Some Indian Food recipes and Kitchen Tips

Tips on Indian Cooking

When I started cooking first I had to learn everything by trial and error. These are some of my recipes for my daughters who are both newly married [:-)] whenever they feel nostalgic for Mom's cooking. Others are also welcome !

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Onion curd raitha


1 medium onion

1 cup thick fresh curd or plain yogurt

1 tsp salt

1 green chilli

1 tsp chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)


Cut one onion into thin slices. Slit a green chilli lengthwise. Mix these with a tsp of salt and keep covered till serving.

Just before serving, drain the excess water from the onion. Add a cup of thick fresh curd (or plain yogurt) and mix well. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves (optional).

Time management in cooking an elaborate Indian Non-veg Dinner/Lunch


  • Wash and marinate the chicken for chicken fry.
  • Set the cooker with mutton as per the recipe for mutton kozhambu in the bottom vessel, mutton for biryani in the middle vessel and rice for curd rice in the top vessel. Pressure cook for 20 minutes as per mutton kozhambu recipe.
  • This time is used for preparing the other items on the menu.
    Prepare the seasoning for curd rice and pour it in a vessel, to be used for curd rice as per recipe.
  • When mutton is cooked and steam is let off, mash the rice for curd rice. Keep aside and when it is cooler, add the seasoning and mash some more without lumps. Mix the fresh and thick curd when it is cool.
  • Start cooking the chicken in the pressure cooker as per chicken fry recipe. Use the back burner for this.

Now, to use the front burners:

  • Start cooking the biryani on one front stove, using the top stock of the mutton for the biryani.

  • The mutton and some stock would be left in the vessel. Use this for mutton kozhambu using the other front stove for this.

  • When these two items are cooking and left to simmer, put them on the back burner. Now use the time for finishing curd rice preparation.
  • Chicken would be ready by now and you can start the finishing process in the meantime on the front burner. The mutton for biryani can be cooked on the other front burner.

If you cook this way, you can finish cooking all the items managing time optimally. It needs a juggling act but with practice you would get used to planning and preparing everything in the right sequence.

You can serve bread or chappathi, as the first course, if you want to impress your guests with one more item in the menu. Biryani and curd rice are served after this first course. Chicken fry, mutton kozhambu, onion raitha and potato chips are the side dishes.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Masal Vadai

Masal Vadai:

Channa Dal 1 cup (soaked for one hour and washed)

garlics 2 cloves

ginger 1/2 inch piece

soaked red chillies 2 (or more if you like it hotter) or 1 tsp of red chilli powder

Sombu (aniseeds) 1tsp

salt to taste

Grind the above in a mixie using the whipper button. It takes just a minute to grind it coarsely.
Now mix the following ingredients:

chopped Curry leaves 1tsp
chopped green chilli 1 (optional)
chopped coriander leaves
1 chopped onion

Mix well. Make small balls and keep on a plate

Heat oil for deep frying. When it is hot, lower the heat.

Press the balls of dough loosely into vada shape and slide into the oil.

Add as many vadas as could be fried in the given amount of oil.

Increase the heat and fry on medium heat till they are cooked on one side.

Turn them over and cook on the other side till they are golden brown.

Take them out with the holed ladle and drain the oil.

Serve hot.

You can use a handful each of channa dal, moong dal and tur dal in the above recipe and name it 'paruppu vadai.' You can substitute heeng (asofoetida) for sombu to make it differently flavoured.

Medhu Vadai

Soak 1 cup of urad dal in water,( after washing it thoroughly) till soft (about 1-2 hours). Wash in water 3 times. Drain and grind the dal in a mixie, adding a few drops of water now and then to make into a fine paste. Put in a pinch of asofoetida and 1 tsp of salt and mix well. Finely chop 1 green chilli and 1 inch piece of peeled ginger (or grind in a mixie). Chop 1 tbsp of coriander leaves and a few curry leaves. Mix all with the dough. You can add finely chopped onion too, if you like the taste.

