Saturday, October 27, 2007

Okie, lets talk about Toast, French Toast to be precise!

Now this used to be my another favorite Omlette types. This one being directly on the bread! As a kid, I used to love the aroma of roasting bread with egg on it, it used to be heavenly! Amma used to make this so often, still we never got bored. We always had the sweet ones of course, but I made the spicy ones for hubby dear, which he said tasted very good too. But for childhood memories, I would always recommend the sweet ones.

Not sure why this is called French toast, yet to have time to google it. But this is a sure win dish for any kid. Which is surprising, because am yet to make this for my daughter. I tell you, this blogging has come into our lives so much that we start thinking in terms of which event is going on and what we should prepare for it. Of course we want to prepare it for our family so that because of the event they get to enjoy the food. (was I convincing???) Anyways, Kanchana's theme has been wonderful because I remembered this and was happy that I made for hubby dear. He was very surprised and was curious to know what went in to the dish. And said I should make for my daughter.
Ingredients Needed:

Eggs - 3 nos
Bread slices - 4
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Milk - 1 cup
Ghee/ Butter - 1 tsp

For sweet version, add required quantity of sugar.


Method to prepare:

Add salt and pepper to milk. Mix well. Then break the eggs and whisk it well with fork.

Heat a non-stick pan. Spread ghee on the pan. Trim the sides of the bread and dip in the mix and place on the hot pan.

Sprinkle ghee on top and turn to the other side. This only needs 2 secs of cooking. Turn around and pour some more egg on top if you want.

Remove and serve hot!

Well I just can't stop myself from sending this to Kanchana's party!

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Eggsuse me ! How do you want your Omlette please?

That's exactly what I ask hubby dear every time I want to make him Omlette! Bread and Omlette used to be my most favorite breakfast dish when I used to eat Egg. If I ever miss anything of non-veg, it must be this. So imagine my surprise when hubby dear refused to eat this. Said he ate this all through the 4 years he was in Delhi and his cook killed it the most horrible way. So he decided never to eat this again. It took me 4 another years for me to convince him to have this for breakfast. So when we were making this again I remembered the other times I used to have and felt nostalgic. During the time I stopped, my uncle was staying with us and he complained that their egg supply got stopped because I stopped and Amma stopped preparing at home. It wasn't intentionally but it just stopped, so Amma had remember that she had to prepare it for others at home. Remembering that still brings me so much joy!

Well the first time I ever made to hubby dear after convincing him otherwise, I gave him a salty Omlette! Imagine my luck, I didn't beat properly and salt all stayed in one place. So since then for sometime, whenever I ask him how he wants his Omlette, he says the same, Onions with loads of chillie with sunny side and no salty one please! So I chop Onions into fine pieces and chillies as fine as you get and ensure I get the sunny side too and make sure I beat the hell out of it!

Here I go with my version of typical South Indian Omlette!

Ingredient Needed:

Eggs - 2
Onion - 1 big
Green Chillies - 2 long
Salt to taste
Pepper powder
Oil - 1 tbsp
Ghee/ Butter - 1 tsp
Coriander leaves (optional)
Milk - 2 tbsp

Method to prepare:

In the mixing bowl, take milk and mix well with salt. Then break the eggs into it and beat it with fork. This way air moves in and makes the egg fluffy.

Then chop onions and chillies to fine pieces. If you are adding coriander, then make that fine too..Add all these to the beaten egg.

Meanwhile, ensure you have a hot non-stick pan on flame. Spread oil evenly, best way to get a non sticky omlette is to have an evenly spread pan, preferably made one omlette already. Since this is not possible at home, I make sure I all areas with oil.

Check and pout the whole content to the pan. Keep on high and within secs, make a shush and turn it around. Spread ghee or butter to the sides and top. Turn around immediately and sprinkle pepper just before taking it out.

Must be wondering why so much for a simple omlette, but I believe me getting a perfect Omlette is equal to a full meal course!

Sending this to the lovely Kanchana who is hosting Weekend Breakfast Blogging #16, created by Nandita Saffron Trail. This month's theme is Omlette!

Catch you tomorrow, will be back with my once upon a time favorite Egg based breakfast!

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Few of this and Few of that ~ All for Blog Events!

Well, finally I have been able to target both in one shot, had either one been something different may not have been possible. Somehow the entire month just flew with some work or the other and couldn't find time to hunt for peaches. And my saffron box got over and didn't really remember to get a new one. And all the blogs were coming with their own creations and I couldn't get one! I looked for fresh ones but not able to find and Lakshmi suggested I try Ooty Peaches. But none were available. Mansi also was nugging me. Not that I didnt want to send in one!

Somehow I decided I will get both today and prepare something new. I prayed I should get these in the super market. Got hold of the saffron and came out to the fruits shop only to be told not available. Again I barged in and tried to get hold of a canned one as Mansi said I can or rather should try canned ones too. Thought it was too big a tin but guess will come up with something new after the round up.

On the way home I was thinking of the title of this post and something stuck as "For one Sexy Siren and an English Teacher". (Mansi and Sunitha, no offense meant please, I meant in the most nicest way..:)..pls do say you gals won't mind this.) Well I really cant say that out right. So thought of some thing else that might be catchy.

Here is the canned tin of peaches.

Now that I got hold of the necessary things, preparing something out of this is another task. Luck seem to be on my side. Hubby dear went out and kids behaved themselves. I was able to dish out this.


Took 1 & 1/2 peaches, added some 6 saffron strands along with 2 tsp sugar and microwaved it for 2 mins. Then mashed it well and cooked on stove.

Topped it over biscuits and just eat. Well if Bee can dish up some smart ones.. why not I in the moments of dire needs of a friend!

Sending this to Mansi for AFAM which is on Peaches this time and Sunita's Thick Spice ..Thick Saffron.

Girls will send the entries tomorrow as its 11.30 pm my time and I am typing away mad! Good night!

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A Vegetarian Meal!

