Thursday, November 27, 2014

Mor Kuzhambu

My favorite festival will always be Thai Pongal. While a lot of people enjoy Diwali for the lights and the joy, I will always cherish the humble Thai Pongal just for the lunch spread enjoyed by the entire family. It is the same menu at my grandmom's in Chennai every year. Two types of pongal, Yam kara kozhambu, potato roast, Mor kozhambu (with vadai), rasam, two types of vadai and ofcourse payasam. So afternoons on 14 January every year was spent in "post prandial coma". And then round 2 begins with the leftovers. I love the mor kuzhambu along with the soaked vadai.

Mor Kuzhambu is a pan-India dish. With slight variations, there is a version in each state. It is the kadhi of South India.

There are many versions some where the spices are roasted first, some where there is more of chana dal. My version is adapted  from Mallika Badrinath cookbook.

You can use a range of vegetables. Please refer notes. I have made it vegetable-free.


Sour curd - 3 cups
Turmeric powder - 1/2 t
Salt to taste

Grind to a paste

Grated coconut - 1/4 cup
Green Chillies - 7
Dry Red Chillies - 7
Coriander seeds (dhania) - 1.5 t
Jeera - 1 T
Tuar Dal - 1T (soak in water for 1 hour)
Roasted gram dall - 1T (pottukadalai)

Mustard seeds - 1t
Fenugreek (methi / vendayam) - 1/4t
Curry leaves


1. Grind the items given under "to grind" to a sooth paste.
2. Beat the curd with turmeric and salt and blend in the paste. Add some water to make it thin.
3. Bring to a boil.
4. Heat oil in a seasoning pan and add items to season. 
5. When the seasoning splutters, add to the mor kuzhambu and switch off.


  • If you are adding vegetables, then precook them and add in step 3. Vegetables that go well are ladys finger/vendakkai, seppankizhangu/ yam / arbi etc. Avoid vegetables like brinjal. The root vegetables need to be boiled and added. Lady's finger should be deep fried and added in the end.
  • You can add medu vadai or small medu bondas. Check out the recipe here. Fry them ahead and soak them well before serving the mor kuzhambu.
  • You can also roast the items given under "to grind" except the coconut. This will give a different flavor to the mor kuzhambu.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cupcakes ~ Muffins

I just realised that a year has passed since my last post!! Oh what a year it has been... checked out couple of hospital facilities, lost few people, zipped through couple of weddings, gained two brothers, said goodbye to lot of good friends and  moved to a different country. So guess I will call it a nightmare sabbatical of sorts.  So rather than get depressed with all these changes (ahem..the first couple of days were hell), I choose to look forward to the new adventures that are calling. So to cheer up to a new  beginning  and a hopefully sweet journey, I am posting a simple cupcake tutorial for all those wannabe bakers. 

As a person who does not follow exact measurements while cooking, baking is a new frontier for me. The specific measurements and the high chances of failure (without any scope for recovery) had put me off baking for a long time... not to mention that I didnt own a convection oven.

So couple of months back I took the plunge and invested in the basic materials needed - couple of baking pans, a small hand held mixer and the ingredients. The first recipe I tried was a chocolate cake (recipe coming soon) that has become a huge hit with the family. This cupcake recipe is from the blog Easy Cooking. Its my go-to blog for simple baking recipes. The instructions are clear and simple and the pictures really help novices like me.

I have adapted the recipe for the simple vanilla cupcake and tried out three different variations. The leftover strawberries and blueberries in my fridge were used up to make a berry cupcake. I also tried a nutella cupcake and a cranberry walnut cupcake using some cranberry jam and chopped walnuts.

This is a basic recipe that is an open template. You can add fresh fruits like peaches / bananas. Any jam can also be added.


  • All Purpose Flour / Maida - 2 cups
  • Baking powder - 2 tsp
  • Salt – ½ tsp
  • Butter – ½ cup
  • Sugar – 1 ¼ cup
  • Milk - 1 cup
  • Vanilla Essence / extract - 1 tsp
  • Eggs - 2
  • 5 to 6 strawberries - chopped
  • 1 TB Nutella
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts / almonds
  • 7 to 8 blueberries

  • Preheat the oven to 180C. Line or grease the muffin pans or you can use cupcake liners.
  • In one bowl sift flour,baking powder and salt together. Keep aside.
  • In another bowl beat butter and sugar well until creamy.
  • Add vanilla and eggs and beat well.
  • Add the wet mixture + milk to the dry mixture little by little and beat well on low speed.
  • If you are using any of the items mentioned in variations - you can add them now and mix well with a spoon.
  • Fill each muffin pan to ¾ th depth, and bake for 20-25 minutes till done.
  • Remove from muffin pan immediately and cool on racks.

  • Mix in the fresh fruits/ nuts / Jam / nutella just before filling the muffin pan.
  • The texture should be moist and crumbly.
  • To check if the cupcake is done, insert a toothpick and if it comes out clean then the cake is done.

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