Monday, March 26, 2007

Vegetable Oothappam

The thing that I like about idli batter is that, the same batter can be used to made different dishes. The first two days when the batter is fluffier, thick and creamier idlis and paniyarams can be made. Then the batter can be made a little runny by adding water and dosas can be made. Finally when the batter has fermented a lot oothappams can be made. Again variations to oothappams can be onion oothappam, tomato oothappam and a mixed vegetable oothappam.
Also all of these dishes can be served for breakfast, lunch, dinner or as an evening snack too.

This time I opted for mixed vegetable oothappam for dinner, a couple of days ago. Its simpler to chop all the vegetables finely and assemble them before beginning to make the oothappam.


Idli/dosa batter - 2 cups
Onion - 1/2 (chopped finely)
Tomato - 1/2 (chopped finely)
Green chillies - 2 (chopped finely)
Carrot - 1 (grated finely)
Coriander - 2 tbsp (chopped finely)
Oil as needed


Heat dosa tava and drop a spoonful of batter. Spread it around, but make sure it is a little thicker than dosa. Sprinkle generously with the chopped veggies and let it cook. This has to done as soon as the batter is spread and when its still raw (liquid) and not cooked, as that helps the veggies to stick to the batter. Flip to cook the other side. Serve hot with chutney or sambar of your choice.

Variations: Different veggies like grated beets, finely chopped cabbage, spinach or grated ginger can be added.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Pulikachal (Puliyodharai mix)

Even though I know that making instant mixes, sauces, chutneys over the weekend saves time during the week I hardly ever do that. Two weekends ago I decided to make pulikachal for 2 reasons. One is, I could use it during one of my lazy weekdays and the other reason is a little long to explain. My brother came to the US on a project about 2 weeks ago and my mom had bought a bottle of pulikachal and pickle for him so that he can manage with it for a few days. Because of the reduced luggage restriction he couldn't bring both and that's been the only thing on her mind and she was worried about what he would do for food. So I decided to make some and send it to him and was a little worried about the bottle safely reaching him without breaking. It did and he actually made puliyodharai a couple of days ago and said it came out well. He cooks all the basic stuff pretty often so I thought this would help him out on his lazy weekdays.


Tamarind water - 6 cups
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Channa dal - 1 tsp
Red chillies - 3 (broken)
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Gingely oil - 4 tbsp
Salt - as needed

To Powder
Channa dal - 2 tsp
Toor dal - 2 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Red chillies - 4 (can be increased according to taste)
Methi seeds - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Sesame seeds - 1 tsp


Dry roast all the "to powder" ingredients and let it cool. Grind to a fine powder in a spice grinder. Heat the oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, channa dal, curry leaves and red chillies. When the mustard seeds start to splutter add the powdered ingredients, tamarind water and salt. Let it cook in medium flame for about 20-30 min till the mix thickens. You know its done when the oil starts floating on top. Let it cool and store in air tight glass bottles. I use less oil so I store mine in the fridge to prevent it from spoiling. If more oil is used, then the oil floats on top in the bottle, and prevents moisture from spoiling the dish and hence can be kept out.

Its almost done with the oil floating on top.

To make puliyodharai, heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, curry leaves and roasted peanuts and when the mustard seeds start to splutter, add cooked rice and pulikachal as needed. Its a great dish for picnics and potlucks. Can be served with chips and pickle.

The bottle all ready to be shipped to my brother.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I made this cake a while ago when one of my friends was visiting. He likes this cake a lot and I try to make it every time he comes over. The recipe is simple as it uses a ready made cake mix. I use the Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Pineapple Supreme cake mix but even a regular yellow cake mix should be enough. This is my entry to this month's AFAM-Pineapple event.


Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Pineapple Supreme cake mix - 1 pk
Water - 1 1/3 cups (Can be substituted with the juice from the pineapple can)
Vegetable Oil - 1/3 cup
Eggs - 3
Maida (All purpose flour) - 1/4 cup (only for high altitude baking)
Butter - 1/2 cup
Brown sugar - 1 cup (firmly packed)
Pineapple slices - 1 can (20 oz)
Red maraschino cherries - as needed (drained and halved)


Preheat oven to 350F. Place butter in ungreased 13x9 inch pan and keep inside warm over for about 2 min till the butter is completely melted. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly in pan to completely cover the pan. Arrange pineapple slices on brown sugar and place maraschino cherry halves, cut side up, in center of pineapple slices. You can also keep cherries in the border. Blend dry cake mix, water (juice from the pineaplle can can be substituted for water to increase flavour) , oil and eggs (add flour only for high altitude baking) in a large bowl at low speed (abt 30 sec). Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour batter evenly over the fruit in the prepared pan. Bake at 350F for about 35-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in the pan and invert onto heat serving resistant serving plate. This cake tastes best when its served warm. A scoop of vanilla or pineapple ice cream can also be added while serving.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Methi Masala Poori - Method 1

When it comes to roti or poori I always stick to the traditional methods. I am yet to explore different varieties of roti's and poori's. I have been growing methi in a pot and decided to make methi poori with it. I just searched on the net and came with a recipe that was a mix of a lot of recipes. It did come out well and I will be making this dish again but next time I am thinking of grinding the methi leaves and adding it to the flour mix to make the dough.


Wheat flour - 2 cups
Methi (chopped) - 1/2 cup
Jeera (coarsely powdered) - 1 tbsp
Chilli powder - 1 tbsp
Garam masala - 1 tbsp
Salt - as needed
Oil - for deep frying


Mix all the above ingredients except oil with enough water to a chapathi dough consistency. Wrap with a wet towel and let it rest for 30min. Then make small balls out of it, roll it into 4-5 inch wide circles and deep fry in oil till it turns golden brown. Serve with channa masala or potato masala. It can also be served with yogurt and pickle.

Friday, March 09, 2007


This is one of the recipes that I learnt during my trip to India. This recipe is from an aunt and I just followed it blindly. It turned out pretty yummy. The batter is a basic idli batter and you need a special paniyaram pan for it. You can buy one from here. It takes about 4 min for one batch (6) to get cooked and it's pretty filling. This could be made for breakfast or as an evening snack.


Idli batter - 2 cups (makes about 12)
Onions - 1/2 cup (chopped finely)
Cilantro / Coriander leaves - 2 tbsp (chopped finely)
Curry leaves - 1 sprig (chopped finely)
Green chillies - 2 small (chopped finely)
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Jeera - 1 tsp
Oil - 3 tbsp


Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan and add mustard and jeera. Once the mustard starts to splutter add chopped onions, green chillies, curry leaves and coriander leaves. Fry till onions turn golden brown and remove from heat. Add this to the idli batter and mix well. Heat the paniyaram pan and add few drops of oil into each hollow. Once hot, add 2 tbsp of batter into each hollow and let it cook. After 2 min turn with a spoon or fork (whichever works) and let the other side cook. Remove after 2 min and serve with chutney of choice. My paniyaram pan had small hollow impressions. For bigger ones add more batter and cover with a lid to let it cook completely. You might have to increase cooking time too.

For variation, grated carrots or spinach can also be added along with the onions.