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Poosanikai Moru Kootan | White Pumpkin Buttermilk Curry

Moru kootan is a typical Tamil Brahmin recipe. Its a yogurt based dish with vegetables, buttermilk and ground coconut, chillies and spices. This is different from mor kuzhambu and moru curry in terms of the spices used for grinding. Moru kootan is typically prepared with ashgourd / white pumpkin (elavan), but chow chow (chayote) or bottlegourd can also be used instead. Other vegetables that can be used  are colocasia (chembu), tomato and ladies finger (okra)

Moru kootan is my favorite South Indian curry and one of the most easiest and quickest curry for rice. Paruppu usili or a spicy potato fry is the best combination for this buttermilk curry. But any mezhukkupurati or thoran/poriyal also goes well this. Moru kootan should be prepared only with sour curd. In case if your curd isn't that sour, my mom's tip is to add a marble sized tamarind while grinding the coconut paste. 


{ Ashgourd in a sour buttermilk gravy with ground coconut and spices }
Serves 2-3


1 cup heaped poosanikai / ashgourd / white pumpkin
1 cup thick sour curd
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red chilly powder
Salt to taste

To grind:
½ cup grated coconut
3-4 green chillies
¼ tsp cumin seeds / jeera

For tempering:
1 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 dry red chillies
1 sprig curry leaves
¼ tsp vendhayam / methi seeds / fenugreek seeds


1. Grind coconut, green chillies and jeera to a smooth paste addling little water. Set aside.

2. Remove the pumpkin skin and cut them into cubes. Add 1 cup water to the curd and whisk to a buttermilk consistency.

3. Heat a kadai and add the pumpkin, turmeric powder, red chilly powder, salt and little water.

4. Once the pumpkin is cooked, add the curd and keep stirring in medium heat for 1-2 minutes.

5. Add the coconut paste, salt and cook for another 3-4 minutes in low-medium heat, stirring in between. Do not boil.

6. In a small pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds. When it splutters add red chillies, methi seeds and pour into the curry.

Notes and Tips
  • Do not boil the curd. It should be cooked in a low to medium heat. 
  • Instead of thick curd, you can use 2 cups of buttermilk. Make sure its sour.
  • If your curd or buttermilk is not sour, grind ¼ tsp of tamarind paste with the coconut.

Blueberry Almond Streusel Galette

Though I love baking, I don't bake much. There are so many things on my list to bake, but I always need some kind of push to bake. Tempted by all the wonderful things my fellow bloggers baked, I joined a baking group called Baking Partners. Last month's challenge was bagels and I really wanted to try them. But due to some personal things, I couldn't make them and I didn't want this month's challenge at any cost. For this month, Suja of Kitchen Corner Try It suggested to make a sweet or savory galette.

A galette is a French term that refers to a flat round cakes with a flaky pastry. I wanted to try a savory galette, but when I saw this blueberry galette recipe, I fixed my mind. The galette turned out really good, it was not overly sweet and the combination of blueberry and almonds was just amazing. This dessert has lot of butter and sugar, but it's fine to indulge once in a while, so do try it for some special occasion. Enjoy the gaette by itself or serve with icecream or whipped cream.


{ Blueberry galette with a almond streusel topping }
Recipe Source ~ Two Peas and Their Pod
Serves 6-8


For the galette dough:
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup coarse semolina
⅓ cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
½ cup / 113g cold butter
⅓ cup buttermilk

For the filling:
2 cup blueberries
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp corn flour

For the streusel topping:
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp almond meal
¼ tsp almond extract
1 tablespoon butter
2 tbsp sliced almonds

1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp turbinado sugar


To make the dough:

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, semolina, sugar and salt. Grate the butter and mix with hands until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

2. Add the buttermilk slowly and bring everything together to form a ball. Wrap with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.

To make filling:

Combine blueberries, sugar and corn flour in a bowl and set aside.

To make the streusel:

In a bowl combine flour, brown sugar, almond meal, almond extract and sliced almonds. Grate the butter and mix with hands until well combined.

To assemble galatte:

1. Preheat oven to 180 °C | 350 °F.

2. Remove the dough from fridge and place on a parchment paper. Roll the dough into a 14-15 inch circle.

3. Place the blueberries in the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Sprinkle the almond streusel over the blueberries.

4. Fold the border over the blueberries, pleating where necessary and pressing gently to adhere the folds. Lightly brush the dough with the egg and sprinkle turbinado sugar.

5. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool before slicing.

Notes and Tips
  • You can make the galette dough in advance. Keep for 10 minutes at room temperature before rolling.
  • For the srreusel topping, almond meal and essence is optional. 
  • You can use coarse cornmeal instead of semolina.
baking partners 

Strawberry Kiwi Smoothie

If you are a regular follower of my blog, you will know how much I love to try different combinations of smoothies. Today I have come up with a delicious and nutrient packed smoothie with strawberry, kiwi, banana and almonds, which is perfect to have after your workouts or as breakfast. You can make this smoothie more healthy by adding chia seeds or flax seeds. If you are interested, look through other smoothie recipes here.

