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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.


RED CAPSICUM (BELL PEPPER) CHUTNEY RECIPE

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


Ingredients:

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

Method:

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.
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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. 

GARLIC RASAM RECIPE

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


Ingredients:

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

Method:

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.
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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!

SPICED PEACH LASSI RECIPE

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


Ingredients:

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

Method:

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.
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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. 

CABBAGE MASALA RICE RECIPE

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


Ingredients:

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

Method:

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.
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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.

BOLANI RECIPE

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


Ingredients:

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

Method:

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. 
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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.

KARTHIGAI MILAGU ADAI RECIPE

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


Ingredients:

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

Method:

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.
Read More >>

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. 

PORI URUNDAI RECIPE

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


Ingredients:

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

Method:

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.
Read More >>