Bringing Imagination to your Cooking…!!!

Tamil Nadu

Curry Leaves Chutney Pudi/ Powder.. Hebbar Iyengar style..!

Hebbar Iyengar style Curry leaves chutney pudi....

All organic.. home-grown ingredients are awesome to have & to eat.. Don’t you agree?? As a kid I remember my grandmother preparing this very fragrant chutney pudi from the freshest curry leaves available.. yup, plucking them from the 5 curry leaves tree we had in our garden :), using the copra she made from drying the excess coconut coconuts from our garden. There were 6 coconut trees in our garden. Loads of coconuts were always available. The excess ones were turned into copra & then taken to the oil mill by my grandmother to extract oil. Then she would use the oil to cook her yummy food or savouries..! Such memorable days…!

It is very common to see a curry leaves tree in almost every South Indian house. You your passing by a South Indian house if you can smell the tadka/tempering with the heavenly aroma of curry leaves. Along with the awesome fragrance that they impart.. they also have loads of medicinal value. Most of us have a tendency to keep the leaves aside when we eat a meal, this is an awesome way to consume the curry leaves & take in all its benefits.

I do not have my grandmothers recipe. Beginning of this month, K’s granny came over to spend a week with us. I had loads of copra with me. I asked her if she could help me make some Curry leaves chutney pudi. K loves chutney pudi a lot. Whenever he see’s the bottle he almost every time pops a spoon of it into his mouth. So K’s Pati (granny in Tamil) helped me or rather I should say, taught me to make 2 kinds of chutney pudi. A curry leaves one and another coriander leaves kind. The recipe for the coriander leaves chutney pudi is slightly different from this one, so don’t go around swapping the curry leaves with coriander leaves. I will post the curry leaves chutney pudi recipe soon.

I do not have pictures of the making of the chutney pudi, I wanted to click some pics with pati & I was so excited learning this recipe that I completely forgot about the camera. Next time I get down to making this one, I’ll make sure I click pics.

I love curry leaves chutney pudi a lot as it makes me nostalgic. This was the only kind of chutney pudi my gran made for us. I have also received requests to post garlic, peanut, idli chutney pudi recipe’s. All these will take some time as I have lots of chutney pudi in stock now. With just the two of us around I don’t want to stock up loads of varieties & they going bad. So as & when my stock needs to be replenished I shall get down to making these. Until then I have this new recipe which will serve as a small project for you this weekend.. 🙂 Happy Cooking..!

Ingredients: (15-20 servings) Preparation Time: 20-25 mins
Tur dal – 1/2 cup
Copra grated/desiccated coconut – 3/4 -1 cup
Black peppercorns – 10-12
Dried red chilli’s – 15-16 byadgi chilli variety, you can use the other hotter varieties, use according to your taste
Curry leaves – 45-50 medium-sized leaves, washed, drained, wiped dry & leave it to dry on a kitchen towel
Tamarind – 1 marble-sized piece, make sure there are no seeds
Jaggery – 1.5 – 2 tbsp, powdered
Asafoetida – 1/4 tsp
Turmeric – 1/8 tsp
Oil – half a tsp
Salt to taste – preferably use rock salt

Method:
Take a skillet, dry roast the dried red chilli’s & the Tur dal. Keep tossing them around constantly & maintain heat at low. Once the fur dal begin to change colour to a light brownish & the chilli’s too turn paler, turn the heat off. Transfer the ingredients to a plate and let it cool down to room temperature.

Meanwhile while the Tur dal & chilli’s are cooling down, heat the oil in the skillet. Add the asafoetida & let it sizzle. Maintain heat at low. Now throw in the turmeric & the curry leaves. Fry till the curry leaves begin to lose their moisture and begin to turn crispier. Now add the copra and black peppercorns and toss it around for a minute or two. Turn the heat off. Transfer this to another plate. Let it cool down to room temperature.

Add the powdered jaggery, tamarind and salt to the roasted, cooled down dried red chilli’s & dal mixture. You can pulse this mixture in a food processor till the ingredients are broken down. Next add in the roasted curry leaves mixture. Process all the ingredients till you get a coarse powder. In between you can taste & adjust the salt.

Transfer the contents to a plate. Let it dry out for about 15-20 mins (The jaggery & tamarind have some moisture content in them which will get transferred to the roasted ingredients). Transfer the chutney pudi to an airtight glass jar.

You are set for 2-3 months i.e if it lasts for that long.. 🙂 I mean to say you can store this for 2-3 months. After this time frame, it will begin to lose it’s freshness & aroma.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve with any South Indian breakfast dishes like – Dosa, Idli, Upma etc as an accompaniment when you’re in a hurry & really cannot get down to preparing a fresh coconut chutney.

Hebbar Iyengar style Curry leaves chutney pudi....
In Mangalore we eat this chutney pudi by adding a tsp of coconut oil to a tbsp of chutney pudi, mixing the pudi/powder in the oil so that its easier to eat & tastier. But Iyengar’s like to eat their chutney pudi with a tsp of ghee instead of oil. Do let me know if you have a new way to eat your chutney pudi.. 🙂

Tip: You can make a butter chutney pudi sandwich.. believe me it’s yum.. 🙂

 


From the villages of Tamil Nadu, a yummy Fish curry – Makerel curry…

Makeral Curry... from the villages of Tamil Nadu..

