Monday, September 17, 2007

Vinayakar Chathurthi 2007

Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi is the auspicious day when Lord Ganesha was born. It is on this day when the supreme god of wisdom and good fortune bestows his presence on earth. Ganesh Chaturthi falls between August 20 and September 15 and this festival lasts for ten days.
On this day, idols of Lord Ganesha are decorated elaborately inside homes or outside for people to view and offer their prayers. Coconut, jaggery, modakas, and red flowers are offered. Vedic hymns from the Rig Veda and Ganesha stotra from the Narada Purana are chanted. Here are some of Lord Ganesha`s favourite delicacies that you could offer him on this day.
(Information courtesy:

Although we celebrate Chathurthi every year, there is one year that is so close to my heart. That year is 2003. The reason behind that is.....around that time we were trying for a baby. So, every festival was celebrated with tons and tons of requests to all the gods and especially to my favorite - Pillayar/Ganesha.

I wanted to do something like rangoli for that chathurthi but I finally ended up doing this. The outline was drawn by my hubby and we both did the rest together. It started like a fun way to kill time, but we were very happy with the end result. We kept on chatting until 2 am that we did not realise the hours flying by. After a week's time I confirmed with my gynac about my pregnancy. So that is the unforgettable Chathurthi for us so far.

This year I had too many things going on the same day of the festival. Our city festival, Kavin's gym class, friend's coming over for dinner, pooja decorations and cooking. Phew!!! Anyway, I could start my work only after 4pm. I managed to do all the work except the Kozhukattais. Finally, my hubby pitched in and he did the kozhukattais. Everything was completed by 5.45pm and we did pooja by 6pm. Although, I made pongal, sundal and idllis for neivedhyam I could not take any pictures.

Anyway, here is the recipe for the Sweet kozhukattais that I....sorry my hubby made.

Riceflour-1 cup
Coconut grated -2cups
Jaggery- ½ cup
Cardomom powder- ½ tsp
Salt – a pinch
Oil- 4 tsp

Bring 2 cups of water to a rolling boil. Add a pinch of salt and 2 tsp oil to the water. Add this to the riceflour and mix well till it gets a dough consistency.When it is cooled add some oil to that and knead it into a soft dough.Make small balls out of this. Now for the filling melt jaggery with a tsp of water. Then add coconut and cardomom powder in a pan and heat it. Remove from heat and allow it to cool. After sometime oil your palms and make small rice flour balls. press the rice flour ball in the middle and make a cup . keep the coconut ball inside this and close it. The final shape should be like a modhak. Steam this for 5 to 8 mins . Remove and cool it.

Urad dal kozhukattais:

Urad dal - 1/2 cup
green chillies - 1 no (finely chopped)
curry leaves - 1 twig(finely chopped)
Oil - 1 table spoon
Hing - 1/4 teaspoon
salt to taste
mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon

Wash and soak urad dal for 1/2 hour. Drain well and grind coarsely adding salt and hing adding 2 tablespoons water. Heat oil in a kadai and add mustard seeds ,curry leaves, green chillies and the ground urad dal. Cook on a low flame stirring well for 5 minutes. Switch off gas. The filling is ready. For the outer cover, flatten the rice balls like a small plate. Place a small amount of filling in the middle. Fold over and seal the edges. Steam them for 5 to 8 mins and serve.

I'm sorry guys that I did not take the step by step pictures. Just didn't find time at all. Will try to update this post some other time.
I wish to send this to Latha Narasimhan of " The Yum blog" for her Festival cooking series. Thank You Latha ma for hosting this.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Vendakkai Kuzhambu

This is a sweet, sour, hot and tangy curry. My mommy used to make it during some festival. So I used to call it 'swamy kuzhambu'. This dish is served hot with white rice and appalams are the best combination for this. If anybody does this kuzhambu at home and know it's name please let me know too. So, here is the procedure for this dish.

