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Red Capsicum Chutney | Red Bell Pepper Chutney

Red capsicum chutney is one of our family favorites. Whenever i grind for idli/dosa batter, I always stock red capsicums in my fridge to make this spicy yummy capsicum chutney. This capsicum chutney is a slight variation of my onion tomato chutney recipe. This is a versatile chutney as it goes well with not only dosa and idli, but with chapathi, parathas and as a dip or spread for sandwiches.

This chutney tastes better when its in the spicier side as red capsicums have a slightly sweet taste. I have another version of capsicum chutney using green capsicum which I will post later. This chutney stays good for 2 days when refrigerated. If you are bored of the regular coconut chutney or tomato chutney, then try this chutney and let me know how you liked it.


{ South-Indian spicy chutney with red capsicum, tomato, onion }
Serves 3-4


4-5 dry red chillies
1 tsp whole urad dal
2 garlic cloves
1 medium onion
1 medium tomato
1 medium red capsicum
1 sprig curry leaves
½ tsp tamarind paste / marble-sized tamarind
2 tsp sesame oil
Salt to taste

For the tempering (tadka):
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
Pinch of asafoetida / hing


1. Chop garlic, onion and tomato into small pieces. Remove the seeds and white membrane from the capsicum and chop into small pieces.

2. In a pan, heat ½ tsp oil and add red chillies and urad dal. Fry till the dal turns golden. Transfer to a plate.

3. Add ½ tsp oil to the same pan and add garlic. Fry for 30 seconds and then add the onions. Fry till the onions start to get golden. Transfer to the plate.

4. In the same pan, add 1 tsp oil and add tomato and capsicum. Fry till they turn soft. Add curry leaves, tamarind and mix. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

5. Add everything to a mixie jar along with required salt and grind to smooth paste without adding water.

6. Heat a small pan with oil and add mustard seeds. When they crackle add hing and pour over the chutney.

Serving Suggestion ~ Dosa / idli, chapathi/paratha or spread for sandwich.

Notes and Tips:
  • For a mildly spiced chutney reduce the number of chillies to 2 or 3.
  • I recommend using sesame oil for this chutney as it adds a good flavor.

Garlic Rasam | Poondu Rasam

Rasam is a very comforting food, especially during the winter season or when your down with a fever or cold. When you want to make a simple and quick lunch, rasam is one of the best options. Hot piping rasam with rice and potato fry makes a satisfying and tasty meal. I have already shared few rasam recipes - paruppu rasam, lemon rasam, tomato rasam and mysore rasam, so today I'm sharing the garlic rasam recipe. 

Garlic is well know for its health benefits. Garlic is a good source of several vitamins and minerals which helps to strengthen the immune system. It lowers blood sugar & cholesterol levels and helps to fight chest infections and coughs. This rasam with garlic and pepper is a good home remedy for cold, sore throat and fever. We enjoyed this rasam with potato podimas, rice and appalam. 


{ Spicy and sour South Indian soup with garlic, tomato and fresh spices }
Serves 3


6-8 garlic cloves
1 tsp ghee
½ tbsp tamarind paste / gooseberry-size tamarind
1 small tomato, cut into quarters
¼ tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste

To roast and grind:
½ tsp oil
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp cumin seeds / jeera
½ tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp toor dal / thuvaram paruppu
1 red chilly
2 garlic cloves

For the tempering (tadka):
1 tsp ghee
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds / jeera
Pinch of asafoetida / hing
1-2 dry red chillies
Few curry leaves


1. In a small pan, heat oil and add black pepper, jeera, coriander seeds, toor dal, garlic and fry for 3-4 minutes. Cool and grind to a paste adding little water.

2. Crush the garlic lightly with a mortar and pestle. Heat a pan and add 1 tsp ghee. Fry the garlic until the edges turn golden.

3. Soak tamarind in 1 cup water and extract the juice. Add this to a vessel along with tomato, turmeric powder and salt.

4. Boil the tamarind mixture until the raw smell goes. Add the fried garlic, ground paste and ½ cup water. Let it simmer until the rasam becomes frothy. Remove from heat.

5. In a small pan, heat ghee and add mustard seeds. When it crackles, add jeera, red chillies, asafoetida, curry leaves and pour over the rasam.

Serving Suggestion ~ Rice, thogayal and vegetable stir-fry.

Notes and Tips

  • The rasam is on the spicier side, so adjust the spices according to your spice preference.
  • Do not boil the rasam once it becomes frothy at the top, otherwise it will not taste good.
  • Add water as required after adding ground paste if the rasam seems thick.

