September 29, 2008

Keerai Masiyal Recipe - How to Make Keerai Masiyal

This is a true blue Tamil Brahmin recipe and a great and easy way to include greens in your weeknight dinners. I used Amaranth Leaves for this, since they are always available in the Chinese wet markets here. Amaranth, also known as pigweed (anyone else find that name strange?) in English, Thotakura in Telugu, Araikeerai or Mulaikeerai in Tamil, is fast becoming my favorite kind of leaf-food. What's even better is, they are available cleaned and it just requires me to lightly wash it before cooking, as opposed to the tedious process of cutting the roots off and going inch by inch over the vegetable from root to tip looking for a grain of sand you are inevitably bound to miss and your husband is sure to bite into first thing at dinner.

Keerai Masiyal Recipe - How to Make Keerai Masiyal Chopped Amaranth Leaves

I used amaranth leaves to make Palak Paneer too and this time around, didn't have the patience to try something that elaborate. 10 minutes of rummaging around in my recipe collection brought me to this nice and easy recipe for Keerai Masiyal, also known as Keerai Kadaiyal. The recipe was so simple that I kept checking back to see if I was missing something.

Keerai Masiyal Recipe - How to Make Keerai Masiyal Keerai Masiyal

Serves 2-3

Amaranth leaves or spinach leaves - 2 cups, cleaned and roughly chopped
Dried red chillies - 2
Jeera powder - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - a few (optional)
Garlic - 2 cloves, minced (optional - traditional Brahmin recipes never use garlic, so omit for the authentic taste)
Oil - 2 tsp
Salt - to taste

How to Make Keerai Masiyal

1. Cook the amaranth leaves in 1/2 cup water for about 5-8 mins till its wilted. Be careful not to add too much water, since the leaves give out some while cooking.

2. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and temper the mustard seeds. Fry the urad dal and the garlic, if using, until both turn golden brown.

3. Add the red chillies, jeera powder and curry leaves and fry for another 15-20 seconds. Now add the amaranth leaves and mix well.

4. Add salt and keep mashing till the leaves are coarse and blended with the rest of the curry. Serve hot with rice and mor kozhambu / spiced buttermilk curry.


- Do not re-heat this curry since the nitrous present in the leaves can be harmful for us, especially kids
- Try to use fresh spinach but frozen should also work.
- The dish is traditionally prepared in kal chatti (thick unpolished granite pots), where the mashing process is much simpler and gives the dish a nice flavour.
- For a quicker version, instead of mashing up the spinach, grind it coarsely in the mixie before adding to the tempered mixture.

September 25, 2008

Paruppu Usili Recipe - How to Make Usili ( Tamil Brahmin-Style)

Paruppu Usili is a quintessential Tamil Brahmin dish recipe I was unaware of till I met TH. This is his favourite side-dish to go with rice and rasam or kara kozhambu. I have posted this dish once before that was not an 'authentic' recipe. This is straight from my mom-in-law's recipe archive and I make it around once a week.

Paruppu Usili Recipe

The main ingredients are french beans and toor dal but the recipe is flexible enough to accommodate slight changes. Sometimes I use cluster beans instead of french beans and it works just as well. I have even heard some make cabbage usili but haven't tried this out myself. There are also different and healthier options to cook the dal as opposed to the traditional method of drenching it in oil and telling yourself its healthy cuz it has lentils (which translates to lots of proteins, especially for vegetarians).

Paruppu Usili Recipe
Serves 4

French beans - 1 cup, cut into 1" pieces and boiled
Toor dal (tuvaram parippu) - 3/4 cup
Channa dal (kadala parippu) - 2 tbsp
Dried red chillies - 3 to 4
Hing/asafoetida (kayam) - 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Oil - 1 tbsp (depends on the method you use to cook the dal)
Salt - to taste

How I Made It:

1. Wash and soak the toor dal and channa dal (you can put them together) for about 1.5 hours.

2. Once soft, grind this coarsely with red chillies, turmeric, some salt and hing and as little water as possible.

3. The next step is to cook this dal mixture with the beans and we are done. Its really that simple. There are different ways to cook the dal.

(a) Microwave it till almost done, stirring every one minute. It will take about 4 minutes for it to be almost cooked.

(b) Pat the dal mixture with your hand until you have one thick round roti-like disc and then steam it for 3-4 minutes. This won't work if you added too much water while grinding. Not to worry, either follow step (a) or

(c) Pour copious amounts of oil (you need atleast 3-4 tbsp) into a pan and stir-fry the dal mixture. This will take anywhere between 7-10 minutes and is allegedly the tastiest of them all.

I have tried all three methods and found that the steaming method makes the softest and healthiest usili. The microwave version tends to make it a bit dry but its really not that bad at all. The oil-heavy one is the best of course. It has to be, otherwise it defies the rules of healthy cooking and eating.

