Tag Archives: south indian

Roasted Snake Gourd with Coconut and Sesame

You can find snake gourd, fresh, during summer months, in your local Asian grocery or frozen in any Indian grocery, year round. While there are many ways to cook it, we usually cooked it with coconut and sesame, yellow split pea or with yogurt.


I’ve roasted Ivy gourd and Okra quite successfully in the past, so why not Snake Gourd?


2-3 snake gourd
1-2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Pinch of turmeric
Red chili powder as preferred
1-2 tbsp shredded coconut
1-2 tbsp sesame powder
a few curry leaves
a little chopped cilantro to garnish


Slice the snake gourd into thin rings and transfer to an oven safe dish. Toss with olive oil, salt and chili powder.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Meanwhile, toast sesame seeds in a pan till lightly golden. Process in a food processor or blender or coffee grinder till processed into powder.


Bake sliced snake gourd rings for 30 minutes. Add curry leaves, shredded coconut and  ground sesame powder. Toss and roast for another 10-15 minutes.

sg2Enjoy with some rice or roti.


Red Rice Poha Upma

Lately, I have been on the lookout for brown rice poha (flattened rice). Although I haven’t found brown rice poha, I did come across some Organic red rice poha.



3/4 cup poha
1/2 onion sliced thin
1 small potato cut into small pieces
1 jalapeno sliced
1 carrot grated
1-2 tsp oil
1 tbsp channa dal
1 tbsp urad dal
1 tsp mustard seeds
a handful of cashews or peanuts
few curry leaves
salt to taste


In a pan, heat the oil. Add channa dal, urad dal, cashews or peanuts (or both), and mustard seeds and fry till lightly golden. Add curry leaves and jalapeno and fry for a few seconds. Add onion, potato and carrot and fry on medium low mixing as necessary to prevent sticking, until onion are translucent and golden and potatoes crispy.


Meanwhile rinse poha in some cold water. Don’t leave it in too long, or it will get soft and mushy. Rinse, and squeeze out the water and add to the pan above. Mix well. Season with salt and leave for 1-2 minutes. Can drizzle some lemon juice if desired.

poha3Serve warm with some tea, coffee or juice!

See Also:

Pearl Tapoica Upma
Quino Upma
Pearl Couscous Upma
Amaranth Upma
Upma & Pessarattu

Thai Baby Green Eggplant

You can cook them stuffed or quartered. Either way they are delicious. You can bake them for a healthier version or cook them stove top.

Either way they are delicious!


8-10 baby Thai baby green eggplant
1/2 bunch cilantro
2-3 long jalapeno peppers
1 inch ginger
1-2 tbsp oil
a dash of turmeric
salt to taste

Wash and trim the stems of the baby green eggplant. Quarter them or slice them 3/4 of the way.

Rinse and process in a food chopper: cilantro, long green jalapeno pepper and ginger.

Meanwhile, place a pan on the stove top. Add oil, turmeric and asafoetida. Top each sliced baby eggplant with a tsp of the green cilantro, jalapeno and ginger mix and add to the pan. Add salt and fry on medium low, mixing as needed to prevent burning. Cover with lid, occasionally stirring as needed.  Once the eggplant are cooked and lightly brown, add any left over cilantro-jalapeno mix. Continue cooking for a few more minutes, mixing as needed.

Serve warm with rice or roti.

Quick Lunch Series: Mango Pullihora with Quinoa

Traditionally Pullihora (or yellow rice) is made with rice, the yellow color stemming from the fragrant turmeric powder that is used in abundance to give the rice the distinctive yellow color. The three key ingredients are the rice, turmeric and either citrus juice from a lemon or tamarind juice to give it a tangy flavor. Seasonings tend to vary by personal preference. Variations of this dish can be made by  substituting the lemon or tamarind juice with Indian grapefruit juice, mango juice, pulp or shredded mango, or any citrus fruit juice that is not sweet. Rice can be substituted with poha (flattened rice) or rice rava etc. Here is a healthy variation using Quinoa.

1 cup quinoa
1 green mango

1/4 cup chopped cashews (can also use peanuts)
1 tbsp channa dal
1 tbsp urad dal
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 dry red chillies
1-2 tbsp oil
dash of asafoetida
1 jalapeno sliced
a few curry leaves
some chopped cilantro to garnish
salt to taste

MQ1Rinse and cook the quinoa per directions. Set aside.

Heat a pan with the oil. Add all seasoning ingredients except jalapeno, curry leaves and cilantro. Fry till lightly golden. Add jalapeno and curry leaves and fry for a minute or two. Transfer to a large bowl.

mq2Meanwhile peal and cut the mango into 1in cubes, discarding the seed or hard shell in the core. Process in a food processor to reduce to a pulp or small shredded pieces.

mq3Fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork and transfer to the bowl. Add the mango pulp. Mix well. Add salt to taste and garnish with cilantro.

mq4Perfect for an office day meal or as a side. Can be prepared the previous night. Makes about 2-3 servings.


