Sunday, October 26, 2008

Take this small tip as awareness- Long grain rice absorbs more water than short grain rice.Always soak the rice for a few minutes before cooking this helps to keep the grains separate during cooking process. For making sweets and desserts the short grain rice is preferred.

Every one knows plain rice can be served with any type curries or spicy dishes you make, but try this recipe of mine it is a traditional food eaten by the middle class Tamil's down south, its Keerai Kootu Satham..................



Ara Keerai 2 cups( Also known as Mulagootal or Amaranth leaves)

Moong Dal 1 cup (Boiled well Or rather cooked)

Onion 1 cup (chopped

Mustard seeds 1 tsp

Jeera seeds 1 tsp

Garlic 1 tbsp (chopped)

Dry Red Chilly 3 nos

Rice 2 cups (Short grain cooked

Pepper powder 1 tsp (coarse)

Salt to taste

Asafoetida 1/2 tsp

Oil 2tbsp


-Remove the Keerai from the stems and roughly chop it up, wash drain and keep aside.

-Heat oil in a kadai add the mustard seeds when it crackles add the jeera , onions broken red chilly with the garlic and saute well add the keerai and cook well , the water contents from the keerai will dry up soon.-Now add the Moong dal,asafoetida and stir well .--

-Add the rice toss well sprinkle required salt and pepper.

-Serve it straight on to a plate , this is a meal by itself with Good pickle.

The most popular and famous Rice is the" Basmati Rice"grown in India , this grows only at high altitude climate , the foot hills of the Himalayas is the main producer of this rice, primarily known as Basmati comes in many brand names.

If you have left over rice in the fridge with some veggies like carrot, beans and cabbage , try this fried rice you can call it the Pan fried rice a fusion of Ind -China............



Cooked Rice 2 cups

Chopped Veggies 1 cup(Carrot, beans, cabbage)

Onion 1 nos ( chopped)

Ginger 1 tsp (chopped)

Salt & Pepper to taste

Oil 3 tbsp

So ya sauce 1 tsp

MSG 1/2 tsp

Spring Onion -for garnish


-Heat oil in a pan and saute the onions , then add all the veggies and saute for a few minutes on high fire.

-Add the ginger,rice, pepper and salt to taste and toss well, spoon over the so ya sauce and sprinkle the MSG.

-Serve hot in a platter garnished with chopped spring onion an

Saturday, October 25, 2008

RICE---it is called "THE GOOD GRAIN",also known as the symbol of life & fertility for many years. India is the 2nd largest producer of rice and it is the dietary staple food of many Indians; rice has a wide range of nutritional benefits. Do not boil rice in excess water and then drain the value of nutrition will be lost,cook by the traditional absorption method, there are many by products of rice. In India Rice is prepared in the form of Biryani,Pulao, variety rice,fried rice and also used in creamy desserts.With the derivatives of Rice like batter, noodles, flakes etc..many dishes can be prepared for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and anytime Snack also. Now try this simple Pulao ............



Rice (Long grain) 2 cups

Carrot 1 cup (cut into small cubes)

Cinnamon 1 " piece

Cloves 4 nos

Cardamon 4 nos

Bay leaf 2 nos

Ghee 3 tbsp

Green chilly 2 nos (split)

Onion 1 cup (finely chopped)

Salt to Taste

For garnish- 1 tbsp fried cashew nut and coriander


-Wash the rice and keep aside for 20 Min's, in a heavy bottomed vessel heat the ghee and add Cinnamon. cloves cardamon, and bay leaf ,saute well and then add the onion and saute.

-When the onion is translucent add the carrots , rice and green chilly and cook on high flame for a few minutes.

-Add 3 cups of water and cook covered , check when the water has been absorbed mix gently and simmer till dry,covered tightly.

Serve on a platter garnished with fried cashew nuts and chopped coriander.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

As we keep Blogging about veggies I noticed that Nupur's A to Z of Indian Vegetable on One Hot Stove is great for sharing one's skill and creativity, while cooking a meal the colour combination of the dishes is very important very few people look into this. Try this Kilangu Thakali Varuval( Potato Tomato fry)...........



