Monday, September 28, 2009

Kondai kadalai sundal

Sundal, yes, the good old sundal!!

It is a staple in almost all Tamil Nadu homes during dussera. I remember fondly all the various varieties we would 'collect' going as a group from house to house for navarathri 'kolu'. One problem during these times would be that one would invariably be coerced into singing atleast a few lines.. But, I guess, you would have to 'earn' the sundal. That was the price paid to get all those wonderful varieties of sundals. A few would add some small goodies like bangles or hairclips or small chains. This would add to the entire excitement! This was a necessary part of our growing up. Today when I look back, I am so glad such small pleasures made all of us so happy.

This basic kondai kadalai or kabuli chana sundal is a lovely comfort food. The recipe is utterly simple. Tenderly cooked chana mildly tempered in coconut oil, garnished with grated coconut and with a lovely soft hing undertone!

Ingredients (Serves three generously)
  • Kondai kadalai or kabuli chana (raw): 1/2 cup
  • Red chillies: 2 Nos, teared into small pieces
  • Curry leaves: a strand
  • Coconut oil: 1 tbsp
  • Mustard: 1 tsp
  • Urad dhall: 1 tsp
  • Jeera: 1/2 tsp
  • Hing: 1 big pinch
  • Coconut (grated): 1/4 cup

Method of preparation:

  • Soak the chana for 8 hours or overnight
  • Pressure cook the chana for 7 - 8 whistles till it is tender
  • Heat a kadai. Add coconut oil
  • Tadka with mustard, urad dhall, jeera, red chillies, curry leaves, a pinch hing
  • Add chana and cook covered for a while
  • When you feel it is done, add the grated coconut
  • Finish after a minute. Done!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Oats Ladoo

It is Navarathri. Everybody is making all types of prasadams for the goddess during these nine days. Huge celebrations all around. I decided to do my little bit and resolved to make one item a day. Either a sundal variety, or some kind of sweet.

On the other hand, the thought of making ladoos with oats has been pinging me from one corner of my brain for quite some time. So, decided to try a ladoo with oats. The goddess is also not spared from our cooking experiments. :) The recipe that is followed is very similar to pori urundai that is generally made at home for karthigai deepam. This recipe makes 12 medium sized ladoos.

Oats - (Quaker quick cooking) - 2 cups
Jaggery - 1/2 cup
Water - 1/4 cup
Cardamom (powdered) - 4 Nos
Peanuts - 4 tbsp
Sesame seeds - 2 tbsp
Cashews - 6 Nos (optional)
Raisins - 1 tbsp
Roasted channa dhall (pottukadalai) - 2 tbsp
Rice flour - 1 - 2 tbsp

Method of Preparation:
- Take a heavy bottomed kadai. Keep it on a slow flame.
- Dry roast the peanuts, cashews and sesame seeds separately.
- Remove the skin from the peanuts. Keep aside.
- Now dry roast the oats till they turn golden brown. This happens rather soon. So keep stirring constantly so that they do not burn.
- In the same kadai, add jaggery and water.
- Let the jaggery dissolve completely. Strain to remove any impurities.
- Now keep the syrup in low flame and add the cardamom powder.
- Keep stirring till the syrup reaches the soft rolling ball consistency. This can be checked by pouring a drop of the syrup in a small bowl of water.
- Turn off the flame and add the roasted oats, peanuts, cashews, raisins, channa dhall, sesame seeds.
- Mix vigorously.
- Dust your hands with rice flour and quickly make ladoos out of it.

Naivedyam - first for the goddess and then for us is ready :)
Just a thought, using the same method, one can make breakfast bars also. Adding a few more ingredients, some vanilla essence and a few nuts, this mixture can be poured on a greased plate and cut into rectangles. Need to give it a try sometime!!

Dal Makhani

One of the nice things that happened to me last week was the visit of my friend R. It was a lovely rendezvous after a looonnnnnggg time. Though both of us have been in touch very regularly, meeting in person was something very special.

Naturally, my head was full of ideas as to what I would make for dinner.. With a lot of yeses and nos, I decided to make few of my favourites. I tried to keep it very simple so that we have enough time to just sit and talk. With a menu as simple as Dal Makhani, Jeera rice and Phulkas, we did get ample time to catch up on our two-years’ bottled-up tales till four in the morning!

Coming to this post, I would like to dedicate it to my dear friend R. She wanted this recipe and I am blogging it, particularly for her. My recipe for Dal Makhani s adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor and Sanjay Thumma.

