Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Spinach Tortellini with Steamed vegetables

More simple meals... This is the first time I'm trying tortellini. In my opinion, I feel this pasta is very filling when consumed even a little as it is filled with some stuffing like cheese, spinach or meat.

Tortellini pasta- 1 pack

shredded chicken- 1 cup

For pesto sauce:
garlic- 3 pods
fresh basil leaves- 2 cups
pine nuts - 3 Tbsp
salt and pepper- as per taste
extra virgin olive oil- 1/2 cup
Parmesan cheese grated- 1/2 cup

Cook pasta as per package directions and set aside. For the pesto sauce , blend everything except oil and cheese. After mincing it well, slowly add olive oil and blend for a few more minutes until the right consistency.Finally add cheese and mix well. You can add a little water to the sauce if it is very thick. You can store in an air-tight containter for 2 days and use it over steamed vegetables, fish or chicken. In a pan cook shredded chicken with 2 tbsp oil and some salt on high heat. When done add pasta and pesto sauce. Blend well. Serve with steamed vegetables.

Note: You can add vegetables along with chicken and then add to pasta. By this way, the vegetables will also have pesto sauce flavor in it.

Lemon Paruppu

The time is flying fast. I'm counting days to go to India. B'coz it it a very short time I'm spending more time in planning and less time in kitchen. So, for the next few days it's going to be simple cooking. This dish is just the basic dal but with a little twist. Lemon is what that gives this dal a special taste. I learnt this from my perima (mom's elder sister) who is a great cook. She can turn any ordinary dish into an extraordinary one. This time when I go to India I'll get a good collection of her recipes and post it for all my friends. Meanwhile, enjoy this super-fast comfort food.

Toor dal- 1 cup(uncooked)
mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
urad dal- 1/4 tsp
jeera seeds- 1/2 tsp
onion- 1/2 (chopped)
red chillies- 2 or 3
garlic- 4 pods(crushed)
curry leaves- few
tomato- 1/4 piece
corriander- 2 tbsp
hing- 1/4 tsp
lemon - 1/2 (juicy one, can add more until you get the dominant taste of lemon)

Pressure cook dal with 2 cups of water, some turmeric and a tsp of oil. In a kadai splutter mustard seeds, urad dal and jeera seeds. Then add onion ,lemon, curry leaves,hing and red chillies. After some time add tomato and corriander leaves. cook till soft. Add cooked dal and mix well. Add required salt and lemon juice. Bring it to one boil. Add a dollop of ghee before serving.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Parrupu Urundai Kuzhambu

This is one of my favorites. It might look like a kofta curry, but this is totally different. It is toor dal balls cooked in a tangy tamarind sauce. It goes well with plain rice. There is another version called paruppu urundai mor kuzhambu. Will post about that later.

Meanwhile, I just wanted to share my experiences on making this gravy. The first time I did this curry, I dropped the dal balls directly in the boiling gravy and it came out well. But the second time it was a total flop. All the balls broke and I ended up in one single mess. After doing it frequently I have now mastered the art of doing it right. So, if you wish to give this gravy a try I strongly recommend you to steam the toor dal balls for a 10 minutes and then add to the gravy. Slowly as you gain confidence you can add the dal balls directly.


Toor Dhal – 1 cup
onion- 1/2 (finely chopped)
Sambar Powder – 1 tsp
corriander leaves- 3 tbsp
Salt – 2 teaspoon

Mustard – 1 teaspoon
urad dal -1/4 tsp
small onions – 10 chopped finely
tomato- 1 small
Curry leaves – few
tamarind- 2 spoons
sambar powder- 1 heaped tbsp
coconut- 1/4 cup(grind to a paste)


