Thursday, September 27, 2012

Kayatholi Thoran / Plantain Peel Stir Fry

Nendrankai Chips, Sharkarapuratti, Koorkai, Pappadam ….Even the thought of these Kerala specialties brings back fond memories of my late grandfather. I have already mentioned this in one of my earlier posts, but still, while I am writing this post, I am once again reminded of him. He was a person of great courage, determination and will power. He also loved his food. He himself was a great cook and trained my grandmother to cook according to his likings. My grandmother would dutifully prepare all his favorites and serve it to him hot and fresh with lots of love.

Every year my grandfather visits Puthucode our Native place in Kerala during Navarathri and on his return he would bring with him all his Kerala favorites which were not so easily available in Chennai in those days. These would include Nendran Kai Chips, Sharakarapuratti, Pappadam, Koorkai, Chembu. He would not leave the Nendran Kai thol or Peel as well. And with the peel would be prepared this yummy thoran.

It’s been ages since I had this thoran. Last month, when my in-laws, returned from their trip to Sabari Mala, they got a bag of these plantain peels. I was so glad to see it and prepared the thoran immediately. It was a yummy and nostalgic treat.

Also I realized that we need not go to Kerala for getting the peels, just check with your neighbourhood chips store that fry and sell hot and fresh chips. They will gladly part with the peel which just finds its way into the bins.

What you’ll need
  1. Raw Plantain Peels – 3 cups, finely chopped
  2. Red Cow Peas/ Karamani – ¾ cup
  3. Buttermilk – 2 tbsp
  4. Fresh Scraped Coconut – ½ cup
  5. Green Chilly – 1
  6. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  7. Salt to taste

For tempering
  1. Coconut Oil – 1 tbsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  3. Spilt Urad Dal – ½ tsp
  4. Broken Dry Red Chilly – 1 or 2
  5. Curry Leaves – few sprigs

  1. Soak the red cow peas in water for 30 minutes. Rinse and set aside.
  2. Put the plantain peels in water and allow it to stand for about 10 to 15 minutes. Wash and rinse well.
  3. Finely chop the plantain peels and put it a bowl of water in which 2 tbsp of buttermilk is added.
  4. Before cooking, wash and rinse the pieces well.
  5. In a bowl, first add the cow peas, then add the finely chopped plantain peels.
  6. Add turmeric powder and about ½ cup of water.
  7. Pressure cook this for 3 whistles.
  8. After the pressure is released, remove from cooker, strain the water from the cooked pieces.
  9. Grind, coconut and green chillies coarsely without adding water.
  10. Heat a Kadai with oil, splutter mustard seeds and then add the urad dal and red chillies. Also add the curry leaves.
  11. Next add the cooked peels and cow peas, salt to taste and stir well.
  12. Let this get sautéed on medium flame for 6 to 7 minutes.
  13. Add the ground coconut and mix well. Cook for another  2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Serve as an accompaniment with White rice and Sambar, or Mor Kootan or even with a simple rasam.

Linking to Let's Cook - Legumes and Lentils

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tawa Pulao - A Popular Mumbai Street Food

One of the greatest advantages of being an active food blogger is that you get to know some of the dishes that are becoming popular and is the “in thing”. Tawa Pulao is one such dish, which I was introduced to through the blog world.

Tawa Pulao is a popular Mumbai street food. The recipe sounded and looked very delicious and finally I was tempted to try out my version, which is adapted from Chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s. Believe me the first time I tried it, not just me but the entire household, including the maid just loved it and I am hooked on to this simple, quick and really delicious rice ever since. The secret ingredient is the humble Pav Bhaji Masala. It lends a unique flavor to this rice.

Serves 2

What you’ll need
  1. Basmathi Rice – 1 cup
  2. Onions – 2 Medium, chopped
  3. Tomato – 3 Medium, chopped
  4. Capsicum – 1 small, chopped
  5. Green Chilly -1 slit
  6. Garlic – 2 cloves, finely chopped
  7. Red Chilly Powder – ½ tsp
  8. Pav Bhaji Masala – 1 tbsp
  9. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  10. Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
  11. Butter – 2 tbsp
  12. Fresh Coriander Leaves – 2 tsp finely chopped
  13. Salt to taste

  1. Wash and soak the basmathi rice for 20 minutes. Cook it for 3 whistles with 2 cups of water.
  2. Heat a Kadai with butter. Add the cumin seeds.
  3. Now add chopped onions, slit green chillies and garlic. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Next add capsicum and sauté for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Now add tomatoes, and turmeric powder and fry till the tomatoes become soft and mushy.
  6. Add red chilly powder, and pav bhaji masala. Fry for a minute.
  7. Now add the cooked, cooled rice and salt to taste. Stir on medium flame until everything blends well.
  8. Check seasoning and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

That’s it simple and delicious tawa pulao is ready. Serve it along with a raita of your choice.

