Archive for December, 2006

Cauliflower kurma

1 tb G dall + 1 tsp U dall + 1/4 coco – fry in oil –> grind–> onion + tom + paste–>boil….

 Oops , Sorry for the scribble, but it was the way my recipe notes used to be before I started this blog. Can you understand? Of course , you can’t. But now , I have all my treasured recipes safe in the virtual cook book, I need not worry of losing any good recipes in the last pages of my last year dairy!

 Thanks for the great bloggers who inspired me to start a blog, in particular, Indira. It started  as a hobby and now is more like a place for communicating with my friends and relatives. Moreover, I have earned a good number of friends in the blogosphere. Lots of sharing, learning  new recipes everyday, and it is a wide variety of recipes at  my home almost everyday!

This particular recipe was in my notebook ,scribbled as said before but indeed a treasured recipe given Mrs.Kandhimathi from Naperville (An expert cook , needless to say) through Mrs Lakshmi Mohan, our common friend (Yet another expert!).  A word in advance, keep off your diet consciuosness when you cook this dish. Only when you go by the measures given (especially for the coconut and oil), you get the exact excellent taste!

Cauliflower kurma


Cauliflower florets – 2 cups

Pearl onion- 1/2 cup

Medium sized tomato – 1 number

Oil – 2 tbsp

Coconut- grated from 1/4 shell

For masala:

Coriander seeds – 1 tbsp

Dry red chillies- 8 number

Gram dall/chana dall – 1 tbsp

Urad dall- 1/2  tsp

Garlic – 2 cloves

Ginger- 2 inch piece

Kuskus- 1/4 tsp

Pepper corns- 3 number

Fennel  seeds- 1 tsp

Cinnamon – 1inch stick

Cloves- 3 number

Cardamom- 2 number

Fry  the ingredients for masala  in oil separately  and grind with freah grated coconut .  Drop the cauliflower florets in boiling hot water for 10 minutes.. This cleans cauliflower without doubt.

Heat oil in a skillet, sputter mustard seeds, add pearl onions and saute well.  Drop in the chopped tomatoes , stir a bit till it gets mushed. Add the ground masala , adequate salt and finally cauliflowers. Cook on slow heat. Serve with idlis,  chapathis  , parathas, or naans.

This is my entry for JFI-Coconut hosted by the thotful Ashwini

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I need to confess something. I made a  mistake. Tindora is my daughter’s  favourite but not a frequent dish in our home. So soon after our visit to Devon market, we celebrate a feast with Indian  veggies. It was the same this time too. But yrrrrr, I added too much of chilli powder in  the tindora stir fry.  It turned out to be unusually hot and I did not want to utter a word about this to my most anxious daughter. I did not want to use yogurt or tamarind to nuetralize the heat, so, I  took refuge in the chubby tomatoes sitting in the refrigerator. The chubby tomato helped me in time, adding tanginess and lots of flavor to the dish. It was so good that  I decided to make this my regular way of doing tindora stir fry  here after.


Tindora Tomato stir fry


Tindora – 1 pound

Medium tomato- 1 number

Salt to taste

Red chilli powder to taste

Turmeric powder

Oil  -2 tbsp


Cut the tindora longitudinally into thin strips and  chop the tomatoes in a similar fashion. Cook the tindora in little water with salt and turmeric powder in a pressure cooker till you hear the first whistle. Drain if any excess water. (I have seen my friends, generally  frying the tindora and allow it to cook for a long time. I personally feel this takes time and makes the curry very dry.)  Now, add the fresh tomato strips and chilli powder to the drained tindora and mix in a big bowl.

Heat oil in a big pan .When the oil is steaming hot, throw in the veggies and simmer the heat. Stir often and continue to cook till all the oil start oozing out.

Relish the stir fry with sambhar rice or simply mix with plain rice and enjoy.

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It is a long weekend!

What could one do if there is a long weekend and there is a lovely husband to babysit her toddler ?


