Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Karthigai Pori/Nel Pori Urundai

This year Karthigai falls on 5th of December. Karthigai is celebrated by sisters for the welfare of their brothers. Nei Appam, Nel Pori, Aval Pori and Adai are usually prepared and offered as neivedhyam in the evening during Sandhya time. Deepam/Vilakku/Diya are lit and placed all around and inside the house. 

In our house we usually don't make urundais/balls of the pori, the pori is just added to the jaggery syrup and mixed well. But I made them into balls so that it is easy to handle for my kids and is less messier. Try to use Paagu vellam or dark colored vellam. I could'nt find it here and so had to make do with the white jaggery that is available. 

What you’ll need
  1. Nel Pori – 4 heaped cups
  2. Powdered Jaggery – ¾ cup
  3. Water – ¼ cup
  4. Coconut – ¼ cup, cut into small pieces
  5. Cardamom Powder – ¼ tsp
  6. Dry ginger powder/Chukku Podi – ¼ tsp
  7. Ghee – to grease hand

  1. Place the jaggery in a heavy bottomed kadai. Add ¼ cup of water and heat the jaggery on medium flame until the jaggery is dissolved completely.
  2. Strain the jaggery syrup for impurities.
  3. Wash the kadai and put it back on heat. Pour the jaggery syrup back into the kadai and heat it on medium flame.
  4. When the syrup starts boiling and frothing, add the coconut pieces and keep stirring.
  5. Keep a small bowl with water, once the syrup starts becoming thick, pour 2 to 3 drops of syrup in the water, you should be able to form a ball and when you put that ball on a plate, it should give a sound. This is “kal pagam”.
  6. Once the syrup reaches the kal pagam, turn off the flame and add the cardamom powder and ginger powder and then add pori to it and mix well.
  7. Transfer to a plate, grease hands with ghee and take a handful of the pori and press tightly in between the two hands and form a ball. Repeat with remaining pori, while the pori is still warm.


  1. The sweetness is just right, you can increase the jaggery to upto 1 cup if you like.
  2. Make sure the syrup reaches the kal pagam, else the pori will settle at the bottom and become soggy.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Vazhaithandu Thayir Pachadi

My kids love anything with yogurt. They prefer yogurt to milk any day. No doubt they like raithas and thayir pachadis. And I find it easier to feed them veggies in this form as they eat it without a fuss. So here is a simple yet delicious and wholesome recipe and a great way to sneak in some vazhathandu. We usually prepare Molagootal to go with thayir pachadi, but you can have it with rice and sambar too.

What you’ll need
  1. Vazhaithandu – 1 cup, finely chopped
  2. Fresh Thick Curd/Yougurt – 1.5 cup
  3. Salt to taste

To grind
  1. Fresh Scraped Coconut – ¼ cup
  2. Green Chillies – 1 or 2
  3. Mustard Seeds – 1/8th tsp

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

  1. Finely chop the vazhathandu and put in a bowl of water with a spoon of buttermilk/curd until use.
  2. Drain the vazhathandu pieces from the buttermilk water, squeeze and place in a small vessel. Add salt and toss well. No need to add water.
  3. Pressure cook it for 3 whistles. I placed it in a small vessel along with the dal and rice. Else you can add little water and cook it on stove top too.
  4. Grind the coconut, green chillies and mustard seeds. You can add a little of the curds while grinding. Don’t add water.
  5. Beat the curds well add the ground mixture, cooked vazhathandu and mix well. Check for salt and add accordingly.
  6. Heat a small frying pan with oil, temper with mustard seeds and curry leaves.
  7. Pour over the pachadi.

Vazhathandu pachadi is ready. Serve as an accompaniment with steamed rice and Molagootal.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Murungai Keerai Verum Arisi Adai/Drumstick Leaves Adai

Murungai Keerai/elai or drumstick leaves have a numerous health benefits. You can use it to prepare dishes like Molagootal, thoran or this adai. Cleaning the murungai Keerai definitely is time consuming. Each of the leaves have to be separated from the stem.