Strawberries are packed with antioxidants and vitamins that help to reduce the risk of heart diseases, diabetes and cancer. Kiwis contain more vitamin C than oranges, and is an excellent source of other vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. Bananas add a natural sweetness and thickness to the smoothie, and aids in digestion along with many other health benefits. You can enjoy this smoothie any time of the day! Now let's see how to make this healthy and yummy smoothie.


{ Smoothie with strawberry, kiwi, banana and yogurt }
Serves 2-3


10-12 strawberries, chopped
2 kiwi, peeled and chopped
1 small banana, chopped
¾ cup yogurt
¼ milk
5-6 almonds


1. Add banana, yogurt, almonds to a blender and blend until smooth.

2. Then add strawberries, kiwi, milk and blend until smooth. Pour into glass and serve immediately.

Notes and Tips
  • If the smoothie is too thick, thin out the smoothie adding more milk.
  • You can add honey or any natural sweeteners if you want some extra sweetness.

Vendakkai Sadam | Bhindi Rice | Spicy Okra Rice

Packing lunch for kids and adults can sometimes be a dilemma. We have to come up with something tasty but at the same time it should be filling and healthy too. I usually make pulao and other variety rice like tomato rice, lemon rice for lunch box. I like to experiment with different vegetables and spices, so that it does not taste the same each time. 

Sambar powder is a versatile spice powder, it can be used for curries, stir fry's and even to make variety rice dishes. I tried making rice dishes with different vegetables and the sambar powder adds a unique and good flavor. This spicy okra / lady's finger rice is easy for beginners and bachelors to try. It's so simple yet packed with flavors. It needs very few ingredients and takes very less time too. If you have leftover rice, this bhindi rice dish can be done in 15 minutes! You can also try with other vegetables like brinjal, capsicum, ivygourd (kovakkai) and bittergourd (pavakkai). Serve this vendakkai saadam hot with any vegetable stir-fry and papad or potato chips.


{ Rice with okra (lady's finger), sambar powder and spices }
Serves 2


½ cup basmati rice
1 tbsp sesame oil / nallennai
½ tsp mustard seeds
¼ tsp cumin seeds / jeera
Pinch of asafoetida / hing / perugayam
Few curry leaves
½ medium onion, chopped
½ tsp tamarind paste / marble-size tamarind
¼ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red chilly powder
3 tsp sambar powder
10-12 vendakkai / bhindi / okra
Salt to taste


1. Wash the okra and path them dry completely. Trim the ends and cut them into thin rounds.

2. 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.

3. In a pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds. When it splutters, add asafoetida, cumin seeds and curry leaves. Add onion and fry till they turn soft.

4. Dilute tamarind in 1 tbsp warm water. Add tamarind extract, turmeric powder, red chilly powder, sambar powder and fry for 2-3 minutes.

5. Add the okra and lightly saute in low-medium heat until its cooked. Then add cooked rice, salt and mix well.

Notes and Tips
  • If you prefer less spice, then add only 2 tsp of sambar powder or adjust according to your preference.
  • Sesame oil adds a nice flavor, but you can use any cooking oil.
  • Take care not to over cook the okra, it should not become mushy.

Whole Wheat English Muffins #BreadBakers

For this month's Bread Bakers challenge, Cali's Cuisine choose the theme whole grains. We had to bake any yeast or chemically leavened bread keeping at least half of the grains whole. I chose whole wheat as the whole grain and made these quick and easy English breakfast muffins.

These whole wheat English muffins are just perfect to make for your weekend breakfast as they need only 20 minutes to rise and 15 minutes to bake. You can toast the muffins and slather with your favorite jam or butter, or serve with eggs. These whole wheat muffins are great for sandwiches too. Once the muffins are cooled, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks!


{ Homemade English muffins with whole wheat flour }
Recipe Source ~ Savory Simple
Yields 10-12


1 ¾ cups whole milk
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 large egg
2 ½ cup whole wheat flour
2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp sugar
1 ¼ tsp salt
Semolina flour or cornmeal for dusting


1. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter over medium heat until the butter has melted. Set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg. Add the flours, yeast, sugar, baking soda and salt. Mix well with a wooden spatula.

3. Add the milk-butter mixture and combine everything with a wooden spatula. Knead the dough for about 5-6 minutes.

4. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and roll out to 1-inch thickness. Using a round cookie cutter, cut out the muffins, re-rolling the dough as needed.

5. Place them on a baking tray dusted with semolina flour or cornmeal. Cover with a towel and let the dough rise for 20 minutes.

6. Preheat the oven to 160 °C | 325 °F. Heat a non-stick pan and cook the muffins on low heat for about 4-5 minutes per side or until crispy and brown.

7. Place them on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes. Toast the muffins before serving.

Notes and Tips
  • I used instant yeast, so I did not proof it. If you are using active dry yeast, add to warm milk and let it sit until frothy.
  • The dough will be little sticky after kneading but do not add more flour. Generously flour the surface and cut out rounds.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to

Whole Grains themed #BreadBakers: