Chutneys / Thogayals & Podis. · Kerala / Palakkad Recipes.

Inji Pulikachal ( Ginger and Green chillis simmered in tamarind gravy)

Inji Pulikachal
Inji Pulikachal

One of the most staple preparations at home, when I was a little, was the Molagootal. It`s the kerala preparation of the “kootu”….only its not a side.It`s our substitute for sambar or kuzhambu. The molagootal is a slightly bland broth and so we have spicy tangy options to go with it. One such side is the Inji Pulikachal. Simply translated it means “ginger simmered in tamarind”. One of the highlights of Pulikachal is the rush of tastes when you lick even a drop of it…There`s the heat from the chillies, the spice from the ginger, the slight sweet lingering in your mouth from the jaggery and the tanginess from the tamarind. What can one say of the result ??? Heavenly!!!

There is really not a specific measurement – It depends on one`s own requirement of spice, heat and tanginess. These are my indicative measurements. Again, there are differences in the tamarind, chillies etc, so you would need to adjust the proportions accordingly.


1 1/2 cups of Tamarind Juice.

3 Tbsp of Chopped Ginger.

3 Tbsp finely chopped green chillis.

2 spoons of jaggery.

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

Salt to taste.



Bengal Gram Dhal, Mustard & Curry Leaves.



  • In a kadai, add 4 spoons of gingely oil and when hot, add bengal gram, chopped ginger and chopped green chillis.
  • Allow it to fry in the oil well and then add the mustard and curry leaves.
  • Now add the tamarind juice, hing, salt and the required turmeric.
  • Mix well, add the jaggery and allow the gravy to simmer on medium flame for about 30 minutes or so.
  • At the end, add the rice flour dissolved in water to thicken the pulikachal in a “pachadi” consistency.
  • As an option, you could allow it to simmer for more time, until all the water evaporates and it gets in to a paste form. This will keep for many days in the refreigerator.
  • Serve with Molagootal, Khichdi, Venn Pongal or with tasty curd rice.

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.
Easy LunchBox Series. · Kid Friendly Recipes.

Instant Healthy Bread Pizza & Masala Bread Chat

My daughter has always been a poor eater all the way. And like any another kid, getting her to have her daily dose of vegetables is a pretty herculean task. I some times wonder how big chunks of pasta and pizza can get past her oesophagus in a matter of seconds, but rasam sadam and keerai always seems to get stuck some where midway!!! But, as is the dilemma of other moms, I have to invent creative little dinners for her to eat, on the other hand, make sure that she does not lose her veggie spread . Yesterday I had to create a quick fix one for daughter and one for the dear dad for a Valentine Day Pre Party snack!!! They both enjoyed it and I did too…



Instant Bread Pizza



1/2 cup The prepared Vegetable Topping.

Tomato Ketchup.

Salt to sprinkle.

1/4 cup part skim mozzarella cheese grated.

Bhujiya to sprinkle


  • Take a single slice of bread either slightly toasted or plain. Start by smearing a single layer of tomato ketchup. Alternatively you could use Marinara sauce, but the ketchup does not make the bread soggy and allows whatever is placed about it to stay in place.
  • Scoop a big chunk of the prepared topping and flatten it over the layer of ketchup.
  • Add a small dash of the bhujiya and top over that with mozzarella cheese.
  • Pop it for just 30 seconds in the microwave and serve it to your child and enjoy the smiles and praises you get right there!!!
  • Mine said “Mommy, you are the best”!!!…and my day was made!!!

Flagging off this post to The Bread Mania – by Bayleaf.




Quick Bread Chat



1/2 cup of prepared vegetable topping.

Tomato Ketchup.

Sweet Tamarind Chutney

Pudina Chutney.

Salt to sprinkle.

A spoon of chopped onions to sprinkle.

Corriander to garnish.


