Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Frosted Sugar cookies

I prepared this frosted sugar cookies for the Christmas feast.
I chose to make butter cream icing in advance and refrigerated it for easy handling.
It is like an easy breeze to make and great for kids.

granulated sugar - 1 cup
unsalted butter - 1 cup
milk -3 tablespoon
vanilla essence -1teaspoon
all purpose flour-3 cup
baking powder-1 1/2 teaspoon
salt 1/2 teaspoon
sugar a little to sprinkle.

Beat the egg , milk, and vanilla essence .
In a large bowl, combine sugar, butter with the beaten egg mixture.Blend well.
Add flour, baking powder and salt to the mixture and make it into a dough.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 1 hour for easier handling.
Preheat oven to 400 F .
Make small balls and flaten them on silverfoil or ungreased cookie sheet over the oven tray.
( place each cookie 1 inch apart)
sprinkle sugar over the cookies before baking.
Bake at 400 F for 5-9 minutes or until edges are light golden brown.
Immediately remove from cookie sheets and decorate as desired.
Makes 6 dozen cookies.


Unsalted butter - 1/2 bar (5 tbsp)
confectionery sugar - 2 cups
milk - 1 tbsp
cookie sprinkles - 1/2 cup
vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Cool the cookies completely before frosting.
Mix softened butter with confectionery sugar, milk and vanilla essence.
This can be of a thick consistency like a chapathi dough.
Spread the white icing uniformly all over the cookies by using a knife or icing tool.
Then decorate the cookies with sprinkles .

Frosted sugar cookies is ready!
Store them in air tight box and it will last for a month.

Frosted sugar cookies goes to FIC : White event in Yummy food.

Malar of Kitchen Tantra has tagged me for this baking event. Thanks for tagging me for this noble cause dear.

The following is quoted from the Breadline Africa Bake-Off site:
On 15 October, we launched The Breadline Africa Worldwide Blogger Bake Off. The Blogger Bake Off is an online campaign that challenges blogger to get involved by baking bread, and then acting by donating to end poverty. And then, challenge their readers and five other blogger to do the same.With the money raised, we will be supporting grass roots community projects aimed at ending poverty and hunger in Africa. We’ll be placing container kitchens, vegetable gardens and more in poor communities, sending emergency food relief where needed
and helping these poor communities to help themselves.

The rules for blogger are outlined below:

If you are tagged, copy and paste the rules into your post.
Bake bread, do something you would’t normally do, and blog about it. Upload your picture and recipe.
Give dough, donate to Breadline Africa and help us end poverty.
Tag five blogger, and ping us so we know you’ve done so.

The person who raises the most funds will get to name a Breadline Africa community kitchen and win $500 Amazon Vouchers.
There are also three minor prizes of $250 Amazon vouchers for people who receive the most votes in the following categories: Most Unusual Recipe; Most Nutritious Recipe and Most Traditional Recipe.
Breadline Africa is a registered charity in South Africa that is seeking to put an end to poverty in South Africa and further afield in Africa. Their aim is to break the cycle of poverty and help communities to achieve long term self-sustainability. Breadline Africa was founded in 1993 by social workers and communities in South Africa with minded colleagues in Europe, (who were well placed to source out donations). They are geared to help fund small ground level projects in Africa which are most likely to succeed with financial help.

On Blog Action Day Breadline Africa launched their Worldwide Blogger Bake-Off campaign. The aim is to raise $1 million in funds for a project to convert shipping containers into locations for food production and distribution in Africa. It is hoped that these sustainable community kitchens will not only provide food such as bread and soup to those in need, but also opportunities for skills development within poor communities.This bake-off gives us baking blogger the power to make a difference in this world. What do we do? Bake bread. Give Dough. Feed Africa. Vals says, "You can sign up for the campaign, make a donation, upload your bread recipes and document your culinary adventures in the media center to spread the word. You don't have to donate money but simply just mention the campaign and create awareness."

I am tagging 5 of my friends for this event.
Usha Nandhini
Akal's saapadu
Best wishes my friends!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Wheat Halwa

While talking about wheat halwa , many will not be aware of its varieties.
There are two kinds of wheat halwa.
One made in a glossy form called Tirunelveli halwa and the other an opaque one.
The glossy Tirunelveli Halwa requires samba wheat (a red color wheat), more soaking time and a lot of ghee.
I did not plan in advance to make an halwa , so I could not make a Tirunelveli halwa. Instead I prepared the ordinary wheat halwa that can be seen in any other part of India.


Ordinary Whole wheat (wheat grains) - 1 lb
Sugar - 4 cups
lemon - 1/2
Cardamom - 4 nos
Ghee + oil - 1 cup
Red food-color - 1 pinch
Cashew - 1/2 cup chopped (garnishing)


Wash and soak the wheat for 12 hours. (overnight)
Next morning grind it in a blender by adding 1 cup of water. Spread a muslin cloth over a sieve and Strain repeatedly to get milk.
Grind again with some water and strain again till we end up with the husk.
Let it stand undisturbed for 6 hours. Thick milk gets settled at the bottom.
Take the clear lean milk above . Use both milks and discard the sediment.
Add lime juice, sugar, red color (not necessary) and mix well with the wheat milk.
Pour it in to a thick bottomed pan and heat till the liquid starts to solidify.
Then reduce flame and keep stirring continuously.
Add the ghee+ oil when the halwa starts thickening. Add the cardamom powder. Mix well.
Cook till you can roll the halwa into a ball with your fingers.
Add chopped cashews along with the hot halwa and switch off flame.
Spread on a greased plate and allow to cool .Then cut it into desired shape.

Wheat halwa is ready !

Wheat halwa goes to celebrate the Christmas feast event with Purva.

I would like to thank my friend Varsha for passing me this cute award.

Thank you Varsha!
I pass this award to my friends below.

Premy's cakes

Akal's saapadu

Usha Nandhini



Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

Merry Christmas Friends!
On 24 th evening we celebrated the Christmas mass in the 'Our Lady of Peace Church'of NJ .
The church was decorated with a lot of Christmas trees .The 'Nativity scene ' describing the birth of Jesus was enchanting. Oh! there are no words to describe a Christmas eve...The poinsettia plants(a plant with red color bracts/leaves at tip) around every corner, stars and lights, the children waiting for santa's gifts (we too) , people clad in red coats (conspicuous color of the Christmas), the marvelous songs of the choir , ... wonderful experience for me :)
I prepared some sweets like fruit cake , wheat halwa and sugar cookies for the festival. We celebrated Christmas in a very simple but cheerful manner along with some friends. I am very glad that the Turkey biryani turned out good and the chicken fry did not consume much energy and oil. (I baked and broiled it...saved a lot of time.). Here are some snaps. Recipes coming soon....
Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Plum Cake

Wish You all a 'Merry Christmas' and a prosperous NEW YEAR!
In India , during the Christmas we used to buy and distribute these rich plum cakes as gifts to our friends. This cake even without any frosting enjoys the center of attraction for everyone there. I have been longing to taste this fruit cake after coming here. But couldn't get that flavor.while googling I came across Cham's Fruit cake and Prema's Plum cake recipes. So I thought of trying it for this season. As a trial , I baked one and got it a big hit.
Click to see my youtube channel fruit cake video

To my surprise , the end result was very similar to the Plum cakes sold in Tuticorin and Tirunelveli bakeries.

Chams and Premas recipes were much useful .Other than my variation, it is completely their recipe and I am just recording it for my future use.

