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Aviyal

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I love coconut based dishes, and of all the coconut based dishes I do, Aviyal is my favorite. I still remember those childhood days when I question my Amma what is Aviyal. I knew koottu, sambar, curry (dry side dish), kuzhambu etc., as these are the basic ones we frequently eat at home. My Amma somehow convinces me telling its koottu. I now disagree, as I have noticed three factors in most of the koottu – turmeric powder, cumin seeds and dal). Aviyal cooked at home doesn’t have that and so is the argument 🙂 My son is yet to start arguing with me as he is just 16 months, but knowing my history I know I have a challenge 🙂 Coming back to Aviyal, I cooked Aviyal on kaanum pongal with puliyodarai, Sakkarai pongal, coconut rice and semiya bagala bath and was it my draft for almost 2 months. Saturday is nombu for us, and I was thinking what was the recent festival. Remembered pongal and also remembered about the Aviyal in draft. Here it is 🙂

Ingredients:

Mixed Vegetables –  3 cups, peeled and chooped into bite size pieces (I used potato, white pumpkin, carrot, beans, ashgourd, drumstick, raw banana)

Thick Curd – 1/3cup

Salt – to taste

To grind

Coconut – 1/2 cup

Green Chilli – 1 (Adjust according your taste)

To Temper:

Coconut Oil – 2 tsp

Curry leaves – few

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Method:

  • Boil water in a vessel and when the water boils, add carrot, beans, potato, drumstick, white pumpkin with little salt; cover and cook. Once the veggies are half cooked add raw banana; cook till veggies are fork tender. In a colander drain the veggies and keep the water

AViyal

  • Blend the coconut and green chilli into coarse paste with little water
  • In the same pan add the cooked vegetables along with the coconut paste. Sprinkle the veggie cooked water according the consistency you desire (generally Aviyal is thick so I add very little water) and cook for 3 – 5 min
  • Add salt and curd to the aviyal cook for a minute and switch off

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  • In a separate pan add oil, once the oil becomes hot, add add curry leaves allow it splutter. Add to the aviyal.  Serve it as a side dish for variety rice or with plain steamed rice

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Checkout other coconut based recipes,

Thengai Sadam (Coconut Rice) with coconut milk

Patishapta from Aruna Panangipally – Aharam

Udipi Sambar

Kadala Curry

Sweet Kozhukattai

Paal Kozhukattai

Ammani Kozhukattai

Thengai Podi

Thengai Aracha Kuzhambu

Pavakkai Pitalai

Thiruvathrai kalI

Vengaya Thogayal

Thaala kuzhambu

Aval pidi Kozhukattai

Arisi Thengai payasam

Frozen pattani Sundal

Vegetable Stew

My Notes:

  • I sprinkle water and prepare aviyal in the thick consistency as I got use to that texture, adjust water according to the consistency you desire
  • Adding coconut oil enhances the flavor. If you use any other oil and cook curry leaves, finally add a drop of coconut oil for taste

Udipi Sambar

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Thinking what to cook as an accompaniment for rice is the biggest challenge.  Though there are various possible dishes, after opening the fridge and seeing the vegetables, nothing comes to the mind. I had poosanikai, usually I make kuttu with that, occasionally kasi halwa. This time wanted to do something different  and  googled, I Saw “Udipi Sambar” recipe in venkatesh bhat samayal samayal show. Jaggery and coconut, no wonder I liked it. Have heard a Udipi sambar recipe with dal but this was without dal. Loved the way it came out and decided  to do this often in home.

