Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tomato Rice - South Indian Style

Tomato Rice

Well there are different styles of making tomato rice. This one I called it the south Indian style because I did not use the ginger garlic paste or the garam masala.
Tomato rice is one of my favorite rice items however it is made.


  • Onion(cut length wise): 1 cup
  • Tomatoes( finely chopped): 1 cup
  • Tomato paste: 1 tsp
  • Green chillies( cut length wise): 3
  • Lime juice: 1/2 tsp
  • Cilantro( finely chopped): 2 tbsp
  • Curry leaves: 2
  • Red chilli powder: 1 tsp
  • Salt as required
  • Channa dal: 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal : 1/2 tsp
  • Peanuts: 1/2 tsp
  • Sesame seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Cooked Rice: 2 cups


  • Oil: 3 tbsp
  • Turmeric: 1/4 tsp
  • Channa dal: 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal: 1/2 tsp
  • Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Curry Leaves: 4
  • Red chillies( broken): 2
  • Asoefetida( hing): 1 pinch


  1. First dry roast the channa dal, urad dal, peanuts and sesame seeds and grind them in a spice grinder once they are cooled.
  2. Keep this spice powder aside.
  3. Now add oil to a pan and add all the seasoning ingredients in the order mentioned.
  4. When the seeds start spluttering, add onions and fry until they become soft.
  5. Now add the tomatoes and green chillies and cook until the tomatoes become very soft and kind of become like a paste. Add little water if the tomatoes are not very juicy.
  6. Now add the tomato paste and mix well.
  7. Add the spice powder that you prepared earlier to the onion tomato gravy and cook until all the water/liquid is evaporated and it becomes a thick paste.
  8. Now add the cooked rice, mix well and add salt and chilli powder.
  9. turn off the stove and add lime juice.
  10. Garnish with cilantro.
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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Gutti Vankaya/Stuffed eggplants in peanut and sesame sauce

Eggplant is one vegetable that can be cooked in 100 different ways. I have said this before too in one of my eggplant posts and now I'm saying again. In India if you go to the vegetable market, you can see some 10-15 varieties of eggplants. the colors ranging from light green to dark purple.

Gutti Vankaya or stuffed brinjal(we call eggplant as brinjal in India) is an authentic south Indian dish. Different spices are stuffed into brinjal and then cooked slowly on a low heat. Again when it comes to stuffing brinjal there are different combinations of spices you can stuff that leads to different varieties of stuffed brinjal.
If you ask my mom for a recipe of stuffed brinjal, right away she can give you some 5-6 varieties you can do it.

Most of the times the spices are added along with onions to get the gravy.
Here I made an onion free stuffing. You may ask me why onion free? No specific reason....I am an onion lover in fact! I can't make any dish without onions. Sometimes I go into the kitchen, open my fridge and stare at the vegetables thinking what to cook. Then I start cutting the onions without a second thought, still thinking which vegetable to cook. That is to say that onions are default in any dish I prepare. So I just start cutting them without a second thought. So today decided to give onion a break and made this onion free stuffing for the eggplants with peanuts and sesame seeds. The result was just YUMMY! That is all I can say.
If you don't believe try it for yourself and let me know.

Egg Fry


Peanuts: 1/4 cup
Sesame seeds: 4 tsp
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
Coriander seeds: 1tsp
Red chillies(broken): 3
powdered Jaggery: tsp
Cloves: 2
Cinnamon bark: small piece.
Salt as required
Red chilli powder: 1 tsp
Eggplants(small round variety): 6
Chopped cilantro: 1 tbsp
Tamarind: small marble size.


Oil: 3 tbsp
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
Curry leaves: 5-6
Turmeric: 1/4 tsp
Asoefetida(hing): a pinch


  1. Wash the eggplants throughly in water cut the stems off.
  2. Now make two slits in the eggplants vertically perpendicular to each other.
  3. Keep the eggplants in water and set them aside.
  4. To prepare the stuffing dry roast the sesame seeds along with cumin, coriander seeds, red chillies, cloves and cinnamon and set them aside.
  5. Now dry roast the peanuts and set them to cool.
  6. Soak the tamarind in water for 5-10 minutes and extract the juice.
  7. In a spice grinder grind all the dry roasted ingredients.
  8. To the spice mix add the tamarind juice, jaggery, slat and red chilli powder.
  9. Divide that mix in to two parts. Stuff one half into the eggplants and use the remaining for the gravy.
  10. Add oil to a pressure pan and when the oil is heated, add all the seasoning ingredients in order and when the seeds start spluttering add the spice mix and add 1-2 cups  of water. Let that water come to a boil and the add the brinjal stuffed with the spice mix. Put the pressure pan lid and pressure cook until you get 1 whistle.
  11. Make sure you do not over cook the brinjal.
  12. Once the pressure comes down, open the lid and adjust t he salt. if the sauce is too think at this point, add some water and cook for few minutes.
  13. Garnish with coriander. 
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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Quinoa with stir fried veggies

Here is another Quinoa dish from me. I tried to make it similar to the Chinese style veggie fried rice. Just used quinoa instead of rice.
CQuinoa with stir fried veggies


Quinoa: 1 cup
Carrots (cut into small pieces): 1/2 cup
Tofu: 1/4 cup
Green Beans (cut into small pieces): 1/4 cup
Soy sauce: 1/2 tsp
Red chilli sauce: 1/4 tsp
salt as required.
Green onions (finely chopped): 1/4 cup.
Oil: 2 tsp
Pepper: 1/2 tsp

  1. Cook the quinoa in a rice cooker with 2 cups of water. 
  2. Add oil to a pan and when the oil is heated add the veggies and the tofu and stir fry them.
  3. Add the cooked quinoa to the veggies and mix them together.
  4. Add the soy sauce, chilli sauce and pepper. Adjust the salt.
  5. Serve with raita or humus.
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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Creamy Corn Curry

Here is a simple corn curry that is very easy to make, tastes great with rotis or you can just eat it by itself like a side dish.
Corn Curry


Sweet Corn: 1 cup
Onion ( Big sized)( finely chopped): 1
Milk: 3/4 cup
Salt as required

Oil: 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
Turmeric: 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves: 4
Green chillies: 2 (optional)
Red chillies( Broken): 2
Asoefetida( Hind): a pinch


  1. For the corn, I used the frozen yellow corn. You ca use canned or fresh corn too.
  2. Add oil to a pan and heat it. When the oil is heated, add all the seasoning ingredients in the order mentioned.
  3. When the seeds start spluttering, add the chopped onions and little salt.
  4. Cook until the unions become soft and translucent.
  5. Now add the corn and cook for 10 minutes.
  6. Adjust the salt.
  7. Add the milk and let the corn cook in the milk for 3-4 minutes and turn off the heat and set the pan aside for few minutes.
  8. The milk gets absorbed into the corn after few minutes and the curry becomes thick and ready to be served.
  9. Tastes great with rotis.
Suggestions: If you like it sweet avoid the green chillies. But if you want to make it more spicy use the green chillies.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pasta Salad - Deli style

I love the pasta salads that you get in a deli. So decided to make this at home and searched on google for the deli style pasta salad recipe. Went through a couple of recipes and combined a few and the result is my Deli style pasta salad. 
Cold salads right out of the fridge taste heavenly during summers. Pasta salads are so filling that they can be had like the main course rather than a side dish.
Rotini Salad


Rotini pasta( spiral shaped pasta): 1 cup
medium sized tomatoes: 2
Black olives(cut in half): 1/2 cup
Feta cheese(Crumbled): 2 tbsp
Chopped Cilantro: 2 tsp
Parmesan cheese: 1 tbsp
Sundried tomatoes in oil(drained and chopped): 6
Salt as required.

For the dressing:

Sun dried tomatoes in oil: 4
Red wine venigar: 2 tsp
Olive oil: 3 tbsp
Garlic: 1 clove diced
Cilantro: 1 tsp
Freshly ground pepper: 1/2 tsp
Parmesan cheese: 1 tsp


  1. Cook the pasta in water adding little salt and a splash of olive oil.
  2. Once the pasta is cooked,drain the water and set it aside to cool.
  3. For the dressing, add all the ingredients to a food processor and blend them.
  4. Place the pasta in a mixing bowl and add the tomatoes, olives, chopped sundried tomatoes and the feta cheese.
  5. Pour the dressing over the pasta, sprinkle with Parmesan and cilantro and mix well.

Variations: Actual pasta salad recipes require parsley instead of cilantro. I did not have parsley readily available so opted for cilantro.
I also reduced the cheese( both Feta and Parmesan) quantity compared to the actual recipes.
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pottu Pesara Kattu

Blogging is very addictive. I open up my blog with the intention of posting a recipe and before I start that, I will check some of my fav blogs and from the comments section on those blogs, I enter few more blogs and from there to few other blogs and this goes on. Does that sound like "been there done that" :) I'm sure it sounds familiar to every food blogger.

Here are some of the blogs I check almost every day.
RedChillies - I like her style of writing.
VeggieBelly - This blog I visit for it's amazing pictures.
Talimpu - Has some authentic south Indian recipes.

RedChillies maintains a food blog aggregator. My fav space on the web:) And, once you visit that page you are sure to get lost in the world of food blogs.

So, I opened up my browser to post this recipe and like I said, went to my fav blogs and from there to some other blogs, browsed for 2 hours and now back to posting the recipe:) here it is:
This is a simple soup/rasam kinda dish that got passed on from my grand mom to mom and from my mom to me.

Pottu Pesara Kattu

Split moong dal with the coat: 1/2 cup
satl as required.
Ginger (grated) : 1/2 tsp

Oil/Ghee: 2 tsp
Mustard seed: 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
Redchillies(broken): 4
Curry leaves: 5
Garlic: 1 clove
Turmeric: 1/4 tsp
Asoefetida(hing): a pinch

  1. Cook the moong dal with water and salt in a pressure cooker until you get 2-3 whistles.
  2. Remove the cooker lid and add more water and ginger and the dal cook in the water for 10-15 minutes without the lid.
  3. Make sure the dal becomes soft and gets blended into the water.
  4. In a seasoning pan, add oil and when the oil is hot, add all the seasoning ingredients in the order mentioned.
  5. When the seeds start spluttering add the seasoning to the dal and water mixture and remove from heat. 
  6. Adjust salt.
  7. Add more red chillies if you like it more spicy. all the spice in this recipe comes form red chillies.
  8. Optionally you can use oil instead of ghee(clarified butter) for seasoning or you can use half oil and half ghee.
  9. Serve with steamed rice.

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Orzo Salad

When summer hits it's stride and produce at it's peak, a simple salad can be magical.
This a simple pasta salad with orzo, cucumbers, onions and olives.
Orzo is rice shaped pasta. It looks just like long grains of rice and you can find in the pasta section of the grocery store.

Orzo Salad

Orzo pasta: 3/4 cup
Cucumber(Kheera): 1
Red onion(medium sized): 1
Blck olives: 1/2 cup
Pepper: 1 tsp
Salt as required
Olive oil: 4 tsp
Cilantro( finely chopped): 2 tbsp
Pesto sauce: 2 tbsp
Feta cheese: 2 tbsp


  1. Cook the orzo pasta just like regular pasta with water, a pinch of salt and a tsp of olive oil.
  2. When the pasta is soft drain the water and set it aside.
  3. Chop the onion, cucumber into small pieces. Slice the olives in to half.
  4. In a mixing bowl mix the pasta with cucumber, olives and onion.
  5. Add olive oil, salt and pepper.
  6. Add the paste sauce and mix it with the pasta. 
  7. Refrigerate the pasta for at least 30 minutes before serving. 
  8. Add the crumbled feta cheese just before serving.
  9. Garnish with cilantro.
This salad goes to the SpicyTasty's sizzling summer contest.
Orzo Salad
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Friday, June 11, 2010

Cilantro Chutney

Cilantro Chutney


Cilantro : 1 cup
Tomato( small-sized) : 1
Green chillies: 2
Red chillies: 2
Coriander seeds: 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
Urad dal: 1 tsp
Channa dal: 1 tbsp
Jaggery or Sugar : 1 tsp
Tamarind: cherry size.
Oil: 1 tbsp


Oil: 1 tsp
Urad dal: 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves: 4
Red chillies( broken): 1
Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
Asoefetida( hing): a pinch

  1. Add oil to a pan and when the oil is heated enough, add channa dal, urad dal, red chillies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and green chillies.
  2. When the seeds start to turn brown, add the chopped tomato and cook for few minutes and then add salt. Add tamarind and jaggery.
  3. Now add the chopped cilantro and cook them together until the cilantro and tomatoes are cooked well.
  4. Turn off the stove and let it cool. Now add them to a blender and puree into a smooth paste and empty the puree into a bowl.
  5. Now add the seasoning ingredients in the order mentioned above to a pan and when the seeds start spluttering, add it to the pureed cilantro and mix well.
  6. Serve with rice.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Quinoa salad with spinach, black beans and chickpeas

Have been hearing a lot about "quinoa - the super grain" lately and wanted to give it a try. Quinoa is not actually a grain. It is the seed of a plant that is closely related to species such as spinach and beets. You can read more about quinoa here. I bought them and they have been sitting in the pantry for a while now waiting for their turn. I never ate or cooked quinoa before.

I also had some left over canned black beans and canned chickpeas that I had to use.
There was also some baby spinach waiting for its turn. Before all these get spoiled I wanted to use them and combined them all and cooked with quinoa. The result was just wonderful!!!

Quinoa by itself did not have any taste, but with all the added ingredients the super grain did taste good. I served it along with some home made humus.

