Friday, March 30

Maravallikizhangu/ Tapioca Dosa

We can see tapioca sold on the roadsides in the market place or in the highways adjacent to the fields, in Tamilnadu; at least I have not seen them fancily packed and displayed in departmental stores here, as they are cheap and neither do they pay-off for the space occupied nor do have many takers. I have heard from my paternal grandpa that tapioca is consumed by villagers/ farmers during the famine period as a survival nutrient; may be that's why people in north eat it on fasting days. These days, not many recipes are very popular even though they make tasty and healthy dishes. Tapioca dosa one such recipe that I would like to share here.


1. Tapioca - 1
2. Idli rice - 1 cup
3. Dry chilies - 2
4. Salt to taste
5. Asafoetida - 1 pinch
6. Oil - 1 tbsp
7. Mustard seeds -1 tsp
8. Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
9. Urad dal - 1 tbsp
10. Curry leaves - 1 sprig
11. Onion - 1 finely chopped
12. Coriander - 2 tbsp finely chopped


Step 1: Wash and soak the rice for about 3 hours. Grind it coarsely in a mixer with salt and dry chilies.
Step 2: Peel and grate the tapioca finely and mix with the ground batter.
Step 3: Prepare the tempering before preparing; heat oil, splutter mustard seeds & cumin seeds, sprinkle asafoetida, add urad dal, curry leaves and saute onion in that for just 2 minutes.
Step 4: Mix the tempering in the dosa batter, adjust salt and consistency.
Step 5: Heat the greased dosa tawa, pour a ladle of batter and spread with the back of the ladle into a circular shape. Drizzle few drops of oil on it and cover.
Step 6: Flip to the other side when one side is browned, do not cover on the flip side to retain crispness.
Step 7: Serve hot with any chutney or idli podi.

* Tapioca can be chopped and ground along with the rice to escape from painful task of grating finely and to do it quick.
* If you want to make it instant, rice flour can be used instead of wet grinding but there is a little compromise on taste and texture this way.
* Adjust consistency to make thin crisp ones or thick soft ones.

Thursday, March 29

Dal Dhokli

There is nothing comparable to having steaming hot dal dhokli for dinner on a cool rainy evening. This is a one pot meal with packed nutrition. Though this is a proper Gujarati recipe we learnt it from our neighbor who is from west bengal; kudos to national diversity cum integration. Thank you Urmila aunt for introducing this wonderful recipe to us, amma had made it a custom to make dal dhokli on rainy days. It can be described as a parallel dish to south Indian sambar-idli in which, bite sized idlis float in sambar; in dal dhokli bite sized rotis float in dal. Believe me, it is so ecstatic for rainy day dinners.

Serves: 2-3
Preparation Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 30 min

1.                  Tuvar dal – 1 cup
2.                Channa dal – 2 tbsp
3.                Groundnuts – 2 tbsp
4.                Moong dal with skin – 4 tbsp
5.                 Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
6.                Cumin – ½ tsp
7.                 Tomatoes - 3
8.                Chili powder – 1 tsp
9.                Coriander chopped – 2 tbsp
10.            Garam masala – 1 tsp
11.              Asafoetida – 1 pinch
12.            Wheat flour – ½ cup
13.            Gram flour – ½ cup
14.            Oil – 1 tbsp
15.             Ajwain – ¼ tsp
16.            Ghee – 3 tbsp
                   17.     Salt as per taste


Step 1: Wash all the pulses together and pressure cook them with turmeric until mushy.

Step 2: Take wheat flour, gram flour, salt, some chili powder, a pinch of asafoetida, some garam masala, 1 tbsp ghee in a bowl and knead to get a soft dough.
Step 3: Heat 1 tbsp oil in a heavy bottomed pan, sprinkle asafoetida and splutter cumin seeds and sprinkle asafoetida in that. Now, add tomatoes and sauté for 2 minutes and then add the cooked pulses.

Step 4: Add about 4 cups of water and let it boil in simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in salt, red chili powder and garam masala. Stir occasionally to avoid burning at the bottom.

Step 5: Roll the dough into large circles slightly thicker than rotis. Cut them into small 2“ squares or diamond shapes.

Step 6: Drop the dhoklis one by one in the dal while it is boiling making sure they don’t stick to each other.  If it is too thick, add some water, adjust salt and spices and let it cook in low heat for another 15 minutes or until the dhoklis are cooked.

Step 7: When done, turn off heat and mix coriander.
Step 8: Serve the dal dhokli in a soup bowl, squeeze few drops of lemon juice and drizzle generous drops of ghee and relish it when hot.

