Sunday, 30 September 2007


Pongal is one of the easiest tiffin item prepared in Tamilnadu. Almost all the restaurants in Tamilnadu will have this listed (Ofcourse next to Idli and Dosa).
Pongal-vada is the most common combo.

Pongal in tamil means 'Boiling and rising'. Venn Pongal refers to Kara pongal and so called Venn pongal due to its color (Venn - White).

I always have the habit of keeping the pepper aside from pongal. So my mom used to grind it and mix with it. But then adding whole pepper renders a different taste compared to pepper powder.

It is best done using pressure cooker (easy and less time consuming), but be careful while using pressure cooker. I had a bad experience with it...I have a very small cooker which I use only for cooking dhal. I cook dhal directly without using any vessel. Once I added more dhal and water (forgot to add oil), the dhal got stuck in the steam nozzle and the boiled dhal started pouring out through the valve (just like a fountain). I turned off the stove and just ran out of the kitchen.
It was pouring out for 5 mins (spoiled my cooker hood) and then stopped. Luckily nothing serious. Cleaning the kitchen took whole of my time and we opted for 'Take away' that day.

And I happened to read safety tips about using pressure cooker in Asha's Foodies Hope on the same day. What a coincidence !

Do read the Safety tips posted by Jyothsna's Curry bazaar when you get time.
Thanks Asha and Jyothsna.
Always use a vessel with a lid while using Pressure cooker.

I was not comfortable to touch my cooker for next two days, that is the reason for not having used cooker while preparing Pongal (in this post).
I used Basmati rice instead of the usual raw rice just to check how it tastes. It did taste well.


Raw Rice - 1 cup
Moong Dhal - 1 cup
Water 6 - Cups
Ginger - 1 Inch
Black pepper - 2 Tsps
Cashew nuts 10 - 15
Curry leaves - Few

Cumin Seeds - 1 Tsp
Ghee - 4 Tsps
Salt - As required

  1. Wash rice and moong dhal.Drain the water.
  2. Heat 2 Tsps of Ghee in a pan.Fry the rice and moong dhal .
  3. Add water and salt. Allow it to cook. You can check the consistency inbetween. (You could alternatively use cooker to cook - leave 4 whistles)
  4. Chop ginger into small pieces.
  5. Once the rice and dhal gets cooked, heat 2 Tsps of Ghee, fry peppers, chopped ginger, cumin seeds and curry leaves.
  6. Add this to the cooked rice and dhal and mix well.
  7. Pongal is ready. Serve hot with coconut chutney.

This is my entry for RCI-Tamil hosted by Viji

I am sending this a week after the deadline...hope she accepts it..

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Amla Pickle

Thanks to all of you who dropped in your concerns. I was really overwhelmed with happiness when I read the comments expressing your concerns. It really makes a lot of difference when you know there is someone to check on you especially when you are ill. Thank you so much.

My apologies for the late (I know it is very late) reply. I am having a tough time balancing things. I couldn't do any better. Hope you all understand.

Lets go to the Recipe.

Amla Pickle or in other terms Indian Gooseberry pickle.
In tamil we call it Nellikkaai.

Amla is very rich in Vitamin C and it is considered to have more vitamin content when compared to Apple (1 Amla = 2 Apples)

Amla always reminds me of my grandma's home. There used to be a Amla tree behind my grandma's home and Yes.. fresh fruits to us !!!.
My mom's amla pickle is a simple but a tasty one.

I always prefer to prepare pickle in small quantity for two reasons.
1)Need not have to add more preservatives (or more oil) if consumed within short period.
2. Gives me a chance to make another variety of pickle.

Amla - 15
Mustard Seeds - 2 Tsps
Fenugreek - 1/4 Tsp
Curry Leaves - Few
Red chilli powder - 2 Tsps
Salt - As Required
Oil - 1 Small cup
Turmeric - 1/4 Tsp

  1. Wash amla and wipe with a paper towel.
  2. Cut into small pieces along the mark.
  3. Dry fry Mustard seeds, Curry leaves and Fenugreek. Grind them into coarse powder.
  4. Heat oil in a pan (I generally add less oil. If you look at the picture you could see oil until just half the portion. I give it a shake once in two days so that the oil spreads evenly).
  5. Add turmeric powder. Add the cut amla pieces.
  6. Allow it to cook in the oil.
  7. Once it is cooked (should not take more than 5 mins if the oil is hot), add chilli powder, salt and the coarse powder. Mix well.
  8. Switch of the stove. Allow it to cool. Transfer it to an air-tight container (do not pack it tightly).
  9. Hot pickle is ready!
Nutritional Facts:
[Source Wiki]
  • Amla fruit is a rasayana tonic that promotes longevity, and is especially good for the heart.
  • It strengthen the lungs, helping to fight chronic lung problems as well as upper respiratory infections.
  • Good source of Vitamin C
  • Apart from this it also contains tannins; a reason why even dried form retains most of the vitamin content.
I am sending this to WTSIM... savoury preserve hosted by The Passionate Cook.Thanks to Suganya for the suggestion.

