Nov 29, 2012

New Book Case from Houseful Furniture, Mumbai

Shelly Book Case - Photo from the website of Houseful Furniture, Mumbai

New Book Case

I bought this new book case through net from a portal "houseful". Found the products good and reasonably priced (Price Rs3090). Delivered within a week from order (assembly was offered after 3 days of delivery, but my son and husband assembled it easily, without waiting for them). Saving for us was time and travel expense to shops hunting for this.

I am not promoting this portal, but just want to mention the options / avenues available. Please visit the website of Houseful Furniture to get more details and offers.

Cabbage Sanna Appo - A delicious Konkani Khann

Cabbage – Onion Sanna  Appo

A tasty, spicy and nutritious appo (spicy paniyaram) in Konkan cuisine !!

Makes: 14


Ingredients  of basic batter may differ from region to region (Mangalore region and Cochin GSB's)

Basic batter for Cabbage – Onion Sanna  Appo / Dosa / Undi

Raw Rice (pachari / soorai orovu) – 2 cups (Indian standard measuring cup of 200 ml / 8 oz capacity) or a mix of 1 cup raw rice and 1 cup boiled rice (ukkada chawal)

Grated coconut – 1 ½ cup

Tamarind juice – ½ cup or tamarind paste - 1 tablespoon

Red chilly powder – 2 teaspoon (or 2 to 2 ½ teaspoon for more spicy)

Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon

Asafoetida / hing – 1/2 teaspoon

Salt – 1 ¼ - 1 1/2 teaspoon ( or to taste )

Onion finely chopped – 1 big size

Finely shredded Cabbage – 250 g ( pick tender leaves and remove thick nerves )

Cooking oil / ghee - 2 teaspoon


Wash and soak raw rice  for 5 - 6 hours ( or overnight ). Drain out water and  grind with grated coconut, tamarind juice, red chilly powder, turmeric powder and salt in a mixer ( if you are adding tamarind juice while grinding, then no need to add extra water ). Grind until the batter is fine consistency in a mixer in batches.

Transfer this batter to another container / bowl and mix with asafoetida / hing and finely shredded cabbage and onion. Add extra water and salt if required and batter should be just like '' dosa batter and pouring consistency. No need to ferment this batter. We can prepare dosa / undi / appo immediately.

Final preparation:

Heat a non stick Appe Kayli /Kuzhipaniyaram Kadai on a medium heat. Smear each mould with little oil / ghee.

Pour appo batter in each mould ( 3/4 th of the mould ). Sprinkle oil / ghee.

Cover with a lid. Cook for 10 - 12 minutes on a medium heat . Cook till crisp and sides will turn golden brown ( until the edges separate from the moulds of the kadai).

Turn the other side with the help of a stick and cook till done / under side should be golden in color. Serve hot with coconut chutney / pickle / coconut oil.

Nov 28, 2012

Garlic Rasam / Poondu Rasam (made of MTR Rasam Powder)

Garlic  Rasam / Poondu Rasam  (Easy recipe without tur dal and with MTR Rasam Powder)

Short method

Serves: 3

In a bowl, mix 500 ml / 2 ½ cups water with 2 big size well ripe chopped tomatoes, 1 onion (roughly chopped), 12 - 15 chopped garlic cloves, 1 green chilli (slit lengthwise), ½ teaspoon thick tamarind paste or 3 tablespoon tamarind juice / extract and ¾ teaspoon salt (or to taste). Cover with a tight lid and cook on a medium to low heat for 12 - 15 minutes / until tomato well cooked /quantity decreases / slightly thickens. At this stage, add 3 teaspoon (dilute 3 teaspoon rasam powder with 3 teaspoon water, then it will combine easily when cooking)  MTR Rasam powder (or any brand  or homemade powder of your choice), cover and cook again for another 8 minutes. Stir well nicely. Sprinkle 2 pinches hing (asafoetida) if required. Adding 1 teaspoon lemon juice will enhance the taste at the final stage.

For the seasoning:

2 teaspoon oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 red chilli, halved

4 curry leaves

1 teaspoon chopped coriander leaves


Heat oil in a small pan. Add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add halved red chiili and curry leaves. Saute for 2 minutes until crisp. Pour the seasoning over rasam. Serve with rice. Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves and 1 teaspoon lemon juice if required when serving. Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves. This rasam is an excellent combo with plain rice and fish fry / potato fry !!( This is  our homestyle recipe).

