Sunday, December 26, 2010

Thiruvadhirai Kali and Koottu:

This item is prepared on Thiruvaadirai festival day which falls on the star 'arudra' in the Tamil month of Margazhi. It was celebrated on 22nd December last and since I prepared the combo, I wish to add on to my blog posts. It is one of the rare combos viz., sweet and hot-and-spicy and is unique in its own way. It is nutriciuous and healthy with the savoury part adding to its value to to the  liberal use of vegetables. Though this item is usually prepared on the festival day, I recommend this be prepared even on other occassions.
Kali or Sweet Rice Pudding

Ingredient list
  • Rice - 2 cups
  • Jaggery - 1 cup
  • Cardomom - 6
  • Cashew - 12
  • Ghee - 4 to 6 tsp
  • Channa dhal + Moong dhal - 1/4 cup
Fry the rice and dhals till they are light brown. Grind it into powder (rava consistency).
Fry the cashews in 2 tsp of ghee and keep aside.
Add 4 cups of water + jaggery and bring it to a boil. 
Add rice rava slowly and mix well with the jaggery water. Then cover it with a lid. Stir it till it is well cooked. 
Add cardomom, roasted cashews and 2 to 4 tsp of ghee to the Kali and mix well. Coconut lovers may add 1/4 cup freshly grated coconut.  

Choose root vegetables, pumpkin(yellow and/or white), green vegetables like beans, carrot, peas etc. Alternatively frozen cut vegetables like Sugar Snap Peas Stir fry or mixed vegetables with potato.

Masala Ingredients:
  • Channa dhal - 1/4 cup
  • Urad dhal - 2 tsp
  • Dhaniya or Coriander seeds - 1/2 cup
  • Red Chili - 15 to 20
  • Pepper - 1 tsp
  • Fenugreek - 1/2 tsp
  • Jaggery - 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
  • Tamarind - size of a lemon(can use paste or concentrate - 1.5 times as regular sambar)
  • Salt to taste
  • Coconut - 1/2 cup
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves - 1/4 tsp
Fry all the masala ingredients except coconut, mustard seeds, urad dhal and curry leaves in 2 tsp oil. Grind this into a paste with coconut. Alternatively you could roast coconut and grind the roasted ingredients into a powder.

Boil the vegetables and add salt, turmeric powder, asafoetida and tamarind for 10 minutes. Add the masala paste/powder
Add this paste/powder to the vegetables and bring it to a boil. Garnish with mustard seeds, urad dhal and curry leaves.
Suggested way of eating is mixing the kali and kootu in equal proportion and on to your mouth.  However, best way is to find what suits one's palate.

Kanda Thippili Rasam

South Indians prepare varities of rasamas. Chief ingredients are dal, rasam powder, tamarind and turmeric powder. I use herbs occassionally to make rasams particularly during rainy season and during winter to pep up the spirits. Kanda thippili (Gantola in hindi) as the herb to make this rasam. It looks like small stick.
This herb is believed to be medicine for cough and cold and also stimulating digestion. Women during post natal period gather flab and this herb is used and is believed to dissolve the unwanted flab and firm up. This is also beneficial for pitha and de-stresser in body pains without the side effects of modern medicines. It is particularly useful for knee, back pain.
  • Toor dhal - 2 tsp
  • Dhaniya or Coriander seeds - 3 tsp
  • Black pepper - 2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Red Chili - 5 dry
  • Dry Coconut - 4 tsp
  • Kanda thipili - 4 tsp
  • Tamarind paste - 1/2 tsp or regular quantity used for rasam
  • Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Ghee - 4 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Mustard - 1/4 tsp
  • Curry leaves - few
  • Tomato - 2
  • Garlic (optional)
Preparation Method:
Boil tomatos in 2 cups of water. Add tamarind, turmeric, salt, asafoetida to it and let it boil for 10 minutes. In a pan heat 2 tsp ghee, fry toor dhal, dhaniya, black pepper, cumin seeds, red chili, kanda thipili till it turns light brown. Let it cool down and grind it with coconut into a powder and add to the boiling contents. Add little jaggery to balance salt, tamarind and chili. Add 3 more cups of water. Turn off when the contents froths up. Season the rasam with 2 tsp of ghee, mustard seeds and curry leaves.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Instant Mysore Rasam Powder

Instant Mysore Rasam Powder
Mysore rasam is a delicious item mostly made in the south Indian kitchens and this item has not found a place in hotel menus. For making this rasam the ingredients have to be well proportioned. I have improvised a readymade mix. Whenever there is aguest or I run out of time, I use this mix to make this rasam in a jiffy. Please read on the prep for this item:
¼ cup Toor dal
½ cup Channa dal
3 cups Coriander seeds
¼ cup Black pepper
1/8 cup Cumin seeds
½ cup Dry coconut powder
3 tsp. Ghee
In a fry pan, sauté ingredients in 3 tsp. ghee to a light brown colour. Allow it to cool and grind into a powder with dry coconut powder. The instant Mysore rasam mix is ready. Just boil this powder in water for 5 minutes and is ready for consumption.
Store in a fridge/ freezer for future use.