Ingredients: (serves three)

Sabut urad dhall: ½ cup
Rajma: 2 tbsps
Ginger ( grated or chopped): 2 inch piece
Garlic (grated): 6 cloves
Tomatoes (medium): 3, ground to a fine paste
Garam masala pwd : 1 tsp
Dhaniya pwd : 1 tsp
Red chilli powder: 1 tsp
Turmeric powder: ¼ tsp
Kasuri methi : 1 tbsp
Butter : 3 tbsp
Oil: 2 tbsp
Milk : ½ cup
Salt: to taste
For the tadka: Cloves, cinnamon, elaichi, bay leaf and 1 tsp jeera
Corriander leaves: to garnish

Method of preparation

· Soak urad dhall and rajma in three cups of water for eight hours or overnight
· Add half the ginger, half the salt and half the chilli powder and pressure cook the dhall till the rajma becomes soft. Do not throw away the cooking liquor
· Take a kadai. Heat oil. Tadka with the items mentioned
· Add ginger – garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes
· Now add the tomato puree
· Cook on a slow flame with a covered lid for five minutes
· When it starts boiling, add chilli powder, coriander powder and salt
· Cover the lid and cook well again
· Now, add the butter and cook again
· When it has cooked for about 10 - 12 minutes in all, add the cooking liquor and cook very well
· After it has cooked for about 10 minutes, add the dhall and mix well
· Adjust salt and cook again covered
· The cooked dhall would be brownish red in colour
· Now kasuri methi should be added. This is ‘the’ ingredient that adds all the lovely flavour to the dish
· Now add ½ cup of milk. You could go upto one cup also. The technique is to add the milk gradually, little by little, so that the milk does not curdle. You could add cream if you want to make the gravy rich
· Cover and cook on as low a flame as possible till the gravy reaches the right consistency. The more the gravy cooks, the better it tastes.
· Garnish with coriander leaves.
· Done!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Paruppu Podi

Spending summers at grandparents' place is an absolute luxury. Both myself and my brother have nostalgic memories of those lovely carefree summers spent in my grandparents' home while we were children.. My ammamma, a superb cook, would make absolutely lovely food. She would plan the menu very meticulously and get everybody in the house to do their bit - in bringing the grocery or vegetables, or scrapping coconuts, etc. One of her specialities is her paruppu podi. This protein-packed family must-have, served with hot rice and dollops of ghee on it, is a sheer treat to all the senses. Here is the recipe for it.. just the way my paati makes it.


Toor dhall: 1 cup
Channa dhall: 1/2 cup
Urad dhall: 1/2 cup
Moong dhall: 1/2 cup
Horsegram - 1/8 cup
Dry red chillis (long) - 20
Asefotida / hing: 1/2 tsp
Salt - 3 tbsp

Method of preparation:

Dry roast all these dhalls separately in a heavy bottomed kadai on a low flame.Roast till the dhalls give out a good aroma and till they turn golden brown in colour. Turn off the stove and in the heat of the kadai, just toss the salt and the hing for a minute. Cool the dhalls and grind to a fine powder.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Green Moong Curry

Women of today are great jugglers. We juggle between work, studies, children, home, shopping, domestic emergencies, parties, and what not!!! In these situations, having half an hour to make lunch or dinner is not uncommon. This recipe was born out of one such an emergency. The dhall takes about 25 minutes to make, serves about three people and tastes great too. Parallely, one can finish off with the rotis since this dhall needs only occasional stirring. A nutritious meal in half an hour for a busy weekday. My mom makes this gravy a little runny and serves it with bread. Yummmmmmmm!!


Moong (green) – ½ cup
Onions (med) – 2 Nos
Tomatoes (med) – 3 Nos
Green chilli – 1 or 2, slit
Ginger-garlic – ½ tbsp, grated
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Red chilli powder – ½ tsp or to taste
Garam masala – ½ tsp
Salt – to taste
Corriander – to garnish
Jeera – ½ tsp for tadka (bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom are optional)
Oil – 2 tbsp


· Was the moong well and pressure cook for three whistles.
· Meanwhile roughly chop the onions and tomatoes and blend in a mixie.
· Take a kadai. Add oil.
· Add jeera for tempering.
· After jeera splutters, add the grated ginger-garlic and green chillies. Fry for a couple of minutes.
· Now add the onion-tomato mixture.
· Add the powders – salt, chilli powder, turmeric powder and garam masala.
· Cover and cook for about five minutes.
· Now remove the lid and cook till all the raw smell is gone.
· Add the moong along with the liquid (not it your moong has too much liquid in it).
· Let it cook for about ten minutes on a low flame.
· Garnish with coriander leaves.
· Done!
· Serve hot with rotis.


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