Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Manjal Vendhaya Podi / Turmeric And Fenugreek Powder

Turmeric and fenugreek powder is a simple spice powder that we use in many pickles. Also, it enhances the flavor of Iyengar special Puliotharai (aka tamarind rice). Adding small quantities of this powder greatly enhances the flavor and gives fantastic aroma and color. The turmeric variety that is used is the thin one which is usually used for making sambhar powder.


Turmeric - 1/4 cup, broken into pieces
Fenugreek - 1/4 cup


Dry roast both these separately till golden brown and nice aroma arises. Cool and grind to a powder.

Store in an airtight container. This can be stored outside for 2 to 3 months or for a longer period in the refrigerator.


Turmeric is hard to break. So use a hammer to break into small pieces. If you try to grind without breaking, ....time to buy a new mixer or blender.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Sago Vadam Chaat

Chaats are always mouth-watering snacks. Chaats are so full of flavor that your taste buds start to do the tango. My kids love pani puri (for that matter who doesn't) and sev puri. Many times, I have used the sago vadam, as I ran out of those cute little puris. Just fry the sago vadams, add the toppings as you like, and eat. This is a version of sev puri, in which the vadam replaces the puri. Quite yummy that I have to have enough of those vadams fried. These also make a wonderful after school snack and weekend snack. 

These vadams are flat when they are in the sun-dried form. But when you fry they attain the shape of cute little cups which makes it perfect for chaat. There are no specified quantities given below for the ingredients, as you can add as much as you wish and enjoy your snack. It just takes a few minutes of your time to make this mouth watering chaat provided you have the chutneys ready in hand.


Sago vadam - deep fried
Potatoes - boiled and diced
Black channa or regular garbanzo beans - boiled
Onions - diced
Tomatoes - diced
Cilantro - finely chopped
Sev - as required
Sweet chutney - as needed
Green chutney - as needed


To the fried sago vadams, add the boiled potatoes, channa, onion, tomato as you wish. 

Next, add the sweet chutney and green chutney. Again, if you want to add only one chutney or both, feel free to satisfy your taste and use accordingly. 

Top with some sev, garnish with cilantro and serve immediately. 


Have the chutneys a little thick, so the vadams do not soak up immediately.

Serve immediately as they will become soggy.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Green Chilli Chutney

Green chillies or chilies - a hot spicy vegetable - one can't cook without this in an Indian kitchen. In every home, there would always be a fresh stack of these chili peppers at hand. It is slit, halved, chopped, ground - added in all possible ways. It adds heat and a tang to the food that is cooked with it. We often make this green chilli chutney or sauce - just 3 ingredients and takes only a couple of minutes to make. This chutney can be served with yogurt rice, idlies, dosa, vadas, or used in many other recipes, or as a fresh green chilli sauce for noodles, or as a dip too.


Green chilli - 12
Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp


Wash the green chillies. Add all the three ingredients and grind to a smooth paste with a little water. This chutney can be refrigerated for a week.

Green chilli chutney served as a dip for fries.


Adjust the salt according to the spiciness of the chilli peppers.

I used the bar-type asafoetida - cut and use type. You can use the powder form too. Not many like it. But generally has medicinal uses and gives a great aroma to the food. If you don't want, feel free to omit it.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Medhu Vada / Ulundhu Vadai

Medhu vada aka ulundhu (whole urad dhal) vadai is a famous south Indian snack. It is a spongy, a crispy fried snack that is always served with chutney and/or sambhar. It is served for breakfast with idli or pongal. It is also served during festivals and special occasions for lunch, like in every south Indian home. It is also a wonderful snack. This is the basic vada which can be had as such or made into sambhar vadai, rasa vadai or Thayir (yogurt) vadai. The urad dhal is rich in proteins. So even it is deep-fried, it is quite healthy.

Medhu vada is a favorite for everyone in our home (and to many people too). I learned it from my mom, who is an expert in cooking. All my family members as well as friends too like my crispy medhu vadas and give lots of compliments. I feel very proud that I have learned it perfectly from my mom. Making these vadas in perfect shape may require practice, and hence feel free to try a couple of times. Even if the shape is a little off, it would be yummy. Today, being Father's day - I made these crispy delicious delicacy as my husband, dad, and FIL - everyone like medhu vada - a special snack for all the dad's. 

First, here are some tips which must be followed to make crispy and delicious vadas: 

1. Soak the dhal for one hour. Do not let it soak for hours together since it will result in oily vadas.

2. Adding rice while soaking gives crispier vadas.

3. To make vadas which is not oily, the key is in the batter consistency and the way to grind it. Personally, I feel that if you grind the lentils in the blender, it results in a harder vada and you may need to add a little baking soda to make it a little softer. Instead, if you grind in a grinder which we normally use for idli grinding, it gives a good fluffy batter. 

