Friday, August 29, 2008

Muttai parotta / Kothu parotta

Muttai parotta or kothu barotta is a yummy main course prepared in many road side parotta shops of TamilNadu. Kothu parotta means scramble parotta or kheema parotta.
Some five years back, when we got married we started our life in Nesapakkam in Madras.(I don't call Madras as Chennai.)
Ok, back to the story. Xav used to buy this kothu parotta from a small hotel in Nesapakkam atleast twice a month . I accompany him to that hotel ,just to see how the chef makes the kothu parotta. They use a very big dosa tawa and do the scrambling of parotta with two big spatulas. It gives a funny sound and i admire it very much.
Moreover , they pack the kothu parotta in banana leaf and it imparts a wonderful aroma to the kothu parotta.After coming to USA, whenever we crave for the native tastes , i make this Muttai parotta in my kitchen with frozen parottas or maida chapathis /naan or even left over wheat chapathis. I always save a cup of Mutton chalna/ kuruma to make this muttai parotta. This Kothu parotta holds good for packed lunch too.


frozen Malaysian parotta- 3
Egg- 3
Kuruma- 1 cup (veg or Non-veg)
Red onion- 1 big
green chillies- 2
Tomato - 2
ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp
non veg curry masala powder- 1 tsp
chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
pepper- 1 tsp
curry leaves- 2 brig
cilanro - handful
oil- 2 tbsp
salt - 1 tsp


First fry the parottas in dosa tawa as per instruction in the packet.
Or, Just make 6 thin chapathis out of maida flour/ all purpose flour/ wheat.
Tear off the parotta/chapathi into very small pieces.
Keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan, add fennel seeds(Perunjeeragam/sombu).
Add the chopped onions and saute a little.
Add ginger garlic paste and saute for 30 secs.
Now add the tomatoes and cook till it becomes soft.
Make some space in pan by moving all the fried items to a side.
Add the eggs, salt, chilli powder and stir it till the eggs get half cooked .
Then mix the egg with the onion and tomato and stir well.
Introduce the scrambled parotta and mix well.
Add curry masala powder, pepper powder, chopped cilantro,curry leaves and the kuruma after the egg gets cooked.
Serve hot with onion raitha.

Badam Katli

Badam katli
Almond- 1 cup
milk- 1/4 cup
cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
sugar- 1 cup
ghee- 1 tsp

Soak the almonds for 4-6 hours OR overnight.
Peel off the skin of almond.
Grind it with milk to a fine paste.
Grease a thick bottom skillet with the ghee.
Pour the almond paste, cardamom powder and sugar.
Stir continuously till they form a lump and starts to leave the sides of the skillet.
Then take off heat.
Grease a working surface with ghee.
Using a greased rolling pin (chapathi kattai) , flatten it into a 1/8 inch thick one.
Then with a sharp knife , cut it into diamond shaped burfis.
Let it cool for some time.
Almond katli is ready to serve as dessert.

Besan flour ladoo.

It is the easiest of all sweets. Care should be taken to fry the besan flour with more ghee, otherwise the ladoo will have a mild bitter taste.But it will turn completely sweet the next day (24 hrs).
I took only 45 minutes for the entire preparation.
I tweaked the original recipe by roasting the bessan flour with 2 tbsp ghee and 3 tbsp corn oil. (afraid of ghee ..ha ha). Moreover while making the ladoo balls I used 1/4 cup of milk to get a good shape and to avoid more ghee.
But i am giving below the original recipe.

Besan flour - 2 cups
powdered sugar- 2 1/2 cup
ghee -3/4 cup
cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
cashews- 15
raisin- 15

Heat a pan with ghee and roast the flour without lumps, till the raw smell vanishes.
Take off heat and add sugar, fried cashews, rasins and cardamom .
Mix well and make lemon size balls out of it.
Now the besan flour ladoo is ready to serve.
It can be stored in air tight containers for a week.
If you add milk , then you should start preserving them inside fridge after 2 days.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

vellai poosanikkai thalar kootu

White pumpkin or Ash gourd or winter melon is the English translation for Thadiyangai or vellai poosanikkai or kalyana poosanikkai.
Thadiyangai is otherwise called thirushti poosanikai in Tamil.
Indians break this vegetable in streets to drive away evil eyes.But we can make wonderful thalar kootu out of it.Thalar koottu means a side dish in liquid state .
The credit goes to a restaurant called 'Mint leaf' in Jalan Tun Sambanthan , KL central, Malaysia.They serve this piping hot koottu with sambar rice.
When we were in Malaysia , We often visited this restaurant because of its traditonal Indian cooking , cleanliness and also because of this koottu.

kalyana pooshanikkai paruppu koottu.