Spicy Kale and Pea Uttapam

It is March. St Paddy’s Day. Believe it or not, a snow day in the Mid-Atlantic!

w1I had ample free time, and some left over Idli batter to play with, and green was in my mind 🙂

2-3 tbsp Idli batter
1/4 white or yellow onion chopped fine
a handful of frozen green peas rinsed
a handful of organic Tuscan kale chopped fine
1 green jalapeno chopped fine
a few sprigs of green cilantro chopped fine
4-6 cherry tomatoes sliced (optional)…. I love a colorful palate 🙂

Mix all ingredients. Add water as needed to lighten the batter.

w2Place a flat  non-stick pan on the stove on medium heat. Add 1 tbsp oil to grease the pan. Add the mixed batter and spread evenly with a spoon. Add additional oil as needed. Cover with a plate and cook until the side is lightly browned.

w3Flip and cook the other side until lightly golden, adding oil as needed,

w5Serve warm with chutney. Can be eaten stand alone or serve with a chutney such as peanut, coconut or mango. Or sweet ginger pickle my favorite!

w4Use any Idli batter: With brown rice or with the usual idli rava. Since I first made brown rice Idli batter, I rarely make any other. It’s healthy and good for you. Try it!

See Also:
Brown Rice with Cabbage Uttappam
Brown Rice Brussels Sprouts Uttappam
Brown Rice and Whole Black Gram Uttappam

Spinach and Yogurt Stew (Challa Pulusu)

It is very common to make a curry-like stew with vegetables and tamarind juice (or yogurt) in Southern India. While you can make this one with spinach leaves only, more commonly my mother would add bottle gourd, pumpkin and tomato. Occasionally I like to add other vegetables such as carrots, butternut squash or even green beans sometimes.


Here’s how we typically made it at home:

3 cups buttermilk (I used Kefir 1% buttermilk)
1 cup of cubed bottle gourd and butternut squash (or pumpkin)
2 cups chopped spinach
1 large tomato chopped
1 jalapeno sliced
a few curry leaves
chopped cilantro to garnish
1 tsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric
3-4 whole dry red chilli
a small piece of ginger minced
1 tbsp coconut flakes (optional)
2 tbsp chick pea flour
salt to taste


I typically steam the vegetables (cubed bottle gourd, and pumpkin) in the pressure cooker. But you can also cook them stove top with a little water.

Meanwhile, heat a tbsp of oil in a pan, add turmeric and asafoetida, add cumin seeds, mustard seeds and dry red chilli and lightly fry for a few seconds. Add ginger, curry leaves and sliced jalapeno and fry for a few seconds. Add chopped spinach and continue frying for a few minutes. Add steamed vegetables, chopped tomato and continue cooking. Add salt to taste.


Meanwhile, in a pan, mix chick pea flour and butter milk. This prevents the butter milk from cracking when boiled with the vegetables.

Add the butter milk mixture to the vegetables. Continue boiling for 15-20 minutes. Garnish with some chopped cilantro. Optionally add some coconut flakes.


Serve warm with some rice and dal. I usually love to eat mine with Chinese Okra and dal.

Add a teaspoon of ghee…  Heavenly!


Pumpkin Cooked Two Ways South Indian Style

There was an unwritten rule my mother followed and I seem to have picked it up along the way…

Whenever she cooked a pulusu without dal (or lentils), she always cooked a curry or kura with lentils. A pulusu is a South Indian (from Andhra Pradesh) dish which is cooked with tamarind juice or yogurt to name a few. Being vegetarian, we relied heavily on lentils for our protein, so it makes sense that the kura was cooked with lentils.


Pumpkin Kura:
1/2 a small pumpkin
1 cup channa dal
1 tsp urad dal
1 tsp channa dal for seasoning
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1-2 dry red chilli peppers
1 jalapeno sliced
curry leaves (optional)
chopped cilantro to garnish
pinch of turmeric
pinch of asafoetida
salt to taste
1-2 tsp oil

I usually like to cook my channa dal and chopped pumpkin  in a pressure cooker. But it should be easy enough to cook on stove top. Rinse, and chop half the pumpkin into 1 in cubes. Rinse and wash 1 cup channa dal. Cook the pumpkin and channa dal in 2 cups of water, adding more as needed or cook in a pressure cooker.


In a large pan, heat 1-2 tsp of oil. Add turmeric, asafoetida, channa dal, urad dal, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and dry red chillies. Fry till lightly golden. Add curry leaves and sliced jalapeno and fry for a few seconds. Add the cooked pumpkin and channa dal, salt to taste and continue cooking till all the moisture evaporates. Garnish with some chopped cilantro.

Pumkin pulusu
1/2 small pumpkin
1/2 medium onion
1/4 small bottlegourd
1 small sweet potato
1 roma tomato
1tsp urad dal
1 tsp channa dal
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1-2 dry red chillies
1 jalapeno sliced
a few curry leaves
1-2 tbsp jaggery powder ( 2 1 inch cubes or as desired)
1 cup tamarind juice or as desired
1 tbsp white rice powder
salt to taste
chopped cilantro to garnish
I usually like to chop my vegetables into 1in cubes and pressure cook, but you can also cook stove top with some water. I add onion, bottlegourd, sweet potato, and pumpkin and pressure cook.


