Tuesday, October 23

Sweet Atta Paddu

I really don’t know what to call this. I wanted to do a savory and sweet for aayutha pooja and punjabi puda inspired from dassana was the sweet I tried; but it totally took a different form later during my trial; hence I named it paddu.

Original recipe Source: vegrecipesofindia.com

1.       Wheat flour -1 cup
2.       Semolina – 2 tbsp
3.       Salt – 1 pinch
4.       Jaggery/ Sugar – ½ cup
5.       Fennel seeds – 1 tbsp
6.       Raisins – 2 tbsp
7.       Ghee – 1 tbsp
8.       Oil to fry

Step 1: Mix all ingredients from 1-7 in a bowl using water to a pakora batter consistency.

Step 2: Heat oil in the pan and spoon batter into it, few at a time.

Step 3: Alternatively you can prepare them in a kuzhiyappakal shown in the picture if you have one or use tawa to prepare them like pancakes.

Idli Batter Bonda

My granny used to prepare this instant snack when we come back from school. I don't know if she learnt this recipe from someone, but there seems a widely practiced recipe called 'punugulu' in Andhra which is the same as what my granny used to make. These are tasty, crispy and quick snacks for rainy days and unexpected guests.


1.       Idli batter – 1 cup
2.       Onion – 1 cup finely chopped
3.       Green chilies – 2 finely chopped
4.       Asafoetida – 1 pinch
5.       Baking soda – 1 pinch
6.       Salt as required
7.       Oil for deep frying


Step 1: Take idli batter in a bowl and mix with it all the ingredients except oil.
Step 2: Heat oil in a deep kadai.
Step 3: Now, either with spoon or with your hand pour around 6-8 small portions of  
           batter in hot oil and fry them on both sides until golden brown.
Step 4: Drain oil and take out the bondas and repeat until entire batter is over.
Step 5: Serve hot with green chutney or coconut chutney.

Monday, October 22

Manathakkali keerai paal kootu

Akkama, my granny used to say that this particular green vegetable is so very soothing for stomach ulcers and mouth ulcers. She had prepared it every fortnight for us when we grew up.


1.       Black nightshade leaves (Manathakkali keerai) – 1 bunch, cleaned and chopped
2.       Moong dal – ¼ cup
3.       Milk – ½ cup
4.       Rice flour – 1 tbsp
5.       Salt as per taste
6.       Sugar – ½ tsp

1.       Ghee – ½ tbsp.
2.       Pepper – ½ tsp crushed
3.       Red chili – 1 halved

Step 1: In a pan boil moong dal (It is better if you soak 15 minutes before cooking); when it is half done add green leaves to it and cover to cook.
Step 2: When it once done add milk, rice flour and stir for 2 minute until milk thickens
Step 3: Sprinkle salt, sugar, mix well and turn off heat.
Step 4: For tempering in a tadka pan, heat ghee add halved red chili, crushed pepper and empty it over the dish and serve hot with stead rice.

Lauki Muthiya

I have adopted this recipe from nishamadhulika.com.  Bottle gourd is a pathetic vegetable that never gets standing votes in the house holds though this is a worshiped vegetable in Ayurvedha. Nevertheless  this is a versatile vegetable with which we can make different courses from soups to desserts. Muthiya or Mukhia means fistful; this dish is shaped with the fist and hence the name; these steamed and spiced dish can be had both as snack or tiffin.

1.       Bottle gourd – 1 grated
2.       Wheat flour – 1 cup
3.       Bengal gram flour – ½ cup
4.       Semolina – ½ cup
5.       Green chilies – 1 tbsp finely chopped
6.       Ginger – ½ tbsp grated
7.       Coriander – 2 tbsp finely chopped
8.       Red chili powder – 1 tsp
9.       Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
10.   Salt as per taste
11.   Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
12.   Baking soda – 1 tsp
13.   Oil – 2 tbsp

