September 27, 2013

WholeWheat Pista Gulgula | Indian Sweets | Festival Recipes

Alphabet W was probably one of the toughest alphabets to choose for the A-Z marathon considering I was doing only Karnataka & Tamilnadu recipes. Today's sweet is made generally for Diwali, and I have given it a mild twist adding pistachio meal and glazing it with sugar syrup and pistachios like the original Gulgula, which is the Indian equivalent of doughnuts. I made this for my lil one's first birthday this week and it tasted just perfect for a celebration...

Though not from either states (karnataka or Tamilnadu), you could consider making this for the festive season ahead with Navratri and Diwali barely a few weeks away. A sweet treat to celebrate a nearly-month long Alphabet Marathon thats to end in a few days..

September 26, 2013

Vettalai Rasam | Betel Leaves Rasam | Rasam Varieties

Betel leaf has been used from ancient times as an aromatic stimulant and anti-flatulent. It is useful in arresting secretion or bleeding and is an aphrodisiac. Its leaf is used in several common household remedies. 

The plant has many traditional medicinal uses. Malaysians use the leaves for headaches, arthritis and joint pain. In Thailand and China the roots are crushed and blended with salt to relieve toothache. In Indonesia leaves are chewed with betel nut, and the masticated juice swallowed for relief from coughs and asthma.

In religious functions, especially in India, betel leaves are considered to be Lakshmi(Goddess of wealth), and is part of all major offerings to god, along with a piece of betel but (aka arecanut).

Using these leaves in a rasam ( flavoursome broth) was a totally refreshing experience, especially healthy in monsoons or winters. You can mix with either steamed rice or slurp it as a spicy soup. Either way, it will tantalise your taste buds. Lets get to making this Rasam with Betel leaves - Vettalai Rasam as this finds its way to BM # 32 under Alphabet V. 

Use tender leaves for best results. As this is a slightly astringent tasting rasam (especially if you have it for the first time on), add a tsp or two of cooked & mashed Toor dal if you serving it to kids

September 25, 2013

Upma Kozhukattai | Steamed rice-dal dumplings | Easy snack recipes

Upma Kozhukottai is a rather new addition to my kitchen  - I didn’t eat this during my growing up years, and even after my marriage I had it just once, but was never kicked up about the taste. But the deluge of Kozhukottai (steamed rice dumplings) in the blogosphere got me excited enough since I am always on the lookout for steamed and healthy snacks or eats, and this was one filling yet tasty and  almost oil-free snack that we made quite frequently. Whats more, kiddo liked it and even asked for it to be made once as an after-school snack : so there I was – happy to discover a new dish J

Sending this to Alphabet U under A-Z Blogging Marathon. Its been a super exciting journey and we are almost at the end of the culinary adventure.  It helps if you have homemade Rice Rava (broken rice) to make this as the texture of the upma from the readymade broken rice and what is made exclusively for this dish varies a little, although both methods yield the same taste.
This dish is also apparently prepared for naivedyam (offering to God) for Ganpati festival, which is what I also did when I made it for the first time

September 24, 2013

Tomato Slice Chaat | Bangalore Street Food, and many memories too :-))

Street food has its own charm, and eons of bits and bytes (and books in the pre-internet era) have been and will be devoted to the nuances and simple happiness that descends upon us when we gorge (not eat) street food - the sweetness of the dates chutney, the fiery chilly paste, the crunch of the sev and farsaan, and the entire experience accumulated in one single bite - heaven come indeed...I can probably live off Bhel Puri, Pani Puri, Sev Puri and Dahi batata puri not to forget Pav Bhaji & Ragda Patties and other street food for the rest of my life, if only someone else takes care of the calories :D Now, thats a tall order, aint it ?

Well, today's post has all these flavours and more.. Plus its totally oil free (read guilt free) and comes with many memories attached. {PS: I sometimes wonder when I sit down to write down about food experiences and rake up nostalgia in so much volume if I have grown that old for my memoirs.. :-)) Memoirs, surely not this soon, but memories do linger on....)  I clearly remember when I had this - and where. 

Close to my place in Bangalore - perhaps about 4 km away - during our weekend walks, dad and me had been eyeing  this vendor setting up his stall after dusk, under the huge shade of almost a decade-old Gulmohar tree. With just a flickering oil lamp for company, his wares would be sold out in 2 hours flat. And then the wait for the next day's treat commenced. Whenever we passed this way, the true-blue foodies of the family - dad and me (and we were thick as thieves to sample any street food, as long as it was healthy) used to wish to stop and have a bite.

