Rajma curry for chawal


BM # 71
Week 1, Day 1
Theme : One pot dishes
I bought Instant Pot sometime back and now I am a big fan of it. Its an electric pressure cooker and I end up making a lot of one pot dishes in it. The best part is that there is no need to babysit it, you can set the time and walk away without counting the number of whistles or worrying when to turn it off. I usually keep rice in the IP if I have to step out in the mornings, so that way when I am back the lunch is done.
My staples are dal makhini, rajma, sambar, one pot pastas, mujadara, pulao. Rice and dal using separators are also regular.
So for a one pot recipe, I turned to my Instant Pot and here it is!


Serves 4


  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon jeera
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 2-3 green chillies, cut into two
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder (or per taste)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 cup rajma soaked overnight
  • salt


  1. Wash and soak rajma overnight or for at least three hours. Set aside.
  2. The next morning, heat oil in a pressure cooker or Instant pot (electric pressure cooker). If you are using Instant pot, you have to use the ‘Saute’ function. Add cumin seeds and let it splutter.
  3. Add chopped onions and sliced green chillies to the pan and saute until pink. Time to add the ginger garlic paste. Saute for a few moments and then add the chopped tomatoes. Once it is mixed well, add all the masalas and salt. Let the tomatoes cook until they are a bit mushy.
  4. Change the water of rajma and refill with fresh water. Add this to the pressure cooker. Change the program to ‘Bean/Chili’ in Instant Pot and set the time to 25 minutes. In ordinary pressure cooker, wait for the first whistle and reduce the heat to minimum and let it cook for another 40 minutes.
  5. Let the pressure release naturally. Open the pot, stir everything together. Taste test and if you are adjusting the seasoning, let it cook for another 5 minutes for the flavors to mingle. You can mash the rajma a bit if the curry needs thickening up.
  6. Serve with plain rice or roti.



Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#71

Ricotta loaf

ricotta loaf-002

Bakeathon 2016, Day 1

The good thing about blogging break is that your draft folder gets stocked up. So when you want to get back to blogging, you have so many choices to pick up from. This is one of those picks. In fact, most of my bakeathon posts are from my drafts reservoir.

I was looking for a recipe to use up some ricotta cheese and I ended up trying this recipe from Pavani’s space.Incidently her original post was also a part of Bakeathon, but in the year 2014.

Check out the recipe and scroll down for recipes from fellow bloggers for day 1 of Bakeathon 2016.

ricotta loaf-001

Recipe source: Cook’s Hide out


  • 2 2/3 cups bread flour
  •  teaspoons instant yeast
  • tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4-1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter – softened 
  • a little oil to coat the dough while proofing
  • 1-2 teaspoons butter to brush on the loaf after baking


  1. Mix all the ingredients except the last two in a big bowl. Add 1/4 cup water first and add more in tablespoons if you need. Knead into a smooth dough. Knead it for another 10 minutes in a lightly floured surface.
  2. Return the dough into the bowl, coat it with oil. Cover and set aside for the dough to double. It might take 45 minutes to even two hours depending on how cold the weather is.
  3. Once its doubled, punch it down and shape it into a roll to fit your loaf pan. Place it in a lightly greased loaf pan and let it sit for a second rise. About 45 minutes to an hour.
  4. Heat the oven to 350 F. Bake for about 35-45 minutes or until done. Browning is an indication of whether the bread is done or it sounds hollow when tapped at the bottom.
  5. Take off the oven and brush with butter all over the bread. Let it cool completely before slicing.

ricotta loaf

This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2016


Quick meals Saravana Bhavan


BM # 70
Week 4, Day 3
Theme : Thali
My plan for the thali week of blogging marathon was to pick three thali meals from Saravana Bhavan, a leading South Indian restaurant. I prepared this quick lunch meal from their menu. But somehow I had to let it go of the idea and use posts already in my drafts.
Saravana Bhavan has 4 kind of lunch thalis – South Indian meals, North Indian meals, Mini tiffin meals and Quick lunch meals. I have tried to recreate their quick lunch meals. The menu shows the platter has sambar rice, variety rice of the day, curd rice, a porial (vegetable preparation), sweet, pickle and papad.
Looking at the plate, I wish I had the big steel plate with compartments for each of the dishes. That would have made the meal a lot more impressive and a lot like how they serve at the restaurant. Just like in the menu, the meal has
  • Sambar rice
  • Kadamba rice using ready made paste
  • Curd rice
  • Peas carrot beans porial (recipe below)
  • Pickle
  • papad
  • Semiya Kesari

This post goes to Blogging Marathon# 70 .  Check out this page to see posts from other participating bloggers.



