Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ulli Theeyal/ Tangy pearl Onion and coconut curry

"Ulli" means onion and "Theeyal" means burnt in malayalm. The literal translation of ulli theeyal is burnt onion curry.
The funny thing is it's not the onions that are burnt, but the coconut that is toasted till it's almost burnt. The toasted cocnut releases all the oils and gives immense flavors combinedwith onions. Theeyal is a ver traditional kerala side dish. the onions can be replaced with eggplant, cheena, chakka anything you wish!

The only time consuming part is peeling the small onions. If you have frozen ones, go for it.

Get ready

  • 1 cup pearl onions peeled and cut it half
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 cup plus 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • few curry leaves

To roast & grind

  • 1/3 cup grated coconut
  • 2 medium sized red chilli ( more if you like heat)
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp dhania powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • pinch of asafetida

  • In a pan, add a tsp of oil and add the grated coconut.

  • Fry constantly stirring till it becomes brown like this. keep heat on medium taking care not to blacken the coconut. you'll have a nice aroma of roasted coconut/

See how brown the roasted coconut with onions etc is!
  • Add the fenugreek, redchilli, a couple of pearl onions, dhania powder, red chilli powder, a pinch of asafetida and fry for few seconds. Don't add these spices before browning the coconut as these may burn quickly and leave a bitter taste.
  • Turn the heat off and let it cool.
  • Once cooled , grind the roasted masala with 1/3 cup pf water to a smooth paste. set aside.
  • In another pan, add 1 tsp of oil. once hot , add the mustard seeds and let them pop. add the curry leaves, rest of the pearl onions and saute till the onions are golden.
  • Add 1 cup of water, 1 tbsp of tamarind, salt to taste and let it boil till the onions are soft.
  • Add the ground masala and a little bit of water if needed and adjust salt.
  • Turn the heat off once it comes to a boil.

Serve hot with steaming rice, ghee or idli, dosas.

I made this for lunch with potato curry and it was so good!



Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Broccoli RITZ casserole

I tasted this dish in one of our work picnics. It was cheesy, and creamy and sure enough my son liked it. Instead of bread crumbs RITZ crackers are used for the crumbly topping. Ritz crachers are buttery, melt in your mouth cookies similar to monacco biscuits back home.
Any cheese that melt well will work here. I used velveeta which is what the original recipe calls for. I am not a big cheese but this dish will please the cheese lovers. I used the whole sleeve of ritz, which had 36 crackers. I guess you can use only 3/4th of it and save some for tea:))

Get ready:

  • 2 cup broccoli florets steamed with a little salt.
  • 1 cup velveeta cheese cubed
  • 1 packet RITZ crackers
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 tsp chilli  powder/ milagapodi


  • Crush the crackers in azip lock bag and keep aside
  • Preheat oven to350 F
  • In a caserrole grease the bottom.
  • add broccoli and spread it evenly. sprinkle milaga podi on top of broccoli according to taste
  • layer the top of broccoli with cheese and then crackers
  • add melted butter on top of the above 2 and bake for 20 mins till the cheese melts.
  • In you are making a big batch, repeat the layers and bake.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Chocolate Chip Muffins

It has been a week since I was in the kitchen. We had our kitchen floor sanded and polished and it looks all new and shiny. We were out of bounds from the kitchen and were able to get in there yesterday. I wanted to have fun this morning and whipped up these muffins. My 11 yr old helper totally enjoyed making these, trust me theu are so simple and the taste was unbelievable.

The hint of cinnamon in these muffins made the whole house smell so wonderful. I 've tried many different recipes for chocolate chip muffins, but let me tell you these are the best, bestest!

Try for yourself and don't forget to see the smile on your loved ones face.

Get ready  ( yields 12 muffins, recipe can be easily halved)

  • 2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 tbsp plain yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 cup chocolate chip morsels

  • Preheat oven to 375F. use muffin liners or greae your muffin pan
  • Whist all the dry ingredients and util well combined.
  • Add 1 tbsp of the dry ingredient to the chocolate chips and mix them well. this helps in the chips not to sink at the bottom of the muffin.
  • Combine all the wet ingredients and whisk till creamy.
  • Fold thedry onto the wet, making sure you don't over do it.
  • Add the flour coated choc chips.
  • Fill the muffin pans 2/3rd and bake till a tooth pin comes clean for about 20 - 25 mins.
Let them cool on awire rack for about 15 mins and enjoy!

