Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Stuffed Kovakkai/ Tindora

     First, I would like to wish all my readers a Happy Holiday Season. It is always a good time to try some new dishes. My friend Sandhya recently shared this recipe. I made some slight improvisations to her receipe as I shallow fried (arguably for the health benefits) the tindora instead of the recommended deep frying. Everyone in my family enjoyed this dish and hope you would like it as well.


12 Kovakkai (Tindora)
oil as required
salt as required


2 cloves of garlic
pinch of turmeric
1/2 tsp of red chilly powder
2-3 tbsp of chutney dhal
salt as required


1.Grind the chutney dhal in to coarse powder and mix all the ingredients above. Crush the garlic or fine chop them and add to the mixture. Add little water and make a paste.

2.Cut the edges off the kovakkai and slit crosswise in the bottom. Stuff them with the paste as required. Add 2 tbsp of oil to the pan, add the stuffed kovakkai to the pan. 
4.Close the lid for 5 minutes and then turn the kovakkai to the other side and allow them to cook. Add 1-2 tbsp of oil and allow the kovakkai to get roasted.
5.Once the kovakkai is roasted, the dish is ready. Enjoy by itself or with roti.                               

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Halwa Poori

  Halwa poori is a very popular North Indian breakfast. Recently we found a good Pakistani restaurant in this neighborhood that serves poori halwa on weekend mornings and so my desire to experiment this at home was revived. My family loved this refreshing combination even though they are used to poori bhaaji or chole poori


3 cups of wheat flour
1 cup of water 
1 tbsp  of oil
oil for deep frying
salt as required

To prepare Halwa:

1 cup of rava (Semolina)
3 cups of water
1 cup of sugar
handful of cashew nuts
few raisins
1/4 cup of ghee (clarified butter)
1/2 tsp of cardamom powder 


1.Mix the wheat flour, salt , 1 tbsp of oil and add water. Knead well enough to make a dough. Keep aside for 20 minutes.
2. Make golf-ball sized balls out of the dough. Roll it out.
3.Heat oil in the kadai, fry the rolled dough on both sides. Press gently with flat ladle on one side so that poori starts to fluff. Turn to the other side till it golden brown. Hot and fluffy pooris are ready
4.Add a tbsp of ghee to heavy bottomed vessel and add nuts and raisins. Roast them till they turn golden brown. Be cautious with the raisins and remove before it turns dark.

5.Transfer them to a plate and add the rava to the ghee. Roast them slightly till nice aroma comes.
6.Add water to the pan and bring it to boil. Mix sugar and as the sugar dissolves completely add rava and keep stirring so that there is no lumps.They cook very quickly. 
7.Add the ghee and cook in low flame and keep stirring. Transfer the nuts and cardamom powder.  Mix them well. Halwa is ready.
8.Serve poori with halwa.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Milagu kuzhambu (Black Pepper Stew)

  My mom shared this recipe as a good remedy for cold. This kuzhambu (stew) would be authentic without shallots. It definitely gives additional taste with them(shallots).


12 shallots*
10 cloves of garlic
 Sesame oil
1/4 tsp of mustard
1 sprig of curry leaves
lime sized tamarind  
1/2 tbsp of urad dhal flour 
salt as required


2 tsp of black pepper
2 dry red chilly
1/2 tbsp of urad dhal
1 tsp of ajwain
big pinch of asafoetida


1.Dry roast and grind the ingredients mentioned in grinding in to a coarse powder.
2.Add oil to the kadai, add mustard, asafoetida and curry leaves. 
3.As the mustard sputters, add shallots and garlic to the kadai. Saute till they turn golden brown.
4. Add the coarse powder and a cup of water and thick tamarind water.
5.As they start to thicken, add the urad dhal flour and mix well. It becomes a thick kuzhambu. Try with rice, papad and ghee.

*shallots are optional. I have added to give additional taste.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Baingan Bharta (Mashed Roasted Eggplant)

   Baingan bharta is a North Indian specialty made with roasted eggplant(brinjal) and a blend of exotic spices. This delicacy is made by my hubby who always impresses me with his North Indian dishes.


