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Healthy Idli with Pearl Millet/Kambu/Bajra

Healthy_Idli_Pearl_Millet_Kambu_Bajra_1Nowadays people are more health conscious. They prefer to improve their diet with more non-glutinous and nutritious cereals. Pearl millet is a healthy cereal with all these health benefits. Pearl millet is well-known in rural area. Now it is popular in urban area also as it is available in every super market.

Soft, steam cooked idli (இட்லி) can be easily prepared with pearl millet as the main ingredient.

Pearl Millet is known as ‘Kambu’ (கம்பு) in Tamil and as ‘Bajra’ in Hindi.


  • Pearl millet/kambu – 3 cup
  • Rice – 1 cup
  • Split black gram/urad dal – 1 cup
  • Fenugreek seeds – half teaspoon
  • Salt – as per taste


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Spicy Red Onion Vinegar Pickle

Spicy_Red_Onion_Vinegar_Pickle_1In most of the restaurants, I find this Red Onion Vinegar Pickle. These onions look cute and tempting. Red Onion Vinegar Pickle can be prepared easily at home. By adding little spices, it can be spicy like any other Indian pickle.


  • Small red onions – 12 to 15 no
  • Crystal salt powdered – 1 heaped tablespoon
  • Sugar – 2 heaped tablespoon
  • White vinegar – 1 cup
  • Water – 1 cup
  • Spices for dry grinding
    • Fenugreek seeds – quarter teaspoon
    • Mustard seeds – quarter teaspoon
    • Coriander seeds – quarter teaspoon
    • Cumin seeds – half teaspoon
    • Fennel seeds – half teaspoon
    • Turmeric powder – half teaspoon
    • Nigella seeds/kalonji/karucheeragam – 1 teaspoon
    • Red chilli powder – 1 heaped tablespoon
    • Asafetida – generous pinch
    • Sugar – half teaspoon
    • Salt – as per need
  • Mustard oil – 2 to 3 tablespoon

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Chennai_Enjoy_Delicious_Vegetarian_Food_Cream_Centre_Restaurant_1Vegetarians have very less restaurants to have food wherever they go. At Chennai, vegetarians can enjoy delicious dishes at Cream Centre restaurant. When we visited Cream Centre at R.A.Puram, we were thrilled to know that La Fête De Sizzler festival is going on from October 17, 2011 to November 27, 2011.

The sizzlers offered are:

  • Jain Sizzler
  • Paneer Steak Sizzler
  • Thai Pattaya Sizzler
  • Veg Schezwan Sizzler
  • Continental Sizzler
  • Sizzling Mumbai Special Paav Bhaji
  • Oriental Sizzler
  • Sizzling Dessert – Sizzling Indian Fundae

We enjoyed Jain Sizzler, Paneer Steak Sizzler and Oriental Sizzler. Here are the photographs.

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Cluster Beans with Potato Stir Fry

Cluster_Beans_Potato_Stir_Fry_1Cluster beans, a green vegetable is rich in fiber. India is the largest producer of cluster beans. Though it is slightly bitter in taste, tender cluster beans can be prepared as stir fry/curry by mixing with other vegetables. Here is Cluster Beans with Potato Stir Fry.

Cluster beans is known as Kothavarangai/ Kothavarakkai (கொத்தவரங்காய்/ கொத்தவரக்காய்) in Tamil and is known as gawaar in Hindi.


  • Cluster beans chopped – 3 cups approximately
  • Potato – 2 no
  • Onion medium – 2 no
  • Tomato – 1 no Cluster_Beans_Potato_Stir_Fry_2
  • Green chilli – 2 no
  • Turmeric powder – quarter teaspoon
  • Red chilli powder – half teaspoon
  • Coriander powder – 1 tablespoon
  • Salt – as per taste
  • Ginger garlic paste – 1 teaspoon
  • For seasoning
    • Mustard – half teaspoon
    • Carom seeds – quarter teaspoon
    • Cumin seeds – half teaspoon
    • Asafetida – generous pinch
    • Curry leaves – few
    • Oil – 1 tablespoon


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A special exhibition cum sale of Traditional Kitchenware is going on at the state owned Poompuhar Showroom, Chennai from 02 November 2011 for a period of ten days. Poompuhar (also known as Cauveripattinam) is the ancient port of Tamil Nadu, located near the mouth of River Cauvery.

