Posts Tagged ‘express cooking’

I like to think of Vazhakkai also known as Raw Banana or Green Plaintain as the unsweetened cousin of Banana. Plaintains and Kerala are almost synonomous thanks to the fanatical devotedness of people to munching on Kerala’s various plaintain delicacies. Yet this aint a recipe from Kerala but Tamil Nadu, the other state where Plaintains are cooked up and served in all kinds of forms.

Vazhakkai Podi

Vazhakkai Podi or a mix of grated raw banana/unripe plaintain with a powder and is typically served with Rice. Me thinks this will make a superb combination with More Kuzhambu. For a change I used them to make Parathas.

Preparation time: 10 minutes, Cooking time: 20 minutes, Serves 3 – 4


For Vazhakkai Podi (Powder)

  • Raw Banana/ Green Plaintain * 1
  • Channa Dal 1 1/2 tbsp (Bengal Gram Dal)
  • Urad Dal 1 1/2 tbsp
  • Red Chillies 2
  • Hing/ Asafoetida – a small piece
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil

*Update: Vazhakkai are Plaintains that are unripe or Green in colour not the sweet Bananas that are not yet ripe. Raw Bananas is a colloquial reference used in Madras which also appears on the bill when you pick a bunch of these green plaintains. The term “Raw” is used to refer to the “paccha” or “raw” taste of these as compared to a normal Banana. Since there seems to be some kind of confusion, I have updated to avoid misinterpretation.
For Parathas

  • Whole wheat flour 2 cups
  • Water to Knead
  • Salt
  • Ghee


For Vazhakkai Podi
1. Wash and trim the ends of the Green Plaintain/ Vazhakkai. Cut into two and steam in a Microwave for 3 to 4 minutes along with the skin. The Green Plaintain/ Vazhakkai should be cooked about 3/4 and not very mushy. Remove and set aside for cooling.
2. Roast Channa Dal, Urad Dal and Red chillies with a drop of oil. Set aside for cooling. Make sure that you don’t add too much oil for roasting, when ground this must be dry.
3. When the parboiled Plaintain is cool, grate it finely along with the skin. Please don’t discard the skin, it is edible and very nutritious. Ensure that the banana is completely cool, else the gratings may be very mushy.
4. In a blender grind the roasted Channa Dal, Urad Dal and Red Chillies along with Hing and Salt to a fine powder.
5. Mix the grated Green Plaintain/ Vazhakkai with the ground powder. Transfer to a Bowl.

For Parathas
1. Knead the Wheat flour with water and salt into a firm elastic dough, add a drop of ghee towards the end to finish. Set aside for 20 minutes. Divide the dough into round balls. Set aside some flour to dust while rolling.
2. Roll out one ball into a round of 4 inch diameter using a belan or rolling pin using some flour to dust. Ensure that the center is thick while the sides are rolled out thin.
3. Fill in 1 1/2 tbsp of filling in the center, bring the sides together from 5 to 6 points. Press gently. This should give you a flat round with filling inside.
4. Dust both sides of this flat stuffed round with some flour and roll out into a round of 5 inch diameter.
5. Cook both sides on a tawa on medium heat until brown spots. This makes one paratha stuffed with the Raw Banana/ Vazhakkai Podi.
6. Proceed similarly with the rest of the dough.

Vazhakkai Podi Parathas

Parathas stuffed with Vazhakkai Podi for JFI: Banana hosted by Mandira from Ahaar.



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Groundnut is rich in proteins and is extensively used in recipes from North Karnataka. This my favorite snack for Hima of Snackorama !



  • Groundnuts – 1 cup
  • Besan( Gramflour, kadalaimaavu) – 1 tablespoon
  • Rice flour – 1 tablespoon
  • Ghee – 1 teaspoon
  • Chilli powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • salt to taste


  1. Wash and soak ground nuts for 10 minutes and drain well.
  2. Add all the ingredients to the groundnuts and sprinkle little water in mix to a stiff consistency.
  3. Now all the groundnuts will be coated with the flour.
  4. Spread the groundnuts on a microwave safi plate, dividing into bite sized balls. Each ball should have 3 or four groundnuts only.
  5. MW high for 4 minutes, stirring after every minute for even cooking. Timing will differ depending on the quantity and wattage of your oven.
  6. Now your snack is ready.Allow to cool and store in airtight containers( if anything is left out in the plate!).

