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December 12, 2013

Restaurant Style Vegetable Pulao With Raita - South Indian Veg Biryani Recipe

Spicy vegetable pulao
I got this restaurant style veg pulao recipe from a friend who is an expert in cooking non-veg recipes.She shared her South Indian style Vegetable pulao recipe with me. In Karnataka, all my friend call it as vegetable pulao/palav. In my house, mom and MIL call these kind of recipe as either biryani or vegetable rice.I tried  this recipe for the first time.It came out super flavourful and tasty.When you cook this biryani, I bet your house will be scented with this masala flavour.U can feel the smell in your hands even after you finished eating it:) I am not exaggerating, its true. Try it :) Its totally my kind of recipe with full masala flavour.
Whenever my neighbours make biryani, I keep sniffing the aroma. Every time I feel like rushing to their house to get the recipe.As they cook mostly non-veg biryani, I hesitate to ask because I was thinking the same flavours cannot be achieved with vegetables. I thought its only because of chicken or mutton. Of course chicken/mutton may also be one of the reasons. But the major thing is the masala/spices we use. I got to know this only after making this biryani. U’ll get the taste and smell of non-veg biryani when u try this recipe. If u make this for parties, make it directly in electric rice cooker like i did in my tomato rice recipe but with generous amount of oil and gheeRice cooker helps to keep the pulao hot till u eat. Last week i attended a birthday party.They kept this rice in their menu. It was awesome.So I thought of sharing this recipe before posting the party menu.
Ok,enough of boring ,let me move on & see how to make spicy veg biryani & raita with step by step pictures :)

Click here for Masala vada recipe, Curd Rice recipe 

spicy vegetable pulao

Spicy vegetable pulao

Spicy vegetable pulao Spicy vegetable biryani/pulao recipe - Truly flavourful
Cuisine: Indian Category: Lunch Yields: Serves 3
Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: 20 Minutes Total Time: 30 Minutes

1 cup - 200ml
To soak in water
  • Basmati rice - 1cup
  • Water - 1.5 - 1.75 cups
To saute in oil
  • Cooking oil + ghee – 2tbsp + 2tsp
  • Bay leaf – 1no
  • Star anise – 1no
  • Lichen or Black stone flower – Kalpasi – 1/2 tsp (please see the picture in step by step & refer notes)
  • Vegetables - 3/4 cup (carrot-1no,beans-8nos,peas-1/4cup,potato - 1no)
  • Big onion – 2 nos (medium sized)
  • Red chilli powder - 1/2 - 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
To grind
  • Big onion - 1/4 no(use only quarter piece)
  • Green chillies - 3- 4 nos (small finger size)
  • Mint leaves - 10 nos
  • Fennel seeds - 3/4 tsp
  • Cinnamon - 1 small piece
  • Clove -2 nos
  • Cardamom - 1 no
  • Ginger - 1 inch piece
  • Garlic - 5-6 pods(small)
  • Cashews - 2 nos (optional)

  • Wash and soak the basmati rice for at least 30-45 minutes.Else u have to add 2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice.Chop all the vegetables and onions(finely)  & grind the masala.Keep it ready.
Spicy veg pulao
  • In a pressure cooker or rice cooker base,heat oil+ghee and add the bay leaf,star anise and kalpasi.Then add the onions,saute for a minute or two.Now add the ground masala paste.Wash the jar with very little water and add it.Saute well in medium flame till u get a nice aroma(People sitting in living room will definitely come to ur kitchen by the aroma;))
Spicy veg pulao
  • Add turmeric and red chilli powder.Saute for a minute.Lastly add the vegetables and required salt.Mix well.Drain the water from the soaked rice and add it.Mix well for a minute.
Spicy veg pulao
  • Lastly add 1.5-1.75 cups of water(depending on the brand) and a tsp of ghee and pressure cook in low flame till one whistle or 10-12 minutes.
  • Remove,mix with a fork like ladle.
Spicy veg pulao
Serve hot with any raita.I served with mixed vegetable raita and its recipe follows.

