June 26, 2014

Chinna Ulli Vatha Kuzhambu

Vatha Kuzhambu is a Tangy koottan, that can be served with plain Rice. Various vadams,Chundakka and Marathankali can be added to it. Another option to add is Chinna Ulli/Shallots/Pearl Onions. 

Chinna Ulli Vatha Kuzhambu is our Family Favorite!! Off to the recepie now..


  • Pearl Onions/Shallots – about 20
  • Tamarind – a gooseberry sized ball
  • Sambar Powder – 1.5 - 2 tbsp (adjust according to your spice level)
  • Jaggery – ½ tsp (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp

For tempering

  • Sesame Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  • Bengal Gram Dal/Channa Dal/Kadala Paruppu – 1 tsp
  • Curry Leaves – few
To Grind
  • Red Chillies - 5/6
  • Dhaniya Powder - 1 Tsp
  • Black Pepper- 5/6
  • Jeera - 1 Tsp
  • Fenugreek Seeds - 1 Tsp
  • Coconut - 2 Tbsp

  • Heat a Kadai and dry roast the Items under ' To Grind'. 
  • Allow it too Cool and Grind the Items to a Paste
  • Peel and wash the shallots.
  • Soak the tamarind in hot water for 10 minutes and extract the pulp by adding 2.5 to 3 cups of water.
  • Heat a kadai with oil, splutter mustard seeds.
  • Throw in the Channa dal and fenugreek seeds and fry till the dal turn golden.
  • Add the curry leaves and the shallots and sauté till the shallots turn light brown.
  • Next add the Sambar Powder and sauté for few seconds.
  • Now add the tamarind extract, turmeric powder and salt to taste and jaggery.
  • Allow this to come to a boil, lower heat to medium 
  • Add the grinded Paste to the Kuzhambu and boil for 15 to 20 minutes or till the oil floats up and the kuzhambu becomes slightly thick.

May 22, 2014

Cluster Beans Thoran

  • Cluster Beans/Kothavarakkai - 1/2 kg
  • Grated/shredded coconut - Thuriviya thengai - 1/2 Cup
  • Mustard - Kadugu - 1 tea spoon
  • Salt/Suar to taste
  • Oil for frying
  1. Wash and peel off the skin from vegetables and boil it till it becomes soft.
  2. Heat oil in a pan/kadai, splutter mustard seeds.
  3. Add the grated coconut. Now add boiled vegetable to it. Add little salt and Sugar
  4. . Mix them well.
Cluster Beans Thoran is ready to be served. Serve it with any rice varieties.


Chenai Mizhakkuparatti

Adapted from palakkadchamayal

  • Chena/Elephant Yam – 500gm
  • Onion - 1 Nicely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Chilly Powder – ½ tsp
  • Curry Leaves – few
  • Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  • Oil – 2 tbps

  • Remove the skin of the yam and cut into small or medium sized cubes. 
  • Wash well.
  • Transfer the pieces into a vessel, toss with salt.
  • Pressure cook the pieces for one whistle.
  • This will ensure that pieces are cooked yet not mushy.
  • Once cooked, remove from cooker, and transfer to a wide plate, let it cool for a while.
  • Now heat a non stick kadai with oil, temper with mustard seeds. Then add asafoetida and curry leaves.
  • Now add the sliced onon and Fry till golden Brown
  • Now add the cooled yam pieces and mix gently. Add chilly powder at this stage and mix. Check for salt and add if required.
  • Let it get roasted well in the open kadai on a medium to low flame. Keep stirring once in a while without breaking the pieces. This may take anywhere between 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat.

  • Notes:-

    You can also parboil the yam pieces in a vessel with water. Take care that the pieces don’t turn too soft.

    May 21, 2014

    Creamy Garlic TriColor Pasta


    • Pasta - 1 Cup (I used Tricolor Pasta) cooked as directed, drained and kept hot
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 5/6 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 tablespoons flour
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 2 teaspoons parsley flakes
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese (Optional)


    • Melt butter and add garlic in a medium sauce pan.
    • Cook over medium for 1 minute.
    • Add flour and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
    • Add milk and cook, stirring frequently, until sauce boils and thickens.
    • Add parsley, salt, pepper and cheese.
    • Stir until cheese is melted.
    • Toss hot pasta with sauce and serve immediately.

    Cheese Pasta

    • 2 cups cooked pasta (I used penne)
    • 1 onion, sliced
    • 1 tbsp chopped Corriander
    • 1/2 cup capsicum, sliced
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 3 cheese slices ( or 1/2 cup grated processed cheese)
    • 1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs
    • 1 tsp butter
    • salt and black pepper powder to taste


    1. Heat the butter in a pan and sauté the onion, celery and capsicum for 2 minutes.
    2. Add the milk and cheese slices and bring to a boil.
    3. Add the vegetables, mixed herbs, salt and pepper and mix well.
    4. Toss the cooked pasta in the sauce and bring to a boil.
    5. Garnish with corriander leaves.

