Khanavali Part 1

According to our newest resolution of eating healthy, we are roughly equating traditional Indian foods to 'healthy' therefore the best option. This week end we decided to have something elaborate. Though today I was hard put for time, shopping for my India trip taking the most part of the day. (Yes!! yippee i am going home in the next couple of weeks!!) Even after a tedious day, we decided to eat something good and something that satisfies our palate. In fact I had been thinking of making the Khanavali style meal ever since I saw the spread on monsoon spice . The recipe on the blog reminded me of our erstwhile neighbor Mangala Aunty. Like the southern Kannadiga's Huli pudi/ Sambar Powder, the Northern Kannadigas have this spice blend called 'Khara masale'. Amongst other spices, the blend also contains onions and garlic. It is rather surprising that a spice blend that has fresh vegetable stays good for months! It does. The key again is in roasting the vegetables. It has been a while that I got in touch with Mangala aunty. Therefore I have no access to her 'Khara Masale' recipe. However, the recipe for Kolhapuri Masala on monsoon spice is a very good approximation. I used the recipe as a base for my 'Khara Masale' tweaking it just right for my palate. I wanted to note down the recipe before I forget the measurement because, I almost got it right!!

For the Khara Masale Powder, based on Sia's Kolhapuri Masala :

You will need,

Dry red Chillies 8 (I used the Thai variety, alternately ground chillies can also be used)
Dhania 2 tbsp
Jeera 1 tsp
Fennel seeds 1/2 tsp
Cloves 4
Cinnamon 1/4"
Pepper corn 1 tsp
Sesame Seeds 1 tbsp
Copra 1 tbsp
Onion 1/2 medium
Salt 1 tsp (to taste)
Garlic 3 cloves
Curry leaves 10

Toast all the spices individually on low flame till fragrant. Set aside to cool.
Toast slivered onions and garlic till almost dehydrated and crisp but not charred. Once all the spices are cool enough to handle, grind in into a coarse powder using a coffee grinder. Store in an airtight box. I am still not convinced this blend will stay good for long. For this reason, I am using up all of the blend with in this week!
Once again, if not sure about the pungency of the dry red chillies using, you can omit the chillies, grind the rest of the spices and at the end can mix in chilly powder starting with two teaspoons and increasing as you go until the desired level of pungency is reached.

Using this base Khara masale , I prepared Badanekai ennegai ( I know there is already at least one version on Kannadacuisine!! But there are innumarable varieties, that we Kannadigas keep comming up with! Check out for more by dear LG.

This is what we had to night! Jowar/ Jolada Rotti, Badanekai ennegai, Madike Kaal Palya, yogurt, Shenga chutney /Peanut chutney pudi along with a salad of onions and limes. It was heavenly. Honey's immediate reaction was surprise! "OMG! this tastes so much like Khanavali!!" Yes it better did for all my efforts and of course not to forget Sia, Thanks Sia!

A word about Khanavali. Khanavali is the north Karnataka equivalent of Darshini. They are mostly family owned-operated with the most accomplished member looking after the kitchen (usually the martiarch) They serve jolada/ sajje/navane/rotti/ chapati along with ennegai/kal palya/ junka/ assorted chutney pudis, salad, fresh butter and fiery red chutney that needs a fire extinguisher indeed..They are also very inexpensive. They are mostly vegetarian but I have heard of those serving Marathi-style non vegetarian food as well. In short they are foodies' paradise. So the next time you happen to visit north Karnataka, try Khanavali. Of course the rule of thumb is go to those that are rather crowded, you know it is good that way. Kamat Yatrinivas is but an under-performing but more expensive cousin of these Khanavali..

Bendekai Palya/ Sauteed Okra

I am sure many a souls would have gone through punishing routines to loose some weight, eat fat-free etc. I am one of them. In my quest for fat-free cooking, I even used the cooking spay for Tadka. Weird right? But there are many of us. I am convinced. Did what all can be done, fat-free milk, fat-free yogurt, low-fat eggs, lot of lettuce, celery. In fact one can of edible oil had lasted for months , not to mention butter lasting for almost six months. But still there has not been a significant change in our weights though my hairline seems to be thinning down. But now I regret having done all that. It was absolutely not required at all.
Simple: Are my grandparents overweight? No.
Are my folks overweight? No.
Does obesity run in my family? No
What do they eat on a normal day? Ragi Mudde/ Chapati/ Rice/ Yogurt/ Palya/Curry.
What do I eat? Low fat waffles/sugar laden cereals/ Rice/pickles/Palya/ Yogurt/Curry/ and many nibbles- sugar free candies, low fat chocolates and many things rubbish
What could possibly be the culprits? everything except Rice/Palya/Yogurt/Curry.
What should I be eating more? Ragi and Wheat.

So I had to push myself into the world of sensible eating rather than resorting to low-fat version of everything which gave me a false sense of comfort, but gave me much less nutrition along with leaving some part of my brain craving for the full-fat versions! Today I feel I cheated myself. Diet cheats do not work. What works is rather simple- quantity and quality.
Now we have tweaked our diets a bit. No more fat-free stuff. We are getting 1% organic milk (somehow it tastes better), organic 1% yogurt, organic Eggs, and a lot of fruits. For every meal we are having a huge serving of Palya-vegetables and of course all tadka/oggarane in Ghee not much but about 1 teaspoon. The food tastes so much good, I feel very satisfied, my brain has nothing to crave for and I know I am doing a world of good to myself. I can already see the difference. I nibble much less. I dont feel hungry often and when ever I eat, I eat slowly enjoying every morsel.
Under this programme we are having at least two different vegetable palyas every day and we try to sort of mix and match the yellow-red vegetables and green leafy vegetables. Experts are of the opinion that eating a wide variety of colours is beneficial. So this mix and match affair. In my quest for more Palyas, I have tried to create very simple combinations that not only tastes good but are easy enough to be whipped up on a week night. Starting with Okras/ Bendekai

Bendekai Palya

You will need

Okra /Bendekai 1lb
Oil 2 tsp
Mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
Turmeric 1/4 tsp
Hing a dash
Curry leaves 8-10
Dried Red Chillies 3-4
Amchoor 1 tsp and above
Salt to taste

  1. Wash Okras wipe them dry. Make sure to get rid of all the moisture otherwise okras tend to turn slimy. I generally wash them and spread them out on a kitchen towel for at least 2-3 hours.
  2. Discard the tops and tails, dice them into 1/2" roundels
  3. Heat a pan. Throw the okra roundels.Toast the okras till the edges are charred and all the slime is gone. Set it aside to cool
  4. Now in another pan/wok, heat oil. Throw in the mustard, hing, turmeric curry leaves and red chillies. Saute for about a minute. Quickly add the okras. Toss well.
  5. Adjust Amchoor and salt. Cover and cook for a few minutes and it is ready to go to the table!
Now is it not simple?

Chutney Mania Requesting your precious Vote!!!


For the first time in my entire life, one of my recipes has been shortlisted in a contest. Wow, it makes me wonder if I have grown up into a big girl finally with some skill in the kitchen... In the heart of my heart, I did rather not cook at all, and love it if Mom makes my breakfast-lunch-dinner, I will definitely not mind if she were to throw some snacks in between :)

But then, I am not Peter Pan, I am a big-girl now, I have my own kitchen, mouths to feed. So keep me going... vote for Ramya's Chutney Mania

Also thanking Achy for her sweet award. I have always loved Winnie and his friend and would love to have them on my blog! Passing it on to Lakshmi of Taste of Mysore, Vani of Mysoorean, Namratha of Finger Licking food, Gayatri of Gayatri's adige mane, Vanamala of nalapak and a new friend Arti Sridhar of Whats cooking ! There are a few more lovely friends but Archy has been pretty exhaustive in covering them. Because we are a big circle, just covering those that were not in Archy's original circle!

