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Corn Flour Halwa | Bombay Karachi Halwa

Happy Diwali to all of you. May the divine light of Diwali spread into your life, peace, prosperity, happiness and good health.

Corn flour halwa also known as Bombay Karachi halwa is an easy last minute sweet you can prepare for Diwali. It's very easy to make this halwa compared to barfi as we do not have to look for any sugar syrup consistency. Try this easy halwa for this Diwali. Adapted from here.


1/2 cup corn flour
1 1/2 cup + 3/4 cup water
1/4 cup cashews, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup sugar
Few drops color
3 tbsp ghee
1/2 tsp cardamom powder


1. In a bowl add corn flour and 1 1/2 cup water and mix using whisk,. There should be no lumps.

2. In a pan, add sugar and 3/4 cup water. Allow to boil till sugar dissolves and becomes slightly thick and sticky.

3. Turn the heat to low and whisk the corn flour mixture again and add to sugar syrup. Add the food color.

4. Keep stirring and add 1/2 tbsp ghee in beween. When it starts to thicken, add cardamom, cashews and remaining ghee.

5. When it starts to leave sides and becomes ghee, pour into a greased tray. Allow to set for 1 hour before cutting into pieces.


I fried the cashews in 1/2 tsp ghee first. This is optional.


Omapodi | Plain Sev

Festivals are the time when families get together and have lots of fun, and food which is always the integral part. Being in abroad we miss the actual spirit of festivals. Even though there are different communities celebrating our festivals, nothing comes to close celebrating with family. Diwali falls on 19th of October this year. I'm trying my hand on different snacks and sweets and will share my successful experiments here.

Today I'm sharing a easy and really quick snack recipe - omapodi. Omapodi is nothing but plain sev made with chickpea flour (besan), rice flour and carom seeds, alias omam in Tamil and ajwain in Hindi. Carom seeds have a slightly bitter taste, so do not use more than the quantity mentioned. The dough is pretty easy and since it is squeezed so thin it does no take much time to cook. You can have it as such or use them for chaat recipes. Off to the recipe now.


{ Deep fried snack with chickpea flour, rice flour and carom seeds }


1 cup besan / chickpea flour
2 tbsp rice flour
1 tsp ajwain / omam / carom seeds
1 tsp red chilly powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida / hing
1 tbsp butter, softened
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying


1. Powder the carom seeds and soak in 2 tbsp warm water. Set aside for 10 minutes. Using a coffee strainer, filter the water.

2. In a large bowl, add besan, rice flour, red chilly powder, asafoetida, salt and mix well. Add the butter, ajwain water and mix with hands to incorporate the butter.

3. Add water little by little to form a soft non-sticky dough. Keep the dough covered with wet cloth to avoid drying.

4. Heat oil for deep frying. To check if the oil has reached right temperature, drop a small piece of dough into the oil. If the dough sinks and then comes to the top, it means the dough is ready.

5. Take the sev press and put the disc with small holes. Fill it with 3/4 of the dough. Turn the heat to low and press into the hot oil making circles starting from the outer side.

6. Flip and cook both sides. Once the bubbles cease, remove and drain on a paper towel. Repeat for remaining dough.

7. Once the sev has cooled, break them and store in an airtight container.

Notes and Tips

  • The carom seeds will be slightly coarse when grinding, which is fine.

Pacha Payaru Sundal | Green Gram Sundal

Navratri starts tomorrow and sundal is one of the main neivedhyam (offering) prepared during this festival. Sundal is like a no onion-no garlic snack made with different legumes, beans or lentils with freshly grated coconut and simple tempering of mustard seeds, urad dal, red chillies and curry leaves. Sundal is protein packed, so you can make it anytime as a healthy snack.

I have already posted few sweet and savoury sundal recipes in the blog. Today I'm posting a simple sundal wih green gram/pacha payaru which requires no soaking. If you have time, you can soak it to reduce cooking time. But if you are pressed for time, you can make this in less time without worrying about pre-soaking, as most legumes and beans require. I have posted the sweet version of this - you can check out the pacha payaru sweet sundal recipe here. Let's see how to make this easy sundal.


