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:


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!



Tamil Nadu Thali – Full Meals

Let me stop you right there. I didn’t make this spread. My mother in law did.

This spread was made for our friends who visited us when my in laws were here in US. My contribution was minimal. In fact, I don’t think my role went beyond clicking this.

The highlight of the meal was the sweet. Amma had made 7 cup cake, a melt in the mouth burfi whose ingredients add up to 7 cups. It came out perfect. I have taken stepwise pictures when she was making it,so its going to be a separate post. You can check out the post for 7 cupcake with step wise pictures here.

The gulab jamun was brought in by one of the visiting families. It was equally delicious. But then, dessert always taste good, doesn’t it?

Most of the recipes here are typical everyday food, but when prepared together they become a wonderful feast. Scroll down to see more pictures and recipe links!


BM 61, Week 1

Theme: Meal Ideas

On the plate:

Lemon rice

Serves 1 as a main meal


  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • Juice from one lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
  • salt

For tadka

  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • a good pinch of hing
  • 2 dry red chillies
  • 1/2 teaspoon urad dal
  • 2 tablespoon peanuts or cashew nuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon oil


  1. Cook rice, set aside.
  2. Heat one tablespoon oil in a pan.
  3. Add the mustard seeds, red chillies and curry leaves. Once the mustard seeds crackle, add the hing, urad dal and peanuts.
  4. When the dal turns golden brown, add the turmeric powder. Give a good stir and take off the heat.
  5. Add the lemon juice and salt as required. Mix well and add the cooked rice.
  6. Taste test and adjust salt or add more lemon juice if needed. Serve with papad.


Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#61 

Tamil Nadu meals


A balanced meal should have grains, vegetables, fruits and protein worked into it. A typical South Indian Tamil Nadu meals consist of rice, served with a lentil based gravy like sambar with vegetables on the side. Yogurt is an essential part of the meal. A banana after the meal is not at all unusual. So, without knowing the definition of a balanced meal, our ancestors have provided us the same!

In olden days, families were much larger in number and there weren’t any appliances to make life easy.  A simple meal presented in a plate had a lot of effort behind it. This explains the bigger meals as appetite is worked up because of a labor intensive lifestyle.

The meals were three course. Rice is the staple food and star of the meal. The first round is rice served with sambar. The second course is rice and rasam.  The third course is rice and yogurt with which you wind up the meal. For the first two courses, one or two simple vegetable preparations are on the side. Potatoes are treated like vegetables, but people are conscious of the use and don’t make it for everyday meals. It’s almost like a treat now a days. Fried papads or appalams are also served as a side.

In the picture here, I have gone back to the meals we grew up eating. It shows rice, sambar, rasam, cluster beans porial, potatoes, yogurt, pickle and appalam.

With smaller families now, the meal has simplified a lot. Most of the days, rice is served with sambar or some other gravy with a vegetable on side. Tamil Nadu is incredibly hot and so the rice and yogurt course, which helps in cooling the body, still continues. So, to this day, the meal has rice for carbs, lentils and yogurt (and meat, in case of non vegetarian meal) for proteins and vegetables and rounds up as a balanced meal.


If you are wondering why I am preaching about a balanced meal here, the thing is I wrote the above as an article for Travel Secrets Magazine. It was published in Oct 2015 edition and I thought its a good idea for me to note it down here as well :D.


BM Theme: Dry vegetable side dishes

Potato fry recipe:

Serves : 2


  • 2 medium potatoes, cooked and cooled
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or per taste)
  • good pinch turmeric powder
  • salt
  • 2 teaspoon oil


  1. Cook the potatoes until its just done. Peel and let it cool completely.
  2. Dice into pieces and set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a non stick pan. Add salt, turmeric powder and chili powder to the oil. Mix it in.
  4. Wait for a few moments, until the chili powder starts to change color from red to brownish.
  5. Add the diced potatoes. Let it get coated with the spiced oil and cook on low – medium flame until its roasted and has a crispy coating.
  6. Carefully keep turning it in between so that all the sides are fried equally. Serve with rice and sambar.


Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 58

Indian Food Odyssey : One state at a time

A recap of the 30 day Indian Food Odyssey. Click the link/picture to go the particular post.

