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Mulaka Ellu Pachadi | Green Chilly Sesame Pachadi

Green chillies in a tamarind gravy with green chilly-sesame seeds- coconut masala, jaggery and curry leaves

Mulaka ellu pachadi is a sweet, spicy and tangy side dish. Hot green chillies are simmered in a tamarind gravy and green chilly-sesame-coconut masala. The heat from the chillies is balanced with jaggery. The hot chillies combined with the sweetness from jaggery, tangy tamarind and the nuttiness from sesame seeds brings out a burst of flavors in the pachadi.

I don't know the origin of this dish, but this is something I ask amma to make frequently. The chillies I get here are not so hot. So when I saw these hot Indian chillies in the market, I grabbed them exclusively to make this pachadi. You can have this pachadi along with rice and poriyal/thoran, or you can serve this as a side dish to molagootal, dal or any mildly spiced South Indian gravy.



Green chillies - 4 to 5, big sized
Tamarind - small lemon size
Jaggery - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig + few to garnish
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Gingelly oil - 2 tbsp
Salt - to taste

To grind:
Green chillies - 5 to 6, small sized
Black sesame seeds / Ellu - 2 tsp
Grated coconut - 1/4 cup


1. Dry roast the sesame seeds till it starts popping, say 2 minutes. Then grind it with coconut and green chillies to a smooth paste.

2. Soak tamarind in 1/2 cup hot water and extract the pulp. Set aside. Cut the green chillies into 1/2 inch length pieces.

3. Heat gingelly oil and add mustard seeds. When it pops, add curry leaves and green chillies. Fry for 2- minutes.

4. Add tamarind water, jaggery, turmeric powder, salt and mix well. Bring to a boil and cook till raw smell of tamarind goes.

5. Now add the ground paste and little water to make a medium gravy consistency. Boil this 3-4 minutes. Garnish with curry leaves.


1. My green chillies were medium hot, so I added only 1/2 tsp jaggery. If your chillies are more hot, add 1 tsp of jaggery.

2. Adjust the amount of chillies for grinding and frying according to the heat level of chillies.

3. You can also use white sesame seeds instead of black. The color of the pachadi will be lighter in that case.

4. Once sesame seeds start popping, remove from heat. Otherwise it will turn bitter.


Capsicum Masala

Capsicum in a onion tomato gravy flavored with dried fenugreek leaves and peanut-spice powder

Capsicum, also know as bell pepper, is a versatile vegetable with a lovely flavor. Adding this vegetable to any dish enhances the flavor of the dish. Not only its flavorful, it has got many health benefits too. They are an important source of vitamins A and C, antioxidants and helps in increasing metabolism, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.

Coming to today's recipe, this curry is healthy and flavorful. Capsicum is simmered in a gravy of onion-tomato and a peanut-spice powder. The peanut-spice powder adds a unique flavor to the gravy, making this curry taste different from the regular onion-tomato gravies. The curry is mildly spiced and goes well with pulao and chapathi.



Capsicum - 2 medium
Onion - 1 large, finely chopped
Green chilly - 1
Garlic - 2
Ginger - 1/2 inch piece
Tomato - 2 medium
Jeera / Cumin - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Kasuri methi / Dried fenugreek - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1 tbsp + 1 tsp
Salt - to taste

To roast and grind:
Peanuts - 1 tbsp
Coriander seeds - 1 1/2 tsp
Sesame seeds / Ellu - 1 tsp
Fennel seeds / Saunf / Perumjeerakam - 1/4 tsp
Black pepper - 3 to 4


1. In a pan dry roast coriander seeds, sesame seeds, fennel seeds and black pepper until nice aroma comes. Keep aside to cool.

2. In the same pan, roast the peanuts. Allow to cool. Grind everything together to a fine powder.

3. Puree the tomatoes and set aside. Coarsely grind green chilly, ginger and garlic.

4. De-seed the capsicum and cut into dices.


1. Add 1 tsp oil to a pan on medium heat and add the diced capsicums. Fry the capsicum till they become soft. Set aside.

2. In the same pan add 1 tbsp oil and add jeera. When it sizzles, add the green chilly-ginger-garlic paste and fry for a minute.

3. Now add the onions and fry till the onions become golden.

4. Add turmeric powder, red chilly powder, ground peanut masala powder, kasuri methi and mix well. Fry this for around 3-4 minutes.