I’m sure you are surprised to see my post today.. been ages isn’t it? I’m not going to apologise this time.. because it looks like I have been doing the disappearing act too often. Whats kept me busy was shifting.. Can you believe it???@!!! Gosh yes,!! you read it right.. In the last 2 years I have only been shifting houses every 5-6 months. Now you can’t complain about me playing the disappearing act, since each one of you would have experienced it at some time in your lives. Phew!!! That is the nitty-gritty of the disappearance act, been busy setting up my house & buying all the required ingredients to stock up my pantry. I love new places, meeting new people, making new friends, yes.. but I have been doing it way too often now.. but glad this time I’m still in Bangalore.. 🙂

Things seem to have changed in Bangalore. New places are up, old places have vanished.. not just the store being renovated or taken over by a new business, there are whole new buildings that have come up & changed the whole outlook of the place.My scouting around for ingredients is almost over. I think I have found my places now, but the whole issue this time around is that I don’t find things in stock when I go to buy them… & they lie there on the shelves when I don’t need them.

Now cutting out all my usual rantings… this curry is just plain wonderful.. If you love a fish curry that’s such a heavenly blend of different ingredients then, this is it.. you have found the right recipe. Isn’t that colour very tempting? Oh, come on! it sure is.. Well if the colour is not then go ahead & cook it.. you will then agree that to the fact that the aroma is very tempting indeed :D. Just the right curry to cook small fish in. This recipe was passed on to me by my aunt. She had this curry ready when I reached her home for dinner and the foodie that I am, just loved it from the very first whiff from the fish pot.

The villages in Tamil Nadu have distinct & very flavourful recipes, unlike the urban ones which focus on quick & easy ways to prepare the same dish. This dish tastes yummier when the freshly ground paste is prepared using the stone grinder & the paste ground with loads of love using the hand held pestle, this device is referred to as the ambi (the base) & kulavi (the stone part that moves & grinds). Chutney or any paste ground using this has a completely different flavour.

From the villages of Tamil Nadu, a yummy Fish curry - Makerel curry…!

I have used earthenware to cook the fish curry, just like my aunt did :). My grandmother always cooked fish in earthenware on firewood. It sure does add a lovely flavour to the curry. Damn! I had to give up the idea of cooking using firewood because I do not have that setup with me. But those of you who have had their grandmother/mothers cook fish curry in earthenware on firewood would know what I mean.. it is absolutely delicious. If you get a chance to cook this curry that way… go ahead & indulge :)!

Ingredients: (Serves 3-4)        Preparation Time: 60 mins
Baby Mackerel/any small fish of your choice – 1/2 kg, cleaned & drained

Baby Makerel...
Note: I do not cook the fish with its head, but you could if you wish to
Onion – 1 medium-sized, finely chopped
Green chilli’s – 2, chopped
Tomatoes – 2 medium-sized, cubed
Coriander leaves – 3 sprigs, chopped
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
Coconut oil – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste

To prepare the freshly ground paste
Grated coconut – 1 cup
Fennel seeds – 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Garlic – 10 medium-sized cloves
Shallots/sambhar onions – 3-4, peeled
Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp or more, use as per your taste
Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves – a handful
Coconut Oil – 2 tbsp, use oil of your choice if you do not like the flavour of coconut oil

Method:
Heat 2 tbsp of coconut oil in a fry pan. Set heat at medium. Add the fenugreek seeds, fry them till they begin to turn soft, throw in the onions. Fry till the onion turns translucent. Now add all the other ingredients mentioned for the fresh paste. Fry all the ingredients for a couple of minutes. Lower the heat if the fry pan gets too hot, we do not want to burn the ingredients. Once you can smell the heavenly aroma of all the ingredients turn the heat off, let it cool.

Ingredients for the fresh paste.. cooled & ready to be ground to a smooth paste...

Once the ingredients for the paste have cooled down, blend all of them into a smooth paste.

Heat 2 tbsp of coconut oil in a pot. Set heat to medium. Once the oil heats up, fry the chopped onions, green chilli’s & tomatoes together. Throw in some salt to help fry them quicker. Once the tomatoes loosen up & the onions turn translucent, add the freshly ground paste. Mix well. Add 500 ml of water & mix well. Let the curry come to a boil. Now drop in the cleaned fish into the curry. Add salt to taste. Simmer & let the fish cook & absorb all the flavours.

Note: In about 5-8 minutes the fish should be cooked. Do over-cook the fish, since they are small fish, they can easily disintegrate into the curry.

Garnishing:
Garnish with chopped coriander & curry leaves.

From the villages of Tamil Nadu, a yummy Fish curry - Makerel curry…

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot with a bowl of rice or chapatis’. And yes, traditionally eaten with Dosa/Idli as an accompaniment!

If you like this recipe, then you may also like – Quick fish curry – Salmon Phanna UpkariAlle Piyava Ghashi/Konkani style Fish curry..Meen Molee/Boneless fish pieces in a fragrant Kerala style coconut curryFish Fry with a Konkani style batterTava fried prawns etc.


Takkali/Tomato Thokku…

Takkali/Tomato Thokku

Tomatoes available in abundance in the market???? or have the prices of tomatoes dropped?? or do you have loads of ripe tomatoes, wondering what to do & how to use them?? or are you are a dip/chutney lover???  look no further!!! You will enjoy both the preparation bit & the eating bit of this thokku. What is the best deal out of it all?? This has a shelve life of at least 2 months. 🙂

Again, this is a recipe which really popular in Tamil Nadu. I have been eating this thokku since I was a kid. A very good alternative to pickle, specially for those who are advised to watch out on their salt intake.

