Wednesday, January 30, 2008

HEAVEN IN A GLASS- A Very Last Minute Entry To CLICK

I know I know... I just hope I have enough time to get this through to B&J. My computer has been really troubling me and my half baked knowledge is not really helping.

So I am quickly sending off this to their photography event CLICK: LIQUID COMFORT. There is no time to waste at all...

Water is a real saviour and the only drink we need in the hot summer months that we face here in Chennai. And water with a slice of lemon and lots of ice cubes clinking in the glass? HEAVEN IN A GLASS!!! Don't you agree?

Now I have to make sure I email this off to Click pronto....

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Aloo Sabji With The Most Awesome Parathas

All of last week, I was away at Bangalore on work. It was a wonderful break and I enjoyed myself. Its been a while since I had been anywhere and this was most welcome.
There we were put up at this service apartment. Basic place and basic amenities but the food was superb. There were two Nepali boys working there, and they would churn out this amzing food. Unforunately, my meals were restricted to breakfast and one dinner but what to do.... As I reached the apartment, I asked him for parathas for breakfast everyday. So the first day was this amazing aloo parathas with thick and delicious curd and pickles and on the second day, he brought forth gobi parathas. On the third day, I did not want to push, so I left him to decide what he would make. Only one instruction - no South Indian breakfast. He made these amzing awesome, superb flaky parathas along with Aloo Sabji. It was so so nice. I had to immediately take pictures and thought it will be perfect for the blog. Got him to give me the recipe. In fact I made it for dinner the moment I got home but no camera to take pictures. So I am posting the pictures here taken of the food made by Tinku along with his picture too.

The Aloo Sabji recipe is posted here and the Flaky parathas recipe here.

4 potatoes boiled and diced finely
4 tomatoes chopped really finely
2 inch piece ginger finely chopped
2 tablespoons Oil

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 tablespoons coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
salt to taste
3 tablespoons kasooti methi
3 tablespoons curd

Heat oil in a kadai.
Add the tomoates and ginger. Cook till it gets totally mushy and and the oil comes out.
Add the dry powders like coriander powder, turmeric powder, chilli powder and garam masala powder. Cook for a few more minutes.

Add the potatoes and fry for a few minutes. Add the curd, the kasooti methi and 1 glass water and cook till potato gets nice and cooked and infused with all the flavors of tomato and kasooti methi.
It needs to have a very watery gravy.

Serve hot with Flaky Parathas(Recipe here).

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Poondu Kozhambu

When I first moved to Chennai, there were a lot of new cuisines we tried out. My husband and I love eating out and we would do a lot of it then ( particularly as he was a carnivore then). We once went out on a busy Saturday night with friends without a reservation. Not a table to be had anywhere. After trying about 4 or 5 places, someone suggested that we try a Chettinad restaurant. Not having ever tried that particular cuisine, and having heard that it is predominantly non-vegetarian I was a little nervous going in. But no choice by then, so we bravely marched in for my first taste of Chettinad food.

Well, I have to be honest here and own up that I was very boring and ordered just appams. Someone else ordered a bunch of things one of which was Poondu Kozhumbu. When it came to the table and was served to me, I cannot even begin to describe the aromas wafting out of it. It just looked so delicious and with browned garlic peeking out of this spicy tangy gravy. Then with the first mouthful, this bunch of incredible tastes just burst on my tongue and tickled my tastebuds. It was " HOT ". "Spicy HOT". But still left me craving for more. Amazing is the only word I can use to describe the memory of eating that. I am very partial to garlic but that was only icing on the cake.

Everytime I wanted to eat this, I would send someone out for it to buy it at the restaurant. Then I saw this months Think Spice hosted by Sunita was focusing on garlic. Immediately said " why not try out Poondu Kozhumbu?" I like the dish and want to eat it often, so why not learn it. Right?

Googled the title and got bunch of recipes. But I knew what I wanted out of it. So chopped and changed and combined and deleted and came up with this recipe. It turned out great ( even if I have to say so myself).

Now for the recipe...

1 cup Garlic cloves peeled
2 medium sized onions diced finely
2 tomatos diced finely
10 curry leaves
Lemon sized ball of tamarind soaked in 1 cup hot water

1/2 teaspoon turmeric (haldi)
1/4 teaspoon hing powder ( asafoetida)
1/2 teaspoon jaggery
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon urad dal
3-4 tablespoons Oil to fry

Paste ingredients:

2 tablespoons Coriander seeds ( dhania)
1 teaspoon Cumin seeds ( jeera)
1 teaspoon poppy seeds ( Khuskhus)
1/2 teaspoon peppercorn
4 red chillies
2 inch piece ginger
1 teaspoon oil.

Heat 1 teapoon of oil. Lightly fry the garlic till light brown. Keep aside

Extract the tamarind juice from the soaked tamarind discarding the seeds and the skin of the tamarind.

Heat another teaspoon of oil in the same kadai and lightly fry the paste ingredients. Then grind to a smooth paste using about 2 tablespoons of water.

