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May 27, 2008

Vazhaipoo vadai / Plantain flower fritters

My friend Shalini shared her recipe for Vazhaipoo vadai. Separating the stamen out of each floret is a time consuming process. But, the taste of the crunchy vazhaipoo vadai is worth the time. Click here to learn more about Plantain flower. Here is the recipe.


Plantain flower - 1 medium

Channa dal - 1 cup ( soak in water for 2 hrs)

Turmeric powder - half cup

Water - 2 cups

Onion - 1 medium - chopped finely

Coriander leaves - half bunch - chopped finely

Salt as required

Oil for deep frying

Grind the following coarsely for the masala:

Cinnamon - half inch stick

Cloves - 5

Fennel seeds - 1 teaspoon

Peeled garlic - 2 to 3 pods

Green chillis - 3 to 4

Getting the plantain flower ready:

Take a bowl full of water mixed with turmeric powder.

Take out the outer purple layer of the plantain. You will see a bunch of white flowers.

Take one bunch out.

Take each floret and remove the stamen, which has a black tip and also peel off the small skin that is attached to the floret. Please refer the picture below.

Chop the florets and mix it in the turmeric water so that it does not change color.

Repeat this procedure until you have atleast three fourth cup of chopped plantain florets.


Drain the water from the channa dal and grind it without adding water.

Mix in the ground masala, chopped onion, salt and chopped coriander leaves.

Drain the water from the chopped plantain florets and mix it with the batter.

Since no water is used while grinding the consistency will be thick.

Take a tablespoon of the batter and shape it into a ball. Flatten it by pressing a little.

Deep fry both sides until golden brown.

Vazhaipoo vadai is ready and can be served with any kind of chutney.

Serve the crisp vadais immediately. It's a great starter and an authentic delicacy from Tamil Nadu. There are many versions of preparing the vadais. Few people mix asafoetida powder, cumin seeds or even substitute red chillis for green. When the masala is ground using the old fashioned mortar and pestle, vadai's taste is enhanced.

The first picture is my entry to Click - Beans and Lentils photo event hosted by Jugalbandhi.

May 25, 2008

Sweet Pongal

Cardamom gives intense flavor especially when added to sweets. Cardamom is also added to gravies and a few rice varieties as well. I have used cardamom in Pongal, a sweet preparation from south India. Sweet pongal is prepared every year for Thai Pongal in Tamil Nadu. Below is a small note on the Pongal festival of Tamil nadu adapted from Here.

"Pongal is a four-days-long harvest festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu, a southern state of India. For as long as people have been planting and gathering food, there has been some form of harvest festival. Pongal, one of the most important popular Hindu festivals of the year. This four-day festival of thanksgiving to nature takes its name from the Tamil word meaning "to boil" and is held in the month of Thai (January-February) during the season when rice and other cereals, sugar-cane, and turmeric (an essential ingredient in Tamil cooking) are harvested.Mid-January is an important time in the Tamil calendar. The harvest festival, Pongal, falls typically on the 14th or the 15th of January and is the quintessential 'Tamil Festival'.

Pongal is a harvest festival, a traditional occasion for giving thanks to nature, for celebrating the life cycles that give us grain. Tamilians say 'Thai pirandhaal vazhi pirakkum', and believe that knotty family problems will be solved with the advent of the Tamil month Thai that begins on Pongal day. This is traditionally the month of weddings. This is not a surprise in a largely agricultural community - the riches gained from a good harvest form the economic basis for expensive family occasions like weddings"

This sweet is perpared in a large container combining rice, a little dal, jaggery and milk and stirred continuously until the content turns to a porridge. It is flavored and garnished with cardamom, nutmeg and cashews. I have prepared this dish in the most easiest way. Here is how I do the sweet pongal.


Raw rice - 1 cup ( I used one cup ravi brand sona masoori rice)

Split moong dal - 1 handful

Jaggery - 2 cups (I used two and half cups brown sugar)

Milk - 2 cups

Water - 1 ½

Evaporated milk - 12 fl oz 1 can (or use 350 ml regular milk)

Saffron strands - 1 pinch

Cardamom powder - 1 teaspoon

Ghee fried cashews

Ghee - half cup


Dry roast rice and dal together until the rice turns white.

Immediately transfer it to a vessel that can be kept in pressure cooker.

Add saffron strands, milk and water and give it a stir.

Pressure cook the rice as you would cook the regular rice. The cooked rice should be soft and mushy.

In a wide bottomed heavy kadai, heat the brown sugar with half a cup water.

When the brown sugar/jaggery melts, reduce the heat and add the cooked rice little by little stirring continuously. Mix in the evaporated milk/reguar milk.

Add the cardamom powder, cashews and ghee. Mix until even distribution.

The sweet pongal is ready.

This is my entry to 'Think Spice - Cardamom' hosted by EC of Simple Indian Food. Thanks EC for hosting this event.

This is also my entry to "Recipes for the rest of us" event hosted by Ramki of One page cookbooks.

May 24, 2008

Grilled Apple Cheese Sandwich

Here is a wonderful kids friendly sandwich that hardly takes a couple of minutes to prepare. I have grilled plain bagel with mozzarella cheese. You can substitute your favorite bread or bagel instead of plain bagel and your favorite cheese in the place of mozzarella. It's a healthy breakfast choice for busy moms.


plain begal (mini or regular) - 1
Apple slices - 2 flat slices
Mozzarella cheese - 1 tablespoon
Cinnamon powder - 2 pinches


Cut the bagel into 2 parts.

Place one apple slice.

Sprinkle a pinch cinnamon powder around the apple slice.

Place the mozzarella cheese.

Sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon powder over the cheese.

