Friday, February 29, 2008

Garden Vegetable Pasta

Squeezed for time? Yet you want to make a special meal? If you have pasta and pasta sauce then you don't have to worry at all. You can make a fantastic meal in a jiffy. This pasta gets it's name b'coz it's made out of fesh vegetables from the garden.

Pasta- 2 cups
onion- 1 (sliced)
garlic- 4 (finely chopped)
carrot- 1/2 cup(chopped)
bell pepper- 1/2 cup (chopped)
Pasta sauce- 2 cups
parmesan cheese as required
red chilli flakes- as required
spring onion- 2 stalks

Cook pasta according to package instructions and set aside.Heat some oil and saute Onion and garlic. After some time add carrots,bell pepper and any other vegetables of your choice. Season with salt and chilli flakes. Add pasta sauce and combine well. Heat the sauce and bring just to a boil. add some water if needed. When the sauce gets heated up well add pasta and spring onions. combine well and cook for another 5 to 10 mins. Serve Pasta with any of these sides (mashed potatoes,grilled chicken or any other veggie of your choice).

Parrupu Vadai / Channa Dal Vadas

This is a great appetizer or a snack. Usually it is served with coconut chutney . The other ways to use it is - adding it to Mor Kuzhambu (tangy yogurt gravy) or preparing vadai curry (a coconut based gravy with spices). So, here is the recipe for the vadas.

Channa dal - 2 cups
onion - 1 (small,chopped)
green chillies - 6 (finely chopped)
corriander leaves-little
sombu- 1 tsp

Soak Channa dal for 1 hr. drain water and grind it coarsely. In a vessel, combine dal,onions,chillies,sombu,corriander leaves and salt. Shape into vadas and deep fry in oil. Serve with chutney of your choice.

Simple Rasam

Nothing beats a cup of hot pepper rasam on a cold rainy day. It can be had with rice or just as a soup. Here I have posted the easiest version of rasam. Try and enjoy it.

water- 4 cups
tamarind pulp- 1 1/2 tsp
tomato-1 (small)
garlic-4 pods
corriander leaves- few
curry leaves - few
salt- required
rasam powder:(to grind)
corriander seeds- 1 tsp
cumin- 1 1/2 tsp
pepper-1 tsp
red chillies-1
hing- a pinch

Mix water, tamarind pulp, tomato, garlic, corriander leaves, salt and rasam powder. Allow this to come to a boil. But don't boil it. switch off gas. Fry little mustard seeds, red chillies, curry leaves and hing. Pour this over rasam.

Note: You can add 3 tbsps of cooked, mashed toor dal in the rasam before bringing rasam to a boil . Also adding a pinch of sugar increases the taste.

Potato Poriyal

Potato poriyal is an excellent side dish for sambar rice , rasam rice or curd rice. When kept in medium flame and roasted , the potato gets a nice a nice crispy coating on the outside.

mustard seeds- 1/4 tsp
split urad dal- 1/4 tsp
channa dal- 1/4 tsp
jeera seeds- 1/4 tsp
onion-1 (medium,chopped)
garlic-5 pods
turmeric powder-1/2 tsp
sambar powder-2 tsp
water- 1/4 cup or less
Curry leaves- few
salt as reqd

Procedure:Wash and peel off the skin from the potato. Cut into small cubes or anyother shape as desired. Keep them immersed in water until needed. This will help prevent discolouring.
Heat oil in pan and fry mustard seeds, urad dal and channa dal. Then fry onion, garlic and curry leaves. Add potato and sambar powder. fry for sometime. Then add water and salt. Close pan and cook potatoes until 3/4 th done. Remove lid and roast till done.

Brinjal Drumstick and Mango Sambar

Depending upon the vegetables you use Sambar gets a unique taste each time. Here I have used Brinjal, drumstick and Mango. When you use mango in the sambar always add it towards the end as it gets cooked easily. Also reduce the amount of tamarind as the mango itself will render some tangy taste. So, let's go to the recipe now.