Soak toor dal in water for about 2 hours. Wash the dal and drain out the water completely. Put it in a mixie and grind to a thick coarse paste (as you do for vadai). Add ½ teaspoon salt, sambar powder, a pinch of turmeric powder, chopped onions, one tablespoon coconut gratings and few curry leaves chopped to the dal paste. Mix well. Make a small lemon size balls. Set aside.
Heat oil in kadai and splutter mustard seeds, urad dal. Then add onions and curry leaves. After sometime add tomatoes and fry till soft. Add the tamarind paste and sambar powder. Add 3 cups water. Bring to boil. When it starts boiling, add two to three dhal balls and reduce to heat to medium. Allow to boil. When it starts boiling again, then add three more balls. Again wait for the Kuzhambu to start boiling. Add three more balls and finish all the balls like this. Once you finished all the dal urundais, gently turn them with a spoon. Keep the flame to low. Add ground coconut to the boiling kuzhambu.

Note: This is the authentic way of doing this gravy. If the dal balls gets cooked directly in the kuzhambu itself then the tamarind juice enters the balls and gives a special taste.

Check out my friend's viji's version too: Viji's

One more thing, I might go to India by june 10th to attend my SIL's marriage. Will keep you guys posted.
Till then, try this curry friends and have a great weekend!!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Meen Kuzhambu

Meen Kuzhambu or Fish Kuzhambu is a very popular dish in the south. Fish consumption is more in coastal areas. In my parents house they do not make fish often. But my in-law's place is Pondicherry. So, fish is a definite food atleast 2 to 3 times aweek. I learnt all the fish recipes from them. Especially my sister-in-law makes good shrimp and fish fry. will surely post her pictures when I make a trip to India. I usually get my sambar powder from my in-law's place. Anyway, here is my MIL recipe...

tilapia - 6 pieces
methi seeds- 1/2 tsp
Onion- 1 (medium,finely chopped)
garlic- 5 pods(minced)
curry leaves- few
turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
tomatoes-1(big,finely chopped)
tamarind paste- 2 tsps
sambar powder- 3 tsps
vadagam- 1 1/2 tsp
coconut milk-1 tbsp (opt)

Wash fish with turmeric and set aside. Heat oil in kadai and fry methi seeds, onions,garlic and curry leaves. When it turns golden brown, saute tomato,turmeric powder and sambar powder. When the raw smell goes add tamarind paste,salt,coconut milk and required water. Bring to a nice boil. Check for seasonings. Add fish when the gravy is boiling. Close and cook for 10 mins. Then open the pan and reduce the gravy to desired consistency. Careful. Do not over-cook and break the fish. Finally fry vadagam seperately and add to gravy.

Note: This recipe was posted earlier. But I'm reposting this with a better picture and an alternative to use sambar powder. You can use 1tbsp corriander powder + 2 1/2 tsp chilli powder. I ran out of sambar powder and I tried this way. It worked out really well. Want some??? Here is a plate with plain rice mixed with meen kuzhambu and fish fry.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mutton Kurma

Wondering why I'm cooking only non-veg for the past two days?
Actually, I was expecting a guest for the weekend. But I had to cancel the program as my son was sick. I do not like to freeze and use meat , that's why I had to do one after the other.

Chopped mutton- 1 1/2 lbs
Potatoes- 4 (cut into quarters)
Large onions- 2 (finely chopped)
Tomato- 3 (finely chopped)
Grated ginger- 1 inch piece
Crushed garlic- 5 cloves
Cinnamon- 1 stick
Bay leaves- 2
Grated coconut- 1 cup
poppy seeds- 1tsp
cashews- 3 to 4
fennel- 1 tsp
Red chili powder- 1 1/2 tsp
Dhania powder- 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil- 2 tablespoons
A bunch of chopped cilantro (coriander) leaves

Mix 1 tsp of salt & turmeric to the mutton pieces. Add 2 cups of water and pressure-cook until the mutton is tender. Grind the grated coconut with poppy seeds,cashews and fennel seeds. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a pan and fry the cinnamon and bay leaves for a minute. Then add onions and ginger garlic . Fry until golden brown. Then add the potatoes and fry for few minutes. Next add tomatoes and all the masala powders. Cook till tomatoes are completely mashed. Now add the pressure-cooked meat broth and boil for few more minutes. Then add the coconut paste and bring it to a boil. Now add mutton ,Cover the pan and let it cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until the raw smell of coconut is gone. Add some salt if needed. Sprinkle with chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with plain rice or parotta.

