Sunday 30 September 2018

Lemon Pickle | Instant Lemon Pickle | Boiled Lemon Pickle | Elumichai Urugai | Instant Naranga Achar

I know many of you are not fan of lemon pickle. Even I am not. But the hubby devours this pickle. That is why I make this at least once a year. It is very simple and easy to make. Just make sure that you do not boil the lemons for a long time. Else it will start oozing out all juice and the pickle tends to become very sour. You need to boil just enough to make them soft so that the flavours sink in nicely :) And as far as possible do not use a plastic container to store the pickles. It tends to get spoilt very fast. So let's now see how to make this easy to make, instant lemon pickle, shall we?

Preparation Time : 15 minutes

Cooking Time : 10 minutes

Recipe source : Ma

Makes : A 300 gm bottle 

I Used:

Lemon-Around 10-12 normal sized ones
Salt-As Needed
Gingelly Oil-¼ Cup
Mustard-1 tsp
Asafoetida-2 tsp
Red Chilly Powder-1 tbsp
Turmeric Powder-½ tsp
Mustard -2 tsp
Fenugreek-2 tsp
Mustard-Fenugreek powder-½ tbsp

The Way:

1. In a pan dry roast the mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds 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. Rinse the lemons nicely in water. Then pat it dry using a kitchen towel. Then cut the lemons into 4 pieces. Then take the cut pieces in a pan. Add required salt and give a mix. Then boil them in medium flame for 3-4 minutes till they become soft. Then switch off the flame

3. Take a pan and heat the gingelly oil (nallennai). Now reduce the flame. Splutter the mustard seeds

4. Then add asaoetida, don't go stingy here :) Add it liberally

5. Now add red chilly powder, turmeric powder and saute for a minute

6. Pour this tadka on to the boiled lemon pieces

7. Give a nice mix and then add the pickle powder - mustard and fenugreek powder and give a nice stir. Pickle is ready 

8. Store the pickle in a clean, dry, glass container. You should be able to see oil floating on the top of the container else chances of the pickle getting spoilt are very high. Leave in a clean place for a day or two for the flavours to soak in and then refrigerate it


  • Do not boil the lemon for a long time. It will ooze out all the juice and the pickle will become very sour. Just to make them a little soft is fine
  • Store in a clean and dry glass container for longer shelf life
  • Refrigerate if possible after a day of making the pickle for longer life
  • Always use a clean dry spoon to take the pickle from the bottle
  • Allow a layer of oil on top of the container for longer life and it prevents from mold formation on top of the pickle



Wednesday 26 September 2018

Pudalangai Kootu (without coconut) | Easy Snake Gourd Kootu in Pressure cooker | Padavalanga Kootu with Channa Dal

Kootu, that name to me is synonymous with comfort food :) And also comfort cooking ! Yes, it combines both lentils and veggies and all it takes is a pressure cooker and a tadka pan to clean in the end :) So definitely comfort cooking right :D And my little one adores this kootu and can have it with just plain rice and a dollop of ghee.. I on the other hand would love to pair it with rasam sadam (rice).. This is also my dad's favourite 'kalichikoora'. 

I am not sure if I have spelt the term correctly. But that's what we call a kootu in our 'Telugu'. And yea, the Telugu that we speak at our home is a medley of all sorts of language :P  And also this kootu is a protein and fibre packed dish. Proteins from the dal and fibre from the gourd. So totally a winner recipe right. Also yes, I prefer my kootu mostly without coconut. So if anyone is on the same page as mine, here is that perfect kootu recipe for you :) 

Recipe Source: Ma


I Took: 30 minutes


Serves : 2-3 persons

I Used:

Snake Gourd/Pudalangai-250 gm - 1.5 cups after dicing
Channa Dal-¼ cup
Red Chilly powder-1 tsp
Turmeric powder-¼ tsp
Salt-As needed

To Temper:

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

The Way:

1. Rinse channa dal thoroughly in water. Then soak the dal in water for 20-30 minutes

2. Remove the skin (you can scrape using a knife) of the snake gourd/pudalangai (and also the middle mushy part). Rinse it well in water and then dice it into quarter inch pieces

3. In a pressure cooker take the soaked channa dal, the diced snake gourd/pudalangai, red chilly powder, turmeric powder & salt. Pressure cook for 2 whistles in high and four (five makes it 50% mushy :D) in simmer. If you overcook, it will get mushy but still tasty :)

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

5. Add the mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the urd dal

6. As it slightly turns colour add the broken red chilly, asafoetida and curry leaves and give a nice stir. Take care not to burn the asafoetida, else it gives a burnt taste

