Friday, January 31, 2014

How to make Roasted Cumin Powder | Homemade Jeera Powder

cumin powder
When it comes to basic spices and pastes used for cooking, I never purchase them. I usually prepare the basic spice powders like cumin powder, coriander powder, Garam masala etc and various south Indian masala powders at home. I have not still ventured into the preparation of various masalas like Pav bhaji masala, Chole masala, Kitchen king masala etc at home as I am a bit lazy in preparing them. But I will definitely try recreating the same masalas at home one day and would love to post them in my blog.
I always wonder why some one would buy these basic powders like cumin powder and coriander powder while the preparation of the same is very simple and easy and does not take much time. More over the freshness, fragrance of these home made powders is not at all comparable to the store bought powders. Roasted Cumin powder is a very important basic spice in Indian kitchen as it plays an important role in day to day curries and gravies and also plays a key role in Indian Chaats.
roasted cumin powder
This is a simple recipe which I am posting for Beginners. It doesn't need much effort to prepare this Cumin powder at home and it will definitely enhance the taste of your food.
If you are interested check out the preparation of other spice powders at home:
roasted cumin powder

Homemade Roasted Cumin powder:
Shelf life:1-2 months
Grinding time:2 mins | Roasting time:5 mins | Total time:7 mins + cooling time
Cuisine: Indian | Category: Spices - Kitchen Basics
1/2 cup Cumin seeds(Jeera)
  • Clean the cumin seeds and dry roast in a pan over medium flame until you get a nice aroma and they start turning nice brown in color by stirring it occasionally. Take care that you do not turn them black otherwise it will give bitter taste to powder. They will also start popping once they turn the brown color. Switch off and let it cool.
  • Grind it into a powder in mixer or spice grinder. I do not grind it to a very fine powder, I keep it slightly coarse as it adds a nice taste to chaats or any other curries. If you want you can grind it to a fine powder or keep few bits of cumin seeds here and there.
  • Allow the powder to cool for sometime and store it an air tight glass container.
Use it in Chaats, Gravies and Curries as mentioned in the recipe.
  • Use a clean and dry spoon always or keep a spoon in the container itself.
  • Do not turn the cumin seeds black otherwise it will give bitter taste to powder.
  • I always prepare in small quantities so that the freshness of the spice would not be lost.
  • This much quantity would easily be sufficient for a month for me. But it depends on the family size and usage as well.
jeera powder

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Cucumber Sandwich | Easy Sandwich Recipes

cucumber sandwich
Sandwiches are one of the easiest breakfast options.At our place, I prefer the grilled sandwich varieties whereas TH prefers fresh sandwich and hence most of the time I end up preparing a fresh Vegetable sandwich and pack it for him and grill the same for me. I prefer making fresh sandwiches for parties as they can be cut into ribbon size or bit sized sandwiches which are great to serve as finger food.They are not only easy to prepare but also looks inviting too.

cucumber sandwich
Coming to today's post,Cucumber sandwich recipe is very simple and even a kid can prepare it.I make it in two ways- sometimes using cream cheese and sometimes using hung curd and I love both the versions.As the hung curd version is more healthy I prefer to use it more often and I also reduce the butter content for a regular sandwich. When I prepare for parties or pack for lunch box I give a good coat of butter though otherwise the sandwich becomes soggy. 
cucumber cream cheese sandwich

cucumber cream cheese sandwich

Cucumber Sandwich Recipe:
Serves 2
Prep time:10 mins | Cooking time:nil | Total time:10 mins
Cuisine: International | Category: Breakfast/Appetizers

6 Bread slices
1 large Cucumber
1/2 cup Hung Curd or Sour cream
1/3 cup Mint leaves,finely chopped
1/2 tsp Pepper Powder 
1/2 tsp Chili flakes (optional)
Salt to taste

  • To prepare hung curd you can hand thick yogurt in a muslin cloth for 3-4 hrs.Add 1/2 tsp lemon juice to it and beat lightly.
  • Mix the hung curd (or sour cream) with salt, pepper powder, chili flakes and chopped mint leaves and keep it ready.
  • Peel the cucumber and slice them thinly in a slicer either horizontally to get thin discs or vertical to get thin strips.Alternatively if you have good knife skills slice them thinly.
  • Apply butter generously to one side of bread and repeat for all the bread slices.
  • Now apply a coat of sour cream mixture liberally on the butter ladened bread slices.
  • Arrange the sliced cucumber pieces evenly on one slice and cover it with another bread slice.Repeat the same to prepare other 2 sandwiches.
  • Press the sandwich slightly with your hands and cut the edges of the sandwich using a serrated knife.
  • Cut into halves or strips or bite sized pieces.
Serve it with the remaining sour cream/tomato ketchup.