Cheers and thanks a tonne

Methi Tepla

Sometimes fairy tales I had heard as a kid comes back to me now,especially those that spoke of going across the 'sapta-sagara' or 'seven-seas'.I wonder if US is seven seas far from home? from the place I grew up, from Guru-sweets, Exhibition, Najundeshwara hotel, S.I.T College, Avenue road and the dirty second hand books, Ganesh juice, Urvashi theatre, Santosh theatre, British library, Cubbon park small train and brown skinned people.. I am willing to take the risk of being racial here! At least for me it makes the world of difference. At times, being with people who speak a different language, who speak the language I speak differently, eat differently, live differently, dress differently, look differently ... makes me feel so alien. May be that is the one reason why we have so many more Indian friends than non-Indians, that is why may be we live in an apartment which has a large Indian population. So much more to it our identities and its effect on our social behaviour. May be after coming here I have become more conscious of festivals, make sure we get the right practices, eat the right food, keep track of saturdays, Ekadashi which I never did when I was younger back home. I took everything for granted. Here that my identity is that of a minority, I feel threatened and I cling to what ever was merely old-fashioned-practices and they have become a vital part of me. Something I am desperate to retain. I want me to remember i am different because we have Varamahalakshmi, Ugaadi, Deepavali, Gowri-Ganesha, Shivratri, festivals. I want to remember our dietary restrictions, no onion-garlic in offerings, semi-fasting on Ekadashi, Shivratri and Srikrishna Janmastami. Make sure at the restaurants that the food we are ordering is vegetarian; Try to practice the little left of Carnatic music that I so easily lost; At least listen regularly to the classical music; Open online version of Hindu news paper and greedily devour the news and when mom informs of some news, tell her 'yeah yeah Amma, I read about it!' as if I do not want to be left out of the great-India-media-circus; Try and be familiar with new Kannada movie songs; At the same time I love Dunkin Donuts, I like Metro-north trains, I like the throbbing of NYC, the being alive factor in the City, I like the broad roads here, I like the orderly traffic, I love the fact that I do not have to commute two hours to reach my office 6 kilometers away, I love that people respect each others' privacy, I love the way kids are treated to behave responsibly even without being spanked! I love so many things this society has to offer. It reminds me of Rig Veda which says, where ever good knowledge comes from unexpected quarters, accept it. Yes I accept and appreciate many things this western society has to offer. Individuality, freedom, space, I love it. But I am still able to get over my desperate desire within me to preserve a part of my life back home here as well. Stemming out of such desire is one such practice... that of exchanging food with our neighbours. Something I carried from India and am clinging to it. It has two distinct advantages- good home food- which I did not have to cook- Secondly I get to catch up with neighbours for a 5-10 minute banter. Otherwise life gets so busy, we hardly have time to exchange pleasantries. My two Gujarti neighbours keep pampering me with Gujarati delicacies. One such delicacy is the Methi Thepla. I was just back from a long day at work, tired and hungry. I was relaxing on the sofa, thinking of the quickest possible snack. Then bingo comes my neighbour S bringing me a few of these goodies. I was so happy. I did not even reserve the theplas for Honey, finished them before he was out of his eveing shower. They were so good. I had to make it. So I asked my other neighbour R for help. She graciously measured out the ingredients and even gave me tips as how I can use my roti-press instead of rolling out everything by hand! Which indeed came so handy. I made loads of them and I have been eating them for breakfast, evening snack... I love it.


You will need

Whole wheat flour 1/5 cups
Fresh Methi leaves chopped 1/2 cups
Salt to taste
Chilly powder 1 tsp
Dhania Powder 1.5 tsp
Garlic grated 2 cloves (optional)
Fresh Coriander chopped 1/2 cup
Turmeric 1/2 tsp
Sesame Seeds 2 tsp
Oil 3 tbsp + for pan frying.
Sour yogurt 1/4 cup

  • In a wide mouthed bowl, mix in the flour, methi, chilly powder, dhania powder, salt, turmeric, coriander, garlic,sesame seeds. Check for salt and chilly powder. Adjust according to taste.
  • Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour in the oil and the curd. Gently stirring into the flour. Add water as required to kneed the mixture into a soft dough. Cover the dough with a moist paper towel/ cloth and rest it for at least an hour.
  • After the dough has sufficiently rested, pinch lime sized balls of dough.
  • Heat a griddle; Roll out the dough balls into rotis about 5-6" in diameter.
  • Cook the rotis on the hot griddle on both sides brushing it with oil (if required)
  • Serve hot/room teperature with Yogurt and pickles. We also had these gujarati Moong Papads, which were out of the world. I have to take the recipe from R! Teplas also store well in a clean air tight box. Good travel solution as well!

