Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Oven Roasted Peanuts | Varutha Kadala | Roasted Peanuts

My family and my extended family, we all like to munch on salted roasted peanuts.. Even the kids and toddlers too follow the trend :) Everyone loves to munch some good salted "kadala" or "kappalandi" or  "nilakadala" or "verkadalai" whatever name you call it ! I remember in my childhood days my mom and dad used to try to re-create the kappalandikaran's way of roasting peanuts by adding sand in the kadai and then heating them to an optimum temperature and then trying to roast the peanuts in them.. If I ask them about that, they will still reminisce them with more failure stories than success ones ; The idea was to re-create the perfectly roasted peanuts that we get from the road side vendors, but it's quite a feat to achieve at home without damaging your utensils. And in those days it was cheaper to buy the roasted peanuts from them than try to recreate at home...

But nowadays it is so costly to buy from them, have you noticed? You just get three fistfuls for 10 bucks. And every time you want to munch on peanuts you can't go searching for the kappalandi chetan right :D So I learnt to roast these peanuts very gracefully in a microwave from my Mil.. It's very easy and fuss free and you do not leave behind a spotted dirty looking kadai.. Cool right? And now the different microwave brands work differently.. Some heat up fast while some are slower, so take baby steps first and know your microwave lest you are left with bad looking burnt peanuts !

Soaking Time : 60 minutes

Cooking Time : 10-15 minutes

I Used:

Peanuts-As Needed
Salt-As Needed

The Way:

1. Soak peanuts in salt water for 30-60 minutes. The water should be salty when you taste it. Hence taste and add salt accordingly. If salt is not sufficient, the roasted peanuts will not taste great

2. Once soaked. spread the peanuts on the microwave tray. Set your oven to microwave mode and power to max (in my case 900 W) and timer to 3 minutes

3. After 3 minutes, open the oven and quickly stir the peanuts with a spatula. This is to ensure that they get roasted evenly

4. Then again keep in 900 W for another 2 minutes. Again open and stir with a spatula. I continued like this for a total of 11 minutes and the peanuts were roasted. In my mil's microwave she keeps for 5 minutes twice or thrice till done. That oven doesn't heat too fast and hence she is able to keep for a longer time. So know your oven and test with smaller time during the first time. Then you will get the hang of it and can improvise 

5. And watch out for the burnt smell. If you get them, immediately switch off the oven and open the door and allow it to cool. And from next time keep for a lower time :)

Hope my tips are helpful and you could roast some good peanuts :) Let me know your comments and thoughts in the comments section !


Friday, 20 April 2018

Mushroom Do pyaza | Easy Mushroom Dopyaza recipe

Are you a mushroom lover? I am and that too an ardent one. That's why you can see many mushroom recipes here :) Deeps is not a big fan and Dhruv is an occasional eater. But that doesn't stop me from buying and making them. i do prepare for myself once in a month or so ;) So today's recipe is an easy do pyaza preparation using mushrooms. do pyaza as you know is nothing but using onions twice in the recipe.. Like do (two) pyaz (onions).. This is a simple preparation and makes a wholesome meal with some phulkas.. An easy to go option for making lunch box recipes that look healthy as well as cute and filled :) So the mushroom fans, do try out and let me know :) 

Preparation Time : 10 minutes

Cooking Time : 30 minutes

Serves : 3-4 persons 

I Used:

Mushroom - 200 gm
Oil - 3 tbsp
Onion - 1 medium sized - cubed
Onion - 1 ½ medium sized - chopped finely
Tomato - 1 medium sized - chopped finely
Ginger-Garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Green Chilly - 2 nos
Turmeric powder - ¼ tsp
Red Chilly powder - ½ tsp
Coriander powder - ½ tsp
Cumin powder - ½ tsp
Garam masala - ½ tsp
Coriander leaves - To Garnish
Salt - As Needed

The Way:

1. Clean the mushrooms by removing the skin (refer here) and slice them up. Chop 1 big sized onion (I used 1½ medium sized onion) and cut into cubes another medium sized onion. Chop finely 1 medium sized tomato and keep aside

2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Add the cubed onions and saute them till they turn slightly golden. Do not brown them. Once done, remove and keep them aside

3. Now add the remaining 2 tbsp oil. When it turns hot, add the chopped onions and slit green chillies along with some salt and saute 

4. When they turn translucent add the ginger-garlic paste and saute for 4-5 minutes till the raw smell goes off and the onions slowly start to change colour

5. Now add all the dry masala powders - red chilly, coriander, turmeric, cumin and garam masala. Give a nice stir. Saute for another 3-4 minutes and allow the raw smell of the masalas to go off. Take care not to burn them and keep sauteeing occasionally

6. Then add the chopped tomatoes and saute. The tomatoes should turn soft and mushy

7. Finally add the sliced mushrooms and give a gentle stir. Now cover the pan and cook the mushrooms till done. Do not add water. Mushrooms release water when they are covered and cooked. So that will be sufficient for them to get cooked 

8. Now when the mushrooms are cooked, there can be some water left in the pan. If then keep the lid open and allow the water to evaporate and the gravy to become dry

9. When done, add the sauteed cubed onions and coriander leaves and give a nice stir. Switch off flame and serve with some hot phulkas !


