Thursday, October 29, 2015

Amma magala kitchen: Khara Shankarpali

Another childhood favorite :) Not only do I enjoy these savoury crispies but love it when mom makes them as the whole house has this beautiful aroma :)
Here's mum's version of the savoury shankarpole. She does a sweet version of this as well but that's for some other time :)

Plain flour / Maida: 3 cups
Whole wheat flour / Atta: 1 cup
Carum seeds / Ajwain seeds: 1/2 tbsp
Cumin seeds / Jeera: 1/2 tbsp
Dry Red chili: 5
Butter: 1 tbsp

1) Take 1 tbsp of plain flour and mix with butter for 5 minutes. Mom calls this saati. Don't know its english equivalent.
2) Add 2 tbsp oil (heated) along with rest of flour and mix for 2 to 3 minutes. The flour becomes crumbly.
3) Mix this with saati and knead for 2 to 3 minutes.
4) Dry roast Ajwain seeds, cumin seeds and dry red chili. Once cool, grind it into fine powder and mix with above.
5) Add water, 1/2 tbsp salt and knead it into a dough.
6) Make balls of the dough and roll it into a circle like chapathi. The thickness should be like that of a puri.
7) Cut it into diamond shape.
8) Heat oil on medium, and deep fry the Shankarpole until it turns golden brown. Remove and place it in a container lined with tissue paper.
9) Do the same with the remaining dough
10) Once cool, transfer it into an air tight container

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Amma Magala Kitchen: Onion Pakoda

Although I have been food blogging for over 4 years now, most of my recipes are inspired by friends or internet. Amma is easily my favorite cook and yet I did not know how to make her signature dishes as I hardly entered the kitchen when I was in India :) 
Now that amma is here, and I am on maternity leave, the time is ripe to learn some of her time tested delicious recipes that Nikki and I craved for. 
The next 3 to 4 months, I intend to get amma to make some of my childhood favorites and blog about it in the Amma Magala Kitchen Series :)

Onion pakoda is one of my favorite snacks. Although deep fried, it does not retain as much oil as a bonda would. Also, it stays fresh and crisp for days making it ideal for dinner parties where you are preparing a number of dishes and would like to get started a day or two earlier. 

1 cup refined flour / maida
1/2 cup chickpea flour / besan
1/4 cup rice flour
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp ajwain powder
Pinch of asafoetida
1 onion: thinly sliced along length
2-3 curry leaves spring - finely chopped
1-2 tsp red chili powder

1. Mix all of the above ingredients (except oil, water and salt). Heat 2 tbsp oil and add it and mix once cool.
2, Mix ingredients to a thick paste with little water. Check for salt.
3. Heat oil for deep frying. Once hot enough, scoop out a teaspoon of batter and drop it into the oil. Depending on the size of the pan, you can drop in a few more pakodas.
4. Remove once the pakodas start to turn golden brown and place it on a paper towel. Repeat the same for remining batter

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Ragi Rava Dosa

1 cup fine semolina
1 cup ragi flour
1/2 cup urad dal (black lentil) soaked for 1/2 an hour

1) Grind the urad dal into a fine paste.
2) Add rava, ragi, 2 cups of water and mix. Add more water to thin the batter - consistency should be like butter milk. Check for salt
3) Heat a frying pan on medium heat. Once hot, pour a ladleful of batter at the centre and spread it into a circle. Add a few drops of oil. Fry for a minute.
4) Flip to the other side and fry for 10 seconds.

Serve with chutney.

