Friday, January 30, 2015

Vegetable Pulao

Veg_Pulao 5

Ingredients: (Serves - 2)

Basmati rice            --   1 cup
Water                         --   2 cups
Mixed vegetables --   1 cup, chopped
Onion                        --   1 medium size + 1/2 for garnishing
Green chillies        --   2 - 3
Coconut milk         --   4 - 5 tbsp, thick
Cardamom             --   2
Cloves                      --   2
Bay leaf                   --   1
Cinnamon              --   1 small piece
Cashew Nuts         --   as required for garnishing - I used ~10 - 12 cashews broken into pieces
Salt                           --   As required
Ghee                        --   2 - 3 tbsp

Veg_Pulao 6


Wash and soak the basmati rice for 15 - 20 minutes.

Thinly slice the onions and slit the green chillies. Keep aside.

Clean and Chop the vegetables. I used the frozen mixed vegetables and that includes carrot, beans, peas, corn and edamame.

Heat oil in a wide and tall vessel. Add the ghee. Fry the cashews, drain and keep it aside. Add the onions for garnishing. Saute and let it turn brown. Drain and keep aside.
Now add the the spices and saute for a minute, followed by the remaining onion and green chillies. Saute until the onions are transparent. Add the chopped vegetables and fry for 2 - 3 minutes until the veggies turn slightly crisp.

Veg_Pulao 1      Veg_Pulao 2      Veg_Pulao 3

Meanwhile in another pan, boil the water.

Drain and add the rice to the veggie mix and fry for few minutes - until the water in the other pan starts to bubble and boil. Pour the boiling water into the rice, add salt and coconut milk. Give a good stir. Once the rice starts dancing on top of the boiling water, simmer to medium low and close the pan with the lid.

The rice will absorb the water and will be cooked in 10 - 12 minutes. Open and carefully fluff the rice.

Veg_Pulao 4

Serve hot with raita or any curry of your choice and pappadam.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Mushroom Fry

Mushroom 6

Ingredients(Serves 2 - 3):

Button mushroom --  12 - 15
Cashew Nuts             --  10, broken into pieces
Onion                           --  1 medium sized, chopped
Tomato                       --  1/2 of a medium sized, chopped
Ginger                         --  1 inch piece
Garlic                          --  6 - 8 cloves 
Green chillies           --  2
Curry Leaves            --  1 sprig
Turmeric Powder   --  ¼ tsp
Chilly Powder           --  1 tsp
Garam Masala           --  1 tsp
Mustard seeds          --  ¼ tsp
Cumin seeds              --  ¼ tsp
Oil                                  --  2 tbsp
Salt                                --  to taste

Mushroom 4


Clean the mushrooms, cut them and keep aside. I usually remove the skin, wash and drain it. It is better not to soak the mushrooms in water as they will become soggy at times.

Finely chop the onions, ginger and garlic. Slit the green chillies and chop the tomato.

Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. Let it splutter. Add the cumin seeds followed by the curry leaves, green chillies, ginger and garlic. Saute for a minute.

Mushroom 1              Mushroom 2

Add the chopped onions and salt, saute until they turn brown. Add the cashews and tomato and saute until the tomatoes are squishy.

Now add the turmeric powder, chilly powder and the garam masala. Saute until the raw smell goes off. The mixture should be really dry at this point.

Add the chopped mushrooms and mix well. Reduce the flame to medium and let it cook without the lid. We just need the water coming out from the mushrooms, closing with the lid will add in the condensed water too which will make this watery.

Mushroom 3

It takes just 3 - 4 minutes to get it cooked. You can garnish with coriander leaves if you choose to.

Serve hot with rice or chapathi or any breads.

