Posts Tagged ‘Authentic Iyengar Recipes’

Some of the visitors wanted the recipe for simple bitter gourd curry. I prepare this curryatleast twice in a month.


  • Bitter gourd (Karela or Pavakkai) – 1/2 kg
  • Oil – 2 tbs
  • Grated Coconut – 3 tbs
  • Tamarind – lemon sized ball
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Chili powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • 2 teaspoons sugar and 1/2 tsp salt for marinating*.



  1. Cut the bitter gourd into half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and cut into thin slices.
  2. Add 2 tsp sugar and 1/2 tsp salt and leave to marinate for 1/2 hour. Squeeze the slices well to remove bitterness.
  3. Soak tamarind in warm water and extract around 2 tablespoons of thick pulp.
  4. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds. When it crackles add the bitter gourd slices.
  5. Add turmeric, salt and saute well. Saute on medium flame for 5 minutes. Add the tamarind pulp and cook for some time till the juice dries up.
  6. Saute on a low flame till the slices are golden.Add chili powder and  grated coconut and saute for  2 more  minutes.
  7. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve as a side dish with rice or chapathi.


*Marinating is optional.

Bitter gourd can also be prepared as pavakkai pitlai, Kuzhambu etc.



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Recreating dishes my Patti lovingly prepared for us is therapeutic. Not a day passes by without Amma or I reminiscing about the joyous moments we shared with Patti. I have had the privilege of tasting the worst tasting yam dish of all seasons and centuries  while pursuing  my Masters, not once or twice, but every week for an entire two years. The Poricha Kuzhambu with Yam that my Patti prepared offers a study in contrast. The sourness of tamarind perfectly combines with the yam, rendering it itch free (post consumption that is) with a sweet ,earthy, creamy taste.  The yam was left to dry for several days before use to avoid the infamous itch, especially while cutting.

Poricha Kuzhambu was usually prepared on Amavasai (new moon) when lentil based dishes (with the exception of moong dal) were avoided.  Amavasai Tarpanam,  ritual of water oblations, was performed. Food prepared was offered to ancestors and their blessings were sought. Traditional meal planning always included holidays for consumption of specific categories of food, including avoidance of all grains on certain days.

Poricha Kuzhambu

Poricha Kuzhambu

I made Poricha Kuzhambu for the morning’s breakfast to go with some mor paniyarams.  Since I din’t have yam on hand, I used Colacasia (Seppankizhangu) which works as delightfully with this dish.

tbsp=tablespoon, tsp=teaspoon, cup= standard metric cup measuring 250ml


  • Yam/ Colacacia (Seppankizhangu) – 11/2 cup (steamed and diced)
  • Black Chick Peas (Kala Channa) – 4 tbsp
  • Tamarind – lemon sized ball
  • Turmeric
  • Hing – a pinch
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 1 twig
  • Sesame Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Salt to taste
For the paste
  • Coriander seeds – 1 tbsp
  • Channa dal – 1 tbsp
  • Urad dal – 1 tsp
  • Black peppercorns – 1 tsp
  • Red Chilli – 1
  • Grated coconut – 3 tbsp
  • Sesame Oil – 1 tsp
Paniyaram with Poricha Kuzhambu, Green Tomato Chutney and Curd
Paniyaram with Poricha Kuzhambu, Green Tomato Chutney and Curd
  1. Soak the Black chickpeas overnight.
  2. Wash and pressure cook the Yam/Colacasia and the Black Chickpeas (with water  and a pinch of salt). Peel and dice the yam/colacasia into big pieces.
  3. Soak tamarind in warm water for 10 minutes and squeeze pulp with 2 cups of water.
  4.  Heat sesame oil and roast all ingredients  for the paste, except coconut, until golden.
  5. Take off flame and grind to a paste.
  6. Heat sesame oil in a pan,  add mustard seeds.
  7. When the mustard starts to splutter,  add curry leaves, and on a low flame add the tamarind extract, turmeric, hing and salt.
  8. Bring to a boil and add the steamed yam/colacacia and the black chickpeas.  Simmer for three minutes.
  9. Add the ground paste and simmer for three more minutes.
Serve with Rice or Rice based tiffin varieties.

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Boondi Ladoo

My friend Raji and I have been making Boondhi laddoo for Diwali since 8 years. The first time we ended up making a whooping 450 laddoos because we didn’t know how many laddoos we will get for each cup of flour! But the laddoos tasted great and we could call ourself experts from then on! 🙂 I usually make these a day prior to diwali. This time I decided to make a small quantity for posting in the blog. Making small quantities is challenging too! Before you realise the syrup is ready! Menu Today is very right when she says method and measures must be right! Any sweet comes out well when you follow the correct method and measurements! 🙂 You will get around 25 laddoos for 250 grams of flour.


