Author Archives: Gouthami Yuvarajan

Ven Pongal/ Khara Pongal / Ghee Pongal Recipe

I had posted the recipe of Pachi Pulusu aka Tamarind Chutney a couple of days back, that goes really well with Pongal. How do I miss posting recipe of the yummy Ven Pongal then?? So here it is 🙂 I am sure most South Indians must be familiar with this easy and tasty tiffin variety that finds its place in most homes in the breakfast menu. For others who might not be familiar with what this is, Pongal is nothing but a combination of rice and dal cooked with a few other ingredients and drizzled with ghee for that extra yummy feel 🙂 I can just say that I love Pongal so much. First best would be mom-made Pongal and the second best was the one we used to have in our college every Tuesday. How could one forget the pure, whitish-yellow and divine Pongal dunked in coconut chutney and sambar? Ok, am drooling here!! So, let me stop describing it more 😉

These days with so much awareness about health and avoidance of rice in daily diets, there are lot of other varieties of Pongal like Daliya Pongal made with broken wheat, millet Pongals like Samai Pongal, Oats Pongal and a lot more. You can also try all those for a much healthier version. Lets move on to the recipe now.

Ven Pongal

Serves: 3

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

Raw Rice/Pacharisi – 3/4 cup
Moong Dal – 3/4 cup
Water – 6 cups
Ghee – 3 tbsp
Curry Leaves – a few
Jeera/Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
Ginger – 1 inch piece finely chopped
Peppercorns – 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Cashew Nuts – 7-8

Method:

1. Wash and soak rice and dal together for atleast 20 minutes.
2. Drain the excess water. Add 6 cups of water and pressure cook the rice-dal mixture for atleast 6 whistles/ 20 minutes. Open after the pressure subsides and mash with a ladle.
3. Meanwhile, heat ghee in a pan. Roast cashews till golden brown and keep aside.
4. Next temper cumin seeds, ginger, pepper and curry leaves.
5. Now add the tempering, cashews and salt to the rice-dal mixture.
6. Serve hot with an accompaniment of your choice.

Notes:

– Water quantity varies with the rice and dal quality.
– You can add more/less ghee as per your choice.
– You can also add less moong dal (half the qunatity of rice). Vary the water accordingly.

Pachi Pulusu/Tamarind Chutney – best match for Pongal :)

I love Pongal – yes, the pure and divine Ven Pongal(recipe coming soon) laden with ghee and cashews !! The very thought of it makes me drool. A super yummy Pongal can be made even better with an appropriate accompaniment, right? Pongal is usually accompanied with Coconut Chutney or Sambar. However, people in my family make something called Pachi Pulusu aka Tamarind dip. There are many versions of this. The one I am posting here is of course from mommy dearest 🙂 This tastes heavenly when paired with Pongal with the tangy taste tickling our taste buds.

This mainly uses tamarind along with green chillies and a few other ingredients. Jaggery is also added to impart a slightly sweet flavour to this. Apart from the tastes matching perfectly, the color matches perfectly to the white Ven Pongal. Tamarind has a host of health benefits. It is extremely good for skin and hair. Acts as a good laxative. For more information refer http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/amazing-benefits-of-tamarind/. If you have only tried sambar or chutney as a side dish for Pongal, then it is time for a change. Try this out and let me know your feedback.

Pachi Pulusu

Serves: 3

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

Tamarind – Gooseberry Sized
Green Chillies – 2
Paruppu Podi / Roasted Gram Powder – 1.5 tsp
Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp
Jaggery – 2 tsp or more
Oil – 1 tsp
Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
Curry Leaves – a few
Salt – to taste

Method:

1. Soak tamarind in water and extract the juice completely. Keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan.Temper mustard seeds and curry leaves.
3. Saute slit green chillies.
3. Now add the tamarind extract, paruppu podi, chilli powder, jaggery and salt to taste.
4. Allow to simmer and thicken.
5. Serve hot with pongal.

Notes:

– Paruppu Podi is a mixture of roasted gram powder and red chillies. you can just use roasted gram powder instead of this.
– If roasted gram powder is used, chilli powder can be increased according to taste.
– Quantity of jaggery can also be varied according to taste.

Lemon Idiyappam/Lemon Sevai – make it in a jiffy

We do not have rice for dinner daily. So, I have to make some different tiffin everyday which involves raking of my brains to find something different. That is when these instant idiyappam/sevai packets come to rescue. Yesterday was one such day when we had lemon idiyappam/ lemon sevai for dinner. We can have n number of combinations done with this. I used Anil Rice Vermicelli to prepare this. Generally, I steam the vermicelli and have it as such with a good side dish like Masoor Dal Fry or some spicy gravy like Tricolor Capsicum Salan etc. When you really do not want to stay in the kitchen for long, then I would strongly recommend this.

