Monday, March 31, 2008

Rava Dosa ~ 101 Dosa Varieties!

There is something about Rava Dosa that pulls my heart strings in many ways. This has been my most favorite tiffin item that I would want to order in a hotel. Most times, it would not be available as it's so popular!. If Amma had a challenge to conquer, it was Rava Dosa. And she did try many times to get the perfect Rave Dosa. Finally she was able to come up with the correct proportion to get that restaurant style, thin crispy and tasty Rave Dosas. Even if I have to make this for breakfast, I normally had Amma prepare the batter and give me. So I was really happy to take up this challenge last week and yes, the results were great.Since this requires soaking just a little while before preparing, I found this very comfortable.

Things at home have been following a steady trend. Konda's exams are going on and I find it so amazing that she is not scared a bit. The day before the exams started, I had butterflies running around. Maybe the thought of my own exams had been the cause. But I feel happy that she is not daunted by exam fear. I really don't envy the things that highlight my kids life. Rather, I wish it remains so for them always. The high moment in my twins day would be climbing the chair, which we have forgotten to put down. The excitement they express on climbing them, my, it's a pure pleasure watching. Just for those joyful expressions on their faces, hubby leaves the chair up on Sundays and both of them will have pure joy walking on the table.

Peddu, these days walks around with a picture card of a bus, I think its rather a van. But he says Ba showing me that picture and signals us to take him outside, to watch the buses. Last night, it was quite late when he suddenly wanted Athamma to take him out, saying Ba Ba. She said buses will not be going now, as its late and it would've gone to sleep. Just our luck, one bus honked past our home and he heard the sound and showed Athamma his hand. It was quite amusing to see Athamma trying to make him understand that we won't go out at that time.

Coming back to Dosas, I finally told Amma about the dosa mela. She was very happy hearing it. I guess every mother rejoice, hearing something interesting from her kid. Dad, I believe, tells her what I post on daily. She is not very lap top savvy. Infact he was telling me that I post the Prawns Biryani that Amma makes so well. I told him that since we don't have any takers for that dish, maybe he can take a picture of that and send it across! I guess he will end up doing that too. So this Rave Dosa that I made this Saturday was a real treat. She was happy that we liked it. And I also told her that I was given one more tested recipe, that I will be trying out soon.

Preparation Time : 10 mins
Soaking Time : Minimum 30 mins (I soaked for abt 45 mins)
Serves - 8 medium size dosas
Cuisine - South Indian

Ingredient Needed

Rave/ Sooji - 1 cup
Maida / All purpose flour - 1 cup
Rice Flour - 1/2 cup
Curds - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Oil & Ghee - for cooking
Water - 3 cups


Onions - 1 medium
Whole pepper corns - 1 tsp
Channa Dal - 1/2 tsp
Cashew nuts - 10 nos
Curry leaves few

Method to prepare:

In a bowl, take all the flours and mix well with salt. Add the curds, mix well to make sure there are no lumps. Slowly add water and mix to get a thin batter. The consistency should of free flowing one.

Heat a pan with 1 tsp oil. Sauté the finely chopped onions, pepper corns, channa dal, cashew nuts and curry leaves. Once the onions are light brown in colour, add this masala to the flour mix. Stir everything together and let it rest for minimum 30 mins.

Heat a tawa, let it get hot. smear oil. Take a ladleful of rava batter and pour on the tawa in a circular movement. Spread it as a regular dosa, once the batter is poured as a circle. We will not be able to spread this as the regular dosa. Sprinkle oil or ghee. I personally would suggest ghee as it elevates the taste!. Once its cooked on the bottom, flip it to the other side.

The batter should be really thin, the moment the batter touches the hot pan, pores will be formed. That way you know you have the right consistency. Cook on both sides and serve with coconut chutney!

I even tried sprinkling the batter on the tawa, but it didn't really come out well. My regular way of pouring the batter in circles, worked out fine. Rava Dosa was really thin and crispy! And we loved it every bite.

Another for my Dosa Mela.

Reminder: Today is the last day to send in your entries for Microwave Easy Cooking Event, themed on Rice!

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Minty Water Melon Sorbet!

Come summer and all you could think of is the tempting Water Melons piled up on the rode sides. This is a most common sight to people walking up and down. The shop keepers would have displayed their wares very attractively in many shapes. Many thirsty customers will be seen enjoying this hearty fruit.

We normally just eat as it is and there won't be enough left to even think of anything new. But this is something thought out of the moment.

This came out very refreshing and was exciting to drink. I just had 3 slices of melon fruit and ran it with about 5 mint leaves. Chill it.

You Minty Water Melon Sorbet is ready!

Sending this to Abby from Eat the Right Stuff, who is hosting the Monthly Mingle, an event started by Meeta. This month's theme is Spring fruit sensations! This sure created sensation at home.

Also sending this to EC's Fun 'n' Sun Event, celebrating Summer!

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Pear Halwa or is it a Jam?

I thought I will handle it myself this time. The last couple of times, when I requested Hubby to get a particular fruit, he always managed to get them very late. Which meant I had to hurry up in the last moment. Now Pears are something I have never wanted to eat. Not sure why, but this is the first time, I ventured to buy them. Though it looks beautiful and Dad had got them many times, I never wanted to eat it. Now don't ask me why, cos I don't know myself. Its just that there are few things, I never venture to eat or even try.

But when its a blog event hosted by a dear friend, we really can't think of having personal opinions, right. Moreover, she gave a cute little (scary) rhyme to describe herself. I am sure she isn't anyway near that description, because I know Lak said she was one of the most adorable kid..oops, adult she came to meet. Anyway to have things safe, I didn't want to get the wrath on myself. Dutifully I made my way towards the fruits shop and asked for Pears. The shop keeper took a big basket and shoved towards me. I you sell in singles??..He looked bored and said, you go. He gave me one fruit. And off I came, riding back happily home, singing all the way, happy with my possession of a pear!

Back home, I had more questions thrown my way. Athamma opened the bag and looked very curiously at the fruit. I am not the one who goes and gets the fruits. Its usually the man of the house, who does. I said I just wanted to try it. Then came hubby and looked at it, said 'What's the Shape kaya doing here'. I asked what shape kaya? He said that's what this fruit is called back home. I said I don't know what's its called nor have I tasted it. "So why did you get it then", Well I wanted to try something new today', I said. 'Well , my dear you have chosen a wrong day to try new stuffs, I am off for swimming', he said. I declared I will manage"

Manage I did. I made a halwa out of it. I seriously couldn't think of anything else to do with it. Even if I did, I wouldn't have had things that might be required.

Ingredients Needed
Pear - 1 full
Sugar - 2 tsp
Ghee - 1 tsp
Milk - 50 ml
Cashew nut for garnishing (opt)

Method to prepare:

Great Pear and heat a pan with Ghee. Sauté the grated pear in the ghee, till it starts coming close.

Add the sugar and keep sautéing. Finally add the milk and cook on high.

This gets done in about 10 mins.

This tasted great, but hubby didn't, as he doesn't prefer tart tasting stuffs. Best part of this was, I had this as a jam or should I say marmalade between bread and it tasted really so good. So I guess I can call it as Jam or Marmalade instead of Halwa.

For those of you, who prefer tart halwa, this is for you. Else you can enjoy a slice of toasted bread or bun with this filling!

My cup of Pear delicacy is joining the AFAM party at The Singing Chef's place with Pears, while she sings as she bakes and cooks!

Rotis with Dum ki Arbi and Pear Halwa ~ Our Dinner!

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Lunch Box Series : LBS#30

When it comes to Bitter Gourd, I am quite partial to it. Well in the other sense I mean. I try my best never to include in my menu atleast, as long as its in hubby's and Athamma's, I have no issues with it. I guess I haven't really still grown out of my childhood fancies with this vegetable. Hubby is a great fan of Kakara kaya, and for many unaccountable times, I must've cooked this for him. But I have always made sure I have something for myself. I really can't seem to get myself to eat it. Even as a Pakoda or Deep fry, the bitterness wouldn't just go.

