Posted in Recipes

UPMA KOZHUKATTAI (Steamed rice dumplings)

Rice is a staple in the South of India. Traditionally steamed rice is eaten for lunch and dinner. For breakfast and evening snacks, rice is used in different forms to make scrumptious snacks. Some of the most common and well-known food items are idlis, dosas and appam. Dumplings are made in different ways, for example, modak or kadubu (filled dumpling – both savory and sweet, usually made during Ganesh Chaturthi), Coorgi kadubu (round dumplings made with rice flour and eaten with a veg, chicken or pork curry). But one of my favorite dumplings is upma kozhukattai. Eaten with chutney or sambar makes it a wholesome meal. I even eat it plain at any time of the day.



Idli rava (rice rava)* – 2 cups

grated coconut – 3/4 cup

water -4 cups

salt to taste

To temper

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tbsp channa dal (split chickpea lentil)

1 tbsp urad dal (split black gram lentil)

asafoetida 1 pinch

dried red chillies 3-4, broken into pieces

curry leaves 1 tsp


Heat oil in a pan, add mustard and when they crackle, add all the other ingredients for tempering and fry till the lentils are golden brown.

Add water and salt and let it boil.

Add coconut and rice and keep stirring to avoid lumps. Keep stirring till all the water evaporates and it comes together. (It has the consistency of upma)

Let it cool for a few minutes.

Dip your hand in cold water, take a spoonful of the upma in your palms and form into oblong shapes. Place in a steamer plate. Do this with all the upma.

Steam the kozhukattais for 10 -15 minutes. You could use a regular steamer or the idli plates in a pressure cooker.

Serve hot with coconut chutney or sambar.

*Idli rava – Traditionally to make rice rava at home, wash and strain rice, spread on a muslin cloth and let dry. In a mixer, pulse the rice till coarse and use. Now, idli rava is sold which saves time.

tiffin – a snack or a light meal






Posted in Recipes, Uncategorized

Memories from 10 years ago

I found an email today from 2009.

I was approached to teach a cooking class at the local co-op. It was a wonderful experience, I still remember the adrenaline rush I had. The other time I had the same feeling was the same year when I campaigned for President Obama. Here are the recipes I cooked that day, which was a huge hit. These were pre smart phone days, so I have no pictures. But I did find my handouts.

If you have leftover boiled eggs from Easter, there is a recipe for egg curry.

Cooking of Southern India , with Preethi Vaidyanathan

Jan 29, 2009; 6-8 PM

As a new cook, Preethi was interested in non-Indian cuisine.  Moving out of India in 1994 awakened her interest in the fare of her native Bangalore. This menu of food from southern India is fast to make and fun to eat! Preethi will start with a demonstration of the preparation of  Spicy Peanut Salad, featuring peanuts, onions, chilies and  cilantro; and then prepare Egg Curry, featuring hard-boiled eggs in a  spicy sauce served over rice. Plain rice is fine, but Preethi will show Lemon Rice or Coconut Rice is even better! Next Preethi will prepare the traditional dish Poriyal, a finely chopped stir-fry of green beans and carrots seasoned with asafoetida, mustard seed, and green chilies. The perfect beverage for hot weather is Majjige, a buttermilk  drink blended with  mashed ginger.  For dessert Preethi will demonstrate the preparation of the candy-like coconut squares called Barfi. Sample size portions will be served.



2 cups roasted unsalted peanuts or raw peanuts

1 red onion chopped (1/2 cup)

1-2 tomatoes chopped (1/2 cup)

½ bunch cilantro chopped

1-2 green chilies (or more) chopped

Salt to taste

Chili powder (optional)

Juice from ½ lemon


If using raw peanuts, roast on a skillet.

Mix the above ingredients and serve.




6 eggs hard boiled, (shelled and halved)

¼ tsp turmeric

1 inch ginger, finely chopped or grated

4-5 garlic pods, finely chopped or grated

2 green chilies (Serrano or jalapeno) halved lengthwise

2 roma tomatoes, chopped

3 dried chillies

5-6 peppercorns

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tbsp poppy seeds (optional)

½ cup grated coconut

1 sprig curry leaves (optional)

½ tsp mustard seeds

A pinch asafetida

Chili powder (to taste)

1 large red or yellow onion, sliced

1 tbsp canola oil

Salt to taste

½ can coconut milk (optional)

Chopped cilantro 2-3 tbsp


Roast coconut, poppy seeds, red chilies and pepper in a pan. Cool and grind with chopped garlic, ginger and a little water to make a paste.

