May 29, 2009

Sri Lankan Beetroot Thel Dala Recipe - Easy beetroot curry with coconut

Thel Dala refers to a dry stir-fried dish in Sri Lanka. Usually thel dala is made with potatoes and called ala thel dala. The book I had mentioned in my previous post on Sri Lankan Mango Curry, Sri Lankan Flavours by Channa Dassanayaka, this has recipe for thel dala using beetroots.

I have been quite hooked to Sri Lankan recipes and reading up on differences and similarities between Indian and Sri Lankan cuisines. I really want to try using their salted chillies in my cooking too. The book mentions how they marinate chillies in salt water and use that in their curries. The use of coconut milk is also quite extensive in their recipes.

If you like recipes with beetroots, then you may enjoy this Kerala beetroot thoran recipe, beetroot pachadi, and this dal with beet leaves.

Sri Lankan Beetroot Thel Dala Recipe - Easy beetroot curry with coconut

Beetroot Thel Dala Recipe

Serves: 2-3
Source: Sri Lankan Flavours by Channa Dassanayaka

2 medium-sized beetroots, peeled and diced
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup tomatoes, chopped
10 curry leaves or 1 bay leaf
1 small cinnamon stick
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 green chillies, sliced
1 teaspoon curry powder or garam masala
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
Salt to taste


1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion, curry leaves, cinnamon and garlic and saute until golden brown - about 1 to 2 mins. Then add the beetroot and toss for another 2 mins.

2. Add the tomatoes, green chilies, curry powder, turmeric and chilli and stir until spices are mixed through.

3. Add 1/4 cup water, bring to boil then simmer until the beetroot is tender - about 7 mins. Mix in salt to taste and remove.


Instead of thel dala, you can also make a Sri Lankan beetroot curry with the same recipe by adding coconut milk. At step 3, instead of adding water, add 1/4 cup light coconut milk and cook till beets are tender. Two minutes before removing from the flame, add 1/2 cup thick coconut milk, simmer and remove.

Serve beetroot thel dala hot with plain steamed rice.

May 27, 2009

Thengai Sadam - How to Make Thengai Sadam (South Indian Coconut Rice Recipe)

Thenga Sadam-Thengai Sadam Recipe- Indian Coconut Rice Recipe
Thengai sadam or South Indian coconut rice is probably one of my favourite mixed rice dishes. I had it the first time at my sister's in-law's place around the time her wedding got fixed. Amma had never made it before at home (even though we were in the land of the coconuts!) but after that day, this became an occasional treat at home. Its really a simple rice dish and something you can whip up in 10-15 mins if you have cooked rice ready.

If you love South Indian rice recipes as much as we do, then check out this tangy lemon rice recipe, super simple sambar sadam in rice cooker, and this deliciously different cabbage rice recipe.

Thengai Sadam Recipe
Serves: 2

Cooked rice : 4 cups
Grated coconut - 1 cup (frozen works too)
Salt - to taste
For spice powder:
Chana dal / kadala paruppu - 1 tbsp
Urad dal / uzhunnu parippu - 1 tbsp
Dry red chillies - 2 to 3
For tempering:
Coconut oil - 1 tbsp (or any oil you have in hand)
Chana dal / kadala paruppu - 1 tsp
Hing / asafoetida / perungaayam
Dry red chillies - 1, halved
Curry leaves - a few
For garnishing:
3 crushed appalam / papadom (optional)

How to make Coconut Rice:

Thenga Sadam-Thengai Sadam Recipe- Indian Coconut Rice Recipe
1. Dry roast the ingredients for spice powder until the dals turn golden and the red chillies are nicely browned. 

Thenga Sadam-Thengai Sadam Recipe- Indian Coconut Rice Recipe
2. Cool and powder coarsely with salt. 

Thenga Sadam-Thengai Sadam Recipe- Indian Coconut Rice Recipe
3. Heat oil in a pan and add ingredients for tempering along with the coconut. When it turns golden brown, remove from fire. 

Thenga Sadam-Thengai Sadam Recipe- Indian Coconut Rice Recipe

4. Add the roasted coconut mixture and the spice mixture to the cooked rice and mix well. Adjust salt. 

5. Add crushed fried appalam or papadom before serving. 

May 25, 2009

Lemon Rice Recipe - South Indian Lemon Rice Recipe

Lemon rice always reminds me of train rides. I am sure some of you associate the two as well because in most cases, whenever we go on an overnight train journey, a small bundle of lemon rice wrapped in wilted banana leaf will be handed over to everyone. We have always had lemon rice with chuttaracha chammanthi, thick coconut chutney ground with smoked red chillies, and curd or raita.

