August 26, 2015

Okra Fry ( Dry ) / Vendakai Varuval / Raksha Bandhan Special

After Thandu Keerai and Kondakadalai Kuzhambu, happy to share, another favorite recipe of my sibling for Raksha  Bandhan celebration. Okra fry is a dry fry in which masala is stuffed, marinated and cooked under low flame. This is my mom's special recipe and prepared it today for a Virtual treat.  But this made me really nostalgic and started missing me mom's cooking.  My mom used to serve with Sambhar rice and the texture will be more crispier, as she used to fry it on a iron tawa with an extra dash of oil. But, my brother always loves it with less oil, so considering his choice and health factor, prepared this using non stick pan with less oil.  This is a simple side dish yet flavorful and goes perfect with Sambhar, Rasam and Curd rice. Occasionally, my mom used to add grated coconut while grinding the masala, which also gives a delicious taste.

Ingredients :

20 Okra / Lady's Finger/ Vendakai
1 Big Onion, chopped
1Tomato, chopped
1/2 Tsp Saunf
1/4 Tsp Turmeric powder
1/2 - 1 Tsp Chilli powder
1 1/2 Tsp Coriander powder
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp + 1 Tsp  Oil

Method :

Wash the okra, cut on both the sides, make slit and keep aside to dry.

Take chopped onion along with chopped Tomato, Saunf, Turmeric powder, Chilli powder, Coriander powder and Salt in a mixer grinder.

Grind into smooth paste ( Do not add water ).

Stuff the okra with ground masala, mix well and marinate it for30 minutes.

Take a non- stick pan, heat 1 Tbsp oil and arrange all the marinated okras evenly.

Simmer the flame and cook for 3- 4 minutes and flip the other side and cook for another 3 minutes.

Smear the remaining oil and cook both the sides, till the okra gets cooked and becomes dry and cripy.

Remove from the flame and serve.

Serving Options :

Serve hot with Sambhar rice, Curd rice and Rasam rice.

August 25, 2015

Thandu keerai - Kondakadalai kuzhambu / Raksha Bandhan Special post

Stepping into the third year of Raksha Bandhan celebration on my blog and also, I have to mention that this is the only occasion which I celebrate on my blog every year, without fail. Though my brother is younger to me, he used to cook lots of delicious recipes, from our child hood days and especially, his crispy dosa and spicy onion chutney used to be a massive hit among family members. Undoubtedly, he is a big foodie ( like me ;) ) who loves to innovative recipes and cook for family members and friends.

Coming to my  special post, I used celebrate this special occasion by posting my bro's favorite recipes on my blog for a week and it's a kind of virtual feast for him. My today's treat is his favorite kuzhambu " Thandu keerai and kondakadalai kuzhambu" which is a tangy gravy prepared using potato, thandu keerai ( thick stem of green leafy veggie ) and karupu kondakadalai. White chana can also be used for this kuzhambu but, my brother used to be very specific about black chana as it gives a delicious taste. Happy Raksha Bandhan to my lovable and caring brother :)

Check out my past couple of years Raksha Bandhan's special posts...

 Pavaka Chips / Bitter gourd Chips

Garlic Chutney
Urad Dal vadai Curd Kuzhambu

Wheat Bread Jamun

Mullangi Sambhar  

Pavakai Varuval 

Vendakai Poriyal  

Urulai kizhangu patani varuval  

Badam Flavored Fruit Salad

Ingredients :

1/2 Cup Black Channa / Karupu kondakadalai 
3 Thandu keerai ( approx 10 -15 small pieces )
2 Big Onions, finely chopped
2 Tomaotes, finely chopped
Lemon sized Tamarind
1 1/2 Tsp Chilli powder
3 Tsp Coriander powder
1/4 Tsp Turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp Gingelly oil
1 Tbsp Vadagam 
Curry leaves for garnishing

 Method :

Soak black channa / kondakadalai over night and pressure cook it for 4-5 whistles. Keep aside.

