Simple Rasam

There are different varieties of rasam and most of them are prepared from dhal water. This version of rasam is prepared without dhal. Powder for this rasam can be prepared in large quantities and refrigerated and used as and when required.
Preparation Time : 15 minutes

Ingredients:
1. Tamarind extract - 2 cups
2. Tomato - 1 medium size
3. Coriander leaves - for garnishing
4. Salt - to taste
5. Oil - 2 tablespoons
6. Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
For Powder:
1. Toor dhal - 1 tablespoon
2. Channa dhal - 1/2 tablespoon
3. Pepper - 1 tablespoon
4. Cumin seeds - 1 tablespoon
5. Red chillies - 3
6. Coriander seeds - 2 tablespoon
7. Oil - 2 tablespoon

Preparation:
1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and fry all ingredients given for powder, cool and grind it to a fine powder
2. Finely chop tomatoes and add it to the tamarind extract and bring it to boil with required amount of salt for 5 minutes.
3. Add the ground powder and boil for another 5 to 7 minutes and switch off the stove.
4. For seasoning, add 2 tablespoons of oil and add mustard seeds. When it splutters, transfer it to the rasam and garnish with coriander leaves.
Serve it hot with rice.

Channa Chat

Channa - also known as Garbanzo beans/ Chickpea is a very good source of fiber, iron, protein. This helps lower cholesterol and improve blood sugar levels. So this is a great food for diabetic patients. This can also help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease and certain cancers when eaten regularly. There are numerous recipes that can be made with this rich protein content. This recipe is a very simple evening snack. It was a very pleasant Saturday evening, when I made Channa chat along with Curd vada for our snack. This was a wonderful combination.
Pre-preparation : 6 hours
Preparation time : 30 minutes

Ingredients:
1. Channa dhal - 1 cup
2. Onion - 1 medium sized
3. Tomato - 1 medium sized
4.  Salt - to taste
5. Tamarind chutney - 3 tablespoon
6. Coriander chutney - 3 tablespoon
7. Chat powder - 1/2 tablespoon
8. Coriander leaves - for garnish

For Tamarind Chutney
1. Tamarind extract - 50 ml
2. Sugar - 2 tablespoon

For Coriander Chutney
1. Coriander leaves - a bunch
2. Green chillies - 3
3. Cumin seeds - 1/2 tablespoon

Preparation:
1. Soak Channa for 6 hours and pressure cook it with little salt for 3 whistles.
2. Finely chop onions,tomatoes and coriander leaves.
3. Mix sugar with the tamarind extract and heat it for 2 minutes to make tamarind chutney.
4. Grind Coriander leaves, green chillies and cumin seeds to prepare the coriander chutney.
5. Add 3/4th of the chopped onions, salt, chat powder to the cooked channa and heat it for five minutes.
6. Remove it from heat and add tamarind and coriander chutney and mix it well
7. Garnish with chopped tomatoes, remaining onions and coriander leaves.
Channa chat is ready to eat.


Note:
1. You can make small, crispy poori with wheat/maida and break into small pieces and add to this chat.

Vegetable Kurma 2

Here is my another version of Vegetable Kurma. This is my Mother-in-law's recipe and has variation in the masala preparation. We use green chillies instead of red chilly powder for spice which gives a different richness to the taste of the kurma.

Preparation Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:
1. Vegetables - 1 cup
2. Onion - 1 medium sized
3. Tomato - 1 medium sized
4. Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
5. Salt - to taste
6. Oil - 3 tablespoon
7. Coriander leaves - to garnish
For Masala
1. Coconut-1/2 cup grated
2. Green Chillies - 4 to 5
3. Onion - 1 medium
4. Ginger/garlic paste - 1 tablespoon
5. Cloves - 2
6. Cinnamon - 2 small pieces
7.Cardamom - 2
8. Fennel seeds - 1 tablespoon
9. Coriander seeds - 2 tablespoon
10. Coriander leaves - little
11. Cashew nuts - 5
12. Poppy sees - 1/2 tablespoon
13. Oil - 2 tablespoon
Preparation:
1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan and fry onion,ginger garlic paste and green chillies given for masala until it becomes golden brown.
2. Cool this mixture and grind with other spices with little water into a thick paste.
3. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil and add the remaining onions and fry until golden brown. Add tomatoes, turmeric powder and the vegetables and fry well.
4. Add 1/2 cup of water to cook the vegetables.
5. When the vegetables are half cooked, add the ground paste and salt and bring it to boil for another 5 to 10 minutes in a low flame.
6. Switch off the stove and garnish with coriander leaves and few drops of lemon juice(optional).
Vegetable Kurma is ready and can be served with rice/chapathi/poori/idli/dosa and what not?!

