Merry Christmas!

Hi all,
Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to all of you.
Take a peek at our christmas tree and the cake we baked.
My first attempt at icing a cake.My second attempt at baking a cake. I am pretty satisfied and can have a peaceful sleep, after a long day.
Have a great holiday season!

Jeera Pulav with Rajma

Though I am a South Indian, born and brought up in Chennai and the Northern most part of India I have seen is Mumbai :) , when it comes to comfort food, my mind, rather tongue doesn't just stop with South Indian food. I might say avial, rasam are my comfort foods but that doesn't exclude rotis/pulav. With grey weathers in this part of the world, people tend to crave for comfort food rather than a rich/exotic diet. On one such cold day, I thought how would it feel to have some jeera pulav with rajma. When it comes to food, I have no second thoughts and went ahead soaking some rajma for dinner. Good that I had the craving early in the day giving me sufficient time for soaking the rajma. Talk about planning and foresightedness! That always works well between me and my food.
So, here I present to you, my comfort food that is sure to please your palates as well.
One great thing about this is you can finish both in 30 - 45 minutes time.
This is how I do it!
Soak the rice. Quickly slice the onions. Fry them. While it gets cooled, blanch the tomatoes. Grind and fry the paste. While the paste gets fried, puree the tomatoes. Add everything, close the pressure pan and come back to rice and finish it. By this method, you can finish both quickly.

Jeera Pulav:
Basmathi rice - 1 cup soaked in 1.5 cups water for 15 to 30 min
Jeera - 1.5 tablespoon ( A little less if you do not like too much jeera and just need some flavour)
Ghee - 3 tsp
oil - 1 tsp
Slit green chillis - 2
Cloves, Cardamom - 2 each
Cinnamon - a small piece (I am not fond of this flavour. May be you can add a little more if you like it)
Salt to taste

1) Add 2 tsp of butter/ghee/oil (a combination of this or just one), add 3C(clove,cinnamon,cardamom) and fry for 15 sec.
2) Add jeera, green chillies and fry for 10 sec. (You can also add onions, sliced lengthwise)
3) Add the rice and fry for a min. Now pour the water in which you soaked the rice. Cover the pan and cook for 3 min. When the water boils, add salt.
4) Cover again and cook till the water is absorbed and the rice gets cooked. (will not take more than 10 min over medium flame) Switch off the flame.
5) Add a little ghee. Wait for some time and mix well without breaking the rice.
You can garnish with chopped cilantro.

Serve hot with rajma or any gravy of your choice. Plain curd will also suffice.


Rajma 1 cup soaked overnight
Onions 2
Tomatoes - 4 (blanched and pureed)
Garlic 2 pods
Ginger a small piece
Green chillies 4
Cinnamon stick a small piece
Cloves,cardamom 2 each
Cumin - 2 tsp
Turmeric powder, Chilli powder, Dhania powder - 1 to 2 tsp each
Water 3 cups
Ghee/ Oil for frying (a combination would be nice)
Salt to taste
Cilantro to garnish

1) Add a little oil. Fry cloves, cardamom, cinnamon. Add sliced onions and fry till dark brown.
Grind this with ginger, green chillies and garlic. I am frying the onions to get rid of the bitter taste. If you are confident that your raw onions will not turn bitter on grinding, you can simply grind and skip frying. While grinding make sure that you get a smooth paste. The cardomom and cloves should be ground properly. If you have bits of those while eating, it can be really irritating.
Alternatively, fry the spices separately, make a fine powder and add it to the gravy at the end.
2) Now, heat ghee & oil in a pressure pan, season with jeera and add the ground paste. Fry well. The frying time will vary between raw onion and fried onion paste. Once it turns golden brown, add the tomato puree.
3) Add turmeric, dhania powder and chilli powder. Now add rajma with water and pressure cook for 6 to 8 whistles.
4) Add salt. If you have the spice powder, add it now. You can also add a little garam masala if you like. In case any case, boil for 2 min. You can add more water if you think you need it. In that case boil till everything comes together.
5) Garnish with chopped cilantro and fresh cream.
Serve hot with rotis/ pulav varieties. Tastes heavenly with jeera pulav.

Though the method appears big, this is quite simple to make.

I have a secret to share! I just added a handful of black urad dhal to my rajma. Got inspired from dal makhani.

Sending this to My Legume Affair- Eighteenth Helping @ Srivalli's blog.
This event is initiated by Susan, The well-seasoned cook.

