Gluten-free Pesto sandwiches

Let me first give you my vegan pesto recipe:

A Coriander bunch, prepared, including stalk (I believe the stalk has maximum flavour)

One local tomato (ooty tomato on the other hand has less tang)

One small lemon juice

Six cloves of garlic

One redchilly

Half a tsp black peppercorns

Half a tsp jaggery powder

Drop them all together raw, into a processor and blitz away! Add some salt for seasoning. And its done!
Idlies actually have a lot of potential. We all know they are yummy with almost any kind of chutney, molagai podi of all kinds or sambar. In fact, they are yummy when fried with molagai podi or with manchurian sauce. They can be powdered and made into upma too.

This is a new recipe I tried on one of those days when I felt like a naughty experiment in the kitchen.Slice the idlies carefully into halves. Spread a sizable portion of the pesto and sprinkle the kopra podi that I have shared with you before. Close and bite!😁😁


Subway sandwich, but with what?

Banana flower and taro!

I love banana flower. It has a crunch and a unique texture that lends well itself into a lot of recipes.

The two most famous dishes made with banana flower are paruppu usili and vadai. Yes, I have made these successfully several times. So much so that now it takes me just half the time to prepare the vegetable! ( You have to peel off the petals, collect all the florets and remove the pistils from there before you wash and cut it!)

My son suggested I make cutlets which I had tried last time. It was a success. I thought about using taro instead of potatoes today. Seppankizhangu as we call it, it is one of our tambram delicacies. When cut into small chunks and fried in oil it is utterly delicious!

This is what I did today.


Steamed half a kilo of taro, cooled and peeled

Prepared one banana flower

Finely diced two onions

An inch of ginger and four medium garlic cloves

banana flower preparation

diced banana flower
Powder for dusting, a replacement for bread crumbs and eggyolk:

Dry roasted groundnuts, fried gram, redchillies and garlic with salt.

Powdered in a food processor.


In a wok, pour in some oil (I always use coconut oil, if you think it has an odour that changea the flavour of the dish, organic coconut oil doesn’t!)

Add the diced onions and caramelise.

Add ginger garlic and the diced banana flowers.

Cook till it softens.

Remove and cool.

Add the taro to the banana flower and mash.


Shallow fry with enough oil.

The final dish:

Infact it tasted good even as an hors d’oeuvres



Makeover of morning’s kootu

My husband came back home at night after work. Since he had told me he was full I wasnt prepped with dinner for him. However, we all associate comforts of home to home cooked food, so he was quietly rummaging the fridge to find it uninteresting much to his dismay.

I knew just what to do.

Onions, tomatoes and cucumber diced small.

Handful of groundnuts roasted with some coconut oil and salt.

The chutney powder from the previous post and voila! Its done!

The kootu formed the bed. The veggies formed the first layer, then the podi topped with toasty groundnuts and another layer of podi sprinkled!

Perfect dinner. Tasty. Light!


Chutney podi with a twist!

I have a fascination for masala powders.

My one year stint in Hyderabad only increased my love for ‘podis’. I did learn a few tricks here and there. Where I ended up was – everytime I made dosai molagai podi it tasted different – good different!😁

My kids love it all the time – that is what always matters most!

This time I used amla for acidity instead of tamarind. I also used kopra – dried coconut to compliment the acidity.Try it if you like, the taste is a lot more bold and refreshing!


1 cup – Urad dal broken with skin
1 cup – Chana dal
1 tablespoon – Sesame seeds
A pinch of asafoetida
1/2 tablespoon – Coriander seeds
3 tsp – cumin seeds
2 tsp – black pepper
1.5 cups – kopra sliced thin
8 red chillies
4 amlas (gooseberries)
8-10 cloves of small garlic
2 tsp – Coconut oil
1 tsp – jaggery




The reasons for the above are probably important to mention. This is a culmination of Karnataka, Andhra and Tanjavur flavours.
Coriander, cumin, pepper and garlic – Andhra – the land of podis.
Kopra, sesame seeds and jaggery – Karnataka – the land of lovely tiffin items.
Urad, channa dal and chillies and hing – the original tanjavur brahmin recipe for dosai molagai podi.
The black urad with skin is a lot more nutritious than that without skin.
Black Sesame seeds are filled with calcium and fibre.
Amla is high in vitamin C which helps build immune system

Method :

Dry roast all these items in little bit of oil, seperately and let them cool down. Blitz them to make a fine powder. After it is cool, store it in the fridge.


Mix with ghee rice

Nice side dish for curd rice

Nice dip with sesame oil for dosai, idli and other such tiffin items

Yummy garnish for rava upma.

 Chatpata ellu (sesame) chutney

Chutneys are my most favourite experiments in the kitchen. The fact that the formula for a chutney is very simple makes it exciting. Chutneys can be churned out of practically anything as long as they have the following:

Spice /  Flavour / Tang / Coconut

These things can be interchanged too. To this depending on combination any protein or vegetable, roasted, can be added.

I have tried the traditional recipes and some exotic exceptions that usually people dont make too. 

Shallots / garlic / mint/ coriander / curry leaves add a special feature to chutneys.

Shallots are almost magical. They go well raw or fried in coconut oil.

Today I tried a special additive – sesame seeds (black)

Dry roast handful of –

chickpeas(chana dal)

Same amount of black sesame seeds

One red chilly

 a small blob of hing.

Add all this to a food processor with a small ball of tamarind, 4 to five shallots and a quarter of a coconut, cut into small pieces and a hand ful of coriander leaves.

Blend smoothly with some water. 

Season with some mustard seeds and curry leaves. Have it with crispy black adais!


Pesto from herbs in the backyard

Fresh waxy leaves of the Thai basil pot and the green carpet of mint leaves on the terrace garden beckoned me into the kitchen.

I soon found myself collecting both leaves from the pots into a collander. Kids are going to love today’s dinner!

Vegetables in pasta are mandatory in my kitchen. I sauted two large onions and added some bush beans, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower and corn. Once this was cooked to a crunch, I added some raw cucmber and tomatoes, some salt to taste and let it rest.

I collected the main ingredients for the paste – some garlic, cashew, raisins, red chillies, black pepper corns, cinnamon powder and the herbs – mint, coriander and lots of basil.

I quickly dry toasted 100grams of cashew and ground it into a smooth paste with four cloves of garlic, half a spoon of salt, half a spoon of cinnamon powder, two red chillies, half a spoonful of black pepper corns and a spoonful of raisins. Then I added the herbs to the blender along with aome olive oil. Voila!

Penne, once cooked, I added it to this mixture and topped it with some lemon juice and adjusted the salt and pepper as per taste. Dinner was then served!

Cute company in my kitchen

Am in Mumbai chillin’ in my friends place while all our kids have gotten together to have an activity filled summer vacation.

Kids came back from the park and brought back Malai having fresh tender coconut water.

Today’s dinner is vegan pasta with herbs from the terrace garden – basil, mint and coriander.

Kavya, my bestie around the kitchen, opened her eyes and mouth wide when I said, lets do some kitchen experiments with the Malai.

She quickly set up the chopping board and started to chop the coconuts into small bits.

We then added some chocolate powder and cinnamon powder in the blender, added the tender coconut pieces in it along with some water and blended it into a smooth paste. Then we added some jaggery to it and gave it one last whip.

Then she patiently poured the mixture into small shot glasses and put them inthe  freezer to set! Our yummy cinnamon flavoured chocolate coconut pudding was ready!