Vazhakkai Roast Recipe, Paruppu Sambar | Lunch Box Recipes

>>  Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Today we are doing the last day of the Blogging Marathon Edition 10. Can't really believe another seven days simply flew! I really enjoyed doing this edition as I did two of my favorite themes. Of course all themes are my favorite. However sharing my lunch box has always been an interesting thing for me. So I really enjoyed this week.

After raining cats and dogs, it's much better today. Though kids weren't happy that it didn't rain, they waited with batted breath to know if the schools were declared holiday again. The most funny thing was, Chinnu refused to wake up and Peddu tells me the trick to say that there is no school today. The moment I said that, Chinnu actually woke up and came up. But on seeing the polished shoes, he refused to budge. It was really so funny to see them doing these things. Though we failed to understand how they will keep themselves occupied at home.

Anyway today's recipe is going to be another version of Sambar. I was thinking, it's been an ever flow of different Sambars at home. I really tired of making only sambars. I must really be more innovative I am sure. I hope I haven't bored you guys by sharing so many versions of sambar, but trust me, each one comes out differently and very delicious. Especially when paired with the Plantain Roast that was made, the combination was deadly.

I remember this variety of Banana Roast being always seen in my friends boxes. Amma usually makes the other versions, with this being on rare occasions. I decided to make this for lunch.
Paruppu Sambar, Vazhakkai Roast with Rice ~ Our Meal

Paruppu Sambar

Ingredients Needed:

Toor Dal - 1 cup
Tamarind Water or Tamarind paste - 2 tsp mixed in 2 cups water.
Green Chillies - 3 -4
Onion, chopped - 1 medium
Fenugreek, roasted and powdered - 1/2 tsp
Asafetida / Hing a pinch
Sambar powder - 1 & 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder a pinch
Tomato - 1 small
Coriander leaves - few springs

For Seasoning
Mustard Seeds, Urad Dal - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves few
Oil - 2 tsp

How to make Paruppu Sambar

Wash and pressure cook toor dal with turmeric and few drops of oil. Once done, keep it aside.

Dry roast methi and powder it. Keep this aside.

Heat a pan with oil, do the tempering with all the seasoning ingredients. When the mustard pops, add the chopped onions and green chillies.

Then add the tamarind water, sambar powder. Bring to boil.

When the water is boiling, add cooked dal, salt, asafetida powder, fenugreek powder.

Add chopped tomatoes. Continue boiling for about 5 to 10 minutes and stir occasionally . Add fresh Coriander leaves.

Serve with steaming rice and papad.


If you want you can roast fenugreek in more quantity and store it.
Vegetables can also be used in this sambar.

Vazhakkai Roast

Ingredients Needed:

Raw Banana / Plantain - 2 medium
Salt to taste
Sambar powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Asafetida / Hing a pinch
Oil - 4 -5 tps (or less)
Pepper powder - 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds, Urad dal - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves few

How to make Vazhakkai Roast

Wash and peel the outer skin of the bananas, soak in water as you continue chopping.

Once both the bananas are chopped, drain it well and mix with all the ingredients and marinate for 10 mins.

Heat a non stick pan and grease with 1 tsp oil. add the mustard, Urad dal and curry leaves. When the mustard pops, add the marinated plantain pieces. Sprinkle oil little by little and keep stirring.

This takes about 15 - 20 mins for the plantain to get cooked and crispy.

It was wonderful having you all join me, will look forward to another session of Blogging Marathon.

This is the recap of BM#10

Preps and Preserves!
Lunch Box Recipes

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#10


Pappu Pulusu – Pappu Charu Andhra Style - Lunch Box Recipes

>>  Monday, November 28, 2011

This is another method to make the famous Andhra way of making a lentil vegetable stew with Tamarind base. Normally the pappu charu is not that sour but mildly made using tamarind, however in this method Amma makes use of little more of tamarind pulp that renders a little more hint of tamarind in the gravy.

Pulusu is anything that's thin in texture and we normally use tamarind in the base. Some years back, Pappu charu was the default Sunday night comfort meal. After the hectic lunch preparation, it was this mild simple comfort food.

This is was my lunch when I had made a different menu for the family. I paired it with Hing and red chilli powder seasoned potato chips.

