Friday, July 27, 2012

Idli upma/Thalicha Idli/Mildly Spiced Idli crumbs

I don't make this as often as I would like to. Somehow I make idly upma only when my idlis are a few hours old and need to be finished. This is one of the yummy and preferred breakfast or snack at my place. Don't worry when your idlis are either hard or a day old, go ahead and try this. :)

Idli Upma


Serves - 2
Spice Level - Moderately Spicy
Prep time - 5 min
Cook time - 5 min

Idlis - 10
Onion - 1 , chopped finely
Curry leaves - 1 Sprig
Dry red chilli - 2
Mustard - 1 Tsp
Urad dal - 1 Tsp
Hing - 1/2 Tsp
Jeera/Cumin - 1 Tsp
Oil - 1 Tbsp
Salt - as per need.

How do you do it

Crumble the idlis completely using your hand or the food processor with a few quick pulses.Keep aside. Heat oil in a kadai. Add hing,mustard - let it splutter, add jeera, urad dal, let them roast to a brown. Break the red chillies and drop them into the kadai along with curry leaves. Toss in the chopped onions now and saute till they become translucent. Add the crumbled idli , little salt [ remember idlis already have salt in them, so be cautious] and wrap well with the tempering.Stir well for a couple of minutes and you are done.

Sprinkle some idli podi / gun powder on top while serving. Yum! :)

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Aglio Olio Pasta with Mushroom and Peas

This is probably one of the easiest pasta that can be made. Aglio Olio basically is wrapping up your favorite pasta in olive oil infused with chilli and garlic and is usually made with spaghetti. Unlike other pasta dishes that are sauce-heavy, here the spaghetti/pasta is the star of the dish.

I don't make Italian dishes much at home , not really fond of them either, but once in a while its a welcome change in my kitchen :). Me and S enjoyed this pasta with mango lemonade on a raining friday evening. :)

Aglio Olio Pasta


Adapted from noobcook

Serves - 2
Spice Level - Moderately spicy
Prep Time - 15 min
Cook time 10 min

Spaghetti - 150 gm  [or any other type of pasta that you like , I used whole wheat semolina durum spaghettini ]
Garlic cloves - 12 small, finely chopped
Fresh/Dry red chilli - 1, remove seeds and break into pieces
Red chilli Flakes - 1 Tsp
Parsley leaves - 3 Tbsp
Button Mushroom - 4 , chopped roughly
Peas - 1/4 cup boiled
Olive oil - 3 Tbsp
Salt as per need

How do you do it

First cook your spaghetti al-dente or as per packet instructions. What I did - Bring water to a rapid boil in a huge pot. Add 1 tsp salt in the water. Drop your spaghetti in and let it cook for 12 minutes in high flame. Drain the water and put the spaghetti under running cold water for a few secs and then spread on a plate and keep aside.

Heat olive oil in low flame. Add in chopped garlic , red chilli and 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes.Let the garlic get cooked completely - 4-5 min. Add in the mushroom and peas now and saute for a couple of minutes till the mushrooms gives that shiny look. Add about half he quantity of salt now and give it a stir. Now toss in the cooked spaghetti , remaining salt , parsley, 1/2 Tsp red chilli flakes and wrap well with the garlic-chilli infused olive oil. Stir for a couple of more minutes and switch off flame.

Serve this aglio olio pasta with your favorite chilled drink.


1. Make sure not to burn the garlic. Burnt garlic will ruin the entire dish. So if necessary, saute mushroom and peas separately in a Tsp of olive oil for a few minutes and then add that to the oil which is already infused with garlic and chilli and continue as per the above instructions.

2. Also remember we have already added 1 tsp salt when the pasta was cooking, so be careful when you add salt at later stages.

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Spicy Brinjal Roast | Brinjal Curry

Once in a while its okay to indulge and have roast type dishes that are cooked for a really long time and is slightly greasy but absolutely salivating and spicy. This brinjal roast made its appearance in my mom's kitchen a very long time back. We loved it, but it never showed up again because it took a lot of time, a considerable amount of oil and dint really belong in the healthy section.

All of a sudden I was reminded of this dish and wanted to make it. My mom vaguely remembered how it was done, so got the recipe over the phone and it was a winner - why wouldn't it be? spicy and roasted - those are two words i absolutely love when it comes to cooking. :) . So me and the Spicy roasted brinjal were re-united after a decade! ;).