I.For caramelizing
sugar-1/4 cup
water - 1tbsp + 1/2 cup
Add sugar and 1 tbsp water keep in stove at low to medium heat. When the sugar starts to turn brown , stir slowly .The sugar will start to change color from light brown to dark. In between , keep in microwave the water for 1 min and warm it. When the sugar starts to turn brown , pour slowly the warm water. Be cautious , as it may splutter .
Plum cake recipe:

My first fruit cake:) 2008 Christmas.
All purpose flour (maida)- 1 1/4 cup
sugar- 3/4 cup
butter- 1 stick (8 tbsp butter = 1/2 cup oil)
(I used 1/2 cup olive oil)
dried fruits-(dates, raisins, dried cherries,plums,pears, prunes and apricots)- 1 cup
dried nuts-(almonds, cashews and walnuts) - 1/2 cup
egg -3
baking powder-1 tsp
baking soda-1/4 tsp
salt-1/2 tsp
vanilla extract -1 tsp
candied lemon and orange peels- 1tbsp
(I crushed peels of an orange)
All spice powder(cinnamon, nutmeg,clove and dry ginger)- 1 tsp
(I used 1/4 tsp of each powder)
Rum or Brandy- 1/2 cup (or) Rum extract - 1 1/2 tsp
(or) grape juice- 1/4 cup + orange juice- 1/4 cup
(or) orange juice - 3/4 cup

Chop the dried fruits and soak them in Rum /Brandy or grape and orange juice for a few hours.
I soaked it in 3/4 cup orange juice for 3 days. (Not inside fridge, just in room temperature.stir it twice a day).
On the third day, add 3 tbsp of alcohol essence to the soaked fruits.
Do not waste the juice. we can use it while baking.


Step 1.Preheat the oven at 350 degree, grease a small loaf pan and place a parchment paper at the bottom.
Step 2:In a blender ,add 2 cloves, nutmeg powder ,1/2 inch cinnamon ,dry ginger powder , orange peel and crush them.
Then add olive oil , eggs, caramelized sugar,sugar, vanilla essence,salt and beat again.
Add all purpose flour, baking soda , baking powder together and run the blender again to get fluffy batter.
Pour it in a broad mixing bowl.
Step 3:Add the dry fruits only (if you ve little juice left keep it away or add in the cake mixture)and fold again.
step 4:Take 1 tbsp of AP flour and mix it with the broken nuts.
step 5:Pour in grease pan . Now spread the flour coated nuts (do not stir after adding the nuts)over the cake batter .
step 6:Cook in middle of the rack for 40 to 50 minutes in 350 deg C. If not cooked increase 10 min each time. The cake will be done in 45 minutes. The cake is ready when a toothpick inserted into it comes out clean.
My cake got ready in 55 min (gas operated oven).
Cool completely before storing it.

I made some variations while trying the first time. They are :
1. Added my home made alcohol flavor to substitute the Rum extract.
2. Replaced the butter completely by 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil

I.How to make the alcohol essence?
This plum cake recipe recommended the usage of rum extract and I thought of leaving that ingredient as we don't have the habit of consuming any alcohol.
Last week while preparing the batter for Aappam, I got an idea to find a substitute for rum. (Well prepared aappam batter smells like some liquor on the next morning).Eureka!!! I found something interesting.
So I searched for an alcohol substitute and got the following recipe from alcohol substitutes and many other sites. This makes nearly a cup of alcohol flavored essence. This is not an alcohol. But has some flavor similar to it. You can buy rum extract also.
Friends ! please educate me, if am going wrong.
Apple - 1 (big)
maple syrup - 1 tbsp
yeast - 1 tsp
sugar - 4 tsp
water - 1 cup.
Wash and remove the seeds of the apple. Crush it in a blender along with skin.
Add all the other ingredients and stir vigorously.
Then pour it into an air tight container and keep it in a warm place for 48 hours.
Do not open in between.(other wise , it will become vinegar).
Now carefully open the container (it will be under high pressure), by slowly releasing the cap.
Add 3 tbsp of this apple essense to the soaked the dry fruits while making the cake.
Refrigerate it and finish it within 15 days.

Nowadays I am simply using the orange juice with few spoons of apple juice and its giving a similar cake without alcohol or rum extract.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Here comes the Christmas !

Christmas is the happiest time of the year for me from my childhood. When I was a kid we lived in a town called Palayamkottai , where Christians live in bunches and we can easily see Anglo Indians too. So its of no wonder that they dedicate the whole December month for Christmas and New Year eve.Though I had very lesser opportunity to celebrate the birth of Jesus, I love the festival like anything. (I was born a Hindu and living as a Christian, admire all religions). They used to dcorate the whole city with 'electric stars' and colorful serial bulbs. Every day Santas from various denominations make a visit to our houses along with the carol service. This will be the peak moment for everyone to get gifts and offer the carol service people some offering for the Church.
I always have a great feeling that it is a time of joy and for positive thinking towards the world. So I love to decorate our house with lights, wreath , Christmas tree and Nativity scene.
We set up the tree on the Thanks giving weekend. Then within a week finish all the decorations for the tree. Now the tree would be ready to shine by December 1st.
Then during the advent season (Nov 30 to Christmas), there will be special mass on Sundays to emphasize the true meaning of Christmas.
Advent, the beginning of the liturgical year in the Catholic Church, is a time of preparation for the coming of Christ at Christmas. It was historically known as "little Lent," because, like Lent, it is a time of repentance, with prayer, fasting, and Confession.
Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas, and therefore varies in length between 22 days and 28 days. (In 2008, it is 25 days long.) The following is a list of the dates of the Sundays and major feast days that fall in Advent 2008.
* First Sunday of Advent (Sunday, November 30, 2008)
* Feast of Saint Nicholas (Saturday, December 6, 2008)(Our Santa clause)
* Second Sunday of Advent (Sunday, December 7, 2008)
* Immaculate Conception (Monday, December 8, 2008) ,Holy Day of Obligation.
* Our Lady of Guadalupe (Friday, December 12, 2008)
* Feast of Saint Lucy (Saturday, December 13, 2008)
* Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday) (Sunday, December 14, 2008)
* Fourth Sunday of Advent (Sunday, December 21, 2008)
* Christmas Eve (Wednesday, December 24, 2008)
* Christmas (Thursday, December 25, 2008), Holy Day of Obligation.
On the night before Christmas (or 3 days before) we set up a 'nativity scene ' depicting the birth of Jesus. On 24th evening, before attending the Christmas mass we visit our friends and distribute snacks and sweets.
Then by 8 PM (in India at 12 midnight) after dinner, we attend the special mass for Christmas . The mass ends by receiving holy communion and kissing the 'Infant Jesus'
The next day ,that is the Christmas day will be the Biriyani making day for me while my prince charming stretching himself before the TV:)
This is how we celebrate Christmas.
This is the wreath I made for our door decoration.

This is the tree on the first week. The top ornament denotes Jesus Christ , while other ornaments denote the members of the holy family. This tree is otherwise called a Jesse tree or a family tree. I will post the entire setup along with 'nativity scene' soon.

My regular readers may know that i make a trial run before every special dish. Likewise , while searching for a fruit cake I got Chams, Christmas fruit cake and it turned out to be a great success.
Thanks Cham. (I used 1/2 cup olive oil instead of butter. This is the only one variation and my cake got baked in 55 minutes at 350 deg...a gas operated oven). This is a very very good recipe and I have never got such a nice cake before.So I have planned to do this a lot.

Let's celebrate the Christmas feast event at Purva's place also.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Broiled Eggplant chutney

Broiled / Grilled / barbecued eggplant chutney is an interesting dish to make. My mom used to prepare this simple delicacy often.Those were the days when we didn't count our calories or gone after fiber calculations. But our traditional cooking involves only a very little oil and supplied us what we really needed.
Every night while doing my homework I used to ask my mom "Mom , anything interesting tonight?" If she says she got some fish to cut or a big brinjal to broil, then I will grab a stool and start watching her. I love the way my mom pricked the giant size Eggplant and her broiling technique.
Ok , Coming back to our chutney,
We may need a big purple or white eggplant to do this. Otherwise 3-4 small size brinjals are enough. I served this as side dish with steamed rice, (ketti paruppu) fried dhal and paruppu rasam.


