Mar 31, 2011

Appam with Bulls Eye / Fried Egg on top

Appam with Bulls Eye / Fried Egg on top

The other day I saw an article about many variations of Appam / Aappam being served in a couple of chain hotels in Chennai. Though I haven’t tasted them yet, I thought of making them and here’s one of the variation. Essentially this is an appam with a fried egg / Bulls eye on top. In both those hotel chain ( Nala’s Appakadai & Simran’s Appakadai ) many other variations like Chicken mince appam & Cheese appam also available.

Appam with Omelette on top

Here’s how I made it: Prepare appam batter and pour it in the appakadai. When the appam is 3/4 th done break and pour an egg on the top of the appam carefully such that the yolk is intact. Cover it and allow to cook on a low heat. Once done remove the appam carefully from the pan and serve hot with Vegetable / Chicken stew, Korma and also sprinkle salt and pepper powder ( optional ).

Different type of Cheese

Soft & White cheese

Blue Cheese

Cheddar Cheese

Eye Cheese - Swiss style

Fresh & Cream Cheese

Fetta Style Cheese

Goat's Cheese

Hard Italian Style Cheese

Washed Rind Cheese

Mozzarella & Haloumi Cheese

Kitchen Tip

Source - Femina Handy Hints

An easy, effective way of greasing a tawa / frying pan for making Dosas (Polo) is by using a half- slice onion dipped in oil. Hold the onion by piercing with a fork.

Storage tip for Salt:

Source - Idealhome

To avoid moisture from setting into your table salt, drop a few grains of rice into salt shaker.

Mar 29, 2011

Storage ideas for Kitchen

Storage ideas for kitchen:

Source - Idealhome

Is that whisk nowhere to be found when the sauce comes to the boil? To avoid culinary disasters, keep utensils within arm's reach. Try a ceramic vase next to the stove for wooden spoons, tongs and spatulas. Hooks attached to a rod under your cabinets (or on the wall), help hang implements, ladles and slotted spoons within easy grasp.

Cooking tip for noodles:

Always heat enough water and wait till it boils, before adding the noodles.

The noodles should be completely immersed in water. It is best to add salt to noodles cooking in water shortly before it comes to a boil - salt adds flavor and ensures firm strands.

You can add a teaspoon of oil so that the noodles don't stick.

 Serve noodles immediately to keep them from getting sticky and soggy.

Smart tip for Sponge Cake:

For a healthier sponge cake, add a big spoon of honey to the batter and see the difference.

Latest Amul Topical

Indian cricketer's outstanding performance in the current World Cup - Mar' 2011

Kundapur style spicy Mushroom

Kundapur Style Spicy Mushroom

Serves: 2 - 3

You will need

300 g mushroom, cut into desired shape
1 tablespoon oil
3 onions, finely sliced
1/2 - inch piece ginger, finely chopped & crushed
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped & crushed
1 spring dark green curry leaves
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
4 teaspoon ( 3 - 5 teaspoon ) Kundapur Masala powder ( Here’s the recipe )
3/4 teaspoon salt ( or to taste )
2 tablespoons water


Heat oil in a wide frying pan. Fry sliced onions on a medium heat till golden color and fragrant.

Add crushed garlic, ginger and curry leaves. Fry for 3 - 4 minutes until fragrant.

Add turmeric powder and fry for 2 minutes.

Add Kundapur masala powder and stir well for 2 minutes.

Add mushroom pieces and salt to taste. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons water. Cover with a lid ( stir occasionally ) and cook on a low heat for 8 - 10 minutes until done / mushrooms softens / water dries up / thick onion gravy.

Serve as a side dish with Rotis / Rice / Pulao / Brown bread / Idiyappam / Appam ....

Cooking tip - You can finally add 75 ml thick coconut milk to get a creamy gravy. Then it won't be very spicy ( see the photo above ).

Mar 28, 2011

Chicken 65

Chicken 65

The other day I visited Buhari restaurant in Chennai and had the famous Chicken 65. Please find here more details and photos.

Then I thought of trying it at home and the result was fantastic. Only difference was I didn't add food color.

Basic recipe credit - Sanjeev Kapoor

Chicken 65 - Hot and spicy deep fried chicken and serve as a starter .

