‘Limited kitchen’ recipes

I am jusy going to list out the stuff that I made using just the gas stove ans microwave. No pressure cooker or rice cooker or blender or mixie..

Kootu with various veggies – 

Soak paruppu in hot water and close for half an hour. Cook veg in salt and turmeric water. Splatter mustard and cumin in oil switch off and add chopped chillies. Mix all three together and throw in grated coconut generously. A dash of lime would be great. And ofcourse coriander and curry leaves.

Masala sabji for rotis

Cook veggies in salt and turmeric water. Saute onion, ginger garlic chillies and tomatoes. Mix together and season with cumin. Throw in some corianger leaves. Dash of lime would be fantastic.

Coconut milk curry

Same as above. Add. Coconut cream/milk right in the end.


Can do tuvar or moong. For sabut moong soak in hot water previous night.

Bring the dal to boil with lots of water, salt and turmeric and close. Check if well cooked.

Saute onion garlic ginger and tomatoes. Season with cumin and add half a lime juice. Garnish with coriander or mint.


Either sprout beans of diff kinds or buy sprouts. 

Carrots cucumbers small onions tomatoes – raw

Potatoes beans cauliflower broccoli – steamed

Lemon, sesame oil, salt, cumin powder , garlic chopped…, chilly if you like.. or pepper powder.

Coriander leaves, mint leaves or parsley!

Any one of two ingredients in each of the above will make a good salad!


Cooking with one pot, one vessel and one ladle.

I am experiencing life in a studio apartment. Limited means. Microwave. Gas stove.

I have been going berserk with just these – lemon, ginger, garlic and chilli.

I have some veggies at my disposal – mushrooms, carrots, beans, tomatoes, small onions, potatoes, brinjal, sprouts… yup.. I am excited to say that can do it!

Salads have been a daily routine. Dals are easy to make. 

I tried something weird today though!

Brinjal-mushroom-coconut broth!!

I stir fried a tomato and a box of mushrooms with salt and turmeric powder. 

I slices some small onions, an inch of ginger and two fat garlic cloves. Sauteed them in oil after splattering some cumin, threw in a couple of green chillies. Once it caramelised, I added half a kilo of diced blue brinjals into it, poured some water and cooked in in some salt and turmeric. 

In the end, I put them both together, topped the wok with about 50 ml of coconut cream and flavoured it with the karuveppilai podi that my mother-in-law made for me!

Once it cooled a bit I squeezed half a lime into it. 

Creamy coconut broth with eggplant and mushrooms were ready! All I needed was a loaf of bread. Dinner done!

I then closed my eyes and counted the number of items back at home that I havent used here- pressure cooker, electric cooker, blender, electric stove, grinder, morter and pestle. Consumerism is overwhelming!

Parupu usili salad


Red and yellow bell peppers 3 each

1/2 a raw mango grated

Handful – siru paruppu, kadalai paruppu, thuvaram paruppu

2 small dry red chillies

A pinch of hing



Mustard and jeera seeds for seasoning


Soak the pulses in water for half an hour.

Chop peppers into small squares. Reserve the seeds.

In a blender, drop in the bell pepper seeds, chillies, hing salt and the soaked pulses and coase grind.

Smear oil in a wide bowl. Drop in the pulse mixture and steam for 15 mins.

In a wok, pour a few tsps of oil for seasoning mustard and cumin seeds. Switch off after mustard splatters. Add in the chopped peppers and grated mango and season with some salt.

Once pulse mixture is cooked, take it out and powder it with your hands.

Drop the powdered pulse mixture into the veggies and garnish with coriander and curry leaves.

This is a meal by itself!

Dates mysore pak with palm sugar

This was a confluence of a few things. I stumbled across a pal payasam made of dates and sugar instead of fully with sugar. It was yumm..

A close friend of mine also told me that Terra, an organic outlet in chennai, sells mysore pak made of figs and pistas and stuff.

I put both these instances together and decided to embark on my little journey of adventure.

From the kaju kalti I learnt that palm sugar caramalising is different from caramelising refined sugar.

