Thursday, February 29, 2024

Vengaya bajji

A handy tea time snack recipe from my collection to you all.

Vengayam - Onion ; Bajji - usually some vegetable sliced , dipped in a besan batter and deep fried.

Varieties of Bajji as far as I know LOL 

Veg bajji  - Onion bajji, Vazhaikai plantain bajji, eggplant bajji, capsicum bajji, Cauliflower bajji, Potato bajji

Non veg bajji - Egg bajji, Fish bajji.

New varieties of  bajji - Paneer bajji, Bread bajji, Sweet bajji (?)

Kindly subscribe to my youtube channel for more yummy videos. Thank you ,

Ingredients (for 12 pieces) :
Red Onion - 2
Besan flour (kadalai mavu) - 3/4 cup
dosa batter - 2 tbsp
Rice flour - 2 tsp
salt - to taste (2 tsp)
red chilly powder - to taste (1 tsp)
hing (asafoetida)- 1/8 tsp
baking soda - 1/2 tsp
garlic - 2 pieces 
ajwain (omam) - 1/4 tsp
oil - to deep fry (200 ml)


Peel the onion. Slice it into thin (1/4 inch thick approx) round pieces, using a knife and cutting board. Carefully cut the onion, so that the concentric pieces remain intact.

Or we can slice it lengthwise too.

Grind the garlic and omam to a fine paste with 1 tsp water. Mix all the above (except oil) along with 1 cup water to a thick batter. Add more water if needed, but keep the batter like thick idly batter ,otherwise the bajjis will absorb more oil.

Heat oil in a wok. As it gets smoky hot, reduce flame and keep in medium flame.

Dip the onion slices in the batter and put it on the hot oil.  Do not clutter. Flip and fry both sides. Drain oil and take out.

Onion bajji / fritter is ready!

Serving suggestions:

Serve hot as snack along with hot coffee or tea during rainy / winter season.
Coconut chutney or tomato ketchup are good side dishes for these fries.


வெங்காய பஜ்ஜி (12) :
வெங்காயம்  - 2
கடலை மாவு  - 3/4 cup
தோசை மாவு  - 2 tbsp
அரிசி மாவு  - 2 tsp
உப்பு  - தேவைக்கு  (2 tsp)
மிளகாய் தூள்  -தேவைக்கு  (1 tsp)
பெருங்காய தூள் - 1/8 tsp
பேக்கிங் சோடா - 1/2 tsp
பூண்டு - 2 pieces 
ஓமம்  - 1/4 tsp
கடலை எண்ணெய் -  பொறிக்க (200 ml)

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Secrets of making soft Idli at any weather !

Step by step recipe 

Ingredients: (using grinder )
Idli rice - 5 cups
Pacharisi (raw rice or Basmati) - 1/2 cup
Aval (Poha) - 1/2 cup
Methi seed (venthayam) - 1.5 tbsp
Urid dal - 1 1/4 cup
Sea salt - 5 tsp

Soak idli rice, raw rice, methi together for 2-3 hours in normal weather. (over night soaking can be done for subzero winters).
Soak  urid dal for 1 1/2  hour (definitely not more than that).
First grind the urid dal using cold water to a fluffy fine texture.
While urid dal is soaking add aval (10 mins of soaking is enough for aval).
Grind the rice along with salt to a fine texture (or medium coarse texture).
In a large mixing bowl, mix all the batters together. Mix vigorously with hand , so that both mixes very well. Keep on mixing for at least 2 minutes.
Divide it into two or three portions and store separately. Fill the containers to 1/4 or 1/2 only, as the batter will rise during fermentation.
Keep in a warm place  and let it ferment for 8 hours or overnight.
In colder countries, heat oven to 200 F for 10 mins. SWITCH OFF. Then keep the batter inside for 12 hrs to ferment. Then take out the containers, heat again. SWITCH OFF and keep them again for another 12 hrs. This is the best way I am following to ferment idli batter in USA.
Then take one container and keep all others in fridge.
Before pouring for idli, mix very very gently twice using a mixing spoon. Don't mix too much.
Grease an idli plate, with very little drop of ghee or sesame oil.
Scoop idli batter and fill each dent up to 3/4 full.
Keep the idli stand inside pressure cooker and steam cook for 8-10 minutes without putting weight valve.
Take out and scoop out the steamed idlie, when they are still hot.
Soft idli is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve with any chutney or vengaya sambar or idli podi.

