Monday, February 28, 2011


Pulikachal is a tangy tamarind (puli in Tamil) sauce. This is an ideal side dish for Molagootal, Thair Sadam, Idly and Dosai.  Also, you could simply mix a few spoons of this sauce with plain rice and have it as Puliyumsamdam. Pulikachal has a good shelf life. It can easily stay good for a week to 10 days. It comes in handy on those really lazy days when you just don’t feel like entering the kitchen. 
Until recently, I never ventured into making pulikachal, as I was quite apprehensive about making it. I always felt that Pulikachal is for seasoned cooks like my mom and mom in law to make. Whenever Pulikachal was on our day’s menu, I would be out of the kitchen.  But as this academic year started, I had no other choice but to start making this since Puliyhari as it is called here in Andhra was on my daughter’s Monday Lunch Menu. For the past six to seven months, every Monday morning I prepare Pulikachal and make Pulihari for my daughter and hence have learnt to make it quite well now. Coming to the recipe:


1.       Tamarind – a big lemon sized ball
2.       Ginger – a medium sized piece
3.       Green Chillies – 4 -5 or according to taste
4.       Jaggery – almost the size of the tamarind
5.       Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
6.       Asfoetida – ¼ tsp
7.       Salt to taste

For Seasoning

1.       Sesame oil – 2 tblsp
2.       Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
3.       Channa Dal – 1 tsp
4.       Ground nuts – 2 tsps
5.       Curry leaves a few

Roast and grind

1.       White Sesame seeds/ til – 1 tsp
2.       White Urad Dal – 1 tsp


Soak the tamarind in hot water for a 5 mins. Squeeze and take out the tamarind juice. Grind the green chillies and ginger. Now in a Kadai, heat the sesame oil, add the mustard seed, once thy splutter, add the ground nuts and channa dal. Fry till dals turn brown. Next add the curry leaves and the chilly ginger paste. Fry for a minute. Next add the tamarind juice. Add turmeric powder, asfoetida and salt. Allow this to boil in medium flame for about 5 to 8 mins. Once you see the tamarind juice slightly thickening, add the jaggery and let it simmer for another few mins or till you see oil floating on top and the sides.
Dry roast the til and urad dal and powder it. Add this to the pulikachal. Addition of this powder gives a good flavor and aroma to the pulikachal.
Spicy, Sweet, Sour Pulikachal is ready!
To make the pulyumsadam or pulihari take about 2 teaspoons of pulikachal and mix it with plain cooked white rice. (Make sure rice is not mushy) You can increase or decrease the amount of pulikachal depending on your taste.


1.       If you add til and urad dal powder, the shelf life of the pulikachal will be reduced. Also to retain the freshness it is best to roast and powder this whenever required and add it to the required amount of pulikachal.
2.       The amount of jaggery mentioned in the recipe may seem too much, but that is the measurement my MIL follows, Jaggery should be equal to the amount of Tamarind. Also keep in mind not to add the jaggery in the beginning itself. Only after the pulikachal is half done jaggery should be added.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thair Sadam - Curd Rice

Curd Rice, Thair Sadam, Mosaranna, Peruguannam, Dahi Bhat etc are few of the names by which this comfort food is known. Curd rice is my daughter’s favorite. She can live on curd rice morning, day and night.
Lunch on no day is complete without a serving of curd rice. Though, on day to day basis, we just take some rice in our plates and mix it with curd or buttermilk and have it with some pickle. Curd Rice as such is reserved for special occasions. Also leftover rice is usually converted into curd rice and you really don’t know where the otherwise not so appetizing rice went.
Though most people might know how to make this really simple dish, nevertheless I wanted to do a post on this all time favorite of my family – Thair Sadam

Ingredients                         (Serves – 2)
1.       Cooked White Rice – 2 Cups
2.       Curds – 3 cups
3.       Milk – ½ cup
4.       Green Chilly – 1 chopped
5.       Salt to taste

For seasoning

1.       Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
2.       Urad Dal – 1 tsp
3.       Channa Dal – 1 tsp
4.       Asfoetida – A Pinch
5.       Curry Leaves a few
6.       Vegetable oil – 1 tsp


Mash the cooked rice very well with the back of a flat ladle. Add green chilly, salt, milk and the curds and mix well. Heat a pan with oil, add mustard seeds, when they crackle add the urad dal and channa dal and fry till brown. Lastly add asfoetida and curry leaves. Pour this over the curd rice and mix well.
Soothing curd rice is ready to eat. You can serve these with fried Moru Molagas, Sun dried curd chillies instead of pickles as I did.

