Monday, March 31, 2014

Paneer Methi Malai

Week ends are always special.It feels good to take a break from  routine and relax and do something on a slow pace.This is when we get to enjoy our food together as a family along with some chit chats and so on.

Something interesting and also simple is my key on week ends, so that I get some time to spend together.This weekend we had this rich and creamy paneer methi malai as our week end delight. The aroma from butter and methi along with cream will make you go for extra load.

Fresh methi is the key ingredient here as it gives lot of flavor to this dish. Also the mild bitterness from methi along with onion and tomato gives a unique taste to this gravy.If you cannot find fresh methi leaves , you can use dry methi | kasuri methi too.

We enjoyed it with warm rotis and raita.


Paneer|Cottage cheese ............................ 3/4 cup (cubed or triangled)
Fresh Methi leaves|Fenugreek leaves.......  2 tbsp (cleaned & prepared) * see notes
Heavy cream | fresh cream........... ........... 2 tbsp
Red onion ................................................  1 (chopped finely)
Tomato ....................................................   2 (chopped finely)
Red chilli Powder .....................................  1 tsp
Coriander Powder ....................................  1/2 tsp
Ginger garlic paste ....................................  1 tsp
Garam Masala       ....................... ............ 1/2 tsp
Cashew nuts .............................................. 5 
Butter ....................................................... 2 tsp
Oil ............................................... ........... 2 tsp
Salt ........................................................... to taste


  1. Heat oil in a deep pan.
  2. Once the oil is hot, saute the onions until translucent.
  3. Add ginger garlic paste and saute for about a minute for the raw smell to vanish.
  4. Add chopped tomatoes,cashews, red chilli powder, coriander powder and little bit of salt.
  5. Saute until tomatoes turn mushy.
  6. Blend it to a smooth puree.
  7. In another deep pan melt butter along with oil.
  8. Saute the methi leaves until they start releasing aroma.
  9. Add the onion-tomato puree and salt and let it come to a boil.
  10. Now reduce the heat and add paneer.
  11. Cover and cook on simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.
  12. Turn off the heat.
  13. Now add cream and sprinkle the garam masala on top.


For preparing methi,

  • Wash thoroughly and chop it roughly.Add 1/4 tsp salt and leave it for 10 minutes.This will make methi release some water. Squeeze the water out and discard if you want to reduce the bitter taste from methi.

  • Substitute with 1 1/2 tsp kasuri methi | dry fenugreek leaves

Friday, March 28, 2014

Melon coolata

After a long struggle, it looks like winter has bid farewell and now the day starts bright and warm. I believe that bright sunshine brings positive hope and the birds chirping near your porch uplifts your mood . Now I want to refresh my house and spring cleaning is calling me.Getting ready to start growing my own herbs.So how about a  healthy, refreshing, preservative free, low in sugar drink?

Growing up in India, I have enjoyed lot of tropical and seasonal fruits and fresh juices.I really miss the Indian mangoes, chikoos, jack fruit and so on. My Mom used to include mint, lemon and ginger in fresh juices whenever applicable.With that inspiration, here i have kept it simple with fresh fruits and tender coconut.

As tender coconut water is rich in minerals and helps in hydration,use it liberally to help your body accomodate the sudden change of weather from 10's and 20's to 50's.

Now , lets quickly go through the recipe.


Tender coconut water ..................... 1 cup ( I used fresh , you can used flavored or bottled)
Clemetines  ..................................... 3 (Squeeze the juice)
Canteloupe / Musk melon  ................ 1/2 cup juice ( Chop' blend and strain)
Honey ............................................. 2 tbsp ( You can use sugar too)
Ginger root ...................................... 1 inch
Fresh Mint ....................................... 5 or 6 leaves


  1. Use a mortar and pestle and crush ginger and mint leaves.
  2. Mix all the ingredients along with ginger and mint and leave it so that ginger and mint infuses well.
  3. Refrigerate and Strain and enjoy.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Soy-nugget Pilaf

After three days of traditional cooking, me and my family wanted some change."Something that you haven't done " came from my son. "Something healthy "- my dear hubby.This is what we are going to enjoy tonight.

