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Pacha Payaru Vella Sundal | Green Gram Sweet Sundal

Pacha payaru vella sundal is one of the sundal varieties prepared during the nine days of Navratri. Its a simple, delicious and nutritious sundal made with green gram / moong dal, jaggery and coconut. On Tuesdays and Fridays, sweet neivedhyam / prasadam is made as offering and this sundal is an easy one that you can make on those days.


Sweet snack made with green gram, jaggery and coconut


Green gram dal / Pacha payaru - 1/2 cup
Jaggery - 1/4 cup
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
Ghee - 1 tsp
Grated coconut - 2 tbsp


1. Dry roast the green gram until nice aroma comes, for around 5-6 minutes. Make sure it does not burn.

2. Soak the green gram in water for 2 hours. Drain the water. Add water just to immerse it and pressure cook for 1-2 whistles or until soft.

3. Mix jaggery with 1-2 tbsp water and melt it. Strain it to remove impurities. Transfer this to a vessel, add cardamom powder and bring to boil.

4. Once it starts to become sticky, add the green gram, ghee and mix gently. Cook till all the water evaporates.

5. Add grated coconut and combine. Cook for another minute and remove from heat.

My Notes:

1. Make sure the dal does not turn too soft or mushy.

2. The sundal might look mushy, but once it cools down the dal will be separated.


Aloo Palak | Potato Spinach Curry

Aloo palak is a classic Punjabi dish with fried potatoes dunked in a creamy spinach gravy. It is healthy and easy to make at home. Its an excellent side dish for Indian flat-breads, pulao and ghee rice.

As you all know, spinach is a nutritional powerhouse and we must include it our diet regularly. You can also make a low fat version of aloo palak by skipping the cream and replacing butter with oil. It tastes best with chapathi, naan and jeea pulao.


Potatoes in a creamy spinach gravy


Potato - 2 large
Spinach / Palak - 3 cups, tightly packed
Green chillies - 2
Onion - 1 medium, finely chopped
Ginger - 1 tsp, grated
Garlic - 1 tsp, grated
Tomato - 2 medium
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Sugar - 1 tsp + 1/2 tsp
Milk - 1/4 cup
Fresh cream - 1 tsp
Kasuri methi / Dried fenugreek leaves - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp
Butter / Oil - 1 tbsp

For the tempering:
Cinnamon - 1 inch piece
Cardamom - 1
Cloves - 2
Cumin seeds / Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida / Hing - a pinch


1. Boil the potatoes. Peel the skin and cut into medium cubes. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Add potatoes, salt and fry until golden brown. Set aside.

2. Boil water in a saucepan. Add 1/2 tsp sugar, washed spinach leaves and blanch for 2 minute. Remove, wash in cold water and drain.

3. Grind the spinach with green chillies to a smooth paste. Set aside.

4. Puree the tomatoes and set aside.


1. Heat butter in a pan and add the ingredients for tempering. When nice aroma comes, add onion and fry until edges turn brown.

2. Add ginger, garlic and fry for 2-3 minutes. Then add the tomato puree and cook for 8-10 minutes.

3. Then add turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chilly powder, garam masala and saute for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle little water if masala is sticking to the pan.

4. Now add the spinach puree, salt and 1/2 cup water. Cook for 3-4 minutes and then add the fried potatoes.

5. Let the potatoes simmer in the gravy for 4-5 minutes. Then add milk, cream, sugar and kasuri methi. Cook for 1-2 minutes and remove from heat.


1. You can omit cream for a low fat version and add more milk.

2. You can substitute green chillies with dried red chillies.


Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta

Whenever we think of pesto, the first thing that comes to our mind is the traditional basil pesto. But we can make pesto with other ingredients too and this sun-dried tomato pesto is one such versatile and flavorsome pesto that I made few days back. I reserved some of the pesto to make pasta and used the rest to spread over baguette and sandwiches.