Add 1 cup of water in a lemon sized Tamarind and soak it, before starting the cooking process.

Heat oil in a pressure cooker, add vadagam and let it splutter.

Add the chopped onions and saute till it turns light brown color.

Add the chopped tomatoes and cook till it turns soft.

Now add the powders ( Turmeric, Coriander and Chilli ) along with the required amount of salt and saute well.

Add the veggies ( Thandu keerai and potato ), mix and add one cup of water.

Pressure cook it for 2 whistles and switch off the flame.

Meanwhile, extract juice from the soaked tamarind.

Once the pressure gets released, add Tamarind juice and let it boil for 5 minutes in a medium flame or till the tamarind smell goes off.

Now add the boiled channa / karupu kondakadalai and cook it for another 5 minutes.

Garnish with curry leaves and remove from the flame.


Serving Options :

Serve with hot rice and stir fry ( poriyal ) or kootu.

Note :

To save time, I have cooked veggies using pressure cooker, but it can also be cooked directly by simmering the flame.

If you are using pressure cooker, just cook for only 2 whistles, else veggies gets over cooked.

Vadagam is nothing but an Indian seasoning and to replace that, methi seeds, mustard seeds and jeera can also be used.

August 23, 2015

Tofu & Spinach Sandwich

Sandwich is an excellent option for breakfast, as it is easy to munch on busy mornings and very healthy too, when it is stuffed with nutritious rich veggies. Most of my mornings, starts with a delicious sandwich and today's special is Tofu & Spinach stuffed ones with an Italian flavor. Like cottage cheese and spinach, Tofu also blends well with this calcium rich leaves to give a tasty and flavorful filling. Easy to prepare and also a perfect evening snack for kids to serve with Tomato sauce or Chilli sauce. Add generous amount of grated cheese to make it cheesy for kids and adjust the quantity of chilli flakes according to taste bud.

Ingredients :

200 gms, Tofu, grated
2 Cups Spinach / Palak, blanched and chopped
2 Tsp Olive oil
1 Tbsp Tomato sauce
1Tsp Italian Seasoning 
1 Cheese cube, grated
1 - 2 Tsp Chilli flakes ( adjust according to taste bud )
Salt to taste
10 - 15 Bread slices

Method :

Heat olive oil in a pan and add the blanched spinach.

Saute, add the grated Tofu and mix well.

Saute it together in a medium flame for a minute and add the remaining ingredients (Tomato sauce, Italian seasoning,  Chillli flakes and Salt ) one by one.

Now add the grated cheese, mix well and remove from the flame.

Grease the grill pan with olive oil or butter and place couple of  bread slices for a minute on both the sides.

Spoon the Tofu - Spinach mixture on one of the slice and spread it evenly.

Place the other bread on top of the mixture and grill it in a medium flame.

Once, the bread gets crispy texture, remove from the flame.

Repeat the process for the remaining slices and serve hot. 

Serving Options :

Serve hot with Tomato Sauce.

August 20, 2015

Gobi Pakora using leftover Tomato - Chilli chutney

One of my favorite part of cooking is giving makeover to my leftover recipes. It gives me, the immense joy of not wasting the food and creating something different. On those series, my recent makeover recipe was Gobi Pakora using leftover Tomato - Chilli chutney. I had just half a cup of chutney in my fridge, after using it for breakie which wouldn't had sufficient for next serving. So, used those spicy chutney in my bajji / pakora batter and prepared hot and tasty snack. As the chutney contains required amount of spicy, I did not add extra chilli powder to the batter. The garlic flavor and tangy flavor from chutney blended so well to give a flavorful and tasty pakoras.. This is a perfect evening snack to serve with any variety of chutney and Coffee / Tea. Instead of gobi, any veggies can also be used like Aubergine, zucchini, bread etc...