Lemon Rice Recipe - South Indian Lemon Rice Recipe

I also have another distinct memory associated with lemon rice. One of eating it at a temple when I was very little. I forgot where or when but that was probably the best lemon rice I have ever tasted. It's been ages since I have eaten from a temple but if I see it when I pass by, I am grabbing some!

For more authentic South Indian rice recipes, check out this puliogare recipe, thengai sadam (coconut rice), ellu sadam (sesame rice), and carrot rice recipe, an easy lunchbox dish perfect to make a day ahead too. 

On to the Lemon Rice Recipe now. 

Lemon Rice
Serves: 2-3
Preparation time: 30 mins

4 cups cooked rice (leftovers work perfect)
3 tbsp raw peanuts
3/4 tsp turmeric powder
2-3 tbsp juice of lemon or lime
Salt to taste
For tempering:
2 tbsp gingelly oil / nallennai / sesame seed oil (Indian version)
2-3 red chillies torn into halves
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp chana dal / kadala paruppu
A generous pinch of hing / asafoetida / perungaayam
A few curry leaves
Chopped coriander leaves for garnishing (optional)

How to Make Lemon Rice:

1. Heat oil for tempering in a pan and add the peanuts. Roast until nicely browned. Drain and set aside. 

2. To the hot oil, add the ingredients for tempering. Take care not to burn the chillies. When the mustard seeds start to pop and the dal has turned a golden brown, add the turmeric powder and salt. Now add peanuts, mix well and remove from fire. 

3. Add cooked rice to the above mixture and mix well. Squeeze lime on the rice and mix again. Depending on the lime / lemon you use, the sourness will vary. Make sure you make it slightly more sour than you need it because when you let it sit for an hour or two, the rice will absorb the flavours. 

4. Garnish and serve.

Lemon Rice Recipe - South Indian Lemon Rice Recipe


- Lemon rice is fantastic to carry with you on a trip. Wrap in banana leaves or pack it in your throwaway containers with some chuttaracha chammanthi and you are set! 

- The lemon rice tastes just fine when it turns cold but if serving at home, serve warm. 

May 21, 2009

Sri Lankan Raw Mango Curry Recipe

Raw mango curry - Sri Lankan food and cooking has been top of mine for me for a while now. I made this raw mango curry with coconut milk that tastes very unique and different from anything I've tasted. I believe the raw mango curry is usually called amba maluwa but the amba maluwa I once tried in a Sri Lankan restaurant in Sydney was a bright red, much like a pickle and not mellow like how mine turned out. I also don't think they used pandan leaves in that curry preparation.

Sri Lankan Raw Mango Curry Recipe

I have been browsing through this Sri Lankan cookbook by Channa Dassanayaka and it's made me realize how similar Sri Lankan cuisine is to Indian cuisine as well South East Asian ones. I was amazed to see that Pandan leaves, that are a very common ingredient used in South East Asian cooking, are a staple in a Sri Lankan kitchen too, just like curry leaves are to South Indians. In fact, they use curry leaves quite extensively too. I was also surprised to see Kerala appam, they call it hoppers, as a common street food in Sri Lanka. And they call idiyappam string hoppers - so cute!

Sri Lankan Raw Mango Curry Recipe

I could go on and on because I am quite smitten by this cuisine. Similar yet so different from what I am so used to.

The first dish I tried from the book is this Mango Curry. It's similar to our mango pachadi recipe but has its subtle differences. I was disappointed to see that the author hadn't mentioned the local name for this dish, but anyway, the next recipe I tried, beetroot thel dala seems to be uniquely Sri Lankan and seems to be quite popular too.

Sri Lankan Raw Mango Curry Recipe

Sri Lankan Mango Curry

Serves: 2
Preparation time: 30 mins
Source: Sri Lankan Flavours by Channa Dassanayaka

1.5 cups cubed raw mangoes
1/2 onion, chopped fine
2 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp crushed ginger
(or use 2 tsp ginger garlic paste)
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp vinegar
4-5 curry leaves
1 pandan leaf cut/torn into bits
a 1" cinnamon stick
1/2 cup thick coconut milk
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1 tbsp oil


1. Peel mango and cut into long, thin pieces. I made the mistake of not peeling the mango and the curry came out slightly bitter. So please take the time and do it!

