Tamarillo \ Tree-Tomato pickle – Taste of Southern Hill Stations of India

Munnar takes me back to it’s lap again and again. With each visit, I feel the beauty of the place is magnified, the beckoning became stronger and the urge to stay in silent and experience the enormity of the pure and green surroundings is consuming. I am never done with the visits there. Want to walk the same paths in between the tea plantation again and again,  long uphill walks and runs are tremendously inspiring, exciting and calming all at the same time.

The super green gardens of tea and unintervening hill ranges

Some of the fruits like rambootan, avacados, tamarillo (which aren’t tropical fruits) are all grown locally here. Eating local here is such a luxury, I really made good use of it by gorging on most of the (so considered imported) local fruits

Tamarillo / tree tomatoes (chimakatrika – in local language) on display in a local shop

Eating fresh and fruits is a breeze here like running on the pure oxygen trails.  To the infinite love of Munnar, here is one of the local tamarillo recipe. If you happened to visit the place, you know what to buy :).

PS – I’m sorry and I know, I’m posting after a long while. Hopefully I will be more regular here after, may be a post for a month.


  • 1/4 kg tree tomatoes /tamarillos
  • 2 tbsp Chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp Fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tbsp Mustards seeds
  • Salt to taste


  • 3 tbsp Coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp Mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Asafotida

Recipe – Cut the tamarillo into four halves. Take out the skin. In a thick bottom wok,  put a spoon full of coconut oil and halved tamarillo and cook them in low flame, until they become pulpy.  Add salt

Dry roast the mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds separately and coarsely grind it.

Add chili powder,  grounded mustard and fenugreek seeds tamarillo pulp and stir well.

Heat the coconut oil. Add the mustard seeds. Once it starts spluttering add in the asafoetida  and turn off the flame.

Pour the hot seasoning on the pickle. And let it rest. Once cooled store in an airtight container. Refrigerate for longer shelf life. (It would stay about a month when refrigerated)

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Foxtail millet and lentil rice or navane bisibele bath #milletseries #eatingright


My pursuit to stay at ease and peace led me to believe in preserving the physical presence of oneself as a first step, which was sidelined from quite a while. Thus the quest of means begun. I came across various methods of diet, starting from raw food diet, mono diet, binge eating diet (believe me..there is something as weird as that exists and followed by many thousands of people) and so on.   But non of them were able to convince me to change my existing food plans, as I believed, none of them were sustainable.


With the food habit, that was ingrained in me (indebted my mother for that, ever), is not all bad, it just needed some fine tuning, and unlearning of some that I acquired from my external world exposure. Some time during this series #eatingright, I would put across many more points I have learnt, and my personal journey in the path.


To begin with, will start with the importance of millet in out diet. One of the ancient and long forgotten health ingredients, which are out of fashion now.  First of the series of millet , foxtail millet & lentil rice or navane bisibele bath as called in Kannada, a recipe inspired by my sisters cooking. Do include the millet in your diet. Happy and healthy living.


  • 1 cup foxtail millet
  • 3/4 cup toor dal
  • 2 cups or more of chopped vegetables of your choice(I used bell pepper, onion, cauliflower, french beans, carrots and green peas)
  • 10-15 diced cashew nuts
  • 3 cups of Water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp jaggery
  • Salt to taste

Wash and soak the foxtail millet for an hour or more. Wash and soak toor dal  for 30 min or more.  Pressure cook all the above ingredients in a medium flame until 3 whistles. And keep in sim for 5 more minutes.

Spice mix

  • 1/4 cup desiccated or fresh coconut
  • 5  cashmere chilies (for color)
  • 5 gunturu chilies (for hotness)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coriander  seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tbsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp black grams

Dry roast all the above ingredients and grind it into course powder


  • 2 tbsp pure ghee
  • 1/2 mustard seeds
  • 1/2 cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tbsp asafoetida
  • a string of curry leaves

Heat the ghee and add in the mustard seeds, cumin seeds. Once it starts spluttering (it takes almost no time), add in the asafoetida and curry leaves.


Now add the spice mix to the cooked foxtail (from step 1) and bring the mixture to slight boil. Adjust the water consistency at this step if required. Taste test for salt, and adjust if required.  Pour the seasoning on the top and stir in.

Foxtail bisi bele bath is ready to serve. It tastes great piping hot, and serves 4.


