Archive for the ‘Tamil’ Category

All About Dosas



Dosas are yummy crêpes made from fermented batter of rice and black gram. These can be made and eaten in a gazillion different forms. I plan on updating this post as and when I make the different kinds and combinations of them. That’s why the title “All About”. The basic batter for most of them can be made using the below proportions. It is eventually what else you add into this batter and how you make the crêpes that give the various forms and names to this wonderful delight.

Ghee Roast – This golden brown super thin crisp crêpe roasted to perfection in ghee and served right off the flame with mouth watering coconut chutneys is probably the most simple dosa of all and my favorite. So, obviously it goes first in my list of recipes


3 cups idli /parboiled rice (if you don’t have it go ahead and use raw rice)
1 cup urad dal(skinned black gram)
1 tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds
2 tbsp channa dal
1 tbsp mung dal
3 tbsp cooked rice(can be replaced with poha/beaten rice)
salt to taste
ghee for roasting the crepe



  • Soak the rice, methi and the dals together in sufficient water for about 6 hours.
  • Drain the water and grind to a smooth and soft batter. Add the drained water a little at a time while grinding is necessary. 
  • Transfer the  batter to a bowl.  Add water if the batter is too thick.  Add salt and mix well.The final consistency of batter should thickly coat a spoon when dipped into it.
  • Set to ferment in a warm dark place.
  • Time to ferment depends on the room temperature. Usually take 6 – 8 hours on a warm day.
  • The quantity more than doubles upon fermentation.
  • Mix the batter well.
  • Heat a skillet at low flame and smear it with 1/2 a tsp of  ghee (I use an onion cut horizontally into half, to smear oil on the skillet. This tends to give a nice aroma to the dosas).
  • Pour batter on to the center of the hot skillet, and gently spread towards the outside in concentric circular movement using the base of the ladle to form a circular very thin crêpe.
  • Increase the flame to high.
  • When you start noticing a golden brown color on the sides and the top surface has the lost the wet look, Turn the dosa over.
  • Allow to roast for half a minute or so on this side.
  • Fold and take of the flame.
  • Reduce the flame and repeat the process to make the next dosa
  • Serve hot with coconut chutneys or sambar.
  • Medu Vada / Uzhunnu Vada – Spicy Black Gram Dumplings



    My Mom makes the best uzhunnu vadas I’ve eaten. Unfortunately I’ve never get to watch her make them since very rarely can we stand each other in the same room let alone a kitchen. Very often as I am gulping down some of her tasty delights, there occurs brief lapses in my senses and in the bliss of ecstasy I find my self proclaiming the usual foot-in- the-mouth/call-it-on-yourself declarations like: I’ve got to learn this from you !! And then of course I find her smirking and hear her insinuating, PRETEND under the breath remark(loud enough for the next door neighbor to hear): Oh that will need your butt to forsake the couch. Of course that sends me eating more than my stomach can handle and I walk away making sure my eyes reveal what my tongue so desperately wants to lash out, but dare not say: My ass will never leave the couch Ma and you forever will end up cooking for me ‘cause I’m going to make sure you outlive me and manipulated by me, your motherly instincts will continue to feed my greed whether you like it or not. Long story short, this IS my mothers recipe but I learnt it from my sister who, God bless her- has all the patience in the world to bear my mothers taunts.

    The two main points to remember in order for the vadas to be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside is: 1> Use as little water as possible for grinding. 2> Aerate the batter thoroughly using a fork after grinding.


    IMG_93142 cups urad dal/ black gram
    1 tsp crushed pepper 
    1 tsp grated and crushed ginger 
    2-3 green chilies finely chopped
    2- 3 tbsp chopped cilantro 
    10-12 torn curry leaves
    1 tbsp diced coconut (optional. I don’t add this my mother does) 
    1/2 cup chopped onions   
    salt to taste 
    refined oil for deep frying



  • IMG_9296Soak urad dal in water for 5 –6 hours.
  • Grind it to a smooth batter without adding too much water.
  • Use a fork or a mixer and aerate the batter thoroughly.
  • Now add all the other ingredients except oil and mix well into the batter.
  • Heat oil in a deep pan.
  • Immerse the front of your palm in water and scoop a hand full of batter and shape it into a ball.
  • IMG_9305Use your thumb to make a hole at the center of the ball like a doughnut.
  • Flip your palm back side up on top of the hot oil and let the doughnut slump down smoothly on its own into the hot oil.
  • Fry each side for about a minute until deep golden brown and crispy on the outside.
  • Serve hot with sambar and coconut chutney.




