Archive for the ‘Tiffin dishes’ Category

Feels good to be back to blogging again. Thanks to my blogger friends for the motivation.

“Sevai” is a tiffin dish that can be done in a jiffy these days. I remember my mom making this for sunday evening tiffin. It’s quiet a project as it was done in a more elaborate fashion, from scratch. She would wash the rice, soak it for few minutes and dry it in a towel and powder it finely. Then cook it in a pan with , salt and few drops of oil  and make rice balls and steam the balls in cooker. The steamed rice balls are then pressed in a machine called “sevai nazhi” to extract noodles and then seasoned with a variety of flavors and enjoyed as an evening meal on the weekends when the whole family is together. She would certainly ask my help to hold the sevai nazhi while she can turn the handle to get the noodles out of the nazhi. You can season them in a variety of flavors like Coconut , Lemon, jaggery-sweet sevai, Pepper-cumin(Milagu Jeera), Tomato, Chakarai(Cane sugar) sevai.

With the fast paced life style we have these days, it would be hard to do that.  Further,this dish can be done in a microwave to save time. Rice noodles are available to buy from chinese or Indian grocers and can be used for this. Although I would still vote for the taste  and texture of the sevai done by conventional method, I am pretty used to using ready-made rice noodles for this preparation. This is a an exciting lunch option for kids, as they always love to eat noodles that are colorful and fun

Done in a Microwave including the seasoning:


  1. Take water in a microwave container and heat it until the water boils.
  2. Remove the container from the microwave carefully and soak the rice noodles for 5 minutes and drain all the excess water.
  3. Season with a variety of flavoring and mix well.
  4. Enjoy with chutney or by itself.

Coconut sevai(Thengai sevai):


  1. Oil- 2tsp.
  2. Mustard seeds-1 tsp
  3. Urad dhal-1 tblsp
  4. Dry Red chillies-2
  5. Curry leaves 5
  6. Cashew nuts-3
  7. Ground nut(optional)-5
  8. asafoetida 1tsp.
  9. Salt to taste
  10. Shredded coconuts- 11/2 cup.


  1. Heat oil in a microwave safe dish with ingredients 2-8 and microwave for 2 minutes with the lid closed halfway through.
  2. Then add shredded coconut and saute for 1 min in microwave.
  3. Add  the microwaved contents to drained sevai , add salt and mix well. 

Lemon Sevai (Elumichai sevai):


  • Oil- 2tsp.
  • Mustard seeds-1 tsp
  • Urad dhal-1 tblsp
  • Channa dhal- 1tblsp.
  • Green chillies-2
  • Curry leaves- 5
  • Cashew nuts-3
  • Ground nut(optional)-5
  • Asafoetida- 1tsp.
  • Turmeric powder-1 tbsp.
  • Salt to taste
  • Lemon juice juice from 1 lemon.
  • Method:

    1. Same as mentioned for coconut sevai. Add ingredients 1-10 and heat it in microwave for 2 minutes
    2. Add  seasonings,salt and lemon juice, at last and mix the sevai well.

    Vella Sevai(Sweet jaggery sevai):

    This is my favorite.


    1. Jaggery- 1 cup
    2. Shredded coconut- 1/2 cup.
    3. Ghee- 2 tsp.
    4. Cardamom powder- 1tblsp.
    5. Cashews-5
    6. Raisins-5


    1. Add the jaggery and coconut in a microwave pan and mix for 2-3 minutes until it blends well.
    2. In another microwave dish, add ghee and cashews and raisins and heat it for a minute .
    3. Mix jaggery coconut blend to ghee toasted cashew and raisin and give it a gentle toss.

     Sending this for MEC event hosted by Lata Raja of Flavours and Tastes http://lata-raja.blogspot.com/

    Microwave Easy cooking(MEC) event initiated by Srivalli of  http://cooking4allseasons.blogspot.com/

     Checkout this link

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    Cooking 063

    Poori’s are wholesome whole wheat bread, that is an absolute favorite for both children and adults. In south india, its customary to serve poori (puri) with madras masal, which is a potato based side to go with them. However in North India, Poori’s are served with chole or channa- a garbanzo bean side dish. Both of them taste very good. Though, I personally like the potato masal very much, I make masal and chole together to break the monotony and to make the dish a bit more interesting and grand. My daughter loves the poori’s. She simply enjoys it with sugar and ghee.


