November 30, 2006


Ginger is a very good digestive.Ayurveda prescribes ginger to fire up a sluggish digestive system.It is soothing for colds and sore throat as well.It is the most commonly used spice in most Indian as well as south asian households.

My post for today is the ubiquitous Allam Pachchadi.It is a common condiment in most Andhra households.It goes very well with dosa,idli,even upma, and is best when mixed with hot rice and a dollop of ghee.I learnt this from my friend's mother when she had come over to visit her .This is also my entry for JFI-Jaggery which is being hosted by Kay of Towards a better tomorrow.So,without further ado,here is the recipe as I learnt from Aunty:

Ingredients:200 gms(about 1 cup)tamarind

Boiling water,to soak the tamarind

For Popu/Tadka/Tempering:

2 Tbsp split Urad dal

2 Tbsp Chanadal

5 gms block hing/asafoetida(Or,4-6 pinches asafoetida powder)

1 tsp methi/fenugreek seeds

1 tsp Mustards seeds

6-8 dry red chillies

75 gms(about 1/3 cup) Ginger,peeled and grated/chopped into small pieces

3/4 cup grated jaggery(about 100 gms)

Salt to taste

Method: Soak the tamarind in boiling water for 30 mins.

Extract the juice by squeezing the pulp with your hands.This method helps the chutney stay longer outside the fridge.Take out the pips from the pulp.Keep aside.Grate the jaggery now.

Heat 5 Tbsp oil in a pan.Add the urad dal,chanadal,muustard seeds and methi.Let it fry until the seeds turn brown and the mustard has popped.This needs to be done on a medium heat.

Take it out into a plate and let cool.Now,fry the red chillies and hing in oil.Once the chillies puff up,take them out and add to the urad-chana mix.

Once the mix is warm,put it into a grinder(I sed my coffee grinder attachment that came with my blender) and grind till coarse.If you like the chutney fine,then you can also grind the seeds till they are almost a fine powder consistency.

Now,add the ginger,tamarind and salt.Grind once more,till all the ingredients are mixed and ginger is minced thoroughly.

Add the grated jaggery and run the mixer once more,till the jaggery is all blended and the chutney is a homogenous mixture.Take out into a dry bowl and keep it covered.Serve with idli,dosa,or hot rice.

This stores well for atleast 1 week outside the fridge in good conditions.In the refigerator,it will keep atleast 15-20 days,though mine is always over long before that.

Note:I used ready made tamarind paste as I find that the tamarind available in London has a sweet after taste,and does not really go well with chutneys.

November 29, 2006


The dish I am going to present today is a type of sambar made in andhra.Pulusu is neither sambar nor rasam,it lies somewhere in between.Both sambar and rasam rely on a mix of spices to give them the characteristic taste.Pulusu is made without using any spice powder whatsoever.The speciality of this dish is that mustard paste is used to give it that extra dimension.So,here is the recipe:

Ingredients:For Pulusu-

3 cups of chopped spinach(1 big bunch)

1 medium potato,chopped into chunks

1 medium onion,chopped into chunks

3-4 ladiesfingers cut into 1 inch pieces(Bhindi)

200 gms Anapakaya/sorakaya/dudhi/bottlegourd,chopped into chunks

1 whole drumstick cut into 3 inch pieces

3-4 green chillies

1 lime size ball of tamarind/2 tbsp tamarind paste

1/2 cup of cooked Tuvar dal/Arhar dal/Split pigeon peas

For Mustard paste-

1 tsp mustard seeds

2 tsp Raw rice

For Tadka/Popu/Tempering

1 tsp Mustard seeds

1/4 tsp methi seeds/fenugreek seeds

curry leaves


Method:First thing,soak the mustard seeds along with the raw rice in 3-4 tbsp water for about 3 hours.

Meanwhile,prepare the vegetables.

Heat 3 tbsp oil in a deep and thick bottmed pan,and add the mustard,methi/fenugreek, and curry leaves.As soon as they splutter,add the chopped onions and chillies and saute for 3-4 mins.Now add the other vegetables and saute for 5 mins.Now add the chopped spinach and let fry for 1 min,just till spinach starts wilting.Then,add 3-4 cups(750 ml to 1 litre) water ,add salt to taste, and turmeric to it.Add the tamarind to this.

