July 30, 2017

Peerkangai Thuvayal | Ridgegourd Chutney | Vegan and GF dip

For this month of , I was paired with Shobana who gave me two delightful ingredients  -Ridge gourd and Bengal gram for the Shhhh Secretly cooking Challenge with the theme "Chutneys".

It was unusual to see that although we make it frequenty, I was yet to post this thuvayal. Thuvayal or Thogayal as its known in Tamil is different from the nomenclature of chutney in the sense that it has lentils , tamarind and vegetables as the base, in addition to coconut. 
Some chutneys / thuvayals also use onions (shallots mostly), but we dont use them

Its also much thicker than chutneys. And makes it easy to mix with rice as well as as a dip with Idli / Dosa / Pongal / uthappam etc. We had this with Quinoa Adai for breakfast (that explains the early morning rush pictures :p)

Without much ado, lets get started on this thuvayal. Similar thogayals on my blog are : 

Inji Thogayal (GInger chutney)
Pudina Thogayal (Mint chutney)
Paruppu Thuvayal (Lentils only chutney)
Karivepalai Thogayal (Curry leaves chutney)

For dips with Idli / Dosa, check out more than 20+ varieties of chutney here.

So, here's presenting a Vegan, GF dip to go with your dosa / Idli or even rice+sesame oil. Keeps for upto 3 days under refrigeration.

Prep time : 15 mins, cook time : 5 mins, Serves : 3 generously.

What you need:
  • Ridge gourd peels - 1 cup (scrape the hard thorny ridges with the knife, and with a peeler, peel thick peels along with a little flesh, but not too much)
  • Channa dal / Bengal gram / kadalai paruppu - 2 TBSP
  • Urad dal / Ulutham paruppu - 1 tsp
  • Dry Red chillies - 3 large
  • Tamarind - about small lemon quantity
  • Fresh / frozen coconut - 1/4 cup
  • Handful of coriander leaves - optional but tastes great ! 
  • Salt - to taste
  • Oil - 1 TBSP

  • Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Sesame oil - 1 tsp
  • curry leaves - few

  1. In a pan, heat 1 TBSP oil. Saute the dals one by one till golden brown, drain to a plate. Now add the tamarind, red chillies and the ridge gourd peels and saute on low heat for 3-4 mins till the peels turn slightly crisp (remove the chillies after 30 seconds, though).
  2. Cool, grind all the ingredients with adequate salt and very little water to a thick thovayal consistency. add a tsp of water if required to get all the ingredients together.
  3. Make the tempering with the mustard seed and curry leaves. Add to the chutney and serve. 

July 12, 2017

Instant Bread Dosa | Instant Dosa Varieties

That's right - No fermentation, no waiting. Instant Dosa for those 4pm hunger pangs or a quick breakfast / supper idea. This was a recipe I wanted to make the moment I saw it. Predictably, both my kids love most dosas, and this was welcomed for it was instant and super yummy !

They didn't even realise it had bread in it, and even after I told them, they didn't (couldn't) believe it. The only grouse was why did I make only 6 for 4 members in the family ! well, all in all - a winner and i love the fact that bread can be re-used in such an inviting form.

Trust you liked the series this week with secret ingredients : Pasta Pakora, Cream of cauliflower soup and today's bread dosa. I have adapted this recipe from a TV show, with some modifications to suit our palate. Do try it out and let me how you liked it :-)

Prep time : 10 mins, standing time : 20 mins ; makes : 6 dosas (Indian Crepes)
Served with : Any chutney / Tiffin Sambhar. We add a bit of jaggery & tangy Coriander Chutney  on the side and loved it :-)

Bread - 8 slices ( I used brown bread, but white also works fine)
Chiroti Rava - 4 TBSP (or fine sooji / semolina)
Fine Rice flour - 2 TBSP + 1 tsp
Curd / yoghurt - 1/4 cup ( for a vegan recipe, you can replace with cashew curd)
Water - 1/3 cup approx (adjust based on consistency)
Salt - as reqd (remember bread also has salt)
Oil - to make the dosas

Optional add-ons:
Onions - 1 minced
chopped Coriander leaves - 2 tsp

How to make:
Trim the edges of the bread. Blend into bread crumbs, add the sooji, rice flour, salt and mix well. Now add the curd and water and soak well for 20-25 mins. 
Blend it to a pouring consistency, add salt. Add a little more water to get a flowing consistency if needed.
Heat the tava, drizzle some oil and brush with a soft cloth.
Add minced onions and coriander if using. 
Take a ladle of batter and spread on the tava into a dosa. Drizzle little oil around the edges and cook till crispy on one side. 
Serve hot with any chutney or sambhar.

You can also stuff Potato fry into the dosa to make Masala dosa with the same batter. 
Dont let the batter become too thin or thick.
If needed, add few tsp of powdered oats to make a healthier version of this dosa.