Mushroom 5

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Cracked Wheat Upma / Gothambu Upma

Wheat Upma 2

Ingredients(Serves 3 - 4)

Cracked Wheat    --   1 cup
Water                      --   2 cup
Shallots                  --   2
Green chillies      --   3 or 4
Ginger                    --   1 tsp, finely chopped
Carrot                     --   ¼ cup, chopped, optional
Beans                      --   4 or 5, chopped, optional
Green Peas           --   ¼ cup, optional
Corn                        --   ¼ cup, optional ( I used 1 cup of mixed vegetables)
Curry leaves        --   1 sprig
Mustard seeds    --   ¼ tsp
Red Chillies          --   2
Salt                          --   to taste
Oil                            --   1 tbsp

Wheat Upma 3

Wash and drain the cracked wheat and keep it aside.

Heat oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds and let i t splutter. Add the red chillies broken into pieces. Add thinly sliced onions, curry leaves, slit green chillies and ginger. Saute until the onions are translucent. Add the vegetables and saute for 2 - 3 minutes. I used the frozen mixed vegetables.

Now add water and enough salt. Mix well and let it boil.

Once it starts boiling add the cracked wheat, mix well, reduce the flame to medium low and close it with a lid. Let it cook.

Stir in-between once or twice, just to make sure that it doesn't stick to the bottom.

Give a good stir once done, to remove big lumps. Serve hot.

Wheat Upma 1

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Chilly Paneer


Ingredients: (Serves 3 - 4 as starters):

Paneer(cubed)      --   200 gms  
All purpose flour  --   1½ tbsp
Corn flour                --   1½ tbsp

Onion                         --   1
Capsicum                 --   1
Green chillies         --   2 - 3
Garlic                         --   5-6 cloves
Soy sauce                 --   2  tsp
Chilly sauce             --   1 tbsp, I used green chilly sauce
Tomato sauce         --   1 tbsp
Vinegar                     --   1 –2 tsp
Pepper powder      --    ½ tsp
Coriander  leaves  --  3 - 4 sprigs , chopped
Salt                              --   as required
Oil                                --   as required



Mix the all purpose flour and corn flour. Add salt and few tablespoons of water and mix well to make a semi-thick batter. Dip the paneer cubes in this batter and deep fry until it slightly turns brown. The paneer should have/only have a thin coating of the batter just to hold its shape.

You can omit the above step of frying, but make sure that you don't break the paneer cubes in further steps. Otherwise, store bought fried paneer works good too. I did not fry it this time, but it was the cubed ones from the store – so I could manage without breaking it.
Cut the onion and capsicum into small cubes. Slit the green chillies and thinly slice the garlic and keep aside.


In a pan add 2 - 3 tsp oil and once it gets hot, add the green chillies and garlic. Sauté for a minute and then add the cubed onions. Saute until it gets transparent. Add the cubed capsicum. Increase the flame to high and sauté for 2-3 minutes until the raw taste of the capsicum is gone. You can see that the colour changes slightly when capsicum is done.


Reduce the flame and add the soya sauce, chilly sauce, tomato sauce and vinegar. Mix well. Do a taste test and then add required salt. The sauces will already have some salt in it and hence make sure you do a test before adding the salt.

Add the fried paneer cubes and carefully mix well until the paneer is well coated with the sauces. Garnish with pepper and coriander leaves.


Serve hot.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Aval Vilayichathu

The very first time I had this yummy snack was from Chennai – from my roommate Reni. Her mom used to prepare this for her every time she came back from home – And I used to finish that up J. I remember getting the recipe from her once and had scribbled it down then. I did not have that note with me but just remembered the ingredients. I knew it wouldn’t go bad as this was something sweet with all my favourite ingredients. Here goes the one with my measurements.

Aval 2

Ingredients:(Serves 2 - 3)

Jaggery                                           --   1 ¼ cup grated/powdered (adjust as per your taste. This is for ones with sweet tooth like me)
Water                                               --   ¼ cup
Aval                                                  --   2 ½ cup
Grated coconut                           --   1 cup
Cardamom powder                    --   1 tsp
Ghee                                                 --   2 tbsp (optional)
Chana Dal                                       --   2 tbsp
Black Sesame seeds                    --   1 tbsp
Coconut bites/ thenga kothu --   as required(optional), I did not add this.
Cashew nuts and raisins           --   as required, I used 8 - 10 each

Aval 3


In a heavy bottomed pan ,add jaggery with water and let it melt completely. Strain for any impurities and keep aside.

Heat ghee in a pan and add the raisins. Fry until they are blown up. Drain and keep aside.

Add the chana dal and fry until golden brown. Drain and keep aside with the raisins.

Repeat the same with the cashew nuts, coconut bites and sesame seeds one after the other and drain it and keep aside.

Add the aval and fry it until it is crispy. and keep is aside. This step is optional and this will give the snack a crunchy taste if eaten warm and on the same day. If you are planning to save this for later, you can omit this.

Add the jaggery syrup to the pan and cook over low flame until you get one thread consistency (When you lift your spoon, it should flow in without breaks or into a small bowl of water drop a small drop of the syrup and it should not get dissolved.) 

At this stage add the grated coconut and mix well. Cook for 2 -3 minutes until it is thick.Add the cardamom powder. Switch off the stove.

Add the aval and mix well until combined. Add the other fried items kept aside. Mix well.

Best if served with sliced bananas.

Aval 1

This stays good over the counter in an air tight container for a week or two. And for couple of months is refrigerated.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Vanpayar thoran:

This is a quick,easy, yummy & healthy dish. The only part that I dont like is that we need to plan well ahead for this dish. Soaking the payar for 6-8 hours really matters. At times I ve tried various other short cuts like soaking it in hot water for 1 - 2 hours or pressure cooking it for longer time etc.. You can get it cooked well in all ways.But the perfection comes only when you soak it for a longer time.

This pairs best with rice & moru curry or with Kanji . But I love to have this even with chapathi or puttu.

VanPayar Thoran 4

Ingredients (Serves 3 to 4):

Red gram                    --   1½ cup
Turmeric powder   --   ½ tsp
Chilly powder          --   ½ tsp
Coconut                      --   ½ cup
Cumin seeds              --   ½ tsp
Garlic                           --   2 to 3 pods (optional)
Shallots                       --   2 to 3
Mustard                      --   ½ tsp
Red Chilly                   --   3 to 4
Curry leaves             --   2 - 3 springs
Salt                               --   to taste


Soak red gram for 6 to 8 hours. Wash and cook it in a pressure cooker with turmeric powder and chilly powder.

Coarsely grind together coconut and cumin with a pinch of turmeric powder.

VanPayar Thoran 1       VanPayar Thoran 2

Heat oil in a pan and splutter the mustard seeds. Add the red chillies and curry leaves.Add the finely chopped garlic(optional) and shallots.

Add the ground coconut mixture and fry for a minute.

Now add the cooked lentils to this, mix well and switch off the flame.

VanPayar Thoran 5

Serve hot with rice or kanji.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Achinga Payar Mezhukkupuratti / Long Beans Stir Fry

Payar Mezhukkupuratti 3

Ingredients (Serves 3 - 4):

Achinga Payar / Long Beans  --   250gm
Turmeric Powder               --   ¼ tsp
Chilly Powder                     --   1 tsp
Shallots                                 --   2 - 3 (optional)
Mustard seeds                    --   1 tsp
Red chillies                          --   2
Curry Leaves                      --   1 sprig
Oil                                            --   2 tbsp ,  I use coconut oil
Salt                                          --   as required


Clean and cut the payar/beans; almost 2 inch . In a pan, add the cut beans, turmeric powder, chilly powder, salt and half a cup of water and let it cook until soft. Add more water only if required - we want the beans to be completely dry, by the time it is cooked. Keep aside.

Payar Mezhukkupuratti 1

Heat oil in another pan. Add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add the curry leaves and broken dry red chillies. Add the chopped shallots, if using and saute until the shallots are brown.

Add cooked beans and mix well. Keep it on a low flame for few minutes, until any remaining water gets dried.

Payar Mezhukkupuratti 2

Serve hot with rice.