Monday, April 30, 2012

Mangai Thokku - My Guest Post @ Good Food

Hello Friends!

This is a guest post for a lovely friend of mine, Sobha of Good Food. Sobha’s space has many healthy and innovative recipes. If you are a person who keeps a check on what you eat, then her space is just right for you- with healthy and delicious recipes.

Thank you, Sobha for inviting me to your space. I am honoured and very happy to be featured in the Chef’s Favourite Series.

Mango Thokku is one of my favourite pickles and I just can’t stop having enough of it. This pickle gets made in my kitchen all through the mango season and always leaves me craving for more.

Another look at this tongue tickling pickle

Hop over to Sobha's space for the detailed recipe.

Thank you once again Sobha for  this wonderful opportunity and for this lovely award.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Orange Peel Pulikachal

Pulikachal is one of hubby’s favourite. My MIL makes excellent pulikachal. The trick to making a good pulikachal is achieving the right balance of spice, tang and sweetness. Now for those of you who are wondering what is pulikachal – it is a saucy preparation made out of tamarind extract and spices. It is generally mixed with plain hot white rice with a dollop of ghee or sesame oil. The taste is just amazing. It can also be served as an accompaniment to molagootal, curd rice, idly or dosa.

Few days back when I was visiting my grandmom, she prepared all my favourite dishes. She also prepared some new recipes which I was having for the first time. She continues to amaze me with her passion for cooking. Even at this age of 81 she is up to date with the latest current affairs. She watches cookery shows on t.v and even tries out some of them.

The orange peel pulikachal is the result of one such experiment of hers. Though I had heard a lot about this variant of pulikachal, I never tried it. When I had it there I just fell in love with its taste and the flavour of the orange peel. So off we go the recipe. 

What you’ll need
  1. Tamarind – A Lemon sized ball
  2. Orange Peel – of 1 orange
  3. Green Chilly – 1
  4. Jaggery – 1 tbsp
  5. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  6. Salt to taste

For tempering
  1. Oil – 1 tbsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  3. Curry Leaves - few

Dry Roast and Grind
  1. Channa Dal – 2 tsp
  2. Dried Red Chilly – 2 or 3 (adjust according to taste)
  3. Asafoetida – A big pinch
  4. Seasame Seeds – 1 tsp

  1. Soak tamarind in 1 cup of hot water for 10 to 15 minutes. Squeeze and extract the tamarind juice.
  2. Heat a Kadai, dry roast, channa dal, dried red chilly and asafoetida till the dal turns golden brown. Cool completely and powder.
  3. Roast sesame seeds separately until they start popping. Cool and powder separately.
  4. Heat the same Kadai with oil. Temper with mustard seeds. Add curry leaves and chopped green chillies. Fry for a minute.
  5. Next add finely chopped orange peel and fry for a few minutes.
  6. Now add the tamarind extract to the kadai.
  7. Add turmeric powder, salt and jaggery. Let this boil for 10 minutes on medium flame.
  8. After a while of boiling, the tamarind extract will become a little thicker in consistency. At this stage add the roasted and powdered spices and mix well. Adjust seasoning and remove from heat.
  9. Finally add the powdered sesame powder.

Delicious pulikachal with a flavour of orange peel is ready.
Serve as an accompaniment with rice and molagootal or with curd rice or even with idly or dosa.
You could also mix a little pulikachal with steaming hot white rice with a dollop of ghee. It tastes really yum.

Linking this to Healthy Diet - Healthy Side Dishes hosted by Vardhini and to Kerala Kitchen hosted by Ramya

Monday, April 23, 2012

Nendram Pazham Nurukku

Thinking of some of the Kerala specialities like Nendram pazham, Chakka (Jackfruit), Koorka etc brings back memories of my grandfather. My grandfather was a typical Palakkad Iyer who loved naadan food. My father was in a transferable job, and so we have had to live in different parts of the country. Where ever we lived, every year, my grandfather would visit Puthucode (our native place), during the Navarathri festival. He would stay there enjoy the sadhyas, panchavadyams and be absorbed in the festivities.

