Friday, August 31, 2007

Baby Butter Naans and Confessions of an Addict

I am addicted. And I confess, I need help.

Those secret assignments with the computer.... Posting and deleting till I get it just right. Logging on furtively every hour or so just to check if there are any new comments.... Wandering around all the time thinking of what to cook next... What new thing to make and impress all my "new" friends...

I am sure a lot of you bloggers out there know exactly what I am talking about.

This started as a hobby combining many things that I liked ...Food... Internet.. Writing. Now it has become an all consuming passion. I have this fanatic desire to blog all the time. I am busy thinking up new ideas, new foods... and photography???!!! Trying to outdo myself.. I go to a store and look at the crockery cutlery and napkins.. trying to buy just those which are sold as single pieces. Imagining my next photograph against the new background...

I am not sure whether blogging has been a boon or a bane. Is there a 12 step program for blogger de-addiction somewhere? Please let me know.

The pros that have come out of it are a) kids are happy that we have come out of the culinary rut we were in and they get different things to try out, b) My photography skills have improved exceptionally and c) I simply ENJOY it.

Cons? None at all as far as I can see now :).

Now for the butter naans.

These little babies are the cutest thing you can see, tiny morsels of yumminess. Goes perfectly well with anything. Very versatile breads. Imagine scooping up a bit of paneer butter masala gravy or some dum aloo, koftas... I can go on and on but now for the recipe.


5 cups maida ( all purpose flour)
2 teaspoons instant yeast ( see note below on yeasts)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons curd (yoghurt)
warm water as needed ( warm not hot - should feel warm when you dip your finger into the water, not hot)

Mix the flour, salt, sugar , and instant yeast well. Add the yoghurt and enough warm water to make a dough which is firm. When the dough holds together, keep kneading for about 15 to 20 mins till it is pliable. Leave aside to rise for about 2 hours.
When needed, make a small ball ( maybe golf ball size)
Roll out into a 3 or 4 inch round. Pull one end till it gets a longer shape one one side.

Put on a hot tava till it gets brown spots on the bottom. Put the other side directly on a naked flame till it gets the same brown spots.
If you like, you can place it under the grill or in an oven till it gets done.

Apply a little butter on top and serve hot with gravy of choice.

Note on Yeast:

There are various yeasts you can use. I used the instant yeast which is mixed with the dry ingredients.
You can also use yeast which is called active yeast here in India. For this you must mix a little warm water with the sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on top along with a teaspoon of flour. Leave aside for 10 minutes till it turns frothy (if it does not turn frothy then the yeast needs to be changed.) Then mix this yeast mixture into the remaining flour, add salt and make a dough.
I am not sure on how much fresh yeast to use, but the same method can be followed as for active yeast.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Aloo Jeera- South Indian Style

Sometimes, the simplest of ingredients come together as a wonderful wholesome dish. As a child, I remember my mother's day to day cooking was very simple and very healthy. Most of the vegetables were steamed /boiled and then just a simple popu/tadka of mustard seeds, curry leaves and urad dal. This resulted in the taste of the vegetable coming through rather than having them smothered in sauces and gravies and the flavours totally hidden. Sometimes, for a change each veggie will have one added ingredient to enhance its taste like sesame seeds with lauki ( bottle gourd, sorrakai, anapakai), or jeera powder with beerkaya ( ridge gourd, toori).

I think most home foods are made that way. Simple, not too many ingredients and easily made.

One of the simpler dishes that I like to make is aloo jeera. I love its taste with chapatis and a dal. Though the potato is a much maligned vegetable, it's popularity cannot be doubted.