Click here for Masala vada recipeCurd Rice recipe 

  • Do not add more mint leaves and onion than the above mentioned quantity. Do not use turmeric powder to get white colored pulao. Add more green chillies if u want too spicy.
  • Add oil/ghee generously when u make for parties or guests.
  • If u have Lichen or Black stone flower - Kalpasi,please add it.Mostly U’ll get this ingredient in biryani masala packet.It gave a nice smell to the pulao. Please click this link to see the picture of this ingredient. Skip if u don’t have it.
  • Adding water depends on the amount of soaking.If u soak for one hour,add 1.5 cups of water.Here I used around 1.75 cups of water after soaking the rice for about 15 minutes as my husband likes that way.I used India gate basmati rice.
Spicy vegetable biryani
This raita was served along with this pulao in that party.It was a nice combo for this pulao.We loved it.
Raita recipe for pulao/biryani

Mixed vegetable raita

Mixed vegetable raita Raita recipe for pulao/biryani
Cuisine: Indian Category: Lunch side dish Yields: Serves 4
Prep Time: 5 Minutes Cook Time: 5 Minutes Total Time: 10 Minutes

To mix in curd
  • Finely chopped big onions - 2 nos
  • Finely chopped cucumber - 1/2 no(small size)
  • Finely chopped green chillies – 1-2  nos if small 
  • Grated carrot – 1 medium no
  • Salt - as needed
  • Fresh thick curd – 2-3 cups

  • Finely chop all the vegetables.Mix well in a big bowl adding the required salt.Just before serving add the curd,Mix well without adding water.Tempering is not needed.Serve with pulao/biryani.
Raita for biryani/pulao
Cucumber will leave water and the mixture will become watery if u mix curd in advance.So add curd only 10 minutes before serving.After mixing,if u feel the mixture is too thick, add little water.Else do not add water.

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December 11, 2013

Masala Vada/Masala Vadai Recipe/Paruppu Vadai

Masala vada
Masal vadai/Masala vada/Paruppu vadai is an yummy tea time snack recipe.My mom & mil make masal vadai without adding fennel seeds and mint leaves.We mostly make it for guest to serve in the afternoon lunch or for more kuzhambu.Sendhil likes that vada a lot.But i love masala vada only with spices.Before marriage,i used to buy masala vada from a tea shop.I would say it was the tastiest vada i’ve ever had in my life.She usually opens the shop at 11 am.All the vadas will fly in just 30 minutes.We have to rush before it sold out.She also makes urad dal vada,bonda and bajji.Once I asked her recipe secret and she told me roughly.Based on the ingredients she told and by referring vahchef’s site for some minute tips,finally i made a great flavoured crispy masala vada.I have mentioned the tips and variations in “Notes” section.Do try this crispy tea stall style masala vada.U’ll love it.
Masal vadai

Masala vada

Masala vada Masala vada - yummy tea time snack
Cuisine: Indian Category: Snacks Yields: 15 nos
Prep Time: 60 Minutes Cook Time: 20 Minutes Total Time: 80 Minutes

1 cup - 250ml
To soak
  • Chana dal/Kadalai paruppu -1 cup
To grind
  • Green chillies or red chillies - 3-4 nos
  • Hing - 1/4 tsp or small garlic cloves – 4 nos
  • Ginger – 1 inch piece
  • Fennel -1 tsp
  • Salt – as needed
To mix in the batter
  • Small onions/Big onions - 15 nos / 2 nos
  • Curry leaves - few
  • Coriander leaves – 1.5 tbsp
  • Mint leaves - 2 tbsp
  • Rice flour - 1 tsp ( optional)

  • Wash and soak the dal for 3-4 hours.Drain the water and set aside.In a mixie jar,take the chillies,salt,ginger,hing or garlic and fennel seeds.Grind it well.Then add half of the drained chana dal.Coarsely grind it to a paste(sprinkle only 1-2 tsp of water if needed.But its better not to add water at all).Some dals would be visible.Remove in a bowl.Grind in two batches.
masala vada
masala vada tile1
  • Mix both the batches well and add the finely chopped onions,curry leaves,coriander leaves and mint leaves.Mix well.Add  1 tsp of rice flour or corn flour if needed. Heat oil in a kadai for deep frying.
  • Check the oil temperature by dropping a pinch of batter in the oil.If it rises immediately,oil temperature is just right.Simmer the flame and then make a small lemon sized ball from the batter.Pat it slightly.Make the corners slightly thinner than the middle.
masala vada tile3
  • Drop into the oil.Make some more vadas and deep fry them in both the sides till onions & vada turn golden brown color.Remove, drain the oil in a tissue paper.Proceed the same for all the batter.Serve hot !
masala vada tile4

