Thursday, April 26, 2007

Palak Pakodis with Hot and Sweet Hari Chutney (green chutney)

I am very happy to contribute this recipe for JFI greens hosted by Indira of Mahanandi and
Nandita of Saffron Trail

I had lot of recipes in mind. I wanted to make something with Gongura which is a famous green leafy vegetable in Andhra but it comes in stores only during the mid summers. When JFI greens was announced I bought almost all the greens from my near by Subzi mundi not sure what I might want to make.

The greens I used in Palak Pakodis are Palak, Curry leaves, and Kasuri methi.

The greens I used in Hari chutney are Mint and Cilantro. Now this is called maximum utilization of greens.

Ingredients for Palak Pakodis

1 cup Chopped Palak

1 cup Curry leaves (chopped or whole)

2tsp Kasuri methi

2 cups Gram flour (Besan)

1 cup chopped onions

1tsp Carom seeds (Ajwain)

Chilli powder



Oil for frying


Mix all the ingredients in water to make a thick batter, as it is usually done for Bajjis and pakodis. drop the mix very carefully with a spoon or hands in to hot oil so that they don’t fall apart and deep fry them until golden brown. Spoon was easy for me. Crispy, crunchy, pakodis are ready to go. The aroma of kasuri methi and Ajwain from the hot fried pakodis are divine.

Hari Chutney (green chutney)


2 cups mint

2 cups Cilantro

2-3 green chillies


Sugar or Jaggery

½ cup tamarind water


Grind all the ingredients together. Depending on how thick or watery you want your chutney to be you can increase the amount of tamarind water. It’s the same with Jaggery or sugar. Lovely green chutney with breath taking aroma is ready.

Hot crispy pakodis dipped in this tangy green chutney is a great treat to go with tea.

My Green Photography!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Taro Cutlets

Arbi (Hindi), Chama dumpa in(Telugu)
This is a very simple recipe to make and I enjoy having these crispy cutlets with rasam and rice. It goes really well with tangy rasam and plain rice.


Boiled Taro roots
Bread crumbs
Chilli powder


Combine the bread crumbs with salt and chilli powder. I used Italian style bread crumbs which we get in stores. This has got all the seasonings. If that is not available you can add garam masala to plain bread crumbs. I pressure cooked the taro roots, you can also boil them in a vessel to make sure they don't get over cooked. Pressure cook them for two whistles. Coat the taro roots in the bread crumbs completely and then press them down flat into patty shapes so that they dont stick to your hands. Add oil to a flat frying pan or tava and place them gently in medium heat. Let them get crisp for 30 minutes on both sides. Add more oil to each side if required.
My mom used to make these for me. Taro roots cause a little itching in the throat, so if combined with tamarind rasam, this itching can be avoided. These crispy and crunchy cutlets are my childhood favorite.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Pineapple Flower Cups!!

I am reposting this recipe as requested by Monisha for the SHF Event .

To be frank, I am making this recipe for the first time. Most of the recipes in this blog like the laddus, Sandesh and cutlets are all trial and success recipes. So one more added to the list are these beautiful flowers filled with pinapple chunks, topped with whipped cream, honey and strawberry syrup.
This one is for the AFAM- a fruit a month by Maheswari, which is pineapple.
Like the other recipes of mine this too takes very less time to make.

Phyllo dough
2 cups chopped pineapple
Whipped cream
Strawberry syrup


Phyllo sheets can be easily obtained in the frozen section of any grocery stores.
Layer 3 sheets evenly above each other and cut them with knife or cookie cutter into round shapes. I used wide mouthed glass and knife to cut out rounds. Place them in muffin baking trays and bake them for 7 minutes in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F.
They bake into beautiful golden brown, crisp flowers. Remove from oven and let it cool.

Remove the cups gently and place them in a platter. Spoon the pineapple chunks into the cups and top them with whipped cream and drizzle up with honey and strawberry syrup.

This recipe is inspired from Giada De Laurentiis of Food Network.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Mamidi thokku pachadi (mango thokku pickle)


1 mango grated
½ cup mustard seeds
½ cup fenugreek seeds
½ cup sesame oil
1tsp turmeric
½ cup chilli powder
Pinch of asafetida (optional)


Roast the mustard and fenugreek seeds separately till brown and aroma rises. Grind them in to coarse powder and keep aside. Grate the mango and add this powder along with chilli powder, turmeric and oil. Mix well and bottle it. My contribution to Nupur’s A-Z of Indian Vegetables .