    May 15, 2014

    Green Peas Kuruma


    • Green Peas -- 1/2 a Cup
    • Garam masala powder -- 1/2 tsp
    • Red chilli powder or sambar powder – 1 tsp
    • Turmeric powder -- 1/4 tsp
    • Oil -- 2 Tblsp
    • Coriander leaves -- for garnishing
    To grind:-
    • Onions -- 1 Big
    • Tomato -- 2 Medium
    • Ginger -- a Small piece
    • Garlic -- 2 small cloves
    • Green chillies – 2-4
    • Coconut -- 1 1/2 tblsp(optional)
    • Cashew nut – 10-12  nos
    • To temper
    • Cinnamon - small piece

    • Pressure cook the green peas for 3 whistles and keep aside.
    • Fry the cubed onions in a tsp of oil and grind it along with Items under "To Grind"
    • Heat the kadai with oil,and add the tempering items followed by the above ground paste..
    • Add turmeric,salt and garam masala powder,red chilli powder and mix well.
    • Fry it in low flame for 5-8 minutes or till the oil leaves the sides of the kadai.
    • Add the cooked green Peas and add water/milk, little by little  to make it to a gravy and bring to boil in medium low flame
    • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve with chapati or fried rice.

      Vegetable Vadai

      Simple and easy to make vegetable Vadas's.....great for parties... loved by all.

      • Urad dal - 2 cups
      • Grated Carrot - 1/2 cup
      • French Beans - 1/4 cup finely chopped
      • Cabbage - 1/2 cup finely chopped
      • Green Peas - 1/4 cup lightly Crushed
      • Corriander Leaves - A Handful Chopped
      • Onion - 2 Nicely Chopped
      • Green Chilly - 3-4
      • Salt -  To Taste
      • Oil for frying


      • Soak the urad dal for 15-20 mins and grind it to a paste in the mixer
      • Now mix all the vegetables, green chillies,and corriander Leaves
      • Add salt to the dal paste.
      • Meanwhile keep the oil hot and ready for frying the Vadas.
      • Fry Vadas, till golden brown.
      • Serve it hot with coconut chutney.


      .If the Grinded Urad Dal paste is too watery the Vada won't come crispy.

      Vegatable Koott

      This is a signature recepie of my Amma.. She makes it superbly!! this can be had as a Side dish for Chapathi as well as with Plain Rice. Now off to the recepie!!


      • Mixed Vegetables - 1 1/2 Cup cubed into Small Pieces *
      • Turmeric Powder - 1 Tsp
      • Salt - As needed

      To Grind

      • Coconut - 1/2 Cup
      • Jeerakam - 1 Tsp
      • Green Chilly - 2/3

      To Temper:-

      • Oil - 1 Tbsp
      • Mustard - 1 Tsp
      • Urad Dal - 1 Tsp
      • Curry Leaves - A Stick


      • Throw in the cubed veggies, with Turmeric Poder and Salt added into a cooker.
      • Add 1/2 a cup of water and cook for 1 whistle.
      • Grind to a smooth paste the items under "To Grind"
      • Transfer the Grinded Pate into the cooked vegetables.
      • Allow it to Boil.
      • In aWok add the Items under "To Temper".
      • Pour the seasoning over the Koott.
      • Delicious Kott is Ready


      I used Carrot,Beans,Beetroot,Onion,Green Peas.
      You can use Potatoes,Capsicum,Cauliflower also.
      If using Capsicum and Flower, No need to Cook them in Whistle.
      Simply boil them in Water for 10 mts and Close the Lid of the Container, so that no steam is escaped.

      Aloo Pepper Fry

      A quick and a simple Side Dish.. Perfect for Lunch Boxes!!!


      1. Aloo/Potatoes - 5-6(Medium)/ 3 (Large)
      2. Salt -  As needed
      3. Turmeric Powder - A pinch (Optional)
      4. Pepper Powder - 1 Tbsp (Can be changed according to your needs)

      To Temper:-

      1. Oil- 2 Tsp
      2. Mustard - 1 Tbsp
      3. Curry Leaves - A few


      1. Cook the Potatoes and peel off the skin, Smash and keep it aside.
      2. Heat a Wok, and add the Oil.
      3. After the oil is heated, add the "To temper" items.
      4. After the Sizzling sound subsides, add the Smashed Potatoes.
      5. Allow it to Fry for low flaome for 2-3 Minutes,
      6. Add the Turmeric Powder, Pepper Powder and Salt.
      7. Keep it in Low flame and Fry for 12-15 Minutes till the whole gets fried.
      8. Super deliciopus Pepper Aloo Stir Fry is Ready!!!