இட்லி  அரிசி   - 5 கப் 
பச்சரிசி (பாஸ்மதி) - 1/2 கப் 
அவல்  - 1/2 கப் 
வெந்தயம் - 1.5 tbsp 
வெள்ளை உருட்டு உளுந்து  - 1 1/4 கப் 
கல் உப்பு - 5 tsp

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Hawaii Plantain and Indian fry, Vazhaikkai varuval

 Vazhaikkai varuval - Unripe banana roast

Unripe Banana - 2
Oil - 2 tbsp
Fennel - 1 tsp
Curry leaf - 1 sprig
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Red chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Hing - a pinch
Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
Cilantro (chopped) - 2 tbsp

Peel the banana.
Cube it.
Start cooking immediately to retain the white color.
Heat 2 tbsp peanut oil (any cooking oil) in a wok.
Add 1 tsp fennel.
As fennel gets red, add the chopped banana along with curry leaf.
Add turmeric , salt. Stir well.
Reduce flame.
Cook covered for 10 minutes.
Open and check if it is almost cooked.
Then add the red chili powder, cumin powder, hing. Mix well.
Cook covered in low heat for 5 minutes.
If it is Nenthrankai (Kerala plantain), then add 2 tbsp water to cook. Other bananas won't require water to cook.
Open the lid. Switch off.
Garnish with finely chopped cilantro and stir well.
Vazhaikkai varuval is ready !

Serving suggestion:
Serve as side dish with sambar rice or any less spicy rice like lemon rice.

தேவையான பொருட்கள் :
வாழைக்காய் - 2
எண்ணெய்  - 2 tbsp
சோம்பு  - 1 tsp
கறிவேப்பிலை - 1 sprig
மஞ்சள் தூள் - 1/2 tsp
தூள் உப்பு  - 1 tsp
மிளகாய் தூள்  - 1/2 tsp
பெருங்காயத்தூள்  - சிறிதளவு 
சீரக தூள்  - 1/4 ட்ஸ்ப்
கொத்தமல்லி இலை- 2 tbsp

Friday, February 16, 2024

Gujarati Pav Bhaji

Pav means 'a soft variety of Indian bread roll' , Bhaji means 'Vegetarian side dish' 
Maharashtrian Pav bhaji is the most famous of all.
Since it has been given enough attention in the internet, I am narrating how Pav bhaji is done in some of parts of Gujarat.
This Gujarat Pav Bhaji doesn't require tomato. Also this is comparatively easier. But tastes as  good as any other version. This is my favorite because of it's simplicity.

Potato - 2
Cauliflower - 1/4
Carrot - 1
Green Peas - 1/2 cup
Capsicum - 1/2
Green Beans - 10
Onion - 1
Cilantro - handful
To Grind:
Ginger - 1 inch
Garlic - 3 cloves
Green chillies - 2
Masala Powders:
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Hing - a pinch
Pav Masala - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 2 tsp 
Lemon  - 1/2
Ghee / Butter - 3 tbsp

Rinse the veggies. Chop them all to cubes.
Add all the vegetables to pressure cooker. 
Add water to cover veggies.
Add salt, 
Bring to 1 whistle, reduce flame and cook for 10 minutes.
In Instant pot electric cooker - press pressure cook button. set time to 7 mins.
Then open after it is done.
Add lemon juice, Pav masala 1 tsp.
Mash with spatula again coarsely, so that all vegetables get mixed very well.
Switch off.
Add melted butter. Serve hot.
Serve with bread or buns.
Pav bhaji is ready !

Serving suggestion:
It is traditional to add little ghee on top of the pav bhaji while it is served hot.
Serve with toasted pav buns or any roti.
Raw sliced onion and lemon are kept along with this bhaji.
Tastes good with dosa too.

