Saturday, March 23, 2019


To me, cooking is an expressive art where I love to feed my own people; anything that is served on the dining table is filled with my heart and soul.  I involve myself completely when I cook for people and it soothes my brain away from the thoughts of rattling mind.  Whenever, my mind is troubled with extra loads of thoughts, I just silently enter into kitchen and start preparing something to calm my  brain. 

Moving to the recipe, this is one chutney version which I learnt from my sister and she assured that we would love this chutney.  The taste of till and coriander seeds would provide additional flavor enhancement to the dish.

Small onions - 1 cup
Tomato - 2
Coriander leaves - tightly packed - 1/2 cup
Salt - to taste
Red chilly - 5-6
White till seeds - 2 tsp
Coriander seeds - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dhal - 1 tsp
Bengal gram - 1 tsp
Oil - 1 tsp


1. In a pan, dry roast white till seeds and coriander seeds and set it aside.  Roast the till seeds until it splutters.

2.  In the same pan, add a tsp of oil, throw in mustard seeds.  When it crackles, add the urad dhal and bengal gram dhal followed by red chillies.  After a minute, add onion and throw in some salt.  When the onions have turned slightly brown, add tomatoes and when it turns mushy, add wash coriander leaves and mix well.  Switch off the stove and add the previously roasted white till seeds and coriander seeds to it.  Allow the mixture to cool and pulse it in the mixer.

The flavored chutney is ready to be served with idly-dosa combination.  As said before, addition of till and coriander seeds enhance the flavor of the chutney and would the taste would be present even after the last bite. 

Sunday, January 20, 2019


A spicy, tangy, delicious gravy that goes well with pulao and rotis.  The dish gets it unique flavor from freshly ground coriander seeds, pepper, red chilly, and jeera.  I made it little bit spicy to suite our family taste. 

Paneer - 200 g
Onion - 2
Capsicum - 1
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Butter - 1 tsp
Bay leaf -1
Jeera - 1/2 tsp

To dry roast and grind:

Red chilly - 4
Black peppercorn - 1 tsp
Coriander seeds -1 tsp
Jeera - 1 tsp

To fry in oil and ground
Garlic -2 pods
Ginger - 1/2 inch piece
Onion - 2 (sliced thin)
Tomato - 3 medium sized

1. Dry roast coriander seeds, red chilly, black peppercorn, and jeera and ground coarsely and keep aside.

2. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat oil, add garlic pods, ginger, onion, and tomatoes.  Cook in medium flame until the tomatoes turn mushy.  Turn off and ground the mixture smoothly once it has cooled down completely.

3. In the same pan, add butter, throw in bay leaf and jeera, add the diced onion and little salt.  Once the onions have turned brown, add the cubed capsicum and saute it gently.  Add in chilly powder and mix well.  Once the capsicum has become crunchy soft, add the ground masala and later add the freshly ground powder.  Add little water and adjust salt as necessary.  Add the cubed paneer and mix well and let it boil until the masala coats paneer well and gravy is thick but not dry. Add the chopped coriander leaves. 
Serve the delicious, spicy Kadai panner with rotis or pulao.

Sunday, December 16, 2018


As we are counting over the last days of the year to end, am just recollecting about the choices that I made which brought out changes in my lifestyle along with courage of overcoming the new set of  challenges.  I always feel recharged when it comes to the end of the year - time to recollect and retrospect all the good and bad things that surrounded me. 

To me always, the new year has been an exciting time where everything seems new and fresh - gearing up for a fresh start to make better choices and decisions..
In the beginning of the year, I embarked on a journey to a new land to meet the high standards and goals that is set on me.  In retrospect, I am facing the truth that I am not in the place where I strived to be but with the piece of sincerity and frankness I am happy that I am not at the same place where I started the journey.

