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.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cucumbers peeled and diced.

1/2 cup of moong dal.

Turmeric.

Salt

Hing

Cialntro to garnish.

Seasoning:

Mustard, Curry Leaves, Hing.

PREPARATION:

  • 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.

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound of Kovakkai

1 spoon of red chilli powder.

1/2 spoon of sambar powder.

A pinch of turmeric powder.

Hing.

Seasoning:

Mustard, Broken Urad Dhal, Curry Leaves.

PREPARATION:

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

Healthy Pavakkai Fry. (Healthy BitterGourd Fry )

Healthhy Pavakkai Fry.
Healthhy Pavakkai Fry.

Bitter gourd predominantly grows in tropical areas, including parts of Asia, East Africa, the Caribbean, and South America, where it is used both as food as well as a medicine. The plant’s fruit truly lives up to its name, because it really tastes bitter. Although the seeds, leaves, and vines of this fruit have different uses, the fruit is considered as the safest and most predominantly used part of the plant.

The lowly Bitter Gourd has the following beneficial aspects:

– Helps to disinfect and heal cuts, wounds & burns

– Is useful as a cough & fever remedy

– Used in the treatment of intestinal worms and diarrhea

– Helps prevent some types of cancers

– Helps enhance the body’s immune system to ward off infections

– Serves as an effective antioxidant, antibacterial & antipyretic agent

(Courtesy –Health Benefits of  Bittergourd By Vanessa A. Doctor )

As a child, since the bittergourd was almost a bi-weekly addition to our food, I actually started liking it., I used to ask my mom to serve it along with curd rice, so I could conceal the bitterness inside the sourness of the curd. After many days, I realised that I actually started enjoying the taste. In my opinion, when cooked well, and spiced sufficiently, the bitterness ceases to be a detterant – it simple transforms to another taste just like sweet and i dont notice it anymore. I do NOT actually fry it till it turns black with a lot of oil. I simply cook it with a little oil, and some water so its more of a wholesome side.

INGREDIENTS:

3 fresh bitter gourds.

Salt

Hing

1 spoon Red Chilli Powder

Seasoning:

Mustard, Broken Urad Dhal & Curry Leaves.

PREPARATION:

  • Chop the bitter gourd in to small pieces after discarding the inner soft flesh with the seeds. Set aside on a plate.
  • In a kadai, add 2 spoons of oil and season with mustard, broken urad  dhal  and the  curry leaves.
  • Immediately add the chopped pieces of bittergourd and add salt, turmeric, hing and required red chilli powder.
  • Mix well and sprinkle a few drops of water and allow to cook over a medium low flame with stirring now and then.
  • If you feel its too dry, feel free to add another spoon of oil.
  • When well cooked switch off and serve with Venthaya Kuzhambu and appalam.



Kid Friendly Recipes. · Naivedhyams/ Festival Offerings. · No Need of Onions!!! · Poriyals / Kootu Varieties. · Snacks & Tiffin Items

Yellow Peas Sundal. (Yellow vatana cooked and spiced with coconut and chillies)

Delicious Sundal.
Delicious Sundal.

The word sundal to me conjures up two things – One – Navarathri where “Sundals” are the main naivedhyams to the Goddess Devi and two – Marina Beach where hawkers sell the awesome Thenga Manga Pattani Sundal literally which translates to Coconut Mango and Green Peas. Although my mom has never ever allowed me to even look in to the hawker`s basket, all of us cousins secretly hoped to taste it some day as the aroma wafting in the air would be simply too much for us.

Navarathri again is an altogetherly  different option. Every day of Navarathri, we would be invited by the mamis next door and in the neighbouring apartments for “tamboolam“. So my sister and me would be dressed in our finest pattu pavadais, resplendant in their colours and happily go to their homes. Normally, we would be asked to sing a song on Devi, which we would and then after some time we would be given little baskets with turmeric, kumkum, and hot sundals wrapped in newspaper. As days went by, these newspaper parcels were stylishly replaces with little ziploc covers, but I missed those days of simplicity, where people had time to listen to little girls sing, enquire about each other in all sincerity, explain significances of the navarathri dolls etc.

Last night when I saw the little canister of yellow Peas in my pantry, I decided to soak it up overnight so I could make sundal the next day. Yellow Peas  is an excellent source of protein as its a healthy legume. Many days, its an easy snack for the kids when they come home in the evening from school as its both healthy as well as filling.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup Yellow Peas.

