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Cabbage Kootu | Cabbage Moong Dal Kootu

Kootu is a South Indian stew made with vegetables, lentils and a ground coconut paste. It's very healthy, light and mildly spiced dish and we usually serve with spicy and tangy gravies like vatha kuzhambu and puli kuzhambu. It also goes well with rasam and thogayal. There's no such rule kootu can be made with specific vegetables only, you can make with your choice of vegetables and greens.

Cabbage is one vegetable not liked by many, mainly because of its smell. Though I don't hate cabbage, I don't prefer it much. I like it most in the form of cabbage thoran (stir-fry). And this kootu is another way to use up cabbage. I know, a kootu with cabbage sounds boring, but trust me it tastes really good. The addition of ginger and fennel seeds add lot more flavor to the otherwise bland cabbage. It goes well with rice and vatha kuzhambu, or you can have it with roti too. Let's see how to make this simple and healthy cabbage kootu.

Check out other kootu recipes:


{ South Indian style stew with cabbage, lentil and coconut }
Serves 3


1 ½ cup finely chopped cabbage
¼ cup yellow moong dal
¼ tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste

To grind:
⅓ cup grated coconut
3 green chillies
½-inch ginger, chopped
1/8 tsp fennel seeds / perumjeerakam (optional)
½  tsp rice powder

To temper:
2 tsp coconut oil
½  tsp mustard seeds
½  tsp split urad dal
1 dry red chilly, broken
Few curry leaves


1. Wash the moong dal and soak it for 15 minutes. Add to a pressure cooker with cabbage, turmeric powder, ½ cup water and pressure cook for 2 whistles.

2. Grind coconut, green chillies, ginger, fennel seeds and rice flour to a paste adding little water.

3. Add the ground coconut paste, salt to the cabbage-moong dal and bring everything to boil. Cook for 5-6 minutes.

4. In a pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds. When it crackles, add urad dal, red chilly, curry leaves and pour over kootu.

Notes and Tips
  • Do not add more water while cooking the cabbage. The cabbage will release water while cooking.
  • I like this kootu little spicy, so added 3 green chillies. You can reduce the chillies according to your spice preference.
  • Adding fennel seeds is optional. But I would recommend it as it adds a nice flavor to the kootu. But do not add more as it can be quite overpowering.

Achari Gobi | Pickled Cauliflower Curry

I wonder if there's anyone who doesn't love cauliflower? It's such a versatile and healthy vegetable that can be used to make a variety of dishes and pairs well with other veggies too. I love it any form - be it a simple stir fry, curry, paratha or the more indulgent ones like manchurian, pakoda or gobi 65. Most days, I make a simple stir-fry or a simple curry with onion tomato base or my all-time favorite - cauliflower kurma.

Today's recipe is a spicy and delicious cauliflower curry flavored with pickling spices. The cauliflower florets are cooked in a onion-tomato gravy with pickling spices. The pickling spices add a unique flavor to the curry and don't skip the lemon juice at the end which adds more pickle flavor. The curry is quite spicy from the chillies and other spices, so please adjust them accordingly to adjust your palate. Serve hot with chapathi / roti, naan or rice.


{ Cauliflower cooked in a onion tomato gravy with pickling spices }
Serves 3


½ of a medium cauliflower
2 tbsp oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds / jeera
Big pinch of asafoetida / hing
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
¾ cup tomato puree
¼ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp coriander powder
Salt to taste
1 tbsp yogurt
1 tsp lemon juice
2-3 coriander sprigs, finely chopped

For the pickling spice:
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds / jeera
½ tsp nigella seeds /kalonji
½ tsp fennel seeds / saunf
¼ fenugreek seeds / methi
2-3 dry red chillies


1. Cut the cauliflower in medium size florets. Boil water with salt and soak the florets for 3-4 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. Dry roast the pickling spices in medium heat until nice aroma comes. Once cool, grind them to a powder.

3. In a kadai, heat oil and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and asafoetida. When it splutters, add onion and fry till soft.

4. Add ginger-garlic paste and fry till raw smell goes. Add tomato puree, turmeric powder, coriander powder, spice powder, salt and mix well.

5. Cook in low-medium heat for about 5-7 minutes or till the masala is cooked and oil starts to separate.

6. Add the cauliflower florets and mix well. Cover and cook for 4-6 minutes or till the cauliflower florets are cooked.

7. Add yogurt and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and add lemon juice, coriander leaves and mix.

Notes and Tips
  • If you prefer less spice, reduce the number of red chillies.
  • Take care not to overcook the vegetable. Stir once or twice in between, to make sure its evenly cooked.
  • I used 2 large tomatoes to make the puree. You can also dilute 2 tbsp tomato paste with water to make ¾ cup puree.

