Friday, November 30, 2012

Chinta Chiguru(Chintaku) Podi | Tamarind Leaves Powder

My pantry is always loaded with various podi mixes and pickles which comes very handy on those days when I am very lazy to cook anything.All I need to do is to prepare some plain rice and can eat these powders and pickles mixed with hot rice and ghee which is actually a delicious meal which I crave at times.

I get most of my podi(powders) supply from my mom and pickles from my MIL on my every visit.The varieties of podis(powders) which can be eaten with rice are really vast and my mom makes very nice podis.She makes lot of other varieties of podis like Kothimir Podi(coriander leaves podi), Pudina Podi, Curry leaves Podi, Bitter gourd podi, Garlic podi, Kandi podi, Munagaaku Podi(Drumstick leaves powder) to name a few.Her Bitter gourd podi is a big hit among all those who have tasted it and have made them to change their opinion about biter gourds after they tasted her's.
Chintaku(Tamarind leaves) podi is really tasty with the natural hint of tangyness it gets from tamarind leaves.We usually store a pack of dried tamarind leaves all through the year and make this podi when ever we want.We even use dried tamarind leaves in this Onion-Chintaku palya which is a nice combo with Rice flour poori(Vadappa).
Chintaku Podi | Tamarind Leaves Podi Recipe:
shelf life: up to a month

1 heaped cup dried tender Tamarind leaves
6-8 Red chillies
1/3 cup Groundnuts
1 tbsp grated dry Coconut
1 tbsp white Sesame seeds
3-4 Garlic pods with skin(optional)
1 tsp Oil
Salt to taste
  • Use the tender tamarind leaves which are dried in sun until completely dry,might be for 2-3 days consecutively.
  • Dry roast groundnuts until the skin turns brown and once they are cool,remove the skin and keep them aside.
  • Dry roast sesame seeds and keep them aside.
  • Keep the dry coconut in sun for some time or you can even dry roast the grated dry coconut for a minute.
  • Heat oil in a kadai/pan and add red chillies and remove them and keep aside.
  • In the same kadai add tamarind leaves and fry for 3-4 mins on low flame until they are slightly crisp and keep them aside.Let all these fried ingredients come to room temperature.
  • Grind groudnuts,sesame seeds,dry coconut,red chillies and salt to a fine powder.
  • Add fried tamarind leaves and grind again to a fine powder.Check the taste and add more salt if required.
  • Add garlic pods and run in whipper mode to crush the garlic pods little bit.
  • Cool the powder and store it in air tight clean container.
Serve it with hot rice and ghee.
  1. Adjust red chillies according to your spice level.
  2. You can increase the quantity of ground nuts a bit more if you like the taste.
  3. It can be stored for up to a month under normal conditions and 2-3 months when refrigerated.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chickpeas Salad | Chana Salad | Healthy Salad Recipes

I usually prefer salads for a light weekday dinner along with a small bowl of soup or toasted bread slices.I prefer these kind of protein rich beans salad as they are not only tasty they are even very filling too and hence can be eaten as a meal by itself.One can play with the ingredients that go in the salad and prepare it according to their wish.This is a very versatile salad and can be prepared with various beans.
Chickpeas Salad Recipe:
(Serves 2)

1/2 cup Chickpeas/Kabuli Chana
1 medium Potato
1 small Onion,finely chopped
1 small Tomato,seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup Pomegranate Kernels
2 tbsp finely chopped Coriander
2 tbsp Mint leaves,torn with hands
1 Green chilli,finely chopped

