Tuesday, March 31, 2015

More Kuzhambu/Majjige Huli, A South Indian Recipe

Southekai/Malabar Vellari/Cucumber More kuzhambu/Majjige huli
This is my son's favourite more kuzhambu! This recipe is Udupi's (Karnataka) version.  Tamilnadu recipe varies slightly.  Let me write the recipe first:


1. 1 Southekai/Malabar vellari/a variety of cucumber, cut into pieces.
2. 1/2 tsp. Turmeric/haldi powder
3. 1/2 tsp. Sugar
4. 1/2 tsp. Salt
5. A small piece of hing/asafoetida.  Even powder is OK.

For grinding:

6. 1/2 coconut cut into pieces or grated (small coconut means 1 full coconut)
7. 6-7 Green chillies
8. 1" Ginger piece
9. 2-3 Red chillies
10. 1 tsp. Dhania seeds/coriander seeds
11. 2 tsp. Jeera/cumin seeds
12. 6-7 Cashew pieces
13. 1 cup curd...if you like sour taste, add sour curd or else normal curd.

For garnishing:

14. 1/2 tsp. Methi seeds/Fenugreek seeds
15. 1/2 tsp. Kadugu/Mustard/rai seeds
16. 1 tbs. Coconut oil
17. Curry leaves cut into small pieces
18. Capsicum, a small piece cut into slices (this is just for flavour, so, optional)


First cook the 5 ingredients in 2 cups of water.
Grind the no. 6 to 13 ingredients with some water (Grind it without water first, after all pieces are crushed, add water and grind.  This is fast grinding!).  Grind nicely.  In the last round add the curd and just do one 'drrrr'!
After the vegetable becomes soft, add the ground paste.
Add some more salt. Mix well.
Don't wait till it boils..switch off as soon as the top is covered with bubbles/foamy cover. If you leave it to boil, water and coconut will stay separated and taste will not be good.

Take coconut oil in a garnishing ladle/karandi.  Add mustard and methi.  After the mustard flutters, add the cut pieces of curry leaves. Add capsicum.  Mix with a spoon and leave on the stove for half a minute.  Garnish....chooooin...! Finished. More Kuzhambu is ready.  More kuzhambu or Moar Kuzhambu?!!!

I remove the skin and use it for chutney.  This is very good for health.  It can be done like we do Peerkkangai thogaiyal.  You can see how we cut vegetables sitting down on the ground, using this cutter (arivaal manai).  Some people cut the vegetable along with the skin and eat it.

The cut vegetable with the other ingredients, ready for boiling.

Ingredients for grinding.

These are for garnishing.

Arbi/saeppankizhangu.  We can boil it, remove the peel and use it instead of Southekai.  This will also be tasty.

You can use Arbi, bhindi/okra, brinjal, Ash gourd/vellai poosani etc. in place of southekai.  This can be had with rice, chapaathi, pongal, adai, mixed rice, etc.

In Tamilnadu, soaked tuvar dhaal is used instead of cashew while grinding.  Or rice flour.  Some people use only jeera and not dhania seeds.  Taste will vary but will be good. 

TIPS: Remember this kuzhambu should not be boiled...just remove from fire once foam collects on the top. 

P.S.: When you use Bhindi, you have to fry it with the garnishing ingredients.  First take a bit more oil, put the mustard.  After it flutters, add the curry leaves, cut bhindi pieces and half tsp.salt.  Fry till it is nearly dark brown (it has to get cooked). Add methi seeds in the end and fry a bit. It should not get burnt. Then put this mixture in the vessel, add the ground paste with curd.  Add water to the required consistency and boil with some more salt! Done! I am asking you to add salt twice since bhindi should absorb the required salt and then the coconut masala should need more salts! Once you get used to this type of cooking, you will never forget!

Please tell me if this recipe was helpful to you!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Paruppu Podi/Daal Powder For Idli/Dosa

Paruppu podi
This is a sort of chutney powder.  We, in Tamil nadu and Andhra too, keep this powder in handy at home.  This can be mixed with rice and ghee, mix a spoon of  gingely oil/coconut oil/ghee,  with 2 spoons of powder and have it with idly, dosa etc.  It is tasty with chapaati too. 

