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.