Saturday, December 31, 2005


Happy New Year 2006

Wishing you and your family a Happy and a Prosperous New Year 2006 :)

Friday, December 30, 2005


Kadala Curry

Kadala curry is another traditional dishes of Kerala. Kadala curry and Puttu is the best accompaniment. Kadala curry goes well with Appam, Dosa, Idly and Chapattis. I usually make Kadala curry for Appam and Puttu.

Ingredients: Recipe for two

  • 1 Cup of Black Chana
  • To Fry: ½ onion cut into big chunks, 1 big tomato cut into big chunks, ¼ cup shredded coconut, 2 pods of garlic, a small piece of ginger, 1tsp cilantro, 1tsp roasted gram, 1tsp coriander seeds, 1tsp cumin and 2 red chilies.
  • For seasoning: ½ onion cut into small pieces, 2 cloves, 2 pieces of cinnamon stick, ½ tsp fennel seeds, 2tsp of cilantro.


Pressure-cook the black chana with salt and two green chilies.

Sauté the cumin, coriander, roasted gram, red chilies, ginger, garlic, onion, tomatoes, cilantro and coconut. Allow them to cool and grind the mixture to a fine paste.

Sauté the cloves, cinnamon stick, fennel seeds and onions. Sauté until the onions turn brown. Add the ground masala and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the cooked black chana and ½ cup of water and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add salt for taste.

Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve hot.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Poha (Avil)

Poha(Avil) is good for a snack any time. Poha is also eaten for breakfast. I never forget to buy poha when I visit the Indian grocery stores. Poha always serves as a handy snack for me in the evenings. Poha can be made as a sweet dish or spicy dish. If you want to have a quick spicy snack you can follow my recipe.
Ingredients: Recipe for two
  • 2 cups Thick Avil (flaked rice)
  • ½ onions finely chopped
  • 2 green chilies finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger finely chopped
  • 2 curry leaves
  • 1tsp cilantro finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • For seasoning: 1tsp of mustard, cumin, chana dal and urad dal.


Wash poha and drain water completely. Add salt to the poha and leave aside for 5 – 10 minutes.

Heat oil in pan, add mustard, cumin, chana dal, urad dal, curry leaves and fry until they crackle. Add the ginger, green chilies and onion and sauté until the onions turn into brown color. Now add the poha and mix them gently and cook for 2-3 minutes. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve hot.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Veggie Balls - Appetizer

After seeing VKN’s kheema vada recipe from “My dhaba“ I was tempted to make something with vegetables instead of meat. Since my husband is a vegetarian, I wanted to try out something with vegetables. I tried veggie balls with the available veggies at home, which is similar to Vkn’s recipe Kheema vadai aka croquette.

Ingredients: Recipe for two
  • 1 Big Potato, 1 Carrot, Few florets of broccoli
  • ½ onion chopped into small pieces
  • ½ cup of celantro finely chopped
  • 4-5 mint leaves finely chopped (optional)
  • 1tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 3 Green chilies finely chopped
  • ½ tsp red chili powder
  • ½ tsp pepper powder
  • A pinch of turmeric
  • 1 cup of Breadcrumbs
  • Salt for taste


Cook the potato, carrot and broccoli in a pressure cooker or microwave. You can use any vegetables as per your taste.

Heat 1tsp of oil in a frying pan, add the onions, ginger garlic paste and sauté them until the onion becomes brown color. Now add the potatoes, carrot, broccoli, green chilies, turmeric, red chili powder, pepper powder and salt and cook them for 2 – 3 minutes until the vegetable absorbs the flavor. Allow them to cool.

In a bowl put the above ingredients and add the finely chopped cilantro and mint leaves and mash all the ingredients.

Make small round balls from this mixture. Roll the veggie balls over the breadcrumbs.

Heat 2 inches of oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Fry the balls until it becomes golden brown.

Serve the veggie balls hot with tomato ketchup.

