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Showing posts with label EASY BACHELOR'S RECIPES. Show all posts
Showing posts with label EASY BACHELOR'S RECIPES. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 24, 2020


Rice is a staple food of the South Indians. There are many varieties of rice that is made in the south Indian cuisine, one such rice is Lemon Rice (Lemon flavored rice).
The Kerala Iyer’s settled in Mumbai had a different lingo(slang) for everything.
Lemons are known as Limbu in Maharashtrian language and everyone calls it Limbu in Mumbai. In other South Indian states, it’s known as Elimichai (Tamil), CheruNaranga fondly called as Naranga as well (Malayalam), Nimmakaya in (Telegu) and Nimbe (Kannada) and so on and so forth.
Tambrams in Mumbai were such an eclectic mix language wise that we adopted whatever was easy on the tongue and easy for all the generations to understand, so Lemon Rice at my place was called Limbu Sadam. Amma used to pack Lemon rice for us in our tiffin boxes and the wafting aroma of the lemon, hours after it was cooked was still so refreshing. That could be the reason it was packed for our long journeys by train/bus.
I’m going to share the basic recipe of Lemon Rice made by my mother. It can be made exotic by adding various other ingredients as well. 

Ingredients (Serves 2)
Rice -1 cup
Lemon -1
Oil - 2 tbsps
Mustard seeds -1 tsp
White lentil (Urad dal split) -1 tsp
Bengal Gram (Channa dal/kadalai paruppu) -1 tbsp
Red chillies - 1-2 (broken in 2 halves)
Green chillies - 2 -3 (Broken in 2 halves)
Asafetida (Hing) - a pinch
Turmeric Powder - ½ tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp chopped (Optional)
Salt as per taste

Soak the rice for about 20 minutes, after that cook the rice, preferably cook it in the proportion of 1 cup rice:2 cups water. (Refer to tips below).
Rice must not be gluey or stuck to each other, it has to be separate. The texture of the rice is very important to get this recipe right.
Heat oil, add mustard seeds, white lentils (urad dal), Bengal Gram (Chana dal), Red chilies. When the mustard starts to splutter and the dals are turning slightly pink, add in Green chilies, curry leaves and asafetida.
Add the cooked rice, turmeric and salt as per taste. Give it all a good mix, Sauté for about 5-6 minutes till the mixture becomes uniform and is hot. Turn off the gas.
At this stage, squeeze the juice of a lemon (De-seed), Give it all a good mix so that lemon is ingested into the grains of rice
*Very Important - Do not cook after adding the lemon juice, the taste may become bitter!!!
After this, check for salt and if needed, add again and mix well.
Garnish with Freshly chopped coriander leaves (optional).
Serve hot or let it cool and pack it in Tiffin boxes.
Traditionally, lemon rice is served with Papads (Lentil Crackers) / Vadaams (Fryums).
Lemon rice goes well with any dry curries(sabzis) as well.
Serve it the way you like. Eat it the way you enjoy.

· Use Leftover rice to make the lemon rice as the starch in the rice gets less sticky as it gets colder. There is a big chance that the rice won’t stick to each other.

· If using freshly cooked rice, after cooking, spread it on a plate and let it cool down under a fan.

· Spice levels can be increased or decreased as per taste

· Addition of lemon decreases the salt taste, so after adding the lemon, check for salt and if needed, add again

· Do not skip Chana dal as it gives a crunch to the lemon rice.


· Can Add peanuts to the lemon rice. Fry the peanuts in Oil and keep aside and add when you add the cooked rice.

· Can Add Cashew nuts to the lemon rice. Fry the cashew nuts golden in Oil and keep aside and add when you add the cooked rice.

· You can add green peas, if you are adding green peas, sauté until lighter color in the oil after you add the green chilies and curry leaves

· You can add grated or diced(small) carrots for extra nutrition. if you are adding carrots, sauté until soft in the oil after you add the green chilies and curry leaves

· You can add onion to this recipe.

· You can add ginger to this recipe. Pound ¼ inch ginger and add along with chilies in the recipe.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020


Raw Banana is widely used in Kerala Cuisine. Every part of the banana is packed with nutrition and health benefits. This humble plant, with its flower, stem, fruit and leaf, can be consumed in different ways for overall wellness.
I think no one can cook the Vazhakkai Mezhukkuvarathi (Mezhukkupuratti) like my Grandmother Kaveri, we used to fondly call her “Amma”. Her recipe had the authentic Parawoor (Kerala) touch; that only one of her daughter’s could manage to get close too. Sadly, both are no more. But thankfully, since I was interested in cooking and watched them make this simple recipe very closely, I can share it with all my viewers today.
Amma (My grand mom) moved from Parawoor post marriage in her teens or early 20’s to Bombay (Now Mumbai, but I will refer to as Bombay here) and as most Tamil-Brahmins, Palakkad Iyers (referred henceforth as Tam brams) settled in Matunga. Matunga has a special place in the lives of the Tam brams as it was the land of opportunities and people came to make their fortune here and Bombay being Bombay; full of industrious people, it made available everything that the migrants needed. The coffee powders, the vegetables that would be popular etc. Those days, the vegetable vendors would bring the vegetables straight from the farms in double cane baskets loaded on either side of a pole balanced on their shoulders. They would walk through the lanes and by lanes and market their vegetables by shouting out. Amma used to patronize a vendor as she felt his vegetables were fresh and economical. This guy used to come from Vasai (He was fondly addressed as “Vashaiwalla” by Amma). The guy a Maharashtrian used to speak Hindi in a slang and understood some Tamil words and our enterprising star, Amma who picked up Hindi but with her south Indian slang would bargain with him while buying and also place requests, “Agli baar aaya toh Vazhakkai laana, dhoda jyaada laana, accha kaccha hona mangta, payam nahi laana”
It meant, get more raw bananas next time, it must be nice and green and raw don’t bring it when it has started to ripen.
And the industrious “Vashaiwalla” would say, “It’s very hot and by the time he brings it in the sun, it starts to ripen…ha ha ha.

