Friday, 28 September 2007

Gaarelu / Vada

Gaarelu is synonymous with the word Festival or Guests. When we were kids Amma used to make them only during festivals or when any special guests are visiting us!!!
Gaarelu/Vada/Ulundu Vada is a very famous South Indian breakfast which is accompanied with Coconut Chutney and Sambhar.
Everyone in our family likes these... hope even you will enjoy them :)



Whole urad dal: 2 cups
Ginger: 2 inch, finely chopped
Green chillies: 4, finely chopped
Onion: 2, finely chopped
Salt: to taste
Oil: for deep frying


  1. Soak Urad Dal in enough water overnight.
  2. Grind into a soft paste, using very little water. The batter should be very thick, not like dosa batter.
  3. Add ginger, onions, chilies and salt to this and mix well.
  4. Take a deep pan or kadai and heat oil for frying.
  5. Wet your hands and take a lemon sized ball and flatten it and make a hole in the center. (You can use a plastic sheet or a banana leaf, to make things easier).
  6. Slowly put it in oil and deep fry on both sides till golden brown.
  7. Serve hot with coconut chutney or sambhar or even chicken curry!!

Garelu with kobbari pachadi
Gaarelu with Coconut Chutney

  1. If excess water is added while grinding, it is difficult to shape and drop it in oil.
  2. Every time before taking batter into your hands, remember to wet your hands with water. This prevents the batter from sticking to your hand.
  3. Since you wet your hands each time and put them in the bowl containing the batter, after some time, the batter is likely to become thin. So it is better to work on the batter batch wise.

And the Verdict:
"Thinte Gaarelu thinaali, vinte Bhaaratam vinaali" is a very famous telugu proverb. And this says it all!!!

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Paneer Butter Masala

"Paneer Butter Masala", the most common name in almost all the menu cards of all the Indian restaurants, and the most common item which people tend to order :) and I am one of them.
All the paneer dishes sound so delicious and exotic. And everyone agrees with me, so have you ever tried making Paneer at home? If the answer is "No", then you must surely try it.
Making Paneer at home is not only easy but also fun. There is a satisfaction and happiness when we cook dishes with Paneer made at home :)
The process of making paneer is very simple. All we need is, Milk, Half a Lemon, a Big pot and a clear Towel.
I have explained the process of making it here.

Paneer Butter Masala1
Paneer Butter Masala

Coming to the recipe...


Paneer: 250gms
Tomatoes: 3, chopped
Onions: 3, chopped
Garam Masala: 1 tsp
GingerGarlic Paste: 1 Tbsp
Cashew Nuts: Fistful, soaked in water for 15 mins and grind to get a smooth paste.
Dry Red Chilies: 5, adjust acc. to your taste buds
Corriander leaves: 1 small bunch
Mint leaves: a few
Kasoori Methi: 1 tsp
Salt: To taste
Cream: 2 Tbsp
Oil: 3 Tbsp
Water: 75 ml

How I did it:
  1. Take a deep saucepan, and add water, tomato, onion, dry red chilies, mint leaves. Cover and boil till done.
  2. Keep aside to cool. Then grind them and sieve to get the masala paste.
  3. Heat a little oil and fry the paneer pieces and keep aside for further use.
  4. Heat oil in a wide heavy-bottomed pan.
  5. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell disappears.
  6. Add cashew paste and fry for few more mins.
  7. To this add the masala paste, salt and cook covered on medium flame, stirring in between for 15 to 20 mins.
  8. Add the paneer pieces and Garam Masala and cook for 5 more mins.
  9. Finally add kasoori methi and cream. Garnish with coriander leaves
  10. Serve hot with Rotis, Jeera Rice or Ghee Rice.

Paneer Butter Masala2
Paneer Butter Masala

And the Verdict:
Rich and Creamy!!!
"The way to Man's heart is through his Stomach", serve it to your loved one, and may what your wish be, it will be fulfilled in seconds ;)

Other Paneer dishes posted Kadai Paneer.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Paramannam(Sweet Rice Pudding)

In India the word festival is synonymous with the word excellent food. There is no celebration considered complete unless and until rich food is served among friends, family and relatives. Lots of cooking of good quality food is done and served on festival days.
This dish is prepared as an offering to God in every home and temple of south India on any festive occasion like this.


I made this on Ganesh Chaturthi, and it was loved by every one!

