Saturday, October 23, 2010

Diwali Snacks - Vegetable Pakoda (Veg Pakora)

Vegetable Bajji or Pakkoda


·        Onion-2
·        Greenchili-2
·        Potato-1
·        Carrot-1
·        Curry leaves- a few
·        Chickpea flour (Gram flour, Bengal gram flour, or Besan)
·        Cumin seeds-a pinch
·        Red chili powder-1/2 tsp
·        Turmeric powder-a pinch
·        Edible oil for deep frying
·        Salt to taste

Method of preparation:

·        Grate onion, potato, green chili, and carrot thin.

·        Make a thick mixture of Chickpea flour and water.

·        Add chili powder, salt turmeric and crushed cumin seeds (crushed).

·        Stir well.

·        Add the grated vegetables with curry leaves and stir.

·        Heat oil in a thick pan for deep frying.

·        Put a small portion of the mixture in hot oil in different surface areas (not together) in small quantities for deep frying until light brown. Remove from oil, and drain by placing on a tissue paper.

·        Repeat deep frying till all the mixture is used.

·        Serve hot with chutney, thuvaiyal, thokku, sambar, pickle, sauce, or ketchup.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Gram flour Barfi / Burfi for Deepavali

Diwali Sweet

Kadalai maavu Barfi
Besan ki Barfi
Chickpea Fudge


·        Bengal gram flour (Kadalai maavu / Besan): 1 kg
·        Sugar: 1 kg
·        Ghee: 1 kg
·        Cardamom powder: one pinch

For garnishing:

·        Dry fruits such as Pista (pistachio), Walnut (Akroot), Almond (Badam or baadaam), Cashew nut, etc.

Method of preparation:

·        Fry gram flour in ghee on low flame till the ghee separates (The raw smell disappears at this point).
·        Prepare syrup by dissolving sugar with 500 ml of water, boiling this to a consistency thick enough to coat a spoon.
·        Mix both with some cardamom powder and stir well.
·        Grease an inverted tray or plate and transfer the content evenly.
·        Wait for a while for cooling and to become firm.
·        Cut into pieces of required shapes.
·        Garnish with broken small pieces of dry fruits.

The English name of Pista is Pistachio. Its kernels are generally eaten whole, either fresh or roasted and salted. It is used in many varieties of preparation such as ice cream, confections like baklava or biscotti, cold cuts like mortadella, pistachio pudding, cool whip, canned fruit, cottage cheese, marshmallows, etc.

Almond is called Vaadumai paruppu in Tamil. Cashew nut is Munthiri paruppu, Pistachio is Pistha.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ragi Murukku

Deepavali Snack

Kezhvaragu murukku / Keppai maavu murukku


·        Ragi flour (Keppai maavu) - 1 cup

·        Gram flour (kadalai maavu, Bengal gram flour, chickpea flour, garbanzo flour, chana dal flour, or besan) - 1 cup

·        Rice flour (arisi maavu)- 1/4 cup

·        Cumin seeds (seerakam, jeerakam, Jira, Jeera , Zira) - 1 tsp

·        Pepper powder (milaku thool) – a little

·        Chili powder (milakai podi) – a little

·        Edible oil for deep frying

·        Salt to taste

Method of preparation:

·        Mix all the ingredients (except oil) in a bowl.

·        Add water and knead to get dough.

·        Heat oil in a pan.

·        Fill the murukku mold (a machine for making murukku) with a part of the dough.

·        Press the dough in the machine so as to be squeezed over the hot oil.

·        While getting fried, we can see air bubbles emerge out from oil.

·        When the bubbles stop coming out of murukku being fried, remove from oil and collect them oil free on an oil absorbing paper.

Preserve in an airtight container and enjoy eating this delicious crispy snack everyday.

Deepavali Wheat Halwa

Diwali Sweet

 Godhumai Halwa / Godumai Hulva


  • Wheat: 1 cup
  • Sugar: 2 cups
  • Cardamom: 4 (Make this into powder)
  • Ghee: 4 tablespoons
  • Saffron as a colour: 1 pinch
  • A mixture of dry fruits: 1/2 cup

Method of preparation:

  • Wash and soak wheat for about ten hours.

