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 is popular among Indians & other south Asians. Traditionally biryani is cooked over hot coal in a sealed cooking pot allowing the aroma of spices permeated into the vegetables & rice (this method of cooking in low heat is known as “Dum” process). But…

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 that is 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. I like to quote them here: “Women getting ready to bathe in the river urging their men to dress in festive…

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…

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 (as it absorbs the flavors of all the spices used in it)…

Spicy Vegetable Gravy

Spicy Vegetable Gravy is a chettinad style Masala Kootu that will be liked by even kids who refuse to take vegetables. Here I have prepared masala kootu using snake gourd and can be made with other similar vegetables also. Pudalangai masala kootu is a delicious & aromatic gravy that can be served as a side…

Pigeon Peas and Rice

Thuvaram paruppu sadham (rice with split pigeon peas) is a traditional flavorful one-pot meal popular in Tirunelveli. I prepare our favorite thuvaram paruppu sadam for lunch on a lazy weekend. It is so delightful when we pour coconut oil lavishly over the rice and relish with crunchy appalam or papadam (sun-dried lentil discs) & vengaya vadagam…

Yoghurt Curry

Morkulambu is a traditional South Indian curry prepared using sour curd. Since sour curd is enriched with probiotic organism, this healthy curry can be served to everyone young or old. Usually morkulambu is served with plain rice or rice with mashed greens (kadaintha arai keerai). Morkulambu may be prepared with single vegetable like ash gourd (vellai…

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…

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. It can be used for 2 or 3 days without being refrigerated or for 15 days if…

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 dish 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

Soy biryani is a delicious wholesome healthy meal and is usually served with refreshing raita. It is particularly felicitous for people who wants to make a transition into vegetarian diet as cooked soy chunks & meat share the same texture. Soy may be recommended to include in the diet of women over 40 as it contains…

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…

Simply Delicious Meal

Paruppu sadham with karunai kizhangu masiyal & elumichai rasam is a simply delicious meal that can be prepared easily even when you feel lazy. Surprisingly your family will simply enjoy this meal and also they will ask you to repeat the same some time soon. Please click on the images below for their recipes.  …

Spicy Mashed Yam

Karunai Kizhangu Masiyal (spicy mashed yam) is a tangy tasty accompaniment for rice or roti. It can also be used as a spread for sandwiches. Yam is an excellent & commonly used remedy for hemorrhoids (piles). We have to be little cautious that yam causes tongue prickling; it can be avoided by keeping them unused…

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 our maternal grand mother when we all gathered during summer vacation. She used to prepare this delicious one-pot meal with locally grown vegetables like drumsticks, drumstick leaves, raw banana, raw mango, jack fruit seeds, etc. and serve with home-made appalam & vadagam. We still remember those…

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…

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…

Mixed Vegetables in Coconut Gravy

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 easily. We can serve this guilt-free payasam to even diabetic (with reduced jaggery) as millets are of low glycemic index. Millet I used here is foxtail millet very much suitable for making desserts.You can refer the table below for their health benefits. Cooking Time: 40…

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

Avaraikkai poriyal (Broad beans poriyal) is a tasty healthy side dish that goes well with sambar, rasam or morkuzhambu.  Kids also like this vegetable mainly for the tasty beans inside. Health Benefits: Broad beans are rich in protein & fiber and good sources of vitamins & minerals. It also helps to reduce blood sugar &…