Saturday, April 16, 2011

Vegetable Sandwich

Veg Sandwich its a very easy and simple dish. I am posting this for the sake of my friends who stay in PG and want some Quick & interesting breakfast rather than starving with just a glass of milk as breakfast

Ingredients ::
White / Brown bread - 6 Slices
Onion - 2
Tomato - 2
Cooked Potatoes - 2 (Optional)
Cheese - 2
Cucumber - 1
Tomato sauce / Ketchup - 3 spoons
Salt & Pepper - as required

To grind together :: (This can be ground and kept in the fridge for more than a week)
Green Chilly - 2
Coriander - a small bunch
Pudina - 1 small bunch (optional)
Salt - as required.

Preparation ::

First grind the above ingredients to a smooth paste as shown in the picture and store in the fridge to use as and when required. It should be of paste consistency as shown below

Next Cut off the brown edges of the bread and apply sauce in one slice & the coriander paste in the other as shown in the below picture. The center one in the picture is the cheese slice.

Now arrange some vegetables one by one in the preferred order over one slice which has sauce and cover with the other slice which has chutney and add more vegetables on top and cover the sandwich with a cheese slice and a bread slice on top. Add salt and pepper on top of vegetables before covering with bread.

Sandwich is ready to be served with Tomato Sauce / ketchup.

This can be had as it is or grilled in a sandwich toaster. Tastes good bothways.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Varusha pirappu / Tamil New Year Specials

Tamil New year which generally falls on April 14th is considered as the new year for tamilians. This is the first month in tamil calender - Chithirai. As in all festivals the speciality is cooking. A variety of dishes are prepared on this day and some dishes are specific for this day only.

This day's specialities include a spicy dish, Tangy dish, Bitter dish, sweet dish along with regular festival specials. Its basically on the principle that joy and sorrow in life to be treated with equanimity.

Every Festival we have the custom on serving food on Banana Leaf (in specified order only) and eating with Family.

This Year due to some reason i did the entire cooking for the new year. The items that i made on that day were
1. Panakam (Jaggery drink)
2. Neer More (Spiced Butter milk)
3. Paruppu Kosmalli (Soaked moong dal with raw Mango, cucumber, carrot etc)
4. Manga pachadi (A tangy sweet dish made with Raw Mango &; Jaggery)
5. Vepamboo Pachadi (a little bitter dish made of dry neem flower & jaggery)
6. Vendakkai More Kozhambu (A curry made of curd , coconut & green chillies)
7. Tomato Rasam
8. Cucumber Pachadi (Cucumber & curd)
9. Paruppu Paayasam (a sweet dish with moong Dal , Chana Dal & Jaggery)
10. Paruppu Vadai
11. Kadala Maa Poli (a sweet preparation with Maida , besan flour, Jaggery & coconut)
12. Beans Kari (cooked & fried beans)
13. Vaazhakkai Kari (deep fried raw banana)
14. Rice & Dal

Will Give a seperate write up on how to prepare some of the special items in a different post. Some pictures of my preparation on that day...

Panakam & Neer More
Vepamboo Pachadi

Manga Pachadi

Paruppu Vadai

Thengai Poli
More Kozhambu
Items Served in Banana Leaf

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Jeeraga Rasam / Jeera Rasam

Jeeraga Rasam or Melagu Jeeraga Rasam is a rasam which we usually make on saturdays. This is very good for a cold and soothens the throat well. No Pizza or Pasta can ever match a meal of hot Melagu Jeeraga rasam served with hot rice and potato fry. 

Jeera - 1 spoon
Karivepilai / curry leaves - 5-6 leaves
Red chillies - 1 - 2
Melagu / pepper - 4 - 5
Tamarind - a big lemon sized
Rasam powder - 1 spoon
Toor Dal - 5 spoons
Hing / perungaayam - a generous pinch
Salt / mustard / ghee - as reqd

Method :
Keep aside half a spoon of toor dal and cook the remaining toor dal in pressure cooker.