Chegodilu (murukku) ~ ICC Nov 2009

This month's challenge is chegodilu (murukku) which is a famous snack in Andhra.
I have never tasted this and I had no clue how it looks like while going through the recipe.
But the recipe was very clear and hence I could make this yummy yummy snack with ease.
Thanks, Srivalli for letting me know that such a snack exists.
Here is the recipe as given by Srivalli.

Changes I made: I used store bought flour and it required a little more water.
I also added a pinch of hing and 2 tsp margarine while kneading the dough.

Ingredients Needed:

Rice Flour - 1 cup
Water - 1 cup
Split Yellow Moong dal / Pesara pappu / Mung Dal / Pasiparuppu - 1 1/2 - 2 tblsp
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Sesame Seeds - 1 tsp
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Ghee or oil - 1 tblsp
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Method to prepare:

Making the dough:

Soak moong dal in water for half hour to 1 hour.

In a deep bottom pan, boil water, then add salt, ghee and moong dal. Bring it to boil, simmer and slowly add the rice flour. Using a rolling pin or the ladle, mix the flour with water by stirring it well. When the flour is mixed and done, turn off the heat immediately. Cover with lid and keep aside for 10 to 15 mins.

Once the dough is cool, add chilli powder, sesame seeds, cumin seeds and mix well. Knead till you get a smooth dough. Adjust the salt and spice depending on your preference.

Frying the Chokodi:

Heat a pan with oil, enough to fry 3 -4 at time, if you conscious of not using too much oil. Simmer once it gets hot. The temperature should not be smoking hot.

Grease your fingers with oil and pinch out a small lemon size ball and roll between your palms to form a thick rope. Bring the two ends to together and press to form a rope. Ensure the ends are firmed pressed as not to give out during frying.

Continue with the rest of the dough until you are done with the entire batch. You can either cover it with a plate or a cloth to prevent the dough from getting dried.

Check if the oil is in the correct temperature, by dropping a tiny bit into the oil. Then gently slide the rings or the chakodis in batches of 4 -5. The flame has to be on high until the chakodis come up to the surface, then lower the flame to medium and cook till you get a golden colour on the chakodis.

When the chakodis are golden all over, using a slotted ladle, remove to a kitchen towel and cool. Store in an air tight container for longer shelf life.

Notes: Remember to turn the heat to medium to high and high to medium for getting the chakodis to golden colour and also to be cooked evenly. Only this way you get crispy chakodis. These should not be cooked on low flame as they will absorb more oil and can turn soggy also at times.

Variation: Instead of Cumin and Sesame seeds, 1 tsp of Ajwain or Omam can be used along with chili powder.

Rasmalai - 100th post

Rasmalai is a Bengali sweet made of cheese dumplings soaked in thick sweetened milk. Addition of saffron strands adds a delicate flavour and I am a fan of saffron. I particularly like saffron in almond dishes like badam kheer/ badam halwa.

This is a quick version of rasmalai using ready-made paneer. The end result was outstanding and I got perfect rasmalai. You can try this as a quick yet rich dessert. Disclaimer : This is a short- cut method and not the authentic way of doing rasmalai.

This post happens to be a milestone for my blog - yeah this marks the 100th post. The journey has been exciting so far and I have made some great friends, explored yummy food blogs, participated in cookery events/challenges and the best of all - discovered the chef in me.
I had always thought cooking is an ordeal but after I entered the kitchen, I realized it indeed is a joyful experience. The most exciting part of it is, after all the fun, you end-up with some great food to relish. The more you enjoy cooking, tastier is the food. Blogging my recipes has really helped me in terms of perfecting recipes, honing my culinary skills and of course, letting the world know that I can cook! Whenever I see someone hopping into my blog searching for a recipe, it gives a sense of contentment. I take this opportunity to thank every one of you, who cared to take a peek at my page.

Here's a little treat to celebrate the milestone!


Paneer - 250 g (I used ready-made paneer from Indian stores)
Water - 5 cups
Sugar - 2.5 cups
Milk - 1 litre
Saffron strands a few
yellow color - a pinch (optional)
blanched almond slivers and pistachios to garnish

1) Mash the paneer and make a dough. My paneer was a little dry and I was not able to get a soft dough. So I quickly whipped it in a blender just for 5 to 10 seconds and voila I got wet/oily paneer.
If your paneer is fresh you can skip this whipping step. Make small balls out of the dough. Gently press in the center and shape it into patties.

2) Boil the water with 1.5 cups sugar. When the water starts boiling, slide in the patties, gently.
Cover the pan partially and cook for 10 to 15 min over medium flame till the size doubles.
3) Meanwhile, boil the milk till a little thick, mix sugar. Add the saffron and color.
4) Gently drop the cooked patties in the prepared milk. Garnish with almond slivers and pistachios.
5) Refrigerate and serve cool.