I’m surely going to cover Amma and her experiences in Bombay in another post of mine.

As a child, we have been in awe of our Grand mom's intelligence and quick wittedness and burst into laughter listening to her hindi at the same time. But no matter what her don't give up attitude is what is the strongest memory we have of her.

The reason Amma’s cooking tasted so good was because the whole process was quality centric. Amma would choose the green, hard and long bananas to the Mondangai’s that would be used in her home town, she said the Bananas in Bombay were delicate and cooked faster and had more taste provided the Vashaiwalla got it as soon as he plucked them and delivered it fresh.

The Vazhakkai Mezhukkuvarathi cooked by the Kerala Iyers (Brahmin style) is very simple. It does not need any other ingredients as used in the regular Kerala Vazhakkai Mezhukkupuratti which has onion, garlic, curry leaves, coconut etc.

But there is one ingredient that cannot be missed and that is “Coconut Oil”.

Some recipes are simple, yet not all can do justice in making it; I wonder why?

There’s so much emotion attached to this simple recipe that every time I wanted to share it, I would get emotional and wouldn’t be able to proceed.
Raw bananas are very nutritious and you must try this simple recipe. Add lots of love too. 

Ingredients (Serves 4)
Raw bananas - 3-4
Virgin Coconut Oil – 3 - 4 tbsps
Mustard seeds - ½ tsp
White lentil split (Urad Dal) - ½ tsp
Turmeric – 1 tsp
Red chilly powder – ½ tsp
Asafetida (Hing) – ¼ tsp
Dry red chillies – 2, broken in half
Salt as per taste 

Wash the bananas, de-stem and cut the end as well. Peel the banana and cut in square chunks. Once diced, put in the water otherwise it will get discoloured. Keep aside.
In an Iron Wok/Pan, Add the coconut oil, once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds, Urad dal and red chillies, when the mustard seeds start to splutter. Add the diced raw bananas. Add turmeric, Asafetida, salt and red chilly powder. Mix well. Add a 4-5 tablespoons of water.
Cover and cook in a low flame, stirring occasionally, until done.
The important thing is the banana has to get cooked well but not become mushy, then add a tablespoon of hot coconut oil and let the raw banana cook until its gets crisp on one side and soft inside.
Serve the vazhakkai Mezhukkuvarathi hot with hot rice, a dollop of ghee, some hot dal (Paruppu) and rasam.


· Use coconut oil only for the authentic taste

· Apply coconut oil before you start peeling and chopping raw banana as it tends to leave a stain on your hands.


· Vazhakkai Mezhukkupuratti can be made by adding onion, garlic, curry leaves & grated coconut as well to the existing recipe.

Saturday, June 20, 2020


The locked down has given me the opportunity to try many new recipes and one such recipe is the “Hyderabad Chickpeas Biryani”. I wonder, how I missed making this beautiful dish all these years.
I had soaked chickpeas and wanted to rustle up something quick and easy.
This dish is a One-pot meal which is what I like to cook on those lazy days when I have to drag myself to the kitchen.
The Texture of this dish is moist like a Biryani so you can call it a Biryani as well. This is an ideal dish to be packed into tiffin boxes to take to work or for kids. Quick to cook, Good to eat.

Ingredients (Serves - 4)
Basmati Rice - 2 cups
Chickpeas - 1 cup (Boiled)
Coriander powder – ½ tsp
Cumin powder – ½ tsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Pulao / Biryani Masala or Garam Masala – ½ tsp
Pickle Masala – ½ tsp (My secret ingredient)
Onions - 2 medium sized
Tomatoes – 2 medium sized
Green chilly – 2
Ginger – ½ inch
Coriander leaves for Garnish

Masalas (whole)
Bay Leaves - 2
Cinnamon stick - 1 slit vertically
Star Anise - 1
Cloves - 2-3
Mace (Javitri) – 1
Black Cardamom (Badi Elaichi) - 1-2
Cardamom whole (Elaichi) - 1-2
Cumin seeds - 2 tsps.
Kasuri methi - 1 tsp
Soda bi-carb - a pinch (optional)
Cooking Oil - 4 tbsps
Salt as per taste

Soak the chickpeas overnight with a pinch of soda. Rinse it well in the morning. Add the soaked and rinsed chickpeas in a cooker. Add water to cover it completely and a cup more. Boil it up to 3 whistles in the pressure cooker. Keep it aside.
Meanwhile, pound the chillies and ginger into a fine paste. Chop the onions into strips(slivers). Chop the tomatoes into chunks.
I cook this dish in the Handi pressure cooker. You can cook it in a wok/pan too.
Add the oil, when the Oil is hot, add all the whole Masalas. Sauté for a minute then add the chillies and ginger paste, fry for a minute, then add the onion slivers and some salt and cook till transparent. Do not cook until brown, Add the Tomatoes and cook until mushy. Add the boiled Chickpeas and stir. After this, add the Pulao / Biryani Masala powder or Garam Masala powder, Coriander powder, Cumin powder, Turmeric powder, Pulao / Biryani Masala or Garam Masala and Pickle Masala (My secret ingredient). Give it a good stir.
Wait until the water in the chickpeas is dry already.
After this, Add the Washed and drained Basmati rice into the mix and mix well.
Mix with a gentle hand, ensuring that you don’t break the grains of rice.
Now add water, the proportion of water and rice 1: 1.5, so for every cup of rice, you add 1.5 cups of water. In our recipe, we will add 3.5 cups of water.
Stir gently till all the ingredients are mixed well.
Add finely chopped coriander leaves and check for salt.
If you need add salt at this stage.
Usually the mix will be slightly salty but everything will balance once cooked. Now close the lid and cook up to 3 whistles in the pressure cooker, if you are cooking in the open pan /wok, close the pan/wok tightly with a lid and steam cook until all the water is absorbed.
Once done, give it a good fluff with a fork.
Do not press hard and stir as you may break the rice.
Hot Chickpeas Pulao is ready.
Garnish with finely chopped Coriander leaves.
Serve Hot with Yogurt (dahi) /raita /pappad /pickle.
Enjoy this beautiful one-pot meal. 
· Do not soak Rice for too long or else they will become soft and break easily and you won’t get to see the beautiful long grains.