Oats Raisin Bars (Recipe from Martha Stewart)

Oats Raisins Bars (Recipe from Martha Stewart)

These handheld treats are packable, snackable, sure-fire crowd-pleasers -- indoors and out.

Preparation Time 10 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes, plus cooling
Makes 16
Serves 16


Please use same measuring cup (or 200 ml / 8 oz capacity) to measure butter, sugar, flour, oats and raisins.

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 teaspoon for pan

3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and levelled)

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)

1 cup raisins


Preheat oven to 350 * F or 180 * C.  Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides; butter paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together butter, sugars, egg, salt, and cinnamon until smooth. Add flour, oats, and raisins; fold in just until combined.

Spread batter in prepared pan, and bake until a toothpick inserted in centre comes out with moist crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift cake onto a work surface; cut into 16 bars.

Cook's Note - To store, keep in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 3 days.

Nov 27, 2012

Nei Appam for Karthigai Deepam

Nei Appam for Karthigai Deepam . A delicious sweet in Tamil Cuisine.

 Tips to get soft nei appam

Here is a tip to make soft nei appam without adding baking powder / cooking soda.

Traditional method – Grind soaked raw rice instead of rice flour. While preparing appam batter, add 2 well ripe bananas and keep the batter covered for 3 hours. Then nei appam will come out very soft.

Makes: 24- 26


200 g ( 1 cup ) raw rice ( pachari )

80 g (1/2 cup) grated coconut

130 g well ripe bananas (4 small bananas ), roughly chopped

1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder

1/4 teaspoon dried ginger powder ( chukkupodi )

150 ml to 200 ml melted and sieved jaggery or to taste

2 teaspoon ghee

Tip: Better to use small ‘’ nei yappam kadai  ‘’ as it is easier to manage heating evenly - so that the ‘’ nei appam ‘’ comes out evenly done.

I tried with bigger nei appam kadai also, but found managing heat evenly over the pan is difficult and may result in burnt appam.


Wash and clean raw rice and soak in 3 cups water for 4 hours. Drain out water thoroughly and make a smooth paste in mixer (in batches) with grated coconut and chopped bananas. Use only very little water (1 - 2 tablespoon) during grinding.

Finally add melted and sieved jaggery, cardamom powder and dried ginger powder (dried ginger powder will enhance the taste). Batter should not be very thick. It should be of pouring consistency. Keep aside the batter for  3 hours to allow it to ferment. Nei appam will be soft and spongy.

Heat appam kadai  on a medium heat. Sprinkle each mould with little ghee.

Pour batter in each mould. Sprinkle little ghee again over batter. Cover with a lid and cook on a low - medium heat for 8 - 10 minutes till crisp and sides turn golden colour (until the edges separate from the kadai moulds and you start getting a nice aroma).

 Flip them over (to cook the top side) with the help of stick and cook again for 8- 10 minutes or until golden color.

It’s a delicious after school snack and it’s also a very popular sweet.

Nov 26, 2012

Vettila Chellam

Vettila Chellam

Vettilachellam is a brass carry case, primary used by those habituated to chewing betel leaves. These were used to store / carry leaves and other accessories (arecanut, lime, tobacco, etc). There are many varieties of vettilachellam, some with very ornate,fine design work.

These are not at all seen now a days and exist only in antique shops and in traditional houses.

Nov 25, 2012

Sukh Sagar @ Ampa Skywalk Mall, Chennai

Sukh Sagar @ Ampa Skywalk Mall (highly recommending for South Indian and North Indian dishes like Chole Batura, Pav Bhaji..)

Sukh Sagar,
 # 114 - A/B/C 1st floor, 
Opp Cafe Coffee Day, 
Ampa Skywalk Mall, Tel # 43117888

Photo of Pallankuzhi or Gurpale or Mancala (Oldest board game)

Pallankuzhi or Gurpale or Mancala (Oldest board game)

Gurpale is one of the oldest form of board games of India. The board featured is handcrafted by my paternal grandfather Late Rama Kamath 85 years back, for whom wood craft was a hobby. This is my prized possession now. Sadly I too forgot how to play this board game.

