Ambode/Kadle beLe vade

Ambode(deep-fried chana dal patties) is a quintessential accompaniment in a traditional iyengar meal for any rice dishes like puLiyogre, mango rice etc.I had been planning to make it for a long time but the thought of deep-frying, had been putting me off ūüėČ With an Ugadi potluck planned, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make this, ¬†with step by step instructions from mom who makes the best ambode!

As with any Indian dish, this can be made with a lot of variations. I personally like to make it with mint. You can also use cilantro, dill (sappsige soppu) if you like the strong aroma, onions can be added( being a tam-brahm, I consider it a sacrilege to add onions to this dish :D). The trick to making crispy ambode is to not let the chana dal  soak longer, one hour of soak time makes the crispiest ambode!


Ingredients : Serves 8-10

3 cups chana dal. (Soak for an hour)

5-6 red chilies ( Use half bydagi and half guntur)

1 packed cup mint leaves, washed and chopped finely.

1 pinch hing

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

2 table spoons shredded fresh coconut

2 table spoons dry coconut (koppari)

Salt to taste

1 tablespoon ghee (optional but recommended)

3/4 – 1 liter oil for frying

In a blender, finely powder the chilies, fresh and dry coconut. Add turmeric, salt and hing. Next drain the chana dal completely using a sieve and transfer it to the blender. Using the pulse option of the blender, pulse the mixture until the chana dal is coarsely ground. Be sure to not grind to a paste, coarse ground dough adds to the crispiness.

Transfer the contents to a mixing bowl and then add the chopped mint leaves, and ghee. Mix thoroughly.

Make lime size balls out of the dough and keep aside.

When the oil in the frying pan is hot and the stove is on medium heat, take the lime size ball of dough and flatten it out into a patty, ¬†making sure the patty is 1/4″ in thickness. Add about 5-6 patties at a time and fry on both sides till golden brown. ¬†Do not fry them on high heat, this makes the outside get brown while the dough on the inside remains under-cooked.

Serve with a full course of tam-brahm meal ;). It also pairs well with ketchup or mint chutney.

Roasted bell pepper and egg plant dip


As cliched as it may sound, I am hooked onto the food network channel. A few stolen moments away from my son, my go-to channel is the food network. I watch all shows on the food network even if the recipe is not vegetarian! One of my favorites is the show Barefoot Contessa ¬†by Ina Garten. She makes everything sound easy. Especially with per precise measurement of ingredients, one can hardly go wrong! Today’s recipe is sourced from the food network site. I can go and ahead and just link her recipe here but I will include it here for convenience! This makes an excellent starter especially for large groups of people.

Ingredients : Serves 6-8

Recipe Courtesy : The Barefoot Contessa

2 medium eggplants

1 large onion

1 red bell pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoon tahini sauce

Juice of half a lemon

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper ( I substituted regular chili powder)

3 tablespoon chopped parsely ( Can be substituted with cilantro)

1 big clove of garlic


Peel and chop the egg-plant into 1 inch cubes. Chop the onion and bell pepper into 1 inch cubes. In a large bowl, add the vegetables, olive oil, salt, pepper, crushed garlic and chili powder and toss well till all the veggies are coated.

In an oven preheated to 400 F, roast for 35-40 minutes occasionally tossing the veggies around. Once the veggies are soft and are brown in color, pulse it in a food processor or a blender along with the tahini and lemon juice. Adjust salt and pepper. Add the parsley and mix well.

Serve with pita chips.

Restaurant style salsa

I have a new favorite blog that I am hooked onto these days. It is the pioneer woman’s blog. I have seen her shows on Food network and love her cool and composed personality. Her blog is full of stories of life in a ranch, her family, their travels and such. Makes for an interesting read.

Anyway, I came upon this salsa recipe from her blog and it is the easiest, yummiest recipe ever! oh and it tastes just like how they make it in a restaurant!

Without any further ado, here it is


1 can whole tomatoes(I used hunt’s)

1 jalapeno chopped

1 sweet onion, finely chopped

1 cup cilantro, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

juice of half a lime

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon cumin powder

Empty the contents of the can into a blender. Add rest of the ingredients and pulse. If you want chunky salsa, pulse only once. Be careful not to pulse too many times either, or you’ll end up with tomato sauce.

You can also add some canned tomato chunks if you like it more chunky. Enjoy with some tortilla chips.

I personally like it better if it has been refrigerated.

Note: if you can’t take the heat, De-seed the jalapeno before adding it to the blender.

If you can’t find canned tomatoes where you live, you can make pico de gallo with fresh tomatoes