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.

CAG Nectar

CAG Nectar

You all will be wondering , oh! What is this CAG Nectar. C is carrot, A is apple and G is gooseberry. I have used the big Gooseberry variety. This juice( Nectar) is high in Iron, Manganese, Vitamin C and D. Mostly at my home I prepare this Nectar for breakfast. We have this Nectar along with our breakfast dish. Very nutritious. Do give a TRY. 

Ingredients

Peeled and chopped carrots – 1 cup

Chopped ( de- seed , do not peel the apple ) apples – 1 cup

( I have used nice red apples )

De – seeded and chopped big gooseberry – 1

Honey – 2 tablespoons

Dry ginger powder – 3 pinches

Black salt – 1 pinch

Chilled water – 1 cup

Method

Take a big blender jar. Add in all the above mentioned ingredients. Blend well. Serve at once.

Chef’s Tips

1) Do not filter the juice.

2) As an option, you can add a pinch of black pepper powder instead of the dry ginger powder and blend.

 

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Vellai Kovil Briyani

Vellai Kovil Briyani 

Vellai Kovil Briyani served with Fried Appalam ( Pappad) , Fried curd chillies and Tomato Pachadi ( Raitha )

Vellai Kovil is a place near Coimbatore. On our way to Coimbatore, we stopped in Vellai Kovil for lunch. I had an opportunity to taste this Briyani. Their Special Briyani Masala Powder is just Great. A very easy, simple, delightful recipe . Usually this Briyani is served with a raitha, deep fried appalam, and fried curd chillies. Your guests will love this Briyani. Use Jeeraga Samba Rice or Ponni Raw rice. Delicious.

To make the Special Briyani Masala Powder ( You can make this powder and store in an airtight container. Keeps good for 1 month )

Ingredients

Cloves – 12 pieces

Cardamom – 3

Cinnamon – 1 inch piece – 2

Stone flower ( Dagad Phool, Kalpasi ) – 1 small piece

Aniseeds ( Saunf ) –  1 teaspoon

Cumin seeds ( Jeera ) – 2 teaspoons

Coriander seeds – 3 teaspoons

Black pepper – 1/2 teaspoon

Star anise – 1/2 flower

Turmeric powder – 1/4 teaspoon

Chilli powder – 2 teaspoons

Dry mint powder – 1 tablespoon ( Wash the mint leaves well. Pat dry in a cloth. Spread it in a plate and keep under the fan. Dry well. There should be no moisture. Take a big plate. Spread a white cloth. Put the mint leaves in the plate. Dry it in the sun till crisp. Powder and store )

Dry ginger powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Method

Heat a thick bottomed, broad pan. Keep the flame on sim. Dry roast the cloves, cardamoms, cinnamon, stone flower, aniseed, cumin, coriander seeds, black pepper, star anise on simflame till golden.  Switch off the stove.  Transfer the contents to a plate. Cool. Mix in the mint powder, dry ginger powder,chilli powder and he turmeric powder. Transfer all the ingredients into a big blender jar. Blend to a fine powder. Store in an airtight container.

To make the Briyani

Ingredients

Cooked raw rice  ( I have used Ponni Raw Rice since I did not haveJeeraga Samba rice ) – 2 cups

Chopped carrots, chopped beans ( steamed ) – 1/2 cup

Steamed green peas – 1/2 cup

Chopped onions – 3/4 cup

Chopped tomatoes – 3 tablespoons

Pounded ginger, garlic  – 1 tablespoon full

Chopped mint leaves – little

Chopped green coriander leaves – little

Salt to taste

Briyani Masala Powder –  1 tablespoon full

Oil – 2 tablespoons

Ghee – 2 tablespoons

Garnish

Finely chopped mint leaves and green coriander leaves – little

Method

Heat a big,broad, thick bottomed pan. Add the oil and ghee. First sauté the chopped onions on medium flame. When the onions turn transparent, add the chopped tomatoes. Sauté on sim flame till well cooked. Add the pounded ginger and garlic. Fry on sim flame till the raw smell goes. Add the steamed carrots, beans, green peas. Mix gently. Add the salt to taste. Stir. Add the chopped mint and green coriander leaves. Mix well. Add the Briyani Masala Powder. Sauté gently. Add in the cooked rice. Gently mix with a ladle. Cover the pan.   Leave on sim flame for 5 minutes. Switch off the stove. Garnish. Serve the Vellai Kovil Briyani hot hot with deep fried appalam, deep fried curd chillies and a raitha and of your choice. 

