Thursday, July 12, 2012

Idli Podi

Every South Indian family will have their own version of  making Idli Podi. Some add just dhals, some add nuts to it, some add garlic, and some call it ellu podi by adding lot of sesame seeds. Some call it idli gun powder and I am not sure about the origin of this name.

Mom's version is with garlic and I usually make it that way. This time I tried without garlic . I also added sesame seeds and channa dhal. It came out pretty good.

  1. Dried Red Chillies -2cups
  2. Urad Dhal - 1/ cup
  3. Bengal Gram/ Channa dhal - 1/2 cup
  4. Sesame seeds - one fistful
  5. Salt - as needed 
  6. Asafoetida - 1/ 2 teaspoon
  7. Oil - 1 teaspoon

  1. Heat a heavy bottomed tava, add oil.
  2. Add all the ingredients except salt and asafoetida.
  3. Roast until you get a nice aroma and the lentils should be golden brown in color .
  4. Let it cool down . Grind it along with salt and asafoetida. Some like it coarse and some like it fine.
  5. I made it coarse this time.
  6. Store it in an air tight container
Mix it along with ghee or sesame oil. Makes a great combination for idlis and dosas.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Quinoa & Red Lentil Soup

Today's recipe is about the little seed that I talked about in my last post. I was so obsessed with this tiny grain until I finished the pack. There are too many recipes for quinoa to try yet. Quinoa has a nutty flavor when cooked ad that makes it suitable for any kind of recipe you want to try.  
This soup tastes more like a kichadi to me than a soup. Initially, the idea was to make a soup. But when I saw lentils in the ingredients, I thought, why not make a kichadi out of it. That way my little boy can also have it. When he had a bowl of this before his school, I was satisfied that he got a good amount of protein for the day.


1. Quinoa - 1/2 cup
2. Red Lentils - 3/4 cup
3. Water - 5 -6  cups
4. Ghee - 1 tablespoon (Optional)
5. Oil - 1 tablespoon
6. Mustard - 1 teaspoon
7. Saunf - 1 teaspoon
8. Onions - 1 chopped finely
9. Ginger - 1 inch grated
10. Tomato - 1/2 chopped finely
11. Curry leaves - few
12. Cilantro - few
13. Carrot - 1 chopped
14. Peas - 1/2 cup
15. Salt - per taste
16. Turmeric - 1 teaspoon
17. chilli powder - 1 teaspoon / per taste


1. Heat oil in a pressure cooker and once it is hot, add mustard, saunf and curry leaves. 
2. After it splutters, add onion and ginger, saute it for a minute and add tomatoes.
3. Let the tomatoes cook for sometime. Add salt, turmeric and chilli powder.
4. Add the rest of the ingredients and pressure cook it till 1 whistle.
5. Open the pressure cooker after all the pressure releases and check for the consistency. I preferred a little thick like kichadi. If you feel it is too thick you can add hot water and make it a little thinner.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Citric Quinoa Salad

