Thursday, March 31, 2011

Barley Gramflour Parathas

When I saw that Priya has selected Barley as the seed of this month, I was sure I wanted to send an entry to this event. But what was the big question, as I had never used barley in my kitchen before. My MIL watches a program on ayurveda everyday morning. One day, I heard the doctor talk about the goodness of Barley. According to him, powdered Barley mixed with milk and Kalkand is the best health drink for children. At the end of the program he showed how to make these wonderful barley parathas. I immediately tried it making a few changes to his recipe and everybody liked them very much. So here is what I did:


1. Barley flour – 1/2 cup
2. Gram flour – 1/2 cup
3. Wheat flour – 1 cup
4. Ajwain /omam – ½ tsp
5. Jeera – ½ tsp
6. Pepper Powder – ½ tsp
7. Salt to taste
8. Water as required
9. Oil as required


Dry roast the gramflour till a nice aroma comes. Let it cool. Now, in a mixing bowl, add the all the three flours and mix well. Then add all the spices and salt. Mix well. Now slowly add water and knead into smooth Chapathi dough. Keep covered for 20 mins. Divide the dough rounds. Dust the work surface with wheat flour and roll out discs out of the rounds.
Heat a tava, and lay the paratha on it. After a few seconds, flip it over. Apply a tsp of oil after a min or so, flip it again and apply oil on the other side. Cook the parathas till brown spots appear on both sides. Repeat procedure with remaining dough.
Hot and tasty parathas are ready to serve. You can have with a simple tomato curry or just ketchup.

Sending these tasty parathas to Wholesome Wholegrain cooking event by Sanjeetha Guest hosted by Priya


If you do not get barley flour in the market, dry roast the barley for a about a minute or till the barley get hot and then powder it in the mixie.
While cooking the parathas, do not keep on tava for a long time in low flame, try to keep the flame medium else the parathas may turn hard.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bread Upma

Bread Upma is one of the first dishes which I learnt to prepare because of my love for it. It is really simple and gets ready in about 10minutes time. You can have it at any time of the day. I usually have it either for breakfast or when I am too bored to prepare an elaborate dinner. It is really a quick fix dish. Needs very few basic ingredients and bread of course!

This dish brings back some very sweet childhood memories. A hot favorite with me and my brother. Whenever my mom prepared this and shared it between me and my brother, both of us would check if we really have got equal halves or by any chance if the other has got a few pieces more...It was one of my favorites for the school snack box too. Now it has become my children’s favorite as well.

So here’s how my mom used to prepare bread upma and I continue to make it the same way…

Ingredients Serves 2

1. Bread – 8 slices
2. Onion – 1 Medium size
3. Tomatoes – 1 big
4. Green chillies –4
5. Turmeric Powder – a pinch
6. Rasam Powder – 1 tsp
7. Salt to taste
8. Coriander leaves – a few

For Seasoning

1. Oil – 2 tsps
2. Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
3. Jeera – 1 tsp
4. Urad Dal – ½ tsp
5. Channa dal – ½ tsp
6. Curry leaves a few


Chop the onions and chillies into small pieces. Cut tomatoes into cubes of medium size. Cut the bread sliced into medium sized pieces.

Heat a Kadai with oil, add mustard seeds once they splutter add jeera, urad dal and channa dal. Once the dals change color add the curry leaves. Then add green chillies and chopped onions. Fry till onions turn translucent. Then add tomatoes and cook on high heat. Don’t the tomatoes get too mushy. Now add turmeric powder, salt and rasam powder. Fry for a minute. Then add the bread pieces and fry on high heat till the bread absorbs the flavors of the tomatoes and onions. Turn off heat. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Delicious bread upma is ready.

Sending this treasured recipe to Gayathri's Event Walking Through the Memory Lane and to Srivalli's Kids Delight Guest hosted by Priya.


