Your Everyday Cook

Friday, October 21, 2016


A delicious sweet Asoka halwa prepared for Diwali, traditional Tamil brahmin recipe

Asoka halwa has its origin in the thick hardcore  Brahmin households of Thiruvaiyaru ( Thanjavur ) in Tamilnadu.

Tambrahms as they are popularly called certainly knew how to eat healthy while feasting too!

,Moong dal or paasi parup in Tamil is considered healthy dal but of course when made into a sinfully tasty delicious halva , am not sure how much the health factor counts..! All is fair during Diwali where the eyes must look for more pleasures and less on calories .

This is the simplest sweet served on  many occasions and like kesari,  made easily with fewer ingredients , procedure and fuss. It is often served during weddings as an additional sweet and of course considered a traditional must prepare sweet during Diwali.

My mom had this uncanny knack of making this halwa with left over cooked moong dal when we craved for a sweet as kids and I used to wonder how she managed at short notice. Moong dal being our preferred dal for  consumption everyday,   It was a simple procedure as the dal was already cooked and mashed, so add some roasted wheat flour, sugar and ghee and it was done .

A delicious sweet called Asoka halwa prepared for Diwali

Delicious sweet called Asoka halwa prepared during Diwali


A traditional Diwali sweet from Tamilnadu
  • 3/4 cup Moong dal/ Paasi parup
  • 2 tbsp wheat flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted ghee
  • A pinch cardamom powder
  • A tiny pinch Food colour
  • 10 cashewnuts
  • 5 raisins

  1. Dry fry the moong dal till light golden and aromatic
  2. Pressure cook the roasted dal with little water 
  3. .Fry the cashewnuts and raisins in 1 tsp of ghee , keep aside
  4. .Now fry the wheat flour with a tsp of ghee in same pan till a nice aroma comes. .
  5.  Keep it aside.
  6. Mash the cooked dal or use blender to make a puree.
  7. Take a wide heavy pan, add 1 tbsp melted ghee .
  8. Add the mashed pureed dal in the pan and cook on low flame .
  9. Add the sugar and keep cooking on a low flame .
  10. When the mixture seems thickening, add the roasted wheat flour slowly while stirring to avoid lumps.
  11. Add the cardamom powder, red or orange food colour and add the remaining ghee slowly till used up. 
  12. Add the roasted cashew nuts and raisins in the halva mixture.
  13. The whole mixture should be thick but not lumpy, then remove from flame . 
  14. Serve delicious Asoka warm or chilled.

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Yield: 1 cup

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Instant Ras malai Diwali recipe condensed milk with  milk powder instant khoa using home made khoya

In an earlier post I have given detailed instructions step wise  about making Rosgollas and Ras malai from scratch ,

It is not possible for us to spend time making ras malai from scratch all the time how ever easy it may be as it is also time consuming especially if you have to make the paneer too at home and with unexpected guests dropping by at short notice,  it is not tempting .

well every home chef has a few tricks up her sleeve and one of them is to to skip making rosgollas and rely on good store brand ones thereby cutting time greatly. Now isnt that smart !! and you can console yourself you are still making rasmalai all by yourself and surely your guests need not know the story behind the quick succulent spongy rasmalai!

So whats the trick ?

 Well you simply use a good  store brand Rosogollas , drain the sugar syrup from the ball by squeezing it gently and simply dousing them in the thick saffron  infused , cardamom flavored  sweet thickened milk sauce. Here you prepare the milk rabdi , which is the thickened milk by reducing the  quantity , adding sugar and flavors and dropping the squeezed rosogollas into them to absorb all the divine sauce or the rabdi.

Now there is yet another kicker worth noting! You dont even want to make the condensed milk or the rabdi by reducing milk etc, so buy a can of condensed milk or even use the instant variety I have mentioned  below.

So buy the store brand rosagollas, buy the condensed milk and just drop the squeezed rosogollas into the ready condensed milk which needs to be thinned slightly by adding milk and flavorings, heated up to bring out flavors of cardamom, pistachios and saffron .

It need to be thinned and hot so that the squeezed rosogollas can be dropped and it will bloat with all the creamy goodness of the condensed milk.

Now how quicker can that be.! So for all those who have this great craving for quick ras malai and find it painful to start from scratch , please choose the above methods.

Believe me  I have personally tried and tested both the short cuts when I have unannounced guests dropping , this can be very handy.


