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Friday, March 24, 2017


How to make Nartha ilai podi, How to make veppilai katti, How to make citron leaves pickle, How to make citron leaves powder

Citron leaves are known for its medicinal values and  effective for treating nausea, vomiting, and heartburns. Veppilai katti is a traditional tambrahm pickle. This is a powder based pickle, yes, you read it right, pickle in powder form, made by pounding the tangy flavoured citron leaves and some spices. Actually this has NO NEEM LEAVES, but is named so.This pickle will be in powder form and can be shaped to small balls as well. Both Narthai ilai podi and veppilaikatti are same. If in powdered form we say it as Narthai elai podi and if shaped to balls we say it as veppilai katti. It has a longer shelf life.

Some stores also sell veppilaikatti, but they add tamarind and more chillies giving it a brownish red colour.  Personally, I dislike the tamarind taste in this pickle. So, I make this at home as I prefer the aroma of the leaves to dominate and the greenish colour. Nartha ilai podi / Veppilaikatti is tangy flavoured, spicy pickle and makes an excellent accompaniment to curd rice.


Tender narthai leaves (Citron leaves) and lemon leaves - 1 1/2 cups (tightly packed)
Dry Red Chillies - 6 
Omam(Ajwain) - 1 tsp.(heaped)
Crystal salt - to taste 
Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp.
Lemon juice from one key lime or as needed

How to do Nartha ilai podi, How to do veppilai katti

How to do Nartha ilai podi, How to do veppilai katti


Pluck tender citron leaves and lemon leaves, wash well, pat it dry, remove the veins as shown in picture. Keep ready.

Heat a kadai and dry roast chillies for a minute. Dry grind hing, chillies and ajwain to a coarse powder in a mixie. Keep aside. Pulse the leaves, alongwith required salt coarsely. Combine all ingredients and pulse it to a coarse powder until everything is mixed well. Transfer to a bowl, add lime juice and make small balls. 
After drying, the colour changes, don't worry it is edible. Narthai ilai podi / Veppilaikatti is ready. 

Lemon leaves can be substituted for  citron leaves.
Adjust chillies and lime juice to suit your tastebuds.

Done only with narthai leaves.
Curry leaves can be added.
Tamarind and more chillies are added which gives a brownish red colour to the balls.
Some add green chillies. Some add pepper and cumin.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


How to make tri colour bell pepper chutney, How to make spicy tri colour bell pepper chutney

This is a flavourful and easiest chutney with tri colour bell peppers. Goes well as a side dish for all south indian breakfast. 


Tri-colour bell peppers (green,red and yellow) - 3 cups
Tamarind - half the key lime size
Urad dhal - 1 tablespoon
Toor dhal - 1 tablespoon
Dry red chillies - 4
Hing - a generous pinch
Oil - 1 tablespoon
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp.

Curry leaves - few (optional)
Salt - to taste
How to make tri colour bell pepper chutney, How to make spicy tri colour bell pepper chutney,

Heat a tablespoon of oil, add urad dal, toor dhal, hing and dry red chillies and fry until the dhals turn golden brown. Add chopped tri-colour bell peppers, tamarind and saute for a while until you see white spots on the bell peppers. When cool, add salt and grind in a mixie to a thick paste. Temper with mustard seeds and curry leaves.

Serve with idli, dosa, rava dosa, Uthappam or arisi upma.

NOTE : Capsicum can be substituted for tri color peppers.

Sunday, March 5, 2017


How to make bittergourd thokku, How to make pavakkai thokku

Bittergourd, known for its bitter taste is beneficial for health in many ways. I am not a great fan of bittergourd. But, some time back, I had surplus bittergourds and tried making this thokku / pickle. Usually bittergourd pieces are sauteed or cooked covered while making thokku. I tried in a different way of deep frying it. To be honest, after making and tasting this thokku, I really became a fan of this, as it did not taste bitter at all. Now, I buy bittergourds during seasons and make this thokku in bulk and store it for few months. Coming to the recipe, 


Bittergourd - 4 cups(chopped)
Tamarind - Key lime sized ball

Dry roasted fenugreek seeds powder - 1/4 tsp.
Crushed jaggery - 1 tablespoon
Turmeric powder - 1/4 + 1/4 tsp.
Chilli powder - 1 tsp.
Sambar powder - 1 tsp.
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 ladle
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp.
Curry leaves - few
Asafoetida- 1/2 tsp.