White pumpkin/ thadiyangai- 1 slice(1 lb)
channa dhal(kadalai paruppu)- 1/4 cup
Toor dhal - 1/4 cup
Red onion- 1/2
Ripe vine tomato -1
Shredded coconut- 1 tbsp
green chillies- 4
cumin seeds-1/4 tsp
Red chilly powder -1/2 tsp
coriander powder-1/2 tsp
turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
salt - as required.
mustard seeds-1/2 tsp
curry leaves- 1 brig
oil-1 tsp

Soak channa dhal and toor dhal with 2 cup water,asafoetida and turmeric powder for 15 minutes and pressure cook them in slow fire for 10 minutes after whistle.
Remove seeds and skin of white pumpkin.Chop it into small pieces.
Cook it with onion,tomato,chilli powder, salt in a closed vessel.
Now see the cooked dhal.You can find the toor dhal gets cooked fully but the channa dhal is half done.This is the right cosistency.
Drain and save the dhal water to make rasam.
Mash the dhal mildly without breaking channa dhal and add it to the cooked white pumpkin.
Grind the coconut, cumin seeds and green chillies.Add this mixture to the boiling curry.
In a separate pan, heat oil, crackle the mustard , add the curry leaves, urad dhal and garnish the curry/thadiyangai koottu.

Serving suggestions:

Can be served with chapathi,naan, rasam-rice etc.
Makes nearly 500 ml of thadiyangai thalar kootu.

Velankanni Fish fry

Velankanni is a pilgrimage place in TamilNadu.There is a famous Church for Mother Mary.Velankanni is situated along the sea shore and during the night time we can see a lot of stalls selling freshly caught fish fry .
Here is the recipe for that velankanni fish fry.


Butter fish (unsliced)- 2 lb
lemon - 1
salt - 2 tsp
Red chilli powder - 3 tbsp
tumeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Red food color - 1/4 tsp (optional)


Choose small or medium size butter fish . If you cannot get fresh fish , then buy a frozen one.If you use a frozen fish, donot defreeze it in microwave oven.Otherwise fish will lose its flavor.Just take the fish from freezer and put it in luke warm water for 4 hours.Change the water frequently.
Then with a sharp knife cut the mouth portion and slit along the side for 2 inches. Carefully remove the parts inside and discard.
Remove the gills,scales,fins and tail.
It is always desirable to Use a separate cutting board for Non veg dishes.
Then wash the fish thoroughly with water.Then rub some turmeric powder all over the fish and wash it again.
Just make some small slits all over the flesh to facilitate frying.
Take a broad basin like vessel.Mix salt, lemon juice,chilli powder, red color , turmeric powder and mix well.
Apply this mixture all over the fish and dab some masala inside the fish too.Lemon makes the fish stiff , removes bad odor and discourages breaking of fish while frying.
Marinate it for 1 hour .
Heat oil in a pan , put the pieces one or two at a time and fry both sides crispy.


You can marinate the fish and keep it in the cooler side of fridge(not freezer) and use it next day.Make some more masala if it is not sufficient.If lemon is not available then substitute it with tamarind extract or vinegar.

Serving suggestions:
Serve hot with rice and fish Kulambu.
Also goes fine with rasam saadham(saadham means rice), paruppu kulambu ,more kulambu and sambar .
suitable for parties.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sura Puttu (Scrambled shark fry)

Sura means Shark fish in English. Puttu is equivalent to the word "scramble".So Sura Puttu can be translated as Scrambled shark fry.Right?
But by whatever name we call it,Sura puttu has a wonderful mouthwatering smell and a native taste.Whenever i see shark fish in any Asian food Market (not in sea or movie), i will get a great enthu.My mom cooks it with an authentic flavor and serve it as a side dish for Vaazhai meen kulambu and rice.vaazhai meen has a lot of thorny bones and only fish eating experts can eat it.Otherwise you may neeed some help to get rid of those tiny bones. But it gives a wonderful aroma to the meen kulambu.The preparation is slightly different from Madras sura puttu.You can try with salmon fish too.
All you need is just 20 minutes to make this wonderful sura puttu.


