April 29, 2010

Chena Vanpayar Curry / Yam Erissery Recipe - Onam Sadya Recipes

This is a slightly varied version of the popular Kerala recipe - Erissery. I didn't have coconut in hand so I had to improvise since I was really in a mood for some mushy curry type thing with yam and it also had to go with roti and rice. I remembered amma putting together something like this but I was almost sure she wouldn't remember the dish nor the recipe because it was her own concoction. So I went with what I had and instinct.

By the way, I used black eyed peas because red cow peas (vanpayar) is not easily available here. Traditionally, that's what's used in erissery.

I guess you can call this:

Chena Vanpayar Erissery without Coconut!
Serves 4


2 cups elephant yam, cubed
3/4 cup black eyed beans / vanpayar

To grind:
4 green chillies
6-8 shallots / pearl onions
1/2 tsp jeera / cumin
A pinch of turmeric

To temper:
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1 dry red chilli,  broken into half
A few curry leaves
2 tsp oil

How I Made It:

1. Pressure cook the black eyed beans with sufficient water for 3-4 whistles. Alternatively, you can cook in a closed pot with enough water to cover it for 45 mins to an hour until soft but not mushy.

2. Grind the ingredients in the list under 'To grind'. Set aside.

3. Cook the yam in a pan with enough water to cover it, until soft. This should take about 10-12 mins. Once done, drain any remaining water and set aside.

4. Heat oil for tempering in a pan and add the remaining ingredients. When the mustard seeds pop, add the ground paste. Fry for 10 seconds and add the cooked yam and beans. Add salt. Cook for 5 mins until well mixed.

Serve warm with rotis or rice.

April 26, 2010

Paneer Bhurji (Bhurjee) Recipe | Easy Indian Paneer Recipes

Some time back, I had asked people to share their favourite paneer dish in the Edible Garden Facebook page. I was quite surprised to see that Paneer Bhurji got the most votes, only followed by paneer tikka masala. I was surprised that this simple dish that I hadn't even bothered to blog about impresses so many people.

So here goes, my most versatile Indian paneer recipe - Paneer Bhurji. The beauty of this recipe is, it's entirely flexible. You can change around the masala powders (like using pav bhaji masala) you use and experiment with adding different vegetables (like adding tomatoes).

Paneer Bhurji Recipe
Serves 2

Ingredients for Paneer Bhurji:
1.5 cups paneer, crumbled
1 small onion, chopped fine
2 green chillies, chopped fine (adjust to taste)
1/2 of a capsicum, chopped fine
A pinch of turmeric
1/2 tsp jeera (cumin) powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
Fresh coriander leaves to garnish
2 tsp oil
Salt to taste

How to Make Paneer Bhurji:

1. Heat oil in a pan and add the onions and green chillies. Once the onions turn soft and pink, add the jeera, salt, and turmeric. Fry for a minute.

2. Now add the paneer, garam masala and capsicum. Stir well and cook on low fire for 7-8 mins, stirring in between. The capsicum should be crunchy. Adjust salt.

3. Garnish with the coriander leaves and serve warm with rotis or use in a sandwich. Yum!

Paneer Bhurji recipe is so ridiculously simple that if you use store-bought paneer cubes, this should be done in less than 15 mins. How's that for a quick dinner idea?

Note: Substitute crumbled paneer with scrambled eggs and you have egg bhurji!

April 23, 2010

Kadalai Sundal Recipe / Chickpeas Sundal Recipe

Chickpeas Sunday is a Navaratri special recipe. I have never paid much attention to sundal before in my life but one night, I this sudden craving for it, maybe because there was a bowl of soaked and pressure cooked chickpeas in the fridge and I knew this would be done in a jiffy.

It's great as a snack, in addition to being a decent side dish with rice and some gravy. Of course, you can also bookmark it if you are looking for Navaratri Special Recipes. Green peas sundal and kadalai paruppu sundal are certain other staples.

