Sunday, July 10, 2016

Karuveppilai Kuzhambu / Curry Leaves Kuzhambu

I am back after a very long break. Things have become very busy all of a sudden at the personal front. It feels good to be back to blogging. I really hope I can be regular with my posting.

Now that I decided to start drafting my post, I am completely lost for words. So let me get straight to the recipe. Today, I am sharing a kuzhambu recipe. Unlike most of the other kuzhambu/kootan recipes on the blog, which I have grown up with, this is a relatively new recipe. My mother got to know of it from a very good friend of hers. And since then, my mother has been making it now and then.

So now that amma is here with me, I asked her to prepare this. It is a spicy, tangy and flavorful kuzhambu.. If you have fresh curry leaves at hand, it is a breeze to prepare and pairs well with any thoran  or roast curries like potato or seppankizhangu.

What you’ll need
  1. Fresh Curry Leaves – 1 cup, tightly packed
  2. Tamarind – a gooseberry sized ball
  3. Turmeric Powder – ½ tsp
  4. Jaggery – 1 tsp (optional)
  5. Salt to taste

To roast and grind
  1. Gingely oil – 1 tsp
  2. White Urad Dal – 1 tbsp
  3. Black Pepper – 1 tsp
  4. Dried Red Chillies – 4 to 5 (increase or decrease according to taste)
  5. Asafoetida – a small piece

To temper
  1. Gingely Oil /Nalla Ennai – 2 tsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  3. Cumin Seeds – ½ tsp

  1. Soak the tamarind in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes.
  2. Squeeze and extract the juice and discard the fibers.
  3. Add 1.5 cups of water more to this.
  4. Add turmeric powder, jaggery and salt to taste. Place it on medium heat and bring it to a boil.
  5. In the meanwhile, heat a small kadai with a tsp of oil add the asafoetida, once it puffs up well add the urad dal and fry it on medium heat. Once it starts changing color, add the black pepper and dry red chillies and fry till the chillies are bright red. Take care not to burn the dal. Transfer to a plate and cool.
  6. Now, grind the roasted ingredients along with the curry leaves to a fine paste adding a little water.
  7. Add this ground paste to the tamarind water and let it boil on medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or till the raw smell of the tamarind and curry leaves disappears and the kuzhambu has thickened and reached a saucy consistency. Don't let it thicken too much as it will thicken a little more on cooling.
  8. Remove from heat.
  9. Heat a small frying pan with oil, temper with mustard seeds and cumin. Pour the tempering over the kuzhambu.

Flavorful karuvepilai kuzhambu is ready.
Serve with steamed rice and any thoran or potato or seppankizhangu fry.


You may saute few shallots and a couple of cloves of garlic if you like, and then add the tamarind water to it and follow the remaining steps.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Thayir Vadai - A Guest Post for Rafeeda of The Big Sweet Tooth

Today’s post is a guest post for a wonderful blogger friend Rafeeda. Rafeeda’s blog The Big Sweet Tooth is a treasure trove of recipes, from mouthwatering biriyanis to delicious bakes and puddings, you name it and you will find it on her space. I love the quotes she posts and her write ups. I feel an instant connect with whatever she writes. I am inspired by her dedication towards her blog. Inspite of being a busy working mother of 2 beautiful girls, she manages to post recipes almost every day on her space.

I am sharing one of my family’s favorite summer recipes – Thayir Vadai or Curd Vadai. It is a very simple dish to prepare and tastes great. A make ahead dish, perfect for those small get togethers or parties. 

Thanks a lot Rafeeda for inviting me to your space.

Hop over to Rafeeda's space for the full recipe.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Porulvilangai/Porivilangai Uruandai

Poruvilangi or Porulvilangi Uruandai is a healthy and nutritious sweet ball. The name Porulvilangai literally means that the ingredients are a mystery. Though it resembles any other laddu in appearance, but the texture is very different. These balls are very hard, infact, you need to use a small hammer or a grinding stone to break it.