Monday, December 26, 2005


Appam ( Rice pan cake )

Appam is one the traditional dishes of Kerala. Appam is often served with kadala (kala chana) curry, vegetable stew or coconut milk. For Christmas I made appam with kadala curry which is one of my favorites. The proportions vary from household to household. I learned this recipe from my mom. In my family we made appam almost every week in the morning for break fast. I can still remember my hostel days in Trivandrum. Appam was usally served for breakfast. Those days I didn't like appam so much, but now I like it. I will post the kadala curry soon.

  • 3 cups idly rice or raw rice
  • 1 cup of shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1tsp Urad dal
  • A pinch of Baking soda
  • Salt for taste


Soak the rice, fenugreek and urad dal for about 4-5hrs.

Drain the soaked rice and grind along with coconut to a thick paste. Keep the batter for 8hrs for fermentation. Once the batter is fermented add the baking soda and salt to the batter and mix the batter.

Heat a small non-stick pan which is shallow. In a spoon take the batter and pour the batter gently to the non-stick pan. Gently swirl the pan around so that a thin layer of batter covers the sides and thick layer collects at the bottom. Cover the lid and cook for 1 minute till the edges become golden crisp and centre is soft. It is only required to cook on one side of the appam.

Serve hot with kadala curry.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Thin- Crust Whole Wheat Veggie Pizza

Who doesn’t love pizza? I tried a healthy version of pizza, which contains whole grains, veggies and protein. Mozzarella cheese is commonly used for the pizza. You can use different toppings as per your taste. For herbs, I wanted to use the basil but I went with pizza seasoning which has all the spices. I chose bell pepper, olives, zucchinis and onions for the toppings. I made the crust with garlic and pizza seasoning. Here is the simple and home made pizza for you all.


  • ¾ to 1-cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tsp quick-rise active dry yeast
  • 1 ½ tsp dried basil leaves or pizza seasoning
  • 1tsp olive oil or regular oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp yellow cornmeal
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ½ cup no- salt added tomato sauce
  • ½ cup sliced ripe olives
  • ½ cup sliced zucchini
  • 1/3-cup onions or green onions
  • 1 large roasted red bell pepper, * cut lengthwise into thin strips or ¾ cup sliced, drained, bottled roasted red peppers
  • 1cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt to taste


Combine ½ cup all- purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, yeast, pizza seasoning or basil leaves and salt. Blend oil with garlic; stir into flour mixture with water. Stir in ¼ cup all- purpose flour until, soft slightly sticky dough forms, adding remaining ¼ cup all-purpose flour to prevent sticking if necessary. Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with in container or paper towel; let it rest for 10-20 minutes

Place oven rack in lowest position; preheat oven to 400F. Spray 12-inch pizza pan or baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray; sprinkle with cornmeal and set aside. If you have a non- stick pan spary is not needed, corn meal alone is fine.

Roll dough into large circle on lightly floured surface. (Too much rolling makes crust heavy and dense; stretching dough to fit pan is best.

Blend tomato sauce with ½ tsp of pizza seasoning or basil leaves in small bowl; spread evenly over crust. Top with zucchini, olives, onions, roasted bell pepper and mozzarella; sprinkle crushed red pepper on top.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese melts.

* To roast bell pepper, cut length wise into halves; remove stem, membrane and seeds. Broil 3 inches from heat, skin side up, until skin is blackened and blistered. Place halves in storage bag and seal it; set aside 15 minutes. Remove pepper from bag. Peel off skin; drain on paper towel.

Monday, December 19, 2005


Muruku ( Snack )

I was just waiting for the college break to make muruku. My husband karthik was nagging me for a long time for this snack. To make muruku you need to have lots of patience. It consumes our time. It’s more of a physical activity. I always wonder what they call murukku in English. Is it snack twisters or crispies? Let me know if anyone knows the English name for muruku. Today I got myself free to make this snack.