Soak a spoon of jeera, half a spoon toor dal, curry leaves & red chilly in water for 10-15 minutes. Also wash & soak the tamarind in hot water for 10 minutes seperately. Grind together the soaked ingredients (Jeera, Dal, chilly, curry leaves & Tamarind) to a paste consistency. The Paste looks like this.

Then dilute the paste with water and filter the tamarind remains with hand if any.
Now add salt, hing, rasam powder and allow the mixture to boil once (Do not over boil when Jeera is added. Boiling Jeera for long time gives a medicinal taste to the liquid). You can also add some pepper powder at this stage to make it more spicy.

Now mash the cooked dal and add water and add it to the rasam. Again bring the mixure to a boil and put off the flame.
Tamper with ghee and mustard. Add fresh curry leaves on top.
Rasam is ready to be served hot.

Rajma Paneer

Rajma Paneer - A double Protein combo :)

I always used to cook Rajma in a typical manner. Though it is very healthy didnt seem so interesting to make it often. This time i had some paneer in my fridge and thought will add it to Rajma and make it in a different way. Came out well and people at home liked it :)

Ingredients :
Rajma / Red Kidney Beans - 200 Gms (soaked in water for atleast 8-10 hours)
Paneer / Cottage Cheese - 200 gms
Onion - 3
Tomato - 3
Ginger Garlic paste (optional) - little
Saunf - 1/2 spoon
cinnamon stick - 1 small piece
Garam Masala - 1 spoon
Oil / Salt / Chilly powder - as reqd

Method :
Soak Rajma for 10 hours. Cook for 2 - 3 whistles and keep it aside.
In a kadai heat oil and add saunf & cinnamon then add ginger garlic paste and saute till raw smell goes. Then add the onions and fry till onions turn color.
Next add tomatos, salt, chilly powder, Garam masala powder and cook well. Let the tomato and onion get well blended.
Now add the cooked Rajma and add water based on the consistency of the gravy. Let it cook for 5 - 6 minutes.
Then cut paneer into cubes and add to the gravy. Mix well and cook for another 5 - 6 minutes. You may add cornflour mixed with water if the gravy is not thick.
Rajma paneer is ready to be served with Roti / Puri

Palak Paneer / Spinach & Cottage Cheese gravy

Palak Paneer is a very healthy option for a side dish. It has all the goodness of iron & protein. Goes well with Roti, Puri, Pulav or even with hot plain rice.

Palak / Spinach -      1 - 2 Bunch
Paneer / Cottage Cheese - 200 - 250 gms
Onion - 3
Tomato - 3
ginger garlic paste - little
Saunf - 1/2 spoon
Garam Masala - 1 spoon
Chilly powder - 1/2 spoon
Salt - as reqd

Method :
Cook spinach and allow it to cool. Grind it to a smooth paste in a mixie. Keep aside.
In a kadai add oil. Add the saunf and then the ginger garlic paste and fry. Once done add the finely chopped onions and fry till the raw smell from the garlic is gone. Onion should be well fried.
Now add finely chopped tomatos and cook for few minutes. Then add garam masala, chilly powder & salt and cook for 5-6 minutes.
Next add the spinach paste and mix it well. Water may be added based on the consistency of the spinach paste. Allow it to get well blended and well cooked.
Finally cut paneer into small cubes of equal size and add to the boiling gravy. Mix and let it cook for 3 - 4 minutes.
Palak Paneer is ready.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cabbage Parruppu Usili

Cabbage Parrupu Usili
Paruppu Usili is a dish made of Toor Dal & some selected Vegetables. Paruppu usili along with More Kozhambu (A spicy curry made of Curd) is a very good combination and is a prominent dish in most south Indian occasions.

My Grand mother makes it very yummy and I love it with rice and rasam and so that’s one dish which they definitely do for me every time I visit my house in Chennai. But I have never tried it myself as I thought it could be a tough process.

One day my friend ‘R’ taught me an easy way to prepare this using Microwave for cooking Dal. Tried it last week with Cabbage (as it is my favourite vege for paruppu usili) and it was a super hit!!