4. Do not pour water in one stretch to grind the batter. It is advisable to sprinkle water during grinding. The whole grinding process would be completed in about 15 to 20 minutes. So keep an eye on the grinder. Scrape the sides now and then and sprinkle water.

5. To check the batter consistency, just drop a tiny bit of batter into a bowl with water. If it floats, the batter is perfect. For best vadas, always the batter should float (refer picture).

6. Do not add salt while grinding. It will result in loose consistency and the vadas will absorb lots of oil.

7. If you are not making vadas immediately, refrigerate the batter as it will start to ferment and vadas made with that batter would be oily.

8. Add salt or onions and mix thoroughly just before frying.

9. To make saatvik version, omit onions.

10. I usually grind chopped green chillies along with the urad dhal, so that the kids do not get those chillies. You can add it to the ground batter too.

11. A few whole black peppercorns, cumin, cashews can also be added to the batter.

12. Fry the vadas in medium flame. Keeping a low flame will make the vadas absorb too much oil.


Urad dhal - 1 cup
Rice - 2 tbsp
Ginger - 1/4 tsp, fresh grated
Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - 2 -3 sprigs
Cilantro - 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Onion - 2/3 to 1 cup
Green chillies - 2, finely chopped
Oil - for deep frying


Wash the urad dhal, rice and soak for about 1 hour. Strain the water completely and add it to the grinder along with chopped green chillies. Add about 1/4 cup water and grind. Scrape the sides of the grinder now and then and sprinkle water as required (follow the tips given above) and grind to a smooth batter.

Add salt, asafoetida, ginger, green chillies (if wanted), curry leaves, cilantro, and mix the batter thoroughly. 

Heat oil in a pan on a medium flame.

To make shaped vadas, here are the steps - have a small bowl of water nearby. Wet your hands. With we hands, take a ball of batter and pat it lightly into a flat shape.

Dip your pointer in water and then make a hole at the center in the flat vada batter in the left hand. 

Now transfer the shaped vada batter in your left hand to your right hand (make sure your right hand is wet, so you can drop the vada into oil easily without losing shape) and drop slowly into the hot oil.

 Four or five vadas can be fried at a time depending upon the size of the frying pan. Fry on a medium flame till one side is golden brown. Then flip and cook till the other side is also cooked to golden brown color. Take it off the oil and drain on paper towels. 

Yummy vadas are ready to have as such, or chutney and sambhar. This measurement makes around 25 vadas. For parties, you can make still smaller vadas.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Mango Kulfi

How much of mangoes is enough? Well...it is tough to answer if you are a mango lover like me. Raw mangoes - as such or as pickles, ripe ones as such or in any dessert form....the options are endless. That's really awesome. In our home, all of us love mangoes. We are not that sad or mad about the summer heat just because of the fact that we get lots and lots of mangoes and that too lots of varieties too. We also buy more mangoes just not make it ration. Also to make sure we find some mangoes to try out different new recipes and make yummy desserts with that. We love mango ice cream, aamras (mango juice), and mango kulfi. 

Mango kulfi is a cold Indian style mango flavored ice cream. The rich creaminess comes from reducing milk by slowly simmering and yes, it takes a lot of time. Care is needed to prevent the milk from scalding which will destroy the flavor. I like to make kulfi the traditional way. Short cuts do not give that flavor though they may save some time for you. OK...enough talking.... let's go to the recipe of creamy yummy mangolicious kulfi. 


Milk - 1000 ml
Sugar - 4 to 5 tbsp
Mangoes -  2 cups, chopped


In a heavy-bottomed vessel, boil the milk keeping a low-medium flame till it reduces to about 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups, stirring now and then. Add the sugar and simmer for 2 more minutes. Switch off the flame and let it cool. Blend it lightly (just one run) to make sure it is creamy without any lumps. 

Transfer to a bowl. Next, puree the mangoes and add it to the cream. Gently fold in to mix.

Grease the kulfi containers or molds with a little ghee, so it's easy to take the frozen kulfi out. Fill the molds with mango cream mixture and freeze it straight. make sure the kulfi molds are kept straight in the freezer. Leave it to freeze for 4 to 5 hrs. 

To take the frozen kulfi out of the mold, just keep the mold in running tap water or dip it in warm water for a minute, then run a knife around to loosen it up and release it out of the mold.

Yummy mangolicious kulfi is ready to be served.

Mini kulfi for kids or for portion control

Enjoy your summer with these simple and tasty frozen treats.


Blending the milk, after it reduces, is an option. My son doesn't like grainy, so I blended it. If a grainy texture is ok for you, go ahead and continue with that. I love that grainy texture.

