Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Vegetarian Chilli

Bought the 16 bean packet from the store without deciding what to make with it. As it has to be soaked for making any dish, I just soaked overnight. I had a thought of making vada in my mind but I didn’t tell my mom why I soaked that for . She just pressure cooked the beans thinking that it would save time for me in the evening. I couldn’t make vada as it got cooked. The dark evening and the bitter cold outside sparkled an idea in me to make Simple Vegetarian Chilli to warm you from inside out.

Soups are always a comfort food to beat the cold and lift your spirits on a cold evening. I took out my slow cooker out to make the Chilli. Note: You can do it in the ordinary cooker itself. You can pressure cook the soaked beans for one whistle and you can do the rest in a regular saucepan.


16 beans - 1 cup (Soaked overnight and cooked )
Vegetable Broth - 2 cans (No salt Added)
Chunky Salsa Sauce - 1 cup
Jalepeno - 1 sliced in thin rounds
Onion - 1 Finely Chopped
Tomato - 1 cut into medium pieces
Olive oil - 1 tbs
Pepper & Salt to

Method :
Keep oil in a pan , Sautee the peppers and onions. Add the cooked beans to the pan and let the beans get a coat of oil. Make sure you don’t make the beans mushy. Return the sautéed stuff to the slow cooker . Add Vegetable broth, Chunky Salsa Sauce, Chilli powder , tomatoes and let it cook in High setting for 30 mts. Reduce the setting to low and let it simmer for about 20 mts. Add salt and pepper according to your taste.

Serve in individual bowls garnished with chopped Cilandro leaves and shredded chedder cheese.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thanksgiving Dinner

I was making plans to celebrate Thanksgiving Dinner for about two weeks. I must have wasted at least a notepad writing the menu and tearing it off. I planned to prepare so many items for Diwali, but I couldn't do any big way because of my neck pain. So Diwali plan ended with an ultra low profile climax. So I wanted to make the Thanksgiving Dinner a success. I was crazily shopping wherever I go, from Mexican to Indian without knowing what Cuisine I would Choose. Finally, I fixed myself on preparing Italian. Wondering the quantity of my shopping, my friend asked me about the number of people I had invited. She could not resist laughing when I replied her that it was just for my family.

Our Thanksgiving menu is without the traditional Turkey. Two weeks back MR.B told me that he left eating Non-Veg . I was surprised because he likes to eat non-veg whenever we go to restaurants/Friend's place as we don't cook at home. I am not sure what made him to decide. But I am proud of him as he did that for a good cause. If you have some time, Please read the post and see the video in the following link.


My menu was as follows

Apple pie and Garlic Bread were readymade and they needed just baking. Thanks to my sister who helped me in chores and Mr.B who took care of my kids. Here are some of the pictures I took that day.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Karthigai Celebrations

Here are some of the photos we took on Karthigai day. The white diyas are edible . They are made of Rice flour.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Planning to prepare Thanksgiving Dinner minus turkey just for my family. It's gonna be simply Italian. Please check back for the Photos and recipes.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Festive Lights - 2007

Some of the festive light arrangements we had in our home during Diwali time.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Chayote Moong Salad

Before I started food blogging, I used to take pictures of my recipes and store them in a photo site. I am going to write the recipes and publish them one by one.

With Chayote, I would only make Kootu or add as a vegetable in Sambar. I wanted to make something different and hence the following recipe.


Sprouted Moong Dhal - 1 cup
Chayote - 1 Grated
Carrot - 1 Grated
Corriander Leaves - 2 tbs finely chopped
Green Chillies - 2 Finely Chopped
Lime Juice - 1/2 tsp


Mix together all the above ingredients and serve with roti
or have it as a salad. Scrumptious and Healthy Salad!!!

