Saturday, December 19, 2009

Onion Pakoda

                                        Onion Pakoda

Again a weekend treat.Its been snowing since morning ,we wanted to indulge in some hot and crunchy snack.Contemplating between Bajji and Pakoda we voted for Onion Pakodas.Onion Pakodas are one of my dad's favorite.He is no fussy or picky eater,generally he is open to all veggies and legumes.He has selective favorites which he would never compromise on the taste or quality.He likes Onion Pakodas crispy.I have tried all variations.Everytime it would turn just average.This time I remember reading somewhere when you increase the quantity of rice flour ,the more crunchier it is.It really turned out Crispy ,Crunchy just before the last batch was finished I managed to take a picture.

Still Snowing

Onion Pakoda


Onion  2 Medium Sized

Besan  1/4 Cup

Rice Flour Little less than 1/4 cup

Green Chilies   4 Chooped

Garlic  1 Minced

Turmeric 1/4 tsp

Saunf/Sombu  1/2 Tsp

Salt To Taste

Cilantro 2 Tsp Chopped

Oil to Fry

Water 3-4 Tsp


1.Slice the onion to 1/2 inch strips.

2.In a mixing bowl add the sliced onions,salt,turmeric,chopped green chilies,minced garlic,saunf,cilantro and mix well.

3.Now add the besan , rice flour and sprinkle water little by little .The dough is ready now.Water is added just to hold the ingredients together.If too much water is added it will form as one big  lump and the Pakodas will turn out like  vadas.

4.Heat the oil to an optimum temperature and  take a smallportion of the dough and drop in to the oil little by little in a showering motion.The Pakodas should not stick to each other.Deep fry until brown and enjoy it with your Tea/Coffee.

I am sending this to WYF:Tea Time Snack event hosted by EC Cooking Blog


Warm Ginger Lemonade for a Snowy Weekend.

                                        Warm Ginger Lemonade

Its Margazhi month ,people claim  very cold and dewy month in India.My mom used to wear a monkey cap and put rangoli outside the house.We girls would go around claiming each of our mom's kolam looked pretty.After I came to the US and witnessed the snow myself I thought it was an exaggeration wearing a monkey cap in India.Literally my fingers would freeze If I do not wear a pair of gloves This is the month we would be indulged in Hot Pongal,Kothsu and Chutney every day for break fast.But for me preparing pongal on a hectic weekday morning is difficult.This weekend I decided to Make Pongal and Kothsu and Offered it to Andal.We had it for BF and felt it little heavy.I decided to make a warm ginger lemonade  to make digestion easier.This drink is a regular in our house during winter season.Its sweet and sour very comforting for cold and sore throat.In my next or following posts I would go in detail about the Margazhi  Month and Thirupavai.Try this lemonade its a keeper .
This is how my part of the world looks for the weekend.Its snowing and feels like 14 degree Fahrenheit.

Warm Ginger Lemonade


Ginger:1 Inch Piece (Smashed)

Lemon:1/2 Lemon juice squeezed

Cane Sugar:1 Tsp (Can Substitute Honey with 1 Tsp)

Water 1 Cup

Salt A Pinch


1.Bring along the smashed ginger and water to a rolling boil and switch off the stove

2.Add the juice of Lemon,Sugar/Honey ,Salt and stir nicely.

3.Enjoy the Warm Ginger Lemonade.We  eat the ginger , we like the tangy taste incorporated in it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

String Beans sans Coconut

                                      String Beans sans Coconut

One of our favorite veggie is String Beans. We can eat any form of this vegetable  and love to add this in almost everything boiled beans in our salad,  mixed vegetable curry, Paruppu Usili, Beans sauteed with the flavor of coconut added at the end, beans kootu.Usually in any south Indian kitchen it would accompany as a side dish for sambar or rasam.My mom mostly makes beans Saute with coconut added at the end. The day I decided to make beans, I did not have coconut in stock. I decided to add a handful of moong dal during the boiling process, the curry turned out excellent without missing the taste of coconut. The moong dal added crunchiness and color. We enjoyed it with rRce and Sambar.


String Beans 1Lb

Moong Dal about a Handful

Salt to taste

Oil 1Tsp


Mustard Seeds 1 Tsp

Red Chilies 3

Channa Dal 1 Tsp

Moond Dal 1 Tsp

Asafetida/Hing a Dash

Cumin Seeds 1 Tsp (Optional)

Curry Leaves to Garnish


1. Cut the string beans in to small cube sized pieces

2. In a kadai heat the oil and when ready, add the seasonings mustard seeds, channa dal, urad dal, redchilies, cumin seeds, hing.

3. Add the cut string beans and moong dal.Add 2 cups of water, salt and close it with a lid. Check once in a while, so that water level is maintained and the vegetable is not burnt.

