Channa Kulambu

Channa kulambu was one of the few curries I enjoyed during my childhood days. In those days it was prepared using small black chickpeas and white chickpeas were sparingly used for the reasons still unconvincing to me. Eventually I switch to large white chickpeas for their soft, melt-in-mouth texture and prepare even more delicious kulambu…

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Coconut milk biryani with baby potato curry

A long time ago I read through an eye-opening piece of information published in almost all the newspapers & magazines about the special menu meticulously planned by the top chefs to ease the tension during the talks between Indian premier & Pakistan president at Agra summit in 2001. It made me to realize for the…

Tamarind Soup

According to ancient Indian medicine systems Siddha and Ayurveda, tamarind fruit is believed to have numerous healing powers. It is a quintessential ingredient of the commonly prepared south Indian curries like sambar, rasam, or kuzhambu. In a recent study it was found that we can largely reduce the loss of nutrients while cooking vegetables by…

Moringa Mash

Despite the facts that moringa trees are known to attract pests and they are so fragile that they can not withstand strong winds, they are grown in almost every house to enjoy the benefits of nutritious leaves, flowers & pods. Normally we don’t allow children to go near this tree as woolly caterpillars found on…

Chinese Spinach

I am thankful to the creator of The Popeye show for motivating my son, a picky eater, to have a liking for insipid spinach even at his tender age. This cartoon show made my job easier to convey the importance of taking wholesome food and also made a small kid to understand a profound theory,…

Vatha Kulambu

It is a common practice in the most parts of the world that people preserve bountiful seasonal fruits and vegetables by freeze-drying them in a freezer and use them all through the year. But on the contrary we, Indians living in a tropical climate, preserve them by drying under the sun as it shines here…

Stir-fried Balsam Pear

It is a myth that bitter gourds (Balsam pear) are always bitter. Onions & bitter gourd share a similarity: they both have strong flavors when eaten raw and lose their flavors when cooked. Thus bitter gourds taste bitter when taken raw, when cooked its bitterness reduced by half, when deep fried they are slightly bitter,…

Piquant Poriyal

It is really challenging to prepare piquant poriyal using mildly-sweet earthy-flavored beetroots. I tried various preparations with different ingredients to make beetroot poriyal more palatable, eventually I found that sauteing beet root along with garlic in coconut oil adds a burst of flavor and also adding pepper & coconut aids to spice up the sweet…

Faux Mutton Biryani

Born into a family of vegetarians I am totally clueless about the flavors of meat of any kind and hence I used to wonder what makes people to have cravings for meat. So I have been looking for vegetable substitutes for meat, and then started trying out the most popular meat-based recipes like biryani, kebab,…

Fermented rice

Pazhaya sadam (fermented rice) is a classic version of overnight oats popular in the west. It has been the staple food for working class here in India, but this humble meal is in vogue even among elites in the recent times. This is mainly because people prefer to take simple nourishing meal over a lavish…

Long beans Poriyal

It is really challenging for me to cook the vegetables that are my family’s bêtes noires to their liking.  Yard-long beans (karamani) is one such insipid vegetable but is full of nourishment compared to commonly used green beans. Hence I try to complement its texture, flavor & taste by adding suitable ingredients to enjoy the…

Appala Kootu

Appalam making is a leading cottage industry prevalent in my maternal grandfather’s village. As a kid I was completely awestruck watching women & girls in our neighbourhood kneading mountainous dough, rolling appalam at lightning speed, and stacking dried appalam like a tower.  Whenever I was upset with my cousins or siblings I used to run…

Pongal in pot

Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated by worshiping Sun & earth to show our gratitude for the entire year’s harvests. On this day we all follow the traditional method of cooking rice in pot(s) decorated with ginger sprouts or turmeric sprouts rather than cooking in modern electric cooker or pressure cooker. It is considered auspicious…

Kadamba Sambar

Kadamba sambar is a traditional flavorful curry prepared with assorted (kadambam) vegetables & tubers. Kadamba sambar is popularly known as idi sambar (meaning pounded sambar) in Tirunelveli & Kanyakumari regions, as the spice powder was earlier prepared by pounding in a large stone mortar (ural) using a 3-feet long metal-tipped wooden pestle (ulakkai).

