Mirchi Ka Salen

8 – 10 Hungarian Peppers – Long Peppers
4 Red Potatoes
2 Onions
1 Tomato
2 Handfuls Pudina – Mint
1 tsp Tamarind paste
1 tsp Jaggery or Brown Sugar
For Masala
½ cup Groundnuts
2 tsp Sesame seeds
2 tsp Coriander Seeds – Dhania
4 -5 Elachi
4 -5 Cloves
1” Cinnamon stick
1 tsp Jeera
3 – 4 Red Chilies – Optional
4 tsp Grated Coconut

Take 2 tsp of oil in a skillet and fry all the above items till nicely done. Dry grind to a smooth powder.Keep aside.

Boil Potatoes in the micro oven with salt, peel and mash them using a masher. Add chopped coriander and mix it well. Keep aside.

Cut Peppers on one side length wise on one side and scoop out the seeds using a fork. Spray PAM in a skillet and roast the peppers on all side on medium/low flame using PAM as required. Remove and let cool. Also cut Jalapeno length wise and roast them by the side in the skillet. Can use these for garnishing later.

Stuff the mashed potatoes in the grilled peppers. Be careful and handle gently. Set aside.

Chop onions and tomato and into small pieces.

Take 4 tsp of oil in a skillet and add onions, when they turn translucent add ginger-garlic paste and mint leaves and fry for a few minutes. Then add tomato and fry till nicely done. Then add the ground masala and mix well. Add a tsp of tamarind paste, turmeric, salt, jaggery and 2 cups of water and bring it to boil. Add chopped coriander and mix well.

Add stuffed peppers and cook in medium flame for 8 – 10 minutes, add water if masala is thickening. Garnish with the roasted jalapenos and serve with Basmati rice or as a side dish with roti/chapatti or nan.

Mirchi Ka Salen

Cut and remove seeds.

Stuff with mashed potatoes.

Fry masala in a tsp of oil.

Add ground masala to sauteed onions and tomato.

Tranfer carefully into a serving bowl.

5 Layered Tortilla Chips

For those exciting Sunday afternoons, following ESPN on TV, watching Sports, when we are all following the game, this is a quick snack, tailor made to suit individual taste buds(I mean each can choose their own toppings). I chop all the toppings and keep them ready. Each person can make their own special plate.

There is no measurement as is for this one. Your favorites toppings go more. I go nuts with jalapenos and light on cheese! Chips taste good when hot and freshly made.
Serve it right out of the micro oven.

Tortilla chips
Pepper jack Cheese - Or any favorite cheese
1 Tomato
1 Onion
Jarred Jalapenos
Spring Onions

Chop onion, tomato, green of the spring onions and jalapenos into small pieces. Grate the cheese block.

Place tortilla chips on a micro-ovenable plate. Arrange them in a single layer.

Sprinkle cheese on the chips first. Then sprinkle chopped onions, tomato, jalapenos and green of the spring onions. Sprinkle salt slightly.

Place in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes or till the cheese melts, be careful not to over cook and burn the cheese.

This is an addictive snack. Serve as a snack or an appetizer with favorite Soda.

Squash Kootu

Kootu is a dal and vegetable dish that has spice, tangy and peppery taste all in one. Kootu powder can be made in advance and stored in freezer for future use.
Usually done with toor dal and Indian cucumber (dosakaye). I needed ways to cook masoor dal so, tried this out, came out pretty good. Well, appearance is a little deceiving!

1 cup Masoor dal
2 Coyote Squash
2 Green chilies
Few Curry Leaves
Sambar powder
Pepper Powder
Tamarind paste

Peel and cut squash. Wash and drain water for the dal. Add dal, squash to a vessel and pressure cook till the dal is nicely done. Remove and keep aside.

Take 2 tsp of oil in a sauce pan and make tadka (poppu) with jeera, mustard seeds, few fenugreek seeds, hing and a red chili. Add chopped green chilies, curry leaves and fry for a few seconds.

