January 29, 2010

Chow-Chow Sambar

Sambar is a dish that is eaten almost across all homes in south India for lunch. I would also say it is the most versatile one. Many veggies find their way into sambar. A combination of vegetables or a single most veggie dominates the sambar cooked in dal never fails to cure us of our hunger during lunch.

This chow chow sambar is almost made two or three times a week in my house hold. Here goes the recipe.


You'll Need:

Tur Dal - 1 cup
Chow Chow - 150 gms
Sambar Onions / shallots - 100 gms
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Sambar Powder - 2 tsp
Tomato, small - 1 medium
Tamarind - small lemon size
Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt to Taste
Coriander Leaves – for garnishing

For Seasoning / Tadka

Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
Whole Red Chillies - 2
Fenugreek - 1/4 tsp
Curry Leaves – 1 sprig


Peel and cut Chow Chow into big chunks. Wash the Tur Dal well. Place the chow chow in a small vessel and sprinkle some water. Place this vessel over the dal vessel and pressure cook the dal along with turmeric powder for 3 whistles. Release the pressure and mash the dal well with a mathu and keep aside.

Soak tamarind in some hot water and extract pulp from it. Peel and chop the shallots and tomato finely.


Heat oil in a pan, add the seasoning ingredients in the order mentioned. Now add the chopped onions. Sauté till they turn color slightly and add the tomatoes and the Sambar powder and cook till the tomatoes turn mushy.

Now add the tamarind pulp, cooked tur dal, salt and bring to a boil. Cook on a medium flame with the lid closed for 5 – 10 minutes till the aroma of sambar rises and all gets well cooked. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with steamed rice
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January 27, 2010

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

I had some left over pumpkin in the fridge and was pondering over what to do with them when this soup came to my mind. Adding potato to this soup gives it a nice creamy texture and thickness without having to add corn flour to it. A steaming cup of it does wonders on a cold evening. So here goes the recipe….
You’ll Need:
Yellow pumpkin / Parangikaai – 100 gm
Butter – 2 tsp
Potato – 1 (small)
Oregano – little
Basil – little
Black pepper powder – to taste
Salt – to taste
Grated cheese – for garnishing
Water – As required


Scrape the skin of the pumpkin and potato and cut them into chunks. Heat butter in a kadai and add the pumpkin and potato chunks and sauté for a minute. Transfer them to a pressure cooker and cook for 1 whistle. Let it cool.

Liquidise them in food processor using water as required to the consistency you would prefer. Pour the soup again in the kadai and bring it to a boil. Season the soup with salt, oregano, basil and pepper powder. Garnish with grated cheese and serve piping hot.
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January 25, 2010

Peas Pulao Recipe

Green Peas Pulao Recipe
Today’s recipe is Peas Pulao which makes a perfect lunch box recipe both for kids and adults alike. The rice is mildly spiced and flavored with whole spices that makes it more aromatic. It is the most simplest of one pot meals and you can pack it with any dry or gravy side dish. You can use either fresh green peas or frozen peas from the supermarkets. I make it both in a pressure cooker or an electric rice cooker and it comes out perfect every time.

Peas Pulao Recipe
The peas season is in full swing now and I am not to miss out on the opportunity. Though we have an option of using frozen peas and dried peas during the off season nothing beats it like using fresh green peas while making pulao. I just love the smell of them while taking them away from their pods. Arjun loves separating them from their pods and makes it his prime duty to do away with them immediately after reaching home from the market. Here is today’s recipe….

Peas Pilaf Recipe

Peas Pulao Recipe

Prep time: 10 mins  |  Cook time: 20 mins  |  Serves: 2
Recipe Cuisine: Indian  |  Recipe Category: Main


  • Raw Rice – 1 cup
  • Freshly shelled green peas – 3/4 cup
  • Onion - 1
  • Green chilies – 4 to 5
  • Garlic – 3 pods
  • Ginger – 1 inch piece
  • Bay leaf – 1
  • Cloves – 3
  • Star Anise – 1
  • Cinnamon – 1 inch stick
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil – 1 tbsp


  1. Wash rice and soak for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, chop onions into juliennes, mince both ginger and garlic and slit the green chilies and keep aside.
  3. Heat a pan with oil. Add cumin seeds and when it sizzles add cinnamon, star anise, cloves, bay leaf and sauté over low flame till the aroma arises.
  4. Now add minced ginger and garlic and sauté for 10-15 seconds. Add onions, green chilies and sauté till the onions turn translucent.
  5. Drain the water from rice completely and add the rice to the pan and mix well gently till the oil and spices coats the rice.
  6. Transfer the contents of the pan to an electric rice cooker and switch the knob to cook mode.
  7. Add salt, 2 cups water, give a good mix and close with the lid.
  8. Once the knob slips to warm mode, gently fluff the rice with a fork.
  9. Serve hot with any spicy dry curry. I served it with Spicy Mushroom Fry.
Peas Pulav Recipe


