Saturday, January 30, 2010

Green Chili Paste ~ Back to Basics of Indian Cooking!

Life is so much easy when it comes bottled! You don't agree? Well let me show you how exactly it does. Many a times I face a dish that requires just 1 teaspoon of this or that. And to make that I really got to sweat myself out and think of ways to get that ground to proper consistency in my mixer jar. Believe me, my smallest jar can mix quantity that fits for an army! I guess when I bought the mixer, that tiny fact slipped my mind. I checked all other features so well no doubt. But since we were in more of joint family types then, the small jar never got much importance.

Now it matters a lot. Every time I use it to grind something in small quantity, I ask myself why I didn't have this hindsight before. Well you can't help that anyways. and one needs to have positive approach to everything. How should one tackle this and improvise on the situation? Solution was only grinding it in bulk and storing it.

And that's exactly what we do. Grind a huge batch and store it and use as and when required. Refrigerator is a gift to the mankind, rather to the chef. And chefs at home are known to testing the shelf life of you name it, is already done!

That reminds me of that apple, that lived for ever in the cold compartments of our fridge for God knows how many months! Of course I know the date, it was on the diwali day that it came to our house and unhappily lived ever after until few weeks ago, when we took pity and gave it life. We, the ever sacrificing selves, wanted the others to enjoy the fruits of that and in the end none did. Anyway that was a story!

Coming back to the grinding and storing in bulks, Green chilis are something that ground in bulk and stored. There is really no recipe, just basic understanding of how it works.

Wash and pat dry the green chilies. Take the amount that fits your jar, you really need to get a paste. Or depending on your requirement, it can be coarse too.

Grind without adding water, if you find it is not getting ground finely, then add a teaspoon of water and proceed.

Once you get the consistency of the paste, transfer to a bottle and store.

This easily stays fresh for a week or 10 days.

If add too much of water, towards the end of its shelf life you will start getting a fermented smell out of the bottle.

Take the required amount with a dry spoon and put back the bottle.

I normally use green chili paste in Cauliflower Manchurian

Or dry sides dishes like Cabbage Fry

Or any dish that calls for green chilis and you want it to be more spicy.

Check out the other Back to Basic in the Indian Basic Series!

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lunch Box Series : LBS#55 ~ Cauliflower Rice!

I know I made a big mistake when I eyed that not so big lovely cauliflower that was calling out to me! Of course ever since buying it, it has been calling me still. First I made a dry subji, then a pakora, then a mixed curry with cauliflower. Finally I kept some to attempt at a new idea that was playing on mind. But just couldn't get myself do it. And of course things happened to my convenience that I never attempted that.

Would you believe this is the third week since buying the vegetable. Yet when I opened the packet it was still so fresh. I was setting new standards on vegetable storage and gave a new meaning for procrastination. With all the zeal one can have, I looked at that medium sized cauliflower on the top rack and made the shop keeper get it down to me. As if I would be cooking it all on the very day! December is the time we get loads and loads of these lovely dainty flowers on charts and Athamma, as usual was telling me that we aren't making best use of the seasonal vegetables.

Inclination is not just enough for getting something done. You need to have lot more of something else, this is the lesson learnt from this incident. I had two different occasions where I could've tried out that new idea that has been running around mind with cauliflower. Yet did nothing possible to make them. Anyway finally I decided that I will make that Cauliflower Pulao or Rice or whatever you may call this dish, that I remember from years back. I remember seeing a recipe on a paper clipping featuring Malika Badrinath. In that toned paper, which Amma had recently borrowed, I saw this recipe again.

True to nature, I didn't follow the recipe. It called for some Amti Masala or Curry Masala. Seriously I just googled to know what goes in an Amti Masala. But I can see that its going to be long studying of a new mix. That is scheduled for another day. For now I will go ahead explaining how I finally made this Cauliflower Rice.

The day never starts differently at home. Today was extra hectic as I was trying to shoot two recipes before getting to work. Let me talk about this one today.

Cauliflower Rice

Preparation Time : 10 mins
Rice Soaking Time : 15 mins
Cooking Time : 20- 30 mins
Pan Cooking

Ingredients Needed:

Rice - 1 cup
Cauliflower - 2 cups or medium sized flower, cut into florets.
Onions - 2 medium, juliennes.
Mustard Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Green chilies 4 (or as per taste)
Asafetida - a pinch
Cashew nuts - 5 -6 whole
Curry leaves - 4 -5
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder a pinch
Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
Chili powder - 3/4 tsp
Coriander powder - 3/4 tsp
Garam Masala - 3/4 tsp
Curds/ Yogurt - 1/4 cup
Oil - 2 tsp
Ghee - 1 tsp
Water - 2 & 1/2 cups

Method to prepare:

  • Wash and soak Rice for 15 mins.
  • Wash and cut the cauliflower into bite sized florets. Add salt and boiling water to the cauliflower and keep it covered for 10 mins.
  • Heat the pan with oil. pop the mustards, then add the curry leaves, Hing, Cashew nuts and onions. Sauté till onions are turning brown.
  • Drain the cauliflower from water and add the florets to the pan. Stir well, add salt and turmeric. Cover with a lid and simmer to low flame and cook for 5 -7 mins, stirring in intervals.
  • By now the cauliflower will get soft. Drain the rice from water and add to the pan. Combine everything and again cook for 5 mins with lid covered.
  • Meanwhile boil water and then pour over the rice. Increase to high flame, add the cumin, coriander, chili powder and Garam Masala. Beat the curds smooth add to this. Adjust salt and spice if required.
  • Cover with lid, simmer and cook till done. It takes about 10 mins to reach the correct consistency. Switch off the flame, when you find that the rice is nicely cooked.
  • Add the ghee and combine everything. Cover again and let it rest for 5 mins.