Plantain Fry

Plantain -2
Coconut -2 tbs
Roasted Channa Dal- 1 tbs
Green Chilli- 4
Red Chilli - 1
Green Chilli- 2
Curry Leaves- few sprigs
Garlic Cloves -2
For seasoning :
Mustard Seeds
red Chilli -1
Curry leaves

Peel the skin off the the Plantain and cut them into small cubes and parboil them. Grind together coconut,cumin seeds,Dhal,Chillies and curry leaves
to a coarse paste. Coat the plantain well with the paste. Keep oil in a pan and tamper the mustard seeds. Add broken red chillies, curry leaves and add the
coated plantains to the pan and fry them till golden brown.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Snake Gourd Spongy Chutney

When I was cutting the snake gourd for making kootu, My mom mentioned that her cooking maid wouldn't leave even the spongy stuff inside the gourd and she used to make chutney with that. But my mom never made it though . So I thought of giving a try to see how that would be. I scooped out the spongy-like stuff along with the tender seeds with a spoon (or you could run your fingers through).


Pudalanga spongy stuff - 1 cup
Red Chilli - 3
Tamarind - pea size
Mustar&Urad - Tampered in oil

Fry Red Chilli and spongy seperately in little oil. Grind together with tamarind and salt. At the end add the mustard&Urad mixture and give a turn or two and take it out.

Serve in a bowl

Snake Gourd Raita


Snake Gourd
cut into small cubes - 1 cup
Ginger - 1 inch
Coconut - 1 tbs
Green Chillies - 2 slit lengthwise
Curry Leaves - few leaves
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Hing - A pinch


Cook the snake gourd pieces in very little water. Once it's cooked sieve it thro' and squeeze out the extra water with hand. Grind together coconut and ginger to a paste. In a bowl Mix together yogurt,coconut-Ginger paste and salt. In a kadai tamper the mustard seeds with little oil, fry the Green Chillies and add pinch of hing. Add the seasonings to the raita.

Serve with Rice or with roti.

Snake Gourd Kootu (Gravy)

Snake Gourd is one of my favorite Childhood Vegetables. I am a lover of Vegetables since my childhood and love them even more if it's picked freshly from the garden. I remember my uncle would bring fresh snake gourds everytime he visited us from the village and I would make gourd fry immedietly and consumed it just like a snack.

Though it is available here in US, it is not as fresh as we get back in INDIA. Snake gourds are of INDIAN origin and widely used vegetable in Saiva Pillai's Cuisine. I bought some seeds from INDIA two years back. But I missed to plant them last year. This year I was reluctant to plant thinking that the seed would have lost its potency. As my mom insisted , I thought of giving it a try. I sowed the seed in a small pot inside the home and once I got the little plants out, I repotted in a large pot and kept at the backyard near one corner of my home. I had plans of putting trellis but never got time to do that.

As the Saying goes " Vallavanuku Pullum Ayutham", meaning A smart man needs no weapons, it crept almost close to my rooftop holding the vinyl sides, smiling at me from there. Last week I harvested one 3 feet Snake gourd. My mom asked me to tie a small stone to the end so that it will grow even more longer. But I wanted to take it before it gets woody and hard. As usual I wanted to make it fresh. I decided to make Snake gourd Kootu(Gravy) so that everyone gets to eat. If I fry , quantity will become very less.

I didn't leave out anything out of my lovely serpentine vegetable. I made Kootu, Pudalangai Thayir Pachadi and Sponge chutney.

Pudalangai Kootu ( Snake Gourd Gravy)


Snake Gourd -1
Green Chillie - 2
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Coconut - 2 tbs
Broken Channa
Dhal - 1/4 cup (Soaked and Pressure Cooked for one whistle)
Garlic -2 Cloves

Shallots - 2 Finely cut
Curry Leaves- few sprigs
Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp

Method :

Slit the Snake Gourd Lengthwise and scoop out the spongy stuff inside the gourd.
Keep it safe. we need it for our next recipe. Cut the gourd into small pieces. Grind together coconut, green Chillies , Cumin seeds and add garlic at the end and keep the paste aside. Pour little oil in a pan, Add the cut vegetable to it and saute it for some time. Once the vegetable becomes tender not brown or crispy, add the coconut paste, Salt and Cooked Lentils and cook for sometime. Heat a pan with a teaspoon of oil . Add Mustard seeds and once it tampers , add broken red Chilli,finely cut shallots , Curry leaves and a bit of hing and return the kootu to this pan and switch off the heat.

