Jan 22, 2014

Idli Upma

An easy tiffin recipe made without a clinch. Crumbled idli's are stir fired and tempered with mustard seeds, Cumin seeds, Bengal gram, urad dal, chilies and lots of curry leaves. The tempering adds a lot of nuttiness to this upma. 


6-8 Idli (click this link on how to make idli)
2 tsp Oil
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Bengal gram
1/2 tsp Urad dal
3-4 Green/ Red chilis
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
A sprig of curry leaves
few sprigs of cilantro, finely chopped


  • Crumble idli or finely cut them

  • In a sauce pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, bengal gram, urad dal. Saute until it is golden brown

  • Add chilies, curry leaves and onions. Saute until onions are transparent

  • Add crumbled idli and season it with salt. Stir in medium heat for 3-4 minutes. garnish with cilantro

  • Serve hot

Vengaya Sambar

An elegant , tangy and intensely flavored onion (called as vengaya in Tamil) sambar is prepared with freshly ground spices. The roasted pearl onions are cooked in a tangy tamarind sauce and ground masala made up of - red chilies, coriander seeds, bengal gram , fenugreek seeds, curry leaves and coconut. 

Vengaya sambhar is a perfect accompaniment for idly and dosa. This sambar is so tasty that it reminds me of a Sagar Fast Food in Rajajinagar, Bangalore which serves excellent sambar for idly.  

I have been trying to create as well as borrow onion sambar recipes from many. But thanks to my sister Bhavya, who shared this recipe with me.


15 Pearl red onions
1/2 cup Toor dal
Marble sized Tamarind
3/4 tsp Jaggery
4 tsp Oil/ Ghee, divided

For the masala ~
2 tsp Coriander seeds
1/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp Channa dal
A sprig of Curry leaves
5 Byadagi  Red Chilies
1/4 tsp Asafoetida (hing)
3 Pearl Onions
1/2 cup freshly grated coconut

For tempering ~
2 tsp Oil
1 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp Cumin seeds
a sprig of Curry leaves


  • Wash and cook dal with 3 cups of water in a pressure pan for 10 -15 minutes. After it has cooled, mash the dal completely

  • Soak tamarind in hot water and extract tamarind pulp

  • In a large pot, heat 2 tsp of oil. Roast all the ingredients listed under masala  except coconut. Grind these ingredients with coconut into a smooth paste

  • In the same pot, roast onions with 2 tsp of oil until it brown. Add tamarind juice and jaggery. Simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce thickens

  • Return ground masala and dal to the pot. Adjust thickness of water depending upon thickness. Season with salt and simmer for 10 minutes

  • In a pan, heat oil. When it turns smoky, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves. Pour it on sambar

  • Serve hot with idly and dosa

Besan Gojju | Petla

Besan Gojju is a vegetarian chickpea flour based semi gravy. Idly and dosa are made to pair with Besan Gojju accentuates taste. This gojju is a novel way to prepare an instant curry.

The recipe is inspired from Maharashtrian cuisine and I learnt it from my mom. Besan Gojju otherwise also called "petla" in my house.   


4 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds 
1 tsp urad dal
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/4 cup Besan ( chickpea flour)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tomato, finely chopped
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder
4 cups of water 
Cilantro for garnish 


  • On a preheated large pot, add oil, mustard seeds , urad dal and fennel seeds. When it starts to crackle , add garlic and onions. Sauté until onions turns transparent 
  • Add tomatoes  and cook for 3 minutes
  • While this is cooking, in a bowl mix besan, turmeric powder and chili powder . Add a cup of water and mix well without any lumps. Return this liquid to the pot and stir frequently. Add water as needed depending upon thickness 
  • Season with salt and simmer for 10 minutes until gravy thickens 
  • Garnish with cilantro; and serve hot with idly or dosa

Jan 20, 2014

Sweet Pongal | Sakkarai Pongal

A divine recipe made during auspicious occasions. It is the main sweet dish made for harvest festival ~ MAKAR SANKRANTI or PONGAL which is celebrated for four days by Hindus all over India. Sweet pongal is made mainly with rice, moong dal and jaggery. 

Pongal is made as a part of ritual on 2nd day of the harvest festival which is offered sun god for prosperity. Both the cookware and the stove is decorated with flowers and rangoli (kolum).


1/2 cup Rice
2 tsp Moong Dal
2 cups Water
1/2 cup Jaggery (gur)
1/4 tsp Cardamon powder
8 nos Cashew nuts
2 tsp Golden raisins
4 tsp Ghee (clarified butter)


  • In a pressure pan, roast moong dal until it turns golden brown. Add washed rice and water. Cook upto 3 - 4 whistles
  • In another pan, melt jaggery with 2 tsp of water to one thread consistency. Use a strainer to remove impurities
  • Mash rice and moong dal with a laddle (you can use potato masher). Pour Jaggery syrup and add cardamom powder
  • Fry cashew nuts and raisins in ghee. Return it to the pongal and mix well
Additional notes ~
  • Some recipe do add a pinch of nutmeg powder and edible camphor
  • Moong dal is an optional ingredient. Some versions add moong dal and some don't
  • Freshly grated coconut can added in the end

Dosa and Idly Batter

Dosa and idly is staple breakfast food in southern part of India. In TamilNadu, it is served both for breakfast and dinner. 