Poruvilangai was one of the things which my grandmother would always keep ready when we went for our summer vacations as it was my mother’s favorite. As a child I never really liked them, just because they were too hard. These are a favorite with my in laws and my mother in law makes them on and off. She tells me that, in her times, when people used to go on long train journeys, they would prepare these and carry it along. These hard balls have a very long shelf life and stay fresh for a couple of months.

The main ingredients used in its preparation are Whole Wheat grains, Boiled Rice/Puzhungal Arisi, Green Moong/Pacha Payaru, Dry ginger, cardamom and coconut bits sweetened with Jaggery. The measurements and ingredients seem to differ from one household to another. I came across recipes making use of Channa dal, roasted gram dal and even groundnuts. The recipe I am sharing is handed down to me by one my mother in law’s relative who is has been regularly preparing these for a very long time now.

Poruvilangai, like I mentioned earlier are supposed to be very hard, hard to the extent that they need to be broken with pestle. The reason it was made like this was so it could have a long shelf life, as these were made in large quantities in those days. But now, children don’t and adults don’t seem to like it so hard, so the balls made from the recipe I am sharing today, are not so hard. I won’t say they are soft and crumbly, but they can be broken by our teeth. Refer the notes section, if you want to make the stone hard poruvilangais.

What you’ll need
  1. Boiled Rice/Puzhungal Arisi – 4 Cup
  2. Whole Wheat Grains/Gothumai – 1 Cup
  3. Green Moong/Pacha Payaru – 1 Cup
  4. Jaggery – 6 cup, powdered
  5. Dry Ginger/Sukku – a big piece
  6. Cardamom – about 10
  7. Coconut – 1 cup, cut into small pieces


Roast and Grind
  1. Dry roast the rice, whole wheat, green moong until golden. Keep stirring and roast on medium heat to avoid burning and for even roasting.
  2. Break the dry ginger into smaller pieces used a pestle, heat that also for a minute or so, for easy grinding.
  3. Spread all the roasted ingredients on a newspaper and allow to cool slightly.
  4. Then grind them along with the dry ginger and cardamom in batches in a mixie, sieve it and keep aside.

Prepare Jaggery Syrup
  1. Heat a heavy bottomed kadai, with the jaggery and water enough to immerse the jaggery. Heat it on medium flame, else the syrup will thicken even before the jaggery dissolves.
  2. Once the jaggery has dissolved completely, strain for impurities and pour it back into the kadai.
  3. Add the coconut pieces to this.
  4. Keep heating on medium flame, stirring once in a while, we need to get the soft ball consistency or thakkali pagu. It is ok if you remove the syrup just before the soft ball consistency.  (Check Notes)
  5. To check for the soft ball consistency, take some water in a plate, and add a drop of the syrup into it, if it settles and you are able to roll it into a ball then the syrup is ready. Remove from heat.
  6. I removed mine from heat, just before the soft ball consistency.

Prepare the urundai
  1. Keep a medium sized bowl with a cup of the flour in it. This is for rolling the prepared urundais.
  2. In another wide bowl, take a cup of the flour and add about 2 ladles of the syrup. Mix it quickly with a wooden spoon or spatula, and try forming balls, if you are able to form the balls, then quickly roll them into balls and put them into the bowl with flour. If you are not able to form balls then add another spoon of syrup and try.
  3. The balls may feel soft while rolling, but they harden on cooling.
  4. Repeat the above procedure until you are done with all the flour.
  5. Some syrup may be left over, you can refrigerate the syrup and use it later again to make the urundais, by heating it with little water.
  6. Healthy and tasty poruvilangai urundais are ready.

