Posts Tagged ‘south indian thali’

Recipe Marathon: Day 7: Ghar ka Khana (Simple home made meal)

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

To all the Iron chefs out there reading this post, howdy!!

Are’nt we the iron chefs? We don’t have a fully equipped kitchen, or an Infra Red stove and grill, or a fast freezing nitrogen gadget, neither do we have a sous-chef who can do the cutting and prepping work for us, yet we manage to put up a glorious show every day. And the only thing that we most definitely have is the judging part of our home made meal :)

I believe that even if you are offered the chance to eat food prepared by the world famous chef’s, nothing can match the taste of simple dal and rice. You travel to 100 different places, yet at the end of the day don’t you crave for a simple aloo paratha, dosa, khichdi or rice?

But the real test is, can we make a idli taste like idli and not like a bullet :)..or a fluff up a roti that does not turn into a plastic sheet after few minutes..

I faced that test last year and I am talking from that experience, cooking a simple South Indian meal. And that was also due to IKE (no, don’t worry, I am not going to talk about the hurricane again). We had got our cozy nest and we had the house warming ceremony few weeks after IKE showed its force. The point is, we couldn’t find someone to gather the veggies needed, cook for the D-day and transport it for the house warming.

And our priest knew the situation and gave us a simplified list of food to cook. Nothing major- Just what you will find in a South Indian home every day. Sambar, Rice, Rasam, Dal,Poriyals, Kheer, Savory Pongal, Sweet Pongal, Vadais and Kozhukattais (modagams).

And there we were, N and I, standing near the stove in our cramped kitchen in the apartment, taking turns to cook these stuff for us and the guests for the Graha-Pravesam from 2 in the morning of the D-day. If you are wondering, no, none of our relatives were able to make it.

There was nothing special to cook, no biryanis, no baking involved, but what we think as simple food really took 5 hours to make. But seeing these dishes on the plates, all our guests oohed- and aahed and said that is what they were waiting to savor, a simple home cooked meal. And nothing can beat that compliment.

And that is what I am going to serve for the host Nupur, my fellow runners in this marathon , and our readers for the final day of the recipe marathon before we welcome the new year. Better said, we are welcoming the new year with a feast!

This feast is also for special bloggers who gave me constructive criticism when I started blogging and still keep checking on me from time to time (There, I could see that smile on the corner of the mouth), from awards to advice, thanks for your support. And because of this marathon, I got some blogging buddies and yummy recipes to try out.


The traditional thali (plate) featured above has:

Cabbage-Okra Stir fry
Lemon Tomato Rasam
Drumstick Sambar
Carrot Kheer
Mango Pickle
Jeera Applam

Here are the recipes:

Rice: Plain cooked rice, made in a pressure cooker.

Dal- tuvar dal cooked in a pressure cooker and mashed.

Ghee- Home made ghee from butter recipe is here.


Cabbage-Okra Stir fry- Caught my eye after Nupur tried it, I just followed the recipe, but added a bit of achar masala for the spice.


Lemon Rasam- Made it in my lead vessel (eiya sombu), recipe can be found here


Sambar- Recipe can be found here

Carrot Kheer:
Carrots -2- medium size
Sugar- to taste
milk- 1 cup, water- 1 cup, sweetened condensed milk- 1 tbsp
cardamom powder- 1 pinch
saffron – few strands
badam-cashew powder- 1 pinch


Grate the carrots. Mix together a cup of milk and a cup of water. Boil the grated carrots in this till mushy, and till the milk has reduced down. Add a tablespoon of condensed milk, sugar to taste and badam-cashew power,garnish with cardamom powder and saffron. Serve chilled or warm.

Hope that was a fulfilling meal. Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

I don’t make many resolutions ‘coz I know I have to try hard to keep up 😉

But seems like my resolution of a healthy 2010 is already in the bin and I have hit the sack before New year (Got a flu,been drowning Nyquil for the past few hours).

Couple of ideas if you are planning to be in Houston and not going to go partying :)

The Meenakshi temple at Pearland always has a New year program with food stalls from famous restaurants in Houston. That means everything from Pizza to Chole batura to Pav Bhaji will be available at these stalls. Sometimes, you can also pick up stuff like calendars, decorative materials etc., etc., There would also be cultural programs at the wedding hall.

BAPS- Swami Narayan Mandir had some special programs and fire works for Diwali. That fireworks show was much better and brighter than the one on July 4th!! But BAPS also has an amazing canteen (now you know why I have a food blog) and their chinese food -gobi manchoorian is one of The Best you can have.

Sugar Land is celebrating is 50th Anniversary and there is going to be a party at Sugar Land Town centre with the music and lights and it is separated into party for adults and kids at different timings in the evening.

Houston City centre is also having a band (Blues brothers tribute) and fire works!

Wherever you are, stay safe and enjoy! And do check out this space from time to time.

For folks who can read tamil and have been reading these posts on this marathon, my thank you’s in election style -” Periyorgale, Thaimargalae, Nandri, nandri”.. Meendum varuga..Vanthukitte irrunga :)

If you missed any of the posts during this marathon:

Day 1: December 25 : See the recipes here

Day 2: December 26: Check out what’s cooking here

Day 3: December 27: Still going strong, see the delicious recipes here

Day 4: It is all about Spice

Day 5: Veggies, Grains and more!

Day 6: Colors of Food