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Whole wheat, dates and walnut cake – a healthy bite for your hikes


It’s rainy days…rains..the most awaited season of the year. Monsoon has an uncanny ability to bring in joy, happiness and content to earth. Entire region looks so green, clean and calm. The solitude that brings out the tippy toe sound of poring rains amidst of the tall mountains, can not be beaten with any comparison. I believe rainy day should be spent alfresco with a good book, hot cake and black tea.


In Mumbai rainy day also means hiking and trekking day. “Sahyadri’  gets bathed in green and oozes the freshness out. Water falls come alive and  speak to the mountains. I feel blessed to visit them, feel them and be with them. Trekking also means packing a healthy meal and snack for the day. Dates and walnuts cake was one of those snacks prepared for the day hike, which turned into a super snack as told by my fellow hikers.10626310_915038961857424_1406607898657375368_oIMG_8582

Whole-wheat, dates and walnut cakes was one of the perfect snacks to carry on treks or for that matter any physical activity of endurance. The walnuts I used in here are gifted by a lovely Himachali family, while we were trekking in HP. Believe me, they are the best walnuts I  have tasted so far.





  • 1/2 cup  whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup organic jaggery
  • 3 tbsp of sour cream
  • 3 tbsp of condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup warm milk
  • 1/4 cup of flavorless oil
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tbsp freshly grated nutmeg powder
  • 1/4 tbsp  vanilla essence
  • 3/4 cup chopped soft dates
  • 1/2 cup walnuts

Procedure –

Pre-heat the oven at 170. Grease an 8 inch square pan, and keep it aside.

  1. Soak the dates in milk and keep it aside for 10 minutes or more. And then coarsely grind it.
  2. Roast the walnuts till they become fragrant and keep it aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl sieve flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and keep it aside.
  4. Take another mixing bowl,  mix oil, sour cream, condensed milk, jaggery, milk and whisk together, till everything combines well. Add coarsely ground dates, and give it a stir.
  5.  Add flour mixture to the liquid mixture, gently. Stir until combine. (don’t over do this step) Add in the roasted walnuts
  6. Pour in the prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes. Every oven is different, so keep an eye after 22 minutes. Cake starts leaving the sides once done. Also the skewer test to be doubly sure.
  7. Once taken out of the oven, allow it to cool for 10 minutes. Then invert the cake on a wire rack or on plate, and cut into squares.

This cake would taste great afresh as well as cold. (Icing is optional. In this recipe, I have done the icing with  baked yogurt, the recipe for the same, will post some time soon.)





Posted in Baking, Cakes & Cookies, Fruits and vegetables, Healthy baking, Sweet somethings | 1 Comment

Turmeric chutney – healing and nourishing #goldendip (Arishina Gojju)


Turmeric known for it’s healing properties, vibrant golden color and subtle flavour. Being a locally available super food, these golden roots have been extensively used in Indian kitchen. With almost every seasoning accompanying a small portion of turmeric powder, elders ensured, our taste buds are tuned to turmeric. I am grateful that, for introducing to such great lineage of culinary world and inculcating the habit of eating locally grown food.

With the arrival of monsoon, dampness spreads across. People mostly are vulnerable to soar throat, cough, cold and fever. As a precautionary measure, turmeric is used extensively in this season. Now the west also acknowledging this golden root as super food,

I guess, we started embracing it even more, even in the form of golden latte. (Those who sidelined the turmeric milk, would also fancy the golden latte. ) This dip/ chutney is consumed with steamed rice as fresh as possible. Though it would remain good for few days at room temperature in Indian climate.




  •   1/4 cup finely sliced fresh turmeric roots
  • 4 tbsp organic jaggery
  • 10 white pepper corns (if you don’t get them use the regular pepper corns . white peer corns are without black out layer)
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 1/2 cup water

Method – Mix all ingredients together and grind it to a fine paste. Transfer it to a thick bottomed wok. Add water. Taste test and adjust the salt level.  In a medium heat bring this mix to a boil. Once start boiling, turn the stove to low flame and let it simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring in between to avoid scorching.

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Mango Layered Cheese Cake – easy no bake dessert


I spent this summer in the beautiful hills and tiny villages of western ghats, wherein the tiny streams of water flows as the life line of evergreen forests, the chirping birds and mild sunshine welcomes the day. Mangoes are grown in the backyard orchards with love and care, plucked with tender hands. Every morning is greeted with a paper thin white dosa with seekarane /aamras or amrakhand. What a classic combo.