Big size eggplant - 1 (1/4 kg)
red chillies - 3
Tamarind - a strawberry size
salt - to taste.
olive oil (or any oil)- few drops

Equipments needed:

Hand mortar - (optional..we can use a blender also)
metal skewer
gas stove (electrical stoves don't do that good).

wash the eggplant. Remove its crown , dab with a clean kitchen cloth and remove the moisture. Poke a few holes into it. Then coat it fully with a few drops of olive oil or sesame oil. Insert the skewer in to the eggplant through the crown area. Switch ON the stove and broil it by holding the skewer.
I used a vadai kambi (a sharp metal rod used to flip vadai).
Broil the eggplant , till its skin becomes dark .
Now you can see the eggplant cooked tenderly. (If in doubt, press it gently with a spoon and the eggplant with fall apart).If not cooked properly, then broil it again.
But I am sure within 5 minutes , it will be cooked softly.
Then Cool it and remove the skin. Put it in a blender or hand mortar. Using a hand mortar will definitely enhance the flavor, but I used a blender.
Add red chillies, salt and tamarind to it.
Grind it to a coarse paste. No need to temper(thalippu) it. But if you like , you can crackle a few mustard seed with curry leaves and run it over the chutney.
But I like the traditional chutney which does not call for any tempering.
Eggplant chutney is ready.

Serving suggestions:

It can be best served with dosai, idly , roti or steamed rice.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Palani Panchamirtham

I think Panchamirtam is the oldest form of Indian jam or fruit mix sweet made in Hindu temples for pooja. This is also sold as prasadam or 'holy food' . The Hindu Lord Murugan's Palani temple is in Palani of Tamilnadu , India. The prastham offered here is Panchamirtham. The Panchamirtham, collected after abhishekam (Abishekam means a holy ritual of showering  the main deity) , is not only a delicious and nourishing food but also has astonishing properties . It remains good for months even without fridge.The main ingredient is the baby banana (viruppachi banana).
I am a great fan of this Panchamirtham , so i decided to make it at home. Though i could not get the original taste , i am satisfied with its closeness .
I got the recipe from the web site of Palani temple. . But tweaked it with what we get here.
I am giving below the original recipe and my modified version.
The original recipe:
Panchamirtam consists of kandasari sugar from Kangeyam area, dates, kismis, sugar candy (kalkandu), cardamom and ghee in proper proportions: plantains (viruppachi banana) 100 numbers; kandasani sugar 10 kgs.; dates 1 kg.; Sugar candy 500 giris.; kismis 500 giris.; ghee 250 giris.; cardamom 25 giris. The plantain is crushed fully. Sugar is then mixed with it. Seedless dates, sugar candy and kismis are added in the third stage. The last items to go into the preparation are cardamom and ghee.

Home made Panchamirtham.

Baby banana - 6(very ripe)
Pomegranate - 1/2 cup
Raisins - 20
Cardamom (powdered)- 1/2 tsp
Dry dates(chopped)- 3 tbsp
Apple(peeled & shredded)- 1
Jaggery (crushed) - 1 cup
Honey - 1/4 cup
Ghee - 2 tbsp


Take a clean , dry mixing bowl.
Mash the bananas with hand and mix the pomegranate, raisins, dates, shredded apple, Jaggery , honey and ghee together.
Mash them well.
Store in air tight container in the refrigerator.

Serving suggestions:
Serve cold as dessert.

Congrats and thanks Hema!

This post is dedicated to congratulate Hema of Adlak's kitchen on her 100 th post and for celebrating it in an unique way.
Congrats on your 100th post Hema, wish you many more. What a beautiful and thoughtful post.Thank you so much for thinking of me !

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pakora / Fritters

I think a pakoda does not need any intro for a typical Indian. But for those who do not know about it... A pakoda is a deep fried fritter made out of besan flour and onion:)
Back in India they sell this crispy pakoras even in small sweet stalls. They make so many varieties of pakoda like cashew pakoda, mint pakoda,Keerai(greens)pakoda,bitter gourd pakoda, onion pakoda and an ordinary pakoda. During winter or rainy seasons ,they place the hot stove in the front portion and fry it as per our order. I am sure nobody can resist buying these tempting hot fritters on their way back home after a busy day:)
Nowadays I make this as a side dish whenever I run out of vegetables.
I am narrating the basic procedure for an 'ordinary pakoda'. You can make innumerable varieties out of it.
Lets beat this chill weather by this hot pakoda:)

Besan flour - 1 cup
Rice flour - 1/4 cup
Red onion - 1 (big)
green chilli - 3
ginger - 2 inch
salt - to taste
curry leaves- 1 brig
cilantro - 1/4 bunch
mint leaf - a handful
red chilli powder - 1 tsp
curry (garam) masala powder - 1 tsp
oil - to deep fry (250 ml)

Chop the onion into thin slices.
Finely chop the green chilli, ginger, cilantro and mint leaves.
Mix the chopped veggies with the besan flour and rice flour.Add chilli powder, salt and garam masala powder.
Try to knead the flour without adding water.
Heat 2 tbsp oil and add it to the mixture. (optional). This makes the pakoda more crispy. Instead of oil we can add a few drops of water also.
The dough consistency should not be like chapathi dough. It should be like a mixture of moistened flour with veggies.
Heat oil in a kadai. Drop small pieces of mixture in to the hot oil and fry to get crispy fritters.
Take them out and place over paper towels to remove excess oil.
Crispy pakoda is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve hot as an evening snack or as side dish with any variety-rice.
Goes fine with curd rice or sambar rice.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Bitter gourd fry

Bitter gourd is a veggie that people hate to eat. It has been believed that it helps to reduce blood glucose level. Mostly it is cooked with tamarind or tomato and even some people end up in adding sugar to subtle its bitterness.
But here is a recipe which I learned from my mom to cook it in a more tasty way.
Stick to the recipe and you will see the bitterness vanishing.


Bitter gourd - 4 (1/4 kg)
oil - 3 to 4  tbsp
mustard  or fennel seeds- 1/2 tsp
Red onion - 1
chilli powder - 1 tbsp
garam masala powder - 1 tsp
salt - to taste.


Carefully examine the bitter gourd while buying.
They should be dark green in color with the spikes closely packed. Discard the matured seeds.
Heat oil in a kadai.
Add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds and after they splutter add the chopped bitter gourd.Cook it with constant stirring and uncovered.
After 10 minutes add the chopped onion.
Fry really crisp.
Finally add salt , garam masala powder and chilli powder.
sprinkle a handful of water and cook it covered.
Adding a little water helps to coat the masala thoroughly.
open the lid, Saute for 2 minutes and put off stove.
crispy bitter gourd fry is ready.
Adding more oil makes it bitter-less curry:)

Serving suggestions:

This is a good combination with 'paruppu satham' (Toor dhal and rice)
It takes 25 minutes to cook 1/2 kg.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Nilgiri chicken kuruma

The Nilgiri or Blue Mountains often referred to as the Nilgiri Hills, are a range of mountains in the western ghats.It is famous for its hill resorts like Ooty ,TamilNadu, India.
A good way to enjoy the Flora (plant life) of Ooty is to go for trekking.
Over 2700 species of flowering plants, 160 species of fern and fern allies, countless types of flowerless plants, mosses, fungi, algae, land lichens are found in the Nilgiris.
It was originally occupied by the tribes called Todas.They worship nature .They have their own language, rich arts and crafts .Their food habits are very simple and use a lot of greens in cooking instead of our 'curry powders'. (Reference: Wikipedia)
They are known for their Nilgiri tea and 'Nilgiri chicken kuruma'.In the olden days even before the masala sachets made their way to the village petty shops ,these people would have found a unique way to make their healthy chicken recipe. Later on , even star hotels master it and earned a lot from this delicious curry.Though this kuruma seems more green than our chilli powder version, the taste remains more classic than any other one.Here is the recipe for their famous 'Nilgiri chicken kuruma'.
(Pardon me for this picture.Actually my camera did not do any justice and showed the green color as a hue of brown.)