Heat vegetable oil in a thick bottomed kadai(wok), enough to deep fry.

Wet your hands. (This helps the dough not to stick onto your hand). Take a lemon sized portion of the dough and flatten it on one palm. Make a hole in the centre. Slide this vadai into the hot oil gently. (Take care not to splash the hot oil by dropping the dough from a height! Your hand should go as near the pan as possible without toughing the hot pan or oil). Make 2 or more vadais like this (as much as the oil holds) and fry them on medium heat. Turn them gently with a holed ladle and continue frying. Let them cook for a few more minutes till the vadais are golden and crisp. Drain the oil using the holed ladle and place them on a paper towel.

Serve hot with coconut chutney.

Vegetable cutlet

2 large potatoes cooked, peeled and mashed

1 tbsp of boiled green peas

1 tbsp of grated carrot

2 green chilli (or 1 tsp chilli powder)and 1/2 inch piece of ginger, chopped finely

1 tbsp of coriander leaves, chopped finely.

2 tsp of salt (or to taste)

Mix all the above ingredients together, make into lemon sized balls, flatten them and keep ready.

For coating:

Mix 2 tbsp of cornflour, 1 tsp pepper and 1/2 tsp salt. Make a thin batter with 2 tbsp of water

(Alternate batter is to mix 1 beaten egg instead of cornflour-it tastes yummier!)

Dip the balls of cutlets in this batter, coating them all around.

Keep ready a plateful of breadcrumbs (or powdered corn flakes, if you want less oily cutlets).

Roll the batter-coated cutlet pieces in the crumbs gently and deep-fry the cutlets in vegetable oil on medium heat till golden in colour (about 2-3 minutes).

Serve hot with tomato sauce and a few pieces of onions, carrot, tomato and cucumber on the side.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Chicken Korma

Ingredients in the order of cooking:

1/2 kilo chicken

1 onion, sliced into pieces,
1 tomato chopped
1 1/2 tsp of chilli powder
2 tsp of coriander powder
1 tsp of turmeric powder

2 tsp of oil
1 piece of cinnamon
1 piece of clove
2 tsp of aniseeds
curry leaves
5 cloves of garlic+ 1 onion, both chopped fine
1/2 tsp of chilli powder
1 tsp of coriander powder
1 finely chopped tomato
2 tsp of salt

1 tbsp of grated coconut or dessicated coconut (optional)
3 tsp of fried gram (pottukadalai)
tsp of aniseeds
1 tsp of pepper
1 tsp of cumminseeds
1 clove
1 small piece of cinnamon
2 tsp chopped coriander leaves (Cilantro)

Wash and drain 1/2 kilo chicken, cut into medium pieces. Cook it with 1 onion, sliced into pieces, 1 tomato chopped, 1 1/2 tsp of chilli powder, 2 tsp of coriander powder and 1 tsp of turmeric pwder and 2 cups of water, in a pressure cooker for 7-10 minutes.

Heat 2 tsp of oil in a heavy bottomed pan and put in 1 piece of cinnamon, 1 piece of clove and 1/2 tsp of aniseeds. Add a few curry leaves and in quick succession, 5 cloves of garlic and 1 onion, both chopped finely. Saute for five minutes on medium flame till golden and add 1/2 tsp of chilli powder and 1 tsp of coriander powder. Saute and add 1 finely chopped tomato and 2 tsp of salt. Fry on low flame, till it is mashed and oil separates.

Pour in the cooked chicken along with the water and bring to boil. Let it simmer till the raw slell goes off.

Grind 1 tbsp of grated coconut, (If coconut is not available, substitute dessicated coconut -or you can skip it altogether, adding another tsp of fried gram instead) 3 tsp of fried gram (pottukadalai) and 1 tsp of aniseeds, 1 tsp of pepper, 1 tsp of cumminseeds, 1 clove and 1 small piece of cinnamon finely in the mixie using a little water.

