May 2015
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Carrots are rich in Vitamin A. They are very good for our eye sight. But because of its sweetness, many kids doesn't like when we add carrots to dishes, they always try to escape. But if you wash and peel the carrots and give it to them, most of the kids love it. This is one of the simplest way to make carrot poriyal and this goes well with any kuzhambu / sambar or rice varieties. 

Last week end, I made this simple menu and it was a big hit in my family. So thought of sharing this yummy and simple lunch menu with you all. This is a North Indian Lunch Menu with Aloo Methi, Roti, Mint Pulao, Onion Raitha. Very simple and easy to make menu but very delicious. Aloo Methi is one of the easiest dry curry and everyone starting from kids to adults everyone love it because of its nice flavour of methi leaves. Then mint coriander leaves pulao. This is another easier rice variety you can make with fresh mint and coriander leaves. So, if you watch closely in this menu, you are going to use all fresh leaves like methi, mint and coriander leaves which in turn makes your whole menu much healthier. Always, making kids eat the greens is one of the complicated task for many of us. With this menu, atleast once in a week or 2 weeks, we can ensure that they are in-taking more greens in their diet. 

Making Aloo Methi & Mint Coriander Pulao is very easy.  We need extra preparation time for greens. Plucking the leaves and washing them is going to consume more time, but after doing the initial preparation, rest of the work becomes very easy. This is just a simple menu. You can enrich it by replacing plain rotis to some Paratha variety and also you can make some rich gravies as an additional accompaniment for roti. Also you can include curd and plain rice or you can serve curd rice with pickle. 

Aloo Methi is one of the yummy curry variety that goes well with Pulao, Fried rice or any Indian Breads. I have already published one version of the aloo methi recipe. This is one variation of doing aloo methi. Aloo Methi is a delicious dish made with potatoes, fenugreek leaves, and a combination of spices. We tend to add kasoori methi in most of the veg gravies which gives a nice flavour to the dish. Fresh Methi leaves added in sambar, dal or potatoes gives a wonderful taste and flavour to the whole dish. Relish any Indian Breads or Pulao with yummy Aloo Methi and enjoy with your family...

Home made Rasam Powder is always fresh and aroma rich than the store bought rasam powder. We can make fresh powder each time we make rasam, but that would be tiresome especially when we are in hurry. So homemade rasam powder would be so helpful to make instant rasam. We can easily make rasam powder at home as the ingredients needed for making rasam powder are readily available in our kitchen. Lets see how to make rasam powder at home.

The only thing we all love in summer is the seasonal eatables like Mango, water melon, ice creams, tender coconut etc. I got fresh ripe and yummy mangoes from market yesterday. Its so sweet and yummy and I immediately decided to make Mango Besan Burfi. This is a scrumptious burfi made of mango pulp, besan and sugar. Besan helps to make the mango-sugar mixture to thicken up so that they form a whole mass and we would be able to cut into cubes. We can also use milk powder or khova instead of besan. But believe me, adding besan makes our process easier. Lets see how to make this Mango Burfi...

Idli Milagai Podi, is one of the popular accompaniment for Idli & Dosa in Southern India. Idli Milagai Podi is made with red chillies and dal. This is very simple. Just making a slight inclusion or variation, you could make Dry Coconut Idli Milagai Podi which would be much more tastier compared to plain Idli Milagai Podi. The main ingredient that is additional to the conventional idli Milagai powder is Kopparai Thengai (Dry Coconut). The wonderful aroma and taste of the dry coconut makes this podi so yummy. But make sure you use dry coconut. The fresh grated coconut would not be a right choice for this recipe as it has moisture, the shelf life will also be less. Kopparai Thengai Idli Milagai Podi (Dry Coconut Idli Milagai Podi) is a best accompaniment for Idli, dosa or even for Upma. This podi has a good shelf life like our conventional Idli Podi. Store this podi in an air-tight container and use only dry spoon to have a long shelf life.

One of my friend made this yummy no onion no garlic Mint Coriander Leaves Pulao for a pooja. It was so yummy. Whenever, we do pulao, we usually add onion and garlic. But this mint coriander leaves pulao tasted so good without onion and garlic. With mild spices and rich aroma of mint and coriander leaves gives a good flavour to the pulao. When I make plain mint rice, my kids are not that much interested. But they enjoyed this Mint-coriander Pulao so much. Relish with your favourite Raitha and curry!!!

