Sambar / Rasam / Kuzhambu Varieties.

Delicious Onion VethalKuzhambu.( Onions sauteed with spices and powders and simmered in tamarind gravy).

Onion Vethakuzhambu.
Onion Vethakuzhambu.

I had been wondering why on earth I had not posted this everyday recipe that my mom used to make. It has been an eternal favourite of mine since the day I have had it with Alu Fry. I remember when we were little, my sister D would want this everyday. Mom would keep it special over the weekend and she would have it with a side, with curd rice and every other dish possible. In my opinion, this gravy gets redolent with flavour and aroma at least a day after it has been prepared. There is no great secret recipe or ingredient….only small little things that have to be kept in mind, added a little ahead or later. Here is my recipe for the same.


1/2 of  a Big Onion or 1 Medium sized red onion.

1 1/2 cups of Tamarind Water extract.

1 1/2 spoons of Sambar Powder.


Curry Leaves.


1 Spoon of Ghee.

1 Spoon of Rice Flour diluted in 1/3 cup of water.


  • Keep all the ingredients ready before preparation. Chop the onions in to fine pieces.
  • Toss a kadai on the stove, and add a spoon of ghee/oil. When hot, add mustard, curry leaves, 2-3 somph, and immediately the chopped onions.
  • Allow to saute well and when beginning to turn light brown, add the sambar powder.
  • Roughly saute for a few minutes and then add  the prepared tamarind water extract.
  • Add salt, turmeric, a little more curry leaves and allow to boil and reduce. Keep it on medium flame.
  • When the water content is reduced to at least half, add the rice flour dissolved in water and mix well.
  • Keep for a couple more minutes and switch off. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.


Serving Suggestion: Onion Vethakuzhambu & Alu Fry.

Brisk Breakfast · Easy LunchBox Series. · Kid Friendly Recipes. · Snacks & Tiffin Items

5 Minute Tomato Cilantro Cheese Sandwich!!!

Onion Tomato Cheese Sandwich
Onion Tomato Cheese Sandwich

I distinctly remember the first time ever I made a sandwich using a sandwich maker. My aunt had got us a Rowenta Sandwich Maker from the US some fifteen years ago…when it was still unheard of in India. My mom was not too keen to switch to alternate ways of making bread. In her mind, it was pretty satisfactory to toast the bread on a tawa and have it with butter once in a blue moon. My sister was way too young. The others could simply not muster enough time to sit through the ardous task of getting a pin converter and reading the instructions to even start operating it. I had rememberd seeing litttle gadgets in the Home Life Exhibitions, where they had a little bread shaped steel thing, where you could place the bread with the filling and manually toast it over the flame, holding it with the handles provided. It was a novel way of presenting the mundane bread. So I set aside a sunday morning to experiment…and my cousins were only too happy to sample the results of my venture!!!

The first time, I greased the electric plates, placed the bread slices on both sides and wondered what to fill in? I simply pulled out an onion and a tomato and sliced them in to very thin pieces and gingerly placed them on the bread. Sprinkled salt and pepper and some cilantro and covered the filling with the second slice of bread. We all waited with bated breath and were rewarded with the sweet smell of the onions and tomatoes and cilantro roasting in the little apparatus. Three minutes later, the red indicator light switched off and I used a pair of tongs and retrieved the sandwich pieces which were already sliced in to two by now. Crisp on the sides, yet cooked on the inside, it was a tasty treat that morning. From then on it was my own little piece of work as I would find creative fillngs for sandwiches. Bread now had a new intonation in our home….The sandwich had finally arrived!!!


4 slices of bread.

1 tomato sliced very thin.

1/2 onion sliced thin.



Cilantro chopped fine.

A handful of Part Skim Mozzarella Cheese.

Sandwich Maker.


  • Grease the 4 electric plates with cooking spray and allow to preheat for a few minutes.
  • Place the bread slices and arrange the tomato and onion slices alternately.
  • Sprinkle salt and crushed pepper and then generous helping of Mozzarella Cheese.
  • Sprinkle the cilantro and then place the second slice of bread and close.
  • After about 3 minutes, take out golden brown, crusty on the sides, Tomato Cilantro Cheese Sandwich.
  • Serve HOT with yummy tomato ketchup.


Serves as an excellent breakfast and quick snack for kids when they come back from school.

Great for packing for short trips and Picnic Lunches, as they are easily eatable with no fuss.

Variations in the filling give an almost completely different taste to the sandwich.

Use peanut butter, apple butter, Alu Masal, Cheese, fruit slices, grilled veggies etc for fillings.