For vegetarians, you can follow the same procedure to make a veg kurma.

Chettinad Chicken Curry

For some reason I have always been attracted to the word 'chettinad'. Any recipe that has this word tagged to it surely catches my attention. I got this recipe from the internet 5 years back when I was learning to cook. I did try this recipe many times and it always fetched me good comments even from the best critics- my hubby's friends.
After sometime, when I was in the process of shifting to a new place I lost the recipe. Recently when I was cleaning up I found it and I was so happy that I got hold of it. This is a semi-solid gravy that can be eaten mixed with white rice or as an accompaniant for variety rice or rotis.

Chicken- 2 Lbs. (remove the skin & cut into medium sized pieces)
Fresh grated coconut- 1 cup
Large onion- 1 (chopped)
Medium tomatoes- 2 (chopped)
Grated ginger- 1inch piece
Garlic- 5 cloves (crushed)
Black pepper- 1/4 tsp
Red chili powder- 2 tsps
Poppy seeds- 2 tsps
Coriander seeds- 2 tsps
Fennel seeds- 1 tsp
Cinnamon- 1 piece
Cloves- 2
Green cardamom- 2
Garam masala powder- 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Oil- 6 tablespoons
Lime juice- 2 tablespoons
Curry leaves- 2
Chopped cilantro (coriander) leaves

Dry roast the poppy seeds in a pan and crush. Soak it in little water for 10-15 minutes. Then grind the soaked poppy seeds with coconut, fennel, cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms & turmeric. Make it into a smooth paste.
Heat oil in large pan and fry the onions until golden. Add the ginger, garlic and fry for couple of minutes. Then add the red chili powder and the ground paste. Fry for 5 minutes. Add the chicken pieces and fry for 5 more minutes. Then add the tomatoes and stir-fry for 7-10 minutes. Then add 2 cups of water & salt. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat. Then remove the cover and cook till desired consistency.When it is almost cooked add the lime juice and curry leaves. Fry for 5 more minutes and remove from fire. Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves. Serve hot.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Kathirikkai Vellai Mochai Puli Kozhambu & Tindora curry

This is a typical south-indian dish cooked mostly in Tamilnadu. Kathirikkai means brinjal and Vellai mochai means field beans. This dish is traditionally made with some karuvadu (dried anchovies) in it. I'm not a big fan of karuvadu ,so I always omit that. It tastes great with white rice. Once you try it I'm sure you will fall in love with this.
For those of you who do not know field beans, Please click on the following link to see the picture:

Brinjal- 4 or 5 (slit it into 4,but do not remove the top)
vellai mochai- 1 cup cooked
small onions- 10 (peeled & sliced)
garlic- 4 pods
tomato - 1
tamarind paste- 1 1/2 tsp(or more if you need)
turmeric- 1/4 tsp
sambar powder- 1 1/2 tsp
coconut milk- 1/2 cup
curry leaves
vadagam- 2 tsp

Pressure cook field beans with some turmeric and salt for 2 whistles.Heat oil in kadai and fry onions , garlic and curry leaves . Then add brinjal and cook till half done. Now add tomato,turmeric and salt. After sometime add sambar powder and tamarind paste. Add 1 cup water and boil for 10 minutes. Then add mochai and coconut milk. Blend well and boil again for 5 more minutes. Cook till the right consistency (not too thick,not too thin). Finally add fried vadagam and add to curry. Serve with hot rice.

Tindora curry with Rotis:

This is a simple curry which I think many people do. Still, I'm posting this for friends who are new to this vegetable. As for me, I have never had this vegetable when I was in India as my mom never cooked it. After having this curry in my friend's place this has become a regular in my menu. Here is a plate for you also.


