Monday, July 31, 2006

Kozhakattai - Sweet Rice dumplings

Dear Foodies,

My mother's entry to JFI-Flour hosted by Santhi

Kozhakattai/Modak are a must during Vinayaka Chathurthi naivedyam spread in Andhra. At my home, it also finds a place in the menu on Varalakshmi Vratam and Garuda Panchami. For the Varalakshmi Vratam puja my mother makes them in a oval shape similar to that of Kajjikayalu and for Vinayaka Chavithi it is modak, a small pouch like shape.

Last Sunday was Naga Panchami (also known as Garuda Panchami in our house) and my mother made the kozhakattai as part of the naivedyam. She has sent me the recipe and the photos on time for the JFI-FLOUR event hosted by Santhi. Garuda Panchami is similar to the Rakhi festival in North India with a slight twist, the sister prays for the well being of her brothers and ties a thread dipped in turmeric on her wrist unlike the Rakhi which is tied on the wrist of her brother. There is also a short story narrating the signifincance of this vratam, I will ask my mother to blog about it soon.

Now to the recipe,

Filling/Poornam # 1 : coconut poornam
  • 1 cup - Coconut, grated
  • 1 ½ cup -Jaggery (2 if you want it even sweeter)
  • 4-5 nos - Elaichi/Cardamom

Filling/Poornam # 2 : nuvvula poornam
  • ½ cup - -Til/Sesame seeds/nuvvulu
  • ½ cup - Jaggery

For the dough:
  • 1 cup -Rice flour
  • 2 cups - Water
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp - Oil ( preferably sesame seed/gingili oil)

  1. Coconut Poornam:
Freshly grated coconut is the best for making the coconut filling. Take a wide pan and toss in the coconut and jaggery and stir till the mixture thickens and starts leaving the sides of the pan. Add the elaichi powder and stir for another half a minute. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and allow it to cool. Freshly grated coconut gives this filling its best taste.
  1. Nuvvula Poornam:
Dry roast the sesame seeds till they turn a slight brown. the seeds let out a winderful aroma as you roast them. Cool the sesame and coarsely powder it in a blender. Add fine pieces of jaggery to this and powder.
  1. Dough:
In a kadai/vessel bring two cups of water to a boil, add a pinch of salt and 3-4 drops of oil to the water. Once the water comes to a boil, gradually add the rice flour. Hold the ladle in the center of the vessel while adding the flour and then stir continuously for 3 mins on a low flame and then turn off the heat. When the dough is still hot, transfer it to a plate and cover with a wet cloth and knead well to remove any lumps. The wet cloth is to shield your palms from the heat.
  1. Kozhakattai:
Have some oil in cup and grease your hands as you make the kozhakattai. Take a lime sized ball of the dough and shape it into a cup with your fingers. First slightly flatten the ball on your palm like a disk, place your thumbs at the center of the disk, and the fingers on the outside and shape like a cup by moving the dough between your fingers.

  1. Put a spoon of the filling into the cups and seal it with the dough. You can either make them round or oval in shape.
  2. Steam cook the dumplings and serve.

~ Sevai ~
The kozhakattai dough can also be used to make rice noodles or Sevai. Divide the dough into balls and steam cook it for 5-6 mins. When they are still hot, place them in a murukku maker with a fine holed mould and shape them like murukkus. Top them with the til poornam and some ghee.

You can also make lime and coconut sevai, recipe here. Follow the same method you use to make lime rice or coconut rice, but use the rice noodles instead. Sevai are a wonderful and very healthy breakfast/tiffin item. The variations you can try with them are clearly left to your imagination. Do try them out, I promise you will fall in love with them !!

For the Sevai, if you want to try them out with out getting into the dough making process you can look for rice noodles in the Indian grocery stores or in the pasta section in the stores. You just need to boil them in some water just like pasta, but for a shorter period of time. You can then flavor the noodles to your liking.

If you have extra filling, shape them into mini ladoo's for an additional neivedyam item.