Spiced Peach Lassi

Summer is at its peak now and to beat the heat, what better than our lassi. Lassi is a popular drink from India, essentially made with yogurt, spices and sugar, and also with the addition of fruits. I already made mango lassi few times and wanted to try with peach this time.

This peach lassi is twist on the classic Punjabi sweet lassi. I added juicy fresh peaches to my sweet lassi recipe and some cinnamon too as it pairs well with peaches. I absolutely loved this lightly spiced peach lassi and has become one of my favorites now. So if you get some peaches next time, do try this out and I'm sure you will love it!


Indian summer drink with peach, yogurt and spices  }
Serves 3


3-4 peaches
1 cup plain yogurt / curd
¼ cup milk
1/8 tsp rose water
1-2 tbsp sugar / honey
¼ tsp cardamom powder
¼ tsp cinnamon powder
¼ tsp cumin powder
Pinch of salt


1. Cut the peach in half and discard the stone. Roughly chop the peaches and add to a blender with sugar/honey, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin powder and salt.

2. Puree until smooth. Then add yogurt, rose water, milk and blend until everything is combined well and smooth. Pour into glasses and chill until ready to serve.

Notes and Tips
  • You can also make a regular peach lassi without spices and rose water following the mango lassi recipe.
  • Milk is added to thin out the lassi. You can add more or less depending on the consistency you prefer.
  • Do not add more rose water than mentioned, otherwise it will overpower the taste of peach.
  • You can also use canned peaches if fresh ones are not available.

Cabbage Masala Rice

Variety rice recipes come as a savior when you are in a hurry-burry to pack a lunchbox or prepare a quick lunch. You can throw in any one or mix of vegetables of your choice and some spices to whip up a delicious and nutritious meal. And if you have leftover rice, it becomes even more easy. Today's recipe is one such easy yet tasty variety rice with cabbage.

Cabbage has many nutritional values but still it is not liked by many due to its bland taste and smell. But if cooked properly, it can be full of flavor. This masala rice will be loved by even those who do not like cabbage. The freshly ground masala powder and ginger adds lots of flavor to the otherwise bland cabbage. This spicy cabbage rice just needs a raita or plain yogurt on the side to make a healthy and filling meal. 


{ Spicy variety rice dish with cabbage and ground spices }
Serves 2


½ cup basmati rice
2 cup shredded cabbage
1 medium onion, sliced
2 tsp grated ginger
2 garlic, finely chopped
1-2 green chillies, finely chopped
¼ tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste

For the masala powder:
2 dry red chillies
½ tsp chana dal / kadalai paruppu
¼ tsp coriander seeds
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp cumin seeds / jeera
2 cloves
½-inch cinnamon stick

For the tempering (tadka):
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp split urad dal
¼ tsp fennel seeds / sombu
Pinch of asafoetida / hing
1 sprig curry leaves


1. Wash and soak the rice for 30 minutes. Add ¾ cup water and pressure cook for 2 whistles. Spread the rice on a plate and allow to cool.

2. Dry roast all the ingredients for the masala powder over medium flame until nice aroma comes. Cool and grind to a fine powder.

3. Heat oil in a kadai and add mustard seeds. When it crackles, add urad dal, fennel seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves.

4. When the dal turns golden, add onion, green chillies, ginger and garlic. Saute well until the onions turns soft and translucent.

5. Then add cabbage, turmeric powder and mix well. Fry the cabbage and cook until its soft and cooked.

6. Now add the cooked rice, salt, masala powder and gently combine everything. Cook for 1-2 minutes and remove from heat.

Serving Suggestion ~ Raita or plain yogurt.

Notes and Tips
  • The rice is a bit on the spicier side, so skip or reduce the chillies according to your spice level.
  • You can also squeeze in some lemon juice at the end for more flavor.
  • Do not skip the ginger as it helps to reduce the smell of cabbage and adds flavor too.

Bolani | Afghani Potato Stuffed Flatbread

This month we are exploring Afghan cuisine for International Food Challenge. Afghan cuisine abundantly uses nation's chief crops, vegetables, fresh and dried fruits. Afghan cuisine show influences from Central Asian, Eastern Asian, South Asian and the Middle Eastern cuisines. Out of the recipes suggested by Pavani, I tried the popular street food bolani.

Bolani is a vegan flat-bread with a crispy and thin crust stuffed with a vegetable filling. They are made all over Afghanistan by street vendors. The commonly used ingredients for filling are potatoes, spinach, lentils, chives or spring onion. It is quite similar to our Indian aloo paratha. It can be served as an appetizer, side-dish, or main dish along with plain yogurt or mint yogurt.


