Milagu Kozhambu / Pepper Gravy

Milagu kozhambu is one recipe that would fall under so many categories like, instant recipe, pathiya samayal (food as medicine), spicy kozhambu, travel special, post-partum menu etc. So this kozhambu always has a special place in most of our menu cards and comes to the dining table often after a heavy treat. Needless to say, it also stays good in the refrigerator for a week.

This kozhambu will be served on the third day of marriage in Tamil Brahmin's community, i.e on the "Kattu Sadha Koodai". This day, usually in olden times, was the day people who attended the marriage, as well as the new bride and groom, would pack up and leave for their destination. Since they had to travel a long distance, food was usually packed and distributed, hence the name "Kattu Sadha Koodai" (A basket of packed food) which ideally consisted of long-lasting items like Idlis (smeared with Milagai Podi), Puliyodharai, Curd rice with appalams and Vadams (rice/sabudana crackers). And since the previous day would have called for a heavy treat, simple food is usually served on this day to ease the tummies. Milagu Kozhambu invariably does the trick, not compromising on the taste too.

Nowadays for the sake of convenience and time, in most marriages this Kattu Sadhai Koodai day is often opted out. But luckily in our marriage, this was on Saturday; so most of our relatives stayed back and we had the luxury of packing up in a leisure way. And since I was relocating in Chennai, but for some occasional sniffs, none of us were really crying or going through the usual post-marriage-we-will-miss-you thing. ;) Not to mention, we had this Milagu Kozhambu in our menu and V's grand mom indicated me that this is one of V's favorite dishes. I diligently recorded it in my mind, and here I am blogging my DH's fav! :)

Milagu Kozhambu
Pepper and Tamarind gravy for rice

What we need:
Tamarind - a marble sized ball
Pepper - 2 tbsp.
Dhania (Coriander seeds) - 2 tbsp.
Cumin (Jeera) - 2 tbsp.
Red Chilli - 2 or 3
Chana dal (Kadalai Paruppu) - 1 tbsp.
Toor Dal - 1 tbsp.
Asafoetida - 1 tsp.
Curry leaves - a sprig
Sesame /Gingely oil - 2 tbsp.
Mustard - 1 tsp.
Salt - as needed
Water - as needed

How to do:
1. Heat a tsp of Oil in the pan and roast Pepper, Cumin, Dhania, Red Chilli, Chana Dal, Toor dal, half of curry leaves till they emit a nice aroma. Take care not to burn them. Let them cool and blend it to a fine powder.
2. Meanwhile extract the tamarind pulp and set aside.
3. Heat Gingely oil and add the mustard, remaining curry leaves and asafoetida. When it starts to sputter, add the tamarind extract and salt.
4. When it begins to boil, add the ground powder and stir well. Reduce the flame to low-medium and simmer the gravy until it becomes thick and remove from flame.

Serve with rice, mixed with gingely oil and Sutta appalam!

Happy Cooking and happy Blogging!

Vazhai Poo Usli & Mor Kozhambu

Our lovely blogger buddy Kanchan is celebrating her birthday today! Let us all wish her a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY, with long-lasting happiness for years to come!
Happy Birthday dear!

Picture Courtesy:

I believe I have told you all before in one of my earlier posts, that I used to be a very rebellious and fussy eater in my childhood (actually till I entered college!) Mom had a tough time with me always because I had a finicky taste and my preferences were limited to rasam, vendakkai poriyal (Okra Stir-fry), Dosa and Maggi! Almost every second day the lunch box will come back home as it was packed.

I don't remember when and how I became a foodie; probably during my college days, where my 3 best friends were those foodie types and they influenced my eating habits a lot. Thanks to them, here I am trying out new and traditional recipes each day and blogging about them! Mom would have never had even in her faintest idea that one day her daughter would become a FOOD BLOGGER (of all the other things!!!)