Rice: 1 cup
Milk: 4 cup
Jaggery: 1 cup
Cashew Nuts: fistful
Raisins (Seedless): 1/4 fistful
Cardamom (powder): 1/2 teaspoon
Clarified Butter(Ghee): 1/2 tablespoon

How I did it:

  1. Wash and soak rice in two cups of water for about fifteen minutes.
  2. In a small sauce pan, bring to boil half a cup of water and crushed jaggery. Lower heat and slowly simmer until the syrup is sticky (if a drop is taken between the thumb and fore finger, it should feel sticky but not stretch out like a thread).
  3. Remove from heat and keep aside.In another sauce pan, bring milk to a boil.
  4. Drain water from the rice and add to the milk. Lower heat to medium and cook until the rice is done and the mixture looks thick.
  5. Remove the sauce pan and allow to cool for a minute or two. And now add the cooled jaggery syrup from the smaller sauce pan. Stir well. Keep aside.
  6. Now, in a small skillet heat clarified butter/ghee and when hot, add cashew nuts. Fry for a minute or two until the nuts change colour to pale brown. Add raisins and stir for a minute.
  7. Remove from heat and pour the contents of the above skillet into the sauce pan containing rice mixture. Also, stir in cardamom powder. Keep covered for two minutes.
  8. Serve hot along with melted clarified butter on the side.


Additional Information:
Occasionally, when jaggery syrup is added to the rice mixture, the milk splits. This could be because of two reasons:
  1. The jaggery is adulterated.
  2. The rice mixture is too hot and when mixed with jaggery syrup results in the milk splitting. Hence, it is advised to add jaggery syrup to rice only after it has been allowed to cool for a minute or so.

And the Verdict:
It is enjoyed by people who have a sweet tooth like me :)
Utterly delicious!!!

Food Event:
This is my entry for the Ganesh Chaturthi event being hosted by Latha of The Yum Blog.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Minty Pea Rolls - Improved :) :)

Mint Pea Rolls2
Minty Pea Bread Rolls

I made these bread rolls few days back here, and was quite upset with the shape of the rolls though the taste was pretty good. But as they say, the dish must a treat to both eyes and tummy. So I wanted to try my hand on them once again... I usually can't stay steady with out getting the things perfect :)

I had the left over mint pea stuffing in the fridge, so I made the bread rolls for breakfast again.

Mint Pea Rolls1
Minty Pea Bread Rolls

This time, they were just perfect. A treat to both eyes and tummy :) :)
Now I believe that "Practice Makes a Man Perfect"!!!

Mint Pea Rolls3
Minty Pea Bread Rolls

My husband calls me a perfectionist :) How many of you are perfectionists?? :)

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Hyderabadi Lamb(Mutton) Kheema Kofta Curry - Meat balls in Cashew Rich Gravy

I have been busy lately and now I am back to the normal routine with cooking, taking pics and blogging.
I have been facing tantrums at home from J, saying that I am cooking merely for blogging and not for him :) and also complains that my camera gets the first chance to capture my dish. I guess this is a common argument in many of your homes too.

Kheema Kofta with Ghee Rice

J was craving for kheema koftas from past one month and because of my busy schedule could not meet the household demands :)
To those who dont know Koftas are popular throughout India. They are made using fine lean mince which is blended with herbs and spices and made into balls.

This dish sounds exotic and tastes it too! Add it to a dinner party menu and your guests will end licking their fingers :)

Ground Lamb meat(Kheema): 1/2 Kg
Onions: 2, minced
Tomato Puree: 1 cup
Green Chilles: 5, adjust acc. to your taste buds, slit length-wise
CashewNuts, Chironji and WaterMelon seeds: 1 cup, soak in water for 1 hr and grind to smooth paste
Jeera/Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
Cloves: 5
Cinnamon: 2 inch stick
Red Chilli Powder: 3 tsps
Garam Masala: 2 tsp
Lemon juice: 2 Tbsp
Ginger Garlic Paste: 2 Tbsp
Oil: 3 Tbsp + extra for frying
KasuriMethi: 1 tsp
Sour Cream: 1 Tbsp
Water: 200 ml/ 2cups
Salt: to tsate

Kheema Kofta Curry

How I did it:
  1. Marinate kheema with lemon juice, 1 tsp salt, half of Ginger garlic paste, red chilli powder. And keep aside for 2 to 3 hrs, or refrigerate overnight.
  2. Heat oil for frying in a kadai, shape the kheema into koftas, shape and size as desired and deep fry them. Keep aside for further use.
  3. For the Gravy:
  4. Heat oil in a wide heavy bottomed saucepan.
  5. Add jeera, minced onions and green chillies and fry for few mins, till the raw smell of the onions disappears.
  6. Add ginger garlic paste and fry for few more mins.
  7. Add red chilli powder, garam masala and tomato puree and salt.
  8. Cook covered for 15 mins, stirring in between.
  9. Add cashewnut paste, and water. Cook again for 15 more mins, stirring in between.(be careful the gravy bloops up)
  10. Add kasoori Methi, cream and stir.
  11. Add the koftas and cook on low for 10 mins.
  12. Remove from heat, Serve hot with Ghee Rice or Rotis.