· Adding soda bi-carb to chickpeas while soaking is optional, I added because I wasn’t sure if the  chickpeas would be hard or soft. Sometimes, chickpeas don’t get cooked

· When you add Kasuri Methi, rub it between your palms and add, as this brings out the aroma out

· I prefer to cook in my Prestige Handi as it requires no supervision, However, if you are cooking in the pan/wok, please ensure that you put off the gas immediately when the water is absorbed and let it cook on steam else you may burn the bottom side of the pulao.

Monday, May 18, 2020


This locked down has given us a lot of valuable lessons and one such lesson is reducing wastage and conserving our resources, valuing nature and living quality lives, something that was by being practiced by our previous generations but somehow forgotten by us.
There are many parts of vegetables or fruits that we tend to throw missing out on the huge nutritional quotient that it offers. It’s time to start making wonderful recipes from them and getting more value out of your buck.
Something that fancied me during this lock down was the watermelon rind halwa. 
All my life I never knew that we could eat the watermelon rind, imagine the gross wastage of food!!!
The watermelon rind is the firm white part of the fruit that's left behind after the bright pink flesh has been eaten or scooped away. We tend to toss this part of the fruit, but it has a crisp texture similar to a cucumber and is pretty versatile. Apparently, it can be pickled and even made into a chutney!!!
Before I share the recipe, I would like to share the benefits of eating the watermelon Rind.
Watermelon Rind is not only rich in fibre but also in amino acid citrulline, which is concentrated in the rind. Citrulline promotes the dilation of blood vessels. One study Trusted Source suggests that citrulline supplements improve oxygen delivery to muscles, potentially improving exercise performance and can help boost the Libido in Men. It helps in lowering your blood pressure. With so many health benefits who would want to throw the Rind.

So here is the recipe, It’s simple and easy

Watermelon rind – 1 cup
Sugar – ¼ - ½ cup
Ghee – 2
Cardamom a pinch

This recipe is simple, after eating the fruit, scrape and scoop out the white portion onto a cup. You can dice the rind, but since I scraped it out the texture was like grated squash so I didn’t further chop it.  
In a wok, Take the sugar, add water enough to cover the sugar. For Example, ½ cup sugar needs ½ cup water. Add a pinch of cardamom powder. Cook until the syrup becomes viscous and the texture feels like oil. At this point, add the scraped watermelon rind, cook until the mixture becomes one and there’s no more water left, you have to keep stirring for a couple of minutes on a high flame. Keep stirring well. Don’t leave it unattended as it can quickly catch the bottom. Don’t let it catch the bottom. When it starts to thicken and leaving the sides of the pan, you know it’s done.
Your halwa is done, serve warm.

·       You can alternatively grind the rind in a blender
·       Nuts of your choice can be added, I didn’t add any nuts in my recipe.
·       You can use Palm sugar or any other sweetener as a replacement for sugar.

·       Adjust the sugar according to taste. I took ½ cup, but felt that it was too sweet as the watermelon itself was very sweet. Sweetness depends on the melon you get as well.
·        If you are vegan you can avoid ghee.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020


Khichdi is the soul food of the Indians!!! Khichdi is a rice lentil porridge that is usually eaten when you want something light yet nutritious.
Making the Khichdi with Brown Rice, packs the humble khichdi to a different level. Brown rice has high levels of fibre and a low glycemic index and carbohydrates.
Khichdi can be made using any variety of rice, but, brown rice retains its healthy bran and germ throughout processing, allowing it to maintain some of those powerful nutrients that the white rice has lost. This processing also allows brown rice to retain valuable minerals like magnesium, phosphorous, and manganese.
Brown rice also has a delicious nutty flavor and a chewy texture due to the nutritious bran layer.
Brown rice has numerous potential health benefits, including high levels of fibre and the potential to lower blood pressure and can help the body to effectively use insulin, maintain a healthier weight, and increase potassium levels.
In India, khichdi is usually served to people recovering from illness, surgeries as it is light and easy to digest. It’s a one pot meal and can be packed with loads of vegetables as well.

Ingredients (Serves - 4)
Brown rice - 1 ½ cup
Yellow Moong dal – ½ cup
Green chillies - 2
Ginger - ½ inch
Onion - 1
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Coriander Leaves finely chopped – 2 tbsp
Asafoetida (Hing) – A pinch
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Peppercorns – 3-4
Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
Salt as per taste
Ghee /Oil - 2 tsp

Wash the rice and Yellow moong dal. Soak it in hot water for about an hour.
Meanwhile, dry roast 1 tsp of the cumin seeds and peppercorns and pound them into a coarse powder.
Pound the Ginger and chillies into a coarse paste, you can alternatively also mince it small or run it in a blender.
Heat ghee/oil in a pressure cooker. Add cumin seeds. When the seeds start to crackle, add the green chillies and ginger paste, sauté, after about a minute, add in the finally chopped onions, curry leaves, sauté until the onion is cooked. Add a dash of Asafoetida, Himalayan Pink Salt and sauté. Drain the lentils and rice and add to this mix. Mix well, Add the coarsely pounded cumin seeds and pepper powder and mix well.
Now add water, the water ratio is depending on the rice. So, If you are taking 1 cup of rice you need to add 2 cups of water.
But since, you have lentils cooking along as well, you will add 3 cups of water. In my recipe, I have 1.5 cup of rice and ½ cup moong dal, so I have taken 4-4.5 cups water. I pressure cook for up to 4-5 whistles. (If cooking in a pan, cook for about 20 minutes till the lentils are tender and the rice is cooked through). I prefer the pressure cooker as I’m always worried about brown rice not getting cooked well.
Once done, wait for the steam to work its magic on the khichdi.
Open after 15 minutes, mix well, garnish with coriander and serve hot with a dollop of yogurt, pickles and papad.
This is the basic recipe.