Drain the cauliflower completely before using, same with rice.

The rice that I have requires extra half cup of water to get cooked to the right consistency. So use your judgment. For Basmati, the ratio is always 1:1 water. The recipe called for more chilies, but I used only 4, plus red chili powder. The rice had the right spice level. Since I don't know if amti masala or curry masala comes with chili powder in it. I just assumed I will have to add chili powder to make it more spicy.
Cauliflower has that funny smell and taste that needs to be masked by spice, so make this rice a bit more spicy to enjoy the overall effect.

This was the first time I have actually cooked a mixed Rice/ Pulao without adding Ginger garlic paste or added curry leaves. I must say the taste was very good.

This is coming straight from the kitchen today, as it was my lunchbox today. Hope you enjoyed, we for sure enjoyed and will be making it often!

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Anapakaya Vankaya Masala Kura Recipe ~ Hyacinth Bean, Brinjal in a spicy gravy Recipe

After a day at home with kids you would think we have energy enough to start the day all bright? I know it's the same old story but well we decided we just ignore that and anyway start with brightness. Sunday breakfast was Appam with Tomato Kurma and Coconut Milk. I know how boring that might sound week after week. But what else to do, Poori or Appam is what the kids ever want on a Sunday. Best part of this breakfast is, I can make the same for their dinner and nobody complains!

We were also expecting guests. S who was our family friends daughter. I have known her from when were kids. She recently moved to our city to do her masters. She was visiting us with her friend N, who was really so sweet and gentle and was a doctor. I couldn't believe that in the first instance. Kids were so excited. I guess with us getting hardly any guests they were super duper excited in showing off with new people. Konda was asking me since morning about when S Akka will come home etc. What was more funny was that the boys were saying different names each time they asked.

Amma was entertaining them and prepared lunch. I was supposed to make the evening snacks. But Amma again said she had the batter for Meddu Vada ready. I planned to make Cauliflower pakoda, sad that I didn't get a chance! Dad had arranged for S and her friend a trip to Marina Beach and she was insisting that I go with them with the boys too. She had met them yet as they were napping. I said it wouldn't be possible for me to manage them all. I think I will skip her reaction after meeting my kids along with my niece!

Getting to the recipe on hand, with the winter giving us abandance of Val / Hyacinth bean / Mochai / Anumulu Anapakaya in Telugu. There is a confusion on the name Anapakaya where few areas of Andhra call Sorakaya/ Bottle gourd as Anapakaya. I am not sure what they call Anumulu as! But in the parts of Rayalaseema, Andhra the dried beans are as Anumulu, and the fresh beans.are called as Anapakaya

Vanakaya - > Brinjal in English

These fresh beans are also skinned or peeled to make the famous pithikina pappu kura. This winter when I paired the whole beans with Brinjal in a masala base, it was one most enjoyable treat. and makes a great side dish for Chapatis.

Between, I made a simple Vermicelli Upma for Konda, do check out!

Preparation Time : 10 mins
Pressure Cooking Time for Val : 10 mins
Cooking Time : 15 mins
Cuisine : Andhra Cuisine

Anapakaya Vankaya Masala Kura Recipe ~ Hyacinth Bean, Brinjal in a spicy gravy Recipe

Ingredients Needed:

Hyacinth bean / Mochai / Anumulu - 1 cup
Brinjal / Vankaya - 2 medium
Onions - 2 medium
Tomatoes - 2 medium
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Coriander leaves for garnish

For Tempering

Mustard Seeds, Urad Dal - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - few

For the ground Masala:

Fresh Coconut - 2 -3 tbsp
Green Chili - 1 - 2 (as per taste)
Fresh Coriander leaves - 2 -3 tbsp
Cloves - 2 -3
Cinnamon - 2"
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp

Method to prepare:

Pressure cook the fresh beans for 1 or 2 whistle depending on how soft you want the beans to be. I normally do it for 1 whistle and remove before it comes to the second one.

Meanwhile get the ground masala done and the chopping. Chop Brinjals as square chunks.

Heat a pan with oil, add the seasoning, then onions. Fry till the onions are done and lightly brown.

Then add in the chopped tomatoes, salt and turmeric. Once the tomatoes get mush, add the ground masala along with chopped brinjals. Let it get cooked well on covered in low flame.

Stir well and see if oil has started coming out of the sides. At this stage, add the cooked Vals, combine everything well and add 1 cup of water or more depending on how much gravy you need. Bring to boil.

Simmer till you reach the consistency you want. Add the coriander leaves kept for garnish.

Serve with Rice or Roti.

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

By the Book!

When Jayashree asked me to write about the cookbook that I use often, I was wondering which one to write about as I don't' follow one cookbook that much. I asked her if I can talk about the paper clippings and handwritten book from Amma, she said yes! So here are some of the books that I use sometimes and 4 huge files of complied papers.

The most cherished hand written book from Amma has recipes that she written from her Mom, and those that she learnt in the early years of marriage. Many are part of our regular cooking. some I have kept for the cookbook. That book is something we use so often. Apart from that small diary there are some 3 different big diaries that we maintain. Now of course I have the blog!

Those books from Sanjeev Kapoor are sometimes referred. Then those lovely books that look so pretty! But the other collection that you see down, are the files that I prepared with the paper clippings that Amma had with her for many years. Those handwritten books are recipes that are hit in our family that Amma makes, it was given to me when I started my own family!

Thanks Jayashree, I really enjoyed going through my collection and writing about it!

