Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Chettinad Egg Curry

This recipe is the outcome of our recent visit to Anjappar, a chettinad restaurant which is recently opened nearby our area. It's a restaurant chain in INDIA, but we had never been to that in INDIA. MR.B loved the food in Anjappar and he didn't seem to bother his profuse sweating as he was eating. My lips were burning and I tried to rim it with the table sugar that didn't help and finally ordered a mango lassi to cool it off. Real paradise for spicy food lovers. Whenever Mr.B and my son praise outside food (basically other than my cooking), I feel somewhat jealous inside and try to enhance the same dish at home to surprise them. But many got flopped too. That's a different story. As we don't cook non-veg at home, I decided to make Chettinad Egg-Curry.


Eggs - 8
Onion - 1 medium finely cut
Fennel Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Curry Leaves - 3 sprigs
Coconut Milk - 1/4 cup
Tamarind - Gooseberry size

Dry Roast the following:-
Coriander seeds - 3 tbs
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Fennel Seeds - 1 tsp
Black Pepper - 1 tsp

Grind the dry roasted ingredients with the following:-
Chili Powder - 2 1/2 tbs
Ginger piece - 2" piece
Garlic - 1
Shallots - 3
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Tomato - 1 small

Hard boil the eggs, peel off the shell and make several slits on the egg with the bread knife and keep it aside. Take oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add fennel seeds, cinnamon stick to the pan and fry it for a min. Add the onions, curry leaves to the pan and Sauté till the onions become nice golden brown. Add the ground paste and salt to the pan and keep Sautéing till the oil oozes out to the sides. Add the tamarind pulp and water (added about 1/2 cup) according to your consistency
and let it boil for 5 mts or till the raw smell goes. Add the coconut milk to the gravy. Once the coconut milk blended to the gravy add the boiled eggs and let the gravy cook in simmer for few more minutes (3-5 minutes).
Add few more fresh curry leaves and switch off the stove.

Notes: Substitute fresh lime juice at the end if you don't like tamarind.

The dish was so egg-licious and my family enjoyed the dish.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Homemade Ghee

My children love Ghee (Neii- Tamil)). It is a quintessential item in my home. Somehow I never liked the store-bought ghee. I always make it at home. It's a very simple process.

Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan on a medium heat. I usually use the 5 litre pressure cooker without the lid to avoid the melted butter boiling over and to limit sputtering outside. Do not cover the pan.

Once the butter got melted, reduce the flame and cook it in a low heat. Foam will star to form on top making splashes and sputters. Let it cook in simmer for 20 minutes.

Turn off the heat once the bubbles and splashes stops and you see the golden color appearing. If you leave it on the flame for even a minute more, it will turn brown and it tastes awful.

Strain it immediately to a clean dry vessel (heavy bottomed vessel) to avoid cooking further. You have to be very careful while straining as the ghee will be real hot. Discard the milk solids that are golden brown color that settle at the bottom. Once it cools, transfer to an air tight container and store it in room temperature. Ghee needs no refrigeration.


Use always unsalted creamery butter . Never use salted ones to make ghee.
Make ghee always in low flame.
Multi tasking is strictly prohibited.
Few sprigs of Murungaikeerai (drumstick leaves) can be added at the end. My mom usually adds it after dipping the sprigs in buttermilk(don't know why she dips).

Though ghee is one of the healing foods in Ayurveda , it's a pure form of saturated fat. So I limit the intake of ghee. But as ghee is the only source of fat in our vegetarian diet , I give my kids rice&dhal mixed with ghee every day.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Weekend Acquisitions

Thanks to my lovely son and daughter who patiently waited for two hours during my book buying spree in the Books Sale.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Winnowing Tray (Chata/Muram)

These type of shallow trays are used to seperate the husks from the milled grains by tossing the grains into the air. People in Villages are real experts of winnowing the grains. As a kid, I used to admire people when they winnow the grains with a rhythm of tapping the trays on both the sides , blowing the lighter husks up in the air and bringing back the heavier grains to the tray. I guess it is a very good exercise to your arms and neck. These trays are first smeared with a coat of cow dung or paper Koozh (paper pulp & fenugreek paste) to give a smoother surface and to fill up any holes in the tray.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Yellow Cucumber (Dosakai /Dosakaya) Pulicurry

One of my favorite gravies to go with rice. My Nagerkoil aunt makes awesome pulicurry. She makes atleast once in a week with different vegetable each time(Cucumber,Drumstick,Raw Jackfruit,Okra...). She prefers to make it in a clay pot and with the home grown tender coconut.