* Amma added moong dal with husk to the recipe and I added groundnuts as it seems to be a common ingredient added in Gujarati recipe of dal dhokli.

Wednesday, March 28

Kuzhi Paniyaram

This is a very simple-to-do and appealing dish by looks and taste. Conventionally kuzhipaniyaram (called paddu in karnataka) is made of left over idly/ dosa batter; leftover, because it turns sour in time and this dish requires more sourness. My amma and I prepare it with added finely chopped vegetables (carrots, peas, corn kernels, and the like) to make it healthy and colourfull; however, its basic version is so yum which I have shared below.

  1. Idly/ Dosa batter - 3 cups
  2. Onion - 1 large, finely chopped
  3. Green chilies - 2
  4. Curry leaves - 1 sprig
  5. Ginger - 1" size, finely grated
  6. Oil - 2 tbsp
  7. Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
  8. Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
  9. Asafoetida - 1 pinch
  10. Bengal gram - 1 tbsp
  11. Urad dal - 1 tbsp
  12. Salt to taste
  13. Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp chopped
  14. Vegetables - 1 cup finely diced (Optional)

Step 1: Take the idly/ dosa batter and let it ferment a bit to get sour in case it isn't.
Step 2: Heat oil in a pan,  splutter mustard seeds & cumin seeds, add bengal gram & urad dal, add chopped curry leaves & green chilies, sprinkle asafoetida, add the chopped onion and saute until it is translucent. Add required salt.

Step 3: This step is, if you plan to add vegetables. Add vegetables and saute until half done as it may be cooked again with batter. I personally feel adding vegetables is just to add the nutritional value and look of the dish; taste-wise it is softened instead of crispy and sweetened slightly which is not how the dish tastes. Sprinkle necessary salt.
Step 4: Now add this with the batter and mix well. 
Step 5: Heat kuzhiyappakal, add few drops of oil in each kuzhi  and pour batter in each of them; simmer the heat for say 3 minutes.
Step 6: Check for browned surface and flip each of them and sprinkle little oil. Brown both the surfaces and take them in a plate using fork or pin provided with kuzhiyappakal.

Step 7: Serve hot with coconut chutney or sambar. My granny prefers to have it with rasam; and my husband has it with idly podi and curds.

Tuesday, March 27

Fenugreek Rice

Fenugreek is cherished as one of the power houses in Ayurvedha and is very cooling to the body. I always  struggle to find recipes to add some fenugreek and I would say fenugreek-rice is came as a wonderful recipe. So this is nice for people who do not like fenugreek and of course, for others it is a treat. My aunt is so fond of this that she already publicized the recipe in her entire circle all by word of mouth.

Serves: 2
Preparation Time: 10 Minutes
Cooking Time: 30 Minutes


1.       Steamed rice – 2 cups
2.       Fenugreek – 2 tbsp
3.       Coconut – 2” piece
4.       Green chilies – 2
5.       Salt to taste
6.       Oil – 2 tbsp
7.       Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
8.       Turmeric powder – 1 pinch
9.       Urad dal – 1 tbsp
10.   Curry leaves – 1 sprig
11.   Asafoetida -1 pinch
                  12.   Dry chili – 1


Step 1: There are 3 ways you can prepare the fenugreek; 1. Soak them overnight, 2. Sprout them after soaking, 3. Directly use cooked fenugreek. The prepared fenugreek would be about ¼ cup.

Step 2: Char the coconut piece and green chilies and grinder them together in a mixer jar.

Step 3:  Heat oil in a non-stick pan, splutter mustard seeds, sprinkle asafoetida & turmeric, add urad dal, thrown in curry leaves and chili and add the fenugreek. Add some salt and sauté until it is done.

Step 4: Add the ground coconut mix and saute for a minute.

Step 5: Add the steamed rice along with required salt and mix gently to smear the entire rice with with masala.

Step 6: Adjust salt and serve with curds or papad. 

Palak Paneer

Culinary versatility of spinach is leveraged in different parts of the world for preparing several dishes from salads, soups, starters, subjis, rice and even juice. Palak paneer is a delectable dish that goes very well with rotis that originated from Punjab. Tofu can be replaced for paneer for dairy allergic people or those who'd like to include soy protein.


