Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rice Noodles-Sevai

If you think that you just don't have the ingredients for preparing any decent dish when guests arrive unexpectedly,then, this recipe comes in handy. You just need to have a packet of ready-made rice noodles at home and this dish is ready in 15 minutes flat. How would you like that for a quick and delicious dish? 

It's so simple to make except that you should concentrate on only one thing. Time. The noodles should be kept immersed in hot water for exactly 5 minutes and no more. I think the instructions on the pack say that you need to soak the noodles for 3 to 5 minutes. But I removed the noodles after 5 minutes and the dish turned out really well.

The half kilo pack makes noodles for 8 people. Here is the simplest breakfast recipe for you.

Ready made rice noodles             1/4 kg

Mustard seeds                                 1 tsp.

Urad dal                                             1 tsp.

Chana dal                                          1 tsp.

Fried gram                                         1 tsp.

Peanuts                                             8 to 10

cashewnuts (optional)                    a few

Green chilli                                       1 

Red chilli                                           1 

Salt                                                    1 to 1 1/2 tsp or as per taste

Hing                                                   1/2 tsp.

Cooking oil                                       4 tbsp.                      


In a vessel, boil water enough to immerse the noodles. 

Pour boiling water over the noodles in another vessel. 

Keep it covered for exactly 5 minutes. 

Drain the water completely and spread on a flat plate for about  5 minutes.

In the meanwhile, to a pan of hot oil, add the seasoning ingredients --mustard, urad dal, chana dal, fried gram, hing, red chilli -- one after the other adding the green chilli and curry leaves last.

Add salt to the seasoning and mix well. 

Add the seasoning to the spread out noodles on the plate and mix well.

Alternatively, empty the noodles from the plate on to the pan and mix on the stove on a low flame for 1 or 2 minutes.  

I really don't do the last step but if you want the dish to be hot, mixing this way is the only solution. I would suggest a simple mixing of the seasoning and the noodles and heating in the microwave for a minute or two.

Fry peanuts and/or cashew nuts in a little oil or ghee and garnish. You'll realize how simple it is only after you try preparing it. 

Serve with coconut chutney.

Friday, July 30, 2010


Milk              500 ml.

Thick curd       3 tbsp.

Boil milk in a pan.

Let it boil.

Add  curd and continue boiling in medium heat. Milk will curdle.

Pour the curdled mixture onto  a  sieve or even a tea strainer and let it stand for a while.

Alternatively, tie the paneer in a thin cloth and hang it in a dry place.

Remove paneer from cloth/strainer and squeeze excess liquid.

Use this paneer for various recipes.

Palak Paneer


Spinach         1 bunch

Onions             2

Tomatoes        2

Green chillies     2

Ginger garlic paste      2 tsp. OR ginger- a small piece and garlic  3 pods

Salt                    1 - 1 1 /2 tsp.


Turmeric powder        1/2 tsp.

Cumin (Jeera)  powder           1/2 tsp.

Coriander powder     1 tsp.

Garam masala            1 tsp.

Asafoetida                   1/2 tsp.

Paneer           500 ml milk curdled

Cooking oil               2  - 3 tbsp.

Milk                     1/2 cup (optional)

Clean spinach leaves well and boil it with turmeric powder in 2 cups of water.

This cooks very fast, so remove from heat within 3 - 4 minutes.

Remove the spinach (leaving the water aside) onto a blender.

Grind ginger, garlic, green chillies, tomatoes, cilantro, asafoetida, cumin powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder into a smooth paste. 

Don't worry if it's a little watery. It's perfectly alright.

Fry finely chopped onions in oil till they are transparent.

Add the ground spinach paste and stir well. 

Let it boil for 5 minutes on medium heat.

If you think the mixture is thick, add a little milk and mix well.

Add salt and paneer.

Let it boil for a few minutes more and remove.

Serve hot with chapathi or poori. 

Serves 3 people.


Onion Carrot Chutney

Onion                                                      1

Small carrot                                          1/2

Green bell pepper (Capsicum)      1/4

Green chillies                                     1 or 1 1/2

Fresh coconut                                   1/2

Salt                                                        1 tsp. or as necessary

Oil                                                         2 tbsp.

For seasoning:

Oil                                                        1 tsp.

Mustard                                              1/2 tsp.

Fried gram                                         1 tsp.

Curry leaves                                      a few

In a pan fry chopped onion.

when it turns pink, add finely chopped carrot and bell pepper.

Fry well till they become soft.

Grind in a blender along with coconut, chillies and salt.

Season with mustard, fried gram and curry leaves.