The recipe here uses lemon and gives a nice tangy taste to the otherwise bland vermicelli. You really do not require any side dish for this. But if you still prefer something as an accompaniment, pickle would be a good choice. Feel free to add extra ingredients to make it much more tastier. You can have this as an evening snack and serve your guests too 🙂 Lets get on to the recipe now.

Lemon Sevai/Lemon Idiyappam

Serves: 2

Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

Rice Vermicelli – 200 g
Lemon – 1.5 medium sized lemons
Green Chillies – 2 or 3 chopped finely
Onions – 1 medium sized chopped
Salt – to taste
Oil – 2 tsp
Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

Method:

1. Prepare the rice vermicelli as per the packet instructions. I used anil brand. I generally pour boiling water over the vermicelli and leave it for 5 minutes. Then drain and steam it for 8 more minutes.
2. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan. Temper mustard seeds.
3. Add chopped onions and chillies. Saute till the onions turn soft and transparent.
4. Take the steamed vermicelli in a wide bowl. Add the onion-chilli mixture, turmeric powder,lemon juice, oil and salt to taste.
5. Apply oil on your hands and mix everything well.
6. Garnish with coriander leaves.

 Notes:

– You can also add roasted peanuts/cashew nuts to give a crunchy taste.Tadka of urad dal and channa dal can also be added.
– Add/reduce amount of lemon juice according to your taste.

Aloo Tikki Paneer Masala – tikkis in a spicy tangy gravy!!!

I had already posted a simple recipe of Peas Pulao a few days back. I paired the simple and mild pulao with this gravy – Aloo Tikki Paneer Masala. Yes, you heard it right?? Made aloo tikkis and put those in the gravy. It tasted yumm and to add to the taste, I had the all time favorite Paneer too!! This would be a perfect choice for rotis as well.

Me and hubby are great fans of pulao – gravy combination. So, on most sundays, we resort to this stuff. You can also check out my other gravy recipes like Tricolor Capsicum Salan, Cashew Potato Gravy, Masoor Dal Fry etc. This sunday , I was planning to use up the potatoes that were lying in my pantry but did not want the usual style. That is when I got this idea. Made aloo tikkis 🙂 I know all of you want me to go straight to the recipe and yeah, here I go…

Aloo Tikki Paneer Masala

Serves: 4

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

For Aloo Tikkis:

Potatoes – 4 medium sized
Cumin/Jeera Powder – 1/2 tsp
Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – to shallow fry

For the gravy:

Onions – 2 big
Tomatoes – 2 big
Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
Cumin/Jeera Powder – 1/2 tsp
Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
Garam Masala – 1/2 tsp
Sugar – 1 tsp
Paneer – 200 gms
Salt – to taste
Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
Oil – 3 tsp

Method:

1. Pressure cook potatoes for 6 whistles. Mash when they are still hot.
2. Add all the masalas for the tikkis. Shape them into medium sized balls and flatten them into tikkis. Shallow fry till they turn brown on both sides.
3. For the gravy, heat oil in a pan. Saute onions till they turn transparent.
4. Now add tomatoes and little salt. Once they turn mushy, add the masalas and mix well.
5. Cool down the onion tomato mixture and blend to a smooth paste.
6. Heat some more oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and once they splutter, add the paste, sugar and enough salt.
7. Add enough water to get the desired consistency. Allow to simmer.
8. When the mixture comes to a boil, add paneer and the aloo tikkis cut into pieces. Leave it to simmer for 3 more minutes.
9. Garnish with coriander leaves.

15 minute Pepper Mushroom – this is super hottttt!!

Hello folks. Belated Pongal/Sankranthi wishes to everybody. I had been super busy these two days and wasn’t even able to switch on my laptop. Neither could I take a picture of the Sakkarai Pongal and Pal Pongal that I had prepared. I promise to share the recipes of those two soon so that you can bookmark them and use it for your next Pongal. With two days of yummy feasts like Sweet/Sakkarai Pongal and Pal Pongal, if  you are looking for a different dish for a change, here comes the simple Pepper Mushroom to satiate your spicy cravings. This is so simple that it hardly took me around 15 minutes to prepare it.

A lot of vegetarians do not take mushroom and I was one among them. But once you taste it, I am sure you will fall in love with these. They are super nutritious too. Mushrooms are a great source of vitamins and minerals like vitamin B, Selenium, copper and potassium. I usually prepare gravy with mushrooms that goes very well with rotis etc ( Check out the recipe here – Simple Mushroom Gravy). My mother in law loves mushrooms and of course, all of us like it too 🙂 This was the first time I tried this and it tasted great. You can have this as a starter or pair it with some mild pulao(Check out these rice varieties) /fried rice etc. Off to the recipe now.

