Today's Guest Blogger: Sandhya

Here comes the Guest blogger's space after a short gap! Till now, I was doing this space with my friends and non-blogger buddies. But I realized it is time to invite the you, the lovely bloggers out there, to adorn my blog with your fabulous recipes!

And the first person, who came to my mind was Sandhya Hariharan @ Sandhya's Kitchen. She remains a very special person to me always, as she was the first person to visit my blog and leave her comments. (I still remember the date: 22/09/09!) My joy knew no bounds when I received the first comment on my blog; I am sure all of us can remember that date, very much like the "first love" :D Thanks Sandy, you have no idea how much happiness your comment gave me! Those who haven't yet had a chance to peek in her kitchen, please do it right away. She has a lip-smacking collection of recipes with great clicks!

Over to Sandhya:
Hi I am Sandhya Hariharan .. My friends call me Sandy.. For tat matter my little one calls me San ,Sandy & Sandhya..... Amma..
This is my first guest Host in 10 months of blogging !! Thank you Rohini....Muwaah ..

Meet Sandhya:
Well.. Its ages I have written something about myself.. Last I wrote was for my campus interview ..
A South Indian having her upbringing in Mumbai... This is what I would call myself.. A total blend in culture ...coz I have been rared for 15 years of my early life which I can hardly forget... Lived in Chennai , B'lore and now in London... I love travelling to new places , learning their food culture.. and having it in my kitchen.

Meet Sandhya's Kitchen:
My Love & Passion for Cooking grew after meeting this handsome Hunk Hari who would never tired of praising & appreciating everything I cook. No matter how disastrous it could be. By Product of this Passion is Sandhya's Kitchen.

Sandhya's Kitchen is a very passionate culinary corner where I ponder & experiment Cooking. Looking forward to make it a one-stop location for any kind of Vegetarian Breaks in years to come.
I would take this lovely opportunity to thank all my blogger friends who visit my blog and shower their lovely comments. I have grown a lot in my cooking and as a person .. in these 10 months..

Inspiration/role model/favorite cook:
South Indian cook in me is very much what my mother has imbibed... Now I'm learning in bits and pieces from my Mil , Granny.... and of course my mom...

My Inspiration:Gordon Ramsay.. I love the way he does it . I totally admire his art of putting together the right ingredients and bringing the right flavours. The way Gordon presents food in Tele shows...

Favorite Cuisine: Mumbai street food / Thai food

Recipe Name: Pav Bhaji
This recipe is no new to anyone... But I have grown with this recipe.. I could cook Pav Bhaji since when I was in Class 9 .This recipe has been improvised in flavours and ingredients as I have grown and finally compiled into the final version.
I have posted this recipe when I begun my blog.. and have been updated with better pictures from time to time. Find this recipe in my blog here.

Sunflower oil - 2 Tsp
Chopped garlic - 3 cloves(optional)
Finely chopped green chillies - 1-2 Nos (depending upon hotness)
Medium sized onions - 2 Nos chopped finely
Freshly grated ginger - 1 Tsp
Medium size Tomato - 4 Nos diced finely
Cauliflower florets - 1/2 cup
Green Pepper - 1 Nos chopped finely
Green Peas - Handful
Carrot - 1/2 Cup
Potato - 3-4 Nos boiled &mashed

Powders & Garnishing:
Pav Bhaji masala - 2-3 Tsp( I have used an Everest one)
Turmeric Powder - 3/4 Tsp
Chilli Powder - 1/2 Tsp
Salted Butter - 50 gm
Salt - To Taste
Lemon Juice - 3-4 Tsp
Coriander Leaves - 1/4 cup

For Serving:
Sliced Lemon - 4 pieces
Dinner Rolls(Pav) - 8
Salted Butter - 10gm
Finely chopped onions - 1/4 cup
Sliced Lemon - 4 pieces
Cheese - Optional

Cook cauliflower,peas,carrots,green pepper together in a pressure cooker and keep it aside.

Heat 2 tsp oil in a pan .Add garlic & green chillies and saute for 30-40 seconds. Now add ginger & onions and saute until it turns light brown. Add a pinch of salt while frying onions. It will help to evaporate the water & fry quickly.

Add the diced tomatoes to it and cook on medium heat for three to four minutes, stirring continuously or till oil separates from the masala.

Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder , 1 tsp pav bhajji powder to the mixture.

Now add the cooked vegetables & mashed potatoes to this mixture along with 1-1.5 glasses of water. Using a potato smasher, press the vegetables a few times till all of them are completely smashed.Bring it to a boil and simmer for ten minutes. Add the rest of the pav bhaji masala and salt now.

Cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes and stir continuously.

Garnish the bhajji with chopped onions and lemon juice.

For Serving:
Heat some butter in a tawa. Slice pav horizontally into two and pan fry in butter for half a minute, pressing two or three times or till pav is crisp and light brown.

Garnish the bhaji with chopped coriander leaves, a little of butter and serve hot with pav accompanied with remaining chopped onion and lemon wedges.

See you all soon with another interesting post. Till then, Happy Cooking and Happy Blogging! :)

Aval Upma

Most of you, who are reading my blog for sometime now must have known my love for Upma. I know, it is sometimes boring, dull and irritating. I have a big list of "I-hate-Upma" buddies! But to me, it is an ultimate comfort food, when I am not in a mood for an elaborate meal. Sometimes it is for breakfast, most of the time I even have it for lunch!

So presenting you one more Upma from my cook book, Aval Upma or the ever-famous Kanda Aloo Poha!

Aval Upma
Flatted rice cooked with Potatoes, Onions and spices
What we need:
Aval / Poha / Flattened rice - 2 cups
Potato, medium sized - 1
Onion, medium sized - 1
Curry leaves - 1 few sprigs
Red Peanuts - a handful
Green Chillies - 1 or 2, minced
Mustard - 1 tbsp.
Jeera (Cumin) - 1 tbsp.
Chana dal - 1 tbsp.
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Oil - a tbsp.
Salt - according to taste

How to do:
1. Wash, clean and soak the Aval/Poha with very little water for about 10 minutes. Ideal way is to leave them damp after cleaning.
2. Heat oil and add mustard, followed by Jeera and Chana dal. When the dal starts to brown, add the curry leaves, turmeric powder, green chillies, red peanuts and onion.
3. Fry till the onions turn soft and throw in the diced potatoes. Add salt.
4. Fry for a couple of more minutes till the potatoes are well-cooked.
5. Now slowly add the soaked Aval/Poha and stir gently so that the spices are incorporated and the poha is not broken.
6. Leave it for a minute and remove.

Garnish with coriander if desired and serve hot. It is a simple, stand-alone dish and doesn't need any side, but still you can serve it with some yoghurt.

See you all soon with an interesting Guest Blogger!! Till then, Happy Cooking and Happy Blogging! :)

Sago Murukku ~ ICC March '10

When Srivalli announced this month's Indian Cooking Challenge, I was bit relaxed; not because I know to make Murukku. As a matter of fact, I have never made Murukku at all. I have only seen Amma doing it, but have never even touched the Murukku Achu but once (that was this time, when I brought it from India). Thank God I did it! Thanks Srivalli, from now Sago Murukku will not just be a challenge, but a regular affair at home! Amma usually makes Thenkuzhal or the typical Murukku. So Sago Murukku was new to me, but I was only thrilled with the outcome. It was perfectly crispy and so irresistible that it got finished in 2 days!!

But the flop-side was that the murukku didn't come out as a continuous piece; it got broke into small threads in spite of using the exact measurements given. And I was expecting a chakli-style murukku. Is my murukku ok? Or can somebody point out what could have gone wrong?

Sago Muruku

Rice flour and Sago coils

What we need:
Rice Flour - 2 cups
Besan flour - 1/2 cup
Fried gram flour - 1/2 cup Fried gram is the roasted gram dal which we get in shops. One needs to powder it and use.
Sago - 1/2 cup
Salt - according to taste
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp or as per taste
Curd - 1/4th of a cup

Muruku Achu/Murukku Press

How to do:
Making the dough:

1. Dilute the curd with water to make buttermilk. Wash and clean the Sago and soak it in the buttermilk for 3 to 4 hours.
2. Once the Sago is soaked well and is soft, mix in all the flours, salt, chilli powder.
3. Heat 2 to 3 tbsp. of Oil and add it to the mixture. Knead well to bring it to a chapathi dough consistency.

Deep-frying the murukku:
1. Heat oil. Meanwhile, take a small portion of the dough (the size of a medium tomato) and press into the dough.
2. When the oil is hot enough (not smoking), press the murukku directly over the oil.
3. Reduce to medium flame and fry till the murukku is golden brown on all sides.
4. Remove and drain on a kitchen towel.
5. Store it in a air-tight container for longer shelf life.

Important Notes:
Sago should be well soaked to avoid bursting.
You can lightly grease the insides of the murukku press with oil.

Hope you all enjoyed this month's challenge. See you all soon with another interesting post. Till then Happy Cooking and Happy Blogging! :)

Keerai Masiyal

Our blogger buddy, Sarawasthy @ Taste of Sara's kitchen is celebrating her birthday today; let us all wish her a wonderful Birthday and many many happy returns of the day!

