Monday, September 1, 2014

The secret to soft and fluffy idlis

It is known that India gave the concept of  ‘0’ to the world. We of Tamil Nadu can proudly say we gave the ‘idli’ to the world.

Idli, a low fat, nutritious and easily digestible steamed cake, usually requires the rice and urid dal components to be ground separately and to different consistencies. You never know the outcome until you take the idlis out of the cooker – it may be soft or stone hard.

By accident I found an easier method which I would like to share with you all. This has produced soft and fluffy idlis every single time!


7 cups of idli rice
2 cups of urid dal
1 tablespoon fenugreek
Salt as required


Soak the rice, urid dal and fenugreek overnight in water.  

The next morning, grind all the components together in a blender or idli grinder until it forms a smooth batter, adding water as necessary.

Add salt and mix well. Leave to ferment for at least 8 hours.

Then add the batter to an oiled idli pan and steam for 5-7 minutes.  

Serve with a chutney, such as a tangy tomato and onion, sambhar, and idli podi!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Thenga pal paysam (Coconut milk kheer)

A sweet and warming drink that can be made in less than half an hour! It makes a wonderful addition to any South Indian meal. 


½ cup coarse semolina
1 ½ cups water
1 cup jaggery or dark brown sugar
1 cup coconut milk
¼ teaspoon saffron
¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
1 tablespoon cashew nut pieces


1. First toast the semolina in a hot pan until it turns a light golden brown colour. 

2.  Cover with 1½ cups of water and bring to the boil. Cook for 3 minutes until the semolina is soft.  

3.  Keeping the mixture on a medium heat, add the powdered jaggery or brown sugar, and stir well       until the sugar melts.  

4. Add the coconut milk, simmer gently for 2 minutes and turn off the heat. 

5.  Toast the cashew nuts in a little ghee and add this to the paysam along with the powdered cardamom      and saffron and mix thoroughly.  It is delicious served hot or chilled!

Saturday, August 23, 2014


A delicious low-fat vegetable dish which can be adapted to include any left over vegetables you have!


2 cups chopped cauliflower
2 cups chopped tomatoes
½  cup beetroot
½  cup potato
½  cup green beans
½  cup carrot
½ cup onion
½ cup green bell pepper
½ inch piece fresh ginger
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1 tablespoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon chilli powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
handful of chopped coriander leaves
2 tablespoons of oil
salt to taste
2 cups water


1.  Chop all the vegetables into evenly sized pieces.

2. To a hot pan add the oil and cumin seeds. Once the seeds start spluttering add the chopped onion and ginger and sauté until the onions are soft and lightly browned.

3. Next, add the powdered coriander, cumin, turmeric and chilli and cook for 2-3 minutes.

4. Add the chopped tomatoes and salt and cook for 5 minutes until the tomatoes begin to soften. Then add all the remaining chopped vegetables and mix thoroughly.

5. Add two cups of water, cover and simmer for 10-15minutes until the vegetables are soft.

6. Finally, add the chopped coriander leaves and serve with a couple of chappatis.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Baingan Bartha (North Indian roasted eggplant)

A spicy roasted eggplant dish that is delicious with chappatis!


2 large eggplants (brinjal)
2 red onions
6 medium sized tomatoes
1-2 green chillis
2 cloves garlic
1 inch piece fresh ginger
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½  tablespoon coriander powder
½ tablespoon cumin powder
¼ teaspoon chilli powder (or to taste)
¼ teaspoon turmeric
salt to taste
3 tablespoons of sunflower oil
a handful of coriander leaves


Rub the surface of the eggplants with a little oil and place on an open gas burner or in a hot oven.  

Keep turning the eggplants until the skin has charred evenly on all sides and the flesh is soft. Allow to cool, peel off the charred skin and chop the flesh finely.

Chopped flesh of the cooked eggplants

Make a paste using the ginger, garlic and chilli and finely chop the onions, tomatoes and coriander leaves. 

Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a hot pan and add the cumin seeds. Once they start spluttering add the chopped onion and sauté until the onion is soft and has turned golden brown. Then add the ginger-garlic past and mix thoroughly, followed by the powdered cumin, coriander, turmeric, chilli. 

Add the chopped tomatoes and salt and mix vigorously. Allow the tomatoes to soften and then add the cooked eggplant.

Let the mixture cook for 5 minutes until all the vegetables are soft, then add the chopped coriander leaves. 

Serve with whole-wheat chappatis for a delicious and nutritious lunch!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Rawa Masala Dosa!

A tasty and nutritious variation on the plain dosa!


4 medium sized potatoes
2 red onions
1 green chilli
1 inch piece fresh ginger
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
handful of coriander leaves
a few curry leaves
½ teaspoon asafoetida
¼ teaspoon turmeric
salt to taste
half a lemon

Optional extras :  Lightly toasted Urid dal and/or Cashew nuts


1.  Boil the potatoes until soft, then peel and mash roughly.

2.  While the potatoes are cooking, finely chop the onions, chilli and ginger.

3. Add a tablespoon or two of oil into a hot pan and add the mustard seeds. When they start to splutter and pop add the chilli, ginger, onions and curry leaves and sauté for a few minutes then add the turmeric and asafoetida.

4.  Once the onions are soft add the mashed potatoes, salt and chopped coriander leaves and mix thoroughly. Add the juice of half a lemon or lime for extra flavour!

To make the dosa prepare the Rawa Dosa Mix.

Spread the dosa mix onto a hot pan in circles  
Turn the heat down a little and cook for a few minutes 
Flip so the other side is in contact with the pan 
Cook lightly on this side and flip back
Add a spoonful of the masala mix on to one side 
Fold the dosa over to seal the masala inside. Add a little ghee and toast the dosa on each side and it's ready to serve!

Serve with sambar, or any chutneys and vegetables of your choice!