Mar 22, 2013

Pavakkai Poriyal | Hagalkayi Palya

Bittter Gourd cooked with tamarind and jaggery with sauteed with onions and seasoned with mustard, cumin and fenugreek seeds.


2 Bitter Gourd, diced
1 Onion, chopped length wise
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds
3-4 Curry Leaves
1/4 cup Tamarind extract
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp Coriander powder
1/4 tsp Red chili powder
1 tsp Jaggery
3 tsp Oil


  • In a heavy bottom vessel, heat oil. Add mustard seeds, when it starts to crackle, add cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds

  • Add onions and curry leaves. Saute until onions turn transparent
  • Add turmeric powder, coriander powder and red chili powder. Saute for few seconds
  • Add tamarind extract and jaggery. Simmer for 3-4 minutes

  • Add bitter gourd and mix well. Cover the vessel with a lid and and cook in low heat setting for 10 minutes. Add water if required
  • When bitter gourd is fork tender, add salt and fry for 2 minutes

  • Serve as side dish with rice or Chapathi

Sundal | Husli

"Sundal" or "Husli" is a vegetarian delight and a healthy side dish or a snack.  Sundal is made with different kinds of lentils, beans and sprouts like green gram, black eyed peas, horse gram, garbanzo beans, black eyed peas and many more. 


2 Cups Kala Channa, soaked overnight 
1 Onion, Chopped
4 Green Chillies, finely chopped
1 tsp Mustard seeds
4-6 Curry Leaves
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
1/2 Cup Grated coconut
1 small bunch of Cilantro/ Coriander leaves, finely chopped
4 tsp oil


  • Cook kala channa in a pressure cooker. Add enough water to cook Kala channa. Also, add little salt for taste. Drain excess water from channa. (wait!! don't discard water. Use it as stalk to prepare soups or curries)

  • In a heavy bottom vessel, heat oil. Add mustard seeds, when it starts to crackle, add asafoetida, curry leaves and green chilies.  Saute until onions turn transparent.

  • Add cooked channa and adjust salt to taste. Mix well. Saute for 2 minutes until all flavors are absorbed.

  • Turn off heat and add grated coconut and cilantro. Mix well

Mar 21, 2013

"Guilt Free" Carrot Soup

"Guilt Free" carrot soup is made with sauteed garlic, onions and carrots and seasoned with herbs and spices. You will truly enjoy this delicious soup!!  And it won't derail your diet.

The ingredients and steps are simple and easy to follow.


5 Carrots, diced 
1 Onion, diced
4 Cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
2 Mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 1/2 Cups water
1/2 Cup Skimmed milk
1/2 tsp Herbs (oregano or thyme or Mint)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2-3 tsp Parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp Extra virgin olive oil


  • In a hot skillet, heat oil. Add garlic and onions. Saute until onions turns transparent

  • Add carrots. Saute for 2-3 minutes

  • Add pepper, salt and herbs. Mix well
  • Add water and milk. Simmer for 3-5 minutes and then cool

  • Using a blender, puree the carrot mixture. Then pour the contents back to the skillet. Simmer for 2-3 minutes

  • Serve hot. Garnish with parsley and mushrooms.


  • Adding mushrooms gives crunchiness to the soup
  • The purpose of using milk is to give creamy texture. Adding milk to this recipe is optional. 

Mar 19, 2013

Beef Sheek Kabab

Minced beef marinated with spice mix and grilled on skewers.


250 gms Ground beef
4 Cloves of Garlic, minced
3 Green chilies, chopped
1/4 tsp Turmeric
2 Cardamom
1 Star anise
2 tsp Lemon juice
Bamboo Skewers


  • Soak bamboo skewers in water for 45 minutes
  • Make spice powder using cardamom and star anise
  • Mix all ingredients listed above. Knead minced beef until all ingredients blended well
  • Refrigerate for 1 - 2 hours

  • Divide the meat into equal portions. take each portion of meat  and roll them into sausage or cylindrical shape and press it into a skewer

  • Grill the skewers using a griddle or a charcoal grill. Apply oil.  Turn skewers occasionally  Each batch of kabab takes about 10- 15 minutes when cooked in medium - high heat. 

