August 12, 2014

Vangi Poha | Easy Breakfast recipe

After Avarekaalu Usli and Cheesy Bread Cups, its another easy to make Snack - Vangi Poha.  This can be made for evening tiffin or even for snack box (for slightly older kids or kids who eat  fair bit of spice). Brinjal in Poha ?? Thats how husband looked at me, but neverthless enjoyed it...

I love this dish for its earthiness and poha is a favourite ingredient to work with - Like I said in my post on Microwave Poha Chivda, be it Lemon Poha, Gojjavalakki, Curry leaf poha , Curd Poha , Indori Poha or just Jaggery poha, poha / Aval is a very versatile ingredient. This snack goes well with any Raitha or Pachadi for a lunch box item too. Do try it out. Those who dont use eggplant may, well, just skip this. But for eggplant lovers (like me), I love it ! 

Well, even if you skip the eggplant, be sure to add the vangibhath powder (spice powder) - it takes it to a different level altogether. If you do want to add veggies, you can add sauteed bell peppers, a dash of cooked peas or even boiled potatoes. The final taste however may vary.

This is the Day 3 entry for BM # 43 under Kid Friendly snacks. Hope you enjoyed the series, will be back next week with another theme. Also sending this to Harini's event on Valli's kid's Delight series - healthy snacks.

~~~Vangi Poha - Flattened rice with eggplants and spice powder~~~

Cuisine - South Indian
Served for : Breakfast or evening snack or even lunchboxes
Serving suggestions : Cucumber Raita or just plain yoghurt 
Difficulty level : Easy
Spice Level : Medium to slightly spicy

Prep time : 15 mins | Cook time : 10 mins | Serves : 4


  • Poha / flattened rice - 1 cup (thick variety)
  • Tender brinjals - 3 medium - wash and slit into 1 inch batons (use the long variety, not the plump bharta variety)
  • Peanuts - a handful (optional)
  • Vangibhath powder - 3 TBSP**
  • Tamarind paste - 1/2 tsp (substitute with 1/2 tsp amchur / dry mango powder)
  • Jaggery - 1/2 tsp
  • Red chilly powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Turmeric - a generous pinch
  • Salt - to taste
  • Oil - 4 tsp
  • Tempering : Mustard, curry leaves and asafoetida (hing)

**If you want an instant version of this spice powder,roast the following ingredients separately and powder it after cooling them. Makes about 1/4 cup (approx) of Spice powder and keeps for a month- you can use it to add to Upma, or vangibhath (flavoured rice).
     Coriander seeds (dhaniya seeds)  - 4 tbsp
Channa Dal (Bengal gram) – 1 ½ tsp
Clove – 1
Cinnamon – ¾ - 1 inch long
Marathi moggu– 1 or 2  (optional)
Red dry chilles – 4 nos
Kashmiri chillies – 4 nos
Oil to fry spice – 1 tbsp
Dry Copra grated – 3 tbsp (optional, but greatly adds to the texture and flavor)

1) Onions are optional, you may use if you wish
2) The dish is slightly dense and moist. Make sure you dont dry the poha too much or soak it for longer which will make it crumbly.  

Topping suggestions : Sev (or ompudi) 


  • Wash and slit brinkals into 1 inch batons (use the long variety, not the plump bharta variety). Reserve in a bowl of water to prevent decolouration.
  • Meanwhile wash and drain poha in a colander. 
  • In a non stick pan, add oil. Splutter mustard seeds, curry leaves ,peanuts, hing. Add turmeric and the drained brinjals - saute on low-medium heat for 6-7 mins. Add salt, sprinkle 3 tsp of water and cook covered for 4 mins - the brinjals need to cook but not turn mushy.
  • Now add the vangibhath powder,red chili powder, jaggery, tamarind paste and coat the veggies with the spice mix. Add 3-4 TBSP of water if required.
  • Tip in the soaked poha now, and mix well with the veggies - spice mix
  • Cook covered on low flame for 2 more mins
  • Serve immediately topped with sev / ompudi or with Cucumber Raita

August 11, 2014

Cheesy Bread Cups | Easy Snacks

Anything Cheesy is bound to be a kids favourite. But if its healthy, moms are happy too. This is one often repeated recipe as an after school snack. I have made it so many times but forgot to click as we got busy eating them eah time:) 

Now the lil one also imitates her elder sister and wanted a bite too, and then loved it. The fillings for this snack is so versatile you can go with almost anything - bell peppers, drained black beans, cooked lentils / peas, boiled corn. Its also a great way to use leftover dry curries :p

As much as  presentation is key to any kid's dish, its also important to keep it fuss free. So its a great make-ahead for kids parties too - do let me know how you liked it.. am sure you would make this soon ! 

