Monday, December 11, 2006

Blogging Vacation

Dear Samayalites,

I am taking a vacation from blogging.I need to update myself professionally.But will be visiting your blogs whenever time permits.

Catch you all later.

pic:courtesy google

Monday, December 04, 2006

Karthigai Deepam 2006

Karthigai Deepam - Festival of Lights is celebrated in TamilNadu on the occurrence of Karthigai Nakshatram/Star in the tamil month of Kiruthigai.Hindus decorate their homes and alters with little oil lamps to celebrate this day, which marks the death of a historic Rakshasan (Demon).The Karthigai Nakshatram is of great importance to Sri Murugan, as it is considered as his birth star. When it falls on a Monday, and occurs during the month of Karthigai, it is considered especially sacred, and devotees undertake fasts and special prayers to seek the Lord’s blessings.
courtesy :

More about Karthigai Deepam Festival ...

In tamilnadu,
Thiruvannamai- Sri Arunachaleswarar temple is famous for Karthigai deepam.
It is believed that every year during the Tamil month of Karthigai in Kiruthigai Star, exactly at 6.00 p.m. Arthanareeswaramurthi presents himself as Jyothi Swaroopa to his devotees at the time of Karthigai Festival 10th day.
Courtesy : googling

Thiruvannamalai Deepam

So at 6 o' clock people lit their home with lamps to worship the lord himself in the Jyothi form.

Pic : Deepam in my home

Friday, December 01, 2006

Healthy Vegetable Soup

The story of Healthy Vegetable Soup

On a cold night,under the warm blanket ,in the cozy sofa ......... wait wait it is not a scene from a movie .I was wondering what to make for dinner.Then came the idea of soup ; result of watching food network.Recollecting some episodes and with the available ingredients in my fridge and pantry,i started on my version of vegetable soup.What next?.It was a hit.Happy to share it with all of you.


1 cup of all the veggies per head is the ratio i used.You can have your own selection/quantity of vegetables
  • shredded cabbage,cubed carrot,celery sticks,chopped onions,tomatoes(missing in pic),cilantro,tiny pasta(any kind,i used little macaroni)
  • Salt,pepper,turmeric powder
  • bay leaves (optional)
  • green chilis for extra spiciness (optional)
  • Chicken broth/chicken stock/vegetable stock ( or can use water too.if soup is too watery,dissolve some corn startch in water and add to it) Ratio 1 cup veggie = 2 1/2 cup broth. You can also mix-match water with broth for that 2 1/2 cups.
  • Beans (any kind)


Heat oil a soup pot/cooker,add onions fry till translucent.Then add in tomatoes and all veggies,peas/beans one by one sautaing each ,for a minute or so.Add SP(salt,pepper).Add in the chicken broth and simmer till the required consistency needed.It may take around 20 mins or more depending on the quantity you make.

hmm ... soup .... noodle soup ah! errrrr! no no no vegetable soup - Just remembered the episode from FRIENDS where Joey auditioned for Soup,but for every take he could only say hmm ........ Noodle Soup where he should actually say hmm ....Soup

Pic : hearty and healthy vegetable soup

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Hi All,

Have a happy thanksgiving with great food,family and friends.Meet you all after the great weekend .

Pics:courtesy googling

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dinner ... Chilli Chicken and Chapati

Inspired by Asha .. Foodie's Hope brunch ideas,i tried chilli chicken.Did a little bit of alteration according to our palate.

A quick whip up dish for dinner.But yet a classic one.

  • Chicken .. 1/2 pound boneless skinless breasts cut into bite size pieces
  • Onion .. 1 medium cut lengthwise
  • Tomato .. 1 medium cubed
  • Capsicum/green bell pepper .. 1/2 cut into long stripes
  • Green chilli .. 3 silted
  • Powders .. 1/2 tsp turmeric,1/4 tbsp red chilli,1/2 tsp meat/chicken pwd,1/2 tsp black pepper,1 pinch red color(optional),salt
  • Cilantro/Corriander leaves .. 3 or 4 stripes finely chopped
  • Oil

Heat oil in a kadai,add onions,green chilli's,capsicum/bell pepper saute till all are little fried say for 3 to 4 mins.Add chicken,all pwds,coat all the masala well with the chicken.Cook for 2 minutes then add tomatoes and cook covered at medium high for 8 to 10 minutes.By this time chicken will be cooked well(since it is boneless skinless,chicken cooks fast). If not cook for more time.Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Pics : Chapati with Chilli Chicken

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Dishes From Fellow Samayalites -- Shredded Chicken/Chicken Chuka

Last week fully has been a try out week with dishes from fellow samayalites. This dish was from Inji Pennu.I call this Chuka because it has dry,fried consistency.I made this as a side for fried rice.Awesome combo.