For seasoning:
14.   Oil - 1 tbsp
15.   Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
16.   Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
17.   Sesame seeds – 1 tbsp
18.   Curry leaves – 1 sprig
19.   Salt as per taste
20.   Coriander powder
21.   Red chili powder – 1 tsp
22.   Grated ginger – 1 tsp
23.   Chopped green chilies – ½ tbsp
24.   Dry mango powder – 1 tsp
25.   Coriander – 2 tbsp finely chopped


Step 1: Get the steamer ready on stove with water in it. Add all the ingredients from 1-13 and mix thoroughly; you should be able to make oblong shapes out of them. Do not add water, the juice of bottle gourd should be sufficient, if the dough is sticky or too watery, add more wheat flour to get the right consistency. You can add little water if required.


Step 2:  Form oblong shapes from the dough and steam cook them for 10 minutes. Verify if they are done with a toothpick or knife.


Step 3: Let them cool for some time. Cut them into ½” slices

Step 4: Now in non-stick pan heat oil, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and sesame seeds, curry leaves and let them crackle. Add chillies and ginger and sauté for a minute.

Step 5: Simmer the heat and add all dry ingredients; beware not to burn them. Toss the sliced muthias along with coriander.
Step 6: Serve hot as a snack or tiffin.

Banana Walnut Milkshake

Walnuts are brain foods and are the main source of Omega-3 fatty acids especially for vegetarians. As a nut, unlike cashew or almonds, they are not very pleasant tasting as it is full of oil. Generally it is consumed in baked dishes and enhanced with banana flavour. With the same combo, I tried this banana-walnut milkshake.


1.       Milk – 2 cups
2.       Walnuts – 4 + 2
3.       Banana – 2
4.       Sugar – 2 tbsp


Step 1: Peel and slice the bananas; mash them in a mixer jar along with the sugar
Step 2: Pour milk into the bananas and whip it for few seconds.
Step 3: Now crush the walnuts and add into the jar and whip for one final time.
Step 4: Fold the shake into two glasses and chill it covered.
Step 5: Garnish with whole walnuts before serving.

Dal Tadka

Dal tadka is the seasoned lentil soup used as an accompaniment with steamed rice. This is a comfort food for most north Indians and are kid friendly. My 2 years old niece loves it and we were overwhelmed to see her eat something with enthusiasm. It is simple, healthy and yummy; it goes well with any dry subji or papad or even pickle.


1.       Tuvar dal – 1 cup
2.       Moong dal – ¼ cup
3.       Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
4.       Salt as per taste
5.       Ghee – 1 tbsp
6.       Asafoetida – 1 pinch
7.       Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
8.       Dry chilies – 2
9.       Kasoori methi – 1 tbsp
10.   Curry leaves – 1 sprig


Step 1: Wash and pressure cook the dals with some salt and turmeric.
Step 2: Heat ghee in a pan and splutter cumin seeds in it, sprinkle asafoetida, add broken dry chilies and kasoori methi and curry leaves.
Step 3: Add dal to the tadka and mix water depending on consistency required; adjust salt, spice and boil for 1 minute. Turn off heat.
Step 4: Squeeze lemon and serve hot with rotis or rice.

Broken Rice Upma

This is my favorite tiffin from my childhood; this is one of those never satiating foods that we love to have from our mom's kitchen. Another unique thing about this upma is, it is made from 'upma kappi' which is broken rice; I have never seen this in stores, it is home made or mom-sent. It is a staple in our home and a comfort food for everyone. My paternal grandpa used to say, 'Ponni rice is born to take the form the upma kappi' meaning that upma kappi made of ponni rice (a variety of rice) is best suited for upmas.


1. Broken rice - 2 cups
2. Carrot - 2
3. Onion - 2
4. Green peas - 1 fistful
5. Corn kernels - 1 fistful
6. Green chilies - 2
7. Curry leaves - 1 sprig
8. Water - 4 cups
9. Oil - 3 tbsp
10. Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
11. Urad dal - 1 tbsp
12. Bengal gram - 1 tbsp
13. Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp


Step 1: Wash the vegetables; chop the onion, carrot and green chilies.


