Archive for Tiffin

Veggie Noodles —-Dallas Special!

Below is my sister’s recipe for the delicious veggie noodles that she cooked for us at their house during our vacation in Dallas. I made them a few days ago and they tasted as yummy as it did at my sis’s place. The final verdict was however tipped in favour of my sister; we decided that it somehow tasted better in Dallas!:-)))

Anyway I used whatever veggies I had in my fridge; my sister used Carrots,peas,potatoes,onions and spring onions.

Recipe Serves 4

2 packs Hakka noodles

1 cup of yellow,orange and green bell pepper

1/4cup frozen green peas

1 bunch spring onions, chopped(Green part used for garnishing)

1/3 cup onions diced

1/2 cup paneer cubes (~15 cubes)

1 tsp ginger-garlic paste

1 green chilly chopped fine

1tsp schezuan sauce

1tsp tomato sauce ( I used Maggi sauce)

1/2 tsp green chilli sauce

1-2 tsp soy sauce

2 tsp olive oil

salt according to taste


Cook the noodles al dente according to the instructions in the packet. drain in a colander; place this under running water so that the cooked noodles don’t stick together. My sister disentangles them and cools them. I did that too.

Saute paneer in about 1 tsp of oil until both sides are lightly browned.

In a wok, heat the oil,fry onions, spring onions,ginger-garlic paste and green chillies for a few minutes. Once the onions turn pink, add the bell peppers. After 2 minutes,when they are half cooked, add the peas. Add the sauces and saute in high heat for a minute. Mix in the noodles thoroughly. Adjust salt and garnish with the green part of the Scallions and browned paneer cubes.

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Cooking from the Blogs: Vegetable Chow-Mein

When Coffee from My Khazana of Recipes announced International cuisine for the “Monthly Blog Patroling” event , I immediately thought of the Indian-Chinese Fusion dish:Vegetable Chow-Mein that I had made following the recipe from one of my favourite bloggers, Meena of Hooked on Heat. I lo—ve her blog and her mouth-watering pictures. Honestly they make me want to run to the kitchen and immediately try to replicate the delicious goodness there! That noodles are an all time favourite of both my hubby and I, was another major motivation to try this recipe. Anyway though I do say it myself, the result was pretty good especially since the proof of the chow-mein is in eating it which both of us did to our heart’s content.


Well, I didn’t have cabbage in my fridge that day and hence used green beans instead. The other veggies I used are yellow bell peppers, beans, mushrooms, scallions and onions.One more difference is the flat vegetarian noodles instead of egg noodles. Otherwise the method is the same and can be referred here.

Thanks to Meena for the wonderful recipe and of course to Coffee for motivating me to reproduce this in my blog for the “Monthly Blog Patroling” event.

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Couscous revisited!

When Hua, who rides the vanpool to work with me, said that though she loved looking at the colorful couscous recipe pictures in my blog, she didn’t know/use half the ingredients I used, my friend Pinal suggested this versatile couscous recipe with “American Friendly” ingredients!! It is a very simple and flavorful recipe, especially wonderful to cook if one is dieting, which btw we are supposed to be doing!!:-)).

I sort of adjusted Pinal’s recipe with whatever I had in my pantry. here goes the recipe:

Serves 4

1/4 cup onions sliced lengthwise

1/2 cup of frozen vegetable, I used Tuscan style veggies which had cauliflowers, bell peppers, mushrooms and celery

1/4 cup of broccoli (optional)

2cups couscous

2 cloves of garlic minced

1tsp olive oil

1/2tsp of dried oregano (can also use fresh/dried parsley,fresh/dried basil whichever you have in the pantry)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)


Cook the couscous according to the instructions in the packet. I used plain couscous, while Pinal used whole wheat couscous from Trader Joe’s. Fluff it up with a fork to prevent the grains from sticking.

To 1 tsp of oil taken in a wok throw in the onions,and the garlic. cook for a minute then add the frozen veggies. sautee in high for about 3 minutes taking care not to burn the garlic. Once the veggies are half cooked (the crunchiness should still be there), add the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Mix the couscous with this and garnish with dried herbs. Serve with soup.


Our diet dinner:Couscous with Sweet corn soup

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A Sunny Sandwich from SunTV!