Try Out Procedure
  • Chicken .. 1 pound boneless,skinless chicken breast cut into 2 inch cubes
  • Acid .. 2 tspn Vinegar/lime juice to cook chicken
  • Onion .. 2 medium,finely chopped
  • Green Chillis .. 7 to 8 ,chopped (add more if you need it hot)
  • Black pepper pwd .. 1 1/2 tbsp
  • Salt
  • Tempering(thalika) .. oil,mustard,curry leaves
Cook the chicken in water with any acid(i used lime juice) and salt until the pieces turn white which indicates it is fully cooked.Drain the excess water and Cool it.Shred the chicken with your hands.It is very easy to do.
Heat oil in kadai,do tempering,add chillis ,onions saute for 3 mins.Add the shredded chicken,salt,pepper.Saute until the chicken turn fried,crispy.It may take upto 10 mins or so.
Goes well as a starter for wine.

Pic : shredded chicken/chicken chukka

Friday, November 10, 2006

Dishes From Fellow Samayalites -- Bittergourd Chips/Pavakai chips

Bittergourd/Pavakai(tamil) : I like to have it any form.Normally we do subji(saute with lot of onions until it is cooked).I followed Indira of Mahanadi's bittergourd preparation.As it was baking rather than frying,it requires less oil.

My Try Out Procudure :

Thinly slice the bittergourd into circular sizes,toss with little EVOO(EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL) or any oil,red chilli pwd,salt,turmeric and leave to marinate for about 10 minutes.By the time,preheat oven to 375° F and bake for about 20 minutes(depends on oven).If doing for first time,you kinda need to babysit it and check now and then.

Pic : chips baking at 375° F for about 20 minutes

To make extra crispy,my broiler took about 3 minutes

Pic : chips,ready to eat after broiling

Serve as a side for rice and sambar.I had it with turnip/mulangi sambar.It was a nice combo.Didn't take the picture of the combo.Will try to take it next time and update.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

what is my name?

I have decided to go healthy by adding greens/keerai thrice in a week.Bought this greens/keerai from Farmers Market this week(thinking that it is AARA keerai(tamil).Obviously it is not).I dont know the name of this one.But i made subji.It tastes good.Next time if i know the name and its properties,i will enjoy the dish more.

So can anyone please give me its name?

PIC - What is my name in English/Tamil ?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Dishes From Fellow Samayalites-Vegetable Puffs

This has been a long pending post.I made it about a month ago, i guess.Following the links from fellow samayalites Raji-TastyCooks , Sudha-Samayal , Archana-Spicyana i tried my version and succeeded.

My memory about puffs dates long back to my primary school days.The name of the bakery is Greatest Bakery.Vegetable puffs,butter bun are some of my favourite items.It was right behind my school compound.I even remember the aroma of the baked bread,puffs ... which made me more hungry.I tried to get some pictures of my favourite bakery.This is the newest look of it.

pic courtesy :

Pics : Vegetable puffs-my version front view,side view,lateral view :)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Parings with Cocktail - Kadalai Masal(Peanut Masal)

Parings with Cocktail - Kadalai Masal(Peanut Masal) :- This is a easy,simple paring with beer,wine or any cocktail.

  • As shown in the picture(onion,tomato,cilantro,lime,peanuts)
  • Red chilli powder - 2 pinches
  • Salt - 1/2 pinches

Finely chop the onion,tomatoes(make sure tomatoes are not so juicy),cilantro.In a serving bowl add all the chopped items.If the peanuts/kadalai is salted then rinse in water twice/thrice,dry in paper towel add it to the bowl.Add chili pwd,salt,three squeezes of lime juice,mix well and serve.

Pic : kadalai / peanut masal

Pic : paring with chilled beer / red wine

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Restaurant style Chicken Chettinad

Whenever we go to restaurant,we order this Chicken Chettinad dish.M likes it.I have made a list of Chicken dishes to try at home.Here goes the list - chicken chettinad,madras chicken,butter chicken,pepper chicken,chilli chicken and goes on ... .I have got recipes for few of them.But the right time hasn't yet arrived.
After lot of self-encouragement,self-enthusiasm,i decided to try Chicken Chettinad.It was a hit.M gave two thumbs up for this home made dish.I am glad to share it with you all.

