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Monday, September 30, 2013

Lemon Semiya -Semolina bath

Semolina (Vermicelli / Semiya ) bath is a quick and easy week day dinner or breakfast. When you want add a small twist to the vermicelli upma you can add lemon or lime flavors. I have seen this dish made in vermicilli ads. I tried this the other day and my little one liked it a lot. Here is the recipe.

Preparation Time:5 min
Cooking Time:15 min

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Green Channa Paratha

The other day I came across fresh Green Channa in our Indian Grocery Store. I have heard and read about green channa but never used it before. I brought some and used them as stuffing for parathas. It came out good. You can try this with regular channa as well.Enjoy

Preparation time:10-15 min 
Cooking time:20 min 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Vegetarian Black Bean Soup|Spicy Bean Soup

        Black Bean Soup-One of the classical dishes of Cuba,Mexico is black bean soup.This is a Spicy vegetarian version(no meat) of black bean soup with chili and coriander powder.We usually have this soup for dinner at least once a week.Soak the beans for minimum 8 hours if using dried ones.If in case you forgot ,soak the black beans in hot water for 4 hours at least.
    Lentils are the staple protein diet for any vegetarian.Being a vegetarian i love all the beans and lentils.This black  bean soup has been my favourite for almost 3 years now.

 Health benefits of  Black turtle bean :
      Black bean is iron rich and is rich in potassium,magnesium,calcium and vitamin B6.Also rich in folate and has high dietary fibre.

Variations you can make with this soup:
  1.  You can add grated cheese or cheese slices to make a creamy soup.
  2.  You can use canned beans , filter the water and wash the beans again in fresh water.
  3.  You can use fresh sliced mushrooms.This step is completely optional.
  4. You can use hot sauce along with chili and coriander powder.

black bean soup
                                 *this pic of soup is without mushrooms and cheese.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pesarattu|Moong Dal Dosa

       Pesarattu is a Dosa  unique to Telugu cuisine/Andhra.Pesarattu is made out of Green moong/Moong dal but unlike a dosa, it does not contain Urad dal.Its green colour attracts kids more so you can put this moong dal dosa in their mouth without much fuss.You can also make pesarattu paniyaram or small pesarattu dosa along with grated carrot and nuts with the same moong dal batter.
pesarattu dosa

        I love this pesarattu because it is healthy and it tastes wonderful.Making pesarattu with sprouted moong dal makes your breakfast even more healthier.In andhra pesarattu is served with upma,or onions in the middle .I instead added finely chopped onions to the dosa batter.To make the dosa crispier you can add rice flour to the batter andcan  oil to the bottom while making dosa.

Moong dal dosa

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Rotini pasta with White sauce.

My little one loves pasta, I guess she takes after me. Fettucini Alfredo is one of my favorites. I make pasta once a week for dinner. Its a quick and easy week night dinner. When buying pasta I usually get the whole wheat or whole grain ones. Pasta dishes with sauce are usually high on calorie count. Using a whole grain pasta is one way to make it a little healthy I guess. I used Whole grain Rotini in this recipe. I made a White (Bechamel) sauce to toss the pasta in. This was the first time I made white sauce and it came out well. Here is the recipe.

Cooking time:30 min

Monday, September 23, 2013

Chettinad Kosumalli-Eggplant Stew-Guest Post Linseys Blog

Today I am sharing a guest post in Linsey Patel's blog. I am really stoked because this is my first guest post ever. When I started the blog, I was looking for some support and asked Linsey for help and she was gracious enough to let me do a guest post. Thanks again Linsey.

Linsy hosts a very popular blog. Her recipes are delicious, I have made and enjoyed a few of her recipes. You guys will too.
 Please check out Linsey's blog and find  my Chettinad Kosumalli (கோசுமல்லி )/ Eggplant Stew recipe

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Root Vegetables Curry-Pirattal Chettinad Style

This Vegetable curry (பிரட்டல்) is made almost exclusively with root vegetables. This curry is made with Potatoes, Carrots and Beetroots. Sometimes Cauliflower and Butter Beans do get added. I never really saw butter beans here in the US, but the other day I found them in a Mexican grocery store. Its called fresh pinto beans. I brought some to make this curry.

This is any easy way to get kids to eat their vegetables. This recipe uses fennel and coconut and is rich in flavor. You will find this dish getting served in Chettinad Marriages and Functions. Here is the recipe.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Coconut Curry leaves Chutney -Thengai Thuvayal

Coconut chutney (தேங்காய் துவையல்) is a side dish that can be prepared in no time. The best  part is you can eat this with pretty much everything. My hubby mixes this chutney with steamed rice and some sesame oil and eats it for lunch.

