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Jun 3, 2011

Spicy Vegetable Curry

Though there are many many versions of kurma, masala or other curries, creating a new curry seems to really entertain our taste buds. As the name suggests, this dish is spicy enough, with loads of vegetables in a tomato base, that is flavored with the Indian spices. This curry will go really well with rotis/chapathis, parathas or even pooris. Keeping the base gravy the same, any one vegetable or combination of vegetables can be added. The vegetables I would suggest is, either only potato or only cauliflower or both potato and cauliflower, including or excluding carrots, beans and peas. Here's how I prepared.


Onion - 1 large - chopped

Tomato - 6 - quartered

Potaotes cooked and peeled - 1 cup

Cauliflower florets - 1 cup

Carrots and Beans - chopped - 1 cup

Oil  for seasoning - 1 tablespoon

Salt to taste

Ginger - 1 inch - peeled and chopped

Garlic - 4 pods

(ginger garlic paste can be substituted for fresh ones)

Coriander leaves - finely chopped - for garnishing

Roast the following to prepare a curry paste:

Dhania - 3 tablespoons

Cloves - 5

Dry red chillies - 2 to 3 (as per your desired spice level)

Sonf / fennel seeds - 2 teaspoons

Grind it along with 2 green chillis and 1 cup coconut milk.


Boil the carrots and beans in a quart of water. When it is half cooked, add the cauliflower and allow the content to boil till the vegetables are well cooked. turn off heat and keep it aside.

Mean while, when the vegetables are cooking, heat a teaspoon of oil in a kadai and saute the onion. When the onions turn light brown, add the ginger and garlic and saute for a minute. Then add the chopped tomatoes. Fry for a couple of minutes and turn off heat. Let the content cool.

Puree the onion tomato and keep it aside.

Heat oil in a wide kadai and pour the tomato onion puree. Add water that was used to cook the vegetables and allow the content to boil for about 10 minutes.

Add the ground curry paste and salt and mix well. Let it boil for another 5 minutes and now add the vegetables (carrots, beans and cauliflower) that are cooked along with the cooked potaotes.

Adjust water to desired consistency not make the gravy too watery and allow the content to cook stirring occasionally allowing the spices to combine. Adjust salt.

Turn off heat and garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves. 

Serve hot with fresh rotis or parathas or pooris. 


Jun 1, 2011

Bottle gourd Raitha

Raitha is an accompaniment usually served with any spicy dish. Raithas like cucumber raitha or onion raitha go well with dishes like biryani, parathas, or any rice variety. I prepared this raitha to go along with the huli kootu. A very easy reicpe where the bottle gourd/sorrakkai is diced and cooked and later seasoned. Here is the recipe.


Bottle gourd - medium size - 1

Salt - half teaspoon

Water - half cup

Oil for seasoning - approx. 1 tablespoon

Mustard seeds - half teaspoon

Urud dal - 1 teaspoon

Coriander leaves/cilantro - handful - chopped finely

Thick curd/ yogurt - 1 to 2 cups (I used 1 cup of low fat yogurt)


Peel the bottle gourd skin and dice the vegetable. Grated bottle gourd can also be used for this recipe.

Heat half a cup water in a kadai and add the vegetable, mix salt and cook in medium heat. Very less water is added as the vegetable by itself will leave water when cooked.

When the bottle gourd is completely cooked, turn off heat and allow the content to cool for about 15 minutes.

Mix in the yogurt/curd.

Heat oil and add mustard seeds, when it pops, add the urud dal. When urud dal turns golden color, add the seasoning to the raitha. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Adding slit dry red chillies to the seasoning is optional.

Serve this raitha for any sambar rice or huli kootu rice as an accompaniment.