Verum Arisi adai can be prepared with many variations. You could add fenugreek seeds, or you could prepare by adding coconut gratings. If you live in parts of the world where you can’t find drumstick leaves easily then you could easily replace it with chopped spinach or methi/fenugreek leaves. Adai with fenugreek leaves is also very flavourful and tastes delicious.

What you’ll need
  1. Idly Rice/Puzhungal Arisi – 2 cups
  2. Murungai Elai/Drumstick Leaves – 1 cup, tightly packed
  3. Salt to taste
  4. Oil for making the adai

  1. Soak the idly rice in water for 4 to 5 hours. Drain and grind to a thick smooth paste.
  2. Add salt to taste and allow it to ferment for 8 to 12 hours.
  3. Before preparing the adai, add the washed drumstick leaves mix well. Add little water and dilute it. The batter should be of regular adai consistency, not very watery.
  4. Heat a tava, pour a ladle full of batter and spread into a slightly thick dosa. Make a hole in the middle and drizzle oil along the sides of the adai.
  5. Cook on medium flame, flip and cook the other side drizzle a spoon of oil. Cook until brown spots appear.

Serve hot with chutney/sambar/molagapodi or even with sugar.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Payaru Mezhukkupuratti

Mezhukkupuratti and moru kootan or rasam is one of my favourite combinations. My kids also like this preparation as it is not spicy. It is very easy to prepare with just a few basic ingredients. But the star of this dish is definitely the aroma of the coconut oil. I have seen some recipes where they use chopped shallots and garlic, but we make it this way, very simple yet flavorful.

What you’ll need
  1. Karamani/Payaru/Yard Long Beans – 4 cups, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  2. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  3. Black Pepper Powder – ¼ tsp
  4. Salt to taste
  5. Coconut Oil – 1 tbsp

  1. Heat a Kadai with coconut oil, add the chopped payaru.
  2. Add turmeric powder and salt to taste. Sprinkle little water, cover and cook on medium heat till the vegetables are done. Stir once in a while.
  3. Remove cover add the black pepper powder and mix well.
  4. Cook uncovered for another 3 to 4 minutes.

Payaru Mezhukkupuratti is ready.

Serve with Mor kootan or rasam and steamed rice.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Karuveppilai Podi / Curry Leaves Powder

It is almost a month since I last posted and I feel happy to be back to blogging. It was an unexpected break.
Today I am sharing a very simple post – Karuveppillai podi or Curry Leaves powder. These kind of powders are a staple in my kitchen. They come in very handy, when you don’t have stock of vegetables or are just plain bored or lazy to cook an elaborate meal. Some steamed rice, a spoon of gingely oil and some spice powder like this with some applam or vadams and satisfying meal is ready in no time.
This version I am sharing today is my MIL's version. I have tried another version with other ingredients, will post that recipe also soon.

What you’ll need
  1. Karuveppillai/ Curry Leaves – 1.5 Cup, tightly packed
  2. Urad Dal – ¼ cup
  3. Kadala Paruppu – 2 tbsp
  4. Dried Red Chillies – 4 to 5
  5. Cumin Seeds/jeera  – 1 tsp
  6. Whole Black Pepper – 1 tsp
  7. Asafoetida – a small piece
  8. Salt to taste
  9. Oil – 1 tsp

  1. Wash and drain the curry leaves and then spread on a kitchen towel until the moisture is absorbed.
  2. Heat a Kadai with a tsp of oil, add the asafoetida and fry till it puffs up.
  3. Then add the Urad dal and fry until golden. Transfer to a plate.
  4. Next fry the Kadala paruppu till golden and transfer to a plate.
  5. Also fry the cumin seeds/jeera and black pepper.
  6. Switch off the heat and add the curry leaves and keep stirring till the leaves are completely dry and make a crackling sound, the leaves should break when you crush with your hands.
  7. Cool and grind everything to a fine powder with salt.
  8. Store in air tight container.

Mix this powder with steamed white rice and a spoon of sesame oil.