1. Add salt only for the tomatoes and onions as bread will have enough salt.
2. Take care while sautéing tomatoes, if they become too softy and mushy then the Upma will become very soggy.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pavakkai Puli Pachadi

Bitter gourd or Pavakkai is one vegetable which I think has the fewest takers. Most don’t like it owing to its bitter taste. But it is packed with many health benefits. Also, when cooked in the right way using the right ingredients most of the bitterness can be masked. So, as I mentioned in my earlier post on Pavakkai Pitlai, I try to incorporate it in our menu at least once in 10 days.

Pachadi is a saucy vegetable preparation. Pachadis are of two types: one is the puli pachadi (vegetables cooked in tamarind and flavored with coconut and green chillies) and the other is the thayir pachadi (curd based). This tangy, sweet and spicy pachadi is the perfect combination with the rather mild molagootal and mulagutiam. Puli pachadi can be prepared with a variety of vegetables like lady’s finger, brinjals, Yellow Pumkins etc. Today I have used bitter gourd.

Ingredients Serves: 3 -4

1. Bittergourd - 2 medium Sized
2. Tamarind – A large lemon size
3. Jaggery – 2 tblsps
4. Turmeric Powder – a pinch
5. Salt to taste

For seasoning

1. Oil – 2 tsps
2. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
3. Channa Dal – 1 tsp
4. Asfoetida – little
5. Curry leaves – a few sprigs

Roast and grind

1. Urad Dal – 1 tsp
2. Dry Red Chillies – 4
3. Til/Sesame seeds – 1 tblsps


Wash and chop the bitter gourd into small pieces. Soak tamarind in hot water for 10 mins. Squeeze and extract tamarind juice and keep aside. In a Kadai, dry roast sesame seeds till color changes. Remove into a plate. Heat Kadai with ½ a tsp of oil, roast urad dal and dry red chillies till dal changes color. Cool and grind the three.
Heat a Kadai with oil, add mustard seeds. Once they crackle and channa dal. After dal changes color, add asfoetida and curry leaves. Then add the chopped bitter gourd, turmeric powder and salt. Fry for 5 to 6 mins. Now add the tamarind extract with ½ a cup of water and jaggery. Check for salt. Allow to boil for 5 mins or till the gourd is cooked. Finally sprinkle the ground powder and mix well. Pachadi should not be very water or too thick. It should be of a saucy consistency. Pavakkai Puli Pachadi is ready.

Note: Adjust quantity of jaggery depending on your taste. Generally this is slightly sweet, spicy and tangy. All these flavors together mask the bitterness of the gourd.

Variations: Instead of adding the ground powder you can also add Rasam powder and chilly powder while the tamarind is boiling. This also gives a good taste.

You can also add onions, while frying the gourd. Onions lend a slight sweetness to the dish.

You could also add a handful of groundnuts while tempering.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pori Upma / Puffed Rice Upma

Me and my daughters like puffed rice in any form. I give my younger one, some puffed rice in a cup and she just sits quietly nibbling on them. But that’s only till her cup is empty!! Though all of us like this so much I never ventured into making anything out of it other than some basic Kaara pori. Kaara pori is also a hot favorite in my house. It just vanishes as soon as I make them. I’ll leave that for later though.

Today I wanted to share this particular upma recipe out of Puffed rice. Though I had heard about it from my Kannada and Telugu friends, I used to always wonder how one could prepare upma out of Puffed rice. Won’t it just turn mushy… But then my doubts were cleared when I had this upma at one of my H’s friend’s house here in Hyderabad. She had prepared it very well and I liked it very much. Here’s what I did:

Ingredients Serves 2

1. Puffed Rice – 3 big cups
2. Onions – 1 big chopped into small pieces
3. Green Chillies – 3 – 4
4. Boiled Green peas – 100 gms
5. Salt to taste

For Seasoning

1. Oil – 2 tsps
2. Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
3. Urad Dal – 1 tsp
4. Groundnuts – a handful
5. A few sprigs of Curry Leaves


Heat a Kadai with oil. Add the mustard seeds. Once they crackle add urad dal, and groundnuts. When they change color add the curry leaves. Then add chopped onions and green chillies. Sauté until onions turn slightly brown. Add turmeric powder and salt to taste. Mix well. Then add the boiled peas and mix well. Wash puffed rice under running water. Squeeze all excess water and add it to the Kadai. Mix well on high heat for 2 mins or till puffed rice turns hot. Puffed Rice Upma is ready. Serve hot.