A lot had happened in one year - thanks to the Almighty for every counted blessings on me.  I am thrilled when my son outgrew me and I am hoping to see him several inches taller than his Dad.  I feel overjoyed to see DH trying to be expressive.  Feel excited when some colleagues turned into good friends and my old friends turned into family.   I am blessed to be surrounded by great leaders and good bosses who guide at every required time and push me to do better every day. 

Moving to the recipe, those who follow me or know me personally are very well familiar that most of my recipes touches the traditional root.  Karuvepillai Kuzhambu (Curry leaves kuzhambu) is one such dish which oozes out lot of medicinal benefits.  I usually prepare this once in a month to utilize the happy chance of making my people eat a healthy food.

Tamarind water - 2 cups (Extracted from soaked tamarind pulp)
Salt - to taste
Curry leaves - 1 cup
Jaggery - a small pinch (optional)
Oil - 2 tsp

Urad dhal - 3 tsp
Red chillies - 6-8
Peppercorns - 1 TSP
Asafoetida - a small piece

Mustard seeds -1 tsp

1. Extract tamarind water from soaked tamarind pulp and keep aside.

2. In a pan, roast the items given under section roast and grind in half tsp of oil (Red chillies, Peppercorns, asafoetida,urad dhal).  Grind this along with washed curry leaves adding necessary salt.

3. In the same pan, add oil, throw in mustard seeds and when it sizzles, add tamarind water and little salt as necessary and let it boil for 5 minutes.  Once the raw smell of tamarind is half gone, add the ground paste.  Make sure to add it gently to avoid forming lumps.  Mix well and let the mixture boil until the desired texture is found.  This is the period the home would be surrounded with nice aroma and you would start to feel hungry.  Lastly, add Jaggery and boil for a minute before once the consistency is reached.  Adding jaggery is an optional step.

4.  Curry leaves kuzhambu can be mixed with cooked rice with a tsp of ghee. 


Saturday, November 17, 2018


Moving in a direction where nothing is interesting and the direction isn't clear on the destination that is going to take.  The year is taking me through with lot of changes at many ends - be it with health, role, colleagues, friends etc.   The only interesting part that I rejoice in continuing is cooking.  Though didn't write a post every weekend, I cook and at times takes pictures and share it with friends.  I find cooking as relaxing because it is the space where I get my full freedom.  With my favorite songs running mildly in background, it completely refreshes me and gears me up for the day to day challenges.

Arachuvitta Sambar is a traditional recipe made with freshly roasted and ground Indian spices along with coconut and drench you out with the appetizing aroma.  Usually prepared on special days where you want to delight the family/friends with good food.  The recipe am sharing is for Drumstick which can be replaced with any veggie of your choice.  Addition of shallot/sambar onions adds up to special flavor to the dish, however, it is an optional choice.

Drumstick - cut in 2 inch - 1 cup
Shallot - 1 cup
Tomato - 1
Tamarind water - 2.5 cups (extracted from soaked tamarind pulp)
Sambar powder - 1 tsp
Toor dhal - 1/4 cup
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 tsp

To Temper:
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - few
Green chilly - 1 or 2

To roast and grind:
Hing - a small piece
Bengal gram - 1.5 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dhal - 1/2 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
Red chilly - 9
Coconut - 5 tsp (do not roast with above and add while grinding)

1. Soak tamarind pulp in warm water and extract the juice and keep aside.

2. Pressure cook toor dhal until soft adding a pinch of turmeric powder.
3. Roast the ingredients given in the section to roast and grind in little oil, lastly add the coconut in the pulser and grind to a smooth paste.

4. Wash and cut the drumstick in desired length and keep aside. 

 4. In a kadai/heavy bottomed pan, add a tsp of oil, add the mustard seeds, when it crackles add the curry leaves and green chilly.  Add the sambar onions/shallots followed by cut drumstick pieces, add tomatoes and mix well.  Add required salt and when the tomatoes turn mushy, add a tsp of sambar powder and mix well.  Add the extracted tamarind juice and let it boil for 7-10 minutes.  When the drumstick gets cooked, gently add the ground paste and mix well.  After couple of minutes, add the cooked toor dhal and mix well.  Add 1/2 cup of water if the kuzhambu turns to be very thick and let it boil for couple of minutes.  Switch of the stove and garnish with coriander leaves.