Add to the simmering korma and stir well with no lumps on a low flame. Add 1/4 cup of water used for washing out the mixie jar. Check for salt and add some(1/2 tsp or so), if needed. Simmer for a few minutes and take it off the heat. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with biryani, rice or rotis.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mutton Biryani

Clean and wash 1/4 kg mutton cut into medium pieces. Pressure cook in 6 cups of water mixed with 1 tsp of turmeric, 1 medium onion diced, 1 medium tomato diced and 1/2 inch piece of ginger crushed. When the whistle sounds lower the heat and cook on pressure for 20 minutes as mutton takes that much time to cook. Take it off heat then and keep aside for the pressure to reduce.

When the mutton is cooking you can keep ready all the ingredients needed:

Whole Masala:

1 inch piece of cinnamon 2

cloves 3

Bay leaf 2

Pepper corns 1 tsp

Cumminseeds 1 tsp

To be ground into a fine paste:

2 inch piece of ginger cut into pieces

12 cloves of garlic


Wash and soak 2 cups of long grained rice in water for half an hour. (If you start these preparations after mutton has been set to cook, it will be fine.)

Slice 1 big onion into thin slices.

Chop and keep ready 1 tbsp each of coriander leaves and pudhina (mint)leaves.
Cut a tomato (round juicy variety is better rather than fleshy roma tomotoes) into 8 pieces.

Slit lengthwise 3 Green chillis.

1/2 tbsp of lemon juice and 1 tbsp of thick curds.

1 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

When mutton is taken off the heat, keep a big non-stick pot large enough to cook the biryani on the stove. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil (Mix ghee only if you want the tastier but not-so-healthy version) and fry the sliced onions to a golden brown colour. Drain and keep aside for use as garnish later.

Take 4 cups of water from the cooked mutton and keep aside.

In the same pot add another tbsp of oil. Put in the whole masala in the list above. When it crackles, put in the chopped coriander and pudhina. When it is fried, add the ground masala paste and slit green chillis, cook it further till the raw smell goes off.

Put in the chopped tomatoes, curds, turmeric, chilli powder and lemon juice and saute till oil starts separating.

Drain the soaked and washed rice. Add to the pot and fry till the water evaporates.

Measure 4 cups of the mutton stock and add it to the pot, (instead of water), to cook the rice. Add salt to taste and when it starts boiling, mix well and keep on low heat with the lid tightly covered. Stir now and then without breaking the grains.

In the meantime, prepare the mutton for Biryani:

Grind 1 tsp aniseeds, 1 clove, 1 inch cinnamon, 1 onion, 1 tomato and 4 cloves of garlic to a fine paste. In a kadai, heat 1 tbsp oil and fry this paste, along with 1 tsp chilli powder, 2 tsp dhania powder and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, till oil separates. Now pour in the remaining mutton stock with the mutton pieces, adding salt to taste. Cook, stirring often, till oil separates and the gravy is coated on the mutton pieces. Keep aside.

Now back to the Biryani pot. It is almost done now. Sprinkle half the fried onions and the whole of the prepared mutton. Stir lightly and keep on 'dum' (dry heat) for 10 minutes. You can keep in the oven, or on the same pot on the stove, with lid tightly closed.

Serve hot, garnishing with the other half of fried onion slices. You can use boiled eggs, cashew and kismis (dry grapes) fried in ghee, etc., for garnishing, if you want the biryani to be richer in look and calories!

Serve hot with onion raitha (vengaya pachadi).

Mutton Gola Urundai-Fried kebab

This is a superb starter for a non-veg dinner.


Minced Goat Meat (Mutton) 1/4 kg. Wash, drain and keep in the fridge to drain the water further for 15 minutes.