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With three birthdays and so many festivals in the month of aadi, There were too many heavy lunches. So last sunday I prepared a pathiya sappadu (saatvik khana – read healthy food that’s nice to your digestive system).It took just 15 minutes. So I am sending to Shaheens Express cooking event. I prepared Milagu kuzhambu (Black Peppercorns and Tamarind Gravy), Paruppu thogayal (a paste made of Lentils), Plain rice, pappad, Varutha Manathakali and Veepampoo (Roasted Black Nightshade and Neem flowers).


For Milagu Kuzhambu (Black Peppercorns and Tamarind Gravy)

  • Tamarind – lemon sized
  • Coriander seeds – 2 teaspoon
  • Black peppercorns – 2 teaspoons
  • Red chilli – 1 no
  • Channa dal – 2 teaspoons
  • Urad dal – 2 teaspoons
  • Hing – a small piece
  • Oil- 2 teaspoons
  • Curry leaves 2 twigs

For Paruppu thogayal (Lentils Paste)

  • Toor dal – 1 cup
  • Red chillii – 1 no
  • Oil 1 table spoon
  • Hing – a small piece
  • Salt to taste

For plain rice

  • Rice – 1 cup
  • Water 2 and 1/2 cups

For the varuvals (roasted items)

  • Manathakali vathal (Black Nightshade)- 2 table spoons
  • Veepampoo (Neem flowers) – 2 table spoons
  • Ghee 2 table spoons
  • Salt to taste


  1. Heat 2 and 1/2 cups water in a small Hawkins Ventura cooker.
  2. Wash the rice, drain well and add to the boiling water, close the cooker.Takes around 5 minutes to cook
  3. Soak tamarind in hot water.
  4. In a kadai heat 2 teaspoon oil and fry coriander seeds, channa dal, urad dal, peppercorns, redchilli and hing till golden.
  5. Add curry leaves and fry for a moment and transfer to a plate.
  6. Heat 1 table spoon oil and fry toor dal, red chilli and hing till golden, stirring continously.
  7. Transfer to a container and leave to cool.
  8. Extract juice from tamarind adding 1 and 1/2 cup water, add salt and bring to boil in medium flame.
  9. Grind the fried items for milagu kuzhambu in to a powder and add to the boiling tamarind water and mix well.
  10. Let it boil for a minute and transfer to a serving bowl.
  11. Add salt and grind the toordal to a powder and add 1 cup water and grind furtherto a smooth paste.
  12. Add more water if required and transfer to a serving bowl.
  13. Heat 1/2 tablespoon ghee in a small kadai and fry the manathakali vathal (black nightshade) till it puffs. Add salt and transfer to a small cup.
  14. Heat 1/2 table spoon ghee in the same kadai and fry the veepampoo (neem flowers) till slightly black.Add salt and transfer to a cup.
  15. By now the rice will be ready with pressure released.
  16. Serve all these items with papads made in the microwave.

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Comfort food in our house means rotis with kootu, “thayir “(curd) and pickles. Dry vegetables can be, well, too dry for Chennai, and gravies can become too spicy. Besides there aint any quicker way to prepare vegetables than the classic Tamil Kootu way. There are of course a few ways in which one can make these mildly flavoured lentils depending on vegetables. I have made a plain version similar to what is usually used for cabbage.

For the actual Poricha kootu version, refer to the Drumstick Kootu I had posted earlier.

This is my entry for Shaheen’s Summer Express Cooking event. But this isnt really an express meal, in fact its pretty relaxed!!! And takes under 20 minutes.

Rotis with Snake Gourd in Lentils

Preparation time: 5 mins, Cooking time: 15 minutes, Serves: 2-3

For Kootu

  • Snake Gourd – 250 gms
  • 3/4 cup Moong Dal
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 2 tbsp Grated Coconut
  • 2 nos Red Chillies
  • 4 twigs Fresh Coriander
  • a pinch of Hing/ Asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Urad Dal
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for Cooking