Nothing fancy in these muffins, but they are the best in taste!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cuke Poha salad

This is a very easy breezy cucumber salad recipe that my aunt used to make. Adding poha to the salad was very new to me. I tasted this many years ago and wanted to make it so badly now. My dear aunt now is old and lives in a senior facility. She used to be an excellent cook, but now she is  unable to cook a single meal. I dedicate this salad to her and her excellent cooking skills.

Get ready:
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled and small diced
  • 1/3 cup poha
  • 1/3 cup unsalted peanuts coarsely ground
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1tbsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp coconut
  • chopped cilantro

  • Add the cucumber, poha, a little salt and mix well. let it sit for 15 mins so the poha will absorb all the water from the cucumber.
  • Add the crushed peanuts, chilli, ginger, grated coconut, salt, sugar, lime juice, cilantro.
  • Toss them all and serve.

Tastes good when served fresh.
sending this salad to bookmarked-recipes

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Quinoa Lettuce Wraps

I was inspired by vegeterian lettuce wraps  to make my version of lettuce wraps. I have'nt tasted them before, But, i do have cooked with quinoa. I like it's nutty taste and texture and the best thing is it's pretty healthy too.

You can check out my quinoa-khichdi and quinoa-herb-salad here.

The things use need for these wraps are pretty simple and very easy to put together too.
I am so sorry for my pathetic picture, but don't be tricked by the looks. It tastes really really good! My husband is out of town and I made this just for me for lunch.

Get ready: serves 1

  • 1/3 cupQuinoa
  • 1/3 cup balck beans cooked/ can one
  • 1/3 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 green chilli slit
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2/3 cup water
  • cilantro, grated carrots ( optional)
  • olive oil 1 tbsp
  • salt to taste.

Lettuce leaves a bunch.


  • Wash and soak the quinoa for 10 -15 mins.
  • In a pan, heat the oil and fry the onions till translucent.
  • Add the chilli and saute for few seconds
  • Add the black beans, corn and mix well.
  • Add the washed quinoa, 2/3 cup water, cumin powder ,salt to taste and mix well.
  • Reduce athe heat and  simmer till the quinoa gets soft and cooked. takes about 15 mins.
  • Keep the fire on low and stir inbetween so that it does not stick to the bottom.

Turn the heat off.
garnish with cilantro, grated carrots.

To serve, separate the large lettuce leaves, wash.
Place the quinoa black beans mix in the lettuce, roll it like a wrap and indulge...

Thanks mriganayani for the inspiration!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Asparagus Paruppu Usili / Asparagus with Crumbled Lentils

Here I am with another traditional south indian dish, except with a very unconventional south indian vegetable. Paruppu Usili  is a side dish  generally made with beans, cluster beans, or plantain flower mixed with a crumbled toor dal,channa dal mixture. It is usually made on special occasions or on weekends  as in my household as it takes a little time to do it. I've used asparagus instead of the beans.

Asparagus was on sale and why not use it!

Get ready:

  • 1 bunch asparagus ( tender ones preferred)
  • 3 tbsp toor dal
  • 1 -2 red chilli
  • 1/4 tsp asafetida
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seed
  • 1/2 tsp urad dal
  • few curry leaves
  • salt to tatse

  • wash the asparagus and chop them like beans. discard the tough stalks.
  • steam this asparagus in a pan or microwave with little salt and set aside.
  • Soak the dal for 20 -25 mins with red chilli.
  • coarsely grind them with a little salt and asafetida. Grease a idli stand and steam the ground paste in a pressure cooker for 10 -15 mins.
  • Let it cool.
  • In a pan, add oil do tadka with mustard seeds, urad dal, curry leaves.
  • Add the steamed lentil paste and crumble it till crispy stirring constantly. may take 5 mins or so.
  • Now add the steamed asparagus to the crumbled mixture, toss them all together.
  • adjust salt to taste and serve hot with rice, sambhar or rasam.

Delicious paruppu usili is ready!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Oats Upma kozhakattai

Upma kozhakkatai is a very traditional south Indian item. It's made with coarsely ground raw rice, cumin and toordal which are seasones and steamed. I seen only brahmins making this type, but I may be wrong too!

Instead if using rice I used oats and I was very pleased that I did. It tasted pretty good with chutney, lemon pickle, as breakfast.

