Egg Curry

This is a very simple egg preparation, you can vary the spiceness in this by altering the portion of red chilly powder. This goes well with any rice dishes and I especially love it with any Rasam variety. 


Preparation time: 30 minutes 
Serves: 2 


Ingredients:
1. Egg -3 
2. Onion - 2 
3. Tomato -2
4. Garlic - 4 to 5 pods
5. Ginger - small piece about an inch
5. Red chilly powder - 1 to 1.5 tablespoon
6. Salt - to taste
7. Oil - 3 tablespoons
8. Coriander leaves(Cilantro) -  for garnishing


Preparation:


1. Hard boil the eggs in water.
2. Meanwhile prepare a wet masala paste with all other ingredients except oil and coriander leaves.
3. Once the eggs are boiled, peel them and make smaller slits. This is to make the masala blend with the eggs
4. Heat oil in a pan and add the wet masala paste and cook until raw smell leaves (around 5- 6 minutes)
5. Now add the boiled eggs and mix until it blends and cook for 4-5 minutes.
6. Garnish with coriander leaves.


Spicy egg curry is ready to be served. It goes well with Rotis, Rice, dosas or idlies. 

Paneer Masala Dosa

Dosa is one of my favorite all time food and just love it with even a simpler chutney. But my husband is not a lover of dosa, until it has something special. So to make us both happy I decided to try some stuffed dosa, and with Paneer at home, how could I miss the scrumptious paneer dosa :) Dosas came out very well and crispy though I had used the store bought batter in this preparation. 


Preparation Time(for masala) - 30 minutes 

Ingredients:
For stuffing masala
1. Paneer (Cottage cheese) - 100 gms
2. Beans - 20
3. Carrot - 2
4. Onion - 1 medium size
5. Tomato - 1/2 medium size
6. Red chilly powder - 1 tablespoon
7. Garam Masala powder - 1/2 teaspoon
8. Turmeric powder - a pinch
9. Salt - to taste
10. Oil - 2 tablespoons
11. Coriander leaves - handful
For Dosa
1. Dosa batter
2. Oil -as required


Preparation:
This is a very simple and similar preparation to ordinary Masala dosa. 
How to prepare Masala?
1. Finely chop all vegetables (beans, carrot, onion and tomato).
2. Grate paneer into fine pieces.
3. Heat oil in a pan and when hot, add onions and fry until transparent.
4. Add tomato and saute until it is cooked fine.
5. Add beans and carrot and cook them for 5-6 minutes. Since we chop them finely, it cooks easily.
6. Now add the spice powders - turmeric, chilly and garam masala and cook until raw smell leaves.
7. Add required salt and the grated paneer and saute for not more than 3-4 minutes. Paneer will get cook fast as we have grated it finely. 
8. Garnish with coriander leaves.




How to prepare Dosa?
1. Heat dosa pan and use 2 ladles of batter and spread it thin (this will make your dosa crispy).
2. Spread 1/2 tablespoon of oil around the batter and close it with a lid to allow cooking for one minute.
3. By now the dosa would turn into golden brown.
4. Now spread the stuffing masala prepared earlier in middle of the dosa and start folding it. You can choose a shape of your choice :) 


You can serve it alone or with Chutney's or Sambar. I prepared a three chutney's to compliment the dosa and they came out yummy as well!!

MOGG - A Mocktail

MOGG - I Just abbreviated it from its ingredients - Mint Orange Ginger Grapes. Its been a long time I experimented my hands on the fruits, so decided to blend  the fruits that I had at home with some healthy ingredients to make a tasty and healthy mocktail. This is my 100th posting on the blog that makes this mocktail even more special :) 


Servings - 4



Ingredients:
1. Orange - 3 
2. Grapes (red)- 15
3. Ginger - 1/4 inch 
4. Mint Leaes - 3
5. Sugar- 3-4 spoons (vary according to your taste)
6. Salt - a pinch









Preparation:
1. Peel orange and add all other ingredients in blender and blend it with a glass of water.
2. Filter the juice and serve it (with ice cubes if required). 


You can store it in refrigerator and serve it as required. 

Drumstick Leaves Curry (முருங்கைகீரை பொறியல்)

I am not really a big fan of drumstick leaves, but really got excited when I happened to see this in Indian grocery store recently. Though I knew cleaning up the leaves is a huge task, I decided to go for it and the dish came out well.
Drumstick leaves often has a bitter taste for which we use coconut to remove excessive bitterness. This is a very basic dish from the leaves, but please take care to clean the leaves well before use.


