All posts by deepasekhar

Hello Reader, This is Deepa Sekhar. I do cookery shows for DOORDHARSHAN for the past four years. I've done several live cookery programs. Theneer neram is a live program which brings out best dishes of different varieties. Asathal samayal is also a live program where a dish has to be prepared, at the same time viewer's queries will have to be answered. I have authored a cook book, "CHAAT VARIETIES" and have continuously written bi-monthly cookbooks for KUMUDHAM SNEHIDHI, a prestigious woman's magazine. Also, few recipes of mine have been published in the Kumudam Health magazine and JFW(Just for women) magazine. I've started this blog with my viewers requests and encouragement. I will be sharing recipes from various cuisines using fresh produce. For now, two dishes will be posted every month. I appreciate all the support and encouragement from you viewers, readers and fellow bloggers. Feel free to share my recipes with your family and friends. Please do send in your suggestions. Like.Comment.Share! Thank you, Deepa Sekhar.

Pitlai Podi

Pitlai Podi

Pitlai Podi is a very close sister to the Sambar Powder. 

Pitlai Podi is a very essential powder, a spice condiment in every South Indian Kitchen. Pitlai Podi is a powder which can be used in various ways. A Taste Maker. First, I will tell you how this multi faceted powder is used in varied dishes before going to the recipe. The shelf life of this Pitlai Podi, when kept in the normal fridge compartment is 3 months. A really time saving powder. Make it and store it. Use whenever you want. Enjoy making delicious dishes with this powder. 

Uses of Pitlai Podi

1) When you make sambar using the regular sambar powder, give a little Twist. Use half portion of the regular sambar powder and use half portion of this Pitlai Podi. Add the Pitlai Podi in the end mixed with little water. Boil the sambar after adding this Pitlai Podi for 3 minutes on sim flame. You will get a very tasty Araichuvitta Sambar. Garnish with finely chopped curry leaves and green coriander leaves. 

2) Cominations of veggies for the sambar is 1) Drumstick and small onion sambar. 2) Just small onion sambar. 3) Yellow Pumpkin and Broadbeans ( avaraikai ) sambar. 4) Kadhamba Sambar. 5) White Pumpkin and Peanut sambar. 6) Green capsicum and Tomato sambar. 7) Ladies finger sambar. 8) Cauliflower, Carrot, beans, tomato sambar. 9) Brussel sprouts sambar. 10) Cabbage sambar. 11) Bitter gourd sambar. 12)Mixed pulses and Vegetable sambar. 13) Venthiya keerai ( Fenugreek leaf ) and Drumstick sambar.

3) Next, we Can add this Pitlai Podi as a topping for many veggie poriyal ( curries ) preparations. 1) A little sprinkle of this powder on Potato Fry really   enhances the taste. 2) Add little Pitlai Podi in the end while making Raw Banana Fry. 3) Can use as a topping for Sundal ( pulses stir fry ). 4) Just add a teaspoon of this powder to Beans Poriyal, Ladies finger Poriyal. 5) Use it to enhance the taste of BrinjalPoriyal.

4)Make Vatral Kuzhambu. Add a sprinkle of this Podi in the end. Yumm.

5) Make Vegetable Rice.  Add this Pitlai Podi in the end. Mix gently. Serve with a Raitha and Chips. Superb.

6) Make Brinjal Gothsu, Vegetable Gothsu. Add this Podi in the end. Excellent. Serve with hot Ven Pongal, Idli and Dosas.

7) Prepare Tomato Rasam. Add a dash of this powder in the end.

8) Can add a little of this Pitlai Podi to Tomato Sevai and Vegetable Sevai. 

9) Can add 1 tablespoon of this Podi while preparing Raw Banana Tamarind ( Puli ) Kootu in the end. 

10) Add a Tablespoon of this Podi after making Field Beans(FreshMochai,Avaregalu )  White Rava Upma.

12) Add a tablespoon of this Podi to Sambar Rice in the end. Serve with any vegetable Poriyal and fried appalam ( pappad ) and a curd pachadi ( Raitha ). Amazing. 

