Monday 30 April 2018

Cheera Thalippu | Cheera Thalichathu | Spinach Gravy (without dal)

Amaranthus cooked in starch water

I know amaranthus or spinach is healthy and by now you must be knowing that my family is a popeye family except me. I eat amaranthus only because it is healthy and not because I like it :D And today's recipe is from my mil. Deeps loves when the spinach is made like this. It is very similar to the Cheera Thoran but only difference is this is made like a gravy for rice and for the gravy instead of using dal, starch water is used. Not heard of before? Even I didn't before getting married ;) It is very easy to make and can be made in a jiffy. If your folks are tired of eating spinach with dal combo, try this way!

Recipe Source : Mil

Preparation Time : 10 minutes

Cooking Time : 30 minutes

Serves : 3-4 persons 

I Used:

Coconut Oil
3 cups - chopped
2-3 tbsp
Shallots - 6-8 nos
Red Chilly - 2 nos
Green Chilly - 2 nos
Salt - As Needed
Rice cooked water/Starch water - As Needed (I used 2.5 cups)

The Way:

1. Slice the shallots and keep aside. And rinse the spinach in water 3-4 times to remove the mud and other impurities and drain them. Then chop them finely and keep aside

2. In a pan heat coconut oil. Add the sliced shallots and also break the red chillies into two and slit the green chillies and add them as well 

3. Saute them well until they turn colour to slight brown

4. Now add the starch water or the rice cooked water to it. Allow it to come to a boil

5. Now add the chopped spinach to it and give a nice stir. Close the pan and allow the spinach to cook in low flame. It will take around 10-15 minutes for the spinach to cook. 

6. Check in between to see if the starch water is sufficient for the gravy. if you find it's less add accordingly. The amount of starch water is completely your choice and depends on how thick/thin you want our gravy to be. If you do not have or do not want to use starch water you can use water instead or else half and half of starch water and normal water

7. When the spinach is cooked switch off and serve with rice and a side dish of your choice !


Wednesday 25 April 2018

Oven Roasted Peanuts | Varutha Kadala | Roasted Peanuts

My family and my extended family, we all like to munch on salted roasted peanuts.. Even the kids and toddlers too follow the trend :) Everyone loves to munch some good salted "kadala" or "kappalandi" or  "nilakadala" or "verkadalai" whatever name you call it ! I remember in my childhood days my mom and dad used to try to re-create the kappalandikaran's way of roasting peanuts by adding sand in the kadai and then heating them to an optimum temperature and then trying to roast the peanuts in them.. If I ask them about that, they will still reminisce them with more failure stories than success ones ; The idea was to re-create the perfectly roasted peanuts that we get from the road side vendors, but it's quite a feat to achieve at home without damaging your utensils. And in those days it was cheaper to buy the roasted peanuts from them than try to recreate at home...

But nowadays it is so costly to buy from them, have you noticed? You just get three fistfuls for 10 bucks. And every time you want to munch on peanuts you can't go searching for the kappalandi chetan right :D So I learnt to roast these peanuts very gracefully in a microwave from my Mil.. It's very easy and fuss free and you do not leave behind a spotted dirty looking kadai.. Cool right? And now the different microwave brands work differently.. Some heat up fast while some are slower, so take baby steps first and know your microwave lest you are left with bad looking burnt peanuts !

Soaking Time : 60 minutes

Cooking Time : 10-15 minutes

I Used:

Peanuts-As Needed
Salt-As Needed

The Way:

1. Soak peanuts in salt water for 30-60 minutes. The water should be salty when you taste it. Hence taste and add salt accordingly. If salt is not sufficient, the roasted peanuts will not taste great

2. Once soaked. spread the peanuts on the microwave tray. Set your oven to microwave mode and power to max (in my case 900 W) and timer to 3 minutes

3. After 3 minutes, open the oven and quickly stir the peanuts with a spatula. This is to ensure that they get roasted evenly

4. Then again keep in 900 W for another 2 minutes. Again open and stir with a spatula. I continued like this for a total of 11 minutes and the peanuts were roasted. In my mil's microwave she keeps for 5 minutes twice or thrice till done. That oven doesn't heat too fast and hence she is able to keep for a longer time. So know your oven and test with smaller time during the first time. Then you will get the hang of it and can improvise 

5. And watch out for the burnt smell. If you get them, immediately switch off the oven and open the door and allow it to cool. And from next time keep for a lower time :)

Hope my tips are helpful and you could roast some good peanuts :) Let me know your comments and thoughts in the comments section !


Friday 20 April 2018

Mushroom Do pyaza | Easy Mushroom Dopyaza recipe

Are you a mushroom lover? I am and that too an ardent one. That's why you can see many mushroom recipes here :) Deeps is not a big fan and Dhruv is an occasional eater. But that doesn't stop me from buying and making them. i do prepare for myself once in a month or so ;) So today's recipe is an easy do pyaza preparation using mushrooms. do pyaza as you know is nothing but using onions twice in the recipe.. Like do (two) pyaz (onions).. This is a simple preparation and makes a wholesome meal with some phulkas.. An easy to go option for making lunch box recipes that look healthy as well as cute and filled :) So the mushroom fans, do try out and let me know :) My other recipes with mushrooms are Mushroom Dry FryRestaurant Style Mushroom Pepper FrySauteed Mushrooms & Kadai Mushroom

Preparation Time : 10 minutes

Cooking Time : 30 minutes

Serves : 3-4 persons 

I Used:

Mushroom - 200 gm
Oil - 3 tbsp
Onion - 1 medium sized - cubed
Onion - 1 ½ medium sized - chopped finely
Tomato - 1 medium sized - chopped finely
Ginger-Garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Green Chilly - 2 nos
Turmeric powder - ¼ tsp
Red Chilly powder - ½ tsp
Coriander powder - ½ tsp
Cumin powder - ½ tsp
Garam masala - ½ tsp
Coriander leaves - To Garnish
Salt - As Needed

The Way:

1. Clean the mushrooms by removing the skin (refer here) and slice them up. Chop 1 big sized onion (I used 1½ medium sized onion) and cut into cubes another medium sized onion. Chop finely 1 medium sized tomato and keep aside

2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Add the cubed onions and saute them till they turn slightly golden. Do not brown them. Once done, remove and keep them aside

3. Now add the remaining 2 tbsp oil. When it turns hot, add the chopped onions and slit green chillies along with some salt and saute 

4. When they turn translucent add the ginger-garlic paste and saute for 4-5 minutes till the raw smell goes off and the onions slowly start to change colour

5. Now add all the dry masala powders - red chilly, coriander, turmeric, cumin and garam masala. Give a nice stir. Saute for another 3-4 minutes and allow the raw smell of the masalas to go off. Take care not to burn them and keep sauteeing occasionally

6. Then add the chopped tomatoes and saute. The tomatoes should turn soft and mushy

7. Finally add the sliced mushrooms and give a gentle stir. Now cover the pan and cook the mushrooms till done. Do not add water. Mushrooms release water when they are covered and cooked. So that will be sufficient for them to get cooked 

8. Now when the mushrooms are cooked, there can be some water left in the pan. If then keep the lid open and allow the water to evaporate and the gravy to become dry

9. When done, add the sauteed cubed onions and coriander leaves and give a nice stir. Switch off flame and serve with some hot phulkas !


Thursday 19 April 2018

Easy Tomato Pickle | Tomato Thokku | Thakkali Thokku Recipe | Thakkali Urukkai

Tomatoes are getting cheaper now right? So why don't we pickle some? And if it can serve you as a relish or side for your idly, dosa, chapathi, curd rice, sambar rice or rasam rice. then isn't the recipe a winner? Yes, I am not joking. This is such a pickle, a versatile one ;) I enjoy it the most with curd rice and dosa.. It is also an ideal one to make and give for your loved ones travelling abroad! So let me stop the talking now and let the recipe and pics do the work for you :)


Preparation Time : 5 minutes

Cooking Time : 40 minutes

Recipe source : Ma

Makes : A 120 gm bottle 

I Used:

Tomatoes - 4-5 medium ones (½ kg)
Tamarind  - A small gooseberry sized
Chilly powder - 2-3 tbsp
Oil - 3 tbsp
Mustard 1 tsp
Asafoetida - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 2-3 sprigs
Salt - As Needed
Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
Ginger-Garlic paste - 2 tbsp
Fenugreek-Mustard powder - 2 tsp (Use 2 tsp each of mustard & fenugreek seeds)

The Way:

1. In a pan dry roast the mustard seeds (2 tsp) and fenugreek seeds (2 tsp) for 4-5 minutes on low flame. Take care not to burn them. It starts giving a nice aroma and also the mustard will start spluttering. Then off the flame. Allow it to cool and powder them in a clean and dry mixer jar. You can grind this powder in bulk and use it for all of your pickles

2. Grind together the tomatoes, tamarind and red chilly powder together to a smooth paste

3. In a wide pan, heat oil. Splutter mustard. Then turn the flame to low and add asafoetida. Make sure that they do not get burnt. Then add the curry leaves

4. Then slowly pour in the ground tomato paste. Take care while pouring, since the pan is hot they can splutter out on you

5. Then add in the required amount of salt, turmeric powder and ginger-garlic paste. Now turn in the heat to medium

6. Let the pulp cook in medium flame until the water gets evaporated and it slowly starts turning into a mass. This will take about 15-20 minutes. Keep stirring in between to avoid them getting burnt

7. When it gets to solidify check for salt and hotness. Add salt and red chilly powder if required as per your needs

8. Once it gets thick add the fenugreek-mustard powder and give a nice stir. Leave for about a minute or two and then switch off the flame

9. Store in a clean and dry glass jar or container. If making in large quantities then preserve them in fridge

Can serve with idly, dosa, chapathi, curd rice, rasam rice and sambar rice !


  • The amount of red chilly powder given here is what I used. It will vary depending on the sourness of the tomatoes. So adjust as per your needs
  • Adding tamarind is purely optional. If your tomatoes are too sour, then omit them
  • Ginger-garlic paste is also optional. If you do not need them, then go ahead and skip them
  • Instead of grinding the tomatoes, you can also chop them into fine pieces and add them. In that case the skin of the tomatoes tend to come off separately and it is slightly difficult to get a smooth texture or the pickle
  • Make sure that the water content from the tomato pulp completely dries off else your shelf life might get reduced
  • Use a clean and dry spoon every time you use the pickle to ensure a longer shelf life


Wednesday 18 April 2018

Idichakka Thoran | Tender Jackfruit Stir fry | Malabar Style Raw Jackfruit Stir Fry

I wanted to be very regular here in my little space this year, but you know sometimes some things are not in your hands.. Plus the lethargy or inertia or whatever names you call it ;) But the thing is that I'm back and every time I'm gone there's some force or some vibe in here that pulls me back.. Sometimes even after a span of a year or two.. Maybe that's the passion I hold deep inside or maybe it can be an outcome of my resilience. And whatever that might be, i'm glad to have this dainty little space to come and share the recipes that I cook up in my little kitchen, to rant my woes, my views and sometimes a little gyan ;) 

So what I'm sharing with you today apart from the casual talk is a recipe with idichakka or tender/raw Jackfruit. It's the season of jackruit now, so this post seems apt.. There are quite a few recipes with this tender jackfruit but I have so far only had this thoran. My mil makes this regularly whenever she can get her hands on one. And unlike the ripe jackfruit, the raw one has lesser haters.. Even my hubby who hates jackfruit in any and all forms will eat this thoran ;) So all those people who have never had this before and who want to try this if you can manage to get hold of one, here's the recipe.. if you want to skip using coconut, can do that as well. Just skip adding the coconut-shallot mixture and add a red chilly or two while tempering !

Recipe Source: Mil

Preparation Time : 15 minutes

Cooking Time : 30 minutes

Makes : 12 medium sized muffins 

I Used:

Idichakka/Raw Jackfruit - A medium sized one 
Coconut Oil - 3 tbsp
Mustard - ½ tsp
Red Chilly - 2 nos
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Red Rice - 4 tbsp
Turmeric powder - ¼ tsp
Salt - As Needed

To Pulse:

Grated Coconut - ½ cup
Shallots - 4 nos
Green Chilly - 3 nos

The Way:

1. To clean and cut the idichakka, I first cut it into half. Then I quarter it and again cut the quarters into half. Now remove the pith as well as the outer hard skin and discard them. Retain only the flesh and cut them into 3-4 inch pieces

2. Now take the clean and cut pieces in a pressure cooker. Add salt and turmeric powder and little water (3-4 tbsp should suffice. More water will make the jackfruit mushy). Then pressure cook for 2-3 whistles. A good jackruit will get cooked in 1 or 2 whistles

3. Once the pressure is released, using a pestle gently crush the jackfruit chunks to become fine pieces

4. Meanwhile, take grated coconut, shallos and green chilly in a mixie jar. Crush or pulse them 2-3 times. Do not grind them, a few pulses is sufficient

5. In a kadai or pan, heat coconut oil. Splutter mustard. Then add broken red chillies, curry leaves

6. Then add the red rice. Saute for 3-4 minutes in low flame till the rice slowly starts puffing up. Take care not to burn the rice

7. Now add the boiled jackfruit pieces and give a gentle stir. Leave for a minute or two 

8. Then add the pulsed coconut and give another gentle stir. Leave for 3-4 minutes for the favours to sink in and for the raw smell of the shallots to go away. Stir occasionally so that it does not get burnt

Serve with red rice and a gravy of your choice.