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Aug 26, 2008

Click Lemon Pickle

Here is my entry for the CLICK - CITRUS food photography event hosted by Jai and Bee of Jugalbandhi. The original post with the recipe and this photo is here.


Aug 25, 2008

Wheat laddu with ghee residue

Ghee is nothing but clarified butter. Ghee is used extensively in Indian households for sweets and many other dishes. It is prepared by melting unsalted butter until the liquid turns honey color. We usually filter the residue and use the clear ghee in cooking. We usually discard the ghee residue which is dark in color. It is the burnt butter that remains in the bottom of the pan when preparing ghee. I have used this residue in making wheat laddu. Ghee residue is called Thuppada gassi in kannada. Here is how I prepared the laddus.


Ghee residue - 1 tablespoon

Ghee (clarified butter) - 2 teaspoons

Wheat flour - three-fourth cup

Granulated Sugar - half cup


After draining the ghee, you will find some residue at the bottom of the pan. Do not drain all of the ghee. Leave a couple of teaspoons of ghee.

To this residue add wheat flour and keep stirring in reduced heat in the same pan, until the raw smell goes away from the wheat flour.

To this add sugar and keep mixing. Drops of water can be added if there is no moisture at all.

When the sugar blends well with the flour, turn off heat and wait until you can hold and make a ball in your palm when it is still warm.

Use all of the flour to make tasty wheat laddus.

This is my entry to sweet series - chikki laddu event hosted by me.


Aug 21, 2008

Donate for a heart

Srivalli of 'Cooking for all seasons' is organizing a fund raiser to help Lakshmi who is now suffering from a heart disease. More details click here. Since Lakshmi's family could not afford the cost of the operation, our friend Srivalli has started a campaign to raise enough money to cover the costs and give a life to that twenty eight years old Lakshmi who is a mother of two and who is fighting for her life. Let's join Srivalli in supporting for this noble cause. There is a tamil saying "Siru thuli peru vellam" literal meaning "Little drops make a flood", so let this fund raiser be. You can support this campaign by donating to the fundraiser, and/or by publicizing this campaign. Let us all pray that Lakshmi should soon recover from this heart disease. Click the chip in button for donation.

Aug 19, 2008

Rajma curry

An eye catching, tasty and a healthy dish for rice or roti that can be made using very few ingredients. One such dish is Rajma curry. Rajma is otherwise called red beans or kidney beans. Here is one simple and delicious curry using rajma. This curry is based on Mallika badrinath's Rajma curry in her Vegetarian Gravies cook book.


Rajma (dry) - half cup

Tomatoes - 5 to 6 red ripe juicy

Make a course paste with the following:

Onion - 1 large preferably red

Garlic - 5 pods

Oil - 1 tablespoon

Red chilli powder - 1 to 2 teaspoon

Dhania powder - 2 teaspoon

Turmeric powder - quarter teaspoon

Salt to taste

To garnish:

Finely chopped coriander leaves


Soak rajma in water overnight or atleast 10 hrs. Drain the water and pressure cook rajma with one cup water for 2 to 3 whistles. Keep rajma separately. Preserve the water.

Blanch the tomatoes:

Blanch the tomatoes: Boil water and add the tomatoes. After a few minutes the skin will peel off. Drain water and cool it. Remove the skin completely. Finely cut the tomatoes and keep it aside.

Heat oil in a kadai and fry the ground masala paste. When oil separates from the masala add finely cut tomatoes. Cook with half cup water in reduced heat.

Add the cooked rajma and add enough water (use preserved water) and cook for five minutes.

Turn off heat and garnish with finely cut coriander leaves and serve with rotis/chapathis.

This is my entry to Curry mela hosted by Srivalli of Cooking for all seasons.


Aug 15, 2008

Grilled mango chutney

Grilling the fruits caramelizes the natural sugars in them. Grilled fruits and vegetables are a healthy choice that seduces the tastebuds. I had very ripe mangoes and I grilled them in my electric grill to make chutney using very few ingredients. My electric grill has non stick surface. Here is how I prepared.


Ripe mangoes - 2 large

Ginger - quarter teaspoon grated

Green chillis or jalapeño - finely chopped - half teapoon

Salt as required

Lemon juice - half teaspoon (use only if the fruit is very sweet)

Oil spray


Peel the skin of the mangeos. Slice and discard the seed.

Heat the grill until the surface is very hot.

Spray oil on the surface.

Place the mango slices on grill.

Cook for apporximately 5 minutes on each side or until nicely browned with grill marks.

Remove mango from grill. Chop them finely and transfer it to a bowl.