Step 2: Heat a kadai, temper with mustard seeds, urad dal, bengal gram, asafoetida, curry leaves, green chilies and saute onion in that until translucent.

Step 3: Heat measured water with salt in another stove in parallel.

Step 4: Add carrot to the kadai and saute for 2 minutes, roast the broken rice along with the vegetables for 2 more minutes.

Step 5: Pour the hot water and close with a lid immediately; simmer the stove.

Step 6: After 5 minutes open the lid, add peas and corn and stir well.

Step 7: If uncooked and dry, sprinkle some water. Adjust salt and close the lid again for 5 minutes.

Step 8: Open stir well and switch off stove. If you prefer 'kandal', slightly burnt upma forming a thick bottom layer; keep in simmer for 5 more minutes.

Step 9: Serve hot with coconut chutney or idli podi or curds. Jaggery or sugar also goes well with this upma.

Sunday, October 21

Sabudana Kitchadi

Like idly-sambar is for south-Indians, sabudana kitchadi is for maharastrians. Once a colleague of mine Roselin brought this to office, that was the first time I tasted it, loved it and I learnt to prepare this from her. Until I dug into the web, I thought sabudana is no healthy ingredient and had a dumb taste but for the condiments used to prepare it. But the internet lit upon me the goodness of these tiny pearls. Sabudana is made of tapioca and is non-gluttonous and very very healthy and cooling to the body. In olden days sabudana or sago was made in cottage industries and were mostly unhygienic which is another reason we at home used to avoid it for, but now with industrial manufacturing in place this is not an issue; so all of us can happily relish it.  I would call this a wholesome breakfast as this is full of multi-nutrients. 


1.       Sabudana – 1 cup
2.       Potato – 2
3.       Peanuts – 1/3 cup
4.       Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
5.       Cumin seeds – ¼ tsp
6.       Green chilies – 2 chopped
7.       Curry leaves -1 sprig
8.       Asafoetida -1 pinch
9.       Salt as per taste
10.   Oil – 1 tbsp


Step 1: Soak the sabudana in water for 30 minutes, then drain the water and leave it covered overnight. Some people leave it soaked in water the whole night and others soak just for 2 hours; it depends upon the type of sabudana grains you use. Just make sure they neither get dissolved nor are hard in the centre.

Step 2: Dry roast the peanuts, let it cool for some time and then grind it coarsely in the mixer.
Step 3: Wash, peel and cut the potatoes into small cubes.
Step 4: In a non-stick pan, heat oil, splutter mustard & cumin, sprinkle asafoetida, add curry leaves & green chillies and then sauté the cubed potatoes in it with some salt until they are done.

Step 5: Now add the sabudana, peanut powder, salt and mix with light hand so as to not mash the Kitchadi.
Step 6: Once mixed well, turn off stove immediately; not much cooking is required; else sabudana would become lumpy.
Step 7: Serve hot with curds if necessary. Actually this goes best without any accompaniment.

Humble Risotto

Risotto is a kind of Italian dish prepared with starchy rice varieties, mostly arborio. It is usually cooked to a creamy texture using vegetable or meat stock and then spiced as per need. You get only imported arborio in India; I used local brown rice which is also short grained and starchy, even the normal idli rice should work. Yeah, it may not taste ditto like arborio risottos because I'm translating it and not transliterating :)

1.       Brown rice – 1 cup
2.       Butter – 1 blob
3.       Onion – 1 chopped finely
4.       Tomato – 1 chopped finely
5.       Vegetable stock – 3 cups
6.       Pepper powder – 1 tsp
7.       Italian seasoning – 1 tsp
8.       Salt as per taste
9.       Mint to garnish
10.   Fresh cream or grated cheese (optional)


Step 1: Heat butter in a non-stick pan, sauté onion in that and then roast the brown rice in that. Boil the stock in parallel, we’ll use them periodically.

Step 2: Add stock to the rice to the level the rice just submerges and cover it. Sprinkle required salt. Stir occasionally.

