Pineapple Kesari Bath/ Semolina Pudding

Kesari Bath is a south Indian version of the sooji halwa. This recipe is a specialty in the sense that it makes use of pinapple in a sweet dish which is not very common amongst the south Indian sweets. This is usually served as a prasada on the Satyanarayana Swamy poojas, Which used to love. Last week end i had a couple of friends over and i had made this for the dessert! We all loved it!

We will need,

Sooji   1 cup (Use chiroti rawa for best results)
Sugar 1 cup (or more if you like your desserts sweeter)
Water 2 1/2cups
Saffron 1 big pinch soaked in a tablespoon of warm water
Pineapple canned  1/4 cup  diced
Ghee 3 tablespoons

  • Heat ghee in a thick bottomed pot. Add the sooji and keep stirring till fragrant. Take it off the heat.
  • Combine water, sugar and saffron in another pot and simmer till the sugar dissolves.
  • Drop the warm toasted sooji into the hot syrup over low flame, one tablespoon at a time stirring vigorously. Make sure there are no lumps and Be careful to keep your hands safe from the hot spluttering mixture. 
  • Stir in the pineapple pieces. Cover and cook for a few more minutes. This dessert can be served either hot or cold.

One of my readers suggests chopping the pineapple into tiny cubes and cooking it in sugar syrup before continuing with the recipe. This is one nice twist for those who appreciate sweeter sweets :)

Chicken Curry/ Koli saaru

Honey loves Chicken Curry. Something I do not make very often. I find it rather cumbersome to make this curry for him and then something else for me..... I did rather make a vegetarian curry and chicken on the side to go along. Besides, watching food network has prepared me well enough to make such chicken side dishes!! Finally I made Chicken Curry. This is one of the most popular recipes for Chicken Curry in south Karnataka.
Chicken 1 pound (The 'curry-cut' chicken is generally with bones and innards. This is the best choice for a curry. The bones and skin somehow seem to add to the taste of the curry. However Boneless Thighs work fine. Since i cook for Honey and he has cholesterol problem, I use low fat chicken breast and use an additional tablespoon of vegetable oil in the curry.)

We will need,

Cloves 6-7
Star Annise 1
Cinnamon 1/4 inch
Cardamon 3 whole
Mint leaves chopped 3 tablespoons
Coconut fresh 3 tablespoons
Poppy Seeds 1/2 tablespoon
Red Chillies 6 and above
Coriander seeds 1/2 tablespoon
Coriander leaves 3 tablespoons (chopped)
Onion 1 big
Tomatoes 2 medium
Garlic 5 cloves
Ginger 3/4 inch
Oil 1 tablespoon(2 more if using chicken Breasts)

  • Roughly chop onions and toast it on a hot skillet till translucent and charred at the edges. Also toast the red chillies and Coriander seeds.  
  • Grind the toasted onion, red chillies, coriander seeds, clove, Cinnamon into a fine paste. Set aside. Also grind coconut tomatoes and poppy seeds into a smooth paste. (Toast poppy seeds and crush it in a mortar pestle to get this mixture into a fine paste)
  • Heat a thick bottomed wide pot. Drop the chicken pieces and salt.Do not stir it. Turn it over after 10 minutes. And cook for 10 minutes.
  • After the 10 minutes and most of the water from the chicken is evaporated, add the spice mixture. Stir well to coat the chicken. Simmer it for 20 minutes.
  • Add the coconut mixture and cook for 30-40 minutes till the chicken is cooked through and the oil floats on top. 
  • Adjust salt and finish with coriander leaves on top. Also if not watching the waist line a tablespoon of ghee can be added just before serving.

Ghee Rice

Ghee Rice is one such dish which is popular in north-south-east-west ..all over India, each recipe slightly different from the other. This is my mother's recipe which is intended to be a little lighter than the traditional recipe. I love it and i make it for parties and occasions. For me it is the Ultimate comfort food.

Basmati Rice 2 cups
Garlic Cloves 4-6
Red Onion 1 small
Bay leaf 1
Cardamon 3-4
Green Chillies 6 and above
Ghee 2 tablespoons
Cloves 5
Cinnamon 1/4 inch piece
Mint 1 small bunch roughly chopped
Coriander 1 small bunch (chopped)
Turmeric 1/2 teaspoon

Heat the ghee in a thick bottomed pan. Drop the bay leaf, cardamom, clove, cinnamon, mint, garlic, onion, turmeric one after the other. Keep stirring and once the onion is translucent add washed basmati rice.Stir very gently for a few minutes and when the rice is fragrant add a little over 4 cups of water and the coriander. Cover and cook till the rice is done. Serve with Chicken curry/Vegetable Khorma.

Tamarind Chitranna/ Tamarind Rice

This recipe is a again that of a Chitranna. Chitranna is a generic rice dish made of vegetables, a prominent sour ingredient, coconut and other spices. It is a main course and very convenient for lunch boxes!
This particular recipe is endemic to the Tumkur district of Karnataka, though it is popular in other districts as well. In fact Tumkur happens to be one of the most prominent Tamarind growing regions. Also the Tumkur Tamarind is well known all over south India.