Pappu Pulusu ~ Tamarind based lentil Stew with Vegetables

Ingredients Needed

For the Pulusu

Toor dal - 1 cup
Onions - 1 medium
Tomato - 1 medium
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Tamarind pulp - 1 lemon size.
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp

Vegetables used:

Drumstick - 1, chopped into small pieces
Arbi / Colacasia / Samagedda (Chama dumpa) - 3- 4 nos
Snack gourd / Potlakaya - 1 small

Tempering ingredients:

Mustard seeds, Urad dal - 3/4 tsp
Curry leaves few
Green Chillies - 3 nos
Dry Red Chillis - 1

How to make Pappu Pulusu

Wash and cook Arbi till done. Arbi can be cooked in a pan of water or in microwave. Once cooled, peel skin and chop into rounds of 1" thickness.

Chop drumstick into small pieces. Microwave for 5 -7 mins in microwave. Prep the snake gourd and wash well. Chop into small pieces. Snake gourd can be cooked in the gravy itself. Keep all the vegetables aside.

Pressure cook toor dal till done with turmeric and few drops of oil. Keep it aside.

Heat a pan with oil, add mustard, urad dal, curry leaves. When the mustard pops add the finely chopped onions. Saute till the onions turn colour. Add green chilies, red chilies. Saute for couple of minutes.

Then add finely chopped tomatoes. Add salt, turmeric powder, simmer till the tomatoes turn soft. Then add the vegetables, saute in oil for couple of minutes.

Next add the red chilli powder, followed by the tamarind pulp. Add 1 cup water and bring to boil. When it starts boiling, simmer and cook with lid covered for 15 mins.

Serve with steaming rice and potato chips

Boiling Vegetables in Microwave
Check out how to boil Drumstick, Arbi, Potatoes in Microwave.
Pappu Charu Recipe 1

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Mutter Paneer Recipe | Matar Paneer Recipe With Tomato Biryani Recipe

>>  Sunday, November 27, 2011

Somehow tomato pulaos always reminds me of my childhood days. Amma makes the best tomato pulao and I have learnt it from her. This tomato pulao is a must in the menu when my sis in laws visit us. They like it so very much and always look forward to it. I normally make the tomato pulao with cauliflower subji. This time it was a different combination and this also went very well.

We make both Tomato Pulao and Mutter paneer in a different method. This is second method of making. I adapted the Mutter Paneer from Sanjeev Kapoor. This is a simple gravy dish that makes a great side dish for biryanis.

Looking at the tomato biryani, I was reminded of my childhood days when Amma used to add fried bread pieces on the top. Somehow that takes it to the next level. When you take a bite of those fried bread with the delicious biryani, it's sublime! You must try this combination to enjoy on a weekend.

With the rains that's pouring insistently in our place, this makes a great meal!

Tomato Biryani

Ingredients Needed:

Basmati Rice - 1 cup
Onions - 3, julienne
Cloves - 2
Cinnamon - 1", 2
Cardamon - 2 nos
Bay leaves - 2 pieces
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Green Chilli paste - 1 tsp
Tomatoes,  puree - 2 big
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Mint leaves - a handful (chopped)
Coriander leaves - a handful (chopped)
Oil - 4 tbsp
Butter - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Water - 1 & 1/2 cups

Bread slices - 4, cut into squares roasted Ghee - 2 tbsp
Coriander leaves

How to make Tomato Biryani

Trim and cut the bread into square pieces. Heat a pan with the ghee and roast the bread. Keep it aside.

Wash and soak rice for 15 mins. Once done, drain the rice and keep it aside.

In a pressure cooker, heat oil, add the whole spices, saute for couple of mins. Then add the onion julienne, saute till they turn translucent. Then add ginger garlic paste, chilli paste, saute till the pastes till it's cooked. This takes about 2- 3 mins. Add the mint and coriander leaves.

Then add the tomato puree, turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt, fry for 5 mins. Then add the rice and saute gently, once done, add water and pressure cook for 2 -3 whistles.

Once the pressure falls down, add the butter and chopped coriander leaves and garnish with roasted bread pieces.

Mutter Paneer Recipe | Matar Paneer

Ingredients Needed:

Paneer - 250 gms
Fresh green peas - 250 gms
Ghee 2 tablespoons + to deep fry
Onions -  2 large
Ginger 1 inch piece
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
Salt to taste

How to make Mutter Paneer

Cut the paneer into cubes. Heat sufficient ghee in a kadai and deep-fry till light brown. Remove and keep it aside.

Chop onions and ginger finely.

Use the same kadai with ghee, add chopped onions and ginger. Sauté till lightly browned.

Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, salt and peas and cook, adding a little water, till the peas are tender and a little gravy remains.

When the gravy is cooked, add the fried paneer, garam masala powder and simmer for five minutes.

Garnish with coriander leaves, remove.

Serve hot with tomato biryani.

