sugar, but the semi-sweet molten chocolate on the top takes the sweetness up a notch to balance it along with your favorite toppings. Even if you are making a small batch, you can have multiple toppings to suit your needs, like I did. My older one, wanted m&m's. My younger one is a 'sprinkles' fan & I fell in love with slices on snickers on top. These cookie bars, are quite soft, but the toppings you use; adds depth to its texture and can make the top layer - crunchy / nutty / chewy / sticky, as you like it.

September 19, 2015

Uppu Elumichai Oorugai / Pickled Lemon

How to make Uppu Elumichai Oorugai / Pickled Lemon

         At first sight, this may not seem like a pickle at all. The ingredients are lemon, ginger, green chillies and salt. That's it!! No preservatives, oil or chilli powder are required. As you can guess, most of the heat comes from the green chillies. Salt and the citric acid from the lemons are the only (natural) preservatives here. This pickle makes an excellent side for sambhar rice, curd rice, as a treatment for morning sickness or just cos' you want to suck on something sour. 

         This one pot - one shot, home style recipe comes from my MIL - to - my recipe diary - to - you. This pickle can stay good, for months together under refrigeration and will taste great. The longer the ingredients swim in its own juices, the better they will taste. That's when, the heat of the chillies get on to the lemon, the sourness from the lemon juice gets into the chillies, and the ginger absorbs some of the sourness from the lemons. Scroll down to see a picture of the pickle, after three weeks of storage. Anybody can make this pickle - No special skills or expertise  needed; so go ahead and try this hassle free method of preserving a few lemons this time. Who know this could give you the confidence to make other complicated pickles too ;o)

Uppu Elumichai Urugai, Pickled lemon, ginger and chillies


1.5 cups of bite sized chunks of  fresh lemon (about 3 to 4 lemons)
1 cup chopped, Mango ginger or Ginger
2 Tbsp salt, preferably rock salt
7 to 10 slit or chopped green chilies (about 1/4 cup)
a few fresh green peppercorns (optional)

Uppu Elumichai Urugai, Pickled lemon, ginger and chillies

September 6, 2015

Upside Down Peach Cake (Low Fat & Egg less)

How to bake an Upside Down Peach Cake

         What would you bake for someone on their anniversary; that is egg less, healthy, and low fat ? Well, luckily I came across this recipe in a big book of luscious low fat cooking, called Great Good Food by Julee Rosso.

         Last week was the 46th wedding anniversary of my in-laws, I can't imagine what that must be like. Every passing year seems like an achievement for some of us. They say - 'With age comes wisdom, but sometimes age comes alone'. I just hope, I am the first kind ;o)

         Getting back to the cake, I had to serve this cake to friends & family with my fingers crossed, because, I hadn't tasted it and had no clue if it was fit for the occasion. Delightedly, the whole cake disappeared within minutes of cutting the first slice. I managed to grab a piece, so I could write this post. My favorite part of this cake are the peaches on the top with the caramelized brown sugar. Serve this with a whipped cream topping if you like & enjoy your treat, guilt free. Sharing this recipe with my friends over at CCChallenge.

Upside Down Peach Cake (Low Fat), Eggless cake

Ingredients for 8 to 12 servings:

1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 cups peeled, pitted & sliced fresh peaches (about 3 peaches)
1 Tbsp ground/chopped crystallized ginger ( I used "inji murabba")
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
vegetable oil, to grease the pan
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
up to 5 Tbsp of buttermilk as needed to get the batter to pouring consistency
1 tsp vanilla extract

Upside Down Low Fat, Egg less Peach Cake

August 21, 2015

Pappa al Pomodoro / Roasted Tomato Soup

How to make Pappa al Pomodoro (Roasted Tomato Soup)

        We love roasted tomato soup, anytime of the year. I knew, there was no stopping me, when I saw a similar recipe in the bon appetit magazine. I made a few changes to suit the Indian palate & VoilĂ ! It was a so... good & a big hit with my family. Serve a large bowl of this soup for a meal by itself or serve along with a tasty sandwich

         Pappa al Pomodoro is a hearty & thick Tuscan tomato-bread soup typically prepared with fresh tomatoes, bread, olive oil, garlic, basil, and various other fresh ingredients. The soup equivalent of dipping your bread into tomato sauce. This rustic dish is a summer comfort food. 