Ingredients :

Cabbage - ¼ KG
Toor Dal - 1 Cup
Channa Dal - ¼ Cup
Red Chillies - 3
Mustard - ½ spoon
Asafoetida - little
Salt / Oil - as required


Soak Toor Dal & Channa Dal in water for 1 – 2 hours. Grind together with Red chillies & a pinch of asafoetida and little salt.

Cook the cabbage in a frying pan with just salt. Remove from the pan and keep this aside.

In a microwave safe bowl apply some sunflower oil and add the ground paste and microwave on high for 4 – 5 minutes. The batter would be very hard after cooking in microwave. Allow it to cool and just give a round in a mixer grinder. Do not overdo but grind very coarsely only. Do not add water. This has to be dry.

In the same frying pan add oil, 1 red chilly and mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add the dry ground dal and fry for few minutes. Then add the cooked vegetable and fry for 4 – 5 minutes until all ingredients are well blended.

Paruppu usili is ready to be served with rice and more kozhambu or with rasam.

Alternatively this can be made with one of the below vegetables also
1. Onion
2. Banana Flower
3. Beans
4. Cluster Beans (kothavarangai)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mix Veg Kurma

Mix Veg Kurma
There are 2 ways of making this dish. We can either cook vegetables seperately and then add masalas and blend them well and bring to a boil or add all Ingredients in Pressure cooker and then cooking vegetables along with the masalas in one stroke.

I have followed method 1 here.

Ingredients :

Potato - 3 – 4 medium sized
Carrot - 2 medium sized
Beans - 100 grams
Cauliflower - ½ medium sized
Peas - 200 Grams
Onion - 3 – 4 medium sized
Tomato - 2 – 3 medium sized
Ginger Garlic paste - as required
Garam Masala /
Salt /
Coriander Powder - as required
Bay Leaf / cinnamon - 1 each
Saunf - ½ spoon

To grind together :

Grated Coconut - 2 spoons
Green chillies - 2 – 3 medium sized
Cashews - 4 – 5 pieces
Cinnamon - 1 piece
Saunf - ½ spoon
Khus Khus - ¼ spoon (soaked in water 10 minutes before grinding)


Cut all vegetables in even size and cook in pressure cooker for 1 whistle. Remove excess water and keep aside. In the same pressure cooker add oil and add saunf, bay leaf and cinnamon. When done add ginger garlic paste and fry till oil seperates. Now add onions and fry till golden brown. Add garam masala, salt and coriander powder and mix well. Then add the tomatoes and cook well till the gravy is well blended.

Now add the cooked vegetables and mix well. Do not mash the vegetables. Add the ground paste to this and cook well. Add water as per your requirement. If the gravy is watery mix 1 spoon cornflour to little water and add to the mixture.

Mix Veg Kurma is ready to be served with Parotas / Rotis.

Chole / Channa Masala / Chickpea Curry

Chole / Channa Masala

My cousin & his wife were coming for dinner and i wanted to make something nice which they would enjoy. Decided to make Puri & Chole for them. This is a less time consuming and a nice side dish. But cannot be made if unplanned as we need to soak the channa overnight. I Love Chole be it with Bread or Puri or with Plain Rice.
Ingredients ::

Kabuli Channa / Chickpeas - 200 Grams
Onion - ¾ kg
Cinnamon - 1 small piece
Grated coconut - 1 spoon
Saunf - 1 spoon
Tomato - ½ kg
Ginger Garlic Paste - as required
Channa Masala - 1 ½ spoons
Coriander powder /
Jeera Powder /
Red chilly powder
Garam Masala / - 1 Spoon each
Bay leaf - 1
Salt / Sugar - as required
Coriander - to Garnish

Method :

Soak Channa overnight in water (to be soaked for 10 hours). In the morning remove water and cook channa in pressure cooker for 2 – 3 whistles. Keep it aside.

Grind together onions (keep aside 2 onions separately to be served in plate) along with 1 spoon chole, little saunf, cinnamon and grated coconut. Keep it aside.

Put tomatoes in boiling water, peel off the skin and grind separately to a smooth paste.

