May 30, 2011

Garlic Peeler

Garlic Peeler

A garlic peeler — really, a small plastic tube — takes the work and mess out of peeling garlic. Just put a whole garlic clove inside the tube and roll it back and forth, pressing firmly. A fresh garlic clove is ready now !!!

Available @ leading supermarkets (Santhosh Super Stores, Anna Nagar) & gift stores in Chennai (Price Rs52 -60 / 1 garlic peeler ).

May 29, 2011

Potato Bonda

Potato Bonda
(Deep fried snack)

Makes : 8 - 10
Cooking time : 30 minutes


4 medium sized potatoes
3 green chillies , slit lengthwise
1 - inch piece ginger, chopped fine
1 spring curry leaves
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon hing ( asafoetida )
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoon cooking oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon jeera ( cumin ) seeds
1/2 teaspoon urad dal
250 g cooking oil for frying bondas

For batter :

100 g gram flour ( besan )
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon hing ( asafoetida )
Water for mixing ( approximately 1/2 cup )

To prepare batter :

Mix gram flour , salt , red chilli powder, turmeric powder and hing. Add water and make a batter of pouring consistency. Keep aside for 15 minutes.


Boil, peel and mash the potatoes.

In a pan , heat oil. Add mustard seeds. When it starts splutter, add jeera, urad dal, green chillies and curry leaves. Shallow fry on a low heat for 2 - 3 minutes. Add turmeric powder and fry for 2- 3 minutes.

Add boiled and mashed potatoes. Add salt to taste and hing. Mix well and cover with a lid. Cook on a low heat ( without adding water ) for 5 - 8 minutes. Keep aside for cooling.

Remove green chillies from the potato mixture while making potato balls / bondas. Make lemon sized potato balls / bondas .

Heat oil in a frying pan. Dip each bondas in besan batter and deep fry in hot oil on a medium heat (4- 5 bondas at a time) till golden color on both the sides. Drain and place on kitchen paper to absorb excess oil and serve hot with tea / coffee.

Vermicelli Kheer

Vermicelli Kheer - A delicious Indian sweet !!

Preparation time : 15 minutes
Cooking time : 35 minutes
Serves : 8 - 12 dessert cups


Please use same measuring cup to measure semiya and sugar

1/2 cup /4 oz / 100 ml semiya ( vermicelli ) - Indian standard measuring cup

1/2 cup + 1/4 cup sugar 

1 litre / 1000 ml milk ( do not dilute with water )

1/2 teaspoon ghee ( to  frying vermicelli )

1 tablespoon ghee ( for frying frying cashew nuts and raisins )

1 tablespoon cashew nuts ( split )

1 tablespoon raisins

A pinch of cardamom powder


1, Heat ghee in a frying pan. Fry vermicelli on a low heat for 7- 10 minutes or till golden color. Stir continuously. Keep aside.

2, Heat 1 tablespoon ghee and separately fry cashew nuts and raisins on a low heat till golden color. Store in an airtight container.

3, Bring milk to boil in a heavy - bottomed vessel or non - stick saucepan. Add fried vermicelli, cover with a lid and cook / simmer for 10 - 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

4, Add sugar and cook / simmer again for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. You can find a reduction in the quantity and a slight change in the color.... Remove from the heat . Keep aside for 15 minutes. Add fried cashew nuts and raisins. Sprinkle cardamom powder. Serve hot or cold.

Paneer Makhani

Paneer Makhani

Serves: 3

You will need

1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon jeera (cumin seeds)
2 tablespoon (30 g ) ginger - garlic paste
Spice powder:

3/4 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon jeera (cumin seeds) powder

Mix spice powders in 4 teaspoon water and keep aside.

Other ingredients

2 well ripe tomatoes, finely chopped or 2 tablespoon tomato puree (30 ml)
200 g paneer, cut into cubes or desired shapes
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
2 tablespoon water
2 tablespoon fresh cream
2 teaspoon chopped coriander leaves


Heat oil in a frying pan. Add jeera and fry on a low heat till fragrant.

Add ginger - garlic paste and saute for 3 - 4 minutes until the raw smell disappears.

Add diluted spice powder and stir well for 2 - 3 minutes.

Add finely chopped tomatoes or tomato puree and mix well. Cook till the tomato gravy thickens.

