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Apr 30, 2007

Curry Leaves Kudhi Menusu

Curry Leaves, called Karuvepilai which literally means Black Neem Leaf, are aromatic leaves that are extensively used in Asian Cooking especially in the South Indian Cuisine.

I found a wonderful
article about curry leaves, in, written by Kanika Goswami. She says, Apart from cooking, the curry leaf has a number of medicinal uses also. It is an essential ingredient of almost all traditional medicine systems of peninsular India, sometimes with amazingly good results. Unani, Ayurveda and other systems use it to cure ailments such as piles, to allay heat of the body and are useful in leucoderma and blood disorders, and this has been proven by experts of western medicine also. In India, the curry leaf is used to prevent conditions such as nausea and stomach upsets. It is also used in treating skin irritations and poisonous bites. Its oils are invaluable as repellants and to cure skin disorders common to the tropics. More...

Also, Here's a post about the Curry leaves by Prabudesai in
Benifits of Indian food.

The Jihva for Ingredients for the Month of May is 'GREENS' and is hosted by the event creator Mahanandhi. Thankyou Indira for hosting this event. I chose Curry Leaf and my contribution for the JFI event for Greens is 'Curry Leaves Kudhi Menusu'. We call it Karuvepilla Kudhi Menusu at home. Its a wonderful recipe that is very good for digestion, particularly prepared the day after a heavy Dinner to cleanse the digestive tract. Here's the recipe.


Curry Leaves - 2 to 3 Cups

Ginger - 1 inch

Peppercorns - 8 to 10

Salt to taste

Oil for seasoning - 1 tablespoon

(Sesame) Gingily Oil - 1 or 2 teaspoons

Mustard Seeds - 1 teaspoon

Asfoetida powder

Tamarind - very little


Wash Curry Leaves and Drain Water. Toss in a heated Pan for a couple of minutes. When its almost room temperature, grind the leaves with Ginger, Tamarind and Peppercorns using water little by little. Do not use more water.

Heat Oil in a Kadai and tamper the Mustard Seeds. Add the Asafoetida powder and then add the ground paste. Add Salt and Fry until all the moisture is absorbed.

Serve a teaspoon of this with a cup of hot steaming rice and a spoon of ghee. Mix well and enjoy the delight.

Apr 24, 2007

Lima Beans Kootu

The Nutritious Lima Beans, sometimes called 'butter beans' is rich in fiber and also reduces cholestrol and is very good for diabetic people as it prevents rise in blood sugar levels that rises rapidly after meals. It also provides fat free high quality protein. For more information on Lima Beans CLICK HERE.

Here is a recipe thats delicious and yet a healthy choice for everyone. This is a regular Kootu where I added cooked mashed Lima Beans to the kootu instead of Toor Dal. The taste is superb and the feel of consuming a healthy food is wonderful.


1 Cup Lima Beans (Large or Small)
Chopped Cabbage - 1 Cup
Chopped Beans - 1 Cup (Chopped into 1/2 inch size)
Tomato - 2 (Chopped)
Tamarind Concentrate - 1 teaspoon
Kootu Powder - 1 teaspoon ( or substitute with the usual sambar powder)
Oil for seasoning
Mustard Seeds
Urud Dal
Turmeric Powder
Curry Leaves
Salt as required


Soak Lima Beans in water overnight.

Pressre Cook Lima Beans and Mash it well.

Fry the chopped tomato (no oil or water required) and add the mashed lima beans and stir until it blends well with the Tomato. Keep it aside.

Heat Oil in a kadai and tamper the Mustard seeds. Add the Urud Dal and when it turns golden, add the Cabbage and Beans. Pour some water and allow it to boil.

While the vegetables are boiling, add the Tamarind Concetrate, Turmeric Powder, Asafoetida Powder, Curry Leaves and Salt.

When the Vegetables become tender, add the Kootu or Sambar Powder (I used Kootu Powder).

Stir well and add the Mashed Lima Beans. Stir until the beans blends well to become a gravy.

Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with Rice or Roti.

