Thali Special

>> Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dear friends,
I would like to introduce in my blog the "Thali Special". With the festive season year long, there will be so many preparations almost every now and then and other than those days, I might not get a chance to prepare those special dishes on regular days. So, with this entry, I would like to share my thali on those special days.

Items in the thali are (from top left) : Garelu, Allam Pachadi, Nimmakai Pulihora(lemon rice), Beetroot Koora, Kanda Bachali Koora, Mudda Pappu, Avakai , Rice , (outside the place from top) : Ghee, Nimmakai Charu (lemon rasam), Totakoora Pulusu, Curd.

I would also like to take this opportunity to ask you dear friends to share your thali(s) also (if you are interested). With this we will get to know the different festive recipes that we prepare in each of our houses and thus knowing different customs and traditions involved. Hope you will like it.
I will give the detailed explanation of each recipe in my future posts. Keep visiting.


Nothing can come between the friendship of best friends. They laugh in each other's happiness, cry when one is hurt, offer help without thinking twice and thank God that they found each other.

Lubna has tagged me to write a beautiful poem on friendsip. I am not that great in writing/expressing in a poetic way. So, have searched for some beautiful quotes in the internet and am posting one that i liked amongst a few. This is a good start for me to write about friendship as I complete 3years of my stay in the US.
You can read about it here

Here it goes :

When I cry, you are there to help me out
When I am happy, you are there to hear me shout
When I grin you know that I am really mad
You can always tell when I am sad
You are the best friend I have ever had!

You are there with me through thick and thin
You offer a helping hand when I am dim
You patiently listen when I want to talk
You tell me I am good even when I have been bad
You are the best friend I have ever had!

So hear me out when I say
You are the light in my day
You are the moon in my night
That made my life so bright
With you I am always glad
You are the best friend I have ever had!

I would like to dedicate this friendship note to my 3 best friends
Saritha,Sunitha and Parvathi whom I met in 3 different stages of my life and have been with me almost during all my hard times physically, mentally and emotionally. Thank you all 3 of you, for being on my side, for trusting me in all means and for accepting me the way I am. Thank you so much.

Also, I specially thank Lubna, for tagging me about a beautiful relationship.
Thanks to all my dear blogger friends who constantly drop in to my budding blog and encourage me with your wonderful comments and suggestions.


Donate for a Heart Campaign..

>> Monday, August 25, 2008

A Dear Friend, Srivalli of Cooking 4 all seasons is organizing a fund raiser to help Lakshmi, who is suffering from Coronary Heart Disease. It is sad to know about Lakshmi who is 28 years old, mother of two, fighting for life. If we can help even in a small way, it may save a life and along with it, life of those two small kids.

So please please do whatever you can for this humble cause. Please head to Srivalli’s blog and check out the details.

The fundraiser will be on till September 15, 2008. You spread the word to other blogs by adding on the Chipin Meter thats on the right of my Blog to your respective blogs by just pressing the "Copy" button in the Chipin Meter itself....

Please...Please take up on this cause and do as much as you can....It will be of Great Help....


My 1st AWARD .......

>> Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lubna Karim has passed on this 'Wylde Woman Award' to me. The rules of this award are:

1.You can give it to one or one hundred or any number in between - it's up to you. Make sure you link to their site in your post

2. Link back to this blog site Tammy can go visit all these wonderful men and women and remember the Purpose of the Award: To send love and acknowledgment to men and women, who brighten your day, teach you new things and live their lives fully with generosity and joy. It's been a blessing and an inspiration to meet all of you through your wonderful blogs.

Thank you Lubna so much for this award. It's been wonderful meeting you in the blogger's world. This award means so much to me as it gives me more confidence,inspiration and encouragement to put in more good work.

As a part of the award's rule I would like to pass on the award to my blogger friends who have encouraged me every time by commenting/suggesting on my new posts. Thank you all of you. And, I am passing this award to :

Amu of

Chaitali of

Deepthi of

Keerthi of (very first person to comment on my blog)

Padma of

Rama devi of

Swathi of

Swetha of

thank you friends.



