Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Sunday Lunch Menu

A colleague of my husband wanted to get together for lunch. He stays alone here and cooks his dinner while managing on cornflakes and toasts in the morning. The Port canteen supplies him whatever vegetarian they can come up with for lunch. So this friend wanted homecooked but insisted on potluck. However, most percentage of potluck was what I've showcased here.
My menu for that Sunday afternoon was
Steamed rice, raayathugal (pachchidi variety), thalivadaam, dhania podi, ennai kathrikkai kuzhambu, mysore rasam, microwave mango chutney and avaraikkai paruppu usili. He took care of one more vegetable and the dessert.
The thalivadaam was sent to me by my sister's mother-in-law. Recipes for the rest of the menu are what I'm writing for you and posting to RAKS Kitchen's ongoing event. Cooking for Guests.
Raayathugal: ( Fancy name for a very delectable thayir pachchidi in my cookbook by Ku.Pa. Sethu Ammal)
6"long snake gourd piece /12 pieces okras /15 pieces cluster beans
Either of the three vegeatables -(ensure these are fresh and tender).( I've used snake gourd)
1/4 cup Curd -ensure that it is not very sour
2 pieces Green chillies
Ghee/oil for tempering
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
Curry leaves 1 sprig
Salt to taste.
Cut the desired vegetable into very tiny pieces. Chop the green chillies.
Heat ghee/oil in a kadai, temper the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Add the chopped chillies and vegetables and cook in the ghee/ oil until soft. If the vegetables are tender you will not require any water to cook. Sprinkle some water if necessary and cook covered if the vegetables are not very tender. Add the salt and cook further.
Remove from heat. Allow to cool and add the curd and mix well.
Serve as side accompaniment with a meal.
Dhania podi:
Podis and thogaiyals are staple in my family. I make and store them. On last count I have stock of paruppu podi, dhania podi, karuveppilai podi and angaaya podi in my pantry. My thengai podi just got over.
All of these podis can be made in desired quantity and stored for even upto 6 months. If stored airtight and ensured that no moisture is allowed they never lose flavour for long. On the other hand they are simple recipes and can be made in smaller quantities just to last a few weeks.
50 grams coriander seeds
2 teaspoons split urad dhal
2 teaspoons split channa dhal
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
8 -10 dry red chillies
1 tablespoon sea salt
A gooseberry size tamarind torn in tiny pieces
2 teaspoons oil (optional)
Dry Roast on low heat every ingredient separately. The coriander seeds must turn brittle to touch, the dhals golden to light brown, the tamarind dry, chillies brown and brittle and the salt dry.
Cool and transfer the tamarind to the jar of a mixie and pulse a few rounds before adding the dhals and coriander seeds. Pulse for few more minutes and add the rest of the ingredients. Run the mixie on slow speed until all the ingredients are powdered coarsely.
Remove, cool and store in airtight bottles.
Ennai kathrikkai kuzhambu:
This is a very simple version given to me by my periamma.
10 or 12 Small young tender brinjals
Big lemon size tamarind
8 dry red chillies
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons channa dhal
2 tablespoons gingley oil
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon oil for tempering
Curry leaves
1 taespoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida powder
Keeping the stems intact, make cross slits in the brinjals until almost near the caps.
Keep them immersed in water until the rest of the ingredients are ready and available.
Soak tamarind in water and extract pulp repeatedly and thoroughly.
Place a heavy pan on heat. Dry roast the coriander seeds, redchillies and channa dhal. If using sea or rock salt toss that too.
Remove cool and powder finely in a mixie.
Pat the brinjals dry on the surface. Stuff the powder into each of them well.
Heat the gingley oil in a heavy kadai ans place gently the stuffed brinjals. Cover and cook them until tender. Open at intervals and turn them over. Once they are cooked add the tamarind extract and bring the tamarind to a boil and simmer. If the powder was left over after stuffing, add that to the simmering kuzhambu.
In another pan do the tempering and add to the kuzhambu.
Ennai kathrikkai kuzhambu is ready.
Mysore Rasam:
This is my favourite rasam.
Given below are ingredients for 1 litre rasam.(adapted from Samaiththu paar/S. Meenakshi Ammal)
1/4 cup thuvar dhal
Small lemon size ball of tamarind
1 meadium tomato
Juice of 1 small lemon
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Roast in little oil and grind to a powder the following:
4 pieces dry red chillies
1/2 teapoon black pepper corns
11/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon channa dhal
For tempering:
1 1/2 teaspoon ghee
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida powder
2 green chillies slit lengthwise
For garnish:
Curry leaves few
Coriander leaves few.
Soak tamarind and extract pulp.
Wash thuvar dhal and pressure cook until dhal is tender. Mash well and add 1/2 cup of water. Keep aside.
Cut the tomatoes in four, place them with the tamarind pulp and turmeric powder. In a pan, bring the tamarind extract to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the salt, powdered spice mix and little later the mashed dhal. Bring to a quick boil and as soon as the rasam begins to bubble remove from fire.
Temper the ingredients in ghee and add to the rasam. Add the lemon juiceand the curry,coriander leaves. Cover immediately.
Serve with hot steamed rice. This rasam can be sipped in cups too.
Paruppu usili:
250 grams of Broad beans (avaraikkai)
1/4 cup thuvar dhal
2 tablespoons channadhal
1 teaspoon urad dhal
3 green chillies
1 dry red chilli
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
4 tablespoons cooking oil
Mustard seeds and curry leaves
Asafoetida powder
Salt to taste
Wash, string and cut the beans. Microwave covered on 100% power for 7 minutes or until tender as per instructions of the model you use. You may steam-cook the beans also. Keep aside.
Wash and soak dhals together. Drain and grind to athick batter adding the chillies and salt.
Add the turmeric powder and the asafoetida powder. Place this batter in small portions in the idli moulds and steam like idlis for 12 minutes.
Cool and break the dhal idlis, lump-free to a coarse mixture.
Heat oil in the pan, place the ingredients for tempering. Once the mustards crackle add the dhal mix and tossing continuously, cook the dhal until almost dry.
Add the cooked vegetable and mixing well cook further. The dhal would have acquired a tinge of mustard yellow when well cooked.
Paruppu usili is done.
Mango chutney (pickle):
I cooked this entirely in microwave using recipe in the LG microwave cookbook.
The maximum output as given in this book is 900 watts. So I shall write the recipe as given in this book. I use a different model and adjusted cooking time to my machine's output.
2 cups chopped raw green mangoes
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
1 teaspoon aniseeds crushed
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 whole red chillies
1/2 teaspoon rock salt
1 teaspoon oil
A pinch of asafoetida powder
Microwave oil in a microwave proof bowl on 100% power for 30 seconds.
Add red chillies, aniseeds, cuminseeds powder, mustard rock salt and asafoetida. Microwave on 100% power for 2 minutes. Stir and add the chopped mango,1/2 cup of water and microwave covered for 3 minutes on 100% power.
Add sugar, mix thoroughly and microwave on 80% power for 3-4 minutes till thick.
Serve chilled with curd rice, chappattis etc.
It is yummy to eat it just as it is too.
Our friend was certainly happy to have these many homecooked dishes and I hope all of you enjoy to.