Chef’s Tips

1) Add juice of a lemon  to the Briyani after switching off the stove.

2) Can add little golden fried cashews to the Briyani in the end.

3) Keep the flavours mild. Do not add more Briyani Masala Powder. The taste will change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nutty Phirni

Nutty Phirni 

Summer time, I generally like to have something very cold in the evenings, sitting in my front verandah. Last evening, we had my husband’s friends who came home for dinner. I made this NuttyPhirni. We all enjoyed it. Serve this Nutty Phirni with hot, hot Vegetable Pakoras ( The recipe will be posted shortly) . You will really love this combo. 

Ingredients

Full cream milk – 8 cups( full)

Raw rice ( can also use Basmathi rice. I have used raw rice ) – 1/2 cup ( wash the raw rice well. Soak it, cover it and leave it for 1 hour )

( Drain the rice after soaking it for an hour )

Sugar – 1 and 1/4 cups

Milk Khoya ( unsweetened ) ( grated ) – 3/4 cup

Chopped cashew nuts – 2 tablespoons ( soaked in hot water for 1/2  an hour )

Almonds – 10 ( soaked in hot water for 1/2 an hour, then peeled and chopped to pieces )

Water – 1  cup + 1/2 cup water to grind the rice

Saffron -1 pinch( soaked in hot milk )

Cardamom powder – 2 pinches

Rose water ( I have used Dabur Gulaab Jal ) – 1 and 1/4 teaspoons

To Garnish 

Finely chopped pistachios –  little

Method

Take a big blender jar. Add the drained rice, drained cashews, chopped almonds. Blend it little. Add the 1/2 cup water and blend to a little coarse paste. Cover and leave it aside. Take a big, broad thick bottomed pan. Heat the pan. Add the milk. Boil the milk . Once the milk boils, sim the flame and boil  for 20 minutes. Now, add the ground paste. Cook on sim flame for 10 minutes. Stir continuously. Add the grated milk khoya. Stir continuously on sim flame for 5 minutes. Add the sugar. Add the cardamom powder. Mix well. Add the saffron.  Cook on sim flame for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup water. Cook on sim flame for 10 minutes. The consistency of the Phirni has to be like dosa batter. Switch off the stove. Transfer the phirni to another dish. Cool well. Mix in the rose water well. Garnish.  Chill in the normal fridge compartment for 10 hours. Serve.

Chef’s Tips

1) Do not make the Phirni very runny. The taste will change.

2) After adding the ground paste, stir continuously on sim flame.

3) Do not leave the Phirni unattended. It will get scorched.

4) Do not add any other flavouring agents.

 

 

 

Pav Bhaji Parantha

Pav Bhaji Parantha

Pav Bhaji Parantha served with Thick curds, Whole Moong Dhal and Sweet Lemon Pickle. I have kept the Pav Bhaji Filling  in a cup too. 

I made this Pav Bhaji Parantha for breakfast. The taste was just perfect. I served this Parantha with Thick curd, Sweet lemon pickle and Whole moong dhal. The recipe for Sweet lemon pickle and Whole moong dhal will be posted very soon.  A filling Parantha, ideal for the lunch box. The recipe specially for YOU.

