Black Urad Vadai


The sun comes up, the day begins. The milk is delivered, the paper boy slips the paper under the door. The maid comes in.  The milk is boiled, tea is prepared. My niece is awake.

The day has started.

And I am still under the covers. Its only when my SIL finishes making the breakfast and is done with feeding my niece, that I get up from the bed usually. At times, she might have even left for work.

And on this particular day, she was done with all the regular jobs and was half way through frying these vadas.

 That’s when I jumped into action, pushed her aside and then started making the rest. Else how can I feature them here, without me being involved at all!?

Posting under ‘Navarathi Special’ for the last week of Blogging Marathon 21. Check out the other participants here.

Makes about 12-14 medium vadas


  • Black Urad dal             :            1 cup
  • Pepper corns                :            5-10
  • Chilies                              :            1
  • Curry leaves                 ;             2-3 sprigs
  • Coriander leaves        ;             a handful
  • Salt
  • Oil for frying


  1. Wash and soak the dal for 30 – 40 minutes. Drain the water completely and grind along with the other ingredients. If required add water in tablespoons.
  2. The batter will be greenish in color. It has to be light and fluffy.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to use. Heat oil for deep-frying. Take a tablespoon of the batter in a plastic sheet and shape the vadas (a piece of banana leaf is used traditionally). Deep fry them. Depending on the size of the vessel and of the vadas, you can fry 3-4 vadas at the same time.
  4. While the vadas are cooking, keep the batter back in fridge, or better the freezer. This helps in keeping the batter thick and makes it easy to shape them.
  5. Make vadas with the rest of the batter and have them with chutney or as such.


Aval Payasam


I am biting my nails, looking at the time, looking at the laptop battery.

Will I? Won’t I? Will I? Won’t I?

Well, I don’t know whether I can post this before the battery goes off, but I am trying my best!

You see, my laptop is dead now. It needs to be taken for servicing (god knows when that will happen) and now I am managing with hubby’s laptop which doesn’t have a charger. So I have about 5 more minutes of battery time before it shuts down and shuts me up in the process.

So let me not waste any more time, right into the last recipe for Blogging Marathon 21. Check out the other participants in the Blogging Marathon page.


Recipe Source: Kailas Kitchen


  • Aval/Poha            :                  1 cup
  • Milk                         :                   2 cups
  • Water                     :                   1 cup
  • Sugar                      :                   3/4 cup (more if you prefer it sweet)
  • Ghee                       :                  1 tbsp
  • Cashews                :                   a few
  • Raisins                  :                     a few


  1. Heat ghee in a thick bottomed vessel. Add the cashews and raisins and fry until they are browned. Take off the pan and keep aside.
  2. In the remaining ghee, add the aval and roast until the flakes are brown, about 3-5 minutes. If you want to wash the flakes, wash them after roasting, I didn’t.
  3. Add milk and water and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. You have to cook this, until the payasam reduces to 3/4th of its original volume.
  4. Add sugar and cook again until the sugar is dissolved and the consistency is thick, but not too thick state. Stir in the cashews and raisins and take off the heat. Serve hot or cold.


Its best to use a thick wide pan and keep the stirrer inside the pan. This way, the milk will not boil over. But I never take chances here and always stick around when cooking anything with milk.

I thought this will take less time than making paal payasam, but I ended up spending the same amount of time in making this as I wanted to cook the milk until you get that pinkish hue.

Rava Kesari


When I was in one of the rare contemplating moods, I was searching for answers for the ‘Why’ questions in our life.

Why do we do things this way? Why don’t we do things that way? Why is life so? Why isn’t life easier? So many questions and not many answers. If you think from a higher level, then everything is a maze. No solid answers for anything.

But I did find an answer for one question, ‘Why do I blog?’

And the answer is : to document that I cook, even if it is a once in a while thing. Without the pictures no one,myself included, will believe that I do cook when the mood hits me!


For the last week of Blogging Marathon, the theme chosen is ‘Navarathri Special’. Navarathri is a celebration that goes on for nine days and on each of these days, different food is offered to the god during the pooja. A small portion of this food is then given to the families who visit you on that day.

In Southern part of India, there is a tradition of keeping Kolu (an exhibition of dolls, mostly of gods,  in a step kind of arrangement). Not all the houses keep Kolu , but the ones who keep, invite other families to come and see the display. Its a real fun thing to go visit them, get the goodies for the day and enjoy the festival mood as such.