But hubby dear likes it in all forms. He especially likes the way Athamma makes, so I make it the same way too. Afterall when I am not eating it, why should I care if he likes his mom's. Hope he doesn't read this. Anyway, though this gets cooked as a salad on daily basis, I completely forgot to make anything else with it. Then all of a sudden, I get reminded by hubby that its been ages that he had them. So its off to Bitter gourd again. This time, it was made as a gojju, rather a thick vegetable curry. Goes well as a poriyal or fry. Another strange thing happened. I remembered very distinctly having posted a Kakara kaya kura, but for the life of me, can't find that post. Its still lying in the draft. I guess that's got to wait.

This was sent as a side dish with Palak Dal and Rice. Hubby was mighty happy with his lunch box that day. For once I heard him say on his own that he liked his lunch box.

Today's Lunch Box had

Palak Pappu ~ Spinach Dal
Kakara kaya gojju ~ Bitter Gourd Medium Sauté
Pepper Cumin Rasam
Curd Rice

Kakarakaya Gojju ~ Bitter Gourd Medium Sauté
Kakara Kaya - 100 gms
Onion - 1 small
Tomato - 2 medium
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Coconut paste - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp

Method to prepare:

Grate the outer skin of the bitter gourd and chop into thin circles. Dry roast them on a pan and soak in salt water for 5 - 10 mins. This is to remove the excess bitterness in the gourds.

Heat a pan with oil. Sauté the chopped onions till they turn pink. Then add the ginger garlic paste. Fry for 2 mins.

Then add the chopped tomatoes and dry spices powders and salt. Let it get cooked well. Squeeze out the excess water from Bitter gourd and add to the pan.

Simmer and cook with lid for about 15 mins. Stir in between to ensure its not burnt, since we are not adding water. Also you can let the steam from the lid get back to the vegetable. Add the coconut paste. This is very little as its just to give that extra taste. You can ignore it too.

Once the bitter gourd is well cooked and its well coated, can be removed.

Other Bitter Gourds that came my way:

Kakara Kaya Vepudu ~ Bitter Gourd Stir Fry
Kakarakay Pakoda ~ Bitter Gourd Fitters
Spiced Karela in Nuts

I am sending my Bitter Gourd to Pooja from My Creative Ideas who is hosting an event on Vegetables. This month its themed on Bitter Gourd. Be sure to check on her lovely round up on Eggplant!

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Ridge Gourd Stir Fry ~ Beerakaaya Vepudu!

Once upon a time, there lived two dear friends, they were the Gourd Friends. They lived happily under the shade, enjoying the sunny breeze that whisked past and the cool showers that were poured over them. They spent many a sunny afternoons, happily napping and nudging together. Small, such was their world, they never thought for a moment that their lovely life will be disrupted! Evil hands clinched their friendship away, for their own use and thus ended their beautiful life together. The lovely Ridge Gourd, sacrificed itself for our dinner, while lonely and despair, the lone gourd turned bitter. Thus he came to be called a bitter gourd!

Today I am going to talk about the Ridge Gourd that was cooked, Bitter gourd will have another day!

Little facts about Beerakaya. It is called the Luffa. And commonly used as vegetables in Asia.

The Luffa acutangula is commonly known as Ridged Gourd and is called "Bhol" in Assamese, Turai in Hindi, Janhi in Oriya, Gisoda in Gujarati, Beerakaya in Telugu, heeray kAyi in Kannada, peechinga in Malayalam.

The fruit of L. aegyptiaca may also be allowed to mature and used as a bath or kitchen sponge after being processed to remove everything but the network of xylem. This version is called Lifah in Arabic, bhol in Assamese, dhundul in Bengali, ghiya tori or nerua in Hindi or "peerkankai" in Tamil or "beera kaya" in Telugu. - Wikipedia

Ok, coming to the Ridge Gourd, its quite a common vegetable at our home. I think in most Andhra homes, you will find some form of Beerakaya cooked and served. Amma always used to tell that her mom used to make the best Beera Kaya Pappu. Infact, Amma used to makes the pappu often. But we stopped after my marriage, as hubby dear was not very fond of Beera kaya pappu. Athamma makes a Beera Kaya Kura. I guess I will talk more about the memories of Beekaya Pappu and Kura in its post. When I checked my recipe list, I was surprised to see I haven't done a post on Beerakaya!

These days, we have got settled to cooking the same vegetables and we finally got fed up with the choice. I suddenly remembered the Ridge gourd. Its been a while since we cooked it. As I said Athamma makes a Kura for Chappati with this. We ended up making a Kura and a chutney. Andhra is famous for its chutneys and one that tops is the Beera kaya pachadi. We still had one left after the kura, so decided to do a Vepudu or Stir fry for the lunch.
This is a lovely crisp stir fry. Doesn't require lot of oil, yet whatever little masala that we added brought so much flavour to the fry. As most of our vepudus have, we added Ground nut powder. It gives a unique taste to whatever it gets added.

Ingredients Needed

Beera kaya / Ridge Gourd - 1 medium
Onion - 1 small
Red chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tsp
Ground nut powder - 1 tsp

Mustard Seeds + Urud dal - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves

Method to prepare:

Wash and peel Ridge Gourds. The peels can be made into chutney or Pachadi. Chop into 1 inch pieces. Keep aside

Heat oil in a pan, temper mustard and urad dal and curry leaves. Once they splutter, add chopped onions and sauté well. Fry till they turn pink.

Add the chopped Ridge gourd and stir well. Add the turmeric powder and salt. Simmer and cook with cooked lid for 5 mins.

Remove lid and stir well. Make sure the bottom is not burnt. Add the chili and coriander powder. Stir well again. And cook for another 10 mins or till the Beera kaya is soft. When you remove the lid, make sure the steam is let back to the pan. This way you give little moisture for the vegetable to get cooked.

Once the vegetable is done, add groundnut powder and mix well. Sim for just 1 min or can be removed after mixing well. We normally don't cook for long, once we add the groundnut powder.

This can be served with dal or sambar along with Rice. But I had it with Chappati, it went just so well too.

I am sending this to Ramona from The Houndstooth Gourmet, who is hosting "The Weekend Herb Blogging", an event started by Kalyn from Kalyn's Kitchen.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Curds Dosa or Perugu Minapattu ~ 101 Dosa Varieties!

Having announced a Dosa Mela, it's only fair I attest my freakishness by displaying the wares, so as to say! I know I am foodie, think so and act so in all cases. But since announcing this Mela, there isn't anything else that's going on my mind. I find myself constantly scoring my books for different types and the quest is never ending I find. I thought I will get all my known varieties in place and then look out for new ones. And this is where hubby played spoiled sport. One of the common and most liked one at home is Egg Dosa or Mutta Dosa, that Amma makes and which I have been making too. Since I don't eat egg, I got to make it for hubby. And now he is refusing to eat that, as cooking an egg on heat is going to rob it's protein and we don't want that, right! He wants to have only boiled eggs! If you know of a Dosa with boiled egg, do let me know. Meanwhile, one of these days, I am going to spring the surprise on him and not give him any choice, I guess that will work out fine.

The other type is the Rava Dosa, which is my favorite. Actually when it comes to Dosa, I really can't decide which is most favoured than the other. Having never ventured on making the Rava Dosa batter myself, I am at loss. So the other night, once we get the kiddos to sleep, we discussed what to make for the next day. Athamma said we have been making only dosa with rice for quite sometime at home. So that prompted me to look for a new and my eyes fell on Curds Dosa. Wow this has to be good, as it has Poha and coconut too.

I told her we shall soak rice and poha in curds and make a curds dosa. She asked how about Rava Dosa. She fondly recalled the crispy, thin Rava Dosa that Amma makes. I said I got to ask her for the recipe, which I will do in the morning. We then proceeded to soak the things needed for Curds Dosa. It was quite interesting to note the variations that's called for, in this recipe. We use the Poha or Attukulu in this too, but in a different proportions. I guess its called Curds Dosa, because Curds is used more in proportion. We soaked everything together. Athamma was concerned that the water might not be enough for soaking. I came to know she got up in the middle of the night to check on it and added more water. I guess this craziness is catching on her too!

