Search Chitra's Food Book

November 20, 2009


I don’t remember the source for this recipe but its really an easy to make,delicious rice variety.I usually prepare this for my husband’s lunch box .Tastes great with simple onion raita..So here we go ,

Veg pulao 1

Ingredients :
  • Basmati rice – 1/2 cup
  • Water –  1 cup (Little less than 1 cup for fluffy rice)
  • Carrot , beans , peas and potato – 1 cup (chopped )
  • Green chilly - 2 nos (slit cut )
  • Ginger – 1 inch size (Chopped finely )
  • Garlic – 5 flakes( –do-) OR use ginger. garlic paste - 1 tsp
  • Big onion –1 no (-do-)
  • Cinnamon – a small stick
  • Cloves – 2 nos
  • Cardamom – 1 no
  • Bay leaf – A small leaf
  • Jeera – 1/4 tsp (optional)
  • Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Ghee – 2 tsp 
  • Roasted cashew – to garnish
Method :
  • Wash and chop all the veggies and set aside.
  • Wash and soak the rice in required water.(i soaked for 30 mins)Do not drain the water.
  • In a broad kadai , add oil , jeera and the spices in the same order.
  • Add the ginger , garlic pieces ..saute well and then add the finely chopped onions,  slit green chillies.Saute till it becomes transparent.
  • Finally add the chopped vegetables and the required salt.
  • Mix well and add the rice with soaked water.(the water should be 1 cup )
  • Transfer everything into a cooker and add 2 tsp of ghee to it.
  • Cover and Cook for 1 whistle.
Serve hot with raita !!

Continue Reading...

November 13, 2009

Karuveppilai Podi / Curry Leaves Powder Recipe

I learnt this podi recipe from my MIL..She makes the best thogayals and podis . We have this podi with idli/ dosa and  plain rice topped with sesame oil.. Its a healthy and delicious podi variety.

curry leaves podi

Ingredients :
  • Curry leaves – 1 bunch (1 cup)
  • Red chilly – 2-3 nos
  • Pepper – 1 tsp
  • Urad dal (round) – 2 tbsp ( or u can add 1 tbsp of urad and  1 tbsp of channa dal )
  • Hing / Asafetida – 2 pinches
  • Salt – to taste
Method :
  • Heat a kadai with a tbsp of oil and add the red chilly, urad dal, pepper corns and hing.
  • Roast till the dal changes to golden brown color.
  • Transfer the roasted ingredients to a plate.switch off the flame.
  • In the same hot kadai , add the curry leaves and toss it well.(fire off!!)
  • Leave it for sometime.. the curry leaves become crispy.
  • Finally grind everything to a fine /a bit coarse powder by adding the required salt. ( i always grind a bit coarse)
Serve with idly / dosa or mix with plain rice by adding sesame oil.

Continue Reading...

November 9, 2009

Garlic Rice / Poondu Sadam - Leftover Rice Recipes

I learnt this from my neighbor.Yesterday when i was chatting with her , she told me about this garlic rice/ Poondu sadam . I tried on the same day .It was very tasty .I made it with the leftover rice I made for lunch.Its not necessary that the rice should be separate or grainy..Simple ingredients and can be made in jiffy.

garlic rice 1

Ingredients :
 1cup - 200ml
  • Rice – 1/2 cup
  • Garlic  bulbs -  2 nos (Peel the skin and crush the whole ones just with a ladle)
  • Small Onions – 10 nos (finely chopped ) ( replace with 1 big onion, finely chopped)
  • Green chilly – 2 nos (slit cut)
  • Salt – as needed.
  • Coconut oil or ghee - 1 tbsp
To temper:
  • Cooking oil – 2 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1 tsp
  • Red chilly – 1 no (pinched into two)
  • Curry leaves – a few.
Method :
  • Pressure cook the rice and set aside.
  • In a kadai , add 2 tbsp of oil and temper with mustard , urad dal and red chilly and curry leaves.
  • Then add the crushed garlic , small onions, green chillies and saute till garlic turne golden brown.
  • Finally add everything to the cooked rice and mix well by adding salt.
  • Add a tbsp of coconut oil / ghee and serve hot !!
No side dish is required.If desired ,have with pickle..

garlic rice 2

Continue Reading...

