Saturday, November 29, 2014

Vegetable Naartam Pazha Sadam - Citron Rice With Vegetables

Ripe and juicy Naartam Pazham / Herale Hannu / Citron is ideal to prepare this 'Variety Rice'. It is prepared similar to Lemon Rice and it has a unique taste and flavour. The addition of vegetables makes it a delicious one - dish meal.

Naartam Pazham  / Ripe Citron - 1 

Rice - 2 cups

Carrots ( Chopped ) - 1/4 cup

Beans  ( Chopped ) - 1/4 cup

Capsicum - 1 (Chopped )
Onion - 1 ( sliced )
Naartam Pazham  / Ripe Citron - 1 
Salt - 1 tsp
Sesame oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 pinch
Black gram dal - 1 tsp
Bengal gram dal - 1 tsp
Peanuts -  2 tbsps
Red chillies ( broken ) - 1
Green chillies ( Chopped ) - 2
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Curry leaves - a few
Coriander leaves - for garnishing
1. Wash and pressure cook rice in 4 cups of water and allow to cool.
2. Wash and chop carrots, beans, capsicum and onion.
3. Heat oil in a kadai and add the mustard seeds.
4. When it splutters add black gram dal and Bengal gram dal.
5. When the dals start turning into a golden colour add the peanuts and fry till they crack.
6. Add broken red chilly, chopped green chillies and the curry leaves.
7. Add chopped onion and cook till it turns reddish in colour. Keep the flame low so that the seasoning does not get burnt.
8. Add turmeric powder followed by the rest of the vegetables.
9. Saute till the vegetables are done, but remain crisp.
10. Stir in salt and cook for two more minutes.
11. Cut the Citron and squeeze in only the juice. (Take care to remove the seeds )
12. Switch off flame. 
13. Fluff up the cooked rice and pour in the prepared Citron - vegetable mix.
14. Gently blend together evenly without mashing up the rice.
15. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Enjoy the flavoursome Vegetable Naartam Pazha Sadam with any raita of your choice.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Aranmanai Laadu - A Special Sweet Ball prepared with Bengal Gram Dal


 I have been wanting  to prepare the traditional Aranmanai Laadu from a very very long time. The recipe is from the well known cook book SAMAITHU PAAR by Meenakshi Ammal - an inseparable gift, which was given to me during my wedding about four and a half decades ago. I do not know how or why Aranmanai Laadu ( meaning Palace Laadu ) got its name. But the heavenly aroma that it emanates during the preparation is enough to vouch for the royalty of the 'golden'  Aranmanai Laadu
Bengal gram dal - 2 cups
Powdered sugar - 2 cups
Ghee - 1 cup + 2tbsps
Fresh Coconut gratings - 1/2 cup
Cashew nuts - 1/4 cup
Cardamom - 4
Edible camphor( Pachchai karpooram ) - 1/2 a pinch
1. Heat 2 tbsps of ghee and roast the cashew nuts and coconut  gratings separately till they are golden brown in colour. Keep them aside. 
2. Powder cardamom and edible camphor together and keep aside.
3. Wash and soak Bengal gram dal for two hours.

4. Drain the soaked dal and grind it into a very thick batter.
5. Heat one cup of ghee in a thick bottomed kadai and add the batter to it.

6. Roast the batter on low flame till all the moisture evaporates.
7. Keep stirring using a spatula till the whole mass crumbles.

8. Add powdered sugar and blend well and switch off flame. I also added two table spoons of plain sugar for texture.
9. Mix in the roasted nuts and cardamom powder and blend well .

10. Take a scoop of the mixture and firmly shape it into a badminton ball size Laadu

My husband suggests that an addition of more nuts like pista and badam, raisins and saffron strands to Aranmanai Laadu  will doubly justify its name ! 
Share the flavoursome Aranmanai Laadu with your near and dear ones and enjoy the HAPPY DEEPAVALI  celebrations.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Bandli Pulav - Rice In Spicy Vegetable Gravy


My grand daughter likes the Tava Pulav prepared at Shanthi Sagar which is one of  her favourite food joints. Yesterday when she dropped in for lunch I decided to prepare her favourite Tava Pulav using the ingredients readily available at home.  My tava was not large enough to prepare the quantity required for the family. Since I used my Bandli / kadai to prepare the Tava Pulav, we playfully named it as "Bandli Pulav"!