Monday, February 12, 2024

Valaikkai Puttu

Vazhaikkai - unripe banana; puttu - anything steam cooked and loose as sand .

Vazhaikkai puttu is a spicy scrambled plantain fry served as side dish with rice.

Click to see how I prepare Nenthrankai puttu (long green plantain) in my YouTube channel. Kindly subscribe. Thanks for subscribing and liking as this will encourage me to create more videos. Thanks and blessings !

Unripe Plantain Nenthran kaaai - 2
onion (finely chopped) - 1
dry red chilly - 2
curry leaf - 1 sprig
coconut oil - 1 tbsp
mustard - 1 tsp
urid dal - 1 tsp
shredded coconut - 1/4 cup
cumin - 1/2 tsp
turmeric - 1/2 tsp
hing - a pinch
salt - 1 tsp

Wash the green plantains / bananas. Steam cook them using an Idly cooker or in a normal cooker without adding the pressure valve for 10 minutes. Check it by piercing a fork and it should pass through without difficulty but firm in shape.

Take out and let them cool. Remove the skin and grate the unripe banana in a carrot shredder. 

In a wok, heat the coconut oil and add mustard seeds followed by the black gram lentil. As soon as the mustard crackles add the dry red chillies, curry leaves , onion and stir till the onion wilts. Immediately add the shredded plantain, salt, turmeric, hing and mix well. Check for salt.  Fry till it becomes loose. If using nentharankaai (plantain variety) add 1/4 cup water and cook closed for 5 mins if needed. If using shorter banana (Tamilnadu variety), no need to cook in water after steaming.
Then mix the freshly shredded coconut and switch off.

Vazhaikkai puttu is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve as side dish with rice and sambar or vatral kulambu or kara kulambu or rasam.

Some people add turmeric to the puttu , while others make it white. Both tastes good.

வாழைக்காய் புட்டு :
வாழைக்காய் புட்டு 
நேந்திரங்காய் / நாட்டு வாழைக்காய்  - 2
வெங்காயம்  - 1
காய்ந்த மிளகாய் - 2
கறிவேப்பிலை - 1 sprig
தேங்காய்  எண்ணெய் - 1 tbsp
கடுகு - 1 tsp 
உளுந்து - 1 tsp 
தேங்காய் துருவல் - 1/4 cup
சீரகம்  - 1/2 tsp
மஞ்சள்  - 1/2 tsp
பெருங்காயத்தூள்  - a pinch
உப்பு  - 1 tsp 


Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Hotel Saravana Bhavan Vegetable Kuruma in InstantPot

Hotel Saravana Bhavan is a classy Indian Vegetarian restaurant founded by a cooking genius and entrepreneur  from Tirunelveli district. That restaurant has many branches all over the world. It is known for it's classy vegetarian recipes and less spicy mouthwatering food prepared in a hygienic way. The original founder called as Annachi started this restaurant to provide good food for the newbies in Chennai, as getting hygienic good food was not easy those days. First they gave puliyotharai and variety rices, while he was running a grocery store as it is the family's main job. Then after seeing the enthusiasm shown by Chennai people and travelers, he started to give many special dishes of Tirunelveli by employing lot of chefs. Then it became very popular for it's good food. Even though  some people feel that it's prices are higher and the portion size is smaller (compared to others) ,  the prices are justifiable due to the hygiene and safer family friendly ambiance. I am ok with that portion size too. But opinions vary due to their serving quantity. My hubby thinks that they don't bring enough sambar like other restaurants in a big serving bowl. That's a valuable comment too. But my niece Shakthi showed me how to love that hotel's food and hence I am ok with that portion size.
All foods are delicious in the restaurant's menu card, while Saravana Bhavan's kuruma is a white  kuruma is my favorite.
It is made using unique masala and yogurt.
I have written about this kuruma decades ago and now posting this as a video too.

(Vegetable kuruma  / kurma is a kind of spicy curry with lot of vegetables (definitely the English vegetables not the native Indian vegetables). 