  1. If you have the facility to get the grains milled in flour mill, then that would be good. Else use the mixie and sieve the powdered flour. I ground mine at home in a regular mixie.
  2. The jaggery syrup is the one that is responsible for the hardness of the urundai, so if you want them a little softer, you can remove the syrup just before it reaches the soft ball consistency. Or if you want really stone hard urundais then keep the syrup a little longer than soft ball consistency. I removed mine, just before the soft ball consistency.
  3. The urundais will feel soft while shaping, but on cooling, they will harden.
  4. I had some jaggery syrup left, it is difficult to give exact measurement of the jaggery syurp.
  5. The ratio is 1:1, for one cup of powder, use 1 cup of powdered jaggery.
  6. The main flavoring agents are sukku and cardamom, so don’t skip that.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Payathangai Paruppu Thoran

Thoran is a very common and popular stir fry served usually as an accompaniment with steamed rice and Sambar. It can be prepared with almost all the vegetables, like raw bananas, pumpkin, all the different varieties of beans, carrot, cabbage etc. Usually the vegetables are finely chopped and stir fried in coconut oil and finally garnished with some fresh coconut.
Couple of days back, when I got these yard long beans I was getting ready to prepare it like any other day, then my MIL, asked me to soak some pasi paruppu/moong dal and add to the thoran. The thoran made with the addition of the dal was very delicious and all including my kids enjoyed this slightly varied version of the thoran.

Serves - 4
What you'll need
  1. Payathangai/Yard Long Beans – 500 gms
  2. Moong Dal/Pasi Paruppu – ¼ cup
  3. Fresh Scraped Coconut – 1/3 cup
  4. Green Chillies – 2 to 3
  5. Curry Leaves - few
  6. Turemeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  7. Salt to taste
  8. Coconut Oil – 1 tbsp
  9. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  10. Broken Urad Dal – 1 tsp

  1. Wash the dal, rinse well and soak it for 20 minutes.
  2. Wash the yard long beans, string it and finely chop the beans. Keep aside.
  3. Heat a Kadai with oil, temper with mustard seeds and urad dal, once the dal changes color add half of the chopped beans stir well.
  4. Now drain the dal and spread it as a layer over the beans and top it with the remaining beans in such a way that the dal is covered by the beans.
  5. Sprinkle some water, cover and cook for 5 minutes on medium to low heat.
  6. Remove the lid and stir, add the salt and turmeric powder,  sprinkle more water if required cover and cook till the beans is cooked.
  7. Remove the lid and let it fry for a while, keep stirring once in a while.
  8. In the meantime, add the coconut, green chillies and curry leaves in a small mixie jar and pulse it for a few seconds.
  9. Add this to the beans and stir well. Fry for a couple of minutes and remove from heat.

Delicious Payathangai Thoran is ready. Serve as an accompaniment with rice and Sambar or Mor Kootan or with Rasam.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Mambazha Sambar |Ripe Mango Sambar

It is Mango time!!! are flooded with different varieties of mangoes. Once the mango season starts, I can’t think of even single day, when we don’t have our dose of mango in some form or the other, be it the simple manga curry, manga pachadi, manga kootan or mambazha pulissery, if not then, just cut up a fruit and eat.

So here is another recipe, that can be added to my already big list of mango recipes – the Mambazha Sambar. We usually prepare the pulissery with ripe mangoes, sambar using ripe mango is not so frequent.

The Mambazha sambar is very much similar to the regular arachuvitta sambar, the only thing is the addition of the ripe mango. But the taste and smell of the sambar is very much different from the regular sambar. It has a lovely aroma and slightly sweet sour taste. Do try it this while the mangoes are in season.

Serves 5 to 6
What you’ll need
  1. Ripe Mango – 2 Medium sized, cut into big chunks with the skin
  2. Drumstick – 2, cut into finger sized pieces
  3. Tamarind – gooseberry sized
  4. Tuar Dal – 1/3 cup
  5. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  6. Salt to taste

To roast and grind
  1. Asafoetida – a small piece
  2. Channa dal – 1 tbsp
  3. Coriander Seeds – 2 tbsp
  4. Fenugreek Seeds – ½ tsp
  5. Dried Red Chillies -5 to 6
  6. Coconut – 1/3 cup

To temper
  1. Oil – 2 tsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  3. Curry Leaves – few

