May 31, 2008

Recipe - Rasam

Sweet and sour tomato soup


Rasam is a typical south Indian side dish. Every household, in southern India prepares rasam with variations. The taste of rasam depends on the rasam powder used/prepared. For example, small amounts of dal is added or is made lot more spicier with less jaggery/sugar added. Rasam's taste differs in every region. People from Tamilnadu prepare rasam powder with lot of dry roasted red chilli in it. People from Andhra prepare rasam powder with more coriander seeds and whole black pepper and less dry red chillies. The recipe given is the Andhra rasam. You can call it typical telugu brahmin recipe.


  • Tomatoes - 3 large (roma)
  • Tamarind - small lemon size ( 1 teaspoon paste)
  • Salt - 1 and 1/2 teaspoons
  • Sugar - 1 and 1/2 teaspoon
  • Turmeric - 1/4 teaspoon
  • Cilantro - 3 table spoons
  • Rasam powder - 3 teaspoons (according to spice level)
  • Water - 7 cups


  • Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cumin seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Asafoetida - 1/4 teaspoon
  • Curry Leaves - 2 stalks
  • Ghee/butter- 2 teaspoons


Boil chopped tomatoes, tamarind, salt, turmeric with 1 cup of water for 10 minutes on medium high temperature.

Mash/grind with a blender all the boiled ingredients, add 6 cups of water, sugar, rasam powder and chopped cilantro. Set the prepared soup aside.

For seasoning, preheat ghee at medium high temperature, add mustard and cumin seeds, let them splutter. Add curry leaves and asafoetida. After a minute add the seasoning to the prepared tomato and cilantro mixture soup. Let it boil for 5 - 10 minutes. Turn off the heat. Serve hot with rice or can be served as a soup in cold winter months.

Preparation time: 15 - 20 minutes
# Servings: 4

May 30, 2008

Recipe - Thai curry with tofu and green beans in sesame sauce


Green beans is one of the vegetables, which can be found anywhere in the world. Green beans is high in vitamin c and no fat. Tofu is the soybean curd, high in protein and calcium. Adding sesame makes it rich in calcium , manganese and copper.

Thai curry goes well with noodles or steamed rice. I use store bought sesame sauce. Whenever I get bored with the regular indian cooking, I change few ingredients and make it little attractive for my family to invite them to the dinning table with a smile on their face. This is the first time I tried thai curry with sesame sauce and it turned out very tasty. Please give it a try and let me know how it turned out.


  • Green beans - 4 cups (cut in 2 inch pieces)
  • Tofu - 2 cups (half a pound)
  • Coriander powder (dhania powder) - 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric - 1/4 teaspoon
  • Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
  • Salt - 2 teaspoons
  • Ginger - 1 teaspoon
  • Garlic - 1 teaspoon
  • Sesame sauce - 1 teaspoon
  • Coconut milk (lite) - 2 cups
  • Water - 2 cups
  • Oil - 1 teaspoon


Preheat oil in a wok or skillet, add cumin seeds, let them splutter. Add green beans, salt and turmeric. Sautee them for 7 - 10 minutes.

Add ginger, garlic, tofu cubes, coriander powder and saute for 5 minutes.

Add coconut milk and sesame sauce. Let it cook till green beans is cooked well. Add water (2 cups) to bring it to the desired consistency.

Serve hot with steamed rice or noodles.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
# Servings: 4 - 6

  • For Sesame sauce:
  • Ingredients:
  • Sesame seeds: 1/4 cup
  • Rice vinegar - 1 and 1/2 tablespoons
  • Salt - 1/4 teaspoon
  • Sugar - 3/4 tablespoon

Roast sesame seeds, blend with sugar, salt, rice vinegar until smooth.

May 29, 2008

Recipe - Aratikaya pulusu bellam koora (Kacche kele ki khatta meeta sabzi)

Raw plantain cooked with sweet and sour sauce


Plantains has high dietary fiber, vitamin c, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. It is good for people suffering with asthma, bronchitis, cancer. By eating plantain or banana, for diabetics, it temporarily increases the blood sugar and insulin level, and also due to the high dietary fiber may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Source: Puritan

Plantains can be used for cooking different types of food depending on the ripeness. Raw plantain can be used for making fritters, chips by deep frying, steam cooked to make curries. Every household, in southern India prepares raw plantain curry with variations. For example, small amounts of coconut or mustard paste/curry powder or mustard powder are added. The recipe given is the sweet (jaggery/sugar) and sour (tamarind) recipe, which is a very common recipe in Andhra cooking.