Today I am narrating how to prepare Saravana Bhavan style vegetable kuruma in Instant pot in this post. Hope you all love this !

Kindly show your support for my YouTube channel also. Thanks in advance.
Click to see my vegetable kuruma in InstantPot video . 

Vegetables needed:

Cauliflower - 100 gms (1/4 flower)
Beans - 10  
Carrot - 1
Potato - 1
Fresh peas - 1 cup

For Kuruma:
Red onion - 1
Tomato - 1
Green chili - 4
Coriander leaves - a handful.
Curry leaves - few
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tso
Coriander powder - 2 tsp
Curry masala powder - 1 tsp (optional)
salt - to taste
Oil  / ghee - 2 tbsp
Curd - 1/4 cup

To Grind 1:
Ginger - 1 inch
Garlic - 5 cloves

To Grind 2:
Shredded coconut - 1/4 cup
Cumin - 1/2 tsp
Fennel - 1 tsp
Poppy seed - 1 tsp
Cashew - 4

To Temper:
Fennel - 1 tsp
Cinnamon - 1 inch
Kalpasi - 1 inch
bay leaf - 1

Grind ginger and garlic together.
Grind items under 2.
Prepare the tempering spices and keep them together.
Chop onion, tomato coarsely.
Cut cauliflower into big pieces.
Peel and cube the potato, carrot into 1 inch size cubes.
Cut beans into 1 inch long pieces.
Slit green chilies or chop finely.

Set the Instantpot to saute mode by pressing the 'SAUTE' button. We are not closing the lid.
We are going to use this as a regular pan during saute process.
Now it will stay hot for 30 mins by default setting.
Add 2 tbsp sesame oil or any cooking oil.
Add the items given under tempering.
As the fennel gets red, add the chopped onion. 
Saute onion till it is soft and golden brown.
Add the ginger garlic paste.
Saute for just 10 secs.
Immediately add chopped tomato, green chili.
Saute till tomato gets soft.
Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder , curry masala powder (optional).
Saute for 30 secs.
Add chopped vegetables.
Switch off by pressing 'cancel' button.
Then press 'Pressure cook' button.
Set time to 5 minutes by pressing plus or minus signs or as per the Instantpot (by rotating the knob in Ultra type InstantPot).
Add required salt.
Add the coconut masala , curd.
Add 2 cups of water.
Close the lid.
Put on the pressure valve. Keep it in seal position (away from display).
The pressure will build up automatically , then the cooker will be sealed . We can see the safety valve raising once enough pressure is build up.
This may take 5 - 10 mins.
Then the cooker will pressure cook for 5 minutes, and will switch off automatically.
After 10 minutes we can release the pressure manually by turning the pressure valve towards us (see my video).
Or we can wait for some time for the pressure to release by itself.
The remove the pressure valve and open the cooker. If needed add some more water and bring to a boil by pressing cancel and then saute . Or serve as thick kuruma (my preference).
Delicious vegetable kuruma is done !

Serving suggestions:
Serve hot with parathas or roti or naan .
Makes 5 cups of vegetable kuruma and serves 8 people.

We can do the same in the normal pressure cooker (in gas stove) too. Just cook until we get 1 whistle, then reduce pressure and cook for 5 mins in low heat.
If done in open pot, then cook the kuruma until all vegetables are 100% cooked.

வெஜிடபிள் குருமா செய்ய தேவையான காய்கறிகள்:
காலிப்ளார்  - 100 gms (1/4 flower)
பீன்ஸ்  - 10  
கேரட்  - 1
உருளைகிழங்கு  - 1
பச்சைபட்டாணி  - 1 cup

