Thengaai Chutney/Coconut Chutney


Grated Coconut: 1 cup

Pottu kadalai/Roasted Channa Dal: 2 tbsps

Green Chillies: to taste

Salt: To taste

Curry Leaves: 2 sprigs

* Roasted Channa dal is available in Indian stores.


Grind all of the above & season with Mustard seeds & one dried red chilli.

PS: I learnt this recipe from our domestic help in India. I like this version better than what I have made in the past.


Paruppu thogaiyal


Toor dal – 1/2 cup

Peppercorns – 15 or so

Dried Red Chillies – 2

Ghee – 1/2 tsp


Fry toor dal in ghee till golden red in colour.

Set aside.

Dry roast peppercorns & red chillies for couple of seconds.

Grind all of them by adding salt & little water.

BINGO! Paruppu thugaiyal ready.

Vegetable Biryani Masala



Pudhina/Mint leaves – 1 bunch

Coriander Leaves – 1 bunch

Garlic – 1 to 1 1/2 cloves

Green Chillies – 1 to 2, to taste

Ginger – 1 small piece

Tomatoes – 1, chopped into large pieces

Small Onions/shallots  – 10 to 12 pieces


Grind  all the above ingredients to a fine paste without adding water. Use this as a base for any biryani.

Thakkaali Saadham/Tomato Rice

Boiled Rice – 1 ½ cups

Onion – 1 chopped to long pieces

Ripe Tomatoes – 3 chopped finely

Green Chillies – 1 to 2, depending on preference

Curry Leaves – 1 sprig

Garlic – 1 clove, optional

Tomato paste – 1 tbsp

Chilli Powder – 1 tsp

Turmeric powder – 1 tsp

Salt – to taste

Oil – to season

Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp

Channa Dal – 1 tsp

Urad Dal – 1 tsp

Sonf – 1 tsp

Cinnamon Stick – 1

Cardamoms – 5 to 6

Cloves – 5 to 6

Mace – 1

Bay leaf – 1

Coriander leaves – chopped, for seasoning

Heat Oil in a kadai. Add mustard seeds, followed by channa dal. When lightly golden, add urad dal & fry till urad dal is golden brown. Then, add sonf, cinnamon stick, cardamoms, cloves, mace, bay leaves, followed by curry leaves. Now, add green chillies & onion. Fry until onion is cooked. When clear & cooked, add the tomatoes. Cook till tomatoes become mushy. Now, add tomato paste, salt, chilli powder & turmeric powder. When all mixed well into gravy like mixture, add boiled rice & mix well. Season with coriander Leaves.

Brussel Sprouts curry/subji


Baby Brussel Sprouts, sliced into 4 pieces – 2 cups

Oil: 1 tbsp

Mustard Seeds: 1 tsp

Chilli Powder: 1 tsp or to taste

Turmeric Powder: 1 tsp

Hing/Asafoetida: 1 tsp

Salt: to taste


Heat oil in a pan. Add Mustard seeds. Let it crackle.

Add cut Brussel Sprouts & stir until lightly cooked.

Once it is partly cooked, add all the other ingredients & stir fry until well cooked.

Remove from fire once soft & tender to taste.


* it tastes crispy & nice when heated in the microwave later. Heat without covering.

* it tastes nice if stir fried a little burnt. It may look a little burnt when it turns dark brown, but it tastes nice when brown. I deliberately burn it a little.

Don’t burn to black.


Aloo Palak, gravy style

Makes: 4 servings


Baby Potatoes, boiled & cut into big chunks – 500 gms
Chopped fresh spinach – cup
Sliced Onion – 1
Ginger –  1 tsp shredded or chopped
canned tomatoes – ½ cup
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Garam Masala – 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds – ½ tsp
1 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste
Lemon Juice & butter – 1 tsp each


Heat oil in a pressure cooker.

Add cumin followed by ginger, onions and fry until the onion is cooked.

Add turmeric powder, potatoes, tomatoes, garam masala powder, red chilli powder, salt and saute the potatoes.

When the potatoes are light brown, add in the spinach to the potatoes.

Add chopped spinach & pressure cook for 2 to 3 whistles. Stir in a tsp of lemon juice. Finally Stir in the little butter

Pavakkai Pitlai (Bitter Guard curry)


Pavakkai: 2

Cooked Toor Dal: 1 cup (cooked & mashed)

Tamarind: a golf ball size

Coriander Seeds: 1 1/2 Tsp

Channa dal: 1 tsp

Urad Dal: 3/4 tsp

Dry Red Chillies: 5 (depending on the heat). You may reduce or increase the numbers)

Grated Coconut: 1 tbsp

Curry Leaves: 1 sprig

Turmeric Powder: 1 tsp

Jaggery or brown sugar: 1 tsp

Oil: 2 tbsps (if you don’t wish to add more oil, season initially & then, add the pavakkai)

Salt: to taste

Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds. Once crackled, add urad dal & fry till golden brown.

Then, add red chillies, hing & curry leaves.

Now, add finely chopped pavakkai & fry until it changes colour.

Add soaked, strained tamarind water.

while boiling add salt & turmeric. Let it cook until the rawness of the tamarind is gone.

Now, add the mashed toor dal.

While cooking, fry Coriander seeds, Channa, Urad dals, Red chillies. Cook until dark brown. Now add grated coconut & fry till golden brown.

Grind to a smoother paste, adding little water. Pour this onto the pavakkai mixture. Let it cook for few minutes.

Before, removing from fire, add the jaggery or brown sugar.

Season with fresh coriander.


Note: You can add boiled Kabuli Channa or Boiled Peanuts.


Vaazhaikkai Podi (Raw Banana Curry)


Raw Banana (Cooking banana) – 1

Oil for seasoning – 1 tbsp

Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp

Urad Dal – 1 tsp

Hing/Asafoetida – 1 tsp

Dry Red Chillies – 1

Curry leaves – a sprig

Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp

Salt – to taste

Curry Powder (recipe provided elsewhere) – 1 Tbsp


Smoke the raw banana on open gas flame. If that option is not available, you can grill the banana.

When blackened, removed from the flame & peel.

Shred the banana

I a pan, add oil. Once hot, add mustard seeds & let it crackle.

Then, add urad dal & fry till golden brown.

Next add, hing, red chillies followed by curry leaves.

add the banana. Then, salt & turmeric powder.

Finally add curry powder.

Cook until there’s no moisture & the podi is crispy.

Note: the curry will become crispy if made in a non-stick pan.

Pineapple Rasam











Tamarind: 1 small ball, soaked & strained

Cooked Toor dal: 3 tbsps

Rasam Powder: 1 tbsp

Crushed Pepper: 1/2 tsp

Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp

Mustard seeds: 1 tsp

Ghee: 1 tbsp, to season

Turmeric Powder: ½ tsp

Salt: To taste

Coarsely chopped Pineapple pieces: 1/2 Cup. I use canned pineapple.


Soak the tamarind in water and extract the juice and keep it aside

Pressure cook toor dal and mash it

Grind the pepper and cumin to coarse powder

To the tamarind water, add rasam powder, turmeric powder, pepper-cumin powder and salt and allow the mixture to boil.

Once the rawness of tamarind goes off, add mashed dal and add required water and when the rasam starts to boil, remove from flame.

Take 2-3 pieces of pineapple separately & keep aside.

Grind the remaining pineapple pieces in a blender to a fine paste and add to the rasam.

Add the rest of the pieces of pineapple to the rasam & remove after 2 minutes.

Heat the ghee in a pan, add mustard seeds.

When the mustard seeds start to sputter and add to the rasam.


Vaazhaikkai (Raw Banana) Kootu


Raw Banana: 1, peeled & cut into 5 cms cubes

Tamarind: A small piece, soaked & strained. The tamarind water should be light

Salt: To Taste

Turmeric Powder: 1 tsp

Cooked & mashed Toor Dal: 1 cup

Urad Dal: 2 tbsp

Dry Red Chillies: 4

Curry leaves: 2 sprigs

Asafoetida: 1 tsp

Ground Coconut: 1 tbsp

Mustard Seeds: 1 tsp

Oil: 2 tbsp


Boil Vaazhaikkai in tamarind water by adding salt & turmeric powder

When tender, switch off & set aside.

Fry Urad Dal, Red chillies, 1 sprig curry leaves by adding a tbsp of oil.

Once urad dal is golden brown, add coconut & fry for couple of minutes

Grind this to a coarse paste, (not fine) by adding little water

Place the vaazhaikkai, back on fire, add the mashed toor dal, the ground paste & let it boil for about a minute.

Remove from fire.

In a fry pan, heat oil, add mustard seeds. When it crackles, add a tsp of urad dal & fry till golden brown. Before removing from fire add Asafoetida & curry leaves. Pour the mixture on to the Kootu.

Serve hot with Rice.


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