1/4 cup of dessicated coconut.

3 green chillies.

Salt.

Hing.

Seasoning:

Mustard, Curry Leaves.

PREPARATION:

  • Soak the yellow peas the previous night for about 6-8 hours.  If you plan to make it for an evening snack, it is enough if you soak it that morning.
  • Drain all the water and pressure cook with a little salt and just enough water that they just reach the top of the vatana peas. Do not add too much that the peas drown in the water. This will render them mushy.
  • Switch off after 2 whistles and open after pressure is released.
  • Grind the coconut and green chillies without any water in to a coarse mix. Set aside.
  • In a kadai, add a spoon of coconut oil and when it is hot, add mustard, curry leaves and a dash of hing.
  • Immediately add the cooked yellow peas and a little salt and hing as required.
  • Garnish with the coconut-chilli mix and incorporate it well in to the peas.
  • Switch off the stove and serve with Sambar and Rice or as an evening snack for the kids – a healthy side/snack ready in minutes.

NOTE:

  • One variation is to season with only mustard and garnish with finely chopped coconut slivers, and finely chopped mango pieces. The crunchiness from the coconuts and the tang from the mangoes are incomparable.
No Need of Onions!!! · Poriyals / Kootu Varieties.

Urulai Fry (Alu Fry) – Potatoes flavoured with spices and finished in the Oven.

Urulai Fry.
Urulai Fry.

My husband got a huge bag of golden potatoes from the Indian store demandng me to make his favourite alu fry. These were the smaller golden potatoes with very thin skin which cooks pretty fast. So I got around to making it and I always start by pre-cooking it for  one whistle in the pressure cooker, lightly sauteing it in the pan and then broiling it in the oven. It`s fast, easy and very very original.

INGREDIENTS:

8-9 Medium to Small Potatoes.

Pinch of Turmeric.

Salt.

1 spoon of Red Chilli Powder.

Hing

Seasoning:

Oil, Mustard, Broken Urad Dhal and curry leaves.

PREPARATION:

  • Peel the skin off all the potatoes and drop them in a vessel with a little water and salt and cook them for JUST ONE WHISTLE in the pressure cooker. Remove the cooker from the electric plate and keep in a cool place.
  • When the water is drained and the potatoes cooled, chop them in to big 1  inch pieces and set aside.
  • In a kadai, add 3 spoons of oil and when hot, add mustard, urad dhal and the curry leaves and a pinch of hing and then immediately the pieces of potatoes.
  • Add requisite salt, turmeric, red chilli powder and stir well.
  • Cook till the salt and the spices are well flavoured on the potatoes.
  • After about ten to fifteen minutes switch off the stove.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 F and grease an oven proof dish with oil spray and pop the potatoes in it.
  • Place the potatoes inside the oven for 3-4 minutes.
  • Now turn the setting to BROIL and allow it to broil for exactly 1 1/2 minutes.
  • Take out the potatoes, give it a stir so that the potaotes below come up.
  • Broil again for exactly 1 1/2 minutes. BROILING FOR ANY MORE TIME WOULD BLACKEN THE BEAUTIFULLY DONE POTATOES.
  • Serve sizzling hot with Paruppu Urundai Kozhambu and Pumpkin Kootu.

NOTES:

The option of broiling in oven is to cut back on the oil consumed in getting the “fried” taste and texture. It can be completely cooked on the stove top, on medium flame , adding oil now and then.

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

Pumpkin Potatoes & Koorkai Poricha Pepper Kootu.

Pumpkin Potatoes and Koorkai Kootu.
Pumpkin Potatoes and Koorkai Kootu.

Sundays are always meant for lazy morning brunches and steaming hot early dinners of home made goodness. I had this lovely fresh piece of pumpkin inside my refridgerator and my husband decided he wanted a kootu – which is a side – almost a thick gravy. I had already made the Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu from yesterday and the freshly made kootu smelling of vegetables and coconut and peppery niceness that it was a flawless compliment. I decided to toss in the koorkai at the last instant as I love the flavour and aroma of this root tuber. This preparation is pretty versatile so it could be substituted with any vegetable like chayote, bottle gourd, cucumber etc.

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 – 2 cups of chopped pumpkin.

2 Medium Potatoes Chopped.

A handful of chopped Koorkai.

1/4 cup of cooked bengal gram.

2 tsp of broken urad dhal.

A spoon of black pepper.

