Friday, May 13, 2011

Rasakaalan/ Steamed Veggies in Mild Yogurt and Coconut Sauce..

This is a wonderful dish which I learnt from Kaveri of Palakkad Chamayal.Having grown up in a relatively Palakkad Iyer family, I relish all these yummy dishes and thank Kaveri for bring me back those sweet delectable memories!

It is very simple and easy to make and can be prepared in no time if the veggies are ready in hand.
Most of the palakkad chamayal evolves mainly around the ash gourd and the yellow pumpkin and there are many different recipes using these veggies.
The original recipe had a long list of veggies, but i just made with what I had in hand.
Now going on to the recipe:


Ash gourd- 1 lb

Yellow pumpkin- 1 lb

Yam- about 10 chopped pieces

Jaggery- 1 tbsp or a small piece

Turmeric- a pinch

Salt to taste

To roast and grind into a paste:

Fenugreek / methi seeds- 1/2 Tsp

Red chillies- 2 nos.

Grated coconut- 3/4 cup

Sour curds/ Yogurt- 1.5 cup

For Tempering:

Mustard seeds- 1/2 Tsp

Coconut oil- 2 Tsps

Curry leaves- a few


1.Boil the veggies with a pinch of turmeric, salt and jaggery using very little water. Beat the curds and set aside.

2. Roast the ingredients for the paste in a tsp of coconut oil and grind into a smooth paste adding half of the curds.

3.Add the ground paste to the cooked veggies and let boil for two minutes and then add the remaining beaten curds and cook on low heat for few minutes. Do not let the mixture boil after adding the curds.

4.Switch off the heat and place and a sprig of curry leaves on top of it. Heat a tsp of coconut oil and add the mustard seeds and pour it on top of the curry leaves.

5.Ahhhh, the aroma of the coconut oil along with the curry leaves! Better felt than expressed!

Enjoy Rasakaalan with hot steaming rice and any stir fried veggie.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Vegetable Uthappam / Pancakes Topped with Veggies..

The South Indian Pizza!
Close Cousin of Dosa!
And all that v luv lotsa!
(Errrrrr.. Relax Relax people... Just watched Simbu's movie - the great T.Rajendran's son!)

These pancakes are nothing but a slight twist given to the dosas to make them more interesting. Usually when the dosa batter is made, the order of the menu would be idlis on the 1st day, dosas on the 2nd and 3rd days and Uthappams on the last two days.
There are a variety of uthappams that can be made and lots of ways to make it too!
This is one simple method I follow and learnt it from a Madurai Idli kadai in Bangalore that serves super yummy idlis, dosais and uthappams with getti chutney and sambhar.
Here goes the recipe:


Idly / Dosa Batter - about 4 to 5 Cups

Onions- 1 Lagre

Tomatoes- 1 Medium

Chopped Cilantro - a handful or more

Green chillies- 2 or 3 (according to spice levels)finely chopped


1.Chop the onions, tomatoes and chillies finely and mix it a bowl and set aside. Chop the cilantro and keep it separately.

2.If the dosa batter has been refrigerated, bring it to room temp at least half an hour before making the uthappams.

3.Heat a tawa or griddle (preferably cast iron for an excellent texture) and when it is hot, pour a ladle of the dosa batter into a small thick round not spreading it too much.

4.Take a handful of the chopped veggies and spread it on the uthappam slightly pressing it followed by the chopped cilantro.

5.Grease it with a little oil around the corners and cook it on medium heat till it is done on one side. Flip around and cook on the other side for half a minute and remove it from the tawa.

6.Serve hot with chutney, sambhar, vegetable sagu or milagai podi. Tastes great with ketchup too!

 1. You can get creative and play around with different veggies like grated carrot , beets or spinach etc. and even milagai podi on it for a podi roast uthappam or cheese for a pizzappam!!

2.For a low calorie version, cover the uthappam and cook without applying oil to it.

3.Adjust the heat as you make them so that they are not undercooked or get burnt.

4.Do not flip over too many times as the topping may come off and do not cook too long on the top part as the vegetables may get burnt.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Kathirikkai Murungakkai Masaal- Chettinad Style / Drumsticks and Eggplants in Spicy Tomato Sauce..