  1. Wash and pressure the tuar dal with enough water. When cooked, mash well and keep aside.
  2. Soak the tamarind in 1 cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Squeeze and extract the juice, discard the fibres.
  3. In a vessel, add the tamarind juice, also add another 3 cups of water, add the drumstick pieces, turmeric powder, and salt.
  4. Bring this to boil and let it keep boiling on medium flame till the drumstick pieces are almost done, at this stage add the ripe mango pieces and boil for another 4 to 5 minutes or till the mangoes are cooked.
  5. In the meanwhile, heat a kadai with a tsp of oil, add the asafoetida and fry till it puffs up well, next add the channa dal and fry till the dal starts changing color, then add the coriander seeds and methi seeds and fry till a good aroma starts coming, taking care not to burn anything. Finally add the red chillies stir till the chillies become bright red. Also add the coconut and fry for a couple of minutes. Coconut need not change color.
  6. Transfer to a plate and let it cool.
  7. Then grind to a paste using about ¼ cup of water.
  8. Once the mango is cooked, and the cooked and mashed dal to the tamarind water and mix well, boil for 2 minutes.
  9. Then add the ground paste add a cup of water and adjust the consistency. Check for seasoning and bring to a boil. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.
  10. Garnish with curry leaves.
  11. Heat a small frying pan with oil, temper with mustard seeds. Pour the tempering over the sambar.

Serve hot with white rice and a poriyal or thoran of your choice.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Ada Pradhaman - Kerala Style Ada Pradhaman

Vishu is almost here. It is one of my favorite festivals. I love keeping the Vishu Kani. A typical Vishu Kani consists of an Uruli filled with rice, the Kani Vellari or Malabar Vellarikai, other vegetables and fruits like snake gourd, mango, jackfruit, banana, a mirror, an Idol of Krishna, a new cloth, gold ornaments etc and ofcourse, the kani is incomplete without the Kani Konnai also known as Laburnum. The Kani is arranged the previous day night and viewed early morning on the day of Vishu which usually falls either on the 14th or 15th of April.

The Kani konnai is not easily found in most parts of the country. Most of the years I make do with some yellow flower. But this time, I am really happy, as the place I live in, is lined with these trees and is in full blossom. So this year’s Kani is going to be adorned with the Konnai.
No festival is complete without a feast and no feast is complete without a Payasam. 

We usually prepare the Pal Payasam in our house for Vishu. But I love Pradhamans and I had this packet of Rice ada with me, so I prepared this pradhaman a couple of days back. It turned out super delicious, perfect for any feast. I have already posted the Palada Pradhaman, which is equally tasty.

What you’ll need
Serves – 4 to 5 generously
  1. Rice Ada – ½ cup (I used store bought)
  2. Powdered Jaggery – 2 cup
  3. Thin Coconut Milk – 4 cup
  4. Thick Coconut Milk – 1 cup
  5. Coconut pieces – ¼ cup, cut into small pieces
  6. Cashewnut – few (optional)
  7. Ginger Powder – ½ tsp
  8. Cumin Powder – ½ tsp
  9. Cardamom Powder – ½ tsp
  10. Ghee – 2 tbsp

  1. Soak the ada in plain water for 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Now drain the water, and add about 4 to 5 cups of water and cook the ada in it till the ada is really soft. Make sure ada is soft, even if it turns a bit mushy it is ok, as the ada, will separate once we add it to the jaggery syrup.
  3. Strain the ada and wash it well in cold water. This will prevent sticking. Drain and set aside.
  4. Heat a heavy bottomed Kadai, with jaggery and ½ cup water, filter for impurities. Wash the Kadai and pour the jaggery syrup back into the kadai.
  5. Let this boil for 6 to 7 minutes, or till the syrup reaches a slightly thicker consistency.
  6. Now add the cooked ada and sauté it well. Keep stirring and sauté till the syrup thicken again for about 8 minutes. Add a tbsp of ghee and sauté for a couple of minutes more. This is the most important step. This is when the ada will get the sweetness from the jaggery, else ada will taste bland.
  7. Now add the thin coconut milk and mix well, allow to boil for atleast 10 minutes, or till the mixture is slightly thick.
  8. Turn off the flame.
  9. Add the cardamom powder, cumin powder and dry ginger powder to the thick coconut milk, mix well and add it to the Pradhaman.
  10. Heat a small frying pan with ghee and fry the coconut pieces till dark brown. Fry the cashews if using and add it to Pradhaman.