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sakara Pongal with Sprouted Whole Moong Dal

As with every festival, this Sankranti had me thinking what new dish I should make. Whatever new dish that may come to mind, I will have to make the star dish of the festival, that being the Sakara Pongal. And innovation had its play with Athamma telling me that we can prepare it with whole Moong dal instead of the split one and make it more healthy by using sprouted whole Moong dal. I normally prepare as how Amma makes, with Split Moong dal and handful of Channa dal. I especially like biting on that hard tidbits of channa dal in between.

Athamma had the sprouts done the previous night, they were just sprouting. So it was all convenient for us to make the Sakkara pongal. I found Athamma very nostalgic about her mom and was going on telling me on the different dishes her Mom used to make. Theirs being a big family, the entire cooking process starts well ahead in the morning. As a Bogi special, they used to make Sesame topped Jowar Breads, with Mixed Lentil Gravy. True to that Athamma made these two for our Bogi dinner. I could see that she was missing her mom and all those dishes that she no longer makes at home.


The other things we made were the Jowar Laddos with Jaggary. This was really something so new that I was really wonder struck. Did you know that Jowar also pops as the Corn? Atleast I didn't know and was so amazed that such wonderful preparation was also rustic in origin. Athamma said since Jowar was a staple grain at their place, this found its way in all forms. What I loved so much were the jowar pops as in pop corns! More on it when I post the recipe.

Next laddo that we made was the Bajra or Sadda ladoo. With the laddos that I ended up making, I can almost have a separate section dedicated to the lovely Indian Laddos on spot!

Then came the pineapple Halwa. I have been wanting to make Pineapple Rava Kesari, maybe next time.


Sprouted Whole Moong Dal Sakara Pongal

Ingredients Needed:

Rice - 1 cup
Jaggary - 1 cup
Sprouted Moong dal - 1/2 cup
Water - 3 cups
Cardamom a pinch
Ghee - 2 - 3 tsp
Roasted Cashew and Raisin for garnish.
Fresh grated Coconut - 2 -3 tsp (opt)

Method to prepare:

For making sprouts:

Follow the sprout process and store in fridge until you make this. Ideally its best to get it sprouted the day before as we want moong that just started sprouting.

For making the Pongal:

Wash the moong dal and keep aside.

Wash and soak the rice for 15 - 20 mins. Then pressure cook the rice along with the sprouted moong dal till it is soft.

In a separate pan, melt the jaggary and remove the scum if any. Then bring to boil, then simmer and allow it to cook for 5 - 7 mins till you get a thick syrup consistency.

Once the pressure off, remove lid, you will find the husk of the moong dal on the top. Remove them and mix well.

Pour the melted jaggary over the cooked rice and mix well. In a small pan, melt the ghee and roast the nuts and raisins till the raisins balloon up. Pour over the rice mix along with the ghee and mix well.

A healthy sakara pongal in offering!

Enjoy on any festival!

Do be sure to check out the Quick Paneer Parathas that I sent for lunch yesterday for Konda

And these tasty Onion Dosas my new post on BC!

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Pachai Milagu Kara Kulambu ~ Green Peppercorns in Tamarind Gravy!

Tamarind based gravies like Puli Kolambu, Vatha Kolambu, Vendakai Kara Kolambu to name some, are so famous in Tamil Nadu. These basically get their tangy taste by adding Tamarind pulp to the the base. Though I don't make this gravy that often, as hubby dear is not so fond of sour dishes, Athamma loves them. So when hubby dear was not in town, I try to make this.


And a new ingredient came to my attention when my help gave me handful of fresh whole peppers. I remember seeing these still on trees during my visit to Kerala and seeing them on my oven, took me back to those days. I have never used fresh peppercorns, so wasn't sure how to go about using them other than drying them up and use.

It was then that I was suggested that I make a Kara Kolambu with this. I was imagining how aromatic and pungent it was going to be. Yet I was not ready the for the final sensation that hit me on tasting this.

During my last vegetable shopping, I was so tempted to buy a lovely cauliflower, which apparently is still lying in the fridge. I searched for quite a few new cauliflower recipes, not wanting to let the season pass away without me trying something new. So hoping I should be trying out some soon!

Meanwhile check out this tangy kolambu fit to arose a dying tongue!


Pachai Milagu Kara Kulambu ~ Green Peppercorns in Tamarind Gravy!

Ingredients Needed:

Fresh Peppers - 3 -4 with the wine
Onions - 2 medium
Tomato - 1 medium
Tamarind pulp - 2 -3 tbsp
Curry leaves - few
Garlic - 3 -4 cloves
Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder -1 tsp
Sambar powder - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 -3 tsp

Method to prepare:

Wash the fresh peppers ensuring the corns don't fall off, keep aside.

Heat a pan with oil, pop the mustard, then add curry leaves. add chopped garlic and onions. Fry till the onions are brown. Then add finely chopped tomatoes along with salt and turmeric.

Add the chili powder, coriander powder and sambar powder. Mix everything and allow it to cook for 5 mins in sim.

Then add the tamarind pulp and 1 cup of water. Bring to boil. When the gravy reaches the consistency you want, drop in the fresh peppers and cover with a lid and cook on slow flame for 5 mins.

Serve with steaming rice


  • The fresh pepper needs to be added only in the final stage and it gets very pungent otherwise. Even one peppercorn is very hot and goes to your head.
  • This dish can be stored for couple of days in room temperature.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sankranti Festival Recipes!

Pongalo Pongal!..Oh well it wasn't exactly that that went through this morning, but something to that effect.

With the kids at home, it was tooo hectic to even say how it has been since morning. Just took a moment while they are jumping around. We made a different type of Sakara pongal with Sprouted Moong Dal, Pineapple Halwa, Jowar Laddos, Bajra Laddos and Jowar Pops!


Fresh Turmeric Roots and Sugar Cane for Pooja!

Jawar pops were the most amazing thing since popcorns!..they taste great if not better!..Recipe will follow soon.


