Search Chitra's Food Book

February 29, 2012

Inji Kuzhambu Recipe For Rice / Ginger Gravy

I learnt this from my MIL. Lots of ginger were lying in my fridge for long time and i was thinking how to use it. I usually make ginger pachadi . But this time i wanted to try something new and different like a gravy kind. Then my MIl told me about this kuzhambu which tastes similar to vathakuzhambu but with ginger flavor. Ginger lovers would sure love this..It was tasting great when mixed with plain rice topped by sesame oil..With papad as side, u can have a plateful of rice..Winking smileIt serves as a best side dish for curd rice and dal rice too.


  • Ginger paste- Gooseberry sized ball
  • Tamarind- Lime sized ball
  • Sambhar powder – 1 –1.5 tsp  (Heaped) (i used 1 tsp heaped)
  • Salt –As required
To temper
  • Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Methi seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1/2 tsp
  • Jeera – 1 tsp
  • Toor dal –1 /2 tsp
  • Small onion – 5 nos (chopped finely)
  • Garlic cloves – 5 nos (-do)
  • Curry leaves – few (-do-)
  • Soak tamarind in hot water for few minutes and take the extract.
  • Grind the ginger pieces to get the gooseberry sized ball by adding little water.
  • Add the ginger paste to the tamarind extract . Add sambhar powder, salt and required water.
  • In a kadai , temper all the ingredients in the same order.Then add the tamarind extract mixture.
  • Allow it to roll boil for few minutes. Boil till the oil separates. Add liitle jaggery for taste.
  • The gravy thickens . Add water if necessary.Switch off the flame..
Enjoy mixing with plain rice adding ghee / sesame oil..
  1. It tastes the best from next day. Its shelf life is around 10 days when kept in fridge.
  2. Can be taken for travel too..
  3. The amount of ginger paste and tamarind paste should be equal. If needed quantity of tamarind paste can be increased . All the tastes gets blended the next day .So make the changes only next day.. (ie, adding salt ,Sambhar powder or tamarind extract)

Continue Reading...

February 16, 2012

Sorakkai Sweet Kootu & Paal Kootu Recipe - Bottle Gourd Recipes

Sorakkai kootu
 I learnt this Sorakkai Kootu recipe ( Suraikai in Tamil, Sorakaya in Telugu, Bottle gourd in English, Lauki in Hindi) from my MIL.Whenever I buy bottle gourd, I prepare this sweet kootu or paal kootu for rice. With vathakuzhambu, it tastes divine. We make this kootu in two ways. One version tastes sweet and the other one is a spicy version. But my vote goes to the sweet version. I love it a lot.!! Try whichever you like. Lets see how to make Sorakkai kootu for rice in 2 different ways.
Bottle gourd kootu

Sorakkai Kootu - 2 versions

Sorakkai Kootu - 2 versions How to make Sorakkai kootu/Bottle gourd kootu recipe
Cuisine: South Indian
Category: Side dish
Serves: Serves 2
Prep time: 10 Minutes
Cook time: 20 Minutes
Total time: 30 Minutes
1 cup = 250ml
Sweet Version

  • Bottle gourd – 1 no (small size) or use half if it is big
  • Green chilli – 1 no ( finely chopped)
  • Salt & water – As needed
  • Powdered Jaggery – 1/4 cup (adjust )
To grind
  • Coconut – 1/4 cup
  • Rice flour – 1 tsp
  • Water – as needed
To temper
  • Coconut oil - 2 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1/2 tsp
  • Red chilli – 1 no ( no need to pinch,whole chilli)
  • Curry leaves – a few
  • Milk (optional) to add at the end.
Spicy Version
  • Bottle gourd – 1 no (small size) or half if it is big
  • Turmeric powder - 1/8 tsp
  • Salt & water – As needed
To grind
  • Grated Coconut – 1/4 cup
  • Green chilli – 1 no ( Use 2 nos for spicy kootu)
  • Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp , Rice flour – 1 tsp
  • Water – as needed
To temper
  • Coconut oil - 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1/2 tsp
  • Red chilly – 1 no ( full , no need to pinch)
  • Curry leaves – a few