So these are some of the Uses of this Pitlai Podi . You can use it in many more dishes. Now let us see the recipe of this Pitlai Podi. Very, very simple. Do try this recipe. Make it, Store it and enjoy IT. 

Ingredients

Coriander seeds – 4 cups

Channa Dhal ( Bengal gram dhal ) – 1 cup

Urad dhal – 2 tablespoons

Dry red chillies – 1 cup ( I have used 1/2cup  of Kashmiri chillies and 1/2 cup of Guntur chillies )

Washed and dried curry leaves – 1 handful

Asafoetida powder- 1 tablespoon

Gingelly oil- 1 tablespoon( sesame oil )

Method

Heat a heavy bottomed, big pan. Add oil. Keep on sim flame. First fry the red chillies till crisp. Remove it from the pan. Transfer to a plate. Next fry the curry leaves on sim flame till crisp. Transfer it to the plate. Next, add the coriander seeds, channa dhal, urad dhal and fry on sim flame to a golden colour. Switch off the stove. Transfer the contents to the plate. Add the asafoetida powder over the fried ingredients in the plate. Mix . Cool well. Transfer the contents to a big mixie jar. Powder little coarsely. Store in an airtight container. Use whenever you want.

Chef’s Tips

1) While frying the ingredients, fry on sim flame.

2) Do not over fry the red chillies.

3) Powdering  the Pitlai Podi little coarsely adds to the taste.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Red Pesto with Broccoli Pasta

Red Pesto With Broccoli Pasta 

I felt this pasta recipe was so very comforting. Simple flavours . Mix this Broccoli Pasta with Red Pesto and ENJOY or mix the Red Pesto little by little with the pasta as you eat. Yummy to the core. 

I have served this dish with Fresh Cut Sandwiches. Serve this pasta with a bowl of hot Soup. Delicious.

Broccoli Pasta

Ingredients

Penne pasta ( cooked ) – 2 cups

Steamed Broccoli – 1 cup

Chopped ( steamed ) beans – 1/4 cup

Peeled, cubed, boiled potatoes – 3/4 cup

Cubed onion – 1/2 cup

Finely chopped garlic – 1 tablespoon

Salt to taste

Coarsely crushed black pepper powder – 3/4 teaspoon

Olive oil – 4 tablespoons

To Garnish

Torn fresh basil leaves – little

Red Pesto With Broccoli Pasta served with Fresh Cut Sandwich. 

Method

Heat a pan. Add the olive oil. First sauté the chopped garlic on sim flame for 3 minutes. Next add the cubed onions. Sauté on sim flame for 5 minutes. Add the salt to taste. Add the steamed broccoli, beans,  and the potatoes. Add the cooked Penne pasta. Sauté gently. Add the coarsely ground black pepper powder. Mix gently. Garnish. Serve hot with Red Pesto.

Red Pesto

One of my very favourite Pesto recipe. I suddenly tried it and came out very well. I have used cashew nut to make this Pesto. A nice drizzle of olive oil over the Pesto further enhances the taste. Do try this Pesto. This Pesto is very simple and you can make it just like that. This Pesto goes well with Toasted Bread, a nice Dip for crackers, a class spread for the  Sandwiches. 

Method

Chopped Cashewnuts – 2 tablespoons

Chopped red bell pepper – 1 big cup

Chopped ripe tomatoes – 1/2 cup

Chopped onion – 1

Chopped garlic – 3 flakes

Dry red chillies – 2 ( I have used Kashmiri red chillies ) ( torn )

Salt to taste

Olive oil – 3 tablespoons

Method

Heat a pan. Add the olive oil. Add the chopped garlic, chopped onions. Sauté on sim flame for 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and the chopped red bell pepper. Sauté on sim flame for 5 minutes. Add the torn red chillies, salt to taste and the chopped cashewnuts. Sauté on sim flame for 3 minutes. Switch off the stove. Transfer the contents to a plate. Cool. Blend it to a nice paste. Pour olive oil on top of the Pesto. Serve.

Chef’s Tips

1) Do not over cook the pasta, the taste will change.

