Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cauliflower fry

Deep fried cauliflower may seem to be the easiest version of cauliflower fry / pakoda, but I like this version also very much. My mom used to make this along with paruppu kulambu with rice and it is our family's favorite. Mostly after frying some appalam (pappad made of blackgram), she would fry this masala coated cauliflowers in that hot oil. Just this fry can turn any ordinary lunch into a grand one:)
Fried cauliflower

Cauliflower - 1 (small)
salt - to taste
turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
red chilly powder - 1 tsp
garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
rice flour - 1 tbsp
oil - to deep fry

Wash and clean the cauliflower. Detach each florets separately. Bring 3 cups water to boil. Add some salt and the cauliflower florets. Bring to one boil. Switch off. It should be 1/4 cooked now. Keep in hot water for 10 minutes. Discard the water. Put the florets in a colander and remove as much water as possible. In a mixing bowl add the salt, turmeric powder red chilly powder, garam masala, rice flour and mix well. Mix the florets with the masala, let it coat well. Heat enough oil to deep fry. Fry the cauliflower in small batches. Deep fried cauliflower is ready!

Instead of deep frying, the cauliflower can be baked in oven at 350 deg F for 20 minutes. For baking recipe, add 2 tbsp oil to the masala mixture.

Serving suggestion:
Serve as side dish with any rice.
Makes a tea time snack also.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Mochai sundal

Typical Indian snacks are made with dals, less oil and more spices. No wonder these foods are considered divine and offered during holy days by Indians. Here is one snack called sundal made with field beans.
Fresh field beans (pachai mochai) was a rare sight to see in my birth place. So mom used to do this sundal with dried field beans (kanja mochai). I have also made this dish with dried beans.
Many years back when we went to my Gandhi chithi's house in Madurai for a vacation, I had an opportunity to see the fresh beans with pods there. I enjoyed peeling them off sitting around the big platter filled with these bean pods and listening to my chithi and amma talking and giggling with my sister :) Chithi cooked some mochai along with pod and salt and we had that also without tempering. That plain beans too tasted very delicious. Then she made some masala curry using this. Those days were memorable for me, playing with my loving sister, brothers and eating moon light dinners. Some scenes are like video in our minds and we replay them and cherish all those memories. Whenever  I look back, I  thank God for my family and those golden moments.
After marriage, the few years in Chennai brought me all the seasonal vegetables I love, as hubby too enjoys tasting the rare vegetables . So if you love field beans, do try this recipe and enjoy.

Sundal - Indian salad with various beans.
Hindi - Val dal / English - Hyacinth bean or field bean / Tamil - Mochai payeru or mochai kai or mochai kottai / Telugu - Anapa kayalu or Ginjalu
dried mochai - 1/2 cup
 oil - 1 tsp
fennel - 1 tsp
curry leaf - 1 sprig
salt - to taste
dry red chilly - 1
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp

To grind:
shredded coconut -2 tbsp
ginger - 1 inch
cumin - 1/2 tsp
green chilly - 1

(If we are using the fresh beans no need to pressure cook. Just cook by stove top method).
For dried mochai:  Dry roast the mochai kottai, till we see dark spots on the outer layer and a nice aroma. Then rinse it with water twice. Add water till it gets well immersed. Soak overnight or an hour. Add turmeric and pressure cook for 3 whistles.
(we can cook it in stove top also, but it will take an hour).
Grind the items given without adding water to a coarse mixture.
Heat oil in a wok. Add fennel seeds. As soon as it turns red, add the curry leaves, dry red chilly and immediately add the cooked vaal (mochai). Add required salt, ground mixture and fry till it looks loose without any moisture.
Switch off. Mochai sundal is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve as snack or side dish with rice and puli kulambu.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Wheat chips

Baked wheat chips is one interesting low calorie spicy snack using leftover chapati. Whole wheat chapathi is a staple food in any Indian / Asian household. Sometimes we may wonder what to do with some left over chapatis. Here is my recipe to turn them into a delicious crispy snack.  I made this whole wheat chips by baking the masala coated chapati bits and we enjoyed it as a healthy snack. I am sure, this recipe is a keeper and I am doing it again and again, and feel incredibly happy for finding out a less-oily spicy snacks for those spice lovers like us:) Here is my innovative recipe for you all!

Baked chapati chips, a healthy snack.

Simple recipe.... anyways it will turn successful!