Cantaloupe Mango Mint Smoothie | Rockmelon Mango Smoothie

It's officially summer in Australia, and the first thing that comes to my mind when I hear summer is mangoes. Though I don't like the hot dry weather, mangoes are only thing that excites me about summer. Now if you are a regular follower of the blog, you know how much I love smoothies. If you don't like to eat fruits as such, or have fussy kids at home, smoothies are the best way to incorporate fruits in your daily diet. Check out my other smoothie recipes too.

Today's smoothie is a refreshing one with mango, cantaloupe and a slight hint of mint. Cantaloupe, also know as rock melon or musk melon in India, pairs really with the mango and the mint leaves adds a lovely freshness to the smoothie. So next time you have these fruits at home, try this combination and you will love it. 


{ Low fat smoothie with rockmelon, mango and mint }
Serves 2


1 heaped cup cantaloupe, cubes
1 mango, peeled and cubed
1 ½ cup low-fat milk
Few mint leaves
Honey/Sugar as needed


In a blender, add all the ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour into glass and serve immediately.

Notes and Tips
  • You can add more milk if you prefer the smoothie to be less thick.

Vegetable Hakka Noodles

Vegetable hakka noodles is one of the most popular dishes served in Indian restaurants. Its an Indo-Chinese dish made with hakka noodles, vegetables and Chinese sauces. The noodles is very mildly flavored with spices and sauces, so it's usually paired with manchurian like gobi manchurian or vegetable manchurian or other Indo-Chinese gravies. But it's tastes good by itself too. 

Recreating a restaurant style Indo-Chinese dish at home is quite easy and healthier too. A good wok plays an important role in getting the smokey flavor we get in restaurants. Other key things are not to overcook the noodles and vegetables, and use the right quantity of sauces. After a few trial and errors, I think I got it almost like how it tastes in restaurants. So if you love Indo-Chinese give this a try at home and let me know how u like it.


{ Indo Chinese style noodles with vegetables and Chinese sauces }
Serves 2


150 gm hakka noodles
2 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
¼ cup spring onion (white part), chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
½ tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 small carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 small green capsicum, cut into strips
5-6 green beans, sliced thinly
1 cup shredded cabbage
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp green chilly sauce
1 tsp pepper powder
½ tsp sugar
¼ cup spring onion (green part), chopped
1 tsp white vinegar
Salt to taste


1. Cook the noodles according to the instructions in the packet. Drain and wash in cold water. Drain well and spread on a plate. Drizzle 1 tsp oil.

2. Heat a large wok in medium-high heat and add garlic, ginger and white part of spring onion. Fry for a minute.

3. Add the carrot, beans and fry for a minute. Then add cabbage, capsicum and fry for 2-3 minutes.

4. Add the soy sauce, green chilly sauce, pepper powder, sugar, salt. Cook for 1 minute.

5. Add the noodles and toss well. Cook for 2 minutes and add the green part of spring onion and white vinegar.
Notes and Tips
  • Make sure the veggies are not overcooked and retain their crunchiness.
  • Adjust the green chilly sauce and pepper powder according to you spice preference.

Javvarisi Payasam | Sago Payasam | Sabudana Kheer

Wish you all a very Happy New Year. Let this new year bring you loads of happiness, good health and prosperity. Like every year, this year also I'm starting with a sweet post. Today's recipe is a rich, creamy and delicious payasam with sago / tapioca pearls, which can be made during any auspicious occasions, festivals and for neivedhyam (offering to God).

Sago is known as javvarisi in Tamil, sabudana in Hindi and chowwary in Malayalam. Sago is typically used to make puddings/desserts, khichdi and vada in Indian cuisine. Depending on the size of the sago, the soaking times will vary. The sago I got from the Indian store was small, so I soaked for just 30 minutes. I will update the post later with the picture of the sago I used. Try this easy and delicious sago payasam and let me know how you like it.


{ Sago and milk pudding }
Serves 3


½ cup javvarisi / sago
2 ½ cup full cream milk
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp cardamom powder
2 tsp ghee
1 tbsp broken cashews
1 tbsp raisins


1. Soak the sago in enough water for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside. Boil the milk and keep it ready.

2. In a heavy bottomed vessel, heat 1 tsp ghee and add the cashews. Fry the cashews till golden and set aside. Add the raisins and fry till they puff up. Set aside.

3. Add the remaining ghee and sago. Fry for 2 minutes. Then add water and 1 cup milk and cook till the sago turns transparent and soft.

4. Add the remaining milk and bring to boil. Turn the heat to medium and add the sugar. Mix well till the sugar dissolves completely.

5. Add the cardamom powder and cook till the payasam thickens to your desired consistency. Garnish with fried cashews and raisins.

Notes and Tips
  • Depending on the variety of sago, the soaking times may vary. Mine was small, so I soaked for 30 minutes only.
  • Frying the sago avoids the sago clumping together while cooking.
  • The payasam thickens as it sits, keep extra ½ cup boiled milk ready to add if the payasam is too thick while serving.