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Showing posts with label IYER RECIPES. Show all posts
Showing posts with label IYER RECIPES. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 11, 2020


GOKULASHTAMI / KRISHNASHTAMI /JANMASHTAMI /KRISHNA JAYANTI, the Birthday of Lord Krishna is round the corner and one of his favourites is Seedai/Cheedai, a savoury crispy crunchy rice lentil balls.
Every year during Gokulashtami Amma used to make Seedais and we used to absolutely love them. We as kids used to toss Seedais into our mouth or each other’s mouth to see if we can aim right, we used to enjoy this challenge although, we used to get scolded for it.
Making seedais was a family ritual, with all of us involved in the rolling the dough balls. 
Ah!!! Missing those days of family bonding so much, especially in making seedai, the more the people the merrier it would be. 
Appa (the major general of our little army) would trick us into competing on who would roll out more seedai balls quickly, we would immediately take on the challenge, so we can win. We would await this ritual every year eagerly until one year, Amma had kept everything ready but as she popped the seedais into the oil, the seedais burst and the oil splattered and she got burnt badly, she had very bad burn marks on her stomach and hand.
My Appa got so angry that he threw all the dough into the bin and told Amma that henceforth she should not make any Bakshanam(Savouries) that would have the potential to burst and that was that. Appa used to buy all the Bakshanams from our dear Madras Stores(Readymade). 
Amma used to prepare Appam, Vadai etc for neivedyam but no more savouries.
The fear continued and I never attempted making seedai to as the incident had scared me. Anyways, Grand Sweets (Chennai) available in our Abdul Rahim stores, Upper dickson road, Singapore was always there for my rescue, Jai Ho!!!
But looking at so many people attempting this savoury, I got tempted to try too.
Just to be honest with you, I’m a "quick gun Murugan" chef and like quick recipes I don’t like to do too many laborious preparations. So in my recipe I have used the store-bought Rice flour and Udad flour (readymade flours), I have used dessicated coconut as well. 
Here’s my recipe of the Seedai, My recipe can make about ½ a kilo (500 gms) of Seedais

Ingredients (Makes about ½ kg of Seedai)
Rice Flour – ¾ cup
Split white lentil (Udad Dal /Urad dal/ Ulutham parippu) Flour – 1 tbsp
Split Bengal Gram lentil (Chana Dal/Kadalaparuppu) - 1 tbsp
Grated Coconut – 2 tbsp
Asafoetida (Hing / Perungayam) - ½ tsp
Butter – 1 tbsp
Salt as per Taste
Oil for Deep Frying
A muslin cloth or towel

Soak the Chana dal in water for about 15 minutes.
Dry roast the flours in a non-stick pan for about 2-3 minutes in a low flame, ensuring to stand and monitor the roasting and not letting it change colour or catch the bottom. Let it cool down.
Now, Sieve the Flours, this is very important. Do not use the flour which has not passed through the sieve. This ensures that you get a smooth flour with no lumps.
Now, in a deep Mixing ball, Add the flours as per the measure above, add in the grated coconut, asafoetida, butter, the soaked and drained Chana dal and salt as per taste. Mix well, the butter should get one with the flour, so that when you hold it in your hand, it forms the shape of your hand. Then add water little by little and knead well to make a smooth dough. The best part about rice flour is it’s easily manageable with people who are not much experienced as well.
The dough should be stiff and not sticky to your hands. Add water slowly, sprinkle little by little if not confident.
Now, grease your fingers with some oil, take a small quantity of dough and roll it into a tiny ball.
While rolling, we need to roll it gently into a pliable ball, if too hard the seedai may burst.
Do not make big balls, the smaller the balls, the crunchier they turn out. Continue making the balls.
If you do not have people helping you making the balls while you are frying then you need to wet a muslin cloth, squeeze the excess water, the cloth must be moist and throw the balls onto the moist cloth, this is to ensure that the flour doesn’t get dry. Rice flour gets dry very fast.
As you keep making the balls then just cover it with the cloth gently.
Once finished rolling all the balls check, if you feel the balls are moist, allow them to dry out a bit before you start frying
Now comes the frying part, this by far is the most crucial part of making the Seedai.
Before you start, frying we need to ensure that the oil is nice and hot, but not fuming hot. Put a tiny pinch of dough to check first, if you see that the dough comes rising to the top, means your oil is ready.
I usually out one as a test run to see how it reacts (Because of my fear factor), once done, and all ok I add batches of about 15-20 balls at a time. Once you put in a batch of seedais in oil, keep the strainer ladle on top just in case and do not turn them immediately. Increase the flame a bit as when you drop a batch the temperature goes down, after about a minute, lower the flame and slowly turn the seedais to the other side. Let them fry on one side. If we keep the flame high to speed up the process, the seedai will turn brown and instead of being crunchy will be cooked on the outside and chewy on the inside.
The right temperature and being alert during the frying process is a must to ensure perfect seedais. Deep fry the balls until golden in color and you can feel them sound like little marbles on your ladle. Remove and drain excess oil on a paper towel. Allow it to cool down, then store the seedais in an airtight box.
I made this is as a neivedhyam Bakshanam for Gokulashtami. It gave me immense pleasure to serve my Lord, the Home made seedais made with love.
Enjoy these little crunchy balls on the go or as a snack with your tea/coffee. 