For people who are familiar with the Chettinaad cuisine or who hail from there, the word Kathirikkai (eggplant)and Murungakkai (drumstick) would definitely strike a chord! The combination of these two lovely vegetables cooked along with some spices totally seduces our taste buds! It is a very classic Chettinaad dish and I first got introduced to the dish when I was staying in a PG Hostel during my spinster days. I did not know what is was then, but just knew that it tasted heavenly!
I have tried to keep the dish authentic as far as possible, altering it very little to my taste.
Here goes the recipe:


Small Brinjals - 5 nos. or Chinese Eggplants- 1 no. cut into long pieces

Fresh Drumsticks - 2 nos. chopped into finger size pieces or 2 cups of frozen ones

Tomato- 1 medium chopped into big pieces

Onions- 1 lagre or 3 medium ones cut into thin slices or 1 cup of Pearl onions

Garlic- 3 pods chopped finely or minced

Sambar powder / Rasam powder- 2 Tbsp

Red chilly powder- 1/2 Tsp

Turmeric- 1/2 Tsp

Salt to taste

For the Tempering:

Oil- 2 Tbsp

Mustard seeds- 1 Tsp

Fennel seeds- 1 Tsp

Curry leaves- a few (optional)

Chopped cilantro for the garnish


1.Wash and chop the veggies into long pieces.

2.Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds and fennel seeds and saute the onions, garlic and tomatoes one after the other in order.

3.Add the eggplants and saute well and add the drumsticks next with a little turmeric and about 2 cups of water.

4. Mix well, cover and cook on medium heat till the drumsticks are soft and cooked but not mushy.

5.Add salt , sambhar powder and chilly powder and cook for a few more minutes till it forms a nice gravy. You can cook it dry or leave it as a gravy as per your taste and requirement. I personally like it as a gravy and not too dry.
6.Switch off the heat, sprinkle the chopped cilantro on top and let sit covered for a few minutes till the flavors are absorbed.

7.You can pair it with hot steaming rice, idlis, dosas, rotis or even curd rice which tastes the best.

Makes an excellent side dish for ghee rice or Kuskha.

Note: Some people like more of drumsticks in the dish and keep the eggplants less whereas some like to add equal quantities of both. You can alter the quantities of veggies according to your taste.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Veg Noodles - Fast food Style..

Call it noddles! call it pasta! call it whatever u like! but this sooper dooper fast food ishtyle noodles has always been a hit in our house!
Contrary to its name, its a very healthy noodles as it has a lot of veggies in it and is not fried in oil like the fast food way!
The making is very simple with simple ingredients.
Please bear with the pics as they look very rustic- not meant to be taken for the blog, but I baldy wanted to share the recipe and dint have any other pictures.
So here it goes:


Spaghetti Pasta- 1 pkt ( I use the wholewheat ones) 

Veggies- 2 cups Carrots, bell peppers, onions cut into long strips. You can add more veggies if u want.

Green chillies- 2- 3 nos. slit vertically

Garlic pods- 2 nos. finely chopped

Ginger- I add a small piece as I luv the taste (optional)

Olive oil- 2 Tbsp

Chilly Sauce- 1 Tbsp (optional)

Soy sauce- 2 Tbsp

Vinegar- 1Tsp

Freshly ground pepper

Salt to taste

Large skillet or wok (preferably non stick)


1.Cook the spaghetti pasta according to instructions on the pack.Add salt and a littlel olive oil to it when its cooking.

2.Drain the pasta once it is done,wash it under cold water and set it aside.

3.Heat olive oil in a lagre skillet or wok and just add the ginger garlic onion and rest of the veggies.
Stir fry the veggies on high heat without letting them burn or overcook.

4.Add the salt, pepper, soy sauce, vinegar and cook for a few minutes.

5.Toss in the cooked pasta, mix well and cook for 2 more minutes.

6.Yummy veg noodles is ready to be served with ketchup and a plate of gobi manchurian!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Vegetable Dum Biryani..

Dum Biryani is an exotic gourmet style one pot meal and is usually served in weddings and restaurants.

This dish is no humongous task to make at home and with a little patience and perseverance, you can put forth a simply sensational dum biryani for your loved ones.

I came across umpteen recipes on the internet for this dish, but this particular recipe from Usha's myspicykitchen was very interesting and quite simple too which tempted me to try this dish out right away. And yes, the best part was that it turned out perfectly yumm, though the pictures don't seem to be doing enough justice!