  • Pat the vada little thin to maintain its crispness.Do not cover the vadas when it is hot.It makes the vada soft and soggy.
  • Add jeera if u don’t like fennel seeds.Some people do not like the over powering masala smell.In that case,skip it.
  • For variations,replace green chillies by red chillies.I mostly use red chillies.This time i made with green chillies. U can replace hing by garlic cloves.Add 4-5 cloves in this case.
  • If u soak the dal for more than 3 hours,u can grind it without adding water.In that case add little rice flour or besan flour or corn flour for binding.
  • U can also make this vada by soaking the dal for 45 minutes but u have to add little more water while grinding.But the result will be the same.
  • Adding ginger is completely optional.But it helps for digestion of vada.
  • Addition of oil helps for binding the batter as well as crispness.
  • If u feel the batter is watery or wet,add little rice flour corn flour or besan flour.Mix well and make vada.
  • Addition of fennel and mint leaves gives the taste like u get in tea shops.So never skip it.

Serve hot n crispy vada with tea !
Masala vada recipe

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December 10, 2013

Easy Salad Recipe For Kids

salad recipe for kids

Yesterday we went to Raksha’s friend birthday party.I’ll post that party menu recipes this weekend.I tasted this salad there.It was a very simple recipe but very tasty.Raksha doesn’t like to eat pomegranate but she loves sweet corn very much.As that salad had more sweet corn,she had it without complaining anything Smile.It was so colourfully done to attract the kids.All the kids liked it very much.Not only kids,we too liked it a lot.It tasted very similar to Karnataka kosambari.Today i prepared the same at home and i have planned to give her a bowl of salad after she comes from the school.We too had it along with our lunch.Friends,do try this colourful salad and give it to your kids.This can be prepared well in advance.U can even pack for their lunch box along with some variety rice.It would be healthy and filling too :)

Easy salad recipe

Easy salad recipe Easy salad recipe for kids.Even ur kids can make it for themselves :)
Cuisine: Indian Category: Salad Yields: Serves 2
Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: 2 Minutes Total Time: 12 Minutes

1 cup - 200ml
For mixing
  • Pomegranate - 1/4 cup
  • Sweet corn kernels - 1/3-1/2 cup
  • Grated coconut – 1-2 tbsp
  • Cucumber - 1 tbsp (Optional)
  • Coriander leaves – 2tsp
  • Pepper powder – 1/2 tsp (optional)
  • Salt - as needed
  • Lemon juice - few drops (optional)

  • Pressure cook the sweet corn and remove the kernels (Click here to see the easy removal of kernels).Finely chop the cucumber,coriander leaves.Grate the coconut using a peeler so that it looks like long strands as u see in the picture.  
  • In a wide bowl,add all the ingredients.Mix well,add salt and lemon juice if desired.

  • If u are planning to try this for parties, cook the corn and remove the kernels,take out the pomegranate seeds and chop the cucumber on the previous day itself.Refrigerate everything separately in an air tight box.On the day of party,just two hours before,take everything out of the fridge and mix well, add salt and freshly grated coconut.Nowadays we can store the grated coconut in a ziplock bag and freeze it.Bring it to room temperature and mix it with the salad.Add lime juice if desired and set aside.By the time u serve, it would be good to taste.
  • For variations,u can also add grated carrots.Adding grated coconut gives a nice taste. Skip if ur kid don’t like it.
  • Do not add pepper powder if u make for kids.
  • Adding lemon juice is completely optional.I din’t use it. 
  • U can also add a tsp of olive oil to make it more healthy.

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December 6, 2013

Coconut Payasam | Arisi Thengai Payasam Recipe - Payasam Varieties

Coconut payasam
Every Friday, I used to do Thiru vilakku poojai at home.So I make payasam/sweet pongal or kesari for neivedyam.For today's Friday pooja, I tried arisi thengai payasam ( Rice coconut kheer with jaggery) for the first time asking the recipe from my MIL.It came out very well.We loved it a lot.Its surely a keeper.I have decided to try this for my guests too.It was so nice with a great smell of coconut.I added ghee roasted coconut bits (kerala style) which gave a nice crunchy taste in between while eating.Do try this thengai payasam / coconut payasam with jaggery for a change from our usual paruppu payasam. U’ll love it :)
Thengai payasam