{ Afgani flatbread stuffed with potato and spring onion }
Recipe Source ~ Weaving Life
Makes 8-10


For the dough:
3 ½ cup all-purpose flour / maida
1 cup water
1 tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp olive oil

For the filling:
2 large potatoes
½ cup chopped coriander leaves
½ cup chopped spring onion (white and green parts)
1 green chilly, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste
1 tsp cracked black pepper

For frying:
¼ cup olive oil


To make the dough:

1. In a large bowl mix flour, salt and oil. Add water little at a time and form a ball. Knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.

2. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl, cover with a cloth and let rest for one hour.

To make the filling:

1. Boil the potatoes and peel the skin. Mash the potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper.

2. Add chopped coriander, spring onion, green chillies and combine.

To make the flatbread:

1. Divide the dough into 8 to 10 equal portions. Take one portion and cover the remaining dough to avoid drying out.

2. Roll one portion of the dough into a smooth ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a round as thinly as possible.

3. Spread about a quarter cup of the filling on one half of the dough, leaving about ¼ inch border. 

4. Fold the dough in half over the filling and press the edges to seal. Repeat for remaining dough portions.

4. Heat 1-2 tbsp olive oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, place the bolani and cook on medium heat until golden and crispy on both sides.

5. Place cooked bolani on a paper towel. Add more oil to your pan as needed and cook the remaining bolani.

Serving Suggestion ~ Mint yogurt or yogurt sauce.

Notes & Tips
  • Yogurt sauce recipe: Mix 1 cup yogurt with dried dill, ¼ tsp coriander powder, ½ tsp minced garlic, ½ tsp lemon juice and salt. 
  • The oil should be hot enough that the bolani sizzles when placed in the pan. 

Milagu Adai | Pepper Adai | Karthigai Adai

Karthigai Deepam is celebrated on the full moon day of the Karthigai month which coincides with krithikai star. This year it falls on 5th of December. Karthigai deepam is considered as the extension of the Deepavali festival. The traditional neivedhyams (sweets) made for karthigai deepam are appam, pori urundai and jaggery based payasam.

In our house, we make our regular adai for karthigai. Milagu adai is another traditional karthigai deepam recipe. My mom shared this adai recipe from a cookbook. It is slightly different from our regular adai. This milagu adai is made of raw rice and peppercorns instead of parboiled rice and red chillies. Usually for neivedhyams, par boiled rice or boiled rice is not used. This adai is very healthy and can be made for regular breakfast too. It tastes best with butter or jaggery.


{ South Indian crepe made of rice, lentils and black pepper }
Makes 8-10


1 cup raw rice / pacharisi
¼ cup urad dal
¼ cup toor dal
¼ cup chana dal
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin seeds / jeera
1 inch ginger, roughly chopped
½ tsp asafoetida / hing
2 sprigs curry leaves
Salt to taste
Oil to drizzle


1. Wash the rice and dals together and soak for 3 hours.

2. In a mixie jar add soaked rice, dals, pepper, jeera, ginger, asafoetida and 1 sprig curry leaves. Grind to a lightly coarse mixture adding little water.

3. Transfer the batter to a vessel and add remaining curry leaves, salt and mix well. Set aside for 1 hour.

4. Add required water to the batter and mix well. The consistency of the batter should be thicker than dosa batter.

5. Heat the tawa/griddle. Pour a ladleful of adai batter and spread it thinly like dosa. Pour 1 tsp oil all round the edges and in the center.

6. Cook till its golden brown in color. Now flip the adai and cook till the other side also turns golden brown.

Serving Suggestion ~ butter or jaggery.

Notes and Tips
  • The adai is usually made little thick but I prefer it thin and crispy.
  • You can also add thin coconut slivers to the batter.

Pori Urundai | Sweet Puffed Rice Balls

Karthigai Deepam / Thirukarthigai is a festival of lights celebrated in South India and falls on the Tamil month of Karthigai. There are many interesting stories behind observing this festival. In the evening of the festival day, oil lamps are lit up in houses and streets. The lighting of lamps is considered very auspicious and brings in prosperity and happiness in the home.

On karthigai festival, we put kolams, decorate the whole house with oil lamps and make neivedhyam (sweets). Pori urundai is a traditional sweet made during Karthigai festival. It can be made with nel pori or aval pori. As I don't get nel pori here, I made with arisi pori (puffed rice). These sweet puffed rice balls also make a healthy after-school snack for kids. 


{ Sweet puffed balls with jaggery, coconut, dry ginger and cardamom powder }
Makes 14-15


½ cup grated jaggery
¼ cup water
2 tsp ghee
4 cups puffed rice / pori
¼ cup thin coconut slivers
¼ tsp dry ginger powder
½ tsp cardamom powder
Rice flour to dust hands


1. In a small pan, heat ½ tsp ghee and fry the coconut slivers for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.

2. Heat a kadai and add jaggery and water. Melt the jaggery completely and strain it to remove any impurities.

3. Wash the kadai and add the strained jaggery syrup to it. Cook the syrup over medium flame until it becomes frothy and thick.

