Moving back Home

Many things may change, the  utensils , the appliances,  the stove…. even the whole  kitchen may look different.


There are things that constant and evergreen in your memories, like my memories of the  taste of food my grandma and my mom cooks. My grandma’s food tasted great when she cooked with a  viragu aduppu and with a gas stove.

It does  not matter  what is prepared and where it is prepared, it is the care taken while preparing  and how it is executed.  I look forward to post many other recipes I cherish/experiment from Singara Chennai. Keep visiting till then…

Meanwhile, here are few pictures from spring

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Strawberry shortcake

Coming soon, strawberry shortcake…Image

Idli Podi

‘What’s for dinner? ‘

‘Idly with left over sambhar’

‘Will the sambhar be enough for all four of us?’

‘No Dear, we can have  Idly podi if we run out of sambhar.’


After the dinner is ready and served  on table,


‘Dear, come , let us have dinner.’

‘Why don’t you feed the kids? I am not so hungry, I will join a lil later …’


I will be chuckling as I know he IS hungry and is waiting for the sambhar to be done, so, he can have the podi.

(So will be my intention ;) )

That is the taste of the podi that can sidetrack even a perfect tasty sambhar. Podi is usually our last resort on lazy evenings, our supplement to scarce servings.  For those who are unfamiliar, it is a spiced lentil  powder mixed with sesame oil used as an accompaniment for rice, idli . People dip , spread or mix it as per their  style of choice.

There are many brands of store  brought podis available, and are made of  various ingedients, yet never can replace the home made . The base is dry roasted  lentils and chilies and salt. The optional additions are toasted sesame seeds, dry coconut powder, garlic etc etc.

This is a recipe from our family friend, Salammal, a seasoned cook . This is a classic , had been our regular ‘to go ‘ recipe ever since she shared it with us.



Gram dall / Bengal gram – 1 cup

Moong dall – 1/2 cup

Urad dall- 1/2 cup

Whole coriander seeds- 1/4 cup

Dry red chillies- 10 number

Salt – 1 tsp

Hing /asfoetida – 1/8 tsp

Dry roast the lentils and chillies individually. Pulse them in  a mixer grinder with salt and hing. Give it a taste , it has have to be a light high on spice level as it will subdued when adding oil .  Save this  and use it with oil (Sesame oil is traditionally used, sunflower/canola oil can also be used)  along with idli / dosa / rice . You will start finding a chance to use it just like us. :)



So true…

I have baked several cookies to cakes , never had this satisfaction while serving the food this way.

Yes, You guessed right , I am talking about cake decoration class I took.

This is my latest muse, which quenches my thirst of baking as well as my thirst to express art in food.

I was a novice baker who applied store bought frosting on warm cake and was wondering what mistake I did ..:D

The greatest decoration I had ever done was to glaze some cinnamon rolls .

I knew I needed help and heard about Wilton classes from my dear friend Vahini. I signed up the very week , gathered the supplies and was like a kid who awaits to open her presents on her birthday.

The classes, I would say , was really informative. Lucky would be you if you get an instructor who does not push you to buy Wilton products .

I did buy the student kit, a 13 inch angled spatula and a cake lifter. For a turn table, I went for Ikea’s lady suzan . It is really a bang for your buck.

I googled a lot and here are my few favourite links to learn a few extra tricks.



http://www.monkeysee.com/play/980-cake-decorating-tools – A good one teaching from start to finish

Here are the few cakes I have done so far …

Please do share your experience/tips/comments.

This summer is rolling full of fun and experiments. (More on experiments later ;)….)

The main reason being the trip to my homeland -India. I am back with loads of memories just like the mangoes in this truck. Soo colorful and vibrant :)

Just like the rain drops in the tree branches after a shower, the taste of home lingers in your tongue even after months.

I sprung like a kid already, when I saw the gongura leaves in Devon – fresh and On Sale ($3.99 when even the wilted ones usually go till 6.99). I bought a bunch, came home and called my mami (Uncle’s wife). The reason is that this is very famous in Andhra and my mami lives in Tirupati, she makes this in the authentic way . She is my inspiration and the standard in our cooking lingo. :) Thanks Radha Mami!


well ,on to her notes
1. Gongura /pulicha keerai – 1 bunch
2. Coriander seeds- 1 tablespoon
3. Dried chillies – 15 number
4. Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
5. Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

For Tadka
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Oil – 2 tbsp
Garlic pods – 8 number


Snip the leaves, wash and dry them.

In a heavy bottomed pan, dry roast coriander, cumin, mustard and chillies. Powder them to a fine paste and keep aside.

In the same pan, add 1 or 2 tsp of oil and wilt the leaves till they change color and soften.