chicken - 1/2 kg (with bones)
Onion - 1 (50 gm)
gingelly oil - 2 tbsp
tomato - 1
curd - 1/2 cup
potato - 3
turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Fennel seeds/ perunjeeragam - 1/2 tsp
salt - to taste.
chopped mint and cilantro - 2 handful (for garnishing)
Paste 1:
(To soak and grind)
shredded coconut - 3 tbsp
cashew - 6 (optional)
poppy seeds - 1 tbsp
coriander seeds - 2 tbsp
cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
green cardamom - 3
cloves - 4
fennel seeds - 1 tsp
cinnamon - 1/4 inch
Paste 2:
green chilli - 10
cilantro - a handful
mint leaf - a handful
paste 3:
ginger - 2 inch
garlic - 4 pods


Wash and clean the chicken pieces. Apply turmeric powder and wash again.Marinate it with curd, salt and paste 2.
Soak the items given under paste 1 for 1 hour and grind them to a creamy paste.
Heat oil in a kadai. Fry the fennel seeds to red color.
Add the chopped onions and fry till it becomes golden brown.
Now goes the chopped tomatoes. After the tomato gets cooked , add the ginger garlic paste (paste 3). After the raw smell changes add the chicken pieces and stir for some time. Now add the paste 1 with 2 cups of water.
Peel and cut the potato in to big pieces and add it to the boiling chicken.
Close the vessel with a lid and stir occasionally.
cook it for nearly 1/2 an hour or till the chicken becomes tender.
This kuruma can be like a thick gravy.
After putting off the flame add finely chopped mint leaves and cilantro.
Nilgiri chicken kuruma is ready.

Serving suggestions:

Serve hot with steamed rice, Idly, dosa , poori,chapathi or paratha.
I served this with Malaysian parotta , bought from Indian stores.
Serves 5 people.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Methi sweet ball / Venthaya kalli

Venthaya kalli / Methi sweet ball is a healthy breakfast served in southern parts of India during summer. Methi is highly beneficial in reducing blood sugar level and fat tissues. So methi leaves or methi seeds should be consumed atleast once in a week.
As far as I know only grandmas do these kallis perfectly without lumps:) So I made some innovations to simplify it and here goes the recipe.


Rice flour - 1/2 cup
fenugreek seeds/ methi seeds - 3 tbsp
water - 2 cups
Jaggery - 100 gms
gingelly oil - 2 tsp


Soak the fenugreek seeds overnight inside refrigerator or for just 2 hours.
In the morning grind it to a fine paste and mix rice flour to it along with water.
Same time dissolve the jaggery in one cup of boiling water and filter any sand / dirt. Heat the purified jaggery solution in a nonstick kadai and slowly introduce the rice + methi paste . stir continuously to get a thick consistency. Then add gingelly oil.
Remove heat if the mixture starts leaving the edges.
Methi kalli is ready.

Serving suggestions:

Serve hot with a spoon of gingelly oil over it.
Enough to serve 2 people.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mysore bah

This is the first time I have ever tried making Mysore bah at home.
When I was in Madras , there was no chance for me to prepare my favorite sweets because of its easy availability and fresh taste. But thanks to abroad life style all of us have become 'super chefs':)
I am sure all my regular readers and friends will know my schedule. So as usual here is a snack / dessert for the long weekend.
My request is do not get panic to see the measurements of oil and ghee here.
The bitter truth about Mysore bah is it contains lot and lot of oil:( I found out this while preparing this dish only. Now after making this sweet at home I am reconsidering my preference on sweets:)
Calorific value: 47 gms gives nearly 195 calories. (Reference The daily plate)
Method from Vah chef and Ingredients from my mom's recipe note book.
Inspired by the pictures and presentations of Vibaas Besan burfi.
I am a great fan of the vah chef at vahrehvah.com. Kindly go through his videos before making this mysore bah. His procedures are wonderful and so easy to follow.

Besan flour / Bengal gram flour - 1 1/4 cup (250 gms)
sugar - 2 cups
oil - 1 cup
ghee- 1/4 cup
cardamom - 3 pods (optional)

other items:
Big Non sick tawa - 1
vessel to heat oil - 1
Laddle for hot oil - 1
Long handle non stick spoon - 1
vessel for flour - 1
a plate / a cake mould.


Measure the besan flour and keep it in a broad vessel.
Heat oil and ghee together to smoky. Take a laddle of hot oil and pour to the flour.
Mix gently and remove the lumps by using a sieve. This is very important to keep the basan flour in a loose state without any lumps.
Now heat the water and sugar to boil. The consistency should be very thick enough to make soft balls if dropped in cool water.
Add the sieved besan flour little by little and stir continuously till it gets separate from the vessel.
Same time heat the oil to smoky hot and add to the hot mixture little by little.
Add hot oil in three or four intervals. You may see the flour forms a froth / bubble all over and starts to change color .
This is the perfect condition to switch off flamme.
Pour it to a plate and let it cool.
Cut in to small squares or diamond shapes.
Mysore bah is ready.

Serving suggestions:
Makes 30 pieces of size 2"x2"x2" diamond shapes. (Number may vary by height of plate and pieces size).
Serve as dessert.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Happy Thanks giving day everybody. Thank you my friends for all your support and encouragement. Lets spread the smile and happiness through our blogs.
Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Poori festival

I am sure all of you guys know how to make poori. But I am posting it to show some of the side dishes. May be a feast to our eyes too:)
Last weekend we had a small get-together in our house and I made poori with channa and Hotel style 'Poori kilangu'. Poori-kilangu is a famous dish in South India. Almost every restaurant will gladly present this kilangu with poori. Poori-kilanu is a non spicy potato masala curry made without much masala powders .This is the masala they keep inside paper-roast dosa to make masal dosa.


Wheat flour / Al purpose flour - 2 cups
salt - 1/2 tsp
baking soda - 1/2 tsp
water - enough to knead
oil - 300 ml (1 1/2 cup)


Mix flour, salt and baking soda in a wide vessel. Add water little by little to make a chapathi / bread dough. coat with oil and keep aside.
Do not make the dough a long time before making poori, otherwise they will absorb a lot of oil.
Divide the dough into small lemon size balls.
Then using a rolling pin , flatten each and every ball in to thin discs of diameter of your palm . keep them on plastic sheets.
Immediately heat oil and fry the flattened pooris one by one both sides.
Keep the fried pooris on paper towels to extract the left over oil.
Then serve hot with channa or potato masala.
Makes 25 number of palm size pooris.


This is the yummiest potato masala served with poori in South India.
Potato - 4 (300 gms)
onion - 1
green chilli - 4
ginger- 2 tsp (chopped)
curry leaves - a brig
mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
channa dhal (Bengal gram) - 2 tbsp
turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
oil- 2 tsp
Besan flour - 2tsp
salt - to taste

Wash and Pressure cook the potatoes . Peel the skin and cut in to big chunks.
Mash the potato as fine as possible. (some people keep it as small cubes).
Chop the onion, green chillies , curry leaves and ginger.
Heat oil in a vessel. Add channa dal and then mustard seeds.
After the mustard seeds splutter add the chopped onion, green chilli curry leaves and ginger. Saute them a while till onion gets cooked add turmeric, salt, mashed potatoes.
Check for salt. Let it get thicken.
Mix 2 tsp besan flour with 1/4 cup water and add that to the boiling potatoes.
After a minute put off stove.
Poori-kilangu masala is ready. This is the basic version prepared in Madras hotels. Some people prefer adding tomato, green peas also.
Makes 2 cups of thick gravy like potato masala.

