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Tomato Dosa | Thakkali Dosai

For a South Indian, idli and dosa are the staple food for breakfast and dinner, so idli-dosa batter is always stocked up. But there are times when we forgot to soak the rice and lentils and then we break our heads thinking what to cook for breakfast and dinner. Instant and no-ferment dosa and idli comes as a saviour during those times. 

Today's recipe is one such dosa which does not require any fermentation. I can't call this is an instant dosa as it need few hours of soaking rice and lentils. This tomato dosa is a nice variation to the regular dosa and kids would love the pretty color of the dosa. Tomato adds a tanginess that we get in our regular dosa. The dosa does not turn hard even after it gets cold. Serve with sambar and chutney of your choice. I served with mint coconut chutney which paired well these tomato dosa. Check out other dosa recipes too.


{ South Indian crepe (dosa) with tomatoes, rice and spices }
Makes 10-12 dosa


1 cup raw rice
¼ cup whole urad dal
3 - 4 dry red chillies
¼ cup poha / aval
4 large tomatoes, chopped
½ tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp asafoetida / hing
Salt to taste


1. Wash the rice and urad dal together. Soak along with the red chillies for 4 hours.

2. Soak the poha in little water until soft just before grinding.

3. Drain the water from rice and urad dal. Add to a mixie jar along with red chillies, tomato, poha, cumin seeds, pepper, asafoetida and salt.

4. Grind to a smooth batter, adding little water only if required.

5. Heat a dosa tawa and take a ladle full of batter. Spread into a thin dosa and drizzle some oil.

6. Once the dosa is cooked and turned brown and crisp, flip the dosa and cook the other side.

Notes and Tips
  • I prefer the dosa to be little spicy, if you prefer less spice, reduce the red chillies.
  • Use ripe red tomatoes that are slightly tangy.

Trevti Dal | Gujarati Three Lentil Dal

Trevti dal is a simple and quick Gujarati dal made with a combination of 3 lentils - chana dal (split bengal gram), toor dal (split pigeon peas) and moong dal (split yellow gram). It's very mildly spiced dal and is a no-onion no garlic dal. You can serve this dal along with roti/phulka or rice/jeera rice and any sabzi. 

Usually when I make dal, I add lots of garlic and make a onion-tomato base with little spices. When I saw this dal in Tarla Dalal's space, I was intrigued by the recipe, as it had no garlic, onion or any other masala. I thought the dal will be bland, but the tempering added a nice flavor to the dal. I served the trevti dal with jeera rice, roti and potato cluster beans fry. Off to the recipe now.


{ Mildly spiced Gujarati three lentil dal }
Serves 3


¼ cup chana dal / split bengal gram
¼ cup toor dal
¼ cup yellow moong dal / split yellow gram
½ tbsp ghee
1 tbsp oil
1 bayleaf
2 cloves
½ tsp cumin seeds / jeera
2 dry red chillies, broken into pieces
¼ tsp asafoetida / hing
1-inch ginger, grated
3-4 green chillies, finely chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt to taste
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves


1.Wash the dals, add 1½ cups of water, turmeric powder and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles. Once pressure subsides, open and mash the dals.

2. Heat ½ tbsp oil in a kadai. Add ginger, green chillies and tomato. Fry till the tomato is soft and mushy.

3. Add the mashed dal, salt and water as required. Bring to boil and simmer for 5-8 minutes.

4. In a small pan, heat ghee and remaining oil. Add bayleaf, cloves, cumin seeds, red chillies and asafoetida.

5. When cumin crackles, pour the tempering into the dal. Add lemon juice, coriander leaves and mix.

Notes and Tips
  • Adjust green chillies according to your spice preference.
  • My chillies were mild, so I added red chilly powder in the tempering.

Nei Appam | Neyyappam

Nei appams are small sweet fritters made of rice, jaggery, banana and cardamom, which are fried in ghee in a special pan called Æbleskiver or paniyaram pan or appa karal. Nei appam is one of the most important neivedhyam (offering) made during festivals like Krishna Jayanthi and Karthigai Deepam and on auspicious occasions in our home.

Karthigai deepam falls on 25th November this year. Nei appam and pori urundai are the offerings made during this festival. The nei appam batter generally does not need fermentation, but if you have time, set aside the batter for few hours and this will give you soft appams. Nei appams are so addictive, you just can't stop eating them. Try this delicious nei appams for this Karthigai and enjoy with family.

Also see other Karthigai Deepam recipes:


{ South Indian fritters with rice, jaggery, banana and ghee }
Yields 21 


1 cup raw rice
1 cup grated jaggery
1 small banana, chopped
3 - 4 cardamom
2 tbsp coconut bits / thenga kothu
Ghee as needed


1. Wash and soak the rice for 3 hours. Spread on a cloth for 15-20 minutes. Or leave in a strainer / colander for 30 minutes.