This recipe is also my entry to Anthony's Curry Mela this week :-)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Atukulu Upma/ Rice Flakes Savoury

Dear Foodies,

Atukula upma or Poha upma is one of my favourite breakfasts. Its very easy to make and not time consuming at all too, you can get it ready in around 20 mins from scratch. This is my own version of how I think my mom makes it :-). Everyone has their own subtle varaitions to this recipe I guess.
Atukulu are also very flexible in the way that they adapt to the major ingredient in the recipe. I've heard of Poha being used instead of rice in Pulihora, Curd Rice, Tomato baath, Aloo baath. Well I guess its just upto your mood and taste where you want to use them, so go on and experiment :-)

  • 2 cups - Atukulu/thick Rice flakes
  • 1 nos - Onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp - Peanuts
  • 1 tsp - Urad dal
  • 1 tsp - Channa dal
  • 1 tsp - Mustrad seeds
  • 1 tsp - Cumin seeds/Jeera
  • 1 tsp - Turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp - Chilli powder/ 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 pinch - Asafoetida/Hing
  • 1 sprig - Curry leaves
  • 2 Tbsp - Oil
  • 2 Tbsp- Lime juice
  • Salt to taste
  1. Wash the atukulu in 2-3 changes of water, drain and let it sit for 5-8 mins. You can chop the onions in the mean time.
  2. Now take the atukulu in handfuls and squeeze the water out of them. But be careful to not crumble them out of shape. Just take a little in your fist and squeeze out as much water as you can. You will know that the water is out when the atukulu are still flaky without lumps in them. The time that you soak them in water also affects their flakiness.
  3. Heat oil in the wide pan and toss in the peanuts and roast them till they start opening up. Add the mustard and cumin seeds, once the mustard seeds start spluttering add the urad dal and channa dal. As they turn a slight red color add the curry leaves and hing.
  4. Add the chopped onions and turmeric powder and saute till the onions turn translucent.
  5. If you are using green chillies add them along with the onions, else add the chilli powder just before the Poha is added.
  6. Toss in the poha, salt and mix lightly trying to keep the poha intact. Cover with a lid and let it stay on low heat for a couple of minutes so the spices get absorbed into the poha.
  7. Turn off the heat , add lemon juice and toss well.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Sorakaya Paala Kootu/Bottle Gourd cooked in Milk

From Mom,

  • 1 nos - Bottle Gourd
  • 1 cup - Milk
  • 1 Tbsp - Sugar
  • Salt to taste
For masala :
  • 1 tsp - Black peppercorns
  • 3 nos - Red Chillies
  • 1 tsp - Rice
  • 1 Tbsp - Urad Dal
  • 1 small cup - Coconut
For seasoning:
  • 1 tsp - Mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp - Urad dal
  • 1 sprig - Curry leaves
  • 2 tsp - Oil
  1. Cube the bottle gourd and boil till they turn soft in a mocrowave or in a vessel with enough water.
  2. Roast all the masala ingredients in a little oil and set aside so they reach room temperature.
  3. Cool and grind to a paste by adding sufficient water.
  4. Now transfer the bottle gourd into a saucepan, add the paste, sugar, salt and water and allow to boil for about 5 mins.
  5. Reduce the heat and add one cup of milk and let the curry simmer for 3mins allowing all the spices to blend well.
  6. Transfer into a serving dish and season with mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves.

My Notes:
  • The same cooking method can be used for Chayote squash(bangalore kathirikai/chow chow) and pumpkin.
  • I made a slightly modified version of this kootu by adding ginger to the masala paste and adding some channa dal while boiling the bottle gaurd and skipped the milk too.
Chayote Squash

Bottle Gourd

Monday, July 17, 2006


Dear Foodies,

Something I thought you should know,
"Millions of domestic internet users could not access some of the world’s most popular blogs like, and, as the government ordered a blackout of around 18 sites for publishing content that was ‘anti-national’ and ‘against public interest’."

Another article

List of Sites Blocked :


No wonder Nandita of Saffron Trail had trouble viewing her blog while doing the round up for her event I guess !!

Blogs have been a victim of misuse for quite sometime now. They being a new concept the legalities connected with them are yet to be formulated. Until then such incidents might keep occuring and temporary fixes
like the one taken by our government to curb such acts might not always be a welcome wave.

Read on :

Few more...

But though the ISP's were unsuccessful in creating filters to block the specific blogs/sites, the techies have come up with alternatives to circumvent the problem already..!! hahaha

Friday, July 14, 2006

Potatoes in Gravy/Aloo gravy

Dear Foodies,

This was a dish that came out of boredom eating the usual potato fry. I wanted to make some kind of gravy and dint want to follow my usual style of boiling onions and tomatoes in water, cool and blend them to give the base for the dish. What I tried this time was to blend them raw and then cook. The difference in the texture and taste was significant and I liked it a lot better than my usual gravy.
I made Jeera rice along with this, it is one of my favourites and is also very easy and quick to make. I have also added the recipe for the Jeera Rice at the end of this post.