Pappa al Pomodoro (Roasted Tomato Soup), hearty tomato-bread soup,

Total time - 1 hour
Ingredients for 4 servings:

2 lbs of ripe & juicy tomatoes, cored & quartered
6 to 8 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
6 Tbsp olive oil, divided, plus more
sea salt
freshly ground pepper corns
1/2 Tbsp dried basil
1/2 tsp Dry chilli flakes
1/4 loaf of country-style bread, crust removed, torn into 2" pieces (about 1.5 cups), divided
3 cups of water

Pappa al Pomodoro (Roasted Tomato Soup), hearty tomato-bread soup,

August 9, 2015

Chocolate Bars with Walnut & Marshmallow Topping

How to bake Chocolate Bars with Walnut & Marshmallow Topping

         I have a happy announcement to make...... Today, I received an opportunity to share a recipe on Radio Zindagi for the Tamil listeners in the VA, MD & DC region. If you happened to listen to the show, where I gave step by step instructions for baking Coconut Macaroons, I would love to hear from you and get your suggestions & feedback about the show, please leave a comment about it.

       My kids love baked chocolate goodies so much, that they like to browse my cookbooks & pick up recipes for us to bake together. Depending on their level of patience, they will help me out (or not :o). Its hard for us to bear the withdrawal of the goodness of chocolate, for too many days at a stretch; so we end up baking something chocolaty at the first chance, we get. 

        Do you agree with - "Once a foodie, always a foodie" ? So, the foodie in me grabbed a book called Chocolate Divine Indulgence at a book fair. This book has a ton of chocolate recipes (including this one), all of which make small batches. I personally prefer recipes that make a small batch of goodies; that way I get to try a variety of recipes frequently & also, not have a ton of  leftovers. I'm pleased to share this bitter sweet recipe with my friends at CCChallenge.

 How to bake Chocolate Bars with Walnut & Marshmallow Topping

Difficulty level - 1
Preparation: 20 mins + 1 hour to chill

Ingredients for 12 to 14 bars:

1/2 Cup (120 g) salted butter
1/2 Cup (75 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Cup (200 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 Cup (75 g) all-purpose (plain) flour
1/2 Cup (120 ml) milk
1 Tsp vanilla extract (essence)
1 Cup (120 g) coarsely chopped marshmallows
1 Cup (120 g) coarsely chopped walnuts
1 Cup (180 g) dark chocolate chips

 How to bake Chocolate Bars with Walnut & Marshmallow Topping

July 25, 2015

Coconut Macaroons

How to make Coconut Macaroons (six ingredients only)

                If you are looking to bake something sweet, in under thirty minutes, you gotta try these chewy macaroons. With just six ingredients, you can whip this baby up in no time & make your friends & family happy. You don't even need to beat the egg whites for these macaroons. Although I'm not a fan of coconut sweets, I thought I would bake these for my in laws & hubby; that's why I chose to add no frills (check notes below) to these beauties. I knew, I had to eat at least one, to write about it, but to my surprise, I had gobbled up a couple of these, as soon they came out of the oven. The whole house was smelling divine from these coconut delights - who could resist that ? I am sharing this simple, yet delicious recipe, I found at the back of Baker's sweetened coconut flakes pack, with my friends over at CCChallenge

Easy mix - Easy bake - Easy serve - Easily gone!! 

How bake easy coconut macaroons

July 13, 2015

Grilled Brie, Pear and Jalapeno Jam Sandwich

How to make a Grilled Brie, Pear and Jalapeno Jam Sandwich

        This is a one of a kind sandwich, which has a variety of flavors & texture to it. Brie is a very rich and creamy cheese which goes great with the crunchy fresh fruit and also balances the heat from the hot & sweet Jalapeno jam. If you have access to Granny smith apples; that makes one heck of a sandwich. It's bound to keep you satisfied for hours, while also pleasing your taste buds. This recipe was jotted down in my dairy a long time ago - I'm happy to finally share this flavorful recipe with you & my friends at CCChallenge.