 Rice - 2 cups ( I used Sona Masuri )
Juicy Tomatoes ( chopped) - 2 cups
Carrots ( grated ) - 1/2 cup
Tender Kohlrabi / Knolkhol ( grated )- 1/2 cup
Green Capsicum ( minced ) - 1/2 cup
Onion ( minced ) - 1/2 cup
Salt - 2 tsps
Sambar powder - 1 1/2 tsps
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon,cardamom and cloves ( powdered together ) - 1 tsp
Ginger and garlic ( ground) - 1 tsp
Fresh coriander leaves ( chopped ) - 2 tbsps
Cooking oil - 2 tbsps

1. Pressure cook rice with exactly 4 cups of water and allow to cool.
2. Heat oil in the bandli and add the cumin seeds.
3. Add the ground ginger and garlic and saute .
4.Now add minced onion and fry till it turns pink in colour.
5. Add the chopped juicy tomatoes followed by sambar powder and salt.
6. Cover and cook till the tomatoes become pulpy, stirring now and then. 
7. Add the grated and minced vegetables.

8. Cook till the vegetables are done.
9.Add the powdered spices ( you may even add half a spoon of Pav Bhaji masala at this stage) and cook for one more minute. Add coriander leaves and switch off flame.

10. Fluff up the cooked rice and add it to the cooked vegetable gravy.

11. Mix well until each and every grain of rice is coated with the gravy.

Enjoy the hot and flavoursome "Bandli Pulav" with onion and cucumber raita.

I am happy to announce that I have been chosen as the Bawarchi of the Week. Here are the links :

Friday, September 26, 2014

Sojji Appam - Fried Dough With Sweet Semolina Filling


''Oh dear Mother ! I welcome thee by ringing the bell -
I offer Thee a comfortable seat -
The waters of  the holy rivers are Thine for ablutions -
The best of  fruits and honey are for Thee to savour -
I offer a cool and fragrant bath to Thee -
I adorn Thee with fine clothing -
And  bedeck Thee with precious ornaments -
I anoint Thee with sandal paste, and 
Offer Thee vermilion , turmeric and incense -
I offer Thee a garland made of the most fragrant flowers -
I shower Thee with the choicest of flowers and aromatic herbs -
Finally Oh Mother, I offer Thee my entire self ,
Filled with the ambrosial sweet called devotion !
Oh Goddess, Thou who manifests as  mother in all beings,
Salutations to Thee,salutations to Thee, salutations to Thee !''

 Offering Sojji Appam to Mother Goddess during Navaraatri symbolizes the total surrender of the Self filled with sweet  devotion unto Her!

Semolina - 1 cup
Cashew nuts ( coarsely powdered)- 1/4 cup
Sugar - 2 cups
Ghee - 1 tbsp
Cardamom powder - 1 pinch
1.Heat ghee in a thick bottomed kadai.
2. Add the cashew nuts immediately followed by semolina.
3. Roast on low flame till you get a pleasant aroma.
4. Side by side boil 2 cups of water on the second burner of the stove.
5. Now safely and gently add the boiling water to the fried semolina.
6.Stir well and cook till the semolina starts to thicken.

7. Add sugar and blend well.
8.Cook till the Sojji thickens and comes together like a ball.

9.Mix cardamom powder and allow it to cool thoroughly.
Plain white flour / Maida - 1 cup
Ghee - 1 tbsp

Salt - 1 pinch
1. Take a wide mouthed bowl and mix all the above ingredients together using your hand.
2. When the flour resembles bread crumbs SPRINKLE water just enough to gather the flour into a dough.
3. Knead into a stiff but pliable dough.
1. Make small lemon size balls out of the already prepared Sojji.
2. Make slightly smaller balls out of the maida dough.

3. Take a dough ball and flatten it on your palm.
4.Place a ball of Sojji on it.
5. Pull the edges together over the filling , press together with your fingers and seal.
6. Keep the sealed side down and pat it into a thick and flat circle.