Servings -4 
Ingredients:
1. Drumstick leaves - 1/2 pound
2. Onion - 1 finely chopped
3. Red chilies -3 to 4
4. Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
5. Urad dhal - 1 teaspoon
6. Asafoetida - a pinch
7. Oil - 1 tablespoon
8. Coconut - grated 4 tablespoons
9. Salt- to taste


Preparation:
1. The very important step of this dish is to clean and separate the leaves from stems and wash them thoroughly and drain it.
2. Heat oil in a pan and season it with mustard seeds, urad dhal, asafoetida and red chilies.
3. Add onions, drumstick leaves, salt and saute it well. Sprinkle little water and cook the leaves by closing a lid in medium flame.
4. When the leaves are cooked add the grated coconut and mix well.

Healthy, tasty drumstick leaves poriyal is ready to be served. 

Chow Chow Pachadi (Raita)

Here is a very simple recipe with chayote squash (chow chow or bangalore Kathrikai as we call it back home). I never thought this vegetable in raita, until I saw this recipe in one of the cookery shows and definitely wanted to give it a a try. It really came out very well.


Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 3-4 
Ingredient:
1. Chow Chow (Chayote Squash) - 1
2. Grated Coconut - 3 tablespoon
3. Red chilies - 3
4. Cumin seeds - 1/2 tablespoon
5. Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
6. Curry leaves - 2 to 3
7. Curd - 4-5 tablespoon
8. Turmeric powder - a pinch
9. Oil - 1 tablespoon
10. Salt - to taste
11. Curry leaves - 3 to 4




Preparation:
1. Peel the skin and grate the squash finely.
2. Cook it with little water for 6-8 minutes in the microwave or stove
3. Meanwhile, make a fine paste of coconut, red chilies and cumin seeds and little water.
4. Add this paste to the cooked squash and cook it again for 4-5 minutes in microwave or stove.
5. Add the required salt and curd.
6. Season it with mustard seeds, turmeric powder and curry leaves.


Serve it with any rice. It would be a nice combination with any pulav and briyani as a variation from regular onion raita.

Wheat Halwa (கோதுமை ஹல்வா)

Godhumai Halwa (Wheat Halwa)... the only sweet I crave for anytime. My avva (grandma) prepares this sweet for me every year on my birthday. She makes it finger licking good and any guest to our house for whom we have served this sweet, has definitely packed it too when they left :) Of course the main ingredient of this recipe is whole lot of love, affection and patience to prepare the dish with the most care. I had been carving for this sweet sometime now, and took the recipe from her and tried it for the first time..voilà... It turned out as yummy as I wanted it to be... but definitely missing my grandma's love in it.
Try this recipe yourself and enjoy the delicious sweet. You will need lots of patience and slow cooking process to make this dish a success.  


Preparation Time : 1 hour


Ingredients:
1. Wheat Flour - 1 cup
2. Sugar - 1 1/2 cups (if your sugar is not so sweet, you can use 2 cups of sugar)
3. Ghee - as required
4. Cashews/Almonds/Pista - chopped 2 -3 tablespoons
5. Kesari Colour - small pinch
6. Saffron - few strands
7. Cardamom - 3 to 4 (powdered)






Preparation:
1. Add colour to the wheat flour and prepare a batter by mixing with water. Do not make it watery, keep the consistency of Bajji batter. 
2. Dissolve the sugar in 1/2 cup of water and bring it to boil. Keep stirring until it forms a thick syrup. To determine if you reached the right consistency drop some syrup in cold water and it should float without sticking to the water.
3. Now add the batter you prepared earlier to the syrup with continuous stirring. Reduce the flame to low.
4. From this step is where your patience is very important :). You need to frequently stir and never leave from your stove. 
5. As you see the flour gets cooked and turns into solid consistency,  start adding Ghee - 2 tablespoons at a time, and keep stirring. You will have to keep adding more as it becomes dry.
6. You will now see the halwa coming out well without sticking to the pan and leaving the ghee around. 
7. Now its time to add the garnish. Fry the chopped nuts in a tablespoon of ghee, and add it to the halwa along with saffron strands and the powdered cardamom.
I added 2 more tablespoons of ghee finally, to give it enough moisture. You can reduce ghee as per your like.
Yummy yummy halwa is ready... 