Vendakkai/okra - 10 to 15
onion- 1/2 (chopped)
tamarind- 1 1/2 tbsp (can add less or more depending upon one's taste. But the gravy has to be little tangy)
green chillies- 10 (cut into small bits)
coconut- 3 tbsp (shredded)
curry leaves- few
steamed toor dal- 1 cup
turmeric- 1/2 tsp
water- 2 cups
salt- as reqd
jaggery- a little less than 1 /2 tsp
mustard- 1/2 tsp
jeera- 1 tsp

Steam cook toor dal with some turmeric and a tsp of oil. Wash okra and trim of the ends and cut it into two. If the okra is big, cut it into 1 1/2 " size. Chop onions and green chillies. Heat oil in pan. Season with mustard seeds, jeera and channa dal. Then add onions, turmeric and green chillies. Now add okra and some salt. Cook until 3/4 th done. Then add tamarind and water. Combine well and bring to a boil. Now add toor dal and heat it up. Finally add curry leaves and coconut and jaggery. Bring it to a nice boil. check for salt and switch off gas. Serve hot with rice.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My Wedding Anniversary

I had promised my fellow bloggers about my anniversary post. So, here it is.
Where shall I begin???

Ok, we met in June 1998 at a computer institute. Actually, all my friends had joined in another institute while my mom compelled me to join this particular one only, as it was on the way to her work place. I went into that institute thinking of all the possible reasons to get out of it. At that time, there was restricted lab hours in some institute. So, I picked that as a reason and asked my counsellor if they follow that rule.

All of a sudden, I heard a voice and a person who was facing the other side turn to me and say that they have unlimited lab hours. Yes, it was my hubby. At that time, I was so pissed and thought who is this nut to spoil all my plans. He was the pricipal of that center and he spoke to my mom in such a way that I was enrolled then and there. (This is what they call as fate I guess!!!).

Months later we proposed. Our parents came to know about it. "B" & me had to convince them. It took a little effort though. Finally they agreed and
we got married on Sep 10th 2000.

I wish to mention an incident that took place during our wedding. When the time came to tie the knot, "B" was not sure what to do. He held the 'thali' (mangal sutra) in his hand and was blinking. People started putting flowers and rice on us to give their blessings. Still, "B" was wondering if that was the right time. I gave him a short lecture about tying thalis and asked him to do it soon. I even bent my head twice or thirce asking him to tie the knot. All my relatives made fun of me that "B" was having second thoughts about getting married to me and that I forced him. Atlast, my 'tubelight' hubby tied the knot.

After that, I came to US the next month and started my life here. Seven years has passed by. Do you want to know how we are now???
We are getting along ok. Happy and contended. So much has changed. We don't have the same prefernces anymore. We differ in almost everything. He is a perfectionist and I'm careless to the core.(opposite poles attract :)) ) I hate it when he gives me long lectures( the gift of marrying my pricipal) and catches me red handed for gobbling up all the chocolates and ice cream. He never apologises for his mistakes. Everytime he would talk in such a way that I would feel guilty that I did something wrong even though it would have been his mistake.

Anyway, in the end I'll be the one who compromises as I cannot be without talking to him for more than an hour. That's b'coz afterall ,he is the one who chiseles me as well as shieldes me in all my difficult times. By this I don't mean to say that he should be my hubby in my next birth also. All I wish is ... to be with him in my next birth also only if we get our roles switched. (so that I can be the dominant one).

As our anniversary was on monday we celebrated on sep 9th as well as it was our reception day. Here is the menu: Vegetable biryani, shrimp saute, fish fry, onion raitha and carrot kosambari.
On sep 10th we were supposed to go to temple. But as "B" was late we went straight for dinner at Ippolitis. We had Garlic rolls, garden salad,Grilled chicken & spinach cannelloni and chicken& shrimp cavatelli. For dessert we had ice cream at home.Here are the pictures.

Finally I'll end my post with our family picture which shows the gift of our marriage......yes, it's KAVIN.

Once again guys...I'm not a great writer, infact a lousy one. I'm really sorry guys if that was too much info. I'm not a good editor...did not know where to cut. Just wrote whatever I felt. So, please bear with me for pouring out everything. BYE BYE!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Rava Kesari / Kesari Bhaat

Here comes another dish for Asha's RCI: K. Now it is Rava kesari or kesari Bhaat. When I made this for my wedding anniversary, my hubby suggested that I could send this to Asha. Before that I did not know that it is a karnataka dish too. After that, I confirmed the same with google and here I am posting this for everyone.
Actually, Kesari is a very easy sweet dish that can be done in a jiffy. Although, it is a simple dish sometimes people can go wrong in it when the water level is not adequeate or if the rava has not been mixed properly. I remember , once in my childhood my newly married aunt made this sweet so bad that my sister and me named it as 'rava kal' (meaning rava stone) and since then I had hated it so much. But after I started cooking I realized that this dessert is not that bad after all. Ok guys, I think I have bored your enough. So, here is the recipe.