Then we soaked pesullu for pesarattu today and she reminded me that I got to ask Amma for Rava dosa. So when hubby returned from his gym, he saw me all excited talking to Amma. He asked what got me talking to Amma so early in the morning. I said he will see the results soon. Of course, he would've felt I have gone nuts, disturbing Amma so early, all for a recipe, so I acted all mysterious.Now coming back to the Curds Dosa, it came out so very soft and porous. You got to have patience to cook it on medium and of course, you will be rewarded with the results.

Preparation time : 5 mins
Soaking Time : Overnight
Fermenting Time : 3-4 hrs
Cooking Time : 4-5 mins for each
Serves : 15 medium sized thick ones

Ingredient Needed

Raw Rice - 2 Cups
Poha / Attukulu - 1 cup
Curds / Yogurt - 1 & 1/2 cups
Grated Coconut - 1 cup
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 seeds
Salt to taste
Water - 2 cups

Method to prepare:

Clean and wash Raw rice and Attukulu separately. In a bowl, take curds and soak the rice and attukulu together. Add the fenugreek and 1 cup water. Since this will soak up nicely, you might have to add a little more water.

Soak it overnight. I guess about 6 hrs should be fine. Next morning, grind this with grated coconut, adding another cup of water. The consistency should be quite thin.

Heat a tawa and smear oil. Take a ladleful of dosa batter and spread to a medium dosa. Sprinkle oil and cook it covered with a lid. Cooking this in medium makes it really soft and porous.

Since you cooked it covered, you need not flip it to the other side.

Serve this with any chutney of choice. I think it will be best with just podi too.

Another one for my Dosa Mela!

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spicy Chicken Curry ~ Andhra Style!

Growing up in midst of great cooks, have lot of advantage and you get to learn lot of techniques. It gives you a natural boost. As I must've said so many times, both my Amma and Athamma are great cooks and its a fortune to get exposure to such exceptional cooking from them. No matter which dish they make, its bound to be tasting great. Though Amma experiments and tries out new things, almost many times in a week, Athamma never ventures out of the regular. Yet her simple style of cooking, gets appreciated equally. Most of her dishes are quintessentially Andhra. Hubby dear never lets a chance pass by, without asking me to learn those simple cooking from her.

Of course, when I ask her, I find it amazing that she would've used the regular things, yet it results in much elevated taste. This Sunday coming back from a day trip down south, both the boys refused to eat from anybody but me. So I ended up spending major part of the evening, feeding them. That left Athamma to handle the chicken. She asked me couple of times, if I have something on mind. One of the cookbooks that I have, had many recipes which asked for marinating for couple of hours, so had asked her to do the marinating before I could get back home. In the end, I couldn't find the book and ended up cooking something out of my fancy. It turned out great. She thought I might want to do something on the same lines.

I teased her saying she can enjoy herself with cooking the chicken. By the time, I could say bhoo bhoo, kakka kakka to both the twins, she was walking up and down, telling me what she was doing with it. Since we almost skipped the food the whole day, she thought we will have an early dinner. So speeded it by using the cooker. In the end, I felt she needn't have gone to all that trouble, by the time Hubby came for dinner, it was well past our regular time. Not only she made the gravy, she prepared a Chicken roast along with this.too. Athamma is a lady of innovation, and I was amazed at the chicken roast recipe. I only feel bad that I didn't have sense enough to take a complete picture of everything.

Ingredients Needed

Chicken - 250 gms
Onion - 1 medium
Tomato - 1 & 1/2 medium
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Ginger garlic paste - 3/4 tsp
Clove - Cinnamon powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Curds - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Coriander leaves chopped for garnish.

Method to prepare:

Clean and cut the chicken to required size. Heat the cooker pan with oil and sauté the finely chopped onions. Once its pink in colour, add the ginger garlic paste and fry till its brown.

Add the chicken pieces, turmeric powder and salt. Cook on high for a min and sim for 5 mins with cover. The add the chopped tomatoes and all the dry masalas. Sauté well so that it gets mixed with the chicken.

Finally add the curds and 1 cup of water and pressure cook for 2-3 whistles or till chicken is well cooked.

Once the stream is off, remove lid and cook on high flame for all the moisture to get evaporated. The result will be thick gravy coating the chicken pieces. It is not a watery gravy but rather a gojju or medium gravy type. Since you already pressure cooked, the chicken will be soft. So you got to take care while you are cooking on high. Make sure the bottom doesn't get burnt. It can be simmered at this point and cooked till the curry is really thick.

This is perfect for Chapatis or Spiced Rice. Adjust the chilly as per taste. This sure was spicy!

The difference in this recipe, is the addition of Clove-Cinnamon powder. We normally add the whole spices to most of our non-veg dishes. At times, when we feel a change is in order, add this roasted powder. It takes the dish to a whole new level. Plus the addition of curds, gave way for a thick gravy and it went well with the rotis.

Needless to say, Hubby dear loved everything on the plate and was on cloud nine, metaphorically!

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Spiced Masala Dosa ~ 101 Dosa Varieties!

Sometimes you get great pleasures from simple things or almost castaway stuffs. The sour idli or dosa batter you might find in your fridge on a weekend is almost like this. What do you do with that? At Amma's place, she has a never ending supply of idli and dosa batter always, ready for anytime. She has them stocked on all days, grinds new batches almost on alternative days. Those days with so many adults and many helps at home, she always felt the need to have the batter ready. She never would send a person away without a tiffin served and in those times, the stored batter comes handy. And on top, a toddler's fancy has to be met. Konda would, at odd times, used to ask for dosa. And Amma makes sure she has fresh batter always on hand for her.

So when we have a never ending supply of Dosa batter, we are bound to have a batter that is two days old. For a Saturday breakfast, she makes upma for Dad and makes this dosa on the side for those who might like this type of dosa. And I was one of those who loved this. I used to love having this for breakfast and infact looked forward to those occasions. I never felt the sourness in the batter, but it would be just a nice excuse to indulge in this fashion, I guess. This being the tradition at Amma's place, we saw that we somehow couldn't keep up to it at our place. Though these days, we make it a point to have fresh batter as twins eat only dosa and idli, though it never matters what is made, as finally everything gets mashed up with milk. I remembered this spiced masala that amma makes from soured batter and though I didn't have a sour batter, just went ahead making it.

With the masala added, you will not find the sourness in the batter. One other better option of making good use of soured batter is to make Kulli Panniyaram, though those days, when Amma was using the iron skillet, it used to end up as a Dosa. This tastes great with both Coconut and Groundnut chutney. I never can confirm which tastes better!

Ingredients Needed

Dosa batter - as required
Onion - 1 big
Green chilies - 2 long
Turmeric powder a pinch
Bengal Gram - 1 tbsp
Cashew nuts - 5 broken to small bits
Curry leaves - few
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tsp

Method to prepare:

Heat a pan with oil, fry the channa dal and cashew nuts to golden. Then add onions, turmeric powder, chili and curry leaves and sauté well

In a bowl, take the required dosa batter, add the spiced masala to the dosa batter and mix well.

Heat a tawa, once its hot, take a ladleful of dosa batter as you would do a regular dosa and spread as a regular dosa, sprinkle oil on top and cook with lid covered. Flip to the other side to get it cooked.

The result will be chunky spicy masala dosa. Serve with chutney or just topped with Podi.

Another entry for my Dosa Mela.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

A drink on the side!

This is got to be my most hurried post. I know the due date for MBP is just round the corner and I can't disappoint dear Sig. Though I have been actually been doing a patrol and thinking of so many, finally when it was time to get it done, I couldn't get the things on time. Then I saw Nirmala posting this and also saw her asking if we knew any other blogger who could've blogged on those things that she used. I said I have my perfect MBP entry...

MBP, is an event started by dear coffeer lover on side..( me)..oops..well I am tying this after I drank the glass..can't focuc properly!