·       Adding a ¼ tsp of Pickle oil takes the paste to the next level. If do not have pickle oil, you can add ¼ tsp of pickle masala for an added flavour.
·       Use Ghee instead of Oil for the additional taste. If instead of ghee you use Oil, this dish can be categorized under Vegan recipes.
·       Vegetables of your choice can be added, usually, carrots(diced), green peas, spinach chopped fine etc. are added.
·       You can add 2 pods of garlic, if you like the taste, pound the garlic, along with the green chillies and ginger and follow the recipe above.
·       You can add a tsp of Garam Masala powder if you like some flavour.
·       You can add a tsp of Kasuri methi (dried methi leaves) while sautéing the onions.
·       You can add a tsp of Tomato Puree if you like.

Monday, May 16, 2016


Paruppu Podi with steaming hot rice is food for the soul. It is a saving grace when we are not feeling well or tired and lazy to cook an elaborate meal. Whenever we go to the restaurants and order an Andhra meal, my hubby Yo completely relishes Paruppu podi mixed with steaming hot rice and a dollop of ghee.
Nowadays, we can buy Paruppu podi from the shops and they come in various permutations and combinations and do taste good. But nothing can beat the aroma, the flavour and the taste of the freshly roasted and ground podi at home.
Mix hot steaming rice with some Paruppu podi and ghee or Gingelly oil and it’s a one pot meal. Some fried and roasted papadam will do well with it.
There are many variations to this recipe. Below is an absolutely divine recipe. This is my grandmother’s recipe and I got this from my cousin sister. I made it for my trip overseas and it was definitely a hit. Do try it and enjoy.

Toor Dal (Split Pigeon Peas) – 1 Cup
Chana Dal – 2 tbsps (Split Bengal gram dal)
Red Chilly – 3 Nos.
Peppercorns – 1 tsp
Asafoetida – ¼ tsp
Salt as per Taste


Dry roast the ingredients till the dals turns into a golden brown color. Add in the salt and asafoetida.

Once it’s cool, grind it into a fine powder.

Enjoy yummy paruppu podi with hot rice and a dollop of ghee or gingelly oil.
Store the remaining in an air tight jar for enjoying later.

·         You can add 1 tbsp of Urad Dal (Split Black Gram/ White lentil). Just roast along with the above ingredients and grind.
·         You can add curry leaves, Wash, dry and roast along with the above ingredients and grind. Gives a good aroma and is good for health too.
·         You can add Garlic. Just peel and roast 4-5 cloves of Garlic along with the above ingredients and grind.
·         You can add 1 tbsp of Desiccated coconut powder (dry). This can be dry roasted and added. (If you add coconut it won’t have a longer shelf life).

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Here I am proud to present yet another kerala-iyer dish, the Green tomatoes Aviyal, this is very popular at home.
Green tomatoes are a healthy source of fiber, which your intestinal and digestive systems rely on for good health. One cup of green tomatoes supplies about 2 grams of dietary fiber. Fiber is present in most fruits, vegetables and whole grains, so increasing your intake of these foods, including cooked green tomatoes, can help you get enough in your diet. The Harvard School of Public Health reports that a diet that includes plenty of fiber may help you reduce your risk of several life-threatening conditions, including heart disease, colon cancer and Type 2 diabetes. Fiber also keeps your digestive system working well so you are less likely to experience constipation.
Green tomatoes also contain nutrients like beta-carotene, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, protein, and vitamin K. This recipe would make it worth to add these lovely green tomatoes to your menu.
Once in a way when I visit the Giant hypermart I get to see some green tomatoes nestled in between the ripe red ones or the semi-ripe tomatoes. This time I decided to pick a few for my dish. In yesteryears, where people used to grow tomatoes in their garden they had the luxury to pluck and make these but now we have to rely on supply from our super stores. Green tomatoes have a tart taste to it which is loved by many. It’s usually made as a side dish with Molaghootal / Kootu

Green tomatoes - 6 nos
Turmeric - a pinch
Red chilli powder - 1/4tspn
Fresh grated coconut - 1/2 cup
Dried Red Chilly  - 1
Cumin seeds -1 teaspoon
Salt as per taste
Coconut oil -1 tspn
Curry leaves - 1 sprig

Rinse the tomatoes well. Slice the tomatoes into 4 parts, don’t make think slices or small pieces as it will melt when cooked into a puree. The tomatoes have to be chunky before cooking.  In a vessel, add the sliced tomatoes, some turmeric, red chilly powder  and salt and curry leaves and cook it covered.
Meanwhile, Grind the coconut with the dried red chilly and cumin seeds to a smooth paste.  Once the tomatoes are cooked, Add in the ground coconut paste, check for salt, if required you can adjust now, you can also add chilly powder for a slightly fiery taste. Don’t let the gravy boil for too long as it will become very watery. After a boil or so, once all the ingredients are mixed well and the taste according to you is perfect, drizzle some raw coconut oil on top. This is done for giving it a dash of flavor. It’s kind of a grand finale for this dish.
Now put the lid on and let the flavors mingle for a while.
In some hot white  rice, drizzle some ghee, add your Molaghutal to the rice, mix well, take a helping of the Tomato Aviyal and eat Molaghutal rice with it and with some fried lijjat papads. That’s the way we eat this and savor the blend of various tastes in our mouth.