Congress kadlekai


3 cups roasted peanuts (deskinned)
1 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp pepper powder
1/4 tsp amchur powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1 tsp salt
3 sprigs of curry leaves - finely chopped
2 tsp oil

1) Heat oil on low heat. Add curry leaves and fry for a minute.
2) Add all the powders, salt and mix. Add peanuts and mix.
3) Increase heat to medium and fry for a minute.
4) Remove from heat, wait for it to cool. Once cool, store it in an airtight container

Tip: I used deskinned roasted peanuts to save on time. If you want to do it the traditional way, dry roast the peanuts, allow it to cool and rub it to separate the skin.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Carrot chutney

Ingredients: (Serves 4)
2 carrots - roughly chopped
1/2 onion - roughly chopped
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 cm ginger
1 green chili
1 tbsp chana dal + urad dal (optional)
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp nigella (kalonji) seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2 pepper corns
2 dry red chili
1/4 tsp tamarind concentrate


  1. Take a tbsp oil in a pan. Add chana and urad dal and fry until it changes colour. 
  2. Add onion, coriander seeds, green chili, ginger, pepper corns and fry for 1 minute.
  3. Add carrot and fry for 3 minutes. Take it off the heat. Cover and allow it to cool
  4. Once cool, grind to a fine paste with turmeric powder and tamarind concentrate. Check for salt
  5. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet. Add mustard seeds and wait for it to splutter. Add dry red chili, nigella seeds. Put the tadka on the chutney and mix

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Peanut Coconut Chutney

1/2 cup peanuts
1/2 cup coconut
1/4 tsp tamarind concentrate
1 tsp mustard seeds
3 dry red chili
1 green chili
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp of chopped coriander leaves (optional)
Pinch of asafoetida

1. Take 1 tbsp of oil and fry peanuts, dry red chili, green chili. Keep aside to cool.
2. Once cool, grind it with coconut, tamarind and 1/4 to 1/2 cup water. Transfer to a bowl, check for salt.
3. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a skillet. Once hot, add mustard seeds and wait for it to splutter. Add cumin seeds, asafoetida. Pour the tadka onto the chutney and mix. Garnish with coriander leaves


Neer dosa

2 cups rice (soaked for at least 3 hours)
3/4 to 1 cup grated coconut

1. Grind rice, coconut into a smooth thin batter. Consistency should be like butter milk. Check for salt.
2.  Heat a pan on medium. Once hot, take a ladleful of batter and spread in a zigzag motion. Note: You cannot spread this batter like normal dosa batter.
3. Once the top of the dosa looks cooked (15 seconds usually), flip it and cook for 5 seconds.

Serve with a chutney of your choice. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Oats Rava Idli

Ingredients (Makes 16 idlis):
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup coarse semolina
1 cup yogurt
1 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup finely chopped coriander leaves
1 sprig curry leaves finely chopped
2 green chili - finely chopped
2 tbsp chana dal
2 tbsp urad dal
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1) Dry roast rolled oats until the colour starts to change. Keep aside to cool.
2) Dry roast semolina until an aroma wafts out.
3) Grind oats and yogurt into a fine paste. Add semolina and mix into a thick batter. Add more water if needed. Mix in the yeast. Cover and wait for it to raise for 30 mins.
4) After 30 minutes, heat 3 tbsp oil in a skillet. After a minute, once sufficiently hot add urad dal, chana dal and mustard seeds. Wait for it to splutter. Add cumin seeds, curry leaves and fry for 5-10 seconds. Mix this to the batter with coriander leaves and green chili.
5) Grease idli moulds with oil. Heat 2 cups of water in the steamer. Add baking soda to the batter and spoon the batter into the moulds. Place the moulds in the steamer. Cover and cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes.
6) Once done, scoop out the idlis using a spoon.

Serve with coconut chutney

Tip 1: You can make these idlis more healthy by adding 1 grated carrot and more herbs like dill or spinach to the batter.
Tip 2: Pressure cooker can be used to steam as well. Steps remain the same except do not place the weight on top.

Saturday, February 14, 2015


Ingredients: (Serves 3)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp whole wheat flour for dusting
1 tbsp dry yeast
3-4 tbsp yogurt
1/2 tsp kalonji/nigella seeds
1/2 tsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp coriander leaves - finely chopped
Note: Usually naan would not include whole wheat flour. I prefer to add equal amounts of all purpose and whole wheat flour as a healthier option.