Rice cooked and cooled 2 cups
Oil 2 tablespoons
Urad Dal 2 teaspoon
Channa Dal 2 teaspoon
Peanuts one handful (optional)
Curry Leaves 5-8
Green Chillies 6 and above
Coriander chopped 1 cup (loosely filled)
Coconut 2 tablespoon
Tamarind concentrate 2-3 teaspoons
Mustard 1+1 teaspoons
Jeera 1 teaspoon
Turmeric 1/2 teaspoon
Fenugreek 1 teaspoon

  1. Heat a skillet. Toast one teaspoon mustard and the fenugreek till fragrant. Remove from fire and grind it into a coarse powder.
  2. In the same skillet heat oil, drop the remaining mustard seeds, turmeric, jeera, urad dal, channa dal, curry leaves fry for a few seconds. 
  3. Drop the slit green chillies, coconut and fry till fragrant. 
  4. Thin the tamarind concentrate with a little water and mix the ground spices. 
  5. Pour the mixture into the skillet and cook till most of the water has evaporated and the mixture is no longer smelling raw. 
  6. Add salt to taste and finish with Coriander. Once the mixture is cool enough to handle fold in the rice taking care not the break the rice grains.
P.S: This is a Onion free recipe. But 1 diced onion can be added into the hot skillet along with green chillies if desired.

Avalakki Pulioggare

Avalakki Pulioggare is a dish typically served on the occasion of Shiv ratri . The festival is indeed one of the few Hindu festivals involving fasting instead of feasting. This dish is the one that is served in temples as prasada and also consumed to break the fast.

We will need,

Beated rice (avalakki, poha)
Peanuts 2 tablespoon
Channa dal 1 tablespoon
Urad Dal 1 tablespoon
Mustard seeds
Curry leaves
Peanut Oil
Dry red chillies
MTR puliggare spice powder
Jaggery 1 small piece
Tamarind paste 1/4 tbsp


  • Wash the beaten rice and drain well. Sprinkle some water and keep it aside to swell.
  • Mix the Pulioggare powder and tamarind paste in some warm water. Set it aside.
  •  Heat oil in a skillet. Drop mustard seeds, hing, channa dal, urad dal, red chillies and peanuts. Keep stirring.  Add the pulioggare mixture. 
  • Drop the jaggery and salt and keep stirring till oil floats on top and the tamarind is completely cooked. Reduce the heat and mix in the softened beated rice gently and throughly. Serve with Yogurt on the side.

Cabbage Vangibath

My favorite rice dish is unmistakably Vangibath. It is traditionally prepared with egg-plants also known as brinjal in India. A particular variety Mysore brinjal(also known as Erengere Brinjal) which is very tender, light green shinny and long are the preferred variety. However the variety is restricted to southern Karnataka and is hard is find it elsewhere. So one of the available alternative is cabbage. They make a good substitute. For the brinjal vangibath here in the USA i tend to use baby egg plants which is the second best alternative.

Cabbage (i used the red one because of the colour, but green will be just as good) cleaned and chopped
Mustard Seeds
Curry leaves
tamarind concentrate 1/4 tbsp

Vangi bath spice mixture
Urad Dal 1 tablespoon
Channa Dal 1 tablespoon
Corriander seeds 2 tbsp
Clove 2
Red Chillies 14 and above
Dry Coconut 2 tbsp

Toast all the spices for the spice bend on a hot skillet and blend it into a course powder. I use a coffee grinder. I make a big jar of it and it will last me for a month or so.

Heat oil in a skillet. Drop the mustard seeds, curry leaves and cabbage. Add a little salt to wilt the cabbage. When the cabbage is half cooked, stir in the spice blend and the tamarind concentrate (thinned out in about 2-3 tbsp of water) mix well cook on medium heat till well done.

Mix it with rice and sprinkle some lemon juice before serving.

Chitranna/ Lemon Rice

Chitranna is a rice dish very typical of Kannadigas. It is a very special dish. Chitranna is made as an offering to gods, it features prominently on festive menus, it is also a much preferred dish for the lunch box... or even for a simple breakfast... very versatile indeed. Of course there are as many varieties as one could possibly conjure. It is basically rice mixed with sauteed chillies, a crunchy tempering of grams and a prominent sour flavour which can come from lemon, lime, tamarind, raw mango etc...Here is my version of lemon chitranna.
Rice (cooked and cooled)
Oil 2 tbsp
Channa Dal 2 tsp
Urad Dal 2 tsp
Green chillies 6 and above
Fresh Coconut 3-4 tbsp
Curry Leaves
Hing a big pinch
Lemon juice 1 tbsp
Cilantro (a small bunch)
Peas (optional)

  1. Heat oil in a wok. 
  2. Drop the mustard seeds, urad dal, channa dal, hing and the green chillies. Saute for a couple of minutes till fragrant. 
  3. Mix in the peas, coconut and turmeric. 
  4. Keep stirring till the coconut becomes almost translucent
  5. Reduce the heat and mix in lemon juice and salt. Cook for a few more minutes. 
  6. Drop the cilantro before turning off the heat. Mix in the rice just before serving .