Grind to a fine powder:

Red Chilis 4

aniseeds 2 tsp

Clove 1

Cinnamom stick 1/2 inch

Fried Gram (pottukadalai, porikadalai) 1/2 cup

Grind to a paste:

1 Medium sized Onion, chopped into big pieces

1/2 pod of garlic, peeled

1/2 inch piece of ginger

1/2 cup grated coconut


Take out the minced mutton from the fridge. Put it into the mixer to grind it into a paste, adding a pinch of turmeric and a tsp of coriander powder. Put in the ground paste and 1 and 1/2 tsp of salt (or to taste) and blend it in the mixie for a few seconds. Take it out and add the powdered masala and a tablespoon of finely chopped corainder leaves and curry leaves.

Mix well into a dough and roll them into small marble sized balls. Deep fry in vegetable oil on medium heat till golden brown, gently turning them to brown and cook evenly. Drain the oil and place them on paper towel to take the excess oil.

Serve hot as starters. In our house, they all disappear as soon as they are placed on the plate!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Paneer Matar

Cut 100 gm paneer (cottage cheese) into small cubes.
Fry it lightly in veg oil till lightly browned and put them in warm water to keep them becoming hard. Keep aside.

Heat 2 tsp veg oil (you can use the leftover from the above procedure. Add more and/or ghee too, if you want a richer look and taste).

When it is hot, crackle a tsp of jeera in it.

Add 2 finely chopped onions and 1 slit green chilli Saute till golden brown. Add 1 tsp of ginger-garlic paste and saute further till raw smell goes off.
Add 1 tsp chilli powder, 2 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder and 1 tsp garam masala. Saute on low heat for one minute.

Add 2 big tomatoes, pureed (or add 2 tb sp readymade tomato puree) and 1 cup of fresh green peas.

Stir well till the oil separates.

Add 1 cup of hot water and simmer till peas are almost cooked, for a few minutes.

Add the fried paneer cubes after draining the warm water.

Simmer for one more minute and take it off the heat.
Some people add 2 tbsp of fresh beaten cream as garnish at this stage, to give the yummy taste kids like. But skip this if you want to save yourself from ingesting unwanted calories! Without cream also the curry tastes nice.
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Urulaikizhangu (Potato) Masala

Pressurecook two potatoes.
Cool, peel and mash them.
Mix two cups of water, 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Keep aside.
Potatoes should be mashed and a few pieces can be left as small pieces to provide texture to the dish.
Heat 2 tsp of any veg oil. Crackle in quick succession, 1 tsp mustard, 1 tsp urad dal and 1 tsp channa dal. When the dals are golden, put in 7-8 curry leaves, 1 inch piece of ginger sliced into thin strips, 3 green chillis slit lengthwise and 2 medium sized onions, sliced.
Saute well till onions are transparent (not brown). Pour in the potato mixture. Let it come to boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes till all are blended.
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with Dosas (for masala dosa) or with puris (for Puri-kizhangu).

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Easy Chicken Masala

For making chicken masal from 1/2 kg Chicken.

Cut the chicken into medium pieces. Wash and drain.

Apply a paste of

1 tsp chilli powder

2 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp salt

Shallow fry the following ingredients adding them to the pan in the same order, in 2 tsp of oil in a pan.

(a) 1tsp pepper corns, 1 tsp Aniseeds, 1 inch piece cinnamon, 2 cloves

(b) 10 cloves of garlic and 2 medium onions, sliced

(c) 3 medium sized tomatoes cut into pieces+ 1 tsp salt

Saute all the above till the tomatoes are done. Cool and grind into a paste.

Apply this on the marinating chicken and mix well.

Cook the mixture in a pressure cooker till it is done.

Take it off the heat, bring down the pressure and open the lid. Simmer for five minutes on low heat, with the lid open. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

With almost no oil, this is a healthy variation of the Indian chicken curry.

Fish Fry

For frying 4 medium slices of fish (king fish):

Mix the following:

2 tsp of chilli powder

1 tsp of coriander powder

1/2 tsp of turmeric powder

Salt to taste

2 tsp of vinegar (or 1 tsp of thick tamarind juice or juice of half lemon)

Clean, wash and dry fish slices and apply the above paste on both sides of the fillets. Keep aside to marinate for sometime.