Wholesome soy-nuggets or soy chunks cooked with fresh and whole spices along with fresh herbs ...My house is filled with aroma. Usually I make pulao with basmati rice but for a change I tried it with regular Sona masoori rice. It was equally good.

Here goes the recipe


Rice..................................1 cup * see notes
Soy chunks .......................1/3 cup
Onion ............................... 1 medium (thinly sliced)
Tomato ............................. 1/2 
Cinnamon..........................1 inch stick
Bay leaf ............................2
cardamom                          1
Clove ................................1
Ginger................................1/2 inch
Green chilli ........................ 1
Garlic   ..............................2 cloves
Yogurt ............................... 2 tbsp
Oil   ................................. 2tbsp
Ghee .................................1 tsp
Kitchen king masala...........1 /4 tsp
Mint and coriander leaves .. Handful
Salt ................................... to taste

lemon juice (optional)........ 1 tsp


  1. Wash and soak rice for 10 minutes.
  2. Bring a pot of water to rolling boil.Turn off the heat and add soy chunks with some salt and turmeric.
  3. After 10 minutes , drain and squeeze the excess water.
  4. Heat oil and ghee in a heavy bottom pan and add whole garam masala items and saute for 10 secs.
  5. Add onion and saute till golden brown.
  6. Add the soy chunks and saute well.
  7. Then add ginger + garlic + green chilli paste and saute well. 
  8. Now add yogurt and mix thoroughly.
  9. Add the drained rice along with salt and garam masala and add required water.
  10. Add chopped mint and coriander leaves and mix well.
  11. Cook it until almost all the water is gone and then cover and keep it in simmer.
  12. Add lemon juice (if adding) and mix well.
  13. Turn off the heat after 5 minutes.

Enjoy hot and aromatic pulav with any raita of your choice.


For basmati rice , rice and water ratio is 1:2
For sona masoori I used  1: 3.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Pepper Rasam

Finally after all hard and tough winter, Spring is here.Countless joy and rejoice on seeing bright sun in the morning and much awaited longer days are here.

After bringing all joy and happiness ,spring also brings allergy and cold and cough due to sudden change of weather.To givea tough fight to the cold and cough ,sore throat and allergy, I'm bringing pepper rasam today.

This is a must recipe in many of the South Indian houses during rainy days . Simple recipe with few ingredients from your pantry but very effective and tasty .


Tamarind                1 tbsp ( tightly packed)
Pepper                    1 tsp
Cumin                      1 tsp
Dry Red Chilli          2
Clarified Butter         1 tsp
Asafoetida               1/2 tsp
Turmeric                   1/2 tsp
Salt                           to taste


Mustard  seeds         1/2 tsp
Cumin     seeds         1/2 tsp
Curry leaves             few


  1. Soak the tamarind in warm water and extract the juice.
  2. In a small pan dry roast pepper ,cumin,red chillies for a minute. Grind it to a coarse powder.
  3. Heat Ghee/clarified butter in a deep pan and add the tempering ingredients.
  4. When mustard crackles, add the ground powder and saute for 15 seconds.
  5. Add the tamarind extract along with salt,turmeric,asafoetida.Heep the heat to medium.
  6. Let it come to a boil slowly.
  7. Once you see the froth forming,Turn off the heat.

Serve it hot with steaming rice and papad.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Garden Salad Sharing my favorite on Friday Fiesta

Salad is something that has become a part of our dinner these days. So I started exploring new ideas and variations for the same.One such recipe is this where you can use almost whatever you have.Very simple and versatile. Each time when you add  something new to this salad , it becomes more tastier :)

I have used a fresh homemade vinaigrette with lemon and orange.The mild sweetness from the orange and sourness from lemon and the aroma and zing from the lemon rind just works wonderful with this salad.

