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Dil Se..

Dil Se.. Culinary experiments from my little kitchen..

Updated: 2017-12-11T16:57:12.768-08:00


Lemon Yogurt Cake


It has been a while since I posted a recipe here in this blog thanks to my laziness! I wanted to post some baked item since it has been a really long time I posted one. I have been baking once in a while, but it has mostly been the regular banana bread, cookies and puffs. I made this lemon yogurt cake last week when I saw Ria's recipe. The cake turned out really moist and perfectly sweet with a little tanginess from the lemon and the freshness of the lemon zest. I made these with lemons I had grabbed from a neighbor's garden. Yes we are fortunate to have lemon and orange trees here in Southern California!

This recipe is a keeper and I definitely will be making this again..

    Recipe Source: Ria's Collection
    Unsalted butter, softened - 180 grams or 12 tablespoons
    Sugar - 1 1/4 cups
    Eggs - 3 whole and 1 egg yolk
    Juice and zest from 1 lemon/lime
    All purpose flour/Maida - 1 cup
    Whole wheat flour - 1/4 cup
    Baking powder - 1 teaspoon
    Baking soda - 1/2 teaspoon
    Yogurt - 5 tablespoon
    Salt - 1/2 teaspoon


  1. Preheat oven to 180C or 350F.
  2. Butter and flour a 9 inch baking tin.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients - the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. In another mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy, for about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the eggs one by one and continue beating.
  6. Add the lemon juice and the zest and combine.
  7. Then add the prepared flour mix and beat together well until mixed thoroughly.
  8. Finally add the yogurt and beat for a minute. The batter is now ready.
  9. Pour the prepared batter into the prepared tin and bake for about 60 minutes. A toothpick or skewer inserted should come out clean.
  10. Allow the cake to cool down before removing from the pan and slicing.


Whole-grain Quinoa Adai/Crepe


Are you someone like me who hoards whole grains and other healthy ingredients in your pantry? I often get grains like steel cut oats, wheat bran, wheat berries and quinoa with an enthusiasm to cook healthy wholesome meals. But after using the ingredients in a recipe or two, the bag lies somewhere behind in my pantry, begging to be looked upon again! When I saw this adai recipe, I knew I can use up all those lurking ingredients in my pantry to make up a wholesome adai.

This adai is wholly made of wholesome ingredients and would make a great addition to a diet. It is very filling and can be had for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Recipe Source: Veg Inspirations

Brown Rice - 1/2 cup
Pearl Barley - 1/2 cup
Steel Cut Oats - 1/2 cup (can be replaced by rolled oats)
Quinoa - 1/2 cup
Urad dal(whole black gram dal) - 1/3 cup
Toor dal (split pigeon peas) - 1/3 cup
Mung Dal (Green gram dal) - 1/3 cup

Green chillies - 4
Dry red chillies - 4
Asafoetida/Hing - 1 pinch
Sesame oil / Any vegetable oil - to cook the adai
Salt to taste


  1. Soak the first seven ingredients in enough water for about 3 to 4 hours. Then drain the water.
  2. Grind together the soaked grains with the green chillies, red chillies, asafoetida and salt in a mixie/blender into a smooth batter adding a little water if required. The batter should be in a consistency similar to the regular dosa batter.
  3. In a tawa or griddle, pour a ladle full of the batter in the center and slowly spread the batter in circles.
  4. Drizzle some oil around the adai and allow it to cook for about 2 minutes until it gets golden brown in color.
  5. Flip with the help of a spatula and cook on the other side as well.
  6. Serve warm with a chutney or podi of your choice.

Raw banana(plantain) fry/ Vazhakkai poriyal


I always pick up raw plantain during our trip to the Indian store. Our favorite way to have this raw banana is in the form of banana chips or as bajji. I occasionally make this stir fry with simple spices and this makes a great accompaniment to dal and rice and also with rotis and chapatis as a dry curry.

Raw plantain / Vazhakkai - 1
Onion - 1/2 medium sized
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
All-Purpose curry powder/Sambar powder/Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
Oil - 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Urad dahl - 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Salt to taste

Peel the raw plantain and chop the plantain into small cubes.
In a wide saucepan, heat the oil and do the tempering with mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves.
Once everything starts spluttering, add the chopped onions and saute until it turns translucent.
Then add the chopped raw plantain and the spice powder (all-purpose curry powder/chilli powder/sambar powder), turmeric powder and salt.
Mix everything together and add half a cup of water. Cover and cook for about two minutes.
Remove the lid and stir everything together again. Allow the plantain to roast and turn crispy and golden brown for about five minutes.
Remove from heat and serve warm with rice and any curry or dal.

Savory Bombay French Toast


I like to have eggs for breakfast. It is healthy and nutritious to have a wholesome and filling breakfast. Eggs are filled with protein and vitamins and make a great start to the day!