Note -:

·    While grinding the coconut instead of dried red chilly you can add green chilly. I like the flavor of the dried red chilly so I added dried red chilly to my dish.
·       Don’t add tamarind or Yogurt as Green tomatoes are quite sour on it’s own.
·    You can add onions/shallots to this dish for more flavor, but what I have shared is a traditional recipe.
 (Nutritional Value Info courtesy –


Friday, January 10, 2014


This time when I went for my weekend grocery shopping, I saw bags of frozen Toovar Lilva, all neatly picked, sorted and frozen. The fresh ones are not available so easily in Singapore and seeing such a convenient pack I decided to buy it.
Usually when I buy this I use it in the Surti Undhio. This time I thought I will make something different from it and decided to make a Pulav out of it which is a one pot meal at home on the days when I am lazy to cook and I need to rustle up something quickly.
Here is a recipe of the Toovar Lilva Pulav for people who like some variety in their palette.
The Toovar Lilva Pulav was such a hit in our house that it got over in no time.

Toovar Lilva / Pigeon Peas – 1 cup
Basmati Rice – 1 ½ cup washed and drained
Bay leaves - 1
Cumin Seeds – 1 tbsp
Cinnamon sticks – 1
Clove / Lavang – 1
Turmeric – ½ tsp (Optional)
Asafetida – a pinch
Onion – 1 finely chopped (Optional)
Freshly chopped coriander leaves – 2 tbsps
Oil – 2 tbsps
Salt as per taste

To Be Ground Into A Smooth Paste (using Little Water)
Chopped Coriander leaves – ½ cup
Green chillies – 4
Ginger paste – 1 tsp
Lemon Juice - ½  tbsp
Fresh Green Garlic (Hara Lehsun) – ¼ cup (Optional)

Rinse out 1 ½ cups of long grained Basmati rice and then soak it for a while in water.
I used the frozen pigeon peas, Incase you are using the frozen Toovar Lilva, kindly soak it in some warm water. If you are using fresh ones just rinse the pigeon peas out through a colander and they are ready to use.
Now, take the chopped coriander leaves, green chilly paste, ginger paste, a pinch of salt, Lemon juice and the fresh green garlic and blend to fine consistency in a mixie / blender adding a little water.
(I didn’t use the green garlic & onion in this recipe)

In a wok, put 2 tablespoons of oil, once the oil is heated add in the Bay leaves, Cinnamon stick, clove and the cumin seeds, once you see the cumin getting fried, add in a pinch of Asafetida (I always like to asafetida in my dishes as it has property to remove gases and in this recipe we have beans so it is good to add some), and fry for a minute.
Now add in the finely chopped onions and sauté until transparent. The onion should look shrunk and well fried.
After this, add in the Corriander-green chilly-ginger-lemon juice paste and sauté well. The color of the paste when fried well becomes slightly light.
Ensure that you don’t burn the masala as then the pulav won’t taste so good.
Meanwhile drain the water of the Toovar Lilva by passing it through a colander (if using the frozen ones).
Once, the masala turns into a lighter color. Add in the Toovar Lilva and sauté until the Pigeon peas turn into a lighter green,
After this add in the rinsed and soaked Basmati rice without any water and sauté for 2-3 minutes adding salt as per the taste and mixing everything well.
Once this is done you can put this in a rice cooker and add water according to finger level consistency for example when you put your finger in you will know how much rice is there, that much water has to be added or alternatively add water until the rice is completely immersed and there is another tea-cup of water on top. The water level has to be perfect for a perfect pulav, now switch on the rice cooker and keep to cook position.
I always use the electric rice cooker for pulav in Singapore but you can make it in a non stick wok by closing the lid and keeping the gas on a low flame.
Either way it cooks well. Once the rice cooks, give it a light stir so that everything mixes well without breaking the grains of rice Put the lid back and let it stand for another five minutes. Then turn off the plug.
Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot.
If you want to decorate it some more you can even garnish it with freshly grated paneer.
Enjoy the refreshing Toovar Lilva pulav with any gravy of your choice or just with Papad, pickle and raita, It’s a complete meal.

Monday, May 2, 2011


This is absolutely on the top of my “Comfort foods” list. This curry can never stop exciting me to have my grub. Hot rice, a small dollop of ghee (thanks to weight watching) mixed with rasam and the hot and spicy urulakizhangu kaara curry, simply lip smackingly awesome.
Urulakizhangu means potato in Tamil, Kaaram means spicy, Curry means a dry curry (it can also mean something with gravy), but this recipe is a dry curry recipe.
On a boring day when you have run out of ideas as to what to cook and feel totally uninspired and feel like nothing could be as laborious and cumbersome like cooking, this would be the dish that would totally cheer you up. Simple, yet delicious. Hardly takes any time to cook. Ready in a jiffy. You can even have this with Yogurt and rice.

