Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Announcing the "Best of year 2011" Event!

Even if I have been saying the same almost every year, this year does seem the time passed with a major impact on my blogging way. I have been happy that I have been regular in blogging at my Spice your Life blog with Blogging Marathon

That also meant I remember to post this event on time. We are at that period in the year when we think back and look forward to the next year. 

So I decided I repeat myself and do the same points again and it will be fun to read about so many new blogs and what they did this year.

If you are interested to take such a time to pause and think back, I would welcome you to share it with me.

It can also be whatever else you want to share with me and your readers.

I am just giving few items for you to get started. It can be these or whatever you want to share:

1. Top 5 or 10 recipes of the year
2. Best dish of the month
3. Best recipe prepared from other blogs
4. Best Meal of the year
5  New things discovered in the year (can include anything related to cooking)
6. Best post or picture for each month or year
7. New blogs discovered
8. Cooking resolutions for the Year 2012!

Lets celebrate the new year with a recap of what we did during 2011!

Guidelines for the event.
1. Write your post by 31st December 2011.
2. Please use to the logo to spread the event.
3. In your post, include a link to this announcement.
4. Mail me your details to with the subject line "Best of 2011".
I hope you will enjoy doing this recap.
Hoping to read the many wonderful things that happened around!

If you have time, do check out my best of the year posts that I did in the past - 2007, 20082009 and 2010 here.

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Chicken Varuval ~ Weekend Cooking | How to make Chicken Fry Tamil Style | Step by Step Recipe

I have been getting so many requests for non vegetarian dishes that I decided that I should make something different and post. So for the last two weekends, it's been new recipes that I tried. Today's recipe is yet another chicken varuval, that Amma got to know this recipe from our family friend. Vasantha Aunty makes non veg dishes the best and her dishes are well known. She makes a mean meat balls and for all the get together parties, she will surely make those meat balls. 

During the recent gathering, she had made this chicken varuval and daddy liked it a lot. So Amma had to get the recipe and she made it at home. Everybody liked it and naturally I got to make it again. The spice level has to be increased if I was serving just for hubby dear, however it was just correct for the kids.

Since this is step by step recipe, if you are a meat eater, please skip the post and check out Spice your Life for Vegetarian dishes!

Step by Step Recipe for making Chicken Varuval

Boiling the Chicken
Wash and cut the chicken as desired.
Add red chili pw, salt, ginger garlic paste and turmeric powder to the chicken and mix well.
Add 1 cup water and bring to boil
Continue boiling till the chicken is cooked.
Simmer and dry the chicken.
Keep it aside for it to be fried.

Spice powder:
Dry roast the wholepepper and cumin seeds.
Once cool, grind to a fine powder.

For making the Fry:
Heat a kadai with oil,
Finely chop the tomatoes, and slit the green chilies.
When the oil is hot, add the green chilies, ginger garlic paste,
Saute well.
Then add the chopped tomatoes.
When the tomatoes are cooked, add the ground powder. Add the cooked chicken and roast till the chicken is well done. Finally add the curry leaves and the coriander leaves.

Chicken Varuval | Chicken Fry

For the boiling Chicken

Chicken - 1 kg
Red chili pow - 1 tsp
Ginger Garlic paste - 3/4 tsp
Turmeric a pinch
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Water - 1 cup

Wash and cut the chicken into bite size pieces. Wash and drain in a colander.

Add salt, red chilli powder, ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder to the chicken pieces.

Take the chicken pieces in a pan and add 1 cup of water. Bring to boil, cook till the chicken is cooked. When the chicken is cooked, continue till all the moisture is evaporated.

Masala powder:

Wholepeper corn - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp

Heat a kadai, dry roast pepper and cumin seeds. Cool and powder to a fine powder.

To fry the chicken:

Oil - 4 tsp
Clove - 2
Cinnamon - 2
Cardamon - 2
Green Chillies - 3
Ginger Garlic paste - 3/4 tsp
Tomatoes - 2 medium.
Salt to taste

How to make Chicken Fry

Heat a kadai with oil, add clove, cinnamon, cardamon. Saute for couple of mins, then add slit green chilis, ginger garlic paste, chopped tomatoes, fry for a while. Adjust salt and add as required.

