Bindi fry

Vendaikka(Bindi or okra) is one of my favourite vegetables. I always love it and it is one vegetable which I readily ate even while I used to be a fussy eater. Well, even after evolving from a fussy eater to a complete foodie, I haven't lost my charm for it. A simple vendaikka curry is sure to impress me anytime and I would say that comes as a saviour when you are short of ideas or time. On a sunny afternoon, I had ample time for ideas to emerge and hence decided to make something different from the normal south Indian preparation. So I gave it a thought, ended up making it in north Indian style and hence named it Bindi fry.(Title justified)
I was not sure how the famous bindi masala is done. I didn't even bother to google for it. I just added ingredients that struck my mind, to make it north Indian-ish and it served the purpose well.

Vendaikka - 500 g
Chopped or pureed tomatoes - 1
Amchur powder -2 tsp
Besan - 3 tsp
Turmeric powder - 2 tsp
Chilli powder - 2 tsp
Dhaniya powder - 2 tsp
Jeera - 3 tsp
Oil - 1 tablespoon
salt to taste

1. Chop the veg into slightly big pieces.
2. Heat the oil, season with jeera and add the veg.
3. When the veg gets cooked, add the dry powders. Fry till crispy and add the chopped tomatoes. Cook till the tomatoes become soft and blends with the rest. Serve with rice or roti.

Variation: Chop an onion and fry till golden brown before adding the veg.

Sending this to WYF - side dish event hosted by EC.

Keerai (greens) molagootal

This is a traditional Palakkad iyer dish which is quite famous at my home. One irony about the dish is, though it is called molagootal, we don't add any molagu(pepper corns)to it. I see lot of people mentioning about pepper in their molagootal recipes. But the authentic recipe doesn't have any pepper and this is highly nutritious, non-spicy food, good for everyone.Molagootal is made using ara keerai and since I get only spinach here, I made use of it. Other famous molagootals are cabbage,mixed veg(raw banana,carrot,yam,potato,chow-chow), just chayote squash(chow-chow), yellow pumpkin and you can always be creative and come up with your own combination. I'm tired today to post anything eloborate and so limiting myself to a simple recipe. This can be made in a jiffy specially with the kind of spinach you get here. It's so clean and fresh unlike Chennai where we got to spend a lot of time in cleaning up greens. But of kors, you don't get so many Indian varieties here. That's a trade-off and I am actually quite happy that I get a lot of Indian veggies here. I never expected so much.Spinach is a great source of iron,vitamin A,B and C and this is one great way to consume it without losing the nutrition. This has spinach,dal and coconut making it tasty,healthy and nutritious. Now let us get cooking.


Spinach - 2 cups finely chopped
Thoor dhall - half a cup cooked
coconut - 1 to 2 table spoons
Red chillies- 2 medium
jeera - 2tsp
urad dhall - 2 tsp
Mustard - 2 tsp
coconut oil - 2 tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch

1. Cook the spinach and mix the cooked dhall.
2. Grind coconut,chillies and jeera into a paste and add to spinach.
3. Boil till frothy and season with urad dhall, mustard, asafoetida in coconut oil base.

Use the same method to make any molagootal substituting spinach with a diff veggie.
Goes well with vetha kozhambu or rasam rice. Also, plain rice and pickle makes a good combo to spice up this non-spicy dish.

Monthly Mingle - Kid's Lunch Round up

Read the MM round up here.
This is the first ever event I participated since I joined the blogosphere. So something special to me and it is thrilling to read the round up featuring my recipes. Here is an extract from the post.

Then we have Sree Vidya bringing in multiple choice for us to choose and each of them sound more interesting than the other. Am sure it would not be chore getting the kids eat these delicious Gobi Manchurian or the fancy Kathi roll.Her Macaroni hot pot is something to get done in jiffy not to mention the Paneer bhurji that can save your day anytime.