Usli - probably one of the most tried recipes that would be blogged over and over! Because no matter how many times we read about it, blog it or share it, every time Usli tastes as heavenly as the first time! More than the Usli itself, it is the Vazhai poo that fascinates me. I still remember those beautiful full moon nights, we all would go to the terrace and mom prepares the mixed rice, probably sambar or kozhambu (which otherwise is in the "untouchable" list for me)and serve it in the "Vazhai poo Madal" i.e the leaves of Banana flower, which she had reserved for me.

Before I get too nostalgic, let's go to our recipe!

Vazhai Poo Usli
Chana Dal and Banana flowers cooked with mild spices

What we need:
Vazhai Poo - 1, medium sized
Chana Dal / Kadalai Paruppu - 1 cup
Red Chillies - 3 to 4, according to your palates
Curry leaves - a sprig
Asafoetida - a pinch
Salt - according to your taste

For tempering:
Oil - 1 tbsp.
Mustard - 1 tsp.
Split Urad dal - 1 tsp.

We also need:
A cup of buttermilk to soak the cut vazhai poo. This eliminates the "tuvarpu" taste of the vazhai poo.

Preparing for the Usli:
Wash, clean and soak the Chana dal along with some red chillies for about an hour.

Meanwhile, switch on the TV or start a movie in your laptop and sit down with a bowl of buttermilk, little salt or oil, and the vazhai poo. It is a loooong process to cut and clean this flower. Apply a little oil or rub your hands with little salt because later you don't want to look like a mechanic who repairs the car!
Make sure you remove the "Kalan", inside every flower. It resembles a Match stick head. Also remove a fine glass-like layer inside the flower. Cut the flowers into small pieces and soak them in the buttermilk for about 30 to 40 minutes.

Chitra has given the clear picture of how the "Kalan" looks. Please click here to see her recipe.

How to do:
1. Grind the chana dal to a coarse paste along with the red chilli, salt, asafoetida and little or no water.
2. Mix it with the chopped flowers and spread the mix over a steel plate or the idlis plate creased with oil, and steam it for about 8 to 10 minutes. Let it cool and crumble it to coarse pieces.
3. Heat oil and add the mustard, followed by split urad dal and curry leaves. When they are done, add the dal-flower and mix well.
4. Adjust the salt according to your taste and remove from the flame.

Mor Kozhambu
Yoghurt soup simmered with coconut

What we need:
Thick yoghurt/curd - 2 cups
Fresh grated Coconut - 3 tbsp.
Chana Dal - 2 tbsp. Reserve some chana dal you soak for the usli.
Cumin (Jeera) - 1 tbsp.
Red/Green Chillies - 2
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Asafoetida - 1 tsp.
Salt - according to your taste

For tempering:
Coconut Oil/Cooking oil - 1 tbsp.
Mustard - 1 tbsp.
Curry leaves - a sprig

How to do:
1. Grind together the grated coconut, chana dal, green/red chillies, cumin.
2. Mix this ground paste with yoghurt, along with a pinch of turmeric powder, asafoetida and salt. Add water to achieve your desired consistency.
3. Heat coconut oil and add the mustard, followed by curry leaves. When they are done, reduce the flame to low-medium and add the yoghurt mix.
4. Stir well. It may start to splatter in a few minutes, that is when you need to remove it from the flame.

1. Coconut Oil enhances the flavor of the Mor Kozhambu by many folds. Inspite of using it for tempering, I also add a generous amount of coconut oil to the mor kozhambu after removing it from stove, and leave it undisturbed till serving time. It smells and tastes so good.
2. For those who don't have an aversion to Asafoetida, sprinkle it generously over the kozhambu and leave it undisturbed till you serve.
3. If you have some banana leaves to spare, cover the vessel tightly with the leaf and keep a lid over it. It increases the flavor and makes your Mor Kozhambu a sure hit!
4. To make a simple, instant mor kozhambu, please click here.

Serve together Usli and Mor Kozhambu with piping hot steamed rice drizzled with sesame oil!

Happy Cooking and Happy Blogging

It's raining Awards!!