May 25, 2011

Huli Kootu with green beans and peanuts

Huli, Saaru, Kootu are names of various south Indian delicacies that are enjoyed with white rice. Though the ingredients for spice mixture for all of them are more or less similar, there is a vast difference in the proportion of each ingredient that makes it unique. Kootu can be either huli kootu or sihi kootu. Tamarind is used in huli kootu and not sihi/seeh kootu. For Saaru (rasam), and Huli (sambar), it's okay to use premade spice powder but huli kootu tastes best if the spice mixture is made fresh. Adding fresh coconut definitely adds flavor to this dish, but even with no coconut, the huli kootu is just absolutey delicious. Different vegetables or a combination of vegetables can be used to prepare this dish. The popular ones are winter melon (white pumpkin), beans, brinjal, plantain etc. My mom usually adds peanuts when she prepares kootu with green beans. This gives an extra protein boost to the dish. Here is the recipe for huli kootu with green beans and peanuts.


Cooked toor dal - 2 cups

Tamarind - 1 lemon sized. soak in water and squeeze out the pulp.
(if using concentrate use 1 tsp for dark brown concentrate or 3 tsps for light brown concentrate. I used Lakshmi brand natural tamarind concentrate which is light brown concentrate)

Fresh green beans - chopped to half inch length - 1 and half cups

Dry peanuts - skinned - half cup

Oil for seasoning

Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon

Urud dal - 1 teaspoon

Curry leaves - 2 springs

Salt to taste

Turmeric powder - half teaspoon

Asafoetida powder - quarter teaspoon

Roast and grind the following:

1 table spoon - channa dal

1 table spoon - urud dal

1 teaspoon - black peppercorn

5 - dry red chillis

2 teaspoon - dhania (optional)

Fresh coconut - half cup (optional)

Roast all in a teaspoon of oil except coconut and grind it well with coconut and little water.


Heat oil in a kadai. Add mustard seeds, when it pops, add urud dal and peanuts. Fry until the dal and peanuts become light brown. Add curry leaves and 2 to 3 cups water. Add the tamarind concentrate and allow the content to boil.

When the content heats up, add green beans, turmeric powder, asafoetida powder and salt and allow the content to boil until the vegetable is well cooked.

Pour in the prepared spice mixture and mix well.

Now, gently add the cooked toor dal and mix well.

bring to a boil and turn off heat.

Serve this with white rice and a dash of ghee or oil. Side with raitha or palya (cooked dry vegetable) or pappad (appala).

I am sending this dish to various events taking place in the food blogsphere. Thank you friends for hosting the events.

1. Drive me nuts in taste junction

2. Dish name starts with H in Akila's kitchen



May 24, 2011

Coconut chutney for Iddli and dosa varieties

There cannot be a simpler recipe than the fresh coconut chutney. No cooking involved except the seasoning. It's a typical south Indian condiment for all iddli and dosa varieties. When I googled for coconut chutney, I saw innumerable ways to prepare. I was surprised to see few recipes with dhahi/curd or even lime juice. A variation like this or even adding onions is good for a change, but nothing can beat the real taste of the typical south Indian coconut chutney. Here is a simple recipe that my mom used to do. I, hailing from south (TN), as far as I know, this is the only recipe that my family, friends and relatives in my place do. Try it and you will love it.


Shredded fresh coconut - 2 cups

Note: I used 1 packet of frozen shredded coconut which is 12 oz. I thawed it for 3 hrs, until it reached the room temperature

Roasted gram or pottu kadala - 2 tablespoons

Fresh ginger - 1 inch - minced

Green chillis - 3 number

Salt as required - approx. 1 teaspoon

Asafoetida powder - half teaspoon

Oil for seasoning - approx. 1 teaspoon

Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon

Urud dal - 1 teaspoon

Fresh curry leaves - 1 sprig - chopped

Red chillis - 1


Grind the following together:

Roasted gram, green chillis and ginger.

Now, add fresh coconut, asafoetida powder, salt and three fourth cup water and grind it to a thick consistancy. You may add or reduce the amout of water as per the consistency you desire.

Transfer the content to a bowl.

For seasoning, heat a teaspoon of oil. Add mustard seeds, when it pops, add the urud dal, when it turns light brown, add the slit red chilli and the chopped curry leaves. 