But lets start it all with her
Nutty n Creamy Veg Soup, it sure to make anybody crave for more. She adds in nuts along with veggies, which makes it a ideal wholesome food for kids! Even if you can't pack it regularly, am sure you will find a way to send this along if your kid gets to fancy this!

Or this yummy
Coconut Milk Pulav, which am sure any kid will fancy. So that's a great idea to share with other mommies right. This pulao is mild and is quite easy to get the kids take this!

Read the rest here and it's a great pleasure to go through other entries. Thanks for your nice words Srivalli and it is very encouraging.You are putting in a lot of effort to host such wonderful events and it is simply amazing!

Mushroom Pulav

I never had a liking for mushrooms during my childhood days. Infact I thought its something non vegetarian and detested it. (No offence meant. Just that I am a pure veggie) Once i had a small bit of mushroom from a soup and thought it's not that bad afterall. But later on I came to know that its so healthy and decided to include it in my diet now and then. It's only after having mushroom pulav at saravana bhavan, that I started developing a taste for it. I got completely hooked on mushrooms and specially relish the mushroom pulav at Saravana Bhavan. slurp! So yummy it is! I always wanted to reproduce it in my kitchen and failed in my attempts. However, I wouldn't call it a miserable failure as I still managed to cook it drool-worthy, in my own ways. So far I haven't managed to make any big disasters. Touch wood! This time, I wanted to exactly re-create my fav food and guess what? it's all success! I gave a lot of thought to it and first tried to list down the ingredients. I didn't miss even the presence of few mint leaves and set out to cook my 'all time fav' mushroom pulav. Do you wonder how many dishes will I add to my 'all time fav' list? I already said I am a foodie. (check out my blog's tag line. Well, u can call it an ad-break) This time around, my efforts are fruitful and I present to you 'Mushroom pulav'. However, I reduced the amount of ghee. The hotel people drown the rice in ghee which doesnt sound nice to me. So, how much ghee to add, I leave it to your discretion .


Mushrooms - 1 cup
Basmathi rice - 2 cups
Ghee - 1 tablespoon
Mint leaves - 10
Cashews - 10
Cloves - 2
Jeera - 3 tsp
Slit green chillies
salt to taste
Chopped coriander - to garnish


1. Soak the rice for 10 min and cook with 1.5 times water.
2. Cook the mushrooms with a little water separately till done.(There shud be no moisture)
3. Heat 3 tsp ghee, add the cashews and fry.
4. Season with Jeera, cloves, add chillies and mushroom(no raw mushroom). Add mint leaves, salt and fry till the mushrooms are crisp.
5. Cool the rice a bit and mix it with the mushroom mixture. The grains should be separate. Strictly no sticking together.
6. Reheat the pulav after mixing and add the chopped coriander. Add a dollop of ghee and mix well. You can add more ghee if you are not calorie conscious or if you are making it to attract kids.
7. Serve hot with onion raitha

Onion Raitha: Mix finely chopped onions, curd and black salt. Black salt does the trick.


1. I think the thing that made the difference is adding cooked mushrooms. Before, I used to add raw mushrooms after seasoning ingredients and I think the water that mushrooms oozes out spoiled the taste a bit. So this time I cooked the mushrooms beforehand and just fried quickly in ghee with the seasoning. Thumbs-up!
2. I feel the mint leaves make the best combination with this pulav and will not suit any other pulav.(like peas) However it's my personal choice.
3. I didn't add garam masala to my recipe. I liked it without the spices and may be you can add a tsp of garam masala.

Disclaimer : Don't hold me responsible if you can find any difference after tasting the same at the hotel. I afterall made it by just relying on my taste buds!

Sending this to CFK- Rice event hosted by Trupti originating from Sharmi's website.

Bird's Nest - A Spring Treat

I wanted to send an entry to the click event at jugalbandi. I was thinking about various options till I chanced upon this recipe by Mrs. Chellam in a tamil magazine. I followed the recipe exactly and it came out pretty well, aptly bringing out the spring theme. I have given the same recipe below.


