Search Chitra's Food Book

June 28, 2013


garlic pickle image copy

I love garlic pickle & onion pickle a lot. Yesterday I told my MIL to prepare this garlic pickle ( Poondu oorugai in Tamil) for me. She made it instantly. Its very easy to do. I stood nearby and noted down all the ingredients with measurements. Hope i’ll try this on my own very soon. We made in very less quantity (1/2 cup) and i finished all the pickle in one go...Now u know how much i loved this pickle & how tasty it was Winking smile. It was tasting great for curd rice & roti..Thank u Aunty ( this is how i call my MIL) Smile..  As my MIL says , next to red chilli powder ,3 ingredients are most important for any pickle .They are fenugreek seeds , turmeric powder & hing (ie . vendhayam , manjal , perungayam in tamil).. These 3 ingredients are responsible for taste & flavour of the pickle.Other than these , some pickles may need tamarind paste too..So beginners , making pickle is really an easy job. Storage has also become easier because of refrigerator..So don’t panic and go ahead trying this easy pickle recipe.U’ll succeed Smile
garlicpickle image
1 cup - 250ml
  • Garlic cloves – 1/2 cup ( 2-3 bulbs)
  • Red chilli powder – 1.5 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Hing – 1/4 tsp
  • Grated jaggery – 3/4 tbsp
  • Tamarind – Big gooseberry size
  • Roasted & ground methi seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • Cooking oil – 1 tbsp
  • Salt & water – as needed
To temper
  • Sesame oil / gingely oil – 2 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1/2 tsp

  • Peel the skin of garlic , dry roast & grind the methi seeds & powder them. set aside.
  • In a kadai , heat 1 tbsp of cooking oil and saute garlic cloves till golden brown. Then add 1 cup of tamarind extract and allow it to boil till the garlic is cooked well.Now add salt , red chilli powder, turmeric powder , hing and mix well.
garlic pickle tile1
  • Finally add the grated jaggery and methi seeds powder. Mix well till jaggery melts.Allow it to boil for few minutes.
garlic pickle tile2
    • U’ll get a thick paste. Switch off the flame and temper the above said ingredients..Mix well and serve with curd rice !!
garlic pickle tile3

garlic-pickle image

Continue Reading...

June 26, 2013


 Mint - thogayal

Mint thogayal /Pudina thogayal recipe is one of the yummiest thogayal varieties / chutney recipe for rice. I usually pack this thogayal sadam for my husband’s lunch box. Mint thogayal can be prepared in advance and stored for weeks in refrigerator. My MIL makes this thogayal adding roasted urad dal just like coriander leaves thogayal. But addition of urad dal is completely optional. Add only if u want to increase the quantity / yield of thogayal. This thuvayal tastes great when mixed with plain rice adding sesame oil ( nalla ennai). Try it and enjoy !

Mint thogayal/Pudina thogayal

Pudina thogayal for rice - Mint thogayaL/ Pudina thuvaiyal  Delicious mint thogayal recipe for rice,idli,dosa,upma
Cuisine: Indian
Category: Thogayal
Serves: Serves 2
Prep time: 10 Minutes
Cook time: 10 Minutes
Total time: 20 Minutes

1cup = 250ml
To roast n grind
  • Mint leaves/pudina leaves – 1 cup (tightly packed)
  • Red chillies - 6 nos
  • Urad dal - 1 tbsp
  • Jaggery – 1/4 tsp
  • Tamarind - Big gooseberry size
  • Salt - as needed

  • Wash mint leaves. Heat a  kadai with a tbsp of oil and fry the red chillies & urad dal.Remove  in a plate. In the same oil, fry the mint leaves for a minute so that it will be shrinked and get reduced in quantity. This gives a special flavour to the thogayal . Soak tamarind in little water.
mint leaves thogayal tile1
  • Now grind the red chillies, urad dal, soaked tamarind with salt to a coarse mixture.Then add the mint leaves and grind to a smooth, thick paste adding the required water. Remove and serve with plain rice topped with gingely oil . If u want to grind in large quantities and store , u have to follow the next step. Else stop with this step & enjoy.
    mint thogayal tile1
  • Heat a kadai with little gingely oil / nalla ennai ( 1 tbsp )and put the thogayal into it. The water content in it will be absorbed and becomes thick , heat it for a while. Cool down. It can be stored in a box, refrigerated and kept for 10 days. But this step is purely optional if you are consuming immediately. U can enjoy this thogayal without sauting in oil. But shelf life will be reduced.
For variations u can skip urad dal and add a tbsp of  grated coconut  while grinding.

