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

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Kumbakonnam Kadappa - Potato & Moong Dal curry

It was my dad who introduced me to Kadappa. Whenever I make Idiyappam, he used to tell about this wonderful dish that they used to serve with Idiyappam in Kumbakonnam/Thanjavur. I had wanted to try this dish for a long time.

Then finally one day, when we had a potluck party one of my friend made this and served along with Idlies. It was simply delicious and so light. It was a good change from the usual sambhar and chutneys we serve with idlies.

After tasting it once I wanted very much to try it at home. So the next time I made Idlies, I served it along with Kadappa and my family loved it. Since both my son and husband need Idlies and Dosas to be included in their meal as often as possible. It is always a big challenge for me to come up with a variety of healthy side dishes. I would definitely recommend this as one among the healthy and tasty side dish for Idlies and dosas.

It also pairs well with soft idiyappams, and you can serve them instead of the regular stew. I am sending this recipe for the “In my VEG BOX ~ Potatoes” by and guest hosted by givemesomespice

You can Click Here for further details about this wonderful event. Thank you Mina for guest hosting this wonderful event!!!!!



1/4 cup yellow Moong dal
2 Potatoes
1 cup chopped Onion
2 teaspoon Lemon juice
2 tablespoon chopped Coriander leaves
1 teaspoon Salt (or as per taste)
1 teaspoon Mustard seeds
2 tablespoon chopped Curry leaves
1 small piece Cinnamon
3 small cloves
1 Bay leaf
2 tablespoon Oil

Grind together:
1/2 cup Grated Coconut
1/2 teaspoon Fennel seeds/sombu
2 flakes Garlic
2 Green chilies
1 tablespoon roasted channa dal/pottukadalai

Pressure cook the moong dal along with required water for 3 whistles. Wash and pressure cook potato separately for 2-3 whistles until they are soft. The cooking time for the potatoes depends on the size and variety of the potato. Make sure the potatoes are cooked completely so that they are really soft and easy to mash.

Mash the cooked Moong dal and keep it aside. Peel the skin of the potatoes and mash them roughly. Now add the ingredients listed under “Grind Together” in a blender/mixer and grind them into a smooth paste.

Meanwhile heat the oil in a pan. When the oil is hot enough add the mustard seeds, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf and the curry leaves. Let them splutter. Then add the chopped onions and salt and fry them until they turn slightly brown. Now add the ground paste and cook them until the raw smell disappears.

Once the ground paste is cooked add the mashed moong dal and potatoes. Add a cup of water (you can add the water according to the desired consistency) and close the pan and cook for another 5 minutes. Switch off the flame. Then add the chopped coriander leaves and the lemon juice.

Serve hot with Idlies/Dosas/Idiyappams.

-- Sang V

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thai Pepper Chicken

We are a big fan of Thai Food. If we plan to go to a restaurant then our first choice would be a good Thai Restaurant. For us the flavors of any Thai food are simple and awesome. And I should not forget to mention about the “Sticky/Jasmine Rice”, which really adds extra flavor to their dishes.

My pantry is always filled up with Jasmine rice, Soy sauce, Fish sauce, Chili sauce, rice vinegar – the basic ingredients you need to make a simple Thai recipe. When I plan to make Red curry I get the necessary ingredients as needed. But there are so many different recipes you can make with just the basic ingredients.

Since I make them often, I hope that I can share as many recipes as possible. They are really easy to make and so I love making them on a weekday morning to pack them for lunch. Today I made the “Pepper chicken” with Jasmine or sticky rice on the side.



1 pound chicken breast
Half red bell pepper
Half yellow bell pepper
Half orange bell pepper
1 medium or half big red onion
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2-3 tablespoon pepper powder
½ a teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon sesame/vegetable oil

Wash the bell peppers and wipe them clean. Slice then into thin strips. Also slice the onions and keep them aside.

Wash and cut the chicken into thin bite sized strips. Marinate the chicken with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and rice for at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile heat the oil in a wok or a pan. When the oil is really hot then add the marinated chicken and sauté them for about 5 minutes.

Now add the salt, sliced onions and the bell peppers and stir them. Cook them on medium flame for another 7 to 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked thoroughly. The cooking time depends on the size of the chicken strips. When the chicken is cooked completely, add the pepper powder and the remaining 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and mix everything well until all the chicken and the vegetables are coated with the pepper. Adjust the pepper powder according to your spice level.

Switch off the flame and serve with sticky rice or Brown rice or Basmati rice.

-- Sang V 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Karela / Bitter Gourd Stir –Fry

This is one of my favorite vegetable from childhood. As a child I was really picky especially with my vegetables and fruits. Only after my college days I really started eating a wide variety of vegetables and fruits.

Even then bitter gourd used to be one of my favorite vegetable. People used to get surprised when they look at me happily eating this vegetable. I love the slight bitterness and the overall flavor of this.