On his return journey, he would purchase all the Kerala special goodies, which in those days were difficult to find in other parts of the country. I and my brother would eagerly await his arrival. He would go with one bag and come back with a minimum of 3 to 4 bags. The famous Kaya Chips, Koorka, Nendram Pazham, Nendram Kaya would be there for sure. He would even get the Kaya tholi (Nendram Banana peels) to make thoran.  He didn’t stop at that. Once home, he would carefully hang the bananas on a hook and allow them to ripen, and would decide the menu for the coming few days.

Ok, now coming back to the present, today’s post, Pazha Nurukku is an essential part of the onam sadhya in the central parts of Kerala. It is also served as part of breakfast in most Kerala homes.

What you’ll need
  1. Nendram Pazham (Kerala Bananas) – 2
  2. Powdered Jaggery – 1 tbsp
  3. Salt – a pinch

  1. Cut the bananas into finger length pieces. Do not remove the skin.
  2. In wide mouthed vessel, add some water add the banana pieces, salt and jaggery.
  3. Cover and cook on medium flame for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove lid and stir carefully without breaking the pieces.  Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes or till the bananas are done.

These are generally served with popaddams.

Use only Nendram pazhams for this recipe.

Linking Bon Viviant - Breakfast Ideas, CC - Spring Seasonal Food, Kerala Kitchen hosted by Ramya, Kid's Delight - Fruits hosted by Nupur, Spotlight - Healthy Breakfast Ideas, Healthy Food for Kids - Toddler Breakfast/Dinner hosted by Roshni

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Maangai Pachadi/ Mango Pachadi

The term pachadi refers to fresh pickles in Andhra, whereas in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, it is a side dish made of vegetable. It’s really amazing how a particular word can mean many different things in different part of our country. But what is in a name, call it pachadi, or gojju, the preparations are very similar with slight differences of the region. That’s what I love about our country.

Pachadi – in Palakkad Iyer lingua, is a saucy preparation, generally served as an accompaniment to Molagootal or Molagushiyam. A pachadi can be a puli pachadi as in tamarind based, like Mathan Pachadi or Pavaka Pachadi or Thayir Pachadi where the base is yoghurt. The tamarind based pachadis just taste awesome with a fusion of sweet, spice and tang. Vegetables like Pumpkin, Bittergourd, Brinjals, Lady’s Finger, and Mangoes are commonly used to prepare this.

When mangoes are in season, no doubt it rules my kitchen. So, once in 3 to 4 days, this pachadi sees its way into my hearth. My children love this when compared to pachadis made of any other vegetable. A mango that’s not too sour would be good for this recipe. So here is another mango recipe from my kitchen:

Serves 4
What you’ll need
  1. Kili Mooku Maangai – 1 Big
  2. Chilly Powder – 1 tsp
  3. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  4. Jaggery – 2 tbsp
  5. Salt to taste

For Tempering
  1. Coconut oil – 2 tsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  3. Fenugreek Seeds – ¼ tsp
  4. Dried Red Chilly – 1 to 2, broken
  5. Curry Leaves – few

  1. Wash and cut the mango into medium sized pieces.
  2. Heat a Kadai, add the mango pieces to it and add water, such that the level of water is just above the mango pieces.
  3. Add turmeric powder, chilly powder and salt to taste.
  4. Cover and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes on medium flame, stirring in between.
  5. Remove lid, the mangoes should have almost cooked, add the jaggery and simmer for another 5 minutes on low flame or till the pachadi thickens a bit and attains a saucy consistency.
  6. Heat a small frying pan with oil.
  7. Add mustard seeds once they start crackling, add the fenugreek seeds and broken red chillies. Let the fenugreek seeds turn golden brown then add the curry leaves and pour this over the pachadi.

That’s it tasty and tangy Mango pachadi is ready. Serve it as an accompaniment with Molagootal or Molagutiam, rice and dal or even with curd rice.