Andhra Pradesh:


Arunachal Pradesh: Thukpa


Assam: Simple Lunch Platter


Bihar : A mini lunch with Sattu ka Bharta 


Chhattisgarh : Pancharatna Dal 


Delhi: A glimpse of street food 


A lunch platter from Goa


Gujarat : Mini Thali


Haryana : Halwa Poori Chhole


Himachal Pradesh : Meetha rice, Madra, Khatta and sweet chhole


Jammu and Kashmir : A mini platter



Jharkhand: Chilka roti and chana dal ki chutney



Karnataka Oota: Mini Meals


Kerala : A traditional breakfast


Madhya Pradesh : Indori Poha, Jalebi and Bhutte ki khees


Maharashtra: Poori bhaji Thali


Manipur : Mini meals




Mizoram: Cauliflower Stalk Bai


Nagaland: Dal with phool gobi and Naga chutney


Orissa: Odia thali 


Pondicherry: Simple Meals


Punjab da Khana



The desert state of Rajasthan


Sel roti from Sikkim


Pongal meals from Tamil Nadu

pongalfood (2)

Tripura Khichuri Bhog


Awadh Mini Thali from Uttar Pradesh



Uttarakhand Mini Meals


West Bengal: Luchi, Doi dharosh and Tok dal


Bengal : Luchi, Doi Dharosh and Aamer Dal


From April first, the Blogging Marathon participants have been traversing through most of the Indian states (and some Union territories) trying out the regional food, one state at a time.

The final stop is at West Bengal and this is what I have prepared for the state. Check out the other Bengali recipes at the end of the post.


The posts done till now were prepared from the month of February and so all I had to do was schedule the posts to go live on that particular day. But unfortunately for Bengal, I kept procrastinating until the end. So April 30th came and went and I was still clueless about what to prepare.

I had bought some ready made rasgolla with an idea to prepare cheater’s rasmalai and to end the month long marathon on a sweet note. But then some ideas just don’t materialize…in this case, the idea(rasgolla) got eaten as such before I could improvise it as rasmalai.


The good thing was the rest of the participants did their share of Bengali dishes and I was able to browse through each of them and finalize mine. After ruling out rasmalai and the chanar payesh, which some had prepared, I decided on Vaishali’s Tauk dal and doi dharosh. It’s hardly surprising, given that I have already done three states (Gujarat, Delhi, UP and now Bengal) based on her blog :-).

It was also kind of in line with the lunch platter theme I was preparing for all the other states. So, tauk dal and doi dharosh it is…along with luchis and the left over ready made rasgollas. For the luchis, I prepared a corn kurma as a side dish. It’s not a Bengali recipe.


The Menu:

  • Doi Dharosh : Okra cooked in yogurt. This is a combination with Tok dal
  • Aamer Dal / Tok Dal/ Tauk Dal : Lentils with green mangoes and tempered with panch phoron.
  • Luchi :  Deep fried pooris made of all purpose flour.
  • Rice
  • Rasgolla : A Bengali sweet prepared of fresh paneer (or chena as it’s called) and soaked in sugar syrup. The ones here are ready made.
  • Corn Coconut Milk Kurma : This dish is NOT Bengali. I served it along with Luchi as there was no potatoes to make aloo dum.
  • Chili and Lemon wedge : on the side.

This is a picture of a Bengali Thali I had prepared two years back :-). Check out here for more pictures and the recipe links. bengali thali

Some more Bengali recipes in this space:

Uttarakhand – Phaanu, Kaapa, Thechwani



Uttaranchal… Home of so many holy places.

Kedarnath. Badrinath. Haridwar. Rishikesh. Rudraprayag.

Origin of the rivers Ganga and Yamuna. The holy place of Devaprayag where the rivers Alakanandi and Bhagirathi meets and flows forward as Ganga. (Prayags are places where two or more rivers meet)

And home for some great hill stations : Mussoorie, Nainital, Chamba…

The state is as beautiful as it’s dangerous. Land slides, floods all happen there.


Coming to food, other than the regular ‘North Indian food’ (dal-chawal-roti-sabzi), the state has some really different recipes which I wanted to try. There were many more recipes I wish I could have tried, but finally zeroed down on Phaanu (with toor dal), kaapa and thechwani.

Kaapa is not very different from how we prepare the spinach gravy. All it lacks is the tamarind which is a must in most Tamil based recipes (or South Indian, for that matter). Phaanu is toor dal soaked and ground with chillies and ginger-garlic. A portion of this ground mix is shaped as cutlets and deep fried and the rest is made into a pourable gravy.