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

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


You can crush 2-3 garlic and an inch of ginger piece and add to the dal-gourd while pressure cooking. Since we do not like the taste of that in this kootu I avoid it


Tuesday 25 September 2018

Aloo Matar Recipe | Aloo Matar Dry in Pressure Cooker

So hello folks, I'm back with a recipe post today. It is none other than the Punjabi Aloo Matar recipe :) Generally I am not a fan of green peas a.k.a the fresh or frozen ones. But dried ones I am good :) So usually I mix the peas with something else or use the frozen or fresh peas as a accompanying ingredient in some dish like the biriyani, Methi malai matar, peas pulav and likes :) And this is one such dish. Actually aloo makes everything else good right. Add it to a chicken gravy or fry it or boil it. Make cutlets or just make a simple sabzi.. Aloo makes everything taste good :) And I just can't believe when someone doesn't eat aloo or picks it and keeps it at the side of a plate for discarding :O

So coming back to this recipe, it is simple and takes no time as you use a cooker to make it :) Just chop some onions and tomatoes. Dice some potatoes, and go saute saute. And it's done :) If you do not want to use a cooker, then also fine. Potatoes do not take long to cook :) And this recipe is very much liked by my little one and so it's extra special to me :D Thanks to Hebbar's Kitchen on that :) So off to the recipe :) 

Preparation Time : 15 minutes

Cooking Time : 10 minutes

Recipe source : Here

Serves : 4 persons 

I Used:

Aloo - 2 medium sized - cubed
Peas (Matar) - ½ cup
Oil - 2 tbsp
Cinnamon - ½ inch piece
Cumin seeds - ½ tsp
Kasuri Methi - 1 tsp
Red Chilly Powder - 1 tsp
Coriander Powder - ½ tsp
Turmeric Powder - ¼ tsp
Ginger-Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Onion - 1 medium sized - finely chopped
Tomato - 2 medium sized - finely chopped
Coriander leaves 4-5 sprigs - chopped

The Way:

1. In a pressure pan, heat oil. Add the cinnamon stick, cumin seeds and crushed kasuri methi

2. When the cumin starts to splutter, reduce the flame to low. Add red chilly powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder and give a quick saute. Take care not to burn the powders

3. Then add the chopped onions and saute till they become soft. Since we have already added the powders in the beginning, it will be difficult to know if they turn colour. So saute for 4-5 minutes till they turn soft

4. Next add the ginger-garlic paste and saute for another 2-3 minutes till the raw smell goes

5. Then add the chopped tomatoes. Saute them. They must turn mushy

6. Once mushy, add the green peas and diced potatoes and give a quick saute. I have used frozen peas here. I soak them in water for 10 minutes before adding to the gravy

7. Then add ½ cup water and give a quick stir. Then close the cooker and pressure cook for 2 whistles in high and 2 in simmer or till they are cooked, Take care not to turn the peas too mushy. If you do not want to pressure cook, go ahead and cook them normally. Add a little extra water around 1/4 cup more and cook covered till the potatoes are cooked. Check and stir in between to see that they do not get burnt or stuck in the bottom

8. Once done and the pressure is released, open the cooker. See if any water is left. if then switch on the flame and allow them to evaporate and the dish to become dry. Once done switch off the flame and add the chopped coriahnder leaves and give a quick stir

Serve wit warm phulkas!


Tuesday 18 September 2018

A trip down to Dapoli (Ratnagiri, Maharashtra) !

While some of you might be thinking what is this post doing in a food blog, let me tell you a little more of myself. I love travelling. I love exploring new places. And beaches make me calm and bring out the child in me. But my partner in crime, the better half (now the little one too) likes "the travelling" part more, you see like riding the car or sitting in a bus and enjoying the fact that it is moving. 

I know many of you out there are the same. But we somehow have struck a balance and explore some places as much as we can with our little one. So I wanted to write out my experience on our short, long weekend trip to Dapoli in Maharashtra during this Easter. I had been planning to post this for long and somehow it is happening today. Better late than never, right !

The hubby is an expert in google search and finding really good looking places to stay when we embark on any trip (I should give the credit right :)). So a week before our trip he had found this amazing looking home stay (Bangli) in Ladghar, Dapoli. I had not seen the pictures of the homestay. He told me it is walk-able distance from the beach and I was more excited about the beach.

