Thursday, March 31, 2011


Mullangi (Radish) Sambar

Sambar is one such recipe that is prepared at least 2-3 times a week at every Tamil Home.
I came to know from a TV History news that Sambar came to existence during the period of a Tanjore King called Shahji. I checked with wikipedia and found to be correct.
Coming to the history, Shahji was fond of a dish called Amti which could not be prepared as some of the ingredients were out of stock. So he experimented with Tamarind, Vegetables and Pulses available here. It was also served to his cousin, Sambaji who visited him. Everyone enjoyed and named it Sambar after the Guest, Sambaji.
Vegetables ¾ cup (350ml cup)
Ripe Tomato (Medium) 2
Toor Dhal ¾ cup (200ml cup)
Sambar Powder 2 tbsp or to taste
Turmeric Powder  ¼  tsp
Asafoetida crystal  1 / Asafoetida Powder 2 Pinch
Water 4-5 tbsp (for Tamarind Juice)
Tamarind  ‘Gooseberry or Nellikkai’ (small) size
Salt 1 ¾ tsp or to taste
Water 5 cups (approx) (350ml cup)

For Seasoning:
Mustard Seeds 1 tsp
Split Urad Dhal ½ tsp
Pearl Onions 5
Curry Leaves 4
Coriander Few
Sesame Oil


Cut Tomato into halves.
Cut vegetables into pieces.
Soak Tamarind in 4 tbsp of water only for 2 mins. Extract Juice.
Chop Pearl Onions and Coriander.


Cook Toor Dhal till it turns to a paste.

Heat Pan or Kadai. Add Vegetables and Sambar Powder. Fry without oil for 2-5 mins on a low flame. Add cooked Toor Dhal. Squeeze Juice from Tomato. Add it along with its skin. Add enough Water, Turmeric Powder, Asafoetida , Salt and stir well.
Boil till Vegetables & Tomatoes are cooked and the raw smell goes off. Add the Strained Tamarind Juice. Boil for five more minutes.


Heat Oil in a Pan. When hot, add Mustard seeds. When popped, reduce flame and add Urad Dhal. Few seconds later, add Pearl Onions and Curry Leaves.
When onions turn translucent, switch off flame and add Coriander. Mix well. Add this seasoning to Cooked Sambar.

Serves : 4
Serve with Rice and any Poriyal/Dry Curry.


Toor Dhal can be soaked for 30-45 minutes to make it cook well and faster. It is necessary to soak Toor Dhal if water used for cooking is hard water.
Tamarind Juice should not be thick as we add Tomato too. So do not extract more Juice from Tamarind or do not soak for longer time.
Also Sambar should be little watery and not very thick.

Sambar can also be made only with Pearl Onions and without vegetables. This is called as Vengaya Sambar (Onion Sambar) and this goes well with Idli, Pongal or Dosa rather than with Rice.

Suggestions for Vegetables that can be used in Sambar:
Brinjal (Kathirikkai Sambar)
Chayote (Chow Chow Sambar)
Drumstick (Murungakkai Sambar)
Drumstick Leaves (Murungai Ilai or Murungai Keerai Sambar) (Do not add leaves initially; add them later as they cook faster).
Hyacinth/Indian Beans (Avaraikkai Sambar)
Ivy Gourd (Kovakkai Sambar)
Okra / Ladys Finger (Vendakkai Sambar)
Radish  (Mullangi Sambar)
Raw Mango (Mangai Sambar)
White Pumpkin (Vellai Poosanikkai Sambar)

Beans and Carrot
Drumstick and Brinjal
Drumstick and Hyacinth/Indian Beans
Drumstick and Raw Mango (Use only one Tomato)
Drumstick and Radish
Drumstick, Raw Mango and Jackfruit Seeds (Use only one Tomato)
Drumstick and Jackfruit Seeds
Drumstick and White Pumpkin. You can also try Yellow Pumpkin (Manjal Poosanikkai). But it gives a sweet taste.

While preparing Sambar with Raw Mango, do not add them initially add them later when sambar boils well and other vegetables are almost cooked (if added). Also cut Raw Mango into larger pieces.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Peas and Carrot Pulao --- In Pressure Cooker

Being a slow eater, I had very less time to try my friends' lunch boxes during my school or college days.When my best friend brought this dish (about 11 yrs back), I was tempted to eat this because of its good aroma and appearance. She started bringing this exclusively for me. When I learned that she made it by herself, I took down the notes and tried at home. I think this was the first recipe for me to try out new other than my mom's own. This is a perfect recipe when we are running out of time or tired or need to impress guests soon as there is no grinding and no hard work.