    Cooking 062 


    • Whole wheat flour (atta)- 2 cups ( will  get about 15 poori’s).
    • Salt- a pinch.
    • Water-just enough to knead the dough.
    • Oil- 1/2 tsp- to knead.
    • Oil- for deep-frying.


    1. Mix wheat flour, salt, water and knead them into a dough.
    2. Add 1/2 tsp oil, so the dough doesn’t stick to your hands.
    3. let the dough sit for 1 hour.
    4. Make the dough into lemon sized small balls.
    5. Flatten them with a rolling-pin and table.
    6. Dab the rounds with atta(whole wheat flour), while pressing, so the rounds are not sticking to the rolling table.
    7. Gently slide the rounds in hot oil and deep fry them in medium heat.
    8. When one side gets cooked, topple it to the other side and gently give it a press to get fluffy poori’s.
    9. Absord excess oil with a  paper towel.
    10. Serve hot with madras-potato masal or chole.

    Tip: Add water little by little while kneading, so you dont make the dough loose.

    Potato(Aalo) Masal     Cooking 064


    • Potatoes-3 big.
    • Onions- 1 big.
    • Green chillies-2.
    • Oil- 2 tsp.
    • Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp.
    • Urad dhal- 1/2 tsp.
    • Channa dhal-1/2 tsp.
    • Tomato-1 (optional).
    • Peas- 1/4 cup-(optional).
    • Turmeric- 1/2 tsp.
    • Salt-to taste.
    • Curry leaves- an arc.
    • Gram flour- 2 tsp.


    1. Pressure cook potatoes, peel the skin and smash them.
    2. Chop onions and tomatoes(optional).
    3. Slit green chilies.
    4. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. Once it splatters, add urad dhal, channa dhal, curry leaves, green chillies, Chopped onions and saute them.
    5. At this point tomatoes and peas can be added optionally and allow it to cook for few minutes.
    6. Add salt, turmeric and mashed potatoes.
    7. Add gram flour to 1/2 cup of water and add it to the pan.
    8. Simmer for 5-10 minutes and turn the heat off.
    9. Serve with hot poori’s.



    • White Garbanzo beans-1 tin cooked.
    • Oil- 2 tsp.
    • Cumin seeds(jeera)- 1/2 tsp.
    • Ginger garlic paste- 1 tsp.
    • Onion paste-  from 1 big red onion.
    • Tomato puree- from 2 tomatoes.
    • Salt-to taste.
    • Chole or Channa masala- 1 tsp.
    • Dhania powder- 1/2 tsp.
    • Curd-2 tsp (optional).
    • Coriander leaves and onion rings for garnish.
    • Red chilly powder-1/4 tsp.


    1. Soak the Garbanzo for 8-10 hours and pressure cook till one whistle or use the ready made, pre-cooked tinned Garbanzos-but wash them well before use.
    2. Heat oil in a pan and add jeera, ginger garlic paste, onion paste and saute.
    3. Add tomato puree, salt, chole masala, red chilly powder, dhania powder and cook till oil separates.
    4. Add 2 tsp of curd at last and mix well.
    5. Garnish with cilantro.


    Another interesting variation in North india is “Chole Batura”. Batura is a large poori, which is also served with chole. But the preparation method is different.

    Sending this to Cooking for kids-Wheat hosted by sireesha at http://kidzdelight.blogspot.com/2009/10/announcing-cooking-for-kids-event-wheat.html, authored by Sharmi of neivedhyam at  http://www.neivedyam.com/2008/12/announcing-cooking-for-kids-event.html

    On Going Event Cooking For Kids - Wheat

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     In my previous posts, I wrote about  Navarathri and Saraswathi poojai-Vijayadashami and mentioned about sundals, but didn’t have a chance to write how each variety is made. When I came across the event  “My Legume Love Affair”- 15th helping in  Sia’s Monsoon spice, couldn’t resist a post dedicated to sundals. So, here it is…………

    During Navrathri we make sundals with legumes every day for 10 days and offer it to Goddess Devi and partake. Also, this can be a great protein packed evening-after school snack/tiffin for kids. It’s great for pregnant women. Also great for weight watchers diet, as it is low or no fat and high in protein content. Almost 15 types of sundals can be made with different legumes using different methods.