For Rotis

  • 1 1/2 cups Wheat Flour
  • 1 tsp Ghee
  • Water to Knead
  • Salt to Taste


  1. Put Moong Dal with 2 cups of water and turmeric powder to steam in a pan or pressure Cooker.
  2. Fry Red Chillies in a 1 tsp for oil. Turn off the heat and add Grated coconut. Keep aside for cooling. The coconut should have just a mild golden colour.
  3. Wash the Snake Gourd. Cut it length wise into two, remove seeds and slice into small semi circles.
  4. Wash and roughly chop the coriander leaves.
  5. Turn off the Cooker or Pan.
  6. Put the Snake Gourd in a Microwave Safe Bowl with Hing, sprinkle a few drops of water and Micro on High for 6 minutes.
  7. While the Snake Gourd is cooking, knead the Wheat Flour with salt and water into a firm dough. Knead till the dough is elastic. Add the Ghee to the dough towards the end, divide into 10 rounds and set aside.
  8. Grind the roasted red chillies and coconut to a fine paste with 1 tsp water.
  9. The Snake Gourd would have finished cooking in the Microwave and pressure released from the Cooker. Remove the Moong Dal and mash lightly.
  10. Add the Moong Dal, Salt and Coconut-Red Chilli Paste to the Snake Gourd in the Microwave Container. Mix well, and Micro on high for four minutes.
  11. Set the Roti Skillet on a low flame. Take a plate or a basket with a clean cloth on it to set aside the rotis.
  12. Press one round ball of the Roti Dough flat lightly with your palms on a flat surface. Roll over the pinwheel evenly, turning the flattened round slowly. Bring sides together and roll out into a circle again. This should give you a perfectly shaped (ok, may be fairly) round roti.*
  13. Put the roti on the skillet. Cook both sides for a few seconds on a low flame. Increase flame to high when small whitish or pinkish spots or air pockets start to appear. Cook the other side. Repeat this until brown spots appear on both sides.
  14. Proceed similarly with all the other rotis.
  15. Remove the Snake Gourd Kootu from the Microwave. Add chopped coriander leaves. Mix well with a ladle.
  16. Splutter mustard seeds and urad dal with a little oil on the stove. Add this tempering to the Snake Gourd Kootu.

Serve Hot with Curd and Pickles.

*It is always better to use dough that has been set aside for at least 20 minutes. Fresh dough may not puff much. Folding dough and rolling out again helps.

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We have 2 entries from our blog for the summer express cooking event hosted by Shaheen . One from Latha and one from Viji.

Puri and Kurma by vijisriram

This evening tiffin can be prepared within 15 minutes. We have to cut the vegetables previous day and store in fridge in tupperware containers. Below given is the recipe for puri and kurma for two people.

Ingredients :

For the puri

  • Atta – 1 cup
  • Salt – to taste
  • Ghee – 1 teaspoon
  • Oil – 1 cup (for deep frying)
  • Water – 1/2 cup

For the kurma :

  • Carrots – 1
  • Potatoes – 2
  • Beans – 50 grams
  • Coconut grated – 1 tea spoon
  • Ginger garlic paste – 1 tea spoon
  • Green chillies – 2
  • Roasted gram – 1 tea spoon
  • Sunflower oil – 1 tea spoon
  • Salt – to taste
  • Coriander leaves – a few

All the vegetables are previously cut and stored .
Potatoes, beans and carrots cut into medium size cubes and Onions chopped finely and tomatoes also cut finely and stored in the fridge.

Method :

  1. First mix atta with a tea spoon of ghee and salt.
  2. Knead it into a dough by adding water to it.
  3. Make 8 small balls from the dough.(Total 3 minutes)
  4. Take the already cut vegetables (carrot, beans and potatoes) from fridge.
  5. Micro wave high adding 1 teaspoon oil,1 tablespoon water and 2 pinches of hing for 4 minutes
  6. When the vegetable is cooking in the micro wave, Grind Coconut(grated), green chillies and roasted gram to a smooth paste.
  7. Grind onion and tomato into a smooth paste.
  8. Put on both the burners of the gas stove and keep in low flame.
  9. Keep oil for frying puris in one, and heat kadai for kurma in the other and pour 2 tea spoons of sunflower oil.( 4 minutes)
  10. First put the onion tomato paste, ginger garlic paste, fry for 1/2 minute till raw smell goes.
  11. Now, add the coconut, chilli, roasted gram paste allow it to fry for 1/2 minute, add the cooked vegetables and salt.
  12. Allow this to simmer for 2 minutes
  13. Garnish the gravy with coriander leaves.(3 minutes)
  14. Now start rolling the puris.
  15. Put the puri,in the kadai of oil which is heated well, wait for a second, so that the puri becomes fluffy.
  16. Now turn the puri again cook it for a few seconds.
  17. Remove it from fire.Make rest of the puris in the same way.(5 minutes)

Serve hot with puris.

