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Showing posts with label FOOD FOR TRAVEL. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FOOD FOR TRAVEL. Show all posts

January 25, 2019

Bitter Gourd Thokku / Pavakkai Thokku Recipe

Pavakkai thokku
Bitter gourd is one of my favorite vegetables. So I love to try varieties of bitter gourd recipes in my kitchen. Recently I tried this yummy bitter gourd thokku recipe for rice (pavakkai in Tamil, Karela in Hindi) from Sangeetha’s blog. Its basically an onion, tomato, bitter gourd curry very similar to our Tamil nadu style tomato thokku. As usual I tried this bitter gourd thokku in an easy way by using my pressure cooker. It came out so well with a combination of tangy, sweet and mild bitter taste. It was so easy and quick to make in a pressure cooker. It tastes great when mixed with plain rice drizzled with few drops of sesame oil. It goes well with curd rice and chapathi as well. The bitterness is not much visible in this recipe as we are adding tomato, tamarind and jaggery. Also slicing the bitter gourd thinly helps to reduce the bitterness. If you are a bitter gourd lover, you must try this recipe. You will love it for sure. This pavakkai thokku stays good for 10 days or more when refrigerated. If kept outside, it stays good for 2 days. So you can pack it for travel too. But use a clean spoon to handle it. Ok, lets see how to make this easy, yummy bitter gourd thokku recipe with step by step pictures.

Check out my bitter gourd poriyalpavakkai pitlaipavakkai puli kulambu, Andhra style Kakarakaya pulusu, Bitter gourd biryani, Bitter gourd chips and bitter gourd masala curry.

bitter gourd thokku

Bitter gourd thokku recipe / Pavakkai thokku

Bitter gourd thokku recipe / Pavakkai thokku

How to make bitter gourd thokku / pavakkai thokku easily in a pressure cooker.

Cuisine: South Indian
Category: Side dish for rice
Serves: Serves 4
Prep time: 10 Minutes
Cook time: 20 Minutes
Total time: 30 Minutes

1 cup - 250ml
  • Bitter gourd - 1 no (big sized, thinly sliced)
  • Big onion - 2 nos. (finely chopped)
  • Ripe tomato - 2 nos.(finely chopped)
  • Garlic cloves - 5 (finely chopped)
  • Tamarind extract - Big gooseberry size
  • Powdered Jaggery - 1 tbsp (adjust)
  • Red chilli powder - 1.5 tsp to 2 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt & water - as needed
To Temper
  • Cooking oil or Gingely oil - 4 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal - 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds / Jeera - 1/4 tsp
  • Curry leaves - Few
  • Hing / Asafetida - 1/4 tsp
  1. Wash and chop bitter gourd into small thin slices. It helps to reduce bitterness.
  2. Chop onion, garlic, tomato finely. Heat oil in a pressure cooker base.
  3. Splutter mustard , urad dal, cumin seeds, curry leaves and hing.
  4. Add finely chopped onion and garlic. Once transparent, add sliced bitter gourd.
  5. Add turmeric powder and salt. Mix well and saute for 5 minutes till its quantity reduces slightly.
  6. Now add tomato and saute till it becomes mushy. Add chilli powder and coriander powder.
  7. Mix till raw smell goes off. Lastly add 1/4 cup of tamarind extract, powdered jaggery. Mix well.
  8. Pressure cook in low flame for one whistle. Remove the lid after the steam is released.
  9. Mix and boil if thokku is watery. Once its thick, you can remove and cool down.
  10. Yummy Pavakkai thokku is ready ! Store in a clean box and refrigerate it. Enjoy with plain rice, curd rice and chapathi

  • Wash and chop bitter gourd into small, thin slices. Slicing thinly helps to remove bitterness. You can mix the chopped bitter gourd pieces  and salt. Keep it aside for 15 to 30 minutes. Squeeze and drain the water. It also helps to reduce the bitterness. But its nutritional value is lost. So I don’t do this way. I just chop the BG thinly. Similarly chop onion, garlic and tomato into very small pieces.