1 large eggplant 
2 medium tomatoes 
1 large onion
3 green chilies
1/4  inch piece of ginger 
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp oil
1/4  tsp turmeric 

1/2  tsp of baingan bharta masala
1/2 tsp of tandoori masala
 coriander for garnish


1.Fire roast the whole eggplant till the skin turns black and easy to peel.

2.Allow them to cool and mash them/ cut in to pieces.  

3.Fine chop the onion, tomatoes, garlic and ginger. Heat the oil in a skillet on medium high and add add garlic, green chillies and ginger to the skillet and saute well till the raw smell disappears.

4.Add onions and saute well. Now add the tomatoes, turmeric and salt, and saute till they are mushy. 

5.Transfer the eggplant, mix well and close the lid. Allow it to cook in medium flame for 10 minutes.

6.Now add the bharta masala and tandoori masala and cook for 5 more minutes. Switch off the flame and add coriander leaves. Baingan bharta is ready and serve hot with roti/ paratha. You can always garnish with chopped cilantro to make it more appetizing!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Vegetable oats upma

  Oats has high fiber content which is proven to lower cholesterol levels. My husband is a borderline health freak and he deserves the credit for this recipe. In this recipe, I tried similar to rava kichdi, just replacing the rava with oats. Definitely simple, but can be made enticing with colorful veggies!

Serves up to 2 people
Preparation time:30 minutes

1 cup of Oats
1/2 tbsp of chopped ginger paste 
2 slit green chillies
1 chopped carrot
1 small cup of chopped cauliflower
5-6 beans
handful of green peas
1 onion sliced
1/2 tsp of mustard seeds
1 small inch of cinnamon stick
2 cloves 
1 piece of cardamom
1 bayleaf
big pinch of turmeric
handful of coriander leaves

1 tsp of ghee
salt as required


1. Add 1 tsp of ghee to the pan, then add the mustard seeds, cinnamon stick, cloves ,cardamom and bay leaf.
2. As the nice aroma comes add the onion, green chillies and ginger and saute for a minute.

3.Add the vegetables, turmeric and salt to the pan. Saute well. Close the lid and allow the veggies to cook. Add a cup of water and bring it to boil.

4.Dry roast oats in a different pan for couple of minutes. transfer the oats to boiling water. Mix well. Close the lid for 3-4 minutes. Switch off the flame.

5.Add the coriander leaves as garnish. Serve with spicy pickle.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Brussels Sprouts Curry

   Brussels sprouts contains sulforaphane, a chemical believed to have potent anticancer properties. The  method of preparing brussels sprouts for cooking begins with removal of the buds from the stalk. Cut any surplus stem.

Serves up to 3 people
Preparation time: 30 minutes


14 Brussels  sprouts
1 large chopped onion
1 large chopped tomato
1 tsp of sambhar powder
1/4 tsp of turmeric
1 tbsp of olive oil
salt as required


1/4 tsp of mustard
1/2 tsp of urad dhal 
sprig of curry leaves
pinch of asafoetida 

For grinding:

2 red chillies
1 tbsp of chutney dhal
1 tsp of cumin seeds
1 tsp of fennel seeds


1.Cut Brussels sprouts in to 4. Sprinkle some salt and microwave for 5 minutes.
2.Heat oil in the pan, add seasoning. Once the mustard sputters, add onion and saute for 2-3 minutes. Grind the ingredients together mentioned above in to a coarse powder.
3.Add tomatoes and saute well till they become mushy. Add turmeric, sambhar and salt to the pan.
4.Now add the brussels sprouts to the pan and mix well. Add the ground powder and close the lid for 10 minutes.
5.Check if the brussels sprouts is cooked and turn golden brown. Serve with roti/ rice.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Badam Halwa

  I wish all my readers a very Happy Diwali. Diwali is arguably the most celebrated festival in India and people enjoy the occasion with sweets, lights and fireworks! This year I tried making badam (Almonds) halwa. I think peeling the almonds is the tricky part as it takes sometime. I did realize that we get peeled almonds from the supermarket and can save some time and effort. Making of halwa itself is not that difficult.


