Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Thiruvadhirai Poduthuval/Thoran

Thiruvadhirai is celebrated in the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, though the rituals in both the states are very different. In Tamil Nadu, people generally, wake up very early, take a bath and prepare the offerings of Kali (a sweet rice pudding) and poduthuval (curried vegetables). I don’t know how our ancestors came up with this unusual combination of sweet and savoryJ.
Thiruvadhirai Poduthuval/thoran or kootu is a side dish that is served alsong with Kali. Every household has their own way of preparing it. Some prepare like how it like a dry curry. Some prepare like a kootu and still others prepare something like a Sambar with 5 or 7 different vegetables. Kaavathu, Mochai, Koorkai (Chinese Potato), Sweet Potato, Pumpkin, Broad Beans are some of the vegetables that are generally used.
I am posting the way my mother prepares it. A special vegetable called Kaavathu is an important part of this thoran. It does not matter how much you add, even a very small piece of it would do. But according to mom, kaavathu is important. But if you don’t find it in your neighborhood, use the other vegetables and prepare this thoran.

Serves – 3 to 4
What you’ll need
  1. Pumpkin – 1.5 cup, cut into medium sized cubes
  2. Sweet potato – 1 cup, cut into cubes
  3. Broad Beans – 8 Nos, cut into 1inch pieces
  4. Green Peas – 1/2 cup
  5. Kaavathu – ½ cup, cut into cubes
  6. Fresh scraped coconut – ¼ cup
  7. Green Chilly – 1 or 2
  8. Salt to taste
  9. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
For tempering
  1. Coconut oil – 1 tbsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  3. Urad Dal – ½ tsp
  4.  Curry Leaves – 8 to 10 leaves, torn
  1. Wash all the vegetables well.
  2. Toss the vegetables with salt and turmeric powder and place them in a steamer and cook till the vegetables are done. (If you do not have a steamer, place the vegetables in a vessel, toss with turmeric and salt and cook in a pressure cooker for one whistle. Do not add water to the vegetables)
  3. Once the vegetables are done, remove and allow to cool.
  4. In the meanwhile, grind the coconut and green chilly into a coarse paste without adding water.
  5. Heat a Kadai with coconut oil, add mustard seeds, once they splutter add the urad dal.
  6. After the dal become golden, add the curry leaves and cooked vegetables and mix carefully, taking care not to break the pieces. Let everything get heated up well, i.e for about 4 to 5 minutes.
  7. Finally add the crushed coconut and green chillies and mix carefully. Remove from heat after 3 to 4 minutes.
Thiruvadhirai Poduthuval is ready.

This poduthuval is dry. Some people make it like a kootu, for that, you can add about ¼ to ½ cup of water while cooking the vegetables. And follow the same procedure. Also keep aside a little rice flour of the Kali and add it to the kootu at the end. This will make it all come together.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Mysore Rasam

The other day while updating the Recipe Index on my blog, I realized that I have posted only one rasam recipe so far. It is not that I don’t prepare rasam frequently; rather it is one of the items that is prepared very often in my house. As I have mentioned in my other rasam post, I just knew of a couple of rasams prior to marriage namely the tomato rasam and Jeera rasam. But after marriage, I have learnt quite a few types of rasams from my MIL, which I keep preparing very regularly.

Now, you must be wondering why then have I not posted any of these? Though I have always thought of posting the rasam varieties, but when it came to taking pictures of it, I was at a loss. The pictures were never satisfactory. At one point I just gave up the thought of clicking Rasam.

Couple of days back, I decided to give it a try again, and I kind of got a few decent clicks. So here I am with the post.