Sending this to Kurinji Kathambam – Healthy Recipe Hunt – Puffed Rice

Also to Anyone can Cook - Series 20 hosted by Taste of Pearl City

Monday, March 21, 2011

Idichakka Thoran

Jackfruit is a seasonal fruit available from Mid March to May. In the beginning of the season you get the really small jackfruits or tender jackfruits called iddichakka in Malayalam. As days progress the jackfruit grows in size; you start getting the huge chakkas, which have beautiful golden yellow bulbs inside them. Jackfruit trees are a common sight in the backyards of Kerala homes. Come, Jackfruit season (summer), and the menu would be anything from iddichakka thoran, Chakka Chips, Chakka Curry, to Elai adai or Chakka Pradaman. Jackfruit jam or Chakka varrati is another delicacy. This way, it would be preserved for the whole year and Chakka Pradhaman or Elai Adai can be prepared at any time of the year.

Cutting the jackfruit is a really time consuming and tedious task, but the results are very sweet. Oil your palms and the knife with coconut oil since sticky gum oozes out of the fruit when you cut it open. Usually the Jackfruit is cut into a half and those into further halves. For the tender Jackfruit, only the prickly thick outer skin needs to be removed and the rest can be cut into pieces just like any other fruit or vegetable. For the ripe ones, the yellow bulbs have to be separated and the seeds have to be removed.

Idichakka Thoran is made out of fresh tender jackfruits, mildly spiced and flavored with fresh coconut. Thoran refers to any kind of dry curry. Here I am sharing the traditional Palakkad recipe. Though I’ve seen many of my Malayalee friends would add some onions and garlic too but we at home make it this way sans onions and garlic.


1. Small tender Jackfruit or Idichakka – 1
2. Fresh Grated Coconut – ½ cup
3. Green Chillies – 2
4. Turmeric Powder – a pinch
5. Salt to Taste

For seasoning

1. Coconut oil – 1 tblsp
2. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
3. Urad Dal – 1 tsp
4. Dried Red Chillies – 1 or 2
5. A few curry leaves


Spread a newspaper on the counter, Oil your palms and the knife with coconut oil. Cut the jackfruit into half and then again into further halves, until they are of manageable size. Then remove the thick out skin and cut into pieces.
Cook these pieces with turmeric powder and little water for about 2 whistles in a pressure cooker.

Once cool, remove and pound the pieces with a pestle or use the back of a wooden spoon or a masher to get some shredded jackfruit. You could blend it in the processor too, but make sure the jackfruit pieces don’t become a paste. Grind the grated coconut and green chillies without adding any water. Keep aside.

Now, heat a Kadai with coconut oil, add the mustard seeds, once they splutter, add the urad dal and red chillies and curry leaves. Once, the dal changes color, add the shredded jackfruit pieces and sauté. Add salt to taste and fry for few minutes in medium flame. Then add the ground coconut and green chillies. Mix well. Finally drizzle about 2 tsps of coconut oil over the thoran.

Relish this yummy thoran with steaming hot rice and Moru Kootan or Sambar.

Sending this to A.W.E.D - Indian Cuisine originally started by DK of Chef in You and guest hosted by Ayeesha of Taste of Pearl City.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Vella Dosai

Dosa is a well liked South Indian tiffin item. It has gained popularity all over the world. People experiment with the batter and filling and many many different kinds of dosas are seen today. Like Plain Dosa, Paper Dosa, Masala Dosa, Ghee Dosa, Rava Dosa etc etc. Of these Vella Dosai is one; though these have been made from time immemorial. This dosa is generally not available in restaurants.