Heat oil. Add asafetida and mustard seeds. When mustard seeds splutter add the curry leaves and sliced onions, and green chilies. Sauté till the onions are golden brown. Then add the coriander, cumin and turmeric powders. After a minute add tomatoes and coconut paste and some water. Add salt and cook till the tomatoes are cooked. If it is not spicy enough add some chilli powder and mix.

There are two ways to serve this.

  1. DRY: Place eggs on a platter and spoon the mixture on the eggs and sprinkle cilantro on it. This can also be served as an appetizer or a side for any meal.
  2. With gravy: Add coconut milk and cook for a few minutes. Add eggs gently and heat through and Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice or bread.


Lemon Rice (Chitranna)


 2 cups basmati or long grained rice

4 cups water

Juice of one lemon

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

2 green chilies, chopped

1 inch ginger, chopped

1 red onion, chopped

3 tbsp roasted peanuts

Salt to taste

1 tbsp chopped cilantro, for garnishing

 For tempering

2 tsp canola oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp black gram lentils

1 tsp Bengal gram lentils

1 pinch asafetida

A few curry leaves


Cook rice and cool.

Heat oil. Add all the ingredients for tempering. When mustard seeds splutter add onion, green chilies and ginger and fry till onions are translucent.

To the lemon juice add salt and mix till dissolved. If needed add a couple of teaspoons of water.

To the onion mixture add the turmeric, peanuts and lemon juice. Take off heat and mix rice in.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.


Coconut Rice


2 cups basmati or long grained rice

4 cups water

1 cup coconut

Cashew nuts 2 tbsp

½ inch ginger, chopped

2 green chillies

Salt to taste

For tempering

2 tsp canola oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp black gram lentils

1 tsp Bengal gram lentils

1 pinch asafetida

1-2 red chillies, halved

A few curry leaves


Cook rice and cool.

Heat oil. Add all the ingredients for tempering. When mustard seeds splutter add green chilies, cashews, ginger and coconut and fry till the grated coconut is reddish brown. Add rice and salt and mix well and serve.


Beans and Carrot Palya

 1 pound beans, chopped fine (or 1 pound French cut frozen beans)

2 carrots, diced small

2-3 tbsp grated coconut

1-2 green chilies

Salt to taste

For tempering:

2 tsp canola oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp black gram lentils

1 tsp Bengal gram lentils

1 pinch asafetida

1-2 red chillies, halved

A few curry leaves

Heat oil. Add all the ingredients for tempering. When mustard seeds splutter add chopped beans, carrot, salt and stir fry. Cover and let it cook till beans are tender. Add grated coconut and mix well.

Serve hot.



1 red onion

2 tomato

1 cucumber

1 green chilli

2 tbsp cilantro chopped

1 32 oz lowfat or non fat yogurt

salt to taste


Chop onions, tomato, cucumber, chilli and mix with yogurt, salt and cilantro. Serve with rice.


Posted in Recipes, Uncategorized

Mashed Potato – The Indian Way Potato Podimas / Urulaikizhangu Podimas

20180401_102703One of my favourite dish as a kid and even now is Podimas. It is an easy to make side dish. Today is Easter and it would look really good on an Easter table especially for vegetarians. It is usually eaten with rice and maybe sambar but will even go well with dosa or even by itself. This dish will go well with lemon rice. (recipe has been posted earlier)

Traditionally, this is made without onions and my father would think it is blasphemy to add onions, but I like it with onions. You are welcome to leave out the onions.


Medium sized potatoes  4 boiled

Large onion  1 finely chopped

green chillies 1-2 finely chopped

ginger 1-inch piece finely chopped

grated coconut 1-2 tbsp (optional)

For tempering

2 tsp oil

asafoetida a pinch

2 red chillies

turmeric powder 1/4 tsp

mustard seeds 1 tsp

curry leaves 5-6 leaves

urad dal 1-2 tsp

lemon juice 1 tsp (optional)

salt to taste


Peel the boiled potato and mash coarsely.

Heat oil in a pan. Once hot, add mustard, asafoetida, curry leaves, urad dal and red chillies. Add turmeric powder

Once the mustard splutters, add the onion, green chillies and ginger and fry until golden brown.

Then add the mashed potatoes, salt and mix well till the potatoes are heated through.

Add grated coconut and lemon juice and mix well. Serve hot!

Posted in Recipes, Uncategorized

Badanekai ennegai (stuffed baby eggplants) An aubergine by any other name contd..

Stuffed eggplants are made all over India with a slight variation of spices and called by different name. This is a favourite in Karnataka and is usually served with jolada rotti (sorghum bread). I remember my mother making it when we had relatives visiting from out of town.

Many many years ago, when we visited Kamat Yatri Nivas, which is famous for this dish, we asked the chef there, an old man who looked atleast 80 and who said he has been making this dish forever shared his recipe with us. Unfortunately, I did not write it down, but it tastes good when I make it.

This is a healthier version, less oil. It has a long list of ingredients but don’t get deterred by it. It is really worth the effort!


6 baby eggplants

1.5 tbsp oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp curry leaves

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

salt to taste

1 large onion, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

5 cloves garlic

1 inch piece ginger

1/4 tsp tamarind paste

For the masala:

2 tsp coriander seeds

2 red chillies

1/2 cup fresh coconut (frozen grated coconut is also good)

2 tbsp peanuts

2 tsp sesame seeds

1 tsp cumin


Slit eggplants and sprinkle some salt on it. Leave it a colander for 20 minutes and wash. This will remove the bitterness from the eggplant.

Dry roast ingredients for masala. Keep aside.

In a pan, heat 1 tsp oil, add onions and fry till golden brown. Add tomatoes, garlic and ginger and fry till tomatoes are well cooked. Grind this mixture with the roasted ingredients in a blender. Add some water to get a fine paste.

Stuff the eggplants with the paste

In a pan, heat the rest of the oil. Add mustard, curry leaves and turmeric powder. When mustards start to splutter, add the eggplants, any extra paste, tamarind paste, salt and cook on a low flame for 20 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water and continue cooking till the eggplants are cooked.

Serve hot with roti or rice.




Posted in Recipes, Uncategorized

Baingan Bharta and Baba Ghanoush An aubergine by any other name would taste as good…

Aubergine, brinjal, eggplant, baingan, katrikkai, badanekai – All names for the same vegetable. This is one of my husband’s favourite vegetable and will always order it at any restaurant- indian, chinese or italian.

In the next few posts I plan to post a few eggplant recipes. Posting this recipe for eggplant dips. Both starts with ‘B’, both are roasted and have a smoky flavour, one is indian and the other middle eastern.

Baingan Bharta

This is a north indian dish usually served with roti but i served it as a dip with pita bread and it was really good.

Serves 4


2 large eggplants

2 large onions, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 green chilli, chopped finely

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 inch piece ginger, chopped finely

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp garam masala

salt to taste

1 tbsp oil

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp coriander leaves, chopped


Roast eggplant on a gas stove. I stick a knife into the eggplant and roast. (I have a knife I use just for this). You could also roast it in an oven if you don’t have a gas stove. Once roasted (skin gets black), wash under cold water and remove skin.

In a pan heat oil. Add onions and fry till golden brown. Then add the tomatoes, green chilli, garlic and ginger. When tomatoes are well cooked add spices and mashed eggplant. (If you want it to be creamy, you could blend eggplant). Add lemon juice and mix.

Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with rotis as a side dish or with pita as an appetizer.

Baba Ganoush

(Will post a picture soon)


1 large eggplant

2-3 cloves of garlic

1 tsp oilve oil

2 tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste)

1 lemon, juiced

salt to taste

1/2 tsp cumin powder


Roast eggplants and remove skin. (as described above)

In a pan heat oil and fry garlic. (Usually you use raw garlic but I prefer to fry it a bit)

In a blender, blend the  eggplant, garlic and tahini.

Add the lemon juice and salt and mix.