Serves – 3 to 4
What you’ll need
  1. Tomatoes – 2
  2. Thin Tamarind Extract – ¾ cup
  3. Asafoetida – a generous pinch
  4. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  5. Salt to taste
  6. Water – 2 cup
  7. Cooked and mashed Toor Dal – 1 tbsp
  8. Powdered Jaggery – 1 tsp
  9. Curry Leaves – few
  10. Coriander Leaves – chopped 1 tbsp

To Roast and Grind
  1. Toor Dal – 1 tbsp
  2. Coriander Seeds – 1 Tbsp
  3. Cumin Seeds – ½ tsp
  4. Dried Red chilly – 1 or 2
  5. Black Peppercorns – 8 to 10
  6. Fenugreek Seeds – ¼ tsp
  7. Scraped Coconut – 1 tbsp

For tempering
  1. Ghee – ½ tsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  3. Cumin Seeds – ½ tsp

  1. Grind the tomatoes and pour it into the vessel in which you are going to boil the rasam.
  2. Add the tamarind extract to it.
  3. Add turmeric powder, asafetida and salt to taste. Mix well. Add about 1.5 cups of water and start heating on low to medium flame.
  4. In the meanwhile, roast all the items mentioned under “roast and grind” till a nice aroma arises and the toor dal and slightly changed color. Grind everything into a smooth paste using a little water.
  5. Add this ground paste also to the simmering rasam. Mix well. Also add a tsp of jaggery.
  6. Let everything simmer for about 15 minutes. Make sure you cook on low to medium flame if your keep it on high the rasam will boil very quickly and will boil over. You can add a ladle in the vessel while it is simmering to prevent the rasam from boiling over.
  7. Add the remaining half cup of water to the cooked and mashed dal mix well and add it to the simmering rasam. Add chopped coriander and curry leaves. Remove from heat when rasam starts frothing. Do not boil.
  8. Heat a small frying pan with ghee and add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Pour this over the rasam close with lid and let it sit for about 5 minutes.

Serve hot with rice and some spicy potato curry.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dum Aloo

Baby potatoes were a rarity in Bangalore. But in Chennai, these cute potatoes seem to be available around the year. Whenever I see a packet of these I can’t resist myself from buying them. I love preparing the Chettinad Style Roast Potatoes, which is our family favorite too. It goes very well with vengaya sambar. And yes, I prepare Dum Aloo too. I have prepared it many times after coming to Chennai, as they are available almost always. I had clicked pictures of these long back, but was not very satisfied. So the post had to wait till I made them once again and clicked some better ones.

Dum aloo doesn’t need any special introduction. But while I was searching for some recipes using baby potatoes, I found that each region has its own variation of this classic gravy, like the Kashmiri dum aloo, Bengali Dum aloo, Amritsari dum aloo, Benarsi Dum aloo. One day, I intend to try all of these. The version which I have posted today is my own concoction and this is the way I have been making dum aloo for more than a decade now. I can’t vouch for its authenticity but sure can vouch for its taste. It tastes delicious. So do try and let me know how you liked it!

What you’ll need
  1. Baby potatoes – 25
  2. Yoghurt/curd – ¼ cup
  3. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  4. Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
  5. Kashmiri Chilly Powder – 1 tsp
  6. Garam Masala Powder – ½ tsp
  7. Cumin Seeds – ½  tsp
  8. Salt to taste
  9. Oil – 2 to 3 tbsp
  10. Fresh Coriander Leaves – for garnishing
  11. Onion – 3 Medium
  12. Tomato – 3 Medium
  13. Garlic – 2 cloves
  14. Ginger – 1 inch piece
  15. Cashew nuts – 5 to 6

  1. Pressure cook the baby potatoes. Peel and prick them with a fork. Take care not to break the potatoes.
  2. Grind the onions, ginger and garlic and cashew nuts to a smooth paste.
  3. Blanch tomatoes, remove skin and grind. Keep aside.
  4. Heat a non stick kadai with a tbsp of oil, and roast the potatoes till they are lightly browned about 6 to 7 minutes. Keep turning them so that they are evenly browned.
  5. In the meanwhile, heat another Kadai with the remaining oil. Add cumin seeds. Once they change color. Add the ground onion, ginger and garlic paste. Sauté for 5 to 6 minutes on medium flame or till the raw smell has disappeared. Take care not to burn the paste and to fry well. Keep stirring regularly for even cooking.
  6. Now add the tomato paste and fry for another 4 to 5 minutes or till all the moisture is absorbed.
  7. Now add the spice powders, turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chilly powder and sauté for a minute.
  8. Whisk the curds well reduce the heat to low and add it to the onion tomato paste. Cook on low flame for 3 to 4 minutes or till everything comes together.
  9. Next add the fried potatoes and mix without everything without breaking the potatoes.
  10. Add water to adjust the consistency of the gravy.
  11. Add the garam masala powder, check for seasonings mix well.
  12. Cover and let it simmer for 5 to 6 minutes on a low flame.

Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rotis.

You can deep fry the potatoes if you wish, but pan frying them tastes equally good.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Oats Dosa

In my earlier posts I have mentioned quite a few times, that our family is not the kind that sits down for a formal breakfast of idly and dosa everyday. Our breakfast is oats porridge on most of the days. It is on days when I feel that the lunch may get delayed that I prepare a proper breakfast and that happens very rarely. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have any of the breakfast items. It’s just that we don’t have it at breakfast time rather at dinner time. Now that makes it really difficult for me to click pictures of all these dosa and upma recipes which I prepare for dinner. So there are many recipes which I prepare on a day to day basis and these have not appeared on my blog yet.

The other day, when I decided to prepare these Oats Dosas, I prepared the batter in the afternoon itself and made dosas for my daughter, so that she could have them when she came back from school and I would get a chance to click pictures as well. The batter stays fresh for about 2 to 3 days when refrigerated.

So here is the recipe for a healthy dosa with the goodness of oats.

Makes – approx 16 dosas
What  you’ll need
  1. Oats – 1 cup
  2. Rice Flour – 3 cups
  3. Curd (slightly sour) – about 1 cup
  4. Salt to taste
  5. Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  6. Green chillies – 1, finely chopped
  7. Ginger – a small piece, grated
  8. Coriander Leaves – 1 tbsp, finely chopped

For tempering
  1. Oil – 1 tsp
  2. Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
  3. Asafoetida – 1 pinch

  1. Beat the curds well and soak the oats in it for about 30 minutes.
  2. Grind this into a paste.
  3. Transfer into a bowl, add the rice flour and mix well.
  4. Now add enough water and whisk well without forming lumps to a watery batter. (Just like you do for Rava Dosa)
  5. Add green chillies, grated ginger, chopped coriander and salt to taste.
  6. Rub the cumin seeds between your palms a few times and add that also.
  7. Now heat a small frying pan with oil, temper with mustard seeds and asafetida. Mix well.
  8. Heat a tawa well, reduce the flame, take a ladle full of batter and pour the batter in a circular motion from the outer to the inner of the tawa. Just like you do for raw dosa.
  9. Drizzle a little oil. Cook on medium flame till the edges start browning. Flip over and cook for another 2 minutes.
  10. Remove from tawa. Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve hot with a chutney of your choice. Tastes good with onion chutney.

  1. Use good quality rice flour else you may not get crisp dosas. If you don’t have rice flour, you can soak rice for about 2 to 3 hours and grind to a smooth paste and use it instead of rice flour.
  2. Make sure the batter is watery else you may not get thin dosas.
  3. Also make sure that the tava is really hot while pouring the batter, reduce flame while pouring and then cook on medium flame.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Badam Kheer/Almond Milk

Yesterday, my blog baby turned 2. It would never have been possible without the support of my family, friends, virtual friends, readers and silent readers. I remember how I started this blog without even knowing what actually blogging is. I had no idea how to present food and take good pictures. I did not know anything about lighting, backgrounds etc. I have actually taken photographs in the night, with the only light source being a single tube light, and posted them as well. I was always excited about blogging. The day I post a recipe, I keep checking my mail a dozen times in a day to see how many comments my post has received. It continues even today, after two years. That excitement to cook, click and post is still the same. And I hope it just continues this way. I thank all the people who stop by this little space of mine and keep it ticking!