Apr 23, 2007

Masal for Masal Dosa

Whenever I visit Salem (My hometown in Tamil Nadu), I will make it a point to have the delicious Masal Dosai from a cafe called Sri Krishna popularly called KCB. My mouth has started watering just by mentioning the name of the place. Hmmm...This place has a very simple ambience and is crowded all the time. Nei Roast and the unlimited Sambar and Chutney served in a hygienic disposable Plantain Leaf.....makes the place very special. Apart from the Aromatic Ghee Roast, the Steaming Iddlis, all kinds of Chutneys, Vadais, and all the typical tamil tiffin varieties and the rice varieties, and sweets like Badam Halwa...Everything that is listed in the menu is delicious. The menu is painted in the Wall that is visible to all.

The best part is, there is no 'PLEASE WAIT TO BE SEATED' Board in the front. The minute we are settled in a table, Plantain leaf will be placed in front of us. As soon as we sprinkle some water and wipe it clean, the waiter will bring steaming Iddlis and place 2 iddlis in each leaf and serve Red, Green and White Chutney and the tasty Sambar (which is unlimited), then will take a pencil which is usually hidden behid the ears all the time, makes note of what ever we have ordered. He will then turn towards the kitchen and shout at the top of his voice, the item we have ordered. So, the noise in the place is usually the usual chattering and the shouts like 'oru masal dosai'. 'rendu vadai', 'oru pongal', 'oru nei roast'....and so on.

Usually there is no conversation while relishing the Dosa or Poori or Oothappam we have ordered, wiping the leaf in one stroke, then licking our fingers in all possible ways and end with a big burp. KCB is close to my house and we usually walk back talking about how much we enjoyed the treat. I really miss KCB. Just not this place, we have other joints like Lakshmi Halwa Stall and Restaurant, and Chandra and Saravanas in Salem.

Salem is a developing city and all that we had when we grew up were many movie theatres and many many restaurants...lots of sweet stalls and of course famous Temples to visit, like Sugavaneswarar Temple and Kottai Maariamman Temple, Sri Raaja Ganapathi Temple, Vyasaraja Mutt and many more. Located in Tamil Nadu, the city of Salem is the focal point of the surrounding agricultural area. It is a major handloom-weaving center (Kaithari). Industries located in the city include the manufacture of textiles, cotton and silk apparel, and chemicals. Iron-ore deposits and magnesite deposits are nearby. Salem is famous for Salem Stainless Steel Plant and for the tasty Malgova Mangoes. Whenever we have guest during the weekend, we would take them to either Yercaud or Hogenakkal Falls or tour around Salem and visit many temples or just hire a van and plan a day trip to our Family Deity Sri Prasanna Venkateswarar in Gunaseelam....If I start talking about Salem, This post will not be enough..and I can not stop talking about the lovely little Maambazham (Mango) city. Howmuch ever I describe my home town, it will not be enough. One has to live in Salem to admire its real beauty. Coming to the Tamil Nadu Cuisine, I want to contribute Masal for Masal Dosai. This RCI event is hosted by Veggie Cuisine. Thanks for hosting Lakshmi.


For Masal:

Potatoes - 5
Onion - 2
Green Chillis - 2 to 3
Turmeric Powder
Asafoetida Powder
Curry Leaves
Oil for seasoning
Mustard and Urud Dal.


Cut each Potato into Half and cook all the Potatoes. Preferably in Pressure Cooker. Peel off the skin and half each piece. Keep it aside.

Chop Onions and Slit Green Chillis vertically.

Heat Oil in a Kadai and tamper the Mustard Seeds. Add the Urud Dal and when it turns light brown, add the chopped Onions and Fry for sometime. Add the Cooked Potatoes and other Ingrediets. Stir well. The Masala is ready. This Masala can be used for Masal Dosai as well as for Chapathis/Rotis.

Ingredients and method for Dosai:

Wash and Soak 1 Cup Urud Dal add 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
Wash and Soak 3 Cups Iddli Rice (Food World White Iddli Rice) and 1 Cup Raw rice (Ravi sona Massori) add a handful of Aval (Flattened Rice)

Grind (using a grinder) urud dal. When its done, take it out and grind the rice. When its done. Mix it with the ground urud. Mix little salt and Mix well using hands. Pour in large containers and allow it to ferment. This is how I do the Dosa Batter. I use it for Iddlis the first or second day after it ferments. The Batter is preserved in the fridge. For Detailed Method for making the Batter Click Here.

