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Hi Supermoms,

There are thousands of sambar varieties for one to try. 

Every village, town, city and house have their own recipe to make sambar. For those who are wondering what 'Sambar' means, it is a beautiful medley of vegetables cooked in tamarind broth and lentils . Freshly roasted spices called the 'sambar podi' is used to spice up this historic dish. 

During my evening walk with friends yesterday, an interesting discussion on sambar came up. My North Indian friend was so excited to learn that sambar can be made with one single vegetable also. Till this time, she always thought that sambar must have different vegetables. 

The vegetable that we use for sambar gives the unique taste of the sambar. Similarly different cooking techniques can be adopted to make this tasty dish. Today, I am going to share the recipe to make a tasty sambar in my mother's style of cooking . You guessed it right - using the pressure cooker. 

However, if you do not have the pressure cooker, you can cook the lentil in an open pot and follow all other steps of my recipe.

This sambar is a little thicker as I served it along with hot rice and ghee. 


Capsicum Sambar :

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time : 20 minutes
Serves : 4-6
1 cup = 250 ml cup

Ingredients :

2 green bell peppers /capsicum ( cut into uniform large pieces)
1 tomato (finely chopped)
 gooseberry size tamarind ( soak in 1/2 cup warm water and extract the juice)OR 1 teaspoon thick tamarind paste
3/4 cup toor dal / pigeon peas (wash and soak in 3 cups water for 30 minutes) 
2 and 1/2  teaspoons sambar powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
salt to taste

To temper :

2 teaspoons sesame oil ( or oil of your choice)
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves

To garnish : 

1 teaspoon hot ghee or oil ( optional)

Method :

1. Heat a pressure pan with oil over low flame.
2. Temper with ingredients given under ' tempering'.
3. Add the tomatoes, bell pepper , salt, turmeric powder and mix well. .
4. Allow it to cook for 2 minutes or till the time the tomatoes become mushy.
5. Now add the juice of tamarind , sambar powder , salt and the soaked dal along with water . 
Chef tip : If you are using tamarind paste, mix it in 1/2 cup warm water and then add. 
6. Pressure cook this mixture for upto 4 whistles and switch off.
7. Once the pressure releases, you can gently whisk the sambar with a hand whisk. 
8. Garnish with hot ghee ( if you are not vegan) or oil . 



Your delicious everyday Capsicum sambar is ready so quickly. 



Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom




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Hi Supermoms,

I have grown a year older this week 😁.

My birthday was  special with the whole day spent in the loving company of my family and friends. I took a break from cooking and was treated to restaurant food. I had a very sumptuous Rajasthani thali for lunch and before it even got fully digested I had a Mediterranean dinner 🙈. 

Talking about dinner, we had ordered a pita bread platter which was served with dips that did not really compliment the bread. The dip was not fresh and the vinegar was too over powering.  We pushed that dip ( Muhammara)  away and asked for more hummus , which was fresher 🙆. And while eating the dip, discussed how the experience could have been made better by pairing the bread with fresh Indian Chutneys . 

So, when I started prepping  for lunch today morning, I wanted to make a tasty and healthy dip/chutney/thogayal/thuvayal/pachadi ( you can choose how you would like to call it ). Well I chose Ridge Gourd, one of my favourite vegetables for it.

OK, before I explain to you what I made, let me  give you some gyan on Thogayal. Thogayal is a part of our everyday cooking and it takes just few minutes to prepare. It is fresh, healthy with all the nutrients of the vegetable intact. According to Ayurveda, ridge gourd cools our system    ( our doshas) and can be consumed by all. I have earlier shared the Ridge Gourd Skin Chutney recipe and today I am sharing this chutney recipe which has both the goodness of the skin and the flesh of ridge gourd. 

I ground it more smoothly as I wanted to serve along with fresh mini pita breads. You can also serve it along with chapathi /roti or rice . 

Presenting the newest dip in town - TURAI .

