Khaman Dhokla ~ Indian Cooking Challenge July 2009

First, let me brief about the
Indian Cooking Challenge, a monthly event initiated by Srivalli of Cooking 4 all seasons. As she rightly points out, many of us do not venture out cooking authentic & traditional recipes. Though, it can conveniently be attributed to lack of time in the fast pace of modern life, only a part of it is true. Now a days, we get a lot of good quality, authentic dishes from various shops at quite affordable (though that's a relative term, the flourishing catering business evinces it ) prices and so we do not want to put in that extra effort. Well, even this is only partly true. One more factor is, we might not want to cook out of our comfort zone (the roti-rice routine with occasional easy to make sweets) and daringly try out the traditional family recipes particularly so when it involves lot of time, effort or utmost perfection. For eg., you can make mysore pak or rasgullas in less than an hour but you should know the tips & tricks of the trade. Calling myself a foodie & a passionate cook, it is not fair to keep away from authentic recipes by quoting the above factors. By naming it a challenge, Srivalli kindles my interest further more. So, I am game for it!

This is how it works. Srivalli had already conducted a poll and finalised a list of recipes. She will announce a dish for the month and post a tried & tested recipe. We will have to try it out and post it end of the month. It can't get easier for me! Thanks to her for all the effort she puts in. For more info, visit her announcement. I have posted the logo on my blog's side bar.

The challenge for July is Khaman Dhokla. This is a food from Gujarat and made of fermented chickpeas batter. Chickpeas is soaked overnight and ground to a batter. But we can alternatively use besan and make perfect dhoklas. The batter is spiced up with chillies, sugar, steamed and seasoned. I have tried eating dhoklas in Saravana Bhavan's Gujarathi restaurant and few other eat-outs. I wouldn't term it as my fav food but still I love to have it occasionally. I am posting the recipe here as exactly given by her.

Updates: The changes I did are, I added a little salt to the batter, I used a non-stick tawa to steam the batter (removed the handle and placed it in the cooker just as a plate) since I didn't have a thali plate and reduced the sesame seeds. I overturned the dhokla plates before seasoning. No big alterations and it turned out great. All praises to Srivalli!

Makes 20 medium sized pieces
For Batter:

Bengal Gram flour / Besan - 250 gms (1 & 1/2 cup)
Curd - 1/2 cup (not very sour)
Water - 1/2 cup
Cooking Soda - 1/2 tsp

For seasoning to be mixed to the batter (to be added just before cooking)
Oil - 1 tbsp
Turmeric a pinch
G. Chili paste - 1 - 2 long (as per taste)
Sugar - 1 tsp
Citric acid - quarter tsp
Eno - 1 packet (green colour fruit lime) + sprinkle or dust few bits on the plate

For tempering

Sesame seeds
Mustard Seeds
Curry leaves
Grated coconut
Coriander leaves
Little water + Oil to be topped on dhoklas

Method to prepare:
Mix first 1/2 cup curds with 1/2 water. To this add the besan and mix well to get a lump less batter, the consistency should be of idli batter, more of dropping not pouring consistency. Slowly add more water if needed else, add the soda. Keep it aside to rise for 1 hour.

If you are using a pressure cooker, fill the pan with water, place a plate over which you will have use a plate for steaming the dhoklas. Thali plate can be used for steaming
To the batter mix in the citric acid, oil, salt, sugar, green chili paste and turmeric powder. Mix well. This has to be done just before pouring to the plate.

Meanwhile have the pan on stove, and let the water start boiling. When the water reaches the rolling stage, you can mix the eno to the batter (Save little of eno for dusting on the plate), mix gently, you will see bubbles coming out.

Dust or sprinkle the plate with eno. Then immediately pour the batter to the plate. Place the plate carefully inside the pressure pan and cover with lid. You need not use the whistle. After covering you will find steam coming out of the outlet, simmer and don't disturb for almost 5 -7 minutes.