Pasta is such a flexible dish that you can make vary it each time with different sauces and veggies. I tossed in some spinach also into the pasta to make little more healthier and colorful. It tastes even better the next day!


Pasta with sun-dried tomato pesto and spinach


Pasta - 250 gms
Spinach - 1 cup
Red chilli flakes - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Parmesan cheese


1. Cook the pasta according to the instructions given in the packet. Drain and keep aside.

2. In a pan heat oil. Add the spinach and saute till it wilts. Then add the pesto, chilli flakes, salt and fry for 1-2 minutes.

3. Add the pasta and combine well. Garnish with parmesan cheese.



Falooda is a popular sweet and cold drink from South Asia. It is made up of many ingredients such as rose syrup, vermicelli, basil seeds, jelly, fruits, nuts along with milk, ice-cream or kulfi. A special type of vermicelli made of arrowroot called falooda noodles is used for the drink. Traditionally, falooda is flavored with rose syrup, but it may be substituted with other flavors like saffron, mango or strawberry. It can be served either with ice-cream or kulfi.

South Vs North Challenge, brainchild of Divya Pramil of You Too Can Cook, is an group where each month two teams- South and North, challenge each other with a regional recipe. For this month's SNC Challenge, Minnie of TheLady8Home, has challenged the South team with ice-cream falooda and and kulfi falooda and I chose the ice cream version. Lets check out how to make this popular drink easily at home.


Makes 2 tall glasses

Rose syrup flavored drink with falooda noodles, basil seeds, jelly, fruits and nuts served with vanilla ice-cream


Chilled milk - 1 cup
Rose syrup - 4 tbsp
Warm milk - 1 cup
Saffron - 1/4 tsp
Rose water - 2 tbsp
Basil seeds / Sabja / Tukmaria - 2 tbsp
Falooda noodles - a handful
Almond - 5 to 6
Pista - 8 to 10
Cashew-nuts - 3 to 4
Mixed fruits - 1/2 cup
Strawberry jelly pieces - 1/2 cup
Vanilla ice-cream - 4 scoops
Cherries - 2


1. In a bowl mix the chilled milk and rose syrup. Refrigerate until assembling.

2. In the warm milk add saffron and rose water. Mix and chill for an hour or more.

3. Soak the basil seeds in 1 cup water for 1 hour or until they have plumped up.

4. Cook the noodles in 3 cups of water until soft or as per the instructions in the packet.

5. Drain and immerse the noodles in the saffron and rose water soaked milk. Refrigerate until assembling.

6. Chop the fruits and nuts into small pieces and set aside.

To assemble the kulfi:

1. Take two tall glasses and put some jelly pieces and top with 2 tbsp of fruits in each glass.

2. Divide the noodles and add to the 2 glasses along with quarter cup of saffron milk. Top it with 2 tablespoons of basil seeds.

3. Divide and pour the chilled rose syrup into the two glasses. Top it with 2 tbsp of fruits.

4. Add 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream and pour the remaining saffron milk and noodles into the 2 glasses. Garnish with chopped nuts and cherries.


1. I have used a fruit mix of apple, banana, pineapple, grapes and mango. Adding fruits is optional.

2. The falooda was mildly sweet. If you want more sweetness, drizzle some more rose syrup.

3. If falooda noodles in not available, you can use glass noodles or normal thin vermicelli.


Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

Pesto is a sauce originated from Italy, commonly used in pasta. It is made of basil, garlic, pine nuts blended with olive oil and Parmesan cheese.The ingredients in a traditionally made pesto are ground with a pestle and mortar. Apart from the classic basil pesto, there are many other various pestos. Walnuts and almonds can also be used instead of pine nuts.

You would definitely fall in love with the flavors of this sun-dried tomato pesto. It has become one of my absolute favorite pesto sauce. This versatile pesto can be used in pasta or as a spread for sandwiches and breads. The pesto can be stored in an airtight container and will last up to one week. Stay tuned for a delicious pasta recipe with this flavorful pesto!