How to make a Grilled Brie, Pear and Jalapeno Jam Sandwich, Hot & sweet fruit sandwich,


Multi-grain/Whole Wheat bread
Brie Cheese
Pear or Granny smith slices
Jalapeno pepper Jam (Recipe here)
Unsalted softened butter/margarine

Optional gadget:
Panini press/Sandwich maker

July 6, 2015

Hot & Sweet Jalapeno Jam

How to make Hot & Sweet Jalapeno Jam

           Jalapeno jellies and jams are typically made with too much sugar and/or added bell peppers, which cuts down on the heat of these fiery Mexican peppers. So, I came up with this version of Jalapeno jam to satisfy my taste buds; which gets a kick from the heat of this peppery Jalapeno jam. You only need a few minutes to make this jam and it goes with a lot of your favorite foods. You could use it on plain toast, sandwiches or serve as a snack along with crackers & cheese. Go ahead and whip this up; your taste buds might just sing you, a Gracias song :)

How to make Sweet & Spicy Jalapeno Jam

Ingredients for 10 oz of Jam

5 large Jalapenos 
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/8 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp powder Pectin (ex: Ball)
1 to 2 drops of green food color (Optional)

Hot & Sweet Jalapeno Jam

June 26, 2015

Asian Slaw

How to make Asian Slaw

           The Coleslaw is a well known side, that is commonly found at cookouts and also served as an ingredient for barbecue sandwiches. Think of this Asian slaw, as a spicier cousin of the coleslaw. Crunchy vegetables & the chilled dressing makes it perfect for the summer. It makes a great side for any meal; especially so, for an Asian theme platter. I was quite tempted to try this recipe, when I saw it on The Washington Post and this has since been a regular in my kitchen, on many occasions. Sharing this crunchy recipe with my fellow bloggers at Sri Valli's CCChallenge.

How to make Asian Salad

Ingredients for 4 to 6 Servings:

2 Cups shredded Cabbage
2 Cups shredded Purple Cabbage
1 Cup shredded Carrots
1 small Onion, finely chopped
A handful of Cilantro leaves, chopped
Salt to taste
1/4 Tsp of crushed black pepper
1.5 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 Cup of Mayonnaise
1 Tsp of Asian Sesame Oil
1/2 Tsp of Sriracha/Red-Chilli sauce
1/4 Tsp Sugar
1 Tbsp toasted, Sesame seeds
1 Tbsp of roasted, chopped Peanuts

How to make Asian Slaw

June 13, 2015

Thakkali Dosai/Tomato Dosa

How to make Thakkali Dosai/Tomato Dosa

        How many times can you make the same old breakfast and dinner items, before someone in your family raises their voice and protests? In my home, that someone would be me :) When you have made all of the usual dishes and crave for something different to surprise your family, why not try this sweet and sour, tangy and spicy Dosa? Did you know, this Dosa needs no fermentation? Just grind and make your dosa's immediately and enjoy with this chutney.

How to make Thakkali Dosai/Tomato Dosa

Ingredients for 4 servings:

Raw rice - 1.5 cups
Ripe Tomatoes - 5 to 7 depending on sourness
Red gram dal/Tuar dal - 3 Tbsp
Tamarind - gooseberry sized
Red chilli - 3 to 5
Asafoetida - 1/8 Tsp
Salt to taste
1 Tsp of Sugar (Optional)
Oil - Enough to make dosa's

 Thakkali Dosai, Tomato Dosa

May 31, 2015

All Natural Orange-Lime Sorbet

How to make Orange-Lime Sorbet

         Last winter, we took a break from the sub-zero temperatures here & sneaked out to the Sunshine state, for a couple of days. It was an awesome trip - check out the pics, below. On our first day we ventured out to a local farm for Orange picking. We chose to pick a seedless variety of Navel oranges.  It was so much fun, strolling through the grove and taking in the fragrance of the Orange blossoms. Our day ended with a 4 x 4 ride through the 2500 acre estate. 