Now to the ingredients: 

1. 2 cups/200 gms. Fried gram/Pottu kadalai (dry roasted)
2. 1/2 cup/50   gms. Tuvar Daal/Tuvaram paruppu (dry roasted)
3. 1 tbs. Pepper (dry roasted...roast very lightly)
4. 2 " long piece of Dry ginger
5. 3-4 red chillies (reduce or increase as per your taste)
6. A piece of Hing/asafoetida
7. Curry leaves
8. 1 tsp. of sugar (optional)
9. Salt - as per taste.
10. 1 tsp. coconut oil


First dry roast tuvar dhaal for half a minute and then add fried gram and dry ginger. Roast for half a minute. Then add pepper.  Roast for half a minute. Half a minute means, stirring for 5-6 times! Put this mixture in a plate.

Take 1 tsp. of coconut oil in the same kadai. Add the piece of hing. It will bubble up, then add red chillies and curry leaves. After half a minute, add all the dry roasted ingredients.  Stir it a few times.  Switch off the stove.

After it cools a bit, powder it in the mixer adding sugar and salt.  Paruppu podi ready!

A relative of mine, adds half tsp. of dri-tam powder...tamarind powder. I do add sometimes to have some variation!

Try it and tell me if you like it! Very easy to make powder.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Bhindi/Okra/Ladies Finger Subji!

Bhindi subji

This is an 'easy to make' subji.


1.  200 gms. Bhindi/Ladies finger cut into pieces.

 Ingredients for making the onion paste:

2.  4 Large onions cut into pieces.

3.  4 Green chillies.

4.  1" Ginger piece.

5.  6-7 cloves of garlic (You can add more if you like).

Ingredients for making the tomato paste:

6.  2 nos. Big ripe tomatoes (small means 3-4).

7.  5-6 nos. Cashew nuts.

8.  1 tsp. White til/Sesame seeds.

9.  1 tbs. Corn flour.

Extra ingredients:

10. 1 tsp. Garam masala. 2 tsp. if it is Everest/MRT garam masala

11. 1 tsp. Coriander powder.

12. 1 tbs. Red chilli powder.

13. Salt to taste.

14. 1 tsp. Sugar.

15. 3 tbs. Refined oil.

16. 1 or 2 tbs. of Butter.

17. 1 tsp. Cumin seeds/jeera.

18. 1/2 tsp. Haldi/turmeric powder.

19. Half or one capsicum (optional) 

20. 1/2 tsp. Kasuri methi

21. 1 tsp. Amchur/dry mango powder

First, cut the bhindi into small pieces as shown in the picture and microwave it for 3 mts. and keep aside.

Make the onion paste.  Place a kadai or a thick bottomed vessel on the stove.  Pour the refined oil.

Add the Jeera.

After a few seconds, add the ground onion paste. Then add butter, sugar, a tsp. of salt and haldi powder.  Stir it. The onion will become transparent after a few mts., say 5-7 mts.  See to it that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the vessel. 

After adding the onion paste, grind the tomato paste.  Keep it in the mixie jar itself.  Let the grains soak and soften.

Now, add the microwaved pieces of Bhindi and capsicum pieces. Add chilli powder, amchur powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder. Mix well and close it with a lid for 5 mts.  Let the vegetable soak in the masala. 

Now, grind the tomato mixture again.  If you want the gravy to be a bit thicker, add some corn flour. Pour the paste into the vessel.  Add more water (wash the jar and pour!).  Add some more salt. This is for the gravy! I add salt step by step! Close the lid.  Keep the ladle inside the vessel if you think that the subji will overflow.  Let it boil well.  The rawness of the tomato should go.  Add the Kasuri methi. Then switch off.  Some people add some milk after switching off. Taste it for salt!

Thats it! The subji is ready. If you like lemon taste/flavour, add it now and mix!

Write to me if you have got any doubt.  Tell me if it comes out well too!

Cut bhindi pieces.

Ingredients for making the onion paste. Pl.grind it without pouring water!

Ingredients for the tomato paste 

Bhindi subji is ready!

