July 29, 2008

Pepper Fried Rice

My grandfather was a great believer of natural remedies for any ailments. I have never seen him go to a hospital for any problems. He was 80 years old when he passed away and he never suffered from diabetes or any health problems faced by the people of his age group. One day he fainted and was admitted in the hospital where in he went into coma and passed away 10 days later without recovering from it.
When I suffered from wheezing and cold this was the recipe that he recommended to my mother to improve my appetite and to keep away the cold. I follow the same for my kids and it is very rare they ever catch cold. This is very simple to make and very good appetite improver.
Pepper Fried Rice

You'll Need:

Cooked rice – 1 cup
Black pepper corn – 1 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1 ½ tsp
Shallots (sambar vengayam) – 10 to 15
Garlic – 8 to 10 pods
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Salt – to taste
Ghee – 2 to 3 tbsp


Soak the shallots in some water for some time and remove their skin. Chop the shallots and garlic finely. In a kadai heat 1 tbsp of ghee and fry the pepper corns till they are crisp and ready to crackle in a slow flame. Take it and keep separately. Now shallow fry the cumin and grind both the pepper and cumin coarsely.

Add the remaining ghee to the kadai and sauté both the shallots and garlic till they are cooked and shrink in size. Now add the turmeric powder, salt, ground pepper, cumin powder and the cooked rice and mix well and simmer till the rice is hot.

Serve hot. You can do this in oil too but since pepper is a heat provider to our body, using ghee acts as a cooler and it is also appetizing at the same time.
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July 26, 2008

Paruppu Payasam ~ Dal Kheer

Paruppu Payasam has always been an often made Neiveidhyam in my household. My grandmother used to get up early in the morning have her head bath and start preparing the Neiveidhyam to be offered to Goddess Durgai Amman especially on the Fridays of the Aadi month which happens to be very auspicious. Then my mother followed her footsteps and now it is my turn to inculcate those values in my children. Though in Chennai this month is contributed to various sales to whatever you across, be it clothes, jewellery or even computers this month will always have me remembering those poojas performed during the raghukalams on the Fridays and Sundays mingled with the agarbathi and the flowers fragrance.

Paruppu Payasam

You'll Need:

Yellow Moong Dal – ¾ cup
Channa Dal – ¼ cup
Jaggery (molasses), grated – 1 cup
Grated fresh coconut – ¼ cup
Milk – 1 cup
Elaichi (cardamoms) – 4 to 5
Cashew nuts, broken – 1 tbsp
Ghee – 1 tbsp


In a kadai heat ½ tbsp of ghee and fry the yellow moong dal and the channa dal till they slightly turn color. Pressure cook the dals to 3 or 4 whistles and keep aside. Grind the grated coconut along with the elaichi to a fine paste and keep aside. In the same kadai heat the remaining ghee and shallow fry the cashew nuts till they turn golden brown.
In another vessel take the grated jaggery and pour water till it gets fully covered. Boil it till the jaggery completely dissolves. Pass this thru a colander to filter it of any impurities. No need to boil it to a one string consistency.

In a kadai mix both the jaggery liquid and the cooked dals and bring to a boil. Add the coconut and elaichi paste and cook for ten minutes. Never add the milk while the kheer is cooking because sometimes it might curdle. Take it off the flame and the fried cashews. Now add the milk to the payasam, mix well and serve either hot or cold.

This tasty and healthy payasam goes to the Sweet Series hosted by Mythreyee.
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July 25, 2008

Dal Paneer Masala

People who have been following my blog would have been aware of my weakness for the paneer. As Arun also happens to love it very much I have promised him that I would make a new paneer dish for him every week to accompany the chappatis. Hope I keep up my word on that. So here is yet another paneer dish with the goodness of dal thrown in...
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July 24, 2008

Tomato onion chutney

This chutney has always been my favorite right from the childhood. Now it’s my whole family’s. My kids simply love this chutney. Arjun now-a-days never complain of eating idlis when I serve it with this chutney. He likes only dosas. I remember my grandmother plucking tomatoes from her sprawling garden to make this chutney when I used to go to my native for the summer holidays. She even urged us to eat raw tomatoes as it was very good for health. What happy times they were. 

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July 23, 2008

Radish and beans sambar with plantain and okra stir fry

Last month I was watching a program in the T.V where in a Doctor was advising people to include lots of radishes in their food as it helps in taking away the carbon deposits from our body which gets deposited because of the fumes from vehicles when we go out. Ever since this Arun started demanding that I make radish sambar daily as he inhales these fumes on the way to school and back. I also remember my grandfather insisting on including radishes and gourds more in our lunches during the summer season. These vegetables have more water content and help in keeping our tract clean.

