Category Archives: Recipes

Puttu Payir Pappadam

“I will make Puttu( a Kerala delicacy). Something you have never tasted before”, proclaimed I, to my parents and went on to make the worst Puttu ever. It was like eating Raw wheat flour, with some coconut shreds, though the accompanying kadala curry was very good. Poor Mom and Dad. Tried their best to smile, with watery eyes , wondering what sin they had committed ,forced to eat raw flour. Was she taking revenge for hitting her as a child, thought the mother or Was it because I wouldn’t let her read “The Pirate” by Harold Robbins in her 10th grade, thought the father. Poorva Janma Karma, they decided and took the brunt of it.

Alas!! I wish they had tasted my Puttu yesterday. Practice maketh a woman’s puttu perfect. No! Not just practice, also the food processor. Helps to get the right consistency of the flour with water.In case you are wondering, how a Kannadiga married to a Tamilian gets hold of Puttu maker and makes awesome Puttus, here is the scoop. Having a Malayali MIL helps you to learn puttu and aapam recipes. Puttu, Payir, Papadam is what the combination is called. In TN restaurants, Puttu with Kadala curry is popular too. I made Puttu, blackeyed peas curry with Appalam.
Here is the puttu maker.

2 cups Wheat flour ( Rice flour is more popular)
water, as needed
1/2 cup shredded coconut
salt, as per taste

1. Mix the flour& salt with water in a food processor, till you get the right consistency. There should be just enough moisture so that if you grip the flour,it should bind, but otherwise it doesn’t.
2. Make layers of flour and coconut in the puttu maker and place it on the bottom vessel, which essentially holds water for steaming.
3. Thats it !! Steam it for five minutes and enjoy it with whatever you want.

The original PPP is puttu with rice flour, payiru with whole moong dal sundal and fried pappadum.

My PPA is puttu with Wheat flour, payiru with black eyed peas and spinach gravy and fried appalam. And as you can see, I added shredded coconut, just as a bare necessity.The recipe definitely calls for more.

Note: If you are wondering why I started posting recipes again,I was guilt tripped. For some reason, all my posts are getting posted in some food blog aggregator called Foodbix. And so, a recipe it is.


Posted by on January 9, 2011 in Recipes


khasta flop-o-chori

This month’s Indian Cooking Challenge was making Khasta katchori,as described by Medhaa. As the title says, my katchori turned out to be a flop-o-chori. I decided to use whole wheat flour instead of maida. My fillings were just right but the katchori was not crisp. It tasted more like stuffed poori than katchori. I made one where the oil was not too hot and the others with the oil too hot…

With burns leaving scars on my face during my past deep frying sagas, I am scared of frying anything. I would like to blame it on that..I can never make mistakes,Si.. 🙂

Anyway, here is the recipe
Khasta Kachori – Moong Dal Kachori


Split Moong Dal (yellow) – 1/2 cup
Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
Hing / Asafoetida – a pinch
Curry Leaves – 2 tsp chopped fine (opt)
Green Chilli – Ginger paste – 1 tsp
Sauf / Fennel seeds powder – 1 tsp
Garam Masala – 1/2 tsp
Red Chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Mango powder / Amchur – 1 tsp
Oil – 1 tsp
Salt to taste


1. Wask and Soak dal in water for atleast 1 hour. You can go upto 4 hours not more.
2. Drain the water well.
3. Grind the dal to a coarsely. (Will resemble Idli Rawa)
4. Heat oil in a pan.
5. Add the hing and cumin seeds.
6. Once the seeds splutter add the curry leaves.
7. Add the dal.
8. Lower the heat and keep stirring for 5 minutes till the dal stops sticking to the pan.
9. Cook for another 10 minutes on low till the dal turns slightly brown.
10. Add all the masalas.
11. Cook for few minutes till the aroma of the spices hit you.
12. Add Salt.
13. Remove from heat and keep aside to cool.

The filling has to be really dry. Don’t add water.