Masala chapati turned into chips.
whole wheat chapati - 4
olive oil / any oil - 1 tbsp
salt - to taste
red chilly powder - 1 tsp
turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
garam masala powder - 1/8 tsp
a zip lock cover or wide mixing bowl

Stack the chapatis. Cut the chapatis into  8 wedges.
Mix everything other than chapati in a zip lock cover or bowl.
add the chapathi bits and mix well.
Coat a baking sheet slightly with oil.
Arrange the masala chips in single layer.
Bake at 350 deg F for 10 minutes (without getting brown), toss using a spoon (no need for single layer now). Bake again for 5 minutes.
Take out, let cool (now the chips will get more stiff in room temperature).
Store in airtight container.
Wheat chips is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve as snack with tomato sauce.
Tastes similar to tortilla chips.

Likewise I prepared chapati using wheat flour +salt+ cilantro + green chilly slices and baked like the above. Tastes good.
These bits can be fried instead of baking too.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Apple orange pomegrante juice

Even though I know the importance of eating fresh fruits and homemade juices, I always like to buy orange juice from grocery store, as it is easy:) On the other day  I prepared a mixed fruit juice with whatever fruits I had on hand and it was incredibly good and we enjoyed it very much. I am sure it is a good way to start making fresh juices to make everyday a happy day:)
Fresh orange juice from 2 oranges.

orange - 2
apple - 1
pomegranate - 1 (small)
brown sugar - 1 tbsp (as per need)
water - 1 cup

Squeeze the oranges along with more pulp.
Core, peel and puree the apple.
Cut the pomegranate and take out the red arils (edible portion). Slightly pulse the pomegranate arils, filter and extract the juice using 1 cup water. (The seeds are of culinary value. Dry and keep them for further use).
Mix the orange juice, apple juice, pomegranate juice, brown sugar.
Serve immediately with or without ice cubes.

Serving suggestions:
Serve this juice as fresh as possible to get the full benefits.
Makes a good energy drink after workout.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Chinthamani chicken

While watching a comedy clip in a Tamil movie, I noticed this name sinthamani in a menu card behind the scene and immediately googled to know the details. I got this interesting recipe from Amrita and thanks to her I got a best chicken recipe with a beautiful name:)  This chicken recipe needs only a few ingredients and its a winner in our house always:)

Preparing spiciest foods is the specialty of South Indians. One among the most spiciest dishes is this chintamani chicken, which is made with very spicy dry red chillies. The chillies impart a dark red color to the oil while frying and makes the dish extremely flavorful. Generally this dish should be made with mutton (and we call it as varuval in our house), but I substituted with chicken thighs and it tasted equally delicious.

Chicken (red meat) - 1 lb
red onion - 2 (medium size)
(or) shallot - 15 numbers
sesame oil / any cooking oil - 1/4 cup
fennel - 1 tsp
curry leaves - 2 sprig
dry red chillies - 15
salt - as per need
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp

Clean the chicken and cut it into small cubes.
Marinate the chicken with turmeric powder and salt. Keep aside.
In the meantime chop the onions roughly into medium size cubes.
Cut the dry red chillies into small bits.
Heat oil in a thick bottom wok (iron wok).
Add fennel and let it get red.
Then add the onion and fry till it turns golden brown.
Then add chopped dry red chillies, curry leaves and fry for few seconds.
Put the marinated chicken and stir well.
Cook covered without any water in low heat for nearly 30 minutes or till the chicken is cooked and gets a beautiful red color.
Switch off.
Chinthamani chicken is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve as side dish with rice (with ghee and curd).
I made it with parotta and salna.
This is a very spicy chicken fry, so pair it with curd always.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Vella Aval Payasam (Kerala)

I am sure many are familiar with the Tamilnadu style quick aval payasam (kheer). I am narrating a different version of aval payasam prepared in some parts of Kerala and villages near Kerala border (where we get more coconut and palm sugar.). We add coconut in almost everything in our food. This aval payasam should be prepared with coconut milk and jaggery (White sugar and milk for TN aval payasam).  Here I have added Indian brown sugar (vellam), but we can add palm sugar (karuppatti) instead, if we can get it.I made this for Xav, when he reminded me how much he enjoyed the different kinds of payasams that were served in his brither&SIL's wedding.On seeing his expression on the first sip, I understood that I made this dish perfectly :)
Vella aval payasam

thick Poha / red Aval - 1 cup
jaggery (or)palm sugar- 1 cup
ghee - 2 tbsp
coconut milk - using 3 tbsp powder
sliced coconut - 2 tbsp
cashew - 10
raisin - 10
cardamom - 2
dry ginger powder (sukku) -  1/2 tsp

Fry the aval in 1 tsp ghee. Take it out.
In 1 tsp ghee fry coconut pieces, cashew, raisin . Keep aside.
In a vessel add the crushed jaggery and 1/2 cup water. Boil and let it dissolve. Remove any impurities (at bottom).
Prepare thick coconut milk using powder (1/4 cup water) or extract fresh coconut milk using 1/2 coconut.
In another vessel bring to boil 1 cup water and cook aval for  minute.

