Sunday, November 22, 2015


It's going to be a fortnight since Deepavali is over here but still I am full tight with house chores and never find any time to spend on blogging.  A lot of posts has been in the hand to blog, of course. 

I know it is quite late to post the deepavali recipes but I thought its better late than never and my purpose of blogging was to document my experience and experiments of my kitchen rather than an urge to post the recipes.  I have to manage home, work, and house chores which takes a higher priority than this as usual.  Also it had been raining like cats and dogs in Chennai whole last week and first time in history all IT companies declared an emergency holiday due to the flood situation and there were frequent power cuts and network issues.  There was knee level water everywhere and it was a memorable experience to us. 

Moving on to the recipe, I was longing to prepare this halwa for a long time and was bit hesitant to try it without supervision of Mom for some reasons.  Since Mom was here for Deepavali, I requested her to lend a helping hand as I also thought to take step by step pictures for blogging purposes and she readily agreed.  The outcome was perfect and whole family enjoyed it.  It is a bit elaborative process but worth trying it.  I suggest you to try in small quantity as it involves long time stirring.

DH suggested that had the sweetness be little less, it would have been even more delicious so I suggest you to try lessening the sugar a bit based on your family sweet tooth.


Samba Wheat - 2 cups
Sugar - 5 cups
Ghee:  2.5 cups
Artificial color powder - a pinch (optional)
Cashew nuts - 20

To Grind:
Sugar: 5 tsp
Cardomom - 5-7 

1. Wash and soak the whole wheat overnight (~8 hours).

2. Drain the water to a vessel, and grind it adding little by little water. Filter it using a metal strainer and again grind the remaining pulp with remaining water and strain again.  Repeat this until all the milk is taken from the wheat berries.  Mostly in two strains, the pulp would be without milk.
3.  Keep the collected milk aside for 6-8 hours undisturbed.  This process would separate the milk and water.

4. Before the start of the process, filter the water which is settled at the top carefully. 

 5.  In a mixer, powder finely 5 tsp of sugar and cardamom.  

6. Fry the cashews in little ghee.

7. In a heavy bottomed vessel, add sugar with little water and switch on the flame and keep stirring.     

8. Once all the sugar granules are dissolved fully, add the extracted wheat milk and keep stirring. After sometime, slowly the color starts to change beautifully as and when the sugar and milk gets cooked.  


9. If you feel like adding food color, add the coloring powder at this time.  Add the powdered sugar-cardamom mixture and keep stirring.
10. Slowly the halwa will go on to the semi solid state.  Add ghee little by little.  The ghee will be absorbed immediately, hence add little by little.  

11. At one stage, the whole halwa  will start to thicken and the ghee would not be absorbed anymore.  You could see the glossy look and crystallized sugar sedimentation at the top of the halwa.   This is the right consistency to switch off the flame.  

12. Allow it to cool down for an hour and the consistency would further be thickened a bit.  

13. Offer to God and enjoy a spoon of yummylicious homemade halwa; you would realize the taste would last long in your mouth....

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sweet Kozhukattai/Modak (with coconut-jaggery stuffing)

As I have already mentioned, here's the sweet version of kozhukattai.  I made this on Vinayagar chaturthi and everything got finished before clicking the final pictures and I was waiting for the chance to make it during Navrathri.  I prepared this on Navrathri Friday and Jr. H was very tempted to grab his part as soon as the clicking is done!!  He kept on running into kitchen asking when would I complete the preparation, such a foodie just like me :-)....

Coconut - 1 cup
Jaggery - 3/4
Elachi powder - 2-3
For the outer layer of the kozhukattai, please refer Enthaligai-Kozhuttai outer layer.

1. In a kadai, heat jaggery with little water, once the jaggery is melted, add the coconut scraping and elachi powder.  The consistency of the filling should be such that it is enough to make balls. 
2. Make small cups out from the outer layer, fill it with coconut-jaggery stuffing, seal it and make it in a modak shape as shown in the picture.
3. Steam cook in idly plates for 10 minutes.  When it is done, allow it to cool for 2 minutes else it will break the kozhukkattais.   
4. The kozhukkattais will be shiny when it is done which would be tempting to eat.