Add the ginger, chillies, salt and lemon juice if required.

Stir and use as a spread for bread or use as a side for chapathi.

I did not use lemon juice since the fruit was already a little sour.


You may choose to grill firm ripe mangoes since it will retain its shape and it is less messy.

If using the firm ripe mangoes, chop the grilled mangoes into small cubes, add other ingredients along with finely chopped red onions to make a tropical salsa.

This is my entry to Monthly Mingle - Grill It!

Aug 13, 2008

Beans carrot palya

Beans and carrot palya is a very simple and delicious vegetable side for any south Indian rice variety. I have simply seasoned the microwave cooked vegetable with salt, mustard seeds and urud dal. Here is the recipe.


Chopped green beans - 1 cup

Diced carrot - ¾ cup

Salt to taste

Oil for seasoning - 2 teaspoons

Mustard seeds - ¼ teaspoon

Urud dal - 1 teaspoon

Turmeric powder - less than ¼ teaspoon

Asafoetida powder - 1 pinch

Desiccated coconut - 1 tablespoon


Wash the carrot and beans together. Drain water and transfer it to a microwave container. I used the Microwave rice cooker.

Microwave on high for 8 minutes partially opened.

Heat oil in a kadai and add the mustard seeds. When it pops, add the urud dal.

When the urud dal turns golden, Reduce heat and add the cooked beans and carrot. Stir.

Add the turmeric powder, asafoetida powder and salt. Stir until even distribution.

Turn off the heat and garnish with desiccated coconut.

Enjoy this vegetable with rasam rice, sambar rice, curd rice or how ever you want. I sometimes wrap in with chapathi or just fill a bowl full of this palya and enjoy it as such.

This is my entry to

1. MEC - Potluck Party hosted by Srivalli of Cooking for all seasons

2. Independence Day theme hosted by Pooja of Creative Pooja.

Thank you Srivalli and Pooja for hosting the event.

Aug 9, 2008

Kitchen Khiladi competition in SF Bay area

The Kitchen Khiladi cooking competion is held in SF Bay area conducted by
Cancer Institute(WIA) Foundation, Inc., (100% Affiliated with Cancer Institute(WIA), Adyar, Chennai, India). All the doctors there are dedicated to give free care to poor cancer patients.To know more, please visit the website . This is the first year CIF is conducting a cooking competition and be a part of it. The show is conducted by volunteers of CIF Cancer Institute Foundation) which is affiliated to the Adyar Cancer Institute in Chennai.

About CIFWIA: Cancer Institute Foundation (WIA) is a US based organization (volunteer groups) dedicated to raise funds and support the Cancer Institute (WIA), Adyar in all aspects of Cancer Treatment and Research. The Cancer Institute WIA (Women India Association), Adyar, Chennai is One of A Kind Institution in India whose mission is to offer the best care when the disease strikes, regardless of who it is. The Institute has been delivering free cancer care for thousands of needy patients over the past 50 years. "Today, the Cancer Institute is the only free standing, non-profit, non-Government, autonomous institution that provides excellent care".

Kitchen Khiladi sponsored by: Madras groceries (Sunnyvale) and Hotel Bhimas (Milpitas).

First round: You cook at home and bring the sample for judging

Second round (semi finals) : Take all the ingredients and cook in front of judges

Third and final round (finals) : You cook there in front of audience and judges

Details here.

Do you want to show your cooking talents? Hurry up! participate in this wonderful competition. Don't miss this golden opportunity.

Click here to register. It is free. You might be the iron chef SF Bay area.

Aug 4, 2008

Pasta with Pesto and homemade Marinara sauce

Pasta is one simple and delicious wholesome meal. Preparing a simple pasta dish is very simple. If you have few basic ingredients, a delicious wholesome pasta meal can be prepared with homemade marinara sauce. I have used whole wheat penne pasta and that makes the dish more healthy. Here is the recipe.

Whole wheat penne rigate pasta - half box (approximately 6 oz) - I used Ronzoni healthy harvest whole wheat blend penne rigate pasta

Canned tomato puree or canned crushed tomato - one and half cups ( or blanch 5 ripe large tomatoes and grind)

Garlic cloves - 5 (crushed)

Ground pepper - quarter teaspoon

Salt as required

Ready made fresh garlic and basil pesto sauce - 2 tablespoons

Olive oil - 2 tablespoons

Italian seasoning (dry) - a little less than quarter teaspoon

Pitted and sliced olives - handful

Parmesan cheese as required

Water - half cup


Cook the penne pasta:

Boil 2 quarts water with 2 teaspoons salt and add half box pasta. Stir occasionally. Cook until pasta is tender. When pasta is cooked, drain water using a colander. Keep is aside.

