Archive for the ‘Side dishes with rice’ Category

Chef Style Gobi Manchurian at home!

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

Couple of weeks ago, my cousin called me during the holidays. She wanted to make Gobi Manchurian and she wondered why it is not in this blog though N likes it so much. Only then I realized I had not posted it. Yes, it is true that N likes it and that is the appetizer he will order when we go to any Indo chinese place or every time he sees it in the menu. In Houston his only approved place for Gobi Manchurian is the Mayuri Restaurant!


This recipe is something that matches up to that taste, we have been making it at home after we saw it made by menu rani Chellam, dating back to anandha vikadan in the end of 1990’s. You can make it dry or coated lightly with gravy. This roughly takes about 20 minutes, that is it.

For frying:
About half a flower- separated into florets- I used frozen cauliflower
All purpose flour- 1/4 cup
Rice flour- 1/4 cup
Corn flour- 1/4 cup
Soy sauce- 1/4 cup
Green chilies- finely chopped- 1 to 2(depending on the spice level you like)
Spring onions- to garnish
Cilantro- to garnish
Salt to taste
Oil to deep fry

For Gravy:
Finely chopped onions- 1/4 cup
Finely chopped Green Pepper- 1/4 cup
Soy Sauce- 1 tbsp
Corn flour- 1 tsp
Sriracha hot sauce- 1/2 tsp
Water- 1 cup
Salt to taste
Oil- 1 tbsp


If using frozen/fresh cauliflower, place the florets in about 1/2 cup of boiling water for 2-3 minutes, Drain the water and pat it dry with a kitchen towel.

Heat oil in a deep frying pan.


Mix all ingredients-all purpose flour, corn flour, rice flour, salt and green chilies to a medium thin batter. Add all the cauliflowers to this and mix well to coat. Select about 4-5 florets to fry each time, drop them one by one in hot oil, wait till they turn golden brown in color, turn once and let it cook. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and drain the oil in a paper towel.

I do not add the green chilies as my son wants to taste everything I cook so I skip that these days.

For the gravy:

Heat oil in a kadai or sauce pan. Add onions and salt and stir fry well.Add chopped peppers and stir fry again. Now mix the corn flour, soy sauce, sriracha sauce and pour it into the pan and let the onions and pepper cook in the sauce. Once the sauce has reduced to your desired consistency, add the fried cauliflowers and gently mix well to coat. Let it simmer for two more minutes. If you need it to be a dry subzi- let the sauce thicken up more and then add the florets so it just coats them. If you need it like a gravy, add the florets when the gravy still has water.

Switch off. Transfer the gobi manchurian to a serving dish. Garnish with spring onions, cilantro and lemon juice. Serve hot as an appetizer/ snack or as a side for fried rice or noodles.

Make sure that you read this recipe properly- you will use 1-2 green chilies and another 1/2 tsp hot sauce for the gravy. So, if you like it less spicy change the quantity accordingly. Once the machurian sits, it absorbs the spices and it will end up as a really spicy version.

I use the same recipe for vegetable manchurian too, instead of cauliflowers, I use cabbage, carrots. But that is another recipe to share for another day!

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Vadaikari with Idlis

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

This is one recipe that is truly an excellent side dish to go with rice, idlis, dosas or uthappams. At home though the father and son duo tell me that they are taste tasting the vadais and I end up with the gravy to go with idlis :)

The vadai is not the traditional vadai but almost like paruppu vada/parupusili combination. I deep fry the vadais(the more oily dishes I eat the more energy I get to run behind my little tyke is the only lame reason!) you can also steam it if you like to opt for the healthier version. Actually speaking for vegetarians like us, idli with its lentils and again vadai with the lentils- both steam cooked make a good source of protein and filling meal in one.

I made idli vadaikari last week for dinner with a friend’s family, adjust the proportions for a family of 2 or follow it as it is for 5-6 people.

(makes about 20 small vadais)

Chana dal- 1/2 cup
Red chili-1
Coconut- 1/2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Curry leaves- few
Canola oil/vegetable oil – to deep fry

Soak chana dal in water for atleast an hour. Drain the water and grind it to a thick coarse paste along with red chilies, curry leaves, salt and coconut. Heat oil in a kadai. Scoop a tablespoon size of the batter and drop it in hot oil, wait for 1-2 minutes till it turns golden brown in color. Flip it to the other side and let it cook for another minute. Remove from the oil and drain excess oil in a paper towel. If you want to skip the deep frying part, proceed as above but instead of frying, scoop the batter and steam it in a steamer/idli plate.

For the gravy:
Finely chopped onion- 1/4 cup
Finely chopped tomatoes- 1 cup(atleast 2 medium size tomatoes)
Red chili powder- 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/8 tsp
Dhania powder- 1/4 tsp
Coconut- 2 tbsp
Dahlia/Pottu kadalai/roasted split dal- 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Water- 2 to 2.5 cups
Coriander leaves to garnish

For tempering:
Oil- 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves- few
Hing-1 pinch

Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, when they splutter add curry leaves and hing. Stir fry onions first, add salt and turmeric powder when onions turn pink in color. Add tomatoes and stir fry till it comes together like a gravy(You can either add the onions and tomato as a paste separately and stir fry too). Now add the red chili powder and dhania powder. Stir fry till the raw smell of the chili powder disappears. Add about 2 – 2.5 cups of water and let it simmer for 10 minutes.