  1. I made the rice in the electric rice cooker. But you can either make it directly in a pressure cooker or in an open pan.
  2. I used ordinary plain rice but you can also use basmati rice and it will be even more flavorful.
  3. You can also add a handful of mint leaves while sauteing the onions to add more flavor.
  4. Instead of freshly shelled peas, you can also use frozen peas.
Peas Pulao Recipe
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January 23, 2010

Vatral Kulambu ~ Traditional Version

A simple and handy kulambu when you panic upon seeing the refrigerator empty of all its content and when you have forgotten to shop the earlier day and when you are simply not in the mood to make an elaborate lunch and keep it simple. This one will whet your appetite no matter for whatever reasons you cook this. 

Vatral Kulambu ~ Traditional Version

 You'll Need:

Manathakkali Vatral – 3 tbsp
Tamarind – 1 lemon size
Sambar powder – 3 tsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Asafetida – 1 pinch
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Fenugreek seeds – ¼ tsp
Channa dal – 1 tsp
Whole red chillies – 4
Jaggery / vellam – ½ tsp (optional)
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Salt – to taste
Oil – 2 tbsp


Soak the tamarind in some hot water and extract its pulp.

Heat oil in a pan and add asafetida and mustard seeds, once the seeds pop add fenugreek seeds, channa dal, whole red chillies and curry leaves and roast for a few minutes.

Now add manathakkali vatral and mix well. Add the turmeric powder and sambar powder and mix well in the oil. Now add tamarind pulp and salt.

Let it come to a boil. Coo till the raw smell of the powders and tamarind disappears and the kulambu thickens. Add jaggery now and take off the stove. Serve hot with rice with liberal amount of ghee and appalam.

Note: Traditionally gingelly oil is used for making this kulambu. I used the same too. If you do not prefer the flavor any cooking oil can be used.
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January 22, 2010

Semiya / Vermicelli Kheer in Microwave

This morning I was hurrying to get ready and was scratching my mind to find something quick to make for friday neiveidhyam during the pooja along with cooking and packing lunches, snacks and breakfast. So I tried this kheer for the first time in microwave though I had done this umpteen number of times in the conventional stove. what more I managed to click a photo of it in the morning rush which is a big deal for me.

Semiya / Vermicelli Kheer in Microwave

You’ll Need:

Semiya / vermicelli - ½ cup
Sugar – 1 cup
Milk – 3 cups
Ghee – 1 tbsp
Roasted cashews – 10
Cardamom powder – ½ tsp


In a microwave proof bowl mix semiya with ghee and microwave at high for a minute mixing it now and then in between till it becomes a golden color. Add milk, mix well and microwave at high for 5 minutes.

Add sugar and mix well. Let it dissolve completely. Then microwave for 3 minutes at high. Now add cardamom powder, roasted cashews and microwave at high for 2 more minutes for all the flavors to blend together. Serve Hot.
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January 20, 2010

Shrewsbury Biscuits

It seems that I am bit by the baking bug, especially cookies. I remember enjoying eating these biscuits that would be stored in big canisters in the bakeries when I was a child. I just loved their smell and the chewy texture of them in the centre. I baked these during the pongal holidays and it came out perfectly well.

Shrewsbury Biscuits

You’ll need:

All purpose flour – 1 cup
Butter / vanaspati – ½ cup
Powdered sugar – ¼ cup
Lemon zest / essence – 1 tsp
Yellow food color – 2 pinch
Jam – 1 tsp
Tutti fruit (optional)


Pre heat the oven at 180 degrees.

In a vessel take the butter and beat it well. Add the powdered sugar and beat it well till resembles a white cream. Add all purpose flour little by little and mix it well till it forms soft dough. Do not knead it tightly. Do not add water or milk.

Flatten the dough on an even surface and cut the dough with the help of a cookie cutter in desired shapes. Beat the jam well and garnish it in the centre of the biscuit. You can also replace jam with tutti fruity.

The biscuits that I made with the lemon zest had more flavor and aroma than when I replaced them with lemon essence.