My Sister in Law keeps Kolu (I don’t, as you might have guessed by now!) and I got to eat the goodies while I was visiting them. It was Kesari on the day we visited them. Recipe as follows.

Check out the other participants of this week’s Blogging Marathon here.


Makes : 6 lavish servings


  • Rava (Semolina)         :           1 cup
  • Water                               :           2.5 cups
  • Sugar                                :           1.5 cups
  • Ghee                                 :           3-4 tbsp (you can add more if you want to)
  • Cashews & Raisins      :          a few – say 10 each, for decoration
  • Orange food color      :         a pinch, optional


  1. Heat ghee in a broad and heavy bottom pan. Add the cashews and raisins and stir until the cashews turn brown and the raisins puff up. Don’t let them burn. Drain and keep aside in a napkin.
  2. In the same ghee, add the semolina and roast stirring constantly, till it becomes slightly brown in color – about 4 -5 minutes. Add the water and mix so that there are no dry lumps. Cook, stirring in between.
  3. When the rava is almost cooked, add the sugar and food color (if using). Stir and let it cook for a further 5 minutes until the kesari starts leaving the sides of the pan. At this point, you can add another spoon or two of ghee if you want to. Add the cashews and raisins. 
  4. Take off the heat. You can spoon this into a bowl and serve or spread it in a greased plate and cut into squares. Or you can even scoop them using ice cream scoops and serve.

Apple Cheese Sandwich

We (read – Hubby) gave in to our kiddo’s pestering about Bay Blade and got him one.

We bought it from the store at 2:30PM, reached home that day by 4 PM and kiddo lost it by 4:30 PM. He had taken it to the park to show off to his friends and lost it in a bushy area. The only solace for him was the fact that half of the items in the lost blade was his friend’s. So his friend was equally miserable.

I told the kids that we will search for it together and they took me to the area where the blade had landed. There were some 7-8 bushes about 6 feet high. I entered the bushes, expecting the kids to follow me, but – aha – no. No one was coming after me. They were both standing right outside.

‘The leaves are sharp, my eyes will get hurt. But you search, Aunty’ : Kiddo’s friend said.

‘Its a jungle. There will be tiger, lion and red ants inside. So you go in, Mommy.’ Kiddo chipped in.

It took me a whole day to get kiddo come with me finally. But he enjoyed it a lot. After all, he got to wear sunglasses (to avoid the sharp leaves), wear shoes(to stop the red ants from biting) and carry a thread. He would hold one end of the thread and I would hold the other end, so as not to get lost in the deep dark jungle (I am referring to those 7 bushes, of course!).

And the less said about the discussion about tigers and lions and red ants in the forests, the better!

Similarly, the less said about my delay in posting the recipes for Blogging Marathon 21, the better! But still, I am here finally. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for recipes from fellow bloggers who, of course, posted everything on time.

Recipe Source: Closet Cooking


  • Caramelized apples             :  5-6 slices
  • Cheese slice                          :  1 slice
  • Bread slices                          :  2 slices


  1. To caramelize apples, peel, core and slice an apple thin. Heat a tablespoon of butter in medium flame amd add a tablespoon of sugar.
  2. Add the apple slices and cook for 5-6min, turning them frequently to prevent burning an even coating of the caramel sauce. Take of the heat, cool. This can be refrigerated for a week.
  3. For assembling a sandwich, take two slices of bread. Add a layer of caramelized apples on one slice, and a cheese slice on the other.
  4. Heat a panini/sandwich maker and place these in it until done. You can do this in the stovetop too, adding a spoon of butter and cooking both the sides till the cheese melts.

Caramelized Apple Crepe

Kiddo’s Parents’ Teachers’ Meeting was scheduled for last Saturday. And as always, our plan was to reach there at 8:30 and we ended reaching there at 11 AM. The school gives us 4 chances an year to break this habit, but till now we have not been able to do it.

Anyway, when we reached there, only two parents were there ahead of us. Oh, so we can be out of here in another 15 minutes, was what we were thinking. We couldn’t have been more wrong.

Each parent (2+2 = 4) had N number of things to ask the teacher and it took more than 40 minutes when our turn came. How can you analize a kid in 1st standard so much, is my question. But then again, parenting differs from person to person and I shouldn’t comment on it, other than that this was the kind that made us wait for a long time.