Note: Thair sadam or curd rice can be made healthier and tastier by adding grated carrots, cucumber, raw mango pieces, fried cashews etc. Pomegranate seeds and grapes can also be added, if you like.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Olan - one of the items in my daughter’s small list of favorites. Olan is a very simple side dish made of Ash gourd, Pumpkin, a handful of black eyed beans, one or two chilies, simmered in coconut milk with a dash of coconut oil. It forms an important part of any Sadya. Though this curry does not make use of any spices the right proportion of all the ingredients makes it very delicious.
Commonly, Olan is prepared using the Ash gourd/winter melon and cowpeas. But my mother and MIL both prepare using a combination of both Winter melon and Pumpkin. My mother also a prepares a version with only wintermelon and few yard long beans instead of cowpeas. I guess, every part of Kerala has its own version. My SIL who is from Trivandrum, tells me that her mom, adds, even carrots and potatoes and uses Moong beans instead of cowpeas. 

Serves - 4
  1. Ash gourd – 3 Cup, chopped
  2. Pumpkin – 3 Cup, chopped
  3. Cowpeas/Karamani – 1/4 cup
  4. Green Chilly – 1 or 2
  5. Thin Coconut Milk – 1 cup
  6. Thick Coconut Milk - 1/2 cup
  7. Coconut Oil – 1 tbsp
  8. Jaggery a little
  9. Salt to taste


  1. Pressure cook the Black eyed beans and keep aside. (Soaking the beans for a few hours helps in cooking faster).  
  2. Remove skin and cut ash gourd and pumpkin into 1 ½ inch thin square pieces. Slit the green chilly.
  3. Now in a wide pan, put the ash gourd pieces at the bottom and then put the pumpkin pieces. Add the green chilly. Add the think coconut milk and cook on medium flame till the vegetables are almost cooked.
  4. Drain the water from the cooked cowpeas, add it to the gourds, with little jaggery and salt to taste. Allow this to boil, uncovered till olan becomes a little thick.
  5. Remove from heat and add coconut milk and coconut oil. Mix well. (Take care not to mash the vegetables too much while stirring, though usually the pumpkin does get mashed)
Yummy olan is ready to be savored with hot white rice and sambar. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Poricha Kuzhambu

Poricha Kuzhambu better known as Porichozhambu in the Palakkad circles is a tangy tamarind and vegetables based dish served with steamed white rice. It is another variation of the Pitlai. Naadan vegetables like brinjals, raw bananas, yam, ash gourd broad beans (Avarakkai) are generally used. You can also used carrots, potatoes and peas in addition to the above mentioned vegetables. So if you are bored of having Sambar every other day for lunch, try is variation.


  1. Mixed Vegetables like Raw Banana, Yam, Brinjal, Ash Gourd, Pumpkin etc - 2 Cups
  2. Tamarind – gooseberry sized ball
  3.  Karamani – a fistful
  4. Turmeric Powder – 1 pinch
  5. Salt – to taste

For the spice paste

  1. Urad Dal – 1/2 tsp
  2. Channa dal – 1 tsp
  3. Black Pepper – a few
  4.  Dried Red Chillies – 4
  5.  Asfoetida – a small piece
  6. Fresh Grated Coconut – 1/4 to 1/2 cup
  7. Coconut oil – 1 tsp

