Wednesday, March 27

Kakori Kebab

I am surprised to hear many people do not consume snake gourd. I don’t remember any vegetable that was avoided in my mom’s kitchen. We were strongly discouraged to have any favorism for a particular vegetable; we simply were not allowed to avoid a veggie though we are choosy at times about what is cooked with it. This starter recipe can actually get you started with eating snake gourd if you are not used to it.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Serves: Yields 15 kebabs approx


1.     Snake gourd – 1 medium sized
2.     Boiled and peeled potato – 1 large
3.     Capsicum – 1 small
4.     Bread crumbs – 1 cup
5.     Corn flour – 3 tbsp
6.     Cumin powder – ¼ tsp
7.     Pepper crushed – ¼ tsp
8.     Chaat masala – ½ tsp
9.     Chili powder – ¼
10.             Salt as per taste
11.            Lemon juice – 2 tbsp
12.             Cardamom powder – 1 pinch
13.            Sugar – ¼ tsp
14.            Oil for deep frying


Step 1: Peel and grate the snake gourd; mash the potato.
Step 2: Now in a mixing bowl, mix together all the ingredients except bread crumbs and oil.

Step 3: Check the taste and adjust consistency by adding bread crumbs to get a soft but not watery mix such that you can mould them with your fist.
Step 4: Shape them into finger length cylinders like in the picture below and roll them on bread crumbs. Repeat for the entire mix.

Step 5: Heat oil in a kadai and deep fry the kebabs until they get a nice brown color.

Step 6: Serve hot with ketchup or green chutney.

*You can prepare and refrigerate the rolled kebabs in advance to fry while serving; especially when made for guests we don’t want to do messy things in the last minute in front of them.

Beetroot Chutney

We both also like chutneys a lot like most south Indians, so I am keen about trying out varieties of chutney to go with idly/dosa. Yesterday I tried beetroot chutney; I did not pick up the recipe from anywhere in specific. I simply worked on the chutney protocol with the 2 weeks old beetroots I had. Kundan liked it to my surprise; though it is slightly sweetish, it only balances the sourness, salt and heat of chilies.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 2


1.     Beetroot – 2
2.     Green chilies – 2
3.     Tamarind – 2” strip
4.     Salt as per taste
5.     Oil – 1+2 tsp
6.     Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
7.     Urad dal – ½ tbsp
8.     Asafoetida – 1 pinch
9.     Curry leaves – 1 sprig


Step 1: Peel and roughly chop the beetroot.
Step 2: Heat a teaspoon of oil in a kadai and sauté green chilies and beet in it till soft and done. Let it cool. Soak tamarind in some water.

Step 3: Grind the beetroot, chilies, soaked tamarind, and required salt with some water into a grainy paste. Add more water if required.
Step 4: Prepare tempering by heating 2 tsp of oil, spluttering mustard seeds, roasting urad dal & curry leaves in it and sprinkling asafoetida.
Step 5: Mix the prepared tempering to the ground chutney and serve with idly/ dosa or even steamed rice.

*You can combine carrot and beetroot in this recipe.
*Sauté a couple of shallots along with beetroot to enhance the chutney flavour.

Tuesday, March 26

Knol Khol Sabji

I have never tasted any recipe made from knol khol other the sambar my mom makes. I prepare sambar very rarely as dal replaces it in our household. I was missing knol khol for some time and I tried a dry sabji with it to have with phulkas. It came out well though I prefer sambar to it; but if I have to make this vegetable with roti then sabji is the choice. While shopping, the choice of knol khol is crucial, too mature ones will have spongy and chewy inside which don't taste well.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 2


1.     Knol khol – 4
2.     Green chili – 1
3.     Ginger – 1” piece
4.     Oil – 1 tbsp
5.     Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
6.     Coriander seeds – 1 ½ tbsp.
7.     Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
8.     Asafoetida – 1 pinch
9.     Chili powder – 1 tsp
10. Salt to taste
11. Kasoori methi – 1 tsp
12.Garam Masala - 1 tsp
13.Amchoor salt - 1/4 tsp


Step 1: Peel and chop knol khol into small cubes as in the picture below. Chop green chilies as well.

Step 2: Heat oil in a non-stick pan and splutter cumin seeds in it, sprinkle asafoetida, add turmeric, coriander powder and sauté green chilies and ginger in it.

Step 3: Add the cubed vegetable and add enough salt & chili powder.

Step 4: Sprinkle some water, mix well and close with a lid.
Step 5: Cook in simmered stove and stir occasionally until the vegetable is tender.
Step 6: Crush the kasoori methi into the saji, add garam masala & amchoor salt and mix with the sabji. Cook uncovered for 2 minutes and turn off heat.

Step 7: Serve hot with phulkas.

Mint-Coriander-Curry leaves Thokku

Whenever the women of a family is planned to absent for some days from cooking, we have a habit of preparing thokku (pasty pickles) so that people at home can have it with idli or dosa or plain rice or even rotis. As a descendent of this custom, I had made this mixed thokku before my fil's surgery. I had all three greens and for convenience I had used all of them in this recipe, it did taste well with all flavours felt; generally it is made with one of the three greens in the same procedure.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes


1.     Mint leaves cleaned – 1 cup
2.     Coriander leaves cleaned with stem – 1 cup
3.     Curry leaves cleaned – 1 cup
4.     Green chilies – 2
5.     Ginger – 1” piece
6.     Red chili powder – 1 tsp
7.     Salt as per taste
8.     Tamarind pulp as required
9.     Gingelly oil – 3 tbsp
10.   Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
11.   Asafoetida – ¼ tsp
12.   Fenugreek powder – ¼ tsp


Step 1: Grind all leaves, green clilies and ginger into a smoot paste with minimum water possible.