Serve warm.

  1. You may feel the consistency is very lose and not thick, but the payasam will thicken as it cools. And the consistency will be perfect. There won't be any need of adding extra milk. If you want it thicker, then you may reduce the thin coconut milk to 3 cups.
  2. The sweetness was perfect, if you want more or less, adjust accordingly.
  3. The ada I bought was very small and cooked very fast; cook your ada depending on its size. Make sure it is completely soft else, after adding to the jaggery it will become hard and feel like it is not cooked.
  4. I used KPL coconut milk powder, the taste was very good. I found it better than the tetra pack, but nothing to beat the taste of fresh coconut milk. Refer my Chakka Pradhaman post to know how to extract coconut milk.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Nendran Chips|Ethakka Upperi|Varatha Upperi|Kerala Banana Chips

I have been wanting to post this for a very long time now. But something or the other came my way and it took me so long to post it on the blog. Initially, I was not very confident of making the chips, later when I was confident enough; I was living in places where I couldn’t find the Nendrangai. I wanted to post it before Vishu, so when I went to Chennai last month I had plans of getting the kai, but I couldn’t. So I was thinking this year also, I won’t be able to post it, as in Pune I hardly find it. But, my good fortune, a shop selling South Indian items opened up just a couple of weeks back very near my place. And I asked him if he could get me Nendrangai. And he did get it. So finally, the ever popular chips recipe is on my blog.

What you’ll need
Makes about ½ kg Chips
  1. Nendrankai /Raw Kerala Banana – 6, (1.5 Kg)
  2. Coconut Oil – to deep fry
  3. Salt – as required
  4. Turmeric Powder – ½ tsp

  1. Wash the plantains well and pat dry them.
  2. Make slits on the skin vertically, make sure u don’t go too deep and cut the fruit.
  3. Now, with your hands, carefully remove the skin. Save the skin and prepare thoran with it.
  4. Slice it thin and spread on kitchen tissues or newspaper.
  5. In a small bowl, add about 2 to 3 tsp of salt and ½ tsp turmeric powder, mix well and keep aside.
  6. Heat oil in a Kadai for deep frying
  7. Once the oil is hot, reduce the flame to low, and slowly add the sliced plaintain in batches.
  8. Now, increase the heat to medium high and fry, keep stirring once in a while.
  9. Fry till the bubbles have almost stopped.
  10. Now, reduce heat to low and add ½ tbsp of the salt – turmeric water to the oil, increase heat to medium and keep stirring till the spluttering sound stops.
  11. Drain on to kitchen tissues, continue the process.
  12. Cool completely and store in airtight container.

  1. Remember to add lesser amount of the salt-turmeric water as you proceed with the frying the batches, as there will be salt in the oil. Else the chips will become salty.
  2. After adding the salt-turmeric water, fry till the sound stops, else the next batch will not be crisp.
  3. Also slice the banana thin and spread on a kitchen tissue for atleast 10 mins to get crisp chips.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Vellarikka Kichadi/Thayir Pachadi - Easy Vishu Sadya Recipes

We are into April already. The weather in Pune is very hot. It is our first summer here. I had heard so much about the pleasant weather of Pune that this heat took me by surprise. The temperatures have been around 37 to 39 degrees for the past 15 to 20 days.

Today’s recipe is a very easy one, perfect for a hot sunny day. Also, thayir pachadi or Kichadi is a important part of any sadhya, so if you are planning to cook a sadya this Vishu, then u should include this. The Vellarikka kichadi is one of my favorites. The Velarikka used is Malabar Vellarikai, also known as Kani Vellari.