November 2, 2009

Sponge Dosa Recipe Without Urad dal - Fermentation Method

I learnt this  sponge dosa recipe from my neighbor.Whenever I run short of idli rice / Puzhungal arisi or urad dal , I make this sponge dosa without urad dal. The ingredients and the method are a bit different from the usual poha dosa  aval dosai. Usually sponge dosa batter is made using buttermilk and no fermentation is needed. You may also use cooked rice and prepare. But I ferment the batter at least for 8 hours.So you can prepare this dosa only by the next day. Try this soft sponge dosa recipe , Iam sure u will like it.

sponge dosa

Ingredients :
1 cup - 200ml
  • Raw rice – 1 cup (Sona masoori or dosa rice)
  • Poha / Aval – 1/2 cup(heaped)
  • Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt & water – As needed.
  • Cooking soda/ baking soda - 2 pinch (optional)
Method :
  • Wash and soak the rice , poha and methi seeds together for 2 hrs.
  • Grind it to make a smooth batter by adding salt & water.
  • U can grind it using mixie too.Use ice cold water if using mixie
  • Keep the batter for 8 – 10 hrs to ferment.
  • The next day ,  add baking soda if you are using and mix the batter well. Rest for 10 minutes and make dosas.
  • U all know , this dosa is small in size .So do not spread the batter on the tawa. Make it a small circle.
  • Apply oil around the dosa if desired.
  • Then cover cook in medium flame and don’t flip the dosa.
Serve hot with Coconut or Tomato chutney !!
I served with tomato–mint chutney ..

NOTE : Addition of cooking soda is optional.But it helps to make the dosa more porous and soft. If you add cookings soda, rest the batter for 10 minutes before making the dosa. Do not forget.
For variations, you can soak 2 tbsp urad dal along with poha and grind the batter.

Sponge dosa without urad dal

Continue Reading...

October 30, 2009

Diwali Sweets & Snacks Recipes

In  my chilly idly post , i got a comment from a fellow blogger asking for the recipes of sweets & onion murukku i prepared for diwali.So I am posting this for her & for my future reference. For kaju katli , i referred some blogs  , got some ideas and then followed Mrs .Mallika Badrinath’s method .For Wheat flour ladoo , i took the recipe from Vah chef’s site. Home made Gulab Jamun , Khus Khus Halwa & Onion murukku recipes from my friend Shalini.I tried everything for the first time and I was satisfied with the outcome. Though i made some small mistakes , i learnt the technique  of  making perfect sugar syrup for different sweets and i got the confidence of making all these sweets perfect in future Smile Everything comes by practice ,especially sweets isn’t it ?

diwali sweets


I prepared this sweet within 15 mins.. Very easy and ideal to prepare for surprise guests..
Ingredients :
  • Wheat flour – 1 cup
  • Besan flour – 1 tbsp
  • Ghee – 1/2 cup (slightly less )
  • Sugar – 1/2 - 3/4 cup  ( i used 1/2 cup only.. increase based on ur taste buds)
  • Cashew nuts – a few
  • Cardamom seeds – 3 nos
Method :
  • Powder sugar along with cardamom in a mixie
  • Melt ghee, add gram flour.Roast until color changes and leaves a nice aroma.
  • Add the wheat flour and roast on a low flame till aroma spreads and it becomes a bit lumpy .Add the roasted cashew pieces and mix well.
  • Remove from flame, cool it.
  • Mix powdered sugar.
  • Make ladoos by taking small portions of this mixture in your hands..
  • Enjoy !!
Note :
If u r not able to shape the balls, add more melted ghee , mix well and then shape it..

 wheat flour ladoo


Please try this  halwa only if u like the smell of khus khus. Some people hate the flavor of poppy seeds. Actually my frnd told me no need to add nutmeg  but i added just to enhance the flavor of halwa.

  • Khus Khus / Poppy seeds – 1 cup
  • Sugar – 1.25 cups
  • Ghee – 1/4 cup
  • Milk – Little to grind poppy seeds
  • Powdered Nutmeg & cardamom – Little.
Method :
  • Soak poppy seeds in hot water for 4 hours.
  • Drain the excess water and grind to a smooth paste using little milk.
  • Take the paste in a vessel and pressure cook for 1 whistle.
  • Add sugar to the  cooked paste and heat it in a heavy bottomed kadai stirring constantly.
  • When it sticks to the bottom, add the ghee little by little.
  • When complete moisture is absorbed and halwa gets a shine , add the rest of ghee , cardamom& nutmeg powders and remove from fire.