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil and add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and urad dal. Fry till they crackle.
Then add the chopped onions and fry well till translucent.
Add tomatos and cook the whole thing till very mushy.
Ad chilli powder, haldi, hing and mix well for a few minutes.
Add the paste and cook really well.
Now add the tamarind juice along with half cup of water and cook till the oil separates.

Add the fried garlic and serve hot as an accompaniment to a meal.

This is my entry for Think Spice Think Garlic hosted by Sunita of Sunitas World

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Olan - RCI Kerala

My mother in law has a friend 'I' who is the most awesome cook ever. She makes the most amazing but ultimately the simplest of foods ever. As they say around here, " it is in the hand". She keeps sending me these delicious little dabbas of simple home cooked food. Her rasams are to die for. Whenever she makes something she thinks I will like, she sends it across and what do you know? I love it.
Now she has promised that she will teach me how to make all those delicious varieties of rasams. That is something I am looking forward to and something I am most definitely going to hold her to.

I have tried out many of her recipes and each one has been simple to the core. Here I have to say, in my opinion, the fewer the ingredients and more simple the method of cooking, the flavor of the dish increases exponentially. I think the reason for this is that the flavor of the main ingredient in the dish really comes to the fore.

The other day for lunch I had the chance to taste something new that she sent me. I have had Kerala food earlier on many occasions, but this was something quite different. Familiar but different. When I asked her what she had made, she said Olan. That was a first for me. I had heard of
stew, avial etc but Olan was a new term. Tasted very nice. The flavor of the vegetables came out very well along with the taste of coconut milk. There was no other flavor or taste over powering this.

So immediately asked aunty for the recipe. Even I could not believe how simple and easy it was. Minimal ingredients, minimal flavorings, minimal work...

Now for the Olan

200 grams White Pumpkin ( Ash gourd)
200 grams Yellow Pumpkin
2 green chillies slit lenghtwise
salt to taste
1 cup water
3 tablespoons coconut milk powder mixed into 1/2 cup hot water
1 teaspoon coconut oil
6 curry leaves
1 teaspoon mustard seeds.

Dice the white and yellow pumpkin into small bits.
Boil with water, salt and green chillies till almost fully done. ( You may want to boil the white pumpkin first for a few minutes and then add the yellow pumpkin as yellow pumpkin tends to cook very fast).
When done add the coconut milk into pumpkin.
Heat oil and fry the mustard seeds and curry leaves till they crackle.
Pour over the pumpkin and Olan is ready.

I was so excited when I saw RCI Kerala being hosted by Jyothsna of Currybazaar.
So here goes Olan as my entry for RCI Kerala.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Gujarati Meal : Part 3 - Khichdi

This the last one in this meal series. I did mention in my previous post that Khichdi was coming along next. Khichdi Kadhi is the ultimate combination. It is so comforting. Khichdi is a combination of rice and lentils usually moong dal. It has various names all over India but in the South it is called Pongal. Khichdi is a bland dish which is served to convalescents as it is considered easy on the stomach. It is also served to babies as their first meal.

This particular recipe of Khichdi is made with both whole moong dal and skinned dal.

It was fabulous and tasted really good and the combination with Kadhi and Sambhaaryu Shaak was out of this world. ( You can see I have a real weakness for Gujju food)

I got the recipe for this Khichdi from Monsoon Spice who has an awesome blog going.


1 1/2 cups Rice
1/2 cup Whole Moong Dal/Green Gram
1/4 cup Split Moong Dal
1 large Onion, sliced
2-3 Green Chillies, split
1 inch Ginger, crushed and finely chopped
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
Few Curry Leaves
3 Cardamoms, crushed
2 Cloves
1/2 tsp Black Pepper Powder (Optional)
2 tbsp Oil/Ghee
3 tbsp Coriander Leaves, chopped finely
Salt to taste


Soak the whole green moong dal for a few hours till fully soaked
Wash rice and skinned moong dal for a few minutes.
Chop onions and coriander leaves and ginger finely.
Slit green chillies in center.
Lightly crush the cardamom and clove in pestle and mortar.
Heat oil/ghee in pressure cooker.
Add mustard, jeera and curry leaves and sauté.When mustard starts to pop, usually with in 30-40 seconds, add finely chopped onion, ginger and green chilli and sauté it for 1 to 1½ minutes.
Now add the crushed spices and sauté it for another minute or so till onions turn translucent.
Drain water from rice and dal and add to sautéed onion and spices.To this add turmeric powder, salt to taste and about 6 to 6 ½ cups of water and mix well(add more water if you like it more mushy and soft).Close the pressure cooker lid and put its weight on and reduce the gas flame to medium. (Alternatively, you can fry the whole thing in a kadai and then transfer to a rice cooker to cook)
Open pressure cooker lid when it is done and add fresh coriander leaves. Serve hot with Raita or with Kadhi.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Gujarati Meal: Part 2 - Kadhi

If you ask me what my favorite meal ever in life is, I will have to say Kadhi with Khichadi ( now you know for sure what Part 3 is going to be). It is the simplest, yet tastiest food I can think of. It is very easy on the tummy and therefore highly recommended for convalescents. It is the best get well soon food in India found in all parts of the country in different avatars.