All natural orange-lime sorbet

Orange Sorbet

         As we departed on our ride into the farm, I had a feeling that the herd of cows were a bit restless, in anticipation of something; which proved to be right, later on. On our return trip, the driver handed each of us some oranges & asked us to throw the oranges out, for the cows to eat. That was the first time, I had heard of cows eating oranges. My 3 year old wasn't keen on parting with his orange, so I decided to lend a hand and feed a hungry cow. Little, did I know, what was going to happen next - my preschooler started yelling at the cow, who ate his orange - "Hey Cow!! Give me my orange!!" Not once, not twice; it went on for a few minutes - I bet he(cow) understood, what was being asked of him. You should have seen the look on that poor cow's face.... :)

May 17, 2015

Vengaya Kai Kari

How to make Vengaya Kai Kari (Semi cooked medley of Raw Mango & Cucumber with pearl onions)

        Vengaya Kai Kari in Tamil, literally means 'Onion - Vegetable Curry'. Now, I could really use your help with this one. The semi cooked veggies, make it crisp & crunchy; with a good bite to it, also keeping it rich in fiber. This can be eaten as a salad or served as a side with a meal platter. For a change, I will leave it to you, to decide how you want to classify this dish ;o) This is from my recipe diary, written down from a show of the late Chef Jacob. I've altered a few steps in the recipe, though. Sharing this recipe with Sri Valli's CCChallenge.

Vengaya Kai Kari, A semi cooked medley of raw Mango, Cucumber & small onions.

May 3, 2015

Palak Bahar (Sauteed vegetables on a bed of pureed spinach)

How to make Palak Bahar (Sauteed Vegetables on a bed of pureed Spinach)

          If  I were expecting company, I would probably pick something like this, to serve. The colorful sauteed vegetables, laid on a bed of pureed spinach has got to impress, with its beautiful & vibrant color contrasts. Serve with any unleavened bread or mildly flavored Pulao & you have a winner. This is a very versatile recipe - in the sense that, you can play with the vegetables used on top & still get a delightfully delicious entree, which can be served in 3 ways :)

         When I made this, the last time, my older one, decided to take only the pureed spinach & not the veggies. That reminded me of a story, that I had read, when I was a child. Here it goes - There once lived a poor man, with his pet goat and a parrot. He was in a financial crisis and had very few Paise/Cents on hand to feed all three of them. He went to the market, and after some careful consideration; came home with a water melon. He cut it up and ate the fruit, fed the rind to the goat and the seeds to the parrot. Problem solved! This entree could serve you in a similar way if need be.

Pureed spinach with sauteed vegetables


Spinach - 2 medium bunches/10 oz - blanched
Carrots 2 medium - cut into thin diagonal slices
French beans 6 - cut into diamonds
1/4th of a Cauliflower- broken into florets
Green chillies - 1
Oil - 1 1/2 Tbsp
Ginger - 1 inch piece, chopped
Garlic - 4 cloves, chopped
Onions - 1 large,  chopped
Tomato - 1, chopped
Nutmeg powder - 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Red chilli powder - 1/2 to 1 tsp
Garam masala powder - 2 tsp
Fresh coriander leaves - a few sprigs, chopped

Pureed spinach with sauteed vegetables

April 19, 2015

Mini Rainbow Whoopie Pies

How to make Mini Rainbow Whoopie Pies

           Does anyone ever feel, they are wise enough? I am filled with awe when I see people who can be ever so certain about their choices in life; and I say this based entirely on my own self reflection (and not to belittle anybody), because at no point in time have I felt, that I know enough. When I think about my quest so far; it feels like, I'm still tripping all over in this astronomical ocean of life and often have the urge to question my everyday choices. When (at what age) & how does one gain satisfaction with what they know? Every choice is made based on the information at hand at that particular point of time in life. What seems right today, may not be the case down the line; even for the same scenario.When that's the case, how does one conclude that he's wise enough for his age? No matter how hard we try, we all have something more to learn; and to make that learning possible, we ought to be open & receptive. In short, all I want to put out there is - One can never know, enough and I take solace in this piece of wisdom by Socrates.....

"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing"

Mini Rainbow Whoopie Pies

         This is a delightful recipe that can be made along with your kids. Making rainbow colored whoopie pies can be time consuming & is best done with the help of tiny hands. Kids will love to assemble & decorate these sweet & delicious cakes/cookies/pies all in one.