After 5 -7 minutes, remove the lid and proof it using toothpick or knife. If the knife comes out clean and does not have any batter sticking, then its done. Cover back and let it remain on flame for 1 min and switch off the gas and allow it for 5 minutes.
In a bowl, mix 3 tsp of water along with a tsp of oil
Remove the plate from the pan, pour the water and oil mix over the top.
For seasoning, heat a pan with oil, add curry leaves, sesame seeds, mustard seeds and finely chopped green chilies. When mustard starts popping, remove and pour over the dhokla

Points to Ponder:

The batter should be filled to only 1/2 as it will rise up. After adding eno the batter should not rest. Amount of sugar can be increased on preference.

If you want perfect shaped ones and not the crumbling, cut and handle gently

Dhokla can also be steamed in kadai filled with water and a plated titled over it.

Green chutney

Green chili - 4-5 no
coconut - 4- 5 pieces
coriander - bunch
few mint leaves
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Lime -1 big
Salt to taste

Take all the ingredients except coriander in a food processor. Grind to a smooth paste.

Then add the coriander and again grind. Remove to a bowl, add the remaining lime and serve with Dhoklas.

Srivalli's replies to doubts posted by readers:

Lemon can be used instead of citric acid. Citric acid is basically used for giving the sourness. I confirmed with Aunty that we can replace this by adding lemon juice or sour curds.

Eno is normally not replaced with anything else. This is added to give the spongy texture. She said we can try using baking soda, but is not sure of the measurement.
She normally uses the Eno sachet which is app 5 gms,
Rolling stage is when the water starts boiling and reaches peek.

Water and oil (at room tempt) is just mixed together and added to the cooked dhoklas immediately after removing from pan, Since the dhoklas will be hot and this mixture will make it more soft and spongy. This is just to prevent the surface from getting dry. So the oil need not be hot.

Another way is to temper the mustard, curry leaves, remove the pan from heat, add water to that and pour over the dhoklas..either way is fine.
Chutney is not mandatory...I asked aunty her version so that we make both the dishes traditionally

Kreative Blogger Award

This award is passed to me by Sangi of Simply...Delicious... . Thanks Sangi for your encouragement. She regularly visits my blog and leaves her awfully sweet comments.

The Kreative Blogger Award comes with some rules :-

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

7 things about myself:
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.

Lubna of Kitchen flavours had featured my blog on her Rendezvous with Kitchen Flavours couple of months back. Thought it is relevant to the current topic. Read it here.

I am passing this award to Ramya Vijaykumar, Divya Vikram, Chitra, Nithya, Lubna, Aquadaze & Brinda.

Click : Bi-Colour

Sending this entry to Click : July 2009 (Bi-Colour).

Paal Payasam

Payasam/kheer is a traditional Indian sweet. Particularly, in South India, no feast is complete without a bowl of payasam. Be it Onam sadya or Krishna Jayanthi, you can spot this lovely dessert/sweet on the banana leaf. (Yes, that's how food is served in South India for special occasions) There are actually numerous payasam varieties. At a basic level, it can be a combination of milk/rice, rice/jaggery/coconut milk or even dhall/jaggery. The creativity of Indians, specially in culinary area is unlimited and there are further varieties like semia (vermicilli) payasam, Ada(rice flakes) pradhaman, javarisi(sagoo) payasam.. phew! it deserves a separate blog. Good that I finally got into posting a payasam recipe.

Talk of the day is Paal(milk) Payasam which is the queen of payasam(s). Most variety has milk in it but the one cooked with rice and milk is particularly called so. The beauty of this item is its glossy pink shade & condensed milk which is obtained by slow cooking of milk. My mother has told me that in the olden days, they used to boil milk in a thick bottomed vessel for hours together along with a lot of stirring to avoid the milk sticking to the bottom and char. Only then, they could get the authentic pink colored payasam. But a few years back, I have heard this recipe from someone and found it simple and doable. Honestly, I didn't venture out doing this so far and only today I got into action. I am elated with the results and so badly wanted to post it immediately. The idea is to pressure cook the milk along with rice and sugar over slow fire for about 30 min. You don't have to keep stirring or stand near the stove watchfully. Just put it on the stove and relax. Come back and have the wonderful delicacy. This method will be particularly helpful when you got to make a dessert for a number of guests effortlessly. You can concentrate and finish off the other items while this gets ready.