Udipi Sambar

Preparation time : 10 minutes | Soaking time : 15 minutes | Cooking time : 20 minutes

Ingredients:

White pumpkin – 1 cup. + 1/4 cup, into cubes

Tamrind – small gooseberry size

Jaggery – 1 tbsp

To temper:

Coconut oil – 1 tsp

Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp

Fenugreek – 1/8 tsp

Curry leaves – 1 sprig

Sambar powder:

Coriander seeds – 1 tbsp + 1 tsp

Cumin seed – 1 tsp +1/2 tsp

Red Chilli – 3/4 (Adjust according to your spice level)

Grated cocunut – 1/3 cup

Method:

  • Soak tamrind in 1 cup of lukewarm water for 15 minutes and extract the pulp
  • Dry roast the ingredients under “Sambar powder” until the raw smell goes for 2-3 minutes and keep aside till they cool. Grind them with little water and keep aside

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  • Heat the pan and add oil to it, once the oil becomes hot add mustard seeds and curry leaves. Let the mustard seed splutter, add poosanikai and saute for 2 minutes. Add 2 cups of water and cook the white pumpkin

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  • Once the pumpkin is 75% cooked add the tamrind pulp and cook till the raw smell of the tamrind goes. Add the grind paste and jaggery; cook for 3-5 minutes and switch off

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  • Serve with rice and varuval

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Checkout my other rice Accompaniments,

My Notes:

  • Adjust the sambar consistency according to your desire by adjusting the water
  • Instead of fresh coconut, kopari can also be used

Paal Kesari


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Kesari is one of the common sweets prepared at home. Having a sweet tooth, sis and I ask Amma to frequently prepare kesari with any snack like bhajji, pakoda , Bonda etc. My mom used to tease us asking “Entha Mapalai varar ungala parka ;-)” In our culture, there was a trend when bride and groom meet for first time, kesari is served. Kesari is usually prepared with water, but replacing water with milk gives a good taste.

Paal Kesari

Preparation Time : 5 mins | Cooking Time : 20 mins | Serves : 3

Recipe Category: Sweet

Ingredients:

Rava (Sooji)/Semolina – 3/4 cup

Brown Sugar – 1 cup + 1/4 cup (Adjust according to your taste)

Milk – 2 cup + 1/4 cup

Butter / Ghee – 4 tbsp

Cardamom powder – 1/8 tsp

Nuts and raisin – to garnish (I used cashew and almonds)

Food color – 1/8 tsp

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Method:

  • Add 1 tbsp of ghee and roast nuts and raisins till they are golden brown, and set aside

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  • In the same pan dry roast the rava for 2 minutes (Roast them till aroma comes) and transfer it to a plate.

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  • In medium flame add milk to the same pan and when milk starts boiling add the rava and stir continously to avoid lumps

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  • Continue cooking till its cooked. Check whether Rava is cooked before adding sugar

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  • Add sugar, and cook till sugar melts completely and Kesari thickens. stir it occassionally

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  • Add butter and food color, continue cooking till food color dissolves and mixs completely

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  • Turn off when kesari separates from the pan. Add nuts and raisins, and serve the Kesari hot/cold. Kesari thickens with time so switch it off accordingly

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My Notes:

  • Instead of adding food color at the end can also add them while boiling milk. I have used orange food color instead yellow, green or any other food color can be used
  • I have used brown sugar instead white sugar can also be used
  • Can add almond/vanilla/pineapple extract or any other essence for taste. Saffron can also be added
  • Pachai karpuram can also be added for flavour

Arisi Thengai Payasam

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This is a traditional Payasam prepared during festive seasons. When it comes to traditional jaggery Payasam,  I prefer Arisi Thengai Payasam over Moong Dal and Channa Dal Payasam. This quick Payasam with coconut flavour makes it delicious. Today being Navaratri day 1, I prepared this Payasam for neivedhyam.  Back in India we used to keep golu in steps. Inviting people to see our golu, visiting friends and relative houses and getting Sundal, along with gifts – omg so many amazing memories. Navaratri is something I miss here. This time with my kutti krishar, I couldn’t keep bhommai outside, but happy with few bhoomai inside our Pooja room:-)

Checkout my other Payasam Recipes

Arisi Thengai Payasam:

Preparation Time : 5 min | Soaking time – 15 mins | Cooking Time : 15 – 20 mins | Serves : 3

Recipe Category: Dessert

Ingredients:

Fresh Grated Coconut – 1/2 cup

Raw rice – 2 tbsp

Grated jaggery – 1/3 cup ( Adjust according to your taste)

Cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp

Milk –  1/3 cup

Cashew nuts and raisin – to taste

Ghee –  1/2 tsp

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Method:

  • Wash and soak rice in warm water for 10 – 15 minutes
  • Grind soaked rice and grated coconut to a fine paste with 2/3 tbsp of water

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  • Add 1 cup water to the ground paste and mix well 

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  • In medium flame cook the mixture. Add cardamom powder and continue cooking.  Stir in between till its cooked (it turns from white to dull white to indicate the mixture is cooked)IMG_0386
  • Add grated jaggery and cook till it completely dissolves, and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes

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  • Heat another pan with ghee and cook cashew and raisins till cashews are golden Brown

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  • In low flame Add milk and cook for a minute and switch off. Add the cashews and raisin to the Payasam and serve Hot/Cold

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My Notes:

  • Cardamom pods can be added instead of cardamom powder. Add cardamon while grinding coconut and rice if desire
  • Rice make the Payasam thick so adjust water/milk according to the desired consistency
  • If you think jaggery may have impurities, add jaggery and water in a separate pan cook till the jaggery melts. When it comes to room temperature strain them and add it to the Payasam
  • Traditionally jaggery (Palm sugar) is used but white/brown sugar can also be used
  • Make sure the coconut rice mixture is thin
  • Milk can be added after switching off
  • Instead of rice, rice flour can also be used

Sweet Kozhukattai

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Sweet  Kozhukattai is a traditional dish prepared durung many festivals like varalakshmi pooja and vinayaka chaturthi. Soft Purana Kozhukattai is a great teatime snack too. When my Mother in law came to visit us, she used to prepare this frequently, and having a sweet tooth, I remember skipping dinner after having so much Kozhukattai! There are many ways to cook Sweet kozhukattai, I am sharing one version along with few other techniques told by both Mom and Mother in law

Can I call it Indian Sweet Momos 😉

Sweet Kozhukattai

Preparation Time : 10 min |  Cooking Time : 45  mins – 1 hour | Serves : 3

Recipe Category : Dessert/Sweet and Snack

Ingredients

Rice flour – 1 cup, sieved

Water – 1 cup + 1/4 cups

Salt – 1/8 tsp

Coconut oil – 1 tsp

Pooranam

Shredded Coconut – 1 cup

Water – 1 tbsp

Jaggery – 3/4 cup

Cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp

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Method

  • In a pan, add jaggery one tbsp of water. Once the jaggery melts, add coconut and cook till the mixture gets thickened. Add cardamom at the end. Mix well and switch off

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  • While still warm and when you can handle the jaggery with hands, grease your palm with ghee/oil, take small portions and make small jaggery balls

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  • In a sauce pan add coconut oil and 1 cup of water and bring to boil. When it is boiling and you see bubbles, add the sieved flour (Have 1/4 cup of water boiled in separate pan/kettle)
  • For the flour that I used, the extra 1/4 cup water was not needed. If you feel dough is dry, add 1 tbsp of water else no need to add. Water added should be boiling hot water, so its better to keep 1/4 cup hot water separately

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  • Cook till it comes to non sticky dough consistency. Cover the dough with a damp cloth, as it tends to dry soon
  • When the dough is cool enough to handle, make small spheres. Since rice flour is gluten free they tend to be sticky, so greasing hand with coconut oil helps to make Kozhukattai

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  • Slowly press with your hand and make a big circle sufficient enough to keep the filling

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  • Place the pooranam into the small portion

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  • Bring the outer layer to the top for modakkam shape. Alternatively, mould can also be used