Serves - 4
What you’ll need
  1. Almonds – ¾ cup
  2. Milk – 3 ½ cup
  3. Sugar – ¾ cup
  4. Saffron 6 to 7 strands

  1. Take the almonds in a vessel. Add water to immerse them well.
  2. Heat this till the water starts boiling. Remove and set aside.
  3. Cool completely and remove the skin of the almonds
  4. Grind the almonds with about ¼ to ½ cup of water into a smooth paste.
  5. Boil the milk in a vessel. Once it starts boiling, let it keep simmering. Stir once in awhile to avoid burning.
  6. Take a ladle full of warm milk and soak the saffron strands in it.
  7. Simultaneously, heat a Kadai, add the ground almonds paste, add about a tbsp or 2 of water mix well and stir well on medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Keep stirring else the almond paste may get burnt.
  8. Now add the boiled milk and stir well without any lumps. Cook on low to medium flame stirring once in a while.
  9. Once the mixture starts boiling, reduce heat to low and add the sugar mix well.
  10. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Stir once in a while.
  11. Finally add the saffron milk and mix. Remove from heat.

Serve warm or chilled.

You can soak a few extra almonds and use them to garnish the kheer by chopping them and adding it add the end.
You could also add some cardamom powder, but personally like only the taste of almonds and the fragrance of saffron.
You can add a pinch of yellow food color.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Mangai Inji/ Mango Ginger Pickle

First for some good news: I am very glad to share with you that my space got featured in this lovely site Get Ahead India.

Pickles are an integral part of Indian meals. I for one feel my meal is incomplete without the daily dose of curd rice and pickle. Though I love my pickles, I hardly try to prepare them myself. Every year I get my quota of pickles from my mom, grandmom and MIL. So now you know why I haven’t posted even a single recipe for a pickle on my space.

My grandmother, an expert in making a variety of pickles ranging from avakkai, maagai to kadugu mangai also prepared many instant pickles with raw mango, ginger, green pepper (pachha kurumilagu) etc. I love the green peppers preserved in lemon and salt. They taste absolutely divine. With the green pepper, she also prepares this mango ginger pickle, which was not one I liked. Recently H saw it in the market and got a whole lot of it wanting to have the pickle. No other go, had to oblige, so prepared it. But to my surprise, I found myself reaching out to the pickle jar very often. It was good to have it after a very long gap.

Mangai Inji or mango ginger is a root which is a look alike of the ordinary ginger. It smells like mango and has taste similar to ginger, however, the taste is not as sharp as ginger. Predominantly found in south India. Here is the how to prepare this instant pickle which tastes best with curd rice.

What you’ll need
  1. Maangai Inji/Mango Ginger – 1 ½ cup
  2. Green Chilly – 2
  3. Juice from 2 medium sized lemons
  4. Salt to taste

  1. Wash and pat dry the mango ginger. Peel and finely chop it.
  2. Finely chop the green chillies too.
  3. Squeeze out the juice from the lemon.
  4. Transfer the chopped mango ginger and green chillies into a mixing bowl.
  5. Add the lemon juice and salt to taste.
  6. Mix/toss well.
  7. Transfer into glass bottles and keep refrigerated.
  8. Stays fresh for 10 to 15 days when refrigerated.

  1. Adjust the quantity of green chillies and lemon juice according to your taste.
  2. If adding green pepper (pachha kurumilagu) then do not add green chillies.
  3. Always use a clean and dry spoon while spooning out the pickle.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Aloo Gobi


Ours is a Chappati/roti loving family. On any given day, all of us in the house would unanimously vote for rotis than for rice. Till last year I used to make about 20 rotis everyday in the evening for dinner with some curry. But since the time we’ve moved to Chennai, roti making has become a very difficult task. We moved to Chennai in the month of April and it was so very hot at that time that staying in the kitchen and preparing elaborate meals seemed to be a Herculean task. With heat as an excuse, slowly, rotis started making very rare appearances in my kitchen.

But off late I must say, the weather in Chennai has changed. It is really very pleasant and I don’t feel the need for a fan even in the afternoons. Now this was something I had never imagined.  I sincerely hope that this weather lasts for a couple of months. Anyways, with this pleasant breezy weather, I decided to make our favourite meal more often.

 Making rotis is much easier than deciding the side dish to go with it isn’t it? So here is a simple and delicious side dish which would go perfectly with your warm rotis.

