Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Quinoa Pongal

I went to my Dear Uncle, Aunty's place in CA for Christmas Holidays. I have to tell few words about my uncle. He is a super duper healthy person and he inspires me in many aspects. Every day at 7:00 AM he makes vegetable+fruit smoothies and gives it to all of us.
Quinao is his latest favorite and he used it left & right in almost all the dishes. To my surprise he made Pongal and my Maami made Walnut Chutney for breakfast.  Needless to say, it was yummy and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Quinao is rich in high protein than any other grain and has more fiber too. There is no hard & fast rules to use Quinao, juz use it in all of rice dishes instead of rice to avoid excess carbs & sugar. Even I grinded it with my multi-grain 'Adai'.                            
Quinao needs to be washed 2 or 3 times by rubbing the seeds together before cooking.                              
Quinao---------------------> 1 cup
Moong dhal---------------> ½  cup
Black Pepper--------------> 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds--------------> ½ tsp
Mustard seeds------------> ½ tsp

·         Pressure Cook Quinao & Moong Dhal + Salt with 3.5 cups of water                          
·         Dry roast Black Pepper and Crush them                
·         Do the seasoning with mustard seeds, jeera & curry leaves.                       
·         Pour the seasoning over Quinao & add the Black Pepper- Jeera mixture                               
·         Serve with Walnut Chutney                       
ü  For more crunchy texture, dry roast Quinoa before cooking.      
ü  1:2 is the ratio for cooking Quinoa

Friday, December 24, 2010

Tomato Rasam

Sometimes I make this quick Rasam in few minutes, which is fast & easy.

Tomato---------------------> 1 Smashed (either simply with hands or microwave it & then smash)
Tamarind Water----------> 1 cup
Rasam Powder------------> 5 tsp
Garlic------------------------> 4 Cloves, minced
Paruppu podi--------------> 2 tsp(Optional)
Turmeric--------------------> ½  tsp
Salt---------------------------> A2Y taste

·         Mix all of the above items in a deep Saucepan and check for salt & spice                              
·         Heat the saucepan, when you see bubbles coming up, switch off the stove. It is not necessary to allow the rasam to boil.      
·         Heat oil in a saute pan in medium heat, and add mustard seeds, Jeera(allow them to splutter), Red Chillies, Curry leaves                  
·         Pour the seasoning over Rasam                               
·         Garnish with Cilantro if desired                 
·         Serve with hot rice & Potato Kara curry hmm.. Yummy combinationJ                   
ü  U can replace Tamarind water with Lemon Juice to make the recipe even more easy.  But add it after switching off the stove.

Vegetable Kurma

Kohlrabi is called as 'Noolkohl'  in TamilNadu. Without Kohlrabi I'll not make Kurma because it adds unique taste & flavor  to the dish. When buying Kohlrabi, look for smaller ones which is edible and fleshy. The bigger ones need to be peeled, and it is mostly woody, fibrous with inedible outer layer of skin.                          
Usually I find smaller ones in Top Foods & Winco Foods. I chop the stem & leaves and save it for making dhal. This is also my DM's receipe.


Kohlrabi---------------------> 2 cups, cubed
Carrot------------------------> 1 cup, cubed
Beans------------------------> 1 cup
Potato-----------------------> 1 cup
Cauliflower-----------------> 1.5 cups
Garbanzo Beans-----------> 1.5 cups Cooked
For Grinding:                    
Poppy Seeds----------------> 3 tsp Soaked (if no time, dry roast it)
Cumin Seeds----------------> 1 tsp
Bay leaves------------------> 2
Cardamom------------------> 2
Cloves-----------------------> 2
Cinnamon-------------------> 1 stick
ü  Dry roast the above items.                         

Onion------------------------> ½ cup
Tomato----------------------> 1
Ginger-----------------------> 2 inch
Garlic------------------------> 3
Coconut---------------------> ½ cup
Green chillies--------------> 4
ü  Saute rest of the items in little oil and let it cool.                               
ü  Grind everything to make paste in mixie/food Processor                             
·         Cook all the cut vegetables(except Cauliflower) with enough water, salt, Turmeric in a deep sauce pan and close it with lid.                               
·         Add the Cauliflower florets when other vegetables are half cooked                        
·         Stir in grinded masala paste & Garabanzo beans ; add water if needed.                 
·         When the vegetables are cooked(make sure it is not overcooked or mushy),keep it in low heat for 10 minutes stirring occasionally                        
·         Garnish with Cilantro if desired                 
·         Serve with hot rice or Chappati
Instead of Green Chillies, Red chillies or Red chili powder can also be used. It will be a different version of Vegatable kurma.               

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Peanuts Sundal

All of our Tamil friends in Olympia do Prayer for Lord Murugan every week of Karthigai Month.  We will start with slokhas by kids, followed by singing Kandha Shasti Kavacham, Sri Lingastakam, Thirupugazh and few other Murugan Songs. This year we made it more informative and discussed a lot about 'Aarupadai veedugal' with kids. It was the last week of Karthigai Month in my friend's  place.  My Dear Friends ordered me J to make their favorite Peanuts sundal for the Potluck. They didn't know that it is so easy for me. Juz joking.

Raw Peanuts-------------> 4 Cups
Onion --------------------->1 cup(Finely Chopped)
Cilantro ------------------->1 cup(Finely Chopped)
Mustard Seeds----------->2 tsp
Urad dhal------------------>2 tsp
Oil--------------------------->5 tsp
Salt-------------------------->A2Y taste
For Masala Powder                        
Cocunut-------------------->1/2 Cup(Fresh or powdered)
Split Roasted Channa Dhal--------------------->1/4 cup(Pottukadalai)
Red Chillies---------------->5
Grind the above items (without water) and keep it ready.

  • Soak the peanuts overnight and pressure cook it with salt(If soaking is not done, leave it more whistles; it will not be mashed like other beans.)                          
  • Drain the excess water completely                         
  • Heat oil in a pan; once it is hot add mustard seeds and urad dhal.                             
  • Add the cooked peanuts, stir it for couple of minutes.                   
  • Now add the Masala Powder, Salt and mix it well for couple of minutes                          
  • Finally add the raw onions and mix them, Switch off the stove                             
  • Garnish with cilantro                                                 
Shredded Carrots and Mango will make the sundal more tasty, if added.              

Prayer went very well and we were having dinner. All of a sudden, my DF become dizzy. My brain stopped working immediately. Luckily all of our friends were around.                  
Our heartfelt Thanks to all our friends for taking care and giving moral support in the difficult situation. Million Thanks for their prayers too.                      
It was so stressful moment, but nothing very serious by Lord Murugan’s Grace.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Walnut - Celery Chutney

Though Celery is a boring vegetable for your taste bud, it is healthy for your body because of its vitamins & minerals.                      
Walnut & Celery combination helps in lowering Cholesterol & blood pressure.                   
I use Celery in my Minestrone soup & Whole Lentil Dhal. After using it in the soup, I had still more than 1/2 a bunch of Celery and I was supposed to make Walnut Chutney for a Party.                              
Well.. Y don't I try using it in my Chutney. Let’s see how it works out                      

Walnuts------------------->2 cups
Celery--------------------->1/2 bunch chopped into chunks
Onion --------------------->1 Sliced
Tomato-------------------->2 Sliced
Green Chilli--------------->10 (A2Y spice bud)
Ginger--------------------->4 inch
Garlic---------------------->3 (Optional)
Cilantro------------------->1 bunch
Salt------------------------->As desired
Olive Oil------------------->5 tsp