Potatoes - 1 kg
Onion - 1 finely chopped
Ginger a small piece finely chopped
Green chilles - 2 finely chopped
Dhaniya powder -2tsp
Salt to taste
chilli powder - 2 tsp
coriander finely chopped half bunch
amchur powder - 1 tsp(optional)
oil to fry
cumin - 1 tsp

For Binding:
maida half a cup
water - 1 cup
Make into a batter

For coating:
Fried semia - 1oog

For stuffing:
boiled Green peas

1.Boil and mash the potatoes. Mix the dry powders and chopped coriander.
2.Heat oil, season with jeera, fry onion,ginger and green chillies. Mix the potato mixture. Cook and make into small balls.
3. Stuff the peas inside the balls and make into patties.
4. Dip in the maida batter, roll over semia and deep fry.
5. Garnish and serve.

Pumpkin Cilantro Chutney

I am a big fan of chutney (Thogayal) varieties and would love to have it alongside dosa varieties or paired up with hot rice with a papad to go with. My mother used to make a variety of thogayal like brinjal, coriander, coconut etc. - almost with anything that she could lay her hands on. One such item is this pumpkin chutney. She makes use of the softer inner portion of yellow pumpkin which we tend to throw away normally. You can also add more of the hard veg part, if you have a very little softer portion and more people waiting for the dish! I always love the aroma and taste of fresh cilantro and thought why not add it in my recipe. I try and include cilantro as much as possible in my everyday diet because it is rich in vitamin A and vitamin C. One good thing is I get a lot of fresh cilantro in US whereas in Chennai it is really tough to catch them fresh during summer. Try out this nutritious chutney.

Pumpkin chopped(soft inner portion without seeds) - 1 cup
Fresh cilantro - half a bunch
Urad dhall - 1 tablespoon
Dry chillies - 3
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Tamarind - a small piece
salt to taste

1. Add a tsp of oil and fry urad dhall,dry chillies till the dhall turns brown.
2. Add tamarind, asafoetida and chopped yellow pumpkin. Cook till done.
3. Allow the ingredients to cool and grind with fresh cilantro. Of kors, remember to add salt.

I served this with onion Adai and it was super-de-duper. I also mixed the leftover chutney with hot rice for lunch and it tasted wonderful.

Sending this recipe to two events.
1. 15 minute cooking hosted by Mahimaa
2. JFI-cilantro @

Tomato Rasam

I jus luv this anytime. For those of you who do not know what rasam is, its a kind of south Indian soup with spice and lentil. But it is normally not served as a starter and you generally have it towards the end of your main course before curd rice. Rasam is something traditional which aids in digestion after a heavy meal and we south indians make it almost everyday. A south Indian thali is not complete without rasam. We can actually make several kinds of it and the recipe varies with each household. I bet no two persons make it in a similar way. Even if you follow the same method, the final product might actually taste a bit different. I would say it takes lot of expertise to make a perfect rasam. What else could comfort you more than a perfect rasam on a cold night or when you are down with fever or a bad cold? One can have a wonderful feast out in a restaurant or a star hotel but I feel this particular thing is best made at home. As a kid, I was fussy about food and my mom always had a tough time making me eat. But even then, I used to feast on a plate of rasam rice with a papad to go with, as if it were the ultimate food on earth. I give here the recipe for one type of rasam I regularly make at home. Will post more in the days to come.

Ripe Tomatoes - 2 finely chopped
Cooked thoor dhall - 1 cup
Tamarind - half lime size
Rasam powder(see the method below) - 4 tsp
Jaggery powder (optional)- 1/2 tsp
Fresh spice powder - 3 tsp (powder 1 tsp pepper corn and 2 tsp cumin without roasting)
Salt to taste
Asafoetida - 1/2tsp
Coriander to garnish
ghee,curry leaves and mustard to season

Rasam powder:
Dhaniya seeds - 1 cup
Thoor dhall - 1/4 cup
Pepper - 1/4 cup
Cumin - 1/4 cup
Fry the ingredients on a dry tawa and powder with 5 red chillies.I do not prefer storing this for a long time. Generally I make this every week.