Well, we did, and didnt stop at one. We ate, and ate, and ate like this was the last meal of our lives, and then stopped counting ... the vendor sold just this Chaat and i think Bhel (churumuri in local lingo), so his repertoire was limited, but his customers werent. We swarmed like flies on a honey stick around the gaadi (street cart) and ate to our heart's content . I have had this chaat many times since then at Bangalore, even then the taste of that first bite lingers on...

Do me a favour, go ahead and make yourself a batch, I bet you wont stop at one.. Or two. Or three... :-)) Sending this to BM # 32 under Alphabet T

September 23, 2013

Sabbakki Payasa | Javvarisi Payasam | Sago Pearls Kheer | Easy Indian Desserts

Kheer is usually a part of a traditional meal, and I do dish out Vermicilli PayasamPal Payasam, Kadalai Paruppu Pasyasam, Moong Dal Kheer etc but this one eluded me till now.. Sabudana Payasam or Kheer with Sago Pearls is a rare dish in my kitchen, considering that none of us actually like the texture of the Sago Pearls. Contrary to popularity in the city where I live wherepeople have sabudana Khichdi or Sabudana vada almost once a week, somehow the starchy texture and the sticky pearls have been forbidden at home :-))

I did discover however when I made a batch of this Payasam as an offering to God that there was a way around that stickiness - that was to fry them in ghee and then boil it in water and milk to give it a good texture. Although grudgingly, S and kiddo had it, am not sure they liked it. 

I liked the mild sweetness, and although may not make it regualarly, it does give me a quick to make payasam for any festival. Sending this to Alphabet S unde ABC marathon - cant believe we are entering the final week now, with the last 8 posts (7 after today's).

September 21, 2013

Rasayana | ರಸಾಯನ | Rama navami recipe

Rasayana (ರಸಾಯನ) is a quick to make, and yummy dish for Ram navami. This is served along with Panakam (Lemonade) and Kosambari (cucumber-lentil salad). This dish also finds its way to Festive Spreads as seen in the Ugadi Spread of Obbattu. 

As part of the South Indian meal, a fruit (mostly plantains) is part of the Traditional sit down meal. Fruits are basic in nature, and help in lining the stomach against the carbs, fats, and oils that are part of the traditional meal. I make this often, and not just for festivals - its a quick to make, oil free, zero cook dish and healthy and filling for kids as a evening after-school snack. Although sugar can be added, the calcium from the jaggery is preferred with the freshly grated coconut to make a yummy snack.

A simple sweet dish to celebrate as my lil one (2nd daughter) celebrates her 1st birthday later this week, and a thanksgiving to God for bestowing upon me that (second) little bundle of joy - she completes my family with her giggles and slightly toothy grin and mischief :-) And this was for naivedyam (offering to God) that I made today, and was very glad she could eat this too - albeit a very little quantity. As this post gets published, I would be super busy preparing for her bday bash planned by the elder sister.. And S and me are amused thinking which of the girls would actually end up cutting the bday cake later this evening :-)) 

Just ripe plaintains pref not elaichi - but the yellow / spotted ones work well, for this dish. Ensure this is served immediately for it turns black very fast. A variation of this dish would be to add milk, honey and curds and make Panchamritam ( an exotic offering), also an offering to God, especially Ganpati. 

Lets move to the recipe, now. Although not much of a recipe, I still feel that these traditional treats deserve to be recorded for posterity... Sending this to letter R of BM # 32

September 20, 2013

Obbattu | ಒಬ್ಬಟ್ಟು | Bele Obbattu , and a Festive Thali... | Festival Recipes | Indian Desserts

First the disclaimer : This is a long post and close to my  heart. And I hope you find it as interesting to read as much as I loved to write it.

Second the declaration : This was a post, to be up on 18th Sep, but due to reasons beyond my control, is on today under Alphabet O , although my fellow BMers at the Alphabet BM # 32 are dishing out stuff under the Quirky Alphabet Q which I am sure had many of us scouring hundreds of websites before settling on THE recipe for the day.

O for Obbattu (ಒಬ್ಬಟ್ಟು). Obbattu is a thicker version of the Poli or stuffed bread with jaggery and coconut. The difference between Obbattu - a classic Mysore Karnataka dish - and Poli (with which it is generally compared), couldnt be more yawning than saying Chinese and Australians have the same genetic pool - I have nothing against either race, but the comparision is .... ummm... duh ! 