2) Can use any pasta of your choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Verkadalai (Peanut) Chutney

Verkadalai ( Peanut) Chutney)

Oh! An awesome tasting, flavourful, aromatic chutney. Goes well with Idli varieties,  Dosa varieties, Upma varieties, Poori, Phulkas, Pongal varieties and Plain, hot steamed rice with little ghee and a fried pappad and a raitha.

Ingredients

Roast in oil and grind to a paste with little water. 

Oil – 2 tablespoons

Halved peanuts – 1 handful

Freshly grated coconut – 3/4 cup

Urad dhal – 1 teaspoon

Dry red chillies – 5 ( I have used Kashmiri red chillies )

Black pepper – 4 numbers

Jeera – 1/2 teaspoon

Chopped garlic – 1 big flake

Salt to taste

Tamarind paste – 3/4 teaspoon

Asafoetida powder – 1/4 teaspoon

Grated jaggery – 1 teaspoon

Method

Heat a pan. Add oil. Keep the flame on medium. First fry the chillies. Once they turn golden, remove the chillies from the pan and transfer to a plate. Next add the urad dhal, black pepper, jeera, peanuts and salt to taste. Fry till golden on sim flame.  Add the grated coconut and the chopped garlic. Sauté for 2 minutes on sim flame. Add the asafoetida powder. Switch off the stove. Transfer the contents to the plate. Add the tamarind paste and the jaggery. Once the mix is cooled, transfer the contents to a big blender jar. Blend with little water to a smooth paste. Serve with Jeeraga Dosai.

Chef’s Tips

1) This Chutney tastes good only if it is a little thick.

2) Do not season the Chutney.

3) Adding minimum garlic, brings out the flavour of the peanuts.

 

Jeeraga Dosai (Cuminseeds Dosa) with Verkadalai ( Peanut ) Chutney

Jeeraga ( Cuminseeds) Dosai

I suddenly planned to make this Dosai. I felt like making a very different Dosai both in taste and aroma. I made this Dosai for breakfast today. I got bored with the usual Coconut Chutney. For a change I tried Peanut( Verkadalai) Chutney. I really liked this combi.

This Dosai recipe is amazing. Super soft and very refreshing. I have not used coconut in this Dosai. I did not want coconut in both the Dosai and the Chutney. A unique blend of Jeera, blackpepper, green chilli and ginger. Do give a try. I am sure you will simply enjoy this  Dosai. Have it for breakfast or dinner. You will just love it.

Ingredients

Idli rice – 2 cups

Raw rice – 1/4 cup

Urad dhal – 1/2 cup

Thin poha ( Aval ) – 1 /2 cup

Methi seeds – 1/2 teaspoon

Sago ( Sabudana) – 1 tablespoon

Salt to taste

To Season in ghee

Ghee – 1 teaspoon

Jeera ( cumin seeds ) – 1 tablespoon

Coarsely powdered black pepper – 1 teaspoon

Asafoetida powder- 1/4 teaspoon

Curry leaves ( pounded well ) – little

An equal mix of oil and ghee to drizzle around the dosas. 

Method

Wash both the rice, urad dhal, sago and methi seeds. Soak in sufficient water for 4 to 5 hours. Wash the poha ( aval )and soak it separately in water for 1 hour. Drain the water from the rice and the dhal mixture and grind it in a wet grinder along with the poha. Add enough water and grind to a smooth batter. The consistency of the batter has to be like our regular dosa batter. Add the salt to taste. Mix well. Cover and leave it aside to ferment for 8 to10 hours. Mix the batter well. Season. Mix well.

Heat a dosa pan. Grease it with a mix of oil and ghee. Once the pan is heated, sim the flame. Make medium sized little thick dosas. Drizzle  little oil and ghee on all the sides. Cook till light golden on both the sides. Serve the hot dosa with Peanut Chutney. 

Chef’s Tips

1) Do not cook the Dosai on high flame. The colour will change.

2) Adding little Sago will give a nice sheen to  the Dosai.