Takkali/Tomato Thokku

The colour is very tempting of course…!Also I bet, you will lick your fingers clean for sure if you dig in.. 😉 Well,I am that sort of person who eats more veggies or sides with my roti/rice/dosa; for me the chutney/dip is like the main dish to eat the idli or dosa with.. 😉 Though this was quite the opposite when I was growing up.

All of us at home love this thokku, gets over within a week. Now, since both my bro & I aren’t around, the thokku survives till the 2 month mark.
Days when you are in a hurry; when there are horrid power cuts & you can’t prepare your usual chutney to serve, this is a perfect accompaniment. If guests suddenly spring up & you have a daughter like me who drinks the chutney as rasam or soup, this thokku stocked up in your refrigerator will be a saviour.. 😉 Ahem! a whole lot of bullshit reasons huh?? I sure don’t need such excuses for dipping into this thokku..

You may find loads of many recipe’s for the same over the internet. Many prepare the thokku with puree’d tomatoes too or they may cook till all the tomatoes turn into pulp. I like finding bits of tomato pieces in my thokku, maybe that is how my mum prepared it & I have developed a taste to the thokku being served with bits of tomatoes being visible in the thokku. It’s totally upto you, prepare it the way you wish. 🙂

Since I’m in Mangalore, I’m learning & preparing all my favourite recipe’s under mum’s supervision.. There are some recipe’s better learnt this way than over long distant phone calls or Skype.  I remember those days when I kept calling & asking her about the other recipe’s I wanted to try out when in Glasgow.. with the time difference I was always hesitant to make that phone call..! 

Now that she sees me working on my blog right in front of her.. She is always curious about the photos I click & wonders why I click so many pics to find the perfect one. 🙂

Ingredients:(Serves 20) Preparation Time – 40-45 mins
Tomato – 3/4 – 1 kg, ripe, chopped finely
Garlic – 1 small pod, peeled & finely chopped
Mustard seeds – 1 tbsp
Methi/Fenugreek seeds – 1.5 tsp
Urad dal/ Split bengal gram – 2 tsp
Curry leaves – 4-5 sprigs
Red chilli powder – 2 tbsp, reduce as per your taste if you don’t want it hot
Sambhar powder – 1 tbsp
Cooking oil – 7-8 tbsp
Salt to taste
Tip: Make sure you use the ripest of tomatoes available to make this thokku to its fullest flavour.

Method:
Heat oil in a deep bottom fry pan, when the oil heats up, reduce heat to medium & add mustard seeds, let them splutter, add urad dal, when it changes color, add fenugreek seeds, when it changes colour & softens add garlic & curry leaves, do not let the garlic change color. Reduce heat if required.

Now add the chopped tomatoes with any juice if present. Add red chilli & sambhar powder, mix well. Add salt to taste, mix well. Simmer, let the tomatoes cook & allow the flavours to blend into the tomatoes. Let the thokku simmer till the oil separates out from the tomatoes.

Takkali/Tomato Thokku ready.

When you begin to see oil on the sides of the pan & it starts floating over the cooking tomatoes the thokku is done. Let it cool to room temperature before you transfer it to storage glass/ceramic jar.

Note: If you transfer it when the thokku is hot & close the lid, the water vapour formed on the lid will spoil the thokku. This is a chutney/dip which has do’s & don’ts like any pickle. Do not use a wet spoon or let water get into the jar.

This thokku has a shelve life of at least 2 months if refrigerated. If you wish to preserve it for longer, use more oil when you begin preparing it.

Takkali/Tomato Thokku

Serving Suggestions:
Serve this yummy thokku with just about anything South Indian that comes up on your mind… upma, idli, dosa, rice or even chapatis’.. !

 If you liked this recipe, you must check out – Courgette/Zucchini ThokkuCapsicum Chutney…. etc.


Karuveppilai/kadipatta/curry leaves chicken……

Karuveppilai/kadipatta/curry leaves chicken……

I’m visiting Mangalore after about 2 years. Feels awesome being home. All the lazing around, the silence (hate the traffic noise all over Bangalore, you rarely find a place where it is quiet unless you have noise eliminating windows fitted), all yummy food you get at home & small quaint places around. My little brother is an encyclopaedia & he has a list of the best dish on the menu for almost every good eatery/restaurants around. Since I left to Manipal to attend University I never had the opportunity to explore all the places where my brother frequented.

Mum prepares such amazing food which I miss so much that I hardly go out to eat when in Mangalore. I stuffed myself so much with breakfast & lunch that I could not eat anything as an evening snack  & I skipped dinner as well. This is what I end up doing when I’m back home- hog, hog & hog even more.

Karuveppilai/kadipatta/curry leaves chicken……

This recipe is from my mums recipe trove. This dish is infused with lovely flavours from Tamil Nadu. You could adjust this recipe based on your taste to have loads of runny curry or a thick curry or make it dry as a starter. Even though this recipe uses very few ingredients it tastes amazing with rice/chapati’s or even as a starter.

Karuveppilai/kadipatta/curry leaves chicken……

Ingredients: (Serves 2-3)     Preparation Time: 20 mins
Chicken – 500 gms curry cut pieces
Ginger – 1 inch piece
Garlic – 3-4 cloves
Yogurt – 1 tbsp
Red onion – 1 medium-sized, diced
Red chilli powder – 1/2-1 tsp
Salt to taste

Some of the ingredients..