What you’ll need
  1. Malabar Vellarikai – 1 cup, peeled, deseeded and finely chopped
  2. Fresh Thick Curd/Yougurt – 1.5 cup
  3. Salt to taste

 To grind
  1. Fresh Scraped Coconut – 1/3 cup
  2. Green Chillies – 1 or 2
  3. Mustard Seeds – 1/8th tsp

 For tempering
  1. Oil – 1 tsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  3. Curry Leaves – few

  1. In a vessel add the chopped Vellarika pieces with just enough water, (don’t add too much water), and salt and boil till the vellarika pieces are cooked. Takes about 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Grind the coconut, green chillies and mustard seeds. You can add a little of the curds while grinding. Don’t add water.
  3. Beat the curds well add the ground mixture, and cooked vellarikai pieces and mix well. Check for salt and add accordingly.              
  4. Heat a small frying pan with oil, temper with mustard seeds and curry leaves.
  5. Pour over the pachadi.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Adai Kozhukattai

Adai Kozhukattai, a very traditional, age old almost forgotten recipe. While talking to my grandmother, about old forgotten recipes, she mentioned this to me. A recipe which was prepared often till the time of my grandfather and then there seemed to be no takers for it and somehow, along the line this recipe was lost.

I got the recipe from her and when my mother was here prepared it with her help. It tasted really good and all at home liked it very much. The ingredients are similar to the adai. You can say it is a steamed from of adai :)

A few points to remember while preparing these, grind the batter coarse, steam it well - it takes longer than the regular upma kozhukattai to cook and serve it hot - doesn't taste very good once it is cold.

What you'll need
  1. Idly Rice – 2 Cup
  2. Tuar Dal – ½ Cup
  3. Black Urad Dal – ½ Cup
  4. Dried Red Chillies – 4
  5. Asafoetida – ½ tsp
  6. Salt to taste

For tempering
  1. Oil – 2 to 3 tbsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  3. Channa Dal -  1 tbsp
  4. Curry Leaves – few

  1. Soak the rice for 3 to 4 hours.
  2. Soak the dals, along with red chillies for 1 hour.
  3. Grind the rice and dal coarsely into a rava consistency by adding some water.
  4. Heat a non stick kadai with oil, temper with mustard seeds, channa dal and curry leaves.
  5. Also add the asafoetida.
  6. Now add the batter, also add a little water and start stirring. Keep stirring continuously until the entire mixture comes together like a ball. Do this in a low flame.
  7. Remove from heat, allow to cool, until you can handle, wet your hands and make small balls or kozhukattais.
  8. Heat a idly cooker or pressure cooker and place a steamer in it, keep the kozhukattais on the steamer and steam for 20 to 25 minutes.
  9. Healthy and delicious adai kozhukattai is ready. Serve hot with sambar or chutney.

  1. Grind coarsely, don’t grind to smooth paste.
  2. Steam for 25 minutes.
  3. Always serve hot.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Mullangi Podi Potta Sambar

I don’t know why it has taken me so long to post this simple recipe! I guess it is because I hardly prepare sambar using the sambar powder. I almost always prepare the arachuvitta sambar. The Podi potta sambar is always the second choice and I make it only when I am pressed for time or don’t have coconut in stock. That said, it doesn’t mean that the podi potta sambar does not taste good. But to get a good tasting Sambar you need to have a good Sambar Powder. I used to almost always buy the Sambar Powder, some brands resulted in good Sambar some were not so good. So I was always in search of a good Sambar Powder recipe and my search ended with this. And the sambar made with this powder tastes very much like the Arachuvitta Sambar minus the coconut. So here is a simple sambar recipe using radish as the main vegetable. Feel free to use the vegetable of your choice.

What you’ll need
Serves - 4
  1. Radish – 2 medium sized, cut into roundels
  2. Tamarind – small lemon sized ball
  3. Sambar Powder – 2 tbsp
  4. Tuar Dal – ½ cup
  5. Asafoetida – a generous pinch
  6. Jaggery – 1 tsp
  7. Salt to taste
  8. Curry Leaves –few
  9. Coriander Leaves – 2 tbsp, finely chopped

For tempering
  1. Oil – 1 tsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp

  1. Soak the tamarind in 1 cup hot water for 10 minutes. Squeeze and extract the juice and discard the fibers. Add 2 more cups of water to this and set aside.
  2. Pressure cook the tuar dal with a pinch of turmeric powder. Mash and keep aside.
  3. Heat a heavy bottomed vessel with oil, temper with mustard seeds and curry leaves.
  4. Add the radish pieces and the sambar powder, sauté for a minute on low flame taking care not to burn the sambar powder.
  5. Add the tamarind extract to this. Also add the asafoetida powder, salt and jaggery.
  6. Bring this to a boil and let it keep boiling on medium flame till the vegetable is cooked.
  7. Now add the mashed dal and mix well. Add ½ to 1 cup water depending upon the required consistency. Check for seasoning and add if required.
  8. Bring it to a boil and simmer for a couple of minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves.
  9. Remove from heat.

Serve hot with steamed rice and a vegetable of your choice.

  • Don’t reduce the amount of dal, as we don’t add coconut in this sambar.
  • Adding jaggery is optional.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sambar Powder/ Homemade Sambar Podi

Sambar is a quintessential dish in any South Indian household. Sambar to me is almost always the arachutvitta sambar. It is very rarely that I prepare the Podi potta Sambar, so I usually get a packet of sambar podi from the market or sometimes even use my Rasam Podi as a substitute. I had a couple of requests to post Sambar Podi recipe. So here is a recipe, which I got from one of my aunts who is a great cook herself. This sambar podi is very easy to prepare, very aromatic and the Sambar turns out very delicious.

There are many variations of the sambar podi in the net. I have seen most recipes using cumin, black pepper. This recipe makes use of only 5 ingredients. I always prefer to make it in smaller batches so that the podi is fresh and fragrant.

What you’ll need
  1. Coriander Seeds – 1 cup
  2. Red Chillies – 3 cup
  3. Channa Dal/Bengal gram dal – ½ cup
  4. Fenugreek Seeds – ¼ cup
  5. Turmeric stick/virali manjal – 2 sticks

  1. Dry roast the red chillies till they turn crisp.
  2. Roast the channa dal till it turns golden.
  3. Roast the fenugreek seeds till they start popping.
  4. Roast the coriander seeds till a nice aroma comes.
  5. Finally roast the turmeric for 1 or 2 minutes.
  6. Roughly powder the turmeric using a mortar and pestle.
  7. Cool all the ingredients and grind to a fine powder in the mixie.
  8. Transfer to a plate and spread it. Cool completely and transfer to bottle.

  1. If you don’t get whole turmeric you can replace it with about 4 tbsp of turmeric powder.
  2. No need to roast the turmeric powder.
  3. Take care not to burn the ingredients while roasting.
  4. Roast on medium flame and keep stirring to avoid burning.
  5. Always use dry spoon.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Badam Halwa / Almond Halwa – Celebrating 5 Years of Blogging

It has been 5 years since I started blogging, and it has been a wonderful experience. Blogging, which started as a hobby is now a passion. Though, I have taken quite a few breaks, few long ones too, but I could never stay completely away from the blog. I owe this to my lovely readers, friends and my family. Big thanks to one and all for all your love and support.

I wanted to do a special post to mark this milestone, in my blogging journey. What better way to celebrate than with a sweet. Badam Halwa is one of my favorite sweets. This sweet was one among my grandfather’s signature recipes. Almost every year for Diwali, he used to prepare a fairly large quantity of this halwa and me and my brother used to gorge it. This halwa is a big hit with my kids. Both my girls love it.

This halwa is mildly sweet, with a rich flavor of saffron and ghee. Ghee is a very important part of this recipe and one should not compromise on it. Do try it and let me know how it turned out.

