Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hot and spicy Shrimps Thokku

It has been long since I made Non veg dishes here. As I've recovered from my recent surgery just a few months before, none could force me too.  I hesitate to prepare non veg recipes as I've to prepare veg recipes exclusively for me and that needs lots of work and time. But with shrimps, things become easy and I can prepare them with different twists and with less time and energy, of course I mean cleaned and frozen shrimps.  

Last dinner, I prepared this hot and spicy shrimps thokku as accompaniment to Dosa though I prepared coconut chutney for me. Thokku refers to semi-dry curry, that is, prepared without adding water. This goes well with rice and also with Idli/Dosa.


Shrimps 400g
Onions - Medium sized - 2
Tomato - Big - 1
Finely chopped Ginger and Garlic 1 tsp each
Cloves 2
Fennel seeds 1/4 tsp
Cinnamon a small stick
Curry leaves few


Dried Red Chillies 2 (I use very hot chillies.)
Peppercorns 3/4 tsp
Coriander seeds 2 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds 1/4 tsp


Chop Onions and Tomatoes.


In a pan, fry all the ingredients under Masala individually and keep it in a mixer jar.

In the same pan, heat little oil and add chopped ginger, garlic, onions(1). When they turn translucent, add the chopped tomatoes and salt. Fry until the skin of the tomatoes slightly peels off and the oil separates. Add this to the mixer and  grind it together.

In the same pan, add little more oil and add cloves, cinnamon and fennel seeds. When they turn slightly brown, add the chopped onions (1). When they turn translucent, add the ground mixture. Fry till the raw smell completely goes off. Now add the shrimps and fry for few seconds.

Sprinkle little water and add salt. Cover and cook for 7-8 minutes. Heat a drop of oil in tadka pan, add curry leaves. When they start sizzling, pour them into the thokku. This gives a nice aroma to thokku.

Serves: 1-2
Serve with steamed rice or Idli/Dosa.

Linking this to Hearty and Healthy event of My Culinary Trial Room.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Onion Pakoda

It is one of the street foods that can be had alone or as a accompaniment to rice. I find some of the famous South Indian restaurants in chennai do prepare pakodas but those made in streets is unmatched both in flavor and taste. 

My Mom used to prepare this very fast using Bajji Mix/Powder whenever she runs out of vegetables to prepare as side dish. Here I do not get that powder and started experimenting with different ratios of Besan and Rice flour; finally settled down with this. Now I am very confident that I can make this recipes within minutes and without Bajji mix. It is a easy recipe with few ingredients but tastes very amazing and can be had anytime.


Onions 3
Besan flour (kadalai maavu) 1/2 cup
Rice flour 2 tbsp
Fennel seeds 1/4 tsp
Water and Oil


Chop Onions into thin lengthwise strips.


Combine chopped Onions, Besan and Rice flour, fennel seeds and salt.

Mix well..  Now heat oil in a pan for deep frying. When it is warm, take a table spoon of that oil and sprinkle on the mixture. Mix well and now sprinkle little water to the mixture. If you are able to hold a small part of the mixture and it doesn't fall down, you have added enough water, else sprinkle some more.

Now take small parts of the mixture and hold it in desired shapes and then allow deep frying. Fry till they are brown and cooked.

Serve as a snack or with steamed rice and rasam/curd.

Linking this recipe to Favorite Dhaba food/ street food event of Annarasa: Essence of food.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Kara Kuzhambu

I never knew that there is a curry called kara kuzhambu until we came to chennai. My native is Madurai. I find there are few differences between this one and our own traditional puli kuzhambu though both are tamarind based gravies.

I do not add tomatoes or coconut in Puli kuzhambu. It is traditionally made only with pearl onions, tamarind, garlic, fenugreek & mustard seeds, vegetables and spice/sambar powder in Gingelly oil. But I find tomatoes and coconut are added in kara kuzhambu. Most of the kara kuzhambu recipes I have come across contains tomatoes but only few of them has coconut and/or fenugreek seeds as ingredients.

There is a bit of difference in method too.. I extract tamarind juice with 3-4 cups of water and do not add just plain water. But I find my neighbors preparing kara kuzhambu with tamarind extract using only one cup of water and add 2-3 cups of water to the curry. This way, I find kara kuzhambu is less tangier than the Puli kuzhambu. But I've come across people prepare with the exact ingredients of a puli kuzhambu but they still call it as kara kuzhambu. 

