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 !

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Special Idli Podi

2 tbsp channa dal

2 tbsp Urad Dal

1/2 tbsp white til

1/4 tbsp whole coriander seeds

4 red chillis (or to taste)

1/2 tsp of asofaetida (or use the thick gum variety, the flavour is better)

1 tbsp dried curry leaves

salt to taste (1/2 tsp)


Dry roast channa dal on a hot kadai, keep aside on a flat plate to cool.Similarly, dry roast the urad dal, keep aside on top of the channa dal. Put in half a tsp of til oil and fry the red chillis on low flame (not very hot) and halfway through(1/2 minute later) add the coriander seeds and continue frying. After 1 minute, add the white til when the coriander seeds are about to start browning. In a minute, when it starts to splutter, add the curry leaves, asofaetida and salt in quick succession and turn off the heat. Empty the contents on to the channa-urad dal dish. Let it cool to room temperature.

Use the mixie jar to grind the podi to a coarse consistency. Check for salt and chillis halfway through. (You can dry roast another chilli or two and add after grinding it in a small jar or add salt, if needed.) Mix again and store in an airtight jar for use. Keeps well upto a month.

Serve with hot idlis. You can add 1 tsp sesame oil or extra virgin olive oil or flax seed oil, as per your taste, with a tsp of idli podi and use as an accompaniment to the usual chutneys. Even without chutneys this podi is a winner on its own! Sprinkle on top of dosa, just before you flip it on the pan, to make podi dosai.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Coconut Chutney Varieties

Chutney accompanies idlis, dosas or curd rice.

How to make chutney:

Grind to a paste all the ingredients listed in each recipe in a small mixer jar. Start grinding only the dry items at first. Add just enough water to immerse the blades. Grind again till you get a paste
-not too coarse nor too smooth. Put it in a bowl. Wash the chutney jar with a few teaspoons of water and add to the bowl, if served with dosa or idlis. Keep it in a semi solid state if you serve the chutney with rice (Thuvaiyal form). Season it with mustard seeds and curry leaves tempered in 1 tsp hot oil in a small pan.

Basic coconut chutney

1 cup of grated coconut

1 or 2 green chillis (the more the hotter, if you like)

1/4 inch piece of peeled ginger

Salt to taste (1/2 tsp)

Coconut pottukadalai chutney

1/2 cup of grated coconut

1/2 cup fried gram (pottukadalai)

1 or 2 green chillis (the more the hotter, if you like)

1/2 inch piece of peeled ginger

Salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp)

coconut coriander leaves chutney
1 cup of grated coconut

1 green chilli

2 garlic cloves

1 cup of cleaned and washed coriander leaves (cilantro)

1/4 tsp cumminseeds (optional)

1 tsp of salt

1 tsp of lemon juice

coconut garlic chutney (hot)
1 cup of grated coconut

1 or 2 red chillis

6 cloves of garlic

1/2 tsp salt

coconut onion chutney
1 cup of grated coconut

1 or 2 green chillis

1 cup sambar onions

Marble size of tamarind

1 tsp of salt

A variety is made by sauteing the onions before grinding

coconut red chilli chutney

1 cup of grated coconut

2 or 3 red chillis

a pea sized-piece of asofetida fried in a drop of oil

1 tsp salt

Make this a bit watery. Goes well with dosas.

Coconut Thuvaiyal

1 cup of grated coconut

1 or 2 red chillis

Marble sized Tamarind

Salt to taste (1/2 tsp)

Grind to a coarse paste with as little water as possible. Goes well with curd rice.
Ginger Chutney, Inji Thuvaiyal
3 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled washed and sliced.
2 tbsp of urad dal
1/2 red chilli
1/2 marble size ball of tamarind
1 tbsp of grated coconut
salt to taste ( 1/2 to 1 tsp)
Shallow fry the red chilli, urad dal in 1/2 tsp of oil. Add the hing powder and the ginger pieces and saute it till dry (2 minutes). Add the tamarind and coconut. Saute for 1 more minute. When cool, grind it with salt to taste with very little water. Good for digestion at the end of a heavy meal, as an accompaniment to curd rice.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Salad without oil

Chop finely:

1 onion

1 tomato

1 cucumber

1 carrot

1 apple

Mix with a pinch of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper. Add a handful of dry fruits and nuts and toss well. You can add a dash of lemon juice for extra tang.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Kariveppilai Kuzhambu, Curry Leaves Sauce

Grind a handful of washed curry leaves (kariveppilai) into a paste. Soak a lemon size ball of tamarind and squeeze out the juice. Mix the curry leaves paste in this. Add a tsp of turemric powder and salt to taste (2-3 tsp).

Heat 1 tbsp of til oil (or any vegetable oil) in a thick pan. Put in a tsp of mustard seeds and 1/2 tsp of fenugreek seeds. When they splutter, add a pinch of asofetida powder and a few curry leaves. Add 10 pearl onions or sambar onions (whole and peeled) and 10 cloves of peeled garlic (Keep them whole without chopping). Saute them till transparent. Lower heat and add 2 tsp of chilli powder and 3 tsp of coriander powder. Pour in the tamarind water and curry leaves-paste mixture. Let it come to boil and simmer for 10 minutes till the raw smell goes off.

Dry roast 2 tsp of tur dal and 2 tsp of raw rice. Powder it in the small mixie jar. When the kuzhabmu is ready, add this powder, stir well and bring it to boil on low heat. When the whole mixture starts boiling, take it off the heat. Serve hot with rice.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Pudhina Chutney (South Indian Style)

Clean and remove the stems from 1/2 bunch of pudhina (mint) and wash the leaves thoroughly, at least three times till all dirt washes off. Drain and keep aside to dry on a paper towel.

