Melkottai Puliyodarai


The simple mention of puliyodarai is enough start salivating and the Iyengar puliyodarai sends one spinning to the world of koil  prasadam. Melkotai in Karnataka is very famous for puliyodarai and the pulikachal (concentrate ) has a very long shelf life and stays good and aromatic for many weeks.Every street in that place sells the rice and pulikachal in pushcarts all over the place and is a sight to be seen. The mix is like a thick paste soaked in oil and the secret is I guess in the dry ingredients that go into the mix. The instant mix I have posted is based on this principle and the rice is certainly worth the expectation.


Puliyodarai mix  3 tbsp

Cooking oil 2 to 3 tbsp

Raw rice 1 cup

Asafotida ½ tsp

Salt  ¼ tsp

Skinned peanuts 2 tbsp

Curry leaves from 3 sprigs


  • Wash the rice with enough water and after draining water add two cups of water, a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of oil. Cook the rice for three whistles. After the rice cools down fluff it up with a fork to get grainy texture. Transfer the rice to a platter.
  • Heat the remaining oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds to the hot oil. AS it starts spluttering, add the peanuts and let it remain on low flame for a couple of minutes . Add asafotida and curry leaves and a minute later add the powder mix and switch off the flame.

  • Mix well to get a thick paste and  transfer  the paste to the rice in the platter. Mix gently making sure that rice does not break the rice grains.


Serve with appalam or vadam.

Chef’s note

  • In case you have added the tempering to the mix already,  add the mix in hot oil and mix with rice.

Instant Puliogere Mix


Puliodarai podi

Puliodarai (known across the nation more popularly as Tamarind rice)  is a must in temples, as travel food, in weddings and other social events.

Pulikachal the sauce that forms the base for this rice is a bit laborious ans has to be prepared with planning .  Fresh pulikachal certainly has its aroma and place but often for those in a hurry who need it as a fast food alternative an instant mix with all the merits of pulikachal is a boon. Commercially available mix of various brands are there in the market but home-made mix has its place and retains all the flavors and taste of the moist sauce. This mix can come handy at anytime when in a hurry and can be stored for at least a month at room temperature if no coconut is added as in Karnataka style.



Tamarind  small ball about the size of a lemon

Dry red chilies 10 (preferbly the long variety)

Peppercorns 1 tsp

Cumin seeds 1 tsp

Fenugreek ½ tsp

Coriander seeds 2 tbsp

Sesame 1½ or 2 tbsp

Chana dal  1 tbsp

Urad dal 1 tbsp

Jaggery shavings 1 tbsp

Turmeric powder  1 tsp

Salt 1 tbsp

For tempering

Oil 1 tsp

Mustard seeds 1 tsp

Peanuts  2 tbsp

Asafotida ½ tsp

Salt ¼ tsp


  • Dry roast the sesame seeds in a wok till it starts spluttering and transfer to a plate to cool it.
  • Add a drop or two of oil in the same wok and roast the chilies on low flame till the aroma surfaces.
  • Transfer to a plate to cool and add the fenugreek seeds  to the wok and roast for a minute on low flame. Add the peppercorns to the wok followed by cumin seeds and when you start getting the aroma of pepper add the  lentils and roast till it starts turning golden in color. Transfer to  a plate and in the same wok roast the coriander seeds just enough to get the dry look and releases aroma;  transfer to the mix in the plate.
  • Now is the turn for tamarind to get a complete dry condition by flipping it in the wok for a minute or two. Add it to the chili plate and cool.
  • Blitz the chili and tamarind to get a coarse powder as they take longer to get powdered. Add the remaining roasted ingredients, salt, and turmeric powder and powder to fine state. Add jaggery shavings and run the blender for a few seconds.

This powder can be stored for a few weeks in an airtight container and used when needed.

  • For those who prefer to add the tempering to the mix before storing heat the oil in a wok and let the  mustard seeds splutter.  Add the peanuts, asafotida ad salt and roast till the peanuts are done and crunchy. Add the tempering to the mix and  and mix well.

Puliodarai mix is ready for use. To make puliodarai refer to Melakotai puliodarai given in the blog.