1.       Tomato – 2
2.       Green chili – 2
3.       Ginger – 1 “
4.       Spinach – 1 bunch
5.       Paneer – 200gm  cubed
6.       Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
7.       Chili powder – 1 tsp
8.       Garam masala – 1 tsp
9.       Salt as per taste
10.   Oil – 2 tbsp


Step 1: Clean and blanch the spinach in some water. Let it cool for some time.
Step 2: Grind the spinach, tomatoes, chilis and ginger finely in a mixer.
Step 3: In a non-stick pan heat the oil and shallow fry the paneer cubes. Drain and keep them aside.
Step 4: In the same oil, splutter some cumin seeds and sauté the puree in it. Add chili powder, garam masala and adjust salt.
Step 5: Mix the shallow fried paneer in the gravy and serve hot with rotis.

Saturday, March 24

Aavi Murukku

Aavi murukku is one of my mother in law's specialties; I have not heard of it, seen it or tasted it before I got married. This recipe had spread from her to our family also now and we all like it very much. It is a steamed and seasoned snack or tiffin made with rice. She prepares a couple of more such tiffin items; however, aavi murukku is my favorite. These days, I have started doing this myself and it comes out decently well.


1.       Idly rice – 2 cups
3.       Asafoetida – 2 pinches
4.       Salt as per taste
5.       Oil – 3 tbsp
6.       Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
7.       Urad dal – 1 tbsp
8.       Channa dal – 1 tbsp
9.       Dry chilies – 4
10.   Curry leaves – 1 sprig
11.   Onion – 1 finely chopped
12.   Garlic cloves peeled – 15


Step 1: Wash and soak the rice for 2 hours. Grind the rice finely with turmeric, 2 chilies, asafoetida with some water.
Step 2: Heat a heavy bottomed pan, pour the batter, add 1 tbsp of oil, add necessary salt and stir until it becomes thick. Turn off the stove.

 Step 3: Take a portion, roll with fist and fill the murruku kozhai. Squeeze onto a idly plate and steam for 5-10 minutes, repeat for the entire dough. Let it cool a bit and then break into small pieces, it's easy.

Step 4: In a non-stick pan, heat 2 tbsp of oil, splutter mustard seeds, add urad and channa dals, broken chilies, curry leaves and sauté onion and garlic in that until golden brown. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over this.


Step 5: Now add the broken aavi murukku into this and mix well. Serve hot.

Carrot Halwa

I don't think there is anyone of us who is not fond of this delicious dessert. There are several versions of carrot halwas like low calorie ones, with milk or without milk, micro-oven or stove cooked, steamed carrots or boiled carrots... how ever they make it, I will just delve into it. Hot carrot halwa and plain vanilla ice-cream are both a sweet married couple; having them together executes a wonderful explosion inside the mouth.


1.       Carrot grated – 2 cups
2.       Milk – 1 cup
3.       Sugar – ½ cup
4.       Cardamom powder – ½ tsp
5.       Cashew nut – 2 tbsp
6.       Ghee – 5 tbsp


Step 1: In a non-stick pan roast the cashew nuts in ghee; pour and keep it aside
Step 2: In the same pan place the grated carrot & milk and let it cook for 10 -15 minutes covered and in low flame; stir occasionally.
Step 3: Once the carrot is cooked and milk absorbed, add sugar and cardamom powder and stir well for 2 minutes.
Step 4: Once the moisture in the halwa is gone, spoon the ghee and stir in cashews. Serve hot.

Wednesday, March 21

Neer Kachhayam

Neer kachayam is yet another dish that I learnt from my mother in law which can be snack or tiffin. This in a way resembles the ammini kozhukattai except that the rice flour is different. However, rolling those small marble sized kachayams is the tedious thing to do in this recipe. Like pasta, these kachayams can be seasoned in different flavors as per our taste and creativity; I've shared my mother-in-law's basic version here.

Serves: 2
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes


1.       Idly rice – 2 cups
2.       Salt as per taste
3.       Oil – 3 tbsp
4.       Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
5.       Asafoetida – 2 pinches
6.       Urad dal – 1 tbsp
7.       Bengal gram – 1 tbsp
8.       Dry chilies – 3
9.       Curry leaves – 1 sprig
10.   Onion – 1 finely chopped
11.   Garlic cloves peeled – 15


Step 1: Wash and soak the rice for 2 hours. Grind the rice finely with some water.

Step 2: Heat a heavy bottomed pan, pour the batter, add 1 tbsp of oil, add necessary salt and stir until it becomes thick. Turn off the stove.

Step 3: Take small portions of marble size and roll them smoothly until the entire dough is over. Do it when it is hot, else the dough will become brittle.

Step 4: Steam these small kachayams for 5-10 minutes.

