Follow Paajaka Recipes on Facebook

Sep 30, 2008

Instant Gooseberry pickle / Nellikkai Oorgai

Before going to the recipe, I am very happy to say that this blog turned 2 yesterday. I started blogging recipes from September 29, 2006 in the name Try This Recipe. Last december the blog got a new name and a new domain Paajaka recipes. I am glad that there were 164K visitors and approximately 350K page views in the last 2 years.

I am a very creative person and blogging has given me an opportunity to show out my talents and as well, has been a gateway for me to connect to the world and to interact with people who share the same interests. In the last two years, I made many many blogger buddies and non blogger friends as well. There is nothing in this world more precious and more inspirational than the sweet comments/feedback I get from friends like you. Thank you so much for your continued support and friendship. With best wishes from you all and with the grace of God, I shall continue posting many more recipes.

Coming to the recipe, here is a very simple instant gooseberry pickle or Nellikkai Oorgai/Urkai as it is called in Tamil. I used one packet, Big size gooseberry that is available in the frozen section in the Indian stores. Apart from the preserved pickles that are prepared in the Indian households, there are pickles that can be made and served immediately. Gooseberry pickle is one such pickle. Here is the reicpe.


Big gooseberry - 5 numbers

(I used one packet of Big gooseberry in the frozen section in Indian stores)

Salt - 1 tablespoon

Chilli powder - 1 tablespoon

Oil - 1 tablespoon

Mustard seeds - half teaspoon

Lemon juice - 1 tablespoon

Turmeric powder - half teaspoon

Fenugreek seeds - half teaspoon

Cumin seeds - half teaspoon


If using the frozen gooseberries, thaw the gooseberry for a minute in the microwave.

Chop the gooseberries and discard the seeds. Keep it in a separate mixing bowl.

Mix in salt, turmeric powder, chilli powder and lemon juice.

Heat oil, add mustard seeds. When it pops, remove from heat and allow the oil to cool off completely.

Meanwhile, dry roast the fenugreek seeds and cumin seeds and grind it together.
Mix this ground powder and the cooled oil (with mustard) to the gooseberry and stir well.

Serve with curd rice.

This is my entry to AFAM - Gooseberry hosted by Illatharasi.


Sep 29, 2008

Oats adai with cauliflower and broccoli

I was fortunate to take part in a cookery competition called Kitchen Khiladi hosted by Cancer Institute Foundation in the bay area. Though I did not bag any prize, it was such a pleasure creating new recipes and cooking in front of audience and judges. It was a wonderful experience and I want to participate every year. It was such a good exposure for me and I got to see and taste a lot of wonderful recipes by other participants. The recipes of all dishes by the finalists can be found in the CIF website.

For the first round I prepared Sweet potato payasam. I will be posting the recipe soon. For the final round we were asked to prepare a dish with either cauliflower or broccoli or brussels sprouts. I created a new dish called oats adai with cauliflower and broccoli. We presented oats adai in three plates with tomato chutney, yogurt and jaggery in each plate. We also prepared freshly sqeezed orange juice. Here is the reipe.

Q: What is Oats adai with cauliflower and broccoli?

A: Adai is a thick variety of dosa. I have used rolled oats, rice flour and split yellow moong dal in combination of the star ingredients cauliflower and broccoli.

Q: Why did I choose to make Oats adai with cauliflower and broccoli?

A: I wanted to create a very healthy south Indian dish that can be prepared very easily. Also, I wanted to preserve the nutrition of the ingredients I use to the fullest extent possible.

Q: Why Oats adai with cauliflower and broccoli nutritious?

A: Oats adai with cauliflower and broccoli is packed with nutrients. I have used a variety of nutritious ingredients and medicinal spices in this recipe that not only fights cancer but also aids weight loss. If you want to follow a healthy diet and are looking for a very easy breezy, filling dish, then, this is the dish you are looking for.

Q: What is special about oats adai with cauliflower and broccoli other than being a healthy dish?

A: I have used onion in this recipe which is optional. You can omit onion if you want a ‘NO onion NO garlic dish’ plus, it is a Vegan dish – I have not used any dairy produts in this recipe.