1) Activate yeast by adding it to 3 tbsp of warm water and keeping it aside for 10-15 mins
2) Add yeast, yogurt and a tsp of salt to the flour. Knead well into a dough adding water as required.
3) Grease it with about 1 tbsp of oil. Place it in a bowl, cover it with a tea towel or cling wrap. Keep aside in a warm place and wait for it to rise. It should double in size in 30 mins
4) Pre-heat the oven to 250C. Put the wheat flour for dusting in a plate. Divide the dough into 10 -12 equal portions and roll them into a ball.
5) Work with one ball at a time. Place it on the wheat flour and gently press to flatten. Turn over and gently press so that the other side is covered with flour as well.
6) Gently roll this into a circle about 6 inches in diameter.
7) Sprinkle a bit of nigella seeds, sesame seeds and coriander leaves. Roll the naan again so that the seeds and coriander stick to the bread.
8) Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place naan bread, dab some oil on top and bake for 3-4 minutes until it starts to change colour
9) Do the same for the remaining dough.

Tip: I prefer to make all the naan in one go before I start placing it in the oven in batches. This way I get to eat fresh off the oven naan, while the next batch of naan is baking :)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Vegetable Puff

Ingredients: (Makes 6)
3 puff pastry sheets

For the filling:
2 medium sized beetroot - peeled, cubed, boiled until soft
1 medium sized potato - cubed, boiled until soft
1 cup frozen peas - thawed
2 garlic pods - finely diced
½ tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp fennel seeds
1 green chili
½ tsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp oil

For the filling:
1) Take beetroot, potato and peas in a bowl and lightly mash. Keep aside.
2) Take oil in a deep bottomed frying pan. Once the oil is hot enough, add garlic and fry until it changes colour.
3) Crush the spices (cumin, fennel, coriander) with a mortar and pestle. Stir it into the pan with green chili and fry for 5-10 seconds.
4) Add beetroot, potato, green peas, turmeric powder and mix. Check for salt.
5) Cover and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow it to cool.

Vegetable puffs:
1) Preheat oven at 200 C
2) Thaw the pastry sheets. Cut each sheet into 2 halves.
3) Divide the filling into 6 portions.
4) Take one half of the puff pastry sheet. Place one portion of the filling in the center and spread such that it covers ⅓ of pastry sheet. Ensure that the sides are covered with filling.
5) Gently fold over the top ⅓ of the sheet on the filling, followed by the bottom ⅓.
6) Bake in oven for 20 - 25 minutes until golden brown


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Vegetarian Big Brekkie

Ingredients: (Serves two)

Sweet Potato Hashbrowns:
1 sweet potato - peeled and grated
½ medium sized onion - finely sliced
1 tsp paprika powder
1 tbsp corn flour
Olive Oil

Grilled tomato:
2 cups cherry tomato - sliced into 2 halves
½ tsp dried Italian herbs

Sauteed Mushrooms and Spinach:
2 cups button mushrooms
1 cup baby spinach
2 garlic pods - finely diced
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
Fresh coarsely ground pepper

½ slab of Haloumi cheese
2 vegetarian sausages
2 slices of mixed grain bread

1) Mix sweet potato, onion, paprika powder, corn flour, 1 tbsp olive oil in a bowl. Check for salt. keep aside for 15-20 mins
2) Pour oil into the frying pan (1 mm deep) and heat it on medium heat.
3) Once hot, gently place 1 heaped tbsp of hashbrown, flatten it with a spatula so that it is about ½cm thick. Depending on the size of the pan, you could get multiple hashbrowns to shallow fry at once.
4) Cook for 3-5 minutes. Once it is done, flip to the other side and fry for 3-5 minutes.
5) Remove and pat with paper towel to remove excess oil

Sauteed mushrooms and spinach:
1) Heat butter in a pan, add garlic anc fry until it starts to change colour.
2) Add mushrooms and fry for 3 minutes. Keep stirring.
3) Add vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Stir fry it for another 2 mins. Stir in spinach. Cook until spinach wilts.