  1. You can add veggies like green peas, boiled and cubed potatoes and carrots as well and make it more healthier. (Since I was out of any of the above veggies, I went ahead and prepared it with whatever was available)
  2. Increase or decrease the spice level as per your taste.
  3. A dash of lemon juice can be added at the end, but I prefer not to, since the tomatoes are tangy enough. If adding lemon juice, reduce the number of tomatoes to 2.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ulundu Kozhukattai

Preparations for Ganesh Chathurthi must have started in full swing in most parts of the country. Both in Bangalore and Hyderabad, huge idols of Ganesha can be seen adorning almost all the streets. You can see the Lord depicted in different forms. You can find him posing with a cricket bat or kicking a foot ball. You might also find him playing various musical instruments or in a dance posture. Don’t be surprised if you find him in some yoga postures as well! I love collecting idols of Ganesha in different forms and I do have a small collection. But since we shifted to this new apartment, I have not been able to take out my Ganeshas and put them on display :)

As we all know from the many mythological stories, that Ganesha loves to eat, So it is a practice to offer a wide array of offerings on the Ganesh Chathurthi, his favorite being the Modak or Poorna Kozhukattai. Along with this savory kozhukattais, nei appam, idlis, Chakkara Pongal, Vadai etc are also prepared.

I have already posted kozhukattais with 2 different sweet fillings. Today I am sharing a savory one.

15 to 16 medium sized Kozhukattais

What you'll need

For the outer covering
  1. Rice Flour/Idiyappam Flour – 1 cup
  2. Water – 1 cup +1/4 cup use only if required
  3. Salt – a pinch
  4. Sesame oil – 1 tsp + little more for greasing your palms

For the filling
  1. White Urad Dal – ½ cup
  2. Fresh Scraped Coconut – ½ cup
  3. Green Chillies – 2
  4. Curry Leaves – few sprigs
  5. Oil – 2 tsp
  6. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  7. Asafoetida – a generous pinch
  8. Salt to taste

  1. Wash and soak the urad dal for 20 minutes. Discard the water, and rinse in fresh water again. Drain completely.
  2. Grind this along with green chillies and curry leaves into a very coarse paste, without adding any water.
  3. Transfer into a bowl, add salt and mix well.
  4. Grease an idli mould, take a little of the ground dal paste and pat it into the groves.
  5. Steam this for 6 to 7 minutes or till a knife inserted comes out clean.
  6. Let this cool. Remove from mould and pulse in a mixer till the dal resembles a coarse powder.
  7. Heat a non stick frying pan with oil, splutter mustard seeds and add a generous pinch of asafoetida.
  8. Now add the dal powder and scraped coconut and stir well for 5 to 6 minutes.
  9. Cool and transfer into a bowl. Shape into small oblong shaped balls.
  10. Take the idiyappam flour in a bowl. Add a pinch of salt and mix well.
  11. Bring 1 cup of water to boil add the oil.
  12. Now add the hot water, about ½ cup at a time and mix well with a wooden spatula. Set aside to cool slightly. Knead into smooth dough with your hands while still warm. Do not allow the mixture to get too cold, start kneading when you can handle the mixture with your hands.
  13. Grease your palms and pinch out small lemon sized balls out of the dough. Flatten the dough in your palms and place a ball of prepared filling in the center.  Fold into half to form crescent shape and seal the edges. Prepare more kozhukattais using the remaining dough and filling.
  14. Heat a steamer, you can also use the idli stand. Place the kozhukattais one by one without touching each other and steam for 10 minutes or until the outer layer is shiny.

While making the outer layer, add water little by little once the dough seems to comes together stop adding water. Cool and knead with hands. Add drops of hot water if required later. Keep the dough covered till the filling is ready.

Linking this to Festive Food Event - Ganesh Chathurthi

Also Linking to Let's Party Prasadam Special, Also linking to Healthy Diet: Steamed Food hosted by Jaleela.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dal Palak

Blessed are mothers, whose children eat at least one wholesome meal a day without fuss. That way, I have no problem with my younger one, she in fact loves her veggies and dals. Every day, while I  am still preparing the vegetable for the day, my younger one will come into the kitchen, pick up a cup and ask for her share of veggies. So that way I am really happy. Hope she continues this healthy eating habit. You never know when children’s taste buds take a turn.