Now for the recipe

4 medium potatoes boiled
1 tablespoon jeera roasted and powdered coarsely
salt to taste
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon whole jeera ( cumin seeds)
4 curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon rice flour

Dice the boiled potato into 1 inch pieces.
Heat oil. When medium hot, add mustard seeds and fry till they splutter.
Now add the jeera till it turns golden brown.
Add curry leaves and when they are fried, add potatoes.
Keep frying on low heat till it starts turning brown.
Add the rice flour. The rice flour helps in turing the potatoes really crisp.
When nicely browned, add the salt, jeera powder and chilli powder.
Serve hot along with chapatis and dal.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Lemon Cheesecake - Celebration of a 1000 hits

I have a problem on my hands now. I promised the kids that if and when I had a 1000 hits, I will make any dessert of their choice and post it. This was when I had 150 hits or so. Then thanks to Food Blog Desam, the numbers quickly climbed and I reached the magic figure. But then I was swamped with work. This morning I noticed I was fast heading for the second thousand. So before leaving for work, I quickly made their dessert of choice - Lemon Cheesecake. But unfortunately they could not eat it all day. Guess why? Because yours truly has not found the time to take the photographs.

Finally, I managed to get everything together, garnished/decorated the cheesecake as quickly as I could, took the pictures.... So here goes.


I packet Marie biscuits( Update: Use one large packet or two small packets. Should be about 200 grams of biscuits)
75 grams butter melted

300 gms hung curd ( 1 litre of yoghurt tied in a muslin cloth till all the whey drains off and it is a solid mass)
500 grams cream
2 tablespoon lime juice
400 grams sugar
1 teaspoon lemon essence
2 tablepoon gelatin soaked in 1/4 cup water
a pinch yellow food coloring (optional)

Powder the marie biscuits till you get fine crumbs. Add the melted butter to it mix well and press into the base of a pie dish. Put into the refrigerator to harden.

With a hand mixer, mix the curd cheese, sugar, lime juice, coloring and essence.

Whip the cream till it gets soft peaks and keep aside.

Heat the gelatin over very very low heat till it melts. Cool it down.

Add to the curd mixture.

Gently stir in the cream into the curd mixture. Mix till well blended. Be careful not to over beat as the cream may split.

Pour into the biscuit crumb base and refrigerate till set.

Garnish and serve cold.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Green Moong Dal - Wholesome goodness simplified

You know how it is with all these experts. They keep changing all the things that we think are sacrosanct. One day you think that coffee is good for you then the very next day you are informed that it is the worst thing for you. If on one page of the newspaper you see an article that says a glass of wine does wonders for the health of your heart, then just turn the page over and you will promptly see another article which says wine increases risks of heart attack. If it the Atkins Diet or South Sea one day, it is the Cabbage Soup Diet or General Motors Diet the next... CARBS!!! (gasp)are a big no-no these days.

How do lay people like us know what is right?

In my opinion, I think moderation is the key. Its ok to eat or drink anything as long as it is in moderation. Wouldn't you agree? Excessively eating only veggeis and fruit without any carbs, I think is as bad for the body as overdoing the rice and chapatis without adequate amounts of greens and fresh food.

If you look at what we call 'home food' in any part of India, you will find that it is a mix of complex carbs, proteins, vegetables, spices, curd, all of which come together in one wholesome meal. It covers most of the food groups and in the right quantities. I am not an expert in this field but I am sure you will agree with me here. There are the carbs in the form of rice or chapatis, proteins in the dals and sambars, vitamins and minerals in the raw and cooked vegetables and finally that powerhouse of nutrition yoghurt/curd without which no Indian meal is complete.

With all the talk these days of eating complex carbohydrates, here is a recipe that is simple, nutritious and tasty. It is whole green moong dal cooked simply with onions and tomatoes.


1 cup green moong dal
1 teaspoon jeera
2 onions chopped finely
2 tomatoes chopped finely
1/2 ' piece ginger
3 cloves garlic chopped finely
3 green chillies chopped lengthwise
1 tablespoon kasuti methi
salt to taste
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves

Wash and soak the green moong dal in water for about 4 hours. Boil in a pressure cooker or on the stovetop till cooked through.