For the seasoning

  1. Coconut oil – 1 tsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  3. Curry leaves a few


  1. Cut all the vegetables into small cubes. Soak tamarind in hot water for 10 mins. Squeeze and extract tamarind juice in a vessel. 
  2. Pressure cook the vegetables with turmeric and salt and 1 cup of water. 
  3. Also pressure cook the Karamani.
  4. Heat a tsp of oil in a Kadai, add a piece of asafoetida, after its bloats, add the dals and fry finally add the peppercorns and red chillies. Once all these are fried, grind them with the coconut into a smooth paste adding a little water.
  5. Take the tamarind extract in a vessel, add turmeric powder and salt and boil it for 5 to 8 minutes.
  6. Add the cooked vegetables, and karamani to the tamarind water.
  7. Bring to boil and simmer for about 2 -3 mins. Finally add the ground paste. Check for salt and consistency. If the curry is too thick add a little water and adjust the consistency. Simmer for a 3 – 4 mins.
  8. Heat a tsp of oil in a pan; add mustard seeds, once they crackle pour over the kuzhambu. Garnish with curry leaves.
Tasty Porichozhambu is ready to serve.
A good accompaniment for this would be the not so spicy Paruppu Thogayal.

Monday, February 14, 2011

My First Awards

Today I feel at the top of the world as I have got my first awards. The reason for my happiness is manifold because it’s not been very long since I started blogging, and to get noticed so early in this big blogging world; I really felt very happy. It feels great to be appreciated so what if it is a virtual award. I am happy that somebody thought of me and my blog. This award was given to me by Shilpi of It is tasty ma!. Thank You Shilpi – the awards mean a lot to me.

1. Accept the award. Post it in your blog with the name of the blogger who has given u this award with a link to his/her blog.
2. Pass it on to 15 other blogger friends.... to keep the ball rolling.
3. Let the nominated blogger know about their award [leave a comment in their most recent post].
Some of them might have already received it, yet I would like to mention them here...

1.       Reva – Kaarasaaram
2.       EC – Simpleindianfood
3.       Jayasree - Experiments in Kailas Kitchen
4.     Srivalli - Spice your Life
5.       Nupur - One Hot Stove
6.       Priya - Priya's Easy n Tasty Recipes
7.       Srivandya - Vegetarian Zest
8.       Radhika - Tickling Palates
9.       Shanthi - Shanti Krishnakumar's Cook Book
10.   Rajeswari Vijayanand - Rak's Kitchen
11.   Satya - My Innovative Kitchen
12.   Priya - Now Serving..
13.   Sandhya - Sandhyas Kitchen
14.   Siri - Cooking with Siri
15.   Sharmi - Neivedyam

Pav Bhaji

I am very excited today, as this is my first post for a blog event. Though, I am sharing some of the traditional Palakkad Iyer recipes through my blog, I would like to contribute other recipes also which I have learnt from here and there. So here comes my first post on something which is not native to Palakkad – Pav Bhaji.

This Indian street food widely popular in West India has gained appreciation all over India. It is one of my favorite too. Whenever we visit a chaat bhandar, my daughter's pick would be Pav Bhaji. She loves the buttered pavs very much. The bhaji is usually a little spicy and so I decided to try my hand at making this at home, customized to my daughter's taste buds. She really adores them. Pav means bread and Bhaji translates to vegetables. This combination of mashed veggies with pav is quite filling and can be consumed as a light evening meal. Here is the recipe for the not so spicy Pav Bhaji:

Ingredients                         (Serves: 2-3)

For the Bhaji

1.        Potatoes – 2 Medium sized
2.       Carrots – 2
3.       Green Peas – ½ Cup
4.       Onions – 2 Big
5.       Tomatoes – 2 Big
6.       Capsicum - 1
7.       Garlic – 2 or 3 pods
8.       Turmeric Powder – a pinch
9.       Red Chilly Powder – 1 tsp
10.   Pav Bhaji Masala – 1 tsp
11.   Butter – 2 tbsp
12.   Coriander for garnishing

For the Pav

1.       Pav Bun – as required
2.       Butter for toasting


Cook potatoes, carrots and peas in a pressure cooker (You can add cauliflower also).  Finely chop onions, garlic, capsicum and tomatoes.