4. Add few drops of the syrup in a plate of water. The syrup should not dissolve and if we collect the syrup together, it should form a soft ball.

5. This is the required consistency of the jaggery syrup. Remove from heat and add remaining ghee, coconut slivers, dry ginger powder, cardamom powder and puffed rice.

6. Quickly combine everything until the puffed rice is well coated with syrup. When the mixture is warm, grease hands with oil/ghee and roll tightly into balls.

Notes and Tips
  • Use dark colored jaggery (paagu vellam) for making these balls.
  • The soft-ball consistency stage is very important for this recipe. If removed in the wrong stage, you will not be able to form the balls or the balls will become very hard.
  • If the puffed rice mixture completely cools down, it will be difficult to form balls. In this case, heat the mixture lightly to melt the syrup and make balls.

Black Bean Mango Quesadilla

A quesadilla is a Mexican dish made of tortilla filled with a mixture of vegetables, cheese and seasonings. It is then folded in half and cooked until the cheese melts. They are served with guacamole, salsa or dips. The filling usually contains a bean, vegetables and cheese. Quesadillas are apt for a quick dinner or lunch as they take only 15-20 minutes to make.

Though it's not mango season, I did find some mangoes in our local market. The sweetness from the mango balances the heat from the japalenos while the beans and avocado add a creamy texture. I served them with a sour cream dip, you can also serve with a simple tomato salsa or guacamole.


{ Quesadilla with black beans, mango, avocado and 3 cheese-blend }
Serves 3-4


1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 ½ cup mango (1 large mango), cut into cubes
½ avocado, cut into cubes
1 tsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
½ red onion, chopped
¼ cup chopped red capsicum
1-2 jalapeno, finely chopped
½ tsp cumin powder
2 tsp lemon juice
¼ cup chopped coriander leaves
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
2 cups shredded cheese
4 10-inch tortillas


1. Heat a small pan and add  oil. Add garlic and fry for few seconds. Then add onion, capsicum and saute for 1-2 minutes. Set aside to cool down a little bit.

2. In a large bowl, combine mango, beans, avocado, onion-capsicum mixture, japaleno, cumin powder, lemon juice, coriander leaves, salt and pepper.

3. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Lightly grease the pan with little oil and place a tortilla on it.

4. Sprinkle cheese on one half  of the tortilla and top with 2-3 heaped tablespoons of the mango bean mixture. Fold the other half over the filling and lightly brush the top with oil.

5. Cook the tortilla until its lightly toasted and the cheese melts. Flip and cook the other side until it is crispy and golden. Cut into halves.

Serving Suggestion ~ sour cream dip, tomato salsa or guacamole.

Notes and Tips
  • You can try with kidney beans too if you don't have black beans.
  • Do not cook them in high heat and do not overstuff the tortillas.

Broccoli Capsicum Masala

One of my readers requested me to post some simple and quick recipes using broccoli. Though I regularly make curries and other dishes with broccoli, I never got a chance to click and blog here. So I'm planning to post some healthy and easy recipes with broccoli here. 

You must be aware that broccoli is a powerhouse of nutrients. It is is a good source of fibers, vitamins and phyto-nutrients. A regular serve of broccoli lowers the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, cancer, prevents digestive problems, constipation and boosts the immune system.

Today I'm posting a easy and quick sabzi (dry curry) with broccoli and capsicum that goes well with chapathi / phulka or with rice and dal. I have used yellow and red color capsicums to make it look colorful, but you can use any color capsicum. Let's see how to make this simple and delicious broccoli capsicum masala.


{ Indian style curry with broccoli, capsicum and spices }
Serves 2-3


1 medium-sized broccoli
½ red capsicum, sliced
½ yellow capsicum, sliced
1 large onion, sliced thinly
1 sprig curry leaves
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 large tomato, sliced thinly
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 ½ tsp coriander powder
¾ tsp red chilly powder
½ tsp pepper powder
¼ tsp garam masala
1 tbsp kasuri methi / dried fenugreek leaves
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds / jeera
½ tsp fennel seeds / sombu / saunf
¼ tsp asafoetida / hing
Salt to taste


1. Cut the broccoli into medium sized florets. Put them in hot water in 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat oil in a pan/kadai and add cumin seeds, fennel seeds and asafoetida. Add onion, curry leaves and fry till the onions turn lightly golden.