This is what I did:

3 cups of besan

200 gms of butter

100 gms of dates deseeded

Four cups of palm sugar


Melt butter in a hot wok, drop in the besan and fry till the kitchen is filled with the aroma of fresh besan!

In another wok add half a glass of water and palmsugar. Mix and bring it to boil. In the mean time grind dated preferably without water and add to the caramelising sugar.

Once it reaches a stringy consistancy add in the fried besan to it and mix until the fat leaves its sides.

I took it off heat a little early and so it looks more like halwa. Next time i shall correct that issue😬

I then left the plate in the fridge and tried cutting it the next morning.

Whatever was sticky i rolled it into balls😇

Palm sugar discovery

There are a lot of hidden truths to palm sugar which I discovered only after using it.

Palm sugar could be either crystalised or palm jaggery powdered. Be careful what you ask for off the counter. 

Palm sugar (panam kalkandu) is a crystalised form of palm candy- the most processed output. And to crystalise it I am yet to find out if there can be a chemical free process.

Palm jaggery powder is the most dehydrated version of palm jaggery – pana vellam. The first stage is the block jaggery, the second is the jaggery powder which is dark brown (the same block made into powder), the third stage is the fine powder – this will be light brown in colour. It doesnt remail free flowing if kept for a long time, it will become hard and stick to the walls of your bottle. In each stage it is more and more dehydrated.

However, OFM selles this jaggery in all three stages and confirms that all these can be made naturally without chemical treatment. However, for the kalkandu they are yet to find a process of manufacturing which isnt compromised with chemical treatment.

Kaju katli with palm sugar.. well mostly😬

One other crazy chemistry to my list of whacko recipes😂For this Diwali I was determined to make organic palm sugar based recipes.

Kaju katli and mysore pak were on high priority.

Kaju katli with palm jaggery:

I was expecting to make it with palm sugar which is panam kalkandu. I bought some packets of cashew and sugar. Only after I started on caramelising the sugar did I notice that it was jaggery and not palm sugar. I had already started it so there wasnt any looking back. Made some alterations and finished the sweet. This is what I finally did: 


Cashews 4 cups

Hazel nuts 2 cups

Palm jaggery powder 4 cups

10 cardamom seeds – their insides scraped out

Half tsp of salt (optional)

Refined white sugar 1 cup (out of compulsion)

And lots of bravery🙈


With shiva’s chant on my lips I poured the cashews and hazelnuts into a hot wok and dry roasted them.

In a blender I added the nuts and cardamom scrapings. Blended into a smooth powder.

I heated the wok. And poured a cup of water. To this I added all the palm jaggery powder. The water turned dark and started to bubble. I waited for a stringy caramel consistency and added the nut powder to this along with half a spoon of salt.

I mixed them all up removing lumps with a spatula until it reached a thick consistency. 

Here is where I got doubtful. I did try to pour out a teaspoon on a plate to let it cook and check if it sets. I felt it wasnt setting well and wasnt sweet enough. This second guessing made me add a cup of refined sugar and mix it up.

Then when it thickened well, I poured it into a plate smeared with ghee. 

Malli manga brinji rice

Mango coriander spiced rice

The tang and freshness of raw mango with the sweet flavour of coriander mixed with spices soaked up by softly cooked basmati rice…

Another lunch box try! Pretty simple…


1.5 cups of basmati rice.

2 handfuls of green coriander with stalk

Half a raw mango (kili mooku mangai)

1 onion chopped into thin 1 inch juliens

1 large potato

1 large green chilli

4 cloves of garlic

1/2 inch of ginger

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

Oil (I use coconut oil) and salt


Warm 2 table spoons of coconut oil in a deep wok. Add bay leaf and chopped onions and let them caramelise. Add chopped potatoes. ( I use only organic produce and so I dont peel potatoes in most cases).

Drop in the basmati rice and let it fry a bit. Now pour in 3cups of water and throw in some salt and turmeric powder. Close wok and let the rice cook.

Meanwhile, in a food processor add the rest of the ingredients- ginger, garlic, chilli, corinader, raw mango. Make a fine paste.

When the rice is just about to cook fully, add the paste and let the remaining water absorb flavours and induce them in the rice.

Top it up with ghee and that is it!!