I love these mangoes so much with all its varieties, I hate to cook with it. I mean it’s already tasty enough, any mutilation would only deplete it’s natural taste and flavour. I need to think of a recipe where I do no harm or little harm to it’s original form and taste.


This mango and cream cake seems perfect.. well a little less than that ;). But easily one of the best cakes I put together. Try it out and let me know how it turned out.



  • 2 cups of hung curd  (see note-1 below for hung curd preparation)
  • 200gms condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar /powdered sugar
  • 2 cups mangoes cubed
  • 12 nos white bread slices
  • pinch of nutmeg freshly grated
  • pure ghee/clarified butter to roast – 12 tbsps

Procedure  – Add hung curd icing sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour the condensed milk and mix again. Then add 1 cups of cubed mangoes, nutmeg powder and give it a good stir. Refrigerate this mix for atleast 2 hours.  Your cream mixture is ready.

Cut out the white bread in circular shape with the help of a round cookie cutter, san crust. Roast the bread slices on a tawa, by applying a the ghee on both the sides, in a low flame until they turn golden in colour and became crisp. Let it cool for few minutes.


Place the roasted bread slice to begin with. Spread the cream mixture. Spread some  more mango cubes on it. Place another bread slice. Spread the cream mixture. Spread some  more mango cubes on it. End with another bread slice on the top. Pour some more cream, and garnish with the mangoes.

Repeat this process for the rest.


Once done refrigerate the cake for couple of hours before serving. This cake can be made in advance and stay good for 2-3 days.

This would yield 4 cakes, with two layers of bread slices.


  1. preparation of hung curd : Place the sieve/strainer on mixing bowl to collect the whey. Line the strainer with a muslin cloth. Pour in 1kg of yogurt in it. Let it rest overnight in the fridge. Your hung curd will be ready next morning. 🙂
  2. If you have more cream left, freeze it for future use. This serves as a good accompaniment with Puri/dosa or can be eaten as is.
Posted in Breads, Cakes & Cookies, Everything Frozen, Fruits and vegetables, Ice cream and frozen yogurt, Sweet somethings | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kanne-kudi Katne or Chinese weed soup


Chinese weed or Kanne-kudi as it is known in the western ghat region of Karnataka, is an uncultivated plant, found in abundance across the region.

The English name for the same seems to me an extreme misnomer, as there is absolute no China connection to it. Nonetheless I would use that in this post for the understanding of mas. There is so little information about this plant, available on the web, I have to request a biologist friend validate my understanding on this plant and provide more information.


This post has been sitting in my draft least from Jan 2016. I wanted to post these recipes, as many of us, who hail from the westernghat region, adore this plant and recipe for the nostalgia it creates, for the high nutritional and comfort value, it brings to the table. Also This would be such a divine way to get a peak into ancient wisdom of healing at home.


These leaves are one of the most sought after leaves during the cold seasons, especially in terrific rainy seasons of Western ghats. The entire region will be filled with monsoon mood – damp, cold, green,beautiful – and people around the area cook suitable warm food for the season.

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sneak peak at monsoon in malnad

This plant is used as precautionary food for common cold, indigestion and viral fever, which are the common consequences of heavy rains in the region.


With the monsoon approaching in Indian sub-continent, do make it a point to savour this soup, if you get hold of this plant.


  • 1 cup of kanne kudi/chinese weed (tightly packed)
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp  coconut oil 1/2 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 10 numbers of white pepper (substitute black pepper)
  • Sea salt 1 tbsp
  • 2 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 liters of water or more

Method – heat the oil and ad cumin seeds. Once the splutter add kannekudi / chinese weed and white pepper. Roast until the herb becomes tender and semi dry. Grind this with the grated coconut, into fine paste.

Add water to this mixture and bring it to boil. Add salt and boil it for a minute more. Switch of the flame and add the squeezed lemon. Adjust the salt at this stage, if need be.

Serve it hot as an appetizing soup or along with steamed rice.

Serves 4




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Beetroot soup – A quick and easy soup and a super food


I’m trying to stick to my promise of healthy eating without compromising much on the taste and joy, it brings home.  Beet root is  available in India through out the year, though in winter we have access to its good green leaves. With multiple culinary usages in Indian vegetarian food preparation, beetroot also is a natural coloring agent, which makes it more desirable various festive food preparations.


Beetroot soup combined amalgamated with onion, garlic and lentils easy natural solution to beet the winter cold. It’s super food packed with vitamins,  anti oxidants and low in fat.


We loved it’s appearance, taste and texture.  I hope this would be a bon apetite to you too.