Add paneer pieces, salt to taste and garam masala powder. Stir well. Add 2 tablespoon water, cover with a lid and cook on a low to medium heat for 8 - 10 minutes or till the gravy thickens and paneer softens. Switch off the heat.

Finally, add fresh cream and mix well gently. Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with any Indian breads / Rice / Pulao of your choice.

Aloo Paratha

Aloo Paratha

Makes: 4 - 5


For Atta dough:

Sufficient atta dough for 4 - 5 parathas


2 cups ( 400 g ) whole wheat flour ( gehun ka atta )

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon oil

165 to 180 ml warm water


For dough:

Combine the flour and salt and knead into soft and pliable dough with sufficient warm water ( 165 to 180 ml ) .

Add the oil and knead again till the dough is smooth and elastic.

Cover and keep aside in an airtight container for one hour.

For Stuffing:

4 potatoes /aloo (medium size), boiled and mashed

2 tablespoon finely chopped onions

2 tablespoon finely chopped coriander leaves

1/2 teaspoon amchur powder ( dried mango powder )

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

6 - 8 teaspoon oil or ghee

1/2 cup extra dry flour


Final preparation:

Mix all the stuffed ingredients well ( except oil ).

Divide the mixture into 4 - 5 portions also make atta dough into 4 - 5 lemon sized balls ( bigger than the dough required for normal chapati ) and flatten it . Place aloo filling, cover, form a ball and roll out like a paratha. Sprinkle dry atta flour when making parathas.

Heat a flat frying pan or griddle. Reduce heat to medium and cook parathas till golden brown ( cooking time approximately 5 - 7 minutes for each side ) on both the sides. Apply oil / ghee on both sides. Serve hot with pickle / curd / butter.

May 28, 2011

Egg Dosa

Egg Dosa

Makes: 3

You will need

Sufficient dosa batter for 3 dosas
2 -3 teaspoon ghee
Coconut chutney / Sambar / Tomato chutney or Tomato sauce for serving

For egg mixture:

3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon pepper powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon finely chopped coriander or curry leaves

Mix all the ingredients well and keep aside.


Heat a heavy - bottomed wrought iron griddle or non stick dosa pan on a medium heat.

Grease with little oil / ghee.

Make the dosa by placing a ladleful (approximately 120 ml) of batter on the centre. Spread evenly by circular rotations using the base of the ladle, starting from the centre and progressing outwards. Sprinkle little ghee on top.

Spread 1 ladleful egg mixture on top of the dosa evenly. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes. Turn the other side and cook till golden color (The underside should be golden brown in color).

When ready, carefully remove with the help of a thin spatula. Serve hot with Coconut chutney /Sambar / Tomato sauce.

Find here Dosa varieties

May 27, 2011

Pappada Vada

Pappada Vada

A tasty evening snack in Kerala. Crispy, crunchy & very easy to prepare !!!! Excellent combination with tea / coffee.

Makes: 15 pappada vadas

Tip: To make Pappada vada crispier, dry the papads (Kerala Pappadam) in sun for about 15 to 30 minutes. Please  do not use North Indian style ''Papad''.


12 Kerala Pappadam

200 g (1 cup) raw rice

2 cups water

3/4 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon til (sesame)

1/4 teaspoon hing

Extra 1/4 cup (50 ml) water to mix

250 oil to fry


Wash & clean rice. Soak in 2 cups of water for 2 hours. Drain out water and make a smooth paste in a mixer. Sprinkle 2 tablespoon water while grinding.

Then mix with Kashmiri red chilli powder, turmeric powder, hing, salt & til. Add extra water (40 to 50 ml) and make a batter of pouring consistency (it should be thinner than normal dosa batter).

Heat oil in a pan / iron kadai. Reduce the heat to medium. Dip each pappadam in rice batter (batter should coat well on pappadam) and deep fry till golden color on both the sides (3 pappadams at a time - depending upon the size of the kadai).

Drain and place on kitchen paper to absorb excess oil and store in an airtight container.

May 26, 2011

Simple & Tasty Chicken curry

Simple & Tasty Chicken Curry

Serves: 3

You will need

500 g chicken, cut into medium pieces
1 tablespoon oil
3 cardamoms
3 cloves
3 cinnamon sticks (1 -inch size)
2 onions, finely sliced
2 tablespoon ginger - garlic paste (fresh & homemade)
1 tomato (pick well ripe & bright red in color), finely chopped
1 spring curry leaves
3/4 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
75 ml water
2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh coriander leaves


Wash and clean chicken pieces and drain out water thoroughly. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan. Add cardamoms, cloves and cinnamon and fry on a low heat till fragrant.