Serve with hot rice and pulikozhambu.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Paneer & Peppers in Creamy Sauce


Paneer - 1 small block
Jalapeno - 5
Banana peppers -2
Bell Pepper -2
Onion -1
Garlic Ginger Paste 1 tbs
Cumin Seeds -1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1 tbs
Chili Powder - 1/2 tbs
Coriander Leaves (Cilantro) for Garnishing
Tava Fry Masala - 1 tsp
Heavy Cream - 2 tbs


Julienne the onions, Paneer and Peppers. Keep the kadai and pour some oil. Put some cumin seeds. Once it starts spluttering, add julienned peppers and sauté for sometime. Then add the Paneer strips, masalas (chili powder, coriander powder and Tava fry masala) and salt. Mix the pepper and paneer strips so that it’s all coated with the masala. Cover it with lid and cook till the vegetables becomes soft. Add some heavy cream and give a turn or two till the cream gets absorbed well. Turn off the heat . Garnish with finely cut Cilantro.
Serve with Roti and Raita.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Micro Bow Tie Pasta

I made this dish for my sister who wanted pasta with the flavor of India without cheese. I came up with this recipe using micro pasta as I had more of them in the pantry. I usually make soup or egg dish with small pastas. This time I made with vegetables and Indian masala.

Micro Bowtie Pasta : 1 Packet
Cut Mixed Vegetables : 2 cups (Broccolli,Cauliflower,Carrots,Zuccini..)
Red Chilli Flakes : 1 tbs
Kitchen King Masala : 1 tbs
Green Chillies : 2 cut in rounds
Onions : 2 medium (chopped)
Grape Tomatoes : 5-8 nos
Corriander Leaves : 2 tbs finely chopped
Garlic Cloves : 2
Cream : 2 tbs


Cook Pasta according to the package directions. Microwave all the cut vegetables with little water.
In a large skillet, over medium heat, saute the garlic pieces with a teaspoon of olive oil till they become tender. Don't brown them. Add the chopped Green Chilies and Onions and saute it for 2-3 mts. Add the vegetables to the pan followed by Chilli flakes,chopped corriander leaves and masala. Add in the grape tomatoes. Now gently toss in the cooked pasta so that the pasta would get coated with the masalas. Finaly add cream and give a nice toss and switch off the heat.

Note: Adding Cream to the recipe is optional.

Verdict :

It was super duper dish and everybody liked it.


My mom would make this medicinal drink/kashayam whenever anybody at my home feels sick. I asked my mom to get all the goodies from INDIA that she would add along with sukku in the Kashayam.


Sukku/Dry Ginger
Arathai (The Lesser Galanga)
Sittharathai (Galangal/Alpinia speciosa)
Corriander seeds

Method :
Pound all the ingredients coarsely using mortar and pestle. Boil water in a saucepan. Add all the ground ingredients once the water comes to a boil. Let the water get reduced in quantity. Strain it and have the Kashayam with or without milk.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Corriander Chutney

Whenever I shop for vegetables, I buy 2-3 bunches of corrainder leaves (whatever the deal is) just to bring them home, leave it in the refrigerator, hardly use a few for seasoning and return to the trash making space for the forthcoming. I never want to waste but those poor little bunches don't get the priority with my busy schedule. Nowadays, none of them go waste, thanks to my mom (who is here with us). She cleans and cuts them as soon as they reach home. So it becomes easy for me to just saute it and make it into mothwatering Corriander Chutney .

Here is the Corriander Chutney recipe.


