Monday, February 21, 2011

Keerai Sadham (Spinach Rice)

Aah, finally a warm weather this week. It was good to experience a quick winter thaw and get a glimpse of spring in mid-february. As soon as the calendar hits March, my mind automatically resets to Spring and its hard for me to put up with snow and sub-zero temps after that. I enter into what I call as "rejection mode". This week was very refreshing, but it was a busy week at work and I actually couldn't really enjoy the weather much. Most of this week, I was coming up with some quick dinner ideas and hardly had any time to cook anything elaborate.

I'm a spinach lover and due to the abundant availability of organic spinach consistently in my refregirator, I usually keep trying different recipes with spinach. I miss all those varieties of greens that I've enjoyed while growing up. After moving here, its just one spinach always, although after a long time I saw murungai keerai (drumstick leaves) in my local Indian grocery. I got this recipe from my mom at a perfect time while I was already looking for a quick recipe with spinach. This is an all-in-one recipe you can just eat without any accompaniments - may be with raita or pickle if needed. My daughter liked it too and I'm thrilled to add yet another delicious spinach dish to my lunch menu. If you are looking for a new spinach recipe, you are in for a treat.


  • Chopped Spinach - 2 cups
  • Uncooked Rice - 1 cup
  • Tuvar dal - 1/2 cup
  • Sambar powder - 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Tamarind water - 1 cup
  • Pearl onions - 10 (or 1 medium onion)
  • Cumin seeds - 2 tsp
  • Shredded Coconut - 2 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Urad Dal - 1 tsp
  • Ghee - 2 tbsp


  • Pressure cook the rice, dal, spinach, sambar powder, turmeric powder together.
  • Grind onions, cumin seeds and coconut together to a coarse paste (no need to be fine).
  • Heat a pan and add the tamarind water, 1 cup of water, salt and let it boil.
  • Add the paste. Mix, cover and boil in medium heat for about 10 mins until the sauce thickens a bit to a kuzhambu consistency.
  • Add this to the pressure cooked ingredients and mix gently.
  • Finally, heat ghee in a pan separately, season with mustard seeds and urad dal. Add this to the rice mixture and mix gently.

Serve hot. I enjoyed with papad!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Kollu Kulambu (Horsegram Curry with mild spices)

My blog was about to go extinct when I suddenly got the urge to get back to blogging. Words have desserted me and I still don't seem to have much to write. Although I seem to have gotten the rhythm of posting atleast once a week, I know that my posts are boring nowadays. I'm still trying hard to get back my swing and I definitely need motivation to get back into writing. For now, these short posts are helping me gain my momentum.

But, I have to tell this - the more I start posting, eventhough I realize my posts are dull, I am slowly recovering my lost passion. I recently read somewhere that one way to get back to blogging is to work on changing the look of your blog than actually posting any. Sounds good! Here I am trying to give a new look to my blog. I changed my title banner today, not sure if any of you noticed. Slowly I'll start working on the other areas too. Strangely, while I published my new title banner today, I was feeling a bit odd. Don't know why. You know how we feel when you get a new haircut and feel a bit odd to walk into the office or school the next morning :) I had the same feeling today - well that made me also realize how much I care about my blog!

This is one of my favorite recipes. I enjoy anything made of kollu - I make a spicier version to go with rice, and a milder version to go with Rotis. For rotis you can make horsegram just the same way as Rajma. Here is a bit spicier version that will go well with rice.

  • Kollu/Horsegram - 1 cup
  • Onions - chopped finely - 1/2 cup
  • Ginger garlic paste - 2 tsp
  • G.Chillies - 3 sliced
  • Tomatoes - 2 medium
  • Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
  • Chilli Powder - 1 tsp
  • Corriander Powder - 2 tsp
  • Tamarind Paste - 1 tsp
  • Corriander leaves - a handful
  • Soak the dal overnight. Kollu takes a longer time to soak and cook. So, leave it a bit longer than usual.
  • Wash the soaked dal, pressure cook it with 1 tsp ginger garlic paste, g.chillies and turmeric powder. Leave it a bit longer than usual time. Make sure to add a bit extra water too for the extra time.
  • After the dal is done, release the steam and drain most of the water into a separate contaier. Set aside.
  • Mash the dal well with a ladle or masher for a few mins.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Fry the onions till they change color. Add the remaining Ginger/Garlic paste and fry for a few mins.
  • Add tomatoes and chilli and corriander powders and fry until the tomatoes lose shape.
  • Now add the strained water from the dal, add salt, cover and cook in medium heat for 10 mins or until the raw smell goes.
  • Add the mashed dal to this mixture, add tamarind water and add corriander leaves - boil for 10 more mins in medium to low heat.
  • Let it sit for atleast 30 mins before serving - to get a better flavor.

Serve with hot plain rice.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cucumber Kosumbari (Fresh Salad with Cucumbers and Lentils)

Oh boy, What a storm that was! Our area is still recovering from a monster snow blizzard that brought 3 ft of snow and below-zero temperatures. Thunder snow is something that I've never heard so far, but witnessed this week. The lightning actually reflects on the white layer of snow and causes a purple/pink color all around for a second. That was really amazing to watch - like the special effects in a movie! Though experiencing a snow storm is fascinating to me, the after effect is horrible. Driving on the icy roads, with two lanes changed to one lane, with mountains of snow piled on the side for the next few days is not fun. This week's storm has given snow that will take several weeks to dissolve.

Alright, here is a fresh cucumber salad that I made recently. Though Kosumbari is a common recipe in southern part of India, surprisingly I've never had it until recently. A healthy snack loaded with proteins. I very much enjoyed it when I had it for the first time at my friend's place. Her mom is a very good cook and I always enjoy her dishes. I tried mimicing her recipe, and I was glad it came out pretty close to hers. Thank you aunty for this yummy and healthy recipe!

  • Yellow Moong dal - 1/2 cup
  • Cucumber - 1 medium sized or 2 small sized
  • G.chillies - 2
  • Curry leaves - a few
  • Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Urad Dal - 1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida - a few pinches
  • Lemon Juice - 2 tsp
  • Black Pepper powde r - 1/4 tsp


  • Cook the moong dal in a little water until soft, but still in shape. You can also just use raw dal soaked in water for a few mins until soft.
  • Heat little oil in a pan, season with mustard seeds, urad dal, asafoetida and curry leaves. Add green chillies and fry for a min and add this mixure to the dal. Mix well. Set aside.
  • Peel off the skin from the cucumber and chop the cucumber to tiny pieces. Spread it in a cloth or paper towel for 5 to 10 mins so the extra moisture is all absorbed.
  • Add the chopped cucumber to the dal mixture, add lemon juice, salt and black pepper powder and mix well.
  • Serve immediately.

You can also use alternatives like raw mango, shredded carrots instead of cucumbers or along with cucumbers.