5. Then add the tomato puree, salt and saute this till the tomato mixture becomes thick.

6. Now add 1/2 cup water and bring to boil. Simmer and add garam masala and capsicum.

7. Let capsicum simmer in the gravy for 3-4 minutes, then remove from heat.


1. The capsicum should be slightly crunchy after frying.

2. Do not cook the capsicum for a long time in the gravy.


Grilled Pineapple Salsa

Sweet, tangy and spicy salsa with grilled pineapple, onion, jalapeno, coriander and lime

Salsa is a Mexican dip, which is typically a tomato based sauce. But salsa doesn't have to be often tomato-based. Fruit-based salsas offer a refreshing twist to the traditional tomato based sauce. This tropical pineapple salsa is sweet, zesty and refreshing. This salsa goes well with grilled meat or can be served with tacos or corn and tortilla chips.

Grilling the pineapple caramelizes it and brings out more of its natural sweetness. You can use canned pineapple for this salsa, though fresh juicy pineapple gives the best results and taste. The heat from the jalapeno combined with sweetness of pineapple and tangy lime adds a bursting flavor to the salsa. Serve this as an appetizer or as a side dish with chips.



Pineapple - half
Onion - 1/4 cup, finely chopped
Coriander leaves - 1/4 cup finely chopped
Jalapeno chilly - 1, finely chopped
Lime juice - 1 tbsp
Salt - a pinch
Olive oil - 1/4 tsp


1. Cut the pineapple into 1/4 inch thick slices. Heat a grill pan and drizzle olive oil.

2. Place the pineapple slices and grill on each side on medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until tender with light char grilled marks.

3. Allow the slices to cool. Cut them into medium cubes.

4. In a bowl, add grilled pineapple cubes, onion, coriander leaves, red chilly and combine. Add lime juice, salt and toss well.

5. Serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to serve.


1. De-seed the jalapeno chillies if you don't want the salsa to be spicy.

2. You can use normal green or red chillies instead of jalapeno.


Palada Payasam

Dessert made with ada / dried rice flakes slow cooked in milk and sugar

Palada payasam is a very famous Kerala dessert made with milk and rice flakes. Traditionally for making ada or the rice flakes, a dough is made of rice flour and coconut oil, which is then flattened on a banana leaf and then immersed in water to cook. These are then cooled and cut into small pieces. The ada is then cooked with milk and sugar in a uruli till thick.

Two types of payasam can be made with this ada. One is the palada payasam which is made with milk and the other is the ada pradhaman, which is made with coconut milk and jaggery. In Kerala, a sadya/feast is incomplete without palada payasam. Making rice ada from scratch is a laborious process, but ready made rice ada are available in the stores which makes the process of making this payasam easier and quicker.



Ada / Dry rice flakes - 100 gm
Full fat milk - 1 litre
Sugar - 1 1/4 cup
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
Ghee - 1 tsp


1. In a heavy bottomed pan or uruli, boil the milk.

2. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the ada and mix well.

3. After 5 minutes, add the sugar and mix well until sugar dissolves.

4. Keep stirring the milk every 2-3 minutes on medium flame for around 40-45 minutes or until the milk reduces to half.

5. Add cardamom, ghee and mix well. Remove from heat.


1. Use a heavy bottomed non stick pan or pressure cooker or uruli to prepare the payasam.

2. Cook the payasam in medium to low heat stirring intermittently to avoid sticking to the bottom.


Vegetable Pulao

Rice and mixed vegetables cooked in ghee with onions and whole spices

One pot meals are so convenient when you have less time to cook and still need to dish out a flavorful and tasty meal. This vegetable pulao is one such quick and easy one pot meal. This pulao recipe is one that I make often and perfected over time.

My version of vegetable pulao is a very mildly spiced pulao which goes well with raitas like onion tomato raita or cucumber mint raita and some pappad. I love to add more quantity of veggies to my pulao to make it healthy and filling. This is apt for potluck parties or when sudden guests arrive for lunch or dinner.

You can add more spices and garam masala if you want bit more spicy pulao. The whole spices tempered in ghee imparts a good flavor and aroma to the pulao, but you can cut down the amount of ghee a little and substitute with oil.



