Mar 23, 2016

Veg Puff

Frozen puff pastry is great for home entertaining party appetizer. Its always good to keep few packages of frozen puff pastry for last minute meal plans. It can be found in dessert frozen isle in grocery stores.  

This a good recipe for learners. It is easy to make both sweet and savory appetizers, entrees and desserts. 

For veg puff, all you need is few vegetables seasoned with mild spices


1 box of Frozen Puff Pastry sheets
2 tsp Ghee for brushing

For filling
2 Carrots, diced
2 Onions, finely chopped
1 cup of peas
4 Cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Coriander powder
1 tsp Chili Powder
1/4 tsp Garam Masala Powder
4 tsp oil


  • Heat oil on a skillet. Add onions, saute until it softens
  • Add garlic, carrots and peas. Saute for 2-3 minutes
  • Add salt, coriander powder, chili powder and garam masala powder. Cook for 8- 10 minutes
  • Thaw frozen puff pastry sheets. Unfold the sheets. Cut the sheet into 9 squares
  • Using rolling pin, roll each square of pastry sheet
  • Fill each square with 1 1/2 tsp of vegetable filling placing it on the center
  • Fold the square on opposite sides to form a triangle. Repeat above steps for remaining squares
  • Place these pastries on a sheet pan and brush each piece with ghee. 
  • Bake at 300F on a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until it turns golden brown
  • Serve warm

Mar 13, 2016

Avocado Strawberry Salad

It's very important for breastfeeding moms to have nutritious food. Certain nutritive foods keeps both mother and baby healthy.

Avacado is rich in folic acid and monosaturated fats. Folic acid  helps in  development of central nervous system. Monosaturated fats balances cholesterol levels. 

Perfect snack for brunch. 


1 ripened Avacado, cubed
6 Brightly colored Strawberries, cubed
1 Cucumber, cubed 
1/4 tsp ChatMasala powder
Juice of 1/2 a lemon 
Few sprigs of cilantro, finely chopped 
Mix these ingredients together - chopped cucumbers, avocado and strawberries with pepper, salt, cilantro and chat masala.

May 31, 2015

Indian Peanut Brittle | Chikki

An old fashioned sugar candy embedded with peanuts. It is called chikki in India which is prepared with just 2 ingredents - Jaggery (or cane sugar) and peanuts. Making chikki is just so much fun, because it is an easy recipe which can be made very quickly.

Chikki is also an excellent holiday gift and made during Indian festivals like Makar Sankranthi. I like to eat it for evening snack.


1 Cup Peanuts
3/4 cup Jaggery (cane sugar)
Oil/ ghee for greasing


  • In a sauce pan, roast peanuts on medium low heat until the skin becomes crispy and separates out ; and brown spots appear in  peanuts. Transfer peanut to a plate and let it cool. Remove skin by rubbing between your palm

  • In the same pan, melt jaggery in low heat until bubbles are formed. Drop a teaspoon of melted jaggery in cold water. If it turns solid immediately or it turns to one thread consistency, then turn off the flame

  • Now add peanuts and mix well

  • Spread it evenly on a greased surface and while it is still warm, cut it into desired shape; and let it cool

  • Store it in cool place in a air tight container

Veg Parotta

An exquisite multi layered flat bread from South Indian cuisine predominant across Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka regions. Parotta fans from all over patronize this  popular street food. 
Veg parotta is made with very few basic ingredients such as maida (white flour), salt, sugar and lots of oil. But kneading the dough is a grueling process and must be prepared well in advance. 


5 cups Maida (white flour)
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Sugar
1 cup Oil + 1/2 cup oil (used while rolling and frying)
2 cups cold Water


  • Mix together maida, salt and sugar. Add water and knead to form soft ans smooth dough. Now add 1 cup of oil in small batches and continue kneading until the dough becomes slightly elastic. Cover the dough and set aside for 1-2 hours

  • Now knead and pinch the dough into equal portions 

  • Take a portion of the dough and smear oil to it. Roll the dough into translucent thin sheet and apply oil on top. Pleat the sheet moving from one end to the other. 

  • Roll the sheet from one end to the other

  • Flatten these rolls 

  • Gently place it on a greased preheated griddle. Smear oil on both the sides and fry until it turns brown

  • Stack the parotta and and crush on the parotta working with bpth 

Carrot Halwa

One of the most popular dessert and common in every household made with fresh carrots, whole milk, and sugar flavored with cardamon and topped with roasted nuts. It is simply delicious, crunchy  and the flavor of milk adds a bonus to the taste. 