For the Dough

Ingredients :

All purpose flour / Maida – 2 cups
Oil/ Ghee – 1/4 cup ,
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Water for kneading


1. Mix the flour and salt, Add the oil/ghee and mix till you get a bread crumbs texture.
2. Slowly add water and make a soft dough. Knead well for about 8 minutes.
3. Cover and keep aside to rest for atleast half hour.


1. Make small balls from the dough(like one would do for parathas),fill it with the moong dal filling, pat it and deep fry it, till it is crispy.
2. For elaborate preparation hints, please visit


Posted by on February 15, 2010 in Recipes


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Finger Millet Biscuits

When I was in my teens, a baking oven made its presence in our house for the first time. It was from delhi, on demand by mom. Mothers get light-headed on finding a new recipe or a new utensil. You would be forced to eat rice sevai, after lot of huffing and puffing ( the real deal) and pressing the sevai maker or you would be eating home made ice cream every week ( the new refrigerator , u see), not to mention the ice cream would be more like a sorbet with all the power outages..LOL.
Our craze for butter biscuits started with the entrance of the oven. Mouth watering, melting butter biscuits. The ones you would see in all Pottikadais( kiosks) all over India. Those in dirty old bottles , showcased right in front of the shop.Well, you get them in bakeries too. Also called Nankhatai.
When I visited home last summer, I chanced upon some yummy Ragi( Finger Millet) biscuits in a bakery.Seeing the JFI:Raagi at Eggless cooking triggered that memory and I decided to try it out at home.

Mom makes raagi dosa, raagi rotti, raagi kanji, raagi mudhe , raagi adai and I have eaten Ragi Puttu as well. A versatile grain and one that should be a must in every household.
Some interesting facts about Millets

Today millet ranks as the sixth most important grain in the world.Millet was introduced to the U.S. in 1875, was grown and consumed by the early colonists like corn, then fell into obscurity. At the present time the grain is widely known in the U.S. and other Western countries mainly as bird and cattle feed.

Millet is tasty, with a mildly sweet, nut-like flavor and contains a myriad of beneficial nutrients. It is nearly 15% protein, contains high amounts of fiber, B-complex vitamins including niacin, thiamin, and riboflavin, the essential amino acid methionine, lecithin, and some vitamin E. It is particularly high in the minerals iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium.

Well, coming to the recipe


1/2 cup butter( 1 stick)
1/2 cup sugar( I used raw unrefined sugar)
3/4 cup Ragi flour
1 tbsp Cocoa powder
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp cardamom


1. Mix the butter and sugar , to a creamy consistency. Make sure the butter is at room temp. If you are in a hurry, take a stick from the fridge and melt it slightly in the microwave.
2. Mix the ragi flour, wheat flour,cocoa powder and cardamom with the creamy butter& sugar.
3. Make round balls of the mixtureand bake it.

1. You can increase the cocoa and reduce the ragi slightly to get a more chocolaty flavour.
2. If you reduce the flour, you will get airy butter biscuits.
3. Feel free to substitute whole wheat pastry with all purpose( maida) flour.
4.You can add 1tsp vanilla extract to enhance the flavour.
5. My sugar crystals are pretty huge.I should have ideally powdered it before stirring in with the butter. If you look at the picture closely, you will see the sugar grains. The taste is still the same though.


Posted by on January 28, 2010 in General, Recipes


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Happy Shankaranthi

We celebrated Pongal/Shankaranthi by attending our citizenship interview. A totally different post will most probably follow about how Suresh aced it.. This post is part of the Indian Cooking challenge , which I was foolish enough to have started participating. Why do Indian cooking have to be so tedious. And we assume, the most tedious foods are the tastier ones , sometimes rightly so. Once,I prepared Basundhi from scratch, with boiling the milk and all. It was my first and only time. I don’t have a sweet tooth per se and guess that is part of it. I cite health reasons for not consuming sweets as we all know sugar is one of the worst refined products out there. But, give me deep fried and I can’t resist it. One needs to yield to a little temptation every now and then. Anyway, as part of the Cooking Challenge,we were asked to make Moong Halwa, which I had not tasted before . It is more or less like Badam halwa, but with Moong dal ,instead of Badam.