I enjoyed this dish almost every week during my stay at my Aunt's place when I did my Under Grad.

Last week I bought yellow cucumber from Indian Grocery. I wanted to make two dishes with that. I halved the cucumber and made Pulicurry with one half and cucumber pickle with the other.

Dosakai/Yellow Cucumber - 1/2 (Cut in 1.5" pieces lengthwise makes about a cup)
Grated Coconut - 5 tbs
Red Chilies - 8
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Shallot - 1
Garlic - 1
Curry Leaves - few
Tamarind - Gooseberry Sized
Salt - 1 tbs (Use according to your taste)

For seasoning

Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
Red Chili - 1 broken
Curry Leaves - few
Shallot - 1 finely cut


Peel, seed and cut the cucumber lengthwise. Take a cup of water in a pan and boil the cucumber pieces with little salt. Soak the tamrind in little water and extract the pulp. Add the pulp to the cucumber and let it cook till the cucumber becomes soft.

Grind coconut, cumin seeds, red chilies, turmeric powder, shallots & garlic to a fine paste. Add Shallot and Garlic to the final pulse. Add the ground paste and a cup of water to the vegetable and let it cook for 5 more mts.

Heat two tablespoons of oil in a pan. Add Mustard seeds and fenugreek to the pan . Once the seeds start to splutter, add the finely chopped shallots and curry leaves and fry till the shallots become soft and lightly browned. Add crushed vadagams (sun-dried onion and Urad dhal balls) if you don't have shallots. Return this seasoning to the pulicurry .

Enjoy this lip smacking gravy with steaming hot rice.

A dish that really wakes up your taste buds!

Yellow Cucumber (Dosakai/Dosakaya) Pickle


Dosakai/cucmber : 1/2 (Cut in medium 1" pieces )
Chilli Powder : 1 1/2 tbs
Mustard Seeds : 1 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds : 1/2 tsp
Turmeric : 1/4 tsp
Asafedita : 1 tsp
Gingelly oil : 4 tbs


Scoop out the seeds and cut into 1" cubicle pieces(medium-cubed). Do not peel the skin. Pat the pieces dry with a tissue paper . Dry roast the mustard and fenugreek seeds and make a powder. Mix turmeric, salt, chili powder and mix it well with the cucumber pieces. Heat some oil in the pan ,add asafoetida (Hing in Hindi / Kayam in Tamil) and pour the oil onto the Cucumber pieces. Transfer to a clean dry jar. Pickle is ready to consume the next day.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Foxtail Millet Pongal(Thinai/Thina/Koralu)

Once in a week, I shop at Farmer's market which is next to my son's piano school.
I love taking him to the class as I get to shop at farmer's market. Last week I happened to see the Foxtail Millet in the grain section of the store. I grabbed a pack just to have a taste of it. When I was as a kid, I had seen the farmers who worked in my Grandma's farmlands used to have Thinaimavu a power packed sweet, Kambanchoru (Pearl Millet)..that are cheap alternatives to rice. Foxtail Millet is a nutrient packed grain which is naturally mild sweet and nutty flavor gives lot of energy to the farmers who work from dawn to dusk. I read that a group of people who lives in the peak of Himalayas called Hunzas whose life expectancy is normally hundred and above include Millet as their staple diet. Typical Hunzas Bread is made of Millet flour.

When I brought it home, my mom cherished her memories of her father whose favorite snack is Thinaimavu Urundai. But my mom had never made any dishes at home with Foxtail millet. I wanted to make an item that everyone prefers in my home. Starting from my son to Mr. B, everybody loves venpongal. I fixed myself to make pongal with Foxtail Millet and Moong Dhal. It came out really well and needless to say not even a single morsel was left in my son's plate.


