June 14, 2019

Vengaya Vattalkozhambu - a guestpost by Priya Iyer | Guestpost series #19

Vattalkozhambu or a tangy gravy made sans vegetables (or using just a few or dried condiments) is a lip smacking dish that is a hallmark of Tambrahm households. Continuing our guest post series here on Sizzling Tastebuds , our guestblogger Priya Iyer shares her heirloom recipe that she learnt from her mom & grandma with us. Priya who blogs at The Photowali is an excellent travel+ food blogger and is a cooking enthusiast too ! I haven't met her yet but we hit it off majorly as we blog in a few common online blogging groups. Her no-nonsense approach to life, and her vibrant pictures across various cuisines is something that appeals to me. 

Let's move over to Priya in her own words. Thank you Priya, for doing this yummilicous guest post for me. I sure would like to taste this when we catch at your hometown soon ! 

And dear readers, do make sure to read all her tips and tricks in the detailed Notes section at the end of the post 

Vengaya Vattalkozhambu | Onions cooked in tangy tamarind gravy

When Kalyani got in touch with me regarding a guest post on her blog, she told me to write about a family recipe that has always been comforting to me, and which I hold close to my heart. After a bit of thinking, I decided to share this Vengaya Vattalkozhambu recipe, the way my mom makes it.  

I have to thank Kalyani from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to share this recipe that is so close to my heart, allowing me to experience once again all those fond memories that are associated with it. I haven’t had a chance to meet Kalyani yet, but we have interacted more than a few times, being a part of the same foodie groups on Facebook. She comes across as a warm, humble and jovial person, someone who loves cooking – her passion for cooking clearly evident on her blog. Sizzling Tastebuds  is a treasure trove of recipes, including some age-old Tam-Brahm ones and several world foods, and I am glad to have a chance for one of my recipes to be published therein. 

Vengaya Vattalkozhambu, for the uninitiated, refers to onions cooked in a flavourful, tangy tamarind gravy. The Tam-Brahm way of making it is very simple, needing just a few ingredients. In fact, Amma tells me that, in the olden days, women would make vattalkozhambu in times when funds were low or when the house pantry didn’t have much to offer for any reason. It is a versatile dish that can be made using quite a few vegetables, and onion is one of those.  

Vattalkozhambu takes bare minutes to prepare, but is a finger-licking delicious confection that has the power to soothe your soul. At least, it does for me. This dish spells out ‘home’ to me. I remember Grandma - and my mother after her - preparing onion vattalkozhambu on good and bad days, as it was so much loved by everyone in the family. The mere smell of the gravy cooking was enough to bring a smile on my face, and that remains the same till date. No wonder this is the dish I resort to making when I am down or on days when I want to eat something hearty, but am clueless about what to make. 

Onion Vattalkozhambu, in my opinion, is best had with hot, steamed rice with cooked toor daal mixed in, with a little salt and ghee. Best combination ever! Appa loves having it with plain parathas and potato roast. For the purpose of this guest post, I served it with toor daal rice and potato roast, making a veritable feast out of it. 

So, without further ado, here’s presenting the recipe for Vengaya Vattalkozhambu a la Amma. Do try it out and let me know how you like it, will you? 

Ingredients (serves 4):
  1. 2 medium-sized onions 
  2. A gooseberry-sized ball of tamarind
  3. 1 tablespoon sesame oil 
  4. teaspoon mustard seeds 
  5. a generous pinches of asafoetida 
  6. A pinch of fenugreek seeds
  7. 2 sprigs of fresh curry leaves
  8. 2-3 dry red chillies 
  9. Salt to taste
  10. ½ teaspoon turmeric powder 
  11. Red chilli powder to taste 
  12. 1-1/2 tablespoon sambar powder 
  13. 1-1/2 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste
  14. 1 tablespoon rice flour 

  1. Soak the tamarind in a little warm water for at least 10 minutes. When it has turned soft, extract all the juice from it adding about a cupful of water, a little at a time. Keep aside. 
  2. Meanwhile, peel the onions and chop them finely. Keep aside. 
  3. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and allow them to sputter. Add in the fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, dry red chillies (each broken into two) and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds. 
  4. Now, add the chopped onions to the pan. Saute on medium flame till they begin to turn brown. 
  5. Add the tamarind extract to the pan. Cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away. Stir intermittently. 
  6. Keeping the flame on medium, add about 1-1/2 cups of fresh water to the pan, along with salt to taste, sambar powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and jaggery powder. Mix well. 
  7. In a small bowl, make a slurry of the rice flour with a little water. Make sure there are no lumps. Add this slurry to the pan. Mix well. 
  8. Cook on medium flame for 3-4 minutes more, or till the gravy thickens slightly. Stir intermittently. Switch off gas. Serve hot or at room temperature with plain rice or rice with toor dal mixed in it. 