So we started our car ride from Pune on a Saturday morning around 10 - 10.30. And we reached Dapoli around 4 - 4.30 in the evening. We were greeted by our pleasant host Ameya and soon he had his helpers bring us some fresh tender coconut water. Then we checked in the room which was on the first floor of the home stay. It was elegant and very good looking with nice simple interiors and furniture. The wooden finish gave the place a very traditional look as well :) The helpers around there were cleaning the courtyard and smearing cow dung on the courtyard floor. I have heard of this practise before but never seen it. It wards away the mosquitoes and keeps the floor cool.

You can see the cow dung smeared floor here right :)

Ameya and his family grow mangoes and coconuts and many other spices. So the home stay is located in the middle of their very large plot and adjacent to their house. All around you can see coconut trees and spices like all spice, nutmeg, pepper and so on.. And the best part is standing there near the home stay you will never feel that just a 500 metre walk will get you to the Ladghar beach :) Just the roaring sound of the waves may hint at it though ;)

And the impatient me was very much itching to go to the beach and so went straight to the beach after dropping our luggage inside. The most beautiful part of the beach is that there is practically no crowd and I literally mean it. There were a few people and in no way you can call that a crowd and those few people were from the nearby resorts and home stays. And you get that awesome feeling of being in a private beach. Cool na ;)

A walk to the gates of the home stay gives you this view! 

The best part - Almost private beach kinda feel :) :D

So we spent the evening in the beach to my heart's content :) Then we came back and had dinner and signed off for the day.. One thing about this place is that it has very little (for Vodafone) or no (for Airtel) mobile network coverage. So it is that perfect vacation spot which takes you away from the hustles of the city and lets you pamper yourselves without any intervention from the outside world. Your boss can't reach you? Blame it on the network ;)

Sea gulls in action..

And so the next day, we had breakfast and set about to roam the quaint little place. There are beaches, beaches and more beaches for all those interested :) We went to Karde beach which was also very quiet and almost like a private beach and it was around 6 kms from our home stay. We spent some time wading our feet in the waters there. We wanted to cover Murud beach as well and almost went till there. But we had some difficulty in parking the car and also the little one was getting impatient as he hadn't taken the whole beach thing too well. His feet were getting dirty in the sand and he didn't seem to like it much ;)  So we returned back to our resort for lunch.

While we were in Dapoli we had all our meals at our home stay itself. One thing is there were more of resorts only nearby and no hotels as such. But the primary reason was that the food at Bangli was awesome. Tasty Konkan cuisine and that too homemade. So it was very light on our tummy and lip smacking good.. We had the Konkan style prawn gravy, semolina crusted Bangda (mackerel) fish fry, aloo methi and fresh curd (from their farm). Even the breakfast with poha and thalipeeth and the fresh fruits from their farm was so simple and extremely delicious. While we were about to leave from there, then only I realised I had not clicked any pics of the food that we had. Since there was no network connection I had not bothered to take the phone with me always ;)

A Sunday afternoon siesta after that yummy meal is mandatory, right. So we took a nap and then in the evening had some fresh Aam ka panna and Aamras. All made from the mangoes in their farm. And then Ameya took us for a small tour of their farm showing us the mango orchard, sapota trees, all the spices and such. And he also told that there were some temples nearby (Keshavraj & Kadyvarcha Ganapati temple) that we could visit if interested.

Then we again paid a visit to the Ladghar beach. Not everyday you get a beach to your own right. So we made full use of it :D There were parasailing and horse and camel riding and all that happening in the beach. But we just took a ride in the ATV (all terrain vehicle) alone :) And we saw a car riding through the beach in all that filmy style ;) See the perks of a crowd free beach :D

These beaches are also home to Olive ridley turtles but we were not that lucky to see them nor they hatching the eggs. Our host told that it was that season but we didn't get that lucky. But what we did see were some dolphins in the Ladghar beach. Yes, the next day morning around 8 'o clock, we went on a Dolphin safari (costs 200 bucks per person). We saw quite a number of dolphins during our safari which was close to 30 minutes. But they did not porpoise ;) And that was ok, coz I saw quite a number of them and was contented with that :D

Once the safari was over, we went back and had breakfast. Then we packed our bags and said goodbye to our dear host Ameya and started back to our nest :) We visited around the end of March and the mango season was just starting. If we had gone during the peak season we would have go t 2 kgs of those Alphonso mangoes from their farm as complementary :) But we did bring some farm fresh pepper and spices back with us :)

And so, that was one quiet and tranquil vacation that I had been to in quite a while. There are many more beaches and some temples and caves to visit there in Dapoli. But we were not on a checklist and were quite relaxed with our stay at the home stay. So if you stay in Pune or around and are looking for such a vacation then do include Dapoli in your list coz you will not be disappointed :) Hope you enjoyed reading my experience. Until I come back with another vacation or outing details!