Monday, April 29, 2024

Traditional Tamilnadu style Lemon Rice (Elumichai satham)

Lemon rice is a kind of 'Variety rice' 'sitharannam' prepared in Tamilnadu, Andhra, Kerala and almost whole South India. 

For variety rice we should consider taking uncooked rice 3/4 cup  for 1 adult whereas for plain rice with sambar or any other curries, we will need lesser quantity (1/2 cup for 1 adult). This measurement is based on a person who eats a 'city side' small size meal. But for hard working adults they may need more rice measurement.

I prefer 'Pacharisi' (raw rice. Smells just like Basmati rice) and sesame oil for preparing lemon rice, puliyotharai as they give these variety rices an authentic flavor.

Ingredients: (for 3 - 4 adults)
Rice - 2 cup 
Water - as per need
Lemon - 1
Mustard - 1 tsp
Bengal gram (channa dhal)- 2 tbsp
Dry red chilli - 2
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
curry leaves - 1 sprig
Sesame oil - 2 tbsp
salt - to taste

Rinse and cook the rice. 
Cook the rice in a pressure cooker or rice cooker or by boiling on stove top.
If cooking using a pressure cooker , the water measurement = (rice x2)-1/2 cup
If using a rice cooker, then add rinsed rice to the inner pot of electric rice cooker. Then add water upto the mark. (If we added 2 cups rice, then fill water upto line says 2). My electric rice cooker brand is Aroma and that's how I cook the rice. I have seen almost all the other brands also have the same instruction.
Cook the rice in a grainy finish (not mushy). Let it cool a bit, by spreading it on a plate.
Heat oil in a pan . Add mustard and as soon as it starts crackle, add channa dal. Let the channa dal get mild red.
Add curry leaves and cut dry chillies.
Switch off stove.
In a  separate bowl, squeeze a lemon and discard seeds .
Add the juice to the fried items in the pan.
Add salt and turmeric powder.
Cool the rice a little and mix it with the items in the pan.
If needed add some lime juice, salt after checking the taste.
Lemon rice is ready.

Serving suggestions:

Serves 3 people as lunch or travel food.
If prepared along with curd rice, then this quantity will be enough for 4-5 people.
Serve with Sesame chutney , coconut chutney or ulunthu chutney.
This lemon rice will not get spoiled , if prepared without touching by hands or adding water at the end. It stays good for 2 days even outside the refrigerator.
Best side dishes for lemon rice are potato fry or boiled egg stuffed with masala or masal vadai and also a piece of lemon pickle or a tbsp of thick coconut thogaiyal.

Friday, April 26, 2024

Potato fry (Urulaikilangu varuval)

Potato fry (urulaikilangu varuval) is a famous but simple side dish in Indian cuisine. This can be prepared in a jiffy and a staple in many people's lunch packs. I think this is more popular in Tamilnadu , as we all have childhood memories about this curry. Lemon rice and puli rice are permanent friends for those travelers. 
My mom used to prepare this and coconut chutney (specially made to withstand Indian summer), along with a 'variety rice' like tomato rice, lemon rice, Puli rice, curd rice etc for lunch pack as well as for our 'picnics / temple vists / one day tours'. We were a big family and we won't consider eating out as binging our own lunch pack was more economical as well as hygienic. But economical was the first point to consider in these situations while growing up. We used to go to Tiruchendur temple or any nearby temples as they were like our picnic spots. Amma, chithi, athais would get up early and prepare these variety rices and pack them in large lunch carriers. These kind of activities made the ladies love each other more and kind of encouraged us all in some group activities. I like my modern life style too. After marriage, we never pack lunches for picnics as we all started to like to eat at restaurants and dress nicely and love to stay pretty. I won't blame the modernization, as I always love growing modern. But still sometimes I used to pack some picnic lunches for us during our Chennai picnics and here in USA too. Nowadays,  I understand amma more, when I cook like her for picnics . LOL.
Still the memory of my amma and her love to prepare these 'variety rices' and 'potato fry' 'fried coconut chutney', or 'paruppu vadai' lingers in my mind and I love my memories very much. Yes, food is such a powerful force, as those nostalgic feelings makes us a better person everyday !

