Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Vangi Bath (Brinjal Rice)

Vangi Bath is a South Indian dish originated in Karnataka, popular among the Brahmin community. Vangi means brinjal and bhath means rice hence Vangi Bhath aka Brinjal rice. It was VJ who introduced me to this dish first. He can eat Vangi bath even if I prepare daily. I haven't cooked this atleast for an year after our marriage as I used to feel this dish needs lots and lots of oil for roasting the brinjal. But as this is VJ's favorite I couldn't keep my hands away for a long time. I had to compromise on the oil part and also I found few methods to lessen the oil to some extent. Using a non-stick pan, tossing the vegetable on high-flame for the first few mins and cover with a lid while cooking for few mins, these tricks would lessen the oil usage :P. And from then on this has become a regular dish. Whenever I ask VJ what he would like for a week-end lunch he would prefer Vangi Bath. May be, if you are first time eater of this dish, you would start liking too :-)


Cooked rice - 1 cup
Brinjal - 5 nos
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tbsp apprx
Turmeric - a pinch

Vangi Bath Powder - Dry roast and grind

Channa dal - 2 tsp
Urad dal - 2 tsp
Coriander seeds - 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Pepper corns - 5 or 6
Red chillies - 2 or 3
Sesame seeds - 1/2 tsp
Grated Coconut - 1 tbsp
Hing - 1/4 tsp

For the Seasoning

Oil - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - few
Green Chilli - 1 or 2, slit lengthwise
Onion - 1, optional, chopped lengthwise

  1. Cook the rice, fluff it up with a fork and set aside. The rice grains should be fully cooked but non-sticky.
  2. Wash and chop the brinjals lengthwise into 2" pieces and place in water to avoid browning of the vegetable.
  3. Heat a pan and dry roast the ingredients mentioned under "Dry roast and grind" one by one until golden brown. Allow them to cool and grind to a coarse powder. Vangi Bath Powder is ready.
  4. Now heat 2 tbsp of oil in the same pan and add the cut brinjals, a pinch of turmeric powder and 1/2 tsp of salt and toss in high flame for couple of mins. Stirring continously. Now reduce the flame and allow the vegetable to cook completely. Transfer the cooked brinjals to a bowl.
  5. In the same pan, add a tsp of oil add the cumin seeds and once they sizzles add the slit green chillies and the curry leaves. If adding onions saute the onion until translucent. Then add the cooked brinjal and the vangi bath powder., combine well and cook for one more minute. Then add the cooked rice and required salt and mix well. Garnish with coriander leaves.
  6. Optionally you can also add roasted peanuts or cashews for added flavor and taste. At times I might also add cooked channa to increase the nutritious value. The mild spicy Vaagi Bath is ready to be served with any raitha. My choice would be Cucumber Raita or simple Onion Raita.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Kuzhi Paniyaram/Spicy Paniyaram

Here comes one more guest recipe from one of the readers, Kuzhi Paniyaram this time. She had shared the recipe with stepwise pictures. Try this yumm recipe for a tea time snack or when you would like to have a light dinner any night.


Dosa batter - 1 cup
Onion - 1, finely chopped
Green Chilly - 2, finely chopped
Ginger - 1 inch piece, chopped finely or grated
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Gram dal - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 strand
Coriander leaves - a fistful, chopped finely
Salt and hing as per taste
Oil for tempering, as per need


Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. Once it starts spluttering add the Gram dal and fry until it turns golden brown. Then add the curry leaves and green chillies, saute for few seconds and then add the onion and fry until the onions turn translucent. Turn off the stove and add these to the dosa batter. Finally add the chopped coriander leaves & salt. Mix it well.
Heat the kuzhi paniyaram pan, drizzle few drops of oil. Take a ladle full of tempered dosa batter and pour it into each mould, close the lid and let it cook for 2-3 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown.

Turn the paniyaram in each mould upside down with the help of a skewer or spoon and let the other side also cook until golden brown. Add few more drops of oil if needed. You do not have to close the lid this time. Once cooked transfer to a plate and serve with tomato chutney or Kaara Chutney or Sambar and Coconut chutney.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Chithra Pournami Platter - Kalavai Sadam

Chitra Pournami, or Chithirai Poornima, is a Tamil ritual observed on the full moon day in the month of Chitirai (April – May). It is a special occasion for Chitragupta who is the assistant of Lord Yama, the God of Death. During this auspicious day, every house in southern India prepares lavish lunch with all mixed rice called as Kalavai sadam in tamil. On this day, special pujas are done and special rice offerings are made to Chitragupta. It is a ritual that they prepare a variety of mixed rices like Sakkarai Pongal, Lemon Rice, Tamarind Rice, Coconut Rice, Curd Rice etc. and offer to the God and eat the same. During my childhood days my mom will prepare all the variety rices and we used to dine in the terrace!! Needless to say that the moonlit dinner would used to be just awesome!!! Missing those good old days and the open terrace night outs...

