Archive for the ‘Rice Dishes’ 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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Quick Brown rice BBB and baby language development classes

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Looking at the regular South Indian dishes it is mostly associated with rice in one way or the other- idli, dosa, adai, sevai(rice noodles), pongal, rice upma, variety rice dishes etc., Though eating white rice is delicious, we forget about the risks of diabetes when we indulge it. Having grown up consuming it, it is rather tough to stop cooking with white rice too.

After reading a post from Madhuram I switched over to making variety rices with brown rice. I feel that the flavors mix well with brown rice in those dishes and it sort of masks that it is made with brown rice if you are not too fond of cooking with it. But I have not yet tried making brown rice as a substitute for regular rice for rasam/sambar. Better options for brown rice are in khichdis, bise bele bhaths and using it instead of regular rice in adai or dosa batter.

You may find that brown rice BBB is a bit chewy than regular rice BBB but this is really filling and you won’t feel the need for a late afternoon snack if you have this BBB for lunch.

I have made brown rice BBB with long grain rice and with brown basmati. Long grain takes about 5 whistles in the cooker to cook through but basmati is much easier to use.

The rest is the same recipe, use 1-2 cups of mixed vegetables, 3/4 cup rice, 3/4 cup lentils and regular, usual Bise bele bhath powder, add water and cook like regular method for BBB. Madhuram’s recipe is here and my recipe for this bise bela bhath in slowcooker/cooker is here.

For the baby sign language part, I have received emails asking me if I know about places that teach these signs. In Houston it is taught at Motherhood center. This is only for babies who can hear. This place also teaches various classes for parents- from pregnancy/birthing classes to teaching the art of Infant massage to these sign language classes, and also they have a special session called watch me grow. You can also read through their website and incorporate your ideas if you live in a different state.

The appropriate links are:


Children’s classes:

There is another useful website called Aid to life, which is operated by the North American Montessori Teacher Association. They have a beautiful way of putting together articles and materials that are age appropriate(12,14,18 months, 2 years, 3 years) in categories like communication, self discipline, movement, Independence(dressing up, doing chores on their own).

The link for communication is this one, you can hop onto their other pages though this :

As you may notice, this is an ad free blog and I am not associated with any of these places. I just share information I know and have found to be useful. Hope this helps!

See you soon with our activities with shapes and colors!

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Coconut Milk Masala Vegetable Pulao in Cooker

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

I have previously made a different type of pulao by following this recipe last year. But when I came across this chicken biryani recipe in Solai aunty’s blog, I thought of making it with vegetables. The ground masala is aromatic and it gives this pulao an authentic restaurant taste! I thought that the name pulao suits is better than biryani, so here goes!


Basmati rice: 1 cup
Mixed vegetables(carrots, peas,cauliflower,beans)- all together 1 cup
Finely chopped onions-1/4 cup
Salt to taste
Garam Masala powder- 1 tsp
Butter/Ghee/Oil- 2 tbsp
Coconut milk- 1 cup
Water- 1 cup
Bay leaf-2
Cilantro leaves- to garnish

Ginger garlic paste- 1 tbsp
(or use 1″ piece of ginger and 5 pods of garlic)
Fennel seeds- 1 tsp
Green chilies-4 to 5
Cinnamon- 1/2″ piece
Mint leaves- a handful


Wash and soak rice with water for atleast 15 minutes.

Grind all the ingredients given under the masala section- first make a coarse paste then add water(3-4 tbsp) and make it into a thick,smooth paste.

I make this rice in my pressure pan cooker, so I directly add everything in it, if you want you can also make it in a rice cooker, but just do the stir frying in a pan and then transfer the contents to a rice cooker, cook it with rice like a normal rice cooker mode.

Heat butter/ghee in a cooker, add bay leaf, finely chopped onions,salt and stir fry well till onions turn translucent. Then add other vegetables,continue stir frying for 2-3 minutes. Add the ground masala paste(now the aroma of real pulao comes out),stir fry to coat the vegetables with the masala.

Drain water from the rice, add it to the masala and vegetables, stir fry gently for another 3-4 minutes and add coconut milk. What I usually do is to cook the rice with diluted coconut milk (1 cup water and 1 cup coconut milk)instead of using one entire can of coconut milk. You can use plain water or full coconut milk to cook the rice, it is up to you. Just remember that you may need to spice up the pulao by adding 1/4 tsp more masala powder or add another green chili to the masala paste if you use coconut milk to cook the rice.

After adding coconut milk, mix once, cover the pressure cooker with its lid, put on the weight and cook till one whistle(8-10 minutes) on medium flame.

Wait for another 10 minutes to release the pressure, garnish the rice with cilantro leaves and serve hot with any raitha!

The original recipe calls for red chilies in the masala, instead of that I used garam masala powder. N is not a big fan of cinnamon flavor so I have made this pulao omitting that in the masala too, and it still tastes great!

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Mirani Khichdi

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

This is the quick and tasty time saving recipe that I use a lot these days.I got this recipe from Alka’s place last year as I was looking for simple yet filling one pot meals.I must have made this loads of times, given that I have a pressure pan cooker it literally takes 15 minutes to make this recipe.I make a simple kadhi to go with this khichdi on the side while the khichdi is cooking.Boondi raitha or carrot/tomato raitha is also a good option along with pickles to go with this khichdi.

Sometimes I add vegetables or methi leaves while I make this khichdi.I did not exactly follow Alka’s recipe the first time I tried as I did not have red masoor dal so I added moong dal, since then I add any of the dals I have in hand, masoor or even whole moong(green).It tastes different every time with the different dals you use.I also changed the rice to dal ratios according to our taste.

Ingredients(that I use):
Serves 2:

Toor Daal-1/2 cup
Moong dal- 1/2 cup
Rice- 3/4 cup
Tomatoes- 2 roma tomatoes, finely chopped
Methi leaves-5 tbsp chopped or one small cube(frozen)
Turmeric Powder -1/4 tsp
Red Chili Powder -3/4 tsp
Sambar powder- 2 tsp

For tempering:
Mustard Seeds -1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds- 1/4 tsp
Oil- 2 tbsp
Few curry leaves


Since I have a pressure pan cooker, I cook it all in one pot instead of tempering at the end like the original recipe.

Wash and soak the rice and dals together for atleast 15 minutes.In the cooker pan, add oil and hing when it sizzles, add mustard seeds.When the seeds splutter, add cumin seeds and curry leaves.Add the chopped tomatoes(and methi leaves if you use methi), stir well, add salt,turmeric powder,red chili powder, sambhar powder and stir well again.

Add atleast 6-7 cups of water to the pan(for the amount of rice mentioned here) and add the rice and dal. Stir once to mix,cover and pressure cook till two whistles. Once the pressure is released,mash the rice according to the consistency you like(add more lukewarm water if necessary).

Serve the khichdi with kadhi or papad or raitha with pickles! Best comfort food ever, if you ask me.

This Mirani Khichdi is going to Priya’s Cooking with seeds- Mung beans event.

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