Showing newest 11 of 23 posts from March 2010. Show older posts
Showing newest 11 of 23 posts from March 2010. Show older posts


Cauliflower Usili

Cauliflower Usili:

I never appreciated cauliflowers, its so hard for me to put this vegetable in my shopping list. Since there are no much choice here, I rarely buy them. Well, to tell you the truth...I have tried korma to curry, nothing really tempted me. I could say, usili form has better suited me. Hope you all will like it, here is the recipe.


Cauliflower - divided into florets
Mustard seeds 1/2 spoon
Cumin seeds 1/2 spoon
Chana dal 1/2 spoon
Urad dal 1/2 spoon
Curry leaves few
Green chilies 3 finely chopped
Dry red chilies 6
Thuvar dal 1 cup(soaked in water for 20 minutes)
Ginger-garlic paste 1 spoon
Fennel seeds 3 spoons
Salt(to grind with dal)
Salt for beans
Turmeric 1 pinch
Curry leaves few(to grind)
Oil 2 cups


In a blender dry grind fennel seeds, salt, dry chilies and curry leaves. Set them aside.

Wet grind chana dal bit coarsely and set aside.

In a pan, heat oil. Add mustard, cumin, curry leaves, chana and urad dal. Let them pop and splutter well.

To this add green chilies and cauliflower. Fry well. Add salt and 1 pinch of turmeric powder. Sprinkle little water over this. Cover and cook.

When it is 3/4th cooked add the wet ground paste and cook without lid. Let the dal paste get well coated with the vegetable. Toss to all the sides..until dal gets fried and cooked.

Run few spoons of oil now, if needed. The dal should not be wet or undercooked anymore. It should be sort of crispy and fragrant now.

Serve this hot as a side dish to rice or chappathi/roti.


Vegetable Clear Soup - Chinese Style

Vegetable Clear Soup:(Chinese Style)


Sweet Corn
Green Onions
Soy sauce
Veg Broth
Pepper powder
Olive oil few spoons.


Saute all the vegetables for few minutes and add veg broth to it. Simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.

Add pepper and green onions.

Serve warm.


Hot & Spicy Mutton Biriyani - Chettinad Style

Mutton Biriyani:



Cinnamon 1 stick
Cloves 5
Black cardamom 3
Green cardamom 3
Nutmeg 1 crushed
Birinji flower 1
Marati mokku 1
Green chilies 6 sliced
Onion 1 sliced
Toamtoes 2 chopped
Mint 1 fistful
Turmeric 1/2 spoon
Chili powder 1-2 spoons
Mutton/Goats meat 1/2 kilo
short grain rice 4 cups
Ghee 1 cup
Fried curry leaves to garnish.

Spices to be toasted and powdered:

Fennel seeds 2 spoons
Coriander seeds 2 spoons
Peppercorns 2 spoons
Cumin seeds 2 spoons
Dry red chilies 4-6
Poppy seeds 2 spoons
Dry coconut 6 spoons.

To be fried in oil and then wet-ground:

Onion 1 small
Ginger 2" grated
Garlic 6 cloves
Tomato 1
Green chili 1
Curry leaves few
Cilantro leaves few.


Marinate meat with enough salt, powdered spices, wet-ground spices and lemon juice. Maybe for 4 hours.

In a wide vessel, bring ghee...throw in dry spices, followed by chilies and onion. Wait till they get golden color.

Then stir-in mint and tomatoes...cover and cook. Once they turn pulpy, add the marinated meat. Do not cover, cook over medium heat.

Once the meat turns to opaque...and oil shows up on the top. Add turmeric and chili powders. Add enough water and cook till tender.

Stir-in rice, cover and cook over least possible heat.

When the rice is done, remove from heat.


Sarson ki Saag Kadhi - Mustards Greens in Buttermilk Gravy

Kadugu Keerai Mor Kuzhambu:


Mustard greens 1 bunch
Yogurts 4 cups
Turmeric powder 1/4 spoon
Asafoetida 1/4 spoon
Oil few spoons.