  1. You can fry a marble sized ball of tamarind along with the dals and grind.
  2. You can spread the curry leaves on a flat plate and microwave it for 3 to 4 minutes instead of frying in kadai. 
  3. This powder tastes better when on the spicier side, adjust the chillies and pepper accordingly.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Maida Burfi/Maida Cake - Easy Diwali Sweets

Here is my next sweet for this Diwali. This is really a very easy and simple sweet and get ready very quickly. There was a time a my mother used to prepare this sweet every year for Diwali. This was also one of the first sweets I learnt to prepare.  I like to prepare it with the Vanilla essence but you can add even pineapple essence. I have not tried any other flavours. You can add any food color of your choice. I prefer not to add food color. So do try this really easy yet delicious burfi this Diwali.

Yeild – 14 to 15 medium sized pieces

What you'll need
  1. Maida/All Purpose Flour – ¾ cup
  2. Sugar – 1 cup
  3. Ghee, melted  – ¼ cup
  4. Vanilla Essence – few drops

  1. Grease a tray with ghee and set aside.
  2. In a Kadai, add the ghee, once ghee is hot, and maida and fry the maida on medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until the raw smell of the flour disappears. Take care not to burn the maida. Keep aside.
  3. Heat a non stick kadai, add the sugar with ¼ cup water and dissolve the sugar. Heat the sugar syrup until the syrup reaches one string consistency. To test consistency, take a drop of the syrup in between your thumb and index finger and gently bring the fingers apart, you should see a single thread of sugar syrup.
  4. Now, switch off the flame/heat add the essence to the syrup.
  5. Add the fried maida and keep stirring. Keep stirring continuously till the whole mixture comes together as a mass/ball, took me about 5 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a greased plate and flatten the top with a butter paper of with the greased bottom of a flat cup like davara.
  7. Let cool for couple of minutes and then mark the pieces with a  sharp knife.
  8. Cool and remove pieces and store in airtight container.

  1. I added Vanila essence and did not add any color. But you can add any food color of your choice, like yellow color and also change the essence to pineapple or a flavour of your choice. But my personal favourite is Vanilla.
  2. Mix continuously till the mixture leaves the sides of the kadai and comes together as a mass/ball.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Thenkuzhal - Easy Diwali Snacks

Thenkuzhal is one of the easiest murukku varieties and is a must in our house during Diwali and Krishna Jayanthi. It is my kid's favorite too. Usually my mom and MIL prepare the rice flour at home, but I have used the store bought idiyappam flour and it turned out very well. 

What you'll need
  1. Rice Flour/Idiyappam Flour – 2 cup
  2. Urad Dal Flour – ¼ cup
  3. Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
  4. Hing/Asafoetida – generous pinch
  5. Butter – ½ tbsp
  6. Salt to taste
  7. Oil to deep fry

  1. In a wide bowl, take the rice flour, urad dal flour, cumin seeds, hing and salt mix well.  Also add the butter and mix well so that butter is incorporated in the flours.
  2. Now add water little by little and knead into a smooth, slightly loose dough.
  3. Heat a Kadai with oil, for deep frying.
  4. Get the murukku press ready with the plate with 3 plain holes. Place enough dough in the mururkku press.
  5. Squeeze in circles on the back of a ladle.
  6. When the oil is hot enough, test by squeezing a very small piece in the oil, if it floats up immediately then the oil is hot, reduce the flame to medium and slide the squeezed murukkus into the hot oil.
  7. Fry on medium heat till the bubbles are almost stopped.
  8. Drain on a tissue paper, cool and store in air tight container.

  1. While squeezing the thenkuzhal, if you see they are getting cut, then the dough might be tight, add a little more water and make it slightly loose.
  2. Don't add more than the mentioned amount of urad dal flour and butter, that will make the murukku very soft.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Boondi Laddoo - Easy Diwali Sweets

Time is flying. I know it sounds really cliched,  but it feels like yesterday when we were just done with the Navarathri celebrations and now its already time for Diwali. Days have been really very busy and I have not been able to give too much time to my blog. But with Diwali just around the corner, I wanted to post a couple of recipes for the occasion and here is the first one.
Boondi laddoos are a very popular sweet, be it any occasion.  It is fairly simple to make, not much of stirring and wondering whether you reached the correct stage to remove from heat like in the burfis. Though the method may sound daunting, it is quite easy.