Beetroot Palya/ Sauteed Beets

'Sunshine on my shoulders make me happy...... 'goes the song by John Denver, one of my favorite singers who tragically died in a plane crash for his other lovely song says 'I am leaving on a jet plane, donno when I will back again....' The tragedy apart, it is the sunshine that makes me happy. In fact our apartment is so well ventilated that there is ample sunshine in the mornings in our living room, late morning in our bed room and noon, past noon it is our Kitchen. Today, a Saturday everything was late so, as is our lunch. There was copious sunshine in the Kitchen as I was cooking and it gave me energy to go one step further and make a side dish along with our normal rice-dal-huli meal. Had some really sad looking Beetroots in my crisper and had to grant them the deliverance they deserve :) What better way than Palya? Palya by the way is a generic term in Kannada Culinary-Dictionary. It refers to any vegetable-legume which is mildly spiced and cooked till crisp-tender. Commonly the spices associated with this dish are mustard seeds, channa dal, urad dal, jeera, chillies, curry leaves along with an optional coconut, onion and fresh coriander.
Sweeter vegetables like Carrots and Beets do not require the addition of coconut, while blander vegetables like string beans, Ivy gourd goes well with loads of coconut. Strangely, as I write this I figure out there is no Kannada word for Beetroots!

You will need,

Beets 2 big
Oil 1 tsp
Mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
Urad Dal 1 tsp
Channa Dal 1 tsp
Hing a pinch
Jeera 1 tsp
Dry chillies 2
Green Chillies 2
Curry leaves 4-5
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Salt to taste
Coriander fresh a few sprigs.

  • Chop the beets into fine chunks. Set it aside.
  • In a thick bottomed pot, heat the oil. Throw in the mustard, jeera, hing, urad dal, channa dal one by one. Keep stirring till the dals are golden brown in colour.
  • Throw in the slit green chillies and broken red dry chillies. Toss one quick time.
  • Add the beet chunks to the pot, toss well. Add some salt, cover.
  • Check after a few minutes. If there is enough water, cover and cook. If the mixture looks rather dry add a few tablespoons of water. Cover and cook till crisp tender about 15-20 minutes.
  • Finish with lemon juice and coriander. Serve hot with a dal and rice of your choice


Honey loves non vegetarian food. When were about to get married, his cousin was offering his sympathy to Honey that he is marrying someone who is not a meat-eater.. 'ega en madtiyappa' which roughly translates into 'so what next buddy? how will you get your favorite food?' But then what he did not know was that it is not difficult to cook non vegetarian, if you know the basic cooking techniques.
Simple, what is the big deal, just think you are cooking potatoes! There was a time when I used have problems with the smell, I do not now. When ever i cook non vegetarian, I do it with so much love that I hardly go wrong. It is a different issue that Honey can eat anything non-vegetarian with may be a pinch of salt and a pinch of chilly flakes. (May be there is nothing much with my cooking skill there lol) So at least once every month, I diligently make him non-vegetarian food of choice, Curry, Pulao and other experimentation. If I am not all that enthusiastic, I would just put in what ever I can lay my hands upon and call the resulting product as something exotic. One fine day Honey said he wanted to eat Vindaloo. So be it. I made him some vindaloo. He loved it, the gravy looked so rich. Generally pork is the meat used to make Vindaloo, but of course it is good with chicken, lamb or any meat of choice. I tried it with an egg and potatoes for me, the result was pathetic, not quite what i expected it to be.


You will need

Chicken/ Pork/ mutton 1 lb (preferable bone-in thighs for chicken)
Garlic 6 medium cloves
Red Onion 1 small diced
Cloves 6-7
Turmeric 1/2 tsp
Red Chillies 6-7 depending on the variety as well as taste. I use an unidentified Chinese variety!!
Vinegar 1/4 cup (I used red wine vinegar that was lying in my pantry)
Pepper 1/2 tsp
Cumin 1 tsp
Oil 2 tbsp

  • Heat about 1 tsp of oil in a pan. Throw in the onions and cook till they are deep brown. Set it aside.
  • Grind the red chillies, cumin, clove, garlic and pepper corns into a coarse paste with little water. Set it aside
  • Heat the remaining oil in a wok. Throw in cubed pieces of chicken. Sear it on all side till sort of golden brownish.
  • Pour the ground paste. Stir well, scrap the wok if there are any bits sticking to the bottom.
  • Toss around quick and throw in the browned onions. Add more water if needed cover and cook till the chicken is cooked and the gravy is nice rich and brown. About 45 minutes to an hour I should say.
  • Stir in the vinegar. Cook it for a few more minutes. Remove from heat. It is supposed to taste better the next day. So it is a great make ahead meal for those planning parties.
  • I served it with Paddu, goes well with idlis and rice.