Curd Vada (தயிர் வடை/दही वडा)

Curd vada can be had as an appetizer, side dish in a meal or as an evening time snack with tea/coffee. This dish is very easy to prepare and becomes more tastier as the vada soaks in curd for atleast 4 to 5 hours. If prepared in excess, you can refrigerate this dish for 2 or 3 days and eat.
Pre-Preparation: 1 hour
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients:
1. Urud Dhal - 1 cup
2. Green chilies - 4 finely chopped
3. Ginger - a small piece (grated/crushed)
4. Pepper - 1 tablespoon (crushed)
5. Curd - 2 cups
6. Salt - to taste
7. Oil - to fry
8. Mustard seeds
To Garnish
1. Grated carrot
2. Coriander leaves
3. Red chilly powder
4. Plain Kaara Boondhi

Preparation:
1. Soak Urud dhal in water for 30 to 45 minutes and grind it without water.
2. Meanwhile beat the curd in a big bowl with little salt, crushed ginger and green chillies.
3. Heat one tablespoon of oil and add mustard seeds. When it splutters, add this to the curd and close the bowl
3. Add required amount of salt and half of the green chillies and mix it well.
4. Heat oil in a deep fry pan. Take small amount of the batter at a time and make round vadas and deep fry them in oil by turning the sides until it becomes crispy and golden brown.
5. And now this is the important and secret step to get a very soft curd vadai. When you take the vada out of the oil, DONT directly add it to the curd, instead just soak it in a bowl of hot water for less than 30 seconds and then transfer it to the curd. This will make the vada easy to soak in curd and gives it the softness.

When you are ready to serve the vada, garnish it with a pinch of red chilly powder, grated carrot, coriander leaves and boondhi.
Note:
1. You can optionally use tamarind/coriander chutney per your taste.

Vegetable Briyani

Vegetable Briyani is a special kind of variety rice recipe with rice and mixed vegetables.There are different variations for this recipe. In most of the recipes rice is cooked separately and added to the vegetable gravy. But I always prefer cooking rice with the vegetables as it gives a delicious taste. I generally use only chilly powder and whole spices, but this time I wanted to try a variation by preparing a masala and it came out very tasty. We enjoyed this Briyani with raita and home made vadaam.


Ingredients:
1. Rice - 1 1/2 cups
2. Mixed vegetables - 1 cup
3. Curd - 1/2 cup
4. Onion - 1
5. Green Chillies - 3 vertically split
6. Bay leave - 3
7. Ginger/Garlic paste - 1/2 tablespoon
8. Salt - to taste
9. Oil - 3 tablespoon
10. Ghee - 2 tablespoon
11. Coriander leaves - for garnish
For Masala:
1. Onion - 1 medium sized
2. Cloves - 3
3. Cinnamon - 1 small stick
4. Fennel Seeds - 1/2 tablespoon
5. Ginger/garlic paste - 1/2 tablespoon
6. Cashew nuts - 10-15
7. Red Chilly powder - 1 tablespoon
8. Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon

Preparation:
1. Soak rice in water for 10 minutes and drain the water and keep it aside.
2. Grind the items given for masala into a fine paste with little water.
3. Finely chop the onions and dice the vegetables. You can use any vegetables - potato, beans, carrot, cauliflower, peas.
3. Heat oil in a pressure cooker and when hot, add the bay leaves, onions and green chillies and saute well.
4. Add 1/2 tablespoon of ginger garlic paste and fry well.
5. Add the chopped vegetables and required salt and mix well..
6. Add the curd and cook for next 2 minutes.
7. Now add the rice and 2 cups of water and close the cooker and cook for 2 whistles.
8. After the pressure releases, add 2 tablespoons of ghee and mix it without breaking the rice and garish with coriander leaves.
Hot and tasty Vegetable briyani is ready. You can serve it with Raita/Appalam.