In a kadai / pressure pan add oil and add bay leaf and 1 spoon saunf. When it changes colour add the ginger garlic paste and fry for few minutes. Then add the ground onion paste and fry till raw smell is gone and oil is separated (leaves oil on the sides). Add the Garam Masala, Channa masala, Jeera Powder, Coriander powder, red chilly powder, sugar and salt and mix well.

Now add the tomato puree and allow it to cook for 5- 7 minutes. The gravy now looks like this (Image attached).

When it boils well, add the cooked channa and mix well. Add more water depending on the consistency.

You may mix some corn flour in water and add to the gravy if it is not very thick. This also helps in blending all the ingredients together in the dish.

Serve With hot puris or Parota and some finely chopped Onions and a piece lemon in the plate.

Onion Chutney

Onion Chutney

Onion Chutney goes very well with most south indian breakfast items. I love this chutney with hot idlies or Dosas. Idly with Onion chutney and gun powder is an all time favourite for most south Indians.

This is a very simple chutney. Tastes different if you use small onions.

Ingredients ::

Onions - 1/2 kg small
Red chillies – 3 – 4 (depending on the spice required)
Tamarind - small lemon sized
Salt - as required
Garlic - 2 – 3 pods (optional)
Oil - 1 ½ spoons
Mustard - 1 spoon

Method :

Soak the tamarind in little water.

In a kadai add 1 spoon oil and add the red chillies. When it changes color add the garlic pods and onions and fry till onion turns brown in color.

Add salt and let it cool. Then grind this to a smooth paste along with the soaked tamarind.

Heat the same kadai and add ½ spoon oil and mustard. When it splutters add the ground paste and allow it to cook well. You may add some red chilly powder if you want it more spicy. When bubbles spill out reduce flame and cook for 3 – 5 minutes. The chutney is ready to be served with Dosa / Idly / Upma / Pongal.

Microwave Rava Kesari

Microwave Rava Kesari

On Saturday afternoon my son suddenly wanted me to make Rava Kesari for him. I was just cooking my lunch then so couldnt spare my stove for this. So thought will try in the microwave this time.
Making this in Microwave oven makes it more diet friendly as it can be made yummy and non-sticky with lesser ghee. It came out well and my Hubby & son were happy!!!

Here goes my receipe...

Ingredients ::

Rava - 1 Cup
Sugar - 1/2 Cup
Cashews- 12 – 15 pieces
Ghee - 3 - 4 spoons
Kesar powder – a pinch
Elachi Powder - little

Method :

Fry Rava in flame for 3 – 4 minutes (This may be avoided if you want to do it in Microwave completely)

Step 1 - In a microwave safe bowl add 1 spoon ghee and add cashews. Keep in high for 2 minutes. Remove just the cashews and keep aside.

Step 2 – In the same bowl (with Ghee) add the rosted rava and mix well. Now keep in microwave high for 4 minutes. Stir once at 2 minutes.

Step 3 – Now add the Sugar and mix well. It will turn little watery due to the nature of sugar when mixing with the hot rava. Add 1 spoon ghee, a pinch of Kesar powder and mix well and microwave at high for another 4 minutes. Stir once at 2 minutes.

Step 4 – Add the remaining ghee, elachi powder and microwave for another 2 minutes. Add the cashews on top and serve hot.

Tips : Kesar powder is not good for health since it is just an artificial colouring agent. Instead you can make the kesari in white without the colour and add bananas in step 3. This will give a different taste and also make it healthy.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Easy Instant Pasta

Easy Ready to make Pasta

On Friday evening my Son suddenly wanted to have Pasta. He said he will finish his homework if we give him Pasta. I was too tired. But Instant Pasta was not available at home. So i made this easy pasta within 15 minutes. Couldnt believe it, it was soo yummy to have it hot hot.

Pasta - 1 cup (Penne or Macroni)
Pizza Sauce - 2 spoons
Tomato Sauce - 3 spoons
Tomato Puree - 3 spoons
milk - 2 spoons
cornflour / all purpose flour - 1 spoon
Frozen Peas - 1/2 cup
Capsicum - 1/2

Preparation :
Boil 2 glasses of water and add one drop of oil and add the Pasta and let it cook. It may take about 10 minutes for cooking. Do not overcook. Drain excess water and keep under running water so that it does not stick to each other. Keep it aside.

