Archive for the ‘One pot’ Category

Puli Pongal(Tamarind and chili pongal)

Friday, January 4th, 2013

If I said it is freezing cold here in Houston, I’m pretty sure people in the east coast are going to get mad at me, so let me just say that it got pretty chilly here for the past few days. I weighed out the options- hot bowl of soup, pasta, spicy paneer and gobi with fried rice or this pongal(N will be against the soup any day). Majority of the vote(including my son) fell for the pongal, so it was pongal for dinner.


This is something that my mom made when we were kids and it was hit especially in the winter. With the cold winds howling during the month of December/January, eating this hot pongal with mango pickle or puli mulagai pachadi or thengai thogayal and watching a movie was such a regular scene during those years! As mom makes this pongal, my dad will offer to do the pachadi, my sister and I will sit and talk in the kitchen with them and making dinner was such an enjoyable team work.

This is how it goes:

Rice(uncooked, not basmati)- 1 cups
Water- 3 cups
Tamarind- 1/4 tsp
For tempering:
Oil- 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds-1 tsp
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Chana dal- 1 tsp
Urad dal- 1 tsp
Curry leaves- one spring
Asafoetida- 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Grated coconut- 3-5 tbsp(depending on your taste)
Red chilies- 2
Yogurt chilies-2
Salt to taste

Just sprinkle some water on the rice and blend it coarsely in a blender. Mix tamarind paste in 1 cup of water.

Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add chana dal, urad dal, cumin seeds, curry leaves, asafoetida and fry well. Then add red chilies, yogurt chilies and coconut. Pour 2 cups of water, one cup of tamarind extract in water, then add salt and turmeric powder. Cover and let the water boil.

When the water has been boiling for 2-3 minutes, reduce the flame, slowly add the coarsely powdered rice and mix well. Cover and let it cook on low flame for another 10 minutes till all the water has been absorbed and rice is cooked. Mash it well.

Serve hot with coconut thogayal or mango pickle or avakkai pickle or mavadu pickle or this puli mulagai pachadi. Even the yogurt chilies used in the pongal is a good accompaniment! This is something spicy and tangy for the winter.

Do not use basmati as it will be very mushy once the pongal is done. If the rice is old rice, then the pongal will come out really well. Just check for water to rice ratio, I used sona masoori rice. If you want, reduce the amount of water just a little bit(1/4 cup), make the pongal and you can even make kozhukattais like arisi upma kozhukattai. That is how my son likes his upams.

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From the kitchen this week: Garlic and Herb Buns, Thiruvathirai Kootu and Bachelor Biryani

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

Instead of writing three posts I just thought of sharing all recipes in one post, so without a big introduction here are the recipes.

This is a bun I baked to go with some sundried tomato pesto pasta last week for dinner. You can make it as pav buns if you wanted to, just omit the herbs and garlic. I used to make aloobuns/vegetable buns posted here and I just followed the same recipe for this garlic buns too.


All purpose flour- 2 cups (I used 200 ml measuring glass)
Dry yeast- 2 tsp
Salt- 1 tsp
Sugar – 2 tbsp
Melted slightly warm butter( not room temperature butter)- 4 tbsp
Water- as needed to knead
Olive oil- 2 tsp
Butter- 1 tbsp- to brush while baking
Garlic- finely chopped- 1 tbsp

Herbs: I used Italian seasoning which has thyme, basil and I also added some red pepper flakes. Or you can use cheese!


In a wide bowl, add about 1/4 cup of warm water. Dissolve the yeast,sugar and salt, slightly whisk it to mix well. Add the flour little by little and get a crumbly texture. Then add melted butter, start kneading slowly to incorporate and then add water as per requirement and knead well to a thick dough.Keep it covered in a warm place for atleast an hour for the dough to double in volume.

After the dough doubles just sprinkle a teaspoon of flour on top if it, punch it down, divide it into equal parts, roll each part in to a ball, coat again with olive oil,sprinkle some dried herbs/garlic/red pepper flakes/cheese or a little bit of it all(!!) and cover and keep in a warm place for 10 minutes to rise.

Pre heat the oven to 375F . Bake these buns at 375 for 15-20 minutes or till the top is golden brown. Keep watching the color, it can get burnt. You can smell the aroma of buns when they are done!

The buns would have joined together(because of the rise and baking), gently separate each bun, let it cool down for 2-3 minutes. Serve with any spicy chutney or ketchup and enjoy with a hot cuppa tea or serve with pasta!

Thiruvadirai Kootu:

The next one is very special to me as I grew up in Chidambaram and the Nataraja Ther(Chariot) during the month of December along with the star Thiruvadiarai is celebrated with a traditional kali and kootu(dal). My sister and I would pull the chariot with others(a big crowd, in thousands) and then come home for this feast. The chariot festival is celebrated twice a year, once around June/July and the other in December/January. I just thought why not make the kootu for lunch instead of waiting for those special days in December.

