Monday, March 31, 2014

Maaladu (Laddoo made from Pottukadala)

The other day, when me and my son finished our lunch, we felt like having something sweet. But nah...all the dabbas were empty..Suddenly the roasted gram (pottukadala) sitting in the shelf called my name..I had bought it for making some pappupodi (an Andhra dish) but somehow it sat there for months..and no pappupodi was made. So I thought this is the last chance to use this gram, else I'll have to throw it to the dustbin. I remembered this laddoo recipe from the Gulf GoodFood magazine ages ago, and thought of giving it a try. I could make the whole thing in less than 20 minutes and it tasted heavenly..


Roasted Gram / Pottukadala - 1 cup
Raw sugar - 3/4 cup (you can use white sugar too, I was just trying to be li'l health conscious :))
Cardamom - 2
Broken cashew - 1 tsp
Raisins - 1/2 tsp
Ghee - about 5 tbsp


1. Heat a non-stick pan and roast the gram. Be careful not to burn them. Allow it to cool.
2. In a mixer jar, place the cooled roasted gram, cardamom pods and sugar and grind to fine powder. Transfer the powder to a plate
3. Heat a pan, and add 3 tbsp of ghee. First fry the cashew and add them to the powder. Then add the raisins to the ghee and once they have fluffed up add them along with the ghee to the ground powder. Slowly mix with your finger tips (once the heat is bearable) like you do for puttu.
4. Keep adding hot ghee till all the powder comes together to a ball. Now take small balls out of it and roll them to laddoos.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Cucumber - Lemon - Mint Cooler

A very refreshing drink for the summer...


Cucumber (small) - 1
Lemon juice - juice from 1 lemon
Raw sugar - 2 tbsp
Water - 2 cups
Mint  - 1 tbsp


1. In a mixer jar or blender, add the roughly chopped cucumber, lemon juice, mint and water and blend well.
2. Sieve the juice using a strainer.
3. Add sugar, mix well. Serve chilled!!

Coffee Cake

The other day I was itching to have a coffee dessert. I am not a coffee person, but I love coffee in my desserts. So I went ahead with the blogosphere search, and ended up in Deeba's blog. She is a self-proclaimed coffee-lover, so obviously had way too many coffee cakes in the index. I zeroed on the "Espresso Coffee Cream Cake", but did not stick to the recipe completely. This is the first time I am tweaking a cake recipe, and boy, it turned out to be perfect for me!! So here goes my adapted version.


For the sponge
Large eggs - 4, at room temperature
Raw sugar - 1 cup (white sugar is also fine)
Instant coffee powder - 1 tbsp (I used Nescafe)
Butter - 50g, melted and cooled
All purpose flour - 1 cup, sifted

The sugar syrup
Water - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 3 tbsp

For covering and sandwiching
Whipping cream - 500ml
Instant coffee - 1 tbsp, dissolved in 2 tbsp water
Icing sugar - about 4 tbsp


The sponge (The tip for getting the sponge right is to be really fast in getting the batter to the oven. You build up the air in the batter by beating and slowly (very slowly) mix in the flour ensuring that the air does not escape. If the air escapes, you'll end up with a dead (read "hard") cake. Also you need to be quick in moving the batter to oven. This way you do not give enough time for the batter to release its air pockets.

1. Pre-heat the oven to 190 deg
2. Line an 8" cake pan, grease and dust with flour (I used a 6" pan and hence baked in 2 batches)
3. Beat the eggs and sugar in a deep bowl (I used my 3L cooker) over simmering water for about 5 min, till it reaches a mousse like consistency.
4.  Take it away from heat and continue beating for another 5 min.
5. Add the instant coffee powder and beat for about a minute.
6. Gently fold in the sifted flour ensuring that the air built up in batter is least disturbed.
7. Add in the cooled butter and mix in gently
8. Pour the batter to prepared tin and bake for about 15 min (mine got done in 12 min, so you need to watchful while the batter is in the oven.
9. Once the inserted skewer comes out clean, remove the pan from oven. Let the cake rest in the pan for about 5 minute. Then slightly tap the sides and bottom of the pan to remove the cake from the pan. Let the cake cool down completely on the wire rack.

Sugar syrup
1. Heat the water and sugar together. Keep it aside

Coffee Cream
1. Beat the whipping cream, instant coffee solution and icing sugar together till the cream starts to form stiff peaks. Keep it aside.

