I prepared a simple lunch for aadivelli this year. Manja pongal recipe is already posted and others will be posted soon.

Venthaya Kuzhambu

Venthaya kuzhambu is a great side dish for Manja Pongal. Vegetables like Okra, yellow pumpkin, brinjal and tomato  can be used for the kuzhambu.


  • Tamarind – Lemon size ball
  • *Fresh bean seeds – 1/2 cup
  • Tomato – 4 medium sized
  • Sambhar powder – 2 teaspoons
  • Red chili – 2 nos
  • Curry leaves – a few
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
  • Hing – a small piece
  • Til Oil – 1 tbs
  • Rice flour – 2 tsp
  • Salt – to taste


  1. Soak tamarind in hot water for some time. Extract tamarind pulp adding 2 cups water.
  2. Cut tomato into small pieces. Heat til oil in a heavy bottomed pan, add mustard seeds.
  3. When mustard seeds crackle add hing, fenugreek seeds and red chili and saute till fenugreek is brown.
  4. Add tomato, beans and curry leaves and saute . Cover and cook on a low flame for 3 minutes.
  5. Add sambar powder and mix well. Add the tamarind extract and salt. Allow to boil for 5 minutes.
  6. Mix the rice flour in 1 tbs water and add to the venthaya kuzhambu.Boil for a minute and transfer to a serving bowl.
  7. Serve hot with manja pongal.

*A variety of fresh beans like avarai thuvarai etc are available during this season. I have used fresh kaaramani.

Srirama navami – 30th April

Tamizh Varuda Pirappu –14th April

Chithra pournami – 6th May

Aadi Pandigai – 16th July

Aadi Velli Kizhamai – 20th,27th  July,3rd and 10th August

Andal Thiruaadipuram- 23rd July

Pathinettam Perukku-2nd August

Avani Avittam/ Upakarma-1st August

Janmashtami/Gokulashtami-9th August

Vinayaka Chaturthi/Ganesh Chaturthi-19th September

Varalakshmi Viratham-27th July

Kovil Kannapiran Srijayanthi-8th September (For Iyengars)

Puratasi Sanikizhamai – 22nd, 29th September and 6th and 13th October

Navarathri Pujai Arambam-16th October

Saraswathi Puja ( Mahanavami)-October 23rd

Vijaya Dasami (Aayuda Puja) -October 24th

Deepavali (Naraka Chaturdasi) -November 13th

Thiru Karthigai-28th November

Boghi Pandigai -13th January 2013

Pongal/Sankaranthi-14th January 2013

Mattu Pongal-15th January 2013

Karadaiyan Nonbu-13th March 2013

Tamizh Puthandu-14th April 2013

Preparing rasam is simplest for an experienced cook but beginners want to know the secret behind the tasty rasam prepared by their mothers.I have used home grown tomatoes for this rasam. Rasam can be easily prepared by anyone in the microwave.


  • Tomatoes – 2 medium sized
  • Toor dal – 1 tbs
  • Rasam powder – 2 teaspoons
  • Hing – a small piece
  • coriander – 3 twigs
  • Salt – to taste
  • Water – 3 cups

For the seasoning

  • Ghee – 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Red chili – 1 no


  1. Cut the tomatoes into pieces, place in a MW safe bowl and MW high for 2 minutes.Allow to cool and grind in the mixer to a puree.
  2. Pressure cook the toor dal. Mash the cooked dal and mix with the tomato puree into a MW safe bowl.
  3. Add rasam powder, hing, salt, water and MW high for 4 minutes.
  4. Chop the coriander leaves and add to the rasam.
  5. Heat 1 tsp ghee add the mustard seeds and red chili, when the mustard crackles add to the rasam.


Rasam can be serves with rice, or in a glass. Sambar powder can be used if you don,t have a separate rasam powder.

Harvesting tomatoes that were never sown!

Around five years back, I suddenly planned a  face lift for our small garden area. After cleaning up the garden I bought a nice pot to be used as compost pit. We collected the vegetable and fruit waste in this pot and used it as manure. I used to throw the rotten tomatoes as well.