  • Plantain - 1 and 1/2 large
  • Chana dal - 2 teaspoons
  • Urad dal - 2 teaspoons
  • Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
  • Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
  • curry leaves 1 stalk
  • Dry red chilli - 1
  • Green Chilli - 2 (depending on the spice level)
  • Tamarind paste - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Jaggery/Sugar - 1 tablespoon
  • Salt - 1/2 + 1/2 teaspoon
  • Turmeric - 1/4 teaspoon
  • Oil - 2 teaspoons
  • Water - 1/2 + 1/4 cup


Pressure cook peeled and chopped plantain with 1/2 teaspoon salt and turmeric and 1/4 cup of water for 2 whistles. Set it aside.

Preheat oil in a medium bottom saucepan or wok on medium high temperature, add chana dal, urad dal, cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Let them splutter, add red chilli, green chillies and curry leaves.

Add cooked plantain, tamarind paste, jaggery, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 cup water, mix it well. cook on low heat till the plantain blends well with the sweet and sour sauce (approximately 15 minutes).

Serve hot with rice or roti.

Preparation time: 20 - 30 minutes
# Servings: 2

May 28, 2008

Recipe- Paneer Paratha (Paneer ke parathe)

(Cottage cheese stuffed flat Indian bread)


Cottage cheese/ Paneer stuffed parathas can be served as a meal with yogurt and some sweet/spicy pickle. When I came to US, I did not know how to make paratha's. One of my Punjabi friend thought me to make parathas. I had to get the hang of it and measurements are my contirbution for those who are learning to cook.

Paratas are generally served as breakfast/snack/dinner in Northern India. I generally make paratas for lunch or dinner. I try and make low fat paneer with skim milk, for mental satisfaction :-)


  • Ready to roll roti dough - 1 cup (knead 2 cups of wheat flour,salt and water)
  • Cottage cheese ( Paneer) - 2 cups
  • Cilantro - 1/2 cup
  • Ginger - 1 tablespoon (grated)
  • Coriander powder (dhania powder)- 1heaping tablespoon
  • Dry mango powder (amchoor powder) - 1 and 1/2 teaspoon
  • Green chilli - 4 - 5 small (chopped)
  • Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
  • Salt - 1 teaspoon (according to taste)

Preparation for stuffing:

Add all the above ingredients (except salt) to the grated cauliflower. Adding salt to the mixture makes the paneer mixture loose and with lot of moisture, rolling the paratha gets difficult if you are just starting to learn.

Preparation for roti:

Dough preparation - Add 1 cup of water (approximate) to 2 heaping cup of wheat flour with a large pinch of salt and knead to stiff dough. Cover and keep aside for 20minutes for best results.

Method to roll paneer partha:

Get the tools ready - Tawa on the stove with medium high temperature. Rolling pin to make/roll rotis/parathas. All purpose flour in a 3/4 plate to lightly flour the dough in between during rolling the paratha dough. Have the roti dough ready to roll the paratha's. Make one lemon size ball out of the dough. Slightly flatten one ball sized dough and dip the flatten ball in the all purpose flour plate which is placed in the side. Place it on the lightly floured/clean surface and slowly roll the dough in a circular motion from the center.

To prevent sticking of the paratha dough when rolling, you can continuously rotate the dough on the surface, and set it aside and start rolling the second ball sized dough the same way.
(lift it up and throw it back down just like a frisbee). Place one tablespoon or little more of paneer mixture stuffing on the half rolled paratha and sprinkle one or two pinches of salt (according to taste).

Slightly press/seal the ends of the roti together like a ball covering all mixture and gently roll the paratha.

Continue rolling and lightly dust the paratha with flour if the paratha is sticking to the surface. Too much dusting may spoil the taste of the paratha. It is important to roll the dough on one side only. Make sure not to apply too much pressure while rolling. Try not to roll the paratha too thin (if you're a beginner at this). Soon you will see the small ball of dough expand to 3 inches in diameter (just like a disc)

Method to cook paneer paratha:

Preheat the tawa/cast iron pan on medium high. Transfer the ready paratha on to the pan and wait for 20 seconds.