Enjoy your holidays!

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sankranthi Greetings with Special Pongal Recipes!

Hearty Sankranthi Wishes to all my readers!

The day typically started hearing Konda hurrying out to see the Bogi Manta! Even before getting up, I was washed away by memories of many Bogi early mornings spent either doing the Bogi, then later with a disdain look at the things that happen on a Bogi morning. Years back, I remember the wee hours being always so foggy, never sure whether it was because of the fog or the Bonfire. Later the fascination turned to disdain because we polluted the air. Still we can't deny the kids their joy right.

Bogi always meant bonfire, where we burnt all our old things and done with them. It symbolizes a new beginning, both inside and surrounding us. As kids we used to save lot of unwanted stuff to burn on this day. Over the years the traditions stopped, we no longer do this custom nor hope we will take it up for our kids. Back then we were given four days off for school. Now kids have school and they no longer have much fixation for Bogi.

Remembering the Bogi in Parents home, I called up to ask Amma if she made her traditional Dosa with Mutton Pulusu and Vada. Yes at home, on the Bogi day Amma makes non veg for breakfast and on Sankranthi it is all vegetarian food and offered to God. While it was the custom in parents place, my in laws strictly follow vegetarian food on all days. And moreover Athamma makes Poli for all festivals.

On the day of Bogi, Amma used to make Dosa with Andhra Mutton Pulusu / Chicken Pulusu.

Coconut Chutney and Groundnut Chutney for Vegetarians
Meddu Vada/ Masala Vada

Afternoon Lunch used to be
Endumirapakaya Pappu ~ Dal with Red Chilli with Kesari Bhath

On the day of Sankranthi,

The menu was this, which was also offered to God
Bellamannam or Sakarai Pongal

Pachimirapakaya Pappu ~ Dal with Green Chilli,
Vazhakai Bajji ~ Plaintain or Banana fritters,
Traditional curd Rice ~ Bagala Bath

Semiya Payasam

While since marriage, I have been making

Boorelu, Kudaalu
Sweet Poli
Vankai Uurulagadda Kura
Chitranmma ~ Lemon Rice

Rest of the two days was more of what we wanted to make.
Vankai Pappu ~ Dal with Brinjal
Mirapakaya Bajji ~ Chilli Bajji
Onion Pakodas
Senega Pappu Payasam

Will be back with a tempting gravy, meanwhile do share how you are celebrating your pongal?

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Aloo Paneer Tikki Pasanda ~ Weekend Cooking!

The entire last week I spent focusing on the calendar and looking really hard to see what I achieve by end of the day. Guess what the focus can stay max not more than 10 days. Yes 10 days have gone by and though I am happy I have completed most of my list that I catered for myself, still where did the days go.

Since I had the Saturday off, I planned to shoot handful of them. With hubby dear out on a trip, Athamma and self had our regular way of cooking. Which means nothing regular! I showed the Kid's Delight Wholesome Breakfast post to Konda and she was mightily pleased. She said I write stories well. I said it wasn't stories but facts. She replied yes I know, but still you have managed to write as a story for her to enjoy. Though I was glad she felt that way, I said we had business to do, which meant she got to sit with me and talk about what she wants for the week. That done, I sat with Amma and discussed on few new dishes.

It may appear as if I spent lot of time thinking about what to cook and shoot! Yes that's right, I wanted to make the best of the weekend and have couple of posts ready. Plus the most important aspect, have Konda's menu ready. Will be updating Spice your Life with that!

The climate has been really great, meaning very chill and nice. It even rained for a while in between. Its become the talk of the town on how the city has turned a new leaf rather a cold cover. I am loving it no doubt.


Coming to today's recipe, this was something I saw a while ago on Tarla Dalal's, but never got around making it. When Hubby dear said he wanted a vegetarian for the Sunday, I wanted to make it something interesting and new. Since we are doing Indian Breads over Beyond Curries for this month, I wanted to make Lachacha Paratha, which has been on my list since Roti Mela. It is basically Parota made with Wheat Flour. I am sure it is something you will love dipping into the gravy I made

I adapted the recipe to suit what I had on hand. The original recipe called fully for Paneer, whereas I had just about a small cube. So I added Potato and other spices as per our liking. Konda liked the gravy a lot, though she didn't like the soaked tikkis. She was hoping I will make Paneer Tikka, I said I didn't have so much paneer on hand to make it.

Since I made both Lachcha Paratha and Aloo Paneer Tikki together, I was strictly not able to calculate the exact timing, except that tikkis take sometime to get cooked.


Our Sunday Meal ~ Lachcha Paratha with Aloo Paneer Tikki Pasanda

Aloo Paneer Tikki Pasanda

Ingredients Needed

For the Tikkis

Aloo / Potatoes - 3 big ones
Paneer - 50 gms
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves - handful
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Green Chilis - 2 finely chopped
Pepper powder - 1/4 tsp
Maida - 2 tbsp
Bread crumbs for coating
Oil for cooking

For the paste No.1:

Onions - 2 medium roughly chopped
Garlic - 5 cloves
Ginger - 1"
Cashew nuts - 2 tbsp, abt 7-8 whole

For the paste No.2:

Onions - 2 sliced

For the Gravy:

Oil / Ghee - 2 tbsp
Beaten Curd/ Yogurt - 1 cup
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Salt to taste

Method to prepare

For the tikkis

  1. Pressure cook potatoes till soft, peel and mash well. Ensure there is no lump. Grate the paneer well.
  2. Take everything in a bowl, mix in the green chillies, pepper powder, flour and salt and mix well.
  3. Shape into tikkis of your palm size and 1 inch discs and roll in bread crumbs.
  4. Cook on a non-stick tava by applying oil while cooking. This will surely take time as you will have to cook on low flame.