Spicy Brinjal Roast 


Serves - 3
Spice Level - Quite Spicy
Prep Time - 15 min
Cook time - 45 min

Brinjal - 500 gm, chopped lengthwise in medium sized pieces
Onion - 2  Large chopped well
Tomato - 2  Large pureed
Curry/Masala powder - 5 Tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 Tsp
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 Tbsp
Cumin/Jeera - 1 Tbsp
Hing - 1/2 Tsp
Oil - 5 Tbsp
Salt - as per need

How do you make it

Heat oil in a kadai. Add hing and jeera - let it roast. Add the onions, ginger garlic paste and saute until the onions are done. Add the tomato puree now , little salt and turmeric, wait until the puree is cooked well. Add the curry powder now and saute until the raw smell of the curry powder vanishes. Now add the brinjal pieces and wrap well with the masala. Bring the flame to low. Close the kadai with a lid. Every few minutes , keep an eye on it and stir it well. The brinjals need to sit on low-medium flame for about 30-40 minutes, until you see the skin of the brinjal start to shrink, and you get a nice semi-dry gravy texture as seen in pic. In between the 30-40 min time frame, add the remaining salt too. Make sure to stir every now and then, to prevent the curry from burning. If it gets too dry in between, add a spoon or two of oil and wrap well and continue till the brinjals are completely roasted.

Serve along with curd rice or rotis. :) 

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Kovakai Kootu | Mildy spiced Ivy Gourd with lentils

Kovakai/Ivy gourd is not a favorite among many, S is no different. Its a very healthy veggie to take in and the only way I could hide its taste was to make a kootu :). If you belong to same category , try this kootu!. Its a very simple , healthy preparation and a really quick one. Me - I can eat this subji in many other preparations as well :).

Kovakai Kootu


Recipe Source - My Mom  ** She is great in tricking you into eating veggies you don't like :) **

Serves - 2
Spice Level - Not spicy
Prep Time - 10 min
Cook time  - 20 min

Ivy Gourd/Kovakai - 300 gm [ chopped into small pieces]
Moon dal - 1/4 cup
Small/Sambar Onion/Shallots - 3
Garlic cloves - 2
Curry leaves - 1 Sprig
Turmeric - 1/2 Tsp
Kuzhambu/Sambar powder - 1/2 Tsp
Jeera - 1 Tsp
Water - 2 cups

To Temper

Oil - 1 Tsp
Mustard - 1 Tsp
Hing - a pinch
Urad dal - 1/2 Tsp

Salt - as per need

How do you make it

Take a pressure cooker, dump all ingredients [except the "To Temper" and salt] and pressure cook for 15-20 minutes. Keep on high flame until the first whistle and then lower flame for the remaining time. Let the cooker cool down. Meanwhile heat 1 Tsp oil in a kadai. Add hing, mustard and urad dal and let them roast. Now open the pressure cooker. Heat the cooker again at low flame , add required salt and let the kootu come to a boil . Adjust consistency of kootu now. Add more water if needed, or if its still in a loose state, let it thicken. When you have the desired consistency, switch off flame and pour in the tempering and mix well.

Serve with rice and some spicy potato curry.


You can use the same recipe with snake gourd [Podalangai] too, it will be equally yum! :)

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Guide to super soft idlis | How to make soft idlis

Getting idli batter right at the first few attempts is quite difficult and I am sure all of us would agree to that. I have had my fair share of problem with idlis. :) . The first couple of times I dint get it right, I started buying batter from shops here which was okay for dosai's , but idli - I don't think so. In all of my 23 years, I had never once paid attention to how my Amma makes idli batter. I have a huge smile on my face as I am writing this - There were days when I ridiculed/joked/complained about the idlis my mom made , and as always pat came the reply "Let me see, how you make idlis when the time comes" ;)Don't mistake me here, her idlis were great, once in a while when it wasn't - I dint spare my mom from idli comments. Little did I know about the process of idli batter then. :)

A lot of things have gone wrong with my many attempts at this - wrong proportions of dal and rice, bad quality urad dal, not fermenting properly, hard idlis, softer-flatter than necessary idlis and many such things. Eventually after all those trails, I learnt how to get them perfect :). So here is me giving you a cheat sheet for making soft fluffy idlis.Its definitely longer than a cheat sheet  ;). This is the longest post I have ever written and probably would write.