2. Grind mustard seeds and vinegar together to form a coarse paste.

3. Heat oil in a pan and add the onion, ginger, garlic, curry leaves and cinnamon. Saute until onion turns golden - about 5-7 mins.

4. Add the mango, light coconut milk, pandan leaf bits and the mustard seed mixture and bring to a boil.

5. Reduce heat and simmer until mango is cooked and tender. Add the thick coconut milk and simmer for another 10 mins. Add salt.

Sri Lankan Raw Mango Curry Recipe


- You can use store-bought coconut milk for this recipe. I used it and to get the light coconut milk, I added equal amounts of water to the coconut milk. It won't curdle if you cook it in very low fire

- The dish will taste just fine without pandan leaves. It will be like making an Indian dish without curry leaves - a certain flavour will be missing but that won't break the dish totally, so don't worry :)

Sri Lankan raw mango curry is usually served with rice and some meat curry during a typical Sri Lankan lunch.

May 19, 2009

Ennai Kathirikkai Kuzhambu Recipe | Tamil Kulambu Recipes

Ennai Kathirikkai Kulambu is a recipe that I make rarely but still a favourite. Whenever I get baby brinjals (kathirikai) in the market, I am tempted to make kuzhambu with it but since we generally prefer a simple rasam for weekends, Ennai Kathirikkai Kuzhambu preparation gets postponed to another day. This recipe is from my mom in law who passed it on to me verbally one day. I forgot half of it but managed to still dish out a great tasting kuzhambu. 

Ennai Kathirikkai Kuzhambu Recipe | Tamil Kulambu RecipesThis is an authentic Tamil Nadu kuzhambu recipe and its sometimes a bit overwhelming for lazybones like me. That is not to say this is a difficult recipe. There is a bit of roasting and grinding and soaking and frying to be done. My grandmom would have said "these days girls have it easy, you have the mixie!" She is right, of course!

Ennai Kathirikkai Kuzhambu Recipe-How to Make Ennai Kathirikai KuzhambuMake sure you pick out nice and small brinjals of more or less similar size. Its okay if they don't stand up straight on the plate though, 'cuz mine didn't either!

If you have some time on your hands and are craving some comfort food, a homemade meal, something like what your mom/grandmom would have made you if she were with you, then this one's for you. I made it on a Saturday morning and it lasted till Tuesday the next week. I had it with rice, dosa, chappathis, more rice and more dosas!

I am also planning to make this when my amma visits me. She is going to be sooooo impressed ;)

Ennai Kathirikkai Kuzhambu Recipe-How to Make Ennai Kathirikai KuzhambuResist the temptation to stare at the pretty stuffed brinjal. Atleast try!
Ennai Kathirikkai Kuzhambu Recipe
Serves: 4
Preparation time : 45 mins

A lime-sized ball tamarind
8-10 small aubergines
1/4 cup sesame / gingelly oil / nallennai
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp powdered jaggery / sugar
For Spice Powder:
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp hing / asafoetida / perungaayam
8 dried red chillies
2 tbsp chana dal / kadala paruppu
2 tbsp toor dal / tuvaram paruppu
2 tbsp urad dal / ulutham paruppu
1 tsp salt
For Tempering:
1/2 tsp mustard seeds / kaduku
1 dry red chilli
1 sprig curry leaves

How to make Ennai Kathirikkai Kuzhambu

1. Heat oil for spice powder and add all ingredients except salt. Fry till spices are fragrant and dals turn a golden brown.

2. Remove from heat, mix in salt and grind to a powder.

3. Soak tamarind in 1.5 cups warm water and extract juice.

4. Wash the aubergines and make criss-cross cuts into it from the base almost upto the stalks.

5. Stuff the aubergines with enough spice powder and set aside the remaning powder.

6. Heat gingelly oil in a large pan and fry the aubergines till cooked through and semi-soft. Take care not to break them. Drain and set aside.

7. To the above hot oil, add the ingredients for tempering. When the mustard seeds popping, add the tamarind juice, salt, jaggery and the remaining spice powder. Simmer for about 10-12 mins.

8. Add aubergines to the above and simmer for another 5-7 mins.

9. Serve hot with plain rice and any thoran / mezhukkupuratti / poriyal dish.

Ennai Kathirikkai Kuzhambu Recipe-How to Make Ennai Kathirikai Kuzhambu

This kathirikkai kuzhambu keeps well for upto 4 days at room temperature. Make sure that you bring to boil each time before serving. It tastes best the day after its made. I love it with dosai!