I usually make anaheim scramble, desi omelette, veggie egg scramble, egg salsa dosai or egg cheese sandwich. When I saw these spicy bombay toast at Siri's place, I new I had to make it. I made this french toast when I had to make breakfast just for myself. Cooking for one can be monotonous and boring. I made this toast with one slice of bread and one egg and accompanied it with a mug of chamomile tea making it a great start to the day!!

Bread - 1 slice
Egg - 1
Milk - 1 tablespoon
Onion - 1 tablespoon finely chopped
Hot sauce - 1/2 teaspoon
Cilantro/Parsley - 1 teaspoon chopped
Salt to taste

In a shallow bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, chopped onions, hot sauce, cilantro and salt.

Also, cut the bread into two halves.

Heat a saucepan and drizzle with some oil. Dip the cut bread into the egg mixture so that it coats well on both sides.

Allow the bread to cook on both sides until it browns evenly.

Serve warm with ketchup or hot sauce or just by itself!

Check out my new hobby and my first project!

Crispy Fried Moong Dal Snack - Haldiram Style!


I was always a big fan of the Haldiram's Moong Dal Namkeen. A bag of those crispy fried moong dal to munch on and a book to read was all I wanted to relax on weekends! I wanted to replicate the snack at home and I almost dished out crispy moong dal that almost tasted like those of Haldiram's but mine looked a little more golden brown in color.

Split Yellow Moong Dal - 1 cup
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying


  1. Soak the moong dal overnight or atleast for 4 to 5 hours.
  2. Drain the water and pat the dal dry with a paper towel or a dry kitchen towel.
  3. In a heavy bottomed vessel, heat oil until it is piping hot.
  4. Once the oil reaches its smoking point, drop in a moong dal to see if it sizzles immediately. If it sizzles immediately, then the oil is ready for deep frying.
  5. Take care the oil is ready. If the oil is not at the right temperature, the dal absorbs a lot of oil. So take care the oil is at the right temperature.
  6. Deep fry the moong dal in batches and remove them once they turn crispy and golden brown. It took around 20 to 30 seconds to get them done. 
  7. Drain the dal in paper towels. Sprinkle salt to taste and mix well.
  8. Store in airtight containers.

Note: To make things easier, I used a strain to deep fry the moong dal. I took a batch of the dal and once the oil gets hot, just dip the strain into the oil. Once the dal gets fried just lift the strain from the oil and drain the moong dal in paper towels.

This is my entry for day 7 in the 7 day blogging marathon! Check out the Blogging marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#12.

Whole green gram dal fry


This is another simple and wholesome dal recipe and another variation from the regular dal. The whole moong dal packs more nutrients. A wholesome protein source and this accompanies well with rice or rotis.

To pressure cook
Whole green gram/green moong dal - 1 cup
Tomato - 1 finely chopped
Green chillies - 2
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon

Onion - 1/2 finely chopped
Ginger garlic paste - 1 teaspoon
Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
Garam masala - 1 teaspoon
Oil - 1 spoon
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Urad dal - 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves 1 sprig
Coriander leaves/cilantro - for garnish
Salt to taste


  1. Soak the whole green moong dal for about 1 to 2 hours.
  2. Pressure cook the dal, green chillies, turmeric powder and tomatoes with enough water for about 4 to 5 whistles.
  3. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat the oil and do the tempering with the mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves.
  4. Once everything starts spluttering, add the chopped onions. Saute till the onions turn translucent.
  5. Then add the ginger garlic paste and saute till the raw smell goes away.
  6. Add the red chilli powder and garama masala and mix well.
  7. Finally add the cooked moong dal and enough water (approximately 1 cup) and bring it to a boil.
  8. Simmer until the required consistency is obtained.
  9. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.

Note: The green moong dal thickens once the dal cools down. If planning to serve after a while, stir in some hot water or add some water and heat before serving.

This is my entry for day 6 in the 7 day blogging marathon! Check out the Blogging marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#12.

Paruppu Thuvaiyal / Lentil Chutney or Dip


This is a spicy south indian chutney made with toor dal. It is so so easy to make in a matter of minutes and pairs very well with rice and a dollop of ghee or a drizzle of sesame oil. You can make it with minimal ingredients and as spicy as you like. Just enjoy!

Have you checked out the raffle for the fund drive I am supporting?

Toor dal - 1/2 cup
Red chillies - 3
Garlic pods - 3
Grated coconut - 2 tablespoons
Oil - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste


  1. In a saucepan, heat the oil and add the toor dal and red chillies.
  2. Roast for about 2 to 3 minutes until the dal turns fragrant and golden brown.
  3. Grind together the roasted dal, red chillies, garlic, coconut and salt into a coarse paste sprinkling a teaspoon of water while grinding.
  4. Serve over rice and a dollop of ghee or a drizzle of sesame oil.