Blend pottu kadalai(dahlia) and coconut with 1-2 tbsp of water to a thick paste. Once the gravy is done, add this paste to the gravy and let it simmer for another 3-4 minutes(this is to thicken the gravy). Switch off garnish with cilantro leaves. If you like, you can skip blending the coconut and add 1/4 cup of coconut milk.

To serve: About 10 minutes before serving add the vadais to the gravy, warm it up slightly and serve. If you add all the vadais to the gravy as soon as you make it, the vadais will absorb all the gravy.

I took the picture with what was left over instead of taking it before serving so the next time I make it, it will be a better picture :)

Actually when you have it with rice, this is like a version of paruppu urundai karakozhambu. If you want you can even add chopped onions to the vadai batter.

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Karakozhambu with Vegetarian Omelette chops- Something different…

Friday, March 16th, 2012

I just love to bake a cake for N’s birthday. Mainly because N is not fan of anything sweet so literally I can bake the cake and have it too :) For the past 2-3 years we thought of doing something different, instead of a cake we make something that we have been wanting to make for a long time or we make one of our favorites that we haven’t made in a long time.

This year though we kept it simple, with N’s favorite poori and aloo masala for breakfast, this cauliflower karakozhambu for lunch and a tasty dinner at our fabulous local pizza place- Bombay Pizza Company.N’s favorite is the Mr.Nehal’s(with tandoori paneer and peppers)

This is one of the easiest recipes that will feature on your weekday/weekend menu soon. Let’s say you are bored of the Vathakozhambu, Sambar, Rasam, Morekozhambu, Khichdi, Bise Bela bath, Lemon rice, Fried Rice, Pulav, Biryani routine. You want to eat something different with rice but you do not know what to serve it with. On such occasions this one is going to be “the” recipe.

Again this is from my mom. You can use this recipe any way you want, make it just plain with onions and tomato or as eggplant karakozhambu or even the one with veggies like carrot ,beans and cauliflower- or make it with paruppu urundais. Or make it with everything :) Serve this with the chops, as nothing else will be a good combo. You can even make egg omelettes instead of besan ones.


Onion- Medium size-1
Tomato- Roma tomato- 1(big size)
Slit green chilies-2
Cauliflower- 1 medium flower
Garlic- 4 to 6 cloves
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Red chili powder- 3/4 to 1 tsp
Dania powder(coriander seed powder)- 2 tsp
Coconut milk- 1/2 cup
Yogurt- 1/2 cup
Water- 1/2 cup to 1 cup
Oil- 1 -2 tbsp to stir fry
Saunf(Fennel seeds)- 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves- few


Finely chop the onions and tomato. Wash and separate the cauliflower florets. Do not chop them finely but roughly chop the florets. Finely chop the garlic cloves.

Heat oil in a kadai and wait for a minute(Do not add fennel seeds along with the oil as it till turn brown, too little frying will be raw). Add fennel seeds and just let it sizzle, add curry leaves and stir fry. Now add onions and really fry well till it turns transparent(I used red onions). Add garlic and green chilies, stir fry well.

Add salt, turmeric powder and tomato to the pan and again stir fry well for 2-3 minutes. Add caulifower florets, red chili powder, dhania powder and stir fry till the raw smell of the powders go off. Add yogurt and water, stir once, cover and simmer for 10 minutes till cauliflower is cooked. Add coconut milk now and just let it simmer for another 4-5 minutes. Switch off. The gravy will not be runny as coconut milk will thicken it. It will have a good consistency to go with rice. Just do not add more than a cup of water to cook, then it will be runny :)

Do not add sambar powder or any garam masala powder, red chili powder will be enough. DO not worry about the quantity(3/4 to 1 tsp) as the spice level will be balanced by the yogurt and coconut milk. Try it with less amount of red chili powder first as sometimes it will be hot paprika powder. Then adjust it according to your taste for the next time!

You can serve this with egg omelettee or besan omelette. When you chop the omelette and add it to the gravy just before serving, it is karakozhambu with chops!

Besan Omelette: (makes 4)

Besan- 3/4 cup
Water- just about 1/2 cup
Finely chopped onions- 4 tbsp
Finely chopped green chilies- 1/4 tsp
Finely chopped curry leaves and cilantro- 2 tbsp
salt- to taste
Turmeric powder- a pinch
Oil- to smear the omelette


Mix besan and water to make a batter(not so thick or thin- just like dosa batter). Add onions, green chilies, curry leaves, cilantro, salt and turmeric powder. Mix well without any lumps.

Heat a tava(frying pan), turn it to low when, spread a ladle full of the batter on the pan, apply some oil on the sides and on top, turn the flame back to medium. When one side of the omelette turns golden brown in color, flip it to the other side, cook for another minute. Transfer to a plate.