Channa masala:


Chick peas / whole channa dal - 1 cup
tomato - 1
Red onion - 2 (medium size)
green chillies - 4
coriander leaves - a handful.
mint leaves - few
curry leaves - few
curd - 1/2 cup
cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
red chilli powder - 1 tbsp
turmeric powder - a pich
MTR channa masala powder - 1 tsp (optional)
salt - to taste
olive oil - 1 tbsp
cardamom - 2
cloves - 2
Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp
bay leaf - 1
Soak channa dal overnight and cook it to tender in a pressure cooker for 5 whistles.
After getting the first whistle ,I reduce the flame to the minimum and heat the cooker for another 10 minutes to cook this dal. You can follow this idea if you want to reduce the noise pollution:)
Grind ginger and garlic together.
Grind curd ,cardamom, cloves, cumin seeds and 1 onion together. keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan. fry some fennel seeds and bay leaf.
Add the chopped onion, green chillies ,curry leaves, cilantro and mint leaves. After the onion turns golden brown , add ginger garlic paste and saute well.
Now add cooked channa dhal with the remaining water.
Add chilli powder, turmeric powder , channa masal powder and stir well.
close the lid and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the ground curd masala and let it boil till the raw smell vanishes.
Now add salt , curd and mix well.
Using a laddle mash a few channa dhals to get a thick gravy.
Boil it for one minute and Switch off immediately .

Serving suggestions:

Goes well with parathas ,poori , roti and naan .
Makes 2 cups of channa masala.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I am sure this is the simplest of all the snacks ,no need to to spend a lot of time or looking for rare ingredients. Still the flavor and crispy Thukkada will attract every one in the house.
It just took 20 minutes to make the entire dish .


All purpose flour - 1 cup
rice flour - 1 tbsp
baking soda - 1/4 tsp
garam masala - 1 tsp
curry leaves - 1 brig (torn into pieces)
salt - 3/4 tsp (check)
chilli powder - 1 tsp
water - a little
corn oil - to deep fry (250 ml )


Mix all the above except oil and water.
Then add water little by little to make a firm chapathi dough.
Divide the dough into equal lemon size balls.
Make thin chapathis one by one and cut diamond shapes out of them.
Heat oil in a pan .
Immediately deep fry them in oil to golden color and strain them out.
Then roll out another chapathi, cut diamonds and repeat the process .
Let them cool and store in air tight box for longevity.
Serve as snacks with tea in the evenings.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Showers of awards !!

More and more awards !!!
I think this is awards mela here in our 'blog kingdom' and Some of my friends have passed me a few more awards. I am so happy and excited about these new awards.

Gita and Yasmeen have passed me the Great Buddy Award and kreative blogger award .
Thank you soo much friends, I am so honored :)
Malar Gandhi and Purva have passed me the Hard working blogger award and Kreative blogger award.
I am so happy to receive these award. Thank you friends :)

I gladly pass those awards to the following friends.
Usha from http://veginspirations.blogspot.com/
Deesha from http://vegetableplatter.blogspot.com/
Vij from http://spicesnaroma.blogspot.com/
Anu from http://mixtomatch.blogspot.com/

Jayashree has passed me the Kreative Blogger Award. Thanks a lot dear :)
I am glad to pass this award to
Vibaas from http://vibaas-world.blogspot.com/
Shama from http://easy2cookrecipes.blogspot.com/
Mahimaa from http://spicesetc.blogspot.com/
Sujatha from http://spicykhazana.blogspot.com/

Ramya and Purva have honoured me with a 360 Deg. foodie award. Thanks a lot friends:)

I am passing this award to
Malar Gandhi from http://www.kitchentantra.com/
Gita from http://gitaskitchen.blogspot.com/
Yasmeen from http://yasmeen-healthnut.blogspot.com/ yasmeen
Shama from http://easy2cookrecipes.blogspot.com/
Mahimaa from http://spicesetc.blogspot.com/
Sujatha from http://spicykhazana.blogspot.com/

Congrats friends!
I owe you all big time. All of you deserve these awards even some of you may already have received these awards. I am displaying the Great Buddy Award , 360 deg blogger award , Hard working blogger award and Kreative Blogger Award in the left side column .

Friday, November 14, 2008

Venthaya kulambu (Methi spicy gravy)

Fenugreek (Methi) seeds and leaves helps in reducing the fatty tissue in our body.
Help in digestion by improving the liver function and to increase blood formation.
It has also shown results in controlling diabetes mellitus.
Soak one teaspoonful of fenugreek seeds in water overnight and this water should be consumed in empty stomach in the morning for controlling Blood Sugar.
So it is good to add it in our daily cooking in some form.
From the link :

Medicinal value of fenugreek

I love this venthaya kulambu for its lovely flavor and simplicity. Many families will have their own recipe for this venthaya kulambu and I am sure every one's version will be yummier than the other.
And here is the Tirunelveli (my native place) version.

Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Tamarind - 1/4 lemon size
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tspn
small white or green Brinjal- 3 nos
cury leaves - 1 brig
onion - 1 small
Tomato - 1 small
Hing - a pinch (optional)
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp

venthaya kulambu masala:

Fenugreek seeds- 1tbsp
cumin - 1/4 tsp
Thoor dal (Red gram) - 2 tbsp
Dry chilli - 4
shredded Coconut - 1 tbsp

Heat oil in a pan.
Add Fenugreek seeds, Thoor dal, cumin,Dry chillies and fry till it turns golden brown. Then add shredded coconut.
Fry to get golden color.Cool the mixture and grind this to a powder.
Soak Tamarind in hot water and extract juice. Keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan.
Splutter the Mustard seeds and add chopped onion and fry till it becomes brown.
Then add curry leaves and chopped tomato.
Fry the tomato till it becomes tender.
Then goes the tamarind extract ,turmeric powder, Salt and brinjal.
Cook every thing till the brinjal gets cooked.
Then add the ground venthaya kulambu masala and let it boil for 3 minutes.
Venthaya kulambu is ready.

Serving suggestions:
Goes fine with rice and chapathi.
If served with rice , paruppu usili can be a good combo.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Milk Porridge / Paal Kanchi.

Porridge is otherwise called poor man's food. But there are a few exceptional porridges too. One of a such kind is the Milk porridge.
I find it easy to cook and digest whenever we have a great snack in the evening.
This is a one pot meal (Needs just only one pot for the entire cooking). In this time I should admit a fact that most of the traditional recipes in India or any country were cooked by using only one pot. The history of one pot cooking is a very interesting one.Nowadays , thanks to the line / batch manufacturing techniques, we get a wide range of vessels.

Let us relish the Medicinal value and goodness of this porridge.
*It is easy to digest and helps to get a 'good night' sleep.
*People recovering from fever and strong medications can have this porridge.
*People with dietary concern can replace rice with cracked wheat.
*Good diuretic, as cumin seeds helps this.
*Dietitians recommend this porridge without sugar for people with heart diseases ,as garlic has such a healing power.

Rice - 3/4 cup (150 gms)
cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds(Methi) - 1/2 tsp
Garlic - 10 pods
water - 1 cup
Milk - 2 cups
sugar - 1/3 cup (optional)
salt - 1/4 tsp

Choose any rice like Basmathi / sona masoori/ Jeeraga samba.
In a dry mixie jar, coarsely grind rice with methi seeds.
Transfer the powdered rice to a vessel with lid.
Add salt and Cook them with water and milk .
Care should be taken while cooking , as rice may tend to form bubbles and spill.
After the rice gets cooked add cumin seeds, chopped garlic and sugar.
Then cook it in low heat for 5 minutes and turn off heat.
The consistency should be like a soup.
Milk porridge is ready.