Get ready:

  • 1 cup oats (I used quick cooking oats)
  • 2 tbsp. toor dal
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds/jeera
  • 1 tbsp. channa dal
  • 1 green chilli chopped
  • 1/2 red chilli torn into 2 pieces
  • 2 tbsp. grated coconut
  • salt to taste
  • A few curry leaves
  • A pinch of asafetida
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. urad dal


  • In a pan, dry roast the oats till they are slightly pink.
  • Soak the channa dal with water to cover it for 15-20 minutes and drain the water, set aside.
  • In a blender, grind the cumin seeds and toor dal coarsely.
  • Add the roasted oats  to the cumin, toor dal and whiz for a few seconds till the oats are coarse like a rawa.
  • In a pan, add oil and do the tadka with mustard seeds, urad dal, red and green chilli, curry leaves and hing.
  • Add 2/3 th cup of water, 2 tbsp coconut, soaked channa dal salt to taste and let it come to a boil.
  • reduce heat, add the oats, mixture and mix without any lumps.
  • Cook, stirring continously till the mix leaves the sides in about 3- 5 mins.
  • Turn the heat off and let it cool for 5- 10 mins.
  • Make them in to lttile/ medium sized dumplings, by shaping them in your palm and fingers. use a little water to coat your hands and that will help.
  • In a greased idli stand, steam these kozhakkatai's for 15 mins.

Serve hot with chutney, pickle, sambhar. I like mine with jaggery and a drop of ghee!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Easy Vegeterian Chili

Chili con carne or chili with meat is a very famous stew dsih from Texas. The originial texan chili is made with red meat and no beans or vegetables. Vegeterian chili or chili sin carne has been famous for the last 30 - 40 years. One can use any type of beans, whatever vegetables ( squah, mushrooms, zucchini, potato) you have in hand and tomatoes.
 Using  a little tomato paste would give the dish a rich red color.
Chili's were originally served by the spanish settlers as per wiki. To give a meaty texture people use tofu, soy nuggets, brown rice and bulgur wheat. I had bulgur wheat in hand and I used that.

Chili , I would say is similar to our rajma curry with mixed beans. It's a great one pot meal that could be enjoyed as it is or served with rice or chapathis for left overs. It tastes wonderful the next day as all the flavors and spices are well blended.

Of course I have indianized it with some garam masala too :)). Texans, pardon me!

The list looks very long, but very easy to make.

Get ready: Serves 3-4

  • 1 medium red onion chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 2 green chilli slit
  • 1 large tomato chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper chopped ( I used green and red)
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can (15 0z) Pinto beans ( can use dry beans, soaked overnight and pressure cooked)
  • 1 can ( 15 oz) red kidney beans
  • 1 can ( 15 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup bulgur wheat ( optional)
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • salt to taste
  • 2 cans (15 0z) water
  • 2 tbsp oilve oil
To serve:
fat free sour cream
lots of choped cilantro
Tortilla chips/ tostitos


  • In a large pot, add oil. once hot add the bay leaf and sayte the onions till translucent.
  • Add the giner garlic paste, green chilli and fry till aromatic.
  • Add the toamtoes and saute till mushy.
  • add the canned beans, diced tomatoes, salt to taste, oregano, cumin, garam masala, water and let it come to a boil.
  • Add the bulgur wheat.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 mins to a hour. If the chilli is too thick add a little water.
  • Serve with a dollop of sour cream, cilantro and tortilla chips.

Tastes even better the next day as the beans soak up all the flavor.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Ultimate Chocolatey Chocolate cake

If you are a big time chocolate fan, you are in the right place. The ultimate chocolatey moist cake in no time. Yes, it does use some cake doctor principles, hey but at the end you this heavenly chocolate cake to relish! Why couldn't we use some short cuts...!
This recipe makes 1 six inch bundt, 1 9 inch round and 6 cup cakes. I did not havea big bundt pan so I divided the batter and baked them all one time. One I took with me to work, one to share with neighbors and one for ourselves.


Get ready:

  • 1  package devil's food cake mix
  • 2 snack pack butterscotch pudding
  • 1 cup  fat free sour cream
  • 1/2  cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup low fat milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butter scotch chips

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  • In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, milk, beaten eggs and water. Stir in the chocolate, butter scotch chips and pour batter into a well greased  bundt pan.
  • Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake thoroughly in pan at least an hour and a half before inverting onto a plate If desired, dust the cake with powdered sugar.
It can be served with ice cream or whipped cream and it tastes so yum!

Enjoy your valentine's day or have a dessert for super bowl party with this cake!

Sending this for priyasnowserving

and bookmarked-recipes