Among the myriad side dishes for chapattis, the Kadaba is my favorite. It is easy to make and less time consuming and tasty too. I learnt it from a cousin and since I tried it recently thought of posting in the blog.


1 cup Moong dal
1 stick Cinnamon} powder all these three together
5 nos. Clove }
3 nos. Cardamom}
¼ cup Fried gram
3 tsp. Poppy seeds
4 nos Green chilli
2 pods Garlic
1” Ginger
2 nos. Potatoes, large
2 nos. Tomatoes, 2 medium
1 no. Onion, big, finely chopped
¼ cup Coriander
¼ cup Coconut scrapings
¼ Turmeric powder
2 tsp. Salt
3 tsp. Cooking oil


· Boil, peel potatoes, mash partly
· Grind green chillies, coconut, poppy seeds, fried grams, coriander, garlic and ginger into a smooth paste
· Cut the tomatoes into bits.
· Heat a fry pan, drop oil and sauté the powdered cinnamon-cardamom-clove mix. Add onion and sauté again till onion turns golden brown. Drop the moong dal, potato mash, tomato bits, turmeric powder and let the combine cook for 5 minutes adding 2 cups of water. Now add the masala grind from the second step. Stir well and let the contents simmer for another 5 minutes.
· Lastly, garnish with coriander.
Kadaba can be good side dish not only for chapattis but also for idli-dosas and pooris

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Quick Lemon Rasam

You need:

1.       Tomatoes                     2 nos large
2.       Green chilli                   2 no.
3.       Ginger                            1”- cut into tiny bits
4.       Pepper                           1 tsp
5.       Cumin seeds                                ½ tsp
6.       Coriander                      little cut
7.       Curry leaves                 few
                          8.     Lemon juice                       3 tsp

Rasams are of many kinds. Chief ingredients are toor dal, tamarind, tomatoes and the inevitable Rasam powder. In this page I describe a Rasam in which the chief ingredients viz., dal, tamarind and the rasam powder are left out but goes to make a marvelous substitute. This item was first attempted by my daughter who was on deputation to Omaha. She stayed with three other friends who took turns to make up their daily grub. When her time to cook came, she wanted to cut short the drudgery of time consuming cooking of the dal and mixing the tamarind paste to save time. She improvised this item and in the last decade this has been a very popular item in our circle of relatives and friends. It uses no dal or tamarind and the ubiquitous rasam powder. Here is the recipe’:

Cut tomatoes into tiny bits and drop into a pan, add ginger bits, split green chilli, pepper, cumin seeds, salt and 2-3 cups of water and boil this all together for ten minutes. Add 2 more cups of water. Just let it all boil for a minute. At this point add lemon juice. Just garnish with coriander bits and curry leaves. No mustards. Omaha Rasam is ready.
Note: The quantity mentioned are enough for 3-4. If you want to make it for more, scale up ingredients proportionately.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Fresh Ginger Thokku &Ginger Chutney

Ginger universally finds extensive use in almost all recipe’s where a spice enhances taste and edibility. It can be said that  it is a herb rather than a spice in view of its use as cure for nausea, motion sickness, vomiting etc. It is also good for indigestion  and is a circulatory stimulant. I use ginger often, in fact daily and I wish to share the way I make Ginger Thokku and Chutney, in this page.

Fresh Ginger Thokku
150 gms                      Fresh ginger cut in bits
4 tsp                            Salt
¼ cup                           Tamarind paste
3 tsp                            Red chilli powder
2 tsp                            Oil
¼ tsp                            Mustard seeds
·         Wash, peel and cut into pieces the ginger. Fry the ginger bits in 2 tsp oil and grind with salt, chilli powder into a smooth paste.
·         Heat a fry pan, drop the oil, ground ginger paste curry leaves, turmeric powder and jiggery. Stir well in slow heat till starts to ooze out of the paste.
Note: Do not use water. Allow the thokku to cool at room temperature before storing.

Ginger Chutney

1 cup                          Fresh ginger cut to bits
4 no                            Red chilli
½ tsp                          Urad dal
¼ tsp                          Mustard seeds
Few                            Curry leaves
1 tsp                           Jaggery
¼ cup                         Coconut scrape
1 tsp                           Salt
4 tsp                           Oil
Heat a pan, fry red chilli-mustard-urad dal combine till mustard crackle and save separately. In the same pan saute the ginger bits for 5 minutes, remove to cool. Then grind  the ginger with the crackled mustard combine, and along with coconut, jiggery, salt and tamarind paste to a coarse paste.
Eat with rice & ghee or use as a side dish with anyway you like. Ginger chutney will go great with dosa-idli too.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Set Dosa