Milk - 3 to 4 cups (I used 2% milk.)

Rice (Raw rice or basmathi rice) - 1 tablespoon ( I have heard of Kerala's payasa arisi. I didn't get a chance to use it so far. You might try it as well for the authentic Kerala Paal Payasam)

Sugar - 1.5 tablespoon (twice that of rice; but I added sweetened condensed milk and lessened the sugar)

1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk (optional)

1 clean stainless steel spoon (yeah)

To garnish (optional) - Cashewnuts, raisins fried in ghee; 3 strands saffron, 1/4 tsp cardomom powder
(Actually the payasam doesn't require any garnishing)


1. Add the rice to a pressure cooker. The capacity of the cooker should be atleast twice than that of the milk you use. Add milk and put on the lid. Don't forget to put in the teaspoon.(It prevents milk from leaking out)
2. Cook for 10 min in medium flame and add sugar & condensed milk. Put on the whistle.
3. Cook on low flame with the whistle on for 30 min. (I have hot plate at home and kept the heat on 2)
4. Switch off and leave it for 10 min.

Now your pink coloured payasam is ready to garnish and serve. (Ofkors remove the spoon :))

This worked perfectly for me. If you find your payasam still white in color, you can close it again and cook for some more time. (10 to 15 min)

You can even serve this chilled. However, I like my payasam hot-hot.

Update: sterilise the cooker(all parts including weight) by cleaning with hot water to avoid the milk from breaking.
You might have used the cooker to make other dishes and that might cause the milk to break.

Channa Pulav

This is a protein packed pulav cooked with spices and greens. I had a sudden craving for channa and wanted to make something different from usual. Till i got down to make this, I had no definite recipe in mind. :) Lemme brief how I decided on the recipe.

Just raided my fridge and found mint,cilantro and tomatoes. So decided to use them in my recipe. Jeera and ghee are must-adds for any pulav. I just love the aroma while seasoning jeera in ghee and frying lengthwise chopped onions along with green chillies. I didn't want the chopped tomatoes in my pulav and so decided to grind them. When I pressure cooked the channa, I got reminded of the fresh potatoes which I bought the day before and decided to add them too. Sometimes, I add boiled potatoes in my chole masala and I love the combination. Actually I don't like to have a lot of mint in my food since it has a pungent smell. So I just added 5 to 10 leaves.
Coming to spices, I always prefer red chillies to green chillies and not particularly like the flavour of cinnamon. So just added cloves. When I opened my fridge to take out the curd, chole masala got my attention. An idea struck and I decided to add it too. Thus, originated the recipe.

Now, for the verdict. The pulav tasted sooooo tasty. I should mention something here. Normally, when I cook with no definite recipe in mind and just keep adding on the ingredients, the outcome is better than religiously following an authentic recipe. Hope, you don't conclude that I have a poor grasping power! Instead, I would be more than glad if you acknowledge my creative power :D Well, I am trying to be defensive here.


Basmathi Rice - 1 cup
Boiled Channa - 1/2 to 1 cup (Soak Kabuli Channa overnight and pressure cook with water and turmeric)
1 boiled potato (Peel the skin and cut into small cubes)
Turmeric - 1 tsp
Onion - 1 medium chopped lengthwise
Jeera - 2 tsp
Slit green chilli - 1
Chole Masala - 1.5 tsp
Ghee - 3 tsp
Oil - 3 tsp
Salt to taste
To grind into a smooth paste
Tomato - 1
Mint leaves - 5 to 10
Cilantro - a handful or more if you like
Red Chillies - 2
Cloves - 2
Garlic - 2 pods


1. Soak the rice with 1.5times water for 10 min. Heat 1 tsp ghee in a pan, fry the rice without breaking it and cook with the soaked water under a lid. Add salt when half cooked and cook till done.
2. When the rice gets cooked, get ready with the ground paste, chopped onions, cut potatos and channa.
3. Spread the cooked rice in a plate.
4. Heat the remaining ghee and oil in a pan, season with jeera. Fry the onions and green chillies.
5. Add the ground paste and cook well.
6. Add potatos, channa and a little water. Add salt (salt is already added to rice) and chole masala.
7. Let the water and masala get absorbed by the channa. Switch off and cool a bit.
8. Mix the rice and reheat once.
9. Garnish with tomato ring and chopped coriander.