Banana Blossom Usili

Indian medicine system recommends anything that tastes astringent such as banana flowers, pomegranate, red gram (toor dal),  Indian blackberry (black plum), etc. for women’s health as they keep uterus healthy. Consuming cooked banana flower with curd or yoghurt is believed to be one of the most efficient ways of treating excessive bleeding during menstruation as…

Moringa Flower Poriyal

Since moringa trees are primarily grown for their seed pods (drumsticks), moringa flowers are hardly available in the market. So we prepare poriyal in small quantity exclusively for a lactating mother in our family. It is preferred to cook buds & young white blossoms gently and use them in salad, soup, or curry. Please note that…

Ridge Gourd Kootu

Since ridge gourd (Luffa acutangula) is my husband’s favorite vegetable, I cook these gourds as frequent as possible. I usually make ridge gourd gothsu as a side for idli & dosa and kootu for rice as shown below. Ayurvedic properties of ridge gourd: There are 2 varieties of ridge gourd: sweet variety used for culinary purpose…

Cassava root Poriyal

Cassava (yucca/ manioc) plants are widely grown in India as their roots are used for culinary purposes & leaves for their medicinal properties. These gluten-free tubers are called as maravalli kizhangu in northern districts of Tamilnadu & yezhilai kizhangu (meaning seven leaves) in southern districts. Since they are available in plenty during Nov-Dec, I have…

Sodhi with Inji Pachadi

Sodhi is an exotic Sri Lankan curry prepared with lentils and vegetables stewed in coconut milk. Although sodhi is not a spicy curry, it has grown popular among the people living in & around Tirunelveli who usually enjoy spicy curries. Meals with sodhi served at the wedding feasts in our family is a lavish spread of creamy…

Paneer Dum Biryani

Biryani is a medley of rice, vegetables (or meat) & spices and it is a popular rice dish in India, Srilanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other countries in south Asia & central Asia. Traditionally biryani is cooked over hot coal in a sealed cooking pot allowing the aroma of spices permeated into the vegetables & rice…

Pineapple Rasam

Hot, sweet & sour pineapple rasam can be reveled as a comforting soup on a rainy day. Usually south Indian rasam is prepared with tomato or lemon but pineapple works wonders with rasam as it elevates the flavor of rasam to a whole new level. You may refer my recipes for lemon rasam & also…

Radish Sambar

Radish (mullangi) sambar tastes as delicious as shallot (chinna vengayam) sambar as they both absorb taste & flavor of all the spices used in sambar. Hence I like to savour mullangi sambar with any south Indian meal whether rice, idli or dosa. Mullangi sambar tastes great with aviyal and it goes well with any kootu or…

Peas Pulao

Peas pulao is a delicious and aromatic rice dish and can be prepared in a jiffy. Peas pulao can be served with any spicy vegetable gravy or dal and also be packed for children’s lunch. Time taken : 15 min Serves : 2 Ingredients: Basmati rice – ½ cup Water – 1 cup Fresh peas – ¼…

Omam Kuzhambu

Generally I prepare omam kuzhambu when we return home from a vacation, or after attending a wedding ceremony for few days. I make omam kuzhambu and serve with hot steaming rice & roasted papad (sutta appalam), when we crave for a home-cooked food that soothes our stomach. Health Benefits: Omam (ajwain / carom seeds /…

Aadi Perukku

Aadi Perukku is a festival of fertility & prosperity celebrated in south India for over 500 years. It was mentioned in Sangam Tamil literature, Paripadal, written in the 14th century about the celebration of this festival. I like to quote a few lines from Paripadal so that we could comprehend how aadiperukku was celebrated in…

Tamarind Rice

Puliyodarai, a traditional rice dish, stays good & tastes divine even if it is kept without being refrigerated for 3 or 4 days.  My mother used to say that her grandfather always preferred to carry puliyodharai while traveling in bullock cart for all their family trips. Puliyodharai served to devotees in temples is one of…

Chitrannam

Chitrannam is a platter of different rice varieties usually prepared on the Aadiperukku day, ie. the 18th day of Aadi month in the Tamil calendar. It is believed that whatever we do on that day would grow manifold, so farmers used to sow their seeds expecting a good yield. It is also believed to be…

Cabbage Poriyal

Since bland white cabbage is my family’s bête noire, I find vibrant purple cabbage the best alternate. To my astonishment I came to know that it has more health benefits than white/ green cabbage. Health Benefits : Purple cabbage has a nutrient anthocyanin, an antioxidant responsible for its purple color, has anti-cancerous properties; also purple…

Blackgram Rice with Sesame Chutney

Ulundham Paruppu Sadham (Black gram rice) is a unique rice prepared by people in Tirunelveli, a southern town of Tamilnadu. Sesame chutney is similar to Mediterranean Tahini sauce and is an essential side served with black gram rice. We usually serve this nutritious meal to young girls during their cycle every month. Although we prepare this meal specially…

Seeraga Samba Biryani with Brinjal Thokku

Interestingly Indian Biryani & Italian Risotto share some similarities: Seeraga samba rice & arborio rice are of same texture and they are cooked al dente in both the recipes. Seeraga samba rice is a quintessential ingredient of biryani in south India for its wonderful flavor, it also absorbs the flavors of all the spices used…