At home, I always stock up dosa batter in fridge. I use wet grinder to make the batter. It can also be prepared using a blender, but it tastes better with wet grinder than a blender.  This batter comes in handy,  especially when I am tired after work or when there are unexpected guests.  I just make chutney  and make either dosa, paniyaram or idly. 

The batter has shelf life upto 10 days when stored in proper condition. You can make so many dishes with this batter  such as different varieties of dosas that include masala dosa, plain dosa, uttapam, onion/ vegetable dosa, egg dosa; idli, paniyaram both sweet and savory, punugulu (deep fried dosa batter fritters) and the list goes on.


4 cups Idly rice
1 cup Urad dal
1 tsp Fenugreek seeds
2 tsp Bengal gram 
2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Baking Soda (optional)
Water as needed


  • Wash rice in a large pot and soak it in water for 5 to 6 hours
  • Next, wash urad dal, fenugreek seeds and bengal gram together; and soak in water for 5 to 6 hours
  • Wash the grains and drain water from both the pots. Repeat this step for atleast 2-3 times
  • Grind rice first into smooth batter. Add just enough water to run the wet grinder ( do not add excess water. It should be thick). Transfer the batter into a pot
  • Next, grind urad dal, fenugreek seeds and bengal gram into smooth. Again add just enough water to run the wet grinder. Transfer the batter to the same pot
  • Add salt and baking soda. Mix well
  • Keep in warm place for 10 - 12 hours to ferment (until the batter raises and becomes spongy)
Additional notes:
  • By adding bengal gram, dosa can be roasted until brown 
  • Fenugreek seeds helps in fermentation. By adding too much, it will leave batter bitter
  • Baking soda assists in fermentation. In summer, it is not required to add this ingredient because it ferments fast in summer in just 5 hours
  • Tips for Fermentation : If you live in cold place, I suggest to keep your batter next to stove while cooking or inside the oven. This way, it is warm and ferments at a faster pace

Jan 16, 2014

Aloo Methi Subzi

Aloo methi subzi is one of the yummiest recipes which I have tried in recent times. Potato (aloo) and Fenugreek (methi) leaves is such a great combination with roti's. 

In the city where I live, we get Indian fruits and vegetables once a week and during this time, fenugreek leaves sells like hot cakes on first cum first serve basis. Methi leaves is highly nutritive leafy vegetable which is a good source of iron.

The recipe below is my version of aloo-methi. I like to keep it a little spicy with dry gravy made from onion-ginger-garlic paste which  nicely balances with potato. The potatoes tossed with dry ingredients make it toothsome and very delicious, it tastes just like a chat. In the end fried cashew nuts adds a lot of crunch to this great dish.


4 Potatoes 
1 large bunch of Fenugreek leaves (methi leaves), roughly chopped
1 Onion, cubed
4 Garlic cloves
A small piece of Ginger
1/4 cup Roasted cashew nuts (optional)
4 tsp Oil
2 tsp Ghee

For dry masala~
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
1/2 tsp Coriander powder
1/2 tsp Garam masala powder
1/2 tsp Cumin powder
2 tsp lemon juice


  • Cut potatoes in half and cook in a large pot of boiling water until fork tender. Cool potatoes in cold water and peel off the skin. Cut into cubes

  • In a mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients listed under dry masala. Add potato and toss it well

  • Make a paste of ginger, garlic and onions. Heat oil and ghee on a preheated skillet. Add ginger, garlic and onion paste. Saute until it turns golden brown

  • Add fenugreek leaves and saute for a minute

  • Next, add potato and saute in low heat for 10 minutes

  • Garnish with roasted cashew nuts and serve hot with roti

Ragi Mudde | Sankati | Finger Millet Ball

A magnificent  recipe from southern part of Karnataka is a staple diet of rural folk. It was common recipe in urban areas long time back but started to diminish due fast food hotels and trending western foods. But some of the  military hotels and mess still serve ragi mudde. 

Now-a-days ragi mudde has become very popular due to its nutritional benefits. It is a recommended food by doctors due to its rich source of calcium, protein, amino acids ( such as isoleucine, leucine, methionine and phenyl alanine), vitamin B6, folic acid and several others. It is an excellent source for weight loss as it reduces appetite. 

Ragi mudde is prepared with only 3 ingredients- finger millet flour, water and salt. Traditionally it is prepared in mud pots or copper utensils with the help of wooden stick (called as "mudde kolu" in Kannada). I used a simple non-stick pot and a wooden ladle to prepare this recipe. This is an easy version of this recipe.