Preparation Time : 1 hour 15 minutes
Cooking Time : 30 minutes
Servings : 4


Chicken pieces, cut into 1½ inch cubes - 450 grams (wash, clean, drain out water and wipe each pieces with a soft kitchen towel)

Yogurt - 2 tablespoon

Lemon juice - 1 1/2 tablespoons

Rice flour - 2 tablespoons

Salt - to taste ( or 1 teaspoon )

Oil - 1 tablespoons

200 ml oil for deep frying

For masala ( spice paste ):

Dried red chillies - 4 ( or 1 teaspoon red chilli powder )

Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon

Ginger - 2 inch piece

Garlic - 6 cloves

Coriander seeds - 2 tablespoons

Black peppercorns - 12-15

10 curry leaves


Grind the ingredients of the masala to a fine paste.

Mix the yogurt, lemon juice, rice flour, salt, and one tablespoon oil into the ground masala paste.

Coat the chicken with the masala paste and marinate for an hour in a refrigerator.

Heat 200 ml oil in a thick-bottomed kadai / frying pan. Reduce heat to medium and deep fry chicken pieces in batches ( 7 - 8 ) at a time till golden brown on both sides. Turn pieces frequently.

Drain and place on kitchen paper to absorb excess oil. Sprinkle deep fried curry leaves ( optional ).

Serve hot as a starter.

Mar 27, 2011

Chennai's popular Buhari Mutton Biryani

Buhari Mutton Biryani

Chicken 65 from Buhari Restaurant, Chennai

This restaurant claims to have introduced the popular deep fried starter “Chicken 65 ” for the first time ( The “65” part of it is still debated - whether it is 65 pieces (will be very small), 65 days old chicken - (will be very hard and fibrous), 1965 - the year of introduction, 65 days marinated chicken meat - (will decompose)).

Note - A couple of things I noticed was: - Being Sunday there was heavy crowd and people were waiting outside for their turn and take way counter was also long.

Car parking was not an issue. The valet parking guys are very helpful.

Biryani ( Both chicken and mutton ) was fantastic !!!! See the photo above. I didn’t find anything special about the other dishes. Just the ordinary fare which one can get at Anjappar, Ponnuswami, Paramount, Thalappakattu or similar restaurant in Chennai. Special dishes like Mutton Paaya and string hopper biryani available only in the evenings.

Buhari Restaurant
Near Chintamani Signal & Naidu Hall
Anna Nagar East
Chennai, Tel # 30531111

Omelette with Mint Leaves

Omelette with Mint leaves

Makes: 1

Cooking Time: 4 to 5 minutes
Preparation Time: 10 minutes

You will need

1 egg
1 teaspoon milk
1/2 teaspoon corn flour or all purpose flour
1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves
2 teaspoons finely chopped onion
Salt to taste ( 1/4 teaspoon )
Pepper powder to taste ( 1/4 teaspoon )
1 teaspoon cooking oil


Whisk egg, milk, corn flour / all purpose flour, salt, and pepper together in a medium bowl until soft peaks form ( quantity will be double ). Add chopped mint leaves and onions and mix well.

Lightly coat an omelet pan or small skillet with cooking oil and heat over medium heat 1 minute. Pour omelette mixture into pan and cook until mixture begin to set on bottom.

The underside should be light golden in color.

Remove the omelette from the pan carefully.

Flip over omelette and cook the other side. Once it turn light golden color, remove carefully with a flat spatula. Serve with whole wheat bread / milk / fruit juice.

Mar 26, 2011

Mushroom Xacuti

Mushroom Xacuti

Who says Goan food doesn’t cater to vegetarians? Try yummy mushroom xacuti ( shakuti ) cooked in a coconut masala with tangy tamarind (Recipe partially adapted from from Femina & Deepa Awchat)

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

You will need

2 tablespoon oil ( or 4 tablespoon )
10 cloves
10 flakes garlic, chopped
10 black peppercorns
7 dried red chillies
2 sticks cinnamon
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
75 g (5 tablespoons) grated coconut
1 onion, chopped
300 g button mushrooms, halved
125 ml water ( 1/2 cup )
2 tablespoon tamarind pulp
Salt to taste
100 ml thick coconut milk ( optional )


Heat 1 teaspoon oil of oil in a pan or iron kadai. Stir - fry cloves, garlic, peppercorns, garlic, red chillies, cinnamon, coriander seeds and grated coconut till fragrant and golden color (approximate roasting time 20 minutes on a low to medium heat and stir continuously). Grind to a fine paste, adding 1 - 2 tablespoon water as required.

Heat remaining oil in a pan and saute the chopped onions till light brown.

Add mushrooms and saute for two minutes.

Add a cup of water, cover with a lid and cook till mushrooms are tender on a medium heat (approximately 5 minutes).

