Nov 17, 2009


I have been getting a lot of requests for Andhra style chutneys pickles and sweets. So I thought I’d start off with my all time favourite brinjal chutney. It is spicy and tangy and goes well with rice.

Here is how I make it:

You would require:

Brinjals – ½ kg

To be ground coarsely:

Oil: 2-3 tbsp
Bengal gram dal/senaga pappu/chana dal : 2tsp
Urad dal/minappa pappu :2 tsp
Mustard seeds/ avalu : ½ tsp
Cumin seeds/jeera : 1 ½ tsp
Methi seeds/fenugreek seeds/menthulu :1/4 tsp.
Dry red chillies : 3-4
Hing/asafetida : ¼ tsp
Green chillies : 3-4 or according to taste
Curry leaves : few.
Tamarind : size of a small lemon.
Garlic pods: 3-4(optional)
Turmeric: ½ tsp.
Salt : to taste.

For tempering:

Oil : 1-2 tbsp
Jeera : 1 tsp
Mustard seeds : 1/2 tsp
Hing : ¼ tsp
Curry leaves : few

The making of this chutney can be broken down into three phases for easier understanding and remembering.

Phase 1:

The first step involves chopping the brinjals into small pieces and then frying them in a pan. I have used the round large brinjal for this purpose. I chopped the brinjal into 1” cubes. I then put some oil in a non stick pan, added the brinjal pieces once the oil was warm, covered and then cooked the pieces on low heat stirring occasionally. The idea is to see that the pieces get softened due to the heat inside the pan and the moisture inside from the brinjal pieces.

Once the pieces turn soft and change colour, remove the pieces from the pan and set them aside to cool

Phase 2:

The second phase would be making the coarse chutney powder.

Heat oil in a pan. As the oil turns hot add the chana dal and udad dal. Keep frying till the seeds change colour slightly. Now add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and red chillies. Keep stirring to ensure that nothing burns as it would turn the chuney bitter. Now add the hing and stir. Add the garlic pods, green chillies, curry leaves and turmeric. Mix everything well.

Allow this mixture to cool. Add the tamarind piece and grind it into a coarse paste. Make sure that there are no seeds in the tamarind. Alternately you can make a paste out of the tamarind by soaking it in lukewarm water and use that. (We are making a coarse powder because we would further grind after adding the brinjal pieces.)

To this coarse powder, add the brinjal pieces and salt and grind further. You can add red chilli powder also at this stage for extra heat. It depends on your personal choices and taste.

Remove the ground chutney and keep it aside.

Phase 3:

Prepare some tempering with jeera, mustard seeds hing and curry leaves and pour it over the chutney. Add some chopped coriander for garnishing. Mix well. Serve with rice.

If you want to be a bit more adventurous, you can try it with rotis and pulkas too. :P

Nov 12, 2009


Plantain also known as “Aratikaya” in telugu is a widely used vegetable in South Indian cooking. It is used in making a variety of dishes ranging from simple fries with basic tempering to curries, gravies and even snacks like bajjis and pakoras. Here is a simple plantain stir fry that goes well with rice

Here’s what you would require to make the plantain stir fry:

Plantains  :2
Turmeric :1/4 tsp.

For the tempering:

Jeera : 1 tsp
Mustard seeds : ¼ tsp
Dry red chillies (endu mirchi): 2-3
Asaefotieda/hing/inguva : a pinch
Curry leaves:7-8
Ginger : 1 inch piece grated finely
Green chillies : 3 to 4 or according to taste chopped to 1 inch pieces
Dhania /coriander powder : ½ tsp (optional)
Turmeric : ¼ tsp
Salt : to taste
Lemon - 1
Chopped coriander leaves : for garnish

Chop plantains to 1 inch cubes. Boil the pieces in water with turmeric until the pieces turn soft. (The fork should be able to pierce through the piece)

Drain the water and set aside.