Following are the benefits of the ingredients that I have used in Oats adai with cauliflower and broccoli.

Broccoli and Cauliflower

I have used these cruciferous vegetables which reduces the risk of cancer. It not only fights cancer but also aids for weight loss because they are negative calorie foods. Negative calorie foods require more calories to digest than the actual calories in those foods. That means it aids for natural fat burning.

Orange cauliflower

I used orange color cauliflower as it is more nutritious since they contain 25 times more Vitamin A than the regular white cauliflower.

Tomato & Broccoli

I made tomato chutney to go with the oats adai that contains broccoli.

The results of a recent research conducted at the Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois, indicates that eating tomatoes and broccoli together may offer better protection against cancer than eating either vegetable alone. "Separately, these two foods appear to have enormous cancer-fighting potential. Together, they bring out the best in each other and maximise the cancer-fighting effect," Erdman said.

Rolled oats

I have used oats which are an excellent source of iron, dietary fiber and thiamin. They also contain antioxidants that are believed to protect the circulatory system.

Turmeric plus Pepper

I have used turmeric, a medicinal spice which contains yellow pigments called curcumin that fights cancer. Studies show that our bodies absorbs curcumin a thousand times more when eaten together with pepper.

Other ingredients that are used in the recipe are

Cumin seeds that aid digestion and rice flour which is a good source of protein, calcium and phosphorus. I have used Moong dal which is very rich in protein. I have used maida in least quantity (just quarter cup for 10 adais) as it is not a gluten free food. I have used oil spray (one spray for one adai) for a fat free cooking.

RECIPE for Oats adai with cauliflower and broccoli

List of ingredients:


Orange cauliflower florets – 1 cup

Broccoli florets – ¾ cup

Red onion – 1 big (optional)

To make the batter:

Ground rolled oats – 1 cup (I used quaker oats old fashioned rolled oats)

Split yellow moong dal – ½ cup

Rice flour – 1 cup

Maida/All purpose flour – ¼ cup

Water – 3 to 4 cups

Spices and herbs:

Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon

Turmeric powder – less then ¼ teaspoon

Ground black pepper – ¼ teaspoon

Asafoetida powder – 2 pinches

Salt to taste

Coriander leaves – handful

For seasoning:

Canola oil – 1 teaspoon

Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon

Ginger – ½ inch

Green chillies – 4 to 5

Oil spray like PAM


1. Grinding, soaking and chopping:

Grind the oats and moong dal together and soak it in 1 cup water and keep it aside.

Use a mini chopper or a food processor to chop the cauliflower and broccoli finely and keep it aside.

Chop the red onions finely.

Chop the green chillies.

Peel the ginger skin and grate it.

Chop the coriander leaves.

2. Prepare the batter:

Take a large mixing bowl. Add the rice flour and maida.

Add a cup of water and whisk well to avoid lumps.

Add the soaked oats and moong dal and mix well.

Add the chopped vegetables and mix well.

Add the cumin seeds, turmeric powder, ground pepper, salt, asafoetida powder and finely chopped red onions and mix well.

3. Seasoning:

Heat oil in a small seasoning pan.

Add the chopped green chillies until it turns pale

Take the green chillies out. (this is to avoid biting on green chillies while eating).

Add the grated ginger to the oil in which green chillies were fried.

Add the mustard seeds, when it pops, add the seasoning with oil to the batter and mix well.

Mix in finely chopped coriander leaves.

4. Adai batter:

Add required amount of water to bring it to adai batter consistency. Mix well and keep it aside. The adai batter is ready.

5. Preparing the adai:

Heat a non stick tawa.

Spray once on the surface.

Pour one ladle of the batter in the center and spread it very little, just to make 4 to 5 inch adais.

Spray oil on top of the adai and keep partially closed in medium heat.

Use a stainless steel sauce pan to cover the adai partially.

After a minute see if the adai comes out without sticking to the tawa.

Flip the adai and again cook partially covered for a minute.

Serve immediately with tomato chutney or plain non fat curd.

Repeat until all the batter is used.

You should be able to make atleast 10 small adais.