Tips:
1. If you use Basmathi rice, it is enough if you use 1 cup of water. Otherwise, there is chance of rice getting overcooked.
2. You can fry few pieces of bread in ghee and it to the rice to give an additional flavor.
3.You can also use microwave oven/rice cooker for this preparation.

Mango Pachadi (மாங்காய் பச்சடி)

Mango Pachadi is the must dish on a Tamil New Year's day - the first day of the first month Chithirai in Tamil Calendar. This usually falls around April 14th of every year.This dish is also an important dish in Kerala as part of Sadhya (Feast in Malayalam). Specialty of this dish is, it has all 6 tastes combined together. 

Preparation Time: 25 Minutes




Ingredients:
1. Raw mango - 2
2. Red Chillies - 4
3. Salt - to taste
4. Jaggery -  1 cup crushed/grated
5. Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
6. Mustard seeds - 1/2 tablespoon
7. Curry leaves - 5
8. Asafoetida - a pinch
9. Oil - 3 tablespoon
 10. Neem flower - 5-10



Preparation:
1. Slice mangoes into thin slices.
2. Heat oil in a pan and when it is hot add mustard seeds.
3. When it splutters, add red chillies and Asafoetida and fry well.
4. Add curry leaves, sliced mango,turmeric powder and required salt and little water (around 75 ml) and cook for 7 minutes with closed lid.
5. When the mango is almost cooked, add the jaggery and cook in a low flame for another 5 to 10 minutes until the jaggery melts and mixes with mango to give a shiny look and the oil separates.

Yummy, colorful mango pachadi is ready. This is a very good side dish for mostly Sambhar, Rasam or Curd rice.


Note: After the dish is ready, add neem flowers and mix it. Since I did not have neem flowers when I prepared this recipe, the sixth taste was missing ;)

Bisi Bele Bath

Bisi bele bath is the most famous rice dish from Karnataka. This is also known as Bisi bele huli anna meaning Hot dhal tamarind rice in Kannada. I still remember memorizing this name of the dish during my school days :) Unlike other rice varieties, where we make sure to retain the whole rice grain when we mix, this one is more tastier when you make it smashy. Using basmathi rice and pearl onions would add to its taste. Ready made bise bela bath mix is avaiable in indian grocery stores which makes the whole process easy but i prefer to make my own fresh masala to bring the originality.
Preparation Time: 45 Mins

Ingredients:
1. Rice - 2 cups
2. Toor dhal - 1 cup
3. Vegetable mixture - 250 gms
4. Salt - to taste
5. Mustard seeds - 2 teaspoon
6. Urud dhal - 2 teaspoon
7. Asafoetida - a pinch
8. Garlic - 10 pods
9. Cashew - 15 pieces
10. Onions - 1 finely chopped
11. Oil - 2 tablespoons
12.Ghee - 2 tablespoons


For Masala:
1. Toor dhal - 2 tablespoon2
2. Channa dhal - 1 tablespoon
3. Urud dhal - 1 tablespoon
4. Red Chillies - 5
5. Coriander seeds - 2 tablespoons
6. Cinnamon - 2 small pieces
7. Cloves - 3
8. Pepper - 1/2 tablespoon
9. Cumin seeds - 1/2 tablespoon
10. Fennel seeds - 1/2 tablespoon
11. Grated Coconut - 6 tablespoons
12. Curry leaves - 4
13. Tamarind juice - 4 tablespoons