Goes well with  Idli Dosa , Sevai, Kichadi and Upma.


Use only onion and carrot or onion and bell pepper, tastes equally good. A combination of all the three also makes a tasty chutney.


Instant Dosa - 1

Although this is called instant dosa, it takes a minimum of two hours for the dough to set before you can make the dosas. If you mix the flours and keep the mixture overnight, you'll get better tasting (crisper) and easy-to-make dosas. 

Some people dislike the taste of mint in dosa. You can avoid it in such cases. I like to add mint to almost any recipe because of its nutritive value. The rest is your own creativity, you can try many variations according to your taste.

Wheat flour                     1 cup

Rice flour                         1/2  cup

Water                                2 to 2 1/2 cups

Salt                                    1 tsp.

Onion                                1

Green chillies                   2

chopped Mint leaves (optional)      a handful

chopped Coriander leaves              2 tsp.

Mix wheat and rice flours with salt and 2 cups of water to make dosa batter of pouring consistency. 

Take care to remove lumps by mixing well. This takes a little time and patience.

Add more water if necessary to get the right consistency.

Leave covered for at least an hour. The longer you let it stay, the better is the dosa texture.

Chop onions, green chillies and mint and coriander leaves finely and add to the batter. The batter should be almost watery.

Heat a dosa pan and make dosas by pouring the batter in circles starting from the outside and filling the inside.

Do not spread. The heat should be slightly high.

Pour a teaspoon of oil around the dosa and turn in half a minute. It cooks very fast.

Let it cook for another half minute, then remove.

Slightly high heat gives the dosa a nice brown colour.

Goes very well with Onion Tomato Chutney or Coconut Chutney


Grind 1 tomato and cilantro leaves and add to the batter. This gives it a lovely taste.

You can grind curry leaves(just a few), cilantro and/or mint leaves and add to dosa batter.


Vegetable Kurma

Onion        1

Carrots       2

French Beans      10

Potatoes                 2 small

Green peas (fresh or frozen)        1/2 cup

Green bell pepper (capsicum)        1 medium

Milk                                 1/2 cup

Cooking oil                        2 to 3 tbsp.

Wheat flour                        2 to 3 tsp.

Finely chopped Cilantro       3 tsp.               

To be ground to a smooth paste:

Green chillies                                   2

 Tomatoes                                         2

Ginger                             small piece

Garlic                                 5 big pods or 2 tsp of ginger garlic paste

Aniseeds (saunf)                        1 tsp

Khus Khus                                   1 tsp.

Coriander seeds                         1 tsp.

Cumin seeds                               1/4 tsp. OR coriander cumin powder-1 heaped tsp.(2 parts coriander seeds and 1 part cumin seeds lightly                                                                          roasted and powdered). 

Garam masala                             1 tsp.

Red chilli powder                         1/2 tsp.

Fresh coconut scrapings                2 tbsp. (optional)

Cut all the vegetables lengthwise into finger-sized pieces. 

Boil vegetables in  just enough water(1 to 1 1/2 cups) and milk.

Grind together all the dry ingredients with tomatoes and coconut along with ginger and garlic.

Chop onions lengthwise and fry in oil till they turn pink.

Add the ground paste to the onion and fry till the raw smell leaves. If the mixture is very thick add some more milk and let boil.

Now mix in the cooked vegetables along with the water, add salt and let it boil for a few minutes.

Make a slightly watery paste with wheat flour and water.

Once the kurma boils say for about 5 minutes, add the paste and keep stirring as you add it to avoid lumps forming.

After a few more minutes of boiling with the lid on, remove from heat. Serve hot with chapathi, poori, idiyaappam and aappam.

Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Cilantro can be added to the ingredients to be ground. This gives it a different flavor. 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Welcome to my wonderful world of cooking

 As a first timer, I used to find it difficult to get a recipe right. With practice and a lot of experimenting, I found that there was a great cook in me. If I could do it, why not you? I'm dedicating the contents of this blog to beginners/first-timers in cooking. Of course,  experienced cooks may also find a recipe or two new and interesting. No harm in trying out a simple yet innovative recipe, right? Let's get started then friends!! I earnestly believe that you would find this humble beginning of mine useful. Please do give me a feedback, so that I can make changes wherever necessary. Happy Cooking!!!!!!!!!!!  


Tomato Chutney

The making of this chutney was by a strange coincidence. I prepared vegetable raitha with onions, tomatoes, cucumber and carrot to go with Vegetable Biriyani. For this I  deseeded the tomatoes for the salad to be crispy. I did not know what to do with the seeded portion- did not have the heart to throw it away, (if I hadn't thought of a recipe I would have simply consumed them-after all tomato is full of vitamin C!!!). I thought, why not try making a chutney with the tomatoes. When it turned out well, I tried it once again with whole tomatoes, and here goes the recipe: 

Small tomatoes                   4

Chilli powder                      1  tsp.