Though this is my simple freestyle, you  could find great designs here. Also, my  fellow blogger Pooja  has many more creative intricate designs in her blog.

Give your old dull clothes a new life for this new year.

Read an interesting story about coffee here.


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Happy holidays

Wish you all merry christmas and a happy new year!

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When I read the word ‘endangered recipes’  in the FAHC announcement, the first dish I thought of  was ‘kali'(களி). Kali is a ball made with ragi -rice mixture and koozh (கூழ்) is the porridge form of it. 

Ragi known as finger millet is considered  the poor man’s diet. In many tamil  cinemas you can hear the hero saying his lover that ‘I will work hard and atleast earn you a  ragi porridge all my life’. (மூட்டை தூக்கியாச்சும் உனக்கு வாழ்க்கை முழுக்க கூழ் ஊத்றேன் kind of dialogues)! The reason for this is that ragi does not require much irrigation and so available for a cheaper price. (Not in US – a pound of ragi is nearly $2 , which is 5 times the price of rice sold here.)

I have heard that my grandma used to make this forour farm workers in a large scale. She used a tennis bat shaped wooden tool to make the balls and would use her other hand to shape the steam hot balls. That was a time when rice was considered to be a luxury food for the common man. So, if it is your lucky day, you get rice added in your kali or else it is just the ragi cooked and shaped as balls.(This is called the orumavu kali).

The time changes, the scenes have changed and  now even my mom does not know how to do this kali and everytime my neighbours do it for us, as we (my brothers and I ) love it. Though my mom know not how to make them, she will be always in the tug of war  with my brothers and me  to share the kali. And we purposely preserve a ball for making the ‘piece of heaven ‘ porridge, called koozh in tamil.  I learnt this dish from my husband’s athai (father’s sister)  who taught me a lighter technology  to get the same great taste.

Ragi rice balls/Kezhvaragu kali/ragi mudda :

Ingredients :

Sona masoori rice/ broken raw rice (Noi arisi)- 1 cup

Ragi flour- 1 cup

Salt to taste


Ragi flour heaped on cooked rice


Wash and soak the rice for 1/2 hr. In a large pot, boil about  3 cups of water, add rice and let it cook well. When it is cooked, add ragi flour as a heap with salt and cover with a lid. Let it cook for another 5 minutes. Using a wooden spoon stir continuously and vigorously, without letting any lumps to form. When the mix comes together, turn off the heat. Take a stainless silver / nonstick bowl , sprinkle a tablespoon of water (this prevents the kali sticking to the sides ), drop a big scoop of mix into. Swirl it fast to give the ball a good shape.Transfer  to the serving dish. Serve with a dallop of ghee (optional) and keerai (spinach dall – recipe follows..) /inji poondu kuzhambhu / varutha paruppu kuzhambhu.

Ragi rice balls/ kelvaragu kali

Kezhvaragu  koozh:

There are other ways of doing this, yet this is easiest , atleast to me. Soak the ragi balls (cooked as above) in water over night. The balls need to be just covered in water. In the next day morning, using your beautiful hands  homogenise (a great technique we use every day to make rasam )  the balls, adding  yogurt/ buttermilk  and salt according to your taste. Adjust the thickness to that a smoothie. This energy drink could be as such taken, but always we add some attractions  like lemon pickle/ raw pearl onion/ fresh peanuts. As fresh  peanuts were not available, I soaked the dried peanuts overnight and added to the koozh.

Kelvaragu Koozh/ ragi porridge

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Rasgulla- from the scratch!


A year long graving  to make rasgulla from scratch came true at last. I had made this in India  but was reluctant to make it here so long. After I saw the posts  from my fellow bloggers Priya and Priya, I was confident in trying my experiment. Wow, the outcome was excellent. The method is almost similar to that of my friends but a little variation.