Turai :

Preparation time : 5 minutes
Cooking time : 10 minutes
Serves : 4
1 cup = 250 ml cup 
Storage : Keeps good for upto 2 days when refrigerated 

Ingredients :

2 medium size ridge gourd ( Cut them into roundels with skin)
1/2 teaspoon thick tamarind paste OR gooseberry size tamarind 
1/4 cup husked and split black gram /urad dal
4 dry red chillies ( I used the long variety/guntur chillies)
1 teaspoon sesame oil 
salt to taste

To garnish :

2 teaspoons sesame oil 
1/4 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/2 dry red chilli ( chopped finely)

Method :

1. In a kadai/small wok heat oil.
2. Add the urad dal and when they start turning fragrant, add the red chillies.
3. Once the urad dal is slight brown in colour, transfer the mixture to the jar of a mixer.
4. Place the wok back on low flame and add the chopped ridge gourd.
5. Cook them till the flesh changes colour.
Chef tip : It will look cooked. 
6. Add this also into the jar of the mixer.
7. Add tamarind , salt and grind into a smooth paste.
Chef tip: Add water if required while grinding 
8. Transfer this into the serving bowl. 
9. Heat oil , add the sesame seeds and chopped dry red chillies .
10. Pour it over the ground chutney and your 'Turai' is ready to be served. 


Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom










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Hi Supermoms,

I am always excited to create new and interesting  side dishes. Pongal - Chutney is a world famous combination. In my last post, I shared my twist to the traditional Pongal - The Pongal Fried Rice. Many of you have already tried it and shared your amazing feedback. 

When I cooked the Pongal Fried Rice for lunch , I wanted to serve it along with a new and tasty side dish. So gave a make over to the coconut chutney and thus was born 'coconut salan' . 

It was loved by my family and I am so excited to share this simple and  delicious recipe with you all. I am sure you are equally excited to try .


Coconut Salan :

Preparation time : 15 minutes
Cooking time : 10 minutes
Serves : 4
1 cup = 250 ml cup

Ingredients :

To be ground :

1/2 cup fresh coconut ( roughly chopped or grated)
2 teaspoon roasted gram ( optional)
1 small onion OR 3-4 shallots ( chopped)
2 small garlic pods ( peeled)
2-3  green chillies ( chopped)

Other ingredients :

2 teaspoons ghee or oil ( of your choice)
1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder 
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder ( optional)
1/4 cup thick curd ( whisked) 
salt to taste 
1 sprig curry leaves ( optional)

Method :

1. Add all the ingredients given under ' to be ground' into the jar of a mixer.
2. Add 1/4 cup water and allow it to rest for 15 minutes.
3. Grind it to a fine paste adding more water if required.
4. Set it aside.

5. In a small bowl, add curd and whisk well.
6. Add the Kashmiri chilli powder, turmeric powder and garam masala powder ( if adding ) into the curd and mix well. 
7. Heat ghee/oil in a kadai/small wok over low flame and when hot add the curd mixture.
Chef tip : You can temper with curry leaves before adding the curd mixture. 
8. Cook over low flame, continuously stirring for 2-3 minutes.
9. Now add the ground coconut mixture and allow it to simmer for another 5-7 minutes only .
Chef tip : You can add more curd/buttermilk  if you like. 
10. Switch off. 

Your delicious coconut salan is now ready to be served with any variety rice .


Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom








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Hi Supermoms,

I have shared with you all that I am cooking a lot of one pot dishes these days . Pongal is a favourite 'any time' meal for my better half and myself.  For all those readers who are not familiar with 'Pongal' - it is a traditional breakfast dish in South India and can be cooked in sweet and savoury versions. A wholesome dish that has the right amount of nutrition and taste.

The combination  of cumin, peppercorns and ginger in the savoury pongal known as 'Ven Pongal' is simply irresistable. It is even served as a 'Prashad/Prasadam/offering' in South Indian temples. A cup of steaming hot pongal cooked with generous amounts of ghee is soul food for many.

However, I have seen that my children do not enjoy Pongal the way we do. So , over the years, I have modified the traditional Pongal recipe in many ways to make it equally popular with the next generation 😇 and I have shared some of them in the blog already. 

Today, I am sharing a super hit Pongal recipe that has got my family approval and will be a block buster at your home too. I really have to thank my Sister-In - Law and  Mother - In - Law for the 'name' of this dish . 


Pongal Fried Rice :

Preparation time : 10 minutes
Cooking time : 25 minutes
Serves : 4
1 cup = 250 ml cup 

Note : I have not used onions and garlic . If you are using, you can thinly slice the onions and fry them in ghee along with finely chopped garlic  after   tempering with spices. 