Ponganalu is a snack item prepared in the south esp in Andhra Pradesh. This snack can be prepared with left over idli batter. All you need is the stand to prepare this one. The stand comes with a wooden or a metal spatula for easu turning of the ponganalu. You can buy the stand in any Indian stores. The one I have, I brought it from India during my last visit. This is the picture of the stand.
Left over idli batter - 1,2 cups
Onion - 1 finely chopped
Green chillies - 2-3 finely chopped
Curry leaves - 2,3 chopped

1.In a mixing bowl, take all the above ingredients(except oil) and mix them so that there are no lumps.Don't add water as the batter has to be thick. No need to add salt also as the idli batter has salt in it.
2. Now, put the stand on the hot and keep it in med heat. Add few drops or oil in each section of the stand, and slowly with a spoon pour the batter into the sections one by one. See to it, that the batter doesn't come out of the rim of each section, or else if will be difficult for you while turning them. Coat with very few drops of oil on the top of each dumpling.3. Wait for few min's, and with the spatula, turn them around and wait for few more min's.
4. Remove them using the spatula and serve them hot with chutney of your choice.
Ponganalu with tomato-coriander chutney.


Pooja Vidhanam

Sorry friends,
late again.. its been almost a week that the pooja is done and I am posting it now. Please excuse me for this. Everytime I decide to sit and blog down, something or the other comes up and I get distracted towards something else. Hmm...
And now, without any delay here goes the pooja vishanam (pooja procedure):

This vratam is performed by
sumangali's (married woman) for the well being and long-life of their husbands. This vratam is particular followed in southern India mainly in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. This festival is performed in the month of Sravanam/Sravana Masam (aug-sep) on the day of Sravana Sukla Sukravaram which is on a friday that comes after the full moon day.
On the previous day of this pooja, in the evening, we take bath,clean our houses and the pooja mandiram and by evening/night, we arrange and decorate the pooja place and the
kalasam/kalash to which we offer prayers the next day. Next day, that is on the pooja day, we get early in the morning, take head bath and start preparing the naivedyam (food items) for the goddess.
Actual pooja procedure:
For this Vratam, Kalash (sacred pot) is the main important thing. Kalash can be made of anything (gold,silver,brass) according to their will and wish. As said before, I arranged the kalash the previous day itself. The goddess is to placed in the Eesanyam(East). I have arranged everything on a table.Cleaned it, put rangoli with rice flour, in the center have put pasupu, kumkuma (turmeric and sindhoor powder) and akshithalu (uncooked rice mixed with turmeric), on that I placed the kalash, poured some water, put 1 roopu(coin), 1 red flower and put 5 beatal leaves/mango leaves(stem of the leaves should be facing inside the kalash) on the kalsh kept the coconut ( washed and after that applied turmeric) and placed a red blouse piece on the coconut( the coconut stem should be facing up to which you place the blouse piece in a cone shape). This is the one, that is worshiped on this day.
My mother used to put a Silver Varalakshmi face (the one shown in the picture below) to the coconut, but putting the face is not observed in all families depending on their traditions and customs.

After I got married, as per the tradition at my in-laws place, only mother-in-law is supposed to keep the face and so I followed my co-sistes who make goddess face with turmeric. So, again following the same path, I made the goddess with turmeric and flour.
We begin our pooja with the Vigneswara pooja (Ganesh pooja-any hindu festival is observed by starting with ganesh pooja. Lord Ganesh is called Vighnadhi Pathi which means Vighna-obstacle, Adhipathi -master).
We make small triangle like pieces with turmeric mixed with water one for lakshmi and one for lord ganesha (as shown in the pic).
After the vinayaka pooja, follows the actual lakshmi pooja. After that pooja follows the story as to when and how this pooja started and by whom and also why this pooja is to be performed? After that, we offer all the food items prepared to the goddess lakshmi and offer our prayers. As a part of the custom after the pooja, we bend on our husband's feet and seek blessings from them.

In the evening, we invite sumangali's to our home, treat them as Varalakshmi, offer them Tamboolam ( betal leaves (2), blouse piece or any dress/saree, pasupu, kumkuma, vakkalu, flowers, fruits).


Varalakshmi Vratam

>> Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hello All,
Hope you all had a great pooja on friday. Well, my pooja was great. Right from the Goddess to the food items everything turned out to be pretty well. Again this time, I didn't make that many food items as I was not keeping that well whole of last week and I was just recovering by this time. But for the pooja, it went of pretty good.
I love the beginning of Sravanamasam( season) as from the start of this season, we are flooded with whole lot of festivals till the year end. Every year, I try my level best to improvise on the way the festival is done, try to make different varieties each time and this is what keeps me excited most of the time. I feel very nostalgic at times, remembering the good (G)olden days I spent back home celebrating all these festivals with my family. I miss all the fun. But then, I try to carry those customs and traditions with me wherever I go. With the kind of travelling we do, thanks to God, (touch wood) there was never a year I missed doing these festivals. That is one thing, I am very happy about.
On this note, I will take a break for today and I will post my pooja pics and procedure very soon. Till then, njoy reading this post. Take care buddies.