May 17, 2009

Monthly Mingle #33 - Ravishing Rice Recipes

When I saw that Meeta was looking for people to guest host her Monthly Mingle Event, I sent her an email expressing interest. She replied saying the next open slot was for May 2009. The amazing thing was this happened last year in June! I signed up anyway and here it is, May 2009, and my turn to host the Monthly Mingle.

I have picked a theme close to my heart, something that hopefully you use a lot in your cooking and enjoy - Ravishing Rice! You can send in any dish with rice or rice-related ingredients in it, like rice flour, roasted rice, puffed rice, flattened rice, etc. 
Here are the general rules:

1. Post a recipe featuring rice or rice-related ingredients from now until 15th June, 2009.

2. Link your entry to this post and to Meeta's MM page

3. Email me at with the following details: 

Your name:
Your blog name: 
Your blog URL: 
Recipe name: 
Recipe permalink:
Picture of dish (300px wide)
(Pls let me know if you need help with resizing)

4. Multiple entries are welcome but not more than 5 entries per person, please.

5. The round-up will be posted around 21/22 June, 2009.

6. Non bloggers can participate by sending me the necessary details above, except of course, the URLs. 

So, are we ready to Mingle? Looking forward to all your great Ravishing Rice Recipes!

A few rice recipes in this blog, to get your thoughts started.

May 15, 2009

Basic Potato Salad Recipe | Pizza Hut Potato Salad Recipe

This is a quick Basic Potato Salad Recipe. I didn't make it intending to post it actually. I changed my mind after trying to find this recipe online, in vain. Ok, flashback time. 

TH sometimes talks about his childhood days in Abu Dhabi and how they went to Pizza Hut every now and then. He always talks very fondly about the potato salad they served there. Now me, I have not tried salad in Pizza Hut, ever! Pizza Hut is for pizzas. Period. Anyway, recently we attended a colleague's wedding where they had potato salad and TH went for a few helpings and forced me to try some too, which he never does, 'cuz really, I don't need to be forced to eat anything. I was just busy with other more tastier looking things on the table. I tried it anyway and I loved it! It tasted so 'simple', like you could make it with just 3-4 ingredients in the pantry. I didn't bother trying to figure what went into it because I was confident I'd find it online. 

I'm sure its out there somewhere but its not easy to find because there are a million ways you can make potato salad. So I gave up and threw in what I thought went into the salad we tried. Now I am sharing it with you :)

May 13, 2009

Cabbage Poriyal Recipe | Cabbage Curry Recipe

In the brinjal poriyal recipe, I had mentioned how I used think that poriyal is just the tamil term for thoran and then later realized there are subtle differences in the recipes. I have posted thoran recipes here before and that's a very common recipe for almost all thoran dishes I make. TH prefers poriyal since that's what he is used to. Cabbage poriyal is the most often made in my kitchen. 

Cabbage Poriyal Recipe | Cabbage Curry Recipe
Cabbage Poriyal Recipe
Serves 2-3

Shredded cabbage - 2 cups
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup (fresh or frozen)
Dry red chillies - 2 to 3
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Chana dal / kadala paruppu / split chickpeas - 1 tsp (you can soak it in warm water for 10 mins if you prefer)
Hing / asafoetida / perungayam - a pinch (optional)
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Curry leaves - a few
Salt - to taste

How to make Cabbage Poriyal:

1. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, chana dal, curry leaves, red chillies torn into pieces and the hing. Keep the fire of low and make sure the chillies don't burn.  

2. Once mustard seeds start popping, add the shredded cabbage, grated coconut and turmeric powder to the above and cook closed on medium flame until almost soft. You can sprinkle some water if necessary. Make sure you check the water level in between. Cabbage gives out water when cooking so don't add too much to begin with.  
3. Add salt. Keep on low flame and stir occasionally until the water content leaves the cabbage and coconut and the dish becomes dry - about 4-5 mins. 
Serve hot with rice and kuzhambu

May 11, 2009

Easy Bisi Bele Bath | Sambar Sadam Recipe

Though I have always loved vatha kozhambu and theeyals better than sambar, ever since I started cooking on my own, I love sambar! However, making sambar on a weeknight means also making a thoran or poriyal to go with it. Sambar sadam or Bise Bele Bath is the quick answer for that. Add in all the vegetables you have in hand and there you go - a nutritious one-dish meal in no time that's very forgiving when it comes to what vegetables you add to it.

