Thursday, 20 October 2016

Easy Veg Pulao | Easy Pressure Cooker Vegetable Pulav

Hello folks, how are you all? Pooja celebrations are done and now you all must be gearing up for Diwali, right? In between this Pooja and Deepavali, we celebrated our DD's first birthday :) :) It was a small cake cutting function followed by dinner with our friends from around. I didn't prepare anything special for him except semiya payasam as he was down with fever and I didn't get the time nor had the mind to :(  I wanted to make muffins, that was in my mind, but maybe sometime later. However, anything fancy I make, he will not be able to relish or enjoy, as he is too small to understand that, right? So I have decided to make them according to his preference for his second birthday. Hopefully, he might be making a list then :) 

So coming to today's recipe, it's a simple veg pulao and can be made in a jiffy, especially if you are craving for some biriyani and do not have the time :) But this is very much subtle compared to biriyani as we do not use red chilly powder or any garam masala powders. The hotness for this one pot meal comes entirely from the ginger and garlic used. You can pair it up with raita and pappad, would taste just right and can be termed as the perfect comfort meal. I had them with oven fried cauli-flower, vinegared onions & pappad. 

Other rice recipes:

Ambur Mutton Biriyani
Capsicum Rice
Coconut Milk Rice | Thengai Paal Sadam
Nei Choru | Ghee Rice
Vegetable Biriyani


I Took: 

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Serves : 2 persons

I Used:

Oil/Ghee - 3 tbsp
Cinnamon - An inch piece
Cloves - 2 nos
Bay leaf - 1 no
Onion - 3 nos - medium sized -sliced
Carrot - 1 no - medium sized - chopped
Potato - 1 no - medium sized - chopped
Green Peas - ½ cup
Coriander leaves - ¼ cup
Mint leaves - ¼ cup
Basmati Rice - 1 cup
Water - 2.5 cups
Salt - As needed

To Grind:

Garlic - 8-9 pods
Ginger - 2 inch piece
Fennel / Perunjeerakam/ Sombu - ½ tsp
Green Chilly - 2 nos

The Way:

1. Grind the ingredients under 'To Grind' by adding a little water to a smooth paste. Preferably grind the green chillies to the end

2. De-skin the vegetables and onion and rinse them well. Then slice & chop them as required. If using frozen peas, keep them immersed in water for 10 minutes & rinse them and keep aside

3. Soak the basmati rice in water for about 10-15 minutes

4. In a pressure cooker, heat oil/ghee. Add the whole spices (cinnamon, cloves & bay leaf)

5. Add the sliced onions and salt. Saute well till they become translucent. It took around 4-5 minutes for me 

6. Add the chopped veggies (carrot & potato) and green peas. Give a nice stir

7. Now add the ground paste and saute well till the raw smell goes. This may take about 3-4 minutes

8. Add the chopped coriander and mint leaves. Give a nice stir

9. To this add the soaked basmati rice and give a stir so that all the grains are coated well with the oil & masala

10. Now add water and stir softly. Check for salt and add if required

11. Pressure cook till the rice is cooked. I kept for 1 whistle in high and 2 in simmer and it was done


  • You can add any veggies of your choice, can include beans, mushrooms, capsicums etc
  • While serving you can garnish with caramelised onions & fried cashews as well. They add a rich flavor and aroma to the pulao
  • You can add half ghee-half oil or full ghee or full oil. Totally depends on you diet plan :)
  • Rice: Water ratio is 1:2 here. I added extra 0.5 cup for the veggies. If you want you can make that 0.25 cup as well. The rice:water ratio works different for different variety of rice. So adjust the quantity of water according to the rice you use


Friday, 14 October 2016

1 minute Vanilla Mug Cake | Easy Vanilla Mug Cake


Today's recipe is very simple and very quick to make. As the name suggests, it is a 1 minute microwaved mug cake. As it is a 1 minute cake, the quantity is less. So if you are a cake person whose cravings are difficult to satiate, I guess you would have to microwave 3-4 cups at a go ;) But this is a quick fix recipe for those sudden hunger pangs or craving callings. Today was one such day when I wanted to have a cake. I know this mug cake is best with chocolate, but I didn't have cocoa powder in my pantry, hence had to feel contented with the vanilla version. 

