May 22, 2013

Roundup of "Summer Splash" + winner of the Cuponation Giveaway

Thank you for the overwhelming response to "Summer Splash event and Giveaway".. 86 mouthwatering entries - and perfect Summer Treat too ... 

Thank you dear friends for your wonderful support. I am sure you would participate in the MLLA # 59 event and giveaway too that I am guesthosting here.. ! Rush your entries to win a wonderful giveaway from Susan - the creator of the wonderful event - for the event ends in 8 days :-)

Meanwhile, a delicious round up of the entries, and the winner of the Cuponation coupon is entry # 48  --- Princy of Spicy Foood (yes, with that extra "o" :-)) with her Watermelon & Green Apple Granita !! Congrats Princy :-))-  Please do await an email from either me or Cuponation on your reward coupon and how you can redeem the same !! 

Thank you once again, friends and look forward to your continued support :-)


May 11, 2013

Eggless French Toast

French Toast and eggless ??!! That's what S asked me as I went on to prepare this over the weekend. Everytime we are on a vacation or at a restaurant buffet for breakfast, the strong smell of Vanilla infused Cinnamon in french Toast never fails to arouse my senses. Having said so, the non-egg eater in me refused to eat this, till I saw this recipe recently in a magazine (Good housekeeping, I guess). And got me to make this over the last weekend along with kiddo.

This is a ridiculously simple recipe for holiday cooking too;-) A perfect way to begin the day :-) Or even as a warm dessert post a lazy Sunday brunch (what we did)! 

Sending this across to Pavani who is hosting Valli's Kid's Delight - 5 ingredient fix and to BM # 28 too.

Prep time : 10 mins | Cook time : 10 mins | Serves : 3

May 10, 2013

Dry Fruits Milkshake | Healthy Milkshake for kids | Summer drinks

We begin the 2nd week of Blogging Marathon # 28 today, and my chosen theme is Kid's Delight Foods - 5 ingredient Fix. Hosted by Pavani, this event by Valli has seen many interesting themes,and this dish was kid-approved in a jiffy.

I am not a fruit+milk = milkshake kind of a mom, although its possibly the easiest way to feed a child with fruits. I feel the texture of the fruit & the fibre content undergoes a drastic change , not to mention that according to ayurveda, fruits and milk taken together increases toxicity in the body, and might lead to chest infections later.

So, coming to today's dish, its made with just 5 ingredients as per Pavani's theme. Its a no brainer and actually requires no recipe per se. Make any additions to this as per your palate. And treat your kids (and yourself) with this yummy drink. 

Prep time : 10 mins | No cook | Serves : 4

Dry fruits : each 25 gms each : Figs (Anjeer) , Raisins, Almonds (You may use just one of these or many more)
Milk - 250 ml (I used Low fat)
Saffron - few strands
Kesar pista Ice cream - 2 scoops

Pit the anjeer and blanch the almonds (optional - I used 2 TBSP of home made almond Meal) 
Blend the dry fruits with a little milk first. When they are pureed, add the ice cream and the rest of the milk and blend again to a thickish drink with some ice cubes.
Strain and serve chilled topped with saffron strands

May 5, 2013

7 Kari Kootu | Ezhu kari Kootu | Pongal Recipes

Coming to the last day of the Kootu series in this Blogging Marathon. After Karamani Kootu, Podalangai Poricha Kootu, today's dish Ezhu Kari Kootu (Tamil : Ezhu - 7, Kari - vegetables or gravy made with 7 veggies) is made expecially for Pongal (Tamil Harvert Festival) to celebrate the harvest season. Traditionally, it uses most of the fresh harvest and is spiced in a mild gravy. Pairs amazingly well with Hot rice and Tomato Rasam. Although it doesnt use Onion or Garlic , as its made for a festival, its spice comes from Green chillies. In my house however, we prefer red chillies.. 

Part of a rather elaborate Pongal menu comprising Ven Pongal (or Khara Pongal), Sakkarai Pongal (Sweet Pongal), Mor Kozhambu, Rice and Papad, this dish is known for its curative properties to aid in digestion after all the ghee and carbs consumed during the festive feast. Lets get to the recipe that is making its way to BM # 28  under "Tamilnadu Kootu". Thanks to Valli, these recipes saw the light of the day.. wish we had a week long Kootu theme, so could explore many more options :-))

Note: I have mentioned the 7 veggies that go into this gravy. Feel free to add or leave out any more that you wish to. 