1/3 cup of dessicated  coconut.

A spoon of cooked toor dhal (optional).

A pinch of turmeric.

A pinch of red chilli powder.

Salt.

A pinch of hing.

Seasoning:

Mustard, Broken Urad Dhal, Curry Leaves.

PREPARATION:

  • Take the vessel and add all the chopped vegetables, pour just enough water so it just covers the veggies and switch on the stove. Add salt, turmeric and red chilli powder and allow them to cook well.
  • Cook the bengal gram so it does’nt get too mushy but just enough.
  • Take a small seasoning kadai and roast the urad dhal, pepper and a few curry leaves in oil till the urad dhal turns golden brown.
  • Grind this with the coconut to a smooth paste and set aside.
  • When the vegetables are cooked well, add the ground paste, cooked bengal gram, salt if necessary, a spoon of cooked toor dhal. Mix well and allow to come together.
  • Season in gingely oil with mustard, urad dhal and curry leaves and serve with Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu and Lemon Rasam.

Weekend Menu 1:

Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu,

Tomatillo Lemon Rasam ,

Pumpkin Potatoes & Koorkai Poricha Kootu &

Urulai Fry./Alu Fry.

Poriyals / Kootu Varieties.

5 Ingredients Only- Easy Capsicum Subzi.

Easy Capsicum Subzi.
Easy Capsicum Subzi.

Capsicum is a vegetable that comes in an exciting range of colours – red, green, yellow and orange, each of them unique in their form and taste. The bell peppers are rich in vitmains and protien and is a natural anti-oxidant and helps wards off infections. Bell Peppers are amognst the most versatile vegetable as they render a unique taste to any dish they are added to, or are involved in elevating the taste of the dish in which is it the main ingredient. They are a part of my weekly grocery shopping list and get cooked at least twice every week. Imagine the possibilities – Capsicum fried rice, capsicum pulav, stuffed capsicum , capsicum kootu, capsicum sambar, grilled capsicum in gumbos and burro bowls, in salads and panninis, in pastas and curries..

This is a traditional south indian method of cooking this vegetable, that goes well with sambar or rasam.

INGREDIENTS:

3 Green Bell Peppers

1 Medium Onion Chopped.

4 spoons of besan or gramflour.

Salt

Oil as required.

Seasoning:

Mustard, Broken Urad Dhal, Curry Leaves.

PREPARATION:

  • In a kadai, add 2 spoons of oil and when hot, add broken urad dhal, mustard and curry leaves.
  • When the mustard splutters and the urad dhal is a little browned, add the chopped onions. Allow the onions to brown gradually, as the flavour of the subzi is in this step.
  • Now add the chopped capsicum, the required salt and mix well. Allow to cook well, for about 15 minutes as capsicum cooks very fast.
  • Finally, add the 3-4 spoons of besan and mix it in. The besan embraces the aromas and flavours of the cooked vegetables and dissolves in to the subzi.
  • Serve with a pinch of lemon juice and chopped cilantro.

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Kerala / Palakkad Recipes. · No Need of Onions!!! · Poriyals / Kootu Varieties.

Urulai Podimas – Version I.

Alu Podimas
Alu Podimas

There are a hundred different ways of making one vegetable root – the potatoe. There cannot be anyone who does not relish this versatile root. I have already posted one Alu Fry in my posts earlier which is a little spicy and comes strong on the flavours. For those days when you want to sit back and make a quick and easy side, the Alu Podimas is the one. This version is a tad healthier as the potaotes are steamed and then garnished with spices. This takes 5 minutes to prepare once the potatoes are cooked.

INGREDIENTS:

4 Medium Potatoes.

Turmeric

Salt

1/4 cup of dessicated Coconut

2-3 green chillies.

Seasoning:

Bengal Gram, Mustard seeds and curry leaves.

PREPARATION:

  • Wash and peel the skin off the potaotes and cook them with salt  in a pressure cooker for about 10-12 mins. No need for weight. Alternatively you could wash, peel and pop the potatoes in a pot of boiling water.
  • Once cooked, remove, cool and mash it in to slightly bigger chunks.
  • In a kadai, add 2 spoons of oil and when hot, add bengal gram, mustard and curry leaves. When the mustard splutters, immediately add the mashed potaotes.
  • Add hing  and a little more salt if necessary and stir it well.
  • In the mixer jar, pulse 3 green chillies and the coconut and add this to the cooked alu in the kadai.
  • Mix well and serve garnished with chopped cilantro.
  • Serve with Vathal  Kuzhambu & Milagu Jeera Rasam.
Kerala / Palakkad Recipes. · No Need of Onions!!! · Poriyals / Kootu Varieties.