Add masala paste, tamarind pulp, salt and adjust with 1/4 cup water (25 ml if required) and cook again on a low heat for 5 minutes or till the gravy slightly thickens. Switch off the heat.

Finally add 100 ml coconut milk ( optional ) and mix well. Serve hot with Rice / Pulao / Rotis ...

Smart Tips

Tip for Silver and Steel Utensils:

Never soak silver and stainless steel utensils together - the silver will turn black !!!!!

Tip for Breads:

Source - Ideal home

Apply butter to the sharp edge of the knife before using it to cut bread. This way, you get thin even slices.

Rotlee ( Gujarati style Rotis )

Rotlee ( Gujarati style Rotis )

Recipe credit - Rotis & Naans of India by Purobi Babbar

Makes: 15
Cooking time: 25 minutes

You will need

2 cups ( 225 g ) wheat flour (atta)
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon ghee or oil
Warm water for kneading
Extra 13 - 15 teaspoon ghee


Sift flour twice. Add salt, rub in ghee ( 3 tablespoon). Mix well for 10 minutes.

Gradually add water, mix thoroughly. Knead to a soft dough.

Divide the dough into equal balls and roll out each one into a round disc & - inch ( 18 cm ) diameter.

Cook them in a hot griddle, turning the roti once, without applying any ghee / oil for 1 minute. Then holding with a tong place directly over open flame for few seconds. It puffs up immediately. Turn once. Remove from the heat.

Apply ghee evenly on side of the Rotlee. Keep in a closed container. Repeat the same with rest.

Rotlees are thinner and softer than phulkas or chapatis. While keeping it should be placed on top of another. Serve with Dal.

Mar 25, 2011

Battery operated Mini Blender

Battery operated mini blender

This is a portable and c very handy device. Since battery operated, no messing around with wires and sockets.

Main use of this is to whip / blend small quantity of - for eg - beat a single egg, make a glass or two of lassi / milkshake. Drink and serve a frothy cappuccino whenever you want, with this battery operated milk frother / mini blender. Light weight and easy to clean also.... Rs75, Available @ all leading supermarkets and gift stores in Chennai

Tips for Carrots

Tips for Carrots:

Source - Betterhomesandgardens

How to buy - Look for straight, rigid, brightly colored carrots without cracks or dry spots. If tops are attached, they should be green and fresh looking.

How to store - Remove green tops after buying since they pull vitamins and moisture from the carrot; use the greens within a few days. Refrigerate carrots in plastic bags for up to two weeks. Avoid storing near apples, which emit ethylene gas make carrots bitter.

How to eat - The leafy tops have a strong parsley - like flavour, add to stir - fries, soups, or salads. Add one or two chopped carrots to tomato sauce for natural sweetness. Saute small baby varieties in butter with a bit of honey and flavor wit ground spice such as nutmeg.

Color Clues - The bold pigments in carrots indicate they are chock- full of antioxidants and vitamins like beta - carotene (the familiar red ones) and lycopene (less common dark - purple varieties).There is no difference in taste.

Lachha Paratha

Lachha Paratha

Recipe credit - Rotis & Naans of India by Purobi Babbar

This book was published in 1988 and is a boon to every homemaker. I thought it is also worth mentioning that many popular cook books / websites have posted / published the same recipe with only minor changes.

Makes: 8
Cooking & preparation time: 40 minutes


Sufficient atta dough for 8 parathas


2 cups ( 225 g ) wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon oil
Warm water for kneading
7 - 8 teaspoon oil
Extra oil for shallow frying


Sieve the flour and salt together in bowl. Rub in 3 tablespoon oil.

Add warm water gradually. Knead until smooth. Cover and leave aside for 20 minutes.

Knead again and divide the dough into 8 portions. Shape each into a round ball. Flatten a little.

Roll out each flattened ball into a circle of 15 cm. (6") diameter. Cut into 2 - inch strips length ways. Place all the strips over the center one ( 4 strips from each roti and apply little oil in between ).

Roll like a Swiss roll. Press a little with your fingers. Pour 1 teaspoon of oil on each roll.

Take one roll at a time and roll it out into a round of about 5 - inches diameter.

As you remove, place it on your palms and lightly press towards the center to show the layers clearly.

Heat a griddle / tawa. Reduce heat to medium and shallow fry one at a time like paratha ( till golden color on both sides ). Serve hot with Dal / Raita / Pickle ..