Ingredients

To make the Parantha dough

Wheat flour – 1 cup

Maida – 2 tablespoons

Melted ghee ( clarified butter, preferably warm ) – 1 tablespoon

Salt to taste

Water –  sufficient amount to make a soft, pliable dough

An equal mixture of oil and ghee to drizzle around the paranthas

Method

Take a broad, big plate. Add in the wheat flour and the maida. Mix well with your hands. Add in the salt to taste and the melted ghee. Mix well. Make a well in the centre. Add in water little by little. Mix well to a soft dough. Cover the dough and rest for 30 minutes.

To make the Pav Bhaji Stuffing

Ingredients

Boiled , peeled and mashed potato – 1

Very finely minced beans – 2 tablespoons

Very finely chopped tomato – 2 tablespoons ( De – seed the tomato and then chop it )

Peeled and grated carrot – 1

Grated Cabbage – 1 handful

Grated green capsicum – 1

Boiled green peas – 1 handful

Peeled and grated onion – 1

Peeled and grated garlic – 3 flakes

Peeled and grated ginger – 1 tablespoon

Finely chopped green chilli – 1

Kashmiri chilli powder – 1 teaspoon

Pav Bhaji Masala powder – 1 tablespoon

Garam Masala powder – 1 teaspoon

Salt to taste

Sugar – 1 /2 teaspoon

Finely chopped green coriander leaves – little

To Season

Oil – 2 tablespoons

Cumin seeds – ( jeera ) – 1 teaspoon

Method

Heat a big pan. Season. First fry the grated onions. Fry on sim flame to a golden colour. Next fry the grated ginger and the grated garlic. Sauté on sim flame for 3 minutes. Add the minced beans. Sauté for 3 minutes.  Add the chopped tomato. Add in the grated cabbage, grated carrot, grated green capsicum. Sauté on sim flame for 5 to 10 minutes. Cover and sauté the vegetables. Add the boiled green peas and the mashed potato. Sauté on sim flame for 5 minutes. Add the sugar, salt to taste, garam masala powder, chilli powder and the pav bhaji masala powder. Mix well. Stir on sim flame. Mash the mix slightly. After 2 minutes switch off the stove. Add the chopped green coriander leaves. Mix well. Cool the mix well.

To make the Paranthas

Method

Take the Parantha dough. Mix well. Make medium sized balls from the dough. Make small balls from the stuffing mix.  Take a dough ball. Make a cup. Stuff it with the filling mix. Close well. Roll to a slightly thick roti. Dust with maida. Similarly make all the Paranthas.

Heat a tava. Keep the flame on sim. Take one stuffed parantha. Cook on both sides to a golden colour. Drizzle the mix of oil and ghee around. When golden specks appear, flip the parantha and smear little mix of oil and ghee.  Take off the parantha from the tava.Transfer the  parantha to a plate. Similarly make all the Paranthas  in this manner. Serve with thick curds and pickle of your choice.

Chef’s Tips

1) Smear some Amul butter on the hot parantha for that extra taste.

2) Can add some grated  Paneer to the stuffing mix.

3) After making each parantha, clean the tava with a kitchen tissue. The tava will be clean.

4) Make the filling nice and thick.

5) Cut the Paranthas into wedges and serve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pirandai Thuvaiyal

Pirandai Thuvaiyal

Pirandai is a creeper that grows very easily. 

Pirandai is also called the Adamant Creeper or Veldt Grape in English. It is called Hadjot in Hindi. Pirandai has excellent medicinal uses and health benefits. The juice extracted out of Pirandai is used in making Appalams ( Pappads). Pirandai Thuvaiyal when mixed with hot rice and ghee is just, just Superb. Pirandai Thuvaiyal goes well with Crispy hot Dosas, Upma, Phulkas, Mixed rice Varieties and Adai. Pirandai is a very good digestive. Relieves body pain, gas problems and swelling. Use it Twice or Thrice a week. You can just plant it in a pot. It grows just like that. I grow this creeper in my backyard. Fresh tender Pirandai is easy to chop and cooks in no time. Do try and enjoy the Thuvaiyal.

To prevent fingers from itching while chopping the Pirandai, just apply some coconut oil to the fingers. Use only the first 3 segments of the  Pirandai Stem. Use tender Pirandai. 