Coconut payasam

Coconut payasam Thengai payasam/Coconut payasam recipe for festivals and pooja.Tastes great !
Cuisine: Indian Category: Dessert Yields: Serves 2
Prep Time: 30 Minutes Cook Time: 20 Minutes Total Time: 50 Minutes

1 cup - 200ml
To soak n To grind
  • Raw rice - 1.5 tsp
  • Grated coconut - 1/2 cup(tightly packed)
For syrup
  • Grated jaggery - 1/2 cup
  • Elachi/Cardamom seeds - 3 nos (powdered)
  • Milk or coconut milk - 2 tbsp(optional)
To roast in ghee
  • Ghee - 2 tsp
  • Coconut pieces - 1/2 tbsp
  • Dry grapes - few (optional)
  • Cashews - Few nos (optional)

  • Wash n soak the raw rice in water for 30- 45 minutes.Grate the coconut.Grind the coconut and rice adding 1/2 cup of water to a smooth paste.
Coconut payasam
  • In a bowl, take the ground paste and add 1.5 cups of water.Allow it to cook well in simmer flame for 10-12 minutes.Stir in between to avoid getting burnt bottom.The mixture will turn slightly thick like a porridge.
Coconut payasam
  • In the meantime,grate jaggery.Add 1/4 cup of water,melt, make a syrup,strain  to remove impurities and set aside.
  • When the coconut paste is cooked well,add this syrup.Mix well.Boil for 2-3 minutes.
Coconut payasam
  • Roast the coconut pieces & cashews in ghee and add to the payasam.
  • Remove and add the boiled & cooled milk.Mix n Serve.

    Enjoy !
  • Use paagu vellam to get a nice color.
  • Adding milk is optional.Add based on the consistency u need.
  • U can also add coconut milk instead of milk at the end before switching off the flame.
  • Addition of roasted coconut bits is optional.I followed kerala style for this step.

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December 4, 2013

Tomato Rice Using Rice Cooker

Tomato rice/thakkali sadam
I usually make tomato rice using pressure cooker.Recently my friend Shalini told me to try in electric rice cooker without using a kadai and she shared her recipe too. I love tomato rice only when it is fully packed with garam masalas.For Sendhil, it should be with least spices.So i tried Shalini’s recipe which has very less spices with a south Indian touch.He loved it a lot.I have made it many times so far.It comes out very well.Thank u Shalini Smile.This recipe will be helpful for working women and bachelors.Do try this method and let me know your feedback.If u like without garam masala, try this recipe else follow this way. Nowadays i use my rice cooker for making pongal,pulao & biryani.The best thing i love in rice cooker is the aroma of the food it renders while boiling.:)It smells awesome while it cooks.Friends , Do try this one shot recipe and make urself free :)
As i took the picture late in the afternoon,lighting is very badSad smile.This picture is not doing justice to this recipe.Soon i’ll replace with a new one.
Tomato rice using rice cooker

Tomato rice

Tomato rice How to make tomato rice recipe directly in electric rice cooker without using a kadai.
Cuisine: Indian Category: Lunch Yields: Serves 3
Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: 20 Minutes Total Time: 30 Minutes

1 cup - 250ml

  • Basmati rice - 1 cup
  • Ripe tomatoes - 5 nos
  • Big onion- 2 nos
  • Fresh Green peas - 1/4cup (optional)
  • Green chillies - 2 nos
  • Garlic cloves - 10 nos
  • Red chilli powder –1- 1.5 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Curry leaves - few
  • Salt - as needed
  • Water – 2.5-3 cups
To temper
  • Cooking oil+ghee - 3 tbsp + 1 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal - 1 tsp
  • Channa dal - 2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds –1/2 tsp
  • Coriander leaves – 2 tbsp (to garnish )