Shark fish - 2 pieces (1/2 lb)
shredded coconut - 1 tbsp
water - 1 cup
salt- 1 tsp
turmeric powder - 1tsp
green chillies- 3
Red onion- 1
garlic- 3 pieces
oil- 1 tbsp
cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp

First wash the sura meen pieces under running water thoroughly.
Discard the head portion.
Bring to boil 1 cup of water.
Add salt , turmeric powder, garlic and the fish.
Close it with a lid and cook it for 5 minutes.
Then let it cool and remove the skin.Drain and store water.
Just separate the bone and keep aside.
You can use the bone and remaining fish water in making fish kulambu.
With your hands mash the fish and garlic.
In a pan add 1 tbsp of oil and let the mustard crackle.
Then add the chopped onion, green chillies, curry leaves and saute until the until the onion turns golden color.
Add the mashed shark pieces and scramble it to fine pieces.
Add enough salt.
After the fry becomes almost dry add cumin seeds and shredded coconut.

Serving suggestions:
Serve hot with piping hot rice and Fish curry.Also yummy with sambar or rasam rice.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Udipi sambar Powder

This is the sambar powder used to prepare the famous Udipi Hotel Sambar.The name originated from the Sambar served in the samabanthi Bojanam in the SriKrishna Temple of Udipi.

Coriander seeds - 100 gms
Kashmiri red chillies- 100 gms
kuntoor short red chillies-75 gms
asafoetida - 1 small cube(1/2 tsp)
cumin- 1 tsp
Methi seeds(fenugreek)-1 tbsp
rice - 1 tsp
urid dhal-25 gms

Sun dry the red chillies.
Dry roast the coriander seeds , till it smells nice and turns crispy. Take it out and let cool.
Heat 1/2 tsp oil in a pan and just mix the chillies to get a roasted flavor.Keep aside.
Heat 1/4 tsp oil and fry the methi seeds to red color.Keep aside.
Then in another tsp of oil roast the urid dhal and rice.
After every thing gets cooled, grind them to a fine udipi sambar powder.

To get the original Udipi sambar, add a tsp of crushed jaggery to the sambar at the final stage.
Adding ground coconut to the sambar makes it feel heavenly.

Spicy Sambar Powder.

Sambar Powder if prepared in home will do wonders . This home made sambar powder will definitely enhance the flavor of sambar.This sambar powder can successfully be used in making vatha kulambu also.I grind this sambar powder once in a month.This sambar podi is also called Karnataka sambar powder , as it contains cinnamon. You can leave cinnamon , if you hate the smell. But i add a little bit only and i love that karnataka sambar powder very much.

coriander seeds - 1/2 cup
Long red chilies - 1/2 cup
Bengal gram-1/4 cup
Urid dhal- 1 tbsp
cumin seeds- 1 Tbsp.
pepper corn- 1 Tbsp.
mustard seeds-1/2 tsp
fenugreek seeds- 1/2 tsp
cinnamon- 1 /2 inch
clove- 1
Turmeric powder-1/2 tsp
Asafoetida-1/4 tsp
curry leaves- 2 brig

These ingredients should be roasted without oil separately .
It can be ground to a fine powder in the small jar of Indian mixie and stored in an air tight container.Makes 1/4 kg sambar powder.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Dhal chutney / Paruppu thovaiyal

Thoor dhal / red gram - 1 tbsp
Bengal gram/channa dhal - 3 tbsp
red chillies - 4
shredded coconut- 1 tbsp
tamarind - 1/4 of the size of gooseberry.
salt - 1/4 tsp
curry leaves - 1 brig
cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
garlic - 1 pearl.


Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan and fry channa dhal to golden brown color.
Then in the remaining oil roast the red chillies and coconut separately to almost crispy state.
After they get cool, grind every thing in Indian mixer or any blender without water for 20 seconds.
Then add very little water and grind coarsely to get a thick chutney.

serving suggestions:

Goes fine with tamarind rice, lemon rice, urid dhal rice and coconut rice.
Tastes good for 24 hours without refrigerator.
My mom always packs tamarind rice with this paruppu thovaiyal for picnics.

Urid dhal rice (Ulunthu Saadham)

Urid dhal rice or ulunthu saadham or ulunthan kanchi or Black gram rice is a simple protein rich main course meal served in southern villages of Tamil Nadu.
This is suggested as dinner for people with heart problems.

Urid dhal (unsplit dhal with outer black skin)- 1/2 cup
Any Indian rice - 1/2 cup
water - 3 cups
salt - 1/4 tsp
Garlic - 10 pearls


Wash and Soak the urid dhal for 6 hours.
Wash the rice.
Add the urid dhal , water, salt and garlic to the rice.
Pressure cook it for 3 whistles .
If you are cooking this without a pressure cooker then add salt after the Black gram gets cooked.