·         Make powder out of Walnuts in Pulse mode (of Mixie) and keep it aside                             
·         Heat oil in a pan, add chunks of Celery and fry until it is cooked.                
·         If you don't like the raw smell of Onions & Tomatoes, add those also along with Celery.                
·         When it is cool, grind it with rest of the ingredients                         
·         Now add the powdered Walnut, sometimes because of the oil it might turn as hard butter instead of powder.                 
·         If the chutney is for Idly or Dosai, water can be added.; otherwise grind everything to make 'Thovaiyal'

               Gothumai Dosai with Walnut - Celery Chutney:

Thai Fried Rice

This weekend, I went to newly opened Winco Foods in Lacey. They had a huge collection of vegetables, and I bought almost everything that I cook including Tofu & moong sprouts.                  
On the way back, it was raining heavily and I felt like having Thai fried rice very badlyJ. So I came home and made it, though I was very tired. Usually I don’t prefer any sauces in any of my recipes, so no sauce is needed.

In the picture, I tried the same recipe with Quinao which I made for Christmas Potluck in Workplace.


Cooked Rice--------------------->1.5 cups(Refrigerated the day before)
Tofu------------------------------->200 gms cut into cubes
White Onion-------------------->1 cup, sliced; ½ cup chopped (explained below)
Broccoli-------------------------->2 crowns
Zucchini-------------------------->3 cut into rounds
Capsicum------------------------>2 sliced length wise
Mung Sprouts------------------>1 Small Packet
Green Chillies------------------->2
Ginger---------------------------->1 inch
Garlic----------------------------->4 cloves
Red Chillies
/Crushed Pepper--------------->2 tsp
Salt-------------------------------->As desired
Cilantro--------------------------->1/4 cup chopped
 Thai paste                         
Onion - half cup chopped             
Green Chillies                   
Red Chillies                        


·         Shallow fry Tofu Cubes , add 3 tsp of Thai paste and little salt. Cook for 4 minutes or until lightly browned stirring occasionally. Keep it aside. This way Tofu is blended well with spiciness & salt.   
·         In the same pan, pour little oil and add the Thail paste and fry for 4 minutes                       
·         In another deep pan or Wok, add Onions, Broccoli, Capsicum                     
·         Once vegetables are half cooked, add Zucchini with salt & Crushed pepper according to the spiciness
·         Next mix the Thai paste and add the rice
·         Finally add moong sprouts
·         Mix the ingredients well without smashing them.
·         Garnish with Chopped Basil, Green Onions, fried Garlic, & Thail chilles(if u want the Thai fried rice look as in restaurants) - I skipped this step, because I didn’t have any of these.                    
·         U can also add, baby corn, Water Chestnuts and Bamboo shoots. I didn't add any of them
It was heaven eating the hot Thai Fried rice in cold weather and rain. ithu konjam 2 much thaan.. still I needed it after worn-out shopping.       

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Minestrone Soup - My version

Data Input:Beans : 2 cups (Kidney Beans, Lima Beans, or any other variety u like; I used Kidney Beans, Lima beans, Black beans)
Pasta : ½ cup
Veggies : Celery, Zucchini, Bell Peppers (Carrot & Potato if you like, I dint use)
Diced Onion : 1 Cup
Tomatoes : 1 Cup (if no tomatoes available, go for Tomato Sauce or Salsa)
Basil : 1 tsp
Thyme : 1 tsp
Oregano : 1 tsp
Parsley : 1 tsp
Garlic : 4 Cloves
Crushed Red Pepper , Jalapeno Peppers(pickled also fine) : according to ur spice star
Olive oil : 5 tsp
Salt : Desired quantity

Program Execution:• Soak the Beans overnight & Pressure Cook them with little more water (Don’t drain the water)
• Cook Pasta & drain it
• In a Pan, add olive oil ; once it is hot add Garlic and fry for a minute
• Add Onions, Tomatoes, and all the herbs (Basil, Thyme, Oregano, Parsley), fry for few minutes
• Add the Veggies; fry for couple of minutes
• Add cooked beans, Salt, Crushed Pepper or Jalapeno Pepper
• Bring it to boil , stir it , add Pasta and close with the lid.
• Simmer it for 30-45 mins

Output:Yahoooooooooooo! Yummy soup ready to enjoy !

