Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pavakkai Poriyal / Bitter Gourd Fry for Vegan Thursday

Bitter Gourd is the most hated vegetable amongst us. But for its health benefits, I feel we have to take it quite often. If prepared by good old methods, it is possible to reduce the bitterness of the vegetable. Soaking in tamarind water before cooking it or adding jaggery while cooking or deep frying the gourd helps reduce its bitterness.

Selecting the vegetable is also important. The bitter gourd which is light green in color or the one that have its major portion as light green is quite less bitter when compared to the dark green bitter gourd.  Usually I make varuval (deep fry) with this bitter gourd as my toddler son likes that very much, but just for a change made this fry. As expected, he didn't even touch it. But the fry was less bitter and we liked it much.

Here goes the recipe:


Bitter Gourd (Pavakkai) - long -2
Sambar Powder 1 tbsp levelled
Chilli Powder 1/4 tsp
Turmeric Powder
Pearl Onions few
Tamarind - size of an amla
Grated coconut 3 tsp

To temper:

Mustard seeds
Urad Dhal
Curry Leaves


Cut Bitter Gourd into thin slices. Make sure they are uniform in size and as thin as possible.

Soak Tamarind in water and extract its juice using one cup of water. Remove the pulp, add little salt and soak chopped Bitter gourd slices for atleast half an hour. Use the same pulp to extract the juice with 1/4 cup of water.


Heat oil in a Pan. When hot, add mustard seeds. When they start popping up, add urad dhal, curry leaves and pearl onions. Fry for a while and then add drained bitter gourd slices.

Add Sambar Powder, Chilly powder and salt. Mix well and fry for a while. Now sprinkle the extracted tamarind juice (1/4 cup). Fry on a medium flame until the water evaporates.

Now simmer the flame and fry till the gourd turns brown. Add grated coconut and fry for few minutes until done.

Serves: 2
Serve with steamed rice and sambar or any less spicy gravy. I served this with Peerkankai-Pasiparuppu koootu. (Ridge Gourd - Split Moong Dhal stew).

Linking this recipe to vegan thursdays. We are a group of food bloggers who share only vegan recipes without using animal products or even its derivatives on first and last of every month. To know more or to join please click here.

Linking also to Healthy Diet - Diebetic friendly recipes event happening at Priya's versatile recipes.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Yellow Pumpkin Halwa

Usually I prepare kootu with pumpkin. I really got bored to prepare it this week as I've recently prepared kootu with peerkankai. I thought why not try halwa again.  I tried cooking pumpkin with milk sometime back. It turned too mushy. I came across sharmispassion's halwa recipe where she has used only water to cook the pumpkin. So I sprinkled little water while cooking and now the result is excellent.I didn't add any color; it tasted and looked amazing.. :)


Yellow Pumpkin - grated - 1 1/2 cups
Sugar 1/4 cup
Ghee 2 tsp
Cardamom powder a pinch
Saffron strings for garnishing (or nuts)


Grate Pumpkin.


In a Pan, add one tsp of ghee and add the grated pumpkin. Fry for a while till the raw smell of the vegetable goes off and then sprinkle little water. Allow cooking on a low to medium flame until all water is absorbed. 

Now add the sugar and mix well. When the sugar is completely dissolved, add another tsp of ghee and fry till the ghee is combined well. Now add cardamom powder and saffron strings for garnishing.

Halwa is now ready to be served..

Linking this recipe to cook yellow event happening at Merry Tummy.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Brinjal stir fry and Awards II

I get allergy when I eat brinjals after my surgeries. So I never picked these for a while. Even done, I used to add this in any kuzhambu (gravy) and avoid eating it. 

This is a simple regular stir fry. It tasted excellent as I made this after many months. I remember a saying "Heard Melodies are sweeter; those unheard are sweetest. Something that is made after a long time tastes the best and gets more appreciation as if we have not cooked so good before..


Brinjal - small - 1/4 kg
Sambar Powder 1 tbsp - levelled
Big Onion (smaller in size) -1

To temper:

Mustard seeds
Urad Dhal
Curry leaves


Chop Brinjals and onions into thin strips lengthwise.

Heat oil in a Pan. When hot, add mustard seeds. When they start popping up, add urad dhal, curry leaves and onions.When onions turn translucent, add chopped brinjals. Fry for a while and then sprinkle sambar powder and salt.