Split (Yellow) Moong dhal – 1 cup
Ghee – 1/2 cup
Sugar – 3/4 cups to 1 cup (as per required sweetness)
Milk – 1/2 cup
Cashews/ raisins roasted in ghee for garnish.


1. Soak 1 cup moong dal overnight and grind to a paste.
2. Add the dhal to 1/4 cup ghee and stir continuously, not allowing lumps to form. This part is very tricky as the dhal cooks really fast, irrespective of the ghee.
3.Keep stirring even after the dhal becomes thick and add the rest of the ghee intermittently and cook the dhal until aromatic and the ghee starts oozing out.
4.Meanwhile mix the sugar with water/ milk in a pan and bring to a boil. Add this slowly to the cooking dhal.
5.Cook until the ghee surfaces.
Garnish with cashews and raisins or whatever you want to.

Notes: 1. I added a little bit less ghee. And I used raw sugar , which is brown instead of refined white and so, my halwa looks brown in color.
2. I used evaporated milk. Regular milk will do of course.
3. I still prefer Badam halwa. I guess, if I add more ghee, it might taste even better.
4. I think we should be able to make it by roasting the dhal, grind it into a powder and cook it, instead of soaking and grinding.


Posted by on January 15, 2010 in Recipes


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Fruit & Nut Rum Cake

For our birthdays, my in-laws celebrate by cooking Vada, kheer etc and visiting temples. I decided to celebrate my parents upcoming wedding anniversary by baking this Fruit and nut cake. Reminds of my first anniversary gift to them, during my 7th grade. It was a picnic set, a flask with some cups and plates. I had saved all my pocket money, walked to one of the “FANCY” stores near my school and bought it. Was so excited in keeping it hidden till the date. Needless to say its a flask preserved till this date, one which brings a proud smile to their faces.

I used Bee’s Fruit and Nut cake recipe, modified it slightly , making it vegetarian instead of vegan. I had my dry fruits( a mixture of currants,raisins,apricots,cranberries and dates) soaked in Dark Rum for a week.

Please visit Jugalbandi’s website for the original recipe. I will list down the recipe anyway.
Here is the recipe

1. Mix of Nuts ( I used walnuts,almonds and cashewnuts) & dry fruits.
2. 1 cup Rum.( for soaking the dry fruits).
3. 1 cup packed brown sugar
4. 1.5 cup water
5. 5 tablespoons Evaporated Fat Free Milk ( Can also use plain milk/condensed )
6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
7. 1/4 tsp each ground cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg
8. 3 cups unsifted wholewheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour.
( I used 1.5 Cups Wholewheat pastry flour,0.5 cup all-purpose flour,1 cup Oat flour)
9. 1 teaspoon baking soda
10. 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1.Drain the dried fruits and reserve the rum. Put the dried fruits in a pan with water. If they are pre-soaked, use 1 and 1/3 cups water, if not, add 2 cups water. ( This is as Bee states it. I soaked them in rum and used 1.5 cups water)
2.Add sugar, spices and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes and turn off the heat.
3.Preheat the oven to 350 F with a rack in the middle. Grease a bundt pan.
4. Once the mixture is cooled,add the vanilla extract and evaporated milk.
5.Fold in flour, baking soda and nuts.
6.Spoon into greased bundt pan and bake until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. ( Around 35 minutes)
7.Cool for a few minutes and invert over a wire rack .Simmer the reserved rum for a few minutes to burn off the alcohol and drizzle over the cake.( I didn’t simmer the rum, rather drizzled it as it is since I wanted a true rum cake. 🙂

Had some cream at home which was getting outdated and used it to lather the cake.

1. No need to soak the fruits in Rum. It can be plain Fruit & Nut cake.
2. The original recipe called for some lemon/orange zest, orange juice, which I skipped.
3. Instead of Milk, the original recipe had oil/applesauce.

