Monday, April 24, 2006

Idli with Vadacurry - A mighty breakfast

Its been quite a busy weekend for us.We went out on a short trip with some of our friends to a lake near wisconsin and had a great time.The view of the lake was deadly.
Iam attaching a picture of that, for you all to enjoy.

On such weekends we prefer to have a nice and heavy breakfast/brunch and then hit the road.So I made some Idli's and vada curry to go with it.Since we have seen so many versions of making Idli's I do not want to elaborate on that one.(my ratio is 4:1).Vada curry is a most known side dish for Idli in chennai.I am not sure how many people have heard or tasted it.As far as I know if there is any dish that is indigenous to chennai city that would be vada curry.Its spicy and at the same time very subtle and has a delicate flavour.This is one of my favorite receipe from my Mom.Whenever I come home from college for the holidays, Iam very sure that mornings breakfast would be Idli and vadacurry.Those are the days that I yearn for nowadays.
Traditionally vada curry is made out of dhal vada's.But my mom makes it differently.She either steams the dhal mixture or make adais out of the mixture.Give it a try and let me know how it turned out.

1 cup channa dhal (soaked for two hours)
1tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp jeera1

1 inch cinnamon strip
3 cloves
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp minced garlic
1tsp minced ginger
1 medium sized onion sliced thinly
2 medium sized tomatoes chopped finely
1 cup chopped coriander leaves
1tsp chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp tumeric powder
salt as needed
For Vada/Adai:

 Soak the channa dhal for two hours and grind it coarsly along with fennel seeds(like we do for masal vadai).Heat a dosa pan and make thick adai's(about 2 inch thickness) by adding little oil on the sides.Keep the heat in medium and allow it to cook well, until browned on both sides(as shown in picture above).Cool it and scramble it into tiny pieces.You can do this the night before, store it in refrigerator and use it the next morning.

For Curry:
Add 2 tsp of oil in a sauce pan.Add cinnomon, cloves and bay leaf to it.When the cloves pop add the sliced onions and fy till translucent and the add the chopped garlic and ginger.Fry well till the raw smell goes.Add the chopped tomatoes to it and fry till mashed well and the oil leaves the surface.Now add all the powders and stir well till the masala mixes well with the tomatoes.Now add 5 cups of water.It should be very watery at this stage.close with a lid and allow it to boil. After 10 mins, add the scrambled adai/vadai pieces to this liquid and mix well.The chana dhal mixture will soak up all the liquid.Add the chopped coriander leaves and stir well.

 Serve with piping hot Idli's!!

Variations. - Use equal measures of channa dhal and thoor dhal combination  or just thoor dhal  to make the Adais. These also turns out very well with slightly different taste.
You can also use ginger garlic paste instead of  chopped ginger and garlic.
Adjust the amount of water to the gravy according to the consistency needed i.e., reduce the amount of water for a thicker consistency.
Do not skip the coriander leaves, it is a must for this dish.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Rajma curry with Garlic bread

Last week when we went to Sams club, we could not resist the aroma of freshly baked french baquette. We ended up bringing home a big long loaf of french bread. My idea was to make some kind of sandwich or panini during the weekend. But then on Saturday night I changed my mind and tried some garlic bread with the french baguette and Rajma curry to go with it. Initially my hubby thought that my idea was an excuse for rolling out chappati's, but then he loved the combination.
The taste of garlic bread in Rajma curry was absolutely amazing.
Hope you all try it sometime.

Here is how I made it...

11/2 cup Rajma (soaked for 6 hours and cooked)
1 medium size onion
1 can of Tomato sauce.
1 tsp chilli powder.
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves

Some Paneer cubes - stir fried(optional)

Cook the soaked Rajma in Pressure cooker for 4-5 whistles
In a pan add 2 tsp of olive oil, add the garlic and ginger when the oil is hot.
Stir and add the chopped onions, fry till translucent, and add the tomato sauce.