 Preparation:
1. Soak Rice and toor dhal together in water for 10 minutes.
2. As it gets soaked, cut vegetables and onions. You can use any vegetables, the most used ones are potato, beans, carrot, drumstick, Brinjal, peas.
3. Heat oil and ghee in a pressure cooker and when hot add mustard seeds.
4. When it splutters, add urud dhal and asafoetida and fry well.
5. Add the finely chopped onions and fry until golden brown.
6. Now add the vegetables into the cooker and fry them in oil for next 5 minutes.
7. Filter the water from rice and dhal and add them to the pressure cooker without water and mix it well with the vegetables.
8. Add required salt and water. For the given mixture i used 6 glasses of water. Unlike other rice varieties, this one is supposed to be smashy and needs more water than usual quantity of water you use to cook rice.
9. Close the pressure cooker and cook for 5 whistles and switch off the stove.
10. Meanwhile, dry roast the ingredients given for masala except tamarind, cool and grind it to a paste with tamarind extract. Add the ingredients one by one and coconut at last.
11. When cooker pressure is released, open the lid and bring it to heat again.
12. Now add the ground paste to the boiled rice/vegetable mixture and mix it well and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes till the mixture blends.
13. You will start getting a fine aroma of the spices. Add extra ghee if you like to.
14. If you would wish to make this more smashy or watery, you can add some hot water and cook.
15. Bisi bele huli anna is ready to serve.






Tips:
1. Onion raitha or vadagam/appalam or potato chips is very good combination for this rice.
2. You can avoid coconut if you wish to. Alternatively, you can make a dry powder with all ingredients (except coconut) and stock it for few days and use as and when needed.You can add tamarind extract to the rice/dhal mixture when you pressure cook them and then add the powder.

Vegetable Oothappam (ஊத்தப்பம்)

Oothappam is another variety of dosa that can be made in so many varieties. Generally we make idli/dosa batter in large quantities and it will start becoming sour after a week especially in summer season. And oothaappam is the dish that was invented to make use of this sour batter by adding finely chopped onions, green chillies, coriander and curry leaves. Now a days there has been lots of variation to make varieties of tasty oothappam. Even in vegetable oothappam - we have variations in this preparation - some use raw vegetables, some cooked vegetables. In this version, i have used cooked vegetable, and i will come back with other variation sooner :)

Preparation Time:
30 minutes

Recipe is to make 6 oothappams

Ingredients:
For Masala:
1. Mixture of vegetables - 200 gms
2. Onion - 1 medium sized
3. Red Chilly powder - 3/4 tablespoon
4. Salt - to taste
5. Oil - 3 tablespoons

For Dosa:
1. Dosa batter - 1 cup (500 ml)
2. Oil - to make dosa



Preparation:
1. Finely chop all vegetables (I generally use beans, carrot, cauliflower, peas. you can use any vegetable you have) and onions.
2. Heat oil in pan and add onions and fry well.
3. When it turns golden brown, add the vegetable mixture and cook well for another 5 to 7 minutes.
4. Now add little water and cook the vegetables. Add red chilly powder and salt and mix well.
5. When the vegetables are finely cooked and the water is evaporated, switch off the stove.

To Prepare Dosa:
1. Heat a dosa pan and take some batter and spread it on the pan from center. Make it a little thick for about 2 cms.
2. Pour 1/2 teaspoon of oil around the edges.
3. Take the prepared masala in a spoon and spread it on top of the batter and close the pan with the lid for 1 minute.
4. Remove the lid and now turn the dosa to make the other side cook. Take care not to break the dosa.
5. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes pouring little oil if required.
6. Once it is cooked, you can remove it from the stove and garnish with coriander leaves.

Hot, tasty, colorful, vegetable oothappam is ready to serve.


Tips:
1. You can serve this oothappam with any variety of chutney.
2. Also try vadaikari as a side dish for oothappam. It rocks!!!

Aviyal (அவியல்)

Aviyal is the most famous dish in Kerala. Sadhya (big feast) is never complete without aviyal being one of the dishes served. This dish will force people eat all vegetables which they would never eat separately. In fact I was one such victim to this dish :) I have heard of a story about the invention of aviyal in Mahabaratham, though not sure if this is true. Bheema (one of the Pandavas) was given the duty of a cook during Angnthavaasa. But at that time, he didnt really know anything about cooking and the first dish he prepared was chopping all vegetables, boiling them and topping with grated coconut :)

