Friday, August 30

Kezhvaragu Adai or Ragi Roti

Ragi flour is known to be a good home remedy for cold and flu and hence I remember it being prepared at home mostly during rainy days or when someone in the family is ill with cold. The drumstick leaves (murungakeerai) added to  adai fortifies it in addition to the flavour it renders. Ragi which is generally used in south India is a rich source of calcium, iron & fiber and is chosen widely for weight loss.

Serves:  2

Preparation Time:  15 minutes

Cooking Time:  20 minutes


1.      Ragi or finger millet flour – 2 cups
2.    Onion - 1
3.    Garlic – 5 cloves
4.    Salt to taste
5.     Oil as required
6.    Dry chilies – 2
7.     Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
8.    Asafoetida – 2 pinches
9.    Urad dal – ½ tbsp
10.            Gram dal – 1 tbsp
11.  Curry leaves – 1 sprig
12. Drumstick leaves (murngakeerai) – 1 cup (optional)


Step 1: Heat oil in a pan, splutter mustards seeds, sprinkle asafoetida, fry urad dal, gram dal, curry leaves and sauté chopped onion and garlic in it then add drumstick leaves to fry for a couple of minutes.

Step 2: Take ragi flour in a mixing bowl, add the seasoning prepared and make soft dough adding some salt and warm water.

Step 3: Rest the dough for 30 minutes before preparing rotis/ adais.

Step 4: Make lemon sized balls of the entire dough.

Step 5: On a plastic sheet or plate grease some oil on it, dab some oil in your fingers and pat dough into a 6” circle.

Step 6: Heat dosa tawa, grease oil and roast both the sides of roti/ adai until done.

Step 7: Serve hot topped with some ghee along with grated jaggery.

Oats Pongal

There is a big fan club out in Tamil Nadu for this incomparably scrumptious dish, venpongal. Some people reluctantly avoid it only for its high calories; the oats twist makes this dish inviting. Oats pongal is gooier than the regular pongal which makes it even more striking. It is very pertinent baby food by picking out the pepper corns.

Serves:  2

Preparation Time: NA

Cooking Time:  15 minutes


1.      Oats – 1 cup
2.    Split green gram – ½ cup
3.    Ghee – 2 tbsp
4.    Salt to taste
5.     Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
6.    Pepper corns – 1 tsp
7.     Asafoetida – 1 pinch


Step 1: Wash the dal and cook it until soft and mushy.

Step 2:  In another vessel cook oats in salted water just as we make porridge until done but not too mushy. Add the cooked dal to this and adjust salt.

Step 3: Heat ghee in a tadka ladle, splutter cumin seeds & pepper corns and pour over the hot pongal.

Step 4: Yes it’s that simple. But for adults the seasoning can be made more elaborate by adding cashew nuts, grated ginger and curry leaves.

Step 5: Serve hot with coconut chutney.

Thursday, August 29

Lentil Pancakes or Manjal Dosai or Paruppu Dosai

Few days back I had just reinvented this traditional recipe usually use only tur dal and rice but I have given it some twist. The dish might be humble in its looks, don’t under estimate its flavour, taste or nutrition. There are two kinds of lovers of dosa; one the crisp dosa likers and other the soft dosa likers, former being the majority. This lentil dosa can cater to both the types of people by adjusting the proportion of rice-dal used, to get the texture you prefer.

Serves:  2

Preparation Time:  15 minutes

Cooking Time:  5 minutes


1.      Idly rice – 1 cup
2.    Tur dal – ¾ cup
3.    Bengal gram – ½ cup
4.    Urad dal – ½ cup
5.     Moong dal – ½ cup
6.    Dry red chilies – 2
7.     Coriander seeds – 2 tbsp
8.    Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
9.    Fennel seeds – 1 tbsp
10.            Pepper corns – 10
11.   Salt to taste
12. Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
13. Coriander chopped – a fistful
14. Oil as required


Step 1: Wash and soak all the lentils and the rice together for a couple of hours.

Step 2: Then drain the soaked mixture (saving the water for later use) and grind it in a mixer jar along with other dry spices.

Step 3: Add the soaked water to coarse grind into a thick batter.

Step 4: Transfer to another vessel, add turmeric powder, salt and chopped coriander and mix well adjusting water to get a dosa batter consistency. Preferably set this aside for 15 minutes before using.

Step 5: Heat the dosa tawa, grease it with oil and while hot enough pour a ladle of batter and spread it into a nice circle using the back of the ladle. Drizzle few drops of oil after a minute and cover with a high lid.

Step 6: After about 2-3 minutes or when the bottom side is browned enough, remove lid and flip the dosa.

Step 7: Lentil pancake is ready to be served with chutney of your choice.

Palak Phool Gobi / Spinach Cauliflower

I have adapted this ‘palak gobi’ recipe from Priyanka Panigrahi’s and altered slightly for convenience. I always had only option to cook green leafy vegetable for roti which is palak paneer, this gives another choice. I had packed it for his lunch the other day and it came out decently. I would like to try it with few other locally available green leafy vegetables.