What you’ll need
  1. Almonds/Badam – ½ cup, heaped
  2. Sugar – ½ cup, heaped
  3. Ghee – 1/3 cup
  4. Saffron – a fat pinch
  5. Milk – ½ cup enough to grind the badam and to soak the saffron
  6. Yellow food color – just a little (optional)

  1. Soak the badam in hot water for 2 hours. Peel the almonds.
  2. Grind the almonds with just enough milk into a smooth paste. You can keep it slightly coarse if you like.
  3. Soak the saffron in 2 tbsp of warm milk. Keep aside.
  4. Heat a heavy bottomed kadai, or a non stick kadai, add the sugar and ¼ cup of water, let the sugar dissolve completely.
  5. Now add the ground badam paste and start stirring. Add the soaked saffron milk too. Add the food color also if using.
  6. Keep stirring on medium heat, start adding the ghee at regular intervals, whenever you feel the mixture is sticking to the bottom add the ghee.
  7. At one stage, the mixture will start leaving the sides and you will start seeing white frothy bubbles. This is the right stage to stop. Switch off the heat and keep stirring for some more time.
  8. One it cools slightly take a small portion and try to roll it, if you can make a ball then the consistency is right.
  9. Transfer to a vessel, cool and store.

  1. When the halwa is hot, it will be a little runny and sticky, once it cools, it will become thicker and non sticky.
  2. If on cooling, it doesn’t thicken enough and is still sticky then the amount of ghee added is not enough and also it requires a little more stirring. So stir for some more time.
  3. Adding food color is completely optional.
  4. To get a good texture and shiny halwa, amount of ghee is very important.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Vazhakkai Karamani Pulingari

Pulingari is tamarind based gravy that is served along steamed rice and thoran/poriyal. I have already posted 2 variations of this pulingari which I prepare regularly at home – the Podi Podicha Pulingari and the Navarathri Pulingari. This Pulingari is different in the ground paste and also it uses Karamani.

I came across this recipe in one of the FB groups, posted by Lalitha Iyer. This tasted really good with rice. Even the kids enjoyed it. It was a welcome change from the regular kootans that I prepare. Do try it and let me know how you liked it.

Serves – 3 to 4
What you’ll need
  1. Vazhakkai – 2 cup, diced into small cubes
  2. Karamani/Thatta Payaru/Cowpeas – ½ cup
  3. Tamarind – a small lemon sized ball
  4. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  5. Jaggery – 1 tsp (optional)
  6. Asafoetida – a generous pinch
  7. Salt to taste
  8. Curry Leaves – 5 to 6

To Grind
  1. Coconut – ½ cup, tightly packed
  2. Dried Red Chilly – 2 or 3 (adjust according to taste)
  3. Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp

To Temper
  1. Coconut Oil – 1 tsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  3. Urad Dal – ½ tsp
  4. Curry Leaves – 10 to 15 leaves

  1. Soak the Karamani for about 10 mins in water and then pressure cook the karamani with just enough water.
  2. Also pressure cook or steam the vazhakkai pieces with little turmeric powder and salt. Don’t add too much water to this.
  3. Soak the tamarind in 1 cup of water, squeeze and extract the pulp and discard the fibers. Add another cup of water to this and make it around 2 cups.
  4. Transfer the tamarind extract into a vessel, add turmeric powder, asafoetida, salt and jaggery, if using and few curry leaves. Once it starts boiling add the vazhakkai pieces and karamani and let it boil for 6 to 8 minutes or till the raw smell of the tamarind disappears.
  5. In the meantime, grind the coconut along with the red chilly and cumin seeds, into a smooth paste using about ½ cup of water.
  6. Add this ground paste to the boiling tamarind and vegetable mixture, add more water if required to adjust the consistency.  Should be slightly thicker than the Sambar. Simmer for couple of minutes.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Heat a small frying pan with oil, add mustard seeds, once they splutter add urad dal and fry till they turn golden brown, add the curry leaves and pour the tempering over the pulingari.

Delicious pulingari is ready.
Serve alongwith steamed white rice and Keerai masiyal or with any thoran/poriyal.

  1. You can cook the vazhakkai pieces in the tamarind water. I pressure cooked it.
  2. Don't use too much water to pressure cook the Karamani and vazhakkai pieces. If there is too much water, then reserve the water and add to the pulingari if required at the end, else the pulingari will become very watery.
  3. The jaggery is optional, I used it as it balances out the tang from the tamarind.
  4. Using coconut oil for tempering gives a good flavor, but you can use any regular vegetable oil too.

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