Step 5: In a non-stick pan, heat 2 tbsp of oil, splutter mustard seeds, sprinkle asafoetida, add urad and channa dals, broken chilies, curry leaves and sauté onion and garlic in that until golden brown. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over this.

Step 6: Now add the neer kachayams into this and mix well.

 Step 7: Serve it hot, it does not need any side dish.

* You can season steamed neer kachayams with different dressing of your choice and creativity; I'll share my mom's dressing in another post.
* Even the shaping, you can try shapes like pastas to add more glamour and attract kids.

Monday, March 19


One of the big frames of my childhood memories is morkali; those tangy, white, ginger flavored, salty, gooey cubes we love to eat for the early dinners. This is another country dish of tamil nadu. Back then when I was in my native village, dinner is served latest by 7pm before the sun goes to bed. Morkali is quite a filling tiffin and easily digestible. Some people like to have it as soft gooey mass while some have it cut into cubes.


1.       Idly rice – 2 cups (You can also use rice flour)
2.       Sour butter milk – 1 cups
3.       Salt as per taste
4.       Oil – 3 tbsp
5.       Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
6.       Urad dal – 1 tbsp
7.       Channa dal – 1 tbsp
8.       Curry leaves – 1 sprig
9.       Ginger – 1 tsbp grated
10.     Mormilagai – 5 (if not available use 3 dry chilies)
11.     Asafoetida – 2 pinch


Step 1: Wash and soak rice for 2-4 hours and grind finely using 2cups water. Alternately you can sieve and mix it in 2 cups of water.
Step 2: Add salt, 1 tbsp oil and butter milk to the rice batter and stir well and leave aside
Step 3: In a tadka pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil, splutter mustard, sprinkle asafoetida, add urad & channa dal, throw in curry leaves, ginger and broken chilies. Turn off when the dals are golden brown.
Step 4: Grease a tray or plate with thick boundary with some oil and keep aside
Step 5: Now boil 1 cup water in a non-stick pan and slowly stir in the batter. Keep stirring continuously to avoid lumps
Step 6: Once it becomes as a single lump, add a few drops of oil and now it would start leaving the sides. Turn off the heat.
Step 7: Spread the gooey mass on the tray and let it cool down.
Step 8: Cut them into squares or diamonds and serve plain or with idly podi.

·         The kali is done if you chew a bit of it and that doesn’t stick to your teeth; you can turn off the stove at this point.
·         Rice requires double the water to cook; measure water accordingly in use from that measure water in every process in between. Excess water would spoil the consistency.
·         Sometimes dry flour requires more water to cook; in such case you can try adding ¼ to ½ portions more than given.

Saturday, March 17


Poopidi – etymology: poo means flower and pidi means fistful in tamil; it is white in colour and is given shape by pressing inside the fist. Sometimes, I use cookie cutter to give it different shapes. This is akkama’s (my paternal grandma’s) delicacy that remind me of her every time I do it; this is one other simple and tasty dish. But there are variants in the same name which I shall share in one of my future posts.


1.       Broken rice – 1 cup (We call this Upma kappi )
2.       Water -2 cups
3.       Salt as per taste
4.       Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
5.       Pepper – 2 tsp
6.       Coconut chopped finely – 1 tbsp
7.       Oil – 1 tbsp


Step 1: Heat water with salt in a heavy bottomed pan. When it starts boiling, add the broken rice to it and stir constantly to avoid lumps.
Step 2: Heat oil in a small tadka ladle, crakle cumin seeds, broken pepper in it and keep aside.
Step 3: When the entire water is absorbed, add cumin seeds, pepper and coconut; then mix well and switch off the stove.

Step 4: When it is still hot, make small portions of it into your desired shapes; it can be moulded by pressing inside your fist or by making small balls or by patting them into small patties or moulded in small cups or using cookie cutters shape them.

Step 5: Steam these portions in a steamer and serve hot with chutney or idly podi.

Monday, March 12

Arisi Adai

Arisi adai in tamilnadu or akki roti in karnataka is a very common tiffin; it is had as breakfast in karnataka and dinner in tamilnadu. I've seen people adding greens in adai (Keerai adai) or carrot and adais are made with ragi flour in the same way. Conventionally, for adais the par boiled rice is soaked and wet ground and cooked partially to get dough consistency before making adais.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 2


1.     Idli rice– 2 cups
2.     Salt as per taste
3.     Carrot – 1 grated
4.     Coriander – 1 tbsp chopped
5.     Green chilies – 1 chopped
6.     Ginger – 1 “piece grated
7.     Oil – 3 tbsp


Step 1: Wash and soak rice for a couple of hours and grind it into fine batter.
Step 2: Add salt and pour the batter in a non-stick handi and heat it by stirring. It thickens soon, add to it carrot, ginger, coriander, green chilies and a tablespoon of oil. Stir until you get a soft dough like consistency.

