Monday, January 29, 2024

Pasta Marinara (Homemade Marinara sauce)

Pasta Marinara (Homemade Marinara sauce)

Pasta - 1.5  handful / person
Crushed Tomato - 1 can 
EVOO - 2  tbsp
Garlic - 1
Red onion - 1 
Shredded Carrot - 2
Red chili flakes - 1 tsp
salt - as per need
Brown sugar - 1 tsp
Black pepper - 1tsp
Basil leaves -10
Oregano powder - 1 tsp
Basil Powder - 1 tsp
water - 1/2 cup
Broccoli / zucchini  - 200  gm (optional)

மரினாரா பாஸ்தா 
பாஸ்தா  - 1.5 கைப்பிடியளவு 1 நபருக்கு 
தக்காளி சாறு  -  1 கேன் (800 gm)
பூண்டு - 1 
உப்பு - 1 tsp 
வெங்காயம் -  1
மிளகாய் சீவல் - 1 tsp 
மிளகு தூள் - 1tsp
பெசில் தூள் - 1 tsp 
அரிகானோ தூள் (கற்பூரவல்லி)- 1 tsp 
திருநீற்று பச்சிலை (பெசில்) -10
ஒலிவ் எண்ணெய் - 2 tbsp
தண்ணீர்  - 1/2 cup
சர்க்கரை  - 1 tsp
கேரட் - 2
ப்ரோக்கோலி / சுக்கினி - 200 gm 

Bring water to boil. Add 1 tsp salt.
Add  the pasta and cook as per direction (little firm - Al dente).
Cook for 5 minutes only (for whole wheat pasta). (2 min for regular flour pasta). We are going to cook it in sauce later.
Drain and add cold water. Drain again and keep aside.
In a separate wok, heat oil.
Put the minced garlic+onion and fry for a few seconds. 
Then add shredded carrot. Fry few seconds till raw smell goes. 
Now add the tomato puree, red chili flakes , organo powder, basil powder, pepper powder, salt, 1/2 cup water, chopped basil leaves, brown sugar (sugar) and cook for 10 minutes.

Add chopped broccoli or zucchini or carrot for a healthy version. 

Mix this with pasta or serve over it.

Marinara Pasta is ready !

Serve this pasta as main course meal.
This sauce can be stored in freezer for a month or in fridge up to 5 days.
I use this basic sauce in making pasta, pizza, enchilada etc.
If needed add dried Italian seasoning powder along with other ingredients to get a more fragrant version.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Chennai Kara Kulambu சென்னை காரக்குழம்பு

Chennai Kara Kulambu சென்னை காரக்குழம்பு is a unique spicy tangy curry prepared in Chennai. This Kaara kulambu is made without coconut and that is one of the distinguishing difference between the Chennai version and Tirunelveli Puli kulambu. My hubby loves this kulambu very much, as it reminds him of his bachelor day lunch. He always says that this is one curry his friends would bring to work almost every day. This curry is usually prepared at night by the busy Chennai women and would be gladly enjoyed by their family for dinner and the left over curry (prepared intentionally in large quantity) would be conveniently packed as lunch the next day.
I too love this Chennai Kara kuzhambu very much and I make it often. 
It is always served with some protein rich side dishes like egg omelet, dal based curries. I made this with cabbage dal fry, green gram sundal and it tastes more amazing with appalam too.
Here goes the recipe, which I learned from my friend Sandhya Amma long back. She loves my videos very much and I hope you all too.
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Tamarind - 1 small lemon size
Red onion - 3
Garlic - 1
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp (optional)
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder - 3 tsp
Curry leaf - 2 sprigs
Sesame oil - 3 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Fenugreek seed Methi - 1 tsp
Cumin - 1 tsp
Sea salt - 2 tsp (as per taste)
Hing - a pinch

சென்னை காரக்குழம்பு 
தேவையான பொருட்கள் :
புளி - 1 எலுமிச்சை அளவு 
வெங்காயம் - 3
பூண்டு  - 1
மிளகாய் தூள்  - 1 tsp 
மஞ்சள் - 1/2 tsp
மல்லி தூள் - 3 tsp
கறிவேப்பிலை - 2 இணுக்கு 
எண்ணெய் - 3 tbsp
கடுகு  - 1 tsp
வெந்தயம்  - 1 tsp
சீரகம் - 1 tsp
கடல் உப்பு - 2 tsp 
பெருங்காயத்தூள் - 1 சிட்டிகை 

Soak tamarind in warm water along with salt. Extract juice using 2 cups of water.
Chop onion finely. Heat oil, add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin. 
As soon as mustard starts crackling, add curry leaves, hing, very finely chopped onion and saute till onion turns soft.
Put the peeled garlic and saute for a few seconds.
Add the red chili powder, corinader powder, turmeric powder.
Then pour the tamarind extract prepared.
Bring it to a boil.
Cook covered in low heat till curry gets little thick (10 minutes).
Madras kara kulambu is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve as curry over rice. 