Packing away some, for the Cooking for Kids Event hosted by Divya of Dil Se and brainchild of Sharmi of Neivedyam.


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.


Kid Friendly Recipes.

Easy Bhujia Chat.

Easy Bhujia Chat.
Easy Bhujia Chat.

Every evening I have to think of healthy easy quick fix snacks for my husband and daughter…I am not a snack peson, but I have to cater to two completely different palates. There is always the resolve to add as much green leaves and vegetables to our daily food intake. Sometimes I have to give in to certain kinds of snacks like “Bhujia, Chips, etc which are not healthy. So I try to make it up by adding healthy food which my daughter does not prefer to go with the not-so healthy snack,  wherever possible. Like this Easy Bhujia Chat. I have added thinly diced raw carrots, raw tomatoes and a spoon of flax powder. I also add a 1/2 cup of pomogranate seeds whenver I have them.


2 cups of Bhujia.

1 carrot diced small.

1/4 onion chopped to small pieces.

1/2 tomato chopped in to small pieces.

1/2 cup of pomogranate seeds.

2 spoons of flax powder.

A dash of squeezed lemon.

Chopped Cilantro.

Sweet Tamarind Chutney for garnish.


  • In a bowl add the bhujjia, chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, diced carrots and  pomogranate seedsand give it a quick mix.
  • The water from the tomatoes helps in binding the ingredients together.
  • Add 2 spoons of flax powder and do not worry about it altering the taste. It acts as a catalyst and boosts the fibre in your food, but never changes or alters the taste.
  • Serve on to cups, add a dash of squeezed lemon  and garnish with chopped cilantro and sweet tamarind chutney.
  • Your kids can help assemble this and its also an easy pre-party snack.

This would be my one more entry to FIC Orange brainchild of Harini of Sunshinemoms and hosted by Aparna of MyDiverseKitchens.

Sambar / Rasam / Kuzhambu Varieties.

Vengaya VethalKuzhambu (Onions fried and simmered in tamarind gravy)

Vengaya Vethalkuzhambu served with rice.
Vengaya Vethalkuzhambu served with rice.

My mum makes the most fragrant, yummy, delicious,mouth watering Vengaya Vethalkuzhambu you ever ate!!! It always used to be a delicacy my sister and me would get indulged in, over the weekends…Weekends would always be spending long hours on things that we wouod never get time for during the frenzied weekdays – amma smothering our scalps with gently warmed gingely oil, cleaning the window sills chatting about what happened in school and college over the week, and amma listening to us and making fragrant Vengaya vethalkuzhambu and alu fry. We would have our beauty baths with shikhakai traditionally ground my Madurai amma and get so hungry that we would be ravenous…A slow filling lunch consisting of this kuzhambu, alu fry, thakkali rasam, vadam and thayir sadam with vepallaikatti…Man, my day was made!!!
It`s now a huge favorite of my husband`s. It`s one of those comfort feel good gravies that make you content on a cold lazy sunday afternoon…Here it is, for all of you to try and test…
This is also my entry for FIC-Orange which is the brainchild of Harini of Sunshinemomsblog and hosted by Aparna of MydiverseKitchens.


1 1/2 cups of Tamarind Juice extracted from a lime sized tamarind ball.

1 Medium onion chopped or 20 numbers small onions or 10 numbers shallots.

1 spoon of Vathal (sundaikkai or manathangalikkai) (this is optional)

1 spoon heaped Sambar Powder.

My amma`s sambar powder...
My amma`s sambar powder...

1 spoon salt
A dash of Turmeric.

A pinch of hing.

3 spoons of Oil.

A dash of mustard and curry leaves for seasoning.

1 spoon of rice flour dissolved in 4  spoons of water.


  • Take a heavy bottomed kadai or copper bottomed vessel and pour in 3 spoons of oil. When the oil starts to smoke, reduce the flame and pop in the mustard, curry leaves and immediately the chopped onions or the shallots.
  • Allow to saute in the oil for sometime until they get a little brown and then add the vathals which are pretty dispensable in this version of the kuzhambu. You can also make this kuzhambu completely omitting the vathal.
  • When well roasted, add the extracted tamarind juice, hing, turmeric, salt, and sambar powder and allow to simmer for 25 mins or so until it reduces to a thicker consistency.
  • At the very end, add the rice flour dissolved in the water, to this thick reduction to loosen it a bit, so it comes to a pouring consistency.
  • Garnish with corriander leaves and serve HOT over rice with Alu Fry.