Basmati Rice 1 ¼ cup (200 ml cup)
Peas ¼ cup (200 ml cup)
Carrot Big 1
Onion Medium 1
Green Chillies 2
Bay Leaf 1
Cloves 3
Cinnamon a small piece
Water 2 ½ cups
Salt  1tsp
Butter  / Ghee


Soak Basmati Rice for 15-20 minutes.
Chop Carrot finely. Cut Onion lengthwise. Slit Chillies.

Heat little Butter in Cooker. Add Basmati Rice and fry on a low flame for 2-3 minutes. Keep it aside.

Heat required Butter in Cooker. When hot, add Bay Leaf, Cloves, Cinnamon, Chillies.  When they turn slightly brown, add Onions and fry till translucent.

Now add chopped Carrot and fry till it becomes soft. Now add Peas and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add Rice, Salt and water. Stir well and close the lid. Cook on a medium to high flame. 

Switch off the flame immediately after one whistle. Release the heat using a ladle. (Just lift the weight).  Transfer to an other vessel or serving bowl and mix well. This makes the grains separate.

Serves: 2-3
Serve with any spicy Kurma or Gravy and/or Egg Fry.

Note: This Pulao tastes better if served soon after cooking. 
This Pulao does not include Ginger or Garlic. If you are very much particular in adding these, you can add ½ tsp chopped Ginger and ½ tsp chopped Garlic. Add them while frying Onions.
You can also add chopped Beans and grated Cabbage.
My friend used to grate carrot and add it after cooking which gives a different aroma, look and appearance. 

Pulao ready in Cooker

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kovakkai / Ivy Gourd Fry

Ivy Gourd is one such vegetable that helps regulate glucose level in blood. Ivy Gourd got its popularity very recently. During my childhood days, I have never seen these available plenty in vegetable market like now.
Kovakkai 200g
Sambar Powder 1tbsp (leveled)
Pearl Onions 4
Curry Leaves 5
Mustard Seeds ¾ tsp
Salt ½ tsp


Chop Pearl Onions. Chop Kovakkai into thin circular pieces.


Heat Oil in a Pan. When hot, add Mustard Seeds.When popped, reduce flame. Now add Pearl Onions and Curry Leaves.
When Onions become translucent, add chopped Ivy Gourd. Fry on a medium flame till done.

Serves: 2-3
Serve with Rice and Sambar.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Keerai Poriyal / Spinach Stir Fry

It is a well known fact that Keerai has got high nutritional content . Keerai takes very less time to cook. But it takes more of our time for cleaning and chopping. Usually I clean it a day before and chop it the next day whenever I am going to prepare.


Keerai / Spinach (any variety) 
Grated Coconut 4 tsp
Dried Red Chillies 2
Cooked Toor Dhal 2-3 tbsp
Mustard Seeds 1/2 tsp
Split Urad Dhal 1/4 tsp


Thoroughly wash the Spinach and chop it.


Heat Oil in a Pan. When it is hot, add Mustard Seeds. When Popped, reduce flame and add Split Urad Dhal, Chillies. When they turn slightly brown, add the Spinach and Salt.

Mix well and cook on a low flame till done. Need not add water. Spinach cooks with the water it has within. Once done, add grated coconut, cooked toor dhal and simmer for few more minutes.

Serves: 2-3
Serve with Cooked Rice and any Kuzhambu or Sambar.

Few Don'ts in cooking spinach:

Do not cook/fry it for a long time.
Do not squeeze it while rinsing.
Do not add water while preparing stir fry as it oozes out water. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Kadalai Paruppu / Channa Dhal Koottu

Snake Gourd - Channa Dhal Koottu
Usually Koottu is served as side dish. But this can also be served as Main Course.This is prepared in the form of semi solid, neither watery like Sambar nor as dry as Poriyal/DryCurry. Koottu means "to add" in Tamil. Here it means adding Vegetables and Dhal together. Learn more about Koottu here. This is a low oil recipe and so is a good food for aged and babies.