Quickly coming to today's post, it holds so many memories of being made loving by pati (my maternal grandmom) and mom too just during the festival meal that I can feel the sweetness of jaggery, the fresh coconut, the nutty aroma of jaiphal (nutmeg) wafting through the kitchen, the glistening banana leaves shimmering in the dim light of my Pati's kitchen - all memories that make this a yummy dish to make,and for we kids to gorge on...

Festivals like Ugadi (Kannada / Telugu new year), Diwali and most celebrations at home were never complete with Obbattu , and Puliyogare (another classic iyengar dish). In that sense, for those from a TamBrahm background, these were like the creme brulee of Kannada cuisine. A thinner version of Obbattu with a maida covering and coconut-sugar filling is made, and called Holige (ಹೋಳಿಗೆ) although the names are interchangeably used.

Alas. I never mastered it, and just know the steps how to make this.When Amma made this for Ugadi this year, I captured most of the steps, and recorded the steps verbatim from mom (I should have used a voice recorder to make sure of the steps, perhaps next time). So, this dish comes to you lovingly served along with the Ugadi Thali (Festive spread) from my own kitchen, and the Obbattu made by mom. Over to the recipe, now :-)

Served here as part of the Ugadi Thali:
  1. Obbattu 
  2. Puliyogare (Tamarind Rice)
  3. Cabbage Palya (cabbage stir fry)
  4. Kosambari (salad with cucumber and moong dal)
  5. Rasayana (banana salad with coconut and jaggery)
  6. Anna (steamed rice)
  7. Bele (Tempered Toor Dal)
  8. Malenadu Southekaayi Majjigehuli (Yellow Cucumber in spiced yoghurt gravy)

Prep time : 1 hour, Resting time : 1 hour+ | Cook time : Approx 45 mins | 
Makes : 15 - 20 Obbattus
Keeps for 1 week under refrigeration


Stuffing : 
  • Toor Dal - 1 cup (Can also be made with a combination of channa dal & Toor dal)
  • Grated Jaggery - 3/4  cups
  • Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
  • Fresh Grated coconut - 1 cup
  • Grated Nutmeg - a large pinch
  • Powdered Elaichi / cardamom - 1/2 tsp
  • Saffron strands - few (optional)

 Oil / Ghee- to grease the rolling pin and banana leaves - approx 1/4 cup

Covering :
  • Wholewheat flour - 3/4 cup (Can use Maida only extensively, but amma uses both)
  • Maida - 1/4 cup
  • Chiroti rave / Fine Sooji - 4 TBSP (If you dont have this, lightly pulse normal Sooji once)
  • Salt - two pinches
  • Turmeric - a large pinch
  • Oil - to grease (approx 1/4 cup)


For the Covering or also called Kanika (ಕಣಿಕ) :
In a large bowl, sieve the flours and salt twice over. Add the fine sooji and mix well. Add turmeric and little water to make a smooth dough. Keep covered for 1- 1.5 hours.At the end of the resting / Soaking time, the dough should be stretchy without breaking, this is the test for the covering.

For the filling (aka Hoorana (ಹೂರಣ)):

Soak Dal  for 1/2 hour. Bring 6-7 cups of water to a rolling boil, add the soaked and drained Channa Dal, turmeric and cook till the dal is cooked, and not mushy. If you were to press the dal between the thumb and the forefinger, it should be slightly soft, but still hold shape in the centre. This takes approx 25 mins. Drain and retain the water (yummy Obbattu saaru - or Obbattu Rasam is made out of the extract).  Cool slightly & grind the dal along with the coconut to a smooth paste without adding ANY water.

In a non stick pan, melt the grated jaggery add the coconut - dal paste. Cook till the mass comes to a thickish consistency, and you are able to pat a little pancake on your palms with a small portion. At this stage, the filling would leave the sides and turn to a thickish slightly dry mass rolling all over the pan without sticking. 

Add powdered elaichi and grated nutmeg to it and mix well. Cool and cover with a damp kitchen towel. 