I had posted earlier that my Diwali this time went by without any spark, it seems my blogger buddies have decided to compensate for it. It is raining awards!! Yay, I am so happy!!!! Thank you friends; your every word is a source of encourgament that pushes me to perform better than yesterday!

My lovely buddies Sandhya, Lakshmi and Vidya, Prasu passed on to me

Lakshmi and Vidya, Prasu also passed on

Lovely gals @ Collaborative Curry showered me with

Thanks a bunch buddies; I would like to pass on all the above awards to my lovely fellow bloggers Anupama, Sanjana, Sarah Naveen, A2Z vegetarian Cuisine, Tina, Shuba, Gethan, Dhanya, Ramya, Vrinda, Trish, Pari, Pavithra

My new buddy Sanjana has tagged me with

Thanks buddy; regarding the tag that comes with the award, I have already talked (a lot!!) about myself here and don't want to bore you all more!

Prasu also gave me

I would like to pass it on to some fantastic food bloggers, Vidya, Sandhya, Lata, Shanthi, Kamala, Sanghi, Priya, Nithya, Kanchan, Sree, Jeyashri, Ambika, Raje, Sushma, Collaborative Curry, Divya, Kitchen Queen!

Please accept it dearies!

Happy cooking and Happy blogging!

Baked Broccoli and Cheese Pasta

Once in a while, I get a sudden desire to indulge in something sinfully delicious without worrying about those extra calories, or the size 32 jean resting in the wardrobe that fits no more! I bet all of us do, don't we??? Yesterday was such a day when I started craving for something loaded with cheese! Unfortunately I didn't have any cheese left in my fridge. So I did a quick shopping, came home with that "devil-knows-why" smile, and today I made this delicacy and had it to my heart's content. Btw, yeah, I am still in shape. Round is a shape!!!

Without testing your patience any further, let's go our recipe :)

Baked Broccoli and Cheese Pasta
Serves 2

What we need:
Pasta, of your choice - 2 cups I have used Macaroni
Broccoli - a handful, steamed lightly (about 100 g) You can also do it in microwave.
Onion, medium sized - 1, thinly sliced
Green chillies - 2, finely chopped
Garlic - 2 or 3 pods, crushed
All purpose flour - 4 tbsp.
Mozzarella cheese - 50 g, torn into pieces
Grated cheese - 5 to 6 tbsp.
Butter - 2 tbsp.
Black pepper powder - 1 tbsp.
Dry Basil - 1 tbsp.
Salt - according to taste
Water - 3 cups

How to do:
Cooking the pasta:
Cook the pasta according to instructions on the pack. Drain, run through cold water, and set aside.

For the sauce:
1. In a wok, melt the butter and add onions, garlic, green chillies and salt.
2. When the onions turn soft, throw in the all purpose flour. Stir fast so that no lumps are formed.
3. Now add the pepper powder and dry basil and steamed broccoli. To this, add 3 cups of water and mix well.
4. Let the sauce thicken a bit, ideally 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and set aside.

1. Pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees.
2. Meanwhile, in the baking dish, add the cooked pasta and spread.

3. Over this, pour the sauce and spread it evenly.
4. Add the Mozzarella cheese bits, and press it lightly so that it settles.
5. Over this, spread the grated cheese generously. Tap the dish lightly so that everything settles down evenly.
6. Bake it in the oven at 250 degrees for 15 minutes. You can also extend for another 5 minutes to get a brown crust of cheese!
Serve with your favorite bread!

One more entry to Saraswathi's "Say Cheese" event!
Happy Cooking and happy Blogging!

Avarakkai Kootu and Thakali Thayir Pachadi

Hope you all had a great Diwali. For us this year, for 2 reasons it was a very sober occasion without any spark. Yeah, first we could not light crackers here, as we do in India. Even if we could have celebrated, we shouldn't have, because of a condolence in the family, that being the second reason! So, Diwali went by without any event, though we had a nice dinner party in a friend's place.