Friday, April 20, 2007

Apple-ginger crescent rolls!

I have never made anything out of apples except for fruit custard. For the first time I tried out this chutney and it has come out really well. It tasted very similar to the mango-ginger chutney I usually make. This is my contribution to AFAM by Maheswari . It is a very simple contribution.

For the chutney
1 apple
2 ½ tbsp chopped ginger
3 green chillies
1tbsp Jaggery

For crescent rolls
1 Pillsbury crescent roll
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped capsicum
Apple-ginger chutney
cheese spread


Grind all the Ingredients together to make thick chutney. Do not add water to it. It tastes good with Dosa, Idly or rice. I thought of making some stuffed crescent rolls for tea.
Apply some dry flour to your hand and flatten the crescent dough evenly. Apply cheese spread on the surface of the dough and above this apply the apple-ginger spread.
Now top this with chopped tomato, capsicum and onions.
Roll them in to crescents; apply some butter on the surface. Bake it for 12-15 minutes at 375 degrees.
For those who want to make home-made crescent dough click here .
I also served this chutney with Dosa. It can also be served with rice, rotis and idlis.

Monday, April 16, 2007


Virundu in Tamil means feast. When I came to know about the RCI event hosted by Lakshmi I made up my mind to do something big. This contribution is based on the major main course meal that is served anywhere in Tamilnadu like restaurants, weddings or gatherings. For this you need to have a great appetite. This full course meal is served in almost all small towns, villages and cities in Tamilnadu
I have always enjoyed having such meals while in India and for the first time I am cooking so many dishes all together at a time. I am going to explain the recipes based on how they are served.

Paruppu podi(Dal Powder)

1cup roasted gram dal (pottu kadalai in tamil)
½ cup gram dal (chana dal)
½ cup sesame seed
3-4 dry red chillies
1tbsp cumin
Desiccated coconut (optional)
2pinch asafoetida
Salt to taste.

Roast the dals, sesame seeds, chillies and cumin separately till golden brown and aroma rises. After cooling grind all the ingredients together to make powder. This podi is served first with ghee and rice.

Paruppu-nei sadam(Dal-ghee rice)

This is plain pressure-cooked thoor dal (tuvaram parupu) to which salt and ghee is added and is relished with rice. Ohh .. Nothing can beat its taste. The aroma of melting ghee in hot dal rice is real heaven.

Ennai Kathirikai (eggplant in oil)
(Poriyal category)

10-12 Small sized Eggplant
2tbsp Dhaniya powder (coriander)
3tbsp Idly or dosa powder (Idly/dosa milagai podi)
2tbsp Besan (gram flour)
1tbsp desiccated coconut
Salt as per requirement, as there is some salt in Idly/dosa powder.
3-4 tbsp oil

Slit the eggplant in to 4 from the bottom alone. Mix all the above given powders together and fill it into the eggplant as shown in picture. In a deep-bottomed frying pan add oil and gently place the eggplants, such that the powders don’t spill out. In medium heat gently stir the eggplants so that each one gets a coating of oil. Cover it with lid for 5-10 minutes and toss gently to check if it’s cooked. That’s it!! It tastes heavenly with rice.

Vendakkai sambar (okra sambar)

1cup medium cut okra
½ cup medium cut onions
1cup thoor dal
1cup tamarind water
1cup tomato puree
1tsp dhaniya powder (coriander)
½ tsp turmeric powder
1-2 tsp sambar powder
Chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and water as per requirement.

For tempering
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
Red chillies
Curry leaves
2tsp oil or ghee

Fry the okra in 2 tsp oil in a pan for 10 –13 min till it gets soft. Keep separately. In a saucepan add tamarind water, turmeric and salt and bring to boil. Now add the okra, onions, sambar powder and dhaniya powder and let it cook for another 10 minutes.
Add tomato puree to this and again it should come to a boil. Finally add pressure-cooked and mashed dal and stir together. Add water if the sambar gets too thick. That depends on how you want the sambar to be. Temper with given ingredients and add cilantro. A small tip. As soon as you temper, cover the sambar or rasam with a lid. This will keep the aroma trapped inside the dish and will later fill the whole house with mind blowing aroma.