Step 3: Once the water is absorbed, add some more stock to cover the rice and let it cook. Add in chopped tomatoes. Repeat adding stock, until it is fully done. Slow cooking is the essence of risotto, it takes about 45 minutes.
Step 4: Sprinkle seasoning, pepper and add cream/cheese if using and stir well. Adjust salt.

Step 5: Garnish with mint leaves and serve hot.

Wednesday, October 17

Beetroot Soup

Beetroot has a lot of health benefits like lowering blood pressure & cholesterol, it is said to produce anti-oxidants and they call it enemy of colon cancer. But for me I simply love the color of beetroot. Soup is one very nice way of relishing beetroot. Here, I share my simple version of beet soup that serves two people.

1. Beetroot - 1
2. Tomato -1
3. Salt to taste
4. Pepper to taste

Step 1: Blanch the roughly chopped beetroot and tomato in a cup of water for 3 minutes.
Step 2: Let it cool a bit and then blend together finely in a mixer jar.
Step 3: Add required salt and pepper.
Step 4: Serve warm or heat it to have it hot or refrigerate to have it cool. 

*This is the simplest version. You can try one of the alternate options as mentioned below
*Skip tomato and add juice of lemon
*Saute in some butter or olive oil instead of blanching beetroot
*Add more herbs & seasoning
*Add more vegetables and top it with caramelized onion.

Friday, October 12

Paneer Bhurji

Paneer Bhurji
I first ate this dish from the Punjabi family I stayed with as paying guest. I fell in love with it the first time I ate it and so did Kundan; so I make this bhurji frequently at home. It is very simple to make and is one of the tastiest combination with phulkas, I swear.


1.       Paneer –200 gm
2.       Green chilies – 2
3.       Onion – 1 finely chopped
4.       Cumin seeds – ½  tsp
5.       Asafoetida – 1 pinch
6.       Oil 1 tbsp
7.       Salt to taste
8.       Chopped Coriander – 1 tbsp


Step 1: Grate the paneer either by using whipping option in the mixer or by crumbling by your hands
Step 2: In a non-stick pan, heat oil and crackle cumin seeds in it, sprinkle asafoetida, thrown in chopped chilies, add the chopped onion and sauté till they are soft and translucent.
Step 3: Now, add the grated or crumbled paneer, sprinkle necessary salt over it and mix with a soft hand in simmered stove for 1 minute.
Step 4: Adjust salt, garnish with the fresh coriander and serve warm with rotis/ phulkas.
Ø  I make use of homemade paneer to do bhurji as they are crumbly; the store bought paneer are little rubbery is what I feel.
Ø  You can use old paneer (not after expiry) in freezer which are dry in texture, for this dish.

Paneer Capsicum Chinese Gravy

I found this simple recipe on the Szechuan sauce bottle I got last week and tried this easy-peasy dish. Believe me, except for the looks of the dish, it did come closer to a restaurant gravy in terms of taste, flavor  and consistency. It goes very well with fried rice.


1.       Capsicum – 1 large
2.       Paneer – 100 grams
3.       Onion – 1 large
4.       Szechuan sauce – 1 tbsp
5.       Garlic cloves – 3
6.       Dry chilies -2
7.       Spring onion chopped – 2 tbsp (for garnishing)
8.       Gingelly oil – 1 tbsp
9.       Soy sauce – 1 tbsp
10.   Vinegar – 1 tbsp
11.   Corn flour – 1 tbsp
12.   Salt as per taste


Step 1: Cut the capsicum and onion into 1.5” square and paneer into 1” cubes.
Step 2: Heat oil add grated onion and broken chilies to it, add cut vegetables and paneer and sauté for a minute or so
Step 3: Add Szechuan sauce and dilute it with 2 cups water. Now separately dissolve the corn flour in some water and stir into the gravy until it thickens.
Step 4: Add soy sauce, vinegar, salt and stir for a minute more
Step 5: Garnish with chopped spring onions and serve hot with fried rice.

·        * You can shallow fry the vegetables and paneer and keep them aside and add at the last to retain its crisp and color.
*     * I've used home made panner which was a little gooey that is why it has dissolved on sides.