I am not confusing you any more. Finally, I would say Puli Kuzhambu is an authentic recipe and Kara Kuzhambu is a fusion because of addition of tomatoes and other variations. Tomato is not used in ancient India. It is a recent addition to our Indian cuisine. Hope everyone knows this.. But some prepare the curry in an authentic way, like Puli Kuzhambu but still call it as Kara Kuzhambu.

I think I will stop differentiating and go into this recipe. I may differ from many of you regarding these two curries and its preparation. But it is my inference. Please feel free to comment so that everyone can understand better. 

Check out my Puli Kuzhambu recipe here.


Vegetables / Elephant foot yam  
Tomato 1
Tamarind - small lemon sized 
Dry Red Chillies 3-4 (depends upon the hotness of chillies and one's taste; i've used very hot chillies)
Coriander Seeds 2 tbsp (levelled)
Grated Coconut 3-4 tsp
Pearl Onions (few) / Red Onion -1
Mustard seeds
Gingelly Oil or any Cooking Oil


Soak Tamarind in a cup of water. Chop Pearl Onions and Tomatoes. Grate Coconut. Chop tomato into small cubes.


Dry roast coriander seeds and red chillies. Let it cool and then powder the mixture.

In a pan, add mustard seeds, when they start popping up, add the curry leaves and onions. When they turn slightly brown, add the chopped tomato. When it is cooked well and oil separates, add chopped vegetables. Here I've used Chenai Kizhangu (Elephant Foot Yam). Fry for a while. Now add tamarind juice extracted using one cup of water.

Add the ground powder masala, water and salt. Allow boiling. When it is almost done, add the grated coconut.

Serve with steamed rice.

Notes: Instead of coriander seeds and red chillies, sambar powder can also be added. Vegetables such as Drumstick and Brinjal can be used in this curry both together or as alone. Okra can also be used but this doesn't combine well with other vegetables. Elephant foot yam can also be used like this recipe.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Potato Sag

Who on earth doesn't like potatoes?!! Recently my friend, Vimitha has written about her love towards potato. I can even prepare recipes daily with potatoes as there are humpty number of recipes around with potatoes. But I make it a habit to prepare potatoes when all other fresh vegetables go out of stock as it stays fresh for a longer time.

This recipe is quite different to us. South Indians (mostly tamilians) usually avoid dry curries but prefer gravies to eat with Roti or Poori. So do I. When I came across this recipe in Mallika Badrinath's recipe book, I thought why not give a try. Once I made this as side dish for Poori, the combo was excellent.  Then I gained confidence to make this with chapati. We liked it surprisingly. This dry curry is an exception that we like it with chapati and we don't prefer other dry curries. I like to have this with rice too.  But I've absolutely no idea why has she named this recipe as Potato sag. If you know the reason, please do update in comments. This is very similar to usual potato stir fry but except for the addition of yoghurt and tamarind pulp.


Potatoes 3
Sambar Powder 1 tbsp leveled
Green Chillies 1-2
Yoghurt 2-3 tsp
Coriander Leaves few
Cumin Seeds 1/4 tsp
Oil and Salt


Pressure cook Potatoes. Mash one Potato and dice the other potatoes. Slit chillies.


In a Pan, heat oil. Add Cumin seeds. When they start crackling, add chillies, mashed and diced potatoes. Fry it for few seconds on a low flame.

Now sprinkle Sambar Powder and Salt. Fry until the potatoes get a slightly roasted coating.

Now add yoghurt and fry for some more time till the yoghurt combines well with the potatoes.

Garnish with Coriander Leaves.

Serves: 2
Serve with Chapati or Poori. I once served this Tomato Rice , the combo was excellent.

The original recipe uses 1/2 kg of Potatoes, two are mashed and others are diced. Tamarind pulp is also added at the end.
Sambar Powder can be replaced with the combination of Chilly Powder, Coriander Powder and Cumin Powder.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Cabbage-Peas-Carrot Stir fry & Liebster Award

I like this combo.. It is very difficult to make children eat cabbage. If done this way, they would definitely not say NO. These three vegetables goes well with each other and gives a nice appetizing color to the usual stir fry.


Shredded Cabbage 1/2 cup
Peas 1/4 cup
Carrot - Medium sized - 1
Pearl Onions Few
Curry Leaves Few
Mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
Urad Dhal 1/8 tsp


Grate Cabbage and Carrot. Chop pearl onions.


In a pan, heat oil. When hot, add mustard seeds. When they start popping up,add urad dhal, curry leaves and pearl onions. fry for a few seconds.