Corriander Leaves - 1 bunch (Washed/Rinsed well with water to remove the mud/soil)
Red Chillies -7
Tamarind -1 small gooseberry size
Mustard&Urad Dhal-1 tablespoon
Salt to taste


Cut the Corriander Leaves. Keep oil in a kadai. Add mustard & urad dhal and once it splutters, take it from the kadai and keep it aside.Saute the Red Chillies and Corriander Leaves. Grind both in a mixer along with tamarind and salt. Add the Mustard and urad dhal mix to the chutney and give a quick pulse. Chutney is ready to be paired with Dosas or with Bread.

Usually I don't measure the ingredients when I cook. Quantity that I use to make any item is out of my 'andaasaa'. My mom does the same thing. There are two disadvantages with that. You don't get the same consistency every time. you can't give the exact measurements to people who ask for the recipe. So I am practising now to measure the ingredients first and then cook.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Pasta with Vegetables

Everyone loves pasta in my family and my son especially adores pasta. He can eat pasta in any form or in any shape.
When he started going to daycare, it was a nightmare for me every night as to what I should cook for him for lunch . My great option by then was Pasta that is not only nutritious but can be eaten cold too and the Lunch box came empty if and only if it was pasta. Since then at any time, there would be atleast ten differnt kinds of pasta in my pantry. Until he was seven years old, he always preferred Pasta either with Alfredo Sauce or with Chedder Cheese. I boil the Pasta according to the Package Instructions and mix with any of these two sauces (only the Raghu Brand). As easy it is!

Nowadays, I usually make pasta with Vegetables and sauces, hoping he will get some veggies. I make either baked or pan sauteed pasta. Once served, he gobbles up all the pastas leaving the vegetables blinking behind on the plate sadly. I am working hard on making him to eat veggies.

The one I am going to write is very easy pasta recipe with Vegetables. You can use any kind of tubular pasta (Penne, Tubini, Rigatoni..) for this recipe.


Barilla Pasta - 1/2 packet
Frozen Vegetables - 2 cups (Italian Blend)
Ragu Chunky Pasta Sauce
Mushroom & Green Pepper - 1/2 cup
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese -1/2 cup
Red Pepper Flakes -2 teaspoon
Garlic -2 Cloves
Olive oil


Boil the Pasta according to the Package Instructions. Once you drain the Pasta in the colendar , give the pasta a nice toss with a tablespoon of olive oil . This prevents the the pasta from drying. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sautee chopped garlic for a minute. Add the vegetables. Cook the vegetables until it begins to soften. Add the Pasta Sauce and the Chilli flakes and mix it well with the vegetables. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and stir it gently . Finally add the Shredded Mozzarralla Cheese to it and mix it well till the cheese melts.
Season with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and fresh Sage leaves .

Serve Pasta for adults with a glass of Pinot Noir (In wine there is health (In vino sanitas)-Roman Quote) and voilà!— An exquisite dinner is ready to be served.

P.s. I faked the wine glass with Cranberry Juice for the photo shoot. Hehee!

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), A daily glass of light cranberry juice cocktail promotes healthy blood flow and protects the heart-with fewer calories than red wine-and is a delicious option the whole family can enjoy.
Source: HealthNewsDigest

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Onion - Tomato Chutney

Here is one version of onion Chutney that I make for dosas. This chutney can be made in a jiffy and it is really tasty.

Onion -Tomato Chutney

Onion - 1 Big
Tomatoes - 3 small
leaves - handful
Red Chillies - 10
Mustard Seeds&
Urad Dhal -1/2 teaspoon
Curry Leaves for seasoning
Hing a pinch
Salt to taste


Cut the onions and tomatoes. Heat oil in a kadai . Saute the ingredients in the following order red chillies, onions ,Tomatoes, Corriander leaves. Saute till the onion turns golden , tomatoes softened and coriander leaves gets wilted. Grind together in a mixer with salt. Meanwhile keep oil in a kadai. Add mustard seeds . Once it splutters add curry leaves and hing and return the chutney to the kadai and switch off the stove.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Pesto Fettucine

This summer I planted Sweet Basil in my Herb Garden. It's growing quiet happily and smiling with its pretty little white flowers. It is better to prune the Basil regularly so that it gives out new branches. I could see the stems getting woodier. So I decided to prune them and make some good Pesto. Basil has a spicy mint-clove combo flavor. It's more or like our Tulsi (Tulsi belongs to Basil family too).