Linking this to Healthy Side Dishes hosted by Vardhini, Mango Mania99 and to the Kerala Kitchen hosted by Ramya.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mango Dal/ Mamidikaya Pappu

With the onset of the summer season in India, the mango season also starts. First come the baby mangoes, which are pickled and preserved for the year. Next come the raw mangoes, some are fat and round, some are thin and long, some are really sour and some are nice to eat as is. My favourite among the different varieties of raw mangoes is definitely the Kili Mooku Maanga, Parrot Beak Mango, when literally translated. And as soon as these are spotted in the markets, they find their way into my kitchen. These mangoes are just awesome, and can be used to dish out a variety of recipes – anything from a Spicy pickle to a refreshing cooler. If none of these suit your tastebuds, then simply slice the mangoes into strips, sprinkle some salt and chilly powder and there you have a wonderful snack ready in a jiffy!

Finally it’s time for the sweet and juicy, golden, yellow, round mangoes. That’s the most number of adjectives I’ve used to describe any fruit. Mango – Truly the king of fruits isn’t it? India is the largest producer of mangoes with a huge variety – Appoos, Totapuri, Langda, Bangnapalli, Malgova, Rumani, Dusseri, Sindoori, Malliga, Himampasand etc etc

Our family, on the whole is a huge lover of mangoes. Children and adults alike gorge on this fruit throughout the season and truly wish that the season would last a little longer, but of course not the summer’s heat. During the summer vacations, my grandfather would buy, tokris, baskets full of mangoes and it would be served with curd rice. But I never liked the combination of mangoes with curd rice so used to eat later.

 Today’s recipe is a very simple one, which I learnt from my MIL. She says, come summer, and this dal would be made on a very regular basis in most Telugu families. It tastes awesome with plain white rice and a dollop of ghee or you could also serve it as an accompaniment with rotis.

  What you’ll need

  1. Tuar Dal – 1 cup 
  2. Raw Mango – 3/4 cup, peeled, deseeded and cut into cubes
  3.  Onion – 1 medium, finely chopped
  4.  Green Chilly – 2, Slit 
  5. Ginger – 1 inch piece, grated 
  6. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp 
  7. Salt to taste

 For tempering

  1. Oil/Ghee – 2 tsp 
  2. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp 
  3. Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
  4.  Asafoetida – a generous pinch 
  5. Dried Red Chilly – 1 to 2, broken 
  6. Curry Leaves – few 


  1. Wash and rinse the dal in 2 to 3 exchanges of water. Soak it for about 20 minutes. Discard water, rinse again. 
  2. Add the rinsed dal into a vessel. To this add chopped onions, green chilly, ginger, and turmeric powder.
  3. Place the chopped mangoes in a small plate, separately and pressure cook the dal and mangoe pieces for 3 – 4 whistles. 
  4. Once the pressure is released, add the cooked mangoes to the dal and mix well. Add salt to taste and bring the dal to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5.  Heat a small frying pan with oil/ghee, temper with mustard seeds, cumin, red chilly and asafoetida. 
  6. Garnish with curry leaves.

 Serve hot with plain rice or rotis.

Note: Increase or decrease the amount of mangoes depending on its tartness and your liking.
You can also add a tsp of powdered jaggery.

Linking this to Healthy Diet - Side Dishes hosted by Vardhini and Mango Mania 99

Friday, April 13, 2012

Carrot Raisin Milkshake

Wishing all my friends, a very Happy Tamil New Year and a Happy Vishu!

The magic ingredients for this month’s Magic Mingle were Carrots and Raisins. The first recipe that came immediately to my mind was the Carrot and Raisin salad which I had bookmarked to try for a long time. But somehow, I was unable to prepare it and in the last moment came up with this delicious and healthy milkshake. This filling milkshake can be served for a nutritious and fulfilling breakfast or as a healthy afterschool snack. It tastes best when served chilled. So let’s beat the summer’s heat with this wholesome milkshake.