Ingredients :
  • Cashewnuts – 100 gms ( 1/2 cup)
  • Sugar – 1/4 cup
  • Rose essence - a few drops (optional)
  • Water – just to cover the sugar.
  • Ghee - a tsp ( to grease)
Method :
  • Dry roast the cashews in a hot kadai without changing the color.Switch off the flame and leave the cashews in the kadai for 10 – 15 mins to make it crispy.
  • Dry grind it in the mixie to make a fine powder . Run the mixie continuously till it becomes a nice powder.Transfer it to a wide bowl .
  • Take the sugar in a bowl and add the water just to cover the sugar.
  • Heat till it reaches **one string consistency.Add the essence to it.mix it well.
  • Add the cashew powder and mix well until it forms a thick mass like chapathi dough ( should be slightly sticky and test it by making small balls).Takes 4-5 minutes..
  • Apply ghee on 2 thick sheets ( butter paper ) and transfer the dough to the sheet.It will harden in few minutes.Cover it with another sheet and roll out like a thin chapathi.(If the dough is too hard , add little milk , knead well and the roll it.)
  • Peel off the top sheet and decorate with silver warq.
Enjoy with ur dear ones :)


  • One more method suggested by mallika badrinath is , instead of adding the cashew powder in the sugar syrup, add sugar syrup to the powder. ie , after the single string is reached , remove the syrup from fire and add the cashew powder little by little like how u knead chapathi dough.It may not need all the syrup.Make a soft , smooth , non-sticky dough , roll and make shape. I've tried this method too. It will come out well..

kaju katli

  • Sugarless khova– 3/4 cup
  • Maida – 1/3 cup
  • Milk powder – 2 tbsp
  • Cooking soda - A big pinch
  • Water - As needed
For syrup
  • Sugar – 1 cup ( 250 gms)
  • Rose essence – a few drops Or cardamom powder - 4 pods (crushed)
  • Kesar color – a pinch (optional)

Method :
  • Mix all the ingredients given above and bring it to a soft , pliable dough.Add the required water.Keep it aside for 15 minutes..Do not knead the dough much..
  • Make small balls without cracks and deep fry them in a low flame till it becomes soft.(plz dont fry till crispy and the ball should be evenly cooked) .Keep it aside.
  • In  a broad vessel make take the sugar and add equal amount of water.Allow it to dissolve completely by constant stirring in a low flame.Make sure the sugar syrup does not start to boil before it dissolves completely.
  • Once it is dissolved , raise the flame and allow it to boil for  5- 7  mins.Add the kesar color when it boils.Add a few drops of lime juice to retain the consistency.
  • Finally add the rose essence and switch off the flame.Add the jamuns when the syrup is hot.
  • Leave it for an hour and serve !!
Ingredients :
  • Par boiled rice / Idly rice –1 cup
  • Gram flour / pottukadalai maavu – 1/2 cup
  • Besan flour – 1/2 cup
  • Shallots / sambhar onions – 1/2 cup
  • Red chilly – 6 nos
  • Salt & water – As needed.
  • Oil – to deep fry & 1 tbsp
Method :
  • Soak the rice in water for 2 hrs.
  • Drain the water and grind it along with shallots and red chilly , salt  to make a smooth batter .Add little water to grind.
  • The batter should be thick & smooth.
  • Then add the flours to it and mix well.Knead to make a chapathi dough.
  • Put this in the murukku press with star mould in it.
  • Press it in hot oil to make murukkus.
Note :
  • If u feel the batter is watery, add little roasted gram flour / Pottukadalai maavu  to bring it to dough consistency.
onion murukku

Continue Reading...

October 25, 2009

Chilli Idli Fry Recipe - Easy Dinner Recipes - Leftover Idli Recipes

chilli idli fry recipe

Chilli idli/idli  fry/idli 65 – U can call this recipe by any name.U all would have tried  chilli parotta , chilli Paneer , Gobi etc.This one is a very tasty,kids friendly dish that can be prepared easily.U can make this as evening snack after they come back from school.I took this recipe from a website. Yesterday i tried this for dinner along with idli and kadappa.I used only 5 idlies for this. Its a great recipe to use the leftover idlis.

Chilli-idli recipe
*Fork can't prick these idlies as it comes out super crispy.This is just for picture:)

Chilli idli fry recipe

Chilli idli fry - Chilli idli using leftover idli  Chilli idli fry using leftover idlis.Easy dinner recipe.Kids would love it..
Cuisine: Indian
Category: Dinner recipes
Serves: Serves 2
Prep time: 10 Minutes
Cook time: 20 Minutes
Total time: 30 Minutes

To deep fry
To saute
  • Big onion – 1 no (chopped finely)
  • Capsicum – 1/2 no (-do-)
  • Green chilli – 1 no (Chopped finely )
  • Garlic flakes – 10nos (finely chopped )
  • Red chilli powder – 1 tsp (increase as per ur taste buds) (use Kashmiri chilly powder for nice color)
  • Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Tomato ketchup - 1 – 2 tbsp
  • Curry leaves – a sprig
  • Coriander leaves – to garnish
  • Oil – To deep fry the idlies.
  • Water – Just to sprinkle