Prep time : 15 mins | Cook time : 15 mins | Serves : 4
Spice Level : Medium | Difficulty level : Easy
Serving accompaniments : Rice and Papad or even Chapatis (Indian Flat bread)

  • Moong Dal - 1/4 cup
  • Salt - to taste
  • Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
  • Tempering : Oil (1 tsp), curry leaves, asafoetida, peanuts

The 7 veggies (totalling approx150gms in raw and cut form)
  • Green plaintain - 1/2
  • Flat beans - 2 handfuls
  • Yellow Squash /  butternut squash - about 50 gms
  • Broad beans / flat beans - about 50 gms
  • Colocasia / Arbi - 4 to 5 medium
  • Sweet potato - about 1 small
  • Yam / elephant foot - a small piece (those who are allergic to this veggie can substitute with carrots / french beans - about 30 - 50 gms each) 

Masala Paste:
  • Coconut - 1/2 cup
  • Cumin - 1/2 TBSP
  • Black pepper - 1/4 tsp
  • Red chillies - 1 or 2 (adjust spice)
  • Raw rice - 1/2 tsp (optional - to add thickness - you may also use 1 tsp rice flour)

Wash, peel / string and chop all veggies to equal size. Soak Moong dal for 10 mins in warm water.
In a large pot, bring about 3 -4 cups of water to a rolling boil. Add a pinch of salt and the chopped veggies and cook for 8- 10 mins till al dente.
Pressure cook Moong dal for 1 whistle with turmeric. Cool.
Grind all the ingredients under masala paste with lil water to a thickish gravy
In a pan, add oil, prepare the tempering. Add the masala paste, fry till oil separates. 
Add salt and boiled veggies. Let it simmer further for 3 -4 mins covered.
Once done, serve with hot rice and Tomato Rasam.

May 4, 2013

Podalangai Poricha Kootu | Snakegourd and Lentils gravy

Coming to the 2nd day in the Tamilnadu Kootu Series under Blogging Marathon is Podalangai Poricha kootu (Snakegourd and lentils gravy). Its one of the family's favourites, and is made often to go with Mysore Rasam and Rice. Its earthy concoction comes from the freshly ground masala. Like I detailed in the previous KaramaniKootu, the lentil used here is Moong Dal (or split green gram). This dish is so versatile, that you could substitute the snake gourd with string beans, flat beans, french beans, cabbage, or even a medley or vegetables (carrots/ beans/ cauliflower) and voila ! You get different dishes with the same masala gravy...

Today am presenting my MIL's version of making this. Hubby loves this version a lot, and as its not too heavy, would pair well with both rice and Indian flat breads (chapati / Phulka) for a weekday dinner or lunch...Lets get to the recipe that goes straight to BM # 28, where other marathoners dish out different stuff.. Also sending it to an event that am guesthosting all this May - MLLA # 59.

Prep time : 10 mins + 10 mins soaking time | Cook time : 15 mins | Serves : 3
Spice factor : Mild - medium
Difficulty level : Easy

  • Snakegourd - 250 gms
  • Moong dal (split green gram) - 1/4 cup
  • Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
  • Oil - 1 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Tempering :Oil (1 tsp), Mustard seeds, peanuts (optional), curry leaves

Masala paste:
  • Coconut - fresh or dry - 1/4 cup
  • Urad Dal / split black gram - 1 TBSP
  • Black pepper - 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin / Jeera - 1/2 TBSP
  • Asafeotida - a pinch
  • Dry Red chillies - 2

Soak the Moong dal in warm water for 15 mins (this is optional, although it helps to cook the dal v quickly)
Wash, scrape, deseed the snake gourd. Cut into bite sized pieces
In a pressure cooker, mix the soaked dal, turmeric & chopped veggies in a bowl and pressure cook for just 2 whistles.
In a pan, heat oil. Roast all the ingredients for masala paste, except coconut for 1 - 2mins.Add coconut and grind to a thick paste.
Transfer the paste to another kadai or pan, saute on low flame till the raw smell disappears. 
Add salt, boiled dal - veggie mixture and required water to get a thickish gravy.
Once cooked, switch off and transfer to serving bowl.
Make tempering with oil, mustard seeds, peanuts and curry leaves. Saute till peanuts are roasted well. Pour the tempering on the Kootu and serve hot with Rice or Chapati

May 3, 2013

Kathrikkai Karamani Kootu - Version 2 | Brinjal & black eyed peas gravy | Side dish for Rice & Curd rice

When Srivalli announced this theme on Kootu (or lentil-veg gravies) made from Tamilnadu for Blogging Marathon , I was happy for two reasons - Kootu features regularly in our regular menu as well as some varieties made on occassions and we enjoy making different kinds almost on a weekly basis. Deriving from the tamil word, Kootu literally means ' to add'. So, we add lentils and veggies together in a semi thickish gravy which goes well with hot rice and ghee (clarified butter). Be it part of the traditional sit down meal (served on plaintain leaves) or a festive occassion or even regular home menus, Kootus can be classified as Puli Kootu (based in Tamarind Gravy), Aruchivitta Kootu (made with home made ground masala) or Poricha Kootu (made with freshly roasted and ground masala powder). Basically, any lentil (Cow pea, Black eyed pea, Toor Dal or Moong Dal) is blended with veggies (mostly snake gourd, chow chow (chayote), cabbage, ash gourd, or even string beans).  Traditionally , Kootu is made without any onion or garlic, although that is changing with tastebuds evolving. Today's dish does not need both onion or garlic and is best savoured that way.