YUMMY MINT THOGAYAL is ready to be served with hot rice & tiffin. Enjoy adding sesame oil..

Continue Reading...

June 21, 2013


cabbage kootu recipe
Cabbage Kootu
Cabbage kootu ( muttaikose kootu in Tamil) is one of the best side dish for puli kulambu Vathakuzhambu kara kuzambu.My mom makes either this kootu or chow chow kootu most of the time. I have used finely chopped ginger pieces to supress the cabbage smell. Addition of coconut oil gives a nice flavour to this kootu.Even people who hate cabbage loves this kootu recipe.  My mil also makes the same way but the only difference is mom adds milk before serving.For variations and to bring a hotel taste, you can use soaked chana dal ( kadalai paruppu) and finely chopped tomato along with dal.Try this simple kootu recipe.U’ll love it for sure.
Do check out my easy cabbage stir fry recipe – Bachelor’s recipe if interested !

cabbage kootu

1 cup - 200ml
  • Grated cabbage – 2 cups
  • Moong dal – 2.5 tbsp
  • Finely chopped ginger – 1/2 inch piece ( optional)
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp (optional)
  • Salt & water – As needed
To grind
  • Grated coconut – 3-4 tbsp
  • Green chilli – 2 nos
  • Small onion – 2 nos
  • Jeera – 1/4 tsp
  • Rice flour – 1 tsp
To temper
  • Coconut oil – 1 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves – few
Milk – 3 tbsp ( adjust)
  • In a cooker base take the grated cabbage , moong dal , ginger bits, salt and water.Pressure cook for 2 whistles. Remove the lid and mash well.Set aside.
  • Grind all the ingredients given under ”to grind” to make a paste.First grind coconut & green chillies coarsely. Then add the jeera , rice flour and small onions. Run the mixie twice or thrice to make a paste.Set aside.
cabbage kootu tile2
  • Add the ground paste to the cooked cabbage and boil for few minutes. Temper all the above said ingredients using coconut oil and mix well.Switch off the flame.
cabbage kootu tile1
  • Remove & let it cool down. Add milk when the kootu becomes warm. Mix well and serve with rice & kulambu..

Continue Reading...

June 12, 2013


puli - kulambu copy
Hello friends , sorry for disappearing these days from blogging. My sis & mom were with me So I was bit busy..We had a good time together. Time went on by chatting ,roaming n shopping. We enjoyed our mom’s Tirunelveli recipes after a long time. I learnt all my mom’s special recipes and clicked them. So next few recipes will be from my mom’s hand. Coming to this post,
This is my mom’s Tiruneliveli style puli kulambu recipe she learnt from her mom ( my aachi).This kulambu is made with freshly ground masala. So it smells great. U can also use vegetables like brinjal , drumstick & small onions. I used garlic here. We love to have it with kootu and papad as accompaniment. Its a very nice combo. For curd rice, we mix dal/paruppu & this kulambu and have it as a side dish. It tastes yummy. We also make sunda curry with this left over kuzhambu by mixing it with keerai kadayal. It’s one of the best side dishes for curd rice. This kulambu stays good for a week when refrigerated. This version is very different from our usual kara kuzhambu and vathakulambu. Try this, u’ll love for its fresh masala flavour.

Tirunelveli puli kulambu

  • Tamarind – A big gooseberry size
  • Salt & water  - as needed
To roast & grind
  • Cooking oil – 1 tsp
  • Dhania/coriander seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1/2 tsp
  • Chana dal – 1/2 tsp
  • Red chilli – 6 nos ( add 4 if u want less spicy taste)
  • Pepper corns – 1/2 tsp
  • Jeera – 1/4 tsp
Small onions – 3 nos
Curry leaves – few (5 nos)

To temper & saute
  • Cooking oil - 2 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Methi seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1 tsp
  • Garlic – 20 cloves
  • Curry leaves – few

