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Jun 27, 2008

Chinese schezwan veg hakka noodles

I first want to thank my friend Priya for introducing me the Ching's secret brand and for sharing this recipe. Thank you Priya. Here goes the tasty indo chinese recipe.


Ching's secret hakka veg noodles (available in Indian stores) - 1 packet

Cabbage-shredded - half cup

Shredded carrot / thinly sliced carrot - half cup

Bell pepper / capsicum- thinly sliced - half cup

Spring Onions - 4 - chopped

Oil - 4 tablespoons

Ching's secret schezwan stir fry sauce or any other brand vegetarian chinese stir fry sauce - 4 tablespoons

Freshly ground black pepper - half spoon

Garlic cloves - 5 - peeled and finely chopped

Salt to taste


Cook the noodles as per the instructions in the packet. Do not overcook the noodles. Keep it aside.

Heat oil in a large wok preferably a large non stick kadai on medium heat.

Add the garlic and ground pepper.

When garlic turns golden color, add the vegetables (cabbage, bell pepper & carrots).

Add required amount of salt, stir fry sauce. Adjust the quantity as per your taste.

When the vegetables are crisp and as well cooked, add the cooked noodles and stir gently.

Garnish with finely chopped spring onions.

This is my entry to AWED - Chinese hosted by Dhivya of DK's Culinary Bazaar.

Jun 26, 2008

Bele saaru / Paruppu rasam

South Indian lunch or dinner is not complete without rasam/saaru. Rasam forms the second course in a traditional South Indian meal after huli,samabar or kootu. The rasam powder that is used to prepare rasam is different in each household. There are different kinds of rasams like goddu saaru, bele saaru, pineapple saaru, more rasam, murungakka rasam, kathirikka rasam, thakkali poondu rasam etc. Of all these different rasams, paruppu rasam (tamil) or Bele saaru (Kannada) stands special. Saaru anna with spicy crispy potato palya, cabbage palya or any deep roasted palya is one delicious meal. It makes a healthy soup too. Here is the recipe. Please click here for rasam powder recipe.


Red ripe juicy tomatoes - 2 large

Tamarind - small lemon size or quarter teaspoon tamarind concentrate

Toor dal - half cup cooked

Rasam powder / Saaru pudi - 2 or 3 teaspoons

Water - 2 to 3 cups

Turmeric powder - half teaspoon

Asafoetida powder - 2 pinches

Salt as required

Curry leaves

Chopped coriander leaves

For seasoning:

Ghee - one teaspoon

Mustard seeds - half teaspoon

Cumin seeds - half teaspoon


If using fresh tamarind: Soak in water for an hour or microwave with little water for a minute. Then, squeeze out the tamarind using hands, strain the tamarind pulp and use the water with tamarind extract.

Blanch the tomatoes: Boil 3 cups water and add the whole tomatoes. After you notice the skin peeling out (approximately 5 minutes), drain the water. Wash tomatoes in cold water and peel off the skin. Mash the tomatoes and keep it aside.

Boil 3 cups water in a sauce pan.

When it starts boiling, add the tamarind extract or the tamarind concentrate, crushed tomatoes, Turmeric powder, asafoetida powder, curry leaves and salt. Excess water that is used to cook the dal can be used instead of plain water.

Allow the content to boil for atleast fifteen to 20 minutes in medium heat.

Now add the rasam powder/saaru pudi and reduce the heat. Allow the rasam to boil for another 5 minutes.

Mash the cooked toor dal and add it to the rasam.

Now, do the seasoning. First heat the ghee. Add the mustard and cumin. When it sizzles, add it to the rasam carefully.

Turn offf the heat and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Serve with steaming white rice with a dab of ghee accompanied with palya/cooked vegetable.

This is my entry to JFI - Tamarind hosted by Sig of Live to eat. Thank you Sig for hosting this event.

Jun 20, 2008

Spice powders

Please CLICK HERE for the following recipes.

*Rasam Powder / Rasam podi / Saaru Pudi

*Sambar powder / Sambar podi / Huli pudi

*Kootu powder / Kootu podi / Kootu pudi

*Gojju Pudi

*Thogiri pudi / Paruppu podi / Dal powder

*Iddli milagai podi / Chutney powder / Spice powder for iddlis/dosas

*Palyadha anna pudi / Spice powder for mixed vegetable rice

CLICK HERE for all the recipes posted in Paajaka Recipes.