This dish has traversed from the Mysore (a city in Karnataka) to my hearth (Tamil speaking household) and is a common dish made by Tamilians hailing from the Karnataka region, that too from the Mysore section of Karnataka. I had already posted a version of this kootu earlier, but with this being mom's signature dish (and her version varies quite a bit from mine), I have posted mom's version here. Enjoyed with hot rice, this is a great dish that tastes better the next day too with chilled curd rice. Make sure you make this with long and green brinjals (aka Mysore Badanekaayi) for best results. Another tip from Amma (mom) is that the black eyed pea (or Alasandhe) needs to be cooked to neither mashy or undercooked. So, enjoy this kootu series for Blogging Marathon # 28 and check out my fellow marathoners here. Also as its a protein rich dish, sending it to an event that am guesthosting all this May - MLLA # 59.

Update : Linking to Beulah’s Eggplant event, hosted for Nayna.

Prep time : 45 mins soaking + 15 mins | Cook time : 15 mins | Serves : 4
Difficulty level : Medium
Spice factor : Medium
Serving accompaniments : Hot rice, ghee & Papad.

  • Long, slender and fresh green brinjals - 300 gms (or about 3 - 4 medium ones) *
  • Salt - to taste
  • Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
  • Black eyed pea / Alasandhe / Karamani - 1/4 cup (or 3 handfuls)
  • Oil - 3 TBSP
  • Tempering : Mustard seeds, curry leaves
  • *If you are not able to get the green ones, select brinjals which are not the Bharta (big huge ones) or the ones which have many seeds)

For the Masala paste:
  • Fresh coconut - 1/4 cup
  • Coriander seeds - 1 TBSP
  • Tamarind - 1/2 big gooseberry sized
  • Red Chillies - 2 big (or 3 medium)
  • Jeera / Cumin - 1/2 tsp
  • Channa Dal / split bengal gram - 3/4 TBSP
  • Asafoetida - a generous pinch

Wash and soak black eyed pea in warm water for 30 min - 1 hour. Once done, drain and pressure cook with a pinch of salt to 2 /.3 whistles till just done, but not mushy. Drain the water and reserve it.
Wash  and pat dry the brinjals. Cut into 1 inch long batons and reserve in warm salted water. 
Heat 1 tsp of oil. Roast all the ingredients except coconut and asafoetida one by one till they are slightly roasted. Cool and grind with 1/4 cup water to a thickish paste.
In the same pan, heat the remaining oil. Prepare the tempering with the mustard and curry leaves. 
Once the spluttering comes down, add the cut brinjals, turmeric and saute for 5 - 6 mins till the oil coats the brinjal.
Now add requisite salt and sprinkle little water. Cover and cook till brinjals are cooked, but firm, about 8- 10 mins on medium heat.
Once they are done, add the masala paste, and saute till the raw smell disappears and the oil begins to leave the sides. Check for salt and spices.
Once masala paste is cooked, add the cooked lentils, and 1/4 - 1/2 cup salt and mix well. Cover and cook for further 6 - 8 mins till done and a wonderful nutty aroma emerges and you get a thickish gravy.
Serve hot with rice and a dollop of ghee.

May 1, 2013

Magic Mingle # 17 Challenge

The scorching summer is here (well, in most parts of the world). And its raining sweltered days (and nights)... Makes us want to grab a glass of fruit juice, Lassi, Salads or any other light Summer Meal. 

In the midst of all this comes the Magic Mingle Challenge # 17 for this month with the ingredients : Yoghurt & Fennel (or in Indian parlance, Dahi & Saunf). 

Minglers can use any yoghurt - full fat / fat free / greek / flavoured or whatever variety you are used to. Saunf (fennel) can be in raw form (fennel leaves) or in dried (seed) form. Both of these are excellent ingredients to beat the heat, and am sure we Magic Minglers will find even better ways to use them other than Lassi :-)) So, put your thinking caps on. 

And make sure you feature both these as star ingredients in your dish. Visiting members' posts and commenting is mandatory from this edition onwards ... Minglers to link your vegetarian and eggless entries to the Linky tool as below, and use the Logo too in your entries while providing a link to this event announcement. Event runs from 1st - 15th May 2013.

For those who wish to join this club at Magic Mingle, drop me a line at with your name, blog Name & URL.

Till then, happy cooking :-)

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