7. You may use a rolling pin to flatten the Sojji Appam, but keep the Appam thick.
8. Heat oil in a kadai.
9. Reduce the flame and slide a Sojji Appam into the hot oil.
10. Cook till the colour of the Appam starts to change, and then increase the flame to medium.
11. Flip the Appam and fry till it becomes golden  brown in colour.
12. Drain the Sojji Appam using a perforated ladle.
13. Sojji Appams can be fried in batches .
14. Spread out the Sojji Appams on a dry plate and allow them to cool down.
Offer the Sojji Appam to Mother Goddess and enjoy the Prasadam with one and all.

Sojji Appams are crisp when fresh and they tend to soften when stored. But the taste remains ambrosial.

This post is for Sri. P.V. Krishna Murthy and family.
Special thanks to Shravan and Pranav for the Navaraatri Kolu picture.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mini Vegetable Adais - Lentil, Rice And Vegetable Pancakes


My four year old grand daughter is a great foodie though she eats only very little at a time. She can instantaneously tell   'yummy food'  from 'yucky food' from a large spread of dishes! She is an ardent fan of 'Master Chef'' and even suggests ideas to her mother on how to make a dish more 'yummy'! My daughter packs her lunch box with the dish the child  chooses for the day. She likes to sneak in  as many vegetables as possible in all the dishes she prepares for the child.
Mini Idlies, Mini Dosais and Mini Adais suit her lunch box , as they are easy to handle and less messy. Adais are prepared by soaking  a mixture of dals with rice which make them  highly nutritious, delicious and also gluten free. The addition of vegetables make them wholesome and even more nutritious.
Here is my grand daughter's favourite lunch box food - Colourful Mini Vegetable Adais .


Rice - 1 cup
Split pigeon peas/ Tur dal - 1/2 cup
Bengal gram dal - 1/2 cup
Split Black gram dal - 2 tbsps
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Fresh ginger - 1'' piece
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Red chillies - 2
Salt - 3/4 tsp
Curry leaves - a few

1.Soak the dals and rice with red chillies for one hour.
2. Add all the other ingredients and grind into a coarse and moderately thick batter. The ground grains should have the coarseness of semolina. The batter should be of Idly batter consistency.
3. This batter can be used immediately or can be stored in the refrigerator for the next morning.

Beetroot  - Pressure cook one whole beetroot, peel , grate and keep aside.
Fresh carrot - Peel and grate one big carrot and keep aside.
Finely minced cabbage  - Boil a fistful of  minced cabbage with 1/2 a pinch of salt for one minute. Drain and keep aside.
Fresh coriander leaves  - Finely minced.


Take three portions of the batter in three different bowls.
Mix the grated beetroot to one portion.
Mix grated carrot to the second portion.
Mix blanched cabbage and minced fresh coriander to the third portion.

1. Grease and heat a tava.
2. Take a scoop of batter and pour it on the hot tava and spread into a thick Adai.
3. Spread one scoop of batter from each portion into similar circles.
4. Dribble ghee around each Adai, cover  and cook on low flame.
5. Remove the lid and  flip the Adais.
6. Cook till both sides of the Adai are done.

Allow to cool . Pack the colourful and nutritious Adais for your little one and do not forget to send along a bottle of fresh fruit juice ,  to wash down the Adais.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Parippu Pradhaman - Lentil And Coconut Milk Porridge


  Paruppu payasam or lentil porridge is the first dish to be served in any festive South Indian   lunch on the right hand corner of a banana leaf. Then it is served again after the rice and rasam course. A connoisseur of food or a foodie to be precise, always loves to  enjoy the Payasam / Pradhaman as a dessert at the end of the meal.  Ona Sadya ( Onam Feast ) is a very special occasion where twenty six delicious dishes are served on a large banana leaf.  It includes three varieties of sweets and  Parippu Pradhaman / Paruppu Payasam is one among them. Scooping out Parippu Pradhaman  from the leaf  using your hand, and slurping it contentedly  is in itself a deliciously joyous  experience !

Split green gram dal / Cherupayar ( Parippu ) / Moong dal - 1 cup
Powdered jaggery - 1 cup
Thick coconut milk - 1 cup
Thin coconut milk - 2 cups
 Fresh coconut pieces - 1 tbsp
 Cashew nuts - a few
 Raisins - a few
 Cardamom powder - 1 pinch
 Ghee - 1 tbsp

Add two cups of water and blend two cups of fresh coconut gratings till it becomes smooth.
Squeeze out the thick milk by passing the smooth coconut paste through a sieve,and keep it separately.