What you’ll need
Serves 4
  1. Cauliflower Florets – 3 cups
  2. Potato – 1.5 cup, cut into cubes
  3. Onion – 2, chopped fine
  4. Tomato – 3, chopped fine
  5. Ginger – 1 inch piece, grated
  6. Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
  7. Chilly Powder – 1 tsp
  8. Garam Masala Powder – ½ tsp
  9. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  10. Salt to taste
  11. Oil – 1 tbsp
  12. Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
  13. Fresh Coriander Leaves for garnishing

  1. Soak the cauliflower florets in hot water for about 5 minutes to remove worms if any. Drain, rinse well and set aside.
  2. Heat a Kadai with oil, add cumin seeds.
  3. After they change color, add the chopped onions and grated ginger and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes or till the onions turn light brown.
  4. Now add the potatoes, and turmeric powder. Mix well, cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on medium to low heat.
  5. After the potatoes are half cooked add the cauliflower florets and salt to taste. Mix well cover and cook for another 7 to 8 minutes on medium to low heat, stirring once in a while, till the vegetables are cooked. You can sprinkle some water if you feel that the veggies may stick to the pan.
  6. Now add the coriander powder, chilly powder and garam masala powder and mix well. Fry for a minute.
  7. Finally add the chopped tomatoes, stir well again cover and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes or till the tomatoes have turned mushy.
  8. If you want a completely dry curry, once the tomatoes are soft and mushy, remove the cover and cook on medium flame for about 4 to 5 minutes.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with rotis or parathas.

  1. You can add fresh or frozen peas as well to this curry. It tastes good. I did add a handful of peas in the above recipe.
  2. Try not to add any water while cooking the veggies else the cauliflower may turn mushy.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Rava Idly

I still remember the first time I tasted Rava Idly. It was in MTR, Bangalore. My husband does not like eating out very frequently whereas I was just the opposite. I would just wait for the smallest opportunity to eat out. It was on one such occasion, my SIL had come to visit us and she wanted to see at lalbagh. So I, my SIL, and her husband went to Lalbagh. By this time I had already, tempted my SIL about the delicious food in MTR. So it was decided that we have breakfast at MTR and then head to Lalbagh. Somehow we got late in started from our house and by the time we reached MTR the breakfast session was almost over and when asked what was available, the waiter, told us that he had only Rava Idly and coffee.

On hearing that I was very disappointed as I had been thinking of having some hot Dosas. Anyways, with no other choice we waited for the Rava idly to arrive. When it came, I was taken aback by its size, it was really big. There were 2 to 3 varieties of chutneys and sambar. The Idly was really soft and very delicious. It was one of the most memorable breakfasts.

Ever since, I wanted to try making it at home. I immediately bought the MTR Rava Idly mix and used to make idlis with it for a long time. At some later stage I got this recipe from my grandma, though she used baking soda I prefer to use Eno fruit salt. It really makes the idlis very soft and they stay that way for a long time. You can prepare it ahead of time and just heat it in a microwave before serving.
So here is the recipe:

What you’ll need
  1. Bombay Rava – 1.5 cup
  2. Curd – 1 cup
  3. Water – 1.5 cup
  4. Ginger - 1 inch piece, grated
  5. Green chilly – 1 or 2, chopped
  6. Carrots – 1 Medium, grated
  7. Coriander Leaves – 2 tbsp, freshly chopped
  8. Eno Fruit Salt – 1.5 tsp

For tempering
  1. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  2. Bengal Gram Dal – 1 tsp
  3. Asafoetida – 1 big pinch
  4. Curry Leaves – a few sprigs
  5. Cashew nuts –about 10 broken
  6. Oil – 1 tbsp
  7. Ghee – 1 tsp

  1. Heat a Kadai and dry roast the rava till a nice aroma starts coming. Transfer into another plate.
  2. Heat the same kadai with oil and ghee, add mustard seeds, once it starts spluttering add the Bengal gram dal, and cashew nuts fry till golden.
  3. Add asafoetida, fry for about 30 secs.
  4. Add chopped green chillies, grated ginger and curry leaves. Fry for another minute.
  5. Next add in the grated carrots and sauté for about 2 minutes.
  6. Add the roasted rava and fry for another 2 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and let it cool.
  8. In a wide bowl, add the above roasted and tempered rava, salt to taste, curds and mix well.
  9. Add water gradually, until the batter is of pouring consistency. Not too thick and not too runny.
  10. Keep aside.
  11. Grease idly moulds, heat the idly cooker or pressure cooker with water.
  12. Now add the eno to the rava batter mix well and pour immediately into idly moulds and steam for 8 to 10 minutes.
  13. Serve hot with Milagai podi, chutney or sambar.