Cooked toor dal -1 cup
mustard seeds- 1/4 tsp
split urad dal- 1/4 tsp
jeera seeds- 1/4 tsp
methi seeds- 1/4 tsp
hing- 1/4 tsp
onion- 1 medium (sliced long). You can use small onions too. It add an extra flavor.
red chilli- 1 broken
brinjal- 2
drumstick- 7 pieces
mango - 1/2 (cut into big pieces)
tomato- 1 big
curry leaves- few
tamarind- 1 1/2 tsps
sambar powder- 2 tsps
water- 1 1/2 cups or more
salt- as needed
jaggary- 1/4 tsp or less (optional)
corriander leaves- 2 tbsps

Pressure cook toor dal with some turmeric and a tsp oil. Heat oil in a kadai and splutter mustard seeds, urad dal, jeera seeds, methi seeds and red chilli. Then saute onions, hing and curry leaves. After sometime add brinjal, drumstick and turmeric. Saute until it's half-done. Then add tomato and cook till soft. Next add tamarind ,sambar powder and salt. Saute for 5 mins until the raw smell goes. Then add water and bring to a boil. Cook till the vegetables are almost done. Now add toor dal and corriander leaves. Mix well and boil for 5mins. Finally add jaggery and mango. Boil for another 10 mins. Serve it with hot rice and curried potato . I served mine with broad beans curry and king fish fry. It tasted like heaven on plate.

Avarakkai Poriyal

If you see the recipes I have posted earlier you can see it is just simple home cooked food. So, here is another simple dish that really brings out the taste of the vegetable just with a simple tadka and some coconut. Goes well as a side dish for rice or rotis. Also, remember not to over-cook the vegetable. Just sprinkle water every now and then and cook till done. Finally make sure that the vegatable is still crisp and not soggy.

Avarakkai - 2 cup (chopped)
mustard seeds- 1/4 tsp
split urad dal- 1/4 tsp
channa dal- 1/4 tsp
onion- 2 tbsp
red chillies- 2
curry leaves- few
coconut- 2 tsp
salt- as reqd

Heat oil in kadai and fry mustard seeds, urad dal and channa dal. Then fry onion, chillies and vegetables. After sometime add salt and little water. Close pan and cook vegetable. When almost - done, remove lid from pan and allow all the water to evaporate. Finally add coconut and stir well.

Aloo Paratha

This dish is not a regular one in our home as my hubby always prefer the plain ones more. But I love this one very much. The addition of aloo makes the roti even more soft and the taste of potato, corriander and masala spices makes it a great treat for the tastebuds.

Atta- 2 cups
salt- 1/4 tsp
water- as required
potato-1 (boiled & mashed)
chillies-1 or 2
corriander leaves
salt -as required
Mix everything together and set aside.

You can also add turmeric powder and use chilli powder instead of green chillies. In this case, you can saute the potato mixture until the raw smell of turmeric and chilli powder goes away.

Take a ball of dough and spread as you do for a regular chappati. Keep 1 tsp of stuffing in the center of the chappati and bring all the edges to the center and seal the stuffing. Dab this with some flour and spread again. Heat Tawa and cook chappati on both sides.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tomato Thokku

This dish goes well with idlli, dosa and rotis. It can done ahead and stored for upto 1 week in the refrigerator. This is the basic form of tomato thokku. You can add chilli powder, corriander powder, jeera powder and some garam masala to get a difference in taste.

mustard seeds-1/2 tsp
urad dal- 1/2 tsp
jeera seeds- 1/4 tsp
onion-3/4 th (sliced)
green chillies- 4
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
tomato-3 (chopped)

Heat oil in kadai and fry mustard seeds, urad dal and jeera seeds. Then add onions,chillies and turmeric powder. saute until soft. now put tomatoes and salt. Add 1/4 cup water and boil until tomatoes gets cooked. Open the lid from kadai and allow the gravy to dry to desired consistency.

Brinjal Masala / Kathirikkai Curry

This is a regular dish in our home. It's done atleast once a week. This is one of the dishes that my hubby and me like in common. This curry can bemixed with plain rice to make vaangi bhaat or served as an accompaniant to sambar rice or curd rice.

onion- 1/2(big,sliced)
garlic-5 (sliced)
tomato- 1 (small,chopped)
curry leaves-few
corriander leaves
turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
sambar powder-1 tsp

Heat oil in kadai and season with mustard seeds, urad dal and channa dal. Then fry onions, garlic,curry leaves and turmeric. Add brinjal,salt and saute until color changes. Cook until 1/4th done. Then add tomatoes and sambar powder and cook until done. Finally stir in corriander leaves. Serve with plian rice, sambar or roti.