Vella Dosai is yet another of my favorites. At my home mom used to prepare it very regularly though after marriage these have become really rare, thanks to their aversion to sweets. These sweet dosas are usually made on certain days of fasting like Sivarathri, Ekadasi, Shasti etc since they are made out of wheat flour. On the days of fasting, people generally avoid rice and items made out of rice. But it is not necessary that it has to be a day of fast to make these yummy sweet dosas. Generally, an uppu dosai (salt dosai – exact translation) is also made along with it. I’ll leave that for later.


1. Wheat Flour – 1 cup
2. Powdered Jaggery – ¾ cup to 1 cup (according to your taste)
3. Cardamom powder – ¼ tsp
4. Ghee for frying


In a vessel, take about ½ a cup of water and add the powdered jaggery. Heat it till the jaggery dissolves completely. Strain to remove impurities. Now add this to the wheat flour and mix well without forming lumps. Add sufficient water and mix into a smooth Dosa batter. Add the Cardamom powder and mix well.
Now heat a tawa, pour a ladle full of batter and spread like regular dosai. Drizzle ½ tsp of ghee and let it cook. Flip over and cook on the other side also. Cook on low heat only as Jaggery can easily burn. Serve with a blob of homemade butter or a spoonful of ghee.

Sending this recipe to Cooking with Seeds guest hosted by Suma of Veggie Platter

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pudina Rice

Mint is known for its medicinal benefits. I still remember those days at school, when I was really young, maybe around 7 or 8, whenever I used to complain of stomach ache at school, I would be given this Pudinhara in syrup form. Don’t know whether the syrup form is still available but Pudinhara capsules are still available. A really good digestive.
Mint leaves are generally used in a variety of dishes like chutneys, curries, refreshing drinks, etc. Though I don’t like the overpowering smell of pudina much, but the Mint rice or Pudina Rice is an exception. This is one of our family favorites, especially for the lunch box. It serves as a good healthy one pot meal. So here goes the recipe:

Ingredients Serves 2

1. Pudina or Mint Leaves – 2 small bunches
2. Basmathi Rice – 2 cups
3. Onions – 2 Sliced
4. Green Chillies – 2 to 3
5. Grated Fresh Coconut – 3 Tblsps
6. Jeera – 1 tsp
7. Cashewnuts – a few
8. Oil – 2 tsps
9. Ghee – 2 tsps
10. Salt to Taste


Wash and drain basmathi rice. Keep aside. Wash and clean the mint leaves. Now, grind the mint leaves, grated coconut, and green chillies into a paste without adding any water. Heat a pressure cooker, add the oil and ghee, and then add the jeera and cashews. Once cashews turn golden, add the sliced onions and fry till translucent. Next add the ground pudina paste and sauté for 2 mins. Next add the rice, sauté for another minute. Now add 2 cups water, salt to taste and mix well. Cook till 1 whistle.

Sweet smelling Pudina rice is ready to be served with a raita of your choice.

Note: There are a lot of variations of this particular rice suggesting a few here
1. You could add fresh or frozen green peas and potatoes.
2. Garlic and other Spices like Cinnamon, Cardamom, etc could be added. But I prefer it without any of these since the mint leaves already have a strong flavor.

Sending this to the Herbs and Flowers event going on at Seduce Your Tastebuds.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Palak Paneer

Here is my daughter’s all time favorite. Actually she loves anything that has paneer in it. Whenever I prepare any paneer dish, from the moment I bring the Paneer packet out my daughter will be right beside me, taking a bite of paneer every now and then.
Palak paneer is a popular North Indian gravy. I make it quite often at home to serve with rotis. This is quite a healthy dish. A great way to make your kids have some greens. Here’s the way I make it.