Idli Batter


Whole Urad dal - 1 cup [Measure it flat on the cup]
Idli Rice - 5 cups - [Measure it flat on the cup]
Salt - 8 tsp
Water - as per need.

How do you do it

Rice-Dal ratio:

Wet grinder is the best appliance for making idli batter. Yes, you can use your food processor/mixie - but in my opinion , wet grinder is the best. So i strongly recommend buying a wet grinder if idli/dosai is staple food for you.

The usual ratio of Dal:Rice is 1:4. But this is not the thumb rule. It largely depends on the quality of dal you are using. The quantity of urad dal and the texture of ground urad dal are majorly responsible for the way the idlis turn out. Try using 1:5, if you feel the idlis turn out a little hard, make it 1:4. If you have used more urad dal than necessary, the idlis will turn out flat and way too soft than necessary and if you have used less dal than whats needed, you will end up with hard idlis.So try out different ratios and see what works for you.

Wash the rice well and keep aside. Also wash the dal and keep aside. While washing urad dal, be careful not to over-wash it. Just wash it once, that is enough. Over-washing urad dal will result in washing away the yeast content in it and hence deter the fermentation process.

Take two containers having the rice and dal. Soak the rice in water for 4-6 hours (not more),water level should be 1-2 inches above the rice. Urad dal needs to be soaked for about 45 minutes-1 hour (not more), again water level needs to be an inch above the dal.

Basic process of Grinding and Consistency of Batter

Add in the urad dal along with the soaked water into the grinder vessel, let it grind for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, add water maybe 1 cup and let it grind for another 10 minutes. You need to use a ladle and scrape the sides of the grinder vessel, and along the hinges of the grinder stone where the dal might get stuck 2-3 times. You might think the urad dal is ground well and its done in about 15-20 minutes, but do not stop after 20 minutes. Urad dal needs to grind for atleast 40-45 minutes to get that smooth and fluffy texture. So let it grind for 40 minutes, adding water little by little and also scraping the sides as and when necesary. You can see the texture of ground urad dal in the picture, the final ground dal needs to be of that consistency and texture. After grinding dal, transfer it to a big vessel.

Note: Make sure the urad dal is not watery, it should not take you more than 2 cups of water during the grinding process. If you add too much water, you will not get a fluffy texture and end up with not-so-good idlis.

Now add the soaked rice along with the water to the grinder vessel. Grind the rice for about 30-35 minutes. The texture of ground rice should be a little thinner than the dosa batter consistency. In the same way as before, keep scraping the sides of the vessel 2-3 times to make sure the rice is ground well. Along with the water already used for soaking the rice, you may need to add another 2 cups of water during the process. Once done, add this ground rice to the vessel where you had transferred the dal to. Add about 8 tsp salt now.

Now using your hand , mix the ground rice and dal thoroughly. You need to mix well for atleast 5 minutes to make sure that the dal and rice have been mixed properly. Add water if the batter is too tight. Be careful though, the consistency of this needs to be a litle more denser than dosa batter consistency. Once mixed well, as a finishing touch, beat the mixture with your fist 4-5 times. Thats it, we are pretty much done.

Note: Water quantity to be used while grinding, mentioned above is approximate. It depends on various things such quality of rice, dal and the amount of water you use to soak the rice, dal etc. So use your judgement to vary the amount to get the right texture.

Fermentation Process

Now we need to ferment this batter for about 8-10 hours. I have a really huge vessel and I ferment the entire mix at one go. You need to have a vessel where the batter occupies only 60% of the space, as after fermentation the batter will rise above ~ 25-30%. So use two vessels if needed. What my Amma does is that, she keeps half the batter inside the fridge immediately and ferments the rest. You could do that too and later ferment the other half when needed.

For fermentation, the optimum temperature is 30-32 deg C. If the temperature is below 30 deg C, it may take more than 10 hours to ferment, and if the temperature is > 32 deg C, and the batter stays out for > 8 hours, it will become sour. For me,it takes about 12 hours to ferment, after which i move the containers to the refregirator. If you are staying a cold place, the following should work.