Heat oil in the kadai/wok.
When hot add jeera till it sizzles and is golden brown. Add onions at this point along with ginger and garlic. When they turn translucent and start getting a little brown round the edges, add the tomatoes and the green chillies. Cook till pulpy. Add salt and kasooti methi.

Add the cooked green moong dal along with its water and boil till it thickens a little.

Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice or chapatis.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Pumpkin Kootu

Amavasai is an auspicious day in South India. But one of the most important tasks carried out on this day is taking out 'drishti' or as they say in Hindi 'Nazar Utarna'. Taking out the 'evil eye' is big business. So you have all businesses big and small, all shops both big and small, all offices, all places of work diligently purchasing the best pumpkins they can find, making a small cut in it, stuffing it with Kum Kum. At noon, they light a bit of camphor on top of this and take it all around the building and as a grand finale, smash the whole thing on the road in front of the office/ place of work...

The point now is not to educate all my readers on what drishti actually is but to wonder what happens to the road? By the evening one finds all the scooterists and cyclists trying to manoeuvre their way though the pulpy remains of all these smashed pumpkins. And the next morning the folks at Onyx are busy sweeping up everything.

Now I always wonder, how many kilos of kasi halwa or pumpkin kootu we can make with all these wasted pumpkins? Point to ponder, right?

Now onto food....

I first tasted pumpkin kootu at a wedding here in Chennai. The mild taste and flavors just blew me away. It goes so well with rice.. Finally asked around and learnt to make it for myself. It is one of the simplest dishes to make, easy,quick and really tasty and healthy as there is hardly any extra oil used in the preparation.

Now for the recipe:


750 grams White Pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder
salt to taste

Grind to a masala:

1/2 Cup Coconut
1 tablespoon jeera ( cumin)
4 green chillies
1 teaspoon peppercorn
1 1/2 teaspoon raw rice

For tadka or Popu

1 teaspoon oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon urad dal ( black gram)
10-12 curry leaves
1 teaspoon Til (sesame seeds)
1/4 teaspoon hing (asafoetida)
3 red chillies


Peel the pumpkin and take out the seeds. Cut into small cubes.

Put the pumpkin, salt and turmeric in a pan along with 2 cups of water. Boil till three fourths done. Add the masala paste and cook till fully done and it thickens nicely.

Heat oil add the tadka/popu ingredients one at a time starting with the mustard seeds. Pour on top and serve hot with steamed rice and ghee.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Stuffed Bhindi

Ladies Finger ( Okra, Bhindi, Bendakaya, Vendakaya) is one of the best loved vegetables at our home. That is one veggie that the kids eat without making even a little bit of a fuss. Usually we just chop it up and fry it and it tastes very nice with typical home food of dal and rice.
But on special days, we try to do something different. Or just for a change of tastes and flavours to eat with rotis.

In my early days of cooking, I came across this recipe which sounded very easy. Few ingredients, favourite vegetable, lightly fried.....
I am not sure of the source of this recipe as it has been written in my dog-eared recipe book many many moons ago.

It is very easy to assemble. Most of us will have all the ingredients required in our pantries. But let me warn you... There is one cumbersome process. Stuffing.. It can take a while and as the quantity reduces a lot in the cooking process, we need to make a larger quantity. The advantage is that the stuffing can be done much earlier while watching TV or doing something else. But I can promise you, the end result is worth every moment of effort you put into it.

Also, for all those bachelors out there looking for easy recipes, this is for you.

Here goes...


1/2 kg Ladies Finger
1/4 kg Shallots (optional)

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon haldi or turmeric powder
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon jeera or cumin powder
1 & 1/2 teaspoon amchur powder( dried mango powder)

Oil for shallow frying.


Wash and thoroughly dry the okra.
Top and tail the okra. ie cut the top bit and bottom bit of each okra.
Make two cuts along the length of the bhindi on opposite sides without cutting through.

If using shallots, make the cuts in the form of a cross on the bottom (not on the stem side). I did not have any shallots so they are not in the picture :).
Shallots are little more painful to stuff, as they are so much tinier. But on the other hand, they enhance the taste of the dish a lot.