For the paste No. 1

  1. Boil the onions in 1 cup of water along with Garlic, Ginger and cashew nuts until soft.
  2. Make a paste once it's cooled

For the paste no. 2
  1. Deep fry the onions in ghee or oil until golden.
  2. Grind to a fine paste, if required by adding little water.

For the gravy

  1. Heat the oil in a thick bottom pan. Add the paste no. 1 and cook on a low flame for a few minutes. Then add the chilli powder, garam masala and cook again for 5 mins
  2. Take the vessel off the fire and add the beaten curds. This is to ensure the curds don't curdle. Mix well and go on stirring until it is all mixed. Cook for another 5 - 7 mins. Add the paste no.2 and salt.
  3. Add water to get a little thinner consistency.
  4. Arrange the paneer tikkis in a plate. Pour the boiling gravy on the top. Serve immediately.
If you are not serving right away, I suggest you have the tikkis separately. And heat the gravy again just before serving to pour over the tikkis.

Hope you make this and enjoy. Have a great week ahead!

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Legume Love Affair - Edition 18 ~ Round up!

For many days I was thinking how I was going to start this post. Seriously, I was! For that matter every post has this starting problem, thinking how to have to dramatic effect with the topic I am going to talk about and how I am going to keep the interest on.

For once today's post doesn't require much efforts from me. I know many of you would love to get more ideas for using the most loved legumes in as many ways as our wonderful participants have to share.

I would like to thank Susan for asking me again. I must say I felt it was destined that I begin and end the year with the event that was great experience. And to all bloggers who sent in their entries. It was really fun reading through all your posts. My apologies if I had missed to leave a comment. Let me assure you that I have read and digested each one of your entry!

With about 77 entries, I feel overwhelmed seeing the varieties one can do with legumes. I initially wanted to do on legumes. Half way through the process I was confused. Then next best option was on menu categorization. So if you need an idea for a starter you have a whole list of them slacked up!

Yes yes, before that I have the winner to announce! But hey lets proceed to enjoy the feast before that! Scroll down to see the winner!

Ambika sends in two entries, one exciting Chickpeas and Oats Falafel. She was introduced to Falafel by her husband who used to eat this everyday. She often wonder how he can until she tasted herself and soon found addicted. Check out her post to see how she serves. And also her Kidney Bean biscuit that she sends for the event!

Cham has a tough decision to make, whether it is a vada or bonda. She makes this during the Karthigai Deepam and muses on this yummy festival dish that's made on all festival. Now who cares when it looks as delicious as she served. Bring on ok!

Deepti decided to try something different with the Kidney beans and finally decided on making patties! And yes to make these healthy she add carrots and peas. On top these are shallow fried to boot!

Divya tries to make a healthier version of falafel by baking it. Yes this can be a wholesome meal when paired with pita bread and hummus. Now my goal is to make them and get my kids eat this!

If the weather is great and you are in need of something munching to get you enjoy it more, then Indrani has the perfect snacks to offer. Her fried black chickpeas are great and not to mention the crunchy kachori filled with green peas. Though in season you get plenty, these days these are available through the day. You just need to get a handful to enjoy these famous Bengali delicacy

Janet offers a colourful starter with tomatoes stuffed with lentils and couscous. Looking at her picture sure makes you grab one right off right?

For Kulsum, mishaps in life are better thinking on the wonderful joy that good ole food brings in. Especially if these are authentic comfort types. Chana Batata is one such dish that brings in loads of joy and memories of carefree life for her. Let's get the same dose by checking out her post!


Lataji makes a canopy of legumes by including everything that she can in this delicious Deepavali Mixture that she makes every year. She fondly recollects how much her mom used to make these for the season to distribute to friends. Now don't we wish we were all living close by!

Nithya loves adding legumes to her meal because they are nutritious and add a variety too. This time round she picked on making pigeon pea salad!

Priya Srinivasan wanted to try her hands at a new dish that is also healthy. So she choose Black-Eyed Beans and makes a bonda with them!

Next we have Priya Suresh sending us two dishes. First is the Spicy Channadal which is her all time favorite snack. She remembers her mom making this very often. The other one is a vada with Aval in it. Now that's a new one for me. These are so crispy because of the Aval added.

If you want a quick chaat, then Sadhana & Muskaan 's 10 Minute Chana Chaat is the one for you. chickpea are good source of protein and these chaat has beets, carrots to top it all!

Now simplicity is best of all and it can't get any better than these tasty Steamed Jumbo Peanuts from Shoba. She fondly recollects days back home enjoying these with her siblings!

Srinithya makes this healthy Vada with sprouted moong dal.

Now this is something very interesting. How do you like the idea of a snack that tastes great but doesn't require pan frying or baking or deep frying? Sounds incredible. Well that's exactly what Sweatha says sending us her Turkish Red Lentil Kofte. Check out to see how she does!


Dhanggit, in a festival mood prepares Warm Fava Beans and Spicy Chorizo Salad for a party and I am sure it was the highlight looking as it does!

Fate seems to decide differently for Jaya who tries something different for the first time as she normally hesitates to order something new. But guess that was good as it forced her to prepare it again at home and share it with us. This Rustic three lentil soup with vegetables was that good!

Jeanne talks about how else life can be wonderful, un complicated. Yes there are hundreds of things that can, but food is the only one thing that she thinks can control and keep it simple. And for a night alone, she chooses this Chickpea and chorizo stew to entertain herself!

Nisha sends in some Maharastrian Moong Usal which can be served any time of the day and is very versatile. Not to mention the fact that it is healthy!

Reading PJ, I knew she was a person after my heart. I love winters too, I mean the real cold ones. But unlike me, she has the best of all that I read. And to enjoy her days she makes this hearty lentil soup to make her day!