Add two more cups of water to the already squeezed coconut gratings and blend once again.
Squeeze out the second thin milk and keep it separately.

1. Heat 1/2 teaspoon of ghee and roast the Parippu/Split Green Gram dal /Moong dal till it emanates a pleasant aroma.
2. Add 2 cups of water and pressure cook the roasted dal and keep aside.

3. Melt jaggery in one cup of water and filter .
4. Mash the cooked dal and add it to the jaggery water.
5. Cook till it thickens giving out a very  pleasant aroma.

6. Add the thin coconut milk and keep cooking till the Pradhaman thickens.

7. Finally add the thick coconut milk and cook on low flame.  Switch off flame when it is about to boil.
8. Heat the remaining ghee, fry the coconut pieces, cashew nuts and raisins  separately till they turn golden in colour.
9. Mix  the cardamom powder into the Parippu Pradhaman.

10. Garnish with the fried nuts and raisins.

Enjoy the flavoursome and creamy Parippu Pradhaman and celebrate  Ona Sadya.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Murungai Keerai Porial / Nugge Soppina Palya - Drumstick Leaves Curry


The market is flooded with drumstick leaves since it is the Tamil month Aadi .  Murungai Keerai  Porial is especially prepared on the first day of the Aadi month called Aadi Pandigai and also on Aadi Krithigai day.  Rice, Murungai Keerai Porial, Vadai and Payasam are the main dishes prepared and offered to Lord Murugan on the festive occasion of Aadi Krithigai . After completing the Kavadi bearing ritual, the devotees return home to savour this special and nutritious home made meal along with Panchamruta prasadam (a mixture of   ripe banana, jaggery, dates, honey, ghee and nuts showered on the image of the Lord as part of the temple pooja) , which is brought back from the temple. 
 (A Kavadi is made up of  two baskets of offerings hanging from the two ends of a decorated pole and is  balanced on the shoulder of the bearer. The devotee carries the Kavadi and walks up to the temple and offers the contents to Lord Murugan to fulfill his vow of thanks giving. )
After furnishing me with all the above details my house hold help Gowri  shared the customary recipe of Murungai Keerai Porial / Nugge Soppina Palya which was prepared for the occasion. 


Drumstick leaves/ Murungai Keerai / Nugge Soppu - 4 cups loosely packed
Ghee - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 pinch
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Powdered jaggery - 1/4 tsp (optional)
Red chillies - 2 ( broken)
Peanuts - 4 tbsps

1. Separate the drumstick leaves from the stalk and wash thoroughly.
2. Dry roast the peanuts and grind into a coarse powder and keep aside.
3. Heat ghee and add the mustard seeds.
4. Add the broken red chillies.
5. When the chillies become crisp add the drumstick leaves and stir well.
6. Cover and cook till the leaves wilt.

7. Add salt and the jaggery powder and cook till the leaves become tender.
8. When all the water has evaporated add the coarsely ground peanut powder. (Back in the villages powdered oil cake is used instead of roasted peanut powder.) 

10. Mix well and switch off flame .

Enjoy the Murungai Keerai Porial / Nugge Soppina Palya bursting with nutrition along with rice or ragi muddae.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Goddu Rasam / Godsaaru - Watery Tamarind Soup


The simple and flavoursome Goddu rasam / Godsaaru along with rice  makes a soothing and   light meal. The thin soup can be savoured before a heavy meal . Enjoying the rasam sip by sip is sure to  elevate one's spirits on a cold and rainy day !   

Tamarind - A plum size ball
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Salt - 1 tsp
Powdered jaggery - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Ghee - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 pinch
Red chillies ( broken ) - 2 or 3
Split pigeon peas / Tur dal - 1 tbsp

1. Soak tamarind in warm water and extract the juice.
2. Add salt, asafoetida, jaggery, turmeric powder and curry leaves to the tamarind extract.
3. Heat 1/2 tsp ghee and roast the split pigeon peas/tur dal till it turns reddish in colour giving out a very pleasant aroma. Add this to the tamarind extract. 
4. Boil the above mixture for ten minutes or until the raw smell vanishes.
5. Pour 2 glasses of water into the boiling tamarind extract in a gentle stream so that the rasam is covered with  foam .