    Eggplant(Brinjal) Masala



    This recipe tastes great with the long green variety of eggplants. If you can’t find the green kind you can use whatever you have just like I did here. Though it might not taste as good it still will do sufficient justice to your taste buds.


    2 lbs eggplant (I’ve used the small round/oval ones, but the long green ones work best)
    1/2 tsp three Cs spice mix (cardamom-cinnamon-clove spice mix)
    1/2 cup fresh shredded coconut 
    3 tsp coriander seeds
    1/4 tsp fennel seeds
    1 large onion, chopped finely julienne style
    1/2 tsp chili powder( base it on tolerable spice level)
    1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
    1 tsp black mustard seeds
    1 tsp cumin
    1/4 tsp turmeric
    1/2 tsp of tamarind paste
    1-2 sprigs of  curry leaves
    refined vegetable oil
    salt to taste


  • If you are using the small egg plants like I’ve used -cut off only the green stalk of the eggplants letting the green ring on the top remain (this will help hold the individual eggplant together even after it is cooked), make four slits at the bottom keeping the eggplant still intact as a whole. If you are using the long green kind then cut them into big chunks
  • Heat about 2 to 3 tsp of refined oil in a wide flat bottomed pan
  • Place the eggplants in the pan so that every eggplant touches the floor of the pan. Set the flame high for about 3 –4 mins or until one side of the eggplant is caramelized, then turn them over to the other side repeat the procedure. If there isn’t enough space in the pan, do them in batches.
  • Sprinkle a little salt on top of the eggplant after the two sides are caramelized, close the pan and cook in low flame for 4 -5 mins or until the eggplants are almost (not completely) cooked.
  • Dry roast the coriander, fennel and cumin seeds (each separately)
  • Grind them into a semi coarse mixture along with the coconut. 
  • Heat a table spoon refined oil, add mustard and curry leaves corns and sauté until the mustard pop.
  • Add in the chopped onions, sauté till golden brown
  • Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for another few minutes till the oil comes clear.
  • Add in the tamarind paste , the ground mixture, 3 Cs spice mix,turmeric & chili powder and 1 cup od water and stir till the they all come together.
  • Add in the almost cooked eggplants and cook for few more minutes till the eggplants are fully cooked, add in hot water if the consistency of the gravy is too thick.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Serve with Indian breads or rice
  • Pregnancy Take 2


    My Pictures 

    Howdy folks!! I’m sorry, I’ve been long quiet. Didn’t mean to. Thought every other day I would get back. But each of those days for reasons of their own often killed my enthusiasm for blogging. Like the title says already, we are pregnant again :). That obviously is  my pathetic excuse for the long absence. We’ve been well. The baby inside me is getting lumpy and my two boys have been the best I could  ever wish for. Over indulgent and ever ready to please me they are exactly what any woman could want. For their charming behavior and for my ‘only existent during pregnancy’ luscious mane of hair and dimples I wouldn’t mind staying pregnant and carrying this baby well into adulthood ;).

    Anywhoo, I’m back and I hope to stay. In a couple of months Mom is going to be here to help with the new baby and it would be outrageously sinful if I didn’t post all the amazing food she is going to ‘insist on’ making. Yes, she is coming to help with the baby. But while at that, on her own accord, she will take over my house, my life and my SOUL. And that’s why I’m back Internet, to prepare you for all my ramblings in the future months, For my now faithful boys, will soon shed off their adoring skins and take cover under their grandma/mil’s wings and I will be left all alone holding on to my postpartum blues for company. And I’ll have only you Internet to hear me out then and in gratitude  I shall throw in some good recipes amidst the sobbing to make it worth your while. As a overture for the future and in a desperate attempt to entice you to come back in spite of my drone here are some yum recipes.