Step 2: Heat oil in a kadai, splutter mustard seeds, sprinkle asafoetida and pour in the ground green paste.

Step 3: Add tamarind pulp, salt and chili powder and adjust these three by tasting.

Step 4: Simmer the stove and stir occasionally to avoid burning at the bottom.

Step 5: The thokku is done when moisture in it evaporates and oil separates. Turn off heat when done.

Step 6: Once cool store in a clean and dry air-tight container.

Urad Dal Ladoo

Urad dal as we know is good for health and very strengthening especially for girls during puberty and for women during pregnancy. I tried this recipe from first time when I had visited my sister during her pregnancy. All of us loved it and I had made it many times after that, thanks to Nishamadhulika. In north India there is a habit of making these kinds of healthy ladoos when winter arrives to keep the body warm unlike we in south make sweets only during festivities or for occasions.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Serves: Yields 20-25 ladoos


1.     Urad dal – 2 cups
2.     Bura or tagar – 1 ½ cups
3.     Ghee – 1 cup
4.     Cahew nuts – 4 tbsp


Step 1: Roast the urad dal in simmer until done and nice aroma emanates. Let it cool down.

Step 2: Grind the urad dal in a mixer to get a slightly coarse flour.
Step 3: Melt ghee, add chopped nuts and urad flour to it. Mix tagar or bura to it and mix well.

Step 4: Roll into ladoos between your fists.

*Check for the tagar or bura recipe from Besan ladoo recipe in this blog.
*You can add cardamom powder if you do not like urad flavour.
*Add nuts of your choice along with cashew nuts.
*Adjust sweetness and ghee according to taste.
*If you live in cold weather, heat the ladoo in microwave while serving to get the ghee melted and be flavourful.
*If the bura or tagar has lumps pulse it in the mixer.

Masala Dosa

I am sure at least every south Indian (Except for people who want to avoid potato) is always an ardent lover of masala dosa. Ironically, though it is simple to make at home, most of us eat it only in restaurants. As we live in a locality that does not give us the luxury of stepping into a decent tiffin centre as when we want, I was elicited to prepare masala dosas for dinner on a week day. They indeed tasted in comparison to the restaurant ones.

Preparation Time: NA

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 2


1.     Dosa batter – 2 cups
2.     Potato – 3
3.     Green peas – ½ cup
4.     Onion - 1
5.     Green chilies – 2
6.     Curry leaves – 1 sprig
7.     Oil – 1 tbsp + as required for greasing
8.     Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
9.     Cumin seeds – ¼ tsp
10.  Asafoetida – 1 pinch
11.  Urad dal – ½ tbsp.
12.  Gram dal – 1 tbsp


Step 1: Boil the potatoes, peel and mash them well. Blanch the shelled green peas with a pinch of salt.

Step 2: Heat oil in a kadai, splutter mustard seeds & cumin seeds, roast urad dal & gram dal until brown, sprinkle asafoetida, add chopped green chilies & curry leaves and sauté the chopped onion in it until translucent.
Step 3: Now add the mashed potatoes & blanched peas and sprinkle enough salt. Add enough water and get a juicy & soft consistency. If it is watery, it will soak the dosa and it won’t taste good. Keep masala aside.

Step 4: Heat dosa tava, ladle batter in the center and spread it around the tava till thin. Drizzle oil around and cover with a lid.
Step 5: Open lid when the top the dosa is done (white batter turns off-white), with the help of flat ladle flatten the top surface of dosa and spoon the masala in a vertical line of about 3” width.

Step 6: Check it the dosa has turned brown enough; when done fold both sides towards center like in the image. You can make triangular dosas as well.

Step 7: Serve hot with chutney or sambar or both.

*In my hostel, they smear spicy chutney over the dosa before placing masala into it; however I’m not a big fan of it. This chutney is made by grinding garlic cloves, soaked red chilies and salt together.

Samba Wheat Idli

This was another easy and healthy tiffin recipe. I had some finely broken samba wheat but as we usually prefer upma made from coarser wheat rava I had to try idlies with this one. I prepared it like my grandma used to prepare rava idlies and it was soft and fluffy. However, as a big fan of rava idly Kundan did not score it high; sometimes health comes at the cost of taste you see…

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 2


1.     Samba wheat rava (finer one) -  2 cups
2.     Curds – 2 cups
3.     Salt as per taste
4.     Cooking Soda – 1 pinch
5.     Oil or ghee – ½ tbsp
6.     Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
7.     Pepper corns – ¼ tsp
8.     Curry leaves – 1 sprig


Step 1: Beat the curds into smooth consistency, mix salt and wheat rava to it. Stir well and rest for 30 minutes.

Step 2: Heat oil/ ghee in a tempering ladle, splutter cumin seeds and pepper corns in it. Roast the curry leaves in it until crisp and add this to the batter. (I didn't have curry leaves)

Step 3: Start heating the idli cooker. Grease the idli plates with some oil.
Step 4: Now add cooking soda to the batter and adjust consistency by adding water if required.
Step 5: Ladle batter into the idli plates (Idlies will rise and so make sure you don’t over-fill the batter) and steam them for 7-10 minutes.

Step 6: Serve hot with chutney or sambar or podi.