Puliyodarai made with the mix has a flavor its own and close to the Melkottai puliyodarai


Chef’s Note

  • In case you want get the Karanatka flavor roast a tablespoon of coconut grate or desiccated coconut till crisp and  blitz along with jaggery.  However, do remember to store in the refrigerator as coconut does not have long shelf-life.

Rava Uppuma (2 Servings)

Uppuma, a popular dish from the Southern belt of India that is quite popular in the western region too, is now at a global level with its popularity going all over and taking various forms as Khara Bhath when a lot of vegetables get added and some spicing with condiments happens and goes by different names depending on the region it comes from. Basically it can be considered to be a thick porridge made from roasted semolina  that gets its color and taste based on the ingredients added to it. I was not adding this post to my blog all these days as it is not a favorite of Ad and S but Ar and AS  are quite fond of it as also G more so when loads of veggies get added to it and I thought it was only apt to include it in my blog.



Semolina (cream of wheat) 1 cup

Onion 2 medium-sized cut finely

Green bell pepper finely chopped 1 medium-sized

Grated ginger 1 tsp

Mix of cauliflower, beans, carrot and peas cut as shown in image  1½ cups or 2 cups


Ghee 1 tsp

oil 1 tbsp

Curd  ½ cup

water 1½ cups

Salt 1 tsp

To temper

Oil 1 tbsp

Mustard 1 tsp

Chana dal  1 tbsp

Green chili slit 2 or paste ½ tsp

Curry leaves 2 sprigs

Freshly chopped coriander leaves 1 tbsp to garnish


  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a wok and roast the semolina on a low flame until the aroma of the roasted sooji can be smelt. The color should be light golden; in case you are not sure on the color, add a cashew nut along with the flour and as the color of the cashew changes, it an indication to remove the flour from the flame. Transfer the sooji to a plate.
  • In the same wok heat another spoon of oil and add the mustard seeds. As it starts spluttering add chana dal. When the color turns golden add the chopped onion, chilies, and a pinch of salt. When the sauteed onion gets translucent add the chopped capsicum  and saute for a mnute or two.


  • Add the vegetable mix and salt and saute till they are cooked to al Dante stage.
  • While the veggies are getting cooked, boil water and whipped curd in a pan so that it is bubbling by the time the vegetables are cooked. I prefer to cook the beans separately as they take more time to get cooked.
  • Add the roasted  sooji to the wok and mix well . Keep the flame low and pour the boiling water to the mix and stir continuously to avoid lumps.
  • Cover the wok with a lid and switch off the flame. Let the uppuma cook in the heat and steam to give a smooth consistency. After 10 minutes add the ghee and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot




Chef’s Note

  • In case you want to make the uppuma spicier add ½ tsp of red chilli powder while sauteing the onions, Otherwise, fry sun-dried green chilies (mor milaga) in oil, crumble it and add it to water–curds mix
  • If you prefer tomatoes in uppuma, skip curd and add 2 cups of water. For the tangy taste squeeze half a lemon juice when adding ghee and mix well


Therattipal (Palkova)


No festive occasion or social function among Tamilians is complete without therattipal as one of the dishes in the cuisine. A very laboriously prepared dish by simmering huge quantities of milk over low flame to reduce the bulk with constant stirring to ensure that the milk does not get burnt, this dish is quite time- consuming too. Once “Aavin” started selling this sweet it became an easily accessible sweet in our family and the effort one needs to invest was forgotten.  At one point in one of my family member’s place I happened to taste microwaved therattipal and it was quite like the traditional dish and was pleasantly surprised to learn that it takes principally just two ingredients and less than 15 minutes to prepare the sweet. In a family that loves this sweet, there couldn’t have been a better treat!

It saved the bother of full-cream milk and sweat over the steady stirring The caramelization is so perfect that it gives you the color as in traditional preparation.

The best part is that we do not have to worry about sugar proportion and the texture that depends on the milk quality. Yogurt added ensures on the grainy texture and gives a lovely feel.


Condensed milk  1 can (400 ml)

Thick yogurt  2  tsp

Ghee ½ tsp

Almonds (slivered)  2 tsp

Saffron strands 1 pinch (optional)  but I prefer to add them


  • Grease a large glass bowl (1 liter or bigger) with ghee and pour the condensed milk into the bowl. Add the yogurt to the milk and mix well to blend the curd and milk.