      Bhagela Bath

      Tamilian’s meal is not complete with out curd rice. Curd rice is not just mixing rice and curd. Read on to know how Iyengars make it an absolute delight.

      • Rice – 1 cup
      • Milk – 2 cups (boiled and cooled)
      • Fresh curds – 2 tablespoons
      • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon

      To Temper:-
      • Hing – a pinch
      • Oil – 1 teaspoon
      • Mustard – 1/2 teaspoon
      • Curry leaves – 1 twig finely chopped
      • Green chillies – 2 nos (cut into small pieces)
      1. Wash the rice and cook in a pressure cooker with 2 and1/2 cup water.
      2. Transfer the rice to a deep container and mash when still hot, adding a little milk as you mash.
      3. Slowly add the remaining milk as you keep mixing. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
      4. Add curds, salt and cream and mix well.
      5. Heat oil in a small kadai, add the "To temper" items.
      6. Add the seasoning,hing, mix well.
      7. Serve with a pickleor thayir Mulakai or Vadam of your choice.


      The rice should be over cooked so that it can be mashed well.
      If the rice soaks up all the milk, more milk can be added.

      Kadai Paneer

      Adapted from ticklingpaletes.com

      Kadai Paneer is a very popular side dish that is usually served with chapathis or rotis.


      • Paneer Cubes  – 1 cup
      • Onion - 2
      • Tomato – 3
      • Capsicum (Bell pepper) - 2
      • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
      • Red chili powder – 1 tsp
      • Turmeric powder – 1/8 tsp
      • Coriander leaves – 2 tbsp
      • Salt – to taste
      • Oil or ghee – 2 tbsp

      To Roast and Grind:-

      • Cinnamon – 1 inch stick
      • Cardamom – 2
      • Cloves – 2
      • Dhaniya Powder - 1 Tbsp
      • Red chilies – 2
      • Bay leaf – 1


      1. Chop the Onion and Tomato and keep it Ready.
      2. Heat a pan. Add the Items under "To Temper" and dry roast for 2 mins over low flame.
      3. Let it cool. Powder it fine and keep aside.
      4. Heat a wide pan or wok with oil 
      5. Add cumin seeds and when it sizzles, add onions, and sauté over low flame till it turn Golden Brown
      6. Add tomato, a pinch of salt and sauté for 3-4 mins till the tomato turns mushy.
      7. Add capsicum, red chili powder, turmeric powder, salt, 1/4 cup water and mix well.
      8. Close the pan with a lid and cook for 2-3 minutes.
      9. Now add the paneer, coriander leaves, ground spice powder, mix well
      10. Add about 1/4 cup water, Close the pan with a lid, let it cook for 5-7 minutes over low flame.
      11. Kadai Paneer is ready to be served with hot chapathis/rotis

      April 03, 2014

      Beets Pulav

      Adapted from Rakskitchen

      • Basmathi Rice - 1 Cup
      • Beetroot chopped - 1 medium/2 Small
      • Green Peas - 1/2 cup
      • Onion - 2 sliced thinly
      • Garlic - 4-5 pods
      • Red Chilly Powder - 1 Tbsp
      • Malli Podi - 1 Tsp
      • Turmeric Powder - A Pinch
      • Thin Coconut Milk - 1 Cup
      • Salt - As needed.
      • Oil/Ghee - As needed


      • Soak basmati rice for atleast 1/2 hour.
      • Heat a small pressure cooker with oil/ ghee, 
      • Add thinly sliced onions and fry till transparent.
      • Add garlic and fry for a minute in medium flame.
      • Add beetroot and green peas.
      • Add little salt and continue frying for 2 mins in medium flame. 
      • Add turmeric, chilli powder and dhaniya powder and give it a fry.
      • Add thin coconut milk and a cup of water.
      • Bring to boil, add required salt and soaked basmati rice.
      • Mix well. 
      • Cook upto 2 whistles and 2 minutes in low flame.
      • Garnish with coriander leaves


      March 20, 2014

      4 Grams Dosa

      I always experiment with different types of dosas, idlis..Since it is a staple food for us (south Indian)

      • Oats - 1 cup powdered
      • Wheat Flour / Atta - 2 cups
      • Rice Flour - 1 cup
      • Sooji / Semolina / Rawa - 1/3 cup
      • Onion - 1 chopped finely
      • Green Chilli - 2 chopped finely
      • Curry leaves - 10 chopped finely
      • Coriander leaves / Cilantro - 3 tblspn chopped finely
      • Yogurt / Curd - 1/2 cup
      • Cumin Seeds / Jeerakam - 1 tsp
      • Turmeric powder / Manjal podi - 1 tsp
      • Salt to taste
      • Oil for Pan frying
      • Water as needed


      • Take a mixing bowl add all the ingredients except oil and mix well.
      • Add enough water to make it into a thin batter. Don't make it too thin..

