Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cauliflower Tomato Kurma

Cauliflower belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family, the same plant family as broccoli, kale, cabbage and collards. You'll want to include cauliflower as one of the cruciferous vegetables you eat on a regular basis if you want to receive the fantastic health benefits provided by the cauliflower.  Cauliflower is low in fat, low in carbohydrates but high in dietary fiberfolate, water, and vitamin C, possessing a high nutritional density.

Having said that there are a lot of amazing dishes you can make using this vegetable. One such simple and quick recipe is this Cauliflower and Tomato kurma, which takes very little time to cook (just 20 minutes from start to finish).  It taste amazing with IdlidosaChapathiParathaPoori, Rice ….okay on a nutshell with anything J
So if you are looking for a side dish for dinner and you have some tomatoes and cauliflower sitting in the fridge then just get going.



1 large cauliflower
4 tomatoes
3 garlic cloves
1 big piece of ginger
2 green chilies
2 tablespoon cashews
2 tablespoon shredded coconut
1 teaspoon fennel seeds /sombhu/saunf
2 tablespoon oil
Handful of chopped fresh mint leaves
Chopped coriander leaves for garnishing
1 teaspoon salt (adjust according to your taste)
4 cloves
2 cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1 cardamom
 To cut cauliflower, first remove the outer leaves and then slice the florets at the base where they meet the stalks. You can further cut them, if you desire pieces that are smaller or of uniform size. Trim any brown coloration that may exist on the edges. We usually soak the cauliflower florets in hot water for 5 minutes. This is usually to kill any worms inside the florets. You can skip this if you want and just wash the cauliflower florets and keep them aside.
Grind together 2 tomatoes, ginger, garlic, green chilies, cashew nuts, fennel seeds and coconut to make a fine paste and keep it aside.
Heat the oil in a pan. When the oil is hot enough add the cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and bay leaf. When they start to splutter add the remaining 2 tomatoes chopped roughly and the salt. Sauté them for 2 minutes. Then add the ground paste and cook until the oil separates and the raw smell disappears.
Now add the cauliflower florets to the masala along with 1 cup of water and the chopped mint leaves and mix them all together. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is cooked. Add the chopped coriander leaves and switch off the flame.
Serve them as a side dish for Dosa, Roti, Idli or rice and enjoy the kurma.

-- Sang V

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sabudana (Javarisi) cutlet – Tapioca Sago Cutlets

The most difficult decision to make for me is “What to cook?” I have heard the same from a lot of my friends too. Especially when it comes to the after school snack, it’s even more difficult because you want something light and filling. And the kids want something yummy J

When I saw the event “Kid’s Delight–After School Snacks /Tiffin” in “Nivedhanams”,  I was very excited.The Kid's delight is an event series which was created by Valli of "Spicing your life". To learn more about the event "Click Here".  It’s such a wonderful event and I am looking forward for all the dishes and recipes. At the same time I wanted to send my “Sabudana Cutlet” to this event.

The main idea behind my blog is to make every day cooking easy and encourage everyone to eat more home cooked meals. That’s the reason I keep my recipes as simple as possible. This is one such recipe which is very easy to make and will sure be a hit. It makes a good party appetizer too.



1 cup Sabudana / Javarisi
2 medium sized potatoes
1 green chili
½ cup roasted peanuts
2 tablespoon finely chopped coriander leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint leaves
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour (maida) or corn starch
2 tablespoon oil (for shallow frying)
½ teaspoon salt (or salt to taste)
Pinch of turmeric powder

Soak the sabudana (javarisi) for at least 6 hours. Then drain the water and keep the soaked sabudana aside.

Boil the potatoes until they are soft. Once they cool down peel the skin off and mash them. In a bowl add the mashed potatoes, soaked and drained sabudana, finely chopped green chilies, roasted peanuts, chopped mint leaves, chopped coriander leaves, salt and turmeric powder. Mix them well with your hands.