  • 2 carrots, cut into circles
  • 1 cup chopped beans
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 3 tablespoon grated coconut
  • 2 green chillies or 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds


  1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and 4-5 curry leaves (if you have it). Once the mustard seeds pop, add the vegetables and slit green chillies. Saute for a couple of minutes.
  2. Sprinkle a handful of water and cover and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring in between to prevent the vegetables from sticking at the bottom.
  3. Add salt and grated coconut. Mix everything to combine well. Taste test, adjust spices if needed. Serve with sambar rice.


North Indian Thali


Good thing happen quite unexpectedly at times. Like the phone call you get from your close friend saying that she is free to come and stay with us for a few days. When she came, it was celebration time. Loads and loads of foodie time. We hogged on lunch buffets, Thai restaurant dinners, hot chocolate at malls and thali meals at Indian restaurant. Luckily for her and me, she returned before we burst at the seams :-)).

But hey, we deserved all our treats, because we walked an hour one way to get to the Indian buffet place. So two hours of walking for 40 minutes of eating is completely justified…in my book at least.

Coming to the thali here, this is very similar to the one we had at one of the restaurants. Its  basically rice and roti with dal, 2 curries, pappad, curd, salad and pickle. We were served meeta rice at the restaurant, but I didn’t make any dessert as we had some truffles to finish off.

The thali has:

  • Rice
  • Roti
  • Dal tadka (recipe below)
  • Peas mushroom masala
  • Aloo bhindi fry
  • yogurt
  • tomato onion slices (salad)
  • pickle


BM # 70
Week 4, Day 2
Theme : Thali
Recipe: Dal Tadka
  • 1 cup moong dal
  • a good pinch of turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon oil or ghee
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds/jeera
  • 1 small onion chopped finely
  • 2 green chillies or per taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1/2 medium tomato, cut into 6-8 pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • salt as needed
  • 2 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
  1. Wash and soak the dal. Pressure cook it along with turmeric powder and enough water to soak it completely. Let the steam release naturally.
  2. In a small kadai, heat oil or ghee. Add the jeera seeds and once it changes its color, add the onions and slit green chillies. Saute until the onions turn pink.
  3. Now add the ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute more. Tomatoes go in now. Add the coriander powder and garam masala and mix everything well. If the curry looks dry, add a little bit of water to stop the masalas from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Mash the cooked dal with a ladle and add it to the pan, along with a cup of water. You might have to add more water to bring it to the consistency you prefer. Let the dal boil for 4-5 minutes for the flavors to mingle. Add chopped coriander leaves at the end and turn off the heat. Serve with rice or roti.


This post goes to Blogging Marathon# 70 .  Check out this page to see posts from other participating bloggers.


Sadya on a plate – 2016 Onam


BM # 70
Week 4, Day 1
Theme : Thali
A proper thali meal needs some planning in terms of preparation and execution. People mostly prepare a thali or any elaborate meal when there is some festival or guests are visiting. In my case, my fridge was empty to prepare a thali meal, but my drafts section was full. So I am taking you back to a meal I prepared in September this year for Onam.
With my dad visiting us, there was some motivation in preparing this mini sadya. If it was just the three of us, I don’t think I would have bothered. We had a full sadya the next day at a friend’s place, so Onam really was good :-).
Though the plate looks messy, it has twelve dishes in there. The chips and pickle are ready made, but everything else was prepared at home. Funniest part was that my fridge was equally empty that day also, so this is literally what I scrapped from all my resources – fridge, freezer and pantry.I wasn’t planning on capturing the sadya on camera, but I am glad I did!
The meal has

This post goes to Blogging Marathon# 70 .  Check out this page to see posts from other participating bloggers.

