Posts Tagged ‘அம்மாவின் கைப்பாகம்’

             In my childhood , our village often suffered powercuts. On those occasions, my mom used to compensate the ‘Edison’less nights  with her moonlight dinner(Nila Choru). My brothers and me sit around her in the moon lit hall , speaking about all good times .The menu would be rice with either this kuzhambhu or our other favourite, Varutha paruppu kuzhambhu with arisi vathal. The simplest menu though , will taste like heaven when she gives us those balls in our palms. Just wait for your turn for a big rice ball in your palm and eat till she finishes a round. No calorie calculations, just keep chatting and eating till your heart and stomach is filled with joy and food.


Toor dall- 1/3 cup

Medium yellow onion-1

Medium tomato- 1

Tamarind- amla size

Dry red chillies- 4/5 nos

Ingredients for paruppu kuzhambhu

         Cut the onion and tomato into wedges and cook the dall , onion, tomato and chilies in a pressure cooker till the lentils are cooked soft. My mom usually adds a few drops of oil when cooking for some good reason.  Add tamarind/ tamarind extract and salt  to the dall and grind it to smooth paste. Back home, my mom always uses a  chatti and maththu  to mash the dall. If you are lucky to have those ,  you may prefer to use them for better taste.  Dilute it to the consistency of rasam. 

           Do the thalippu with vadagam , add and heat . When the kuzhambhu is about to start boiling , turn off the heat. 

Rice floating in paruppu kuzhambhu

           The trick is to balance the heat , salt and sour . If you can hit the correct balance, this will be a great hit in your home. To me, this is my ULTIMATE COMFORT FOOD. 

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Hats and hats

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Beetroots stain your hands, knife, cutting board and where ever you  drop them. I find the beets in US are more juicier  that I end up with a pink kitchen.Ha Ha. My first grade daughter , an avid lover of pink color loves this veggie, not just for its color but also for the sweet taste of it. I was cooking the beets till I attended the Isha Yoga  class. After attending Isha, I learnt this healthier way of consuming beets. In that class we had a full meal on the final day of our programme which had only uncooked recipes. All the cooking they did was the tadka/talimpu/thallipu.  I came to know a variety of salads made of solely positve pranic foods (energy giving foods). I learnt the fact the more closer we are to the nature, the more healthier and happier we are. See here for another variety of salad

Beetroot salad


Beetroot- 1 number

Cucumber- 1/2

Iceberg lettuce- 1/4

Roasted peanuts-  1 fistful

Lime juice- as needed

Cilantro for garnishing

For tadka

Mustard seeds, cumin seeds- 1 tsp each

Curry leaves- 6-7 number

Tadka: Heat 1 tsp oil in a small pan,  sputter mustard and cumin seeds.  Add curry leaves and turn off the heat.

Grate the beetroot ,cucumber. Finely chop the lettuce. Add all the veggies in a bowl, add salt and lime juice, mix well , let it stand for a while. Using the hands, squeeze out all the juice  into another container. Now add chopped cilantro, roasted peanuts and tadka. 

 Cocktail: To the squeezed juice, add the juice extracted from 1 lime. See the salt level and adjust to taste.


My lunch- Chapathi, beet salad and beet root cocktail

My lunch – Roti , Beet salad and Beet root cocktail

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As long as you have something you never realize the value of it. Once it is no more , you want it more and more. You heart yearns for it, starves for it …This is true not only for the worldly possesions, but also for silliest things like the pickle your mom made for you. Yes, my mom’s pickle which I brought from India got over. Don’t ask me how. Though I had the recipe scribbled in some notebook, I never thought of it so long. Now, once the pickle jar is empty, I searched for the book all over the house atleast to blog the recipe and refer back in leisure to make some by myself. What a selfish motive for blogging?Thats ok. I know the recipe I gonna blog here is worth  sharing with my friends though it is on selfish motive. Here is  my treasured recipe. …          


Tomato pickle

 Rice mixed with tomato pickle.


Tomato- 1 kilogram

Tamarind- 50 gram

Dry red chilli- 50 gram

Salt- 2 tsp

For tempering

Oil- 100 grams

Garlic- 100 gram

Mustard seeds- 1/2 tbsp 

For grinding

Mustard seeds, cumin seeds,fenugreek seeds -each  1 tsp



Chop the tomato into big cubes.

Add salt, tamarind, dry chilli and let it stand in the bowl for 1 day (in shade).

Day 2-3 

Spoon out the tomatoes alone in a wide plate and dry them in sun  for 2 days. Let the other  ingredients be in the bowl.

Day 4

Grind the tomatoes and the rest of the mixed ingredients (salt ,tamarind, chilli) in a blender or grinder. My mom used a grinder.

Heat the oil in skillet and  temper mustard seeds in it.

Add garlic and saute well.