For the freshly ground paste:
Grated Coconut – 1 cup
Green chilli’s – 8 slit
Curry leaves – 10 sprigs + a few for garnishing
Cooking oil – 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp

Method:
Prepare a fresh paste out of the ginger & garlic. Wash & drain the chicken. Marinate the chicken with the yogurt, the freshly prepared ginger garlic paste & some salt. Let the chicken marinate for about at least 30 minutes.

While the chicken gets marinated, we can prepping up for the paste. Heat a tbsp of oil in a small fry pan. Once it heats up, reduce the heat to low, add the cumin seeds & let it sizzle & then add the green chilli’s. Now add the curry leaves & the coconut. Fry till the grated coconut begins to turn light brown.

Fry the ingredients for the paste..

Turn the heat off & let it cool before you grind this to a smooth paste.

Freshly grated coconut & curry leaves paste..

Add the 1 tbsp of oil to a pot & heat it. Once the oil is hot, reduce the heat to medium & throw in the onions along with some salt. Once the onions turn translucent add the marinated chicken & toss the chicken till the meat turns white.

Fry the chicken till the meat turns white..

Now add the freshly ground curry leaves & coconut paste. Mix it well.

Add the freshly ground paste..

Note: Remember that the chicken also lets out some water as it cooks..

Season with salt & add red chilli powder. Simmer & cook till the raw flavours fade away, adjust the thickness of the curry as per your requirement. Once the oil separates from the curry, check if the chicken is cooked & turn the heat off once it is.

Garnishing:
Garnish with some curry leaves.

Serving Suggestions:
Now serve hot with your choice of accompaniment like rice/chapati’s or as a starter.

Karuveppilai/kadipatta/curry leaves chicken……

If you like this recipe, then you may also like –


Courgette/Zucchini Thokku

Courgette/Zucchini Thokku...

Courgette was something new I had to work with when I landed here in the UK. With the limitations to the veggies available at my disposal here I had to begin exploring my options with it. I had tried them a couple of times at a barbecue restaurant back in India, but had not tasted them in any other form until I got here. I had seen them in markets back in India but, never did find time to experiment with them back in India.

Courgette/Zucchini...

Courgette has a slight bitter taste to it. But its tasty no doubt. I thought of making a stir fry with them, then changed my mind & made the thokku instead.

Courgette/Zucchini Thokku...

Thokku is a speciality from the Southern state of India, Tamil Nadu. I can describe it is a cooked-down relish or reduction made from mainly fruits, vegetables and herbs. It is mainly eaten at the end of a Tamilian meal along with rice which is mixed with yogurt. But that version is almost like a pickle & can be preserved for years together. The version I have prepared lasts maximum for a week or two. It’s a quick version.

The authentic thokku which lasts for years its prepared with lots of caution. The vegetables/fruits & herbs used are wiped after washing to take away any water left. The dals are dry roasted too. Even the salt & red chilli’s used are sun-dried to take away any residual water content present. Preservatives like citric acid is used to make it last long. It uses more oil, since oil also helps in preservation.

Once I’m back in India I will post more thokku recipes made the authentic way, sunlight is one main requirement which is scarce in Glasgow. Also pickling in India is mostly a summer activity. 🙂

Ingredients: (Serves 4)          Preparation Time: 30-40 mins
Courgette/Zucchini – 3, small-sized, roughly about 250 gms, not baby though, finely chopped into tiny squares/grated
Dried Red Chilli’s – 6, medium-spicy variety, roughly torn. Do not throw away the seeds, use more chilli’s if you wish to
Garlic – 4-5 medium-sized cloves, skin on, crushed up well using a mortar & pestle
Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida – 1/8 tsp
Urad dal/Split gram dal – 1/2 tsp
Bengal Gram/Chana Dal – 1/2 tsp
Tamarind – 1 marble-sized ball, without seeds, soaked in about 30 ml of warm water
Jaggery – 2 marble-sized balls, powder it & keep aside.
Tip: Use lesser quantity of jaggery you don’t care to make the thokku on the sweeter side
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Sambar powder – 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves – 2 sprigs, finely chopped
Curry leaves – 7-8, roughly torn
Groundnut oil – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste

Some of the ingredients...

Method:
Squeeze out the juice from the soaked tamarind. You can add the pulp too if you wish. I did.

Heat oil in a deep bottom fry pan. Set heat to medium. Add the asafoetida & let it sizzle.

Note: You can also add mustard seeds after the asafoetida if you wish to.

Add the red chilli’s & crushed garlic. Toss them around for a couple of minutes. We do not wish to burn the red chilli’s & garlic, reduce heat if they begin to turn dark too soon. Add the chana dal & the fenugreek seeds, sauté them for a minute or so. Next add the curry leaves & toss the contents around. Next add the urad dal, fry them till they turn golden brown.

Next throw in the courgette/Zucchini, mix well. Add salt to taste & throw in the turmeric powder & let the courgette sweat… Once the water starts evaporating add the sambar powder & the coriander powder. Mix well. Once the raw flavours fade away add the jaggery & tamarind juice. Simmer & let the courgette cook till they turn very soft & all water evaporates, the oil separates out and you are left with a soft thick mass.

Let the thokku cool down, if you don’t want to serve it hot. Transfer the contents into a dry glass jar & tighten the lid.

Let it stay outside for a day on your kitchen shelf/counter so that the flavours blend in well. Don’t be surprised if the thokku tastes better the next day.. 🙂

Later refrigerate if you have any left 🙂

Garnishing:
If you plan to use it within a couple of days then garnish with coriander leaves. 

Courgette/Zucchini Thokku...

Tip: If you plan to store it for later; this lasts at least a week in the refrigerator, then skip adding coriander or add the coriander leaves with the jaggery & tamarind.