Kheema Kofta with Ghee Rice

And the Verdict:
Truely Hyderabadi!!
Creamy and rich gravy reminds of shahi and mughlai dishes!!
And very fulling and heavy meal, and please don't count the calories.
Not for people on diet :D

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Minty Pea Bread Rolls!!

When dear Coffee of The Spice Cafe announced the theme of Monthly Blog Patrol(MBP), this month which is making bread from the scratch using the recipe from fellow bloggers, I have been very busy browsing through all the my favorite blogs searching for recipes. And in that process I came across a very nice blog Bake My Day, where I found so many nice recipes for bread, and the one which attracted me was the Minty Pea Bread.

Stuffed Bread Rolls
Stuffed Bread Rolls

This was my first experiment with yeast, and I was worried about the output. But luckily it was not that bad. The bread rolls came out to be delicious with hard crust and soft insides with herb flavored filling. We had it for dinner and it got a lot of appreciation :)

But I guess I need to improve on the shaping of the bread roll!! This is the recipe with little modifications according to our taste.

For the Bread(Dough):
All Purpose flour: 500 gms
Whole wheat flour: 150 gms
Active Dry yeast: 1 1/2 tsp
Salt: 1 1/2 tsp
Sugar: 1Tbsp
Herbs de provence: 1 tsp
Olive oil: 2 Tbsp
Water: 300 ml approx. (for making the dough)
Warm water : 2 Tbsp

For Filling:
Frozen peas: 400 gms
Fresh mint leaves: handful
Corriander leaves: handful
Green Chillies: 2, chopped finely
Onion: 1, minced
Olive oil: 1 Tbsp
Butter: 2 Tbsp
Pepper: to taste
Salt: to taste
Lemon juice: 2 Tbsp

Mint and Pea Stuffing
Mint and Pea Stuffing

How I did it:

  1. Take a large mixing bowl, add the warm water and sprinkle yeast and sugar over it.
  2. Leave aside for 5 mins till it foams.
  3. Add in all the dry ingredients for the dough, and mix well.
  4. Add Olive oil and mix slowly adding water till it forms soft dough.
  5. Lightly oil a vessel, and put the dough in it, and leave it aside for 1 hr, till it raises to double its volume.
  6. In the meanwhile prepare the filling:
  7. Add peas to boiling water to soften them, drain and keep aside.
  8. In a pan, heat butter and olive oil, add onions and cook till soft.
  9. Add the herbs and cook for 2 more mins.
  10. Add in peas in lemon juice, let it cook for couple of mins more.
  11. Season with salt and pepper.
  12. Keep aside to cool and mash the mixture(don't puree)
  13. Keep it aside, for further use.
  14. To make the bread rolls:
  15. Punch down the dough, and take a portion of the dough and spread it on to your palm or on lightly floured platform. Place some stuffing in the center and bring the edges together and seal.
  16. Proceed in the similar way with rest of the dough.
  17. Let rise, covered for 45 minutes.
  18. Now bake in a preheated oven for 40 mins at 200C.
  19. Serve!!

Minty Pea Stuffed Bread Rolls
Minty Pea Stuffed Bread Rolls

And the Verdict:

It was not a bad output for the first try. I was afraid experimenting with yeast, but I found it easy to work with.
I must improve a little bit on shaping the bread rolls.
The taste was just perfect, with all the herb flavors and I would love to make them again.

Not satisfied with the shape of the bread, I made these Bread Rolls again, with the left over mint pea stuffing, two days later for breakfast.... and here they are:

Mint Pea Rolls1
Minty Pea Bread Rolls

You can find the post on my improved Bread Rolls here :)

Food Event:
This is my entry for the MBP - Bread event being hosted by Coffee of The Spice Cafe.

And coming to my favorite smell in the kitchen, it is fresh bread or cake baking in the oven... yummm...

