Channa Pulao

My mother once told me, ‘Life has its way of throwing us down. It is absolutely upon us whether we want to get back up or not. And we must choose a way to get back up, face the challenges in life and move ahead’. And when I find myself in such a situation, I always look upon my Amma for what she might have done if she has to face such a situation. And it always worked wonders for me.

It is mother’s day today. Though I feel such days are just made by us, the people, and I strongly believe that, just celebrating one day in a year as mother’s day is not enough for all the sacrifices that mother’s have gone through in life, just to make the life of their children happy.

My Ma, held me tightly, and tells me, she is proud of me, she loves me and she tells me always. I am so lucky for this fact, as I don’t have to question her love or her pride for me, because it is a bond she has lovingly strewn throughout my life. I am grateful for that. I am happy to have her, happy to hear her. Being able to enjoy my mother’s company, have her present with me, hold interesting and substance-full conversations with her on any or every topic under the sun, knowing her opinion and her feelings on anything which my heart desires and most of all, spending time with my Amma are extremely special.

Channa Pulao 1This world is amazing. With my Ma, the world and my life are even more wonderful. Everyday my mind is blown away by the complex and extraordinarily beautiful experiences I am whisked through. Those moments, spending time with my mother are extremely special. Just my sister, I and our mother at our home, standing, breathing the fresh air, grass under our feet, sun shining down on us, eyes wide open taking for granted everything around us, each grass strand so beautiful, each soil particle so complexly made, yet so simple enough to understand that we don’t even think about how it came to be.

The bond that I have with my Amma is one which I treasure a lot. Often words get exchanged, conversations made and emotions felt between us. The whole experience is by itself truly makes me feel happy and contended. Though these words and conversations were made smoothly with my Ma, but at times we do get fight over petty issues, and at the end of the day, we stick together, with doubly charged up emotions.

Channa PulaoAnd definitely, just us in the kitchen, chatting, discussing about studies or my work with my Amma cutting the vegetables, cooking, breathing the fragrant curries that she makes daily, those are the moments mostly cherished by me.

I wanted to cook something for my mother as a token of love. My Amma loves One pot meals, especially Indian dishes a lot. So I decided that I will make Channa Pulao. To go with it, I made some Raita which my mom relished to hearts’ content.
Over to the recipe now,
Channa Pulao 2

Channa Pulao Recipe

Recipe Type – Main
Recipe Category – Rice Dishes / One Pot Meals
Cuisine – North Indian

Prep Time – Overnight soaking time for Channa plus 20 mins
Cook Time – 20 mins
Serves – 4


  • Rice – 2 cups
  • Water – 4 cups
  • Channa / Chick peas – 1 cup
  • Onion, big – 2, finely chopped
  • Ginger garlic paste – 1 tbsp
  • Channa Masala powder – 1 tsp
  • Coriander leaves – ¼ tsp
  • Ghee – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – to taste

To Temper

  • Oil – 4 tbsp (I used coconut oil)
  • Cinnamon – ½ inch piece
  • Cloves – 2
  • Cardamom – 1
  • Star Anise – 1


  1. Soak channa the previous night or for at least 8 hrs or better still, overnight.
  2. Pressure cook channa for 5-6 whistles without salt and required water. Set aside.
  3. Soak rice in water for 30 mins before cooking. Set aside.
  4. Slice onion length wise and slit green chillies.
  5. Heat a pan with coconut oil and temper with the items listed under ‘To Temper’ table. Add onion, green chillies and fry till transparent. Add ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell goes away, but make sure not to over fry or burn it. Add channa masala powder and give it a stir.
  6. Then add the channa and rice drained from water and add salt. Mix well. Add 3 cups of water, close the lid, and bring to boil. Keep in lowest possible flame and cook for 12-14 minutes. Once done, switch off.
  7. Later, open the lid, if need be, add ghee, fluff it up, garnish with coriander leaves. Serve Channa pulao warm with Onion Raita.


  1. You can even add mint leaves for extra flavour.
  2. You can make in pressure cooker too giving 2 whistles in low medium flame. Water is 1.5 cups if you have pre-soaked the rice for 30 mins.
  3. You can even add 1/2 cup coconut milk and add 1 and 1/2 cups water in total.

Simple Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup is one easy to prepare, simple and humble soup. Daddy dearest always calls it to be the cousin of the South Indian Tomato Rasam. And when we as a family go out for dinner, we end up going straight to having the main course and not the starter/ soup. Nobody at home prefers to have soups often, so mom rarely makes it.  On the other hand, dad, my sister and I prefer to slurp the soups once in a while, but mom has an aversion towards soups. Just for the sake of eating the croutons dipped in the soups or just by saying that soups are good for health much to the annoyance of my mom, once in a while soups find a place in the dining table at home.