Assembling the cake
1. Once the cake has cooled completely, cut the cake horizontally into 3 (I had 2 cakes, so together I got 5 layers).
2. Place layer 1 on a cake stand. Sprinkle from sugar syrup. Top it up with some coffee cream.
3. Place the next layer on top of it. Repeat the process till all layers are complete.
4. Cover the cake completely (sides and top) with the coffee cream. Decorate with some chocolate shavings.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Muringakka Thakkali Curry / Drumstick & Tomatoes in Ground Coconut Sauce

I was thinking of making traditional "Muringakkai Manga curry" when I saw both drumstick and green mangoes sitting in the fridge. I clean & cut the drumsticks , next I get onto the green mangoes..but they had gone bad!! Now what do I do? I mango gives tanginess to the curry, so why not add tomato instead? So I went ahead, added drumstick, tomato, chillies and also a small potato along with the traditional arachukalakki (ground coconut mixture) turned out to be a yummy chaarucurry.


Drumsticks - 2
Tomato - 1 big
Green chilly - 2
Potato - 1 small (optional)
Salt - as per taste

To be ground to paste
Coconut - 3/4 cup
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Green chilly - 1 or Chilly powder - 1/2 tsp (as per your spice levels)
Garlic - 1 clove

For Tempering
Coconut oil - 1 tbsp
Small onions - 2
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Dried chilly - 1

1. Wash, clean and cut the drumsticks to 2 inch pieces.
2. In a manchatti or kadai, add the drumsticks, roughly chopped tomatoes & potato. Add enough water and boil the same.
3. Meanwhile, in the small jar of mixer, add all ingredients mentioned under "To be ground to paste" and grind to a smooth paste. If needed, add some water.
4. Once the veggies are cooked, add the coconut mixture to the manchatti and mix well. The consistency should not be too thick or too thin. Adjust salt. Cook till the mixture starts to boil (it should not be allowed to boil too much). Switch off the stove and keep covered.
5. In a small pan, add coconut oil. Splutter the mustard seeds, add the thinly sliced small onions, curry leaves and dried chilly. Saute till the onions turn brown and crisp. Add them immediately to the gravy and keep it closed for sometime for the flavors to set in.

Greenpeas Masala (Restaurant Style)

Greenpeas Masala ... another tasty accompaniment for chapathi.


Green peas (dried or fresh) - 1 cup
Big onion - 1 medium, finely chopped
Green Chilly - 1, chopped
Ginger - 1 inch piece, crushed
Garlic - 2 cloves, crushed
Tomato - 1 big, roughly chopped
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilly powder - 1 tsp (as per spice levels)
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Salt - as needed

Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
Broken cashew - 1 tbsp

Oil - 2 tbsp


1. If using dried greenpeas, soak them in enough water for atleast 3-4  hrs and then pressure cook for 4-5 whistles. If using fresh, just boil them in salted water till the peas become tender.
2. Heat a kadai, add oil. Sizzle the cumin seeds.
3. Add the onion, chilly and saute till onions turns transparent. Now add the crushed ginger-garlic and saute till raw smell is gone.
4. Add the turmeric, chilly and coriander powders and saute till raw smell is gone. Add the chopped tomato. Saute till oil separates.
5. Now switch off the stove and allow the mixture to cool. Once cooled, grind them in the small jar of mixer to a smooth paste.
6. Heat the same kadai (in which we sauteed the onions), and add the ground paste. Add some water too. Add the cooked greenpeas too at this stage and let the whole thing get cooked. Adjust salt.
7. Meanwhile grind coconut & cashew into a smooth paste.
8. Once the greenpeas is cooked well in the onion gravy, add the coconut-cashew mixture and cook till steam comes. The gravy should be somewhat thick at this stage, if not boil it for some more time till you reach the right consistency.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Vegetable Kurma / Korma

It's definitely the best Kurma I have ever tasted. Moreover this is the first time I have seen my kids eating so many veggies in one shot.

Adapted from Sharmis Passions


Vegetables - 2 cups (I used a combination of beans, carrot, potato, greenpeas & cauliflower)
Big onion - 1 medium
Ginger - 1 inch piece, crushed
Garlic - 2 cloves, crushed
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Chilly powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Curd - 1 tbsp or lemon juice - 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1 tbsp

For Grinding
Broken cashew - 2 tbsp (yea, thats bit too much, but enhances the taste a lot)
Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 1 tsp (you can either add you home made masala if readily available or add the whole masala like 1 cardamom, 2 cloves, 1 stick cinnamon, 1 star anise)
Green chilly - 2
Split dal - 1 tbsp