**You can add this paste for a variation. It makes the fish fry without giving off 'fishy' smell.

(Optional) Grind to a paste: A handful of small (sambar) onions 1 tsp Jeera (cumminseed) 1 Tablespoon of coconut gratings (or 3 cloves of garlic and 1/4 inch piece of ginger) . Add to the above spice mix.

**You can use the lemon pepper ready spice mix available in USA. Just apply it on both sides (checking for salt to your taste), spray cooking oil on both sides and grill the fish. Totally oil free method of preparing any fish! (Shown in the picture)

Marinate for 1-2 hours.

To use less oil, follow this method to fry the fish.(Usually people deepfry fish.)

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a non-stick flatbottomed pan. When hot, slide in the pieces of fish onto the oil and cover with a lid. Keep on high heat for for 2 minutes. Remove the lid, turn over the pieces and cook again for 2 minutes on high heat, with the lid again in place. Remove lid and turn the pieces gently over again to brown them further (one minute).

When golden brown, keep it on a paper towel for the excess oil to be absorbed.

Masala Fish Fry

A different version of the masala which is a recipe from our Keralite relatives and tastes awesome!
Use a tbsp of thick tamarind water to grind the following into a wet paste.
Grind together:
Coconut Gratings 2 tablespoon
Aniseeds (saunf, sombu) 2 tsp
Garlic 3 pieces
Ginger 1/2 inch piece, peeled
Chilli Powder  2 tsp
Turmeric Powder 1 tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Apply the paste on the washed and cleaned fish (for 1/4 kg slices). fry using the method given above.

Microwave Fish Fry
 If you want a still healthier option, cook it in a microwave oven for three minutes and later brown it on a skillet with less oil (one or two tsp, just enough to provide the fried look).

Friday, January 04, 2008

Adai-Our family's special recipe

The usual adai you eat in the hotels is different from this one.

Wash and soak 1 cup of parboiled (idli rice) rice separately. Wash and soak in water, 1/3 cup of Channa Dal, 1/3 cup of Tur Dal, 1/3 cup of Moong Dal and 1 tsp of Urad dal, in another vessel.

After an hour or two (when the rice and dals are soft), wash them again. Take the rice, 3 dried red chillies, 1 tsp of aniseeds, 1 clove and 1 inch piece of cinnamon and grind in a mixer until it is a coarse paste. Now put in the washed dal also into the mixer and grind them all till the mix is still coarse but a little finer than before.

Add salt to taste, 1 very finely chopped onion, 1 tb sp of chopped coriander leaves and a few curry leaves, chopped finely. Blend well with enough water to make it a pouring consistency (like for rava Dosa).

Heat a dosa tava (flat pan) with a tsp of oil coated on the surface to medium heat. Pour a ladle ful of the batter into a circle, starting from the edge so that it flows into the centre and forms a dosa. Fill in the in-between spaces also with the batter. Pour a tsp of oil around the edges. Lower the heat and cook till it is done on one side (about two minutes) and turn it over. Turn the heat to medium again. Cook till the other side is also done. Now one adai is ready and the pan will be heated for the next one.

The adai will be golden in colour, thin and crisp. Serve hot with any coconut or green chutney or table butter.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Mutton Kozhambu