Tips:
1. This sweet tastes richer and better only if you let it rest for atleast couple of hours. Believe me, it becomes so delicious on the second day :)
2. Store the halwa in air tight container in the refrigerator and just heat it for couple of minutes before you serve. The frozen ghee will leave the halwa give it an appealing look and finger licking taste. It will stay good for 7 - 10 days if refrigerated. 
3. If you have added more water when preparing the batter, and the halwa remains watery, you can sprinkle some flour as you keep stirring to bring it back to the consistency.
4. In this preparation, I had to use Atta flour, and the taste was as good as using the whole wheat flour. 

Paneer Egg Masala

It was a Sunday afternoon with just egg and paneer at home. I wanted to make something different, yet tasty and simple and decided to marry the egg and paneer for a spicy dish :) Here is the recipe for the hot dish.

Preparation Time: 30 mins

Quantity for 4 servings
Ingredients:
1. Paneer - 250 gms
2. Egg - 4
3. Onions - 1 finely chopped
4. Tomato - 1 finely chopped
5. Red chilly powder - 1 tablespoon
6. Coriander powder - 1 1/2 tablespoon
7. Ginger/garlic paste - 1/2 tablespoon
8. Garam masala - 1 teaspoon (Optional)
9. Oil - 3 tablesoon
10. Salt - to taste
11. Coriander - for garnishing 



Preparation:
1. Chop onions and tomatoes into fine pieces and cut paneer into small cubes
2. Break the eggs in a bowl and beat it.
3. Heat oil in a pan, add onions and fry well. Add ginger garlic paste and fry well until raw smell goes
4. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook well.
5. Now add the powders one by one - red chilly powder, coriander powder, garam masala and salt and cook for 2 minutes. 
6. Add the egg mixture and mix well to form scrambled egg mixture for 2 minutes. 
7. Its time to add the paneer cubes to the pan and stir well to cook along with the spices in low flame for 5-7 minutes until paneer becomes soft. 
8. Hot and spicy paneer egg masala is ready. Garnish with coriander leaves.


I served it with hot  Simple Rasam  for the afternoon and it was a perfect combination. We also had it with roti for dinner. 

Mushroom Coriander masala

Here is a simple and tasty dish from the marriage of coriander and mushroom :) It was a very good combination with rice and also will go well with rotis/chapathis/dosa/idly.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Quantity given is for 4 servings. 
Ingredients:
1. Mushroom - 250 gms
2. Onion - 1 medium
3. Tomato - 1 medium
4. Red chilly powder - 1 1/2 tablespoon
5. Coriander powder - 1 tablespoon
6. Turmeric powder - a pinch
7. Fennel seeds - 1/2 tablespoon
8. Oil
9. Salt to taste


For masala
1. Coriander leaves - 2 handful
2. Ginger - 1/2 inch
3. Garlic - 2 cloves
4. Fennel seeds - 1/2 tablespoon




Preparation:
1. Wash the mushrooms, dry and cut them into pieces. Chop onions and tomatoes into fine pieces
2. Prepare a wet paste with the ingredients given for masala. If you prefer to use green chilies instead of red chilly powder, you can grind it with the other ingredients.
3. Heat oil in a pan and when hot, add fennel seeds and onions and fry until it turns golden brown.
4. Add tomatoes and saute well. Add turmeric powder, red chilly powder, coriander powder and cook for couple of minutes
5. Now add the mushrooms and mix well. Let it cook for 5 minutes in a medium flame. 
6. When the mushrooms are half done, add salt and the ground mixture and stir well.
7. Close with a lid and cook for another 5-7 minutes in low flame
8. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.


Tips:
1. You can vary this recipe with other vegetables like potato/cauliflower and also with chicken/mutton.
2. Add some roasted coconut when you grind the masala for an enhanced flavor.

Rice roti

This is one of my favorite items for the fact it can be prepared in a lesser duration when I am so lazyyy:) 


Preparation Time: 15 minutes


Ingredients: (quantity for 6 rotis)


1. Rice flour - 150 gms
2. Onion - finely chopped (2 handful)
3. Green chilies - 3 finely chopped 
4. Coriander and curry leaves - finely chopped 1 tablespoon
5. Salt to taste
6. Oil


Preparation:
1. Make a dough (in chapathi dough consistency) with Rice flour, onions, green chilies, coriander, curry leaves, salt, oil and water as required.
2. Rest it for 5-10 minutes



3. Make balls from the dough.
4. Spread few drops of oil in a clean plastic sheet and start spreading the ball on top of it to make an even circle






 5. Heat the dosa tawa and spread few drops of oil and start cooking the roti. Turn sides until and cook until it becomes golden brown on each side.