  • Serve hot with salad

Potato Garlic fry (Poondu Urulaikilangu Varuval)

Poondu Urulaikilangu Varuval is stir fried garlic and potatoes with spice mix. This recipe is quick and easy to make side dish for rice and sambhar/ rasam or chapathi. My favorite combination is with yougurt rice.


3 Potatoes, cubed
1 Onion, diced
6-8 cloves of Garlic, minced
4-6 Curry Leaves
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
1/2 tsp Pepper powder
3 tsp Oil


  • Heat oil, add mustard seeds. When it starts to crackle, add garlic, curry leaves. Saute for few seconds and then add onions. Fry until it turns transparent.

  • Add Turmeric and Pepper. Mix well
  • Add Potatoes mix until turmeric and pepper are coated well. In medium - low heat setting fry until roasts on all sides

  • Finally add salt and fry for 2 minutes
  • serve hot with rice and sambhar /rasam/ yogurt or chapathi

Mar 15, 2013

Pudina (mint) Chutney

Pudina Chutney is one of the best accompaniment for idli, dosa, paniyaram or chapathi. My mother taught me how to make this recipe and her recipe doesn't include roasted channa dal. I have added this ingredient into my recipe, because it gives good texture.


1 Bunch of Pudina (Mint)
1 Cup Grated coconut
1/2 cup Roasted Channa dal (Hurikadale)
3 Cloves of Garlic
4 Green Chilies
Small piece of Tamarind
2 tsp Oil

For tampering - 

1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1/2 tsp Urad dal
2 Red chilies
1 strand of Curry leaves


  • Heat Oil in a pan, add garlic, green chili and pudina. Saute for 2- 3 minutes. And then add tamarind. Fry for a minute

  • Using a blender, make a smooth paste of coconut, roasted channa dal and fried ingredients. Adjust salt as per taste

  • For tampering -  heat 2 tsp of oil, add mustard seeds, urad dal, red chilies and curry leaves. Pour the contents to pudina chutney. Mix well
  • Best combination with Doda, idli and chapathi

Beef, bean and veggi Chili

This recipe is a spicy stew made with carrots, celery, beans and ground beef which is seasoned with a variety of spices. It is loaded with tonnes of flavors   

To add a little bit of kick to this scrumptious dish, I have used stout beer. When meat and beans cooked in stout beer, it gives a distinctive and sharp flavor to this recipe. Adding beer is only an optional ingredient. 


1/2 lb Ground beef
1 Cup Pinto beans, soaked overnight or canned, drained and rinsed
1/2 Cup, Kidney beans, soaked overnight or canned, drained and rinsed
2 Carrots, diced 
2 stalks of Celery, diced
1 Leek, chopped
1 Onion, diced
1 Toamto, diced
4 cloves of Garlic, chopped
1 cup of Stout Beer (optional)
1 small bunch of Parsley, chopped
2 cups water
1 tsp Butter
2 tsp Olive Oil
For Spice Mix
1/2 tsp Red Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/2 tsp Cumin Powder
1/2 tsp dried Oregano
1/2 tsp dried Parsley
1 Tsp salt
1/2 tsp Sugar


  • Using a pressure cooker, cook pinto beans and kidney beans. Add enough water up to the level of beans. Also, add 1/4 tsp of salt. 

  • In a skillet, heat oil and butter. Saute aromatics - garlic, onions and leek for a minute

  • Add carrots, celery and cooked beans. Saute for 3 to 4 minute

  • Add ground beef and mix well. Saute for 2 minutes

  • Now add the spice mix. (You can always adjust seasoning as per taste and level of spiciness)

  • Add the water left over from cooked beans, tomatoes and then add another 2 cups of water and beer. Simmer for 1 hour and  stir occasionally until all the spices are absorbed by vegetables, beans and beef
  • Finally, add chopped parsely

  • Serve hot with chopped onions, cilantro, cheese and tortilla chips

Banana and Blueberry Bread

I love making Banana Bread, simple because its delicious, moist and loaded with lots of banana flavors. Its one of my favorite breakfast recipes. A french toast of banana bread with a cup of coffee completes it.  The crunchiness of dry fruits and banana flavors just compliment each other. 

I make this bread whenever there is over ripe bananas left over. You don't need a hand mixer for this recipe, instead you can use wooden spatchula. The steps are easy to follow.