Statutory Warning !!!
Do not pop into your mouth, the hot seedai balls once out of the oil you may burn your tongue. Let it cool down first.  The crunch comes only once cool down.


· Follow the ratio exactly as given in my website. We need to use the right ratio otherwise the seedai will not turn out good. Adding more udad dal flour, makes the seedai burst open as well and you will see that the color would become dark, similarly adding less udad dal flour makes the color very light.

· You can sieve the flours twice to ensure that the flour is butter smooth, this ensures that the seedais won’t burst when frying. Better to be safe than sorry since we are using the store-bought readymade flours. Anil Rice flour/Kuzhakattai flour/Idiyappam flour are all good to make this recipe.

In my recipe I have used dessicated coconut. Incase, you are using fresh coconut roast them to a pink colour. After roasting, let it cool before adding to your flour mix.

· Adding more butter will make the seedai too brittle.

· To make more just double the measurements given 


· Vegans can replace butter with 1 tablespoon of Coconut oil, if adding oil, slightly warm up the oil     before adding.

· For those who want to make it the traditional way using the home made rice flour, which is considered by the elders and experienced as the best due to its smooth texture and also because you know what rice goes into the making.

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.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005


Sambar Powder is one of the staple Masala powders in my kitchen.
Every recipe has a story and this one is very interesting.
When I got married and moved to Singapore Amma made me a big ziplock bag full of Sambar powder. She was worried, her little baby is going to manage cooking in a country so far away. Not that I was a baby, but my mother never allowed me to cook or near the gas as she was afraid I would get burnt. I had a very protective mother or should I say overprotective🤔.
To cut the long story short, the sambar powder didn't last long as the whiff of the aroma of the Sambar made waves in the foreign land. People started visiting often requesting me to make my famous Sambar, But alas, when the sambar powder got over, I had to buy a packet from the store.
I Chose a good brand, changed brands but the taste was gone, the aroma was gone.
That made me think 🤔.
Everything was the same, the process, major of the ingredients, the only thing that changed was the sambar powder and I got desperate for Amma's Sambar powder.
I had to make it now if I needed the rave reviews that I had gotten famous for.
It was a matter of honor.
A quick call and the recipe was jotted down in my blue diary....
Sharing my Amma's secret Sambar Powder recipe, Also known as Iyer veetu Sambar powder (This is a typical Brahmin Iyer household recipe, every house has its variations).

Whole coriander seeds - 1 cup
Pigeon Peas (Toor Dal ) - 1/4 glass
Raw Rice - 11/2  tablespoons
Fenugreek seeds (Methi seeds) - 11/2 tablespoons
Cumin seeds (Jeera)- 11/2 tablespoon
Black Peppercorns - 11/2 tablespoon
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Red chillies - 12 -15 (Preferably Kashmiri chilly) /Red chilly powder
2 teaspoons ground turmeric

I use organic dals, Sort the ingredients, check for stones if any. And you are ready.
In a wok, First dry roast the red chillies, saute for 2-3 minutes till you see the chillies starting to get plump.
Some people avoid this step but this is a must according to me, as only then will the chillies not have the pachha vaadai(Raw smell).
You can also avoid roasting red chillies and use the readymade chilly powder as per your family spice level. But I prefer to roast the red chillies for a fresher aroma.
Some people add a spoon of oil to roast the chillies, but I don't As I usually make batches that last me for about 3 months.
Dry roast the red chillies and keep aside.
In the same wok, dry roast all the other ingredients until you get an aroma of the roasted spices.
Once cool down, First, grind the dry red chillies, then the rest of the ingredients, add the turmeric powder while grinding. Blend into a fine powder.
Store in an airtight container and use as required.
I keep Sambar powder that I need for daily cooking in Glass Bottles
Since we live in Singapore which has a humid climate and I make big batches, I store the Sambar powder in Ziplock bags and freeze them.
Enjoy this simple Sambar powder Recipe and make loads of sambar and enjoy!!!