Basmati rice - 1 cup
Potato - 1 medium
Carrot - 1 medium
Beans - 10 to 12
Cauliflower - 1/2 cup
Green peas - 1/3 cup
Onion - 1 large, sliced
Green chillies - 2, sliced
Ginger-garlic paste - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1/4 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Ghee - 1 tbsp + 1 tsp
Cumin / Jeera - 1 tsp
Bay leaf - 1
Cinnamon - 1 inch piece
Cardamom - 1
Cloves - 2
Salt - to taste


1. Wash and soak rice in 2 cups water for 30 minutes. Drain and keep aside.

2. Cut potato, carrot and beans into 1/2 inch length pieces. Cut cauliflower into small florets.

3. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat ghee. Add bayleaf, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. Saute till nice aroma comes and then add the cumin.

4. After the cumin sizzles, add the sliced onions. Fry till the onions become soft and translucent. Then add green chillies, ginger-garlic paste and fry for 2-3 minutes.

5. Now add the vegetables and saute for 2-3 minutes. Then add turmeric powder, red chilly powder and garam masala. Saute for another 2-3 minutes.

6. Add the drained rice, 1 tsp ghee salt and fry for 2 minutes. Add 2 cups of water and mix well. Bring to boil.

7. Once its starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook for 10-12 minutes until rice is done.

8. Remove from heat. Allow to rest for 5 minutes, then gently fluff the rice with a fork to mix.

Serve hot with raita.


1. Soaking rice makes the rice softer. If you don't have time, soak rice for 10-15 minutes in warm water.

2. After adding water, taste the water to check and adjust salt.


Kandi Podi | Andhra Style Paruppu Podi

Andhra style lentil powder with pigeon peas, green gram, split bengal gram, dried red chillies and cumin

South Indian cuisine is famous for its gun powders/podis. Kandi podi is one such classic Andhra specialty. You can see this podi kept on tables, along with different pickles, in all Andhra restaurants. A typical Andhra meal is started by mixing some kandi podi with hot steaming rice and a dollop of ghee. This Andhra style paruppu podi / lentil powder is very flavorsome, aromatic and packed with proteins. Kandi podi was one thing that drew me to often visit Andhra restaurants. You can't ever get bored of this lentil mix!

Kandi podi is a blend of thuvar dal, chana dal, moong dal, red chillies and cumin. Dals and chillies are dry roasted and ground to a slightly coarse powder. I had been craving to have this kandi podi for long time and that's when I got the recipe from my friend J. Thanks dear for this authentic kandi podi recipe, am just loving it! Enjoy with hot steaming rice and a drizzle of ghee.



Thuvar dal - 1/2 cup
Yellow moong dal - 3/4 cup
Chana dal - 3/4 cup
Dried red chillies - 10
Cumin / Jeera - 2 tsp
Salt - to taste


1. Dry roast the thuvar dal, moong dal and chana dal separately in low-medium flame until it becomes reddish brown color. Set aside in a plate to cool.

2. Dry roast the red chillies till till turns dark red. Add cumin in the same pan and fry for 10 seconds. Set aside to cool.

3. Grind everything together with salt to a slightly coarse powder. Transfer to an airtight container.


1. Roast the dals separately so that each dal is roasted evenly.

2. Adjust the amount of red chillies according to your spice level. With 10 red chillies, it was moderately spicy.

3. Store in a dry airtight container and always use a dry spoon.

4. Do not grind to a fine powder. The powder should be slightly coarse.


Chilli Cheese Toast

Crispy toast topped with cheese, onion, capsicum, green chilly and red chilli flakes

I love having toasts and sandwiches for breakfast along with a glass of fresh juice or smoothie. It can be made instantly and stuffed with healthy fillings of our choice. This chilli cheese toast is a quick one which can be had as a snack or along with some fruits and milk to make a complete breakfast.

Chilli cheese toast is an open sandwich topped with a mixture of cheese, veggies and chillies. Cheese is mixed together with onion, capsicum, coriander leaves and seasoned with pepper and salt. Fresh green chillies and red chilly flakes are added to for the heat. The bread slices are then baked in oven till crispy.

The toast is crispy and flavorful with melted cheese, crunchy capsicum, sweet onions and heat from the chillies. I have tried both the oven and stove top methods, so have explained both ways to prepare the toast. Serve hot with tomato ketchup and a cup of hot chocolate or a glass of smoothie or milkshake.