  • Soak tamarind in warm water and take the extract using 1.5 cups of water.set aside. Peel the garlic cloves and crush it slightly using the bottom of tumbler or rolling pin ( crushing the garlic slightly helps in getting a nice flavour of garlic while u saute)..Keep it aside.  Roast all the above said ingredients using a tsp of oil ..
puli kulambu tile3
puli kulambu tile1
  • Grind to make a smooth paste. Then add small onions and curry leaves and grind them again to make a very nice paste. Make sure the paste is very smooth , add water accordingly..
puli kulambu tile2
  • In a kadai , heat a tbsp of oil and temper mustard , urad dal , methi seeds. Let it splutter. Now add the crushed garlic and saute till u get a nice smell.
puli kulambu tile4
  • Finally add 1.5 cups of tamarind extract , turmeric powder , salt and the ground masala paste. Let it boil very well for 10mins. It thickens. This kulambu will be slightly watery and not very thick like vatha kuzhambu. 
puli kulambu tile5
  • Switch off the flame & transfer to a vessel.Enjoy mixing with plain rice topped with gingely oil (optional) !
puli kulambu tile6

garlic puli kulambu recipe

Continue Reading...

June 6, 2013


karisilankanni thogayal
Most of u would have heard about karisalankanni keerai. This keerai is easily available in Tamilnadu..It acts as a liver tonic and it is specially recommended in the treatment of Constipation, Eye defects, Jaundice, Enlargement of liver, Spleen disorders, Skin diseases, Hair fall and Premature graying of hair.Most of us would have used this herb for hair oil ( Bhringraj hair oil)
I got this recipe from my MIL.As we got bored of karisalankanni kootu / poriyal , we make either thogayal or stuffed chapathi and have it once in a month just because of its health benefits.. This thogayal tastes great when mixed with plain rice and ghee. I pack this for my husband’s lunch box usually. Don’t forget to check the end of post to know its names in other languages & amazing health benefits..

karisilankanni thogayal 1

1 cup - 200ml
  • Karisalankanni /   - 1 cup
  • Red chilli –1  no
  • Pepper corns – 8-10 nos
  • Tamarind – Berry size
  • Garlic cloves – 3-4 nos
  • Salt & water – as needed

  • Remove the karisalankanni leaves from the stem , wash & set aside.
  • In a kadai heat a tbsp of cooking oil and saute the leaves along with a red chilli..
  • Saute till the leaves shrink. Add salt for quick sautéing.Grind the sauteed keerai & red chilli along with tamarind and water to make a smooth paste.
karisilankanni thogayal tile
  • In a mortar & pestle (ding chick) take the pepper corns and garlic cloves . Crush it coarsely and then add to the mixie jar. Use inch/pulse button, press once or twice and mix well. Remove & mix with plain rice adding ghee..

Serve with plain rice topped with ghee !
karisilankanni thogayal plate

Karisalankanni (Eclipta prostrata) is the herb of choice in treating liver diseases. This herb grows in marshy areas throughout the year. It grows abundantly during the rainy season. There are two varieties of karisalankanni, one has yellow flowers and the other white. The yellow one is more potent.Here are the names in various languages…

The Botanical name : Eclipta alba
Tamil name : karisalankanni
Telungu : guntagalijaeru
Malayalam : kanjunni/kayyoni
Kanada : kadige garage
Sanskrit : bhringaraja/kesaranja
Arab : radium-el-blint
Hindi : bungrah/mochkand
Duk : bhangra
Other lang : kesatti/kesari
Medicinal properties
karisalankanni is also a specific remedy for jaundice. It has a great medicinal value in the treatment of hair. Karisalankanni is said to protect against night blindness and other eye diseases probably because of its high carotene content.
Uses1. It is good for teeth, skin and hair.
2. It induces appetite.
3. It aids digestion and helps expel fecal matter from the large intestines.
4. It heals ulcers.
5. It cleans the liver and encourages secretion of bile.
6. It cures inflamed liver also called fatty liver.
7. It expels intestinal worms, cures coughs and asthma, and tones the body.
8. The yellow variety is said to be particularly good for the skin and eyes.
Continue Reading...