Well let me cut it short..and present to you the drink!...Here it is....Thanks Nirmala for the entry..:)

Sig, here comes another for your drinks party!

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Vermicelli Kesari ~ Semiya Kesari!

Growing up, the thought of a Saturday, would evoke the senses to look forward to the delicious prasadam that Amma would be making. It always varied with the seasons. At one point it used to Semiya Payasam, that Amma was making for many weeks on stretch. Then occasionally she used to a kesari out of Semiya. That used to be my favorite. Amma used to make it specially for me and it used to silky and tasted like amurtham. Though she used to make it many times, I have never attempted to make it.

Since this tradition of neivethyam is still followed, we make some sweet or the other on a Saturday. But I remembered this kesari and wanted to make it today. It gives a great pleasure to keep stirring it while its getting cooked. Adding a pinch of colour, makes it look so chic and out of the world. Preparation Time : 5 mins
Cooking Time : 15 mins
cuisine : Andhra

Ingredients Needed

Vermecilli / Semiya - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 cup
Ghee - 2 tsp
Water - 1 & 1/2 cup
Cardomom powder - 1/4 tsp
Cashew nuts - 5 nos
Kesari colour a pinch

Method to prepare:

In a pan, heat ghee and roast the cashew nuts. Remove and roast the semiya. Keep it aside.

In the same pan, take the water and bring it to boil. Add the Vermecilli and cook for 10 mins or till its soft.

Add the sugar, kesari colour, cardomom powder and sim for 10 mins or till its cooked.

Finally garnish it with cashew nuts.

Instead of cooking directly, you can pressure cook it with 1 cup of water too.

To get the silky texture, you can add the sugar first, then add the semiya. But this way it takes longer time to get cooked. So in that case, add 1 cup of extra water and cook till its soft.

Sending this to Habeas Brulee who is hosting the SUGAR HIGH FRIDAY #41: SWEET GIFTS event.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Karivepaku Annam ~ Spiced Curry Leaf Rice!

Karuveppilai sadam or Karepaaku Annam is our all time favorite rice. This rice can also be made with the Spiced Curry leaves Powder or in a very simpler way too. Curry leaves are so important to our Indian cooking. Most of our dals are incomplete without a curry leaf in it. That not being enough, we love the podis we make with these leaves. The Curry leaves are highly aromatic and are used as an herb. It is also highly valued for its medicinal usage. We mostly have a spiced powder ready at home and making it a mixed rice, makes it more attractive. Mix this in hot rice with ghee, garnished with nuts.You wouldn't want to have anything else next to this.

The first time I remember asking the cook for this recipe, was during a wedding that we attended. It was a wedding of a very close family friend, Uncle B's Son and so he was trilled to get us the details. He called the cook to our table and made him tell us how he prepared. It was so simple that Amma was surprised that it actually tasted so yummy and different. I remember that occasion so vividly because we made the trip to Mysore just to attend the wedding. Uncle B was the most kindest and softest person I have ever met.

During his service, he was reporting to Daddy and though he was much older in age, he was so subservient and humble. And he thought the world of my parents. I always admired his hospitality and kindness. We always enjoyed visiting him and his family, during our summer vacations. He was posted in Mysore and we must've visited Mysore some 5 or 6 times, because of him. Every time he used take us to Brindavan Gardens. And every trip used to be different. The trip from Bangalore to Mysore used to be the best though. I can still remember those yummy Maddur Vadas we used to eat on the way. Maddur is a small town enroute to Mysore and the place is famous for its vadas. Uncle B used to make sure he got us the hot ones, straight from the shop, though the halt was very short. The whole trip used to be very entertaining and fun.

He was very fond of me, maybe because I was more verbal than my brother. He always used to say I have the best example in my parents and I should follow my Dad's path. I have always cherished those words. And I miss him so much now. I know he would've loved my family. He used to call me Valli ma, each statement would begin and end so. When I thought of making this rice, all I could remember was him and the memories of those days came rushing forth. This rice helped me pick up my bruised image on my flop biryani day. I was so involved in making that biryani, that I completely forgot to prepare something for myself. When I realised that I had to eat, I thought the simplest would help me save the day!

As I said you can't get more simpler than this, but if you want to try a more spicy variety, try mixing the rice with the spiced curry powder, which has more additions to it. Else if you are in a need to fix a lunch in 5 mins, then this is for you, of course provided you have the cooked rice ready!

Ingredients Needed

Karivepaku / Curry leaves - about 5 twigs big
Whole peppercorns - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Ghee - 2 tsp

For Garnish
Curry leaves few
Cashew nuts - 10

Method to prepare:

Select good leaves and wash. Let it dry or you can pat them dry. These should not be wet as they don't get ground well.

Heat a pan with 1 tsp ghee, roast the peppercorns, till they start smelling peppery. Then add the dried curry leaves and keep stirring them till they are crisp. Remove to a plate and let it cool.

Grind this to a fine powder. Heat the pan again with ghee, add curry leaves, and broken cashew nuts. Roast them well and add this powder. Fry for 1 min, then add the rice to the pan and mix well.

Rice should not be over cooked, if required you can spread them on a plate and let it cool. Mix well with the curry powder and add salt. Munching on a rice spiced up with curry leaves and nutty bits in between will surely give you a heaven taste!

I added about 2 servings of Rice to 5 big twigs of curry leaves. It had perfect curry and peppery taste.

I am sending this to Katie from Thyme for Cooking, who is hosting the Weekend Herb Blogging, an event started by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Paneer Tikka ~ Tandoori less and Instant!

Throw a challenge and you get a dish thrown back to you! This is what I always believed in and mostly sought to do. Since I had decided on the Spinach Dosa for the dinner this Saturday, I was sitting back to enjoy some time with the twins. Konda was out, cycling. And I love making Peddu say Pappa. The moment, he sees a baby on the TV or magazine, he will suddenly bursts out saying "Popppa" pouting his lips and saying it so sweetly, repeating it many times. He says in the same way "Kakka". So when I get him to myself for a moment, I will ask him to repeat these words for me. Whether Peddu is scared of the Crow or not, we are not sure. But the moment he runs away from us to the other rooms, we call out saying 'Peddu come fast, Kakka is going to come'. And you will see a tornado running past you! With his baby steps, still not fully settled on the ground, you will find him running on his toes and running fast towards you. If in chance, Chinnu is on the same space, they will clash and bang. And a big hue and cry ensues!

This was the situation, I found myself in, when out of the blue hubby dear asked if I knew to make Paneer Tikka. I said yes of course. He asked, then how come I never made till now. I replied, you never asked me till now. He was still skeptical about it. So I said 'ask Amma if you have any doubts'. He teased if he should ask Amma for the recipe. Well I can't blame him for that. He will not know of that period, when I used to prepare Paneer Tikka many times during a week. Remember my encounter with a dietician, who advised me to slip a Tomato Juice for 15 mins, the same person said, I could eat Paneer Tikka atleast 3 times a week. Since I don't eat meat, I need to supplement protein this way. Boy, was I glad she suggested.

What followed for many months, were some glorious Paneer Tikka getting cooked. We didn't have a tandoori oven, so I made these mostly on stove top. During that time, Maggi used to come out with a Tikka Masala cubes. All you need to do, was to add that masala to the marinade of curds, Mint and Coriander leaves and you have Paneer Tikka ready. I am not sure if that Masala is still available in market. During those short months when I was on a diet of Paneer Tikka, I used to enjoy my dinner as it was always accompanied with yummy Tikkas. The crispy Paneer cubes marinated and cooked in spicy sauce and then grilled over flame, tastes heaven!

Then there was a time, when I used to make my own Masala. That used to be a hit too. But its been a while since I made that masala and I didn't have anything on hand to prepare Paneer Tikka now. But having said I can prepare, I didn't want to go back on my word, I asked him to buy the store made one, as home made paneer will not hold up to be grilled. And whats more, I couldn't find the skewers. What followed after I laid my hands on the paneer, was pure innovation. If I may say so. I didn't have any Tandoori Masala nor a Chaat Masala, the regular stuffs that goes into a Tikka. All I had was Pav Bajji Masala, Chhole Masala, Amchur Powder and Garam Masals. Well what more could I ask for, I thought and set about making it.