Fry for few minutes until the masala and salt gets combined well. Sprinkle little water and increase the flame to medium heat. When the water is evaporated completely, simmer the flame and fry till it turns brown, crispy and done.

Serves: 2
Serve with steamed rice and sambar or curd rice. 

And, now coming to the awards.. I've this habit of preparing and distributing awards to fellow bloggers. To know about my first set of awards and why I started this, check out here. I am not very good in photoshop but did my best to personalize awards..

Who else can motivate others other than Priya suresh of Priya's Versatile Recipes. She is enthusiastic, completes challenges on the day 1 and innovates recipes with different combination of ingredients. I think she can cook with anything and everything. Few months back, I saw a cookie recipe in her blog and thought would give a try. Somehow I forgot to bookmark it. When I went to her Recipe Index page, I was scrolling on and on, It didn't come to an end. Meanwhile, I got interested in many other recipes and bookmarked them without forgetting . At last, I forgot what I was searching for. Till now, I am not able to recall it..  As a person, she is really wonderful. She comments even in a beginner's blog when I find some experienced bloggers do not love to. I think Divya Pramil has also mentioned this in one of her posts. Well, she deserves this Motivating blogger Award.

Shanavi of Kitchen secrets and snippers gets this Stylish Blogger award. I like the appearance of her blog, so neat and organized with awesome clicks. I simply like her power point presentation in the main page. She is very lovable. She told me my blog is neat and organized; I was really shocked as I was just waiting for a chance to tell her the same. I've much more reasons to explore her blog. I've bookmarked a few of her non veg recipes and sweet recipes.

I came to know about her and her blog very recently. She is famous not only for her clicks but also for her cutlery she collects. Who is she? She is none other than Preeti Tamilarasan of Indian Kitchen. In FB, few have commented that they are going to steal her cutlery. I think all of us would like to see her haul post with all those materials she uses while clicking. She makes her image much more artisitic with those different cutlery and background. She knows what to use. She is very lovable person to help me when I chatted with her for the first time. I wanted help to resize images; she told me how she does. She gets this Fantastic Food Photographer award.

Another stylish blogger is Divya Pramil of You too can  cook. I think she needs no introduction. She runs the SNC event successfully. Her blog is stylish and looks very professional and ofcourse with mind blowing clicks. Can anyone think of making a desert with Idli? She does. Her recipes are stylish too as her blog. I do not know her much personally. But I've heard through others how lovable she is..

I've so many favorite recipes from you all gals. This time, it is very difficult to name a few. I request the awardees to collect the awards from this page. I've some more bloggers in my mind to be awarded. I will try to create awards personally for them in future..

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Paneer Jalebi for SNC 9

SNC created by Divya Pramil of You too can cook is a group of bloggers with two teams North and South. Each month a host from North team would challenge the South team and vice versa.  This month Chandrani (Cuisine Delights) of North team has challenged the South team with this Paneer Jalebi and Priya Suresh (Priya's versatile recipes) of South team has challenged the North team with Chettinad Pakoda Kuzhambu.

Paneer Jalebi is a Bengali sweet (or treat!!! ). It is made by soaking the deep fried paneer in cardamom flavored sugar syrup. We loved it very much except for the little disappointment that I didn't get perfect shapes of Jalebis as in shops. The first time I made, I was not at all able to twist the ends of a paneer, then I realized that I didn't extract excess water completely. So I made it sit for one hour and I was able to twist well. The taste was extremely good. Thanks chandrani for this wonderful recipe.


Full fat Milk 1 litre
Vinegar 2-3 tbsp (or curd or lemon juice)
All purpose flour / Maida 2 tsp
Baking Powder 1/2 tsp
Cardamom pods 4-5
Sugar ¾ cup
Water 1 ½ cups
Pistachios for garnishing


Boil Milk in a Pan. When it starts bubbling around, add vinegar in intervals. Boil till the whey separates. Remove the Paneer (Chana / Cottage Cheese) and strain the excess water using a strainer. Let this sit aside for one hour.

Now add Maida, Baking Powder and Cardamom Powder to the Paneer. Mix well and knead for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat water in a Pan. When it starts bubbling well, add the sugar and the cardamom pods. Stir well and allow the sugar to dissolve in medium heat. Stir until the syrup becomes thick and sticky.

Now take a small ball of the Paneer and make a thin strip of it. Twist the ends of the strip and roll to form the shape of a jalebi. If it cracks, roll with wet hands.