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Back in home after a short business assignment at out of country and all I was craving is for the hot piping poondu rasam with my favorite potato roast.  Rasam is a traditional South Indian south prepared with tamarind juice as base with concoction of different Indian spices.  This can be eaten with rice or as separately as a soup.  Rasam is one of the comfort food which is recommended by physicians even during illness. 

Though an easy recipe, not everyone get the distinct taste of rasam.   I have got applauds of making a perfect rasam from many.  My dad is a person who expects best taste out of everything and he has always complemented me on tasting my rasam.  I still remember the comment he passed on to Mom that I make the best rasam than her :-) :-).  My brother-in-law has also complimented on tasting my rasam and always asks me to prepare rasam whenever he visits our home.   Even DH friends who have tasted the rasam are very generous to pass on the comments to DH and DH has always been proud of the same.

Moving to the recipe. this garlic rasam can be made in many variations and I have shared one among them.  I will be sharing the different alternatives in my future posts. 

Tamarind water - 2 cups (made from extracted tamarind)
Salt - To taste
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Asafoetida - a pinch
Tomato - 1
Toor Dhal - 2 tsp (Cooked dhal in about a cup of water)  

To grind:
Garlic pods - 5-7
Black pepper - 1 tsp
Red chillies - 1 or 2
Jeera - 1 tsp
Toor Dhal - 1 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1/2 tsp

To temper:
Ghee/oil - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - few
Red chilly - 1
Curry leaves

To garnish:
Few stalk of coriander leaves

1. Cook toor dhal in a cup of water and keep aside.
2. Extract thin tamarind water from the soaked tamarind pulp and keep aside.
3.  Squeeze the tomatoes with hands or with the help of mixer.  
4. Add the extracted tamarind water to it.Add turmeric powder, salt, and a tsp of asafoetida.  Let this boil for 3 minutes until the raw smell of the tamarind goes off.

5.  Meanwhile, grind the items given in the "To grind list" adding little water.
6. Add this to the boiling tamarind water and immediately add the cooked toor dhal.  Add little water if necessary.  Switch off the flame once the froth starts to come.  Do not boil it for a long time after adding the ground ingredients. 

7.  In a pan, add half a teaspoon of ghee/water, add mustard seeds and when it crackles, add red chilly, and curry leaves.  Add it to the hot piping rasam.  The tempered items should be hot enough that you should hear the sizzling "sshhhhhh" sound.   
8.  Garnish with coriander leaves and close it with the lid so that the flavor blend in.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


This is a post from my draft which is pending for sometime.  Couldn't work on it fully to post as I was too much occupied with work and personal things.  I am currently on a business trip to Singapore and one of the famous food (Momos) here urged me to keep this name :-)... 

Kozhukattai is a popular South Indian dumpling made with rice flour and can be made with varied stuffing in both sweet and savory versions.  This can be taken as breakfast or as a evening tea snack.  In Tamilnadu,  this dish is traditionally associated with Lord Ganesha and rendered as an offering on his birthday, Ganesh Chathurthi.  Recently, we had Ganesh Chathurthi celebrations for which I prepared this savory kozhukattai with urad dhal filling.  I will be posting the sweeter version also at some point in future as all my kozhukattais got over in a minute as soon as I have prepared and couldn't take the final pictures :-).

Kozhukkatai flour - 2 cups (store brought)
Water - 2 cups
Salt - a pinch
Oil - 2 tsp

For ulundu filling:
Urad dhal - 1 cup
Red chillies - 6
Grated coconut - 1 cup
Asafoetida - a pinch
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dhal - 1 tsp (for tempering)
Salt - To taste

Oil - 1 tsp

How to make ulundu filling:

1. Soak urad dhal for 1 hour and grind it coarsely adding red chillies, asafoetida, and salt.
2. Steam cook the mixture in idly plates for 7-10 minutes.