Shri makes this hot curried red lentil soup as an answer to the snow that's driving her crazy!

For Simona, the serendipity is the state to be. And when in such state you can expect great creations to come out of her kitchen, which are not only interesting but great tasting too. These Beans with pesto is one such thing, if you always wanted to make pesto check on her post without delay!

I know you know Soma's lens has magic. What else will you call this simple sound dish to look so exotic! It's a salad with Fruits, Nuts, Beans and Rice and bingo you are seeing a festive dish to enjoy!

Mullagutawny soup is nothing but our dear old rasam to those of you who south Indian rasam. And this is what was Sowjanya's better half's favorite at hotel. Why not, with a twist in name, everything becomes mystery!

Vidhya makes this Dhall soup which is their favorite from the hotel near by. But she is most hesitant to try this at home, fearing the failure of which her kids may not eat again. But as everything comes to good, she succeeds in the end!


When Asha talks about stuffing, my gosh I can only imagine all those sinful treats. And she has nothing less in offering with her Dal stuffed pooris. What else can be better than this!

Dhivi these days seems to be rally high on loafs and what not. Not to mention her yummy pictures. Getting a request for a vegetarian meat loaf, she finally got the right one after lot of research. Well it not only looks great but sounds delicious!

As I have always said Adais are my favorite one. And getting another version to try from EC, esp multi legume one, makes me happy.

Turning a disaster into success is the base of all success stories. If you want more examples, do visit Kanchan to know how moong dal pakodas ended up as chillas and on second attempt turning out well!


When you want quick no fermented dosas, you can resort to Moong dal dosas and Suma has the most perfect and tempting on on a plate!

For a quick and healthy breakfast idea, try Bean Toast from Supriya. These are easy to make and very healthy too.

Growing up Swathi hated upma, but her mom would make her eat with sweet treats. But after knowing how essential it is, she decides to give a twist by adding Green gram to the upma and is elated it met her better half's approval!

For a quick dal, Divya makes use of chana dal and gets a lunch ready!

With lentil being an important part of our food culture, Kamala tries to mix in 4 different dals to give a variety and look to the dish! Her Mixed dal curry is nothing short of addiction.

Each one of us have our own comfort foods. We crave for it more when we are back home from a trip. Mints shares her Daal Tadka, a comfort food that she prepares typically back from a vacation and it is something she has adapted to her taste!

Nivedita talks about her craze for Avare Kalu, and goes on and on about it. Before you think what it is, it's the Indian broad beans and a most versatile vegetable at that! No wonder Nivedita is seen singing in merry!


Preeti shares her delicious Tadka dal fry that her mom used to make and surprise her guests. Nobody was every able to guess the lentils used. So it must really be something to taste!

When Priyanka is in mood for some comfort meal, then it is Dal Ka dulha for her with few other things to make it complete! With rolled out pooris in dal, I am sure this tastes wonderful!

Suma makes a traditional Andhra special with Beerakaya Pappu which is slightly different from the way most other dals are made. The sweetness from the ridgegourd along with green chilies adds more flavour!

Sunshinemom talks about how she requires a daily dose of these powder packed lentils. She says she needs it especially when the month long family functions demand long hours from her. She quotes the many dals that are part of her Indian pantry. I can only wonder at the taste each one bring out. For starters, lets check out her beautiful Chane ki dal.


Aruna while mostly makes a salad with the Black Eyed beans, she makes this gravy for chapati for the first time and surprised how tasty it was!

Deepa shares two of the most wanted dishes for the event. First one being the choley, she says she didn't share the picture because she didn't like it. But made it again and wow it looks great! The other one being the Rajma masala. I am sure there aren't many who don't like either of these two!

In a snow clad day, Indo gets to do poori masala, yay I know you are wishing she send that right. But she sends another favorite of many the spinach with kidney beans and how it is not the palak paneer of the restaurant fame!

Laura from The Spiced Life has a lovely retreat with two simple yet comforting dishes. She feels after heavy festival food, this simple fare was enough to get her all back to form. Masoor Dal Khade Masale Waali sounds exotic enough to stir memories of good times!

Nithu Bala comes with two different gravies for the event, her Channa Masala will surely sounds good and not to mention the Karamani Kara Kuzhambu.

With Black Eyed Pea making its way to so many gravies, its no wonder on its popularity among all. Padhu joins the group of folks sending this wonder beans!

Pari loves avarekalu but is surprised that her hubby asked for this Avarekaalu Saaru, especially on his special day. And is treated with an array of dishes of which this is on limelight!


PJ talks about traditions that we keep on the first day of the year, hoping things shape up the way the day goes. How well I know that! How it is With habits, so it is with food. I was surprised to see the importance of being a must thing for the such days and so is PJ who prepares this not only because she wants to follow traditions but simply because she loves black eyed pea!

For radhika, her biggest challenge lies in getting her son eat sprouts. And guess what she tweaked the famous pav bhaji with moong sprouts and finally made him eat!

With the cold hitting her place, Silpa has two hot dishes straight from her kitchen, One being the chola masala, when on a cold day she remembered the boiled channa lying around and made this quick dish. The other being the Hot Chilli Red Kidney Beans.

The worthiness of a book lies in how many times a hand reached out to it. And Siri talks just about that aspect on a food book that she got hooked. All about cooking for one and how funny it can be at times. In the process shares a simple dish that she prepared on whim all about a chickpea with spinach!

For Sreevidya, being a south Indian her comfort foods just don't border with avail and sambar. But takes a step forward to include rotis and et all. Of course next comes the Jeera Pulav with Rajma. On one such cold day, she had just this whim to prepare and finally she enjoyed!