This Sunday I planned out an elaborate menu which had radish and beans sambar, tomato rasam, vazhakkai curry and vendakkai curry, curd, vadams, moor milagai. We all had a feast and enjoyed like anything.

Radish and Beans Sambar


White radish – 2
French beans – 9 to 10
Tur dal – 1 cup
Shallots – 15 to 20
Tomato – 1
Whole red chilli – 2
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
Fenugreek seeds – ¼ tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Tamarind - one goose berry sized ball
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Asafetida – 2 pinch
Sambar powder – 3 tsp
Oil – 3 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Coriander leaves – for garnish.

Scrap the skin of radish and cut them into thin round slices. Cut the French beans into long pieces. Pressure cook tur dal with turmeric powder, asafetida, few drops of oil and 2 cups of water along with radish and French beans. Mash the dal well.

Soak the shallots in some water to remove the skin quickly and halve them. Chop the tomatoes. Soak the tamarind in some warm water and extract its pulp.

In a kadai heat the oil and add mustard seeds, when it splutters add the cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds and the whole red chillies. Now add the shallots and sauté till they turn pink. Add the chopped tomatoes, curry leaves and fry till the tomatoes turn mushy. Now add the tamarind pulp, cooked radish and beans, sambar powder, salt and bring it to a boil. Now add the cooked dal and extra water if needed to adjust the consistency. Cook for 10 minutes and garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice.

Okra / Vendakkai Poriyal

Arun likes vendakkai so much that I have to cut this veggie only after send him to bed. Ever since he heard that he will become brainy if he eats more vendakkai he has started eating it raw and I am left out with only half the quantity before I could cook it. I know he drooled so much looking at Srivalli’s lunch series. So this recipe is from her blog.

Vendakkai – ¼ kg
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – ½ tsp
Mustard and urad dal – ½ tsp
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – 3 tbsp

Wash the vendakkai well and spread it on a cloth to dry. There should be no moistness. Trim the head and tail of the vendakkai and cut them into round pieces of 1 inch thickness.

In a kadai heat the oil and add mustard and urad dal. When the seed splutters add the vendakkai and stir well so that the okra gets fully coated with oil. Now add the red chilli powder, turmeric powder and coriander powder, salt and mix well.

Don’t close the kadai with a lid and let it cook for at least 10 minutes till the okra turns crisp and well cooked. Add more oil at this stage if you really want it crisp. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve along with rice.

Vazhakkai curry ~ Plantain stir fry

I liked Nandita’s traditional lunch series very much and have book marked a few recipes to try in future but this recipe is the one I tried as I had to please Arjun, my younger son as he likes plantain very much. If I didn’t he will start complaining that I make recipes only what Arun likes most. So this particular recipe is from her series.

Vazhakkai – 1
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Oil – 3 tbsp
Mustard and urad dal – ½ tsp
Salt – to taste

Trim the top and bottom of the plantain. Peel the skin with a peeler. Halve the plantain length wise and cut them into 1 inch thick pieces.

In a kadai heat the oil and add mustard seeds and urad dal. When the seeds splutter add the vazhakkai and sauté till it gets coated with oil. Now add the chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt and water and mix well.
Close the kadai with a lid and cook till all the water gets absorbed and the plantain becomes soft and cooked.

Both the vendakkai and plantain stir fry goes to Nupur’s Less is more.
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July 17, 2008

Sorakkai Spicy curry

Sorakkai is not a veggie we used to buy when I was a child. It used to grow in the sprawling place behind my grandmother’s house creeping all over the shed where they used to keep cows and we got our supply when they come for a visit and now in the back yard of my MIL’s home. When my MIL visits us she always comes with bags heaped with plantains, yams, gourds and groundnuts. She still finds it difficult to understand that we city people spend so much on these veggies whereas they are able to get it almost for free in their place.

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July 15, 2008

Grape Juice

When I was kid I suffered from severe wheezing problem that when it started all I would be able to do was breathe in but can’t breathe out and as a result after half an hour of suffering my face and body would start turning blue and my parents had rush me to the doctor. All this when I was just 3 years. I still find it difficult to forget the nightmare that I went through. They could not find the reason behind this problem but had to take certain precautionary measures to prevent this attack. So I was not allowed to play, not even walk fast. No fruits at all except apple and a big no to eating cream biscuits, chocolates and ice creams.
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July 14, 2008

