No Need of Onions!!! · Poriyals / Kootu Varieties.

Ten Minute Healthy Cucumber Kootu.

Ten Minute Healthy Cucumber Kootu.
Ten Minute Healthy Cucumber Kootu.

I guess this Kootu is built on the lines of the Kosumalli.  The only difference is that this quick preparation, the moong dal is cooked over the stove top. This quick kootu can be used as a side for any sambar or vethal kuzhambu and also as a side for rotis and phulkas. Cucumbers are a water based vegetable and hence a diuritic and  rich in vitamins. It gives a feeling of being filled and is widely used by people on diets. In my opinion, the cucumber is a versatile fruit that is tasty eaten in any form. Its used in salads, pickled in vinegar, in curries, in south indian cooking, and even as a thirst quencher.

This is an excellent recipe for people looking to cut calories as this is filling and wholesome, with no coconut, but contains cucumber, and moong dal which has lesser carbs than toor dhal or bengal gram. This is also an excellent recipe for diabetics as with parathas, it quenches the dryness and is filling.


2 cucumbers peeled and diced.

1/2 cup of moong dal.




Cialntro to garnish.


Mustard, Curry Leaves, Hing.


  • In a kadai, add a spoon of oil and when it heats, add the mustard and curry leaves and hing. Now immediately add the washed and cleaned moong dal.
  • Pour in 1/2 cup of water add salt for the moong dal and turmeric .
  • Allow the moong dal to cook in the water. If you feel that the water is used up and the moong is not yet cooked, feel free to add another 1/4 cup more.
  • When the moong dal is cooked well, simply add the chopped raw cucumber pieces.
  • Add sufficient salt and mix well to get desired consistency and switch off the heat.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with Parathas or Vengaya Sambar or Vethal Kuzhambu.
No Need of Onions!!! · Poriyals / Kootu Varieties.

Kovakkai Curry

Kovakkai Curry
Kovakkai Curry

This was one of  my sister S`s favourite sides. She always used to like it when mami made kovakkai fry. One of the best combos for Kovakkai Fry was to have it with spicy Morkuzhambu. Kovakkai I have heard  is good for health as its rich in Vitamin A and also in fibre. Somehow my mom was never too thrilled with Kovakkai as a vegetable as its only way of cooking it is as a fry, which in itself is not very healthy. Kovakkai has to be bought fresh and the only way I know that its not too good that when cut, it has little pinkish tinges. I never keep it in the refridgerator for too long when I buy it in the stores here as the water sprayed on the vegetables in the stores is not too good for them to stay fresh.


1 pound of Kovakkai

1 spoon of red chilli powder.

1/2 spoon of sambar powder.

A pinch of turmeric powder.



Mustard, Broken Urad Dhal, Curry Leaves.


  • Slice the kovakkai vertically or else cut them in to cross sectional circles.
  • Allow them to dry out for a few minutes before lighting up the stove. Meanwhile sprinkle the kovakkais with the red chilli powder and hing.
  • Switch on the stove and pour 3 spoons of oil on the kadai. Allow to heat for a few minutes and then add the urad dhal and mustard seeds and when they splutter the curry leaves and hing.
  • Immediately add the chopped kovakkai and turmeric and salt.  Mix well and then add the sambar powder.
  • Sprinkle a little water to aid in cooking. Keep stirring so it doesnt catch the bottom of the kadai.
  • Add oil whenever you feel that the vegetables are cracking up on the heat.
  • Switch off when done and serve with Morkuzhambu or Vengaya Sambar.
Sambar / Rasam / Kuzhambu Varieties.

Vengaya Sambar (Onions sauted and boiled in tamarind gravy with ground coconut spices)

Delicious Vengaya Sambar.
Delicious Vengaya Sambar.

Vengaya Sambar or Onion Sambar is the most delicious of all the sambar varieties. It`s in fact the unwritten favourite of all the kids in every tamil household. Vengaya sambar and Urulai Fry would probably be the most cooked combination, for a lazy sunday morning brunch. This is the variety that is ground with coconut and roasted spices and then simmered till done.


1 1/2 cups of Tamarind Water

20 – 22 shallots or baby onions available in Indian Stores.

1/2 cup of cooked toor dhal.


Salt to taste.

Curry leaves

1 Tsp Mustard.

A small piece of ginger.

To Fry in Ghee:

2 Tsp of Dhania

4  Red Chillies

1/2 Tsp Venthayam/ Methi Seeds.

1 tsp Bengal Gram.

1/3 Cup of fresh dessicated coconut.

Spices for roasting.
Spices for roasting.


  • Roast the dhania, methi seeds and red chillies in a spoon of ghee. The roasting should be done on a medium low flame until you get the aroma of the spices that are roasted.
  • In a kadai, add a spoon of ghee and a spoon of oil and when hot, add mustard, curry leaves and the baby onions. Allow to saute well and to slightly brown a little.
  • Grind the roasted spices along with coconut, about 4 browned onions, and a small piece of ginger and a little water to get a smooth paste. Set this aside.
  • Now add the tamarind water, salt, hing, turmeric and curry leaves and allow to simmer on a medium flame.
  • After about fifteen to twenty minutes when the tamarind water is slightly reduced and the raw smell is gone, add the ground paste and the mashed cooked toor dhal to the simmering kadai.
  • Mix well and add a little water to adjust the consistency of the sambar.
  • Allow to boil again and when done, switch off the stove and add a dash of chopped cilantro leaves.
  • Serve steaming hot with Urulai Fry or kovaikkai curry.


For a richer tasting sambar, grind the roasted spices with 2 spoons of  coconut milk and water. This can be reserved to special occassions as coconut milk is high in fat calories.