On a plate mix all the dry ingredients till well blended together.

Stuff this dry mixture into the cuts in the bhindi. Let there be enough stuffing to ensure a lot of taste after it is ready.

Heat a shallow pan till medium hot. Pour in about 2 tablespoons of oil. When the oil gets hot, add as many bhindis as the pan can hold without crowding. Shallow fry till the colour changes to a darker shade and the bhindi is completely cooked.

Serve hot along with rotis, dal and raw onions sliced.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mint Rice, Pudina Pulao

When we start something new, there is always a lot of encouragement from friends and family. This was the case with me even in the case of this blog. Everyone lent me helping hand. In telling people about the blog, suggesting recipes, helping with the layout etc. But the sweetest thing happened to me today.

I was keen on submitting a recipe for one of these monthly events. Saw that this months JFI called for recipes based on rice. Sister in law suggested that I make this mint pulao. So today being a holiday, I said no time like now ( as Kabeer so wisely said - "kaal kare so aaj kar, aaj kare so ab, pal me pralay hogi, bahuri karoge kab" ( translation- do tomorrow's work today and today's work now. If even a moment is lost, then how will the work get done? )

Started chopping, grinding etc etc... Finished making the pulao, took all the mandatory pictures and went upstairs to check them out.

Came down after a bit and saw my father in law waiting to have his lunch. It was already late so I asked him... how come so late?. He sweetly said " I was wondering if I could start eating as I was not sure you finished taking your pictures." I was just so touched.

Rice is an integral part of Indian cuisine. Every region uses rice in some form or the other whether in main dishes, or sweets or snacks...

Mint pulao is a happy mix of tastes from all round the country. This is my entry for JFI: Rice.


Masala paste 1:

2" piece of ginger
6 garlic cloves
4 green chillies
1 onion

Masala paste 2:

2 bunches pudina (mint) leaves
1 bunch coriander leaves

3 onions sliced finely
3 cups basmati raw rice
Salt to taste

1 teaspoon jeera (cumin seeds)
3 cloves
3 cardamom pods
1" piece cinnamon
2 bay leaves

3 tablespoons Oil
1 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter)

2 carrots diced
1/2 cup peas shelled


Make a paste adding a little water with ingredients for masala paste 1.
Next grind mint and coriander leaves together to make masala paste 2.

Heat oil and ghee together in a kadai on medium heat. When oil is hot, add jeera, when it sizzles add cloves, cardamom, bay leaves and cinnamon.
Fry for 3-4 minutes till fragrant .

Add masala paste 1. Fry well till it starts looking cooked (you can add the salt at this stage as sometimes it starts sticking to the pan. Salt will help in the frying process and reduce the sticking).

Add sliced onions. Fry well till everything starts turning a light brown. Add the mint/coriander leaves paste, the carrots, peas and the rice.

Put into the rice cooker adding 5 cups of water. Cook till done

Served here accompanied by a Boondi raita.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Cauliflower Parathas with Cucumber Raita, Gobi parathas

Parathas are a North Indian staple, but we know the world is becoming a smaller place. And now the corrupted versions (spellingwise) like "Barattas", "Porottas", "Boratas" are found everywhere. Anyone who visits Sangeeta or Saravana Bhavan or the smaller eating places will know what I am talking about. Let me assure you that taste is not compromised on in these places. It is just the South Indian version of the same paratha. In fact most of these restaurants go one step further and do a nice fusion of North Indian, Chinese and of course South Indian cuisines and serve up the Chilli Paratha. Thats culinary globalisation for you!!! It tastes fantastic.

Parathas are such a versatile food. Can be served plain or with a variety of stuffing mooli( radish), gobi(cauliflower), paneer(cottage cheese), onion, and aloo(potato)... the list goes on.

One of the most comforting foods for me is a paratha taken straight off the tava still steaming. Wouldn't you agree with that? Serve it up with a raita or just plain yoghurt and a nice spicy pickle... YUMMY.