How to make bittergourd thokku, How to make pavakkai thokku

Wash and chop bittergourd into thin 1" lengthy pieces. Discard the seeds. Add salt and 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder, mix well and marinate for half an hour. Squeeze well and discard the squeezed water. Doing like this prevents thokku becoming bitter.

Soak tamarind in warm water and extract juice. 

Heat oil in a kadai and deep fry squeezed bittergourd in batches until they become golden brown. Keep aside.

Heat oil in heavy bottomed kadai, add mustard seeds, asafoetida, turmeric powder and curry leaves. Add the deep fried bittergourds, chilli powder, sambar powder, little salt and tamarind extract. (Be careful in adding salt as the bittergourds are already marinated with salt). Cook on medium flame until it is thick, Now add jaggery powder, mix well and cook for a while. When it becomes saucy, and oil leaves the sides, add roasted fenugreek seeds powder, mix well and immediately switch off the stove. When cool, store in an airtight bottle. This goes well with curd rice  and even with chappathis and pooris. It can also be mixed with cooked rice. This stays fresh for more than 2 to 3 months.

Monday, February 27, 2017


How to make erichcha kuzhambu, How to make yericha kuzhambu

Ericha kozhambu is a left-over special kuzhambu. This is made with leftovers after any functions, shraddham, festivals or any special occasions. My grandma makes this in a kalchatti.  She says, if generous oil is used and properly heated, it can be preserved for a couple of days (in those days there was no fridge at home). As everything is re-heated, it gets the name 'erichcha' kuzhambu. The leftovers transform to a kuzhambu with unique taste thus preventing wastage. As the shraaddha leftovers are not given to anyone, this procedure is followed.

Generally, in an Iyengar household, nothing is checked for the taste before offering to GOD/ Naivedhyam. Offering to bhagavan is said as 'kandarulap pannudhal'(கண்டருளப் பண்ணுதல்), which means everything cooked for the day is presented before bhagavan, so that he can mercifully glance them with his divine vision to purify the same.

But as the ingredients in this kuzhambu are already offered and tasted, you are at liberty to check for the taste and add salt, chilli powder or sambar powder if needed.

This kuzhambu has a unique taste. It can be mixed with hot cooked rice and ghee and goes well with adai, dosai, idlies too. Tastes excellent with curd rice. It is almost a forgotten grandma's recipe.

Some people say ezhu kari koottu/ thalagam which is made on Tiruvadhirai as erichcha kuzhambu. But this is different from that, with very little ingredients, heated and heated in oil until it becomes thick . Click here for ezhu kari koottu.


* DO NOT ADD* leftover raitha/thayir pachadi, sweet pachadi, payasam, pradhaman or anything which has jaggery or sugar, milk, buttermilk or curd in it.


Leftover kariamudhu(roast,curry/poriyal), kootu, sambar/kuzhambu, thogayal and rasam
Oil - one /two ladles or more depending on the leftovers

How to make erichcha kuzhambu, How to make yericha kuzhambu

Heat a generous quantity of oil in a kadai, add all the items mentioned in the ingredients, mix everything and allow it to boil in medium flame until thick.


Friday, February 24, 2017


How to make omavalli leaves bajji, How to make ajwain leaves fritters

Ajwain leaves are known as Karpooravalli ilai. Also called as omavalli ilai in Tamil and doddapatre (sambar balli) in Kannada. The leaves are used as home remedy for cough, nasal congestion,cold and indigestion problems. And now to the aromatic, simple and tasty recipe. 


Omavalli ilai / Karpooravalli ilai (Ajwain leaves) - 10
Besan flour - 1/2 cup
Corn flour - 2 tsp.
Rice flour - 2 tsp.
Chilli powder - 1/4 tsp.
Hing - a pinch
Salt - to taste
Ghee - 1 tsp.
Oil - to deep fry


Pluck leaves with stems intact, wash well, pat it dry and keep ready.

Mix all ingredients well (except the leaves). Add water little by little to form a medium thick batter.

Heat oil in a kadai , dip the leaf one by one in the batter and gently drop in the oil. Fry in medium flame until golden brown. Serve hot with any chutney of your choice.