Once the tomatoes are mushy and soft, add the pepper and cumin powder. Saute for couple of minutes. Add the boiled chicken. Fry on high flame, then simmer the flame and continue frying till oil comes out.

Add curry leaves and coriander leaves and simmer for 5 mins. When the chicken is dry, increase the flame and saute again for couple of minutes.

Enjoy as a starter!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Announcing Snacks Mela

As usual before I could do the round up of the previous Soups and Salads mela, I decided to announce the next one, so that everybody can participate in the event and the event gets more time.

For this edition I thought after Soups and Salads, a dose of Snacks would be simply great.

Snack is referred as a light informal meal, that one can have between meals. In other words it can be anything that is eaten in between meals, can be light if you prefer or heavy depending to whom you are serving!

I was hoping to make this announcement earlier but days somehow have a knack of passing off quickly. For the Blogging Marathon#10 this month, I wanted my friends to dish out guilt free snacks. After all I need to balance out all types. But in general it can be anything that you call as a snack.

So from now till December 31st 2011, post any dish that can be classified as Snacks on your blog. It can be sweet or savory. The dish can be of any cuisine, both Veg and Non Veg accepted.

Link back to this announcement and send me your entries to

Usage of the logo is appreciated as it helps spread the word.

I will try to leave a comment within couple of days, or at least before the round up..:)

Multiple entries are accepted, in fact would be glad to get all different dishes that you have already posted. But please update the post with this announcement post link. This is the least I can expect, but do not link all your archive posts in one post.

The email can be in this format

Subject: Snacks Mela
Post URL
Recipe Name
Picture of your dish.

Last date to send link in your entries will be December 31st 2011.

I hope you will enjoy participating in this event and make it a success.

Those of you who have already sent me the entries, I will upload myself.

Please use the Link Tool to link your entries!

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Snakegourd Stir Fry with Moong dal | Paasi paruppu Podalanga Poriyal | Step by Step Recipe

Days tend to get extremely busy without our notice and I was surprised to note that almost 10 days have gone without an update. I am struggling to keep up with the posts and there are so many drafts that I want to clear off, guess it requires more efforts than what I have. When I actually think back on what's happening, guess we just caught up the everyday rut of rushing the kids to school, rushing off to work. Wish life could pass on more leisurely so that one gets to remember these incidents.

There are days stretching endless with me chatting with Amma or Hubby dear about what the boys or Konda say. Like last week Konda had given me her lunch weekly menu and was insistent that I follow the menu strictly. When I saw that I had to make Fried rice, I was able to convince Peddu about it but Chinnu said he doesn't want it. I said I am not running a restaurant and he has to carry that for his lunch too. He threatened me saying he will not eat. When I came back home in the evening, Peddu rushed in to say he loved the rice and wanted it for next day also, while Chinnu was having a cross face. Looking at me, he said "I didn't eat, but my teacher fed the rice to me" Imagine saying that was a pause. He was so clear in his likings and that statement was so hilarious when he said in telugu. There have been so many other antics that I now see I haven't recorded. The way the boys have started talking, with their innocence and the smart way they think for every small thing, makes the days so wonderful. Looking at Konda, I wonder all of sudden where is my baby! She is all the typical pre teen, yes kids these days looks like they become teens by 10!

Anyway coming back to the recipe, this is a wonderful protein packed stir fry, very delicious with sambar or dal. If I am not making Podalanga Kootu, it's this stir fry that's made.

Check out how to clean or prep Snake gourd in Spice your Life. We are running the 10th edition of Blogging Marathon from today and I decided to take up Preps and Preserves.