Flip the paratha on to the other side and wait for 15-20 seconds.

Flip the paratha again on the cooked side and apply clarified butter (ghee) or oil and make sure the paratha is cooked well on both sides.

Do not leave the paratha too long on the tawa or else it will burn. Transfer the paratha into a plate and brush it with ghee. Parathas taste good when served hot.

Preparation time : 20 - 30 minutes
# Parathas - 12


You can always roll paneer paratha's and half cook them and stack them before hand and Cook them fully when you are ready to eat.

For Paneer preparation refer: Paneer in diary products Labels.

May 27, 2008

Recipe - Beerakaya pappu/Turayi aur moong dal

Ridge gourd and Moong dal


Ridge gourd is very easy to digest and is considered very healthy according to Ayurveda. Ridge gourd can be cooked as a vegetable, dal or chutney. Ridge gourd should be tasted for sweetness before it is cooked. Bitter ridge gourds should be discarded. Tenderness of the ridge can be determined by examining the skin. The skin should be soft and easily scraped with the finger tip when tested. You get better results when the gourd is very fresh i.e. consumed soon after picking.

Ridge gourd dal is easy to digest and has a very nice flavor to it. Moong dal or toor dal can be used to make rigde gourd dal. Green chilli and dry red chilli are used to add spice or hotness to the dal. Do not add red chilli powder to this dal, ridge gourd will loose the flavor.


  • Ridge gourd - 1 medium size (1 cup chopped)
  • Moong dal - 1/2 cup
  • Green chillies - 1
  • Red chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon (optional)
  • Salt - 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric - 1/4 teaspoon


  • Cumin seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Curry leaves - 1 stalk
  • Hing - 1/4 teaspoon
  • Ghee - 1 teaspoon


Wash dal, add 2 cups of water, ridge gourd chopped pieces, salt, green chillies, red chillies (optional). Pressure cook for 2 - 3 whistles.

Preheat ghee in a skillet at medium heat temperature, add cumin and mustard seeds. Let the seeds splutter, add curry leaves and hing. Add the dal to the seasoning and cook it for 2 - 3 minutes.

This dal goes well with roti or rice.

Preparation time - 15 - 20 minutes
# Servings: 2 - 4

May 26, 2008

Recipe - Dondakaya fry (Tindora/Kovakkai/Kundru sabzi)

Ivy gourd or Little gourd stir fry


Tindora/little gourd has low glycemic index which is good for people who are diabetic, helps regulates blood glucose. It is high in beta-carotene. I just came to know that dondakaya is also known as gentleman's toes (compare lady's fingers/okra ). Source: Wikipedia.

Tindora/dondakaya is very popular vegetable in south India. Dondakaya can be eaten as a curry or chutney. My kids love dondakaya fry with less spice.


  • Tindora - 40 (sliced in circles)
  • Onion - 1 medium size (1 cup chopped)
  • Salt - 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric - 1/4 teaspoon
  • Red Chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
  • Oil - 1 teaspoon


Preheat oi in a skillet, add tindora, onion and turmeric.

Fry them for 10 - 15 minutes. Tindora will be almost ready to be done/cooked, add red chilli powder, salt.

Cook till tindora is done well. Serve hot with rice or roti.

Preparation time 20 - 30 minutes
# Servings: 4

May 25, 2008

Recipe - Capsicum Aloo curry (Benguluru mirchi bangaladumpa koora)

Bell pepper and potato cooked in tomato sauce


Bell pepper is good for anemia. Bell pepper is high in vitamin C and a good source of vitamin B6.

Bell pepper is also know as capsicum in some countries like India, New Zealand and Malaysia. Bell pepper are available in different sizes and colors like green, yellow, red and sometimes in purple. Each colored pepper has its own distinct flavor, and is used for different kind of cooking. Bell pepper of any color makes a good topping on pizza.