Preparing the sauce:

Heat olive oil in a saucepan and add the crushed garlic, ground pepper and tomato.

Allow the content to boil in medium heat. Stir occasionally.

When it is boiling, add the Italian seasoning, the pesto sauce, half cup water and quarter teaspoon salt.

Keep it partially closed and let it cook until the oil separates. Turn off heat.

Set the plate:

Take a scoop of cooked penne pasta in a plate. Add the prepared sauce on top. Top it with olives and grated parmesan cheese.

This pasta is my entry to the following events.

Food in colors - Red - event hosted by Sunshinemom of Tongueticklers.

A.W.E.D - Italian event hosted by Dhivya of Culinary baazar.

Herb mania - Basil event hosted by Ammalu of Ammalu's kitchen.

La Cucina Italiana event hosted by Meeta of What's for lunch honey.

Thank you for hosting the wonderful events. Looking forward for the roundups.

Aug 1, 2008

Website not opening in internet explorer

Dear readers,

For some reason, this website is not opening in the Internet explorer. I get a dialog box reading "Internet explorer cannot open the internet site ..... Operation aborted". I don't know the reason for this. Sorry for the inconvenience.

I am happy that this website works fine in firefox browser.

Thanks to my blogger buddy for bringing this to my notice.

Hope to solve this problem soon.


Announcing sweet series - chikki and laddu and roundup of sweet series - cool desserts

Once again a huge hit. Thank you so much for pouring in the entries for the sweet series - cool desserts.

Before I present the roundup, I want to announce the next sweet series event for the month of August, 2008.

sweet series - Chikki and Laddu.

Please read the following rules before sending your entries.

Click here to learn about chikki

Laddus (not deep fried) - Laddus made of flour/rava/dal/nuts etc are accepted.

NOTE: Please do not send in entries that are deep fried. Please do not send in Burfi. They will come under a different category. There is a difference between chikki and burfi. Chikki is a made of pure Indian cane sugar called jaggery is heated and mixed it to nuts, sesame seeds or poha and shaping it before it hardens. There are three common types, with either nuts (mostly peanuts), sesame seeds, or puffed rice. Note that the jaggery is used only to coat the roasted nuts/sesame or crisp poha. Burfi is when the content is mixed continuously in heat and then laying it in a flat plate and cutting into diamonds after it cools a little.

1. Cook anything sweet that come under the category of this month - 'chikki and laddu (not deep fried)' and post the recipe with picture on your blog.

2. Multiple entries welcome. Your entries can be from your archives. All you need to do is edit that post and add a link to this announcement. But it will be really fun to create a new dish!

3. If you are sending from your archives, create a new post and add a link to your entries and this announcement. You do not have to rewrite the recipe. This is just to bring to the notice of your visitors, so they can send in their entries. - This is optional.

4. Feel free to use the logo.

5. The sweet needs to be vegetarian (no egg no meat).

6. Please send an e-mail to sweetseries at paajaka dot com with the following details on or before August 31,2008. (please copy the same format given below)
* Subject Line: Chikki and laddu
* Blog author:
* Blog name:
* Dish Name:
* URL to the post:
* A picture of the dish (250 pixel width).- Please send only JPG files.

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

8. The roundup of sweet series - chikki and laddu will be posted within one week after deadline. Thank you and looking forward to all your enthusiastic participation once again.

Here goes the roundup for Cool desserts.
I thank each and every one who sent in their cool desserts. Thank you for the support.

Categories under cool desserts:

Payasam - Kheer - Phirni

Milk shakes - Fruit (no alchohol) cocktails -Ssmoothies - Juice

Ice cream - Kulfi - Gelato



Fruit salads - custards - mousse

Sweet and sour spicy drinks


Kesari Mishthan
by Sheetal of My kitchen

Bengal gram payasam by EC of Simple Indian food

Mango payasam by Rekha of Plantain leaf

1001 sweet lassi by Ramki of One page cookbooks

Sorakaya Payasam / Bottle gourd Kheer by Suma of Veggie Platter

Semiya payasam by Vani of Illatharasi

Phirni by Vani of Illatharasi

Happala karadha paayasa by Padmajha of Seduce your tastebuds

Haal obbittu by Padmajha of Seduce your tastebuds

Paruppu payasam by Radhika of Tickling palates

Semiya payasam by Mythreyee of Paajaka recipes

Idichu pizhinja payasam by Mythreyee of Paajaka recipes

Cornflakes kheer by Sujatha of Spicy kazhana

Milk shakes - Fruit (no alchohol) cocktails -Smoothies - Juice

Avocado Milk shake
by Sailaja Prakash of Aroma from my kitchen

Summer cooler by Sheetal of My kitchen

Strawberry Smoothie by Sheetal of My kitchen

Rasberry smoothie by Sheetal of My kitchen

Kiwi smoothie by Sheetal of My kitchen

Coffee choco-chip shake by Skribles of food with a pinch of love

Papaya smoothieby Sunshinemom of Tongue ticklers

Apricot almond delight by Sireesha of Mom's recipies

Shahi Kulfiby Ashima of Tummy times

Grape juice by Radhika of Tickling palates

1001 easy mocktails by Ramki of One page cookbooks

Orange Banana Smoothie by Sireesha of Mom's recipies

Hibiscus Milk by Vani of Illatharasi

Mango milkshakeby Vani of Illatharasi

Honeydew grape watermelon milkshake by JZ of tasty treats

Kiwi strawberry smoothie by JZ of Tasty treats

Carrot milkshake by JZ of Tasty treats

Cappucino milkshake by JZ of Tasty treats

Strawberry almond kheer by Srimathi of Few minute wonders

Pineapple juice by Priti of Indian khana

Badam paal by Mythreyee of Paajaka recipes

Strawberry milkshake by Mythreyee of Paajaka recipes

Chikoo milkshake by Apu of Annarasa

Strawberry mint soda by Lubna Karim of Yummy food

Mango milkshake by Sangeeth of Art of cooking Indian food

Flax blueberry smoothie by Yasmeen of Healthnut

Nature's best drink by Yasmeen of Healthnut

Iced mocha latte by Maheswari of Beyond the usual

Banana smoothie by Labna karim of Yummy food

Cantaloupe and grape juice by Trupti of Recipe center

Strawberry lemon iced tea by Cham of Spice club

Ice cream - Kulfi - Gelato

Watermelon yogurt ice cream
by Divya Vikram of Dil se

Pista badam kulfi by Sheetal of My kitchen

Spiced peach and honey gelato by Aparna of My diverse kitchen

Shahi Kulfiby Ashima of Tummy times

cherry icecream with chocolate chips by Jyothsna of Curry bazaar

Strawberry Icecream by JZ of Tasty treats

Heavenly plum sorbet by Priya of Live to cook

Mousse au chocolat - Chocolate mousse by JZ of Tasty treats

Chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich by Labna of Yummy food

Homemade eggless vanilla ice cream by Srilekha of Me and my kitchen

Mango ice cream by Sailaja of Aroma from my kitchen


Strawberry popsicle
by Dhivya of DK's culinary baazar

Red grape ice candy by Sheetal of My kitchen

Fruity popsicle by Cham of Spice club

Mango lassi
by Sheetal of My kitchen

Mango lassi by Mythreyee of Paajaka recipes

Mango lassi by JZ of Tasty treats

Mango custard lassi by Srimathi of Few minute wonders

Fruit salads - custards - mousse

Fruit salad by Sailaja of Aroma from my kitchen

Milky fruit salad by Sireesha of Mom's recipies

Mango fruit salad by Srimathi of Few minute wonders

Mango fruit custard by Srilekha of Me and my kitchen

Cranberry rabadi by Notyet100 of asankhana

No bake Mango pie by Usha of My spicy kitchen

Mango Coconut panna cotta by Sig of Live to eat

Grilled apple and mango with strawberry jelly by Vani of Illatharasi

Mango cream jello by JZ of Tasty treats

Winter dry fruit compote by Labna Karim of Yummy food

Quick rasberry souffle by Medha of Cook with love

Red Grapes and Strawberry Semifredo by Sunshinemom of Tongue ticklers

Fruit custard by Saleem of A recipe a day

Shrikand by Dershana of The footloose chef

Quick mango dessert by Karuna of Foodie by nature

Sweet and sour spicy drinks

Kairi ka Jaljeera
by Sheetal of My kitchen

Mango jaljeera by Radhika of Tickling palates

Mixed vegetable and fruit juice with rose tea by Lakshmi of Cooking station

Ginger grape punch by Sweatha of Curry leaf

Pomegranate juice by Shreya of Mom's cooking

Kairee panha by Neha of Tasty recipes

Kairi panha by Sowmya of Creative saga

Previous Sweet series roundup:

Puran poli / Sweet chapathi roti

Please let me know if any of your entry is not included in the cool desserts. Thank you bloggers and looking forward for your enthusiastic participation once again.