Thursday, March 31, 2011

My First Quilled Butterfly

This is my first project in my quilling adventure. I should say first completed project. I started off with a peacock and could not finish it because I ran out of the quilling strips and never completed it after that. When I started making this butterfly, I was so obsessed with quilling, that I completed this in a couple of hours. I liked the outcome. But it definitely needs more perfection. Hope that will come with practice. But I guess I did a ok job for a first timer :-) .

If framed, this will make very good wall hangings.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tomato Dosa

This is a very quick dosa recipe that requires very little prep work. Tomato dosa does not need to be fermented. The dosa gets the tangy and sour taste from the tomatoes.

This recipe comes in handy whenever I do not have dosa batter in the fridge but still crave for dosas with coconut chutney. Coconut chutney is the best combination for this dosa.


1. Idli rice - 1 cup
2. Tomatoes - 2 medium
3. Grated coconut - 2 tablespoons
4. Red Chilli - 1 /per taste
5. Salt - to taste
6. Oil - to make dosas


1. Soak the idli rice for 2-3 hours.
2. First grind tomatoes, coconut and red chilli into a fine paste, then add the soaked rice and grind it fine by adding enough water.
3. The consistency of the batter should be like the regular dosa batter.
4. Add salt and make dosas.This dosa takes a little longer to cook than the normal dosa.
5. Flip the dosa to let it cook on the other side to get nice crispy dosas.

Serve it with coconut chtney or any chutney of your choice.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Carrot Kheer

I am still using up the big bag of carrots :-)

I wanted to make a dessert that is not very time consuming. I have had carrot kheer only once when I was in college. My friend's aunt made it and I really liked it. But never had a chance to try it again. I knew that it doesnt take a long time to make this kheer. So tried it and believe me, it tastes very good. There are not many ingerdients needed to make this kheer. Heavy cream is really optional. I could not resist myself adding heavy cream to this kheer, so just added a teaspoon of cream. But, even without heavy cream, you will get the same taste.


1. Carrots - 4 medium sized
2. Milk - 3 to 4 cups
3. Cardamom powder- 1 teaspoon
4. Sugar - 5 teaspoons / per taste
5. Saffron - few strands
6. Heavy cream - 1 teaspoon (optional)
7. Cashews - 6 (to garnish)
8. Ghee - 2 tablespoons


1. Pressure cook the carrots till they become soft and blend it into a smooth paste and keep aside.
2. Break cashews into small pieces and fry it in the ghee till golden brown and keep it aside.
3. In the same pan with the ghee, add the pureed carrots and saute it till the raw smell goes away.
4. Add sugar, milk and cream and keep stirring till the mixture thickens up.
5. Once it reaches your desired consistency, add the fried cashews and serve it warm or cold with a garnish of saffron strands.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pottery Painting and I

I was walking on the streets of Chennai one day and found little clay pots sitting in a road side shop. Those were the days when I was doing some mirror work in my salwars. I asked myself, how would mirror work on these little pots look like? And this is the result of my imagination :-) .

They make very nice show pieces. I started painting the clay pots with black paint. Let it dry overnight and the next day, did some artwork with silver paint and mirrors. Its a bangle that is in between the middle pot and the last pot. I bought that bangle in a craft store and never really used it. When I combined the bangle with the finished pottery work, they looked great and so I don't regret that I bought the bangle.

After coming to the US, I searched for clay pots like this with no success. All I could find was the tiny flower pots. But didnt like the look of it for my kind of painting. I joined a pottery painting class with Clay Dreams in Arlington, MA. I did a couple of projects there with them using ceramic vases. But then couldn't continue due to my schedule.

Its been years since I indulged myself in pottery painting. My interest in pottery painting just passed by like a breeze. Hope that breeze comes back again :-) .

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Instant Dosa

I wanted to make something very quick for dinner today before my little one comes back from the daycare.

I came across this recipe once in Padhus kitchen . She had mentioned that this instant dosa will just take 2 minutes. So I thought, I will give it a try and the dosas came out really goodl. Nice alternative to the normal wheat dosa.