Wet Grind these to a Thick Paste:

Pepper 1-2 spoons
Green chilies 5
Thoor dal 1 cup
Tomato 1
Ginger 3-4 inch size. peeled.
Garlic 4 -5 cloves

For Tempering:

Mustard seeds 1/2 spoon
Cumin seeds 1/4 spoon
Urad dal 1/4 spoon
Asafoetida 1/4 spoon
Dry red chilies 3
Curry leaves few
Oil few spoons
Oil for shallow frying.


Heat oil, in a wok. Saute greens for a while...until oil coats to all sides.

Now add wet ground paste to it. Fry them till they loose their raw smell.

Further add asafoetida, salt, turmeric and yogurts. Mix them well. Let them come to 1-2 boil.

In a separate pan, heat oil. Add mustard, cumin, asafoetida, red chilies, pepper and curry leaves. Fry for a while...till they pop and splutter. Now run this seasoning over the gravy made above.

Serve warm along with plain steam cooked rice.

Hotel Style Sambar Vadai

Sambhar Vada:(Hotel Style)

There were days, when I simply relied on hotel food. While studying, thats the best thing to do to a decent breakfast and keep a big distance from hostel mess:) I am not the person who wants perfection in every bite...but during those hectic days, big breakfast was pretty mandatory.

So, whenever we girls step out for morning tiffin, I order myself sambar vada...and my friends used to pull my legs, saying' its leftover vadas Malar and call me 'Sambhar Maniac'. Those were days...


For Vadai:

Urad dal 1 cup
Rice 1-2 spoons
Ginger 2" peeled & chopped
Whole peppercorns 1 spoon
Cumin 1/4 spoon
Asafoetida 1 pinch
Coconut 4" piece finely chopped
Curry leaves few
Sago 1 spoon - powdered(to give some crunch on the crust)
Rice flour - gives reddish tint
Oil for deep frying.


For Sambar:

Thoor dal 1 cup
Small Onions 1 cup/Red onions sliced
Country Tomatoes 2-3 diced
Garlic 5 cloves crushed
White pumpkin diced 1/2 cup
Drumstick 1 chopped to the same size of pumpkin
Jaggery 2 spoons
Curry leaves few
Turmeric 1/4 spoon
Chili powder 1 spoon
Asafoetida 1/4 spoon
Mustard 1/2 spoon
Tamarind paste 1/4 spoon
Coriander leaves finely chopped 1/2 cup
Ghee 1/2 cup

To Be Roasted Each Separately And Powdered Together:

Coriander seeds 2-4 spoons
Chana dal 2-4 spoons
Curry leaves few
Fenugreek seeds 1 spoon
Dry red chilies 3-5
Asafoetida 1 spoon.

To Garnish:

Finely chopped onions
Finely chopped chilies
Finely chopped cilantro leaves
Lemon juice and pinch of salt.


For Sambar:

In a pressure cooker, heat few spoons of ghee. Add 2-3 cups of water to this. Pressure cook the lentils till soft and tender.

In a separate non-stick cook- ware, heat ghee. Add mustard, asafoetida and curry leaves to this. Let them splutter.

Now add onions and garlic to this and fry for a while. Add tomatoes and fry till they loose their water content and oil shows up on sides.

Add vegetables, turmeric powder, salt, chili powder, jaggery and 1 spoon of freshly prepared sambar powder to this.

Now add the cooked lentils. Cover and cook over medium flame.

Once the vegetables are done, add tamarind paste, remaining sambar powder and freshly chopped coriander leaves.

Run a few spoons of ghee, before serving.


For Vadai:

Soak urad dal and rice in water for nearly 1-2 hours.

Then drain off its excess water. Wet grind them to thick butter like paste.

