Archive for the ‘Side dishes with rice’ Category

Postpartum/Lactation recipe: Mulagushiyam

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

This is one of the classic lactation/postpartum recipes made for me by N’s aunt in typical kerala style. This recipe uses simple ingredients like moong dal,milk and channa(garbanzo beans) which are known to induce milk production. Plantain and pumpkin has fiber, so it is a fulfilling meal on its own.White pumpkin is also known to soothe the tummy.

These days, I have started making mulagushiyam even as a soup or like a dal for phulkas. It tastes good when served with hot rice or with idli rice conjee/kanji(rice porridge), which is also a lactation recipe which will be updated soon here.

Green plantain-1
White Pumpkin(Elavan)-10-12 pieces,cubed
Suran(Chennai)- 10-12 pieces, cubed
Cooked garbanzo beans(either white or kala channa)- 1/2 cup
Cooked moong dal- 1/2 cup
Milk- 1/4 cup
Water- 1/2 cup to 1 cup
Crushed black pepper- atleast 1/4 tsp
Salt- to taste
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Coconut oil- 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds-1/2 tsp
Hing- 1 pinch


Peel the skin of plantain and chop them into cubes. In a saucepan, add water, suran,(chenai or yam) plantain,pumpkin, salt and turmeric powder,cover and cook them till tender. When the vegetables are done, add the cooked garbanzo beans and the mashed moong dal. Add more water(1/2 cup) if necessary to make it to a consistency like a gravy(say like a kootu but just a bit on the thinner side). Add the crushed black pepper and simmer it for 5-7 minutes.

Add the milk(either boiled and cooled or the usual 2% milk straight from the refrigerator). Switch off.

Heat coconut oil in a pan,add cumin seeds,mustard seeds and hing. When they splutter, pour it over the gravy. Serve hot with rice,topped with ghee. Tastes so good when you are tired and looking for something to eat that will make you feel better :) I have been told this is the traditional lactation recipe made in palakkad side!

You can also serve this with oats porridge as oats is also good for lactation.

There is no need for any additional spice, just the pepper powder is enough. This is also a good recipe that is without onions or garlic if you want to cook a “no masala meal” :)

If you think about it,it takes 10-15 minutes to make, if you already have canned garbanzo beans and cooked frozen dal. Make a simple salad like kosamalli/kosumbari to go with it and even lunch/dinner is done on a busy day in under 20 minutes! Or serve this with arachu kalakki or sundried tomato thokku.

Sometimes, suran will turn black or brown in color when you add turmeric powder and cook, there is nothing to worry about the color change.

You can omit the tadka part if you do not want it.

Since this recipe has both lentils and garbanzo beans,it is on its way for MLLA-41, an event started by Susan and hosted this month bySimona.

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Paal kozhambu

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Last month, during navrathri, N,lil R and I went for Lunch at our neighbor Mrs.G’s place. She had cooked an extensive lunch for all our desi neighbors, the menu included vadai’s, pasayam, sakkarai pongal,rasam, tamarind rice,yogurt rice, kootu and a paal kozhambu. Mrs.G’s home is the place where I get to relax a bit these days, I hand over lil R to her and then I proceed to gobble up all the delicious food she cooks. I must admit, after a long time I was able to sit and wolf down hot and crispy dosas right off the griddle at her place.

After that lunch,I got couple of hints on how to make it as Mrs.G guards her recipes :). N was after me to get that recipe and while browsing one day I found a similar recipe from Lavi’s place. I made a couple of changes to the original recipe to suit our taste buds,it tastes good either way.I make the kozhambu as per Lavi has instructed and when I need some richness in the gravy I add coconut milk like how Mrs.G makes it.


The original recipe calls for drumstick,jackfruit seeds and brinjals, the day I clicked pictures, I made it only with drumstick.

Drumstick(Murungaikai) – 8-12 pieces
Onion – 1
Tomato – 1
Coconut milk- about a glass(150 ml)
Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
Sambar powder or red chili powder + coriander seed powder – 2 tsp
Salt to taste
Water- 1 cup
Oil – 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds -1/2 tsp
Dry Red chilli – 1
Curry Leaves – 1 sprig
Hing(asafoetida)- 2 pinches


I used frozen drumsticks so I just washed it once and microwaved them in a bowl with 2 tbsp of water for 2 minutes.

Heat oil in an kadai/pan, add mustard and when it splutters, add dry red chili, curry leaves and hing. Add the chopped onions, salt and turmeric powder and stir fry well. When the onions turn transparent, add tomatoes and sambar powder(or red chili powder and coriander seed powder).

Add the drumstick pieces,stir once to mix, add a cup of water, cover and let it boil for 5 minutes. Do not add a lot of water as there is no thickening agent other than coconut milk(as there is no dal in this recipe), else the kozhambu will be very watery instead of thick kozhambu.

Once the drumsticks are cooked,add the coconut milk immediately(but do not boil), just let it be on the stove for a minute and switch off. Serve hot!

Goes great with lemon rice, tamarind rice or coconut rice. On its own you can serve it with jeera aloo,aloo kari or achari aloo too.

This paal kozhambu goes to Priya’s bookmarked recipes event.

