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…

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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,…

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 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…

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 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…

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 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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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:…

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…

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…

Vallarai Thuvaiyal

Vallarai keerai or Centella Asiatica is an amazing herb mainly used here to improve the memory for children who are preparing for competitive exams and also for old people with decreased memory. I also found a significant improvement when we served this chutney to my father everyday. It is always better to include such fresh…

Broad Beans Poriyal

Avarakkai poriyal (Broad beans poriyal) is a delicious yet nutritious side dish that goes well with sambar, rasam or morkuzhambu.  Kids also like this vegetable mainly for the tasty beans inside. Health Benefits: Indian broad beans (avarakkai) are good sources of calcium, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and iron. They also contain some dietary fiber and vitamin…