Spinach and Lima Beans KoLambu/ Kootu

This is a typical Iyengar recipe again and not a common one at that. As a kid I never used to like it because it didn’t have the quintessential ingredient of a sambhar-like dish which was tamarind and sambhar powder! But eat this with rice and some gojju on the side and makes up for all that! This dish is surely an acquired taste ūüėȬ†This kootu/KoLambu/Kuzhambu, whatever the Iyengars choose to call it, can be made with a combination of vegetables.

You can make this with dill and carrots, or averekai/ lilva or cabbage or peas, beans and carrots, the list is endless! I made it with spinach and lima beans the way amma makes it whenever she comes to the US.  I love the raw flavors of dhaniya, turmeric and hing! To make it more healthy and use less coconut, amma uses a handful of almonds.

Ingredients : Serves 4

2 bunches of spinach

1 cup of frozen lima beans

1 cup toor dal, pressure cooked

2-3 table spoons of corainder seeds, dhaniya roasted.

3-4 red chilies

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

2 tablespoons of coconut

5-6 almonds soaked

a pinch of hing

2-3 cups water

salt to taste

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add the toor dal. Let this simmer for 5 minutes. Add the spinach and lima beans. Into a blender add all the dry ingredients with the almonds and grind to a smooth paste adding water. Add this paste once the spinach and lima beans are cooked and add the rest of the water. Add salt to taste. Simmer this for about 10 minutes. If you want a richer consistency, you can add some milk to this.

Sever with rice and any kind of gojju.

Baked Sabudana Wada

The first time I remember eating sabudana wada was at the Rangashankara cafe in Bangalore. This place used to be our favorite haunt during weekends when we would come to watch plays at the Rangashankara theatre. Me and my colleagues would often drop by for lunch on weekdays when our office was closer to this place. We always ordered the sandwich and akki rotti! The akki rotti was made in a kadai and sooo much like the way amma makes it! Anyway back to sabudana wada, the yummy,crunchy sago patties were to die for. ¬†I was always scared to try making anything with sago. I had read too many blogs where attempts to get the perfect soaking of the sago pearls would go horribly wrong. It took another taste of sabudana kichdi at a friend’s house and the exact way to soak these sago pearls from her MIL before I ventured to do it on my own!

The recipe for sabudana khichdi and wada are about the same. If you are trying to make kichdi but it ends up becoming too watery in consistency, just add a bit of rice flour, make patties out of these and bake or fry them to make yummy wadas.

Living in a carpeted apartment, i dislike the smell of oil engulfing the place, so baking is the perfect solution.

Ingredients : Serves 4

1 cup sago pearls : Soak it for about 6 hours

1 potato cooked and mashed

2-3 green chillies finely chopped

1/2 cup chopped coriander

1/2 cup roasted and coarsely ground peanuts

1/2 tablespoon lime juice

Salt to taste

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds/jeera

2 tablespoons of rice flour

Cooking spray or 2 table spoons of oil

Drain the soaked sago pearls and combine the rest of the ingredients and mix well. The consistency should be such that you are able to make lemon size balls out of them. If the dough is a little watery, add some more flour.  Once you make a ball, flatten it out like a patty. Grease a baking tray with oil and place the patties about an inch apart and spray cooking oil on each of them or brush with oil. Bake at 350 F for 30 mins by flipping the patties every 10 minutes or bake until crisp.

Serve hot with mint and sweet chutney or tomato ketchup.

PadavalaKai Kootu/ Snake Gourd Dal

If you haven’t seen or heard of a snake gourd before, you can check it out here. This dal can be served with rice and is a typical iyengar recipe. As the curry blends with the steaming hot rice, it releases all the aromas of the pepper, cumin and hing. The heat of the pepper is balanced out by the soothing effect of the moong dal. Ah traditional cooking was so much of a science!


Ingredients: Serves 4

Moong dal- 1 cup cooked
Urad dal – 1 tbsp
Jeera – 1 tbsp
Fresh ground pepper – 1/2 teaspoon
Shredded coconut – 1/2 cup
Hing- 1 pinch


Pressure cook the moong dal first. Cut the snake gourd lengthwise first into two halves and remove the seeds and the mushy part inside. Then cut the gourd into smaller pieces. Sprinkle some salt on the vegetable and steam it in a steaming basket.
(Some people pressure cook the gourd along with the moong dal, but I don’t since it gets overcooked and loses its nutritional value in the process. Steaming it gives a crunchy taste while preserving the nutrients.)