Recently I visited Bangalore. On one of the days, we went to a hotel for dinner. The menu card was full of tandoor items and no idli which we wanted as a starter. The waiter mentioned ‘set dosa’ and we grabbed the opportunity and ordered  since I have never tasted this item. It was a wonderful item, (served three to a plate so the name 'set dosa') tasted great and with much less oil compared to other dosas. It is filling too, and is easy on the stomach. I tried asking the waiter if he can get the recipe’ from the master chef’, but he evaded and did not seem interested to share the secret. I researched and found the main ingredient- flattened rice and configured my own formula which came out as good as the hotel 'set dosa'. Here, I share with you the formula:
For the batter:
2 cups                                   Raw rice
¼ cup                                    Urad dal
1 cup                                     Flattened rice
2 tsp                                      Fenugreek seeds
2 tsp                                      Salt
First in a fry pan sauté the raw rice for 5 minutes. After that, add to this urad dal, fenugreek and soak all these for 1 hour. Wash and soak the flattened rice in water for 10 minutes. Grind first the soaked flattened rice, the add the pre-soaked rice-urad dal-fenugreek combine into a fine and smooth batter. Do not add too much water while grinding since the consistency must be thick. Allow it to ferment in a warm place.
Making of the ‘Set Dosa’ 
When the batter is ready, heat the flat pan, apply a little oil, spread one big ladle batter by gentle pressure so as to make it somewhat thick. Good batter will cause small blow holes to crackle on the exposed side. Oil inside and outside about 2 tsp. Cover the fry pan with lid. After a few seconds turn over and cook the other side for a few seconds.
Relish  the Set Dosa with coconut chutney, vegetable kurma or stew(see pic.) , or potato sagu.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ven Pongal

Ven Pongal
The history of this very tasty dish dates back to 10th century-that is since the times of Saint-Poet Andal who composed the famous devotional ‘ThiruppAvai’. The masterpiece consisted of 30 lyrics in praise of Lord Mahavishnu. They are sung during the early mornings of Tamil month Margazhi by devotees going round the streets of the town in biting winter cold. Even now,  this tradition continues in Tamil Nadu towns. When they finish the bhajan or singing the praise of the almighty, they partake of hot Ven Pongal as prasadam which is offered first to Mahavishnu as Neivedya. Even in Tirumala, Ven Pongal may be the chief item of Neivedya offered to Lord Venkateswara first thing after He wakes up from His divine slumber.
It is tasty and full of nutrition and suitable for all- old and young, the sick and healthy. It sits light on the stomach and at the same time is filling. Though there are many variations in the matter of ingredient composition, I, give in this page, the version my family follows since my grandma’s times.
2 cups                                   Raw rice
¾ cup                                    Moong dal
1 tsp                                      Black pepper
½ tsp                                     Cumin seeds
1 tsp                                      Salt
¼ tsp                                     Turmeric powder
½ tsp                                     Asefedita
1”                                            Ginger cut into tiny bits
Handful                                                curry leaves
¼ cup                                    Ghee
10 nos                                   Cashew nuts cut into bits
Wash the rice and moong dal well together, add 6 cups water, turmeric powder, salt and asafetida and pressure cook for 6-7 whistles.
Then heat a frying pan, drop the ghee, cumin seeds, black pepper, ginger- cashew bits, curry leaves and sauté a little. Drop the rice-dal combine and mix thoroughly.
Se rve hot with coconut chutney.

Bread Bonda

Bondas are of many kinds. Medu bonda made out of urad dal, potato bonda, Mangalore bonda made of mildly fermented or sour maida. Each has its own unique taste and can be safely said that as a snack has few parallel and as the most loved. Though I make all these bondas now and then, I tried bread bonda recently. It is pretty easy to make. Here is the recipe’:
1            loaf salt bread
4 no.      potato(large)
1 no.      onion(large)
5 no.      green chilli
¼ cup    fresh coriander, cut into bits
¼ tsp     mustard seeds
½ tsp     urad dal
1 no.     red chilli
¼ tsp    turmeric powder
1 tsp     dhania powder
1 tsp     salt
½ tsp    gharam masala
1”         ginger
As required oil to fry
½ tsp    armchur
Filling part:
• Boil the potato, peel the skin and mash.
• Cut the onion, ginger, green chillies into small bits
• Heat a saucepan, drop 4 tsp oil, mustard seeds- red chilli- urad dal, allow the combine to sputter and pop. Now drop cut ginger- green chillies-onion bit and stir for 5 minutes. Now add mashed potatoes, turmeric powder, gharam masala, salt and armchur. Mix them all well and let the filling get thicker such that balls can be made.
Making of the bonda:
Take the bread, cut the slices of the sides. Wet your hand and take a slice at a time and moisten the slice to make it soft. On the wet slice put poatao masala and wrap round to make bonda. In this way keep ready all slices for frying and gather them in a plate.Fry these in oil till golden brown.
The final product will be crisp and tasty. Serve hot with tomato ketchup or sauce as per individual taste.