Split Yellow Moong dal is called in tamil Paasi paruppu / Payatham paruppu / siru paruppu

Sending this to Priya for her event Cooking With Seeds-Mung/Moong Beans

Step by step picture Recipe

Snakegourd Stir Fry with Moong dal 
Ingredients Needed:

Snake gourd / Podalanga / Potlakaya - 1 medium (this is not the long ones)
Split yellow Moong Dal / Payatham paruppu / Paasi paruppu- 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Red chili flakes - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1 tsp
Fresh coconut, grated - 2 tsp


Dry Red Chili - 2 -3 (spicy varities)
Mustard Seeds, Urad dal - 3/4 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves few

How to make Paasi paruppu Podalanga Poriyal

Refer how to clean or prep Snake gourd and follow the process. Once you have squeezed out the vegetable from salted water, add 1/2 water and microwave for 10 mins.

In another mw bowl, wash and micro moong dal for 10 - 15 mins. Once done, drain the vegetable and keep it aside.

Heat a non stick pan with oil, add the seasoning ingredients. When the mustard pops, add the cooked snakegourd. Saute well. This takes about 5 mins. Then add the cooked dal and mix well, add salt and chili flakes. Simmer for 5 mins, then add the grated coconut finally and switch off.

Serve with Rice and Sambar as the side.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

No Cook Beetroot Halwa | Beets Salad | Step by Step Recipe

Soups and Salads is one category my Recipe Index really lacks for choice. That really made me choose this as the theme for the Mela, hoping I will make something for the event myself. Well almost nearing the deadline, I finally have one recipe to talk about. And this is more so on a sweet note. I came to know about this recipe from my dietician who made this for a fitness club. She was telling me that she thought about this after hearing about Mexican Salad that I had made and taken for them. They were so impressed about it, that she thought she could try something on the similar lines with the beetroot.

Best part was that one could almost think this as a beetroot halwa. I am not joking, it was seriously tasting like that and all without ghee or sugar. This is a very quick no cook salad that's quite filling. You can just about mix and match ingredients to be added in this. Jaggary is added, so you can reduce to give just a hint also, as beets is already sweet.

No Cook Beets Halwa

Ingredients Needed:

Beetroot - 1 medium
Banana - 1
Almonds - 10
Jaggary - 2 tsp

How to make the No cook Beets halwa or salad

Wash and peel the beets. Grate it in a bowl.

Add powdered jaggary and mix well. Then add finely chopped banana, followed by finely chopped almonds.

Mix everything and serve.


This tastes very much like the halwa that's made the regular way. Increase the jaggary based on your choice. Adding just a teaspoon is just enough.

This goes for my Soups and Salads Mela

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mysore Pak (Hard) Recipe | Diwali Sweets

This post is almost a week late in making an appearance. When I think of some of those delicious recipes that are yet to be out, this is fine. I am sure many of you know about the melt in the mouth types of Mysore Pak that's sold in the shops. There is another version of this delicious sweet that's mostly done at home and that's the hard version of Mysore Pak, which has those characteristic honeycomb texture and design. What makes this recipe even more interesting is the fact that you can make this with the leftover sugar from the other sweets.

Imagine after helping Amma so many years in our Deepavali sweets and savories, this simple point somehow missed me. I was so surprised by the innovation our mothers come up with. The sugar syrup that was left out after preparing Kaja, was used to make this Mysore Pak. So you really don't have to worry about the Mysore pak being soft. Harder it is, it's better.

I know the weather right now is not really suitable for sweets, pakodas might be very inviting. It's been pouring non stop for the past week or so. It's been worse today and I came back home early. Riding through the rain, not bothered about getting drenched, enjoying every single moment, makes it so wonderful. Of course one shouldn't think about how unprepared the city is for rains. I wish govt takes some efforts to make things better.

Anyway with the rain lashing at the background, kids studying for their mid terms that's going to start next week, I will leave you with the recipe using leftover Sugar syrup to make Hard Mysore Pak. If you are in mood to savour something that lasts for a while, then this is something that you would choose rather than those melt in the mouth types of Mysore Paks.

This was part of our Deepavali Sweets this year.

