Saturday, April 30, 2011

Eggless Chocolate Pound Cake with condensed milk

When Madhuri came up with the idea that some of us get together and do something fun in our own kitchens working around a central theme, she had me on a bait. The 'some of us' who now call ourselves Free Spirit Bloggers, (yes the 'says it all badge' is for the group), include me along with some very talented, super smart girls who are passionate about whatever they do, viz. their respective jobs, managing their homes, cooking (and baking) amazing stuff and blogging about that.

Madhuri has posted an introductory post in Cook-curry Nook today. Please welcome the group and cheer us to bring interesting stuff month after month. Towards the end of this post You will find who else is with me in this fun filled experiment.

This month we worked on a theme Baking labs by baking Pound cake (that usually makes good use of eggs), substituting for the eggs. We chose to work on one chosen egg replacement each (we had 17 such workable substitutes). I chose the condensed milk to substitute the 4 eggs that are used in the original recipe.

Now, though there is a basic recipe to work on, we could choose to alter to some extent lest the whole experiment fails. We have been careful as we are sharing the recipe with all of you and hope it works like a breeze if anybody chooses to try it from our blogs.

The recipe I have tried is given here and in brackets the original measures.
Also I have mentioned where I made any changes in the procedure, though I did not have much to do with this substitute.

If I may, let me add a disclaimer. Please do not expect the cake will be as light as it would with eggs. And since the sweetened condensed milk tastes delightfully sweet, the cake is bound to be sweet too.

240 grams All purpose flour (250 grams in the original) (I adjusted in proportion with the weight of my condensed milk contents)
50 grams cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (1/2 teaspoon if using eggs)
1/2 teaspoon salt
180 grams unsalted butter (250 grams butter) (I have reduced butter because of the condensed milk)
1 tin condensed milk/385 grams nett (4 eggs in the original recipe. 100 ml of condensed milk replaces 1 egg) (If your tin of condensed milk has 400 grams nett contents, use 250 grams of flour)
No sugar (250 grams granulated sugar)
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
150 ml water (milk as required to get the batter to a dropping consistency)

Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees Centigrade.
Prepare the desired cake tin greasing and dusting it and lining with baking sheet. I used a 7" and1/2" square tin.
Bring the butter to room temperature and allow it to soften.
Sieve the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt together thrice. This exercise incorporates air to the flour.
In the mixing bowl, cream the butter and the condensed milk until it is creamy.Add the vanilla essence and beat to a light mixture.
(If eggs are used, beat them until they fluff. Cream the butter and the sugar well and add the vanilla essence. Then add the beaten eggs and beat well until they have been well incorporated.)
The next step is to gently incorporate the flour mix to the creamed mixture.
Mix the flour and the water alternating between the two, mixing gently into the creamed mixture.
This mixture is slightly thinner than the usual batter, but the cake turned out well.
Pour this batter into the prepared tin.
Bake at 180 degrees centigrade for 45 minutes. Check by inserting a skewer in.
Remove from oven and cool on wire racks. Allow to completely cool before slicing.

My cake had a slightly crumbling texture yet very moist. It tasted absolutely delicious.

I could just improve on the techniques or adjust the ingredients next time to get a spongy cake. Until then, you may all enjoy this cake.

Anu, Deepti, Dhivya, Madhuri, Mridhu and Nagalaksmi have all worked on different substitutes to feast you all with egg less chocolate pound cakes. Siri has been otherwise busy and had not been able to participate this time. Head to their blogs and enjoy an array of cakes. You will sure be spoiled for choices!

And please come back again for more excitement by the end of next month and the next and the next and so on.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Palada Pradhaman

In an earlier post, easy adai payasam, I had made the payasam using coconut milk. I had learnt to make the palada from a neighbour while I lived in Chennai. Then, my father used to purchase the ready made ada from a shop in Coimbatore and I used them whenever needed. It never crossed me to make some and store at home because I was always making them then for just one time use or was doing with the store bought ada.