Makes about 12 medium sized laddoos

What you'll need
  1. Gramflour/Kadala Maavu/Besan – 1 cup
  2. Water – ½ cup to ¾ cup
  3. Yellow Food Color – few drops (optional)
  4. Oil for deep frying
  5. Sugar –1 ½ cup
  6. Water – ¾ cup
  7. Ghee – 1 tsp
  8. Cashewnuts – about 15 broken into small pieces
  9. Raisins – few
  10. Whole Green Cardamom – 3 to 4
  11. Cloves – 3 to 4

  1. Heat a small frying pan with ghee and fry the cashewnuts, raisins, cloves and cardamom. Keep aside.
  2. Sieve the gramflour and keep it in a wide mouthed vessel.
  3. Add water and make smooth batter of pouring consistency (dosa batter). (Refer my Kara Boondi post for detailed recipe and troubleshooting on how to make boondi)
  4. Add the food color and mix well.
  5. Pour the oil in a kadai and heat it for deep frying.
  6. In the meanwhile prepare the sugar syrup,
  7. Heat a Kadai, add sugar and add water just to immerse the sugar, about ¾ cup.
  8. Let the sugar dissolve completely and come to a boil. The sugar syrup should reach one string consistency.
  9. To test for the one string consistency, just take a little syrup between your index finger and thumb, you should see a single thread.
  10. Give it another boil and switch off the flame.
  11. To make the boondhis, place one of the perforated ladles, a little above the hot oil, pour a ladle of batter on the ladle, let the batter drop by itself, this gives perfectly round boondhis.
  12. Fry on medium heat, turning them once or twice in between.
  13. Fry until 3/4th done, don’t cook till very crisp, scoop out the boondhis and drain on tissue paper.
  14. Wipe the perforated ladle clean, so as no batter is sticking to it, then repeat the 5 to 7, with the remaining batter.
  15. Transfer the fried and drained boondhis to the sugar syrup. And mix well. U can transfer the boondhis to sugar syrup after each batch and give a good mix.
  16. After adding all the boondhis, add the fried nuts, raisins, cloves and cardamom and mix well.
  17. Let this syrup and boodhi become warm, then make laddoos by taking small amount of the boondis in your hand and form into balls. Set aside to set.
  18. Delicious laddoos are ready. These stay fresh for minimum 10 days at room temperature.

  1. Don’t fry the boondis till very crisp then it becomes difficult to form the laddoos.
  2. If you feel that there is too much syrup after adding all the boondhis and finding it difficult to shape the laddoos, then just heat the whole thing for couple of minutes and cool and try again.
  3. You can also add diamond kalkandu, and very little pacha karpooram. I did not add as I didn't have it

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Vazhaithandu Molagootal

Molagootal is a typical Palakkad Iyer fare. It is a mild lentil and vegetable based dish. The most common vegetables used are Ash Gourd, Yam, Pumpkin and Plantain. It is also prepared using other vegetables like Cabbage, Spinach or other greens and Vazhathandu/Plantain Stem. This version made of vazhathandu/plantain stem is one of my favourites. Pair it with a Thogayl or Pachadi and rice and you have a simple, healthy and very delicious meal.

Serves 3 to 4
What you’ll need
  1. Vazhathandu/Plantain Stem – 1 medium sized, finely chopped
  2. Pasi Paruppu – 1/3 cup
  3. Scraped Coconut - ¾ cup
  4. Cumin Seeds/Jeera – 1 tsp
  5. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  6. Salt to taste

  1. Urad Dal – 1 tsp
  2. Dried Red Chilly – 1

  1. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  2. Curry Leaves - few
  3. Coconut Oil – 2 tsp

  1. Finely chop the vazhathandu and put in a bowl of water with a spoon of buttermilk/curd until use. I had 3 cups of the chopped vegetable.
  2. Dry roast the pasi paruppu until a good aroma comes, need not change color. Cool.
  3. Pressure cook the dal along with the vazhathandu, turmeric powder and salt and 1 to 1.5 cup of water, for 2 to 3 whistles.
  4. In the meanwhile, heat a small frying pan with a tsp of oil and roast the urad dal and dried red chilly until the dal turn golden.
  5. Grind this along with the coconut and cumin seeds into a fine paste adding little water.
  6. After opening the cooker, add this ground coconut paste, mix well add water to adjust the consistency, about 1.5 cup of water, check for salt and bring to boil.
  7. Once it starts boiling remove from heat.
  8. Temper with mustard seeds and curry leaves.