Adding potato and tomato to the green bell pepper gives nice flavor to the curry. This is one of the curries, I learnt to cook after I got married, and started cooking regular meals like a typical Indian house wife :-)


  • Bell pepper/Capsicum - 2 medium size ( 2 cups chopped)
  • Potato - 1 medium size (1 cup boiled)
  • Tomato - 1 medium size ( 1 cup chopped)
  • Onion - 1 small ( 1/2 cup chopped)
  • Turmeric - 1/4 teaspoon
  • Coriander powder - 2 teaspoons
  • Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
  • Salt - 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
  • Dry red chilli - 1 broken to 3 pieces(optional)
  • Asafoetida - 1 pinch
  • Oil - 2 teaspoons


Preheat oil in a wok/skillet on medium high. Add cumin seeds and dry red chilli pieces. Let the seeds splutter, add hing. After few seconds, add chopped onion, tomato, turmeric, coriander powder, salt and red chilli powder and saute for 2 -3 minutes.

Add boiled potato, chopped bell pepper and 1/2 cup of water, cover the dish and let it cook on low for 10minutes till all the spices are blended and cooked well. Tip: add roasted bell pepper, for the crispy texture to the potato sauce after 10minutes, to enjoy the crispier curry.

Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with rice or roti.

Preparation time: 20minutes
# Servings: 2 - 4

May 24, 2008

Recipe - Hard shell Taco


The origin of taco is Mexico. The ingredients used in taco are almost the same as in burritos. Tacos include bean, cheese, lettuce, tomato, olives, salsa, guacamole and sour cream. Two different types of tacos are available, hard shell taco and soft shell taco at Mexican and American restaurants in the US. The stuffing ingredients are almost the same. I haven't been to Mexico and can't compare with the authentic dishes available in Mexico. My comparisons are with respect to what I have tasted in the US.

I regularly make tacos at home because I can control the quantity and quality of ingredients. Taco is very easy to make, if all the ingredients are available at home. I buy organic salsa, guacamole, beans and sour cream including taco shell, though most of the basic ingredients can be prepared at home (call me lazy).


  • Corn taco shell - 1
  • Pinto beans(cooked) - 1 tablespoon
  • Salsa - 1 tablespoon
  • Guacamole - 1 teaspoon
  • Sour cream - 1 teaspoon
  • Lettuce - 2 tablespoons
  • Tomato - 1 teaspoon
  • Olives - 1 teaspoon
  • Jalapenos - 1/2 teaspoon (optional)
  • Mexican cheese - 1 teaspoon


Warm taco shells, apply/add warm/hot pinto beans vertically in the center. Add cheese, lettuce, tomato, olives, jalapenos. Garnish with guacamole, salsa, sour cream and mexican cheese. Serve with chips and salsa in the side.

Preparation time: 5 minutes (if the ingredients are ready)
# Servings - 1

May 23, 2008

Recipe - Putnal pappu pachadi (Idli chutney/idly pachadi/chana dal chutney)

Indian hummus spread


Putnal pappu pachadi/chana dal chutney is served with idli/dosa/vada and lot of other light south Indian dishes. Each household in India prepares chana dal chutney with variations. For example, small amounts of coconut or yogurt or cilantro are added. The basic preparation for chana dal chutney remains the same. The taste of putnal pappu pachadi is based on sourness added to it with tamarind/lemon juice. Sourness can always be balanced according to taste.

Putnal pappu pachadi/chana dal chutney tastes good when served fresh. Left over chutney can be stored in refrigerator, but I find the fresh made chutney tasty than the refrigerated one.


  • Putnal pappu (split chick peas) - 1 cup
  • Coconut powder - 1/4 cup
  • Green chillies - 6 Indian chillies (depending on the spice level)
  • Salt - 3/4 teaspoon (according to taste)
  • Cilantro - 3 tablespoons
  • Tamarind - small lemon size (1 and 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice or 1/4 tamarind paste)
  • Water - 1/2 cup (to grind)


  • Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Hing - 1/4 teaspoon
  • Dry red chilli - 1 (optional)
  • Curry leaves - 1 stalk


Grind all the ingredients with water. Add water if needed to acquire desired consistency.

Preheat oil in a pan, add mustard and cumin seeds. Let them splutter, add red chilli, hing and curry leaves. After a minute, mix the seasoning with the grinded chutney.

Serve it with piping hot idlis/dosa/upma or pita bread.

Preparation time : 15 - 20 Minutes
# Servings: 4 - 6


If the chutney/spread is being served with pita bread, do not garnish with seasoning.

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Some of the recipes presented here are originally inspired by others. Credit is given to the original postings. I have listed recipes here for my own reference as well as pictures are my addition to the whole cooking experience. Enjoy.