3. Once the mixture is cooled down, just pulse it in the mixture so that it breaks down evenly.  In a pan, add little oil and temper with mustard seeds.  once the mustard seeds crackles, add the pulsed urad dhal mixture.  Saute for 2 minutes, add coconut finally, mix well and keep in flame for a minute and then switch off the flame.  Addition of coconut gives a nice flavor to the filling.
How to make the outer layer:

Boil 2 cups of water with little oil and a pinch of salt. When it starts to boil, add the idiyappam flour and stir well continuously.  When the color changes, switch off the flame. When it is warm, roll it with your hands to form a nice dough.

How to make Kozhukkatais with fillings
Make medium lemon sized balls out of the dough as above. With your fingers make a small cup out of it and place the filling inside  and carefully seal the edges.

Repeat the same process for rest of the dough and steam cook for 7 minutes.  The end outcome would be a shiny kozhukkatais

Sunday, September 13, 2015


If you want to prepare a delectable dish when vegetables are out of stock at home, this is one recipe that you could try out.  I learnt this recipe from my paternal aunt.  I share a close bonding with my paternal aunt though we have never expressed each other much.  I know it is same with my aunt and whenever she talks to me, I could feel the immense love that she had on me.  Since my childhood, my mom says that I resemble my aunt in my looks and behavior; maybe one of the reasons that I have developed a secret liking towards her :-)..

Moving quickly back to the recipe without much distraction, this is a no vegetable dish which can be made in jiffy.  

Pappads/ulundu appalam - 5 (small size pappads broken into 4 equal sizes)
Red chillies - 12
Asafoetida - a small piece
Tamarind - lemon size (soak in warm water)
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Salt - as desired
Curry leaves - few

Oil - 5 tsp
Mustard seeds - few

1. Extract the water from the soaked tamarind pulp. 

 2. In a heavy bottomed pan, add oil and throw in mustard seeds and once it crackles, add the red chillies and curry leaves. Add the pappads and fry for a minute.  Add the extracted tamarind water. 

3. Add a tsp of turmeric powder and salt.  Let it boil for until it thickens.

4. The delectable dish is ready to be served with hot steaming rice and a teaspoon of gingelly oil.

Sunday, August 30, 2015


DH loves hotel style kara kuzhambu and would take extra serving whenever prepared at home.  In the early years of marriage, I have never prepared this kuzhambu as mom does not make this type at my home.  When I first tasted in a restaurant in Chennai, DH asked me as to why am not trying different variations like that.  Then, I gathered the recipe with the chef available there who was courteous enough to share the recipe.  Later, when we visited DH village next time, I got kara kuzhambu recipe from my co-sister.  As always, I alter the recipes slightly to suite our family taste.  The recipe is a combined version of the recipes shared by chef and co-sister.  

Cowpeas - 1 cup
Small onions (shallots) - 1 cup
Tomato - 2
Drumstick - cut in 2 inch length - few
Tamarind extract - 2 cups
Sambar Powder - 3 tsp
Salt - to taste

To grind:
Sautéed small onion and tomato - 2 tsp
Coconut - 3 tsp
Saunf/fennel seeds - 1/4 tsp
To temper:
Mustard seeds - few
Fenugreek - 1 tsp
Red chillies -2-3
Curry leaves - few

1. Pressure cook cow peas with little water and salt.  Make sure it is cooked rightly and not mushy.

2. Extract tamarind water from the soaked tamarind pulp and keep aside.

3. In a kadai, add little oil, add the tempering items one by one, add small onion and tomato.  Saute until the tomatoes turned mushy.  Take smaller portion from the mixture and keep aside for grinding.

4.  Add drumstick pieces, sambar powder, and salt and mix well.

5.  Add the extract tamarind water to the mixture.  Mix well and transfer to a vessel and let this boil for sometime.

6. Meanwhile, grind the sauted onion-tomato mixture along with coconut and fennel seeds.
7. Once the drumstick pieces have cooked, add the ground mixture, and blend well.   Let this boil for 3 minutes.
8. Finally, add the cooked cow peas and let this boil for 5 minutes.  Switch off the stove.  

9. This kuzhambu thickens with time and tastes awesome with more settling time.  

10.  We had with drumstick leaves poriyal and potato fry which made the meal enjoyable and fulfilled.