Tomato Soup

Anyway, coming back to today’s recipe – The Simple Tomato Soup. There are few points to be kept in mind to make a really good tomato soup. First and foremost, use fresh, ripe, red tomatoes and completely avoid using tomatoes which are unripe, slightly yellowish shaded tomatoes which has the potential of being sour. Always blanch the tomatoes first, and then puree it. You can skip the usage of onions in the soup. And most importantly, there has to be a slightly sweet tanginess in the soup rendered by the tomatoes and this has to be finely balanced with the good use of pepper, salt, sugar and corn flour.

T Soup

 You can serve the tomato soup in a number of ways. Firstly, the tomatoes can be pureed completely without any chunks in the soup or if you prefer, you could also prepare with chunks of tomatoes and finely sliced onions in the soup. You can also use cream or corn flour or fresh corn kernel blended with tomatoes to make the tomato soup. It’s all up to the individuals choice as to how one wants to have the soup.

Tomato Soup 1

Simple Tomato Soup

Prep Time – 10 mins
Cook Time – 20 mins
Serves – 4


  • Tomatoes, red and ripe – 4
  • Onion – 1, roughly chopped
  • Garlic – 3 flakes, roughly chopped
  • Bay leaf – 1
  • Butter – 2 tbsp
  • Black Pepper, crushed – as needed
  • Water – 1 cup
  • Salt – as needed
  • Sugar – a small pinch
  • Corn flour – 1 tsp
  • Coriander leaves – 1 tbsp


  1. Heat butter in a deep heavy bottomed pan (you can also use a pressure cooker), add the roughly chopped garlic, onion, bay leaf and sauté for a minute.
  2. Then add water, tomatoes and allow it to boil. (If using a pressure cooker, you can cook for one whistle).
  3. Once done, switch off the stove. Allow it to cool completely and blend it into a puree. You can remove skin of the tomatoes before pureeing if you like, but I like the seed, skin and everything else in the soup.
  4. Now start heating the soup by placing in a sauce pan, and add the salt, sugar and a pinch of pepper powder.
  5. Bring it to boil for 10 minutes and add the corn flour mixed with 1 tbsp water and mix well, so that no lumps form. Add water to bring the soup to the desired consistency and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes. Once done, remove from heat.
  6. Season generously with pepper powder. Serve hot with a spring of freshly chopped coriander leaves. And serve with bread croutons.


  1. You can use cream if you want the soup to be more thicker and creamier.
  2. You can add a slice of beetroot for that extra red color.
  3. You can even use coconut oil or olive oil for that healthier touch.
  4. A fresh herb of your choice, be it holy basil or mint or any other of your choice
  5. Season generously with pepper powder for that added spicy hint.

Eat and Relish Nellikkai / Amla / Indian Gooseberry

Recently when I went to the market to buy vegetables, I found some fresh, green Nellikkai / Amla / Indian Gooseberries. I picked up these little beauties to make some instant nellikkai oorugaai (also called as the Amla pickle). I even discussed with my mom the possibilities of making various recipes by using these gooseberries. While at it, I took one of the nellikkai and slowly started nibbling. The sudden rush of sour, bitter tartness that arouse out of the nellikkai just tickled my senses. In no time time, I completely ate the whole of one nellikkai. Immediately this brought back wonderful memories of my sister and me in childhood, eating the nellikkai and chatting away aimlessly. This simple way of eating them as they are, oh.. I must say life was absolutely blissful!!

Indian gooseberries

So I decided that I am going to blog about how I like to eat the luscious nellikkai and also the health benefits.

How to eat and relish Nellikkai

Nellikkai or Amla or Indian gooseberry has an interesting flavor. It is sour, tart, bitter, astringent and slightly fibrous. Though the fruit is sour, it is very nourishing and is a powerful and rejuvenating super food for better health and more energy.

In India, the gooseberries when in season were traditionally used to prepare pickles, chutneys, thokku / thogayal, juice, dips, murabba (amla candy) and also used in certain curries. The gooseberries are also preserved by soaking in salted water with or without turmeric and heated on a stove. And this is left to soak for a day or two and later, these were eaten as such or with rice or else used to make pickles out of it.

At home, we usually soak in water and cook on medium heat with salt. And then made into pickle which is relished with rice (especially with curd rice, which tastes delicious). The pickle hardly remains for a week and mom has to make another batch and this continues till the end of the gooseberry season.

Nellikkai 1

But one of the most absolute ways to eat and relish the gooseberries is to eat it fresh, as it is! As children, I remember my sister and I always enjoy eating the nellikkai as such. And the whole experience by itself is truly fascinating.

