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 the eye-opening piece of information published in almost all the newspapers & magazines here about the special menu meticulously planned by top chefs to ease the tension during the talks between Indian premier & Pakistan president held at Agra summit in 2001. It made me to realize that…

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, “we are…

Vatha Kulambu

It is a common practice in most parts of the world to preserve bountiful seasonal fruits and vegetables by freeze-drying them in a freezer for the household use. But on the contrary Indians preserve them by drying under the sun as it shines here for most of the year. Sun-dried (dehydrated) products have been used…

Stir-fried Balsam Pear

It is a myth that bitter gourds (Balsam pear) are always bitter. Bitter gourds are similar to onions: 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, and…

Piquant Poriyal

It is really challenging to prepare piquant poriyal using mildly-sweet earthy-flavored deep red beetroots. I tried various preparations with different ingredients to make beetroot poriyal more palatable, eventually I found that adding garlic, coconut & pepper not only helps to spice up this poriyal but also adds a burst of flavor. I have also added…

Faux Mutton Biryani

Being born into a vegetarian family I have been totally clueless about the taste of meat of any kind and hence I used to wonder what makes people to have cravings for meat. So I began to try out the most popular recipes like biryani, kebab, kurma, etc. by replacing meat with vegetable substitutes. Earlier…

Fermented rice

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 meal followed…

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 grand father’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…

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 locally grown assorted vegetables & tubers. We prepare this delectable sambar on the day of Pongal, a harvest festival being celebrated in Tamilnadu in the mid January. On the day after Pongal left-over kadamba sambar used to be served as even more delicious pazhang-curry or sunda…

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 stew prepared with lentils and vegetables cooked in coconut milk. Although sodhi is not a spicy curry it has grown popular among people living in & around Tirunelveli. Meals with sodhi is a lavish spread in our wedding feasts comprising creamy sodhi, pungent ginger chutney, spicy potato fries, crunchy appalam, scrumptious…

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 enhances its taste and flavor. You may also refer my recipes for lemon rasam & rasa vadai. When we like…

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 being celebrated by women in south India for more than 500 years. It was mentioned in Sangam Tamil literature, Paripadal, written in the 14th century. If you are interested to read those Tamil verses, you can visit here: https://learnsangamtamil.com/  I like to quote few lines here: “Women getting ready…

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 grand father always preferred to carry puliyodharai rice while traveling in bullock cart for all their family trips.  Here is my simplified recipe for puliyodharai…

Chitrannam

Chitrannam is a platter of different rice varieties prepared on an auspicious Aadiperukku day, a day that brings in prosperity. It is believed that whatever we do on that day would grow manifold, so farmers used to sow their seeds and others would like to venture into new business on this day. I prefer to…

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 hence cooked al dente in both the recipes. Seeraga samba rice is a quintessential ingredient of biryani in south India for its wonderful flavor (and also it absorbs the flavors of all the spices used…