  • Place in the microwave at 900 W (high) for 5 minutes  and make sure to track the cooking.  Stir every 2 minutes to ensure a smooth texture. You will see the granular texture and caramelized color appearing after about 3 minutes or so.


  • Reduce the wattage to 600 W and micro for another  minute or two until the mix looks solid and all fluid is vaporized. Add saffron strands and mix well.
  • Remove from the oven and let it cool to room temperature. Garnish with almond slivers.


Chef’s Note

  • Clarified butter (ghee) is not part of the dish but used to grease the bowl to avoid the grains from coating the wall.
  • Ensure the bowl is twice the size of the quantity made to avoid spill-over while cooking.
  • As the milk has a lovely taste and flavor I do not use cardamom although some may prefer to add the same.
  • Do not transfer immediately after removing from the oven as the color may be lighter. let it wait to cool to get the color.
  • For those who prefer to avoid microwave oven, the same can be done on gas flame in a heavy-bottomed wok over low flame and it may take about 15 to 20 minutes.

Sambar Powder


I wonder whether this post is the best beginning for the year 2017. I guess what matters is to resume blogging and with something that the girls feel needed!

For a long time I used to go with the proportions based on Meenakshi Ammal and get the spices ground in the shop and manage for a few months. With the consumption being less, I realize the flavor is lost after a couple of months and I decide to scale down the quantity and pulverize the spices at home.  The texture is not as fine as commercially powdered sambar podi but the flavor is so fresh and fills the place with aroma.
I manage to make about 250 g of powder in place of 1.5 kg I used to make earlier ans find it convenient. Although the main post is for home-made podi, for those who need a larger quantity  the proportion is listed in Notes.

Often my sambar podi serves as Rasam podi too as I add cumin seeds in tempering and flavor with peep powder to avoid making separate rasam powder.


Dried red chili 100 g (long variety preferred)

Coriander seeds 100 g

Peppercorn 1 tbsp

Fenugreek seeds  1 tsp

Chana dal 1 tbsp

Arahar dal 2 tbsp

Turmeric powder 1 tbsp



  • Heat a wok and keeping it on a low flame dry roast fenugreek seeds As it starts changing color add the peppercorn and rast till the aroma starts wafting. Transfer to a plate
  • Dry roast the lentils  in the same wok till the color starts changing and transfer to the same plate.
  • roast the coriander seeds till it feels crisp but not too long and do not wait for color change. Average of two to three minutes should be good.
  • Roast the chilies now till the chilies feels dry and crisp in a minute or two
  • Blend the chilies in the mixie till they are flaky. Add the remaining ingredients at room temperature and blitz till you get the finest powder.
  • Add the turmeric powder to wards the end and blend to mix
  • Let the spice powder cool completely before transfer to airtight container.



Chef’s Note

  • For powder in a larger quantity, I use  the rhizome of turmeric and sun dry the chilies and corinder seeds.
  • All other ingredients including turmeric are dry roasted.

Red chilies  500 g

Coriander seeds  500 g

Peppercorn 100 g

Turmeric 100 g

Fenugreek seeds 50 g

Chana dal 100 g

Arahar dal 200 g

When done commercially, you can get a fine powder.


Hasselback Potato

Hasselback Potato
Hasselback Potato



Potato in any form is always a favorite and baked potato can tempt you anytime. Hasselback potato can serve as a whole meal whether be for breakfast or dinner. Russet potato is ideal although it can be baked with other varieties too.

Hasselback Potato or Potato à la Hasselbacken (Swedish: Hasselbackspotatis) are a type of baked potato (Swedish), where the potatoes are about halfway cut through into thin slices; butter, breadcrumbs, and almonds are added on top of the potatoes. It was created in 1953 by Leif Elisson from Värmland, which was trainee chef at restaurant Hasselbacken on Djurgården in Stockholm  [Wikipedia].