Due to the strong sour and bitter tones, we at home eat it with little salt. First and foremost, bite into the hard surface of the nellikkai, chew it completely until you taste the sour juices. The bitter cum sour taste just makes you shiver and that is an exhilarating moment!!

Then dip the bitten part of the fruit in the salt (see to it that you take only little salt, so that the salt does not completely mask the sourness of the fruit) and eat it. You will now see a great difference in taste. Oh… The most wonderful ways to relish the gooseberries! And then take another bite, and repeat until the end of the gooseberry and the salt as well.

Now there is another way of eating nellikkai and that is along with water. After finishing the gooseberries with salt, as children my sister and I just take a tumbler of water and sip away. You could also bite into the nellikkai, chew and eat it. Then sip a little water and just relish the sweetness that tickles the taste bud. This is just to enjoy the taste of water which would be really sweet after eating the gooseberries. You gotta taste it to believe it! Ah, the most natural way of relishing a gooseberry. The memories that surround with food are the fondest for me!

Amla 1

Now, moving onto the health benefits of nellikkai.

Health Benefits
Gooseberries are one of the best sources of vitamin C and is believed to have great medicinal properties according to Ayurveda. They are rich sources of antioxidant properties and are a super food for better health.

Nellikkai is widely used in Ayurvedic treatment because of it being a powerful antioxidant. Most of the health problems are caused by oxidative damage that is when body cells use oxygen they produce by-products called free radicals that can cause cell damge. The antioxidant in the gooseberries helps to prevent and repair these damages. Thus this fruit is considered to be a superfood.


Gooseberries when eaten

  • strengthens the roots of the hair and helps hair growth, nourishes and improves eyesight, helps in calcium absorption in the bone due to its high Vitamin C content,
  • The gooseberry fruit has therapeutic values as well. Firstly, it helps to stimulate the isolated group of cells that secrete the insulin hormone and thereby reduces the blood sugar in the diabetic patients. Secondly, the fruit is slightly diuretic, that is it increases the frequency and volume of urination thus eliminating the unwanted toxins, excess salts and uric acid from the body.
  • Thirdly, it improves the overall metabolic activities in the human body – that is, helping muscle development, improving cellular growth, ensures organ health, promotes skin health, fights acidity and aids in digestion,
  • Fourthly, the fruit strengthens the heart muscles and decreases the blood pressure, thereby decreases the incidence of heart attack by reducing the cholesterol, helps in weight loss, protects from infection due to its anti-inflammatory properties, natural remedy for cold and cough, improve the appetite and helps in anti-ageing.

Thus, a little wonder fruit for the overall goodness and well being.

Tulsi Tea – Holy Basil Tea / Basil Leaves Tea

So this is my first post of the New Year 2015. Yes I know, i know its already 20th, but I felt like I have to mention it as it is my first post for this year. Sure 2014 had its ups and downs. But what is life, without its usual ups and downs.

“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down” ~ Vonnegut.

Tulsi Tea
It is been a year I started to blog and I still remember the dilemma that I had whether to start a blog of my own or not. But something from deep inside me pushed me to start this journey called food blogging and i created an account in wordpress sometime around late at night on November 2013. But I did not create any post for about two months and went to an hibernation mode. One fine day in the month of January 2014 i remembered about the blog and i went to create a post on the Pongal day – being the auspicious day that it is, photographed the sweet pongal and i clicked that ‘publish’ button. Slowly another blog post, and another one and another one and I got glued to the blogging world.

I had absolutely no idea or expectation as to where this journey will take me nor did I had any idea as to what I am getting into. But I must say what an amazing journey it has been so far! That interest for good food, cooking, moments and stories revolving around food pushed me to start this journey called food blogging. And the wonderful fellow food blogging friends that I made along this journey make it all the more interesting and beautiful. Yes, i am so much in love with what I am doing and am going to pursue it further. This year is going to see more of simple, wholesome food, authentic Indian Cuisine and healthy recipes.

There is cooking and eating with my family like never before these past weeks, what with the Christmas, the New year and then the Pongal celebrations, but nothing has been very much noticeable on the blog. Finally, I had some time to make a post for the blog.

Hot Tulsi tea
Tulsi is also called the Holy Basil Plant. Tulsi is worshiped in India and is also used as a medicinal herb in Ayurveda. Tulsi has a lot of health benefits such as that, the Tulsi leaves when eaten raw or cooked as a herb in a dish sure guards against cough and cold, eliminates toxins and is also rich in antioxidants. And here is the recipe for a simple and humble Tulsi Tea…

Tulsi Tea / Holy Basil Tea / Basil Leaves Tea
Cuisine – Indian
Recipe Category – Beverages, Hot
Prep Time – 5 mins
Cook Time – 10 mins
Serves – 2 Cups


  • Tulsi / Holy Basil Leaves – 1/4 cup
  • Tea powder – 2 tsp
  • Milk – 1/2 cup
  • Water – 2 cup
  • Sugar – 2 tbsp


  1. Place the milk and water in a deep pan and allow it to boil.
  2. Once it boils well, add tulsi leaves, tea powder and sugar. Let it boil for 5 minutes.
  3. When it has boiled well, remove from flame. Filter the hot tulsi tea in cups and serve hot.