 

 

 

 

Jhat Phat Paneer Stir Fry

Jhat Phat Paneer Stir Fry ( Quick Paneer Stir Fry )

As the name suggests, an extremely fast preparation. Keep all the veggies readily chopped the spices next to you, you can make this stir fry in a JIFFY. This stir fry goes well with a Bowl of Hot Soup and Crisp Toasted Bread. Apart from the soup and the toasted bread, this Paneer Stir Fry can be used as a stuffing for Wraps and Parathas.Goes well with a Simple Dhal and Jeera rice, Roties, Puries and PlainWhite Rice. 

Especially if you have home made Paneer, it is succulent, soft and melt in the mouth. I had lots of home made paneer. I planned this recipe and Voila the dish came out really DELICIOUS. Happy Stir Fry Making. Enjoy withYOUR FAMILY. 

Ingredients

Paneer ( cut  to  little thick strips ) – 3 cups

Sliced onion – 1 cup

Sliced tomatoes ( de – seeded ) – 1/2 cup

Sliced 3 coloured( red, yellow, green ) bell pepper’s – 1 cup

Minced garlic – 5 flakes

Everest Kitchen King  Masala Powder – 1 teaspoon

Kashmiri chilli powder – 1 /2 teaspoon

Coriander powder – 1/4 teaspoon

Jeera powder – 1/4 teaspoon

Turmeric powder – 2 pinches

Salt to taste

Sugar – 1 teaspoon

Garam Masala Powder – 1 pinch

To Season

Oil- 2 tablespoons

Jeera – 1 teaspoon

To Garnish

Finely chopped green coriander leaves – little

Chopped spring onion greens – little

Finely chopped green chillies – little

Ginger juliennes – little

Method

Heat a pan. Season. First, add the minced garlic. Sauté on sim flame to a golden colour. Add in the sliced onions and the turmeric powder. Once the onion turns transparent, add in the sliced tomatoes, sliced 3 coloured bell pepper, salt and sugar. Add all the spice powders one by one . Sauté  on high flame for 3 minutes. Add the Paneer pieces. Mix gently. Garnish and serve hot.

Chef’s Tips

1) Do not over cook the bell pepper. A little crunch has to be there.

2) Use all the spice powders in minimum quantity. The aroma will be subtle and nice.

 

 

 

Easy Tomato Soup with Jhat Phat Paneer stir fry

Easy Tomato Soup 

A super duper easy recipe that can be made Just Like That. Every one is fond of a hot bowl of Soup. This Soup just has only few  ingredients that are available easily in the kitchen. I have served this Soup piping hot with Jhat Phat Paneer Stir Fry and  Toasted Bread.

An ideal breakfast combo. Monsoon time, make varieties of SOUPS and enjoy with your FAMILY. 

Ingredients

Chopped nice, fresh, ripe red tomatoes – 6 cupsm

Peeled and chopped carrots – 1 cup

Peeled and chopped potato – 1/2 cup

Chopped onion – 1

Chopped garlic flakes – 2

Cloves – 4

Black peppercorns – 5

Cinnamon – 1 very small piece

Jeera -1 pinch

Salt to taste

Sugar – 1 /2 teaspoon

Water – 4 cups

Oil – 2 tablespoons

To Garnish 

Finely chopped green coriander leaves – little

Method

Heat a pressure cooker. Add oil. Add in the cloves, jeera , peppercorns and the cinnamon. Sauté on sim flame for 1 minute. Next, add in thechopped garlic.Saute for 2 minutes. Add in the chopped onion. Sauté on sim flame for 5 minutes, till the onion turns transparent. Add the chopped tomatoes,carrot and the potatoes. Sauté on sim flame for 5 minutes. Add in the salt and the sugar. Mix well. Pour  in the 4 cups of water. Mix  well. Cover and pressure cook for 3 whistles and keep it on sim flame  for 5 minutes. Switch off the stove. Once the pressure releases, blend the Soup with a stick blender  ( hand blender ). Strain the Soup. Pour the strained soup into a pan. Heat the soup well.  Garnish. Serve hot with Toasted Bread and Jhat Phat Paneer Stir Fry. 