Add sliced onions and fry till golden color and lightly crisp on a low to medium heat.

Add ginger - garlic paste and stir well for 3 - 4 minutes or until the raw smell disappears.

Add finely chopped tomato and curry leaves. Stir well for 2 - 3 minutes.

Add Kashmiri red chilli powder, pepper powder, coriander and turmeric powder. Mix all the ingredients well and stir continuously for 5 minutes.

Add chicken pieces, salt to taste and 75 ml water (less than 1 tea cup). Mix well, cover with a lid and cook on a low to medium heat for 45 minutes or till done and gravy thickens / fragrant.

Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves and serve with any Indian breads / Rice / Pulao of your choice.

Health Tips

Blood Pressure

Source - Prevention

What is BP, exactly?

The first, higher number (110 or 130, say) is the systolic pressure your heart generates when it pumps out blood to the rest of your body. The second, lower number (72 or 90, for example) is the diastolic pressure in the arteries when your heart rests between beats. Most heart-health guidelines recommend getting blood pressure to 120/80 or lower; anything between that and 139/89 is considered prehypertension and any reading of 140/90 or greater is considered hypertension.

The reason high BP is a big deal is because the condition puts a dangerous level of stress on your blood vessels. This stress makes it easier for "bad" LDL cholesterol particles to penetrate the inner lining of your vessel walls, where they accumulate and form plaque that eventually leads to heart attack and stroke. High blood pressure boosts the risks of leading killers such as heart attack and stroke, as well as aneurysms, cognitive decline, and kidney failure. Haven't had yours checked in the last 2 years? See a doctor.

Luckily, most people with elevated blood pressure can lower it without medications. Start with lifestyle fixes such as exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, managing stress, and eating a low-sodium diet that's rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.

If you have those bases covered, some vitamins, minerals, and supplements may help slightly:

Best supplements:

Potassium: This mineral helps your kidneys excrete sodium, which can bring blood pressure down. You need 4,700 mg a day, but very few Americans get enough. Many multivitamins contain minimal amounts of potassium, so consuming enough from your diet is the best way to meet your need. The mineral is abundant in fruits and vegetables, such as bananas and baked potatoes.

Vitamin C: Getting enough vitamin C--75 mg per day for women, 90 mg for men--can lower blood pressure in people with mild to moderate hypertension. Because vitamin C is plentiful in fruits and vegetables (a medium orange has 70 mg), supplements are rarely required (many multivitamins also contain the recommended amount).

Calcium: This dairy staple plays a role in the constriction and relaxation of blood vessels, which is why experts believe it helps keep blood pressure low. Most multivitamins don't provide the full amount that's recommended (1,000 mg a day for women age 50 and under; 1,200 mg a day for women 51 and older), and it's tough to get enough from your diet unless you eat multiple dairy servings a day, so consider a separate calcium supplement.

Magnesium: Helps your blood circulate steadily; inadequate levels are linked to high BP. It's hard to get enough of this power nutrient from food alone, so look for a multivitamin that contains the recommended amount of 320 mg.

Coenzyme Q10: This antioxidant, found in meat, chicken, and fish, helps dilate blood vessels, which can keep BP at a healthy level. It's hard to achieve the levels used in studies from diet alone, so talk with your doctor about taking a separate supplement.

Garlic is also good for blood pressure: This bulbed wonder contains more than 70 active plant chemicals, including allicin, which many studies have shown decreases high blood pressure by as much as 30 points. It is possible to reap garlic's BP-lowering benefits if you eat a couple of cloves a day; if you can't or don't wish to eat that much, talk with your doctor about trying a separate supplement.

Did you know...

Researchers in the United Kingdom looked at vitamin C intake in 4,025 women and found that those who ate more had fewer wrinkles (eg Citrus fruit, brussels sprouts, peppers, and leafy greens. Dosage: 75 mg a day for women, though some experts recommend as much as 200 mg a day).

