Jul 27, 2011

How to make Kuzhambu Masala Podi/ Kuzhambu Milagai Thool/ All-purpose Curry Powder

This is a basic all-purpose curry powder used as a base in several South Indian curries and stir-fries. Every household has a different recipe and this recipe was passed on from my grandma to my mom. I have never tried making this powder since my mom never fails to replenish my masala podi stock each time I go home. This masala podi is usually prepared in bulk, by sun drying or dry roasting the spices and grinding them in mills. They can be stored in airtight containers for a few months.

This powder has several names in different households - curry powder, kuzhambu masaal podi, kuzhambu milagai thool, kuzhambu podi etc.

Dry red chillies - 1/2 kg
Coriander seeds - 1/2 kg
Cumin seeds/ Jeera - 1/4 kg
Whole black peppercorns - 100 gms


  1. Sun dry all the above mentioned spices for 2 days. Alternatively, you can dry roast the spices seperately for a few minutes until they turn fragrant.
  2. Grind all the ingredients together in a mill to get a fine powder. 
  3. You could also make this at home in small batches using a mixie, spice grinder or coffee grinder.
  4. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
  5. Use a teaspoon of this powder in all your favorite curries, stir-fries and sambar.

Jul 21, 2011

Masal Vadai

Masal vadai with a hot cup of coffee/tea make a heavenly combo! These crunchy fritters can be served hot any time of the day as appetizers, snacks or as part of any meals. This masal vadai is usually found in menus in almost all south indian restaurants. It can be made with minimal ingredients and is packed with protein. I made these yesterday and we enjoyed a cold day with these crispy masal vadai and some masala chai.

Channa dhal/ Bengal gram dhal - 2 cups
Onion - 1 small sized
Green chillies - 3
Fresh ginger - 1/2 inch
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Asafoetida/ Hing - 1/4 teaspoon (optional)
Sombu/fennel seeds - 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Soak the channa dhal in water for atleast 1-2 hours.

Remove about 1 tablespoon of the soaked dhal and keep it separately. Grind all the remaining dhal along with salt and the fennel seeds into a coarse paste without adding any water to the dhal mixture.

Chop the onions, green chillies and fresh ginger very finely. In a bowl combine the ground dhal mixture, the reserved dhal, onions, green chillies, ginger, curry leaves and asafoetida and mix until everything is combined together.

In a kadai or a heavy bottomed vessel, heat oil for deep frying. Make small lemon sized balls with the dhal mixture and flatten using both palms. When the oil turns, hot carefully add the prepared dhal mixture. Cook on medium heat for about 2 minutes on each side until the vadai turns golden brown in color.

Drain on paper towels and serve warm!

Jul 18, 2011

Pulikachal/ Puliyodharai Mix

This is the way amma makes pulikachal/puliyodharai mix. Made with tamarind, the mix is a very tangy and delicious one and makes a comforting rice dish perfect for lunchboxes and picnics. Puliyodharai can be whipped up in a matter of minutes when you have this pulikachal in hand. The mix stays fresh for quite a few days because of the addition of tamarind. The rice can be had all by itself, or a simple potato fry or papads or vadagams or coconut thuvayal.

Tamarind - 2 lemon sized balls
Gingelly/Sesame oil - 4 tablespoons
Mustard seeds - 1 tablespoon
Urad dhal - 3 tablespoons
Channa dhal - 3 tablespoons
Red chillies - 6 or 7 depending upon spice levels
Curry leaves - few
Garlic - 7 cloves (optional)
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Fenugreek/methi seeds/vendhayam - 1/2 teaspoon
Asafoetida/Hing powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Cashews/Peanuts - 1 tablespoon (optional)
Salt to taste

Soak the tamarind in about 1/2 cup of warm water for about 10 to 15 minutes. Mash the tamarind well and strain to get a thick tamarind paste.

In a kadai, dry roast the fenugreek seeds and grind it into a fine powder.

In the same kadai, heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds. Once the seeds start spluttering, add the urad dhal, channa dhall and saute till they turn golden brown in color. Add the cashews/peanuts if using. Add the red chillies, curry leaves, asafoetida and fenugreek powder.

Switch to low flame and slowly add the tamarind extract. Take care because it might splutter. Add the garlic, turmeric powder and salt. Simmer and allow it to cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the mix thickens well. It should be in a thick paste like consistency and the oil well separated from the tamarind extract.

Once done, switch off the flame and when required, add a little amount of the mix along with some cooked rice and enjoy warm!

We had the puliyodharai along with some coconut thuvayal.

Jul 14, 2011

Mixed Veggies Poriyal/Stir Fry

This is a simple stir fry made with mixed veggies and can be made in a jiffy. It can be prepared in 10 to 15 minutes and great for lunch-boxes or weekday meals. I used the frozen mixed veggies from Costco to make it even more quicker. The veggie mix had beans, carrots, peas, corn and edamame beans. The stir fry is slightly spiced and makes a simple accompaniment to any meal.

Mixed veggies - 1 cup (carrots, beans, peas, corn etc.)
Oil - 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Urad dal - 1 teaspoon
Channa dal - 1 teaspoon
Onion - 1 small sized
Green chillies - 2
Curry leaves - few
Grated coconut - 2 teaspoon
Salt to taste

If not using frozen veggies, chop all the veggies into equal sized pieces. Also chop the onions finely and slit the green chillies lengthwise.

In a kadai, heat the oil and do the tempering with the mustard seeds, urad dal, channa dal and curry leaves. Once they start spluttering, add the chopped onions and green chillies and saute until the onions turn translucent. Add the mixed veggies, salt and sprinkle little water. Cover and cook until the veggies turn soft.

Finally, add the grated coconut and mix thoroughly. Serve warm with some rice and dal!

Jul 11, 2011

Show me Your Summer Cooler Roundup

Summer is fun! And summer can be made more exciting and fun with these delicious and refreshing summer coolers! Here are the various entries I received for Show Me Your Summer Cooler! event. Hope you enjoy them. Also do check out the next in the series - Show me your Dosa!

Nirmala - Mixed Fruit Milkshake
RS - Badam Milk

Vaishali - Lemonade

Vaishali - Honey Dew Cooler
Vaishali - Falooda
Vaishali - Mocha Orange
Vaishali - Pink Lady
Priya - Rose Yogurt

Prathima - Apple Lemonade
Vatsala - Cucumber Water
Denny - Rose Milk

Divya Vikram - Blueberry LemonadeVatsala - Mixed Fruit Juice
Thanks everyone for participating and sending in your refreshing ideas!

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