Keerai masiyal

It is Sunday noon, when I get to cook leisurely. I wanted to try baking the yellow cupcakes, doing so, it was already past noon.

As a gratitude for the cupcakes, my little helpers offered to cook  potato for side dish . So there were two little chefs peeling and cooking potatoes along with me.

I chose to cook the recipe my sister-in-law shared with me. It was a different way than I normally do, it tasted heavenly especially when sis- in-law made it. Here are the details:

One medium sized onion
Ten small size garlic pods
Five green chillies
Arai keerai -one bunch
Tamarind – lemon size

Oil -2 table spoon
Vadagam- 1 table spoon
Curry leaves

Ingredients for masiyal

Ingredients for masiyal

Arai Keerai

Arai Keerai

Chop onion , peel garlic pods. Clean the greens. Heat one table spoon of oil in a deep pan, when hot, saute onion, garlic and green chillies. When the onion is translucent, add the greens. Cook until the greens are tender. Switch off the stove, add salt and tamarind. Let it cool till it reaches room temperature. Blend it to a puree using a hand blender. If you are lucky to have one, use the maththu and chatti to puree.

Heat oil in another pan,  splutter vadagam, and add curry leaves at the end. Add the thalippu to the masiyal.

For those who have no vadagam, can substitute with mustard seeds, cumin, urad, finely chopped onion and garlic.

Those who love ghee, can increase the green chilli count and add a tab of ghee when mixing with rice.

For those who are wondering what is cooking on the other burner, :-) , here is the recipe my kids ended up following.

The small twist I suggested which they graciously took is that to add crushed kasuri methi at the end. The taste, aroma and texture of  the aloo was a perfect match for the masiyal.

We enjoyed truly  a family lunch, we wish you the same.

img 20140622 153753

img 20140622 153753

As much as the sun scorches in Chennai, so are sold the nature’s gifts to quench the thirst.

Tender coconuts, nungu are toppers in the list.

Nungu is also called ice apple. The shell is kind of sticky, but it is totally worth getting messy with your hands shelling these jewels. When you’re shelling these, make sure you don’t puncture the jelly inside, as it houses the tasty cool water which is quite close to tender coconut water. (I still remember the days when my mom keeps me near by when she does, so just in case, it ruptures, she pours it down my throat. :-) )

If you are a mom like me, you might want to leave one unshelled like shown to have one left for yourself, ;) else it all disappears in a minute. :-)

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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20130502 163811

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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!

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