Nippattu/ Rice Fritters

Oh yes, Kajjaya cannot be enjoyed without something savory on the side! So nippatu is there on the side. This also goes out to the Yummy Festival Feast and JFI Festive Treat.

Rice flour 1 cup
Roasted channa dal 1/2 cup
Maida 1 tbsp
Peanut 1/2 cup
Chilly powder 1 tbsp (or to taste)
Salt to taste
Curry leaves 10 (this is my twist.. i love the flavor of curry leaves in nippattu!)
Hing 1 pinch
Oil 2 tbsp + to deep fry.


  • Powder the roasted channa dal and half the peanuts into a smooth powder. Crush the remaining peanuts coarsely.
  • Mix the powdered dal and nut mixture, crushed peanut, salt, chilly powder, curry leaves, Hing and rice flour.
  • Heat oil in a stable thick bottomed pot.
  • Make a well in the rice flour mixture and pour two tbsp of hot oil into the well. Mix with a spoon. Add some water to make a tight dough.
  • Pinch small balls out of the dough. Roll it out into 3" rounds
  • Slide the dough rounds gently into hot oil. Fry till golden brown. Turn over and fry till the other side is done.
  • Remove from oil, drain it on a paper towel and store it in an air tight jar. It will stay good for at least a week.

Kajjaya/ Sweet Rice Fritters

Deepavali in Karnataka is synonymous with Kajjaya. The festival is a time when loads and loads of Kajjaya and other savory snacks like Nippattu, Chakli are made at home, packed and sent to neighbors, friends and relations! Oh yes, that meant days and days of hard labor in the kitchen, but we got to eat a lot as well.... Strangely enough Kajjaya is something my grandmother never mastered! Poor thing. But my Mother-in-law is an acknowledged expert.
Also Kajjaya is prepared during every wedding. The superstition is that if Kajjaya does not come out well, the wedding is going to run in to rough weather! I remember my mother getting worried during my wedding because the Kajjaya she and my aunt were preparing did not turn out well.. In fact the dough just disintegrated in the hot ghee!
I should say it is slightly difficult dish to prepare, and it depends on the ingredients, particularly Jaggery. So picking up the right ingredient is the key. This is my entry to the JFI Festive Jihva and Yummy Festival Feast

Rice 1/2 cup Sona masuri works fine, the unpolished rice like Hamsa works best. I am not very sure about Basmati
Jaggery powdered 1/2 cup i prefer the white variety because the dark ones sometimes are slightly fermented which makes the dough disintegrate
water a few tbsp
Ghee to deep fry
Cardamom 1-2

  • Soak rice in water for 30 minutes and drain overnight in a colander.
  • Powder the well drained rice into a slightly coarse powder. Set it aside.
  • Combine jaggery, cardamom and a few table spoons of water in a thick bottomed pan on low flame. Stir till the jaggery bubbles. Now test for the soft ball stage.
  • Take cold water in a wide mouthed bowl. Drop a spoonful of molten jaggery into the water and try to form a ball out of the molten jaggery with your finger tips. If the jaggery just disintegrates then it is still not ready. If a ball can be formed, then the jaggery is ready.
  • Now slowly add the rice powder, stirring vigorously on low flame. Cook the mixture for five minutes till well combined and the mixture leaves the side. Turn off the flame and set aside to cool
  • Once cool enough to handle, pinch small balls off the dough and roll it into about 3" rounds 1/4 " thick.
  • Heat Ghee in a thick bottom stable pot. Test the temperature of the ghee by throwing in a small piece of dough into the Ghee. If the dough sizzles and floats then the ghee is ready otherwise, the ghee needs some more time on the stove!!
  • Once the ghee is ready, slide the rolled out dough. Cook till the oil stops to froth or the kajjaya is honey - golden in colour. Turn the kajjaya just once and cook till it is uniformly honey golden in colour.
  • Remove, drain excess ghee on a paper towel and serve it hot with banana and nippattu.

Maddur Vade/ Semolina Fritters

Maddur vade is one of the easiest and tasty snack down south in Karnataka. I am rather fond of it because it connects me to my parents. Not only my mother is an expert on Maddur Vade, but also that my parents lives in Maddur!
Legend is that the Mysore Maharaja used to order these Vadas right from Maddur!!!