Arachuvitta Sambar is ready to be served.  Can be served with cooked rice dropped a tsp of ghee. 

The home would be filled with aroma when the gravy gets ready.  We had with wonderful combination of roasted baby potato and stir fried cabbage.  

Tuesday, October 2, 2018


I have already posted an easy version of Vegetable biryani.  This one is little bit elaborate version which is richer in taste with strong aromatic flavor derived from freshly roasted and ground spices.  As I have mentioned earlier in one of the posts, I first got introduced to biryani when I was in college.  Until then, we never know there is a vegetarian version of this dish that could be made.  One of my mom's longtime friend prepare biryani in this style and I learnt this from her.  Whenever I prepare this version of biryani, the home would be filled with aroma that would make the family to visit kitchen to find out what's being cooked in the kitchen.


Basmati Rice – 2 cups
Mix of vegetables – 2 cups (carrot, beans, potatoes diced in cubes or of your own choice)
Onion – 2
Red chili powder -1 tea sp
Cloves - 2
Bay leaf – 1
Cinnamon – 1 inch stick
Ghee  - 4 to 5 tbp
Coconut milk – 1.5 cups
Salt to taste
Oil – As required.

Cloves – 3
Cinnamon – 1 inch stick
Saunf/fennel seeds – 2 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Peppercorns – 10
Star anise – 1

Tomatoes – 2 medium or big size
Ginger – 1/2 inch piece
Garlic flakes – 4 to 5
Green chilies –4
Mint and coriander leaves – handful

1.  Wash and drain the basmati rice and keep aside for 30 minutes.
2.Dry roast the ingredients given in grind (1) section and keep aside. This will be a dry masala powder. I strongly feel that this powder only makes my briyani very aromatic and flavorful.
3. Grind all the items given in grind (2) list to a smooth paste adding little water.
4. Extract coconut milk and keep aside.
5.Heat pan with some oil, add cinnamon stick, cloves, and bayleaf, allow them to sizzle, add onion and fry until translucent, and then add the ground masala powder. Later add the masala paste and fry till the raw smell goes.  

Throw in the cut veggies and add salt and chilly powder and mix well.  When the veggies are half cooked, add the basmati rice and coconut milk and water.  The water-coconut milk to rice ratio should be 1:1.5.  Lastly add 2 teaspoons of ghee and mi well and pressure cook for 1 whistle. Then lower the flame and keep in stove for 3-5 mins and switch off the stove.  You can expect people at kitchen by this time to know what's going on there..

6. Once the pressure is released, mix well and serve hot with onion raita. 

Saturday, July 21, 2018


Lemon ginger rasam is an appetizer drink that would be well suited when you have some stomach bloating .  This is a very common recipe among South Indian Tamil Brahmin household.  Very easy to prepare and tastes super delicious.  DH likes this rasam very much and when I prepared for the first time, he just drank like a soup and complimented that he has never tasted this kind of rasam earlier.

This recipe does not call for tamarind, tanginess is derived with tomatoes and lemons.  The combination of lemon and ginger goes hand in hand and addition of freshly ground rasam powder gives out an aromatic flavor to the dish.  Also coriander leaves acts as a perfect garnishing agent and brings an earthy flavor to the dish.