Potato - 4 (200 gm)
Coconut oil - 2 tbsp
Fennel - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp (to taste)
Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste

Peel and cut the potato into small cubes.
Heat oil in a thick bottom wok and add fennel.
After it starts becoming mild red, add the potato and fry for 2 minutes.
Reduce the heat, add salt, turmeric and cook covered.
After it is cooked and starts turning little crispy , add the chilly powder and garam masala powder. Again stir till raw smell vanishes. 
The entire process takes just 10 mins (not including the dish washing time. LOL).
Switch off.
Potato fry is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve hot with sambar rice, curd rice, lemon rice or chapathi.
Makes a good side dish for lemon rice for picnics.

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Rava upma

Easy tasty Rava upma without stirring too much.

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Rava (Sooji) - 2 cup 
Water - 4 cups
Salt - 1/2 tsp 
Onion - 1 
Green chilly - 2 
Ginger - 1 inch 
Curry leaf - 1 sprig 
Cilantro - few
Carrot -1  / Beans 10 / Peas 1/4 cup
Channa dhal - 1Tbsp 
Mustard - 1  tsp 
Shredded coconut - 2 tbsp (optional) 
Sesame oil - 2 +1 Tbsp

In Tamil:
ரவை - 2 கப் 
தண்ணீர்  - 4 கப் 
உப்பு - 1/2 தேக்கரண்டி 
பெல்லாரி வெங்காயம் - 1 
பச்சை மிளகாய் - 2 
இஞ்சி - 1 இஞ்ச்  
கறிவேப்பிலை  - 1 இணுக்கு 
மல்லித்தழை  - சிறிது 
கேரட் -1  or  பீன்ஸ் 10 or  பட்டாணி 1/4 கப் 
கடலைப்பருப்பு  - 1 மேசைக்கரண்டி 
கடுகு  - 1 தேக்கரண்டி 
துருவிய தேங்காய் - 2 தேக்கரண்டி 
நல்லெண்ணெய் - 2  + 1 மேசைக்கரண்டி 

water = number of cups of ravai x 2
Salt - 1/2 tsp (1/4tsp per cup of rava) 
Rava for 1 adult = 3/4 cup

Heat a wok. Add ravai and mix 1 Tbsp Sesame oil with ravai.
Dry roast the rava till it smells good / starts to become coarse like sand. 
Transfer it to a plate .

Chop the onion, curry leaf, ginger, green chilly, Carrot finely. 
Heat 2 tbsp oil in the same wok. 
Add mustard seed. let it splutter. Once it starts popping ,  add the channa dhal and let it turn mild red.
Then add chopped onion, chili, carrot , curry leaf cilantro.
Fry all the chopped ingredients till the onion starts to become transparent ( 2 mins in medium heat).
Add the water + Salt and let it come to a boil. (Water for rava upma is twice the measure of rava). (For very coarse upma reduce 1/2 cup water from the total measure. For sticky upma the ratio is 1 part rava :3 parts water).

Then reduce flame and sprinkle the rava in equal spacing , just like shower. 
Don't stir. (Stirring will result in uneven cooking) .
Immediately cover with a lid. 
Reduce flame to minimum. 
After 2-3  minutes in low flame , open the lid and start to stir using a spatula. 
we can see the uppuma got cooked well and starts leaving the edges. 
Cook covered in low flame once again for 5 mins.
Switch off. 
Add shredded coconut or ghee and mix well (optional). 
Perfectly cooked upma is ready !

Serving suggestions: 
Serve as breakfast or dinner along with coconut chutney or sugar. 
I like my upma with pickle or some karakulambu.

