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Feb 27, 2008

Rocking girl and nice matters award

Thanks Richa for honoring me with the Rocking Girl award, (that you gave me few months ago). As I did not pass on the award at that time, I want to do it now.

I pass this award to Deepa of Recipes and More.

My thanks also goes to Uma who has bestowed on me the Nice matters award.
I pass on this award to Sriranjini of To Indulgence

Thanks to both Richa and Uma. I am feeling greatly honored and very happy.

Feb 26, 2008

A lively foodies meet

While I was browsing, I (fortunately) stumbled upon Revathi's blog - En Ulagam. The post read 'bay area bloggers meet'. My joy knew no bounds. Until the moment I saw those words, I have not thought about meeting bloggers whom I have been in touch only online. The post had a link to Shankari's blog. She had more information about the meet. I immediately signed up for the meet. We planned to meet for lunch and we were asked to prepare a dish from each other's blog. Shankari was constantly updating us about the meet.

Meeting bloggers in person was something very thrilling and exciting. Cooking a dish for a bunch of foodies was all the more challenging. I am quite comfortable with baking cookies and I chose to make TC's Nankatai. Though I was sure it would come out well, the pressure was intense. I went through her post again and again to make sure the measurements were correct. I bought Dalda (vegetable shortening) for the first time. I have always used either butter or oil for cookies. She had mentioned in her blog specifically that using the vegetable shortening would make the nankatai lighter and finer in texture. It took about 8 to 10 minutes to bake. The result was 'Perfect Nankatais'. Thanks to TC for sharing this wonderful recipe. Apart from Nankatais, I planned to prepare Sreelu's Badam milk. Instead of roasting and grinding the almonds, by mistake, I had soaked the almonds the previous day. So, I had to come up with some other recipe and ended up doing my mom's recipe. (Recipe will be posted later).

The weather was awesome. Neither hot nor cold. Clear blue sky, a pefect sunny day. Took the directions and set off to TC's house. Taste Tinkerer was first and I was second. When everyone gathered, there was not a single moment of silence. We talked and talked and talked. We had delicious starters prepared by TC and Sreelu. It was time for lunch and enjoyed the awesome food. Everything was very tasty. That afternooon, we were so engrossed in so much talking, that the time just flew. We talked about the pleasures of blogging, the various food blogs that we like, the groceries around the place, the special things we can buy in TJs and Farmers market. We talked a bit about movies and about online communities etc etc. It was pure fun and laughter that filled the place. It was not like we were meeting for the first time. It seemed rather like childhood friends meeting after a long time, just pouring in all the information that was not shared all the years. The meeting was just fabulous. I joined the meet with an open mind, wondering how it would go. I never really expected such lively and friendly get-together. Kudos! to the organisers. Sadly, Sankari couldn't make it to the meeting as she was not doing well. We have planned to meet on regular basis.

Our next meet will be sometime soon. Thanks to TC for opening her house for us. Thanks to everyone who made it that day. Definitely, meeting like-minded people is just wonderful. In our lives, we come across many unforgettable moments, but only few we remember and cherish. I am glad I was part of this fun filled gathering and this day will be cherished for ever.
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Feb 25, 2008

Majjige huli with winter melon

This is a traditional south indian dish called majjige huli or majjige palidha in Kannada and Moru kozhambu in Tamil. As the name says, this gravy is a mixture of ground coconut and buttermilk (majjige), spiced with green chillies and flavoured with cumin that is added to the vegetable. I have used winter melon which is called vellai pooshani kaai in tamil. There are different versions of preparing Majjige huli and this is my mom's recipe.