2 Cups Flour
2 Ripe Bananas
1/4 Cup Bule Berry
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 tsp Cinnamon Powder
1 tsp Baking soda
1/2 Cup Butter
1/4 tsp Salt
2 Eggs
4 tsp Raisins (any kind of dry fruits)


  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • In a mixing bowl, mash bananas. Keep aside
  • In another mixing bowl, using a hand mixer (optional) or a wooden spatchula beat eggs and then add sugar. Next, sprinkle baking soda, cinnamon powder and salt and mix well
  • Now add flour and butter. Mix well 
  • Finally, add mashed bananas, blue berry and raisins. Mix all these ingredients well
  • Pour the mixture into a buttered 4 x 8 loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour until tooth pick (or fork / knife) inserted into loaf  comes out clean
  • Cool the bread for 10 to 15 minutes. Slice to serve

Mar 11, 2013

Paneer Lettuce Wrap

"Paneer Lettuce Wrap"  is a vegetarian option for Chicken Lettuce wrap. Its crisp, rocking, joyful and crowd-pleasing appetizer. 


250 gms Panner, cut into cubes or rectangle slices
1 Iceberg Lettuce
1/4 cup of Oil 

For Marinade

1 bunch of Cilantro
2 Green Chilies
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 inch Ginger
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1 Bell Pepper, diced
1/2 tsp Salt


  • Using a blender make a smooth paste of all ingredients listed for Marinade. Add water if required.
  • Apply green chutney over panner and freeze for 15 minutes, so that the marinade sauce sticks to paneer and it does not fall of while frying
  • In a flat pan, heat 3-4 tsp of oil and place panner one beside other. Slow roast them evenly in medium heat setting until it turns to brown. The sweet chutney from marinade helps to caramelize paneer. (Each side should take about 2 minutes to roast)
  • Serve paneer over a bed of Iceberg lettuce

Kabuli Channa Chat

Chats are popular street foods in India. There are wide variety of chats like pani puri, bhel puri, masala puri, seve puri and the list goes on.

The recipe that I have presented is called "Kabuli Channa Chat". It is prepared mainly with with Kabul channa or garbanzo beans and it is accompanied with puris, onions, cucumber, sweet and green chutney.


1 cup Garbanzo beans (Kabul Channa), soaked overnight
1 onion, chopped
1 Cucumber, chopped
1 Tomato, chopped
Small bunch of Cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup, yogurt

For Puri

1 cup fine semolina (chiroti rava)
1 tsp Rice flour
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of Baking soda

For Sweet Chutney

3/4 cup Tamarind pulp
1 cup Jaggery
1/4 tsp Red Chili Powder

For Green Chutney

1 bunch Cilantro
1 bunch Pudina (mint)
3 Green chilies
1 inch Ginger
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Chat Masala



  • In a bowl, mix semolina, rice flour, salt and baking soda. Add water enough to knead the dough. The dough should be very tight
  • Allow it to rest for 1/2 hour until semolina absorbs moisture
  • Divide the dough into equal balls and using a rolling pin, roll into circles (not too thick or not too thin). Cut it into small squares
  • Now heat oil in a pan for deep frying puris, put small squares into oil slowly and fry in medium flame  until it turns to dark golden brown 

Sweet Chutney

  • Melt jaggery in a pan. Simmer until it completely dissolves
  • add tamarind and red Chili powder. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Stir often until thickens
  • After it cools, strain the liquid and refrigerate

Green Chutney

  • Using a blender make a paste of all ingredients that are listed for Green chutney. Add little water if required
  • Refrigerate the chutney


  • Boil Garbanzo beans (Kabul Channa) in a pressure cooker up to 4 whistles
  • In a bowl, mix boiled garbanzo beans,onions, cucumber, and tomato

  • Add 2-4 tsp of sweet chutney and 2-4 tsp of green chutney and mix well
  • In a plate, put handful of puris and spread it evenly, next add spiced garbanzo and vegetable mix and spread it evenly. Garnish with Yogurt, sweet chutney , green chutney and cilantro


Puris can be made in advance and can be stored in an air tight container. It lasts up to two weeks or may be more. Sometimes it becomes soft, if it is exposed to air, then you can toast these puris in a preheated oven for 15 minutes to make it crispy

Sweet Chutney and Green Chutney can be made in advance and can be stored in an air tight container. Refrigerate after every use it increase its shelf life.