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  • Repeat with rest of the dough
  • Grease the idli plate and place the kozhukattai and steam them for about 8- 12 minutes. Remove from the plate when it comes to room temperature

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My Notes:

  • If pooranam becomes so hard and not able make balls, Microwave them for 40 sec or use double boiling method and heat the pooranam
  • Traditionally raw rice is washed well and drained, spread in a towel till the moisture drains completely, and ground into a fine powder. Since it will take time, I have used store-bought Rice Flour
  • Idiyappam flour can also be used to prepare Kozhukattai
  • Can combine Rice flour and water to dosa batter consistency and add coconut oil and cook till you get a dough to the consistency similar to the one shown in above picture
  • If you think jaggery has impurities strain them after it melts and comes to room temperature. Then add coconut and cook pooranam
  • To get the outer layer soft,  boil water well for making the dough. Dough should be almost cooked with the hot water so that you get non sticky pliable dough
  • When the kozhukattais are done, they will be shiny. Do not over cook, it may give you rubbery and broken kozhukattais
  • Cook pooranam in medium flame
  • It is always better to prepare pooranam first and then the dough, to avoid dough becoming thick
  • Pooranam can also be prepared the previous day and refrigerate

White Sauce Vegetable Pasta

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As I had mentioned in Pesto Pasta, White sauce pasta is my all time favorite. Whenever we go to Italian restaurant, we will usually order White sauce pasta. First time I had white sauce pasta in a restaurant called “Little Italy” in India. I was so addicted to this Creamy pasta. One of my friends told me the recipe for white sauce. After hearing that, I was surprised that 3 ingredients – butter, all purpose flour and milk making that wonder. Here is my version of white sauce pasta.

White Sauce Vegetable Pasta

Preparation Time : 15 mins | Cooking Time : 40 mins | Serves : 3

Recipe Category: Entree

Ingredients:

Rotini Pasta – 1 box (340 grams) I used 100 % Whole wheat pasta

Zucchini – 1

broccoli – 1

Black Olives – 1/4 cup pitted

Bell pepper – 1 , thinly sliced

Spring Onion – 4 strings

Garlic – 2 pods, peeled and minced

Olive oil – 1 tbsp

Grated mozzarella and cheddar – 1/4 cup (Parmesan is preferred, but we don’t eat that)

Butter – 2 tbsp

All purpose flour – 2 tbsp

Milk – 2 cup + 1/2 cup

Heavy Cream – 2 tbsp (optional)

Garlic powder – 1/4 tsp (optional)

Salt – as needed

Italian seasoning/ oregeno- 1 tsp (I used Italian seasoning)

Ground black pepper – as needed (According to your spice level)

Water – as needed

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Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit
  • In a large Saucepan, add water and salt, and let the water come to a boil while you prepare other ingredients
  • Place Zucchini, bell pepper and broccoli in a oven tray, cook it for 10  – 15 minutes
  • As soon as the water comes to a boil, add the pasta, stir and reduce heat to medium. Cook pasta as per the instruction given on the package and drain the water
  • Add olive oil and butter in a frying pan. When it is hot, add the minced garlic, and saute for one minute. Then add spring onion and saute. Add all purpose flour and after a quick stir, add milk and whisk well to avoid lumps

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  • When it thickens after 2-3 minutes, add cooked zucchini, bell pepper and broccoli and gently stir to combine. Add Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper

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  • Add the drained pasta to the sauce and gently mix together and add heavy cream.  Add grated cheese and switch off.  Serve hot

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My Notes:

  • Instead of preparing white sauce at home, you can also buy it from store
  • Instead of baking vegetable you can also sauté them directly
  • Add any veggies of your choice. Eggplant, peas, corn, spinach, cabbage etc can also be added
  • I have used Rotini instead  penne or any variety of pasta can be used
  • Instead of spring onion regular onion can also be used
  • If you think the pasta is dry, add 2 tbsp of milk/heavy cream while serving