Sooji 1/4 cup
Rice Flour 1/4 cup
Maida 1/4 cup
Onion small 1 chopped fine
Green Chillies 3-4
Curry leaves 10-12 chopped fine
Jeera 1/2 tsp
salt to taste
Oil to deep fry

  • Heat oil in a pot.
  • Combine Sooji, rice flour, maida, salt, curry leaves, onion, chillies and salt.
  • Add 2 tbsp of hot oil to the mixture. Mix well with a spoon, do not use your finger to avoid scalding!
  • Sprinkle little water to the mixture to form a tight dough.
  • Pinch a lime sized ball from the dough. flatten it slightly on your palm.
  • Test if the oil is hot enough by dropping a small ball of dough into the oil. If it sizzles, the oil is ready.
  • Gently slide the vade into hot oil. Fry till golden on both sides.
  • Another variation of the vade is to flatly roll out the lime size dough ball, just like you would a roti and then deep fry it till crisp and golden. This version stays good for about a week, while the other version tastes best when hot.

    This is my entry to the party food event hosted by easycrafts.

Butterfly award

Yippe!! I got my second blog award from Lakshmi ...

Thanks a lot Lakshmi...I love it.
Would like to pass it on to Vani another fellow Mysorean and Ramya .

It is so encouraging to get awards.. and to have them on the blog.. it is just so cute!!
Thanks again Lakshmi!

Mavinkai Chitranna/ Mango Rice

Mangoes bring back a lot of fond memories. Summer vacation, grandparents, cousins and lots of fun. When i was a kid and my grandfather was alive, he had a mango groove. So each morning in the summers we did go with him, pick mangoes that were ripe, eat a couple of them right there, no washing, no cleaning (we never had to worry about pesticides! they were all natural before organic became fashionable) nothing, just eat it. Bring back a few home. My grand mother would whip up some seekarne- a creamy mango custard, sometime my mom would make mango milk-shakes, ice cream or mango cake ( that reminds me i need to get the mango cake recipe from her!!!). Then with the raw mango, my grandmother used to make chitranna, pickles and raw mangoes often found its way into every possible curry during those times. Well its no longer summer, its no longer vacations, but still I found a raw mango at our Indian stores. So here is mango chitranna.

This is my entry to Srivalli's rice mela

Rice cooked 11/2 cups
Raw Mango 1 grated
Cumin 1 tsp
Mustard seeds 1 tsp+ 1/4 tsp
Fenugreek seeds 1/4 tsp
Oil 3 tbsp
Curry leaves 10
Green chillies 10 and above
Coriander 1/2 cup chopped
Channa Dal 1/2 tbsp
Urad dal 1/2 tbsp
Peanut (optional) 1 tbsp
coconut shred 1 tbsp
Hing 1 pinch

  • Heat a pan, toast 1/4 tsp mustard seeds and fenugreek separately. Pound the spice into a coarse powder. Set it aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Drop the rest of the mustard, jeera, hing and curry leaves in the same order.
  • Once the spluttering stops, add the Channa dal, Urad dal and peanuts. Stir till the peanut is fragrant.
  • Add slit green chillies, stir and cook for two more minutes. Combine the grated coconut and the spice blend. Cook till the coconut is sort of translucent. Add grated raw mango and toss to combine. Cook till mixture thickens and the water evaporates.
  • Adjust salt and finish with coriander. Cool and set aside. If refrigerated, the mixture(called Gojju in Kannada) keeps well for a week.
  • Mix half the mango mixture with rice. Check and mix some more of the gojju till the desired spice level is achieved.
Goes very well with Pakodas, Papad and Payasa.

Malai Kofta/ Curried Cheese Dumplings

Last week a friend of ours went back to India, so we were hosting a send off party. I had to cook something fancy and elaborate, what better than Malai Kofta, besides my husband loves it! So the menu was Malai Kofta and Jeera Rice.