  • Heat oil in a pressure cooker base. Splutter mustard seeds, urad dal, cumin seeds, hing and curry leaves.Pavakkai thokku

  • Add onion, garlic and saute till transparent. Now add thinly sliced bitter gourd, turmeric powder and salt. Saute for 5 minutes in medium flame till bitter gourd shrinks in quantity slightly.Pavakkai thokku

  • Add tomato pieces. Saute till it turns mushy. Then add chilli powder and dhania powder. Mix well till its raw smell goes off.

  • Lastly add 1/4 cup of tamarind extract, jaggery and mix well. You can add very little water if the thokku is too thick. Close the pressure cooker lid. Keep the flame high till steam comes out. Put the weight valve and simmer the flame completely. Cook in low flame for one whistle.Pavakkai thokku

  • Open the cooker lid after the steam is released. If you find there is excess water in the thokku, boil for sometime till its thick. Switch off the flame and remove in a clean bowl. Let it cool down. Store in a refrigerator. It stays good for 10 days. You can enjoy with plain rice, curd rice, chapathi, idli dosa too. Enjoy ! Pavakkai thokku
  • Note

    • Adjust the quantity of chili powder as per your taste.
    • Do not skip jaggery. It gives a mild sweet taste to this thokku.
    • Make sure there is no excess water in the thokku. It will reduce its shelf life.

    Try this easy, yummy bitter gourd thokku and enjoy !
    bitter gourd thokku recipe

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    September 28, 2017

    Milagu Jeeraga Sadam – Pepper Cumin Rice Recipe

    Pepper cumin rice / Milagu jeeraga sadam in Tamil is one of the yummy, South Indian rice recipes we make as prasadam for Navratri, Saraswathi pooja, Purattasi sani thaligai, aadi 18 etc. Yesterday I made this rice for navaratri afternoon neivedyam learning from my MIL. My MIL make this rice at least once in a week as pepper is a healthy Indian spice that helps to purify blood, improves appetite and digestion. Sendhil loves this rice variety a lot. So we make this pepper rice for his lunch box and  one day travel as well.
    Pepper cumin rice
    Sometimes we used to combine Saraswathi pooja, Purattasi sani thaligai festivals and make 5 rice varieties, chana sundal and thullu maavu(rice flour mixed with jaggery) for Saraswathi pooja neivedyam. We make this milagu jeeraga sadam as one of the 5 rice varieties. As its so easy to make, I thought it would be useful for you all. I have already shared a video on how to make 5 rice varieties. You can replace sesame seeds rice/ ellu sadam with milagu jeeraga sadam and offer to God for tomorrow Saraswathi pooja festival. Lets see how to make this easy milagu sadam /pepper rice with step by step pictures !
    Milagu jeeraga sadam

    Milagu Jeeraga Sadam - Pepper Cumin Rice

    Pepper cumin rice recipe

    How to Pepper cumin rice

    South Indian
    Main course

    Ingredients (1 cup - 250ml)

    • Cooked rice - 1 cup
    • Ghee - 1 tsp (to roast)
    • Pepper corns - 1 tbsp
    • Cumin seeds/Jeera - 1/2 tbsp
    • Salt - as needed
    • Ghee - to mix with rice

    How to make the recipe

    1. Heat ghee in a kadai.Roast pepper & cumin seeds till it starts to crackle.
    2. Remove and grind to powder adding salt.
    3. Mix this powder with cooked rice.
    4. Enjoy !

    Pepper cumin rice - Step by step photos

    • Heat ghee in a kadai and roast pepper & cumin seeds in medium flame till cumin seeds starts to splutter.
      Pepper cumin rice/ Milagu jeeraga sadam
    • Remove in a plate and let it cool down. Grind to a slightly coarse powder adding salt.
    • Take the required cooked rice. Add 2 tsp of ghee, ground powder, mix well and check for taste.
      Pepper cumin rice/ Milagu jeeraga sadam
    • Add more salt & powder if required. Serve !
      Pepper cumin rice/ Milagu jeeraga sadam
    • If you wish, you can temper mustard seeds, curry leaves in ghee and add to rice.