  1. Shallots or small sambar onions can be used in place of the red onions I have used here. 
  2. For best results, use good-quality tamarind. 
  3. If the tamarind you are using has impurities, do strain the extract before using it in making the vattalkozhambu
  4. Adjust the quantity of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the vattalkozhambu you require. 
  5. I use home-made sambar powder in the vattalkozhambu, which isn’t very spicy. So, I add a bit of red chilli powder for spiciness. You may skip the red chilli powder altogether if the sambar powder you are using is spicy enough. 
  6. Adjust the quantity of jaggery powder you use, depending upon personal taste preferences. I would not suggest skipping it, because it adds a lovely flavour to the vattalkozhambu
  7. Sesame oil aka gingelly oil or nalla ennai works best in the making of vattalkozhambu. You can even use more oil if you so prefer. 
  8. You can use wheat flour to make the slurry too, in place of the rice flour. Make sure there are no lumps in the slurry, before adding it to the pan. 

June 10, 2019

Eggless Sugar free Ragi Banana Bundt Cake

Ragi a.k.a finger millet - a love, hate relationship most kids (and adults) have over their life. Although they say its an acquired taste, mostly its a hate-all kind of ingredient for most of us. Teeming with calcium and other vitals, this millet is often best served to kids and adults (for those who are not used to it since childhood or cant develop a taste for it) in a disguised form. Ragi is an excellent food for #diabetics too since it releases the sugar very slowly into the bloodstream. 

For those of us who can take it in any form, this millet presents itself in so many delicious dishes such as

(Do check out for more Ragi recipes and pics at the end of this post...)

So, why are we talking Ragi today? Poonam - the host of this week’s Week #199RagiTales - has chosen this wonderful millet for FoodieMondayBloghop Challenge. I love her blog for two things mainly - the pictures are sooooo vibrant, and her eggless, no-refined-sugar has my attention always :-) 

My kids are on the other spectrum of ragi consumption so its best served in a sneaky , tasty chocoaltey form as Eggless , Sugarfree Ragi Banana Bundt Bread - with no refined sugars, this making for an excellent after-school snack / short break snack box food. 

I have adapted Poonam’s recipe wholly with one major change and I must admit it was one of the tastiest Ragi bakes (or sweet bakes, in fact) that I have ever made, if I say so myself.  Thank you Poonam, for an awesomely healthy AND refined-sugar-free and butter free recipe. My mom loved it a lot, and so did the kids (and psst. yes they still don’t know that it contained Ragi, although my elder one did say it was ‘differernt, but yummy’) 

Prep time - 15 mins, Bake time - 30-32 mins, Makes - 6 medium sized bundt cakes + 2 largish muffins


What you need: (all measurements are 1 cup = 200ml)

Dry ingredients:
Whole-wheat flour / atta - 3/4 cup
Ragi hurittu (popped ragi flour) - 3/4 cup + 2 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/8 tsp
Cocoa powder - 2 TBSP + 1/2 tsp ( I used Dutch processed sugar free)

Wet ingredients:
Ripe Banana - 3 largish 
Olive oil - 1/4 cup
Curd/yoghurt - 1/3 cup
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Jaggery powder- 1 cup

Optional but recommended - walnuts (chopped into tiny bits) - 2 tsp 

How to:

Pre heat oven to 180 C. Grease the muffin pans / bundt pans slightly or a large 7 inch pan (and line it). 
Sieve the dry ingredients thrice over.
In another bowl, fork down the cut bananas to a puree ,add yoghurt , oil. vanilla essence and whisk till bananas are completely blended. Add the powdered jaggery and whisk again for 3-4 mins till completely dissolved. You should get a honey coloured liquid at this stage.    
dust the chopped walnuts in a tsp of the sifted flour and keep aside. 
Add the dry mix to the wet mix and fold slowly in batches using the cut and fold method. 
Fold in the walnuts gently and do not leave any dry streaks in the flour. 
Pour / spoon this batter gently into the greased pan / bundt moulds / muffin moulds. 
Bake for 30-32 mins or until a skewer comes out clean. 
Rest on a wire rack, unmould when completely done. 
Serve warm.
The leftover keeps up to 4-5 days under refrigeration. Microwave for 10-15 secs and serve warm  

Other recipes with Ragi on this blog

May 29, 2019

Video Recipe - Amba Khatta from Orissa | GF & Vegan Raw Mango Condiment

This post took quite a while to be up here. First I lost all the pics / videos that I took and I was looking frantically for the same. Having deleted the source pics, I wasn’t sure I could cook or click the same (call it laziness or a lack of motivation :p). My elder kid however took a roundabout way to look for this - and found my file ! I can’t be grateful enough (for I had saved the file under another name - call it Brain Fog / Brain fatigue).