In Italian culinary, Pesto is a sauce made by pounding the Herbs using a Pestle. Not to do any injustice to the meaning I decided to make Pesto the Authentic Italian way. As soon as I kept my buddy Mortar&Pestle on the Island, I could hear grumblings from my mom (my sis supporting her) that I could do it with no time with the food Processor. Ignoring their comments, I started making Pesto. I felt like doing it with M&P as it really brings out the fullest flavor of the herbs. I admit it is laborious and time consuming but it is worth doing it for a striking difference in the taste.


Bunch of Fresh bail Leaves
3 cloves of Garlic
1/2 Cup of walnuts
1/2 Cup of Olive Oil(combination of EVOO and olive oil)
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

Method :
Combine Garlic and Wanuts in the mortar. Pound(up and down movement) them first
using the pestle. Add Basil leaves and drizzle olive oil and grind(Circular motion)them together. Add salt and peeper to taste. Grind it till the oil is well integrated to the basil mixture and becomes a paste.
Now the Pesto is ready to season any pasta.

I read in many books that pesto goes well with the long pastas like Fettucine,Linguine. I decided to use Fettucine to go with the Pesto.


Fettucine Pasta : 1 Packet
Pesto Sauce

Cook pasta al dente or according to the instructions on the package. Drain well. Toss the pasta with the pesto sauce and garnish with cherry tomatoes(grilled it for a min) and serve.


Mom : It's like Delivery Lehium(Medicine given to mothers soon after delivery).
Dad : Denied to taste. I admit that you have to have a tooth for the pesto.
Mr B : It's different. I liked it.
Daughter : It's yummy. Supera errukuma!
Son : You should have given the pasta before adding the green thingy.
Sister : Not so great.
Mine : I liked it . But a hint of lime juice might have enhanced the taste.

Advice: Make Pesto only if you like the basil taste. I prefer olive oil over Extra Virgin olive oil as the latter is more Pungent.

Friday, June 8, 2007



This Culinary spice is also called as hing(Hindi), Perungayam(Tamil). There is no southindian kitchen without this spice in their spice box. Hing is sold either as blocks(dark Amber Color) or Powder(Mixed with Rice flour. Hence the powder is less scented and less effective than the block. Hing is nothing but gum or resin extracted from the sap of a fennel like plant. This spice has
exceptional digestive qualities.

Usually I prefer powder as it is hard to pound the block. My Mom gave a nice idea to make powder out of the block that I want to share with you all. Take the Hing block in a microwave bowl and microwave it for one minute. Flip the side and do it for one more minute. The hing becomes triple it size like a crunchy ball. Pound it using the Mortar and Pestle. It becomes powder in no time.

Store it in an air tight container and use.

Tips: A glass of thin Buttermilk with 1/2 teaspoon of Hing powder aids indigestion.

Vegetable Garden - Summer 2007

My Pyar to the Garden started when I was young(around 7 years old). The House where I grew up when I was young had a big thattati(Open Space like a huge balcony) with the raised walls. I used to keep rose pots, Table rose plants(don't know the botonical name) all over the walls. I used to plant Brinjal and Greens in the broken Cement thoti(Cement tubs which is used to store water). I used to visit my little garden as soon as I wake up . The same was true When I came back from school.

The habit continues even now. I stand atleast 15 to 30 mts in the Garden in the evenings after I come back from office. Mr. B gets mad at me seeing taking out weeds in between the Vegetable plants. He says I am over doing. He says that we will do roundup and it's gone. But I wanted to grow my vegetables organic and it might kill the plants too. The bond between me and my Garden gives me immense pleasure . I enjoy when I am at Garden and forget myself totally. I think the interest matters.