Recently Jayasree posted her palada from scratch. That got me enthused to make some ahead and store in my pantry. She has used a vadam stand to make a whole batch of them. As I do not own one such stand I have made them spreading on flat plates like in my earlier post.
I had loads of sunshine in Ghana. Hence sun dried them and stored in a bottle. Now, months on they have kept well in spite of having sat inside a shipment container subject to all weather conditions.
The pradhaman this time was with creamy milk and was made to mark the Thamizh varusha pirappu, the advent of the new calender year.

The demo for making the adas is well illustrated in Jayasree's post. Have a look and then mine if you want to see how to make them even if you did not own a vadam stand :) In my picture you may find the pieces a bit broader, but they shrunk as they dried and are perfect as you see them here presently.

To serve just two I have made with reduced quantity of the ingredients as listed below. Ideally, with 2 litres of whole milk and related ingredients you may well serve six to eight servings.

Ingredients for the paalada: (yield will be about 2/3 rd of a cup of final product)
1 cup Raw rice
Very little salt
2 teaspoons Sugar (totally my idea to make them a bit sweet)
Ghee or oil to grease the plates very lightly

For the pradhaman:
1/4 th cup of ready made palada
750 milk
100 grams sugar

To make the palada:

Wash the rice and soak it in water for an hour. Drain and grind to a smooth paste adding the salt and the sugar. Grind to achieve a batter that is slightly rarer than dosa batter, but not too thin. You should be able to spread the batter in a thin film on a flat plate.

Keep the steamer with sufficient water. Meanwhile prepare a few flat dishes ready by greasing them with drops of cooking oil or ghee.
Pour small ladles-full of the batter on to this and spread evenly over the surface. Steam this for a few minutes one plate at a time. I steamed for around three minutes each. The edge would partly be lifting off by itself around this interval.
Gently remove the cooked ada from the plate. Place the next to steam and so on. you may reuse the same plate over and over until all the batter is done.
Allow the ada to cool. Chop them in small pieces. Spread them over a clean sheet and dry them in the sun. After about four hours turn the ada pieces over, if they have not sufficiently dried. Take care before storing that they are dry, lest you have them growing mould within few days of storing.

This is how the ada looks after drying and this is what we will use in the pradhaman below.

Take about a litre of water in a slightly deep bowl. Bring to a boil and add the ada to the water. Cook them until they are soft.
Meanwhile, in a heavy bottomed deep pan boil the milk. Reduce the heat to the lowest and continue simmering until the milk reduces in volume to 3/4ths of the initial measure.
Drain the water from the ada and add to the simmering milk. Continue to cook further, stirring constantly, until the ada soaks in the milk and the mix is creamy.
Regular stirring is required so that the milk or the mass does not settle to the bottom of the pan and burns.
Add the sugar and continue the cooking until the ingredients blend in a thick creamy mix.

This is a long drawn process, but worth the effort as the pradhaman is a delicious treat.

I am sending this across to Priya's space hosting Nivedita's 'Celebrating sweets event' with Rice sweets.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bhare Baghare Tamatar - stuffed tomatoes in peanut sauce

Few months ago, I watched Chef Sanjeev Kapoor making this dish for Khana Khazana show. This was one of the few times I watched the show and immediately set out doing it. The show was aired on a Sunday morning, local time being just after breakfast. Thus I had not prepared anything for lunch that day.
This side dish with stuffed tomatoes was very interesting and tempting me to try. I had quickly decided on the Satpura parathas and this dish for lunch.
The chef had used mushrooms and paneer in the stuffing. I did not have paneer on hand and we are not very fond of mushrooms. So I went about making my own stuffing with vegetables on hand.

This was the picture I took that Sunday afternoon.

Lately, I made this recipe again, this time using sprouted green gram and paneer. Over the months i had not remembered the exact ingredients that went into the gravy, just the main ingredients were in memory. Though I could look up the website, under Khana Khazazna recipes, I did not and went about making the dish on my own.
I am not sure if I omitted any key ingredient (or not) because the gravy tasted as awesome and the tomatoes were just as delicious.

This goes well with teplas, chappathis, phulkas and such.


4 firm yet ripe tomatoes

For the stuffing:
3 tablespoons green gram sprouted
3 tablespoons crumbled paneer
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 green chilli chopped
1/2" piece ginger chopped
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

Note: you may increase or adjust quantities depending on the size of the tomatoes.