Kadalai Sundal Recipe
Serves 2

1 cup chickpeas / kabooli channa, soaked overnight
2 tbsp grated coconut
2 tsp oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp urad dal / ulutham paruppu / husked and split black gram
2-3 dry red chillies
A few curry leaves
Salt to taste


1. Pressure cook the chickpeas for 3-4 whistles (until its cooked but still holds its shape). 3 whistles is a safer bit although in Singapore I feel pressure cooking takes more time.

2. Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add the urad dal, red chillies each broken into two and the curry leaves.

3. Once the urad dal turns a golden brown, add the drained chickpeas, coconut and salt. Mix well on medium flame for 3-4 minutes.

4. Serve warm as is or with rice and side dish.

Check out Mochakkottai Sundal Recipe I had posted earlier.

April 21, 2010

Thakkali Thella Pulusu-Thakkali Kuzhambu-Tomato Curry Recipe

Thella pulusu and vatti pulusu are the two most popular Reddiar curries (kozhambu / pulusu). While growing up, I definitely liked the milder thella pulusu but now, home food means a good thoran with vatti pulusu. Ah yumm. My aatha (amma's amma) used to make the best vatti pulusu (the recipe of which my sis has shared here).

This recipe is actually very similar to Arch's tomato saar recipe that I had posted pics of the other day. But there are some minor differences that  make them taste significantly different.

Considering Reddiars are kinda going extinct, I really should have posted this long back but here goes anyway. I couldn't ask aatha for her exact recipe before she passed away but amma has a pretty good approximation of the recipe so sharing that here.

You can add any vegetable of your choice, the most popular ones being tomatoes, drumsticks, brinjal, etc. I made my favourite, the tomato version with drumsticks. 

Thakkali Thella Pulusu 
Serves 4

What I Used:

1 big tomato, cubed
1 drumstick, cut into 4" pieces
1 cup tamarind water (from a small lime-sized ball of tamarind)
Salt to taste

Grind to a paste:
1/2 cup grated coconut
4-5 shallots / ulli
1/2 tsp jeera
2 dry red chillies
A pinch of turmeric
1 clove of garlic

For tempering:
2 tsp oil
A few fenugreek seeds / uluva / menthayam
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
A few curry leaves
4-5 sliced shallots

How to Make Thakkali Kuzhambu

1. Take the tamarind water in a kadai and add the tomatoes and drumsticks to it along with salt. Bring to boil.

2. Add the ground masala paste to this and continue to boil on sim until the drumsticks are soft. This should take about 12-15mins. Add water as necessary to keep the consistency right (same consistency as sambar). Remove and set aside.

3. Heat oil and add all the ingredients for tempering. Once the mustard seeds have popped and the fenugreek seeds are roasted (take care not to burn them!), dunk them into the gravy. Mix well, adjust salt.

Serve hot with rice, mezhukkupuratti and pappadom.

April 14, 2010

Vendakka Pachadi Recipe, Vendakka Thayir Pachadi for Onam Sadya

Vendakka thayir pachadi or vendakka pachadi for Kerala Onam sadya. I had forgotten how easy and quick it is to put together a thayir pachadi and call it a side dish. Now that summer has officially set in in Singapore (it's technically summer here throughout the year!), our consumption of buttermilk and curd has gone up significantly - as if TH wasn't guzzling down enough of it already. So a refreshing and cooling pachadi is exactly what we need to beat the weather.

Pachadi, especially vendakka pachadi, is a very common part of a Kerala sadya or wedding meal. Its simplicity balances out the heat of the other curries and side dishes that are seen as more important. I have always had a soft corner for the simple pachadi. Unlike my beetroot pachadi recipe, this vendakka pachadi doesn't use any coconut. It's more like an okra raita with some basic ingredients you will most likely have in your pantry.

For more recipes with okra or vendakka, check out:
Bhindi masala recipe
Aloo bhindi
Okra fry
Okra stew
Vendakka avial

Vendakka Pachadi Recipe


10 vendakka / okra
1 small onion
1 tsp oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp roasted jeera / cumin powder
1 green chilli (or to taste)
1 cup thick plain yogurt
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
Salt to taste


To prepare the okra: Wash the okra and lay them out to dry without overlapping. If you want to proceed without waiting, pat dry thoroughly with kitchen napkins and proceed to chop. This is how I make okra less slimy when cooking.