Now lets get to the recipe


Purple cabbage (Thinly shredded )            - 1 cup
Carrot (julienned )                                    - 3/4 cup
Granny Smith Apple(julienned)                  - 1 cup
Lettuce (Thinly shredded)                          - 1 cup
kalamata olives                                             Few
Pickled jalapeno                                           Few
Croutons                                                      Few
Parmesan cheese                                          As needed

For Vinaigrette

Lemon Juice                                           2 Tbsp
Orange Juice (Freshly squeezed)             1 Tbsp
Olive Oil                                                 2 Tbsp
lemon Zest                                              1 tsp


Mix all the ingredients for  vinaigrette in a small bowl and whisk together completely.

In a wide bowl , take all the vegetables and add the vinaigrette and mix thoroughly.

Top it up with croutons and Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.


You can add cherry tomatoes and baby spinach too. Also be liberal with your cheese.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Beans Usili | Beans with bengal gram Guest post

Hi Friends! You , me and all of us are connected here by one common interest, FOOD. After I started blogging , I have got some really good friends too. One such friend is Sonal.I'm so happy to mention that her timely inputs on blogging have given me lot of confidence.I'm amazed by her commitment and honesty. She blogs at simplyvegetarian777.Visit her for more vegetarian recipes .One fine day she asked me to do a guest post for her.I was happy as well as thrilled as this will be my first guest post.

Check the original post here : Simplyvegetarian777

Now coming to the recipe , it is an authentic item on any TAMBRAHM weddings.This will be a filling and nutritious side dish .

Here is the recipe ...


Green beans            11/2 cup (Finely chopped)
Split Bengal gram    1/2 cup
Dry Red Chillies      3
Turmeric Powder     1/4 tsp
Asafoetida 1/4 tsp
Salt To taste


Oil                           2 tsp
Mustard Seeds       1/2 tsp
Split Urad Dal       1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves        1 sprig


1.Soak Bengal gram for an hour along with dry chillies.
2.Grind soaked Bengal gram , red chillies, Asafoetida, turmeric and salt and some water (2 tbsp) to a coarse paste.
3.Boil the chopped green beans with very little water and little salt for few minutes so that it is cooked but still crunchy and set aside.
4.Heat oil in wide pan and add mustard seeds.
5.When mustard starts crackling, add the rest of the tempering ingredients.
6.Now add the coarsely ground paste and continue to stir continuously and cook in medium flame.
7.Slowly you will see the Bengal gram starts to form a mass and try to break them into tiny pieces.
8.This will take around 15 minutes but keep stirring and breaking the pieces into tiny balls and crumbs.
9.The size of the crumb should resemble petite green peas.
10.The end product is called Usili in Tamil.
11.Now add the cooked green beans and mix well.
12.Give it a taste and adjust if you need some salt.
13.Simmer and cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Traditionally this dish is served with Mor Kuzhambu, but you can also enjoy with Kadhis too.
Serve it as a side dish for rice or enjoy with roti.

Note :
You can try this recipe with long beans / cluster beans/capsicum too.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Potato Podi Roast

If at all there is a vegetable universally liked by kids and adults, then it must be potato.How many recipes of this humble vegetable across the globe!! But the craze never ends.

For me , potato is a life saver.Whenever I run out of fresh veggies , he comes as a saviour.This is a typical South Indian style of potato preparation, where some freshly ground spices are used to elevate this simple potato curry to another level.When you bite a piece of potato, along with spices , the crunchiness from the roasted bengal gram and coriander will make you go for another load .

As this humble recipe pairs well with any kind of kuzhambu or rasam ,gives you the opportunity to make it anyday and every day.

Now lets head to the recipe..