Hot rice roti is ready to serve. I served it with a simple mixed Chutney (made of onion,tomatoes and coconut).

Paneer Pin Wheels

Bored on a saturday evening and wanting to try something different and tasty, I ended up with this recipe. I realized I had some pastry puff left over after the last time I made vegetable puffs for my guests at home and decided to try something with Paneer. I really wanted to post step by step pictures recipe for this, but unfortunately missed to take pictures :( I will manage to edit and repost this with the step by step pictures sooner. Enjoy the mouth watering pin wheels


Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:
1. Paneer - 100 gms
2. Pepperidge farm Puff pastry - 1
3. Onion - 1 meidum size
4. Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tablespoon
5. Red chilly powder - 1/2 tablespoon
6. Garam Masala powder - 1/4 teaspoon
7. Salt - to taste
8. Oil - 1 tablespoon
9. Butter - to coat the wheels
10. Coriander leaves - handful
For Mint Chutney
1. Mint leaves - 20-30 leaves
2. Green chillies - 1



Preparation:

Thaw the Puff pastry per the instructions given in the pack. I generally thaw it at room temperature as I start preparing my filling.

Filling
1. Grate paneer finely and chop onions into fine pieces
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan and when hot add cumin seeds, onions and fry them until onion turns golder brown.
3. Add the grated paneer, red chilly powder, salt, garam masala and cook it for 5- 6 minutes in low-medium flame. Since we have grated the paneer finely, it will cook quickly.

Mint Chutney:
Make a fine paste with mint leaves and green chillies with a pinch of salt.

Making Pin Wheels
By now, the pastry sheet would have thawed well and ready to use.

1. Roll the pastry sheet with little flour (AP flour/Maida flour).
2. Now spread the Mint chutney all over the sheet.
3. Spread the paneer mixture over the mint chutney and finely chopped coriander leaves.
4. Start rolling the pastry from one side. Use water to seal when closing on the other end
5. Slice into wheels of required size and brush it with melted butter.
6. Spread the baking sheet over the baking tray and place the wheels without touching one another.
7. Precook the oven at 350 degrees and bake it for 10-12 minutes. Check once or twice during the baking.


Hot and spicy paneer roll is ready to serve. Serve it with tomato ketchup


Tips:
1. Place the roll before slicing in freezer for 10 minutes to make the slicing easier
2. If you don't like it too spicy, you can reduce the amount of chilly powder.

Egg Kuzhambu (உடைத்த முட்டை குழம்பு)

I am quiet bored of the egg gravies and curries I usually prepare with boiled eggs. This is one of the variations I tasted in my Chennai Grandma's house and grabbed the recipe from her. The first time I tried it almost a year back, this became my husband's favorite too. This is really very simple to make and also can be served as a side dish with Idlis/dosas/chapathis or with rice.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
1. Eggs - 4
2. Onion -1 big thinly chopped
3. Tomatoes - 2 medium sized finely chopped
4. Green chillies - 2 vertically split
5. Curry leaves - 2 to 3
6. Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
7. Urad dhal - 1/2 tablespoon
8. Oil - 3 tablespoon
9. Salt to Taste
10. Coriander leaves for garnishing.

For Masala
1. Grated coconut -
2. Pepper - 1/2 tablespoon
3. Red chilly powder - 1 tablespoon
4. Coriander powder - 1 1/2 tablespoon
5. Turmeric powder - a pinch
6. Fennel Seeds - 1 tablespoon
7. Ginger - a small piece (about 1/2 inch)
8. Garlic - 2
9. Curry leaves - 3 to 4
10. Mint leaves - 4 to 5
11. Cloves - 2
12. Cinnamon - a small stick(abount 1/2 inch)

Preparation:
1. Prepare a wet paste with all ingredients given for masala.
2. Heat oil in a pan and season with mustard seeds, urad dhal, green chillies, curry leaves and onions by adding one by one.
3. When the onion turns transparent, add tomatos and cook well for 2-3 minutes.
4. Add the paste made in step 1, salt and mix it well. Add around 1 1/2 cups of water and cook the mixture for 5 to 6 minutes.
5. Break the eggs one by one (they should be separate and not touching each other) into the boiling mixture.
6. Cook for 10 minutes in medium low by covering with a lid. Turn the eggs without breaking at half time.
7. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice/idli/dosa/chapathi.