cucumber sour cream sandwich
  1. You can use Cream cheese instead of sour cream or hung curd in the recipe.
  2. Mixed dried herbs can be used instead of mint leaves in the recipe.
  3. If you like cheese,line a cheese slice on cucumbers while making the sandwich.

sour cream cucumber sandwich

Monday, January 13, 2014

Mukkala Pulusu | Kadambam Pulusu | Dappalam

'Mukkalu' in Telugu literally means 'Pieces' and 'Pulusu' means 'Stew'. In Mukkala Pulusu, we use various vegetables which are chopped into big chunks, cooked in tamarind extract and spiced up slightly.It is usually paired with Mudda pappu(mashed plain toor dal) and papds/fryums which is the ideal combination.While a few add some rice flour mixed in water to thicken this pulusu, I usually prefer to add some toor dal as it not only thickens the pulusu, it also adds to the taste.
Usually Pulusu would be prepared with a combination of leftover vegetables but I usually buy various vegetables in small quantities to prepare this pulusu.I love this dish very much and hence I prepare it more often than I prepare sambar.
Though the ingredients that we add in Pulusu and sambar are similar,the taste of pulusu is totally different from Sambar.We add less quantity of toor dal and more vegetables in pulusu unlike Sambar where we add more quantity of toor dal and less vegetables. Pulusu is very tangy,spicy and slightly sweet compared to sambar.

Mukkala Pulusu | Andhra Style Mixed Vegetable Stew Recipe:
(Serves 3-4)

1/4 cup Toor dal
1 very big lemon sized Tamarind
2 tbsp grated Jaggery
1 1/2 tbsp Sambar powder or 1 tsp Red chili powder
5-6 Curry leaves
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
Salt to taste

1 Drumstick,cut into 1 1/2" pieces
7-8 Pumpkin pieces of 1" cubes
7-8 Bottle gourd pieces of 1" cubes
1 Carrot,cut into big chunks
1 small Sweet Potato,cut into big chunks
5-6 French Beans,cut into 1 1/2" pieces
1 Onion,cut into 8 quarters
1 Tomato,cut into 8 quarters
2 light colored Green chillies,slit
(other optional vegetables - potatoes,brinjal,ladies finger,raw papaya,winter melon)

to temper:
1 tbsp Oil
1 tsp Mustard seeds
2 Red chillies
a sprig of Curry leaves
a pinch of Asafoetida

  • Pressure cook toor dal for 3 whistles until done.Mash the toor dal nicely and keep it aside.
  • Soak tamarind in water for 10-15 mins and remove tamarind pulp and keep it aside.Add 1 cup of water to it.
  • Add chopped vegetables(chop the vegetables in big chunks),slit green chillies,onions,tomatoes,few curry leaves to the tamarind pulp and add salt and turmeric powder and pressure cook for one whistle.
  • After the pressure drops down add cooked dal to the boiled vegetables and add grated jaggery,salt and sambar powder(or red chili powder) and cook for few more minutes until you get the required consistency..The consistency should neither be very thick nor very thin.
  • Meanwhile heat oil in a small tadka pan and crackle mustard seeds,red chillies,curry leaves and asafoetida and fry well and add this to the boiling Pulusu(stew).
Serve it hot with rice and papad/Curd chili/fryums.You can serve it with cooked and mashed toor dal(mudda pappu).
  1. I usually add vegetables like drumsticks,pumpkin,bottlegourd,beans,carrot,sweet potato which I strongly recommend to use them as they impart a nice flavor to the stew.But you can add other vegetables like brinjal,ladies finger,winter melon,potatoes too in the recipe.If you are using ladies finger I would suggest to saute them in oil before you boil it with other vegetables.
  2. Few do not add toor dal in the recipe,in that case you can thicken then pulusu/stew with a tbsp of rice flour(which is mixed in water) and boil it along with pulusu until you get desired consistency.But I always prefer to add the dal to thicken instead of rice flour mixture.It is your wish,but do not add more amount of toor dal as it will change the taste of it.
  3. We use more amount of tamarind pulp in the recipe,so adjust the jaggery and salt according to your taste buds.
  4. You can add red chili powder or sambar powder or a mix of both in the recipe.
  5. Always cut vegetables into big chunks for this pulusu.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Batata Poha | Kanda Batata Poha Recipe | Poha Recipes