Recipe source: Ramya’s recipe


To grind:

  • 1/3 cup grated coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 green chilli or per taste

Other ingredients:

  • 2 cups pineapple chunks (I used canned)
  • pinch turmeric powder
  • salt as needed
  • 1/3 cup yogurt, whisked well
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 3-4 curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon oil


  1. Cook pineapple chunks with a little water and a pinch of turmeric powder. Add salt as needed.
  2. Grind the coconut, mustard seeds, jeera and chilli to a smooth paste adding water as needed. Add this paste to the cooked pineapple. Let it boil for a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat.
  3. Whisk the yogurt well and add it to the pineapple mix. Mix well and take off the stove.
  4. Heat one teaspoon of oil in a small pan for tadka. Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Once the mustard pops, take off the heat and add it to the kichadi. That’s it!



Parippu thogayal



My mother in law used to make poricha kuzhambu and keerai masiyal every Saturday for lunch. When we moved out, we started doing the same, but on Fridays and without the keerai masiyal. For us, it was poricha kuzhambu, pickle, rice and pappadam. If I feel fancy, I used to make a thogayal.

Poricha kootu or kuzhambu is a dish which uses up leftover bits of veggies. It takes all veggies in small quantities and is not spicy usually. A spicy pickle or thogayal makes an excellent side dish.

Read on for the pictorial recipe. This post goes to the Cooking from Cookbook Challenge. Please check out this page for more details about the event.

Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a pan. Add 1/2 cup toor dal and fry until it turns slightly brown. Transfer into the blender. In the same pan, add 3 garlic cloves , 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns and 3-4 red chillies(these are the spice source, so adjust according to your taste). Saute for a minute until the chillis are dry. You can add 1/4 cup coconut to the pan now and fry for another minute. I added it at the time of blending though.

Transfer everything into a mixer jar and blend with 1/4 cup coconut. We like thick and spicy thogayal, so I add only a little water to get everything smooth and ground.


Chocolate Strawberry Chia Pudding


BM # 70

Week 2, Day 3

Theme :Fruit based Recipes 

One look at Sapana’s chia pudding recipe yesterday and I knew what I had to make for Day 3. My son is not a fan of chia seeds when added to milkshakes, but I thought its time to assess his reaction to puddings. The kid really enjoyed and finished off two (mini) servings happily. It did help that the flavor was chocolate with a lavish layer of strawberry preserve in between.

Me and my camera are still in the readjusting phase, so hopefully the pictures will start getting better in a few weeks. Until then, this is how its going to be..It could be worse, so I am ok with these for now. Read on for the recipe and my determination to finish off my Costco hot chocolate packets.

This post goes to Blogging Marathon# 70. Check out this page to see posts from other participating bloggers.


Recipe Inspiration : Sapana’s blog

Makes 4 mini servings


For chocolate layer 

  • 2 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 packet hot chocolate

For strawberry layer

  • 2 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 small cup of strawberry yogurt

To assemble

  • chocolate chia pudding
  • 4 teaspoons strawberry preserve
  • strawberry chia pudding
  • a few slices of banana for topping


  1. Mix everything for the chocolate layer in a bowl with room to expand.
  2. Mix the strawberry layer in a separate pan. Refrigerate both overnight.
  3. The next morning, layer four small glasses with a layer of strawberry preserve in between and serve.


Apple Pear Cucumber Salad


BM # 70

Week 2, Day 2

Theme : Fruit based Recipes 

Whenever there is an excess of fruits, especially apples, it gets added to almost anything at home. I make chili with apples, I know a friend who make sambar with apples and though it sounds really weird, they do taste pretty decent. An unexpected bit of sweetness in the middle of a savory dish.

I add them on a regular basis to all my salads. My oft repeated salad has apples and tomatoes as the main components. Add one more veggie or a fruit, top with any salad dressing and you’re done! But this recipe is a little different from my usual take as I didn’t go for my standard mayo-mustard dressing. This one is the olive oil- lemon juice kind. The flavors all complemented each other well and the salad friendly kid was indeed happy!

