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Pacha Manga Chammanthi | Raw Mango Chutney

Chammanthi, a kind of thick chutney, is a popular Kerala dish. Traditionally, it is made in ammi kallu (stone grinder) which brings out the real flavor, but now-a-days we make it in our Indian mixers to save time and energy. It is served with rice or kanji (rice congee). It takes just 10 minutes to put together a chammanthi and goes well with dosa and idli too.

Pacha manga chammanthi is a sour and spicy chutney made with raw mangoes, coconut, shallots and chillies. It tastes best with kanji but you can serve with rice and any mildly spiced gravy or even curd rice. Choose mangoes that are slightly sour for this chammanthi. Also do not add water while grinding. This chammanthi involves no cooking and leftovers can be served for dinner with dosa!


{ Kerala style chutney with raw mangoes, coconut, shallots and red chillies }
Serves 3-4


½ cup raw mango pieces
1 cup fresh grated coconut
3-4 shallots / small onion
4-5 dry red chillies
½ inch ginger piece
4-5 curry leaves
Salt to taste


1. Grind mango, coconut, shallots, red chillies, ginger and salt until well incorporated without adding water.

2. Then lastly add curry leaves and pulse/grind just once. Form into a ball or transfer to a bowl.

Notes and Tips
  • Do not add water while grinding. The moisture from the mango is enough to bind everything.
  • The amount of mango to be added depends on the sourness of the mangoes. If mangoes are not so sour, add more mango pieces.
  • Adjust the amount of chillies according to your spice level. You can also use green chillies instead of red chillies.

Basbousa | Eggless Arabic Semolina Cake

Basbousa is a traditional Middle Eastern cake, also known as harissa, nammoura and revani in some Mediterranean regions. It is made of semolina soaked in a flavored sugar syrup. The sugar syrup is usually flavored with honey, rose water or orange blossom water. Basbousa has a soft texture with a slightly crunch top.

Basbousa was one of the recipes suggested by Nupur of UK Rasoi for this month's Home Bakers Challenge, a baking group started by Priya. The original recipe calls for resting the batter overnight, but I rested only for 2 hours. Medium coarse semolina works best for this cake. Coconut adds an additional flavor to this cake. The cake absorbs all the warm sugar syrup making it soft and moist. Store the cake in an airtight container. Off to the recipe now.


{ Eggless Arabic cake with semolina and coconut }
Recipe Source ~ The Cookie Shop
Yields 21 square pieces


For the syrup:
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
½ tsp lemon juice
1 tsp orange blossom water
1 tsp rosewater

For the cake:
2 cup coarse semolina / rava
1 cup caster sugar
½ cup desiccated coconut
½ tsp baking powder
3 tbsp sugar syrup (cold)
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
30 grams melted butter
Blanched almonds


To make the syrup:

1. Add the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Once it starts to boil, add the lemon juice and boil for 5 minutes.

2. Set aside to cool it. Once its cool add rosewater, orange blossom water and mix.

To make the cake:

1. Preheat oven to 200 C | 400 F. Grease a baking dish with butter.

2. In a large mixing bowl, add semolina, sugar, coconut, baking powder and mix well. Add butter, vanilla extract, sugar syrup and  mix it.

3. Gradually add the milk little by little and mix well with hands or spatula. The mixture should have a thick porridge like consistency.

4. Pour the semolina mixture into the prepared baking dish and level the top. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

5. With a knife, mark lightly into 3cm square pieces and place a blanched almond on each square piece.

6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and cut into the marked lines.

7. Bake again for another 10-15 minutes or until the sides start leaving the pan and the top browns a little.

8. Heat the sugar syrup and gently pour it over the hot cake. Allow the cake cool completely.

Notes and Tips
  • The amount of milk required depends upon the semolina. Add more or less milk accordingly to make batter with thick porridge consistency.
  • To blanch almonds, place them in boiling water for about 1 minute. Drain and immediately place into a bowl of ice water. Rub the skin to peel.

Vendhaya Keerai Sambar | Methi Leaves Sambar

Fenugreek / methi leaves are widely used in Indian cuisine and are well known for their innumerable health benefits. They are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, helps in reducing cholesterol, heart diseases and diabetes and relieves indigestion, heartburn and chronic cough. There are many more health and beauty benefits by including these leaves in our meals.

Vendhya keerai sambar is one of my favorite recipes using this healthy greens. This sambar is very delicious and the freshly ground masala adds in lots of flavor. Serve the sambar with rice and any thoran/poriyal. I made carrot beans thoran which pairs well this sambar. It goes well with idli and dosa too.