    Vegetable Biryani – Chettinad Style

    IMG_9199Known to be the spiciest and the most aromatic cuisine of India, the Chettinad cuisine is one of my favorites. I’ve spent many glorious evenings in Chennai wiping away plates of Biryani and sucking on spicy succulent crab meat while my totally [read more]







    Pork Fry – Coorgi Style


    Many things about the Kodava community fascinated me right from when I was a child. Their gentle and good looking men and women folk, their intriguing customs, distinctive dressing and sweet sounding language always brought [read more]







    Navrathan Korma


    Navratan Korma, meaning a mixture of nine gems is a delicious vegetarian dish from the Mughlai cuisine. The nine gems indicate the nine veggies, fruits and nuts that go into the dish. Influenced by the imperial kitchens of the Mughal empire this is as grand and as rich as any vegetarian dish can get. [read more]

    Vegetable Biryani- Chettinad Style



    Known to be the spiciest and the most aromatic cuisine of India, the Chettinad cuisine is one of my favorites. I’ve spent many glorious evenings in Chennai wiping away plates of Biryani and sucking on spicy succulent crab meat while my totally vegetarian best friend V, looked on with great amusing interest. I’m sure her smirk would disappear in a tick had she only known the great void (tragedy) her vegetarian life had conferred on her.

    Anyway, coming back to serious cooking,  here’s a vegetarian version of the popular Chettinad biryani which is so flavorful that I’m sure even a die hard meat eater would easily go for a second helping :) .

    1 lb veggies of your choice. (I used, cauliflower and broccoli florets, diced bell peppers and carrots, peas and  potatoes cut into long strip like fries)
    3 cups basmati rice
    1 large  or 2 medium sized red onions finely sliced
    3 large tomatoes, diced in chunks 
    2 tbsp chopped cilantro/coriander leaves
    11/2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
    1 tbsp chopped mint 
    5 cloves
    4, 1/4 inch pieces of cinnamon
    2 bruised whole cardamom
    1/2 tsp red chili powder, alter this based on tolerable spice level
    2 tsp paprika, for color
    2 bay leaves
    1/2 tsp turmeric powder  
    refined vegetable oil
    2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
    3/4 cup coconut milk
    3/4 cup curd
    1 tsp lemon juice
    Salt to taste

    Spices for Grinding

    3 cloves
    2,1/4 inch pieces of cinnamon
    seeds from 1 cardamom
    1 tsp of fennel seeds


  • Soak washed basmati rice with 4 cups of water and set aside for an hour. 
  • Dry roast the spices mentioned for grinding and grind to a semi coarse powder
  • Heat refined oil in a wide bottomed pan that can be fitted with a tight lid and doesn’t let steam escape and fry the veggies one at a time until almost cooked and set aside.
  • In the same pan add ghee and  add more oil if necessary,
  • When hot, add the whole cloves, cinnamon and cardamom and let them puff up.
  • Add the chopped onions and sauté until deep brown (the onions should look fried).
  • When the oil comes clear, move the onions to the sides of the pan and add turmeric and the ground spices to the oil accumulated at the center of the pan and sauté for 30 secs.
  • Add remaining ginger-garlic and sauté for a minute.
  • Add in the diced tomatoes, chili powders and sauté until oil separates.
  • Reduce the flame to low and add the coconut milk, curd, lemon, salt, cilantro and mint and let it simmer.
  • Add 1 tbsp of ghee, salt and cook the rice until the water boils and the rice is only  3/4 done.
  • Drop in the fried veggies into the masala mixture mix well and flatten it at he bottom of the pan
  • Pour in the boiling rice into the pan making the rice form a layer on top of the masala and veggie mixture and has no direct contact to the bottom of the pan.
  • Close the pan tight shut and let it sit on the very low flame for 15 – 20 min or until the rice at the top is done.
  • Remove from the stove and mix in the rice and masala
  • Serve with raitha and mango pickles.
  • Chutneys Galore



    Well it is a day over a over a month since I bought my new toy and evidently I’m not yet bored with it like I thought I would be (or should be) by now. And since the Wife/Mother has shown no signs of curbing herself, the Husband and Son have stopped making efforts to hide their annoyance as well. The boys hopelessly voice out their oh-no! not again shrieks while the obsessive and unrelenting South Indian in me serves them yet another variation of a fermented crêpe or a mutant version of some fried or steamed dumpling they just had a day before.