1 can rosgollas,
1 can condensed milk either store brand or made at home.

( check my easy to make condensed milk at home given below  ) 

saffron strands soaked in warm milk 
1/2 cup thick milk to mix with the condensed milk to dilute it a bit.
1-2 tbsp pistachio slivers or garnishing of your choice.
tiny pinch of cardamom powder


1. Open the can of rosgollas.

2, Drain the rosgollas from sugar syrup,

3. Take each rosgolla between your palms , press gently .

4. Dunk in the prepared above flavored milk sauce or rabdi .

5. Make sure to keep the milk sauce a little hot so that the store rosgollas will become softer and absorb the thickened flavored milk.

Thats it!!

Ras malai tastes amazing when served chilled too.

Instant condensed milk at home


1 cup milk powder

1/2 cup icing sugar or granulated sugar
1/2 cup hot milk or very hot water.
1 tbsp melted butter.


Blend all the ingredients well till creamy and to the consistency you desire. 
To thin it, use little more hot water or milk.

Store in a bottle and refrigerate.
Stays good upto 5 days , but I bet you would have already used it up in a recipe.

It is always better to make small batches , as and when you need .
I use both  skim milk powder or even dairy whitener  !

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Oats dosa for a healthy nutritious breakfast

Combine the nutritional benefits of udad dal ( black gram ) and oats to make a power packed breakfast .Oats  is not only healthy and delicious but makes a great dosa too. So think beyond the bowl of porridge and get versatile with Oats . Adding udad dal in this recipe makes it even more nutritional.

Udad dal is one of the richest sources of proteins and vitamin B.
Women will particularly benefit from this dal as it has rich iron, folic acid , calcium, magnesium,potassium.

Try to make this dosa after fermenting the batter as fermentation is good for health ,because not only udad dal has EFA ( Essential Fatty acids ) but also while fermenting the bacteria and yeast in the udad dal makes it even more nutritious with  beneficial effect , 

There  are many variations to making this dosa from a quick instant oats dosa to a regular soak and grind dosa ,

The recipe below is one such where you soak both oats and udad dal to make this delightful dosa.

print recipe

Oats dosa for a healthy nutritious breakfast or brunch

Oats Dosa

  • 1 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup Udad dal / Black gram
  • 4 tbsp Rice flour/Millet flour

Wash and soak the udad dal for 3 hours .Soak the oats for 1 hour if using rolled oats and use only required amount of water to soak if using quick cooking oats soak it 15 minutes just before grinding .Grind the udad dal to soft smooth thick batter.grind the oats also to a smooth batter Mix both batter well to a thick consistency like idli batter,add the rice flour or millet flour and mix well Add salt..Allow to rest for an hour and make dosas if you need quick dosas, You get good dosas at this stage too. Fermenting batter gives great dosa.Serve this oats dosa with your favorite chutneys or sambar.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 10 dosas

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Oats and mixed dals adai / dosa 

Many of us are not to keen to have oats every other day especially In a porridge form . 
Elders in our house who are used to traditional dishes do not take to oats very keenly . 
So try adding oats to the regular  Indian dishes with little changes . 

Oats has several versatile uses in Indian cuisine and there is no need to limit your oats to porridge or upma . Think beyond and try using oats in a variety of ways to make 
a truly filling satisfying brunch . 
A healthy nutritious adai / dosa for both young and old and makes a good brunch dish for diabetics too keeping you fuller for  a long time . 


3/4 cup rolled oats ( any small cup to measure but use same to measure all dals ) 
1/4 cup Chana dal 
1/4 cup whole moong dal ( paasi payaru ) 
1/4 Tuvar dal
3 tbsp split udad dal 
1/4 cup millets ( any variety )
1-2 tsp black pepper corn 
Big pinch of asafoetida powder 
Salt as needed 
Curry leaves to garnish 


Soak the dals for 4 hours and the whole green moong for longer till 6 hours .
Add oats while grinding if using quick cooking variety . 
If using rolled oats keep it soaked separately for 30 minutes . 

Grind all ingredients together to a slightly coarse thick batter .
Add curry leaves , salt , asafoetida powder and make adai immediately.

This batter is good to make thin dosa too like pesarattu . 
Serve with Avial , chutney or sambar .

I kept the taste of the adai simple and did not use onions or garlic .