Happy Independence Day

>> Friday, August 15, 2008

Wish you a very
Happy Independence Day


Baingan Bartha

>> Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Today I will be discussing about my fav vegetable "Eggplant". Not just me, any Andhra born and brought up will have special liking for this vegetable, reason being the number of varieties that can made using this vegetable like: dal, curry, chutney, perugu pachadi(yoghurt chutney) and if I start writing the list will go on and on. These eggplants come in various shapes, sizes and colors as well and I remember my mother using almost all the kinds of eggplants in cooking available in the market. Though my fav always will be the very famous "Gutti Vankaya Koora" (stuffed baby eggplant), today I chose to give you all a North Indian version "Baingan Bartha".

Baingan Bartha is a North Indian preparation which is made by cooking the eggplant on the stove directly on flame. Well, again going to South Indian version of this type of cooking, my mom used to make a chutney by cooking this directly on flame. I will discuss that very soon but for now let me stick to the North Indian version.
Baingan(Eggplant) - 1
Onion(Big) - 1 chopped
Tomato - 2 chopped
Green Chillies - 3/4 chopped
Green Peas - 1 cup (frozen or cooked)
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 tsp
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp
Corainder Powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander Leaves - chopped for garnishing
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Mustard Seeds - 1/2tsp

1.Take the eggplant, wash it and wipe it completely dry. Now apply oil to the eggplant. See to it the oil sticks to all sides of the eggplant.
2. Now,keep the eggplant in a baking tray and bake the eggplant for 20-30min for 500degree F.
3. After 20mins, switch off the oven, take the eggplant out and pork with a fork or knife to check if the eggplant is cooked or not. If the flesh of the eggplant feels soft, then the eggplant is cooked. Otherwise, keep in the oven for some more time.

4. If the eggplant is cooked, peel of skin using a knife or with your hand. Peel the skin completely and now chop if into big/medium chunks with a knife.
5. Now, in a pan, add oil and when it is hot, add the cumin and mustard seeds. Once they start to splutter, add the ginger garlic paste and turmeric. Fry until the raw smell goes off and then add the chopped onions. Saute for few mins adding very little salt.
6. Once the onions are sauted(they need not be completely brown), add the green peas and chopped tomatoes. Saute and cover it wid a lid.
7. Keep checking and once the tomatoes are done, add the coriander powder, chilli powder and cumin powder. You can also add the baingan bartha masala powder that is available in stores if you have it. Otherwise, just the masalas mentioned are enough.
8.Add the chunked eggplant pieces and mash them with a masher. Add very little water if needed and add salt.
9. Cook covered for few min's and then sprinkle 2tsp of lemon juice if you want. I like to add lemon in my dishes because lemon helps in digestion.
10. Finally, garnish it with chopped coriander leaves and serve with hot phulka.