June 3, 2013


kara kuzhambu

This is my father's Kathirikai kara kuzhambu recipe in Bachelors style. When I was young , my father was in mumbai for two years. He stayed in a bachelor’s room. He learnt some simple recipes from his friends and started cooking. Whenever he comes for vacation , he used to cook for us. We(me & my sis) loved our appa’s cooking more than my mom’s as we got bored of her routine food. But now after marriage, I crave for my mom’s recipes like anything. My appa makes rasam & kara kuzhambu very well. Both are very simple recipes but tastes great. So i thought of sharing Kara kuzhambu/Puli kuzhambu today..It can be done very quickly during busy mornings.. It has no grinding part..So i have mentioned this as Bachelor’s recipe. It tastes spicy & hot.I followed my father’s recipe. Don’t feel exhausted by seeing the ingredients list.It looks big but this recipe takes hardly 20 minutes to prepare.I used brinjal / kathirikai and whole garlic flakes. Its a simple kathirikai kara kulambu recipe. U can also try adding drumstick OR dried berries (sundakkai, manathakkali vathal) for more flavour. I had this kuzhambu for 3 days by refrigerating it..The taste got improved day by day.. This kuzhambu stays good for 3-5 days as it has no coconut. The addition of sambar powder , red chilli powder & coriander powder makes this gravy very thick. So adjust the consistency as per ur liking by adding more water..Use gingely oil for nice flavour & also it helps to reduce the body heat developed by tamarind..
A tip from my father : My appa always tells me to taste the tamarind extract after adding masala powders (chilli powder , sambar powder , dhania powder ) & salt ..If it tastes good , kuzhambu comes out really well.We can adjust the quantity of tamarind or chilli powder/sambar powder based on the taste.. But every time I forget to do this. This time I reminded my father’s tip and followed it. May be tat’s the reason , this kuzhambu tasted great.

kara - kulambu

  • Tamarind – Big gooseberry size/ Medium lemon size (Based on the tanginess of tamarind u have)
  • Brinjal – 4 nos (medium sized)
  • Sambar powder – 1.5 tbsp ( any brand or home made)
  • Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Dhania powder – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Jaggery – 1 tsp
  • Salt & water – As needed
To temper & saute
  • Gingely oil / Nalla ennai – 4 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Methi seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1 tsp
  • Jeera/cumin seeds  – 1 tsp
  • Channa dal – 1 tsp
  • Hing – A big pinch
  • Red chillies – 2 nos (pinched)
  • Curry leaves – few (chopped)
  • Big onion/ small onion – 1 no / 10 nos (finely chopped)
  • Whole garlic cloves – 10 nos
  • Tomato – 2 nos (finely chopped)

  • Soak tamarind in warm water for 10 minutes & take the extract using 1.5 cups of water.Add all the spice powders given above & salt..Taste it and adjust as per ur need.Cut brinjal lengthwise into 4 pieces & keep them immersed in water to avoid color change.Chop onions and peel garlic.Set aside.
Kara kuzhambu tile3
  • Now in a kadai , heat oil and temper all the ingredients given above in the same order..Make sure to add all the ingredients after the mustard seeds splutter ..Saute everything in medium flame.Then add onions , whole garlic cloves & curry leaves..Saute till it turns golden brown.
kara kuzhambu tile1
  • Add the brinjal pieces , saute for sometime & then add the tomato pieces.Saute till musy.Now add the tamarind extract which we kept ready .Add jaggery ,1/2 cup of water ,cover the kadai with a lid till brinjal gets cooked. Usually it takes 8-10 minutes. Keep the flame medium.
kara kuzhambu tile2
  • Then open the lid and check whether brinjal is completely cooked. Check for water. Add more water if necessary..Allow the gravy to boil for 10 minutes to get thicken. Switch off the flame and transfer to a serving bowl.Add a tbsp of gingely oil & raw curry leaves.Cover it with a lid..
kara luzhambu tile4
  • Serve it after 30 minutes.Mix with plain rice ..Enjoy with papad & any kootu as accompaniment..

kathirikai kara kuzhambu

NOTE :This Gravy/ kuzhambu should be boiled well for minimum 10 minutes in medium flame to get a good taste. Otherwise u’ll get the raw smell of powders.. Kuzhambu will thicken by itself as time passes. So add little more water , reheat & serve..Using gingely oil is a must.If u dont have gingely oil , use any cooking oil. But gingely oil gives the actual taste..

Continue Reading...