Serving suggestions:

Serves 2 people.Taste heavenly with a spoon of sesame oil (Nallennai) over each serving. It can be served as a simple main course meal for lunch or dinner.
serve hot with horse gram chutney (Kollu thuvaiyal) and Paruppu thovaiyal (Dhal chutney)

Thakkali pazha kuruma (Type 1)

Tomato kurma / tomato kuruma.
This is not so common, but tastes excellent and an attractive alternative to the usual (e.g., my tomato kuruma type 2).

Main Ingredient:

Ripe vine tomato - 4 (1 lb/ 500 gms)

To dry roast(without oil):
Kuskus (poppy seeds) - 1 tbsp
cashew - 6
cardamom- 2
cloves - 3
cinnamon - 1 inch long
Kadal paasi/sea weeds-1/2 tsp
coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
red chilli -1
Black pepper - 1/2 tsp

To roast with 1 tsp oil:

Red onion- 1/2
garlic cloves - 2
ginger - 1 inch
shredded coconut - 1 tbsp

Red onion- 1/2
green chillies- 4
turmeric powder - 1 pinch
curry leaves - 1 brig
cilantro - 1 tbsp (chopped)
Bay leaves - 2
Fennel seeds (perun jeeragam)- 1 tsp
cooking oil - 2 tbsp


Bring to boil 2 cups of water.
Halve the tomatoes and boil them.
Peel off the skin and puree it.
In a frying pan dry roast all the ingredients given to do so.
Then add a tsp of oil and fry the onion, ginger, garlic and coconut.
cool all roasted/ fried items and grind them to a fine paste.
Cop the green chillies, onion, curry leaves and cilantro.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan.
Add the fennel seeds and after it becomes red, add bay leaves.
Then goes the onion, curry leaves, cilantro and green chillies.
After sauting them for a while add the finely ground masala.
Then add the tomato puree, turmeric powder and salt.
After the raw smell of tomato and masala turns in to a pleasant curry smell, turn off the stove.

Serving suggestions:

Makes 3 cups of Thakkali kuruma.
Serve as a dipping for Idly ,dosai, chapathi, roti or even with rice.

How to clean the banana flower?

Banana flower is otherwise called banana blossom or plantain flower or banana heart .The tamil name is Vaazhai poo (vaalai poo).In addition to the fruit, the flower of the banana plant is used in Southeast Asian, Tamil, Bengali and Kerala (India) cuisine, either served raw with dips or cooked in soups and curries.
Cleaning the banana blossom is a challenging task for every beginner.
So I am explaining it with images.

Wash the entire flower under running water.Apply some oil on your hands to avoid discoloration of skin.
Remove and discard the red bracts.
Gather all the small flowers inside. If not used they would have grown into individual sweet bananas.
You can peel up blossom to certain limit only, then leave the cone as it is.
carefully open each white blossom. You may see a plastic textured petal and a hard stamen. Just remove both.

Discard the above and collect the soft flowers.

Take 2 cups of water and mix 1 tablespoon of yogurt to it.
Immerse the cleaned banana flowers in to the solution.,
This is done to prevent the oxidation of the flower.
Chop the cleaned plantain flowers and the inner cone.
This chopped banana flower can be used to make curry, fry, vazhai poo vadai, soup etc.

Image shows the typical Indian style Plantain flower poriyal

Saturday, August 2, 2008

wedding feast sambar

Sambar is the most common curry cooked in almost every house in South India. It is served with main course rice in almost all the South Indian marriages.The main ingredient of sambar is Toor dhal or Tuvaram paruppu or red gram lentil. Among Tamil people
there is an old saying - "Paruppu Illama Kalyanama?" which means Is there any marriage feast without red gram lentil?By this proverb we can understand the importance of sambar in Indian dishes.
I am narrating below the recipe for this famous "wedding feast sambar".

To pressure cook:
Toor dhal/red gram lentil - 1/2 cup (100 gms)
water- 2 cups
turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
asafoetida - 1/8 tsp
sesame oil- 1 drop
Tomato - 1
Unripe green mango - 1 very small (150 gms)
Drumstick - 1 (100 gms)
white Brinjal/Indian Egg plant- 2 (50 gms)
other items:
shallot onion- 50 gms/ 4 numbers(peel them but dont cut it)
Tamarind - small gooseberry size
cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
cooking oil - 1 tbsp
ghee - 1 tbsp
curry leaves- 1 brig
cilantro/ coriander leaves (chopped)- 1 tbsp
mustard seeds-1/2 tsp
fenugreek -1/2 tsp
jaggery- 1 tsp (crushed)
salt - 1 tsp
sambar powder - 2 tbsp
Red chillies- 2