The Pirandai Thuvaiyal has a nice texture. Grind the Thuvaiyal without much water. 

Ingredients

Pirandai ( washed, peeled slightly and chopped finely ) – 4 tablespoons

Curry leaves – 3 tablespoons

Peeled and finely chopped ginger – 1 tablespoon

Urad dhal – 2 tablespoons

Channa dhal – 1 tablespoon

Cumin seeds ( jeera ) – 1 tablespoon

Black pepper – 1 teaspoon

Dry red chillies – 3 ( torn)

Asafoetida powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Salt to taste

Grated jaggery –  1 teaspoon

Tamarind paste – 1/2 teaspoon

Oil – 1 tablespoon

Water – 3 tablespoons

Method

Heat a thick bottomed pan. Add the oil. Roast the urad dhal, channa dhal, asafoetida, red chillies, black pepper and jeera. Sauté on sim flame till golden. Add the ginger, pirandai pieces and the curryleaves. Sauté on sim flame for 3 minutes. Switch off the stove. Transfer the contents to a plate. Cool. Add the tamarind paste, salt and the grated jaggery. Blend to a coarse paste with little water. Transfer to an airtight container. Serve with hot rice and ghee or any tiffin items.

Chef’s Tips

1) While handling the Pirandai , the hands will be little itchy. Do not worry.

2) This Pirandai Thuvaiyal can be stored in the normal fridge compartment . Keeps good for 2 to 3 days.

 

 

 

 

Paneer Kadhaiwala

Paneer Kadhaiwala

A very Delicious gravy that most of us  Love and most of us order when we visit a Nice North Indian Restaurant. Home made Kadhai Masala Powder further adds to the taste. Do try and please post your valuable feedback. 

First let us see how to make the Kadhai Masala Powder. You can make this  Kadhai Masala Powder and store it in the normal fridge compartment. Keeps good for 6 months. You can also double the quantity of the ingredients and prepare the Kadhai Masala Powder  and store it. 

Ingredients

Whole coriander seeds- 1 cup

Dry Kashmiri Red chillies- 6

Methi seeds – 1 /2 teaspoon

Cumin seeds – 1/4 cup

Black pepper- 1 and 1/4 teaspoons

Saunf – 2 pinches

Method

Heat a big broad heavy bottomed pan. Keep the flame on sim. Add in all the above mentioned ingredients. Dry roast to a golden colour. Switch off the stove. Transfer the contents to a plate. Cool. Powder coarsely. Store in an airtight container.

This Kadhai Masala Powder can also be used for any Veggie Stir Fry. A little sprinkle on the dhal is Yummmm. 

Now, let us see how to prepare the Paneer Kadhaiwala.

Ingredients 

Fresh Paneer – 1 big cup ( chopped to big cubes )

Green capsicum – ( chopped to big cubes ) – 1/2 cup

Onion – ( chopped to big cubes) – 1 cup

Tomatoes –  1cup ( cut to halves and de – seeded, then chopped to big cubes )

Pounded ginger and garlic – 1 tablespoon

Thick tomato puree – 1/2 cup

Thick curds – 2 tablespoons

Turmeric powder – 1 pinch

Kadhai Masala Powder – 1 and 1/2 tablespoons

Salt to taste

Sugar – 1 teaspoon

Milk powder – 1 tablespoon

Water- 3 tablespoons

To Season

Oil- 2 tablespoons

Ghee – 2 tablespoons

Jeera – 1 teaspoon

Broken  dry red Kashmiri chillies -2

To Garnish 

Crushed kasoori methi leaves – little

Just halved coriander seeds –  1 sprinkle

Finely chopped green coriander leaves – little

Method

Heat a non – stick pan. Season. Next fry the cubed onions. When the onions turn transparent, add in the cubed tomatoes. Sauté on sim flame for 3 minutes.  Add the turmeric powder. Next, add the pounded ginger and garlic. Sauté on sim flame for 5 minutes. Add the curds. Cook on sim flame for 3 minutes. Add the cubed green capsicum. Sauté on sim flame for 3 minutes. Add the tomato purée. Cook for 3 minutes. Add the salt to taste ,sugar, kadhai masala powder. Sauté on sim flame for 3 minutes. Add the paneer cubes. Add the milk powder and water. Cook on sim flame for 3 minutes.  Switch off the stove. Garnish and serve hot with rice or  roti.