When our turn came, me and my hubby went. I asked her whether he was doing fine, she said yes. And that was it. As we were leaving, his teacher said,”Ah one more thing, he howls in the class.”

Now, that’s an interesting feedback!

And do leave some interesting feedback for this wonderful Crepe, filled with caramelized apples, if you happen to try these out.

For the third week of Blogging Marathon 21, I chose the theme Sandwiches, rolls or wraps.After the Stromboli, its the crepes next. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for recipes from fellow bloggers.

Recipe Source: Caramelized Apples, one recipe with variations


Caramelizing the apples

  • Apple                 :     3
  • Brown sugar   :     4 tbsp
  •  Butter               :     1 tbsp

For the crepe (makes about 10 – 12)

  • Plain flour         :        1 cup
  • Milk                     :         1 cup
  • Eggs                     :          3
  • Melted butter   :        3 tbsp
  • Salt, a pinch or 2 tbs Sugar, if you want to make it sweet


  1. Peel, core and slice the apples thin. Heat a pan, melt the butter and add the sugar. Once the sugar starts melting, add the apples and cook in medium flame, for 5 – 10 minutes until the apples are cooked. Keep turning the apples so that they don’t burn and are coated with the caramel sauce. Cool and keep aside.
  2. For the crepes, add everything together in a mixing bowl. Whisk so that there aren’t any lumps. Heat a non stick skillet and add a spoon of melted butter or cooking oil.
  3. Take a ladleful of crepe batter and pour in the skillet. Swirl the skillet so that a thin, even coating of the batter is formed on the base. Flip and cook the other side too. As you can see, my first two crepes were smaller in size compared to the last ones (basically, you will get it right after a couple of tries).
  4. Take off the pan, roll up with the caramelized apple as filling. Serve with the apple caramel sauce.

Easy Veg Sandwich

I have dieted two times in my life with success. But then, fatty & sugar loaded food and laziness to work out always prevails over good sense. So I have never been able to keep off the kilos I lost.

When I was dieting. There was no portion control, only restricted recipes. So I never used to feel hungry.  One of the tips, which I didn’t follow that much, was to use low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese instead of fatty sauces.

So this sandwich with yogurt instead of mayonnaise filling is my entry for Blogging Marathon 23, under the theme ‘Zero Oil Recipes’. Check out the other participants here in the Blogging Marathon page.

Makes : 2 sandwiches


  • Bread slices                  :         4
  • Yogurt                           :          4 tbsp
  • Carrot & Cabbage       :          1 tbsp each, grated
  • Tabasco sauce             :          a few drops (or pepper powder)
  • Salt
  • Tomatoes                     :          1, sliced


  1. Drain the yogurt in a tea strainer or coffee filter and leave it overnight in the fridge or at least 2-3 hours.
  2. Add the tabasco sauce, salt, grated carrot and cabbage to the drained yogurt.
  3. Spread this on one slice of bread. Add sliced vegetables on top and cover with another slice. Toast in a sanwich toaster or panini maker and serve with tomato ketch up.


Sometime back, hubby had to travel aboard for a week and then the trip extended by another 10 days. And it was around this time, that kiddo wanted the toy Bay Blade really bad. He tried every trick on the book and still I didn’t relent.

After two weeks of travel, hubby was really happy when he came back home. He reached at 2 AM and was happy to see me waiting for him. Then he went to the bedroom and gave his sleeping son a kiss in the forhead and whispered, “I love you and I missed you so much.”

And like magic, kiddo opened his eyes.

And he opened his mouth to say something. He was away from his dad for the first time. I thought he would say something in the lines of ‘I love you, too’ or ‘Why did you go, daddy?’ or even ‘Why did you not come back early?’

But instead, he said : “Daddy, do you know what Bay blade is? Its an awesome toy!”

And me and my husband started laughing. Kiddo sure got his priorities right :))! And me too, infact. Because soon, I was digging in the suitcase for the packet of yeast I had asked him to buy for me.

And thanks to that packet of yeast, I am trying my hands at bread baking again. And this time, with good results!

For the third week of Blogging Marathon 21, I chose the theme Sandwiches, rolls or wraps. Starting off with an Italian style pizza sandwich. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for recipes from fellow bloggers.