  • 2 cups Rice flour, ½ cup Urad flour, ½ cup Besan flour
  • ½ cup Butter
  • 1-1 ½ cup water to knead
  • 2tsp red chili powder, 1tsp cumin seeds, a fistful of sesame seeds
  • Salt for taste


Mix rice flour, urad flour, besan flour, cumin seeds, sesame seeds, red chili powder, sesame seeds and salt. Soften the butter and work into the mixture to form a crumbly mixture. Add water into small quantities and knead into soft dough.

Use murukku maker, place in a lump of dough and pipe out the patterns, forming circles. I make the patterns in a plate first

Heat oil under medium high heat. Use sufficient quantity of oil to submerge all frying murukkus without touching each other. Transfer the murukkus from the plate to the hot oil.

Fry to light golden brown color.

Remove the murukku in a spoon and place on a kitchen paper towel to drain surplus oil.

Allow to cool and keep in dry container.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Chicken Fry

In non- vegetarian food, chicken and sea food are my favorites. I love to try different ways to make the chicken recipe. This time I tried chicken fry with tandoori masala and cilantro. After seeing lots of chicken recipes in my dhaba by VKN, I was tempted to make chicken fry.


  • 1 lb boneless chicken
  • 2-3 tsp of ginger garlic paste
  • ¼ tsp turmeric, 2tsp red chili powder, 2tsp tandoori masala or garam masala
  • A fistful of cilantro
  • Half onion, 2 green chilies, and 4 curry leaves
  • Salt for taste


  • Wash the chicken thoroughly and cut them into small pieces.
  • Add ginger garlic paste, chili powder, turmeric, tandoori masala and salt to the chicken and mix them .You can use any masala, for a change I used tandoori masala. I usually add garam masala. Marinate the chicken for 4hrs in the refrigerator or you can marinate over night in the refrigerator.

  • In a pan heat oil and sauté green chilies, curry leaves and onion. Sauté until the onions change into brown color. Add the chicken and fry them for about 10 minutes and add the cilantro and mix them well. Cook them covered for 10 minutes. Remove the cover and fry them until it turns into brown color.

Serve hot with onion and lime wedges.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Cilantro Rice

Cilantro is also referred as coriander. It is widely used in Mexican, Caribbean and Asian cooking. In Tamil it is called kottamalli and in Malayalam malli ila. I make cilantro chutney once in a week. This week when I shopped for the veggies, I saw 4 bunches of cilantro for just 99 cents. That was a good deal. I made cilantro rice like pulav with peas and potatoes.


  • 1 cup Basmati rice
  • (1tsp cashews, 1 inch piece cinnamons stick, 2 cloves, ¼ tsp funnel seeds (saunf) , 2- 3 bay leaves, 1 cardamom )
  • 1 small onion cut into length wise
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 small potato cut into small pieces
  • A fistful of peas
  • 2- 3 tsp oil
  • Salt to taste

To grind:

  • 1 Bunch cilantro
  • 1tsp ginger
  • 2 pods of garlic
  • 4 green chilies
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coconut


  1. Wash and soak rice for 5-10 minutes
  2. Heat oil in pressure cooker or rice cooker pan and fry cashews, cinnamons stick, cloves, Cardamom, funnel seeds (saunf) and bay leaves. Add onions fry until they are brown, add tomatoes and fry till it becomes soft. Now add potatoes, green peas and fry for few minutes.
  3. Mix the grinded items and fry in medium low heat till good smell comes. When the moisture is absorbed, add the soaked rice and fry for few more minutes. Add 1tsp salt and two cups of water. Close the lid if you cooking in the pressure cooker. Pressure cook for 10 minutes in low heat until 1 whistle and turn off the heat. If you are cooking in the rice cooker pan, remove the pan from the heat and transfer to the rice cooker and plug in.

Once the rice is cooked, check for salt and add accordingly.

Squeeze lime to the rice and mix them together and sever hot with raita and pappad.

Monday, December 12, 2005


Spicy Roasted Chick -Peas

According to the wikipedia, the name "chickpea" derives eventually from the Latin name cicer through the French chiche. The name Cicero is derived from this plant. "Garbanzo" is from the Spanish language. It is also called chana dhal.