For the Pasta Sauce :

In a kadai add butter, frozen peas & Capsicum and let it cook for sometime stirring inbetween. Then add all the Sauces and the Puree and let it cook for 5 minutes. Then mix milk and cornflour / Maida and add to the Gravy. Add salt and a pinch of pepper powder. The Pasta sauce is ready. Mix the cooked Pasta to this and serve Hot.

Carrot Soup

Carrot Soup - A Healthly evening snack for kids

Ingredients ::
Carrots - 1/2 kg
Onion - 3-4
Milk - 1 - 2 glasses
Cornflour - 2 tsp
Salt / Pepper - To taste

Preparation :
In a pan / pressure cooker add little oil/butter and fry onions. Then add carrots and fry for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 glass of water. Now you may either cook in pressure cooker for 2 whistles or keep in microwave high for 6 - 7 minutes. When done, remove from fire / microwave and allow it to cool for 10 minutes. Then blend it well in a mixie. You may add water according to the thickness you prefer. It can be little more watery than the consistancy you want it to be as we will be adding cornflour which will thicken the soup.
In the same pan in which you cooked carrots, add little butter and pour in the liquid. Allow it to boil. Now add 1 glass of milk. In a bowl mix 1/2 glass of milk and corn flour and add to the mixture keeping it in low flame. Now when the gravy starts boiling it will thicken and will come to a soup consistency. You may add more water or cornflour depending on the preferred thickness.

Add salt & pepper and your soup is ready to be served hot. You may also add a pinch of sugar if you like it a bit sweet.

P.S :: When adding cornflour, add little by little and keep stirring to avoid lumps. Also it is better to keep the flame low which will help in avoiding formation of lumps.

I have used Carrots for this soup this time. You may use any vegetable instead of carrot and follow the same procedure as above. Tastes different based on the taste of vegetables.

Serves - 5 - 6

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tips for Healthy & Safe cooking

I have learnt from my MIL some tips related to cooking which i wish to share here. I am sure you must be aware of most of these tips. But beginners in cooking may find this useful. You may also provide some tips which you know which we can make use of.

1. When cooking rice in pressure cooker, put a piece of lime or tamarind in the bottom of the cooker where you add water. This will help is removing stains in the bottom of the pressure cooker.

2. When u feel you have added more salt in any dish, just boil some potatoes and add to it or fry tomato seperately and add to it. This will absorb the excess salt in the food to some extent.

3. To avoid bitterness in Bitter guord(paagarkaai), take some tamarind water and wash the cut vegetable in this water and sqeeze out the tamarind water once or twice. The bitterness also disapprears along with the excess water.

4. When cooking noodles or Pasta always add one drop of oil to it and cook. Also it is better to cook it 3/4th and then showing under running cold water. This will help noodles from sticking and will not be over cooked or mashed when eating.

5. If you have a microwave, you can always cook vegetables in microwave for 5-7 minutes (depending on the vegetable) and then just add oil and fry it in the flame for 5-10 minutes. This will save a lot of time and will also retain the color of the vegetables.

6. To retain color of the vegetable in any dry subzi or salad, add few drops of venegar. This should not be done frequently as it is not very good for health.

7. When making salad or raitha with cucumber, always add salt at the end. Otherwise cucumber will leave out water and make the dish look more watery.

8. To peel the skin of almonds quickly, microwave them for 2 minutes and then peel. It comes out v easily.

9. If you want to grind poppy seeds (khus khus) in a mixie along with some other ingredient, soak the poppy seeds in water for 10minutes before grinding. This will help in grinding the poppy seeds to a smooth paste.

10. For south Indian sambar, koottu etc, add one spoon of rice flour mixed well in water. This helps the dish to get a good blend. You may add more if you feel the dish has to thicken.

11. When adding jeera to rasam, do not boil rasam for a very long time after adding jeera. It gives a medicine smell to the dish if cooked for a long time. So add jeera at the end.