1.Add the tomatoes to half cup water and boil for 5 min till it becomes soft.
2.Add asafoetida,rasam powder,tamarind pulp,jaggery,salt and boil till the raw smell goes.
3.Add 2 cups of water to the cooker dhall, mash well and add to the rasam.Heat for a short time till it becomes frothy. Do not boil it.
4.Switch off the flame, add the fresh spice powder(do not store, make it fresh everytime) and chopped coriander.
5.Season with mustard and curry leaves fried in ghee.

1. Always make the rasam in a narrow, tall and thick bottomed vessel over slow fire.
2. Do not boil the rasam; just heat it till frothy.
3. Do not store the rasam powder for more than 15 days. The aroma and flavour gets lost.
4. The composition I have mentioned is to suit my taste. Adjust the ingredients and customise if required. Avoid jaggery if you do not like the mild sweetness.

Sakkarai Pongal - Repost

I am reposting the recipe in order to qualify for the Mithai Mela event hosted by Srivalli on completing a 2 yr milestone in blogging. Congrats on your achievement Srivalli and you are an inspiration to novice bloggers like me. And incidentally, this recipe is a milestone for me too, this is my first step towards food blogging. Yeah, that makes my first blog post.
This is also the first time I am reposting something.

Rice - 2 cups
Moong dhal - 2 cups
Jaggery - 2 cups
Cardomom - 6
Melted Ghee - 1 cup
Milk - 1 cup

For garnishing
Cashews - 1/4 cup
Raisins - 1/4 cup

Fry the moong dhal on a dry tawa till the color changes slightly.
Add rice, mix both with double the amount of water (I added a little milk too) and cook in a pressure cooker.
Now boil jaggery with a cup of water and cook till it boils.Strain to remove any stones or particles.
Now add one cup of milk, jaggery syrup to the cooked rice and dhal mixture and stir continuously over slow fire
Add ghee and mix well.
Now season with cashews, raisins fried in ghee and sprinkle cardomom powder.

Correction: When I made this last time, I added about half a cup of jaggery extra. i do not know if the sweetness varies with each stock of jaggery. And a tip is, if you think there is no sufficient sweetness, mix sugar while the pongal is hot to compensate. Be sure that the sugar melts and mixes well.
Sending this to the event and hoping to send more entries in the future.

Shahi Paneer

I have an exciting array of recipes up my sleeve, waiting to get posted sooner or later. This one in particular has been staying in my digi cam for a little over two months and finally managed to find its way to my blog. Yet another paneer dish waiting to reach your taste buds! Well, only if you wish to make it for yourself. So much for just writing the recipe!

Shahi means royal and this is definitely royal with rich ingredients. This is actually similar to paneer butter masala except that I add curd to it. But i have seen some people adding curd to PBM also. So I am not sure about the actual differences between the two but I have slight differences in my recipes. Well, it doesn't really pain to add one more recipe to my database without much effort. I mean in terms of remembering a new set of ingredients and method that an extremely different recipe would call for.

I'm really proud or rather happy for having been born in such a country which has so many food varieties. I'm enthralled by the extreme diversity of food culture in India. It differs from state to state and sometimes even within a state like how we have the Chettinad cuisine which is different from the normal Tamilnadu cuisine. Well, this deserves a separate blog entry and I do not want to dilute its intensity by writing more about it in this post.