Monday, April 22, 2024

Creamy Rich Paneer Mattar Masala

Paneer -  Paneer or  panir, is a non melting , non aged Indian cheese made from full fat cow's milk, by curdling it with lemon juice or vinegar. 
Mattar -  Peas, pachai pattani.
Paneer mattar masala is a quite popular dish all over India. It is a less-spicy (sweetish touch) curry and hence it's popularity has spread globally to a point that, you will definitely get this curry if you go to an Indian restaurant buffet. We love this paneer mattar masala very much and make it once a month.Whenever I make it, I do this in a large batch , so that we could have this along with chapathi for almost 4 dinners and I could focus on my other works. So this is like a blessing dish for anyone who likes 'meal preps'. 

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Paneer -300 gm 
Green Peas - 2 cup
Peanut oil - 2 tbsp
Tomato - 4
(or) 2 cups Diced tomato from can
Onion - 1 (big)
Gnger - 2 inch
Garlic - 5 cloves
Almond or cashew  - 10
Cinnamon - 2 inch
Cumin - 1 tsp
Fennel - 1 tsp
Cardamom - 6
Sugar - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
coriander powder - 3 tsp
salt - 2 tsp
Cilantro - a handful
Dried methi leaves  - 1 tbsp
Butter - 1  tbsp


Add hot water to almond or cashew and soak for 1 hour. Let cool.
Grind ginger garlic together to a fine mixture without adding water.
Heat oil in a wok. Chop the paneer into 1 inch size cubes. (Fry the chopped paneer till golden brown and keep aside - Optional).
Slice the onion lengthwise. 
Heat 2 tbsp peanut oil in a kadai. Add onion, fennel, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom.
Fry till onion becomes golden brown. 
Then  add ginger garlic paste and fry for 1 minute. 
Add chopped  tomato and saute till oil separates. Add 1 tsp sugar.

Remove skin of almond. Add it to the frying tomatoes.
Add 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 3 tsp coriander pdr, 1/2 tsp garam masala powder.
Saute for 1 min to remove raw smell. Then switch off and let cool.
Grind this to a fine paste using 1/2 cup water.

In the same pan, add 2 cups of water. Add 1 cup fresh peas (or frozen peas thawed for 30 mins).  Cook till soft.
If using Indian fresh peas, then cook it for long time. If using American sweet peas, we can cook it within 10 mins.

After cooking the paste, add the prepared 'finely ground masala'. 
Reduce flame and cook covered for 10 minutes.

As the raw smell vanishes and oil starts showing up add the fried / chopped paneer and mix well.
Keep it in low flame for 5 minutes and switch off.

Garnish with finely chopped cilantro and kasuri methi.

Paneer mattar masala is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve hot with chapati or paratha.

No need to fry the paneer. It is optional only.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Chicken Kofta kebab using Kitchenaid meat grinder attachment

This is a protein rich healthy chicken kebab recipe. In this recipe and video I have shown how to use kitchenaid meat grinder attachment and various appliances to prepare this chicken kofta kebab from scratch. Grinding the meat is a much economical process when compared to buying ground meat. Also we can get to choose our favorite meats. 

Appliances used in this recipe are : Kitchenaid meat grinder attachment,  Flat blade and bowl to mix the meat, cuisinart 13 cup food processor to chop the onion and herbs, Baking oven, Dishwasher.

Parts of Kitchenaid meat grinder attachment:
Body of meat grinder
Grind worm
Plates for output
Meat pusher / wrench / spanner

Chicken thighs (boneless, skinless) - 3 lb
Red onion (big) - 2
Green chili - 3
Cilantro - small bunch
Mint - small bunch
Ginger - 2 inch
Salt - 4 tsp
Red chili powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 3 tsp
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1 tsp
Besan flour - 1 1/4 cup
Peanut oil (any oil) - 2 tbsp + 2 tbsp