Mar 24, 2011

Microwave cooking tips

Microwave cooking tips

Source - Femina Magazine

When removing a lid or a plastic wrap from hot, microwave food, make sure you lift it from the end of the dish away from you, in order to avoid being scalded by the escaping steam.

It is dangerous to use narrow - necked bottles or jars in a microwave oven, as pressure build - up during cooking, may cause them to explode.

Pierce fruits like tomatoes, plums or other soft fruits, which have a membrane or skin than can burst while cooking.

Fried foods like samosas, when reheated, do not remain crisp and French fries tend to get soggy.

Sweet dishes and bread rolls reheat quickly. Bread rolls, sandwiches, cakes, pizzas and chapatis should be wrapped in paper towels or cloth napkins. The paper or cloth will absorb excess moisture and promote even heating.

Mustard seeds do not splutter in a microwave oven, so do not be surprised if they continue to look the same when you are preparing tempering.

A microwave cooks food using its own moisture, so reduce the liquid used by almost half the normal quantity.

Never use aluminum foil to cover food completely, as the foil will reflect the microwave energy away from the food. Foil can, however, be used to cover lean areas of the food to prevent overcooking. Foil should never touch the walls of the oven.

Health tip

Source - Betterhomesandgardens

Orange juice to your aid - So you grab a fast food meal every now and then, but feel guilty about it? Just be sure to have some orange juice along with the meal. According to the researchers at the University of Buffalo, US, orange juice decreases a meal’s harmful effects by controlling the increase in levels of free radicals from unhealthy foods. Also, orange juice is an anti - fat elixir. While it can help limit the unhealthy effects of a fatty meal, don’t make junk food a habit.

Baking tip :

Source - Goodhousekeeping

The temperature drops by 12 * C every time the oven door is opened, so check your bakes through the oven window.

Cooking tip for Rice:

Add a few drops of lemon juice to the water before boiling rice to make the grains water.

Source - Goodhousekeeping Magazine

Unniyappam / Godu Appo ( Traditional method )

Unniyappam / Godu Appo ( Traditional method ) - It's popular sweet in South Indian cuisine !!

Makes: 29


 1 cup / 200 ml  raw rice ( pachari ) Indian standard measuring cup of 200 ml / 8 oz capacity

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

4 - 5 tablespoon ghee

Tip: Better to use small ‘’ unniyappam kadai / kayli ‘’ as it is easier to manage heating evenly - so that the ‘’ unniyappam / appo ‘’ comes out evenly done.

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


Wash and clean raw rice and soak in 3 cups water for 5 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 2 - 3 hours to allow it to ferment.  Unniyappam / appo will be soft and spongy.

Heat unniyappam kadai / appekayli on a medium heat. Sprinkle each mould with 1/2 teaspoon 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.

Mar 23, 2011

How to clean Sandwich Maker ?

How to clean Sandwich Maker ?

Always unplug the sandwich maker before you start cleaning it.

Let the sandwich maker cool down properly in open position.

First remove excess oil from the plates with a piece of kitchen paper before cleaning.

Clean the cooking plates with a moist soft cloth or sponge.

Use a wooden or plastic spatula to remove stick food residues (for example solidified cheese) from the cooking plate.

Never use abrasive pads to clean the cooking plates, as they will damage the non - stick coating.

Storage tips for Eggs:

Keep eggs in the main part of the refrigerator, which is cooler than the shelves on the inside of the door. Store the pointed end of the egg down, so that the yolk remains centered in the shell away from the air pocket at the larger end. Leave eggs in their original dated carton to keep track of when you bought them. Refrigerated eggs can be safely for up to 3 weeks.

Calorie content:

A large egg contain about 70 calories , 6 g of protein, 5 g of fat ( of which less than 2 g is saturated fat ), and about 190 mg of cholesterol.

How to make soft and spongy Appam ?
( Traditional breakfast dish of Kerala )

Please find here recipe !!!!

Mar 22, 2011

Mango Chutney ( Maanga Chammanthi )

Mango Chutney ( Maanga Chammanthi )

Serves: 2

You will need

75 g grated coconut
Half of medium size raw mango, cut into thin slices
1 shallot ( chuvannulli / piyyavu )
6 dried red chillies
3/4 teaspoon salt ( or to taste )


Make a thick paste of above ingredients in a mixer. Do not add water while making chutney / chammanthi. Serve with Rice / Kanji ( Pejje ).

Kanji ( Pejje ), Chawli humman & Maanga chammanthi

New addition in my cookery book collection - Rotis & Naans of India with accompaniments by Purobi Babbar

Rotis & Naans of India with accompaniments by Purobi Babbar

How to store Coriander leaves ?