The recipe:

1/2 kg Atta (whole wheat flour)

salt to taste

warm water to bind the flour

1 medium head cauliflower grated finely
1 onion minced finely
1 tablespoon coriander leaves finely chopped

1 teaspoon jeera powder( cumin powder)
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon dhania powder
salt to taste

1 teaspoon oil


Heat kadai (wok). Add the oil and heat till medium hot.
Add onion and fry till it is translucent.
Add grated cauliflower. Fry for a few minutes. The cauliflower should remain a little crunchy.
Add the powders and the salt. Fry for a minute till the flavours blend together.
Finally switch off the flame and add the coriander leaves.

Mix the flour with the salt.
Make the dough by adding water a little at a time to the whole wheat flour.
Knead it till you get a soft dough ( soft, not sticky)
It should be a softish dough where when you pull two ends, it should stretch a bit.
If sticky feel free to add a little more flour a bit at a time till the right consistency is reached.

Roll out a lump of dough the size of a golf ball to the size of a puri(thought very hard at this point to get the right size. No fruit I could think of gave me that :). Any recommendations for size comparison are welcome).

Put one to one and a half tablespoons of the cauliflower mixture on top. Gather together the outside of the dough and close it making a packet, sealing in the cauliflower.
Roll out again to a chapati generously using flour to aid in the rolling.

Place on a hot tava/ griddle. When pink spots appear turn it over. Pout a little oil on top. Repeat again till both sides are golden brown.

Serve hot with raita or plain yoghurt and some pickle and a big dollop of white desi butter on top.

Cucumber Raita Recipe:

2 cucumbers grated and water squeezed out
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon jeera
1 cup yoghurt

Dry roast the mustard seeds and the jeera. Powder it .
Beat the yoghurt till it is smooth.
Add the grated cucumber and powdered mustard and jeera.
Mix well.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Hara Bhara Kababs

You know how we pick up recipes from here and there? Jot them down on a piece of paper and then transcribe them with a lot of interest into our recipe books? My book is full of such recipes. Those that I found interesting when I read it and written down so diligently but never tried out. Various types of recipes... North Indian, Continental (or as we like to refer to them - Bakes), lately Mexican etc. I think the next month should go in trying out all these untried recipes. I am sure I will find a lot of gems out there.. a lot of keepers.
One such recipe was the Hara Bhara Kabab. I had written it down in so many different places but never tried it out. Finally I put my lethargy behind me and took the plunge and was so pleasantly surprised... It turned out extremely well.


4 medium sized Potaoes boiled
3/4 cup Peas boiled
100 gms Spinach

1 tablespoon Green chillies chopped finely
2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
1 teaspoon chaat masala
2 tablespoon cornflour
salt to taste

Oil for deep frying

Peel and grate potatoes.
Mash boiled peas.
Blanch the spinach and finely chop it.

Mix the above 3 ingredients with green chillies, coriander leaves, ginger, chaat masala, cornflour and salt.

Divide it into 25 equal portions. Shape into a little tikki or ball and deep fry.
(In case there are worries on high calories that this dish will entail, then it can be shallow fried too.)

Serve hot along with green chutney and tomato ketchup.

Heartfelt Thanks

I want to thank each and everyone of you for visiting my blog and leaving your comments. They have all been duly noted.
I am still navigating my way through this awe-inspiring blogging world and thoroughly enjoying every step of the way( baby steps though they may be).
It has been totally satisfying to be acknowledged by all of you.
Like I said, I always welcome constructive criticism..
Thank you all so much. Please do continue to visit this site. I promise to have many more yummy foods up soon.


