Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thanksgiving recipes

I am sure American Thanksgiving would be a  new festival for some Indians. But still I am seeing all of us , immigrants enjoying that day in our own way.  The Indians who are great party lovers find this day very interesting. 
American Thanksgiving focuses on family get-together. So it starts a week before with grocery shopping for the family's big feast. Then the thanksgiving mass in Church, baked turkey, the carving of turkey, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, cranberry sauce, playing together, shopping and lots and lots of fun with family and friends comes along. Thanksgiving fun starts even a month before, with those stores announcing discount sales. People buy gifts for friends and family during this sales time.
When we were new here, I was observing all these festivities around me and really really wanted to make it our family tradition too in the coming years.  But I could see many Indians are not much of meat fans  .......(not me...'When in Rome, do as Romans do' is my policy :)...), so I have to mix Indian recipes with American tradition for our parties :).  This is the story behind my own Thanksgiving menu.
So if you have similar situations like me, you will  find the below list of recipes useful.
Happy Thanksgiving !

Thanks be to God, Happy Thanksgiving,
Visit my facebook page (Viki's Kitchen) too, to see my Thanksgiving menu album.
It is a colorful treat and I am sure you are all going to love that album.

Paani poori
Chicken 65 
Anchovy fry
Fish cutlet
Milagai (capsicum) bajji
Thayir vadai 
Main course meal:
Turkey curry (vaan kozhi kulambu)
Turkey biriyani(vaan koli biriyani)
Tamilnadu Muslim style chicken biriyani 
Easy Chicken biriyani in cooker 
Hyderabadi vegetable biriyani 
vegetable biriyani in cooker
Most popular (sides and main):
Whole baked chicken (oven roasted) 
Whole fried chicken
Egg curry
Full fish fry
Peach cobbler
Pistachio Kulfi icecream
Carrot cake
Gulab jamun 
Lime juice

Friday, November 20, 2015

Potato ulunthu vadai

Potato ulunthu vadai, is not a traditional vadai, but I think this is a beautiful medley of potato and ulunthu created in my kitchen :) It tasted like ulunthu vadai, no one could say it has potato. But more crispy on the outside still soft inside...flavored with a touch of french fries :)

Whenever I grind for urid dal vadai, I grind more to share some vadai with any one of our friends, as South Indian Vadai is a  popular snack among Indians. Hot coffee or tea with this medhu vadai and chutney is Tamilnadu's signature dish.  On that evening, I had only a handful of vadai mavu (urid dal batter), just enough for us both. But I wanted to stretch it a bit. I used some boiled potatoes , which I had in fridge and the taste was more delicious. I am sure this is one of the best ways to increase the number of vadai. Also adding some vegetables like cabbage (cabbage vadai), also makes a large quantity of vadai using the same amount of urid dal. 
potato ulunthu vadai

Ingredients: (For 12 small size vadai)
cooked potato - 2 (mashed - 1 cup)
Vadai mavu / batter  - 1 cup
Oil (corn oil / canola) - 200 ml
Ginger - finely chopped - 2 tsp
salt - to taste
rice flour - 1 tbsp (optional)

First pressure cook or boil or microwave required potatoes. Mash / grate finely and knead to get a dough like stage. Add enough salt, chopped ginger.
Then add the ulunthu vadai batter we have as left over batter.
Mix well .If needed add a tbsp of rice flour to get a manageable batter.

Heat the oil in a wok. Reduce the flame to medium.

Wet a plastic sheet or banana leaf (small square). Take a small ball of batter , place it on the sheet, gently flatten it and make a small hole at the center. Put the vadai gently into the oil.

Deep fry the vadai in medium to low heat by flipping till it gets the golden red color. This vadai (unlike the urid dal vadai) gets red quickly. So fry in low heat.

Drain the oil , take out and place on kitchen towel / multi holed basin to drain excess oil.

Potato ulunthu vadai is ready!

Serving suggestions;
Serve with coconut chutney along with hot coffee or tea in the evening.
Also makes a good side dish with Idly, Venn pongal, sarkarai pongal etc.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Paruppu rasam

Paruppu rasam is one more post that has been in my draft for  a very long time. This is my family's favorite meal along with dal and a spicy fry like fish or potato fry. In my hometown it is a habit to serve piping hot rice with rasam along with fried fish for dinner and they would call it as 'simple'... ha ha... but that sounds like feast to me :) 

Enjoy !
Paruppu rasam, rice and fish fry of my most favorites :)

Paruppu rasam

Thuvaram paruppu (Toor dal) - 1/2 cup (cooked)
tomatoes - 2
Tamarind extract - 2 teaspoon. (from a gooseberry size ball of tamarind)
Red chillies - 2
black pepper - 1 teaspoon
cumin seed- 1/2 tsp
garlic - 3 pearls.
turmeric- a pinch
hing (asafoetida) - a pinch.
Fenugreek seeds (methi seeds) - 1/4 tsp
mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
curry leaves - 1 sprig
chopped coriander leaves - few
water - 2 cups
jaggery - very small piece (1 tsp, if crushed)
salt - 1 tsp
oil (ghee)- 1 tbsp.