While I was about to post this entry, I came to know of this event happening @ chef in you.
Without even the slightest idea of the event, I expressed my liking for saffron in my post. Coincidence!
Needless to say, my rasmalai is off to JFI - Saffron.

Potato Podimas

Looks like potatoes featured the maximum number of times in my blog posts. Not surprising though, owing to its versatility. Whenever we are confused as to what to cook; we end up making potato curry or aloo paranthas or sandwich, well most times. Potatoes are sure to lend a helping hand to entertain your surprise guests or make a quick meal.
This potato podimas(mashed potatoes) is a mildly flavored curry to go with hot & spicy sambar rice. This is a twist to the normal potato fry made with chilli powder and lots of oil.
A very simple, easy to make recipe!

Potatoes - 4 medium (boiled, peeled and mashed)
Green chillies - 2 finely chopped
Ginger a small piece finely chopped
Lemon - 1
Curry leaves - a few
Oil,mustard,urad dhall, channa dhall - a tsp or 2 each for seasoning
Turmeric - 1 tsp (optional)
Grated coconut - 2 tsp (optional)
Hing - a pinch
salt to taste

1) Heat oil, season with the ingredients. When the mustard pops, add hing and turmeric.
2) Reduce the flame, add chillies, curry leaves, ginger, mashed potato and salt.
3) Add the grated coconut if you wish to, fry everything together for a while.
3) Switch off, squeeze the lime juice and serve hot with rice. Tastes great with sambar rice.

Radish Sambar

Hi all! Hope all my blogger friends are doing fine. It has been a real long gap and I thought I should break the silence at least today. Once there is a gap in blogging, it takes lot of effort to come out of the block. Anything in life, for that matter.

I am back with a recipe for sambar. I am a kind of person who really gets bored of cooking the same dishes again & again. I always love to try out new recipes. But being a south Indian, it so happens that I cook sambar & rasam frequently(at least twice per week). That's my comfort food. As I said earlier, I get bored of following the same recipes and would love to experiment.
So, I came up with this recipe for sambar and I should say, the result was outstanding. The addition of spice powder and cumin did the magic and sure to give any hotel, a run for money.
Try out the magical sambar!

Radish - (sliced into thin rounds) handful or depending on your taste
(Substitute radish with drumsticks/carrots or anything you wish)
Tamarind paste - 1.5 tsp or equivalent pulp extracted
Sambar Powder - 1 tablespoon
Spice powder (check the recipe here) - 1/2 to 1 tsp
Salt to taste

For pressure cooking:
Toor dhall - 1 cup
Onion - 1 chopped thin lengthwise or chopped fine
Tomato - 1 finely chopped
Slit green chillies - 2
Turmeric powder - 1.5 tsp
Cumin - 1/2 tsp
Pepper - 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek - 1/2 tsp

For seasoning:
Mustard - 1.5 tsp
Fenugreek - 1 tsp
Oil - 3 tsp

For garnishing:
Curry leaves, cilantro & a dollop of ghee(optional)

1. Pressure cook the ingredients listed for pressure cooking with 2.5 cups of water for 4 whistles.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil, season with the seasoning ingredients. Add radish and fry well. Add a little water and boil till the radish gets cooked. Radish takes a bit longer time for getting cooked and make sure that it is cooked to perfection before adding the tamarind paste.
Now add the tamarind paste and a little water. Boil well.
3. Mash the pressure cooked ingredients and add to the boiling sambar. Add sambar powder, spice powder and salt. Bring to a boil.

Garnish with curry leaves (you can also add this with the seasoning. I like it raw), cilantro and a dollop of ghee.
Serve with rice/idli/dosa or vada. Sure to taste heavenly.

Sangi of simple delicious has passed the above award. Thanks Sangi. You have always been generous with me.

Rohini of Curries and spices has passed on this encouraging award.
Thanks, dear.
Passing these awards to Chitra,Sandhya,Priya
My hearty thanks to you guys and all those who checked with me, if everything's fine.
I would also like to thank everyone who visits my blog and take pains to leave comments. You all make my day!
For the folks in US, have a great weekend!

Kadai Paneer

Kadai Paneer is a Punjabi curry with fried paneer & bell peppers simmered in freshly ground masala. Addition of kasoori methi renders a magical flavor & aroma to any punjabi curry specially, the paneer ones. This is a dry curry suitable for rotis. Kadai means wok and the curry is typically served in a kadai. I love the way in which Indian curries are served in a cute copper kadai in restaurants. Getting one such kadai, tops my list of to-buy items during my next visit to India.
I would like to cook up a Punjabi curry, fill-up the kadai and click a nice picture for my blog.
Hope my dream gets realized.
See, what all dreams a foodie can have!