Ingredients :

10 - 15 Gobi / Cauliflower Florets
6 Tbsp Besan Flour
1 Tbsp Corn Flour
5 Tsp Tomato - Chilli chutney ( Add extra teaspoon for more spicy )
Salt to taste
Few Coriander leaves, finely chopped
Water, as needed
3 Green chillies, slitted for Garnishing
Few curry leaves, for Garnishing

Method :

Clean Gobi florets and boil it in a salted boiling water for 10 minutes. Do not over cook.

Drain and keep aside.

In a bowl, add besan flour followed by corn flour, Tomato - Chilli chutney, finely chopped coriander leaves and salt.

Add water little by little and prepare thick batter consistency . ( The batter should coat the veggie )

Heat oil in a pan and deep fry them in a batches in medium flame.

Remove and drain the excess oil in the kitchen towel.

Fry the slitted chillies and curry leaves too for garnishing.

Garnish with the fried ones and serve hot with chutney.

Serving Options :

Serve hot with chutney and coffee / Tea.

August 18, 2015

Red Rice Dosa / Diet-Friendly Recipe

Red rice dosa is a healthy and nutritious breakfast, as the germ of the rice is left intact in red rice. The red rice has a nutty flavor which makes the dosa tasty. This is a perfect breakfast recipe and goes yummy with any varieties of chutney and sambhar. The same batter can be used for Idli and Kuzhipaniyaram.

Ingredients :

2 Cups Red rice
1/2 Cup Urad dal
1 Tsp Feenugreek seeds / Methi
Salt to taste

Method :

Soak urad dal along with fenugreek seeds and Red rice separately in a water for 4 hours.

Grind urad dal first using Ice water or normal water till it turns soft and fluffy. Remove and keep aside.

Now,grind the soaked red rice to a smooth batter and add it to the urad dal batter.

Add salt and mix well. Leave it aside for fermentation ( over night).

Once done, mix well and prepare like regular dosa.

Serve hot.

Serving Options :

Serve hot with chutney and sambhar.

Note :

Same batter can also be used for preparing Idlis.

August 17, 2015

Macaroni Cheese Pie

Happy Monday Folks ! Had a tiring weekend with loads of cleaning stuff and of course, with lots of delicious stuffs.. "Macaroni Cheese Pie" was one of the yummy and cheesy stuff prepared a day before, which was loaded with white sauce and cheese. I am sure, for the one who loves cheese ( like me ), it's a heavenly dish. To enhance the taste and flavor, filled the pie with Tomato and Bell pepper mixture. As, we are on fasting, baked this with veggies but chicken or sausage acts an excellent substitute.. This can be served as Main course as it is very filling and heavy. Every bite of it tasted yummmm for us... So,wanna try this ?

Here is the recipe of Macaroni Cheese pie.................

Ingredients :

1 Cup Macaroni
1 Cheese Cube, grated

For White Sauce :

1 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp All purpose Flour / Maida
1 Cup Milk
2 Cheese cubes, grated 
Salt to taste
For Stuffing :

1 Tbsp Butter
2 Tomatoes, Finely chopped
1 Bell pepper / Capsicum, Finely chopped
1 Tbsp Italian Sesoning
1 Tsp Tomato Sauce
1 Tbsp Chilli flakes
Salt to taste

Method :

Cook the macaroni in a salted boiling water for 10 minutes.

Drain, rinse under cold water and drain again. Keep aside.

Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a pan and add the flour.

Cook for a minute in a low flame and add milk, whisking constantly.

Heat until the mixture boils and simmer it for 5 minutes.

Add salt according to the taste and keep stirring frequently.

Now add the grated cheese and cook until the cheese has melted, then remove from the flame and
keep aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp in a pan and add the chopped tomatoes.

Saute for a minute and add the chopped bell peppers / capsicum.

Add Italian seasoning followed by salt, chilli flakes and tomato sauce.

Simmer and cook till the tomatoes turns soft.

Once done, remove and keep aside.

Grease ovenproof dish and tip half the cooked macaroni .

Pour over half the white sauce and mix well.

Now, layer the tomato capsicum mixture evenly over the macaroni.

Tip the remaining macaroni and pour the remaining white sauce.

