March 2015
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Missi Roti, a special variety of Indian Bread made of gram flour and wheat flour along with spices. Missi roti is a Rajasthan special dish. Missi Rotis are served with Green Chilli pickle in North Indian Restaurants. Any dal or Paneer dish would be a best accompaniment for this roti. I made Achari Paneer and I love the combination. Very simple to make roti and at the same time tastes delicious as we are adding gram flour & spices. We also make missi roti with methi leaves. I have used chopped coriander leaves which can be replaced by methi leaves. A perfect dish to complete our meal. 

Batata Vada, (Mumbai Style Aloo Bonda), is a popular Mumbai Street Food. Ginger, Green chilli and garlic flavoured potato dumplings dipped in besan and corn flour batter and deep fried in oil. When served hot, they are so crispy and yummy. Vada Pav is another famous street food in Mumbai where in this batata vada is stuffed inside bread bun and served as a snack or breakfast accompanied by chutney. 

This week I have decided to make North Indian Lunch Menu. My daughter loves paneer so I got paneer from Indian shop. Sundays are always special. We sit together with our family and enjoy a special meals. Every Friday I start thinking of some special lunch menu which would be a perfect meal for Sunday. So, I prepare the list of groceries for the special Lunch Menu and get everything from Indian grocery shop. As my daughter was repeatedly asking for Paneer dish, I made Paneer Jalfrezi. Instead of usual roti, I decided to make Rumali Roti. Along with this Roti and paneer dish, I just made simple but yummy jeera rice. Finally an onion raitha would be another perfect accompaniment for this combo.

Hindi word for Pickle is 'Achar'. Achari Paneer, Paneer in Achar gravy. Generally the main ingredients in any pickle is mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. My MIL used to call it as 'Kalyanam for Pickle'.  Roasting mustard and fenugreek seeds and powder them in a mixer and add it to the pickle along with hing, is the main secret ingredient in any pickle. In Achari Paneer also, the gravy is mainly made of Achar masala which constitutes mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and other spices. This spicy achar masala brings the unique taste to this dish and you can enjoy the taste of paneer in the achar gravy. As other Paneer gravies, this is also an excellent accompaniment for any Indian Breads. Lets see how to make this Achari Paneer.

Methi Poori / Puri, Methi leaves mixed with besan and whole wheat flour and deep fry them in oil as we do for conventional poori. We can prepare these poori like conventional poori also just with wheat flour. I like adding besan with wheat flour it gives a wonderful taste to the poori. These besan added methi poori won't puff up like our usual pooris but taste wise they are so good. Methi leaves are nutritional rich and this is one way we could include these healthy greens in our diet. I love to make these Methi Poori especially on sundays when everyone in our family sits together for a breakfast! My daughters love to have this poori along with potato subji. Lets see how to make this Methi Puri.

Raw Mango season started! Got nice Raw Mangoes from Indian Shop today.. First thing came to my mind is Pickle. Got 2 Kgs of raw mangoes. I made Grated Mango Thokku and Chopped Mango pickle. My husband's favourite is Chopped Mango Pickle. But my favorite is Thokku. I learnt these pickles from my MIL, she is indeed a very good chef! For any pickle we should be generous in spice and salt and for any sweet we should be generous in adding sugar / jaggery. This is one of the secret advice given by my MIL. Keeping that in mind, I have made this spicy and mouth-watering Mangai Thokku (grated Raw Mango Pickle). Mango thokku is a great accompaniment for curd rice and even for rotis. My husband came home for lunch and he enjoyed this yummy Mangai Thokku with curd rice a lot! Lets learn how to make this Mangai Thokku now..

I recently read one of the article in "Times of India" about Bottle Gourd. Here is the summary from that article. Consuming bottle gourd juice has many health benefits. This simple vegetable is full of minerals and water. Bottle gourd helps fight many small problems keeping you healthy. Listed below are a few health benefits of bottle gourd juice. Bottle gourd juice is widely used for the weight loss. It helps reduce the inflammations in the liver and kidneys. Helps in easing the problem related to constipation. The water and fiber in the bottle gourd make the digestive system free and active. Sesame oil when mixed with bottle gourd juice helps to cure problems of insomnia. Bottle Gourd is one of the nutrition rich veggie and we should try and use that as often as possible in our day to day diet. We can make many different dishes using Bottle Gourd. 

Doodhi Halwa (Bottle gourd Halwa) is one of the scrumptious Indian Dessert made using Bottle Gourd and condensed milk. Like Carrot or beetroot halwa, this is also easy to make and very tasty. Here, I have given a simple method to make Lauki halwa. I have used sweetened condensed milk which eases our procedure. This halwa would be a best treat for our family and guests! Lets see how to make this yummy and healthy Doodhi Halwa / Lauki Halwa.

Roomali Roti (Rumali Roti) is a flat and thin Indian Bread. Rumal is "Hand Kerchief" in Hindi. As the name specifies, it is very soft and thin like a Hand Kerchief. Rumali Roti is very easy to make at home. We just need to roll the roti as thin as possible. Also, we have to cook these rotis slightly different than the usual way. We have to place the griddle or tawa upside down and cook the rotis in a very hot tawa.  The is the conventional way of making these rotis in restaurants. Believe me there is no complexity. Its very easy to make at home. Just we need some practice to roll the rotis as thin as possible and also need to flip them between your hands repeatedly to make it ultimately thin. Thin texture is the main differentiator in this roti as compared to other varieties of roti or chapati. I always love to order Naan or Rumali Roti whenever I go to North Indian Restaurants. Any paneer dish or dal or any veg gravy would be best accompaniment for this dish. I have done Paneer Jalfrezi as an accompaniment for this wonderful Roti. 