1. Pre-heat oven for a few minutes and place the vessel inside the oven, close the oven door.
2. Turn on the oven light, keep the batter vessel inside and leave it closed.
3. If you dont have an oven, take warm water in a huge vessel and place the batter vessel inside the vessel containing warm water and leave it.

So once the batter has risen, move it to the fridge. This should stay good for about 10 days , its lasted me that much.

Note: I have used a steel vessel and as well as a tupperware box for the batter to ferment in, and both has worked well. But in any case, do not close the vessel with air-tight lid. Just close them with a normal plate during fermentation.

Do's and Dont's for Idli Batter preparation

1. Do not over-wash urad dal, you might wash away the yeast content.
2. Do not overstock urad dal. Buy 1 kg at a time, and use very good quality of urad dal.
3. Do mix the ground rice and dal thoroughly with your hand. It must be completely blended well together.
4. Do not forget to add salt during mixing, after fermentation is over, you should not disturb the batter, hence salt cannot be added later.
5. Make sure you get the ratio of dal:rice right and while grinding the texture of dal needs to be fluffy and smooth.

How to Make idlis

I use the traditional Idli chatti [vessel] with idli plate , a cloth on top of idli plate and steam idlis on it. You can use your way of making idlis - microwave vessel/ idli cooker/ idli vessel method.What I do is, fill the idli vessel with water upto 30% level, bring to boil, make sure steam comes out of the vessel. Place the idli plate lined with with cloth on top of the vessel as you can see the pics. Now take the batter out, beat the batter on top gently with the ladle to loosen it up, scoop one ladle full of batter and fill each idli hole. Close the idli vessel with the lid. Never mix the batter, just take the batter from the top. Steam for 7 minutes on high flame for the idlis to get done. Switch off flame and now take the idli plate and invert this on to another plate. Remove the inverted idli plate and cloth, transfer the idlis. Since I use the cloth method, the top of my idlis wont be flat, it will be a little textured as you can see in the picture. In the pressure cooker method, both bottom and top of the idlis will be smooth, which I am not fond of and hence always use the idli chatti way. :)

Note: If you notice a yellow layer on top of the batter after fermentation or when you take it out of the refrigerator to make the idlis, remove that layer and use the rest. Its okay.

Idli FAQ

Q. My Idlis turned out hard, what could be the reason?
A. The quantity of urad dal you had used must be less Or The consistency of the batter might have been too thick Or the fermentation process did not happen well.

Q. My idlis turned out flat and too soft
A. The quality of Urad dal was too good, so slightly reduce the quantity of dal next time. Or the batter consistency was too thin.

Q. Fermentation did not happen properly and batter did not rise well
A. You did not mix the rice and dal thoroughly. Or you washed the urad dal thoroughly.Or the temperature was not optimum for fermentation to take place.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Veg Cutlets

Most of my summer holidays during school time was spent in Salem with my cousins and grandparents.Taking the kovai express train from Chennai to Salem became a routine. The early morning busyness of Chennai central railway station smelling of fresh fish, ah how i used to crib about that smell, people pushing trolleys all over the place, my heart hoping I would get a window seat ;) - all those memories remain so fresh even now. The kovai express must be the most traveled route by far for me. I have exhausted that route so many times :).

You must be waiting for the connection between the kovai express and cutlets right? :P. One of the things i used to look forward to during these train journeys was the vegetable cutlets from their pantry. :). One of my all time favorite snack. I have wondered how these cutlets sold outside turned up so firm with a crunchy outer texture.Few of my cutlet making experiences went bad, and I gave up hopes until I recently landed on a winner recipe and I am going to share that with you now. I have used this method 3-4 times now, turns perfect each and every time. Though the process is time consuming, its worth every second :)

Veg Cutlets


Adapted from homecooksrecipe

Serves - Makes about 15-20 cutlets
Spice Level - Moderately Spicy
Prep Time - 2.5 hours
Cook time - 30 min

Potato - 3 medium sized , boiled and mashed completely
Beetroot - 1 small sized ,grated finely
Beans - 6 chopped finely
Carrot - 1 chopped finely
Green peas - fistful
Onion - 1 chopped finely

Oil - 1 tbsp
Saunf/ Fennel- 1 tsp
Jeera/Cumin - 1 Tsp
Hing/Asafoetida - a pinch
Green Chilli - 4 finely chopped
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp

Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Corn Flour - 1 tsp
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
Turmeric  - a pinch
Red Chilli/Curry powder - 1 Tsp
Coriander Leaves - 1 tbsp - finely chopped

Maida/All purpose flour - 1/4 cup mixed with water to form a thin paste to dip the cutlets in.
Brown Bread - 6 slices + 2 slices

salt - as per taste.