For the gravy:
1/4 cup peanuts roasted and skinned
1/4 cup tamarind pulp (medium thick pulp)
1 teaspoon Ginger paste
1 teaspoon green chilli paste
1 teaspoon garlic paste (optional)
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon oil
Salt as required

For the garnish:
Chopped fresh coriander leaves
Sliced and browned onion


Getting started with tomatoes:

Wash tomatoes. Place them in a bowl of boiling water for about 40 seconds. Turn them around in the water in order that they are partly cooked all over.
Remove from the water, allow to cool and gently peel the skin off.
Slice the top off. Gently scoop out the insides. Turn the tomatoes upside down on a plate and allow the pulp inside to ooze out.
This scooped pulp can be added to the stuffing as well as the gravy as desired. I have used portions in both.
Alternatively, you may slice the top, scoop out the inside pulp and then drop the tomatoes in boiling water until they are just ready to remove the skin.

Getting the stuffing ready:

Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustards and allow them to crackle. Add the cumin, ginger and the green chillies. Saute' for a few minutes. Add the sprouted gram, salt, chilli powder and coriander powder. Sprinkle few teaspoons of water and the pulp removed from the tomatoes, cover and cook the sprouts until just about done.
Remove from the stove. Add the crumbled paneer.

Turn the tomatoes over and gently stuff them with the above.
Keep aside.

Preparing the gravy:

Soak the roasted and skinned peanuts in water for about half an hour.
Blend this to a smooth paste adding water.
Mash the pulp of the tomato well, or puree in a blender.
Add the mashed tomato pulp to the tamarind extract. Add the salt to the tamarind pulp.
Heat oil in a pan. Add the ginger paste, chilli paste and the garlic paste. Saute' these on a low flame until the raw taste is lost.
Add the tamarind pulp and 1/4 cup of water. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer until the tamarind thickens. Add the cumin and coriander powders.
Finally add the peanut paste and if required some water.
Cook this gravy until tiny bubbles surface. Place the stuffed tomatoes in this gravy. Cover and cook for a few minutes.
Open the lid, take the tomatoes out without distorting them. Pour the gravy into the serving dish and then place the tomatoes in the gravy.

Garnish the top of each tomato with chopped coriander leaves and browned onions.
Serve hot with rotis, phulkas and such.

This recipe is off to The well seasoned cook's Legume love affair currently running the 34th edition at Desi soccer mom's space.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cooking aam ki chutney in the microwave

My local super market is having a 'fruit and vegetable carnival' and I ended up purchasing more than I normally would, for the Thamizh varusha pirappu. Though not a festival as such, it is an auspicious day of the Hindu calendar, which is celebrated in mid April. There are a few dishes specially cooked for the day. The manga pachchidi is one such dish.

I had purchased mangoes to make that and also picked up a raw mango to make pickle. However, this morning the plans for pickling were abandoned and I ended up making aam ki chutney instead. The mango had become semi ripe and the pickle would not have had the tangy crunch that it usually has.

As I chopped the mango, I remembered the recipe in the microwave cookbook and decided to go with it. I started with the recipe but wandered way too off, I must say. Nonetheless, the result is a tongue tickling typical khatta-meeta-theeka chutney.

1 large raw mango, semi ripe
1/3 cups sugar
3 red chillis
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon rock salt
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida powder
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon oil

Skin the mango and chop to tiny pieces or grate the mango if you like.
In a microwave safe flat dish, place the cumin seeds well spread and heat without lid, on 100% micro power for 1 minute and 30 seconds. Remove from the plate and set aside.
Similarly heat the red chillis on 100% power for 1 minute until they are brittle.
Crush the fennel seeds a bit.
Run the roasted chillis and cumin in the spice grinder to a coarse powder.
In a microwave proof bowl, heat 1 teaspoon oil on 100% power for 30 seconds. add the mustard seeds. Place it in the microwave open on 100% power for 2 minutes allowing them to crackle.
Add the crused fennel seeds, powdered cumin, chillis, salt, asafoetida and heat again on 100% power for 2 more minutes.
Add the chopped mango pieces and water. Cook covered with a lid for 5 minutes on 100% power until the mango is tender to touch.
Add the sugar and stir well.
Now on we cook open until the desired consistency is reached. I cooked first for 5 minutes on 100% power, stirring once between.
Then reduced the heat to 80% and cooked for almost 11 minutes allowing the chutney to thicken.
The book says to cook only for 5 minutes and I had a very liquid like consistency and had to cook further.
You may check the thickness at intervals and stop when required. It probably depends on how firm the mango is.
A very tasty chutney is ready under 30 minutes.