Add jaggery syrup, coconut milk, dry ginger powder, crushed cardamom. Bring it to a boil.
Add fried coconut, cashew, raisin and switch off.
Aval payasam is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve warm or at room temperature as dessert.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's day,

Happy St.Valentine's day !

Happy St.Valentine's day! May Peace and Love be showered by God on all !

Strawberries and red roses from hubby for Valentine's day

I made this greetings for my hubby dear.
Hi friends,
Here are some quotes I like very much. Sharing them with you all on this Valentine's day.

* John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

* John 3:16  “For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

 * Do for other people everything you want them to do for you.

* John 15:9-17 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
Flowers, corelle dinnerware, ice cream scoop and carrot shredder...appreciating my Xav's thoughtful gifts:)

Gifts from my Xav:) homemade gift for hubby.
May everyday be Valentine's day in our life,
Happy St.Valentine's day !

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Thengai thuvaiyal

A thick coconut chutney without tempering. Every Indian house may have one version for this coconut chutney. This one is my mom's version and I do exactly like her.  I serve with idly, dosai as an alternative for my usual coconut chutney. Though a rare combo, I like it with chapati also.

Fresh shredded coconut - 1/2 cup
Puffed channa dhal (pori kadalai / pottu kadalai)- 2 tbsp.
green chillies - 4.
garlic - 1 clove
cumin - 1/4 tsp
curry leaf - 1 sprig
tamarind - 1 inch bit.
sea salt- 1/2 tsp.

Put all the items given for grind in a small jar of the mixer. Grind without adding water. Then after a few pulses,  add few tsp water and grind the chutney in to a thick paste.
That's it. Flavorful coconut chutney is ready.

Serving suggestions:
This chutney tastes fresh. So make it in small batches.
It can be served as a side dish  for Dosa, Idly, kichidi, chapati etc.
A dollop of sesame oil over this chutney will make a perfect combo for idly.
Tastes very good with rasam rice and curd rice.
Instead of pori kadalai, we can use roasted groundnut too.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Blueberry pancake

I absolutely love pancake and always crave for a fluffy pancake drenched in maple syrup:) Sometimes I make myself one or two small pancakes whenever I need a little pampering:)  This one is a 'blueberry pancake with buttermilk and wheat flour' . Try with and without wheat and enjoy both versions.

The Tuesday before Lent days is called 'National pancake day'. Honoring the tradition, here is my most favorite blueberry pancake from my kitchen to you all!
Blueberry wheat pancake

All purpose flour - 3/4 cup
whole wheat flour - 3/4 cup
egg - 2
salt - 1/2 tsp
baking soda - 3/4 tsp
baking powder - 1 1/2 tsp
sugar - 3 tsp
buttermilk - 2 cup
butter - 2 tbsp + 2 tsp
blueberry - 1/2 cup

Mix wheat flour, AP flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, salt by sifting and put in a mixing bowl.
Pour buttermilk, eggs, 2 tbsp molten butter and blueberries.
Mix slightly (don't mix too much). If needed add some milk. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
Heat a dosa tawa / griddle or frying pan.
Slightly rub butter.
Using a 1/4 cup measure pour small pancakes, let it get golden color, flip once and take out.
Likewise do for the remaining batter.
Blueberry wheat pancake is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve with  maple syrup or any pancake syrup.
Makes a breakfast / lunch / dinner. I love it any time:)


1 cup Buttermilk = 1 cup milk + 1/2 lemon juice
1 cup Buttermilk = 1/2 cup plain yogurt + 1/2 cup water
Makes 10 - 12 pancakes.
I have tried this without AP flour, but it comes out denser. So adding AP flour is better.
Pure AP flour pancakes tastes very delicious.
Prepare all the pancakes immediately to get the best results.
Pancakes can be kept frozen till use.
If trying to use leftover batter later, then keep refrigerated, add 1/2 tsp baking soda before pouring on pan.
Instead of the dry ingredients I have mentioned, we can just use self rising flour - 1 1/2 cup.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Spicy Egg curry

Some months ago, I got this recipe from my neighbor and I like it very much. My egg curry is a coconut based one, while her's is a very spicy curry and it is a popular dish in North Indian restaurants.