Serve hot with curd/raitha.

Vendaikka (Okra) Sambar ~ Simple Dal Sambar

Sambar is an integral part of South Indian cuisine. What dal fry is to rotis, sambar is to rice. This is the south Indian way of consuming proteins in the form of dal. A south Indian meal is never complete without sambar.

Though, I made it sound like a generic dish so far, every state (Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala & Tamil Nadu) has its own version of sambar. Well, there are umpteen variations even within regions and it also varies with each house hold. You can make a simple sambar with a ready made sambar powder or arachuvitta sambar (sambar with fresh ground spices).

Again, what goes into the sambar powder varies with each household; some add pepper, some add spices like cinnamon. The Karnataka sambar has cinnamon in it. (MTR sambar powder) I always go for the 777 Madras sambar powder for the authentic tamil sambar. You can also make it at home. I will post the recipe soon. Dhania seeds, red chillies, turmeric, channa dhall are must-adds for any sambar powder. Further tweaking is done based on personal/regional taste. It is surprising that I have not posted sambar recipe so far. It is so basic for a south Indian that I was never thrilled enough getting down to record the recipe.

We can make sambar with different vegetables and sometimes with a mix of vegetables too. But generally, the amount of veg in a sambar is less and the gravy is more. This time, I made sambar with okra. You can make with carrot, tomato, drumsticks, potato, brinjal, raddish, shallots or even normal onions. Well, the choice is not limited. You can use any vegetable you wish to.


Okra - 8 chopped into 2'' pieces
Toor dhall - 1 cup cooked with twice the amount water, a pinch of turmeric and a tsp of oil (You can cook with more water and save the water for Rasam)
Tamarind - 1 lime size
Sambar powder - 4 tsp (I normally use 777 brand to get the authentic madras sambar. I also have limited stock of homemade powder. So mix both and use)
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Hing - 1 pinch
Curry leaves - a few
Methi seeds - 1 tsp
Mustard - 2 tsp
Oil - 3 tsp
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Chopped Cilantro to garnish


1) Soak the tamarind in warm water for 10 min and extract the juice.
2) Heat oil in a pan, season with mustard, fenugreek & hing.
3) Add okra and fry. Add the turmeric powder and fry for one more min.
4) Add the tamarind water and cook for 2 min.
5) Add sambar powder, chilli powder and salt. Bring everything to boil.
6) Add mashed dhall and a little water if the sambar is too thick. Boil till frothy.
7) Garnish with curry leaves and coriander leaves.

Serve hot with rice and a south Indian curry or papad or potato wafers.

I made tindora fry to go with this. I made it as a normal fry curry with oil, salt and chilli powder.

here for variations of tindora curry.

Arbi / Sepankizhangu Fry

Arbi/ Sepankizhangu / Taro root - I am quite familiar with this root vegetable right from my childhood days. Though it was not cooked very frequently like weekly once, it was made atleast once per month. The vegetable as such do not have a characteristic taste (or so it is to me) but can be cooked tastefully to make an altogether yummy dish. It took various forms in my home like sambar, more kuzhambu, masiyal and the ultimate roast curry.

The problem with arbi is, it tends to get gooey on overcooking. So you got to be perfect in cooking it to the right level. I generally fill enough water in a pressure cooker, immerse the veg and cook without the whistle on for 10 to 15 min. I have added rasam powder in my recipe just for the extra zing. The brand I use(sakthi masala) adds a great flavour to the curry. Check on the flavour of your rasam powder and add to taste. Or, you can conveniently omit both rasam and sambar powder and go for an extra spoon of chilli powder. I like experimenting with various ingredients and it proves fruitful. This roast is good to go with any south Indian main course and best had straight from the stove.