  • Refrigerate the leftover idlis in a box overnight or 2 hours.(Do not freeze).Cube cut them into big pieces.Deep fry the idli cubes till golden brown in medium flame for long time.Idlis would remain crispy till u serve.(Refer notes for more)Set aside.
Chilli idli fry step by step 1
  • Heat a kadai with a tbsp of oil . Saute the onions ,green chilli pieces , garlic flakes and capsicum. Saute well till capsicum gets cooked. Then add the ketchup , red chilli powder, garam masala powder and mix well. Add little water to bring it to saucy consistency.
Chilli idli step by step 2
  • Finally add the deep fried idly pieces and toss it well.Add spring onions or coriander leaves. Garnish it and switch off the flame.
Chilli idli step by step 3
  • Serve hot with onion raita !!
  • To get super crispy idli pieces,deep fry in medium high flame for more time.It stays crispy for long time.Refrigerating the idli helps to cut it without crumbs.Do not freeze it at any cost.
  • If u are calorie conscious,u can shallow fry them in a pan adding little oil OR saute them in dosa pan by drizzling oil around it.The  below picture is chilli idli made using shallow fried idlis.But when u shallow fry,it may become slightly soggy while u eat.

chilly idly 2
Chilli idli recipe with shallow fried idli pieces

Bye for now Wave

Continue Reading...

October 20, 2009

Keerai Kuzhambu / Spinach Gravy Recipe

Hope u all celebrated diwali very well Smile I too had a nice time at my in-laws house..Coming to the dish ,
This is my mom’s signature dish.I love this kuzhambu a lot..Whenever i visit my mother’s place , she prepare this especially for me.With beetroot poriyal  and papad / Appalam , it tastes divine.Drooling

Ingredients :
  • Amaranthus tricolor/ Arai keerai – 1 bunch (1 kattu)
  • Toor dal – 1/4 cup
  • Tamarind – Medium gooseberry size
  • Hing / asafetida –  2 pinches
  • Turmeric powder – a pinch
  • Salt & water – As needed.
To grind:
  • Coconut – 1 finger size
  • Small onions – 2 nos
  • Jeera / cumin seeds – 1/4 tsp
To temper:
  • Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1/2 tsp
  • Small onions – 5-10 nos (chopped finely)
  • Red chilly – 3 nos
Method :
  • Clean & wash the leaves and chop it finely.
  • Cook the leaves with the required water and Set aside.
  • Pressure cook toor dal for 2 – 3 whistles until it becomes mushy.
  • Soak the tamarind in warm water for 15 mins and extract the juice from it.Grind all the items given under “To grind “ to make a smooth paste. Keep aside.
  • Then heat a kadai and add the mustard seeds , red chilly , urad dal and small onions.
  • Add the tamarind extract , cooked spinach , hing , salt and required water.
  • Allow it to boil till the onion gets cooked.
  • Finally add the cooked toor dal  and the ground coconut paste.
  • Boil again for 5 mins and switch it off ..
  • Serve hot with rice and ghee !!
Papad and any poriyal/curry serves as the best accompaniment for this kuzhambu. My mom usually makes beetroot or carrot poriyal..

Keerai Kuzhambu

Continue Reading...

October 14, 2009

Wish You All A Very Happy & Prosperous Diwali !!

I am going to my in-laws house tomorrow to crack diwali .. I prepared many sweets to take there..Tried for first time  and everything came out well. ...Tongue out I referred some of the blogs and cookbook for kaju katli & wheat flour ladoo. Home made Gulab jamun, khus khus halwa and onion murukku recipes from my friend Shalini..Thanks everyone..Smile .. Here is the picture  ..
diwali sweets

Catch u all with the recipes after diwali..Have a very happy,safe & prosperous diwali PartyWave

Continue Reading...