Heat a pan with 1 tsp of oil. Put in 2 tsp of urad dal. When it is golden brown, add 1 whole red chilli (more chillis if you like the chutney hotter) and 2 pinches of hing and stir once quickly. Put in the drained pudhina leaves and saute for a few minutes. Add a marble sized ball of tamarind (and 1 tbsp grated coocnut , if available) and stir once. Take it off the heat and cool it.

Grind it in the mixie to a fine paste with salt to taste and 1/4 cup of water. (Above picture)

This is the basic recipe for most of the vegetable chutneys and thugaiyals. Substitute coriander leaves or curry leaves for 'kothamalli chutney' and 'karuveppilai chutney'. If it is ground to a thick paste, it is called 'thugaiyal' or 'thuvaiyal'. Thuvaiyal is served as side dish for varitey rice and curd rice and can be prepared in a few minutes.
You make it into a chutney by adding water to make it into a thick pouring consistency. You can serve chutneys as a side dish for dosais, idlis, vadai and even rotis. Optionally, you can season chutneys, before serving, with 1/2 tsp of mustard, 1/2 tsp of urad dal and a few curry leaves spluttered in a tsp of hot oil.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Poondu Kuzhambu

Prepare the ingredients:

Peel a pod of garlic. Keep the cloves whole.

Peel a handful of sambar onions. Cut them into two halves breadthwise.

Cut a big tomato into very small pieces.

Squeeze out juice from a half-lemon sized tamarind ball. Add half tsp of turmeric powder to it.


Heat a tbsp of sesame oil.

Put in half tsp of fenugreek (vendhyam) seeds and hald tsp of mustard seeds.

When they splutter, put in a few curry leaves. Then add the peeled garlic and sambar onions.

Fry them till the onions turn transparent. Now add 1 tsp of chilli powder (you can add 1 tsp of AAchi kuzhambu masala instead. It tastes very good!), 2 tsp coriander powder and stir well. Add the tomato pieces and 2 tsp of salt. Saute well till the tomato pieces are mashed. Oil will separate now. Add the tamarind water and bring it to boil. You can add a few vegetables or vathals at this stage. (If you add vathals, it becomes vathal kuzhambu. Fry manathakkali vathal when you fry curry leaves and proceed with the recipe as above.)

Drumstick and brinjal smell good. You can add raw banana pieces too. If you add ladies finger pieces, saute them in oil separately beforehand (to remove the stickiness) and add at this stage.

When the vegetable is cooked, the raw smell of tamarind would be gone too. Now add a tsp of pepper powder and simmer for a few minutes. You can add a quarter cup of coconut milk with the pepper powder, for a richer taste.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ragi Dosai

You can use idli batter for making some more dishes out of it.

For Ragi dosai, take 1 cup of ragi flour and 2 tbsp of idli batter. Mix well. Add 1 tsp of jeera, 1 tsp of chilli powder, 1 tsp each of chopped curry leaves and coriander leaves and salt to taste. Add enough water to make a pouring consistency.

(If you don't have idli batter, substitute 1/2 cup of rice flour, 1 tbsp of maida and 1 tbsp of sour curds.)

Make dosas using the method followed for adai.


If you are grinding in a wet grinder this is the proportion:

Parboiled idli rice: 4 cups and  meals rice 1 cup (soaked for 3 hours separately after washing the rice 2 times)

Urad Dal : 1 cup (Take the dal 2 hours after soaking the rice and methi seeds. Wash 3 times and soak just for 1 hour in 3 cups of water. Don't wash again. Use this water for grinding)

Vendhayam (Methi) seeds (optional): 1 tsp. (soaked for 3 hours in a bowl separately, after washing thrice)


Drain the urad dal and vendhayam. Save the water for use while grinding. Put in the dal and vendhayam together and start the grinding process. Add the water now and then and grind till it is light fluffy. It should take about 20  minutes to incorporate enough air for soft idlis.

Rest the grinder for 15 minutes. Wash rice thoroughly again. Grind it in the machine adding water and mixing with spatula from the top now and then, till it is of a smooth but slightly grainy consistency. You can add half cup cooked rice or half cup washed aval with the riceat first for softer idlis.

Mix the two pastes together with 1 tablespoons of salt. Wash the grinder with 1 cup of water and add this too. The batter should be of easily pouring consistency slightly thinner than cake batter.

Leave it to ferment which should take 5-7 hours in a warm climate. Keep it in the fridge after it had risen. Stir well before use. Make idlis using the idli moulds and steam for 7-10 minutes.

If you are using a mixer:

For 3 cups of parboiled rice, use 1 cup of urad dal.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Venn Pongal

Take 3/4 cup raw rice and 1/4 cup of split greengram (payathamparuppu). Wash it well. Add 3 cups of water and a tsp of salt (or to taste). Pressurecook it for 10 minutes.

Let it cool. Heat 2 tsp of ghee in a kadai. Put in 1 tsp of crushed pepper and 1 tsp jeera. When it splutters add 1/2 inch piece of ginger chopped into pieces, a few curry leaves and 1 inch piece of coconut chopped into very small pieces (coconut optional). Pour it into the cooked rice and mix well.

Serve hot. Pongal is usually accompanied by medhu vadai , sambar and coconut chutney.