My mom used to cook bitter gourd often, because I was a vegetarian during those days and whenever my mom makes non-vegetarian dishes she will make this for me. I love this vegetable especially with yogurt rice. It tastes so good. There are a lot of ways you can prepare bitter gourd.  The simple “Stir-Fry” is one of the methods and it is really simple to make.

My husband loves this stir-fry with Rotis. So I make them for our weekend lunch with Rotis, as it takes a little extra time to get the crispiness.

Bitter gourd is believed to have a lot of medicinal properties. They are believed to be beneficial for treating blood disorders. They are also believed to lower the sugar levels in blood and urine. They also are said to help in cleaning up toxic blood, improving blood circulation and cure hang overs.

There are a lot of medicinal values listed for this vegetable. So if you are not a big fan for this vegetable till now, try this recipe and taste them. Who know you might start liking them J



1 pound bitter gourd
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon oil
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon curry powder/sambhar powder
1 teaspoon pepper powder

Wash the bitter gourds thoroughly and remove both the ends. Now slice them evenly as thin as possible, so that it gets cooked uniformly throughout. Remove the seeds and soak them in a bowl of water along with some salt. Let them soak for about 10 minutes.
Now remove them from the salted water and keep it aside.

Meanwhile add the oil in a pan and heat the oil. When the oil is hot enough, add the mustard seeds and a pinch of hing. Once the mustard seeds start to splutter, add the bitter gourd. Sauté them for about 3 minutes, after that reduce the flame and add the salt, turmeric and the curry/sambhar powder.

Now close the pan with the lid and let it cook for about 15 minutes on low flame. Then remove the lid and increase the flame to medium stirring at regular intervals. Cook until they turn crispy and add the pepper powder then switch off the flame.
The cooking time depends on the desired crispiness, water content in the bitter gourd and the thickness of the slices. For me it takes 15 minutes of covered cooking in  low flame and 20 minutes of cooking it with the lid removed on medium flame.

Serve this as a side dish for rice or roti and enjoy.

-- Sang V

Friday, February 14, 2014

Red Velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

Today is Valentine’s Day and Love is in the air everywhere. When I went to grocery shopping yesterday after his swimming lesson, all I wanted to buy was some tomatoes as I ran out of tomatoes. So I thought I will make a quick stop and get them.

But then when we entered the store, we saw that everyone were buying flowers, chocolate covered strawberries, special valentine day treats….  Then we were also tempted to do something for Valentine ’s Day. I got my son a cute “puppy” soft toy holding a heart-shaped chocolate box. And he said he is going to make the best card ever…awwwwwwww

Then we were thinking what should we buy for my husband, I don’t want to buy those chocolate boxes for him and I wanted to give something made especially for him. So I started shopping for cute little Valentine ’s Day themed cupcake liners, sprinkles. There I was standing in the store and thinking what kind of cupcake will go along with the theme.  What other than the “Red-Velvet” cupcakes will be more suitable for this day?

I had almost everything I needed for the cake in my pantry except for the sour cream and the cream cheese. So I grabbed them quickly in the store and came home. Since my husband was out for a Business dinner we wanted to surprise him with the cupcakes. We fixed ourselves a quick dinner and started making the cupcakes around 9 0 clock. After I made the cupcakes I let them cool down completely while I put my son to sleep and then started frosting the cupcakes. It is such a simple recipe and will definitely make a great “Valentine Treat”.

I am sending this recipe for the "Kid's Delight - Baked Treats for Kids" event hosted this time by "Seduce your Taste Buds" here. This event is originally hosted by Spicing your life blog, please take a look here for further details. This is such a nice event and all the themes are just so cool and definitely will help a lot of us, parents.


Red – Velvet cupcakes:


2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 and 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
Few drops of the Red Food Color
2 and 1/2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line the muffin trays with the cupcake liners.

Mix the dry ingredients flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl and set aside. Beat the butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. 

Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in the sour cream, milk, food color and vanilla. Now check for the color of the batter and if needed add few drops of extra food color. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until just blended. Do not over beat. Spoon batter into the muffin tray by filling each cup 2/3 full.

Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack for 5 minutes. Then remove them from pans and cool completely.

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:


1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
1 (16 ounce) pack of confectioners' sugar
(3 and ¾ cup of confectioner’s sugar)

Beat softened cream cheese, softened butter, sour cream and the Vanilla Extract in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until smooth.

Once the frosting is ready and the cupcakes are cooled down. Then frost them with the cream cheese frosting and decorate them with some sprinkles. You can even place some fresh cherries on top and give them a beautiful touch.

-- Sang V

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Semiya Kesari - Vermicelli Halwa

Semiya Kesari/Vermicelli Halwa is one of the sweets that not everyone knows about. When I make it for some guests or for some potluck parties, I had seen people get surprised. But trust me it’s just a “Sweet Surprise”, because this kesari taste so good and is such a treat for the eyes too.

This recipe takes less time and effort compared to Rava Kesari, especially if you have the “Roasted Vermicelli” packet. I always buy and store the Bambino – Roasted Vermicelli packet as it helps me with quick dinner, breakfast or sweet. This recipe calls for less sugar and ghee, but is so rich in taste.