This chutney with mint flavoured rotis and a quick fix vegetable jalfrizie made my lunch last afternoon

This mango chutney is packed off to Karasaram who is hosting Siri's Healing Foods event with Mango for April

and to

Srivalli's Microwave Easy Cooking event presently hosted at my own page with something to go in the Lunch Box.

Hope you enjoy mangoes as much as I do and will love this chutney too.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Khandvi in microwave

Having learnt to mke khandvi from my friend, I had tried making that few times. This recipe I have adapted is in the LG cookbook. The picture that accompanies the recipe in the book is not very impressive, but the recipe works best! You can cook and serve under 20 minutes. This evening soon after watching the match, I made this just for a snack.


1/2 cup gram flour

1 cup yoghurt

3/4 cup water

1 teaspoon ginger-chilli paste

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/4 teaspoon asafoetida powder


1 teaspoon cooking oil

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds


Fresh coriander leaves chopped

2 teaspoon freshly grated coconut


In a microwave proof deep bowl, mix all the ingredients listed and mix well to a lump free batter.

Place the bowl in the microwave and cook without lid at 80% power (approximately 720 watts output power) for 4 minutes. Open once in between and give the cooking mix a brisk stir.

Remove and whisk well. Place back in microwave and cook again on 80% power for another 5 minutes. Now again without lid on and open once in between to stir.

Meanwhile, grease the back of a flat big plate with some generous amout of oil and keep ready.

When the contents in the bowl have been cooked, try spreading a little amout of the batter in one corner of the prepared plate. If you are able to spread that, immediately empty the contents on to the oiled plate and spread quickly and evenly using a spatula.

Allow the contents to cool a bit and cut strips of 1" width and approximately 5" length.

Roll the strips gently in small cylindrical shapes.

In a flat microwave safe dish, take the oil for tempering. Heat this at 100% powerfor 1 minute.

Add the mustard seeds and the sesame seeds. Set the micro power to 100% for 2 minutes. The mustard will crackle well. Turn this on to the rolled khandvis.

Arrange them on a serving plate and garnish with the corriander leaves and coconut.

Enjoy the snack with your loved ones.

Friday, April 15, 2011

arroz verde from Chef in You - but made mine in the microwave

I was intrigued by the name Arroz verde when I read it on DK's post. The recipe she had posted sounded very simple to cook and I loved the lovely green colour in her pictures. I had liked the rice much and kept reading her post often.

Then I wanted to find alternatives for argula leaves that I do not find here in Lagos. I found some rocket greens and tried it. Though I had not planned to pack it in my husband's lunch, I reserved some for him to taste. I was not prepared for his reaction. He cleared the whole bowl and said it tasted good before asking me what was all packed in that dish!

Emboldened by the response, I have made it many times now. I am not particular about the argulla leaves or alternatives any longer, though that is a welcome addition. I make do with the spinach and coriander leaves. And I use a bit of ghee to get some good flavour.

Just the other day I thought that I might do it all in the microwave mode and see if it works. The result is this post you might be reading below.


1 cup of basmati rice

1&1/2 cups spinach

1/2 cup coriander leaves

1 large onion sliced

3 cloves of garlic chopped

2 big green chillis of spicy variety

1/2 of a large red bell pepper cut in tiny pieces

2 cups of water for cooking the rice
2 cups of water to soak the rice intially
2 tablespoons ghee

Salt as required


Wash the basmati rice well and soak in 1 cup of water for 30 minutes.

Clean the spinach ans coriander leaves, drain and run them with the green chillis in a blender using part of the water to a liquid. Transfer this to a large microwave safe dish. Use part of the water for cooking to clean the jar of the blender and add this water to the spinach mix.

Slice the onions and chop the garlic cloves.