Heat a Kadai, add a tbsp of butter. Saute chopped onions, when the onions turn translucent, add garlic and saute for 2 mins. Next add the capsicum and sauté for another 2 mins. After that add the chopped tomatoes and fry. Now add a pinch of turmeric powder, Chilly powder, and Pav Bhaji Masala. Fry till tomatoes turn mushy and oil leaves the sides of the Kadai. Now, mash the cooked vegetables and add it to the onion tomato masala. Add salt to taste. Add some water and adjust consistency. The bhaji should be of semi solid consistency. Simmer for a few minutes. Serve garnished with chopped onions, coriander lemon wedges and a blob of butter.

To serve the pav
Heat a tava, slice the pav lengthwise almost till the end and toast it with butter on both sides.

Yummy  Pav Bhaji is ready. I also submit this Srivalli's Kids Delight - Indian Street Food

Friday, February 11, 2011


Rasakalan – the lesser known cousin of Moru kootan. This dish is very similar to moru kootan but distinct in its own way. A simple recipe, and tastes wonderful with plain rice and mezhukuperattiThough I have given a long list of veggies, you can make do with whatever is there. Let’s get straight to the recipe

Ingredients:                  ( Serves: 2 - 3)

1.       Pumpkin – 100 gms
2.       Ash Gourd – 100 gms
3.       Raw Banana – 1
4.       Yam – 100 gms
5.       Drumstick – 1
6.       Sour curds – 2 cups
7.       Grated Coconut – 1 cup
8.       Methi Seeds – ½ tsp
9.       Red Chilies – 3 – 4
10.   Turmeric Powder – a pinch
11.   Jaggery – a little
12.   Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
13.   Coconut Oil – 2 tsps
14.   Curry leaves – a few


Wash and cut all the vegetables into cubes. Cook the vegetables with a pinch of turmeric, salt and a little jaggery. (You can boil the vegetables in water or use the pressure cooker and cook for 1 whistle.)
Heat a small pan, fry the methi seeds and red chilies in about ½ tsp of coconut oil. Grind the fried methi seeds and red chilies with coconut adding little sour curds into a smooth paste.
Once the vegetables are cooked, add the ground paste allow to boil for 2 mins. Then add the beaten sour curds. Mix well. Simmer for 2 mins. Do not let the kalan boil after adding the curds. Add a sprig of curry leaves.
Heat a tsp of oil in a pan, add mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add it to the rasakalan.
Delicious Rasakalan is ready to be served with hot white rice.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Paruppu Payasam/Pradhman

On my daughter’s birthday I wanted to make a different payasam as I was bored of preparing the same payasams like Semiya payasam and Paal Payasam again and again. (Nothing to beat the taste of Paal payasam though). Since her birthday fell on an ekadasi, and as my in-laws don’t eat rice on that day, I decided to prepare paruppu payasam. This yummy blend of dals simmered in jaggery and coconut milk is again a popular Palakkad dish. The payasam turned out quite well and my little one really enjoyed her payasam and birthday.


  1. Split yellow moong dal – 3/4 cup    
  2. Channa Dal – 1/4 cup
  3. Thin Coconut Milk - 2 1/2 cup
  4. Thick Coconut Milk - 1 Cup  
  5. Jaggery – 2 cups 
  6. Cardamom – a few 
  7. Cashewnuts- 6- 7 
  8. Raisins – a few 
  9. Ghee – 1 tbsp


Dry roast yellow moong dal till light brown. Keep aside. Dry roast Channa dal till light brown.
Soak Channa dal in water for about 15 mins. Pressure cook the dals separately for about 3 -4 whistles.

Heat a Kadai; dissolve the jaggery with 1/4 cup of water. Strain the jaggery water to remove impurities. Wash the vessel in which jaggery was melted and pour the strained jaggery water back in the kadai. Let it boil for 3 – 5mins. Now mash the cooked dals, moong dal should get mashed well and Channa dal should be coarsely mashed. Add this to this jaggery syrup. Add the thin coconut milk at this stage and let it boil on medium flame for about 10 mins. Remove from heat and add the thick coconut milk. Do not boil after adding thick coconut milk. Add cardamom powder. Heat a small pan with ghee. Fry the cashews and raisins and add to the payasam with the ghee.