How to make it

1. Firstly boil the potatoes, drain the water used to cook the potatoes in if remaining, mash the potatoes completely and refrigerate for 1 hour minimum.

2. Toast the 6 brown bread slices to a dark brown shade and crumble them in your food processor / mixer to get bread crumbs

3. Make the maida paste and keep aside.

4. Boil all the vegetables to a mash-able extent - beetroot,carrot,beans,peas. Once boiled, drain the excess water and take the veggies. Make balls of these boiled veggies and squeeze out all the liquid from these veggies as much as possible. This step is very important as the water content needs to be as little as possible for the cutlets to shape up fine.

5. Heat oil in a kadai. Add hing, jeera and saunf - let them roast. Add in the chopped onions, green chilli,Ginger-garlic paste and saute till the onions are done. Add the turmeric powder, garam masala and coriander powder, chilli powder and saute well. Add the boiled veggies now and saute until you get a dry mixture with no moisture content.

5. Add mashed potato, coriander leaves and mix well with the veggies. Saute for a couple of minutes and switch of flame and let this cutlet mixture cool.

6. Dip the 2 bread slices in water, squeeze the water out of the bread and add bread pulp to the cutlet mixture. Add the corn flour and salt too now and mix well.

7.Pinch a lemon sized ball from the mixture and flatten into a round shape using your fingers.

8. Dip the cutlet first in maida mix quickly and and then in bread crumb mixture. The cutlet should be wrapped well with the bread crumbs as it forms the outer texture. Maida paste here acts as a bonding agent between the cutlet and bread crumb.

9. Do this for all cutlets, arrange on a plate , wrap with a cling film and refrigerate for minimum 30 minutes.You can store even overnight and thaw it for 30 minutes before frying.Before frying ,bring the cutlets to room temperature by keeping them out for 10 minutes.

10. Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a pan and deep fry the cutlets, till they turn into golden brown color in medium flame.

11. Remove the Cutlets on tissue paper, serve with tomato ketchup. Makes an awesome pair with a cup of steaming chai :)

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Beetroot Paruppu Usili/Beetroot-lentil crumbs stir fry

I have already blogged about the traditional beans usili here and I always stuck to using either beans or cabbage for paruppu usili. I am not very fond of beetroot due to its inherent sweetness , but Amma keeps reminding me to use it at least weekly once due to its high nutrition content. Over the past few months she has been asking me to use beetroot for this dish and I kept postponing it and wasn't very impressed about the idea - I was worried it might be a little sweet. So when she was in Mumbai , she made it for lunch one day and I must admit I was wrong, I enjoyed the dish thoroughly. It was an instant hit. The beetroot is grated finely and it gets blended well with the spiced lentil crumbs that the sweetness disappears and it tastes quite well.We added a carrot too along with beetroot :)

So Amma's target achieved - Giving me a  beetroot dish that I might be fond of. Ah, the things that Ammas' do for their kids however old they might be. :)

Beetroot Paruppu Usili

So follow the same recipe as the cabbage-beans-paruppu usili, but just use finely grated beetroot and grated carrot [1 Large beetroot + 1 carrot ] instead of the beans and cabbage.When you add the carrot and beetroot to the lentil crumbs in the kadai, saute well to make sure the rawness of the beetroot and carrot vanishes and they are cooked completely before switching off flame.

Serve with Rice and Rasam.

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Lobia [Black eyed Peas] Curry for Roti/Rice

I have been traveling often these past few months and that means returning home to an empty vegetable section in the refrigerator :). So these pulses are a blessing during those times.Lobia or Black eyed peas is a very healthy legume.One of the staple legumes used for making a curry as a side dish for roti in most north Indian households i believe.This is my first time cooking lobia and it was quite nice.