    Method: 1 ( This method can be used for Green chana, White chana and Black chana-Garbanzo beans. It is called Podi thoovina sundal)

    Chana Sundal

    Chana Sundal


    • Black or Green or White chana (Garbanzo)- 1cup.
    • Salt-to taste.
    • Turmeric powder- a pinch.
    • Lemon juice- few drops.

    For Seasoning:

    • Oil- 1tsp.
    • Mustard seeds-1/2 tsp.
    • Urad dhal- 1/2 tsp.
    • Curry leaves- 1 arc.
    • Green chilly-1(optional)
    • Asafoetida- a pinch.

    For Masala powder: Dry roast the below and powder them.

    • Dhania or coriander seeds- 1tsp.
    • Dry Red chillies- 2.
    • Channa Dhal-1tsp.
    • Urad dhal-1tsp.
    • Coconut scrapes- 2tsp.


    1. Soak the chana in water for 10-12 hours.
    2. Add salt and pressure cook till 1 whistle, so that it doesn’t over cook.
    3. Keep oil in a pan and add the above mentioned seasoning one by one, in the order mentioned above and turmeric.
    4. Add the cooked chana to the pan, after draining excess water.
    5. Add the masala powder and give it a toss.
    6. Squeeze lemon juice.

    Method 2 ( This method can be used for Chana dhal(Kadala parupu- split chickpeas), Split Moong Dhal (Payatham parupu) and Kidney beans( Rajma) and Black eye peas(karamani)

    Navrathri_24 Ingredients:

    • Legume of interest- 1cup.
    • Salt-to taste.
    • Turmeric powder- a pinch.
    • Coconut scrapes- 2tsp.

    For Seasoning:

    • Oil- 1tsp.
    • Mustard seeds-1/2 tsp.
    • Urad dhal- 1/2 tsp.
    • Curry leaves- 1 arc.
    • Red chillies-3.
    • Asafoetida- a pinch.


  • Rajma soaked in water for 10-12 hours. Karamani soaked for 1 hour. Need not soak chana dhal and moong dhal as they cook directly.
  • Pressure cook till 1whistle, with just enough water.
  • Keep oil in a pan and add the above mentioned seasoning one by one, in the order mentioned above and turmeric.
  • Add the cooked legume to the pan, after draining excess water and cook 5 minutes.
  • Garnish with coconut scrapes.
  • Method 3 ( Green patani-vatana, White patani, Groundnut-peanuts, Chora can be done in this method)

    Navrathri_23  Ingredients and Seasoning and Preparation method:

    • Same as mentioned in Method 2.
    • Instead of red chillies, green chillies are used here.
    • Lemon juice can be used in this variety.
    • Groundnuts need not be soaked, directly cooked.
    • Chora and vatana can be soaked, but cooked carefully, as they become soft easily.
    • In green vatana sundal, cut mango pieces can be added to make Thengai-maangai-patani sundal.

    Method 4: (Sweet version can be made with green gram(Paasi payaru) and Red Karamani (which is hard to find in the US)

    The idea is pretty much the same except that Jaggery(vellam), coconut, cardamom and ghee are used. Avoid seasonings mentioned above.

    Method 5: ( Green gram Masala Sundal with onions)

    If it is not used as neivedhyam, just prepared as a snack, green gram can be soaked, and allowed to sprout and method 3 can be used. But can saute chopped onions, tomatoes and a pinch of garam masala can be added.


    Asafoetida or Hing can be added to all the sundals, as legumes may cause gas to form in the stomach. Gas formation can be further avoided by letting the legumes sit in hot water for few minutes and draining the water. Then they can be soaked and cooked.

     Revealing my Legume love affair to the world by sending this to Sia’s Monsoon Spice , who is hosting the event for Susan of  The Well Seasoned Cook.


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    Rava Idli

    Rava Idli

    Why get the ready made mixes, when you can make yummy Rava idli’s from scratch, in a snap. It is really simple to make this and it is a very healthy tiffin option  & easy to digest and  most of all kids won’t make a fuss to eat this steamed treat. I also add some scraped carrots to make it more healthy, fun, interesting and colorful.