Sending this to BM 77 under "Secret Ingredient Theme"

July 11, 2017

Braided Garlic Bread for #Breadbakers | Easy Braided recipes

Sometimes, its a lack of motivation that keeps me from doing thing I have wanted to do. Before baking breads at home, it was easy to buy loaves from outside and make sandwiches (hey ! we still do that :-)) . But taming the yeast took me long enough - from brick hard breads to under baked to over burnt, it has been a long journey. (and am still learning with each bake !)

Being part of #Breadbakers group has been a blessing to look at yeasted breads in a totally new light way - although breads (other than flatbreads/ stuffed breads with wholewheat) isnt our staple diet, the challenges so far has been a wonderful journey to learn new methods with unfamiliar ingredients ,  ogling at a few masterpiece creations, and learning a little more about sourdough breads, crumb and crust textures.

I still struggle with the basic loaf bread (perhaps I haven't challenged myself enough), but our host Gayatri (a baker and a close friend is someone I have admired for over 4 years now - we have met twice as part of another group !) has asked us to make braided breads for June. Trust me, I just hopped into the challenge, and even typed my yet-to-be-baked bread as my entry. And then the jitters started.

And then I HAD to do it - there was no way I couldn't back out from a challenge I had entered into :) Thanks to the push, here's my basic bread dough transformed into a beautiful garlic braided bread - yes the finish could be better, but am glad I could make it. Garlic is one of our most preferred flavours in bakes - as is evident in roasted garlic focaccia , Cheese garlic bombs (both incidentally baked for Breadbakers) & Coriander Garlic Pull apart rolls.

It was easier than shaping the perfect loaf, so I shall definitely be making more braided breads - it makes for such an elegant centrepiece at the table. The girls devoured it one early Sunday morning, and the next time I shall serve it with some soup.

For now, this is a beautiful bread and thanks to #breadbakers, I have one more to-do bake ticked off my list :)

Prep time : 20 min, Rise time : 1 hour + 45 mins ; Bake time : 22 mins.


  • Basic pizza dough or a basic bread dough  - 1 portion (about 350 gms)
  • Garlic pods - 8 to 10 - crushed
  • Olive oil - 1 TBSP
  • Salt and chilli flakes - 1 tsp

How to make:
  1. I used a frozen portion of my bread dough, Thaw the frozen dough to room temperature.
  2. But if you want to make a fresh batch, please do so. If using fresh dough, let it proof once till doubled. Once done, punch down a bit & proceed to the next step.
  3. Heat the oil a bit and immediately add the crushed garlic. Switch off. Add a dash of chilli flakes and salt and let the flavours seep into the oil.
  4. Knead once on a lightly floured surface.
  5. Cut out three equal portions of the dough.
  6. Pre heat oven to 375 F / 190 C.  Prepare a baking tray with parchment paper.
  7. Roll the portions of the dough into thick ropes.
  8. Place the ropes held together at the top on the baking pan directly.
  9. Braid the bread as shown in the pictures.
  10. lightly brush the bread with the flavoured oil.
  11. Cover and let it rise again for about 45 mins till slightly plump
  12. Towards the end of the second rise, preheat oven.
  13. Once again, brush the braided bread with the entire oil and the garlic flakes. Sprinkle any seasoning if you wish {P.S - I was away from home during the 2nd rise, but my garlic-loving elder girl helped me dribble more than a generous portion of garlic and helped it rise in the oven, next time around, I am going to train her how to pre-heat and even bake this !! :p }
  14. Bake for 20-22 mins (I baked for 22 mins + broiled for 3 mins)
  15. Let it cool a bit and slowly cut into pieces and serve.
This month's Bread Baker's theme is Braided Breads and is hosted by Gayathri Kumar of Gayathri's Cook Spot Here is the collection of all the beautiful braided breads from our team.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.


Cream of Cauliflower Soup | Easy Soup recipes

Soup is one dish that's always welcomed. Though for me, its welcome if someone else makes it :p . There was once a phase early this year when Cauliflower was resented at home. Perhaps we had too much of it in the winter - Gobhi Matar, Baked Gobhi Manchurian (how can ANYONE have too much of that ?!!) , Gobhi Paratha. Anyways, you get the drift.

I had to devise ways of using up the cauliflower florets, and knowing my kids would love soups for their afternoon snack, made this one cold chilly day. The elder one lapped it up, although the younger one stuck to soup supposed to being either made of Tomato or Beetroot.

 Either way, I had one more variation of soup added to the monthly menu, and couldn't be happier. If you are fond of soups, PIN THIS 21 soup link collection for your ready referenceincluding a curried cauliflower-lentil soup

By the way, styling and photography credits : elder girl :-) I can't believe she's grown to be so aesthetic. Hugs and love to my little girl, who's all grown up - too fast :) 

Intake of cauliflower has been analyzed in relationship to a variety of different disease risks. When consumed at least once per week, cauliflower has been associated with decreased risk of colorectal cancer and has been shown to be associated with a greater decrease of risk than broccoli (when consumed in a comparable amount). In terms of prostate cancer risk, cauliflower and broccoli have shown a similar ability to decrease risk. (Source - here)

1) This can be made vegan too - check recipe and notes below.