    • Pepper alone gives spiciness to the rice. So you can add more pepper if you want spicy taste.
    • Do not add more cumin seeds. Its flavor will dominate.
    • Adding ghee helps to enhance the flavor and taste. If you don't want to add ghee, you can add sesame oil.

    Try this easy and flavorful pepper cumin rice and enjoy !
    Milagu sadam
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    May 15, 2016

    Travel Food Recipes Ideas–South Indian Variety Rice

    travel food recipes ideas
    Last week we had a trip to Valparai near Pollachi,Tamil nadu for summer vacation in our car. We packed few rice varieties for lunch and had it during our road trip in Attakatti. Usually we make Tamarind rice/Puli sadam and Curd rice for travel. But this time, Sendhil told us to prepare some other rice varieties for a change. So my MIL made this yummy, easy, comforting and a healthy South Indian meal for our travel.I thought of sharing this easy travel food recipes idea with you all. It would be helpful for you to plan and prepare food for your short trip/Picnic during this Summer holidays. My MIL made Milagu jeeraga sadam/ Pepper cumin rice, Ellu sadam/ Sesame seeds rice, Lemon rice and Curd rice along with vadam/Vathal. We also carried some store bought sweets and snacks to munch during our travelWinking. Lets see how we prepared this simple and yummy travel lunch menu.
    Travel lunch recipes

    Here is a collage of Valparai-Athirapally Pictures. Check THIS LINK for more pictures.
    Valparai trip

    Travel Food Recipes Ideas

    Travel Food Recipes Ideas South Indian lunch menu for travel
    Cuisine: Indian
    Category: Travel recipes
    Serves: Serves 4
    Prep time: 20 Minutes
    Cook time: 30 Minutes
    Total time: 50 Minutes

    1 cup = 250ml
    For rice varieties
    • Steamed rice - 2 cups
    • Water - 6 cups
    • Gingely oil - 2 tsp
    • Salt - as needed
    For lemon rice
    • Lemon - 5 nos
    • Green chilli - 6-8 nos
    • Red chilli - 2 nos
    • Curry leaves - few
    • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
    • Urad dal - 1 tbsp
    • Chana dal - 2 tbsp
    • Roasted peanuts - a handful ( optional)
    • Hing/Asafetida - 1/2 tsp
    • Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
    • Cooking oil - 2 tbsp
    • Gingely oil - as needed while mixing the rice
    • Salt - as needed
    For Pepper cumin rice/Milagu jeeraga sadam
    • Ghee - 2 tbsp
    • Pepper corns – 1.5 tbsp
    • Cumin seeds - 2 tbsp
    • Salt - as needed
    • Curry leaves - few
    For Ellu sadam
    • Black sesame seeds - 2 tbsp
    • Red chilli - 2 nos
    • Garlic cloves - 3 nos
    • Salt - as needed
    • Curry leaves - few
    For curd rice
    • Steamed rice or raw rice - 1 cup
    • Water - 5 cups
    • Salt - as needed
    • Cooking oil - 1 tbsp
    • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
    • Urad dal - 1 tbsp
    • Chana dal - 2 tbsp
    • Green chilli - 2 nos ( finely chopped or slitted)
    • Ginger - 2 inch piece ( finely chopped or grated)
    • Curry leaves - few
    • Fruits like grapes, pomegranate - to mix in the rice
    • Coriander leaves - a fistful
    Koozh vadam/Vathal - as needed ( to deep fry)
    Mor milagai & Pickle - side dish for curd rice
    Lemon rice recipe
    Milagu Jeeraga Aval ( replace aval with rice)
    Curd rice/Thayir sadam
    Tamarind rice/Puli sadam


    • On the previous day night of travel, prepare the lemon rice paste.Make sesame seeds powder by dry roasting the sesame seeds, red chilli and then powder it adding salt.Make pepper cumin seeds powder. Refrigerate the lemon rice paste alone. Keep the powders in an air tight box and store it.
    • The next day morning as soon as u get up, wash and soak the rice in required water for 20 minutes. Use two cookers. One for curd rice and other one for rice varieties. Soak the rice separately in 2 cookers. Rice will be well soaked by the time u take bath.
    • Pressure cook the rice for one whistle in low flame and switch off the flame. Remove the lid after the steam is released.