  • Wash and peel off the outer skin of bottle gourd . Cut into two halves.Now remove the spongy center portion which has seeds.
  • Finely chop the hard portion and add the salt and water. Pressure cook up to one whistle.Meanwhile , grind the grated coconut,green chillies with rice flour adding little water or milk.
  • Now open the cooker and add the powdered jaggery . Mix well. Let it boil for few minutes.Finally add the ground coconut mixture and allow it to thicken .. Add milk at the end if necessary .Temper all the ingredients given above in the same order. Add to kootu .Mix well and serve with Vathakuzhambu. Enjoy !
  • Wash and peel off the outer skin of bottle gourd .
  • Cut into two halves. Now remove the center portion which has seeds.
  • Finely chop it and add the salt and water.
  • Pressure cook up to one whistle in low flame. Meanwhile , grind the grated coconut with green chilli, cumin seeds, small onion (optional),  rice flour adding little water or milk.
  • Now open the cooker and add the ground coconut mixture and allow it to boil . Add milk at the end if you like it.
  • Temper all the items given above and add to kootu.
Enjoy with rice and papad !
For variations, add sambar powder instead of green chillies.

    Cooking Tips
    • Select small, tender, and firm bottlegourds (light green and fresh-looking); prick the skin, and if it's thin, it's tender. You can use tender bottlegourd with the peel and tender seeds. To use mature bottlegourd, remove the peel and seeds.
    • Taste the bottlegourds before cooking, as they can sometimes be bitter.
    • Wrap in plastic cover and refrigerate to keep the bottlegourds fresh.
    • Use them for curries, soups, salads, chutneys, jams or desserts. Their neutral taste lends itself to a variety of dishes, both savory and sweet.
Continue Reading...

February 1, 2012

Flax Seeds Idli Podi / Gun Powder

When i saw this recipe in Viki’s kitchen , i immediately tried it on the same day. It was very flavourful and tasted xcellent for idly / dosa.It tastes like the idly podi we make with sesame seeds.I made some little changes according to my husband’s liking. I should say its really a healthy idly podi as it contains horsegram and flax seeds. Wat more to say , lets go on to the recipe ,

healthy idly podi

INGREDIENTS : 1 cup - 200ml

  • White round Urad dal – 1/4 Cup
  • Channa dal – 1/4 cup
  • Flax seeds – 1 fistful or 2 tbsp
  • Horsegram – 1/4 cup
  • Red chillies -  10-15 nos or less..
  • Hing / Asafetida – 2 pinches
  • Garlic cloves – 5 – 7  cloves (Optional , only for garlic lovers )
  • Salt – As needed.
  • Curry leaves – a few
  • In a kadai , roast all the ingredients except salt & garlic given above adding a tsp of oil.
  • She told to roast one by one for uniform roasting but i did everything at the same time.
  • Roast till the flaxseeds start to pop. Also u’ll get a nice aroma and color change of all the dals.
  • Add the curry leaves at the end and toss for few minutes. Then switch off the flame. Please make sure no ingredient gets burnt. That totally changes the taste.
  • Once it cools down run it in mixie twice .Now add the chopped garlic pieces and the required salt.
  • Grind to make a fine powder or little coarse based on ur taste.
Yummy , healthy idly podi is ready to enjoy with idlis & dosas Smile.Mix with sesame oil or ghee !!

  • Always make in small batches so that it tastes and smells fresh .
  • It can be carried for travel too. It stays good.
  • If u want to make the same for rice, add more chillies and little pepper corns too.Mix with ghee and plain rice..
  • I’ve added equal quantity of urad and channa dal as i always want the flavor of urad dal in my idly podi. But the actual recipe dint call for urad dal . She had used only channa dal.
  • My husband loves the garlic flavor in idly podi. So i added garlic cloves at the end , But its optional. U can add 2-3 pinches of hing while roasting instead of garlic..
Continue Reading...