Egg - 4
corn oil - 1/4 cup
red onion - 1 (big)
tomato puree - 2 tbsp
cilantro - handful
red chilly powder - 1 tsp
black pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
cinnamon - 1 inch
cloves - 2 (crushed)
cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
coriander powder - 3 tsp
turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
salt - to taste

Keep the eggs in enough water to cover. Bring to boil, reduce to low and cook in low flame for 10 minutes. Discard hot water immediately, add cold water, peel. Boiled eggs are ready now. Make 3 slits (without cutting the eggs totally) and keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan, add crushed cloves, cinnamon stick and fry for 10 seconds. Immediately add finely chopped onion and fry till it gets soft and brown. Then add ginger garlic paste and fry till raw smell vanishes (less than a minute). Add the tomato puree and cook till oil separates. Then add the chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and fry for a few seconds. Then add 1/4 cup water, salt and cook covered in low flame. Then add the boiled egg, stir well. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Spicy egg curry is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve with chapati or rice.

Indian crab curry

Dear readers,
I am reposting this recipe as there was some access issue to this earlier post.
Thanks for reading,
Crab meat can be called the exotic choice for a sea food lover. TamilNadu style crab kulambu is prepared with a hot spicy pepper curry as base. I got these unusual small size crabs (Indian crab) in an Asian market near my house and immediately grabbed some:)

Interesting info on Crab:
*Buy crab around full moon, as it is believed that the crab becomes more succulent with moon and meatless during new moon (amavasai) . Click to see more info.
* If you don't know to clean the crab, then ask your friends or elders.
*Prefer small size crabs over the long legged one for Indian curries.Eg., One kilogram should yield 4-5 small crabs.
*Crab curry helps us to get rid of body aches, cold, sinus, calcium loss etc.
*Just like 'Japanese's sushi' , some villagers in Tamilnadu drink the extract from raw crab (crushed along with shell and strained) along with ginger and brandy to relieve body aches and to get more strong. I don't know the exact procedure, so consult a professional Indian medicine practitioner before trying.
*Eating crab is an art and you may need some care / skill to remove the shells.
*The crab meat has some character to increase body heat. So it is safer to have it during cold / rainy season.

Here is some memory behind this crab curry in my family.

This is my Father-in-law's favorite too and I prepared it to get his appreciation. you can read more here:)

While in Madras , we used to invite Xav's younger brother M to join us for some weekends. Even though M is his brother he resembles much of my dad's family in the preference for non-veg dishes. I have a strong craving for crab at that time and hubby totally hates it(but loves to buy them for me). Anyway I felt very lazy to prepare them for me alone . So could not enjoy my fancy crab meat for a very long time till I knew thambi's (M) taste for crab. From then on most of our weekends would start with a heavy sea food flavor which will make the whole street hungry:)Can you imagine our plates filled with crab or non-veg as main course and rice as side dish and hubby sitting near me admiring my crab eating style...LOL:)
One day when they were talking of his marriage and preferences , we were kidding him about his first question to his future wife. He told us that he would ask her if she can make Nandu (crab) curry and we we all laughed like anything. Some years passed we moved out of India but still he kept his promise by popping this question when he met the right girl. Luckily my co-sister is also an ardent fan of sea food .Anyway he kept his childish promise but we feel very guilty as we couldn't attend his wedding because of hubby's work nature. I ask myself , can I stand this guilt if I attend my own brothers marriage? Time only can answer this.
Even now when I make this curry , myself and hubby start talking of him.

Uncooked Nandu:

Nandu kulambu:

Crab (Nandu in Tamil)- 1 kg
Sesame oil (any cooking oil ) - 2 tbsp
Salt - as per taste
Turmeric - 1 tsp
coriander powder - 3 tbsp
Chilly powder - 1 tbsp
curry leaf - 1 sprig
fennel seed - 1 tsp

Ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp

To grind:
Shallot Onion (nattu vengayam) - 10 (50 gms)
Tomato - 3 (150 to 200 gms)
Shredded coconut - 1/2 cup
cumin seed - 1 tsp

Saute the onion in a tsp of oil . keep aside. Then saute the tomato, till it wilts and grind everything to a fine paste.

Wash and clean the crab. Remove the front shell that covers the digestive system and remove the digestive tract, but keep the meat inside. Wash again and clean it.
Don't remove the legs. If they are very long , then gently break them into half.

Heat oil in a wok or mud pot. Add fennel seeds and let them get red.
Then add ginger garlic paste and fry for a minute.

Now put the crab along with the powders, salt, masala paste , curry leaf and 1 cup of water.

Cook covered for 15 - 20 minutes. Add water or 1/2 cup coconut milk if we need to dilute it. Otherwise serve as a thick curry.

As soon as we start smelling the pleasant crab curry smell, switch off.

Serving suggestions:
Serve hot with white rice.
Keep some curd as side , as we may need it to quench the heat of pepper:)

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...