Allow it to get heated thoroughly and then add all the powders.
Cover and boil for 10 mins.Add the paneer cubes which is optional. You can also add tofu pieces if you want. Simmer for another 5 mins. Add the chopped coriander leaves and switch off the stove.

For Garlic bread

Take 4 tsp of olive oil in a bowl
Add 2tsp of chopped garlic to it and let it set for 15 mins
spread this oil over the top of the bread and broil in the oven for 5 mins or until toasted brown

Friday, April 14, 2006

Eggless Carrot Raisin/Walnut Muffins

I got this receipe long time back from the back of whole wheat flour packet, but didnt get the time or ingredients together to make this one.Today being Tamil New year, I wanted to make something sweet, but my hubby said no to the usual Payasam as he is cutting down on sugar. So I decided to make the long pending carrot mufins..which I thought would be a treat for the New Year as well as the weekend. Afterall we should eat what we enjoy the most right !!!!

Happy Tamil New Year Everyone...Enjoy.
Here is the receipe

2 cups of shredded carrot
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup brown sugar/white sugar
5tbl sp butter
1 cup milk
1 cup raisins
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnomon

You can substitute whole wheat flour with white flour if you dont like the smell of whole wheat.. I just wanted to make it more nutritious.
You can also add an egg, and reduce the amount of milk to half.
You can also add walnuts instead of raisins or both.

Preheat the oven to 350F .
Sieve the flour, baking powder, soda and cinnomon two ot three times.
Beat buter and sugar together until frothy , t0 this add the dry ingredients and the milk alternatively in small batches , end with the dry ingredients. Mix slowly till no traces of flour is found. The mix should be thick.Now add the carrots and raisins and fold in the mixture two or three times. Spoon the mixture into mufin cups and bake for 20-25 mins. A tooth pick inserted at the center should come in clean.
Serve warm with a cup of Tea!!

Updated on 2nd November 2009
Here are some recent pictures of these muffins .This time I added walnuts instead of raisins.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Spicy Turnips.

Have you ever tried this vegetable?

Few months back, I was bored of having the regular vegetables you know like brinjal, carrot, beans, cabbage, spinach...etc.I wanted a vegetable to make a spicy fry.I came across this half violet vegetable and it immediately gained my attention.It was more similar to 'knol khol ' that we get back in India so wanted to give it a shot.This dish turned out so great that I have become addicted to it.Nowadays turnip gets into my shopping list just like, onions and tomatoes.
This receipe is kind of dry and spicy, but it can also be had with just plain rice/chappati as a curry and its also a good replacement for potato for people who count calories.


3 medium sized turnip
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium sized onions chopped
1 tsp fennel powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder
few cury leaves chopped or 1 tsp of curry leaves powder
salt as needed


Peel and chop the turnips into small cubes
Chope the onions and mince the garlic
Add 1 tsp of olive oil, and the garlic and onions when its hot
Fry till tranlucent, now add the turnip pieces and mix well with the onions and galic twice.
Now add chilli , turmeric, fennel powders and curry leaves/powder
Add salt as needed.Mix well , sprinkle some water and close with lid.
reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5-8 minutes.
Open the lid,Stir well cook in low flame for 5 mins and switch off the stove.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Oven Roasted King Fish Steak

Both me and my husband love Fish compared to chicken or other nonveg items. But the grocery store we visit do not have much variety in fish, so we always end up buying tilapia fillets, not that its not great or anything, but we get bored of it sometimes.The past few weeks I found some king fish steaks which were very tempting, but the size of it made me think, morever I have not tasted king fish looked more like 'vanchiram' in our place.But this week I decided to give it a try and brought back a nice beautiful piece of king fish steak.
Since the piece was very thick, I decided to roast it in the oven, as I do the chicken sometimes.
It turned out good and we both enjoyed it.
So here's how I did it.