To extract coconut milk, you will require 1 medium sized coconut. For the thick coconut milk, grate the coconut and pulse in the mixer for 30 secs. Now squeeze out the coconut extract with your hands. For thin milk, add about 1 cup of warm water to the grated coconut and run again in the mixer. Squeeze and extract coconut milk. 
Coconut pieces fried in ghee can also be added.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Pulikuthi Upperi

A tangy blend of stir fried country vegetables best describes Pulikuthi upperi. Yet another palakkad special. This yummy curry serves as a great side dish with the mild molagootal. The upperi also goes well with rasam. It is usually prepared with a variety of country vegetables like Raw bananas, Brinjal, Okra, Pumpkin, and Colocassia leaves (Arbi Leaves). It can be made with a combination of any of these vegetables or can be made with only raw bananas.

I have updated the recipe with an alternate method, which I feel comfortable with. Though traditionally, all the veggies are cooked in the tamarind water until done, I find the end result to be very mushy which is not the way I like it, though my grandmother makes the perfect upperi with this method itself. But just for my convenience I have started using the the second method which is a good alternate method, if you don't like your upperi mushy and soggy. So let’s get on with the recipe:

Ingredients                  (Serves: 3-)

  1. Raw Bananas – 2, medium sized
  2. Yellow Pumpkin – 200 gms
  3. Brinjals – 3 – 4
  4. Lady’s finger – 10
  5. Tamarind – A gooeseberry sized ball
  6. Asfoetida a pinch
  7. Turmeric Powder – a pinch
  8. Jaggery – a little
  9. Salt to taste

To grind

  1.  Raw rice – 3 tbsps
  2. Fenugreek/methi seeds – ½ tsp
  3. Dried Red Chillies – 3 -4

For Seasoning

  1. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  2. Curry Leaves – a few
  3. Coconut Oil – 1 tbsp

Method- 1

  1. Cut all the vegetables lengthwise into about 1 ½ inch pieces. 
  2. Soak tamarind in hot water for about 10 mins. Extract thick tamarind extract.
  3. In a vessel, add the vegetables and the tamarind extract. Add a pinch of turmeric powder, asafoetida, salt to taste and a bit of jaggery. Cover the vessel and cook till vegetables are done. Once the vegetables are cooked and if some water remains then cook without cover till the water evaporates.
  4. In the meanwhile, dry roast the ingredients mentioned under the to grind section. While roasting first add rice, once it starts changing color then add methi seeds and chillies as these will roast very quickly and if add in the beginning itself will get burnt. Cool and grind to a fine powder.
  5. Heat a non stick kadai with about 1 tbsp of coconut oil, add mustard seed. Once the seeds splutter, add curry leaves and then add the vegetables cooked in tamarind extract. Let it roast for some time stirring in between. After the vegetables are roasted well, add the curry powder. Mix it well. Take care not to mash the vegetables while stirring.
Delicious Pulikuthi Upperi is ready!

Method 2

  1. Heat a non stick kadai with oil, splutter mustard seeds, curry leaves and asafoetida.
  2. Add the raw banana pieces and turmeric powder. lower the heat to medium and cook covered till the raw banana pieces are 3/4 cooked. Keep stirring in between and sprinkle some water if required.
  3. Now add the brinjal, lady's finger and pumpkin pieces. add salt to taste and mix well.
  4. Cook covered for 4 to 5 minutes or until all the veggies are cooked.
  5. In the meanwhile, extract a thick tamarind juice with about 1/2 cup of water add this tamarind extract to the cooked veggies, add the jaggery now if using and cook uncovered on medium heat stirring occasionally until all the moisture has evaporated.
  6. Now add the roasted and ground powder mix well and remove from heat. You can cook for 3 to 5 minutes on low heat after adding the powder if you like.


  1. Add Raw Bananas first let these be half done then add brinjals, lady’s finger and Pumpkin as these take lesser time to cook.
  2. Adjust the amount of tamarind depending on the quantity of vegetables used.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Paruppu Thogayal

This is a very easy and healthy dish. Paruppu Thogayal and Vatha Kuzhambu is an excellent combination. Try this blend of moong dal, fresh coconut and red chillies and you are bound to have your fingers licking. Though it can be prepared using tuar dal but I prefer moong dal.