I usually reserve some cooked toor dal, while making sambar to prepare this rasam.
Otherwise cook 2 tbsp toor dal in a pressure cooker to 3 whistles. Mash and keep it aside along with the cooked water.

Add hot water to the tamarind and extract the juice. Keep it aside.

Chop the tomatoes finely.

Coarsely grind the pepper, garlic and cumin seeds. Mix turmeric and asafoetida with it and keep aside.

In a pan add little oil/ ghee and put mustard seeds , methi seeds. After hearing the crackling sound of mustard seeds, add red chillies and curry leaves. Immediately add the ground mixture to the pan and fry for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and stir it till the tomato gets cooked completely.
 Add the tamarind extract and the jaggery. Add 2 cups of water , bring to a boil.
Then add the cooked, mashed dal + dal water.
Let it boil vigorously for 2 minutes.
After switching off the flame , add salt and chopped coriander leaves. Always keep the lid closed after adding salt to retain the flavor of rasam.
Paruppu rasam is ready!

Serving suggestions: 
My usual combo is preparing this paruppu rasam along with ketti paruppu (dal tadka), some spicy fry as side dish along with rice.
Or simply serve as dinner with hot rice and paruppu thogayal.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Broccoli egg stirfry

Adding egg to any stir fry (poriyal) like beans, okra is common among Chennai people. I make such kind of egg stirfries for lunch pack. But I had never tried adding egg to broccoli until a friend suggested me. So if you are looking for innovative ways to cook broccoli, then here is one from my kitchen !

Broccoli - 2 cups (coarsely chopped)
egg - 2
salt - to taste.
To Temper: 
onion - 1/2 cup (chopped)
green chilli - 3
curry leaf - few
mustard - 1/2 tsp
cumin - 1/2 tsp
urid dal - 1/2 tsp
coconut oil / olive oil - 2 tsp

Chop the broccoli into small florets.
Cut the onion, green chilli finely.
Heat oil in a wok.
Add mustard, urid dal , cumin and let the mustard crack.
Then add the chopped onion, curry leaf and saute till it gets tender.
Then add the chopped chillies, broccoli. Saute well.
Sprinkle a handful of water and cook covered.
Then add required salt.
It will get cooked in almost 6-8 minutes in medium heat.
Now move the stir fry to one side of the wok.
Break open two eggs and stir gradually with the broccoli pieces.
As soon as egg coats the hot stir fry, it would get cooked.
Switch off.
Broccoli egg stir fry is ready!

Serving suggestion: 
Serve as side dish with rice or chapati.
Can also be served as breakfast instead of regular scrambled egg.
Instead of whole egg, we can use egg whites too.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Cabbage Koottu

Many a times I feel blessed to have some vegetables that lasts longer in our fridge ♥   Those veggies are the saving stocks when we need something quick. I am sure you all would have your own experiences on how a cabbage in fridge saved you  ☺

Cabbage is a staple vegetable in USA, and it would be on a  lesser price range always (less than 39 cents - 79 cents / lb). On a lucky day, we can get a whole big cabbage for a dollar . So it would be the first to climb a shopping cart and the last to get cooked ☺ . While many say otherwise, I like cabbage also very much. For Indian foods , I choose the cabbage that is sold in Indian grocery stores only (tastes same as Indian cabbage), as there are a lot of varieties here and some taste like lettuce and won't go with Indian cuisine. 

Stir fry is the common recipe for cabbage in Tamilnadu. Have you ever considered preparing something delicious using cabbage other than the regular poriyal (stir fry). Cabbage always needs a good cook, who would give it a face lift ☺
I learned this recipe from one of my best friends Parvathi. This koottu recipe belongs to her mother inlaw . So I guess its origin as Tanjore cuisine.
I like this recipe very much and we believe that it goes yummy as side dish with sambar rice or puli kulambu and rice.

cabbage - 200 gm (small piece)
onion - 1/2 cup (chopped)
tomato - 1 (optional)
oil - 1 tbsp
mustard seed - 1 tsp
urid dal - 1/2 tsp
salt - to taste
curry leaf - few

To grind:
coconut - 2 tbsp (shredded)
fennel (sombu) - 1 tsp
green chilly - 3
puffed channa dal (pottu kadalai) - 2 tbsp

Shred / chop the cabbage into small pieces and keep aside.
Heat oil in a wok.
Let the mustard starts to crackle and add urid dal.
Add onion as soon as urid dal starts turning mild red.
Saute onion with some curry leaf.
Then add chopped tomato and cook well (no need for tomato if using as side dish with tamarind based curries over rice. But adding tomato tastes good when served with chapati).
As the onion turns soft, add the cabbage and saute for a minute.
Add 1 cup water and cook till it turns tender.
Put enough salt.
Grind the items mentioned to a coarse paste.
Add this to the koottu and bring to a boil.
Let it cook covered for a minute and turn off.
Garnish with chopped cilantro.
Cabbage koottu is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve as side dish with sambar or puli kulambu rice or with chapathi.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Happy Deepavali

Image courtesy :

Wishing all a joyful Deepavali.
Click to view my facebook album on Deepavali Sweets
May all the days ahead are filled with happiness in all of our homes,

Viki Xavier

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...