Nov 23, 2012

Cinnamon Cookies

Cinnamon Cookies

Makes: 20 - 24

Please use same measuring cup to measure flour, sugar, butter and jaggery or Indian standard standard measuring cup of 200 ml / 8 oz capacity.


1 cup (200 ml) maida / all purpose flour / plain flour (Indian standard measuring cup of 200 ml / 8 oz capacity)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 pinch salt

1 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1/4 teaspoon dried ginger powder

3/4 cup sugar (please measure in Indian standard measuring cup of 200 ml / 8 oz capacity)

1/2 cup unsalted butter / cooking butter (please measure in Indian standard measuring cup of 200 ml / 8 oz capacity)

1/4 cup melted and sieved jaggery (please measure in Indian standard measuring cup of 200 ml / 8 oz capacity)

1 egg, beat well

Extra 3 teaspoon sugar

Extra 2 teaspoon butter (to grease baking tray)


Sieve flour with baking powder, salt, cinnamon powder and dried ginger powder. Sieve thrice.

In a wide bowl, mix sieved flour with remaining ingredients (sugar, butter, jaggery, half the quantity of beaten egg)  and make a soft dough (softer than chapati dough). Add remaining  1 – 3 tablespoon beaten egg if required to make a soft dough.

Preheat oven (OTG) at 350 *F or 180 *C (moderate).

Knead the dough again and make 20 - 24 small balls, flatten them slightly, roll over sugar and arrange on a greased baking tray.

 Leave enough space (1 - inch) between each biscuit (see the photo above) and bake for 15 - 20 minutes in 2 batches (bake 12 cookies at a time – depending upon the size of the baking tray) or until they turn brown color in color.

Keep aside to cool  in a wire rack and store in an airtight container.

Rajdhani Thali

Rajdhani Thali @ Ampa Skywalk Mall, Chennai (Other dishes are plain rice, curd rice moong dal khichdi & maplua)

Nov 22, 2012

Oats Raisins Cookies

Oats Raisins Cookies (Recipe from BBC Goodfood. These cookies are amazingly easy to make, and have a crumbly-cakey texture to them. Quick and easy and perfect with warm milk, natural yoghurt, or just a tasty and healthy treat. This recipe makes 10-12 (depending on how big you want your cookies!) but the amounts can be easily doubled to make larger amounts for more people. Instead of raisins, try chopped dates, small pieces of ginger, chocolate chips...)


50g low-fat margarine or butter

50g caster sugar

1tablespoon set honey or dessert spoon of runny honey

1 egg

1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

50g wholemeal flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

80g porridge oats

50g raisins 


Heat oven to 180 C / 160 C (fan assisted) / gas 4.

Grease a large baking sheet.

In a large bowl, mix the margarine/butter and sugar together until soft, then beat in the honey (using an electric whisk makes it quick and easy!).

Add the egg and cinnamon powder and mix well.

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, oats and raisins and mix together before adding to the butter mixture.

Drop heaped dessertspoonful  of the cookie dough onto the baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden.

Remove them from the oven, they should be golden but will still seem a tiny bit soft to the touch. Leave them on the tray for a minute (this lets them settle slightly) before transferring them to a cooling tray to completely cool. Store in an air tight container or (if you're anything like me) dive straight in!

Nov 20, 2012

Konkan Cuisine of Cochin GSB's style Simple Homemade Vegetarian Thali

Rice, Chawli gashi, Vaisambele Sukke (Amarakka thoran) & Shallow fried baingan.

Here's the recipe link of Chawli gashi

Here's the recipe link  of Amarakka Thoran

Here's the recipe link of Shallow Fried Baingan (Brinjal)

Nov 19, 2012

Batata Vaag (2nd recipe)

Batata Vaag  (2nd recipe)

A delicious, spicy and creamy main curry in Konkan cuisine. Best with idli / dosa/ chapatti / puri varieties. Easy recipe with minimum ingredients and also without onion, garlic and coconut !!

Serves: 2 – 3


The ratio of potato and tomato is 1 : 1

1 tablespoon oil

½ teaspoon mustard seeds

2 well ripe tomatoes, chopped

1 teaspoon red chilli powder

¼ teaspoon turmeric powder

2 potatoes, separately boil potatoes. Peel off the skin and mash well

¾ teaspoon salt (or to taste)

1 ¼ cup / 250 ml water (Indian standard measuring cup of 200 ml / 8 oz capacity)


In a pan heat oil on a medium heat. Add mustard seeds. When they crackle, add well ripe chopped tomatoes and mix well until well blended / thickens.

