Friday, 30 January 2015

Murungai Keerai Poriyal / Drumstick leaves stir fry

An easy stir fry with drumstick leaves. Drumstick leaves are rich in vitamin B , Vitamin C, Beta - Carotene and Vitamin K. This stir fry is served as a side and it has a unique tart taste and tastes delicious with rice and rasam.



  • 2 Cups tightly packed drumstick leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame seed oil or vegetable oil ( I always use sesame seed oil for any spinach stir fry)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 4 Garlic cloves chopped finely
  • 4 Dry red chillies ( as per your taste)
  • 1 Cup shallots/ sambar onions chopped finely
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon hing / asafoetida
  • 1/4 Cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly grated coconut


1. Clean and wash drumstick leaves several times in regular tap water. Set aside
2. In a pan dry roast peanuts until they are light golden. Set aside
3. In the same pan, add oil. When the oil is hot, add cumin seeds and let them splutter
4. Then add broken dry red chillies, chopped garlic and fry until they are light golden
5. Add shallots, sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt and fry until shallots are soft
6. Add turmeric powder and hing and give it a stir
7. Now add drumstick leaves and fry for 2 minutes
8. Add 1/3 cup of water, season with salt ( use very less salt ) and let it cook for 10 minutes or until the leaves are cooked through and the water evaporates completely
9. Mean while, add the roasted peanuts in a food processor and grind it to coarse powder. Just break them into small pieces. Do not grind it to fine powder. Alternatively you can add the peanuts in a ziplock bag and crush them using a rolling pin
10. Add the crushed peanuts to the stir fry and give it a stir
11. Add grated coconut and give it a stir
12. Switch off the flame. Drumstick leaves stir fry is ready to be served


Eggless Carrot and Walnut Cake

Super moist and delicious carrot cake with walnuts. This cake is eggless and flavored with orange zest, cinnamon and nutmeg. Can be served plain or with classic cream cheese frosting.
Preparation Time : 30 Minutes
Baking Time : 50 Minutes
Yield : One 8 Inch cake
  • 1 Cup All Purpose Flour or Maida + 1 tablespoon for coating the nuts
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg Powder
  • a big pinch of salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Orange Zest / Lemon Zest
  • 1 Cup granulated white Sugar ( I powdered the regular granulated white sugar in the food processor until it is fine powder)
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Tablespoon Honey
  • 1/2 Cup buttermilk ( to get 1/2 cup buttermilk ->  add 1/2 Teaspoon distilled white vinegar to 1/2 cup milk and let it rest for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, the milk will curdle and buttermilk is ready to be used.
        I had also tried this recipe with 1/2 cup thick curd/plain natural yogurt instead of 1/2 buttermilk. I find the cake with buttermilk more moist and soft when compared to the cake with curd(plain natural yogurt)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 and 1/2 Cup Finely grated Carrots ( I used delhi carrots)
  • 1/2 Cup chopped  walnuts ( You can use any nut of your choice)

Directions :

1. Preheat oven to 170 C. Grease and dust a 8 inch cake pan and set aside
2. In a bowl, add all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder, salt and whisk until combined. Set aside
3. In a small bowl , add walnuts and toss them with 1 tablespoon of all purpose flour. This will prevent the nuts from settling down at the bottom of the cake while baking
4. In a large mixing bowl, add powdered granulated white sugar and oil and beat it on low speed for a minute using a hand mixture
5. Once the sugar is well combined with the oil, add honey and beat for 30 seconds
6. Then add buttermilk or yogurt and beat for a minute until the mixture is smooth
7. Add vanilla extract and orange zest to the wet ingredients and stir in
8. Now add the dry ingredients we have in the bowl ( prepared at step number 2) in to the wet ingredients in 3 additions beating the mixture on medium speed after each addition
9. Add walnuts coated with all purpose flour we prepared at step number 3 in the cake batter and gently fold them in using a spatula
10. Finally fold in finely grated carrots in to the cake batter
11. Pour the cake batter in the greased cake pan and bake at 170 C for 50 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. After 40 minutes of baking, check if the cake is done. Baking time differs in each oven
12. Once out of the oven, let the cake remain in the pan for 5 minutes
13. Then invert the cake on a cooling wire rack and cool completely
14. Slice the cake; Serve it simple and plain or serve it with classic cream cheese frosting

Bagara Khana / Bagara Chawal

Bagara Khana / Bagara Chawal - an easy rice delicacy from Hyderabad. A plain biryani rice flavored with sliced onions, garlic, mint and whole spices. Pairs beautifully with spicy gravies and korma.