Step 3: While the dough is still hot divide into equal portions and roll them into balls. Now there are two ways of making them into circular shapes. On a plastic sheet either grease your hands and pat them thin or sandwich ball between two plastic sheets and roll into a thin disc. This needs some practice and also depends on dough consistency. Do this one by one.

Step 4: Heat the tava, grease some oil over it; carefully toss the adai from sheet to tava.
Step 5: Let it cook for a minute, then with dosa ladle flip it and cook the other side. This wil not brown much but you can see brown spots as in phulkas when done. Cook thoroughly; it takes about 3 minutes for 1 adai.

Step 6: Serve hot with jaggery and ghee or butter or chutney of your choice or pickle or even idly podi. I can have it without any supplement.

* Some people prefer to temper mustard seeds, curry leaves, asafoetida and saute the vegetables in it, mix in the dough instead of adding them raw.
* Some people add mashed stead- rice to get soft and textured adais.
*Instant adais can be made by kneading rice flour with other ingredients. The taste is not comparable to fresh ground wet flour though.

Sunday, March 11

Vella Poori

Vellapooris are deep fried, spicy rice puris savoured in some parts of tamilnadu. These fully puffed puris are thin, crisp and stiff on one side and thick, soft and chewy on the otherside. Usually accompanied by coconut chutney they also go well with tangy rasam.


1. Idli rice - 2 cup
2. Tur dal - 1/2 cup
3. Dry chilies - 2 or 3
4. Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
5. Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
6. Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
7. Garlic - 6 cloves crushed
8. Salt to taste


Step 1: Wash and soak rice and dal together for 2 hours.
Step 2: Drain the water and grind rice & dal along with coriander seeds and dry chilies with minimum water to get a  thick and coarse dough like mass. 
Step 3: Mix the turmeric powder, asafoetida, salt, crushed garlic and mix well. Cover the dough in a muslin cloth and leave it for 20 minutes. During this time the excess moisture is absorbed both by cloth and the coarsely ground rice.
Step 4: Heat oil in a deep kadai; take a 50gm -60gm portion of the tight dough place in on a piece of muslin cloth and pat into round shape of 2mm -3mm thickness.
Step 5: Place it on your hand with the cloth on the upper side and peel it gently; now slide the vellapoori gently into the hot oil.
Step 6: With slotted spoon (jalli karandi) slightly push the puri into the oil while they keep popping up, this helps to get the puris puff well and full.
Step 7. Flip on other side and get the vellapoori cooked well on lower side and crisp and golden yellow on upper side. 
Step 8: Once the bubbles subside, drain and  place them on kitchen tissue to absorb excess oil. Repeat for the entire dough.
Step 9: Serve hot with coconut chutney.

* The dough consistency is little tricky, here we are making a dough by wet grinding not batter. So far, I never got to make up a watery dough, so I do not have tips in stock. All my mom says is keep in fridge, let the excess moisture get absorbed by rice and use dry wraps of muslin to absorb. More moisture in dough will complicate making shapes and even dropping in oil will be difficult, in addition to drinking a lot of oil (tamil slang for absorbing more oil ;))

Thursday, March 8

Jeera Aloo

At home, we are not great fans of having dry subji with roti; but I've always wondered how north Indians crave for jeera aloo. I just wanted to tried it myself... I liked it, Kundan didn't like to combine it with roti but otherwise liked it. So you got to try and see if you would go for it. Actually it goes well with dal rice also.


1. Potatoes - 5
2. Oil - 1-2 tbsp
3. Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
4.  Kasoori Methi - 1 tbsp
5. Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
6. Salt to taste
7. Chili powder - 1 tsp
8. Coriander powder - 2 tsp
9. Asafoetida - 1 pinch


Step 1: Boil the potatoes with until done but firm. Peel and cut them into cubes.

Step 2: Heat oil in a non stick pan and crackle cumin seeds; sprinkle asafoetida and add the potato cubes and toss gently so that the cubes don't mash or break.
Step 3: Add turmeric powder, coriander powder, chili powder, crushed kasoori methi, little salt and toss again gently to coat the potatoes with all ingredients evenly. Cover and cook for 3 minutes.

Step 4: Open the lid, toss again and cook without lid for a couple of minutes again.