I took this picture that reminded me so much of my childhood times, when amma would always garnish the biryanis with fried bread pieces.

Since the biryani is tomato base, the gravy went very well as it didn't have tomato in it.

I am sending this to Sreelu who is hosting “Vegetarian Thanks giving” for Healing foods, an event by Siri. Whether I celebrate Thanksgiving or not, I have always been thankful for the wonderful memories each meal reminds me, and the many folks who have shared their memories with me. 

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#10


Keerai Paruppu Masiyal | Thotakura Pappu | Amaranth Leaves with Toor Dal ~ Lunch Box Recipes

>>  Saturday, November 26, 2011

Though I love green colour, I can hardly say the same when it comes to eating greens. I know I really should not be saying such things openly now, now that my kids can hold it against me! Anyway though I don't like the idea of eating greens, when I prepare them, I enjoy it much. It's like you need some reasons not to like something right! This being the reason it's not often that I willing make a dal with greens or stir fry, but believe me I make greens at least once a week.

We regularly make the greens in the traditional andhra pappu style. I have seen my tamilian friends bringing this masiyal and always wanted to make it. So this time I thought I will prepare the greens with dal in Tamilian style. While making the dal I remembered Amma making the regular dals in this style, meaning cooking the dals directly in the pan of rolling water and then making a mashed dal. These days with the comfort of pressure cooker, one can't imagine cooking it directly, though the taste will surely be so much better.

I packed this for my lunch and trust me, it was so yum!

This method is called masiyal, which means you churn the dal using a dal churner or masher. The other method of making this is the simple Keerai Masiyal, where the dal/pappu is not added.

Keerai Paruppu Masiyal, Vazhai Thandu curry with Steaming Rice ~ Our Meal

Keerai Paruppu Masiyal

Ingredients Needed:

For the Greens:

Greens / Keerai - 1 bunch – (You can use any greens, I used Aarai keerai)
Green Chilies - 3 nos
Tomatoes - 2 medium
Salt to taste
Tamarind juice - 2 tsp

For Tempering / Seasoning

Mustard seeds, Urad Dal - 1 tsp
Jeera – 1 tsp
Red Chilli - 2 nos
Asafotida Powder - a pinch
Oil- 2 tsp

For the dal

Toor dal – ½ cup
Oil - few drops
Turmeric powder a pinch
Asafotida Powder - a pinch

How to prepare Keerai Paruppu Masiyal

Wash and pressure cook the toor dal with a dash of hing, turmeric powder and oil. Pressure cook for 3 whistles till the dal is well cooked. Once the pressure falls, churn it well adding little water. Keep it aside.

For the cooking the Greens/ Keerai

Pick the greens well and wash about 3 - 4 times in water to make sure the dirt is removed. Let it drain for couple of mins. Chop the leaves if required. Then take the greens in a hollow pan, along with finely chopped tomatoes, green chilies, salt. Cover and cook on high flame. There is no need to add more water than couple of tbsp of water. The greens will start to let out more water and simmer after 5 - 7 mins. Once the greens are cooked, switch off and allow it to cool a bit. Then holding the vessel, remove the green chilis if you want, churn well using the churner.

Once the greens are churned and reache a semi smooth paste, put it back on the flame, add the cooked dal, 1 cup of water. Bring to boil.

In another pan, heat oil. When the oil is hot, add mustard, urad, cumin seeds, dry red chillies, curry leaves. When the mustard pops, add the onions and saute till the onions turn brown. At this stage, add this tempering to the boiling dal. Cover immediately with lid and switch off the flame.

Serve with steaming rice and vegetable.

Some traditional dals with greens:

Thotaku Pappu - Andhra Style
Fenugreek Dal ~ Menthi kura Pappu
Gongura Pappu ~ Ambadi Dal
Palak Pappu ~ Spinach Dal

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Soya Vegetable Biryani | Soya Chunks Biryani Rice ~ Step by Step Recipe | Lunch Box Recipes

>>  Friday, November 25, 2011

I remember Meal Maker from childhood, those soya chunks made frequent appearance in many of the dishes that Amma made. Those were the days when I was eating meat and remember the meal maker soya chunks being included in all vegetable biryanis and gravies. Since it tasted and looked very much like meat, it made a great impact on many of us. I am not sure why Amma stopped using this in her cooking.

It's been almost 20 years or more since I have last seen it being used in our home. Of course this time it was me who was cooking. I remembered this again after seeing my office cook using it in her famous Vegetable Biryani. She makes one awesome biryani and adding these soya chunks makes everybody assume it to be a non veg biryani and enjoy it even more.