Quinoa has a light, fluffy texture when cooked, and its mild, slightly nutty flavor makes it an alternative to white rice or couscous.
According to the American Merriam-Webster dictionary, the primary pronunciation is disyllabic with the accent on the first syllable (ˈknwɑː/ KEEN-wah)
Most boxed/pre-packaged quinoa has already been pre-rinsed for convenience, and cooking instructions therefore suggest only a brief rinse before cooking, if at all. If quinoa has not been pre-rinsed, the first step is to remove the saponins, a process that requires either soaking the grain in water for a few hours, then changing the water and resoaking, or rinsing the quinoa in ample running water for several minutes in either a fine strainer or a cheesecloth. Removal of the saponin helps with digestion; the soapy nature of the compound makes it act as a laxative.One cooking method is to treat quinoa much like rice, bringing two cups (or less) of water to a boil with one cup of grain, covering at a low simmer and cooking for 10–15 minutes or until the germ separates from the seed. The cooked germ looks like a tiny curl and should have a slight bite to it (like al dente pasta). As an alternative, one can use a rice cooker to prepare quinoa, treating it just like white rice (for both cooking cycle and water amounts).Vegetables and seasonings can also be added to make a wide range of dishes. Chicken or vegetable stock can be substituted for water during cooking, adding flavor. It is also suited to vegetable pilafs, complementing bitter greens like kale.Quinoa can serve as a high-protein breakfast food mixed with honey, almonds, or berries; it is also sold as a dry product, much like corn flakes. Quinoa flour can be used in wheat-free and gluten-free baking.Quinoa may be germinated in its raw form to boost its nutritional value. Germination activates its natural enzymes and multiplies its vitamin content.In fact, quinoa has a notably short germination period: Only 2–4 hours resting in a glass of clean water is enough to make it sprout and release gases, as opposed to, e.g., 12 hours with wheat.This process, besides its nutritional enhancements, softens the grains, making them suitable to be added to salads and other cold foods.

Source: Wikipedia

Lately I have been seeing a lot of food bloggers posting about Quinoa recipes. Out of curiosity, I tried couple of recipes and they were really good. It might be a very good option for vegetarians since, they claim this is the only vegetarian food which has complete protein, meaning, it has all 9 amino acids. Moreover, it is gluten free and can be digested easily.

Today's recipe is a cold citric salad and you can be as creative as you want with the ingredients. I have tried this salad in Whole Foods. So just by taste, I decided the ingredients and it came out pretty good. You can adjust the flavors according to your taste buds. So today I am not going to be very specific about the measurements. Just taste and adjust as you go.


1. Quinoa - 1 cup
2. Water - 2 to 3 cups 
3.Turmeric - a pinch
4. Chopped celery
5. Roasted cashew
6. Raisins
5.Juice of 1/2 a lemon
6. Salt and pepper to taste
7. Olive oil - 1 tablespoon
8. Parsley


1. Boil 2 to 3 cups of water. Add turmeric and quinoa and let quioa cook until all the water evaporates.
2. Fluff it up with a fork and keep it aside until it is not too hot.
3. Mix the rest of the ingredients with the cooked quinoa.

I am delighted to post this recipe to the Serve it Raw event hosted by Krithi and Denny.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Thaengai Paal Saadham / Coconut Milk Rice

Rice cooked in coconut milk is truly heavenly and will not disappoint your taste buds in any way. Just spice it up with very few ingredients with a dollop of ghee and for sure, you will end up with a full filling meal. It does not take much time to prepare this rice. 
I also added few carrots and peas along with the rice. You can be as creative as you want with this rice. Sometimes I add mint paste and call it mint pulav. You can make it plain without vegetables and call it ghee rice. But the base taste is going to remain the same. I usually add 1 tablespoon of ghee and one tablespoon of oil. You can substitute oil with ghee. But I feel, it might be a little heavy on your tummy.


1. Basmathi rice - 2 cups
2. Thick Coconut Milk - 1 cup
3. Water - 3 cups
4. Ghee - 1 tablespoon
5. Oil - 1 tablespoon
6. Green cardamom-2, cloves-2, star anise-1, cinnamon - a small piece, Brinji leaves - 2
7. Carrots and peas - 3/4 cup
8. Onion - 1 thinly sliced
9. Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 teaspoon.
8. Green chilli - 3 (or per taste)
9. Salt - as needed.


1. Soak the rice in water for at least 1/2 an hour. This will make the rice nice and fluffy.
2. Heat oil and ghee in a pressure cooker. Add all the whole spices.
Saute for a minute till the aroma comes out.
3. Add thinly sliced onions, green chillies sliced and ginger garlic paste. Cook until the onions become tender.
4. If you plan to add vegetables, this is the time to add them. Give it a quick stir and add the soaked rice along with 1 cup of coconut milk and 3 cups of water. Add salt and pressure cook it for 1 whistle.I usually use the rice cooker for this preparation and this proportion works just right.