      • Let the batter sit for 15 mins..
      • Heat a nonstick tawa on medium high heat.
      • Pour a ladleful of batter on the hot tawa and drizzle with oil all around the sides.
      • When it starts to brown in the bottom, Flip them over and cook on other side too.
      • When it is cooked. Remove them from the tawa and serve with chutney or sambar

      Anoher look

      Scallion Thoran

      • Spring Onion - 1 bundle
      • Oil - 3 Tbsp
      • Salt - as required
      To Grind:-
      • Green Chili - 1 no:
      • Grated Coconut - 1 cup
      To Temper:-
      • Curry Leaves - 2-3 stems (finely chopped)
      • Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
      Preparation Method
      1. Remove the base portion of the spring onion, wash and let the water to drain fully.
      2. Finely chop spring onion.
      3. Grind the items under “ To Grind” items without adding water
      4. In a pan, heat the oil and splutter mustard seeds.
      5. Add curry leaves, spring onion and saute for 2-3mins: in low flame.
      6. Add coconut mix and salt and mix well.
      7. Keep the lid closed and cook for 5-6 mins: in low flame stirring in between.
      8. The Spring Onion Thoran is ready to be served with rice.

      March 19, 2014

      The one and only Filter Coffee

      Any recipe collection of Brahmins cuisine (which is one of the aims of this blog) would be incomplete without any reference to filter kaapi (filter coffee). When I was little the only coffee I knew was filter coffee. As I grew older I became aware that there was instant version that came in “Nescafe” bottles. This was not and still isn’t considered “coffee” by traditionalists. Growing older I discovered the expresso, mocha, cappuchino, etc for which drank in coffee bars and paid a lot of money for.
      Filter coffee is made by adding a strong coffee decoction to boiled milk and sugar. It is a strong yet milky coffee. There would variations from home to home depending on how much of decoction, milk and sugar is added according to personal preferences. My mother drinks her coffee strong with very little milk while my father prefers a weaker and milkier version. Even my daughter is also fond of this Filter Kaappi. And filter coffee is always served in a steel “tumbler” (glass) and “davara” (a small bowl like vessel in which the glass sits), and never in a coffee mug. If the coffee is too hot to drink, then some of the coffee is poured from the glass into the davara to allow it to cool. Coffee had magical names like Robusta and Peaberry. At home, both my husband’s and my side of the family prefer coffee that is blended with a small percentage of chicory. The chicory enhances the taste of the coffee.

       To make filter coffee:

      You need a coffee filter, of course. The picture shows what a south Indian coffee filter typically looks like. A lower chamber that catches the filtered coffee, the upper chamber where the coffee powder/ grounds are spooned into and boiling water is poured, the plunger which is put into the upper portion after the coffee but before the water is poured in, and the lid. 


      The filter has an upper chamber with a perforated bottom. The coffee powder is put in this, covered with plunger and enough boiling water to fill the upper chamber is poured in and then closed with the lid. The coffee decoction drips and collects in the lower chamber. This takes a little time (about an hour). This is the first decoction and very thick and strong. Some more boiling water is usually poured into the upper chamber a second time and collected separately and used while making the coffee.

      Usually the coffee filter is set up, with coffee grounds and boiling water, last thing at night, so the decoction is ready for coffee in the morning. The extra decoction can be refrigerated for the day.
      There a couple of precautions to take while making filter coffee, else the quality and taste of the coffee suffer.
      - Never heat the decoction or the coffee once the decoction has been added to the milk. If you must, then place the decoction or prepared coffee in a hot water bath and warm.
      - It helps to add the decoction to the milk and not vice versa. This also helps to judge how much decoction is required.

      My Adaptation of the decoction:

      3 -4 heaped Tbsp of Coffee powder (this also depends on the brand of coffee used)
      boiling water
      Make sure the filter is clean and dry. Spoon in the coffee grounds. Tap slightly to allow the grounds to settle but do not pack it down. Cover with plunger. Pour the boiling water till the upper chamber is full. Close with lid and allow the coffee to percolate.

      To make the coffee (for 1 cup):

      2/3 cup boiled, hot milk
      about 2 -3 tbsp first expressed strong decoction
      Sugar to taste (I use 1 tsp)

      Pour the milk into a pan. Add the sugar and both decoctions. Stir and pour into another small pan so the coffee froths. Now pour into the glass and place the glass into the davara. Your coffee is ready. You can drink it out of your regular coffee mug, we do. The davara and tumbler sets come out for special occasions or when elderly folks come visiting.To be noted that its our customs to serve coffee in Tumbler and Davara.
      If the coffee is too hot to drink, then about half the coffee is poured into the davara and allowed to cool till the required temperature.
      We like our coffee strong and with a little more milk and drink it steaming hot. You can experiment with the amounts of milk, decoction and sugar till you find a proportion that suits your palate.