12. To increase the taste of rasam, always add half a spoon of jeera & pepper powder just 5 minutes before putting the flame off. You may keep this jeera & pepper powder handy and use it everytime you make rasam. Truly enhances the taste.

13. To get tamarind water from tamarind easily, keep the tamarind along with water in microwave for 2 minutes. It can be sqeezed out easily.

14. To make aloo Parata quickly, make 2 -3 holes in the potatoes with a toothpick or pin and keep the potatoes in microwave for 4 - 5 minutes. You can now easily mash it and make aaloo paratta quickly.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Easy side dish for Roti / Onion Tomato Curry

Easy Side dish for Roti / Phulka. This Tomato Onion Curry can be prepared within 15 minutes and it goes very well with Roti / Phulkas.

Ingredients :
Tomato - 4
Onion - 3
Potato - 1 (optional)
Frozen Green Peas (optional) - 100 gms
Salt / Garam Masala / Jeera/ Sugar / Oil / chilly powder - as required.

Preparation :
In a kadai add oil and add Jeera. When it changes color add onions and fry till golden brown or till onion becomes transparant. Now add garam masala, chilly powder & Salt and fry for one minute. Then add the cut tomatoes and let it cook well till the tomatoes blend well stirring occationally.
Cut potatoes into v small pieces or you may even grate the potatoes to save cooking time. Add the potatoes & Peas and let it cook. Keep it covered stirring occationally to avoid sticking to the bottom. If you want this dish to be prepared v soon then you may skip potatoes & peas.

Garnish with coriander leaves. The Tomato onion curry is ready to be served with hot phulkas / Rotis

Bise Bele Bath / Sambar Saadam

Bise Bele Bath

Bise Bele Bath has it origin in Karnataka. Bise means hot & Bele means Dhal.

Though it is v famous in Karnataka, in Tamilnadu also this dish is made well in many houses & Hotels. Worth mentioning is the bise bele bath you get in Hotel Saravana Bhavan - Damn tasty. This has to be had hot with Papad, Potato Subzi & Onion Raitha.

Ingredients :
Rice - 1 cup
Thoor dal - 1/2 cup
Onion - 3
Potato - 2
Green peas - 100 gms
Carrot - 2
Tamarind - a big lemon size
Mustard - 1/2 spoon
salt / oil / sambar powder / Asafoetida - as reqd
You may add any vegetable of your choice. Onion is a must though.

To Grind Together :
Red chillies - 5
Coriander seeds / Dhaniya - 2 spoons
Channa dal/ Kadalai Paruppu - 2 spoons
cinnamon / Pattai - 1 small piece
Clove / krambu - 1
grated coconut - 3 spoons

Preparation ::

Wash rice and dal together. Add 4 - 5 cups of water and cook in pressure cooker for 4 - 5 whistles. Add little tumeric powder to this. You may also add salt to this.(optional) The rice should be cooked well. Keep it aside.Do not open the cooker now.

In a pressure Pan, add oil and add mustard.When it splutters add the onion and fry for for few minutes. Then add all other vegetables, Asafoetida, 1 spoon sambar powder (if available), tamarind water, salt(depending on how much salt you have added to the rice) and let it cook for sometime. You may close the lid and let the vegetables cook. This need not be overcooked since the vegetables should not get mashed.

In a kadai add little oil and fry the ingredients before grinding. Add them one by one in the order mentioned above. Do not over fry. Add coconut at the end and fry for just few seconds and switch off the flame.

Allow it to cool a little and then grind the above ingredients to a smooth paste adding water little by little.

When the vegetables are cooked, add this ground mixture to the boiling sambar and mix well. This sambar should be more spicy and little salty since it is going to be mixed with rice & Dal which is completely bland. Also the sambar should be more watery since bise bele bath should not be hard.

Now that the sambar is ready, open the pressure cooker in which rice is cooked and mix well with a hard spoon or laddle. The rice should get mashed well. You may even add little hot water when mixing the rice if it is little hard.

Now add the sambar with the rice & Dal and mix well. Add ghee on top to enhance the taste.

Bise bele bath is ready to be served with Potato fry / Papd / Vadam / Raitha