Adding nuts is also another option. I did not, since I have a little one who doesn't like nuts too. 

If you do not have kulfi molds, it is perfectly ok. Just make it with small muffins cups, or mud pots or even glass, steel tumblers, or shot glasses. Popsicle makers can also be used. Sometimes, I have frozen it straight in a pyrex container and later cut it into desired portions.

If you want to insert popsicle sticks into the molds, try inserting after an hour. I used small cups too and was able to insert the popsicle sticks immediately after pouring since my recipe results in a thicker rabdi or mango creamy milk mixture.

Also, the color of the kulfi depends on the mango variety used.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Musk Melon Ice Cream

What is summer without ice cream...Yummy creamy ice cream cools you down making you relax on a hot summer day. It is of utmost comforting to have ice-cream enjoying the vacation with friends and family. A gathering or a party during summer is never complete without ice creams, popsicles, and cream soda. Not only the kids but also adults have fun enjoying the ice cream in a waffle cone or cup or even without them. 

Last year, I was sad since my ice cream maker burnt. :-(  To compensate, this summer we got a new ice cream maker and had loads of fun making and enjoying it with family. I made a few flavors....yes mango definitely on the list (I would post it soon).

The market is filled with summer fruits to beat the heat. One can spot very easily vendors on the road selling watermelon, cantaloupe, musk melon, and tender coconut. The juicy melons are a great choice to eat just like that or in smoothies, juices, popsicles, or ice creams. I tried musk melon ice cream two years back and from that time, it has become a super hit in our family. My son who is not into fruits tried and loved some of the real fruit ice creams. We enjoyed musk melon ice cream so much that I wanted to share here with you all. It is very simple to make and bursts with the musk melon flavor in every bite and is an ideal summer fruit ice cream.


Musk melon - 1 and 1/2 cups, chopped
Heavy cream - 1 and 1/2 cups
Sugar - 1/2 cup


Blend the chopped musk melon and sugar. 

To this add the cream and mix well. if you use your blender, do it in slow speed.

Pour this onto the pre-frozen ice cream maker bowl and churn at a slow speed according to the make of ice cream maker.

In about 20 min., thick creamy ice cream is ready. 

Transfer to a bowl and freeze for 4 to 5 hrs. Yummy musk melon ice cream is ready to be served. 


This is the right amount of fruit and cream. If you add more melon, then crystals form in the ice cream and if you add more cream, the musk melon flavor is suppressed a little. I feel the above combination gives the perfect balance of both melon and cream.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Triple Chocolate Paal Payasam (Kheer) / Triple Chocolate Rice Pudding

The first day of school after the vacation and I really wanted to make something special for my kids. I know how they (esp., my daughter) are going to come home with steam...(tackling a bully in school). And............ I was correct!  I was a little happy that she stood up for herself. All those disturbances she got in school.....she needed some comfort. I had guessed what would happen and being the first day of school, wanted to prepare a special yummy snack, which would make them forget everything and enjoy it. I made a creamy chocolatey rice kheer and sago vadam (I will post how to make this) chaat. It worked like magic - indulging and enjoying every bite and enjoying their evening after a long day. 

This rice kheer or pudding is rich, creamy, and very very chocolatey. Yes! made with dark chocolate, milk, and white chocolate. Its like tasting heaven. This sure would be a great dessert for any occasion or gathering and you can make this relatively short time.  

The sago (aka javvarisi, in Tamil) vadams when deep-fried look like small cups and forms a suitable base for chaat and appetizers. But they have to be eaten immediately as they become soggy. The chaat made with these sago cups were also emptying fast and the kids were asking for more. They were yummy and very easy to make. 


Serves 6 people

Basmati rice - 1/4 cup
Milk - 500 ml
Sugar - 2 tbsp
Water - 1/2 cup
Butter - 2 tbsp
Dark chocolate - 1/3 cup, chopped
Milk chocolate - 2 tbsp, chopped
White chocolate - 2 tbsp, chopped

Fresh cream - to garnish


Wash the rice and keep aside. In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat 2 tbsp of butter. Fry the rice for 3 to 4 min. on a low-medium flame. 

Then add 1/2 cup water and milk. Let it simmer till the rice is cooked. 

When it is almost done, add dark chocolate and sugar. Continue to simmer for another five min. Now the mixture would be thickening. 

Switch off the flame and add the chopped milk and white chocolates and they would start to melt. 

Mix well and serve in individual bowls garnished with cream. Serve warm.


If you want it very sweet, add one more tbsp sugar. The above-mentioned sugar tastes perfect.

It can be served cold too, but I love it warm, warm enough but not very hot so that you can feel the chocolate melting in your mouth.