4. The cooked string beans will be soft and all the water would have evaporated during the boiling process . You can also check for readiness by smashing a tiny piece in between your fingers and you will be able to feel the softness. The moong dal will take same time as the beans to boil.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pudina Thogayal/Mint Chutney

                                          Pudina Thogayal/Mint Chutney

When I am not in the mood for elaborate cooking, I just carve out a simple meal with one thogayal/chutney, sathumathu (rasam) and some Vathal/Papdams.On one such day I made this pudina thogayal.Everyone has their own version of this chutney. It can be prepared with /without coconut. The days I have Coconut cored and sliced in my freezer will thaw and add a few pieces while blending.Both versions taste great. The one version today I am going to present is without the coconut.

Pudina Thogayal/Mint Chutney

Preparation Time: 5 Mins
Cooking Time : 5Mins

Pudina/Mint 1 Bunch

Mustard Seeds 1/2 Tsp

Urad Dal 1 Tsp

Channa dal 1 Tsp

Red chilies 1

Black pepper 1/2 Tsp

Asfoetida A pinch

Oil 1/2 Tsp

Salt to Taste

Tamarind - 1/2 small lemon size/to taste


1. Dry Roast all the ingredients except Pudina/mint, Tamarind and set it aside.

2. In a Kadai heat the oil; add the pudina/mint and sauté for about a minute, when it starts to shrink transfer it to the blender.Pudina/Mint should not loose its color, if the greenness is lost, your chutney will look black in color.

3. First blend the Pudina, tamarind to get a smooth paste.

4. Add the dry roasted ingredients along with the pudina paste and give it a whir.The dry roasted ingredients should be coarse; it will give crunchiness to the chutney. Goes well with Rice, Ghee and as sides for Idli/Dosa.

PS: It was just before the chutney hit the dinner table ,it struck me to take a pic for the blog I was looking for  some creativity .These days my toddler is into learning colors, shapes etc.She looked at the round carrot slices from the salad bowl and said "Look Mommy Flower" ,made me to carve out a little unsymmetrical flower of a carrot slice , a mint stalk as a stem ,a coconut shred for the pollen and ready for the pic.The Pic doesn't look great though, as I lacked enough light.

Paneer Mattur

                                                           Paneer Mattur

I have been looking for a good paneer mattur recipe for a very longtime.Every time I prepare it is not up to restaurant grade. Recently I concocted something myself which turned out tasty ,creamy  as close to  restaurant style , we loved it. I was impressed by the creaminess  without any usage of heavy cream /malai. Excellent side dish for rotis and goes well with jeera rice.

Preparation Time:10 Minutes
Cooking Time : 20 Minutes


Cubed Paneer 1 cup (Fried / Non fried ones)

Mattur/Peas 2 cups

Oil/Ghee 2 Tsp

Clove 1

Cardamom 1

Cinnamon 1/2 inch stick

Cumin seeds 1 Tsp

Turmeric ½ Tsp

Red Chili Powder ½ Tsp

Salt to Taste

Milk 1 cup (I used 2% Organic Milk)

Yoghurt 1 cup

Kasuri Methi 1 Tsp (optional)
(Soak the Kasuri Methi in water, so that the methi will separate at the top leaving dirt and grime at the bottom.)

To Grind

Cashew 3

Raisins ½ Tsp

Onion 1 (Chopped)

Ginger ½ Inch

Garlic 2 cloves

Green Chilies 2

Garam Masala   A dash

Tomatoes 2 (Puree it separately and set aside)


  1. Heat the oil/ghee in a Kadai then add cinnamom, clove, cuminseeds, and cardamom.

  1. Add the Onion paste, turmeric, red chili powder and sauté for a couple of minutes.

  1. Add the Tomato Puree, Saute until all the liquid evaporates and the raw smell of onion, ginger, and garlic evades totally.

  1. Add the Peas, salt, milk, yoghurt and little water, if needed and leave it to boil.

  1. When the gravy gets to lightly thickened consistency switch it off.

  1. Add the Paneer and Garnish with Cilantro and Kasuri Methi.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Kovakai /Ivy Gourd Fry

My Mamiyar's Kovakai Fry/Ivy Gourd Fry

Kovakai/Ivy Gourd is one vegetable I am not familiar in my Mom's kitchen as she says they are used as an 'eraser' for black slates in her childhood days. I remember my brother and me used black slates and chalk otherwise called 'Palpam' in Tamil in our childhood days to practice alphabets or numbers or drawings unlike the kids use the Crayola now.After coming to the US, I got introduced to this vegetable and learnt about the plethora of nutrients packed in it; still I was skeptical to cook. On one my trips to India during my pregnancy, my MIL had prepared Kovakai Fry and I was surprised, as I had mentioned Ivy Gourd is not as popular as Okra, beans in any Madrasi Kitchen. She explained the nutrient contents and insisted me to eat it as it is good for pregnant women and diabetic patients. When I had the first bite, the taste was out of the world.Everytime I make this fry I religiously follow my MIL's recipe. Now she has come to stay with us for sometime and we get to enjoy this fry quite often.