Panner Masala

I generally start cooking once I am back from work. Most often then not, I am rather tired and I will just want to wind up the process and end up on the dining table. This week was the same but I really wanted something indulgent and special on a week night! I had some panner lying in the freezer for a long time. So bingo here comes Panner masala. We loved it. It was very simple took me less than 30 minutes from defrosting the Panner to putting in down on the dining table. Perfect for days when the craving for delicacies is strong but time for an elaborate meal is absent!


You will need,

Paneer 1 block -1 lb
Onion 1 medium
Tomato 1 large /2 small
Chilly powder 1 tsp
Dhania powder 2 tsp
Jeera powder 2 tsp
Garam masala a dash
Lime - 1/2
Methi leaves 1 tbsp
Oil 2 tbsp +2 tsp

  1. Cube the Panner 1*1*1 inches or larger,smaller depending on one's preference. Heat a tawa, pour the 2 tsp oil and fry the Panner pieces, flipping them till golden brown on all sides. Drain them on a paper towel.
  2. Take the remaing oil in a wok. Heat it. Throw in the diced onion. Saute till translucent. Throw in the chilli powder, dhania powder, jeera powder, stir quickly and throw in the tomatoes.
  3. Cook till oil floats on top stirring frequently. Now gently toss the panner in this masala.
  4. Throw in the methi leaves, adjust salt. Cover and simmer for a few more minutes.
  5. Serve hot with Dal and chapatis..

Sambar with a twist

What is the similarity between Awarekai and Menthya soppu /Fenugreek Greens?
1)They both are green in colour
2) They both are winter vegetables
They both find their way into everything that comes out of the kitchen!!! Yes they actually do, avarekai in Karnataka and Methi in Punjab. I am fond of both the vegetables. I simply cannot resist fresh specimens of either!! And in my kitchen both vegetables creep into all believe-it-or-not dishes...This time around it was a rather new style that i thought would experiment with. I had a handful of methi leaves and pretty much nothing else. I also had some idli batter lying in the fridge. So this dish was born out of inevitability rather than taste and choice. But turned out really good. Me and Honey were licking the pot at the end of our dinner!!Here it goes

You will need

Split moong dal 1/2 cup
Turmeric a dash
Oil a few drops
Huli pudi/ sambar powder 1 tsp
Tamarind paste 1/2 tsp
Jaggery a small piece

For the tempering:
Ghee 1 tbsp (yes oodles!!)
Dry red chillies 3
Fresh Methi leaves chopped 2-3 tbsp
Mustard seeds


  • Pick and clean the moong dal. Wash a couple of times in plenty of water.
  • Combine the dal, enough water, turmeric and oil in a pressure cooker. Cook till the dal is soft, about 2 whistles. Set aside to cool.
  • In a thick bottomed pot, mix the huli pudi/ sambar powder, tamarind and jaggery with 1 cup of water. Bring it to a boil and simmer till the masala smells cooked.
  • Now carefully add the cooked dal mixture so as to not splash the hot masala and scald yourself!
  • Bring it to a gentle blog.
  • To prepare the tempering, heat the ghee in a pan. Throw in the mustard seeds, once it splutters, add the hing, red chillies and methi leaves. Saute till the methi leaves are almost crisp and dark.
  • Pour it over the dal mixture . Turn the heat off and serve it with hot idlis!!!