Thursday, 19 April 2018

Easy Tomato Pickle | Tomato Thokku | Thakkali Thokku Recipe | Thakkali Urukkai

Tomatoes are getting cheaper now right? So why don't we pickle some? And if it can serve you as a relish or side for your idly, dosa, chapathi, curd rice, sambar rice or rasam rice. then isn't the recipe a winner? Yes, I am not joking. This is such a pickle, a versatile one ;) I enjoy it the most with curd rice and dosa.. It is also an ideal one to make and give for your loved ones travelling abroad! So let me stop the talking now and let the recipe and pics do the work for you :)


Preparation Time : 5 minutes

Cooking Time : 40 minutes

Recipe source : Ma

Makes : A 120 gm bottle 

I Used:

Tomatoes - 4-5 medium ones (½ kg)
Tamarind  - A small gooseberry sized
Chilly powder - 2-3 tbsp
Oil - 3 tbsp
Mustard 1 tsp
Asafoetida - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 2-3 sprigs
Salt - As Needed
Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
Ginger-Garlic paste - 2 tbsp
Fenugreek-Mustard powder - 2 tsp (Use 2 tsp each of mustard & fenugreek seeds)

The Way:

1. In a pan dry roast the mustard seeds (2 tsp) and fenugreek seeds (2 tsp) for 4-5 minutes on low flame. Take care not to burn them. It starts giving a nice aroma and also the mustard will start spluttering. Then off the flame. Allow it to cool and powder them in a clean and dry mixer jar. You can grind this powder in bulk and use it for all of your pickles

2. Grind together the tomatoes, tamarind and red chilly powder together to a smooth paste

3. In a wide pan, heat oil. Splutter mustard. Then turn the flame to low and add asafoetida. Make sure that they do not get burnt. Then add the curry leaves

4. Then slowly pour in the ground tomato paste. Take care while pouring, since the pan is hot they can splutter out on you

5. Then add in the required amount of salt, turmeric powder and ginger-garlic paste. Now turn in the heat to medium

6. Let the pulp cook in medium flame until the water gets evaporated and it slowly starts turning into a mass. This will take about 15-20 minutes. Keep stirring in between to avoid them getting burnt

7. When it gets to solidify check for salt and hotness. Add salt and red chilly powder if required as per your needs

8. Once it gets thick add the fenugreek-mustard powder and give a nice stir. Leave for about a minute or two and then switch off the flame

9. Store in a clean and dry glass jar or container. If making in large quantities then preserve them in fridge

Can serve with idly, dosa, chapathi, curd rice, rasam rice and sambar rice !


  • The amount of red chilly powder given here is what I used. It will vary depending on the sourness of the tomatoes. So adjust as per your needs
  • Adding tamarind is purely optional. If your tomatoes are too sour, then omit them
  • Ginger-garlic paste is also optional. If you do not need them, then go ahead and skip them
  • Instead of grinding the tomatoes, you can also chop them into fine pieces and add them. In that case the skin of the tomatoes tend to come off separately and it is slightly difficult to get a smooth texture or the pickle
  • Make sure that the water content from the tomato pulp completely dries off else your shelf life might get reduced
  • Use a clean and dry spoon every time you use the pickle to ensure a longer shelf life


Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Idichakka Thoran | Tender Jackfruit Stir fry | Malabar Style Raw Jackfruit Stir Fry

I wanted to be very regular here in my little space this year, but you know sometimes some things are not in your hands.. Plus the lethargy or inertia or whatever names you call it ;) But the thing is that I'm back and every time I'm gone there's some force or some vibe in here that pulls me back.. Sometimes even after a span of a year or two.. Maybe that's the passion I hold deep inside or maybe it can be an outcome of my resilience. And whatever that might be, i'm glad to have this dainty little space to come and share the recipes that I cook up in my little kitchen, to rant my woes, my views and sometimes a little gyan ;) 

So what I'm sharing with you today apart from the casual talk is a recipe with idichakka or tender/raw Jackfruit. It's the season of jackruit now, so this post seems apt.. There are quite a few recipes with this tender jackfruit but I have so far only had this thoran. My mil makes this regularly whenever she can get her hands on one. And unlike the ripe jackfruit, the raw one has lesser haters.. Even my hubby who hates jackfruit in any and all forms will eat this thoran ;) So all those people who have never had this before and who want to try this if you can manage to get hold of one, here's the recipe.. if you want to skip using coconut, can do that as well. Just skip adding the coconut-shallot mixture and add a red chilly or two while tempering !