Grilled tomato:
1) Mix tomato with italian herbs. Check for salt. Keep aside for 15 mins
2) Heat an oven on grill setting. Spread the tomatos on a baking tray and grill it for 5 mins

Grilled haloumi cheese:
1) Cut 1 cm thick slabs of haloumi cheese. Grill in oven for 5

Grilled sausages:
1) Grill in oven for 5 mins or as per instructions on the package

Toast the bread. Spread some butter if you like


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Vegetarian Nachos

Ingredients (Serves 4):
Nachos chips - 50 to 70
1-2 cups sour cream or yogurt
1 cup grated cheese

For black bean topping:
1 cup black beans - soaked in water overnight
1 medium sized Spanish onion - sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
3-4 garlic pods - sliced
½ tsp cumin seeds - coarsely ground
1 green chili
1 tsp red chili powder
1-2 tsp salt

For salsa:
2 large tomato diced
½ small sized Spanish onion - finely diced
1 green chili
1 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tsp coriander - finely chopped
½ tsp salt

For guacamole:
1 ripe avocado - mashed
½ small sized Spanish onion - finely diced
1 small tomato - diced
¼ tsp pepper powder
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt

Black bean topping:
1) Put black bean in a sauce pan along with the water used for soaking. Add 1 tsp salt. Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes until the black beans become soft. Add more water if it starts to dry out. Drain and keep aside the beans and reserve the water as well.
2) Heat oil in a frying pan, add garlic pods and wait until it starts to brown.
3) Add cumin seeds, onion and green chili and wait for onion to change colour
4) Add red chili powder as per taste, stir in the black beans and fry for a minute. If it becomes too dry, you can add about 1/4 cup reserved water. Check for salt.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl

Mix all ingredients in a bowl

Bring it all together:
1) Pre-heat oven to 180C. Lay the nachos on a pizza stone for e.g and place it in the oven for a minute or two to make it crisp.
2) Divided the black bean topping, salsa, cheese, guacamole, yogurt/sour cream, nachos into 4 portions
3) Arrange 1 portion of nachos on the stone such that there are no gaps. Sprinkle 1 portion of cheese, 1 portion of black bean, 1 portion of salsa and bake for 5 minutes
4) Remove from oven and layer on top - nachos, cheese, black beans and salsa again. Bake in oven for 10 minutes
5) Remove from oven, while serving top with guacamole, sour cream/yogurt
6) Do the same with the remaining ingredients as a second batch


1) Typically, sour cream is used instead of yogurt is used. Its just my preference as it is a healthier and yummier alternative
2) I also reckon more cheese is used but I like to keep it to bare minimum

Saturday, January 3, 2015


250g thin avalakki (flattened rice)
2/3 cup ground nuts
1/3 cup roasted chana dal (split chickpea)
2/3 cup sliced dessicated coconut
1-2 tsp mustard seeds
&frac12 tsp cumin seeds
2 sprigs of curry leaves
1 green chili - optional
4-5 dry red chili
1-2 tsp red chili powder
&frac12 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp sugar
2-3 tsp salt
Pinch of asafoetida
4-5 tbsp oil

1) Dry roast avalakki in a pan on medium heat until an aroma wafts out. Keep aside.
2) Heat oil in another pan on medium heat. When hot, add ground nuts and fry for a minute. Add chana dal and fry until it starts to change colour. Keep stirring.
3) Add mustard seeds, dry red chili and wait for it to splutter.
4) Reduce the heat to low, add cumin seeds, curry leaves, green chili, desicated coconut slice and stir.
5) Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, sugar, salt, asafoetida and stir.
6) Add avalakki and mix thoroughly. Keep aside and wait for it to cool before storing it in a container.

1) I use Kashmiri red chili powder as it is low on heat, implying you can use more of it and get great colour
2) Before eating, stir in a finely chopped onion, coriander leaves and grated carrot. Yummmmm! :)