For the kofta
Mixed vegetables 1/2 cup
Potatos 1/4 cup
Panner 1/4 cup
Dhania powder 1 1/2 tsp
Chilly powder 1 1/2 tsp
Garam masala 1 pinch
Coriander leaves chopped 1/4 cup
Corn flour 1/2 tbsp
Oil for deep frying

Microware the mixed vegetable and chopped potatoes for 5 minutes on high till the vegetables are partly cooked. It can also be cooked on the stove top till crisp tender. Set it aside to cool.
Grate panner and set it aside. Mash the mixed vegetables once cool enough to handle. Alternately it can be pulsed in a food processor and drain excess moisture by squeezing the mixture. I like the vegetable mixture to be slightly chunky, something like dal vada.
Combine the grated paneer and other ingredients to make a tight dough. Pinch about a tablespoon from the dough to form small balls, slightly flatten it out with the tips of your fingers.

Heat oil in a pot. Deep fry the koftas and set it aside.

For the Gravy

onion 1 small
tomato paste 1 tbsp
Garlic 2
Ginger 1/4"
Chilly power 2 tsp
Dhania 2 tbsp
Turmeric 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala 1/5 tsp
Heavy cream or Half and Half 1/2 cup ( I use half and half,it is slightly healthier!!)
Ghee 1 tbsp


Grind to paste ginger, garlic and onions. Heat the ghee in a thick bottom pan. Drop mustard and jeera, once they splutter combine the ground onion paste. Cook the mixture till oil floats on top. Stir in the chilly powder, dhania powder, turmeric, tomato paste and a cup of water stir well. Bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer. Mix in the cream/half and half. Simmer gently. Adjust salt. Gently place the koftas in the simmering gravy. Sprinkle the garam masala. Simmer for 5-7 minutes and serve hot with Jeera rice.

Dasara Elephants

Dasara for me is very special; The festival is special to in so many ways. I was born in Mysore and grew up there. We lived just off the famous Mysore palace. So Dasara was so much more a part of my life. Dasara for me reminds me so many grandmother's kitchen, the temple alakaras, yummy prasadas and Rudyard Kipling... Well it is rather strange to remember Kipling with Dasara... It is like relating Gokulastami and Imam Sabi as they say in Kannada. But there is something that is indeed common...Elephants.. Remember the poem by Kipling 'On the Road to Mandalay' ...the poem highlight elephants, so does Dasara festivals. Elephants are so much a part of Dasara, I cannot ever imagine Dasara without them.
Growing up close to Mysore palace had its own advantages. The best of them was our close encounter with these gentle giants. Back in the eighties and the early nineties, the elephants that participated in the Dasara festival were stationed somewhere close to palace or many be right within the palace complex. Each morning and evening, these elephants would march in a single file from the palace to the karangi kere -the karangi pond to frolic and relax in the cool water, as they say elephants love water. They would march on the yeri- the tank bund which was right next my house. So every morning as we had our breakfast, we could hear the rhythmic tinkling of the bells.. ting ting ting...We did then know that the elephants were on their way. I would rush out grab something for the elephant a piece of jaggery, a banana sometime just a hand full of weeds and go quite near them. But once the elephant stretched its trunk to take the food from my hand, i did drop it right away and rush back scared! It was fun.
Back then my aim was to grow old and have an elephant for pet. When all my class mates wanted to be Doctors and Engineers, i wanted to grow old and get my self a baby elephant! Strange is it not?I have no idea, but as I fell in love with elephants long long ago that i dont remember when I actually did. Wonder if at all i will ever have my favorite pet!!!

The elephant in the picture in this post is that was a calf in Bannerghatta national park Bangalore. For all you people who did not know, Bangalore is a part of an ancient Elephant corridor. Being intelligent with strong memories, many still seem to remember. There are incidents when wild elephants stray very close to the city. I feel so bad that we are responsible for the destruction of the natural habitat of these gentle giants...

One mention of Drona. I have loved him so much that I end up shedding a tear or two every Dasara, not because he is no there with us, but because his death was so uncalled for, if only the high tension wire was avoided, if only we humans did not have high tension wires in jungles, Drona did still be there, Drona might even be carrying the golden Howda even today....I remember the Day I got to know Drona died, i cried and just like other days i can never forget.. 9/11, Tsunami, Bangalore bomb blast, parliament attack, the latur earth quake, I will never forget the day Drona died.
I did still say "Peace to Drona" just like they did in the torch light parade during the Dasara following his death.
Drona where ever you are, there are people who think of you each year and each time we see the golden howda and Jambosavari

Schezuan Fried Rice

Chinese food is something that I have always fond of.. Once a while my craving increases and I end up trying to conjure up some thing good. But then I never manage to actually replicate the taste of Chinese street-food back home. This is was pretty close! Not a bad idea to try.....