  • Switch on the rice cooker and keep it in “cooking mode”.Let the plate get heated for few minutes.Then add oil and ghee together in the centre of the slotted plate.Oil & ghee will spread and moves all over the plate as it gets heated.
tomato rice ricecooker tile2
  • Wash the basmati rice and set aside.I din’t soak it. U can soak for 20 minutes.Slice the onions and finely chop the tomatoes.Slit the chillies and peel the garlic.
  • Now add all the items given under “to temper” in the same order.Mustard seeds won’t splutter. But it will sizzle.Roast the dals and jeera for few seconds.
tomato rice ricecooker tile1
  • Then add the onions, green chillies, curry leaves and garlic cloves. Saute well. Add powdered salt for quick sautéing. Then add green peas and saute for few minutes.
tomato rice ricecooker tile3
  • Lastly add the finely chopped tomatoes ,turmeric powder,red chilli powder and saute for 2 minutes till tomato turns mushy.Make sure the cooker is in cooking mode.If it goes to warm mode,switch to cooking mode.Finally add 3 cups of water , cover with the lid and allow it to roll boil.
tomato rice ricecooker tile4
  • After the water starts to roll boil , add the rice without water.Check for salt and cover cook for sometime.Cooker will automatically switch to “Keep warm” mode.Open the lid and check whether rice is cooked well.If not add 1/2 cup of water, mix well and again switch it to “cooking” mode.
tomato rice ricecooker tile5
  • After the rice is done,let it be in “Keep warm” mode for 30 minutes because rice will cook well and soft in warm mode. Garnish with coriander leaves.
tomato rice ricecooker tile6

Serve with raita and Enjoy !

  • I used 3.5 cups of water as my husband wants it slightly overcooked.U can use 3 cups and try.Keep this water quantity as reference and adjust as per ur liking. 
  • If u soak rice for more than a hour , u can use even lesser water,say 2.5 cups.
  • For variations,U can add all the spices like cinnamon,cloves,bay leaf and elachi along with tempering ingredients.
  • Adding green peas is optional.If u use dried peas,soak over night and add them.
  • Check the mode of rice cooker every now and then.It may go to warm mode very soon.Switch the nob to “cook” mode whenever needed.Sometimes, it may not go to cooking mode when u try to change.At that time, switch off the rice cooker for a minute and again try changing the mode, it will work.
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December 2, 2013

Pudalangai Poriyal | Snake Gourd Poriyal - Side Dish For Rice

Pudalangai poriyal
Pudalangai poriyal recipe makes a rare appearance in my kitchen because Sendhil is not fond of this.Also I don’t get lengthy snake gourd like we get in Tamil nadu instead it looks short & stout here. My MIL calls this as”Panni podalangai" Tongue outand she had told me not to buy those varieties. So,whenever I find a lengthy one, I buy it and make kootu or poriyal. This is my MIL’s version. Its very simple to make and comes out tasty too. We can make it with or without coconut. It tastes great for sambar and paruppu urundai kuzhabmu.
Podalangai poriyal

Snake gourd poriyal

Snake gourd poriyal Snake gourd curry/Podalangai poriyal recipe - Simple n delicious side dish for rice
Cuisine: Indian Category: Side dish Yields: Serves 2
Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: 15 Minutes Total Time: 25 Minutes


  • Snake gourd - 1 no
  • Moong dal - 2 tbsp
  • Grated coconut – 3 tbsp(optional)
  • Sugar – 1/4 tsp
  • Salt & water - as needed
To season
  • Cooking oil - 2 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Urad dal - 2 tsp
  • Red chilli - 2 nos
  • Green chillies - 2 nos (Slit into two)
  • Curry leaves - few
  • Big onion - 1 no


  • Wash and cut the snake gourd’s head & tail part.Then into two pieces vertically.Remove the soft middle part using ur hands.Cut it vertically into two.Then cut it into small stripes.
Pudalangai poriyal step by step
  • Add moong dal and salt.Mix well and leave it aside for 10–15 minutes.It may leave little water.Do not squeeze it.If u squeeze,it will leave more water and loses all its nutrition.So its better to collect the water it leaves & use it while cooking.
Pudalangai poriyal step by step
  • In a kadai,heat oil.Temper all the ingredients as given above.Saute finely chopped big onions&chillies till onion turns transparent.Then add the snake gourd pieces and little sugar.Sprinkle the reserved water. Mix well & press it lightly.
Pudalangai poriyal step by step
  • Cover the kadai with a lid and simmer the flame completely.Sprinkle water every now and then and stir it.In 10-15 minutes,snake gourd will be completely cooked.
  • Add grated coconut at the end,mix well and switch off the flame.
Pudalangai poriyal step by step


  • U can avoid onions while sauteing to make a no onion no garlic version.But add more grated coconut at the end to give a nice taste.
  • Sometimes I use only red chillies to saute.

Podalangai poriyal plate

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