Put the lid on and let it boil until the vegetables are cooked.This takes about 20-30 mins on medium flame.

Drain the water from the soaked mustard-rice.Make a fine paste using a mortar and pestle.The mix should be very fine ground.

Once the vegetables in the pulusu are cooked and soft,add the mustard paste and the cooked tuvar dal.

Donot keep on heat for longer than 2 mins, as the mustard will give the pulusu a botter aftertaste if it is heated for long.

Serve hot with rice and papad.

Note:I did not have anapakaya and bhindi,so I omitted them.Vegetables like carrot and pumpkin can also be added.

This is my contribution to Pooja's Veggie of the week.

November 27, 2006


I first tasted this dish at one of our potluck parties here.It was made by my friend Ramya.This has become one of our favourites,as it is very easy to prepare too.I use my measuring cups for all my recipes as it is easy for me.

Ingredients:1 cup raw rice

1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes(about 3 medium sized tomatoes)

2 tbsp coconut powder or grated fresh coconut

2-3 green chillies,slit lenghwise

1 tsp fresh minced/grated ginger

1 tsp fresh minced/grated garlic

1/2 cup chopped onion(one medium sized onion)

1 tbsp garam masala

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cumin seeds/jeera

1/2 tsp mustard seeds/rai

a few curry leaves

Method: Cook the rice seperately in a cooker.A soon as the pressure is released,take it out and fluff up the rice with a fork.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a thich bottomed pan.Add the mustard and cumin seeds.Let them splutter,then add the ginger and garlic .once they lose their raw smell,add the chillies,and the onions.Fry the onions till they turn transparent.Now add the chopped tomatoes.I like to use a combination of cherry tomatoes and salad or plum tomatoes as the cherry tomatoes impart a slight tanginess to the dish.

Let them cook with a lid on until the tomatoes are cooked and soft.Add salt and the garam masala.Cook for i more minute, then add the coconut and curry leaves.Mix well and pour over the cooked rice.Mix well and serve hot with raitha.

November 23, 2006


Today is also the birthday of Sri Sathya Sai Baba,apart from being Thanksgiving day.I wanted to prepare some sweet for naivedyam as well as for thanksgiving day.I came across Chandrika's Aval Laddoo, which looked very easy to make.

I did not add the coconut(forgot to add!!) .I also decided to make it low calorie by using artificial sweetener in place of sugar.The result is an extremely light and crunchy Laddoo.Thanks for sharing the recipe,Chandrika.


Changing to Beta Version and template changes

Hello Friends,

I just switched over to beta blogger.I am now thinking of changing my template.I am still adding you all to my blogroll,so please don't think I have forgotten to add you:-)Hope to see you all soon with more recipes.Please keep your comments coming.:-)

November 22, 2006


Me and my husband love visiting botanical gardens.After we moved to London,we heard of the Royal Botanic Gardens,Kew.We were told it is an excellent place to visit.We decided to take home made food with us and I started thinking what I could make.I had some bread dough left,so I made up these rolls,inspired by the famous cinnamon rolls.So without further ado,here is the recipe:

Ingredients:For the rolls:
200 gms All purpose flour or maida

50 gms soya flour

2 tsp Active Dry Yeast

2 tsp sugar

1/2 cup Milk,warmed

1/2 cup water,warmed

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp ghee

Some more flour to knead the dough

For the filling:
3 big potatoes,boiled

1 big carrot grated

1 tsp salt

1 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp amchur/lemon juice

1 tbsp fresh grated ginger

1 tsp fresh grated garlic

Warm boththe milk and water , and sprinkle yeast on the milk.Add 2 tsp sugar .Sugar helps yeast to grow.Set it in a warm place until the mixture starts frothing.This will take about 15 mins.

Put both the flours into a mixing bowl,add salt and mix well.Make a well in the centre , and pour the yeast mixture into it,along with 2 tbsp ghee.

Mix with a fork until all the flour is incorporated.You may need to add upto 1/2 cup more of flour in order to knead it .Now dust your countertop with some flour and invert the bowl onto it.Once the flour is on the countertop,dust your hand with flour and keand the dough until it feels elastic.If the dough is too sticky,add some more flour.But take care not to add too much or else the rolls will be dense.