To make the Obbattu: 
Knead the outer covering well for 5 mins. Make equal portions of the stuffing. 
Grease a butter paper or banana leaf with generous oil. Pinch a small amount of the covering, and with the fingers, spread to a small disc, place the filling in the centre, and as with a modak, fold the dough over to cover the filling. Pinch out excess dough.
Very gently with your fingers or lightly rolling with the rolling pin, flatten it out to a thickish disc, approx 8 inch in diamater. Take care that the filling does not come out.
Meanwhile heat a tava on medium heat, flip the flattned out Obbattu on to the hot tava. Fry on both sides without oil till dark brown spots appear on both sides (this is to be done on low-medium heat) else will harden. There is no need to add oil for frying as the flattening out / rolling out is done on a generously greased surface
Repeat for remaining dough. 
Serve hot with a dollop of ghee. Store between banana leaves in an airtight container - this keeps for upto a week under refrigeration. 
To reheat, just warm it on a tava for a min or microwave on a flat plate for 30 secs.

So far dished out in the Alphabet Series :

A for Avarekaalu Akki Thari uppittu (Field Beans / hyacinth beans and broken rice pudding)
B for Batata Saang (Potatoes in coconut tamarind gravy)
C for Chinna Vengaya Khara Kuzhambu (Pearl onion tamarind Gravy)
D for Davangere Benne Dose (Karnataka special Dosa)
E for Eerulli Gojju (onion-tamarind Gravy for rice)
F for Filter Coffee (South Indian beverage)
G for Godhi Chutneypudi (Wholewheat spice powder)
H for Hagalakayi Upkari (bitter gourd coconut curry)
I for Iyengar Thayirvadai (South Indian Dahi Wada)
J for Jolada Rotti (Sorghum bread)
K for Kadappa (potato – Chinna Vengaya Khara Kuzhambu garlic – coconut gravy)
L for Lemon Sevai (Lemony Stringhoppers)
M for Mandakki Oggarane (Puffed rice snack)

P for Poondu Podi (Garlic flavoured Spice powder)

September 19, 2013

Poondu Podi | பூண்டு போடி| Garlic Spice Powder | Condiment recipes

Ever felt a laziness that envelops you that saps out all energy that you wish to curl up under a mattress with a rivetting book or sip on your favourite beverage. Well, that was my state last week, and I even managed not to cook for almost half a day, holding kid to ransom with a Dominos Pizza. Well, pizza is a pizza, and once those calories add to a burgeoning waistline, its time to hit the kitchen. But ahem, the veggies in the refrigerator are not too appealing, so we all settled down to a quick and nice little meal with Hot Steaming rice, Cumin- pepper Rasam and this Poondu Podi. Bliss ! 

After the Godhi Chutneypudi and Idli-Dosa Mulagapudi this is another addition to the spice rack, and garlic lovers will love this. For others like me, who like their garlic in invisible form, it was rather mild and flavoured well. The next day dawned (time doesnt sleep, you see!),. so I actually served it with some Tomato Onion Uttapams and sesame oil, and voila, in went the dosas ! All in all, a versatile Spice powder thats sure to tickle your palate. 

Lets get to make it.. While this goes to Alphabet P of BM # 32 and Valli's Side Dish Mela

September 15, 2013

Mandakki Oggarane | ಮಂಡಕ್ಕಿ ಒಗ್ಗರಣೆ | Puffed rice snack from Karnataka

Mandakki Oggarane is another gem of a quick snack from North Western Karnataka, and more specifically Davangers… This dish is also known as Uggani or Burugula Upma.. Extremely tasty and easy to make, it can sure beat those 5pm hunger pangs, while adding very little calories. I was introduced to this in Hubli (another town in Karnataka), and had forgotten all about it till I recently saw it featured on some blogs, and a few foodie e-groups I have subscribed to. …

For the really adventurous, this is usually served with Stuffed Mirchi Bajji – again called Davangere Mirchi (stuffed chillies deep fried) with a fiery red chutney, but I chose to make just this snack for the kiddo and me

Will appeal to those who like their food real spicy, be sure to make this at home, and I am sure you would make it often. It takes very little ingredients, mostly available in the kitchen. Lets get to the recipe, which makes its way to BM # 32 under Alphabet M. Mandakki is local lingo for puffed rice (or Murmura). Hope you have enjoyed the BM journey so far, and virtually savoured the menu dished out so far.

And here’s also wishing all my readers from Kerala a very happy Onam and a prosperous New Year.