Chef’s Tips

1) Can add little butter to the soup while garnishing.

2) Do not make the soup very watery. The Soup tastes great if it is thick.

3) Only use the spices in minimum quantities. The flavours are excellent. Do not use too much of black pepper. It becomes overpowering  and very spicy.

 

 

 

Thengai Araicha Kuzhambu (Coconut Based South Indian Gravy )

Thengai Araicha Kuzhambu 

Thengai is Coconut, Araicha is a ground gravy with spices.  A perfect South Indian Kuzhambu, a specialty from Nellai ( Tirunelveli). Our family favourite. Goes well with plain hot rice and a fried pappad (appalam) or vadaam ( sandige), a nice veggie fry and a simple curd pachadi ( raitha ).

I have used a blend of veggies. Very nutritious. A simple Kuzhambu which has an excellent taste. Can make it just like that.

Ingredients

Peeled and cubed Chow- Chow – 1 cup

Peeled and cubed raw banana – 1 cup

Cubed brinjal – 1 cup

Cooked raw peanuts ( can use cooked white channa, black channa or cooked rajma ) – 1 cup

Sambar powder – 1 teaspoon

Turmeric powder – 1/4 teaspoon

Tamarind paste – 1 and 1/2 teaspoons

Salt to taste

Sugar – 1 teaspoon

Water – 4 to 5 cups

Fry in oil and blend to a fine paste

Oil – 1 teaspoon

Urad dhal – 2 tablespoons

Channa dhal – 1 teaspoon

Methi seeds – 1/2 teaspoon

Dry red chillies – 5 ( I have used Kashmiri red chillies )( torn )

Raw rice – 1 teaspoon

Grated fresh coconut – 1/4 cup

Heat a pan. Add the oil. Keep the flame on sim. Add in the Methi seeds. When they turn light golden, add in the urad dhal, channa dhal, raw rice and the torn red chillies. Sauté on sim flame. Once they  turn golden, add in the grated coconut. Sauté till the coconut turns light golden. Switch off the stove. Transfer the fried contents to plate. Cool. Blend to a fine paste with little water. 

To season

Oil – 1 tablespoon

Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon

To garnish

Torn curry leaves – little

Thengai Araicha Kuzhambu served with Plain rice, Potato Crumble and Onion Vadaam 

Method

Heat a pan.Add 5 cups of water. Keep the flame on high. Once, the water starts to boil, add in the cubed chow- chow and the cubed raw banana. Cook on  mediumflame. After  the veggies are half cooked, add in the cubed brinjals. Cook on medium flame. When the veggies are cooked, add in the turmeric powder and the tamarind paste. Cook on high flame till the raw smell goes. Approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Add the sugar, salt to taste and the sambar powder. Cook on  high flame for 3 minutes. Sim the flame and add the ground paste. Cook on sim flame for 5 minutes. Switch off the stove. Season and garnish. Serve hot.

Chef’s Tips

1) After adding the ground paste, cook on low flame.

2) Can add cubed carrots, cubed potatoes and chopped beans along with the other veggies for a Veggie Thengai Araicha Kuzhambu. 

3) If the Kuzhambu becomes a little thick, dilute it with boiling hot water.

 

 

 

Kaara pori ( Spicy Murmura or Spicy Puffed Rice)

Kaara Pori 

This is a famous Vysial recipe. When you are hungry, have a bowl of this spicy pori. It fills your stomach and is very light. A very enjoyable and satisfying recipe. Best served with a cup of piping hot tea.

Ingredients

Cleaned Puffed rice ( murmura) – 6 cups

Halved peanuts – 1 cup

Roasted, fried gram ( Pottu kadalai) – 1 cup

Paper thin poha – 1 cup  ( thin poha )

Turmeric powder – 1/4 teaspoon

Chilli powder – 3/4 teaspoon ( I have used Kashmiri chilli powder )

Salt to taste

Asafoetida powder – 1/4 teaspoon

Cumin ( jeera ) powder – 3/4 teaspoon

Finely chopped dried curd chillies – 1 tablespoon( mor milagai)

Finely chopped garlic – 1 tablespoon

Finely chopped curry leaves – 1 tablespoon

Oil – 1 teaspoon

To Season

Coconut oil – 2 tablespoons

Ghee – 1 teaspoon

Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon

Method

Take a bowl. Add in 1 teaspoon of oil. Mix in the chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt, jeera powder and asafoetida powder. Mix well. Keep it aside till the time of use.