This is my entry for day 5 in the 7 day blogging marathon! Check out the Blogging marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#12.

This is my entry to My Legume Love Affair #43 started by Susan and hosted this time at Chez Cayenne and Love for Lentils hosted by Sudha

Giveaway - Supporting the fund drive for Vaidehi Ashram of destitute girls


"Love heals people-- both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it." -Karl MenningerI was so moved when I happened to read Siri's post about her visit to the Vaidehi Ashram of Destitute Girls in Hyderabad, India.Reading the post made me realize how I take things for granted and how I fortunate I am. Vaidehi Ashram is home for about 108 girls (from 3 to 22 years of age) who have no parents or a single parent who can no longer take care of them. To read more about the Ashram check out Siri's posts here.Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something.In an attempt to do a little help to these little girls, Siri has planned a fund raiser starting the 26th of January. I am helping her raise money by contributing to the list of wonderful prizes in the raffle. I will be giving away a Rachel Ray's Whistling Tea Kettle (available in colors - orange, blue and red) to a winner in the raffle. The item is labeled as RU11 in the list of prizes.There are over 40 exciting prizes to win. You can check out the list of prizes here and more details on how to participate in the raffle here.1 raffle ticket = $10 or 500 rupees1. You can contribute your donations via PayPal or Credit Card. Each $10 donated will buy you one raffle ticket towards a raffle prize of your choice. You can donate any amount.You can click the ChipIn! button below to donate or you can do it on Siri's site.  2. Once you have donated and receive your payment confirmation message, please forward the confirmation message to info(dot)siri(at), specifying which raffle prize(s) you are interested in.3. Within 24 hours, your name and amount will be added to the 'Fund Drive Supporter List'. If you want to stay anonymous, please let Siri know.4. A random drawing will be conducted by the children of the Ashram and the winners of each of the raffle prizes will be announced on February 27th, 2012.If you would like to win the Rachel Ray's Whistling Tea Kettle choose RU11 in the list of raffle prizes.I hope we could help Siri in this wonderful cause and help bring a smile in the little girls' faces.Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.-William James[...]

Moong dal khichdi and giveaway winner!


Here is yet another comfort food that can be made in a matter of minutes in a pressure cooker. Such one pot meals are always great when cooking for one. The husband has lunch at office and I need to find some inspiration to cook lunch for me. I tend to stay with one pot meals or easy fix lunches like sandwiches and soups. This is one such lunch I made for myself.

I have used the split green moong dal for this recipe. This can be substituted with the yellow split moong dal or the whole green moong dal as well. if using whole green moong dal, make sure to soak it for an hour in advance before cooking it with the rice.

Rice - 1 cup ( I used sona masoori rice)
Split green moong dal - 1/2 cup
Tomato - 1/2 roughly chopped
Salt to taste

For the tempering
Oil/ghee - 1 spoon
Jeera/Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
Garlic - 1 clove finely chopped
Ginger - 1/2 inch - finely chopped
Green chilly - 1
Curry leaves - 1 sprig


  1. Wash the rice and dal with water and drain the water.
  2. In a pressure cooker combine the rice, dal, tomato and salt and add about 3 to 3.5 cups of water. Pressure cook until you get 5 to 6 whistles.
  3. Once the pressure gets released, mash the rice and dal well with a potato masher or a wooden ladle. It should be very mushy.
  4. In a saucepan, do the tempering with the ghee, jeera, garlic, ginger, green chillies and curry leaves and pour it over the cooked rice and dal.
  5. Mix and serve it with pickle and papads.

Ultimate comfort food ready in minutes!

This is my entry for day 4 in the 7 day blogging marathon! Check out the Blogging marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#12.

The winner of the blog anniversary giveaway is Mythreyi of Yum! Yum! Yum! Thanks to everyone of you who participated in the giveaway and left your lovely comments :)

Low fat Ulundha Vadai / Urad dal fritters


If you are looking for an authentic ulundha vadai / urad dal fritters, this is not the place! I was craving for some ulundha vadai and I did not want to give up my healthy eating by deep frying something. So I made these vadais using my kuzhi paniyaram making pan. They tasted equally delicious and this can be made in a matter of minutes if you have the batter ready. Makes a great accompaniment with your evening chai.I followed the same ingredient list I use to make the regular ulundha vadais, except for the deep frying method and the hole in the center. I served the vadais with red bell pepper chutney instead of the coconut chutney.IngredientsUrad dal - 1 cupGreen chilly - 1 (grated or thinly sliced)Coriander leaves - 1 sprigGrated ginger - 1/2 teaspoonChopped onion - 2 tablespoonsSalt to tasteInstructionsSoak the urad dal in water for about 3 hours.Drain the water and in a mixer/grinder, grind the urad dal into a very fine paste. Add very little water (1 to 2 tablespoons) if required while grinding.When the batter is ready, mix in the other ingredients - green chillies, ginger, chopped onions and salt.Heat the kuzhi paniyaram pan, and drizzle 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon of oil in each hole. Fill with a spoonful of batter in each hole.After a minute, using a spoon flip the vadais over to cook on the other side.When the vadais start turning brown, remove them from the pan and serve with chutney of your choice.You can check out the regular ulunda vadai/ medhu vadai recipe here..This is my entry for day 3 in the 7 day blogging marathon! Check out the Blogging marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#12.This is my entry to My Legume Love Affair #43 started by Susan and hosted this time at Chez Cayenne and Love for Lentils hosted by Sudha[...]