Pesto with sun-dried tomatoes, basil, walnuts blended with olive oil and parmesan cheese


Sun-dried tomatoes - 1 cup
Basil leaves - 1/2 cup, tightly packed
Garlic - 2
Walnuts - 1/3 cup
Olive oil - 1/4 cup
Parmesan cheese - 1/3 cup, grated
Pepper powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste


1. In a food processor add the garlic, basil leaves, walnuts and process until finely chopped.

2. Add sun- dried tomatoes, olive oil and process until smooth.

3. Transfer the pesto a bowl and add cheese, pepper and salt. Combine well.

My Notes:

1. You can use pine nuts instead of walnuts.

2. You can add few teaspoons of water while grinding if necessary.


Mathanga Erissery | Pumpkin Erissery

Erissery  is one of the important dishes for a Kerala sadya / feast. An erissery is usually prepared with vegetables like pumpkin, yam or raw banana and sometimes combined with legumes like cowpeas or black chickpeas.

Pumpkin erissery is simple dish with pumpkin cooked in a coconut gravy and tempered with fried coconut and curry leaves. Adding fried coconut at the end enhances the real flavor of the erissery, so do not skip it. To get the authentic flavor, use coconut oil for frying and tempering. Serve this with plain rice and some tangy side dish.


Pumpkin simmered in a coconut gravy and tempered with fried coconut


Pumpkin - 400 gms, cut into small cubes
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste
Coconut - 1 cup + 1/4 cup
Coconut oil - 1 tsp
Dried red chillies - 2
Cumin seeds / Jeera - 1/2 tsp

For the tempering:
Coconut oil - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Split urad dal - 1 tsp
Dried red chillies - 1, halved
Curry leaves - few


1. In a pan heat oil add the 1/4 cup coconut and fry till red. Set aside. In the same pan, fry the red chillies for few seconds and set aside.

2. Grind together 1 cup coconut, red chillies, jeera and 1 tbsp of the fried coconut to a smooth paste adding little water. Set aside.

3. In a vessel add pumpkin, turmeric powder, salt and 1/2 cup water. Cook till the pumpkin becomes soft.

4. Once the pumpkin is cooked, add the ground coconut paste and gently combine. It is fine if some of the pumpkin pieces get mashed up.

5. Cook for 5-6 minutes and then remove from heat. The consistency should be neither too watery nor too dry.

6. In a pan heat oil and add mustard seeds. When it crackles add urad dal, curry leaves and the remaining fried coconut. Pour this tempering over the erissery.


Puli Inji | Inji Puli

Puli Inji is a sweet and sour pickle made with fresh ginger, green chillies and jaggery. It is an essential part of a Kerala sadya / feast. Fried ginger and green chillies are simmered in a sauce of tamarind. Addition of jaggery adds a sweetness and balances the sour and hot flavors. It is also know as inji curry or inji puli in some regions of Kerala.

Onam is around the corner and this easy and quick pickle is a must for the Onasadya. You can refrigerate this pickle in a container or glass bottle up to a month. This sweet, tangy and spicy pickle goes well even with curd rice. Or you can mix it up with some plain rice and enjoy.


Sweet and sour pickle made of ginger, green chillies, jaggery and tamarind


Oil - 1/4 cup
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Split urad dal - 1 tsp
Dried red chillies - 1, broken
Asafoetida / Hing / Kaayam - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - few
Ginger - 1/4 cup, finely chopped
Green chillies - 5 to 6
Tamarind - 1 lemon size
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
Jaggery - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste


1. Soak tamarind in 1 cup hot water. Extract the pulp and set aside.

2. Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When it splutters, add urad dal, red chillies, curry leaves and hing. Fry till dal turns golden.