    Ingredients:                                                                     Rava Idlis

    • Bombay Rava- 1cup ( 8 idlis).
    • Green chilly-2.
    • Ginger- 1 inch.
    • Cashew nuts- 10.
    • Oil- 2 tsp.
    • Mustard seeds- 1tsp.
    • Channa Dhal- 1tsp.
    • Curry leaves- an arc.
    • Baking powder-a teeny bit.
    • Salt- for taste.
    • Coconut scrapes-1tsp.
    • Curd- 1/2 cup. (its ok if its is sour).
    • Ghee- 1tsp for coating idli plates.


    1. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds.
    2. Once the mustard seeds starts splattering, add channa dhal, chopped green chillies, chopped ginger, curry leaves and cashews.
    3. Add Rava to it and roast until it becomes light brown.
    4. Add curd, salt, baking powder coconut scrapes and let  the batter sit for 1o minutes.
    5. Coat the idli plates with ghee and pour the rava batter.
    6. Steam the rava idli’s in a cooker.
    7. In a few minutes, hot rava idli’s will be ready.
    8. Serve with coconut or coriander chutney.


    1. If required, 2tsp of semiya or (vermicelli) can be added to the rava( semolina).
    2. If you are using scraped carrots, add the scraped carrots to the idli pan in the design you want and then pour the batter.

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    Mini Idlis in Sambar

    This is again another popular item in “Saravana Bhavan”. These are baby idlis that are just bite sized, miniature version of regular Idlis. They would be apt for soaking in Sambar and enjoyed as “Sambar idlis”.My daughter loves the baby idlis.

    Baby idli plateNote:

    The recipes for Idlis and Sambar are posted in my previous posts.

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    South Indian Breakfat

    In South India, the traditional way of serving food is in”Vaazhai ilai” or plantain leaf . Plantain leaf has a nice aroma that would enhance the food. Living in the US, ceramics and paper plates have become part and parcel of our lives. Last year, when we had gone to India for a vacation, we visited “Chidhambaram” -Nataraja temple. My grandfather’s brother lives there. They hosted us and served  a meal in the leaf. It was an artificial banana leaf made out of paper( Just like paper plates). We could not make out the difference. It was just like an original leaf. I liked them and bought 100 leaves for 100 rupees. Literally 1 leaf is 1 rupee. It makes me feel like I’m in India, ………..if i don’t look out the window to see the snow in Boston.

    Saravana Bhavan” is a  very famous family restaurant in south India-TamilNadu. There is nobody that would have not eaten “IDLI, VADA, PONGAL  set” from there. The picture above is how it would be, except the picture above is devoid of Vadai. It would be served with 3 chutneys, milagapodi and sambar. Although, these days instead of serving in the whole leaf, the leaf is cut in a round shape and placed on a metal plate and served.

    Tri color chutney

    Tri color chutney

    I have posted the recipe for all the dishes on the plantain leaf in my previous posts. The Tricolor chutney, Saffron, White and Green, reminds me of “Indian National Flag”.

    Indian National Flag-Jai Hind!

    Indian National Flag-Jai Hind!

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    Venn Pongal

    “Shankranthi” is celebrated as Pongal in Tamilnadu. It is also the harvest festival. During the 3 day festival, Chakara pongal (sweet) and Venn pongal(Spicy) are prepared at home and offered to Surya Bhagavan-“The Sun”. Venn Pongal is very healthy and is a frequent menu at home. It can be served with Gotsu,Sambar, Coconut chutney,Rojapoo chutney,Hot lime pickle. 


    • Ponni or Jasmine Rice- 1 cup.
    • Split Moong Dhal-1/2 cup.
    • Salt to taste.
    • Turmeric powder- a bit.
    • Asafoetida- a pinch.
    • Ginger pieces- a few.
    • Cashew nuts-6.
    • Black pepper whole-10.
    • Pepper jeera coarse powder-1 tblsp.
    • Curry leaves-1 arc.


    1. Dry roast moong dhal until a nice aroma starts coming.
    2. Soak the moong dhal in water for 10 min.
    3. Wash the rice and add it to soaked moong dhal, add 4 cups of water,turmeric and pressure cook till 3 whistles.
    4. Take a kadai-put ghee-add all the ingredients  mentioned above for seasoning one by one and add it to the cooked rice.
    5. Mix them well  with salt and serve hot with a little ghee.

    Venn pongal with a drop of ghee would actually melt in your mouth…..

    Note: Adding salt would increase the boiling point and moong dhal may not get cooked properly. So, add salt after the rice and dhal are cooked. Venn Pongal is a dish, where rice is cooked really soft.

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