This recipe will yield 15 dosas approximately.


1. Wheat flour - 1 cup
2. Rice flour - 1 cup
3. Salt - as needed
4. Water - 4 1/2 cups

To temper:

1. Oil - 1 teaspoon
2. Cumin seeds- 1 teaspoon
3. Green chillies - 2 finely chopped
4. Hing - a generous pinch


1. Mix everything together mentioned in the ingredients section. make sure there are no lumps. The batter should be watery.
2. In a pan heat the oil and add cumin, green chillies and hing. Add this to the dosa batter.
3. Now make dosas. You will not be able to spread the batter in the dosa tawa like you would normally do. Take a spoon full of batter and make circle from the outer edge and the batter will naturally flow inside. If needed you can fill in using additional batter.
4. Spray little oil. This dosa takes a little longer to cook than the normal dosa. Flip it over once one side is cooked. Let the other side of the dosa cook.
5. Serve it hot with coconut chutney.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Egg Kuruma

As promised, here comes the egg kuruma recipe.

The basic sauce in this recipe is my mom's and the way I add the last 2 eggs is from my mother-in-law. My mom adds hard boiled eggs and I am not a big fan of gundu muttai(That is how I call hard boiled eggs :-) ). Once, I told my mother-in-law that I am making egg kuruma. She asked me to just break the eggs in the sauce, that way the eggs will get cooked in the sauce. I liked that idea. The eggs tasted good with the taste of the sauce in it and no more gundu muttai in the kuruma from that day :-)

It is very versatile. You can have it with white rice or malabar parotta or puris or rotis.


1. Onion - 1 medium (chopped)
2. Tomatoes - 1 medium (chopped)
3. Ginger garlic paste - 1 teaspoon
4. Chilli powder - 1 table spoon
5. Garam masala powder - 1 teaspoon
6. Grated coconut - 1 1/2 table spoons
7. Poppy seeds - 2 teaspoons
8. Eggs - 3
9. Salt - as needed
10. Oil - 2 teaspoons
11. Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
12. Uradh dhal - 1 teaspoon
13. Curry leaves - few


1. Grind coconut and poppy seeds into a very fine paste with little bit of water and keep it aside.
2. Use a hand mixer to beat one egg and keep it aside.
3. In a kadai, heat the oil. Add mustard seeds, uradh dhal, add the curry leaves after the mustard seeds splutter.
4. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute till the raw smell goes away.
5. Add the chopped onions and saute till they turn translucent.
6. Now add the chopped tomatoes and salt. Let it cook till oil seperates.
7. Add chilli powder and garam masala powder and stir for a few minutes.
8. Add the ground mixture to the sauted masala. Add little water and let it come to a boil.
9. Once, the sauce comes to a boil, slowly add the beaten egg and stir continuosly. The sauce will get a different consistency now and it gets thicker. Add water if needed. Cover and let it cook for 5 minutes.
10. This is the basic sauce that my mom makes. After this, you can either add hard boiled eggs or break the eggs into the sauce as I do.
11. Reduce the heat, break one egg at a time(In different places) into the sauce slowly. The sauce should not be boiling. Otherwise the eggs will scramble. Do not mix till the eggs get completely cooked. Increase the heat. The eggs will be cooked in a couple of minutes.

Egg kuruma is ready to serve with rice/roti/parotta/puri.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pav Bhaji

My first introduction to chaat was only during my college days.There was a chaat shop near the place where me and my friends stayed. I was a regular customer of that shop for their pav bhaji. But I always ate that with a guilt, thinking the bhaji is full of potatoes and nothing else.
When I came to the US, my neighbor was from Gujarat and she was an expert in making all chaat items. She prepared pav bhaji for me once and I asked her how to make it. From then on, this chat is in our dinner menu almost every week. We enjoy it every time but without a guilt knowing that it has a lot of other vegetables making the dish very nutritious. A very good way to sneak in all the vegetables to your kids :-)