Not only has Amma reduced the usage of ghee, she has replaced it with some cooking oil.

For making Mysore Pak, with step by step pictures you can check out the soft version.

Making hard Mysore Pak with leftover sugar syrup after making Kaja.

Mysore Pak (Hard)

Besan / Bengal Gram flour - 1 cup
Sugar - 2 cups
Ghee - 1 cup
Oil - 1/2 cup

Method to prepare:

In a kadai heat ghee and oil together till it is warm. Simmer for couple of minutes.

In another non stick pan, roast the besan on low flame.

Melt the sugar by adding just enough water to cover and remove the impurities.

Continue boiling it for couple of more minutes. Soon you will have a one thread consistency.

Add the besan to the sugar syrup and mix everything together. Then slowly add the ghee oil mix little by little.

Grease a plate or a square tin ready with ghee.

When you are done with all the ghee, continue stirring briskly for another couple of minutes when you see the batter leaving the sides, it means the paak is done.

Immediately pour it on the greased plate. Wait for 10 minutes, before making marks on the top.

Allow it to cool completely before breaking it.

Notes: We had about 1 cup of sugar leftover, we added 1 more cup which needed to be cooked for removing impurities.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Thenkuzhal Muruku 2 | Diwali Savory Snack | Step by Step Recipes

By now it must be obvious that I love murukkus. This is going to be the third recipe that I am sharing. I got this recipe from my neighbor, Konda's friend K's Mom. She makes this for Diwali every year and every year I ask her for the recipe and never get around to make it.

This year I made up my mind that I was going to make it and wrote down the recipe. Just the day before Deepavali, I told Amma that I wanted to make this version. As it happened I had noted down the recipe in my phone and looks like I missed out few things. So I had Amma talk to K's Mom and noted down the recipe.

One main thing I didn't tell Amma was that this recipe measures the whole rice, which then is powdered. Since we had rice flour on hand, we had to modify according to the recipe. After finally getting to the dough I realized how easy this muruku is to make.

Another factor that Amma told me was the fact that all Thenkuzhal murukus call for the rice flour to be roasted. We did that and the Murukkus came out awesome.
Best part about this recipe is that, there is no butter or ghee added.

Step By Step Recipe.

Thenkuzhal Muruku 2

Ingredients Needed

Rice flour - 5 cups
Urad Dal -- 1 cup
Water - 3 - 4 cups
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Sesame seeds - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Asafoetida a pinch
Oil for Deep frying

How to make Thenkuzhal Muruku

Wash and pressure cook the Urad dal with 3 cups of water for 3 whistles. Once the pressure falls, check if the urad dal is cooked to mushy. If not, add one more cup of water and cook again.

Heat a kadai, dry roast the rice flour till it's done. This can be checked by taking a pinch of roasted flour and doing a kolam or drawing a line on the flour. If it forms a uniform line, it means the the flour is roasted well.

Once the flour is roasted, remove and allow to cool. Sieve to remove lumps.

To the Urad dal, add the asafoetida, cumin seeds, sesame seeds. Dissolve salt in about 2 tsp of water and sprinkle over the Urad dal. Mix everything well.

Then slowly add the rice flour, and mix into a dough. It took about 5 cups of rice flour for us to get a smooth batter.

Heat a kadai with oil. When the oil is hot, check with a small bit, when it comes out, it means the oil is hot.

Pinch out a ball enough to fill the muruku achu. We used 3 holes achu.

Since the dough is very soft to use, you can directly press the muruku over the hot oil. Else press you can press over the back side of a ladle and gently slide into the oil.

Cook over medium flame on both sides. Drain to a kitchen towel.

The original recipe calls for 4 cups of rice. Since we had rice flour, we knew 4 cups of rice would yeiled about 5 -6cups. 5 cups of flour was almost enough.

There is no need to add butter or ghee, the murukkus come out very soft and tasty.

Make sure you cook till it browns slightly. else it might not harden once it cools down.

The murukus from pan will be soft initially. After it cools down, it will turn crunchy.

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