Monday, August 16, 2004


Parippu Pradhaman is one of the special payasams made during festivals/ weddings etc. This is yet another Kerala special dessert.
This Payasam is also known as Cherupayar Payasam. Cherupayar is yellow moong dal or  Split Yellow moong lentil.
Parippu means Dal and Pradhaman means the first one. In South India we serve the dessert first. It marks sweet beginnings. 
This can be made with Moong dal(Split Yellow moong lentils) or Chana Dal /Kadala Parippu (Bengal gram dal) 
But my amma, uses the Yellow split lentil (yellow moong dal/ paitham paruppu/cheru payaru). This lentil is usually considered as lighter to digest than other lentils. 
It is given to young children and old people and doesn’t cause much gas. It is considered very good for health. Even when people are recovering from sicknesses Doctors advise the usage of this lentil. We can easily say that here is nutritious dessert, good for health and very tasty.

Split Yellow lentil (yellow moong dal/ paitham paruppu/cheru payaru) – ¾ th Cup
Soft Jaggery (Vellam/sarkkara) – 1 Cup
Fresh coconut grated without brown skin - 4 cups (for coconut milk as per note)
Ghee – 1 tbsp
Cardamom – 1 tsp
Cashew nuts – 1 tbsp
Coconut pieces sliced into thin slivers and roasted in ghee– 1 tbsp
Ginger powder (Chukku Podi) – A pinch (optional), use if you like the taste.

Take Three-fourth cup of the yellow split dal (moong dal). And roast it on a slow fire, until it turns a little pink in color (mind u it mustn’t get burnt)
Wash and clean as you do usually.
Pressure cook it for one whistle until the dal becomes soft (don’t over cook it otherwise the dal will get terribly mashed. 
(If not confident about the pressure cooker u can cook it in a vessel separately)
Now, take one cup of soft Jaggery (vellam/sarkkara) in an Urali. Add water and bring the jaggery to boil. Boil mixture to one thread consistency.
Now add the cooked dal to the jaggery-mix. The cooked dal will have some water, be sure to pour it with the water as the dal water has a lot of nutritive value.
Add some more water if required and allow the mixture to simmer, so that the dal gets sweet.
Now add the coconut milk. 
Add one cup of coconut milk, in this case, add the third milk of the coconut first, allow it to boil, 
then add the second milk, again allow it to boil, and then lastly the first milk (which is the thickest milk) and boil for sometime. Remove from fire.
In a small pan. take some ghee, fry the Coconut pieces sliced into thin slivers, cashewnuts, and cardamom powder and pour on top of the Payasam.
You can also add a pinch of Ginger powder (chukku podi) for the added taste.

Serving Instructions

Enjoy this hot before or after a meal. 

  • Either you can use Ready made coconut milk or make it fresh.
  • If using the fresh coconut milk 
  • To make fresh Coconut milk, you have to soak 4 cups scrapped coconut (do not use the brown skin), in 2 cups boiling hot water, keep aside, covered, for 2-3 hours.
  • Strain, but save water. Grind coconut to a very fine paste, add back drained water and blend again till a milky texture is got. Drain and keep this milk aside. This is the rich coconut milk or 1st milk.
  • Grind the residual coconut again with 3 cups warm water, drain, and keep milk aside. This is the medium or coconut milk or 2nd milk.
  • Add 2 cups warm water to the residual coconut, grind again and strain milk. Now the residue does not have much strength. This extract is the thin coconut milk or 3rd milk.
  • The above procedure will produce a total of approximately 7 cups of coconut milk, of three different grades. If differently graded milk is not asked for in recipe, one may combine all the three extracts and get just one medium consistency coconut milk.
  • Refrigerated it will last for 2 days, or freeze into cubes and store in freezer bags, using as required.
  • If using ready made Coconut milk / coconut milk powder
  • Use it as it is at the time of adding the coconut milk in the recipe. It does save you the strain of grinding, squeezing, straining the coconut pulp to get the coconut milk, which saves a lot of work, but one things' for sure nothing can beat the taste of the payasams made in the traditional manner.

  • You can use Brown Sugar or Palm sugar(Karupetti) instead of jaggery


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