  • Russet potatoes  2 or medium-sized potato 4
  • Unsalted butter (melted) 2 tbsp (optional and I preferred to use only oil)
  • Olive oil 2  tbsp
  • Sea salt  1 tsp
  • Freshly ground black pepper   ½ tsp or to taste
  • Chilli flajes 1 tsp
  • Fresh herbs or dried herbs 2 tsp
  • Shredded cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese 1 tbsp each
  • Sour cream   2 tbsp (optional)
  • Chopped chives   2 tsp


  • Preheat the oven to 220ºC/200ºC  (400 or 420ºF).
  • Use a sharp knife to cut slits into the baking potatoes. These should be  about 1/8 to ¼”apart, stopping about ¼ inch from the bottom apart and go about two-thirds of the way through the potato. To ensure  that the slits do not go all the way through (otherwise the potato will fall apart) place the potato between two ladles or chopsticks as shown while slicing


  • Take the oil and half the butter  in a bowl and add the pepper, chili flakes, chives, and salt. Mix to give a smooth suspension
  • Brush the bottom of a baking tray with the melted butter or oil and transfer the potatoes to the tray. Dribble the potatoes with the spiced oil and place the tray into the oven and cook for 1 hour (exact cooking time depends on the size of potatoes used). About every 20 minutes use a pastry brush to baste the potatoes in the butter and olive oil mix that they placed in. When basting,  the ends may get quite crispy. To stop this, after 40 minutes wrap the ends carefully in a small square of aluminium foil.
  • After 40 minutes baking drizzle the potatoes with the remaining butter. Return to the oven and bake for another 25 to 35 minutes, or until nicely browned. Sprinkle the cheese and some breadcrumbs and bake for another 5 minutes.
  • Check with a knife or fork to make sure they are soft in the center.
  • Remove from oven and serve with cream.

Chef’s Note

  • To prevent browning of potatoes keep them in a  bowl of water till all potatoes are ready.
  • It is fine to bake the potatoes in the skin but if they are too thick it will be a good idea to peel the potatoes.
  • Often slices of cheese or butter are placed between the slits in the potatoes to get droolicious bake




Shahi Paneer

shahi paneer


As one is aware any shahi dish is quite rich with a gravy based on dry fruits such as almonds, melon seeds and cashew added along with a dairy product like yogurt, curds or cream.  Sometimes I do wonder how the nawabs lived on rich bases of this kind forever!

S is an anti-yogurt  man and naturally any dish made for him  has to be devoid of yogurt (at least explicitly!)

I decided to add peas too as all of us love peas in any dish

Ingredients  (For 4 servings)

  • Cottage cheese/Paneer (cut into cubes)   300 g
  • Dried red  chilli (Kashmiri or Bydage)  8
  • Green cardamom or black cardamom 2
  • Soaked cashew  10 or 12
  • Almonds soaked  (optional) 10
  • Cnion 2 big or 3 medium-sized cut into slices
  • Tomatoes (chopped)  4 medium or 2 big ones
  • Ginger (finely chopped)  2″ piece
  • Beaten curd or milk  ½ cup
  • Bay leaf  1
  • Cumin seeds 1 tsp
  • Oil 2 tbsp
  • Cumin Powder ½ tsp
  • Turmeric powder ½ tsp
  • Chilli Powder ½ tsp
  • Garam Masala ½ tsp
  • Salt 1 tsp
  • Water ½ cup
  • Dried kasoori methi (finely crushed) 1 tsp
  • Coriander leaves (finely chopped) 1 tbsp


  • In a wok heat 1 tbsp of oil and saute onions till they start looking translucent.  Add the red chilies and cardamom and saute for 2 minutes before adding the  diced tomatoes to it.
  • When the tomatoes soften add the cashew and let the mix cool to room temperature. Add the finely chopped ginger to this mix and puree to a fine paste in a blender.
  • While the mix for the puree is cooling heat the remaining oil in a wok and temper with cumin seeds, add the bay leaf and saute on low flame for a few seconds before adding the turmeric powder, chili powder garam masala, and salt.
  • When the raw smell is gone add the finely blended puree and let it start bubbling. At this stage add the finely crushed methi and cook for a minute before adding water.
  • When the gravy starts bubbling add paneer and cook for 5 minutes. Add water and keep on low flame for a couple of minutes. Remove from fire and garnish with coriander leaves.
  • Serve hot with chapathis.


Chef’s Note

  • If you like to get a smooth silky texture as obtained in the restaurants strain the ground puree through a colander before transferring to the wok.