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Saturday, August 31, 2013


I wanted to make this post sometime in this lunch menu series. When I posted the North Indian meals itself, I was so much tempted to do this South Indian Meals post. As I wanted to find thalavazhai ilai(Banana leaf) and I very rarely go to Little India to get vazhai ilai, I was wondering when I am going to do. Then last week when I went to Mustafa, picked this thala vazhai ilai, in a pack of two and brought home so carefully as such without getting torn. Though I bought it in the pack, I was worried if it would be fresh and if it would be torn or not. I opened eagerly to see it was bit old and starting to turn yellow. But still was good enough to serve the food!

And Vj was so busy with his office work for about a month and working day and night without good food or sleep. Thank God, now he is back to a routine working time as usual. So I thought its the right time to cook, as well as make post for this series. In our family, my mom MIL makes such spread if someone comes home for eating lunch (especially if they are coming for first time) and also they make a simpler version when its festival time.

There are certain things followed when it comes to serving this meals. That I have never noticed or knew the correct way of how to serve a proper Tamil full meals in Thalavazhai ilai. After coming here to Singapore, I rarely attend weddings also to know how its served. Now after two marriages happened in our family and serving lots of food too, with lots of 'seniors'  to help me around, I never learnt it. I think, next time I should learn it. Its high time I learn this.

When I was browsing a cookbook that my mom gave me when I got married, it had a rough explanation about serving food in banana leaf. Though I din't understood it fully, I could get an idea about it. If you are wondering what is there to learn serving food in vazhai ilai, yes, traditionally there are certain things to be followed. That is which dish goes where in which part of the leaf. Though I have not exactly placed the dishes, I have atleast given a rough idea what goes where. Ah, I should have done this post when I was there at Chennai in June, for my BIL wedding. It would have been easierWinking

Firstly, we serve the meals in Thalai vazhai ilai which means the top part of a banana leaf. In a clean banana leaf, first in the top a thayir pachadi (curd + vegetable) , a varuval(deep fried vegetable), a kootu, a poriyal (mild vegetable with coconut, dry), a curry (spicy vegetable), vadai, a pickle and salt as shown in the pictures.
Cabbage kootu, seppankizhangu curry, vazhakkai poriyal, nellikkai thair pachadi, vazhakkai varuval

In the top left hand side part sits a tumbler with water. These all are in the above part of the banana leaf. And one more important thing is, leaf has to be laid in such a way that the broad part of the leaf should be to the right hand side of one who is sitting to eat.

javvarisi payasam, rasam, sambar, vadai, thakkali thokku

In the below part of the leaf, towards the left hand side you can keep a fruit, which can be served at the end of the meals as its supposed to be eaten after finishing the meal. And in the middle, or towards the right hand side, hot steamed rice has to be kept. Over which in a side, getti paruppu (thick dal) which is always served to begin the meal with. It should be topped with melted ghee (not in forzen state, it should be clear).  We have a habit or mannerism of separating a small part of rice everytime rice is served and then mix and eat.

Rice, paruppu+ghee, appalam and banana

As they eat the paruppu sadam, sambar has to be served on the other part of the rice along with the sambar veggies. After paruppu sadam, again enough rice if needed and more sambar topping for it. After sambar, if any kuzhambu and then rasam. Each time rice is offered if needed, appalam as well. After rasam is finished and let them swipe all the rasam to a side of the leaf and payasam is served. Vadai can be offered more if they need.

Lastly rice and more(buttermilk) is served. After that which the fruit has to be eaten to finish the meal. Our elders needs vetrilai paaku after meals and we keep that as well ready in a plate - vetrilai, paaku and sunnambu. That's the way to end a complete south Indian Thamizh style meals.

Above all, everything has to be served with a smile in your face, which is very important. It will compensate even if your cooking is not good ;)  so SMILE and serve!

And the menu is increased or decreased depending upon the occasion. For festival times when we cook for our own family, we do not elaborate the meals. We keep it simple with a poriyal or curry, kootu, sambar, rasam and vadai, payasam, appalam. That's it. And for offering God, we serve only paruppu and avoid sambar as we include onion in it and only a poriyal without onion. Others are only for people at home ;) And I am sorry for the long post, as the meals is elaborate, even I wrote so much ;)

South Indian Meals recipe
Indian Lunch
So coming to today's lunch menu, it needed a total time of 2 hours for cooking the whole spread. Here is how I prepared, cooked the lunch, just to get an idea. Vegetables I cooked - plantain/ vazhakkai - poriyal and varuval, seppankezhangu/ arbi - curry, cabbage - kootu, vendakkai/ ladies finger - sambar.