Foxtail Millet- 1 Cup
Moong Dhal - 1/3 cup
Water - 3 cups
Salt - 2 tsp
Ghee - 3 tbs
Cumin,Pepper - 2 tbs (crushed)
Curry leaves - few
Ginger - an inch piece slivered
Green Chili - 1-2 cut lenthwise (optional)


Dry roast moong dhal in a pan till the aroma comes out. Make sure you don't brown them. Wash the millet once or twice and combine with moong in a pressure cooker. Give a quick saute to the chilies and ginger and add it to the cooker. Add salt, ghee and water and cook it over medium flame for one whistle. Reduce the flame and cook for 3 more minutes. Switch off the Gas. Fry some cashews, curry leaves and whole peppercorns and add it to the Pongal. Sprinkle the coarsely ground Jeera-Pepper powder and give a gentle toss to the pongal .

Serve hot with chutney.


Thanks to my friend who corrected me to mention the specific millet name as millet in general refers to small-seeded species of cereal crops or grains cultivated for food and fodder(Animal feed). I used foxtail millet(Thinai) to make the above dish.

Saag & Maize Roti

I had tried Broccoli Rabe subzi couple of times. The leaves are little
harder and it's slightly bitter in taste. Usually I make it with lot of onions and freshly grated coconut to enhance the taste. Mr.B had it as a healthy food but he is not a great fan of it.

Recently my friend's Punjabi nanny made saag and Makki ki roti and I liked it. I used three bunches of greens to make the Saag (Mustard Greens, Brocolli Rabe & Spinach)


(mustard greens) - 1 bunch
Spinach - 1 bunch
Brocolli Rabe - 1 bunch
Ginger - 1 inch grated
onion - 1 chopped
garlic - 2 grated
green chilies - 4-5
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
red chili powder - 1 tbs
Corn Flour - 1 tbs


Wash all the greens and chop them roughly. Heat little oil in the Pressure pan(cooker). Add the green chillies, garlic & ginger and stir it for few seconds . Add greens and little salt (just to retain the color) to the pressure pan and add a cup of water and pressure cook the greens for one whistle. Mash it with a hand blender and keep it aside. Take some ghee in a skillet over medium heat. Add the finely chopped onions and fry them till golden brown. Add garam masala, chilli powder ,saag and salt to the pan. Mix the corn flour with water to make a paste( add more water if the saag is too thick) and add it to the saag and simmer it for 15-20 minutes.

Serve hot with Makki Ki Roti.

Verdict :

I enjoyed having the dish with Makki Ki Roti. Mr.B hates corn in any form. So he had the saag with plain Roti. Just got 3 out of 5 stars.


Sarson greens(Mustard Leaves) and Brocolli Rabe(rabe or rapini)
are totally different. But you can use Broccoli rabe as a substitute for Mustard Greens . I guess the taste would have been better if I had omitted the Mustard greens and used Indian brand corn flour(BRAD) instead of Mexican brand Maseca.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Ennai Kathirikai (Baby Eggplant Fry)

Ennai Kathrikai usually refers to the stuffed eggplants in gravy. But my mom always makes the stuffed eggplants minus the gravy. The stuffing is a no brainer, it's either chili powder or sambar powder stuffing. Last week, I made ennai kathirikai when I called my friends for dinner. My friend who is a good cook liked it so much and she asked me for the recipe. I was surprised to know that she never cooked eggplant that way. It's very easy to make. Choose baby eggplants of possibly same size to make this dish, as they cook evenly.


Baby Eggplants - 10 to 12
Chilli Powder - 3 tbs
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 1 tbs


Make a paste of chili powder, turmeric and salt with little water. Lay the eggplant sideways on the cutting board and make a criss-cross cut starting from the bottom of the eggplant towards the cap. Make sure the slit doesn't split the eggplant into pieces. Take a bread knife and stuff the paste into the eggplant by sliding through the slits.

Take oil in a wide pan (use oil liberally). Place the eggplants in the pan and let it cook in a slow flame. After 5-7 minutes, flip them to the other side and cook. Handle them gently, otherwise the cooked eggplants fall apart. Cook in an open pan to get the roasted texture. Take the eggplants one by one with a spatula and arrange them in a plate.

Cook's Notes.

Patience is the key to this dish. Eggplants have to be roasted in a slow flame.
I like to leave the stem and cap on the eggplant. It helps in two ways. It holds the eggplant without falling apart and to gobble it holding the stem.