Bell peppers 2 cut into cubes(Diff colors)
onions 2 finely chopped
tomatoes 3 (blanched, skin peeled and made into a puree)
curd 1 cup
paneer 1 cup or 250 g cut into cubes
butter or oil 1 tbsp
bay leaves 2
chilli powder 2 tsp
Garam masala powder 1 tsp
dhania powder 2 tsp
salt to taste
kasoori methi 1 tsp
prepared kadai paneer masala 2 tsp

Kadai Paneer Masala:
Dhania seeds 1 tbsp
pepper 1/2 tsp
red chillies 6
methi 1/2 tsp
cinnamon 2 tsp
jeera 1/2 tsp
Dry roast in a tawa, powder and keep aside.

1. Heat oil and butter and fry onions till brown, adding sliced garlic (1/2 tsp) and bay leaves.
2. Now add the ginger garlic paste and fry well.
3. Add the dry powder and fry. Add salt.
4. Add the tomatoes
5. Fry the paneer and capsicum and keep aside
6. Let the tomatoes boil and leave out the oil.
7. Add the curd and boil for sometime.
8. Now add the paneer and capsicum
9. Lastly add the finely chopped coriander and methi(fresh) or kasoori methi

Serve hot with rotis

Aloo 65

Aloo 65 is a spicy curry with the versatile potato. You can deep fry the potatoes to serve as a starter. I chose to shallow fry it to pair up with rice, also saving oil. The curry was perfectly spicy for a cold winter night.


Baby potatoes - half a kg
Curd - 1 cup
Turmeric Powder - 1 tsp
Chilli Powder - 2 tsp
Garam Masala - 2 tsp
Ginger Garlic Paste - 3 tsp
Tandoori Color - optional (I didn't use it)
Salt to taste

For Seasoning:
Jeera - 1 tsp
Oil - 1 tablespoon
Mustard - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - handful
Cilantro for garnishing

1. Pressure cook the potatoes. Peel the skin and prick roughly using a fork.
2. Mix the dry powders, ginger garlic paste in the curd. Soak the potatoes in this mixture for 2 hrs.
3. Heat oil, season with mustard and jeera. Add the potatoes along with the mixture. Roast over slow flame till golden. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with rice.

You can follow the same recipe for paneer 65 and Gobi 65. Both will taste good when deep fried.
Before deep frying, coat with corn flour batter.

Check out my other potato delicacies - Dum Aloo fry, Fiery hot potato fry, Dum Aloo Gravy

Rohini of curries & spices has passed on this beautiful award. Thanks Dear.

Idli Milagai Podi

After the sinfully sweet gulab jamuns, here comes an aromatic spice powder - Idli Milagai Podi.
This together with sesame oil makes a tasty and ready made dip for idli, dosa and like.
I don't see the presence of sesame seeds in the shop brought ones. The magic of an aromatic milagai podi lies in the addition of sesame and ellu(sesame) milagai podi is absolutely divine.
Idli(s) coated with milagi podi make a great candidate for travel lunch boxes.

Channa dal - 4 tablespoon
Urad dal - 3 tablespoon
Red Chillies (long ones) - 10 to 12 (If you are making this for kids, reduce the chillies)
Black sesame seeds - 1 to 1.5 tablespoon(Black sesame seeds give a nice smoky flavour. If you do not like the smoky taste and dark color, go for white sesame seeds. If you are using white, you can go for a little more)
Salt to taste
Asafoetida half a tsp

1. Dry roast the dal(s) along with red chillies on a low flame. You can add a little salt to avoid the pungent smell of red chillies. When the dal starts changing color, add the sesame seeds. Roast till the sesame seeds start popping. Add the hing.(Take care that the ingredients don't char)
2. Cool and grind into a coarse powder with salt.

Serving tip:
Take 1 tsp of the spice powder in a plate. Make a well in the center. Add sesame oil(highly recommended) and mix well.
Serve with idli/dosa
Idli coated with milagi podi tastes great for travel.

Gulab Jamun ~ ICC October 2009

A warm hello to all my blogger friends & readers. I am posting a blog entry after quite some time. I was a little busy with certain priorities and blogging took a back seat.Hope I will be regular here after.

The recipe for today is sinfully delicious gulab jamuns which is a famous dessert in India. Unlike other sweets, this is popular through out India. For those of you, who are unfamiliar with the sweet, Gulab jamuns are milk dumplings fried in oil and soaked in rose flavoured sugar syrup.