Schezwan Fried Rice

For the Schezuan vegetables

Mixed vegetables fresh 2 cups
Chilly flakes 2 pinches
Soy sauce 1 tbsp
Sesame seeds toasted 1 tsp
Vegetable oil 3 tbsp
Tomato Sauce 2 tbsp
Garlic chopped 3 cloves


Heat oil in a wok to high, the highest possible. Throw in the vegetables, chilly flakes and garlic. Keep stirring for 2 minutes. Quickly throw in the remaining ingredients and stir till the vegetables are crisp tender another 4 minutes. Turn it off heat. Sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds. Serve with fried rice.

Fried rice
Rice 1 cup
Water 11/2 cup
Oil 2 tbsp +
Chilly flakes
Mixed vegetables 1/2 cup chopped fine
Green onion 2 chopped
Garlic 1 clove
Soy sauce 1 tsp

Combine rice and water in a saucepan and cook covered till the rice is almost done but not soft and mushy. Once done set it aside.
Heat oil in a wok to high. Throw in the green onions, vegetables, garlic and chilly flakes.
Stir in between and cook for 2 minutes. Throw in the rice and the remaining ingredients. Stir gently to make sure the rice is coated with oil. Keep stirring for another 4 minutes till the rice smells nutty. Enjoy it right away!


Dasara is my favorite festival, not only because of all the dolls -Bombe mane but also because of 9 different sweets-savory prasadas that is made as offerings each day. My grand mother used to make the two different prasada-offerings each day of Navratri one for the morning pooja the other for evening pooja. It used to be fun to go be eating so many goodies. Back during our school days, Dasara vacations always started with the festival. So no school, lots to goodies to eat, going to temples each evening and eat some more prasadas there and return home to blissful sleep dreaming of my grandmother's kitchen what more could we ask for!!!
One word about the temples during Dasara; In old Mysore region of Karnataka, Dasara means various Alankaras. Deities are dressed up differently and of course splendidly indeed on each the nine days of the festival. It is a feast for the eyes. It is a practice to visit various temple every day of the festival.

Bombe habba as we used to call Dasara is not a joke. I do not know the background of the tradition, but once the dolls were installed along with the Kalasha they are not to be disturbed. We were not supposed to touch it, Pooja was performed twice a day and the concept of 'madi' (means something like unpolluted) associated with the dolls, the slightest deviation from practice leading to pollution!!!So we used to extra cautious and steer clear from the dolls and of course our grandmother. She is known for her short- temper mostly for the madi-gods and the holiness associated with it!!!

At the heart of the bombe mane is the Pattada Bombe the royal couple bedecked with jewels and silks. A picture of the pattada bombe my grand mother gifted me to carry on the tradition is in the picture below. They say, now a days it is very difficult to get good pattada bombes. They no longer make stuff like these any more!

After receiving the pattada bombe, I started collecting dolls for my bombe mane. And now i do own a substantial collection. Here is a sample of my collection. It includes a complete set of Dashavatara, musicians, assorted gods and goddess miniature Veena etc.

Coming back to today, miles and miles away from home and far away from my doll collection, we indeed managed to go for a toned down version of Bombe mane minus the pattada bombe. This is our bombe mane for this season. The best part however is I managed to get very cute porcelain dolls which i will add to my collection once we move back home! Until then, it is just a toned down version!!!

On Saraswati Pooja I prepared sweet dosa for prasada. Sweet Dosa is supposed to be very auspicious for Dasara and in my family it is made only during Dasara. Thats what is in the plate! I forgot to take a close up picture of the sweet dosa and now they are all gone :)
Here is the recipe

Jaggery upto 1/4 cup ( I generally use a little less)
Rice flour 1/4 cup
Wheat flour 1 tbsp
Salt 1 pinch
Saffron a few strands
Water 1/2 cup
Ghee melted


Combine jaggery, salt saffron and water in a saucepan and heat it. Dissolve the jaggery completely and set it aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, stir in the two flours little by little making sure there are no lumps. The mixture should be sufficiently thicker than normal Dosa batter but should have a dropping consistency. Set it aside.
Heat a non stick tawa. Grease it with some melted ghee. Ladle a tablespoon of batter on to the tawa to make small Dosas. If the tawa is large enough to accommodate more than one dosa, go ahead by all means. Once the edges turn golden brown, flip the dosa. Cook till it turns golden brown. Remove and Serve it hot.
This is my entry to Navratri Food Festival .
We ate the Dosas last night and tonight I am making Kadale Kalu Usli another popular prasada.
Before I forget, Wishing you all a very very happy Narvatri.