1 King fish steak (large)
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp sombhu/fennel seeds powder( optional)
1tsp lemon juice
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp chopped garlic
salt to taste

Mix all the ingredients and make a paste.
smear oer the fish on all sides, and allow it to marinate in the refrigerator for minimum 30 mins
Preheat the oven to 425F, place the fish in a tray covered with foil
bake for 10 mins on each side and then broil for 3 mins on each side.



Friday, April 07, 2006

Vegetable Lasagna

Vegetable Lasagna

I love Italian food, especialy pasta of any kind.I used to think Lasagna as this one great Italian dish which is very complicated to make.One day I came across a program by Giade De Laurentiies in the FoodNetwork about Individual vegetable Lasagna which made me completely change my opinion about this particular receipe.I like her way of presentation, she usually narrates the process slowly and in such a way that you feel like trying it immediately , if you have all the ingredients with you.That weekend I got some lasagna pasta and all other Ingredients needed.However I tailored the receipe to suit my convenience..hey thats how new receipes are born right.
There are a few things that I changed from the original receipe
Firstly The Original receipe calls for home made sauce, but I didnt have the patience to make the whole pasta sauce my self, So I took the store's help and bought some Prego pasta sauce.
Secondly I changed white beans to our favorite Rajma/kidney beans.
And the main change is I made the Lasgna in a whole casserole, rather than individual ..Other than that the procedure is the same.

Since this dish contains more vegetables , spinach, and beans its very wholsome and filling meal in itself. I have decided to send in this post for SweetNicks ARF/5-A-Day Tuesday event

Here is the receipe.Hope you enjoy this ...


1/2 bottle of Prego Pasta sauce
8 strips Lasagna Pasta
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped zucchini
1 cup sliced Onions
1 cup chopped and cooked spinach
1 cup rajma soaked for 6 hrs and cooked /1 can kidney beans
1 cup shredded mozarrella cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Method: Preheat the Oven to 375F

  • Stir fry chopped onions, carrots and zucchini and keep aside
  • Stir fri one cup spinach unil cooked and keep aside
  • Cook Rajma in a pressure cooker and keep aside
  • Cook the pasta in a deep vessel as per the cooking instructions on the packet
  • Now Take a casserole dish and spread 3 tsp of pasta sauce at the bottom.
  • Place the Lasagna pasta in single layer.If the pasta is too lengthy for your casserole dish, you can cut according to the size of your dish.
  • Over this layer spread the stir fried vegetables.spread 3tsp of saue over the spread.

  • Now again place a layer of pasta sheets.
  • Over this layer spread the spinach and rajma beans.Spread 3 tsp of the sauce over this.

  • Now place the final layer of pasta over the rajma and spinach spread.

Spread the sauce liberally over the pasta at this stage

Sprinkle the cheeses well over the Sauce.

Place the Casserole in the Oven and bake for 20 mins or until the cheeses melt and turns a little bit golden.
Cut and serve.

A Food Bloggers Meme around the world

A Food Bloggers Meme around the World

Ashwini of FoodforThought has tagged me for a Meme.Since this concept was very new to me, I had to look up what a 'Meme' is and had to trace back to priya's blog to understand the whole concept of it.Now Iam so excited that I got up around 4.ooam to do my Meme.
hmmm..Its Fun Isnt it...

1.Please list three receipes you have recently bookmarked from foodblogs to try

Pushpa's Prune muffins
L2C's Bottlegourd curry with milk
Indira's Mango Halwa

2. A Food Blog in your vicinity.
If I have had the oppurtunity of doing this Meme a couple of days back the answer to this question would be Aswini of foodforthought, but then the answer now is nobody that Iam aware of.

3. A Food Blog (or more) located far away from you.

Pushpa's Culinary studio from Bern, Switzerland
Vkn's My Dhaba from Kuwait
Sailu's India Cuisine from Andhra pradesh, India

4. A FoodBlog (or several ) you have recently found

Being a recent food blogger myself, all other blogs are recently found by me.
But anyway Iam listing down the ones I have found after creating my blog.