This recipe is one of my husband’s favorite. This recipe came to my mind after meena reminding me about her “From My Rasoi” event from Hooked-on-Heat blog. I thought this recipe would be perfect since it is spicy and it’s a good snack for the winter. The roasted chickpeas can be stored and kept in a container. I do this snack often in more quantity. The roasted chickpeas cost about 3 dollars in the Indian stores. This recipe goes for meena for her event..


  • 1 can chick- peas
  • 3 tsp olive oil or (regular oil)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder (to taste)
  • 1 Lime cut into wedges


  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Rinse and drain the chick- peas thoroughly in colander under plenty of running water. Shake until fairly dry. You can use the normal dry chickpeas too. Soak chickpeas overnight and cook them in microwave for about 10 mins. The chickpeas should not be over cooked. Dry the chickpeas in a cloth or paper towel. Do not pressure cook the chickpeas.
  2. Combine chickpeas, olive oil or (regular oil) salt, black pepper and chili powder in a large baking pan that will hold chickpeas in single layer.
  3. Bake 15minutes or until chick peas begin to brown, shaking pan twice to brown evenly.
  4. Remove pan and season with chili powder, black pepper and salt for taste. Bake on additional 5 minutes until dark golden red.
Serve with lime wedges.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


Hot Pepper Rasam( South Indian Soup)

Rasam normally forms the second course in a traditional south Indian menu. There are various way of preparing it. It is normally mixed with plain cooked rice and eaten with different side dish. It makes for a very good appetizer or soup also when taken all by itself. Rasam has many spices and is considered to be good for health. During winter season pepper rasam is common at my home. You can also add lentils to it if you don’t want it to be spicy.

  • Tomato 1
  • Tamarind paste 1tps
  • Garlic 2 pods
  • Dry red pepper 1
  • Curry leaves 4-5
  • Cilantro 2tsp
  • Asaefoetida
  • Mustard 1tsp
  • Salt to taste

To Grind:

  • Toor dhal 1tsp
  • Cumin seeds 1tsp
  • Pepper corns 1tsp

  • Grind whole pepper, toor dhal, and cumin seeds. Cut the tomatoes and make into a paste. Mash the garlic with a whisk.
  • Add 1 cup of water to the tomato paste and mix well. Add the tamarind paste, grinded items, garlic’s, a pinch of asaefoetida and salt. Cook them for about 10-15 mins. Don’t allow them to boil, turn off the heat once the form appears.
  • Meanwhile heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Let mustard and cumin seeds splutter, add the dry red pepper and curry leaves. Pour it over the tomatoes. Now add some cilantros for the aromatic rasam
Serve hot with rice.

Saturday, December 10, 2005



The simplest and healthiest, and most basic food in South India is Idly. Idly is a popular food for break fast. I learned this recipe from my mom. I make idly quite often for dinner.
  • Idly rice 4cups
  • Urad dal 1cup
  • Fenugreek seeds (Methi) 2 tsp
  • Salt 1tsp
Soak idly rice in the water for about 5-6 hrs. Soak urad dal and fenugreek seeds together in the water for about 5-6hrs. Grind the rice first in the stone grinder for about 20-25 mins adding required quantity of water until it becomes a thick batter. Pour the rice batter into a vessel. Now grind the urad dal and fenugreek seeds for about 30-35 mins adding required quantity of water until it becomes a thick batter. Urad dal requires more water to grind than the rice. I add water every 5 minutes when the urad dal is grinding. Now add the urad dal batter into the rice batter and mix well by adding salt. Cover and keep aside for 7- 8 hrs, undisturbed to ferment. This varies from place to place. In California, it takes only about 10 hrs to ferment in summer days. Winter days it usually takes about 16-18hrs to ferment.
To make idly, mix the batter well before making idly. Take the idly mould and apply little oil in the moulds. You can do this with your fingers. The oil helps the idlis to be soft. Pour the batter to the idly moulds and steam for about 10 – 15 mins. To check whether the idly is being cooked, insert a tooth pick into the idly. The tooth pick should come out clean if the idlis are done. Serve hot with sambhar or chutney or idly podi.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Spinach and Potato Curry ( Aloo Palak )

Spinach is a rich source of iron and it also contains more protein than most vegetables.Spinach is always part of my grocery list when I do my weekly shopping. Today I made Aloo palak which is one my favorite dish. I love eating with chapattis and parathas.


