February 29, 2012

Methi Leaves Sambar-Vendhaya Keerai Sambar Recipe

Learn how to make Methi Sambar with this easy recipe using methi leaves and a great and fresh Sambar recipe. 
Today is a leap day, a once-in-4-years type thing that I didn't want to miss so although I am in KL living out of a suitcase for the next couple days, I wanted to share something here using the very wonky Internet from my hotel room.

Methi Sambar (Fenugreek Leaves Sambar)

Any recipe that amma sends me, especially if it's along with 'styled' pictures that my uncle Radha mama takes, is special. Methi, or fenugreek leaves, are not very common in Kerala and you don't often see it in every vegetable stall. So amma grew her own (but of course). Then she made sambar with it and I think her argument was "if you can make dal with it, I can make sambar with it". Well of course you can amma. The cherry tomatoes you see in the pic are also from her small garden.

Here's the recipe, from her kitchen to yours.

February 27, 2012

Malai Kofta - Easy Malai Kofta Recipe, Step by Step

TH loves Malai Koftas and they are a regular whenever we eat out (that or Palak Paneer!). I have eaten the whole range of Malai Koftas you can come across - the good, the bad, and the downright rubbery balls in goop.

Malai Kofta Recipe | Paneer Recipes

I've been wanting to try some of my own and finally got around to it couple of months back. It's not a short and easy recipe, let me be honest, but it's all worth it at the end, trust me.

The first step is to make the aloo paneer koftas so go on ahead and do that, I'll wait.


Ok now to the gravy to complete the Malai Kofta Recipe.

Malai Kofta Recipe

Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 1 hour

1 batch of aloo paneer koftas
1 large onion, pureed
1 tomato, pureed
12 cashew nuts, soaked in warm water for 30 mins and ground to a paste
1 tsp of red chilli powder
1 tsp of coriander powder
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
A generous pinch of hing / asafoetida
1 tbsp of kasuri methi / dried fenugreek leaves
1 tbsp of tomato sauce (optional)
2 tbsp of cream
Salt to taste
2 tbsp of oil
1 tsp of ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp of jeera / cumin, powdered
1/2 cup of milk

How to Make Malai Kofta Recipe:

1. Heat oil and add the cumin powder. Fry for 5 seconds. Add the tomato and onion puree. Saute for 2-3 mins until the raw smell disappears.

2. Add the chilli powder, coriander powder, salt, turmeric, ginger garlic paste, and hing.

Malai Kofta Recipe | Paneer Recipes

3. Fry for another 2 mins. Now add the kasuri methi and the tomato sauce (if using). Top it off with the ground cashew pate. Mix well and let it cook for 5 mins on low flame.
Malai Kofta Recipe | Paneer Recipes

4. Add the milk. Bring to boil and simmer for a minute.
Malai Kofta Recipe | Paneer Recipes

5. Finally add the cream and mix well. Test for salt.
Malai Kofta Recipe | Paneer Recipes

6. Gently drop in the koftas and cover with the sauce. Turn off fire and let it sit for some time for the gravy to soak through.

Malai Kofta Recipe | Paneer Recipes

Serve with warm jeera rice or rotis, with a garnish of grated paneer or fresh coriander leaves. I


- If you prefer a white base for your malai kofta, skip the tomato and tomato sauce and add more cream and cashew paste.

- Some prefer to omit the onion, and that's fine too but I feel like it gives the gravy a nice base. I also wanted to avoid using too much cream.

February 17, 2012

Food Photos Prop Shopping - Robinson's Singapore

The magic words that lured me in!

Food Photo Prop Shopping in Robinson's Singapore

Lovely riot of colours at the entrance. This is the Robinson's at Raffles City Mall. 

Food Photo Prop Shopping in Robinson's Singapore

Adorable Katie Alice tins for coffee, sugar, and tea. I bought ramekins from this collection which were very cute too.