Sending this over to Day 2 of Kids healthy snack box theme at BM#43 and also to Beluah's who's hosting Bake Fest#34, Harini who's hosting Valli's Kids Delight.

Cheesy Bread Cups - an anytime Snack
Cuisine : Fusion
Difficulty level : Easy

Prep time : 15 mins | Baking time : 8-9 mins | Makes : 6


  • Brown Bread - 6 slices (you can use any fresh bread)
  • Sweet Corn - 1/3 cup - boiled
  • Boiled potato - 1 medium
  • Oil - 1 tsp
  • Bell peppers minced - 1/4 cup (i used a combo of red, green)
  • Onions - 1 medium - minced fine
  • Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 tsp (optional)
  • Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp (optional)
  • Butter - to grease the baking tray (about 5 gms) - you may use olive oil too
  • Salt - to taste
  • Tomato Ketchup / Sauce - 2 TBSP
  • Cheesy slices - 2 nos (you can also use Parmesan or Cheddar)

Step by step process 

Pre-heat oven to 160 Deg C. Grease the muffin pans with butter or oil or cooking spray


  1. In a pan, heat oil. Saute onions and bell peppers till crunchy (about 4 mins). 
  2. Add ginger garlic paste, turmeric and saute again
  3. Now add boiled corn, mashed n boiled potato and stir gently.
  4. Add tomato ketchup, salt, garam masala powder, red chilli powder and mix again.
  5. Let this mixture cool completely.

To make the bread cups :

  1. Trim the bread cups lightly (I used them as it is). Flatten them gently with a rolling pin and gently press in the centre on to the greased muffin pans (one in each dimple)
  2. Spray a little more oil on the top of the bread slices and gently spoon in 2-3 tsp of the filling.
  3. Place cheese slices on top (I just cut them into strips for an elegant look)
  4. Bake for 8-10 mins till cheese slightly melts.
  5. Demould carefully and serve immediately.

August 10, 2014

Avarekaalu Usli | Hyacinth bean Salad | Mochai Sundal - Easy Snack recipe

Sundal or Indian bean salad is generally made for Navaratri as Naivedyam or Prasad (offering to the Lord). While we generally make it with Channa dal or chickpea or even Moong dal, I tried it out with Avarekaalu (or lima bean). I had a bag of dried beans which needed to be used up, and what better way than to make a quick and healthy snack for kiddo once she is done at school. Thankfully she likes most Sundals, and lapped it up quite eagerly. Healthy snack = happy mom :) Hope you would also make this as this gets to BM # 43 under Healthy Kids Snacks for Kids theme. Head over here to check out other marathoners. Also to Harini who's hosting Valli's Kids Delight.

This Sundal needs some soaking time, so be sure to soak it overnight or for 7-8 hours for best results. Change water once midway. You can also cook and freeze this in bulk, and add the beans to Masala Akki Rotti, Nuchina Unde, Avarekaalu Akki Thari Uppittu, Avarekaalu Saaru or even to kootu.

Prep time : 10 mins | Soaking time : 8 hours | Cook time : 15 mins | Serves : 4

Avarekaalu Usli - Hyacinth bean salad


  • Avarekaalu / Val (Marathi) / hyacinth beans - 1 cup
  • oil - 2 tsp
  • Ginger grated - 1 tsp
  • Chillies - 2 nos (minced)
  • Salt - to taste (add accordingly if you have added salt while pressure cooking these beans too)
  • Grated coconut - 2 TBSP
  • Lime juice - 1 tsp (optional)
  • Coriander leaves - chopped - 1/2 tsp
  • Tempering : Mustard seeds, curry leaves and a pinch of asafoetida


  1. Wash and soak the dry beans for 7-8 hours. Change water once midway.
  2. Pressure cook with adequate water and salt for 5-6 whistles.
  3. Drain and let it dry a bit (no external water should be present, especially if you are freezing for further use).
  4. In a pan, add oil. Make tempering with the ingredients, add ginger, chillies and saute.
  5. Then add the cooked beans and stir once more. Add coconut,coriander and salt and taste once.
  6. Switch off the flame and finish with lemon juice.
  7. Serve warm

July 24, 2014

Thenkuzhal | Krishna Jayanthi Snacks | Festival Recipes...

Krishna Jayanthi. Sri Jayanthi. Gokulashtami - call it by whatever name. Its one of my favourite festivals, both on the food aspect as well as the nostalgia it brings forth. For it brings forth my grandmom and mom dishing out close to 21 special dishes, all particular to this occassion. 