Monday, 17 September 2007

Pulihora/Puliyogare/Puliyodharai - Tamarind Rice

Pulihora, Chitrannam or Tamarind Rice.. all refer to the same dish, a rice delicacy prepared using tamarind. This is the one dish which is prepared on any festival. It doesnt need a special intro to many South Indians esp., to those from Andra, Karnataka and TamilNadu; though the name and the taste differs slightly from state to state. To Kannadians it is Puliyogare and to Tamilians it is Puliyodharai. It is even served as prasadam in many temples.


It was so often made during festivals or during outings that my father sometimes used to make fun saying that it is a default menu in our households; for festivals it is pulihora and payasam, and for outings it is pulihora and perugannam(daddojanam).

This is the recipe from my mom, and never goes wrong.

Rice: 2 cups (uncooked)
Chana Dal: 1/4th cup
Tamarind paste: 2 Tbsp
Green Chillies: 8 (adjust acc. to your taste buds)
Curry Leaves: 2 stalks
Ground Nuts/Cashew Nuts: 1/2 cup
Dry Red Chilles: 5
Hing/Asafoetida: a pinch
Mustard Seeds: 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds: 1tsp
Urad Dal: 2 tsp
Haldi: 1/4 tsp
Oil: 4 Tbsp

How I did it:

  1. Boil Rice, along with Chana dal, adding little salt and oil. Keep aside for further use.
  2. Heat oil in a kadai and add red chilles, urad dal, cashews/groundnuts, mustard seeds and cumin seeds.
  3. Fry on medium heat till seeds splutter.
  4. Add haldi, hing, green chilles, curry leaves. Fry for few more mins.
  5. Add the tamarind paste, and salt. Let is cook for 5 mins.
  6. Take out from heat and mix it with the cooked rice.
  7. Adjust salt, and serve.


And the Verdict:
Delicious. And perfect for any occasion. This was my favorite from my childhood and still remains the favorite.
It can also be prepared using Lemon or Raw Mango, instead of Tamarind. It depends on an individuals taste buds, as how they like it.
It is a traditional Andra recipe, and a must try for everyone!

Food Event:
This is my entry for the RCI - Karnataka event being hosted by Asha of Foodie's Hope.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Vinayaka Chaturthi

Wish You All Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!!!
Vinayaka Chavithi2
Mushikavaahana modaka hastha,
Chaamara karna vilambitha sutra,
Vaamana rupa maheshwara putra,
Vighna vinaayaka paada namasthe

Ganesh Chaturthi or the birthday of Ganesha (God of Wisdom and Prosperity) falls on the fourth day of the Hindu month of Bhadrapada (around August-September). It is celebrated all across India and is the biggest festival in states like Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and TamilNadu.

Vinayaka Chavithi1
Ganesh at our Home

Ganeshji is one of my favorite deities. This is the one festival which I have been performing without fail from my childhood. I used to sort out the books from the subjects which I find tough, to keep near the idol and to write "OM" on them :)
I used to long for the modaks and all the goodies prepared on that day for the "Naivedyam".

Naivedyam : From top-left clockwise :
Pulihora, Vadapappu Kobbari, Undrallu, Kudumulu, Payasam and Gaarelu

In short this is the festival enjoyed by everyone!!

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Heaven on Earth : Switzerland !!!

Switzerland is truely Heaven on Earth, and it is a must see for everyone, at least once in the lifetime!!!
Some of the pictures I would like to share!!

It was a beautiful experience staying in the apartments surrounded by mountains and clouds....

The Apartments we rented

"The dying Lion of Lucerne" is one of the world's most famous monuments.
It was carved out of natural rock in memory of the heroic deaths of the Swiss mercenaries at the Tuileries in 1792. Mark Twain described the Lion of Lucerne as the saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world.

Lucern - The Lion Monument

Lucern Lake

The entire route to Jungfrau was unimaginably wonderful. It was an engineer marvel to lay tracks with tunnels and stations at around 11,500 feet; the highest railway track in Europe.

Train Route to JungFrau - Top of Europe

The temperature up on the top was -3C, and is said to be covered with snow all year round!!

Snow Covered Alps

Snow Covered Alps

Swiss is known for the scenic beauty of its valleys and mountains.

Valleys and Mountains

Valleys and Mountains

Traumbach Falls was an other amazing experience...The water fall is the Glacier water from the 12 Glaciers, and is the only waterfall which is in the mountain caves and is still accessible to tourists!

Traumbach Falls

A trip to Switzerland is a lifetime experience and cannot be described in words, its just see and feel!!! One can include this in their list of "100 places to see before you die"!!!