Cut the okra into thin rounds. Chop the onion finely and the green chilli into small pieces (or crush using a pestle and mortar).

Heat oil, add mustard seeds and when they pop, add the onions, green chilli and okra. Fry for 8-10 mins until the onions are golden and the okra is fried and crisp. Drain and leave aside to cool.

Beat yogurt with salt and cumin powder. Dunk in the fried okra mixture and mix well.

Serve with rice and side dish / kuzhambu.

April 7, 2010

Chena Ulli Theeyal-Ulli Theeyal Recipe-Theeyal Recipe With Yam and Shallots

Theeyal is a typical Kerala curry that goes well with rice and any side dish. I can have theeyal with practically anything though - idli, dosa, or even appam and idiyappam. I don't make Kerala recipes that often, especially kozhambu recipes because TH prefers the tamil kozhambu dishes.

But, when I got a fresh piece of Chena from Little India, I absolutely had to make theeyal so that's how this happened.

Chena is a pretty popular Kerala ingredient and I love almost anything made with it. Its hard to get fresh chena in Singapore and usually the ones I see are huge and unlike back home, you can't buy just 250gm by cutting off a chunk. You either take the whole thing or don't.

Shallots or ulli, are another star in Kerala cuisine. Its mostly crushed and added to dishes or added whole in gravies like theeyal. Its a pain to peel but for theeyal, I 'd go the extra mile any day!

Ulli theeyal is the most common kind of theeyal although pavakka (bitter gourd) theeyal, kathrikka (brinjal) theeyal and some others are pretty popoular too. I added chena for the extra kick.

Chena Ulli Theeyal
Serves 4

What I Used:

1 cup elephant yam / chena, cut into small cubes
1 cup shallots
1/3 cup tamarind juice (soak tamarind in warm water, extract juice, discard pulp)
Salt to taste

To roast and grind:
1 cup grated coconut (fresh or frozen)
1.5 tbsp coriander powder / malli podi
1/2 tsp  jeera / jeerakam / cumin Powder
1 tsp chilli powder (or to taste)
1/2 tsp pepper powder
A pinch of turmeric powder
A pinch of hing / kaayam / asafoetida
1 tsp oil

For tempering:
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
A few fenugreek seeds / uluva
2 dry red chillies
A few curry leaves
2 tsp (coconut) oil

How I Made It:

1. Heat oil for roasting the powders. Add coconut first and roast until dark brown (a minute short of burning). Then add all the powders, fry for another 10 seconds or so and remove from fire. Cool and grind first to a coarse powder and then add some water and grind to a smooth paste.

2. In a kadai, add the tamarind juice + 1 cup water, shallots and the yam. Bring to boil and add the ground masala paste. Simmer for 10-15 mins until desired consistency is achieved. I like this on the thicker side so I boil until its fairly thick but you can stop after 10 mins or so if you prefer. Add salt and mix well. Remove from fire.

3. Heat oil for tempering and add all the ingredients. Make sure that the fenugreek seeds don't burn, it will turn the curry bitter. When the mustard seeds pop, you can dunk it into the curry. Mix well.

Serve with warm rice and any side dish. I served it with rice and kovakka mezhukkupuratti.

April 5, 2010

Eggless Chocolate Yogurt Cake Recipe (With Easy Chocolate Frosting)

My favourite chocolate cake recipe has yogurt in it. What it also has is a bunch of other ingredients that I don't always have in hand (milk powder, really?). This long weekend, I was craving home made cake so bad that I had to get cracking with the limited ingredients I had.

The 3 eggs we had in the fridge were used up for breakfast with toast. What I did have in abundance is yogurt. I am nothing if not a good wife to a Tamil Brahmin, making sure his beloved thayir sadam is always just 5 mins away.

So here's a fuss-free eggless chocolate yogurt cake, adapted from Nita Mehta's Bakes and CakesThe consistency is a bit spongy and denser than cakes with eggs but end result was totally delicious. 