Place the other slice of apple.

Top it with the other bagel part.

You can either toast or grill the sandwich.

Grill the sandwich using an electric grill for one minute.

If you have a regular flat griddle, place the sandwich and press on top to toast it. Toast the other side too.

Poke a toothpick so that the apple slices stays in place.

Enjoy the sandwich. You can drizzle honey on top of the sandwich to satisfy your sweet tooth.

This is my entry to Sandwich festival 2008 hosted by Anupama of Food n more.

Thank you Anupama for hosting this mega event.

May 23, 2008

I have yummy recipes on my blog

Yummy blog award is the award given to the blog with most yummy recipes/photos and Mallugirl of Malabar spices has passed on this yummy blog award to me and I am so thrilled. Thank you Mallugirl.

I have to name few most yummy desserts that I have ever prepared or tasted. Gosh! I have a sweet tooth and I love anything that is sweet. It's hard for me to narrow down to just few . hmmmm.... Let me start by what comes to my mind first.

Boondhi Laddu: This is the first traditional sweet that I learnt to prepare at home. This is one of my all time favorite sweet.

Hayagreeva Muddy: I just can't stop eating until I finish the bowl.

Holige/obbattu: This is one sweet that my mom prepares so effortlessly. Such a delicious authentic sweet that I love to have it warm any time of the day with a dash of ghee and/or milk.

: Any kind of halwa, be it Badam halwa, Wheat halwa, Khus Khus Halwa or even corn flour halwa. I love all of them.

Gulab Jamun
: Oh I love this delicacy anytime anywhere.

All these sweets I can't resist them if they are in front of me. I am greatly honored to pass on this yummy blog award to 6 blogs (not 4). I have tried many many yummy recipes from these blogs and I pass on this award to them.

1. Asha's Foodies hope

2. Indira's Mahanandi

3. Raji's Talimpu

4. Foodyguru's Few minute wonders

5. Nupur's One hot stove

6. Ramki's One page cookbooks

Rules for the ‘Yummy Blog’ award Receiver: The person who receives the award should display the “Yummy Blog !” logo on their blog and also the meaning of the award which is “Yummy blog award is the award given to the blog with most yummy recipes/photos”. The receiver should also quote their favorite yummy-licious :) dessert(s) that they have ever prepared/eaten and pass on this award to atleast 4 blogs which the receiver considers yummy.

May 21, 2008

Authentic South Indian Lemon Pickle / nimbekai uppinkai

Authentic Lemon Pickle is one spicy tangy pickle that is usually served with curd rice in south India. A pickle lover would have this pickle with dosa, iddli, curd rice or even rasam rice sometimes even chapathis. It is usually prepared once a year and is preserved in a dry porcelin jar or a glass jar. Please note that only dry spoon has to be used while taking the pickle from the jar. Do not use wet spoon. This pickle stays fresh for atlest a year. This is my mom's recipe and here is how she prepares in the most authentic way.


Lemon (yellow) - 20 count

Salt as required

Turmeric Powder - 1 teaspoon

Red chilli powder - 3/4th cup

fenugreek seeds - 5 teaspoons

Oil - 1 cup

Mustard seeds - 3 teaspoons

Asafoetida powder - 1 teaspoon


Cut the lemon into 8 parts and trasfer it to a large dry porcelin jar/glass jar.

After cutting 4 lemons, add salt to coat the cut lemons.

Repeat this process until all the lemons are cut.

Mix in turmeric powder and keep it closed.

Shake the jar once everyday for one week to 10 days.

If the salt is less the lemons will decay due to fungus.

After this period the lemon will become soft.

Dry roast the fenugreek seeds and grind it.

Mix red chilli powder and ground fenugreek to the salted lemon.

Heat the oil and turn off the heat. Let the heat come down a little.

Then, add the mustard seeds and asafoetida powder and keep it aside until the oil comes to room temperature.

Gently mix the seasoned oil to the lemon.

Keep it closed in a jar. Be cautious not to get the pickle in contact with water. Use only clean dry spoon to scoop the pickle.

This pickle is very delicious specially with curd rice. Nothing can beat this combination. A south Indian will definitely agree to this.

This is my entry to 'Putting up' event hosted by Pixie and Rosie.

May 13, 2008

Mexican Salsa

Originating in Mexico, salsa means "sauce" and in Mexican terms, it means firey and tomato based sauce with plenty of fresh chilies, onion, cilantro, garlic and salt. In my recipe, I have mixed fresh tomatoes, bell peppers and other ingredients and flavoured it with lemon.



Large red ripe tomatoes - 3

Green bell pepper (capsicum) - 1

Jalapeño or green chilli - 1

Red bell pepper - 1

Red Onion - 1

other ingredients:

Handful Coirander leaves (cilantro)

Peeled garlic - 2 pods

Salt as required

Ground pepper as required

Lemon juice - 1 tablespoon

White vinegar - 1 tablespoon


Cut the tomatoes and scoop out the seeds. Chop it finely.

Chop finely the bell peppers (red and green) after taking out the seeds.

Chop finely the onion.

Chop the Jalapeño and garlic finely.

In a large mixing bowl, add all the chopped vegetables together.

Add other ingredients and mix well.

Enjoy the salsa with Tortilla.

I am sending this salsa to three events.

My zodiac sign is Aries and I used tomato in this recipe. I am sending it to Fortune Cooking Contest hosted by Shriya of Spicy Tasty.

I have used Bell peppers and I am sending this recipe to VOW - JFI - Bell Peppers hosted by Pooja of Creative Pooja.

This is also my entry to "Recipes for the rest of us" event hosted by Ramki of One page cookbooks.

Thanks to bloggers for hosting the events.