Add red chilli powder and turmeric powder. Stir on a low heat for 1 minute.

Add  mashed potatoes, salt to taste and 1 1/4 cup / 250 ml water. Mix all the ingredients well. Cover with a tight lid and cook on a medium to low heat for 10 – 12 minutes until done / gravy thickens / creamy in consistency / potatoes and tomatoes well combined. Serve with rotis / puri / idli / dosa ..

Nov 18, 2012

Coriander Drink - Good for health !!

Coriander  Drink – Good for health !!

How to make coriander drink?

In a bowl, soak a handful of coriander leaves in 2 cups water for half an hour. Wash well. Add 3 cups / 600 ml water of fresh water and boil for 12 minutes on a medium heat until fragrant and color changes. I’m not very sure about more health benefits. It’s a  very  good health drink. Serve warm or cool.

Nov 17, 2012

Golden Fried Fish

Golden Fried  Fish

A delicious fried fish, goes well with tomato ketchup / French fries / Potato Chips  !!

Serves: 2 -3


6 thin fish slices, please pick good quality fish

200 ml oil for frying

For the marinade:

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Wash and clean fish. Drain out water thoroughly and wipe each fish slice with a soft kitchen towel.

In a bowl, mix soy sauce,  salt, pepper and marinate the fish on both the sides  for half an hour.

For the batter:

½ cup / 100 ml all purpose flour ( maida )

1 tablespoon extra all purpose flour

1 tablespoon corn flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon  vinegar ( or beer / rum )

1 beaten egg white

1/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon salt ( or to taste )

2 pinches pepper powder


In a wide bowl, mix all purpose flour, corn flour, beaten egg white, salt and pepper powder. Add vinegar / rum /beer.  Mix it well. Add 2 - 3 tablespoons of water to make a  batter of pouring consistency. Do not make it very thin. Keep aside in refrigerator for half an hour.

Sprinkle extra 1 tablespoon flour  lightly over marinated fish slices just before frying.

Heat oil in a frying pan. Reduce the heat to medium. Dip each fish slice in batter and deep fry on a low heat (3 slices at a time- depending upon the size of the frying pan) till golden color on both the sides ( approximate frying time 7 minutes for each side ).

Drain out  from oil and  place on kitchen towel to absorb extra oil. Serve hot as a starter with tomato ketchup.

Photo & Recipe links of Homemade Seafood Thali

Homemade seafood thali (Rice, Prawns masala, Kerala style fish curry, Fish fry, Spicy tapioca (kappa veveichathu) & Rasam)

Here's the recipe of Kerala style fish curry

Here's the recipe of Kappayum Meenum (Boiled tapioca with fish curry)

Here's the recipe of Prawns fry & Easy Prawns Curry

Here's the recipe of Rasam & Homemade Rasam Powder

Nov 16, 2012

Tomato Chutney

Tomato Chutney

A delicious chutney, goes well with Idli / dosa  varieties. Easy homestyle recipe without coconut !!

Serves: 3


1 tablespoon oil

1 onion, roughly chopped

6  cloves garlic, chopped

¾  teaspoon red chilli powder

2 pinches turmeric powder

¾  teaspoon salt ( or to taste )

2 tomatoes, roughly chopped  (pick well ripe, 2 big size or 3 small size)


Heat oil in a pan. Add chopped onions and garlic. Fry till pink in color.

Add red chilli powder and turmeric powder. Saute on a low heat for 2 minutes.

Add chopped tomatoes and salt. Mix well and fry for 2 - 3 minutes. Do not add water.

Cover with a lid and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes until tomato - onion mixture thickens. Switch off the heat and keep aside  to cool for 15 minutes.

Transfer this mixture to a small  mixer bowl and blend till smooth. Do not add water. Consistency of the chutney should be thick.

For seasoning (optional):

1 teaspoon  oil

½ teaspoon mustard seeds

¼ teaspoon jeera (cumin seeds)

3 curry leaves


Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds. When they crackle, add jeera and fry until fragrant on a low heat. Add curry leaves and fry till crisp. Pour the seasoning over chutney and serve with idli / dosa / pongal / vada / pakoda …