  • Add a cup of water and grind.

  • Strain with the help of a sieve and obtain wheat milk.

  • Grind the residue again with a cup of water and strain.

  • You will get thin wheat milk now.

  • Pour both the thick and thin milk into a thick, round bottomed pan (wok) called iruppuchchatti in Tamil or kadai in Hindi.  

  • Add sugar and cook on a low flame with constant stirring.

  • The halwa (Halva / hulva / hulwa) will form now.

  • Add ghee when halwa appears to be thick.

  • Mix cardamom powder and saffron.

  • Keep cooking.

  • Take a small amount and test weather you can make a small ball with your fingers.

  • If yes, stop cooking.

  • Chop the dry fruits such as cashew nut, almond (badam), pista, akroot, etc, and fry in ghee.

  • Mix these dry fruits with hulwa.

  • Spread on a greased plate.

  • Let it cool.

  • Cut into pieces.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tea varieties

Green tea:

  • It is made from unfermented tea leaves which are dried immediately after picking. This prevents oxidation, leaving the chemical properties of the tea intact.

White tea:

  • This tea is also unfermented like green tea. It is not steam dried. This type of tea is dried            in the sun.

Black tea:

  • It consists of tea leaves that have been rolled and then fully dried and fermented, giving them a very dark color. This type is more popular in the west than in Asia and is often used in cooking dishes.

Oolong tea:

  • It is made from larger tea leaves which are partially fermented so that full oxidation doesn't take place. After drying in the sun, the leaves are heated to stop the oxidation process which gives them a greenish-black color. Flavors can vary since fermentation can be stopped at any point.

Scented tea:

  • Scented teas are made by taking any one of the base tea, black, green, or oolong, and adding petals of flowers or blossoms, herbs, or sliced fruit or fruit peel during the fermentation process.

  • Jasmine tea, Chrysanthemum tea and Earl Grey tea are popular.

  • Tea with the flavours of lemon, chocolate mint, caramel, etc. are also sold.

One can find many different varieties of tea in India.

Some are:

Kala chai, dooth ka chai, good ka chai / goor kachai, lemon tea, masala tea / masala chai, kadunj chai, vara tea, tea in kullad / kullar (kullad waali chai, the tea  served in earthen cups), dabara set tea, tea with more sugar, tea with less sugar, tea without sugar,  and so on. In Calcutta (Kolkatha), you will find salted tea. In Ayurveda one can find herbal tea without any tea leaves. Generally in India, tea time means break time. I’m planning to produce a Tamil film shortly with the name”Vaanga tea saappidalaam”.

Ponnamaravathi Dhanalakshmi Puli Thuvaiyal

It’s a very simple, easy to prepare, old generation, Tamil home chutney, which doesn’t require much time or any fire. Taking even a small pinch of this gives much result to consume a large amount of food. It is better to grind this thuvaiyal by using an ammikkal (ammi – kuzhavi combination), a manual grinding stone to obtain a smooth paste.

Method of preparation:

  • Grind smooth qty 4 red chilies
  • Add lemon sized tamarind and grind smooth
  • Add a few curry leaves and grind
  • Add a pinch of salt and grind   
  • Remove from Aattukkallu (Ammikkallu or simply ammi).

Grind all together if you use a mixer-grinder.  

This thuvaiyal can be had with any food like rice, chapatti, puri (poori), pongal, purotta (parantha). It enhances the intake of food item. 

Pazhaiya soru / pazhang kanji / palaiya sadam / pahala bath,  keppai kanji, kambang kanji, varagang kanji etc were being eaten with this amma thuvaiyal or mamiyar thuvaiyal satisfactorily in the recent past.

Thirumathi N. Dhanalakshmi, an old lady, aged about 72 is the wife of 82 years old Thiru M. Natarajan Achari, a famous and reputed tinsmith of Pudupatti (PON. Puduppatti, Ponnamaravathi / Ponnamaravathy, Pudukkottai district of Tamilnadu, India) .His workmanship is always highly appreciated. At present this very old couple could not work hard and live in this world with struggle due to their old age problems.   