for dressing:
2 tbsp Extra virgin Olive oil
3/4 tsp Chaat masala
1/4 tsp Red chili powder
1/4 tsp black Pepper powder
1/4 tsp roasted Cumin powder(optional)
juice of 1/2 Lemon
Salt to taste
  • Soak chickpeas overnight for 8-9hrs and wash them and pressure cook with enough water for 3 whistles,reduce the flame and cook for another 5-8 mins.Chickpeas should cook thoroughly and soft but firm and also should not become mushy.Drain them and keep them aside to cool.
  • Pressure cook potato for 3 whistles along with chickpeas or separately.Let it cool completely and then peel the skin and chop into small cubes.
  • In a small make the dressing mix in olive oil,lemon juice,salt,chaat masala,red chili powder,black pepper powder,roasted cumin powder and give a nice stir using a small wire whisk until you get a uniform paste.
  • Take a big bowl and add boiled chickpeas,boiled and chopped potatoes,finely chopped onion,tomato,green chilli,coriander leaves,pomegranate kernels and give a nice stir.
  • Add the dressing and check the taste of it and add any seasoning like salt or spice to suit your taste buds.
  • Serve them into two individuals bowls.Garnish with chopped coriander.
Serve the Salad immediately. You can even refrigerate for sometime and eat,it tastes good too.
  • You can follow the same recipe replacing white chickpeas with Black Chickpeas or Rajma in the recipe and follow the same recipe.
  • If you do not have olive oil you can skip it and proceed with the same.
  • I love the bite of pomegranate kernels in the salad,you can even add roughly chopped walnuts or pecans or raisins in the recipe.
  • You can even add finely cubed cucumbers to the recipe along with onions and tomatoes.

Monday, November 26, 2012


I have mentioned in many of my posts that chaats are usually a part of our meal and get featured very frequently in our menu at my place.When ever I go to shopping I would end up buying a pack of golgappas or papdis or canapes as these three are the most common bases for any chaat and I keep experimenting new chaats and apart from the usual ones.This recipe was sitting in my drafts from a very long time and I kept postponing as I was not happy with the pictures and finally I am posting the same.
These kind of Canapes are easily available in the market these days (I got the brand called DIP) and these are very versatile and are good for finger food for parties.I have earlier posted a recipe where I used an Italian filling for Canapes,today's recipe is more of a simple sev puri filling which is quite suitable for Indian palates.One can get creative with the fillings and experiment various flavors.I usually make American corn sev puri with these canapes which I would post some other time.Now off to the recipe.
Canape Sev Puri Recipe:
(Serves 2- you can easily double the recipe)

14-16 Canapes(Ready made)
1/3 cup Moong sprouts,steamed
2 Potatoes,boiled,peeled and chopped
1 Onion,finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh Coriander
1/3 cup fine Sev
1/4 cup Kharjur-Imli chutney
1/4 cup Green chutney
1 tbsp roasted Cumin powder
1 tsp Red chili powder
1 tsp Chaat masala
Salt to taste
Oil,to deep fry canapes

  • Pressure cook potatoes for 3 whistles.Add enough salt to potatoes while cooking them.Peel the potatoes and chop them into fine pieces.
  • Steam moong sprouts with a pinch of salt for 5-6 mins.
  • Deep fry canapes in oil for few seconds until they turn crisp,follow the instructions given at the back of the packet.I usually bake them in oven for 2-3 mins at 160 deg C.I keep a close watch to check whether they are done or not,so if you are baking them in oven please have a close look at them.
  • Arrange the canapes in 2 plates,7-8 each.
  • Fill them with 1/2 tsp steamed moong sprouts and then followed by 1 tsp boiled and chopped potatoes.
  • Add 1/2 tsp chopped onion in each puri.
  • Add little bit of kharjur -imli chutney and green chutney.
  • Again top it with a generous drizzle of kharjur-imli chutney and green chutney.
  • Sprinkle a fat pinch of roasted cumin powder,red chili powder,chaat masala and salt.
  • Top it with sev generously and garnish with coriander.
Serve it immediately.
Do not keep it for long as it will become soggy,so prepare this just before serving,Keep all the ingredients ready before you serve this.
  • There are no specific measurements for this recipe.All the ingredients are adjusted according to your taste buds.
  • You can make more number of plated increasing the quantities accordingly,there are no measurements.
  • You can use cooked  and slightly mashed white chickpeas instead of moong sprouts in the recipe.
  • You can garnish with few pomegranate kernels at the end.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Spicy Potato Roast | Crispy Aloo(Alu) Fry