In a flat microwave proof dish, heat 1 tablespoon ghee for 30 seconds on 100% micro power.

Add to the heated ghee the sliced onions and garlic. Mix them so the ghee coats the slices. Place back in the microwave, without lid and cook on 100% power for 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Give them a toss mid way.

The onions will turn pink and become aromatic.

Remove these contents and transfer them to the spinach in the bowl.

Drain the soaked rice. and spread on a cloth for few minutes until most of the moisture dries.

In the same flat dish, add the rest of the ghee and the dried rice. Roast this rice on 60 % micro power for 4 minutes, without any lid on. Open and stir the contents at 2 minutes interval. This enables uniform distribution of heat and all the rice getting evenly roasted.

Once done, transfer the roasted rice to the bowl with liquid spinach mix. Add the rest of the water. Add the required salt and the cut bell pepper.

Allow the rice to soak in this for 20 minutes before cooking.

Place this bowl with all the contents in the microwave. Cook uncovered on 100% micro power for 5 minutes allowing the contents to boil.

Place a lid and cook on 60% power for 12 minutes. Stir once in between. Check for the rice having cooked and increase the cooking time by a further minute or two depending on how you require.

Allow a standing time of 3 minutes before opening the lid and taking out of the microwave.

Remove from the microwave and fluff the rice a bit using a fork.

Serve hot with a favourite raita and crisps.

It is thoroughly delicious rice dish even for those who will not like spinach very much.

While saying a big 'Thank you' to Dhivya and Chef in you, I am also adding this to Srivalli's popular Microwave Easy Cooking Event being hosted currently here with Lunch menu.

Vattayappam or Vatteppam for Indian Cooking Challenge

The Indian Cooking Challenge takes us to Kerala this month with a dish that I had never come across until we were challenged to try. Srivalli had contacted Shn of Mishmash to allow us to try the recipe she had posted. Shn agreed generously and here I am presenting my trial of the recipe.

This is a steamed, sweet dish which is sold in bakeries in Kerala and Shn calls it the queen of steamed dishes. She had given the process meticulously and even suggested what rice would work and such. I was trying to save the meagre supply of raw tice in my pantry as I bring it from India, reserving for pounding and such. I had some Thai white rice and my first trial was with this rice. I guess the rice was a bit glutonous and had more starch content to it that the vatteppam was looking porous and such but was sticky.

Then I soaked idli rice and proceeded to make which is the recipe I am sharing here. Meanwhile few SOS calls to fellow bloggers Jayasree and Srivalli and repeated reading of the original post and the comments from other members on Srivalli's post to us had been done. I do not remember that I have been so excited about cooking some dish to perfect it as much as I did this one!

Now to the recipe which may at first look intimidating as the procedure is long, but it is not at all so difficult. If you have children coming home hungry from school looking for snacks, I would say try them this.


1 cup raw rice or Idli rice (the aged the rice is the better as the starch content would be lesser) (wash well and soak in water for few hours)

3/4 cup fresh scraped coconut

2 tablespoons cooked rice

About 4 tablespoons of thari kurukku/ which is koozh in tamil ( recipe given below)

1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast ( proof with 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/3 cup of warm water)

To Sweeten, Flavour and Garnish:

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons cardamom powder

Broken and roasted cashew nuts as desired

Ghee puffed raisins as desired

Ghee to grease the bowl for steaming

To make thari kurukku:

Reserve 2 tablespoons of the soaked rice. Run it in the smallest jar of the mixer to achive a coarse paste.The rice would be in crumbles and not a smooth paste.

Remove from the jar and transfer to a bowl. Wash the jar of the grinder with 1/2 cup of water and add to the coarse paste.

Keep this on medium heat and stir regularly until the paste cooks to a porridge consistence.

Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Though Mishmash suggests you can remove the required quantity half way through the grinding and prepare this, I found it easier and quicker to go about it all prepared and ready before grinding the major bulk of rice.

I had reserved the cooked rice, made the thari kurukku (both of which have to be cooled before adding to the batter) and let the yeast proof about 15 minutes before grinding the rice.

Drain the soaked rice and grind in a mixer or Indian stone grinder adding water in small quantities to obtain a smooth batter. Towards the point where the batter is almost smooth, add the grated coconut and grind to blend them.