Remove the skin, bones, fat from chicken.
Grind the chicken.
Finely chop veggies, add to minced meat.
Add salt, red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala, Turmeric powder , Besan flour, oil 2 tbsp.
Attach the bowl to stand mixer and attach the flat beater.
Mix the above all together at speed 2-4 for 1 minute.
Then check if we need little salt or besan (we should be able to roll them as soft balls).
Add few tsp of oil to the side of the mixed meat (to touch while making the kofta).
Coat a baking tray with 1 tsp of oil.
Shape the kofta into small balls or oblong shapes.
Bake at 375 F (preheat for 10 mins before baking) for 15 min one side. Then flip and bake 10 more mins.
It should get mild golden red color.
Baked Kofta kebab is ready !

Serving suggestion:
Make required kofta using the meat batter. Keep the remaining dough in freezer and use it at convenience.
(To bring it to room temp, just leave it on kitchen counter for 3-4 hours).
Serve as side dish along with hot sauce.

Friday, April 12, 2024

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 crowns (whole). But we can buy them chopped and frozen packs too. So I cook many recipes using broccoli.

In America, I have seen many people enjoying this as raw along with a dip. That's a nice choice too. But I cook it tender crisp to reduce the bloating effect of broccoli. This is one of the healthiest vegetables in the world. The athletes call this as smart carb. It reduces cholesterol, supports vision, liver, muscles and it is totally an amazing veggie. 

Broccoli (chopped) - 1 lb (1/2 kg)
Red onion - 2 (small)
Sesame oil - 2 tbsp
Mustard seed - 1 tsp
Urid dal - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaf - few
Salt - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Water - 1/4 cup
Shredded coconut - 2 tbsp
Cumin - 1/2 tsp

Rinse and clean the broccoli.
Chop it into medium size pieces.

Heat oil in a wok. Add mustard, as it starts popping add Urid dal.
Immediately urid starts getting red, then add  the chopped onion, curry leaf and fry till the onion turns golden brown.

Then put the chopped broccoli and fry for a minute.
Add salt, Turmeric, Red chilly powder, and mix well.
Add 1/4 cup water and cook covered till the vegetable is cooked (3 mins) and water would be absorbed / evaporated by that time (medium heat).

Take off lid and saute till all the moisture is gone.
Add shredded coconut, cumin and mix well.
Switch off.

Broccoli poriyal is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve as side dish with sambar rice or roti or any rice.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

Pineapple fried rice is one of the most favorite items of any mall goers in USA.  So I think it is popular  all over the world. Thai foods can be made into vegan, vegetarian , eggetarian , pescatarian, or any hardcore non vegetarian dish. Also its  spice levels can vary from zero to 1-5 and also sweetish. That kind of flexibility has made it an all around champion among food lovers.

This Pineapple Thai fried rice is my hubby's favorite. I prepare his most favorites if it's his wfh day.  Otherwise I would just pack a regular lemon rice or puli rice :) 

So during Valentine's Day weekend I made this yummy Thai Pineapple fried rice for us and we loved it very much.

Sharing this yummy recipe for you all !

Disclaimer:  My Thai pineapple rice tasted just like a mall bought or a restaurant made version. Hence I thought this is a very good recipe to share. Otherwise my knowledge on Thai foods is negligible . LOL.
I have used some sauces here. But instead we can just use Duck sauce or Thai sweet chili sause (for sweetness) mix with regular walmart Soy sauce. This combo too can do the same mall flavored yummy version.
I have used Thai Jasmine Lucky rice. We can use any Jasmine rice.
I have used the leaf of an onion which I am growing in our house (saves a few bucks. LOL).
I have used ordinary pepper powder only.