What turned out, was a yummy delicious Paneer Tikka, infact better than what I remembered from my younger age! This is not the traditional masala to use for a Tikka, but if you are for a tikka that did taste great, then go ahead and check out!

Ingredients Needed

Paneer - 500 gms
Curds / Yogurt, thick - 100 gms, abt 4 medium ladleful
Pav Bajji Masala - 1 tsp
Chhole Masala - 1 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Amchur Powder - 1/2 tsp
Kasturi Methi - 1/2 tsp
Oil for cooking - 2 tsp
Oil for grilling - 1 tbsp

For garnish
Onion cubes
Tomato cubes

Method to prepare:

Cube the paneer into 4" squares with 2" width. Chop the onions vertical, remove the bulb in middle and separate each layer. Cube the tomatoes into 4 halves, scoop out the pulp from inside. You can use that for any gravy that you are preparing on the side.

Hung the curds for about 10 to 15 mins, so that whey comes out. In a bowl, take the curds and mix all the masalas together.

Once the paneer is cubed, marinate in the curds for about an hour, 30 mins is also fine.

Heat a non-stick pan, and cook the paneer with the marinade. Top a spoon of oil over it.If you near the stove, you can cook it on high, else simmer for a while, until the moist evaporates and the paneer gets coated with the masala.

Since I didn't have the skewers, I thought of using the toothpick, but I had those fancy types which looked fit to be melted. So I ended up using the tong I use for frying appalam.

Arrange the Tomato, Onion slices alternating with paneer cubes. Hold these between the tong, pour oil over it, it will slide down anyway. Light the flame, and keep over it. Be sure to be away from the fire, as the tomato and onion will catch fire as oil is poured over it.

Once you find all the tomatoes, onions and paneer are little burnt, remove and serve arranged as a regular order.

If you find holding these 5 pieces little difficult together, while grilling them, you can grill these separately, but then the paneer will not get the burnt flavour and juices from tomatoes.

Serve with lemon squeezed onions slices.

All the while long, I had Konda popping in to ask if it was ready. Whenever I prepare something new and that she likes, she will ask me "Yetallamma neku eedi cheaseki tellusu'. I will reply 'Attanne tellusu ra'. This was no different! And she loved every bit of it!

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A plate for a Balanced Breakfast!

Ok here comes a post for which I didn't have to cook anything but got things together to make them very balanced. Now you know for which event this is going right. I guess the life of a food blogger revolves around the different events that get hosted. Had my folks really understood this concept, either they might sulk or try to get the different hosts to host things more on their liking. I guess it might be the second thought mostly. We have always been on pursuit to find the ideal breakfast to help us going for the whole day. Though the lunch is typically rice and dal types, since its always hurried, we don't really pay much attention to it. And dinners are always very light. This pattern has been our life style for a while. So we plan to eat a balanced one with all right one in its proportions. So towards that, we normally include eggs, nuts and fruits to the breakfast plate. A while ago, we had Plantain stem juice or Beet and Carrot Juice accompanying our breakfast. Once I met a dietician, who advised on only drinking Tomato juice and should not eat anything solid. Well I followed that too for a while. Though it was good, because you got to slip a glass full of crushed tomatoes for 15 mins, I couldn't continue for long. Then came the days with fruits and salads. That continued for a season. We are now back to our regular breakfast with addition of nuts and fruits.

Now I thought I have the perfect balanced breakfast in front of me, when Hubby dear played the spoiled sport and refused to have eggs the day I was ready to click. However much I tried convincing him, he wouldn't agree. So I just got to do with a plate without the eggs!

Mixed Fruit Sandwich, Cheese Sandwich with Almonds and Raisins along with Banana for a healthy balanced breakfast.

This plate goes to Mansi who is hosting WBB, short for Weekend Breakfast Blogging, an event started by Nandita of Saffron Trail. The theme for this edition is Balanced Breakfast.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Spinach Masala Dosa ~ 101 Dosa Varieties!

We normally use palak or Spinach as Palak Paneer or mostly make Palak Dal. But when I saw this dosa variety calling for a Palak, I was wishfully wondering if it will be liked. Sometime earlier, Athamma used to grow Palak in our backyard. Whenever we feel we don't know what to prepare, she used to go check out the veins and come back with fresh Spinach leaves. It will then find itself emerging as a Dal. Palak Dal tastes great, it goes well with both Rice and Roti. So I was very apprehensive about masking in a Dosa batter. But I was ready for this, as my experiments with a new dish rarely goes wrong, excepting my flop yesterday. I set out to make Ambur Mutton Biryani but was so disappointed that it didn't come out well. It looked great and all, except it lacked the spice and whatever makes that briyani. I didn't know I will be so affected, but the fact was, I was feeling very low. This is the first time I had a flop at my kitchen. Disappointment leaves a very bad taste behind, I realised. The after effects of that left me drop out couple of other things that I had planned to prepare, the mood wasn't just there. I guess I just have to take flops in my stride. I know I will be making it again and get it right. But its just that I never expected it to go wrong.

Anyway coming back to the Spinach Masala Dosa, we found this to be very simple and easy to make. A good one for a easy dinner. I made this for Saturday night and it was perfect.

Preparation Time : 10 mins
Cooking Time: 5 mins
Soaking Time : 2 hrs
Serves about 6 dosas

Ingredients Needed:

Raw Rice - 1 & 1/2 cup
Oil for sprinkling on Dosa - 1/2 tsp for each

To be added to the batter as raw

Spinach - 2 cups finely chopped ( I used about 10 to 15 leaves)
Onion - 1 medium, finely chopped
Green Chillies - 2 , finely chopped

To be Roasted

Coconut - 3/4 cup
Urud Dal - 2 tsp
Coriander seeds - 2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - abt 5-7
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Red Chillies - 7 long
Oil - 1 tsp
Curry leaves few

Jaggary - Marble size
Tamarind - Marble size
Salt to taste

Method to prepare:

Soak the Raw Rice for 2 hrs. Then roast all the ingredients listed under To be roasted, one by one. Let it cool.

Drain the rice and add all the roasted ingredients along with tamarind and jaggary. Grind to a smooth batter using water. The consistency should be of the regular one, like dropping state. Then add the raw ingredients and mix well.

Heat a tawa and once its hot, smear oil on top. Since the batter has spinach and onions, you will not be able to spread it easily like a regular dosa. So take a ladleful of batter, and drop the batter in a circle and try to make an even spread. Sprinkle oil around the sides. Cover it with a lid and sim for 2 mins.

Once the bottom side is well cooked, gently turn to the other side. You will know its cooked on the bottom, when it turns to wheatish colour on the sides. Once you flip to the uncooked one down, press it well so that the place between the chunks gets cooked. Cover and sim for another 2 mins. When you are able to lift the dosa freely with the spatula, its ready.

As we use raw ingredients, it takes a while to get cooked well. Each dosa took about app 3 to 4 mins. So don't have more than oen person waiting for the dosas! And make sure you alert them on the green chillies in the dosa. I had no issues as hubby loved munching on those green ones.

Serve it hot as such. It should taste good, but I served it topped with Ghee and Podi. It tasted awesome. If Podi is not available, any pickle should do or even curds will go great with it. Athamma vouched that curds also tasted great with it.

This goes to my Dosa Mela. Have you made a dosa yet? Ran out of ides, fear not! Check out Sra's for hot ideas!

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Rasam Powder for Cumin & Pepper Rasam ~ The Simplest!

As I have talked in length of my Amma's Cumin & Pepper Rasam, I can't just stop without talking about the basics that go into it. When parents relocated, there were many things that we were upset on. But in that depressing moment, hubby dear cracked me up saying, why don't you ask her to teach you the proper Rasam, atleast we will have something to solace us. Well I have been making the same rasam for a long time, still wanted to confirm if I was missing something. Amma said nothing else goes into this except Cumin and Pepper and good amount of fresh garlic directly into the rasam. So here is the simplest way Amma makes, yet it tastes heaven.