Preparation time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:1. All Vegetables - 300 gms ( I generally use beans, carrot, drumstick, potato, yam, sweet potato, green peas).
2. Graed Coconut - 100 gms
3. Green Chillies - 4 to 5 (you can vary it depending on your spice level)
4. Curd - 50 gms
5. Coconut oil - 3 table spoon
6. Salt - to taste



Preparation:
1. Chop all vegetables to medium pieces. DO NOT cut into small pieces as they would get smashed when cooking.
2. Add the vegetables to a pressure cooker along with enough water to cook these vegetables and salt. Do not add more water, as it would make the dish more watery.
3. Cook these vegetables in cooker for not more than 3 whistles.
4. Meanwhile grind coconut and chillies to a fine paste.
5. Bring the pressure cook to heat again, and add the ground paste and cook for next 5 to 6 minutes until the raw smell goes off.
6. Then add curd to the mixture and cook for next 5 minutes in a very low flame.
7. Heat coconut oil in a separate pan and pour hot oil into this mixture and switch off the stove.
Tasty, healthy , colourful aviyal is ready to be served. This goes well with Rice and Adai.

Tips:
1. Make sure to use only coconut oil to season the dish as it adds taste to it.

Gra-pple Juice

Fruits are one of the richest source of energy and keeps you very healthy. We are lovers of fresh fruits and juices. We started getting bored of the bottled fruit juices here and badly want to have home made fresh juice and especially wanted to try varieties in them. I started making my own cocktail marrying the two lovely fruits- Apple and grapes and named it Gra-pple Juice.

Preparation time: Lesser than 10 minutes

Ingredients:
Apple - 1
Red Grapes - 15
Sugar - 5 teaspoons



Preparation:
1. Chop apples into pieces.
2. Add apples, red grapes, sugar to a blender and grind well.
3. Your energy drink is ready :)

Tips:
1. You can filter the juice if required. But drinking it without filtering is always preferred as it is considered more healthy.
2. You can try adding a pinch of salt to the juice, that would enrich its taste.

Quick MorKuzhambu (மோர்குழம்பு)

This is a simple version of Morkuzhambu (a gravy made of curd/butter milk). Though this is not an authentic preparation, this can help you prepare a different recipe in a very lesser time.

Preparation Time: 20 mins

Ingredients:
1. Onion - 1 medium sized
2. Tomato - 2 medium sized
3. Green chillies - 2 split vertically
4. Buttermilk - 300 ml
5. Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
6. Salt - to taste
7. Curry leaves - 3 to 4
8. Oil - 2 tablespoon
9. Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
10. Urud dhal - 2 teaspoon



Preparation:
1. Add turmeric powder in butter milk and churn it well.
2. Heat oil in a pan, and add mustard seeds when it is hot. Add urud dhal and curry leaves, when mustard splutters.
3. Now add finely chopped onions and fry well untilit becomes golden brown.
4. Add green chillies and tomatoes and cook well.
5. Add required salt.
6. Now bring it to low flame and add the butter milk to the pan. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes and switch off the stove.

Enjoy the quick recipe with Rice :)
PS:
1. DO NOT BRING IT TO BOIL as boiling curd/butter milk would make it separate and watery.
2. If you wish, you could also use any vegetable like Pumpkin/Okra to make the same recipe.

Vegetable Kurma 1

Ingredients:
Vegetables - 2 cups
Onion - 1 medium size
Tomato - 1 medium size
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tablespoon
Red chilli powder - 2 tablespoon
Coriander powder - 1 tablespoon
Cloves - 2
Cinnamon stick - 2 small pieces
Bay leaves - 2
Cardamom - 1
Salt - to taste
Oil - 3 tablespoon
Paste:
Coconut - 1/2 cup
Cashew - 7

Preparation:
1. Finely chop all vegetables - I generally use Beans, Carrot, Potato, Green peas, Cauliflower and cut them into small pieces. You can use any other vegetable you have.
2. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a pressure cooker and add all spices and fry nicely.
3. Add finely chopped onions (length wise) and fry. Add ginger garlic paste and fry until the onions turn golden brown.
4. Add finely chooped tomatoes and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
5. Add the vegetable mixture and cook them for another 5 minutes.
6. Add required salt, red chilli powder and coriander powder and cook for 5 minutes.
7. Grind coconut and cashews to fine paste with required water.
8. Add the ground paste and cook for 5 minutes. If gravy, is too thick, add little water.
9. Close the pressure cooker and place the whistle and cook for 1 whistle.