Jasmine rice - 3/4 cup
Tofu - 2 cups cubed
Cashew - 2 tbsp
White onion - 1/2
Red bell pepper - 1/4
Spring onion - 1 
Zucchini - 1/2
Pineapple (fresh) - 1 cup
Sesame oil - 4 tbsp
Crushed chili flakes - 1 tsp

Dry seasoning:
Salt - 1.5 tsp
Sugar - 2.5 tsp
White pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
Curry powder - 1 tsp
Coconut milk powder - 1 tsp

Liquid seasoning:
Soy sauce - 2 tbsp
Oyster sauce or. fish sauce - 2 tbsp

Cube the onion, bell pepper, Zucchini. Keep aside.
Chop the green onion leaf and keep aside for garnishing.
Cube the pineapple (use fresh only) into 1 inch size cubes. Keep aside.

Cut the tofu into 1 inch size cubes.
Spread it on a paper towel (for 1 hour) to dry. 
Add a tsp of sesame oil in a pan. Shallow fry the cashews crispy and red. Keep aside.
In the same pan fry the tofu after removing excess moisture.

Soak the rice for 10 mins.
Bring 6 cups of water to a boil.
Add rice. Cook for 10 mins (should be firm but cooked).
Drain water. Rinse in cold water and keep aside on a plate and let it cool completely.
Or keep the cooked rice in fridge for a day (it is better).

Heat a frying pan with 2 tbsp sesame oil.
Add onion and saute for few seconds (just one or 2 stirring is enough, to keep the onion crispy and fresh).
Add the zucchini, bellpepper, stir fry for 1 minute.
Add chopped pineapple, tofu and mix well.
Add the liquid seasoning we mixed. Stir once.
Add the dry seasoning mix we prepared above. Stir well and mix it thoroughly.
Now add the crushed chili flakes and mix well.
Add 3 cups of cooked rice and mix well in high heat. 
Also add the fried cashews.
Sprinkle the chopped spring onion , stir fry together in high heat.
Serve totally hot immediately,

Serving Suggestion:
Serve as main course lunch or dinner. 
Serves 2-3 adults.


Thursday, April 4, 2024

Mochai kottai Puli kulambu / Mochai kai kara kulambu:

Mochai -
Val dal Field Beans or Hyacinth Beans.  A tamarind based curry famous in Tirunelveli of Tamilnadu, India. This curry is poured over rice on everyone's plate. It should be mixed with hands and enjoyed as main course meal during lunch or dinner. This rice and curry is accompanied with some vegetable curries or appalam. This is a spicy curry.


Mochai kottai / val dhal -  3/4 cup
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 3 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chili powder  - 1 tsp
water - 2 cups
salt - 2 tsp
Small Brinjal - 2
Tomato - 1
Tamarind - small lime size
To Grind:
Red onion - 1/2 cup (chopped)
Shredded coconut - 1/4 cup
Cumin - 1 tsp
To  Temper:
Mustard - 1 tsp
Methi seeds- 1/2 tsp
curry leaves - 1 sprig
Sesame oil - 2 tbsp
Hing - 1 pinch


(If you are using the fresh beans then just start from the method.
otherwise go for pre soaking.)
Dry roast the mochai kottai, till u see dark spots on the outer layer and a nice aroma. (takes 5 mins)
Then rinse it with water twice. Add water till it gets well immersed. Soak for an hour (just 15 mins is enough).
While it is soaking, start cooking the other stuffs or make the side dish or rice.
Soak the tamarind in hot water and extract juice using 2 cups of water.

Pressure cook:
This mochai kottai can be cooked in stove top too, but it takes nearly an hour. It is also common to soak this dal overnight instead of dry roasting it. (dry roasting makes this curry more yummy).
So to save fuel, we are Pressure cooking it.
In stove top pressure cooker, let it make one whistle. Then reduce flame and cook for 5 minutes.
Instant pot:
In electric pressure cooker, touch the 'pressure cook' button. Set time to 5 mins. 
It will be ready within 15 mins.

After cooking the mochai kottai, add turmeric, salt, chili powder, coriander powder and keep aside.