Yellow Moong Dal Tadka


This is a basic dal recipe. It is so simple yet so comforting. It can be made in a matter of minutes and is so versatile. You can pair it with rotis and subji or ladle of rice drizzled with ghee! Tastes best anyways. I paired this simple dal with ladies finger poriyal and raw plaintain fry and this was our weekend lunch.IngredientsYellow split moong dal - 1 cupWater 3 cupsTurmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoonGreen chilli - 2Tomato - 1Salt to tasteFor the tadka/temperingOil/ghee - 1 spoonMustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoonUrad dal - 1/2 teaspoonCurry leaves - 1 springRed chilli - 1Onion - 2 tablespoons finely chopped (optional)Hing/Asafoetida - 1 pinchInstructionsIn a pressure cooker, cook the moong dal along with the turmeric powder, green chilli, tomato and 3 cups of water for about 4 whistles. Alternately, you could cook the moong dal in a stockpot or a heavy bootomed pan, covered for about 20 to 30 minutes, until the dal turns soft. The dal could also be cooked in the microwave.Once the dal gets cooked, add the salt and mash the dal well.In a saucepan, do the tempering with ghee, mustard seeds, urad, dal, hing, curry leaves, onions and red chillies.Pour the seasoning over the cooked dal and serve with rice and your favorite vegetable curry.This is my entry for day 2 in the 7 day blogging marathon! Check out the Blogging marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#12.This is my entry to My Legume Love Affair #43 started by Susan and hosted this time at Chez Cayenne and Love for Lentils hosted by SudhaTomorrow is the last day to submit your entries for the giveaway being hosted at Dil Se.. Do check it out :)[...]



While I was compiling a recent post to mark 4 years of blogging, I was astonished to see that I had never blogged about sambar! Sambar is a staple at my house. I make it almost every week or every other week to accompany our dosas and idlies for breakfast and dinner and also with rice and poriyals for lunch. It is a versatile dish to be served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I try to make different versions by rotating the vegetables I use. This is my mom's recipe for sambar. It sounds like a difficult procedure, but it is so easy to make.IngredientsToor dal - 1 cupVegetables - 1 cup chopped (potatoes, drumstick, cauliflower, brinjal, radish, beans, peas, carrots etc. can be used) I use 3 to 4 of the above veggies mentionedTamarind extract - from the size of 1 lemon or 1 teaspoon tamarind pasteSambar powder - 2 teaspoonsAll-purpose curry powder/Kuzhambu milagai thool (or chilli powder) - 1 teaspoonTurmeric powder - 1 teaspoonOnion - 1/4 cup choppedTomato - 2 chopped roughlyGreen chillies - 2Cilantro/coriander leaves - for garnishSalt to tasteFor the temperingOil - 2 spoonsMustard seeds - 1 teaspoonUrad dhal - 1 teaspoonCurry leaves - 1 sprigHing/Asafoetida - 1 pinchInstructionsIn a pressure cooker, cook the toor dal with about 3 cups of water and turmeric powder until you get 4 whistles. Alternatively, you can cook it in a stockpot for about 30 minutes, until the dal turns soft.With the help of a wooden spoon or a potato masher, mash the dal to make it into a smooth paste.In a saucepan/kadai, heat the oil and do the tempering with mustard seeds, urad dhal, curry leaves and hing.Once everything splutters, add the chopped onions and saute until it turns translucent. Then add the chopped tomatoes and allow it to cook for a minute.Now add the chopped vegetables and saute until the raw smell goes away.To this add the sambar powder, curry/chilli powder, salt and the tamarind extract and bring it to a boil.Simmer for about 5 to 6 minutes until the veggies cook well.Now add the dal to this and mix thoroughly.Add some chopped coriander/cilantro, cover and cook for about 10 minutes until you get the required consistency.Alternate quicker methodAfter step 6, pour all the contents in the kadai into the pressure cooker with the dal. Add about 1 cup of water and pressure cook for 3 whistles. Delicious sambar is ready.I am participating in a blogging marathon hosted by Srivalli for 7 days and I will be posting under the theme - "Seven Days of Delicious Dals"Check out the Blogging marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#12This is my entry to My Legume Love Affair #43 started by Susan and hosted this time at Chez Cayenne and Love for Lentils hosted by Sudha[...]