My 1.5 year old son is very much fond of this recipe, for whom I started preparing this often. He likes to have koottu prepared with Yellow Pumpkin and Rasam.. Vegetables cooked with Dhal and Coconut gives a very unique taste. I always wonder how does this tastes so much good inspite of usage of no special masala.


Kadalai Paruppu / Channa Dhal ½ cup (200 ml cup)
Vegetables 200g
Dried Red Chillies 1-2
Jeeragam /Cumin ¾ tsp
Grated Coconut 4 or 5 tsp
Turmeric Powder ¼ tsp
Asafoetida Powder a pinch
Salt 1 tsp or to taste

For Seasoning:

Mustard Seeds 1 tsp
Curry Leaves 5
Pearl Onions 5


Grate Coconut.
Grind Together: Coconut, Cumin and Dried Red Chillies.
Chop Pearl onions into fine pieces.


Cook KadalaiParuppu / ChannaDhal.

Cook Vegetables with enough water in a pan. Add cooked Channa Dhal when vegetables are cooked. Add Turmeric Powder, Asafoetida and Salt.

When it starts boiling, add the Coconut-Cumin-Chillies paste. Boil for some more time till it reduces.

In another pan, heat Oil. When it is hot, add mustard seeds. When popped, reduce flame. Add Curry Leaves and Pearl Onions. Fry till the onions become translucent. Pour this seasoning into the koottu.

Serve with Rice as Main course or as side dish to any Puli Kuzhambu or Rasam.
Serves: 2-3

Suggestions for Vegetables that can be used for Koottu:

Potato (Urulai Kizhangu in Tamil)
Snake Gourd (Podalangai)
Green(Unripe) Banana (Vazhakkai).. (Takes more time to cook..)
Yellow Pumpkin (Manjal Poosanikai )

Do not drain water after cooking Vegetables or Channa Dhal. It is better to use other vegetables and avoid Potato as we eat more Potato in many other forms. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Paruppu / Dhal Curry / Dhal Fry

Generally this Curry is served first along with Ghee in every Vegetarian Virundhu Sapadu (Feast). Babies are given this as first food after Milk and Cerelac. This is a favourite Curry for many adults too..
It is a protein rich recipe, especially for vegetarians. Whenever I am bored of making Sambar, I prepare this Curry. This tastes very good though only few ingredients are used. 


Thuvaram Paruppu / Toor Dhal ¾ cup (200ml cup)
Turmeric Powder ¼ tsp
Asafoetida crystal  1 / Asafoetida Powder ¼ tsp
Dried Red Chillies  2-3
Pearl Onions 4
Curry Leaves 4
Split Urad Dhal ½ tsp
Mustard Seeds ¾ tsp
Water (approx 4 cups)

Chop Pearl Onions.
Cut Red Chillies into two pieces.

Cook Toor Dhal till it turns to a paste.

Heat Oil in a pan. When it is hot, add mustard seeds. Wait till it pops up, reduce flame.
Add Split Urad Dhal, Red Chillies and Curry Leaves now. When it starts changing its color, add cooked Toor Dhal. Add enough water. Add Turmeric Powder, Asafoetida and Salt. Cook till done.

Serves: 3
Serve with Rice and Rasam.

To make Dhal cook well, soak it for 30-45 minutes before cooking.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cauliflower Stir Fry

This is one of my favorite stir fries; goes well with anything; from biryani or tomato rice to sambar or curd rice. The reason behind is the aroma and roasted texture of the vegetable. Unlike Cauliflower Manchurian or Gobi 65, this recipe can be prepared much easier and faster, yet the taste is really amazing.

Here is the easy recipe:


Cauliflower 1 (small size) 
Garlic 2
Chopped Ginger 1 tsp
Sambar Powder 1tbsp leveled
Coriander Few
Salt 0.5 tsp or to taste


Cut Cauliflower into medium Florets. Check for germs and remove.. 
Cut Garlic and Ginger into fine pieces.
Chop Coriander finely.
Grind together: Coriander, Garlic and Ginger.


Add enough water to cover the cauliflower florets with little salt in a Pan. Boil for 5 minutes. This makes the florets soft and also release the germs, if any. Drain the water and keep aside.