Add the ground tomato mix and  turn off the heat.

Dry roast mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds and  powder them separately.

Add this to the pickle when it is completely cool.


Preserve the pickle in a dry bottle and place it in a cool dry place.  Serve with idly, rice, dosa or simply eat in a spoon whenever  you feel like. Now you know the reason why the pickle got over so soon…!

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A simple curry  for a normal day meals. This is totally satisfying when done in the right way. If it is slightly undercooked or when not seasoned with adequate oil, will leave you disappointed.  This is the way my grandma cooks this veggie, and it has never let me down. 

Avarakai poriyal


Frozen surti papdi – 20 oz packet 

Medium onion- 1 number

Garlic – 2 pods

Dry red chilli- 3 no

Roasted and crushed  peanuts- 1 1/2 tbsp

Scraped coconut – 1 1/2 tbsp

For seasoning

Oil – 1 tbsp

Mustard seeds, urad dall, gram dall, curry leaves

Finely chop the onion.Thaw the papdi completely and devein  if neccesary. Cook the papdi well  with adequate amount of water and salt .  In a skillet, heat oil, sputter the seasonings one by one in the order listed. Add chillies  followed by onion , garlic and saute well. Add the vegetable and stir slightly till all water content has reduced. Atlast , add crushed peanut and coconut and turn the heat off. 

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Hey, stop that, your boy is sleeping.

Crunch.. crunch

Hear  the crunch again, ya, it is me, uncontrollable  in eating the thattai ,that my mom made for me, along with my lunch. ( Sssssh.. I always  have my lunch with a crisp side dish.)

Let us come to the point. We know thattai  is made in many different ways. You might have read  my way of making thattai. Yet, this is always the way my mom makes it and as far as  I remember, even the store brought  ones  never equals this taste. She is patient and I am not , I accept. So, I present here how she did it for me when I was in India for the vacation.  It had been a month now, yet they stay so good & fresh.

Thattai- good old version


Idly rice- 1 kg

Fried gram – 1/4 kg

Garlic- 1 number

Soaked chana dal- 1 cup  or more as you like.

Dried red chilli- 10 numbers

Salt as needed

Oil to deep fry

Wash and soak the idly rice for 3 hours or more.  Grind them in a wet grinder with minimal amount of water. Add chilli, peeled garlic pods and salt while grinding. After grinding finely, take it out, add the fried gram dall powder and the soaked chana dal. If this is as tight as chappathi dough, continue to the next step. If it is a little runny,  put it on a thick cotton towel and wrap it for an hour to absorb the excess moisture. 

thattai-pressing method I

Spread a dry  cotton dhoti (Long live my daddy!) on the floor and make small uniform balls of the dough and press them with your fingers to make little discs. The excess moisture is totally absorbed by now, and when you lift the discs with a flat spatula , it comes out  with so much ease. Else if you have a poori press , line both the surface with a plastic sheet, oil the surfaces and press it to a uniform thickness. This method is faster and easier but, by this way, it consumes more oil as the moisture is not totally taken  out.

Poori press     press method II        Fry in batches             

Either way you press them, deep fry them in groundnut oil  in batches  and store in an air tight container. As this has no peanuts or sesame seeds, it will sure stay good longer.  Enjoy the crispy snack.

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This is everybody’s favourite  at our home.  It is good enough  with rice  all by itself and you will not even ask for a sambhar or kuzhambhu. The little  coconut chunks in it  makes it more interesting and makes you to expect a sudden surprise when eating.  The nutty taste of gram dall marries so well with cabbage and  the finished dish  does not smell even a bit like  cabbage. Go ahead and give a try!


Cabbage- 1/3 of the head

Well cooked gram dall- 1 cup[cooltext49334985.gif]

Onion- 1 number

Tomato- 1/4

Green chilli- 1 number

Red chilli powder- 1 tsp

Coriander / Dhania powder- 1/2 tsp

Salt  to taste

Kosu kootu ingredients

For Seasoning

Oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, broken urad dall, curry leaves

How to make it

Cook the  dall separately. If there is any excess water , do not throw away , we will need this to cook the veggie. Finely chop onion, tomato, cabbage and coconut. You can have bigger chops of coconut if you like to. Split the chilli. In a  skillet, heat oil, sputter mustard seeds, cumin seeds and urad dall , add curry leaves & onion. When the onion turns transparent , add tomato and saute well. Add chilli powder, coriander powder, give a quick stir. Add the cabbage , lentil, salt and good amount of water. Cover the vessel and let it cook on sim heat. Add coconut and asfoetida when turning off the heat. Garnish withe cilantro and serve.


This is my entry to Lakshmi K’s Regional Cuisines of India (RCI) event- Tamil cuisine for the month of April.

Kosu kootu /  gram dall cabbage medley



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