Winter melon - 2 cups - diced into 1 inch cubes

Oil for seasoning

Mustard seeds - half teaspoon

Urud dal - half teaspoon

Butter milk - 1 cup

Turmeric powder - half teaspoon

Asafoetida powder

Curry leaves - from 2 strands

Salt as required

Grind together the following:

Grated fresh coconut - half cup

Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon

Green chillies - 2

Channa dal - 1 tablespoon (which is soaked in water for 15 minutes) - optional


Heat oil in a kadai and add the mustard seeds, when it pops, add the urud dal. When it turns light brown, add the diced winter melon, curry leaves, asafoetida powder and salt. Stir for few seconds and add one or one and half cups of water. Let it boil until the vegetable is cooked.

Meanwhile, add turmeric powder to the buttermilk and mix well. Keep it aside.

When the vegetable is cooked, add the ground coconut masala and mix well.

When it starts bubbling, reduce the heat and add the buttermilk.

Wait for just one boil and remove from heat.

This can be done using different vegetables:

Potato: Follow the same recipe, substitute potato in the place of winter melon.

Okra/ladies finger - cut into 1 inch length: Instead of adding water to cook, roast the okra.

You can substitute with other vegetables of your choice but winter melon and okra & potato are the popular vegetables for this majjige huli.

Serve with white rice. Enjoy with a spicy roasted vegetable or pappad.

This is my entry to LIVESTRONG DAY 2008 - the taste of yellow hosted in the

Feb 22, 2008

Bread Uppma

This is a wonderful tasty bread uppma from my brother VPV. He lives in Chennai and requested me to include a separate section - 'bachelor cooking' in Paajaka. He wanted to contribute first and sent me the recipe and photographs of the delicious bread uppma that he prepared.


Bread - half loaf (cut into small pieces)

Oil for seasoning - 2 tablespoons

Garlic - 5 pods or Ginger garlic paste - half teaspoon (optional)

Mustard seeds - half teaspoon

Cumin seeds - half teaspoon

Garam masala - half teaspoon

Turmeric powder - quarter teaspoon

Red chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon

Salt as required


Heat oil in a wide heavy bottomed kadai.

Add the mustard seeds. When it pops, add the cumin seeds.

Reduce the heat and add the garam masala, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and the garlic or ginger garlic paste if using and finally salt.

Immediately add the cut bread pieces and toss until the color is spread evenly.

Turn off the heat and serve immediately. If serving later, microwave for few seconds just before serving. Serve with ketchup.

Thanks VPV for sending the recipe.

Feb 21, 2008

Pulao using MTR pulao masala powder

Feeling lazy to cook? Still want to have a great food that is filling and healthy? Here's a wonderful recipe for mixed vegetable pulao using MTR pulao masala powder.

This is my entry to Think Spice roundup for Star Anise hosted by Sunita of Sunita's world. I prepared this pulao in my prestige handi pressure cooker, which is basically a pressure pan that's all non stick in the inside.

This pulao can be prepared in microwave using microwave rice cooker or a traditional heavy bottomed kadai, which has a lid or in an electric rice cooker.


Basmathi rice - 1 cup (long grain rice)

Water - 2 cups Mixed vegetables - 1 cup - carrot, beans, peas, corn etc (I used 1 cup of mixed vegetable frozen which has carrots, peas, beans, lima beans and corn)

Onion - 1 large - chopped

Ginger garlic paste - 1 teaspoon (optional)

Oil for seasoning

Star Anise - 3 (optional)

Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon (jeeragam)

Fennel seeds - 1 teaspoon (sombu)

MTR pulao masala powder - 1/2 teaspoon

Salt as required


Heat oil in a pressure pan. Add cumin, star anise, fennel and the chopped onions.

Fry for a minute. Add the Ginger garlic paste. When the onions turn translucent, add the mixed vegetables, MTR pulao masala powder. Stir and add Salt as required.

When the content heats up, add Basmathi rice. Mix well.

When the content heats up again, add 2 cups water.

Pressure cook for 10 minutes.

(Note: If using the electric cooking range, remove the cooker from there as the place will still be hot. If using microwave rice cooker, transfer the content to the rice cooker and microwave high for 20 minutes. If using electric rice cooker, transfer the content to the rice cooker and cook. If using a traditional heavy bottomed wide pan, close the lid and cook, stirring occationally.)