Spread it evenly and add the grated cheese on top of it.

Bake it for 30 minutes or until the top of the pie turns brown, in a preheated oven at 200 degree C.

Once done, carefully remove from the oven and serve hot.

August 11, 2015

Tomato - Garlic Chutney / 3 Ingredients Recipe

Few months back, posted my first 3 Ingredients chutney "Capsicum Chutney" using Caspsicum / Bell pepper and it was a huge hit among family members and friends. Following that, posting my next 3 Ingredients recipe " Tomato - Garlic Chutney". All you need is Tomatoes, Dry red chillies and Garlic pods, and the interesting part is, no need to saute all these ingredients. It requires only boiling and grinding part for this recipe. I usually call this recipe as zero oil chutney, as it doesn't include sauteing and seasoning. This chutney goes perfect with Idly, Dosa and Momos.

Ingredients :

3 Tomatoes
7-8 Dry red chillies ( Adjust according to taste bud )
5 Garlic pods, peeled
Salt to taste

Method :

Slit the tomatoes on top using knife.

Take Tomatoes and dry red chillies in a bowl and add water, till it gets covered.

Boil it for 5 minutes, switch off the flame and cool it.

Peel the skin of Tomatoes , remove the red chillies and reserve the water for grinding.

Grind Tomatoes, chillies and raw garlic to a smooth paste by adding salt and the reserved water.

Serve with Idli or Dosa.

Note :

Thalimpu / Seasoning is optional.

August 10, 2015

Eastern Products Review 2 !

My kitchen shelf reserves a special place, when it comes to my favorite Eastern masala products, as I am using it for a quite long years and all credits to my neighbor, who introduced this masala to me, during my stay in cochin. And the first recipe which I have tried using Eastern masala is a chicken masala which made me to buy their ranges of products and satisfied too. A year ago, I got a lovely chance from Eastern condiments to review their Karnataka special products "Bisbele bhath", "Vangi bhath" and "Puliogare". Click HERE to know more about those products.

Few days back, got my second opportunity to review their products from Eastern Condiments.. How can I miss it :) I was all excited, when I received my goodies in a courier and to my surprise, they were so generous to send me a dozens of their products. Due to my personal commitments, my review post was getting delayed, but not least to share my views...

I chose Paneer based products "Shahi Paneer masala" and " Paneer butter masala" , as it was so inviting, interesting and my family's favorite too.  The cooking procedure and required items for the recipe made me really wonder. All you need is Milk, Paneer and Tomatoes along with this masala powder to prepare this yummy north Indian dishes. Amazing right!

Ok, let me start with the first recipe... Shahi paneer masala !

Shahi paneer masala is a very famous North Indian dish, which is originated from the Mughal kitchens. "Shahi" is term for Royal and likewise, the recipe also tastes rich and royal, as it contains cream, almonds and spices. The process of making Shahi paneer masala is also a time consuming, but the flavor and taste will rid of all the pain of the cooking process. And when the same masala can be prepared using just 4 ingredients, I feel it's a gift for bachelors and working ladies.

I followed the same procedure as given in the pack and it took 20-30 minutes to complete the gravy. The color looked the same way, as we get in Restaurants. The gravy was creamy too, as it contains milk powder. Personally, I felt the flavor of  Turmeric powder was a bit dominating the taste, but no compromise in the texture and aroma. According to our taste bud, salt was insufficient, so added little amount of salt to balance the taste. Served this delicious creamy masala with Roti, but can also be served with Pulao.

My Rating - 3 1/2 on 5 ! The dish was palatable and flavorsome except for the mild dominance of Turmeric taste.

Paneer Butter Masala :

Paneer Butter masala is a creamy dish which is cooked in Tomato puree and a generous amount of butter. This is one of the famous dishes in Restaurants, when one prefers for the North Indian side dish. Like Shahi masala, this masala also requires the same quantity of ingredients except for the way of Tomato used. In Shahi paneer masala, the recipe calls for the finely chopped ones and pureed form for the paneer butter masala. For the healthier version, I had replaced Paneer with Tofu but trust me, the masala blended so well with tofu which reduced the flavor of soya.