Chef’s Tips 

1) As an option, you can add little crumbled Paneer to the gravy.

2) When you sauté the green capsicum, keep it crunchy and see that it does not discolour.

3) A little sprinkle of Garam Masala Powder while garnishing enhances the taste of the gravy.

4) Can also add cubed red and yellow bell pepper as an option.

5) The gravy tastes great if it is a bit thick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garlic Cashew Rice with Paneer Kadhaiwala

Garlic Cashew Rice

One of my most favourite rice variety that I enjoy a lot. Again My Family Favourite. You can make it Just Like That. I have served this rice with Paneer Kadhaiwala. Goes well with a simple raitha too. Super Duper Easy Recipe only with Few Ingredients. 

Ingredients

Cooked Basmathi rice – 2 cups

Finely chopped pieces of garlic – 2 tablespoons

Halved cashewnuts – 1 handful

Salt to taste

Oil and ghee ( clarified butter ) – 3tablespoons ( mixed well )

To Garnish

Finely chopped spring onion greens – little

Method

Heat a big broad thick bottomed  pan. Add the mix of oil and ghee. First fry the Cashew halves to a nice golden colour. Keep it aside. Next, add the finely chopped garlic. Sauté on sim flame to a golden colour. Add the cooked Basmathi rice. Add salt to taste. Mix gently. Keep the flame on sim. After about 3 to 5 minutes switch off the stove. Mix in the Cashew halves. Garnish. Serve hot with Paneer Kadhaiwala.

Chef’s Tips

1) Keep the stove on sim flame while mixing the rice to avoid discolouration.

2) As an option you can also add little cooked Green Peas to the rice as a Garnish along with the chopped Spring OnionGreens. 

 

Venthiya ( Methi ) Dosai ( Version – 1 )

Venthiya Dosai – Version 1

Venthiya Dosai served with Coconut Chutney

All of us love Dosai, especially if it is soft, fluffy, porous and if using the right formula, it is certainly a much loved, hit recipe. You might be wondering what is this Venthiya Dosai – Version 1. Yes I will be posting few more Venthiya Dosai recipes with different ingredients shortly. This Dosai is soft and is good for lunch box. Goes well with any chutney , sambar, idli podi and pickles accompanied with a cup of thick curds. 

Ingredients

Idli rice – 4 cups

Whole urad dhal – 1 cup

Thoovar dhal – 1/4 cup

Methi seeds ( Venthiyam ) – 1 and 1/2 teaspoons

Thick poha ( Aval ) – 1 cup

Salt to taste

Oil and ghee ( mixed in equal proportions ) – required amount to drizzle around the dosai

Method

Wash and soak the Idli rice, Urad dhal, Toovar dhal, Methi seeds in sufficient amount of water for 4 hours. Wash the Poha and soak it in1 and 1/4 cups of water for 2 hours. Drain the rice and dhal mix. Grind it in a wet grinder. Add required amount of water. Add the soaked poha. Grind to a fine batter. Transfer the finely ground batter to a dish. Add salt to taste. Mix well with your hand. Cover and leave the batter aside to ferment for 8 to 10 hours.

Heat a dosa tava. Grease it well with oil. Make medium  sized thick dosai. Drizzle the mix of oil and ghee around the Dosai. Keep the flame on medium. Flip the Dosai. Cook till golden on sim flame. Remove the Dosai to a plate. Similarly make all the dosas. Serve hot with any chutney of your choice.

Chef’s Tips

1) Can also make crispy, thin,big roast Dosai.