Badami Haalu/ Almond Milk

Remember the jingle 'I am a complan girl' naah! I am not a 'complan girl' I was a 'Nutramul' girl once up on a time, before that I was a badam milk girl... Now in my quest for healthy alternatives, I am going back to Badam milk or Badami halu as we say in Kannada!!
It was a routine for mom every morning. She used to get up at god-knows-what-hour, bath-pooja, fetch milk from our neighbours who tended cattle and sold milk every morning, then pet 'Munna' our neighbour's dog who was the goon of his days.. he had this reputation of having bitten at least one person per household in our entire neighbourhood, but was as sweet as a lamb with his 'dad' -'mom' and my 'mom'...somehow mom is a natural dog-friendly person.. not me. Then she used to break open the almond shells and prepare Badam milk. The timing was required to be perfect, six-sigma specification. By the time me and my kid sister woke up, the milk was required to be luke warm, not hot not cold. If the milk is late, my sister would wake and start her chant 'amma aavu' 'aavu' because she could not pronounce 'haalu' or milk!! she would keep saying the phrase till she is given her milk. That is fun to remember. Poor thing mom, I think we always kept her on tender hook.

You will need

Milk 250 ml
Almonds 10 numbers chopped
Saffron 6-7 strands
Dates dry 4 chopped
Sugar/ honey/ Kalsakkare- the crystalline sugar that we get in India, it is not as sweet as normal sugar.

  • In a thick bottomed pot, combine all ingredients and simmer.
  • Keep stirring till the sugar/kalsakkare is completely dissolved.
  • Bring it to a gentle boil and turn off the heat.
  • Serve it hot/room temperature or refrigerated.

Ragi Mudde

What could be the one dish that is closest to the Kannadiga identity? I will take not more than a second to say Ragi Mudde... All of us who hail from southern bayaluseeme.. the interior plains of Karnataka i.e. Mysore, Mandya, Bangalore, Kolar, Tumkur, Hassan,Chamrajnagar districts will know what I mean. We will have our stories, love-hate relationships with ragi mudde. For me I always loved mudde because you do not need to chew mudde, you just have to pinch small portions, roll it in curry and gulp it. That is it, eating is done. As a kid, i loved to have mudde for dinner, good to gulp down something when eyes are heavy with sleep, mind hurry to go to the world of dreams.....but for my sister it was always a pain. We used to call her 'Annapoorneshwari' because she always wanted 'anna' -rice, no chapati or mudde for her. She still is one. If I ever want to make her cry, I just will have to feed her chapati and tomato palya two straight days..Lol!!
Back to mudde. Of late it had become fashionable to be eating Mudde because of health reasons. In my family, Papa always has Mudde once a day. Me and honey are rather too lazy to be making Mudde everyday. It is something we reserve for special occasions, an occasional indulgence indeed. Not that it takes too much of time or effort, just that for the two of us it is rather a hassle.
Mudde also reminds of a soul long resting in peace now. Bhootaiah.... He was a legend in my home town. His name is rather weird. Bhoota means ghost in Kannada... He was a farm hand on grandpa's fields. Back then it was customary for landowners to feed their farm hands. Generally they would be fed Mudde and some sort of curry, each mudde would be as big as my head. By any measure, one person could not have had more than one, may be one and a half. Bhootaiah's was the only exception. His normal standard was two muddes, may be another half, if the hostess is kind enough!! He was again an exception on the fields as well, for his strength and hard work. He was always the first one to report early in the morning and the last to lay down his tool at the end of the day. May his soul rest in peace. Those days indeed bring me back so many memories which are not so pleasant... the grinding poverty, the way these farm hands slogged long hours for a pittance, because they did not have any better alternative. Then during droughts, they would not even get to eat well because there is no work on the farms. These agriculture labour lived right on the edge of survival not too far from starvation and death. One improvement that i see in my home town in recent years is the improvement in the living condition of these folks. They are paid better these days. They are paid in cash, not kind. They have ration cards -the targeted public distribution system entitlement document, that assures them of cheap food grains. There are no more beggar kids standing at the doors beseeching for food... they cries still echo in my ears 'Amma, tayi ....' I assume they are doing better these days. They must be having better opportunities. Being rootless labours, they migrate to lines of work that pays better rather quickly. It is a relief, that way I do not have to feel guilty every time I drive down to my home town, not feel guitly about my own better condition (not that I am rich but that today i have a laptop and an internet connection makes me privilaged according to statistics) not feel guilty that I am indulging in wasteful expenses even when my own people are suffering. Now I can be bit less guilty being in my own world where it is OK to be 'in my yard, with my dog, kids and family' (not that i have a yard or a dog or kids! just liked the expression from Kiron Desai)I only hope and pray that however inefficient this trickle down is, will continue and give hope to the hopeless... As the Sanskrit sloka say
'Asatoma Satgamaya,
Tamasoma jyothirgamaya,
Mirtyorm amritangamaya,
Om Shanti'

Lead me to the truth from falsehood,
from darkness to light,
from death to life
peace , peace to all....