1. The cake came out perfect and very moist. It turned out to be a bit too sweet for me. The original recipe calls for 2 cups sugar.. Wonder how people would even taste anything other than sugar in that one..

Thanksgiving is the perfect occasion to convey my thanks to my parents.


Posted by on November 22, 2009 in General, Recipes


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Quinoa Paniyaram

Quinoa (pronounced /ˈkiːnoʊ.ə/ or /kwɨˈnoʊ.ə/, Spanish quinua, from Quechua kinwa), a species of goosefoot (Chenopodium), is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a grass. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beets, spinach and tumbleweeds. Its leaves are also eaten as a leaf vegetable, much like amaranth, but the commercial availability of quinoa greens is currently limited.

I read about this grain some years ago and have been hooked on to it ever since as it is very nutritious and is a good substitute for rice, being quite bland with a very mild, nutty taste. Our friends M&M even make Quinoa Biryani. I usually stir fry some broccoli and mix it with cooked quinoa with little salt and curry powder. I also mix it with idlis, Parathas and Paniyarams.
For 1 cup of cooked Quinoa, here is the nutrition profile


Paniyaram ( in Tamil) is made by steaming rice & urad dal batter with seasonings, onions added in moulds meant for this particular dish. I bought my mould in India , but you will get it in the US too, called the “Ebleskiver pan”, available in Iron and Non-stick. Making Paniyarams is very simple. Get the batter ready and pour it in the moulds. But, it takes time to cook due to which it is very rarely served in restaurants.Using this mould , one can even make low fat Vadas, pakodas instead of deep frying them.

I had some idli batter , to which added some onions , green chili and quinoa. Lo and Behold !! Quinoa paniyarams ready.


2 cups Idli batter/Paniyaram batter/ (0r)
1.5 cups rice flour and 1/2 cup Urad batter
( Different people have diff proportions for Idli batter/Paniyaram batter. If you don’t have any of those , just mix it with some rice flour & urad batter. I use Brown Rice flour. For Urad batter, soak Urad dal for 2 hrs and grind it.)
2 cups cooked Quinoa
3 Green Chilies
1 cup diced onion
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp jeera( cumin)
5 curry leaves
Oil as needed
Salt as per taste

1. Mix the batter/flour, quinoa,onion and chilies.
2. Season the mustard, jeera and curry leaves in oil and add it to the batter.
3. Take the mould, pour 1 tsp oil in all the pockets and pour the batter in to those.
4. After 5 minutes, turn the paniyarams over to cook the other side, using the stick provided.
5. After 5 minutes or once the inserted stick shows the paniyarams to be cooked, just take them out using the stick.


Posted by on November 14, 2009 in health, Recipes


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Kefir & Thank You

The first I heard of Kefir was a couple of years ago and have loved it ever since.

Kefir (alternately kefīrs, keefir, kephir, kewra, talai, mudu kekiya, milkkefir, búlgaros) is a fermented milk drink that originated in the Caucasus region. It is prepared by inoculating cow, goat, or sheep’s milk with kefir grains. Traditional kefir was made in skin bags that were hung near a doorway; the bag would be knocked by anyone passing through the doorway to help keep the milk and kefir grains well mixed

I was overjoyed when I got picked by Bee for the Kefir Grains. On Monday, this package arrived at our doorstep
thanks to Jai & Bee at Jugalbandi
I dunked it in milk the moment we opened the package..OK,after taking the photo. Both Suresh and I were checking it every few hours to see the various stages and mix it every now and then. Since I used Fat Free milk, I ended up with a runny liquid . Added ginger, salt and curry powder( I mean just plain curry powder which my mom prepared by drying curry leaves). Viola !! Neer More ( Watery buttermilk in Tamil) ready.
To know more about the preparation of Kefir , visit Jugalbandi .I just followed the steps mentioned by Bee.


Posted by on November 11, 2009 in General, health, Recipes