I made this soup for "Chilli Soup Contest" conducted for raising money for Food Bank in my Office. Can u believe it? This soup won the contest!

I was very glad seeing the results of the contest as
"Congratulations to Priya Muthaiyan who won the soup contest!"
I received a cute Halloween lantern light as the prize.

Heartfelt Thanks to my DH who helped in cutting all the vegetables and tasting the soup.
Also Thanks to my dear friends in workplace who all encouraged me in making the soup.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Paneer Masala

My DH is a great fan of North Indian dishes, though we are from core South. He preferred Naan & Paneer gravy for dinner and its been more than a week since I promised him that I'll make.. I can't postpone anymore.. So I am getting ready to prepare Paneer Masala. I am not that great when it comes to North style dishes.. But still I tried. 


Paneer ------------------>500 gms cut into cubes
Onion--------------------->1.5 cups, diced
Capsicum----------------->2 cups cubed(Mixed colors)
Green Chillies------------>3 Slitted
Chilli Powder------------>1 tsp
Dhania Powder--------->1 tsp
Turmeric----------------->1 tsp
Ginger Garlic Paste---->1 tsp
Salt------------------------>As desired
Garam Masala---------->1/2 tsp
Cilantro------------------>1/4 cup chopped
Mustard Seeds--------->1.5 tsp
Jeera --------------------->1 tsp
Yogurt Mix                         
Yogurt---------------------->1/2 cup
Black Pepper Powder--->1 tsp
Chilli Powder-------------->1 tsp
Salt-------------------------->As needed

  • Shallow fry the Paneer cubes until lightly browned stirring occasionally , add them to the Yogurt Mix and Marinate them for at least 1/2 hour                              
  • In the same pan, heat oil ,fry onions and Tomatoes. Grind it to a paste.                 
  • Now add oil in the pan, followed by Mustard seeds, Jeera. Let it crackle.                              
  • Then add Ginger Garlic paste, Turmeric, Green Chillies, add Capsicum , fry for few minutes                         
  • Add the Onion - Tomato paste, chilli powder, Dhania Powder, Salt. Cook till oil comes out                            
  • Add water if needed and simmer for 10 minutes.                            
  • Finally add the marinated Yogurt Mix and Garam Masala. When the bubbles starts coming up, switch off the stove, else the yogurt will curdle.                           
  • Garnish with Cilantro                     
  • Serve with Chappati, Naan or Rice
It came out so tasty, even my DD liked it. My DH also enjoyed it with Naan and I had it with Rice, because I don't like Naan :-(

Monday, November 8, 2010

Walnut Chutney

Many of us wonder what do with Walnuts other than using it in Trail mix or Cereals. It doesn’t taste that great if eaten alone, but I like it though.
This is my all time favorite and it goes well with rice as 'Thovaiyal' or as Chutney for Idli, Dosai. It is so simple and easy. I got this receipe from my dear Aunty & Uncle living in California. 


Walnuts------------------->2 cups
Onion --------------------->1/2 Sliced
Green Chilli--------------->6
Ginger--------------------->2 inch
Garlic---------------------->2 (Optional)
Cilantro------------------->Half bunch
Salt------------------------->As desired
Olive Oil------------------->4 tsp

·         Make powder out of Walnuts in Pulse mode (of Mixie) and keep it aside                             
·         Grind rest of the ingredients to make a paste                    
·         Now add the powdered Walnut , sometimes because of the oil it might turn as hard butter instead of powder.                
·         If the chutney is for Idly or Dosai, water can be added; otherwise grind everything to make 'Thovaiyal'                  

You don't believe, it will be very delicious, much similar to coconut chutney.            
Another variation could be fry the Onions, Tomatoes, Green chillies if you don't like the raw smell