Serves:  3

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Cooking Time:  20 minutes


1.      Spinach/ Palak – 1 bunch
2.    Cauliflower – 1 head (small)
3.    Tomato – 1
4.    Onion – 1
5.     Green chili – 1 or 2
6.    Ginger Garlic paste – 1 tsp
7.     Cloves – 3
8.    Cardamom – 2
9.    Cinnamon – 1 “ piece
10.   Oil – I tbsp
11.  Ghee – 1 tsp
12. Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
13. Chili powder – 1 tsp
14. Coriander powder – 1 tsp
15.  Cumin powder – ½ tsp
16. Salt to taste


Step 1: Wash and chop palak/ spinach, make bite sized cauliflower florets and wash them in salted warm water, chop green chili, onion and tomato.

Step 2: Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry the cauliflower florets so that they get nice brown spots and flavour. Drain and keep aside.

Step 3: Temper the same oil with the cloves, cinnamon and cardamom; sauté ginger garlic paste, green chili, onion and tomato in it. Add all dry masala, salt to it and fry until mushy.

Step 4: Add chopped spinach to it and mix well; cook by closing the lid and occasional stirring until the vegetable is soft and cooked.

Step 5: Turn off heat, once it cools down grind it into a smooth paste in mixer jar.

Step 6: Bring it back to boil in the same pan with some more water. Add the fried cauliflower to it, check for spices and cook until the gravy gets thicker and cauliflower becomes soft.

Step 7: Finally drizzle with few drops of ghee and relish with phulkas or rotis.

Tapioca Halwa

Yesterday being Janmashtami, I wanted to prepare some new sweet that I had not tried eating or making earlier. I had got this tapioca for dosa making and it came handy in my halwa making. Kundan is fond of Thirunelvelli halwa and keeps prodding me to try it at home, but I was too skeptical for the effort and knack it demands. Surprisingly, the tapioca halwa reminded us in taste and texture the wheat halwa. I have now earned some confidence through this to venture into making the actual ‘irrutu kadai halwa’… Ok, now about this tapioca halwa, it is pretty simple and yumm. I won’t cheat you calling it a healthy one though ;) After all it ate some sugar and is flab-ed with ghee.

Serves:  2

Preparation Time:  5 minutes

Cooking Time:  20 minutes

1.      Tapioca (Maravallikizhangu) – half a foot long
2.    Ghee – 4 tbsp
3.    Sugar – ½ cup
4.    Kesar color – 1 pinch (optional)
5.     Cardamom powder – ¼ tsp
6.    Milk – few tbsp


Step 1: Wash, cut the tapioca into 2 or 3 pieces and boil for at least 6 whistles.

Step 2: Peel the cooked tapioca skin and chop it roughly into small bits.

Step 3: Grind it using a mixer jar or mash using potato masher but generally it has fiber and is hard so grinding is a better option. While mashing use some milk if it is lacking moisture.

Step 4: Heat a spoon of ghee and roast cashew nuts in it, drain and keep aside.

Step 5: In the same ghee add the mashed tapioca, add milk dissolved kesar color to it and keep cooking by stirring constantly until it doesn't stick if held between fingers.

Step 6: Add sugar and cardamom powder and mix well; in few minutes the halwa turns glossy and glassy.

Step 7: Start adding ghee spoon by spoon, at a stage it stops absorbing ghee and then it is done.

Step 8: Mix the fried cashew nuts and turn off heat.

Step 9: Serve the melt-in mouth hot tapioca halwa.

Tuesday, August 27

Baingan Bartha

Baingan is Brinjal and this dish is more like a ‘kathirikai masiyal’ that we’ve in south India. Here we like to eat it with steamed rice while in north it is preferred with rotis mainly. Traditionally for Baigan ka bartha, large eggplants are chosen and charred on stove before the skin is peeled to prepare bartha as I din’t get large ones I just chopped them fine and used in the recipe. This is so flavourful and totally different in texture from other Brinjal recipes and so even people who detest Brinjal would like to try it.

Serves:  3

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Cooking Time:  15 minutes


1.      Brinjal large – 1 or small -4
2.    Tomato large – 1
3.    Onion medium – 1
4.    Salt to taste
5.     Oil – 1 tbsp
6.    Cumin seeds – ¼ tsp
7.     Asafoetida – 1 pinch
8.    Coriander powder – 1 tsp
9.    Chili powder – 1 tsp
10. Coriander leaves - 2 tbsp chopped


Step 1: Char the large brinjal directly on stove on all sides. Cool it, wash, peel the skin and slit to check for worms and mash it with masher chop if using small ones.

Step 2: Alternatively chop the small brinjals into small cubes as I have done.

Step 3: Heat oil in a tawa, temper with cumin seeds and asafoetida.

Step 4: Sauté with it finely chopped onions then add coriander, chopped tomatoes, chilli powder, coriander powder and salt in that order. 

Step 5: Add little water if required and let it get cooked. Add chopped brinjal if using small ones and mash it using potato masher.

Step 6: Else when done add the mashed large brinjal to it and stir well.

Step 7: Serve with rice/ rotis.