I have mentioned many times before that I love baby potatoes and never miss a chance to pick them up during my shopping.You can check out various baby potato recipes like Baby potato biriyani, Dum Aloo chutney waale, Pudina Aloo and other recipes here.I try to use baby potatoes in place of various recipes as I prefer them.I usually make this simple Potato roast for weekend lunch as it is very simple and complements sambar or rasam very well.
Spicy Potato Roast | Crispy Aloo Fry:
(Serves 2)

18-20 Baby Potatoes or 4 Big Potatoes
2 tbsp Tamarind pulp
3/4 tsp Red Chili powder or  Garlic chili powder
Salt to taste

to temper:
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp Urad dal
2-3 red chillies,broken
a sprig of Curry leaves
2 tbsp Oil
  • Dilute the tamarind pulp with enough water and add cleaned and washed potatoes and salt and pressure cook for 1 whistle.Let the pressure drops and drain the potatoes and let them cool.
  • Peel the skins off and keep them aside.If the baby potatoes are big,cut them into 2.If you are using normal potatoes cut each of them into 8 big chunks.
  • Heat the kadai and add oil and heat it.
  • Add mustard seeds and let them crackle and then add urad dal,red chillies and curry leaves to it.
  • Add the boiled and peeled baby potatoes(or the cubes) and fry them in oil on HIGH flame for 2-3 minutes.Keep them stirring in between so that the potatoes are well covered with oil and roast evenly and also take care not to let  them burnt.
  • Once you see the brown patches on the potatoes,if you feel the oil is more you can remove the oil from the sides by gently handling the potatoes or otherwise leave it.I try to remove the extra oil at this stage as we do not need more now to fry them.
  • Now reduce the flame and let them roast over low flame for approx 8-10 mins.Keep stirring them to avoid them burnt and also make sure you roast them evenly.
  • Add salt,red chili powder(or garlic chili powder) and Kurala podi and stir them to coat the potatoes with all the spices.
  • Roast for another 2-3 mins on low flame.
Serve them immediately with hot rice or as a side dish for sambar/rasam with rice.
  1. These kind of roasts/fry will loose their crispiness after a while,so its better to serve immediately.
  2. In case you want to serve later you can roast them again in the same pan for 4-5 mins on medium flame to get the crispiness back at the time of serving.
  3. You can follow the same process for Arbi and Raw Bananas.
  4. I like the addition of Kurala podi in the recipe,if you do not have you can avoid it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hyderabadi Mirchi Ka Salan Recipe

Mirchi Ka Salan is a Hyderabadi special recipe which is usually paired with Hyderbadi Dum Biriyani and gets featured in most of the weddings and functions in Andhra.The spiciness of green chillies is slightly neutralized with the slight sweet and creamy rich gravy made up of groundnuts,sesame seeds and fried onions.I have mentioned few pointers to reduce the spicyness of chillies in the notes and recipe,please do follow them.
Bagara Baingan is another recipe which is prepared in a similar manner and is absolutely our family favorite.You can check out my recipe for lip smacking Bagara Baingan here,I suggest you to try it once and I am sure you would definitely thank me as you tried it.Trust me it is really delicious and a perfect party recipe.
Mirchi Ka Salan Recipe :
(Serves 3-4)

12-15 big light Green peppers(bajji variety/poblano)
2 big Onions sliced
2-3 tbsp Tamarind pulp
a pinch of Turmeric powder
a pinch of Sugar
1 tsp powdered Jaggery(optional)
1 tbsp chopped fresh Coriander
5-6 Curry leaves
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
3 tbsp Oil