Sprinkle some cumin powder and serve with pita.





Posted in Recipes, Uncategorized

Beetroot Daal (Beetroot with lentils)


Beetroot is a vegetable which people either love or don’t  like. I like it and this is one of my favourite recipe.

This is one of my mother’s recipe. I am not sure where she got this one but she made it quite a lot when I was growing up. This is something I make for a quick dinner and can be eaten with chappati, bread or rice. The other day, I made it for a  dinner party and was well liked.


(Serves 4)

1 cup tur daal (you could use red lentils too)

1 big beetroot, (chopped into 1 cm pieces)

1 tomato chopped

2 cups water

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp chilli powder

coconut (1/4 cup)

1 dried red chilli

1 tsp mustard

1 tsp oil

1 tsp curry leaves (optional)

6-7 cloves of garlic (more if you like garlic)

salt to taste


Wash daal. Cook daal, beetroot, tomatoes and 2 cloves garlic with water in a sauce pan or a pressure cooker till the daal is well cooked and mushy.

Grind coconut to a paste with some water. (You can use fresh coconut or frozen grated coconut)

Add paste to the daal.Also add salt, cumin powder, coriander powder, chilli powder and cook for a few minutes.

In a pan, heat oil. Add mustard, red chilli and curry leaves. When the mustard splutters, add the garlic and fry(don’t burn). Pour over the daal and serve.








Posted in Recipes, Uncategorized

Vegan Elaneer Payasam (Tender Coconut Payasam)


Elaneer (Tender coconut) is a very refreshing drink rich in minerals and electrolytes.

A couple of years ago, I came across this payasam in a restaurant but it had milk and therefore could not drink it. I came home and looked up the recipes and all of the ones I came across had condensed milk in it. This is my version of a vegan payasam. This can be served in glasses as a cooler. It is mildly sweet, very refreshing and extremely easy to make.

If you are buying fresh tender coconut (there are cartons and cans available now), ask for the ones with some flesh in it.


2 cups coconut milk

2 cups tender coconut water (2 tender coconuts)

1/2 to 1 cup flesh of the tender coconut

1/4 cup sugar (add more if you want it sweeter)

1/4 tsp cardamom powder

saffron (optional)


Boil coconut milk for 5 to 10 mins on low flame.

Add sugar and mix well till it dissolves.

Add cardamom powder and saffron to the mixture.

Let it cool for 5 mins.

In the meantime, use a blender to blend the coconut flesh and coconut water.

Add to coconut milk and mix.

Refrigerate and serve it chilled.





Posted in Recipes, Uncategorized

Chitranna (Lemon Rice) An ode to rice contd….

Lemon rice is a very easy to make and popular south Indian dish.  The tanginess from the lemon, the spice from the green chillies, the crunch from the peanuts and the yellow colour from the turmeric make the dish an irresistible one.

This was one of my favourite lunch to take to school. It had to have lots of peanuts and every spoon of rice had to have at least a few peanuts. This would be a dish you could make for picnics or potluck and would look good on an Easter table. This dish is usually made with cold rice and a good way to use your leftover rice.


2 cups rice cooked and cooled (leftover rice works well)

2 tbsp lemon juice

salt to taste

4 tbsp raw peanuts (if you want to make it fancy, add cashew nuts instead) – if using roasted peanuts add to the end

1 – 2 green chillies chopped

1/2 cup chopped onions

2 tsp coriander (cilantro) leaves chopped

1-inch ginger chopped

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1 tbsp oil

1 tsp urad dal

1 tsp channa dal

1 tsp mustard seeds

a pinch asafoetida

1 tsp curry leaves


Heat oil in a pan, add asafoetida, urad dal, channa dal, mustard seeds and wait for it to splutter.

Add curry leaves and raw peanuts and fry for a few minutes on a medium flame.

Add onions, chillies and ginger and stir-fry until golden brown.

Mix the lemon juice, turmeric powder and salt in a small bowl.

Add the lemon juice mixture.

Add rice and mix well. Sprinkle cilantro. If using roasted peanuts, add peanuts and mix well.

Serve with papad or potato chips, raitha (recipe in the previous post) or pickle or yoghurt or just eat it plain.