Its been really long time since I planned to prepare vegetarian meal for a Sunday afternoon. I got the opportunity this Navartri season as folks at home stayed away from meat. So wanted to try Veg dishes and impress hubby dear with something new. I always get this urge whenever I see Viji blogging away on her weekend brunches. Of course I don't have so much patience or even knowledge on so many Veg course to dish out a Vegetarian Meals as she does. But I found my opportunity and tried the best I could. Result was just so nice. Hubby dear confessed that he was so drowsy after eating that he slept through the afternoon, including all other elders at home!

Ok coming to the menu, of course I had few things in mind but had been planning to prepare this type of Sambar for so long that I was so happy that I finally did make it. But as usual when I am preparing anything new I need to confirm with Amma for the measurement. She is always so correct with each one, I am so amazed. She told me exactly how much I should used for how many people. I chose Arachivita Sambar, one I had been planning for so long. I planned to prepare it with just small Onions / Shallot. Then remembered that I had brinjal. Amma said that will be very tasty, so settled for . I was happy that I finally was able to prepare this sambar and everybody at home just loved it. Of course in the hurry, I missed out one major ingredient. But the result was so good that we didn't notice the lack.

Parrupu usili has always been my favorite dish. The last time I prepared for my family was some 2 years back when I had invited everybody home and prepared so much. I didn't without consulting Amma and made it quite spicy. But this time, came out perfectly correct to our taste. I prepared Kesari Bath for Neivedyam which was served as sweet. Hubby dear got in Gulab Jamun and Ice cream for dessert, which made everything so heavy in the end. He said this veg meal turned out more intoxicating than a non-veg one. I was so glad to hear that.


Arachiveta Sambar, Pepper-Cumin Rasam (Melagu Jeeragam Rasam), Beans Parrupu Usili with Plain rice and curds.

I completed everything on time and even had some time left for the photo session, but unfortunately at that moment we had some unexpected guests and I was pressured to take a hurried shots. So in that hurry, forgot to assemble the Kesari Bath for the picture. Athamma said I should include that and take another photo, but I was too exhausted to do anything else after that.

Arachiveta Sambar

Preparation Time : 10 mins
Cooking Time : 20 mins
Cuisine : Tamil Nadu

Ingredients Needed:

Tur Dal - 100 gms
Brinjal - 200 - 250 gms.
Tomatoes - 2 medium
Small Onions - 50 gms
Garlic pods - 2
Tamarind - size of a lemon.
Turmeric powder a pinch
Oil - 2 tsp
Water as required
Coriander leaves few
Salt as per taste

Ground Masala -

Tur Dal - 1 tbsp
Bengal Gram - 1 tsp
Dhania - 1 tbsp (this is what I forgot)
Urud dal - 1 tsp
Red Chillies - 5 long
Fenugreek - 3/4 tsp
Pepper - 10 corns
Cumin - 1/2 tsp
Fresh coconut - 50 gms (Kopra or Dried coconut can also be used)

Seasonings
Mustard + Urud + Cumin + Fenugreek - 1 tsp
Curry leaves few
Asafetida a pinch

Method to prepare:

Preparatory things first.

Soak tamarind in water. Pressure cook Tur dal with turmeric and 2 drops oil for 3 whistles or till dal is cooked.

To prepare Ground Masala

Heat a Kadai with 1 tsp Oil and roast all the ingredients till you get a nice aroma from it. Take care not to burn any of them. Once cool, grind to a fine powder. I guess normally its ground with water. I didn't ground to a fine powder. Since coconut is there it was quite oily.

Chop onions, tomatoes to fine pieces. Cut brinjal and soak in water so that it doesn't turn black.

Heat a pan with oil and add the seasonings.Once they sputter, add onions, garlic. Once they are fried, add the chopped brinjal. cover with lid, sim and cook for 5 mins or till cooked. Then add tomatoes, cook in sim for few mins.

Extract pulp from tamarind. Add to the pan along with salt and required water. Bring to boil. Then add cooked dal and the ground masala powder.

Add chopped coriander leaves and cook on high till you get a thick consistency.

Beans Parrupu Usili goes very well with Sambar.

Enjoy

The lovely Margot @ Coffee & Vanilla is hosting Vegetarian Awareness Month. I am sending this Vegetarian Meal to their event.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Vijaya Dashami festival Food and a sweet gesture!

There are couple of festivals for which Amma makes the entire meal as Neivedyam and offer for pooja. From childhood, I have always remembered and associated different festivals with different goodies that get prepared. And we get to have them only the next season! So its always been something we look forward to. Like Poli gets done only for Ugadi and Kudumulu for Ganesh Chatruthi etc. During the season, Amma used to prepare lot of sweets and savory items too. She will start well ahead of the festival with preparations and do everything on daily basis.
As a kid I remember waiting eagerly for her to give me some for eating. But since it can't be eaten without being offered to God, I used to pester her and then once done, used to gulp everything down. I used to eat only the snacks the entire time it was available. I used to be so trilled. I can still remember the different types of murukus that gets done. God it used to be wonderful! Later as I grew up, I used to help out with the preparations and even that used to be fun. I guess even now I might still have the same enthusiasm, only we stopped making all these traditional goodies at home as it takes too much of Amma's time.
Dad and hubby dear decided that we might as well buy from outside. It was like when we were kids there weren't that many good shop from where you can get quality stuffs. Off late the city is full of very good ones. And we need not really sweat so much. But I wonder how much fun my kids are missing out. I haven't really seen my daughter breaking down with excitement at anything except maybe for very few items that she likes. Maybe the fault remains in me not preparing anything exciting for her to comment on, because when I tried out that Salt Diamonds she was very excited and all eager to eat it. So next festival that's coming I am going to try my hands on at least one traditional goodies.