Serving suggestions:

This can be Served as a mild & non stuffy dinner during festival times.
Serve hot in soup bowls with sesame / mint chutney.
One spoon of porridge and then goes a pinch of chutney..This is how I like it.
The quantity given above will be enough to serve 2 adults.

Milk porridge goes to Rice Mela.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Its Award time !!!

I think it is award time here and awards are flowing.
I am so glad when Sreesha of Mom's recipes has selected me to pass the following awards . Thank you dear for choosing me.

1. Friendship award.
2. Butterfly award.
3. Chocoholic award.
4. Good Job award.
5. Inspiration award.

Thank You Sreesha for your encouragement.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Black gram sweet ball. (Ulunthan kali)

The ulunthangali is a traditional food prepared in villages of Tamilnadu.
People make this ulunthankali as a healthy breakfast for girls who attains puberty. They mix this kali (sweet ball) with gingelly / sesame oil as garnishing layer. Moreover everyone can consume this for its high nutrition and fibre content.
This is considered to be a wholesome food and so it is served as breakfast. (But I prepare it for an early dinner too). Actually people use dry powdered blackgram and rice flour.
But I have tweaked it with germinated whole black gram (urid dhal) and substituted palm jaggery (not available here) with ordinary jaggery.
It is believed that palm jaggery can be safely used in small amounts even by diabetic people .

whole Black gram - 1 cup
fenugreek / methi seeds - 1 tbsp
rice flour - 2 tbsp
jaggery - 1 cup
garlic pearls - 6
Gingelly oil - 2 tbsp


Wash and soak black gram and methi seeds together in water overnight (10 hours).
Grind the soaked black gram with methi seeds to a fine paste.
Heat 2 cups of water and jaggery.
(If you are lucky enough to get palm jaggery , then use that instead of jaggery).
Let it dissolve. Filter any dirt present.
Mix the jaggery solution with rice flour and ground black gram mixture.
Add chopped garlic. Then heat them in slow fire with constant stirring.
After the black gram gets cooked , the raw smell will disappear and the gali starts leaving the vessel like haalwa.
Then add gingelly oil and mix well.
Ulunthangali is ready.

Serving suggestions:

Garnish with Gingelly oil and Serve hot as breakfast.

This recipe is reaching FIC : Purple & Black .

An award

I much surprised and thrilled when my friend Shama Nagarajan presented me this Inspiring award.
Thank you shama.
I will pass on this award to my blogger friends who have inspired me a lot.
Actually it is much difficult to choose a few , but i love all my friends who encourage me to develop my blog by their valuable comments and suggestions.So I tried to pass this award to as many as possible.

sunshine mom

The cooker

Plantain leaf

Purvas Daawat

Spice club


Kitchen Tantra

Health nut

Passion for cooking

Veg Inspiration

Gita's kitchen

Kailas kitchen

Indian cooking

Vibaas world

Mahimaa's Kitchen

Taste of Mysore

Vegetable Platter


cookery corner

Adlak's tiny world

Congrats friends!
You can share this award with the bloggers you like.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Carrot cake and some celebrations

Today Mr. Barack Obama has been elected as the 44th President of USA. So I am dedicating this posting for his Victory.
Coming back to our carrot cake,
As soon as we arrived here ,hubby and myself decided to taste all the cakes of USA :)
We started with this carrot cake and our journey towards this carrot cake aisle has now become a non stop one.
Then I gathered some courage and tried baking one carrot cake for our wedding day.
As a trial version I baked one carrot cake two days before and got succeeded .Immediately we shared with friends and finished it off :)
Then I became more confident and baked another one with icing also.
This is my trial piece in icing , so kindly bear with my icing :)
Usually in bakeries , they start the mixture from the All purpose flour. But I have simplified the original recipe by using a cake mix ( Bakers' choice brand - moist white cake mix).
Almost all carrot cakes are decorated with the image of a carrot . But I have tried making some orange color flowers.
Mostly American carrot cakes are decorated with cream cheese icing . But I used butter cream icing.
You can use ready made icing too.

Any brand 'moist white' cake mix - 1/2 of 1 lb pack.
water - 1/2 cup (half of the amount said in the pack, as the carrot , pineapple will release some water)
Powdered cinnamon - 2 tsp
vegetable oil - 1/3 cup
egg - 1
cocoa powder - 1 tsp
orange peels - 2 tbsp
vanilla extract - 1 tsp
shredded carrots - 1 cup
Shredded coconuut - 1/2 cup
chopped walnuts - 1/2 cup
crushed pineapple in can (drained)- 1/2 of a 8 oz can.

For Butter cream icing:

Unsalted butter - 1/2 bar (5 tbsp)
confectionary sugar - 2 cups
milk - 1 tbsp
vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Food colors like orange , yellow and green

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.
Mix water, oil, eggs and vanilla using in a blender / mixie.
Add cake mix flour, cinnamon and run the mixer again to get a smooth batter.
Pour the batter to a broad bowl.
Add the carrots, coconut, walnuts and pineapple and mix well with a spoon.
Pour into a round pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 - 40 minutes..
Allow to cool and turn it upside down.

Mix softened butter with confectionary sugar, milk and vanilla essence.
This can be of a thick conssistency like a murukku flour.
Keep 1/2 cup icing separate , to add color.
Spread the white icing uniformly all over the cake by using a knife or icing tool.
Mix colors to the remaining icing .
Then decorate the cake with color icing using the icing cone.
If you do not have an icing cone then fill the colors to small zip lock covers , cut a small opening at a corner and decorate the cake.
The ultimate carrot cake is ready!

Note: The above said quantity is enough to make one round cake of 2 inch height.
So , double the quantity to bake 2 rounds .
Adding 2 tbsp of chocolate cake mix will enhance the taste.
Adding orange juice instead of water will make the cake more flavorful.

Serving suggestions:

Refrigerate the cake and serve chill as dessert.
The quantity given above is enough to make one round cake and a heart shaped cup cake.

I am sending this recipe to JFI : Carrots hosted at The cooker

From scratch:
350 deg F , 30 - 35 min, Two rectangular pan.

3 cups shredded carrots
1 cups cooking oil
2 cup sugars
2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
4 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Soft Chapathi and Green gram curry

Chapathi / roti is the staple food of North Indians .It is served as a main course meal with many healthy side dishes like dhal , kuruma etc.Making soft chapathi is really a great art. I envy those people who make chapthies that tear like a soft cotton. Because I was always bad at making chapathies .I tried adding curd, milk, bananas and even baking soda.But my chapathies were so stiff like pappads till I get the advice of Purva Desai of Purvas Daawat on the art of kneading the dough.It was much helpful.
In addition I googled and came out with a Gujarathis' technique on flattening the chapthi.They divide a chapathi dough into two pieces and roll one over another to get a layered texture.
Nowadays my chapthies are coming out as soft as a bread and I am sharing the secrets I got.

wheat flour - 2 cups
salt - a pinch
olive oil- 3 tbsp
water - 3/4 cup (varies)

other Items needed
roti rolling pin,
a flat clean surface
a wet clean towel
thick dosa tawa (Always use a separate tawa for roti/ chapathi making.Otherwise you may not be getting dosa easily. ),
a spatula
A wide shallow vessel, .
a small piece of cloth rolled into a ball shape to press the chapathi.