    • Spread the rice in a plate and add some gingely oil. Take the rice in curd rice cooker and mash it well adding salt and milk. Do not curd when the rice is hot. Add curd after the rice becomes lukewarm. Add the seasoning ingredients for curd rice. Mix well. Add curd and mix well.Check for taste. Do not make the curd rice too thick or too watery. Make it like a creamy consistency so that it won’t become too hard in the afternoon.Check for taste and add more salt if needed. By the time, u mix the curd rice, the rice spread in the plate would have become warm.
    • Divide the rice into 2 portions. Take one portion of the rice and make lemon rice adding the lemon rice paste.Add gingely oil generously. Check for taste and add more salt & paste if needed. Take the other portion of rice and divide into 2. Use one portion for making ellu sadam and the other one for milagu jeeraga sadam. Add gingely oil for ellu sadam and ghee for milagu jeeraga sadam generously.Do not forget. NEVER USE YOUR HANDS FOR MIXING THE RICE. USE LADLE.
    Prepare all the rice varieties and stack in the boxes. Make Neer mor/Spiced buttermilk (Thalicha more) and store in a bottle. Deep fry Koozh Vadam/Vathal  or papad and mormilagai.Store the vadam in a polythene bag or ziplock covers after it cools down. Pack some pickle in a small container. Arrange everything for travel in a bag. Take the sweets, snacks and fruits if any for travel.
    South Indian rice varieties

    Enjoy !

    I have shared some general point to remember while preparing food for travel.
    • Never put your hands to mix the rice varieties, use a spoon or ladle instead. If you mix the rice with your hands, it won’t stay good for more than 2 hours in summer.
    • Add gingely oil generously while mixing the rice. It helps to prevent the rice from drying.
    • Make sure you don’t use raw coconut in the dishes. If you use coconut, roast it well or saute the coconut based dish in oil till all the moisture content is completely gone.
    • If you are making curd rice, add less curd and more milk while mixing. It helps the curd rice to set well while eating.Never add curd in hot rice. Carry a bottle of spiced buttermilk or diluted curd to add in the rice while eating. Suppose if the curd rice becomes too thick, you can add buttermilk and bring it to proper consistency.In the buttermilk bottle, put some slitted green chillies, ginger and few curry leaves with mustard seeds seasoning ( make thaalicha neer mor). It helps to keep the buttermilk fresh and tastes less tangy.
    • We packed the rice in our steel travelling set. If you don’t have a travelling set, you can pack them in use & throw silver foil packs or plastic boxes. It is better to use banana leaf for packing the food. It gives a nice flavor and a healthy choice as well.

    Is it not a happy and comforting meal for your travel ?? Happy Prepare & Enjoy it !!
    Travel lunch idea - Indian
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    May 10, 2014

    15 Idli Varieties - Different Types Of Idli Recipes

    Idli varieties

    Here is a collection of 15 Idli varieties / different types of idli recipes from my website. I am a big big fan of idli recipes. Before marriage as well as after marriage, my taste towards food has changed drastically but idli is the only dish that makes my breakfast time happy because idli is easily digestible, ideal for travel, steam cooked, oil free, very light and moreover very tasty when had with chutney & sambar. I bet no south indian breakfast recipe(especially in Tamil nadu) can beat this simple idli recipe, agreed?. So I keep searching & trying varieties of idli recipes. Be it oats or any millets, I can have it in idli form more than porridge or upma. In this collection, you can find 4 types of idli, dosa batter recipes which gives you soft idli &crispy dosa. Among these 4, 2 recipes are idli, dosa batter using grinder, one using mixie & one is with idli rava. Other recipes are Rava idli, Kanchipuram idli, Kushboo idli, Oats idli, Barely idli, brown rice idli, Ragi idli, Kerala Red rice idli, Karnataka special Thatte idli, Millet idli etc. I have plans to post more idli recipes in future. I will keep updating this page whenever I post here. Do try these idli varieties for breakfast or dinner and enjoy the variations. Even bachelors can try these as most of these batter can be ground using mixie. Soon I’ll share a collection of  dosa recipes & left over idli recipes.