Serving Suggestions:
Turn off the heat & serve hot with chapatis’ or hot steamed rice with a dollop of ghee on top.

Courgette/Zucchini Thokku...

If you like this recipe, you may also like – Capsicum Chutney….Sweet, sour n hot pear relish/chutney.


Egg Puffs – A Savoury, South Indian Bakery treat

Egg Puffs...

Is there anyone who has not had puffs for a snack? I guess there won’t be anyone I know of, unless of course you don’t like it..

Bakery products are quite famous in the Southern States of India… Apart from Bread, you get cream rolls, jam rolls, apple cakes, their basic cupcakes, different kinds of biscuits, cutlets, rusks & of course puffs.. There are many different kinds of puffs available. Starting from the basic veg puff there are options like chicken puffs, mutton puffs, egg puffs are the most famous as there are more eggitarians around than meat eaters. But the newer additions to these traditional ones are mushroom, paneer puffs… 🙂

Egg Puffs - A South Indian, Savoury Bakery treat...

K’s Maternal uncle owns a Bakery & K loves most of the bakery products available.. His favourite being Rusk which we all love to dip in a cup of tea… other than that whenever we visit his uncles bakery we always have to have an egg puff if it’s not sold out already.. 🙂

But my love for puffs began as a kid. We always have a snack in the evening back in my parents house. It is usually the breakfast dish that we end up eating as a snack, but on those days mum was under the weather or if she was busy we would pick up Puffs on the way back from school. There is this tiny bakery near our house called P.R Bakery.. the owners are Malayali’s (People who belong to the state of Kerala, India).. To this you would say.. aren’t most bakery’s owned by Malayali’s??? while we ponder on that thought.. let me continue.. & then its been in my life everywhere.. even when I moved to Manipal for studies, then to Bangalore for work it was always available in the vicinity… a bakery was present at almost every corner in bangalore.. 🙂 … K & I both miss eating this..

I have prepared this a couple of times.. but never had any patience to click pictures & post pictures along with the recipe.. 😛 But I don’t think I will even have a thought of preparing this back in India since its so readily available, who would go through all the trouble.. 😛 Here I have the luxury of buying ready rolled puff pastry.. which is a blessing.. the entire process of rolling puff pastry is very tedious, requires a lot of patience & I ran out patience this one time.. 😛

I wanted to pack them for K as a snack, but unfortunately it took longer than I expected to turn golden brown & he had to leave without them.. 😦 So kept his share aside..

This is easy peasy if you can get your hands on some ready rolled puff pastry.

The shape of the puff may vary from bakery to bakery, I have eaten square/triangular/rectangular & circular puffs.

Ingredients: (Serves 2)     Preparation Time: 45 – 50 mins
Ready rolled Puff Pastry1/2 a sheet or more depending on the size of the puffs you want to prepare
Eggs – 2,
Onion – 1 large, finely chopped the way you wish
Ginger – 1/2 an inch piece, finely chopped
Green Chilli’s – 2, finely chopped
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Freshly crushed black pepper powder – as per taste
Garam Masala Powder – 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder (optional) – a pinch
Fresh Green Peas (optional) – 1/4 cup
Curry leaves – 6-7 leaves roughly torn
Cooking oil – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

Method:
Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees if it’s a fan assisted oven else to 220 degrees.

In a pot filled with water, boil the eggs & keep aside. De-shell the eggs & slit them into 2.

While the oven heats up, heat oil in a fry pan set to medium heat. When the oil heats up, add the cumin seeds & let them sizzle. Once they begin to change colour add the green chilli’s & sauté them for a minute so that the spice gets infused into the oil.

Next add the ginger & the chopped onions. Add a pinch of salt (add turmeric if you wish to), sauté them till they turn translucent. Now add the garam masala powder & mix well. When the raw flavours begin to fade away, add a tbsp of water & then add the curry leaves along with the slit eggs. Add the green peas if you wish to. Add salt to taste & crushed black pepper. Mix well. Turn off the heat before the peas turn hard.

Filling is ready....

Do not take out the pastry sheet from the fridge till this stage, i.e once you have the filling ready, get it out. Now cut the pastry sheets into the desired size as shown.

Cut four pieces from the ready rolled puff pastry sheet as shown..

Divide the filling into 4 equal portions, each having one half of an egg. Now add each portion to the centre of each cut puff pastry sheet as shown.

Add the divided portions of the filling to each cut puff pastry piece...

Close the sheet over the egg as shown. Seal the edges lightly.

Transfer them on a baking tray lined with some baking sheet which is greased.

Bake in the pre-heated oven till the outer covering of the puff turns golden brown. Ideally around 30 minutes.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot along with ketchup or dip of your choice.

Egg Puffs...
Hope you like this recipe, if you did, then you may also like – Bun Masala / Scrambled Egg BurgerBread rolls with an Indian flavour/Masala bread rolls.. they go perfect with Masala chai..Chicken Frankie RollRed pesto Egg Bomb Burgers… etc.


The Versatile Aloo/Potato Bhaji – South Indian style

The Versatile Aloo/Potato Bhaji - South Indian style

Who doesn’t love a good Masala Dosa.. what makes a Masala Dosa really special? Of course the bhaji added in between the dosa. This bhaji is so simple to prepare that if you’re a dosa lover, you will instantly stop going to restaurants once you learn to prepare this bhaji at home…

South Indian Style potato bhaji.. for masala dosa..