Tips:
1. Try using a wide pan for the eggs to cook without mixing with each other.

Mint-Spinach Paneer/Chicken Kebab

It was heavily raining and we had a tornado warning that evening and I reached home early and both of us wanted to have something spicy and it was time for me to try this recipe and we also ended up naming it "Mint-Spinach Flavored Triple Tornado Grill". On our first camping trip with our friends, I repeated this with Chicken.

Preparation Time: 2 hours for marination; 20 minutes cooking time

Ingredients:
1. Paneer - 250 gms
2. Onion - 1
3. Bell Peppers (Capsicum) - All colors each one
4. Lemon Juice - 2 - 3 tablespoon
5. White pepper - for garnishing
6. Oil - to cook

Marinade:
1. Spinach leaves - 25-30
2. Mint leaves - 4 to 5
3. Coriander leaves - 4-5 stings
4. Green chillies - 2
5. Red chilly powder - 1 tablespoon
6. cloves - 3
7. Cinnamon - 2-3 small sticks
8. Cardamom - 1
9. Bay leaves - 1 small
10. Fennel seeds - 1/2 tablespoon
11. Pepper - 4-5
12. Cumin seeds - 1/2 tablespoon
13. Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 tablespoon
14. Yoghurt - 3-4 tablespoon
15. Salt - to taste


Preparation:
1. Wash all greens and blend them along with the other ingredients given for marination into a fine paste.
2. Cut paneer,onions and bell peppers into cubes of 1 inch size and gently poke the pieces with a fork, add the paste and mix it well.
3. Keep it refrigerated for 1 - 2 hours.
4. Heat a pan and 2 tables spoons of oil and shallow fry the paneer pieces few at a time for not more than 2-3 minutes. Repeat the process until all the paneer pieces and keep it aside.
5. Pre heat the oven at 350 degrees.
6. Apply oil on the skewers and skew the fried paneers, bell peppers, onoins alternatively as a colorful combination.
7. Place a baking sheet on a tray, place the skewers and cook it in the oven for 7-8 minutes rotating sides at half time.
8. Remove it from the oven, squeze lime juice and sprinkle some white pepper and serve it hot.

Tips:
1. You can try this recipe with Chicken or any other vegetables.
2. If you are planning to try this dish in a camping site, you can skip step 4 and grill it directly. You will have to cook for few extra minutes.

Pepper Curry Leaves Gravy (மிளகு கருவேப்பிலை குழம்பு)

This is one of my very favorite preparation. Thanks to SanthaKumari aunty (a family friend, such a lovely and dear person to me and our family) for giving this recipe that I always love. This is a variation to the normal Tamarind Kuzhambu and more rich in taste and aroma.

Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:
1. Onion - 2 medium sized finely chopped
2. Tamarind extract - 200 ml
3. Garlic - 10 pods
4. Curry leaves - 5 for seasoning
5. Oil - 1-2 tablespoon
6. Mustard seeds - 1 tablespoon
7. Urad dal - 1 tablespoon
8. Butter - 1/2 tablespoon (optional)
To Powder
1. Pepper - 1 tablespoon
2. Cumin seeds - 1 tablespoon
3. Fenugreek Seeds - 1/4 tablespoon (make sure not to over fry as it will turn bitter)
4. Curry leaves - 30 - 35


Preparation:
1. Cook the garlic in little water and smash it into coarse pieces.
2. Add red chilly powder and salt to the tamarind extract and keep it aside.
3. Dry fry the ingredients given for powder, cool and grind it into fine powder.
4. Heat oil in a pan and season with Mustard seeds, urud dhal, cumin seeds, curry leaves and fry for 1-2 minutes.
5. Add chopped onions and cooked garlic and saute until onion turns transparent. Pour the tamarind extract and one cup of water, cook in medium flame for 20-25 minutes until the raw tamarind smell goes off and the mixture reduces into half.
6. Now add the grounded masala powder. Set it in low flame and continue cooking for another 5 mins and switch off the stove. Finally add one tablespoon of butter (this is optional)

Appalam/Paruppu or thengai thuvayal with this rice will make an excellent meal.