MY Mamiyar's Kovakai Fry


Kovakai/Ivy Gourd ½ Lb

Red Chili Powder 1Tsp/To Taste

Turmeric Powder ½ tsp

Asfoetida A pinch

Besan 2 tsp

Mustard seeds 1Tsp

Channa dal 1Tsp

Urad Dal 1Tsp

Curry Leaves 1 spring

Salt to Taste


1. Boil the Ivy gourd with salt in cooker for 2 whistles

2. Drain any excess water from the gourd

3. Marinate the boiled gourd with salt, red chili powder, besan and leave it for 5-10 minutes

4. Heat a kadai with the oil, once ready add the seasonings channa dal, urad dal, asfoetida, curry leaves .The seasoning should not brown.

5. Now add the marinated gourd and fry until golden brown.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sepankazhangu/Arbi/Colocasia Roots Roast

Sepankazhangu/Arbi/Colocasia Roots Roast


Usually our weekend meals are light on Saturdays, full fledged ones on Sundays or the vice versa.
"Weekends" usually for us is meant for house cleaning, grocery; catch up on any household things that are pending.On those cleaning days I will turn as the 'chieftain' of the house giving instructions to my husband and daughter  until the cleaning is done..I usually prefers cleaning to be done at one shot and the house ready for the rest of the week.On Sundays we go out on, trips for my daughter if its summer we have 'n' number of activities  ,visit to the local park ,a pending trip to the zoo for the year, a simple bike ride on our community trails.In winter we hang around mall play areas swimming pools (Thanks to the Mommy and Me classes at the Y).On one such weekend I made Red Pearl onion sambar, sepankazhangu roast.

Given is the recipe for Sepankazhangu Roast

Preparation Time:15 Mins
Cooking Time:   20 Mins


/Arbi/colocasia roots- 6 Nos (the one variety we get in desi stores here are really huge unlike the Indian version)

Salt                               1&1/2 Tsp

Chili Powder                 1 Tsp

 Turmeric Powder        1 Tsp

 Asfoetida                     a Pinch

 Besan                         1 & 1/2 Tsp

Oil                              1 Tbsp

Mustard seeds            1 Tsp

Channa dal                  1Tsp

Urad dal                      1 Tsp

Curry leaves              1 spring

Coriander leaves   for Garnishing


Place the sepankazhangu in a cooker and just leave it for a whistle , sim the cooker ,leave it for a few minutes and switch it off.Once cooled, Peel the sepankazhangu and cut in to cubes .Marinate the sepankazhangu with chili powder, salt, turmeric, asfoetida,besan and leave it for 10 minutes
The besan flour will give the extra crunchiness.

In a kadai heat the oil and when it is ready add the seasonings-mustard seeds, Channa dal,urad dal and the curry leaves.Then add the marinated sephankazhangu and dry roast until golden brown. Garnish with cut coriander leaves. Roasts made to perfection are heavenly.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wheat and Oat Muffin

Here goes my first entry to the blog world.As  always an 'Indian Mind' thinks,start any new venture with a 'Sweet',just following the paths I wanted to post something sweet to all the sweet tooth out there.Blogged,went thru my cooking books,the final effort was I landed on  Indian Sweets.My DH and DD do not  like sweets much unlike me. I was skeptical about the extra calories added by the sugar and ghee in Indian sweets.Made a trip to 'Wegmans' ,to ease off by just buying a boxed brownie or muffin mix,put it together and post it.
Back of my mind I wanted to post something I made from scratch.Finally influenced and inspired  by Dr.Oetker's organic Oatmeal muffin mix ,I came up with my own version. You must be wondering the title calls for a muffin and the picture is no closer to that.I couldn't find my muffin pan(been a longtime I baked,oops ,I never go beyond making  puff or whip up  brownie mix for my daughter in terms of baking),sobaked out as a cake .Just poured a little bit of the mix in a 'Stainless steel gulab jamoon cup' for my toddler daughter,as she would eat a cake only under the name and shape of 'cup cake'.

Again the  challenge--as the original recipe counted for an egg, motivated by all the vegan/vegetarian blogs,Used applesauce,it turned out very soft and spongy. 

Wheat and Oat Muffin

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 18 Mins
Yields :8 Muffins/15 slices


Whole Wheat Flour       2 cups

OrganicRolled Oats      1/2 cup (I used the oats from whole foods).

Turbinado sugar
/cane sugar                  1/2 cup (Can increase according to your taste level)

Cinnamon Powdered     A Pinch

Salt                              A Pinch

Baking Powder             1 Tspn

Water                          1 Cup

Applesauce                  1 baby size tub (I used organic Earth's Best brand )


Mix the wheat flour ,rolled oats,sugar,cinnamon powder,salt,baking powder, then add the water and applesauce .Pour it in a  muffin pan with  liners or in a square greased baking dish Preheat the oven 425 degree Fahrenheit and let it bake for about 18 mins.check for the readiness by inserting a fork and the  fork should come out clean.Leave it to cool ,slice it and Enjoy!