Ingredients Serves 4

1. Spinach or Palak - 2 small bunches
2. Paneer – 200 gms
3. Onions – 2
4. Tomatoes – 3
5. Green chillies – 2 to 3
6. Coriander powder – 1 tsp
7. Garam Masala – ½ tsp
8. Cream – ½ cup
9. Oil – 2 tsp
10. Jeera – 1 tsp
11. Salt to taste


Wash and chop the palak roughly. Cook the palak leaves, cool and grind it into a paste. Chop the onions and tomatoes. Slit the green chillies. Cut paneer into cubes.
Heat a Kadai with oil, add jeera. Once jeera changes color, add the chopped onions, and green chillies. Saute for 2 to 3 mins or till the onions turn translucent. Then add the chopped tomatoes sauté for few more mins or till the tomatoes turn mushy and oil starts leaving the sides. Now add the coriander powder and fry for another min. Then add the palak puree, paneer pieces, salt and about ½ cup of water. Boil for 2 mins. Then add the garam masala powder and the cream. Simmer for 2 mins. Delicious Palak Paneer is ready to be served with hot rotis.
Sending this Yummy Palak Paneer to Srivalli’s Event, Guest Hosted by Champa- Kid’s Delight – Restaurant Recreations.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Karadayan Nombu Adai

There are certain dishes that are invariably made only once a year, on particular days, like Poornam Kuzhakattai for Ganesh Chathurthi, Kali for Thirvadarai, Cheedai for Janmashtami, Pori urundai for Karthigai and this particular adai for Karadayan Nonbu. At least it is like that in my house. Somehow we don’t make these dishes on a day to day basis. I guess that’s what makes them so special.

Savithri Vratham or Karadayan Nonbu is generally observed on the day when the Tamil month Masi ends and Panguni begins. Married women observe a fast on this day for the well being and long life of their husbands. Unmarried girls pray to be blessed with a good husband. There is a particular time, (the time changes every year), at that time, the women tie a yellow charadu or thread around their necks and break their fast by eating these special adais with unsalted butter. Usually while having the adais, the following two lines are repeated:

Urugatha vennaiyum, oru adaiyum nothein
Orukaalum yen kanavan piriyamal irrukaname

Before going to the recipe I would like to share the legend behind Karadayan Nonbu. The story behind observing this Vratham is that, Princess Savithri, daughter of King Ashwapati, married Satyavan a penniless prince. She also knew the fact that Satyavan would live only for a year. Three days before the destined day of Satyavan’s death, Savithri vowed to fast. On the last day, when Yama the God of Death came to take Satyavan’s soul, Savithri prayed to him to either take her with her husband or to leave her husband behind. Impressed by Savithri’s love and devotion, Yama agreed to grant her any boon other than Satyavan’s life. Savithri asked for a son. Yama granted her wish. But how could she have a son without her Satyavan and hence Yama was forced to give back Satyavan’s life. Thus Savithri rescued her husband Satyavan from death. It is said that later she broke the fast by having these adais.

Makes about 12 - 14 adais

What you'll need

1. Rice Flour – 1 cup
2. Grated or powdered Jaggery – 1 cup
3. A handful of cowpeas or Karamani
4. Cardamoms – 3 -4
5. Coconut cut into small pieces – a handful
6. Ghee – 1 tsp
7. Water – 1 1/2 cup


  1. Dry roast the rice flour till light brown on medium heat. (You should be able to put lines with the flour like you do with kolam maavu). 
  2. Dry roast the Karamani for 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Pressure cook the Karamani, mash them coarsely and keep it aside.
  4. In a Kadai, heat the said 1 ½ cups of water with the grated jaggery. 
  5. Once the jaggery dissolves completely, remove from heat. Strain impurities and place it on heat again. Let it start boiling. 
  6. Once the jaggery water starts boiling add the cooked cowpeas/karamani, coconut pieces and cardamom powder and roasted rice flour. Mix well without forming any lumps. 
  7. Add a tsp of ghee and mix well. The whole flour should become a round mass. Remove from heat. Let it cool a little.
  8. Grease idly moulds. Knead the dough a little to make it smooth. 
  9. Make small balls out of this mixture and flatten them. Make a small hole with your finger in the middle. Place in idly moulds and steam for about 10 mins. Once cooked the Adais will have a shiny appearance.

Karadayan adai is ready. Offer to the Almighty with some homemade butter.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Chembu Pulivitta Curry (Spicy Tangy Colocasia Stir Fry)

Chembu Colocasia or taro root is one of my favorite vegetables. I love anything made out of it like Chembu Sambar, Chembu Moru Kootan, Chembu roast etc. Chembu Pulivitta curry is a perfect combination with Molagootal, molagutiam or curd rice. This is another traditional palakkad recipe.