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A simple way to prepare no Bitter-better gourd

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

I don’t need anyone to tell me that I am not a big fan of bitter gourd(karela), I’d say so myself. I must have had the bitter gourd about 5 times in the past 10 years..Or may be even less than that. Though there are people in my family who can set a perfect example by savoring it, say my 4 year old nephew A, who loves pagaikai pitla, I always run away from the vegetable.

Luckily for me, N is not a big fan of Bitter gourd either(partner’s in crime huh!!) and we never buy the vegetable from Indian grocery shops. Last year, when we started a vegetable garden, we decided to plant karela as well, only to be rewarded by a dozen gourds every week :(

I have tried almost all the methods suggested to take the bitterness away:
– Soaking bittergourd in butter milk the night before cooking it
– Soaking bittergourd in tamarind water and turmeric before cooking it
-Soaking it in the water which was used to wash rice
-Adding jaggery
-Cutting thin slices of karela and making bajjis
-Immersing one karela in a pan full of onion-tomato masala, calling it healthy (I end up eating one gourd nah?)
and so on and so forth.

Then one fine day, I saw this recipe from Indira and I tried it. This is so far the best way to take away the bitterness from the gourd. Believe it or not, when you finish cooking the karela this way, you can taste only 5% of the original bitterness. And no, you don’t need to fry it, soak it in masala or anything.

Indira’s recipe is for stuffed bitter gourds, but I modified the recipe so that I use the dal powder as a stir fry powder. Try this anyway you like it and you will keep making it again and again.


For 4 Bitter gourds:

For the dal powder:
Chana dal- 5 tbsp (or use chutney kadalai- dalia, like in the original recipe)
Coconut- 5 tbsp
Dried red chilies- 4
Cumin- 1/4 tsp
Salt- to taste

Oil- to stir fry
Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp


Preparing the bitter gourd:
Wash the bitter gourd and using a peeler, peel the harsh surface of the gourd.

Run the knife through the gourd lengthwise, but do not cut it in to two. Scoop out the seeds.

In a microwave safe bowl, add the bitter gourd, a dash of salt, enough water to steam(about 4-5 tbsp) and steam the gourd for 2-3 minutes.

Remove the gourd from the bowl, chop them like rings. Let it cool.

Dal powder:
Toast all ingredients given under the dal powder section and blend them to a fine powder.

Making the stir fry:

Heat oil in a pan, add any tempering(mustard seeds, cumin, curry leaves) and add the chopped bitter gourd. Add salt to taste, stir fry for 2-3 minutes, add the dal powder, stir fry again, sprinkle some water for the gourd to cook through. Since it is already steamed, the gourd cooks faster and you do not need more oil or water.

Serve hot with any main dish like sambar or rasam.


I chopped the bitter gourd after steaming, but you can use it as a whole for stuffing after the steaming. Use either the dal powder, potatoes or any masala you like. And you won’t notice the bitterness at all! Steaming is the Key I guess. Thanks Indira, for this wonderful trick!

This Stir fried no bitter-better gourd goes to Priya’s Bookmarked recipes event.

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Arachu Kalakki- The 5 minute Kerala Sauce/Chutney

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

Looking at the picture without the title, you’d think it is some kinda soup right? But it is the simplest and flavorful- spicy-tangy sauce called arachu kalakki, usually made to go with molagootal in pakalad families. It’s super simple, arachu means grind, kalakki means mix..and that’s it!

Now since I grew up in Tamilnadu, my mom makes something similar with mango called azugina manga pachadi (almost rotten mango pickle chutney), the speciality of the recipe is the really ripe and soft mangoes in mango pickle(mavadu), mixed with chilies and yogurt which makes a wonderful side dish from lemon rice to adais.

There is not much of a difference between arachu kalakki and the mango pachadi my mom makes. Only thing is that arachu kalakki may or may not need mangoes(depends on your taste) while the main ingredient in pachadi is mango from the pickled mavadus. You gotta use only mavadu pickle, not avakkai mango pickle.

Looking for something that you can make out of nothing? Then this is your chutney/sauce. Pair it with milagootal, kootu, coconut rice, lemon rice or even as a raitha.

Let’s start the clock and look and the ingredients shall we?


Medium size mango from mavadu pickle(very soft and ripe mango) – 1-2 pieces (you can leave it out using plain yogurt)
Red chilies- 4
Ginger- 1/2″ piece
Coconut- 4 tbsp
Sour yogurt- 1 cup
Tamarind paste- a dash, less than 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste


The first minute mark:
Chop the mango pickle in to two, add red chilies, salt, ginger,tamarind paste, coconut to the blender. Make a coarse paste.

Second minute:
Add half the yogurt, blend the ingredients to a thick, smooth paste, add the rest of the yogurt and beat well.

Third minute:
Transfer to a bowl..Hah! See you don’t even need 5 minutes!

Tempering is optional, you can use cumin or mustard seeds and curry leaves. But this tastes good on its own.


If the yogurt is really sour, you do not need the tamarind paste. Have a taste and alter the recipe according to your taste, make it more tangy or spicy or with more coconut or more yogurt. This almost tastes like the gravy of aviyal, but without adding vegetables or even cooking it!

If you do not have mango pickle(vadu mango), use peeled and cubed mango slices(1 or 2). Check the salt, as pickled mangoes already have salt in them.

Since this sauce is made with leftover yogurt/pickle, this is my entry for PJ’s Scrumptious delights from Left over’s event.

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