  1. Pour immediately after adding Eno, do not let the batter rest.
  2. You can add chopped onions while sautéing.
  3. You can also add boiled peas.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Babycorn Masala

With the Diwali fever over, everyone must have fallen back into their regular routine. After indulging in all the oily and sugar laden sweets and savouries, I was just craving for some very simple comforting food like Rasam and Kootu or even just some curd rice. I have been having only things like that for the last couple of days.

I had prepared this Babycorn Masala for lunch few days before Diwali. My children love eating babycorn as such and they just loved this gravy since it was very mildly spiced. Both my kids were asking for more and more helpings. What more can a mother ask for? So here is the recipe:

What you’ll need
  1. Babycorn – about 15
  2. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  3. Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
  4. Chilly Powder – 1 tsp
  5. Garam Masala Powder – ½ tsp
  6. Kasuri Methi – 1 tsp, crushed
  7. Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
  8. Salt to taste
  9. Oil – 3 tbsp

For the gravy
  1. Onion – 2 Big
  2. Tomatoes – 3 – 4 Medium
  3. Garlic – 2 cloves
  4. Ginger – 1 inch piece
  5. Cashewnuts – 5 to 6

  1. Wash and the babycorns into halves vertically. Chop the capsicum into big cubes.
  2. Cook the babycorn in salted water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat a Kadai with a tbsp of oil. Once heated, add roughly chopped onions, grated ginger and crushed garlic cloves.  Saute for few minutes or till the onions turn light brown. Cool and grind alongwith cashewnuts into a smooth paste.
  4. In the same kadai, add a tsp of oil and add the chopped tomatoes. Saute till they get soft. Cool, grind and keep aside.
  5. Also sauté the capsicum cubes and set aside.
  6. Heat a Kadai with the remaining oil, Add cumin seeds once they splutter add the fried onion – cashew paste and fry for 4 to 5 minutes on medium flame.
  7. Add the turmeric powder, coriander powder, and chilly powder and fry for a minute.
  8. Next add the tomato paste and fry for another 3 to 4 minutes.
  9. Add the cooked babycorn and sautéed capsicum. Add salt to taste and mix well.
  10. Add enough water to adjust the consistency about 1.5 to 2 cups.
  11. Add crushed kasuri methi and mix well.
  12. Cover and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat.

Delicious Babycorn Masala is ready.

Serve hot with Rotis or any Indian flat bread.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Gulab Jamun using Khoya/ Easy Diwali Recipes

Today, was one of the happiest days of my life. My younger one, officially started school today, though only play school. We had been planning to put her in play school ever since June, but somehow it just did not happen. Finally, she started her never ending journey of official learning today.

I can call myself the happiest and luckiest mom, as my lil one woke up, got ready and went to school very happily. As soon as we reached the school compound, the scene there made me worry a little. Most of the little kids were wailing and not ready to even enter the gate. I was worried that looking this my lil one may also start crying. But thankfully nothing like that happened and when I went back after a couple of hours to pick her up, she came out smiling beautifully. She really made my day today.

Now coming to today’s recipe, In the days of my grandfather, no Diwali is complete without Gulab Jamuns. Every year Gulab Jamuns, Badusha and Jangiri would be prepared in large quantities. This has kind of stuck with most in the family. Though I don’t prepare badusha and jangiri, my Diwali sure is incomplete without my favourite Gulab Jamuns. We still remember the delicious Jamuns my grandfather used to prepare using Khoya. They were the melt in the mouths kinds, but not melt in the syrup, if you know what I mean. 

I have been making jamuns for long now with store bought ready mixes, sometimes they turn out good and sometimes, they become so soft that they just disintegrate in the syrup.
But, with this recipe, I’m sure my search for the perfect jamuns has come to end and I have decided never to go for the ready mixes any more.