You can add ginger , garlic , some chopped onions, while grinding .
 You can add red chillies instead of pepper while grinding . 

( I added 3 tbsp split moong dal as I was short of whole skin moong dal ) 


Friday, September 23, 2016

CURRY LEAVES THOKKU ( Karuveppilai thokku )

The humble curry leaf is packed with incredible nutrients to combat so many ailments and diseases that it's no wonder our moms and grandmas included it in as many dishes as  possible mainly as a garnishing . Sadly we just remove them  and chuck them away as curry leaves cannot be eaten by itself . So at best you get just a curry flavor infused in the foods .
But there are several ways you can have the curry leaf with its immense nutrients fully present in the form of a flavored powder , or as a spicy Thokku ( like a pickle ) and as a spread or chutney that can be used to mix with rice and eaten . Curry leaf powder is also a handy mix to have in house to eat with rice and ghee . 
Curry leaf Thokku is a great way to enjoy the flavors and benefit from the powerful nutrients present in curryleaves . This Thokku has a double flavor , that of the spicy tangy tamrind paste called Puliyogare / Pulikaachal with the added flavor of curry leaves . 
Curry leaves Thokku also makes an excellent accompaniment to many dishes and also as a useful paste to mix with rice and eat when elaborate cooking is not possible . 
Excellent recipe for bachelors and to send with your traveling family members.

Curd rice tastes heavenly with a spoon of this yummy Thokku .
Curry leaves Thokku tastes delicious when mixed with ghee and served to kids . 

The following recipe can be made to a loose consistency like a thick liquid by thickening to the consistency you need . I have deliberately made it almost like a paste as I wanted to carry with me and avoid spillage . It also lengthens shelf life by reducing it to a thick paste like texture . 
The Thokku that you see in many stores is almost like a liquid with lots of oil standing on top. 
Here we use only the quantity of oil needed . 

Curry leaves Thokku / Karuveppilai Thokku 


To sautée and grind 

3 cups washed dried curry leaves .
1 small piece of ginger 

To  roast and grind 

1 tsp Chana dal 
3 tsp coriander seeds 
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds 
1 tsp pepper corns 
1 tsp udad dal 
8 Kashmiri red chillies ( reduce depending on your preference for spice 
Red chilly powder may also be used if you don't have red dry chilies . 
A big pinch of asafoetida powder or crystal 

1 tsp turmeric powder 
1 lime size tamrind . Extract about 1 cup of thick tamrind  water . 
Salt as required 
1/2. Cup sesame oil 

To temper 

1 tsp mustard seeds 
1 tsp Chana dal 
Some fried peanuts may be added after Thokku is prepared ( optional ) 


In a pan add 1 tsp sesame oil and fry the dals and red chillies .
Keep aside to cool .

In the same pan add the washed dried curry leaves and sautée a bit . 
Remove and keep aside. . 

First powder the roasted dals with red chillies .next grind the curry leaves with ginger to a smooth paste . Avoid adding water. 

In a pan add 1-2 tbsp sesame oil and splutter the mustard seeds. Add the Chana dal to be fried . 
Now add the ground paste of curry leaves , add the extracted tamrind water and add the roasted powdered dals  .
Add turmeric powder , asafoetida powder , salt .
Let this mixture cook on very low flame . Add remaining oil and let mixture cook till thickened and oil leaves  sides of the pan .

Store this Thokku in a book dry container .

You can remove Thokku when it is almost thick and bubbling with oil on top . ( see below pic ) 
It will keep the Thokku at a slightly loose consistency . ( your preference ) 

So what are the main benefits of curry leaf ?