1. Carrots- roughly chopped 3 medium
2. Beans - roughly chopped - few
3. Cauliflower- roughly chopped 1/2 flower
4. Cabbage -  1/4 of a small cabbage roughly chopped
5. Potatoes - 2 medium
6. Frozen peas - 1 cup
7. Capsicum -1 finely chopped
8. Onion - 2 medium cubed
9. Tomatoes - 2 large
10. Cilantro- to garnish
11. Pav bun - 1 pack of 6 buns
12. Butter - to toast the buns.
13. Oil - 2 tablespoons
14. Store bought Pav Bhaji Masala - 3 tablespoons/ per taste (I use MDH brand from Indian stores)
15. Salt - to taste
16. Lemon- 1

1. Pressure cook all the ingredients from 1 through 5 till they become soft and mushy. mash it well with a spoon.Add water if needed and keep it aside.
2. In a mixer, grind the cubed onions coarsely and keep it aside.
3. Same way, grind the tomatoes and keep it aside.
4. In a wide pan heat some oil. You can also add butter. I sometimes add 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil.
5. Add the ground onion and saute till the raw smell goes away.
6. Then add the ground tomatoes and saute it for sometime.
7. Then add finely chopped capsicum. You need not saute it fully. It has to be crisp. Then add the pav bhaji masala and saute well till it mixes with all the sauted ingredients.
8.Now, add the boiled and mashed vegetables, mix it well with the masala and cook it till it becomes thick. You can add the peas at this stage and cook for sometime.Bhaji is now ready.
9. Toast the pav with butter and serve it with bhaji with chopped onions, cilantro and a piece of lemon.

This bhaji will also go in our tomorrow's lunch box in between two whole wheat breads as a vegetable sandwich.What a healthy lunch :-).

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Carrot Chutney

I had a big bag of carrots sitting in my refrigerator. So was wondering what to do with so many carrots. I also wanted to make chutney for dinner as a side dish for idlis.  But ran out of coconut. So I decided to make chutney with carrots. It turned out really well and it was a very good combination for idli. Nice variation for the regular same old coconut chutney. 

Expect more carrot recipes :-)

Here goes the recipe for the chutney I prepared yesterday.


1. Carrots- 3 medium
2. Channa dhal - 1/2 tablespoon
3. Urad dhal - 1/2 table spoon
4. Garlic - 2
5. Red chillies - 2
6. Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
7. Coriander seeds - 1 teaspoon
8. Salt - to taste
9. Tamarind paste - 1/4 teaspoon
10. Oil - 1 teaspoon

For tempering:

1. Sesame seed Oil - 2 teaspoons
2. Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
3. Asafotida - a pinch
4. Curry leaves - Few


1. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a pan and add urad dhal, channa dhal, jeera, dhania, garlic and roast it for  a few seconds.
2. Then add red chillies roast it till everything is well roasted. Then set aside.
3. In the same pan, add carrots that are roughly chopped. Saute for 5 minutes. Do not let the carrots cook completely. It should still be crispy.
4. Grind the carrots along with the roasted dhal mixture, salt, water and tamarind paste.
5. Now temper it with the ingredients under the for tempering section.

Delicious carrot chutney is ready for you to enjoy with idlis/ dosa.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Chicken Drumstick Roast

When I got married and came to the US, we used to invite one family home almost every friday night for dinner. They were all my husband's friends and family and in most cases, I was meeting them for the first time. This tradition went on for like 3 to 4 months. What more can a person like me, who loves cooking ask for? It was such a nice oppurtunity for me to try new dishes. I mostly made a full course dinner starting with appetizers, rotis, sidedishes, curries, pulav, raitha and a dessert. My cooking saga would start in the morning. I tried different appetizers, curries and desserts for the guests every week. Rotis and pulav were my standard trademark. That was the time I explored a lot of new recipes. This chicken drumstick roast was one of those dishes which wowed the guests. It looks good and tastes good as well.