Potato 2 cups(cubed)

Tomato 1 cup (chopped)

Oil 3 tbsp

Mustard seeds 1 tsp

Jeera seeds 1 tsp

Tumeric powder 1/2 tsp

Chilly flakes 1 tsp

Ginger &Garlic 1 tbsp (chopped)

Curry leaves 1 sprig

Onion 1 cup (chopped)

Green Chilly 2 nos (slit)

Asafoetida 1/2 tsp

Lemon juice 1 tsp

Coriander for garnish


- Heat the oil in a kadai add the mustard seeds when it crackles add the jeera seeds , onion,curry leaves, and the chopped ginger & garlic saute this then add the tumeric,asafoetida.

-Add the potato, chilly flakes, green chilly and saute on high flame still it becomes dry,add 1cup of water when the potato's are half cooked add the chopped tomato and salt to taste.

-Simmer till completely dry , stir well in between.

-Spoon the lime juice and garnish with coriander.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The other day when I was browsing the Blogs, I did realise that Cooking and Blogging is the best way to exchange ideas, gone are the days I remember when my Mom used to take a daily trip to the grocery shop around the corner to look for some fresh veggies and then decide on her cooking, these days everyone looks for variety and a change in their daily food habits, I remember as a kid those days we used to have a fixed menu even at home for example every Monday the breakfast consisted of Uppuma, the reason was very simple because Sunday was a holiday for the Grinding stone, then came the wet grinders to make availability of the batter in a few minutes without physical manpower, now with the availability of Batter in almost every shops where a freezer is available, so even the wet grinders have gone to rest on the kitchen loft. Try this Kerala speciality for a change the famous Kalan with yummy Yam and Raw Banana...........



Raw Banana 1 nos

Yam 200 gms

Onion 1/2 cup (chopped)

Buttermilk 2 cups

Turmeric 1/2 tsp

Jeera powder 1 tsp

Pepper powder 1 tsp

Mustard seeds 1 tsp

Curry leaf 1 sprig

Salt to taste

Coconut oil 2 tbsp


-Peel the Banana and slice it into round lets also with the yam to the same size of banana slices and boil these in butter milk with the Turmeric powder and salt added, it should be cooked but not mashed or overcooked.

-Heat the coconut oil in a kadai and add the mustard when it crackles add the chopped onion, curry leaves and saute, then add the vegetables and simmer on slow fire for a few minutes, then sprinkle the Jeera and Pepper powders and mix well.

-Garnish with grated coconut(optional), serve with hot steam Rice or Chapati

A vegetable globally popular and used in all cuisines the vitamin rich, tightly packed Green Leaf vegetable "The Cabbage".This vegetable finely shredded and tossed with various sauce dressings comes as a counter point to the rest of the meal in many buffet Luncheons, This is used vast in all Oriental dishes also and in India many dishes are made in different varieties from state to state, Cabbage Kootu, Porial and Pachadis are famous in Tamilnadu. Now try this dish it is very close to aPorial but has a different crispy taste with the combination of Red Pepper....



Cabbage 200 gms

Red Capsicum 2 nos

Ginger & Garlic 1 tbsp (finely chopped)

Onion 1/2 cup (finely chopped)

Asofodedia 1/2 tsp

Mustard seeds 1 tsp

Dry Red Chilly 4 nos

Oil 3 tbsp

Salt to taste

Garam Masala 1/2 tsp

Coriander (finely Chopped for Garnish)


-Wash the Capsicum and Cabbage and shred them into Juliennes

-In a kadai add oil when hot add the mustard when it crackles add the onions, Ginger and Garlic, broken red chilly, asofodedia and saute well.

-Now add the shredded veggies and stir fry on high flame, sprinkle little water if required, add salt to taste and when cooked sprinkle with garam masala.

-Serve garnished with coriander and squeeze lime if you like it slightly tangy.