Cut the eggplant / brinjal into long size pieces.
Chop the tomato finely.
Heat oil in a pan.
Crackle mustard seeds , add fenugreek seeds , curry leaves and asafoetida.
Add the cut chopped onion, brinjal and fry till eggplant gets semi cooked (wilt).
Then add the mochai kottai with masalas, Mix well.
Add the tamarind juice.
Let it boil till the raw smell of tamarind vanishes.
Add the prepared coconut masala and cook covered (5 mins).
Cook till the vegetables become tender.

Switch off and serve hot.
Yummy Mochai kottai kulambu is ready.

Serving suggestions:

Makes 3 cups of thick spicy Puli kulambu.
It can be served for 4 people.
Serve hot with steamed rice and and any vegetable side dish or with egg omelet.

மொச்சைக்கொட்டை புளி குழம்பு 
மொச்சைக்கொட்டை -  3/4 கப் 
மஞ்சள் தூள் - 1/2 தேக்கரண்டி 
மிளகாய் தூள் - 1 தேக்கரண்டி 
மல்லி தூள்  - 3 தேக்கரண்டி 
தண்ணீர்  - 2 கப் 
கல்உப்பு  - 2 தேக்கரண்டி 
கத்தரிக்காய் - 2 
தக்காளி - 1
புளி - சின்ன எலுமிச்சை அளவு 
அரைக்க : 
வெங்காயம்  - 1 /2 கப் 
துருவிய தேங்காய்  - 1/4 கப் 
சீரகம்  - 1 தேக்கரண்டி 
தாளிக்க :
கடுகு  - 1 தேக்கரண்டி 
வெந்தயம்  1/2 தேக்கரண்டி 
கறிவேப்பிலை  - 1 கொத்து 
நல்லெண்ணெய்  - 2 மேஜைக்கரண்டி 
பெருங்காயம்  - 1 சிட்டிகை 

Monday, April 1, 2024

Tamil Village chicken roast

 Tamilnadu village special chicken curry recipe made from scratch.
கிராமத்து வறுத்து அரைத்த கோழி கறி 

Chicken - 3/4 kg (1.5 lb)
Shredded coconut - 1/2 cup
Ginger - 1 inch
Garlic - 1
Red onion - 2 cups
Tomato - 2
Sesame oil - 1/2 cup
Fennel - 1 tsp
Cinnamon - 1 inch
kalpasi - 1 piece
Curry leaf - handful
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Sea salt - 3 tsp

To roast:
Coriander seed - 2 tbsp
Spicy Dry red chilli - 4
Black pepper - 1 tbsp
Cumin - 1 tsp
Fennel - 1 tsp
Cardamom - 5
Cloves - 5
Kalpasi - small piece
Cinnamon - 2 inch long
Mace - tiny piece
Sesame oil - 1 tsp

Add 1 tsp oil to a pan. Fry red chilies. Take them out.
Then add the other items to roast together.
In a low heat, roast them for 5 mins or until they are crispy. Switch off immediately if it starts charring.
Let them all cool.
Grind with 1/2 cup coconut with few tsp of water to a thick paste.

Grind together peeled garlic and ginger.

Rinse the chicken (choose chicken with bones , thighs. Not the white meat). Cut chicken into 2 inch size pieces.
Chop onion, tomato. Keep separate.
Heat oil in a pan.
Add Fennel 1 tsp, cinnamon 1 inch, Kalpasi - a piece.
Add chopped onion, curry leaf and fry at medium heat for 5 mins or until it gets mild golden brown.
Add chopped tomato, 1/2 tsp salt, turmeric and fry till oil separates.
Then add the cleaned chicken.
Add 1/2 tsp salt and mix well.
Cook covered for 10 mins.
Then add prepared masala, enough salt and mix well.
Loosely close the lid and let it cook.
At the same time let the excess water evaporate and it becomes a thick gravy.
Switch off.

Village style chicken roast is ready !

Serving suggestions:
Serve as curry over rice 
Or as side dish with rice or briyani or chapati, parotta.
Serves 6 - 8 adults as side dish.

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...