The sweet can be made in a jiffy if you are making it with MTR gulab jamun mix. Trust me, it is so simple and one can make it perfect in the very first attempt.

For october's challenge, it is going to be 'Gulab Jamuns'. Do you wonder what is the challenge?
Here comes the catch. You got to make it from the scratch, meaning no ready made mix. You got to make the khoa, all by yourself which forms the base for the sweet.

This needs lot of patience since the process can take any where between 1.5 to 3 hrs depending on the amount of khoa. It was also a bit tricky since I didn't have a heavy vessel. I was on a look out for a heavy vessel and finally decided to use my pressure cooker's bottom. The cooker is a small one with 3 litres capacity. So I had to do it with all the more patience, by adding milk little by little. I first sterilized my cooker with hot water to avoid my curdling of milk.

What is a challenge, without such testing tasks?

Once you are done with the khoa, it is really easy. I made the khoa with a little less than solid consistency since I intended to make the jamuns, the next day. By the time I got down making it, the khoa was in a perfect shape.

With no further ado, let's get into business. Srivalli had posted 3 different recipes. I have given below whatever I tried.

To make Khoa: (from Indo)

In a wide mouthed heavy bottom pan add the milk and heat it in a medium flame (add a couple of stainless steel spoons into the milk to avoid burning)

Reduce the milk for 3-4 hours till the milk solidifies and becomes thick.

(6 cups of milk (1 & 1/2 litre) might come to 250grams of unsweetened Khova.)

(The following recipe is from Alka)

The recipe is divided in two parts, one is making the Jamuns and frying them. The other is making sugar syrup.

For sugar syrup:


Sugar - 500 gms (This can be reduced as per taste)
Water - 1 & 1/2 cup (bit more or less)
Cardamom - 2-3
One spoon of milk (optional)
Few threads of saffron (optional)
2-3 drops of rosewater (optional but highly recommended)


Mix about 500 gms of white sugar in one and half cup water and keep it for boiling.

Add a spoonful of milk to remove the impurities (impurities if any, will form a scum on surface)

Add 2-3 green cardamoms also in syrup for strong flavor, and a tad of saffron strings (optional)

Boil until you get just a tad sticky syrup. Gulab Jamun syrup is not very dense nor too dilute as in Rasgulla

Strain the syrup, add rosewater when syrup is slightly cooled.
Always remember two things while using rose water, do not add it while syrup is bubbling hot or on fire, and be particular about the quantity mentioned in every recipe, since even few drops of excess rosewater could lend a bitter taste to the final product.

For Gulab Jamun:


Unsweetened Maawa* - 250 gms
All purpose flour - 1 & 1/2 - 2 tsp
Cornflour - 1 tsp
Green cardamom - 1-2 crushed
Oil for shallow frying

* (khoya-the condensed milk thickened till it turns into moist dough, preferably made from cow’s milk, also known as Hariyali mawa)


Mix all the ingredients in a wide mixing bowl until soft textured dough is obtained (keep mixing until it is really soft)

Make very small sized balls (bit larger than pebbles) as they swell up after frying and soaking in syrup

Make sure that the surface of dough balls is really smooth without any cracks. In case the cracks refuse to go away, slightly wet your palms with water and roll the flour till absolutely smooth.

Now take little oil for frying in preferably flat bottomed pan, and heat the oil. But gulab jamuns are to be fried on LOW FLAME or else the surface will be browned while the core will remain uncooked. Some prefer to place an unsalted pistachio in the center of every gulab jamun while making balls, that way the core of gulab jamun is not left uncooked .

Fry one or 2 gulab jamuns at a time and always remember to STIR THE OIL with slotted spoon AND NOT TO TOUCH GULABJAMUNS, which means keep swirling the oil without tossing or turning gulab jamun.

Fry till light brown in colour, remove on tissue paper and repeat the procedure with rest of dough.

Now soak these in COOL syrup for few hours. They will surely swell up

These can be stored in the same syrup till consumed

If there are cracks in the balls before frying it will burst open while frying, in that case adding a bit of cornflour will surely help

You can enjoy it hot or cold ,either way it is delicious

Verdict: I survived the challenge and the result was sinfully delicious, melt in the mouth jamuns.
Time for me to gobble one more jamun. :)

To my blogger friends: Sorry for not staying in touch. Will hop into your blog, shortly.

Awards from Sanghi

Sanghi of Food Delights has passed on the following awards. Thanks Sanghi for the lovely awards.

Rules of the award:

* You must thank the person who has given you the award.
* Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
* Link to the person who has nominated you for the award.
* Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
* Nominate 7 other Kreativ Bloggers.
* Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
* Leave a comment in the nominated blogs to let them know they have been nominated.