If you are grinding in a mixer and the friction causes the contents to be hot, allow to cool, then add the thari kurukku and cooked rice. Run the mixer until these are well blended.

Then finally add the yeast mix and mix the batter well.

Transfer the batter to a slightly big bowl keeping in mind that the volume of the contents are bound to double with fermentation.

Allow to ferment well. The process of fermantaion varies from 6 hours to overnight depending upon the temperature of the region.

When the fermentation is complete add the sugar and gently stir the batter to incorporate the sugar. Keep cover for anothe hour or two before steaming the batter.

Meanwhile, prepare the garnish by roasting the cashews and raisins in sufficient ghee.

Just before steaming add the crushed/powdered cardamom and nuts and raisins to the batter. Save a few of the nuts and raisins and add them to the top of the steaming cake half way through. this is however optional and you may add the nuts to the batter and proceed.

Place water in the steamer and allow it to heat well.

Grease a fairly flatbottomed pan or a steel plate which has edges, using some generous amount of ghee.

Pour the batter in this dish and steam in your steamer for a good 30 minutes.

Remove from the steamer, allow the dish and the contents to cool well before carefully removing the vattayappam on to a serving plate.

Cut in wedges or squares.

Serve these soft and porous pieces as snack.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sri Rama navami celebrations and related dishes

Sri Rama is the epic hero of the Indian epic Ramayanam. Sri Ramachandra is believed to be the seventh incarnation of Lord Maha Vishnu. The birthday of Sri Rama is celebrated by Hindus as the Sri Rama navami festival. It is celebrated in the Hindu calender month of Panguni/Chitrai on the ninth day of the waxing moon and the day that conjuncts with the punarvasu star.

Rama avathar symbolises how, being born human, one should conduct life on earth. Rama is an embodiment of compassion, righteousness and simple living. He exemplified the perfect son, brother, husband, friend and king all the same.

Special prayers are observed and simple neivedhyams are offered to the Lord. Most people observe a fast and chant the Rama nama or eat frugally on this day. A small puja can be conducted and the neivedhyams offered and partaken later.

Panagam, neer moar, kosumalli are offered as are payasam and vadai along with fruits which are essentially offered during every puja.


1/4 cup of powdered jaggery

1 teaspoon of powdered dry ginger/sukku podi

1 teaspoon of powdered cardamom

1 litre of water

Juice of 1 medium lime

Warm 1/4 litre of water and add the powdered jaggery to it. Dissolve the jaggery in the water.

Strain and remove scums.

Heat this mixture just until the jaggery loses the raw taste. (It is not usually done and the panangam is just scum removed jaggery added to water and other condiments)

Allow this to cool and add the rest of the water.

Add the juice of lime, powdered cardamom and dry ginger.

Offer as neivedhyam and serve chilled.

Neer moar:

An essential summer drink, thirst quencher and aid for digestion, all in one is the neer moar.

In small towns and villages in Tamilnadu, tiny shacks appear during summer offering to passers by water chilled in mud pots and sometimes neer moar. For people who go about their everyday routine in the hottest of summer days' sun, it is most comforting drink to quench thirst and boost energy. It is believed that blessed will be those who offer to quench the needs of the thirsty.

Few cups of slightly sour (or even not sour) home set yoghurt mixed with copius amount of water, salted can be a welcome drink when you are thirsting.

Just to make it more flavoursome, we might add few more condiments.

Crush some ginger, curry leaves and salt. Squeeze the juice of a large lime. Mix it to the water added yoghurt and neer moar is ready. Strain them if desired, but can be consumed as such. Store in an eartern pot which automatically chills the contents.

Serve chilled and beat the thirst.


Yet another simple, no cook neivedhyam.

Soak a fist full of split green gram after washing and rinsing thoroughly.

When it is soft, drain the soaked water. Add required salt.

Chop a raw mango and cucumber. Add to the beans. toss them alll together and consume as such.

It is not necessary to add spice to this, however, if desired you may temper with mustard seeds and chopped green chillis.

The vadai and payasam neivedhyam for today's puja will follow in a later post.