Yes, yes,when we first got the cable, we were guilty of being a slave to SunTV especially on Sundays; We used to be glued to the box starting at about 9:30a.m., and watch all the programs from movies to star interviews to other shows ,however gross/boring/junky they were. And the advertisements!! oh man I have to write about these. The ads are soooo colourful and vibrant that it was hard to take our eyes off the TV set even for a moment!!:-)) This went on for a couple of weeks until the novelty wore off and now except for the cookery show called sunday samaiyal (Sunday cooking!) which I still watch rain or shine!!!:-)) we have pretty much reduced watching Sun TV!!!. Anyway,the cooking show has four parts: A five star cooking which features a chef making fancy stuff, a village recipe by an old gutsy lady who is famous in tamil movies(More information about this section is given by Revathi of En Ulagum blog), a Healthy meal cooked by a dietician using low fat stuff for junta on diet or having diabetes etc. and a modern cooking section on the microwave by an actress who makes stove top recipes on the microwave. Some of the dishes are pretty nice and watching the show makes one realize how much globalization has impacted the cooking style in India!

Anyway last week after we returned from our Thanksgiving bash at L.A, we decided to go on a diet at least for a week to avoid the tyres of fat building up on our waists!!:-)) and viola this Sunday the dietician in Sunday Samaiyal made a veggie-sprout sandwich which was incredibly healthy, filling and most importantly low fat!!! It was as if she heard about our diet!!:-))So Below is the recipe.

Ingredients (for making 8 sandwiches)

1 loaf whole wheat bread

1 green/red/yellow bell pepper chopped fine

1 cup of mushroom chopped fine

1 cup onions chopped fine

1 cup sprouts cooked until soft

1/4 cup paneer cut into tinly pieces

1 green chilly chopped

1 tsp jeera

1 tsp vegetable/olive oil

1/2 tsp pav bhaji masala

1/4 tsp chat masala(optional)

1/4 tsp curry powder(optional)

salt to taste


To the hot oil taken in a wok, add the jeera and once it sputters, add the green chilles. Fry the onions, then throw in the bell peppers and mushrooms. Once they are cooked, put the sprouts,paneer,Pav bhaji masala, chat masala,curry powder, salt and sautee for sometime. This is the stuffing for the sandwich.The rest is very simple. To one slice of the bread spoon in about 2 tblspoons of this veggie-sprout stuffing ,cover it with the other slice and cook in a sandwich maker greased with 1/4 tspoon of ghee. these can be served with ketchup or eaten by itself!They were tasty and filling.



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Venn Pongal- A dish packed with Flavour!

Venn Pongal, a traditional dish in South India is the equivalent to kichidi made in North India. It is basically a rice and moong dal that is over cooked and dressed up with spices. In kichidi, ginger and jeera are invariably used while in Pongal it is ginger,pepper and jeera that produce the glorious taste. ‘Venn’ is actually ‘vellai’ which means white in tamil.Since the end result is a nice creamy white rice with risotto like consistency, it is called thus. Back home, my appa is very fond of this dish and it made frequent appearances in my amma’s tiffin menu. Well, after getting hitched, I found that this dish ranks first in hubby’s tiffin choices too!!

Venn Pongal is also a star dish for  Pongal which is also a festival( sometimes called harvest festival) celebrated in my home state of Tamil Nadu to give thanks to nature for endowing us with abundance of crops especially rice, the staple food of southern India.For more information of this festival check out

Hence it seemed apt to submit this dish for the Monthly Mingle #6 blogging event organized by Meeta of What’s for lunch honey.


This is the first blogging event I am participating in after I started my blog and I am as apprehensive as a high school student taking her final exams :-))). I hope this debut is at least a decent success!! So this dish is to ‘give thanks’ to my husband for being a supportive, caring better half and most importantly for being the tolerant, ‘official taster’ of all my culinary experiments, good or bad.

I made Venn pongal last evening for our dinner with coconut-cilanthro chutney. My MIL taught me how to make this first and here I have adapted her recipe with my variations. So below is the recipe

Serves 4


1 and1/4 cup of rice

1/3 cup moong dal

7 cups of water

1/2 tbspoon cumin seeds

1 tbspoon peppercorns

2-3 tbspoons ghee

1/4 inch ginger chopped fine

2 tbspoons cashew nuts

some curry leaves

salt to taste



First take the cumin with half the peppercorns and grind into a coarse mixture.

In a pressure pan first dry roast the moong dal until it loses its raw smell and turns slightly brown. Add the rice to this and switch off the stove. Keep this aside.

Again in the pan add about 1 tspoon of ghee and fry the cashew nuts until goldern brown. Remove and reserve it.

In the same pan put in another tspoon of ghee and fry coarsely the ground cumin-peppercorn mixture and the remaining peppercorns . Then add chopped ginger pieces and curry leaves. Wait a minute and then add roasted rice, moong dal ,salt to taste and mix all the stuff in the pan roughly. Pour the 7 cups of water to this.Close the pressure pan ,turn heat to medium and put the weight on. Switch off after one whistle and wait for the pressure to reduce. Open pan, throw in reserved cashew nuts and remaining amount of ghee. Mix the somewhat semi solid rice thoroughly and serve with a dollop of ghee and a side of cilanthro-coconut chutney.


