Radish Sambhar

This is a very straight forward recipe that most of us might know. The reason I post this recipe is, many of my non- South Indian friends are fond of sambhar yet may not know how simple it is to try out. Radish is one vegetable I’ve seen north Indians have as salads but down here we make different dishes out of it. Though I personally like the peppery crisp radishes in my salads I love the flavor of its sambhar as well.


Radish Sambhar
Serves 3
Curry to go with steamed rice...
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
  1. 1. Radish - 2
  2. 2. Onion - 1
  3. 3. Sambhar powder - 1/2 tbsp
  4. 4. Salt to taste
  5. 5. Tamarind - Plum sized
  6. 6. Oil - 1 tbsp
  7. 7. Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
  8. 8. Asafoetida - 1 pinch
  9. 9. Curry leaves - 1 sprig
  10. 10. Dry red chili - 1
  11. 11. Cooked pigeon peas (tur dal) - 1 1/2 cups
  1. Wash, peel and cut radish and onion into thick halved slices.
  2. Soak tamarind in water for 5 minutes and extract pulp out of it.
  3. Heat soil in a pan, saute onion until translucent and add radish to it. Sprinkle some salt and saute for 3 minutes.
  4. Add sambhar powder, salt, tamarind pulp and cooked dal. Stir well adjust taste. Let it boil in medium flame until the vegetable is tender and raw smell of sambhar powder goes off, it might take about 10 minutes.
  5. In a tadka pan heat few drops of oil, splutter mustard seeds, sprinkle asafoetida, throw in red chili and curry leaves and pour over the prepared sambhar.
  6. Serve with hot steamed rice.
Grammars of cooking http://grammarsofcooking.in/
Adikaram: வாழ்க்கைத் துணைநலம்.

Kural: 51

மனைக்தக்க மாண்புடையள் ஆகித்தற் கொண்டான்
வளத்தக்காள் வாழ்க்கைத் துணை.


Wife that has sublime virtues of a household and can spend within the husband’s economy shall be the right partner.



Oats Kozhukattai

Oats as we know is very rich in fiber, low in fat and is a low calorie food apart from being good source of vitamin B1, calcium, iron and protein which is why we prefer it as a wholesome breakfast. What is more convenient about oats is that it suits all ages from a few months old baby to even a 100 years old person as it is simple to digest. Making a relish able dish with it such as this oats Kozhukattai is a real feast for both palate and health.

Serves:  2

Preparation Time:  5 minutes

Cooking Time:  15 minutes

1.      Oats – 2 cups
2.    Water – 1 ½ cups
3.    Oil – 1 tbsp
4.    Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
5.     Cumin seeds – ¼ tsp
6.    Urad dal – 1 tbsp
7.     Green chilies – 3
8.    Curry leaves – 1 sprig
9.    Asafoetida – 2 pinches
10.  Coconut grated – 2 tbsp
11.  Salt to taste


Step 1: Heat oil in a pan and temper with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida, urad dal, curry leaves and chopped green chilies.

Step 2: Add the oats and fry with the tempering for few minutes.

Step 3: Mix grated coconut to it. Add water and salt and mix well to form soft dough like consistency.  Turn off heat.

Step 4: When it is cool enough to handle, mould a portion of dough inside the fist in form of pidi kozhukkatai as in the picture below. Repeat for the entire dough before it comes to room temperature as it will become brittle then.

Step 5: Steam cook the moulded kozhukkatai in a steamer or idli cooker for 5 minutes.

Step 6: Serve hot with any spicy chutney of your choice.

Masaal Vadai/ Gram Dal Fritters

We had a potluck last week with some friends and had prepared masaal vadai as one of the items; Shiva Shankari had mostly made it and it was a super hit item which all of us liked very much. This is a conventional item in most south Indian homes but we at home are more acquainted with medu vadai so its an exiting dish for me. I had tried this once with ‘pattani paruppu’ instead of gram dal, when we had my sister and family at home; it had turned slightly watery and so, thanks to Shankari only this time I learnt it right from her. 
Yields:  35 Vadais approx.

