Tuesday, April 28, 2015


This is one of my signature dish which has always been a hit at home.  I prepared this as one of my friend asked me to post this recipe.  This is one of the specialty dishes of the neighborhood state, Karnataka.

I first tasted this recipe when I was in high school.   I learnt this recipe from one of my brother’s wife.  I copied the recipe in a notebook and was preserving the notes until I master myself in this recipe.  

Raw rice – 1 cup
Toor dhal – 0.5 cup
Salt – as needed
Tamarind – 1 gooseberry sized (soaked in water)
Onion – 1 cup
Green peas – 1 small cup (Optional)
Mixed vegetables (Beans, Carrot, Potato) – 1 cup
Oil – as needed
Ghee – 3 tsp

To roast and grind:                                                                                             
Cinnamon stick – 1 inch
Bengal gram – 2 tsp
Urad dhal – 1 tsp
Coriander seeds – 2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
Pepper – 1/4 tsp
Grated coconut – 1 small cup


1. Soak tamarind in water for 15 minutes.  It is best if this is done at first to manage the cooking time.  Tamarind paste can also be used as an alternate to this.

 2. In a pressure cooker, cook Rice+Toor dhal with little salt.  Water should be added in such a way the rice and dhal combi should be cooked slightly mushy.  I usually add 3.5 cups of water to 1 cup of raw rice.  Since I cook toor dhal along with it, I added 4.5 cups of water. 

3.  If you have a small cooker, cook the mixed vegetables adding required salt.  This is an optional step as you can also directly cook the vegetables in tamarind water, but this step would definitely bring down the cooking time.   Take care not to overcook the vegetables.  

4.  Roast the items given in the “To roast and grind” list and grind it smoothly in mixer.  Grated coconut should be added only at the last state of roasting to enhance the flavor.

5. Extract 3 cups of tamarind water from the soaked tamarind pulp.  To know how to make tamarind water; squeeze the soaked tamarind and extract the juice.  Add some more water and squeeze the tamarind pump and extract the water.  Repeat this process until no further thick juice can be extracted.  If you are using tamarind paste, add 3 cups of water to 2 tsp of paste.
6. In a wide bottomed pan, add little oil, add the small onion and green peas.  Add required salt.  After sometime, say for 5 minutes, the small onions must have become brown.  

7. Add the cooked vegetables, turmeric powder, and tamarind water.  Let it boil for sometime until the raw smell of tamarind goes off.  If you are skipping step 3, you can add the vegetables at this stage and cook the vegetables along with onion. But this process would take much time, hence I prefer to cook the vegetables separately.

8. Meanwhile, grind the roasted items into a smooth paste.  

9. Now add the paste into the boiling tamarind water.  Take care to avoid forming of lumps.  Mix well.  Let this boil for another 5 minutes.  Adjust for salt, if needed.  This would get thicker in time, so add little water if needed. 

10. Add the gravy/sambar to the cooked rice-dhal mixture.  Add few teaspoons of ghee and mix well. 

11. Yummy bisebelabath is now ready to get served with fryums/chips/pappads.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Thattu Idly – Idly with a twist

I recently got to know about this dish from my brother.  Last month, he was on vacation to Coorg and had tasted this stuff somewhere on the highways of Mysore.  He insisted me on learning this recipe as he liked it.  I was so surprised when he narrated how the dish would be.   He said idly’s will be very thin and soft, in the shape of a mini oothappam.  I was so curious that I immediately googled and saw the image of how the thattu idly’s be.  I was super stunned and excited and wanted to try it immediately.  I browsed and found few bloggers have posted this.  As always, I took the uniqueness found in every link and combined and tried on my own with a gut feel that it would come out perfect with my cooking experience.  Yeah, it came out as expected.  I emailed the picture to Bro, he was so surprised and came home that evening to give a taste.  DH and Jr. H also liked this and it was an instant hit at home which made me to prepare thrice in this short timeframe.

From blogging, i came to know that a separate stand will be available for making this idlys but I used by idiyappam stand covering it with a cloth.