September 14, 2013

Lemon Sevai | Lemon string hoppers | Easy Snack recipe

Sevai or Vermicilli upma is a favourite evening snack and we all love to have it for breakfast even. Quick to make and takes very little oil, you can add as much any vegetables to this to make it healthy too - like peas, carrots, capsicum. The punch however comes with a drizzle of lemon juice added just before serving. While I like Ragi Sevai (finger millter sting hoppers) or any Upma with very little lemon, this is surely one dish which can do with a reasonable amount of Lemon. Serve it for either snack or breakfast, and you are surely to love this. Sending this over to BM # 32 under Alphabet L. Its been a wonderful culinary journey with the Alphabet BM and below are the dishes served up till now....

K for Kadappa (potato – coconut gravy)
J for Jolada Rotti (Sorghum bread)
I for Iyengar Thayirvadai (South Indian Dahi Wada)
H for Hagalakayi Upkari (bitter gourd coconut curry)
G for Godhi Chutneypudi (Wholewheat spice powder)
F for Filter Coffee (South Indian beverage)
E for Eerulli Gojju (onion-tamarind Gravy for rice)
D for Davangere Benne Dose (Karnataka special Dosa)
C for Chinna Vengaya Khara Kuzhambu (Pearl onion tamarind Gravy)
B for Batata Saang (Potatoes in coconut tamarind gravy)
A for Avarekaalu Akki Thari uppittu (Field Beans / hyacinth beans and broken rice pudding)

September 13, 2013

Kadappa | Kadapa | Tanjore Special Side dish for Idly and Dosa | Easy Side Dish recipes

There aren’t  too many dishes that kiddo and S appreciate as an accompaniment with Idli and Dosa – its pretty standard fare with both of them usually picking Idli Molagapudi or any vegetable peel chutney that I make atleast once a week. But I was pleasantly surprised to see both of them agreeing to accept Kadappa – today’s post – with gusto..Its interesting to note that this recipe has been a Tanjore special (Tanjore or Tanjavur is a prominent and ancient temple town in Tamilnadu). Tanjore cuisine is predominantly South Indian, but had very strong influence of Maratha rulers, and I reckon this is one such dish influenced by those kings of yore.

Thank you, Nisha for this recipe.. Its going to feature regularly in my kitchen. We enjoyed it with Instant Mixed flour Dosa (Karicha Maavu Dosa)..

Almost resembling Veg Kurma in most parts, one vital addition for the addition of Moong Dal – which gained acceptance. Without much ado, this goes to BM # 32 under Alphabet K and Valli’s Side Dish Mela too. 

in this BM, so far:

J for Jolada Rotti (Sorghum bread)
I for Iyengar Thayirvadai (South Indian Dahi Wada)
H for Hagalakayi Upkari (bitter gourd coconut curry)
G for Godhi Chutneypudi (Wholewheat spice powder)
F for Filter Coffee (South Indian beverage)
E for Eerulli Gojju (onion-tamarind Gravy for rice)
D for Davangere Benne Dose (Karnataka special Dosa)
C for Chinna Vengaya Khara Kuzhambu (Pearl onion tamarind Gravy)
B for Batata Saang (Potatoes in coconut tamarind gravy)

A for Avarekaalu Akki Thari uppittu (Field Benas / hyacinth beans and broken rice pudding)

Over to the recipe now, 

Potatoes in a lentil and onion-garlic-fennel based gravy : a tasty accompaniment to Idli and Dosa

Source : Nisha's recipe

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

  • Potatoes – 3 medium
  • Moong Dal (split green gram) – ¼ cup
  • Oil – 2 tsp
  • Dry masala : 2 cloves, 1/2 “ cinnamon, 1 Bay leaf
  • Salt – to taste
  • Green chillies – 2 nos (I used 1 green chilly and 1 red chilly)
  • Pearl Onions – 12 – 15 nos (peeled and quartered)
  • Tempering : oil – 1 tsp, mustard seeds, curry leaves, 1 tsp Urad dal (optional)
Masala paste:
  • Grated coconut – ¼ cup
  • Fennel Seeds / Saunf – 1 tsp
  • Garlic pods – 2 nos (medium)
  • Garnish: Lemon juice, coriander leaves