Kanjeepuram Idly

The other day, Priya my neighbor had given this recipe of a traditional dish called 'Kanjeepuram idly', a soft white mildly spiced idly which I really liked. Thank you Priya for sharing your paati's recipe. Later, I learnt from my mother in law that, in her mother's place they have a practice of making a special type of idli on diwali called 'Maraka idly' which shares the batter recipe with the kanjeepuram idli. The interesting part about maraka idlis is that these giant idlis are prepared in large bronze pot shaped vessels, with the help of big muslin cloth in which the batter is poured and steamed. ' However, the seasoning for kanjeepuram idly is so aromatic while maraka idli has a usual tadka. For me, practically kanjeepuram idli is what I prefer.

1.       Raw rice – 1 cup
2.       Boiled rice – 1 cup (preferably idly rice)
3.       Urad dal – 1 cup
4.       Gheel – 2 tbsp
5.       Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
6.       Crushed pepper – 1 tsp
7.       Dry ginger powder – 1 tsp
8.       Curry leaves – 1 sprig
9.       Salt as per taste
10.   Baking soda – ½ tsp

Step 1: Wash and soak rice (both the rice together) and dal separately for 2 hours. Grind the dal with enough water first and then the rice. Mix thoroughly both the batter together with salt to in pouring consistency. Leave this overnight for fermenting.

Step 2: Grease dhokla plates or large circular plates with oil to make short cylindrical idlis. Heat water in the steamer or idli pot.
Step 3: Now, heat ghee in a tadka pan, splutter cumin seeds, add crushed pepper & dry ginger powder and throw in curry leaves. Be careful not to burn the tadka.

Step 4: Put the tadka over the batter and mix well. Add the baking soda and mix well again.

Step 5: Pour the batter in the greased plates and steam them immediately. It takes 5-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the plates.

Beetroot Jam

We always choose to buy processed jams for their texture and shelf life. Beetroot jam is something i would persuade you to make at home for three reasons; you'll hardly find beet root jams in stores, they are natural as in no preservatives or pectin or artificial colors, above all it is damn simple. This is the recipe with minimum number of ingredients at least as far as I know so far. 


1.       Beetroot – 2 large
2.       Sugar – ½ cup
3.       Lemon - 1

·         Peel and chop the beetroots into cubes; pressure cook or steam cook them until soft say for 3 whistles.
·         After it gets to room temperature, puree them in a mixer jar very finely.
·         In a non-stick pan, pour the puree and mix the sugar and stir it on medium heat.

·         Stir it occasionally in low heat or stir continuously in medium-high heat; this would take at least 15 minutes.

·         When the jam starts to leave the sides of the pan switch of the stove and squeeze juice of a lemon. Stir well and let it cool.
·         Store in an airtight container to use for longer time.

Samba Wheat Halwa

I won't call this an extraordinary dessert but it definitely caters another interesting and healthy number to sweet-toothed persons like my husband. The suitability of samba wheat for halwa is ironical, it is stiff and chewy even after cooking while we are used to eating gooey halwas; the beauty is, because of these very tendencies they absorb less ghee and sugar and still keep the halwa sweet .


1.       Samba rava – 1 cup
2.       Milk – 1 cup
3.       Sugar – ¼ cup
4.       Cardamom powder – ½ tsp
5.       Almonds – 2 tbsp chopped
6.       Raisins – 2 tbsp
7.       Ghee – 2 tbsp


Step 1: Roast the samba wheat rava in a non-stick pan with a spoon of ghee until the aroma starts coming out.

Step 2: Add milk and cover and cook until the rava is cooked by stirring occasionally.

Step 3: Add sugar, cardamom powder and stir until the mass leaves the sides of the pan
Step 4: Garnish with chopped almonds, raisins and serve hot drizzling another spoon of ghee.

Corn Chowder

I got to know of corn chowder after randomly hitting some blog on web and this recipe is a hybridization of the various source recipes. Both I and my husband love this soupy dish for dinner if we are not extra hungry to eat solids; it is wholesome with nutrients though you can accompany it with salads for filling.