1. If you feel that there is excess water in the pongal, heat pan in medium-low until rice thickens.

2. One can also add the fried cumin-peppercorn mixture to cooked rice-moong mixture. I used to do this before but found it very difficult to mix everything in the pongal.

3. The more the ghee ,more the cholestrol but better the taste!!!:-))

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A Couscous Plate in Haste!

Most weekends I plan our dinners for the week so that I could cut the necessary veggies ahead of time. Sometimes I have leftover cut or forzen veggies after making pulav or vegetable rice. On such days one of the foods that I love to cook and combine the veggies with is couscous. This saves me a lot of time in the evenings ,when I am almost always in a hurry!!. Ever since we found out that broccoli helps to lower bad cholesterol, I usually have lots of carrot and broccoli and invariably end up making carrot broccoli-couscous uppumma or tomato couscous baath. Recently I tasted another simple yet flavourful couscous recipe from my friend Pinal, which I will post later.

So scroll down for twin recipes using couscous.

1. Carrot-broccoli Couscous uppumma

Ingredients for two

1 cup couscous

1 carrot-cut into thin round or from the frozen pack

2-3 florettes broccolli

1 onion—chopped fine

1/2 tsp mustard

1 tsp oil

1/2 tsp broken black gram dal (lentils)

1/2 tsp bengal gram dal (lentils)
1 red chilli pinched

1 green chilli chopped fine

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp red chilli powder

salt to taste

a pinch of asafoetida

roughly chopped cilanthro


First cook the couscous according to the instructions on the pack. I bought it from whole foods and so it needed about 1 and1/2 cups of boiling water . fluff it with a fork to separate the grains.

Season mustard in one tsp of oil in a wok and once it splits fry the dals until they are golden brown. fry the chillies and the asafoetida. Then sautee the carrot and broccoli until cooked. Add salt,turmeric,red chilli powder, cooked couscous and mix well. garnish with coriander leaves.

2. Tomato couscous baath


1 cup couscous

3 juicy tomatoes chopped into small pieces

1 big onion chopped

1/2 tsp mustard

1 tsp oil

1/2 tsp broken black gram dal (lentils)

1/2 tsp bengal gram dal (lentils)
1 red chilli pinched

1 green chilli chopped fine

a pinch of asafoetida

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp red chilli powder

salt to taste
1 tsp of amma’s dhania-redchilli-bengal gram dal powder or 1/2 tsp garam masala

roughly chopped cilanthro


First cook the couscous and fluff it as before

Just as in the carrot-broccoli uppumma in a wok season the oil with mustard, then add the dals , after they turn golden brown fry the chillies ,asafoetida and the onions. Once the onions are cooked, add the chopped tomatoes,tuemeric and the red chilli powder. Cook till the tomatoes become soft and pliable. At this stage I usually add my amma’s powder but garam masala powder could also be added. Turn off the stove and to this tomato-onion curry add the couscous and mix thoroughly. Serve with a side of pickle.


A couscous plate with pickles


1. Any veggie easy to sautee could be used
2. some curry leaves could also be fried in the oil

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Amma’s Pesarattu

The first time I tried to swirl dosa batter in concentric circles on the tava(skillet)was a disaster!! The batter stuck to the skillet and wouldn’t come off. Finally I had to abandon the whole operation and make idlis with the batter. That the idlies turned out to as hard as rocks is another story:-))…Anyway I immediately called my amma for help!..She suggested that I try persarattu since it is tasty even when it is made thick and my journey into the world of dosas,adai and pesarattu began thus. After a few attempts, the pesarattu really shaped well and from then on it became one of our favourite tiffins at home. It also involves only about 4hrs soaking time. I always soak the the dal and the rice before leaving for work so that when I get back I can look forward to hot pesarattu from freshly ground batter for tiffin/dinner. I make them with green moong dal or whole moong dal or sprouted moong. Below is the recipe of pesarattu made with green moong dal.

To soak separately for atleast 4 hours

1 cup rice

1 cup green moong dal

Grind the rice coarsely with a 1/4″ ginger piece,2-3 green chillies and salt

After removing the rice, grind the dal to a smooth paste and mix it thoroughly with the ground rice mixture.
Swirl the batter in a hot,clean skillet and drizzle 1/2 tspoon oil around it. After 2-3 minutes of cooking it in high heat turn the pesarattu over and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Fold it and serve with peanut chutney. I made Indira’s Peanut Chutney and it was a grand tiffin for us on Saturday.


1. The skillet needs to be very hot if not then the batter will not swirl around easily

2. Patience is a necessity when making this dish.If we try to turn the batter before it is done then it either sticks to the skillet or is not well done on one side.

3. clean the skillet with either a wet cloth/tissue or onion slice before starting the next pesarattu

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