  1. If you prefer, you can garnish the hot tea with tulsi leaves.

Nel Pori Urundai Recipe – Puffed Paddy Rice Balls mixed with Jaggery syrup and ghee

Nel Pori Urundai aka Puffed Paddy Rice balls with jaggery is one of the traditional neivedhyam dishes prepared on the auspicious occasion of Thirukarthigai / Karthigai deepam. Though Pori urundai is mainly made by using Arisi Pori (called as Puffed rice), it can also be prepared using Nel Pori (freshly acquired rice from paddy fields). Usually Nel Pori is made from fresh paddy rice which is roasted in a clay pot fueled by firewood in a large stove at the backyard of a house in olden days.

Nel Pori Urundaii

Karthigai Deepam / Thirukarthigai is a festival of lights, celebrated in the Tamil month of Kaarthigai (November – December) and is celebrated through Tamil nadu. It is celebrated on the full moon day of the Kaarthigai month which coincides with the Krithikai star. It is also considered as the extension of the Deepavali festival. The lighted lamp is considered as an auspicious symbol. It is believed that lighting of lamps will ward off evil forces and usher in prosperity and joy. While the lighted lamp is important for all Hindu rituals and festivals, it is indispensable for ThiruKarthigai.

Nel Pori Urundai

Rows of agal vilakkus (oil lit lamps) adorn the front of every house. My sister and i love to lit lamps in front of our home, and once all the lamps are fully lit, the front of the house just glows. It is this sheer joy in seeing the lamps lit and the glow that comes from the lamps add to the festivity and happiness to the occasion. At home, my sister and i save some of the crackers from Deepavali and burst it during the Karthigai Deepam festival.

Nel Pori Urundai

This Nel Pori Urundai is made by mixing the freshly acquired puffed rice with jaggery syrup and ghee, and finally flavored with cardamom powder. It is such a wonderful sweet dish. Sometimes at home, plain Pori Urundai is made without adding the thinly sliced coconut pieces. But the addition of thinly sliced coconut pieces add that extra crunchiness and taste to the pori urundai. I have not added coconut pieces in this preparation, but if you want, you may do so.

Nel Pori Urundai Recipe – Puffed Paddy Rice Balls mixed with Jaggery and ghee

Cuisine: South Indian – Tamil nadu
Recipe Category: Indian Festival Recipes
Preparation Time : 30 mins
Cooking Time : 20 mins
Makes : 12 Urndais (balls)
  • Pori / Puffed rice – 3 and 1/2 cups
  • Jaggery – 1/2 cup, powdered
  • Water – 1/4 cup or little less(It should be just for the level of jaggery to immerse)
  • Ghee – 1 tsp, to grease hands
  • Cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Dry ginger powder / Chukku podi – 1/4 tsp (optional)


  1. Remove the nel (the husk) from the pori and keep it ready.
  2. In a heavy bottomed kadai, place the jaggery and add 1/2 cup of water to jaggery and heat it up on a medium flame until the jaggery bubbles and dissolves completely. Allow it to get thick and is more of honey like consistency. Strain the jaggery syrup to remove impurities and set it aside.
  3. Wash the kadai and put it back on the heat. Pour the strained jaggery syrup back into the kadai and heat it on a medium flame. Allow it to boil until it forms a non-sticky soft ball (uruttu padham) when you roll it with your fingers. In a small bowl of water, pour 2 to 3 drops of syrup in the water. When you take the jaggery syrup from the bowl of water, you should be able to roll it into a ball shaped consistency. Also when you drop it in cold water, it should make a sound while hitting the ground / plate. This is called “Kal Pagam”. This is the right consistency of jaggery syrup for making the urundais / balls.
  4. Once the jaggery syrup reaches the desired consistency, put the nel pori, cardamom powder, ginger powder and then and mix well. Switch of the stove. Stir until the pori gets completely coated with the jaggery syrup. Transfer to a plate.
  5. Allow it to slightly cool down and check whether you are able to handle the mixture with your hand. Now grease your palm with little ghee, and take a handful of pori and press tightly in between the two hands and form a ball. Repeat with the remaining pori, while the pori is still warm. While rolling them into tight balls, take care not to break the pori.

The delicious Nel pori urundai is ready for Neivedhyam (offering to God). And enjoy!