But my elder one….She loves paneer paneer and paneer! She is happy to have paneer dishes everyday. And she just doesn’t seem to like her greens or dals. Making her eat paruppu sadam is really a demanding task. The other day, when I made Dal fry, I decided to mix it with rice and give it to her and she gladly finished the whole bowl. That’s when I realized that she needed more flavour and tang in the dal rather than the plain paruppu. Anyways, since that day, I make it a point to add a couple of tomatoes and give an aromatic tadka and dress up the plain old paruppu. This way it appeals to my lil ones palates. I also tried combining veggies like carrots, potatoes, green peas etc with the dal and both my kids enjoy having both the veggies and dal in this form. This Palak dal is absolutely the best way to feed my kids with some greens. How do you trick your children into eating something healthy and nutritious?

What you’ll need
  1. Tuar Dal – ½ cup
  2. Moong Dal – ¼ cup
  3. Spinach/Palak – 1 Big Bunch
  4. Green Chillies – 2 or 3
  5. Ginger – 1 Inch Piece
  6. Garlic – 2 Cloves
  7. Onion – 1 Medium
  8. Tomato – 2 or 3 Medium
  9. Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
  10. Salt to taste
  11. Coriander Leaves – for Garnishing

For Tempering
  1. Oil/Ghee – 1 tbsp
  2. Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
  3. Dried Red Chilly – 1

  1. Wash and soak both dals for 15 to 20 minutes. The rinse again and cook in fresh water for 3 whistles or till the dals are cooked well and mushy.
  2. Chop onion, garlic, tomatoes, and spinach. Grate ginger. Slit green chillies.
  3. Heat a Kadai with oil or ghee. Add cumin seeds and dried red chilly.
  4. Add chopped onions, ginger, garlic, green chillies and turmeric powder one after the other.
  5. Saute till the onions turn translucent.
  6. Now add chopped tomatoes and fry till soft and mushy.
  7. Add the chopped spinach and fry till the spinach has wilted completely and the moisture is absorbed.
  8. Mash the cooked dal well and add it to the above mixture. Add salt to taste.
  9. Add about 2 cups of water. Adjust water according to your required consistency.
  10. Simmer for 5 to 6 minutes.

Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with warm rotis or plain rice.


You can add more spinach if you desire.
You can use only tuar dal or only moong dal.
Adjust the quantity of water according to your preference as some people like their dal to be thin and runny while others like it thick.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Kande Pohe

Kande pohe is a popular Maharashtrian breakfast recipe which literally translates to onion rice flakes. Ever since I remember, my mom used to make aval in this style only and I simply love it. It is one of my favourites. But, what did I have in store, after my marriage? Yes you guessed it right; it was one of the very few dishes which my hubby disliked. Not that he won’t touch it if I prepare it, but he never relishes it. He always feels it is too dry. So I prepare it on days he is eating out or when he is touring.

Traditionally, fennel seeds are not added in pohe, but once while making, I experimented by adding it and I simply loved its flavour. So adding fennel is purely your choice, but do try it once. Also the highlight of this recipe is definitely the squeeze of lemon juice, but since I don’t like it that way, I usually remove some for myself and then add the lemon juice for others J You could add potatoes and green peas as well while preparing this recipe.

What you’ll need
  1. Poha/Aval/Flattened Rice Flakes – 2 cups
  2. Onion – 3 medium sized
  3. Green Chillies – 2
  4. Peanuts – 2 handfuls
  5. Cumin Seeds – ½ tsp
  6. Fennel Seeds – ½ tsp
  7. Juice of ½ a lemon
  8. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  9. Sugar – 1 tsp
  10. Salt to taste
  11. Curry Leaves – few sprigs
  12. Coriander Leaves – 1 tbsp, finely chopped
  13. Oil – 2 to 3 tbsp

  1. Chop the onions and green chillies.
  2. Take the rice flakes in a sieve, and wash it well. Allow to drain.
  3. Heat a Kadai with oil. Temper with cumin and fennel seeds. Also add the curry leaves.
  4. Next add the peanuts and fry till the outer skin gets brown.
  5. Add in the green chillies and onions and turmeric powder. Fry well till the onions start browning.
  6. Now add the drained rice flakes, sugar and salt to taste. Mix well on medium heat till everything gets thoroughly mixed.
  7. Remove from heat. Add a dash of lemon juice and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
  8. Serve hot.