Coat a large bowl with oil and put the dough into it.Cover with a soft kitchen towel and keep it in a warm place to rise.It will take about 1 hour in a really warm place.

Meanwhile,prepare your filling.Boil and mash the potatoes completely.Grate the carrots and mox into the potatoes,along with salt,turmeric and chilli powder.In a small pan,heat 2 tbsp oil, add ginger and garlic until brown,add the garam masala and the amchur,if using.Immediately pour it onto the potato mixture and mix well.If you use lemon juice,add it at this stage.

Prepare your baking tin now.I used a 9" square,but an 8" square or round will work beautifully too.Just coat it generously with some butter or line it with parchment/greaseproof paper.

The dough should have doubled in size after about 1 hour.If not,let it rise some more.Now gently punch down the dough and then divide it into two balls. Roll out each ball into a square, about 1/4 inch thick and 9 inches by 6 inches .

Now brush the surface with a little milk(you can leave this step out too as the potato mixture is moist enough to hold on to the dough.).Divide the potato mixture into two portions .Spread the potato mixture on it with your hands on each portion.Roll up the square tightly.Using a table knife or a plain edged knife,cut it into 2 inch long rolls.Lift carefully and put it into a prepared tin.Repeat with the other ball of dough and the filling.Cover with a tea towel and let it rise again in a warm place.This will take about 30 mins.

Preheat the oven to 400F/200C.Put the risen rolls into the oven and bake for about 15 minutes.It may take a little longer too,around 20 mins.So check after 15 mins and if needed,bake it for a little longer.

Let the rolls cool in the pan for about 10 mins,then take them out and serve with any sauce of your choice.These are great eaten fresh.But you can also make them ahead of time and just reheat in the microwave oven for a few seconds.

This makes 12 medium sized rolls.
This is my entry to Nandita's WBB#7.

November 21, 2006


I love Dates.They are so full of nutrition that often I pop a few into my mouth when I crave a snack without a lot of fat in it and which also satisfies my sweet tooth.I remember having baked a date cake long ago(almost 8 yrs ago,to be frank!) and my sister always asks for that recipe.Unfortunately,I don't have that recipe anymore.And thus began my search for a date cake that would be only mildly sweet .I was surprised to find a recipe by Delia Smith which is low in saturated fat as well.I made a few changes to the recipe,so here is the recipe with the changes.You can find the original recipe at Deliaonline.So,here is the recipe with the changes I made:

Indgredients:175 gms stoned dates(About 3/4 cup)

225 gms All purpose flour/Maida(2 cups)

50 gms White sugar(1/3 cup)

25 gms Margarine-I used "I can't believe its not butter(1 tablespoon)

75 gms Walnuts

75 gms Cashews

1 tsp Baking soda

2 tsp Baking powder

1/2 tsp Cinnamon powder

1 Clove(I crushed it in the mortar with 1/2 tsp of sugar)

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp Vanilla extract

1 tbsp Ground flax seeds

4-5 tbsps Water

Icing:110 gms Icing/Confectioners Sugar

1 tablespoon margarine

4-5 tablespoons warm milk

Method: Put the ground flax seeds along with the water into a microwave safe bowl and microwave it on high for 1 min.The flax meal will have absorbed some water and become thick.Set it aside to cool.

Heat the oven to 400F/200C and roast the nuts until they turn light brown,this takes about 8-10 mins.Let them cool,then chop coarsely.

Reduce the heat to 350F/175C.Line a 7 inch square cake pan with 4 inch high sides,with parchment or wax paperMy favourite trick to making wax paper is to spray a normal white sheet with oil and then use it to like my cake pans.We were living in a small town where parchment or wax paper was not really available,so I came up with this trick to reduce the mess a date cake can make.You can also grease your tin but if you do,grease it well with some shortening/ghee.This cake rises high and is moist too,so making it in sandwich type pans would make the cake too thin and dry.

Chop the dates and soak it in 1 cup(250 ml) of boiling water.Add baking soda and the margarine .Set aside.

Sift the flour with cinnamon powder,clove powder,salt and the baking soda.I generally measure it all, and them put it into a bowl and aerate it well with my wire whisk.

Once the flax meal has cooled,the consistency will be exacly like an egg,very slimy and gooey and almost mud coloured.Now take this into a mixing bowl and beat it with spoon.I like to use a flat melamine rice server to beat my cake batters with, as melamine does not absorb water.Add the sugar and beat well till the mixture is a little lighter in colour.