  1. Clean the nel pori first and then start with the pori making process.
  2. Be careful in checking the consistency of the jaggery syrup, otherwise making the nel pori into balls will be tough. Be little quick while shaping the balls. If it hardens in the end for the last few balls, then heat up the mixture for a minute to loosen the mixture for making the urundais / balls. The color of the pori urundai totally depends upon the jaggery variety. The method is the same for making aval pori urundai and also kadala urundai.
  3. I have not added coconut pieces in this preparation, but if you want, you may add the coconut pieces along with cardamom powder.
  4. You can store the Nel pori urundai in an air tight container and it will stay good for upto a week.

Aloo Tikki – Spiced Potato Patties

Aloo Tikki is one of the most popular North Indian street food. It is basically made of boiled and mashed potatoes mixed with various herbs and spices. It is then deep-fried in oil. Well, you may all know that “Aloo” means potato and “Tikki” means a small cutlet or also called as patties. Aloo tikki is a famous street food and is found in almost every chaat shop or small eateries or stalls in almost every part of India. In Mumbai, a popular version of aloo tikki served with various spicy chutneys such as the coriander- mint chutney, Tamarind – dates chutney and this version of aloo tikki with spicy chutney is called as ‘Ragada Patties’.
Aloo Tikki is an Indian appetizer that can be served in many different ways. Top it with a little mint and tamarind chutney, onions, cilantro, sev and it is a delicious chaat. Make the tikki a little bigger and use it as a patty for a satisfying veggie burger. Make them tiny and serve as appetizers. Yes, Aloo Tikki is one of the very versatile and yummy snack.
Aloo Tikkii
Though i have tasted aloo tikki many times bought from shops and the Aloo tikki burger served at McDonald’s restaurants. For a quite long time, i have been thinking of making it at home. This recipe is a very simple version. Yesterday, it was raining heavily here and my sister wanted to have some snacks along with the evening tea. So what better way then to enjoy the tea with some hot aloo tikkis in this rainy season. So here it is…
Aloo tikki
Aloo Tikki  / Spiced Potato Patties
Cuisine: Indian
Recipe Category: Snack / Indian Street Food
Preparation Time : 20 mins
Cooking Time : 10 mins
Makes : 12 tikkis


Potato – 3, medium sized (comes to 2 cups after mashing)

Rice flour – 1/4 cup
Red Chilli Powder – 1 tbsp (adjust according to your spicy needs)
Chat Masala powder – 1 tsp
Jeera powder / Cumin powder  – 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder – 1 tsp
Coriander Leaves – 1/2 tbsp, finely chopped
Lemon Juice – 1 tsp
Oil – to toast or shallow fry ( I used coconut oil)
Salt – to taste


  1. Cut each potato into halves and pressure cook upto 4 whistles or until soft. Once the pressure leaves the cooker, remove the boiled potatoes, peel off the skin and mash it well without any lumps. Add red chilli powder, garam masala powder, cumin powder, chat masala powder, lemon juice, coriander leaves and required salt to the mashed potatoes. Mix well to form a smooth dough.
  2. Take a lemon sized ball and roll it well between your hands.  Then flatten them into round shaped patties between your hands.
  3. Roll the patties in rice flour so that it coats well on all sides. Now finish the mashed potatoes dough by repeating the process. I just made around 12 tikkis.
  4. Heat dosa pan or a small tawa. Add a teaspoon of oil and add the prepared aloo tikkis ( 3 to 4 patties at a time) and toast them well on both sides till they turn golden brown and slightly crisp.
  5. Serve hot with tomato sauce or sweet chutney or coriander chutney.


  • Optionally you can coat the tikkis with breadcrumbs and then toasting gives a crispy outer layer and soft inside.
  • I used coconut oil, as it is the main oil used in most of the Kerala home for preparing food. Some may not like the taste of coconut oil, but we at home love coconut oil and it renders that specific taste which is so common in all of the Kerala dishes. And health wise also, coconut oil gives out more benefits.
  • You can even add 1/4 cup boiled peas along with potato. And a tsp of finely chopped green chillies for that extra spiciness. You can also add a tsp of amchur powder instead of chat masala powder.. 
  • The dough should be tight enough to hold together, if the dough is watery / runny then your tikkis will break when you toast them. During such times, you can add 1/2 tbsp cornflour if the dough becomes watery, but dont add more as the tikkis will become hard.
  • Alternatively you can deep fry them too. But if prefer to deep fry then add rice flour or cornflour with the dough to make it stiff.
  • If you are toasting, toast in low medium heat. You can even toast the tikkis in ghee, but if you want less oil or ghee then you can use the air fryer to toast the tikkis.
  • Flip over the tikkis gently while toasting them in tawa for even roating on all the sides.
  • You can even stuff boiled channa dal / sprouts/ mixed vegetables inside the tikkis for taste variation.

