Sunday, June 24, 2012

Simple aval (poha) upma

Whenever we have a late and heavy lunch, or if we go somewhere in the weekend and come back late in the evening, we prefer simple and light dinner. Poha upma would be our choice most of the times. I do it with just onions and green chillies or additionally with some veggies if I have the time and the veggies. This make-in minutes meal could also be prepared as evening snacks for kids with veggies and coarsely powdered nuts.

Things you'll need:
Aval (poha) - 1 cup
Onion - 1, finely chopped
Green chillies - 2, finely chopped
Curry leaves - hand full
Vegetables (carrot, peas, potato) - 1/2 cup (If using potato, cook and cube it before adding to upma)
Salt - to taste
Coriander leaves - few sprigs, for garnishing
Cashew nut/peanut powder  (optional) - 2 tsp

For tempering :
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dal - 1tsp
Cashew nuts - few, broken
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp

Yield - 2 Servings


Soak the aval (poha) in 3 cups of warm water for half an hour or until it turns soft. Drain and keep aside.

Heat oil in a pa and add the tempering ingredients. When the mustard seeds starts bursting, add the onions green chillies and curry leaves. Fry till the onions turn translucent. Add the vegetables and salt, cook them in a slow flame until the veggies are almost cooked.

Add poha and fry until the moisture in the poha is absorbed and the mixture is dry. Switch off the stove. Garnish with coriander leaves and nut powder (optional)

Serve with your favorite pickle or chutney (We have it with sweet and spicy mango pickle ) 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Sura puttu..(Spicy shark hash)

This recipe was one of my favorite seafood recipes since I remember. I still remember my dad getting the whole shark from the fish market, my mom cleaning and cutting the shark, and of course preparing the sura puttu. As a child I didn't really appreciate the effort that's behind this wonderful recipe. I only enjoyed the end product. Only after I started cooking, did I realize the dedication and effort behind each food we prepare and the satisfaction we get when the dish comes so well and gets praised by others. Luckily for me, after coming to US, cooking is not always done from scratch, because from meat to vegetables we get most of them them pre-cut or frozen. We sometime get shark fillets in our nearby grocery store. It doesn't taste as good as fresh shark but something is better than nothing. So we doesn't miss a chance when we see fresh (partially) shark fillets in the store. Sura puttu is always sura puttu, fresh or not.
Now to the recipe..

Things you'll need:
Shark - 1 lb
Onion - 2, medium, chopped
Garlic - 10-15 cloves, minced (or more if you like the garlic flavor)
Green chillies - 5, minced
Curry leaves - a handful
Coriander leaves - for garnishing
Salt - to taste
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 tbsp

Yield - 3-4 Servings


Clean and cut the shark into medium size pieces. In a pan, bring two cups of water to boil. Add the shark pieces with the turmeric powder and cook covered for five mins or couple of mins more. That's enough for the shark to become soft. (If it stays rubbery even after 10 mins, there's no point in using them for sura puttu ). Let it cool.

Remove the skin from the shark pieces, if any, and gently shred the shark pieces with your hands. If you find bones in the shark, don't throw them away. It will enhance the flavor of the sura puttu.

In a deep frying pan, heat the oil, add the onions and fry until golden brown. Add the green chillies, garlic and  curry leaves. Add a small pinch of turmeric powder. Now add the shark pieces and salt.
Mix well and cook for few minutes until the sura puttu is dry.

Serve with rice and your choice of curry or rasam.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ragi Adai (sweet version)

Ragi is one of the nutritious grains that we add to our diet in various forms including porridge, idli, dosa,idyappam etc., It can also be had as 'adai' either in sweet or spicy version. I prefer the sweet version because however nutritious ragi might be, I need something to convince me to eat ragi as a main dish. This is very easy to make and would be a quick fix dinner or evening snack. Kids who love sweet (that excludes my daughter) will definitely love this ragi adai.

Things you'll need:

Ragi flour - 1 cup
Jaggery (crushed) - 1/2 cup
Water - 1 cup
Coconut (thinly sliced and chopped) - 1/4 cup
Cardamom - 1 pod, crushed
Ghee - 2 tsp

Yield - 4 or 5 pieces


Step 1:
Heat the ghee in a pan and toast the coconut pieces until light brown in color. Keep aside. Bring the water to boil and add jaggery. When the jaggery is completely melted, strain the syrup if there are any impurities, and heat the syrup until it comes to a boil. Switch off the stove.

 Add the ragi flour slowly to the syrup and keep stirring until all the flour is incorporated into the syrup and a soft dough is formed. Add the coconut pieces and the cardamom, and mix well. Let it cool. Grease your palms and gently knead the dough to avoid any lumps.

Divide the dough into 4 or five balls. Heat a flat griddle. Grease your palm and flatten each ball into a circle. (The circle need not be very big. It should at least be half centimeter thick). Place it in the hot griddle and cook by turning over every two minutes. You can also add a teaspoon of ghee or oil to the side of the adai so that it wouldn't look dry.

Serve it hot. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

My new crochet project..Baby set

Finally I have finished the baby set for my friend's newborn girl!!!!. I have made a blanket, sweater and a hat for the sweetie. The blanket took me a very long time but the sweater and hat took me only a week to complete.

I should manage to send her the baby set this week. This is going to be a complete surprise for her. I wish she likes them.

I used babysport yarn for this blanket and the pattern is from You just have to register and you can view lots and lots of free patterns. This website was very useful for me to try out new crochet projects. 

This sweater is a combination of two patterns. The top half of the sweater is made using the sweater pattern from The link for this pattern is
The umbrella pattern of the lower half of this sweater and the sleeves are made using the pattern

I was thinking to make a regular beanie but suddenly struck by the idea of ear flap hat. For girls, I think, some extra decorations make them look more cute and pretty. So this ear flap hat would be a perfect choice for baby girls. I got this pattern from

The sweater and hat are for 9-12 months size. But they looked a bit smaller for me. That might be even because its been a long time since I've been with babies less than a year. Hoping to crochet more sweaters and hats if this one fits her and my friend likes this set.

PS: I've added some links for patterns that I could remember, as I have promised.

My next project is a boy's sweater for my hubby's friend who just had a baby boy. Will try to finish the sweater ASAP and upload it sooner.