Sepangizhangu/arbi/taro root - 8 to 10 pieces
Besan /gram flour - 2 tablespoon
Chilli powder - 1.5 tsp
Sambar powder - 1 tsp
Rasam powder - 1 tsp (I used sakthi masala)
Oil 1 tablespoon or more (I am very stingy when it comes to oil)
Mustard - 1.5 tsp
Urad dhall - 1.5 tsp
Hing - 1 pinch
Salt to taste


1) Cook the arbi in a pressure cooker with enough water to immerse, till 3/4 th done. Maybe, you can check it after 10 min and cook it more if required. Don't overcook.
2) Peel off the skin and slice them thin.
3) Mix Besan, chilli powder, sambar powder, rasam powder and salt. Coat the sliced pieces with this mixture.
4) Heat oil, season with mustard, urad dhall and hing. Add the coated pieces all together and fry till golden brown.
You can also resort to deep frying the pieces. You can omit the seasoning part then.
I prefer it this way.

The fry is ready to serve. Have it straight from stove. On packing this, the fry loses the crispiness.

Karamani Curry

Karamani or string beans is one of my favourite vegetables. Actually I love all veggies, but this is something which may not be the fav of many. Infact, I think many are not even aware of its very existence. People might know the other karamani (black eyes peas) but not as a fresh green vegetable. I love this simple curry a lot and I really didn't expect to catch them fresh; why even say fresh, I didn't anticipate to see them in the first place here in US. But much to my surprise, I see them a lot here. It so happens that even in Chennai, I haven't seen them so fresh and tender. Most times it used to be dry. Nothing more to fascinate me. Though I'm pouring in so much enthusiasm, the recipe here is quite simple and basic. Anyone who knows to cook a South Indian meal, would know this. But still, there are days when you really dont feel like eating any complicated or time consuming dish; more so when you got to cook your own meal. :D You will long for that simple rasam and a plain veg curry. There are also days, when you feel like updating your blog but do not want to post an elaborate recipe and keep it simple, short and sweet. Today is such a day for me.
Actually in the iyer cuisine, we divide the curries (poriyal) as two kinds - coconut based like beans, cabbage etc or roast curries like potato, arbi etc. This is of the first type. I haven't used green chillies in my curry. Just seasoned a red chilli. Normally, a green chilli is shredded and added in the curry. You can also coarse grind chilli and coconut and add it. If you want to keep it simple, just follow my recipe.


Chopped String beans - 1 cup
Grated coconut - 1 table spoon or even half will do if you wanna cut down calories.
To season: Mustard, red chillies, urad dhall, curry leaves and coconut oil
Salt to taste.

1) Heat oil, season and when the mustard pops, add the chopped beans.
2) Sprinkle water, cook till done, add salt and coconut. Stir for a min and serve hot with rice.
If you want it quicker, microwave the veggies for 3 min with a little water, mix coconut and microwave for 30 sec and season. The cooking time depends on the power of your microwave. So for the first time, check the time and cook accordingly.
You can make cabbage, beans, beetroot, carrot etc. on the similar lines.

Cauliflower Kurma

Cauliflower is a versatile vegetable just like potato; it can be used for making chaats in the form of cutlet or pav bhaji, north Indian gravies, south Indian curries and even Indo Chinese food like manchurian.
It's the favourite of most people and a very few people dislike it fearing it might contain worms. But now a days, I see only clean cauliflower with absolutely no worms. So better to consume this nutritious vegetable. This is low in fat, high in fibre and has anti cancer properties. I try to include this in diet weekly once.
This cauliflower kurma is also versatile just like the veg; can be had with rotis, puris, pulav/biriyani varieties or idiyappam.