One of the few things I really enjoyed discovering after moving to Chennai was this concept of TIFFIN.
Tiffin usually refers to the small meal eaten in between major meals. Or any hot light snack taken at any time during the day. In Tamil Nadu, often the main meal i.e lunch is eaten first thing in the morning. So at about 2 or 3 in the afternoon, when the tummy starts making demands for food, then a light snack is called for. This snack could be a variety of dosas, idly, sandwiches, upma, khichadi, pongal, vada etc. Adai features as a major dish in the tiffin listing.
Adai is a thickish dosa made of different dals ground together. Adai is traditionally served with a little blob of white freshly churned butter, jaggery and a chutney.
It is normally a dense and not too crispy styled dosa. It can be really filling.
On the nutrition front, it is a dish which is rich in proteins because of its high dal/lentil content.



1/2 cup moong dal
1/2 cup toor dal
1/2 cup chana dal
1/4 urad dal
2 cups raw rice
4 red chillies

4 green chillies chopped finely
2 onions chopped finely
handful of Coriander leaves chopped finely
3 sprigs of curry leaves chopped finely
1/2 inch piece of ginger chopped finely
a pinch of asafoetida
salt to taste

Soak the dals, rice and red chillies for about 4 hours.
Grind to a coarse paste. Add the remaining ingredients.
Heat the dosa tava ( griddle) till medium hot. Put a tablespoon of oil on the tava. Spread a spoonful of the batter on the tava till flat and like a pancake.
Pour a little oil on the sides and on top of the dosa. When the bottom turns golden brown, turn over and fry the other side too. Serve hot with jaggery, butter and a chutney of choice.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Kandi Pachadi - Andhra Food Series

Usually the concept of eating a pachadi with rice or a dry vegetable or even a podi with rice is only found in Andhra. In fact even avakai or mango pickle is a popular mixer(?) for rice. Ghee is liberally poured on to give that fabulous taste (more I think, to line the foodpipe. Otherwise the throat and the stomach will be on fire knowing how spicy Andhra food can be). It is then followed by rice with mudda pappu with a pulusu to add the required tang and then the rest of the courses follow - that is rice with sambar, rice with rasam etc ending with daddojanam or perugu annam (curd rice). The mandatory sweet will follow in the form of paravannam. To round off this fantastic meal, beeda is served.

Kandi pachadi eaten with hot ghee rice is pure ambrosia. It is a taste every telugu person craves for. It can also be eaten as an accompaniment for a number of tiffin items like dibba roti, dosa, idly etc.


1 cup toor dal (kandi pappu)
small bit tamarind (1/2 a lime size)
Salt to tatse

Popu/ Tadka

1 Tablespoon Oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
4-5 red chillies
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida powder

Roast the toor dal without any oil till it gives out a nice aroma.

Heat oil in a kadai/wok. When hot, add mustard seeds. When the seeds start crackling, add the red chillies. When they start looking a bright red, put off the flame and add the asafoetida powder.

Grind the roasted toor dal, tamarind, popu ingredients and the salt in a mixie along with a about 4 tablespoons of water till it is a fine paste.

Serve with hot ghee rice or as an accompaniment to a tiffin item.

This can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days.

Dibba Roti, Minappa Roti - Andhra Food Series

I am sure many of you out in the real and blogging world have been through these questions with the kids of today.

A horrified - " You mean you did not have computers as a kid? No internet? No computer games?"

A nervous - " At least did you have TV?"

A totally puzzled or stunned - " What did you do for entertainment?"

They don't understand, those were the years when we relied on ourselves to keep us busy. We played, cycled, played good old seven stones, 'gilli danda'( remember those games?). On rainy days, it was Ludo, Monopoly and Chinese checkers.
Above all, we read and read. All of us were such voracious readers. All types of books, comics... in the absence of anything worth reading and in the beginning of the school year, we read our English text books from cover to cover more for fun than for any serious learning.
Every once in a while one yearns for everything familiar. Don't you wish you could go back to your childhood where life was much simpler? No major decisions to take, nothing to take care of and absolutely NO WORRIES. Just gamboling through life only planning for the next hour's entertainment. Childhood is definitely synonymous with carefree summers (and winters!!!). Unlimited reading of story books, never studies....I think everyone goes through this phase now and then.

