Saturday, January 28, 2012

Freezing Indian Food- My experience and tips

Recently I had been away from home for 2 weeks leaving my son and husband. Hubby dear rarely steps inside the kitchen. My son gets upset stomach if he eats a lot outside! So I, decided to freeze some food that could help them for 2 weeks. All they have to do is cook rice or heat up a chapathi. Ofcourse they can have a treat outside once ot twice a week. Most of the frozen indian food available in the stores are way too spicy for my kiddo! Online research gave me some guidance and helped me freeze some grub!

I wanted to share my experience with all those busy mom/dad's.

Needs some planning and good ziploc freezer bags or freezer safe containers. I would recommend freezing individual portions, so you don't have to reheat over and over again if using a bigger container. Small freezer bags are perfect for upma or dry subzi's.

Just remember to cool the cooked contents thoroughly before freezing and thaw them at least 12 hr s ahead before reheating. Whenever i cooked a big batch, i labelled and froze them.

Coconut or any yogurt based curry does not taste well once reheated.Well, this is what I learnt and did not freeze anything with coconut.

Let me give a list of those items that froze well and just as fresh once reheated. The verdict was given by my family.

  • Simple Dal tadka
  • Plain cooked toor dal
  • Sambar ( podi potta sambar)
  • Ven Pongal
  • Vegetable rawa upma
  • Spinach kootu with toor dal ( no coocnut)
  • Rasam varieties ( i froze lemon, regular jeera and garlic rasam)
  • Carrot and peas stir fry/ carrot kari
  • Cauliflower and potato stir fry/ cauliflower kari
  • Tomato soup
  • Turnip curry
  • Idli/ dosa batter before fermenting freeze in a container ( these are good for dosa only)

I was busy cooking and packing that I forgot to take pictures of all the food.
I would appreciate if you all can share your experience in  freezing indian food or any home cooked food in that matter!

Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Erulli / Eruhuli Curry

It feels good to be back blogging. I had been away for almost 3 weeks taking care of some home issues. Now things are in place and am back.

Many of you may wonder about this name Erulli. This dish is very special to the brahmins in Trivandrum, Kerala. The original name must have been irupuli curry which in tamil means a curry made with 2 tart agents. The tartness by tamarind and sour curds make this dish very special. A curry very identical to arachuvitta sambar without any paruppu, dhania is pretty standard in trivandrum brahmins household.

My inlaws are from Trivandrum and I learnt this from my beloved mom in law, an expert in making this curry.
The key to make this dish yummy is to roast the fenugreek/ methi seeds. in the right consistency. Roasting too little or too much may make the erulli bitter. One can use small onions, potatos, drumstick, winter melon as the main vegetable in the curry.

Here is the recipe.

Get Ready:

  • 1 potato  washed &cut into big cubes with skin
  • 1/2 tsp tamarind pste
  • 2 tbsp Curd/ yogurt well beaten
  • 1/3 cup grated coconut
  • 3 red chillies ( iused small ones)
  • 1/2 tsp Fenugreek seeds
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp asafetida
  • salt to taste
  • water
  • very little oil to fry the fenugreek& chilli

For tadka/ tempering

  • 1 tsp coconut oil/ vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • Few curry leaves


  • In a kadai, add very little oil, add the red chilli and roast till fragrant. set aside. 
  • add the fenugreek and fry till it pops or beomes dark brown in color. set aside.
  • In another pan add the potatoes and water to cover about an inch above the potatoes.
  • Add salt, turmeric powder and cook the potatoes in water till  half done.
  • Add the tamrind paste and cook till the raw smell is gone. By this time the potatoes will be well cooked.
  • In a blender add the roasted fenugreek, red chilli, asafetida, coconut a little water and grind into a fine paste.
  • Add the paste to the cooked potato, tamrind gravy.
  • If it's too thick add a little water, adjust salt to taste.
  • Now add the beaten curd/ yoghurt to the gravy.
  • Turn the heat off once the curry starts to froth/ bubble at the sides. Do not boil it once the yogurt is added.
  • Do the tadka and serve with idli, dosa, rice.

A very easy and authentic erulli is ready!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Cilantro Lime Rice -- Chipotle style

For those who don't know,"Chipotle" is a famous mexical grill eatery here in the US. Their burrito bowl and salads are super yummy. One side dish that they serve is a cilantro lime rice. A very humble rice dish with tons of flavor.

Lemon rice needs no introduction to south Indians. Green chillies, ginger, asafetida, turmeric and lime juice make this a heck of a dish. However in cilantro lime rice, ther are no extra spices. Rice is cooked and flavored with lime juice and loads of cilantro.

I searched the web for this rice and found one Here at copykat.

Lets's get cooking!

Get Ready:

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cups water
  • salt to taste
  • 1 and 1/2 lime to be juiced
  • cilantro lots and lots chopped without stems.


  • Wash the rice and let it stand for 15- 20 mins.
  • In a pan, add the butter, olive oil and washed rice. Saute the rice till it is opaque.
  • Add 2 cups of water, salt to taste. let it come to a rolling boil.
  • Now simmer, cover and let the rice cook till soft.
  • Turn the stove off and fluff the rice.
  • Add the cilantro, juice from one lime and taste. If you feel you need more lime juice,add another half of lime juice.

Serve with curried beans, salad or anything.

We had ours with home made guacamole,spicy sauted green peppers and onions.

Enjoy chipotle style at home!

I am travelling and will be taking a break for 2-3 weeks. See you soon!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Aviyal - a vegetable medley

Aviyal is an exclusive vegetable dish from God's own country, aka Kerala. It is also frequently made in tamil nadu and mangalore cuisines. A medley of vegetables cooked with coconut, cumin green chillies and curd.
No sadya or feast is complete without aviyal. The traditional vegetables used in aviyal are cucumbers, winter melon, raw plantains, long beans, carrots, yams, egg plant, snake gourd etc. The sour curd gives a little tartness along with the heat from the green chillies. Adding raw coconut oil boosts tons of flavors and takes this dish to  an amazing  level... to please...

Traditional aviyal made by malayalis include shallots / garlic/ raw mango. These are not routinely added by the kerala brahmins. Again there is regional variation too.
Coming from a palghat iyer family, this is how aviyal is amde in our home, which I would like to share. the yogurt here in USA is not sour enough, so I add a little tamrind pulp to get that uthentic taste.

One could use any vegetables i guess found in hand.

Get Ready

  • 2-3 cups of mixed vegetables cut into thick match sticks ( I used winter melon, carrots, suran, snake gourd, beans)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • water just to cover the vegetables to cook
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsp plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • 2-3 green chillies
  • 1/2 tsp  cumin seeds
  • 2-3 tsp coconut oil
  •  few curry leaves
  • In a pan add just enough water to barely cover vegetables. Add salt, turmeric powder, tamarind paste and cook till they are soft, but not mushy.
  • Grind grated coconut, green chillies, and cumin with some water that was used to cook the vegetables into a fine paste.
  • Add yogurt to blended coconut mixture in the blender jar and whizz once till the yogurt is well incorporated.
  • Add the ground paste to the cooked vegtables.
  • Adjust salt to taste.
  • Let it come to a boil and turn the heat off.
  • Add 2-3 tsp of cocounut oil and tear some curry leaves into the aviyal.

Now go get a plate if steaming rice and enjoy!