1. Add the items mentioned under "For Grinding" in the small mixer jar and grind to a smooth paste. Keep it aside.
2. Steam the vegetables till done and keep aside.
3. Heat a kadai and add oil. When its hot enough, sizzle the cumin seeds. Add chopped onion, ginger and garlic. Saute till onions turns transparent, and raw smell of ginger-garlic gone.
4. Add the turmeric, chilly,  and coriander powder and saute till raw smell is gone.
5. Add the chopped tomato and saute till oil starts leaving the mixture.
6. Add the steamed veggies and ground mixture. Stir well. Add more water if needed. Check salt and add as needed. Sprinkle garam masala.
7. Add curd / lemon juice, give a good stir. Let it be on low flame and switch off the flame after about 5 min or when it reaches required consistency.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Vazhuthananga Theeyal / Brinjals in Roasted Coconut Gravy

One of the few forms in which my hubby can eat brinjal...


Brinjal / Eggplant / Vazhuthananga - 4
Small onions, sliced - 1/2 cup
Tamarind extract - extract from tamarind the size of a lemon
Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
Salt - as needed

For Roasting and Grinding
Small onion, sliced - 1/2 cup
Grated coconut - 1 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilly powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Fengreek powder - a pinch
Peppercorns - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Coconut oil - 1 tbsp

For Tempering
Coconut oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 3-4
Dried Red Chilly - 2


Roasting and Grinding
1. Heat a non-stick pan, add  tbsp of coconut oil. When its hot enough, add the half cup sliced onions. When they are transparent, add the grated coconut. You need to keep stirring from this point. Stir till the coconut exudes a nice aroma of roasted coconut (light brown shade). Add the turmeric powder, chilly powder, coriander powder, fenugreek powder, peppercorns and saute for a minute. Switch off the flame, and let it cool. Then grind it to a paste adding very little water.

Sauting the eggplant
2. In the same pan or chatti, add another tbsp of coconut oil. When hot enough, add half cup sliced small onions. After a minute, add the sliced brinjals/eggplant and saute (on low flame) till the brinjals are cooked. Sprinkle some salt. Add the tamarind extract, mix well.

3. Add the ground roasted coconut mixture and mix well. Let the whole thing boil together till they reach the consistency of a thick sauce. Adjust the salt. Add asafoetida, mix well and switch off the stove.

4. Heat a small pan, add about a tsp of coconut oil. Splutter the mustard seeds. Add curry leaves and dried chilly. Add it to the prepared theeyal and mix well.

Vegetable Pulav

One of my quick-fix lunch menu, when I am really short of time. It comes together in less than 20 min, and you really do not need many side-dishes. A pickle and raita / curd tastes great. The coconut milk adds a delicate yet rich flavour to the rice.


Basmati rice - 2 cups, soaked in water for half hour and then drained
Chopped vegetables - 2 cups (beans, carrots, green peas, cauliflower etc)
Coconut milk - 2 cups (extracted from half coconut, medium consistency)
Water - 2 cups
Salt - as needed
Big onion - 1 small, thinly sliced
Garlic - 2 cloves, crushed
Ginger - 1 inch piece, crushed
Green chilly - 2 slit or Red Chilly powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp

Cardamom - 2 nos
Cloves - 3
Cinnamon - 2 pieces
Bayleaf - 1
Star Anise - 1

Ghee - 1 tbsp


1. Heat a deep bottom pan. Add the ghee.
2. When ghee is hot enough, add the masala items. Let them splutter.
3. Add sliced onions, ginger-garlic and chilly (if using)
4. Let them saute for a while, till the raw smell is gone. If using red chilly powder, add at this stage. Add the coriander powder too and saute till raw smell leaves.
5. Now add the chopped veggies. Saute them for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle from salt at this stage.
6. Add the drained rice and mix together with the veggies. Add coconut milk and water. Adjust the salt. Close with a lid and lower the flame to low (lowest possible).
Cook till the rice is done. Once the rice has absorbed all the liquid, slowly fluff with a fork.

Enjoy with a Raita & Chutney and some pickle.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Malai Kofta Curry

Another favorite of mine, which goes well with chapathis.


For the Kofta
Paneer - 100 g, grated
Potato - 2 medium, boiled & mashed
Chopped, boiled vegetables - 1/2 cup (optional)
Salt -  as needed
Green chillies - 1, chopped fine
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp

Corn flour - 2 tbsp (for coating)
Oil - 4 tbsp, for frying

For the Gravy
Big onion - 1 big, chopped fine
Ginger - 1 inch piece, crushed well
Garlic - 2 cloves, crushed
Tomato - 1 big, chopped
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
Broken cashew - 1 tbsp, soaked
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
Kasurimethi - 1 tsp
Water - 1 cup
Sugar - 1/2 tsp (optional)
Cooking cream - 2 tbsp
Salt - as needed


1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Shape them into balls. Roll them in corn flour and fry them in oil. Keep them aside.

1. Heat a thick bottom pan, add about 2 tbsp oil. Add the finely chopped onion. Saute till they are transparent.
2. Add the ginger, garlic. Saute till raw smell is gone. Add the red chilly powder, saute for about 30s till raw smell is gone.
3. Add chopped tomato and saute till oil starts leaving. Switch off the stove and let it cool down. Once cooled, grind them in the mixer to a smooth paste.
4. Heat the pan again, add the onion-tomato paste. Let it cook for a while. Meanwhile grind the cashew to a smooth paste. Add garam masala & enough salt to the onion paste. Mix well. Add the cashew paste and also 1 cup of water. Let it boil.
5. Once the gravy gets required thickness, add little sugar (if adding) and the kasuri methi. Add the cooking cream (if adding). 
You can either add the fried koftas into the curry at this stage or add them just before serving (I prefer the latter). Garnish with some grated paneer, cooking cream & coriander leaves..

Friday, March 21, 2014

Mathipodi / Sardine Preserve

This dish definitely bowled me over!! I came across the recipe in Vanitha (a Malayalam magazine) and thought would try it out, since the author mentioned it would sit for atleast a week. I was happy, since that would mean I need to cook one side-dish less for rice. So happily I went ahead and made got over in the first meal itself...but kitchen stank of sardines for 3 days!!!


For boiling

Sardines - 5-6
Vinegar - 1 tsp
Water - 1/2 cup
Salt - as per taste

For frying

Small onion, thinly sliced - 1 cup
Ginger - 1 inch piece, crushed
Garlic - 4 cloves, crushed
Curry leaves - 3 sprigs
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilly powder - 2 tsp (as per your spice level)
Coconut oil (any oil) - 4 tbsp


1. Clean and wash the sardines thoroughly. Boil it with water, salt and vinegar as mentioned above. Once the sardines are cooked, remove the excess water. Then take the sardine (one at a time), hold it by its tail and just shake a little bit..the flesh alone will fall to the plate. Discard the bone. There will still be small bones left in the flesh, but thats fine. Once the flesh is fried in oil, they become crispy and and can be eaten. Repeat the process for rest of the sardines. Keep the flesh aside.
2. In a non-stick pan, add all the oil. When its heated, add sliced onions, ginger, garlic and curry leaves. Let them get sauteed till they becomes almost brown in low flame.
3. Add the turmeric powder, chilly powder and saute for a minute or so.
4. Add the sardine flesh and give a thorough mix. Add salt as per your taste. Let the mixture get cooked/fried in a low flame till its nicely browned as shown in the pic.
Enjoy with some steaming rice..they are so addictive...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Olan (Ashgourd & Red cow pea in coconut milk)

This is one sadya dish that has amazed me with its subtle yet beautiful flavour and the minimum ingredients that goes into its preparation. If you ask me which is my favorite sadya item, without any hesitation I would say it's Olan. It's not too spicy, but rich due to the addition of coconut milk. I somehow feel that the pictures haven't done justice to its wonderful taste. So please don't go by the looks...yeah..looks can be deceiving!


Red cow peas - 1/2 cup, cooked with little salt
Ashgourd - 1 cup, thinly sliced to 1 inch pieces
Green chilly - 2
Thick coconut milk - 1 cup
Thin coconut milk - 2 cups
Coconut oil - 1 tsp
Salt - as per taste

Tempering (optional, you can serve the olan with the tempering as well)
Small onions - 1 tbsp, thinly sliced
Curry leaves - 4-5 leaves
Coconut oil - 1 tbsp


1. Pressure cook the red cow peas with little salt and water for 4-5 whistles. Wait till the pressure gets released. Donot add too much water.
2. In a manchatti or kadai, add the cooked cow peas along with its water, add the sliced ash gourd and green chillies too. Add the thin coconut milk and half cup water. Cook them together till the ashgourd is cooked well. At this stage the curry should not be too thin, it should be starting to thicken.
3. Now add the thick coconut milk, stir well to combine. Check for salt at this stage and add as needed. Let it be on low heat till steam starts coming. (The curry should not be allowed to boil after adding thick coconut milk). Switch off the stove, add coconut oil, give a good stir and close the vessel with a lid (this will allow for the flavours to set in, and olan should sit for atleast half hour before serving)
4. Heat a small pan and add the coconut oil. Add the curry leaves and thin slices of small onion. Saute till onions turn very light brown. Add them along with the oil to the olan and close with a lid.