Coming to our dish for today, post-festival always calls for simple, comfort food to ease the tummies that were loaded with all types of sweets and savories. So, I made this simple Avarakkai kootu, with a pachadi to complement it. I have added a bit more Dal than I usually do, because V likes it that way. And tomato raitha is the best combination for this kootu. I suggest serving this combo with rice, a spoon of dal mixed with the rice and a dollop of ghee!

Avarakkai KootuBroad beans cooked in coconut gravy, simmered with Dal
Serves 2

What we need:Avarakkai/Broad beans - 200 g
Toor Dal/Moon dal - 1 cup
Grated Coconut - 4 tbsp.
Red Chilli - 2 or 3
Cumin (Jeera) - 1 tbsp.
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Salt - as needed
Water - as needed

For tempering:Coconut oil - 1 tbsp.
Mustard - 1 tsp.
Split Urad dal - 1 tsp.
Asafoetida - a pinch
Curry leaves - a sprig

How to do:1. Wash and cook the dal with a pinch of turmeric powder. Mash well and set aside.
2. In a vessel, take the chopped avarakkai and add enough water to cover it. Add a pinch of salt, cover and cook for 5 to 6 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, grind together coconut, cumin and red chillies with little water into a paste.
4. When avarakkai is cooked, add the ground paste, salt and reduce the flame.
5. In about 3 or 4 minutes, the raw smell of coconut and red chillies will start to leave. Then add the mashed dal, bring to a boil and remove from the flame.
6. In a seasoning wok, heat a tbsp. of oil, add mustard, followed by split urad dal, asafoetida and curry leaves. Add this to the kootu.

Variations:1. Both toor dal and moong dal will taste good for this kootu. For a change, you can also try adding half of each dal.
2. Replace red chillies with green chillies for an enhanced taste and flavor.
3. To save time, you can also pressure-cook the avarakkai.

Thakali Thayir PachadiTomato Yoghurt Raitha

What we need:Ripe tomato, medium sized - 1
Salt - as needed
Yoghurt - 1 cup

For tempering:Oil - a tsp.
Mustard - a tsp.
Cumin - a tsp.
Split urad dal - a tsp.

How to do:1. Chop the tomatoes fine and de-seed it. Add it to the yoghurt along with some salt.
2. Heat oil and add the ingredients for tempering. When they are done, add it to the yoghurt and mix well.

Serve togther with kootu and rice!

My dear friend, Sanghi has passed this lovely award to me. Thanks buddy, you made my day!

The rules of the award are:

* You must thank the person who has given you the award.
* Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
* Link to the person who has nominated you for the award.
* Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
* Nominate 7 other Kreativ Bloggers.
* Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
* Leave a comment in the nominated blogs to let them know they have been nominated

By now, most of you would have been tagged for this award! I would like to nominate Sandhya, Jeyashri, Ambika, Kanchan, Saraswathy of Taste of Sara's Kitchen. Please accept it dearies!

Now to the 7 things about me that may (or may not!) interest you!

1. I am a very friendly person and a non-stop chatter box. It is sometimes hard to put up with my rants and raves! ;)
2. Photography, Mehndi designing are my passions, next to cooking.
3. The best thing that has happened to me till date is my darling hubby! Touchwood! :)
4. My parents are my best friends. Being the only daughter doesn't mean I am a spoilt brat, but I have all the love of my parents for myself.
5. My passion for cooking has developed only recently; precisely after I became a full-time homemaker. Until then, I loved to eat but never ventured anything other than sambar, rasam and poriyal.
6. Books give me the best company. I love to read as much as I can. Sidney Sheldon and Dan Brown are my favorite writers.
7. I am a freaky Shop-oholic! Love to shop till drop! I am trying hard to curb this obsession. :D
So if you have reached till here, thanks for bearing my lengthy post. Happy Cooking and happy blogging!!