This is my entry to four events.
1. Diet foods hosted by Dhivya of Dil se.

2. JFI - whole grains hosted by Suganya of Tasty palettes.

3. WBB - grains in my breakfast hosted by Aparna of My diverse kitchen.

4. Original recipe hosted by Lore of Culinary.


Sep 25, 2008

Thank you Foodbuzz

I am very happy to be a part of foodbuzz which is an exlusive online community of foodies around the world. Tons of recipes from different cuisines and restaurant reviews are the key features in the foodbuzz foodie community. I get to meet a lot of people around the world who share the same interest - FOOD. Time flies whenever I am logged into foodbuzz, grazing on different recipes submitted by the Foodbuzz featured publishers.

For summer, Foodbuzz sent me a surprise gift. I received a cool summer tote with badges printed 'Paajaka', a variety of seeds etc. Thank you foodbuzz, I love the bag and I have been using it almost everyday.

A couple of days ago, I received a suprise gift from foodbuzz again. It was a beautiful apron and a spatula. Thank you once again for sending those gifts.

Foodbuzz rocks!


Sep 23, 2008

Bread and Jam Sandwich

It might be the world's most simplest recipe, but it is still a recipe. I am talking about the very basic bread and jam sandwich. The best comfort food ever. This is a wonderful travel food, specially for people travelling with kids. Young chefs (kids) love to prepare these sandwiches.


Bread slices (your favorite bread) - 6

Jam ( your favorite jam) - 2 tablespoons


Spread the jam on one side of the bread.

Place another bread slice on top of it.

It is optional to cut off the sides of the slices.

Cut it diagonally and enjoy this simple, delicious comfort food.

Different ways of preparing this sandwich:

1. Peanut butter and jam sandwich: Spread jam on one side of the slice. Top it with another slice. Then, spread peanut butter. Top the peanut butter with another slice of bread.

2. Bread butter jam: Spread jam on one side of the slice. Top it with another slice. then, spread butter. Top the butter with another slice of bread.

3. You can do any of the above after toasting the bread.

This is my entry to Eat Healthy - CALCIUM Rich hosted by Sangeeth of Art of cooking Indian food. Bread is a good source of Calcium.


Sep 11, 2008

Spinach Sambar / Palak Soppu Huli / Palak Keerai Sambar

We all know that Popeye made himself super strong by eating spinach, but you may be surprised to learn that he may also have been protecting himself against osteoporosis, heart disease, colon cancer, arthritis, and other diseases at the same time. Learn more about the nutrition and health benefits of Spinach here.

In the below recipe for palak soppu huli (palak soppu is spinach leaves and huli is sambar), I have used the spinach, toor dal and tamarind, added the sambar powder to make a delicious and healthy huli / sambar. I mix this huli with cooked white rice or even make it a sidedish for sambar. Makes a healthy and filling soup too.

We make this huli every thursday. My mom used to say that it is Sri Raghavendra rayaru's favorite and is prepared every thursday in most madhwa households as thurday is Sri Raghavendra rayaru's day. Here is the recipe.


Spinach - 1 medium bunch

Toor dal - ¾ cup

Tamarind paste - ½ teaspoon

(If using the fresh tamarind, extract pulp from one lemon size tamarind)

Oil - 2 teaspoons for seasoning

Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon

Urud dal - 1 teaspoon

Channa dal - 1 teaspoon

Red chillies - 2

Sambar powder - 1 tablespoon. Click here for the recipe

Substitute with 3 green chillies for sambar powder

Turmeric powder - ¼ teaspoon

Asafoetida powder a pinch

Salt to taste


Cook toor dal with 2 cups water. Mash the cooked toor dal (whisk well to mash) and keep it aside.

Chop the spinach leaves and wash it well. You can use half the spinach in the spinach bag available in the Indian grocery store. Keep it aside.

Heat oil in a kadai and add the mustard seeds, when it pops add the urud and channa dal. When the channa dal turns light brown, add the red chillies and the chopped spinach leaves.

Add one cup water. When the content is getting cooked, add tamarind paste, Sambar powder (huli podi), turmeric powder, salt and asafoetida powder.