My grand mom used to make this recipe with a lot of curry leaves.She did not have a single strand of gray hair till she turned seventy. She said that her secret was eating a lot of curry leaves. Now I don't know if this is true, but the chutney is really yummy and its very nutritious.

Curry leaves are green in color and unique to South India. They have an interesting aroma and flavor. You will find them being used as flavor enhancers in South Indian dishes. Almost all South Indian dishes will call for the oil to be tempered with curry leaves. You can find  semi- fresh curry leaves now in almost all Indian grocery stores in the US. They are usually pretty good.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

FenugreekLeaves Sambar( வெந்தய கீரை சாம்பார்)

I like to include to greens in our diet a lot. Fenugreeak ( Methi ) leaves are one of my favorites. I usually make Methi dal. Today Instead of making the regular, I made Methi Sambar. I know, it's along the same lines. But the finished product tasted very unique and it was really yummy.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Onion Tomato Gravy | Chettinad Special Vengaya Kosu

      Onion Tomato Gravy/Vengaya Kosu is an authentic Chettinad dish. Its a perfect side dish for Idly and Dosa. This is my husband's favorite side dish. I make it once a week at least. Idly/dosa and Vengaya Kosu is all that he needs.
       It's  a  Kuruma without any vegetables.Basically a thick gravy made with Onions, potatoes,tomatoes and Coconut. There is something unique about the flavor of this dish. When you eat a steaming hot idly with this onion tomato gravy you will never ever forget the taste of it.You will find this curry being served in Chettinad marriages and functions.

Onion tomato gravy for idli ,dosa

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mint Pulav -Pudina Saadam

I love making one pot meals.You can make a weekday lunch in no time. Today I made Mint Pulav and Carrot Raitha to go with it. My Hubby and Daughter loved it.

Mint has medicinal properties and is known to aid digestion. In general I try to use greens in our every day diet.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Raw Banana fry -Vaalaikai varuval

Raw Banana (வாழைக்காய்) and Indian egg plant (கத்தரிக்காய்) are two vegetables which get used almost always in Chettinad cuisine. In weddings and functions they get used in a variety of ways.

When I was a kid we used to have Curd rice with Raw banana fry for lunch. It brings me back memories. This is a Chettinad specialty and every house hold has its own version. Off late I have had a hard time finding fresh raw bananas. I got lucky this weekend, I found some fresh bananas in the Indian grocery store. I ended up buying four of them and used two in this recipe.

Preparation time:5 min
Cooking time:20-30 min

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Vada and Sambar recipe-Chettinad Style

      Vada is a famous South Indian appetizer. In Chettinad Marriages and festivals Vada is usually served during breakfast and also as an evening snack along with Idly. Idly is steamed and it's usually soft and fluffy, Vada is deep fried and it is crunchy. The crunch of the Vada goes really well with the softness of the Idly.

       This Vada Recipe is an authentic Chettinad recipe. It uses Urad dal and its very nutritious even though its deep fried. It can be served as a snack or as an appetizer.
       The traditional accompaniment for Vada is Sambar. You can find a dish called Sambar Vada in almost all South Indian restaurants. Its Vada soaked in Sambar.
      I have included a traditional breakfast Sambar recipe in this post. It uses green chilis for the spice instead of sambar powder. It tastes quite different from the other styles of Sambar.


Preparation time:20 min
Cooking time:20-30 min

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Poondu Kulambu Recipe

    Poondu Kulambu or Poondu Vengaya kulambu is a traditional chettinad style kulambu.
 You can make this kulambu with just Shallots and Garlic pods, no other vegetables are required .Then the kulambu is Summa kulambu. In case if you want to include vegetables ,major choices are okra,brinjal,drumstick.I make brinjal drumstick kulambu too.The use of Shallots ,Garlic and Sesame oil makes this kulambu truly memorable even without any vegetables.
     This Poondu kulambu can be stored in the fridge for a few days or it can stay at room temperature for 2-3 days too.Kulambu actually tastes better the second day.  This is due to the fact the flavors get concentrated making the kulambu super tasty. This is a staple kulambu in our homes. My mom makes her version my Mother in law makes has her own version. This recipe is a hybrid between the two. I made this poondu kulambu for lunch couple of days ago and had some left over. We actually had it for dinner along with curd rice.