    Idli varieties

    Idli recipes collection 15 varieties of idli recipes for breakfast/Dinner
    Cuisine: Indian
    Category: Breakfast
    Serves: Serves 4
    Prep time: 2-4hours ( exclude fermentation)
    Cook time: 20 Minutes
    Total time: 3h20m


    • Idli rice/Salem rice
    • Instant oats
    • Barley
    • Brown rice
    • Raw rice(sona masoori)
    • Urad dal
    • Methi seeds
    • Poha
    • Salt
    • Water - to grind
    If u are in Abroad/Cold countries and looking for Idli batter fermentation tips,Check out this post

    Varieties of soft idli recipes for breakfast/Dinner
    Varagu/Kodo millet idli  Red rice idli Thatte idli
    Varagu/Kodo millet idli/dosa      Red Rice Idli,dosa                         Karnataka thatte Idli

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    April 22, 2014


    Kootanchoru rice
    Tirunelveli famous Kootanchoru @ kadamba sadam is one of the signature recipes of my mom.Mostly Nellai people make this rice for picnic/trips and for guests.This is one of the best foods for travel.It stays good for one to two days without refrigeration.When(me & my sis) we were young,we used to go to thatha,aachi’s house in Nellai for every summer vacation.My periamma and chithi also comes with their family.We go for a one day trip to tiruchendur & kutralam every year.Amma,periamma and chithi together prepare this rice in early morning in a big eeya paanai traditionally for 10-12 people and pack in a big vaali(thooku chatti) for travel.We have this rice for lunch in a  piece of vazhai ilai(banana leaf) after a nice bath in five falls,kutralam. With the awesome smell of banana leaf,it tastes great & we all have minimum of two servingsSmile with tongue out.Vathal/vadagam or  appalam  is the best side dish for kootanchoru.This rice tastes the best after it cools down.
    Last week my mom was with me for two days.I told her to prepare this rice for our lunch and of course for blogging because some of my Nellai readers asked me to share kootanchoru recipe after trying my uluntham paruppu sadam.I asked my mom to prepare using pressure cooker but mom said making this rice in eeya paanai or indalium vessel or kadai gives the right consistency to the rice,vegetables and tastes great.As she said,it was very flavourful and tasty.But she also told the method on how to make in pressure cooker if needed.I have shared it below .Kootanchoru is very easy to prepare if u have chopped onions & vegetables ready in hand.It takes just 20 minutes to prepare this rice.I personally feel,it is better to do chopping & grinding work the previous night if u plan to make this rice for next day travel.
    Sendhil had it for the first time and loved it.We had this rice for lunch and the leftover for dinner too.My mom & dad packed this rice in a foil box & took it for their train journey.Friends,if u plan for a picnic,do prepare this rice.I am sure u can have a delectable lunch.Thumbs up

    Kootanchoru recipe

    Kootanchoru recipe Tirunelveli style kootanchoru recipe – Ideal & tasty food for travel !
    Cuisine: Indian
    Category: Lunch
    Serves: Serves 6-7
    Prep time: 20 Minutes
    Cook time: 30 Minutes
    Total time: 50 Minutes

    To chop
    • Carrot - 2 nos
    • Beans -  10 nos
    • Potato - 1 no (big)
    • Broad beans - 10 nos
    • Raw banana - 1/2 no
    • Raw mango - 1/2 no
    • Brinjal - 3 nos
    • Drumstick - 1 no
    • Drumstick leaves & arai keerai – a handful
    To cook
    • Rice - 1.5cups
    • Toor dal - 1/2 cup
    • Water - 12 cups
    • Tamarind – Small lemon size( use big lemon size if u don’t add raw mangoes)
    To grind
    Paste -1
    • Red chillies – 12-14 nos
    • Small onions – 30-40 nos (3/4 cup)
    • Garlic cloves - 2 bulbs(small) or 1 bulb if big variety
    • Jeera- 1 tsp
    To saute
    • Cooking oil -  1 tbsp
    • Small onions - 15 nos
    • Green chillies – 2 to 4 nos ( adjust)
    Grated coconut – 1/2 cup
    To temper
    • Gingely oil - 2 tbsp
    • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
    • Urad dal – 1 tsp
    • Vadagam – 2-3 tbsp (OR)Small onions-20 nos(finely chopped)
    • Curry leaves – half handful