Coming Soon! Check out this space in the coming days for a Video on making Jonna Roti, by Athamma. I will be uploading it by Monday or Tuesday!

Now back to Jeelakkara Miriyala Rasam powder!

Add equal portions of Cumin and Pepper, and grind to smooth powder. There is no roasting required. Store in a container. We make batches for about a week, because the aroma might be lost if made in large quantities.

Sometimes, I add red chillies to this and grind. Normally it is not added.

The trick lies in crushing the garlic along with Red chillies and curry leaves and sautéing in oil. At times Amma tempers with ghee if its for Konda.

This is part of the series featuring Basics in Indian cooking. These form the basics in my kitchen and help me to have more organised way of cooking healthy and fast, in this hurried and hectic life style we have. I would be interested to know how you make your Rasam Powder. Thanks!


Oh What is Tom looking at through the binoculars? Check out the last in the series of Tom & Jenny ~ A Love Story!

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Lunch Box Series : LBS#29

We have been having unexpected showers since two days. A shower is most welcome on any day, atleast for me. It feels like heavenly paving through misty lanes with dews falling all over you. I rarely try to cover myself when I ride through it. If I am caught in one, while way back home, I don't even bother thinking of taking a cover. Wading through a drizzling, in a bike almost makes you feel you are liberated and flying in the sky with freedom that can come only with this feeling. Moments like these, I feel I am reborn, feeling blessed by the sky god, one more time! My companions I see, running hither and thither, trying to shelter from pouring rain. I feel sorry for them, those who can't enjoy a good rain, haven't really enjoyed life to fullest! And as each time, I remembered those many times, I have continued my journey heedless of the pouring rain, feeling cleansed, not just me but the whole world too and giving us hope again. And there have been many times, I have indulged in a hearty cry, sure that my flowing tears would never show through the pouring rains, for joy or sorrow, I never know. Most its been for the simple reason that we are blessed with another shower.

Well blame the rain for my outpour and let me get back to business. Today being a Friday, makes things easy for me. I referred my Lunch box series and decided to post one that I prepared last week. Athamma got in a Sorakkaya planning we make a kootu out of it. But I said I will do a sambar instead. So it was a sambar. Members of the gourd family, excepting the bitter one, don't normally make a frequent appearance at our table. And this, I wanted to address. Think about it, how many times should I end up making the same veg sambar. Sambar, anyway is decided for most days for lunch offlate. Most oft, I feel I got to prepare something new just for my lunch box series. But how many can I think on myself. So I thought I will make a Sorakkai Sambar and a new veggie that is not featured in the series yet as a poriyal. Well I remember our dear karamani and realized I haven't cooked with this for quite sometime. Amma makes this frequently but somehow this stopped featuring in our regular veggies list. So finally got this down for the lunch.

Today's Lunch Box had

Sorakkai Sambar ~ Bottle Gourd Sambar
Karamani Poriyal ~ Cowpea or Black eyed Pea Fry
Pepper Cumin Rasam
Curd Rice

Sorakkai Sambar ~ Bottle Gourd Sambar

Ingredients Needed

Toor Dal - 1 cup
Sorakkai / Bottle Gourd - 150 gms
Sambar Onions - 100 gms
Sambar Powder - 1 tsp
Tomatoes - 2 medium
Tamarind pulp - small lime size
Coriander Leaves - few chopped
Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt to Taste
Turmeric a pinch

For Seasoning

Mustard Seeds + Urud Dal + Fenugreek - 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves - few
Garlic - 4 pods

Method to Prepare:

Clean Toor Dal and pressure cook it with 2 drops of Oil and turmeric. Keep it for 2 whistle or till cooked. Remove and let it cool down.

Peel skin from the bottle gourd and chop into 2' size pieces. Pressure it with Dal for another whistle. Keep it aside

Soak tamarind and extract pulp from it.

Soak Shallot (Sambar onions) for 5 mins, this way the skin comes out easily. Chop Onions and tomatoes.

Heat oil in a pan, add the seasoning ingredients. Then add chopped onions. Sauté till they are cooked, add tomatoes, Sambar powder. Cook till the tomatoes are soft.

Remove the vegetable and mash the dal well. Then add the cooked toor dal along with sorakkai, tamarind pulp.

Cook on high flame for 5 mins, then simmer for 10 mins till its cooked well. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Karamani Poriyal ~ Cowpea or Black eyed Pea Fry

This stir fry with whole karamani is very peculiar to Tamil Nadu. I made this once for my relatives, they didn't know what this veggies was. In andhra we used the bean and not the tender one with the whole skin. It was quite surprising as I have always known this vegetable.

Ingredient Needed:

Karamani - 250 gms
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp

Mustard + Urud dal - 1/2
Bengal Gram - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves few

Method to prepare

Wash and chop karamani into 2' size pieces. Heat a kadai with oil, once its hot temper with the seasonings. Then add the chopped Karamani. Stir well and add salt and turmeric. Cover with lid and cook for 10 mins. Remove and let the stream go into the vessel.

Add chilli powder and coriander powder. Cover again and cook for 10 mins or till cooked.

Karamani gets cooked with its own stream. The last 5 mins, we can cook without lid to have more crunchy stir fry.

Sorakkaya Sambar was different from our usual one and along with karamani, it was a different but a wholesome experience. Hope you enjoyed!

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Soft Dosa with Poha ~ 101 Dosa Varieties!

I remembered this back from memories. It was a time when Amma was on a quest of preparing new dishes everyday. I really wish I had this blog then. One morning, getting ready and seeing it was already getting late for college, rushed down for a breakfast and saw Amma serving dosas. They were the white of the whitest and so very soft! I forgot that college was waiting or that I had a hectic time ahead. I forgot everything and just kept looking at those snowy white beauties. In wonder asked Amma what has gone into them. She said she used Atukulu! Well, Atukulu are something we have eaten only for Krishna Jayanthi. Only recently we have discovered the wonders one can enjoy with the humble Poha. So back then, thinking that Aval can also be taken avatars like this, was a wonder! I really enjoyed a hearty breakfast, a journey to college all forgotten. I loved it so much that I asked for it a couple of times. Then we all forgot about it.

Now, necessity is something that forces us to think deep in the realms of mind and things you could remember are amazing. Since having announced a Dosa Mela, all I could think of were the different varieties I should conjure on. And somewhere from the back of mind, came the memory of that morning spent longingly on a plate feasted with Soft Dosas. Out of sheer need to have something to blog on, I worked on a plan to have these ready for today. I explained to Athamma what all she has to soak. Well get a new recipe and I have all ears. Athamma loves to hear me explaining the ingredients going into something and if I tell her that Amma had already prepared and we all loved it, she is all for it. Finally we had the batter ready and the first one to eat this, of course is Konda. She finished this in flat 5 mins. Since she was in a hurry to leave, I couldn't give another for her. And all of us really enjoyed. It came out soft and crispy. Though this is supposed to be spread little thick, you can make think ones and with oil, they turn out crunchy and crispy. Enjoy the goodness of poha all in a Dosa!

Preparation Time : 10 mins
Soaking time 3 hrs
Fermenting Time : Overnight

Ingredients Needed:

Raw Rice - 2 cups
Puha/ Aval / Attukulu - 1/2 cup
Urad Dal - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste

Method to prepare

Wash and soak Rice and Black Gram dal or Urad Dal for 3 hrs together. Wash well and Wash Poha well in water and mix all the 3 and grind in a mixie to a smooth batter. Allow it to ferment overnight.

Next morning add salt, mix well, add more water if required to acquire dosa consistency. Heat a greased dosa tawa, spread a slightly thick batter on it. Sprinkle little oil over it. Cover and cook on medium flame. Cook on one side only. Remove and keep .

These dosas taste delicious when served cold too and should be cooked with minimum il.