7 things about me:(I have already done the tag here)
1. I am so much addicted to filter coffee that I open my eyes properly only after a dose of it, every morning.
2. I love the taste of raw onions, tomato and cilantro mixed together which makes masala pappad & masala kadalai (boiled peanuts chaat & not the fried ones) my favourite food. I generally love chaats for the same reason. Gangotri in Chennai & a chaat shop at Spencers are my fav spots.
3. I am a staunch vegetarian and don't eat even eggs. However I eat cakes since I developed a taste for it even before I knew it had eggs. But dislike it in all other forms. I love all vegetables including bitter guord and greens. I can survive on just boiled veggies. But, I do make a proper meal everyday.
4. I love to read books ( a lot of magazines & fiction), listen to good songs particularly maestro Ilayaraja's songs, mind games and solving puzzles. I love to read culinary books & blogs and one good thing is once I read a recipe, I quickly put it into my mind and don't have to see it again.(well, most times).
5. My favourite place is my hometown - Chennai. I love everything about the city and miss it. My favourite road is Sardar Patel road that runs from Raj Bhavan to Adyar. That is where my college is located.
6. Few of my favourite smells -fresh jasmine, freshly brewed filter coffee or ground coffee powder, muddy smell of rains, tempering of upma, cilantro...
7. I love to travel and see a lot of places. My long term goal is to visit as many countries as possible.

Passing these lovely awards to Subha, Jeyashri, Vidhas.

Kala Channa Masala

Another Punjabi treat! I had a lot of kala channa (black chickpeas) in my pantry and wanted to use it, quickly. So, decided to make kala channa masala in the same line as chole masala that's made with kabuli channa. It did taste yummy and a bit different from the normal gravy. This would taste great with idiyappam too.
Let's quickly get into the recipe.

kala channa (black chickpeas) - 1.5 cups (soaked overnight and cooked)
Potatoes - 2 medium, diced
Tomatoes - 2 medium
Onion - 1 big, finely chopped
Slit green chillies - 2
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1.5 tsp
Kashmiri Chilli powder - 1.5 tsp
Dhania Powder - 2 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1 tsp
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
Chole Masala - 1 tsp
Jeera - 1 tsp
Oil - 1 tablespoon
Chopped cilantro to garnish
Ghee - 1/2 tsp (optional)
Salt to taste


1. Heat the oil, season with jeera. Add the chopped onions,green chillies and ginger garlic paste. Fry till dark brown.
2. Add the diced potatoes. Sprinkle a little water and cover till half cooked. Add chopped tomatoes.
3. When the tomatoes turn soft, add turmeric, chilli powder, dhania powder, cumin powder and salt. Add the cooked channa and a cup of water. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Add chole masala, garam masala, cover and cook till oil separates.

Garnish with chopped cilantro, add the ghee and serve hot with puris/rotis/pulav varieties.

Sending this to My legume Love Affair 16 th helping @ cook sister originating from Susan's blog.

Happy Deepavali!

A very Happy Deepavali to all of you. Have a sparkling year!

Moong Dhall Burfi

Deepavali time again! I am sure everyone of us would become nostalgic and travel back to the wonderful deepavali(s) as a child. New dress that reflects the fashion(I still remember how much I was thrilled to get my rangeela midi), crackers, special tv shows and the best part - sweets and savories. I am reminded of those fun days and pretty sure that festivals as a child is more joyful. At the risk of sounding a pessimist, I am sure we are never gonna get back those wonderful days. The optimist in me says we will see them again when our kids enjoy as much as we did.
I am sure all of you are ready to celebrate deepavali with an array of delicacies.

Moong dhall burfi is a real easy breezy sweet to make. I was planning to make payathan urundai (moong dhall ladoo) but finally an idea struck and decided to make it as a burfi. This tastes great in any form.

I had lined up moong dhall burfi, badam halwa, thenguzhal and omapodi. Eager to hear from you about your diwali sweets.

Happy Deepavali!

Moong dhall flour - 1 cup (Roast moong dhall and powder it. Roasting is must)
Powdered Sugar - 1 cup
Molten ghee - 1/2 cup
Cardamom powder - a pinch
broken Cashews fried in ghee

1)Mix the sugar, dhaal flour, cashews and cardamom in a bowl.
2)Melt the ghee in a pan, switch off the gas. With the pan still on stove, add the flour mixture and mix well.
3)You can even choose to make ladoos with the mixture.But the mixture should be hot. Make them into balls of desired size and allow it to set for sometime.
For the burfi, transfer the mixture into a greased plate,level by pressing with a ladle,store in the fridge for 15 min and cut into desired shapes.