Recipe inspired from : Pip & Ebby and the internet


For the topping

  • Green, red and yellow pepper     :     1 small each, cubed
  • Pizza cheese (or any other kind) :    3/4 cup
  • Any other veggies
  • Salt, chili flakes and pepper
  • Egg, beaten                                            :      1, for egg wash (optional)


  1. For the topping, cube the vegetables and keep aside. You can add frozen spinach, corn, mushrooms, the choices are unlimited. You can saute the vegetables and season them or use them just like that. Its your preference.
  2. I use Amul Pizza Mozerella cheese. And I pulse it in the mixie for 30 seconds to shred it for easy use.


  1. Preheat the oven to 220 C.
  2. Spread the dough into a rectangle in a parchment sheet. I did this directly into the biggest oven tray I had, and it left oil stains while baking. So do this step in a parchment paper. You will also have to take care not to roll it too thin as the filling might leak out (as it did for me :D) if the dough breaks.
  3. Spread the pizza sauce of your choice. Leave about an inch from all the sides. Add the topping, and season with salt & pepper.
  4. Add the cheese and fold the edges. Now roll it, taking care that the filling doesn’t spill out.
  5. Once rolled, you can do an egg or milk wash if you want a nice brown top for the roll.
  6.  Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is brown and looks done.
  7. Take out of the oven, wait for 10 minutes for the bread to cool down, slice and serve with a dip or ketchup.

Vegetable Focaccia


Making soft fluffy bread has always been a dream of mine. Its also been an unattainable one for me, till now. Frustrated at the multiple failures, I had quit baking bread many times. But I always come back with this ‘one last try’.

And during this latest ‘last trial’, the miracle happened. The focaccia turned out to be soft and fluffy and I turned totally speechless! Now, that’s two miracles!

I can’t really express my happiness in words, nor can hubby express his relief at not having to break his teeth. Hopefully, this will inspire me to bake more bread that’s finally edible. Read on for the Focaccia recipe :)


Its Blog Hop time again and this time I am paired with the very talented Mireille of Chef Mireille’s Global Creations. Her blog is quite familiar for me since she is also a regular participant of Blogging Marathon.

I was totally confused as to what to make/bake, since her space has lots and lots of truly global recipes. I already had her Choco chip Banana bread in my bookmarks, but since there weren’t any bananas at home I couldn’t make it. Then slowly I shifted my focus to this ‘Pizza style Focaccia’ and I am glad I did!  


Recipe Source : Gourmet Global

Serves :  3-4


For the bread :

  • Plain Flour            :          4 1/2 cups
  • Yeast                       :           2 tsp
  • Sugar                      :            1/2 tsp
  • Salt                          :            1/2 tsp
  • Water                     :            2 cups

For the topping:

  • Red peppers         :          1 medium, sliced into long pieces
  • Yellow peppers   :          1 medium, sliced into long pieces
  • Green peppers    :           1/2 small, sliced long
  • Onion                     :            1 medium, sliced
  • Salt,pepper, chili flakes

For the sauce: (optional) 

  • Red pepper (I used green) :       2 big, whole
  • garlic pods                                :       2
  • Milk                                             :       1/4 cup
  • Cheese                                        :       3/4 cup


  1. Dilute the yeast in warm water. I usually microwave the water for 10 seconds and check the heat and if its not too hot, add the yeast to it. Add sugar and let the yeast sit undisturbed for 10-15 minutes. I leave it in the MW itself.
  2. When the yeast has foamed, take the flour in a big bowl and add the yeasted water and salt and form a dough, mixing with your hand. Once the dough is formed, knead for 4-5 minutes till a soft dough is formed. You will have to add more water or flour, depending on whether the dough is really dry or wet.
  3. Cover with a plate and keep aside for an hour or till its doubled in size. Punch the dough back and knead for a minute and then again leave undisturbed for another 45 minutes.
  4. Heat a pan, add the sliced vegetables for topping and season with salt, pepper and chili flakes. Do a taste test and keep aside.
  5. For the sauce, roast a whole red pepper on open flame. You can use two forks for holding the pepper or you can roast them in the oven. Once the skin is black, remove from heat and put it in a plastic bag for two minutes. The skin will peel off easily this way. Take off the skin, grind this into a smooth paste along with the garlic pods.
  6. In a pan, add this ground roasted pepper paste and 1/4 cup milk and bring it to a boil. Add the cheese and mix until it all comes together to a boil. Keep aside for cooling.
  7. Once the dough is ready, spread it in a cookie sheet and arrange the veggies on top. Pour the sauce on top of it and let the whole thing rest for another 20-30 minutes.
  8. When the dough is resting, preheat the oven. Once the dough is ready, bake for 20 – 25 minutes at 180C/ 350F, or until the bread is done and shrinks away from the sides.
  9. Serve with coke/pepsi or any other aerated drink.

