Thursday, June 1, 2017

Tomato Thokku/Thakkali Thokku

I am a big fan of thokku varieties. I have a bottle of thokku in my refrigerator at all times. Be it tomato, coriander or pudina. They are so versatile and are always a life saviour. They are a perfect accompaniment to idly/dosa/adai and chapathi. They are perfect as a spread on the bread. Just mix a little thokku to a portion of hot rice and have it with some papad or chips and there you have a quick lunch ready in a jiffy for that really busy day. 

Among the various varieties of thokku, if I had to choose one, I would definitely pick tomato. It is by far, my most favorite. There are a number of ways to make this. Here is my way. It tastes really delicious and is our family favorite. 

I have used Bangalore Tomatoes, feel free to use country tomatoes, but reduce or totally omit the tamarind as they are more tart. Also adjust the seasoning accordingly. Also please adjust the quantity of salt and chilly powder according to your preference. I have provided the measure I have used, but it may vary depending on the brand you use. 

What you'll need

  1. Tomato – 1 Kg (about 12 to 13 Medium sized)
  2. Tamarind – a small gooseberry sized ball
  3. Chilly Powder – 2 tbsp
  4. Powdered Jaggery – 2 tbsp
  5. Asafoetida Powder – ½ tsp
  6. Salt – approx  2 tbsp (adjust according to taste)
  7. Gingely Oil – ¼ cup
For Tempering
  1. Mustard Seeds – 2 tsp
  2. Curry Leaves – few sprigs
To dry roast and grind
  1. Fenugreek seeds/Vendayam - 2 tsp


  1. Wash and pat dry the tomatoes. Chop into quarters.
  2. Heat a heavy bottomed kadai, add the chopped tomatoes, tamarind and let them cook in their own juices. Keep the heat on medium and stir once in a while to avoid burning. The tomatoes should be cooked till mushy.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  4. Once cooled, transfer to a mixie jar and grind it. You may keep it slightly coarse.
  5. Heat a heavy bottomed kadai with the oil.
  6. Temper with mustard seeds, curry leaves.
  7. Add the ground tomato, asafoetida, mix well. Cover with a lid and let it cook on medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes or till the mixture has reduced well. Keep stirring once in a while to avoid burning.
  8. Now add the chilly powder, jaggery and salt mix well. Keep stirring till you start seeing oil on the sides of the kadai. Remove from heat.
  9. Dry Roast the fenugreek seeds until dark brown and powder it using a mortar and pestle. Add this to the thokku and mix well.
 Cool completely and transfer to a clean container. Tomato thokku is ready.


  1. I used Bangalore tomatoes which are not very sour, if using nattu thakkali then reduce the amount of tamarind. You may do without it too.
  2. After add the chilly powder, salt and jaggery, keep stirring constantly.
  3. This thokku remains fresh for a couple of days at room temperature and upto a month when refrigerated.
  4. Use a clean dry spoon.


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Mixed Vegetable Kootu

A post after a long time!! No excuses this time. It was pure laziness on my side. So finally, I managed to come out of hibernation.
While browsing the recipe index on my blog, the other day, I noticed that I haven’t posted some very basic recipes like this kootu, and a few others. So, thought of sharing this simple recipe today. This is an everyday kootu, unlike the kootu curry that is served during sadhyas. But I like this, for its simplicity. Few basic ingredients create magic. I would say it is a very close cousin of the molagootal. The Molagootal is more like a kuzhambu as in runnier, while the kootu is a side dish usually paired with mor kootam/ rasam or vatha kuzhambu. Now, off to the recipe.

Serves 4
What you'll need
  1. Mixed Vegetables – 3 cup (I used Malabar Vellarikai, Carrot, and Potato)
  2. Channa Dal – ½ cup
  3. Scraped Fresh Coconut – ½ cup
  4. Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
  5. Green Chilly – 1
  6. Turmeric Powder – ½ tsp
  7. Salt to taste
  8. Jaggery – 1 tsp (optional)
For Tempering
  1. Coconut Oil – 2 tsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  3. Broken Urad Dal – 1 tsp
  4. Curry Leaves – few

  1. Soak the channa dal for 20 minutes. Then pressure cook it with until soft.
  2. Wash, peel and chop the vegetables into small cubes. I used 1 cup each of Malabar vellarikai, carrots and potatoes.
  3. In a bowl, add the chopped vegetables, add just enough water, turmeric powder and salt to taste.
  4. Allow this is boil, cook partially covered until the vegetables are cooked.
  5. Add jaggery if using and boil for another couple of minutes.
  6. In the meanwhile, grind the coconut, green chillies and cumin into a fine paste with very little water. Add water just enough to grind – a couple of spoons.
  7. Next add in the cooked dal, mix carefully without mashing the vegetables. Let this simmer for couple of minutes.
  8. Finally, add the ground coconut paste, mix well and simmer for another 3 to 4 minutes.
  9. Adjust seasoning. Remove from heat.
  10. Heat a small frying pan with coconut oil. Temper with mustard seeds and urad dal. Pour this tempering over the kootu. Garnish with curry leaves.

Kootu is ready. Serve as an accompaniment with Vathakuzhambu/Mor Kuzhambu/Rasam.

  1. You may add green peas and French beans as well.
  2. Make sure to add any one water vegetable like ash gourd or chow chow, or Malabar vellarikai.
  3. Addition of jaggery is optional, but we like our kootu slightly sweet and so I add a little bit.
  4. Use coconut oil for good flavour.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Koozh Dosai

Koozh dosai is a very old and traditional recipe, which I feel is slowly fading away from most households, including mine. Whenever it comes to grinding batter, I end up grinding for the regular idly and dosa batter and so all the other varieties always takes a back seat. The Koozh dosai would be a welcome change if you are bored of your regular idly dosas.

This dosa does not have any urad dal. It is made only of raw rice. The most important thing to note in this recipe is that the batter should be well fermented and enough quantity of Koozh should be added to get soft dosas.

What you’ll need
  1. Raw Rice – 2 Cup
  2. Salt to taste
  3. Oil – as needed to make dosas

  1. Wash and soak the rice for 3 to 4 hours.
  2. Now grind the rice into a smooth batter adding water as and when required.
  3. Add salt mix well and let this batter ferment for 8 to 10 hours.
  4. Take a big ladle full of this batter and mix it with 2 cups water. Mix it well without any lumps.
  5. Place this on heat and keep stirring on medium flame, until it starts thickening and becomes translucent. This is called Koozh.
  6. Let this cool well.
  7. Before making the dosas, add this cooled Koozh to the batter and mix well. Add about 2 cups of water and make the batter very thin, like rava dosa batter.
  8. Place an iron pan on heat, drizzle a little oil, mix the batter well and pour a ladle full of batter, start from the outer edges and then move in.
  9. Drizzle oil on the edges. And cook on medium flame flip over and drizzle a tsp of oil and cook until the dosas are done. Repeat with remaining batter.
  10. Serve these delicious dosas with chutney/sambar or molagapodi.

The batter should be well fermented.

The quantity of koozh would be just right, sometimes, the dosa may tear, it might be because the koozh is more in quantiy. So don’t add the whole koozh at a time. Add ¾ th of the koozh make a dosa a check, if the dosas come without any white patches then the koozh is enough. If you see white patches on the cooked dosa, then add more koozh. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Lemon Oorugai | Lemon Pickle without Oil

Pickles are an integral part of Indian households and so it is at our home. A proper South Indian meal is incomplete without the customary Thayir Sadam (curd rice) and oorugai. My MIL is an expert when it comes to pickling. Not only our family, but anyone who visits our home and tastes her pickles doesn’t go without asking her for its recipe. Among all the pickles she makes, my favorite is Avakkai and Vadu Mangai. I hope to post these recipes this summer.

Now, is the season for lemons. I am not a huge fan of lemon pickle. But the one I am sharing today is an exception. I learnt this from my grandmother. The USP of this pickle is that it does not use oil. The salt and sugar act as preservatives. Please don't panic! It is not a sweet pickle. The sugar just balances the sourness of the lemon. It tastes really good and is perfect with a bowl of curd rice.

What you'll need
  1. Indian Lemon – 15 medium sized
  2. Red Chilly Powder – 1/3 + 1/8 cup
  3. Salt – 1/3 + 1/8 cup
  4. Sugar 1/3 + 1/8 cup
  5. Fenugreek – 1 tbsp
  6. Asafoetida – ½ tsp

  1. Wash and wipe the lemon well. Let it dry well.
  2. Cut 12 of the lemons into quarters or cut each into 8 pieces. I had approximate 2.5 cup of cut lemon pieces.
  3. Squeeze and extract the juice from the remaining 3 lemons.
  4. Transfer the lemon pieces into a wide glass bowl, add the measured quantities of red chilly powder, salt and sugar. Also add the lemon juice. Mix well.
  5. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
  6. Now, heat a small frying pan, dry roast the fenugreek seeds until they start to pop. Transfer to a plate. To the hot pan add the asafoetida powder fry for few seconds.
  7. Grind the roasted fenugreek seeds with the help of a mortar and pestle.
  8. Add the fenugreek powder and asafoetida to the pickle mixture. Stir well.
  9. Cover with a lid and keep aside.
  10. Keep stirring once everyday. Transfer to a clean and sterilized bottle after about 10 days.
  11. Let it sit at least for a month before consuming by when lemon would have become soft and would have absorbed all the spices well.

  1. Select firm yellow, thin skinned lemon. Make sure there are no black spots or soft spots on the lemon.
  2. Always use a clean and dry spoon.
  3. Keep stirring it once everyday, with a clean dry spoon for at least 10 days.
  4. Store in clean sterilized glass bottle. I recommend, washing the bottle with soap water and then rinsing it with hot water. And dry in sunlight before storing the pickle. 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Vendhaya Keerai Paruppu Usili

Here I am, with the next recipe in the New Year.  I love paruppu usili period. I have already posted 2-3 usili recipes using different vegetables like Kothavarangai, Cabbage and Vazhapoo. Among these my favourite was Cabbage. But now I have 2 favorites. Cabbage and this Vendhaya Keerai Usili. 

In our house, I had never seen my mother or MIL prepare usili using keerai. A couple of days back, I tasted this usili, prepared by my friend. It was new to me. And I just loved it. I also came to know that usili using murungai keerai is also quite popular. Last week I tried this and it was a big hit at home. My kids also loved it. The flavour of vendhaya keerai with the spiced steamed lentils is just too good. It tastes best as an accompaniment with Vatha Kuzhambu or with Mor Kuzhambu. If you have not tried this before, then do give it a try. I am sure you will love it.

Serves 3 to 4
What you’ll need
  1. Methi Leaves/Vendhaya Keerai – 1 Big Bunch
  2. Tuar Dal – 1/3 Cup
  3. Kadala Paruppu – 1/3 cup
  4. Dry Red Chilly – 2 or 3
  5. Asafoetida – a generous pinch
  6. Salt to taste
  7. To temper
  8. Coconut Oil – 2 tbsp
  9. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  10. Urad Dal – 1 tsp
  11. Red Chilly – 1

  1. Wash and soak the dals for atleast 30 mins along with the dried red chillies.
  2. After 30 mins, drain the water completely, and grind into a coarse paste with red chillies, salt, few curry leaves and asafoetida. Do not add water.
  3. Grease an idly plate with few drops of oil, take a lemon sized ball of the ground dal paste and pat it on the idly moulds. Repeat this until all the dal paste is used up.
  4. Steam this in a cooker/steamer for 5 to 8 minutes or until the dal is cooked. To check, insert a knife through the dal discs, the knife should come out clean.
  5. Let this cool very well. Pulse it again in the mixie, the dal should crumble and resemble a coarse powder.
  6. Meanwhile, clean and wash the methi leaves/vendhaya keerai, I used only the leaves and very tender stock. I had about 2 heaped and tightly packed cup of leaves. Chop them roughly.
  7. Heat a Kadai with oil, temper with mustard seeds, once it splutters, add the urad dal and fry till the dal turns golden, add the red chilly and fry till it turns crisp.
  8. Now add the chopped leaves and saute till the leaves get wilted. Add a little salt.
  9. Next add the ground dal and mix everything very well. Keep sautéing for 5 to 6 minutes or until everything mixes well and resembles a crumble.
Delicious Usili ready. 

  1. Drain water completely from the dals before grinding.
  2. Also grind the dals coarsely without adding any water.

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