Thursday, June 27

Neer Mor Saadam

Coming from a village in Tamil Nadu, I am very much acquainted with pazhayathu or pazhanjaadam or neer  mor saadam. Though it is not a regular summer practice at our home, we did relish it often during the scorching summer while on vacation to our native. But now, knowing its benefits I have made this as our summer breakfast at least thrice a week. It cools the body, acts as a wonderful probiotic, very light and yet nutritious, completely medicinal yet tastes heavenly (of course, you need to have a taste for it.)

Serves: 2

Preparation Time: 2 minutes

Cooking Time: NA

1.      Steamed rice – 2 cups (Should not be hot or warm)
2.    Water – 1 lt
3. Salt – 1 tbsp (Body requires more salt and water to fight summer)
4.    Butter milk – ½ cup
Ø Preferably a mud pot to soak in.
Ø To accompany peeled raw shallots (madras vengayam or sambar vengayam) are the best, though green chilies or yoghurt chilies or the like would go well.

Step 1: Take the clean mud pot and put the steamed rice into it. The rice should not be hot.

Step 2: Add a litre of water, butter milk and enough salt.
Step 3: Mix well and leave it closed overnight.

Step 4: In the morning, stir well and serve with onion or chilies.


*My mom adds citrus leaves and curry leaves to give it an awesome flavour. Sometimes I fancy it with lemon rinds.

*My mom’s aunt makes tempering to it with mustard, asafoetida, yoghurt chilies, and crushed garlic with peel.

*Some people add chopped onion and chilies to it so that they don’t have to take them separately; I prefer them freshly bitten (oru kadi, oru kudi ;) that’s the classic way to have the dish)

Dosakai Kababs

Dosakai is a vegetable that seems like a yellow ball and is used mainly in Andhra recipes. I had got them from my vegetable vendor and was hunting for a novel recipe to try with it. I happened to come across a snake gourd recipe which I adapted, replaced snake gourd with dosakai and tried the recipe. This is a super hit starter with our friends. This is a must try for deep fried snack lovers or even as party starters. 

Serves: Yields 25 kebabs

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

1.     Dosakai – 1
2.     Snake gourd finely chopped – ¼ cup (Optional)
3.     Green chilies – 2
4.     Gram flour – 3 tbsp
5.     Bread crumbs – ½ cup
6.     Salt to taste
7.     Corn flour – 1 tbsp
8.     Red chili powder – 1 tsp
9.     Asafoetida – 1tsp
10.            Lemon – 1
11.             Cumin powder – 1 tsp
12.             Oil for deep frying

Dosakai / Dosakaya


Step 1: I had chopped the dosakai and snake gourd after peeling but I think grating coarsely should be better. Chop green chilies finely.

Step 2: Add gram flour, corn flour, chili powder, asafoetida, cumin powder, salt and juice of a lemon and mix well. No water must be required as the vegetables leave water. If in case it is too water to roll into balls, add some gram flour, corn flour or even bread crumbs.

Step 3: Make them into to small lemon sized balls and roll them in bread crumbs. Once done, refrigerate it for at least half an hour. You can even freeze them for longer in case you want to.

Step 4: Heat oil in a deep kadai, and deep fry the kebabs till golden brown.

Step 5: Serve with ketchup, green chutney or fresh salad.

Vendhya Pathartham

This is a very noble recipe that my akkama, paternal grandma had learnt from a north Indian Jain cum neighbour. I have never seen anybody not falling for it once tried; be it for taste, health, medicinal values, and simplicity of making or versatility of the dish. Through this recipe, it has never been difficult for us to consume good amounts of fenugreek which otherwise was not possible.

Serves: 3

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

1.     Fenugreek Sprouted – 1cup
2.     Curds – 1 ½ cups
3.     Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
4.     Fennel seed powder – 1 tsp
5.     Carom seeds – ½ tsp
6.     Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
7.     Chili powder – 1 tsp
8.     Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
9.     Asafoetida – 1 pinch
10.            Salt to taste
11.             Ghee – 1 tsp (optional)
12.            Oil – 3 tbsp

Step 1: Cook the sprouted fenugreek seeds until soft with some turmeric and salt. Drain off the excess water if any.

Step 2: Heat oil & ghee in a pan and when hot, simmer before adding all dry ingredients. The spices tend to release beautiful aroma on frying, be sure that you don’t burn the spices. It kind of foams the oil in the right temperature.

Step 3: Now add the cooked fenugreek and mix to coat masala over it. Adjust salt and cook for a couple of minutes before turning off the heat.

Step 4: Once the dish comes to normal temperature, add fresh curds to it and mix well. Add more salt if required.

Step 5: Serve with steamed rice or rotis.


*My grandma does not sprout for religious reasons but I do for health reasons. So you can do it the way you like. I personally feel, after sprouting the bitterness of fenugreek is less.

*You can soak, sprout, cook and use fenugreek or directly cook for a little longer time or if it is sprouted, you can also cook in the masala directly by covering for longer time (it is instant but sometimes it tastes bitter). My grandma explored all possible ways and so have tasted; I’ve written the best way I liked.