Now mix all the above mentioned items to it(except oil)

Heat up the oil in deep frying pan. Wet your palm and make vadas as given in the pictures.

Fry till golden to reddish brown. Let the outer vada turn nice and crispy.

For Sambar Vadai:

Dip the warm vadai in luke warm water for few seconds and leave it in serving bowl. Then pour some generous amount of sambar on top. Garnish with cilantro leaves.

Serve at room temperature.


Mishti Doi - Steamed Milk Cake!

Steamed Milk Sweet:

Junnu without cow's lactating milk. Ginnu - Cheating method:) Seem Paal or Kadampu Paal Halwa. Milk Custard?! Bhappa Doi. Mishti Doi. Steamed Condensed Milk:)

They make a special dessert with cow's first few day's lactating milk. The lactating milk is very nutritious, high in protein and looks much deep yellow in color (kadambu paal/seem paal in Tamil).

While I was studying at Hyderabad, my friends kept raving about a dish made with cow's first milk. It is called Junnu in Telugu. So, when I visited my place (Tamil Nadu), I asked my Dad' whether its easy to find cow's lactating milk'! I know its kind of hard to find in a city...where we manage ourselves with Aawin milk! But, my Dad really took it too personal and embarrassed me...he spread a word to all his workers, subordinates, friends, neighbors, who ever he bumped look out for cattle owners! I felt very awkward and was so angry at him, back then...see I am not that foodie!!! One of my Dad's driver(Murugesan) never gave up, he finally brought me 'the cow's first milk'. I was so exited and somehow managed to make that specialty sweet. It was awesome and its worth searching after all.:)

So, today...I simply tried to re-create the same dish without lactating milk, using some basics at home. Hmmm, not bad, it turned out great.:)


Yogurts 1 bowl
Half n Half 4 cups(reduced milk)
Sugar - as per taste
Garnish with saffron/chopped nuts.


Hang the yogurts in cheese cloth for 2-4 hours. Let the liquid pass out, now retain the solids.

Now reduce the heavy milk(half n hlaf) into half again, by continuous boiling. Now mix this thick milk with yogurt solids and sugar. Blend and puree them, bring them to smooth perfection.

Now fill these in the dessert bowls and steam cook for 10 minutes.

Ta-Da, its ready. Now leave these in fridge for at least 2-4 hours.

Serve chilled:)

Yennai Kathirikai - The Unconventional Way

Yennai Kathirikai Masala:

Ennai Kathirikkai Masala. Brinjal Masala.

My whole blog's only goal is to achieve the authentic preparation of my regional recipes. And the word authentic' makes no sense most of the spices(integral part of Indian cuisine)are brought to India through early rulers and travelers. Imagine the food without chili powder! It must have been once authentic!! It is so hard to believe that, people managed with only native vegetables(that doesn't include potatoes cauliflower, beans, peas, cabbage, turnips, carrots, radish, snow peas, chow chow, beets, etc). What Rama would have eaten? How vegetarians were once content with just turkey berries and wild greens!!! Its really mind blowing.

Anyhow, coming back to the point, even though at each and every post I claim 'Authentic Preparation' I really feel awkward using such phrase. All I could say is, I just try to retain some level of perfection, what my Mom and Grandma cooked. That is why I keep asking country dwellers and old they temper their food, whats the method of making perfect curry and so on.

Well, Yennai Kathirikai/ Spicy Eggplant Masala is a specialty dish in my area. We make it entirely different. Take a look here, please. When AK cooked his family adopted version, I was all skeptical to take a bite. I couldn't agree that this is also called 'Yennai Kathirikkai'(with zero tamarind and lots of poppy seeds and no tempering at all)!!! As I told you before' I like the food, cooked other than myself' very much (yes, sometimes it happens). Now, started appreciating all the (so called)unconventional recipes(??) as well.:) This tasted great:)


Small Violet eggplants 6-8
Green chilies 3 slitted
Curry leaves
Garlic 6 cloves
Puprple onions 6 small- sliced
Tomatoes 6 small - chopped
Poppy seeds 2 spoons
Cashew nuts 5
Grated coconut 1/2 shell
Cumin seeds 1 spoon
Turemric 1/2 spoon
CHili powder 1-2 spoons
Sesame oil few spoons.