Lobia Curry


Adapted from Tarla Dalal

Serves - 4
Spice Level - Moderately Spicy
Prep time - 2 hours
Cook time - 15 min

Lobia/Black eyed beans - 1 cup
Onion - 1 sliced thinly
Green chilli -  3 slit length wise and cut in half
Ginger - 1 inch piece sliced thinly
Tomato - 1 cut into medium pieces
Cinnamon - 1 small stick
Cumin - 1 Tsp
Turmeric - 1 tsp
hing - a pinch
Mustard - 1/4 Tsp
Coriander powder - 1 Tbsp
Amchur powder  1 Tsp
Salt - as per taste
Oil - 2 Tbsp
Coriander leaves - 1/3 cup

How do you make it

Soak Lobia overnight or for 2-3 hours, pressure cook for 2-3 whistles. Make sure not to overcook the lobia.If you are soaking it overnight , maybe 1-2 whistles should be OK.

Heat oil in a kadai Add hing, mustard and cumin seeds,cinnamon stick, let them roast. Add chopped onion, ginger and green chili ,and saute well. Now add in turmeric powder,amchur and coriander powder and saute well till the raw smell of the masala powder vanishes. Now toss in the cooked lobia along with the water used to cook it in and the chopped tomato pieces and coriander leaves.Add more water if you need a loose curry. Let it boil at low flame for 5-10 minutes until all the flavors are blended well.

Serve with roti or have it with a bowl of steamed rice.

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Green Gram Sambar/ Pasi Payar Kuzhambu

Pasi Payar kuzhambu comes to my rescue when I run out of vegetables in my fridge :). This kuzhambu is very easy to make, healthy and tasty. Rice, Payar kuzhmabu and some potato chips make a quick and delicious lunch combination.

Pasi Payar Kuzhambu


 Serves - 4
 Spice Level - Moderately Spicy
 Prep time - 20 minutes
 Cook time - 15 minutes

Green Gram/Pasi Payar - 1 cup
Onion - 1 Large , chopped well
Tomato - 1 Large , chopped
Garlic cloves - 3
Kuzhambu powder/Sambar powder - 3 Tbsp
Turmeric - a pinch
Salt as per taste
Tamarind extract - extract from a lemon sized tamarind
Oil - 1 Tbsp
Mustard - 1 Tsp
Jeera - 1 tsp
Hing - a pinch
Curry leaves - 1 sprig


Wash the green gram well.Heat a kadai and add the washed green gram and dry roast it until you get the aroma of the green gram. Should take 2-3 minutes.Remove from flame and pressure cook for 15-20 minutes. Take care not to over cook the green gram.

Heat oil in a kadai. Add hing, mustard and jeera. Let them splutter.Add chopped onion, garlic and curry leaves. Saute till the onions are done. Add in the tomato,turmeric and half the quantity of salt. Saute till the tomatoes are soft and are mashed well.Now add in the sambar powder and saute till the raw smell of the powder vanishes. Add in the cooked green gram, stir well. Add 3 cups water, tamarind extract, remaining salt and let the kuzhmabu come to a boil. Simmer flame and let it get cooked for 10 more minutes until you get a thick kuzhmabu and all flavors come together.

Serve with rice and any chips of your choice for a great lunch.


1. While adding tamarind extract, be careful. I usually add half the quantity of tamarind , taste and add more if necessary. So adjust tamarind extract quantity accordingly.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Vegetable Clear soup

Its a gloomy and dreamy season here in Mumbai :). Showers everyday all throughout the day.So how about some hot soup for the romantic soul? ;)

Vegetable Clear Soup


Recipe source - Adapted from Tarla Dalal vegetable soup

Serves - 2
Spice Level - Not Spicy but flavorful
Prep Time - 10 minutes
Cook time - 15 minutes

Spring onions bulbs [white parts] - 3, sliced thinly
Spring onion green part - 1 Tbspn chopped well
carrot - 1 Finely chopped
Cauliflower - 3 florets finely chopped
Beans - 4 Finely Chopped
Cabbage - 2 Tbsp finely chopped
Salt - as per taste
Pepper - to season
Pizza Hut Italian Seasoning/Dry herb Italian seasoning - 1 packet/1Tbsp
Corn-flour - 2 Tspn mix with 2 Tbsp water and made into a paste.
Water - 4 cups
Olive oil - 1 Tbsp

How I made it

Heat olive oil in a kadai. Add the spring onions white part. Saute for a couple of  minute.Add all the finely chopped veggies except spring onion green part. Saute for 3 minutes.Add 4 cups of water and bring to boil.Simmer flame and let the veggies get half cooked in the water. Once the veggies are half cooked, add in salt , pepper , pizza hit Italian seasoning and the corn-flour paste and spring onion green part. Boil for 3 more minutes.Switch off flame.