What you’ll need
  1. Milk – 500 ml, boiled and chilled
  2. Carrots – 3 Medium
  3. Raisins – 1 fistful
  4. Oats – 1 tbsp
  5. Honey/sugar – as required

  1. Soak raisin in water for an hour.
  2. Peel and roughly chop carrots. Steam them. Let it cool.
  3. Blend the carrots, raisins, and oats by adding milk little at a time, to a smooth paste.
  4. Sweeten with honey or sugar according to your taste.

Pour into glasses and serve chilled.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Paneer Gulshan

It’s time for yet another Blog Hop. I can’t believe that we are already into the 16th week of this event. I look forward to this monthly session of Blog hop as it gives me a chance to try something new. This time, I was paired with Radhika of Tickling Palates, the lady behind this event. She is also the brain behind the famous Let’s Cook Series. Her space is a treasure trove of recipes. While browsing through her space I found many interesting Chettinad recipes, but what caught my immediate attention was the list of yummy gravies with even more interesting names like Alampana, Gobi Gulistan etc. But my love for Paneer overtook everything else and I chose this simple and delicious Paneer recipe with a very interesting name. The secret ingredient in this recipe is the Channa Masala Powder. It lends the whole dish an awesome flavour. We enjoyed it for dinner with hot phulkas.

What you’ll need
  1. Paneer/ Cottage Cheese – 250 gms
  2. Onion – 2 Big
  3. Tomato – 4 Medium
  4. Ginger – 1 inch piece, grated
  5. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  6. Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
  7. Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
  8. Channa Masala Powder – 1 tsp
  9. Salt to taste
  10. Oil – 1 tbsp
  11. Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp

  1. Slice the onions and tomatoes lengthwise. Also cut the paneer into long strips.
  2. Heat a Kadai with oil.
  3. Add cumin seeds. Once it changes color add the sliced onions and fry till the onions turn light brown.
  4. Next add the grated ginger and sauté for another minute. Add turmeric powder and stir well.
  5. Now add the tomatoes and fry till tomatoes are mushy and mix completely with the onions.
  6. Now add chilli powder, coriander powder and channa masala powder. Mix well and fry for another minute.
  7. Now add the paneer strips and mix well without breaking the paneer pieces. Cover and cook on low flame for about 2 minutes.
  8. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rotis, parathas or any other Indian bread.

Linking to Blog Hop Wednesdays and Healthy Diet – Vegetarian Side Dishes hosted by Vardhini and to Spotlight – Lunch Box

Linking to Tried and Tasted Event hosted by Sona

Monday, April 9, 2012

Pineapple Ginger Cooler

Pineapple is one of my favourite fruits, but at one point of time I was scared of eating them. There is a small incident which made me shy away from this humble fruit. This occurred when I was about 8 years old. My father bought a pineapple. Mom, cut the fruit and gave it to everyone at home. Just after 5 minutes of eating the fruit, my brother started itching all over the body. In another 2 minutes, his face was swollen and totally distorted. We all got very scared. My grandmother applied Vibuthi all over his body, but the itching did not stop. Then we rushed to a nearby clinic and the Doctor there, said that it was an allergic reaction caused by the pineapple. He gave an injection and said that he should be ok by morning. Though he returned to normal by morning, but that one incident instilled so much fear in me and my brother, that we did not eat pineapples for a long time after that. Then slowly, over the years I got over the fear. My brother also did not have any problem after that. But till today, whenever I eat pineapples, I get reminded of this incident.