Last week when I was getting ready to go for one my friend’s house, I offered to bring some dessert. Since it was a last minute plan, she asked me to make something very simple. Immediately I thought of making semiya kesari and since I had some left over pineapple slices. I thought I will make Pineapple Semiya Kesariand here is the recipeJ



2 cups Roasted vermicelli/Semiya
1 and ½ cup of sugar
2 and ½ cup of water
2 tablespoon ghee
1 cup pineapple chunks (cut into bite size pieces)
2 tablespoon cashews
tablespoon raisins
3 cardamom pods crushed
Pinch of yellow/orange food color

If you don’t have roasted semiya, then take extra 1 tablespoon ghee (to the measurement given above) and roast the plain semiya until they turn golden, otherwise skip this step and start from the next step.

Take a heavy bottom/non-stick pan and add 1 tablespoon ghee and roast the cashews and raisins until they turn golden. Then remove them from the pan and add the pineapple chunks and roast them for about 2 minutes.

Once the pineapple pieces are also roasted remove them from the pan. Now add the water and let it come to a boil, then add the semiya and cook until all the water is absorbed. Add the sugar and the food color and keep stirring at regular intervals.

When the kesari starts leaving the sides of the pan and looks glossy/shiny, add the remaining one tablespoon of ghee, the pineapple chunks, cashews, raisins and the crushed cardamom powder. Mix them well and remove from the flame.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

This is really a very very easy and tasty recipe. So the next time you want to fix a quick dessert just make this “Semiya Kesari” then you will know what I meanJ

Also the pineapple chunks are just optional and you can make this without pineapple.

-- Sang V 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Puliodharai - Tamarind rice

The tangy, spicy Puliodharai is a special meal. It reminds me of the long travels, school day lunch boxes, temple prashadham , all my sister’s pregnancy J………

I could proudly say that my mom makes the best puliodharai I have ever tasted. There were lots of fans for her puliodharai among my friends and my sister’s friends. I used to pester my mom so much to make me puliodharai atleast once a week. I will finish my lunch and come home and still ask her to give me puliodharai for dinner. And my son is just like me. He loves Puliodharai and is very happy if I pack it for lunch.

Puliodharai taste the best when it is served a few hours after it is made.  So when you are thinking of packing some food for the next trip/travel make sure you pack puliodharai. You can just eat it plain or with some chips and it makes an awesome meal.

Puliodharai is also served as prashadh in lot of temples in Chennai. In the temples they used to distribute the rice in the disposable bowls made of leaves (we call it as “Dhonnai”). Also whenever we have some pooja at home puliodharai is one of the food always served to guests.

So when I saw the event announcement for cooking a main dish in the "Cook Click n devour' site here. I wanted to send this recipe for the event. 


It is very simple to make them at home. Just give it a try and let me knowJ


For the paste/Pulikachal:
½ cup of Tamarind
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon sesame/gingelly oil
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
5 dried red chilies
A handful of curry leaves
Pinch of hing
Soak the tamarind in 1 cup of water for at least 15 minutes. Then squeeze out the thick pulp and keep aside. In a pan heat the oil and add the mustard seeds, once the seeds start to splutter add the curry leaves and the red chilies. Then add the tamarind pulp, salt, hing and turmeric powder. Cook this until the raw of smell of the tamarind disappears and the oil starts separating. Let the paste cool and you can store the paste for a week if refrigerated. This way you can make the tamarind paste/pulikachal when you find time and use it during the week days for making puliodharai.
The smell of the paste when it is getting cooked is so good, that you will start drooling automatically.

For 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 recipesJ

Making Tamarind rice
2 cups basmati rice
3 cups of water

For tempering:
1 tablespoon Sesame/Gingelly oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
5 dried red chilies
¼ cup Peanuts
2 tablespoon channa dhal

Wash and soak the rice for about 30 minutes. Then cook the rice along with the water. Once the rice is cooked, transfer the rice into a big plate/tray and let it cool. Meanwhile in a separate pan, heat the oil for tempering. Once the oil is hot enough add the cumin seeds, curry leaves, red chilies and hing. Then add the peanuts and roast them for another 2 minutes. Now add the channa dhal and roast them until they turn golden. Remove from the flame and let it cool.
Once the rice and tempering comes to the room temperature, add the tempering to the rice along with the pulikachal/tamarind paste. Also add 1 teaspoon of the spice mix/powder and mix them all together gently without breaking the rice. You can taste the rice at this stage and add more salt or the spice powder accordingly if needed. Now pack them or serve them along with some fried pappad/chips and enjoy.

There are days when my son suddenly gets a craving for tamarind rice and asks me to pack it for the next day’s lunch. Usually on those occasions I wake up in the morning and make the Pulikachal, Spice powder and then make the tamarind rice. Even though it looks a bit time consuming, it doesn’t take much time or effort. 

-- Sang V