  1. Urad dal for vadai should be soaked 3 hours prior to grinding.Also sago for payasam I prefer soaking for easy cooking. So I soaked dal and sago for payasam when I prepared breakfast itself and ground for vadai after I finished all works and chores and entered the kitchen for preparing lunch. I made vadais with only 1/2 cup of urad dal, so ground in mixie itself. Its easier when you have lots of works to do. And kept inside the fridge. 
  2. Soak tamarind for sambar and rasam in hot water.
  3. Pressure cook dal and arbi in a big pressure cooker, kept separately in two containers. In another small cooker, I cooked mung dal with finely chopped cabbage for cabbage kootu.
  4. As these two gets cooked, I did the other cutting works. Plantain for poriyal and keep immersed in water, ladies finger for sambar, 1 onion and tomato for sambar and 1 tomato for rasam, 1 onion for curry, 1 onion for vadai. 
  5. Kept ready other things like curry leaves, green chillies and red chillies as needed for cooking.
  6. Extract tamarind juice and kept ready for rasam and sambar. Grate coconut.
  7. Grind for thayir pachadi - I made nellikkai thayir pachadi, this time with dried gooesberry powder that my mom gave it to me. We call it nelli mulli powder. Just we have to grind it along with coconut, green chilli and asafoetida and mix with beaten curd for thayir pachadi. And then grind coconut and things needed for kootu.
  8. Now stove work starts. First temper for thayir pachadi, paruppu, kootu. You can temper and keep it in the respective vessels even if the dish is not ready and mix later once ready.
  9. Then keep rasam in the kadai itself and then fry the ladies finger for sambar and set aside, then temper for sambar and prepare sambar. Rasam over and sambar half done!
  10. As the sambar is kept for boiling, by now the other cookers will be ready to open. Prepare koou in other stove.
  11. Peel seppan kizhangu for curry and keep ready. Reserve some dal for paruppu and mix turmeric  and salt with it and mix with tempered and paruppu ready!
  12. In the kadai prepare poriyal and then lastly curry. As the curry is kept for browning, sambar would have been done. You can keep rice in cooker now.
  13. Now lastly prepare payasam and mix every thing needed for vadai and make vadai when everything is over. In the same oil, fry appalam and more milagai (if needed).

We are done with preparing the meals!  Here is what I had in my meals I prepared and the recipes:

  1. Nellikkai thairpachadi recipe
  2. Getti Paruppu (Dal)
  3. Vazhakkai varuval 
  4. Vazhakkai Poriyal recipe
  5. Seppankizhangu curry (Arbi curry)
  6. Cabbage kootu recipe
  7. Vendakkai sambar 
  8. Rasam
  9. Medhu vadai recipe
  10. Sago javvarisi payasam recipe
  11. Thakkali thokku recipe

With rice, appalam, banana also in the leaf as seen. The seppankizhangi recipe is similar to my potato curry recipe. So  you can refer that!

You can change the menu according to the availability of veggies, just browse through the recipe index!

These are only my understandings upon the south Indian Thamizh thalai vazhai ilai saapadu.

Happy tummy! Have a great weekend!


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Thursday, August 29, 2013

   This dosa is my favouriteLove Struck. My mom makes this often. My MIL makes the same but along with Sorakkai. Vj and aj also likes this. Still I make rarely as I forget. Also I cant just stop eating this and restrict with 2-3. So I purposely make it rare Winking. This is so simple to prepare too. Its similar to the tomato dosa I have posted earlier, minus the tomatoes. Using this same batter, my mom makes koozh, that too tastes really good. My brother +Sendhil is great fan of it. But I have not tried it so far on my own, as I want the dosa till the batter gets over…hehe This is similar to the famous neer dosa, but this version is our traditional way of making this dosa. I call it as vellai dosa, means white dosa. This batter also you can keep in fridge and make dosa for 2 days like our idli dosa batter. This is very easy in the morning, if you grind the batter the before night. Dont under estimate this dosa imagining something else, its really delicious! Try it and you will agree with me...