Garnish with coriander leaves and add few drops of lemon juice and kurma is ready to server. Kurma can be had with Idli/Dosa/Chapathi or rice. Enjoy the yummy vegetable Kurma, soon i will come with another preparatio of Kurma.

Pakoda Kurma (பகோடா குர்மா)

This is a special variety of Kurma with lentil dumplings. Preparation of this dish involves a lot more patience and time because of the lengthy cooking process. This is the most favorite dish of my husband and i generally prefer to make this over weekends because it deserves my complete attention. This dish can be had with white rice or some special variety rice like Ghee Rice or Jeera rice and not to miss, this would really be a wonderful combination with idli/dosa/chapathi.

Preparation Time: 90 minutes

Ingredients:
Dumplings:
Channa Dhal - 150 gms
Onion - 2 (medium sized)
Fennel Seeds - 1/2 tablespoon
Green chillies - 3
Salt - to taste
Oil - to fry


Gravy:
Onion - 1 (medium sized)
Tomato - 1 (medium sized)
Cinnamon sticks - 2 small piece
Cloves - 3
Bay leaves - 2
Oil - 3 tablespoon
Salt -to taste
Paste:
Onion - 2 (medium sized)
Coconut - 1 cup
Green Chillies -4
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tablespoon
Cashew - 6 to 7
Cinnamon sticks - 2 small piece
Cloves - 3
Khus Khus - 2 teaspoon
Oil - 2 tablespoon

Preparation:
To Make Dumplings:
Preparation of dumplings is similar to Masala vadai.
1. Soak dhal in water for 1 hour.
2. Grind it in mixer (little coarsely) with fennel seeds and mix onions and chillies with required salt.
3. Chop 2 onions and green chillies into fine pieces.
4. Add required salt and make small balls with this mixture.
5. Heat oil in Pan and deep fry the balls until it becomes golden brown



To make Gravy:
1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan and add 2 cinnamon sticks, 3 cloves, khus khus, onions and green chillies and fry them well until onions turn golden brown.
2. Cool the mixture and grind it coconut, ginger garlic paste and cashew with required water.
3. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a pan and add the remaining spices (2 cinnamon sticks, 3 cloves, bay leaves) and fry.
4. Add onions and garlic and fry nicely. When this is almost cooked, add tomatoes and fry.
5. Now add the ground paste and required amount of salt and mix it well.
7. If the gravy is thick, add little water to make it thinner (This is because when you cook the dumplings in the gravy and when it soaks it would absorb all the gravy).
8. Cook for another 5 to 7 minutes in a low flame until the raw smell goes off.
9. Now gently drop the dumplings into the boiling gravy.
10. Boil the mixture well for another 5 minutes and the tasty kurma is ready.

Gobi Fry

This is a simple recipe to make yummy and tasty Gobi fry. I call it as my version of Gobi Manchurian :) I prefer to make this whenever i run out of the required sauces. This dish can be served as a snack by itself or accompany with any rice variety.

Preparation Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:
Gobi (Cauliflower) - 1 Cup
Corn Flour - 2 tablespoon
Maid Flour (All purpose flour) - 2 tablespoon
Red Chilli Powder - 1 tablespoon
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tablespoon
Curd - 2 tablespoon
Lemon juice - 1/2 tablespoon
Salt - to tasate
Oil - to fry
Onions - 2 medium size
Garlic - 5

Preparation:
1. Take half of a normal sized cauliflower and separatet the florets and wash them in hot water.
2. Add corn flour, all purpose flour, red chilli powder, ginger garlic paste, curd, lemon juice and mix it well and set it aside for 30 minutes.
3. Heat oil in a pan and deep fry the cauliflower florets until they are golden brown.
4. Heat 3 table spoons of oil and fry onions and garlic until it becomes golden brown, then add the fried cauliflower to the mixture and cook for another 2 minutes.

Tasty Cauliflower is ready to eat.