Thursday, August 28, 2014

Coconut Rose Modak

Stuffed sweet Dumplings made with coconut and condensed milk

Ganesh Chaturthi/Vinayak Chaturthi  is a very popular festival in India. Different varieties of sweets and Naivaidhyams are made during Ganapati Pooja. Sweet Modaks of different varieties are made and offered to Lord Ganesh. There are many versions, flavours and variety of making modaks - the one I am sharing today is an easy and quick method of making coconut modak. The dough is made of desiccated coconut and condensed milk and stuffed with Gulkand/rose petal preserve and nuts. I have used a modak mould, but you can shape them as a ball and make laddoo and roll them in some desiccated coconut.
I have also posted the recipe of- Paneer and Coconut ladoo , Besan ladoo  ,Till ke ladoo and Pineapple sandesh , Kaju Gulkand Ladoo, which you can offer as Naivaidhya to Ganeshji

how to make coconut modak

how to make modak

Prep time-20 min
Cuisine - Indian
Type - Dessert
Yield - 10 modaks

  • Desiccated coconut/Nariyal ka boora or burada- 3 cup
  • Condensed milk- 1 tin
  • Milk powder- 2 tbsp
  • Saffron- 1/3 tsp
  • Gulkand / rose petal preserve- 3.5 tbsp
  • Desiccated coconut- 3 tbsp
  • Almonds,chopped- 12
  • Cardamom powder- 1/3 tsp

  1. In a big bowl add desiccated coconut, condensed milk, milk powder and mix and mash well.
  2. In a separate bowl add all the ingredients of filling and mix and mash wall.
  3. Mix saffron with little water and crush to make a paste.
  4. Now grease a modak mould and stuff the mixture and press it on all the sides of the mould.
  5. Make a small ball from the stuffing mixture and stuff it in the centre of the  modak.
  6. Apply some mixture from the condensed milk mixture at the bottom of the modak  and press tightly.
  7. Now carefully remove the modak from the mould.
  8. Apply some saffron mixture on the top of modaks.
  9. Now offer these easy and delicious modaks to lord Ganesha!
1-You may need around-3 to 3.5 cup of desiccated coconut,remember that the mixture should not be sticky, it should be like a dough.
2-Milk powder is added to give some body to the dough and reduce stickiness. 
3-If want to avoid stuffing then you can add the gulkand to the dough itself and shape in modak or laddoo.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Lauki Tamatar ki Subzi

Mildly spiced bottle gourd and tomato curry

Lauki /Bottle gourd is a summer special vegetable. It has excellent health and nutritional benefits and is very low in calories. Lauki is considered among the top recommended vegetables in Ayurveda as it is very quick and easy to digest so this is very good for sick and weak patients,you can give the boiled bottle gourd puree to small kids also .As it is very mild and blend in taste so you can do so many variation and experiments with this humble vegetable.It is also a low budget and very easily available vegetable so can be easily used and made regularly.

I usually mix it with lentils and make Chana daal and lauki ki subzi , Lauki ka kofta and Lauki ka raita ,not only curries but sweets and desserts can also be made with lauki ,I have posted the recipe of making healthy and easy -Lauki ki kheer and Lauki ka halwa.

When you go to buy bottle gourd try to choose a small or medium size firm bottle gourd with bright and shiny green colour, as big sized lauki may be over riped and mature and have hard peel and thick seeds which didn't taste good and take much time to cook.A simple trick which I learned from my mother is to lightly press your nail in the bottle gourd peel, if it is tender and fresh then your nail will very easily pierce the bottle gourd but if you cant press easily then it is surely over ripe and hard so avoid buying such type of bottle gourd.

Every one in my family likes lauki so I make it often. Lauki taste great with mild and fresh herbs so you don't need to add too much spices and oil  in bottle gourd curry.  This mildly spiced tomato and lauki ki subzi is a favourite of everyone .I have used fresh spice to make this curry,Tomatoes gives a very nice and fresh tangy taste to this curry.You can also add a small potato in the curry if you wish.but don't add too many powdered spices.

how to make lauki ki tamatari subzi

how to make tamatari lauki

Prep time -10 min
Cooking time -10 min
Difficulty level - easy
Spice level - mild
Cuisine - North Indian
Type -side,main

  • Bottle gourd /lauki /gheeya- 550 gms
  • Tomato/tamatar,chopped -200 gm (2 medium)
  • Green chili /hari mirch, chopped- 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder /haldi - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt /namak- 1 tsp
  • Sugar /chini- 1/3 tsp
  • Ghee or cooking oil- 2 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds /jeera- 1tsp
  • Asafoetida /hing- 1/3 tsp
  • Fresh coriander/dhaniya - 1.5 tbsp
  1. Peel bottle gourd and chop in medium size pieces.
  2. Heat ghee or oil in the pressure cooker.
  3. When ghee become warm then add cumin seeds.
  4. When seeds start crackling add chopped green chilies and asafoetida.
  5. Now add chopped tomato and salt.
  6. Stir fry for few seconds.
  7. Add turmeric and chopped bottle gourd in the cooker.
  8. Add 1 cup of water in the vegetables and mix.
  9. Close the lid of pressure cooker and cook on medium heat .
  10. Cook for about 3-4 whistles or till it cooks completely.
  11. When cool down completely then open the cooker and mix sugar and chopped coriander.
  12. Mix and serve with a spoon of ghee on top.(optional)
Serving suggestions- Taste best with hot and fresh chapatis or parathas.