Heat oil in a kadhai. Add the mustard seeds. When they start spluttering add the jeera. When it starts to fry a bit red chillies and stir. Now add the hing and fry till a nice aroma starts coming out. Then add the ginger and green chillies and fry for few more seconds. Now add the dhania powder (optional) and turmeric. Keep stirring. Add the turmeric.

Now add the plantain pieces and salt and stir evenly to coat all the pieces will the tempering.
Cover and cook for about 4-5 minutes on low heat. Check the seasoning.

Just before switching off the stove add lemon juice according to taste and coriander leaves.

Serve hot with rice.


In the above recipe you can skip the dhania powder and lemon juice. Instead of lemon juice you can add 2-3 tbsp of grated coconut at the end. Just make sure to turn off the gas soon after adding the grated coconut or else it will lose its flavor.

Nov 10, 2009



I am a great fan of North Indian dishes. My first ever introduction to north Indian food was the naan and palak paneer combo thanks to my sister who was at that time staying in Rajkot, Gujarat and I have never stopped since then. And it still remains my most fave north Indian food. Sadly, I don’t find good quality north Indian food at many hotels. Sadly they are too spicy and overloaded with oil taking away the actually flvour of the palak and tha paneer. Worst still colour is added in many hotels and you aren’t sure if it is approved food colour or not. So I’d rather cook these dishes at home rather than eat out. Atleast you know what s going into it. The sad thing though with some north Indian dishes is that the process is elaborate and time consuming with so many pastes that have to be made like onion paste ginger garlic paste etc (if you want it to taste fresh i.e. :P. I don’t use packed pastes for ginger garlic n stuff)

The other day I had decided to make Rajmah and jeera rice combo. My husband does really love it :D. and when I was pondering how to make it more quickly and then I decided to make a paste of all the masalas together though I wasn’t really sure how it would taste. Now that I have made it and it didn’t really taste that bad after all… (ahem!!trying to be a bit did really taste good) I decided to put the recipe into the blog.

This is how I made it: (to serve 2 people approximately)

Rajmah (kidney beans) : 1 cup

Soak the kidney beans overnight in water if you are making it for lunch or soak them for the whole day if you are making it for the dinner.

To be made into a paste:

Onions : 2 medium sized cut into cubes
Chillies : 3-4 or according to taste
Garlic pods : 6-7
Ginger : 1’ piece
Dhania/coriander seeds: 1 tsp
Jeera/cumin seeds : 1 tsp
Turmeric : ½ tsp
Salt : according to taste
Rajmah masala : 2 tbsp (or as mentioned on the packaging)
(chilli powder can also be added for colour and flavor according to requirement if you like the dish hot)
Coriander leaves few.

Other ingredients:

Tomatoes : 2 medium sized
Bay leaf : 1(optional)
Cinnamon stick : 1 inch piece(optional)
Cloves : 2-3(optional)
Pepper : 2-3(optional)

Pressure cook the rajmah and set aside. Do not drain the water. Keep it aside for later use as gravy.
Make a paste of the ingredients to be made into a paste and set aside.
Blanch the tomatoes. This means add the tomatoes to boiling water for a minute and remove them. Now run them under cold water to stop the cooking . this process is called blanching. Now puree/ grind the tomatoes in a mixie and keep it aside.
Heat oil in a kadhai. Add the masala ingredients i.e., bayleaf, cinnamon stick, loves and pepper to the hot oil and let them fry till an aroma emanates.( You can remove the masalas one you are sure that they are fried if you are not too comfortable will the smell of strong masalas at this point or retain them in the oil as per your choice).
Add the ground masala paste to the oil. Keep stirring for a minute. You would find the raw smell of the masala disappearing and the masala leaving oil from the sides.
Add this stage add the tomato puree. Keep stirring until you get a fragnant smell from the masalas.
Add rajmah masala and stir for one more minute
Add the rajmah minus the water at this stage and allow it to fry along with the masalas stirring continuously.
Now add the water and let it cook for some more time. Check seasoning and adjust accordingly.
Just before removing from the stove, add the coriander leaves for decoration.