Jun 19, 2008

Sweet puff - Coconut filling

This is a wonderful recipe for sweetened coconut filled puffs. My first try and a big hit I should say.

I made use of two frozen items availabe in the US. One is the readymade puff pastry sheets and the other is the shredded coconut. I have made this recipe as simple as possible so it is easy to try this and relish the very nostalgic taste. If any of my hometown people read this post, I am sure it will bring back memories about the sweet coconut buns that are availabe in a road side shop in Agraharam, Salem. We used to buy those coconut buns when I was a small girl. It's actually a coconut filled round pie. The taste and texture are more or less the same as this sweet puff. Every weekend, we used to buy this freshly baked sweet buns. I don't know if they still sell them. Coming to the recipe, here is one easy and sweet snack that everybody can enjoy.


Grated fresh coconut - 2 cups ( I used the shredded coconut in the freezer section in Indian stores)

Sugar - 1 cup

Jaggery or brown sugar - half cup

Cardamom powder - 1 teaspoon

Puff pastry sheets - 1 packet - I used pepperidge farm brand


Thaw the puff pastry sheets and the shredded coconut if you are using frozen.

Prepare the filling:

Cobine coconut, sugar and jaggery/brown sugar and a tablespoon of water and heat in a heavy bottomed kadai.

Keep in low to medium heat.

Keep stirring. You will notice that the consistency will loosen. But, after around 15 minutes, it will start thickening.

Mix in the cardamom powder.

Take off from heat when the consistency is thick at the same time a little moist too.

(Don't wait until all the moisture is absorbed).

Keep it aside and wait until it comes to room temperature.

Making the sweet puffs:

Cut the pastry sheet into three parts. Make use of the folding. Then cut each part into two. There will be totally 6 small rectangles.

(Keep the unused portion of the pastry sheet in the fridge not in the freezer)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Take a tablespoon of the filling and place it in one side of the rectangle so that you can close the filling.

Close the filling and seal the sides. A drop of water can be used to seal.

Use a fork to make a design.

Repeat this for all the puffs.

Poke once on the top of each puff to vent.

Line the six puffs in a non stick baking tray.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until the surface is golden brown.

Take it out and cool completely before you taste. The filling will be really hot.

If the puffs are not sealed proplerly, there will be a leak. Discard the leaked filling on the tray.

Enjoy the sweet and delicious puffs. You can as well shout 'Bam' like Emeril and sprinkle powdered sugar on the puffs before serving.

Repeat these steps for the remaining pastry sheets and the coconut filling too. Thaw the pastry sheets before proceeding.

This is my entry to AFAM - Coconut hosted by Suganya of Tasty palletes. Thanks suganya for hosting this event.

Jun 16, 2008

Sindhi Lola

I love this sweet and delicious Lola that my sindhi neighbor prepares. Since I love her lola and koki, everytime I visit my hometown, she would send these delicious lolas and kokis to my house. When I asked her the recipe for lola, she told me the ingredients that are mixed in the flour. When Srivalli announced the roti mela, the first thing that came to my mind is this sweet lola. I am happy that my lolas turned out to be atleast 95% closer to the ones she prepares. Here is the recipe.


Whole wheat flour - 2 cups

Sugar - powdered - 1 cup

Butter at room temperature - one fourth cup

Ghee - one fourth cup

Milk - to prepare the dough - approximately 1 cup (can use water as substitute or may be used in combination with milk)


Mix the sugar in milk.

Add the sweet milk and butter to the flour and knead it to a stiff dough.

Take some quantity of dough and roll it to a thick layer.

Heat a tawa and when it is hot, reduce the heat to 'between low and medium'.

Apply a teaspoon of ghee on the hot tawa and place the rolled out thick layered lola.

Apply some ghee on the top and close it with a plate. Let it cook at low heat. Since it is thick, it will take atleast 3 minutes to cook on one side. Flip the other side and cook it closed for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve immediately. Children will love these lolas as it is sweet. Garnish with sugar. Makes a wonderful snack on weekends and evenings. When lolas come to room temperature, it tends to harden. Break it into pieces and enjoy the sweet crunchy lolas. Microwave it for few seconds if you want it soft.

This is my entry to the Roti mela hosted by Srivalli. Thank you Srivalli, for hosting this grand event.