Vathal kulambu (sour gravy made with sundried veggies)

½ cup sundakkai or manathakali vatral
1cup medium sliced onions
1cup tomato puree
1cup tamarind puree
1tsp turmeric powder
½ cup water
3-4 tbsp oil
vathal kulambu powder
1-2 tbsp Jaggery or cane sugar

For Tempering

Mustard seeds – 1/3 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds 1/3 tsp
Red chillies- 3-4
Curry leaves- a handful
Asafoetida- 1/3 tsp

For people who don’t have vathal kulambu powder
1tsp coriander seeds
2tsp red gram dal (thoor dal)
2tsp gram dal (chana dal)
1tsp cumin seed
1tsp sesame seed
2tsp roasted gram dal (pottu kadalai in Tamil)
Red dry chillies

Preparing vathal kulambu powder
Roast all the ingredients separately in medium heat. The aroma should come out of the dals. After cooling, grind them all into powder. You can increase to ratio and store them.

Preparation of Vathal Kulambu

In a deep bottom frying pan add 2-3 tbsp oil and fry the vathal till aroma rises. Remove it from the pan and keep separately. In the same pan fry onions and add tamarind puree, tomato puree, vathal powder, salt, turmeric and bring to boil. Once it has come to a good boil, add the vathal and jaggery, cook for 3-5 minutes. Temper this curry with mustard, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, red chillies and asafetida. If you don’t have vathal, no worries you can use fried bitter gourd or okra.
Sundakki (Turkey berry) is Canthium inerme scientifically. Or manathakali vathal (BLACK NIGHTSHADE) is Solanum nigrum. These are prepared by soaking them in sour yoghurt and salt. Later they are sun dried till crisp and dry.

The small ones are Manatakkali and bigger ones are sundakai
Food Facts
Manathakkli is high in vitamins and has got a lot of medicinal properties. It is used as a Cardiac tonic. It corrects disorders of nutrition. the fruit of the plant serves as an effective laxative & improves appetite. It is known as sun berry or wonder cherry or the black nightshade in English. The blacks nightshade is used as an important ingredient in several Indian medicines.

Sundakai is good for skin ailments and liver disorders. It has the medicinal values for opening the appetite and relieves colds. Root and leaves used for waist cramp, traumatic injury and gastric pain; also as antitussive, amenorrhea and analgesic. For chronic coughs. This is just some of its properties.

Sorakai Pal kootu (bottle gourd kootu with milk)
1cup chopped sorakai (bottle gourd)
½ cup cooked chana dal
½ cup coconut
Green chillies
1tsp pepper powder
½ cup milk
½ tsp turmeric

For tempering
Mustard seeds
Cumin seeds
Curry leaves
Red chillies

Pressure-cook the dal and sorakai together. Only 2 whistles in the pressure cooker. It should not get over cooked. Grind coconut and green chillies along with pepper. Add the coconut mix to the sorakai and dal. Also add salt and turmeric and bring to boil. When the coconut gets cooked completely, remove from heat, add milk and stir gently. If your dal and sorakai has got cooked more. In a separate saucepan cook the coconut mixture and later add the dal and sorakai. This way you would not over cook the sorakai.
Temper it with the given ingredients.

Takkali Rasam (tomato rasam)

1cup tamarind water
1cup tomato puree
½ tsp turmeric
1-2 tsp rasam powder
½ cup water
Chopped cilantro
½ cup cooked thoor dal

For tempering
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
Curry leaves

Boil tamarind water along with turmeric, salt, rasam powder and water. To this add tomato puree and let it boil for 10 minutes. At last add cooked thoor dal and cilantro. After a boil remove from stove and temper. Rasam is always in my every day menu.
It’s a great comfort food.

Rava Kesari

1cup Sooji (semolina)
½ cup sugar
½ cup ghee
2cups water
kesari coloring powder
Cashews and raisins fried in ghee (clarified butter)

Fry the sooji in ghee till aroma rises. Add sugar, water and coloring powder to it and keep stirring. The sooji should leave the corners of the thick-bottomed pan. Add ghee fried cashews and raisins.

Getti thayir(thick yoghurt)
Thick yoghurt to be had with rice. Mor milagai (Green chillies soaked in buttermilk and is sun dried) is fried in oil till aroma rises and served with rice. Other pickles like lemon or mango are also served. The pickle in the picture is called the Vadu mangai urugai. Small tender mango pickle.

Neer moru
This is buttermilk with chopped ginger, coriander, green chillies and salt.

The other side dishes to cherish with rice are tomato vadagam, rice vadagam, javarisi vadagam, and madras appalam. In dessert variety the sweets you see in the picture are mysorepak and badushah that is store bought.

After all this you get bananas or sweet pan (vetrilai paku) at the end.