Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tindora Fry

Indian Ivy Gourd is a widely consumed vegetable, available in India through out the year. Kovakai (Tamil) or Tindora (Hindi), these are cute looking small, stubby, green colored vegetables which grow aggressively on vines are used to prepare delicious stuffed curries, stews, pickles, salads and stir fries.

This is one of the stir fry, I like to have with my variety rice. I prepared curry leaves rice with curry leaves powder. Tindora fry to go along the rice. During my initial cooking days I used to add the sambar powder and salt and fry them. But days have changed, we look for some variety in our regular cooking. And these days I use specific spice mix (prepared at home) for specific stir fry of veggies.

Black Forest Cake

Wish you all a very Happy New year 2012! Hope the year bring happiness, peace, love and health to all out there! And wish you have many more such happy new years!

Black Forest cake has been a cake which makes me to lick the last bite on the plate. Hmmm, delicious! I'm sure to say it, after every slice of it! This was how I grew up! And to follow me are my cousins. When I ask one of them, why did you choose Black Forest cake for your mom's wedding anniversary celebration, as my aunt doesn't like? He said who cares, I love to eat the entire cake if they leave it to me! I think most of us tend to be that way, but either our diet or something that stops us saying that.

This is the reason that made me to prepare this cake. Well, I'm not a regular baker. Somehow, when I plan to bake something, I wind up all my regular chores and think about this big event going to happen. It still comes to me like a big happening taking place! Or I should say I am yet to touch the comfort zone of baking! I'm sure to touch there one day and feel a better baker, baking like how I cook.

There are so many ways to prepare the cake. Mine is a simple, yet tasty recipe. You are sure to feel it like a Black Forest Cake, a heaven in every bite! They require basic baking stuffs.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Fruit Cake step by step Recipe

I wish Merry Christmas to all of you!

Satisfy the sweetest tooth this holiday season with a deliciously easy Christmas cake recipe. Baking the Christmas cake is such fun and effortless. This traditional Christmas cake with all the dry fruits, nuts and spices is so fragrant while baking.
Involve your kids while baking the cake, you are sure to get memories that never fade. This is a British Fruit Cake, and the cake is repeatedly fed with alcohol (usually brandy, rum is also good).

This Fruit Cake recipe comes from Nigel Slater's 'The Kitchen Diaries' and it is by far the best one I have ever made. It is jammed with raisins, currants, dried cranberries, dried figs and prunes, dried apricots, and candied fruit and peel (candied fruit is preserved fruit that has been dipped several times in a concentrated sugar syrup). Nuts are also included as is ground almonds. Do try to make your fruitcake about three to four weeks before Christmas so you can brush it with alcohol several times and allow the flavors to mingle and age. This cake can be frozen so it might be a good idea to make two and then you can freeze one for later.

Nine Bean Soup

I love to have soups during winter days! A hot soup and a snuggle on the couch is what I ask for once a week.
Soups are easy to prepare, just little more time to cook. That's so easy for us, as not much hard work required. And you can bring the utmost fiber contents with a great flavor in one pot of soup, would say a yes or no?

I am preparing the nine bean soup for forth or fifth time, I guess! Not once the soup has deceived me in taste. I prepared the bean soup with my choice of beans to go with it. I always like to try to modify flavors and taste the same soup in different flavors. I have prepared the nine Bean soup in my style to suit my taste.
Nine Bean soup mentioned below can be prepared with basic spices (South Indian) at home.
This nine bean soup recipe is not only delicious, it is also super healthy. Packed with fiber from all those beans you will be doing your body good as you warm yourself up with this hearty recipe.

Kalyana Rasam

Generally, there is a feel that Rasam are made only when sick. But this rasam changes that trend and makes us feel like a special occasion with its special aroma while cooking!
This Rasam made in Brahmin marriages have a distinct and exotic taste. There are quite a lot other ingredients like pineapple used to give a distint taste to the rasam. I felt that this tasted like the kalyana Rasam when I prepared. The original recipe was to dry roast the ingredients. I tried by frying the ingredients in ghee/oil. I felt that the method which I fried in ghee was more flavourfulllll and it tasted like the kalyana Rasam.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Paal Kozhakattai

Paal Kozhakattai is a traditional sweet recipe of Tamilnadu. It is easily prepared and quite different ways to prepare depending on our taste and time limits. We can prepare using normal milk or using coconut milk. Well, I like to use both, as I do want the flavor of coconut milk to be there. But am lazy to take lot of coconut milk. SO I mix them and it tastes great! It is not too sweet, so anyone who are quite conscious on their sweet intake can try this out.
This would be a different healthy dessert for the kids too!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Strawberry Ice cream without Machine

Strawberries.....yuuum! Everyone likes strawberry in every form! This summer is hotter than the earlier one and nothing to wonder all of us like to have ice cream on summer holidays and weekends. This year kutti sundari also has begun to live on ice-creams! We have been having strawberries right from the farm to our table. The freshly picked strawberries always have such great taste you cant deny to eat. I wanted to make a nice creamy, tasty strawberry ice cream without machine.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Love Lock with Sweets - Global event

Love Lock - with Sweets is on the pages again! This time they are hosted by our dear friend Privish of Killerontheplate.