{ Green gram with coconut and spices }


1/2 cup pacha payaru / green gram
3 tbsp grated coconut
Salt to taste

To temper:
1 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp split urad dal
Pinch of hing/asafoetida
1 dry red chilly
Few curry leaves
1 green chilly, finely chopped


1. Pressure cook the green gram for 3 whistles adding water just enough to cover it.

2. Heat a small pan and add oil. Then add mustard seeds, urad dal, red chilly, asafoetida, green chilly and curry leaves.

3. Add the cooked green gram, coconut, salt and gently combine everything.
Notes and Tips

  • The green gram should not be over cooked and turn mushy.
  • You can add lemon juice at the end.

Onion and Poppy Seed Bialys #BreadBakers

It's the second Tuesday of the month and it's time for the Bread Baker's monthly bread! This month Wendy of A day in the life on the farm suggested to bake any international bread. I was looking for an easy bread as I knew I would end up baking at the last minute with no extra time to bake another batch if my first attempt failed!! If you love baking bread and want to join this wonderful bread baking group, scroll to the end of the post for further details.

I had Bialys bookmarked long time back when I saw some posts from my fellow blogger friends. I followed the recipe from King Arthur Flour. Bialys is a chewy round Polish bread with a small depression in the middle filled with onions and poppy seeds. The original recipe calls from high gluten flour which lends the chewiness to the Bialys but if you can also use all-purpose flour with vital wheat gluten as substitute. I added a pinch of curry powder and garam masala to the onion filling for an Indian touch :) Off to the recipe now!


{ Polish rolls filled with onion and poppy seed filling }


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup lukewarm water

For the filling:
2 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 large onions, finely diced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp poppy seeds


1.  Add the flour, yeast, salt and water in a food processor and knead till the dough comes together.

2. Knead by hand for about 5-7 minutes or until you get a smooth and failry stiff dough. You can use your stand mixer or bread machine to knead.

3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover it. Keep in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours or until it's just about doubled.

4. To make the filling, heat a pan and add olive oil. Add the garlic, onion and fry over medium heat till it's dark brown. Add poppy seeds, pepper, salt and combine. Set aside to cool.

5. Gently deflate the dough and divide it into 8 balls. Take a ball and shape into 4" to 5" circles with a small rim. Keep the remaining dough covered.

6. Place the shaped circles on a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Prick the center using a fork. Place about a tablespoon of the onion filling into the center of each bialys.

7. Preheat the oven to 230 C | 425 F.

8. Top the bialys with a sheet of parchment or aluminum foil and then with another baking sheet.

9. Bake the bialys for 4 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and remove the baking sheet and parchment or foil.

10. Return the bialys to the oven, and bake for an additional 7 minutes, till they're a slightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.

Notes and Tips
  • Original recipe calls for high gluten flour. 
  • You can refrigerate the dough overnight after the first rise. Next day, haw for 30 minutes and proceed with remaining recipe.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to


Varutharacha Sambar | Kerala Style Sambar

Onam is coming up next week and without a ona sadya, the celebrations are not complete. Now there are several items in a sadya that are mandatory and sambar is one of them. Once we get a little taste of the payasam and have a small fistful of rice mixed with parippu (lentils) and ghee, the real feast starts with the sambar, followed by rasam, payasam and ending with curd rice.

There are couple of sambar recipes in the blog using sambar powder and freshly ground sambar masala. The recipe I'm sharing today is a typical Kerala style sambar - more like Thrissur side - with freshly ground spices and roasted coconut. Usually when we make arachuvitta (ground spices and coconut) sambar, we do not roast the sambar. Slow roasting the spices and coconut makes this sambar taste divine and fills the whole house with a wonderful aroma. I have added different vegetables in small quanties. You can add whatever you have in hand but don't skip small onions/shallots, drumstick and pumpkin. Serve with any thoran or mezhukkupuratti.

Check out other ona sadya recipes here.


