Pickles & Thokku.

Tomato Thokku (Pickled Tomatoes)

Tomato Thokku is a form of pickle (read delicacy) that`s so often made in my home…but then one never gets enough of it. Its such a versatile side, you can have it with idli, dosa, upma,curd rice, parathas, bread, tortillas and virtually anything else you can think of. Whenever tomatoes are down to 99c a pound, or If I have a few getting ripe, tomato thokku it is…

Here it goes, for the benefit of the others…


15 Medium Sized Tomatoes.

2 Tsp Fenugreek

2 Tsp Salt

3 Tsp Red Chilli Powder


1/2 cup of Concentrated Tamarind Extract.

Pinch of Turmeric.

1 Tbsp of Jaggery.


Mustard seeds, Curry Leaves.


  • Wash the tomatoes, dry them by wiping them  and chop them in to tiny pieces.
  • Dry roast the fenugreek/venthayam on a slow flame until you get the aroma. Its very important that its roasted on a medium low flame as this slow release of flavour adds to the taste. cool it and powder it well in the mixer.
  • Take a heavy bottomed pan and pour in 8-9 spoons of oil, add mustard and when it starts to splutter, add curry leaves and hing.
  • Quickly add the tomatoes, hing, salt, turmeric, red chilli powder and the tamarind extract.
  • Stir in the ground venthayam/fenugreek and jaggery  also in to the pan.
  • Allow the tomatoes to cook and simmer on a medium-low flame with constant stirring so that it does not stick to the bottom.
  • Keep on stirring until the oil seperates from the “thokku”…this should approximately take about 40-45 minutes.
  • Switch off the stove and allow to cool for 2-3 hours and store in an airtight glass jar.
  • Enjoy with Rotis, Parathas, Idlis, Doasas, Venn Pongal or yummy curd rice.

Cakes / Pastries / Cookies/ Bread/Muffins.

Baklava…Pastry filled with nuts and sweetened with honey.

Delicious Baklava.
Delicious Baklava.

Baklava is a rich, sweet pastry featured in many cuisines of turkish, persian and arab countries. It is a pastry made of layers of phyllo dough filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey. Many other Middle Eastern nations have pastries which are very similar, thanks to a long running tradition of sweet desserts which feature flaky, delicate pastry. While baklava was originally considered a food for the wealthy, today it can be found in many pastry shops and Greek specialty stores all over the world. The first time ever that I had Baklava was in a quaint Mediterranean restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona. I bit in to the delicacy and found my mouth bursting with the flakiness of the phyllo dough, the crunchiness from the nuts,  all coming together with the sweetness of the honey dripping from it. I was awed completely by the experience. The next time around that I remember was in the summer of 2008, at The Chateau on the Lake, resort spa in Branson, Missouri. This  amazing resort has a lovely patio overlooking the scenic Table Rock Lake and we had this delectable pastry right there and suddenly it was so beautiful all around me…

My inspiration of the twist on the baklava, is from the way we make “Modhakas” and steam them…and of course from Giada…Here they are for you to try and taste…


Walnuts          – 1/4 cup.

Almonds         – 1/4 cup.

Raisins             – 1/4 cup.

Coconut            – 1/8 cup.

Sugar                  – 2 Tbsp.

Cinnamon         – Powdered a pinch.(Optional

Melted Butter- 1/2 a stick.

Vanilla Essence – 1 tsp.


Phyllo Dough       – 6 sheets.

Muffin Pans


  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Place the walnuts, almonds, raisins, coconut, sugar and cinnamon in a mixer and pulse well so it grinds well. Transfer to a bowl and add 2 tbsp of melted butter and honey and stir it to combine in to a homogeneous mixture.
  • Take the phyllo dough very carefully as they are extremely thin.Use a dry working surface and spread out one sheet of the dough. Slowly brush this sheet with butter and place the second sheet on the face of the first and lightly press it so they stick together. Repeat with brushing the melted butter on the second phyllo dough and slowly place the third sheet on the second. Care should be taken while working with phyllo dough as they tear very easily. Continue until all the 6 sheets are pressed and stacked  firmly on one another.
  • Now slowly slice this stack of sheets with knife or scissors   in to 12  pieces.
  • You could make little balls from the filling so it makes the process much more simpler.
  • Use the smaller pieces of phyllo, fill it with the nut-honey ball and close it as you would do a little dumpling and twist it, and place it in the muffin compartment.
  • Phyllo Dough filled with Honey-Nut Mixture.
    Phyllo Dough filled with Honey-Nut Mixture.
  • Use the melted butter to seal the edges if you are having difficulty closing the  pastry.
  • Continue and complete all the 12 pieces and place them on a muffin pan.
  • Baklava baked golden...
    Baklava baked golden...
  • Bake for 15-20 mins or until all the baklavas are golden colour.
  • Cool and serve dripping with honey.
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(Optionally, the honey-nut mixture could be flavoured with orange zest and orange essence instead of vanilla and cinnamon for a warm citrus twist and served with Orange Blossom Honey).


12 Days of Christmas – Indian Style.

I realise that this post is a month late coming…but I could not contain myself till `09 Christmas to place it here.  My daughter`s school recital this year had all the teachers perform for 12 Days of Christmas….I guess its almost like a recount of the singer`s 12 days to christmas and what he/she  did…Typically, it`s all over Youtube modified to so many flavours…Indian, Hawaiian, Chinese, Mexican and the like. My cousin S, showed this to me when I visited her during christmas and I fell for it. Here are the lyrics for the song and the link to this video itself!!! ENJOY!!!

On the ________ day of Christmas my true love gave to me –
01 A totally insufficent dowry
02 Two nosy in-laws
03 Three buttered chicken
04 Four Hare Krishnas
05 Five Indian gangs (5 minutes of fame on the 12th day)
06 Six IT graduates
07 Seven eleven workers
08 Eight Hollywood films
09 Nine telemarketers
10 Ten-minute yoga
11 Eleven-syllable names
12 Twelve cricket ball tamperers