The best part is that, it looks like DD fell in love with this cake. He was coming back from his encounter with his toys every now and then for a nibble. When I wiped the ramekin clean, he leaned over and took a nice look at it. Made sure, it was empty and then returned back to his toys :D :D I feel I have a cake lover son. That thought does make me very happy indeed :D So, this recipe is to many more cake testing and eating together with my DD :) :)

I Took: 

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 2 minutes

Serves : 1 person

I Used:

Dry Ingredients:

All purpose flour/Maida - 2 tbsp
Sugar - 1.5 tbsp
Baking powder - ¼ tsp
Salt - A pinch

Wet Ingredients:

Milk - 2 tbsp
Oil - ¾ tbsp
Vanilla Essence - 3-4 drops (As much as you prefer)

The Way:

 1. In a bowl, take all the dry ingredients and mix them together. 

2. Add the wet ingredients to it and mix them well. The sugar should dissolve completely.

3. Now transfer the contents to a microwave safe ramekin or mug or glass.

4. Set the oven to microwave setting at the highest temperature for 1 minute. I set to 900 W.

5. Bake them. Check after a minute if a tooth pick inserted comes out clean or is without moisture. If not keep for a few more seconds according to how much the cake is moist at that point.

Serve hot. 


  • If you let them sit for long, they become hard or rubbery. If you need to serve it later, transfer to another cup or serving dish
  • I doubled the measurements and made, as my ramekin is bigger in size. Hence I microwaved for 2 minutes


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Sauteed Mushrooms Recipe

The star ingredient of the day is mushroom :) I am becoming a die hard fan of this ingredient week after week. I make it a point to include mushrooms in my menu once every week. Usually I do not like to cook a specific dish for me alone. So if Deeps doesn't like a veggie I do not cook it ! I feel it's boring to cook and have the entire bowl for myself :D But mushrooms have become an exception nowadays. Deeps can't stand the sight of it whereas I am poles away in this regard ! Even though my liking for mushrooms have increased, I still do not like to pair it up with tomatoes for some silly reason. Maybe I have to try some gravy recipes where I can tweak and add tomato puree instead. Sometime in the future, maybe :)

Did you know that mushroom is the only vegetable that has Vitamin D in it, whereas it is found in plenty in non vegetarian sources like meat, liver and fishes. Now intake of Vitamin D is important as it aids in the absorption of the calcium into our body. This specific recipe is quite a regular in my kitchen as it takes less than 20 minutes to put it together and I can gobble up the entire bowl in one go. At times it cheers up my sometimes boring lunch platter as well. But, as this recipe does not use any garam masala or any other Indian flavourings, it may not appeal to many. It has a strong mushroom flavour, so I would say that this is a recipe for those ardent fans of mushrooms :) Do try it out for yourself and let me know how you liked it :) 

Other mushroom recipes:
Mushroom Dry Fry

I Took: 

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 12-15 minutes

Serves : 2 persons

I Used:

Button Mushroom - 200 gm
Butter - 1 tb2sp
Garlic Salt - To taste
Chilly Flakes - To taste
Italian Seasoning - To taste
Lemon jucie - 1 tsp
Coriander leaves - To Garnish

The Way:

1. Clean the mushroom by removing the stalk & peeling off the skin as shown in the photo below. Clean all the mushrooms in the similar manner. 

2. Then rinse them in water twice or thrice and pat them dry immediately using a clean towel. Do not soak them in water for long, rinse them and remove them from water immediately else they will suck and retain water.

3. You can slice the mushrooms and cook as well. Slice or cut them as per your choice. You can use the stalks as well. Cut them into an inch piece in length and a quarter an inch in thickness.

4. Heat butter in a pan, When the butter melts, spread them across the pan and add the mushrooms in the pan. 

5. Add half of the required garlic salt and chilly flakes. Cook for 5 minutes in medium flame.

6. Now flip over the mushrooms and add the remaining garlic salt and chilly flakes. Cook for another 5 minutes. You can cover and cook as well. When you cover and cook, mushroom releases water. So in the end, you would have to open and cook on high flame to evaporate the water.