Manga Oorugai ~ Mango Pickle

I was not feeling well last week. It was last Sunday when I had this body pain as though I have been run over by a truck, severe headache and high fever from that night onwards. My Doc said it was viral fever caused by change in the climate of course. Though I had lot of recipes in the drafts it felt a huge task to boot my laptop, connecting to the net and to hit the publish button. After two days it was Arun coming down with high fever next it was Arjun’s turn. The only person who escaped the ride was dear hubby. By the week’s end I was so tired with playing the sick and also the nurse I spent the whole week end recuperating sipping hot soups.
Two weeks ago I had made mango pickles as its season is coming to an end I did not want to miss out on storing them for some more time and after last week all the salt and the spice had got well incorporated into the pickle it tasted swell with sambar rice yesterday. It felt nice to be eating regular meals after a week’s respite. Both my mother and MIL are very good in making pickles. I give below two different ways of making this pickle.
Mango Pickle
Method - 1
What u need:
Sour Raw Mangoes – 5
Salt – 1 cup
Red chili powder – 1 cup
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Gingelly oil (sesame oil) – ½ cup
Asafetida – ¼ tsp
Fenugreek seeds – ½ tsp
Mustard seeds or cumin seeds – ½ tsp

What to do:
Wash the mangoes well and peel the skin away. Cut them into 1 inch cubes. Measure the cubes to 4 cups. Mix the salt and the red chilli powder to the mangoes. In a pan dry roast the fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds or cumin seeds separately and grind them to a fine powder in a mixer together and keep aside. In a kadai heat the oil and temper it with mustard seeds and asafetida, when it splutters add the ground powder and add this oil to the mango mixture. Store this either in a ceramic ware or a food grade plastic ware. Let it be for minimum two days and mix it in between so that the all gets mixed together and the salt and the chilli powder gets into the mango pieces. This goes very well with curd, sambar rice and also with upma.

Method - 2

Cut the mangoes into pieces after peeling the skin and measure it to 4 cups. In a vessel mix one cup salts with the mango pieces and leave it overnight. In the morning take the pieces separately from the water and dry it in sunlight on a clean plastic sheet. Do not throw away the water. In the evening put the dried pieces into the water again. Leave it overnight for the mangoes to soak in the salted water. In the morning repeat this again. 

The next day the mango pieces would have dried completely. In a pan heat the oil and temper it with half a tsp of mustard seeds when it splutters add ½ tsp turmeric powder and 1 cup red chilli powder. 

Put the dried mango pieces into the oil along with the remaining salted water in which the mangoes had soaked and mix well. Let the mangoes soak for 2 days before consuming this pickle.

Pickles are one way of eating any vegetable all around the year even if its particular season is over. This goes to Maninas Eating with the season.
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July 5, 2008

Noodles in Tomato Sauce

If you think of pasta as an Italian dish, then you would be mistaken as it was created in China and so were chopsticks, fireworks, paper, paper money, compasses and silk. People around the world enjoy eating Chinese food. But china has many more traditional and regional dishes than most non-Chinese know about. All you need is some noodles, some bottled sauces and few vegetables and your meal is ready. You can let your imagination run riot and experiment as much as you want. The end result will always somehow turnout to be delicious.

Usually I plan the menu for a week in advance to save up ample time. This week when my younger Arjun asked for noodles to be packed for lunch I panicked as I did not have any veggies that would go into them except for a carrot and a quartered cabbage. I refuse to send Maggi for lunch or give it for break fast either. I always have a couple of plain noodle packets in my pantry. My elder son Arun had one condition that he would not mind having to eat noodles as long it was not white in color and no pepper. Since I was running out of time this is what I came up with.

Noodles in Tomato Sauce

What U Need:

Plain Noodles – 2 packets
Carrots – 1
Cabbage – ¼ cup
Aji-no-moto – 1 pinch
Onion, big – 1
Garlic – 5 pods
Tomato sauce – ¼ cup
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Soy chilli sauce – 1 tsp
Sugar – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – 4 tbsp


Heat one litre of water in a pan and let it come to a boil. When the water is hot break the noodles into two and put them in water and close the pan with a lid. Keep it aside for 5 minutes. Pour the noodles along with the water into a colander and wait till the water runs off. Now run some cold water thru the noodles and keep aside.

Cut the carrots into thin round slices. I used a chips grater for this. Shred the cabbage into thin strips. Cut the onions into juliennes. Thinly slice the garlic.

In a wok heat the oil and first add the garlic and sauté till you get a nice flavor. Now add the onions and stir fry till it turns a golden brown. Now add the carrots, cabbage and aji-no-moto and stir fry them a minute. 

Now add the soy chilli sauce, tomato sauce, red chili powder, sugar, salt and cook in a high flame for a minute. Now add the cooked noodles and mix them well till all the ingredients are fully mixed with the noodles. Serve hot.