Cauliflower - 1 medium
Boiled Green peas - 1/2 a cup (optional)
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Butter or oil or mix both - 1 tablespoon
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Cilantro to garnish
Paste 1: 1 big onion, 2 to 3 medium green chillies, 3 garlic pods, A small piece of ginger
Paste 2 : Tomato puree
Paste 3: Cashews soaked in water for 10 min, Khus Khus 1 tsp, 1 cardomom, 2 cloves, a small piece of cinnamon, 1 tablespoon grated coconut, 1 red chilli


1. Clean the cauliflower by putting it in luke warm water along with salt. Wash it and boil it with a little water and turmeric. Add salt when half done. Cook it 3/4 th and keep it aside.
2. Heat the butter, season with fennel seeds and add paste 1. Fry till light brown. Check if the raw smell of onions is gone. Otherwise the paste will be bitter. If you use yellow onions, do not grind it. Just add chopped onions.
Click here to know why.
3. Add the tomato puree and cook till the oil separates. Add salt and chilli powder. Remember, you already added salt to cauliflower.
4. Add cauliflower and boiled green peas.
5. Add paste 3. Add a little water depending on the consistency you require.
6. Cook till frothy and garnish with cilantro.

Serve hot with rice/rotis/idiyappam/puris

Check out another interesting kurma here - Veg Kurma

Keerai Masiyal (Mashed Spinach)

This is a very simple and modest dish which belongs to the traditional iyer cuisine. I have heard of keerai masiyal in other forms too; most of them have onions or tomatoes or both. The speciality of iyer cuisine is, there is minimal or no addition of onions and garlic. I have seen my mother adding onions only to potato curry. Somehow, I can't digest the idea of adding onions to beans or any other kind of curry. I feel the flavour of the main ingredient is lost and you feel the taste of onions prominently. Anybody who enjoys eating iyer cuisine would agree with me. It's just my choice of food and nothing to hurt anyone's sentiments.

Coming back to the keerai masiyal, back home it is done using amarnath leaves. Due to the unavailability of different kinds of greens, I have used spinach. This dish is simple and easy to make. With spinach, it is lot simpler since it gets cooked faster. Specially in US, we have spinach in microwaveable bags and doesnt require any cleaning at all. Yet, I wash it once for my satisfaction. This is an ideal side dish for vetha kozhambu though you can have this with anything you please. I have added coconut in my recipe since I love to bite into the crunchy pieces amidst the otherwise smooth gravy. You might avoid it if you don't relish the idea ; literally. :)


Cleaned and chopped spinach - 1 cup
Coconut pieces finely chopped - a handful (optional)
Coconut oil - 1 or 2 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Cumin - 1 tsp
Mustard - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Dry red chilli - a small piece
Salt to taste


1) Cook the spinach thoroughly and mash it with salt. You can even use a blender.
2) Heat coconut oil, fry the coconut pieces till light brown. Add rest of the ingredients. When the mustard pops, add the seasoning to already cooked spinach and enjoy.


Olan is an authentic Kerala dish. It is a must for onam sadya. With my roots in Kerala, I am quite familiar with this dish right from my childhood. This is such a simple dish with not much spices. Rice, olan and pappadam makes a mouth watering meal. Black eyes cowpeas is included in the actual recipe which I omitted in my preparation this time. I suddenly decided on the menu and didn't have the soaked cowpeas ready. So if you are planning ahead, soak the cowpeas overnight and pressure cook.

Here's the recipe.
White pumpkin - Chopped 2 cups
Cooked cowpeas - a handful
Thick Coconut milk - 1.5 tablespoons
Slit green chillies - 1 or 2
Curry leaves to garnish
Salt to taste
Coconut oil - 2 to 3 tsp

1) Cook the pumpkin with 1 cup water till tender along with slit green chillies.
2) Mix the cooked cowpeas, salt and coconut milk. Heat for a min till everything blends.
3) Switch off the flame. Season with coconut oil and curry leaves.

Serve hot with rice and pappadam.