Now coming to the festival foods that Amma makes, the one dish that features a lot has always been Pachimirapakay Pappu or Tor Dal with Green Chilies. Well she used to prepare Gatti Pappu with Green chilies (Getti/ Gatti means thick in Telugu), so I have always been used to eating this dal only during festival lunch and imagine my surprise when I saw that my in-laws make this very frequently.
In the beginning I used to get vexed with the menu they rant away. It used to be always Pappu with Red chillies or Green or Brinjal or Mangoes. Name a vegetable, Athamma will come out with a Dal combo of that. Now I am kind of used this. And though I prepare this dal frequently, and love the dal that Athamma makes, I still think that it lacks the one thing that separates it from the memory of what I have. The special something that I find missing in this dish. Maybe its to do with the festive mood and the time we have to wait finally to eat, it used to be heavenly in a different way!

So here is Pachimirapakaya Pappu that I prepared for Vijaya dashami. Best combo for this would be Onion bajji or Chilli bajji. Just love the combo!

Ingredients Needed:

Tur Dal - 100 gms
Green chillies - 5 -6 (depending on your choice)
Tomatoes - 2 medium
Turmeric a pinch
Tamarind - 1 piece
Coriander leaves few
Salt to taste

Seasoning

Mustard seeds + Urud dal - 1/2 tsp
Onions - 1 small
Curry leaves
Garlic pods - 4
Oil - 1 tsp

Method to prepare:

In a pressure cooker, take all ingredients except seasoning ingredients, salt, add enough water to cover it well. Pressure cook for 4 -5 whistles.

Once the pressure is off, remove the lid, drain the water to a bowl along with the green chilies. Take the pappu guthi and mash everything well. Add salt and adjust spice, if you want more spice to be added, add green chilies back and mash again. Pour back the dal water to the dal.

Heat a pan with oil and sputter with mustard, urud and sauté onions and garlic well. It can even be little browned.

Tamper this to the dal and let it cook on high flame with salt. Cook till the dal is reduced to required consistency. We normally serve a thick dal with rice.

Dal is ready to be served. This is normally served with rice, but its know to taste great with Dosa and Chapatis too.

A Sweet Gesture.

Blogging has brought many wonderful people my way. Though we may really not be able to meet everybody, their gestures and actions goes long way in assuring that this place is really still sweet enough for us not to get dejected.






I felt real joy and proud when Padmaja of Spicy Andhra sent me a lovely mail appreciating my daughter. Not being satisfied with words, she was showing her appreciation through actions. Padmaja sent these to Anjana, who was really trilled and excited. I even felt a pang that I wasn't a kid anymore to enjoy these. They are so lovely. Best part was she sent things in her favorite colour. Each item was so beautiful.

Thank you padmaja. It was really so sweet and kind of you to take such pains in sending these to my daughter. It means a lot to me.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Vijaya Dhasami Pooja!

Vijaya Dashami is celebrated grandly in my in-laws place. Though Amma also makes special lunch for this, we don't go beyond the usual vada payasam tradition.But its also very special because my brother was born on a Vijaya Dashami, so he gets to celebrate two birthdays! Well celebrating birthdays were a big thing when you are a kid. It matters how you celebrated and what all you did. Mine of course was a non - holiday day, so I always went to school on mine, but brother dear got two birthdays, his calendar birthday usually used to fall on a regular day and Amma also makes special stuff on this day because of this occasion. Those were the days of past, as a kid you don't know and feel hurt that you don't get to celebrate like that. Now I wouldn't want to even think of my birthday, not that I am against letting people know my age but for the simple factor that another year of our life has just passed by. I am of the opinion people shouldn't ask a lady her salary and a guy his age!

Well that's about memories from childhood. These days its pretty much cool about it. As I said my in-laws have sweet poli included for all festivals, but for this they also do other stuffs. So since Athamma spends and puts in lot of effort, I also got involved and helped her out. She got up pretty early and completed most of the dishes and I had only the sweet poli to do. Kids give us some break early morning so I managed to do some for the pooja and did rest when they again took a nap.

Neivedyam ~ Poli, Chirtananam, VenkayaUrlageda Kura, Pachimurapakaya Pappu,

Our tradional festival food always has Pachimirappakaya Pappy (Green Chillie Dal) along with Rasam or Chaaru with Vada and payasam. But Meddu Vada is something that I am yet to try my hands. Also hubby dear wanted Masala vada for the green chillie dal. So prepared that as there was no Poriyal for the dal. Since I am used to eating the green chili dal usually on a festival day, getting used to eating this every other day was quite difficult for me. Amma usually makes this dal only on festival day for Neivedyam but Athamma makes this very frequently. So I make this often too for hubby dear. We are more used to Endimirapakaya Pappu. Though the difference is only the Chilli variety, it makes lot of difference to the taste.



Our lunch ~ Poli, Chirtananam, VenkayaUrlagadda Kura, Pachimurapakaya Pappu, Masala Vada, Poli Chaaru. Plain Rice and Yogurt.

Will post the recipes later.

I am sending this to Vee who is hosting the The Jihva Special Edition : Festive Series.



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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sakkarai Pongal | Chakkara Pongal Recipe | Bellam Paramannam | Ayuda Pooja Celebrations!

Living in Tamil Nadu for over two decades, I realise we are more inclined in observing customs followed locally than in Andhra from where my parents came. However, after marriage I find that it's great in many ways that your spouse comes from another state, bringing in customs and traditions along. In that way I get to celebrate festivals in both ways.

In my previous company, we had holiday for both Ayudha Pooja and Vijayadasami. So the day before Ayudha Pooja, we used to have elaborate celebrations, followed by the pooja performed in the afternoon. Once pooja is done, it's customary that we do not disturb the systems/objects, which meant we get the time off after that. We found that part most interesting as we end up chatting and fooling around. On the day of the festival we celebrate at home.

Ayudha Pooja celebrations are always celebrated with much enthusiasm and joy at home. We clean and decorate the vehicles with flowers, Kunkum and Sandan. We keep lemon under each type of the vehicle and then once the archana is given, we had to run over it. It used to be fun when the lemon are not run over correctly, and slips. It's even more fun trying to catch the running lemon.

One of the customary neivedyams will be of puffed rice mixed with jaggary and fried gram mixture. Along with this, for the lunch it is always an elaborate feast that's done. For this year's pooja, I prepare Bellam Paramannam or Chakkara Pongal.


Neivethyam - Fruits, Puffed Rice, Bellamannam with flowers and Kunkum

Sakkarai Pongal | Chakkara Pongal Recipe | Bellam Paramannam


Ingredients needed:

Rice - 1 cup
Bengal gram / Yellow moong dal - 1 tbsp
Jaggary - 1 & 1/2 cup
Ghee - 2 tbps
Cardamon - 2

Garnishing

Roasted Cashew nuts & Raisins


Method to prepare:

Clean and soak rice and dal for 10 mins. Pressure cook the rice with Cardamom for 2 whistles.

Cook jaggary in water to remove impurities. Then cook on high flame till it thickens a bit.

Once the pressure is down, add the jaggary water to the rice. Pressure for another 1 whistle.

Heat a pan with 2 tbsp ghee, roast cashew nuts and raisins. Garnish to the pongal.


Bellamannam / Sakkarai Pongal is my entry for RCI : Tamil Festival.

This is also going to Vee who is hosting the The Jihva Special Edition : Festive Series.

Tomorrow will be back with details on Vijaya dashami.

Happy Vijaya Dashmi to all!

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Onion Chutney!

This is a very simple chutney but so tasty I couldn't believe till I actually had and also came back to prepare at home. Whenever this is made along with dosa or Idli, I never liked to eat it but somehow that day I just wanted to see how it would taste. It was something out of the world. You should try this and enjoy!

Ingredients Needed:

Onions - 2 medium
Tomatoes - 1 medium
Red Chillies - 5 nos
Urud Dal - 2 tbsps
Hing / Asofotedia - a pinch

Seasoning

Mustard + Urud Dal - 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves few
Hing / Asofotedia - a pinch

Method to prepare:

Chop Onions and tomatoes to fine pieces.

Heat a kadai with 1 tbsp Oil. Once its hot, add Hing. Then roast red chillies, Urud dal, Onions and tomatoes separately.

Once its cool, run it in the mixie till the Urud dal is ground. Add little water to get a liquid form.

Season this with mustard and curry leaves. If you prefer add hing.

I added little more tomatoes the first time. That was also very tasty. But since this is called onion chutney, makes sense to have more of Onions!

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Lunch Box Series : LBS#14

Off late my lunch box seem to have mostly sambars! I know it's high time I change to a new menu. However today's menu was something I had been planning for many days. I wanted to prepare this Artikaya Fry / Plantain Stir Fry since JFI Banana. But could not prepare as I somehow never went vegetable shopping. Amma knows that Plantain and Arbi stir fries are my favorite ones. So she used to ensure I get this every week. But Athamma is not aware and so this never gets featured in our list.

When this weekend I happened to get the vegetables, I saw the plantain and remembered the many occasions Amma used to make it for me and I was nostalgic stuck. I had to buy this and prepare. Making this prefect is also quite difficult as we must have patience to keep stirring it and ensure it's not overcooked. When this plaintain fry is made in right way, there is nothing to beat it. You need to cut the plantain to small pieces but not very small. In Kadai just add that and with oil keep stirring it well. This takes some time maybe around 30 mins or so. But once we add the spices, we need to keep stirring. The result is, you get to bite on a mixture of crispy pieces and soft ones.


This goes well with Mullangi Sambar. Dad generally doesn't prefer Radish / Mullangi. When we ask for reasons he says he has one Mullangi at home so why he needs another! Well Amma's surname is that. Even hubby dear doesn't prefer Mullangi. I also know one other dear friend who dislikes Radish and Sambar. And now I have combined both into one dish, she may run away from this post entirely..:(...But Amma's Mullangi Sambar is not your regular one!

Another incident that comes to mind when I think of Mullangi Sambar is one fine afternoon we spent in Connur during our holidays. After a tiring travel, we reached the guest house to be welcomed by a hot meal prepared by the care taker. It was a chill afternoon and he brought in piping hot sambar with flumes escaping all over. Ahh! the taste of that Sambar could've well taken us to heaven. I think I hear Bee murmuring how can sambar take one to heaven, well don't worry Bee, I will give the address of that Caretaker. You can check for yourself...:)

Since hubby dear doesn't like Plantain Stir fry, prepared Bitter gourd Stir fry for him. He is so very fond of this that I really cant explain. I am yet to acquire the taste of this. I think by the time my daughter gets to the age of eating veggies properly I should eat it else I can't really tell her to eat right!

Today's Lunch Box had

Mullangi Sambar / Radish Sambar
Plain Rice
Kakara Kaya Vepudu / Bitter Gourd Stir Fry
Artikaya Fry / Plantain Sit Fry
Seasoned Curd Rice.

Mullangi Sambar

Preparation Time : 15 mins
Cooking Time : 15 mins

Ingredients Needed

Toor Dal - 1 cup
Mullangi / Radish - 150 gms
Sambar Onions - 100 gms
Sambar Powder - 1 tsp
Tomatoes - 2 medium
Tamarind pulp - small lime size
Coriander Leaves - few chopped
Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt to Taste
Turmeric a pinch

For Seasoning

Mustard Seeds + Urud Dal + Fenugreek - 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves - few
Garlic - 4 pods

Method to Prepare:

Clean Toor Dal and pressure cook it with 2 drops of Oil and turmeric. This makes it cook fast. Keep it for 1 whistle. Remove and let it cool down.

Chop Radish into 1" circles. Pressure it with Dal for another whistle. Keep it aside

Soak tamarind and extract pulp from it.

Soak Shallot (Sambar onions) for 5 mins, this way the skin comes out easily. Chop Onions and tomatoes.

Heat oil in a pan, add the seasoning ingredients. Then add chopped onions. Sauté till they are cooked, add tomatoes, Sambar powder. Cook till the tomatoes are soft.

Then add the cooked toor dal with Mullangi, tamarind pulp. The dal should be well cooked. We usually mash with pappu guthi, which a long wooden stick like ladle.

Cook on high flame for 5 mins, then simmer for 10 mins till its cooked well. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Kakara Kaya Vepudu / Bitter Gourd Stir Fry

Bitter Gourd - 150 gms
Onion - 1 small
Salt to taste
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Oil - 2 tsp


Seasoning

Mustard Seeds + urud dal
Curry leaves

Garnishing
Groundnut powder/ Fried gram dal powder - 1 tbsp

Method to prepare:

Chop Onion into fine pieces.

Grate the outer skin and trim the ends of the Bitter gourd. If the seeds are hard, you need not add. But hubby dear likes everything in this karela.

Cut into small pieces or as per wish. I make it circles but Athamma chopped it very finely.

Heat oil in a kadai and sputter mustard and curry leaves. Then sauté the onions till they are brown. Then add Bitter gourd pieces. Sprinkle turmeric and salt. Cover and cook for 10 mins in sim. Then add chili powder and coriander powder and cook on open. This way it doesn't become soggy.

Then once the cereal is cooked, add in the gram powder and remove from flame.


Artikaya Fry / Plantain Sit Fry

Peel the outer skin of the Plantain and chop into fine pieces. Soak them in water till the oil is hot.

Heat a kadai with 1 tsp oil. Sputter with 1/2 tsp mustard and urud dal along with curry leaves. Then add the plantain pieces. Add a pinch of turmeric and salt. Cover and cook in sim for 10 mins. Then add 1/2 tsp chilli pw, 1/2 tsp coriander pw. and stir well so that all the pieces are well coated. Add another tsp of oil. Cook in open and keep stirring. The bottom should be slightly burnt or crisp. This is what gives more taste to the stir fry.



This fry goes so well with sambar and if I am there for lunch at home, Amma used to make this for me. Those lovely days, how I wish they are back here!

Sending the Bitter Gourd to Pooja from My Creative Ideas for her VOW: Bitter Gourd

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

It is....and what is this???

Well the veggie is known Kasara Kaya as it is called in Ananthapuram District in India. When I searched the web I came to know that Kasara Kaya is called as Indian gourd but not sure again because Pravs calls Indian gourd as Kantola whose picture again is not what I have seen. I was first exposed to this during my visit to my in laws place. I may have eaten this once, but they are so fond of it that they eat it in all forms. Athamma says this is not so bitter but little bitter. So this may be called small bitter gourd. But again small bitter gourd that I have seen in this parts of the place is different. Athamma makes this in different ways, just frying or make it as gravy but in any form they just love it. Its not available all through the year, so its very fondly looked forwarded too. And Sra asked me if I had deliberately blurred the image what a joke??....#$#%#%...as if I would ever dream to do that..the pains I took to make it look clear only I know...that's why I decided that I don't want to take a chance in exhibiting my oho talents of clicking, rather entrusted hubby dear to do the honours.

You know once I have taken a picture of fried eggs prepared by Amma. There is no recipe, you just boil and then sauté in oil with salt and pepper. But for some reason, that time they looked so appealing. I just had to capture them. Since then I always wanted to upload that picture somehow. When B&J announced this event, wanted to send for the appeal category but somehow the picture has gone gayyab. Then it just slipped my mind, that folks at home are observing the festival norms and hence no non-veg or even eggs at home till end of this season. I was thinking that maybe I will not be able to send in an entry. But last night when I was playing with the kids, I saw they had few drums. And that, I tell you is the moment of enlightenment. Such moments come but rarely and whole night was thinking how I will put my thoughts in action. Lo morning came and with that hope! I managed to cajole hubby dear to exhibit his photography skills. He happened to read my guess post and was asking me when I was going to give the answer, so in the same breath told that I wanted few eggs to be captured. I prayed that my fridge will have atleast one and yes God is gracious, I found four of them lying around not sure when their prayers will be answered.

I took all the things I dreamed through the night and hoped hubby dear will excel. By the time I could assemble the things, we heard a distant cry and I had to run inside. So I wasn't sure what he clicked until now. Its a fun theme. He said we should consider giving each of the boys an egg to hold in their hands. As if that's seemingly possible. To make them stand in one place for a second is difficult and he proposes for them to pose with an egg in hand. Well maybe he thought B&J were acepting entries for 'Most funny shot'. I assured him that there is no such category.


Well unlike Bharathy who was able to capture the beauty of Egg with minimum or no words, I have, on the other hand as usual ranted a lot. Check out my chicks. Lakshimi's brother had real chicks in hand, so I thought I would display my kiddos toy chicks..

I liked these two most, so let me know which one can be sent as entry for B&J's Click...click an egg please!

Camera Model : Sony 3x zoom, 6 mp

Thanks in advance for your feedback!

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A tale of two MEMEs and a Guess!

A Mid name Meme..

This had been a pending post since I had been asked to do a 'Middle name Meme' by Bharathy. Bharathy was kind enough to console me that is fine if I dont' like or even have a middle name

Here are the rules:

* Players, you must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of their middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have had.
* When you are tagged you need to write your own blog-post containing your own middle name game facts.
* At the end of your blog-post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag.
* Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged.

I don't have a middle name, I am always either called Srivalli or just Valli by friends. Infact it was endearing to be called Sri by most bloggers as I call my brother that. So will settle on a fictitious name I always thought was appropriate to many things in this drama called life. MAYA, its also a name I used to pen by some years ago.

So here are few things that I related too

Meticulous - I am quite meticulous in most things that I do. Even mundane routine tasks never bore me. Infact I love to do the same thing every day the same way. But I embrace change too.

Auspicious - I feel there is no time as auspicious time. Any time is good enough to do a good thing. And anytime is good enough to end a bad thing.

Yearning - I yearn for those mystic things that come and whisper while I am in my no man's land.

Avaricious- I scorn avariciousness in any nature.

Phew ..happy I was able to complete this and now trying to tag people with these alphabets! I guess doing this MEME was easier than trying to figure who to tag.