Manathakkali Vathal Kuzhambu


This is a tangy and delicious curry made with manathakkali vathal known as black nightshade in english. It is of high medicinal value and tastes great in this curry. It is so easy to make and is a staple in south indian households. I remember having vathal kuzhambu once a week for lunch in our hostel mess in college. I never used to like it at that time, but this kuzhambu has become a recent favorite. I served this with rice along with seppankizhagu roast and some papads.

The manathakkali vathal can be replaced with sundakkai vathal or any vegetable.

Manathakkali Vathal - 2 tablespoons
Tamarind extract - from a lemon sized ball
Tomato puree - 1/2 cup
Sambar powder/Vathal kuzhambu powder - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Asafoetida/Hing - 1 pinch
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Urad dhal - 1 teaspoon
Methi/Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Oil - 2 teaspoons
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Salt to taste


  1. In a saucepan, fry the vathal in 1 spoon of oil for a minute and remove from the pan.
  2. In the same saucepan, heat the remaining oil and do the tempering with the mustard seeds, methi seeds, urad dhal, hing and curry leaves.
  3. Once everything starts spluttering, add the sambar powder or vathal kuzhambu powder and turmeric powder and roast on a low flame for about a minute.
  4. Slowly add the tomato puree and the tamarind extract and salt. Add half a cup of water and bring it to a boil. Add more water if needed to get the required gravy consistency.
  5. Finally add the fried manathakkali vathal and simmer for about 3 minutes until the kuzhambu turns thick.

Serve with a poriyal and papad over rice.

Also, do check out the giveaway to celebrate 4th year blogiversary!

Celebrating 4th year blogiversary with a GIVEAWAY!


Dil Se.. turns 4!(image source: vetragames)I started writing this blog one day without much thought! I just wanted to record all my culinary experiments being a newbie to cooking. Blogging has introduced me to several new friends, people from all parts of the world and also to various cuisines. Blogging also introduced me to food photography and I believe I have come a long way since I started to blog! Blogging gave me the courage to venture into baking! I also had the opportunity to master traditional and authentic recipes. I was able to contribute to several events and contests. I was able to host a few events of my own as well.Thanks to my dear husband who is always a good critic and gives feedback and also waits patiently at the dining table until I finish my food photography :) I also thank all the lovely bloggers out there who have encouraged me all the way with their valuable comments and feedback!My very first recipe in this blog - Sweet PongalThe first thing I ever baked - Sweet Coconut PuffsThe bread I first baked!My first cake..First Icecream! - Watermelon Yogurt IcecreamFirst Jamming - Plum JamMy non-food blog - Divya Times!M heartfelt gratitude to each and every reader of this blog! I would like to celebrate this milestone by hosting a little giveaway! Yes, I a giving away one lucky reader a Pure Komachi 2 series Chef KnifeFor a chance to win this knife, do any one or all of the following. Each earns a separate entry. Leave a separate comment for each entry. I will ship worldwide.Leave a comment telling what is your favorite recipe in my blog and what sort of posts would you like to see more in the future.Follow Dil Se.. on Google+Like Dil Se.. on Facebook!Subscribe to my posts by email or reader..Tweet the following - Blogiversary giveaway at Dil Se.. @athisayadivyas ends on January 25th, 2012!Thanks again for all your support and helping me reach this milestone![...]

Brussels Sprouts Poriyal


I love indianizing recipes. Some recipes include this broccoli poriyal, broccoli dal and indian style pasta. Similarly, I wanted to make something indian with the miniature version of cabbage - brussels sprouts. I settled with this brussel sprouts recipe and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We had it with sambar and rice.

Brussels sprouts - 1/2 kg or 1 lb
Moong dal - 3 tablespoons
Onion - 1/4 chopped
Grated coconut - 1/4 cup
Tamarind extract - 1/2 teaspoon or juice from 1/2 the size of a lemon
All purpose curry powder/Kuzhambi milagai thool - 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste

For the tempering
Oil - 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Urad dal - 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves - 1 sprig


  1. Soak the moong dal in water for about half an hour.
  2. Meanwhile cube the onions and chop the brussels sprouts into bite sized pieces.
  3. In a saucepan/kadai, heat the oil and do the tempering with the mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves. Once it starts spluttering, add the chopped onions and saute till it turns translucent.
  4. Add the chopped brussels sprouts, soaked moong dal, salt, all-purpose curry powder and the tamarind extract. 
  5. Stir everything together, add about half a cup of water, cover and cook for about five minutes until the brussels sprouts turns soft and all the water evaporates.
  6. Add the grated coconut and stir well and switch off the heat.