Mr. B Prepared the Vegetable Bed for me nicely . I put like 4 bags of Garden Soil over the bed. I bought 2 trays of Vegetable Plants for gaskosfamilyfarm near by my house. They have huge selection of Annuals and Vegetable Plants. The buying Spree didn't stop there. I bought from everywhere Home Depot, Shoprite Garden Center, Stults Farm....

Apart from this I planted Bush Beans ,Bitter Gourd and Keerai(Greens like Red leaves) from the seeds which I brought from INDIA 2 years back. They are growing very nicely.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Soy Milk

Soy Milk is a real good alternative drink for people who are dairy-allergic. It's a good source of protein. I am not a regular drinker of soymilk. But I do drink occasionally. I got inspired by my Chinese friend and started liking it. So I and she went and bought Soy-milk-maker that costs around 70$. She bought because the soy-maker she had became old and not working efficiently. I just bought for the sake of buying and curiosity.

I did do a lot of research on soymilk benefits. I got both negative and positive feedback. When I brought it home, my husband commented that it was just one more addition to the cabinet space. But to justify my buy, I told that I can make coconut milk, sesame milk and so forth. In fact I tried but everything ended up in real disaster. The machine is good to make soymilk. You can extract almond milk/rice milk too. My friend makes like soy + black bean combination. I am trying to use it at least once a month for myself and take it to my office for my friends.

To extract Soy-milk with the soy-milk maker, I soak the beans overnight. It takes about 15 minutes to get soy-milk with this maker. The only drawback with this is I can't make just one glassful of soy-milk. I have to put water to a certain point in the vessel for the maker to start which forces me to put lot of beans too. But the procedure is very simple.

Fill up the filter with the soaked Soy Beans.
Add clean water to the cylinder between the water level marks.
Plug the cord in and press the start button. That's it.

Whenever I make this my family members gave a look as if I am making something so disgusting. Nobody ever wanted to have a sip of it. But I like it. The Soymilk that comes out of the maker is too hot. So be watchful once it is done.


You can make soy-milk out of dry beans too. But you get better soy-milk by soaking the beans overnight. Soaking the beans gives good yield and healthy soy-milk as soaking reduces the phytate contents found in the dry Soy beans.

I am planning to make Tofu soon. Watch out my space for the Tofu recipe.

Herb Gardening

Grilled Vegetable Fajitas

Flour tortillas
Sour cream
Home made Tomatillo Salsa
Tomato Salsa
Lettuce shredded

Grilling Ingredients

green pepper 2
red pepper 2
White onion 2
Jalapeno pepper 2
Red Chilli Powder(coarse)
Tandoori Masala
Olive oil


Cut the peppers and paneer into strips and onion in rounds. Place all the cut vegetables in a big bowl. Keep the Paneer separate. In a separate bowl combine yogurt, chili powder, Tandoori barbeque masala, lime juice, olive oil and salt and make a sauce. Pour the sauce over the vegetable and paneer and toss gently . Let it marinate for ½ hr.

Preheat the grill or oven to 250° F. Place the grill sheet brushed with olive oil. Place all the marinated vegetables over the sheet with a slotted spoon . Bast olive oil over the vegetables. Do it for both the sides. Grill until the vegetables become softened and slightly blackened with the grill marks. Grill the Paneer separately. Handle Paneer gently otherwise it will get crumbled.

Heat the pan and warm up the Tortillas. Keep them warm inside a Tortilla warmer or cover it up with a kitchen towel. Assemble the Grilled Vegetables, shredded lettuce,Sour Cream, Cheese, Tomatilla Salsa, on a big plate.Let your guests serve themselves according to their taste. If you are rolling up, take a tortilla, spread the vegetable in the center(down) of tortilla , spoon the shredded lettuce, Cheese,Sour Cream and Spicy salsa and carefully roll up the tortilla.

It makes a perfect nutritious meal when you have some cooked black bean along with it. You can have zillions of variations in the filling you choose. Let your imagination roll.