Boil , peel and cube potatoes. Pressure cook moong dal till done, but not mushy.
Grind all ingredients under “Masala paste” list with a little water.
In a pan, heat oil. Splutter mustard seeds, curry leaves, chillies, and all under Dry masala list. After 1 min, add the pearl onions and  sauté till they turn translucent (about 2-3 mins).
Now add the ground paste and add till the raw smell disappears – about 5-6 mins. Now add the cubed potatoes and boiled dal. Simmer on low flame, add salt.
Dilute with about 4-5 TBSP of water and simmer through. Once you get a thickish gravy, transfer to serving bowl, and finish with lemon juice and coriander
Serve with Idly or Dosa (we liked it a lot with Instant mixed flour Dosa)

September 12, 2013

Jolada Rotti Oota (Sorghum / Jowari rotti meal) | North Karnataka Meal | ಜೋಳದ ರೊಟ್ಟಿ

One of the advantages of living in a city that is a melting pot of many cultures is that you get to taste many different cuisines. While Mumbai is known for its fusion food & street food, the authentic local food is sadly available only in pockets - mostly the old suburbs sprinkled across town. Same with Bangalore... (at least while I grew up)... a handful of eateries served food from across the state, and Kamat Yatrinivas in Bangalore was one such very famous restaurant where I happened to partake of this dish several decades ago...

Fiery spicy Yennegai (recipe coming soon) accompanied Jolada Rotti (unleavened bread made of Jowar or Sorghum) washed down with icy cold glasses of buttermilk, in what was a very satisfying gastronomic experience.There is an entire floor in this hotel dedicated to North Karnataka delicacies, and while there might be other restaurants which might have popped up in the last decade and half serving this fare, my vote would always go to this restaurant for that cuisine.

 I still remember eating in the open air restaurant on the top floor (with a canopy to boot) with my dad at first, and many years later with my colleagues from office (driving all the full 15+ kms) as the rotis came quick and fast, and we literally stuffed ourselves full, and thought wouldnt last another day...It became such a rage for about 2-3 years that we had colleagues competing how many rotis and how many green chillies they could bite into as part of the meal - While I type this out, I can hear the laughter, mischief and total entertainment of those days, and it never fails to bring a smile to my face...

Today I have recreated that eating experience, and both the hubby and me loved it a lot... The Yennegai (or stuffed brinjal curry) would feature under Alphabet Y at the end of this marathon, but for now, I am more than happy to share the recipe for Jolada rotti - Alphabet J for BM # 32.

September 11, 2013

Iyengar Thayirvadai | Authentic Thayirvadai | How to make Dahi Wada - South Indian version

There aren't too many weddings / celebrations in my family which don't include Thayir Vadai (or Dahi Wada) as part of the menu... We all relish this, and had made this as part of the Tamil New Year festival and invited some friends over... One of them, lets call her R, was simply bowled over with the soft texture that she compelled me to make this once again for her, and take step by step pictures to serve her with the treat, again ! At home, we definitely had no qualms about having these once again, and hubby and me in particular, love the curd based gravy once the wadas get over. Mix it with Rice, and you have a treat :-)) 

There are umpteen methods of making these vadas, but I simply follow the taste and texture that I have grown up with. Ordinarily deep fried stuff mixed with curds is not accepted as part of Ayurveda, but the seasoning and the masala mixture added makes it not only dosham (bad health) free, but also adds to the taste. Use Fresh Curds for best results. Greek yoghurt will not work here. Homemade Curd which is sweet is best for this dish.. As part of the traditional sit-down lunch or dinner on occassions, this dish is served after the Sambhar and Rasam and rice have been eaten, and just before the Kheer or Sweet is served. The yoghurt is said to be lining the tummy and preparing for the intake of the Sweet. Lets get to the recipe, shall we ? This is a virtual treat for my mom who celebrated her b'day yesterday and for sis, who loves this dish a lot… 

I used Hudson Canola Oil, specifically for the deep frying of the vadas as I had got this bottle of oil as a product sampler. As a family who isn't too much into deep frying, we did feel the light and non messy (and non-smelly) Canola Oil to be perfect for deep frying. Having used Sunflower oil, I naturally felt it was the best till I used this. I am sure over the next few months we would use this brand more in my kitchen.

(PS : Note this is not a paid preview for Hudson Canola Oil, but a honest feedback based on the sampler sent to me)

Sending this to BM # 32 under Alphabet "I" and also to Gayatri's Mom Special.

September 10, 2013

Hagalakayi Upkari | Bittergourd dry curry | Konkani Cuisine

Some dishes do have the ability to bowl you over with their sheer punch... I am a self confessed bitter gourd hater, and didnt like it in any form - gojju / sambhar or palya (dry curry). Sis on the other hand loved it to bits, so Amma used to make two different  curries the day she cooked Bitter gourd, and the situation was no different after marriage. S can have bitter gourd almost everyday - in fact he likes the bitterness so much that he forbade me to add any jaggery while cooking this veggie... 