This is also my entry to the Sweet series - Puran poli and sweet roti/chapathi event hosted by me.

Jun 13, 2008

Herbed feta cheese spread / dip

Here is a greek style herbed cheese spread/dip that is tangy and garlicky. I should have prefixed 'Instant' to the name as it takes no time to prepare this wonderful cheesy dip that can be served with crackers, raw vegetables like baby carrots or celery or even as a bread spread. I have used Feta cheese which is widely used in greek cuisine, that gives a tangy and striking flavor to the spread. Here is the recipe.


Feta cheese crumbled - 6 oz

Garlic - 1 or 2 cloves (optional)

Lemon juice - 2 teaspoons

Black freshly ground pepper - 1 teaspoon

Dry oregano - half teaspoon

Olive oil - 2 tablespoons


Combine all the ingredients in a food processor. Grind to a paste. Use this as a dip or spread on crackers or bread. The herbs used in this recipe can be adjusted according to your taste. A very good appetizer that you will surely enjoy.

Variation: Add or garnish finely chopped green onions and/or finely diced tomatoes to the spread. This makes the spread more colorful.

Asha's recipe for Greek Spanakopita : To the herbed feta cheese spread, add some cooked, cooled Spinach, wrap and bake in Filo dough/sheet. Here is the Spanakopita recipe that I found on the net. Thank you Asha for the idea.

This is my entry to A Worldly Epicurean's Delight (A.W.E.D): Middle Eastern Cuisine an event initiated by Dhivya of Culinary bazaar now hosted by Siri of Siri's corner. Thank you Siri for hosting this event.
This is also my entry to "Recipes for the rest of us" event hosted by Ramki of One page cookbooks.

Jun 11, 2008

Cauliflower palya

Boiled Cauliflower is an excellent source of Dietary fiber according to Dietary fiber is undoubtedly one of the most talked about nutrients for health promotion and disease prevention.

Wiki: Cauliflower can be roasted, boiled, fried, steamed or eaten raw. When cooking, the outer leaves and thick stalks are removed, leaving only the florets. The leaves are also edible, but are most often discarded. The florets should be broken into similar-sized pieces so they are cooked evenly. After eight minutes of steaming, or five minutes of boiling, the florets should be soft, but not mushy (depending on size).

In this recipe, cooked cauliflower is seasoned with salt and mustard seeds and it makes a healthy accompaniment, especially to the south Indian rice varieties like rasam rice or sambar rice.


Cauliflower - 1 large or medium
Salt as required
Oil for seasoning
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - one fourth teaspoon


Discard the outer leaves and thick stalk. chop the florets.

Cook Cauliflower in one of the following ways.

Boiling method: Boil water and add the chopped cauliflower florets and let it boil until the florets are tender. Then, drain water.

Steaming method: Boil water and place a steamer rack and add the florets. Cover and cook until the florets are tender.

Microwave method: Add the florets to a microwave rice cooker or any microwave safe container. Wash and drain water. Cover it partially open. Cook in high for 10 minutes. Drain excess water.

After cooking the chopped florets in one of the aforesaid method, heat oil in a kadai, add mustard seeds, when it pops, add the cooked cauliflower and mix in turmeric powder and salt until even distribution. Enjoy the cauliflower palya.

I can have this palya as an accompaniment to Saaru anna or Huli anna as well make a wrap with chapathi.

This is my entry to 'Eating healthy'- Fiber rich food event hosted by Sangeeth of Art of Cooking Indian Food . Thanks Sangeeth for hosting this event.

Jun 7, 2008

Pineapple gojju / Pineapple sweet and spicy gravy

Here is an authentic recipe for Pineapple gojju. Pineapple lovers and people who like sweet cum spicy dish will love this gojju/gravy. Coming to the recipe, I used one full pineapple for this gojju. You can either use the fresh fruit or buy readymade canned pineapple chunks for this.