Spicy Vegetable Gravy

Spicy Vegetable Gravy is a chettinad style Masala Kootu liked even by kids who refuse to take vegetables. Pudalangai masala kootu is a delicious & aromatic gravy may be served as a side for rice, poori or roti. It goes well with rice and sambar, rasam or any other kuzhambu. Health Benefits: Snake gourds have…

Pigeon Peas and Rice

Thuvaram paruppu sadham (rice with split pigeon peas) is a traditional flavorful one-pot meal popular in Tirunelveli. I usually prepare our favorite thuvaram paruppu sadam for lunch on a lazy weekend as it does not require much of a planning. Besides I can serve this rice simply as a meal along with appalam or papadam (sun-dried…

Yogurt Curry

Morkulambu is a traditional South Indian curry prepared using sour curd. Since sour curd is enriched with probiotic organism, morkluzhambu is not only delicious but also nutritious, and it can be served to everyone young or old. Usually morkulambu is served with plain rice or rice with mashed greens (kadaintha keerai). Now the recipe for vendakkai…

Weekend Lunch

This is the meal I prepare for lunch usually on Saturdays. It can be prepared easily within an hour, if you plan in advance and make all ingredients available. Everybody including kids will surely relish this delicious lunch meal. I find tiffin sambar a great accompaniment for citrus rice; Citrus rice & curd rice taste…

Mango Jam

Maangai pachadi is a sweet sour & spicy mango jam prepared usually on Tamil New Year day. It is a delicious side dish for rice served with any kuzhambu or rasam; it can also be served as a side for ulutham paruppu sadam. Health benefits of mangoes: Mangoes contain dietary fiber, vitamin A & vitamin…

Tamarind Curry

Puli Kuzhambu or Tamarind Curry is a traditional south Indian curry prepared using garlic & shallots. We can enjoy its taste to the fullest only when the flavors of all the spices are completely infused into the curry. So this curry can be used for 2 or 3 days without being refrigerated (used for 15…

Lentil Crumble

Paruppu usili (lentil crumble with veggies) is one of the most popular south Indian sides served with rice. For people on weight-loss diet a bowl of usili can be taken as a mid-morning meal; it makes them feel full and it contains protein, fiber, vitamins & minerals. Also it can be packed as a healthy…

Chayote Delight

Chow-chow kootu is a South Indian curry prepared with lentils & coconut masala. Chow-chow kootu is my husband’s favorite kootu and hence I prepare this dish quite often. It goes well any kuzhambu or rasam except morkuzhambu. Health benefits of chayote: It is recommended for women to include chayote in their diet before and during…

Citrus Rice

Citrus boosts immunity, energy & mood and aids in detoxification & digestion. This was one of the reasons that lemon rice was traditionally prepared & packed for short travels. Citrus Rice is a healthy non-sticky easy-to-prepare rice dish and hence can be used for packing children’s lunch box also. Recently I bought unripe citrons (naarthai)…

Soy Biryani

Generally vegetable biryani served in restaurants are greasy, overly spiced, and made of semi-cooked rice tossed with few vegetables. Hence I prefer to make simple flavorful delicious vegetable biryani at home, and I like to add textured soya for making protein-rich delicious biryani. Soy biryani is a wholesome meal and is usually served with refreshing…

Simple Curd Rice

Curd rice is a simple traditional probiotic meal. I make sure to serve curd rice to my family particularly when someone takes a course of antibiotics. Antibiotics kills both good & bad bacteria and probiotics helps to replace good bacteria. So taking curd or curd rice during a course of antibiotics will help to keep…

Roasted Chickpeas Chutney

Udaitha kadalai (pottu kadalai) thuvaiyal is an easy to prepare thuvaiyal. It tastes divine when served with curd rice, puliyodarai (tamarind rice), lemon rice, or can be enjoyed by simply mixing with hot rice & sesame oil as well. Roasted chickpeas (Bengal grams) are rich in protein and has low glycemic index; you can just…

Simply Delicious Meal

Paruppu sadham with karunai kizhangu masiyal & elumitchai rasam is a simply delicious meal that can be prepared easily when we feel lazy. Surprisingly everyone in our family enjoys this meal and they also ask me to repeat the same soon. Please click on the images below for their recipes.         Serving…

Karunai Kizhangu Masiyal

Karunai Kizhangu Masiyal (spicy mashed yam) is a perfect side dish for paruppu sadam and it is liked by kids for the spicy tangy flavor. Yam masiyal also goes well with sambar sadam, rasam sadam, kuzhambu sadam, or thayir sadam. mashed yam may be used as an accompaniment for chappathi and also used as a…

