May 13, 2013

Shavige Uppittu | Semiya Upma

"Shavige Upittu" is a Indian breakfast recipe which is very easy to make. It is prepared with vermicelli (or called as semiya) sauteed with onions and chilies. Sometime even vegetables like carrot, peas and beans are also added (Vegetable Semiya Upma !!).

This recipe can be prepared effortlessly and is exceptionally tasteful.


4 cups Roasted Vermicelli
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Bengal gram | Channa Dal
1 small piece Ginger, shredded
2 Onions, sliced lengthwise
5 Green Chilies, slit lengthwise
1 sprig of Curry Leaves
3-4 sprigs of Cilantro, finely chopped
8 cups Water
6 tsp oil


  • In a pot, heat oil, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and Bengal gram

  • Add , curry leaves, green chilies and ginger. Saute for a minute
  • Add Onions and fry until it turns transparent

  • Add water and adjust salt as per taste. Bring it to boil

  • Slowly add roasted vermicelli and mix well

  • Cook in low flame for 10 minutes while stirring in between

  • Garnish with cilantro

  • Serve hot
  • If roasted vermicelli is not available, then heat a tablespoon of oil in a pot, add vermicelli and fry in low heat setting until it turns to light brown in color
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Menasinakai Bajji

"Menasinakai Bajji" is a popular appetizer made with banana peppers dipped in chick pea batter and deep fried in hot oil. It is crispy on outside and very soft  inside. 

This recipe can be bar snack or as a starter. This bhajji can be prepared effortlessly. The ingredients are simple and instructions are easy to follow.


4 Banana Peppers, deseed and slit lengthwise 
1 cup Chick pea flour | Besan
2 tsp Rice flour
1/4 tsp Baking soda
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
1/2 tsp Red Chili powder
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4th cup Water
Oil for deep frying


  • In a mixing bowl, mix chick pea flour, rice flour, baking soda, asafoetida, red chili powder and salt. Add water. The consistency of batter should be medium thick 
  • In a heavy bottom vessel, heat oil for deep frying
  • Dip banana pepper  in chick pea batter and make sure that the batter is coated evenly. Gently leave it in hot oil
  • Fry evenly until it turns golden brown
  • Serve hot with Ketchup or lemon wedges or sliced red onions

Drumstick Sambhar | Murungakkai Sambar

"Drumstick sambhar" is the most common household recipe in South India. Drumstick sambhar and  potato fry served with steamed rice drizzled with ghee is a vintage combination. Other combinations are  Drumstick sambhar with idly , dosa, and pongal.

Drumstick are inexpensive and sometimes you will even find this tree in backyard.
Both the leaves and drumstick is highly nutritious. Its a good source of Vitamin A.  


2 Drumstick, cut into 4'' pieces
1 cup of Toor Dal
1 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1/4 tsp Asafoetida | Hing
1 sprig of Curry Leaves
1 Tomato, diced
Small piece of Tamarind
2 tsp Sambhar Powder
2 tsp Ghee | Oil


  • In a pressure cooker, cook toor dal with 3 cups of water up to 4 to 5 whistles. After cooker has cooled, mash dal  using a laddle

  • Meanwhile, when dal is cooking,  boil little water with tamarind. After it has cooled, mash tamaring and squeese out pulp. Discard if there are any fibers or skin

  • In a heavy bottom vessel, heat ghee | oil, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves

  • Add tomatoes and saute for 2 minutes until tomatoes are partially cooked

  • Add drumstick and saute for 2 minutes

  • Add  sambhar powder and tamarind pulp. Cook for 2 minutes

  • Pour the contents over dal. Adjust salt as per taste. If dal is very thick add water if required. Don't add too much water, otherwise consistency of dal will be very thin
  • Pressure cook for 1 or 2 whistles. After cooker has cooled serve hot with steamed rice 

Pyaz Double Damakha Pakora | Onion Pakora

A deep fried starter made with onions, chick pea flour and green chilies. Its extremely delicious and an entertaining appetizer. 

On a rainy day, my husband asked for a deep fried snack with a cup of chai. So I decided to make onion pakora since its easy to make and can be prepared in no time. I wanted to keep this recipe as simple as possible.

There are many variations in pakora and this is one of the simplest recipe. I called it "double dhamaka" because, it is deep fried twice to keep it crisp on the outside and soft inside.


1 Medium sized Onion, finely chopped
1 cup Chick  pea flour | Besan
4 Green Chilies
3/4 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Water
Oil for deep frying


  • In a mixing bowl, mix onions, green chilies, chick pea flour and salt
  • Add little water to make thick batter. Add more water if required

  • Wet your hands and scoop out little batter. Gently leave it in hot oil. Deep fry evenly until it turns golden brown

  • Use an absorbent paper to drain excess oil. 