Who likes to stop being loved or stop loving? None of us for that matter! So, Love Lock - with Sweets is coming to celebrate our Fifth wedding anniversary (of me and Sundar) on feb 9th and also feb 6th to celebrate the second anniversary of the couples @ Killerontheplate. Also to celebrate the global Lovers Festival, Valentines day, Feb 14th, 2012.

I want to make this Love Lock - with Sweets as a global event, not only for participation but also for event hosting. Anyone is welcome to host the event. The request for hosting can be sent to

And include this logo as part of your blog.

For the current event, you can design your logo. Say, if you are hosting this month, you can design your logo and describe the special reason for the reason to host the event. Well, it is not required for a special reason always!

Right now, the event is open from Feb 15th. Pls send in your ideas with topic for the event, event hosting months, and do not forget to add the logo to your blog, which is mandatory.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Its Sankatahara Chathurthi for this month. Every Sankata Hara Chathurthi reminds me of  when Shyam and Hasini were boen. Like I told in the previous Chathurthi post, I prepare Modhagam or any other kind of kozhukattai for the day and offer it to temple. Sri Guruvaayoorappan temple in NJ is where we celebrated my daugthter's Ayushhomam. And we visit there on these occasions and spend our time there. The temple is so beautifully constructed, you feel the Sanctity the moment you enter the gate!
Now they are constructing this temple to a even bigger and beautiful temple. They also have sort of donation going in the temple for their construction. People, who like their kids' names to be inscribed in the new temple, can donate for the temple and let the holy spirit grow and bless us!

Modhagam is a yummy snack and also widely used dish for neivedhyam for vinayakar chaturti or Ganesha festivals.
Also whenever we do other varieties of kozhukattai and if we have left over pooranam, then we can use that pooranam to prepare modhagam and this way we do not need to throw away the left over Pooranam. Any kind of pooranam can be used to prepare modhagam. Here I am showing thengai poorana modhagam, a very traditional way! Try this and let me know your feedback!

Mor Kuzhambu

Mor Kuzhambu is a scrumptious Buttermilk curry to have along with the rice. In Iyengar homes, these are made on auspicious days. 
Lovely Mor Kuzhambu and a different version is here, rather called the Iyengar version. This is also called as Varuthu Aracha Mor Kuzhambu. This also my MIL style of mor kuzhambu, a yummy and delicious style.

Paruppu usuli

Paruppu Usuli is a healthy curry and is very tasty. They are made on most festival days. Only certain green vegetables go as combination with dhals to make this usuli.
You can also combine vegetables like carrots, beans, or use cabbage, or Valor. I always cook them when these veggies are minimum to be cooked alone. And I like the crunchy texture of the dhal in the end.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cooking Challenge - Flavors of Tamilnadu

Indian cooking uses unique cooking techniques and special ingredients. Despite its reputation as a "hot" cuisine, flavors range from mild to very hot.

Indian cuisine consists of thousands of regional cuisines which date back thousands of years. The dishes of India are characterized by the extensive use of various Indian spices, herbs, vegetables and fruit. Indian cuisine is also known for the widespread practice of vegetarianism in Indian society. Each family of Indian cuisine includes a wide assortment of dishes and cooking techniques. Indian cuisine also varies from region to region, reflecting the varied demographics of the ethnically-diverse subcontinent.

Hindu beliefs and culture have played an influential role in the evolution of Indian cuisine. However, cuisine across India also evolved as a result of the subcontinent's large-scale cultural interactions with Mongols and Britain making it a unique blend of some various cuisines. The spice trade between India and Europe is often cited as the main catalyst for Europe's Age of Discovery. Indian cuisine has influenced cuisines across the world, especially those from Southeast Asia and the Caribbean.

Curry Leaves Soup

When you enter a South Indian home or restaurant, the lovely aroma that assails is usually the lemony smell of fried curry leaves. The curry leaf is not only popular but an essential part of most dishes cooked in our home (South India), and now, in many parts of Asia as well.

The leaves when fried have a unique aroma. Fresh green leaves are best; when unavailable the dried variety is used. The leaves are dried in the shade and stored in airtight containers when they dry to retain their flavor. Sometimes they are powdered and used in chutneys. Curry leaf has many medicinal properties. It stimulates digestive enzymes and helps break down food more easily.