3. Now add ginger and green chillies. Saute the ginger and chillies on medium heat until turns reddish-brown color.

4. Then add tamarind water, turmeric powder, red chilly powder, jaggery and salt. Mix well and bring to boil.

5. Continue cooking in medium heat until the mixture becomes thick. When cool, transfer to a container.

My Notes:

1. You can either use coconut oil or gingelly oil. I have used gingelly oil here.

2. Adjust the amount of green chillies and red chilly powder according to your spice level.

3. If the pickle turns out very spicy, add little more jaggery and adjust it.


Mooli Paratha | Radish Paratha

Radish is one of the less preferred vegetables because of its smell and taste but they offer many health and nutritional benefits. Radishes aid in digestion, soothe sore throats and detoxify the body. It protects against cancer and is very effective in treating skin disorders. With a very low calorie count, radishes are a great way to add nutrients, fiber and vitamins in our diet. These whole wheat mooli parathas is one way to include radish in our meals.

Parathas are an excellent and quick option for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They do not need any side dish, just some plain curd and pickle is enough. One tip to reduce the pungent smell of radish is to toss them with some turmeric powder. And sauteing radish with spices will make it taste less bland. Serve these parathas hot with curd, pickle and salad.


Makes 8-10 parathas

Whole wheat Indian flatbread stuffed with spicy radish filling


For the dough:
Wheat flour - 2 cup
Salt - to taste
Oil / Ghee - 1 tsp
Water - as required

For the filling:
Radish / Mooli - 2 cup, grated
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Onion - 1 small, finely chopped
Ginger - 1 inch piece, grated
Green chillies - 3 to 4, finely chopped
Asafoetida / Hing - 1/8 tsp
Carom seeds / Ajwain - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds / Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Coriander leaves - 1/4 cup, finely chopped
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 tsp

Wheat flour - for rolling
Oil / Ghee


1. Take wheat flour, salt and oil/ghee in a bowl and combine. Add water little by little and mix well to make a smooth and semi-soft dough. Cover and keep aside for 15-20 minutes.

2. In a bowl mix radish and turmeric powder. Transfer to a colander and let it rest for 15-20 minutes. Squeeze out as much water possible from the radish.

3. Heat oil in a pan and add hing, ajwain and jeera. Once it crackles add onion, ginger and green chillies. Saute for 2-3 minutes and then add radish, garam masala and salt.

4. Saute till the mixture becomes dry. Remove from heat and add coriander leaves. Mix and set aside to cool.

5. Divide the dough and radish mixture into equal portions and make balls.

6. Roll out the dough into a 5 inch circle. Place radish filling in the middle and bring together all sides and seal.

7. Pinch off the extra dough and gently flatten them. Dust them lightly with flour and roll them very gently into a 6-7 inch circle.

8. Heat a tawa or griddle and place the paratha. Cook the paratha by smearing little oil or ghee until golden brown on both sides.

My Notes:

1. If green chillies are not hot, then add red chilly powder to make it spicy.

2. You can omit ajwain and substitute with cumin or fennel seeds.


Chinese Scallion Pancakes

A scallion pancake or cong you bing is a savory Chinese flatbread. Unlike the normal pancakes made with batter, this is made from dough. The dough is rolled and folded with oil, scallions and seasonings. It is then coiled, rolled again and pan-fried on a skillet resulting in flaky pancakes.

I made these pancakes along with the Cantonese Wonton Noodle Soup for the IFC Challenge. These flaky pancakes tasted quite similar to our Indian parathas. You can serve these pancakes with chilli sauce or soy sauce or ginger dipping sauce. I served these pancakes with a soy dipping sauce. You actually don't need any accompaniments for this pancake as they tasted delicious by itself. Just serve them hot!