The word 'dum' in literal translation means 'breath' or rather 'steam' in this context. The dum biryani is cooked by locking up the full pressure inside the pot. In other words, the steam is strangled inside and not let to escape.
The vegetables are marinated in a spiced yogurt base and the cooked along with the rice and of course the main and exquisite ingredient being saffron which imparts the beautiful color and lovely aroma to the dish!
Though the list of ingredients may look scarily long, trust me friends, its not what it looks and is pretty simple to go about.
Here goes the recipe:
Ingredients for the Marinade:

Potato- 1 large diced into long pieces

Green beans- about 15 pieces cut into long strips

Carrots- 1 peeled and cut into long pieces

Lima beans- 1/2 Cup (optional)

Tomatoes- 2 small chopped or puree- 1/3 cup

Green chillies- 6-8 slit vertically

Mint leaves- 1/4 Cup chopped

Cilantro leaves- 1/2 Cup

Fresh Ginger- 1/2 inch piece crushed or grated

Garlic- 2 cloves minced or ginger garlic paste- 2 Tsp

Coriander powder- 1 Tsp

Red chilly powder- 1 Tsp

Garam Masala- 1/2 Tsp

Turmeric powder- 1/4 Tsp

Yogurt-  1/4 cup

Salt to taste

For the Rice:

Basmati Rice- 2 Cups

Cloves- 4 nos.

Cardamoms- 4 nos.

Bay leaves-3 nos.

Fennel seeds- 1/2 tsp

Aniseed- 1 flower

Salt - 1 to 2 Tbsp

For the Garnish:

Onion- 1 small sliced

Other Ingredients:

Saffron- 1/4 Tsp or a few strands

Milk-1/2 Cup

Oil- 1/2 Cup


1.Wash the basmati rice and soak it for half an hour or so depending on the quality of rice. Soak the saffron in the milk and let sit.

2.Prepare the marinade by mixing the spice powders in the yogurt and adding all the veggies listed under it. Mix well and set it aside. I prefer to cover and refrigerate it till it is ready to be used.

3.Heat very little oil in a pan and fry the sliced onions until golden brown. remove and set aside.

4.To cook the rice, bring water to boil in a 2 quart pot (roughly abt 2 lts). When the water starts to boil, add all the ingredients for the rice except rice. Give it a good stir and then add the rice draining completely the water in which it was soaked.

5. Let it boil until the rice starts to roll over.After one good boil of about 3 minutes, switch off the heat and drain the rice. Reserve half cup of boiled water for later use.

6.In the same 2 qt pot( preferably non stick or a heavy bottomed pot to avoid sticking), heat some oil and arrange the marinated veggies at the bottom.  Layer half of the cooked rice on top of the veggies and sprinkle half of the oil and half of the saffron milk.

7. Layer the remaining rice and top it off with the remaining oil, saffron milk and the half cup of boiled water.

8. Cover the pot well with 2 or more sheets of aluminum foil or a cloth and then close it with the lid. Fold the foil and seal it carefully  around the lid in a such a way that the steam doesn't escape while cooking. Place some heavy object or weight on top of the lid to lock the steam inside.

9.Cook for 10 minutes or so on high heat and then for 25 minutes on low heat. Switch off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes.

10. Open the lid and carefully mix the rice and the veggies so that they do not break. If you feel that the rice and veggies are under cooked, cover and cook for some more time. But take care not to make the rice mushy.

11. Garnish with the fried onions and serve hot with any curry or raitha of your choice.

Note: The whole secret of success lies in cooking the rice to the best of its perfection. Under cooking or over cooking- both will result in the failure of the dish.
Be careful in choosing the right pot or vessel for cooking as it has to withstand the heat as well as not burn the rice.
You can also add a pinch of saffron food color to the milk along with saffron to get the orange color though I just kept myself to the saffron alone.

Sending this for Aipi's Bookmarked Recipes event.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Soya Chunks Korma / Soy Nuggets in Spicy Tomato Gravy..

Soya Chunks as we all know is the best protein source in the vegetarian sector and these chewy lil' protein balls can be used in quite a number of recipes.
I always use these nuggets in a tomato onion gravy and of course in rice dishes such as pulav and biryani.
But after coming across a mouth watering recipe of these cuties in Laavanya's blog, I sure wanted to give it a try and lo and behold- end result was a sooper dooper korma in a creamy tomato and coconut milk gravy!
I have slightly altered the recipe to my taste.
Here it goes:


Soya Chunks or Soy nuggets- about 2 Cups or 15-20 pieces

Petite Green Peas-  1/2 Cup (fresh or frozen is ok)

Onion- 1 medium size chopped finely

Tomato Paste- 2 Tbsp diluted in water or tomato puree from one tomato

Coconut milk- 1/4 Cup
Oil- 2 Tbsp

Bay leaf- 1 no.