Pudina Thogayal

Yay!! I am delighted to share with you all my happiness; my dish Paneer Puff had made it to the "Top 10" at Garnish the Dish event and has now been chosen as People's Choice.

I am extremely happy and would like to take this moment to thank the hosts, Nithya and Pavithra. Thanks a lot buddies, for having given us this wonderful opportunity, that made us explore our creative side and unleash some wonderful eye-catching ideas.

A million thanks to my family members, blogger buddies and friends who have made this possible. My Heart-felt congratulations to the other 3 winners, Kamala, Lakshmi, Gethan and all the participants. All the entries were tastefully done and were unique in its own way!

Now over to our recipe! For the benefit of non-tamils, thogayal is a variation of chutney, but the former is often taken with rice and the latter is usually meant for dosas and idlis. And pudina thogayal always has a special place in the heart of thogayal lovers. The overpowering flavor of pudina is something I love and can have it anytime!

My hubby dear is not very fond of thogayal, so I make this often for myself and relish it with hot rice, sesame oil on top and a "sutta appalam". :)

Pudina ThogayalMint chutney for rice

What we need:
Mint leaves - a bunch
Urad dal - 2 tbsp.
Fresh Grated Coconut - 2 tbsp.
Red Chilli - 2 or 3
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Tamarind - a marble sized ball
Salt - as needed
Oil - 1 tsp.
Water - a little to grind

How to do:1. Heat oil and add the ural dal, red chilli, tamarind. Fry till the urad dal starts to turn light red. Set aside.
2. In the same pan, add the cleaned mint leaves and saute for a minute.
3. Transfer all the roasted ingredients to the mixer and grind along with coconut, asafoetida, salt and little water.

Serve with hot rice, drizzled with a tsp of Sesame oil and roasted appalam.

Happy Cooking and Happy Blogging! Catch you all after Diwali! :)

Paneer Pulav, Reposts, Awards

Uff... A gentle bark shook me out of the reverie! It was our neighbour's playful Jack Russell on his morning walk who pulled me out of the daydream. I had been sitting on my dining table munching by favourite butter croissant, scratching my brain looking for something to write about this recipe!

But no, I am at loss of words, my mind preoccupied with my forthcoming Deutsch Certification exam that is driving me to my wits' end! Okies, it is not rocket-science; but I always get this familiar queasy feel in my abdomen whenever there is an exam, big or small, awaiting me! ;)

So with no more further rants, I am going to the recipe. This is a very simple, easy to make Pulav in a short time, provided you have paneer in your fridge!

Paneer PulavIndian Cottage Cheese cooked with basmati rice and mild spices
Serves 2

What we need:
Basmati rice - 2 cups
Paneer - 100 g, cut into 1" inch cubes
Onion, medium sized - 1, finely chopped
Tomato, medium sized - 1, finely chopped
Green Chilli - 1 or 2, minced
Ginger-Garlic Paste - 1 tbsp.
Cumin (Jeera) seeds - 1 tbsp.
Chilli powder - 1 tsp.
Jeera powder - 1 tbsp.
Dhania powder - 1 tbsp.
Mint leaves - 5 to 6
Salt - as needed
Oil - 2 tbsp.
Water - 3 cups
Kasoori Methi - 1 tbsp.
Saffron - a pinch, dissolved in water Optional
Fresh chopped Coriander - 2 to 3 tbsp.

How to do:
1. Wash and soak the basmati rice for 30 minutes.
2. Heat oil and fry the paneer cubes till they turn slight brown. Drain and set aside, preferably in warm water.
3. In the remaining oil, add Cumin and allow it to sputter. Now add the onions, ginger-garlic paste, green chillies and salt. Fry till the onions turn brown.
4. Add the tomato, mint leaves, chilli powder, jeera powder, dhania powder. Mix well and fry till oil starts to separate.
5. Drain and add the basmati rice and mix. Add 3 cups of water (1 cup of rice: 1.5 cups of water). Cover and cook for 10 to 12 minutes.
6. When all the water gets evaporated, and holes start to form on the surface of rice, add the paneer cubes, crushed kasoori methi and mix.
7. Let this cook for another 6 to 7 minutes, or until the rice is done.
8. Dissolve the saffron powder in a tbsp of water/milk and drizzle it over the rice.