Two in One – Vendekkai Fry & Pachadi.

Delicious Vendekkai Fry.
Delicious Vendekkai Fry.

All thorough my childhood I have grown up with my mum always telling me that the ladiesfinger is vegetable that renders exceptional memory powers!!! I would then scoop out a large ladlefull and eat it with gusto. This really helped me like the vegetable a lot. Okra is known to be rich in fibre, Vitamin B6 and folic acid. It1s also supossed to stabilize blood sugar and promote healthy bowels. My daughter also loves Okra so its a regular addition in our weekly grocery lists!!!

Today I am posting a simple Bhindi Fry that goes with Roti and Dal and a cup of curd, or with rice and Onion Vethal Kuzhambu Milagu Kuzhambu or Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu. It’s one of those simple things, that goes to all cooks who are beginners…

INGREDIENTS:

A pound of ladies finger washed and cut.

1 spoon of red chilli powder.

1 spoon of salt.

1/2 spoon of dhania powder.

A spoon of besan

2 spoons of flax powder.

A pinch of hing.

A pinch of turmeric.

Seasonings:

Mustard, Broken Urad Dhal and curry leaves.

PREPARATION:

  • Chop the bhindi and keep them spread out on a plate.  Sprinkle the salt on the bhindi.
  • Keep your kadai on the stove, add 2 spoons of oil and when it heats up, toss the urad dhal, the mustard and curry leaves.
  • Add the chopped bhindi, turmeric, hing. red chilli powder and dhania powder.
  • Alow to cook on medium flame constantly stirring so it does  not catch the bottom.
  • If you feel that the bhindi is getting dry, spray a little bit of canola oil on it.
  • When almost done, add the mixture of1 spoon of  besan + 2 spoons of flax powder. Your family will never know that there is flax in it as its the same colour of the besan, and this addition increases the flavour and protien content of the dish.
Creamy Vendekkai Pachadi.
Creamy Vendekkai Pachadi.

Add 2 spoons of bhindi fry, a pinch of red chilli powder and a pinch of salt to a cup of thick curds to get smooth creamy vendekkai pachadi which is a great accompaniment to sambars and molagootal.

Poriyals / Kootu Varieties.

Amma`s simple Alu Fry.

Simple Alu Fry.
Simple Alu Fry.

As I have already mentioned in my previous posts, every sunday afternoon lunches are slow and lazy and filling. D and me would devour the amazing vengaya vethakuzhambu and alu fry made by amma and lounge on the chair and try to solve the Express Sunday Crossword and the Jumble. I always remember such sunday afternoons with relish as those were the days…as a student, eating food cooked by amma, studying, watching some tv, reading books ad magazines, and sleep happily in the nights. Now, as a mother, I realise what a pleasure it is, to stay young and enjoy the thrills and innocence of childhood. Yesterday I was reminded of amma, and so I decided to treat my husband with the same menu. It`s very simple and easy, but very delicious and tasty.

INGREDIENTS:

5 Medium Potatoes.

1 spoon of salt

1 spoon of red chilli powder.

1 spoon of flax powder.

1/2 spoon of dhania powder.

Hing

Turmeric.

3 spoons of oil.

Seasoning:

Mustard, Urad Dhal and Curry Leaves.

PREPARATION:

  • Remove the skin from the potatoes and chop them in to really fine pieces, dropping them in a vessel with water. This prevents them from blackening and cutting  them fine, helps it to cook faster and consume much less oil.
  • Drain all the water and pop it in to the microwave for a good 4 minutes.
  • Take a heavy bottomed kadai and add 3 spoons of oil. When it starts to smoke, add mustard, urad dhal , curry leaves and a dash of hing before adding the chopped potatoes.
  • Sprinkle more hing, salt, red chilli powder and dhania powder and incorporate them in to the potatoes.
  • Allow to cook and roast well and stir in  intermittently if you feel that the potaotes are sticking to the bottom.  You could spray a little oil, if you feel that the alu is getting too dry.
  • After about 25 minutes of roasting well, switch off the stove.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with Vengaya Vethakuzhambu or VethaKuzhambu. Alternatively is an excellent option for filling bread to make sandwiches or to go with rotis and phulkas.