October 8, 2009

Banana Flower / Vazhaipoo Usili Recipe

I tried usili with vazhaipoo for the first time.It came out very well.I got this recipe from my MIL.I am posting this for my future reference and to share with u all !!

banana flower usili


For usili 
  • Toor dal – A fistful
  • Chana dal – A fistful
  • Red chilly – 2-3 nos
  • Hing /Asafetida – 1/4 tsp
  • Banana flower – 1/2 no
  • Salt & water – As needed
To temper 
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves – a few
  • Shallots – a few (finely chopped )
  • Oil – 1 tbsp
Method :
  • Soak the dals for 1 hour and grind it course with red chilly,hing and salt.Add water only if necessary.Set aside..
  • Take the flowers in between the red layers . Apply oil on ur hands , remove the stamen (kalan in tamil ) from the  flowers and chop it finely .Soak in buttermilk/ water. (The black colored one is stamen..Hope u all know it )
  • Mix the ground dal mixture and the chopped flowers . Check for salt .Steam it in idly pot by spreading the mixture in idli plate or cooker.( I did in idly pot , it took nearly 15 mins)
  • Remove and let it cool.Crumble the mixture and set aside.
  • Then heat a kadai with oil and do the tempering part.Add onions and saute well.
  • Finally add the cooked usili to it and mix well.  check for salt and add if necessary.
  • If u want u can add grated coconut .( I dont add  )
  • Serve with sambhar / curd rice..We usually mix this in plain rice adding sesame oil..!!
banana flower usili 1

 Catch u all in my next post.. Bye Wave

Continue Reading...

October 5, 2009

Hotel Style White Chutney & Red Chutney Recipe

hotel style red chutney

I make these hotel style white chutney and red chutney for my guest usually. A very tasty & easy chutney to attract them.I got this recipe from a cook book.Please go through the variations i've given at the end of white chutney before you start doing .


Ingredients :
  • Ripe tomato – 1 no (big )
  • Big onion – 1 no (should be slightly lesser than tomato in size )
  • Red chilly – 3-4 nos (  adjust according to ur taste)
  • Coconut pieces – 2 tbsp or 1/8 cup of grated coconut.
  • Asafetida / Hing – 1/4 tsp
  • Oil – To saute
To season :
  • Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • Urad dal- 1/4 tsp
  • Curry leaves – a sprig
  • Red chilly – 1 no (whole one ) (i dint use this time)
Method :
  • Heat a tbsp of oil and fry dry red chillies along with chopped onion until translucent.
  • Now add chopped tomatoes and cook until it becomes soft and mushy.
  • When done, let cool completely and grind along with asafetida, coconut and salt.
  • Add water only if its necessary or to run the mixie.
  • Heat a tsp of oil and temper using mustard, urad dal, red chili and curry leaves.
  • Serve a spoon drizzled with Gingely / sesame oil with idly or dosa !!
hotel style red chutney


( 1 cup - 250ml)
  • Grated Coconut –  1/2 cup
  • Dhalia / Fried gram dal /Pottu kadalai – 1 tsp
  • Green chilly – 4-6 nos (small)
  • Garlic cloves – 2 nos (optional)
  • Small onion/ shallots  – 1 no (optional)
  • Salt & water – As needed.
To temper:
  • Cooking oil - 1 tsp
  • Dry red chilly – 1 no
  • Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1/4 tsp
  • Curry leaves – few
  • Grind fresh grated coconut along with dalia, green chillies, garlic , small onion and salt.Add little water for thick chutney (For thin chutney add more water while grinding). In some hotels. they make it plain just by grinding coconut, green chilli, fried gram dal and salt. It comes out super white in color. You can try this way too. 
  • Heat oil, splutter mustard, split urad dal , red chilly and curry leaves..
  • Add this to the chutney and mix.
  • Serve fresh with idli/ dosa !!
coconut chutney white

  1. This chutney can be done by simply grinding coconut , green chillies & a piece of ginger to a smooth paste and temper at the end.
  2. In this method garlic and small onion is very important. U can also add little coriander or mint leaves in this recipe to make hotel green chutney.
  3. To get a nice green color , just wash & saute the leaves in little oil before grinding and add..Soon i'll post another version of green chutney..
  4. I've tried all the methods and everything tastes the best..

    Some DO’s & Don’ts  :
    1. Always use fresh grated coconut, little brown coating of shell skin is ok to use. More coconut less pottukadalai/Fried gram  is also a must for white chutneys.
    2. Less water for Khatti (thick )chutney, add only if its necessary to run your mixie.
    3. Indian mixer mate or small jars are a must. American Oster mixer comes with a small jar attachment which also works well.
    4. Use small green chillies and always use less green chilies for white color chutney and increase the spiciness by tempering with more red chilies. This answers the question "Why my chutney looks green"?
    1. Ready made flakes or desiccated flakes or frozen grated coconut will work but don't expect taste and color. Thaw it before use else chutney will have oily look.Also you should use warm water for grinding.
    2. No microwaving for reheating, just thaw to bring back to room temperature. Reheating makes it release more oil and which results in stinky coconut smell.
    3. Blender will not work for thick chutney and adding more water will make it thin but consistency will be still coarse.
Continue Reading...