Cauliflower Poriyal

Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables. I love it as a poriyal, deep-fried or in subjis. Whatever be the dish, when gobi is used the dish turns out to be a little extra-special.

cauliflower-2 cups
onion- 1/2
choppedgarlic- 3 pods
red chillies-2
curry leaves
turmeric powder
shredded coconut- 2 tsp

Heat oil in kadai and fry mustard seeds, urad dal and channa dal. Then add onions, garlic,curry leaves,red chillies and turmeric. After a few minutes add tomato and salt. when the tomato turns soft add cauliflower and mix well. Then add 1/4 cup water and close the kadai with a lid. cook for 5-10 mins . Then open lid and keep frying until all the water evaporates and curry turns dry. Finally add coconut and stir well.

Keerai Parrupu Kootu / Spinach Dal

This is a one pot dish that can be done so fast. It is wholesome and satisfying. It can be had just like that as a soup or served with rice for a complete meal. All you have to do is put all the ingredients together, cook it and add some seasoning at the end. Easy huh?

Spinach - 1 bunch
onion- 1/2 (big, sliced)
garlic- 5 pods
tomato - 1(chopped)
toor dal- 1 small cup
green chillies- 4 to 5
coconut- 1/4 th cup
curry leaves
jeera - 1 tsp
pepper corns- 1/4 tsp
turmeric- 1/2 tsp

Put everything in a pressure cooker except coconut and add 2 cups of water. Allow one whistle. Switch off gas. After opening cooker, add coconut and boil for 5 mins. Then fry vadagam and add to kootu. Serve hot with rice and papad.

Peerkangai / Ridgegourd Sambar

Sambar is a very common dish in south-india. But no two sambars are the same. Each and every household does it in a certain way that the taste turns out unique. Here is the simplest way to do sambar.

cooked toor dal - 1 1/2 cups
onion- 1 (medium, sliced)
Peerkangai- 1 (skin removed, round slices)
hing-1/4 tsp
tomato -1
tamarind paste- 1 1/2 tsp
sambar powder - 2 tsp
curry leaves
corriander leaves

Heat oil and season with mustard seeds, vendhayam and jeera seeds. fry onions until soft. Add turmeric, tomatoes, Peerkangai and salt. When the vegetable is 1/4 th cooked , add tamarind paste, sambar powder, hing and curry leaves. cover and boil for some time. Then add cooked toor dal and boil for 5-10 mins. Serve on a bed of rice with any curry.

Chicken Biryani

The first plate of Biryani was done by my hubby . If you scroll down , you can see another plate that was done by me. The only difference is I ground onion, ginger, garlic, green chillies, mint and corriander leaves and fried the paste before adding tomatoes. Also, less turmeric. Another change is I marinated chicken in curd and salt for sometime.

Basmathi Rice - 2 cups
water-3 cups
onion-1 (big, sliced)
green chillies- 8
ginger garlic paste- 1 1/2 tsp
tomato-1 (medium, sliced)
mint leaves- 1/2 cup
corriander leaves- 1/4 cup
chilli powder- 1/2 tsp
lemon juice- 2 tbsp
cinnamon stick-1
bay leaf-1
sombu-1 tsp

Heat equal parts of oil and ghee in pressure cooker. Add all seasonings. When color changes, add onions, green chillies and ginger garlic paste. when golden brown add tomato, turmeric powder, chilli powder,mint leaves and corriander leaves. After the tomatoes get cooked, add washed chicken and required salt. Fry until 3/4 th done. Now add water and allow to come to a little boil. check for seasonings. Add rice & lemon juice in cooker and blend well. Close the cooker and put whistle when the steam starts coming out of the cooker nozzle consistently. Keep the gas on medium. wait 10 mins and switch off. Allow the pressure to settle and then open cooker. Mix evrything well and serve with curd pachidi.

Simple Chicken Fry

Well, this is one of the bachelor dishes that my hubby makes often. It's really simple and quick to prepare. It goes well as a side-dish for biryani or with plain rice. So, next time if you are running short of time and need to fix something easy try this.

Onion- 1 (finely chopped)
Ginger&Garlic paste-2 tsp
Tomato- 1 (finely chopped)
Chilli Powder- 1tsp
Corriander Powder- 1/2 tsp
Pepper- 1/2 tsp
Curry Masala Powder- 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves- few

Heat oil in a kadai and fry onions and ginger garlic paste to golden brown color. Add turmeric, tomato and all other masala powders and saute until tomato becomes soft. Add chicken and fry for few minutes. Pour 1 cup of water and allow the chicken to cook well. When it is 3/4 th cooked , remove lid from kadai and allow it to dry to required consistency.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Vangiram Fish Fry / King Fish Fry

This is the same as the simple fish fry that I had posted earlier. Just posting it with a different kind of fish. King Fish is very meaty and it has to be cooked with some patience. In our home we don't deep-fry the fish, instead we pan-fry it with minimal oil. We just like it this way.