Potatoes – 5-6
Red chillies - 1
Red chilly powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Cumin powder – 1 tsp
Sambhar powder – 1tsp
Pickle Masala(Achar Masala) – 1 tsp
Asafetida – pinch
Salt to taste
Oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard -1 tsp
Cumin – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – a sprig
Coriander leaves for garnish
Wash, boil and peel the potatoes. Mash them and keep it aside. Don’t mash the potatoes into a paste, just crumble them. If you are not good at mashing well, just dice them into chunky cubes. It works both ways.
In a Kadhai (wok), heat some oil add mustard, when the mustard begins to crackle add the cumin and break the red chilly into 2 pieces and let it fry. Keep the gas on sim and then add all the masala powders, asafetida, curry leaves, and salt as per taste and then add the mashed potatoes. Mix well, check for salt, if less add now and mix. While mixing don’t mash the potato just turn it gently. Let this cook for a few minutes.
Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves. Mix well and serve hot with Poori/ chappati or hot rice and sambhar/rasam/dal

Tips :-
If you don’t get the pickle masala, dry roast, 1 tsp of mustard seeds and 1/4 tsp of fenugreek seeds and grind into a fine powder.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I went for my grocery shopping this weekend and saw a green fresh bundle of mint leaves waiting for me to pick it. I couldn’t resist. It’s scorching hot these days…global warming and all, so I thought I would make something exotic to drink with the Mint, as Mint is cooling and refreshing during summers.....
We come home pretty late sometimes after work and usually frequent this Pure vegetarian Bachelor’s joint @ Serangoon. This joint is open until late and when we reached there at about 10.45pm he told me to try the variety rice for the day, which turned out to be very tasty, when I asked him what rice was that bang came the answer, “Budinaah Rice”(Pudina Rice). Instead of making just Pudina rice I thought why not make Pudina Pulav (Mint Pulav). Since I had the perfectly fresh and beautiful Mint leaves waiting for me in my refrigerator I thought why not let my family taste this wonderful variety rice, so here is my refreshingly inviting Mint rice, sorry didn’t keep any mint leaves for the garnish in the enthusiasm to get that perfect balance in taste.
Mint leaves – 1 bunch
Long grained Basmati Rice – 2 cups
Onions – 2
Green peas – 1 cup
French Beans – 1/2 cup
Carrots – 1/2 cup
Corns – 1/2 cup
Green Chilly paste – 1-2 teaspoons (depending on how spicy the paste is or how much spice you like)
Ginger paste – 2 teaspoons
Bay leaves – 2
Star Anise – 1
Cinnamon sticks – 1
Big Elaichi (Badi Elaichi) – 1
Small Elaichi - 1
Clove – 1
Cumin Seeds – 1 tbsp
Asafetida – a pinch
Garam Masala – 1 tsp
Pulav Masala – 2 tsps
Freshly chopped coriander leaves – 2 tbsps
Oil – 2 tbsps
Salt as per taste
Take the bunch of mint leaves and pluck out only the leaves and if you find the stem attachedto the leaf very tender you can use that also, but if the stems are thick please don’t use. Rinse it well under running water in a colander and keep aside for the water to drain. Meanwhile Rinse out 2 cups of long grained Basmati rice and then soak it for a while in water
Now take the mint leaves, green chilly paste, ginger paste, a pinch of salt and blend to fine consistency in a mixie / blender without adding water.
Now take a wok, put 2 tablespoons of oil, once the oil is heated add in the Bay leaves, Star Anise, Cinnamon stick, Big elaichi, small elaichi, clove and the cumin seeds, once you see the cumin getting fried, add in a pinch of Asafetida(I always like to asafetida in my dishes as it has property to remove gases and in this recipe we have legumes so it is good to add some), the Garam masala, the puav masala and fry for a minute. Now add in the finely chopped onions and sauté until transparent. The onion should look shrunk and well fried. Now, add in the mint-green chilly-ginger paste and sauté well. The color of the paste when fried well becomes slightly light. Ensure that you don’t burn the masala as then the pulav won’t taste so good. Once, the mint masala turns into a lighter color. Add in the vegetables(instead of the fresh vegetables mentioned above you can use 1 ½ cups of frozen mixed vegetables, but I can tell you fresh vegetables taste better thanthe frozen ones) and sauté until the green peas turn into a lighter green, then add in the rinsed and soaked Basmati rice without any water and sauté for 2-3 minutes adding salt as per the taste and mixing everything well. Once this is done you can put this in a rice cooker and add water according to finger level consistency for example when you put your finger in you will know how much rice is there, that much water has to be added or alternatively add water until the rice is completely immersed and there is another cup of water on top. The water level has to be perfect for a perfect pulav, now switch on the rice cooker and keep to cook position. I always use the electric rice cooker for pulav in Singapore but you can make it in a non stick wok by closing the lid and keeping the gas on a low flame. Either way it cooks well. Once the rice cooks, give it a light stir so that everything mixes well without breaking the grains of rice Put the lid back and let it stand for another five minutes. Then turn off the plug.Garnish with coriander / mint leaves.Serve hot. If you want to decorate it some more you can even garnish it with freshly grated paneer.Enjoy the refreshing Mint pulav with any gravy of your choice or just with Papad, pickle and raita, It’s a complete meal.

I would like to send my Mint pulav to
Sara’s Cooking with seeds : Cumin seeds event , since I am using Cumin seeds in this dish

And since it has green peas and beans, I am sending this to Susan’s My legume Love affair 23 Event

And since the main ingredient is Mint (green), this also goes to Preeti’s Green Gourmet Event

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I was tired of heavy and complicated recipes so decided to churn out this simple recipe with ingredients easily available in any Indian kitchen. Aloo Gobi is a comfort food and a sure hit in my house. It is Yo’s favorite. Here is a fast to cook and good to eat recipe.