Sorry Prema, I could not make it for the Think Spice ..Think Mustard. (crossed the deadline) event.

Monday, 3 September 2007


I am back after a long break...yeah I had to.

I had a guest at home. My most hated guest, who kept me away from cooking. Wondering who? Fever :( I was sick for few days and had to balance with my work and home as well. Now back to normal routine life. I really need sometime to visit all my fellow bloggers. I did miss the great time.

Now a favourite one.

Bisibelabath is a famous dish in Karnataka. I am a bisibelabath freak. I am sure anyone who had tried it would definitely love to have it. While in India, whenever I go to a restaurant this is the default rice dish I order.

My sister had been to Bangalore for her project work few years ago. She stayed as a paying guest in a house. The aunty who stayed in there used to make this delicious dish. Here is her recipe slightly tweaked to my taste.

Rice - 3 Cups
Toor Dhal - 2 cups ( I sometime use Masoor Dhal too)
Small Onion - 1 Cup

Potato - 1 Cup (cut into small pieces)
Peas - 1 Cup
Beans (Cut into 2") - 1 Cup
Carrot (Cut into 2") - 1 Cup
Tomatoes(Large) - 2 Nos
Tamarind Juice - 1/4 Cup (or tamarind paste 1 Tsp as per your taste)
Red chilli powder - 3 Tsp
Salt As Required
Ghee - 3 Tbsp
Oil- 4 Tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 Tsp

For Masala:
Coriander seeds - 4 tsp
Fenugreek - 1/4 tsp
Cinnamon - 1"
Cloves - 3 nos
Cardamom 1 no
Dry red chilli - 6
Pepper - 10 corns
Gram dhal - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - few
Grated coconut 6 Tsp ( I prefer dry coconut)


  1. Dry roast the masala ingredients and grind it to coarse powder.
  2. Cook toor dhal with turmeric powder and keep it aside.
  3. Cook rice.
  4. Heat oil in a pan. Add 1 tsp of masala powder, onion, beans, carrot and potato, tomato and fry for sometime (until the vegetables are cooked).
  5. Add cooked dhal, tamarind juice, masala powder, salt and red chilli powder.
  6. Add some water and allow it to boil for sometime.
  7. Keep it aside. (I generally refrigerate it and take it just before serving)
  8. Just before serving, add the cooked rice to the above gravy and allow it to cook for 5 mins (so that the gravy mixes well with the rice).
  9. Garnish with Coriander leaves, ghee and coconut before serving.
  10. Enjoy the delicious dish. Goes well with papadam.

This is my entry to RCI-Karnataka hosted by Asha

Thanks to all those who pointed out this.


I have been given Rockin' Girl Blogger award by
Roopa of Recipe of Choice

and Zlamushka of Spicy Kitchen

and Power of Schmooze award by Srivalli of

Cooking 4 all seasons.

Thanks Girls !!! I am really privileged. It is really motivating when you receive such awards.

I would like to pass it on to all my fellow bloggers. I am sure most of you would have already received it. But to my satisfaction...

I pass on Rockin' Girl Blogger award to

Sharmi's Neivedyam
Shilpa's Aayis Recipes
The Yum Blog
Raaga's The Singing Chef
Sia's Spice Corner
Prema's Cookbook
Richa's As Dear As Salt
Roopa's Recipe of Choice
Saju's Chachi's Kitchen
Seema's Recipe Junction
Jeena's Kitchen
Mala's Nalapaka
Kajal's Kajaldreams
Srivalli's Cooking 4 all seasons
Suma Gandlur's Veggie platter
Swapna Susaralas Kitchen
Taste of Mysore
Zlamushka's Spicy Kitchen

And Power of Schmooze award to

Asha's Foodies Hope
Archana's Luv 2 eat hate 2 cook
Coffee's The Spice Cafe
Dee's Ammalu's Kitchen
Jyothi's Andhraspicy
Jyothna's Curry bazaar
Lia's Spices Corner
Laavanya's Cookery Corner
Suganya's Tasty Palettes
TBC's The Budding Cook
Tee's Bhaatukli
Usha's Samayal Ulagam
Viji's Vcuisine

I really didn't want to miss anyone here. Each one have their unique way of presenting recipes. You ALL Deserve it.