தாளிக்க :
சோம்பு  - 1 tsp
பட்டை - 1 inch
கடல்பாசி  - 1 inch
பிரிஞ்சி இலை  - 1

தாளிக்க :
வெங்காயம் - 1
தக்காளி  - 1
மிளகாய் - 4
கொத்தமல்லி இலை - கைப்பிடியளவு 
கறிவேப்பிலை  - சிறிதளவு 
மிளகாய்த்தூள் - 1 tsp
மஞ்சள்தூள்  -1/2 tsp 
மல்லி தூள்  - 2 tsp
கறிமசாலா தூள்  - 1 tsp (optional)
உப்பு  - 2 tsp 
நல்லெண்ணெய் / நெய்  - 2 tbsp
தயிர் - 1/4 கப் 

அரைக்க  1:
இஞ்சி  - 1 இன்ச் 
பூண்டு - 5 

அரைக்க 2:
துருவிய தேங்காய் - 1/4 கப் 
சீரகம்  - 1 /2 tsp
சோம்பு - 1 tsp
கசகசா  - 1 tsp
முந்திரி - 4

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Tirunelveli Chicken Dum Biriyani

Chicken Dum Briyani of Tirunelveli. This quantity if for 6 adults (or) 8 people (if served with curd rice). I have written about a wedding special chicken dum briyani in many years ago, in this blog. Time taken : 2.30 hours (approx if completely done by one person)

Preparing the ingredients: 1 hour
Cooking time 45 minutes.
Dum cooking time : 30 minutes

Basmati rice - 3  cups (600 gm)
Chicken (thigh, leg) - 1 1/4 kg (twice the rice)
thick curd - 1/2  cup
salt - To taste
Turmeric - 1 tsp

Green chilly - 5 
Red onion - 3 (400 gm)
Tomato - 5 (400 gm)
Lemon - 1/2
Ghee - 3 tbsp
Peanut oil - 1/4 cup
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
Rose essence - 1 drop
Cilantro - handful
Mint leaf - handful
Cashew - 10
Raisin - 10

Paste 1:
Ginger - 2 inch
garlic - 10 pearls
Green chili - 5

Paste 2:
cilantro - 10 plants (leaves only)
mint leaf - 10 sticks (leaves only)

Fennel - 1 tsp
Cinnamon - 3 inch long
Bay leaf - 2
Star aniseed - 1
Sea weed (kalpaasi) - 2 curls
Nutmeg (jathikkai) - a tiny bit
Mace - 1/4 of  a flower
Cardamom - 6
Cloves - 10
Marathi Mokku - 1

Garam masala powder
To dry roast and powder:
Fennel - 1 tbsp
Cinnamon - 3 inch long
Bay leaf - 2
Star aniseed - 1
Sea weed (kalpaasi) - 2 curls
Nutmeg (jathikkai) - a tiny bit
Mace - 1/4 of  a flower
Cardamom - 6
Cloves - 10
Marathi Mokku - 1
Black pepper - 1 tbsp
Dry rose bud -1

Clean the chicken and cut it in to big pieces. Rinse and keep aside.
Add  a tsp of salt, curd, turmeric powder  and marinate for 1 hour.
(overnight marination inside fridge is also good. But add 1 tbsp vinegar if doing so).
Chop the onion, green chily in lengthwise.
Chop Tomato,  few cilantro, mint into small pieces.
Grind green chili, ginger and garlic together to a fine paste.
Separately grind cilantro, mint to a very fine paste.
Green chili can be ground with either ginger garlic or mint cilantro. Doesn't matter.
Allocate 1 tbsp of each paste for 1 cup rice. Therefore 3 tbsp GG paste and 3 Tbsp green paste are needed.
Keep everything in the ingredient list handy before starting the cooking procees.
Within that time the chicken would have marinated for an hour.

Soaking the rice:
While we start tempering,  rinse and clean the rice. Soak it in water for 10 minutes , drain water and let it remain for 10 to 15 minutes only (while we saute and cook the meat). Don't soak for more time. 

Heat oil + ghee in a  broad bottom vessel.
Soak the rice in room temp water for only 10 to 15  minutes.
Add all the items given under spices.
Immediately add the chopped onion + little salt and fry.
Add cashew , raisin.
The sugar in the raisin will speeden up the process.
Fry till onion becomes golden brown. This takes nearly 5 minutes.
Add the ginger garlic paste and stir for 30 secs .
Now add the finely chopped tomato and cilantro paste. Saute till the tomato gets mashed and oil starts showing off. 
Now put the chicken pieces along with some more salt, powdered masala and cook it covered for 10 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.