Note: I used green peppers for the sauce, I used the sauce in only one half. I sprinkled cheese on the other half. 

Season these with pizza seasoning and chili flakes while serving.  

Bread Upma

I have a ‘love-hate’ relation with telephone, especially my mobile phone.

I am either talking in my phone or I am frantically looking for it all over the house. The searching is really wild if the phone is ringing, but the panic level is much much worse when its not ringing.

The only use for the landline is to help me locate the cellphone. Other than that, its just a piece of decoration!

My family always complain that I neither pick up or return their calls, but my point is that they call me only when I don’t have the phone with me or I can’t pick it up. Like my younger brother. His call comes the minute I enter the bathroom. If I decide to take bath at 9AM, then the call comes at 9AM sharp. If I go in at 12:30, then 12:30 is the time of call! How he does that, I have no idea! But its guaranteed to damage my ‘I won’t pick any calls’ image more.

Anyway, in the lost and found section, along with my cellphone, was a bread packet this morning. I had totally forgotten about it and decided to serve them this way before they go bad. This is my post for Blogging Marathon #21, under the ‘Upma Varieties’ theme. Check out the page for more themes and more recipes from other participating bloggers.

Serves : 2 -3

Cooking time : 15 minutes


  • Bread slices             :          5-6
  • Onion                         :          1 small, chopped
  • Tomato                     :          1 small, chopped
  • Capsicum                 :           chopped, a handful (optional)
  • Tomato Ketchup  :            1 tbsp (optional)
  • Chili powder           :           1/2 tsp (or per taste)
  • Coriander powder :           1/2 tsp
  • Garam Masala         :           1/2 tsp
  • Salt
  • Oil


  1. Chop the vegetables fine and keep aside.
  2. Toast the bread and cube them. Keep aside.
  3. Heat a teaspoon of oil and add the onions, cook till it turns pink. Add tomatoes and capsicum. Cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the masala powders, ketchup (if using) and salt. Mix and cook for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle a little water, if masala sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Add the bread cubes and give a good stir, so that it is coated in the masala fully. Do a taste test and adjust the seasonings if required.
  6. Serve hot as such or with a cup of steaming tea.

Idli Upma

What do you do when life throws totally unexpected things at you?

My two cents : duck quickly, especially if life is throwing back those rock hard idlis I made recently!

But a bit of background first : I was down with a throat infection, closely followed by absolute tiredness and body pain. The tooth ache I was neglecting was finally making its point. In the dentist’s chair, I discovered that none of my teeth are going to get a chance to fall on their own, cause I have to take three of them out.  One down now and two more to go.

When I was recovering, my parents who were visiting us, left back to their home. I had lovingly packed idlis for their dinner during travel. I was checking with my mom whether I had left out something while packing the food. Hubby intervened and said : “Don’t forgot to pack a hammer for breaking the idlis.”

Lesson learnt : Go for idli upma, when idlis are rock hard. Now those…those are guaranteed to be soft!

This is my post for Blogging Marathon #21, under the theme ‘Upma Varieties’.  Check out the BM page for more recipes from really talented bloggers!

Serves : 2 + kid

Prep & Cooking time: 15-20 minutes


  • Leftover idlis            :        6-8
  • Onion                           :        1 small, chopped
  • Carrot                          :        1 small, chopped
  • Beans                           :         8-10, chopped
  • Green peas, frozen :        handful
  • Chilies/Chili flakes :        1 -2, per taste
  • Salt
  • Oil


  1. Crumble the leftover idlis fine. I had kept the idlis in the fridge, so they crumbled easily without any problem. Keep aside.
  2. Heat a teaspoon of oil and saute the onions till pink. Add the other vegetables and cover and cook for about 5 minutes till done. If you want, you can sprinkle a bit of water too. I cooked the vegetables in the MW (covered) for about 4 minutes.
  3. Add salt and chilies or chili flakes and cook for a minute more. Add the crumbled idlis and mix thoroughly. Do this in a medium flame, or else the idlis might get stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  4. You can mix the crumbled idlis with idli podi also.
  5. Serve as such or with chutney/sambar.