Make lemon sixed balls out of this mixture. Flatten them slightly with your palms and make them into patties. Take the maida or corn starch in a plate. Dip the patties slightly in the dry flour. So that the outer surface of the patties are slightly dusted with the dry maida or corn starch. This helps to hold the shape when they are cooking and also gives extra crispiness to the outer layer.

Heat the oil in a pan. When the oil is hot enough, shallow fry the patties without overcrowding the pan.
Cook them on a low flame by flipping them once until both the sides turn golden.
Enjoy them hot with ketchup or tamarind chutney.

-- Sang V

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Salmon Pockets

On a weekday night when you are really tired and still want to cook something healthy and delicious, I would highly recommend this dish.
In my family, both my husband and my son love Italian flavors.  I cook weekly at least twice something Italian just to make them happy. I can proudly say that my Italian dishes come out really good and my son prefers them over any restaurant cooking.
I think Italian dishes are not only easy to prepare, but they pack a lot of flavors and there are a lot of healthy dishes. I love watching “Giada’s – Everyday Italian” in Food Network. Her recipes are mostly simple, healthy and needs just a few ingredients that I always have in my pantry. I had tried lot of her recipes with just some little changes to suit our pallets and they definitely impress me and my family. This is one such recipe I got from watching her show. I made few changes to her original recipe. These “Salmon pockets” pack a lot of flavors and they are simple to make.
Salmon I considered being one of the healthiest fish due to its high protein content, high omega-s fatty acids and high vitamin D content. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish) at least two times (two servings) a week. And so we try to include fish in our diet at least once a week.


3 (6 ounces each) salmon fillets
1 tablespoon of olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 tomatoes chopped
3 chopped shallots
2 garlic cloves minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Mix together the chopped tomatoes, shallots, minced garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, salt, black pepper powder and red pepper flakes in a medium bowl to blend. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes, to enhance the flavor.

Place a salmon fillet, atop a sheet of aluminum foil. Wrap the ends of the foil to form a spiral shape. Spoon the tomato mixture over the salmon. Fold the sides of the foil over the fish and tomato mixture, covering completely. Then seal the packets closed. Place the foil packet on a heavy large baking sheet. Repeat until all of the salmon have been individually wrapped in foil and placed on the baking sheet. Bake until the salmon is just cooked through, about 25 to 30 minutes. Using a large metal spatula, transfer the foil packets to plates and serve them hot.

-- Sang V

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Capsicum Rice - Bell pepper rice

There was nothing left in my refrigerator except a bag of tri-color bell peppers and a chayote squash (chow-chow). So it was easy to decide the menu for lunch. Bell pepper rice with stir-fry chayote squash/ chow-chow poriyal and some fried papadams. Very easy and yet satisfying meal that can be cooked with less time and minimal effort.

Bell peppers are rich sources of antioxidants and vitamin C. Each color of pepper is associated with a different family of phytochemicals. I always like to go for the variety of color, as it adds nutrient and look for the dish J



1 cup of chopped bell peppers /capsicum
½ cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 tablespoon raw peanuts / cashew nuts
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoon spice mix powder
(It is the same powder I used for puliodharai recipe, I had also given the recipe below)
1 and ½ cup cooked rice
2 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon chopped curry leaves
2 tablespoon chopped coriander seeds
Salt to taste
Pinch of hing
Pinch of turmeric powder

Heat the oil in a big wok or a pan. When the oil is hot enough add the mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter add the hing, curry leaves and the cumin seeds. Then add the peanuts or the cashew nuts and fry them until they turn golden.

Now add the chopped onions, salt and turmeric powder. Cook the onions until they turn transparent. We don’t have to brown the onions, jut cook them until they are soft. After the onions are cooked add the chopped bell peppers and cook for another 3 minutes. the bell peppers need to be crunchy, so don’t overcook them.

After 3 minutes of cooking the bell peppers, add the cooked rice and the spice powder and mix them thoroughly. Cook for another 5 minutes, tossing the rice around or stirring the rice carefully without breaking them. Switch of the flame and garnish them with the chopped coriander leaves. The rice is now ready to be served.