onions 1 or 2
tomatoes 2 medium sized
paneer cubes 10 to 15
Sliced ginger and garlic - 1 to 2 tsp
curd 1/2 cup
coriander handful
chilli powder 3 tsp
dhania powder 2 tsp
garam masala - 1 tsp
jeera powder 1 tsp
fresh spice powder 1/2 tsp (cardomom,cinnamon,cloves)

for frying
butter 50 g
oil 1/4 cup

soak and grind to a smooth paste
cashew 2 table spoon
khus khus 1 table spoon


1. Slice the onions, fry till light brown in 2 tablespoons of oil,grind to a fine paste and keep aside.
2. Cut tomatoes and ginger into small pieces, fry then in the same oil, grind to a smooth paste and keep aside.
3. Heat oil and butter, add the onion paste, thinly sliced garlic and fry till dark brown.
4. Add the cashew khus khus paste and fry well.
5. Add the tomato and ginger pulp and cook well.
6. Add the dry powders
7. Finally add the curd and cook well
8. Add 2 cups of water, fresh spice powder,coriander and then the paneer.
9.Serve hot with cream

Gobi Manchurian

Gobi manchurian is a chinese dish tweaked a bit to suit the Indian palate. I love to have it tangy and hot. This along with a plate of chinese fried rice is absolutely scrumptious. When I was working at Chennai Infosys, this used to be the featured lunch menu on fridays at the food court. It would be either manchurian/plain fried rice or schezwan fried rice on the menu and I would be eagerly waiting for the lunch time :) I grabbed my share hot-hot and if there were any early bird prizes, I would have won hands down. To tell the truth, the food was not so great and people who knew abt out chennai food court would endorse. But, a tiny piece of paper with 'chinese food' written on it is enough to amuse me and I also believe even the baddest cook can manage to cook it reasonably well. Incidentally, paper was also invented in China. Oh, I don't eat paper by the way. However, I should confess that I have never tasted authentic chinese food and people who have tried it say it is nowhere close to what we get in Indian restaurants. I am still contented with the Indo-chinese food and do not even want to visit a chinese restaurant. Ingredients:
Cauliflower - 1 cup
Rice flour,corn flour,maida - 1:1:1 (1.5 table spoon of each aprrox)
Capsicum - 1
Onion - 1
Oil to fry
salt to taste
Chilli powder - 2 tsp
Orange color - 2 pinch (optional)
Ginger garlic paste - 2 tsp
Tomato ketchup - 1 tablespoon
Soya sauce - 2 tsp
Spring onions to garnish.

1. Break the cauliflower into medium size florets. Clean them by immersing in salted water for 5 min. I use lukewarm water but I have heard people telling it is better to use cold water as against some people telling hot water. So i choose to be moderate and use lukewarm. Someone please enlighten me as to which is the best. I always eat my caulifower with 100% belief that it's worm-free. I don't want to be paranoid here and lose the charm.
2. Make a batter with all the three flour,water,chilli powder,color,salt and ginger garlic paste.The consistency should be such that it sticks to the florets coating thoroughly. Deep fry in hot oil.
3. Cut the onion and capsicum into cubes.
4. Heat oil, fry the onions and capsicums till tender. Add the fried florets, tomato ketchup and soya sauce. Mix well and garnish with spring onions. Serve immediately with chinese fried rice.
I feel this is good to go with the rice and not much as a starter.

Click here for the chinese fried rice recipe. This time I tried a small variation. Reduced the amount of soya sauce to 1.5 tsp and added a tsp of white pepper powder. It just tasted as heavenly as before. One other tip is while frying veg for fried rice, do it over high flame quickly to get it crisp.
This is off to the kids lunch event as I find it good enough to fascinate the kids.

More Keerai

translated into english means spinach in buttermilk gravy. This simple dish pairing with vetha kozhambu makes a heavenly lunch. Though I love eating masala and spicy dishes, nothing can beat a humble south Indian dish. Home food to me means typical iyer food and I would vouch for it anytime.Hailing from Palakad, I have been exposed to both Tanjore and Palakad kind of cooking. Take the case of simple morekozhambu, my mother used to make both kinds.

This is a small variation to the usual spinach kootu. I love greens but unfortunately the only available (Indian) keerai here is spinach and I am left with no other option. I can eat boiled greens with salt without even adding anything to spice it up. For that matter, I can have any veg just like that including bitterguord. That explains my affinity to vegetables. I really do not like frying them with lot of oil. More than the health factor, I feel the flavour of veg is lost that way and every veg has a distinct taste to be savoured.