Humble food, yet so powerful.

Now back to Ragi mudde. It is not difficult to make one, but got to give it a try a couple of times before getting it right. This time around I got the measurements right. So this recipe is as perfect as i can make it!!

you will need,

Ragi flour 1.5 cups +1 tbsp
Water 2.25 cups +1/4 cup
Salt to taste
Ghee 1 tsp to 1 tbsp (I use 1 tbsp, like it fragrant)

  • Take 2.25 cups of water in a thick bottomed pot, turn on the heat.
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine 1/4 cup cold water with 1 tbsp ragi flour. Mix well to make a thin paste. Pour it into the water into the pot. Mix well.
  • Throw in the salt and ghee. Stir and bring the mixture to a rolling boil.
  • Now slowly add the remaining ragi flour 1/2 cup at a time and stir vigorously, till all the flour is used up.
  • Mix well to make sure there are no lumps in the batter.
  • Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  • To roll them into balls, take a cup of cold water and keep it at hand.
  • Take a small plate and moisten it with a few drops of water.
  • Ladle a fourth of the cooked Mudde onto the plate.
  • Using your fingers pat the dough into a ball, frequently dipping your fingers into the bowl of cold water so as to not scald your fingers.
  • The mixture will be very hot and make sure not to scald yoruself.
  • Serve it with a hot curry and a dollop of ghee.
Honey had Mudde with chicken curry, me got to eat some left over Spinach mossoppu with Mudde.. we both loved it!!

Simple Moong Tovve/ Spiced Moong Dal

It might not be extraordinary for people in the Northeastern part of United States to see mercury plunging below zero during winters...But then my experience here is limited to just two winter and fortunately for me, those two were very mild and rather warm winters. But this time it has come back with vengeance. The normal temperatures for this time of the year should have been around 3-4 C but it has been around -5 to -12 with the cold winds howling from the arctic, it feels more like -17 to -19!! Ever wonder what it is to go out and walk in such temperatures? Ask me! I wear thermals (long johns), my regular clothing, Pure woolen sweater, on top of it my down filled jacket, two pairs of thick shocks, winter shoes, a pair of ski gloves, woolen muffler, woolen cap. I expose nothing but the tip of my nose and it still feels like hell. My toes and finger tips starts hurting after the first 15 minutes. I feel a sharp biting pain, as if a thousand small needles are being poked into my toes, in the next 10 minutes, my feet starts feeling heavier, and 20 minutes later, they are numb! I am not sure what happens next. Well I do want to be on the next hypothermia casualty list!

With this kind of hellish weather, everything seems damp, my spirits even my kitchen. It has been a while that I perked myself up on a week day to dish out something really elaborate. It is just the simplest of food that I am making these days. Not that I have a preference but that there is nothing much I can do about it. So till the weather comes along nice and warm, it is gonna be many more cups of simple dals and rice!

By the way I am so excited that Amitab Bacchan is around our place. In fact his family is around for Aishwarya's Pink Panther 2 release.. Hoping to watch the movie in theater soon. Me not a movie buff, but for the sake an Indian actress in a full fledged Hollywood movie I guess I will...

Whole Moong Dal 1/2 cup
Water 3 cups
Turmeric a pinch
Coriander fresh chopped
Oil 1 tsp

For the Oggarane/ Tadka
Red chillies 5-6 (or more according to taste)
Tomato 1 chopped
Mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
Ghee 1 tbsp


  1. Pick Moong Dal clean. Wash it with several changes of water till the water runs clear.
  2. Combine the turmeric, 3 cups of water, oil along with the dal in a pressure cooker and Cook for 2-3 whistles. Set it aside to cool
  3. Just before serving, prepare the Oggarane.
  4. Heat ghee in a pan. Once it is hot, add the mustard seeds, followed by hing. Once the spluttering stops, add the red chillies and tomatoes. Cook till the tomatoes are mushy.
  5. Pour the tadka over the cooked dal. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and adjust salt.
  6. Serve it hot with rice.