Cottonseed milk dessert

Cottonseed milk is one of the best vegan milk traditionally used by people in the villages near my home town, Madurai, for making nutritious desserts. As a part of my college education, I served as a NSS (National Service Scheme) volunteer. We used to camp in the surrounding villages during summer vacation to understand the…

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Miraculous Drink

Few years ago I had a serendipitous encounter with an amazing fruit kudampuli while I was looking for a gut-friendly substitute for tamarind used in south Indian cuisine. Kudampuli (Garcinia Cambogia or malabar tamarind) is a rich source of an interesting chemical compound hydroxycitric acid (HCA). HCA is well known to western medicine for its astounding property…

Cornmeal Puttu with Sweet Sundal

I feel it is more beneficial to take cornmeal than cornflakes for breakfast, hence I prefer to make gluten-free cornmeal puttu and protein-rich green gram sundal for breakfast. Puttu is usually prepared using rice flour, you may refer the table below to find out how cornmeal serves good for making puttu. Whenever my mother prepares green…

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…

Anna Payasam

Whenever I heard the word payasam, I was visualizing rice & lentil jaggery payasam aka anna payasam during my childhood days. It was a delicious staple dessert prepared in our family whether to treat our guests, or on our birthdays, on any festival, or simply to offer to deities at home on Fridays. However we…

Neem flower rasam

As a child I hated few things imposed by my grand parents during our visit every summer. It was disgusting to find all our clothes reeked of bitter neem oil as they were washed using neem detergents. We also disliked to gobble up extremely bitter balls made of neem leaves paste forcibly given by our…

Mango Pickle

Typically pickling is a time-consuming process and those fermented pickles have longer shelf life. But I like to make instant pickles that can be consumed immediately and has limited shelf life. Besides I like to prepare melt-in-mouth mango pickle unlike the conventional one made al dente. So anyone who shares such similar taste would definitely…

Melon ball fruit salad

Ever since I realized the weight loss properties of musk melons I started including them in my diet as much as possible during the entire summer. Also I stopped making musk melon juice with added sugar for myself but started taking salads to enjoy its health benefits completely. Now lets make melon ball fruit salad…

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…

Vegetable Kurma

I have been receiving complimentary reviews from unexpected people who are away from homeland for their studies or jobs preparing their meal themselves by looking at videos or by reading recipes and I thank all those unknown for their support & feedback. Now I am posting a multi-purpose one-pot recipe ideally suitable for such busy…

Drumstick pods soup

Nowadays drumstick pods (murungakkai) are grown abundantly in my mother’s garden, and she used to keep sending me a batch of these pods every now & then. But it has been boring to see these drumsticks in our sambar, kuzhambu, kootu & poriyal on our plates every day.  Nevertheless I do not have the heart to…

Karadaiyan Nombu Adai

Turmeric rhizomes are inextricably intertwined with our culture & traditions. The family ties are religiously acknowledged by tying a turmeric smeared thread around the wrist or neck (only for women) in the presence of deities, priests & other elders. Women used to observe fasting until the sacred turmeric thread is tied around the neck when…

Stuffed Capsicum in Gravy

Stuffed bell peppers in creamy sauce can be prepared for any gathering arranged at home for being an absolute crowd-pleaser. I have used soy meat & vegetables for fillings and cashew nut paste for gravy (curry) and have also used fennel seeds in the fillings & dried fenugreek leaves in the gravy for flavor. So…

Ashoka Halwa

Ashoka halwa is a guilt-free protein-rich sweetmeat that I like to serve for breakfast instead of usual sooji halwa (rava kesari) for special occasions in our family. I also like to take melt-in-mouth Ashoka halwa as evening tiffin. Ashoka halwa is usually prepared using sugar; but here I have used palm jaggery but not used…

Vada Pav

Vada pav, a popular street food in Mumbai, is similar to American burger in which a spicy potato dumpling is kept inside the pav bread. Anyone traveling to Mumbai does not like to return home before relishing street foods like vada pav, pav bhaji, etc. It is fascinating to find people from every walk of…

Pav Bhaji

One of the most indelible joyful moments of any mother would be seeing her children relish the healthy food prepared by her. Serving home-made whole wheat pav bread with mixed vegetables curry (bhaji) to my family is one such moment that I wish to cherish forever. If we serve oven-fresh flavorful pav breads with delectable bhaji to…

Whole Wheat Pav Bread

Baking bread at home is not as exhausting as making roti/ chapathi, it is simply a time consuming preparation and hence requires a planning well ahead of our meal. It is truly a rewarding experience to bake bread at home with various flours and spices of our choice as we can impress our family by…

Fig & Ginger Truffles

Truffles are delicious yet nutritious treats that can be ideally prepared to gift your loved ones on any special occasion. These truffles are made of nuts, dry fruits and dark chocolate that are rich sources of vitamins, minerals & anti-oxidants; dark chocolate is good for healthy heart & brain. I have prepared truffles using powdered…

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…

Crispy Masala Dosa

Dosa is a south Indian crepe relished by people of all ages. Typically dosa is prepared for breakfast or dinner and served as crispy dosa or spongy dosa. Crispy dosa is a thin paper-like crepe enjoyed by kids and spongy dosa is somewhat similar to a pancake. Although there are numerous varieties of dosa prepared…

Idli

About 1000 years old south Indian delicacy, idli, is now gaining popularity all over the world as a healthy breakfast. Various studies conducted by renowned institutions around the globe state in unison that idli is one of the best breakfasts as naturally fermented rice & lentil batter is used in its preparation. First let us…

Idli-dosa batter

At the mere sight of a canister filled with idli-dosa batter inside my refrigerator I feel totally relaxed as it helps my meal planning easier. With this multi-purpose batter I can make simple podi-dosa when I feel lazy, or treat ourselves with a sumptuous feast, or give a traditional twist to overcome our meal monotony!…

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…

Tapioca Pearls Payasam

Indians usually celebrate a new beginning by distributing sweet boondi laddu, but in our family we celebrate by serving sweet boondi particularly when a new-born arrives home. Today I follow the same tradition and serve tapioca pearls payasam garnished with sweet boondhi (chickpea flour pearls) on this New Year! Health benefits of cooked tapioca pearls:   Tapioca…

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…

Ketti Chutney

Idli with ketti chutney is a popular street food among bachelors who miss home-cooked food for their breakfast. Both my grand mothers prepared ketti chutney everyday but later we all switched to a quick chutney that does not require any tempering. It is so heavenly to take spongy idli or dosa served with spicy coconut…

Dal Tadka

Dal Tadka is a hearty lentil curry flavored with fried cumin seeds & red chillies. Without tadka (tempering) this dal can be devoured as a hot lentil soup on a cold winter night. Dal tadka goes well with jeera rice (or any pulao) and Indian bread. I like to serve a mildly spiced dal tadka and…

Masal Vadai

It is a bizarre phenomenon that some of the vegetarians here, particularly elders, do not like the strong flavor of fennel seeds and they avoid food spiced with fennel seeds even in restaurants. But I like its sweet flavor and use sparingly in vegetable kurma & masal vadai. Typically masal vadai or aama vadai is prepared…