In our new duplex home we made planters on the compound wall and the parapet wall. My hubby mixed soil with the compost we had collected over the years  and planted some rose cuttings. After around two weeks the planters were filled with tomato plants. We re potted them and have harvested over 100 tomatoes till now. Another hundred can be plucked in a week:).

Thakkali Koottu (Tomato koottu )

Cooking with home grown vegetables is very satisfying and you know there are no artificial fertilizers or pesticides. The aroma of freshly plucked vegetables is heavenly.


  • Raw tomatoes – 6 to 8
  • Moong dal – 1/4 cup
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – to taste

For the paste

  • Grated coconut – 1 tbs
  • Coriander seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1 tsp
  • Channa dal – 1 tsp
  • Hing – a small piece
  • Red-chili –  1 no
  • Oil – 1 tsp

For  the seasoning

  • Ghee – 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 5 nos
  • Red chilli – 1 no


  1. Slice the tomatoes into long pieces.Place in a MW safe bowl and mix with 1/4 tsp turmeric powder. MW high for 5 minutes
  2. Pressure cook the moong dal with 1/4 tsp turmeric powder.
  3. Roast the ingredients for the paste except coconut in 1 tsp oil, add coconut and grind to a smooth paste.
  4. Add cooked moong dal, ground paste and salt to the tomatoes and mix well.Add a little water to get Koottu consistency.
  5. Mw high for 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  6. Cut the red chili into small pieces.
  7. Heat 1 tsp ghee and add the mustard seeds and red chili; when the mustard crackles add the curry leaves. Add  the seasoning to the koottu.

Serve as a side dish for rotis,phulkas or rice.

After the article in The Hindu hits for the blog has increased considerably :). The sad part is that my pictures and recipes are shamelessly copied and used by other websites. Follow this link http://www.chennai.com/more_kuzambu.html I know  many other bloggers are upset just like me. But now I will write something that no one can copy, about the homes I have lived till date!

We moved into our new duplex house in February 2012. This is my 25th home.

I was born at no:3  1st street kallukuzhi Trichy. I was born at home before my mother could be hospitalized. Being a girl after three boys, the whole family was elated. I was affectionately called Ponnu (girl).A funny incident happened about which no one was aware for long. At home I was named Latha. My uncle registered my  name as Rukmani (my granny’s name). This confusion was solved by naming me as latha rukmani at school! A few months later we left for Calcutta, but we came back to the same house after 4 years.

Badam/Cashew Halwa

Cashew burfi was one of first sweets my amma prepared. My granny used to travel a lot to assist her long list of relatives for one occasion or the other. My amma and aunt would carry on with their experimental cooking, with expert advice from my grandpa :). Once as per his recipe they fried cashew in ghee and dropped them into hot, thick  sugar syrup! The cashews turned black and could not be separated from the syrup. Only thing they could do was to clean up the kitchen before my granny returned! This was one of first experiments of two great cooks :)!

Traditionally  badam is skinned for halwa. I have retained the skin as per dietitians’ advice.


  • Badam(almonds) /Cashew – 1 cup
  • Sugar – 1 cup
  • Cardamom – 4 nos
  • Nutmeg – a small piece
  • Saffron leaves – a few
  • Ghee – 2 tbs

Almond halwa will be cream in colour. Mine is wheatish as I have retained the skin.


  1. Soak the almonds in hot water for one hour.* Peel the skin if you wish.
  2. Grind the almonds with cardamom and nutmeg to a smooth paste, adding a little water.
  3. In a heavy bottomed pan mix the ground paste, sugar and ghee. Cook on a low to medium flame, stirring continuously.
  4. Cook till the halwa leaves the sides and forms into a ball when stirred.
  5. Transfer the halwa to a serving dish and decorate with saffron leaves.

Note:* The skin can be peeled easily after soaking for around 5 minutes.