It is as simple as that. Serve it along with your favorite spicy curry or just a simple raitha would do too.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Shrimp Fry

I am back after a long break to blogging. For some strange reason, I did not feel like writing and taking photographs of the food I cook. But not anymore . Is this a Gemini-an trait of getting bored of doing the same stuff over and over again, or is it just me? Last time when this happened to me is when I decided to change the look and feel of my blog. But this time I decided to take a nice long break. Sometimes, it just makes me feel good to break the routine. Thanks to all my friends and family who showed their concern to find out what is going on with me and why no posts from me. My mom stands on top of all asking me every day why I have not posted anything.
Today’s recipe is something I have started making very often lately. I got this recipe  from a very good friend of ours. Shrimp always took the form of thokku in my kitchen until I saw my friend make this when we went to her place. It looks really appetizing. I have even had some of my vegetarian friends staring at it and giving me a look saying “Don’t tell me that it is non-vegetarian”.
  1.  Shrimp – 20 t0 25 (I used the jumbo version. But the petite ones taste better)
  2. Ginger garlic paste – 1 tablespoon
  3.  Salt – to taste
  4.  Red Chilli powder – 1 teaspoon (or to taste)
  5.  Garam masala powder – 1 teaspoon
  6.  Lemon Juice – 1 teaspoon
  7.  Besan / Chick pea flour – 1 tablespoon
  8.  Oil – 2 tablespoons
  9.  Onion – 1 thinly sliced
    1.  Clean, peel and devein shrimp. Pat it dry with a kitchen towel
    2. In a wide bowl, add shrimp, ginger garlic paste, salt, chilli powder, garam masala and lemon

      Let it marinade for atleast 2 to 3 hours in the refrigerator.
    3.   Just before you are ready to serve, mix a tablespoon of besan flour to the shrimp so that it coats
      all the pieces. If the marinated shrimp is too watery you can add more chick pea flour.
    4. Heat a wide pan, add 2 tablespoons of oil. Shallow fry the marinated shrimp. Let it cook on medium
      high for 2 minutes or until it turns nice and crispy. Turn over the shrimps and cook until you see
      nice golden crispy layer. (Do not cook the shrimp too long. It will turn rubbery)
    5.  Transfer them to a paper towel.
    6.  In the same pan fry the sliced onions until they get a little
    7.  Transfer these caramelized onions to a serving dish. Arrange the fried shrimp on it and sprinkle
      chopped cilantro.

    Tuesday, March 6, 2012

    Blueberry Muffin with Streusel Topping

    Baking is something where you cannot eyeball and measure things. Ingredients need to be perfectly measured to get a good outcome. This is one of the reasons why I do not bake. I just eyeball things while cooking. But there are few recipes which I regularly use for baking and todays recipe is one of those.
    For some reason, whenever organic blueberries comes to hubby's attention in any grocery store, it ends up in our refrigerator. But all three of us are not big fans of this fruit. So I turn them into super moist blueberry muffins with streusel topping. You can also make it without the topping which is more healthier. You can refer the original recipe from here.

    1. All purpose flour -1 1/2 cups
    2. Sugar - 3/4 cup
    3. Salt -1/2 teaspoon
    4. Baking Powder - 2 teaspoons
    5. Vegetable Oil - 1/3 cup
    6. Egg - 1
    7. Milk - 1/3 cup 
    8. Fresh Blueberries - 1 cup
    For the topping
    1. Sugar - 1/2 cup
    2. All Purpose Flour -1/3 cup
    3. Butter -1/4 cup  cubed
    4. Ground Cinnanmon- 1 1/2 teaspoons

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F Line the muffin pan with liners
    2. Mix 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup. Add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries.(Mix it very gently, otherwise you will end up getting blue / purple coloured muffins) Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
    3. To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.
    4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

    Monday, February 13, 2012

    Beetroot Halwa

    Wish you and your loved ones A Very happy Valentine's Day!