Mix wheat flour with salt well.(buy the whole wheat flour in any Indian grocery store).
Add water little by little and knead a soft ball.
Beat it and knead for 2 minutes.
If you touch the dough , it should not stick to the fingers.This is the consistency.
Then coat the dough ball with little oil. Keep it inside the vessel. (Cover with cling wrap (or)
Take a clean towel, soak it in water and squeeze all the water.
Cover the top of the vessel with the wet towel ).
Keep the set up for 1 hour.
Then divide the dough in to equal portions of the size of a big lemon.
Take one ball, divide it into two portion.
Roll each one into smooth balls.
Keep some wheat flour in a wide bowl.
Dip the ball in flour and flatten it using the rolling pin to make thin circular chapathies.
Heat the tawa , and place the uncooked chapthi over it.
Sprinkle few drops of oil on chapati.
Flip it immediately and gently press once with the ball shaped cloth (or spatula) uniformly.
After 1 minute take out the chapathi and store it in closed vessel like a casserole / hot box.
The steam produced by the hot chapthies inside the vessel makes the chapathies more soft.
Serve hot with any curry / subzi.
Makes 10 chapathies.

Green Gram curry:


Whole green gram - 1 cup
tomato - 1
red onion - 1/2
Garlic - 3 pearls
ginger - 1 inch
cilantro - a handful
mint leaf - a handful
chilli powder - 1 tsp
coriander powder -1 tsp
channa masala mix (or)
any Biryani masala - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
salt - to taste
oil- 1 tbsp

soak the green gram in water overnight (or) 12 hours and let it germinate.
Cook the sprouted green gram in boiling water for 5 minutes.
Grind onion, ginger, garlic , cilantro and mint leaf together.
Heat oil in a kadai
Add fennel seeds and let it turn red.
Then goes the ground mixture.
Stir fry the mixture till the raw smell goes.
Add the chopped tomatoes and cook it.
Then add all the powders given along with cooked green gram and salt.
Cook it and mash a little to get a thick curry.
Green gram curry is ready.

Serving suggestions:
Garnish the curry with chopped raw onion and Serve it hot with soft chapathi/ roti.

Update (Dec 7, 2010):
 Recently I started adding luke warm water instead  of cold water  while kneading the dough.  By adding warm water, we can avoid adding oil to knead the dough. Make the dough as said above and it can be used to make chapathi immediately. Take a small ball out of the dough , dip it in dry wheat flour and start rolling out into thin circles. It will give very soft chapathis. 

 (The left over dough should be coated with a little oil and wrap with cling wrap / plastic cover and kept in fridge for further use.  we can make this dough in morning / night and keep refrigerated for next time use also).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hash brown Burger and a cute award!

As a change one fine day we wished to have a different lunch and we sacrificed our staple food i.e., RICE.So I browsed quickly through my freezer and came out with this handy "hash brown potato patties ", which is the main ingredient to make this burger. Then I proceeded with this vegetarian Burger with an Indian touch. Packed this in aluminium foil as his lunch pack.

Another sweet thing is Gita at Gita's kitchen has passed me a cute Chocoholic Award.
Thanks a lot Gita for this yummy award:).
I am much delighted to pass on this award to
Sireesha at mom's recipes for her cute Deepavali sweets.
Purva at Purva's daawat for her chocolate cake
soma at e-curry for her orange flavored chocolate farfel
Congrats Sireesha, Purva and Soma!

Here is the recipe for Hash brown Burger.

Burger buns - 4
Hash brown poatao patties (frozen) - 2
green chilli - 1
Green bell pepper - 1/2
Red onion - 1 (medium size)
shredded cheese - 1 tbsp
besan flour - 1 tbsp
ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
cilantro & mint leaf puree - 1 tsp
Tomato sauce - 3 tbsp
olive oil - 2 tsp

Heat a tawa , spread a pinch of butter/ oil and toast all the buns both sides. Keep aside.
Microwave the hash brown potato patties for 2 minutes and scramble them.
chop the onion , green chillies, tomato ,bell pepper and mix it with the scrambled potato.
Add ginger garlic paste,cheese, salt, cilantro - mint puree, Tomato sauce , besan flour and mix well.
Divide it into 4 eaual portions and make 4 balls.
Heat a tawa . Spread 1 tsp olive oil over the tawa.
Place one ball over the tawa and spread it to 1 inch thick patty.
Cook it both sides ,now your burger patties are ready.

Burger arrangement:

Place the one burger patty inside each toasted burger bun.
Mix some chopped green pepper, red onion with tomato sauce and introduce it as a layer between one side of patty and burger.
Decorate it with lettuce leaves.

Serving suggestions:
If you want to pack the burger for lunch then wrap it with silver foil after it gets cool (otherwise burger becomes soggy)and place inside container.
approximate calories in 2 such burgers = 450.
Serve hot with french fries , hot sauce and a chocolate drink. (yes, I am chocoholic).chocolate is made of cocoa .cocoa has a lot of antioxidants and helps us to get rid of depression , avoid premature aging of skin and to retain good health. So Guys lets all go chocoholic:)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Paruppu usili

Deepawali is around the corner and if you guys are looking for some special vegetarian dish , then you can try this paruppu usili.
This is a side dish prepared by Brahmins of TamilNadu , India.
If you start preparing this Paruppu usili, then you will definitely prepare this dish atleast once in a month. My hubby and myself love this dish very much with More-Kulambu , rice and Madras appalam.
Try this and tell me how it turned out.
Happy Deepawali!

Paruppu Usili.


string beans / cluster beans / ordinary green beans/Ivy gourd (kovakkai) - 250 gms (cut pieces - 2 cups).
Red gram / Thoor dhal - 1/2 cup
Bengal gram / channa dhal - 1/4 cup
Dry red chillies - 4
asafoetida powder / hing - 1/4 tsp
turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
salt - 1 tsp
curry leaves - 1 sprig
oil - 1 tbsp
mustard seeds for tempering
shredded coconut - 1 tbsp
cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
chopped onion - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste

Usili Idlies:

Soak the thoor dhal with channa dhal overnight or for 3 hours in warm water.
Grind this to a coarse paste with 2 broken dried red chillies, 1/4 tsp of asafoetida powder, pinch of turmeric powder, 1 tsp salt and a few curry leaves with little water.
Steam this paste in an idli-steamer or a regular steamer for 10-15 minutes until the lentil paste is cooked.(Like Idly..see image).
Remove the cooked dhal to a bowl once cooled and scramble them into small pieces. Keep aside.

Heat a pan with 1 tbsp oil, and put in the scrambled usili. Stir them around on medium flame till golden and slightly crispy. This will take around 5-7 minutes. Keep this aside.
In the same pan, take 1 tsp oil, crackle the mustard seeds, add the broken red chilli pieces with onion. Once they get fried , add the chopped kovakkai .Then add some water , put a lid and cook it .After the Ivy gourd becomes tender add salt to taste, stir around for 2 minutes.
Add the stir fried usili and stir together for 2 minutes until they have come together. check for salt.
Finally add shredded coconut and cumin seeds, Then put off stove.

serving suggestions:
Serve hot with More-Kulambu or Karakulambu and rice .

You can make double the amount of usili Idlies and store them in freezer for the next time .