Talking to hubby dear about protein and how important it is to include in our diet, when he was recently on a veg diet, he wanted me to get these soya chunks for him. After buying a packet of these soya chunks, I naturally wanted to see the different ways I can include. The first one would obviously be the vegetable rice. And that's what I made. Looking back, maybe I added more in my enthusiasm. Also I assumed my boys will not find out the difference but I was wrong. They knew it right away that it wasn't meat and wouldn't eat it. So in the end hubby dear ended up eating the major part of the soya.

Soya Vegetable Biryani 

Ingredients needed:

For the Soya Chunks

Soya - 1 cup
Water - 4 cups
Salt a pinch

For the Rice:

Short grain Rice / Basmati Rice - 1 cup
Onions, chopped as julinne - 1/2 cup
Tomatoes - 1 medium
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder - 3/4 tsp
Green Chilles - 4 nos
Mixed Vegetables, chopped - 1 cup (Carrot, Beans Potatoes)
Water - 1 & 3/4 cups
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Ghee - 2 tsp
Mint Leaves - handful
Coriander leaves - handful
Coriander Leaves - for garnishing
Garam Masala - 1 pinch

Whole Spices

Bay Leaf - 1
Cinnamon - 1 inch
Cloves - 2
Cardomon - 1
Javatri -
Anise Star - 1

How to make Soya Chunk Biryani.

Take the soya in enough water and pressure cook for 1 whistle. Drain the water and keep the soya chunks aside. You may have to check if it's cooked or not. Else cook again.

For the Rice.

Clean and soak rice for 15 mins in water. Wash and prep the vegetables and keep it aside.

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan. Add all the whole spices. Saute well, then add the onions, Green Chillies. Sauté till the onions become brown in colour.

Then add ginger garlic paste. Fry for 1 min, then add the mint leaves, coriander leaves. After that add chopped tomatoes, salt, chilli powder, saute well till mushy.

Next goes the Vegetables, salt and chilli powder. Fry for 5 mins with lid covered.

Now add the drained soya chunks, saute well and simmer for 5 mins. Let the soya get mixed well with the masalas.

Once the soya looks done, add the water, bring to boil. When the water starts rolling, add drained rice and cover. Simmer till the cook is cooked well.

It takes about 10 - 15 mins for the rice and the vegetables to get cooked well. When it's almost done, add the ghee and cover again.

Keep it in the vessel for 5 to 10 mins, so that it gets settled down.

Serve with Onion raita.

Sending this to Dish it Out - Soy and Tomatoes hosted by Vardhini
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Seppankilangu Puli Kulambu | Colocasia Curry in Tamil Style ~ Step by Step Recipe | Lunch Box Recipes

>>  Thursday, November 24, 2011

If there is one dish that can bring back life to your dead taste buds, then it's the Puli Kulambu for you! This type of tamarind based gravy is typically famous in Tamil Nadu and I must say it's surely an adapted taste. However once you get used to the taste, there is really no stopping!

For all the 40 years that we have been in Tamil Nadu, I am sure we can claim we have got ourselves adapted to the taste that comes. Though Hubby dear is yet to get addicted. I have been happy that Athamma shares my liking and occasionally I decide to make this gravy just for us. Needless to say Amma makes the best Puli Kuzhambus, with many adds on it, like varthal, manathakali, etc. She even adds Okra, Garlic or just simply a simple tamarind base.

Whatever vegetable that goes in doesn't really matter. Dad loves this so much that he would want this to be kept for couple of days. Because of the tamarind base, this gravy stays good for 3 -4 days. There was a time when we used to make this often. These days it's gone to the back list.

Many days went by and we were just lunching on the everyday Sambar or dal. Imagine a week with just these alternating. Suddenly I decided I would make this Puli Kulambu just for us, even if hubby dear will not touch it. Should I say how happy I was hearing the happy tones from Athamma or from Daddy who elated that he was treated to a meal with Puli Kulambu!

Pappu Charu, Seppankilangu Puli Kulambu, Ragi Sankati, with Rava Kesari ~ Our meal today

Step by Step Picture Recipe
All the ingredients that went into the gravy!
Onions, curry leaves along with garlic sauteed in Oil
Till the onions turn colour.
Then goes the tomatoes.
Add all the spices along with salt.
Cover and simmer for 10 mins.
After 10 mins.
Add boiled and cubed Arbis to the pan.
Mix well with the gravy.
Continue cooking for 2 mins.
Then add tamarind juice
Followed by 1 -2 cups water.
Coriander leaves for that wonderful aroma.
Bring to boil and simmer for 5 mins to thicken.