1.       Fresh maize – 1
2.       Onion – 1 extra finely chopped
3.       Coriander stems chopped finely – 2 tbsp
4.       Milk – 2 cups
5.       Salt to taste
6.       Oil 1 tbsp


Step 1: Peel the maize and separate the corn kernels by cutting vertically as in the picture. Save 2 tbsp for adding texture to the chowder and grind the rest of the kernels in a mixer.
Step 2: Heat oil and sauté the chopped onions until translucent; add milk and let it come to boil. Put in the maize stalk and a bay leaf; this is the notch flavour of corn chowder.

Step 3: Discard the bay leaf and maize stalk. Add corn paste and corn kernels and simmer the stove for 15 minutes.
Step 4: Now throw in coriander stem and serve piping hot. This is a wholesome, exotic and simple dish.

Urad Chutney

My amma calls this 'Thalichu kottina thovaiyal', an olden chutney that serves a typical side dish for idly/ dosa. This usually pops up when you don't know what to make for dinner or for a quick breakfast, provided there is idly batter lying in the refrigerator. This comprises very basic ingredients and can be prepared in less than 5 minutes.


1. Urad dal - 2 tbsp
2. Tamarind - marble sized soaked in water
3. Salt - 1 tsp
4. Dry red chilies - 3
5. Asafoetida - 1 pinch
6. Jaggery - 1/2 tsp grated
7. Oil - 1 tbsp
8. Mustard seeds - 1/2 tbsp
9. Curry leaves - 1 sprig


Step 1: Roast the urad dal with 3 drops of oil in a tadka pan or any pan till golden brown and let it cool.
Step 2: Roast the dry chilies in the same pan and let it cool.
Step 3: Now grind coarsely the urad dal along with tamarind, salt, chilies and jaggery using some water to get chutney consistency.
Step 4: In the same pan heat the rest of the oil, splutter mustard seeds, sprinkle asafoetida, add curry leaves and pour over the chutney.
Step 5: Adjust salt and serve with idly or dosa.

Tips: It tastes better if consumed within a couple of hours as the urad dal will lose its crisp in time. However, it can be refrigerated and used for 2 days.

Pani Poori

One can even claim pani poori to be the king of chaats as they are both, the mostly preferred chaat and the most people's prefered chaat. It is known by various names across India such as gol gappas or gupchup or puchka. I don't think there are people in India who are non-addictive to gol gappas. One of my friends used to say that she wishes to get married to a panipuriwala so that she gets panipuri fed anytime she wants to. Most of the hygiene observers and calories calculators consider panipuri an exception for its exceptional experience. Kids to old age people cheer up on the explosion of spices inside the mouth after gulping those small crisp, spice filled puris.


1.       Small puris – 1 pack
2.       Fine sev for garnishing
For pani:
a.       Water – 1 litre
b.      Black salt – 1 tsp
c.       Chat masala – 1 tsp
d.      Pani poori masala – 2 tbsp
e.      Dry mango powder – 1 tsp
f.        Corriander – 1 fistful
g.       Mint leaves – few
h.      Green chilies – 3
i.         Lemon - 1
For masala:
1.       Boiled potatoes – 3
2.       Sprouted moong dal, blanched – 1 cup
3.       Onion - 2 chopped
4.       Coriander leaves – 1 tbsp chopped
5.       Red chili powder – ½ tsp
6.       Chaat masala – 1tsp


Step 1: For pani, grind the greenchilies, mint leaves, coriander leaves and juice of a lemon in a mixer and dissolve it in 1 lt of water along with other dry ingredients. Either chill this or add ice cubes.
Step 2: For masala, mash the potatoes, add onion, moong sprouts, coriander leaves, chaat masala, and chili powder and mix them well.
Step 3: Now for dressing the little puris, break open the softer side of the puri, stuff a little masala in it and garnish with fine sev. Repeat for all the puris.
Step 4: While serving, dip the dressed puris inside the pani and eat whole. Believe me, nothing on earth is so heavenly.