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.






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Thayir Sadam and Mangai Inji (Yoghurt Rice and Mango ginger pickle)

Curd Rice or Yoghurt rice is a very simple dish eaten at the end of a meal. After a fiery hot meal with a medley of spices, curd rice cools the system. You have to eat it to experience the feeling. It is comfort food for most south Indians. In the summer months, this is the usually packed for school lunches or picnics.

Usually, at the end of the meal rice is mixed with some yoghurt and salt right on the plate and eaten. It can be as simple as that or made more ‘fancy’ by tempering it with mustard seeds and red chillies or adding pomegranate or grapes. The nice thing about this recipe is that you can add any or all of the ingredients, of course, rice, yoghurt and salt is a must. This recipe is written especially for my friend’s son Rishaad who loves his ‘curd rice’ and for his mom to make it for him.

Mango ginger is from the ginger family but is milder and tastes of raw mango. I have included a recipe for a simple pickle. My friend Mrudul gave me this fresh mango ginger from her garden and I could not resist making this pickle and have begun eating it even though it needs to sit for a few days.

Yoghurt (Curd) Rice

2 cups cooked rice

2 cups plain yoghurt

salt to taste

1 tsp coriander leaves (cilantro)

2 tbsp pomegranate


2 tsp oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1-2 red chillies

1 tsp curry leaves

1 tsp urad dal

1 tsp channa dal

1 pinch asafoetida


Mix rice, yoghurt and salt together.

Heat oil, add the ingredients for tempering when oil is hot.

When the mustard starts to splutter, add the mixture to the rice and mix. Add coriander leaves and pomegranate and serve.

Tip: If the yoghurt is very sour add some water or milk and mix to reduce the sourness.

Recipe for Mangai Inji 


1 cup Mango ginger

2 green chillies

2 limes

salt to taste


Scrape skin off ginger, wash and pat dry

Slice or cut chillies into small pieces

Use the juice of 2 limes and mix all of the above

Store in a dry sterilized glass bottle. Let it sit for a day or two to absorb all the flavours of the lime, chillies and salt. (If you can resist)

Store in a cool place for up to 2 weeks.


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Vegetable Pulao and Raita


Rice is a staple of India, especially in the south. It is very versatile. Plain cooked rice has no flavour and takes the flavours of the curries you add to it. In the south, there are variations of gravies like sambar, rasam, vathakuzhambu, molagootal etc. Some of them are flavoured with tamarind to give a spicy and sour mouthwatering dish with lentils and vegetables. Added to plain cooked rice, you have a complete meal. Rice tastes different when flavoured with lemon, mango(recipe in previous posts), coconut or curds (yoghurt). A meal is ended with a bowl of refreshing curd rice which clears your palate and cools your system (other rice recipes in following blog posts)

Biryani comes in different forms. Every city in the country has a version of biryani. The Persian / afghani influenced pilau using basmati rice to the fiery spicy Andhra biryani to the more local Dindigul and  Donne biryani using short grained rice. They all are different but they all are scrumptious. Just writing this is making my mouth water and longing for a plate of biryani.

Vegetarian Pulao and Raita

This recipe is long overdue and written especially for Lisa Wilson.


1 cup Basmati rice

1cup vegetables (carrot, beans, potato, cauliflower, mushrooms, peas, capsicum) – at least two of them – cut into pieces onion – 2 thinly sliced

1 tomato – chopped

6 cloves garlic – minced

2 inches ginger – minced

2 tbsp mint leaves 

2 tbsp coriander leaves (cilantro)

2 bay leaf


1 stick cinnamon

2 cardamom whole 

1 tsp chilli powder – (can increase if you want it spicier)

1 tsp cumin powder

2 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp nutmeg powder

1 tsp garam masala

3 tbsp oil

2 cups water or stock

salt to taste

1 tbsp cashew nuts or almonds  – fried in a tsp of oil or ghee

(I sometimes cheat and use biryani masala powder which substitutes all the dry powders. If using use 3 tsp) – available in Indian stores)

Also use you can substitute vegetables and use a protein like chicken, shrimp or lamb. if using meat, marinate in a tbsp of yoghurt and half the spice powder for an hour or two to increase the flavours. This is optional.


Soak basmati rice in water for 1/2 hour and then strain and keep aside.

Heat oil in a broad heavy pan. Add dry spices (bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves) and fry for a few seconds. Add sliced onions, garlic and ginger and stir fry till golden brown. Now add the tomatoes and continue to fry till well cooked. Now add vegetables and stir fry till they are about half cooked.

Add chopped coriander and mint, if using. Add the spices and stir-fry for a minute or two. Add salt.

Add drained rice and stir fry till the rice is well coated with the spices. (At this point, you can transfer vegetable and rice mixture into an electric rice cooker.)

Then add boiling water or stock to the pan, cover and let cook on low flame. When rice is cooked, sprinkle fried nuts and serve hot with raita.



1 onion chopped (If you like raw onions, you can add more, else less. I am not a big fan of raw onions, so I add very little or not)

1 tomato chopped

1 cucumber chopped finely or grated

1 tsp coriander leaves (cilantro)

1 green chilli chopped optional

1/2 tsp cumin powder (optional)

1 cup yoghurt

salt to taste


Mix all of the above and sprinkle cumin powder and serve.