Alas, the brain does mature, and being in the midst of knowledge explosion, one is bombarded with information on the goodness of Karela (bittergourd). So, while I was talking to my friend in Bangalore last week, she told me about this wonderful curry that she has started making almost twice a week with Karela, and with no bitterness at all. Now, I was a little sceptical, and the doubting Thomases took ground in my brain, till I finally tasted it, and apart from a tinge of bitterness, it was good to go.

Upkari is a catch-all term in Brahminical Konkani cuisine (and also extends to coastal Karnataka) to describe veg curries (mostly dry) made with veggies alone or with a mixture or any whole lentils (eg : Beans - chickpeas, potato-green gram etc) along with a coconut masala paste.. So, today I added boiled and mashed green grams along with a little gramflour. For all those Karela lovers out there, you dont need any new excuse to eat this, do you ? Sending this to Alphabet H under Blogging Marathon # 32 and also to Valli's Side Dish Mela...

September 9, 2013

Godhi Chutneypudi | Wholewheat Spice Powder | Condiment recipes

Bangalore Chutneypudi (dry chutney powder – spice powder) is integral to those from Bangalore. The spice powder or condiment which is so versatile that can be mixed with either rice or had with Chapathi / idli / dosa / akki rotti (rice cakes).. For me and my sister, the version made by grandmom was heaven indeed, which passed down to me through mom and published here. And then I didn’t think too much of it, till I stumbled upon this wonderfully aromatic and proteinicious Godhi Chutneypudi made out of wholewheat (Godhi in Kannada is Wholewheat).

S and me loved it a lot (the former still getting accustomed to Kannada food on his plate and palate), although it was a lil spicy for my elder daughter, and she decided she was not going to taste it after all. The younger daughter, still a toddler was amused by all the excitement at the dining table and wondered what the commotion was all about J.. We would surely make this often, and even use as a side dish with Idlis and Dosas.

For all those spice lovers, this is surely going to be a hit. Mix with hot, steaming rice and ghee / sesame oil. And Slurp ! This is a wonderful condiment to add to your spice mix repertoire. Sending to BM # 32 under Alphabet "G"

Prep time : 15 mins | Dry roasting time : 10 mins | Makes : approx 400 gm of Dry Spice powder

Aromatic powder made from wholewheat & spices


  • Wholewheat – 1.5 cups
  • Whole Red chillies – 7 ( I used 5 normal red chillies and 2 Kashmiri variety)
  • Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
  • Jaggery powder – 2 TBSP
  • Fenugreek seeds – ½ tsp (optional – but I used)
  • Dry Coconut grated (Copra) – 1 cup ( I used approx ¾ cup)
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil – 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida – ½ tsp
  • Tamarind powder – 1 tsp (else use 1 very small roundel of tamarind)

In a medium hot pan, dry roast the whole wheat in batches on a medium heat till a lovely nutty aroma wafts out (approx 8-10 mins) . You may also microwave it for 6 mins (stopping every 1 min).  Transfer to a plate.
Roast the dry coconut for just 1 min till it turns warm (Warning – dry coconut burns very fast, so please pay attention!). Cool
Add ½ tsp of oil. Roast the chillies, fenugreek seeds, tamarind on a low flame till the tamarind is slightly roasted and gets crusty and the chillies coat with oil. Transfer to a plate.
Now add the remaining oil and slightly fry the curry leaves springs till they get crispy. Transfer.
Let all the ingredients come to room temperature.
Grind the wheatgrains first to a smooth powder (I like it slightly coarse). Transfer to a large bowl or dry plate – powder 1
Then grind the rest of the ingredients including salt, but except dry coconut to a powder. Mix this powder into the wholewheat meal – powder 2
Now at the end just grind the roasted dry coconut (this is ground separately as dry coconut leaves oil when ground too fine) for just 10-20 secs. You should end with a coarse powder – powder 3
Mix all three powders. Check for salt and spices.
Store in an airtight container, and use as required.