I do hope you would all enjoy watching the Youtube video embedded here and also subscribe to my Youtube Channel - Sizzling Tastebuds - as well. Your likes, comments, suggestions / brickbats are all welcome as I am still in a fledgling stage of learning and re-learning basics of making youtube videos ! 

But so glad that this delicious ,GF, vegan dip can be made in the park of Summer and that we could all enjoy the tangy, spicy dip that does great wonders to pep up a simple Dal- Chawal kind of meal that summers are made of.  

My paired blogger - for this edition of Ssshhh Cooking Secret Challenge - Priya Mahesh gave me ingredients of Mango and Panchphoron to make this delectable dip. Do hop on to her blog and see what she’s dished out for this month. She has some lovely recipes that I would like to recreate from her blog ! 

Off to the recipe now. 

Prep time - 15 mins, Cook time - 15 mins, serves - 4 
Amba Khatta - GF, vegan, plant based dip with Raw Mango

What you need:
Raw , tart mango - 1 cup (large cubes)
Jaggery - 2/3 cup (adjust sweetness)
Oil - 2 tsp (mustard oil works best, but I didn’t have access to that)
Tempering: Panchphoron - 1 tsp, Broken Red chillies - 1 , Curry leaves - few
Crushed ginger - 1 tsp (do not skip this)
Salt - to taste
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Rice flour - 1 TBSP (opt.)

How to:
In a pan, heat oil. Add tempering ingredients, Once done, add the crushed ginger. Now add the salt and spice powder, turmeric. Saute for 1 min on low flame. 
Now add the chopped raw mango and saute for 1-2 mins till the masala coats the mango. Add a few tsp of water and cook covered till slightly soft (but not mushy) - about 4-5 mins on low flame. 
Now add the jaggery and mix well. add water to adjust consistency. If the water / liquid is too much, make a slurry of rice flour / corn flour with 1-2 tsp of water and add to the gravy. Let it thicken a bit (it thickens further on sitting)

Adjust spice / salt and serve with Dal -Chawal / Khichdi / Hot Rotis.

May 27, 2019

Morkali Squares : A Modern Interpretation...

We see shapes everywhere in nature, but we don’t stop to look at them specifically as geometric / abstract shapes. Once we mindfully start doing that, the shapes that nature (and food) present to us are immense.

The theme idea for this week’s #GetInShape at @FoodieMondayBloghop actually came from my kids. For years, as a health-seeking parent, we have tried making stuffed parathas in triangles, idli cut into cubes / squares , kite shapes dosa and the like (including the evergreen favourite paneer tikka)... when it’s in an appealing shape, kids and adults alike reach out. I have seen that the elder girl doesn’t eat idlis by itself, but a baked idli  / idli chilly / Idli Manchurian is so welcome. I have so many fond memories of Amma making the Triangle stuffed chapati and me and sis enjoying it hot off the stove. 

Today’s dish - Morkali (Mor = buttermilk, Kali - soft pudding)  - is a recipe that I learnt from my maternal grandma , and altho it was made like upma, it was never presented in a shape - it was just a mass of gooey savoury pudding which was a hit or miss with those who loved it (like me and dad) or hated it (my sister).  I have already posted a version learnt from my grandma here. 

In Tambrahm households, Morkali is had generally as an evening snack (called Tiffins in Tamil parlance) or even for Palaharams (light dinner). The consistency of this dish was / is ideals for senior citizens who may have lost their teeth / with dentures and the dish by itself is light and easily digestible.  

When Sandhya did the guestpost on my blog with Mor Koozh, I was really excited that the humble Morkali could be so beautifully presented like a cake with neatly cut squares. The taste was top notch and I thought I would present it this week as Morkali Squares - a modern , different take on the traditional dish. I have adapted her recipe with a few changes and presented it today ! 

Morkali Squares - a delicious South Indian snack (can be GF too!)

Cuisine : South Indian, Course : Snack / Evening Tiffin , Prep time - 5 mins, Cook time - 15 mins, serves - 2 / 3


  • Rice flour - 1 cup
  • Sour thick buttermilk - 1.5 cups
  • salt - to taste
  • Gingelly / sesame oil - 3 TBSP + 1 tsp for greasing
  • Asafoetida - a generous pinch (skip for a GF version)
  • Fried Mor Milagai Vathal (sun dried chilli condiment) - few
  • Tempering : Mustard seeds, curry leaves, Urad dal (opt.)