Monday, October 20, 2008

This is another popular vegetable that is liked by many Indians that is the elegant looking Lady's Finger also known as Okra , called Bhindi in Hindi and Vendakai in Tamil; this vegetable is tricky, sticky one to handle and can mess up your Culinary efforts while cooking if not handled properly by adding the right amount of Lemon juice or curd it can be cooked to perfection. Now try this recipe for a change.......



Bhindi 200 gms

Curd 1 cup

Chilly Flakes 1 tsp

Ginger & Garlic paste 1 tbsp

Jeera powder 1 tsp

Garam Masala 1/2 tsp

Onions 1/2 cup (chopped)

Ghee or Oil 2 tbsp

Lemon juice 1 tsp

Salt to taste

Coriander (for garnish)


-Wash and wipe the bhindis , then cut them into 1'' pieces with a slit in the centre, marinate this with the curd, chilly flakes and salt for 30 Min's.

-Heat oil in a kadai when hot add the onions and saute till light brown, then add garlic & ginger paste and saute.

-Add the marinated Bhindi and mix thoroughly on high flame till the curd has formed into a thick gravy, now add the jeera powder mix well and cook on simmer till semi dry; sprinkle the garam masala, lemon juice and stir well.

-Remove and serve garnished with coriander .

This is a good combination for Rice and Dal or hot Chapati.

Try this dish it is very close to a Kootu dish that is made in Tamilnadu that is the Yummy Yam & Channa



Yam 1 cup (cubed)

Channa 1 cup

Onion 1/2 cup (finely chopped)

Green Chilly 2 nos

Turmeric 1/2 tsp

Garam Masala 1 tsp

Jeera 1 tsp Mustard 1 tsp

Oil 4 tbsp

Salt to taste

Tomato !cup (pureed)

Ginger& Garlic Paste 1 tbsp

Corainder 1 tbsp ( for garnish)


-Cook the Channa and keep aside.

-Heat oil in a kadai add mustard when it splutters add the jeera and onions and saute well, then add ginger garlic paste green chilly chopped and Yam , stir fry on high flame for a three minutes.

-When the yam is half cooked add the cooked Channa, tomato puree and cook on Sim till dry stirring slowly in between.

-Sprinkle Garam maala and garnish with coriander.

This will go well with rice or Chapati.

I am finding it confusing on how to categorise these dishes whether as side dish or main dish, because what one Chef calls as Main dish is sometimes termed as a side dish by another person, well it is the choice of the one who is ready to Gulp it here are a few dishes termed as Main course==VEGGIE. Most of the dishes have been tried a couple of times and these have done as good hits on

Try this Vegetable it has no size and a proper shape , grows underground and has become quite a fascinating Culinary Item in a few Restaurants also, that is the YAM ..... you can convert this veggie into a tasteful dish. Remember that vegetables can be diced ,shredded, grated or mashed , can be cooked as curry, stir fried,boiled, steamed depending on the way you want it.Stuffing of vegetables first started in Europe and then spread across the Globe. Chinese like their vegetables to be stir fried thereby it is not cooked wholly but has a crunchy taste, in Continental Food they are boiled and sauteed with butter and herbs, many prefer to have the vegetables served in their natural colour and a bit of care will ensure this result by adding specified salts or Sugar during the boiling process.

Creativeness is the joy of cooking. Imagine converting Iddli that is served as a breakfast item in South India can also be served as a Starter. For all Starters arranging in different shapes , drizzling over with sauces, sprinkling with powders and mixes and finaly garnishing, but always remember to garnish with edibles so it can go into the mouthlike crumbled chips, chopped olives,mint, cilantroetc avoid fiery Chilly ,aromatic ginger thatwill create unpleasant tastes.

Now try this Minty Iddli bits.................



Cooked Iddli 6 nos

Mint Chutney 1 cup

Oil for deep frying

Cilantro 3 tbsps ( finely chopped for Garnish)


-Take the Iddlis and cut them horizontaly and apply the mint chutney and press it back, now cut it into four pices if the Iddli's are big or just into two if they are small.