Soak the tamarind in 1 cup water for 20 minutes. Squeeze it and get the extract.
Wash and clean the Toor dal .soak it for 30 minutes.Pressure cook the items mentioned .
(If you do not have pressure cooker then boil 2 cups of water and add the dal, water,turmeric powder ,asafoetida and oil.Close it and cook till the dhal becomes soft.)
Then mash it coarsely along with cumin seeds.
In a separate pan, heat the cooking oil and add the peeled but uncut Shallot onions and saute it to golden bown.
Add it to the cut vegetables and add tamarind extract .Cook the vegetables with sambar powder and salt.
(If you dont have sambar powder , just add 1 tsp chilli powder, 2 tsp coriander powder.Even though it is not equal to sambar powder , but it will do fine.)
After the vegetables get cooked , add the mashed dhal .
In the frying pan add ghee , mustard , fenugreek. After the mustard crackles add curry leaves, red chillies and pour it to the dhal-veggie mixture.
As it starts boiling add the jaggery and put off fire.
Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot.

Serving suggestions:
makes 750 ml of sambar.
Serve with rice or dosa or chapathi.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Paruppu kulambu

Paruppu Kulambu is an another version of sambar.This is a less spicy lentil curry served with rice in southern villages of Tamilnadu and Kerala .I guess this curry was invented by our ancestors before sambar powder sachets made their route to villages.Even today this is the daily menu in most of the houses in my father's native place, Uvari .So we call it as "Uvari Paruppu kulambu".They use the vegetables grow in their kitchen garden to make paruppu kulambu.And it is the most yummiest sambar i have ever had.

To pressure cook:
Toor dhal (red gram/ pigeon pea) - 1 cup
shallot onion- 3
garlic- 3 pearls
green chilli - 5
asafoetida- 1/4 tsp
turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
sesame oil - 1 tsp
water 2 cups
vegetables to cook separately:
Indian Eggplant/brinjal (cut into big chunks)- 2 (small size)
Tomato - 1 (chopped)
drumstick(cut into 2 inch length pieces)- 1
Green unripe mango - 3 small pieces (optional)
You can substitute the brinjal ,mango and drumstick combo by white pumpkin/winter melon.
other items:
tamarind - 1 inch length.
cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
oil - 1 tsp
mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
currry leaves - 1 brig
chopped onion - 1 tsp
salt - 1 1/2 tsp

Soak the toor dhal for 1/2 an hour.
Cook all the items given to pressure cook in a pressure cooker with weight for 5 whistles.
In another vessel add the tamarind extract and boil the other vegetables till tender.
Add salt to taste.
Mash the toor dhal with cumin seeds and add it to boiled vegetables.
Heat a pan with 1 tsp oil.
Add mustard seeds . After the mustard seeds crackle, add the chopped onions and curry leaves and fry them till they become crispy.
Immediately add this to the dhal mixture.
Put off fire as the curry just begins to boil.
Add a tbsp of shredded coconut to get the authentic taste.
Do not over heat the Paruppu kulambu, otherwise it will not taste good.

Serving suggestions:

serve hot with rice. Goes fine with Kerala's big red grain rice.
Any vegetarian fry or non vegeatarian fry can be served as side dish.

Sweet Pongal.

Sarkarai pongal or sweet pongal is a dish usually made during sankaranthi festival or on many auspicious days in India.

Basmathi rice/Unboiled rice- 1 cup
green gram dhal- 1/2 cup
Jaggery (crushed)- 1 1/2 cup
Ghee (clarified butter) - 2 tbsp
water- 4 cups
2% milk - 2 cup
raisins - 10
cashew nuts - 10
cardamom - 3 (crushed)
ginger - 1 inch (chopped)


Wash the rice and dhal 2 times in water.
Add 4 cups of water and pressure cook it for 4 whistles.
Take out after the steam gets released.
Mash the rice and dhal .Keep aside.
Add 1/2 cup water to jaggery and boil it. Then filter the clear jaggery solution , leaving behind the sand.
Take a thick bottom vessel and boil the milk.
Add the mashed rice-dhal mixture and let it become thick .
Now slowly add the jaggery solution too.
In a frying pan heat the ghee and roast the cashews, raisins to golden color.
Garnish the sweet rice with this hot ghee, cashews and raisin.
Add chopped ginger and cardamom and serve hot.
If you add more ghee , this sweet pongal will be more tasty.

Serving suggestions:

Makes 4- 5 cups.
Mostly this sarkarai Pongal is done for poojas or festivals.It is served with ulunthu vadai in Hindu Temples as prasatham.

Vazhaikkai Poriyal (Plantain stir fry)

This vazhaikai poriyal was a staple in our house as we had some (lot) of banana trees in our backyard. I have seen amma running there to pic...