Ingredients :

2 cups basmati rice 
1/2 cup moong dal/husked and split yellow mung beans
3 1/4 cups water ( adjust)
2 carrots ( finely chopped)
10 french beans ( finely chopped)
1/4 cup sweet corn 
1/4 cup green peas 
salt to taste

For the tempering :

1 tablespoon ghee/clarified butter
6-7 cashew nuts ( halved)
3 green chillies ( halved vertically)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds/jeera ( coarsely crushed using mortar and pestle)
1 teaspoon peppercorn ( coarsely crushed using mortar and pestle)
1" ginger ( roughly chopped and crushed)
1 sprig curry leaves 

Method :

1. Wash rice and dal together two to three times.
2. Add 3 cups of water, salt  ( I added 1/4 cup extra ) and pressure cook for 2 whistles only and switch off.
Chef tips to cook the rice and dal right  : 
a.  Basmati rice is very delicate, you need to take extra care to cook it fluffy. 
b.The water quantity will depend on the variety of basmati you are using.  
c. If you are pressure cooking, the water quantity is usually the exact proportion of the rice you are using ( 1:1).
d. If you are cooking in open pot, you can add 1/2 cup extra .
e. Read the instruction/water measurement that is given in the label . 
f. If you are cooking in the open pot, soak the rice and dal along with the required amount of water for at least 30 minutes. 
g. Once the pressure releases, transfer the rice mixture into a wide vessel and using a fork, gently fluff the rice . 
3. Steam the cut vegetables till they are fork tender. 
Chef tip : It takes approximately 10 minutes for this step . 
4. Heat a kadai/wok over low flame.
5. Add ghee and temper with ingredients given under ' To temper'. 


6. Add the steamed vegetables , salt ( only for the vegetables) and fry over medium flame for 2-3 minutes.
7. Add the cooked rice-dal mixture , mix and switch off. 

Chef tip : You can heat ghee and temper with cashews just before serving .

Your delicious Pongal Fried Rice is now ready. 



When I shared this recipe on my instagram, so many of you loved it and have already book marked the recipe. Also, many of you sent me questions/doubts to cook the rice and dal right. I have shared tips for the same and hope you will enjoy making this Pongal fried rice just the way I thoroughly enjoyed sharing the recipe with all of you. 

Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom










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Hi Supermoms,

Summer time means simple and light meals. It also means 'smart cooking ' . By smart cooking, I mean adding seasonal vegetables , fruits and herbs that helps to build stronger immunity to face the extreme heat and also spending minimum time in the kitchen. 

In India, especially in the North, the summer temperatures can be get as high as 45 degrees C 😓. Last few days, the temperatures are hovering around  41-42 degrees C during the day time but they are followed by dust storms and light rain in the evening that reduces the night temperature. I am sure you must have read about them in the news . 

Ok, now let me share about today's recipe. I have earlier shared that Neem flowers help in digestion and they also cleanse our system . It is easy to cook the neem flowers. Frying them in ghee , accentuates the taste and also increases it's healing properties. Using neem flowers during the change of season ( onset of spring) is a tradition that has been in our food culture for the last thousands of years. 

I have earlier shared many recipes using neem flowers like the Neem Flower Pachadi, Neem Flower Rasam, Neem Flower Rice  and today I am sharing another delicious and healthy heirloom recipe from Perianayakam Palayam, North Arcot - 'Veppam Poo Kuzhambu'. 

You can use dried neem flowers to make this' kuzhambu' ( thick curry). If you are living outside India, you can find them in Asian stores . This Kuzhambu is simply delicious and is also easy to make on a week day. 



Veppam Poo Kuzhambu | Village Style Neem Flowers Curry 

Preparation time : 10 minutes
Cooking time : 30 minutesa
Serves : 4-6
1 cup = 250 ml cup

Ingredients :

1/4 cup bengal gram/channa dal
1/4 cup husked and split mung beans/moong dal
small gooseberry size tamarind ( soak in 1/2 cup hot water ) OR 1 teaspoon thick tamarind paste
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 cup fresh coconut milk ( optional) 
salt to taste

To fry and grind:

1 teaspoon oil ( sesame or coconut oil)
1 teaspoon channa dal/ bengal gram
1 teaspoon urad dal /husked black gram 
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek /methi seeds
1 onion ( roughly chopped)
10 sambar onions/shallots ( peeled)
2 tomatoes ( chopped roughly) 
10 dry chillies ( I used Salem Gundu Chillies) ( adjust according to your spice preference)
1/2" ginger
10 small garlic pods ( peeled )
1/4 cup fresh coconut pieces ( if you are not adding coconut milk) 
pinch of asafoetida