Now add grated cabbage. Sprinkle little water for the cabbage to cook. When it is almost done, add grated carrot, peas and salt. Fry till done.

Serves: 2
Serve with any spicy curry and rice.

Linking this recipe to Healthy Me and Healthy US event by Mharo Rajasthan's Recipes and to hearty and healthy event by vimitha of My Culinary Trial Room.


Now coming to the award, Manju of Manju's kitchen has sent me this Liebster award. This award goes in a chain so as to get introduced to new blogs.

Rules to follow:

  1. Write 11 facts about your self.
  2. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  3. Nominate 11 bloggers who has less than 200 followers and mention them in your post.
  4. Create 11 new questions for them.
  5. Mention who nominated you in the post.
  6. Go to their blog and inform them about this award.

11 facts about myself:

1. I like reading books mostly related to history. I spend more for books and like to read reviews about them.
2. I like to be perfect and I am not. But I always try to be. 
3. I have flair for learning new languages.
4. I do not make friends so easily. But if done, I would love to maintain the relationship as long as possible. 
5. If I make a mistake, I don't hesitate to ask sorry.
6. I was a straight forward person. But with time, it changed. Now I think well before I speak so as to hurt no one. But now everyone is hurting me.. poor me..!!!
7. I would love to explore new dimensions of vegetarian cooking.
8. Love to travel a lot and read books while traveling.
9. I hate people when they say you can't do this.
10. I like to teach my son everything I know. 
11. I am shopaholic.. who is not??!! 

What made you to start blogging?
My interest in cooking and other blogs inspired me.I wanted to maintain an online diary of all my traditional and tried recipes at my kitchen.

Who is your role model in cooking?
My Mom ofcourse.

What you like in my blog?
Like your presentation. There are many unique recipes from your blog that I love to try for ex. oats laddu, quinoa pongal etc..

Name the blog which you admired a lot?

What are your kids or husband favorite food?

Name the restaurant you visit more often?
Saravana Bhavan

Name one ingredient that you use more in your cooking?

Who is your favorite chef?
Chef Damu

Do you have any fear if so what?
I fear ill health of children especially when I hear children are attacked by unknown dreadful disease, I am much disheartened.

What will be the menu for your uninvited guests?
Idli, Sambar and Chutney 

Your favorite cookbook?
Tarla Dalal's cookbooks

What is your ambition in blogging?
To try and post the traditional recipes that are mostly forgotten.

I am passing this award to eleven bloggers.

1. Biny's recipes
2. Poorni of Easy and Homely cookbook
3. Malini's Delights
4. Sinu's Menu
5. All about my world
6. Cook with fun
7.Jiya's delicacy
8. Crumpled Chillies
9. Shree of Just Cooking and Baking
10.Sharanya of Blogging
11.Gheza e shriin

My new questions for the above bloggers are:

1. What do I have to improve in my blog?
2. What made you start blogging? 
3. What was your worst recipe or cooking?
4. Which blog you visit often other than yours?
5. What is your signature recipe that your kids and husband love to have it again and again?
6. What is your favorite cuisine?
7. What is your interests other than cooking?
8. What was your first recipe or cooking?
9. What is that you cannot live without?
10. Who is your inspiration in cooking?
11. What have you achieved through blogging?

Hope to see the answers and get to know new blogs..!!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Channa Dhal (Kadalai paruppu) Halwa

This is my first recipe for SNC challenge. I got really hooked when I got to know about SNC. I am surprised to find the group to be more helpful and it is really fun to join the group. 

This month, Kirti of flavors from my kitchen has challenged the southern group with this channa dhal halwa, a Mughal recipe. She has explained it so well that I had no confusions or doubts to ask others. Actually, I've never heard of this recipe. I am glad that it turned out so well. 

I gave this to my tamil neighbors here; they too loved it. I thought of making burfies too; but it vanished as soon as I prepared. The taste was so good; that reminded me of the pooranam that we keep inside kollukattai. I think someone from the southern group mentioned the same. Well, anyway, kirti, very thanks for this wonderful, easy and tasty recipe.

Here it goes. I followed the exact proportions as mentioned by kirti except for cardamom powder.


1 cup Channa Dhal
3/4 cup Ghee
2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
Nuts for garnishing


Soak Channa Dhal for 4-5 hours. 


Remove the excess water and cook only with one cup of water in a pressure cooker for just 2 whistles and 5 minutes of simmering.