    The only saving grace for both the parties involved have been the savory chutneys. These spicy and tangy dips always manage to get the boys excited and hence lessens the burden of guilt for me, though obviously I don’t seem as bothered as I should be ;). In any case, when I see my boys serve themselves big mounds of these chutneys, which again is so not the right way of doing it and I have had to dig my nails into the wall and eat my own hair to refrain myself from lecturing them about the correct or rather the traditionally allowed proportions, I’m glad I look less evil than what I actually am.  When your boys act like the dinner or at least a part of the dinner you served was finger licking good you definitely can pass for a good Mother/Wife. Can’t you?? 😉

    Green Chili Coconut Chutney

    IMG_8613This mildly sweet, delicately spicy, greenish tinged elegance pairs very well with dosas and idlis. This chutney is my Mom’s recipe and something that I absolutely love..[read more]






    Shallot Chutney/ Ulli Chammanthi

    IMG_8601This is another one of those chutneys that you continue to lick off of your plate even when the dosas and idlis are long gone..[read more]







    Onion and Garlic Chutney

    IMG_8598 This chunky,mouth watering, finger licking chutney is for those who crave for that hint of sugar in every spicy bite. This is one of my most favorite chutneys. It has a really long shelf life and actually never goes stale on you[read more]






    Onion and Garlic Chutney



    This chunky,mouth watering, finger licking chutney is for those who crave for that hint of sugar in every spicy bite. This is one of my favorite chutneys. It has a really long shelf life and actually never goes stale on you.

    1 chopped red onions
    1 tsp red chili powder (base it on taste)  
    1tsp paprika (for color)  
    2 tbsp sliced garlic  
    1/2 cup tamarind pulp extracted from 1 lemon sized tamarind
    3 green chilies slit lengthwise
    1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
    small pinch of asafoetida 
    1 tsp jaggery shavings 
    salt to taste 
    1 spring of curry leaves 
    2-3 tsp of sesame oil (cold pressed)


  • Heat oil in a pan, add asafoetida, mustard and curry leaves.
  • Add onions, green chilies and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent
  • Add chili powder and paprika and sauté for a few minutes.
  • Pour in the tamarind pulp and bring to boil.
  • Add jaggery and salt to taste.
  • Serve with dosas or idlis.

  • Shallot Chutney / Ulli Chammanthi /Vengaya Chutney


    This is another one of those chutneys that you continue to lick off of your plate even when the dosas and idlis are long gone.


    1 cup shallots chopped
    4-5 dried red chilies  
    1tsp black gram dal/urad dal 
    1 tsp channa dal / bengal gram 
    1/4 tsp tamarind paste or marble sized pitted tamarind
    small pinch of asafoetida
    salt to taste
    2-3 tsp of sesame oil (cold pressed)


  • Heat oil in a pan, add asafoetida, dals, dried chilies and shallots and sauté until the shallots are golden brown.
  • Add tamarind and sauté for a few more minutes. 
  • Switch off the flame and let the mixture cool.
  • Grind to a smooth paste.
  • Serve with dosas or idlis.
  • Spicy Paddu



    I always loved the lunches my best friend L got to school. Her Mom was a very good cook and I made sure L reserved a major portion of her lunch box for me. She was/is one of my closest of friends and there is no doubt I loved her company and always wished to hang out at her place irrespective of the food, that is. But, the fact that her Mom was an amazing cook only amplified the desire a tad bit more ;).
    These fried dumplings called Paddu sometimes came in L’s lunches and were coveted by  not just me but, by many of  our other avaricious friends as well. So, my dearest pal L, bless her sweet sweet heart, always saved a few extra for me in a safe place before she opened her box to the wild hungry wolves around us. And though I knew that my portion existed elsewhere, I still fought with the rest to get my split in this share of the treat as well;).  You see, greed is a vice I’ve had tough timing dealing with all my life :(.  Anyway, what is worth mentioning here though is that, it was not just with food that L made sure that I got more than I deserve. She’s been there for me as a close confidant all through my life. My preteens, teens and now well into my adulthood. And though today we live across the globe from each other, every time either of us are having a plate of these yummy dumplings we never fail to think back of the good times we shared.