Pepper Mushroom

Serves: 3

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

Button Mushrooms – 200 g
Onion – 1 medium chopped
Garlic – 5 cloves
Cumin/Jeera Powder – 1 tsp
Pepper Powder – 1 tsp
corn flour – 2 tsp
Milk – 1/4 cup
oil – 4 tsp
Salt – to taste
Coriander leaves – to garnish

Method:

1. Clean and chop mushrooms into small pieces. Keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan. Add onions and garlic. Saute till the onions turn transparent and the garlic turns brown.
3. Now add mushrooms, cumin powder,pepper powder,salt amd little water. Saute till the mushrooms are cooked.
4. Mix corn flour and milk without lumps. Add this mixture and cook till the whole mass becomes little thick.
5. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

Green Peas Pulav/Peas Pulao – easy and simple!!

Green Peas Pulav/Pulao is the simplest pulao recipe that can be made in a jiffy. This is the best choice to serve your guests too. Sundays always need to be special in terms of lunch/dinner for us. I always settle down for some mild pulao with a spicy gravy/dal fry. This sunday was one such day and when peas was available, this was my immediate choice. Paired it with some Aloo Tikki Paneer masala(recipe coming soon) and Masoor Dal Fry. Hubby loves pulao paired with a gravy and so am happy too 🙂

I have used fresh green peas here. You can make use of dried peas too but that would require some soaking time. I also added a few mint leaves for extra flavor and it was great. Talking about the health benefits of peas, they are very low in calories and have a lot of health benefits. They are rich in folic acid, ascorbic acid, vitamin K etc etc. Apart from these benefits, the taste is overwhelmingly good. So, are you ready to create some magic in your kitchen with this yummy pulao? Here you go….

Peas Pulav

Serves: 4

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

Basmathi rice – 1.25 cups
Fresh Green Peas – around 1/2 cup
Onion – 1 sliced
Green Chillies – 3
Mint Leaves – a handful
Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
Bay Leaf – 1
Star Anise – 1 or 2
Cloves – 4/5
Cinnamon – small piece
Ghee – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Water – 2.5 cups

Method:

1. Wash and clean basmathi rice. Soak in water for around 30 minutes.
2. Heat ghee in a pan. Add the cumin seeds. once they splutter, add cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf and star anise. Saute for 2 minutes.
3. Next add onions and green chillies. saute till the onions turn translucent.
4. Now add green peas and mint leaves. Add little water so that the peas become little soft.
5. Once the water is absorbed, add the drained basmathi rice. Fry till the rice grains become dry.
6. Add 2.5 cups water to an automatic rice cooker. Add the above peas and rice mixture.Add required salt.
7. Switch on the rice cooker to cooking mode and cook till done.

Pressure Cooker Method:

I did this in a rice cooker. If you do it in a pressure cooker, do steps 1-5 in the pressure cooker directly. Then add 2.5 cups water and salt. Close the cooker with weight on. once two whistles are done, reduce the flame to sim and cook for another 5 minutes. Open and mix once the pressure subsides.

Apple Paneer Salad – No cook healthy salad!!

Its time for my first salad recipe on Clicks N Bites. Of late, myself and hubby have decided to do some detox diets. With the whole world emphasizing on healthy eating and weight loss, we thought why not we do it atleast once a week. So, here begins our mission for the new year. This is a very simple salad with apple and paneer. I originally wanted to do this with Tofu but unfortunately, I could not get tofu that day and so settled for paneer. Please replace paneer with tofu for a much more healthier version. This salad does not use any fatty or heavy dressing. So this is one perfect dish when you feel like skipping your dinner and when you really do not want to slog in the kitchen preparing the dinner. Try this easy no cook salad for a change and feel the difference 🙂

Let me list down some of the health benefits here. Apples are rich in fiber, antioxidants and what not. An apple a day indeed keeps the doctor away. However, with lots of fertilisers and pesticides in use, I usually do not prefer the wax coated apples. Please peel off the skin in case you get hold of such apples or try to use organic apples. Next on the list is paneer. Again, paneer is a healthy source of protein, burns down more fat and has lots of calcium in it. Tofu if used is going to make this much more healthier and vegan. So, the choice is users. The dressing mainly uses olive oil. Am sure most of you must be familiar with the benefits of olive oil. I used Gaia Extra Virgin Olive Oil.Olive oil is known to be rich in monosaturated fat that helps reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases good cholesterol (HDL) that protects your heart. It also contains anti-oxidants that provide anti-aging benefits and help keep your skin and hair healthy. This is a super healthy meal that your kids will enjoy too. Lets move on to the recipe now.