Pani Puri / Gol Gappa

Pani puri! I am sure the very mention of it would make you drool, just as I do. It is an evening snack falling under the chaat category, which originated from Uttar pradesh. But, it has now touched every part of India and most Indians would have relished the snack.

The crisp puris are filled with a potato or sprouts filling, dipped in a pot of spicy/sweet pani(water) and gulped, all at once. That instant, you get transported to heaven.

My association with pani puris started when I was six. My brother and me used to have a plate of pani puris frequently, near Secunderabad station, on our way back home from school. There used to be lot of pani puri walahs selling in carts on the roadside. The taste till lingers on my taste buds and I have not tasted better ones, till date. After moving to Chennai, I didn't have much chance to try this, till my school final. Pani puris were not very common in Chennai, those times. Pani puris sold in street side shops are the best; but now a days, we can't risk to have it there due to hygiene reasons.

In the recent years, I used to frequent the chaat stall outside nilgiris super market, Velachery, while returning from work. The one outside krishna collection in Pondy Bazaar also serves excellent chaats. However, Gangotri is my favourite hangout.

I do not like to have it in restaurants where they are served together as a plate. In a typical chaat stall, each customer would be given a plate or bowl, the chaat walah would fill the puri with paani from a clay pot and serve it to the customers in a round-robin fashion. We need to be really quick in gobbling the puris to keep the pace. I am amazed on how the server keeps the count of puris. He also remembers the client requirements/ customization and serves according to that. There are 2 kinds of paani; one sweet and another spicy.

I have given the recipe for the spicy paani as it is my choice of taste. I am not sure how the authentic paani is made but I like it this way.

I have used the ready made puris purchased from the Indian groceries and didn't wanna make it as the puris were really fresh. I will post the recipe for puris, once I try it.

For the pani:
Cilantro - half a bunch
Mint leaves - a handful
Tamarind Paste - 1.5 tsp
Green Chillies - 2 medium
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Black salt - 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp
Jal Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Chaat masala - a pinch
Pepper powder - 1/4 tsp
Jaggery - 1/2 tsp
A dash of lime juice
2 to 3 cups water

Grind cilantro, mint, tamarind paste and green chillies into a smooth paste. Add rest of the ingredients, water and refrigerate for 3 hrs. Alternately, add ice water. Adjust salt.

For the filling:
Boiled and mashed potatoes 2 medium
Soaked and cooked black channa (You can use kabuli channa, as well. I like it with kala channa)
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Chopped green chillies - 1 medium
Garam masala - 1/2 to 1 tsp
Chopped cilantro
Salt to taste

(You can also fill the puri with whole moong dhall sprouts.)

Mix everything well. I microwaved for 30 seconds to get rid of the raw smell of chilli powder and garam masala. You can also break 2 puris and mix, as they do in the street shops.

Break the top of the puri using your thumb, fill with the potato mixture, dip it in the paani and enjoy!

Awards time again!

Brinda has passed 4 awards to me, out of which one is designed by herself. Great job Brinda!
Thanks for your nice words.
I am really overwhelmed with joy on receiving so much love from my fellow bloggers.

Sangi has also passed on the above award to me. Thanks Sangi. The award comes with the following tag. Sangi says, it should be answered with single word. But, Brinda's tag didn't have a rule like that. For a talkative person like me, answering in a single word is near impossible. Moreover, tags are after all to know more about our fellow bloggers. Being a sweet person that Sangi is, I know she won't mind me breaking the rule. What say, Sangi?
Now, for the tag.

1. Where is your cell phone: no mobile. cordless on the couch

2. Your hair: Black

3. Your mother: Retd. bank emp

4. Your father: no more

5. Your favorite food: Indian

6. Your dream last night: a funny one. I went to 'Seattle saravana bhavan' in Chennai where they had only fish on the menu :D Hope saravana bhavan does not sue me

7. Your favorite drink: Filter coffee

8. Your dream/goal: Own and run a shopping complex which sells A-Z goods for women & kids. Well, soon extend that to men as well.

9. What room are you in: Living room

10. Your hobby: Trying out new recipes, blogging about it, reading books, travelling, listening to music, shopping in a complex, mentioned in point 8.

11. Your fear: reptiles, eating veg food in a hotel which also serves non-veg(specially in India. I'm sure they mix up both)

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years: Chennai realizing my dream/goal

13. Where were you last night: Home

14. Something you aren’t: Causing damage to public properties like littering on roads and jumping lines. Any such unethical activities which an average Indian does. I am not trying to boast. I try my best to follow this.