April 3, 2015

Home-style Beetroot Kurma

How to make Beetroot Kurma/Beets simmered in a Coconut-Poppy seeds gravy

       You would all know about the popular Vegetable Kurma, that's commonly available in restaurants & also made at home on special occasions to accompany our Indian flat breads. But this vibrant, deep hued & unpretentious Kurma is not easily found outside, of our homes. Simple, but delicious - this Beetroot kurma can be served with Milk Poori, Roti or Paratha. This also makes your ordinary steamed rice, delectable & comforting. Even if beets are not your favorite, go ahead and try this version. Who knows - you might change your mind about this humble taproot, after all :)

      This is a home-style Kurma and is of a thinner consistency. If you prefer, you can reduce the amount of water used. Sharing my (joy) MIL's recipe with my friends at CCChallenge.

Home style Beetroot Kurma, Beetroot Kurma, Beetroot kurma with coconut & poppy seeds gravy.

March 15, 2015

Orange Peel Pachadi/Chutney

How to make Orange Peel Pachadi/Chutney

          The skin/peel of many fruits and vegetables can be used to cook a variety of dishes. It's one way to use up the nutrients & fiber, which would otherwise go to waste. Once you try cooking with the peels, you will discover that, it takes the dish to a whole new level. In some households, the peels are simply cooked as an economic choice. Either way, I'm all in when it comes to cooking with peels. Here's an aromatic, lip-smacking Pachadi, which can be made using the peel of a Navel Orange or Kamala Orange. No matter which variety you use; make sure the peel is thick & fleshy. Organic is best; if unavailable, use a Veggie wash to remove any pesticide residue.

           In the Tamil language, there is a phrase called 'Arusuvai Unavu', which means 'Six Flavors'. A good Tamil feast is supposed to include six flavors into it. Those six flavors being - 

Inippu - Sweet - ex: sugar, starchy foods
Pulippu - Sour - ex: citrus fruits, buttermilk
Uvarppu - Salty - ex: all salty foods
Kaarppu - Pungent/Hot - ex: peppers, ginger
Kasappu - Bitter - ex: bitter gourd, neem flowers
Thuvarppu - Astringent - ex: pomegranate, betel leaves

           This recipe is definitely one of those dishes, which has all six of the flavors in it. Our daily schedules are so hectic, many, do not even have time for a decent sit-down meal; leave alone a six-flavor meal; the best we can do is to incorporate a six-flavor dish when possible. We are, what we eat, after all!

Orange skin pachadi

Ingredients for 4 servings:

1 Cup of chopped Orange peel (Navel Orange or Kamala Orange) 
1 Tbsp, Tamarind Paste or about 1 Cup of Tamarind extract
1 Tbsp, crushed Jaggery
2 Tbsp of Oil
1 Tsp, Mustard seeds
1/8 Tsp, Asafoetida/Hing
1/8 Tsp, Turmeric powder
A sprig of Curry leaves
About a Cup of water
Salt to taste

To roast in oil & grind:

1/2 Tbsp, broken Urad dal
1 or 2, dry red chillies
Chopped or grated Coconut, about 1 Tbsp

cooking with Orange peel

March 1, 2015

Uthappam Batter

How to make the Uthappam Batter

          Not many of us are aware that the Uthappam batter is different from the Dosa batter. We tend to make Uthappam's with our ordinary Idli/Dosa batter. And that's not bad either, until you try the real Uthappam. A few years ago, I was blissfully ignorant of the same! Then I gave this recipe a try from a Mallika Badrinath's cookbook. My better half - the connoisseur of my kitchen, gave it a double thumbs up saying that it tasted just like it would, in a good south indian restaurant. It has since become a regular for our weeknight dinners. There are no limits to how many varieties of Uthappam can be made, just by switching the toppings. The picture below doesn't do justice to the Uthappam, You should try it for yourself to really know how good it is. Try Thakkali kai thuvayal, Tomato Coconut Sambhar & Thengai-Pottukadalai Chutney to accompany your uthappams. Sharing this spongy recipe with my friends at CCChallenge.