Bread slices - 3
Shredded cheese - 1/2 cup
Onion - 2 tbsp, finely chopped
Capsicum - 3 tbsp, finely chopped
Green chilly - 1, finely sliced
Garlic - 1, finely sliced (optional)
Coriander leaves - 1 tsp, finely chopped
Red chilly flakes - 1 tsp
Pepper - to taste
Salt - to taste
Butter - 2 tsp


1. In a bowl mix together cheese, onion, capsicum, green chilly, coriander leaves and red chilly flakes. Season with salt and pepper.

Oven Method:

1. Lightly butter one side of the bread. Spread the cheese mixture on the other side and press the mixture gently.

2. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place the bread slices in a tray and bake for 8-10 minutes or until cheese melts and turns slightly golden.

Stove-top Method:

1. Lightly butter both sides of the bread and toast it in a toaster or on tawa until its lightly golden.

2. Spread the cheese mixture on one side and keep on tawa on low flame. Cook until cheese melts.


1. If you want the cheese to just melt and less crunchy bread, then bake for 5-6 minutes.

2. I have used red and green color capsicum here. You can use any or all colors.


Shahi Paneer

Paneer / Cottage Cheese cooked in a rich gravy with cashews, fresh cream and tomatoes 

Shahi paneer, as the name suggests is a royal curry with paneer cooked in a rich and creamy gravy with cashews, cream and tomato. Onions and tomatoes are cooked with whole spices in butter and ground to a smooth gravy, which is again cooked in butter with cream and cashew paste. Lastly paneer is simmered in this rich and thick gravy. Though most of the ingredients going into shahi paneer and paneer butter masala are similar, it does taste a wee different. Butter naan or jeera pulao would make an excellent combo with this shahi paneer. You can also serve with roti or any mildly spiced pulao. Let's see how to make this royal North Indian dish.



Paneer - 250 gms
Onion - 1 large, chopped
Tomato - 2 large, chopped
Tomato paste - 2 tsp
Ginger-garlic paste - 2 tsp
Bay leaf - 1 small
Green cardamom - 3
Clove - 1
Cinnamon - 1 small piece
Black peppercorn - 4
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Red chilly powder - 3/4 tsp
Sugar - 1/2 tsp
Curd - 2 tbsp
Cashewnuts - 6 to 7
Hot milk - 2 tbsp
Cream - 2 tbsp
Garam masala - 1/4 tsp
Kasuri methi - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 tbsp
Butter - 1 tbsp


1. Soak cashews in hot milk for 10 minutes. Grind to a smooth paste and set aside.

2. Heat 1.5 tbsp oil and 2 tsp butter in a pan. Add bay leaf, cardamom, clove, cinnamon, peppercorn and fry for 30 seconds.

3. Add onions, little salt and fry till the onions turn light brown. Then add ginger-garlic and fry till raw smell goes.

4. Now add turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilly powder and fry till raw smell of masala goes.

5. Then add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and salt. Mix and cook the tomatoes for 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

6. Once it is cooled, grind the onion-tomato mixture with curd to a smooth paste.

7. Heat pan and add rest of oil and butter. Add the ground paste, cashew paste and 1/2 cup water and mix well. Cook for 4-5 minutes.

8. Then add cream, garam masala, kasuri methi and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then add paneer and simmer in the gravy for 5-6 minutes.

Serve hot with naan or pulao.


1. Make sure the gravy is smooth after grinding. You can strain the gravy after grinding to ensure its smooth.

2. Add extra cream if you want a more richer gravy.

3. You can substitute tomato paste with tomato puree.


Parippu Vada

Kerala style chana dal / split bengal gram fritters

Parippu Vada is a crispy and spicy snack made with toor dal or chana dal or a combo of both dals. Its a popular tea time snack of Kerala. This vada along with black tea, is considered to be the official menu at Communist party meetings! The way this vada is made in Tamil Nadu is different, will share that recipe someday. This is perfect snack to enjoy during cold and rainy days with a hot cup of tea.

Parippu vada brings back many nostalgic memories. I remember my father used to get me large parippu vadas from a shop nearby his office when I came home during college holidays. Even now, when I go home, he gets me parippu vada. And having no patience to wait to till evening tea, we both enjoy it with lunch! Parippu vada is another reason I love to travel in trains! I could go on with my memories of parippu vada. Let's see how to make this crispy crunchy snack.