Tomatoes - 4 medium sized
Lemon -2
Toor Dhal - 1/4 cup
Ginger - small piece (crushed or finely chopped)
Green chilly - 1
Asafoetida - a pinch
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt -a s needed
Coriander leaves for garnishing

Pepper - 2 tsp
Cumin - 1tsp
Toor dhal - 1 tsp
Red chilly - 1
Coriander seeds - 1 tsp

Ghee - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves- few


1.  Prepare Rasam powder with the ingredients given under Rasam powder.  Keep aside.
2.  Chop the tomatoes  and process them in a blender and make a juice.
3. Pressure cook toor dhal until the dhal is cooked completely.  Mash well and keep aside.
4.  In a vessel, add the tomato juice, green chilly, ginger, turmeric powder, salt, a cup of water and bring it to boil for 10 minutes until the tomatoes are cooked well.  
5. Add rasam powder, stir well, later add the cooked toor dhal.  Add a cup of water if required if the consistency of the rasam is very thick.  When it start to froth, switch off the stove, and remove from the flame.  
Heat ghee in a pan, add mustard seeds and once it splutters, add curry leaves and add the seasoned items to the rasam.  Allow the rasam to cool completely and add the extracted lemon juice.  Lemon juice can be adjusted according to the required tangy taste.  Garnish with coriander leaves.

 Aromatic lemon ginger rasam is ready to be served.  We had with potato curry and it tasted wonderful.

Friday, June 29, 2018


Just back from office and the much awaited weekend started; chilling at home relaxing myself sitting in the favorite spot on the couch.  Last few weeks have been very hectic and transitioning to more commitments and heavier workloads which is making me go insane.  With these tiring days, I could not justify myself to have a little "me" time.  To overcome the guilty feel of not having the little time for myself, I deliberately pushed myself to get into the mode of having a little "me" time today before I need to recharge me for weekend only allocated house chores.   

While there are lot of items pending in draft, I chose to post a healthier stuff which someone could try upon over the weekend - Vazhaipoo Kola Urundai Kuzhambu.  The English translation for his recipe would be Banana Blossom Dumpling gravy.  This is a gravy made with a steam-cooked banana blossom dumplings cooked in tamarind sauce.  The gravy tastes heavenly with hot steamed rice. 

The prep work is very tedious as you need to clean each floret of the flower but given the healthy nature it is worth spending time for it.  Since cleaning takes time, I prefer to make it over weekends where I clean on a Saturday afternoon or at nights while watching some TV shows after finishing the household work.   I usually make Parupu usili with this but this time DH suggested to make Chettinad dish - Kola urundai kuzhambu.  Will write a separate post in detail on how to clean the banana flower. 

Banana Blossom - 2 cups
Small onion - 1 cup
Tomato - 2
Garlic - few pods
Sambar powder - 2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil  as needed

To Roast and Grind:
Hing /Asafoetida - a small peppercorn size
Channa dhal - 1 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dhal - 1/2 tsp
Peppercorn - 5
Grated coconut - 1/4 cup
Red chilly - 2 tsp

For Tempering:
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - few

For Kola Urundais:
Bengal gram - 1 cup (Soaked in water)
Red chilly - 4
Salt - to taste
Discard the unwanted parts from the individual florets.  Then cut them into small pieces and soak in buttermilk to avoid turning black. 
Soak tamarind in warm water and extract the tamarind juice from the pulp.
In little oil, roast and grind the ingredients given in the tempering item list (Hing, channal dhal, red chilly, peppercorn, coriander seeds, and coconut).

Soak Channal dhal for 1 hour and grind it little coarsely with red chilly and salt first.  Later add the cut banana blossom and give a pulse.
Make small lemon sized balls, arrange it in a greased idly plate, and steam it for 12-15 mins in idly plate.  Allow it to completely cool before adding to the gravy.
In a kadai/pan, add oil and sizzle with tempering items, add small onion and later chopped tomatoes.  Add salt and sambar powder and mix well.  Add the extracted tamarind pulp and let this boil for 10 minutes.  When the small onions gets cooked, add the ground paste and let it boil for 2-3 minutes.  Gently add the steamed cooked banana blossom-lentil mixture balls to the gravy.  After some times, it would start to float on the top of the gravy.  
That's it, by now the gravy would have become thick and would have turned into a thicker texture.  

Transfer to a bowl and enjoy with hot steamed rice with a teaspoon of gingely oil.