Lemon Rasam

Lemon Rasam is a soup prepared in almost every South Indian household. It can be served with hot rice and it tastes delicious when served as a soup during winter. Cooking Time : 15 min Yields : 500 ml Ingredients: For Rasam Powder: Cumin seeds (jeeragam) – 1 tsp Pepper (milagu) – 1 tsp Coriander…

Chinese Potato Fry

Chinese Potato (siru kizhangu or koorka) fry is a tasty accompaniment for curd rice, sambar rice or any other rice varieties. It can also be taken with rotis or Indian breads. This is a good alternate for regular potato as it has medicinal properties as well. Cooking Time: 20 min Serves: 4 Ingredients: Chinese Potato…

Grandma’s One-pot Meal

Kootanchoru is a traditional one-pot meal prepared for lunch by my maternal grandmother at our family gatherings especially in the summer vacation every year. She used to prepare this flavorful rice dish with locally grown vegetables like drumsticks, drumstick leaves, raw banana, raw mango, jackfruit seeds, etc. and she served us kootan-choru with home-made fried…

Turmeric Banana Stirfry

Fresh turmeric roots (pachai manjal kizhangu) are plentifully available here in the market during Pongal, a harvest festival of Tamilnadu, in the month of January. In this season I like to replace turmeric powder with fresh turmeric in recipes such as ven pongal, any stir-fried vegetables, curries, etc. I find them tasting slightly peppery & bitter…

Greens ‘n’ Lentils

Greens that I have used here is Solanum Nigrum or black nightshade or manathakali keerai. It treats mouth ulcers and protects liver, this herb is being used to cure Hepatitis in rural Tamilnadu. Greens ‘n’ Lentils (keerai kootu) is a healthy accompaniment for rice; it goes well with any sambar, rasam or kuzhambu, except morkuzhambu. Ingredients:…

Classic South Indian Meals

This delicious meal seems to be a very satisfying healthy complete meal that we all love to relish on a Sunday. First we pour sambar generously over rice and have them with aviyal & poriyal; next we drink payasam and finally we take curd rice along with vegetables in sambar. For children we also serve sambar…

Red Lentils Sambar

Traditionally sambar (for rice) is prepared using thuvaram paruppu (red gram/ toor dal), but here I have used masoor dal (red lentils) to prepare drumstick sambar mainly because it is a rich source of protein as it contains an important amino acid. Red lentils are preferred over other lentils in restaurants as it adds more viscosity…

Avial

Any lunch meal in South India is incomplete without aviyal (Mixed Vegetables in Coconut Gravy). Most of the traditional Indian recipes use assorted grains, pulses, vegetables, or fruits. Nowadays nutritionists recommend to include variety of  vegetables/ pulses/ grains/ fruits in our diet as it prevents vitamin & mineral deficiency; hence it is a good practice to…

Meals with No-tamarind Curry

Meals with no-tamarind curry is one of the traditional meals that we all relished as children. My mother used to prepare healthy yet delicious meal with home-grown vegetables. I still remember our house filled with mixed flavors of coconut oil, fresh vegetables & spices while preparing this flavorful meal.  In those days we never said…

Drumstick Leaves Sambar

Drumstick leaves (murungai keerai) sambar is a flavorful nutritious curry prepared without tamarind and hence it is popularly known as puli illa curry (no-tamarind curry) in Tirunelveli. It is usually served with rice, any poriyal or aviyal & roasted appalam. Health Benefits: Drumstick leaves are rich sources of iron. If this curry is taken frequently by…

Millet Payasam

Millet payasam is a scrumptious dessert that can be prepared quickly & easily. We can serve this guilt-free payasam to diabetics also (with reduced jaggery) as millets are of low glycemic index. Millets I used here is foxtail millet suitable for making desserts. You can refer the table below for their health benefits. Cooking Time:…

Carrot-peas Poriyal

An irresistible and colorful carrot-peas poriyal can be taken as a salad or as a side for rice. Nowadays kids are spending most of their time with mobile phones and other devices, we need to protect their eyes by including carrots in their diet everyday.  Carrots & peas compliment each other in all respects whether…

Mushroom Pepper Fry

Mushroom Pepper Fry is a healthy dish that can be prepared quickly & easily. Mushrooms are the only vegetables that are rich sources of protein. So vegetarians or vegans can include mushrooms in their diet for their protein requirements. Mushroom pepper fry can be served with rice or roti, or it can be stuffed in…

Broad Beans Poriyal

Avarakkai poriyal (Broad beans poriyal) is a nutritious side dish that goes well with rice & sambar, rasam, morkuzhambu, or any other kuzhambu.  Kids also like this vegetable mainly for the delicious nutty beans inside the pods. Indian broad beans (avarakkai) are good sources of calcium, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and iron, and they also…