{ Fenugreek (methi) leaves sambar with freshly ground masala }
Serves 3


⅓ cup toor dal / yellow pigeon peas
1 cup vendhaya keerai / methi leaves, packed
10-12 shallots / chinna vengayam
1 medium tomato, chopped
½ tbsp tamarind paste / gooseberry-sized tamarind
¼ tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste

To roast and grind:
1 tsp oil
3-4 dry red chillies
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp chana dal / kadalai paruppu
2 tbsp grated coconut

For the tempering:
2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 dry red chillies
Pinch of asafoetida / hing
Few curry leaves


1. Wash and pressure cook the dal with 1 cup water and a pinch of turmeric powder. Mash well and set aside. Wash well the methi leaves and set aside in a colander to drain.

2. In a small pan, heat oil and add red chillies, coriander seeds and chana dal. Fry till it turns golden. Add coconut and fry for a minute. Cool and grind to a smooth paste.

3. Soak the tamarind in 1 cup warm water and extract the tamarind juice. If using tamarind paste, dissolve in 1 cup warm water.

4.  Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When it crackles, add asafoetida, red chillies and curry leaves. Add shallots and fry for 3-4 minutes. Then add tomato and fry for 2-3 minutes or until soft.

5. Add the keerai / methi leaves and saute until they just wilt. Add tamarind water, turmeric powder and salt. Bring to boil and boil until raw smell of tamarind goes.

6. Add the ground paste and mix well. Boil for few more minutes. Then add cooked dal and water as needed. Boil for another 4-5 minutes.

Notes and Tips
  • Methi leaves turn more bitter after chopping. I pluck only the leaves while cleaning, so no need to chop them.
  • Adjust red chillies according to your spice preference. The amount specified in the recipe makes a mildly spiced sambar.

Eggless Apple Cinnamon Whole Wheat Muffins

Whole wheat muffins sometimes tend to be heavy and dense, so I kind of hesitated to bake with whole wheat. But for a while now, I'm experimenting baking with whole wheat flour. I have made these apple cinnamon muffins quite a few times now, adjusting the ingredients each time, until I got happy with the texture and taste.

These apple cinnamon muffins are soft, moist and fluffy. They are loaded with small chunks of apple and spiced with cinnamon flavor. These healthy and delicious muffins are egg-free and butter-free. The sprinkle of sugar on muffins tops gives it a crunchy and sweet touch. Be careful not to over-mix the batter and develop the gluten which will end up in hard muffins. 


{ Eggless whole wheat muffins with chunky apple pieces and cinnamon }
Yields 12 muffins


1 large apple
½ tsp cinnamon powder
2 tsp all-purpose flour / maida

Dry ingredients:
1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp cinnamon powder
¼ tsp salt

Wet ingredients:
¾ cup milk
¾ cup brown sugar, packed
⅓ vegetable oil
¼ apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the topping:
1 tbsp granulated white sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 180 C | 400 F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners or grease and flour the pan.

2. Core the apple and chop them into small pieces. Transfer to a bowl and add cinnamon powder and all purpose flour. Toss well and set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl add milk and sugar. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Then add oil, apple sauce and vanilla extract. Whisk well.

4. Sift together whole wheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon powder and salt.

5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until just combined. Do not over mix.

6. Reserve few apple pieces for topping. Add the remaining to the batter and fold in the apples.

7. Fill each muffin cup about ¾th full. Top the muffins with the reserved apples. Sprinkle a pinch of sugar on each of the muffin top.

8. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place the muffin pan on a rack and allow to cool.

Notes and Tips
  • If the batter turns out too thick, add little more milk and adjust.
  • Do not over mix the batter. It is fine if there are few lumps.

Maharastrian Kadhi Gole

Kadhi is a common and popular North Indian dish. It is a thick gravy made of yogurt and chickpea flour(besan), tempered with spices. It is very easy and quick to make with minimal ingredients. Kadhi is usually served with rice and roti. In some regions it is served with khichdi too. Each state have their own version of kadhi. Kadhi gole is slightly different from the normal kadhi.

In this Maharastrian special kadhi, chana dal(split bengal gram) balls are added and cooked in the kadhi itself. Prerana of CurryIndian challenged the South team with this kadhi gole for this month's SNC. South Vs North Challenge is a monthly event started by Divya, where South and North teams challenge each other with a popular regional recipe. This kadhi can be served with rice or roti.