Carrot Rice

>> Saturday, August 9, 2008

It has been a very tiring day for me today with loads of laundry, cleaning and etc and by the lunch time I wanted to make something that's very easy, time consuming and tasty. I was wondering WHAT and then found that I have lots of fresh carrots at home. So, I decided to make this wonderful tasty recipe Carrot Rice.
First of all for those people who hate carrots, I think you people you people should give this a try. Very tasty and very quick.
Basmati Rice - 2 cups
Carrots - 4 grated
Green Chillies - 4 slight length wise
Onion - 1 cut length wise
Bay Leaf - 2,3
Cinnamon Stick - 1/2 inch
Star Anise - 2,3
Fried Onions - 1/4 cup
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1 tbsp
Ghee - 1 tbsp
Lemon Juice - 2tsps
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Sugar - 1/4 tsp
Carrot Rice Masala - 2 tsp
For Seasoning:
Urad Dal - 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1tsp
Mustard Seeds - 1tsp
Carrot Rice Masala :
Coriander Seeds - 1 tsp
Urad Dal - 2tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1tsp
Mustard Seeds - 1tsp
Dry Red Chilli - 3,4
Dry Roast all the above ingredients and make a course powder.
Actual Method :
1. Wash the basmati rice and soak for 20mins. After 20mins, cook it in a rice cooker with 1:1.5 ratio.
2. Wash the carrots, peel and grate the carrots. Keep them aside.
3. Now in a wide skillet, take oil and do the seasoning once the oil is hot.
4. When the seasoning starts to splutter, add the cut onions, green chillies and fry them until onions turn golden brown.
5. Now, add the ginger garlic paste, turmeric and fry for few mins until the raw smell goes off.
6. Once done, add the finely grated carrot and add salt as required for the carrots. Mix and cook it in medium flame. Cover it with a lid. You don't have to add water as carrot cooks in its own moisture. Keep checking, if required add some water and cook it covered until the carrots are cooked ( the carrot becomes half the quantity of what it is once it is done. This is an indication, that it is cooked enough).
7. Once the carrot is done, add the chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala and sugar. Mix well and finally add lemon juice. At this point, you can turn off the stove. Keep it aside.
8. When the rice is cooked, in a big mixing bowl, take the hot rice, add ghee/oil, pinch of turmeric and the carrot rice masala and mix well.
9. Finally, mix rice and the carrot mix.
10. Garninsh it with chopped coriander, roasted cashews and fried onions.

Serve hot with raita.



>> Saturday, August 2, 2008

Rasam is a simple preparation that I love to make anytime. Easy, quick, tasty and light to the stomach. Almost every household's meal is incomplete without Rasam in southern part of India.

Dal Water or cooked dal - 1 cup
Tamarind Pulp - 1/2 cup
Tomatoes - 2
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Black Pepper - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric - pinch
Rasam Powder - 2 tsp
Water - 1 cup

Cumin Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Mustard Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Hing - pinch
Dry Red Chillies - 2
Curry Leaves
Methi Seeds-4

1. In a deep cooking bowl, add water and chopped tomatoes and cook in medium heat.
2. Once the water starts boiling and tomatoes start oozing out the juice, add the Dal water/cooked Dal, tamarind juice and add salt.
3. Once the mixture comes to a boil, add Turmeric and Rasam powder and boil for few mins.
4. Add chopped coriander leaves and turn off the stove.
5. Finally do the seasoning and add to Rasam.

In a Tadka pan, add oil, jeera and mustard seeds. Once they start to crackle, add the hing, red chillies and curry leaves and turn off the stove. Add the above Tadka to Rasam.


Bachali Koora Pappu

Bachali Koora is another kind of spinach. Also called as "Malabar Spinach", "Mong Toi"in Chinese, "Poi" in Hindi, "Pasalai Keerai" in Tamil. Check for the above names in any grocery store if you want to find one. Unlike spinach, these leaves are broad and the stem is thick.
Basically, I love to add more green vegetables to my cooking like my mother, as it's a must for us at home to have one green vegetable daily.
You can prepare so many varieties with this vegetable like dal, soup(pulusu,kozhambu) and curry. Who can ever forget the famous and yummy "Kanda Bachali". Kanda Bachali is one of my fav's and i am sure for almost all the Andhra people. Will post that recipe soon but before that goes my dal vareity of this vegetable.

Ingredients :
Toor Dal - 1 cup
Bachali Koora leaves - 1/2 bunch (big)
Tomato - 1
Green/Red Chillies - 3
Taramind - 1 lemon size
Turmeric - pinch
Chilli Powder - 1 tsp

Chana Dal - 1/2 tsp
Urad Dal - 1/2 tsp
Jeera(Cumin Seeds) - 1/2 tsp
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Methi Seeds - 2
Dry Red Chillies
Curry Leaves
Hing - pinch

1. In a pressure cooker, wash and pressure cook the toor dal to 3 whistles.
2. Wash the leaves, cut them and keep aside.
3. In a pan, heat oil, do the seasoning and once the seeds start to splutter, add the cut leaves and tomato. Saute for few mins.
4. Meanwhile, soak the tamarind in lukewarm water ( or microwave the tamarind in water for 30sec) for more pulp. Extract the pulp.
5. Add the tamarind pulp to the pan, stir it and cover it with a lid.
6. Once the tomatoes and the leaves are completely cooked, add the turmeric and mix it well.
7. Add the cooked dal , salt and chilli powder.
8. Cook the dal covered for 5mins.
9. Once it starts to bubble, turn off the stove.

Serve with hot rice and ghee.


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