How to store Coriander leaves ?

Remove the roots and store in an airtight container. It will remain fresh for more than a week.

Mar 21, 2011

Healing power of Dark Chocolate

Healing powers of Dark Chocolate

Source - Reader's Digest

Dark chocolate contains hefty amounts of disease-fighting flavonoids, anti-oxidants also found in red wine and lots of different fruit and vegetables. In fact, it appears to have more flavonoids than any other food. Studies find its anti-oxidants can significantly improve blood pressure, prevent blood clots, slow the oxidation of LDL cholesterol (making it less likely to stick to artery walls) and reduce inflammation. Some research suggests that eating a few squares a day can cut heart attack risk by 10 per cent. Eating dark chocolate can also lower insulin resistance, the main problem behind diabetes.

For the most anti-oxidants, look for dark chocolate that contains at least 60 per cent cocoa.

How much is enough: About one or two squares is considered one serving. You can have one to two serves every day unless you’re trying to lose weight.

Buying right: Buy from a shop with good turnover and look for clean, neat packaging – a sign the chocolate is fresh. Store chocolate in foil and plastic wrap. Chocolate may develop a light coating or ‘bloom’, but this won’t affect flavour or texture.

Other facts:

Dark chocolate is made from the roasted beans of the cacao tree, native to South America. Columbus ‘discovered’ these beans, and the returning crew of his fourth voyage took them to Europe.

Originally cocoa was consumed as a beverage made by combining the ground beans with water. Chocolate was first seen in bar form in about 1910. It’s made mainly from cocoa solids and cocoa fat (aka cocoa butter) plus sugar.

Milk chocolate also contains milk or milk powder. White chocolate (mostly sugar, milk powder and cocoa butter) lacks the cocoa solids that provide the health benefits of its darker cousins.

Cocoa butter’s melting point is just below human body temperature - the reason chocolate melts so beautifully in your mouth.

Bohri Biryani, Lamb ( Mutton ) Paaya & Mini Tandoori Platter @ Express Avenue Food Court, Chennai

Bohri Biryani & Lamb ( Mutton ) Paya @ Express Avenue Food Court ( Nutri 7 ), Chennai

Mini Tandoori Platter @ Mughal Express

Mar 20, 2011

Potato Shallot Thoran

Potato - Shallot Thoran ( Potato ani Piyyava Sukke )

Serves: 2 - 3

You will need

100 g small onions ( shallots / chuvannulli / sambar onion ), finely chopped
2 potatoes, cut into cubes and boil separately
3/4 teaspoon salt ( or to taste )

For Seasoning:

2 teaspoon cooking oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin ( jeera ) seeds
1/2 teaspoon urad dal

For coconut mixture:

1/4 cup ( 3 tablespoon ) grated coconut
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

Mix grated coconut with red chilli powder and turmeric powder.


Heat oil in a frying pan. Add mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add jeera ( cumin seeds ) and urad dal. Saute for 1 - 2 minutes.

Add chopped onions. Fry on a low heat for 2 - 3 minutes on a low heat till light pink in color.

Add boiled potato cubes. Stir well.

Mix with grated coconut mixture and add salt to taste.

Do not add water. Stir occasionally.

Cover with a lid and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes until done / fragrant / water dries up.

Serve as a side dish with Rice.

Crispy Murukku from Sri Krishna Sweets, Chennai

Storage tip for Curry Leaves

Storage tip for Curry Leaves

Have you faced a situation where you prepared a great South Indian curry but while looking for curry leaves for seasoning you could find none. Many of us struggle to find the best way to store curry leaves. Here’s what I do.

Remove every single leaves from the stem. Ensure the leaves are dry ( no moisture on the surface ). Then store them in an airtight container in refrigerator and use as required. I have found that the freshness is retained for more than a week this way.

Mar 19, 2011

Buffet lunch @ Hotel Asiana, Chennai

Buffet lunch @ Hotel Asiana

Hotel Asiana
1/238, Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR), Semmencherry,
Chennai - 600 119
Phone: +91 44 674 11 000

Find here more details

Dal Tadka & Pulao

Meat fry & Chicken sukka

Punjabi Chicken curry

Malabar Fish Curry

Fish tikka & Gosht seekh kebab

Gosht Dum Biryani

Paneer tikki & Keera bonda


Coriander chutney, Tomato thokku and Coconut chutney

Curd rice

Steamed rice, Rasam, Pickle & Curd Rice