To roast and grind:
1/4 cup Groundnuts(roasted and peeled)
2 tsp white Sesame seeds
2 tbsp grated dry Coconut
1 tsp Roasted gram(optional)
5-6 Red chillies(or red chilli powder)
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
3-4 Cloves
1" Cinnamon
1-2 green Cardamom pods
  • Wash and slit the green chillies(poblano peppers) and remove the veins and seeds of it.
  • Bring water to a boil with some salt and add the green chillies and blanch for a minute and drain them.I really can't judge the spiciness of chillies even though they are light green in variety,some times they turn out very spicy for me.So I do blanch my green chillies to reduce the heat from chillies,if you like spicy food you can avoid this step.This process not only reduces the heat it also helps in consuming less oil while shallow frying.
  • Heat oil,fry half the portion of sliced onions(add a pinch of sugar while frying) and fry until they turn pink.
  • Add ginger-garlic paste to it and fry for a minute and cool the mixture.
  • Dry roast sesame seeds,dry grated coconut and ground nuts separately.Peel the skin of the groundnuts and keep them aside.
  • Dry roast all the spices cloves,cinnamon,cardamom,coriander seeds,cumin seeds and red chillies separately until light brown in color and cool them and then grind it to a fine powder.
  • Add roasted ground nuts,sesame seeds and grated dry coconut and grind again.
  • Add the fried onion mixture, jaggery,tamarind pulp and grind it again to a smooth mixture.Add water if needed while grinding to get a smooth velvety paste.
  • Heat 1tbsp oil in a wide bottomed pan and add the slit poblano peppers and fry for 2 minutes,cover it with a plate and pour water over it and cook for 5-6 minutes until the peppers are slightly soft,remove the peppers and keep them aside.
  • In the same pan add the remaining 2 tbsp oil and crackle mustard seeds and cumin seeds and then add the remaining sliced onions(1 onion) and fry until they turn pink.Add curry leaves to it and fry again.
  • Add the ground spice mixture,turmeric powder and salt and fry until the mixture leaves the oil,add 1 cup of water(adjust the water according to the required consistency) and let it come to a boil.The gravy thickens as it sits for a while so make the gravy slightly thin.
  • Add fried peppers and mix and cover it and cook for 7-8 mins until thick.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander.
Serve Mirchi ka Salan with Veg Biryani / Jeera Rice/ Steamed Rice or Roti/Naan/Kulcha.
  1. Use light colored chillies which are used for preparing mirch bajjis as they are not spicy.
  2. Remove the seeds from the peppers which will reduce the spicyness of chillies and I also prefer to blanch them which removes any extra spicyness in the chillies.
  3. You can even use wide strips of capsicum or colored bell peppers instead of poblano peppers in the recipe and follow the same recipe.
  4. The gravy thickens a bit when it sits for long.If it becomes very thick add some water and boil it again during serving.
  5. You can add 1 tsp poppy seeds along with the sesame seeds in the recipe.
  6. Another famous Hyderabadi recipe Bagara Baingan is also prepared in a similar way.You can just replace peppers with the small slit brinjals in the recipe.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Rajma Chawal Recipe | Punjabi Rajma Chawal

Rajma chawal is the most popular combinations in Punjab.If you ask any Punjabi or any North Indian Rajma chawal would definitely feature in their top 5 list.I had never cooked or tasted Rajma before my marriage and I tasted it for the first time at my friend's place long back and was really impressed with the taste. As hubby is a proper Delhi-ite I learnt the preparation and included it in our weekly menu.I must say it is a real killer combo Rajma-Chawal-Chaas,a hearty meal.
I think it is an acquired taste and not everyone would love it at the first instant.It is also important to cook rajma in a right way to actually start appreciating it.If rajma is cooked nicely it would be soft and creamy,underdone rajma does not taste good.Rajma tastes best with minimal spices,even if you avoid all the spices and just add chili powder it tastes wonderful.
While there are lots of rajma varieties available in the market I always pick up those light pink colored ones which cook very nicely.I had even tried Kashmiri rajma which are deep brown in color and smallish and I love it too.
I have earlier posted a Rajma recipe which is a creamy version (though no cream in the recipe) and goes nicely with rice and roti while today's version is ideally the dhaba kind which is the most famous Rajma Chawal recipe.
Punjabi Rajma Chawal Recipe: 
(serves 2)