Cashew Fried Rice


  • Cooked Basmati Rice : 2 cups

  • Cashews roasted in ghee and split:  10

  • Spring onions (scallion, salad onion, onion sticks, green shallots or green onion): 2 strings (finely chopped)

  • Green chili: 1 (finely chopped)

  • Ghee/Edible oil:  2 tsp

  • Cinnamon:  1 stick

  • Cloves: 1

  • Bay leaves:  2

  • Crushed Black pepper: 2 tsp

  • Salt: to taste

Method of preparation:

  • Heat ghee in a thick bottom pan, wok, iruppuch chatti,or kadai.

  • Splutter cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves.

  • Add spring onions, green chili

  • Sauté for about two minutes.

  • Add the cashews and the cooked rice, required salt, pepper and mix well.

  • Serve hot with or without any desired gravy, curry, raitha, or kuzhambu.

(While purchasing spring onions, look for a bunch with crisp, green, firm leaves, and crisp, hard bulbs.)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Paruppu urundai kuzhambu

Paruppu urundai kulampoo

Gravy of balls of lentil (Red Gram / Pigeon pea)


  • Arhar dal (Thuvaram paruppu / Toor Dal):  1 cup
  • Onion- 1 small, minced
  • Asafetida (Perungayam / Hing): 1/4 tsp
  • Red chilies:  4
  • Tamarind: About the size of a lemon.
  • Grated coconut: 1/4 cup 
  • Sambar powder- 1 heaped tbsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Mustard – 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves: a few
  • Edible oil – as required 
  • Salt to taste

Method of preparation:

  • Soak the dal for more than an hour.
  • Chop the onion into very small pieces.
  • Prepare two cups of tamarind extract by squeezing the tamarind in water and filter it.
  • Grind the coconut turnings into a paste.
  • Boil tamarind extract with turmeric and salt in a heavy-bottomed pan.
  • Add asafetida, sambar powder (sambhar podi) and coconut paste.
  • Boil this under low flame condition.
  • Grind the soaked arhar dal with red chilies, asafetida, and salt, without adding water.
  • Add and mix minced onions.
  • Make lemon-sized balls with it.
  • Add these balls one by one, slowly, into the boiling sauce.
  • Wait till the balls (Paruppu urundaikal) get cooked in the gravy (Kuzhambu).
  • Temper mustard seeds in edible oil, add curry leaves and transfer to the boiling kuzhambu.
  • Remove from flame and serve hot.

Suitable to enjoy with rice, biriyani, kushka, idli, dosai, oothappam, rava dosa, pani puri, purotta, parantha, roti, chappati, poori, puri, upma, uppuma, pongal, bread, cake, or anything.

This tasty gravy is  commonly prepared in places like Tirumayam, Nattarasan kottai, Arangal, Vadakadu, Konnaiyur, Koppanapatti, Thachampatti, Mallangudi, Peraiyur, Tiruppattur, Veguppatti, Pulankurichi, Sevvur, Ulagampatti, Urathuppatti, Moolangudi, Mallangudi, Peraiyur, Thachchankadu, Thenimalai, Kumaramalai, Manapparai, Usilampatti, Bank colony, Officers' town, Mudakkathan, Sellur, Iyer Bungalow, Narayanapuram, Nerkuppai, Mahibalanpatti, Ponnamaravathi, Venthanpatti, Melai sivapuri, paganeri, pudukkottai, puduppatti, sambanthar alankulam, devakottai, madurai, trichi, and Kanadukathan.

You can also prepare this delicious kulambu and enjoy.

One day, my sister invited me for a lunch at puduvalavu, PON.Puduppatti of Pudukkottai district, Tamilnadu. I was served with Paruppu urundai kulampoo. I pressed one urundai (ball). It slipped from my grip and started spinning like a top (Pambaram). I can’t forget that funny incidence till now.