To be tempered :

1/4 cup neem flowers/veppam poo flowers
2 teaspoons sesame oil (or coconut oil )
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves 

Method :

1. Mix both the dals , wash and pressure cook them with 2 cups of water and 1/8 teaspoon of  turmeric powder .
Chef tip : You can pressure cook over medium heat for 4 whistles and switch off. Alternatively, you can cook the dals in an open pot. 
2. Use a hand whisk to mash the dals and set it aside.
3. In a kadai or small wok, add all the ingredients given under " To fry and grind' in the order given.
4. Once the onions have turned transparent and the tomatoes have become mushy, you can allow them to cool. 
5. Grind them into a paste.
6. Place the kadai back on heat and add oil.
7. Add mustard seeds and when they splutter add the neem flowers and curry leaves.

8. Once the neem flowers are well fried, add the tamarind extract and allow it to cook for 5 minutes over low flame.
9. Now, add the boiled and mashed dal mixture and salt.
10. Add the ground masala and allow the kuzhambu to simmer for another 7-8 minutes.

11. Add coconut milk and mix well.
12. Switch off. 



Your healthy and tasty Village Style Veppam Poo Kuzhambu is now ready to be served. 


Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom


















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Hi Supermoms,

It feels so great to be back to sharing recipes after a refreshing break. As you all know I was travelling to Singapore for a cooking experience and I am so happy to share with you that the workshop was a huge success. I must thank all my readers, fans and friends for such a warm welcome to Singapore. I have to thank the World Class Design Studio Chun Tsubaki for inviting me there to conduct the workshop.  

Sharing some pictures from the Masterclass Experience on Every Day Indian Cooking at 
Chun Tsubaki, Singapore. 

The food that was cooked during the experience. Mixing podi with sesame oil to marinate the idli

The joy of cooking 

Sharing about theAncient Indian Spices, Herbs and Condiments that have great healing power 
Attended by very enthusiastic participants who were very keen to know more about the Indian Cuisine, the Masterclass experience was so much fun and satisfying. 


Now, let me share about today's recipe - Drumstick Kootu from Cheyyar, Kanchipuram District of Tamil Nadu. Unlike the usual 'Kootu' ( meaning 'mix') that involves a mixture of dal and vegetables , this kootu recipe is unique and has cooling properties . Simple to make and with just a few ingredients, this kootu beautifully comes together with a handful of ingredients. Fresh drumstick and coconut usually comes from the backyard of our home that makes this kootu even more delectable. This is a family recipe and I am so happy to share it with all of you. 

Kanchipuram Murungakkai Kootu Recipe : 

Preparation time : 10 minutes
Cooking time : 20 minutes
Serves : 4
1 cup = 250 ml cup 

Note : Use tender drumstick and fresh homemade coconut milk for best taste. However, you on non-availability of fresh coconut milk, you can use the store bought ones. Also, using earthen pot to cook this curry brings out more authentic flavours. 

Ingredients : 

1-2 drumsticks ( cut into 2" pieces)
1 cup coconut milk
1 sprig curry leaves
salt to taste

To grind :

1/4 cup coconut ( chopped or grated)
3-4 sambar onions/shallots 
1 teaspoon fennel seeds 
1/4 cup water

To temper :

2 teaspoons sesame oil ( or coconut oil)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 dry red chillies ( Salem Gundu Milagai variety is most ideal , add extra if you like it more spicy)
7-8 shallots ( halved)
4-5 curry leaves ( torn roughly)

Method :

1. Heat 1 cup water in an earthen vessel/ kadai and boil the drumsticks. 

Chef tip : Adjust water quantity depending upon the freshness of the drumstick. Fresh and tender drumstick cooks faster . 
2. While the drumsticks are cooking, extract coconut milk .
3. Grind the ingredients that are given under ' To grind'  , to a fine paste .

4. Once the drumstick is tender, add the ground paste , salt and 1/2 cup of water. 
5. Let it cook for 6-7 minutes over low flame .
6. Add the coconut milk and allow it to simmer for just 2 minutes and switch off.
7. In another small pan , heat oil and temper with ingredients given for the same.
8. Add the shallots and pinch of salt.
9. Keep stirring over low flame till they become soft and transparent.
10. Pour this into the drumstick kootu mixture .
11. Taste and adjust salt. 

Your simple, light and tasty summer kootu is ready to be served along with rice .



Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom
























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