Thursday, September 29, 2011

Jaipuri Tindora

Tindora, ivy gourd or kovakkai is one of my favorite vegetable. Back home these vines are so abundant in the country side. Tindora in the south, especially tamil nadu is considered the poor man's vegetable.

 But here , it's so exotic and for people like me driving 60 miles to an Indian store, getting kovakkai is so special!

Here is new version of tindora made with gram flour/ besan along with cashews, amchur and vinegar. It caught my attention the moment i saw this recipe. I know, it's deep fried! But hey, It's OK to indulge and spoil our self once in a while, right?... stop thinking, it is right!

It tasted crispy with cashews in between. My hubby not a big fan of kovakkai  liked this one!

Get Ready

  • 1 & 1/2 cups Julienned Tindora
  • 1 cup besan/ chick pea flour
  • 1/4 tsp Amchur powder/ dry mango powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/3 cup cashews broken
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  •  salt to taste
  • 1 cup water
  • Oil to deep fry

  • Add all the powders, salt, cashews, besan &vinegar to the tindora pieces.
  • Sprinkle water little by little and toss everything till the besan coats the tindora. Don't add all the water at once and make a bajji mavu!
  • one can also add some cornflour or rice flour too for the extra crispiness.
  • Heat enough oil to deep fry in a pan.
  • Drop the besan coated tindora one by one and deep fry them till crispy or medium brown.

Serve hot as a snack by itself or as a side with rice dish!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Creamy Tomato Soup

Fall is the right time to enjoy hearty soups! let us welcome 2011 fall/ winter with some comforting soups. Let us begin with our humble tomato soup! The most comforting soup ever discovered on planet earth would be with tomato.

I said creamy, right? But this soup has no cream or  corn starch to make it all silky. Yes, I am adding some sweet potatoes to get the velvety texture. Of course you can also replace it with cream or even potato.
Throw in some boiled pasta alphabets and your munchkins would guzzle them up!
 My wonderful baby sitter brought some home grown red bell peppers which added more color to my soup.

I used my handy dandy pressure cooker, but this can be made in any pan/ dutch oven.

Get Ready:

  • 3 large tomatoes cut into big chunks
  • 1 medium white onion chopped
  • 1/3 cup cubed sweet potato
  • 1/3 cup  chopped red bell pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 4-6 black pepper corns
  • 1 cup water
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper powder to taste
  • 1/2 tsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil


  • In a pan, add the oil/ butter.
  • once hot add the bay leaf, onion and garlic. cook till the onions are translucent and garlic is aromatic.
  • add the bell peppers, tomato,sweet potato, pepper corns, oregano, salt to taste and saute for 2-3 mins.
  • Add 1 cup of water and pressure cook every thing for 2 whistles.
  • Let he cooker cool and open the lid.
  • Strain the water and keep it. do not discard the water.
  • Puree the tomato, sweet potato onion  that is strained out.
  • take the puree back to pan on a medium heat. adjust spices, add black pepper powder if needed.
  • if the soup is too thick add the strained water to desired consistency.
  • let the soup come to a boil.
  • turn heat off and enjoy!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Curried Vegetable Pot Pie in Ramekins

Vegetable pot pie is one of the items offered in my toddler's daycare lunch menu. She does not care to eat that as much as mac and cheese or pizza! She makes so much fuss to eat rice, rasam curry etc but put a slice of pizza in front of her, it will be gobbled up with no squeaks! Ever since I saw that on her menu, I wanted to recreate the same one at home. I made them in small ramekins so it would be a perfect after school snack for my older one! It's a great way to clear your freezer or left over vegetables. Puff pastry sheet makes it look so grand and would be a family pleaser.

If you want a real kicker, spice it up more!