I used Grilled Jalepenos and homemade Tomatillo Salsa to give it up an extra notch.
I usually buy the large tortilla for easy rollups and less messyness .

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Salsa Verde(Home made Tomatillo Salsa)


Tomatillos -3
White onion -1
Cilantro leaves -few sprigs
Jalapeno peppers -2
Lemon Juice-1/2 tsp (optional)
Salt to taste
Olive oil


Remove the husks from the tomatillos. Preheat the grill to 350 degrees.
Keep the grilling pan brushed with olive oil. Bast oil often on both the sides of the vegetables and grill them till the skin become blackened and charred.

Coarsly grind the Grilled ingredients with cilantro and salt using M&P
or a blender. Pulse it if you are using blender.

This salsa pairs well with tortilla chips .

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Cracked Wheat Upma

My mom makes Cracked wheat upma at least once in a week for breakfast/dinner for my dad. Cracked wheat was one among the item in the untouchable list when I was young. So she used to make different items for me and my sisters whenever she made this. Now being mom of two, I don't have any untouchable list (to be a role model to my kids). Cracked wheat is available in most of the Indian stores in USA but I couldn't find the finely ground sambha rava which is available back in INDIA. You can also pressure cook the samba rava (1:3) like you do for rice and have with sambar and vegetable. This is a very nice alternative to rice.


Crack Wheat (Samba Rava) 2 Cups
Cut mixed vegetables 1 cup
Green chillies 3
Red chillies 2
Ginger 1 inch piece
Curry Leaves few sprigs
Mustard Seeds


Dry roast the cracked wheat in a pan and keep it aside. Break the red chillies into two and slit the Green Chillies lengthwise. Heat the oil in a pan. Put urad dhal and mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds start to splutter , add green chillies, red chillies, onions, ginger and curry leaves. Sautee them until the onions turn into golden brown. Add the mixed vegetables. Sautee till the vegetables becomes soft. Add water and cover the pan with a lid. Once the water comes to rolling boil, add the cracked wheat slowly to avoid lumps. Keep stirring and cover the pan with a lid . Let the sambha rava gets cooked in reduced heat for 5 mts. Garnish with freshly grated coconut on top if needed.

Serve with Chutney or pickle.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Ridge Gourd Chutney


Ridge Gourd - 1 Medium size
Red Chillies - 15
Freshly Grated
Coconut - 1 cup
Tamarind - One small gooseberry size
Mustard Seeds
& Urad dhal - 1 tbs
Salt - 1 tbs (Add according to the taste)


Heat the Skillet with little oil.
Roast the Red Chillies first and take it out.
Then Roast the Ridge Gourd pieces till it becomes soft and light brown.
Tamper the mustard seeds with urad dhal and Asafoetida(hing) and fry it
till golden brown.
Grind Together Red Chillies , Coconut and tamarind. Add the Ridge Pieces to
it and pulse it in Mixer.
Add the Mustard seeds and urad dhal at the end. Give one more pulse
and the Chutney is ready to be served with Idli or Dosa.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Chayote Gravy ( Chow Chow Kootu)

I transform most of the vegetables in the form of kootu to make my two year old eat some vegetables. I usually make with Chayote, Ridge Gourd, Bottle Gourd, Cabbage & Potato combo and Spinach .

Chayote - 2
Moong Dhal-1/4 cup

To Grind
Coconut - 2 tbs
Cumin seeds -1 tsp
Green chillies-3
Small onions-2
Garlic cloves-1

For Tampering
Mustard seeds
Curry Leaves
Red Chillies-1 (optional)

Peel the Skin of Chayote and cut into small pieces. Boil Moong in a pan with water. Once the Moong gets half cooked add the Chayote Pieces to it. Grind together coconut, Green chillies, Cumin seeds and Garlic Clove. Add the paste and turmeric to the Vegetable. Tamper the Mustard seeds in oil . Add Curry Leaves and hing and add it to the gravy.