Eggless Chocolate Yogurt Cake
Makes about 12 pieces

What I Used:

1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar (add 1/4 cup more if not using frosting)
1/2 cup plain yogurt / curd
1/4 cup butter
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt if using unsalted butter

How I Made It:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350F / 180 C. Grease a medium cake pan and set aside.

2. Sift together flour, salt (if using), cocoa powder and baking powder or just mix well in a bowl until combined well. Mix sugar and butter at room temperature. Beat well until frothy (2-3 mins on an electric mixer, 7-8 mins by hand using a whisk).

3. Once frothy, add yogurt and vanilla. Mix well.

4. Fold in the flour mixture until just combined. The batter will be a bit thick, its supposed to be that way, don't worry.

5. Transfer batter to the greased tray and bake for 45 mins or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool completely and frost if required.

Easy Chocolate Frosting Recipe

Once I made the cake and tried the first slice, I realised its not sweet enough. I whipped up this frosting very quickly to make it a bit sweeter and it worked well.

Here's how:

Take a large piece of semi sweet chocolate - about 4 oz - (or use 1/4 cup chocolate chips) and add 1 tbsp butter to it. Melt in the microwave in 30 second intervals until completely melted. Add 1 tbsp icing sugar to this and mix well. If the mixture is too thick, add milk by the teaspoon. I didn't need to.

PS: If you don't have a microwave, melt the chocolate and butter in a pan kept over another pan with boiling water. Mix well until chocolate and butter melt completely.

April 1, 2010

Egg Lentil Omelettes in Spicy Tamarind Gravy (Andhra Style Egg Curry Recipe)

I don't know how to name this recipe actually. Its my grandmom's recipe and I am not sure if anyone has eaten this or a variation of this. We call it Guddu Thattu Posinti and its very infrequently made, making it an extra treat. I had a craving for it one day so called up Amma, got the recipe and made it immediately.

You may also wish to check out my Kerala egg masala recipe, this malabar egg curry, and egg fried rice, one of my favourites! Oh, and Portuguese egg tarts if you are looking for dessert :)

Note: this is a slightly time consuming recipe to make but totally worth the effort.

Egg Lentil Omelettes in Gravy / Guddu Thattu Posinti Recipe
Serves 4

For the omelettes:
3 eggs
A pinch of salt
To grind to a paste:
1/4 cup toor dal, soaked for atleast 2 hours
2-3  green chillies
1" piece of ginger
5-6 shallots / pearl onions
For the gravy:
1 cup tamarind juice (a lime-sized ball of tamarind soaked in water and juice extracted)
Salt to taste
To roast and grind:
1/4 cup grated coconut
1 tbsp channa dal / kadala paruppu
1 tbsp coriander powder / malli podi
1 tsp red chilli powder
A pinch of turmeric powder
1 tsp oil
For tempering:
1/2 tsp mustard seeds / kaduku
6 shallots / pearl onions, sliced thin
A pinch of hing / asafoetida
A few curry leaves
2 red chillies, torn into halves
2 tsp oil


Let's do the gravy first.

1. Roast and grind all the ingredients under that list. In a pan, add this ground masala along with the tamarind juice and salt. Bring to boil and let it simmer for 5 mins. The gravy shouldnt get too watery nor too thick, the consistency should be thicker than rasam but thinner than kozhambu.

2. Heat oil for tempering and add all the ingredients. When the mustard seeds pop and the shallots turn golden, add to the gravy and set aside.

Now for the omelettes.

3. Grind the ingredients under list for omelettes.

4. Break the eggs into a bowl.

5. Add the ground lentil paste.

6. Beat well for a minute with salt.

7. Make into small omelettes by pouring 2 tbsp of the egg mixture at a time onto a lightly oiled pan.

8. Cook closed to maintain softness.

9. Flip over when one side is browned.

10. You should get about 5-6 omelettes with this quantity of ingredients.

11. Phew, ok last step. Dunk in the omelettes in the prepared gravy and serve after an hour or two with steamed rice.

The eggs get nice and soft as they marinate. You can keep this curry refrigerated for up to 2 days, just bring to boil each time before serving. Enjoy!