I am on a recipe marathon, should I say? Well, there are so many posts lying in my drafts for a long time. Before any of them go stale, I want to deliver them hot and fresh! :)

Keerai Masiyal / Mashed Amaranth Gravy is that my-kinda-food which I turn to, when I miss home, or when my spirits need a lift. My brain is so complicated and one thing that I often go over and over is "Green means Healthy".. So anything green, I would eat without grudges telling myself that I am doing something good for my health! Oh, I don't graze grass though, that the cows in my farm(ville) will take care! ;)

So, I was so overwhelmed with joy when I saw these amaranth (mullai keerai) here in a Srilankan store I frequent often. This bunch was silently peeping through and the following was the conversation.

Me: Hey wait, Aren't you that.... Amaranth... Mullai Keerai??? What are you doing here?
Amaranth: Don't be silly.. What do you think I'm doing in a grocer's shop? Waiting for someone to buy me..
Me: But I have never seen you here before..
Amaranth: Oh ya, everyone likes me so much that as soon as I arrive, they come and buy me off.
Me: Oh, I see... *still contemplating whether to buy it or not*
Amaranth: Hey listen, I know you have been searching for me for so long... So don't pretend! I am tired of the usual curries these people make. Take me home soon before someone else buys me. I will be happy turn into that Keerai Masiyal / Keerai Kootu your mom often makes. I know you love that too!

Half an hour later, I was coming back home in the train happily with a bunch in my bag. The fresh smell of the leaves had done enough to make me go hungry; over and above that I was now and then opening my bag and smelling them, much to the confusion of my fellow passengers! Heck, what do they know about Keerai Masiyal??!!

Keerai Masiyal
Mashed Amaranth tempered with spices and coconut

What we need:
Amaranth leaves / Mullai Keerai / Thota kurra - 1 small bunch
Coconut oil - 2 tbsp.
Mustard - 1 tbsp.
Cumin (Jeera) - 1 tbsp.
Red Chillies - 3 to 4, broken
Urad dal - 1 tbsp.
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Fresh Coconut, grated - 2 to 3 tbsp.
Rice flour - 2 tbsp.
Salt - as needed
Water - as needed

How to do:
1. Wash, clean and roughly chop the amaranth bunch. Make sure you trim the roots off.
2. Place them in a deep pan/vessel, add just enough water to immerse them, add a pinch of salt.
3. Bring them to a boil, when keeping the stove on medium-high. Then reduce the heat and boil for another 3 to 4 minutes. If the leaves are tender, they take less than 5 minutes to get cooked.
4. Dissolve the rice flour without lumps in 2 to 3 tbsp of water and and add it to the leaves. Add the remaining salt.
5. When the raw smell of the flour wears off, add the grated coconut, give a good mix and remove from the heat.
6. In a small seasoning pan, heat Coconut oil, add mustard seeds, followed by cumin, red chillies, urad dal and asafoetida.
7. When they are nicely done, add the seasoning to the gravy.

You can add curry leaves to the seasoning for an added flavor.
Instead of using rice flour, you can soak a tbsp. of rice and grind it with coconut and add it to the gravy.
Use only coconut oil for seasoning; any other cooking oil won't bring out the actual flavor of this masiyal.

Hungry Puppy Caption Contest:
If you are creative (unlike me), have a good humor sense (unlike me, again!) and interested in captions, there is an opportunity for you to win some goodies. Please click on the picture below to know more about it!

What am I thinking? Enter your best caption for a chance to win a delicious prize.
See you all soon (now when I mean soon, it means soon!) with an interesting post! Till then, Happy Cooking and Happy Blogging! :)

Onion-Cherry Tomato Thogaiyal

Here comes yet another thogaiyal / thuvayal / Chutney for rice from my cook book. I am a great fan of Thogaiyals and I am always on the look out for new varieties. This one, I first made with the shallot or the small onions and the taste was just excellent. Then I wanted to try it out with the red onions and so made some minor changes and used some cute little cherry tomatoes and this time too the result was just lip smacking! Do try it out for yourself, and I bet you can't agree with me more...