Food Photo Prop Shopping in Robinson's Singapore

Drool-worthy stoneware in shapes and sizes

Food Photo Prop Shopping in Robinson's Singapore

Korean style soup pots of stone and ceramic. Love the colourful lids

Food Photo Prop Shopping in Robinson's Singapore

Who doesn't love Le Creuset. These were tiny, ramekin-sized ones. I bought a few to gift people because I suddenly felt guilty for being a selfish shopper

Food Photo Prop Shopping in Robinson's Singapore

White tableware. A food photographer's favourite colour. Mine, anyway.

Food Photo Prop Shopping in Robinson's Singapore

Oh yes, I bought that black bowl down there. Gorgeous textured ceramic table-ware from Japan.

Food Photo Prop Shopping in Robinson's Singapore

The cheaper more colourful kind from China. I have a set of those striped ones on the right and one floral one not shown here which sadly cracked the other day. 

Food Photo Prop Shopping in Robinson's Singapore

I wasn't sure if they would mind pictures being taken in the store so I was in stealth mode. I wish I could've taken more but if you are visiting Singapore and love kitchen things, definitely pay Robinson's a visit.

Check out this previous post from when I visited Fishs Eddy in New York

February 15, 2012

Rotte with Parippu Curry | Kerala Dal Curry | Dal Recipe

Rotte is a Reddiar specialty made with rice powder and deep fried (like pooris). It is served with a Kerala-style parippu curry (dal curry) made with moong dal. The combination is mind-blowing!

This is a very special recipe for me. I had wanted to share this for ages and finally got amma to make it last summer when I was in Kottayam. The pictures and the recipe she sent me just sat there in my folders until finally I decided to pull out some of amma's recipes and post them all.

Rotte with Parippu Curry

I am not sure of the origin of Rotte and neither is amma. But I grew up eating this for breakfast at least once a month. I have a feeling it's a Kannada breakfast item, for some reason.

February 12, 2012

6 Easy Dessert Recipes for Valentines Day

I know some of you are planning your special day with your special someone and I am sure a lot of the plans must involve food. The best kind of food, actually. The kind you make yourself. Here are 6 easy recipes for Valentines Day.

Click on the pictures for the recipe.

February 9, 2012

Paruppu Thogayal Recipe, How to make Paruppu Thogayal

Recipe for Paruppu Thogayal, the dal or lentil chutney from TamilNadu using toor dal. Before I even go into the recipe, let me start off by saying that I know my paruppu thogayal looks like hummus. Imagine making something so drab and brown look pretty! I just ran out of ideas so make a dent with the back of the spoon, sprinkled some Kashmiri chilli powder over it and then poured some nallennai on top.

Paruppu Thogayal Recipe, How to make Paruppu Thogayal

I can't think Paruppu Thogayal without thinking of Kavya, my niece. This is her absolute favourite! The sis makes it super well and this is one of those recipes that I learnt for TH. Super easy, very versatile, and you can find a few good uses for it apart from just mixing it with rice.

Also check out:
Moong dal thogayal recipe
Kothamalli thogayal recipe
Chow chow thogayal
Eggplant chutney
Thakkali Chutney
Peanut chutney

Paruppu Thogayal / Lentil Chutney Recipe

Makes about 1.5 cups 
Serves 4
Preparation time: 2 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins

1 cup of toor dal / thuvar dal
1/4 to 1/3 cup of grated coconut
3 cloves of minced garlic (optional)
3-4 of dry red chillies
A pinch of hing / perungaayam / asafoetida
2 tbsp of oil


1. Heat oil in a wide pan and add the toor dal. Fry until reddish golden brown - about 3-4 mins.

Paruppu Thogayal (Lentil Chutney / Dip)

2. Switch off flame and add the coconut and minced garlic (you can also add chopped garlic pieces since you are going to grind it anyway). Mix well.

Paruppu Thogayal (Lentil Chutney / Dip)

3. Next, add the red chillies and the hing. Mix well with salt. Set aside to cool completely.

PS: You can combine steps 2 and 3 and add everything in one go.

Paruppu Thogayal (Lentil Chutney / Dip)

4. Grind to a coarse paste with enough water.

Paruppu Thogayal (Lentil Chutney / Dip)

Done! Goes best with rice and vatral kuzhambu. Absolutely yum! TH also lives paruppu thogayal and curd rice.