Prep time :  10 mins | Cook time : 10 mins | Serves : 2 generously 

What do you need:
  • Cauliflower - 125 gms (Approx)
  • Onions - 1 large - minced fine
  • Garlic - 1/2 tsp
  • Milk - 1 cup (can sub with any vegan milk like rice milk or cashew milk, but slightly dilute before using)
  • Salt and pepper - to taste
  • Olive oil - 1 TBSP
  • 15-min Homemade Vegetable Stock  - 3/4 cup
  • Aswan / carrom seeds - a generous pinch (optional, but highly recommended)
  • Bay leaf - 1 no
  • Topping - 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes and crushed pepper 

How to make:
  1. Wash and chop cauliflower into small florets. 
  2. In a pan, add oil. Saute the bay leaf, onion and garlic till pink and translucent. Add the ajwain, cauliflower and salt. Add half of the 15-min Homemade Vegetable Stock and cook covered. 
  3. after 8-10 mins, cauliflower would have cooked. Remove the bay leaf and puree the rest into a thick, lump-free puree (you can strain if serving to very small kids, but not recommended for older kids or even 3 year olds. If serving to <2 ajwain="" garlic="" kids.="" old="" skip="" span="" the="" too="" year="">
  4. Return the puree to the pan, on medium heat add the milk and the remaining water and whisk thoroughly. Let it simmer for 4-5 mins. 
  5. Check for salt and spices - top with chilli flakes & crushed black pepper. 
  6. Serve hot with croutons / breadsticks or any bread.

July 10, 2017

Pasta Pakora | Monsoon Treats | Quick Snacks

We had a very interesting theme to choose for July - Secret ingredient. And am glad I chose it for this week. We have our pet peeves in the family about foods we don’t like in their naturally presented form (for me, its bitter gourd / Karela). For some time, both my kids refused potato (yes!!! just imagine :D). 

well, as mothers (and more importantly bloggers!) ,we need to find ways to present the not-so liked ingredients in different forms. This is such a fun theme that could be blogged for a mega Blogging Marathon too ! {Valli - hope you are listening :)}

The first in the series is Pasta Pakoda - yup, a LOT of pasta was cooked and we used a large portion for the Main course (we made 3 - pepper pasta in White Sauce). I am not too fond of pasta and mom would never eat it. 

The whole family (read the husband and kids) however, was stunned when I presented it in a form of pasta pakoda. With the rains giving a perfect opportunity to indulge in an occasional deep fry, this is one dish I would love to make and eat (and even make extra pasta if required just to make that scrumptious pakoda :p)

Similar recipes with "secret ingredients" :

So, go on, surprise your family / guests with this delicious treat ! 

Detailed tips in the notes section below

Prep time : 15 mins . Fry time : 10-12 mins  Serves : 4
Course : Snack / appetiser ; cuisine : Fusion 

you would need:
  • Cooked pasta (Fusilli/Elbow/Farfalle /Penne ) - 1 cup (240 ml) - I used Fusilli
  • Besan / gram flour - 1 cup
  • Rice flour - 2 heaped TBSP
  • Salt - to taste
  • turmeric-  1/4 tsp
  • Minced onion - 1 medium (optional)
  • Minced bell pepper - 1/2 (optional)
  • roasted & crushed cumin, coriander seeds, ajwain - 1/2 TBSP each
  • Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Grated ginger / minced chilli - 1 tsp
  • Chopped coriander & mint leaves - 1 tsp (opt.)
  • Water - as required (very little)
  • Oil - to deep fry (it can also be pan seared in an appam pan / paniyaram pan / aebelskiver) ; next time, I am going to bake these 

  1. Drain all the water from the pasta and refrigerate covered for 1-2 hours (overnight cooked pasta works best) - chop it fine into fine bits.
  2. In a large bowl, sieve both the flours with turmeric. Add the red chilly powder, ginger / chilly , coriander and mint leaves and mix well. mix everything well. Add onions, crushed dry spices, and half the salt and mix well with your fingers. 
  3. Heat 3 TBSP of oil and slowly mix into the mixture (use a spoon not your fingers as the oil is hot !!)
  4. Now mix well and sprinkle very little water (remember pasta is cooked and contains water as well) to make a stiff and slightly sticky dough. Meanwhile heat adequate oil for frying.
  5. Check for salt and spices once more. 
  6. Pinch out small portions and fry in oil  on medium flame so its cooked to golden brown evenly.
  7. Drain on absorbent paper / kitchen towels and munch them with a cup of tea / coffee as an afternoon snack.

My Notes:

  1. Pasta has a lot of water, so drain thoroughly before use.
  2. Chop the pasta into tiny bits before adding to the dough.
  3. upon cooling / refrigeration, if the cooked pasta has any crust / skin formed, remove out the hard crusts and then use the softer portion, else you would have stone hard pakodas.
  4. Fry on medium heat only, as the pakoras contain carbs from the pasta, they burn and blacken very fast on high heat, but may remain uncooked inside.
  5. Use up any remaining pakoras in a kadhi for a yummy twist :)

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