Store them in air tight containers and enjoy them during tea time. Bliss. Hope you have a great time enjoying them.
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January 18, 2010

Tomato Rice

Hope you all had a great pongal. Usually we make mixed rice varieties on the Kannum pongal and have them during the outings. This time I tried a different way of doing the usually made tomato rice. Usually I make it by extracting puree from the tomatoes that of course takes some time. The kids were in home and wanted something different and spicier from the usual which gave way to this.

You’ll Need:

  • Rice - 2 cups
  • Tomatoes – 4 ripe medium-sized ones. (I used Nattu Thakkali)
  • Onion - 1 (big)
  • Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp
  • Green chili - 1
  • Salt - to taste
Dry-roast and grind to a fine powder
  • Coriander seeds – 1 ½ tbsp
  • Chana dal - 2 tbsp
  • Red chillies - 5 or 6
  • Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Fennel Seeds - 1 tsp
  • Cloves - 3
  • Cinnamon - 2 " piece
For tempering:
  • Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal - 1 tsp
  • Chana dal - 1 tsp
  • Bay leaf - 1
  • Asafoetida/hing - a pinch
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Cashew nuts – 2 tbsp (broken)
  • Curry leaves - a few
  • oil - 2 tbsp


Cook the rice. Make sure that it’s not overcooked or too mushy. Dry roast and grind the list of ingredients under that head and leave aside to cool. Make sure that you don't burn the fenugreek while roasting as it will give a bitter taste. Chop the onion and tomatoes finely. Slit the green chilli.


Heat the oil and temper mustard seeds and urad dal. Add the chana dal, slit green chilli,, cashew nuts and chopped onions and saute for about 2 to 3 mins. Then add the ginger garlic paste, turmeric, hing and the curry leaves. Fry for another minute or two.

Add the ground powder (masala) powder and fry for another 3 to 4 minutes. Now add the chopped tomatoes, salt and mix well. Keep the fire on low and cook till the raw smell leaves the mixture. This should take about 10 to 12 mins. Add salt. The oil will begin to separate. Make sure that the mixture is a thick paste and not watery (don't add water).

Once done, mix in the rice, stir well until blended well and serve hot with raita or pickles.
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January 11, 2010

Thiruvadhirai Kali

What a busy week it had been. Though I was working in the computer all day long I could'nt find time to post a recipe. Shame. The thing is I was quite busy with my hubby's new machinery purchase project and I had to liaise with the bank people and Auditors for all the paper work to get completed. Now it is all finished.

What an auspicious day for a New year. Aruthra Darisanam falls on the same day this year. As the temples were closed during the mid night due to lunar eclipse we went for the early morning darshan to our nearby temple. After returning home I made this kali which is usually done as a neivieidhyam for Lord Shiva during this auspicious day.

Thiruvadhirai Kali

You’ll need:

Raw rice – 1 cup

Yellow moong dal – ¼ cup

Jaggery (molasses) – 1 ½ cup

Freshly grated coconut – ½ cup

Cashew nuts – 2 tbsp

Raisins – 1 tbsp

Ghee – 2 tbsp

Cardamom powder – 2 tsp

Water – 4 cups


Dry roast rice and yellow moong dal separately till a nice aroma rises and they both change color to a lighter shade of brown. Grind them coarsely to a rava consistency. Heat a little water in a vessel and add the jaggery to it. Stir till they completely dissolve and pass it thru a metal strainer to filter any dust or find sand. Keep the strained jaggery syrup separately.

In a kadai heat 3 tsp of ghee. Add the cashew and raisins and sauté till they become golden in color. Add the grated coconut and sauté till changes color and a nice aroma arises. Keep it separately.

In a vessel heat 4 cups of water. Add the coarsely ground rice and moong dal and mix to avoid lumps. Close the vessel with a lid and cook over medium flame till the water is absorbed and mixture becomes soft. This should take about 10 – 15 minutes.

Add the jaggery syrup, cardamom powder, roasted cashewnuts, raisins, coconut and the remaining ghee and mix well. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes over high flame or till the syrup is also absorbed into the cooked rice mixture.

This was the break fast we all had on New year. I was quite skeptical whether my children would take a  liking to it. Bu they did. Infct they loved it very much. Arjun remarked that it tasted like chakkarai pongal. As it is a sweet dish I did'nt have to cajole them to try.

What a healthy dish as we get all the nutrients from it. Carb from the rice, protein from the dal, iron from the jaggery, fat from the ghee. What a healthy lifestyle people of those led. I hope we don’t forget our tradition but pass it on to our next generation and enable them to live a healthy life.

This is off to Kids's Delight - Wholesome breakfast. hoted by Srivalli.
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