-Heat oil in a kadai , fry the Iddlis on moderate heat , remove and dampen on a tissue .

-Serve on a platter garnished with Cilantro and sauce of your choice either tomato or hot and sour.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Starters are called "ZAKUSKI" in Russia, cooked with a tangy and salty taste and bite-sized pieces served on a platter with their traditional Vodka ; when large groups get together it is laid in the centre of a table like the Swedish SMORGASBORD. In many restaurants Tikkas and Kababs are served s Starters, Chinese eateries serve crispy Mini Spring Roll & Dim Sim,well I thought making of rolls was a very cumbersome job. no it is not like that since the wrapper items are readily available in super markets, so try this from my recipe-- I called it Wrap N Roll.



Spring Roll wrappers 6 nos

Carrot, Cabbage,Beans, Onion 2 cups( shredded fine)

Soya sauce light 2 ts

Pepper and Salt -- to taste

Oil -- for deep frying

Spring Onion 1 cup (chopped)


-Take a bowl and combine all the vegetables with Soya sauce , pepper and salt you can also add a pinch of MSG to enhance the taste.

-Spread the wrappers and divide the filling onto them equally and wrap N roll into the shape of a croquette and seal the ends by damping with water.

Heat the oil in a wok or kadai and deep fry them till golden in colour , cut it into bite-sized pieces and serve garnished with Spring onion, Hot N Sour sauce would be the ideal one for this yummy snack.

If you are running out of veggies I am sure Mr Potato is available somewhere in the kitchen , so just try out this starter it is simple and comes out Crispy , I just stumbled upon this idea one day and did come out yummy.......



Carrot 2 nos

Medium sized Potato 3 nos

Salt to taste

Pepper 1tsp (crushed)

All purpose flour 1 cup

Rice flour 2 tbsp

Cornflour 2 tbsp

Roasted Jeera powder 1 tsp

Oil for frying


-Take a bowl and grate the Carrots and Potato after peeling, now add pepper powder, jeera, salt to taste and mix well.

-Add the rice flour, cornflour and all purpose flour and mix well slightly moist, till it can drop from your palms.

-Heat oil in a Kadai and drop in the mixture in shape of an oval cookie fry on both sides till brown ,

Remove and dampen on a napkin , serve with a sauce or chutney of your choice

Fusion Foods are an easy preparation when it comes to starters , have you heard about Indo-Chinese Fusion simple(Small crisp Dosa filled with veggies and drizzled with tangy Chinese sauce) . Try another simple Starter( Crush some wafers in a small square plate, break a Samosa into two and arrange in the centre spoon out some Mint sauce and yogurt mixed, garnish with Cilantro and serve), but a Fusion without a proper combination can also put one into an embarrassing Confusion so try the dishes well ahead and get 2 or 3 opinions from a good food taster.

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is a great inventor of Fusion Food and his experiments are worth a try and many featured on Menus of Big Hotels .


Well how did the word' STARTERS'.........come into our culinary habits. Back in the School of Hotel Management, in the Food & Beverage Department the first sessions are on the various courses of a meal and First course in the traditional French Menu was the Appetiser's known as HORSD'OUVRES and thus came the word Starters, These are usually Light, tangy in taste, bite sized and presented well to give the first impression of the meal ahead.
A combination of Beverages either Mock tail or Cocktail can also be served as a Starter,now try my Antioxidant concoction of Almonds and Ginger........
Almond 1 cup
Sugar 1/2 cup
Ginger 2 tbsp (shredded)
Water, Ice and pinch of Salt

-Soak the Almond for at least 4 hours.
-Boil 1 cup of water add the sugar and make a syrup, blend the Almonds and ginger with a pinch of salt.
-Combine sugar syrup to taste of sweetness.
Serve in a tall Parfait glass with crushed Ice and a sprig of Mint

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A very simple way to make Chutney is the minimal use of water while grinding, this also adds to alonger life in storage. In the Continental section one can see the use of Olive oil to moisten the dips or sauces and the Oriental cuisine vinegar or rice wine is used. Try another Chutney made out of Tomatoes and who does not like Tomatoes... with such a colour, this has a slight variation when compared to the other recipes.