3. Add ginger-garlic paste and fry for a minute. Then add tomatoes and fry until they become soft and mushy.

4. Add turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chilly powder, pepper powder, garam masala, kasurmi methi, 1 tbsp water and fry for 1-2 minutes.

5. Add broccoli, capsicum, salt and mix well. Cover and cook until the broccoli and capsicum is cooked. Open and fry for another 1-2 minutes.

Notes and Tips
  • Make sure that the broccoli and capsicum are not overcooked. They must still retain some of the crunchiness.
  • Adjust the amount of red chilly powder according to your spice preference.

Jewish Apple Cake

For this month's Home Baker's Challenge, we were free to choose any recipe from the previous challenges. I got so confused as there were so many good recipes that I wanted to bake. After long deliberation, I chose this apple cake which was picked by Priya of Cook like Priya for the Christmas theme.

Jewish apple cake is traditionally served during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year to evoke a sweet new year. According to Jewish dietary laws, dairy and meat cannot be consumed at the same time, so vegetable oil and orange juice is used in the cake in place of butter and milk. This cake combines the classic combination of apples and cinnamon in a soft and spongy cake. Once the cake is baked, the apple pieces become soft and juicy.


{ Soft and moist cake layered with cinnamon flavored apples }
Recipe Source ~ All Recipes
Makes a 10" bundt cake


4 apples
2 ½ tsp cinnamon powder
¼ cup sugar (white or brown)

For the cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour / maida
½ tsp salt
2 ½ tsp baking powder
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup applesauce
4 eggs
¼ cup orange juice
2 tsp vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 170° C | 350° F. Grease and flour a 10 inch bundt or tube pan.

2. Cut the apple into small cubes and transfer to a bowl. Add cinnamon powder and sugar. Toss well and set aside. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg and sugars until light and fluffy. Add orange juice, vegetable oil, applesauce, vanilla extract and beat again.

4. Add the flour in 2 parts and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Fold the mixture gently using a spatula.

5. Pour ⅓rd of the batter into the prepared pan and top with chopped apples. Pour ⅓rd batter over the apples and top again with apples. Pour the remaining batter and layer the remaining apples.

6. Bake for 70-90 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake on a wire rack.

Notes and Tips
  • I added 3 different variety of apples in this recipe. I used granny smith, pink lady and red delicious.
  • If you don't have applesauce, you can add 1 cup oil instead of oil and applesauce as in the original recipe.
  • Since I was short of white sugar, I used a mix of white and brown sugar in the recipe. You can use either white or brown sugar in the recipe.
  • Oven timings may vary, so keep checking the cake after 60 minutes.

Mint Pulao | Pudina Pulao

Whenever I have limited time to pack a lunch or prepare a quick meal, I prefer pulao and variety rice recipes. They are healthy and filling and also convenient for working women and bachelors. If you do most of the prep work in advance, like cutting the vegetables or cleaning the leaves, you can prepare them quickly in the morning rush.

Mint or pudina pulao is one such simple and refreshing one pot meal. The rice is induced with a flavor of mint leaves and whole spices, making the pulao very aromatic and flavorful. It is perfect to pack for lunch boxes for kids and adults, along with raita and any vegetable stir-fry to make a complete meal. Let's see how to make this easy and delicious mint / pudina pulao.


{ Rice cooked with mint leaves and flavored with whole spices }
Serves 2-3


1 cup basmati rice
1 large onion, sliced
Pinch of turmeric powder
Salt to taste

To grind:
1 cup mint leaves, tightly packed
¼ cup coriander leaves, tightly packed
4-5 green chillies
3 garlic cloves
½ inch ginger
2 tbsp grated coconut
¼ tsp fennel seeds / sombu / saunf
2 tsp lemon juice

For the tempering (tadka):
1 tbsp oil
2 tsp ghee
1 inch cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 star anise
4 cloves
1 cardamom


1. Wash rice and soak it in water for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. Grind mint leaves, coriander leaves, green chillies, ginger, garlic, coconut, fennel and lemon juice to a smooth paste adding very little water.

3. In a pressure cooker, heat oil and ghee. Add cinnamon, bay leaf, star anise, cloves and cardamom. Fry for few seconds.

4. Then add onions and fry until they become soft. Add the ground paste, turmeric powder and fry for 3-4 minutes.

5. Add rice, 1½ cup water, salt and gently combine everything. Pressure cook for 1 whistle and then turn the heat to low and cook for 5-6 minutes.

6. Once the pressure subsides completely, open and gently fluff the rice with a fork.

Notes and Tips
  • You can also cook this in an open pan. To cook in pan, follow steps 1-4. Add rice, water, salt and gently mix. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and cover and cook until rice is done.
  • You can also use leftover rice in this recipe. After frying the mint paste, add the rice, salt and gently combine everything.
  • Adjust the quantity of green chillies according to your spice preference.