Recipes on the platter are:
  1. Sakkarai Pongal
  2. Lemon Rice/Elumichai Sadam
  3. Coconut Rice/Thengai Sadam
  4. Tamarind Rice/Pulisadam/Puliyogare
  5. Curd Rice/Thayir Sadam
  6. Urulai Kizhangu poriyal (Potato Poriyal)
 Have a break on this Chithra Pournami from those dining tables, televisions etc and try an open terrace dinner. Everyone in the family will surely love the dinner and the whole lot of time spent together. Happy dining!!

Sakkarai Pongal - Chakkarai Pongal - Sweet Pongal (Using Pressure Cooker)

Making Sakkarai Pongal the modern way, using the Pressure Cooker. This delicacy is not only made on the Pongal festival, it is also made throughout the year for different festivals to offer to God as Prasadam This time I had prepared it for the Chithra Pournami platter. As I had to prepare the other variety rices too I had opted for the easiest method of preparation using the Pressure Cooker. There are always N number of ways of preparing this sweet dish, like making it in a pot which is the traditional way, or by adding milk or pacha karpooram(edible camphor) etc. This version of mine is the simplest I would feel. This is how my mom and sis prepares sakkarai pongal on a regular day. I had to adapt this today as it is a great time saver.


Raw rice - 1/2 cup
Moong dal - 3 tbsp or little lesser than that
Jaggery - 1/2 cup
Water - 2 to 2 1/2 cups, as per the quality of your rice
Ghee - 3-4 tbsp
Salt - a pinch (for enhancing the taste)
Cashews - 10
Raisins - 10-15
Elaichi - 1

  1. Wash the rice and set aside. In a pressure cooker, add 1/2 tsp of ghee and roast the moong dal until it turns golden brown and nice aroma rises.
  2. To the roasted moong dal add rice, salt and water and pressure cook for 3 whistles and simmer for 3-5 mins and turn off the stove. (The cooking time depends on the rice and the individual pressure cooker, so adjust accordingly)
  3. Once the pressure is released, mash the rice and moong dal well with the back of the ladle.
  4. Powder jaggery and heat it with water just to immerse it and bring to boil. Let the jaggery completely dissolve and  filter it and add to the  mashed rice in the cooker.  Otherwise, you can also powder the jaggery well and add it to the steaming hot rice and mix well so the the jaggery melts and mixes along well. The stove should be turned on and simmered for this process. Add couple of tsps of ghee and mix well. Ensure that the jaggery is dissovled fully.  
  5. In a separate pan, heat a tsp of ghee and roast cashews to golden and add raisins and elaichi to it. Saute for few seconds and turn off the stove and add this to the pongal. Mix well, add few more tsps of ghee. If the pongal is too thick, add some boiled milk (warm/medium hot) little by little. If the mixture becomes too loose, keep on a low fire and continue stirring until desired consistency.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Coconut Rice - Thengai Sadam

Coconut rice is a very simple but a very tasty dish. VJ loves this the most, especially for dinner. It works great with leftover rice and if you have some grated coconut ready on hand, then can be made in a jiffy. The finely chopped ginger and the roasted cashews gives a nice aroma to this rice.


Cooked rice - 1 cup
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup or little more 
Mustard seeds –1 tsp
Channa dal/Bengal Gram/kadalai paruppu – 2 tsp
Urad dal – 2 tsp
Red chillies – 1
Green chillies - 2, chopped finely
Curry leaves – few
Ginger - 1 inch piece, finely chopped

Cashew nuts - 5 or 6
Oil, salt and hing as per taste

Allow the rice to cool off completely. Rice should be cooked in a way that the grains are seen separately.

Heat oil in a kadai/ pan, add mustard seeds, when they splutter, add channa dal, urad dal, cashew nuts and roast till it becomes slightly brown. Add red chillies, green chillies, ginger, asafoetida and curry leaves and sauté for a few more seconds.

Add grated coconut and sauté for a few minutes till it becomes slightly brown. Add salt needed.

Add cooked rice and mix it well. Serve hot. It tastes good with potato chips or with delicious roasted potatoes!

Lemon Rice

A hassle-free lunch-box option, lemon rice is a favourite with young and old alike in southern india! Most often the best accompaniment for lemon rice is spicy roasted potatoes but I like to have coconut chutney as a side dish. That's a wonderful combination. Try this and may be you'll love it too..