4. If you already started out in a pan, then just add beans when the dal is almost done and cook for another 4-5 minutes without adding more oil. If you microwaved or steamed the dal, then heat a pan, add 1 tbsp oil and dump in the dal and beans and stir-blend for about 5 minutes. 

Beans Usili goes well with rice and pepper rasam or kara kuzhambu.

September 22, 2008

Aloo Gobi Recipe - How to Make Aloo Gobi

Aloo Gobi doesn't get me that excited but TH loves it! He loves anything with potatoes in it and cauliflower is his favourite vegetable. Last week he actually requested for Aloo Gobi to have as a side dish with chapatis, and it came as a surprise because normally he leaves the decision-making on what to cook, to me.

I have an updated version of dry aloo gobi recipe so do check that out!

Aloo Gobi Recipe - How to Make Aloo Gobi

This is a simple, easy recipe that was done in about 20 minutes, perfect for a weeknight quick-fix dinner. It is also unarguably one of the most popular dishes in North Indian restaurants everywhere, especially outside India. A meal out is not considered complete without a nice and mildly spiced Aloo Gobi to go with the rotis (flat Indian bread)

September 17, 2008

Paneer Tomato Salad - Paneer Salad Recipe

This Paneer Salad Recipe has been in my archives for a long time now, simply because its really not much of a recipe - just a concoction of different ingredients that I like. I took a picture and saved it since it was just too colourful to pass without doing atleast that. As I have mentioned before, I am not much of a salad person but absolutely love paneer. Freshly made paneer has a wonderful, crumbly texture that will work really well in this Paneer Salad.

Paneer Tomato Salad - Paneer Salad Recipe

For this paneer salad recipe, I love to use homemade paneer since it has more freshness and better texture. You can definitely use store-bought paneer too, just make sure you defrost it completely before using. It will also help to lightly dip the paneer in some water and squeeze out the excess. This will give some moisture to the paneer if it's been frozen for a while, which could dehydrate it. 

September 15, 2008

Rasam Powder Recipe - How to Make Rasam Powder at Home

This is my mom-in-law's superb recipe for Rasam Powder. But that doesn't mean you can only use it to make rasam, you can easily use it to make Sambar too. I even add it to a whole bunch of kozhambu and curries, recipes of which will follow soon.

Rasam Powder Recipe - How to Make Rasam Powder at Home

Until a week back, I had the powder from the batch she sent with me when we moved to Singapore. Last week I made this on my own. She does this in bulk and takes it to a dry mill but I used powders and gave it a twist in my mixer.

While I have had decent lunch with sambar powder brands that I buy, rasam powder is always more of a miss than a hit. Since TH and I are very used to this homemade rasam powder, no other mix seems to work as well for us. You can also make sambar with this rasam powder by adding some extra jeera as you make the sambar.


Dry red chillies - 2 cups
Dhania (coriander/kothamalli) - 2 cups
Black Pepper - 20 grams
Jeera (jeerakam/cumin seeds) - 25 grams
Toor dal (tuvar dal/tuvara parippu) - 1/2 cup
Chana dal (Bengal gram/kadala parippu) - 1/2 cup
Fenugreek (methi/vendhayam/uluva) - 2 tbsp
Turmeric (optional) - 2 tsp

Dry roast all the ingredients till golden brown. 
Stir continuously and make sure you are standing over it till its done. 
Powder until fine and store in an air-tight container.

- I used the powder form of all spices and gave it a spin in my mixer so that it blends well.
- If you are making enough for over a month's use, store in the fridge to prevent bugs.
- Use as normal for making sambar and rasam alike, just like you would normal samhar and rasam powders that are store-bought.

You may also like my All-Purpose Curry Masala Recipe.

September 14, 2008

Mirchi Ka Salan - Hyderabadi Mirchi Ka Salan Recipe

Update: I have tried a few different versions after posting this and now have an updated better Recipe for Mirchi Ka Salan. Do check that instead. Thanks!

It's been a while since I sent in anything for RCI - Regional Cuisine of India. I especially enjoy this event since it calls for a lot of experimenting and exposure to recipes that I haven't tried or tasted before from regions all over India. Some of favourites range quite a bit, starting from the Saarina Pudi I made for RCI - Karnataka to Bihari Shahi Paneer to Gujarati Khattay Aloo, all are recipes that soon became occasionals in my kitchen, not to mention the absolute ball I had during RCI - Kerala.

Mirchi ka Salan is a typical Hyderabadi dish that's made with chillies and masala to serve with Biryani. Mirchi ka Salan really elevates the taste of the Biryani to the next level, especially for Hyderabadi-style Biryani recipes. 

Mirchi Ka Salan-Hyderabadi Mirchi Ka Salan Recipe
Mirchi Ka Salan (phone pic, so please excuse!)