Tomato Dal Fry

Dal fry is a very popular lentil recipe, made with a single or combination of lentils like toor dal, chana dal, moong dal and masoor dal. For making dal fry, the lentils are first pressure cooked and then combined with a mixture of onion, tomato, garlic, ginger and spices sauteed in ghee. It is usually served with roti/phulka, jeera rice and plain rice.

This tomato dal fry is a slight variation of our regular dal fry. Tomatoes and lentils are cooked together and onion, ginger, garlic and spices are sauteed in butter instead of ghee. I make this dal often for guests and parties, as it takes very less time to put together and the butter adds a rich flavor and aroma to the dal. Serve this dal with phulkas or rice.


{ Tomato and mixed lentils with ginger, garlic, onion and spices }
Serves 3


For the dal:
½ cup masoor dal
¼ cup toor dal
¼ cup chana dal
2 large tomato, chopped
¼ tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1 ½ cup water

For the masala:
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds / jeera
Pinch of asafoetida / hing
2-3 dry red chillies
1 inch cinnamon stick
3-4 garlic cloves, grated
1 inch ginger, grated
2-3 green chillies, finely chopped
1 small-sized onion, finely chopped
½ tsp garam masala
1 tsp kasuri methi / dried fenugreek leaves
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves to garnish


1. Wash the 3 dals together and add tomatoes, turmeric powder, salt and water. Pressure cook for 3 whistles or until soft. Set aside.

2. In a kadai, heat oil and butter. Add mustard seeds and when it crackles add red chillies, asafoetida, cinnamon and jeera.

3. Add garlic, ginger and green chillies and fry in low heat for a minute. Then turn the heat to medium and add onion. Fry till onions turn light golden.

4. Add garam masala, kasuri methi, salt and give a mix. Add the cooked dal and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add chopped coriander leaves.

Notes and Tips
  • I hav used butter and oil here but you can substitute with ghee and oil or just use oil alone.
  • The dal is not very spicy. If you want little spicy dal, add more green chillies or red chilly powder.
  •  I like my dal fry with medium thick consistency. If you want thinner dal, add water after adding the dal and adjust the consistency.


For this month's International Food challenge as we are exploring Australian cuisine. This cuisine is strongly influenced by culinary tastes of British and Irish traditions and immigrant settlers. Agriculture is a significant part of the country's economy and so fresh produce is available in abundance. This month's host Saraswathi of Sara's Kitchen has chosen some iconic Australian food like Anzac biscuits, lamingtons and damper, and I made lamingtons for the challenge.

Lamingtons are believed to be originated from Australia and there are many interesting stories behind the origin of this cake. Lamingtons are considered the national cake of Australia. A lamington is made of sponge cake pieces coated in a layer of chocolate icing and rolled in desiccated coconut. Lamingtons can also be split and filled with jam and cream in the center. Serve these lamingtons with tea or coffee!


{ Australian dessert made of sponge cake coated with chocolate and rolled in coconut }
Recipe Source ~ The Australian Women's Weekly
Yields 20 pieces


For the cake:
3 eggs
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornflour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp vanilla extract
25g soft butter, chopped
⅓ cup boiling water

For the chocolate icing:
3 ½ cup  icing sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
30g butter, softened
½ cup milk

For rolling:
3 cups desiccated coconut


To make cake:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C | 400°F. Grease a 20cm x 30cm pan and line with baking paper.

2. Sift the all-purpose flour, cornflour and baking powder together three times. Set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and beat them with an electric mixer until pale in color.

4. Gradually add the sugar and beat until the mixture becomes thick and forms thick ribbons when the beater is lifted.

5. Add vanilla and beat for few seconds. Then add flour mixture and gently fold using a spatula or metal spoon.

6. Combine butter and boiling water in a small heatproof bowl. Fold this gently into the prepared batter.

7. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until sponge springs back when touched lightly in the center. Cool the cake completely.

8. Cut the sides from the cake and then cut them into square or rectangle pieces.

To make chocolate icing:

1. Sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a large heatproof bowl. Then add the butter and milk. Place this over a saucepan of simmering water.

2. Mix until icing is smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Place desiccated coconut in a shallow bowl.

3. Using 2 forks, dip each cake piece in the icing. Tap the forks on the edge of the bowl to remove excess icing.

4. Roll the cake gently in coconut. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to set.

Notes and Tips
  • The cake is easier to handle if it is made a day ahead or refrigerated for several hours. You can also freeze them for 1-2 hours.
  • Folding the flour and butter gently is important for a soft sponge cake. If you mix a lot, the cake will turn out hard and dense.
  • If the icing becomes too thick, place it over simmering water or reheat gently with a little more milk.

