Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tomato Perugu Pachadi

The weather here in Chennai has been really crazy of late, alternating between hot and humid and cold and rainy. This has promptly resulted in most everyone at home falling sick, down with colds coughs or just feeling under the weather. This is the time when you feel like eating that one thing in particular which will stimulate your tastebuds and nothing else will do. My craving right now is for some super hot tasty rasam. While I go down to make me some, please go through the recipe for Tomato Perugu Pachadi (perugu = curd=yoghurt).

This simply has to be one of the easiest and tastiest raitas out there. It had a very distinctive taste thanks to the generous use of asafoetida which combines well with tomatoes. Goes well with most south Indian foods, or just by itself with rice.


4 tomatoes chopped finely
1 or 2 green chilli cut into small bits
1 tablespoon coriander leaves
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon methi seeds
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
salt to taste
1 cup curd/ yoghurt stirred well
1 teaspoon oil


Heat oil. When hot, add the mustard seeds and methi seeds.

When they crackle, add the green chilli and then tomatoes. Add turmeric and salt and cook till tomatoes get mushy.

When done, add the asafoetida and take off the flame.

Add chopped coriander leaves and mix into the curd.

Serve with hot rice, pulaos or mixed rices.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hariyali Dal

If there is one dish that is bursting with good nutrition, it has to be this hariyali dal.... full of greens or various types, it just screams "HEALTHY!!! HEALTHY!! Spinach (palak), methi (fenugreek), coriander are all added to this dal in generous quantities.

Greens are considered power houses of nutrition. They provide the most concentrated sources of vitamins and minerals. All this despite being very low in calorie count. I guess this why our ancestors used to run around eating plenty of greens and edible leaves from different plants whenever hungry.

Greens have hardly any carbohydrates and so make for the perfect food while on a low carb diet.

This is an easy dal to prepare and is very quick to make. Lot of the taste comes from the addition of amchur (raw mango) powder which adds the necessary tang.

Now for the recipe....


1 1/2 cups uncooked masoor/toor dal
2 cups mixed greens (spinach, methi and coriander are some options)
1 chopped onion
1 teaspoon jeera ( cumin seeds)
2 teaspoons amchur powder (raw mango)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
3/4 teaspoon red chilli powder
3 tablespoons ghee
salt to taste

6 cloves garlic
4-6 green chillies
1 inch piece ginger


Cook dal with 3 cups of water till soft

Heat ghee and when medium hot, add jeera . Once the jeera sizzles, add onion and fry for 2 minutes.

Add cooked dal, greens, amchur powder, tomato, turmeric, red chilli powder, ground paste and salt.

Cook for 10 minutes till it starts simmering and the greens and tomatoes are mushy.

Serve hot with chapatis, naans or rice.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Chilli Paneer

These days, there is a gradual change in the food habits of people here in India. We are willing to try out ( mind you, only try out) various cuisines and experiment with different tastes. So with the first tastes of pizzas and burgers and other American Fast food taking hold, soon there was no stopping the Indian palate. Thai, Japanese, Mexican... all cuisines are tried and tested. But you will find the Indian touch in most every cuisine served in India. The pastas with Makhni sauce, the pizzas topped with tikkas...

Chinese is one which has always been popular in India. I think more because of the Indian Chinese cuisine. The original Chinese cuisine is far removed from our Indian Chinese. But this tastes good and I think that is the point. Whatever appeals to the tongue is good!!!.

Chilli Paneer is a spicy starter which is easy to make. The bland paneer lends itself well to the ginger, garlic and chilli flavors with the tang coming from the tomato sauce. One can use firm tofu also in the place of paneer. Usually Chilli Paneer calls for the paneer to be battered with cornflour and deep fried. But for health reasons, I prefer not to deep fry food. Therefore, this other method of simply shallow frying it in a saucepan till it is lightly browned.


200 grams Paneer or Tofu diced into 1 inch cubes
1 teaspoon ginger very finely chopped
1 teaspoon garlic very finely chopped
4 green chillies chopped finely
1 onion diced broadly
1 capsicum diced in to 1 inch pieces
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon tomato sauce
3 tablespoons Oil
1 teaspoon coriander leaves
Salt to taste


Heat 2 tablespoon of oil in a saucepan. On medium heat, place the paneer pieces flat till lightly browned. Turn over and brown the other sides as well. Keep aside.

Heat the remaining oil in a pan. Add the ginger and garlic to the hot oil and let it sizzle ( drooling here at the thought of the aromas in the kitchen at this point).

Add the green chillies and fry for a minute.

Now add the onions and caspicum pieces and let fry for a bit. They need to be left a little crisp and not cooked till totally soft.

Add the soya and tomato sauces and salt.

Mix in the paneer and sauté gently for a couple of minutes till the flavors come together.

Garnish with coriander leaves.