Fresh ripe pineapple - 1
Tamarind - extract pulp from small lemon sized tamaraind. or use half teaspoon tamarind concentrate
Jaggery - three fourth cup (substitute with 1 cup brown sugar if you don't have jaggery)
Oil - 1 tablespoon for seasoning
Mustard seeds - half teaspoon
Curry leaves
Turmeric powder - quarter teaspoon
Salt as required

Roast the following in half teaspoon oil and grind to a coarse powder:

Urud dal - 2 tablespoons
Fenugreek seeds - 1 teaspoon
Dhania - 2 teaspoon
white sesame seeds - 2 teaspoons
Red chilli powder - 4 to 5
(preferably use redchillis that do not have much heat. In that case use at least 10 to 12 red chillis)
Kobri - half cup (substitute with desiccated coconut that can be bought in Indian store)


I cut pineapple this way:

cut the leafy head off and the bottom too. Now the pineapple will stand steadily in a flat surfact. All you have to do is hold the pineapple well and with the knife cut the rough outer skin carefully all sides. Cut into four parts leaving the middle part. Discard the middle part. With the remaining 4 pieces, cut into small chunks.

Heat oil in a kadai. Add mustard seeds. When it pops, add the pineapple chunks and let the content heat up.

Add half a cup water, tamarind, salt, turmeric powder and curry leaves. Keep the kadai partially closed and let it cook until the pineapple chunks are tender.

Add the jaggery and the ground masala to the gravy (mix masala with half a cup water so as to avoid lumps while adding)

Again let the gojju boil partially covered for two to three minutes.

Turn off the heat and serve the hot pineapple gojju with steaming white rice with a dash of ghee. Serve with pappads.

1. The pineapple gojju is my entry to Mixed rice varieties event hosted by EC of
Simple Indian Food.

My other entries for this event are

Kashmiri pulao
Mixed vegetable rice
Chinese style vegetable fried rice
Green peas pulao
Beetroot pulao
Pongal gojju
Capsicum rice

2. The pineapple gojju picture is my entry to 'Click - the photo event' hosted by Jugalbandhi.

The team organising the
JUNE edition of CLICK at Jugalbandi has organised a fundraiser to help Bri and her family meet her out-of-pocket medical costs for ONE YEAR.

CLICK is a monthly theme-based photography contest hosted by Jugalbandi. This month’s theme is: YELLOW for Bri.

The entries can be viewed
HERE. The deadline for entries is June 30, 2008. The fundraiser will extend until July 15, 2008.

The target amount is 12,000 U.S. dollars. We appeal to our fellow bloggers and readers to help us achieve this. Bri deserves a chance to explore all options, even if her insurance company thinks otherwise.

a raffle with exciting prizes on offer. After viewing the list, you may make your donation HERE or at the Chip-In button on any participating site.

Your donation can be made securely through credit card or Pay Pal and goes directly to Bri’s account.

This month’s photo contest also has some prizes. Details

You can support this campaign by donating to the fundraiser, by participating in CLICK: the photo event, and by publicising this campaign. Thank you. My prayers and best wishes to Bri.

Jun 2, 2008


Sweet is one of the five basic tastes and is almost universally regarded as a pleasurable experience. As a token of my love for sweets, I am announcing the event 'Sweet series', with an attempt to compile the innumerable variety of sweets. I have divided the sweets into 8 broad categories. One category for each month. The categories are,

6. Halwa, kathli, burfi & peda

7. Baked sweets - Cakes, pies, cookies, strudels etc and chocolate & toffees

8. Sweet with rice/wheat as main ingredient, diabetic friendly sweets and other sweets that does not come under any of the aforesaid categories.

This month category is Puran Poli & sweet chapathis/rotis.

To participate in this event, please have these in mind.

1. Cook anything sweet that come under the 'category of the month' - Puran Poli & sweet chapathis/rotis and post the recipe with picture on your blog. Recipes posted from Apr 29 2008 to June 30th 2008 will be accepted. Multiple entries welcome.

2. Add a link back to this event announcement. Feel free to use the logo.

3. Please send an e-mail to sweetseries at paajaka dot com with the following info.

* Subject Line: Puran Poli & sweet chapathis/rotis

* Blogger name:
* Blog name:
* Dish Name:
* URL to the post:
* A picture of the dish (250 pixel width).

4. Non bloggers can e-mail me the recipe and the picture and I will include it in the round up.

5. Already posted sweets will be accepted provided NEW POST is created (between now and june 30th) and linked to this announcement. But it will be really fun to create a new dish!

6. The sweet needs to be vegetarian (no egg no meat). Only for the category 'Baked sweets' and for ice cream egg is allowed.

The roundup of the category will be posted within two weeks after deadline. Thank you and looking forward to all your enthusiastic participation!