Enjoy this hot vegetable clear soup sitting in your balcony drowning in the beauty of the monsoon showers. :)

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Chettinadu Vellai Paniyaram | 50th Post and counting

First up I am dedicating this post to my family. To the people who would just about do anything to see me happy.

Welcome to my 50th post. :) Yahoo! Finally!. When S started a sample blog for me, he never did think I would go beyond a few  posts. But to his surprise and mine, I have taken this seriously and have been dedicating enough time to contribute to this blog and I am loving it :). These days the crockery section in showrooms interest me more than the clothes/accessories section. ;)

I also thank the few food bloggers who visit my page regularly and leave comments.It feels good when fellow bloggers appreciate the work and it is good motivation for me to continue posting.Thanks a ton guys.

This being my 50th post I wanted it to be something special. So it has to be some kind of paniyaram , which is my absolute favorite. Vellai Paniyaram is a chettinadu delicacy made by deep frying the batter ---made by grinding urad dal and raw rice together. It is served as a savory item to satisfy your 4pm hunger cravings :). You can have this along with milagai chutney, Idli podi or just eat it plain . My mom was staying with me for  a good couple of weeks in Mumbai and it was super awesome.So we she made this for S and me in Mumbai.This recipe is a little tricky as you need to make adjustments after seeing how the paniyaram turns out and after a few trails , you will get the right mix for the paniyaram batter.

Vellai paniyaram


Recipe Source - My mom

Serves - Makes about 20 Paniyarams
Prep Time - 2.5 hours
Cook time - 1 hr

Raw Rice - 1 cup [not heaped , measure it flat on the cup]
Urad dal -  1/4 cup or a fistful of dal. [Oru pudi]
Salt - to taste
Oil - for deep frying

For Adjustments

Milk - as per need [max 1/4 cup needed]
Idli Batter - as per need [max 1/3 cup needed]


Soak the rice and dal together in water for 2 hours and not more. Drain the water from the soaked rice-dal and keep aside and use little by little for grinding. Grind the dal and rice together in your mixer to a smooth paste, the consistency of the batter should neither be as thick as idli batter nor as thin as dosa batter. The consistency needs to be in between the two. So while grinding, be careful of the amount of water your are adding.

Add salt to the ground batter and keep aside.

Heat oil in a flat kadai. The temperature of the oil must be medium, so that the paniyaram gets cooked inside as well.Take a small ladle full of batter and drop it into oil. The paniyaram will puff up and come above in a few seconds. Within a minute turn it upside down and allow it to cook for 1 more minute and remove it from oil.Drain on tissue paper.It shouldn't take more than a minute or 2 to get the paniyaram done.The paniyarams will be a little thick in the middle and thin around the edges.

Now taste the paniyaram. The correct texture of these paniyarams are such that they are slightly thick in the middle. If you feel that it is too thick, then add about 2 tbsp of milk, on the other hand if you feel that it is not soft enough then add 4-5 tbsp of idli batter. After making the adjustments, try making the paniyarams again. Repeat the process until you reach the correct thickness and softness.

With the above measurements of rice and dal, we had to add milk + idli batter 3 times.So make the paniyaram one by one, taste it, add milk [2 Tbsp] and idli batter [4-5 Tbsp]  each at a time, and stop when you think the density and softness of the paniyaram is apt. Then you can continue making the rest of the paniyarams with the proper batter.

Serve warm with milagai chutney


1. Recipes of idli batter and dosa batter will soon be up. :)

2.  If you are worried batter might become runny after addition of milk only since you feel the paniyaram is thick, then add idli batter to correct the consistency. With the above measurements i had to add idli batter and milk , 3 times, so my batter was of the right consistency.

3. Do not add more than 1/4 cup urad dal. If you add more urad dal, the paniyarams will drink oil and you may have to add rice flour to correct it.

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