When we come across a curry leaf floating in a South Indian dish, we nudge it aside - the next time it would be better if we chewed the leaf as it is said to control the cholesterol level in the body. Do you think you have have them as a main ingredient in our soup? Then, hop on to our recipe.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Round Up - Love Lock with Sweets

First of all a big thank you to all the blogger friends who had sent in their delicious entries and participated in the event. Who is not fond of sweets? Any kind of sweet for an occasion is all what we want.
Without ranting them, let me take you all through this visual treat and I sincerely hope that you try out these dishes in your kitchen too and enjoy with your family. Check here, for the links to the below blogs and recipes.
Award Logo is ©Vidhya|SweetKaramKapi

Kasi Halwa

Kasi Halwa is a special sweet usually made on big occasions. For all engagements in our family or the day previous to the wedding, we have this sweet in the feast. I have always wondered, this is something only the chefs can make and give it this special taste to Kasi Halwa. Kasi Halwa is something made of very different food ingredients which we can never try upon at home - this was on my mind until I tried for the first time for my daughter ayush-homam @ Guruvayoor appan temple in Newjersey. I missed all of my people for her 1st birthday. So I wanted to give a feast to people like how we do in India. This made me to prepare Kasi Halwa for the first time. 

It is that I had never attempted to try out anything in the kitchen until my marriage got fixed. I never had bothered to know what goes into what? And to tell you one big thing, my mother is big delicious cook when it comes to sweet. Although she has made only the authentic sweets of our routine life, still never felt any other sweet as equal to that!  Esp., I always love her halwas and mysore pak.

And today is my star birthday, remembered this special sweet and felt mouth watering. Had the entire time for and I already knew this would take not more than an hour. I prepared it and loved the first taste of it. My kutti was little hesitant in the beginning to try (she tries to avoid all new foods), and to my surprise she enjoyed it quite a lot! And today alone I got more than 10 calls from sundar asking if the I have started to make halwa, if it is done, & so on. 

I am sure you will also would like to give a try! I bet you can do when you are rushing up to prepare a sweet!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sweet Potato Glow Spirals

Do you crave for Sweet potatoes? Then this is a yummy way to your dreamy Sweet potato rolls. The tender garlic with onion with the creamy hummus - infused bites of sweet potato deliciousness.

Spicy meets Sweet in this glowing spiral wrap.

Creamy garlic hummus, Cayenne and roasted red peppers. Rich in antioxidants like vitamin A, fiber, healthy fats and flavor! 

Perfect for a vitamin-A packed (lunchbox-perfect) lunch. Adding a creamy, savory hummus/sweet potato mash featuring Cayenne, garlic, roasted pepper and maple flavors.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Kashmiri Pulao

A fruity, nutty pulao which is colorful with a touch of saffron. This is such a fancy pulao from Northern Indian state of Kashmir.
This is loved by Sundar and Hasini in our home. And this became a happy Sunday meal.
I generally opt for a spicier versions of Pulao, but this is so great in its own style.
The natural flavor of the nuts with dry fruits & fresh fruits along with the aroma of the saffron milk, makes you to drool while you cook!

Basic Sponge Cake

I just wonder How many times I have baked this, since I started baking. I know, countless! And not penned the recipe here.
I have lots of sweet tooth at my home, anything sweet, just this Pound cake. Made these couple of days back for their cravings. Now, I realize, Baking isn't really that hard as long as you stick to measurements.
Sundar, likes to take them for his snack time :)

Poricha Kootu - Variety 2

This is yet another variety of Poricha Kootu. It is done on most of the function or on the special  days.
The peppercorns gives the nice aroma in the kootu. And it is a great variety in kootu during the winter time. Cold is switching between each of us in our home. So, all pepper dishes are going on. Today we had Pepper Rasam, pepper kootu with veggies for our rice.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Methi (Fenugreek) Dhal

Pulses and legumes are a natural source of plant protein that are high in complex carbohydrates and fiber, and extremely low in fat. They are used extensively in Indian cooking and form an important part of a vegetarian diet. Dried legumes and pulses are classified into three groups: beans, peas and lentils. They are eaten either whole or unhulled (with the skin still intact) or split in half with or without their skins.
Toor dhal also known as arhar dhal or split pigeon peas is one such pulse that is a pantry staple in most Indian kitchens. It is commonly used as the base for many of our South Indian preparations, the most common one in my home being Sambar.
My pantry is well stocked with a variety of dhals but toor dhal is the most-used one for sure. Dhal is cooked in different ways in different homes and no two dhal preparations from different kitchens or even the same kitchen for that matter, taste the same.
Here’s a very simple and tasty dhal from my kitchen made using toor dhal and fenugreek (methi) leaves. There are a number of versions of methi dhal in the blogosphere. And now here’s mine!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Brussels Sprouts Curry

“Brussels sprouts taste almost like cabbage and they have a pronounced and sweet nutty flavor”, said Martha, in one of the episodes on Martha Stewart Living daily show, back in the days. That’s all I needed to know before trying out this winter vegetable.

Almost 3 winters have gone by, and only now I'm exploring the seasonal vegetables.
I prepare Brussels sprouts just like cabbage curry: sliced thin, sauteed with onion and seasoned with green chillis and coconut. I also add some sort of beans, pre-soaked in water, like kala chana, chickpeas or dried green peas. If you have not already tried this vegetable, try it this way. I am sure, you are going to like it very much and thank me with a Christmas gift for this wonderful recipe. :)

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