January 29, 2017

Poosanikai/Pumpkin Chutney

How to make Poosanikai/Pumpkin Chutney

          I bet we all get tired of the same old chutney varieties. I also like to incorporate  vegetables other than onions & tomatoes into my chutneys. So here's one version of the pumpkin chutney, which tastes more like poosanikai paruppu thuvayal, if you know what paruppu thuvayal  (dal chutney) tastes like. That recipe is for another post, cos' I have a story to go with it. This recipe is from one of Mallika Badrinath's cookbook's - Chutney Varieties; and is being shared with my groupies at - CCC# 40: January -- Week 4.

Ingredients for about 2 to 4 servings:

Chopped yellow Pumpkin/Poosanikai - 2 cups
Dry red chillies- 4 no:
Oil - 3 tsps
Kadalai paruppu/Bengal gram dal- 1.5 tbps
Thuvaram paruppu/Toor dal - 1.5 tbps
Salt to taste
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Urad dal - 1/4 tsp

Stove top Method:

  1. Heat a tsp of oil in a pan & fry the red chillies, toor dal, bengal gram dal until it turns golden brown & crisp.
  2. Transfer the roasted ingredients to a plate.
  3. Heat the pan again with a tsp of oil, add the chopped pumpkin pieces & roast for a few seconds & sprinkling some water, cover & cook until soft.
  4. Powder the roasted ingredients from step one with salt & then add the roasted pumpkin pieces. Grind to a coarse chutney.
  5. Heat a tsp of oil, add the mustard seeds, when mustard splutters add urad dal & curry leaves, fry for a few seconds, until crisp. Season the chutney with this & serve with idli, dosa or rice.

January 15, 2017

Kathirikai Rasavangi (eggplants cooked with toor dal & tamarind)

How to make Kathirikai/Brinjal Rasavangi

The "Samaithu Paar" books by S. Meenakshi Ammal were the first cookbooks my mom bought for me, to take with me into my newly wedded life. At that time, I had no clue how important these books were going to be for me, when I was all alone & far away from mom with no clue on how to cook. Boy! Some of the recipes truly saved my day during my first year of marriage. Especially, when I found that my hubby had been cooking for a few years and was a more experienced & better cook than me. Through trial & error, the recipes in the book taught me how to cook some traditional/homestyle recipes. Rest assured, you will be seeing quite a few recipes from this series throughout the year in my space. Sharing this healthy homestyle recipe with my friends at Valli's CCC# 40: January -- Week 2. The ingredients in this recipe reminds me of this delicious Paavakkai Pitlay, somehow.  


350 gms of tender eggplants/kathirikai, sliced
3/4th cup Toor dal/Red gram dal - pressure cooked until soft
1 lime sized ball of tamarind, juice extracted
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
2 tbsp, oil

To roast & grind:

2 tbsp Kadalai paruppu/Bengal gram
3 tbsp coriander seed
6 dried red chillies
4 tbsp grated coconut
1 tbsp, oil

For tempering:

1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp ulutham paruppu/black gram dal
1/8th tsp asafoetida powder
a sprig of curry leaves
2 red chillies
1 tbsp, oil

Stove top method:

  • Using a thick bottom pan, roast the bengal gram dal, coriander seeds, red chillies and grated coconut using a little oil, until crisp & aromatic. Let cool & powder finely & keep aside.
  • Cut the eggplant into slices. Heat oil and saute the eggplant in it for 4 or 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until its almost cooked.
  •  Add the tamarind water to the eggplants and add enough additional water to cover. Add salt to taste and the turmeric powder, and bring to a simmer until the eggplant is tender.
  • Add the cooked toor dal and add the spice powder previously prepared, mix well & bring to a rolling boil. Remove the pan from the heat.
  • In another pan, heat some oil and add the mustard seeds. Allow them to pop, then add the urad dal and asafoetida powder. As the urad dal turns golden add the curry leaves, remove from the heat and add to the rasavangi. 
  • Serve hot with steamed rice.


  • Ash gourd can be used instead of eggplant. Use 2.5 cups chopped ash gourd, cook it in plain water and add the tamarind water to the cooked gourd.
  • Dried beans can also be cooked and used with either Eggplant or Ash Gourd Rasavangi.

January 1, 2017

Twisty Pesto Cheese Straws

How to make Twisty Pesto Cheese Straws

            Here's a quick & scrumptious recipe for your next party. I am glad I took the time to finally make these crispy, flaky, cheesy hors d'oeuvres from a Good Food magazine clipping (Dec 2013). I would love to customize this to the Indian palate, by adding a spicy alternative to pesto, next time. You can also easily turn this into something sweet for the young ones. The best part of it, is that its crisp on the outside, yet so soft when you bite into it. Kids just love these. Sharing this final recipe of the year, with my friends over at CCC# 39: December -- Week 5


(makes around 25 pcs)
5-6 oz, cream cheese
2 tbsp basil pesto sauce
1 lb/490g sheet puff pastry (2 sheets of frozen pastry sheets)
a little flour, for dusting
1 egg, beaten

  • Heat oven to 400°F. Tip the cream cheese and pesto into a bowl and mix well.
  • Unroll the pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut in half lengthways. Spread the pesto mix over one half, place the other piece of pastry on top to create a sandwich, then cut in half lengthways to create 2 long rectangles. Divide each rectangle into short strips, about 1cm thick. Twist each pastry strip and place on a baking tray lined with parchment.
  • Brush with egg and bake for 20 mins until risen and golden brown.

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