Remove from flame and let this sit for 3 to 4 minutes. Mix well, garnish with coriander and serve hot with onion raitha.

Note: Addition of Saffron is purely optional. Usually it is done only in biriyanis; but when added in Pulav, it gives a nice flavor and color. Pssst... it tastes so good the next day!! ;)
Since Paneer is the Indian Cottage Cheese, sending this entry to Say Cheese event @ Sara's Corner

Also I am re-posting my other Paneer dishes for the same event

Palak Paneer, Paneer Butter Masala, Paneer Bites

Now coming to awards, It is raining awards again! :) Vidya has been so generous to pass on these awards!

Don't miss her blog; She has a neat, well-organized space and a wonderful collection of recipes! Thanks Vidya, it was so sweet of you!

Since I had already passed on the first 3 awards, I would like to pass on these 2 awards:

to my buddies Pavithra, Sree, Sangeetha, Jeyashri, Raje, Nithya

To be honest, I am so sad to pick out just 6 people to pass the awards. I really don't want to miss anyone as I absolutely enjoy reading each and every one of your blog! So I am sorry to have missed some of you!

Happy cooking and happy Blogging!

Pasi Paruppu Sundal & Rava Ladoo

"Thenga Maanga Pattani Sundal.....!" Chennai-tes could not have obviously missed this sound! Little boys and men carrying tins of Murukku and bowls of green peas sundal are just a common sight in Marina or Elliott's beach in Chennai. And I bet, none of us could have missed the yummy sundal topped with tangy scrapped mango, forgetting about the hygiene and indulging for a moment!! :)

Festive season or not, sundal is a favorite snack for most of us. Next to the beach sundal, home-made pasi paruppu sundal is my favorite. That complemented with a yummy, melt-in-mouth Rava Ladoo, bajjis and a steaming cup of Nescafe, perched by the window sill on the raining day!!! Mmm.. I'm lovin' it! (read aloud as in McD ad!)

Rava Ladoo is not anything new; it is a breeze to most of us. So I am not going to re-invent the wheel, just sharing with you all my version!

Pasi Paruppu Sundal / Moong dal Sundal
Split Yellow Moong dal snack
Serves 2

What we need:
Yellow Moong dal / Pasi Paruppu - 1 cup
Green Chilli - 1, minced
Fresh scrapped Coconut - 4 tbsp.
Mustard - 1 tsp.
Cumin (Jeera) - 1 tsp.
Asafoetida -a pinch
Oil - 1 tbsp.
Salt - 1 tbsp. or according to taste
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Water - as needed
A dash of lemon juice

How to do:
1. Wash and clean the dal. In a vessel, take the dal and fill with water just enough to cover it. Add a pinch of turmeric powder and cook until it starts to absorb the water. Take care that the dal should not be too mushy.
2. Heat oil and sputter mustard and jeera. When they are done, add the green chilli and curry leaves.
3. Add the cooked dal, salt and mix carefully not to mash the dal.
4. Garnish with coconut and remove from the flame.

Sprinkle a dash of lemon juice and enjoy it!

Serving suggestion for over-cooked dal

Side note:- Sometimes I over-cook the dal because I like the mashed texture.In case you over-cook the dal, just crease a small cup with a drop of oil, stuff it with the sundal and invert it on the serving plate. Sprinkle some coriander leaves and it is good to go the dining room!! For kiddies, you can also make it into small balls and serve.
Sending this to "My Legume Love Affair #22" started by Susan and hosted this month @ Ruchika Cooks

Rava Ladoo

What we need:
Rava / Sooji - 1 cup
Powdered Sugar - 3/4th cup Increase the quantity of sugar according to your taste
Ghee - 100 g
Cardamom Powder - 1 tbsp.
Cashews - 10 to 15 pieces