Serve with plain rice and a thogayal or pachadi

Monday, September 29, 2014

Pasi Paruppu Sundal/Moong Dal Sundal - Easy Navarathri Sundal Recipes

Already six days have passed since Navarathri started. Hope all of you are enjoying the festivities. I had been wanting to post a few recipes for Navarathri, but nothing seemed to work out. Finally I prepared this sundal today.

The pasi paruppu sundal is one of the easiest ones. It does not require any overnight soaking or pressure cooking. It gets ready in a jiffy. The only thing we need to take care about is that the dal should not get overcooked neither should it remain undercooked. It should be cooked just right.

Serves 2
What you'll need
  1. Pasi Paruppu – ¼ cup
  2. Turmeric Powder – a pinch
  3. Scraped Coconut – 2 tbsp
  4. Ginger – a small piece
  5. Green Chilly – 1
  6. Salt to taste

For Tempering
  1. Coconut oil – 2 tsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  3. Dried Red Chilly – 1
  4. Asafoetida – a generous pinch
  5. Curry Leaves – few

  1. Dry roast the dal for couple of minutes or until a nice aroma comes. Need not change color.
  2. Add water and soak for about 10 minutes.
  3. Drain the water and add about 2 cups of water and bring to boil.
  4. Add turmeric powder and salt.
  5. Once it starts boiling, reduce heat to medium low and keep stirring once  in a while. Always be near and keep an eye on it as it has a tendency to boil over.
  6. Cook until soft but not mushy. Strain the water and set aside.
  7. In the meanwhile, pulse the coconut, ginger and green chilly. They need to get crushed. Do not add water.
  8. Heat a kadai with oil, temper with mustard seeds, red chilly.
  9. Add the curry leaves and asafoetida.
  10. Next add the cooked dal and give a quick stir.
  11. Finally add the coconut and stir again.
  12. Remove from heat.

Healthy and delicious sundal is ready.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Vazhaipoo Paruppu Usili

I usually don't have any draft or pending posts. I always end up, cooking, clicking and posting. Somehow I had missed this post, which has been lying in my drafts for more than a year now. Infact, prepared it before leaving India. I have not been able to find this veggie after coming here to Amsterdam.
Vazhaipoo is one of my favorites, and this usili is a family favorite. Though the cleaning of this takes a lot of time, but the end result is really good and very healthy too.
Usili paired with mor kootan and rasam is one of the best combos and is loved by all at home.

What you'll need
  1. Vazhaipoo – 1 medium sized
  2. Toor Dal – 2 tbsp
  3. Channa Dal/Kadala Paruppu – 2 tbsp
  4. Dried Red Chilly – 1
  5. Asafoetida – a generous pinch
  6. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  7. Oil – 3 tsp
  8. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  9. Broken Urad Dal – ½ tsp
  10. Curry Leaves – few

  1. Soak the dals and the dried red chillies for 30 to 45 minutes.
  2. Clean the Vazhaipoo, and finely chop the banana flower. Put the chopped vazhaipoo, in diluted buttermilk until use.
  3. Wash well and then drain the water completely. Place the chopped vazhaipoo in a cooker vessel. Add salt, and turmeric powder and toss well. Don’t add any water in the vegetable.
  4. Cover the vessel and place the vessel in the pressure cooker cook for 2 to 3 whistles.
  5. In the meanwhile, drain the dals and grind it coarsely along with red chilly, salt, curry leaves and asafoetida.
  6. Grease the idly mould, and pat the ground dal paste, in the idly mould grooves.
  7. Steam the dals, just like you do for idly for 7 to 8 minutes.
  8. Remove and allow to cool. Once cooled, crumble the steamed dal and place in a mixie jar and just give a quick pulse so that it resembles a coarse powder.
  9. Heat a Kadai with oil, splutter with mustard seeds and urad dal. Add curry  and the cooked vazhaipoo. (Strain the vazhaipoo if you feel there is lot of water)
  10. Fry this for about 4 to 5 minutes. Then add the powdered dal and fry for another 5 to 6 minutes on medium heat. Keep stirring after adding the dal.