Ingredients:For the cheese balls:

Whole milk- 1 gallon (3.78 lt)

All purpose flour/maida- 1 or 2 tbsp

Yogurt/curd – 1/2 cup OR  Whey water- 1/2 cup

For syrup:

Sugar- 2 and 1/2 cups

Water – 2 and 1/2 cups



Bring the milk to a boil and curdle it by adding the yogurt/ whey water little by little .(I did a small trial in making the paneer and reserve the strained water from the paneer. This is called the whey water. It is said to yield more paneer than the other ways.)

 Paneer - straining in the cheese clothLet the curdled milk cook for another 5 min and strain the cheese in a cheese cloth. Rinse this with cold running water and let it hang for 2-3 hours. When  it drained fully , run  the cheese in a food processor. I used the wet grinder. Add  maida  to the processed cheese and  knead well.  Make small balls of uniform size with a diamond kalkandu (sugar candy) in the centre. These sugar crystals will melt away when cooking, leaving a hallow centre. Boil large amount of water in a 5 lt  cooker and drop  the balls .Close the lid and pressure cook . I cooked till I heard the first whistle. When you open the lid all the balls must be floating on top- a sign for doneness. Pour out the water and rinse with cold water. 

By the other side, prepare the sugar syrup. The syrup for rasgulla is usually thinner than that of gulab jamuns. Add cardamom or rose water as you desire.

Press the cooked paneer ballsNow, take the balls  one by one , press each of them in between the palms and squeeze out the plain water and drop them in the syrup. The flattened balls will swing back to shape in a zap. You can get help from the kids at home as they would love doing this. Serve with some nuts on top. The syrup in the centre hole will be a pleasant surprise for everyone.

Rasagulla- a burst of sweetness in the centre



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Vadagam is the seasoning balls in our region (Thiruttani, Tamilnadu, India).  Vadagams give a  special aroma to the keerai  and kuzhambhu varieties. It is  usually made by the expert elders of the family for their daughters and the daughter-in-laws. They make it  every year in the summer when the sun is hot and the onions are cheap. The stock thus made  serves the whole year’s need for seasoning/thallipu. They are made into balls just for the ease of counting. When these are sundried, there would be many other sun light projects going on  by the side like rice vadams (called arisi kanji vathal in tamil),  dry red chillies, dry mango for future pickles (manga vathal). The kids in the house will be in the terrace all the time tasting the manga vathal and eventually say their grandmas that they were chasing away the crows.  Just like baby sitting , there will be  a  vadagam/vathal sitter  taking care to protect them from the unexpected evening showers. It takes pains but the gains are worth the pains.


Vadagam, magic ball for a good food


Onion- 1 and 1/2 kg

Garlic- 1/4 kg

Urad dall- 1/4 kg + 50 gm

Mustard seeds- 1/4 kg

Gram dall- 1 tbsp

Cumin seeds- 1 tbsp

Fenugreek seeds- 2 tsp

Salt- 1/4 kg

Turmeric powder- 2 tsp

Castor oil- as needed

50 gm of urad dall and fenugreek seeds are soaked for an hour first and ground to a coarse paste.This gives the binding to the balls. 

The onion and garlic are peeled and coarsely crushed. This is typically done using a ullakai and ural. (I browsed a lot for these images but could not find it, so find here my scribble to illustrate it).


Ural and ulakai -still found in our homes, in villages.

Then the mustard seeds, urad dall,gram dall, cumin seeds are added to it. Then the ground paste, turmeric powder and salt are added and mixed well. This is allowed to stand for two days. On the third day, they are made into balls with castor oil as the grease. The oil also acts as preservative.  

These balls are sundried for 10  subsequent days and  stored in an  air tight container.

In a country like US when it is all the time snow and rain and little sunshine, we might  try to make these in smaller quantity and in loose form and dry it for longer time in the oven. When I try and win in the attempt, I will update my success here.


Seasoning using vadagams for kuzhambhu and keerai varieties

Seasoning with vadagams and curry leaves

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