To marinate:

1. Skinless Chicken drumsticks-5 pieces
2. Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 table spoon
3. Chilli Powder - 1 teaspoon
4. Garam Masala Powder - 1 teaspoon
5. Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
6. Chickpea/besan flour- 1 table spoon
7. Rice flour - 1 tablespoon
8. Saunf powder - 1 teaspoon
9. Salt - to taste
10. Oil - to fry

For the masala:

1. Onion - 1 medium (sliced)
2. Tomatoes - 2 medium
3. Chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
4. Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
5. Salt - to taste
6. Cilantro - to garnish
7. Oil - 1 tablespoon
8. Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
9. Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 table spoon


1. Mix ingredients from 2 through 9 in the ingredients section. Make a paste by adding little water if needed.
2. Make five or six slits in the chicken drumstick. This will help the masala get in the pieces. Apply the above paste and let it stand for minimum 1 hour.
3. After an hour or more, deep fry these pieces till golden brown on all the sides. Keep it aside.
4. In another pan, add oil and once it is hot, add mustard seeds.
5. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute till the raw smell goes away.
6. Then add thinly sliced onions and let it turn golden brown before you add the tomatoes.
7. Add little salt and let the tomatoes saute well.
8. Add turmeric and chilli powder and saute till oil seperates
9. Now add the fried drumsticks and mix gently till the masala coats the chicken pieces.
10. Switch off the stove. garnish it with cilantro.

Serve it as an appetizer.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My New Hobby

It was not until a couple of months back, that I came to know about a craft called quilling. I was googling for some zardosi designs and I found a blog with zardosi designs which also had something called quilling. I was very curious to find what this quilling was all about. Slowly I learnt to quill and got addicted to it from then on.

Recently we got a note from my son's daycare saying that one of their caregiver was leaving soon and she happened to be my son's first primary caregiver. He started going to daycare when he was one year old. Leaving my one year old in the daycare was very painful for me. Everything was new for me. I used to feel very guilty (I still feel guilty :-) ) for leaving him in a daycare. Laurie took such a good care of Kavin. We felt, he was in very safe hands. I didnt have to remind her about what to give, when to give. She took care of everything. When Kavin graduated to toddler room, he missed her so much. I heard that everytime the toddler classroom went to the playground, Kavin would go to Laurie's room and when he sees Laurie, he will go running to give her a big hug :-) . 

The daycare center is putting together an album for her. They asked us if we will be interested to contribute some memories/ thoughts for that album. Without a second thought, we got a sheet from the album and I started quilling the sheet. We are planning to add photos of Kavin and Laurie together and also write something in that sheet.

A closer look.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chilli Parotta

Chilli Parotta is a dish that I never thought I could make it at home. But after surfing some blogs, I was delighted to see some recipes for this wonderful dish. I do not exactly remember where I got this recipe from. I am sure it is from a blog, but not sure whose blog it is. I made few modifications to that original recipe. It came out really well. This is a big hit in any party /get together. My friends keep asking me for this dish every time we decide on a pot luck.

Here goes the recipe.


Frozen Parottas- 1 1/2 pack(You can get it in Indian stores. I bought Daily Delight Ceylon Parotta)
Red Onion - 2 big
Green Pepper - 1 small to medium, cut into 1 inch cubes
Tomato - 2 medium, chopped
Poppy seeds - 1 tsp
Cashews - 7 or 8
Ginger - half inch piece
Garlic - 2 to 3 cloves
Cilantro - to garnish
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 to 2 tbsp
Ghee - 1 tablespoon

Method:1. Chop 1 onion and keep it aside. Cut the remaining 1 into 1 inch cubes (similar to the capsicum).
2.  I used frozen parotta so i popped them in the microwave for 30 seconds before frying them on a frying pan till they get crisp (instead of deep-frying). Cut the parotta pieces into  small squares.
3. In the meantime, heat 1 to 2 tsp of oil and sauté the chopped onion, garlic and ginger cloves till brown, then add the chopped tomato with the masala powders and salt. Add the poppy seeds and cashews at this point and let it cook till it gets thick. Allow this mixture to cool a bit and grind in a blender to a paste. I added red food color and little bit of maggi tomato sauce for a little tinge of  sweet taste.
4. Heat the remaining oil in the pan, and add the cubed onions and sauté for a few minutes till translucent. Add the cubed capsicum and a pinch of salt. When they get tender crisp, add the ground onion-tomato paste and sauté for about 4 to 5 minutes.
5.  Add a tbsp or two of water (to loosen up the mixture so the parottas can soak it up) and immediately add the parotta pieces and toss so they are uniformly covered by the paste. Cook this on a medium-high flame till dry.
6. Switch off the stove and garnish it with some cilantro.