Cooked rice - 1 cup
Lemon - 1
Ginger - 1 inch piece, chopped finely
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Salt as per taste

To Temper

Oil, mustard seeds, urad dal, channa dal, peanuts, red chilli, green chilli, curry leaves


Allow the cooked rice to cool off completely. We do not want the rice to get mashed up while mixing. Squeeze the lemon juice and keep it ready. Take care to discard the lemon seeds.

In a kadai, do the tempering and add the chopped ginger and saute for few seconds. Add the turmeric powder and turn off the flame. Now immediately add the lemon juice and give a quick stir. Add this to the cooled rice along with required salt and mix well. Allow to sit for sometime so that the flavor blends well.

** Switch off the stove before adding the lemon juice. Else you may get a bitter taste if the lemon juice gets cooked for a long time.

Curd Rice - Thayir Sadam

For most South Indians, curd rice is the customery end to every lunch and dinner meal.  It is usually prepared by mashing cooked plain rice and then mixing it with some salt, yogurt and (a bit of milk to lessen the sour flavor of yogurt or to stop it from souring too much) garnishing it with fried urad dal, mustard seeds, green chilli and chopped cilantro and is often accompanied with Lemon or Mango pickle. But my favorite combo is curd rice with potato poriyal :-) You can garnish with variety of ingredients like grated carrots, fried cashews, pomegranate seeds, green/purple grapes etc. In the recent days studies says that it is better to avoid curd for dinner, but if one is accustomed you can take it in the form of buttermilk.


Cooked rice - 1/2 cup
Curd/yogurt - 1/2 cup, adjust as per taste and need
Milk - 1/2 cup, adjust as per taste and need
Curry leaves and coriander leaves for garnish
Salt, hing as per taste

To Temper

Oil, Mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves as per need
Green chilly - 1, chopped finely
Ginger - 1 inch piece, chopped finely
Cashews - few, broken into small pieces (optional)


Take the cooked rice in a wide bowl. The rice should be hot enough to handle. Mash it well with the back of the laddle or spoon. Add the boiled milk and mix well without any lumps. Once it is cooled add the curd and salt and mix well. You can also add a little bit of water if required. The consistency should not be very thick nor too watery.

Now do the tadka with the tempering ingredients and add this to the curd rice. Garnish with chopped curry leaves and coriander leaves.

** Adjust the ratio of curd, milk and water as per your taste and consistency. If you like a tangy taste increase the quantity of curd and lessen milk/water. If you are packing for lunch box, add more milk and less curd.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Kadalai Paruppu Thuvayal - Channa Dal Thuvayal

Kadalai paruppu thuvayal is a simple recipe that goes well with plain rice and rasam. Or you can also mix this with rice along with a tsp of ghee/oil and have it with papad. This is a brahmin recipe and I learnt it from VJ after our marriage. Whenever I feel bored of doing sambar/ kuzhambu, this kadalai paruppu thuvayal is a best substitute. You can also make this as a chutney by adding little more water and do the tempering and serve as a side dish for idly/dosa. It will taste great.


Bengal gram/kadalai paruppu - 4 tbsp
Grated coconut - 2 tbsp 
Red chillies - 2 or 3
Hing - a pinch
Salt as needed

Optional Ingredients

Garlic - 1 or 2 pods
Whole black Pepper - 1/2 tsp
Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves few


Heat a pan, add the channa dal and red chillies and fry until the dal turns golden brown. If adding the optional ingredients add them too along with the dal and fry them.

 Add grated coconut, saute for 2-3 seconds and switch off the flame. After it cools, grind it with little water adding required salt to a coarse paste.

Serve it with hot rice topped with ghee/oil or with Pepper rasam.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Buttermilk - நீர் மோர்

Buttermilk is one easy and healthy beverage that helps you feel refreshing instantly. Drinking it right after a long hot day in the sun is a great way to combat dehydration and fatigue. It has a whole lot of nutrients and its the best natural cooler of our body. Have a glass of buttermilk daily and enjoy this summer!!


Yogurt/curd - 1/2 cup
Water - 2 cups apprx
Green chilli - 1, sliced round and thin
Ginger - 1 inch piece, chopped finely
Coriander leaves - few, chopped finely
Curry leaves - 1 strand, chopped finely
Salt - as per taste
Asafoetida - as per taste (Optional)


Take curd, water and salt in a large bowl and using a whisk mix it well. Add chopped ginger, green chillies, coriander leaves and curry leaves and stir well. Serve as such or chilled.