Ginger Garlic Paste

Ingredients :



Grind Ginger and Garlic Pieces together in a mixie with little water and freeze them in small containers. If you want to refrigerate them pour some hot oil before keeping them.

Kitchen Utensils and Gadgets

Elai Thattu


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Coconut & Poppy Seeds Paste


Grated Coconut - 3 tbs
Poppy Seeds - 2 tbs
Green Chillies -3
Cashews - 1 tbs

Dry Roast the following.
Cardomom -2
Bay Leaves -2
Cinamon Stick - 1 inch
peppercorns-1/2 tsp
Fennel Seeds - 1 tbs

Soak the Poppy seeds for few hours. Grind all the ingredients together to make a fine paste. Store the paste in a single serve container and freeze them .

You can make vegetable kurma in no time when you have this paste and homemade Ginger-garlic paste handy.

Chembu Roast(Arvi,Taro)

Chembu or Cheppankizhangu(Taro) is a root vegetable which is widely grown in Tamilnadu and neibouring state Kerala. We usually make chembu roast or use it in Morkuzhambu. This tuber has a gluey texture once boiled. It's a very good Source of Fiber.
I prefer always chembu roast . Most of it will be gone to the stomach even before it hits the dining table.
Chilli Powder
Pressure Cook the chembu with the skin. Peel the chembu and cut it into small rounds. Then Sprinkle Chilli powder,Turmeric and salt on the chembu rounds and mix it nicely to get the spice onto all the pieces. Heat the Kadai with oil and fry the Chembu pieces till it turns into golden Brown.
Serve hot with Rice and simple daal.

Kosuru : Taro root is used in "POI" which is the staple food of the Hawaiian . They pound the TARO root and add water to make desired consistency. They call it as one finger,two finger and three finger POI. More the water, more the number of fingers needed to take the "POI". Sounds Interesting. They even allow the POI to sit for 2 to 3 days to get a sour taste.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sweet Mango Pachadi

Elders say start anything with the sweet. I remember when I was a kid, my mom used to ask me to writedown the Grocery list as she would start listing orally. The top one on the list had always been be sugar or Gud. If she had both in sufficient Quantities, she would ask me to write Cheeni Karkandu(Sugar candy) or Panang karkandu(Palm Sugar). If I had written something on the top by mistake , I was asked to make a new list. Follwing My Mom's myth, I would like to follow my first blog with Sweet Mango Pachadi. In India, My mom used to make this dish with "Kili Mooku" Mango. But here in US , I make with the mango which is usually available in the INDIAN Grocery Stores. This dish is not only sweet but also sour and savory, indicating that life is a blend of everything. This dish is my all time favorite. We make this dish as an accompaniment to Lunch meal.
Too much Puraanams? Lemme start with the recipe here.

Raw Mango - 1

Powdered Gud-1 cup
Salt - a pinch

Red chillies -2

Mustard Seeds
Curry Leaves


Peel the Mango skin and make thin slices of mango.
Keep kadaai and boil the mango slice in very little water.
Once it gets cooked, add the powdered Gud and let it boil till the gud blends with the mango nicely to form a syrup-like liquid.
Heat oil in a kadaai and tamper the Mustard seeds, add Red Chillies and Curry Leaves.
Add the seasoning to the Mango.
Yummy side dish is ready to serve with rice or chappathi.

Note: Boil Gud in little water and filter it thro a seive to remove the sand and add the filtered gud to the mango.
" Kili Mooku" - A Variety of Mango available in Tamilnadu. I think it got the name from the shape similar to a beak of a parrot, also called Bangalora or Totapuri.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Welcome to my Blog

Welcome to my blog culinarytours. To tell the truth , I didn't realize what really a blog and how powerful it is until a year ago. Thanks to all food bloggers who inspired me so much to start my own blog. This is the place, where I would like to share the recipes of my mom and mine . Cooking is very much a relaxation to me. I am very passionate towards two things Cooking and Gardening. I love doing both of them to the core.

I'd love to hear from you, so Please feel free to pass your comments.

Thank You for visiting.