If you think about it, this is a excellent choice for your fridge/freezer cleaning days. This kootu has to be made with 7 different vegetables and lentils as during the month of December or January it will be harvest time but for a change from pulao or biryani if you have couple of carrots, beans, lentils and garbanzo beans or kidney beans, put it all in, it tastes so divine in this kootu.


Mixed vegetables(carrots, peas, pumpkin, snake gourd,long beans, Potato,Indian eggplant)- 1 cup
Cooked Mashed toor dal- 3/4 cup
Mixed beans(cooked garbanzo beans, red kidney beans, black eyed peas)- 1/2 cup
Peanuts(soaked in water)- 2 tbsp- optional
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Tamarind water- 2 .5 cups(1/4 tsp tamarind paste in 1 cup water and add another cup as it dissolves)

For tempering:
OIl- 1 tbsp
Curry leaves- 1 spring
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Coconut- grated- 1 tbsp

For the spice powder:
Chanadal- 2 tbsp
Red chilies 3 (add another chili if you like it spicy)
Coriander seeds- 2 tbsp
Coconut- 4 tbsp


Chop the vegetables into 1″ cubes. In a pot, add these vegetables, salt and turmeric powder, tamarind water, cover and let it cook. When the vegetables are half done, add the cooked lentils and cooked beans along with the soaked peanuts. Cover the let it cook through.

In another pan toast the chana dal, red chilies, coriander seeds to a golden brown color (toast separately) and transfer it to a blender(if you toast them all together coriander seeds may burn). Just toast the coconut in the hot pan and immediately transfer to the blender before it turns brown. Let the ingredients cool down and blend them to a fine powder.

Add this powder to the kootu pot as you add the beans(half way through cooking).

Once the vegetables are cooked through, the lentils and beans are all combined, switch it off.

Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, as it splutters add curry leaves. Just as you are about to pour this over the kootu, add the grated coconut to the tempering pan and pour it over the kootu. The coconut will thicken the kootu, if not you can mix 1 tbsp of rice flour with less than 1/4 cup of water and add it to the kootu when it is simmering.

Traditionally this kootu is served with kali(rice and jaggery) but we had it with plain rice and some carrot-cucumber kosamalli.

Bachelor Biryani:

Though I keep saying little R, my son is growing up to be the tall R :) And as he is about to join the “terrible two” age group those classic characterics are starting to show off- refusing to sit in the cart that he used to do before(now he wants to push it and run all over the mall), refusing to sit in a restaurant for a meal, starting to make choices(which means wearing those blue pair of shoes forever along with that same comfy pair of shirt that he likes), a big no no to the vegetables that he used to eat before, thinking that he is the boss of the house(says who??) etc etc., He is going to a summer camp for couple of hours a week and apart from the usual places I take R to, dropping him and picking him up is another job for me these days! So after a long list of complaints about the stuff I have to do all week, N took over cooking and made this biryani for the weekend- this is so simple, one pot dish and he used to make this for me couple of years back.

This is how it it goes:
Basmati rice(soaked in water)- 1 cup
Onion- medium size- 1
Tomatoes- 2, chopped
Mixed vegetables(carrots, beans, peas, cauliflower, potatoes and even paneer if you like)- all together- 1 cup
Green chili-1
Mint leaves- half a bunch
Cilantro- half a bunch
Coconut-1/4 cup
Garam masala powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil- 2 tbsp
Fennel seeds- 3/4 tsp
For garnish- finely chopped cilantro and mint leaves


Keep aside about 1/4 of the onion for stir frying and chop them finely. Chop the rest of the onion into cubes. Heat a tsp of oil in a pan, add cubed onions ,tomatoes and salt and stir fry well for 4-5 minutes. Now add the mint leaves, Green chili,cilantro and stir fry again for another 3-4 minutes. Transfer the contents to a blender, add coconut and bled it to a smooth paste(adding little amount of water if necessary).

Heat oil in a pressure pan or cooker, add fennel seeds. When they start to sizzle, add the chopped onions and salt and fry till onions turn transclucent. Now add other chopped vegetables and stir fry for 3-4 minutes. Drain water from the rice and add it to the pan, mix them gently.

Measure the ground masala paste, if it measures to one cup you will need one more cup of water to cook the rice(Rice to water 1:2). So pour the masala paste, required amount of water and add the garam masala powder. Mix gently and cover and cook on medium flame for one whistle. See, this is so easy compared to the marinades/frying/dum biryanis, right?

After the pressure cooker has cooled down, open the cooker and gently separate the rice grains with a fork. Garnish with cilantro and mint leaves and serve hot with any raitha and chips!

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Mint-Channa Rice

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

This is one of my favorite dishes to pack for lunch which has been in my drafts for a long time.

The mint taste in rice is fresh even 3-4 hours after making this recipe and this rice tastes good either warm or at room temperature. Best part is that you can make it for a pot luck and serve it at room temperature with some raithas and it would be a hit! The preparation is easy too, you can easily make it one pot dish by making this in a rice cooker. You can easily add peas or paneer and try this rice in many different combinations. You can also stuff this rice inside peppers like peas rice stuffed in peppers. Or you can make this with methi(fenugreek leaves) too!