Tomato Rice (Version 1)

Here is a very simple recipe for tomato rice which can serve as a quick lunch box item and serve as scrumptious meal.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients
1. Rice - 250 gms
2. Tomatoes - 3 large sized
3. Onions - 1 large sized
4. Green chillies - 3 vertically split
5. Mint leaves - 6-7
6. Turmeric powder - a pinch
7. Salt - to taste
8. Corn or peas -1/2 cup(Optional)
For Tempering:
1. Oil/Ghee - 2 tablespoon
2. Mustard seeds  - 1/2 tablespoon
3. Urad dhal - 1/2 tablespoon
4. Curry leaves - 4-5
5. Roasted Groundnuts - 20-25
6. Asafoetida - a pinch
7. Red chillies - 2 -3 
For Masala Powder:
1. Channa dhal - 2 tablespoon
2. Toor dhal - 1 tablespoon
3. Urad dhal - 1 tablespoon
4. Red chillies - 3 (vary if according to your spice level)
5. Coriander seeds - 1 tablespoon
6. Fenugreek(Methi)seeds - 1/4 tablespoon
7. Sesame seeds - 1/4 tablespoon (optional)


Preparation:
1. Cook the Basmathi rice and set it aside to cool.
2. Dry fry the ingredients given for masala one by one, cool and grind into a coarse mixture.
3. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and when it splutters, add urad dhal, asafoetida, red chillies, curry leaves, roasted ground nut and fry for less than a minute.
4. Now add finely chopped onions, mint leaves and green chillies and saute until onion turns transparent.
5. Now add the tomatoes, and cook until it becomes tender (for around 5-6 minutes in medium flame). Add turmeric powder, masala powder and little salt and mix it well. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water if it is too thick.
6. Cook in low flame for another 5 minutes. Add this cooked mixture little at a time to the cooked rice checking the spice and salt.
7. Garnish with coriander leaves and roasted cashewnuts(optional).
Papad/Potato curry is an awesome companion for this rice.

Tips:
1. Spread the cooked rice in a sheet or plate and let it cool completely before you mix it.
2. You can roast little grated coconut and grind it with the masala powder for an additional rich taste.
3. Soak Basmathi rice for 5- 10 minutes, dry the water completely and roast it in 1 tablespoon of ghee/oil until it turns white and becomes non-sticky, then cook the rice. This will help the grains remain separate and look delicious.

மிளகு வடை( Pepper Vada)

மிளகு வடை(Pepper Vada) is a very famous offering for Lord Anchaneya(Hanuman). This is one of my favorites and I wanted to try this recipe for a very long time. Today being Hanuman Jayanthi (in Andhra), and fortunately I had a day off from work, decided to prepare this vada and small pooja at home in the evening. Thanks to my mom(in-law) for this wonderful recipe. The vada came out so well and it was a surprise snack for my husband today :)

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
1. Urad dhal - 100 gms
2. Rice - 2 tablespoon
3. Pepper - 10-12 (for medium spice)
4. Cumin Seeds - 1 tablespoon
5. Salt - to taste
6. Oil - for frying


Preparation:
1. Soak dhal and rice for not more than 10 minutes and then drain the water completely and set it aside for atleast 30 minutes to 1 hour until it becomes dry.
2. Grind dhal and rice along with Pepper, cumin and salt into a coarse thick mixture. Do Not add water.
3. Heat oil in a deep pan.Keep a wet cloth or thick plastic sheet( like ziploc cover) ready to make the vada.
4. Take a portion of the mixture (size of a medium goosberry) and spread it on the cloth/plastic sheeet and make it an even thin round and make a small hole in the center.
5. Drop it in the oil and cook in medium flame. Turn sides as it cooks and take it out when it becomes golden brown on both sides.

Crispy pepper vada is ready. This will stay nice for a longer time, so you can store it in an air tight container and consume for a week.

Makkan Peda (with Gulab Jamun Mix)

"Makkan Peda" also known as "Arcot Makkan Peda" is a very famous sweet in Arcot(my neighbour town in my homeplace) in Vellore district.  I still remember my childhood days where this sweet was very popular in one special shop named " Chairman Sweet Stall" in Arcot. Though now we started getting this sweet in many places in and around. Any guest to our house will definitely not miss this sweet as part of their lunch or dinner treat. At first look it would seem like 'Gulab Jamun' for most until they take a bite with those crunchy nuts. 

This sweet is generally made of sweetless kova (a milk product). I couldn't find kova anywhere here at my place and decided to give a try with the instant Gulab Jamun mix and it really came out yummy!!! 