Verum arisi dosa recipe

Indian Breakfast
Prep Time: 12 hrs (overnight fermentation)    |  Cook time: 5 mins per dosa    Makes: 25 dosas


Idli rice 3 cups
Onion  1 
Salt  As needed 
Green chilli  2 

To temper

Coconut Oil/ oil 2 tsp
Mustard 1 tsp
Urad dal 1 tsp
Curry leaves 1 sprig


  1. Soak rice for 3 hours atleast and grind to a fine batter adding required water. If you want to make it for breakfast, the before evening soak and grind, mix salt and keep it overnight for fermentation. Next day morning, add more water and make a thin batter as shown in the picture. In a kadai, temper with the items given under ‘To temper’ table, fry onion and green chillies until onion turns just transparent.1-arisi-dosa
  2. Add it to the batter and mix well.2-verum-arisi-dosa
  3. Heat dosa pan and grease with few drops oil and pour the batter from outside to inside as we do for karacha maavu dosais and cook both sides.1-verum-arisi-dosa


    • You can add a fist full off cooked rice while grinding. The dosa by itself comes out great soft, but adding rice makes more softer.
    • May not come out good in raw rice or eating rice. You can try at your own risk, but make sure to add cooked rice for it as it may give you dry dosais.
    • Depending upon the quality of rice, some times the dosa may dry one side and look white and uncooked. For that, try cooking the dosa covered with a lid before flipping.
    • Non stick pans mostly gives dry dosas. So cover and cook.

Tastes great with the onion chutney or onion tomato chutney I posted last week. Even with sugar or as such!!




Monday, August 26, 2013

Aval laddu recipe      
Krishna Jayanthi is only 2 days away, so are you still thinking what to make for the festival? Are you scared of trying out the deep fried recipes like seedai, murukku and thattai?  Don’t worry, here is an easy recipe that has lord Krishna’s favorite – Aval / Poha and ghee. Only 3 main ingredients and the laddu is ready within 30 mins. It tastes similar to our rava ladoo except for the flavour of poha instead rava. I made it in small quantity, perfect for nuclear families.

Aval laddu/ Poha ladoo recipe

Recipe Cuisine: Indian  |  Recipe Category: Sweet
Prep Time: 15 mins    |  Cook time: 10 mins    Makes: 9


Aval/ Poha/ flattened rice  1 cup 
Sugar  1/2 cup 
Ghee  1/4 cup 
Cashew nuts  3 
Dried raisins  8 
Elachi/ cardamom  2 


  1. If you have ‘muram’ you can dust the aval otherwise also you can use a plate and spread the poha, carefully take out the poha leaving the dust at the bottom. Remove any impurities you see. Dry roast the poha until golden in colour. Cool down.1-aval-laddu
  2. Grind to make a flour/ fine powder. Grind sugar also with the elachi seeds to fine powder.2-aval-laddu
  3. Heat ghee and break the cashews to very tiny pieces and fry until golden. Add raisin and fry till fluffy.3-aval-laddu
  4. Take the powdered ingredients in a mixing bowl and add the heated ghee to it. Mix well and make ladoos out of it.4-aval-laddu


  • Make sure to roast the poha well and grind it finely.
  • Elachi is must needed for lending a divine flavour.
  • Use ghee and sugar as mentioned for perfect taste.
  • Make sure to finely break the cashews and also do not add more than required, otherwise it will be difficult for shaping the ladoos.
  • Ladoos are fragile, so carefully handle it. If not ground finely, it will be hard to hold its shape.

Easy aval/ poha laddus are ready to offer God, Krishna and enjoy the laddus! Poha, ghee and sugar with tangy raisins makes a wonderful combination!

Poha ladoo recipe


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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Lunch menu 16 Indian Lunch 1H
Lunch menu - sambar - masiyal - poriyal
          So yet another weekend and time to post my lunch menu Happy. It was long time since I included greens, so bought keerai and made Masiyal with it which is also made after long time. This masiyal is so simple but tastes great. It has only 3 ingredients – keerai, garlic and salt. So simple right?  The raw garlic gives a spiciness to the masiyal, so no need for chilli. Mom makes this very often. MIL also makes the same way. Just mix with hot rice and ghee, its such a wonderful tasty and healthy thing to eat. Once when we went to my dad’s colleague’s home, they served keerai masiyal and they added sambar over it and asked us to mix and eat. We usually never do that. So it was quite weird to taste, but to our surprise it was nice too. They are from Thirunelveli, but their cooking is so similar to ours.
      I had one mango sleeping in the vegetable basket for long time, so wanted to finish it off. Also wanted to include something healthy to Vj, who has been going through a busy work time, least bothering about health, food and sleepSigh.   So made this vazhaithandu poriyal.
Here’s how I prepared the lunch. It would take hardly 1 hour.
  1. Pressure cook dal for sambar. Soak tamarind for sambar.
  2. Meanwhile the dal gets cooked, chop vazhaithandu / banana stem or plantain stem and mix with salt and moong dal and set aside.
  3. Clean and chop keerai (spinach) and cook for masiyal. Keep aside and cool it.
  4. Peel one garlic for masiyal and chop one onion for sambar. Cut the mango.
  5. Grate coconut for poriyal and keep other things like tamarind extract, curry leaves and red chilli ready.
  6. Now time to cook. Mean while heat kadai and first do the tempering and frying part for sambar and let sambar boil in a stove.
  7. Prepare poriyal and lastly keep rice hot for the lunch!

