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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.