Hope you do enjoy the celebrations of Sri Rama navami.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Making moar kuzhambu with microwave

One of the first few kuzhambus I learnt from my mother was vendaikkai moarkuzhambu. She used to write recipes for me along with her letters. And as with her and my aunts, it is always "take a little of this, add some of that...etc." And using such recipes and measurements they have cooked without much ado. Thinking back so have I! I have those recipe sheets tucked to all of my cookbooks, many notes here and there and all. Lately, I have started being a bit meticulous just because I am sharing the recipe with readers of this blog. Otherwise, I think I might just be dropping some of this and a little of that into my dish as well.

Though I like paruppu urundai moar kuzhambu much, and of the vegetables added recipes, I prefer the ash gourd, I do at times alternate other vegetables too. Drumsticks, brinjals, potatoes, arbi and okras are a few that may taste good in moar kuzhambu. As I was planning to cook the entire process in the microwave oven, I chose okras which cook quicky in the microwave.


8 to 10 numbers okras

1/3 of a cup of slightly sour curds

2/3 cups water

Very little turmeric powder

A pinch of asafoetida

Salt as required

Soak in 2 tablespoons of water and grind to a paste the following:

1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon cuminseeds

1/3 teaspoon channa dhal

1/4 teaspoon thuvar dhal

3 green chillis

1 heaped tablespoon scrapped coconut

( you may omit coconut and add some more channa dhal, but coconut renders body and flavour to the kuzhambu which is uniquely South Indian style)


2 teaspoons oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds (omam/ajwain) (optional)

1/4 teaspoon split black gram (optional)


Fresh coriander leaves chopped

Fresh curry leaves ( I don't find freash curry leaves, most times. Hence I use sundried leaves by roasting them along with the tempering.)


Wash and pat dry the okras.

Cut them in about 1/2" long pieces.

In a microwave safe bowl take the cut okras and add one teaspoon of the yoghurt.

Cover and cook on micro power high for 3 minutes. Allow 1 minute standing time.

Toss the vegetables a bit and place the cover back. Cook on 60% power for 2 more minutes.

The okras will be tender by now.

Meanwhile get the paste ready by grinding the ingredients to a smooth but not very fine paste.

Whisk the rest of the yoghurt with the turmeric, asafoetida and salt added. add the water to achieve a thinner consistency.

Add the cooked okras and the paste to this. Mix well so the masala blends with the yoghurt.

Preferably this bowl should be a big one in order to avoid overflowing of the liquid contents while boiling.

Place the bowl in the microwave, without lid on. Cook for first three minutes on 100% power.

The yoghurt mix will be boiling and you may find some of this sticking to the walls of the bowl.

Remove from microwave, scrape down the food sticking to the walls back into the liquid inside.

Place back in the microwave, without lid on. Cook at 60% power for four minutes until the gravy has thickened a bit.

Now in a flat microwave safe dish, heat oil for 30 seconds on 100% micro power.

Add the ingredients for tempering. Keep without lid on for 2 minutes until the mustard seeds are cracked.

( Most microwave cook books say that the mustard seeds crackle as quickly as 30 seconds, but i have always had to keep for longer.

Also the gram will not appear to have roasted as well as done on stove top, however, it would have roasted sufficiently.)

Remove this dish from the microwave and add the tempering to the kuzhambu.

Add the garnish to the kuzhambu.

Serve with hot steamed rice.


Over heating may result in splitting of the yoghurt. But usually the addition of the channa dhal to the grinding takes care of that and binds the kuzhambu.

You may also opt to cook without the salt and add the salt later to the kuzhambu, salt is one of the possible factors that split the yoghurt upon heating, I am told.

Allow the moarkuzhambu to cool down to room temperature and the cover it with a lid. Do not re heat repeatedly. It is best served, warm or at room temperature with hot steaming rice.

Moar kuzhambu makes the very best side dish for ven pongal. If serving with ven pongl, okras are not the best veggies to add, however, ash gourd, urad dhal bondas and steamed dhal dumplings are best.

This kuzhambu is being added to the Lunch box menu, of the Microwave Easy Cooking event currently hosted at this very space.