6. Switch off flame before the rasam boils over.
7. Heat the rest of the ghee and add mustard seeds. 
8. When the mustard seeds splutter add the broken red chillies.
9. When the chillies become crisp, pour the seasoning over the Goddu Rasam/ Godsaaru. 

Enjoy the hot and flavoursome Goddu Rasam / Godsaaru with  rice and a spoon of  ghee. Or enjoy the delicious thin watery soup as it is.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sepankizhangu Varuval - Taro Fry


My Pati ( grandma ) was not only an excellent cook but was also love and hospitality personified. She was very fond of  preparing delicacies for her loved ones even if it demanded a lot of her time and labour.We loved her chips whether banana, potato, senaikizhangu ( elephant yam ) or sepankizhangu ( taro ) which she often prepared for immediate and long term use.  She sat on a low stool in front  of a kerosene stove placed on the kitchen floor and fried chips in a huge kadai of hot oil  for the entire family for very long hours. We ate the fresh and crisp chips  as and when they were made  till our heart's /stomach's content without  letting  the huge steel sambadam (steel container)  to get filled up . She enjoyed it and continued to fry more and more chips till  the sambadam  was finally full for future consumption. When I went on my honeymoon 46 years ago , Pati had thrust a huge bag of  potato chips  into my hands saying that we- especially mapillai (son-in-law)-could munch it during our long drive to the hill station. My husband who was / is a thorough foodie enjoyed the very finely grated potato chips which almost resembled Sev with great appreciation. To this day I lovingly envy my dear  Pati because she had stolen my husband's heart even before I did ! 
Here is how she prepared Sepankizhangu Varuval which is a festive side dish. But we have never had it with curd rice because we were cautioned  that  it would cause  throat irritation. Take care and enjoy !

Taro / Sepankizhangu - 1/2 Kg
Sambar powder - 1 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
asafoetida - 1 pinch
1. Thoroughly wash Taro, cover with water and boil till the skin loosens.
2. Drain, cool and peel.

3. Cut into 3/4 inch slices and  mix in sambar powder, salt and asafoetida evenly.

4. Heat oil in a kadai and gently slide a handful of the taro slices into the oil.
5. Turn  over using a perforated ladle and fry till the varuval becomes crisp and golden brown in colour.

Enjoy the yummy Sepankizhangu Varuval with your sambar rice and rasam rice. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Papaya Milk Shake With Kasturi Seeds / Sabja seeds


Never did we realize in our childhood that we were sitting with a great live treasure at the bottom of our garden ! A treasure which held within a wealth known as health! A treasure which held within numerous medicinal properties ! Yes ! The treasure was a huge Papaya tree at the bottom of our garden ! Except for a few raw papayas which we used for curries and koottus, and one or two ripe ones which we relished occasionally , most of the fruits  were left on the tree to entertain our winged friends - the barbets and the crows.  After all these years having learnt to appreciate the value of the invaluable Papaya we have started including it in our  breakfast regularly .  
Today's papaya was ripe, luscious and very sweet. Hence we had Papaya milkshake as our breakfast dessert. Since I had a supply of Kasturi seeds / Sabja seeds ( seeds of Basil ) in my pantry I decided to add it to the milkshake for its cooling property.

Ripe and sweet Papaya ( peeled , cubed and chilled ) - 1 cup
Cold milk - 2 cups
Kasturi seeds / Sabja seeds - 1 tbsp

 ( Soak the Kasturi seeds / Sabja seeds in one cup of water for half an hour. When the sesame size seeds bloat up and become gelatinous,  top any cool  drink with the jelly like seeds. ) 
1. Blend the chilled papaya cubes with chilled milk till smooth.

2. Add more chilled milk if the consistency is too thick. 
3. Pour into a tall glass and top with soaked Kasturi seeds / Sabja seeds. 
Relish the Papaya Milkshake with the Kasturi / Sabja topping and enjoy the cool bliss.  

The milkshake will taste excellent without added sugar if the papaya is really very sweet. Vanilla essence or cardamom powder can be added if required. Store the Papaya cubes and
milk separately in the refrigerator and blend as and when required. Papaya milkshake tastes best when fresh.