2. In a saucepan, add the jaggery, 3 tbsp water and melt the jaggery. Remove and strain for any impurities. Set aside to cool.

3. Add the rice, cardamom to a mixie jar and grind it to a powder. Then add banana, half of the jaggery syrup and grind to a smooth batter.

4. Transfer to a vessel and add remaining jaggery. Mix well and set aside for 1 hour.

5. Heat a paniyaram pan and add 1 tsp ghee in each hole. Pour batter in each hole and cook in medium-low heat for 1-2 minutes.

6. Once the bottom side is golden, turn the appam gently with a skewer. Cook till the other side also turns golden brown.

7. Using a skewer, remove the appams and drain on a paper towel. Once cooled, store in an airtight container.

Notes and Tips
  • Do not heat the jaggery syrup too much. Once the jaggery melts, immediately remove it.
  • Do not add more water to melt jaggery.
  • You can also use half oil and half ghee instead of  adding full ghee.
  • The batter should be thick and flowing, similar to dosa batter consistency.
  • This batter does not require any fermentation. But if you have time, set the batter aside for few hours and it will give soft appams.

Chammanthi Podi | Coconut Chutney Powder | Thengai Podi

Chammanthi podi is a condiment from Kerala which is prepared from shredded coconut, urad dal (black gram), red chillies and other spices. In olden times, this was made by pounding the ingredients in a traditional stone mortar and pestle. This definitely tastes better than the ones ground in our regular mixer. This is usually served with rice and kanji (porridge) but also goes with idli and dosa.

The ingredients varies from house to house and today I'm sharing the way how we make at home. This is a no-onion no-garlic recipe. This spicy powder comes really handy when you are lazy to cook up a meal. Just mix with rice and add ghee or sesame oil or mix with curd rice - whatever way it's tastes delicious. Even if you can't get fresh grated coconut, you can try this one with dry shredded coconut. You can make this in bulk and store in airtight container for months.


{ Kerala style spicy condiment with coconut, urad dal and spices }
Makes 250 grams


2 cup grated coconut
½ cup whole urad dal / black gram
10-12 dry red chillies
Gooseberry-size tamarind
1 tsp asafoetida / hing / perugayam
2 sprigs curry leaves
Salt to taste


1. In a pan, add the urad dal and dry roast in medium heat until the dal turns golden brown. Transfer to a plate to cool.

2. Add the red chillies and fry till they are crisp. Transfer to the plate.

3. Add the asafoetida, tamarind and curry leaves and fry for few seconds. Transfer to the plate.

4. Add the coconut and fry till the coconut turns light golden brown. Transfer to another plate to cool.

5. Now in a mixie jar, add urad dal, red chillies, asafoetida, tamarind, curry leaves, salt and grind till it is powdered well.

6. Then add coconut and pulse 2-3 times of grind for few seconds to a coarse powder. Once cool, store in an airtight container.

Notes and Tips
  • Adjust red chillies according to your spice preference.
  • You can also add a small piece of jaggery while grinding to add a hint of sweetness.

Thai Basil Fried Rice

Thai food is one of our favorite cuisines. Of course, after Indian food! I love the flavors in Thai cuisine - the coconut milk, fresh herbs and spices. Whenever we go to Thai restaurants, fried rice is one thing I love to order. Unlike the Chinese fried rice, Thai fried rice is packed full of lovely flavors and doesn't really need any side dish to go with it.

Today's recipe is a Thai style spicy fried rice with loads of veggies and basil leaves. I adapted the recipe from here and tweaked a bit to suit our taste buds. I prefer to use cold rice for fried rice always, otherwise freshly cooked rice can sometimes turn bit mushy. You can add any vegetables you got in your hand. If you have leftover rice and prepped all your veggies, this fried rice can be prepared in 15-20 minutes. I love to serve with fresh cucumber slices to balance out all the spice. Off to the recipe!


{ Thai style fried rice with vegetables and basil leaves }
Serves 3-4


1 cup jasmine rice / short grain rice
2 tbsp oil
2 garlic, finely chopped
½ inch ginger, grated
1 red chilly, finely chopped
1 medium onion, sliced
½ red capsicum (bell pepper)
½ yellow capsicum (bell pepper)
1 cup broccoli florets
1 small carrot, cut into matchsticks
8-10 green beans, cut into 1 ½ long pieces
10-12 mushrooms, sliced
3 tsp sambal paste / red chilly paste
1 tsp soy sauce
½ tsp sugar
½ cup packed basil leaves, roughly chopped
Salt to taste


1. Wash the rice well and cook the rice until soft and grains are separated. Spread on a plate and let it cool completely.