Monday, January 22, 2024

Vegetable Dum Biriyani

An exciting and a crowd pleasing vegetable briyani, from my kitchen to yours !
The Dum process in this recipe takes this regular yummy Veg briyani to next level,
Hope you all like this recipe dear friends !
Welcome to Viki's Kitchen,
Kindly subscribe and show your support for our YouTube channel 1Viki'sKitchen too,
Viki Xavier !

Basmati rice - 400 gm  (or 2 cups)
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
Salt - 3 tsp + to taste
Peanut oil - 1/2 cup
Cauliflower - 1/4 flower (chopped 1 cup) ,
Green beans - 10 
Carrot -1 , 
Green peas - 1/2 cup .
Tomato - 3
Onion - 1 
To temper:
Fennel - 1 tsp
Bay leaves - 2
Star aniseed - 1,
Cinnamon stick - 2 inch
Cardamom - 2
Cloves - 4
Sea weed - 1 inch
Nutmeg - tiny bit
Cashew nuts -10
Raisins- 10.
Masala 1:
Ginger - 2 inch
Garlic - 5 cloves (2 tbsp)
Masala 2:
cilantro- 10 stems
mint leaf -1 handful.
green chilly - 5

தேவையான பொருட்கள் :
பாசுமதி அரிசி  - 400 gm  (or 2 கப் )
மஞ்சள்  - 1/2 tsp
கடலெண்ணெய் - 1/2 cup
மிளகாய் தூள் - 1/2 tsp
கரம் மசாலா தூள் - 1 tsp
உப்பு - 3 tsp + தேவைக்கு 
காய்கறி :
காலிஃளார் - 1/4 பூ (1 கப் ) ,
பீன்ஸ்  - 10 
கேரட் -1 , 
பச்சை பட்டாணி  - 1/2 கப் .
தக்காளி  - 3
வெங்காயம்  - 1 
மல்லி இலை - கைப்பிடியளவு 
புதினா  -1 கைப்பிடியளவு 
தாளிக்க :
சோம்பு  - 1 tsp
பிரிஞ்சி இலை  - 2
அன்னாசிப்பூ - 1,
பட்டை  - 2 inch
ஏலக்காய் - 2
கிராம்பு  - 4
முந்திரி பருப்பு  -10
கிஸ் மிஸ் - 10.
கடல் பாசி - சிறிதளவு 
ஜாதிக்காய் - மிக சிறிய துண்டு 
மசாலா  1:
இஞ்சி  - 2 inch
பூண்டு  - 5 துண்டு  (2 tbsp)
மசாலா  2:
மல்லி இலை - கைப்பிடியளவு 
புதினா  -1 கைப்பிடியளவு 
பச்சை மிளகாய் - 5 

Wash and clean the vegetables. Peel the skin of carrot and cut into long thin slices.
Cut the green beans in to long pieces.
Pluck 5 -6 florets from the cauliflower.
Defreeze the green peas.

Wash the rice and soak it for 1/2 an hour.

Grind all the pastes separately.

Chop onion and keep aside.


Heat 1/2 cup peanut oil or ghee  in a  broad vessel.
Add fennel ,star aniseed , cinnamon , cardamom ,cloves, bay leaf , cashew, raisin.

Then goes the chopped onion .

Fry it till golden brown and add the ginger garlic paste and stir well till the raw smell goes.

Then add the cilantro , mint paste and cook till the oil start oozing out. Now put the vegetables and add salt. Just stir well. Don't cook them now.

Now add the tomato paste and cook till the oil oozes out of it. Add all the powders given.

Now add the soaked rice and uncut green chillies. Squeeze some 1 tbsp lime juice over.

Pour water to immerse the rice and let the water stand 1 inch above rice.

Mix well now and check for salt in this stage.Let it come to a boil.

Close with a tight lid .
Keep a heavy tawa on top. or Keep a vessel with hot water.
Reduce the flame to minimum.

After 20 minutes the biryani will be ready!

Serving suggestions:

Garnish with 2 tbsp ghee , chopped cilantro , mint leaves.
Serve vegetable biryani hot with onion raitha .
Serves 4 people.

Friday, January 19, 2024

Broccoli Usili

Usili is a side dish made with dal, which can be compared to a dry form of dal fry.  It is one of the traditional foods that can be seen in many households of Tamilnadu. Any fibrous vegetable like carrot, beans, cabbage can be turned into usili. It is a great recipe to enrich the simple vegetables with proteins.

Click to see my recipe. Kindly subscribe to show your support. Thanks !

The top 6 healthiest vegetables for everyday are : BroccoliKaleSpinachCarrotBell pepperBeetroot.
Today we are going to make a delicious protein rich side dish using broccoli and dal. I have used channa dal in this recipe, but we can use any combo of dal like 'toor dal, moong dal and channa dal'. This tastes good as an evening tea time snack too.

Broccoli - 1 lb
Sesame oil - 2 tbsp (any oil)
mustard - 1 tsp
Urid dal - 1 tsp
curry leaf - 1 sprig
To grind:
Channa dal  - 1/2 cup
dry red chilly - 3
sea salt - 1 tsp, to taste
hing - 1/8 tsp

தேவையான பொருட்கள்:
ப்ரோக்கலி - 1/4 kg 
நல்லெண்ணெய்  - 2 tbsp
கடுகு  - 1 tsp
உளுந்து  - 1 tsp
கறிவேப்பிலை - 1 sprig
அரைக்க :
கடலைப்பருப்பு  - 1/2 cup
வரமிளகாய் - 3
தூள் உப்பு - 1 tsp, to taste
பெருங்காயத்தூள் - 1/8 tsp

Soak dal for 1 hour and grind without water along with the other items to a fine paste.
Scoop the dal into idly plates and steam cook for 10 minutes.
Let it get cool completely.
Put it in the mixie again and pulse gently for a few times, so that the cooked dal looks loose.
In the mean time wash the broccoli and peel the carrot. cut them into small pieces.
Heat oil in a wok and let mustard splutter.
Then add the curry leaves, chopped broccoli and stir fry it.
Cook covered along with little salt for 5 minutes.
Then add the prepared dal mixture and stir fry it in high flame for few minutes.
Switch off.
Broccoli usili is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve with kara kulambu + rice or rasam + rice.
Tastes good with chapati also.
I like it as snack too:)

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Pongal Puli curry

Puli - Tamarind; curry - a side dish. 

Pongal - Indian Thanks giving festival or Farmer's festival . It comes on the first day of 'Thai month'. or January 14 or 15 th every year. This is a 4 day long celebration, that starts with the cleaning day 'Bogi', Pongal day , the important day 'Pongal day' then comes the 'Cow's Pongal day' the 'Mattu Pongal' and visiting the  family or nearby tours,  'Kanum Pongal'

On Pongal day, we Tamilians prepare a lot of vegetarian foods using almost all the vegetables.
Today's recipe was handed over by my mom to me. Mom used to make this Puli curry on Pongal morning along with Aviyal, dal, white rice and the much awaited 'sweet Pongal'. 
The previous day mom and myself would do a lot of kolam, rangoli paintings in front of our house. Also we used to paint the clay stoves using a red color , white color combo.
Mom used to get up by 3.30 Am or 4 Am, would take bath, cladded in her gorgeous pattu sarees wearing lot of jewelry  and would start preparing these yummy dishes as Pongal offering to the Sun God. While I was a preteen , we used to do this in the front yard of our house. Thatha and appa would help amma by minding the cooking process using palm leaves as fuel and in poojai.
Later on getting palm leaf was not easy in my home town, (even though we own a lot of palm trees), that process seemed laborious. So we started making 'pressure cooker Pongal'. 
I love this festival very much , as it brings back a lot of happy memories for me. So hubby and myself , we together celebrate this Pongal with lot of happiness.

This Puli curry is amma's signature dish.  We make this a lot and would use it as left over sundacurry the next day (mixed with all left over spicy curries).