1/2 cup Rajma/Red Kidney Beans
1 big Onion,chopped
2 big Tomatoes,chopped
1 tsp Ginger-Garlic paste
1/2 tsp Garam masala
1 tsp Coriander powder
1/2 tsp Cumin powder
3/4 tsp Red chilli powder
1/2 tsp Amchur powder
2 tbsp chopped Coriander
1 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste

to temper:
1/2 " Cinnamon
1 black Cardamom(optional)
1 Bay leaf
1 green chilli,slit
a pinch of Asafoetida
  • Soak Rajma in water with some salt for 8-9 hrs or overnight.
  • In a pressure cooker heat oil and add cinnamon stick,black cardamom,bay leaf,green chilli and fry for a minute.Add a pinch of asafoetida and also a pinch of garam masala powder and fry a bit.
  • Grind Onions and tomatoes into a smooth puree.
  • Add the ground onion-tomato mixture,ginger-garlic paste and fry until the raw smell disappears.I usually grind onions along with the tomatoes,you can even cut onions into fine and fry well and then add tomato puree.Either way it tastes nice.
  • Now add all the dry masalas like red chili powder, coriander powder,cumin powder,garam masala,amchur powder and salt and fry until the oil leaves the edges.
  • Add rajma and fry for another 2 mins.Mix everything and cover it and pressure cook for 1 whistle and reduce the flame and cook for 30 mins on a low flame.
  • Once the pressure is dropped,open the cooker and check the gravy consistency.Add required amount of water and boil for another 5-7 mins.Add chopped coriander leaves and mix.
Serve it hot with plain steamed basmati rice,onion rings,papad and a glass of chaas/lassi.You can even serve it with roti/chapati or Jeera rice.
Ideally rajma is served over a bed of rice and which is topped with chopped onions and it is served with a glass of chaas/lassi.
  1. Rajma tastes best when it is made simple and not many masalas are added.You can avoid coriander and cumin powders in the recipe and just proceed with red chili powder and garam masala.
  2. I usually grind onions along with the tomatoes,you can even cut onions into fine and fry well and then add tomato puree.Either way it tastes nice.
  3. I use a pink colored skin rajma as I feel they cook nice and soft unlike the other varieties which are very hard to cook.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Beetroot Curry | Beetrool Stir fry(Poriyal) | Easy Side dishes

After a heavy dose of oily food and sweets from the past couple of weeks because of Diwali I have been preparing very simple food for the last couple of days.This is a simple stir fry recipe which is prepared in most of the south Indian house holds.It goes well with steamed rice or as a side dish for sambar/rasam and dal rice.
Beetroot Stir fry | Beetroot Palya(Curry) Recipe:
(Serves 3-4)

2 big Beetroots,peeled and finely chopped
1/3 cup grated fresh Coconut
3-4 Green chillies
2 whole Red chillies
1 tbsp Chana dal
1 tsp Urad dal
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
8-10 Curry leaves
juice of 1/2 lemon(optional)
a pinch of Asafoetida
salt to taste
2 tsp Oil