Rajmah is best served with jeera rice. It can also be had with chapattis or phulkas.

You can also top off the dish with butter for extra taste.

Nov 6, 2009


Cooking for a single person can be a daunting task, specially when hubby dear is out of town and you have to cook for yourself. Most of us tend to skip our lunches/dinners and even worse, snack on some junk stuff. I keep looking for some simple and easy to make recipes so that I don’t have to starve when my husband is away or when I don’t have anything interesting to make. I borrowed this recipe from my sister and believe me it is finger licking good. You would require very basic ingredients for this dal that can be found in any kitchen. A very important point to note though…please do not make this dal if even a single item in the ingredient list is missing from your kitchen :P It would change the taste of the dal completely.

To make this dal you would require:

To boil the dal:

Moong dal : 1 cup or as per requirement
Water : double the amount of dal or 2 cups as in this case
Turmeric : ½ tsp
Salt : 1 tsp

For the tempering:

Garlic cloves : 5-6 pounded slightly but not too much
Jeera : ½ tsp
Green chillies : 3-4 slit in the centre or chopped roughly
Curry leaves : 6-8
Oil : 2-3 tbsp
Coriander or kothimeer: chopped (lots of it :P)

Boil the moong dal along with water, turmeric and salt in a pressure cooker for a little more time than a normal dal would need. The moong dal should become more or less to a soft consistency. After you remove the dal from the cooker beat it with a spoon so that the dal gets soft.

Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds to it. When they start spluttering add garlic, let it fry a bit till you get a nice aroma. Now add the curry leaves let them fry for a bit and add the dal.

Check the seasoning and add salt if required. Also you can add more water to get your required consistency.

Let the dal boil for a minute till all the flavours infuse with each other.

Just before switching off the stove add the coriander leaves and your dal is ready.

You can top off the dal with a teaspoon of ghee for that extra kick.

This dal is fab with pulkas, rotis, rice and even jeera rice :D


Use butter instead of oil for tempering and also for topping off simple. :D

Nov 3, 2009



My idea of a perfect winter evening???? A nice lip smacking snack with a hot cuppa chai on the terrace with hubby dear…. Ahhh!!!! How yummily romantic… :D

And with drizzling rain outside and dropped temperatures I wanted to make something special… and the result of all the brain storming?? I came up with a unique snack and I am hoping that I am the first one to come with this idea :P … yummy chatpata sandwich pakoda.

I had some left over pudina chutney in the fridge which I made use for this snack.

You would require:

Bread - 4 slices (I used brown bread…..tasty and healthy)

For the batter:

Gram flour - 1 cup
Water - approximate quantity for the
Salt - adjust according to taste
Turmeric - ¼ tsp
Chilli powder - adjust according to taste

For the green chutney:

Pudina/mint - small bunch
Coriander leaves - small bunch
Garlic pods - 4 to 5
Tamarind - small piece
Sugar - ½ tsp
Salt - adjust according to taste
Chillies - 4 to 5.

(The use of chillies would depend on how hot you like your sandwich)

How to make it:

Grind all the ingredients for the green chutney into a fine paste. Try not to add water as the bread might become soggy if the chutney is too runny. Just add enough water to make it a paste.

Take each bread slice cut it into 4 triangles and keep them aside

Mix all the ingredients for the batter. The consistency of the batter should be such that it should coat the bread well. Not too runny…not too thick.

Take one bread triangle and spread the chutney over it. Cover it with another triangle to make a sandwich.

Dip it in the batter and coat well on all sides.

Now fry this in hot oil well on both sides until crisp and fried.

Serve with tomato sauce and chips or French fries


I have found that mixing any pakoda batter with cold water gives the pakodas a crispy texture. So you can avoid using baking soda.

Stocking on green chutney in the fridge can be helpful when you are in a hurry. It can be used in making sandwiches, as an accompaniment to snacks and also for making pudina rice.


If you are in a hurry or cant make pudina chutney you could probably substitute it with a sauce of your choice.