Today’s recipe is a very simple and refreshing cooler perfect for the summer. The addition of ginger gives it a nice punch. Now off to the recipe:

What you’ll need
  1. Pineapple – 4 cups, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  2. Water – 3 cups
  3. Ginger Juice – 1 tsp
  4. Sugar – 3 tbsp (Adjust according to taste)

  1. Puree the pineapple pieces, with sugar and 1 cup of water, in batches.
  2. Add the remaining water and ginger juice. Stir well.
  3. Strain the juice, pressing the solids in the strainer.
  4. Chill for few hours before serving.
  5. Fill glasses with ice cubes and pour the pineapple juice over it.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Pumpkin - Sweet Potato Thoran/ Stir Fry

Today, my niece was clearing her book shelf to make way for her new set of school books. While clearing I happened to see a copy of Tinkle. On spotting it I was very excited. I immediately grabbed the book and read it then and there.

Tinkle, Champak and Amar Chitra Katha are comics I grew up with. Every time we made a journey by train, my father would get a copy of Tinkle from the book stall in the railway station. All through the long journey (from Jabalpur to Chennai) my brother and I would munch on the goodies that mom would’ve packed and read the books. I vividly remember the characters in it. Who can forget Shikari Shambu, Tantri the Mantri, Kalia the Crow and the Silly but hilarious Suppandi. I used to love solving the Tinkle Quiz.

Over the years, many changes have come over the book, but the overall element of learning the fun way is still intact. It felt great to read it after a gap of more than 20 years. I would love to know your favourite childhood comics.

Today’s recipe is one such, which I am made and had after a very long time. I love the combo of pumpkin, sweet potato and broad beans. Unfortunately, I did not have stock of broad beans and decided to prepare the thoran with the remaining two veggies. The slight sweet from the veggies and the heat from the chillies with hint of curry leaves and coconut makes this stir fry really yummy.

What you’ll need 

  1. Sweet Potato – 3 cups, diced into 2” cubes 
  2. Pumpkin – 2 cups, diced into 2”cubes 
  3. Scraped Coconut – ½ cup 
  4. Green Chilly – 2 
  5. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp 
  6. Salt to taste

 For tempering

  1.  Coconut Oil – 1 tbsp
  2.  Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp 
  3. Urad Dal – 1 tsp
  4. Curry Leaves – few leaves   


  1. Heat a kadai with oil. 
  2. Add the mustard seeds, once it splutters, add urad dal. Fry till the dal turns golden brown. Also add curry leaves. 
  3. Now add the diced sweet potato and pumpkin. Add turmeric powder and salt to taste. 
  4. Cover and cook until on low flame until the vegetables are done. 
  5. Sprinkle little water if required. Keep stirring once in a while to avoid burning the vegetables. 
  6. Grind coconut and green chillies into a coarse paste without adding any water.
  7. Add this to the vegetables and mix well. 

Sweet potato – Pumpkin thoran is ready.
Serve as an accompaniment with Sambar or Rasam.
Linking this to the Kerala Kitchen hosted by Ramya and to Healthy Diet - Side Dishes hosted by Vardhini

Monday, April 2, 2012

Strawberry Watermelon Smoothie with Ginger

Summer is at its peak in most parts of our country. Summer in India is synonymous with watermelons, mangoes, jackfruit, and tender coconut. The roadsides are laden with mounds of watermelon. Usually you can see a lot of tender coconut vendors as well. But this year, due to the heavy cyclonic rains, in and around Chennai, many coconut trees were uprooted, due to which the supply of tender coconut is very less and hence this natural coolant has become a luxury drink in Chennai.

What better way to beat the summer’s heat, than with a glass of chilled fruit juice. So, for this month the Gourmet Seven decided to come up with some refreshing fruit drinks from the Epicurious. So here comes my pick:

Recipe Source: Epicurious

What you’ll need
  1. Watermelon – 4 cups, deseeded, cut into 1 inch cubes
  2. Strawberry – 1 cup, hulled and roughly chopped
  3. Ginger – 1 tsp, grated
  4. Juice of ½ a Lemon
  5. Sugar – per taste

  1. Squeeze the grated ginger and extract the juice.
  2. Blend the watermelon and strawberry until smooth, without adding water.
  3. Add the lemon juice and the ginger juice and stir well.
  4. Add sugar if required.
  5. Transfer into glasses and serve chilled

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