Onion Uthappam, Onion-Chilli Uthappam, Oothappam, Uthappam Batter

Ingredients for 8 to 10 servings:

Raw rice - 2 Cups
Par boiled rice/Idli rice - 2 Cups
Black gram dal/Urad dal - 1/2 Cup
Red gram dal/Toor Dal - 1/4 Cup
Fenugreek seeds/Vendhayam/Methi seeds - 1 Tsp
Salt to taste
Oil as needed
2 to 3 Onions - finely chopped
4 to 6 Green chillies - finely sliced
Coriander leaves - finely chopped (Optional)

Onion Uthappam, Onion-Chilli Uthappam, Oothappam, Uthappam Batter

February 14, 2015

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

How to bake Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

       Happy Valentines Day!! Most of us, already know that we could better off without some of our daily habits. Yet, we prefer to go about our life with in our comfort zones. Be it, taking a different route than usual; changing our parking spot; or cutting down on our caffeine. Although most of our habits are harmless; mine wasn't. If there is a time of the day, that i eagerly await; it was my evening tea/chai time. I don't remember exactly when, I turned into an addict from a casual  tea drinker.

        My cuppa tea was my getaway from all the craziness in my life. Me, my piping hot mug of desi chai & a favorite TV show or a book.  It was a sacred ritual for me. Everything else had to wait; be it the chores, kids or anything else. I started believing that, my mug of caffeine could make my day better. Even my better half had learnt, (through trial and error) not to ask for any favors until I was done with my ritual!! 

        Although, i had known for a few years that my afternoon tea had a detrimental influence on me - It never hit me, that I had an option to quit. My main concern was the significant trouble i had falling asleep. Yet, I attempted in vain to adapt myself to my cup of chai, by altering the quantity, and the time of the day. The changes would only help initially, but caffeine still had the same properties. Decaff just wouldn't cut it for me. So, I finally decided to cold turkey and have been clean for more than month now. I could call it my impromptu new year resolution :)

Ingredients for about 50 cookies:

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 egg
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
About 50 milk chocolate kisses, unwrapped

February 1, 2015

Mamidikaya Pappu/Dal with Green Mango

How to make Mamidikaya Pappu/Dal with Green Mango

        Does anyone ever think, they are addicted to something? Not usually! Unless there comes a time when you are deprived of that one thing & your mind is constantly thinking about how good it would be, if you could get your hands on it right now. Aren't I right? One of my friend, often says - You can do anything you want, as long as you don't get addicted to that habit.

      For so many years, I was under the impression - that I had no addictions; but I'm glad that it finally dawned on me that I was, in fact an addict!!! I recently decided to go cold turkey and have been quite successful so far. I have a few more days to go, and then I can declare myself as 'clean'!! And by the way, until my next post - I'll just leave you guys hanging.........Come back soon to find out more :)

Mamidikaya Pappu/Dal with Green Mango


Sour raw Mango, peeled & cubed - 1 no:
Red gram dal - 1 Cup
Turmeric powder - 1/2 Tsp
Salt - to taste
Red chilli powder/Paprika - 1/2 Tsp
chopped, Coriander leaves - 2 Tbsp

For seasoning:

Sesame oil & Ghee mixed - 2 Tbsp (Can skip ghee, if vegan)
Asafoetida powder - a pinch
Mustard seeds - 1 Tsp
Black gram dal - 1 Tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Green chillies - 2 no:s, finely chopped
Grated ginger/Ginger paste - 1 Tsp
1 whole Red chilli/Slit Green chilli - for garnishing

January 18, 2015

Ezhu Kari Kuzhambu/Kootu

How to make Ezhu Kari Kuzhambu (Sambhar with seven vegetables)

          This less known accompaniment for Thiruvathirai Kali and Ven Pongal is exclusively prepared by Amma on the day of  Pongal, which is served with Ven Pongal for breakfast, but is also carried over for lunch and served with steamed rice. This lip smacking gravy has been cooking in my family for many years and comes from my recipe diary. Although this gravy is typically made quite thick; you can thin it out like a Sambhar, if you like. Sharing this family recipe with you & my friends at CCChallenge - A cooking from cookbook event started by Sri Valli.

January 3, 2015

Amma's Idli Milagai Podi

How to make Idli Milagai Podi/Spiced Chutney powder

           One of the top must have's in a Tamil household, is the all time favorite - Idli Milagai Podi. Some use this crunchy spiced powder, only when they don't have the time or energy to make any accompaniments for their breakfast (Idli or Dosa); while for others this is a must have, even if there are a variety of Chutneys or Sambhar. This is my mom's recipe, which is made with Sesame seeds, most of the time to make it even more healthier. You can also make this, without Sesame seeds. Sharing this family recipe with my friends & SriValli via CCChallenge.

Idli Chutney Powder

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