For making Dosa: Take a laddle of Dosa Batter and pour it in the middle of a hot tawa. Move the same laddle in circular motion towards outside. Apply oil around the corner and when it becomes crisp in the bottom topple the dosa. And when the dosa is cooked the other side too, topple the dosa again, fold it and keep it aside.

For making Masal Dosa: Place half a cup of Masal in the middle of the Dosa and then fold it. Garnish with little butter and chopped coriander leaves. Enjoy the Masal Dosa.

"Kal thondri Mann Thondra Kaalathe Munthondriya Mootha Kudi Thamizh Kudi". Since the Event is all about Tamil Nadu, I would like to quote a few lines from a Tamil Poem that I remember which I learnt in School days. As far as I can remember, the lines go like this.

" Ee ena erathal Ezhindhandru, adhanedhir

Eeyen endral Adhaninum Ezhindhandru.

Kol Ena Koduthal Uyarndhandru, adhanedhir

Kollane endral Adhaninum Uyarndhandru"

I still remember these lines mainly because of its meaning. The lines mean,

"To say 'Give' is bad, on the contrary

saying 'I will not Give' is very bad.

To say 'Take' is good, on the contrary

saying 'I will not take' is very good."

This is a literal translation that I wrote myself. Please forgive me if its not up to the standards. but I am sure the main idea of the verse is made clear.

This is my entry to Dosa Mela hosted by Srivalli of Cooking for all seasons.

Apr 18, 2007

Traditional Obbattu / Holige

Here is an Authentic Recipe for Kalle Bela Thenginkai Obbattu ( Obbattu or Holige pronounced 'Ho' as in Home 'Li' as in Lip and 'Ge' as in Get), a traditional sweet of the South. This is easy to make and the more number of times you try this recipe, the faster you finish the procedure. This delightful recipe is my Mom's. Photos by my sister B. The procedure is illustrated step by step with pictures because 'a picture is thousand words'. Sometimes, its easy to explain when there's a picture.

Ingredients and Method:

Take 2 Cups Maida flour. Add 8 table spoons Oil and 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder. Mix into a dough using little water. Keep it aside. It is optional to soak the dough in oil.

1 Cup Channa Dal (Kadala Paruppu). Cook in Pressure Cooker.

Grated / Powdered Jaggery 2 and 1/2 Cups.

1 cup of grated fresh Coconut. (If breaking a coconut, use one full coconut)

Grind the Cooked Dal, Coconut and Jaggery with Cardamom powder (from 8 to 10 pods) and Nutmeg Powder (1 tsp). Do not add water.

To make the Hoorna, Boil the ground paste. (stage 1)

Becomes Semi-Solid. At this stage add little Ghee. This will enhance the taste and flavor.(stage 2).

Hoorna is done. At this stage, when you try to make balls, Hoorna should not stick to the hand(stage 3).

Make balls with the cooled Hoorna.

Make balls out of the Maida Dough. This should be a little smaller than the Hoorna Balls.

Flatten the Maida Ball to a one and a half to two inchs in diameter.

Place the Hoorna Ball in the Middle of the flat Maida dough.

Close and Seal the Hoorna inside or, invert and close the hoorna from the top very carefully.

Maida Hoorna Ball.

Ready the Suffed Maida Balls before rolling them.

Dredge in the flour and Roll the Stuffed Maida ball.

Roll the stuffed Maida Ball.

Toss it in a hot Tawa and Apply Ghee on both sides.

The tasty authentic obbattu is ready. Serve with Ghee or Milk.

Apr 13, 2007

Simple Tomato Gravy

A tasty and quick delight on a lazy day. Here's the recipe.


5 Red Ripe Tomatoes - chopped

1 Medium Sized Onion - chopped

3/4 cup Chopped Carrots

1/4 cup green peas

(Frozen Carrot peas is fine)

Red Chilli Powder

Turmeric Powder

Asafoetida Powder

Mustard Seeds - 1 teaspoon

Urud Dal - 1 teaspoon

Cumin Seeds - 1 teaspoon

Curry Leaves

Oil for Seasoning


Heat Oil in a Kadai and tamper the Mustard Seeds. Add Urud dal and Cumin Seeds.