Tomato Onion Chutney is one of the most popular chutney variety in South India and is served as an accompaniment for Dosa / Idli. Always, in restaurants, Idli / Dosa / Uthappam are served with Sambar, Tomato Onion Chutney, Mint-Coriander Chutney and Coconut Chutney. My daughter always call tomato onion chutney as Red Chutney and she always think this is very spicy especially when served in restaurants. In home, she love this tomato chutney as I cautiously add less spice and she enjoy the combination of dosa and tomato onion chutney. Tomato Onion Chutney is one of the simplest and perfect accompaniment for Idli / Dosa. I have made a small variation by adding a pinch of fenugreek powder. Fenugreek powder gives a very appetizing flavour to the chutney. Try this Tomato Onion Chutney and share your comments...

Cut Mango Pickle / Avakkai Pickle is one of the popular Pickle Variety in South India. Mango Pickle are always so delicious and yummy, especially most of us like avakkai pickle. Most of us think that making avakkai pickle is complex, but, this is one of the easiest pickle. In India, during mango season, we can ask the mango sellers to chop the mangoes for avakkai pickle. The main trick is that the mangoes need to be cut with the seed. Generally, we fine chop the mangoes without the seed for mango pickle, but for this avakkai pickle, we need to chop the mangoes to bigger cubes along with the seed. Chopping part is the little complex part when you stay abroad where you can't find anyone to chop for you. But in India, the sellers will surely chop and give it to us which would make our procedure simple. For any pickle, mustard, hing and fenugreek seeds play an important role. In Avakkai Pickle, the mustard plays the main part. We need to add more mustard seeds powder compared to other pickle.

Other important ingredients for any pickle is Oil. We should be little generous in oil to have a long shelf life. The spice and oil plays an important role in shelf life of the pickle. My MIL always advice me that, we should be generous in adding sweetner like sugar or jaggery while making sweets / desserts and also we should not be scared to add generous amount spice and oil to pickle. A bowl of curd rice with one piece of avakkai pickle is a heavenly dish, especially during hot summers.  Lets see how to make this Avakkai Pickle...

Sambar Podi (Sambar Powder), is an important ingredient in most of our Kitchen, especially South Indian Kitchen. Sambar Powder is very handy and is helpful to make quick sambar and even for poriyal varieties, it would give a nice flavour. Even to make simple tomato rice, adding this sambar powder gives a unique taste compared to other masalas. If we need to make sambar for more persons, then it would be a good option to grind the sambar powder freshly and make Araithuvita Sambar instead of sambar made using sambar powder. But for a family of 4, Homemade sambar powder is the best option. Making homemade sambar powder is very simple. If you are in India, then we have mill and hence we can dry all the ingredients under sun and grind them all in a mill. But, people staying abroad has no option of mills. So we can heat all the ingredients separately in a pan and then grind them all in a mixer to a fine powder. Now, lets see how to make homemade Sambar Powder...

Lacha Paratha, Multi Layered Indian Bread made of whole wheat flour. We all are aware of Kerala Parotta which is a multi layered dish made of all purpose flour.  Lacha Paratha is much similar to Parotta, we are going to make a multi layered paratha but the main variation is the flour. Here we are going to use wheat flour / Atta instead of plain flour. So this is much healthier compared to parotta. Also, Parotta needs more expertise in kneading, rolling and making layers. But Lacha Paratha is much simpler, yet more tastier than parotta. We can serve raitha, dal or any gravy as an accompaniment for this yummy Lacha Paratha. This is one of the great potluck dish or Party dish. These parathas are soft and we can just warm them before serving. An absolute tasty and softy Indian bread with multi- layers. I am sure you would love to try this Lachha Paratha and share your experiences..

Another yummy kesari variety is Mango Kesari. Got fresh mangoes from market yesterday. Immediately, mango kesari comes to my mind. Personally, I like Pineapple and mango kesari very much. The fruit tinge and flavour enriches the whole kesari. Instead of plain rawa kesari, try Mango or Pineapple kesari and you will surely love the fruit taste. The procedure for making mango kesari is same as conventional rawa kesari. Just we need to reduce the sugar and add mango pulp. So, this dish doesn't require any special expertise. Enjoy this yummy and special mango dish this summer. A best treat for your kids in their summer vacation.