I followed the same procedure as given in the pack and it took exactly  the same time it took for Shahi paneer ( 20- 30 minutes ). The gravy tasted delicious and luscious, when I served it with Roti and Rice. No compromise in the texture of the gravy, it looked creamy because of the addition of milk powder. The spice level was perfect and tantalizing. The flavor and aroma reminded me the regular Paneer butter masala. Personally, added little extra salt according to our taste bud. On the whole, this masala was a huge hit among my family members too.

My Rating : 4 1/2 on 5 ! The dish was delectable and must try.

Thanks Eastern Condiments for giving me an opportunity to review your products. Free from hydrogenated fat, No artificial colors and flavors gives a confidence to try this products. This is an excellent product for working ladies and Bachelors. And, also an excellent option to serve an exotic North Indian cuisine in a short time, using less ingredients for a sudden guests.

Thanks everyone, who spent your valuable time to read my review on this product. Next on my menu is Eastern's Noodles masala pack. After Maggi, I was looking for some alternative masala and I hope, this satisfies my noodles craving. Stay tuned for my next review....

Disclaimer : This is an honest review based on my taste and preferences Only !

August 5, 2015

Thai Basil Tea

When it comes to Tea, I always prefer it with an extra refreshing flavor by adding mint leaves or cinnamon or elachi etc. And my Today's post is also an interesting tea which is prepared using Thai basil leaves. This tea, not only enhances the flavor, it also gives a lovely aroma. The basil leaves has its own strong flavor and when it is boiled along with the milk, it blends well to give a refreshing flavor. The resting time (3- 5 mins ) after adding tea powder and sugar is actually to enhance the color and flavor of the tea. Adjust sugar and basil leaves according to the taste bud.

Ingredients :

250 ml Milk
3-4 Tsp Tea powder
3 Tsp Sugar
3 Thai Basil leaves ( For strong flavor, add extra leaves )

Method :

Boil milk along with the basil leaves and switch off the flame.

Add tea powder followed by sugar and close the vessel with a lid.

Keep aside for 3-5 minutes and boil it again in a simmer flame.

Once done, filter it and serve hot.

Serving Options:

Serve hot with biscuits or fritters.

August 1, 2015

Prawn and Eggplant Masala

When it comes to seafood, my love for prawns will never end.. Prawns, as such has a unique sweet taste which blends well with any curry, rice or kuzhambu to give an aromatic dishes. In this recipe, I have added Eggplants/Aubergines along with the prawns to make it more flavorful and this wonderful combo worked well to give a  delicious taste. This masala goes perfect with plain rice but personally, I love to have this with rasam rice. Here comes my style of prawn & Eggplant masala recipe....

Ingredients :

250 gms Prawns
5-6 Eggplants / Brinjals, chopped
1 Tbsp Oil
1  Cup Onion, Finely Chopped
1 Tbsp Ginger- Garlic paste
1/2 Cup Tomato, Finely chopped
 1/4 Tsp Turmeric powder
1 Tsp Chilli powder
1 1/2 Tsp Coriander powder
Salt to taste
Few Coriander leaves or Curry leaves for garnishing

Method :

De-vein prawns, wash and keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan, add chopped onions and saute it for a minute in a medium flame.

Add ginger-garlic paste and saute well, till the raw smell goes off.

Now add the chopped tomatoes, saute till it turns soft and add the chopped eggplants.

Fry it for a minute and add all the masalas ( Turmeric powder, chilli powder and coriander powder) along with salt and mix well.

Add half cup of water, close the pan with lid and cook it for 5 -7 minutes or till the eggplants get cooked.

Add the cleaned prawns and cook for more 5 minutes. ( Do not cook prawns for long time, it turns rubbery)

Switch off the flame and garnish with coriander leaves or curry leaves.

Serving Options :

Serve with hot rice, rice or sambhar.