1. It is a rich source of iron and folic acid and fights anaemia .
2. Helps liver function well .
3. Lowers blood sugar levels . the presence of fiber in the leaves helps in controlling your blood sugar levels. Curry leaves are also known to improve digestion and alter the way your body absorbs fat, thereby helping you lose weight. Good for weight management and helps diabetics .
4. Curry leaves are also known to reduce cholesterol,levels on account of the fibers present and keeps heart healthy . As it is packed with antioxidants it is known to increase the good cholesterol levels. ( HDL ) 
5. Curry leaves are known to be carminative in nature therefore aids in digestion as it is known to have mild laxative properties .
6.Curry leaves are also known to be effective against diarrhea . It has antibacterial anti inflammatory properties . 
7. Curry leaves are also known to reduce side effects of chemotherapy  as it halts the production of free radicals in the body . It is also said increase intake of curry leaves may also be useful in prevention of cancer . 
8. Curry Leaves helps relieve nose congestion , sinusitis or chest congestion . 
9. Curry leaves. Also helps in prevention of skin infections as it has anti fungal anti bacterial and anti oxidant properties . So it is a great home remedy to fight and prevent many skin ailments  like fungal infections . 
10. Curry leaves are known to promote good hair growth and prevent and reducing grey ing of hair due to various nutrients present . Curry Leaves are also good to treat dandruff hair fall and damaged hair . 
Packed with carbohydrates, fiber, calcium, phosphorous, irons and vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin E, curry leaves help your heart function better, fights infections and can enliven your hair and skin with vitality. 
Source health 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

METHI DOSA / VENDHAYAM DOSA ( With home made methi dosa mix )

Methi dosa / Vendhyam dosa or fenugreek seed dosa mix is yet another useful handy recipe from my kitchen and helping me tremendously as am currently traveling . 

The lack of gadgets to grind or ingredients not readily available need not deter any dosa lover from making it .
With little pre planning you can pack among other provisions that you will obviously be packing  while on a foreign trip these variety of dosa mixes .

I have already posted some ready to make dishes with instant mixes which Iam personally benefitting at the moment .
Your kids with little kitchen skills can easily prepare their favourite dishes from these mixes and so also your traveling hubby .
All you got to do is make up these mixes at home , pack in neat ziploc and paste instructions .

I also find these recipes  handy at home too when Iam not in a mood to grind a small batch of batter . 

These travel mixes as I call them will be useful till you settle down and locate stores in your area to cook from scratch .

Methi dosa mix 


1 cup rice flour  ( raw rice flour or even idiappam flour )  
3 tbsp methi powder   ( not to be roasted ) 
3 tbsp udad dal flour 


Mix the flours  well  in the above mentioned proportion and store In a ziploc bag if planning to take with you while traveling .

How to use 

Take out required quantity of flour . Add water and make a lump free batter just like ground dosa batter .
Allow to ferment overnight or about 8 to 10 hours . 
Batter will rise just like normal dosa batter . Don't over ferment .
Make dosas by adding little water to batter , add required salt and mix well .
Delicious aromatic healthy methi dosas are ready . 

Make a lump free batter .

Batter after sufficient fermentation .

Serve healthy methi dosas with your favourite accompaniments . 


Strawberry blueberry jam without pectin using organic jaggery and healthy

I love making jams , even small quantities almost every fortnight to go with bread and making simple sandwiches . The store bought ones though tempting with great flavors do entice me but am wary of the loads of sugar and gelatine hence home made is the only answer .

Unlike what many think about jam making as a tiresome chore that needs lots of  patience , I do not think so as first of all I do not make them in large quantities for the simple reason I love experimenting with fruits combinations and flavors ., so the weekly run to the groceries will see me picking up some seasonal fruits for the fortnight . 

One such run saw me picking up some juicy awesome berries , blueberries and strawberries . 
Both are my favourite berries for many recipes such as crumbles, cheesecakes and smoothies .
But I had planned to make a simple easy jar of jam .So here goes ....

Strawberry Blueberry jam 


3 cups of strawberries 
2 cups of blueberries 
2 cups of powdered native palm jaggery ( or organic jaggery ) 
Juice of 1/2 lime 
1 tbsp lemon zest 


Wash the berries , wipe dry . 
hull and quarter the strawberries .
Do not chop blueberries 

In a pan add the chopped strawberries and blueberries . 
Mix in the powdered jaggery . 
Add in the lemon zest and lime juice .
Keep the flame on low and let the whole mixture bubble . 
Do not add water and let the berries cook in their own juices . This also keeps their shelf life longer .
The juice of berries will melt the powdered jaggery and make it syrupy .

Keep occasional  stirring and check the consistency .
Within 10-12 minutes you will see the texture changing from a thin juicy mixture to a thick satiny mixture . 
Test with a drop on a plate , it will seem to gel on it and remain thick .
Remove and cool .

Bottle when cooled well.

Suggestion :

You can also make this into a fruity preserve with lighter consistency . 
Which can be used to make fruit yogurts and mixed with just about anything from breads , cakes , pour on pancakes and fruit shakes or smoothies too . 

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