Chana dal / Kadalaparippu - 3/4 cup
Toor dal / Thuvaraparippu - 1/4 cup
Whole dry red chillies - 4 to 5
Green chillies - 3 to 4
Shallots / Small onion - 1/2 cup, finely chopped
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs, finely chopped
Asafoetida / Hing - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - to deep fry


1. Wash the dals and soak together for 2 1/2 hours. Drain the water and transfer to a colander and let it rest until water is completely drained.

2. Soak the red chillies in hot water for 15-20 minutes.

3. Grind together the dals, red chillies to a coarse mixture without adding any water.

4. To the dal mixture add shallots, green chillies, curry leaves, hing, salt and mix well.

5. Now divide the mixture into small balls and flatten them gently with your palms.

6. Heat oil for deep frying. When oil is hot, reduce heat to low-medium and gently add the vada. Fry until crispy and golden brown. Drain excess oil in tissue paper.

Enjoy with tea!


1. Make sure the water is drained well, otherwise it will be difficult to shape the vada and it will break while frying.

2. Make the vada small and thin to ensure even cooking.

3. After adding onions immediately make vadas. If its set aside, water in onions will make the dal mixture runny.

4. Do not crowd while deep frying and fry in low-medium flame to get crispy vadas.


Passionfruit Spritzer

Non-alcoholic juice spritzer with fresh passionfruit juice

Passionfruit is a round or oval shaped tropical fruit with a yellow or purple brown skin. The pulp contains seeds which are also edible. Usually passionfruit juice is added to other fruit juices to enhance the flavor. Apart from its sweet taste and flavor, passionfruit has several health benefits. The juice of passionfruit is a good source of dietary fiber, anti-oxidants, vitamins like A and C and an excellent digestive stimulant. It is also good for patients with asthma.

I love the sweet and slightly tangy flavor of the passion fruit and had been thinking long time to make a drink with it. So when The Groovy Gourmets had to make a non-diary drink from Food Gawker, I picked up this passionfruit spritzer. Usually a spritzer is made of wine and club soda or sparkling water. Juice spritzers are non-alcoholic, with fruit juice or flavored soda replacing wine. Instead of club soda, you can use lemon-lime soda to give more tangy flavor to the spritzer.



Passion fruit juice - 250ml
Sparkling water/ Club soda - 500 ml
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Water - 1/4 cup


1. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Heat just until the sugar dissolves completely. Allow the sugar syrup to cool.

2. To the sugar syrup, add passionfruit juice, soda and mix well. Top with ice cubes and serve.


1. You can use fresh passionfruit or canned passionfruit pulp to make the passion fruit juice.

2. To make the juice, scoop the pulp into a sieve and push the pulp with a spoon to release the juice.

3. Canned passionfruit pulp may be already sweetened, so adjust sugar accordingly.


Onion Chutney

South Indian style chutney / dip with onions and dry red chillies

Chutneys are a common fare in South Indian households. Most of the times I make the red coconut chutney or white coconut chutney because its easy and quick with no sautéing! But I love this onion chutney more, than the usual coconut chutneys. At times, I cook another version of onion chutney which I will post sometime later.

I love to make this chutney bit coarse so there are still bits of onion here and there.  Also I like my chutney on the spicier side, so adjust the amount of chillies according to your taste. Drizzle some more gingelly oil over the chutney and enjoy with hot idli or roast dosa. This onion chutney goes well even with chapathi and poori.



Onion - 3 big, sliced
Whole dry red chillies - 6 to 7
Tamarind paste - 1 tsp
Gingelly oil - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste

Gingelly oil - 1 tsp
Mustard - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - few


1. Heat oil and add dry red chillies. Fry for a minute and set aside.

2. In the remaining oil, add the sliced onions and fry till the onions become soft. Allow the onions to cool.

3. Grind together red chillies, onion, tamarind and salt to a slight coarse paste.

4. In a small tadka pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds. When it pops, add the curry leaves and pour over the chutney.

Serve with idli or dosa.


1. Instead of dry red chillies, you can use red chilly powder.

2. You may substitute gingelly oil with normal cooking oil.

3. Adjust spice level according to your taste.