Back to the Potatoes, here's my recipe:

  • 6 nos - Potatoes
  • 4 Tbsp - Oil
  • 3 nos - Cloves
  • 2 nos - 1 inch Cinnamon sticks
  • 1 nos - Cardamom/elaichi
  • 1 tsp - Fennel seeds/Saunf
  • 1 tsp - Turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp - Red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp - Garam masala powder

Soak for 10 mins in luke warm water:
  • 1 Tbsp - Poppy seeds/Khus khus
  • 2 Tbsp - Broken Cashews

Blend the soaked ingredients along with:
  • 2 nos - Onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 nos - Tomatoes ( I used one can of chopped tomatoes)
  • 3 nos - Garlic pods
  • 2 nos - Green chillies

  1. Boil the potatoes in some salt waterand peel. Before boiling them, you can randomly prick the potatoes with a fork which will help in cooking them uniformly. If using baby potatoes you can use them whole else cut them into quarters after boiling them.
  2. Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a wide pan and slightly roast the boiled potatoes such that a thin outer crust is formed.
  3. Heat the rest of the oil in another pan and add the whole spices.
  4. Once they slightly change color add the blended paste and simmer till the oil separates. Add some water to the mixture if its too thick or it will bubble out and spoil your kitchen.
  5. Add the powders and the potatoes next and let the gravy simmer for around 7-8 mins by which time the potatoes will take in the spices.
  6. Before turning off the heat you can also add some cream to lend a rich taste to the gravy. The cashews and poppy seeds used give a nice creamy texture and also tone down the spices a bit.
  7. Serve hot with Indian breads like naan/paratha/rotis or mild rice variations like pulao/jeera rice.

  • You can skip the roasting of the potatoes. I was in a mood of some crunch in the recipe and so roasted them a bit.
  • I guess you could add other vegetables like diced carrots, peas, cauliflower to this gravy.

Jeera Rice :

  • 2 Tbsp - Cumin seeds/Jeera
  • 2 nos - Elaichi/Cardamom
  • 4 nos - 1 inch sticks of Cinnamon
  • 2 nos - Bay leaves/Biryani leaves
  • 1 nos - Onions, finely chopped
  • 2 nos - Garlic pods,sliced (optional)
  • 3 cups - Rice, pre-soaked in water for 30 mins
Procedure :
Heat some oil in a wide saucepan and saute the whole spices, once the raw smell vanishes add the garlic pods and onions and saute till the onions are transparent. Now add the rice and mix till the spices blend well and saute for about 1-2 mins. Transfer it all to a rice cooker, add water, salt and cook.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Sponge Dosa/ Rice Pancake and Tomato Chutney

Dear Foodies,
Mom's Special breakfast
My Mother's entry to Nandita's 'Weekend Breakfast Blogging'
Here's a recipe from my mom. Its one of my favourite breakfasts. I havent eaten this dosa anywhere else except at home. These dosas look like a idli-dosa hybrid variety, fluffy like the idlis and nice and crisp like dosa's, it just cant get any better !! My mom generally serves it with tomato chutney or plain pickle and idli-karam podi + oil ( I like a pinch of sugar in the idli karam podi ;-) ) . Its a perfect breakfast or also good for a light dinner.

So here goes the recipe from Mom:


  • 2 cups - Rice (preferably 1 cup - raw rice; 1 cup - parboiled rice/uppidi bhiyam)
  • 1/2 cup - Poha (atukulu) or tapioca seeds (sabudana)
  • Salt to taste

  1. Soak the rice in water for 2 hours and soak the atukulu or sabudhana in a little sour curd.
  2. Grind them together with salt and let the batter rest overnight to ferment just like dosa batter. You will see that the batter nearly doubles itself in volume by morning.
  3. Heat a pan, once its ready put a ladle full of the batter in the center, pour a little oil around the edges and cover the dosa with a lid. After a min check on the dosa, it would have fluffed up and ready to eat :-). The dosa should be cooked in low flame.
  4. Serve hot with chutney or sambar.
  • The dosa should not be shaped/spread while pouring it on the pan. Just pour a laddle full on the pan and leave it to cook.
  • A pan that has a slight dip in the center is perfect for making this dosa.
  • Poha should be prefered over the use of tapioca seeds/ sabudana.