Makes – about 25 small Jamuns

What you’ll need
  1. Unsweetened Khoya/Khova – 1 cup (You can use homemade or store bought, I used store bought)
  2. Maida/ All purpose Flour – ¼ cup
  3. Baking Soda – 1/8th tsp
  4. Ghee/Oil for Deep frying

For the sugar syrup
  1. Sugar – 2 ½ cup
  2. Water – 2 ½ cup
  3. Rose Essence – ½ tsp

  1. If your khova is refrigerated, keep it outside and let it come to room temperature. This will make it soft too.
  2. Sieve the Maida and baking soda.
  3. In a wide bowl, add the khova and crumble it very well without the slightest of lumps.
  4. Add the sieved maida and baking soda and knead into smooth dough.
  5. Cover and set aside.
  6. Heat another heavy bottomed vessel, measure the sugar and add it to the vessel with equal about of water.
  7. Let the sugar dissolve completely and strain for impurities if required.
  8. Pour it back into the vessel and let it come to a boil.
  9. Once it starts boiling, simmer and keep it on low to medium flame for exactly 15 minutes. Turn off flame.
  10. Add the rose essence to the sugar syrup after 5 minutes.
  11. For making the jamuns,
  12. Heat oil or ghee for deep frying in a Kadai.
  13. Make small balls out of the dough, make sure there are no wide cracks. Do not press too had while making the balls.
  14. Once the smoking point of the oil has reached, turn the flame to low.
  15. Fry the jamuns 4 to 5 at a times on low flame until the desired colour has been achieved.
  16. Drain and transfer them into the sugar syrup.
  17. Do the same for the remaining jamuns.

That’s divinely delicious Gulab Jamuns are ready. Serve warm or cold.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cornflakes Mixture

Here is a simple and really quick savoury snack. If you are pressed for time and still want to prepare something this Diwali, then this is definitely for you. This is something no one can go wrong with. Even beginners can prepare without any problem.

Be sure to ask for unroasted cornflakes. In India you may not find it in the supermarkets, but you will surely get in your regular grocery store. Ask for cornflakes for making mixture. I got it in one of the small grocery stores near my house.

By any chance if you are unable to find unroasted ones, use the regular unsweetened breakfast cereal and the fried nuts and season with the spice mix. You are ready with a much healthier version of the mixture. You can even try microwaving these unroasted cornflakes, which I plan to try very soon. Microwave version will surely be a healthy snack. A little indulgence during festivals is surely ok isn't it. So go ahead and try this simple and really quick recipe.

What you’ll need
  1. Cornflakes unroasted – 4 cups
  2. Groundnuts -  ½ cup
  3. Cashew nuts – 15 to 20 broken into halves
  4. Raisins – 20 to 25 (optional)
  5. Curry Leaves – 3 to 4 sprigs
  6. Oil for deep frying

For the spice mix
  1. Salt – as required
  2. Chilli Powder – ½ tsp
  3. Asafoetida/Hing – generous pinch

  1. Wash the curry leaves and spread on a newspaper for it to dry.
  2. Heat a pan with oil for deep frying.
  3. In a strainer, add the cornflakes in small batches, dip the strainer in oil and fry.
  4. Drain into absorbent tissue.
  5. Similarly fry the groundnuts, cashew nuts, raisins and curry leaves and add it to the fried cornflakes.
  6. Now add the spice mix to the above and toss well. Try not to mix with any spatula as it may cause the cornflakes to powder.
  7. Cool and store in airtight containers.

Monday, November 5, 2012

7 Cup Cake/Burfi

Don’t get misled by the name 7 cup cake, no, it is not a cake rather it is a burfi – a soft one. It is something very similar to the Mysore Pak. It gets its name from the number of cups of ingredients. The measurements are very easy to remember: equal measures of besan, coconut, milk, ghee and 3 times sugar.

I am quite apprehensive about preparing any kind of burfis. You need to know exactly when to transfer to the greased tray. If early then you end up in halwa like consistency and if late your sweet may crumble and become powdery. So removing from heat at the right stage is the key to getting delicious and pretty looking burfis.

I have tried my best to explain the various stages. In case of any queries please feel free to contact me.