The same basic foods are found in all parts of India but with just a slight tweak in the ingredients, the whole appearance and taste changes completely. Like the More Kozhumbu in Tamil Nadu, Majjiga Pulusu in Andhra Pradesh, becomes Pakoda Kadhi in Punjab and Kadhi in Gujarat.

As a continuation of my Gujarati Meal, I made Kadhi, the recipe for which I got from Shilpa of Aayi's Recipes. This was again a perfect recipe which took all of 10 to 15 minutes to make. It was perfect and exactly what Gujarati Kadhi should be. I am drooling sitting here just thinking about how perfect the Kadhi was. I loved the fact that it was so so simple and easy to make. No grinding, no fuss whatsoever. Just simple food that tastes great.


2 cups sour and thick buttermilk (or yogurt/curd)

1 1/2 tablespoons besan (gram flour)

1 teaspoon chili-ginger paste

3-4 curry leaves

1 tablespoon sugar

2-3 stalks coriander leaves

1/2 teaspoon Jeera ( cumin seeds)

1/4 teaspoon Methi ( fenugreek seeds)

A pinch asafoetida

1 tablespoon ghee



Make a mixture of buttermilk and besan and whisk well till no lumps remain.

Heat Ghee, add cumin seeds, fenugreek and asafoetida.

Now add the buttermilk mixture and mix well.

Add the curry leaves, salt, coriander leaves, chilly-ginger paste and sugar.

Bring it to a boil (Note that curry leaves are not added in ghee, they are added later on.)

Thanks again Shilpa for a perfect recipe.

Gujarati Meal: Part 1 - Sambhaaryu Shaak

One of my other resolutions for my blog for 2008 which I forgot to mention in the look back on 2007 was that I was going to make plenty from the other blogs and more importtantly, POST about it.

Lat week I decided to make it a Gujarati day. That is one cuisine that we all enjoy at home. But just try saying "Let's eat out today, I feel like eating Gujju food today" and see the look of horror on the husbands face. He thinks that we want to eat out all the time. But as I have said time and again, the kids want to eat out a lot of the time. So I decided that a compromise was in order. On the spur of the moment said "ok, today is gujju lunch day at home".

I had earmarked many recipes to try out. Quickly fished them all out. This was one of the easiest meals to prepare. Did not take much time and was relatively simple in terms of ingredients and ease of preparation.

This is one recipe I saw on Coffee's blog here and had promised to try out. It looked very interesting.

Sambhaaryu Shaak tasted as good as it looked on her blog. The only mistake I made was I let it cook for a bit longer than it should have and the end product did not look quite like it should have. It got too brown instead of the beautiful red and very dry instead of the nice gravy that was on her picture. Next time, I will make sure that I watch it all the time and get it to the right shade of yumminess.

But this is a definite make again recipe. It was simply fabulous. Next time I will also try it out with baby eggplant and onions and potatoes all together. I am sure it will be delish.

Here I have to only point out one thing. The only painful thing is the stuffing. So this is recommended only for a smaller quantity and not for a large dinner party unless you have help.

Thanks Coffee for a great, easy to make recipe.
UPDATE: I am cutting and pasting her recipe as she has posted it.
3-4 potatoes peeled ( or baby eggplant or onions)
1 big tomato finely chopped
2-3 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
For the Sambharo:

3-4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
3/4 tsp garam masala
4-5 tsp dhanya-jeera/ coriander-cumin powder (about 50% of your sambharo should be made up of this)
1-2 tsp besanJuice of one lemon2-3 tsp sugar (Gujju food is generally on the sweeter side!! If you don’t prefer it then you can omit the sugar and lemon completely.)
A handful of chopped coriander.

To make the Sambharo:

Peel and pound the garlic in a mortar-pestle. You can even grate it in the absence of M/P or use garlic paste, but somehow I have always felt that pounding does make a difference to it.Now add all the other spices to it and mix well. In the end I would pound it again with the pestle for 1-2 min so that the spices blend in perfectly!
To prepare:
Slit the potatoes on both slides, with slits being perpendicular to each other. I would not recommend making a criss cross on the same side as the veggies will often split open while cooking and you wont be able to enjoy it as a whole with spices stuffed in it. Gently open the slits and stuff them with the spices, you can take help of the spoon handle to help you push it till the end. You should have about a cup of sambharo remaining after you stuff all the veggies. You can cook this in a kadai or in pressure cooker, the latter being the faster version. In a pressure cooker, heat the oil, pop the mustard seeds and brown the jeera. Add in the tomatoes and let them soften for about 2 min. Keep about 2 tsp of sambharo and add the rest of it in the tomatoes. Mix it well and let it sizzle for a while mixing in between so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Once it starts releasing a bit of oil, add in the stuffed potatoes, a glass of water and cook for about 3 whistles (will depend on the size of veggies). Once the pressure is released add in the remaining 2 tsp sambharo and give it a good boil. Serve with chapatti or rice.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year !!!!