M - Manisha
A - Asha
Y - Unfortunately I know none with a name starting with Y who also blogs, so this is open to anybody is willing to play along.
A - Archana


Fantastic Four MEME

Lakshmi tagged me for the Fantastic Four MEME. So here I go on some random facts about me in “fours”:

4 Places I’ve lived:

I have been living in Madras for more than 20 years. Previous to that have been places I don't really remember much. So I will try to give the best shot I can. Since I spend or rather live in office for most of my waking hours will prefer giving that

1. 10 years in Perambur - Chennai
2. 15 years in Nungambakkam - Chennai
3. T- Nagar - Office
4. Mylapore - Office

4 Jobs I’ve had:

In reel life aka my dreams, I had wanted to be a doctor plus world renowned painter plus great singer plus famous chef. In real life I have always been a software professional! The pitiful life of a software professional who does nothing else but gazing at the monitor all the waking hours with
no hands on experiments to aid the ill but to google it
nor any hue to hand but the MS paint to rescue
nor raaga flowing from within other than Kishore Kumar husking at the ears (albeit thats been sometime ago)
nor any aromas whisking the nostrils just these wonderful food blogs to gaze and rejoice.

4 Favorite places I’ve holidayed:

Kodaikanal
Ooty
Mumbai
Calcutta

4 Favorite foods:

Well I am fond of eating period, but if you insist

Parotta with Paneer Butter Masala
Pizzas
Idlies with Amma's Parrupu Podi
Pulihora with Groundnut chutney

4 Places I’d rather be:

I have just two fond places I rather be.
Home where I would want to be right now with my kids.
Lying on my mother's lap - with my daughter around I never get access.

4 Bloggers I’d like to tag:

1. Asha
2. Padma
3. Nirmala
4. Sharmi

Play along if you are inclined no compulsion.

Now coming to the guess game. Let me know what you call the veggie you find in the picture.


Come back tomorrow for the answer!

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Innocence ~ What is the Cost?

There are many worthy causes but most worthy of all would be taking care of Innocence. Innocence that we find in a child, a needy child. I would like to share a scene that I come across everyday while on my way to office. During traffic signals, I find a bunch of ladies with their children aged between 0 - 10, the children starts doing aerobics when they find the crowd and asking for alms. I get wild looking at the ladies, the ladies look so careless and they have one infant in their laps. Why have children if they are not able to feed them? But preventing this is not in my hands. So simple. Educating this vast country of its many flaws will take more than a effort with just a mere wanting. I have seen my Dad pitching in for so many worthy causes. During my college days, I have in my turn volunteered in Orphanages and sometime in The Banyan too but was not able to continue. My long time aim and wish is to have an Old age Home. But that requires lot of commitment and dedication from individual, which at this point is not possible for me. But I always hope that one day that will happen.

Hope - All is not lost till you do not lose Hope.

I have been able to sustain that hope. But where will the hope come from for these children. For no fault of theirs they are preys of this cruel world. When I was first exposed to this food blogging community, the first person who welcomed me with warmth was VKN of My Dhaba. And since then I have closely followed his noble cause that he has embraced. When I received a mail from Indira on this cause, I knew I had to pinch in. I know my ambitions will take longer efforts but for now I am happy I have done something even if it was just a tiny drop in dear friend's worthy cause.


A journey to a thousand miles starts with a tiny step. I believe I made mine today. Will you too?

Life - End of day end of Life... struggle for life, not just live. This is something I strongly believe in. I believe these hungry children are just struggling for even small things. Our help will go long way in mitigating it.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Salt Diamonds!

Salt Diamonds are something that every child would've had it I am sure. I guess its called by different names. I remember this snack being called as Maida Salt Diamonds because Amma used to make this in Diamond shape. It used to be my favorite snack and used to consume by tons!.And I have been wanting to prepare this again for ages but never got around making it at home. Amma also couldn't somehow came around making this for me. And when I asked Athamma she was not sure what I was talking about.

So when I decided to meet my fellow bloggers, I decided to make this for them. But the best part was my daughter loved this. She liked it so much that she wanted this for her school snacks. She came back saying her friends also loved it. Well nothing more to delight me!

Ingredients Needed:

Maida (All purpose Flour) - 1 & 1/2 cups
Salt to taste
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Clarified Butter / Ghee - 2 tsp
Soda a pinch
Water to kned

Method to prepare:

In a bowl take the maida with salt and ghee. Rub in well, so that it gets mixed properly.

Knead well to form a soft dough. Leave it aside for 1 hour.

Roll out to a thin size as a chapati on a rolling board. Slice with a knife as a diamond shape. I forgot to make them as diamond the first time.


Heat oil in a pan and drop the pieces gently into the oil. Turn on both sides so that it gets evenly cooked. Drain them to a kitchen towel. Keep them in open for sometime to get crispy salt diamonds. These can be stored in air-tight containers.

Enjoyed my childhood snack a lot, will be making this again sometime soon. Enjoy your weekend though its almost evening for me!

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Cabbage Kootu

Finally I am able to post this recipe after so many procrastinations. Looking back on my recent posts, looks like I haven't been able to keep up the pace of one post daily regime! Well I guess everybody needs sometime off to just do nothing on some front too. I was even trilled that few readers asked me why no recipe after just 3 days. That touched me a lot. Thanks for taking care to drop in and check on my blog. It makes a real difference. I suddenly felt I have nothing to blog on, though I still have many recipes pictured but not posted yet. I guess everybody goes through this phase. Well whatever it is hope the bug passes off fast!

Coming back to Cabbage Kootu, though I am not a great fan of Cabbage, this is one dish that I love eating. But of course it has to be prepared by Amma. I don't like my version too. Still the other day when I found cabbage to be lying around with a dejected look, couldn't think of any other form to consume but this and also its been real long time since I had this Cabbage kootu. Amma makes a yummy cabbage vada but I thought too much oil is not really so good even if I am all for it. Moreover as vada you don't get to cook all of the cabbage! So it was Kootu I thought.

This is a simple dish which goes very well with chapattis, but the beauty of this is, you won't feel the cabbage!

Ingredients Needed:

Cabbage - 250 gms
Yellow Moong Dal - 50 gms (More if you want)
Tomatos - 2 small
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste

Seasoning

Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves - few
Onions - 1 medium

Garnishing
Fresh grated coconut - 2 tbsp
Method to prepare:

Chop Cabbage to fine pieces. Wash the dal and in a cooker add the dal along with Cabbage, all the dry powders, chopped tomatoes, salt. Put it on 2 whistles or till cooked.

Heat a pan with oil. Sputter mustard seeds, cumin seeds. Then fry onions along with Curry leaves.

Add water if you want the dal to be more thin else little water is enough. Let it boil. Then finally garnish with fresh coconut.

Serve it with chappatis or rice.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Food Bloggers Meet!

Well finally Lakshmi, Nirmala and I met over for lunch which got extended to coffee time. This meet was finally possible after what I would say a period of planning over 2 months! Thanks to Lakshmi for suggesting this. She mailed me if I would be interested in a Chennai Food blogger meet. I was all for it. I have interacted so much with her mother Latha, that I was sure it will be wonderful meeting Lakshmi. She mailed me saying that she knows two other bloggers who blog from Chennai. Nirmala of Amma's Special and Kamini of The Bubbling Cauldron were the other two bloggers who were supposed to meet. After many long mail exchanges, we finally decided to meet over the weekend. For pictures taken during the meet, visit Lakshmi's blog here.

We decided to meet at a place thats closer by to our offices, in plans to get back to office after lunch. Little did we know that it will happen. We also planned to get something for each other. Nirmala said she would bring pakodas. Kamini said she would bring some Fruit Tarts and Lakshmi said she will make the brownies. That left me in confusion as I haven't blogged on any snacks that much. But had been waiting to prepare the Salt Diamonds that Amma used to prepare during our childhood. I knew this would be a perfect time for them. I have always missed them so much. I was all excited and asked Amma for the recipe. She was asking why I would want to do them now of all the times. I said I will get back with details later. With great difficulty I managed to do that. My daughter, when she saw them was so excited and trilled. She was asking Athamma why she didn't know to make such beautiful stuff. I felt bad and elated at the same time. I convinced my daughter that it was both Ammamma and Nanamma who taught me to cook. She was happy about that too.

I was all excited the whole day, the day we were supposed to meet. Kamini unfortunately couldn't make it, which was very bad but we decided to have one as soon as she can. We decided to book a table in a different name and try guessing each other correctly. It took some time for me to reach Amethyst, the place we decided to meet. It was a wonderful place full of greenery. I was amazed that this place existed in midst of a really crowded and populated place. Yet it retained its greenery and beauty. I asked for the table and was told I was the first. I also ensured that the waiter wont reveal my name to others. I must've waited some 15 mins or so when this smart, chic lady, rather I would say teenager walked towards me. I guessed right but she had difficulty guessing me. It was so much fun. So I was correct on Lakshmi. We spent some 50 mins chatting away without knowing that we were still waiting for Nirmala to show. In all our excited we forgot to get contact numbers. It does sound funny but that was true. Lakshmi tried calling all numbers that may lead to Nirmala but couldn't get hold of one. Suddenly we saw a tall, prim and proper lady with Ironed hair all smiling and enthu, walking towards us. I was sad for a moment that my judgment of Nirmala was wrong. Imagine the merry when the lady crossed us to the next table. I think I heard Lakshmi breath a sign knowing it wasn't Nirmala.

It was getting so late and we were really hungry. We decided to order and called the waiter. While we were still deciding what order after one starter, we suddenly saw a petite girl standing next to us. I was really trilled. It was Nirmala. She was just like what I thought. Warm, bubbly and all excited through the meet. She came across as very witty and nice and between both of them, I didn't even know the whole afternoon passing by. Among three of us bursting with exchanging things that we didn't know that Waiter was still waiting for us to confirm the order. We finally asked him to get what we felt was ok. As most of the items were Non-Veg, had very less choice. But we didn't bother on the food. It was fun hearing both of them sharing tidbits on their life style. We exchanged our snacks and wanted to take pictures of them. We must've spent nearly 5 + hrs but we didn't feel like parting. It was so much fun talking about common passion and interest. Hubby dear called us some three times to get an update but was amused that we were still in the restaurant. Finally we didn't get back to office and went home.

Nirmala was so homely and forth coming. It was fun getting to know more about her family and I feel I know everybody without meeting them. She vibrates the same enthusiasm and energy I feel when I read her blog. Her pakodas were super hit with my daughter. She was munching on them even just before going to bed! I will have to ask her to post the recipe. Even now when I remember Nirmala telling us that once Dad commented on one of her cooking disaster - "Ne ippo samaikalannu yarru alluvura" (Who is crying that you are not cooking?) That was one statement that made me laugh so much.

Lakshmi is a real talented lady. She is a dancer and a painter apart from handling her own firm. All from a person in her mid 20's. Her brownies were simply superb. Athamma was all praises for her, saying such a young girl and she baked such a wonderful dish! We enjoyed them the entire weekend. She brought us so much that I kept eating them through the weekend. I am going to make that soon.

It was a great meet and will want to meet often now. I know this has again become a big post but I have not covered half that happened. Putting a face to the person behind the blog, has made so much difference. I have always enjoyed reading both Yum Blog and Amma's Special. Now the experience has enriched it more. It was a real pleasure and fun meeting them.

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Microwave Easy Cooking with Basics - Round up and next Theme!

Another month has gone and its time for the round up of the Microwave Easy Cooking with Basics. The entries that came in were quite something, I would say. I was really apprehensive about expecting entries for this theme as this is something quite boring and can be said as difficult. But I was wrong, I was trilled at the enthusiasm showed by the bloggers and the entries were exciting. Most helpful when you want to do something quick. I have tried to summarize at the end. Hopefully everybody finds this round up helpful.