Idly Rice – 1.5 cups
Raw rice – 0.5 cup                                                
Urad dhal – 1/2 cup
Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
Cooked rice – 1 cup
Salt – To taste
Baking soda – a pinch

1. Wash and soak rice (raw rice + idly rice) and urad dal separately for 3 hours.  Soak Fenugreek along with urad dal.

2. Grind urad dal first into a smooth batter.  The final texture of the batter should be like a butter.  This is the main tip to be followed for getting softer idlys.

3. Grind rice next, this should also be smooth, but need not be like urad dal, can be on slight coarse side too.  Add cooked rice while grinding the rice.  This can be added when the rice is ground half.

4.  Add salt and mix the two batters, close and leave it to ferment for 8 hours/overnight.

5. In the morning, half an hour before making idlys, add a pinch of baking soda and mix well.  
6.  Take the idyappam plates, cover it with white cloth, pour a good ladle full of batter, and tilt the plate slightly so that the batter is spread evenly.  Do not spread it with the ladle.

7. Fill all the plates, steam cook for 7 minutes in a pressure cooker.

8. Remove the stand and let it rest for some 3 minutes.

9. Turn it upside down over a serving plate and peel the cloth gently from the idly.

10. Repeat the same process for rest of the batter.

11.  Serve hot with sambar or chutney.  

Monday, April 6, 2015

Summer Special – Javvarisi Vadam/Sago Fryums

It’s very hot in Chennai and I want to make use of it in a positive way.  Every year, during this timeframe, I put Vadams and reserve for the whole year.  Being a working woman, I can do this work only on Weekends. 

When I write about this post, my mind switches back to my childhood days.  I started helping mom in this activity from my 5th grade.  Mom will do the preparation and I will join her in pouring vadams when I was at a beginner level.  After I have moved on to expert level, mom just gives the prepared stuff to me and I will put the vadams.  It was too early for a girl to involve in these tasks but I did because of my inquisitive nature.   I love trying out new things and this nature had given both positive and negative effects for me J.  Also I enjoyed doing this activity because I enjoyed eating vadams.  Nothing can beat the delicacy of vadams accompanied with rasam/sambar rice. 

I start the preparation around 6.30 AM and will prepare the stuff in 20 minutes.  By 7 AM, I go to terrace and pour the vadams and will come down before the sun shines bright. 

Javvarisi (Sago) – 4 cups
Oil – 3 tsp
Salt – To taste
Greenchillies – 12 to 14
Asafetida  - 1 tsp
Lemon – 2 Big size
Water – 2+16 cups

1. Soak Javvirisi overnight with two cups of water.  Ideally, the sago should have immersed in water.

2. Morning, the volume would have become double.

3. In a heavy bottomed vessel (I used my pressure cooker), add the javvarisi and 16 cups of water, add oil and salt.  Mix well with a ladle, keep in stove top.  Keep stirring every minute so that javvirisi is not burnt.

4.  Meanwhile, grind greenchillies with little salt and asafetida powder.  This can be done before keeping the javvarisi in stove top if you are a beginner.

5. After sometime (approximately 10-15 mins), the color of the javvarisi becomes glossy which indicates it is cooked well.  Add the ground mixture and stir well.  Keep in flame for 2-3 minutes.

6.  Meanwhile, extract juice from lemon.  It is better to do this at last, otherwise there will be a slight bitter taste from lemon due to the citric nature.  Switch off the stove and add the lemon juice.

7.  Let the mixture rest for sometime, say for 10 minutes.  

8. Spread a plastic sheet or clean white cloth under sun and with the help of small spoon/ladle, make small circles as shown below.

9. Let them get dried in hot sun for a day.  Next day, peel them off carefully and turn over to the other side and get it dried again under hot sun.

10. On the third day, dry it again.  By this time, the vadams would have become firm.  Store in air tight container.  Whenever it is required, fry it in hot oil.  Serve this as an accompaniment to any rice.

1. The mixture needs to be stirred often when kept in stove top.  Otherwise, it will be burnt.
2. The mixture gets thicker as it cools, so always pour it immediately after the resting time.
3. If the mixture gets thicker, add little warm water to the mixture and pour it.  Take care not to add too much of water as it will reduce the salty, tangy, and hotness and spoil the taste of fryums.