If not 21, I thought I would present atleast three of them this BM for special festival theme. Pardon me if this is a longish post : I have distinct memories of this particular festival being celebrated in all glory for so many years, its impossible not to document them somewhere for posterity :) Nowadays, most of this stuff is available in the nearest store, but there is no substitute for home made stuff right, even though we may be making just a handful of thesee goodies every year...

Krishna is decked up with lots of finery, and the puja for the Lord begins late evening. Birthdays being birthdays, why not go all out for the Lord ? Navaneetham (Sugared white butter), Kodubale (rice - gram glour rings),Seedai, Mosaru Avalakki (Poha in curd)Murukku (Chakli), Jaggery PohaKarjikai /Karigadubu (somas), Thenkuzhal, Nipattu (Thattai), Therattipaal, Rava Ladoo, Maa Ladoo, Porulungai Urundai (all tongue twisters) and so many many more bhakshanams (dry snacks basically) are made as offering to the Lord (aka Naivedyam). If you are keen to know the significance of this festival a little more, head here
Decked up Krishna at home from yester year's celebrations 
The process during my grandmom's time was so long, it used to last days and days with pesky kids like us shooed away from the kitchen, and mom and grandmom locking themselves away in the rather dark kitchen. Rice flour and other flours could not be store bought, so was made from scratch. The aroma wafting from the kitchen was enough to keep us guessing the item being made that day. 

Late in the evening on the Ashtami (the 8th day of the Aavani (or sharvan) month) and on the Rohini , the puja would be an elaborate affair. I still remember to this day my grandpa and dad reciting the hymns while we kids eyed the boxes of goodies that made their appearance from some mysterious hiding place :-))

Puja over, we would wait like wolves wantin got feast on the prey (devilish isnt it ? :-)) LoL ! my grandmom would distribute the stuff amongst us kids , and while we feasted, the rest of the snacks would go back to the mysterious hiding place (she made sure the place was shifted frequently to keep us away from devouring them right away)

Such memories.... hopefully I can recreate some of those for my girls this year (the festival falls on 15th Sep this year). Till then enjoy the series for Krishna Jayanthi goodies :)

Coming to today's recipe, its one of my favourites too - Thenkuzhal (literally translated as honey - flutes). but strange coz there is neither honey nor can you play the flute :D .. be it as it may, its a wonderful snack to have it during the festival, but can also be made anytime for a perfect tea time snack.

The recipes / proportions for most of these bhakshanams vary from household to household, sometime even between generations. This is how mom makes it - I shall update the post with step by step pics the next time I make it. For now enjoy , while it makes its way to BM # 42 and Gayatri's event Down Memory Lane

Prep time : 15 mins | Frying time : 15 mins | Makes : Approx 300 grams. 
Keeps well for 10-12 days without refrigeration

  • Rice flour - 4 cups
  • Urad dal flour - 1 cup
  • Salt - to taste
  • White unsalted butter - 3 to 4 TBSP
  • Cumin Seeds / Jeera - 1 tsp
  • Hing / Asafoetida - a generous pinch

  1. Dry roast both the flours. If you are making urad dal flour at home, dry roast the dal on a low flame, cool and powder. You can use store bought or homemade rice flour. 
  2. In a large bowl, sieve both the flours together. Add butter and rub into the flour to resemble bread crumbs. Now add salt, hing, jeera and mix again. Add water little by little to make a soft dough. Rest for 5 mins (it should be a semi soft dough)
  3. Heat oil for frying (about 3 cups), to check if its good enough, pinch a small dough and roll it into the oil, if the dough comes up moderately fast to the surface its ready, too fast and the oil is hot, and too slow and its not right (yes yes, like most bhakshanams, this too comes with a whole lot of practice, says mom :-))
  4. Now divide the dough into equal portions, Press a portion into the thenkuzhal dough (with the right nozzle) and press it gently into the hot oil. If you cant press directly into the oil, press it first on a oiled flat ladle and gently immerse it into the oil. 
  5. Fry on medium flame on both sides till the hissing sounds reduce- the dish would be ivory white, but dont let it get too red (it means it has burnt)
  6. Drain on absorbent paper. Repeat for remaining dough. Store them in airtight containers and enjoy a couple with a hot cuppa or tea ! 


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