Simple legumes become exotic dishes by adding spices and that's what Srinithya has for you with her Rajma in a moghlai style!

Srividhya makes a unique combo of bittergourds with chickpea. She says one would start loving bitter gourd when combined with other interesting legumes like chickpea!

Usha sends in a feast to eyes with her Green Chickpeas & Paneer Curry. I am sure you are all ready to grab it right away!


Janet experiments with red wine and in the process gets about with kidney beans stewed in red wine along with herbs and tomatoes. The simplicity of the whole dish appealed so much to her that she really enjoyed the whole meal!

Always being a fan of paruppu usli, Nithu finds another variety that she can try her hands on. This interesting Karamani Paruppu Usli sure looks a must try one!

Prathibha sends in a Chana dal Stir fry that serves both as an excellent side for rice as well as a roti. Now best time saving aspect I won't mind learning such dishes!

The mistress of story telling is back at works, where she spins a tale of the missing coffee, tea packets. All just when some guests land at home. With bated breath you read on, hoping she is going to unfold the mystery. Pat she declares that the story is not about the missing packets for sure. But all about the packet of Broad beans that her eyes fall on! Well you can check out to see if the mystery is solved or not!


I agree that we folks have our fancy with pickles, podis and what not. And Suma just goes ahead to proclaim to the whole world on the delicious taste that nothing can beat with a simple steamed rice with spiced powder topped with ghee!

Horse gram is quite famous in the southern parts of India and quite a few dishes get prepared. Valarmathi talks about the Kollu masiyal that frequents her table!

Finally from me, my most favorite of all, Beans paruppu usili to brighten any meal!


Graziana makes one of those traditional recipes Green Beans Casserole with Mushroom Cream. What's special about this is most of it were from her garden. I can imagine how flavoursome that must have been!

And this one pot meal is what Laura made to go along with the wonderful dal. It is a Pilaf With Potatoes & Peas and goes well with simple dal to make a satisfying meal!

Lubna shares her beautiful pictures of Qubooli, which is often called the poor man's biryani. Well if this is what one can eat being poor, I guess most of us won't mind!

Preeti sends in a delightful Peas Pulao that makes a great combo with the tadka dal fry she sent. Now isn't this make a great lunch menu?


When I got the entry from the duo, I was hurrying up to check what this was all about. I was sure taken in by the beautiful pictures that Sadhana & Muskaan had to share on the Veg. Mexican Baja Gordita, a meal on its own!

Then one pot meal comes from Srividhya who send in yet another delightful Rajma Pulao.

From the creator of this lovely event Susan, comes this Channa Pulao. What's more pleasing is the fact that she recreated my dish and thoroughly enjoyed it!. I am really so glad that this dish gets so much credit.

Finally we have some sweet entries sent by Faiza Ali. This chana dal halwa is a must to have with the way it looks and appeals. She says it was her favorite sweet growing up and one dish she always looked forward too.


Next comes a Jamuns which have the most unexpected ingredient added, peanuts with bananas! These are not only easy to make they are just great! Thanks priya for the innovative dish.

Finally the winner of the The Blogger Aid Cookbook & Hurst Bean Box is Nithu Bala. Her entry was the 50th entry and that proves lucky! Congrats Nithu.

I once again like to thank all bloggers for taking part in this event. Do accept my apologies if I have left out any of your entry, will address it immediately if notified.

Thank you and enjoy a great weekend. Will be back with a lovely Vegetarian Main Course!

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Recap ~ Best of 2009

Here I am doing yet another of my favorite posts, recap of what's been the Best of 2009 for many bloggers. The one most common feeling I felt and sense among everybody was the fact that 2009 has been really quick. Yes I felt it too and now into the new year, I am telling myself that next year same time I don't want to feel that year just passed me by!

I almost forgot about this event, remembering a week later and thought it was good time anyway.

Lets take sometime and check out what each of these bloggers had to say on their best of the year has been and what's planned!

Arundhuti logs in just few moments before the new year, taking time to look back on whats been during the year for her. Though she had a mix of good and bad happening in life, she managed to log some of her favorites on the blog. After all life is always composed of ups and downs. But what makes it even more worthwhile when we take such moments to cherish!

Aqua writes a lovely letter to her blog She starts off saying the blog got angry with her for gone missing, only to realize that she forgot the entry details! And then goes on to say how she was busy eating than clicking pictures. After all that's what happens when you are on a break right. But in the end she hopes the blog forgives her as she has many in draft for her!. I really hope her cute blog does!

Reading Bhagyshri, I realized how far we move ahead when bringing up a child. With the years passing, we get more patient and more adaptable. And guess what she welcomes the new year with a new look for her blog and hopes to keep with the family trend of healthy eating this year too. Here's wishing her all the best!

Bharathy comes up just the right time to wrap the year's happening. And feels she had done more justice this year compared to the previous. Well I can tell her that opinion varies..:) I would've wanted her to had attempted more ICC! Still within the short period she managed some awesome clicks and posts!

Chaitra talks about her rendezvous with her blog that she started in 2009. I can understand how the journey must have been. The journey that has seen her creating her own space and improving it everyday is sure a great task!

Divya peeps in the year that went by and says it went off very fast. With the fact that she didn't blog so much nevertheless her posts were her favorites. She says she almost didn't do this post she is currently being pampered at home. I only hope she takes some pictures to share with us!

Reading EC on her recap made me feel very good. Here's one blogger who has taken so much time and put in hard work to get so many things on the blog aspect. The number of events she conducted makes your head spin plus the other activities. Plus so many new topics discussed!

Indrani takes a moment to recollect her thoughts on the year that has been. Her blog celebrated the first anniversary including 100 posts, some more milestones including hosting couple of events. All in all a year to remember for her and her readers!

