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.  

Sunday, August 23, 2015


Weekends are getting busier and busier.  Most of the weekends, had relatives and friends visiting home and mostly involved in cooking an elaborate or special meal for them.  However, I could find no time for clicking pictures :(.  

Ten days back, Jr. H turned eight and I cooked an elaborate meal all alone for family and friends.  It was the first time I managed to cook for 25 people.  I would say I managed it to near perfect :-)..

Moving to today's recipe, this is one of the pathiya samaiyal recipe I prepare once in a month.  This recipe has lot of medicinal benefits.  Ingi (ginger) is known for alleviating gastrointestinal problems and helps in loss of appetite and karuvepillai (curry leaves) has a rich source of iron and folic acid and accelerates hair growth.  Addition of sesame seeds add extra medicinal benefits which include but not limited to preventing wrinkles, lowering cholesterol, healthy skin etc.,  This thogaiyal can be mixed with hot rice or can be taken as a side dish for curd rice/tiffin items.

Curry leaves - 1 cups (tightly packed)
Ginger - 50 g
Coconut - 1/2 cup (small sized)
Tamarind - gooseberry sized (soaked in warm water)
Jaggery - little
Salt - To taste

To roast and grind
Sesame seeds - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Red chillies - 10
Urad dhal - 3 tsp
Asafoetida - small piece
Peppercorns - 10 in number


1. Wash curry leaves in fresh cold water and keep it aside.  Wash and cut the ginger lengthwise as shown in picture. 
 2. Dry roast sesame seeds in a pain until it splutters and keep aside.
3. In the same pan, add little oil, roast the items given in to roast section.  Transfer the contents to a plate.

4.  In the same pan, add the curry leaves and ginger lastly and keep in flame until the curry leaves shrink and the raw smell of the curry leaves disappears.  Add tamarind and shredded coconut finally and keep in flame for half a minute. 

5. Grind smoothly the ginger-curry leaves-coconut mixture with salt and red chillies first.  Add little water while grinding if necessary. 
 6.  Add the roasted ingredients to the ground mixture and grind it coarsely.  Finally add little jaggery and run the mixer in whipper mode for 10 sec.

7. Enjoy with plain rice or curd rice.

We enjoyed this thogaiyal along with chow chow carrot kootu and paruppu rasam.

Sunday, August 9, 2015


I am a great fan of Rava upma ever since my childhood and I am okay to take it even daily.  Recently, we went to Bangalore and had a nice time catching up with an old buddy,  Divi. 

My mind switches to my hostel days immediately where I stayed before my marriage; we stayed together in hostel  in Chennai and shared common interests in many which includes but not limited to food, dressing sense, attitude, behavior, a lot many things to add on to the list...  We go for aerobics in the morning and share the morning filter coffee together in a Balaji Bhavan, Saidapet.  We would be so tempted on seeing the hot steaming ulundu vadais and would share a plate and do some extra aerobics with a guilt feel later.  Ah!! Whenever I think of those days, I get a warmth feel around me.  Those were the days where I had time for myself.  Now my priorities have changed and my world revolves around my people now more than for me but I am fully happy about it.  

After her marriage, Divi moved to Bangalore and during my last Bangalore visit, Divi took me to a restaurant where they served this Kharabhat.  I was so surprised and asked her what it is and she explained it is just the Rava upma with a twist.  I ordered mini tiffin and happened to taste this Kharabhat.  Later, I googled and saw many fellow bloggers have posted this.  Tried this on a weekend and it was very different.  I simply liked the hotness delivered by the dish.  

Rava - 1 cup
Onion - 2 medium size (chopped finely)
Tomato - 1 medium size
Mixed vegetables -2 cup (Beans, carrot, potato, peas)
Cashew nuts - 10
Ghee - 1-2 tsp
Oil - 1 tsp
Vangibhat powder - 2 tsp
Water - 2.5 cups

To Temper
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Bengal gram - 1 tsp
Urad dhal - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - few
Green chillies - 3 (Slit in two)

1.  In a heavy bottomed pan, roast cashews in a tsp of ghee and keep aside.  Roast rava in the same pan with the remaining ghee until the color changes a bit and nice aroma surrounds.  Transfer to a bowl.  

2. In a heavy bottomed pan, add 2 tsp of oil and throw in the tempering items one by one.

3.  Add the onions and tomatoes one by one. 
 4.  Add the vegetables when the onions and tomatoes have cooked half.  Add salt and cook in medium flame until the vegetables are cooked properly.
5.  Add water and when it starts boiling, add roasted rava and stir evenly.  Make sure no lumps are formed. 

6.  At the final stage, after rava has absorbed all the water and cooked, add the vangibhat powder with a tsp of ghee.  Mix well.  

7.  Serve hot with chutney or pickle.  I had with tomato thokku as it is my favorite combo.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Kothamalli Sadham - Coriander Rice

This is a one pot comfort meal which would give you an utter satisfaction to your taste buds.  Some years back, while having food at a restaurant in Chennai, DH ordered mini meals and he asked me to prepare something kind of this at home upon his first bite.  I was so surprised that because he hardly gives his first hand appreciation for any meal especially at hotels.  I tried many times after but never felt a complete satisfaction  about the outcome until I tried from Raks Kitchen, whose recipe I mostly try which has never failed.   She has made this without onion but I added onion which gave a touch of very mild sweetness to the dish.  In addition to that, I added ginger to give a pungent taste as my family likes it.

Basmatic Rice - 1 cup
Coriander leaves - 1 bunch
Green chilli - 3
Coconut milk - 1.5 cup
Salt - as needed
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Onion - 1

To Temper:
Oil - 1 tsp
Cardamom - 1
Cinnamon - 1 inch piece
Bay leaf - 1

1. Soak basmati rice in warm water for 15 minutes.

2. Wash the coriander leaves in running tap water to remove the dirt, if any.
3. Grind it along with green chillies and ginger.  Make sure not to add much water as water in the coriander leaves would suffice or if needed add little while grinding.

4.  Take milk from coconut ( You can use store brought coconut milk too but I always prefer to use homemade stuff).

5.  In pressure cooker, add a tsp of oil and throw in tempering items one by one.  

6. Then, add sliced onion and once the onions have turned brown add the ground coriander paste.  Add necessary salt as well.  Let this be in flame for 2 minutes until the raw smell disappears.

7.  Now add the coconut milk.  Also add the basmati rice at this stage.  Water should be drained from soaked rice before adding.

8. Close the lid and pressure cook for a whistle.  Once pressure releases, mix well and garnish with fried cashew nuts.

I have packed coriander rice, plain raita, masala vadai, curd rice, homemade pickle, fruit mango, potato chips (shop brought), and pomegranate juice for lunch to DH.  Later could see some smile in his face, what else a woman need from her people :-)....