Since we have cut the vegetables previously, cooking time for the gravy will be 7 minutes. And puris can be prepared within 8 minutes.

  1. Keep all the cut vegetables into a micro safe bowl .
  2. Add water and cook at micro high for 4 minutes.
  3. Keep this aside.
  4. Add oil in a micro safe vessel, add onion tomato, ginger garlic paste to it.
  5. Cook in micro high for 4 minutes.
  6. Add the coconut, chilli, roasted gram paste to it, add the cooked vegetables and salt.
  7. Cook in micro high for 3 minutes.

Garnish this kuruma with coriander leaves and serve hot with puris.

Tip :

Puris can be prepared immediately, after the dough is made.

If lukewarm water is added to knead the dough, puris will be soft for a very long time.

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We have 2 entries from our blog for the summer express cooking event hosted by Shaheen . One from Latha (given below) and one from Viji.

Super Fast Bisi Bele Huli Anna by Latha Narasimhan

Today I was very busy preparing goodies for my daughter and son in law . I am visiting them this weekend to celebrate my daughters 25th birthday. So I thought I need to cook some quick lunch. This is what I prepared in just 12 minutes.




  • Rice – 1 cup
  • Toor dal 1 cup
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Onion – 1 medium sized
  • Carrot – 1 medium sized
  • Cabbage – a few leaves
  • Beans – 5 nos
  • Oil – 2 teaspoons
  • Hing powder – 2 pinches
  • Ghee – 1 tablespoon
  • Tamarind Pulp- 1 tablespoon
  • Salt to taste

For the paste

  • Coriander seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Channadal – 1 teaspoon
  • Methi Seeds 1/4 teaspoon
  • Hing – a small piece
  • Cardamom – 1 no
  • Clove – 1 no
  • Red chilli – 1 no
  • Star Anise – 1no
  • Cinnamon – 1 stick
  • Grated Coconut 2 table spoons

Clockwise from 12’o clock: Hing, Methi Seeds, Coriander Seeds, Cloves, Cinnamon, Star Anise, Cardamom, Channa Dal and Red Chillies in the middle (Note: These are not quantities, its just a picture to get an overview of spices)

Clockwise: Grated Coconut, Chopped Carrot, Beans, Cabbage and Onions in Tupperware Containers

For Serving

  • Groundnuts – 1/2 a cup
  • Papads – 3

Some Prerequisites

  • Grated Coconut stored in the fridge
  • Thick Tamarind Pulp stored in the fridge
  • You must be fast with vegetable cutting
  • And a small cooker aids in fast cooking of rice and dal is quite handy to speed up things
  • An organized kitchen where all spices are handy


  1. Put three cups of water to boil in a Hawkins Ventura.
  2. Wash the rice and dal, drain partially reserving about half a cup, and put in Hawkins Ventura along with turmeric powder directly. Note: I used a 3 litre venture which cooks amazingly fast.
  3. Fry all ingredients for paste except coconut in one teaspoon oil stirring continously till golden.
  4. Add coconut and fry for 1 more minute. Keep aside for cooling. Note: I stored this in the fridge for my weekly supplies and dint need to grate.
  5. Cut Vegetables and Micro on high for 4 minutes. Note: You might want to also do this the previous day. I cut very fast.
  6. Grind the fried ingredients to a fine paste adding a little water.
  7. Set aside Tamarind pulp from the fridge.

8th to 10 minute

  1. By now the rice and dal in the cooker will be ready, with all pressure released. (The benefits of a small cooker). Add vegetables, paste, tamarind pulp, ghee and salt into the cooker and cook for 2 minutes.

10th to 12th minute

  1. Fry 3 papads in the microwave.
  2. Roast groundnuts on high for 45 seconds in a microwave for serving

Serve hot. 🙂

Most of what we prepare and post on this blog is in fact quite quick. You might want to check this handy super fast dosa for a quick breakfast recipe. Cooking fast is not just preparation but also clever use of time.

But one thing is for sure, it took much more time to type this recipe than to cook!!!

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