Ingredients: (for 5 pieces)
1. MTR instant Gulab Jamun mix - Half packet
2. Cooking soda - a pinch
3. Milk - less than 1/4th of gulab jamum mix
4. Sugar - 3 cups
5. Dried nuts mixture - one cup. I used cashews, Almonds, Pistachio, dates, dry grapes. Do not miss to use pumpkin seeds if you can acquire some. It adds richness to the taste.
6. Oil - to fry




Preparation:


1. Mix the gulab jamun powder with cooking soda and milk and knead gently and make a soft dough without sticking and rest it for 5 - 10 minutes.
2. Prepare the dry nuts mixture by cutting the nuts into smaller pieces.
3. Now make soft round balls with the dough in hand and make a small hole and fill it with the nuts mixture, close the hole and roll it again and flatten it a bit
4. Now heat oil in a pan and fry the balls 1 or 2 at a time.
5. Most importantly, do not over heat oil. Keep it in a very low flame otherwise it will turn brown quickly but the inner part might not cook.
6. Cooking time for each piece should be 7 to 8 minutes and turn sides slowly for even cooking.
7. In another pan add sugar and equal amount of water and bring it to boil to make the sugar syrup.
8. Once the syrup thickens after boiling for 5 to 7 minutes, switch off.
9. When the peda pieces are cooked, drain the oil and drop into the sugar syrup. Sugar syrup should be hot.
10. Set it aside for 15 -20 minutes to soak it completely and dress it with dried nuts on top.
Delicious, mouth watering Makkan peda is ready to eat.


Tips:
1. When the peda soaks in syrup it will expand in size, so prepare enough syrup to serve.
2. To get the rich taste, use Kova instead of the gulab jamun mix

BitterGourd Fry

Bittergourd... I am sure it is one of the vegetable most of us would not like to eat. It is very recently I started eating and liking it as my husband loves to eat bittergourd. I made this fry a simple recipe that my mom and grand mom used to prepare.


Preparation Time: 30 minutes


Ingredients:
Bittergourd -4
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt - to taste
Oil - 3 tablespoon
Red chilly powder - 1 tablespoon
Coriander powder - 1 1/2 tablespoon






Preparation:
1. Chop bitter gourd into round pieces and remove the seeds.
2. Add turmeric powder and salt to the chopped pieces and set it aside for 30 minutes to one hour. This process is to remove the excessive bitterness.
3. After an hour or so, Squeeze the bitter gourd and drain the water complete out of it.
4. Heat oil in a pan and add the bitter gourd, red chilly powder, coriander powder and if required additional salt and start cooking in low flame.
5. Close the pan with a lid and occasionally check and saute it and do not let it burn.
6. When it turns crispy, we are done. This will take around 20 minutes to complete.

Plain Rasam

Plain rasam which we commonly call as வெட்டி ரசம் (or)கொட்டு ரசம்  is very simple and easy to prepare. Back in my childhood days, we used to have this rasam for dinner when we have a very heavy lunch especially over weekends. This is a very good food for easy digestion. 


Preparation Time: 15 mins
Ingredients:
Tamarind juice - small lemon size
Tomato - 1 
Garlic pods - 4- 5
Curry leaves - 5-6 
Coriander leaves - for garnish
Salt - to taste


Seasoning:
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tablespoon
Red chillies - 3 
Hing - ap inch
oil - 1 tablespoon
Alternatively you can use vadagam to season instead of mustard seeds for more flavor


To Powder:
Red chillies - 3
Pepper - 1 tablespoon
Cumin seeds - 1 tablespoon






Preparation:
1. Coarsely powder the ingredients.
2. Extract two cups of juice from tamarind.
3. Add finely chopped tomatoes, coarsely crushed garlic pods, salt and the powder to the tamarind juice.
4. Heat a pan and add oil. When hot, add mustard seeds and when it splutters and red chillies and little hing.
5. Pour tamarind juice mixture in the pan and bring to boil. 
6. When it starts to boil, add a spoon of water and simmer the stove and continue to boil for just 2 more minutes and switch off the stove.
7. Garnish with curry leaves and coriander leaves.


Hot, spicy and tasty rasam is ready. Coconut thogayal/pappads/potato curry is an awesome combination with the hot rasam rice.

Carrot Curry

A healthy, simple, tasty carrot curry preparation.