Starting on a note of sharing a secret, we have Jaya Wagle getting hooked to this world by hitting the Next Blog!. Well more than that her recollection of events makes one believe that things happen so wonderfully to our advantage. In all the drama, only one missing is the crown to the centenary. Why worry we all wish in advance!

Reading Jayashree Mandal post on what had been happening on her blog front, made me nostalgic. No wonder she was talking about the good old DD and what was a quality time for us back then. No you are not laid back Jaya, but I leave your list to be read by all who I am sure will enjoy!

Kanchan seems to have had a jolly ride starting her Personal Tadka and shares her moments of joy with us. I can feel a chord with every line she talked about.

Next takes us to the beautiful array of dishes that Lubna has in store for us. I am really struck not able to decide which was more pretty! Days may run into months, months into years. But whats capture stays forever fresh! So is her lovely post!

Seeing Meeta's post, I was hard with words to say which one was my favorite! Each and everyone picture looked more pretty than the other. Reading what she went through this past year and how her blog helped her anchor, only shows how much our space matter to each of us!

Starting a student's life again and then a blog won't have been a easy task. But Nivedita seems to have done that and some. She logged her favorite recipes and says she was waiting for a while to start her own blog. Read to see her what else she has to share with us!

PJ, looks back on the two wonderful years she has spent blogging. She chalks herself out with some goals on what she plans to do, and I must say they are good great! Including hosting some great events, esp the kids related!

Priya never ceases to amaze me. It's hard to believe that its only been over a year that she started blogging. With over 850 posts to credit, this lady rocks! When I announce an event, I simply know I can trust her to send me as many as she can..:)). Her recap talks about her personal journey through her blog!

Priyanka, finds it hard to put in words what the year has brought in for her. Relocating and back in a place that now makes her feel good, has been the best part I guess. Here's wishing you all the best in the new year too!

Radhika though not been very active through the year, wishes to come back with loads of new posts and other activities. She also shares some of the dishes that she tried and came out well.

With just few months away in blogging Renu Roy shares her top ones in the past year and hopes you click and enjoy them!

Sowjanya shares her decade of events that lead before and after the blog. You got to read to enjoy her stories. Personally I was happy getting to know her through this event.

Well if you ever need a gurma recipe, then you should land in Sra's space for the know-how! For a witty person she is, I guess the most funny people search and land in her space too. What else would you explain the way she gets visitors. Ok you got to read for yourself to get under!

With Swapna coming out in the nick of the year but still managed to post handful, hopes to be more regular this year. Funny thing she noticed how she gets appreciated for what she never thought for! Guess it's always been that way!

Usha wanted to step back to see what her blogging has been the last year. Though she hasn't been active, some of the things she blogger are sure wonderful to get to know like those sweet and simple bakes! She signs off saying she will be more regular!

And finally I took some moments to think what the year has been and what I wanted to do and whats in plan!

Well I can only say the year went past very fast, though not without giving us each so many wonderful memories to last a lifetime!

I only wish to say, there are always ups and downs in life. We always better if we treat everything equal but remember more of the happy days than spending in remorse.

It helps to pause and think for a moment and see where we are heading. And beginning of a year is the best time round!

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year and Next in planning!

You know I have always being known to be doing many things symbolically on the New year Eve! Like trying to be on time to office, with the faint hope that I will be on time the year long. Or not yelling at the kids. Or or or...As if any of these things can ever happen! I say to myself, get off the high horse and get real. But one never gets away from their childhood emotions right.

I was late to office, very late because Amma told me to visit the temple and because it was lunar eclipse do some pooja. Now I didn't want to disobey her. I guess after becoming a parent one knows how it feels when your child doesn't do as you say. So it's a retrospective action, and nothing more attached to it.


Coming to the New Year Resolutions, I am never good at them. Infact I have never ever taken up a resolution to follow. It's a fact that resolutions are meant to be broken, so why bother breaking your head over it. But on the other hand, Goals are different. These are something I always have, but most time with no definite time frame.

In recent times, I have had some revelations happening. As a first step towards what I have in mind, I have been reading some books on enlighten souls. Those books talk about what have been always in my mind, guess with many of you too. Only we don't articulate or even think beyond certain level. But I was reassured on that the fact that making something known or written on paper makes it more binding.

So I decided I share my top most "To do" list here, so that I keep a track and see how I progress.

Schedule dates for the cookbook: I know I have been saying this for a while. Many have asked me again and again on the dates. The fact is, I am used to the relaxed thought that I have all the time. So I need to really put down the dates on paper to get myself more dedicated to it.

Plan for all the blogs: I schedule posts and plan for BC. But I never do that for my own. I always wonder why not. But I get lazy planning for my own blog. I have so much to share on Spice your Life, they are still in drafts. Though I am happy I am recording my thoughts in my Journey called Life..Those thoughts are what are prominent through the day.

Menu Planning: I know I already said I do Menu Planning. It always helps, but I miss out in between. So doing this will surely give me less headache.

New projects: I have new projects in mind, which needs time to be constructed. I just need the inspiration to get the motion on them.

Get back to my List on Reading Books: After reading the books in recent times, I again realized how much I miss them. Hubby dear was most accommodative in giving me space, of course I was missing my posting days for the books. I will have to come with a plan to include both.

Konda's Blog: I would love to get my brush out and in the process pay more details to my daughter's space too. She paints and stores on the comp, but I hardly get them online.

many more to follow if I allow myself. But for now that's all!


This is a beautiful flower that I recently came across in wilds. I found this in the most unexpected places. I realised one can find beauty when least expected, in most unexpected place, all it takes to enjoy is the thought.

I hope I take strength in that thought and wish this year bring you all what you dream of and work hard towards!

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