Deep fry them and add to the sugar syrup. (Make sure the oil is neither very hot nor warm). Let this sit for few hours and serve with finely chopped pistachios.

Linking the recipe to SNC of this month.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Prawn Curry / Eraal Kuzhambu

I have this love and hate relationship in cooking non vegetarian food. I love it because I can experiment more; sky is the limit as I am not going to taste it. ;-) I hate it because I've to cook another veg food for me. 
So whenever I am in a good mood, I would prefer cooking non veg and the simplest of them is prawns. They cook easily and as I use store bought cleaned & deveined prawns, so my cooking gets complete in no time.

I always use coconut powder or just coconut flakes to thicken any gravy. This recipe uses rice powder for thickening. My Hus said he didn't find any difference. But this is a good alternative whenever coconut goes out of stock. She has used freshly ground mixture of spices and rice, but I used all store bought spice powders as they are all sitting in my pantry for long days. I need to finish them off before I leave to India for my vacation next month. Thanks Uma for this recipe.

Recipe Source: My Kitchen Experiments


Prawn (deveined) 500g
Onion 1 / Pearl Onions 1/2 cup
Tomatoes - small-3
Ginger Garlic Paste
Chilly Powder 1/2tsp
Coriander Powder 1 tsp
Cumin Powder 1/8 tsp
Garam Masala 1/8 tsp
Fennel seeds Powder 1/8 tsp
Rice Powder 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder 

To temper:

Cumin seeds 1/2 tsp
Aniseeds 1/2 tsp
Bay leaves2
Cloves 2
Cinnamon a small stick


Chop Onions and tomatoes. Grind tomatoes to a smooth paste. Clean prawns. Marinate the prawns with little Chilli powder, salt and turmeric powder for at least 20 minutes.


Heat Oil in a Pan, add all ingredients listed under "to temper". When they turn slightly brown, add ginger garlic paste and chopped onions. When onions turn translucent, add the ground tomato paste. 

Fry till the oil separates and now add in all the masala powders. Fry for a while until the masala is well combined with the mixture. Now add the Rice powder and water. When the water starts boiling well, add the marinated prawns. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes or till done.

Serves: 2
Serve with hot steamed rice or any flat bread.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

How to prepare Idli Podi ??

One of the best accompaniments to Idli is Idli Podi, meaning Idli Powder. It is nothing but a mix of many lentils. It is mixed with ghee or oil and served with Idli or Dosa. It is prepared in every south indian household and it is served alone or along with chutneys especially, coconut chutney.

Though ingredients for this recipe is quite similar in different regions of south, their ratio differs from home to home. My Mom's Idli podi recipe is very famous; whoever comes to our home takes back a box of this podi. 

I've altered my mom's recipe and mine is less hot as I've included very less chillies and my toddler son is very fond of this podi. He likes only Poondu Chutney or Tomato Chutney. If either of these is not made, he used to have Idli or Dosa as such few months back. Now he has started eating podi along with Idli or Dosa. So I've made it less hot but I find there is no compromise in taste of the podi. My Hus says this is similar to Paruppu Podi because of its color. :)

Now into the recipe:


Urad Dhal (Split/Whole) 1 cup
Sesame seeds (White) 3/4 cup
Dried Red Chilles 10
Channa Dhal (Kadalaiparuppu) handful
Pottukadalai (Roasted gram) handful
Curry leaves 3 springs
Garlic cloves (with skin) 5


In a Pan, dry roast each lentils separately. Dry roast till some of the lentils change their color slightly to light brown. Set aside to cool. Now, dry roast Curry leaves, Garlic cloves and Chillies together. Set aside to cool.

Grind everything together in a mixer once cooled. Make sure the mixer and the pan are dry. Make sure the ingredients are not burnt while frying.

Grind till the mixture transforms to a fine powder. (It will not be as fine as mill ground powder.)But over grinding makes lumps in the mixture. Store in an airtight container.

My Mom uses only 1/2 cup of sesame seeds and 1/2 to 3/4 cup of Chillies. If you are looking for hot Idli Podi, (thought not very hot as store bought Idli Podi) try this ratio, you will definitely love it. But you have to prepare it again as this would vanish soon if served with Idli and Dosa often.

Linking this recipe to Vegan Thursdays. Vegan recipes are shared for Vegan Thursdays. This happens every first and last thursday of every month. To know more or join, click here.