Dry Roast the urad dal, pepper, jeera, curry leaves,hing and coconut in a shallow pan without oil. Grind this roasted mixture into a smooth paste by adding water.
Mix the cooked moong dal, steamed gourd and the ground paste and allow to simmer for 5-10 mins. Add salt as needed. Garnish with some more cumin seeds spluttered in a little oil/ ghee if necessary, for added taste. Serve with rice or roti.

Vegetable Kebab

It is summer outside which means it is time to grill!! My friends and I have a string of outdoor parties in the summer and one of our favorite dishes to make is veg kababs. Try this simple yet mouth-watering recipe and you will sure love it. Great way to eat vegetables of all kind too.

Slice all the vegetables of your choice into little circles. I generally use red, green and yellow peppers, Zucchini, Potato, Onion, Mushrooms and Red onions.If you are too lazy to cut the veggies, you can use the store-bought pre sliced ones too.

Arrange them within the skewers by gently poking holes through the middle. Drizzle some olive oil ( the olive oil spray works best) and
sprinkle chat masala or any standard mixed spice seasoning powder. Sprinkle red hot chilli flakes for that extra fire!

Grill at 350 degree for about 15-20 mins and it’s ready!

Tip: For extra added taste, you can also add paneer or Tofu if you want to keep it healthy.

Pal Payasam / Rice Kheer/

Pal Payasam is my all time¬†favorite¬†dessert. Tastes especially good when served chilled. Pal means milk in Tamil and Payasam means kheer or pudding. Use jaggery made from dates if you can find them in your grocery stores and you can notice the difference in taste. I used normal cane sugar for this recipe because i didn’t have any dates jaggery on hand.

Ingredients : Serves 2

1/2 or 3/4  litre milk. I used 2% milk. Full fat makes it more delicious.

2 teaspoons basmati rice

3 tablespoons of sugar

A pinch of cardamom

Almonds and Pistachio slivers for garnishing

1 teaspoon ghee/ clarified butter

Wash and soak the water for a couple of minutes and drain it. Take a thick bottomed pan or vessel. Heat the ghee. Add the rice and fry it for a minute or so. Then add the milk and sugar. Once the milk starts to boil over, reduce the heat. Let this simmer till the rice cooks through and the milk has reduced and thickened. The more it reduces, the tastier it is! Garnish with almonds and pistachio.

You can multiply the same quantities for more number of people. This kheer doesn’t need too much sugar. It is a good idea to use less sugar in the beginning and later adjust the quantity depending on the taste.

Serve hot or chilled.

Tomato-Corn Pulao

Packing lunch for office is always a challenging task. We prefer to eat rice for lunch and rotis for dinner. The usual rice and sambar becomes boring sometimes and i make pulao to break the monotony.  As usual I prefer recipes which are easy and simple to make. I finished making this tomato and corn pulao in 15-20 minutes today.

Ingredients : Serves 2

1 cup long grain basmati rice

2 cups water

1 small onion diced

1 clove of garlic

1″ ginger piece

2 ripe tomatoes

1 cup frozen/ fresh corn

1″ cinnamon stick

3-4 cloves

1 teaspoon cumin seeds/ jeera

2 green chilies

2-3 scallions/ spring onions for garnish

2 tablespoons of oil

Salt to taste

Into a blender, add the tomatoes, green chillies, ginger, garlic and spices.  Puree this mixture without adding water. Heat oil in a pressure cooker.  Add the onions and saute till translucent. Now add the tomato puree and corn.Wash the rice thoroughly and add it to the pressure cooker. Boil the two cups of water separately or you can just use hot tap water.and add it the cooker. Add salt and cover the cooker.  Turn off the heat on the cooker after 2-3 whistles. Garnish with chopped scallions.

If you don’t have a pressure cooker, simply cook the rice in your usual way. Use a frying pan to follow the same procedure. Add the cooked rice in the end and mix well.

Serve hot with any raita of your choice.

Radish Raita

This one is by sis again. I really need to figure out wordpress better!

This is an easy to make summery yogurt based dish, good to beat the heat and keep up with eating different colored vegetables. There is not much use for the round red radish in traditional Indian cooking and this is a good way to use it. Also, the attractive bright red makes it a fun eat for kids!

Ingredients: Serves 2

Red radish ( available in most Grocery stores)- 1 packet


1 teaspoon Fresh ground Pepper/ Herb seasoning powder used for grilling. These are available in most grocery stores and usually contain other spices such as lemon rind, sea salt, dried onion and garlic.

Mustard seeds and Jeera

Curry leaves to garnish


Wash the radish and shred it into a bowl. Add yogurt and salt. Then add fresh ground pepper/herb seasoning according to your spice level.

Season with mustard seeds and jeera in oil. Garnish with curry leaves.

Serve with rice/roti.