Serve with kutharichoru.

Aloo Capsicum Masala

Both are my husband's favorite items - aloo (potato) and capsicum. So thought of making a side dish for chapathi combining these two ingredients. It was quick and tasty too...went well with chapathi.


Potato - 2 medium, boiled, peeled and cubed
Capsicum - 1 medium, cut into chunk size pieces
Onion - 1 medium, chopped
Oil - 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilly powder - 1/2 tsp ( as per your tolerance)
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp

Grind to a smooth paste
Green chilly - 2
Ginger - 1/2 inch piece
Garlic - 2 cloves
Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
Broken cashewnuts - 2 tbsp
Tomato - 1 medium


1. Grind the ingredients mentioned in "Grind to a smooth paste" in small jar of the mixer till you get a smooth paste.
2. Heat oil in a kadai. Saute the capsicum pieces till they are slightly fried. Drain them and keep aside
3. In remaining oil, sizzle the cumin seeds. Saute the finely chopped onion till they turn transparent. Add the masala powders (turmeric, chilly and garam) and saute till oil starts leaving.
4. Add the masala paste and saute till raw smell is gone. Cook till oil starts leaving. Now add the boiled potatoes and lightly fried capsicum pieces. Let them get cooked in the masala for atleast 5-6 minutes. If the gravy is too thick, add some water. Cook till it reaches a thick consistency. Serve hot with chapathis.

Masala / Savoury Biscuits

I am a big fan of these masala biscuit. I like these more than the normal sweet biscuits. They are perfect with a hot cup of tea in the evening. So the other day I decided to make them and they were as good as the bakery bought ones..

Recipe source : My Diverse Kitchen


Bowl 1
All Purpose Flour - 1 3/4 cups
Fine rice powder - 2 tbsp (I used pathiripodi)
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Baking soda - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp

Bowl 2
Chopped curry leaves - 1 tbsp
Chopped cilantro / malliyila / coriander leaves - 1 tbsp
Chopped mint / pudina - 1 tbsp
Chopped green chillies - 1 tsp (as per your tolerance)
Crushed peppercorns - 1 tsp (as per your tolerance)
Sesame seeds (black or white) - 1 tbsp

Chilled butter - 100gm, cut into chunks
Curd - about 3 -4 tbsp


1. Mix all the powders mentioned in Bowl 1 together. Now add the chilled butter cubes into this and slowly and gently start mixing with your finger tips (as you do for the pie crust). Keep doing till you get a breadcrumb consistency.
2. Now add all the masalas mentioned in Bowl 2. Mix together.
3. Add 1 tbsp curd at a time and gently mix together. Keep adding curd (you'll not need more than 3 tbsp of curd) till you get a moist, pliable dough.
4. Cling wrap the dough and place in refrigerator for atleast 1 hr.
5. After an hour, take the dough out and divide into 4 balls. Roll out one ball at a time to about 3 mm thickness and cut using cookie cutters. Place them on a baking tray, prick them with a fork (so that they do not fluff up) and lightly brush with oil on the top.
6. Bake in a pre-heated oven (at 180 degrees) for about 20-25 min till the top is brown. The baking time will depend on the thickness of the biscuits, so if you have rolled them really thin, then you wouldn't need so much time to brown them.

You can store them in an air-tight container once cooled.

Daal Palak / Spinach and Lentils

A terrific combo...tastes best with chapathi & steaming hot white rice.


Dal - 1/2 cup (you can either take toor dal only or a combination of toor & masoor dal)
Palak - 1 bunch
Big onion - 1 small, chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves, crushed
Ginger - 1/2 inch piece, crushed
Tomato - 1 medium, finely chopped
Green chilly - 2, as per your tolerance, slit or chopped
Salt - as per taste
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Oil - 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp


1. Wash dash thoroughly and pressure cook with little salt and turmeric powder. Cook for 4-5 whistle. After all the steam has been released, open the cooker and mash the dal thoroughly. Keep it aside.
2. Wash the palak thoroughly under running water. Drain and chop them finely.
3. In a kadai, heat oil. Add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle.
4. Add chopped onions and saute for a minute. Add the ginger-garlic and green chilly. Saute till the onions turn transparent.
5. Add in the chopped tomatoes. Saute till oil starts leaving.
6. Add turmeric powder, saute. Now add the chopped palak and mix everything together. Let the palak cook for 3-4 minutes.
7. Pour in the mashed dal. Let the entire thing get cooked together for couple of minutes. Switch off the stove and serve hot with chapathi or rice.