7. In the end, add lemon juice & italian seasoning and leave on flame for around a minute or two. Switch off the flame and garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

Serve for breakfast along with fried eggs or as a side for fried rice or roti or curd rice. Or you can eat as is, as a main course, as I usually do :)


  • You can use half and half of butter and oil, if you would like to reduce the quantity of butter
  • Chilly flakes can be replaced by pepper powder
  • If you do not have garlic salt, use normal salt and garlic instead. If then saute 2-3 pods of chopped garlic in butter before adding the mushrooms
  • As this recipe does not use any garam masala or any other Indian flavourings, it may not appeal to many. It has a strong mushroom flavour, so I would say that this is a recipe for those ardent fans of mushrooms :)


Friday, 23 September 2016

Beans Thoran | Kerala style French Beans Thoran | Green Beans Poriyal | Onam Sadhya Recipes

Beans sauteed in coconut-shallot tempering

I am still lingering in the Onam mood!! :) I took a 10 day vacation & was roaming and eating & visiting friends & relatives during this Onam. That is the essencce of Onam right? So I can say, that this Onam was well spent :) But what I miss now the most is the food :D as always! It's nice to have food prepared by someone else once in a while right.. I miss my mom's soul filling comfort food, the elaborate sadhyas of Kerala, the heavy biriyani & meen curry of Deeps' aunt.. 

So to relive the Onam moments, it's a simple Beans Thoran today. Very easy to make and a quintessential to the Onam Sadhya,Thoran is basically veggie cooked/tempered with coconut shavings. It's not necessarily beans but Sadhya can be served with a thoran made with any veggie. It can be Long beans or Cabbage or Beetroot or any veggie of your choice for that matter. 

So what was the thoran that you served this Onam? 

Recipe Source: Ma


I Took: 

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes


Serves : 3-4 persons

I Used:

Beans-250 gm/1.5 cups (chopped)
Turmeric powder-¼ tsp
Salt-As needed

To Temper:

Oil-1 tbsp
Mustard -½ tsp
Shallots-6-8 nos (sliced)
Red Chilly powder-1 tsp
Curry leaves-A sprig

To Pulse:

Coconut-3 tbsp
Shallots/Small Onion-2 no
Green Chilly-1 no
Garlic-1 pod
Cumin Seeds-¼ tsp

The Way:

1. Rinse the beans in water twice or thrice. And chop them finely into small quarter inch pieces.

2. In a pan, add the chopped beans along with ¼ tsp turmeric powder, salt and ¼ cup of water. Allow them to cook covered in a medium low flame until done. Check in between if water is sufficient, take care not to overcook or burn.

3. Now while the beans get cooked, coarsely pulse together the ingredients under 'To Pulse in mixie without adding water. Do not grind to a smooth paste. Just 3-4 pulse until all the ingredients get crushed and mixed well would be sufficient.

4. Heat oil in a pan. Splutter the mustard seeds.

5. Now add the chopped shallots and saute for 2-3 minutes. When they start to turn colour, add the curry leaves.

6. Now add the ground coconut paste and saute for another minute.

7. Add red chilly powder and again saute for 3-4 minutes till the raw smell goes away. Now add in the cooked beans and give a nice stir till the coconut tempering is coated evenly all over the cooked beans.

Serve along with brown rice, Sambar and pappad or as a side dish in your Onam Sadhya :)


  • Addition of garlic, cumin & shallots while crushing the coconut is completely optional. As a family who does not like the strong flavour of garlic, I always add 1 pod of it. So adjust the ingredients to suit your tastes
  • Coconut is the key ingredient for thoran. So do not compromise on it :)


Friday, 2 September 2016

Yellow Pumpkin Kootu | Poosanikai Kootu | Parangikai Kootu - without coconut

Yellow Pumpkin cooked in Mung Dal

Many think that pumpkins, especially the yellow ones, are for Halloween carvings ! It does remind you of the Harry Potter movies & the Hogwarts dining room, na? I know many a friends who do not like it as a veggie. Maybe the sweetness that it imparts is what puts off many to have it as a side dish. But it is said to be a great source of Vitamin A & antioxidant beta carotene. It also seems to decreases the risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes & promotes a healthy complexion & hair. Now that last part would make you feel that including pumpkins in your diet does not sound like a bad idea after all, right? It is also a great substitute for oil & butter in your bakes ! Now I have heard that they even make payasam (kheer) with pumpkins. So many ways to have them..

Yellow pumpkin is one of the favorite veggies of my sis, my mom, me & now Dhruv as well :) I am happy that he likes it & I do not have to run behind him to make him eat them. I was scared that he might not like them coz it's not Deeps' favorite. But this kootu recipe has impressed even Deeps as well & he eats at least 2 spoons of it when I make them (Yes, that's an achievement) Somehow, my mom's recipes do have a very positive impact on his veggie eating habits ! :) So people out there, who do not like pumpkins, do try this recipe for sure, coz it's a breeze to make & a keeper for sure and you are going to start liking them hereafter :)

Other pumpkin recipes:

Vegan Pumpkin Bread
Mathanga Erissery

Recipe Source: Ma


I Took: 30 minutes


Serves : 2 persons

I Used:

Yellow Pumpkin - 250 gm (A big piece)
Moong Dal - ¼ cup
Ginger - An inch piece
Garlic - 2-3 cloves
Turmeric powder - ¼ tsp
Salt - As needed

To Temper:
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard  - ½ tsp
Urad Dal - 1 tsp
Red Chilly - 4 nos
Curry leaves - A sprig
Asafoetida - 2 pinch

The Way:

1. Rinse moong dal thoroughly in water. Then soak the dal in water (I took 1.5 cups) for 20-30 minutes

2. Remove the skin of the pumpkin (and also the middle mushy part with seeds) and dice it and keep aside

3. Add salt & turmeric powder to the soaked dal and boil it till it is 3/4 done. Check in between if water is required and add accordingly

4. Once the dal is 3/4th cooked, add the diced pumpkin pieces

5. Crush the ginger & garlic and also add them along with the pumpkin pieces

6. Now cover and cook till the pumpkin pieces are cooked and becomes soft and mushy. This should take around 8-10 minutes

7. Now for the tadka/tempering, heat oil in a tadka pan/kadai

8. Add the mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the urd dal. As it slightly turns colour add the remaining ingredients and give a nice stir

9. Add the tadka to the kootu and mix and serve

Tastes awesome with Plain Rice / Rasam Sadam / Kathirikai Kara Kuzhambu / Pavakkai Puli Kuzhambu


Instead of boiling the moong dal, you can pressure cook as well. Just about 2 whistles should suffice. As pumpkin gets cooked fast, I would not recommend to pressure cook it.


Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Cheera Kootan | Cheera Parippu Curry | Kerala Style Spinach Gravy with Dal & Coconut

We are the Popeye family in matters of spinach :) We love spinach. It always so happens that I end up preparing dishes with spinach at least twice a week. I like it more when spinach is cooked along with dal but Deeps loves it in any form. 

My mom is such an ardent fan of spinach that there was a time when she used to make it daily. Any day you drop by my house for lunch then, there would be a keerai poriyal or masiyal or parippu keerai, either as a side dish or as the gravy for rice ;) She is an expert in preparing any variety of the spinach. Yes, there are umpteen varieties of spinach that is available in Tamil Nadu. And there is a nuance or knack in which each should be prepared. Some should be paired up with dal & some should not be ! Some need more onions, while some need extra shallots. And there is a variety of the spinach that she says is very good for relief from joint pains, I suppose 'Mudakathan keerai', which she uses to make dosa. Trust me, they taste yum :) I am still learning all these tit-bits from her.  

Having said all that, this recipe is not from my mom and is from my mil. As Deeps loves this dish, I prepare it often. You can say that this is a mallu version of dal palak with coconut paste added to it. This is best had by pairing up with steamed rice & curd. If you have some fried fish on the side then definitely you would want extra helpings of rice :) As it was a no fish day, I made peace with some chettinadu baby potato roast :) So do try out & let me know how you liked it !

Recipe Source: Amma


I Took: 30 minutes


Serves : 2 persons

I Used:

Spinach/Keerai/Cheera - ½ a bunch (approx 100 gms)
Tur Dal/Tuvara Parippu - 1 medium sized (finely chopped)
Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
Salt - As needed

To Grind:

Grated Coconut - ¼ cup (2 tbsp)
Cumin Seeds - ¼ tsp
Green Chilly - 2 no

To Temper:
Coconut Oil - 1 tbsp
Shallots - 4-5 nos (chopped)

The Way:

1. Rinse the tur dal thoroughly & soak in water (I took 1.5 cups) for 30 minutes. Add turmeric powder & salt and pressure cook it till done (3-4 whistles)

2. Clean & chop the spinach finely. Add the chopped spinach to the cooked dal & pressure cook for another 2 whistles. (Refer notes)

3. Grind together the ingredients under 'To Grind' to a fine paste, by adding a little water. 

4. Add this to the cooked spinach and give a stir. Allow it to boil for another 2-3 minutes & then switch off the stove

5. Heat oil in a small tadka pan & temper the shallots. When it turns brown in colour, add this to the cooked spinach-dal & mix. 

Serve hot with steamed rice !


  • Pressure cooking the spinach is optional. Many do not like to do that as it is believed that the nutritional values are lost when the spinach is pressure cooked. In that case, you can add the chopped spinach to the cooked dal & allow it to cook for 10 minutes or till the spinach is cooked.
  • I used thandu keerai as this recipe suits that variety of spinach the most