Raita can be served with any rice or rotis as an accompaniment.

Posted in Recipes, Uncategorized

Maavinkai Chitranna (Raw Mango Rice)


Gift Guide

This week we celebrated Ugadi, the New Year day celebrated in Karnataka and some other parts of India. Yugadi or Ugadi means New Beginnings. It is the first day after the first new moon. It is the day after the March equinox. The festival, like many other festivals in India, is celebrated with wearing new clothes. They also start the day by eating a mixture of neem leaves (which is very bitter) and jaggery (unrefined cane sugar). This signifies that in life we have both sweet and bitter experiences. As a kid, I always ate more jaggery than neem, saying that I would life to be sweet always. J All festivals in India are always celebrated with good food. Each festival has its own special food. On Ugadi, you eat holige or obbattu (my kids call it a sweet chapati, usually filled with dal or coconut) and Maavinkai Chitranna (Raw Mango rice). This is also the time when we find a lot of raw mangoes in the market.


3 cups cooked rice

1 raw mango, grated

2 tbsp grated coconut (optional)

¼ cup peanuts

1-2 green chillies chopped

1 tsp mustard

½ tsp turmeric

1 tsp urad dal

a pinch of asafoetida

salt to taste

6 curry leaves

2 tbsp chopped cilantro


Cook rice and keep aside to cool. Leftover rice works well too.

In a pan, heat oil. Add asafoetida, mustard and urad dal.

When mustards splutter, add curry leaves, turmeric and peanuts and fry till peanuts for a minute. Keep mixing to avoid the peanuts to burn.

Add chillies, coconut and the mango and fry for a few minutes. Add rice and salt. Mix well and cook till rice is heated through. Garnish with cilantro and serve with raita, coconut chutney, papad or potato chips.

Note:  A more common chitranna is made with lemon. Replace mango with the juice of one lemon. For lemon chitranna or lemon rice, add one chopped onion and a tsp of chopped ginger when you add the chillies to fry. Add lemon juice just before you add the rice and mix. This is a great dish for Easter with its vibrant yellow colour.





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Akki (Rice) Roti


In school, we have been talking about Karnataka and the cuisine of Karnataka. In honour of my state, I am posting a recipe for akki (rice) roti. This is usually eaten for breakfast but I made it for dinner. It is quite simple to make and makes for a quick dinner. Most of the ingredients are usually in the pantry.

Makes six rotis. This can be made in 30 minutes.


rice flour 1 1/2 cups

chopped onions (1 cup)

chopped green chillies (1 tbsp) – increase or decrease depending on how spicy you would like

chopped cilantro (coriander leaves) – 2 tbsp

grated carrot – 2 tbsp

2 tbsp grated coconut (optional)

salt to taste

water (around 1 cup)

vegetable oil

parchment paper or plastic sheet


Place all ingredients except water in a bowl.

Add water, little by little and knead to form a soft dough. Make balls.

On a parchment paper, add a tsp of oil, press gently with moist fingers to form a round roti

To a skillet, add a tsp of oil and gently place the roti on the skillet. (Be careful so that oil does not splatter on you). Make sure skillet in on medium.

After a minute, carefully flip the roti and cook on the other side. (Sometimes it may break up, but it still tastes good)

Serve with coconut chutney or tomato chutney. Goes well with a bowl of yoghurt too.







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Newton’s first law of motion

Newton’s first law of motion states that an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. The definition of inertia is that inertia is the resistance of any physical object to any change in its state of motion.

If you apply it to life, most often, people are very happy to stay within their comfort zone, doing what they usually do. I am one of them. I am very happy doing the things I do, staying in the same city, doing the things I like. I am not lazy and work very hard in whatever I am doing. So in terms of Newton’s law, I continue in the same direction unless acted upon by an external force.

Thankfully, I have had many external forces in my life which have made me do things I usually would not. One of them is moving across continents. I was never happy with the move at first but eventually have enjoyed my life there. I have four continents to go! I would not change anything if I had a chance to.

This year, I have a new external force, the MA course which expects me to learn again; blogging, writing essays, doing online courses, learning about philosophy of thinking. I suppose once you get out of your comfort zone, you start trying out new things which is good!!

In my next blog, I will write about what I started a couple of months ago.

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A cup of tea …

“A cup of tea would restore my normality.” [Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy]
― Douglas Adams

Every evening, I sit with a cup of tea. It is my time of solitude. It is my time…

My kids, even when they were very little, knew that when mom was sitting with her tea, they should give her space. I even have a cup which says ‘I need my space’. Different people relax differently. I have friends who run or swim. I need my tea and space. I work as a teacher and love my job. But after a long day…

I suppose, this is the time I also think. I reflect on the day that went by, on what I have to do for the rest of the day. So here I am writing this, drinking my cup of tea.

So yes, a cup of tea does restore my normality and lets me function the rest of the day. This time is like a timeout, a time to recharge. IMG_20160513_160851_HDR_1463135968578