Crush the dates by hand to make a coarse paste.You can leave it like that if you like date chunks in your cake.

Add this to the mixing bowl and beat well.Now add the flour to this in two parts,mixing well to incorporate it fully.Lastly,add the chopped nuts.Coat the nuts with a little flour that you have measured for the cake.This prevents the nuts from sinking to the bottom after the cake has baked.

If the batter is a little too thick,you can add some milk,about 5-6 tbsps.I did have to add the milk to bring the batter to a pouring consistency.

Pour it into the prepared cake pan.Bake for 1 1/4 hours.The cake will smell done, and the top will spring back when touched lightly.I baked in in my anodised Silverwood pan and the cake was done in 55 minutes.

Mix the ingredients for the icing and pour over the cake.

November 08, 2006


This is my version of the very popular Aloo Palak.I made this once when I had nothing except some spinach and a few baby potatoes at home.I have used frozen spinach just because that is what I have on hand.You can use fresh spinach.

Ingredients:250 grams of frozen spinach/1 big bunch fresh spinach.

8 baby potatoes

1 tsp Garam masala

1 tsp Amchur powder

2 tsp Red Chilli Powder

1tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp dhaniya/jeera powder(equal proportions)

For paste: 1 medium onion

1 big clove garlic

1 inch piece ginger

Method: Chop the onion,ginger and garlic coarsely and fry in a few teaspoons of oil until brown and cooked.Cool,grind into paste and keep aside.

Boil the baby potatoes until soft and peel them.

In a thick bottomed,wide-based pan,heat 2 teaspoons oil and put the peeled baby potatoes in it.Fry on medium heat until the potatoes are lightly browned.Now,add the amchur,garam masala,and dhaniya jeera powder to the potatoes.Let it saute for 2 mins,then add the frozen spinach.You need not thaw it before using.I added frozen spinach directly to the pan.If you are using fresh spinach,just wash and chop it finely.Then add it to the potatoes.

Now put a lid on the pan and let cook until the spinach has cooked.This will take about 5 mins.

Now take off the lid and add salt and chilli powder.Let it cook for sometime.Add the onion paste,mix well.Add 1/2 cup water if the curry becomes too dry.

Garnish with chopped coriander and slices of lemon, and serve hot with parathas.

Yield:This makes enough curry for two persons.

November 03, 2006


I wanted to make something for Diwali this time.But my electric coil stove does not allow me to really do deep fried stuff easily.It takes very long for food to cook properly as well as brown at the same time.Finally,I borrowed a flat based,wide mouthed deep pan from my friend to make some murukkus.

Ingredients:1 cup Roasted Urad dal flour(Deskinned black gram dal)

3 cups rice flour

2 tbsp butter

1 teaspoon whole jeera(Cumin)

1 tbsp sesame seeds

3 teaspoons chilli powder(more if you like )

2 tsp salt

Oil to deep fry the murukku

Method: You need a murukku maker for this.If you have a cookie press,that works fine too.Infact,before I bought my murukku maker,I used my icing gun to make murukkus,although I must admit that was a tough task.

Roast the urad dal until pinkish in colour.Then,cool and grind to a fine powder.Mix this with the rice flour,salt,chilli powder,sesame seeds,jeera seeds.

Now add in the butter.This is important.Butter makes the murukku really light.Next,add enough water to make a tight dough.You may need about 3/4th cup.I did not measure the water-just eyeballed it guided by the consistency of the dough.

Keep the dough covered with a damp tea towel or paper towel.This is important as the dough tends to dry up otherwise.Heat oil in a deep pan.To test,drop a small piece of dough-it should come up immediately but not brown very quickly.

You will need a Murukku press for this.You can use a Cookie press too.

Fill a lime sized ball of the dough into the press.You need to use the disc with the single star for this.

Press out the murukkus into hot oil.Fry until golden brown.Take it out using a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels.

When cool,store in air tight tins.This stays fresh for 15 days.

This dough is not pliable enough to make the round spiral shaped murukkus.It tends to break apart because it is made using flours.

I shall post another recipe which I use to make the spiral shaped murukku very soon.Until then enjoy this!