May 22, 2009

Our wonderful holidays in Malaysia

Wondering why this blog was not active for the past fortnight?. I was on a much needed vacation in Malaysia. It was my 2nd trip and this time we were mainly concentrating on KL, Penang, Langkawi and back to KL again. The 2 weeks were remarkable and one of the most memorable in my life. Our son also had his share of fun – from rolling a python around him to para-sailing in Langkawi beach – he did it all as well. As a food lover, I never missed an opportunity to taste the food – especially the variety one gets in Penang beachside street food.

Petronas Twin Towers- View from our hotel room

Winter world at Menara Tower

It started with a few days in KL at Hotel Renaissance – in the East wing which faces the twin towers – which is my favorite view. We were on 15th floor with a breath-taking view of the twin-towers and the city around. We went on a city tour , a tour to KL zoo, The Menara – communication tower, Surya KLCC – which is the shopping mall, Mid-valley mega mall to name a few.

KL Bird Park

We then flew to Penang by Air Asia on 12 th May and stayed there for the next 3 days. We stayed at “G” Hotel. At Penang, among other places, we went to Penang Hill by rope way, The evening bazaar at Batu Ferangi , The lively and colorful Gurney drive. We also visited a couple of malls like Komtar mall.

From Penang we took the ferry to Langkawi . It was a wet and cloudy morning. The ferry was not very thrilling as there is nothing much to see around and the ride was quite bumpy. It took 2 hours 35 minutes to reach Langkawi. The Jetty at Langkawi was very scenic with the huge statue of Red eagle welcoming us at Langkawi – which literally means the red-eagle. The marina is thick with lots of boats and yatchs around. Our stay was at Sheraton Langawi Beach resort. This is approximately 10 km from the jetty and was a wonderful beach front chalet. The private beach spread over 40 acre with exclusive access to the hotel guest was a great experiance. The lush green and serene Langkawi was a soothing experience. Wonderful for unwinding, far from busy schedules and crowded places. In Langkawi we visited Cable car, Crocodile park, Wild life sanctuary, Cenang beach, water fall and duty free shops. Our son also para-sailed at Cenang beach and was thrilled by its experience. With great reluctance, we left Langkawi – hoping to come back someday.

Our son Aditya's para - sailing at Cenang beach- Lankawi

Finally, we reached KL on 18 th and stayed at Berjaya Times Square Hotel for 3 days. We went to KL Bird park, some shopping malls, Pasar Seni, China Town, Low yat plaza to buy some electronic goods.
Late last night we landed back at Chennai after the wonderful holidays. I relished every moment of our tour. If also refreshed me and recharged us for the busy year ahead.

May 5, 2009

Mini '' Idlis '' in delicious sambar

Mini idlis in delicious sambar

You need

1 bowl Idli batter
2 nos Mini Idli stand
1 teaspoon oil for greasing
1 bowl sambar

Sambar recipe


For dal :

1 cup tur dal
4 cups water
1 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped

Pressure cook tur dal along with water, turmeric powder, oil, onion and tomatoes for 20 - 25 minutes. Keep aside for cooling.

Other ingredients for sambar

1 cup sambar onions (small onion / shallots / chuvannulli in Malayalam / Piyyavu in Konkani )
1 - 2 cups water
Salt to taste
1 1/2 tablespoon Eastern / Melam / MTR Sambar powder

For seasoning :

1 teaspoon cooking oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 spring curry leaves
1/4 teaspoon hing ( asafoetida )


For mini idli :

Grease mini idli stand with oil and keep aside.

Pour idli batter with a spoon and steam in a pressure cooker / National rice cooker for 10 - 15 minutes.

For sambar :

Boil small onions with cooked dal mixture , 1 - 2 cups water and salt. (adjust the thickness of the dal mixture with water ). Cook for 15 - 20 minutes on low heat. Cover with a lid. Stir occasionally.

Add sambar powder and boil again for 15 minutes on a low heat. You can find slight reduction in the quantity of the sambar and nice aroma of sambar powder.

For seasoning :

Heat oil in a pan . Add mustard seeds. When they start crackle add curry leaves and asafoetida. Saute for 2 - 3 minutes and pour it over to sambar. Cook for 2 -3 minutes . Now sambar is ready for serving mini idlis.

Final preparation :

Keep mini idlis in a small bowl. Pour sambar over it ( or add mini idlis in a bowl of sambar and serve with a spoon).