- You can add a hint of tamarind if you wish, and omit the garlic if you don't like the flavour. Also, use this as a dip for pita bread or chips, will taste great and will be a good change from the traditional party dips.

- If you prefer a more smooth paruppu thogayal, soak the roasted dal mixture for about an hour and grind to a smooth paste. You can omit the coconut if you wish too. Another idea that my sis does is to powder the dal mixture, add water to the mixie jar and let it soak in the jar for 30 mins. Grind a bit more, add a bit more water, let it soak, and then after another 30 mins, grind it fully. This will reduce the need for more bowls and you can get it all done in the mixie jar - soaking and grinding.

February 6, 2012

Puli Aval Recipe - How to Make Puli Aval (Tamarind Poha Recipe)

Puli aval or tamarind poha recipe - I have always believed that if you could make a tasty one-pot meal in less than 30 mins, you shouldn't bother yourself with the ones that take 2 hours and taste the same. Especially on a weeknight. Especially if you are tired. Agreed?

My MIL is the queen of easy cooking. You will never find her slogging for long hours in the kitchen but the delightful part is, everything comes out tasting great.

Puli Aval | Simple Dinner Recipes

Puli aval is one such recipe that got made on a weeknight. If you want to cook up a fast meal after work, here's what I suggest.

As soon as you get home, soak the aval (poha or flattened rice) in the tamarind extract and go take a shower, change, and relax/read for a bit. After 30 mins, proceed with the rest of the recipe which takes less than 15 mins.

If you like Indian recipes with aval or poha, then check out how to make vadai with aval, a quick snack with aval, and potato poha with onions.

Puli Aval (Poha or Flattened Aval Cooked in Tamarind)

Serves 2
Preparation time: 35 mins
Cooking time: 10 mins

2 cups of aval / poha / flattened rice
1 tsp of tamarind paste or 1/2 cup tamarind extract
2 tbsp of sesame / gingelly oil
1 tbsp of channa dal / kadala paruppu
A generous pinch of hing / asafoetida
A few curry leaves
2-4 of dry red chillies, halved
1/2 tsp of pepper powder (optional)
Salt to taste


1. Rinse the aval once in cold water and mix well with the tamarind paste (diluted in 1/2 cup water) or the tamarind extract for 30 mins.

2. Heat oil and add the dal, hing, curry leaves, and chillies. Fry for 10 seconds and add the soaked aval. Add salt and pepper, mix until heated through, and remove from fire.

Serve hot with chips or appalam and curd.


1. This tastes very similar to tamarind rice so I would love to try it with chuttaracha chammanthi which is Amma's standard combination with puliogare.

2. Next time I make it, I will add some roasted peanuts, one minced onion, and probably some grated vegetables (like carrots) to make it a bit more nutritious and enhance the flavour a bit.

February 4, 2012

Raw Papaya Thoran, Kaplanga Thoran, Kerala Thoran Recipes

Raw papaya is one of my absolute favourites. Often called omakka (or kappalanga) in Kerala, it's very easily available in most backyards and makes for a very light side dish. Although the simpler kaplanga ezhukkupuratti is what I would go for first, the thoran comes a close second.

Raw Papaya Thoran / Kaplanga Thoran ~Thoran Recipes

Raw papaya is very easily available in Singapore too, thanks to the Thais and their affinity towards raw papaya salads.

The method used to make kappalanga thoran is very non-fussy and this is how amma makes most of her thorans. You can leave it to cook and focus on other dishes.

Also check out moringa thoran, spinach thoran, and papadom thoran recipes, all from Kerala.

Raw Papaya (Kaplanga) Thoran Recipe

Serves 4
Preparation time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins

1 small raw papaya (kaplanga / omakka)
1/2 cup of grated coconut
2-3 shallots
1 tsp of jeera / jeerakam / cumin seeds
3-4 green chillies
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tbsp of (coconut) oil
1/4 tsp of mustard seeds
A few curry leaves

How to make Thoran:

1. Peel the raw papaya, cut into half, deseed and chop into very small pieces. In malayalam, we'd say "kothi ariyuka".

Raw Papaya Thoran / Kaplanga Thoran

Raw Papaya Thoran / Kaplanga Thoran

2. Coarsely grind the coconut with the shallots, green chillies, turmeric and half the jeera. Mix this thoroughly with the chopped papaya along with salt. Add the rest of the cumin seeds whole to this mixture. (Alternately, you can also grind all of the jeera along with the coconut).