    • Grind red chillies adding required water to make a smooth paste.This is paste-1.Set aside.
    Kootanchoru step2
    • Wash and peel the small onions,garlic cloves and grind with jeera& water to make paste-2.
    Kootanchoru step1
    • Soak tamarind in enough water.Take the extract using 1.5 cups of water and mix the paste-1 & paste-2,turmeric powder and salt.
    Kootanchoru step3
    • Wash and chop all the vegetables of uniform size and keep the raw banana & potato cubes immersed in water till use.Chop drumstick,chop raw mango into big cubes as shown in the picture.
    Kootanchoru step4
    • In a big vessel(preferably, eeya paanai or indalium vessel) take the mentioned quantity of water.When the water starts to boil,add toor dal,turmeric powder.Allow it to cook till the dal blossoms.It should be mashable.
    Kootanchoru step5
    • After the dal is 3/4th cooked,add all the vegetables & keerai(greens) except raw mango pieces.It takes 10 minutes for all the vegetables to cook.Keep stirring whenever necessary.
    • After 10 minutes,wash and add the rice.Again boil for 10-15 minutes and check whether rice is done.Rice absorbs all the water and gets cooked.Add the required salt.
    Kootanchoru step6
    • Check if the rice is cooked properly.Use back of the ladle to mix the rice to avoid it turning too mushy.In the mean time,heat 1tbsp oil in a kadai and saute onions,green chillies & add to rice.
    Kootanchoru step7
    • Now add mango pieces.It takes 5 minutes & mango pieces will be half cooked.
    Kootanchoru step8
    • Now add the tamarind extract mixture and allow it to boil for 5 minutes in medium flame.Keep stirring every now & then to avoid burnt bottom.
    • Remove the mango pieces alone after it is cooked yet firm in shape else mango will become mushy & mixed with the rice completely leaving the skin.It makes the rice tangy.
    Kootanchoru step9
    • Use back of the ladle or fork like ladle to mix the rice.Lastly add grated coconut & mix well. 
    Kootanchoru step10
    • Finally, temper all the ingredients given under”to temper” and add to the rice.Rice looks mushy initially but its consistency will get adjusted after it cools down.
    Kootanchoru step11
    Just before serving,add the cooked raw mango pieces & mix well.
    • Give a standing time of minimum one-two hours because it takes this time for all the taste to blend well with the rice.
    Serve with koozh vathal/Vadam..!! Tastes great !!
    **Do not use ur hands at any cost while serving.Rice will be spoiled very soon.So always use a ladle.


    • Take toor dal with 2 cups of water in pressure cooker and cook in high flame for 2-3 whistles.
    • Remove the lid and add the rice and chopped vegetables except raw mango.Cook it adding 6 cups of water & salt.
    • After rice is cooked,open the lid and add the sauteed onions,chillies,tamarind extract mixture & raw mango pieces & salt if needed.
    • Allow the raw mango to cook well. Rice absorbs all the tamarind extract mixture.Use fork like ladle to mix the rice.Simmer the flame & boil for few minutes.
    • Lastly add grated coconut & tempered ingredients.Mix well,check for taste.Give a standing time of 1-2 hours & serve with vathal/vadam.
    • If the rice is too spicy,add little tamarind extract & grated coconut.It balances the taste.
    • If the rice is too tangy,add some chilli powder mixed in water & boil for sometime with rice.Add little salt if needed.
    • Adding a handful of drumstick leaves & arai keerai is suggested for this rice.But i din’t add both as i din’t have the stock.
    • Raw mango is purely optional but it gives a nice flavour to this rice.If u don’t add raw mango pieces,use big lemon size tamarind.
    • Adjust the quantity of red chillies based on ur taste buds.But use tamarind in correct quantity if u reduce chillies.

    Pack this rice in a foil box for ur travel and enjoy with vadagam/Vathal & appalam.It tastes great !!!
    Very good recipes Tags: , , ,
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