Now, add this sesoning to the coconut chutney. Mix well.

Serve for any iddli or dosa variety.

You can adjust the spice and as well as the consistency as per your taste. Adding roasted gram is optional. Also, grinding the curry leaves with the chutney is a good idea.


May 19, 2011

Vegetable Biryani - Restaurant style

My dear friend perfected her recipe for vegetable biryani that tasted almost like the Coimbatore Annapoorna vegetable biryani that we all love to have. I have been following the recipe many many times from when she blogged the recipe. I have made slight changes to her original recipe. If you follow the recipe word to word, either her recipe or mine, you are sure to enjoy a plate of delicious and spicy vegetable biryani. Here is the recipe for my version of biryani.


2 cups basmathi rice

3 cups water

1 large onion chopped

2 tomatoes quartered

handful of chopped fresh mint

3 cups of mixed vegetables (carrot, beans, peas and cauliflower)

1 cup yogurt

3 (full)cinnamons

3 bay leaves

2 black cardamom

oil for seasoning

cumin powder - 4 tsp

coriander / dhania powder - 8 tsp

turmeric powder - 1 teaspoon

red chilli powder - 2 tsp

salt as required ( almost 1 and half tablespoons)

grind the following using very little water:

5 cloves garlic

half inch ginger chopped

5 green chillies

5 cloves

for garnishing,

ghee roasted cashews

4 slices regular white bread - toasted and cut into pieces


Soak rice in three cups water and keep it aside.

Take a heavy bottomed wide non stick kadai that has a lid. ( I used a 5 quart kadai that has a glass lid)

Heat a tablespoon oil and add cinnamon, bay leaf and black cardamom

Remember that the entire cooking process is done in medium heat.

After a minute in medium heat, toss in the chopped onions and saute until the onion is soft.

Add the ground spice mix and mix well.

Then add the quartered tomatoes and stir for a couple of minutes.

Add the mixed vegetables and salt.

Toss the vegetables for a couple of minutes and pour the yogurt/curd.

Now, boil the water that was used to soak rice, separately.

When the content heats up, add the cumin powder, dhania powder, red chilli powder and turmeric powder and mix well.

When most of the moisture is absorbed, add the soaked rice and the boiling water and mix well.

Cook the content closed for about 10 minutes. Enjoy the aroma that fills the room.

Open and mix in the chopped fresh mint when the rice is half cooked and again close the container.

The rice and the vegetables will be well cooked by the time all the moisture is absorbed. It will take about 5 to 10 minutes. If you have doubt that it is burning in the bottom, stir the content occasionally and remember to close it every time.

When all the moisture is absorbed and the rice is also well cooked, turn off heat and garnish with ghee fried cashews and pieces of toasted white bread. Adding chopped coriander leaves is optional.

Enjoy the piping hot vegetable biryani with onion raita.


Jan 13, 2011

Aloo Bonda / Potato Bonda South Indian style

a couple of bondas plus a cup of coffee or tea equal to bliss. A perfect dish on a rainy day! here is the recipe.


For the filling:

Potatoes (white or red skin) - medium size - 8 to 10

Red onion - medium size -1

Green chillies - 4

Ginger - 1 inch

Little oil for seasoning

Mustard seeds - 2 teaspoons

Urud dal - 2 teaspoons

Turmeric powder - half teaspoon

Asafoetida powder - half teaspoon

Coriander leaves - handful - finely chopped

Salt as required

For the batter:

Besan flour - 1 cup

Rice flour - 3/4 cup (three quarters of a cup)

Turmeric powder - a pinch

Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon

Salt - as required

Baking soda - half teaspoon (optional)

( Note: I did not use the baking soda and the bondas were not crispy. The taste was still good.)

Water - just enough to make a thick batter

For deep frying:

Enough oil to deep fry the bondas


Prepare the filling:

Cook the potatoes. Peel off the skin. Mash well and keep it aside.

Chop the onions and green chilllis very finely. Peel off the skin from the ginger and chop finely.