Apple Paneer Salad

Serves: 2

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

Apple – 1 big peeled and chopped into small pieces
Paneer – 200 gms chopped into small pieces
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 1 tbsp
Dry Red Chillies – 4 (ground to chilli flakes)
Salt – to taste
Lemon juice – as needed
Coriander leaves – as needed

Method:

1. Mix apple and paneer with lemon juice to avoid discoloration.
2. Take olive oil in a small container. Add chilli flakes and salt. Shake well.
3. Pour the dressing into the apple paneer mixture.
4. Add coriander leaves and serve.

Notes:

– You can substitute pepper for chilli flakes.
– You can add any other ingredient like mayonnaise instead of olive oil for a richer salad. But olive oil is the healthiest option.

Onion Coconut Chutney – can be made in a jiffy!!

Well, I am back with a post after a very very long time. Was extremely busy migrating my wordpress.com site to a new host and all that. Finally, got a chance to post this recipe. Very often we get bored with the usual accompaniments that go with the evergreen idlis/dosas. I have already posted a lot of different chutney recipes like Apple Chutney, Sweet Corn Chutney etc. (Click here for all chutney recipes). This time it is a very simple chutney recipe that goes very well with idlis/dosas – Onion Coconut Chutney. There are two versions of onion chutney that my mother prepares. One with just onions and this one which uses ingredients very similar to coconut chutney but with some differences. Off to the recipe now.

onion-coconut-chutney

Serves: 4

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 minutes

Ingredients:

Onions – 2 medium sized chopped
Coconut – 12-15 bite sized pieces
Roasted Gram / Dalia / Pottukadalai – 2.5 tbsp
Dry Red Chillies – 4/5
Salt – to taste
Oil – 1 tsp
Curry Leaves – a few
Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp

Method:

1. Blend all ingredients except oil, curry leaves and mustard seeds to a paste adding little water.
2. Temper mustard seeds and curry leaves in oil and add to the chutney.

 

Almond Paneer Capsicum Curry – experimental success!!

I always keep experimenting in my kitchen and come up with some interesting recipe. Specially when I get bored of the usual stuff, I put on the experimenting hat. Today was one such day! Phew, really bored with the usual sabji that is made with capsicum. So, made the usual one with half of the capsicums and reserved the remaining portion for my experiment. Hubby gets the usual one for lunch and the selfish me, the new and much yummier curry!! Well, I reserved some for hubby and got some appreciation too 😉 😉 Ok, now this is a simple curry which has almonds and paneer apart from capsicums to add to the richness of the curry. I had it with hot steamed rice. It tasted great with aapams too. So should be a great match with rotis as well. Off to the recipe now.

Almond Paneer Capsicum Curry

Serves: 2

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

Capsicum – 1 cup chopped
Onions – 1 medium sized
Almonds – 25
Paneer – 4 tbsp
Coconut – 2 tbsp
Green Chillies – 2
Oil – 2 tsp
Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
Tamarind – small gooseberry sized
Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
Sugar – 1/2 – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste

Method:

1. Soak almonds in hot water for around 10 minutes. Peel the skin and keep aside.
2. Grind the almonds along with coconut, green chillies and tamarind to a smooth paste adding enough water.
3. Heat oil in a pan. Temper mustard and cumin seeds.
4. Next add onions and saute till they turn brown.
5. Now add chopped capsicum and saute till they turn little soft.
6. Now add the ground paste,turmeric powder and saute till the capsicums are completely cooked.
7. Add required salt and sugar.
8. Finally add grated paneer and mix well.
9. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Sweet Corn Chutney -for your idlis and dosas!!

Had some sweet corn lying in my pantry. Wanted to try out something new and this chutney was the result. Paired it with some Broken Wheat idlis and it tasted great. If you are bored of the usual corn chat or soups etc., try this chutney for a change. This will surely be a change from your usual chutneys too!! Check out the recipe.

Sweet Corn Chutney

Serves: 4

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

Sweet Corn Kernels – 3/4 cup
Channa Dal – 3 tbsp
Red Chillies – 2
Green Chillies – 2
Tamarind – Gooseberry sized
Jaggery – 1 tsp or to taste
Oil – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste
Curry Leaves – a few
Mustard Seeds – 1/2 tsp

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Method:

1. Heat oil in a pan. Temper mustard seeds and curry leaves. Keep aside.
2. Heat some more oil in a pan. Saute channa dal and chillies till dal turns golden brown.
3. Steam corn kernels with some water till it turns soft. I microwaved the corn with some water for 3 minutes. You can also put it in boiling water for 2-3 minutes.
4. Grind the boiled corn, channa dal, chillies along with tamarind, jaggery and salt to a smooth paste.
5. Add the tempering to the chutney finally.
6. Serve with idlis or dosas.