Fenugreek seeds and leaves are strongly aromatic and flavorful. Seeds are bitter in taste but lose their bitterness if roasted slightly. Fenugreek leaves are a rich source of vitamin K as well. The herb is also useful for mouth ulcers and boils. Its leaves are also applied directly for relieving sores and boils. Methi leaves are also used for fever. It may also help in removing the bad taste in mouth that people often report after consuming medications or after recovering from fever.Knowing the medicinal benefits of methi and methi seeds, it is time to include this healthy food in our diet. Most of us are already using methi. There are many delicious dishes with methi leaves. Methi Pulao is one such dish. My daughter loves this methi leaves compared to other spinach varieties. She really enjoyed this pulao as it is mild in spices and has a nice flavour of methi leaves incorporated into the pulao. Lets see how to make this simple and delicious Methi Pulao...

Paneer Pepper Masala, yet another yummy Paneer Gravy and a wonderful accompaniment for any Indian Breads! Crushed Peppercorns sauted in ghee adds a nice and rich flavour to the whole dish. Cottage cheese in pepper gravy is one of the famous dish in many of the Indian Restaurants. I have seen many foreigners ordering either paneer in pepper gravy. A nice and simple dish that goes well with any Indian breads. This time, I served this yummy gravy with Methi Pulao and my family enjoyed the combo. Even with vegetable pulao or plain jeera rice, this Panner Pepper Masala (Cottage Cheese in Pepper Gravy) would be a best accompaniment. 

Sweet Potato is one of the nutritional rich root vegetable. They do have more sugar like white potatoes, but they are less in calories and are fat free. Sweet potatoes are one of the best sources of vitamin A. My mom used to steam cook the sweet potatoes and peel the skin and mix some jaggery and used to give to me when I return from school. I love sweet potato with jaggery. It is one of the simplest and healthy sweet. Even for toddlers, it is highly recommended to give mashed sweet potato because of its nutritional values.  I have already posted few recipes of sweet potato dishes which you could try and relish. This is another curry variety. Already, I have posted Sweet Potato Masala Curry and Sweet Potato Stir Fry. This is also one of the poriyal variety but for spice, we are going to freshly grind spice and add that podi to this healthy veggie.  Try this yummy Sweet Potato Spicy Curry and share your comments!!!

Thengai Purana Poli is one of my favorite sweet. Whenever, I go to Grand Sweets, I would love to get coconut Poli. I generally make dal poli using sugar or jaggery. This is the first time, I made this coconut poli in my kitchen. Generally, we make poli using Maida (All purpose flour). But, I made this yummy Coconut poli using wheat flour. I have used the same procedure as we do for parathas. Generally for parathas, we make dough out of wheat flour and then we make stuffing and stuff the wheat flour dough balls with stuffing and roll them and cook them to make parathas. The same procedure goes here too. Wheat flour poli tastes yummy like maida flour poli and it is healthy too. So lets see how to make this yummy and healthy Coconut Poli (Thengai Poli) using wheat flour...

Thokku, a thick gravy made with tomatoes or any veggies along with spices. Any variety of thokku is a great travel friendly dish. I have already shared few thokku recipes like, Bittergourd Thokku, Tomato Thokku, Coriander Leaves thokku etc. Now, this recipe is about Brinjal Thokku (Kathirikaai Thokku). Many of us doesn't like Brinjal very much. But since this is a thokku and we are going to grind the brinjal, everyone will surely love this appetizing thokku. We can mix this thokku with hot steaming rice or we can use this thokku as an accompaniment for any Indian breads or even for Idli / Dosas. We can make this thokku and store it in air tight container with a top layer of oil and it would have a shelf life of a week.

Kesari is one of the easiest sweet dish which we can prepare quickly. Rava Kesari is one of the conventional dish the SouthIndians , especially Tamilians make Kesari when they have any special events or guests. Any unplanned visitor, first thing goes to our mind is Semolina and next thing is gram flour. Bajji and Kesari are the two dishes that comes to our mind as they are much simpler, yet tastier. There are lot of variations or varieties we can bring in to kesari. We can make kesari using wheat flour. This is also one of the easiest kesari variety. Everyone would have a good stock of wheat flour at home. Generally we make kesari with sugar. But, this time, to make this dish more healthier, I have used jaggery along with wheat flour. Now, lets see how to make this healthy Wheat Flour Kesari (Godhumai Mavu Vella Kesari)

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