Recipe Source: Mil

Preparation Time : 15 minutes

Cooking Time : 30 minutes

Makes : 12 medium sized muffins 

I Used:

Idichakka/Raw Jackfruit - A medium sized one 
Coconut Oil - 3 tbsp
Mustard - ½ tsp
Red Chilly - 2 nos
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Red Rice - 4 tbsp
Turmeric powder - ¼ tsp
Salt - As Needed

To Pulse:

Grated Coconut - ½ cup
Shallots - 4 nos
Green Chilly - 3 nos

The Way:

1. To clean and cut the idichakka, I first cut it into half. Then I quarter it and again cut the quarters into half. Now remove the pith as well as the outer hard skin and discard them. Retain only the flesh and cut them into 3-4 inch pieces

2. Now take the clean and cut pieces in a pressure cooker. Add salt and turmeric powder and little water (3-4 tbsp should suffice. More water will make the jackfruit mushy). Then pressure cook for 2-3 whistles. A good jackruit will get cooked in 1 or 2 whistles

3. Once the pressure is released, using a pestle gently crush the jackfruit chunks to become fine pieces

4. Meanwhile, take grated coconut, shallos and green chilly in a mixie jar. Crush or pulse them 2-3 times. Do not grind them, a few pulses is sufficient

5. In a kadai or pan, heat coconut oil. Splutter mustard. Then add broken red chillies, curry leaves

6. Then add the red rice. Saute for 3-4 minutes in low flame till the rice slowly starts puffing up. Take care not to burn the rice

7. Now add the boiled jackfruit pieces and give a gentle stir. Leave for a minute or two 

8. Then add the pulsed coconut and give another gentle stir. Leave for 3-4 minutes for the favours to sink in and for the raw smell of the shallots to go away. Stir occasionally so that it does not get burnt

Serve with red rice and a gravy of your choice.


Thursday, 22 February 2018

Strawberry Milkshake | Easy Strawberry Milkshake without ice cream

Last recipe was with strawberry and this one too is with strawberry.. Blame it on the season ;) Around a month ago, when my parents came visiting us in Pune, we went on a short trip to Mahabaleshwar and visited the Mapro gardens in Panchgani. There we got strawberries at a cheap rate of 150 rupees per kilo. Actually some were saying that if you visit in the morning the rates are still cheaper and you an get them for an easy 80-100 rupees per kilo.. We were expecting to go pluck the strawberries at the farms but the locals there told that since it was peak season we were not allowed to and that would be allowed during March-April time.. So what did we do? We ate a lot of strawberries and bought a lot more and came back :D Dhruv was ready to eat them all as such but he caught a cold two days later, so we didn't give him much.. And me being a strawberry lover in just shakes and cakes, went ahead and made milkshakes with them using chilled milk ;) 

You can have variants of this simple recipe.. You can sneak in some ice cream - anything of your choice, be it vanilla or strawberry. Don't like milk? Then replace with some Greek yogurt or have a mix of both the yogurt and milk. Add in a nice ripe banana or a couple of dates.. Maybe a handful of chia seeds.. Or a tablespoon of cocoa powder ;) Want to cut low on sugar? Then add honey instead or maybe cane sugar..The options are plenty. You can adjust to your cravings and dietary requirements! 

Makes: 1 tall glass

I Took: 

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

I Used:

Strawberry - 4-5 nos 
Cashew - 5 nos
Almond - 4 nos
Sugar - 2 tsp
Chilled Milk - 1 cup

The Way:

1. In a mixer/blender, crush the cashews and almonds together

2. Once they are coarsely/finely (as you need) crushed, add the strawberries and sugar and give a nice blend

3. Now add the milk and blend smoothly. Serve cold !


I normally boil the milk and let them cool down and then refrigerate them and use in my milkshakes and smoothies


Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Eggless Whole wheat Strawberry Muffins | Butterless Strawberry Muffins | Strawberry Cupcakes

My family exhibits varied emotions towards strawberry.. The hubby won't touch it, my son loooveeees it and I love it in forms of cakes and shakes and likes but not a great fan to eat it raw. My son loves the sight of it and is always happy to eat them as such. I should say as of now coz his interests change really quick ! Anyways, I had no difficulty in finishing off that box of strawberries thanks to Dhruv but I had been wanting to try this muffins recipe from Aparna's blog for quite some time and so this time I did it.. 