Potato                            2 cups ( diced to slightly bigger cubes)
Turmeric Powder            1/4 tsp
Red Chilli Powder           1/2 tsp (adjust to your level)
Asafoetida                       1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds                 1/2 tsp
Split Urad                        1/2 tsp
Oil                                   1 1/2 tbsp
Curry Leaves                   few
Salt                                  to taste

To roast and grind

Bengal Gram                  1 tbsp
Dry red chilli                   1
Coriander seeds              3/4 tsp


  1. Heat a pan on medium high and dry roast the ingredients given under 'Roast and grind' until bengal gram turns golden brown and coriander seeds gives a nice aroma.
  2. Cool it and grind it to a coarse powder and set aside.
  3. Now heat oil in a heavy bottom pan and add mustard seeds.
  4. When Mustard crackles , add urad dal and curry leaves.
  5. When urad turns golden color add the potatoes along with turmeric,red chilli powder, asafoetida and salt.
  6. Mix thoroughly so that each piece of potato is well coated .
  7. Keep cooking on medium heat, stirring once in a while.
  8. When the potato is 90% cooked , sprinkle the freshly ground  spices on top.
  9. Mix gently .
  10. Cook it on simmer for another 5 minutes.

Serve it hot with Rice and any Kuzhambu / Rasam and some papad.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Mini Uthappam platter

This was my idea for a weekend breakfast platter for quite some time. Happy that during Holi festive days I made this. Being a South Indian I'm celebrating holi with different colors on my plate.

I believe that imagination can always take us to different level if carried out in a proper way.In North we make paratha with different stuffings.South, We make different uthappams. An interesting fact is that whatever  you can't stuff inside a paratha can go and sit happily on top of a dosa.

Now lets head to the recipe straight away . You need little patience as the expalnations are bit lenghthy.

Common Ingredients

Dosa batter.

 Paneer Uthappam

Paneer                       1/2 cup     crumbled
Red chilli powder       1/4 tsp
Coriander leaves        few
Kasuri methi               1/4 tsp
coriander powder       1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder        1/8 tsp
Amchur powder          1/4 tsp
Salt                             to taste

Mix everything well and use.

Cauli flower Uthappam

Grated cauliflower      1/4 cup
Red chilli powder       1/4 tsp
kasuri methi                1 tsp
Turmeric                     1/8 tsp
Kitchen king masala     1/4 tsp
Salt                              to taste

Heat oil in a pan and add all the items and saute well for 5 minutes.

Garlic and Mor-milagai Uthappam

Garlic                10 chopped finely
Mor milagai       4 to 5


Heat oil in a pan over medium.
Roast the Mor milalagai to slightly brown color.
Add chopped garlic and roast. ( Do not brown the garlic as it will give a bitter taste).

Onion and podi Uthappam

Red Onion                 1 Chopped finely
Idli Podi                      2 tsp

Carrot and curry leaf Uthappam

Grated carrot              1 cup
Curry leaf powder       2 tsp (Substitute with idli powder / paruppu podi )

Tomato and coriander Uthappam

Tomato                       1 big (Finely chopped )

Coriander leaves         1/4 cup (Finely chopped)

 Making Uthappam

Heat a griddle and pour a ladle of dosa batter.
No need to spread as dosa as uthappams are made little thicker.
Add desired topping.
Drizzle little oil along the edges.
After a minute flip it and cook for 30 sec.

Serve it hot with chutney and sambar.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Mini Idli with Tiffin Sambar - Reliving childhood memories

Whenever we used to visit a particular restaurant in my native, I would always go for mini idli with sambar.
The cute little idlis floating on a bowl of hot sambar and some ghee on top....I'm drooling when I'm descrbing it now also.I have enjoyed these in my childhood.I wanted to give the same joy to my son.

Last week a friend of mine had brought me mini idli plates from India While he enjoyed these mini cuties ,I enjoyed his facial expressions.Now feeling blessed as a MOM.

Now lets straight away head towards the recipe :)

For mini idli

Prepare the dosa batter as mentioned here.

Use mini idli plates instead of regular ones.

Tiffin Sambhar


Split moong dal            1/2 cup

Red onion                    1 chopped

Tomatoes                     2 big (chopped )

Turmeric Powder          1/4 tsp

Tamarind                      I marble size * see notes

Green chilli                   1 slit vertically
Salt                              to taste
Fresh coriander leaves   few.