May 25, 2011

Spicy baby potatoes (with coconut) Or Potato ' High Jump'

Spicy Baby Potatoes ( with coconut ) Or Potato ‘ High Jump”

Basic recipe inspiration - The Konkani Saraswath Cook Book

Serves: 2

You will need

10 baby potatoes

For coconut paste:

2 tablespoon grated coconut
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
3/4 teaspoon red chilli powder (or 4 dried red chillies)
6 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon tamarind paste
1/2 teaspoon salt

For seasoning:

1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 spring fresh & dark color curry leaves


For potatoes:

Wash, clean and boil potatoes. Peel and keep aside.

For coconut paste:

In a pan, slightly dry roast coriander seeds and dried red chillies.

Grind fine masala ( spice paste ) using grated coconut, garlic cloves with red chilli powder / dried red chillies, coriander seeds, tamarind paste and salt. Marinate boiled potatoes with it. Keep aside for half an hour.

Final preparation:

In a wide pan / kadai, heat oil. Add mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add curry leaves and saute for 2 - 3 minutes.

Add marinated potatoes and stir well for 5 minutes on a medium heat. Cover with a lid and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes or till done and spice paste well coated on potatoes / golden color / dry mixture / fragrant.

Serve as a side dish with Rotis / Pulao / Rice....

May 24, 2011

High - Sodium Foods to Avoid

High-Sodium Foods to Avoid

Find out which foods have a shocking amount of sodium -- even without the salt shaker

Source -

Canned vegetable soup(1 cup): 940 mg

Bloody Mary mix (8 oz): 840 mg

Pasta sauce (1⁄2 cup): 756 mg

Reduced-calorie Caesar dressing (2 tablespoons): 620 mg

Panera Cranberry- Walnut bagel (1): 590 mg

Vegetarian baked beans (1⁄2 cup): 550 mg

Pancake mix (two 4-inch pancakes): 477 mg

Pizza Hut Pan Pizza (1 slice from large cheese pizza): 470 mg

Starbucks bran muffin (1): 470 mg

Cottage cheese (1⁄2 cup): 456 mg

Canned green beans (1⁄2 cup): 390 mg

Instant chocolate pudding (1⁄2 cup): 380 mg

Chocolate fudge cake mix (1⁄12 cake): 350 mg

American cheese singles (1): 250 mg

Hearty white bread (1 slice): 250 mg

Low-sodium vegetable juice (8 oz): 140 mg

Did you know...

Hate dairy? An 8-ounce glass of fortified orange juice supplies about 45% of your daily dose of calcium.

Health benefits of Beans

Health benefits of Beans

Source & Photo credit -

It’s hard to imagine a more perfect food than beans. One cooked cupful can provide as much as 17 g fiber. They're also loaded with protein and dozens of key nutrients, including a few most women fall short on—calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Studies tie beans to a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and breast and colon cancers.

The latest dietary guidelines recommend consuming at least 3 cups of beans a week—3 times the measly 1 cup we usually get. Keep your cupboards stocked with all kinds: black, white, kidney, fat-free refried, etc. Use them in salads, stuffed baked potatoes, and veggie chili or pureed for sandwich spreads.

May 23, 2011

Black eyed beans (Lobia / Chawli) Sukke / Thoran

Black eyed beans (Lobia / Chawli ) Sukke / Thoran

A tasty side dish goes well with Rice & Kanji (pejje)

Serves: 2

You will need

1 cup (100g) dried black eyed beans (pick dark red color beans) ( or 2 cups (200 to 225 g) cooked beans / chawli)
2 cups water

For coconut mixture:

3 tablespoon grated coconut
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
4 garlic cloves (optional), chopped and crushed

Mix all the ingredients well and keep aside.

For seasoning:

1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
1/4 teaspoon urad dal
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)


Wash and soak chawli in 2 cups water for 6 hours and pressure cook for 30 minutes (reduce heat to medium after 2nd whistle and cook for 20 minutes). Do not open the cooker. Allow to cool naturally. Reserve 2 to 3 tablespoon stock.

Heat oil in a frying pan. Add mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add cumin seeds and urad dal. Saute for 2 minutes.

Add cooked chawli, coconut mixture and salt to taste. Sprinkle reserved stock. Cover with a lid and cook on a low heat for 15 to 20 minutes until water dries up and fragrant. Stir well. Serve as a side dish with Rice or Kanji (pejje).

May 22, 2011

Fruits which are High & Low in Sugar

Fruits which are high in sugar

Dried Fruits

Fruits which are low in sugar


Microwave cleaning tip:

To soften hardened food spills in your microwave, put some lemon juice in a cup of water and allow it to boil. Let the boiling water sit for a few minutes before you take it out. Then wipe the interior of the microwave with a sudsy rag. Rinse with a clean wet rag and wipe dry.