Poondu Kulambu

Whitepumpkin and GreenGram Kootu

A Traditional Tamil lunch usually has a Kootu (கூட்டு) and a Porial (பொறியல் ) as side dishes.

Kootu usually has a vegetable and a Dal simmered together. This particular recipe uses green gram instead of dal and it also uses coconut.

Nagarathar's were renowned traders. They had businesses in South East Asia including Burma, Malaysia and Singapore. The use of coconut and exotic spices in Chettinad cuisine is due to the Burmese influence.

Preparation time:5 min
Cooking time:10-15 min

Friday, September 13, 2013

Bruschetta with an Indian Twist.

My family loves Italian cuisine. The first time I tried Italian cuisine was in Bangalore at a restaurant called Spaghetti kitchen. I was not impressed at that time. After we moved to the US we tried Italian food at few  places. I was impressed and I have become a big fan of Italian cuisine. Olive Garden is my favorite Italian restaurant.

Bruschetta is an Italian Antipasto ( Appetizer). Usually it consists of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with salt and pepper. You can also top it with Vegetables, Cheese, Sliced Deli Meats and more.

My daughter is very fond of Rusk ( An Indian dry Bread usually consumed as a snack). I made Bruschetta with rusk this evening as a snack for my daughter.

Cooking time:10 min
Serves: 2

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Egg Gravy Chettinad Style | Muttai Kulambhu

I am not a big fan of Eggs. If and when I do eat them, I make it a point to have hard boiled eggs. As a kid I remember eating boiled eggs in gravy. This was the only way that my mom could get me to eat eggs. I don't eat meat either so I eat eggs twice a week to get protein in my diet.

This egg gravy  (முட்டை  குழம்பு ) recipe is a traditional chettinad/karaikudi recipe. The use of coconut and poppy seeds (கச கசா) makes this dish unique. I made this for lunch today and wanted to share this.

Preparation time:10 min
Cooking time:20 min

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Rava Kichadi-Step By Step Pics

         Rava Kichadi is a very simple breakfast or dinner . When we grew up my mom used to make Rava upma when supplies were running low . I am not a big fan of Rava Upma actually.So my mom makes me something special when she prepare this rava kichadi.
     After my marriage, I had a chance to taste my mother in law's Rava kichadi. It was fabulous and I have been hooked ever since. She was kind enough to share the recipe with me and also gave me a few tips to make it extra yummy. I made this for breakfast this morning and it came out good.

Rava kichadi

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

PineApple Rasam

Rasam is a watery soup served as an appetizer. In South India people eat Rasam Sadham as second course for lunch. I usually make Rasam once a week.

In Regular Rasam Tamarind is used to provide the tangy taste. This recipe uses pineapple instead
of  tamarind. It reminds me of the sweet and sour dishes that you get in Chinese restaurants.

This week I brought a pineapple, and had some of it left over. I thought I would make Pineapple Rasam today. In Chettinad Marriages Pineapple Rasam is served as a special dish. Its a tasty variation to regular Rasam.

Preparation time:10 min
Cooking time:10 min


Yesterday was Ganesha Chaturthi and I thought of making Modhagam as offerings to lord Ganesha. When I think of modhagam my mind takes me to Pillayarpatti, a small village near Karaikudi. The Karpaga Vinayagar temple in Pillayarpatti is very famous and a must see attraction when you visit Chettinad .

In Pillayarpatti modhagam is the prime offering to lord Ganesha. Modhagam is a sweet dish made with rice and dal mixture.

Preparation time:10 min
Cooking time:15 min

Beetroot Kola.

Beetroot is a highly nutritious vegetable. Unfortunately kids and even a lot of adults do not like beetroot. In chettinad cuisine we use beetroot to make vada and kola. Beetroot kola is one of my daughter's favorites. She eats it in no time.Process seems to be bit time consuming but at the end you will be happy when your dearies eat them right ?

You might be intrested in curries like
Veggie Curry
RawBanana Fry
Pumpkingreengram Kootu

Preparation time:15-20 min
Cooking time:20-30 min

Monday, September 9, 2013

Vara Milagai Chutney-Thuvayal

Varamilagai Thuvaiyal is a dish unique to chettinad. Every chettinad household has a variant of this chutney. Tomatoes, Onions and Red Chilis get ground up raw which is unique. Usually we would saute the ingredients while making a tomato based chutney. Vara Milagai in tamil means dried red chili. The use of dried red chili's give a unique flavor to this dish.