2) This batter is perfect to make Masala Dosai.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uppu ( Salt ) Appam

Uppu Appam

Uppu Appam served with Green Coconut Chutney

Appam is a delicacy. Everyone’s Favourite. This recipe is a hit in my home. Very crunchy and crisp. If you just take a piece of the  Appam, you can see the inside of the appam is super soft and porous. This appam does not consume much oil. Can have it just like that or serve it with any chutney of your choice. Goes well with  sambar rice, rasam rice, mixed rice varieties and curd rice. Do try and enjoy with your family. 

Ingredients

Idli rice – 1 cup

Raw rice – 1 cup

Whole urad dhal – 1/2 cup

Salt to taste

To mix into the appam batter

Finely chopped green chilli – 1

Finely chopped fresh coconut pieces – 3 tablespoons

Finely chopped green coriander leaves and curry leaves – little

Asafoetida powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Oil – required quantity to deep fry the appam

The Soft Porous Uppu Appam

Method

Wash both the rice well. Wash the whole urad dhal. Soak both the rice and the urad dhal in sufficient quantity of water for 3 hours. After 3 hours of soaking, drain the water and grind it in a wet  grinder. Add little water while grinding. Grind it to a soft, smooth batter. The consistency of the batter  has to be like the dosa batter. Transfer the ground batter to a dish. Cover and ferment for 8 hours.

Mix in the chopped green chilli, chopped green coriander leaves and the curry leaves. Add in the asafoetida powder. Mix well.

Heat a pan. Add in the oil. Once the oil is heated, pour in the appam batter using a small ladle. Keep the flame on high. Splash the hot oil on top of the appam. Turn the appam gently. Keep the flame on medium. Cook till golden on both sides. Line a plate with kitchen tissues. Transfer the golden fried appam in the plate lined with kitchen tissues. Serve hot with any chutney of your choice.

Chef’s Tips

1) Pour one appam at a time. The finish will be Neat.

2) Do not darken the colour of the  appam while frying.

3) Does not consume much oil.

4) This Appam tastes great when it is hot.

 

 

Cashew Coconut Phirni

Cashew Coconut Phirni 

Phirni is a thick kheer. If you chill it, it tastes Heavenly. You can scoop it from the cup and enjoy. I have used condensed milk  for this recipe. The cooking time is only 10 minutes. You can make this Phirni just like that.  Goes well with hot puris.  An excellent dessert with the combination of  Cashewnut and Coconut. A  nutty  flavoured melt in the mouth Phirni Recipe Just For YOU. 

Ingredients

Condensed milk –  1 cup

Sugar – 4 tablespoons

Water – 3 cups

Cardamom powder – 2 pinches

To  grind to a coarse paste

Cashewnuts- 1 handful ( soak in boiling water for 1 hour. Cover it and keep aside till the time of use. Drain and use )

Grated fresh coconut – 1/2 cup

Rice flour – 2 teaspoons

Boiled, cooled milk – 1 cup

To Garnish

Saffron – 3 strands only ( soaked in 2 tablespoons hot water and crushed )

Finely chopped pistachios – little

Take a big blender jar. Put in the soaked and drained cashewnuts, grated  coconut, rice flour. Blend it for 1 minute. Add the boiled , cooled milk. Blend it to a coarse paste. Keep it aside.

Method

Heat a big, broad thick bottomed pan. Mix the condensed milk with the 3 cups of water. Bring it to a boil on high flame. Once the mix starts to boil, add in the coarsely ground paste.  Keep the flame on sim. Add the cardamom powder. Mix well. Simmer for 5 minutes. By now the phirni would have thickened nicely. Add the sugar. Simmer for 3 minutes. Switch off the stove. Garnish. You can serve it hot or cold.

Chef’s Tips

1) I love to chill and enjoy my  Phirni.

2) If the Phirni thickens a lot, dilute it with very little boiled cooled milk. Do not make it runny. It has to be scooped and eaten from the cup.

3) Cook the Phirni on low flame only. It will have a nice white colour.

4) If you want the Phirni more sweeter, add little more sugar to taste.