  • 1 medium size beetroot
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp  split red gram/tur dal
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups water

Method – Pressure cook the tur dal  and  beetroot with its skin intact, up to 3 whistles. Once cooled, peel of the skin cut the beetroot into small cubes

Heat the water and add  onion and garlic, boil the water until onion becomes tender (you may chop the onion for quick cooking)

Add all ingredients and finely grind it. Put the ground soup into a wok and bring it to boil.

Taste test and its ready to serve.

P.s – You may garnish with some roasted walnut and serve

Soak the dal atleast for fifteen minutes before cooking

Serves two. You multiply the quantity, if you wish to prepare in larger quantity.


Posted in cuuries and soups, Fruits and vegetables | 2 Comments

Undhiyu /Oondio – A Winter vegetables bliss


Life some time seems to be an insane journey. With unknown stopovers turning into cozy hang out places, people from different walks of life turning into a part of your family,  food once was alien being part of staple diet…..so on. And there are watershed moments … micro events… Looking back it all look so beautiful, most enjoyable, simple moments.

One of those micro events was my encounter with Umbadiyu, which made me fall in love with this winter special Gujarati delicacy.


Umbadiyu in traditional way

IMG_6959 IMG_6960


Umbadiyu – cooked in the earthen pot

Archna, a good friend of mine, who introduced me to Gujarati kitchen almost a decade ago. Eventually, Gujarati kitchen, cooking and eating the recipes straight from the heart of Gujarat, has become tradition in our home too. Now you would find most of the recipes being prepared in their respective seasons in our kitchen as well, wiping of the boundaries of south and west.

In our recent trip to Gujarat, Parmar family made it literally gastronomic. They made sure we eat the renowned Gujarati dishes in its origin, undiyu, fafda & jalebi, umbadiyu, adadiyu…to name a few.



Spice box

On the day of Uttarayana, undhiyu has a special appearance on most of the Gujarati meals, serving as a festive and seasonal food.


A little bit about Undhiyu/Oondio – one of the most preferred side dishes in Gujarat and all the Gujaraties living across the globe, for the festive occasions and celebrations. This was traditionally cooked in earthen pot, upside down, thus the name Undhiyu (which mean reverse). In Mumbai you get chopped and assembled undhiyu veg pack. ..OKay…easy way out..so it’s cooked with the seasonal vegetable and mostly savored in winter. Nutrition packed with variety of vegetables and herbs, sinfully tasteful and one of the must try Gujarati side dish.


I’m tagging this post to #nationalundhiyuday event created by http://www.itspotluck.com



  • 250 gms flat beans/surti papdi
  • 200 gms chopped purple yam/kand
  • 2 potatoes
  • 250  cup sweet potatoes
  • 200  cup  gms raw banana
  • 6  small brinjal/eggplant

Spice paste

  • 1 cup chopped coriander leaves
  • 4 green chilies
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 bunch garlic leaves and cloves (if you chop it would be about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 tbsp jaggery
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Salt to taste

Brinjal stuffing spices

  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 4 tbsp chickpeas flour
  • 1/2 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 2 spoon spice paste from above
  • Salt to taste

Fenugreek Mutiya

  • 1/2 cup fenugreek finely chopped leaves
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas flour /besan
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • pinch of turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • pinch of cooking soda
  • 1  tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp semolina
  • 11/2 tbsp cumin powder
  • Salt to taste

Seasoning (optional)

  • 1/2 cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tbsp carom seeds
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil

Method –

String the flat beans without separating them into halves. Cut them into quarter-inch long pieces. Peel the yam and cut into cubes. Peel and cut sweet potatoes. Cut the raw banana with skin.

Marinate all the vegetables in the spice paste and keep it aside at least for an hour. Cook them in a pressure cooker for one whistle. (For tastier version shallow fry the vegetables)

Mix all the “brinjal stuffing spices”. Slit the brijal keeping its stem intact. Stuff it with the brinjal stuffing spice mix. Cook it in a tawa until they become tender (you may or may not add while cooking. I opted out)

Add the brinjal and marinated and cooked vegetables.

Preparing the Muthia – Add all ingredients and mix well into a dough. Make ten equal portions of the dough and deep fry them.

Once done add the muthias to the prepared vegetables and mix it well.

seasoning –  Heat the oil, add cumin and carom seeds. Add the seasoning to the Undhiyu mix from above.

This is mostly served with roti – Indian flat bread or with puries. This serves as a stand alone dish too.