Fry the Onions until it turns translucent.

Add the Tomatoes. Fry unil it blends to a gravy consistency.

Add Carrots and Peas and cook until the vegetables are tender. Do not add water as the Tomato Juice is enough for cooking.

While frying add the Red Chilli Powder, Asafoetida Powder, Salt and Curry Leaves.

Serve hot with Rice or Chapathis.

Tip: if the gravy does not thicken, whisk 1 teaspoon for Gram flour or Corn flour in 1/2 cup water and pour it in the gravy while frying. This with thicken the consistency.

Apr 9, 2007

Vegetables in Pineapple Sauce - Chinese Style

This recipe is a modified version of Malika Badrinath's Chinese Baby Corn in Pineapple Sauce. Here's how I prepared this delightful dish.


Pineapple chunks from 1 Ripe Pineapple.

1 Onion - Chopped

2 Green Bell Pepper (Capsicum) - Chopped

Chopped Mixed Vegetables - 2 Cups ,Vegetables used are Cabbage, Carrot and Canned Baby Corn - Chop all the vegetables into 1 inch length

Brown Sugar - 2 tablespoon

Salt - as required

White Pepper powder

Little Oil

Grind to paste:

Garlic pods - 3 to 4

Red Chilli Powder

For Pineapple Sauce:

Make fresh Pineapple Juice from half the Pineapple chunks

Soya Sauce - 2 tablespoons

Worcestershire sauce - 1 tablespoon

Corn Flour - 1 and 1/2 tablespoon

Water - 1 and 1/2 Cups


Heat oil in a large Kadai and fry the Onions and the Bell Peppers.

Add the chopped mixed Vegetables, Pineapple Chunks, Ground Garlic Paste and Salt.

Cook until the vegetables are tender, Mean while prepare the sauce.

Pineapple Sauce:

Whisk all ingredients together under 'Ingredients for Pineapple Sauce'.

Bring to boil. Stir until the content comes to a shiny sauce consistency.

When the Vegetables are cooked, add the Pineapple sauce and cook for a few minutes. Add the brown sugar and turn off the heat completely

Serve hot along with Fried Rice or Noodles.

Apr 5, 2007

Jeera Polee

Jeera polees or Jeera Polis are special kind of pooris dipped in sugar syrup. Its a great and easy dish for any occasion. Jeera means sugar syrup. Here's the recipe.


Fine Rava - 1 cup

All purpose Flour - 1 cup

Sugar and Water both 2 cups each

Cardamom Powder and Saffron

Oil for deep frying


For Jeera,

Mix sugar and water. Add Cardamon powder, Saffron and allow it to boil for 10 mins.

For polee,

Mix Fine Rava and All Purpose Flour (Maida) adding water little by little.

Knead well atleast for 5 mins.

The dough should be like that of the poori dough consistency.

Keep aside for 3 hours.

Roll out the dough like pooris and deep fry in oil. Immedietely soak the polee in the prepared Jeera for ten seconds and take it out and arrange on a plate.


Enjoy jeera Polee. This recipe is contributed and photographed by my sister PK.

Apr 3, 2007

Kovakka Palya / Tindora Roast

Tindora or Kovakka is one vegetable I cook in Microwave and then Roast in a Kadai to make it more crispier. Here's how I make the curry with Kovakka.


Chopped Kovakka - 2 Cups

Oil for seasoning

Mustard Seeds - 1 teaspoon

Urud Dal - 1 teaspoon

Turmeric Powder

Asafoetida Powder

Red Chilli Powder



Put the chopped Vegetable in a Microwave Safe Bowl. ( I use Microwave Rice Cooker to Cook Vegetables). Wash and Drain the Water. Close a Lid with a vent and cook in Microwave in High for 6 to 7 minutes.

Heat Oil in a wide Non Stick Kadai and tamper the Mustard Seeds, then add the Urud Dal. When it turns golden brown, add the cooked vegetable. Stir and add the other Ingredients. Fry until the Vegetable is roasted.

Serve as side for Saaru anna (Rasam Rice) or any Rice variety like Huli Anna (Sambar Rice).

The vegetable can be chopped vertically too.

This is a simple lunch plate for my little daughter. She loves this curry with Saaru Anna.