Serve warm with rice, rotis and any gravy/curry.

Keerai Poriyal / Spinach stirfry


We love spinach and I love to cook different versions of spinach. I usually make salads, smoothies, spinach rice, spinach dal, pesto, kootu, masiyal etc. with spinach. This poriyal is another easy and delicious side dish I make with spinach and it pairs very well with rice and dal or any curry.

Fresh spinach - 1 bunch (you can also substitute with the frozen variety)
Moong dal - 3 tablespoons
Chopped onions - 1/4 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Grated coconut - 1/4 cup
Salt to taste

For the tempering
Oil - 1 spoon
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Urad dal - 1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Red chillies - 2

Wash the spinach well with water and chop the leaves roughly. If using frozen spinach just skip this step.
Cook the moong dal with little water for about 4 to 5 minutes. Alternatively, you could microwave the dal with little water for about 3 minutes.
In a kadai or saucepan, heat the oil and do the tadka with mustard seeds, urad dal, cumin seeds, curry leaves and red chillies. 
Once everything starts spluttering, add the choppied onions and saute till they turn translucent.
Then add the chopped spinach, turmeric powder and salt and saute everything for about two minutes until the spinach starts wilting.
Add the cooked moong dal and the grated coconut, cover and cook for two minutes.

Serve warm with rice and dal/curry.

Trader Joe's Finds: Fig Butter & Pumpkin Butter


I had recently proclaimed my love for Trader Joes here! Living just a block away from TJ's,  I visit the store very often and I love trying out different products. You never know what you might find there! They keep changing the stuff they carry every season and I always end up buying something new each time I go. The prices are great too! And hence, here is my new series called "TJ Finds"

I picked up these two fruit butters - Fig Butter and Pumpkin Butter during my last trip. Here is my review..

Fig Butter
Don't get confused by the name. The fig butter has no butter in it. This is what the bottle says: "To be a butter, a spread must contain more fruit than sugar.." This results in a wonderful very concentrated fig flavor. They taste delicious almost with anything. We had it on toasts, with crackers, with cheese and crackers, mixed into yogurt. I liked it with buttered toast the best!

Pumpkin Butter
I think pumpkin butter is a seasonal item in TJ's. I have found them on the shelves only during Fall. I try to stock them when I find them, because I absolutely adore these. They are not too sweet like jams and perfect on toasts, the way I like them. These can be used as a pastry filling, ice-cream topping!, mixed with yogurt, or mixed into cream cheese to make a very unique spread. The bottle also suggests, adding pumpkin butter to soups. I haven't tried this though.

You can find these fruit butters in the jam and preserves aisle. They cost $3.99 a bottle.

Have you tried pumpkin butter and fig butter? What is your favorite?

On another note, here is the review of the book, I just finished - "In the Convent of Little Flowers" by Indu Sundaresan. You should read it if you like short stories.

Sweet Paniyaram/ Jaggery Paniyaram


Happy New Year to all my friends! Hope everyone has a very prosperous and healthy year ahead!

Let us start the new year on a sweet note.. I made these sweet and delicious sweet paniyarams one evening and we enjoyed them as an evening snack. They are healthy since they are made with very little oil/ghee and contain jaggery instead of sugar. Jaggery is unrefined, wholesome sugar which has the goodness of minerals and vitamins.

Raw rice - 1/2 cup
Boiled rice - 1/2 cup
Fenugreek seeds/ venthayam - 1/2 teaspoon
Urad dhal - 2 tablespoons
Grated or powdered Jaggery - 1 cup or about 150 grams
Cardamom powder/ Elaichi - 1 pinch
Grated coconut - 1/4 cup


  1. Soak the raw rice, boiled rice, urad dhal and the fenugreek seeds overnight or atleast for 4 hours.
  2. Grind everything together into a thick batter adding a little water if needed.
  3. In heavy bottomed vessel, add the jaggery and cardamom powder and about 2 spoons of water and bring it to a boil. 
  4. The jaggery would melt and turn into a hot syrup.
  5. Filter the syrup to remove any residue and add it to the prepared batter.
  6. Also stir in the grated coconut and mix well.
  7. To make the paniyarams, heat the paniyraram pan and drizzle very little oil in each hole.
  8. Fill 3/4ths of the hole with the prepared batter.
  9. Cook on medium heat for about a minute. 
  10. With the help of a wooden skewer or a small spoon, flip the paniyarams and cook the other side for a minute.
  11. Remove from the pan and serve warm. Tastes great by itself.

Seppankizhangu / Arbi / Colocassia / Taro Roast


Seppankizhangu / Arbi / Colocassia / Taro is a root tuber. This can be used in curries, roasts and fries. They taste great any way you make them and makes a great side dish. I usually make it along with sambar rice or dal.