Before I start with the round up, let me announce the next theme which is going to be Snacks!. Well I am always fond of Snacks and if they can be easily made in Microwave, send them in. Check here for details on the Event. Entries can have the subject line as MEC: Snacks

Before I start, I would like to thank everyone who had taken time off to send in their entries. I really appreciate that.

Well here we go............

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I asked for Basics and look what I got!

Suma from Veggie Platter showed that anything and everything can be done in Microwave.

Check out how Suma toasts / Roasts of Nuts, Dals, Flours & spices AND Papads & Fryums.

Talk about everything in Microwave! She is so meticulous in explaining everything on 'how to' in microwave.

Thanks Suma for the wonderful tips and process shown in Microwave.

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Viji's blog as I said is a treasure for a beginner. Her series on Weekend Brunch puts any menu planner in wanting. The varied of dishes she brings out in her series are so amazing. And can you believe, she got most of her basics done in Microwave for her Weekend Brunch this time. How fantastic!

Hop on to her blog for more details on how the preparatory cooking was done to get started with the whole Karnataka Brunch!

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Well now Asha is my most favorite blogger. I guess she is for many! And I would've been really disappointed had she not sent in anything, because she was busy with her RCI: Kar. But she has managed to send in atleast one. Thank you Asha, very sweet of you to take time for this event.

And guess what she grows so much of tomato that its no wonder that she had to find out efficient ways to store them all. She brings out a basic Tomato sauce out of the Microwave, which can used in a myriad of dishes! The sauce looks rich and beautiful that it can be had as such but Asha gives us a list that can make use of this heavenly sauce. I guess this works out best for people who have plenty of tomatoes on hand and also those who need to get a dish out in jiffy. Enjoy!

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Next is from Super Chef of Mirch Masala

She says they have recently started using Microwave and make use of it for cooking rice, boiling potatoes, extracting juice out of lemon, defrosting frozen peas, paneer. Wow thats whole lot I would say!

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Now we come to our next entry, which is from the blog called 100% Microwave Cooking. Well this is one blog that showcases everything in Microwave. Talk about dedication!

Easycrafts makes a point to try everything in microwave and this blog is one stop reference to recipes that can be prepared using Microwave.

Easycrafts talks about simplified cooking with MW. So how about roasting, blanching, extracting and can you believe making paneer!. Check out this blog which features Microwave cooking to the pleasure of mine!

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Can you imagine what comes next? Yes idlis and Uttapams. The Traditional items from South India all from Microwave.

Siri from Siri's Corner says "WHERE THE BELLY RULES THE MIND..."

She has made 'A Idli and An Uttapam' all Microwaved. She says she was too lazy to make idlis in the Idli stand. And she was surprised that they turned out yummy and delicious and Quick when she tried them out in Microwave!


Not just these Siri becomes very innovative and makes a Microwave Omelette!

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Nupur's One Hot Stove is a place for all. Her posts are lengthy! But you think I am complaining? Nay, I love reading her posts which looks more like a novel than an account of whats going to come as a recipe. Most times, I become reminiscent while reading those accounts and get nostalgic. Talk about spicy notes to spice up your life.

For this theme, she has come up with the most unexpected basics! You want to cook veggies in a jiffy or in a mood to roast papad or just want to sip a cuppa of tea while doing all these, Nupur has all the tips on hand. But the best one I can say is the tip on disinfecting kitchen sponges! This is ultimate. Way to go Nupur and we expect more to come.

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Sona, calls herself the kitchen scientist. It fits her quite well, as I see she experiments with most of the things and comes out with some fabulous looking dishes. What attracts the readers when they land in her blog, are her pictures. They are unique and very artistically taken.

She remembers somebody saying "things are best explained when done using an example", so she explains basics showing us two dishes made so simple.



First one is Palak Thoran...she says she prefers to eat Palak only if its MW'ed, This palak thoran gets done in 5 mins cooking time.

Her second entry is "Avial". Avial is a beautiful dish from kerala, an amalgam of different veggies. Both hard and soft ones. Sona explains how these different textured vegetables need to be cooked together in a Microwave.

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Pravs of Simply Spicy shows us how to prepare a beautiful chutney with Cilantro in Microwave.


She also prepares her cup of tea in Microwave. check her blog for details on how to roast Pappad, cook Thayir milagu, or Boil milk.

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The wonderful ladies from The Yum Blog never cease to amaze me. The energy and enthusiasm showed by them is boundless. They prepared a tomato puree which comes handy when you have lot of tomatoes on hand or if you plan to buy them in bulk and store, this is the best way to do so. I have seen that they do many basics cooking in Microwave, so check out their tips on using Microwave.

Thank you for your wonderful tips Lathamma, appreciate them.

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Last entry was from a beautiful blog called Ruchi Chūchu. Creativity is something best explained as something you see and say "wow, why didn't I think about this". This is how I felt when I landed in Sivani's blog. Its so beautifully assembled and her ingredient listing is unique.

She talks about making White Sauce and yes I am so fond of White sauce. Its been long time since I remembered White sauce. It was those days when I used to make burgers, I never liked mayonnaise as I don't eat Eggs, so had to prepare White sauce with flour. I loved the aroma coming out of this while you stir it.

I just loved the fact that we can do this in Microwave in no time. Sivani, thanks for the lovely entry.

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Thanks for the lovely entries. To summarize I have tried listing out the different things that can be done

Roasting Dals, Papads and Fryums
Toasting Nuts, Spices and coconut
Toasting Flours
Preparing Tomato Sauce, White Sauce
Blanching of Tomatoes
Extracting Lemon Juice
Boiling Milk
Making Tea
Cooking Vegetables
Making idlies and Uttappams and Omelette!
Basics for Chutneys
Basics for Curries
Cooking rice
Defrosting Vegetables, paneer
and last but not the least Disinfecting kitchen sponges!

A big thanks to one and all. Hope this will be helpful to all those who want to venture into Microwaving! Request everybody to enjoy and share their thoughts. Click on the hyperlinks in each entry and appreciate the entries, for they have helped much towards easy cooking in Microwave.

Looking forward to the next round up with Snacks!

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