If using Thick variety Aval, wash and soak in water for 5 minutes. Keep the level of water just at the level of the Aval.
You can add cubed potatoes and fresh or frozen green peas too.
Adding fennel is completely optional, but it does give a wonderful flavor.
You could also add a tbsp of fresh scraped coconut as garnish, but I usually skip this.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Show Me Your HITS - Event Announcement

Hello Friends,

I am glad to host this month’s Show me your HITS, an event started by Sangee of Spicy Treats. Thanks a lot Sangee for giving me the opportunity to host this wonderful event.
The theme for this month is greens. Greens are a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. It is recommended that we have a small portion of greens at least once in two days. At the same time we know how difficult it is to feeds greens to our little ones. Cook up something interesting and healthy using any kind of greens from Spinach to coriander, so that kids and adults can both enjoy the benefits of these nutritious green leaves.

Now to the rules:
  1. The event runs from September 1st to Sept 30th 2012.
  2. Cook any healthy recipe from any course or cuisine using "Greens" but vegetarian dishes only.
  3. Can use any kind of greens in any form.
  4. Can use any kind of greens in any form.
  5.  Use of logo is appreciated as it helps spread the word.
  6.  Link your entries to this announcement page and to Sangee’s event announcement page. Linking your recipes to both the pages is mandatory.
  7.  Only 2 Archived entries are accepted as long as they are linked with both announcements.
  8. Multiple New Entries are accepted.
  9. Send in your entries to with the sub: Show me your HITS – Greens before 30th Sept 2012.

 Looking forward to all your healthy and interesting recipes.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Poorna Kozhukattai

While growing up, Ganesh Chathurthi, meant preparing poornam kozhukattais and ulundu kozhukattais. These two were the only two offerings prepared. We have an ancestral  idol of Lord Ganesh, for which my grandparents used to perform special pooja on this day. There was no tradition of buying clay idols of Ganesha or preparing a vast spread of offerings. The pooja was short, simple and sweet. I and my brother used to wait impatiently for my grandparents to finish the pooja to grab the kozhukattais.

After marriage the scene changed quite a bit. My MIL, prepared a minimum of 3 to 4 varieties of kozhukattais. Apart from the kozhukattais, she also prepared many other offerings like Sundal, Paccha Arisi idly, Neiappam, Ellu Urundai, Chakkarai Pongal and Vadai. She also followed the custom of buying a clay idol of Ganesha and doing pooja for it. I enjoy doing the shopping for Ganesh chathurthi, selecting the best Ganesh with a nice colourful umberalla, getting the Erukumpoo Maalai, Arugam pullu, guavas, custard apples etc etc. Looking forward to all the fun 
this Chathurthi also.

Makes about 15 medium sized kozhukattais

What you'll need
For the filling
  1. Scraped Fresh Coconut – 1 cup
  2. Powdered Jaggery – 1 cup
  3. Cardamom – 3 to 4
  4. Ghee – 1 tsp

For outer covering
  1. Rice Flour/Idiyappam flour – 1 cup
  2. Water – 1 cup + 1/4 use only if required
  3. Salt – a pinch
  4. Coconut oil/ Sesame oil – 2 tsp + a little for greasing

  1. Place a Kadai on heat. Add the powdered jaggery and dissolve it using ¼ cup of water.
  2. Strain the jaggery syrup for impurities. Wash the kadai and pour the syrup back into the kadai.
  3. Heat it on medium flame for 5 to 6 minutes stirring once in a while. Let the syrup form a soft ball consistency. To check for consistency, add a drop of the syrup in a bowl of water and try to gather it and form a ball with you fingers.
  4. Once the soft ball consistency has reached, add the scraped coconut and stir continuously for 3 to 4 minutes or until all the moisture has almost evaporated and the whole this starts coming together as a mass.
  5. Add the powdered cardamom and a teaspoon of ghee mix well and keep aside.
  6. Cool and make into small balls.
  7. Take the idiyappam flour in a bowl. Add a pinch of salt and mix well.
  8. Bring 1 ½ cups of water to boil add the oil.
  9. Now add about 1 cup of hot water to the flour and mix well with a wooden spatula.
  10. Add more water if required and knead into a smooth dough
  11. Grease your palms and pinch out small lemon sized balls out of the dough. Flatten the dough in your palms and place a ball of jaggery coconut filling in the center. Gather the edges and seal the filling forming a peak at the top. (just like you would do for the stuffed paratha). Prepare more kozhukattais using the remaining dough and filling.
  12. Heat a steamer, you can also use the idli stand. Place the kozhukattais one by one without touching each other and steam for 10 minutes or until the outer layer is shiny.

  1. Always keep a little extra hot water and use only if required.
  2. Keep the rice flour dough covered so that it doesn’t dry up.
  3. While making the filling if you wait for the soft ball consistency to form, you won’t have to stir for a long time after adding the coconut thereby saving time. But remember to add in the soft ball consistency.
  4. Do not stir for a very long time after adding the coconut, as the mixture tightens a little on cooling and will become very hard and rubbery if stirred for a long time.

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