Onion-Cherry Tomato Thogaiyal
What we need:
Red Onion - 1, medium sized, cubed
Garlic - a small pod, Optional
Cherry tomato - 5 to 6, cut into halves
Red Chilli - 3 to 4, adjust according to your spice tolerance level
Urad dal - 3 tbsp.
Tamarind paste - a tbsp.
Salt - to taste
Oil - less than a tbsp.
Curry leaves - a few, Optional

How to do:
1. Heat oil and add the Urad dal and red chilli. Keep frying them till the dal starts to turn light brown.
2. Now throw in the cubed onions, halved cherry tomatoes and a pod of garlic (and curry leaves, if you are using them)
3. Add salt and saute them well till the onions and tomatoes are cooked.
4. Transfer to a blender, add the tamarind paste and blend into a smooth paste using very little water.
Serve with rice, sesame oil and roasted papad. I bet, you'll lick your fingers at the end of the meal. I did!! :D

See you all soon with another interesting post. Till then, Happy Cooking and Happy Blogging!

Kunuku Paniyaram

Hello buddies,
I am back after a self-imposed mini break!! We had been to Vienna and Bratislava (the capital of Slovakia) for the Easter weekend and it was just a wonderful experience. Vienna is known for its architectural beauty and it took us less than a minute to fall in love with the beautiful city and its lovely atmosphere. More than anything, we found the people a lot friendlier in Vienna than any of the European cities we had been to. Twice we were approached by total strangers offering us help, because we apparently looked like hapless tourists (and oh, we were!!) standing in intersections of every street, reading the map and looking at the numbers!! ;)

And for foodies like us, there is a street called Naschmarkt which is completely dedicated to food, spices, fresh farm produces and hot street food. The minute I entered the street, my nostrils were filled with the aroma of spices, Olives, just-made Falafels.. And we tried our Indian khana at a local restaurant called 'Indian Pavilion' and the food was just awesome! So anyone of you, visiting Vienna next, please do try out this wonderful eatery!

After loads of walking, tons of clicks, and pleasant memories, I am back to the routine.. Yup, Farmville, Blogging, Eating, Sleeping.. What else do you expect???!!! ;)

Coming to our recipe of the day.. You might be confused reading the title, because Kunuku is a different recipe made from Adai batter and Paniyaram, as we all know is made of Dosa batter. By know you should have made the obvious connection. Yes, I just made Kunuku's using the Paniyara Kal.
Image Courtesy: Indiamart
Though I am a great fan of deep-fried foods, I am little freaky/ worried when doing it at home. I would rather prefer eating French fries once in a month from McD or Burger King rather than attempting it at home. So, naturally when the remaining of Adai batter in my fridge screamed "Kunukku" at me, I could not resist the idea of using my Paniyarakal which I flicked recently from my mom during the India trip. ;)

So, here comes the recipe.. This calls for usage for very little oil and the result is just too good!
Kunukku Paniyaram
Mixture of Dals, tempered with spices and shallow fried

What we need:
Par boiled rice - 1 cup
Toor dal - 1/4th of a cup
Chana dal - 3/4th of a cup
Moong dal - a tbsp. Optional
Red Chillies - 4 to 5, adjust according to your spice tolerance level
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Asafoetida - 1 tsp.
Salt - according to taste

Onion - 1, medium sized, finely chopped
Green chillies - 1 or 2, Optional
Oil - to shallow fry

How to do:
1. Wash, clean and soak the rice and dals separately for 3 to 4 hours. Soak Moong dal separately for half an hour.
2. Grind the rice first to a smooth batter. Transfer to a bowl.
3. Now grind the dal to a coarse paste, along the red chillies, asafoetida, salt. Add the Moong dal in the end, whipping for just 5 seconds. Mix the dal, rice together.
4. Heat the Paniyarakal and grease with little oil.
5. Meanwhile, mix the chopped onions and green chillies in the batter. I like to have them raw, but you can also saute them in little oil, before adding to the batter.
6. Spoon in the batter into each of the Kuzhi (or Compartment). Don't fill it to the brim; leave some space to help you turn them later.
7. Leave them on with the lid for 4 to 5 minutes on low-medium. Then, using the spatula gently turn them to the other side. If needed, add some oil to the sides.
8. Again, let this side cook for 4 to 5 minutes.
9. Remove them and serve with coconut chutney.

1. Generally, Adai batter is thicker than Dosa batter, it should not be a surprise if Kunuku takes more time than Paniyaram.
2. Adding a handful chopped Mint leaves and Coriander will increase the taste and flavor by many folds.

Just after finishing, I realized that I have made an eligible entry for MLLA 22nd helping!! The most popular monthly series "My Legume Love Affair" was started by Susan and is hosted this month @ Ruchika Cooks.

Since Kunuku was not interested in going alone to the event, I am sending along
Chole Tikki
Pasi Paruppu Sundal to the same event.

See you all soon with anoher interesting post. Till then Happy Cooking and Happy Blogging!