Archive for January, 2007

‘Thinnai pechu veenaa pochu’ goes a famous tamil saying . It means that all chitchat is a waste of time. I agree, but in one such  kind of gala chat I had with my friends back home,  we started  talking about food and it ended up like a recipe exchange workshop. I carried home this recipe , tried it and from then owned it in a special page of my recipe book. It is so rich in taste and perfect for a special occasion.

By the way, have you ever had the problem with the kids spitting the full mouth of rice just for a spicy chunk or for  a chilli peice? My  daughter does it and I try in all my preparations to include the spices in a form she takes it. For this reason, I like to call this as a ‘no spit’ vegetable pulav.


 Vegetables for pulav


Basmati rice – 1 and 1/2 cups

Coconut milk-1 and 1/2 cup

Water -1 and 1/2 cup 

Oil –  1/2 cup

Butter-  2 tbsp

Bay leaf – 1 number

Pearl onion – 1 cup

Diced tomato-3/4 cup

Peeled and diced  potato- 1/2 cup

Diced carrots, beans, cauliflower florets, peas – each 1/2 cup 

Cilantro-1/4 cup

Mint leaves- 10 leaves

Ingredients for masala 

To grind:

Cloves- 5 number

Poppy seeds- 1/2 tsp

Cardamom- 2 number

Cinnamon- 2 inch peice

Red chilli powder -1 tbsp

Coriander powder-1 tsp

Turmeric  powder- 2 pinches

Fennel seeds- 1/2  tsp

Green chilli- 2 number

Ginger-1 inch peice

Garlic-5 cloves

 Vegetable pulav with raita

Take the dry ingredients in the spice list and grind first. This is important when using poppy seeds. Add garlic, ginger and chilli then and grind to a fine paste.

In a big pressure cooker, heat oil and butter. When it is real hot, throw in the bay leaf and onions , saute well. When the onions turn transparent, add all the vegetable except tomato. Stir in for few minutes and add the masala. After a couple of minutes, throw in tomatoes and salt to wilt the tomatoes quickly. Add the cilantro and mint.

Work on slow heat, by that time wash  and soak the basmati rice. When the raw smell fades away, add the rice and stir slightly. Now add the coconut milk and water . Test the spice level and salt level. When the water comes to a boil, close the lid and cover the nozzle with a  stainless steel tumbler. Keep medium heat. Turn off the heat after 10 long minutes. Wait for a while  and  open the lid to fill your house with the spicy aroma. Smell, see and eat! Enjoy!





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Weekend finds!

Visit ‘The shop’ to buy Meeta’s  clicks!

Republic day parade in the food blogosphere!

Imagination running wild in cup cakes!

Imagination running wild in Saree designs!

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This is  a fried snack my mom prefers to do for festivals, to pack for my brothers and for me when we leave to our hostels (during college days) and when we go on a long journey in holidays. Also great for an evening snacks. This is my modified version of the recipe whereas my mom soaks and  grinds rice freshly in a wet grinder and add dall powder to it.


Rice flour- 4 cups

Fried gram dall flour/ chutney dall flour – 1 cup

Gram dall- 1 cup

Butter- 2 tbsp (or)  Heated and cooled canola oil-  2 tbsp

Dry chillies- 8 no

Garlic – 10 pods

Asfoetida- 1/4 tsp

Cumin seeds- 1 tsp (optional)

Sesame seeds-  1tsp (optional)

Salt – 2 tsp

Oil – sufficient to deep fry



Soak the gram dall in water for 1/2 hour. 

Grind the dry chillies first in a blender. Add peeled garlic pods next and fried gram dall atlast. Measure this flour and  for 1 cup of this flour add 4 cups of rice flour. Take them in a large bowl, add salt, asfoetida, cumin seeds, sesame seeds and drained chana/gram dall. Mix the dry  ingredients with the butter without any crumbles, and add water slowly . Mix till you can make a ball out of it. The dough will be like chapathi dough except for the elasticity.