Seppankilangu Puli Kulambu | Colocasia Curry in Tamil Style

Ingredients Needed:

Arbi / Colacasia / Seppankilangu - 4 -5 medium size
Onions - 3/4 cups
Tomato - 1 cup
Red Chili powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Sambar powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Tamarind juice - 1/2 cup
Water - as required to get a thick gravy
Curry leaves few
Mustard seeds, Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Garlic - 2 big cloves
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 -3 tsp

How to make Seppankilangu puli kulambu

Wash and make sharp inserts into the arbi. Microwave for 10 mins, check if the arbi is soft, else microwave for another 3 -5 mins. Allow to cool, peel the skin and cut into cubes.

Heat a kadai with oil. Add the mustard Seeds, urad dal, curry leaves and chopped garlic. Fry for couple of minutes, then add finely chopped onions. Saute till the onion turns brown.

Next add finely chopped tomatoes, along with salt, turmeric. chili powder, coriander powder. Cover with lid and cook in sim for 10 mins for the tomatoes to be done well.

Once the tomatoes are soft, add the cooked arbi, saute well and again cook for 5 mins in high. Simmer with lid covered for 2 mins.

Add the tamarind juice, mix everything. Then add water, combine all the ingredients. Bring to boil. Cook in high for 5 mins. Then simmer for 10 mins with lid covered till the gravy is thick.

Arbi is mostly considered to get itchy reaction sometimes. To prevent this, the roots are normally boiled with tamarind juice. I normally don't follow this method.

Normally salt and turmeric powder is added to the tomatoes to get them cooked fast. I added all the spice powders along with salt and simmered with lid covered for 10 mins. 

We had the most satisfying meal after a long time and enjoyed the gravy for couple of days. The gravy normally can stay good for 4 -5 days when refrigerated. 

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Mixed Vegetable Kurma ~ Madras Style | Mixed Vegetable Korma Step by Step Recipe | Lunch Box Recipes

>>  Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Today we are starting the second group of the Blogging Marathon Edition #10. I decided to do the Lunch Box series, basically it's more like what one makes for a typical meal or pack for office. Since I pack and carry my lunch, I decided to share my everyday box for this week. These may not always be a full three course meal, I warn ahead.

I get frequent emails asking to share my Menu planning or my lunch box menu. I have stopped publishing my menu sheet sometime back, basically because I wasn't making anything new. Somehow things fall in place with the few restrictions I have in my usage of ingredient. Still we have managed quite well.

It should become easy now, that we have a fixed day for buying the vegetables. We do it every Sunday morning and I pretty much plan what I am going to make through the week, both for lunch and dinner. Though seeing the pattern I may not have been that adventurous. I am planning to change that and decided to try at least couple of new recipes every week. My recipe collection is brimming out with so many new ideas to try.

Anyway coming to today's post, today's recipe was something that I made as I went on. It was loosely based on the way the kurmas are normally prepared in hotels. The kurma was lip smacking with Rotis, I am sure it would taste great with Naans.

Step by Step Picture Recipe:

Madras Mixed Vegetable Kurma

Ingredients Needed:
Onion paste
Onions, puree - 1 cup
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Fennel Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Green Chilies - 2 medium
Garlic - 2 medium cloves
Ginger - 2"

Coconut Paste:

Coconut, finely chopped - 1/2 cup
Poppy Seeds - 2 seeds
Green Chilies - 1 medium

Other ingredients

Tomatoes, puree - 1 & 1/2 cup
Vegetables - 2 cups (Carrots, Beans, Turnip)
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Coriander leaves, finely chopped - 2 tsp
Tomato, finely chopped - 1 small
Oil - 2 tsp
Salt to taste

How to make the Madras Mixed Vegetable Kurma

To make the Onion paste:

Roughly chop the onions, garlic, ginger, green chilies. Grind this along with cumin seeds, fennel seeds using little water to make a smooth paste.

Trim and chop the vegetables, keep aside.

To make the gravy:
Heat a pressure cooker with oil, add the onion paste and sauté the paste till it's done. Cover with lid, saute for couple of minutes, when the oil starts coming out and the onion paste is well cooked, add the tomato puree. mix everything well. lastly add coconut paste, salt and turmeric. 

Mix everything well, cook for 2 mins, then add the chopped vegetables, cover with lid and continue cooking for a while.

Next add the coriander powder, coriander leaves, tomato pieces. Cook for 5 mins, then add 1 cup or little more, depending on the gravy thickness. Cover the pressure cooker with lid and cook for couple of whistles, for the vegetables to be done. 

Enjoy with Rotis and salad.

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