Although I realise the actual version requires coconut and freshly ground and powdered spices, etc, that's not a very weeknight-friendly recipe. I have tried that a couple of times but the sheer time it takes to peel the shallots itself is a turn-off.

Anyway, here's how I make mine, the easy, quick version of Sambar Sadam made in a pressure cooker.

Easy Bisi Bele Bath | Sambar Sadam Recipe
Bisi Bele Bath / Sambar Sadam Recipe
Serves 2-3
Preparation time - 15 mins
Special utensil needed - pressure cooker

What I Use:

Rice - 1.5 cups
I use ponni or basmati but the regular rice you use every day will work just fine.
Toor / tuvar / kandi pappu / pigeon peas - 3/4 to 1 cup
Tamarind - a marble-sized ball or 2 tbsp tamarind paste
Chopped vegetables - 1.5 cups
You can use any vegetables you have in hand like French beans, carrots, potatoes, peas, tomatoes, drumstick, capsicum, etc.
Shallots - 6 (optional)
Green chillies - 2
Sambar powder - 1.5 to 2 tbsp
Hing / Asafoetida / Perungayam - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - a pinch

For tempering:

Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Shallots - 2, sliced thin (optional)

How to make Sambar Sadam in a Pressure Cooker: 
1. Add 1 cup warm water to the tamarind and extract juice. Discard pulp. If using tamarind paste, dissolve it in 1 cup water without any lumps.

2. Heat oil for tempering in the pressure cooker pan and add the rest of the ingredients. Fry the shallots for tempering, if using, until golden brown. Then add the hing, green chillies, turmeric and sambar powder and mix well for 10 seconds.

3. Add all the ingredients and sufficient water. To cook the rice I use every day, the ratio of rice:water is 1:2. Since I have used 1.5 cups rice here, I need 3 cups water in total. Tamarind juice is in 1 cup water so I added approximately 2 more cups of water to the cooker. Its fine if its slightly more than that.

4. Cook for 3 whistles. If you like your sambar sadam a bit mushy, then cook for 4 whistles and make sure you add slightly more water than specified above.

5. Wait till pressure leaves and serve hot with vadaam / chips / appalam and raita / curd.

Easy Bisi Bele Bath | Sambar Sadam Recipe

May 8, 2009

Rhengan Reveya Recipe - Brinjals in Peanut Sauce

I bookmark about 3 recipes each day on an average. I end up cooking about 4-5 of them each month, if its a good month, simply because there are way too may of them and just weekends for me to experiment and try out new stuff. But the moment I saw this recipe on Sia's site, I knew I'll be trying it out as soon as I could lay my hands on some good baby aubergines / Indian eggplant aka kathirikkai. I decided to give Little India a shot and I was not disappointed. I picked up some real beauties!

Rhengan Reveya is a traditional Gujarati recipe that is a delicious satay of baby aubergines and baby potatoes marinated in a spicy peanut paste. I have not yet tried peanut-based curries and that made this all the more exciting. Also, aubergines are my weakness, as you can see from the number of kathirikai recipes on this blog :D

May 6, 2009

Cheddar Cheese Muffins Step By Step Recipe

A while back, I bought a packet of cheddar cheese because it was on sale. In Singapore, practically any kind of cheese is expensive. The usual price for a 200gm packet starts at $5 so I normally don't buy and keep it. Even cheese singles are a rare item in our grocery list. So anyway, when this particular packet of cheddar cheese was on sale, I had to buy it. So I did.

I waited a week before hitting the 'urgent' button and looking around for easy muffin recipes. I found a bunch of interesting recipes, some were eggless, some were butter-less, some required vegetable oil, etc etc etc. I went through about a dozen muffin recipes before I felt I can do this on my own. So I did.

Here are my cheddar cheese muffins. Pretty no? They are really simple to bake. Really!

May 4, 2009

Gajar Matar Malai Recipe | Carrots & Peas In A Milk Gravy

The moment I saw this Carrot Peas recipe on Nandu's blog, I knew I wanted to try it. It seemed so simple and the story behind it was quite amazing. I tried it a few weeks ago and have been wanting to post it ever since! 

The fact that cilantro / coriander leaves was a must and not just a garnishing suggestion made me wait until I had some fresh leaves ready to be used. 

I didn't have onions so added a few chopped shallots instead. I also omitted the cream, but otherwise, the recipe is 'authentic' :D