Posts Tagged ‘Basic’

We had a long weekend and I took to blog hopping and posting random musings – like this previous post on Nagapattinam with pictures of my family temple. While I was blog hopping I saw almost everyone showing off their cook books! After seeing Suganya’s Tassajara cook book, I had to muster some courage to show off my humble belongings! 🙂 . I have a modest collection of cook books. I gather most of my cooking knowledge from my mother and aunts, my friends and acquaintances and their mothers and patties, random people I meet on holidays like this person who cooks at a guest house in a remote hill station, chefs at marriages and functions at all kinds, cookery shows like that of Sanjeev Kapoor and now food bloggers and food websites. Having travelled throughout India, I have met a whole lot of interesting people and been introduced to their cuisine.

So here are my cook books with some memories. Hope you don’t find my narration boring! 😀

Just before my marriage, I was attending a Nirmal (a traditional art form) painting class, around 5 km from my home. I wanted to join the bakery course conducted in the same place. One day on my way back from the classes I lost my purse with around Rs.7! Rs. 7 in those days was a loooooooooot of money for a youngster. I was so upset that I created a scene after reaching home! My mother got scared seeing my crest fallen face and refused to send me to the class from the next day. I somehow convinced her and joined a painting class closer home, though I was pretty upset about not being able to attend the baking class. Since I was so keen to learn baking my Appa who travelled a lot as a part of his job at Telecoms bought a cake book from Manneys, Poona for Rs. 50. Yes 26 years back the book was only Rs. 50 !!

Woman’s Own Cook Book of Cake Decorating and Cake Making is a large collection of recipes published by Hamlyn Publishing, London. No author/s have been mentioned anywhere in the book. This book was my introduction to the world of baking. Though my mother baked eggless cakes in a round gas oven, I learnt baking and decoration from this book! For the rich fruit cake I follow the recipe from this book, omitting rum.

My Coo<a mce_thref=kbooks 4

The other book I cherish is my handwritten note book which is a treasure house of recipes from my mom and aunts, with exact measurements and rare dishes! This is the only book I follow 100%, with no modifications to the recipes. 🙂

My Cookbooks1
I am also fond of the Tupperware cook book in which some of my recipes were published. 😉

My Cookbooks 3

I have a few cook books by Tarla dalal – some of them are with my daughter now. I like her North Indian recipes – simple and practical. Supersoft naans with Navratna kurma is the first dish I prepared from her books. TarlaDalal comes across as a simple and lovable person in her cookery shows! 🙂

I would like to send this as my entry for “Show me your Cook Book” the event hosted by Nags (Nags, please do accept my entry even if it is 3 days late!:)


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In bangalore tomato is available throughout the year. The only problem is , the price fluctuates from Rs.5 per kg to Rs.40 per kg with in a span of three months! I buy a few kilos when it is cheap and make this paste. The paste can be stored in the freezer for more than three months, in Tupperware containers. I am giving the timings for 1 kg tomato.
Fresh Tomato

Fresh tomatoes


  1. Wash the tomatoes and drain the water.
  2. In a Microwave safe container, MW at 600 watts covered for 10 minutes.
  3. Allow to cool for a few minutes and grind to a smooth paste. Pass through a strainer if required and grind again.
  4. Transfer the pulp to the same MW container and MW at 600 watts for 1/2 hour stirring once in 5 minutes.
  5. Pour this into a freezer container and allow to cool. Keep in the freezer and use as you like.
  6. Take out the pulp from the freezer 15 minutes before use. It is easy to scoop out with an ice cream scoop.

This is my entry for Srivalli’s basic MW cooking event.


After cooking in MW for 10 minutes
After keeping for 10 mins in microwave

Tomato Paste

Storing in freezer container

You can use the pulp for Preparing

  1. Tomato thokku.
  2. All gravies for which you need tomato paste.
  3. Chutney
  4. Rasam
  5. Soup
  6. Tomato rice

Hope all of you find this preparation useful.

I have published a post on Microwave cooking tips almost 2 months back. That is my second entry for Srivallis event.

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The Rice flour and Urad dal flour for Seedai, Thattai, Vella seedai (Traditional Tamil Festival Snacks) are the same. You can prepare the flour in one go. To make lovely coloured and crunchy snacks this is the best maavu (flour).

If you are grinding in a mixie, make one kg maavu. If you are grinding in a flour mill you can grind more.

Rice flour


  1. Wash and soak the required amount of rice for 30 minutes.
  2. Drain well and spread on a white cloth to dry for 10 minutes.
  3. Grind little rice at a time a sieve to get soft flour.
  4. Repeat with all the rice.
  5. Alternatively you can grind in a flour mill.
  6. Lightly dry roast the flour on a low flame till the flour becomes hot and slightly yellowish. This is to remove the moisture.
  7. You can make this a day before and store in an air tight container.