Cheese Puffs

Cheese Puffs

See Cheese Puffs on Key Ingredient.

Last weekend we visited Vermont and New Hampshire for the fall colors. Not only was the sights awe-inspiring, but I also found some really good smoked cheddar cheese, maple syrup and very good chocolate! So the first thing after coming home was sorting the picture and the second thing was to make cheese puffs!

Smoked Cheddar Cheese 4 oz (more if desired)
Puff pastry sheets 2/3 o a sheet
Mushrooms 4-5 chopped
Capsicum 1 small chopped
Olive oil 2 tbsp
Chilly flakes a pinch
Garlic 1 clove minced


Thaw the puff pastry sheet on the counter for 30 minutes. Remove the skin of smoked cheddar and slice it as thick or thin as desired. I did it about 1/6".
In the mean time heat olive oil in a skillet. Drop the mushroom, saute, add a pinch salt, chilly flakes and garlic. When the moisture is all evaporated, add the capsicum cook for a couple of minutes. Set aside and cool.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

For the puff pastry sheets, flour the counter lightly. Cut the 2/3 of the sheet into two vertical pieces. Roll out the cut sheets slightly about 1/4". Then cut each of the pieces in two. Now take the puff pastry pieces. Lay the cheese slices on one side of the pastry sheet leaving the half the side empty, then place a tablespoon of filling. Cover the filling with the empty half sheet. Pinch the edges to close. Repeat the process to get 4 puffs.

Place the puffs on a non stick baking tray and bake for about 15-20 minutes till the golden brown.

Herekai Bassaaru/ Ridged Gourd Curry

Bassaru is a genre, which combines the freshly cooked vegetable and their stock with a combination of spices to get aromatic curry and a side dish.
Being versatile, they are made from a variety of vegetables, pulses and greens. It is just a method which can be replicated with an ingredient of choice

Herekai is again a very common vegetable in Karnataka. One of the most popular too. It is used in curries, chutney and even with Chicken and Mutton! Here is a vegetarian bassaaru.

Herekai/ Ridged Gourds 2 cubed
Toor Dal 1/2 cup
Dry Red chillies 3-4
Mustard seeds 1/2 teaspoon +1/2 teaspoon
Curry leaves 10+10
Hing 1+1 pinches
Oil 1 tbsp+1 tbsp

For the curry paste
Onion 1 small
Huli pudi/Sambar powder 1 tbsp (depending on the desired spice level)
coconut 3 tbsp
Jeera 1 teaspoon
Tamarind extract 1 teaspoon
Garlic 3 big cloves
Coriander 1/2 cup chopped

Combine toor dal and 3 cups of water in a pot and bring it to a boil. Once the dal has changed its colour, and almost half cooked add the cubed herekai. Reduce heat to medium and cook till the dal is al dente and the herekai is crisp-tender. Drain the cooked vegetable and dal mixture saving the stock.

Chop the onion and toast it on a hot skillet till the edges are charred. Set it aside to cool. In a blender combine all the ingredients for the curry paste along with the toasted onion and a tablespoon of cooked dal.

In another pot heat one tbsp of oil. Drop the mustard, curry leaves and hing. Once the spluttering stops add the curry paste. Add some of the stock if the curry paste is too thick. Cook the mixture till fragrant, about 20 minutes. Combine the reserved stock and bring it to a boil. Adjust salt and turn the heat off.

For the palya, the side dish, heat the remaining oil in a skillet. Drop the mustard seeds, hing, curry leaves and dry chillies. Once fragrant add the well drained vegetable and dal mixture. Mix through but gently taking care not to break the dal. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve hot with rice and wedges of lime.