The teeny weeny laddoo in the middle is for all the fabulous kiddos we meet online like Anjana and (Sri) to the power 2 (Srivalli’s kiddos), Red chillies bundle of naughtiness, Medha (Manisha’s daughter), Kavin (Kribha’s son), Nirmala’s son Siva and her toddler, Laavanya’s baby, Hema’s lucky baby who gets a barn and a cake that looks like this and more that I might have missed.


  • Kadalai maavu, besan or gram flour – 1 cup
  • Rice flour – 1 table spoon
  • Sugar – 1 and 1/2 cup
  • Water for syrup – 1/2 cup
  • Cardamom – 4 nos
  • Lavang (Krambu) – 8nos
  • Cashew – 10 nos
  • Dry grapes – 10 nos
  • Ghee 2 teaspoons
  • Oil for deep frying – 250 ml
  • Saffron colour – 1 pinch


  1. Mix the water and sugar in a heavy bottomed pan and heat on a medium flame.
  2. The syrup should be of one thread consistency. The syrup will be ready when all the sugar melts. Add the cardamom powder and 1/2 pinch saffron powder to the syrup and mix well.
  3. Mix the flours and divide into 2 portions. Mix one portion with a little water to form a batter slightly thicker than dosa batter.
  4. Heat oil in a pan on a high flame.To test the temperature of oil just drop a pinch of batter. If it rises immediately the oil is ready for making the bhoondis.
  5. Hold the bhoondi karandi (perforated ladle) above the oil as shown in picture. Pour a ladle full of batter and spread as you would spread dosa. Immediately reduce the flame to low.
  6. Fry well till the sound stops. Drain and add to the syrup immediately. Rise the flame to high again before you fry the next batch.
  7. Make boondhis with rest of the batter. Keep mixing the syrup with boondhi. Mix rest of the flour with water and make the boondhis.
  8. Fry cashew nuts, dry grapes and lavang in ghee and add to the boondhis. Mix well and leave to cool for 10 minutes.
  9. Now you can start making balls out of the soaked boondhis. Towards end if you find it difficult, just heat on a low flame for 2 minutes stirring well.
  10. Store in airtight container. Will taste good after a few hours as the boodhis soak well.

Laddoos are famous for getting spoilt soon. You can keep your laddoos for 10 days if you follow these tips.

  1. Use good quality sugar for all sweets.
  2. Fry the boondhis in low flame till the sound subsides.
  3. Use boiled or drinking water for the syrup and batter as it will reduce degradation due to oxidation.
  4. Store in dry airtight containers. Your hands should be clean and dry while serving the laddoos.
  5. Never use water if you are not able to get the balls. Mild heating will help you make the balls towards end.

So many of my visitors requested for this recipe. I hope all of you make great laddoos this Deepavali.



Arusuvai Friendship Chain

After seeing many many posts on the Amish Friendship bread starter we have been inspired to start a friendship chain from here in India. For starters we’d like to focus locally – chain that spreads across foodies living here in India. Thanks Bhags and Bharathy for helping us come up with this.

Arusuvai Friendship Chain is about sending along a surprise ingredient as a gift to your friends for them to prepare something tasty with it, share the recipe, and pass on other surprise ingredients to more people. Arusuvai means six tastes (aru=six, suvai=taste) in Tamizh and is used to refer for Tasty preparation with six tastes – inippu/ thithippu (sweet), orappu/ karam (hot), kassappu (bitter) , pulippu (sour), uppu(salt), tuvarpu (tastes that one gets in raw leaves).
The chain will start with me passing on a “surprise” to Bharathy and Renuka, who will continue the chain. In other words, you need to wait for your turn to get a “surprise ingredient” to be a part of it. So the buck starts here 😀 and stops nowhere.

Arusuvai Logo – Transparent Background

Arusuvai Logo – white background

When you receive a package with a “surprise ingredient” as a part of Arusuvai here are the basic rules you need to follow:

  1. Prepare something tasty with it and post recipe with a picture if you are a blogger with the logo, a link to person who passed it to you and to this post if you like for reference.
  2. If you don’t blog, do share the recipe with the friend who gave it to you or post it as a guest post on someone you know who blogs.
  3. Pass on a “surprise ingredient” to two or more friends, one of whom must preferably blog. We all want to have some fun together right? 😀

Since this is starting here in India we request all people in India who blog or have blogged or those who’d like to be a part of this chain to show themselves up 😀 – we’ll ensure you get to be part of the fun.

Wait for Bharathy and Renuka to post and pass on.

