Saturday, May 7, 2016

Maavadu - Tiny tender Raw Mango Pickle

This is pickle made out of tiny tender raw mangoes which we get in summer in India.  We usually makes this in larger quantities and store for one whole year.  More than the pickle, the juice which oozes out from the mangoes gives an irreplaceable taste in mouth when accompanied with curd rice.  One best about this recipe is no oil is used to make this pickle.    

Raw Mangoes - 1 kg
Castor oil - 2 tsp
Rock salt - 1/4 cup
Mustard seeds - 1/4 cup
Red chillies - 20

1.  Wash the tender mangoes in water thrice to remove dust from it and pat dry them completely.   It is advisable to buy the mangoes with stem.  The ones without stem will get spoilt soon.

2. Apply 2 tsp of castor oil and mix well with a ladle.  Ensure the oil coats over all the mangoes.  This is done to prolong the shelf life of pickle and to reduce the body heat when consuming the pickle.  

3.  Add salt later and mix well.  Shake well or turn it down using a ladle daily.  Keep this mixture for 2-3 days.  The salt will dissolve and starts to ooze out water little.

4.  Grind Red chillies along with mustard seeds with little water.

5.   Add this to the mango mixture and mix well.  Keep them by turning it upside down for a week.  By this time, the mangoes will shrink and more water will be oozed out.  Around a week later, you could observe the mangoes will be immersed with 1 inch water above it.  Store the pickle in small bottle for daily use.  Generally, we don't refrigerate this and store in porcelain jar but can be used for more than a year when refrigerated.  Always use a dry spoon to take out the mangoes.  

Your lovable ones will ask for more serving when served with curd rice.

Sunday, April 17, 2016


I have never tasted Paneer until two years back; for some reasons DH and myself never got an idea to taste it at least once. But Jr. H was very curious to try at home as he has tasted his friend's lunchbox at school and he started nagging me to prepare at home.  We liked it in the first attempt itself because of the taste it imparts in the dish.  Now I can make many variations of paneer dishes and this is one such convenient dish which I prepare at home during my lazy weekend dinner.
Idly/Dosa batter - 2 cups

For Stuffing:
Paneer (Grated) - 1 cup
Capsicum (finely chopped) - 1
Onion (Finely chopped) - 1
Tomato (Finely chopped) - 1
Chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Jeera - 1 /2 tsp

Preparation for Stuffing:
1. Finely chop the required vegetables (onion, tomato, capsicum) and grate the paneer.

2. In a pan, add little oil and throw in jeera, when it sizzles, add the chopped onion followed by tomato and capsicum later.

3.  Add the required salt and turmeric powder followed by chilly powder.  Add the grated paneer lastly and mix well.

Preparation of Dosa:
1. In the dosa pan, spread the idly batter in a circular manner, add little oil over the edges.
2. Spread the stuffing as required and fold the dosa as desired.

Sunday, April 10, 2016


Ah!! It's very hot here in Chennai, but one thing I like about it is the Mangoes.  Mangoes are available throughout summer.  Be it a tiny baby tender mango which is used to make Maavadu (a kind of pickle without oil), raw mangoes or riped one, my family likes in any form.  This is the starting season here and I started including in all the recipes. 

Moving to this particular recipe, this is a authentic Chettinad region recipe which is very famous there, Vendaikkai Mandi.  Mandi is the washed water taken from rice which adds a special flavor to the recipe.  DH is very fond of this recipe and asks me to prepare this often.  Adding mangoes to the dish adds a unique taste to the dish.  This dish can be mixed and eaten with cooked rice.