Serve hot with raita or chips or enjoy as is.

Feb 15, 2008

Tamarind Rice / Puliodharai / Hulianna

The tamarind rice popularly called puliodharai saadam, pulikaaichal or puli chaadham in tamil and Huli anna or puliogare in kannada is a traditional recipe of South India. I do not know what it's called in malayalam or telugu, but, I am sure there will be one recipe for tamarind rice. This is a typical travel food and is my entry to The travel food festival hosted by Simple Indian food. There are many many versions of this tamarind rice, but the recipe that I am sharing here is my mom's and she calls the prepared tamarind paste as chitra anna gojju. To prepare the tamarind rice, this paste is simply mixed with white rice.


Cooked rice - 2 cups (grains separated)

Tamarind - 2 lemon sized balls

Gingili oil (sesame oil) / Nalla ennai - 1/2 cup

Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon

Turmeric powder - half teaspoon

Salt - as required

Jaggery - 2 teaspoons

Curry leaves - from 3 to 4 strads

Asafoetida powder - 1/4 teaspoon

Peanuts - half cup

Roast and grind together the following:

Channa dal - 2 teaspoons

Urud dal - 4 teaspoon

Dhania - 2 teaspoons

Fenugreek seeds (vendhayam/mentha) - 1/4 teaspoon

Pepper corns - 1 teaspoon

Dry red chillis - 10 to 12 number

(depending upon how hot you want the rice)


Soak tamarind in 4 cups warm water for altest fifteen minutes and squeeze using hands. Pour the mixture through a strainer and extract the thick tamarind juice. You can just use your hands to take away the seeds and all the tamarind that is not dissolved. Keep it aside.

Heat oil in a wide heavy bottomed kadai. Tamper the mustard seeds. Add the peanuts and curry leaves.

Pour the tamarind water. when it starts boiling add the salt, turmeric powder, asafoetida powder and jaggery. Allow it to boil for alteast 10 minutes in high or until the raw tamarind smell goes away.

Reduce the heat and mix in the ground masala and you will notice the content thickening gradually. Allow it to boil partially closed stirring occasionally. This will take atleast 15 minutes. If you think the water is not enought pour half a cup of water and allow it to boil. You can see the masala blending well with the tamarind water. At this stage you can add a tablespoon of sesame oil for flavor.

Turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. Mix a tablespoon of this gojju to the prepared rice. Add a dash of ghee which is optional and enjoy the tamarind rice with pappads, chips or just curds.

Feb 4, 2008

Semiya Uppuma / Uppittu

Here is one Uppuma (called uppittu in kannada) that is quick, tasty and easy to prepare. This is my entry to Meeta's Monthly Mingle Roundup for Comfort Foods.


1 and half cups broken - Vermicelli/Semiya

Ghee - 1 teaspoon

Onion - 1 large (chopped)

Oil - 2 tablespoons

Mustard Seeds - 1 teaspoon

Urud Dal - 2 teaspoons

Curry leaves - 2 strands

Asafoetida Powder

Green Chillis - 3 vertically slit

Salt to taste

Water - 2 and quarter cups


Heat a teaspoon of ghee in a large kadai and roast the semiya (or vermicelli). Transfer it to another container and keep it aside.

Heat oil in the Kadai and add mustard seeds. When it pops, add the urud dal. When it turns light brown, add the curry leaves, green chillis and onion.

Fry onion until it turns translucent.

Add excactly 2 and quarter cups of water. While its boiling add salt and asafoetida.

Slowly add the roasted semiya while stirring at the same time.

Keep stirring gently. You will notice the semiya getting cooked and at the same time the moisture decreasing.

When all the moisture is absorbed (semiya must have been cooked), add a tablespoon of ghee and mix well. Reduce the heat completely and keep closed for a couple of minutes before serving.

Serve when it's still hot garnished with ghee fried cashews which is optional.