    I have prepared this Indian delicacy couple of times for pot luck here for people who are new to Indian food and they definitely were shocked to see beetroot in a dessert. But they really enjoyed it to the core. They had a scoop of warm beetroot halwa along with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and I should say it is a divine combination.

    This recipe is a no brainer. You cannot go wrong with the preparation. The more ingredients like condensed milk or kova you add , the more delicious it gets. But, even with just milk, you end up with a very delicious indian dessert. You can use the same preparation with carrots too.

    1. Beetroot - 4 cups Grated
    2. Milk - 2 and 1/2 cups
    3. Sugar - 1 and 1/4 cups or depending on how sweet the beetroots are
    4. Cardamom powder- 1/2 teaspoon
    5. Ghee - 1 tablespoon / More if you wish

    1. Grate the beetroots using a food chopper or grater.
    2. In a  wide non-stick pan, add the grated beetroots and milk.
    3. Let it cook until the beetroots becomes tender and soft. Scrape the sides of the pan regularly to mix in all the goodness of the reduced milk. Add more milk if needed. Before adding sugar, the mix should not be very loose. It should be in the consistency of kova.
    4. Now add sugar and ghee and mix it well . Adding sugar will loosen the consistency.Simmer it.I usually leave it until it reaches the kova consistency again. Just the perfect consistency for any halwa.
    5. Finally  mix in freshly ground cardamom powder and remove from heat.
    Serve it warm with powdered nuts.

    Thursday, February 9, 2012

    Mutta Paniyaram / Egg Paniyaram

    I have to camouflage eggs in my little one's food. He wouldn't eat egg otherwise. While I was telling my MIL about this, she asked me to add beaten eggs to the dosa batter and make dosas out of it. I tried that and it worked. But then, I also wanted to make these little paniyarams out of it with more seasoning and flavour. Nowadays, this happens to be the easiest dinner idea whenever I am running out of vegetables in the refrigerator.

    You can add equal number of eggs to the batter. But that didn't seem like a good option in my case since my little one has pretty good sense of smell and taste :-). So he finds out that I have added eggs to the paniyarams.Otherwise you can add 1 egg to 1 cup of batter and make these delicious and easy paniyarams.

    1. Idli/Dosa batter -2cups
    2. Egg - 1
    3. Salt - as needed
    4. Oil - 2 teaspoons + for making paniyarams
    5. Onion - 1 finely chopped
    6. Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
    7. Green Chilli  - 1 finely chopped
    8. Cilantro - 1 fistful, finely

    1. Mix beaten egg with the batter with required amount of salt.
    2. In a  pan, add oil and when it gets hot add mustard seeds.
    3. Now add onion, green chillies and saute till the onions becomes translucent.
    4. Remove from heat and add chopped cilantro leaves to it.
    5. Let it cool down a bit. Add the onions to the egg and batter mixture.
    6. Make paniyarams out of it and enjoy with your favorite side dish.

    Wednesday, January 25, 2012

    Idli Podi Upma

    What better way to use leftover idlis than making a classic, simple yet delicious upma with it. Almost everyone from Tamil Nadu would have tasted this upma atleast once. This used to be our evening snack during school days. The boring, white round idlis can take this magical transformation with a little seasoning.

    I almost forgot the exixtence of such a simple dish until I saw this in the menu of an Indian Restaurant here. It said Madurai Special Idli Podi Upma and I ordered it thinking it is going to be something different than the regular idli upma. But it was just our same old idli upma with a hint of idli podi and a nice aroma of ghee. So I recreated it at home, and for sure it tasted better than the restaurant version.