Tip: If you are new to cooking, keep all the ingredients in small cups or plates.  You will start using your own method of cooking after sometime.  So don't worry. You taste immediately after the last step and add chilli powder or salt and boil it.  It will blend well with the gravy.

You can take a printout and keep it on the side. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Paalak/Spinach Paneer Subji!

Paalak Paneer subji
This dish is our family's favourite.  This time we had our own home-grown paalak.  So, I was happier to do it.  The leaves were very tender and the subzi tasted better! Let me tell you how I did it!

Now, to the ingredients:

1.  1 large bunch of paalak/spinach, washed very well.

2.  1/2 tsp. of sugar, 1/2 tsp. of haldi/turmeric powder.

3.  1/2 tsp. Salt.

Ingredients for the paste:

4.  2 Large onions cut into pieces.  Need not cut into small pieces.  This is for grinding, anyway.

5.  3-4 Green chillies.

6.  1/2" Ginger piece.

7.  4-5 Cloves of Garlic

Extra things:

8.   2 tbs. Refined oil

9.   1 tbs.Butter (you can skip this but the butter will enhance the creamy taste.

10. 1/2 tsp. Cumin seeds/Jeera

11. 1/2 to 1 tsp. Garam masala powder (click to get the recipe)

12. 1/2 tsp. Amchur powder

13. 1/4 cup milk

14. 1/2 tsp. Coriander powder

15. 1 tsp. Red chilli powder.

16. 1 tsp. corn flour

17. 200g. pack paneer/cottage cheese, sliced into small cubes.

First step:

Boil the greens with a little salt along with sugar, haldi and 2 cups of water for 2-3 mts.  Cool it. Then grind it a bit. It need not become too pasty.  Just 'drrr...'! This is our language for just turning the mixie 'on' for a second! You can add the corn flour also with this, while grinding.

Second step:

Grind the garlic onion mixture.  Soften the paneer if it was in the freezer and cut into small rectangular pieces. It should not be too soft so that it won't crumble while cooking and stirring. 

Third step:

Place a kadai on the stove.  Pour the oil.
Add cumin seeds.
Once the flavour of the seed starts, add the ground paste. Stir a little.
Add the butter.
Add some salt now.  It will make the onion paste transparent fast.
Once the raw onion flavour leaves from the paste and becomes transparent, add the paneer cubes.  Add the red chilli powder and coriander powder.  Mix it with the mixture. Close the vessel with a lid for one or two minutes, so that the paneer absorbs the masala flavour.
Low flame is better! Be near the stove when you do this! If you leave for long time, it might burn at the bottom of the vessel!

Now,  you can add the ground greens, amchur powder, garam masala powder (my garam masala powder is strong, so, half tsp. is enough.  If it is Everest or something else, one tsp. is needed).  Add enough water (wash the jar with some water and use it!). Cook it till bubbles come out.

Some people like the subji a bit thick and some a bit thinner.  Do it as you please.  Taste it for salt.  Always use less salt in the beginning and add more after tasting, if you are new for cooking! Add milk in the end.  You can add the cream of the milk too, which will make it tastier!

The Paalak paneer subji is ready!

Plucked and washed paalak.  This is from our roof top garden! (link)

Cut paalak with a pinch of sugar, salt and haldi.

2/3 mts. cooked paalak.  If the leaves are very tender 2 mts. is enough.

Onion, garlic, ginger and green chillies for grinding. Grind without adding water!

The ground paste with paneer slices.
Sometimes, I add some capsicum pieces along with paneer.  I love the flavour of capsicum.  Half cooked capsicum is tastier! This is optional, though! 

Hope this recipe is easy to follow.  Please write to me if you liked it or if you need any suggestion, in the comment box.  Your comment will encourage me to write more!


Tip: You can use aloo/potato, boiled with salt, instead of paneer...Aloo Paalak!

Always add a pinch or half tsp. of sugar for all the subzis/currys/rasam etc. to enhance taste, like the Chinese add Ajinomoto!When you cook with tamarind (saambaar) add a small piece of jaggery/gud! Taste will be better.

Likewise, add some salt while frying onion to make it transparent faster!