15. Muffins: Orange

16. Wish list item: A lot of money to buy the other things in my wish list ;)

17. Where did you grow up: Chennai

18. Last thing you did: Watched a TV show

19. What are you wearing: T shirt & pants

20. Your TV: Off

21. Your pets: I hate pets

22. Your friends: As I said in my earlier tag, I don't wanna mention names. I love all of them equally

23. Your life: Something great is in store for me

24. Your mood: Great after a sound afternoon nap and heavy dinner

25. Missing someone: Family and Chennai

26. Vehicle: Camry

27. Something you’re not wearing: bangles,watch

28. Your favorite store: Westside

29. Your favorite color (s): All colors

30. When was the last time you laughed: After my yesterday's funny dream

31. Last time you cried: embarrassing question.

32. Your best friend: my mother. She knows everything about me and my life. I owe her a lot.

33. One place that I go over and over: spencer plaza,pondy bazaar

34. One person who emails me regularly: facebook :D I

35. Favorite place to eat: To mention, top 2 :Saravana Bhavan,Gangotri (I can go endless. I have one best eat-out for every dish. I am a foodie!)

This award is the best of the lot since it is designed by our very own, creative, Brinda. Good job, Bittu!

Passing these awards to Lata,Rohini,Sangi,Chitra,Priya,Divya
Pass these awards to 6 blogger friends. I would like to give an option. You can choose to post the awards, which you have not received till date.
Thanks friends, for being with me.

Hey did you guys notice the change in my blog design? I slogged for a couple of days to come up with this design.
As Lata rightly pointed out, I feel this design is more spread out and readability is better.
Pour in your thoughts!

Update: As Rohini pointed out, my blog header picture does not get loaded in IE. It comes up well in firefox and chrome. I stopped using IE, for a long time now. The picture size is 70 KB and I don't know why the heck it doesn't appear on IE. Any inputs?

Kwik Fix Series # 9 - Okra hot & sour gravy

Don't get perplexed by the post title. The recipe is 100% South-Indian and I have just renamed vendaikka(okra) puli(sour/tamarind) kozhambu (soup/gravy), thus for the benefit of non-Tamils.

This is a real hot and tangy kozhambu to go with hot-hot rice and a papad/quick curry. Ideal for the people in Northern hemisphere, now, with the advent of winter. This is a such a quick recipe and bachelor friendly meaning, it uses common ingredients from your kitchen and does not require any special kitchen appliance including mixer/blender.

The typical iyer vetha kozhambu is also prepared in the similar way except that, there are no tomatoes/onions in a typical vetha kozhambu and we add some sun-dried fries like sun-berries.
You can also make it with just drumstick/onion/egg plant/bitter gourd. Sometimes, a teaspoon of toor dhall is added while seasoning to compensate for the lack of lentils ( like in sambar).

Kara kozhambu is also similar to this and a little coconut milk is added as a last step and boiled for a min.

Puli kozhambu/vetha kozhambu/kara kozhambu, all refers to this simple gravy sans lentils.

I have added onions, tomatoes and okra in my kozhambu.
You can add brinjals in the place of okra, shallots in place of normal onions or replace everything by just drumsticks. Really lip smacking for cold weathers.


Onions - cut length wise, a handful
Tomato - 1, blanched, skin removed and mashed. Or, you can simply chop them, fine.
Okra- cut into 1.5 '' pieces
Tamarind pulp extracted from lemon size tamarind or 2 tsp tamarind paste dissolved in 1 cup water.
Red chilli powder or sambar powder - 1 tsp ( I used kashmiri chilli powder for a bright color)
Red chillies 2 broken into pieces
Curry leaves - a few
Salt to taste

For seasoning:
Fenugreek/vendayam/methi seeds - 1/2 tsp
Mustard - 1 tsp
Sesame oil 1 tablespoon (Tastes best with sesame oil)
Hing a pinch

1) Take a thick bottomed vessel, heat the oil, season the ingredients. When the mustard pops, add onions and red chillies. Fry till light brown.
2) Add okra and fry for 2 min. Add the tomato pulp or chopped tomatoes.
3) Cook for a min and add the tamarind extract. Add salt, chilli powder and curry leaves.
4) Boil till the oil separates and serve hot with rice.

1. If you think it is watery, mix a little rice flour in a tsp of water and add to the kozhambu.
2. If you wish to add coconut milk, add as a final step and boil for less than a minute.
3. This gravy has a way too much oil, chillies and tamarind which is not a very healthy option.
So, don't eat this often due to the simplicity of the recipe. As a healthier variation, you can cut down the tamarind paste a bit and add a little lime juice at the end.