Ripe firm Tomatoes 4 nos
Onion 1 cup (chopped)
Garlic 5 flakes
Dry Red chilly 4 nos
Mustard seeds 1 tsp
Jeera seeds 1 tsp
Asafoetida 1/2 tsp
Curry leaf 1 sprig
Oil 3 tbsp
Pepper 1 tsp
Cilantro 1 tbsp (chopped)
Salt to taste

-Heat the oil in a pan add the mustard seeds when it crackles add the jeera, onion, garlic , curry leaves ,Asafoetida, dry chilly and saute well once done well add the chopped tomato and saute well for a few minutes on high fire till the water from the tomatoes has dried.
-Add salt as required, remove from fire and let it cool.
-Once cool grind it in a blender.
-Transfer to a bowl and crush the pepper and sprinkle together with the garnish of chopped coriander.
Just try this with hot Iddly, dosa and Chapatti, it will also go well with Rice.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Mortars and Pestles were traditionally used in pharmacies to crush various ingredients for a formula like Cough syrup etc. nowadays one can see this in every house in the form of Aatan Kal or Ammi Kal called in Tamil, Then way back in 1900 the first automatic Mortar Grinder was invented, with time passing and inventions never ending many aspects were worked out like grinding time, mortar pressure, speed etc..( volumes can be seen on this if you go through Wikipedia as I did). Now if you want a piquant Chutney with the Aroma of fried Ginger and Garlic try this Cilantro version to tickle your Taste buds...



Cilantro 1 cup

Garlic 4 flakes

Ginger 1 inch

Tamarind 1 marble size

Green chilly 3 nos

Turmeric 1/2 tsp

Oil 4tbsp

Salt to taste


-Heat a pan and put in the oil and fry the ginger, garlic and green chilly.

-After it has cooled put in all the ingredients with a minimal water and grind to a fine paste.

-Heat the same oil again add the turmeric powder and the paste , keep stirring till it gets a bit concentrate, add salt to taste.

(Try this out with some hot set Dosas)

Think of the days when our ancestors had only the Mortar & Pestle to make Chutneys, the antiquity of these tools is well documented in many literatures, but even now the same is used by many Chefs and Food presenter on the TV shows also, take a dig at this Almond Chutney which is rich in vitamins and a good antioxidant.



-Almonds 1 cup

Green chilly 3 nos

Garlic 3 flakes

Ginger 1 inch

Cilantro 1/2 cup

Tamarind 1 marble size and salt to taste


-Blanch the almonds and peel the skin .

-Put all the ingredients in a mixer add minimal water and grind to a fine paste.

-Transfer to a serving bowl and mix salt as desired


Tangy Green Chutney
Fresh Cilantro 1 cup
Firm Tomato 1 large
Green Chilly 3 nos
Garlic 4 flakes
Oil 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
-Roast the Tomato over flame when cool remove the skin and deseed.
-Heat the oil in a pan and put all the ingredients and saute for 2 minutes.
-Cool it and then grind it in a mixer till you get a fine paste, add salt to taste and mix well.


It is called Chutneys in India, Dips or Sauces with Continental food and in proper Tamil it is known as Thovial. These are more of accompaniments to enhance the food that is served with a tangy or sweet flavour. A special meal in Tamilnadu will have a special Thovial which the elderly ladies make with a lot of care. These can be made out of Fruits, Herbs, Vegetables, Fresh Leaves, Nuts and Pulses. In South India, TamilNadu is famous for chutneys made out of Tamarind, Cilantro, and Pulses, Kerala for Coconut and Andhra/Karnataka for Chilly and Greens.
Now, if you want to have a punch to your food try a Chutney;but remember it has to colourful, tangy, spicy, lip smacking and Yummmmy!!