Vegetable Semiya Upma | Vermicelli Upma

Upma is one of the easiest and quickest breakfast recipe. Not only for breakfast, you can make it for dinner or as a evening snack too. There are different varieties of upma and the most regularly made upma in majority of homes is rava (suji) upma. So if you are bored of the rava upma, try this vegetable semiya upma for a change.

Semiya / vermicelli upma is very healthy upma loaded with vegetables, making it a wholesome and filling breakfast. Kids will love this upma with some sugar sprinkled on top. You can pack this for lunchbox too. It can be had by itself or serve with coconut chutney or pickle. Let's see how to make this simple yet delicious vegetable semiya upma.


{ Vermicelli upma with mixed vegetables }
Serves 2-3


1 cup semiya / vermicelli
2 cup water
1 big onion, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped (optional)
1 green chilly, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
5-6 green beans, chopped
¼ cup green peas
2 sprigs coriander leaves, chopped
Salt to taste

For the tempering:
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
¾ tsp split urad dal
1 dry red chilly, broken
Pinch of asafoetida / hing
Few curry leaves


1. In a pan dry roast the vermicelli over low- medium flame till its turns golden color. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

2. In the same pan heat oil and add mustard seeds. When it crackles, add urad dal, red chilly, asafoetida, curry leaves and fry till dal turns golden.

3. Then add onion, green chilly and fry till the onions become soft. Add carrot, beans, green peas and salt. Fry for 3-4 minutes.

4. Then add tomato and fry for a minute. Then add water and bring to boil. Add the roasted vermicelli and quickly mix it.

5. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook until the vermicelli is soft and all the water evaporates, around 6-7 minutes.

6. Cook uncovered for 1-2 minutes, then add coriander leaves and mix. Remove from heat.

Notes and Tips
  • Vermicelli should be properly roasted otherwise upma will become sticky and mushy.
  • You can add other vegetables like potato, cauliflower and capsicum.
  • Adding tomato is optional. If you want a bit of tangy flavor, you can squeeze some lemon at the end.

Blueberry Orange Smoothie

It's been a while since I posted a smoothie recipe on my blog. I love smoothies, as they are so easy and quick to put together and a healthy way to kick start the day. You don't really need to measure out the ingredients, just add fruits or vegetables you like with milk or yogurt. Pair with a toast or sandwich to make a filling breakfast.

I had a pack of blueberries and orange lying, so thought to give this combination a try. The smoothie turned out really good with a refreshing flavor. This naturally sweet blueberry orange smoothie is high in antioxidants and vitamin C. One glass of this high fiber smoothie gets you off to a good start in the morning and also meets your daily fruit quota. Also check out this blueberry banana smoothie, another simple and nutritious smoothie.


{ Blueberry smoothie with orange juice and banana-flavored greek yogurt }
Serves 2


1 cup blueberry, fresh or frozen
¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
½ cup banana-flavored low fat greek yogurt
¼ tsp vanilla essence


Add all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. If the smoothie is too thick, thin it out adding little more orange juice or low-fat milk.

Notes and Tips
  • You can also use plain greek yogurt and add 2-3 banana slices to get a light banana flavor.
  • Instead of yogurt, you can add ½ cup milk. In this case, add a small banana for thickening the smoothie.

Chickpea Crackers

Crackers has been on my list to try for long time. When Priya chose crackers as the theme for this month's Home Bakers Challenge, I was very happy. Crackers are crisp and flat biscuits, that can be eaten on their own or served with dips or cheese. It can be plain or flavored with herbs, seeds or cheese. She suggested 4 recipes, out of which I tried the chickpea crackers.

These chickpea crackers are really additive. First time, I made a small batch and it got over in no time, so next time I doubled the quantity. These homemade crackers are much healthier than the store brought ones. They are very easy to make and does not need much time too. Store them in airtight containers and the crackers will stay crisp for many days.


{ Spiced chickpea crackers with thyme, garlic and onion powder }
Recipe Source ~ Versatile Vegetarian Kitchen
Yields 60 crackers


1 ½ cup all-purpose flour / maida
½ cup chickpea flour / besan
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp red chilly powder
½ tsp red chilly flakes
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
6 tbsp olive oil
5-6 tbsp water


1. In a large bowl add all-purpose flour, chickpea flour, sugar, salt, thyme, chilly powder, chilly flakes, garlic powder, onion powder and mix well.

2. Then add olive oil and mix well into the dough. Then add 1 tablespoon water at a time and make a dough. The dough need not be very smooth. It is fine if its little crumbly.

3. Preheat the oven to 170 C | 325 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough very thin, about 1/8-inch thick . Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut into 1" squares. Or use a cookie cutter of your desired shape.

5. Place them on the baking sheet, leaving little space in between them. Bake for 10 minutes and then rotate the pan. Continue baking for another 5 minutes or until lightly golden.

6. Let the crackers cool completely. Transfer them to an airtight container.

Notes and Tips
  • Garlic powder, onion powder and thyme are optional. Also you can add any herb you like.
  • Keep watching the crackers closely after rotating as they can quickly turn from golden color to dark brown-black.
  • I made them little spicy , so adjust the spice levels according to your taste.

Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich

Avocados are considered one of the healthiest foods because of its high nutrient value. Most of the fruits mainly consists of carbohydrates, while avocados are high in healthy fats and low in sugar, which helps in reducing bad cholesterol and lowers heart diseases. Avocados are an excellent source of vitamins and dietary fiber. 

At first I didn't like the taste of avocado, but now I'm in love with this wonder fruit. Avocados add a creamy and rich texture to any dish. I make this avocado and egg salad sandwich often for breakfast. You can serve the salad alone as a side to roti or as a filling for wraps. This sandwich along with a glass of fresh juice and bowl of fruits makes a healthy and filling breakfast. 


{ Sandwich with avocado and egg salad with a light dressing of mayonnaise and mustard sauce }
Serves 2


1 large avocado
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
1 tbsp light mayonnaise
½ tsp mustard sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
1/8 tsp red chilly powder
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
4 bread slices
Few lettuce leaves


1. Cut the avocado into half and remove the pit. Scoop out the flesh and cut them into small cubes. Cut the eggs into small cubes. Add them into a bowl and lightly mash them.

2. In a small bowl add mayonnaise, mustard sauce, lemon juice, coriander leaves, red chilly powder, salt and pepper. Whisk well.

3. Add this dressing to the avocado and egg mixture. Gently toss and mix well.

4. Remove the sides of the bread. Place lettuce leaves and then top it with 3-4 tablespoons of the avo-egg mixture. Put the other bread slice.

Notes and Tips
  • You can use any mustard sauce. Adjust the quantity according to your taste. I have used American mustard sauce here which is slightly mild than Dijon mustard.
  • You can also toast the bread lightly if you prefer.
  • You can use this salad as a filling for wraps also. Top the salad with finely sliced onion and tomato.
  • If you don't eat egg, you can skip the egg and make an avocado salad too.

Keerai Molagootal

Hope you all had a great diwali and enjoyed the food, lighting lamps and bursting crackers. After having the ghee-laden sweets and savories, I wanted to make something simple, light and healthy. I had a bunch of palak that was waiting to be used up, so I decided to make my all-time favorite palak molagootal.

Molagootal is a traditional and popular Palakkad Iyer dish. It is a mildly spiced dish made of vegetables or greens cooked in a coconut and lentil gravy. It is slightly different from kootu in terms of ingredients and consistency. You can use a mix of vegetables like ashgourd, carrot, potato, drumstick or just with cabbage or any greens. Today I'm sharing molagootal with palak/spinach. This is a very healthy dish packed with the goodness of spinach. Serve this molagootal with hot steaming rice and any thogayal or pachadi.


{ Spinach in a lentil and coconut gravy}
Serves 3


1 big bunch spinach / palak (about 200g / 4 cups)
½ cup toor dal
¼ tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste

To grind:
½ tsp oil
2 dry red chillies
2 tsp urad dal
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ cup grated coconut

For the tempering:
1 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp split urad dal
2 dry red chillies
Few curry leaves


1. Wash the spinach leaves well and let it rest in the colander for few minutes to drain. Then finely chop the leaves.

2. Pressure cook the toor dal with 1 cup water and a pinch of turmeric powder for 3 whistles. Mash the dal and set aside.

3. In a small pan, heat ½ tsp oil and add red chillies and urad dal. Fry till dal turns golden. Once it cools, grind with jeera and coconut to a smooth paste adding little water.

4. In a vessel add the spinach, turmeric powder and about 1 cup water. Cook the spinach uncovered over medium-low heat.

5. Once spinach is cooked, add ground coconut paste. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add mashed dal, salt and mix well. Add water if required. Bring to boil and simmer for 3-4 minutes.

6. In a small pan heat oil and add mustard seeds. When it crackles, add urad dal, red chillies and curry leaves. When dal turns golden, pour over the molagootal.

Notes and Tips
  • I have used palak keerai here, you can also use murungai keerai (drumstick leaves), arai keerai, mulai keerai or paruppu keerai.
  • After adding the dal, if its very thick then only add water and adjust the consistency.