Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Vadakari is a popular side dish in Tamilnadu. It is a gravy dish cooked with masala vadas. It is 
commonly served with spongy dosas known as set dosas. My mom and sister watch this cooking show on TV every week where the chef teaches food from different regions in Tamil Nadu. My sister for one makes the dish immediately. This week they featured Vadakari and sure enough she made it yesterday and inspired me to make it too. We had it for dinner. I made it for the first time, boy was it good!

For Vada
1 Cup Channa dal, soaked
1 Onion,chopped
2  Red chili
1 teaspoon saunf
salt to taste
For Gravy:
2 Tablespoon oil
1 Onion, chopped
1 Small tomato, chopped
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 green chili,chopped
curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 Tablespoon grated coconut
1 teaspoon poppy seeds, soaked in little water
1 teaspoon saunf
salt to taste
1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro for garnish

1. Drain channa dal and grind coarsely with red chili, saunf and salt.
2. Mix chopped onion to it.

3. Heat oil in a pan, dropbig pinches of vada and fry to golden brown. They don't have to be vada shape.
4.Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a saucepan. Add saunf, green chili, garlic and ginger and saute for a minute. Throw in curry leaves. Add onion and saute till golden. Add tomato and cook for a couple minutes. Add turmeric powder,salt, and chili powder(optional). Pour enough water and cook for a few minutes.
5. Add the fried vadas to the gravy. crumble some vadas and add to the gravy. Let it simmer on low heat for a few minutes.

Add water as necessary. Make sure the gravy is liquidy. Vada will absorb a lot of water. Grind coconut and poppy seeds and stir into the saucepan. Cook for a couple minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve hot with dosa.

A healthier version of the dish can be made by steaming the vada batter on a greased plate in pressure cooker for 12-15 minutes. Steamed vada can be made in small balls and cooked in the gravy.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Sweet Sticky Red Rice

Red Rice is a special variety of rice grown in Asia. It is usually unhulled or partially hulled, having a red husk. It is very nutritious and has a nutty flavor. People in South India make a special kind of sweet with this rice.

1 Cup uncooked red rice
1 Cup water
1Cup coconut milk
1/2 Cup fresh grated coconut
1/4 Cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder

1. Wash rice and cook with water and coconut milk in a saucepan on medium heat. Add more water if necessary.
2. Stir in brown sugar when the all the liquid is absorbed and rice is well done. Lower the heat. Add grated coconut. Mix well. Mix in cardamom powder.
3. Serve warm.

Mediteranian Bean Salad

Costco, a wholesale club in US offers a variety of new food products. I love walking through the aisles to check out everything while shopping. Last week I saw fresh Mediterranean Bean Salad. I'm not a big fan of buying processed food. I like to make my own. Inspired by this I created my own version of this salad for lunch today. It was delicious and very filling.

1 Cup cooked garbanzo beans
1 Cup cooked black beans
1 onion chopped
1 jalapeno chopped(optional)
few grape tomatoes chopped
2-3 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 mini cucumber chopped
2 colored mini peppers chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 Cup white balsamic vinegar
salt to taste
1-2 Tablespoons lemon juice
crushed red pepper
ground black pepper
Place the ingredients for salad in a large bowl.
Make the salad dressing and mix it into the bean salad and toss gently.
I found sprouted dry lentils in Costco. I cooked 1/2 Cup of it in boiling water for 4 minutes,drained and added to the salad. I also added 1/2 avocado to the salad.