Mix the rice flour with salt and buttermilk to a thick flowing batter. In a thick bottomed pan, heat the gingelly oil. splutter the tempering and add the batter , keep stirring till it comes together as a mass, Sprinkle little water if needed, cover and cook for 9-10 mins on low flame till done (Test for checking doneness : wet your palms and touch the dough, it should not stick, and the cooked dough should appear glossy and an off-whitish colour). Spread to a greased flat plate and flatten it with a greased ladle / palms. 

Wait for 10 mins to cool down (something I should have done :p). Cut into squares and serve with fried Mor Milagai on the side. The dish is spicy on its own and needs no accompaniment. 

May 19, 2019

Classic Dal Jeera | Summer Coolers

The classic Jal Jeera was long pending and with the no-cook theme running this week along with the scorching summers, it made perfect sense to post this. The kids have made this many times on their own, and with store-bought Jaljira powder, its a child's play, literally. 

The little one in particular likes it coz she's allowed to have ice cubes in this beverage (which otherwise is not so easy with wriggle out of mom :p). 

Add, mix, Chill and serve - that's all there is to this beverage. Let's see how to make it. Hope you liked the other two Zero Cook dishes in this week's series : 

Sugarfree Vegan Carrot Orange Ginger Smoothie and Simple Summer Veg n Fruit Salad

Jal Jeera - Vegan, GF, Summer Drink

Prep time - 5 mins, No cook, serves - 4

Ice cold water - 4 glasses + extra ice as required.

Jaljira powder - as required (based on tang and spice)
Roasted Cumin powder - 1/2 tbsp
Crushed mint leaves
Store bought Boondi - for topping
Jaggery - 1/2 tsp per serving (opt. but it balances out the extra tang from the jaljira powder)


Mix the water, jaljeera powder, roasted cumin powder, crushed mint leaves and jaggery. Keep aside for 3 mins, 
Just before serving, add the boondi and more ice as required on top. Serve immediately 

Sending this to Blogging Marathon BM # 100 under No cook dishes and Valli's Kid’s Delight event hosted by Ritu. 

May 18, 2019

Simple Summer Veg n Fruit Salad | GF and Vegan dishes

My little one has brought her learning into the kitchen with small strides and started to make small salads for dinner. I have given her a blunt knife and she diligently cuts them into salads for dinner often, with odd shapes. I told her this was a zero cook theme (something she's familiar as they have a lot of activities at school too with no-fire cooking), so she chose to make and arrange this simple summer salad. 

Only the coriander garnish was my idea, so it feels pretty nice to have the girls contribute to small dishes on the blog. Hopefully when they grow up, they will read about these memories which make me feel so blessed. 

GF and Vegan Simple Summer Salad

Prep time - My little one took about 20 mins to cut, but an adult can prep this in under 5-7 mins , 
No cook, serves - 2

What you need:
Fruits - I used cored and cubed apples, pineapple
Veggies - I used Cucumber, carrot, tomato
Salt, pepper, lemon juice - to taste
Garnish - Chopped coriander leaves, Chaat Masala

How to:
Cut into cubes, add seasoning (salt, pepper, lemon juice). Chill it for at least an hour. Top with garnish and serve immediately.

Sending this to Blogging Marathon BM # 100 under No cook dishes and Valli's Kid’s Delight event hosted by Ritu. 

May 17, 2019

Sugarfree Vegan Carrot Orange Ginger Smoothie | No Cook Dishes

One of the benefits of summer is the abundance of fruits that can be consumed in its natural form (without processing or added sugars). Sugarfree Smoothie (no dairy added) is one way I can get my kids to get the nutrition on the go, although personally I find biting into a fruit is the best way. 

Today is a vegan carrot orange ginger smoothie that takes under 5 mins to blitz and serve. The ingredients are available through the year, so can be mae anytime. I chill the veggies just until the kids arrive from school and blitz it and serve them without any added sugar / ice, although the elder girl always tops it with extra ice cubes :)

Prep time - 10 mins, no cook, serves - 2

You need:
Chilled carrots - 4 medium
Fresh Orange juice - 1 cup
Ginger - 1 inch
Ice - as required
Lemon juice  - 1 tsp
chat masala - as required (opt.)


How to:
Cube the chilled carrots and run through a veg juicer or in the blender with the ginger and ice cubes. Do not strain, add in the ornage juice. Add the lemon juice, Chaat masala, mix well and serve immediately

Other Sugar Free beverages / Smoothies that might interest you this summer :)

Sending this to  Blogging Marathon BM # 100 under No cook dishes and Valli's Kid’s Delight event hosted by Ritu. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Sizzling Tastebuds Copyright © 2009 Cookiez is Designed by Ipietoon for Free Blogger Template