Manathakkaali Uppadan

Uppadan is a very traditional Palakkad (Palakkad is a district in Kerala) Brahmin style side dish. It is a very easy to prepare and a classic Palakkadan recipe. Though most of the dishes or recipes from Kerala have the specialty of having coconut in it – coconut either be in the form of shredded coconut which is sauteed and roasted along with a vegetable or else ground coconut in the form of curry or gravies in the dishes.

This Uppadan is one such recipe that does NOT require any coconut or dal to prepare it. It is mainly prepared by using just the spice powders. Uppadan is mostly prepared with Manathakkaali vathals, sundakkai vatthal or any kind of vegetables like yellow pumpkin, lady’s finger, brinjal etc. It is one of those side dishes which can be prepared quickly.  Such an apt dish which goes well with hot steaming rice with a drizzle of homemade ghee over it.

Manathakkali is also known as Black Nightshade. The manathakkaali plant as such is edible, that is the leaves of this plant can be used to make kootu (manathakkali keerai kootu), stir fry or poriyal (manathakkali keerai poriyal) and so on. And the berries of this plant is sun dried to make the manathakkali vatthals. This manathakkaali vatthal is what we are using for preparing the uppadan. The berries are very effective in treating/ curing any digestive and stomach disorders due to the slight bitter taste of the manathakkali.

There is a slight difference between uppadan and vatthal kozhambu. Uppadan is less spicy, more watery, no dals or lentils in it and not as thick as the vatthal kozhambu and/ or sambar. But vatthal kozhambu is a very very spicy and thick kozhambu (or gravy), sometimes with little or no dals in it.

Manathakaali Uppadan

Cuisine: Indian
Recipe Source: My Amma
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4


  • Manathakali / Black Nightshades – 2 tblsp
  • Tamarind – a small gooseberry size
  • Asafoetida – 1/4 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder – a pinch
  • Jaggery (or sugar) –  1/2 tsp or a little
  • Salt – to taste

For Seasoning

  • Coconut oil – 4 tbsp
  • Mustard Seeds – 2 tsp
  • Curry leaves – a sprig
  • Coriander leaves – few, chopped

For the Uppadan powder / Uppadan Spice Powder:

  • Raw Rice – a fistful
  • Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • Dried Red Chilies – 1-2 (or according to taste)
  • Urad dal – 1 tsp (optional)


  1. Soak the tamarind in hot water for some time and extract the pulp.
  2. Heat a kadai with a tsp of oil. Add the manathakkaali’s and fry on low heat till it becomes golden brown.
  3. Pour in the tamarind extract and add 2 cups of plain water, a pinch of turmeric powder, asafoetida, jaggery, salt to taste and allow it to boil till the raw smell of the tamarind goes.
  4. In the meantime, wash and drain the rice. Then heat a small pan, dry roast the rice, that is fry the rice without oil. After the rice is half done, throw in the fenugreek seeds and dried red chillies. Fry till rice turns slightly brown in color and a good aroma of methi seeds wafts around. Cool and grind it into a fine powder. You can also store it and use later.
  5. Dissolve this Uppadan spice powder in half a cup of water and add it to the boiling tamarind- manathakkaali concoction. The spice powder acts as a thickening agent.  Check the seasoning and the consistency of the uppadan. Check for the salt and adjust accordingly. Once done, remove from heat and keep aside.
  6. In a seasoning laddle, add a little coconut oil and heat it. Then season with mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, coriander leaves and pour over the manathakkaali uppadan.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve the manathakkaali uppadan with steaming hot rice with a dollop of ghee over it and with some roasted papadam/ papad and or vadam.
  • Normally this uppdan is bit watery.  If you want it to be thick, add more uppdan spice powder and adjust the consistency.


  • You can make the same curry with sundakkai vatthal, vegetables like yellow pumpkin, lady’s finger, brinjal etc.

Vada Curry / Vadakari – A popular side dish for Idli, Dosa

Vada Curry, also called as Vadakari or Masala vada curry is one of the most popular and humble South Indian side dish / gravy/ curry for Idli, dosa, set dosa, poori, chapathi etc. This is one of the versatile side dish usually made in restaurants and small street corner tiffin centres in Tamil nadu. Though this side dish is usually prepared with the left over masala vadas in restaurants, i admit that at my home, there will never be any left over vada’s as my sister and i gobble up the masala vadas as soon as my mom prepares it. So at my home, vada curry is always prepared with the freshly made vada’s. So i got this recipe from my mom and prepared it. It is a sure winner and i relished it with dosa.

Vada curry

Though making vada curry is slightly time consuming, as you are preparing vada’s and then you have to prepare the gravy/ curry for the vada’s. But i must tell you, it is worth the time as the vada curry is a tasty, spicy side dish for idli, dosa and even with poori and rotis.