    1. Idli -6 to 8
    2. Oil - 2 teaspoons
    3. Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
    4. Urad dhal - 1/2 teaspoon
    5. Curry leaves - few
    6. Cilantro - 2 tablespoons (chopped finely)
    7. Onion - 1 sliced thin
    8. Idli Podi - 3 tablespoons(my idli podi is mild, so adjust the quantity accordingly)
    9. Ghee - 2 teaspoons.
    1. Crumble the idlis with clean hands and keep it aside.
    2. In a wide pan, add oil and when it gets hot add mustard seeds. After it splutters, add urad dhal and curry leaves.
    3. Saute till the urad dhal get a golden brown color.
    4. Now add onion and saute till it becomes translucent.
    5. Add the crumbled idlis along with idli podi.
    6. Give it a good stir so that the podi can combine with the crumbled idlis.
    7. Add chopped cilantro and ghee.
    Serve it hot with your favourite side dish.

    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    Chakkarai Pongal/ Sweet Pongal

    Wish you all a very happy Pongal!
    Hope you all had a wonderful Pongal. As a girl from a very small town, and my dad being an agriculturalist, I should have known better about this harvest festival. But unfortunately, I did not get to celebrate pongal the traditional way before marriage. Mom always, cooked pongal in a pressure cooker. Pongal was just like any other day with an exception of having sweet pongal along with breakfast. But never the less, mom's pongal was out of the world. She makes it with milk and a lot of ghee.

    Pongal is celebrated more traditionally in my in-laws place and I really like the whole arrangement. My Mother-in-law makes pongal in a traditional way, outside the house using a brick stove. So, after marriage, I started celebrating pongal more traditionally. Though I do not get to use a brick stove to make pongal, I do not use pressure cooker to make pongal.

    1. Raw Rice- 2 cups
    2. Moon Dhal - 3/4 th cup
    3. Water - 7 cups + more if needed
    4. Powdered Cradamom - 1 teaspoon
    5. Jaggery - 2 cups packed
    6. Ghee - 3 tablespoons
    7. Edible Camphor - a pinch
    8. Cashew + Dried Grapes - 1 tablespoon
    1. Wash the rice and moong dhal once and drain the water. Wash it again with 7 cups and save the water.
    2.  Heat the saved water in a cooking pot. You will start seeing a frothy portion in the top. Wait till it starts coming out of the pot. (This is when we say Pongalo pongal)
    3. Now, add the rice and moong dhal. and let it cook till they cook well.
    4. Meanwhile have additional hot water ready and add it to the rice and dhal mixture as and when needed to cook it well and mushy.
    5. Once it becomes mushy add Jaggery.
    6. Mix well, add cardamon, edible camphor and give it a good mix.
    7. Pongal, at this point will look a little watery. But will thicken up once cooled down.
    8. Garnish with ghee roasted cashews and raisins.

    Sunday, January 8, 2012

    Carrot Ginger Juice

    I am sorry, I am a little too late. But wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year. Things have been rather hectic here. I have been missing in this space for a couple of weeks now. I might have many reasons for not posting any recipe. But the underlying reason is pretty simple. I just wanted a break from my routine. No fancy cooking in the kitchen. Took things easy and spent a good chunk of time with family during the holiday season. So today's recipe is a very simple fresh juice to start your day.
    Bright carrots, juicy lemon and fresh ginger. Does it get any better than that. There is no better way to kick start your day than having a fresh vegetable juice with a touch of fruit and a tinge of ginger spice. This juice is an excellent source of Vitamin A and Beta Carotene. Ginger in the juice helps in digestion and lemon acts as a blood purifier. You can also add an apple while juicing and you get a boost of Vitamin A when you do so.
    1. Carrots - 3 medium sized
    2. Lemon - 1/2
    3. Ginger - 1 inch
    4. Honey - as needed
    1. Wash and cube the carrots. If you are not using organic carrots, scrap the skin of the carrots and cut it into cubes.
    2. Clean the ginger and pass the carrots and ginger through juicer. If you do not have a juicer, grind it using a mixie/ blender and sieve it.
    3. To the juice, add juice of half a lemon and desired amount of honey. 
    Serve immediately with crushed ice on top.