Saturday, 29 May 2010

Mixed Vegetable Pakoras

Yummy, crunchy are the words that come in my mind when I think of vegetable pakoras. They are best for evening snack, starters for lunch or dinner or just for crunching in between meals. :)

Here are some of the most commonly used veggies for the pakoras - Onion, Capsicum, Brinjal, Cauliflower, Raw Banana. The veggies are cut as thin slices and dipped in a besan based batter and deep fried.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Macaroni in tomato sauce

Macaroni is one of my favorites. I prepare this when I'm lazy enough to cook a meal for myself.

I make macaroni either in white sauce or tomato sauce. Both taste great but I prefer macaroni in tomato sauce since its tangy. :)
I use olive oil when I prepare macaroni. You may use any vegetable oil. I use blanched tomatoes and onions for a nice flavor. It also helps in cooking of the sauce faster since its half cooked already.

How to blanch vegetables

Blanching is a technique which is used to keep the vegetables crisp and tender. This process helps kill the bacteria in the vegetables. Blanching helps preserve the color and flavour of the vegetables. In this process, the vegetables are put in hot boiling water for a couple of minutes and then immediately transferred to ice cold water.

In the following article, I'm gonna explain blanching of tomatoes in specific.

Tomato is one of the most common vegetables that is blanched. The blanched tomato can be used to make sauce or ketchup.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Maida-besan Chakli

Chakli is the north version of our crispy murukku. I decided to stock in some murukku for snacking in on evenings or for side dish in lunch. Since I was trying chakli for the first time, dint want to take a risk. I checked it out from Smt. Chithra Vishwanathan's recipe on indusladies.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Nippatlu or arisi thattai

My mom gave me this recipe after watching it on a cookery show on TV. She told me that it tastes awesome and my dad just loved it. The fact that it is made from rice flour it absorbs very less oil. I tried it today and it came out really well. I think you should just give it a shot. As usual I tweaked the original recipe by adding chopped cashews.

Idly batter

Idly is something I wake up to every morning. Its been my breakfast for almost 24 years. The batter is prepared either with idly rava or with rice. I shall post both the recipes.

At my in-law's place, we prepare the batter with idly rava. My MIL prefers fermenting the batter and adding the cooking soda and salt the next morning. So I too follow what she has been doing for years. :)

Dosa Batter

Idly and Dosa are the commonly prepared breakfast in south india. So today thought of sharing the recipe to prepare dosa batter. It isn't difficult or not known to people. I just want to make it easy for the newly weds :)

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Rava Kesari

We had some guests coming over for dinner on Sunday night. I had planned a very simple menu comprising of capsicum sambar, bhindi fry and rasam; ofcourse curd rice, chutneys and pickles being indispensable. So was left with the dessert. After quite a lot of thinking, I decided on Rava Kesari ( sooji ka halwa).

Saturday, 22 May 2010


Sambar is one dish which is almost made on a daily basis across households and hotels in South India. This simple dish, gets the flavour from the veggies and the sambar masala used accompanied with the tamarind extract and dal. The usage of sambar starts right from the morning breakfast to the evening dinner. There are different varieties of sambar. Infact the sambar made for tiffins is different from the sambar made for rice. But I only prepare sambar for lunch and have tried making sambar for breakfast just once.

The onions or the pearl onions give an excellent flavour to the sambar. The pearl onions especially give an excellent flavour. Probably thats why they are commonly known as the sambar onions.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Egg substitute

The egg in the cake does add to the fluffiness and the eggless cakes some what lack there. So why not give your cakes the same fluffiness without adding eggs but using egg substitutes?

One substitute which I commonly found while googling was the FLAXSEED. Flaxseed is also known as Linseed. It is called 'Avise Ginjalu' in Telugu, 'Ali Vidai' in Tamil, 'Alsi' in Hindi. I hunted for it big time at Big Bazaar, Spencer's Hyper but failed. I finally bought it when I made a trip to Chennai. I found it easily at Nilgiris. You can also find flaxseed in 'Nuts and Spices' outlet and there is one in Hyderabad too.

To substitute 1 egg, add 3 tbsp warm water to 1 tbsp flaxseed powder (in stores you get flaxseed in the powder form) and let it stand for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes you would find that it gets quite the same texture as that of an egg. It serves the binding purpose that the eggs are used for in the cakes. These days most people are using flaxseed instead of eggs for its health benefits and for the lower calories as compared to eggs.

Flaxseed can also be used in soups. Checkout my Tomato Oats soup recipe for the same.

Eggless Chocolate Cake

When I had bought the microwave oven last December, one thing I wanted to try quite desperately was the eggless chocolate cake. I had bought a couple of tins for baking the cake and had got all the ingredients ready. I googled for various eggless cake recipes and tried this one for the new year. :) The 2nd one I baked came much better. So what I learnt was that the measurements need to be exact and not approximate for baking cakes. Also, don't beat the mixture for too long or short.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Making tamarind paste at home

Life and cooking gets simpler when we have things planned out. One ingredient which we south indians use mostly on a daily basis is tamarind for making rasam, sambar, kuzhambu etc. Soaking the tamarind to extract the juice is sometimes boring. And there can be times when we suddenly decide to make rasam but we need to soak tamarind then and there. So one simple way is to have your tamarind paste ready at hand.

This paste can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 months. I googled for the procedure and combined two methods after quite experimenting and arrived at this recipe. I make this and store in a bigger air-tight container in the fridge and have a small container to take and use it.

  • Tamarind - 500gms
  • Turmeric - 1 tsp
  • Salt - 1/2 cup (standard measuring cup)
  • Oil - 150 ml ( would make upto 1/3 of a standard measuring cup)
  • Fenugreek / Methi seeds / Vendayam / Menthulu - 2 tbsp

  • Remove seeds and threads as far as possible from tamarind.
  • In a pressure pan, add the tamarind. Pour water such that tamarind gets immersed.
  • Add salt, turmeric. Cook for 2 whistles.
  • Open the lid after 1-2 hours.
  • If you find threads or seeds remaining remove them now.
  • Meanwhile, dry roast the fenugreek and powder in a mixer.
  • In a pan, add oil and once hot add the tamarind paste, fenugreek powder.
  • Stir it once in a while and cook it till its quite a thick paste like sauce.
  • Cool and store it in a air-tight container in fridge.
Things to remember
  • Since you've already added salt to this paste, take care while adding salt to your recipe.
  • To make sambar for 3-4 persons, you can use 2 tsps of paste.
  • Always use a dry spoon or have a spoon in your small container and take care not to have water into it.
  • Since this paste is already cooked, your gravies need not be cooked for a longer time. We generally cook gravies for a little longer time after adding tamarind to eliminate the raw smell and taste. Here that is not required.

Pindi Miriyam

This gravy is a Andhra speciality. It mainly gets its name from the fact that the gravy has quite a strong taste of pepper which is called miriyalu in telugu. The rice in the masala which is ground specially for this gravy gives thickness to it. This is good to have when you have cold or sore throat. You'll find it soothing. Colocasia / Arbi / Chamagadalu / Cenna kizhangu is best suited for this gravy. You can also use potatoes and other veggies.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Beerakaya Thokku Pachadi

This pachadi was introduced to me by my mom. Ever thought of throwing away the peel of veggies like ridge gourd, chow chow? Next time don't throw them away. Save them to make a delicious pachadi which your entire family would love. And most of them wouldn't even guess what the pachadi is made of.

Veg Noodles

As I was shopping at Spencers Hyper at Musheerabad, Hyderabad, I came across the plain veg noodles pack. I picked it up and it lay on the shelf unused for days. One day I decided to try it out. I asusual, added in the sauces that were available at home. My husband loved it instantly. :)

One good thing about this noodles is that it does not carry any masala sachet as that in maggi. So you have the freedom to experiment.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Brinjal Curry - with homemade curry powder

I just love this brinjal curry. I would thank my mom a zillion times for this recipe. I since my childhood had loved the stuffed brinjal curry. But since it would require more oil, my mom tried this recipe once and I just fell for it. Tender small green brinjals taste best for this recipe.
brinjal curry hot in kadai

Monday, 17 May 2010

Dal Powder - jiffy version

This dal powder known as 'annam lo podi' in telugu is something you cannot miss when you make a visit to any of the andhra hotels. This version of dal powder is easiest to make and tastes heavenly when had with hot rice with a little ghee. My mouth is already watering :D

This dal powder is the jiffy version and not the conventional way of making the dal powder. In the conventional way, it is made with 4 types of dals and this shall be posted later.

Aakura Pappu without masalas

As I had mentioned in one of my previous posts, I make greens without adding any masalas. But it still does taste great. Do try this one and see how heavenly food can be without any masalas.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Bhindi Gravy

My husband just loves Okras. But I get fed up making the same old bhindi fry. So sometime back I just experimented on this recipe and he just loved it. Once in a while I make this gravy. I just added whatever masalas I felt like adding and that were available on the countertop. :D

Bhindi gravy

Poha - The microwave way

While I was browsing through few blogs, I came across Srivalli's blog which was hosting a MEC event on 365 days of microwave cooking. So here I'm editing my previous post to send an entry to the same.

Never thought poha would be so delicious when made in the oven with just 2 tsps of oil. Yes...2 tsps of oil..can you believe that? I did try it out and believe me it tastes so good.

I make poha either for breakfast or as an evening snack. It actually is a full meal in itself.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Senaga Pachadi

Senaga Pachadi is similar to the Parupu Thugayal of Tamil Nadu. When you substitute red gram dal with tur dal Kandhi Pachadi is ready. This pachadi tastes yummy. The consistency of the pachadi is thick and can be refrigerated in an air tight container for about 2-3 days.

Aakura Pappu / Parupu Keera

Doctors suggest us to have greens atleast 4-5 times a week. So some days I cook the greens with dal and on few days when I don't prepare sambar or any other dish without dal, I prepare the greens with dal. So here's one of those recipes greens with dal. Here I have used spinach. You can substitute spinach with any greens of your choice.
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