  • 1 Cup Long grain Rice / Basmati Rice
  • 1 and 1/2 Cup water
  • 1 Large red onion sliced finely
  • 1 Tablespoon Oil       
  • 1 Tablespoon Ghee
  • 1 Green cardamom
  • 2 Cloves
  • a tiny piece of cinnamon stick
  • 3 Crushed garlic cloves
  • 5 whole black pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 5 mint leaves (optional)
  • 1 Green Chilli slit in the middle
  • Salt as required


1. Wash rice several times in tap water and soak in regular tap water for 15 minutes
2. In a pan, heat oil. When the oil is hot, reduce the flame to lowest setting and add Cumin seeds, whole black peppers, cinnamon stick , bay leaf, cloves, green cardamom                                    
3. Fry for few seconds. Then add crushed garlic and fry until garlic turns light golden color. Do not burn garlic, burnt garlic spoils the flavor
4. Now increase the flame to medium and add sliced red onions and fry until they are soft

5. Drain rice and add it to the pan. Stir / mix everything together using a fork. Add 1 and 1/2 cups of water , 1 tablespoon ghee and mint leaves. Add salt to taste


6. Reduce the flame to lowest setting and cover the pan with lid with the lid half closed. Let the rice for 15 to 20 minutes. If you are cooking in pressure cooker, cook for 2 whistles on low flame                       
7. Once the rice is cooked, mix gently with a fork. Do not over mix or break the rice

8. Serve hot with a spicy curry and raita

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Potato Stir Fry




  • 6 Medium sized Potatoes
  • 5 Garlic cloves crushed and then chopped finely
  • 1 Teaspoon Red chilli powder ( you can use paprika instead of red chilli powder)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Pepper powder / freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Italian seasoning ( Or a pinch of dried thyme, dried rosemary, dried oregano and red chilli flakes)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon cumin powder
  • 2 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter ( optional )
  • 1/2 Teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 Teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 Teaspoon urad dal
  • Salt to taste


1. Wash potatoes, peel remove skin

2. Cut each potato into 4 quarters and then slice them ( slightly thicker; refer to the below picture)

3. In a pan, heat oil and butter

 ( Step number 4 and 5 are optional. If you do not have mustard seeds, cumin seeds and urad dal you can skip these steps and proceed to step number 6. I prefer cumin flavor with potatoes and nice crunch from the urad dal. )

4. When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds. let them splutter
5. Then add cumin seeds and urad dal and fry until urad dal turns light golden
6. Add crushed , chopped garlic and fry for couple of seconds until its light golden

7. Now switch off the flame and remove the pan off from direct heat / stove.  And add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, cumin powder, pepper powder, Italian seasoning, salt and give it a quick stir
8. Immediately add sliced potatoes and mix everything together


9. Return the pan to stove and keep the flame medium

10. Add 1 cup of water and give it a stir. Check for seasoning and add more salt if required


11. Now let the potatoes cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are cooked through and water evaporates completely

12. Add more water if required to cook the potatoes

13. Switch off the flame. Potato stir fry is ready to be served


Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Kalyana Maangai Urukai / Instant Mango pickle served in Tamil Weddings

Instant spicy mango pickle that can be prepared and served instantly. Pairs perfectly with curd rice or sambar rice. This is a popular pickle that is served in Tamil weddings. I prefer using slightly sweet mango ( a variety called totapuri)  for this pickle, however you can make with sour mango too. Also, marinating the mango pieces for 24 hours is optional. You can just toss salt and chilli powder and make the pickle immediately if you don't want to marinate.



  • One Raw Mango ( I used totapuri) - cut into small pieces; about 1 and 1/4 Cup
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Chilli Powder ( Adjust according to your taste)
  • Salt as required


  • 3 Tablespoon sesame seed oil / Coconut oil / Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds
  • 1 Sprig of Curry Leaves
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Urad dal
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Fenugreek seeds (Vendhayam) or 1/4 teaspoon of dry roasted fenugreek seeds ground into fine powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Hing 


1. Wash mango well and wipe it with paper towel. Then cut it into very small pieces
2. Add salt and red chilli powder to the cut mango pieces and toss/mix thoroughly. Set aside for 24 hours. Toss the mango pieces once or twice in between. You can also refrigerate the mango pieces for 24 hours
3. In a pan heat oil. When the oil is hot add mustard seeds. when they pop open, add urad dal and fenugreek seeds.When the urad dal turns light golden and fenugreek seeds turn golden then add curry leaves.
4. When the curry leaves splutter, add hing and immediately add cut mango pieces which we marinated for 24 hours. Mix everything together
4. Simmer and let it cook for 5 min
5. Check salt and add more if required
6. Cool completely and transfer it to a air tight container. This pickle should be consumed on the same day. Do not leave it at room temperature for more than a day , because it gets spoiled easily at room temp.
7. This instant pickle stays good for 3 to 4 days in refrigerator

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Dal Makhani / Rich Lentil Sauce

Dear Readers, Wishing you all a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year ! May this year brings all the desired success and happiness in your life that you can cherish always. Thank you very much for your support and for being part of my food journey. 
Here is my first post of this year 2015:
Dal Makhani / Rich lentil sauce is popular dish from Punjab , India. It's thick rich gravy made out of whole black lentils ( urad dal) , red kidney beans, butter and cream. Lentils are soaked overnight and then slow cooked for hours.  Overcooked lentils are mashed gently and then mixed with a onion tomato sauce with butter and fresh cream and simmered to the right consistency.

Yield : 2 Servings


  • 1/2 Cup whole Urad Dal ( black lentils)
  • 2 Teaspoons Rajma (Red kidney Beans)
  • 1 Teaspoon fresh ginger chopped finely
  • 2 Garlic Cloves chopped finely
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt + a big pinch of turmeric powder
  • 2 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 Garlic Cloves chopped finely
  • 1/4 Teaspoon hing / asafoetida
  • 1 Large red onion chopped finely
  • 1/2 Cup tomato puree
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Red chilli powder
  • 2 Tablespoon fresh cream
  • Salt to taste 


1. In a large pot, add whole urad dal, rajma and wash it 3 or 4 times in regular tap water. Soak the lentils in plenty of tap water for 8 hours or preferably over night.
2. After 8 hours, Drain water completely and wash the soaked lentils again for 2 or 3 times in tap water


3. Cook lentils : You can either cook the lentils in a large pot or in pressure cooker. To me slow cooked lentils in a pot tastes better than the pressure cooked ones. But to save time and energy I always pressure cook them. In a pressure cooker, add lentils along with 1 teaspoon fresh ginger and 2 finely chopped garlic cloves with 1 and 1/2 cups of water + 1/2 Teaspoon salt + a big pinch of turmeric powder. Pressure cook them on medium flame for 20 whistles. If you are cooking in a pot, add lentils along with ginger, garlic , turmeric powder, salt plus 2 and 1/2 cups of water and cook on high flame for an hour until they are overcooked and mushy.  Do keep an eye on them and add more water if required
4. Once the pressure settles down, open the lid and mash the lentils with the back of a ladle
5. In a wok / pan , add butter. When the butter melts, add garlic cloves and fry until garlic turns light golden
6. Then add chopped onion and fry until they are soft
7. Add tomato puree + 1/2 Teaspoon salt and cook until oil starts separating from the mixture
8. Add red chilli powder and hing and give it a stir
9. then add cooked lentils and bring it to boil
10. Add fresh cream and simmer for 2 minutes
11. Switch off the flame. Dal Makhani is ready to be served. Add chopped cilantro leaves for garnish and top it with a big dallop of butter. Serve hot with roti or naan or steamed rice.