    L in the last few years has been having more than her warranted share of problems in life. And to all or any of you who have taken the pains to read through my monologue here, I’d be grateful if you could spare a moment to send over some good thoughts, spirits and prayers her way. Not because L is my friend but because she is a genuinely nice person and totally totally deserves it.



    1/3 cup urad dal/black gram
    1 cup raw rice
    1 tsp fenugreek/methi seeds
    3 tbsp thin poha/parched (beaten) rice
    3 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
    2 sprigs of finely chopped curry leaves
    1 med sized onion finely chopped
    2 green chilies finely chopped
    salt to taste
    1/2 tsp finely chopped ginger


  • Wash and soak dal, rice and fenugreek seeds for 5-6 hours.
  • Grind this mixture along with the parched rice to make a smooth batter.
  • Add salt and let the batter ferment overnight.
  • When adequately fermented the volume of the batter more than doubles its original volume
  • Add all the remaining ingredients into the batter and mix well.
  • On high flame grease the appakara (the mold used in making these dumplings) with oil.
  • Pour  1.5 tbsp full of batter  into each mold.
  • Reduce the flame to medium and let it cook for 3 – 4 minutes
  • When the bottom side is done, turn it over to the other side.
  • Drizzle a few drops of oil gain.
  • Let it cook for another 2 – 3 minutes
  • Remove from the pan and server hot with your choice of chutneys.
  • IMG_8591

    Boring is What I Long For



    If a slug and I were ever to race, it would get light years ahead of me and eventually reach the finish line while I’m still deciding on the bow-tie or the inside-out style for my shoe laces.  Yes, that’s how laid back I am, and always will to be. While others thrive on the pump of adrenaline, I go out of my way to avoid it. And if it were up to me, What are you NOT doing over the weekend, is what I’d prefer people enquiring. A quiet weekend with absolutely nothing to do is something I would often like to look forward to. I don’t understand why people don’t get the infinite possibilities of an empty weekend. Why people scorn upon me when I say, I’d like to spend the weekend sunk into the couch with my favorite author, or sleep it away with long beauty naps, or indulge it with longer restful baths or travel around the world through the TV, from inside the confines of my most favorable sanctuary – my home.

    Back from hiking random peaks at 5 in the AM, my husband Roy often gives me the what a loser you are look as I snuggle deep into my crisp clean sheets and curl tighter into my foetal position under the warmth of my blanket. I wish he would spare the harmless like me and reserve those looks and spirits for somebody more deserving like Bin-Laden or Sarah Palin. He rolls his eyes when I, upon his suggestion that I need some fresh air, sneak my long nose through the ajar deck door and inhale the pure oxygen beneath the dense conifers outside. So what if that fresh air is in my yard? Doesn’t that count?? Just because my couch is an arm’s length away while I’m filling up my lungs, he says and I quote, You shame your vibrant ancestors. Here’s my point, for every slacker like me there are 10 go-getters out there who would readily take on the needs of the world. And from what I see, Roy does enough to cover me and 10 generations of no-good like me ;).  And since I dedicate my presence here  to solely bring about balance in the universe ;), I take pleasure in sitting on the couch, watch and applaud you on TV, while you reach on top of the Everest or perform that all so difficult brain surgery! Cause trust me people you don’t want one more sucker in this race :)!

    And just like how I like my weekends and major part of my life, I prefer my food simple too. No doubt the rich biryanis, koftas and cutlets are very often welcome, but it is in the simple Indian food I often find comfort.

     Idli / Steamed Rice & Gram Dumplings

    IMG_8013One of the most common breakfast in the south of India are these steamed puffed dumplings called Idlis. Made from fermented rice and black gram these provide sufficient crabs and proteins to get you through the day. Idlis come in different size, shape and texture…[read more]




    White Pottukadalai (Roasted Gram) Chutney

    IMG_8050 Ok, this chutney is very similar to the previous pottukadalai chutney that I’d posted earlier. I however have omitted the cilantro and have used tamarind instead of curd to bring in the tang. Like I said before, chutneys are all about mix and match…[read more]