Paneer Jalfrezi is one more rich and healthy Paneer and vegetable gravy which is another classic Paneer recipe. This is one of the delicious Paneer gravy which is liked by most of the Britishers also. I have seen many foreigners order this delicious Paneer Jalfrezi in Indian Restaurants.  Paneer with carrots and capsicum cooked in onion-tomato gravy along with Indiab spices makes this gravy Queen of all gravies. Paneer Butte Masala, Paneer Pasanda, Mutter Paneer and many more gravies are Paneer special gravies. Along with this list, Paneer Jalfrezi is also a delicious special Paneer dish. We also make Jalfrezi only with veggies and exclude paneer also. Now let see how to concoct this yummy Paneer Jalfrezi. 

Aval Kesari (Poha / Flattned Rice Kesari), is another variety of Kesari which is so mouth-watering. Conventionally, we make kesari using Semolina. But we can make kesari with Aval, Semiya, Samba Wheat and other millets. Even Pineapple kesari is so yummy and tasty. All variety of kesari are so simple to make and they are so delicious.

We have make many variations in Garlic kuzhambu. We can me spicy garlic kuzhambu in chettinad style or we can also use coconut in making garlic kuzhambu. Garlic is highly nutritious and has less calories. Garlic aids in boosting immune system. Garlic supplementation helps to prevent and reduce the severity of common illnesses like the flu and common cold. We have to include this nutritional rich garlic in our diet. Many of us follow authentic cooking and doesn't include onion and garlic in their food. Garlic has known beneficial effects on common causes of chronic disease, so it makes perfect sense that it could help you live longer. So we should try and include in our diet. We can use garlic in different ways. Garlic kuzhambu is one such way of including garlic in our diet. NorthIndians mostly use garlic in their gravy or curry. In this garlic kuzhambu, we are going to use coconut. Either we can use coconut milk or we can grind coconut and add it to the kuzhambu. Either ways the kuzhambu is so tasty. Lets see how to make this Coconut Garlic Kuzhambu (Thengai Poondu Kuzhambu) now...

This week its yet another simple and tasty lunch menu. I have surplus of coriander leaves which might get rotten if I keep it in fridge. So I decided to make coriander leaves thokku. I immediately took stock of the vegetables in fridge and decided to make capsicum kootu. Stew is a best combination for thokku. We can make any vegetable stew for this thokku. But this capsicum stew is a perfect accompaniment. To enrich the menu, I have included Mysore rasam. Finally curd, papad and steamed rice are to be included to complete the menu. 

We can make this tasty thokku very quickly. Capsicum is also an easy cook vegetable. If we plan to cook the dal along with rice then the dal can be used for both capsicum stew as well as rasam. All these dishes needed grinding. So, first we can plan to grind the rasam spice as it needs to be a dry powder. Then we can grind for stew and thokku. Once dal and our grinding mixtures are ready, then it would be hardly less time to complete the whole menu. 

Sometimes, we have surplus of coriander leaves. Though we chop and store it in air-tight container and refrigerate it, sometimes it might get rotten. So we can make coriander leaves thogayal or thokku. Coriander leaves Thokku (Kothamalli Thokku) is another travel friendly recipe. For long time travel, we always plan ahead about many things.  One of the important aspect in travel is the food. Many of us are not a great fan of restaurant food. Once a while, we love to have restaurant food, but to have it continuously might affect our digestive system because of many artificial substances being added to food in restaurants. So many of us plan to take some homemade travel safe dishes. 

Coriander leaves thokku is one such wonderful dish which is travel safe dish too. This dish you could make it very quickly and the aroma of the coriander leaves  is extraordinary. We can make this yumy thokku and mix with hot steaming rice along with a spoon of gingelly oil. If you are making this for travel, then add 2 tablespoon of oil as a top layer of the thokku before closing the thokku with a lid.

Banana tree is the only plant which is useful to us from leaves to stem. Plantain stem is a nutritional rich veggie. It is rich in fiber and very good diet for diabetic patients too. This Plantain Stem Stew (Vazhathandu kootu) is a delicious and healthy dish. Generally many of us find it difficult or lazy to cook plantain stem because of its fibrous nature. To chop the Plantain stem, we need little more patience. We have to put more efforts to cook Plantain stem and Plantain flower, but once we are done with the chopping, then preparation of the dish is quite simple. Like other vegetable stews, Plantain Stem Stew has also the same procedure. A slight variation is that, I have used thur dal instead of moong dal. Rest of the procedure remains same. Lets see how to cook this healthy dish!

Vermicilli Cutlet (Semiya Cutlet) is one of the yummy and crunchy evening Snack! Like other conventional cutlets, vermicilli cutlet also has the same procedure. The only variation here is the vermicilli. Most of the cutlets we use lots of veggies. But here vermicilli is our main ingredient along with potato, bread crumbs and coarse peanut powder. Combine everything and make scrumptious and crunchy Vermicilli cutlets. This would be a perfect snack for the children after they return from school and also a perfect snack to go with hot coffee / tea in the evening. As I always mention, taking deep fried / shallow fried snacks once a while doesn't make our diet unhealthy. So try this yummy cutlet and let me know your comments!

I happen to see this Cucumber Kheer(Vellarikkai Payasam) in one of the TV shows. I was so fascinated by this and tried it immediately and it turned out awesome. I have made a slight variation. The kheer is so tasty and yummy. Generally, milk kheer (Pal Payasam), semolina kheer and other dal kheers are the traditional and conventional kheers we use to make at home. This is a very unique and yummy kheer. 

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