Tindora- 2 cups(sliced)

onion- 1/2

tomato- 1

sambar powder- 1 tsp

cumin powder- 1/2 tsp

coconut milk- 1/4 cup

curry leaves


Heat oil in kadai and fry mustard seeds, urad dal and channa dal. Then fry onions,curry leaves and some turmeric. Now add sliced tindora and fry till half cooked. Then add tomatoes, salt and curry powders. Blend well. Add 1/2 cup water and coconut milk. Close and cook till done. Serve with rice or rotis.

Enjoy your weekend and see you next week!!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


This is not a dish I make regularly. My first try was 3 years back. After having terrible experiences I gave up the idea of doing it again. Recently I saw bisebelabath in many blogs and was tempted to try it again. Luckily, it turned out good. Thanks to all my fellow bloggers who inspired me to give it another try.This is my friend's recipe which was sleeping in my cookbook for awhile . Here it is guys if you wish to try.

BTW, Here are some more great Bisebelabath recipes from my fellow bloggers:

Rice-1 1/2cup
Toordal - 3/4 cup
Vegetables - 1 cup ( carrot, beans, peas,brinjal,drumstick)
Small red onions- 1 cup
Tomato - 1 medium size
Tamarind paste- 2 tsp
Sambar powder- 1tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - To taste
Water - 4 cups

Dry roast & Grind:
coconut/copra - 2tbsp
Corriander seeds - 1tbsp
red chilli - 4
channa dal - 1tsp
jeera - 1tsp
pepper - 1tsp
Methi seeds - 1/4 tsp
khuskhus - 1/4tsp
elachi - 2
cloves - 2
cinnamon - 1" piece

Pressure cook dal with some turmeric,hing and a spoon of oil. Heat some oil in cooker and fry the onions until transparent. Then add brinjal and drumstick and fry for 5 mins. Now add tomatoes and the rest of the vegetables. Cook till the tomatoes are soft. Then add tamarind paste, sambar powder and the ground powder. Add required water and boil for sometime. Then add dal and washed rice. Mix well. Check for salt. Pressure cook for 4 whistles. When done, top with some ghee and mix well. Garnish with corriander leaves.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mushroom Pulav

Yesterday was the first day my son started daycare. It was heart wrenching for me to leave him there. But Kavin fit in with the kids perfectly. He made no fuss and let go of me. Actually it was me who was in tears not wanting to leave him. I came home and did not do any work. All these days I would say , I can't wait to put you in school so that I can find some time for myself. But now I'm feeling so lonely. I have so much time in my hand but I'm not tin mood to do anything at all.

Anyway, not wanting to spend much time in kitchen I finally decided to make Mushroom Pulav. This is another easy one pot dish that makes a tired day rewarding with a nice meal. This is just like anyother pulav or biryani. But the combo is what that makes this dish great. Yes, it is mushrooms,peas and potatoes. You can add capsicum also if you like. Enjoy!!!

Basmathi rice- 2 cups
elachi- 2
cloves- 2
bay leaf- 1
rose mokku-1
fennel seeds- 1tsp
onion- 1/2 (sliced)
ginger garlic paste- 1 tsp
tomato- 1 (chopped)
mint leaves- 1/2 cup (chopped)
red chilli powder- 3/4 tsp (increase if you want more)
turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
cumin powder- 1/2 tsp
garam masala- 1/2 tsp
potato- 1 (large,cubed)
peas- 1 cup
mushrooms- 1 small box (chopped)
lemon juice- 2 tsp
water- 4 cups

Heat oil in cooker and fry all the spices. Then add onions and saute until soft. Now add ginger garlic paste and some turmeric. After sometime put potatoes and fry for 5 mins. Now add tomatoes,mint leaves and all the curry powders. When oil starts to seperate add required salt and water. Add washed rice with mushrooms and peas . Stir well until blended. Check for seasonings and finally add lemon juice. Close cooker and wait until vapor comes through the nozzle. Now put the wait and reduce the flame to medium. Cook for 8 to 10 mins and switch off gas. Wait until the pressure subsides and serve hot with onion raitha and chips. Here's another view.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!!!

