Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Last year I made Eggless Christmas Fruit Cake with mashed potatoes and condensed milk as replacement for eggs. This year I wanted to try a simplified and easy version of fruit cake for Christmas.

Recipe inspired from here with some modifications.
Eggless Fruit and Nut Cake


Chopped Fruits*1 cup
Chopped Nuts *                       1 cup
All Purpose Flour1.75 cups
Sugar1 cup
Butter1/2 cup
Baking soda1 tsp
Salt1/4 tsp
Orange zest1 tsp
Orange Juice1/2 cup
Water 1.5 cups
Vanilla extract1 tsp
Cinnamon powder1/4 tsp
Nutmeg powder1/2 tsp
Cardomom 4 pods

* Chopped Fruits: Mix of raisins, apricot, dates, cranberry,prune (Atleast 3)
* Chopped Nuts: Cashews, Almonds,Walnut

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Whenever my MIL makes chow chow kootu, she uses the peel to make thuvayal. It tastes just like the regular chow chow thuvayal. I used to mix with rice and take for my lunch box too!

Chow chow thuvayal


Chow chow                                                                     Peeled skin of 1 chayote
Urad dhal3 tablespoons
Salt1/4 tsp
Tamarinda small gooseberry size
Red chilli2 or 3
Water1/2 cup
Oil1 tsp
Hinga generous pinch

1) Wash the chayote thoroughly in water and peel the skin using vegetable peeler
Chow chow thuvayal

2) Chop the skin into small bits
3) Heat 1/2 tsp of oil in a pan and add urad dhal and red chillies
4) Fry in a medium flame until golden brown
Chow chow thuvayal

5) Add the tamarind and asafoetida and fry for less than a minute and switch off the flame
6) Transfer this to another plate to cool
7) In the same pan add 1/2 tsp of oil and fry the chow chow peel
8) Fry in low flame for a couple of minutes.
Chow chow thuvayal

9)Allow both the fried dhal and chow chow peel to cool
10)Grind the mixture first without adding water.
11) Add salt and add water little by little and grind to a smooth paste
12) Serve with hot rice or as an accompaniment to curd rice.

Along with the peel, cubed chayote can also be used. Increase the other quantities accordingly
Instead of tamarind, tamarind paste can also be used. Add 1/4 spoon while grinding

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


I have lot of memories associated with Vegetable Puffs. My dad used to get this for me every Friday from Iyengar bakery at Tambaram.I like both the sweet and savoury version. It is also common in all college canteens and office cafeteria. Whenever I skip my breakfast, first thing I will do is to get a veg puffs from the cafetaria( Please don't follow this. It is not healthy to skip breakfast and have this first thing the morning!).

Nowadays I make this puffs often using ready made pepperidge puff pastry sheet. It will be usually available in the frozen section. 
Vegetable Puffs


Puff Pastry sheet                              1 pack
Potato5 small sized
Onion1 small
Ginger paste1 tsp
Carrot chopped2 medium sized
Coriander powder1 tsp
Chilli powder1 tsp
Garam masala powder1/4 tsp
Frozen peas1/4 cup
Cumin seeds1/2 tsp
Saltto taste
Oil2 tsp
Lemon juice/Amchoor powder1/4 tsp
Coriander leaves (Chopped)2 tablespoon

1. Thaw the puff pastry sheet for 45 minutes
2. Dab some all purpose flour in the board and roll the sheets to required thickness
Vegetable Puffs

3. Cut the sheets into 12 equal parts (There will be 2 sheets in a pack. Cut each into 6 pieces)
4. Cook the potatoes in a pressure cooker for 2 whistles.
5. Cool the potatoes and peel
6. Mash the potatoes well and keep it aside
7. Heat 2 tsp of oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. Once it start spluttering add onions

8. Fry the onions until translucent.
9. Add carrots and fry until well cooked

10. Add the frozen peas as well.Add the chilli powder, coriander powder and masala powder.
11.Now add the mash potatoes and mix well
12. Finally add the lemon juice/amchoor powder and chopped coriander leaves

13. Divide this filling into 12 equal parts

14. Stuff the filling in the puff pastry sheet and fold it into half

15. Press the sides with the fork and seal it
16. Bake this in a preheated oven of 400F to 20 to 25 minutes in the center rack
Vegetable Puffs