Vangiram Fish- 2
Turmeric-1/2 tsp
Chilli Powder-1 tsp
Salt-as required
Sambar Powder-1 tsp
oil-4 tbsp

Make a thick paste of turmeric, chilli powder, salt and sambar powder. Add water little by little and smear the masala on fish. Heat oil in Dosa pan and fry fish on medium heat. sprinkle lemon juice on fish when done.Note: Vangiram Fish is very meaty. It requires little patience to cook it on Dosa pan with less oil and medium heat.

Cucumber Raitha

If you are tired of the same traditional onion raitha, why not try the cucumber raitha for a change? It's so refreshing and cool. It tastes best when served with spicy dishes. If you are on a diet you can use fat free yogurt and it makes a wholesome salad.

English cucumber-1
curd-1 1/2 cups
salt-as required
sugar- a pinch
corriander leaves

Remove skin from cucumber and cut it into very thin pieces. Add sugar and salt to curd and beat well. Add cucumber to curd and mix thoroughly. If needed add water. I did not add water in mine, as the cucumber itself gave away enough water.Sprinkle corriander leaves on top or mix with raitha.

Simple Fish Fry

This is the simplest yet tasty fish fry. It does not require any grinding of masala or marinating for long periods of time. So, why don't you give it a try too?

Tilapia fillet: 3
chilli powder-1tsp
sambar powder-1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder-1/2 tsp
salt-as required

Wash the fillet with some turmeric. Drain. Mix all the masala powders, salt and some water. Thoroughly coat the fillets and set aside 10 mins. Heat some oil on a flat tawa and fry fish on both sides until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle some fresh lemon juice and corriander before serving.

Mini Mutton Puffs

These mutton puffs are so easy to make. The filling can be done ahead and refrigerated. You can bake the puffs just 1/2 hr before serving.

Mutton Kheema-1/2 kg
peas-1 cup
onion-1(chopped fine
tomato-1(small,chopped fine
ginger garlic paste- 1 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder-1/2 tsp
green chillies- 7 (chopped fine
garam masala- 1/2 tsp
corriander leaves- (1/4 cup ,finely chopped)
Puff Pastry sheet- 1 pack
butter- for basting

Heat oil in Kadai. Add onions and saute until golden brown. Then add ginger garlic paste and chillies. Saute 2 mins. Now add tomatoes and cook till tender. Then add turmeric, garam masala and salt. check for seasonings. Now add kheema and mix well. Then put peas and 1/2 cup water. cover and cook till mutton is done. After some time, remove lid and allow all the water to evaporate so that the kheema is almost dry. Finally add corriander leaves and mix well. Now the stuffing is ready.Thaw the pastry sheet as per package directions. Cut into desired shapes. Place a spoonful of stuffing and seal all the open edges. To seal edges you can apply some egg wash( 1 egg yolk+ 2 tbsp water. beat together). Apply egg wash on the top of the pastry sheet to get a nice golden colour. Preheat oven to 350 deg . Arrange the puffs on a baking dish coated with non-stick spray.Bake for 20 minutes or till done.

Note: The mistake that I did was I completly forgot about the egg wash. Although the puffs tasted good, it could have got that glossy golden color with the egg wash. Hope not to forget it next time.

Chicken 65

I really don't see any connection between the name of this dish to the dish itself. Anyway, this chicken tastes similar to the chillichicken we get from the street vendors of India.

Chicken breast- 3 (skinless,boneless)
ginger garlic paste-1tsp
chilli powder- 1tsp
turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
salt- as required
gg white -1
lemon juice-1tbsp
red food color- a pinch

Procedure: Mix all and deep fry in hot oil. serve with onion and lemon wedges.