  1. Choose fresh and tender bottle gourd ,hard bottle gourd take much time to cook and didn't taste very good.
  2. Make sure to remove all the hard and thick seeds of bottle gourd, but no need to remove the small tender seeds.
  3. You can add some more water if you want a thin gravy.
  4. You can also add a piece of potato if you like.
  5. Can use ghee or oil in the tempering but ghee taste best in bottle gourd curry.
  6. Can add 1 tsp of lemon juice if needed.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

How To Make Masala Dosa

Crispy rice and lentil crepes stuffed with a mildly spiced potato mixture. A South Indian classic.

If you ask me about my favorite snack or tiffin then I will take only one name - Masala dosa!! Though there are so many popular snacks and tiffin variety from Southern India but the crisp and spicy Masala dosa tops the list ,undoubtedly the most popular snack from South Indian Cuisine.Now it is not limited in India but is popular world wide.

Their are many snacks from South India which are healthy,easy to prepare and taste wonderful. From this same dosa batter we can also make Idlis which are steamed and are very healthy.The crisp and potato masala stuffed dosas are hot favorite of people of all age groups. Dosas are crisp pan cakes made by a fermented rice and lentil batter.A mix of regular rice and par boiled rice, white lentil /urad daal and little fenugreek seeds are used to make the batter.

 For making dosa you have to do some pre- preparation.The rice and lentil are soaked separately then both are ground to make a smooth paste and then left to ferment for minimum 5- 8 hours, the fermentation time totally depends on the heat of the climate.Then a stuffing is made with boiled potato,tomato,green chili and few spices .Poha /beaten rice,chana daal and tuvar daal is also added to add crispness and to give a nice golden colour to dosa,but this is optional you can add or just skip this.

Dosa is usally served with few accompaniments- Sambhar ,  Mysore rasam , tomato chutney and coconut chutney.

crisp masala dosa recipe

masala dosa recipe

masala dosa bhaji stuffing

Prep time - 20 min
Cooking time - 15 min
Difficulty level - Medium
Spice level - Medium
Cuisine - South Indian
Type - Snack, Main Course


  • Normal Raw rice /chawal  - 2 cups *
  • Parboiled rice /ukda chawal - 1cup
  • White lentil /urad daal - 3/4 cup
  • Bengal gram /chana daal - 3 tbsp
  • Pigeon pea / tuvar dal - 3 tbsp
  • Beaten rice / poha - 1/4 cup
  • Fenugreek seeds /methi dana - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt /namak - to taste
For potato masala-
  • Boiled potatoes /aloo - 4 (300 gms)
  • Tomato/tamatar ,chopped - 1/2 cup
  • Green chilies /hari mirch, chopped - 1.5 tsp
  • Ginger /adrak, chopped - 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder /haldi - 1/2 tsp
  • Chili powder /lal mirch- 1 tsp
  • Lemon juice /nimbu ka ras - 2 tsp
  • Fresh coriander /hara dhaniya- 2 tbsp
  • Salt /namak - to taste
  • Cooking oil /tel - 4  tbsp
  • Mustard seeds /rai - 3/4 tsp
  • Cumin seeds /jeera - 1/4 tsp
  • White lentil /urad daal - 1tsp
  • Bengal gram /chana daal - 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida /hing - 1/4 tsp
  • Curry leaves /kadi patta -8