Dhania Powder                    1/2 tsp.

Jeera powder                      1/4 tsp.

Hing (asafoetida)                1/2 tsp.

Salt                                        1 1/2 tsp.

Sambar powder                    1/2 tsp.

Cilantro (optional)                a little

Mustard and curry leaves for seasoning.


Grind tomatoes with all the powders including salt and cilantro to a fine paste.
No need to add water while blending.

You can add a little water at the end and mix well with the paste. Check spiciness of the paste. If you want it to be spicier, add 1/2 tsp. of chilli powder. 

To 2 tsp. oil (if you don't mind consuming more oil, then you can add 3 tsp.-the more the oil, the tastier the dish and less healthier of course) in a pan.

add a little mustard, hing and curry leaves, then the tomato paste and fry well till the raw smell goes.

A very easy-to-prepare chutney and a very tasty one too.Goes well with  Idli, dosa and upma.


Grind a handful of mint leaves with the tomatoes and you have a  tastier chutney.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Onion Tomato Chutney

Onions                  2

Tomatoes              2

Red Chilli powder       1 tsp.

Mustard                        1/4 tsp.

Urad dal                         1 tsp.

Ginger                           a small piece

Salt                          1 tsp.

Cilantro                    a little

Oil                             1 tbsp.

Add mustard and urad dal to hot oil in a pan.

Add chopped onion and fry till it turns pink and transparent.

Add chopped tomatoes, red chilli powder and fry till soft and pulpy.

Let it cool. Grind with ginger, salt and cilantro leaves. 

Serve with Idli, Dosa, Pongal and Upma.

Coconut Chutney


People prepare this chutney in different ways. So it is up to you to make your own variations after trying this basic recipe. Some people add tamarind to coconut chutney, but I don't add because, in my personal opinion, it is better to avoid tamarind as much as possible from your diet. Now let's see what you need to make this delicious chutney.

Fresh Coconut            1/2

Green chillies             2

Ginger (optional)        a small piece

Fried gram (pottu kadalai)   1 1/2 tbsp.

Mustard                       1/4 tsp.

Oil for seasoning        1 tsp.

Curry leaves               1 sprig

Salt                               1/2 - 3/4 tsp or as necessary

Grind coconut with green chillies, 1 tbsp. fried gram, ginger and salt.

You can use the coconut water to grind the ingredients.

Season with mustard, 1/2 tsp. fried gram and curry leaves.

Add to the chutney.

Goes well with Idli, Rava Idli, Dosa, Pongal and Upma.

Rava Idli

In my attempt at making this idli which is the simplest recipe I've tried so far, I learned that you should try your own variations from what people actually tell you to do. My mother used to fry semolina after seasoning which I avoided in my recipe. It turned out not only simpler but made no difference in taste. It tasted very good actually. This is a dish you can churn out in no time, especially when you have unexpected guests. Why don't you try it and let me know how it turned out?

Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time        10 minutes
You'll need the following ingredients for preparing Rava Idli:

Semolina (Rava)        1 cup

Curd        1 to 1 1/2 cups

Salt            1 tsp

Green chillies       1

Small Carrot      1(optional)

Baking powder   1/2 tsp

Ghee                   2 tsp

Oil                      2 tsp

For seasoning:

Mustard 1/2 tsp.

Urad dal 1/2 tsp.

Chana dal 1/2 tsp

Fried Gram 1/2 tsp.

Curry leaves       a few

For garnishing:

Cashewnuts         a few

Cilantro               2 tsp finely chopped

Grate carrots and set aside. To a deep bottomed pan, add 2 tsp ghee and 2 tsp oil. Add mustard and when it crackles, add the dals and the fried gram one after the other. Add curry leaves. Fry finely chopped green chillies for a  minute. Remove from heat.

In a vessel mix semolina (Rava) and curds till it is of idli batter consistency. Add baking powder and then the seasoning. Mix in salt. If you think the batter is very thick, add a little more curd. Add fried cashew pieces and cilantro. Mix in grated carrot last and immediately pour into greased idli moulds and cook in pressure cooker for 10 to 12 minutes. 
Alternatively, place a little grated carrot in the mould and then pour the batter over it. This way the idlis look colorful and attractive.

Serve with coconut chutney, Onion tomato chutney and /or Sambar.This recipe makes 6 fluffy idlis.