  1. Very inviting.Name of the pachadi sounded very difficult...but easy.Dhania podi is new never tried.Yummy food, should have called me too

  2. Lovely spread, just loved the fancy name of thayir pachadi..

  3. Interesting series of delicious lunch. Raayathugal is new to me. Never tried making thayir pachadi with the veg you have mentioned here. Have you tried this one with bhindis. If so please let me know how you made it.

    BTW I also keep stock many podis.

    Try to participate in Think Spice -Think Red Chillies going on in my blog.

  4. Lunch Menu sounds very interesting, are we invited??? Never tried Dhania podi..sounds yummy tho..

  5. Hi Lata,

    Isnt it better tat you post the ingredients of the Lunch Menu as seperate posts and link them back in one post as a menu? This will help your readers find them out better. Else you can repost them induvidually under the respective heads.
    Also I think its time you make a Recipe Index. Makes navigation within the site easier rather than a string search.

  6. Wow this looks like a feast.. very tempting menu. Dhania podi sounds new to me!

  7. Lovely spread of yummy food Lata... esp love usili and mysore rasam :)

  8. An excellent feast!! your guests wud have had a blast!!


  9. Delicious lunch dear! Tempting me:)

  10. Hi Latha,
    The spread seems so authentic and full of varities :) I would love to feast on this oh ya anytime ;) good one. THANKS so much for the recipes.
    Keep rocking

  11. Lovely combinations Lata,thanks for sharing and sending across :)

  12. The names of the dishes sound new to me,but I would have loved to be your guest.All the dishes look mouthwatering:):)

  13. Wow what a feast..can i come over?

  14. wow, wat a spread..Really superb.Nice entry for the event.Have bookmarked some :)

  15. Thanks for stopping by my blog! Lovd your blog. Great recipes. The spread in this post looks awesome! How long do you soak the dals for the parippu usili?

  16. Thank you friends for all the nice words.@ Shobha, yes I think that would be better that way. @ Lakshmi Venkatesh, I posted a comment in your space and have told you how to use bindi, @ Vani, it's a pleasure; I usually soak for 2 hours and grind in a mixie ( I have a sturdy Indian brand that takes the strain) A lil longer does not harm. @ everyone all lovely ladies are welcome anytime to my place and it will be a pleasure to cook for you :)

  17. Yummy spread I could hav eat those :P


Welcome and thank you for taking time to drop by.
I appreciate your valuable comments and tips.
I sincerely hope to improve with them.
Hope we shall interact often.
Thanks once again,
Lata Raja.