Recipe Adapted from Food Network
Serves 4

Savory Chinese flatbread with scallions and sesame oil


For the dough:
All purpose flour / Maida - 2 cup
Water - 1 cup
Sea salt - 1/2 tsp
Sesame oil - 1 tbsp

For the filling:
Scallions / Spring onions - 2 cup, thinly sliced
Sesame oil - as required for brushing
Sea salt - to taste
Pepper - to taste

For the sauce:
Soy sauce - 2 tbsp
White vinegar - 1 tbsp
Sesame oil - 1 tsp
Red chilli flakes - 1/4 tsp
Toasted white sesame seeds - 1/4 tsp
Sugar - 1/4 tsp


1. Combine the flour, salt and oil in a large mixing bowl. Bring the water to boil and pour it on to the flour.

2. Mix in quickly with a wooden spoon to make a dough. Transfer it to a floured surface and knead into smooth and soft dough. Cover and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

3. In a bowl combine scallions, salt and pepper. Set aside.

4. Divide the dough into equal pieces and roll them into balls. Place a ball of dough on a well-floured work surface and roll out into a thin circle.

5. Brush the surface of pancake with sesame oil and sprinkle a tablespoon of the scallion mixture.

6. Roll the dough up from one end to the other. Then then curl the roll around in a spiral and pinch the end to the roll so it stays wrapped. Flatten the roll with you palm and roll the pancake to 1/8th inch thickness.

7. Heat a frying pan or skillet over medium-high heat and pour little oil. When oil is hot, place the pancake and cook until golden brown on both sides.

8. For the dipping sauce, mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Cut the pancake into wedges and serve with the dipping sauce.


Mexican Bean Burger with Avocado Sour Cream Sauce

We, Groovy Gourmets, are making burgers this month but not the usual ones with the potato patty. Other than potato patties, a veggie burger can also be made with chickpeas, beans and lentils. Mexican cuisine has always intrigued me and I love their flavors, so I chose to make a Mexican style mixed bean burger with an avocado and sour cream sauce.

The bean patty itself was delicious and flavorful. The cajun seasoning added a distinct flavor to the bean patties. I used canned beans which was a mix of chickpeas, kidney beans, lima beans and great northern beans. You can pick any beans of your choice - fresh or canned. These patties can be frozen and used later for a quick burger meal. I made a creamy and tangy sauce with avocado and sour cream which enhanced the taste of the burgers further.


Mixed bean Mexican flavored burgers with a creamy sauce of avocado and sour cream.


Burger buns
Sliced tomatoes
Salad leaves

For the bean patty:
(Makes 12 patties)

Mixed beans - 2 x 400 gms tins
Red onion - 1 medium, finely chopped
Sweet corn - 1/4 cup
Garlic - 4, finely chopped
Jalapeno - 1, de-seeded & finely chopped
Cajun spice mix - 2 . 5 tsp
Coriander leaves - 1/2 cup, finely chopped
Feta cheese - 100 gms
Breadcrumbs - 1/2 cup
Lime juice - 1/2 tbsp
Pepper powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 tsp

For the sauce:
Avocado - 1/2 cup, mashed
Sour cream - 1/3 cup
Lime juice - 1 tbsp
Hot pepper sauce - few drops
Salt - to taste


1. Heat oil and add onions, garlic, jalapeno and sweet corn. Fry till it becomes soft. Add cajun spice mix and saute for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

2. Drain the beans well and add to a big bowl. Mash the beans well. Add coriander, feta cheese, breadcrumbs, onion mixture, lime juice, pepper and salt.

3. Combine everything well. Line a tray with baking paper. Make 1/2 inch thick patties and place on the tray. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

4. Heat a pan and drizzle little oil. Cook the patties on medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden.

5. For the sauce, mix avocado, sour cream, hot pepper sauce and season with salt.

6. Take a burger bun and halve it. Place some salad leaves and top it with tomato slices. Place a bean patty and place a dollop or two of the sauce.


1. Refrigerating the patties will make them firm and avoid crumbling while cooking, so do not skip it.

2. Add little more breadcrumbs if the patties are too wet.