To roast and grind

Dry Red chillies     3
Channa Dal           1 tsp
Coriander seeds     1 1/2 tsp
Coconut                 1 tbsp


  1. Dry roast the ingredients given under "to roast" and grind it to a fine paste with some water.Set aside.
  2. Pressure cook the moong dal,onion,tomato,green chilli with salt,turmeric and 1 1/2 cups of water.
  3. Once the steam is off the cooker , open the cooker and add tamarind extract and the ground paste.
  4. Let it boil for 10 minutes.Check the seasoning and add fresh coriander leaves.Turn off the heat.

Serve it hot with a spoon of ghee on top.


You can avoid tamarind , if you have tomatoes that are sour.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Rasam Powder

South Indian meal is incomplete without rasam. The taste and flavor of the rasam depends upon the rasam powder involved in the preparation. The fresh rasam powder gives the best flavor and aroma to the dish.
After I posted rasam recipes,many of you have asked for the rasam powder recipe.So, this post is for you.

As I have mentioned here,fresher one tastes better.Since we can't do that every day , you can prepare this rasam powder and store it for a month in an airtight container and use accordingly.I follow my Mom's recipe so here you go.


Coriander seeds                    1 cup
Dry red chilli                          1 cup
Toor dal /pigeon pea              1 fistfull
Pepper                                  3 tsp
cumin seeds                           2 tsp


Heat a heavy bottom pan and dry roast the ingredients just until you get the aroma from spices and red chillies turn crisp.

Transfer it into a blender while it is still warm.

Blend it to a coarse powder.


  1. The rasam powder has to be coarse, only then you get the watery consistency of rasam.
  2. Always store it in an airtight container.
  3. Freeze the excess powder, while storing a little amount for daily use.This will help to maintain the flavor.
  4. Add turmeric powder while making rasam.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Baked Tindora Kurkure | Kovakkai

This is a vegetable I tasted after marriage as it was not  readily available in my native. Some of my neighbors in my place have told me that they use this vegetable to clean wooden surfaces (!!).Though  I was skeptical for few times in the beginning,slowly I got used to it.

All through the year it is available in  Indian grocers in US.Last week I got lot of this kovakkai (Tamil) / tindora as there was a deal. I believe that necessity brings the best in you.See, that's how this recipe happened.Since I  wanted to use very little oil  but still wanted crunchy and crispy product , I chose to bake it . 


Tindora / Kovakkai                          1 1/2 cup
Red chilli Powder                             1 1/4 tsp
Turmeric                                           1/4 tsp
Asafoetida                                        1/4 tsp
Rice Flour                                         2 tsp
besan/chick pea flour                        2 tsp
Salt                                                  to taste
Oil                                                   2 tsp


  1.  Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Wash and drain tindora and cut it into thin vertical slices.
  3. Transfer it into a microwave safe  bowl and add  a tbsp water.
  4. Microwave for 2 minutes in high.
  5. In a wide bowl ,take all the dry masala including salt and mix well.
  6. Now add the cooked tindora to it and mix thoroughly and ensure that each piece is well coated.
  7. Spread it as a single layer in a sheet tray and drizzle oil on top.
  8. Bake for 7minutes, flip them once and bake for another7 minutes.

Serve it warm with rice or chapathi.


You can cook this in stove top too.In that case, heat a kadai with oil and cook in slow flame until you get a crispy texture.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Methi and onion Kadhi

Who said North can't meet South?To me North met South through this simple kadhi. Yes. It is something similar to Mor Kuzhambu from South but slightly different from that. Got confused?

This is a simple yogurt based gravy that can be made with minimal effort.This is my first trial of this recipe, but I'm telling you I felt amazed at the taste and felt why did I miss this recipe so many years. Thanks to Mrs.Reem Khan for this yummy recipe.It was a complete bliss for me.

In traditional South Indian recipe we use coconut.But this recipe is without any coconut... not to under estimate as this tastes awesome.Also , you can try making your own variations with different vegetables.