Heat Oil in a Pan. Add Cumin Seeds. Fry till they turn slightly brown. Now add the Cauliflower florets, ground Ginger-Garlic-Coriander Paste, Sambar Powder and Salt. Mix well. Fry, stirring occasionally, till the florets get a slightly roasted coating of Sambar Powder and the raw smell goes off.

Serves: 2
Serve with rice. I served with Tomato Rice.

Note: You can also add onions if you like. Do not stir many times as the florets may break.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Puli Kuzhambu / Tamarind Curry

Vendaikkai Puli Kuzhambu
Puli Kuzhambu is one of the traditional South Indian Stews made with Vegetables in Tamarind Extract. Generally, this Kuzhambu does not require Tomatoes as we include more Tamarind.I like my mom, make this often. This Kuzhambu stays good and fresh for a longer time.


Chopped Vegetables ½ cup (350ml cup)
Tamarind  (Lemon Size)
Water 4 cups (350ml cup)
Sambar Powder 2.5 tbsp or to taste
Asafoetida crystal  1 / Asafoetida Powder ¼ tsp
Garlic Cloves 5
Pearl Onions 6
Curry Leaves 5
Mustard Seeds/Kadugu 1 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds/ Vendhayam ½ tsp
Salt 1.5 tsp or to taste
Sesame / Til Oil 4-5 tbsp


Soak Tamarind in one cup of water for 15-20 mins.
Extract Tamarind Juice using 3 more cups of water and strain.
Chop Vegetables and Pearl Onions. Peel off Garlic.
Heat Oil in a pan. When it is hot, add Mustard Seeds.
Wait till it pops up, reduce flame.
Add Fenugreek Seeds. Wait till it crackles.
Add Garlic and Pearl Onions. Fry till it turns slightly brown.
Now add Vegetables and strained Tamarind Juice.
Add Sambar Powder, Asafoetida and Salt. Do not add water.
Boil on a medium flame till the kuzhambu reduces.
Simmer for some more minutes so that it gets thickened more and the oil floats on the top.

Serves: 3-4
Serve hot with Cooked Plain White Rice and any Dry Curry/Poriyal(contains Coconut) or any Kootu.

Note: Be careful while frying Fenugreek Seeds. If burnt, it would give a bitter taste. This Kuzhambu tastes better only if it is thickened more.
Vegetables used in Puli Kuzhambu:
Cluster Beans (Kothavarankai Puli Kuzhambu in Tamil)
Drumstick (Murangaikkai Puli Kuzhambu)
Okra / Ladys Finger(Vendaikkai Puli Kuzhambu)
Turkey Berry / Pea EggPlant(Sundaikkai Puli Kuzhambu) - Use 1/4 cup of Sundaikkai.
Some Combinations:
Drumstick and Brinjal
Plaintain (Vazhakkai) and Cluster Beans

This Kuzhambu can also be made only with Garlic and no vegetables called as Poondu(Garlic) Kuzhambu. In this case add, 8-10 Garlic. This Kuzhambu stays fresh for 1-2 days without refrigerating.
Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu is a also form of Puli Kuzhambu.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Chicken Varutha kari / Fried Chicken Kuzhambu

I saw this recipe in one of the TV Shows and found this one very different from the usual preparation of Chicken. So why waste time :-) , I tried this today and the result was amazing.
Being an Eggetarian, I myself ate more chicken. This is definetly one of such recipes that is going to be prepared often at home in the future.
Hope you enjoy this..

What you need for this wonderful recipe:

Chicken Breasts 500g
Kadalai Paruppu / Channa Dhal 1.5 tbsp
Urad Dhal ½ tsp
Dried Red Chillies 7
Garlic Cloves 4
Garlic (Finely Chopped) 3tsp
Ginger (Finely Chopped) 3tsp
Grated Coconut 6tsp
Tomato (Medium) 1
Onion (Medium) 1
Coriander Powder  1tsp
Turmeric Powder 1/4 tsp
Jeeragam/Cumin ¾ tsp
Sombu/Aniseeds  ¾ tsp
Krambu/Cloves 6
Pattai /Cinnamon (1 inch ) 2 pieces
Curry Leaves 10
Coriander handful
Salt 1.5 tsp or to taste

Cut Chicken into medium pieces (not very small).
Cut Onion and Tomato into fine pieces lengthwise.
Grate Coconut.
Grind Together: Chopped Garlic and Ginger.
Chop Coriander finely.