5. Any People or Bloggers you want to tag with this meme.

Pushiva's culinary studio - Pushpa

SpiceIsRight - GM

Indian Food Rocks - Manisha

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Veggie Noodles - Chinese style

Whenever I have very short time in my hands for preparing lunch, I will always opt for Noodles. What better way to add tons of vegetables and flavour to your meals than Noodles.Ofcourse you can make fried rice , but Noodles cooks much faster than rice.You cut up your favorite vegetables by the time the noodles are done, and then stir fry everything in high heat..boom your noodles are done.
I make two types of Noodles, one using the Indian spices, and the one using Chinese sauces.I love the chinese variety as its completely different from our regular curry taste, but you have to have the right sauces to come up with the right taste.The main ingredients for good chinese noodles are soy sauce and chilli sauce.The trick lies in the chilli sauce, we need to select the hottest variety rather than the sour ones from the International aisle in the grocery store.
The chilli sauce I use is nothing but the soaked red chili flakes in oil.I dont have the name of the sauce right now, but I will try to get the name and update this post.
Now here's the receipe


1 packet regular egg noodles or you can use the Noodles from your top ramen packets.
3 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp chilli sauce/ chilli garlic sauce (I used the sambal olek which is the malaysian chilli sauce variety, its extremly hot)
1tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
1tsp chopped green chillies
2 tsp sesame oil

2 cups broccoli florets.
1 cups carrot strips
1 cup capsicum strips
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup Onion cut into strips
1 cup chopped spring onions.
1 cup chinese sprouts (optional)

Cook the noodles as instructed in the package, filter the water and then run it under cold water
Stir fry the Broccoli florets in a pan without oil, with just a sprinkle of salt.Keep it seperate.
Heat up the sesame oil in a wide bottomed pan /wok
Add the chopped garlic, ginger and green chillies
Now add the onions and the fry well in high heat, now add the capsicum,carrots and the sprouts(op), strir well.Now add the soy sauce and chilli sauce mix well for two minutes.
Now add the Cooked noodles and stir well to coat all the sauces.Now check the salt and spice level, you can add more salt or chilli sauce depending on your taste.
Now add the chopped spring green onions and stir fried broccoli to the noodles and stir well.

Serve piping hot!!

Note: Sometimes I save the extra chilli sauce that we get from the chinese take out and use for this noodles and fried rice. This sauce is great for this noodles.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Prawns varuval/fry

This weekend I made Prawns after a very long time.The taste of the prawns/shrimps that we get here nowhere matches the taste of those we get in India, I dont know why, may be because they are precooked, anyway..because of this we have stopped eating shrimp for quite a long time. Still once in a while when I get the cravings to eat shrimp we would get the uncooked ones from the store in small amount.
When we were kids, my mother used to make a dish called prawn thokku on sundays, which we would always prefer to eat with just white rice and rasam.The combination of rasam and this thokku is absolutely delicious.
I wanted to do the same this weekend... so made prawn thokku, sambhar and rasam for the weekend lunch.

Prawns/Shrimp - 1 lb
1 mediun sized onions
1 medium sized tomato
1 tsp chilli pwd
1 tsp sombhu powder (fennel powder)
1 tblsp minced garlic
few curry leaves.

Clean and wash the shrimp.Sprinkle with turmeric pwd, mix and keep it aside
In a pan add 2 tsps of oil, when the oil is hot add garlic, onions, curry leaves and fry well.
When the onions is golden brown, add the chopped tomatoes and fry till oil seperates.
Now add the chilli powder, sombhu powder and salt. add 1/2 cup of water and close with a lid.
When the gravy is bubbling, add the shrimp and mix well till its coated well with the masala.
reduce the flame and allow it to be cooked for 5 mins or till the gravy thickens.
Switch of the stove and garnish with cilantro.

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