Quinoa with spinach, black beans and chickpeas


Quinoa: 1 cup
Chick peas: 1/4cup
Black Beans: 1/4 cup
Baby Spinach(chopped): 1/4 cup
Tofu( grated) : 4 tsp
Salt as required.
Pepper: 1 tsp
Lime juice: 1 tsp
Olive oil: 2 tsp
Red pepper flakes(optional)


  1. Cook quinoa in a rice cooker with 2 cups of water(quinoa to water ratio is 1:2)
  2. Add olive oil to a pan and add the chopped spinach, chickpeas and the black beans. Cook them in olive oil  until the spinach becomes soft.
  3. Now add the cooked quinoa to the pan, add salt and pepper. Mix well.
  4. Add the lime juice and mix.
  5. Add the grated tofu on top and serve.
  6. Optionally you can add some red pepper flakes  on top to make it spicy.
Read more »

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Vegetable Fried Rice

This is indian chinese style vegetable fried rice. One of my favorites and an instant food if you have left over rice.  

Could there be a better way to use the left over rice than loading up with tons of fresh vegetables and make it complete sumptuous nutritional meal?  I had some left over rice from the previous day and made this yummy colorful fried rice. I added more vegetables to make it more nutritious.    

I generally cut carrots and beans into small pieces and keep them in my freezer. That makes it even more easy to cook this rice. All you have to do is heat the oil in a pan, toss in the veggies, add rice and spice it up with the sauces. As simple as that. It looks so colorful that its is appealing even for kids.    

Vegetable Fried Rice


Cooked rice1 cup
Carrots(finely diced)1/2 cup
Cabbage(finely chopped)1/2 cup
Beans(finely diced)1/2 cup
Green onions/spring onions (very finely chopped)2 tbsp
Bell Pepper/ Capsicum (finely diced)1/4 cup
Saltas required
Oil2 tsp
Soy sauce2 tsp
Chilli sauce1 tsp
Pepper powder1 tsp

Add oil to the pan.
Add the diced carrots, beans, cabbage and capsicum and stir fry them on high flame.
The vegetables should not be over cooked. When the vegetables are crispy and half-cooked add the rice and mix well.
Add soy sauce, hot sauce. Add pepper and adjust the salt.
Sprinkle the green onions on top and serve.    


I use the sriracha chilli sauce. But any kind of chilli sauce can be used.
You can even add scrambled egg to the rice.
1/2 tsp lemon juice can be added to the rice.    

It's always better to use previous day's rice. But if you do not have any left over rice, you can chill the fresh cooked rice in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before you prepare the fried rice. If the rice is hot, it becomes mushy when you mix with vegetables.    

I used the Julienne style peeler to cut the carrot into long strips, but I generally dice them into small pieces.

Chinese Fried Rice With Vegetables
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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Black Bean and Corn Salad

Black Bean Salad

Black Beans: 1 can
Whole kernel corn: 1/2 can
Bell Pepper: 1/2(finely chopped)
Tomatoes: 1 medium - sized (finely chopped)
Onions: 1 medium - sized (finely chopped)
Salt: as required.
Sugar: 1 tsp.
Extra virgin olive oil: 1 tbsp
Cilantro: (finely chopped)
White wine venigar: 1/2 tsp
lemon juice: 1 tbsp

Mix all the ingredients, refrigerate for 30 minutes and serve.

This was big hit in my house. My little girl just loved it.

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Nimmakaya Pappucharu(Lime lentil soup)

Nimmakaya Pappucharu


Tomatoes1 medium - sized
Onion1/2 Large - sized
Green Chillies3
Cilantro leaves10-15
Garlic1 pod
Lime Juice1 tbsp
Toor dal1/2 cup
Saltas required
Ghee1 tbsp


Urad dal1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds1/2 tsp
Curry leaves5
Broken red chillies2
Turmeric1/4 tsp
Asafetida/hing1 pinch


Boil toor dal with water in a pressure cooker adding salt and turmeric powder.

Mash the boiled dal evenly in to a smooth paste without any lumps.

Add more water to the dal and keep boiling on a low flame.

Chop the onions length wise. Cut the tomatoes into medium size pieces.

Cut the green chillies length wise.

Now add ghee to a pan and add the seasoning ingredients in order mentioned and when the seeds start spluttering add onions, tomatoes, garlic and green chillies and fry them together.

When the onions turn soft and brown add them to the boiling dal. Add salt as required.

Boil dal for another 5-10 minutes and turn off the stove. Add the lemon juice.

Garnish with cilantro.

Serve with steamed rice.
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