Spinach 2 cups finely chopped
Coconut - 2 table spoon
Butter milk - 1 cup (If u have only thick curd, just dilute it with water)
Green chillies - 2 to 3 depending on your taste
salt to taste
coconut oil,Mustard, urad dhall and red chilli to season


1. Boil the spinach with water and add salt.
2. Grind green chillies and coconut to a smooth paste. You can also add a tsp of jeera if you wish to.
3. Add the paste to the spinach and boil till frothy. Switch off the gas and add the butter milk.
4. Season with the ingredients listed for seasoning

Strawberry Ice Cream Shake

is something that blends with the color of my blog. I have always been fond of strawberry icecream and I used to crave for it when I was a kid. That must be attributed to the pink color of the food as pink used to be my most favouritest color then. Pink is also considered appropriate for girls in the western culture. But growing up, I do not have any particular favourite color and I love all colors equally. While choosing dresses, I look for the texture and combination of colours rather than falling for a single color.

Coming bac to the edible pink, the strawberry icecream I used to eat was only artificially flavored and I have not seen fresh berries in the Chennai markets until recent years. But once it started becoming abundant, I joyfully took to it. When I came to know the nutritional facts of the fruit, my fervour grew even higher. It is a low calorie food rich in vitamin C. It also contains lot other minerals, vitamin A and it is a great antioxidant. Regular intake prevents cancer and heart diseases. Always choose the red ripe ones and avoid the white, discolored fruits. It is a great snack and I am a person who believes eating fruits are better than taking them as juices/shakes. It is because we add sugar,milk, ice etc and we might also miss the fibre content if we filter them. But, I prefer to have juices once in a while. Afterall, taste matters. Try to avoid sugar in your juice and may be you can substitute with honey if you wish to. I don't like mixing honey with my juice though. However, I don't know if honey goes well with all fruit juices. Check on that!

Let's now get a dose of vitamin C.

Fresh strawberries - 10
Strawberry syrup (optional) - 2 tsp
Sugar (Optional) - 3 tsp
Strawberry or vanilla icecream - 4 scoops
Milk - half to 1 cup
Ice cubes optional

1. Grind the strawberries into a smooth paste.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients holding back a scoop of icecream and blend well in a mixer.
3. Add the single scoop of icecream to the serving glass and fill the prepared shake on top of it. The scoop will raise to the top. Serve fresh.

You can also add a banana to the shake and the combination will go wonderfully together.

Macaroni hot pot

One more in a row to go for the kids lunch event. This is the first event I am participating after starting my blog and hence very enthusiastic about it. It is lot of fun. As and when I cook something which is fit enough to be eaten by kids, I send it off as an entry. Thanks Srivalli, for being such a good host. Eagerly waiting for the round-up!
This is cooked as a one-pot meal and with ingredients like cheese, butter, pasta etcetera, it is sure to impress everyone at home. But this is something to be served straight from the stove (oven) when the cheese is melty. What more do you need for a weekend lunch?


Macaroni - 1 to 2 cups
Mozarella cheese - as you wish
Onions 2
Capsicum - 2
Butter - 2 tablespoon
tomatoes - 2
Tinned corn - 1/2 to 1 tin
For White sauce
maida - 1 cup
Milk 1/2 cup
Butter 1 tablespoon


1. Boil macaroni in hot water till tender.
2. Drain and keep aside.
3. Fry the chopped onions till tender and pink in the melted butter.
4. Add the macaroni, salt and 2tsp chilli powder. Mix well and keep aside.
5. Fry capsicum and tomato along with the corn.
6. Melt the butter, fry the maida, add the milk little by little and stir till the white sauce thickens.
7. Grease a baking tray and spread the macaroni. Top it with capsicum, tomato and spread the white sauce. Sprinkle the tomato sauce and cheese. Bake at 180 deg for 15 to 20 min or microwave high for 3 min.

Sure to melt in your mouth!