For the spice mix/powder:

2 tablespoon channa dhal
2 tablespoon white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon Methi/fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seed
2 tablespoon coriander seeds
6 dried red chilies
2 sprigs of curry leaves
Pinch of hing

Dry roast all the ingredients listed above separately in a pan until the raw smell disappears. Let them cool down completely then grind into a coarse powder using a spice grinder or an Indian Mixie. Store the spice powder in an air tight container for up to a month. This spice powder can be used in a variety of other recipes too. So I usually double the ingredients and make the powder. It comes handy for a lot of recipes J

-- Sang V

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Ginger Chicken Curry

There are lots of times I take some basic recipe and try to improvise on them. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don’t. But I don’t give up that easily. This is one such recipe that has been found out by experiment.

I had made it a lot of times now; it had become a favorite recipe. I make them during weekdays and pack it for lunch. This curry is made from freshly ground spices with lots of ginger. It is some mild and taste awesome. It has so many flavors and can be had with rice, dosa, roti, naan etc.



1 pound chicken
2 tablespoon minced ginger
1 cup of chopped onion
Handful of mint and coriander leaves chopped finely
2 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon salt (adjust to your taste)

To dry roast and grind
1 tablespoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon fennel /sombu
1 teaspoon cumin seed / jeera
1 teaspoon black pepper / milagu

Wash and clean the chicken pieces. Marinate the chicken with the turmeric powder and salt and keep it aside.

Take a pan and dry roast all the ingredients - coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds and pepper.
Let it cool and then grind them into coarse powder.

Heat the oil in a large wok/pan. When the oil is hot enough add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add the minced ginger and fry for 2 minutes without burning them. Then add the chopped onions and sauté them until they turn golden. Now add the chicken marinated with the salt and turmeric powder.

Let them cook for 3 -4 minutes or until they start changing color. Now add the ground spice mix and mix well. Reduce the flame and cook the chicken with lid on. We don’t need to add any water, as the chicken  

After 15 minutes on low flame, open the lid and stir the chicken. Add the chopped mint and coriander leaves and cook for another 3 minutes (or until the chicken is cooked completely) on medium flame without the lid.

Switch off the flame and serve with rice or roti or dosa.

-- SangV

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Milagu Vadas - Black Pepper vadas

Milagu  vadas are very popular prasadam for the Lord Hanuman. They make a garland of this pepper vada and offer it to the god by lots of devotes. Most of the temples in my place do this and there is so much demand to book this.

Before my marriage I used to live in a house that’s just opposite to a big Balaji/Perumal temple (my parents are still living there). We know all the priests there and they are kind of family friends for us. My mom used to book this pooja in the temple at least once in 6 months in India. So after the pooja, they will give you the vadas as prasadam. My husband loves this vada and we always remember to keep some vadas for him before my marriage.

After I moved here after my marriage, I wanted to do the same pooja in the hindu temple here. When I enquired about that in the temple they told me that we have to make the vadas and bring. They also told me that since the pepper vada’s are a little difficult to make, most of them bring garland made of methu vada without onion. So I was also scared to try them and followed their instruction and made the regular medhu vadas.

Then after some time I thought of trying out the traditional pepper vadas. So I got the recipe and made them for my next pooja in the temple. Everyone in the temple, who tasted the vada, was excited and surprised. I felt so happy when some of them even asked for the recipe and noted it down.

Since my husband loves it, I make them as a snack sometimes.  Even though it might look little complicated, all it needs is time and patience. It becomes easier with practice J



Yields approximately 20
1 and ½ cup of Urad dal
1 tablespoon pepper
Approximately ½ teaspoon salt
(adjust the salt according to your taste, I just gave the measurement I use normally)
Oil for deep frying

Wash and soak the dal for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes drain the water and keep the dal aside for another 30 minutes.