Bhavnagri Chillies

This time's RCI is featuring Authentic Hyderabadi Cuisine. Ahh, Hyderabad! In my two and a half years in the city, I have tasted a bunch of authentic dishes like Dum Biriyani, Bagara Baingan, Do pyaaza, Rawgani Roti, Mirchi ka salan, Double ka meetha and a lot more. I personally didn't like Qubani ka meetha and haleem.

Of all these dishes, Mirchi Ka Salan is my absolute favourite. It adds a wonderful flavour as a side dish to Biriyani. RCI this month gave me a good excuse to try it out myself. The process is slightly time-consuming since the dish is based on the traditional slow cooking method. Its definitely worth it though!

Hyderabadi Mirchi Ka Salan Recipe
Recipe source here.
Serves 4

2 cups long green chillies (bhavnagri chillies) or capsicum, cut into thick strips
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek (methi/uluva) seeds
1/4 teaspoon nigella seeds (kalonji/karum jeerakam)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tbsp coriander (malli) seeds
1 tbsp jeera (jeerakam)
2 teaspoons red chilli powder
1 tablespoon tamarind pulp/paste
5 tablespoons oil
A few curry leaves
Salt to taste
To be roasted dry and ground into powder:
2 tablespoons peanuts
2 tablespoons sesame seeds (til/ellu)
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
To be ground into paste:

6 cloves garlic
1/2 inch piece ginger
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh grated coconut

How to Make Hyderabadi Mirchi ka Salan:
1. Wash and slit the green chillies. Remove the seeds and fry in hot oil until they turn whitish in colour. Remove and keep aside.

2.In the same oil, add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, nigella seeds and curry leaves.

3. When the seeds crackle, add the paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add the turmeric powder, coriander and cumin seed powder, chilli powder and powdered peanut-sesame mixture. Cook over a medium flame, stirring continuously until the oil separates.

4. Add 2 cups water and tamarind pulp and bring it to a boil.

5. Add the fried green chillies and salt and simmer until the gravy thickens. This takes a good 20-25 minutes. 

Serve Mirchi ka Salan with Biryani and Raita.

September 9, 2008

Grilled Garlic Bread-Grilled Garlic Toast Recipe

Grilled Garlic Bread is something I made for Sig's Grill It event, but was too busy to post it on time. Its very simple and tastes heavenly. But, you need to be a garlic lover for that.

TH has sandwiches every morning and generally likes to stay from bread of any form over weekends. The one and only exception is garlic bread. We go out for pizza quite often and invariably end up stuffing ourselves because of the generous portions of garlic bread we ordered in the beginning. I like mine with cheese and TH likes it without. 

This is a grilled version of our good 'ol garlic bread, except that I didn't have baguette in hand, so used normal white bread and that its grilled on a toaster instead of baked.

September 8, 2008

Aloo Tindora Curry - Kovakkai Curry Recipe

Aloo Tindora dry curry is another quick-fix recipe with bits and pieces of leftover vegetables. The way I feel about aloos (potatoes) is, if I have no other veggies to cook with or  not enough, then it makes a good add-on.

I have tried it with different vegetables and recently, gave a shot at using it with tindora/ivy gourd. There was some tindora left over after making tindora fry so I went ahead and came up with this recipe. 

Aloo Tindora Dry Curry Recipe

Ingredients for Aloo Dry Curry:
Tindora / Gerkins / Ivy Gourd / Kovakka - 1 cup, chopped
Aloo / Potatoes - 2, cubed
Grated coconut - 2 tbsp
Dried red chillies - 4
Jeera - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Coconut oil - 2 tsp

How to Make Tindora Aloo Dry Curry: 

1. Wash, peel and boil the potatoes till almost soft.

2. Cut the tindora in small pieces and boil in some water till cooked.

3. Heat oil in a pan and temper with mustard seeds and urad dal. Break the red chillies into 3-4 pieces and fry lightly in the oil. Add jeera and turmeric powder and fry for about 10 seconds.

4. Finally add the cooked potatoes, tindora and the coconut and mix well, letting it fry lightly in the oil. Adjust salt. 


- If you want a crispier version, semi-cook the potatoes and use more oil.
- I served it with rice but also goes well with rotis.

Related recipes:-

September 1, 2008


Please check out my new and improved Matar Paneer Recipe before you try this recipe.

I had been meaning to make Paneer Matar for a while and had some left over paneer after making palak paneer. I always have frozen peas in the fridge, though my mom keeps telling me I should get fresh ones. Well, I will if I find them around, but till then, frozen ones will do. They are just so convenient!

I have also been planning to make paneer at home (update: I made paneer at home!) one of these days. But my lazy self found that Mustafa Stores in Singapore stores paneer (among everything else under the sun!) so I am happily buying and stocking up on frozen Amul Paneer cubes.

Anyway, I have the recipe below, the way I modified it but I have stuck to it pretty much entirely.