Serve with your choice of side dish. I served it with coconut chutney and Ground nut chutney!

This is going for my Dosa Mela. Have you thought of anything interesting for a dosa? Do join me in the celebration of Dosa and its varieties!

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Jeelakarra Miriyala Rasam ~ Cumin Pepper Rasam!

Few things surprise me a lot. Like there are certain dishes that we prepare almost everyday, yet they are not featured in my dear blog. Jeelakarra Miriyala Rasam is one such dish. Rasam as most know, is must in most households down south. And mine is no less. What's more, this is Amma's signature dish. People from far and away visit us, especially for her Cumin & Pepper Rasam. Dad, infact tease her saying, she prepares it lip-smacking when guests drops in. Dad calls it Guest's Rasam. And if by any chance it doesn't come out tasty, he will ask her why she didn't prepare a Guest's Rasam. I have seen many falling in love with her Jeelakarra Mirilaya Rasam, that I have stopped counting. Both my sils family adore her rasam and when they visit, I ask Amma to prepare a big vessel of Rasam for them.They love it so much that we end up preparing for the night also. Even now both my Athamma and hubby dear nod their head sadly and say it doesn't equal amma's taste. So I have stopped asking them how it tastes.

Amma normally makes the rasam powder and stores it for a week or so. And she takes special care to make this as Dad is fond of drinking this during the evening times. He has it more like an appetizer before dinner. So extra care is taken to ensure its the right spice and tangy.

Ingredient Needed

Toor Dal - Fistful, or ladleful (app 50 gms)
Tamarind - size of two pebble. (app 3 " dried)
Tomatoes - 1 medium
Curry leaves - 2 springs
Coriander leaves - 5 springs
Salt to taste


Mustard + Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Garlic pods - 4 pods
Curry leaves - few
Red chili - 1-2
Asafetida a pinch
Rasam Powder - 30 gms
Oil - 1 tsp

Method to prepare

Normally we pressure cook Toor dal for Sambar and Rasam together. If you are cooking Rasam alone, ensure you cook with enough water to get a well cooked dal.

Soak tamarind in water and extract the juice.

Once the dal is well cooked and mashed, in a bowl mix the dal, tamarind juice along with chopped tomatoes. Add salt, curry leaves and coriander leaves. Add required amount of water.

Pressure cook for 1 whistle.Crush garlic along with the red chillies and curry leaves. This adds more flavour to the rasam.

Heat a pan with oil. Temper with the seasonings. Then add rasam powder. Fry for a min and gently add the boiled rasam. Bring to a boil and remove.

We turn to this rasam on all occasions and it never fails to pick us up.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Maamidikaya Pappu ~ Mango Dal!

When I was about 8 years old, I remember my paternal grandfather saying he was going to grow mango trees in our lands. I remember being all excited about it, though actually growing Mango trees were quite a daunting task. Still he went ahead and planted them. For the next 5 years, we didn't get to hear much about the crop. But during every summer vacation, that we spent there, I remember going to visit the mango trees dutifully and expecting them to give us wonders. Andhra is known for its delicious mangos and during the season, our house will be overflowing with the bounty, though of course not ours. My grandfather, though indisposed due to physical condition, blamed the seller for cheating him of a good variety. We used to travel by train to our native place and the journey takes us through a vista of acres of Mango trees growing with abundance, making them stoop down with the weight of their crop. One look at the sight and you would probably want to grab them. So we reach our place with the same tantalizing picture in mind. No doubt ours trees would be very picturesque, expect the taste isn't something you would want to talk about back home. Sree was the only person who ever liked it. He said it tasted more like a cross between apple and orange with a slight touch of mango. Well, that was enough to throw us off it. Every year, our granny would bring them back with her but the only patron it ever had, was my brother. Thinking about those mangoes, if those golden bygone days are here again, I will gladly eat them any day. Even if it did taste like an apple orange mix.

Growing up in a city that's deprived of its natural beauty, makes me long for those summer days spent in fields, trekking and running around, I feel sad for our kids. Other than a lone mango tree that peeps to our compound from our neighbouring house, they won't actually get to see a mango tree close by. And all I have, are my memories of those lovely summer days spent next to a window of a running train, to share with them. Come summer and you will see lots of tempting raw mangoes in the market. I especially love those long ones more suitable to be eaten raw. Its mostly during Ugadi, that we end up eating lot of raw mangoes. The tender raw mango makes an important part of the Ugadi pachadi. Apart from eating them raw, Amma makes a great pachadi, which my Dad is so fond of. I have never tried making it. Maybe this time round, I might finally get to it, if not for anything, atleast for my dear blog. The other dish that makes use of raw mango is a pappu that Athamma makes. I came to know of this during the first time she came to live with us. With a tempting thought of eating one with salt and chilli, I had one of those raw mango. But I got busy and never got around indulgeing in that. One evening, on returning back home, remembered the mango lying in the fridge, uncared for. I reached out for it, only to be surprised to find it missing. When I asked Athamma, if she knows of the missing mango, she replied that it found its way into the pappu. With disbelief, I asked what pappu? She replied with nonchalantly, Mamidikaya Pappu! God, it was the first time I came to know that one can do a pappu with Mamidikaya too. Trust Athamma to come up with these combis. Mamidikaya pappu tastes great and makes up for a change from our regular stereotype dal with tomatoes. The two tomatoes that you see in the picture was just an addition to make the picture colourful!

Preparation Time : 10 mins
Cooking Time : 15 mins
Cuisine : Andhra

Maamidikaya Pappu ~ Raw Mango in Toor dal

Ingredients needed:

Toor Dal - 1 cup (100 gms)
Mamidikaya / Raw Mango - 1 medium
Green chillies - 4 - 5
Onion - 50 gms
Tomato - 1/2 small (opt)
Tamarind - 1 inch
Coriander leaves - few
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp

For tadka,

Crushed garlic - 4 pods
Curry leaves - few
Mustard seeds + Urud dal + Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp (all together)

Method to prepare:

Wash tur dal, chop onions, chop Mango into medium size pieces, green chilli. Place everything in a pressure cooker along with tamarind and coriander leaves. Put it for 2 whistles or until dal cooks.

Take it down and with pappu guthi or lentil masher, nicely mix down the dal. If required you can remove few mango pieces from the dal before mashing to have some pieces to crunch on.

Take a tadka pan, heat oil, add mustard seeds, curry leaves, and garlic pods. Once they are little fried, add the chopped onions. Fry the garlic is nice brown in colour. As always the trademark of Athamma's remains in browning the garlic. That brown garlic adds lot of flavour to the dal.

Serve with hot rice and topped with ghee.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Chicken Dum Biryani ~ Weekend Cooking!

Well this Chicken Dum Briyani is one of those purely created in my mind for sheer want of keeping up my image. After a very long time, I felt I had two days to myself. That is, if you consider the fact that I stayed at home most of the time. Else I am always left with a lone Sunday, never enough for anything. And imagine I planned to cook so many new dishes, finally couldn't find time for anything. My kiddos ensured they kept me on toes. Whoever told me that weekend spent at home will energize, let me tell them again. You need energy to sustain 20 elephants and some. Few weeks back, I tried teaching the twins to show me their nose. They were so quick to learn it. I twist and turn the statement and ask them, they end up showing me their nose, only concern is, they end up digging gold! During one of my playing session with them, I suddenly remembered how Sree, my brother taught Konda to say her age. When she crossed a year, he used to ask her, 'Kutty, how old are you'. And she will lift her index finger up and say oonne!. This continued for nearly 4 years. The second year was toughest, because she won't understand why she has to show two fingers. Finally he managed to make her understand. But the first time, he did in all secrecy and sprung the surprise to all the family members one fine evening. Then we were just 5 elders smitten by our little angel. Everything she did was a great source of joy and that which engaged us for many hours. It still continues to be, just that the little angels have multiplied. And we feel 24 hrs in a day is not enough for us.