1 cup of Badam
1 1/4  cup of sugar
3 tbsp of ghee
1/4 cup of milk
few strands of saffron


1.Soak Badam for 4 hours in warm water. Soak saffron in 1 spoon of milk.

2.Here comes the tricky part, peeling the skin of badam. Grind badam with milk (use as little milk as possible). Take heavy bottomed vessel and pour the mixture.
3.Add fine sugar and keep stirring. When badam paste starts to thicken, add ghee(clarified butter).  Cook in medium flame. Stir constantly.

4.As the halwa bubbles reduce the flame. As it thickens and halwa starts leaving the sides of the pan.

5.Add saffron which gives nice yellow color and flavor.  Mix well.


6.Allow them to cool and Badam halwa is ready.                                                   

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Masoor Dhal/ Masala Dhal

 As lentils are the main source of proteins for vegans and vegetarians, it is important that we explore the variety of lentils to satiate the palate of the vegetarian connoisseurs. I have experimented with masoor dhal recently and was impressed with the outcome :)


1 cup of Masoor dhal
1 onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 green chilly
1 tbsp of oil
coriander as garnish
salt as required


1/2 inch- stick of cinnamon
2 pieces of bay leaf
2 cloves


1 large chopped tomato
1/8 tsp of turmeric
1/2 tsp of red chilly powder
1/2 tbsp of coriander powder
1 tbsp of cashew nuts
1 tsp of cumin seeds


1. Grind the ingredients mentioned above together. Slice the onion and garlic lengthwise.
2. In the preheated pan add oil. Add the seasoning, as the nice aroma comes add onion and garlic.
3.Saute for a minute and add the ground mixture. Saute well till the tomato paste starts to thicken and the raw smell disappears.
4.Add masoor dhal, salt and 3 cups of water. Close the lid and pressure cook up to 3 whistles.
5.Add coriander as garnish. Serve with rice/ roti.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bread upma

  Figuring out options for my school going kid's lunch has become a priority off late. Today, I would like to share with you the recipe for bread upma which which can be made within 15 minutes. I have customized the spice level of this dish as per his taste and my son absolutely loved it! 

Serves up to 2 people
Preparation time: 15 minutes 

2 Bread slices
1 slit green chillies
1 tsp of grated ginger 
pinch of turmeric
pinch of red chilli powder
pinch of garam masala 
1/2 tbsp of tomato sauce
1 small of onion
1 small of yellow bell pepper
1/2 tomato
oil as required
1/4 tsp of mustard
1 sprig of curry leaves
coriander leaves as garnish
salt as required


1.Fine chop the vegetables in to small pieces. Heat oil in shallow pan, add mustard. 
2.As mustard sputters, add onion, green chillies, ginger. Saute for a minutes and add the yellow pepper*. Saute till the raw smell disappears, add red chilli powder, turmeric, tomato sauce and salt.
4.Cut the bread slices in to small squares and add to the pan. Saute well. Add garam masala and finely chopped coriander leaves as garnish. 
5.Bread upma is ready. 
*Try this dish with the veggies of your choice.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Rava Laddu

Rava laddu is one of my childhood favorites. It can also be made as a quick evening snack or as a prasadham. The ideal rava laddu needs to have the right amount of firmness, sweetness and coarseness.


1 cup of fine Rava/ Sooji
3/4 cup of powdered sugar
1/4 cup of ghee
2 tbsp of cashew nuts
2 tbsp of raisins
1 tsp of powdered cardamom
Warm milk(optional)


1. Heat 1 tbsp of ghee in a skillet and add cashew nuts. As they turn golden brown, add raisins. As they plump up, transfer to a plate.
2. Add rava to the pan and dry roast them till nice aroma comes. Switch off the flame and add sugar, roasted nuts and ghee. Mix them.
3. The mixture should be warm to make a small lemon sized balls. As the mix becomes dry add a tbsp of warm milk and continue making balls.

4. Rava laddu will be soft but eventually it becomes firm. Store them in the refrigerator.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Bok choy kootu

Being raised in India, I always miss the variety of greens that was  available back home which are not easily available in the US. I have started experimenting with several alternate greens available at the local store and was surprised to find resemblance of some of these. Bok Choy is one of them and is very common in the Chinese cuisine. I have tried to make kootu in this recipe and has turned out well.