So here are the recipes that are in the meal :
  1. Keerai masiyal recipe
  2. Vazhaithandu poriyal recipe
  3. Mango sambar recipe
Other keerai recipes in Rak’s kitchen : Keerai kootu, keerai poriyal, keerai sambar and keerai vadai.
Other mango recipes : Mango sweet pachadi, mango rice, mango thokku, mango thogayal
Other vazhai thandu recipe : Vazhai thandu mor kootu

Happy tummyLove Struck Have great weekend!


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Thursday, August 22, 2013

      I love the authentic uppu seedai recipe that we always make for its unique flavor. But always fascinated by the store bought seedais like we get in adyar ananda bhavan or from other snack shops. They are whiter and ‘soft’ crisp than we make at home. So when I was breaking my head for what to try new for this year’s Gokulashtami 2013, my SIL(Anu) told this recipe, that her hubby making for past 4 years. When she told the recipe and method, it was too easy and I wanted to try it out. It came out very nice and golden crisp. So thought of posting as Krishna jayanthi is nearing. My SIL said this seedai have never burst so far. So this is a no burst seedai Blushing. Anyways, I was so precautionary when I was frying the seedais and recommend to do the same when you try too.
easy seedai recipe with maida

Maida seedai recipe

Recipe Cuisine: Indian  |  Recipe Category: Snacks
Prep Time: 15 mins    |  Cook time: 20 mins    Makes: 2 cups


Maida/ All purpose flour  2 cups 
Butter, melted  1 tblsp 
Asafoetida powder  1/4 tsp 
Sesame seeds  1 tblsp 
Jeera (optional)  1 tsp 
Grated coconut(optional)  2 tblsp 
Coconut oil(optional)  1 tsp 
Salt  As needed 
Oil  for deed frying 


  1. In a clean white cloth, make a bag and steam it for 15 mins by keeping over the idli plate in a idli pot or if you know any other method, you can follow that too.1-maida-seedai
  2. Once it warm enough to handle, break it roughly and after completely cooled down, grind in mixie without any lumps.2--maida-seedai
  3. In a bowl, mix the flour and other ingredients (except oil) using water, make a smooth dough. It should be non sticky, make sure not to add excess water.3-maida-seedai
  4. Roll gently into seedais without applying much pressure. If you want you can prick all the seedais with tooth pick. Heat oil and fry the seedais in medium flame for 8 to 10 mins. You can cook in high flame towards the end to bring the golden colour. Drain over paper towel. WARNING : Be at safe distance for precautionary measure anyways!4-maida-seedai


    • This seedai takes long time to cook. So cook in medium flame as mentioned.
    • As you drain the seedai, it may be soft but as it cools, it will become crisp.
    • You can fry the seedais in 2 batches.
    • Coconut oil or coconut adds a of flavour to the seedai.
    • Do not add butter more than mentioned, otherwise it may become soggy.
    • After you make the dough, make the seedais immediately, dont let it dry as it will make the seedais surface with white dots. So keep covered all the times.
    • Cool completely before storing in air tight container. Tastes best from the next day!
    • Take out the seedais when it starts turning golden , otherwise it will give burnt smell. My pics look more in contrast due to settings, but looks more lighter in shade than in pics.
Crisp, golden seedais are ready to enjoy!



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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

onion tomato chutney recipe - red chutney for dosa       Why ‘Easy’ Onion Tomato Chutney ? Yes its easy for me. I already posted my MIL’s version of Onion tomato chutney recipe that she makes for so many years and I just love it too. It has lots of frying part like channa dal, red chilli and onion, tomato. Also it has coconut. So this one is so simple with only 3 main ingredients ~ Onion, tomato and red chilli powder. Isn’t it cool? I had got few requests to post red chutney recipe for idli dosa. This is Aj’s most favourite chutney. Perfect with dosa varieties. Its one of those kind they serve in restaurants along with the white and green chutneys.  Refer coconut chutney - for white and mint chutney and coriander chutney for green chutneys.