How to do:
1. Heat a tsp. of ghee. Add the cashews and fry till they start turning brown. Set aside a few pieces of cashew as whole and break the rest of them into tiny pieces.
2. Heat another tsp. of ghee and add the rava. Roast until a nice aroma starts emitting.
3. If you prefer a smooth ladoo, let the rava cool and powder it fine.
4. In a bowl, add rava, powdered sugar, cardamom powder, broken cashew pieces and mix well.
5. Slowly add the ghee spoon by spoon and mix well. After adding about 3/4th of the ghee, try to gather the mixture and make a ball.
Mom's tip: Amma used to say that the correct consistency is, when you gather the mixture into ball and drop it, it should fall back as 3 or 4 pieces and not as a powder.
6. Now that the mix is in the right consistency, make the balls into desired size. Take a full cashew and slowly press into the ball, without breaking it.

Since Ghee is the one of the main ingredient, sending this Rava Ladoo to Sanghi's FIL: Ghee Sweets.

Happy cooking and happy Blogging!!

Thenga Pal Kurma / Vegetable Stew

All of us have some specific item that kindles our memory. Nostalgic, in other words! It might be one of your mom's speciality or your grandmom prepares it for you specially, saying "என் பேத்திக்கு ரொம்ப பிடிக்கும்" (My grand-daughter loves it) or something your loved hubby prepared for you for the first time or something your kiddies love from you! Yes, all of us have such special item that lingers in our memory as well as the palates!

To me, it is this kurma. It is my grandmom's speciality. Every time I make this, I realize that her kaimanam can never be matched! So I am dedicating this post specially for her!! Love you patti..!! :)

Thengal Pal Kurma / Vegetable Stew
Vegetables cooked in Coconut milk gravy
Serves 2

What we need:
Potatoes, medium sized - 2
Cauliflower - 1 cup, picked into bite size florets
Peas - 1 cup
Onion, medium sized - 1, cut lengthwise
Green Chilli - 2 or 3, slit vertically
Garlic - 5 to 6 pods
Cinnamon stick - 1" inch piece
Cardamom - 2 to 3 pods
Bay leaf - 1
Cloves - 2 or 3
Salt - as needed
Water - as needed
Thick Coconut milk - 1/2 cup
Ghee - 1 tbsp.

How to do:
1. Boil and cube the potatoes. Cut the cauliflower into bite size flowers and boil it with a pinch of salt. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat Ghee or oil, and add Cinnamon, cardamom, bay leaf and cloves. When they emit a nice aroma, add the onion, green chilli and garlic. Fry till the onions turn soft.
3. Add the boiled potatoes, cauliflower, peas, salt and half a cup of water. When it comes to a boil, add the coconut milk. Mix well and remove from the flame.

Serve with rice and papad.

Note: To make it a stew for Appam, add about half a cup of water to dilute the gravy.
As coconut milk is the only thickening agent, make sure it is thick. You can also mash a piece of potato to bring the thickness.
If you need more richness, soak and grind a few cashew pieces and add before the coconut milk.

Now to the cheering time, my lovely buddy Sree has passed on to me this award.
And my another lovely buddy Sandhya has given me a "Giant Bear Hug". Thanks dearies; I am glad to know that you have found my blog worth it!!

With this "Over the top" award goes a fun meme that has to be passed on to 6 people. So here goes my answers:

1. Where is your cell phone? Charging
2. Your hair? Brown
3. Your mother? Loving
4. Your father? Caring
5. Your favorite food? Rasam
6. Your dream last night? I am a Blond!
7. Your favorite drink? Tea
8. Your dream/goal? Entrepreneur
9. What room are you in? Living
10. Your hobby? Books
11. Your fear? Accidents
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? India
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. Something you aren’t? Hypocrite
15. Muffins? None
16. Wish list item? Nikon SLR
17. Where did you grow up? Chennai
18. Last thing you did? Chat with MIL
19. What are you wearing? Tee and Half-Pants
20. Your TV? None
21. Your pets? None
22. Your friends? LOTS
23. Your life? BLISSFUL
24. Your mood? Joyous
25. Missing someone? Yes
26. Vehicle? No
27. Something you’re not wearing? Shorts
28. Your favorite store? Globus, Chennai
29. Your favorite color? Black
30. When was the last time you laughed? Afternoon
31. Last time you cried? Don't remember
32. Your best friend? Kalpana
33. One place that I go over and over? Interlaken
34. One person who emails me regularly? Father-in-law
35. Favorite place to eat? Dining room

And I'd like to pass it on to:


I wish to include as many buddies as I can but the rule says it should be passed only to 6 people. So, I am sorry to have missed out some of you!!

Update for the event: Sending this entry to 'Cooking with love' series hosted by Sara's Corner, guest hosted at Ruchika Cooks this month.

Happy Blogging and Happy cooking!

Rajma Palak

Festival means lots of shopping; shopping means drop-dead-tired; that in turns means a nice, sumptuous lunch/dinner @ Saravana Bhavan or Rathna Cafe or a quick chat @ Adyar Ananda Bhavan or Gangotri.

Having brought up in this luxury of having round-the-corner-eateries, I really really miss India! So whenever I get a chance, I try hunt all the Indian food joints here, from perfectly-ambient-restaurants to small take away services. On one such instance last weekend, I stumbled upon this Rajma Palak and was pleasantly surprised, because not even in the faintest of my imagination would Rajma and Palak go together!! I tried to recreate it again at home and was quite successful too.

Rajma PalakRed Kidney beans simmered in Spinach gravy
Serves 2

What we need:Rajma - 1 cup
Spinach leaves - 200 g
Tomato puree - 1 to 1.5 cups
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp.
Cumin powder - 1 tbsp.
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Ginger-Garlic paste - 1/2 tbsp.
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Oil/Ghee - 3 tbsp.
Salt - as needed
Water - as needed
Milk - 3 tbsp.
Cream - 3 to 4 tbsp. Optional

Optional Ingredients: Enhances the flavor and gives a texture to the gravy
Paneer - 100 g, cut to 1" inch cubes
Chopped tomato - 5 or 6 small pieces
Garam Masala - a pinch

How to do:1. Soak the Rajma overnight. Change the water and pressure cook the dal (about 4 to 5 whistles) or until soft.
2. Wash, clean and boil the spinach for about 5 minutes. Let them to cool and blend them coarsely. If you would like to have a restaurant style gravy, blend it into a smooth paste.
3. Heat Oil/Ghee. If you are adding Paneer,fry the Paneer cubes till they start to brown out on the edges. Drain and drop into warm water to keep them soft.
4. Heat the remaining oil/ghee and add cumin seeds. When they start to sizzle, add a pinch of Asafoetida, Ginger-Garlic paste, Turmeric powder.
5. When they are done, add the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, salt, cumin powder. Stir well and fry till the fat starts to separate from the gravy.
6. Add the pureed Spinach and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. If you are using frozen spinach, thaw it accordingly to the instructions and add.
7. Add the rajma at this point and reduce the heat to low-medium. Let this simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Keep stirring in between.
8. After the gravy has simmered, add the fried paneer, cream, milk, garam masala. Mix well and remove from the flame.

Serve with Naan or Rotis. Goes well with Rice and papad too!

Sending this to JFI Rajma by Divya started by Indira of Mahanadi

Yet another award time!!

Vidya and Raje has given me a Giant Bear Hug.

Another "One Lovely blog" award has been given by Kitchen Queen and Raje.

Sree has passed on to me

Thank you so much friends. I am super excited!! :) Now I would like to pass it on to my new blogger buddies.

So here goes "A Fabulous Blog" award to

Kitchen Queen
Collaborative curry

And "One lovely blog" award to


Happy Blogging and happy cooking!