Cumin seeds- 1 Tsp 

Coriander Powder - 2 Tsp

Red Chilly powder - 1 Tsp 

Garam Masala- 1 Tsp

Cilantro- to garnish
Salt to taste

For the Masala:

Garlic - 5 cloves

Ginger - 1 inch piece 

Green Chillies - 5 to 6 nos.

Poppy seeds - 1 tsp 

Almonds / Cashews - 12 nos.


1.Bring water to a rolling boil in a wide mouthed pan with a little salt and add the nuggets to it. Cover and cook for a few minutes and switch off the heat and let the nuggets sit for about 10 minutes.

2.When the nuggets are cooked they will turn soft and will bloat up in size.Drain the water and squeeze the extra water from the nuggets once they cool down and set aside.

3.Fry all the ingredients for the masala in a tsp of oil and once it cools down,
grind it into a fine paste adding water.

4.Heat the remaining oil in a pressure cooker and add the cumin seeds and the bay leaf followed by the chopped onions. Saute the onions till soft and translucent and add the tomato paste ,the ground masala paste and the remaining spice powders.

5.Cook the mixture till the paste is almost dry and  add the frozen peas and drained soya chunks along with the coconut milk and salt.

6.Check for salt at this stage, close the lid and pressure cook for about 2 whistles.

7. When the pressure releases, give the mixture a quick stir and transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with some chopped cilantro.

8.An excellent side dish to pair with rotis or chappatis or any mildly flavoured rice. I had made ghee rice and it tasted excellent with the korma!


Monday, April 25, 2011

Orange Pazha Thol Gojju / Orangi Tholi Gojju / Orange Peels in Spicy Tamarind Sauce..

Orange peels are an excellent source of Vitamin C and is equally healthy as the fruit by itself. The peels are also known to have many medicinal properties.
Infact, we in our house love the peels more than the fruit :-). This kuzhambu is something my mother made on a regular basis when I was a kid and hmmm...thinking of  the aroma itself makes me drool!
I guess this gojju has its origin rooted in Karnataka, but it has become more of a Tambram dish in the recent days if I'm right!
It is just like any other vetha kuzhambu with slight variations. The bitterness of the peels, the tanginess of the tamarind, the spiciness of the chillies and the sweetness of the jaggery compliment each other so well.
Here is the recipe:


Mandarin Orange / Kamala Orange peels from one medium sized fruit

Tamarind- a small lemon sized ball

Oil- 3 Tbsp

Mustard seeds- 1 Tsp

Fenugreek seeds- 1/2 Tsp

Green chillies- about 6 nos. chopped finely (can be adjusted according to spice levels)

Rasam Powder- 1 Tsp (optional)
Hing- 1 Tsp

Turmeric- a pinch

Curry leaves- a few

Jaggery - 1 Tbsp


1.Soak the tamarind in hot water and extract the juice.

2.Wash the orange peels, pat them dry and roughly chop them into small pieces.

3.Heat oil in a pan and once hot, add the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, hing, green chillies and curry leaves.

4.Add the chopped orange peels with a little turmeric and saute for about 5-7 minutes till they are soft, cooked and turn light brown in color.

5.Pour in the diluted tamarind juice along with salt and let it boil well till the raw smell diffuses and the sauce begins to thicken and reduce.

6.Tip in the jaggery and allow it to cook for five more minutes and switch off the heat. Let sit for a few minutes with the lid on before serving.

7.Serve with hot steaming rice and any curry or kootu of your choice. Good accompiant for dosas and chappatis too.

Note: If you feel the sauce is not thick, just mix a tsp of rice flour in water and add it to the mixture and cook. The sauce will thicken in a few minutes.
Saute the peels till it cooked well and brown in color. If it is raw, it may taste very bitter.
Adding jaggery is very important as the sweetness of the jaggery neutralizes  the tangy taste of the tamarind and the spice from the chillies.
If the sauce has been cooked well and let to thicken, it can be stored in an air tight container and be refrigerated for upto 2 weeks.