Mango Lassi

Mango Lassi

Serves: 2

You will need

200 g (1 cup) yogurt
3/4 cup ripe mango cubes (please measure yogurt & mango cubes in same measuring cup)
100 to 120 ml water (cool or normal water)
2 tablespoon sugar or honey
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder


Blend above ingredients (except cardamom powder) in a blender or mixer until smooth. Sprinkle cardamom powder and serve in tall glass.

May 19, 2011

Pol Sambol

Pol Sambol (Coconut chutney)
( A very tasty Sri Lankan chutney)

Serves: 3

You will need

75 g grated coconut
2 tablespoon chopped onion or 4 small onions (shallots / chuvannulli)
1 clove garlic
1 - 2 green chilly
3 dried red chillies or 1/2 teaspoon red chilly powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
2 teaspoon lime juice


Mix all the ingredients well and make a coarse / rough paste in a mixer. Do not add water while grinding. Serve with Rice / Pulao/ Idiyappam (string hopper).

May 18, 2011


Wattalappam (Steamed / baked pudding with eggs, coconut milk, jaggery & spices) - A very tasty dessert !!!

Makes:6 slices

You will need

2 eggs
100 ml (75 ml to 100 ml) melted & sieved jaggery
100 ml thick coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
1 pinch dried ginger powder
1 pinch nutmeg powder
1 pinch cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon butter (to grease)


Separate egg yolk and white and also beat separately. Finally, mix beaten egg yolk and white. Keep aside.

Mix melted and sieved jaggery, thick coconut milk, cardamom powder, dried ginger powder, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder and beaten egg yolk and white. Mix all the ingredients well.

Grease a flat bowl with 1 teaspoon butter.

Pour the mixture into a greased flat bowl and cover this with an aluminum foil or grease proof paper.

Steam in pressure cooker ( without weight ) or steamer for 50 minutes on a medium heat or until done and golden brown color. Allow to cool for half an hour and cut into desired shape and size.

To test the wattalappam - Insert a skewer into the centre of the wattalappam. If the skewer comes out clean, then remove from the steamer.

Milkmaid Milk Toffee (Condensed milk toffee) / Peda

Milkmaid Milk Toffee (Condensed milk toffee) / Peda

Makes: 25 toffees /pedas

You will need

2 teaspoon butter
1 tin Milkmaid condensed milk (400 g)
100 g sugar
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder (optional)
Extra 1 teaspoon butter


In a thick non stick pan, heat 2 teaspoon butter. Add milkmaid condensed milk and sugar.

Mix well and stir continuously for 20 minutes on a low heat or until the mixture thickens and leaves from the sides of the pan.

Sprinkle cardamom powder (optional) and stir well.

Grease a tray or steel thali with 1 teaspoon butter and pour the milkmaid mixture over it.

Cut the toffee to desired shape and size (or shape the mixture into small balls / pedas) and remove after it fully cools down to normal temperature.

Decorate with chopped cashew nuts or raisins (optional).

May 16, 2011

Muffins & Cheese cakes @ The Coffee Beans & Tea Leaf

Blue berry Muffin & Banana Muffin

Mango cheese cake & Cheese cake

May 14, 2011

Grand Hotel, Nuwara Eliya - Sri Lanka

The Grand Hotel is a 156 room British Colonial style luxury hotel which is over 100 years old, located at central hill station Nuwara Eliya (Little England) in Sri Lanka. It was the former residence of Sir Edward Barnes, Governor of Ceylon from 1830 to 1850, the Grand Hotel is an excellent example of a Elizabethan era manor house.

Find here more

View from our room

Beautiful garden

Huge breakfast counter

Delicious Indian cuisine

Butter Naan

Butter chicken masala

May 12, 2011

Paradise Beach Hotel, Negombo, Sri Lanka

Paradise Beach hotel is a 66 roomed charming hotel by the Negombo beach. Negombo is the closest beach resort to the International Airport of Sri Lanka and blessed with myriad of attractions around the area.

Find here more ....

View from our room

View from spacious dining hall

Delicious breakfast (Sri Lankan Pol roti, Spicy noodles, Spicy chicken ball curry & Sausages)