Cauliflower – ½ kilo
Potatoes -1
Onion – 1
Grated Ginger/Gingerpaste - 1 tsp
Tomatoes – 1
Cumin seeds – 2 tsps
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Red chilly powder – 1 tsp
Asafetida – a pinch
Salt as per taste
Oil – 1 tbsp
Freshly chopped coriander for garnish (optional)
Peel the florets of the cauliflower and keep the florets in some warm water with some salt and turmeric for about half an hour. Meanwhile, peel and chop the potatoes into cubes/wedges. Chop the onions and tomatoes as well. Keep aside. Now the drain the water off the cauliflower florets and rinse well. In a wok, Add one tbsp oil, add the cumin seeds, when the cumin seeds start to fry. Add the onions, when the onions become transparent, add in the tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are soft, then add the potato wedges, Cook for 5-7 minutes. After which add the cauliflower florets and mix well, now add the chilly powder, turmeric powder, asafetida and salt as per taste. Mix everything well, cover with a lid and cook on a low flame. After every 5 minutes give it a stir, you will see that the vegetables have become moist. Always allow it to cook in its own juices. If you see that there is no water, add a bit and cook covered on a low flame. After about 10 minutes you will notice that the potatoes are cooked, check if cooked with a spoon, if not wait until the potatoes are cooked. Cauliflower usually cooks fast. Once it is done, you can garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with chappatis or u can have it with dal and rice. Tastes great.


  • Do not add water to  the vegetables as the potatoes will get mashed and your vegetable will get soggy.
  • Instead of red chilly powder, you can add ginger-green chilly paste
  • You can add other spices like coriander powder, cumin powder, anardana powder, amchur powder, garam masala in any combinations of your choice. I didn't add in this because i wanted to share a simple and easy recipe with minimum ingredients.
  • You can avoid onions in this recipe if you do not like the flavor of onions. 
  • You can avoid ginger in this recipe 

Purva and LG have passed me the Great Buddy Award
and 360 degree Foodie Award

I would love to thank both of them for these awards.

LG has also showered upon me a few awards,
A Perfect Blend Of Friendship Award
Iam a Chocoholic award
Kreativ Blogger Award
Hard Working Food Blogger Award

Inspiration Award
Thanks Lakshmi for these lovely awards. It really makes your day.

Monday, August 18, 2008


I would like to send this exotic Karnataka delight to Sheetal of Sweety-My Kitchen for the SWC-Karnataka Event that she is hosting in her blog.
BISI BELA HULI ANNABisi Bele Huli Anna is one of the most exotic and tasty rice treat that originates from Karnataka. In Tamilnadu we make it quite similar to this and call it Sambhar chadam. My recipe is a cross between both states. The Bisi Bele Bhaat (BBB) has many variations, Some use Cinammon, clove, nutmeg, poppy seeds etc. This is how I prepare it at home and all relish this version. You can fry cashewnuts in ghee and add to the recipe for an exotic nutty touch.This dish is extremely nutritious as it has many vegetables and nothing can beat a hot and simmering plate of BBB drizzled with ghee, melting over it and a batch of pappadams to go with it.
Basmati rice – 2 cups
Toor daal – 1 cup
Drumsticks – 1 stick
Onions – 2
Tomatoes - 1
Potatoes – 1
Raw Banana – 1
Brinjal – 1-2
Frozen vegetables – 1 cup (carrots, beans, & green peas)
Tamarind – lemon sized ball soaked in water
Mustard seeds – 1tsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – a sprig
Coriander leaves to garnish
Ghee to drizzle on top of the servings
Asafetida – a pinch
Salt as per taste
For MasalaFreshly grated coconut -3-4tbsps
Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Red chillies -3-4
Peppercorns – ½ tsp
Fenugreek – ½ tsp
Onion – ½ an onion chopped / you can alternatively use 2 small onions (shallots/chinna vengayam)
MethodRinse and soak the basmati rice for about 5 -7 minutes.
Wash the toor daal and add 1 1/2 cups of water to it. Half cook it in a pressure cooker. Keep aside.
Roast all the ingredients stated above in the Wet masala and grind into a thick paste using a little water at a time. Keep this masala aside.
Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. When they stop spluttering add the onions and fry till soft. Then add the tomatoes, then add the rest of the vegetables and the wet masala, fry until the green peas look light green in color, the vegetables should be half cooked only, now add the soaked rice and mix well and sauté for about 5 minutes, Add the tamarind juice, the salt as per taste and a pinch of asafetida, mix well, Add the cooked toor dal, mix well. Now add 1½ cups of water to this. Pressure cook this until 3 whistles or you can also cook it in the pan, cook covered until the rice and vegetables are done.
Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with papads, add a dollop of ghee on top while serving.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Vatta Kozhambu is a spicy tamarind based curry which goes well with steamed rice & pappads.
The Vatta Kozhambu also known as Vatthal or Vettral(Vettal) Kozhambu ( Because of the use of Vattals also known as Vettral/Vettal(dried vegetables)).
It may be also known as Vatha kuzhambu because of the process. As a joke, you can say, “Vatti vatti pohara kuzhambu (means you add the water and let it reduce and keep repeating it till the raw smell of the tamarind goes).
Vatti vatti pohardu (in Tamil means as the water starts to reduce).
No cooked lentils are added to this kuzhambu, so this kuzhambu can be prepared immediately with no much preparation with the ingredients available in your kitchen.
The Vatta Kozhambu is a famous Tanjorian preparation.