Aam Panna

Aam panna is a most loved summer - cooler in north India. In south, raw mango is considered to render heating effect to body while in contrary it is actually counted on for cooling the body. It is also a super refreshing and tangy drink that aids digestion. Tangy and flavourful variety of mangoes is suitable for this recipe.

Serves: 1 1/2 litre

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

1.     Raw Mango – 2
2.     Cumin powder – 1 tsp
3.     Black salt – 1 tsp
4.     Normal salt – ½ tsp
5.     Sugar – 3 tbsp
6.     Dry ginger powder – ½ tsp
7.     Mint – few sprigs

Step 1: Wash and pressure cook the mangoes.
Step 2: When they cool down to normal extract the pulp out of them by squeezing. Discard the seed and skin after rinsing them in a bowl of 1 litre water. Keep the water for later use.
Step 3: Now in a mixer jar, add mango pulp, mint springs and get a smooth paste.

Step 4: Add this to the secured water and mix well. Now add sugar, salt, black salt, dry ginger powder, cumin powder and stir well. Adjust taste and filter it if required. If the mango has lot of fibre filtering is better otherwise slightly grainy texture is just perfect.

Step 5: Refrigerate until serving. Adding ice cubes may dilute the taste, so avoid it.

Kezhvaragu Koozh/ Ragi Porridge

This is a humble peasant’s food in Tamilnadu. My dad is very fond of it and so it is usual for our lunch during summer vacations. This preparation is very nutritious and cooling for summers. Actually, the process of fermenting the ragi flour makes it cooling otherwise it is considered heat and also is complex for digestion. There is a belief that regular intake of kezhvaragu koozh makes one put on weight; however, my mom believes if taken in moderation it doesn’t attribute to weight gain and in fact helps in muscle tightening.

Serves: 2

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time:  30 minutes

1.     Ragi flour – 2 cups
2.     Broken maize – ½ cup (Generally broken rice is used)
3.     Buttermilk – 2 cups
4.     Salt to taste
5.     Shallots & green chilies for accompaniment

Step 1: The ragi flour is to be mixed with water until it is thin or say mix 2 cups flour mixed in 4 cups water or so. Leave it to ferment overnight or until you see small air bubbles on the surface. In summer it takes less time to ferment.
Step 2: In a mud pot preferably, boil 2 cups of water and add broken maize into it with some salt.

Step 3: Once the maize is soft and cooked, pour the ragi batter into it, rinse the vessel with water and pour it into it until nice and dilute. Add salt and cook in simmer by stirring frequently else it tends to burn at the bottom.

Step 4: It takes little longer to cook, so be patient; uncooked ragi causes indigestion and stomach upset. The smell of cooked porridge is quite perceptible with some experience and observation.

Step 5: Once done, let it cool down. Generally mom makes it in the morning and lets it cool until lunch.
Step 6: Now in a mixing bowl, scoop necessary porridge/ koozh and add buttermilk, more salt if required and some water to adjust consistency. You can stir it up well with ladle or whip up in a sophisticated way, but the country style is to dirty hands and introduce some secret ingredient called ‘kai manam’.

Step 7: Pretty much like ‘neer mor saadam’, this is also served with madras onions and green chilies.


*My dad prefers green chili in a special way for this; mom  makes a small slit into the chili, smears the chili with oil and chars it slightly on the stove. This scents the whole house.

*Generally broken rice is used that we call ‘arisi noii’ locally, but any broken cereal can be used as far as I know. It is for texture and filling.

Avusu (A Regional Kitchadi)

I think this is a regional tiffin item that my amma frequents for dinner; technically speaking it is a type of dry Kitchadi. I remember, it is my brother’s favourite and amma prepares it whenever he comes home from hostel. My pattama prepares it slightly different from how amma prepares it and seems like my mother in law’s preparation is also not exactly like my mom’s; so I just conclude there could be multiple variants of this dish. What I tried is proper mom-style avusu as she had hand held me while doing this.

Serves: 3

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

1.     Raw rice – 2 cups
2.     Split green gram – ¾ cup
3.     Onion – 1 large
4.     Carrot – 2
5.     Green chili – 1
6.     Dry chilies – 2
7.     Curry leaves – 1 sprig
8.     Urad dal – 1 tbsp
9.     Bengal gram – 1 tbsp
10.            Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
11.             Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
12.             Asafoetida – 1 pinch
13.             Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
14.            Oil – 2 tbsp
15.      Ginger - 2"

Step 1: Dry roast the picked rice and split green gram.

Step 2:  Boil enough water with salt to cook both rice and dal and add the rice-dal mixture to it. Let in cook in simmer and stir it occasionally.

Step 3: In parallel, heat oil in a kadai, temper with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal, Bengal gram, curry leaves, dry chilies, chopped ginger, green chilies, asafoetida and sauté chopped onions in it. Then sauté chopped carrot and other vegetables of your choice to it with some salt and turmeric.

Step 4: Once the rice-dal is cooked, add the vegetables to it and mix well. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes more before turning off heat.

Step 5: Serve hot with plain curd or coconut chutney.