After I made this, I was waiting to see the response from my hubby and my 7 year old.To my surprise they both also loved this recipe.Without further ado, lets see the recipe now...


Onion                                    1 med ( diced or sliced)
1 tbsp  crushed / ground
Fresh Methi   leaves       1 /2 cup

Turmeric powder             1 tsp
 Chilly powder                 
1 1/2 tsp
 Dhania powder              
1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds            1/2 tsp
mustard seeds                
1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds                   
1 tsp
1/2 tsp
 Dry Red  chilly                2
Yogurt                                 1 cup ( Sour preferably)
Besan/chick pea flour  2 tbsp
Salt                                       to taste
Water                                  About 1 cup  but check for consistency while boiling
 Oil                                       1 Tbsp (coconut oil preferably)
Coriander                          for garnishing

Cured green chillies/ Mor milagai few.(optional)
Curry leaves             few


  •  Mix besan and yogurt ,whisk together to get absolutely no lumps.
  • Wash methi leaves couple of times to take off the grit.
  • Roughly chop the leaves.
  • Heat oil in a deep pan and add mustard seeds.
  • When mustard crackles , add fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds,whole dry chillies and mor milagai and curry leaves.
  • Add chopped onion ,garlic and saute until onion is translucent.
  • Add methi leaves along with asafoetida, chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder.
  • Saute until the raw smell from the spices goes away and methi leaves  starts giving a nice aroma.
  • Add the yogurt  and besan mixture and keep stirring constantly keeping the heat medium high.(It shouldn't curdle)
  • Now add salt and water and bring it to a boil while continuously stiring .
  •  After 1 boil it will stabilize so you need not stir anymore.
  • Now simmer for 10 minutes.
  • You will notice oil floating on the top.
  • Turn off the heat .
  • Garnish with coriander leaves.
Enjoy this with roti or over a bed of steaming rice along with a spicy vegetable and you will say " It was a bliss " along with me.


  • You can make this with only onions too. Also with okra or with mixed veggies. 
  • I like the flavor of coconut oil with yogurt based gravies as it enhances the taste.You can use any oil.
  • I added mor milagai to give the touch of  south , you can avoid that too.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Pineapple Rasam

Today I'm bringing my comfort food again.Yes, its rasam again but this time its Pineapple rasam.You can make this interesting rasam quickly and in few minutes your kitchen will be filled with wonderful aroma.

First taste of this rasam happened to me in a wedding but I couldn't get the recipe.But my hunt for the recipe continued for next 3 years until I got the perfect one.The sourness from tamarind and sweetness from pineapple and the spices from rasam powder will blend in such a way that you will fall in love with that.(Thats what happened to me :))

Since this recipe doesn't require any dhal ,makes  it simple and quick.With few leftover pieces you can make this rasam.What else you can demand from such an interesting recipe? Just go for it!!!!!!!


Tamarind                            1 tbsp(tightly packed)
Pineapple                            1/4 cup (chopped)
Rasam Powder                    1 tsp
Pepper                                1/2 tsp (freshly fround)
Turmeric powder                 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida                           1/4 tsp
Curry leaves                         1 sprig
Coriander leaves                  few
Salt                                      to taste


Ghee                                   1 tsp
Mustard                              1/2 tsp
Cumin                                 1/2 tsp


  1. Soak tamarind in warm water for 15 minutes.
  2. Divide 1/4 cup  pinapple into 2 parts.
  3. Puree 1 part of the pinapple.
  4. Heat a pan with ghee.
  5. Add the tempering ingredients.
  6. After mustard crackles , add the tamarind extract.
  7. Keep the heat in medium.
  8. Add rasam powder , turmeric,salt and asafoetida and a cup of water.
  9. Add the reserved part of pineapple chopped.
  10. Let it boil for 10 minutes.
  11. Add the pureed pineapple to it along with curry leaves and coriander leaves.
  12. Let it boil for for another 5 minutes.
  13. Now you will see some foam forming on the top.
  14. Turn off the heat.
Serve it with steaming rice along with some ghee and a vegetable of your choice.