Kwik Fix Series # 5 - Tomato Rice

Tomato Rice used to be a regular candidate for my lunch box way back in school. I have seen this featuring in lot of my friends' box too. However, the recipe varies with each household and to me, the best is my mom's recipe. Well, that's quite natural. She used to have the curry powder ready to make any variety rice in a jiffy. As iyers, we are not used to adding onions to everything and my mother typically doesn't add onions to this dish. Going by the tradition, I don't normally add it to mine too. But this time, I made onion raitha to go with the rice and reserved a handful of onions for the rice too. It was not at all bad. Rather, I should say it tasted good. I added a handful of chopped onions and a tsp of fennel seeds to make it taste hotel-like and it did taste alike! This recipe came as a saviour when I had no idea what to cook for dinner, few days back. I got into action, the moment I decided to make this and it got ready very quickly.


Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Chopped onions - a handful
Chopped tomatoes - 2
Boiled peas - a handful (optional)
Slit green chillies - 1
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Sambar powder or chilli powder - 1 tsp
Curry Powder - 2 to 3 tsp
Mustard, channa dal 1 tsp each to season
Salt to taste
Oil 3 tsp
Cooked Rice - 1 cup
Cilantro to garnish


1) Heat the oil, season with mustard, channa dal and fennel seeds.
2) Fry the onions and green chillies till tender.
3) Add the tomatoes and cook till soft.
4) Add the dry powders except the curry powder. Cook well.
5) Keep the flame at low, mix the rice and curry powder. Keep on stove for a min.

Garnish and serve hot with potato wafers and onion raitha.

Click here for the curry powder recipe.

Tips: You can use finely chopped potatoes or brinjal or okra in place of tomatoes. For brinjal and okra rice , don't add onions. (As you like it) Don't add fennel seeds for any of these.

Curry Powder for Variety rice

Here is the recipe to make curry powder which I use to flavour variety rice like tomato rice, brinjal rice or potato rice. Why I am mentioning these 3 varieties is, these were the standard ones packed by my mom for lunch boxes. Potato rice is not common and it was invented by my mother in order to make a quick one pot meal for boxes. You can be creative and make use of the powder to flavour any rice, like you can even try okra rice. Well, I wouldn't say it is too much creativity because you are gonna just mix this powder with any veg to come out with a delicious variety rice. But cooking is all about what to mix with what and your creativity should not end up as a disaster. So better be careful. I will just give the recipe for the spice powder and will post a variety rice using the powder as a separate entry.


Urad dhall - 3 tsp
Channa dhall - 3 tsp
Dhania seeds - 2 tsp
Dry red chilllies - 2 to 3

Dry roast the ingredients one by one and powder them together.

Tip: You can also include a piece of cinnamon, 2 cloves and a cardomom if you like it spicy.

Kwik Fix Series # 4 - Spinach Cashew Pakoda

This is an ideal snack for a cloudy evening or a rich starter for a party. Both preparation time and cooking time is less and hence qualifies for the kwik fix series. You got to just put together the stored ingredients and the pakoda is ready in a jiffy. No soaking, no grinding and no standing in the kitchen for long! I was actually quite bored of the usual onion pakoda and tried this as a variation. It was ready in just 20 min. Try it!

Besan - 1 cup
Rice flour - 1 table spoon
chopped onion - 1
Chopped spinach - few leaves
Cashews - 15 (I used fried cashews available in tin)
Curry leaves - 5
Chopped coriander - a handful
Chopped green chillies - 3
Chopped ginger - a small piece
Asafoetida - 2 pinch
Salt to taste
Oil to deep fry


1) Heat oil in a deep frying pan. The heat should be medium.
2) Mix all the other ingredients including salt, sprinkle a little water to bind them together. Beware it should not be sticky.
3) Make into small balls and fry in oil till golden brown. Serve hot.


1) Start mixing after the oil becomes hot. This way it will consume less oil. Also, mix a tsp of hot oil to the flour base.
2) Oil should be medium hot for the pakodas to cook evenly and crispy outside.
3) Just sprinkle enough water to bind the ingredients and do not make it sticky.

Sending this to EC's fried snack event. Thanks Chitra, for letting me know about the event.