1 bunch of Bok choy
1/2 cup of yellow moong dhal
1 onion
1 tomato
1/4 tsp of turmeric
3 green chillies
1/4 tsp of mustard seeds
1/4 tsp of cumin seeds
pinch of asafoedita 
1 tbsp of oil
salt as required


1.Chop the bok choy along with the stem in to small pieces. Cut the onion and tomato in to small chunks. Slit the green chillies.

2.Saute the onion, green chillies and tomato and add to the moong dhal. 

3.Pressure cook the moong dhal with 2 1/2 cups of water, turmeric, salt, sauteed onion, tomato, green chillies and bok choy for 2 whistles. 

4.Then heat oil in the skillet and add mustard and cumin seeds. As seeds sputter, add them to the cooked dhal. Saute well. Serve with rice and ghee.

Friday, September 28, 2012


I would like to wish my readers a belated Ganesh Chathurthi (Lord Ganesha's Birthday). Kozhukattai or Modak is probably the most symbolic item for this occasion and I would like to share this recipe with you.


1 1/2 cup of  Idiyappam (Rice) Flour
2 3/4  cup of water
2 tsp of Gingelly oil
A pinch of Salt


1/2 cup of grated Jaggery

1/2 cup of roasted peanuts
1 tsp Cardamom Powder


1. Grind the jaggery, peanuts and cardamom together in to a coarse mixture. The filling is ready.

2. Boil water and add oil to it. Add the flour to boiling water and mix well stirring continuously.
3. Add salt, mix well and cook with a covered lid for 2 minutes.
4. Remove from the stove and knead well into a soft dough.

5. Divide the dough into small balls and roll each ball to size of puris.
6. Add filling to the puri and seal the edges. You can make any shape.

7. Repeat the procedure for rest of the modaks. Put these modaks in a steamer/cooker (do not put weight/whistle) and steam for 10-15 minutes. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Urad dhal thogayal/chutney

    In this recipe, I have made a Thogayal which can be used as a side for idly as well as rice. Thogayal is a type of chutney which is slightly thicker in consistency.


1/2 cup of urad dhal
1 tsp of chopped ginger
2-3 coconut pieces
4 red dried chillies
gooseberry sized tamarind
pinch of asafoetida
1 tsp of oil
salt as required 


1. Heat oil in the pan and add urad dhal and red chillies. Saute in medium flame, till it turns golden brown.Transfer to a plate and allow them to cool. 
2.Grind the coconut, urad dhal, red chillies, tamarind, salt and ginger with very little water in to a little coarse paste and thick consistency.

3.Urad dhal chutney/thogayal is ready. Serve with rice and little ghee/ sesame oil.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Indo-Chinese Vegetable Fried Rice

I hope you all had a wonderful summer. The school season has started and with my kids back to school, I have started to become more active with my blog. In the coming weeks, I will focus on some nutritious choices which can also be served for school lunches. This fried rice recipe is a great choice for my kids as it provides lots of veggies.

Serves up to 2 people
Preparation time:30 minutes


1 cup of cooked rice
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 tbsp of chopped ginger
1 carrot
4 stems of beans
1/4 cup of shredded cabbage
1/2 of red bell pepper/capsicum
1/2 tsp of ground black pepper
1-2 tsp of red chilly sauce(Siracha Brand)
1 tbsp of vinegar
1 tsp of dark soy sauce
olive oil
salt as required


1. Chop the carrot, cabbage, red bell pepper and cut the beans in to tiny pieces.Cook the rice with 2 cups of water. Allow the rice to cool.
2. Add 1 tsp of olive oil to the pan, add ginger and garlic. Saute for a minute. 

3.Then add the veggies(carrot, beans, red pepper and cabbage) and saute for 3 minutes. Add black pepper and salt to the veggies and saute well for a minute.

 4.Now add the red chilly sauce, vinegar and soy sauce to the rice. Make sure the crunchiness of the vegetable remains.

5. Add rice and saute gently. Switch off the flame and close the lid. Let it steam for 10 minutes. Serve it with yoghurt or chips. Other options could be with vegetable manchurian.


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