Thechwani is also a gravy-ish curry that pairs well with rotis and rice.

Go through this link for Uttarakhand dishes. Though it’s a restaurant review, they talk about some of the state’s delicacies. Now, if only I could get that recipe for chancha (rice cooked in buttermilk!).


The Menu:

  • Phaanu: Soaked and ground toor dal as a gravy base and a deep fried patty together in this recipe
  • Kaapa:  A gravy-ish spinach dish. I used the local variety available and mashed it a bit to get a homogeneous gravy.
  • Thechwani : Radish and potatoes curry where the veggies are not cut using a knife, instead crushed/mashed.
  • Rice
  • Roti
  • Tomato and Cucumber



Uttar Pradesh : Awadh Mini Thali


We have reached the fag-end of the state wise culinary journey and today, we are in Uttar Pradesh. Regular day-to-day lunch is the common dal-chawal-subzi-roti combination (Rice with dal, roti and veggies), so I thought I would turn to the capital city Lucknow’s rich Awadhi cuisine.

Just like how I turned to Vaishali’s space for the Gujarati thali and the Delhi food fare, her Awadhi Thali was the first thing to come to my mind once I finalized on the Lucknowi food.


Awadh is the current Lucknow (and some surrounding regions) now and is known for its royal Nawabs and rich food fit for the kings. Dum style cooking (slow covered cooking over low fire) is what the place is most famous for.

This is what the wiki says: “The bawarchis and rakabdars of Awadh gave birth to the dum style of cooking or the art of cooking over a slow fire, which has become synonymous with Lucknow today. Their spread consisted of elaborate dishes like kebabskormasbiryani, kaliya, nahari-kulchas, zarda, sheermal, roomali rotis, and warqi parathas. The richness of Awadh cuisine lies not only in the variety of cuisine but also in the ingredients used like muttonpaneer, and rich spices including cardamom and saffron. “


The thali here is a simple affair with a nawabi pulao that’s cooked in milk. Sultani dal is nothing but toor dal made rich with yogurt, cream and milk. Mattar ka nimona which is a green peas preparation. The bhindi is cooked in dum, though I couldn’t make out too much of taste difference.

Boondi ka raita is a simple yogurt prepared with ready made boondi(gram flour mini dumplings).

The lachha paratha is a favourite with my son. The rice too turned out to be good for my son since it was not spicy.


Thali idea : Ribbons To Pastas

The Menu:

  • Nawabi Pulao : A simple pulao cooked in milk. I added the vegetables too at the time of cooking itself. This is then layered and baked later.
  • Sultani dal : A toor dal preparation made rich by the addition of yogurt, milk and cream
  • Dum Bhindi : Bhindi curry, cooked dum style
  • Mattar ka nimona : Green peas curry
  • Boondi raita : Gram flour dumplings (boondi) in yogurt. A simple raita
  • Lachha Paratha : A layer pattered paratha.
  • Salad : Onion rings and lemon wedges




Tripura – Khichuri bhog


Tripura was the last of the NE states I had to hunt recipes for and again, lack of on line recipes didn’t help much. Vegetarian options were next to nil and I had almost given up hope when I came across this article about Durga pooja in Tripura.

The article mentions about the bhog (community food) that will be served later, which comprises of various items from luchi to khichidi and many vegetable items.

And tada….my problem was solved…a simple kichidi bhog for Tripura! I wish I had made luchis as well..


Tripura has a lot of Bengal population and the Bengali cuisine is also popular there. The kichidi bhog here is a Bengali fare, but I guess it is just as popular in Tripura.

The begun bhaja is very simple dish, yet it tastes heavenly. The whole meal is easy to prepare. This food will be a great hit with kids and adults alike.


The menu:

  • Khichuri : A one pot meal of rice and lentils. Cooked with veggies here.
  • Begun bhaja : Sliced eggplants, shallow fried here with minimum spices
  • Tomato chutney
  • Aloo sabzi : Pressure cook 3-4 potatoes, peel, dice and keep aside. Mash 1-2 potatoes. Take 1 tsp chilli powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 2 tsp coriander-cumin powder, 1/2 tsp garam masala in a bowl. Add a little water and make a paste. Heat 2 tsp oil, add panch phoron (or jeera seeds and mustard seeds). Add the spice paste and cook for a minute. Add all the potatoes, one cup water and salt. Cook for 5 minutes, taste test and adjust seasoning.