Grind the wilted leaves into a fine paste adding no water /minimum water.

Heat oil in another pan, sputter mustard and add minced garlic , followed by the leaf paste and the masala powder. Add salt to taste and turn off the heat.

This chutney goes well with any rice, roti, dosa ..My favorite is curd rice as you can see the picture. This stays good for 10-12 days provided you added ample oil to preserve it . Mine had no need for excess oil as it was done by the fifth day. :)

Enjoy the summer while it is there!

Nan Khatai

I don’t know about others, I love to eat local food on trains. Especially on the train from Chennai to my suburban home town, the train is busy with food vendors selling stuff ranging from samosas, butter biscuits, boiled peanuts, mangoes, etc etc. I love the smell of those nei biscuits/butter biscuits/ ghee biscuits. They would be so warm and have a great texture to them , that the vendor would sell and empty the batch he baked for that day.

After a long time, when I visited my friend’s house here, she had made those , only better. I was transported back in memories at that instant. Thanks Lakshmi! :)

This is a recipe that had been long followed by her friend which she shared it with me. I had tried several recipes for nan katai and had never been so perfect as this. You gotto try to believe it .


All purpose flour(APF)/ Maida – 2 cups
Butter – 1 stick (1/2 cup)
Sugar- 1 cup
Rawa/semolina- 1/4 cup
Cardamom-2-4 pieces(based on how strong is their flavor)
Salt- 1/4 tsp
Baking powder- 1 tsp
Canola oil – 3/4 cup


The basic and important thing is the butter has to be at room temperature.

1. Bring the butter to room temperature.
2. Powder 1 cup of sugar in a blender.
3. Blend butter and sugar very well.
4. Add oil and blend again.
5. Powder the cardamom.(You can reserve a spoon of sugar to add to this so it will grind well)
6. Pulse the rava if it is a coarse kind.
7. Mix the dry ingredients in a separate dry bowl. Use a fork/ whisk to incorporate them well.
8. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together. This should look like a wet sand.
9. Make small balls and slightly press them between your palms.
10. Place them a cooking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 350 F for 12-15 minutes.
11. The cookies are done when they are golden brown on the bottom and will be soft when hot. Don’t worry , they will finish cooking while they cool down.

Enjoy your nan katais with hot chai!

Mysore Bonda

In the days when I started cooking, it was more like experimenting. My grandma eyeballs her ingredients, so is my mom. They are really good at it , though I needed a more reliable cooking steps to begin with. Mallika Badrinath’s cookery show got in my watch list slowly. Her recipes were precise and since then, I learnt the importance of measuring for beginners. Though the individual taste varies, atleast they can guide you in the happy medium, after which you can fine tune the measures.

Even after a decade of cooking , I still preserve the cooking books as precious little companions in my kitchen. Here is the first book my hubby gifted me , with a little poem on the first page. :)

செய்திடல் வேண்டும் – நல்ல சமையல் ,
அதில் கொள்ள வேண்டும் நல்ல மையல் ,
நளபாக நல்லாளாய் வாழ்ந்திட வேண்டும் என் தையல் !

So, before I walk through the memory lanes and get lost in the maze, :) , let me share a recipe from her book with few modifications.

Urad dall – 1cup
Toor dall – 1/4 cup
Coconut flakes or chopped coconut- 1 tbsp
Chopped coriander leaves
Grated carrot – 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1 1/2 tsp
Green chillies – 5 numbers
Grated ginger – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste

(Picture courtesy : My Dear Daughter)


Soak the dalls together for 2 hours. Strain the dalls and grind them in wet grinder , sprinkling just enough water to a ‘vadamavu’ consistency- It should be super smooth fluffy but not a runny sort. Add salt, just one minute before you take the dough out. Add the grated ginger, chopped deveined chillies, coriander, coconut flakes, grated carrot and cumin seeds.

Heat oil in a vessel and let the oil be deep enough to deep fry the bondas. The right amount of oil and right temperature is the key to perfect round grease-less bondas. The oil should be hot enough such that , if you drop a small ball of dough in it , it should rise to the top.

Once the oil is hot enough, wet your fingers and scoop the dough , drop to the sides of the vessel. Do not over crowd the batches. Turn the bondas carefully till they are well cooked. Drain the excess oil on a paper towel and serve hot with coconut chutney/ mint chutney/ ketchup .

Have a healthy evening snack !

Cook food, Serve love

The best way to win one's heart...

A Mad Tea Party

mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!


Taste of my Kitchen !


Dear all, this site is moved to www.bhakshanam.com, thanx, Aparna

Past, Present and Me

Memories...Remembering the old and Creating New, Thats what life's about, isn't it?

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Authentic Kerala Cuisine & much more...


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