Delicious Chilli Parotta is ready. Serve this dish with raitha.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Vaer Kadalai / Peanut Chutney

This is my Mother-in-Law's recipe. I never heard/tasted this chutney until I got married. But later came to know that it is a very common chutney.


1. Roasted peanuts- 1 cup
2. Grated coconut- 2 tablespoons
3. Garlic- 1
4. Red chillies - 2
5. Salt- as needed
6. Turmeric paste- 1/2 teaspoon
7. Jaggery - a small piece

For tempering:

1. Oil - 1 teaspoon
2. Mustard seeds- 1/2 teaspoon
3. Uradh dhal- 1/2 teaspoon.
4. Curry leaves -few


Grind together all the items provided in the ingredients section into a fine paste with desired amount of water.
Before serving, temper it with mustard seeds, uradh dhal and curry leaves.

This chutney goes very well with Kuzhi paniyaram.

Kuzhi Paniyaram

Kuzhi Paniyaram is a very famous south indian breakfast. When I was a kid, I remember my grandma buying paniyarams from a lady who makes it every day in front of her house. That taste was unique. It was a little bit sweet as well as savory. But never figured out the right recipe. I guess it is some secret ingredient that brings out that taste :-)

I will give you my version of Kuzhi Paniyaram. I usually make paniyarams with idli batter when it starts getting sour.


1. Idli batter -6 cups
2. Rice flour - 1 fistfull
3. Onion- 1 medium chopped
4. Channa dhal- 2 table spoons
5. Curry leaves - few
6. Mustard seeds- 1/2 teaspoon


1. Soak the channa dhal in water for atleast 2-3 hours. Keep it aside.
2. Add the rice flour to the idli dough. This will make the paniyarams crisp.
3. In a pan heat some oil, add mustard sedds and let it splutter.
4. Add finely chopped onions and curry leaves and sauted till the onion turns pink.
5. Now, transfer this into the batter and add the soaked channa dhal and mix well.
6. Make paniyarams using a paniyara chatti.

Serve it warm with any chutney of your choice. We prefer to have kuzhi paniyarams with peanut chutney.

Chicken Kothu Parotta

Kothu parotta is my all time favourite dish. When I was in India, during my school days, eating outside in a restaurant was a very rare event. Instaed, my dad would buy food from a restaurant and bring it home. Whenever this happens, my choice of food was always kothu parotta , my brother would order chilli parotta and others in my family would order for just plain parottas. I was never a big fan of plain parottas but I just love kothu parottas. Well, after coming to US, we never went to Indian restaurant that often, because we wanted to try other cuisines. So I came up with this recipe for kothu parotta and it turned out really well. Today I am going to give the recipe for chicken kothu parotta. But if you just want kothu parotta, just ignore the chicken in the recipe and you will end up with a mouth watering kothu parotta.

1. Frozen parottas- 12 pieces
2. Mustard seeds- 1 teaspoon
3. Onion-1 big
4. Tomato puree- 3 tablespoon
5. Chicken- 1/2 pound
6. Chilli powder-1 tablespoon (as per taste)
7. Garam masala powder- 1 teaspoon.
8. Egg kuruma-2 cups
9. Salt- to taste
10. Turmeric- a pinch
11. Eggs- 3
12. Curry leaves- few
13. Chopped cilantro - to garnish
14. Oil - 3 tablespoons

You can find my egg kuruma recipe here.
If you do not have egg kuruma any vegetable kurma can be added to this recipe.