Urad dal flour

  1. Dry roast 2 cups urad dal till golden.
  2. Allow to cool and grind to a super fine powder.
  3. Store in an air tight container.

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I thought there is need for this post as many viewers feel I use too little Urad dal. See recipe for idli batter here.

First proportion with Methiseeds gives the softest idlies. I got this recipe from our family friend who makes idlies every day. Its the staple breakfast for most families that hail from Chettinad.

The second one is for those who use a mixer or a food processor to grind.

The real magic needed to get super soft idlis is the technique used while grinding. A grinder is not used to forget about the batter till the grinding is done.

In a grinder:

When using a grinder soak the rice, methi and urad dal together. Soak for 6 hours. While grinding keep adding 1 table spoon water at regular intervals – about once in every 5 minutes. This is very crucial to get the best batter. You know the batter has turned out correct when its very fine and the consistency of the final batter is like cake batter ( for those who prepare cakes).

To be exact I would suggest that it is better to measure the amount of water also. If you soak 4 cups boiled rice (idli rice) and 3/4 cup urad dal and drain water completely before grinding, then you can add 2 and 1/2 cups water. First add 1 cup and the remaining keep adding as the batter absorbs.

This will definitely give you the right consistency. Mix with salt and leave for fermenting.

When you prepare the idlis, take out the required amount of batter in another container and mix with 1 or 2 table spoons water and make the idlies. This way the left over batter will remain fresh for more than a week.

In a mixie:

In the second proportion raw rice is added to make it easier to grind in a mixer. The same procedure as for first method has to be followed for grinding.
Hope these tips will help visitors to get their idli right.

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Whatever you do, do it with love and respect is the advice given to us by our elders.

The Iyengars respected their cuisine. Read on to know more.

1. The Kitchen is Madapalli in Tamil. The Iyengars add a Thiru to it and say Thirumadapalli.

2. All the dishes are followed by an Amudu (Amrit or Nectar)

Saathamudu for rasam, Kariamudu for curry, Thirukkannamudu for payasams , and so on.

Making noise with the vessels was to be avoided, as it meant less food for the others in the household who are yet to have their meals.

Until six months ago I never had a maid to wash the vessels as I was averse to the noise made while handling the vessels.

I usually work silently in the kitchen, unless I want to show my anger of course!

In tamizh culture a well balanced diet is served. The menu has all the nutrients required for good health.

There was also a day of fruit diet once in a fortnight. On Ekadasi many tamilians fast or have only fruits.

There was also restriction on the diet served for dinner. Heavy and spicy food is generally avoided. The dinner usually consisted of podis and some medicinal herb. Curd rice is a must to culminate the meal.

Some of the delicious preparations for dinner are as follows:-

Veepampoo sathamudu.

Kandathippili sathamudu.

Milagu sathamudu.

jeeraga sathamudu.

milagu kuzhambu.

Paruppu thogayal.

Angaya podi

And so many more. The recipes will be posted in the coming days.

Also included in the menu are

Manathakkali vethal and Veepampoo Fried in a teaspoon of ghee.

Manathakkali is also called black night shade or sun berry or wonder cherry.The dried fruit is called vethal.

We can get the manathakkali vethal in tamizh stores all over India. It is available as salted and plain variety.

Fry 1 table spoon of the manathakkali vethal in 1 teaspoon of ghee, in low flame till the berrys bulge. Crush and mix the fried vethal with 1/2 cup cooked rice (Hot)and a little salt.This manathakkali vethal saadam is really yummy, and a good relief from the regular heavy food.

You can also have the fried vethal as a side dish for thayir saadam(curd rice).

This berry has some medicinal values. I am not an expert to provide the details on this subject. So please refer to ayurvedam.com

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This sambhar powder can be used for all paruppu and vethal kuzhambus. Can be Ground at home in a mixer.


Coriander seeds 200 grams

Red chillies 200 grams

Toor dal 2 tablespoons.

Urad dal 2 tablespoons.

Channa dal 2 table spoons.

Black pepper corns 2 table spoons.

Venthayam 2 tablespoons

Verali manjal( Turmeric pods) long variety 2 pieces.

Dried curry leaves 4 twigs.


Break the turmeric pod into smaller pieces before putting in a mixer. If you fell your mixer is not a heavy duty one, then use 1 table spoon turmeric powder instead.

Dry the curry leaves at least four days before grinding.

Mix all ingredients and dry in the sun for a few hours. Alternate method is to heat in the microwave for two minutes stirring in between. The idea is to remove all the moisture.

Grind all ingredients to make a fine powder. Store in air tight containers and use when required.

You can increase the quantities and grind in a mill.

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