  • Steam chopped beetroot pieces with few pinches of salt either in pressure cooker(without whistle) or steamer for 8-10 mins.You can even microwave them on HIGH for 4-5 mins.Strain them and keep aside.
  • Heat a spoon of oil in a pan/kadai and crackle mustard seeds and cumin seeds.
  • Add asafoetida,chana dal,urad dal,red chillies and curry leaves and fry for a minute.
  • Grind grated coconut with green chillies and salt to a coarse masala.It should not become a paste,it should be like just roughly coarse ground masala.
  • Add cooked and strained beetroot pieces and stir fry for 2 mins.
  • Now add ground coconut-green chili masala and fry for another minute or two.
  • Switch off the flame and add lemon juice and give a stir.
Serve it with rice,dal/rasam/sambar and papad.
  1. You can follow the same process for vegetables like carrots,beans-carrot,raw banana,cluster beans,yard long beans,cauliflower etc.
  2. You can skip the steaming part and can make with the vegetables like ladies finger,cabbage etc.You need to saute them well for 7-8 mins before adding ground coconut masala.
  3. You can add red chili powder instead of green chillies,it would slightly change in color.
  4. You can add 1 tbsp kurala podi along with the ground coconut masala to the stir fry,in that case reduce the amount of green chillies to 2 in the recipe.This gives a nice taste to curry.
  5. If you want you can add finely chopped onion to the pan and saute well and then proceed with adding chopped beetroot pieces and ground masala.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tikki Puri | Easy Chaat Varieties

I hope everyone had a wonderful Diwali. We celebrated with loads of festive food and yes with an overdose of sweets .To comply with the tradition , we burst a few fire crackers- just a few as were cognizant of the pollution.
Tikki Puri is a very common snack we get in Bangalore.You can see lots of chaat gaadis(carts) and small shops spread across Bangalore which serves these awesome chaats.The various chaats which are quite famous are nippat masala, churmuri, tomato slice, chakli masala, chips masala, bele masala,tikki puri and many more items.You can find these kind of small gaadis especially in front of schools,colleges and parks. They are pretty cheap and also a good time pass snacks for those lengthy chit chats.The crisp flat puris that are topped with carrot-onion mixture and is generously sprinkled with chaat chutneys and masalas and layered with crisp murmur and congress kadalebeeja(spiced up peanuts).This is really a delight to the taste buds with the balance of flavors and textures of the various ingredients in the recipe.
You can serve this snack as an evening snack or a party appetizer when you have a small party at your place. Me and my friends love to play card games when we stay at my place. This finger food is great to be served during that time and not the usual packed potato chips to keep a healthy diet while having fun.
Tikki Puri Recipe:
(Serves 2)

16 Papdis/Bombay Puri/Flat Puris
1 Onion,finely chopped
1 Carrot,grated
1/4 cup fine Sev
1/4 cup Congress Kadalekayi(spiced Peanuts)
1 cup Puffed rice/Murmur
2-3 tbsp finely chopped Coriander
4-5 tbsp Green Chutney
4-5 tbsp Sweet Chutney(meetha)
1 tsp Red chili powder
1 tsp roasted Cumin powder
1 tsp Chaat masala
Salt to taste
  • Mix finely chopped onions with grated carrot and chopped coriander and keep it aside.
  • Keep all the items ready before plating them as these are supposed to be make quick and eat immediately.
  • Arrange 7-8 pieces of papdis/flat puris in a plate.
  • Take a handful of onion-carrot-coriander mixture and place 1 tbsp of mixture on each puri.
  • Pour 1/2 tsp green chutney and 1/2 tsp meetha chutney on each puri.This quantity is personally your choice and according to your taste buds.
  • Sprinkle a pinch of salt,cumin powder,red chili powder and chaat masala all over the papdis.Sprinkle them according to your taste buds.
  • Next comes the layer of sev and congress kadalekayi(spicy groundnuts).Be generous with this as it gives a nice taste to the masala.
  • Finally top it with a big handful of murmur.Repeat with another plate or prepare both the plates simultaneously.
Serve the plate immediately.Lift each papdi with all the masala over it and dump into your mouth and enjoy the taste.
  1. There is no hard rule for the measurements in the recipe.You can play with those ingredients and also can tweak in the recipe according to your taste buds.
  2. You can add chopped tomatoes along with the carrot-onion mixture if you wish.
  3. You can follow the same recipe and replace puri/papdi with small nippat/chakli which makes it 'Nippat masala' and 'Chakli masala'.
  4. You can follow the same recipe and replace papdi with tomato slices which makes it 'Tomato slice masala'.This is a guilt free snack for those who are really calorie conscious.
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