Mutton Korma

  • Take 1/2 kg of mutton , cut into 1 inch pieces. Wash it thoroughly in running water and drain it.
  • Apply 1 tsp of chilli powder, 2 tsp of coriander powder and 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder and salt to taste.
  • Let it marinate for half an hour.
  • Cook it in a pressure cooker with 2 cups of water, 1 sliced onion, 1 chopped tomato and 1/2 inch piece of ginger for 20 minutes.
  • Cool it. In the meantime, heat a pan with 2 tsp of oil. Put in one piece of cinnamon, 2 pieces of cloves and 1 tsp of aniseeds, powdered coarsely. In quick succession, put in a few curry leaves, 6 cloves of crushed garlic, 1 finely chopped onion (Tip-use Madras sambar onion for this, if available) and saute well till golden brown.
  • Add one chopped tomato (country tomato, if available) and fry till oil separates. (Tip- Add 1/2 tsp of salt here to soften the tomato and it will get cooked into a paste soon).
  • Now pour the cooked mutton into the pan and let it come to boil. Simmer it till it is thicker.
  • Grind 1/4 cup of coconut (If coconut is not available, substitute 2 tbsp of dessicated coconut or another 2 tsp of fried gram), 2 tsp of fried gram and 1 tsp of aniseeds to a fine paste with very litle water.
  • Add it to the simmering gravy and stir well till it is absorbed into the gravy. Simmer for 5 more minutes on low heat and take it off the heat.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with rotis or rice.
Variation from our hometown:
Mutton Kozhambu
Measurement of all ingredients as above. Tamarind will be an additional ingredient.
Pressurecook the mutton with turmeric powder, 1 cup of peeled shallot (sambar onion), 1 chopped country tomato and 1 inch piece of crushed ginger. Cool and add the juice of half lemon-sized tamarind and salt to taste. Keep aside.
Heat 2 tsp of oil. Put in 1 tsp of crushed aniseed, 1 piece of star anise and 1/2 tsp of 'kadal paasi' (optional).
Keep stirring on low heat while you do the next steps in cooking.
Put in a few curry leaves. Add 6 cloves of chopped garlic and 1/2 chopped onion. Stir and add 2 tsp of chilli powder and 2 tsp of coriander powder. Add the cooked mutton mix with the stock and bring it to boil. You can add vegetables like brinjal, drumstick, potatoes or radish (all cut into medium sized pieces) and let it simmer on medium heat, till the veggies are cooked. Stir now and then and keep the vessle covered with a small part uncovered for the steam to escape.
Add a paste of 2 inch piece of coconut (optional), 3 tsp of fried gram, 1 tsp of aniseeds, 1 clove and 1/2 inch piece of cinnamon. Bring it to boil on medium heat, stirring it for about 3 minutes and take it off the heat when it starts to boil. Serve hot with rice.

Another variation. Potato Mutton Masala

In the mutton korma recipe above, add half cup of washed channa dal when you cook the mutton in the pressure cooker. 
Again add two peeled, washed, and cubed potatoesto the cooked mutton when the pressure cooker cools and proceed with the cooking. This variation is good for making korma in larger quantity with less mutton.

Chicken Fry

Ingredients are given in red colouring as the recipe goes.

Take 1/2 kilo of chicken cut into medium sized pieces. Trim and throw away skin and the accompanying fatty portions.

Wash the chicken two times and drain it at once. (Cooking Tip-Always wash meat one or two times in running water and don't let it soak in water as meat absorbs water and retains it).

Pwder 1 inch piece of cinnamon, 2 cloves, 1 tsp of pepper, 1 tsp of cummin seeds and 1 tsp of aniseeds. Grind 2 onions (cut into pieces), 6 cloves of garlic, 1 inch piece of ginger, 1 tomato-quartered and a few sprigs of coriander leaves. Mix both these with 1 tsp chilli powder, 3 tsp Dhania powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and salt to taste.

Apply it onto the chicken and let it marinate for 2-3 hours.

Pressure cook it for 10 minutes. Let it cool. Or you can cook it in the microwave oven, covered.

Healthier version without oil:

Put it into a heavy boottomed pan (or use the pressure pan if you had used one) and let it reduce to a thick gravy and the oil separates. (Tip-If the chicken is already over cooked, take out the pieces and keep them in a dish. You can add the pieces to the pan when the gravy is thicker and almost done.)

For kids, tastier version:-)
Take out the chicken pieces and fry them lightly in any veg based-oil and add them to the gravy when it is thick. To make it healthier you can roast them in an oven with a spray of oil and then add them to the dish.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Serve hot with rice or rotis.