This recipe is very versatile because it has so many accompaniments.. a few I can think of are – a ladle between your dosa for Masala Dosa/eat it with Puri’s/ add it between bread slices for a sandwich/grill it between bread slices (with some cheese of course)/Add it when your baking buns for yummy Potato bun – Iyengar bakery style/ eat it with chapati’s/make a burger with this as a filling… versatile isn’t it??

Aloo bhaji- South Indian Style

Similar bhaji is also prepared in the Northern states of India, but the ingredients that add a South Indian touch to this curry leaves & a few tsp of lentils with some asafoetida for the tempering. The aroma is lovely.. like I always say.. South Indian food has the lovely aroma of the tempering added to it.

I omit the lentils added to the this recipe as I’m not a big fan of it. I remember asking my MIL “Whats the need to add the lentils to the tempering.. (as I always made my mum omit it if I was around :P) & she replied that Vegetarians always fall short of proteins, hence they are added as a part of the tempering to include it your food”. Well in the recipe below I have included it in the ingredients list, so you can customise it based on your taste.

As usual K’s lunchbox is a big deal for me.. he loves the Potato buns from his uncle’s Iyengar bakery, there were some burger buns lying around.. thought why not I fill them up with some of this bhaji.. he will surely enjoy them.. 🙂

Aloo Masala Burger..

Ingredients: (Serves 3-4 depends on how much of filling you like)    Preparation Time: 20 mins
Potatoes – 2 medium-sized potatoes, unpeeled
Red onion – 1, medium-sized, finely chopped or diced
Ginger – half an inch piece, finely chopped
Green chilli’s – 2, finely chopped/slit, choice is yours
Mustard seeds – half tsp
Cumin seeds – half a tsp
Bengal gram/chana dal – 1 tsp
Urad dal/Split black gram dal – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – 7-8, roughly torn
Coriander leaves – 2 sprigs, finely chopped
Turmeric powder – a pinch
Asafoetida – a pinch
Cooking oil – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

Method:
Bring one litre of water to a boil or enough to cover the potatoes; add some salt & pressure cook the potatoes for 2 whistles. Make sure the pressure is off before opening the cooker. Transfer the cooked potatoes to a bowl of water at room temperature to cool them off. Peel the skin off & throw away the water. Cut the potatoes into cubes. Keep aside.

Tip: While the potatoes are cooking You can use the time to chop & get the base for the masala ready.

Heat oil in a deep bottom fry pan/kadai. Set heat to medium. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds & let them sizzle for a minute. Add urad dal & bengal gram. When they begin to change colour, add the cumin seeds & when they begin to change colour add the chopped green chilli’s & ginger. Sauté them for a minute so that the spice gets infused into the oil. Next add the asafoetida & let it sizzle for a few seconds.

Now add the chopped onions & a pinch of salt & turmeric. Sauté them till they turn translucent. Add the curry leaves. Mix well. Add the cubed, pressure cooked potatoes. Add salt to taste. Mix well & let them absorb the flavours. Turn off the heat when the potatoes begin to get mashed up when you move them around.

Turn off the heat when the potatoes begin to get mashed up.

Note: Some add garden peas to this recipe as well. You can add some if you wish to.

Garnishing:
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

The Versatile Aloo/Potato Bhaji - South Indian style

Serving Suggestions:
As mentioned earlier, this dish is very versatile.. serve with Dosa for delicious Masala Dosa/ with Puri’s/Poori’s / with Chapati’s or make a sandwich with this as the filling, you can grill the sandwich as well/ Add this as a filling when you bake buns.

Or make Aloo Masala burgers like I did.. pack them for a picnic or for food on the go.. 🙂

Aloo Masala burgers..

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do.. 🙂

If you like this recipe, you may also enjoy – Adraki Aloo Gobi/Gingery Potato & Cauliflower, Peppery Raw plantain sabji…, Easy Potato fry/ Aloo fry, Paneer/Cottage Cheese Tava Masala… etc.


Takkali Kolumbu/Kohzumbu…. a perfect dip for your Dosa/Idli

Takkali Kolumbu/Kohzumbu....

Its been a hot day.. Man..!! the sun is so strong today,, temperatures have soared up to 24 degrees.. & damn how I miss having a ceiling fan or an air-conditioner.. Phew..!! have sweat trickling down my forehead & its getting unbearable.. too hot to even have a decent nights sleep.. 😦 I know it may sound funny coming from someone who has lived all her life in India, moreover in that part of India which has the tropical climate … Guess the lack of pollution here makes it worse.. as the sun just hits you so hard.. You would not believe when I say that I’m wearing sunscreen in the house.. because I feel like soaking in a tad bit of the sun but get burnt so quickly..

Typing out this recipe took longer than I expected. The heat has made me drink water constantly & I keep running to the toilet to relieve myself & then wash my face…This is my grandmothers recipe. If you have been following my blog or read “About Me” page in my blog, you would know that I have some a lot of Tamil influences in my cooking. My mum & her side of the family were born & brought up in Tamil Nadu. Takkali refers to tomatoes in Tamil and  kolumbu is a curry..

Since the weekends around the corner & I associate this dish with the weekend.. I thought this post was best to be posted today.. Most of you busy bee’s may cook dosa’s or idli’s for breakfast over the weekend .. & you may want to try out this new accompaniment…

The aroma of this kolumbu will draw you towards the kitchen & make you stand beside your wife/mum with a plate, waiting for the dosa/idli’s to be ready & dig a piece of your dosa/idli into the steaming hot bowl of the takkali kolumbu… 😉 Yes, I’m describing myself.. & I bet you would do this too once you have tasted this.