Kindly hurry your entries as well, I am looking forward to be virtually enjoying your treats.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Paal payasam

Paal Payasam will top the list of my favourite payasams. Though it is essentially a Palakkad recipe, i remember that it is widely cooked in many a Tamilian household too. I guess everyone who has blogged Palakkad Iyer recipes have shared their recipe of Paal payasam with you.

One of my cousins had given me the following recipe and I share this here. Prior to moving to Malaysia, i used to add all condiments to the payasam. Then a friend told me that they do not add any flavouring additives to the payasam so that the richness and flavour of the milk should be felt wholly.

However additives such as ghee roasted nuts and cardamom powder are added widely.

The below is the mail forward recipe from my cousin.


1 liter milk

50 grams raw rice, approximately 1/2 cup (100ml)

1/2 cup (about 120 gms) sugar (Generally the proportion is 1:8 for sugar:milk)

Cook the rice in milk and water. (can be pressure cooked). Once cooked, add the remaining milk and boil till the milk is shortened to 750ml (i.e, by 25%). Add sugar and boil an additional 10 minutes.

Sugar may be added/reduced depending on taste.

This preparation does not need cardamon or cashews but these may be added for flavor.

Will serve 4-8 depending on appetite.


I kept the list of ingredients almost to the ratio given in the above recipe. I roasted the washed and drained rice very lightly in a small quantity of ghee prior to cooking it.

So, here is the procedure I followed:

Wash the rice until the water runs clean. Spread on a cloth until the moisture is lost.

Heat 2 teaspoons of ghee in a pan. Add the rice and toss for a few minutes.

Take the rice in a utensil and pressure cook it with some milk and enough water, well until very soft.

Meanwhile in a heavy bottomed deep dish heat the milk. Soon as it boils, reduce the heat and allow to simmer and reduce to about 3/4ths of the initial volume.

Add the cooked rice and allow to simmer until a pink colour is achieved.

Put the sugar in. The sugar will melt and will blend in the simmering milk mixture.

Cook for some more minutes until the payasam thickens a bit and is creamy.

Remove from the stove. If you want you may add cardamom powder and ghee roasted nuts and raisins for garnish.

Serve warm or cold...a very delicious payasam is sure to be a treat.

This payasam is for Priya who is hosting Nivedita's "Celebrate sweets" event with rice sweets, this month.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Announcing Event - Microwave Easy Cooking Event

I am sure all readers of this blog are very familiar with the Microwave Easy Cooking event, initiated by Srivalli and being guest hosted by many friends and fellow bloggers for over three years. I have been given the opputunity to host the same at this blog through April 2011.

I would love to invite all of you to please take part by sending entries. The details and some guidelines are given under.

Theme for this month: 'Lunch Box'

Which means you can cook anything, rice, curries, gravies, sambhar, rasams, steamed dishes, snacks and desserts ( any one dish that you might pack in the lunch box).

You may be aware this blog is about Vegetarian Cooking and hence, I solicit vegetarian and vegan recipes only.

Recipes have to be cooked entirely using the microwave.

Use of blenders and other appliances are fine, but NO STOVE TOP COOKING.

Such entries with part cooking and part microwave will not be included in the round-up.

It is optional to use the logo shown here. I would be glad if you use it to spread the popularity of the event. Last date for posting the entries would be the 30th of April 2011, 12 midnight GMT.

Linking the post back to this invitation post and to Srivalli's ANNOUNCEMENT page is mandatory. Multiple entries conforming to the above requisites are accepted.

Reposting of archives can be done with the links added.

Entries that have featured in other events are also accepted, again if they are linked to this post as well as to the original. ( but please do not repost same entries that have featured in MEC earlier.)

Since microwave cooking is all about time, power and whether cooking covered or open, please give clear instructions while posting your recipes.

Having posted your recipes, please mail me following details to

Your name

Name of your blog and URL

Name of the recipe URL to the post

A picture of the dish resized to 300 pixels in width

If you are a cooking enthusiast with interest in microwave cooking, yet do not write a blog, feel free to send me a mail with detailed recipe in steps and a picture to the above email address.

I will mail you an acknowledgement for receipt of your mail.

The round up will be posted in this blog sometime in the first week of May 2011.

Looking forward to your participation. Thank you all in advance.