Ingredients                                                         Serves - 4

1.       Chembu/colocasia/taro root/arvi – ½ kg
2.       Tamarind – gooseberry size
3.       Jaggery a little
4.       Turmeric Powder a pinch
5.       Asfoetida – a pinch
6.       Salt to taste

Dry roast and grind

1.       Channa Dal – 1 tbsp
2.       Dhaniya – 1.5 tbsp
3.       Red Chillies – 2 to 3 adjust according to taste

For seasoning

1.       Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
2.       Curry leaves a few
3.       Oil – 3 tsps


Steam the chembu with the skin. Do not overcook.Cool, remove skin, cut them into 1 inch thick pieces and keep aside.
 Soak tamarind in hot water for 10 mins. Squeeze, take a thick extract and keep it aside.
Dry roast channa dal, coriander seeds and red chillies. Cool and grind to a fine powder.
In a Kadai, heat oil, temper it with mustard seeds, once they splutter, add the curry leaves. Then add the chembu, turmeric, asfoetida and salt to taste. Fry for about 7 to 8 minutes. Then add the tamarind extract and little jaggery. Fry this for a few mins or till the tamarind extract is absorbed completely. Take care while stirring, not to mash the vegetable. 
Now add the spice powder and mix well. Let it fry for another 4 to 5 mins. Chembu Pulivtta curry is ready. Serve it as an accompaniment with steaming hot rice and molagootal.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Arachukalaki is a distinctive side dish of Palakkad Iyers. It is a curd based side dish for our mild kootans like Molagootal and Mulagutiam. You could call it maybe a Palakkad Raita. The name arachu kalaki exactly translates to the procedure of how this dish is made: Arachu meaning grind and kalaki meaning mix. This is a really simple dish.
In olden days, seasonal fruits like gooseberries or nellikai in Tamil, mangoes or mangai in Tamil etc would be preserved in brine in large bharanis (big porcelain vessels) for the entire year. Whenever one felt like having a nellikai or mangai – there it was always available. My mother-in-law still follows the tradition. So this winter when the gooseberries were readily available in the market, she bought a Kg of them and preserved it in brine. Today we made arachukalaki out of these preserved gooseberries. So, here’s how arachukalaki is made:

Preserved Nellikai

Ingredients                         (Serves: 3 – 4)

1.       Fresh or Preserved Nellikai/ Gooseberries/Amla – 2 big
2.       Grated Coconut – 2 tblsps
3.       Sour curd – 2 to 3 tblsps
4.       Dried Red Chillies – 3 – 4
5.       Methi seeds – ¼ tsp
6.       Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp k
7.       Curry Leaves a few
8.       Coconut oil – 1 tsp
9.       Salt to taste


Heat a small pan with ½ tsp of oil, fry the methi seeds and red chillies. Deseed the Nellikai or gooseberries. Grind the nellikai pieces, grated coconut, fried, methi seeds and red chillies into a fine paste. Add little sour curd to get a smooth paste. Add salt to taste. Transfer the ground pastes into a bowl. Now, adjust consistency by adding some more curd. Mix well. Arachukalaki should not be very thick like thogayal, it should be like pachadi or raita. Heat a small frying pan with the remaining oil, add the mustard seeds, when the splutter pour it on top of the arachukalaki. Garnish with a few sprigs of curry leaves.
Nellikai Arachukalaki is ready to be served with rice and molagootal. You can also relish the taste of this arachukalaki with idly or dosai.

Note: Arachukalaki can also be prepared with small raw mangoes (Vadu manga or Kanni mangai as it is called in Palakkad. Procedure is the same. Just replace gooseberries with raw mangoes). 
It can be made with Chenai (yam/Suran) also. Remove skin from chenai, cut into small pieces. Rest of the procedure remains the same except that you need to add a little tamarind while grind since chenai does not have a sour taste.
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