Root vegetables:
Yam / senai kilangu / suran - 200 gm
Potato / urulai kilangu / aloo - 1
siru kilangu / chiru kizhangu - 5
Sembu / taro root/ colocasia / arbi - 5
other ingredients:
Tamarind - 1 small lime size
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
coriander powder - 3 tsp
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
water - 2 cups
salt - 2 tsp (to taste)

To grind:
shredded coconut - 1/2 cup
shallot onion - 5
cumin seeds - 1 tsp

To temper:
mustard - 1 tsp
fenugreek seeds- 1 tsp
curry leaves - 1 sprig
Sesame oil - 2 tbsp
asafoetida - 1 pinch

கிழங்கு வகைகள் 
உருளை கிழங்கு  - 1
சேனை கிழங்கு  - 200 gm
சிறு கிழங்கு - 5
சேப்பங்கிழங்கு - 5
பிடி கருணை கிழங்கு - 1 
புளி சிறிய எலுமிச்சை அளவு 
மிளகாய் தூள் - 1 tsp
மஞ்சள் தூள் - 1/2 tsp
மல்லி தூள்- 3 tsp 
உப்பு - 2 tsp
அரைக்க :
தேங்காய் - 1/2 cup
நாட்டு வெங்காயம் - 5 
சீரகம் - 1 tsp
கடுகு - 1 tsp
வெந்தயம் - 1 tsp
கறிவேப்பிலை - சிறிதளவு 
நல்லெண்ணெய் - 2 tbsp 
பெருங்காயம் - 1 சிட்டிகை

Wash and peel the root vegetables. Cut them into 2 inch size cubes.
(Take care while handling the yams).
Cook them together till soft (10 minutes). Discard the water and keep aside.

Soak the tamarind in hot water and extract the juice thrice with 2 cups of water.
Add the chilly powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, salt to the tamarind extract and start boiling with the cooked roots.

Grind coconut, onion and cumin seeds with little water and add it to the boiling curry. let it get thick.

Heat oil in a pan. Crackle mustard seeds , add fenugreek seeds , curry leaves and asafoetida. Pour over the boiling thick curry. Switch off.

Pongal puli kulambu is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve as side dish with sweet pongal.
Can be used as kulambu / curry over plain rice or with chapati.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Temple Sakkarai Pongal in Instantpot electric cooker

Wishing all a very happy and prosperous Pongal,

May this Pongal festival brings peace, good health, success, cheer, prosperity and every happiness we wish for.

Happy Pongal! Love, Viki Xavier

Ingredients: (for 4 servings)
Raw rice or Basmati  - 2 cup
Green gram lentil - 1/2 cup
Water - 4 cups
Jaggery (Indian brown sugar ) - 2 cup 
(Add little more jaggery or up to twice measure if desired)
Water - 1/2 cup
Ghee -  2 tbsp
Cashew - 10
Raisins - 10
Cardamom powder - 1 tsp
Edible camphor (Pachai karpooram) - a tiny pinch

சர்க்கரை பொங்கல் 4 பேருக்கு:
பச்சரிசி  - 2 கப் 
பாசிபருப்பு - 1/2 cup
தண்ணீர் - 4 கப் 
வெல்லம் (துருவியது) - 2 கப் 
தண்ணீர் - 1/2 கப் 
நெய் -  2 மேஜைக்கரண்டி 
முந்திரி  - 10
கிஸ்மிஸ்  - 10
ஏலக்காய்  - 1 தேக்கரண்டி 
பச்சைக்கற்பூரம்  - மிக சிறிய துளி 

Instant pot method:
Rinse rice and dal.
Add them to Instantpot inner vessel.
Press 'PRESSURE COOK'  button.
Adjust time and set to 5 minutes in high pressure cook.
Close lid, put the weight valve.
It will cook and switch off automatically (in  almost 15 minutes totally).
Open after 5 minutes (by releasing the pressure manually).
In ordinary pressure cooker : Cook to 1 whistle then reduce flame and switch off after 5 minutes.
Open after the pressure is released. 
After pressure cooking:
Mash rice and dal together using a spatula.
In the mean time : 
Dissolve the jaggery and bring to a boil with 1/2 cup water. Strain and remove impurities. Add the jaggery solution to the boiling mixture. (If the jaggery is of very good quality without any sand in it, then we can add as shown in my video).
Set the Instant pot to 'SAUTE'
Now the rice, dal, jaggery will start boiling.
In a stove , keep an wok. 
Add ghee, then goes the cashews, raisins .
Fry till raisin is puffy.
Add this to  the cooked pongal along with cardamom powder, edible camphor and mix well.
Stir till the pongal gets little thick and starts leaving the edges.
Add more ghee if desired.
Sarkarai pongal is ready!

Add jaggery twice the cup measurement of rice+dal to get an extremely sweet sarkarai Pongal.
Choose dark colored vellam (pagu vellam) to get correct color of Pongal.

Serving suggestion:
Serve as breakfast on Pongal day.
Makes a dessert along with idli during a grand breakfast.

Other Pongal recipes :
May this Pongal festival brings peace, good health, success, cheer, prosperity and every happiness we wish for.
Happy Pongal! Love, Viki Xavier

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...