Heat the oil in a wide bottom kadai so you get the maximum surface area to do large batches of frying. Also ensure you heat good amount of oil .Whne you take smaller quantity, the oil  gets heated up  easily and regulating the temperature will be  a tedious  job by itself.

Back home, my mom gets help from her house maids when one fries and others do the  pressing. They  spread a  Dhoti (veshti) on the floor and take a small ball of the dough and press it on the dhoti by greased hands to get a  thin round disc. When a batch is ready , it is fried in oil, on the both sides, till it turns golden yellow color. They are then drained and cooled before packing in air tight containers.

Here in USA, I am  a single woman army, so, I go for smaller batches of frying.  I have no enough floor space in the kitchen and moreover my kids have no patience in seeing me work on the floor. So, I cut the edges of a few  ziploc bags and pressed the dough in between the sheets.  Since you do it like a sandwich, the thattais do not dry that fast  and you need no oil for your hands.

Don’t miss my fellow bloggers’  version of thattai:

Food in the main

Vegetarian concoctions

Just for fun

Letz cook

Menu today

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What did we do with our old calender?

Our zoo

My daughter was keeping an eye on the pictures in the last year calender since I hung it. As soon as the new year  was born , she cut all the  pictures in it and we pasted them on the wall and made a theme with it  to educate her younger brother. On the other hand, the little learner is more interested in peeling them off !

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Banana muffins

Have you ever had the joy of  acheiving that you had dreamt for  a long time? I read here that the ‘user experience pleasures’ are of thirteen types and I experienced today two such types of pleasures – triumphant  (The joy you experience  when you win ) and accomplished (The joy you get by accomplishing or acheiving something).

I had been dreaming of baking muffins from scratch for a long time and this show on Food network TV made my dream come true. I modified a little in the sweetener and added almonds on top so as to pack it easily  for my daughter’s lunch, but it didn’t last that long.

I was so enthusiaistic to post this earlier than the dishes in my ‘waiting list’  but then Maheswari of ‘Beyond the usual’  has started hosting a new blog event  called AFAM  (A Fruit A Month)  giving me better reason to post it immediately. Maheswari has chosen the fabulous banana for this month which is said to be one of the mukkani (meaning three  fruits in tamil. Banana, Mango and jackfruit are the three fruits served in a traditional festival meal in Tamil Nadu and  so called mukkani in short). So, here is my entry for the fruit mela !


All purpose flour- 3 cups

Baking soda – 1 tsp

Salt – 1 tsp

Baking powder – 1/2 tsp

Ground cinnamon -1/2 tsp

Ground nutmeg – 1/2 tsp

Mix in these dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Sugar -1 cup

Honey- 1 cup

Vegetable oil -1 cup 

Large eggs – 3 number

Vanilla extract – 1 tbsp

Peeled and coarsely mashed ripe bananas- 4 number  

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Beat the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract in a large bowl to blend. Stir in the banana. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Pour the batter in the greased muffin cups to 3/4th of the height. Sprinkle chopped almonds on top. Bake the muffins on the middle rack for about 25 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the centre of a muffin. It should come out without any crumbles .

Banana muffins

Enjoy the warm banana muffins!

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Pongalo pongal!

Pongal Kalash


Narrow mud streets, all cleanly swept and wiped with cow dung. Houses that are closely built sharing common walls.Brightly colored rangolis stretching through the entire width of the houses, competeting to capture the eyes of the people.

Hey, wait! Want to visit my village and know the complete scenario of how we celebrate pongal, the harvest festival of our land? Come on  then,  be ready for a long post. Walk back with me to the month of marghazi. Marghazi is the tamil month prior to the month of thai. The day one of the month, thai  is celebrated as pongal  festival. But the  festive fever will begin from marghazi. The month marghazi is considered as dedicative month for  worship. All would start  early in the morning in this month , go for temples and so ladies would lit lamps in their  house fronts and put beautiful rangolis all thro’ the month. (Rangoli is an art form of drawing patterns on the floor  with rice flour . This was done in olden days so as to feed the poor creatures like ants and birds ) Also they would start their ‘annual mega cleaning  camp’. They would clean every inch of the house and repaint the walls. It would be like  a ‘complete make over’. Also on a particular auspicious day in marghazi, all would  go to the lakefront to dig and bring new red soil to mold their new stove for the pongal. Also on yet another good day, they would all order for new mud pots from the potter. 