Meanwhile, heat a large pan with a little oil. Add turmeric, asafoetida, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, channa dal, urad dal, red chillies and fry till lightly brown. Add curry leaves, sliced jalapeno, and fry lightly. Add cooked vegetables, tamarind juice, jaggary and continue boiling. Mix white rice flour in a bowl with some water and add to the mix. Add some chopped tomato and continue cooking for 10-20 minutes in low flame. Add salt to taste. Garnish with chopped cilantro.


Serve both with some warm rice. Enjoy!

Eggplant Chutney South Indian Style

This was a constant in my home. You can stick a well greased eggplant on a gas burning stove. I have done this before. Of course my mother loved to roast the eggplant stove top. She even gave me a mesh frame to roast the eggplant. But with six highly sensitive smoke alarms, all hard-wired and interconnected, waiting to set-off any moment, I am less inclined to roast the eggplant stove top. Even a little smoke can set off my smoke alarms. Instead, I prefer to use my oven very, very carefully, with doors and windows open, and with exhaust running high.


1 large eggplant or 2 small japanese eggplant
some tamarind juice

1 tsp channa dal
1 tsp ural dal
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1-2 dry red chilli
1 jalapeno
some tamarind juice
a few curry leaves
some chopped cilantro
salt to taste
sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.


Wash eggplant, dry and lightly grease with some olive oil. Bake in the over for about 45 minutes. Periodically rotate the eggplant to enable even roasting.

Cool the roasted eggplant. Peel and extract the pulp. Mash with a spatula.

Meanwhile heat 1 tbsp oil in  a pan. Add turmeric, asafoetida, channa dal, urad dal, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and dry red chillies. Fry for a minute or two till golden. Add curry leaves and sliced jalapeno and fry for another minute. Add to the roasted eggplant pulp.


Add 1-2 tbsp thick tamarind juice. Add salt to taste and chopped cilantro and mix well. Can add some sugar (optional). Serve with some warm rice. Enjoy!

Brown Rice Brussels Sprouts Uttapam

Brussels Sprouts? You say. Yes I say. When I can make cabbage uttapam, why not brussels sprouts uttapam?

IMG_4046Brussels sprouts belongs to the cabbage family, and look like miniature cabbages. Quite often, I substitute them for cabbage. They are rich in Vitamin A & C and dietary fiber. This one is an old recipe…


1 cup brown rice
1 cup urad dal
salt to taste (approx 1 tsp)

2-3 tbsp batter
2-3 brussels sprouts

Prep time: up to 24 hrs.
Cooking time: 10 min
Makes 3-4 medium uttapams. Refrigerate any left over batter. Will keep for at least a week.

IMG_4043Soak rice and dal in separate bowls with water up to at least 8 hours. I usually soak mine over night. Rinse and blend the dal in a blender with some water to make thick, smooth batter. Rinse and add the rice, continue blending until the rice is blended to very fine particles. You can blend the rice separately and add to the urad dal batter or blend together. Add salt and mix well. Set aside for at least 10-12 hours to allow the batter to ferment. Fermenting, especially is necessary to make fluffy idlis. But you can still make uttapam without the fermentation.

To make the uttapam, take 2-3 tbsp of batter, shred 2-3 brussels sprouts and add to the batter. Heat a wide pan and grease with some oil. Add some water to the batter, to thin it. Pour onto the greased pan and spread out evenly. Add more oil to prevent sticking. Cover and cook until golden. Flip over, add oil as needed and cook the other side till golden.

IMG_4048Serve warm with chutney. You can use any such as the Peanut chutney or coconut chutney. Although I like mine with sweet ginger pickle.

Note: Brown rice is heavier than if you use white rice or even idli rava.

Roasted Tindora (Ivy Gourd)

Ivy Gourd (or Tindora or Dondakayyi) is a tropical vine that is indigenous to Africa and Asia. It is rich in beta-carotine. It is very easy to cook. The two most common recipes that my mother liked to make were either the tindora fry or steamed tindora curry. A third alternative occasionally was to make chutney when the tindora was too ripe to make curry.


I rarely make tindora fry, so often I end up steaming the tindora and lightly sauteing with some onion and spices. Frying not only takes too much oil, but also to fry the vegetable to the right crispiness without burning requires patience. Many a time, I have seen my mother  patiently standing by the stove, frequently mixing with a spatula, to preventing burning.


Here’s an alternate way to cook the tindora that does not need the constant attention and also uses less oil.

2 lbs tindora
1 medium onion
1/2 tsp turmeric
1-2 tsp red chilli powder
salt to taste
olive oil


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Rinse and trim the edges of the timdora. Halve or quarter the tindora based on thickness of the tindora and place in a baking dish. Peel and slice the onion, and add to the tindora. Generously drizzle with olive oil. Add turmeric, chilli powder and salt to taste. Gently toss the ingredients.


Bake for an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and a half. Halfway through remove from the oven and toss and return back to the oven.


Serve warm with rice or roti.