Logo courtesy : Preeti

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 32

September 7, 2013

Filter Coffee | How to make Filter Coffee | South Indian Filter Coffee | Kitchen Basics 101

Picture this : Every South Indian movie or clip representing a typical TamBram household will have a Hindu newspaper, Filter coffee in a davara (a stainless steel tumbler with a flattish cup) and M S Subbalakshmi singing Suprabhatam (morning prayers)... Its that ubiquitous by its presence. Also called Kumbakonam Digree Coffee (Kumbakonam is a prominent town in Tamilnadu), this is one beverage which is a sure shot wake up call for any Tam Brahm householder.

I am sure every South Indian family  - especially those in Tamilnadu and Karnataka - have their own version of making Filter Coffee. Strong , rich, with and without chicory, milky, frothy - the versions are endless. Each family will also have a coffee bean / coffee powder supplier who would be with the family for ages - supplying the same grade (and variety) of coffee for ages to come. Today's post on How to make Filter Coffee is on popular demand by my friends not from the South, and yet who love and rather crave for South Indian Filter Coffee. I have included tips and little tricks that would be helpful for first time makers and a revision perhaps for everyday coffee makers :-))

Filter Coffee is best served fresh after any breakfast - Idli / Vada / Dosa / Pongal / Poha / Sevai / Uttapams or even as a refreshing drink in the evening.

In fact, even before FDI and retail in India opened up to the numerous Cafe Coffee Days and Baristas,  coffee was a special treat, either available traditionally only in homes or at some restaurants. The history of coffee goes at least as far back as the thirteenth century with a number of myths surrounding its first use. 

The original native population of coffee could have come from Ethiopia, Sudan or Kenya, and it was cultivated by Arabs from the 14th century. Wikpedia tells me that Drip brewing, or filtered coffee, is a method which involves pouring water over 
roastedground coffee beans contained in a filter, creating the beverage called coffee

Water seeps through the ground coffee, absorbing its oils and essences, solely under gravity, then passes through the bottom of the filter. The used coffee grounds are retained in the filter with the liquid falling (dripping) into a collecting vessel such as a 
carafe or pot.

However, in traditional South Indian homes, coffee beans were procured from the growers themselves, based on their richness were classified into Robusta, Plantation A, Plantation B and the like. These beans were roasted and ground by hand at homes in a cast iron coffee mill (like this picture on the right. pic courtesy : Chitra Amma's Kitchen). 

Without these machines now, we have the Stainless steel filter (something like a percolator, but with a sieve like partition between the two parts). So, lets get to make Filter Coffee as it makes its way to BM # 32 under Alphabet F. 

1) Invest in a Coffee Making Filter - pref the stainless steel version
2) Store the coffee powder in an airtight container, and preferably in the refrigerator to ensure the aroma is locked
3) Use freshly boiled milk (tetrapack milk cartons dont make good Filter Coffee) always to make a cup
4) If there is decoction left over, store it in the refriegerator without adding milk
5) If you want to re-heat previously made coffee, boil a pot of water and place the coffee mug in it to provide indirect heating
6) You may use brown sugar or palm sugar in place of white crystalline sugar to make this coffee. however the taste would vary.

Prep time : 5- 8 mins + Milk boiling time

Ingredients for coffee decoction : 
Freshly ground Filter coffee Powder (Nescafe / Bru / Instant Coffee Mixes dont work)
Sugar - to taste
Freshly boiled milk - to taste

Method (To make moderately strong Coffee) :

Bring the water to a rolling boil. Ensure the Coffee Filter is washed and clean. Keep the upper container (with the sieve portion) near a naked flame for 1-2 secs to ensure its dry and all impurities are drained out
Depending on the size of the filter, add 5-7 tea spoons of filter coffee into the upper container. Place the upper container on the lower cup.. Pour the boiling water till almost the top (the water should be rolling boil till you pour)
Tap once or twice gently on the top container and place the lid
After 8-10 mins (depending on the coffee powder and water used), the decocotion is percolated to the lower container.

(see pics above)

To make the coffee (measurement for 1 serving) 

In a normal steel or silver tumbler, add 1 tsp of sugar. Add 1/4 cup of the decoction, and immediately add the frothy boiling milk. Mix this liquid with another cup up and down a couple of times till the decoction and milk mix well and you get a frothy top.

Serve immediately.

Notes - If making in large quantities, the proportion of decoction to milk (for strong coffee) is 1/3 : 2/3. Depending on the taste and strength of the coffee powder and personal preferences, adjust the strength of the Filter Coffee 

Logo courtesy : Preeti

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 32
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