Rava/semolina- 1 cup
sugar- 1 3/4 cup (I like mine really sweet, You can reduce the amount if u want)
ghee- 1/4 cup (add more if you are not dieting)
water- 2 1/2 cups
saffron a pinch
elachi/cardamom powder- 1/4 tsp
cashews- 6(broken)
raisins- 10
ghee- 2 tbsp(for frying cashews and raisins)

Heat water and bring it to a boil. Soak saffron in a tbsp of milk and set aside.In a small pan fry cashews and raisins with ghee and set aside. In another pan, dry roast rava until the color changes a little bit. Now add hot water and keep stirring continously taking care that you don't get any lumps. When the rava is almost cooked add sugar, saffron milk,cardamom powder and ghee. Mix well . Keep stirring until the kesari leaves the sides of the pan. Switch off the gas and add the fried nuts. Serve hot.

Note: You can reduce the amount of water if you want your kesari to be very thick. Also, microwave kesari each time before serving so that you still get the same 'hot from the stove' taste.

Here is a bite for all of you. Enjoy!!!
I know that my anniversary post is pending. I shall try to post it soon.Thank You guys for all your wishes and blessings.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Vaangi Bhaat and kosambaris

It's been 5 months since I have participated in any event. Actually, this is the second event I'm participating. Most of the time, I come to know about an event after it's deadline only. But this time, Asha gave me lot of reminders and 'Thanks' to her for making me participate in this. so, here goes...

My contribution for RCI: Karnataka hosted by my dear friend Asha.
The dishes I chose are :Vaangi Bhaat, Carrot kosambari, cucumber kosambari and Uddin vade.

Vaangi Bhaat:

For this dish , I followed Asha's recipe exactly. But after doing 'step 2' I did not get a gravy. The masala powder I added absorbed all the liquid. After that I sauted the dry paste with the cooked brinjal for another 5 mins adding 1 tbsp of oil. Other than this, everything else was exactly from her recipe.

This is the first time I'm trying vaangi bhaat and believe me...this tasted so good and smelled awesome. The only thing I would do next time will be , adding a bit of turmeric . 'Thanks' to Asha for sharing her recipe.

2 Cups Rice, cooked and cooled
2-3 Long purple or green Eggplants cubed
1/4 Cup Tamarind Juice,
Salt1/2 tbsp
sesame Seeds (Til)1/2 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds

Roast and Powder:
2 tbsp Dry Coconut
1 tbsp Coriander Seeds
1 tbsp Chana Dal
1 tbsp Urad Dal
2-3 Dry Red Chillies1/2 tsp Hing (asafoetida)

To season:
1 tbsp Oil and Ghee
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1tsp Chana Dal
1 tsp Urad Dal
Curry Leaves
1-2 Dry Red Chillies
1 tbsp Peanuts slightly crushed (optional)

Fry eggplants with little oil and salt until almost cooked.Keep aside. Season,when peanuts are reddish add tamarind juice, cook until thickish and add in ground masala. Simmer until oil floats on top and add eggplants.Add sugar,salt. Cover and cook until eggplants are tender, you have a nice pasty gravy with a shine! Cool slightly. Mix with rice gently as not to break the eggplants.Adjust the salt.

Note: You can roast coconut and Til seeds seperately,pound slightly,add in the end to mix with rice.

Carrot Kosambari:

Carrots-2 ( finely grated)
moong dal-1 1/2 tbsp(soaked for 30 mins)
green chillies- 2
corriander leaves- few
coconut- 2 tbsp(grated)
salt- as reqd
lemon juice- (opt)

Mix all the ingredients and season with mustard seeds, hing and curry leaves.

Cucumber Kosambari:

cucumber- 1 (finely chopped)
moong dal-1 1/2 tbsp(soaked for 30 mins)
green chillies- 2
corriander leaves- few
coconut- 2 tbsp(grated)
salt- as reqd
lemon juice- (opt)

Mix all the ingredients and season with mustard seeds, hing and curry leaves.