Raw Papaya Thoran / Kaplanga Thoran

3. Heat the oil in a wide pan and add the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the curry leaves and after 5 seconds, add the raw papaya mixture. Stir well to combine the oil and make a small mound of it towards the centre of the pan and pat it down firmly.

Raw Papaya Thoran / Kaplanga Thoran

4. Keep the flame at the lowest possible and cook the papaya covered. There's no need to add any water. (you can use a wider lid for the whole pan as well, it doesn't necessarily have to be tightly closed like below.

Raw Papaya Thoran / Kaplanga Thoran

5. Let this cook for about 10-15 mins until the papaya is soft. You can mix it in between if you feel like the bottom is burning but if you keep the flame low, it should be fine. I do mix it once or twice in between, pat it down again firmly, close, and cook further.

Raw Papaya Thoran / Kaplanga Thoran

That's it. Serve hot with rice and sambar or theeyal.

February 2, 2012

Aloo Paneer Koftas- Paneer Kofta Recipe-A Quick Snack

It's been a while since I shared a paneer recipe. I always have paneer in my freezer and keep adding it to random dishes to thicken it or make it look more enticing to TH (who loves paneer!).

Aloo Paneer Kofta for Malai Kofta

Since Malai Koftas have been on my mind for a while, I decided to take the plunge one day. It took me a long time compared to how long I usually take to make something. Those are not my favourite kind of recipes. But I had to try malai koftas and I did. Will share the complete recipe when I've sorted the pictures out, but for now, here are the aloo paneer koftas that I dunked in the gravy to turn these into malai koftas.

These make for a very yummy and a (relatively) quick snack for a party or just to treat your family on a weekend evening.

Aloo Paneer Koftas

Makes about 15-18 koftas
Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins

1 cup of paneer, crumbled fine
1 potato, peeled and boiled
1 carrot, peeled and boiled (optional)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
A small piece of ginger, grated
1 tsp of red chilli powder
2 of green chillies, sliced into thin discs
A generous pinch of hing
8-10 cashew nuts, broken into small pieces
1 tsp of coriander powder
A generous bunch of coriander leaves / cilantro
1/4 cup of cornflour for dusting (optional)
Oil for deep frying
Salt to taste

How It's Made:

1. Mash the boiled potato and carrot together until there are no lumps.

Aloo Paneer Kofta for Malai Kofta

2. Add the rest of the ingredients to this mixture (except corn flour and oil).

Aloo Paneer Kofta for Malai Kofta

3. Mix well with fingertips until it's a homogenous, damp mixture. The moisture from the potato and carrot should be enough to bring it together. Don't add any water.

Aloo Paneer Kofta for Malai Kofta

4. Roll into small lime-sized balls.

Aloo Paneer Kofta for Malai Kofta

5. Dust with corn flour. This is an optional step because I didn't find much difference in texture between these and the ones I didn't dust. Also, if you leave them plain, the oil stays clear and doesn't leave a white layer on the koftas.

Aloo Paneer Kofta for Malai Kofta

6. Heat a pan and add enough oil to submerge the koftas half way. You can deep fry the koftas but it's really not necessary. You can also use a paniyaram pan to do the frying. Gently place the koftas in the hot oil.

Aloo Paneer Kofta for Malai Kofta

7. Turn gently when golden brown on one side. Keep the fire medium low to ensure the inside is cooked too.

Aloo Paneer Kofta for Malai Kofta

Drain on to paper towels and serve hot with ketchup or mint chutney. Tastes fabulous on it's own or you can go on to make malai koftas with them (recipe coming soon!)

Aloo Paneer Kofta for Malai Kofta

What's your most favourite quick snack recipe for evening tea?