Friday, May 3, 2013

Baingan/Eggplant/Brinjal Raita


Curd - 1 cup
Brinjal - 1 medium size
Onion - 1 tbsp apprx. finely chopped
Garlic - 1 clove, minced finely or grated
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Corriander leaves - 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Mint leaves - 2 or 3, finely chopped
Oil, salt, chilli powder as per taste

Cooking the Brinjal
The brinjal can be cooked in the gas burner or microwave or in the conventional oven too.

Oven - Preheat to 300 degrees and then put the brinjal in a baking sheet and turn sides till its skin shows sign of cracking and can be peeled off. Also check by putting through a knife or a spoon if it is cooked from inside.
Gas Burner - Put the brinjal directly on the gas burner and let it cook, till the outer skin starts showing cracks. Change sides so that it is cooked uniformly.
Microwave - Make slits all over the brinjal so the air can escape while it is microwaving. Else the brinjal will burst like an egg. Put the brinjal in a microwave safe bowl and cook till half cooked. Turn to the other side and cook, so it can evenly cooked all over. The brinjal will be extremely hot, so be cautious while handling it

Once the brinjal is cooked, allow it to cool down completely. Peel off the outer skin and mash well using a fork or spoon.

And now the recipe for Baingan Raita
  1. Beat/whisk the curd. Mash the cooked brinjal and add to the curd, also add salt and onion
  2. Heat oil in a pan just to do the tempering. Add the cumin seeds and allow to crackle, then add the garlic and saute for few seconds and turn off the flame and pour it to the curd-brinjal mixture
  3. Stir well. Garnish with red chilli powder, coriander leaves and mint leaves. Serve it at room temperature or cold, with chapati, roti or rice.

Cucumber Raita


Cucumber - 1
Onion - 2 tbsp, finely chopped
Tomato - 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Corriander leaves - 1 tbsp, finely chopped 
Mint leaves - 3 or 4, finely chopped
Curd - 1 cup
Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilli powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt as per taste

  • Wash the cucumber, peel off the skin and cut them into small cubes.
  • Beat or whisk the curd in a bowl. Add all the ingredients one by one and mix well
Goes well with any kind of hot and spicy food, because cucumber mellows down the spicyness of the food. You can also try sprinkling a pinch of chat masala for added flavor.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Murungaikkai Kaarakuzhambu

The first vegetable that comes in mind for making kaarakuzhambu is drumstick. Brinjal and drumstick makes a wonderful pair for sambar or kaarakuzhambu. I have not used brinjal as I did not have them handy. Don't miss to add garlic and shallots for they enhance the taste of the kuzhambu.


Murungaikkai - 10 pieces, cooked
Pearl onions/shallots - 10
Tomato - 1 small size
Garlic - 4 or 5 cloves
Coriander powder - 2 tbsp
Jaggery - 1 tsp
Tamarind - lemon size, soaked and extracted
Salt, turmeric powder, hing as per taste

To Temper
Oil, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves and dry chillies as per taste

To Grind
Grated coconut - 3-4 tbsp
Pearl Onion/shallots -3
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp

  1. Grind the coconut, onion and fennel seeds into a smooth paste adding required amount of water
  2. Heat oil, do the tempering, add the garlic and saute for a min. Add in the onions and fry for few minutes until they start turning translucent.Now add the tomato and saute till oil oozes out from the mixture
  3. Then add the tamarind paste, coriander powder, salt, hing, turmeric powder and the ground paste. Add the cooked drumstick and add about a cup of water, cover with a lid and cook for 10 mins over medium flame.
  4. Once the raw smell goes off add the jaggery and give a quick stir. Simmer for 5 mins and turn off the stove
Note Can also be prepared using vegetables like brinjal, ladies finger or just with shallots (small onion)


Before my marriage I have tasted this vathakuzhambu only in restaurants. My mom never prepares this at home. But we all love this when we eat at restaurants. After marriage I started making it myself. During the initial attemps it won't turn perfect. Slowly I started learning the tricks. Just allow 
the kuzhambu to boil well until oil oozes out the corners and adding a bit of jaggery at the end. Now to the most delicious recipe.


Onion - 1
Tamarind paste - 1/2 tsp or lemon sized ball, soak and extract the juice
Sambar powder - 2 tsp
Sundakkai or manathakali vathal - 3 tbsp

Jaggery - 1 tsp
Salt, turmeric powder, hing as per taste

To Temper
Oil, mustard seed, fenugreek seeds, channa dal, cumin seeds, curry leaves and red chillies as per taste

  • Heat oil in a pan, do the tempering with the tempering ingredients. Add sundakkai/manathakali vathal and fry until they turn golden brown. 
  • Add the onions and saute till they turn translucent. Add the tamarind extract, sambar powder, salt, turmeric powder and hing and allow to boil until the raw smell goes off. 
  • Once the oil starts separating add the jaggery and allow the gravy to thicken. Switch off the flame and enjoy with hot rice and appalam or with any kootu.
 Note - You can also replace sundakkai with other vegetables like drumstick, brinjals, ladies finger, broad beans,butter beans etc to make this spicy South Indian kuzhambu. You can also prepare this with pearl onions too. Be cautious while adding salt, the vathal itself will have some salt. So add salt accordingly

Cabbage Rice

Who doesn't love to make a simple, quick yet healthy food. Here is one such simple version of cabbage rice. You can make variations by adding grated carrots or capsicum along with cabbage. To make it protein rich add any bean like channa or peas or corn.


Rice - 1 cup
Cabbage - 1/2 cup (apprx.) finely chopped
Garlic - 3 cloves, finely chopped
Onion - 1 medium sized, chopped lengthwise
Tomato - 1 small sized, chopped lengthwise
Capsicum - 2 tbsp, chopped lenthwise
Cooked Peas - 2 tbsp
Mint leaves - 4 or 5 leaves
Corriander leaves - 1 tbsp
Dried Kasuri methi leaves - 1 tbsp
Red Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Rice Mix Powder - 1 tsp (or) Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Salt as per taste

To Temper

Oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, channa dal, curry leaves, green chilli, hing as per taste

  1. Pressure cook the rice, fluff it up with a fork and allow to cool down.
  2. Heat oil in a pan, do the tempering with the ingredients given, add the garlic and saute for few seconds. Then add the onions and fry them until they turn transparent. Adding a pinch of salt will speed up the process. Now, add the capsicum, tomatoes, mint leaves and coriander leaves and saute for 2 mins.
  3. Then, add in the cabbage, salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, rice mix powder or garam masala and stir for few mins. Cabbage should be cooked but retain its crisp. Now, crush the kasuri methi leaves in between your palms and sprinkle it to the cabbage mixture. Stir well.
  4. Mix the rice, check for salt and add if necessary. Turn off the stove. Garnish with coriander leaves. Close the lid and allow to sit for couple of minutes to let all the flavors blend together. Enjoy with any kind of raita!!
Nutritional Information

Cabbages are incredibly nutritious. They are very low in fat and calories and are a good source of multiple B Vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and many minerals. In particular, cabbage contains powerful anti-cancer compounds known as glucosinolates. Several varieties are cultivated worldwide including green, purple, red, and savoy (loose-wrinkled leaves). Cabbage also has lot of anti-cancer properties in it. It is always better to steam a cabbage rather than microwaving so as to maximize the health benefits. Avoid buying pre-cut cabbage, because once it is cut it starts losing its valuable vitamin C content. Once cut, consume the left over cabbage within two days to enjoy its nutrients.