Vada Curry/ Vadakari

Recipe Source: My mom
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 to 40 mins
Total Time: 1 hours
Serves: 4
Serving suggestions: Idli, dosa, appam, chapati, poori, roti

1. For preparing Vada:

  • Bengal gram /Kadalai paruppu /channa dal – 1 cup (soaked for 2 hours)
  • Dry Red chillies – 2
  • Salt as needed
  • Oil for frying the vadas

2. For the Curry:

  • Onion – 1, medium sized, chopped finely
  • Tomato – 2, medium sized
  • Ginger- garlic paste – 1 tbsp
  • Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – a pinch
  • Coriander powder – 1 tsp
  • Cardamom powder – 1 tsp
  • Fennel seeds/ Sombu – 1/2 tsp

3. For Seasoning:

  • Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Cinnamon stick – 1 inch
  • Cloves – 2
  • Bay leaf – 1
  • Green Chillies – 1
  • Curry leaves – few

4. For Garnishing:

  • Coriander leaves – few, chopped

For Vada:

  1. Soak the chana dal for 2 hrs. Drain the water and grind it along with red chillies and fennel seeds to a coarse paste without adding water. Add required salt and mix well.
  2. Form small patties of vada’s and keep aside. Then in heavy bottomed kadai, heat oil and deep fry the vada’s till golden brown. Once done, remove it and place in a paper towel to absorb excess oil if any. The vada’s need not be too crispy as we are about to add it to the gravy. Now the vada is ready. Set aside to cool and later crumble into small pieces.

For Curry:

  1. Boil tomatoes with water until the skin starts to split. Peel off the skin and puree it. Keep aside.
  2. In a kadai, heat oil and add cinnamon, cloves, bayleaf, green chillies and curry leaves. Saute for about a minute. And the seasoning is done.
  3. Then add the ginger garlic paste, saute till it is slightly browned. Then add the prepared tomato puree along with required salt, turmeric powder, coriander powder and red chilli powders. Fry for few minutes till the masala blends well. Then add 3/4 cup of water and allow it to boil for about 10 to 15 minutes in medium  flame.

Finally, crumble the prepared vada’s and add it to the curry and allow it absorb the gravy well. Simmer for 15 mins. Let it become soft.  Give a stir and then garnish with coriander leaves and switch off the stove.

Serve the Vada curry with idli, dosa, roti, or poori.


  • Alternatively you can make small balls of the vada batter and steam the vada’s instead of deep frying.

This side dish is a sure table winner along with idli or set dosa. Whenever i prepare this side dish, i remember my dad as he loves eating this side dish along with dosa. It is such a versatile, spicy and tasty side dish for sure!

Many more Awards… And a note of Thanks to all!

Well, i am really enjoying the food blogging world. Though the food blogging world is so widespread but is so closely knit. And i must say, i am so happy that i started food blogging which in turn led me to discover new blogs and made some friendly, amazing and wonderful people who constantly support and encourage each other and their blogs. And i cant thank them enough. But here are the awards through which you get to know even more, interact and support each other in the blogging world. I got nominated for many more awards and i am very much grateful to each one of the blogger for constantly supporting and encouraging me to blog more.

1. Sunshine Award – I was nominated for Sunshine Award by Shruti of Shruti of Cooking Diary. Thank you Shruti.

Sunshine Award
My Nominees for Sunshine Award are:

The Reading Bud

More Food, pls

The Ladies Bulletin

Super Duper Food

Cafe Garima

Foodie Adam and Cookie Eve


Rules for Participating –

  • Display the award on your blog.
  • Show your gratitude and link back to the person who nominates you with the award.
  • Nominate any 4 to 10 of your favorite deserving “bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere”.
  •  Link the nominees in your post and let them know they have been awarded.
  •  Write 10 interesting things about yourself.


2. Versatile Blogger Award – Lori of Creating Beauty in the Kitchen and Indu of Indu’s International Kitchen showered me with this award. Thank you both of you for showering me with this Versatile Blogger Award.

Versatile Blogger AwardMy Nominees for Versatile Blogger Award:

Cooking with Sapna

Thirsty for Tea

Cooking with Ayesha

Tea with Erika

Slice of my Life

Yes i am Vegan

Rules for Participating
• Put the Versatile picture in your post
• Link to the blogger who nominated you
• Give 7 facts about yourself
• Nominate any 4 to 10 people


3. Dragons Loyalty Award – Well, i got nominated for this Dragon’s Loyalty Award by Malar of Malar’s Kitchen, Indu of Indu’s International Kitchen, Chitra of Chitra’s Healthy Kitchen, Mrs. Choux of Box of Recipes

Dragons Loyatly Award

My Nominees for Dragons Loyalty Award:

Aromas and Flavours

Flour and Spice

Food Passion Love

Traditionally Modern Food

Vidhya’s Home Cooking

Food food

Cooking Delight

Shams Kitchen

Something is cooking

Rules for Participating –

  • Display the award on your blog.
  • Show your gratitude and link back to the person who nominates you with the award.
  • Nominate any 4 of your favorite deserving “bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere”.
  •  Link the nominees in your post and let them know they have been awarded.
  •  Write 10 interesting things about yourself.