Ok Guys. Here is a plate we had. Enjoy!!!
One more thing before I go. Actually today(sep 10th) is my wedding anniversary . Will update you guys soon about how I spent the day. Until the byeee!!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Urad dal vadai

Urad dal / Ulundu vadai is a very common breakfast item in South-India. With this basic vada we can make sambar vada or dahi vada. Again, this is my MIL's recipe and she is so good at it. Try it for yourself and you will surely agree with me.

I'm adding this after seeing Asha's comment. I did not know that this is a karnataka dish too and goes by the name ' Uddin Vade'. So, now I'm sending this for RCI:K.

urad dal- 1/4 kg

ponni raw rice- 1 tsp
onion-2(medium size)
green chillies-2
ginger- 1"
curry leaves-few
salt- as required

Soak urad dal for 5 to 6 hours. Drain and grind it with rice to a smooth paste (like butter). Add finely chopped onions, green chillies, ginger, corriander and curry leaves. Do not add salt while grinding the urad dal. Salt should be added after the batter is ready . If not the batter will give away the water and make it runny.
Oil your palms and shape the batter into vadas. You can use a ziploc cover too instead of your hand. Slide it carefully in the oil and deep fry it. Serve it with coconut chutney.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


If I have to choose one dessert that I love next to chocolate, then that it would be Basandhi. After coming to U.S, it was my friend Nandhini who used to prepare this sweet for me. But after her delivery I really couldn't disturb her. So, I had been longing for this a very long time.

Atlast, when I went to India I tried to get it from krishna sweets ,but they were always out of stock. Finally, my perima took pity on me and made me this awesome sweet. Oh! what can I say....It was lip smacking good. Before I could take a picture everyone grabbed their cups and took off. Atlast, I managed to get hold of my sister's cup and here it is the cup of basandhi I enjoyed every bite.

Whole milk- 1 lt
sugar- 3/4 cup(as needed)
elachi- 2 (crushed)
Powdered nuts- optional
saffron- for garnish

Heat milk in a thick bottomed vessel. When it is completely heated up add required sugar, keep the flame on medium low and allow layers of fat to form on top. Keep on pushing the layers of fat aside gently. You have to keep on doing this until the milk reduces 70%. It requires a lot of patience to do this. But it's worth the effort. Finally, mix in the malai and garnish with nuts and saffron. You are in for a yummy treat.

This has been overdue for quiet sometime. Yes, it is my MeMe. Shobila had tagged me for this. I'm really sorry for taking such a long time. I promised a sweet dish with this meme , so I dedicate this basandhi for you.

1. I'm a bachelor degree holder, married and have a 3 year old son.
2. I learnt the basics of cooking from my hubby. But I have always enjoyed watching cook shows even when I was very little.
3. I'm an emotional person and can cry for just about anything.
4. I'm addicted to chocolates and love sweets. Although I'm a mom, my hubby always keeps a watch over me for eating sweets.
5. I'm a classical dancer, but now I don't dance much b'coz I'm scared that I would break the floor.
6.I love surfing the net and I don't realise the time flying by when I'm with my laptop. I get backlogged in my work b'coz of this and I hurry in the last minute to get things done before my hubby arrives.
7. Planning parties is my favorite thing to do. I love going to parties and hosting them as well.

Thanks Sobila for tagging me. I really enjoyed doing this.

Varalakshmi Viratham

Varalakshmi Viratham is an important festival celebrated in South India. You can read about this in detail here .

I have been celebrating this festival since my childhood. I grew up in my grandma's house. So, I have seen my aunt doing this every year. When I moved with my parents I continued doing it although my mom does not do it. Even after my marriage, my MIL encouraged me to do it although she has never done it before. Many of my friends said that I should not do it as my MIL does not have the practice of doing this pooja. But I disagreed on that. According to me, it's not wrong to do any pooja just b'coz it is not a tradition. I enjoy doing it and here I am doing it for the past 12 years.

Every year it used to be so grand I would call lots of my friends and celebrate it in a big way. But this year it was simple. Just did a payasam and sundal and offered it along with some fruits. I forgot to take pictures of the fruit tray and the thamboolam. Anyway, here are some pictures of my pooja.