Heat a tablespoon oil in a kadai. Add the mustard seeds, when it pops, add the urud dal, green, chillis, ginger and onion. Saute until the onions are soft. Now, add the turmeric powder, asafoetida powder, salt, chopped coriander leaves and mashed potaotes and mix well in low heat. DO NOT ADD WATER.

Keep stirring until equal distribution of spices. Keep it aside and allow it to cool. When it's luke warm, make small balls and arrange in a plate. The filling is ready to be dipped in batter and deep fried.

Prepare the batter:

Take a mixing bowl and mix in the besan flour, rice flour, salt, turmeric and red chilli powders and soda if your are adding. Whisk it dry and then add water little by little while stirring continuously. Make sure the batter is thick (thicker than the bajji batter) and there are no lumps. The batter is ready too.

Deepfrying bondas:

Heat oil in a kadai. Test by frying a drop of the prepared batter. The fried batter should come to the surface frizzing.

Hold the mixing bowl near the oil, take a prepared potato ball, dip it in the batter and glide it in the bowl corner to prevent dripping and then slide it gently into the hot oil. You can fry 3 to 4 bondas in each batch.

Make sure the oil in in medium heat. With utmost caution, keep tossing the bondas so that it is fried well on all directions. 

When the bondas turn a little darker than golden brown, take the bondas out carefully and place them in a paper towel lined bowl.

Serve the hot bondas with chutney of your choice. When serving for children keep in mind the filling will be super hot. I did not prepare any chutney and I served it with masala chatpat maggie sauce.


Jan 6, 2011

Tomato Pulao

Wish you all a very very happy New Year 2011. Here I am with all the strength and vigor to start blogging actively. Hope this enthusiasm stays with me. To start with, I have a delicious Tomato Pulao that is spicy and aromatic. With respect to taste, there is a vast difference between cooked rice mixed with tomato and the rice itself cooked in tomato. The dish is cooked in Dum in a non stick heavy bottomed kadai with lid. I have not used any rice cooker or pressure cooker to prepare this dish. Just this one dish with some raitha is enough for a wholesome meal that will be ready in a jiffy to please your taste buds. Here's the recipe.


Basmathi rice - 2 cups

Diced tomato Can - 2

(Note: I used Organics brand diced tomato in tomato juice. Use 4 to 5 red ripe roma tomatoes, if you don't have 'diced tomato' cans - If you grind the tomato, the yield should be 2 or 2 and half cups)

Water - 2 cups

Oil for seasoning

Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon

Star anise seeds - 2 or 3 stars

Dhania powder - 2 teaspoons

Garlic - 4 cloves

Ginger - half inch - finely diced

Green chillis - 3

Cinnamon stick - 1 inch

Cloves - 5 to 6

Bay leaf - 2

Turmeric powder - a pinch

Salt as required

Roasted cashews and coriander leaves for garnish

Ghee (optional) - for flavor


Soak the rice in 2 cups water. Keep it aside.

Chop the onions.

Grind the tomato.

Dry grind the cloves and add ginger, garlic and green chillis. Sprinkle water and grind to a paste.

Take a heavy bottomed wide non stick kadai that has a lid. Heat a table spoon oil and add the cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, bay leaf and star anise seeds.

Add the chopped onions and fry until the onions are soft.

Add the Ground paste (ginger,garlic,cloves,green chillis paste).

Fry for a minute and add 2 cups tomato juice (the pulpy juice) and 2 cups water.

When the content comes to a boil, add the salt, turmeric powder and dhania powder.

Add the soaked rice with the water. Allow the content to boil. Close the kadai with a lid. Preferably with a glass lid. Bring the heat to medium (number 5 from the scale of 1 to 10 if cooking in electric coil).

Give a stir after 10 or 15 minutes and cook closed. Keep an eye on the pulao. Turn off heat if all the water is absorbed. 

Toss in the roasted cashews and flavor the rice with ghee (clarified butter). The rich and spicy aroma of the pulao will fill the room. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and enjoy with  raita of your choice.