Showing posts with label From the family kitchen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label From the family kitchen. Show all posts

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)

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.

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.

Monday, December 24

Kathirikai kaarakuzhambu

Kaarakuzhambu is a thick spicy curry that is eaten with steamed rice. Coming from a village background, I have grown up seeing peasants and laborers consuming this almost everyday for supper. This is a preferred curry for mass cooking as it is simple, economical and quite filling. Even today, while I stand in the balcony or terrace, I see in the construction sites here and there someone cooking with small stoves making rice in pots and karakuzhambu in sattis, the aroma appetites me in no time. More than the taste of the dish itself, it is the love and gratitude I've seen these people eating it with after the whole day's exhaustion, they celebrate the mere satisfaction of hunger for food; sometimes they stay far away from their families for work yet become family with people around. I really envy their attitude of living in the present.


1. Brinjal - 5
2. Onion - 1
3. Tomato - 1
4. Garlic - 1/2 pod
5. Gingelly oil - 2 tbsp
6. Vengaya vadagam - 1/4 ball or 1 heap tbsp 
7. Curry powder - 2 tbsp
8. Tamarind - gooseberry size or 2 tbsp store bought pulp
9. Salt to taste


Step 1: Wash and chop brinjal, tomato, onion and peel the garlic cloves.
Step 2: If using tamarind, soak the tamarind in water and squeeze out pulp and keep aside.
Step 2: In a kadai heat the gingelly oil and add vengaya vadagam to it. 
Step 3: Once the spices splutters and browns well, add onion, garlic to saute until soft; then add tomato and finally the brinjal. Saute for 2 minutes.

Step 4: Add curry powder, salt and water and let it boil for 10 minutes in low flame.
Step 5: Add the tamarind pulp and stir to boil for 5 more minutes.

Step 6: Serve with hot steamed rice along with papad.

* Vengaya vadagam is a mixture of spices along with onion that are soaked in castor oil and then sun dried; it is said to have lot of medicinal properties in addition to the strong flavour it renders to the curry. 
* If vengaya vadagam is not available, you can splutter the spices like mustard, cumin seeds, fenugreek, asafoetida, red chilies, curry leaves and urad dal seperately before adding the vegetables.
* Kaarakuzhambu can be prepared with other vegetables like potato, ladies finger, radish, colocasia or drumstick also.

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.

Saturday, April 14


Uppurundai is another signature dish of my mother-in-law, I've never had it anywhere else and even after trials we did not succeed in making them as good as her's. As a recipe it is plain and simple, it is just the knack we need to get. For those people who plan and execute all the wet grinder batches (for idlis, kanjeepuram idly, dosas, appams, etc) in one day of a week, this can be tried as another small batch for that evening's snack or dinner. 
Preparation Time: 5 min (Soaking time is 2 hours)
Cooking Time: 15 minutes


1.       Idly rice – 2 cups
2.       Salt as per taste
3.       Oil – 3 tbsp
4.       Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
5.       Urad dal – 1 tbsp
6.       Channa dal – 1 tbsp
7.       Curry leaves – 1 sprig
8.       Dry chilies – 3
9.       Asafoetida – 1 pinch


Step 1: Wash and soak the rice for 2 hours. Grind it smoothly with some water and mix required salt.
Step 2: In a heavy bottomed pan, heat 2 tbsp of oil, sprinkle asafoetida, splutter mustard seeds, add urad & channa dals, thrown in curry leaves & broken chilies and add the rice batter into it.
Step 3: Stir continously until it becomes thick and gooey. Turn off heat and make lemon sized balls out of the mass while it is still hot.

Step 4: Steam the rice balls for 5 minutes and serve hot as is or with idly podi.

Monday, April 9

Sola Adai

To my knowledge, sola adai is a recipe that I got from some blog while randomly browsing and I could not get that blog again. Solam or jowar is grown extensively in Coimbatore and Dindigal districts of tamil nadu and I founf this from a tamil blog, so I just assume it is originated here. Strange thing about sola adai is that, it is shaped like vada yet thinner that vadas and but is very crisp and crunchy until center. This is quite simple to make and is full of flavor and can be stored for a couple of days.


1.       Jowar – 1 cup
2.       Onion chopped – 1 cup
3.       Green chilies – 2 finely chopped
4.       Coriander chopped - 1 tbsp 
5.       Rice flour – 2 tbsp
6.       Salt to taste
7.       Oil for deep frying

Step 1: Wash and soak the jowar overnight.
Step 2: Grind the soaked jowar in a mixer coarsely. Do not add water.
Step 3: Take the ground jowar , add salt, rice flour, chopped onion, green chilies, coriander and mix well.
Step 4: Heat oil in a deep kadai; and in parallel shape adais.
Step 5: Pat a small portion of the batter into thin 4” circles with a hole in the centre. Wipe hands with water in between to avoid the batter sticking to hands.
Step 6: Drop the adai in the hot oil and flip both sides to get it uniform golden brown colour. Repeat until the batter is finished. The adais should be thin, crisp and brown.

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.