Get Ready: (makes 3 small ramekins)

  • 1/2 Puff pastry sheet 
  • 1/2 cup onion chopped
  • 1 & 1/2 cup Mixed veggies chopped ( used carrots, potatoes, beans, corn, cauli florets and zucchini)
  • 1 tsp sambar powder/ curry powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1& 1/2 tsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 1/3 cup cheddar cheese ( optional)

For the egg was ( optional)

1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water


  • Thaw your puff pastry sheet as per package instructions. cut 1/2 from one sheet and freeze the remainder tightly covered in foil
  • On a floured surface spread the sheet, seal any cracks with a little water and cut them into rectangles.
  • Pre heat oven to 400F
  • In a pan add the butter
  • saute the onions till soft.
  • Add the veggies, sambar powder, salt to taste. Cover and cook on low fire till they are soft, yet a little crisp.
  • Sprinkle and flour on the veggies and saute for few seconds.
  • Add the milk and let it come to a boil. this will give a thick gravy base.
  • Add the cheddar cheese and turn the heat off.
  • Spoon the mixture evenly into ramekins filling most of the ramekins.
  • Cover the ramekins with puff pastry sheet and tuck the edges.
  • Give a quick egg wash and bake till golden for 12- 15 mins.
You can make a slit on the top to vent. In my picture I did not slit the one in yellow ramekin and it has this beautiful mount compared to the one next to it which was slit.

Sobha of Good food  was so sweet to share some awesome awards with me. Thanks a million girl and you rock!
I am happy to pass it on to all my blogger friends as I love you all!

Thanks again Sobha for your kind gesture!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ven Pongal

Pongal vada is a popular breakfast in the south next to idli and dosas's. There is a sweet counterpart to this pongal called chakkara pongal ( made with jaggery) which is brown. Hence the savory one is called Ven pongal, or white pongal.  Pongal is similar to khichdi of the north where rice and moong dal and cooked very soft and seasoned with black pepper corns, cumin, ginger and other spices. Some people like to add powdered black pepper. But I don't as it becomes too spicy. Adding whole pepper corns make it optional who want to bite into it or pick it out!

One of cousin was recently telling me how she just cannot do anything sweet in the morning as breakfast. She never eats, cereal, oatmeal, toast with jelly, muffins etc... You get the idea!

Pongal is perfect for those without a sweet tooth. It can be complete meal to serve at anytime! If you have a pressure cooker or rice cooker, it's easy to make. If not, don't fret it can be made in a heavy bottomed sauce pan too. all you need is to increase the amount of water needed to cook the rice and lentils.

The ratio of rice to dal is 1 and 1/2. The ratio for water is 3 cups water to 1 cup rice and 1 cup water for the half cup dal. Am I confusing a lot??

Get Ready: (serves 3)

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup moong dal ( yellow)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1 green chilli slit lengthwise
  • 1 tsp black pepper corn
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp asafetida
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1 tsp broken cashews
  • salt to taste
  • a few curry leaves 


  • Wash the rice and dal. Pressure cook rice with the required water for 4-5 whistles and set aside. If using a sauce pan, cook them till the rice and dal are very soft
  • Add salt to taste in the rice and mix well, once the steam has released and you are able to pen the pressure cooker.
  • In a heavy bottoemd pan, add the oil and ghee. Add the pepper corns, cumin, curry leaves, ginger, green chilli, cashews, asafetida and do the tadka. reduce the heat.
  • Add the the rice dal mix to the tadka.
  • Mix everything well,cover and cook for 2 mins or till pongal doesn't stick to the pan.
  • Turn the heat off.

Serve hot with chutney or sambhar or jaggery!

PS: The more oil or ghee you add it tastes even better.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Malai Methi Mattar Paneer/ M3P

It has been very busy both at work and home. I barely seem to have time to sit in front of the computer nowadays! We travelled to North Carolina and are back to the routine now.
I had made this methi curry and last week and wanted to share it with you all. It has cream and paneer and can used to impress family and friends on aspecial occasion. A very simple and yet rich dish to put to together in no time.

Get Ready:

  • 1 bunch methi leaves chopped
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 1/2 cubed paneer (soak in a little hot water)
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/2  cup milk
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 small tomato chopped
  • 1/2 tspcoriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp redchilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

  • In a pan, add the oil. once hot add the cumin seeds and let it sizzle.
  • Add the onions and fry till translucent.
  • Add the grated ginger and fry for few seconds.
  • Add the spice powders and saute till the raw smell goes.
  • Add the tomatoes and cook till they are soft.
  • Add the methi leaves, peas salt to taste and cook covered on medium to low heat. Once the methi and peas are done, add the milk and half and half.
  • Adjust salt and spices to taste.
  • Add the paneer cubes and let it come to just a boil.
  • Turn the heat off and serve hot with phulkas or roti's.


Enjoy this M3P listening to your favorite music on an MP3!