Preparation Time: 15 minutes


Ingredients:
Carrot - 6 (grated)
Green Chillies - 3 (split vertically)
Moong dhal - 2 tablespoons
Onion -1 medium sized 
Oil - 1 tablespoon
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tablespoon
Urud dhal - 1 tablespoon
Asafoetida - a pinch
Salt - to taste




Preparation:
1. Grate the carrots, split the green chillies and finely chop the onions.
2. Cook the moong dhal to 3/4th in little water and keep it aside.
3. Heat oil in a pan. When hot season with Mustard seeds, urud dhal and asafoetida.
4. Add onions, green chillies and saute well. When it turns transparent add the grated carrot.
5. Add required salt and cook in medium flame for 5 minutes.
6. Grated carrot will cook very quickly and will be done in 5 minutes. 
7. Now add the cooked moong dhal and mix it and cook for another 2 minutes and the carrot curry is ready to eat.

Cabbage Curry (with Fried Gram Dhal)

This is yet another easy recipe with very simple ingredients. Fried gram dhal gives a unique flavor and taste to this dish.


Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients:
Cabbage - 1 medium sized
Oil - 1 tablespoon
Mustard seeds - 1 tablespoon
Fried gram dhal - 6 tablespoons
Cumin seeds - 1 tablespoon
Salt - to taste






Preparation:
1. Shred the cabbage into medium pieces. Dont make it very thin.
2. Make a fine powder of the friend gram dhal and cumin seeds.
3. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds when hot. When it splutters, add the shredded cabbage and saute well.
4. Add required salt and sprinkle handful of water and mix well. 
5. Close it with a lid and cook in medium flame for around 15 minutes until the cabbage cooks well. 
6. Now reduce it to low flame and add the powder and mix it well for not more than 5 minutes. Take care not to burn. The powder will form a layer over the cabbage and leave a mushy texture and strong flavor.

Potato Mushroom Curry

Preparation Time: 30 minutes


Ingredients:
Mushroom - 1/2 cup
Potatoes  - 1/2 cup
Shallots - 10-15
Tomatoes - 1 
Green chillies - 2
Ginger - 1 tablespoon
Salt - to taste


For Masala
Cloves - 3
cinnamon - small piece
pepper - 1/2 tablespoon
cumin seeds - 1/2 tablespoon
Red chilly powder - 1 tablespoon
coriander powder - 2 tablespoons
Shallots - 7- 8
Coconut  - 2 tablespoons
Cashew -3- 4
Poppy seeds - 1/2 tablespoon


Preparation
1. Soak poppy seeds and cashew nuts in little water for around 20 - 30 minutes.
2. Boil potatoes in water with minced chillies and grated ginger with little salt.
3. When it is half done, add mushrooms and boil them together and strain the water when it is cooked 3/4 th
4. Dry roast, all spices given under masala, and add shallots and coconut and fry for couple of minutes.
5. Cool the mixture and grind it with poppy seeds and cashew with little water.
6. Add the ground masala to boiled potatoes and mushroom with little water and cook it in low flame for 5 to 10 minutes. Add additional salt as required.
7. In parallel, add 2 tablespoons of oil in another pan and add mustard seeds when oil is hot. When it splutters, add curry leaves, and shallots and fry until it is golden brown.
8. Now add the tomatoes and cook it until it is smashed and mixes well.
9. Add this to the potato/mushroom mixture and cook for 3 -4 minutes until it mixes well.
10. Garnish with coriander and switch off the stove.


Yummy, spicy potato/mushroom curry is ready to serve. This goes very well with Rotis/Rice. You can also substitute Cauliflower in this recipe to have a variation.


Tips:
If you don't like it much spicy, avoid green chillies. 
You can also add little curd to make the gravy tastier.

Beetroot curry











Beetroot is rich source of nutrients and vitamins and very good for health especially for women and children. Here is a very simple and easy preparation with beetroot which is easy for kids to eat as we grate the beets instead of chopping.


Preparation Time: 15 minutes


Ingredients:
Beetroot - 3 medium size
Oil - 1 tablespoon
Curry leaves - 4 to 5
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tablespoon
Urud dhal - 1 tablespoon
Hing - a pinch
Red Chillies - 3 to 4
Salt- to taste
Coconut(shredded) - 2 tablespoon

Preparation:
1. Peel the skin from the beetroot and grate it finely.
2. Heat oil in a pan and when hot season with mustard seeds, urud dhal, hing, red chillies and curry leaves.
3. Now add the shredded beetroot, salt and sprinkle little water and close it with a lid.
4. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes in a medium flame occasionally sitrring.
5. When it is completely cooked, switch off the stove and add the grated coconut.


Beetroot curry is ready to be served with rotis/rice.You can just mix this to white rice to make beetroot rice. Alternatively, you can use chopped beetroot with the same preparation if you wish.