Let the spinach get cooked well. Now drain the excess water from the cooked toor dal and add the dal to the cooked spinach. Mix well and reduce the heat. Turn off in one boil.

Serve hot with cooked white rice with a dab of ghee or use as a side for chapathi.

This is my entry to FIC - green hosted by Sunshinemom of Tongue ticklers.


Sep 1, 2008

Announcing Sweet series - Deep fried or steam cooked sweets and round up of Sweet series - Chikki and laddu

Before I present to you the beautiful entries that I received for the sweet series chikki and laddu, I would like to announce the next roundup.

Sweet series - Deep fried or steam cooked sweets

Please read the following rules before sending your entries.

1. Cook anything sweet that come under the category of this month - 'Deep fried or steam cooked sweets' and post the recipe with picture on your blog. The sweet that you are sending must be either deep fried or steam cooked only. Example, boondhi laddu, jangri, jilabi etc for deep fried and kozhukattai, modhaka etc for steam cooked sweets.
NOTE: Please do not include deep fried sweets that have a spongy texture like gulab jamun. Though they are deep fried, I want to include them in a separate category in sweet series - sweets with spongy texture. Click here for sweet series categories.

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 Oct 10, 2008. Henceforth it will be 10th of every month and not month end to submit your entries.
(please copy the same format given below)

* Subject Line: Deep fried or steam cooked sweets
* 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 - deep fried / steam cooked sweets (not spongy) will be posted within one week after deadline. Thank you and looking forward to all your enthusiastic participation once again.

Here is the round up of Sweet series - Chikki and Laddu (not deep fried)

A big thank you to all my friends who sent in their entries for the sweet series - chikki and laddu. The entries I received this time brought back my childhood memories. Thank you so much for sending in your lovely entries. Here is the roundup of the different chikki and laddus (not deep fried).
Please click the image to view in original size.


1. Nut bars by Labna Karim of Yummy food

2. Cashewnut chikki by Sukanya Ramkumar of Hot n' sweet bowl

3. Gond burfi by Rupali jain of North ki rasoi se

4. Til Burfi chikki by Skribles of Food with a pinch of love

5. Sesame chikki by Jayasree of Experiements in Kailas kitchen

6. Ellu urundai by Padmajha of Seduce your tastebuds

7. Nutty surprise by Dershana of The Footloose Chef

8. Kamarkat by Srimathi of Few minute wonders

9. Peanut Chikki by Srimathi of Few minute wonders


1. Urad laddu by Yasmeen of Healthnut - Are you eating nature's best?

2. Sunnundalu by Saroja of Kitchen kollections

3. Tambit ladoo by Sheetalof Sweety my kitchen

4. Moongdal laddu by EC of Simple Indian food

5. Wheat flour laddu by EC of Simple Indian food

6. Rava ladoo by Sireesha of Mom's recipies

7. Chigali unde by Lakshmi of Taste of Mysore

8. Siru ma laddu by Usha of Samaikalam vanga

9. Maledi undi by Sheetal of Sweety my kitchen

10. Rava Laddoo by Padmajha of Seduce your tastebuds

11. Sathu maavu urundai by Jayasree of Experiments in Kailas kitchen

12. Wheat flour laddu by Sireesha of Mom's recipies

13. maa laddu - pottu kadalai urundai by Nags of Edible garden

14. Wheat flour laddu by Archy of Archy's recipes

15. Kuler bajra laddoo by Meera of Enjoy Indian food

16. Coconut laddu by Bhawana of Tastes of India

17. Wheat flour laddu with ghee residue by Mythreyee of Paajaka recipes

18. Rava laddu by Pavani of Food lovers

19. Moong laddu by Uma of Essense of Andra

20. Rava laddu by Sujatha of Spicy Khazana

21. Dates Ladoo by Priti of Indian Khana

22. Wheat flower laddu by Maheswari of Beyond the usual

Previous Sweet series roundup:

Puran poli / Sweet chapathi roti

Cool desserts

Click here for sweet series categories

Please let me know if any of your entry is not included in this roundup. Thank you friends and looking forward for your enthusiastic participation once again for sweets that are deepfried or steam cooked.