Best served fresh. Serves 4-5 portions.

Preparation time 45 minutes and cooking time 30 minutes.



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Spiced Moringa leaves and lentils / Moringa leaves subzi and Welcome – 2016


This is my first post for the year 2016 and I choose to begin with the healthy recipes.  I would be posting the healthy vegetarian recipes though out this year and focus on seasonal and local ingredients & products.


Moringa leaves, sourced from the moringa tree, commonly known as drumstick tree, are known for it’s several health enhancing properties. It’s soothing, it aids sleep, detoxifying and so on. This is a simple super food.  various parts of drumstick tree including leaves and pods are also used to combat malnutrition in children. It’s also an Indian origin tree, grown across the globe, serving all deserving people with the right nutrition.

We were excited to cook with these pretty leaves as we plucked them from back yard drumstick tree at my mother’s place. They were garden fresh, organic and grown in my soil.




  • 3 cups moringa leaves
  • 1/2 cup tur dal /split red gram
  • 1 red onion


  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 green chillies (more if you prefer)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tbsp turmeric powder
  • Pinch of asafoetida or hing
  • 1 tsp lemon Juice
  • 1 tbsp jaggery
  • Salt to taste

Separate each leaves from the  bunch. Rinse and wash the leaves and keep it aside. Soak the lentil for 30 minutes and cook them only till they are done. Dice the onion and keep it aside.

Heat the oil in a wok. Add The mustard seeds. Once they start spluttering, add cumin seeds  and hing. Saute it.Add slit green chillies and turmeric powder. Saute for half a minute. Add onion and cook for a minute. Add moringa leaves. Cook for five minutes sauteing in between.

Add cook lentils, jaggery , salt and combine it all.

Switch of the flame and add lemon juice. Taste test for salt at this point.

Serve it with Indian breads or steamed rice.

Beneficial when consumed fresh.


Posted in Fruits and vegetables, Havyaka, herbs and weeds, Indian Flat bread / roti, Salads | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spicy tamarind rice / Puliyogare


Puliyogare is one of the traditional and most sought after recipes from Southern India. Each savoured bite of this rice reminds of the vivid memories of my student life spent at the community hostel. My mother would prepare this “can be stored well out side fridge” jam like spicy recipe, each time I visited her, as a take away. (read it as once in a quarter of the year). It also topped my demands of ‘to be packed’, home-made gojju.


This is also one of the frequented recipe requests from my readers and  friends. There are several ways of preparing the “puliyogare”, hence I can easily christen this “puliyogar- recipe numbe one” as I could make at few more versions of it, at the least.


This recipe is also ideal for quick-lunch preparations and home made gojju to be sent out to kids and adults living far from the family. When you care for  the nutrition going into it, this recipe allows you the flexibility of including different lentils init.


Puliyogare powder

  • 1 tbsp –  Bengal gram /chick pea split (without skin)
  • 1 tbsp – peanuts/ground nuts
  • 1 tbsp – Roasted gram
  • 1/2 tbsp- Fenugreek seeds
  • 2 1/2 tbsp – Coriander seeds
  • 1 1/2 tbsp – sesame seeds
  • 10 white pepper corns
  • 1/4 tbsp Asafoetida / hing
  • 5  badagi red chilies (to enhance the color)
  • 5 Guntur chillies (to enhance the spicy quotient)
  • 2 springs of fresh curry leaves

Method – Roast all ingredients separately and grind together into a coarse powder

For Puliyogare gojju

  • Puliyogare powder from above
  • 1 lemon sized tamarind soaked in warm water or 3 tbsp tamarind pulp
  • 2 tbsp jaggery (a little more if you prefer)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 spring of fresh curry leaves
  • 1/4 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp roasted peanuts
  • Salt to taste

Method – Extract the tamarind pulp and keep it aside. Heat the oil on a low heat, add mustard seeds. When they start spluttering, add the turmeric powder and curry leaves.. Add tamarind pulp diluted with 3/4 of a cup of water. Add jaggery and bring it to boil in on low heat. Keep stirring once it starts boiling.  Continue until the water content in it reduces to large extent. Add puliyogare powder and continue cooking for a minute more.

Allow it to cool and then store in an airtight non metallic container. This would store well for 2 weeks at room temperature and for couple of months when refrigerated.

Note –

  1. Adding desiccated coconut when mixing puliyogare gojju with rice, brings in more flavours.
  2. This gojju would be sufficient to mix with 3 cups of cooked rice and serves 4-5 portions




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