  • Spinach 1 bunch
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 Onion cut into small pieces
  • 3-4 garlic pods
  • Small piece of ginger
  • 3-4 green chilies
  • ½ tsp red chili powder
  • 1tsp of coriander powder, cumin powder
  • 1tsp of garam masala
  • 1tsp of cumin and turmeric
  • Salt to taste

In a pan, add the garlic, ginger, green chilies, onions with tsp of oil and sauté them. Add the spinach and cook them. Turn off the heat. After it cools down run into a mixer or a blender.

Boil the potatoes and cut into cubes. Add turmeric, salt and mix them.

Take 1tsp of oil in a pan and sauté the cumin seeds. Once the cumin splutters add the spinach paste and let it boil for few minutes. Now add the boiled potatoes, garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder, red chili powder, and salt for taste. Add water only if it is needed. Cook for 5-10 mins covered until the potato absorbs the flavor.

Serve hot with chapattis.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Tomato Curry

I wanted to make something simple and easy for dinner. I thought of making tomato curry which goes well with idly and dosa. This recipe I learned from my mom. I make this recipe quite often at home in order to finish the tomatoes. This recipe can be made in different ways. You can add potatoes, peas, carrots, cauliflower or eggs. I always make this simple just adding tomatoes and onions.
Ingredients: Recipe for two
  • 2 tomatoes cut into small chunks
  • 1 onion cut the onion length wise
  • 4 green chilies
  • 10-15 roasted gram
  • 2 garlic pods
  • Small piece ginger
  • ½ tsp sweet cumin
  • ½ tsp poppy seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 pieces of cinnamon stick
  • 2 tsp shredded coconut
  • 4 curry leaves
  • 2tsp cilantro
  • 1tsp salt

Grind tomatoes, green chilies, roasted gram, garlic, ginger, poppy seeds, turmeric, coconut, curry leaves and salt in a blender or a mixer.

In a pan, sauté cloves, cinnamon stick and sweet cumin with a tsp of oil, add the onions and sauté them until it turns golden brown. Now add the grinded paste in the pan and cook them covered for 10-15 mins in a medium heat. Turn off the heat and add the cilantro.

Serve the tomato curry with idly, dosa or chapattis.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Moong Dal Curry

Today I made green beans (moong dal) curry for lunch. This is called pachai payir in Tamilnadu. I love green beans since it is healthy and it has lots of proteins. This recipe I learnt from my mom. This recipe goes well with rice and chapathi.


  • 1 cup moong dal
  • ½ onion chopped into small pieces
  • 1 ripe tomato cut into small pieces
  • 2 pods of garlic cut into small pieces
  • 1tsp ginger
  • 4 green chilies
  • 4 curry leaves
  • 1tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1tsp mustard
  • 1tsp salt


Soak the moong dal overnight. Cook the moong dal with turmeric in a vessel or in a pressure cooker. For 1 cup moong dal, add two glasses of water. I cooked the moong dal in a pressure cooker. Wait for three whistles to come up in the cooker and release the weight and mash them lightly with a spoon.

In a pan, add 2 tsp of oil, mustard, cumin, curry leaves, green chilies, garlic and ginger and sauté them for a minute. Add onions and sauté them until it turns brown. Add the tomato pieces, sauté them until they become soft. Now add the cooked moong dal, salt and ¼ cup of water. Cook them covered for about 10-15 mins.

Serve with rice and pappad or chapathi

Monday, December 05, 2005


Venn Pongal

I haven’t made pongal for a long time. Thinking of what to do for dinner? Takes away most of my time. Most of the time I end up making Dosa or Idly. For change I made pongal for dinner. I learned this recipe from my mom.