This incident came to mind and I wanted to teach the twins to tell their age. I can make Peddu stay in one place for a sec but very difficult to catch the younger one. I caught the elder and taught him to lift his index finger and say one, he ended up saying 10, I kept asking him and he kept repeating 10. I gave up and tried catching Chinnu. He lifted both this hands up and said Unn..Well I can only assume he will learn French someday. Konda was rolling down laughing each time she heard her brothers saying it. She was also quite proud of the fact that she had said it correctly. Well today I am going to try out this exercise again and see how they respond. Thinking about the Sunday lunch menu, I thought I will prepare a briyani, since I always end up making it quite spicy as in clove and ginger spice and hubby dear was reluctant on that. I was lucky that I was able to lay my hands on the chicken quite early, so thought I will prepare a Dum Briyani. Both Athamma and hubby dear enjoyed it and what more can I ask for than this.

This is slow cooking best done in handi or non-stick pan with a heavy lid and I marinated for 2 hours. It can be marinated for just 30 mins but more it does, makes the chicken very soft and tasty.

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 15 mins
Marinating Time: 2 hrs
Cooking Time : 30 mins

Ingredients Needed:

For Marinade:

Chicken - 1 kg
Curds - 1/2 cup
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Lemon Juice - 1/2 of a lemon.

For Paste:

Shallot or Sambar Onions - 5 medium
Green chili - 1
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Mint leaves - 10
Coriander leaves - few

For Rice

Basmati Rice - 2 cups
Onions - 2 medium
Tomato - 1 small
Bay leaf - 1 big
Cloves - 2
Cardamom - 2
Cinnamon - 2"
Chilli powder - 1 & 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Mint Leaves - about 6-7 leaves
Coriander leaves - few
Salt to taste

Oil - 1 tsp
Ghee - 3 tsp

Method to prepare:

Clean and chop chicken to required size. Rub the chicken with curd, ginger garlic paste and squeeze lime juice over it. Let it marinate for 2 hrs.

Once you are ready to start, clean and soak Basmati.

Heat a pan with ghee and oil, preferably a non-stick one. Sauté the onions, chopped in julienne. Add the whole spices also. Fry till its brown in colour.

Meanwhile, make a paste of sambar Onions, mint leaves, coriander leaves and ginger garlic paste. Add this to the onions in the pan. Fry well.

Once the paste gets well cooked and you see oil coming out, add the chicken marinade. Cook on high flame and then add the chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and garam masala. Saute well so that it gets mixed to the curd and chicken. Then add the chopped tomatoes and fry for 2 mins. Once done, add the mint and coriander leaves. All these have to sautéed in high, so ensure it doesn't get burnt. After frying for 5 mins on high, simmer it till oil comes out.

By now lot of moisture would've come out of the chicken. Cook on high to get most of it evaporated.

Drain the rice from the water. And add to the chicken. Gently stir so that it gets mixed well. Simmer and let it get cooked for 5 mins. Then add 3 cups of water, cover with lid and let it cook for 20 mins in sim. Check in between to ensure its not burnt in the bottom. If required, gently stir so that its well mixed.

Since the chicken was cooked for 10 mins, and again for 20 mins, it was well cooked when I switched off.

Cooking in a pan gives you a non-sticky, yet soft briyani. For more Dum effect, you can seal the lid to the vessel with chapati dough.

This was just right on its own.

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Sunday, March 9, 2008

Announcing Dosa Mela with a celebration!

Well, its a kind of excitement I feel every time I check out my stats counter and see how many visited me last. And I feel too happy to know its crossed 1 lac. Thank you everybody for the support and encouragement.

When I was thinking how I should celebrate this figure, I thought of the Dosa Mela. I am sure many of you know that I am a dosa freak. So what better way to celebrate than showcasing all the different Dosas and its types. It would be wonderful to get all your ideas in one place.

So here is a calling to all you dosa lovers. Get your creative caps on and think how differently you can make with Dosa and what can top it. To get more idea, check it out here

When I started my 101 Dosa Variety, Lak was telling me that a Dosa Mela would sound great. So I thought finally this occasion should be a right moment to enjoy this awesome creation.

Photo credit: Google

By Dosa, I refer to anything that's spread like a regular dosa. It can be thick like Uthappam or thin like a paper roast. It can be made with rice, wheat or any of the different flour you can think of. With stuffed or mixed or topped with anything.

Post can also be on Dosa Trivia or other related things, but if you can actually make a dosa variety, it would be great!

Ok, you want to send a pancake? Most welcome.

The Rules are:

1. Cook anything related to Dosa, pancakes, crepe and post it on your blog from now till April 15th 2008

2. Add a link back to this event announcement.

3. Please send me an e-mail to with the following info.

* Subject Line: Dosa Mela
* Your name
* Your blog name and link to the post.
* Dish Name
* A picture of the dish (500x375).

4. Non bloggers can e-mail me the recipe and the picture and I will include it in the round up.

5. If you feel you want to participate but can't find time enough, I will accept already posted entry, if you create a NEW POST linked to this announcement. But it will be really fun to create a new dish!

Looking forward to all delicious Dosas!

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Friday, March 7, 2008

Thengai Sadam | Kobbari Annam | Coconut Rice | Lunch Box Series : LBS#28

Thenga Sadam or Coconut Rice or Kobbari Annam as we call, is one that can be done in a jiffy. Of course, if you are able to over come the hassle of grating the coconut fresh and unlike me, you love to do it. I have always depended on the help to grate me these fresh when we plan to cook this rice. Amma used to make this very often for our lunch box and mostly on the days when Dad had other plans for lunch. He doesn't prefer much of this rice. And slowly we came to know that hubby dear too, doesn't prefer it much. 

Well it was sad seeing this dish not being prepared with the same enthusiasm at home. Then there was those times, for a Saturday lunch we used to prepare this along with other dishes for Dad and Hubby. Since this was so easy, it didn't really take much. Amma makes this Mor Kuzhambu for Coconut Rice. This is a standard combination. I always prefer it plain, but Dad always wants some veggie included in all gravies, so Amma adds Bendakaya in this dish.

Though the fan club for this combo was kind of tad less at home, this invited lot of expectations and laurels at my office. There was a high demand for this dish in particular. So I had the task of carrying a extra box for those interested.The taste of fresh grated coconut, slightly roasted and mixed with all nuts and other zing things, makes this one yummy dish. I especially like that crunchy taste you get biting on the fresh big coconut bits. Rest of the grated one, looks like a flower, so soft to touch and of course, it tastes great. I finally got around preparing this for lunch, when hubby dear was away on a trip. 

While leaving, as always we discussed on what we might prepare. We always plan to be prepared for all times! He advised me to think of something light as he isn't around to help with the kids. So the next day, when Athamma asked me what I am planning to prepare, I suddenly remembered that Thenga Sadam and Mor Kolambu is something that's been missing for a long time and there is no better time than this for it.

Today's Lunch Box had

Thenga Sadam ~ Kobari Annam ~ Coconut Rice
Vendaka Mor Kolambu ~ Okra gravy with Curds
Curd Rice

Thenga Sadam ~ Kobbari Annam ~ Coconut Rice

Preparation Time : 10 mins
Cooking Time : 15 mins
Cuisine : South Indian

Ingredients Needed:

Cooked Rice - 1 cup

For Seasoning

Mustard seeds + urud dal - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 10
Green Chillies, slit - 2
Ginger, chopped - 1"
Bengal Gram dal - 2 tsp
Roasted Ground Nut - 2 tsp
Cashew Nut - 10
Fresh Grated Coconut - 1 cup
Asafetida a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp

How to make Thenga Sadam | Coconut Rice:

Boil Rice and let it cool by spreading in a big bowl.

Heat a pan and add the oil. Once it's hot, add each ingredient listed under seasoning, one by one, taking care not to burn anything.

Then add the cooked rice and mix well. Adjust the salt. Simmer for 1 -2 mins.

I normally add little more grated coconut to the rice as that gives more taste. The nutty crunchy coconut rice makes a great pair with Vendakkai Mor Kuzhambu.

Sending this to Wholesome Lunchbox event hosted by Margot

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