2. In a large wok, heat oil and add garlic, ginger and red chilly. Fry for 30 seconds. Then add onion and fry for 3-4 minutes.

3. Add all the vegetables and fry in medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes. Add the sambal paste, soy sauce, sugar and fry for 2-3 minutes.

4. Add the cooked rice, salt and toss everything well until combined. Add basil leaves and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Notes and Tips
  • If you prefer less spice, add only 1 tsp of chilly paste or sambal.
  • You can add other vegetables like zucchini, baby corn, sugar snap peas etc.
  • To get non sticky rice, once the rice is cooked, cool it and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • You can scramble eggs and add to the rice at the end.

Mullu Murukku | Muthusaram | Dal Chakli

For this year's Diwali, murukku was one thing on my to-do list. There are different variety of murukku and I wanted to try something that is pretty much simple. Mullu murukku or also known as muthusaram in Brahmin households, is an easy murukku recipe made with rice flour, moong dal and chana dal. This murukku is usually made for auspicious occasions and festivals like Krishna Jayanthi and Diwali.

I always thought making murukku at home was a difficult process. But making this mullu murukku was really a breeze. The main key point in making this mullu murukku is the dough consistency. Make sure you sieve all the flours well and add just enough water to make a soft dough. Add this easy mullu murukku to your list of Diwali snacks and enjoy a safe Diwali with family.


{ Indian deep fried snack made with rice flour, lentils and spices }
Makes 35-40


3 cup rice flour
½ cup yellow moong dal / paasi paruppu
¼ cup chana dal / kadalai paruppu
1 tsp cumin seeds / jeera
1 tsp black sesame seeds / karutha ellu
½ tsp asafoetida / hing
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp hot oil
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying


1. Dry roast the moong dal and chana dal separately until nice aroma comes. Cool and grind to a fine powder.

2. In a large bowl, sieve rice flour and moong and chana dal powder. Add cumin seeds, sesame seeds, asafoetida, salt, butter and hot oil.

3. Mix well with hands till butter is incorporated well. Add water little by little and make a smooth and soft dough.

4. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and cover with a wet cloth to prevent drying.

5. Heat oil for deep frying. Take the murukku press and insert the star disc. Fill the murukku press with one portion of the dough.

6. Grease two (or three) ladles. Squeeze murukku in circles on the greased ladles. You can also directly squeeze into hot oil.

7. Gently slide into the oil and cook in medium heat. Fry both sides till murukku turns golden brown and the bubbles cease. Drain on a paper towel.

Notes and Tips
  • The dough should be soft enough to squeeze through the hole. If the dough is hard and tight, sprinkle few drops of water and make the dough soft.
  • If the dough is too soft, it will be difficult to squeeze and will break. Add 1 tsp of rice flour and knead the dough again.
  • Keep the dough covered with a wet cloth all the time, otherwise it will dry up and become hard.
  • The oil should be hot when you squeeze in. Turn down the heat to medium while cooking the murukku.

Thengai Burfi | Coconut Burfi

Thengai / coconut burfi is one sweet that we make every year for Diwali at home. Thengai burfi is a very quick and simple sweet with coconut, sugar and cardamom. Unlike other Indian traditional sweets which require lots of ghee, this coconut burfi needs just a tablespoon of ghee.

Making thengai burfi is so easy that even beginners can try this sweet. The burfi tastes best when made with fresh coconut but it comes out well with frozen shredded coconut too. Check out the notes and tips section if you using frozen coconut. So try this delicious coconut burfi for this Diwali and enjoy with family.


{ Indian fudge with coconut, sugar and cardamom }
Yields 6-8 pieces


1 cup fresh grated coconut
1 cup sugar
¼ tsp cardamom powder
1 tbsp ghee


1. Pulse the coconut in the mixie jar until coarse. Do not make into a paste. Grease a plate or tray with ghee and set aside.

2. Take a wide bottomed non-stick pan and add sugar, 14/ cup water. Mix well till sugar dissolves completely. Keep stirring and cook till one string consistency is reached.

3. Add coconut and mix well. Keep stirring till the mixture starts to thicken. At this stage, add ghee and cardamom powder.

4. Keep stirring until it thickens and forms a mass. Remove from heat and immediately pour into the greased tray.  When it becomes slightly warm, cut into squares.

Notes and Tips
  • To check one string consistency, wet your fingers and take a drop of syrup in between your thumb and index finger. If a single string is formed between the fingers, it means syrup has reached one string consistency.
  • To get white coconut burfi, while scraping the coconut do not grate the brown portions.
  • If using frozen coconut or dry shredded coconut, add ¼ cup water and microwave for 30 seconds. Drain excess water and use this water to dissolve sugar.