{ Yogurt and chickpea flour gravy with split bengal gram balls tempered with spices }
Serves 2


For the balls:
½ cup chana dal / split bengal gram
1 green chilly
½ inch ginger
2 garlic cloves
Salt to taste

For the kadhi:
1 cup yogurt
1 ½ cup water
½ tbsp sugar
Salt to taste
1 ½ tbsp besan / chickpea flour
½ inch ginger, grated

Tempering for the kadhi:
1 tbsp ghee
½ tsp mustard seeds
1 green chilly
Few curry leaves
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red chilly powder
½ tsp coriander powder
Pinch of asafoetida / hing

Tempering for the gole(balls):
1 tbsp oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds / jeera
1 small green chilly
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red chilly powder
½ tsp coriander powder


1. Soak the chana dal overnight or atleast 5-6 hours. Next day drain it and grind with green chilly, ginger, garlic and salt to a coarse mixture without adding water.

2. Transfer to a bowl and make small lemon sized balls. Set aside.

3. In a thick bottomed pan or kadai, add yogurt and water. Whisk well and make to a thin buttermilk consistency. Add sugar, salt and mix well.

4. Then add besan and whisk well until there are no lumps. Now heat this over low-medium flame, stirring occasionally.

5. Once steam starts coming out, add the grated ginger. Increase the heat to medium-high and allow the kadhi to boil, stirring in between.

6. Once the kadhi starts bubbling and rising up, gently add the chana dal balls one by one. Let the balls cook for 10-12 minutes. Do not stir or disturb the balls.

7. Once the balls are cooked they will start coming up. Remove from heat. 

8. To prepare kadhi tempering, heat ghee in a small pan and add mustard seeds. When it crackles, add green chilly and curry leaves. Then add turmeric powder, red chilly powder, coriander powder and hing. Pour into the kadhi.

9. To prepare the tempering for balls, heat oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds. When it crackles, add cumin seeds and green chilly. Then add turmeric powder, red chilly powder and coriander powder and hing. Set aside.

10. When serving, take the chana dal balls in a plate. Break them and pour the second tempering over the balls.

Notes and Tips
  • Do not add ginger to the kadhi before the steam comes out. The yogurt might curdle.
  • Add the chana dal balls only after the kadhi starts to boil, otherwise the balls will break and dissolve in the kadhi.

No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

Moving the blog to my own domain has been on my mind for long time. Finally, after lot of contemplation, I moved from blogspot to its own domain. Yes, Spill the Spices is now www.spillthespices.comOn this occasion, I want to thank my hubby for all the love, support and props!!! Also my friends and readers, for their constant encouragement and great feedback. 

No milestone in my blog is complete without something sweet. Cheesecakes have been on my to-do list for long time. And I think this is the perfect time to post a cheesecake to celebrate the occasion. This is no-bake cheesecake using agar-agar powder. You can make this cheesecake in a springform pan, but I prefer to serve them in small glasses. This is an easy dessert you can make ahead for get-together's and parties.


{ No-bake and eggless strawberry cheesecake using agar-agar  }
Recipe Source ~ Cooking Channel
Serves 4


For the biscuit base:
10 digestive biscuits
1 ½ tbsp cocoa powder
1 ½ tbsp brown sugar
50 grams butter

For the cheesecake layer:
250 grams cream cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
½ cup thickened cream
200 grams strawberries
¼ water
3 tbsp sugar
3 ½ tsp agar-agar powder

For the strawberry layer:
125 grams strawberries
2 tbsp water
1 ½ tbsp sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp agar-agar powder


To make the biscuit base:

1. Grind the biscuits with cocoa powder and brown sugar to a semi-fine powder. Melt the butter and add to the biscuit mixture. Mix well until the mixture becomes moist.

2. Spoon the mixture into the glass and press it firmly and evenly using the back of the spoon. Refrigerate till we prepare the next layer.

To make the cheesecake layer:

1. Beat the cream cheese and sugar on low-medium speed until smooth. Set aside.

2. In a bowl take the cream and whip it until medium peaks. Set aside.

3. In a saucepan add strawberries, water and sugar. Cook on medium heat until the strawberries are soft. Transfer to a blender and puree it.

4. Return the puree to the saucepan and sprinkle the agar-agar powder. Cook on low heat and keep stirring until the powder is completely dissolved.

5. Add this puree to the cream cheese mixture and beat on low speed until well incorporated. Add the whipped cream and fold gently.

6. Pour this mixture immediately into the glasses and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes or until set.

To make the strawberry layer:

1. In a saucepan add strawberries, water, sugar and vanilla extract. Cook on medium heat until the strawberries are soft. Transfer to a blender and puree it.

2. Return the puree to the saucepan and sprinkle the agar-agar powder. Cook on low heat and keep stirring until the powder is completely dissolved.

3. Spoon this mixture immediately on top of the cream cheese layer. Refrigerate for about 3-4 hours or overnight.

Notes and Tips
  • If you are using agar-agar flakes, try with 3 - 3 ½ tbsp for cheesecake layer and 1 - 1 ½ tbsp for strawberry layer. Boil for a little longer time.
  • After adding agar-agar, do not set aside. Immediately pour to the glasses and refrigerate to set.

Onion Tomato Gothsu

Gothsu is a South Indian accompaniment for idli, dosa and pongal. It is either made with kathirkkai (brinjal) or onion-tomato. Gothsu is quite similar to sambar. The difference is that gothsu contains less amount of dal and moong dal is used instead of toor dal. Today, we will see how to make onion tomato gothsu.

Onion tomato gothsu is a simple and easy side dish for idli, dosa, pongal and even upma. This gothsu can be prepared in very less time. I personally prefer gothsu over tiffin sambar. I love the sour taste with the slight hint of sweetness from the jaggery. Try this gothsu for idli or dosa and I'm sure you will fall in love with the flavors.


{ Onion, tomato and lentils in a sweet and sour gravy }
Serves 2-3


1 large onion, chopped
2 large tomato, chopped
3-4 green chillies, slit
¼ cup cooked yellow moong dal / paasi paruppu
2 tsp sambar powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red chilly powder (optional)
½ tsp powdered jaggery
2-3 sprigs coriander leaves, chopped
2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1-2 dry red chillies
1 sprig curry leaves
Salt to taste


1. Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When it splutters, add red chillies and curry leaves. Then add onion, green chiilies and saute till onions are soft.

2. Then add tomatoes and cook till they become soft. Add turmeric powder, red chilly powder, sambar powder, salt and 1 cup water.

3. Mix well and bring to boil. Simmer in low heat for 5 minutes. Then add the cooked dal and more water if its too thick.

4. Let it simmer for another 3-4 minutes. Lastly added coriander leaves and jaggery. Simmer for another minute and remove from heat.

Notes and Tips
  • Gothsu has a thin watery consistency. So if its thick, add water and adjust it.
  • If your tomatoes are not sour, add 1 or 2 tsp of tamarind paste.

Thai Peanut Tofu Noodles

Thai food is one of the most popular cuisines and one of my favorites too. Thai cuisine involves use of fresh ingredients and retains a unique flavor from all of its own. The essence of Thai food is all about balancing the flavors between sweet, sour, hot and salty. Thai cuisine is divided into five main culinary regions and each region have their own representative dishes. 

We are exploring the Northern Thai cuisine for this month's International Food Challenge. Sangeetha of Nitha's Kitchen is hosting this challenge and she chose some wonderful dishes from this region. From her choices, I made this Thai rice noodles with tofu and peanut sauce. The peanut sauce is the star of this dish - a nutty and creamy sauce with the perfect balance of spice, sweet and sour. If you love Thai food, you must definitely try this out.


{ Thai style rice noodles with tofu in a peanut sauce }
Recipe Source ~
Serves 3-4


250 gms flat rice noodles
200 gms cubed firm tofu
2 tbsp soy sauce
¼ cup julienne carrots
4-5 green beans, cut into 1" pieces
¼ cup sliced capsicum
3 green onions, sliced
½ cup bean sprouts
A handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 tbsp roasted peanuts
Vegetable oil for stir-frying

For the peanut sauce:
1 tsp tamarind paste
¼ cup water
⅓ cup dry-roasted peanuts, unsalted
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1-2 red chillies, chopped
Salt to taste


1. Place tofu in a bowl and add soy sauce. Toss well and set aside to marinate for 10-15 minutes.

2. In a blender or mixer add tamarind paste, peanuts, garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, red chillies, salt and water. Grind to a smooth and creamy sauce. Set aside.

3. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the rice noodles. Turn off the heat and let the noodles soak until edible but still firm and slightly crunchy. Drain and rinse in cold water.

4. Heat a wok or pan and add 1 tbsp oil. Add the tofu cubes and fry until lightly browned. Set aside.

5. In the same wok/pan, add ½ tbsp oil and add the carrot, beans and capsicum, Toss for 1-2 minutes and set aside.

6. In the same wok/pan, add 2-3 tbsp oil and add the noddles. Stir-fry the noodles for 1 minute. Then add 3/4th of the peanut sauce and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.

7. Add tofu, bean sprouts, vegetables, basil and remaining sauce. Adjust the salt if necessary. Stir-fry until noodles are soft. Garnish with peanuts and green onions.

Notes and Tips
  • If you don't have rice noodles, you can substitute with linguine pasta or Chinese noodles.
  • Do not to over cook the noodles in the beginning. They will break into pieces when stir-frying.