Ladies Finger - 1/4 kg
Raw Mango - 1 small cup (cut in cubes)
Onion - 2 (chopped)
Tomato - 1  (chopped)
Garlic pods - 10
Pressure cooked Mochai (Field Beans) - 1 cup
Arisi Mandi (Washed water from rice) - 3 cups
Tamarind  - small gooseberry sized soaked in Mandi water
Chilly powder - 1-2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Salt - To taste
Oil - 2 tsp

To Temper:
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - few
Slit green chillies - 2 

1. Dry roast Mochai for a minute or two in a thick bottomed pan and pressure cook for 6 whistles or until soft along with salt and a  pinch of turmeric powder.  You can also soak overnight and pressure cook for 2 whistles.
2. Wash 1/2 cup of rice in water and then add 3 cups of water and soak for 5 minutes, drain this water and soak the gooseberry sized tamarind in this.  
3. Meanwhile cut the ladies finger in 1", raw mangos in cube size, chop the onions and tomatoes and keep it ready, and peel the outer skin of garlic pods.

4.  In a heavy bottomed kadai, add 2 tsp of oil, when hot throw in mustard seeds, slit green chillies, and few curry leaves.

5. Add the onion and tomatoes, later drop the ladies finger and cut cubed mangoes.  

6. Add salt, chilly powder, coriander powder and saute well.

7.  Add the extracted mandi-tamarind based water to the mixture and let this cook in medium flame.
8.  Once the vegetable has cooked well, add the cooked mochai and let this boil for 5 more minutes. 
 9.  The final outcome will neither be too water nor too thick.            

 10. Serve hot with cooked rice.  We relished with two curries, kovaikkai (Tindora) and pagarkai (Bitter gourd).  It was a full appetizing meal indeed.

Sunday, February 7, 2016


Karunai Kizhangu is from Yam's family but am not sure about its perfect English name.  Its smaller in size (refer the pic below) and creates prickliness in the tongue if not properly cooked but it has lot of healthy benefits.  To eliminate the itchiness, this is prepared in a tangy way adding thick tamarind sauce.

I learnt this recipe with DH.  Because of the itchy nature, I avoid buying this vegetable but recently I need to rush to office on a weekend for a support and I requested hubby to manage the lunch eating outside but to my surprise he has cooked on that day.  When I returned home, he insisted me to taste the kuzhambu and it was simply superb.  DH is more concentrated towards Chettinad cuisine as he hails from that region and the addition of right amount of tamarind sauce with necessary spice powders make the dish look more colorful and flavorful.  Then next weekend, with his inputs, I prepared this kuzhambu and it came out more than as desired.  From then, in a very short interval, I have prepared this dish many times.  
Pidi Karunai - 1/2 kg
Peeled small onion - 1 cup
Garlic (optional) - 10-15 pods or as desired
Tomato - 2
Sambar powder - 2 tsp
Chilly powder -2 tsp
Coriander powder - 2 tsp
Tamarind water (Extracted from pulp)- 2 cups
Salt - as desired
Oil - as desired

To Temper:
Curry leaves - few
Mustard seeds -  1 small tsp
Fenugreek seeds -  1 tsp

1. Pressure cook the vegetable for 2 whistles.  Make sure not to overcook as it would turn mushy.

2.  Extract the tamarind water from the soaked tamarind pulp.

3.  Peel small onions and garlic pods and keep it ready.

4. In a heavy bottomed vessel, add oil as desired and throw in the tempering items one by one (mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, and curry leaves).  

5. Add small onions, garlic pod, and tomatoes.  Peel the skin of the cooked vegetable (karunai Kizhangu) and cut it in 1 inch size and add it to the mixture and mix well.

6.  Add salt, chilly powder, coriander powder, and sambar powder and mix well.

7.  Add the extracted tamarind water and let it boil in low flame until everything gets cooked and mixed well.  The more the boiling time, the more the taste would be.

8.  At one stage, the gravy would thicken with nice color coat over the gravy and oil starts to float on top. Switch of the stove and transfer to a vessel.
9.  Enjoy this lip smacking kara kuzhambu with steamed white rice.  

I prepared along with spinach kootu and potato fry and it tasted awesome.