17. Have an eye on it. Remove from the oven once it starts turning golden brown

Vegetable Puffs

Monday, December 10, 2012


My son just loves this kuzhambu. He can have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week.I used to make this whenever I work from home. I usually work from home when he has early dismissal from school. This can be made almost instantly so it comes handy when I am tied up with work and at the same time can serve fresh lunch when he is back home in the afternoon. He calls this as 'Early dismissal Kuzhambu'.
This can be made either with Ash gourd(White pumpkin) or Ladies finger.Best when served with Cheppangizhangu roast

Mor Kuzhambu


Ladies finger/Ash gourd
(White pumpkin) chopped
1 cup
Butter milk                                      2 cups
Turmeric powder1/4 tsp
Salt3/4 tsp
To soak and grind:
Toor dhal1 tsp
Coriander seeds1 tsp
Channa dhal1 tsp
Cumin seeds (Jeera)1/2 tsp
Ginger (Finely chopped)2 tsp
Green chilli1
Red chilli1
Raw rice1 tsp
Grated coconut1 tablespoon
For tempering:
Oil1 tsp
Mustard seeds1/2 tsp
Red chilli1
Curry leavesa sprig

1.Soak all the ingredients listed under 'To soak and grind' except coconut for 30 minutes
2.Grind it to a coarse paste along with coconut
Mor Kuzhambu

3.Beat the butter milk, add turmeric powder and salt 


5.Add the ground paste to the buttermilk and mix well.Keep this aside


6.Ladies Finger:

If using ladies finger cut the vegetable into 1 inch piece.
Add 1 tsp of oil in a pan and fry the ladies finger until it changes the color and well fried.
White pumpkin (Ash gourd)
Cut the vegetable into 1 inch cubes and cook in little water.
7.Now add the butter milk in a pan and bring to a boil. When it starts boiling immediately remove it from the flame

8.Now add the fried ladies finger or boiled ash gourd
Mor Kuzhambu

9.Temper the butter milk with 1 tsp oil, mustard seeds,Red chilli  and curry leaves


  • Adding coconut is completely optional
  • Mor Kuzhambu can also be prepared without adding any vegetable
  • Immediately switch off the flame once the butter milk comes to a boil. Otherwise it will curdle easily
  • The butter milk should not be thin.I used to prepare this with old curd without adding water. Just beat it well.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Ashoka halwa is a very popular halwa from Tanjore/ Thiruvayaru districts in Tamil Nadu.
It is best when served hot with dripping ghee.It tastes heavenly and also partially guilt free packed with the goodness of moong dhal and wheat.


Yellow split moong dal             1/2 cup
Wheat flour/Atta1/2 cup
Sugar1 cup
Ghee1/2 cup
Cardomom5 or 6 pods
Cashew nuts1 tablespoon
Kesar colora pinch
Saffrona pinch
Milk1 tablespoon

1. Dry roast the moong dhal until a nice aroma comes out
2. Add 1.5 cups of water and pressure cook for 3 whistles

3. Allow to cool and mash the dhal well

4. Soak the saffron in 1 tablespoon of warm milk.
5. Heat 1 tablespoon of ghee in a pan and fry the cashews

6. Keep this aside and in the same pan add 2 more tablespoons of ghee and fry the wheat flour  until it becomes light brown
7. Take 1/4 of water and add the sugar. Bring it to a boil

8. Boil the sugar syrup until 1 string consistency is reached

9. Add the wheat flour and the mashed dhal and mix well without lumps
10. Stir the mixture continously until it thickens

11. Add the saffron and milk and also kesar color and stir well
12. Once the halwa becomes a mass and does not stick to the sides, add the cardomom powder and swtich off the flame