A few months back I received a mail from Ms.Pankaja, a journalist from The Hindu. She heard about theyumblog from her colleagues and wanted to write about us and a few other bloggers.

Thank you Pankaja for writing about theyumblog.

Return to frontpage

Look who’s cooking on the blog


Just how many desperate cooks are out there? Plenty, as Latha, Lakshmi, Srivalli and Ashok tell Pankaja Srinivasan. Their food blogs have saved marriages, pleased the gods, hunted down paatis and appealed to fussy kids

“You truly are a God-send! …I’m just learning to cook…I’m away from India and there’s no one to guide me……Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for all your posts! (please put recipes for karthigai urundai also…)”

Breathless messages such as these await Latha Maami daily on ‘The Yum blog’. Grateful cooks have been writing to her since 2007.

Tired of being left out of all the Internet activity around her, Latha Narasimhan decided she also wanted a piece of the action. “I wanted to do something online too. But first, I had to learn how to operate the computer,” she admits wryly. She decided she would put down the plentiful recipes she had noted down while watching her mother cook. Today, Latha’s blog has nearly 25 lakh hits. (She blogs with her daughter Lakshmi). Latha is anxious to preserve traditional recipes.

Deepavali marundhu, food for the new mom, the pregnant woman… We should not lose those recipes. Putting them on my blog ensures they stay around.” She collects recipes from the older cooks she knows such as her invaluable source, Parameshwari Akka, who lives in Kulithalai.

It is not just frantic ‘how-to-make-puliodharai’ posts that Latha receives. Sometimes it is her opinion on a microwave oven, and once there was an SOS asking help to tie a nine-yard sari! During festivals she has to clear last-minute doubts. “I am usually running from kitchen to computer all day long,” she says. Lakshmi loves the idea of blogging with her mom. She says, “The Internet offers such a wonderful, democratic way to document, preserve and share.”


Thirty-seven-year-old Srivalli has two blogs, one daughter and twin sons. So a lot of what goes into her ‘Spice your life’ blog is kid-tested and approved. “My daughter has always been a fussy eater. So I had to come up with ideas to encourage her to eat. My boys, on the other hand, are fine with whatever I make. But I have noticed that when I say that I have made something especially for them, they eat better,” she says. Her other blog, ‘Cooking 4 all seasons’ features everyday food. Srivalli says her blog is like a journal. “It records my adventures as a cook, mom, and a person passionate about food and writing.” Her chocolates, chicken biryani and sponge cake have won admirers and she is surprised how many people want to know how to make rasam! Grateful newly-weds have told her that her blog has saved their marriages. In Spice… Srivalli holds a blogging marathon in which participants post a recipe on 14 consecutive days on a particular theme. So if the theme is paayasam, bloggers have to post a paayasam recipe every day. They also have to read all the posts and leave comments on them. “Members tell me that the marathon pushes them to be regular bloggers and eggs them on to try new dishes. The marathon is a year old now.”


Paal Kozhukattai

Paal kozhukattai is a light sweet. It can be prepared using either with milk or coconut milk. It can be served as a evening snack.


  • Rice flour – 1/2 cup
  • Water – 3/4
  • Oil – 1tsp
  • Milk – 1 cup
  • Jaggery – 2 tbs
  • Cardamom – 2 nos (powdered)
  • A few strands of saffron
  1. In a heavy bottomed pan bring the water to boil.
  2. Add 1 tsp oil and lower the flame.
  3. Add a teaspoon of the flour and stir with the handle of the laddle.
  4. Add all the flour and stir well till the dough thickens. Put off the flame and cover the pan. leave to cool.
  5. Make 1 centimeter balls with the dough and keep it aside.
  6. In another pan boil the milk. Lower the flame and drop the rice flour  balls and allow to simmer for three minutes.
  7. Add jaggery , powdered cardamom and saffron and take off the flame.
Note : Donot allow to boil after adding jaggery.

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

London Olympic Stadium holds 80,000 people. This blog was viewed about 510,000 times in 2011. If it were competing at London Olympic Stadium, it would take about 6 sold-out events for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.