Blend 2 onion, 2 tomatoes along with salt, turmeric and chili powder. Set aside - step 1.

Wet-grind poppy seeds, coconut, 1 green chili, cumin seeds and cashew nuts. Set aside step-2.

In a wide wok, heat oil. Add wet ground paste number 1. Saute till the raw odour leaves the pan.

Followed by remaining chilies, onion, garlic...fry real good. Add tomatoes and continue frying.

Now, add sliced egg plants. Cover and cook. Once the egg-plants are half the way done, add the wet-ground paste 2. Remove the lid and cook for a brief period, once the oil shows up on the sides, its done.

Serve to go with chappathis and rotis.


Pudhina Chutney - Mint Chutney

Pudhina Chutney:

Podhina chutney, Pudina chutney.


Coconut grated 1/4 cup
Mint leaves alone 1-2 cups
Cilantro 1/2 bunch
Curry leaves few
Tamarind 1/4 spoon
Ginger 1" grated
Garlic 2 cloves minced
Urad dal 2 spoons
Green chilies 3
Sesame oil few spoons.

For Tempering:

Sesame oil
Mustard seeds
Cumin seeds
Chan+urad dal
Dry red chilies
Curry leaves.

Heat oil, in a wok. Stir-fry all the above mentioned items. Blend and puree them

Temper the spices in hot oil and run this seasoning over the chutney made.

Serve this as a spicy relish to your tiffin.


Honest Scrap Award - MeMe

Daisy Blue and Beena Shylesh has shared the 'Honest Scrap Award' with me. I am truly honored, my friends. Thank you so much:)

Its been a while, I blogged about the awards with MeMe. I feel awful to brag about myself, because that's what I do in each and every post, he he.

1. I am a very passionate (crazy) researcher. I am madly, deeply, in love with Science. From Astonishing Hypothesis to latest Quantum Physics, I keep a track of everything.

2. I see, every aspect of human life as a Naturalist. I am a practical-radical person.

3. I am all gaga about light weight jewelry collection.

4. I am a solo tigress, like to be left alone.:)

5. I am daddy's girl:) I am not a 5 year old(definitely not) but, when it comes to the word 'Dad'. I am very possessive about him. I love him so much, he is my real hero.:)

6. Burgundy, Deep Red, Blood red, Ruby red, Salsa Red, Reddish Maroon - are my favorite colors.:) All the furniture at my home (since the day I started decorating), the bed-spreads, pull-overs, curtains and all the cars I owned so far(changed nearly 3 times)and one which I have now - are all of this color!!!

7. I feel the word 'Atheist' doesn't define me very well. It looks like, as tho' I am denying some super-natural power's existence!

8. I hate shopping with others. Many make me real sick! I make quick decisions, I shop only when I want something. Hate window shopping and strolling through the malls(that's why I have very few friends here).

9. I can never be around with someone, who acts like a teenager(but quite older than that), hyper-energetic & hormone driven persons, fantasists, attention seekers, curious George, clueless-boastful-boring-nosy-jealous-gossipers. And I really get annoyed, if someone asks me multi-multiple stupid questions(well, the list goes on).