Heat Oil in a Pan.  When it is hot, add ¼ tsp Cumin, ¼ tsp Aniseeds, Cloves (3), Cinnamon and reduce flame. Fry till they turn slightly brown. Now add Channa Dhal. Few Seconds later add, Urad Dhal, Dried Red Chillies and Garlic. Fry till they turn slightly brown and keep aside to cool.
Heat little Oil in the same Pan. Fry grated Coconut separately on a low flame for 3-5 minutes. 
When Channa Dhal Masala is cooled, add fried Coconut and grind together nicely.
Heat Oil in the same Pan. Add remaining Cumin, Aniseeds, Cloves and Cinnamon. Fry till they turn slightly brown. Now add Chopped Onions. When they turn translucent, add Chopped Tomato, Ginger-Garlic Paste, Turmeric Powder, Coriander Powder and the Ground Masala. Fry till the raw smell goes off.
Now add Chicken Pieces and Salt. Stir well. Fry for 5 minutes on a low flame so that the Masala gets mixed well with the Chicken.
Add water and close the lid. Cook for 15-20 minutes on a medium flame till the chicken pieces are cooked well and the Gravy reduces. Switch off the flame. Garnish with Coriander and Curry Leaves.
Serves: 3-4
Serve hot with Rice or Chapati.
If your mixer does not grind very small quantity of Ginger and Garlic finely, add little Chopped Tomato and grind together.
The Chef had used 1/2 tsp Chilli Powder in the Show. I didnt use it as I didnt have it today. Instead I increased the Chillies. If your Chillies are not very hot, reduce the chillies, add 1tsp Chilli Powder and 2tsp Coriander Powder.
I have used more Chicken in this Gravy. You can use less Chicken too as per your taste.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Snake Gourd / Podalangai Poriyal

Snake Gourd is a low Calorie Vegetable. It creates a cooling effect in our body. In many Tamil Homes, Snake Gourd is made only as Kootu with Kadala Paruppu(Channa Dhal) or Kootu with Pasi Paruppu(Green Gram) and Coconut. I dont know the reason exactly why it is not made as Poriyal or Dry Curry. But I love to prepare and eat this one.. Hope you love too.
Here goes the recipe..
Snake Gourd ¼ kg
Pearl Onions 5
Curry Leaves 4
Grated Coconut 2-3 tsp
Mustard Seeds 1 tsp
Split Urad Dhal ¾ tsp

Slit Snake Gourd. Remove the seeds and the white cotton like portion inside.
Cut Snake Gourd into fine pieces (semicircular in shape).

Heat Oil in a Pan. When it is hot, add Mustard Seeds. When they complete popping up, reduce flame.
Now add Urad Dhal. Few seconds later, add Curry Leaves, Dried Red Chillies and Pearl Onions. Fry till the onions turn translucent.
Add Snake Gourd and Salt. Mix well. Fry till it is almost cooked stirring occasionally. Now add grated Coconut. Simmer for 3-5 minutes and serve hot.

Serves: 2-3
Serve with Cooked Rice and Sambar or any Kuzhambu.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Okra/Vendakkai Fry

Vendakkai or Okra is a low calorie vegetable but high in nutrients. Since childhood, we are served Vendakkai as a vegetable that helps us learn Mathematics better. I tell my son the same. I dont know how far it is true. Recently I learnt that Cleopatra also loved okra as it helps reduce pimples and maintain smooth skin. For more about okra, check out here and here.

Here is the easy fry recipe.
Ladysfinger/Okra/Vendakkai 400g
Dried Red Chillies 3
Sambar Powder 1 tbsp (Leveled)
Pearl Onions 5
Curry Leaves 4
Mustard Seeds 1 tsp
Split Urad Dhal ½ tsp

Chop Ladysfinger and Pearl Onions finely.
Cut Chillies into two halves.

Heat Oil in a pan.  When it is hot, add Mustard Seeds.  Wait till it pops up, Reduce Flame.
Add Pearl Onions, Chillies and Curry Leaves. Fry till they become slightly brown.

Add chopped Ladysfinger, Sambar Powder and Salt. Mix well. Fry on a low flame until its sliminess reduces and gets a slightly roasted coating with Sambar Powder.

Serve with Rice and Sambar or Kuzhambu.