13. Garnish with fried cashews
14 Serve hot

Monday, December 3, 2012

How to grind Idli batter in Mixie/Blender | Beginner Recipes

Being a typical South Indian, most of my mornings starts with the aroma of steaming idlies. I dont know why but I never bothered to know how my mom makes these idlies or atleast what goes into the idli batter.I have collected a zillion recipes from my mom from my childhood but not the idli recipe. May be I was so bored with the daily menu containing idlies.
When my mom starts grinding the batter (She had the big grinder which she bought in late 80s!),I used to run away from that place. I had such an aversion for the grinding process.Also since my mom spends a lot of time cleaning it, I thought owning a grinder is really an overwork which is not really worth it just to get the regular idlies.
Even after marriage I never bothered much about the idlies (Ok. who wants to worry when hot plate of idli is served everyday and both myself and my husband used to ignore it as usual).
So far so good. The problem started when we moved from Chennai to US two years back.After couple of days of jetlag my kids started asking 'Idli engamma? (Where is the idli?).I tried feeding them pongal, Adai, pancakes. But nothing worked out.They adapted very well to the harsh winter here but not to the breakfast menu.
So the necessity arrived and I started grinding idli batter with my Preethi mixer. The rice to dal ratios whatever worked prefectly for my MIL and mom did not work me. The batter refused to ferment irrespective of applying all the tips that I gathered from internet
After couple of months of trial and error I started making decent idlies though they were not soft and spongy.Then my friend came to the rescue and she suggested adding raw rice as well while grinding in mixie and also to reduce the soaking time for urad dal. That really helped. 
The main challenge in grinding the batter in the mixie is the motor gets heated up very quickly which is not very good.I use ice cold water for grinding. Also I used to grind in 3 batches (1 for urad dhal and 2 for rice) with atleast 15 minutes of interval between each.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


This is one variety of Poricha kootu which uses red chillies instead of green chillies and also urad dhal. This tastes great when served with hot rice and ghee.
Checkout the recipe for original version of poricha kootu

Preparation time: 10 min
Cooking time: 20 min
Serves: 4
Poricha Kootu

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cabbage Poriyal

This poriyal goes well with South Indian Vetha Kuzhambu. There are so many variations of cabbage poriyal. This method is very simple and the vegetable is cooked in water and then seasoned.

Cabbage Poriyal

Prepartion time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

Cabbage shredded :  1 medium sized (approx 4 cups)
Oil: 2 tsp
Channa dal (KadalaParuppu): 1 tsp
Urad Dal: 1 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Red chillies: 3 or 4
Salt: 1 tsp
Asafoetida: a pinch
Frozen green peas: 1/4 cup (optional)
Curry leaves : a sprig

1. Cook the shredded cabbage in a closed vessel with enough water (approx 1.5 cups) and 1 tsp of salt.
    Cook until all the water is drained

2. When it is almost cooked add the green peas and cook for 2 - 3 minutes.
    Alternatively green peas can also be cooked with enough water in microwave for 2 minutes
3. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. Once it starts spluttering add curry leaves, urad dhal , channa dal and split red chillies

4. Once they are fried add asafoetida
5. Now add the cooked cabbage and fry for a minute until all the ingredients are mixed well
6. Add the grated coconut and cooked green peas and switch off the stove.

1. Cook the cabbage with enough water. Do not overcook
2. If more water is remaining, strain the water and then add the vegetable to the seasoning
3.Adding green peas is completely optional. Our samayal maami prepares this way.So just got inspired with the colorful combination!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Diwali Recipes

Authentic South Indian Diwali Sweets:
Some of the authentic South Indian Sweets that are prepared during Diwali. The preparations start few days before Diwali and all these sweets have excellent shelf life.The preparation requires some care and patience and is usually done together along with the other members in the family.

Badusha Laddoo Jangiri MysorePak
Thirattipal Godhumai Halwa Maaladu 7 cup burfi

A blend of South Indian and North Indian Diwali sweets :
Badam HalwaBasundhiBananaHalwaChocolate Burfi
CoconutRava ladooKaju KatliKalakandMango Halwa
RasgullaWheat LaduKasi halwaCorn flour Halwa
Bournvita BurfiBadam burfiDouble Ka meethaJalebi

Instant and Easy Diwali Sweets:
Some of the easy and quick diwali sweets that are hassle free.No worries of checking for the right sugar syrup consistency or spend long hours in preparation.Most of them can be put together in less than 10 minutes
Doodh peda BesanLadu Kaju Katli Thirattipal

Diwali Snacks:
Mixture Thattai Muruku Thool Pakoda