potato poha
'Batata Poha' or 'Potato Poha' is a typical Mahasthrian breakfast variety which is very popular along with 'Kanda Poha',which means 'Onion Poha'.'Batata' in Marathi means 'Potato' where as 'Kanda' means 'Onion', which I got to know only after coming to Mumbai. Maharasthrians have profound love for Potatoes,which is used as the main ingredients for many recipes like Batata vada, Sabudana Khichdi, Batata poha and also as a base for many cutlets and fillings. If you are preparing this for festivals like Janmashtami, you can avoid onion in the recipe.
potato poha
Poha is a very common breakfast at my place, we prepare various varieties of Poha in our house like Lemon Poha,Coconut Poha,Tamarind Poha,Coriander Poha.'Kanda Poha' is very similar to the south Indian variety of 'Lemon Poha' with minor variations in the tempering part. I got introduced to 'Batata Poha' only after coming to Mumbai and has become our favorite on weekends. As it has both potatoes(batata) and onions(kanda) it is called 'Kanda Batata Poha'.I usually prefer to prepare poha when I want to prepare something quick or have not planned my breakfast ahead. Yes, I plan my breakfast ahead as it is the most important meal of the day.You can check lots of options for Breakfast varieties in my blog here.

Check out various Poha varieties in my blog here.
aloo poha

Batata Poha | Aloo(Potato) Poha Recipe:
Serves 2
Prep time:10 mins+soaking time | Cooking time:15 mins | Total time: 25 mins
Cuisine: Indian | Category : Breakfast/Snacks
2 cups Poha(flattened Rice/atukulu)
2 Potatoes,diced or sliced thin
1 large Onion,thinly sliced
2-3 tbsp Peanuts,roasted and skinned
5-6 Green Chillies,slit
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
8-10 Curry leaves
2 tbsp chopped Coriander
juice of 1 small Lemon
1 tsp Sugar(optional,see notes)
2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste

  • Wash and soak poha in enough water(just add up to the level of poha) for 8-10 mins.As I have a slight medium thick variety it did not take much time.If you are using thick variety soak it with little more water and also for long time,say 15-20 mins.
  • Pressure cook potatoes and peel the skin and dice it into pieces.If you want you can avoid this step and add thinly sliced potatoes in the tempering directly,but it takes bit longer to cook.You can prepare either ways.
  • Heat oil and crackle mustard seeds and cumin seeds.
  • Add cut green chillies,curry leaves and fry for a minute,add sliced onions and fry until they are crisp and pink.
  • Add boiled and diced potatoes and fry well.If you are using raw potatoes,add finely chopped potatoes along with onions and cover it cook until they are done,it takes bit longer time.
  • Add turmeric powder,salt and poha and give a good stir until everything is mixed properly.
  • Add roasted and skinned groundnuts,lemon juice,chopped coriander and sugar(if using) just before removing from stove and mix well.
Serve it hot with chips/sev/chiwda/sliced cucumber and lemon wedges.
batata poha
  1. If thick variety of poha is used you need to soak in more water for 20 mins and drain off excess water before using in the recipe.
  2. You can add potatoes either directly in the tempering and cook along with onions,it is a bit longer process or you can use boiled and chopped potatoes in tempering which is a quick process.If you are using them in tempering,chop them fine as they will cook faster.I like the bite of soft potato cubes in poha,hence I boil it ahead and use it.If you want crunchy potatoes you can fry them until crisp separately and add to poha at the end.
  3. If you want you can even add green peas along with potatoes in the recipe.I suggest if you add peas avoid peanuts in the recipe,use either one of them.
  4. You can avoid potatoes and prepare poha just with onions,which is called Kanda Poha(Onion Poha).
  5. You can even avoid onions in the recipe and make only with potatoes.
  6. The addition of sugar is entirely optional,it adds a typical Maharasthrian touch to poha.
batata poha
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