{ Kerala style sambar with freshly ground spices and roasted coconut }
Serves 8-10


3/4 cup toor dal
1/4 cup turmeric powder

1/2 tbsp coconut oil
3 tsp tamarind paste / lime sized tamarind
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste

Vegetables: (about 4 cups)
2 drumstick, cut into 3" pieces
1 small potato, cut into big cubes
1 small carrot, cut into big cubes
1/2 cup pumpkin / mathanga, cut into big cubes
1/2 cup ashgourd / kumbalanga, cut into big cubes
10 lady's finger / vendakka / bhindi
15 shallots
2 small brinjals, quartered

For the masala:
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
4 small onions / shallots
1/2 cup grated coconut
7-8 dry red chillies
1/8 tsp asafoetida / hing
1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds / malli
1 1/2 tsp chana dal / kadala parippu
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds / methi / vendhayam / uluva
Few curry leaves

To temper:
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp ghee
1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
3 dry red chillies
1 sprig curry leaves


1. Pressure cook the toor dal with turmeric powder and 1 1/2 cup water for 3 whistles. Mash the dal and keep aside.

2.  Soak the tamarind in 1/2 cup hot water and extract the pulp.

3. Pressure cook the vegetables except small onions, lady's finger and brinjal for 1 whistle or until cooked.

4. Heat oil and add all the ingredients for the masala and fry in low flame till the spices are slightly roasted and coconut has turned light golden. Cool and grind to a smooth paste adding little water.

5. Heat a large pot and add coconut oil. Add the shallots, lady's finger, brinjal and fry for 3-4 minutes. Then add the tamarind extract, salt and cook till the raw smell goes.

6. Add the remaining cooked vegetables, ground coconut-spice paste, mashed dal, salt and water as required.  Mix well and bring to boil. Simmer for 5-6 minutes.

7. In a small pan, heat coconut oil, ghee and add mustard seeds, red chillies and curry leaves. Pour over the sambar. Cover with a lid for at least 20-30 minutes before serving.


Whole Wheat Challah Bread #BreadBakers

For this month's Bread Bakers, the theme is braided breads hosted by Gayathri of Gayathri's Cook Spot. I chose to bake a simple 3-braid Challah bread. If you love baking bread and want to join this wonderful bread baking group, scroll to the end of the post for further details.

Challah, pronounced as Halla, is a Jewish braided bread and typically eaten on ceremonial occasions such as Sabbath and major Jewish holidays. The Challah bread is a slightly sweet bread, and the dough is enriched with eggs, sugar and oil. The multiple risings creates a beautiful flavor, and the egg wash gives a nice golden crust. Being my first attempt in baking Challah, I'm pretty happy with the results. Though I would like to improve my braiding skills!!! We gobbled few of the slices fresh from the oven slathered with butter! 


{ Jewish yeast bread with whole wheat, eggs and brown sugar }
Recipe Source ~ Half Baked Harvest


2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup + 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp lukewarm water
1/4 cup light olive oil
2 large eggs + 1 egg for brushing
1/2 tbsp salt
2 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 cup all-purpose flour


1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and 1/2 tbsp brown sugar in warm water. Let it sit for 5 minutes or until foamy.

2. Add the remaining sugar, salt and oil and whisk. Then add the eggs one by one and beat until combined.

3. In a bowl combine the wheat flour and all-purpose flour. Gradually ass the flour and mix till the dough holds together.

4. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth for about 5-10 minutes. Grease a bowl and place the dough in it.

5. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until almost doubled in size. After the dough has doubled, punch down dough, cover and let rise again in a warm place for another 30 minutes.

6. To make a 3-braid challah, divide the dough into 3 balls. With your hands, roll each ball into a strand about 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. Pinch the tops of the strands together.

7. Bring the right outside rope over the center rope; that rope now becomes the center. Bring the left outside rope over the new center rope; that rope now becomes the center. Continue braiding until you reach the end. Pinch the ropes together to seal.

8. Place the braided bread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Beat remaining egg and brush it on loaves. Allow the bread to rise another hour or place it in the fridge to rise overnight.

9. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 190 C | 395 F. Brush the bread again with the egg wash. Bake in the middle of the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Notes and Tips
  • After each rise you can let the dough sit overnight in the fridge.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to

This month's Bread Baker's theme is Braided Breads and is hosted by Gayathri Kumar of Gayathri's Cook Spot.

Here is the collection of all the beautiful braided breads from our team.

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