10. Currently working on a thesis, which has an exciting supplementary work, based on Food Anthropology. Guess, many of you would like it:)

16 Bean Soup - Curried Legumes Soup

Legume Soup:

What is the advantage of being an omnivore? We can survive at any drastic conditions...if one type of food is depleted, we quickly change our menu plan, strive and flourish. Gathering or cultivating its a matter of life and death in pre-historic period. I believe that our ancestors kept a track of what kind of food is more nourishing and which produced toxins/allergies. So, if something created allergies or diseases, it was forbidden in the culture (taboo food). This is a true omnivore instinct, to repel against anything bitter/toxic/narcotic. Why do you think its so hard to poison the rats, they always just nibble the new food and wait for considerable time watching their reactions (yes, they never empty their dish at one go). One more advantage in human omnivore is, we can communicate. Not only better selection but by avoiding certain foods through basic instincts(which is getting weak these days), skepticism for new food, taboo food, morality keeps our species as one of the successful one, on the face of the earth.

If my Dad prescribes something is better, I assume its good. If my Dad denies, certain food as unwanted junk, then it absolutely has a wrong notion in my mind! Although now after living in different places...many taboo foods in a culture seems meaningless, what is so unacceptable in certain culture, looks like perfectly safe to others! All I need to say to myself is, its just eat it:)


16 types of beans/legumes - soaked
Parboiled rice 1/2 cup
Ginger 2" grated
Garlic 2 minced
Green chili 3 chopped
Onion sliced
Tomatoes 2 chopped
Peppercorns 4
Cumin seeds 1/2 spoon
Turmeric powder 1/4 spoon
Chili powder 1/2 spoon
Cilantro leaves 1/2 bunch
Oil few spoons.


Heat oil, in a wide, deep wok. Throw-in the spices, fry them real good. Maybe till the raw odor leaves the pan.

Add rice and legumes, salt it. Cover and slow cook over medium heat for about 1 and half hours.

When the legumes, rice are done and becomes like a porridge, remove from heat.

Serve warm.


Spicy Dhokle - Steamed Lentil's Cake


Ukali / Ukarai in Tamil, Dhokla / Dhokle. Paruppu Idly. Lentil's Idly.

I can't put anything in my mouth, that doesn't look close to my traditional food. Or simply, I repel away from any industry processed food. I keep a big distance from any stuff, which my great grandmother wouldn't consider as food.

My mommy is a food faddist in the family. She shows tremendous affinity towards anything new, exotic and always so curious to try all the expensive goods. Making marketing so easy, he he. She will quickly deplete my Dad's wallet on fancy goods from Nilgiris and Food World. The funny thing is, she seldom cooks and rarely eats n appreciates the stuff she buys. Most of the time, it will be getting lured by colorful advertisements or influenced by fancy packages. Good that I missed that trait from her, ha ha.

When it comes to cooking...As a teenager, I started experimenting in the kitchen. Right from the beginning(when I knew nothing about cooking), I started dominating my mother. Mommy used to hate me so much, when I make her cook! Of course I am the most demanding and problematic child.

I should also say, I refined and influenced her culinary skills in many ways. If I haven't had showed up in the kitchen...many wouldn't have known, that my Mom cooks(as she always had a cook) and many of her delicacies would have gone unappreciated!! Now, I take pride that I literally plundered the traditional cooking legacy from her. Not guilty, happy that I did so.:)

This is one such recipe, I pestered her to cook.:)


Soak and Wet-Grind These:

Chana dal 1/4 cup
Mung dal 1/4 cup
Thuvar dal 1/4 cup
Raw rice 1 fistful
Fenugreek seeds 1/2 spoon
Dry red chilies 5
Garlic cloves 5 - with skin
Curry leaves few

For Tempering:

Mustard seeds 1/2 spoon
Cumin seeds 1/2 spoon
Asafoetida 1/4 spoon
Chana+Urad dal 2-4 spoons
Peppercorns 2-4
Dry red chilies 3
Curry leaves few
Sesame oil.


Steam cook the batter, made above for 10-12 minutes.

Divide them into desired shapes.

In a wide wok, heat oil and throw in the tempering spices, wait till they pop, splutter and get roasted...followed by chopped dhokles.

Stir-fry over high heat for couple of minutes, when they turn crisp...remove from heat.

Serve warm.