Takkali Kolumbu/Kohzumbu....

To be exact.. when I was young & in school, sunday’s were the days when I was allowed to sleep till late in the morning..On those sunday’s when my mum would begin preparing this… she did not have to try waking me up .. the aroma of this simmering in the pot would just make me hungry & I would just be drawn to the bathroom, brush & sit at the table for breakfast.. (waking me up was a huge task.. my poor parents had to go through every the ordeal every morning during my schooling days…; not that I’m any better now.. still the same most days.. 🙂 now it’s poor K)

My mum usually prepared to be accompanied with Idli/paniyaram’s/dosa’s. Very very different from the usual sambar or any other dip you would have had with dosa’s before. Chutney is also a favourite but this one tops the list for me. The spices added add a lovely flavour to it & can beat any chutney hands down.. I love to pour this kolumbu all over the idli or paniyaram, soak it a bit & then enjoy.. 🙂

Ingredients: (Serves 4)     Preparation Time: 15 – 20 mins
Tomato – 1 large, chopped
Onion – 1 medium-sized, finely diced
Green Chilli’s – 2, slit
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Curry Leaves – 2 sprigs, about 10-12, roughly torn
Turmeric powder – a pinch
Cooking Oil – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

Chopped veggies..

For the paste:
Coconut – half of a medium-sized coconut, grated
Pottukadalai / roasted gram – 2.5 tbsp
Dry red chilli’s – 5-6, the use 4 of the spicy variety & 2 of the ones used to add colour
Garlic – 2 cloves
Ginger – 1/2 inch piece
Clove – 2 in number
Cinnamon – 1 inch piece

Method:
Heat oil in a pot, when hot, reduce heat to medium, add the mustard seeds & let them splutter, next add the curry leaves. Next add the green chilli’s & fry for minute or 2 so that the spice gets induced into the oil. Now add the onions & add a pinch of salt to that so that the onions fry faster.

While the onions are frying, add the ingredients mentioned for the paste into a blender a jar & blend it to as smooth a paste as possible. Add a wee bit of water to help grind.

Once the onions are translucent, add the chopped tomatoes & fry. Fry the tomatoes till they loosen up. Next add this freshly ground coconut & spice paste & mix. Add about 200 ml water & bring the kolumbu to a boil. Once you see the first few bubbles appear add a pinch of turmeric & mix. Add salt to taste.

Add more water if the kolumbu gets too thick for your taste & liking. If you do end up adding water, adjust the seasoning. Turn off the heat once you the kolumbu has bubbled well for about 3 minutes & you have achieved the consistency you like. Remember the kolumbu is not supposed to be very runny, it should be thick & a wee bit runny.

Garnishing:
Garnish with some additional curry leaves before you serve.

Takkali Kolumbu/Kohzumbu....

Serving Suggestions:
As mentioned earlier, this is a best accompaniment for Dosa/Idli’s/Panniyarams.. Enjoy them soaked in the kolumbu or on the side as a dip.. 🙂

Serve the Takkali Kolumbu with hot Dosa's..

Note: If you have any leftover kolumbu, do not forget to refrigerate it. Since coconut is one of the main ingredients.. it turns bad if left outside for more than 5-6 hours…..

If you like this recipe, then you may also like – Capsicum Chutney….Alle Chutney/ Ginger ChutneyMixed Veg Sambar etc.


Mix-Veg Couscous Upma….

Mix-Veg Couscous Upma..

To begin with.. I’ll mention a few facts about Couscous… for the benefit of those who don’t know what couscous is all about… 🙂 they are tiny granules of Durum wheat which are cooking by steaming. It is traditionally served with a meat or vegetable stew spooned over it. Couscous is a staple food throughput the North African cuisines of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya etc. It is more than just a quick cook starch. Couscous contains 1% fat-to-calorie ratio. These yellow pellets are hard to make. They were traditionally made  by skilled hands, involving endless circular movements.

Mix-Veg Couscous Upma...

Thanks to globalisation in the food industry, Couscous has suddenly become very popular in the last decade or so, among people all round the world.  Most multi-cuisine restaurants offer couscous as an option instead of rice/potatoes.

I love this Upma, I prefer this over the usual Semolina upma prepared in Southern India. I eat this for breakfast at least once a week. Pretty filling as well. To me this tastes very much like the Idli upma my mum prepares from left over Idli’s at times..

This recipe was long pending. Had promised a friend who was supposed to switch to healthier food to help reduce her weight. This one is for you. 🙂 I don’t want to mention her name here.. She would know when she reads the post. 🙂

Mix-Veg Couscous Upma...

Note: Instead of using couscous you can try the same recipe with semolina or fine rice noodles known as Vermicelli in India. But make sure you dry roast both the semolina or the vermicelli before you use it. Semolina is used for both savoury & sweet dish preparations.