Serve karakozhambu with the chops or with the chops chopped and added in the kozhambu!

This tasty karakozhambu and the chops are going to Sara’s Women’s day Celebration event– as this reminds me of my mom every time I make it.

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Crispy Parupusili and a tangy Morekozhambu- Classic Combo from Amma

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

There are things that sometimes you wish you can do better…Take cooking as an example, especially if you are making one of mom’s specialities. My mom was here last year to take care of lil R and me, and N just became a fan of amma’s cooking from her thick morekozhambus to authentic pulikaichai(tamarind rice mix) to picture perfect kai murukkus. So these days when I make the classic combination of parupusili and morekozhambu, he gives me a look which translates to “why does this taste so different”?

It is quite tough to get one full recipe out of amma, she has lots of tricks- say “It needs oil, It will take time to cook, You girls(me and my sis) cook better than how I used to cook etc etc.” I thought this was the case with just my mom but my cousin PR who was visiting us said the same about her mom and her specific recipes. She proudly told me that when she went home for vacations she just got hold of her mom and ordered her to instruct step by step while PR made it..Good point you see, now mom’s cant escape :) Since amma is in India now the only thing I could do was to literally beg her for her secret recipe over the phone.

Straight to the recipe then!

For the Parupusili: (Serves 3-4)
Chana dal- 3/4 cup
Toor dal 1/2 cup
Red chilies 2-3 (depending on how spicy you want it to be)
Grated coconut- 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder-1/8 tsp
Oil- a very generous 3-4 tbsp
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves- few
Asafoetida- 1 pinch
Vegetable of your choice: Beans or Cluster beans(guwar) or cabbage or plantain flower or spinach- I used cluster beans- about a cup.


Wash and soak both dals in water for atleast 30 minutes. Drain the water completely and then blend them to a coarse powdery paste(!!) in a blender along with red chilies, salt and coconut.

Chop the beans(fine chopping is not required).

In a greased idli plate, place the chopped beans and the ground dal paste. Just like idlis let it cook in steam for 10 minutes. Let it cool down.

Then, take the steamed dal paste from the steamer/cooker and just pulse it once or twice in the blender. This is so that the lumpy dal gets broken down into fine particles making the stir fry crispy.

Let the steamed beans be as it is.

Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, when it splutters add curry leaves and asafoetida. Now add the powdered cooked dal and stir fry on a medium low flame for a good 7-10 minutes till it gets light golden brown in color.

Then add the steamed beans and stir fry it on a low flame for another 5-7 minutes adding salt(check and add salt if needed) and turmeric powder. Do not add water to cook the beans. To skip that step we already steamed it in the cooker!

Keep mixing the beans and the dal powder for another minute or two- now it looks like the typical parupusili right? 😉 Switch off. But do not cover the pan- if you have a netted lid use it or else the water from the lid will drip and make the parupusili soggy!

Just re-heat it on low flame again before serving to retain the crispness of the dal and vegetables.

The perfect combo for this is Morekozhambu. I made pumpkin morekozhambu to go with it, if you see the kerala type morekozhambus(or kootans as they call it), it just uses lots of coconut, chilies and jeera. The Tamilnadu style morekozhambu needs some dal to give it the thickness and the taste.

Pumpkin Morekozhambu:(Serves 3-4)


White Pumpkin(Winter Melon)- about 1/4 cup- cubed
Salt- to taste(about 3/4 tsp)
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Water- 1/2 cup
Well whisked yogurt- 1/2 cup
For tempering:
Oil- 1 tbsp
mustard seeds and Jeera(cumin seeds)- 1/4 tsp each
Curry leaves-few
Hing- A generous pinch

Soak and grind to a thick paste:
Chana dal- 1/4 cup
Toor dal- 1/4 cup
Jeera- 1 tbsp
Green chilies(or red)- 2-3
Ginger- 1″piece
Coriander seeds- 1 tbsp
Coconut- 1/4 cup
Peppercorns- less than 1/4 tsp (Use only if you need more spice other than chilies).


Soak the ingredients given to grind for 15 mins (minimum) and grind all the ingredients given in list 3 to a thick and smooth paste.

Whisk the water, yogurt, salt, turmeric powder and the ground paste together(without lumps). Heat oil in a pan and mustard seeds, when it splutters add jeera, when it sizzles add curry leaves and Hing.

Add the cubed pumpkins and stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Reduce the flame and carefully pour the yogurt mixture into the pan. Do not let it boil, but simmer on low flame till you can see bubbles. Switch off(the more it cooks, the yogurt mixture will curdle).

Serve morekozhambu with parupusili, hot steaming rice, ghee and some papad. Heaven on a plate :)

Other combinations that I learnt from amma is ennai katrikkai curry, that is another awesome combo for morekozhambu. You can also make plantain podimas, aloo curry with coconut, achari aloo or stuffed whole okra stir fry to go with morekozhambu.

Since both these dishes are made with lentils, I am sending them off to Susan’s MLLA, edition 45 is hosted this month by Girlichef.

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