Serve hot with rice and mor kootan and rasam.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Simit - Turkish Bread

This month the Baking Partner's challenge was this Turkish sesame ring bread. The bread was slightly hard on the outside and soft inside with the lovely crunch from the sesame seeds. 

Recipe adapted from here
Makes - 6 pieces
What you'll need
  1. Bread Flour/All Purpose Flour – 3.5 cup
  2. Instant Yeast – 2 tsp
  3. Sugar – a pinch
  4. Salt – 1 ¼ tsp
  5. Lukewarm Water – 1 cup + 2 tbsp
  6. Molasses/Jaggery/Brown Sugar – 2 tbsp dissolved in ½ cup water
  7. White Sesame Seeds – about 2 cup

  1. In a wide bowl, take the flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Mix well with hands.
  2. Now add the water and bring the dough together.
  3. Now knead the dough for about 10 minutes to form smooth non sticky dough.
  4. Cover with a cling film or a kitchen towel and rest for about an hour or until the dough has risen to double its size.
  5. Punch the dough and knead again for few minutes.
  6. Divide the dough into 12 equal sized balls.
  7. Now, roll out one of the balls into a long cylindrical shape.
  8. Similarly roll another ball the same way into a long cylindrical shape.
  9. Now, hold the two cylindrical shape logs and twist them, and make them into a circle. 
  10. Dip the prepared circles in the molasses water and coat with sesame seeds.
  11. Place on prepared baking tray. Repeat the same with other balls.
  12. Pre – Heat the oven to 230C and bake the bread for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top gets brown.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Vegetable Strudel

This month International Food Challenge completes 1 year, so as an anniversary post, Saraswathi, suggested that we try one of the recipes from any of the previous months. I decided to try these strudels, which was suggested by Birju.
Typically a strudel, is a layered pastry with a sweet filling, the most common being apples. Strudel is often associated with the Austrian Cuisine. My family always prefers savoury bakes to sweet and so I chose to go with the savory strudel. It is quite easy to put together and tastes delicious.

Adapted from The Recipe File
What you'll need
For the filling
  1. Carrot – 1 medium, chopped
  2. Cabbage – 1 cup, chopped
  3. Red or Green Bell Pepper – chopped
  4. Onion – 1 Medium, chopped
  5. Garlic – 2 cloves
  6. Mozzarella Cheese – ½ cup, grated
  7. Black Pepper Powder – ½ tsp
  8. Dried Basil – ¼ tsp
  9. Salt to taste
  10. Olive Oil – 2 tsp

For the outer covering
  1. Phyllo Sheets – 6
  2. Melted Butter – about 30 gm

  1. Follow the package instructions and thaw the phyllo sheets. Keep them covered to avoid drying.
  2. Heat a pan with oil, add the chopped onions and minced garlic, sauté until the onion turn translucent.
  3. Now add the cabbage and carrots and sauté for 4 to 5 mins.
  4. Finally add the bell peppers, salt, black pepper powder and dried basil, mix well and sauté for another 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Add the grated cheese and give it a mix.
  7. Pre- heat the oven to 190C.
  8. On a work surface, lay out one of the phyllo sheets, brush  with all over with melted butter.
  9. Place the next phyllo sheet over this and brush the top with butter. Continue this for all the 6 phyllo sheets.
  10. Now place the prepared vegetable filling all over the phyllo sheets, leaving a 1 inch space on all four sides.
  11. Roll the sheets tightly along the shorter side. Place this over a baking tray with the seam side down.
  12. Now with a sharp knife make 3 or 4 cuts on the top of the roll.
  13. Brush the top with butter and bake for at 25 to 30 minutes or until the top turns golden brown.
  14. Remove from the oven.
  15. Cool a little and then cut along the previously made cuts. Serve warm.

You can use the vegetables of your choice.

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