Baked Paneer Tikka

This dish is a little bland by itself. But it is good with sweet and sour sauce. The other day, I had some of my Husband's colleagues come for lunch. As they were Americans, I wanted to make a non-spicy dish that would be more or less like cheese cubes. Here is the recipe for baked paneer.

paneer-250 gms
curd-1 tbsp
chilli powder- 1/2 tsp
garam masala- 1/4 tsp
chaat masala
salt- as required

Mix curd, chilli powder, garam masala, and salt. check the seasonings. Mix this with paneer and coat well. Refrigerate for atleast 4 hours.Line the baking dish with foil paper. Spray some non-stick spray on foil. Arrange the paneer pieces on it. Alternatively, use wooden skewers and thread the paneer pieces on it. Broil for 10 mins in the oven.Note: I broiled it for 15 mins , so paneer became a little dry. Do not broil it for long if you need the paneer to be moist.

Chettinad Chicken Fry

I got this recipe from SUN TV " Unavum Aarogiyamum". It was originally made with mutton. But I eat only here goes my version. BTW, I did not make this. My dear husband made this for me.

sombu-1 tsp
Garlic-1 full
curry leaves
turmeric-1/2 tsp
chilli powder-2tsp
hania powder-2 tsp
poppy seeds -1tsp
jeera-1 1/2 tsp
cashews-6 (broken)

Boil chicken with required salt. Fry sombu,garlic,curry leaves, turmeric, chilli powder & dhania powder . Now add chicken. Boil for 5 minutes. Then add fried cashews. Grind pepper,poppy seeds,jeera and sombu. When oil floats on the gravy add ground powder. Add some water and boil to a thick gravy.

Note: You can reduce the water to get a dry chicken fry (like my husband did). This curry tasted like the ones we get in restaurants. A must try!

Nandu Masala / Crab Fry

This is my Mother-in-laws's recipe. She is a great cook ,but she never gives her recipes easily. Here is one, I successfully managed to get . This is a fail proof recipe. The measure of the ingredients needn't be exact. It always turns out fine.

Crab - 5 nos
Onion- 1 1/2

To grind:
garlic- 6 pods
ginger- 2" piece
jeera-1/2 tsp
pepper-1/2 tsp
sambar powder-2 1/2tsps
turmeric powder-1/2 tsp
coconut - 1/2 cup (scrapped)
tomato- 2

Prepare a fine masala paste by grinding all from garlic to tomato. finally add onions and just grind it just a bit. Heat oil in a kadai. Add ground masala and salt. Saute until raw smell goes and color changes to light brown . Now add crab, 1/2 cup water and close the kadai.Boil for 15 mins on medium-high heat. Remove lid and cook till desired consistency.


Rasmalai is my favorite sweet. I'm a big fan of Krishna Sweets Rasamalai. I miss that sooooo much. Although, I get this sweet here in Atlanta... It's just not the same. This short cut recipe is much better than the store bought ones. Try it for yourself. You will surely love it.

Rasagullas: 1 tin
heavy whipping cream-1/2 pint
sugar- according to taste
chopped nuts-pista
saffron-1/2 tsp
cardomom powder-1/4 tsp
yellow food color -optional

Pour the cream into the dessert bowl. Add required sugar,nuts,saffron and cardamom powder and mix until sugar completely dissolves. Drain all the syrup from the rasagulla tin. Take a rasagulla and squeeze out all the sugar syrup from it, by pressing it in between your palms. Do the same for all the rasagulla balls. slide them into the cream. refrigerate. Allow atleast 12 hours for the rasagulla balls to soak up the milk.

Paneer Butter Masala

This is my first post. I'm starting with one of my favorite dishes.... Paneer. This is the gravy I order in restaurants most of the time. I hope you like it too.

Paneer-250 gms(cut into cubes, shallow fry, soak in hot water for 5 minutes, drain and keep aside)
onion- 2 big (puree)
Ginger& Garlic paste-1 1/2 tsp
Tomato -3 big (blanch & puree)
cashew nut paste-2tbsp
chilli powder-3/4 tsp
cumin powder-1/2 tsp
corriander powder-1/2 tsp
turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
garam masala powder-1/2 tsp
fresh cream-2 tbsp
kassori methi leaves-1/2 tsp (crush in your palm before adding)
Heat 1 tbsp oil and butter. Saute onion puree until golden brown. Add ginger garlic paste. After 2 minutes add all the masala powders and saute for a few minutes. Then put cashew paste, tomato puree and salt. Pour 1 cup water and boil for 5 minutes. check for taste. Reduce heat and add paneer cubes. Let the gravy simmer to required consistency. Switch off the stove and add cream and methinleaves. combine well.This curry goes well with fried rice, pulav and rotis.
Note: I did not add color to my gravy. If you desire a red color gravy , You can either use kashmiri chilli powder or a little red food coloring.