I have been on this trip for a while now. Then immediately start craving those comfort foods (cos food does play an important role in my life as you can see ;) )

One of the things my mom would make frequently was dibba roti ( literal translation - a fat dosa). It is also known as a minappa roti. Minappa referring to urad dal which is its main ingredient. It is the ultimate comfort food ... fried... full of carbs... and tasty tasty tasty. It looks like an oversized vada and tastes like a cross between idly and dosa. All things rolled into one.


2 cups Raw Rice ( any variety)
2 cups Urad dal( black gram)
1 tablespoon jeera
1 tablespoon whole peppercorn
Salt to taste
Oil to fry.

Soak both the rice and the urad dal for 4 hours separately.

Grind the urad dal very fine with minimal amount of water. Grind the rice with a little water a little coarsely. Mix the two well and add salt, jeera and peppercorns.

Heat a little oil in a kadai or wok (maybe 2 tablespoons or so). Pour in the batter and reduce the flame to sim. Cover and let fry on a very slow flame till golden brown. If required add a little more oil. When the bottom is golden brown, turn over and fry the other side adding a little oil again.

Enjoy with ginger chutney or kandi pachadi (recipe follows).

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Carrot Salad

Each family has members who are very picky about what they eat and have very definite dislikes. My husband is one such who will not eat chana/chole, banana, tindora(aka dondakai/kovakai) etc etc. He has such hatred for cooked carrot that never will he eat carrot curry in any form. But on the other hand he loves raw carrot. I guess all things crunchy are welcomed by him.

Now we all love one raw vegetable dish with lunch. So as a compromise we made up this yummy South Indian tasting carrot salad which is simple but extremely healthy and full of goodness.

4 medium Carrots
2 green chillies
1/2 a lime
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds.
Salt to taste

Grate the carrots. Heat oil. Add mustard seeds. When they start spluttering, add green chillies and switch off the flame.

Pour over the grated carrot. Add lime juice and salt to taste.

And thats it. Its that simple.

Gooseberry Chutney, Usirikai Pachadi - Andhra Food Series

I have a niece who has a farm where Amlas or Indian gooseberries grow abundantly . On a recent visit, they sent me back with a carton of these sweet and sour beauties (in a size that I have yet to see elsewhere. I guess XXL would fit the bill). Not knowing what to do with them, I asked my mother for a solution. She suggested that we make Usirikai Pachadi, a very traditional Telugu accompaniment to rice or to curd rice - a staple South Indian favorite. My first time at this, it came out well even if I have to say so myself. Very tasty - tart and spicy at the same time. Perfect foil for soothing "perugu annam" or "thaiyir sadam"
Gooseberry is also known as Usirikai in Telugu, Nellikai in Tamil and Amla in Hindi. Widely used and eaten in India, it is powerhouse of nutrition particularly rich in Vitamin C. It is used in a lot of Ayurvedic medicines for obvious reasons. It is supposed to help in reducing cholestrol and in stabilizing blood pressure.


6 large gooseberries
2 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

2 teaspoons Oil
1 teaspoon Mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon methi seeds (fenugreek)
1/2 teaspoon asfoetida powder
2 red chillies

4 green chillies
handful of coriander leaves

Pound the gooseberries till the seed separates. Be careful not to pound the seed. Add salt and turmeric powder and grind in the food processor till fine. Do not add water as this will result in the chutney getting spoilt too fast. Keep aside.

This can be kept aside for almost a year without getting spoilt just as long as you add enough salt. So in season make a large batch of this and keep in a "jaadi" to use in chutneys or pickles whenever you need a bit of tang on your tongue.

Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When they pop add methi seeds and red chillies. fry for a couple of minutes till redchillies look fried. Add the asfoetida at this point and switch off the flame.

Grind some of the kept aside mixture along with the coriander leaves and green chillies and the fried popu/tadka.

Enjoy with plain hot rice and ghee or with "perugu annam"!!!