Ingredients                       (Serves: 3- 4)

1.      Split yellow moong dal – 1 cup
2.      Fresh grated coconut – 1 cup
3.      Dried Red Chillies – 1


Heat a pan and dry roast the moong dal on medium flame till the dal turns slightly red. Wash and drain the dal. Soak dal with red chillies for about 30 mins in water. Drain all the water and grind the dal, chillies and coconut with salt into a thick paste adding little water. Serve as accompaniment with white rice and vathakuzhambu.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Keerai Molagootal

Molagootal is a distinctive palakkad Brahmin dish. Molagootal is a mildly spiced dish made of a combination of vegetables, lentils and coconut. Since it is lightly spiced it is an instant hit with adults and kids alike. People from Tanjore prepare a slightly modified version of molagootal which they call Porichakootu.
Keerai molagootal can be prepared using any of the greens like ara keerai, mola keerai, paruppu keerai, thanda keerai or palak keerai. Keerai molagootal can be served with steaming hot white rice and some side dish like Thenga Thuvayal, Vendakai Pachadi, or Pulikuthi Upperi. Posts on thses will follow soon. So let’s get started with Keerai Molagootal.

(Serves: 3- 4)


1.       Spinach – 2 Big Bunches
2.       Tuvar Dal – 3 – 4 Tblsp
3.       Grated Coconut – ½ Cup
4.       White Urad Dal – 1 tsp
5.       Dried Red Chillies – 1
6.       Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
7.       Mustard Seeds – 1tsp
8.       Salt to taste
9.       Coconut Oil  - 2 tsps
Picture updated on 15/5/2013


Pressure cook the dal. Clean and wash the Spinach very well. Chop it roughly. Boil the spinach in very little water for about 5 mins. Allow to cool. Run the cooked spinach in a mixer for just a few seconds. Transfer the ground spinach into a vessel. In a small pan, heat a tsp of oil fry the urad dal and red chilly till dal turns light brown. Grind this along with coconut and cumin seeds into a paste using little water. Mash the dal well. Add the ground coconut paste to the dal. Add salt to taste. Bring this mixture to boil for 2 mins stirring constantly. Then add the ground Spinach. Check the consistency. Molagootal is neither very thick nor thin. Simmer for 2 to 3 mins. (Do not boil for long after adding spinach as this will result in discoloring the spinach). Heat a tsp of coconut oil, add mustard seeds. Once it starts spluttering add it to the molagootal.
Keerai molagootal is ready to serve.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Verum Arisi Adai

The name “verum arisi adai” literally means only rice adai.  This is the lesser known cousin of the Adai family.  It was my father’s favorite tiffin. Whenever my mother used to grind for idly/dosa, there would be surely some verum arisi maavu too. But many people really don’t know about this adai. Yet another palakkad speciality.

I remember eating this adai for breakfast for more than a month, everyday, post both my deliveries. After childbirth, I had to be on a strict diet better known as pathiyam. I thank my stars that Verum Arisi adai was on my pathiya menu!

Traditionally this dish is prepared by taking a big lemon sized ball of dough and patting it into a round on the tava with some water. Some holes are made on it and oil is poured in and around the adai. It is to be cooked on slow flame on both sides till the adai is nice golden and crisp. This is how my pati makes. My mother adapted it in her own style and here is her recipe:


1.       Par boiled rice – 2 cups
2.       Fenugreek /methi seeds – 2 tsps
3.       Salt to taste


Soak the rice and methi seeds for 3 – 4 hours and grind into a thick paste. Add the required amount of salt and allow it ferment for about 8 – 12 hrs. When you want to make the adai, take the required amount of rice paste and dilute it with little water. The batter should not be very watery.  Heat a tava and pour a ladleful of batter on to it. Spread it into a thick dosa. You’ll find small holes forming on the adai by itself. Also make a small hole in the middle of the adai. Pour a teaspoon of oil around the adai and in the holes too. Cook on medium heat till both sides turn golden brown.
Serve immediately with gunpowder (molaga podi), or any pickle.

Note: You can add grated coconut or drumstick leaves for extra taste.
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