Makes about 25 Medium sized pieces

What you’ll need

  1. Besan – 1 Cup
  2. Scraped Fresh Coconut – 1 Cup
  3. Milk – 1 Cup
  4. Ghee - 1 Cup
  5. Sugar – 3 Cup


In a heavy bottomed Kadai, add the besan, scraped coconut, sugar, milk and ghee.
Mix well, without any lumps.
Grease a tray and keep aside. Also grease the underside of a flat cup.
Place the Kadai on heat, and start cooking on medium heat. Keep stirring.

After a few minutes the mixture will become smooth and will start boiling.
Keep stirring, on low to medium flame.

In the next stage, the mixture will start thickening.

Keep stirring. Next the mixture will get thick, and leave the sides. The mixture becomes frothy the sides.

At this stage, remove from flame and transfer into the greased tray. Smoothen the top by tapping with the greased underside of the cup.
Allow to cool for a few minutes and then mark the pieces with the help of a sharp knife, while still warm.

Cool completely, remove the pieces carefully and store in airtight containers.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Omapodi - Diwali Recipes

Diwali is round the corner. For most of us, Diwali is synonymous with family get togethers, new clothes, crackers, lights, sweets, snacks and lots of happiness. The spirit of Diwali doesn’t spare anyone. It has not left the blog world too. It’s a delight to see all the blogs with tempting pictures and recipes for Diwali.

I have also planned to post a few recipes for Diwali. Omapodi is one of the easiest savouries to prepare. This was one of the first savouries I tried. I have been cooking and helping my mom in the kitchen ever since I was in the IX standard. The interest may have stemmed from my love for eating delicious food. But I never ventured into deep frying until very recently. I am very scared of hot oil (there is no particular reason I can think of for this fear) and for many years even after marriage, I never thought of preparing deep fried food all alone, without my mom or mil around. I would not even fry puris. I usually roll out the puris and frying job would be done either by my mom or mil (whoever’s around at that time).

It is only after I decided to start this blog that I thought of somehow overcoming my fear of hot oil. I decided to prepare bhajias and with mom by my side, following her instructions carefully, I did fry my first batch of bhajias successfully. Since then, though I am no more terrified of deep frying, but still whenever I am, there is a small fear at the back of my mind and so I am usually extra careful while deep frying.

Leaving my fear behind, I fried these crisp and crunchy batch of Sev/ Omapodi. Here is the recipe:

What you’ll need
  1. Kadalai Maavu/Besan – 1 cup
  2. Rice Flour – 2 tbsp
  3. Ajwain/Omam Powder – ½ tsp (See Notes)
  4. Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
  5. Salt to taste
  6. Ghee/ Butter – 1 tsp
  7. Oil for deep frying
  1. Sieve the rice flour and besan.
  2. Transfer into a bowl
  3. Add the ajwain powder, salt and chilli powder. Mix well.
  4. Also add the ghee or butter and mix well.
  5. Now add water little by little and knead into soft sticky dough.
  6. Fill ¾ of the Sev press or Nazhi with the dough.
  7. Meanwhile, heat a Kadai with oil for deep frying. To test for the right temperature of oil, add a small piece of the dough into the oil, if it sinks and immediately comes up then the temperature is just right.
  8. Press the sev press in a circular motion into the hot oil. Start from the edge of the kadai, go in a circle and finish in the middle. Keep the flame low while pressing as hot steam from the kadai may burn your hand.
  9. Fry on medium flame till one side gets cooked, flip over with the help of a slotted spatula and cook for another 1 or 2 minutes or till the bubbles and sounds stop.
  10. Repeat the same with remaining dough.

Cool and store in airtight containers.

  1. Powder about 4 to 5 spoons of ajwain in a mixie, sieve it well and then use.
  2. You can also grind the ajwain with water, strain and use a tsp or two of the water while making the dough.
  3. Make sure to use fresh besan, using very old besan or kadalai maavu make make your omapodi bitter. 
  4. Also do not use too much of omam or ajwain, this will also make the omapodi bitter.
  5. Don’t make the dough too tight or loose. Making it very tight will make it very difficult for you to squeeze out the dough in the oil and a very loose dough will result in oily omapodi.
  6. If you are preparing in large quantities, prepare the dough little at a time. As the omapodi tends to become a darker shade of red while frying.

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