1 cup Finger Millet flour (ragi)
2 cups of water, divided
Pinch of salt 


  • Boil 1 cup of water in a pot. Add a pinch of salt

  • While water is boiling, mix together ragi flour with 1 cup of water. Slowly pour the ragi mix to the boiling water

  • On low heat, with the help of wooden ladle slowly stir the liquid in one direction to form smooth dough

  • Transfer this dough on a wet wooden slab, wet your hands, divide the dough into equal portions and roll into balls (size of an orange) 

Additional notes-
  • use a wet teaspoon to scrap out all of ragi mudde from the pot

Jan 9, 2014

Chicken Chow Mein

Chicken Chow Mein is a Chinese stir fry noodles recipe. It is made with flavorful combination of soy sauce, vinegar and chili sauce. 

A very easy recipe and suits when you just need your mouth to sizzle. The base for this recipe is noodles and different sauces. I used angel hair pasta, but you can prepare it with any kinds of noodles.

Also toss it up with fresh vegetables like carrots, broccoli, onions, bell pepper and a little bit of protein like boneless chicken strips. 


1 pack Angel hair pasta
200 gms Boneless Chicken strips
1 Carrot, thinly sliced
1 Bell pepper, cut into strips
1 onion, sliced lengthwise
Handful of Broccoli florets
1/2 tsp Pepper
6 tsp Oil

For the sauce
1 cup Chicken broth
4 tsp dark Soy sauce
3 tsp Sriracha sauce or hot sauce
4 tsp Rice vinegar
1/2 tsp Aginomotto
1 tsp corn Starch


  • Bring a large port of salted water to boil. Add the angel hair pasta and cook until it is tender. Drain the water and run cold water on pasta. Drain the water again

  • Spread the chicken on a preheated wok. Sprinkle little vegetable oil and season it with salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat until it is tender. Keep it aside

  • Heat remaining oil and on high heat toss in vegetables for 2 min. Give it a little stir

  • In a bowl, mix all the ingredients listed under sauce
  • Return pasta and cooked chicken strips to the wok. Pour the sauce on top of noodles. Season it with salt and pepper. Stir on high heat for  2-4 minutes

  • Serve hot

Jan 8, 2014

Koli Saaru | Chicken Curry

A recipe that needs no introduction. Koli Saaru (chicken curry) is a power house delectable and a tantalizing recipe from Karnataka.  

Saaru is essentially made from sambhar powder. Saaru (or the curry) is very soupy  in consistency and the curry itself is prepared with coconut, Khus Khus (poppy seeds), onions which is mildly flavored with cilantro. The chicken cooks in its own broth until it is tender and just falls off the bone. 


1 Kg Bone-in Chicken
1 Onion, finely chopped
5 tsp Oil 

For the masala
1/2 cup of Coconut
3 tsp Sambhar powder
1 tsp Khus Khus (poppy seeds)
1 tsp Roasted Bengal gram
5 Cloves of Garlic
Small piece of Ginger
1 Tomato, cubed
1 Large Onion, cubed
1 small bunch of Cilantro
1 stick of Cinnamon
2 pods of Cardamon
4 Cloves
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
1/4 cup  Oil


  • In a large skillet, toast khus khus on medium heat and keep it aside

  • Next, heat oil and saute onions, ginger, garlic and cilantro until it is brown

  • Make a smooth paste of all ingredients -toasted khus khus, fried onion-garlic-ginger-cilantro, and remaining ingredients listed under masala

  • Again heat oil in the skillet, add onions and saute until it is transparent. Now add the chicken and saute for 5 minutes

  • Return the masala to the skillet and saute for another 5 minutes until masala is nicely coated the chicken. Add 4 cups of water, Season it with salt  and cover the vessel. Cook on medium heat for 25-30 minutes until meat is tender

  • Serve hot with idly, ragi ball, akki rotti or rice

Jan 7, 2014

Badanekai Yennegai

"Badanekai Yennegai" is a classic recipe in North Karnataka cuisine. Jowar roti and Badanekai Yennegai is a iconic combination and it is widely popular around this region. 

I learnt this stuffed brinjal recipe from my mom. The shiny looking brinjals are cooked until they are pillowy in texture and coated with peanut-coconut paste.  


500 gms Brinjal (small round ones !!), slit lengthwise with crown intact
1 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 spring of Curry leaves
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Coriander powder
5 tsp Oil

 For the Masala
4 Green Chilies, roughtly chopped
1 Onion, diced
3 cloves of Garlic
1/2 cup Peanuts
1/2 cup Coconut


  • In a heavy bottomed vessel, roast peanuts and remove the skin. Keep it aside. Then in the same dish, heat a tsp of oil, add green chilies,  onions and garlic. Saute until onions turn brown
  • Make a fine paste of fried ingredients along with coconut. Add 1/2 cup - 1 cup of water
  • Heat 4 tsp oil on a skillet, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, turmeric powder and coriander powder
  • Add brinjals and fry for 5 minutes in medium heat setting

  • Pour the masala  over brinjals . Adjust salt as per taste. Mix well

  •  Next cook on medium heat for 15 minutes until brinjals are completely cooked 

  • Serve hot with chapathi or jowar roti

Additional notes--
  • If brinjals are not available, eggplant can be used
  • There are many variations to this recipe. Red chilies can be substituted instead of green chilies and the amount of chilies can be varied depending on spice level