Remove again the excess water and gently mash it with a back of a large spoon. Make sure the cooked dhal doesnt go mushy. It needs to remain grainy.

Now heat Ghee in a wide mouthed pan, preferably non-stick. Pour in the cooked dhal and fry till the ghee separates.

Now add 1/2 cup of milk and continue stirring till dhal absorbs the milk and goes dry. Now add another 1/2 cup of milk and continue stirring until the dhal completely absorbs the milk.

Repeat the same procedure until 2.5 cups of milk gets used up in parts. When the dhal goes dry and completely absorbs the entire milk, add cardamom powder, sugar and chopped nuts. Fry for some more time until sugar is completely absorbed. Halwa is now ready.

This can be served hot. If need to prepare as a barfi, cut into desired shapes and then refrigerate for 3-4 hours so that it can be set in.


Add milk in parts; that prevents from halwa getting soggy. 
Never go unattended otherwise it may get stuck at the bottom.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Fruit Salad

This salad is very common recipe at my home. I prepare this quite often. I hate to eat fruits as such; so as my son. But when prepared as a salad, we love to eat. I love to try different combination of fruits but somehow settled down with this..

I used:

1/2 apple (big)
1 plum (big)
1 kiwi
1 tsp honey


Peel the skin of apple and kiwi. Cut them and plum into small pieces.


In a bowl, combine all the chopped fruits. Pour in honey and then serve.

Serves: 1

Notes: We can add pineapple slices, pomegranate seeds, banana and any other fruit of one's choice. If adding banana, avoid mushy ones. Somehow, I find this combination better.I avoid pomegranate seeds as it is not my son's preference. But adding that gives nice color and tastes better. 

Linking this recipe to Healthy me & Healthy us event of Mharo Rajasthan's recipes and Hearty and Healthy event by vimitha of My Culinary Trial Room.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Chenaikizhangu (Yam) Fry

Chenaikizhangu is elephant foot yam but mostly referred as just yam. My son has started liking yam next to potatoes. So I have started preparing this more often. Though it takes some time for cleaning, it tastes really good and goes well with any curry or curd rice. Somehow I feel this fry tastes bland when only sambar powder is added. It tastes better when chilli powder or any other spice powder is included. So I have started following that. I think Pepper powder can also be added and of course, it depends on one's taste buds.. :)


Yam 1/4 kg
Sambar Powder 3/4 tbsp
Chilli Powder 1/4 tbsp
Curry Leaves 5-6
Cumin Seeds 1/8 tsp
Oil and Salt


Remove the outer skin and thoroughly wash the Yam. Cut into small pieces. Grease hands well enough with oil before touching Yam.


In a Pan, heat oil in a Pan. When hot, add Cumin seeds. When they stop popping up, add curry leaves.

Now add the chopped Yam. Fry for a while and then sprinkle the Masala Powders and Salt.

Fry on a low flame till done.

Serves: 2
Serve with Sambar Rice or Curd Rice.


I have come across recipes with Yam being cooked in water and then fried after draining. I prefer this method as there is no wastage of nutrients of yam this way. Cooking on a low flame makes the yam cook completely and makes it tasty too.

Moreover, I don't like to temper this fry much. I just use curry leaves and very little cumin seeds. I feel mustard seeds or urad dhal do not go that well with this yam as with other vegetables. But its one's personal choice.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Saudi champagne - My 100th post

I've reached my 100th post quite late. I had many reasons; I was not well and my site had many technical problems too. I was into food blogging on and off, though I never stopped trying new recipes though my trials were mostly towards easy recipes and for my toddler son.

This trial is again a simple but has become our favorite now. I've never had a refreshing drink like saudi champagne. When my Hus told me about this champagne, I was shocked and asked is champagne available in saudi? He told me this is like a juice cocktail prepared with fruit juice and slices. He had this drink in a saudi restaurant and so could remember the ingredients. When I browsed for this champagne, I almost got the same results. I don't really know why it got its name, may be, because of the addition of soda. I made this just to celebrate my 100th post.  The fruit juice and slices infused with mint leaves gives a unique and refreshing taste.


1 part apple juice
3 parts soda
Few mint leaves
Few apple and orange slices


Chop apple and orange into slices.


In a jar, add apple juice and mint leaves. Shake it well.

Add few orange and apple slices. Leave it for 10-15 minutes.

Add soda when you are about to serve.


Use fresh mint leaves and use apple juice preferably with sugar. Soda can also be replaced by sparkling water.