1. First cook the chicken with turmeric and salt. Once it is cooked, tear it into small pieces. Keep it aside.
2. Then thaw the frozen parottas, tear it into big chunks and put it in the blender. Just pulse it few times till it shreds into small pieces and keep it aside.
3. Heat oil in a wide pan and add mustard seeds. Once it splutters, add chopped onions and saute till it become golden brown.
4. Now add tomato puree and saute till oil separates out. Then add chilli powder and garam masala powder. Saute for couple of minutes and add the shredded chicken.
5.Since the chicken is already cooked, saute for a few seconds and add in the shredded parotta and mix well.
6. Break the eggs and pour it in the parotta mixture. Give it a good mix till the egg coats all the parotta pieces.
7. Then add kurma to it and let it cook for sometime. Switch off the stove once the kurma is absorbed by the parotta. Garnish with cilantro.
8. Serve hot with onion raitha.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Chow- Chow/ Chayote Kootu

This is such a simple dish that goes very well with rice as well as rotis.


1. Chow- Chow/ Chayote-1 (Cut into small pieces)
2. Moong Dhal- 1/2 cup
3. Onion- 1 small chopped
4. Garlic- 4
5. Cumin seeds- 1/2 teaspoon
6. Mustard seeds- 1/2 teaspoon
7. Green chillies- 2
8. Curry leaves- few
9. Oil- 2 teaspoons.
10. Turmeric powder-1 teaspoon.
11. Salt- to taste.
12. Water- 3 cups


1. In a pressure cooker, add 2 teaspoons of oil. Once it heats up, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. After it splutters add some curry leaves
2. Add chopped onions, garlic and green chillies. Saute till the onions turn translucent.
3. Add turmeric powder and washed moon dhal, salt and water.
4. Once the whole mixture comes to boil, add the cut chow chow. Pressure cook for one whistle.

Tasty chow chow kootu is ready to serve with rice/ roti.

If it is too watery, just cook it without a lid for few more minutes.

Paal Kozhukattai- Rice dumplings in sweet sauce

This is my first post in this blog and I would like to start with a dish that I love the most.

I can eat paal kozhukattai at anytime of the day. I can eat it cold or I can eat it warm. Thats how much I love this dish. When I was a kid, my mom used to make this as an evening tiffin to eat when I come back from school. Or sometimes during weekend, she used to make it. Me and my grandma will make these rice balls and in the meantime my mom prepares the sauce. Once she is done preparing, I will be drooling sitiing down with an empty bowl waiting for my mom to fill it with this yummilicious dish :-).

Here comes the recipe for this dish.

For the dumplings:
1. Rice flour- 2 cups
2. Salt- a pinch
3. Luke warm water- approx 1 1/2 cups

For the sauce:
1. Water-4 cups
2. Thick coconut milk- 1 cup
3. Ginger powder- 2 pinches
4. Black pepper powder- 2 pinches
5. Jaggery- 1 cup
6. Cardamom powder- a pinch

1. Mix rice flour with salt and luke warm water and make a soft dough. It should be little bit softer than chappathi dough. I feel making the dough this way makes the kozhukattais soft. Keep the kozhukattais aside.

2. In a heavy bottomed pan, add water, coconut milk, ginger powder(chukku) and black pepper powder. Let this mix come to boil. Add the rice balls slowly little by little. All these balls will go to the bottom. Make sure you  dont  mix it with a laddle until the rice balls float on top. Not mixing the rice balls now will help the rice balls to stay firm in the sauce.

3. Mix it with a laddle gently and seperate the balls if they stick together. Now add jaggery. You can also add sugar. Since I just had a little bit of jaggery in my pantry, I substituted the remaining portion of the jaggery with sugar.

4. Once the rice balls are well cooked and the sauce becomes thick, add a pinch of cardamom powder and switch off the stove. Serve Warm!

Its as simple as this. The only thing that is time consuming in this recipe is rolling the rice balls. Other than that its such an easy recipe.

Enjoy and let me know how you like it !