  • 1 cup Rice
  • 1 cup Moong Dal
  • 1tsp Ginger
  • 1tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Pepper corns
  • 4-5 Curry leaves
  • Ghee 2tsp
  • 31/2 cup Water
  • 2-3 tsp Cashews
  • 1 tsp Salt

Clean and wash the moongdal and rice. In a pressure cooker, add 2-3tsp of oil, cumin, pepper corns, cashews and sauté them for a minute. Now add the ginger, curry leaves and sauté them altogether. Add the rice, moongdal, water and salt to the cooker. In a medium heat, cook until 1 whistle comes up. Remove from the heat after 1 whistle. Wait until release of the pressure of the cooker. Open the pressure cooker, add the ghee and mix them together. Serve hot with smabhar and chutney.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


March of the Penguins

The Dvd “ March of the Penguins” released November 29, 2005. I added the movie in Blockbuster rental queue. I happen to get the movie in three days of the release date. I was so lucky to get the Dvd earlier. This is a story about Antarctica’s Emperor penguins. Every year, all the world's Emperor penguins return to a breeding ground that is a 70-mile, one-week march from the nearest inlet. Morgan Freeman narrates, explains about the penguin’s annual march. "March of the Penguins" is exquisite to behold, but what makes this a truly great film is its emotional impact, as it tells a heartwarming love story from the coldest place on Earth. I highly recommend this movie.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


Chana Dal Vada ( Parippu Vada )

I am posting my first recipe. The weather is getting cold day by day. This weekend I was very much at home. I don’t like to cook in the weekends but the cold weather made me cook this simple recipe Chana Vada (Parippu Vada) for the evening snack. I learned this recipe from my brother-in-law who occasionally cooks mouthwatering dishes. Chana Vada can be made in different ways. Many add coconut to the Vada.

Recipe: For two

  • ½ Red onion cut into small pieces
  • 3 green chilies
  • 1tsp Ginger
  • 1/2tsp sweet cumin
  • 2tsp Cilantro
  • A little of Hing Powder

To Grind:

  • 1 cup of Chana Dal (Soaked for 2hrs)
  • 3 Red chilies
  • Salt to taste

Grind the Chana Dal, Red Chilies with Salt in a blender or a food processor without adding water. Don’t grind them into a paste. Grind them coarsely. Remove the batter in a vessel. Finally add the ingredients (Red onions, green chilies, ginger, sweet cumin, cilantro and hing). Mix them together. Make a round shape with your hands running through the edges. Drop the vada into the oil. Deep fry them in hot oil until they are golden brown. The whole recipe will take about 20 minutes.

Serve with Coconut chutney or sambhar or tomato sauce.

Friday, December 02, 2005


My doggy Peppy

His name is Pepper. Me and my family call him Peppy. Peppy is celebrating his 3rd Birthday. I am already missing him. He stays with my family in India. I can still remember, when I brought him home, he was 15 days old. I got him since my sister moved to London and after sometime I had to move to US. I gave peppy as a gift to my family so that they will not miss me and my sister:).It keeps them occupied. It really made sense of me doing that action. Now peppy is part of our family . You wont believe it, he came for my marriage. My marriage was at Trichy, we made him to travel from Coimbatore to Trichy. Peppy brought more happiness to my family.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Rain brought back the old memories

Nowadays the TV predications are accurate sometimes. I was just listening to the news in KRON 4 and I heard it is going to rain, and it did so. The rain brought back the memories of India. All I could think about rain is my school days and hot bhajis. The tropical weather in India makes anyone to get into the rain. I use to get drenched in the rain and return home. My mom’s only worry is about my uniform. Drying is a big problem in India on the rainy days. We are not pampered with these washers or dryers those times.

Another thing, which the rain could remind, is the hot bhajis from the roadside stalls. I love those hot plantain and onion bhajis. Thats heaven.