Carrot halwa is usually served warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. I love this combination and had several times in weddings. In this recipe, i substituted milk with milk powder which has same consistency of khowa when cooked . 


Carrots, shredded     8 nos
Whole Milk                1 cup
Milk powder             1 cup
Cardamom Powder 1/2 tsp
Sugar                         3/4 cup
Cashew nuts             1/4 cup
Raisins                       1/4 cup
Ghee                           4 tsp


  • In a heavy bottomed pan heat a tsp of ghee. Add carrots and sautee for 5 minutes. Then keep it aside
  • Add another tsp of ghee, cashew nuts and raisins. Fry until cashew nuts turn golden brown. keep it aside
  • Now add milk, sugar and stir well until sugar is melted
  • Add sauteed carrots, milk powder and cardamon powder. Mix well and cook until carrots are cooked and milk evaporates
  • Add remaining ghee and fried nuts. Mix well
  • Serve warm with a dollop if ice cream

May 30, 2015

Vanjaram Meen Varuval

When I am in Chennai, our afternoon meal is never complete without vanjaram (Indo-Pacific King Mackerel)  fish fry. Vanjaram is one of the most frequently used fish varieties in Chennai and quiet expensive too (center cuts are most expensive part of this fish). Most often it is pan fried or shallow fried which is considered as a tablefare and a delicacy in Southern India. 

I call Vanjaram Meen Varuval as the "king of fish recipes". 

Firstly, the fish has to be a steak cut into thin slices. The marinade is made with few ingredients and the fish has to be marinated for atleast 30min to an hours.


500 gms Vanjaram Fish, steak cut into thin slices
1 tsp Ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp Pepper powder
2 tsp Red Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1/4 cup Tamarind pulp
2 tsp Oil

For coating-
1/2 cup Rice flour
1/4 cup Fine semolina (soji)
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
1/4 tsp Pepper powder
1/2 tsp Red Chili powder
Water for batter

Oil for frying


  • Prepare marinade with ginger-garlic paste, pepper powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder, tamarind pulp, salt and oil. Mix all these ingredients into a smooth paste
  • Not apply a thin paste of marinade on both the sides of fish
  • Refrigerate for 30 min to 1 hour
  • Now make a thick batter of rice flour, fine semolina, turmeric powder, pepper powder, red chili powder and salt. Add little water just enough to make a thick batter
  • Heat oil for deep frying
  • Gently drop each fish in oil. Fry on medium high on both the sides until the red color deepens 
  • Drain excess oil using an absorbent paper
  • Serve with freshly cut onions and cucumber

Bhindi Pyaaz fry | Okra Onion fry

Made with bare minimal ingredients into a flavorful side dish. Its a quick fix recipe helps to get your dinner on the table fast.

As it is okra cooks fast they are rally tender. Even when they are cooked on medium-low it takes about 10-15 minutes. In this recipe okra is simply seasoned with turmeric, red chili powder and salt. It taste best when paired with rice and chapathi.


500 gms Okra
1 Onion, cubed
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
a Sprig od curry leaves
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
1/2 tsp Red Chili powder
1/2 cup water
5 tsp Oil


  • Wash okra in running water. Pat it dry using paper towels. Then cut it into 1 inch pieces
  • Add oil on a preheated skillet. Then add mustard seeds and curry leaves
  • When it sizzles, add onions. Saute until it it softens
  • Now, add turmeric powder and red chili powder. Quickly stir without the powders getting burnt. Add 1/4th cup of water
  • Now add okra and mix well. saute for 10 minutes
  • Add remaining 1/4 cup of water and season it with salt and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until they are completely cooked
  • serve  with steamed rice or chapathi

May 27, 2015

Red Coconut Chutney

Red coconut chutney - a perfect accompaniment for many south Indian breakfast recipes.
It is made with a combination of fresh coconut, roasted channa, red chilies and ginger; and it is topped with lightly tempered condiments.


2 cups of Fresh Coconut, cut into small pieces or grated
1/2 cup of Roasted Channa or Dalia
A small piece of Ginger, 1 inch
4-5 Dry Red Byadgi chilies
1-2 cups of water, depending upon thickness

For tempering-
2 tsp Oil
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
Few leaves of Curry leaves


  • Grind coconut first until it is coarse
  • Next add dalia, ginger, chilies and salt with 1-2 cups of water. Grind it into a smooth mixture
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves. When it starts to sizzle, pour it on freshly ground chutney

Apr 1, 2015

Thakkali vengayam Mutton Kuzhambu

Mutton cooked in a spicy pungent tomato and onion curry. This curry is a easy fix and one pot recipe. There is no grinding of masalas. 

Few weeks back PG asked me to make a simple mutton curry for chapathi. The recipes that I knew involved heavy masalas. Since, I wanted to keep this recipe; I minced ginger and garlic, finely chopped pearl onions and tomatoes. For taste and spice, added chili-coriander powder, turmeric and garam masala. All these ingredients were pressure cooked with mutton.

This recipe has been family friendly meal especially during lethargic weekends :-)


500 gms Mutton (with bones)
6 Garlic, minced
1 inch Ginger, minced
8-10 Curry Leaves
10 Pearl onions, finely chopped
2 large Tomatoes, finely chopped
3 tsp Red Chili- Coriander powder (2:1 ratio)
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
5 tsp Oil


  • Add oil in a preheated pressure cooker
  • When oil is hot add ginger, garlic, onions and curry leaves. Saute until onions softens
  • Add Tomatoes. Cook until oil separates out from rest of the ingredients
  • Add turmeric powder, red chili- coriander powder, garam masala. Mix well
  • Add mutton and fry for 10 minutes on medium heat. Add little water to prevent masala from getting burnt
  • Now add water and adjust salt as per taste. Pressure cook for 15 -20 min
  • If you want to thicken gravy, cook for another 10 minutes without the lid
  • It taste best when paired with chapathi, roti, rice, dosa or idli

Mar 24, 2015

Carrot Chutney

There are signs of spring everywhere and it feels so good with to step out in warm weather. In celebration  of arrival of spring, here's my first spring recipe - "Carrot Chutney" a vibrant colorful accompaniment for dosa and idli.


2 Carrots, diced
1 Small piece of Ginger
2 Green Chilies
1/2 tsp Bengal Gram (channa dal)
1/2 tsp Urad Dal
2 tsp Oil
Water as needed

For seasoning-
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
A sprig of Curry leaves
2 tsp Oil


  • On a preheated sauce pan; add oil, Bengal gram, urad dal. Saute until it turns golden brown
  • Add green chilies, ginger and carrots. Saute until carrot softens. Set aside until it cools
  • Adjust salt and grind it into a fine paste. Add water a needed
  • Now heat oil in the same pan, add mustard seeds and curry leaves. When it starts to sizzle, pour the contents on top of freshly ground carrot chutney

Beetroot Cutlet

An innovative use of beetroot  transformed into crispy cutlet. When you need easy, simple and healthy family meal; you can reach out for this recipe.

Bring all the ingredients together and shape it into patties . Either bake, pan fry or deep fry. Serve it with chilled dipping sauces or simply place it between burger buns!!


1 Large Beetroot, peeled and shredded
1 boiled Potato
1 cup Bread crumbs, divided
1/2 tsp Chili Powder
1/4 tsp Coriander Powder
1/2 tsp Chat Masala
1/2 tsp Cumin powder
Oil for deep frying (optional)


  • Mix all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl except oil. Divide the vegetable mixture into equal portions. Take each portion and shape it into patties
  • The coat each patty in breadcrumbs
  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Place beetroot patties in a tray. Drizzle oil all over the patties. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the top layer is crusty
  • Heat oil in a sauce pan. Gently drop each patty in oil. Cook evenly on both the sides. Use an absorbent paper to drain excess oil
  • Serve hot with chilled dips like ketchup or Green Chutney

Sorakaya Verkadalai Poriyal

Sorakaya verkadali poriyal is a TamilNadu delicay served with steamed rice and lentil curry.  Bottle gourd and peanuts are cooked together make a perfect side dish to complete south Indian meal. The peanut powder binds bottle gourd and all the ingredients together.  This is fairly a quick recipe prepared in about 20 minutes.


1 Bottle gourd, cubed
1 Onion, finely chopped
1 Tomato, finely chopped
1 inch piece Ginger
1/2 cup Peanut
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Chili powder
2 tsp Oil
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
a sprig of curry leaves
1/2 cup water


  • Dry roast peanut and let it cool. Remove the skin and grind it into powder. Keep it aside
  • Preheat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and curry leaves. When it starts to sizzle, add onions. Saute until onions turns transparent
  • Add turmeric powder and chili powder. Give it a little stir
  • Then add tomatoes and cook until it softens
  • Add bottle gourd and water. Cook for 15 minutes
  • Season it with salt and add peanut powder. Mix well and cook for 2 minutes
  • Serve hot with rice and curry

Mar 16, 2015

Neyveli Eral Kuzhambu | Prawns Curry

Out five star high protein and low calorie shell fish recipe. Neyveli Eral Kuzhambu (prawns curry) is exceedingly fast to cook. My aunt Geetha Suresh shared this recipe. 
I  bought the shrimps at a local Chinese grocery store and made it over lazy Sunday's dinner.

My husband instantly loved this scrumptious recipe.  The flavors of fresh shrimp taker over other ingredients in the curry. Trust me, I have made shrimp curry with frozen shrimp. It is rubbery and doesn't taste as good as the fresh ones. The condiments and raw spices add a very good taste to the pallet. 

This is the recipe for a good pallet.


500 gms deveined Shrimps
5 tsp Oil
1 stick Cinnamon
4 Cloves
1/2 tsp Fennel seeds
1 tsp Ginger-garlic paste
1 Onion, finely chopped
2 Tomatoes, finely chopped
2 Green chilies, finely chopped
1 Red Chili
3/4 tsp Coriander powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/2 tsp Red Chili powder
1/4 tsp Pepper Powder
3/4 cup Water
Handful of chopped cilantro


  • Heat oil in a heavy bottomed vessel. Add cinnamon, cloves and fennel seeds. When it starts to sizzle, add ginger-garlic paste, green chilies, red chilies. Stir for few seconds
  • Add onions and saute until it softens 
  • Add tomatoes and cook until it softens
  • Now add the dry ingredients - turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chili powder and pepper powder. Add water and mix well. Cook for 5 minuted until the gravy thickens
  • Now add shrimp and adjust salt as per taste. Mix well until the gravy coats the shrimp. Cook for 2 to 5 minutes
  • Stir with chopped cilantro
  • Serve hot with rice or chapathi

Spongy Walnut Pound Cake

Try this new dessert and my tea time favorite "Spongy Walnut Pound Cake". When I first tasted it, it was very indulging, spongy and nutty served with fresh fruit. This is a classic recipe in Indian bakery's made without nuts.

My friend Neha taught me this recipe. I was extremely overwhelmed and blow away when I took a bite of this cake for the first time. Though I don't bake often, I made this cake several times in last couple of years.


3 Eggs
1 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Butter
1/4 cup Cold Milk (optional)
2 tsp Vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp Baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups Flour
1/2 cup Chopped Walnuts


  • Beat together eggs, sugar, milk and butter using a electric mixer on high speed until it is fluffy
  • Add vanilla extract, salt and baking powder. And then beat the mixture
  • Reduce the speed of electric mixer and slowly add the flour in batches. Mix until the batter becomes creamy
  • Now add chopped walnuts and fold the batter
  • Preheat over at 350 F
  • Pour the batter on a greased cake pan and place it on middle rack in the oven. Bake for 1 hour until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow 30 minutes for cooling time
  • Serve with fresh fruit

Khara Papdi

Try this quick recipe  to devour. An easy tea time snack to munchkin. Khara papri are thin crisps deep fried spicy squares paired with tea. It is spicy, light and easy to prepare.

I make papdis to prepare chats like masala puri, dhahi papdi, papdi chat or sometimes serve it plain with tea or coffee. Another innovative use is to add it in salads. Just crush papdis and add it to salads. It is crispy in every bite. I also liked the idea to eat it like chips and salsa or just dip with tangy chutney!!


1 cup Flour
1 tsp Pepper corns
1/2 tsp Ajwain (caraway seeds)
1/2 tsp Salt
Cold water
Oil for deep frying


  • Coarsely grind pepper corns and ajwain
  • Whisk together flour, pepper powder, ajwain and salt
  • Add cold water to knead into stiff dough. Cover it with a damp cloth and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes
  • Now divide the dough into equal shaped balls. Roll each ball into thin circles., Prick papdi using fork
  • Use cookie cutter to cut into different shapes
  • Heat oil in a heavy bottomed deep dish
  • Gently drop each papdi into oiol. Fry evenly until it turns golden brown
  • Use absorbent paper to drain excess oil. Set aside until it cools. Store in an air tight container for future use