On the dawn of pongal , all the people in the village except the busy mothers will march out to the local hill temple, to welcome the rising sun. They would show karpoor aarti to the sun god and return to home to help their moms . Mostly all houses in our houses have a  mutram,  an open corridor where you can enjoy the sun , rain and the moon light . In this centre of the house , they would spread  sand as a bed for the newly made stoves , in which they  ignite the fire with the holy karpooram  and cook pongal in the new pots and freshly harvested rice. When they start cooking in the new pots, they would boil milk and as it soars up, all people in the house would say aloud ‘pongala pongal’ and praise the sun god for the gift of prosperity. Thus the first day of the thankgiving celebration is dedicated to  the sun god , the prime factor for a good harvest. Typically  the day’s menu would be  venpongal (cooked and mashed  rice ), payaru (mashed spicy whole moong dal ) , and pusanikai kootu(squash lentil medley).  

Pongal Pooja

The second day is to thank the cattle which helped in farming. The cows are given a special ‘bubble’ bath in the nearby lakes , their horns colored in variety and decorated with ribbons.

The third day is called the ‘kaanum pongal’  where the people set out to meet friends and relatives. In cities, this day  is much enjoyed and all the theatres, restraunts, and  beaches are crowded. In our village, whereas the scene is  slightly different.  All the people will get together around the hill temple and have a great time. It is a big fund raising festival for the stall keepers, a great  oppurtunity for the teenager girls to show off their new pavadai thavani  and a great time for the teenage boys to appreciate all the ‘beauty’ on the earth .

In a nut shell, pongal is a month long preparation and a week long celebration for all of us. I really miss such a festival and could only write memories about it.

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My first meme..

Thank you LakshmiK and Usha for tagging me..I really enjoyed writing this.

Three things that make me laugh

1. My son’s  face once he finishes eating oreo cookies, as it looks like he has a french beard.

2. My daughter asking  ‘Mummy, what do you want as a surprise gift for your birthday tomorrow?’

3. My youngest brother commenting that my cooking skill is  fairly good  and at the same time finishing the dish all by himself.

Two things that made me cry

1. When my husband came here leaving me ‘alone’  in India

2. When I was not able to attend my brother’s wedding

Three things that make me scare

1. People demanding  friendship who  otherwise tend to gossip about you at the back.

2. Injections

3. Frog dissections in XII std

Three things I love

1.  My family

2. True friendship

3. Moon

Three things I hate

1. My short temper

2. Unpunctuality

3. Laziness

Three things I don’t understand

1. The purpose of my life

2. When I will be in a ‘Now and here ‘ state?

3. How to deliver an unconditional love to all

Three things on my desk

1.Swami vivekananda’s saying :

‘This life is great chance..

Seek for the highest,

Aim at the highest

and you shall

reach the highest.’

2. A water bottle

3. A spectacle I am  supposed to wear but not wearing.

Three things I am doing right now

1. Wearing the spectacles I am supposed to .

2. Munching Cheetos

3. Watching Arthur show in PBS TV by the side as I type the meme

Three things I can do

I am jack of many things but master of none. Lil bit of cooking, sewing, crochet, embroidery, painting etc…

Three things one should listen to

1.Their inner voice

2.Their parents’ advise

3.Their children’s  needs

Three things one should never listen to

1.Comparison in any matter

2.Self pity


Three favourite foods

1.Everything my patti cooked

2.Everything my mom  cooks

3.The tea my husband  makes for me in the morning

Three beverages I drink regularly




Three Tv shows I watched / books I read as a kid

1.Sujatha novels

2.Mu Va books

3.Balakumaran books

Three fellow bloggers I  would like to tag




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