  • Take a single slice of lightly toasted or plain bread. Spread over it, a thin layer of tomato ketchup.
  • Scoop the vegetable filling and flatten. Add a dash of sweet tamarind chutney and pudina chutney.
  • Add a garnish of bhujiya, raw onions and chopped corriander.
  • Serve as it is – Almost felt to me like a quick chat snack!!!..and smelt like one too…

The chunky topping is a combination of the following:

3 Medium Potatoes  cooked and mashes.

1/2 Onion chopped.

1/4 cup Peas

1/4 cup beans

1/4 cup carrots.

1 spoon of salt

1/4 spoon of amchur.

1/4 spoon of dhania powder.

1/4 spoon of red chilli powder.

Corriander to garnish.

Pinch of turmeric.

Jeera to season.


  • In a kadai, add oil and when warm add a pinch of jeera and the onions. Saute till they turn pinkish brown.
  • Add the carrots, mashed potatoes, peas and beans and stir in turmeric and salt.
  • Drop in the powders – amchur, red chilli powder, dhania powder and incorporate them in to the mixture.
  • When nicely cooked, switch off and allow to cool. Garnish with chopped corriander.
  • This cold be a base for any filling – Stuffed Capsicum, Stuffed Tomatoes, Vegetable Puffs, sandwiches etc.
Kerala / Palakkad Recipes. · Sambar / Rasam / Kuzhambu Varieties.

Pavakkai Pitlae.


Definitely an acquired taste, bitter gourd (Latin Momordica charantia) is also called Balsam pear or bitter melon. Young immature bitter gourds are the best for cooking: the skin is bright green in color, the flesh inside is white, and the seeds are small and tender.Bitter gourd contains vitamin A, B1, B2, and C. It also contains minerals like calcium, phosphorous, iron, copper and potassium.It helps purify blood tissue, enhances digestion, and stimulates the liver.

When I was a small girl, I used to watch my grandfather have his daily dose of this bitter vegetable and wonder why he would even want to try?? He was a diabetic, but a very strict person in his diet. You could not tempt him to eat anything that he did not want to. As a rule, there were no exclusions for any of us, kids to avoid any vegetables. No matter what is cooked, had to partaken by all of us. That way, I would also get a small dash of the pavakkai from my mami, as she had to play with the rules. Nevertheless, I knew she would just dollop a little as she knew how much I hated it. As days went by, I actually started liking this vegetable..Although Madurai appa left us in 1995, I still remember him everytime I eat this vegetable, in whatever form I make it.

Today as I had saved a little after making the Pavakka fry, I decided to make the Pitlae. I am guessing this is the “Pal Brahm” way of doing it, but I can never be too sure. It`s simple and easy and very good for health.


Bitter Gourd          – 1/2 de-seeded and chopped.

Tamarind              – 11/2 cups of juice extracted.

Toor Dhal              – Cooked 1/4 cup

Turmeric               – A pinch.

Salt, Hing, Curry Leaves

To Roast in Oil:

Bengal Gram          – 2 spoons

Pepper                 – 8-10

Red Chillis             – 3-4.

Coconut                – 1/4 cup.


  • Take a kadai and pour a spoon of oil, when warm add mustard and allow to splutter.
  • Add curry leaves and immediately the chopped bitter-gourd and allow to saute for 3-4 mins.
  • We do this to get a better flavour as well as to slightly tone down the bitterness of the bitter-gourd.
  • Now add the extracted tamarind juice.
  • Add sufficient salt, hing, and turmeric and allow to boil on medium heat.
  • Roast the aforementioned ingredients in oil and grind to a smooth paste with water and set aside.
  • When the tamarind mixture along with the vegetable is reduced by 1/3`rd, and when you feel that the raw smell is done with, add the ground paste, along with the cooked toor dhal.
  • Stir well and allow to boil. Finally add curry leaves and a chopped cilantro.
  • Serve Hot with your favourite side dish or Cabbage Poduthuval.