Ingredients :
  • 10 nos - Unripe tomatoes (greenish red colored ones)
  • 1 Tbsp - Chana dal
  • 1 Tbsp - Urad dal
  • 1 Tbsp - Peanuts
  • 5 nos - Dried red chillies
  • 3 nos - Green chilies
  • 1 Tbsp - Oil
  • 1 pinch of asafoetida
  • Salt to taste


  1. Roast the dals and red chillies in a little oil till the dal turns a slight red in color and let them cool down.
  2. Slice tomatoes into quarters and saute them too in little oil till they cook a bit and then reserve till they reach room temperature.
  3. Grind all the ingredients with some salt. Fresh coriander leaves can also be added while grinding. Onions too can be fried & added along with tomatoes.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Sodhi/ Cabbage cooked in Coconut milk

*Uploaded new photos
Dear Foodies,

Going with the combo recipe I had in my previous post. Here is another wonderful combo. Sodhi is a very simple recipe. Its just what the title says it is 'cabbage cooked in coconut milk', it needs no extra spices to give taste to it. It might sound like a weird combination but trust me, the two of them blend beautifully. They have a mild but unique flavor and when used together they are wonderful. Well, but they are NOT the duo in the combo I was talking about. Sodhi served with fluffy hot puri's is one of the best combos I have had. You have to taste it to vouch for it as the taste is nothing like any of the other combo's we are used to !!

I did not have the time and patience to make puri's last night and so adjusted with some store bought plain paratha's and rice. I dint want to insult this dish by serving it with plain rice and so I gave a mild flavor of a few cloves, cardamom pods, a garlic pod and bay leaves sauteed in some ghee. I made sure the spices were just enough to lend a mild taste to the rice and would not over power the main dish, Sodhi :-)

Anyone who has tasted this dish before, do tell me...none of my friends heard of it !!! :-(


  • 1 nos - Cabbage, finely chopped
  • 2 nos - Onions, finely chopped
  • 4 nos - Green chillies, slit through the length
  • 1 sprig - Curry leaves
  • 1 cup - Coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp - Lime juice
  • Salt to taste

For seasoning:
  • 1 tsp - Mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp - Cumin seeds
  • 4 Tbsp - Oil

For fresh coconut milk:

(1) Grate 1 coconut and squeeze the milk from it using your hand or filter. The milk got with the first attempt is called 1st paalu/milk.
(2) To get more milk add some water to the leftover gratings and extract again. This is called 2nd milk. You can use a blender for this step so that the water and grated coconut mix well.
(3) Repeat step (2) for the 3rd milk.

I conveniently used store bought coconut milk,and surprisingly it tasted just as good or did I forget the taste...!!!

  1. In a wide pan heat the oil and add the mustard seeds, once they splutter add the cumin seeds.
  2. Add the green chillies and curry leaves, once they are coated with oil add the chopped onions and saute till they turn transparent.
  3. Now toss in the cabbage and saute for 2-3 mins, add salt.
  4. If using fresh prepared coconut milk add the 3rd milk first and cook for a while covering the pan with a lid, once the water content reduces add the 2nd milk and cook till the cabbage turns soft.
  5. Now reduce the flame and add the 1st milk and cook for 1-2 mins on low flame. Dont let it boil at this stage.
  6. If using store bought coconut milk then cook by adding a little water till the cabbage is cooked, then add coconut milk and let it stay on low flame for 2-3 mins. The dish is not very runny, so add little amounts of water.
  7. Turn off and add the lime juice and mix.
  8. Serve hot with puris for best results, it is a perfect pairing ;-)
  • To speed up the process, I microwaved the cabbage till the onions were done :-)
  • Before adding the 1st milk reduce the flame and let the whole curry cool down a bit. After the milk is added dont let the curry boil. You definetely dont want the milk to separate and spoil ur dish !
On requests about this recipe's origin, I asked my mom about it and here is the story:
~~ This dish belongs to the Malaysian cuisine. My grandmother had spent her childhood there and brought along a few of their dishes along with her when she came to India. She then taught my mother and now I am learning from her. I have to mention here that my grandmother is an excellent cook and has hundreds of recipes up her sleeve, she has also penned it all down in a book and is still adding to it !! ~~

Enjoy your food :-)
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