Then grind the dal along with the pepper in a grinder or blender without adding any water. Just grind them for about 15 minutes so that they are coarse. Make sure that you don’t add more than 2 tablespoon of water while grinding, add even that 2 tablespoon of water only if it is absolutely needed.
The vada dough has to be really thick and coarse.

Heat the oil for frying in a pan. You can check the correct temperature of the oil by dropping a small amount of batter into the oil and make sure it rises and floats on the top immediately. Once the oil is ready add the salt to the batter and mix them well.

Take ziplog bag/banana leaf/washed wet cloth and grease them with oil. Now one small size of a lime of batter and flatten them into a thin disc using your fingers and make a hole in the center. Gently lift them and slip them into the hot oil.

Take them out of the oil when they are just half fried and keep them aside. Continue the same with the remaining of the batter and keep them all aside.

Now take 5 to 6 vadas (half fried) and fry them again in the oil until they turn golden brown in color. The pepper vadas are really crispy. You can store them in an air tight container for a week.

I am sending this dish to the "Flavor up with Spices #1 - A Monthly Event" hosted by Ammaji Kitchen.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sakkarai Pongal - Sweet Pongal

In all the South Indian states, Sakkarai pongal is one of the popular dishes. Sakkarai pongal is generally prepared in temples and home as a prasadam, an offering made to god. This is pongal is the star of the “Pongal or Maha sankranti” festival.

The name Pongal is originated from the word “pongu” which means “boil” or “spill over”. Traditionally it is made using an earthenware pot, but it can also be made using regular stainless pots or a pressure cooker.

Even though I love sakkarai pongal, I only make them during special occasions as prasadam, such as “Pongal (or) Maha sankranti”, “Tamil New year”, “Ganesh Chathurthi”  and “Janmastami”. Apart from these days I sometimes make it when I visit the temple and distribute them to everyone in the temple.  So this time I made the sakkarai pongal along with some pepper vada or Milagu vada for a pooja during my last visit to the temple and everyone in the temple loved them. I will post the recipe for the Pepper vada also soon.



2 cups Raw Rice
1 cup Yellow Moong dal
250 grams of jaggery
¼ cup of sugar
½ cup of ghee or clarified butter
2 tablespoon cardamom powder
¼ cup of broken cashew nuts
2 tablespoon golden raisins
8 cups of water
Pinch of salt
Pinch of dry ginger powder or sukku powder

Grate or powder the jaggery and keep it aside. In a small pan add ¼ cup of ghee and fry the cashew nuts and raisins until they turn golden.

Wash the rice and the dal together and soak them for around 15 minutes. In a large pot take 7 cups of water and let it come to a rolling boil. When the water is boiling vigorously add the soaked rice and dal. Cook the rice and dal until they are soft and the water is completely absorbed on a medium flame.

Alternatively you can cook them using a pressure cooker instead of the pot. Just add 7 cups of water to the soaked rice and dal in a pressure cooker. Cook for 4 to 5 whistles. And let the steam cool down completely before you open the pressure cooker.

Meanwhile in a separate sauce pan, boil together one cup of water and the powdered or grated jaggery and make thick syrup. When the syrup comes to a boil switch off the flame. This usually takes around 10 minutes on medium flame. There is no string consistency or anything needed for this syrup, just bring them to a boil.

Now add this sugar syrup into the rice after filtering it to remove any impurities in the jaggery. Keep the stove on a low flame and mix the rice and the jaggery. While doing this you can mash the rice with the back of the spoon and keep stirring it for the rice to absorb the jaggery syrup uniformly.

Now add the remaining ¼ cup of ghee, pinch of salt, pinch of dry ginger powder and the sugar to the rice. Again stir them all together until they are mixed well. Let it cook for another 5 minutes on low flame. The sugar added, gives a glossy look to the pongal and also enhances the taste.

After cooking for the 5 minutes, add the fried cashew nuts, raisins along with the ghee used for frying them and the cardamom powder. Switch off the flame and serve hot or cold.

 -- Sang V