Mar 8, 2013

Hari (green) Chutney

Hari (green) Chutney is a basic accompaniment for chat, sandwich or even in salads. It is prepared with fresh herbs like mint, cilantro ...

I have recreated this recipe making it  little unique from other recipes. Also, I wanted a create a firm base for this chutney so that the consistency is very thick and smooth. 


2 cloves of Garlic
1/2 inch Ginger
2 Green Chilies
1/2 cup Grenn Bell pepper, diced
Hand full of Cilantro
1/4 tsp Cumin Powder
1/4 tsp salt


  • using a blender, make a smooth paste of all ingredients that are listed above. Add few tablespoon of water if required. The consistency should be thick.
Tip: you can prepare this chutney in advance and refrigerate it in an airtight container

Imili Ki Chutney (Sweet Chutney)

Imili (or Tamarind or Puli in tamil)  is one of the chief accompaniment in many chats. Its a sweet and sour recipe made with tamarind and jaggery ("bella" in Kannada or "gur" in Hindi).

This recipe has many variations. Some recipes add additional spices like black pepper, garam masala and salt. But my recipe is made with  just 3 ingredients and turned out to be toothsome and scrumptious!!

I also used this chutney as salad dressing and it was delicious.


3/4 cup Tamarind pulp
1 cup Jaggery, grated (otherwise shavings  or small pieces of jaggery should be good)
1/4 tsp Red Chili Powder


  • In a heavy bottom vessel, add 2 tsp of water and jaggery. Melt jaggery until it dissolves completely
  • Now add tamarind pulp and simmer for 10 minutes in medium heat setting, until it gets semi thick
  • Add red chili powder and mix well
  • optional step : After it cools, strain the liquid and discard the content
Tip: you can refrigerate this chutney for up to 10 days or freeze it

Mar 7, 2013

Avarai (Beans) Varupu

Avarai Varupu is an easy way to flavor up green beans. It makes a great combination with any meal. 

Preparation Time - 20 Minutes


500 gms Green Beans, cut into 1 inch 
1 inch piece of Ginger, grated
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Red Chili powder
1/4 tsp Kasturi Methi
1/2 tsp Coriander Powder
5 tsp oil


  • In a skillet, heat oil. Add ginger, turmeric powder, red chili powder, kasturi methi, coriander powder and 2 tsp of water. Stir well
  • Add beans and cover the skillet. Cook in medium heat setting for 15 minutes. Stir often
  • Add Salt and cook for 3-5 minutes
  • Serve hot

Potato Curry

When I think of spicy vegetarian side dish, "Potato Curry" comes to my mind. Its my mother's recipe. 
My Mom used to make this quite often during my school days and it is one my favorite !! 
I  remember during my college days, that this was a popular dish. My friends still do ask for this recipe and that why I am sharing it with everyone !!

Preparation time - 20 minutes


4 Potatoes, chopped 
1 tsp. Mustard seeds
1 tsp. Urad Dal (optional)
1 strand Curry leaves
1/2 tsp. Turmeric powder
3/4 tsp. Red chili powder
4 tsp. Oil


  • Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and Urad dal. When mustard seeds start to crackle, add curry leaves, turmeric and red chili powder, and then add 2 tsp of water to prevent burning of dry ingredients
  • Add potatoes and mix well until masala has evenly coated potatoes. Cover the pan with a lid or a plate and in medium heat setting, cook for 10 minutes. Stir often
  • When potatoes are partially cooked, add salt and cook for another 8 to 10 minutes
  • Serve hot
Most popular combinations of potato curry are Curd rice, chapati, rice and rasam, rice and sambhar

Mar 6, 2013

Baked Fish

Looking for healthy dinner!!
A simple blend of fresh herbs and spices transforms tilapia fillets into a mind-blowing feast.
This is a great and healthy meal which is lightly crisp on the outside, tender and juicy inside.


5 Tilapia fillets
2 Green chilies
2 cloves of garlic
1 small piece of ginger
Handful of mint
Handful of Cilantro
1/2 tsp.of cumin powder
1tsp.of extra virgin olive oil


  • Make a paste of  all ingredients except fish fillets
  • Apply marinade paste over tilapia fish fillets and refrigerate for 20 minutes
  • Place the fillets in a greased baking dish
  • Preheat oven to 350C 
  • bake fish up to 20 minutes at 300C
  • Serve with salad if desired