Then add cooked dal, salt, turmeric, 2 tsp tamarind paste, 1 tsp sambar powder and 1/4 tsp pepper powder (or use Kootu podi - from my previous blog in Podis / Powders )and coriander. Bring to a boil and remove from flame.

This is a quick to cook, dal dish. Serve it with hot rice or chapati.

Sundal - Senagala Pokimpu

2 cups small brown Chick Peas -
Vayinam Senagallu
3 Green Chilies
1" Ginger
Few Curry Leaves
4 tsp Grated Coconut
Few Mango pieces - Optional
Lemon juice

Soak chick peas over night in water and a pinch of turmeric. Drain and cook them with salt in a pressure cooker. Drain and keep aside.

Take 3 tsp of oil in a skillet and make tadka with 1/2 tsp urad dal, 1/2 tsp chenna dal, mustard seeds, jeera, hing, red chili, chopped green chilies, ginger and curry leaves. When tadka is fried add grated coconut and fry for a few minutes. Grated fresh mango or chopped mango pieces can be added now and fried for a few minutes.

Then add cooked chick peas and fry for a few more minutes. Add 1/2 tsp red chili powder if you like it spicy. Remove from flame.

Garnish with coriander and sprinkle lemon juice before serving.

Can be served as side dish with vegetables or dal and rice or can be eaten as is for an evening snack.


A persimmon, known to the ancient Greeks as "the fruit of the gods" is the edible fruit.

The shape of the fruit varies from spherical to acorn to flattened or squarish. The color of the fruit varies from light yellow-orange to dark orange-red. The size can be as little as a few ounces to more than a pound. The calyx, woody leaf on the top, often remains with the fruit after picking. The entire fruit is edible except for the seed and calyx.

Choose persimmons with deep red undertones. Look for persimmons that are round, plump, and have glossy and smooth skin. Avoid fruits with blemishes, bruises or cracked skin and missing the green leaves at the top. Select ripe persimmons only if you plan to eat them immediately. Otherwise, buy firmer fruits and allow them to ripen.

Astringency means the dry, puckering mouth feel caused by tannins found in many fruits such as persimmons and banana skins. The tannins denature the salivary proteins, causing a rough "sandpapery" sensation in the mouth. The word "astringent" means "to bind fast".

They come in astringent and non-astringent varieties: astringent fruits are astringent until they become ripe, when they are custard-soft. Non-astringent varieties are less astringent when unripe, and lose their astringency earlier; they are firm and slightly crunchy when ripe.

Ripen persimmons at room temperature in a paper bag with an apple or banana. Store them in the refrigerator when ripe. Be sure to eat the fruit as soon as possible because overripe persimmons quickly turn to a mushy texture.

Ripe Fuyu persimmons, which look kind of like flattened tomatoes, will be crisp, while the acorn-shaped Hachiyas will be very soft and juicy. Unripe Hachiya persimmons taste very bitter and will suck all the moisture from your mouth, not very pleasant. The tartness will go away as the fruit ripens.

Can be eaten as is or sliced and used in salads or desserts.

Nutritional Profile

This fruit is an excellent source of vitamin A, a good source of vitamin C, and rich in fiber. Persimmons are very low in Cholesterol and Sodium.
Calyx is used to stop hiccups and belching.

Pongal - Venna Pongal

2 cups Rice
1 cup Moong dal - Pesara pappu
3 Green Chilies
1" Ginger
Few Curry Leaves
Cashew nuts
1 tsp Jeera
Pepper powder

In a tsp of ghee fry moong dal till golden brown and then add rice and fry a little longer.

Transfer into a vessel and wash. Add 1: 2.5 water for the mixture. Add chopped green chilies, ginger, curry leaves, ½ tsp jeera, turmeric and a pinch of ground pepper. Cook in pressure cooker until softly done.

Take 4 tsp of ghee in a non stick pan and add jeera and cashew nuts. When they are nicely done add pepper powder and the previously cooked rice mixture. Add salt and more ghee according to taste.

Pongal can be eaten as is or with pachi pulusu or chutney of choice. A good item for Brunch, quick lunch.

In some areas vegetables like carrots, beans and peas etc. can be added while boiling and it is called "Kichidi".