Seppankizhangu / Arbi / Colocassia - 1/2 kg or 1 lb
Chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon
Cumin/jeera powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Oil - 2 teaspoons
Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Urad dhal - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste


  1. Pressure cook the seppankizhangu with enough water in a pressure cooker for 3 whistles. Alternatively, boil them in enough water in a heavy bottomed pan for about 20 minutes.
  2. Once cool enough to handle, peel them and slice them into half inch rounds.
  3. In a bowl, take the sliced seppankizhangu, add salt, turmeric powder, chilli, coriander and cumin powder. Mix everything well and allow it to sit for about 10-15 minutes.
  4. In a saucepan, heat the oil and season with mustard seeds and the urad dhal.
  5. Once it starts spluttering, add the marinated seppankizhangu.
  6. Fry for about 10 to 15 minutes on medium heat until everything gets well roasted and turns deep brown in color. Keep stirring in between to allow it to stick to the pan.
  7. Serve immediately with rice and curry of your choice.

We had it with vatha kuzhambu and rice!

Spinach, Apple, Walnut Salad


It was pasta night of the week. I usually make pasta one night a week and I like to pair it with a simple salad and garlic bread and call it a meal. For the salad, I combined the candied walnuts, baby spinach, shaved apple and goat cheese. I used a store bought raspberry vinaigrette which gave a nice sweet finish to the salad.

Ingredients (serves 2)
Baby Spinach - 4 cups
Candied Walnuts - 3 tablespoons
Goat Cheese - 2 tablespoons
Apple - 1
Raspberry Vinaigrette - for dressing


  1. Using a mandolin, shave the apple into very thin slices. Alternatively, use a knife to chop the apple into thin slices.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the baby spinach, candied walnuts, goat cheese and shaved apple.
  3. Drizzle raspberry vinaigrette and toss well.
  4. Serve chilled!
You can find the recipe for candied walnuts - here.

Sending this to Lets cook for christmas- red and Green

Maple Glazed Walnuts / Candied Walnuts


I always like to try different ingredients in my salads. I like to have one sweet ingredient, be it raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries or chopped dried prunes. I also add different variety of nuts like walnuts, almonds, pecans and pine nuts to increase the protein content. I came across candied walnuts in a restaurant and I decided to make it at home. The glazed walnuts also make a great snack!This can be made in a matter of minutes and can also be stored for future use. The walnuts are tossed in maple syrup on the stovetop to make delicious sweet walnuts. The same recipe can be followed with pecans or any nuts for that matter. You can also add in spice powders but this time I kept it simple.Ingredients(Recipe Source: Food Network)Walnuts - 2 cupsMaple Syrup - 1/3 cupA pinch of saltInstructionsIn a non-stick skillet, add the walnuts and toast them for a minute until the raw smell goes away.Slowly add in the maple syrup and salt and with the help of a wooden spoon keep stirring, so that the maple syrup coats all the nuts.In a matter of two minutes, the maple syrup would be bubbling and would have coated all the nuts.Switch off the stove and allow it to cool completely.Store it in an airtight container and add to your favorite salads or munch on as a healthy snack!And watch my Youtube video featuring the recipe! [...]

Roasted Garlic Hummus


I love trying out the samples at the various grocery stores like Costco, Trader Joes. I always like to experiment with new products in my cooking and sampling helps to to try different food items. During one of such visit to our local middle eastern grocery store, I was offered offered to try samples of various versions of hummus. I happened to try the roasted garlic hummus and I was immediately hooked on to its taste. However, I found that the little tub of hummus was too expensive and I decided to try the same version of hummus at home. I grabbed cloves of garlic and ventured into making this delicious hummus. The garlic turns sweet and mellow when roasted and blends really well the taste of the hummus.I have made different versions of hummus at home. And we have it with pita bread, lavash, falafels, baby carrots, broccoli and also in sandwiches. This hummus version has become our new favorite!Ingredients(Recipe Source: Closet Cooking)Garbanzo Beans/Chickpeas - 1 cup (soaked overnight) or 1 19oz. can of chickpeasGarlic - 1 headTahini - 1/4 cupLemon Juice - 1/2 lemonOlive oil - 2 tablespoonsSalt and Pepper to tasteDirectionsRoasting the garlic:Take a whole garlic head and chop of the head so that the individual cloves of garlic get exposed.Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the cloves and season with salt and pepper.Wrap the entire garlic head in aluminum foil and roast in a preheated oven at 400F for 30 to 40 minutes.Allow the garlic to cool down a bit so that you can handle it.Using a fork, slowly separate the separate garlic from the skin.To make the hummus:Soak the chickpeas overnight or at least for 6 hours in water.Drain the water and pressure cook in enough water until the chickpeas turn soft.Add the cooked chickpeas, roasted garlic, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and pulse into a smooth mixture using a blender. Add a little water to obtain the desired consistency.Garnish with olive oil and serve with you favorite bread or veggies.[...]