This post goes to Blogging Marathon# 70. Check out this page to see posts from other participating bloggers.


Recipe Source: Food.com

Serves : 1

Ingredients :

  • 1 medium apple
  • 1 medium pear
  • 1/2 of a medium cucumber
  • 1/2 of a medium sweet onion


  • 2 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey (adjust according to taste)
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dill leaves (I didn’t have any)


  1. Prepare the dressing by mixing everything together.
  2. Slice the apples, pears and onions into thin slices. Cut the cucumber into circles.
  3. Toss with the dressing in a big bowl and serve. Done!
  4. I added about 1/2 teaspoon Kale chips for garnish, but it definitely wasn’t a good idea.


Strawberry jam


BM # 70
Week 2, Day 1
Theme :Fruit based Recipes

This post is a little rusted, its been sitting in the drafts for almost an year. I wasn’t (and still am not) sure how to click inside my not so well lit kitchen without over exposing the shots. The light situation isn’t great – you either have the sun coming in directly or its dimly lit. Diffuser doesn’t help much and stepping into the balcony is not much of an option because of the weather. But worry not, I will find my way through. By that I mean I am planning to keep a jacket in the kitchen than figure out a way to work with the light!

Anyways, let’s get ready for the holidays with some bright red strawberry jam. Its adapted slightly from Aparna’s space. The jam hardly lasted a few weeks. When it was almost over, I remember adding  milk to the bottle and shaking it vigorously with the lid on to make some instant milkshake. The recipe seemed simple enough for me to try and I was glad I did!

Read on for the pictorial. This post goes to Blogging Marathon# 70 .  Check out this page to see posts from other participating bloggers.


Add 5 cups strawberries cut in halves with 2 cups sugar. Mix and refrigerate overnight. The sugar needs to be adjusted depending on the tartness of strawberries. You can add more, if needed, when cooking the jam.

The next morning, you will find a lot of liquid from the strawberries and sugar. Add this to a thick bottomed wide pan tall enough to allow the sugar to froth. Finely chop one apple and tip it in as well.

Bring it to a boil and cook (medium to low heat) until the liquid evaporates and it reaches a jam consistency. About 15 minutes or so, keep stirring in between. Mash a little to break a lumpy jam. We like it with fruit chunks, so didn’t mash a lot.

To check whether the jam is done, do the “plate test”. Bottle the hot jam in sterilized bottles. I got about 2 bottles of 500 gm jars.


Overnight Chocolate Strawberry Oatmeal


If someone is missing whether this week’s theme is ‘Oatmeal in alphabetical order’, let me assure you that its not. But after apple oatmeal, banana oatmeal and now chocolate-strawberry oatmeal, that question won’t really be out of place! What I am trying to do is come up with three different methods to cook the same breakfast. So for the last day (with the last of my strawberry loot) its an overnight oatmeal recipe. Its as easy as mixing all the ingredients and refrigerating it. The texture was surprisingly soft and not too unlike stove top oatmeal.

I did a general google search for overnight oatmeal since I hadn’t made up my mind about the flavoring. I found that most recipes use some amount of milk and a bit of yogurt to help thicken it up.And the rest is whatever is available in one’s pantry. So that’s what I did too. I have a HUGE batch of hot chocolate packets with me, now I know how to use it all up! After adding the chocolate mix, I remembered about the last of the frozen strawberries I had and that too went into the bowl. So read on for this easy way to start your day.

This post goes to Blogging Marathon# 70. Check out this page to see posts from other participating bloggers.



  • 1/3 cup oatmeal
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 4-5 strawberries, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1 packet hot chocolate mix (Or 1/2 tablespoon cocoa powder)
  • Sweetener of your choice
  • Toppings used – chocolate chips, banana slices, granola


  1. Mix everything together in a bowl or jar except the toppings.
  2. Refrigerate at least for a couple of hours before eating.
  3. At the time of serving, microwave it to warm it up. Add your toppings and enjoy!