It is made of half all purpose flour and half whole wheat flour and so it is a bit dense. Deeps liked it and gave a thumbs up and that should actually translate to "great" coz he is not a cake lover.. And as for Dhruv he likes muffins so he too loved it.. It's so easy to put up, just mix the dry and wet ingredients separately and fold them together and bake.. Easy right? And if you too do not want to eat strawberries raw but want to try some cake out of it, here is the perfect recipe!!

Recipe Source: My Diverse Kitchen

Preparation Time : 10 minutes

Cooking Time : 30 minutes

Makes : 12 medium sized muffins 

I Used:

Strawberry - 1 cup (chopped) (around 200 gm)
All purpose flour/Maida - 1 cup
Whole wheat flour - ¾ cup
Granulated sugar - ½ cup
Baking powder - 1 ½ tsp
Salt - ½ tsp
Milk - ½ cup
Oil - ¼ cup
Thick yogurt - 2 tbsp
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp

The Way:

1. Take all the dry ingredients - all purpose lour, whole wheat flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and mix well

2. Add the chopped strawberries to the flour and mix gently. Ensure that the strawberries are coated well with the flour

3. In another bowl take the wet ingredients - milk, oil and vanilla essence and mix well

4. Add the wet mixture to the strawberry-flour mixture and gently mix together in a folding motion about 4 to 5 times

5. Do not over stir. The batter will be lumpy and floury. I had to add 2 to 3 tsp of milk extra to eat up all the flour. But that is fine. With whole wheat flour it will be like that

6. Fill the muffin tray with liners and fill the batter in the liners. This batter will not rise much and hence you can almost fill the liners with batter

7. Bake them at 190 degree C for about 25-30 minutes till done and the top turns golden brown. Then cool for 10 minutes and unmould and serve


Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Vazhapindi Upperi | Unnipindi Mezhukkupuratti | Banana Stem Stir Fry | Plantain Stem Stir Fry | Vazhaithandu Poriyal (without coconut)

Is vazhapindi a veggie that you like? I like it the most in sambar.. Ehh, u didn't know that you can add them in sambar? You sure can.. Cut them into round disks and add them in sambar just like you add radish.. Once it is cooked and soaked well in the sambar it justs tastes yum :) I know you will thank me for it once you have made and tasted it ;) I have already posted a kootu recipe from vazhathandu here, so today it's an easy upperi or stir fry from Kerala that can be made ready in a jiffy. It tastes really well with rice and a tangy gravy.. So let's see how it can be done. 

Recipe Source: Mil

Preparation Time : 10 minutes

Cooking Time : 50 minutes

Serves : 4 persons 

I Used:

Banana Stem/Vazathandu/Unnipindi - 1 ½ cup (after chopping)
Coconut Oil - 2 tbsp
Mustard - ½ tsp
Red Rice/Kuthari - 3 tbsp
Re Chilly - 2 nos
Curry Leaves - 2 sprigs
Turmeric powder - ¼ tsp
Salt - As Needed

The Way:

1. Clean the plantain stem/vazhaithandu by removing the outer rings till you reach the hard core central pith. Then slice them into 1/4 inch thick round disks. There will be fibre surrounding the disks, remove and discard them. now chop the round disks into small cubes an keep them immersed in water or preferably buttermilk (so as to retain the colour of the stem) 

2. Now take the chopped stem along with salt, turmeric powder and a 1/4 cup of water in a pressure cooker and cook them for 3-4 whistles in medium flame. If it is a good variety stem it will get cooked well else will take longer. See if it becomes soft and is cooked after 3-4 whistles, if not cook again till done. Alternately you can cook them in a pan also. If then refer step 5

3. Once the stem is cooked, heat the coconut oil in a pan. Splutter mustard

4. Add the red rice and broken red chillies. Saute on low flame for 3-4 minutes till the rice starts popping. Add the curry leaves

5. Finally add the cooked stem along with water if any. Give a nice stir and allow the water to dry. If you are not pressure cooking the stem, add them now with enough water (1/4 -1/2 cup) and allow it to cook covered over medium flame for 15-20 minutes. Cook till it is done and becomes soft and transparent. Also it should become dry

Switch off the flame and serve with red rice (or white) and a tangy gravy like puli kuzhambu or fish gravy!