Heat a big, broad, heavy bottomed pan. Season. Keep the flame on sim. Add in the chopped curd chillies. Fry on sim flame to a little dark golden colour. Add the chopped garlic. Fry till golden.  Next, add in the peanuts, roasted gram, paper thin poha and the chopped curry leaves. Fry till golden. Add the cleaned pori. Sauté on sim flame for 5 minutes. Now add in the dry spice powders mixed in oil. Keep the flame on sim. Mix gently and leave on sim flame for 3 minutes. Switch off the stove. Remove the pan from the stove top and keep it aside to cool. Transfer the spicy pori to an air tight container.

Chef’s Tips

1) Sauté all the ingredients on sim flame. The colour will be retained.

2) Add salt carefully. The pori is salted already and the curd chillies also have salt.

3) Shelf life of this pori is 15 days.

4) Also tastes great with some curds drizzled on top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paal Mittai ( Milk Sweet, Doodh Mithai, Milk Burfi )

Paal Mittai ( Milk Sweet )

A favourite sweet  in our house hold. For years, I have been making this sweet. Very delicious, gooey, soft, only very few ingredients. The cooking time will be approximately 30 to 45 minutes. 

Wishing You All A Very Happy , Safe and a Fun Filled Deepavali.

Ingredients

Boiled, full fat milk – 3 big cups

Sugar – 2 big cups

Ghee – 1 big cup

Besan ( Channa dhal flour ) – 2 tablespoons ( sieved )

Method

Heat a big , broad , thick bottomed pan. Add in the milk, sugar and the ghee. Once the mix boils, keep on medium flame.

Let the mixture boil till it becomes thick. Sprinkle the besan little by little. Cook on high flame. Keep stirring continuously. The mix will thicken and will start to bubble all around the sides of the pan. Take little mix from the pan and put it in a plate. Cool. If you roll it it will form to a soft ball.  This is the correct consistency. Now the Sweet is ready. Switch off the stove. Mix well for 2 minutes. Pour into a greased tray. Cool little. Mark squares or any shape of your choice. Run the knife all around the sides of the tray. Take out a piece . Now you can take out all the pieces with ease. Store in an airtight container. Serve and enjoy with your family.

Chef’s Tips

1) While mixing the Sweet in the end, the flame has to be high. It will splatter. Use an oven mitten to protect your hand. The hot mix might sprinkle on your hand.

2) The texture of this Sweet is very soft and chewy.

 

Katli Kalakand Walnut Lassi

Katli Kalakand Walnut Lassi

From long time I have been contemplating on this lassi preparation. I had some store bought Kaju Katli ( Cashewnut Burfi ) and Kalakand ( Paneer and sugar based Sweet ) at home. I planned to add some Walnuts along with the other ingredients.  Lassi is usually a sweet drink made out of thick, fresh, chilled curds. Very soothing and comforting.  Please try and post your valuable feedback. 

Ingredients

Thick, fresh chilled curds – 2 big cups

Powdered sugar – 2 tablespoons

Crumbled Kaju Katli – 1

Crumbled Kalakand – 2 pieces

Chopped Walnuts – 1 tablespoon

For the topping

Shredded Almonds and Pistachios – little

Method

Take a big blender jar. Add in the walnuts and the sugar. Pulse it for 1 second. Next, add the crumbled kaju katli, crumbled kalakand and the chilled curds. Blend it for 1 minute. Pour it in glasses. Sprinkle the topping on top.  Serve at once.

Chef’s Tips

1) Can add little crushed ice while blending.

2) Do not add ice without crushing. The blades of the mixie will not be able to take it.