Eggnog Cake


I love to shop at Trader Joes! Period.I love looking at the various aisles filled with unique ingredients and each time I visit the store, I always pick up something new to try! With the store situated one block away from my house, you can see me lurking the store often.. I have even been considering blogging about my Trader Joes' finds! During one such trip to the store, I happened to notice a carton of Eggnog! I have never bought or tasted eggnogs before. I came home and researched about eggnogs and happened to learn that it was a famous holiday drink.. It is made with egg and milk and rich in calories. I even came across some amazing recipes with eggnog. During my next trip I got a carton of light eggnog which is far lesser in fat and calories compared to the regular eggnog. I had the idea of making a simple pound cake with the eggnog. But I was too lazy to whip up my own cake and I was also running out of time. So I made use of a boxed cake mix to make this delicious cake. Any boxed cake mix can be used for this recipe. Just ignore the recipe instructions in the box and you can make this cake in a matter of minute using just 3 ingredients.Ingredients (yields two 9 inch round cakes or one large bundt cake)Any boxed cake mix - 16 oz ( I used Betty Crocker's Carrot cake mix)Eggs - 2Eggnog - 1 1/2  cupsEggnog - 1/2 cup (for drizzling over the cake)InstructionsPreheat the oven to 350F.In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and the egg nog(1.5 cups) for about a minute using an electric hand mixer.Slowly add the cake mix in batches and beat for about 2 minutes until well combined.Grease two 9 or 10 inch cake pans or one large bundt pan or two loaf pans with cooking spray or butter.Slowly add the prepared batter to the pans.Bake in the preheated oven for about 35 to 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.When the cake is done, let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes and transfer it to a wire rack.Drizzle the remaining half cup of eggnog over the cake. The cake absorbs all the eggnog and results in a mist and rich cake.Serve the cake as a dessert!The theme for this month's Sweet Punch Baking is 'Your Choice'. This is my entry for this month's Sweet Punch!Sending this to Let's Cook- Baked Goodies, Cooking Concepts- Holiday Baking, A 100 Day Global Food Festival, SYF and HWS Series- Cardamom,  Jingle All The Way,  Christmas Delicacy, Sinful Delights and Bake Fest[...]

Egg Scramble with Vegetables


This is a typical weekday breakfast at my place. I make different versions of egg scrambles at least once a week. It is so easy to make and includes all the necessary nutrients to make a wholesome meal giving a great start to the day! This scramble is one such variation I made using fresh vegetables from the farmers market.

Ingredients (serves 2)
Eggs - 3
Milk - 2 tablespoons
Vegetables - 1 cup (I used asparagus, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms)
Oil - 1 teaspoon
Grated cheese - 1 tablespoon (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a saucepan, heat the oil and add all the chopped vegetables.
  2. Saute for about two minutes until the veggies turn tender and crisp.
  3. In a bowl, break open the eggs and whisk the yolk and egg whites together with the milk.
  4. Once the vegetables are done, remove them from the pan and transfer to a plate.
  5. In the same pan, add the eggs and scramble the eggs well. Cook for about two minutes, until the eggs are done. Also add the cheese and mix thoroughly.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Finally add the veggies and give it a quick stir so that everything gets combined.
Serve with toast. We had ours with buttered toast, sliced avocados, potatoes and tea!

Rajma Chawal / Kidney Beans Curry and Rice


This is a North Indian classic dish made with rajma/kidney beans and rice. Steaming rajma curry served over plain white rice is rich in iron and protein from the kidney beans and carbohydrates from the rice and makes a wholesome satisfying meal.

Rajma/Kidney Beans - 1 cup (soaked overnight or atleast for 5 hours)
Onion - 1/2 medium sized
Tomato - 1
Green chillies - 3
Ginger - 1 inch finely chopped
Garam masala - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds/Jeera - 1 teaspoon
Oil - 1 spoon
Salt to taste
Cilantro/Coriander for garnish

Soak the rajma in water overnight or atleast for 5 hours.
Drain the water and pressure cook with water until 4 whistles until the rajma turns soft and completely cooked. Alternatively, instead of using a pressure cooker, the beans can also be cooked in a stockpot with a lid for 30 to 35 minutes until the beans turn soft and tender.
In a wide saucepan/kadai, heat the oil and add the cumin seeds. once they start spluttering, add the chopped ginger and garlic and saute until the onions turn translucent.
Add in the chopped tomatoes and saute for a minute until the tomatoes turn tender.
Add the turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala and salt and mix well. Cook for a minute.
Finally add the cooked rajma/kidney beans and a cup of water.
Cover and cook on low heat for about five minutes until all the flavors blend together.
Remove from heat and garnish with cilantro.
Serve over cooked rice.