Ingredients: (Serves-2)

Basmati rice- 1.25 cups
Canned Chickpeas- 1 can
Mint leaves- 1 bunch
Cilantro- 1/2 bunch
Curry Leaves(optional)- 2 sprigs
Ginger- Garlic Paste- 1 tsp
Green Chilies- 2
Salt- 1 tsp
Canola Oil/Butter- 2 tsp
Bay leaf- 2
Cardamom – 2
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Lemon Juice- 2 Tbsp
Nuts like cashews or almonds (optional)- to Garnish
Fried Paneer(cottage cheese)- Optional- to garnish
Water- 2.5 cups


Wash and soak Basmati rice in water for 10 minutes.

In a blender add mint leaves(roughly chopped), cilantro, curry leaves, Ginger garlic paste, Green chilies and salt and make it into a fine paste(without adding water).

Pour one tsp of canola oil/butter in a frying pan and add cumin seeds. When they turn golden brown, add cardamom sticks and bay leaves. Drain the water from the rice and add it to the pan. Keep frying for 3-4 minutes or till all the water from the rice has evaporated. Keep aside.

Drain water from the canned chick peas and wash and drain again.

In a rice cooker, add drained chickpeas, rice, mint paste and 2.5 cups water. Mix well. Cook for 25-30 minutes. Once the rice is done, fluff it up with a fork. Add lemon juice to taste and garnish with nuts/paneer if needed. If you like, you can also use fried baby potatoes instead of panner cubes. Or you can add peas instead of chickpeas.

Serve with cucumber raitha and chips. We love this rice with Jeera Aloo or Achari Aloo.

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Uruli Upma Kozhukattai with coconut thugayal (Savory rice pudding cakes in a bronze vessel)

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Back in the 1990’s in India, our usual dinner menu was either Idli, Dosa, Adai, Upma, Pongal, Idiyappam- the rice noodles, Chapati or Poori. One week’s worth of recipes shuffled and shuffled along with some new recipes seen on TV or tried from a recipe book. As a surprise, once in a while amma made these upma kozhukattais, which (even now) she makes in her uruli (bronze vessel). The uruli gives the upma a very different taste, and sis and I usually fight for the lightly browned upma crust at the bottom of the vessel. This recipe is termed as grandma’s recipe and boring but secretly many of my friends who call it boring, crave to have these kozhukattias once in a while.

There are two steps in making these cakes, first to make the upma and then the pidi kozhukattai.

Recipe to make arisi upma(the first stage) can be found here.

Ingredients (Serves-2)

Rice – 1.25 cups

Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp

Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp

Grated coconut- 4 tbsp

Red chilies-2

More-milakai (yogurt chilies)-2

Chana dal- 1 tsp

Curry leaves- a few

Asafoetida- 1 pinch

Oil- 1 tbsp

Salt- to taste

Water- 3 or 4 cups

For the coconut chutney:

Un-Sweetened coconut- 1/2 cup
Urad dal- 1 tsp
Chana dal- 1 tsp
Red chilies- 4
Water- just 2 tbsp or so


Pound the rice at home according to the instructions given here, and proceed to make the upma.

Sprinkle rice with some water, just a tbsp or so and mix well. It should be done in such a way that rice is slightly wet but not soaked through. Keep aside for 5 minutes.


Heat oil in a pot and add asafoetida and mustard seeds. When they splutter, add cumin seeds, chana dal, curry leaves, the chilies and stir fry for a minute. Add the coconut and just stir once. Add about 3 cups of water, salt to taste, cover and let it boil.

Now back to the rice. The rice should be slightly dry now and should have absorbed all the water. Pulse it using a blender so that it is not a powder like rice flour, but coarse and smaller in size than a grain of rice. Say, almost to the size of mustard seeds. You can also sieve the finer particles out but I just use everything, coarse and fine.


When the water is boiling, reduce the flame to a low-medium and slowly add the rice and keep stirring to avoid any lumps. Cover and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes. Make sure that there is enough water to cook the rice, but not so much that the upma will be mushy or so less that it will be dry and uncooked. If you have to add any water, add some warm water as that will quicken up the cooking process.


Check if rice is cooked through.Let the upma cool down since we have to shape the cakes by hand.

Once the upma is warm enough to handle, gently mix it once to combine all the coconut, chilies and curry leaves.
Then take a lemon size ball out of the upma and make a shape like cylindrical rods. Arrange it on a steamer.
Repeat the same procedure for remaining upma.

Once all the upma rods are arranged in the steamer(pressure cooker or idli cooker), steam the kozhukattias for just around 10 minutes. The kozhukattias should not be soggy but slightly firm. Serve it with coconut thogayal (dry-chutney).

Method to make coconut chutney:

Toast chana dal, urad dal and red chilies till golden brown in color. Blend them to a fine powder, then add the coconut and blend again. Add just enough water (2 tbsp) and grind them to a smooth paste. Serve it with upma kozhukattai. Enjoy the grandma style of cooking 😉

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