Monday, September 30

Oats Kozhukattai

Oats as we know is very rich in fiber, low in fat and is a low calorie food apart from being good source of vitamin B1, calcium, iron and protein which is why we prefer it as a wholesome breakfast. What is more convenient about oats is that it suits all ages from a few months old baby to even a 100 years old person as it is simple to digest. Making a relish able dish with it such as this oats Kozhukattai is a real feast for both palate and health.

Serves:  2

Preparation Time:  5 minutes

Cooking Time:  15 minutes

1.      Oats – 2 cups
2.    Water – 1 ½ cups
3.    Oil – 1 tbsp
4.    Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
5.     Cumin seeds – ¼ tsp
6.    Urad dal – 1 tbsp
7.     Green chilies – 3
8.    Curry leaves – 1 sprig
9.    Asafoetida – 2 pinches
10.  Coconut grated – 2 tbsp
11.  Salt to taste


Step 1: Heat oil in a pan and temper with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida, urad dal, curry leaves and chopped green chilies.

Step 2: Add the oats and fry with the tempering for few minutes.

Step 3: Mix grated coconut to it. Add water and salt and mix well to form soft dough like consistency.  Turn off heat.

Step 4: When it is cool enough to handle, mould a portion of dough inside the fist in form of pidi kozhukkatai as in the picture below. Repeat for the entire dough before it comes to room temperature as it will become brittle then.

Step 5: Steam cook the moulded kozhukkatai in a steamer or idli cooker for 5 minutes.

Step 6: Serve hot with any spicy chutney of your choice.

Monday, September 23

Gooseberry/ Amla Pickle or Nellikai Oorukai

Gooseberry is one vegetable whose nutrient power stays intact in any form we take them: fresh berries, pureed, cooked, sundried, pickled, powdered or whatever. It is such a sought for item in Ayurveda; which is  used in healing so many diseases and helps in leading an immune, long & healthy life. Intensely rich in vitamin C, Amla does a good fight against common cold and other such infections. Available almost through the year, it is a common man’s inexpensive and natural remedy for hair & skin care. Vitamin C is one nutrient that our body cannot store and use, so we need to supply it every day; pickle is an easy way to achieve this because we can store pickle and consume in small quantities regularly as it is not viable to add fresh amla in everyday cooking.

Serves: NA

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time:  30 minutes


1.      Gooseberry (Amla) – 1 kg
2.    Gingelly oil – 200ml
3.    Mustard seeds – 1 tbsp
4.    Asafoetida – ¼ tsp
5.     Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
6.    Chili powder – 3 tbsp
7.     Salt – 3 tbsp
8.    Jaggery – ½ tsp
9.    Fenugreek roasted and powdered – ¼ tsp


Step 1: Wash, pat dry and steam cook the gooseberries whole to a soft texture. I do not add water or salt to the berries while pressure cooking for 6-8 whistles. This is most of the cooking time; tempering the pickle takes around 10 minutes.

Step 2: Once the pressure subsides and is cool enough, the berries can be taken out and deseeded easily by hands as they already are almost split up into wedges.

Step 3: Now heat Gingelly oil in a kadai and splutter mustard seeds in it, sprinkle asafoetida and add the gooseberries.

Step 4: Add salt, turmeric powder, chili powder, jaggery to it and mix well with light hand so that the gooseberry wedges don’t get mashed up.

Step 5: Once mixed well, taste and adjust spices; add fenugreek powder and mix well. It is added at the end so that the aroma is arrested inside the pickle.

Step 6: Save it in an airtight container and refrigerate for longer storage. Relish with curd rice, parathas, khakhras and so on.


*After cooking the gooseberries sometimes there is some amount of moisture let out by the vegetable; this can either be used in the pickle or be used in a different recipe such as gooseberry soup or so. I prefer not to use it in the pickle as moisture reduces the shelf life of pickle.

Friday, September 20

Masaal Vadai/ Gram Dal Fritters

We had a potluck last week with some friends and had prepared masaal vadai as one of the items; Shiva Shankari had mostly made it and it was a super hit item which all of us liked very much. This is a conventional item in most south Indian homes but we at home are more acquainted with medu vadai so its an exiting dish for me. I had tried this once with ‘pattani paruppu’ instead of gram dal, when we had my sister and family at home; it had turned slightly watery and so, thanks to Shankari only this time I learnt it right from her. 

Yields:  35 Vadais approx.

Preparation Time:  20 minutes

Soaking Time: 2 hours

Cooking Time:  30 minutes


1.      Gram dal or Pattani paruppu – 500 gm
2.    Onion – 3 large
3.    Ginger chopped – 2 tbsp
4.    Curry leaves chopped – a fistful
5.     Coriander leaves chopped – a fistful
6.    Green chilies – 4-5 finely chopped
7.     Fennel seeds – 1 tbsp
8.    Salt to taste
9.    Oil for deep frying


Step 1: Wash and soak gram dal (or pattani paruppu if you are using that) for 2 hours.

Step 2: Drain the water completely; leave the dal in a colander for few minutes to drain out water thoroughly. This is where I had made mistake in my first attempt.

Step 3: Save a fistful of soaked dal and grind coarsely the rest of the dal in a mixer jar without adding water.

Step 4: Collect the ground dal in a mixing bowl, add to it the retained whole dal and all other ingredients except oil and mix well. Adjust salt and spices.

Step 5: Heat oil in a deep kadai; take lemon sized ball of the batter and pat into 3" diameter discs with the help of your palms (use very little water if necessary to grease palms). Fry 5-6 in a batch and repeat for the entire batter.

Step 6: Serve hot as is or with coconut/ pudina chutney.


* Thin discs fried in simmered heat for long time render crisp vadais while fatter ones are soft.

*Vadakari is a spicy curry made out of left over masaal vadai as an accompaniment for aapam or poori or idli or dosa.