Easy onion tomato chutney recipe

Indian Breakfast
Prep Time: 5 mins    |  Cook time: 5 mins    Serves: 2


Onion  2, small sized 
Tomato  2, small sized 
Red chilli powder  1 tsp 
Salt  As needed 

To temper

Oil 1 tblsp
Mustard 3/4 tsp
Urad dal 1 tsp
Curry leaves 1 sprig


  1. Chop onion and tomato into cubes. Grind to a smooth paste without water.1--onion-tomato-chutney
  2. Heat a kadai with oil and temper with the items given under ‘To temper’ table in order. Pour the ground paste and add 1/4 cup water, red chilli powder and salt. Mix well.2--onion-tomato-chutney
  3. Cook in medium flame for 4-5 mins or until the chutney gets the desired consistency. It should not get too thick. Should be similar to the other chutney consistency. So adjust water accordingly.3--onion-tomato-chutney-rec


    • Adjust the chilli powder according to the tanginess of tomatoes.
    • I used small sized tomato and onion so used 2 each.
    • I used kashmiri red chilli powder. Its the best to give bright red colour.
    • You can add a pinch of sugar for a different taste.
    • You can temper with asafoetida powder if you like.
       Its the best chutney for dosas the best. I had with verum arisi dosa, which is my next post. Bliss combination! Kids too would love to have this red coloured chutney for their idli dosa!

onion tomato chutney recipe


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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Lunch menu with Naan Indian Lunch 1H
      It's a lazy weekend this time, as usual I made this post last minuteStriaght Face. But I decided to make a meal with Naan this week already. So made a simple spread as you see. I had someother menu plans, but since I was lazy, I restricted the menu with 3 items. With the things I had in my pantry, I managed to make this menu. It took 1 hr and some 15 mins for making this menu.
  1. On wake up, when I entered the kitchen, I first soaked rice for peas pulao and prepared dough for Naan with Maida.
  2. Then after finishing breakfast and all the other works and when it was time to prepare lunch, I chopped 1 tomato, 1 onion for PBM and one for peas pulav.
  3. Then in one stove, in a small pressure cooker, prepared for peas pulav and let it cook.
  4. Mean while the pulav gets ready, I prepared Paneer butter masala.
  5. When its done and if your family is also ready for lunch, lastly make Naan.
Thats it, serve with dahi and pickle. A simple lunch ready with special items – Naan, PBM and peas pulav.
And the recipes and their links below :
  1. Naan without yeast recipe
  2. Paneer butter masala recipe
  3. Peas pulav recipe
If you want to make this meal elaborately, (on any special occasion) you can add on some items to this. Like another subji like aloo gobi or aloo gobi mutter or gobi masala. You can replace paneer butter masala with palak paneer or aloo palak or baby corn masala as well. My kid will like peas masala too for naan.
You can replace peas polav with vegetable biryani as well. And make a raita to go with it.
Complete the menu with sliced onion, cucumber, tomato and chilli and with a papad, pickle and dahi.

Wholesome and special! Happy

Have a great weekend with home foodLove Struck!


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Friday, August 16, 2013

Janmashtami/ Krishna Jayanthi recipes Indian Snacks and sweets
Janmashtami 2013 falls on 28th of August. So here are few recipes you can prepare for the festival. Thought of posting this collection as it would help to pre-plan your festival preparations. My mom makes uppu seedai, vella seedai and thattai and appam for this festival. She also offers homemade butter and aval/ rice flakes. But I have compiled all possible recipes which can be easy to prepare too.
Mobile users, please hold your phone horizontally for compatibility.

Paal payasam recipe
Total time: 40 mins

With only milk and rice as the star ingredients!
Aval payasam recipe
Total time: 20 mins

Aval / rice flakes is Krishna’s favourite!
Paal kozhukattai recipe
Total time: 40 mins

Rice flour balls in milk.
Paal kesari recipe
Total time: 30 mins

Make you kesari with Krishna’s favourite- milk!
Nei appam recipe
Total time: 3 hrs
Traditional sweet appam, made with rice, Jaggery and ghee.
Wheat flour appam
Total time: 20 mins

Instant appam recipe with wheat flour and jaggery!
Uppu & vella seedai
Total time: 4hrs

Make the traditional snack from scratch at home!
Kai murukku recipe
Total time: 4 hrs

Another classic traditional recipe from scratch, with VIDEO!
Magizhampoo-thenkuzhal_1 thenkuzhal-1
Thattai recipe
Total time: 35 mins
Crispy and delicious thattai recipe, a must try for Gokulashtami!
Mullu murukku recipe
Total time: 40 mins

A flavourful murukku recipe with rice flour, coconut milk and dal!
Ola pakoda recipe
Total time: 30 mins

Very crispy and easy to make snack with rice and chickpea flour
Thenkuzhal recipe
Total time: 40 mins

Classic traditional yet easy recipe!


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