  • After pakoras has cooled, drop it again in hot oil and fry evenly for a minute or two 
  • Use an absorbant paper to drain excess oil
  • Serve hot with chutney 
  • Additional ingredients like cilantro, dill, mint(pudina) can also be added to enhance flavors
  • Cabbage and cauliflower can be used instead of onions

May 8, 2013

Indian Ginger Tea | Adrak Chai | Inji Tea | Shunti Tea

Packed with invigorating blend of spicy ginger, black tea, milk and sweetened with granulated sugar. 

A cup of chai is a must in my household. I serve chai with biscuits or usli in evenings. On a raining day, I serve it with piping hot bhaji or pakodas and trust me this is the best combination. 

Ginger tea has many medicinal properties like- it helps in digestion and relieves stress. Also, it helps to ward off cold and cough.

I use skimmed milk to make tea. And I like tea to be little watery.  

Servings : 2
Cook Time : 10 minutes


1 cup Regular milk | Skimmed milk 
1 cup Water
1 tsp Black tea powder
1 small piece of Ginger, crushed
1 1/2 tsp sugar


  • In a pot, add water, milk, and tea powder

  • Add Crushed Ginger. . Bring it to boil

  • When it starts to boil, turn heat to low heat setting. Add sugar
  • Again turn to medium - high heat setting and stir continuously until tea changes to deep hue red

  • Strain tea using strainer 

  •  Serve hot with pakodas, biscuits or coffee cakes

Vegetable Saagu

"Saagu" is a stew made with different kinds of vegetables like carrots, beans, cabbage, potato, bell peppers or cauliflower and seasoned with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, red chili powder and coriander powder.
This stew tastes best when served with puri. Other combinations include chapathi or roti.

This recipe is my maternal grandmother's recipe. This is one of her recipes that I have included it in my recipe book. It very simple to make and one pot recipe too!!


2 Carrots, cubed
250 gms Cabbage, chopped
1 Bell pepper, diced
250 gms Green beans, chopped
1 Potato, cubed
1 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp Cumin seeds
2 Green Chilis, chopped (optional)
1 sprig of Curry Leaves (optional)
3/4 tsp Coriander powder
1/2 tsp Red Chili powder
3 tsp Oil
1/2 cup Freshly Grated coconut (optional)
2 sprigs of Cilantro, chopped (optional)


  • In a pressure cooker, heat oil, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, green chilies and saute for few seconds
  • Add all vegetables - carrots, cabbage, bell pepper, green beans,  and potato. Saute for 3 minutes

  • Add coriander powder and red chili powder

  • Add 1/2 cup water and adjust salt as per taste
  • Pressure cook for 1 or 2 whistles
  • Add freshly grated coconut and cilantro
  • Serve with puri, chapathi or roti

  • Any kind of vegetable can be added in this recipe. If you want to exhaust all veggies from your refrigerator, then this recipe would serve best
  • Also, onion can be added. But I have not used in this recipe

Kadalekayi Usli

Raw peanuts seasoned with mustard seeds, green chilies, curry leaves, asafoetida and cilantro. This recipe is a great evening snack.

Raw peanuts are moist  and raw Indian peanuts are available in Indian grocery stores. 


1 kg Raw Peanuts
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
5 Green chilies, finely chopped
2 sprigs of Curry Leaves
1 Onion, finely chopped
5 sprigs of Cilantro, finely chopped
3 tsp Oil


  • Wash and boil raw peanuts in a pressure cooker with a little salt. Pressure cook up to 2 whistles

  • Drain and de-shell peanuts

  • In a preheated pan, add oil, mustard seeds, asafoetida, green chilies and curry leaves. Saute for a minute

  • Add onions. Saute until onions turn transparent

  • Add de-shelled peanuts and adjust salt as per taste

  • Add cilantro 
  • Serve with a cup of tea

  • The first two steps can be prepared in advance and can be stored in an air tight container in refrigerator
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May 1, 2013

Carrot-Cucumber Kosambari

"Carrot-Cucumber Kosambari" is a South-Indian style salad made from cucumber, carrot and seasoned with red chilies, mustard, and asafoetida. 

I have posted recipe for "Kosambari' before. But I did not add seasoning in previous recipe. 


3/4 cup Moong dal, soaked for 3-4 hours
1 Cucumber, finely chopped
2 Carrots, shredded
2 Green Chilies, finely chopped
2 sprig of cilantro

For seasoning-
2 tsp Oil
1 tsp Mustard seeds
2 Red Chilies
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
1 sprig of Curry leaves


  • Soak moong dal in water for 3-4 hours. Drain excess water and wash it in cold water for 2-3 times 
  • In a mixing bowl, mix moong dal, cucumber, carrot, chilies, cilantro and adjust salt as per taste
  • In a pan, heat oil, add mustard seeds, red chilies, asafoetida and curry leaves. When mustard seeds starts to splutter, pour the seasoning to cucumber and carrots
  • Mix well and serve it as a salad or side dish
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