  • Chicken - with bones 1/2 or 1 pound cut into medium sized pieces
  • Onion - 2 medium sized chopped
  • Tomato - 2 large chopped
  • Powders - 1 tsp each of red chilli and turmeric
  • Lime juice - 2 tsp or about 1/2 lime
  • Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Water - 2 cups
  • Salt - to taste
  • Curry leaves - 8 to 10 Stripes
  • Coriander/Cilantro leaves - finely chopped for garnishing
For the Paste
  • Poppy seeds (khus khus) - 2 tsp
  • Whole red chillies - 6
  • Coconut - grated 6 tblspn
  • Seeds - 1 tspn each of coriander, cumin, fennel and black pepper
  • Cinnamon -1" piece broken
  • Cloves,Green cardamoms - 2 each
  • Ginger,Garlic - 2 tsp each,chopped

In a kadai,heat little oil, roast all the ingredients for the paste except for ginger and garlic. Allow to cool and grind to a paste along with ginger and garlic.

Pic : roasted ingredinats for the paste

Heat the rest oil in a kadai and fry the onions till they are golden brown. Add the curry leaves, the ground paste , turmeric and red chilli powders. Fry for about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and fry for about another 2 minutes.At this stage,the oil starts leaving the sides of the pan.If not fry for more time.Then add the chicken and mix well. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes.Add the lemon juice and water.Add salt and mix well. Cover and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes or till the chicken is fully cooked.Garnish with coriander leaves.

Pic : Chicken Chettinad
Serve hot with white rice/Chapati/Naan.

  • Adding more curry leaves give a distinct flavor
  • Can make it little dry or gravy depending on your taste (for dry,allow the chicken to cook for more than 20 minutes during the last stage).

Recipe Source

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Great Smoky Mountains - Tennessee

Great Smoky Mountains , Tennessee - It is a mountain range spreading along the borders of Tennessee and North Carolina.It is a perfect vacation spot all year round on the montains.

The Smoky Mountains have arts & crafts, hiking, biking, tubing, horseback riding, live music, and two annual festivals. Whichever season you choose, there's always a good adventure to be found. After a day of fun, find a great place to eat followed by a stay in a cabin, hotel, bed & breakfast, or at a campsite.

Stay at Gatlinburg- Gateway to the Smokies.

Pictures from a short visit to smoky mountains with friends



Fall Colors seen from Sky Ride

Tuesday, October 24, 2006





Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Hotel Rasam

Hotel Rasam :- I learnt this recipe from my friend Anu.This rasam is made without Garlic.It tastes similar to the rasam we get from hotel.So i named it Hotel Rasam.

Ingrediants(measures for 4)

Rasam Powder
  • Chana Dhal(kadalai parupu) - 1 tb spoon
  • Kothamali seeds/Corriander seeds - 1/2 tb spoon
  • Black pepper corns - 1 t spoon
  • Cumin Seeds/Jeera Seeds - 1 1/2 t spoon
  • Dry Red Chilli - 2 big
  • Methi/Vendhayam - 1 pinch
Ingrediants to make rasam powder.Only for display,not exact measures

Heat a kadai and dry roast(until channa dhal,corr.seeds turn into brown color) all the above ingrediants.

Dry roasted ingrediants ready to be powdered

Cool it for a while.Grind to a fine powder in a blender or coffee grinder.
  • Tamarind- lemon size,soak in 4 cups of water
  • Tomato- 1/2 medium chopped
  • Corriander/kothamali leaves - chopped ,as required
  • Powders- turmeric 1/4 t spoon,hing/Kayam 4 shakes
  • Salt-as required
  • Seasoning-mustard,curry leaves

Heat oil in a kadai,add the seasonings,when it splutters,add tomatoes fry until they are mushy.Add the rasam powder and fry for 3 mins.Nice aroma arises at this stage.Now add the tamarind water.Add the powders,salt.Allow to boil for 6 to 7 mins.Add corriander leaves.When you see bubbles starting to arise.Switch off the stove.Rasam is ready.Serve with rice or as a soup particulary when it is raining outside.

Hotel Rasam
  • You can make the rasam powder in a bluk,store it in a air tight container or in freezer as use it as needed.
  • It goes well with veggie side dishes.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Columbus Day Weekend Trip

Columbus Day Weekend Trip :-We made a trip to Asheville,North Carolina.

