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…

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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 satisfy my palate; eventually I found that adding garlic, coconut & pepper not only helps to spice up this poriyal but also to add a burst of flavor. I have also added…

Veppampoo pachadi

We normally celebrate every new beginning with sweets, but it is exceptional that we prepare bitter neem flower pachadi specially on our New Year usually falls on the 14th of April. On this day of Chithirai Vishu we used to have an elaborate lunch meal consisting of bitter neem flower pachadi, astringent raw jack fruit…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…