Thursday, January 23, 2014


Guacamole is a great Mexican dip that is made of avocados. Avocado on its own is very plain tasting but jumps to life mixed with these spices. Serve them with tortilla chips and we bet you wont stop the munching.

Prep Time: 10 mins
Avocado: 1
Onion (finely chopped): 2 tablespoons
Garlic (finely chopped): 1 pod
Green Chilies (chopped): 2
Lemon Juice: 1/2 lemon
Salt to taste

* The trick with good guacamole is getting a good avocado. You should press and check to see if its slightly ripe. Overripe ones when you open are more brown than green. The key is to find the flesh all green and soft.

Finely chop the onions, garlic and green chilies. We usually do it in the food chopper on one single run. Cut the avocado and deseed it. Scoop the flesh out and run it in the mixer just once to get it all smooth.

You could even mix it with a spoon and add it to the chopped onions, garlic and green chilies.  Finally add the salt and lemon juice to your taste. You could even add some chopped fresh cilantro leaves if you like.

The dip is ready to be served.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Khara Pongal and Sakkarai Pongal

Wishing all our dear readers abundance of  happiness and prosperity on this Pongal. Pongal is a harvest festival mainly celebrated by the people of Tamil Nadu.  It also coincides with MakaraShankaranthi  which is also the harvest festival for many other states. On this special day  they make the two versions of this rice and lentil dish, one sweet and one spicy  i.e,  Sharkara Pongal and Khara pongal.

    Ven Pongal/ Khara Pongal

Prep Time: 30 mins
Sona Masuri Rice: 3/4 cup
Yellow Split Moong Dal: 1/4 cup
Jeera: 1 teaspoon
Black Peppercorn: 1 teaspoon
Ginger (grated): 1 teaspoon
Green Chili (chopped): 1
Turmeric Powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Ghee: 3-4 tablespoons
Curry Leaves: 2-3

Heat some ghee in a pressure cooker.  Add jeera, black peppercorns and the grated ginger and saute. Add the moong dal and saute for a minute. Add the rice. Put the turmeric powder and saute for 5 mins.  Add 3 cups of water.  Put salt to taste.  Stir and cover and cook for about 3-4 whistles.
Turn off the heat. Open and check to see if its all cooked and should look little mushy. If you think its still thick and lumpy. Boil some water and add it little by little while continuously stirring.  Heat little more ghee and fry some cashews and add on the top. Serve hot plain or along with some steaming sambhar.

                                                                  Sakkarai Pongal

Prep Time: 30 mins
Sona Masuri Rice: 3/4 cup
Yellow Split Moong Dal: 1/4 cup
Jaggery: 1/2 cup or more 
Cashew nuts: 1 tablespoon'
Raisins: 1 tablespoon
Cardamom: 2 pods powdered
Ghee: 1/3 cup
Milk: 1/2 cup
Water : 3 cups
* You can fully cook it in low fat milk or do half - half ratio of milk and water.

Lightly toast the moong dal in a pressure cooker without any ghee. Add the rice. Pour the milk and water and pressure cook for 3 -4 whistles until fully soft and cooked. Melt jaggery with 2-3 tablespoons water until syrupy. Open the pressure cooker and add in the melted jaggery and stir well and let it thicken on low heat. Add the ghee and cardamom powder. Stir well. Turn off the heat. Fry some raisins and cashews in one tablespoon of ghee and garnish.  

Serve warm.

Monday, January 13, 2014

2014 Calendar

We are so delighted to share with our dear readers that our recipes and photos have been featured in the annual Malayalam calendar created and sponsored by Boney Mathew, a friend and a realtor who has been a favorite in the Malayalee community in Seattle. 

Thank you very much once again Boney Mathew. For detailed recipes please use the links below.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Uppillitta Naranga / Salted lemon pickle

Uppiliitta Naranga which literally means salted lemon is a very delicious pickle. It is simplicity at its best. Usually this is served with Kanji (Rice Porridge) or plain curd rice to awaken your dead taste buds either during nausea or just any flu. The longer it stays the better it tastes.

Prep Time: 10 mins
Lemon (chopped): 5 small - medium sized ones
Lemon juice: from 2 lemons
Green Chilies (slit): 2-3
Ginger ( chopped): 1 teaspoon
Garlic (chopped): 2 pods
Salt: 1 teaspoon or more according to taste and preference

Chop the lemons into small pieces.  Add the chopped ginger, green chilies and garlic. Add the salt and lemon juice. Mix everything really well and store it in a air tight container. Let it sit outside for 2 days. Keep it refrigerated at least one week before you use it. The lemon will become nice and soft, soaked in all the juice and spices. Like wine, older it gets better it tastes.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year's Special - Quinoa with stir fried veggies

Wishing all our dear readers a very happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year.

New resolutions are always talked about during New years. One of ours is to include more healthy choices in the diet. Quinoa is a high protein low gluten grain that is very popular these days. So here's our first recipe with this power packed grain.

Prep Time: 30 mins
Quinoa: 1 cup
Water: 2 cups
Vinegar (optional): 1/2 teaspoon
Chilli garlic sauce: 1 teaspoon
Ginger (chopped): 1 teaspoon
Garlic: 1 teaspoon
Green chillies: 2
Onion: 1/4 cup
Mixed veggies of your choice: 1/2 cup
Salt and pepper  to taste

* We have used some chopped cabbage, carrots, broccoli, bell peppers, corn, edamame beans and  peas.

Boil the quinoa in water with a pinch of salt. Boil for about 15 mins until you can almost start to see little threads that looks like a sprout to the seed. You can do a taste check and see if  it  has become soft. If you have extra water, drain it off. Keep the cooked quinoa aside.

Heat oil in a deep wide-mouth pan or even a wok. On medium to high flame saute the onion, ginger, garlic and green chillies. Add the chopped veggies and stir fry continuously on high flame. This is done to retain its crispness. But make sure you dont get it all burnt. Add the vinegar, chilli garlic sauce and pepper. Toss in the drained quinoa and saute for another minute. Turn off the heat. 

Serve it hot. 

We have given a vegetarian low calorie version, however you could add some cooked chicken or scrambled egg to make it more interesting.

Once again we wish all our readers happy new year.


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