This chutney goes well with Idly and Dosa. It also goes really well with Wheat dosa. I love wheat dosa with this chutney. I can never get enough of this combination. My Husband's Grandma who is 80 loves this chutney. She does not cook anymore but she still asks my mother in law to make it for her.

Preparation time:2 min
Cooking time:6-7 minutes

Idly-Malligai poo(step by step pics)

      Idly is the defacto breakfast in all four south Indian states. The softest and yummiest Idli's I have had have always been from a Chettinad kitchen. Call me biased but it is a fact. My husband who travels quite a bit, always says that Nothing can beat a Chettinad Idly.
     Idly is very nutritious and very easy to digest. When we moved here I tried making Idli's with a Blender. It's doesn't come out  as soft as a Chettinad Idly but its definitely not bad. It sure beats the Idli's that you get at Indian restaurants here in the US.

Check for chutney recipes  that goes with idly:
  1. Coconut chutney 
  2. Beetroot Chutney
  3. VaraMilagai Chutney

Soft idly

Preparation time:5-6 hrs soaking and grinding 40 min
Cooking time:10 min

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Pepper Chicken Gravy-Chettinad Style

        My Daughter loves chicken, she takes after her dad. Once a week I try to make chicken.
I am a veggie and before marriage I used to avoid non-veg like the plague. I remember that my mom used make everything separately for me.
       These days I do make chicken for my daughter and my husband. This Pepper chicken gravy  is one among the dishes i prepare, in typical chettinad style. The use of  fresh black pepper makes this gravy really authentic according to my husband. Chettinad  pepper chicken gravy and fry are really famous all over the world. This recipe is a hybrid recipe from a few sources , My Grandma, My mom and My mother in law.

Chicken gravy

Preparation time:15 min
Resting Time:1/2 hour 
Cooking time:45 min

Sambar-Chettinad style

Today morning we had pongal along with sambar an unbeatable combination. After our move to the US we usually have pongal almost every sunday or every other sunday. I have kinda became an expert in pongal sambar.

The best pongal I have had has to be ghee pongal at Saravana Bhavan, I can never forget the taste.
We are fortunate to have a Saravana Bhavan here in the east coast. I like their mini lunch which is combination of bisibelabath, sweet pongal and curd rice.

This sambar is  hybrid between chettinad style and madras style and  you can eat with anything Dosa, Idly, Pongal  and Vada. In chettinad style sambar we use only green chilis for spice and we do not use sambhar powder. There will be another post on Vada  Sambar soon.

Preparation time:5 min
Cooking time:15 min


Pongal takes me down memory lane to my college days. Us hostelers used to eat pongal on Tuesdays for breakfast. We had a hard time keeping awake in class after eating pongal. I remember that I used to ask questions in classes just to keep awake. 

That said I assure you that this recipe wont be heavy, due to the seasonings used. This is a simple and a fast recipe cooked in a pressure cooker. Its also very nutritious. I tweaked my mom and mother in laws recipe and came up with this.

Cooking time:15 min

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Vegetable Kuruma -Restaurant style

Vegetable kuruma is a famous side dish usually served with Parotta , Chappathi and Idiyappam. Vegetable Kuruma in Saravana Bhavan is one of the best that I have tasted. The first Saravana Bhavan opened in chennai is very near my husband's home. After our marriage we have had food in that branch of Sarvana Bhavan many times. Parotta Kuruma is one of the dishes we usually used to order.

I came across this recipe in Amud's blog ('cookndine') and she mentions that she actually got it from a Saravana Bhavan chef. Many people with high cholesterol avoid Kuruma because of the high coconut content, but the ground coconut paste can be added at the end of the cooking process  to make it  relatively healthy.

You can make this in pressure cooker to save time. Sometimes vegetables can become mushy, so I usually steam the veggies in an idly pot. 

Preparation time:10 min
Cooking time: 15-20 min

Idly Milagai Podi

This is my first post ever. I thought I would keep it simple and start off with a classic tamil condiment- Idly podi. Pretty much in every tamil kitchen you will find a variant of Idly Podi. This is especially true in our Chettinad kitchens. 

My 3 year old is crazy about podi. She loves podi with Dosa & Idly .Especially when she throws a tantrum about eating Idly I will lure her with podi and bingo she will finish the entire thing. My hubby always has to have podi with dosa. It doesn't matter even if there are other sides. It's my favourite too, podi is all you need if you have Idly or Dosa batter.

Preparation time:20 min
Yields:around 100 grams

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