Spicy, sweet and sour noodles tasted simply great. This is off to DK’s Awed event featuring chinese cuisine.
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July 4, 2008

Drumstick / Murungakkai Sambar

Drumstick known as Murungakkai is available almost through out the year and it is very good for the strengthening of our nerves. It maintains the strength of our nervous system and good for our eyes. here is a sambar recipe using drumsticks.

Drumstick / Murungakkai Sambar

You’ll need: 

Toor Dal – ½  cup
Drumstick / Murungakai - 1
Sambar Onions – 9 -10 nos.
Sambar Powder - 2 tsp
Tomatoes – 1, small
Green chilli – 1, slit
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Tamarind pulp - small lemon size
Coriander Leaves – 2 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp
For Seasoning
Mustard Seeds + Urad Dal + Fenugreek - 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves – 1 sprig


Wash  Toor Dal and pressure cook it with 2 drops of Oil and ¼ tsp turmeric powder for 2 whistle. Mash well after it cools down. Soak tamarind in hot water and extract pulp from it. Chop onions, tomatoes, keep aside. Chop drumstick into finger length pieces.

In a kadai heat the oil and add all the ingredients mentioned under the seasoning. When they change color slightly add the chopped onions and sauté till they turn pink, now add the tomatoes and the green chilli and cook till the tomatoes turn mushy. Now add drumstick pieces and sauté for a minute. Add either ¼ cup of water or the water from the cooked dal and cook till the drumstick becomes tender.

Now add the tamarind extract, turmeric powder, sambar powder, salt and mix well. Close with a lid and cook over medium flame till the raw smell disappears. This will take 10 minutes. Now add the mashed dal and water if required to the consistency you prefer and simmer for 5 minutes. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
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July 3, 2008

Shaahi Paneer

This is a traditional mughal recipe that I got to taste when I attended a wedding engagement 5 years back. My colleague who happens to be a Muslim was getting engaged that evening and we all friends were invited. Both I and one of my friends along with our dear hubbies went to attend the function. The function went well and for the feast they had arranged a buffet dinner and so many food items were arrayed and I could smell the flavors of all the food teasing my nostrils. Both my hubby and my friend’s headed to the non veg section and my friend and I to the vegetarian. It is during these occasions that you get to view and also sample so many food items under one roof.
One platter marked with Shaahi Paneer got my full attention. Those soft paneer chunks swimming around in the rich gravy was quite an eye sight. People who have been visiting my blog will be aware of my love for paneer and you bet that I did not miss out on this great opportunity. When I tasted this along it with rotis the taste was superb. I knew that I must know how to make it. The next day itself I rang her up and asked whether she had any idea of how to make the dish. Her mother is an expert in Mughal cuisine as she conducts cookery classes. So she asked her mother and gave this wonderful recipe and ever since then it has been one of my favorites. This is one of the simplest dishes which taste absolutely great.

Shaahi Paneer

What u need:
Paneer – 200gms
Milk – 2 cups
Onion, big – 2
Tomatoes, ripe - 3
Cashew nuts - 1 cup or 100 gms
Sugar – 1 tsp
Ginger – 1 inch piece
Garlic pods – 4 to 5
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Roasted cumin powder – ½ tsp
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Amchur (dry mango) powder – ½ tsp
Pepper – ½ tsp
Nutmeg (jadhikai) – 1 small piece
Mace (jathipathiri) – 2 pinch
Salt – to taste
Oil – 4 tbsp

What to do:

Soak the cashew nut in some water for some time and grind this to a smooth paste.
Cut the paneer into small cubes and shallow fry them in a little till golden brown and keep aside.

Cut the onion into chunks and sauté them in little oil. Once it cools grind them along with coriander, chilli, amchur, cumin, turmeric powders, ginger and garlic to a fine smooth paste and keep aside. Grind the tomatoes to a smooth paste into a thick puree and keep aside.

Take pepper, mace and nutmeg in a mixie jar and grind it to a fine powder and keep aside. If you don’t have mace and nutmeg then replace all the three ingredients with ½ tsp of garam masala powder.

In a pan heat the oil, add the onion paste first and sauté till the flavors emerge from it. Next add the tomato puree and cook till oil comes out of it.

Now add the milk , masala powder or the garam masala powder and mix well. Let it come to a boil. Now add the cashew paste, sugar, salt and paneer chunks and cook for 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves. Serve this piping hot with rotis.

This tastes even better with parottas. Pour this rich gravy on the parottas and let it soak for 5 minutes. Simply Mmmmmmmmm………..
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