To make the dosa batter-

  1. Wash rice and dal and then soak both rice together and all the lentil and fenugreek seeds in a separate container for about 5-7 hours.
  2. Then reserve some water in which you have soaked urad daal as we will use this while grinding it.
  3. Drain the remaining water and wash the soaked dal and rice with clean tap water.
  4. Now grind the soaked daal with some water and make a smooth and fluffy paste of pouring consistency.
  5. Remove the ground daal paste into a big container.
  6. Now add soaked rice in the mixer jaar, add some water and grind to make a smooth paste.
  7. Add the ground rice paste in the same container.
  8. Add salt and mix it well.
  9. Cover the container with a loose lid and keep it in a warm and dark place.
  10. The batter will take about 8-12 hours to ferment and in winters it may take some more time.
  11. When it become almost double and you see bubbles on the surface then its ready to use.
To make the stuffing-
  1. Peel the boiled potatoes and mash them into small pieces.
  2. Heat oil in a pan and add the urad daal,chana daal,mustard and cumin seeds.
  3. When cumin start to crackle then add curry leaves asafoetida and chopped green chilies.
  4. Stir fry for few seconds.
  5. Now add chopped tomato and salt and stir.
  6. When tomato become little soft then add turmeric and mashed potatoes.
  7. Add all the spices, 1.5 tbsp of water and saute to mix all.
  8. Add chopped coriander and lemon juice and mix.
  9. Remove in a bowl and keep aside.
How to make dosa-
  1. Take the  fermented batter in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Add some water if the batter is too thick,as it should be of pouring consistency.
  3. Take a non stick or heavy iron griddle /pan.
  4. Apply few drops of oil over the pan and wipe with a moist cloth or paper napkin.
  5. Pour a laddle ful of batter on the medium hot griddle and spread it on the tawa in a thin round circle.
  6. Let it cook for few seconds till it change its colour and become light golden in colour.
  7. Spread a tsp of oil around the dosa and 1 tsp over the dosa.
  8. Flip the dosa and cook from other side for  few seconds.(this step is optional)
  9. Flip it again and put about 3-4 tbsp of potato masala in the center and fold it from both the sides.
  10. Serve hot with coconut chutney, sambhar and malaga podi
  1. You can also add boiled green peas and broken cashew pieces in potato masala at step-3.
  2. Instead of using oil you can use ghee or butter  to roast the dosa, it will enhance the taste.
  3. Use a big container to keep the batter as it will increase twice or thrice in volume after fermentation and may spill over from a small container.
  4. The batter should not be very thick or thin ,it should be of pouring consistency ,the crispiness also depends on the right consistency of the batter.
  5. Normal raw rice - use the rice which you use on daily basis,it need not be basmati rice, any short grain, medium grain or broken rice can be used and if you don't have par boiled rice then can use normal rice only.
  6. The left over batter can be easily stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days .
  7. The fermentation time depends on the heat in the climate ,it will ferment sooner in summers but in winters it may take quite some time to ferment .
  8. Chana daal and tuvar daal gives a nice golden colour to the dosa.
  9. Addition of poha makes the dosa crisper but this is optional.
  10. I prefer to use a heavy iron skillet /tawa to make dosa but you can also use hard anodized skillet or a non stick pan to make dosa, all works well , but grease the iron skillet/tawa well before using.
  11. Keep sprinkling few drops of water on the tawa or wipe the griddle with a damp cloth after making each dosa to bring down the temperature else the dosa will stick to the pan and become difficult to spread properly .

Monday, August 18, 2014

Idli Miligai podi /Malga podi

Flavorful and delicious spice powder made with roasted lentil and spices

Milagai podi or malgapodi is a popular powder/chutney/podi of every south Indian kitchen.It is a nice accompaniment to serve with dosa ,idli,adai and vada. When ever I go to any south Indian restaurant  I love the malgapodi more then the chutnies served with idli and dosas.

When I met a south Indian friend of mine she shared her family recipe with me.Though there are many recipes to make malga podi and every family has their own traditional family recipe but the main ingredients remains the same, just different ratios of ingredients or few more or less ingredients to be added . Addition of tamarind and jaagary is optional ,you can add or skip both.

Traditionally Malga podi is served mixed with little sesame oil but you can use ghee or have plain like I do. Idlis smeared with malga podi and ghee taste wonderful and also very good to pack in kids lunchbox .I loved it with plain steamed rice or even with roti and parathas.This spicy and flavourful podi goes well with almost every thing, it is also a very good accompaniment as a dry chutney and easy to carry along for travelling and journey.

how to make miligai podi malga podi

Prep time -20 min
Difficulty level - easy
Spice level - medium
Cuisine - South Indian
Type - powder,side
yield - 1.5 cup

  • Bengal gram /chana dal -1/2 cup
  • White lentil /urad daal -1/2 cup
  • Kashmiri red chilis/lal mirch -10
  • Sesame seeds / till - 1 tbsp
  • Whole coriander seeds/sabut dhaniya -1 tbsp
  • Salt /namak - 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida- /hing - pea size
  • Dry tamarind /Imli -1 tbsp
  • Jaggary /gur -1 tbsp
  • Cooking oil - 1 tsp
  • Whole pepper corn /sabut kali mirch - 10
  • Dried curry leaves-10
  1. In a pan add oil and both lentils/daal.
  2. Roast till they become red in color.
  3. Now remove the roasted daal from the pan and keep aside.
  4. Add sesame seeds, coriander seeds and peppercorns in the pan and dry roast till they give a nice aroma.
  5. Remove from the pan and keep aside
  6. Add 1 tsp of oil in the pan and add red chilies and roast for a minute on low heat.
  7. Add curry leaves and asafoetida and stir for few seconds and remove from the pan.
  8. Let  the ingredients cool down completely.
  9. Grind the roasted ingredients, jaggary, salt and tamarind  in the mixer to make a coarse powder.
  10. Store in an air tight jar.
Serving suggestions-Mix with little ghee or sesame oil or use just as a dry powder to serve with idli,dosa or vada.

Addition of jaggary and tamarind is optional,depends on individual taste and preference, tastes great both ways.