The divide between the Tanjorians and the Pattars of Kerala was not more sharply delienated than in the making of the staple sambhar. The tanjorians were fearfully called easterners by the Kerala Iyers - they would not give their daughters in marriage to a Tanjore family for fear of ill treatment of their daughters but welcomed the Tanjore daughter-in-law as she could be depended upon to run the family with smartness and acumen - make the vettal kuzhambu(sambhar without paruppu (dal)) more frequently. The price of dal was prohibitive for an ordinary family making its living by rituals and temple largesse. So a spoonful of dal, the paruppu at the corner of your banana leaf was served, labelled auspicious, and the rice was eaten mixed with the tamarind pulp, spices and rice-powder-thickened kuzhambu.
(Excerpts from my Article : Sambhar- Story of the South Indian Curry. Refer to the Culinary stories section of my blog for the entire article.)
In the olden days Vatta Kozhambu used to be packed and taken while traveling from village to village for trade or business purposes, as this dish doesn’t tend to get spoilt.
I still remember the aroma and taste of the Vatta Kozhambu prepared by my mom, when we used to be travelling to Madras (now Chennai) by the Madras Mail from Mumbai, a journey of 2 days. Amma would carry the Vatta Kozhambu in a bottle and the taste when mixed with rice would be heavenly.
Incase you are putting onions or any other vegetables, you must remember that it wont last as long as the plain vatta kozhambu but still lasts longer than any other curry.
The Vengaya Vatta Kozhambu tastes better when older as the essence of the onions enter the curry completely and enhance the taste. I am sure once you have tried this recipe, your family will be begging for more.
It remains for 2-3 days in the refrigerator if vegetables are added and lasts upto a week if vegetables are not added even without refrigeration.

Vattals used:
Sundakkai / Manathakkali or any vegetable Vattal - 1 tbsp of the vattal
Papadams – 2

Vegetables used:
Fresh Brinjals / Lady's fingers / Tomatoes / Small onions (Chinna vengayam) / Onions. -1 cup of chopped vegetables.
Tamarind - a golf size ball soaked in water
Sambhar Powder / Vattha Kuzhambu powder – 1 ½ - 2 tbspn.
Mustard seeds – 1 tspn
Udad Dal - 1 tspn.
Fenugreek seeds – ½ tspn
Dry Red Chillies - 4 de-seeded (if you are adding with the seed just add 1-2)
Asafoetida Powder – 1 tspn
Curry Leaves - One Sprig
Oil - 4-6 tbsps.
Sugar – 1-2 tspns
Salt to taste
Rice flour – 1 tablespoon (for thickness)

Soak the tamarind in water & extract the pulp (juice). Keep this aside.
Heat 4-6 tablespoons of oil in a kadhai. Break the papadams into small quarters and fry them. Keep aside on a plate.
Now Fry the Vattals, You can use one or all of the vattals mentioned above. I have used Sundakkai and Tamara Kazhangu (lotus roots) vattal.
Sundakkai and Manathakkali vattals are very good for health.
You can use any vattal like Pavakkai(Bitter gourd), Vendakkai (Ladies Fingers) vattal, Maa (Salted dried Mango) Vattal  etc.
Keep aside the fried vattals on a plate.
Now in the same oil, Add mustard seeds, udad dal, fenugreek seeds and the dry red chillies. When the mustard seeds start to crackle, Add the curry leaves.
Now add the vegetables you are using and stir fry in the oil.
If you are using only Chinna Vengayam (Small Onions) – Peel and use as whole
Incase of big Onions, peel and chop into small pieces. Incase of onions stir fry until transparent before adding the next ingredient.
When you add onions, it is called "Vengaya Vatta Kozhambu".
Incase, you are using other vegetables, for example Brinjals have to be cut into long thick slits. If you make the Vattha kuzhambu using Brinjal, it is known as Katrikkai Vattha kuzhambu
Ladies fingers are cut into lengthwise finger length strips. If using only ladies finger, it is known as Vendakkai Vathha kuzhambu
If fresh Lotus roots are used cut them into roundels.
If tomatoes are used, you can cut the tomatoes into small cubes.
Once the seasoning is ready, add the vegetables you are using and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
Now add the sambhar powder and salt and mix well. The sambhar powder should get fried in the oil (not only will this remove the raw powder smell but give a good color and aroma to your vatta kozhambu).
At this stage add your fried papadams and fried vattals that you have kept aside and stir fry with the masala and vegetables.
You can use freshly prepared Vatta Kozhambu masala (as shown below) and add to the vegetables instead of using the Sambhar powder.
Add the Tamarind water (pulp) and mix well.
Add 4-5 glasses of water & allow to simmer nicely.
The longer it is cooked the better it tastes. After 15-20 minutes of boiling. If you see there isn’t much water left, add some more water as much as the quantity required by you. You keep adding water, till the raw smell (pacchai vaadai) of the tamarind disappears.
Once you feel the raw tamarind smell disappears. Add water according to the quantity of kozhambu required by you. Allow it to come to the boiling point.
Now take the Rice flour in a small bowl and mix with water, ensure there are no lumps. Add this solution to the boiling vatta kozhambu and boil for another 5 minutes. This thickens the kozhambu.
Switch off the gas.
Serve the Vatta Kozhambu with Hot Steamed Rice, A teaspoon of melted ghee and roasted or fried pappadams.

  • Vatta Kozhambu will last longer when more oil is added, hence 4-6 tbsps of oil are added.
  • Can add Fresh Brinjals / Lady's fingers / Tomatoes/ Lotus roots
  • You can avoid Onions completely.
  • If you are using only Chinna Vengayam (Small Onions) - Peel and use as whole
            You can use any vattal like Sundakkai and Manathakkali vattals, Tamara
Kazhangu (lotus roots),  Pavakkai(Bitter gourd), Vendakkai (Ladies Fingers), Vattal Maa (Salted dried Mango) Vattal  etc.
  • You can add Pappadams - cut them in small quarters & fry them. Keep aside on a plate.

Fresh Vatta Kozhambu Masala
Udad Dal - 2 tspns
Pepper corns - 1 tspn
Fenugreek – ¼ tsp
Coriander – 1 tbsp
Red Chillies - 3- 4
Asafoetida a bit
Oil – A tsp
Fry all the above ingredients in a little oil until golden brown & grind to a smooth paste. Add this paste, After you add the tamarind juice to the vegetables and follow the above method to prepare delicious Vattha Kozhambu.


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