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We have already covered menu for all festivals from Aadi to Navarathiri in our previous posts. Here we are compiling a list of all to send to RCI Tamizh Festivals hosted by Viji of Vcuisine.

Menu for Varuda Pirappu

Recipes prepared on Sri Rama Navami

Kalanda Sadam recipes for Padinettam Perukku
Sakkarai Pongal

Maa Villakku and Sweets for Aadi Velli Kizhamai

Akkaravadisal for Thiru Aadi Pooram

Menu for Varalakshmi Viratham

Menu for Aavani Avittam (Upakarma)

Treats for Sri Jayanthi

Sundal for Navarathiri
Kabuli Channa Sundal

Godumai Halwa for Deepavali

and the ubiquitous recipe of Perumal Theertham for all occassions

Tamizh festival cuisine is so vast that one cannot compile an exhautive list of recipes. I have been able to cover just a small fraction of the wonderful recipes prepared during festivals. In keeping with the theme of our blog to preserve traditional recipes, we’ll share more in the coming months.

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Preparing Godumai (Wheat) halwa on Deepavali is almost like a custom in many Iyengar households in SouthIndia. My mother (Lakshmi’s Paatti) used to prepare this every year. Although so common in Tamizh Nadu, I am preparing this Halwa for the first time. For my children halwa has always meant Badam halwa or Carrot halwa or Dumroot! They never attempted to taste Godumai halwa even when we visited my parents during Deepavali! I decided to prepare this as an entry to RCI Tamizh Festivals hosted by Viji of Vcuisine. The halwa was exactly the way my mother’s would taste and I am extremely happy that this traditional sweet will reach thousands of food lovers through my blog! 🙂 My son loved it and now it has become one of his favourites! 🙂



  • Whole wheat (wheat grains) – 1 cup
  • Sugar – 1 and 1/2 cups (You can increase to suit your taste)
  • Cardamom – 4 nos
  • Ghee – 4 tablespoons (You can increase if you like)
  • Saffron colour – 1 pinch

For garnishing – 1/2 cup chopped dry fruits like cashew, badam and pista lightly fried in 2 teaspoon ghee

  1. Wash and soak the wheat for 12 hours.
  2. Grind in a mixie adding 1 cup water. Strain through a seive to get a thick milk. Grind again adding 1 more cup of water and strain again. You will be left out with only the husk in the seive. Add enough water to squeeze out all the milk.
  3. Pour the milk in to a thick bottomed pan, add sugar and cook on a low flame. Keep stirring continously.
  4. Add the ghee when the halwa starts thickenng. Add the cardamom powder and the saffron colour. Mix well.
  5. Cook till you can roll the halwa into a ball with your fingers.
  6. Add chopped dryfruits sauted in ghee. Spread on a greased plate. allow to cool and cut into desired shape.

TipsIf you want a thick halwa like what we get in sweet shops, add 2 cups sugar in place of 1 and 1/2 cups.

You can add 2 cups chopped dry fruits to get the dryfruit halwa we get in sweet shops.

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Sri Rama Navami is the first festival after Varuda Pirappu. It falls on the navami day of sukla paksham (Waxing moon) after the tamizh new year. As it is a festival during summer months, Neer Moor( Butter milk) and Panagam ( Sweetened water) are the main naivedyams for the lord. Kosamari (Salad) using Cucumber is also prepared. On road sides people set up pandals (Tents) to supply Neer Moor and Panagam stored in large earthern pots, to passers by.

Recipes for Neer More, Panagam (Paanagam) and Kosamari follow.

Neer Moor

Neer Moor


  • Curd – 2 table spoons
  • Drinking water – 2 cups
  • Curry leaves 1 twig finely chopped
  • A pinch of salt


  1. Beat the curd well adding all ingredients.
  2. Store in a Earthern pot or a copper vessel. You can also refrigerate for 1 hour.



  • Drinking water – 2 cups
  • Jaggery – 3 teaspoons
  • Cardamom – 1 no
  • Lemon juice – 1 teaspoon


  1. Mix all ingredients and strain to remove impurities in jaggery.
  2. Store in an earthern pot or copper vessel or chill in the fridge.



  • Cucumber – 1 no
  • Moong dal 2 table spoons
  • Coriander leaves – 2 twigs
  • Grated coconut 2 table spoons
  • Green chillies – 1 no
  • Salt to taste


  1. Peel and grate the cucumber. Soak the moong dal for 15 minutes and drain.
  2. Mix the grated cucumber, soaked dal, finely chopped coriander leaves and green chillies and salt.

Serve chilled.

Menu for Sri Rama Navami is my second entry for RCI-Tamizh Festivals hosted by Viji of Vcuisine.

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