4. Very Inspiring Blogger Award – I am very grateful to SKD of Aromas and Flavours to nominate me for this award. Thank you skd.


My Nominees for Very Inspiring Blogger Award:

Goan Imports

The Little Sweet Baker

The Not so creative cook

Feasting with Friends

Sweet Mayberry

Feeding the Sonis

Rules for Participating –

  • Display the award on your blog.
  • Show your gratitude and link back to the person who nominates you with the award.
  • Nominate 4 to 10 of your favourite deserving “bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere”.
  •  Link the nominees in your post and let them know they have been awarded.
  •  Write 10 interesting things about yourself.


12 Interesting Things about me:

  • I like watching animated movies.
  • I hate hypocrisy and also back biting.
  • I dont like mess. I like my things to be organized and perfect.
  • I love arts and crafts. I indulge in glass painting, drawing, crochet, embroidery, stitching garments
  • I love walking around & window shopping
  • I am a book worm. Give me a book, be it fiction or non-fiction i am the happiest person.
  • I blank out in the middle of conversations. I get lost in my thoughts and literally stare at the walls.
  • I love tea. I dont like coffee at all. Dont know why, but i NEVER like coffee.
  • I hate it when people do back-biting.
  • It is one of my dreams to publish a cookbook and start cooking and baking classes.
  • I love spending time with my family, being at home and chit-chatting with my parents and sister.
  • I love doing things only if want to, not for the fun or heck of doing it!


5. I am a WordPress Family, Award – Thank you Malar of Malar’s Kitchen for this wordpress family award.

wordpress_family_awardMy Nominees for the I AM A PART OF THE WORDPRESS FAMILY AWARD are –

Adorable Life

Srilankan Cuisine

Abbys Kitchen

Third Culture Cooking

Treat your Palate

 Nish Kitchen

Tasty Treats 13

6. Wonderful Team Member Readership Award – Chitra of Chitra’s Healthy Kitchen and Poojitha of Kitchen Equations


My Nominees for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award are –

Meanas Blog


Cheese’s Crust

Peruvian Super Food

Julia’s Delectable Baking

Perma Cooking

Sweet Jaw


7. Most Influential Award – Heena of The Reading Bud blog passed this award to me and thank you so much Heena for the support.

most-influential-blogger-badgeMy Nominees for the Most Influential Blogger Award are –

Kouzounas Kitchen

What is cooking

Rice & Kai

Drizzling Delicacies

One Prickly Pear

All is Well

Rules for accepting the Most Influential Blogger Award  –  Here are the guidelines for acceptance – really very straightforward.
To accept this award, the awardee must do the following:
1. Display the Award on your Blog.
2. Announce your win with a blog post and thank the Blogger who awarded you. Do not lump this award with any other award in a “basket”, “bouquet” or “collection” etc, I would rather you didn’t accept the award.
3. Present 10 deserving Bloggers with the Award.
4. Link your awardees in the post and let them know of their being awarded with a comment (or a pingback).
5. Include an embedded video of your current favourite song (YouTube has virtually everything, just copy and paste the link into your WordPress editor). If a video is not possible you can embed a Sound Cloud track.

Here i am attaching a typical Chenda Melam video, one of my favorite artist – The Mattanur Sankarankutty Marar (one of the most famous Chenda melam performing artist from Kerala), is performing Thayambaka on Asianet News 15th year anniversary celebration ceremony held at Nishagandhi, Kanakunnu Palace ,Thiruvananthapuram
8. Liebster Award – Thank you Deepa of Madraasi for this beautiful award. Liebster AwardRules for Liebster Award –
• Thank and link back the person who presented the award to you.
• Have the award on your post.
• Answer the questions that has been asked.
• Award the same to up to ten other upcoming blogs.
Here are some of her questions and my answers:
Q – What is your all time favourite food?
A – Dosa and chutneyQ – Something which you loved to do other than cooking?
A – Reading and Teaching.Q – Few words about your family?
A – A simple, loveable South Indian family.Q – What would be there without fail in your shopping list?
A – Vegetables

My Nominees for Liebster Award are –

Violets and Vanilla

My Southern Flavours

Sugar Coated

 Golden Secret Recipe