Happy Mother's day to all my fellow bloggers. Hope you all have a great day!

"The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new". -Anonymous

This is so true from my experience.Before Kavin was born I had nothing to care for. I have always been careless, lazy and irresponsible.But Kavin gave me the opportunity to make my life meaningful & complete. After becoming a mom, I have become more appreciative of all the things my mom has done for me. When I was near her,I have disregarded her many times. But now I feel for all of that. Anyway, on this Mother's day I would like to thank her for everything.

Thanks Mom for everything. I know these words aren't enough for all that you have done. What else can I say... I love you,love you,love you....

Okay, So what's on menu today? It's Paneer Babycorn Curry. It is pretty much like a korma. Actually I tried to make korma only, but when I added kasoori methi leaves the taste was more like a cream based curry. This is the first time I'm making this dish. But I absolutely loved it and so did my hubby. The photos are doing no justice to the aroma and taste of this curry. But once you try it I'm sure you'll understand what I'm talking about. So, here is the recipe...

Paneer- 1/2 of 250gm pack
baby corn- 1 can
peas- 3/4 cup
onion- 1/2 (chopped fine)
ginger garlic paste- 1 tsp
tomato- 1 (finely chopped)
green chillies- 3
corriander powder- 3/4 tsp
cumin powder- 1/2 tsp
garam masala- 1/4 tsp
kasoori methi- 1 tsp(crushed)

coconut- 1/2 cup(shredded)
poppy seeds- 1 1/2 tsp(soak in hot water for 20mins)
cashews- 4
Blanched almonds- 4
fennel seeds- 1/2 tsp

Shallow fry paneer cubes in 2 tsp oil and put it in salted hot water. cut babycorn in halves. Heat oil in kadai and fry onions till golden brown. Then add chillies,ginger garlic paste and turmeric powder. After sometime add tomato and all the curry powders. Fry till raw smell goes and then add the ground mixture. Put required salt and mix well. Now pour 1 1/2 cups water and boil until good aroma comes. Now add corn and peas. After 5 mins add paneer and kasoori methi. Cook till desired consistency. If the gravy gets too thick add more water. Enjoy with jeera rice ,rotis or parottas.

Here's a plate for you too.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Kavin's 3rd Birthday!!!

Hi Friends,
Nice to be back. Atlast, my big day is over. Yes, my son's birthday which was on April 28th 2007. We had a backyard party with slides,moonwalks and swings. The kids absolutely enjoyed it. Kavin is usually scared to go on slides. But to my amazement he slid down perfectly fine following the other kids. We had around 80 friends (60 adults, 20 kids).

We had the catering from Swapna restaurant. The items were: Appetizers: veg pakora, mysore bonda, chilli chicken,chicken-65,mint chutney and tomato chutney.
Main Course: Veg Biryani,Chicken Biryani, Raitha,Malai kofta, Paneer pasandha,Butter chicken ,Rogan josh and Naan.
Desserts: Rasmalai , fruit salad in mango custard and B'day cake ofcourse.Sorry Guys, I do not have a picture of the buffet table. It's all in the video.

For those of you guys who have not seen me...Here is my picture in the slideshow. The pink fatty girl. Oh no! I'm showing the world in what a bad shape I am. Ok guys, consider this picture as my "BEFORE" picture. Someday when I lose weight I'll post my "AFTER" picture.

Oh...I forgot to mention, we had 3 new guests whom we never knew before. Yes, three baby swallows. They flew right in when we opened the door for the first few guests. Many friends took turns in swooshing them away. But they were determined not to leave. Finally they were the last to leave around 10.30pm.You can check them out sitting on the doors in the slideshow.

I also have to add this....I could not get the picture of all my friends in the slideshow. Most of them were not taken in my camera. Will update it when I get all of 'em.