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.   

Sunday, January 10, 2016


I first tasted this rasam during my visit to my Periyamma's place (Mother's sister).  She lived in Chettinad region for many years and learnt this recipe from that place.  I like it from the very first time.  This can also be taken as soup or can also go well with cooked rice. Addition of ginger, pepper, jeera would give medicinal flavor and aroma to the rasam and would be a soothing relief for sore throat.

Cauliflower florets (Washed in warm water) - 1 cup
Riped tomatoes - 3 big size
Onion - 1
Lemon (cut in half) - One half
Cooked toor dhal - 1/2 cup
Green chilly - 1 or 2
Ginger - 1/2 inch piece
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Salt to taste
Curry and coriander leaves - few

To grind:
Pepper - 1 tsp
Jeera - 1/2 tsp

To temper:
Ghee/oil- 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp

1. Cook toor dhal in pressure cooker and keep it separately.

2.  Wash the cauliflower florets in warm water.  Keep the items given in the ingredients list ready before preparation.

3. In a heavy bottomed kadai, a tsp of ghee/oil add the mustard seeds and wait until it crackles. Add green chilly and curry leaves and later followed by cut onions.  When the onions turn brown, add the tomatoes.

4.  Once the tomatoes turn mushy, add the caulifower florets, salt, and turmeric powder.  Add 1.5 cups of water and let the cauliflower gets cooked in that.
5. In between, powder jeera and pepper in a mixer and keep this ready.  Once the florets are cooked, add the powder followed by mashed cooked toor dhal.

6.  When the rasam gets frothy, switch off the flame, garnish with coriander leaves and squeeze out the juice from the cut lemon.  

Now the aromatic cauliflower rasam is ready to serve.  This can be taken as such as a soup.  The crunchiness and taste of onions and cauliflower adds an additional zing to the dish.