Cooking the rice:
Bring 1.5 liter of water to boil. Add 1 tsp salt.
While water is boiling , add soaked rice and cook for 5 minutes only or until the rice is 50 % cooked. The rice would have gotten bigger in size but not cooked. If we press the rice it should not be soft, but it should break into two. Immediately drain the water and keep aside.

Dhum process:
Into the cooked chicken add the semi cooked rice. Squeeze 1/2 or 1 lemon.
Add some chopped cilantro mint , green chily (if needed), a drop of rose essence.
Mix gently without breaking the rice grains.
Now add water just enough to immerse the rice and meat completely.  
We can add coconut milk also to make it more tasty.
Mix and check salt.
It should taste a tiny bit salty.
If not add required fine salt (not coarse salt) and mix once.
As soon as the water starts boiling, we can see some holes start appearing on rice. close the vessel with a tight lid.
Reduce flame to minimum.
Keep a pan filled with hot water over the lid.
keep this setup for 30 minutes.
Then open it.
Garnish with minced cilantro, mint.
Spread 1 or 2 tbsp ghee over the biriyani.
Mix well once carefully.

Tirunelveli Muslim style chicken Dum Biriyani is ready !

Serving suggestions:
In Tirunelveli Muslim marriages they Serve it with Thakkali jam(a kind of Tomato jam) , onion - carrot raitha , any spicy non veg curry , of course a semiya javvarisi payasam and a special dish called dhalsa (a thick dhal curry made with some mutton).

Ingredients in Tamil:
6 பேருக்கு சிக்கன் பிரியாணி 
பாசுமதி அரிசி  - 3  கப் (600 gm)
கோழி   - 1 1/4 kg 
தயிர்  - 1/2  cup
உப்பு  - 4 tsp to சுவைக்கு 
மஞ்சள்  - 1 tsp

தாளிக்க :
பச்சை மிளகாய்  - 5 
வெங்காயம்  - 3 (400 gm)
தக்காளி  - 5 (400 gm)
எலுமிச்சை  - 1/2
நெய் - 3 tbsp
கடலைஎண்ணெய் - 1/4 cup
மிளகாய் தூள் - 1 tsp
கரம்மசாலா தூள் - 1 tsp
ரோஸ் எசென்ஸ்  - 1 துளி 
மல்லி இலை  - 1 சின்ன கட்டு 
புதினா  - 1 சின்ன கட்டு 
முந்திரி  - 10
கிஸ்மிஸ் - 10

அரைக்க 1:
இஞ்சி  - 2 inch (50 gm )
பூண்டு - 1 (50 gm)
பச்சை மிளகாய்  - 5

அரைக்க 2:
மல்லி இலை  - 1 சின்ன கட்டு 
புதினா  - 1 சின்ன கட்டு 

வாசனை பொருட்கள்:
சோம்பு  - 1 tsp
பட்டை  - 3 inch long
பிரிஞ்சி இலை - 2
அன்னாசி பூ  - 1
கல்பாசி - 2 சுருள் 
ஜாதிக்காய்  - சிறிய துண்டு 
ஜாதிபத்திரி  - 1/4 பூ 
ஏலக்காய்  - 6
கிராம்பு  - 10
மராத்தி மொக்கு  - 1

கரம் மசாலா பொடி :
(வறுத்து பொடிக்க)
சோம்பு  - 1 tbsp
பட்டை  - 3 inch long
பிரிஞ்சி இலை - 2
அன்னாசி பூ  - 1
கல்பாசி - 2 சுருள் 
ஜாதிக்காய்  - சிறிய துண்டு 
ஜாதிபத்திரி  - 1/4 பூ 
ஏலக்காய்  - 6
கிராம்பு  - 10
மராத்தி மொக்கு  - 1
மிளகு - 1 tbsp 
ரோஜா மொட்டு - 1

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...