Sponge Uttapam - Pongaram

2 cups Raw Rice
1 cup Poha - Atukulu
½ cup Urad dal
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
3 - 4 cups Sour curd

Mix all four together and wash two times. Then add sour curd and enough water till the level of the mix and soak overnight or up to 6 – 8 hrs.

Do not drain the water; grind the mix to a smooth batter adding salt. Let the batter ferment for 6 – 8 hrs. Keep in a warm place or in the oven.

Grease a small skillet with oil and pour the batter a little thick in the skillet spreading evenly with the ladle. Sprinkle chopped onion, green chili, ginger and coriander (Optional).

Add a tsp of oil so that uttapam can be removed easily. Turn the other side and let roast. Cook in slow/medium flame with the lid ON for a crunchy taste and the inside will also get cooked evenly.

The outside will be roasted nicely and inside will be like sponge. Make small bit sized uttapams for kids.

Serve it with any chutney of choice.


4 cups Pasta
2 Red Onions
½ cup Beans
½ cup Carrots
1 cup Chick Peas
1 cup Kidney Beans

Boil pasta in enough water with salt till soft. Drain and keep aside. Use canned beans and chick peas or soak dry beans overnight in enough water. Add chick peas and beans to the paste while cooking.

Cut beans and carrots length wise.

Take 4 tsp of olive oil in a skillet and add ¼ tsp of basil, ¼ tsp of Italian herbs and add chopped onions and fry till nicely done. Then add 2 tsp of ginger garlic paste and fry for a few minutes and then add chopped vegetables and salt , fry for a few minutes and let cook with lid on till they all soft.

Then add cooked pasta and mix well. If desired add red chili flakes also.

Pour instant pasta sauce to a sauce pan and bring it to boil.
Take 2 ladles of pasta on a plate and pour sauce over it and serve it hot. Garnish with bread crumbs and/or

Kakarakaye Bellam Kura - Bitter Gourd

1 lb Kakarakaye - Bitter Gourd
3 Green Chilies
Few Curry Leaves
1 tsp Tamarind paste
4 tsp Jaggery

Cut kakarakaye into 1/2" circles. Boil kakarakaye in a skillet on stove top with some turmeric and salt till they are soft and cooked. Remove and drain the water.

Take 3 tsp of oil in a skillet and make tadka with 1/2 tsp urad dal, 1/2 tsp chenna dal, few mustard seeds, jeera, hing and a red chili. Add cut green chilies and curry leaves and fry for a few seconds.

Add the cooked vegetable and fry for a few minutes. Add 1 tsp of tamarind paste, mix well and add 4 tsp of grated jaggery (jaggery will spread and boil) check for salt and seasonings, adjust to suit your taste. Sometimes if it is new jaggery it will make it liquidity, sprinkle a tsp of dry rice flour and cook for 3 to 4 minutes in medium flame and remove from flame.

This is a good side dish with rice.

Boiled Whole Peanuts

Summer time pass with boiled/cooked whole peanuts.

Boiled whole peanuts.

Cooked peanuts.

Slightly crack the shell of the peanuts. By doing this, peanuts inside will absorb salt and red chili powder while being cooked. Add enough water, salt and red chili powder and cook in a pressure cooker for up to 3 - 4 whistles. Remove, drain water and let cool.

Boiled peanuts can be eaten as is or chop onion, green chili, coriander and add to the peanuts and then add enough lemon juice.

A guilt free evening snack with tea as time pass, squeeze in good conversation with kids while opening the nuts.

Lime Pickle - Nimakaye

Anyone remember those meals ordered in the pantry car of any trains in India?

I was fascinated by the lemon pickle (1 pieces!!) in the small packet that was served as a side dish for the curd rice.

This is not a very spicy pickle, it has a more tangy taste to it. Quite easy to make and has a good shelf life when prepared without wet hands. I prefer using green limes to make this pickle, because they have lot of juice and more tangy and thin skin compared to lemons.

50 Green Limes
2 cups Red Chili Powder
1 cup Fenugreek seeds – Menthulu
A little less than 1 cup Mustard seeds
1½ cup Salt
3 cups Oil – preferably Sesame/Gingerly oil
2 tsp Turmeric
½ tsp Asetifodia /Hing – preferably crystal hing for more aroma

Wash, wipe and let air dry the limes for some time before working on them. This method needs an approximate eye balling; depending on the size of the lemon the spices should be adjusted. The spicey/karam of pickle normally reduces in a few days. Prepare the spice mix only after sun drying the lemon pieces. The quantity of the pieces will shrink after drying.

For this variety of lime/lemon pickle we would need half and half of lemon pieces and juice. so, divide the lemon into 2 halves. Cut the edges and make small pieces of one half of the limes and squeeze juice from the other half, remove seeds if any and mix both in a glass bowl. Add salt, turmeric and mix well and store in a warm place for 2 – 3 days. Once a day, mix well and store it back. If you taste a piece, it will be really salty, do not worry, it will settle when the other spices are added. Please refer to photo tutorial of Lemon pickle for pictures.

On the 3rd day, use a strainer and separate the pieces and the oota/juice, using your hand/palm to squeeze out any juice remaining. Sundry them separately. Spread the slices on a basin/plate/cover and the juice/oota in a bowl. Dry them till the pieces become dry for about 2 – 3 days. Meanwhile the oota/juice will become concentrated and salt will sediment on the side of the bowl.

Do not start mixing the pickle when the slices are hot from the sun, let them come to room temperature.

In a skillet heat 3 cups of oil on low/medium flame and when hot add 1 tsp of mustard seeds and a handful of broken/split red chilies. When mustard seeds splutter remove from flame and when oil settles down, add hing and let cool. Bring to room temperature.

Take 1 tsp of oil in a skillet and add fenugreek seeds and fry them till nicely done and then add the mustard seeds and fry till they splutter. Remove and let cool. Dry grind the mix to a smooth powder, this is called menthi powder.

Mix the dry menthi powder and red chili powder in the oota/juice and then, the dried lime pieces. Once that is all thoroughly mixed then add the previously made oil tadka and mix well. Leave it in the same bowl for 1 or 2 days and keep mixing thoroughly. Then transfer into an air tight container and store in a cool place.

A good side dish with plain rice and curd rice. Use dry hands and keep away from water for a good shelf life.

Lime Pickle - Photo Tutorial

Wash and air dry Lime. Cut them into small pieces.

Add salt, turmeric, lemon juice, mix well and let sit for 3 days. Mix daily.

Separate lemon juice and lemon pieces and sun dry for 2 days or till nicely dried.

Mix the concentrated juice and the dried lemon pieces.

Make the spice powder and mix them all thoroughly.


This chickpeas dish comes in handy when Refrigerator is empty.

2 cups Chick Peas - Kabuli Chenna
2 Onions
4 – 5 Garlic pods
2 Green Chilies
1” Ginger
Few Curry Leaves

Wash and soak chick peas over night. Drain the water and grind them coarsely. Add green chilies and ginger also while grinding. Spice can be adjusted according to taste. Keep aside.

Take 4 tsp of oil in a skillet and make tadka (poppu) with 1 tsp urad dal, 1 tsp chenna dal, few mustard seeds, jeera, hing and 1 red chili. Then add garlic pods, chopped onions and curry leaves, fry for a few minutes.

When onions become translucent then add the ground chick pea paste, salt and turmeric, keep the flame in low/medium and keep stirring frequently (otherwise the bottom part of the dish will burn and the dal will not be cooked evenly), add oil as required.

Once the dal separates it is time to remove from flame.

Serve with hot rice and a tsp of oil.