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Village style chicken curry

Hi friends , as the weather is getting cooler and cooler our taste buds will start craving for more spicy foods.Here is a spicy Tamilnadu style chicken to satisfy ourselves.
There is an interesting story too. Men in my native place have the habit of having 'oil bath' (apply gingelly oil on head and body, have a massage and take a herbal shampoo shower) on Saturdays . While they are taking bath the women will lit up their stoves and cook chicken curry to start a wonderful weekend.As of now there were no stores selling chicken, so they reared the hen and rooster in their backyard and used them to produce egg and meat. They cooked the chicken in many ways so that it gives complete nutrition for their family. In olden days people had a different life style and they were able to eat and relish ghee chickens. But now we live in an era of less human labor so I have tweaked the older version by adding some oil with ghee:)
Just try this for your weekend and tell me how it turned out.

village style Milagu kozhi varuval / Pepper chicken- (country style) / kiramathu milagu kozhi.
whole chicken - 600 gms (take 1/2 of it vertically)
turmeric powder - 1 tsp

To marinate:
curd - 1/2 cup
salt - to taste
coriander powder - 1 tsp
chilli powder- 1 tsp
(if you want a mild red color in the curry , otherwise add 1 tsp pepper powder.)
turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp

To fry:

curry leaves - 2 brig
tomato - 1
shallot onion (sambar onion) - 10
cilantro - a handful
ghee - 3 tbsp
(But I added ...ghee- 1 tbsp + olive oil- 1 tbsp + gingelly oil - 1 tbsp)

To grind:
Pepper corn - 2 tsp
cumin seeds - 2 tsp
shallot onion - 5
ginger - 2 inch
garlic - 4 pods
coriander seeds- 2 tsp
cloves- 4
cardamom- 2
cinnamon - 1 inch

Wash the chicken with 1 tsp turmeric powder and water.Remove the skin (or keep the skin if you like a more native taste).cut the whole chicken in to big pieces.
Marinate it with turmeric, chilli powder (or) pepper powder, coriander powder, curd and salt.Keep it aside.
In little oil roast every thing given to grind together and grind them in to a fine paste.
You will definitely need a thick bottom vessel with lid to prepare this 'milagu kozhi varuval'.Then only we will get a more crispy fry with less oil.
Heat ghee / oil mixture in the thick bottom vessel.
Add fennel seeds and add chopped onion. saute the onion till it becomes golden brown.
Now add the ground masala and stir continously till oil gets separated.
Now add chopped tomato and minced cilantro and let them cook.
Add the marinated chicken pieces and saute well.
Add 2 cups of water and close the lid.
Cook it for 30 minutes with occasional stirring.
Cook the chicken till the oil separates out and the curry becomes thick and oil gets separated.
Add curry leaves and 1/2 tsp pepper powder and switch off stove.
Country style Tamilnadu 'Milagu kozhi varuval' (Tamilnadu style pepper chicken) is ready to serve.

serving suggestions:
serve 'country style chicken' with steamed rice and sambar.
Also suitable with roti / naan / chapathi.


This is my first award from Gita at Gita's Kitchen. Thank you very much Gita for passing me this award.

The rules of the award are: Put the logo on your blog. Add a link to the person who awarded you. Nominate 10 other blogs Add links to those blogs on yours, and leave a message for your nominees on their blogs. I am happy to pass on this award to my fellow blogger friends.

Ammupatty's Thoughts
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Menu Today
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(PS:How to display this award.?
Here is the procedure.
Just right click and save the butterfly award image in my blog to your desktop.If you are in blogspot, just add a side tab in the right side of template and upload the image. Otherwise you open the original template you are using and upload this photo to it. )

Kerala Avial (II)

My friend Mrs.Priya Anand gave me the recipe to do this kerala Aviyal.
Before hand I was trying a different version .I used to add coconut milk and do some tempering at the end. Then , I learnt that Keralites do not temper their aviyal. So I tried it this way and it tastes awesome.


White pumkin - 100 gms
Yellow pumkin - 100 gms
1-Raw banana (vazhakai)
1-Podalangai (snake gourd)
chenai - 100 gms (Indian yam)( I have not seen it at the grocery, frozen is available though- you can skip)
10 strings beans
1 drumstick
2 cups-yogurt (thick should not be watery)
1 cup-coconut
green chillies 6-8 (as per taste)
curry leaves (karugapalai)
coconut oil-2 tablespoon

Cut all the vegetable in one and a half inch long thin strips (like finger chips) Add pumpkin as per required quantity after putting all the other vegetables depending on how much you need. Boil the vegetables with turmeric and salt. When the vegetables are almost cooked drain out the excess water. Add the yogurt and let it come to a boil so that the yogurt is mixed well with the vegetables. Mix carefully as the vegetables may break. Grind the coconut and chillies to a fine paste. You can add the water from the boiled vegetables and grind to a thick paste. Do not add too much water. Add this paste bring it to a boil. Turn off the gas and add curry leave and coconut oil and mix well.

Serving suggestions:

Serve with rice , rasam and papadam.It can also be served with chapathi , naan , adai etc.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Sodhi is one of the unique and popular dishes in Tirunelveli.Sodhi is otherwise called Thengaipal kulambu / coconut milk stew. Sothi is a delicious gravy made of coconut milk and vegetables. This is served at marriage feasts, especially during the Maruveedu (return marriage) ceremony which takes place the day after a marriage.
Sodhi is a heavy dish so it is generally consumed as lunch only.
I used a thick coconut milk from can. But if you wish to extract the coconut milk then you may need 1/2 of a big coconut.Extract milk three times and keep the first thick milk separate and add it in the last step. Mix the 2 nd and 3 rd extracts and use it to cook the vegetables.
Stick to the recipe to get the perfect 'sodhi'.
(source - my Rukmani aunty)

Coconut milk (canned) - 4 tbsp
Ginger grated - 2 inch.
Moong Dhal -1/2 cup
Garlic - 2 pods.
Lime/lemon juice - 1/2 (2 tbsp)
Carrots - 1 cut in long slices (50 gms)
Drum Stick - 1 (100 gms)
potato, - 1 cut in cubes (100 gms)
Onion - 1 cut in large cubes
Cabbage - 1/4 of a medium sized cabbaged cut in large pieces. (100 gms)

To grind:
Grated coconut - 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Green chilies - 2-3 (depends on how spicy you want it)

Cook the moong dhal with garlic in water.
If it is 3/4 th cooked , add all the vegetables and cook it till the dhal becomes mushy.
Take the 2 tbsp of thick coconut milk from the can and dilute it in water to make one can and add it to the boiling vegetables.
(If you are extracting milk, then you may need 1/2 big coconut to do the entire dish.)
Grind the ingredients of the ground mixture.
When the vegetables are tender add the ground mixture and 1/2 can of coconut milk and let it cook for some time.
Now add the remaining thick coconut milk (2 tbsp).
Crush the ginger and extract juice .
Just before you switch off the stove add the ginger juice and cook for a minute and take it off the stove
When Sodhi cools down add salt and lemon juice and temper with mustard and curry leaves. (some people do not temper it).

Serving suggestions:
Makes nearly 700 ml 'sodhi'.Serves 4 people. Serve it over cooked rice.
It should be served more generously like buttermilk so that it runs out of rice.
Do not heat the sodhi as it will give a bitter taste. So try to serve it with piping hot rice. Ginger chutney, sembu (arbi root) fry are suitable side dishes.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ginger chutney

Last saturday I prepared this Ginger chutney as side dish for 'sodhi' (a coconut milk stew) and rice.I will post the recipe for 'sodhi' soon.

Ginger - 50 gms (peeled and cut ..a handful)
Tamarind - a small strawberry size
Coriander seeds - 1/2 tsp
Red chilly - 4
Grated Coconut - 2 tbsp
cooking oil - 2 tbsp
salt - 1/2 tsp (to taste)
jaggery - 1 tsp (crushed)

Heat 1 tsp of oil in a paan and saute the ginger till it turns brown
Fry the red chilly, Coriander seeds and coconut gratings separately
Grind the ginger along with the items that were fried separately , salt and jaggery.
Heat the remaining oil temper mustard seeds and add the mixture.
saute the mixture till it becomes thick.

Serving suggestions:

It is otherwise called Ginger pachadi / ginger thokku / ginger chutney. This is good for digestion. It can be served with sodhi with rice , chapathi , idly, dosa etc.

Broccoli Poriyal

This is an  ' Indian version of broccoli stir fry'. I love this vegetable very much and we buy this always. I buy this broccoli as c...