Preparation Time:  20 minutes
Soaking Time: 2 hours
Cooking Time:  30 minutes
1.      Gram dal or Pattani paruppu – 500 gm
2.    Onion – 3 large
3.    Ginger chopped – 2 tbsp
4.    Curry leaves chopped – a fistful
5.     Coriander leaves chopped – a fistful
6.    Green chilies – 4-5 finely chopped
7.     Fennel seeds – 1 tbsp
8.    Salt to taste
9.    Oil for deep frying
Step 1: Wash and soak gram dal (or pattani paruppu if you are using that) for 2 hours.
Step 2: Drain the water completely; leave the dal in a colander for few minutes to drain out water thoroughly. This is where I had made mistake in my first attempt.
Step 3: Save a fistful of soaked dal and grind coarsely the rest of the dal in a mixer jar without adding water.
Step 4: Collect the ground dal in a mixing bowl, add to it the retained whole dal and all other ingredients except oil and mix well. Adjust salt and spices.
Step 5: Heat oil in a deep kadai; take lemon sized ball of the batter and pat into 3″ diameter discs with the help of your palms (use very little water if necessary to grease palms). Fry 5-6 in a batch and repeat for the entire batter.
Step 6: Serve hot as is or with coconut/ pudina chutney.
* Thin discs fried in simmered heat for long time render crisp vadais while fatter ones are soft.
*Vadakari is a spicy curry made out of left over masaal vadai as an accompaniment for aapam or poori or idli or dosa.

Pasalaikeerai Porial

Green leafy vegetables are one of the few rich nutrition sources accessible even to the poor. We see other vegetables’ prices fluctuate between tens and even hundreds due to seasons, supply, political factors and so on; while the green leafy vegetables prices stay almost intact, we only might avoid them during rainy days for hygiene reason. Though low in cost, they are rich in iron, potassium, calcium, vitamin A, phosphorous and magnesium; there are ample of local varieties available in different places and multiple recipes through which we can relish them . This one is a simple and typical keerai porial recipe we’ve eaten as  kids with pappu-chochi (kid’s way of calling dal rice).

Serves:  2

Preparation Time:  5 minutes

Cooking Time:  10 minutes


1.      Spinach (I used pasalai keerai) – 2 cups chopped
2.    Oil – ½ tsp
3.    Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
4.    Onion – 1
5.     Garlic – 5 cloves
6.    Salt to taste
7.     Dry red chili – 1 large
8.    Pepper crushed – a pinch (Optional)


Step 1: Heat oil in a pan, splutter mustard seeds, add broken chili and sauté chopped onion and garlic in it with a pinch of salt until the onion is soft and starts to brown.

Step 2: Add the chopped spinach and stir well; add adequate salt and cook covered for few minutes.

Step 3: Open the lid, stir and cook until the greens are dry outside but still soft and moist inside. Sprinkle pepper at this stage if you want. Pepper can be substituted for chili heat or added just for flavour.

Step 4: Serve with sambar, rasam rice or dal-ghee rice as well.


*Green leafy vegetables require less salt by nature, they are rich in sodium and also they become less in quantity after cooking; so be careful while adding salt. I was given this lesson by amma during my earlier kitchen days yet I learnt only from experience.

Kothu Parotta

Actually I had made it with naan so I should rather call it kothu naan. I have tried to make this not so healthy – damn spicy dish, a less wicked one by adding some veggies [Just a sort of excuse ;)]. The making of kothu parota in the roadside shops while travelling is an attention-grabbing process; the flavour, sound and looks are all quite appealing but the hygiene factor holds us aback. Making it at home with less spice, less oil and some vegetables is a guilt-free way to relish it occasionally. Store bought ready parotas or left over parathas or even rotis can be used apart my my naan version.
Serves:  2
Preparation Time:  10 minutes
Cooking Time:  10 minutes
1.      Naan – 4
2.    Cabbage chopped – 1 cup
3.    Spinach – 1 cup
4.    Tomato – 1 large
5.     Onion – 2
6.    Garlic – 6 cloves
7.     Ginger – 2” piece
8.    Green chilies – 2
9.    Tomato sauce – 2 tbsp
10.Salt to taste
11.  Oil – 1 tbsp
12.Pepper crushed – ½ tsp (optinal)
Step 1: Pile the naan or roti that you are going to use; cut them into small bite sized squares and crush them slightly between fists to soften a bit. In the roadside shops they typically mince the parotas using dosa spatulas in both hands which makes that tak-tak sound. 
Step 2: Heat oil in a large kadai and fry ginger, garlic, green chilies in it and add onion after a minute and fry until it starts to brown.
Step 3: Add cabbage, tomato and spinach and toss well with required salt. Add the chopped naan and mix well.
 Step 4: Now add tomato sauce and crushed pepper if using and sauté in high temperature by rapid stirring. Adjust salt and spices at this stage. Avoid frying too much to prevent the naan/ parota from getting tough.
Step 5: Take out and serve immediately the crisp and juicy kothu parota along with onion raita.