Blue Ridge Parkway :- Experience America's Favorite Drive!.The Falls colors were at their peak.It was so good.Good Memories.We rode along the Blue Ridge Parkway.It is an uphill drive to the mountains.Perfect to see fall colors.

Blue Ridge Parkway-Fall Colors on near by Mountains

There are many mountains along the BlueRidge Parkway.We decided to go to GrandFather Mountain.It is the highest peak in the Blue Ridge mountain range and a globally recognized nature preserve.

Swinging Bridge in GrandFather Mountain

Biltmore Estate :- It is the America's largest privately owned house.This house was in many movies.Read more .

Biltmore house,Asheville,North Carolina

If you happen to visit/pass thru North Carolina,these places must be in TO-SEE list.It is worth the time and money.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Bachelor's Dish- Shrimp/Prawn Thokku

Bachelor's Dish- Shrimp/Prawn Thokku :- This shrimp dish is very easy to prepare.So i have listed it under Bachelor Dish.I make this dish whenever there is time contraint.

  • Shrimp/Prawn-1/2 pound (i normally buy the de-veined,fully cleaned, cooked shrimp from American stores.How to clean shrimp?)
  • Onion-1 large finely chopped
  • Tomato-1 large finely chopped
  • Ginger+Garlic paste- 1/2 tsp
  • Powders-turmeric 1/4 tsp,red chilli powder 1/2 tbsp,corriander powder 1 tbsp,garam masala 1/2 tsp
  • Seasoning-fennel(sombu/sauf) 1/2 tsp,curry leaves 1 stripe,Green Chilis-4 chopped
  • Salt-as required
  • Oil-5 tbsp
  • Corriander leaves-6 stripes finely chopped
  • Lime Juice-2 tbsp

Marinate the (cleaned and washed) shrimp with little turmeric powder,salt,black pepper,lime juice.Do not allow to marinate for more than 15 minutes becoz the acidity of lime with literally start cooking the shrimp.So after that if you cook it,it tends to become rubbery.

Heat 4tbsp of oil in a kadai,add the seasonings,when they splutter add the onions,saute well for 4 mins or till they turn color.Add the tomatoes and saute well till they are mashed well.Add the ginger+garlic paste followed by the powders.Saute untill all are cooked well.It takes around 5 mins.Salt it.Add the shrimp and mix it well with the gravy.Once the shrimp are curled,it indicates they are cooked.Reduce heat and after 4 mins turn off heat.If you cook for long time,they become rubbery.Garnish with corriander leaves,finally add lime juice and serve.

Enjoy it with plain rice/chapati/paratha

Pics:Shrimp Thokku

Friday, September 29, 2006

Puri - Chicken Therakal

Dishes From Fellow Samayalites

Puri - Chicken Therakal:-I tried KK-Kitchenmate's Puri-Chicken Therakal.Came out Good.This one is a keep.Some Samples

Monday, September 25, 2006

Awesome Blossom

Awesome Blossom :- It is the name of an appetizer served in Chili's Restaurant, a fresh whole onion sliced to look like flower "blossom" and served crispy-crunchy and steaming hot.

Chili's Awesome Blossom Pics

Here is my version of it.

  • Onion-1 medium
  • Besan/Gram Flour(kadalai maavu in tamil)-little more than 1/2 cup
  • Rice flour-2 tbsps (makes it crispy on the outside)
  • Baking soda-2 pinches
  • Red Chilli Powder-1/2 tsp
  • Pepper Powder-1/4 tsp
  • Salt-as required
  • Water-to mix the flours
  • Oil-to deep fry

Cut the onions with the roots on so the layers are not seperated like in the pics.(Chili's version looked like a whole fried onion.I tried to cut the onions that way but ended up with the below version)

In a bowl add all the dry ingrediants and add water little by little to make into a dipping consistency.It shouldn't be too watery or too thick.The battery should coat the onions well.Use your fingers to seperate the individual petals as you dip into the batter so that each layer is coated well with the batter and drop them into the oil.Deep fry till golden brown and crispy.

Awesome blossom - my version

Serve it with hot tea/coffee with chutney or tomato sauce or any spicy sauce.

M's Comments
  • Taste-super
  • Appreance-not bad for a copykat
After posting my version,i came across the almost original recipe at Awesome Blossom