Ingredients: (Serves 3)       Preparation Time: 15 – 20 mins
Couscous – 1.5 cups,
Note: For every 1 cup of couscous, water required to cook it usually is 1.5 cups. But check the cooking instructions on your packet…
Beans – 1/4 cup, finely chopped
Onion – 1 medium-sized, finely chopped
Fresh/ frozen Green peas – 1/4, cup
Carrot – finely chopped, 1/4 cup
Tomato – 1, medium-sized, finely chopped
Green Chilli – 2-3, finely chopped, add more if you like your Upma spicy
Curry Leaves – 7-8, roughly torn
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Cumin Seeds – 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida – a generous pinch
Ginger – chopped, as much as 1 tsp,
Urad Dal – 1 tsp
Cashews (optional) – 6-8, cut into 2
Coriander leaves (optional) – 2-3 sprigs, finely chopped
Cooking oil – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

Method:
Heat a deep bottom fry pan or saucepan. Set heat to medium. When oil is hot, add asafoetida, let it sizzle for a few seconds & the heavenly aroma fill your nose up. 🙂 Now add the mustard seeds & let them splutter. Now add the finely chopped green chilli’s & fry them for a goof minute or two, so that the spice gets induced into the oil. Next add the cumin seeds, when they turn golden brown add the urad dal, when they turn golden brown, add the cashews if you wish to. Let the cashews fry for a minute, next add the onion & curry leaves. Add salt to help fry the onions quicker.

When the onions turn translucent, add the beans, carrot. Let them fry for 2-3 minutes. Add some salt. Next add the tomatoes & green peas. Fry till the tomatoes begin to loosen up, now add the couscous. Add the water. Add salt to taste.

Tip: I usually heat the water up in a kettle so that I can avoid the time taken to bring the water to a boil. If you add water at room temperature & let it come to a boil, the veggies get overcooked & lose their crunchiness. I like my veggies crunchy in my Upma.

Simmer, cover & cook as per the instructions on your packet. I usually simmer & cook for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off & let the upma stand for another 5 minutes.

Use a fork & separate the couscous grains out.

Mix-Veg Couscous Upma...

Transfer to a serving bowl.

Garnishing:
Garnish with chopped coriander if you wish to. I did not add coriander leaves.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot for breakfast with a hot cup of Tea/Coffee or Hot Chocolate.. 🙂 or you can eat & carry this as a snack. If you want to spice it up a bit more then serve the upma with some pickle of your choice or any chutney.

Mix-Veg Couscous Upma...

If you liked this recipe, check out –

Spring Onion Semiya Upma,

Blanketed Frankfurters…,

Capsicum Omelette…,

Sabudana Khichdi/Soaked Tapioca pearls tossed with some Indian spices…,

Akki Rotti/Savoury Rice Pancakes from Karnataka etc.


Alle Chutney/ Ginger Chutney

Alle Chutney/ Ginger Chutney...

When you think of Pongal/Dosa/Idli/Vada/Akki Rotti/Rice Bhath/Ade/Semiya Upma… or any other South Indian breakfast dishes, the first accompaniment any South Indian will come up with would be this chutney. Very simple. Requires very basic ingredients & voila there you are this finger licking good chutney is ready..

Yummy Alle Chutney/Ginger Chutney..

Alle is what ginger is called in Konkani. This is a very basic chutney that any Konkani/ South Indian kitchen will prepare to serve along with any of the breakfast dishes. Though there maybe a slight variation in the thickness of the chutney prepared. This chutney is very staple in my house, though we make this more watery/runny as it tastes good that way with Dosa’s. You can change the thickness of this chutney based on your taste.

Chutney...

I have a friend who could just eat bowls of this chutney just like that. Though this was way back when we were in our teens. Now she does not do that.

Ingredients: (Serves 4)       Preparation Time: 15 mins
To grind:
Fresh grated coconut – 1 cup/ approximately one half of a small coconut, grated
Green chilli’s – 2, slit
Ginger – 1/2 inch piece, you can add more as this is ginger chutney 😉

For the tempering:
Dried Red chilli – 1-2
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Fresh Curry leaves – 1 sprig, roughly torn. I did not have fresh curry leaves hence I used dried curry leaves that I had. Fresh leaves add a lovely flavour to the chutney.
Cooking oil – 2 tsp

Salt to taste

Method:
Add all the ingredients mentioned to be ground into a smooth/coarse paste. Add about 50 ml water to help in the grinding process.

Ground chutney...

Transfer the paste to a serving bowl. Adjust the thickness of the chutney. If you like the consistency the way it is then just let it be. If you want to make it a little runny then do so by adding some water.Add salt to taste. Mix well. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a tempering vessel/a small fry pan. Maintain the heat at medium. Add the mustard seeds when the oil is hot. Let them splutter for about 30 seconds. Next add the dried red chilli & fry it for about 30 seconds. Turn off the heat & add the curry leaves. Mix well & transfer the tempering to the bowl which has the freshly ground chutney.

Alle Chutney/ Ginger Chutney...

Since I used dry curry leaves, the green colour from using fresh curry leaves which adds a lovely contrast to this white chutney is missing. 😦

Tip: 1. You can also prepare this chutney from desiccated coconut. The chutney does not taste as good as the one you prepare from freshly grated coconut.

2. If you do not have a coconut grater, you can make thin slices or pieces from the coconut flesh & grind them.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve with any South Indian breakfast as an accompaniment.

Serve with any South Indian breakfast dish...

I prepared the breakfast dish which is really famous in the northern part of the state of Karnataka called Akki Rotti & served it along with this chutney. The chutney prepared to be served with Akki Rotti is usually thick. I will be uploading the recipe to prepare Akki Rotti soon.

You can also serve this chutney with some Pakora’s or Bonda’s like – Raw Banana bajji, Potato Bonda, Mix Veg Bonda, Ripe Banana Bajji, Capsicum Bajji etc…

Recipe’s from my blog that you could serve this chutney  – Spring Onion Semiya Upma, Moong Daal ke Vade/Split Moong Bean Fritters..Onion/Kanda/Piyav/Eerulli Bajji/Pakoda’s/Bajo etc.