The products displayed in the exhibition are: Bell metal spoons, Uruli, Dhosaikal, Appakal, Kuzhipaniyarathattu, Plate, Lead Rasapathiram, Stone Ural, Copper Tumbler, Chombu, Kitchen articles, Wooden spoon, Karandi, Chappathi Kattai, Wooden Tray, Tea Coaster, Pottery items, Tablemat, Lace and Embroidery items, Gold/Silver plated bowls with lid, Terracotta Uruli, Silver pooja items, Silver jewellery, Silver articles.

Here are some photographs of the products displayed, though many items are sold out:

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Bottle_Gourd_Lauki_Suraikai_Juice_Dangerous_If_Bitter_TasteBottle gourd/Lauki/Suraikai juice is a healthy drink. Now it is found that if the juice is bitter in taste, it is dangerous and may cause death. So before drinking bottle gourd/lauki/suraikai juice, just taste a drop first and if it is bitter in taste, do not drink this juice.

Bottle gourd is known as Suraikai (சுரைக்காய்) in Tamil and as Lauki in Hindi.

I have noticed even Cucumber, Snake gourd, Ridge gourd taste bitter sometimes. It is better to avoid these vegetables also if you find it bitter in taste.

Read more from The Times of India: Man dies after drinking lauki juice

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Colorful Vegetable Hakka Noodles/Chow mein

Vegetable_Hakka_Noodles_Chow_mein_1Here is Colorful Vegetable Hakka Noodles/Chow mein. I think this is one of the best dishes we adapted from Chinese cuisine by modifying with Indian seasoning and cooking techniques to suit our taste. This Indo-Chinese dish contains more veggies, spices and is loved by most of us including children. It is a popular dish available from street shops to five star hotels in India. This dish can be prepared in less time at home if all items needed for this dish are kept ready.

We can see in many street shops how they prepare this dish in front of us by keeping all items ready and the way they toss the noodles is very nice to watch. The type and quantity of vegetables, soy sauce, chilli sauce etc., used in this dish can be varied to suit your taste.

The term ‘Hakka’ refers to Chinese language as well as a group of people in China who speak this language.


  • Vegetarian noodles – 200 gram
  • Cabbage, shredded – ¼ cup
  • Beans, shredded – ¼ cup
  • Bell pepper, shredded – ½ cup (I used red, green and yellow)
  • Carrot, shredded – 1 no
  • Spring onion, chopped – 2 tablespoon
  • Red onion chopped – 1 no
  • Spring onion bulbs chopped – 1 tablespoon
  • Garlic, chopped finely – 1 tablespoon
  • Chilli sauce green or red – 2 tablespoon
  • White vinegar – 2 tablespoon
  • Soy sauce – 2 tablespoon
  • Freshly powdered pepper – half teaspoon
  • Sugar – half teaspoon
  • Salt – as per need
  • Chinese salt – just a pinch (optional)
  • Oil – 3 tablespoon

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Senai_Vazhakkai_Erissery_Pepper_Seasoned_Yam_Raw_Banana_1Senai and Vazhakai Erissery (Pepper Seasoned Yam and Raw Banana) is a popular dish of Kerala and is relished in some parts of Tamil Nadu. It is a simple dish with fresh coconut and pepper. Fried grated coconut is added in the last to make it so tasty and aromatic. Some add little cumin also in this while grinding coconut. Some use little turmeric also in this. Yam and raw banana combination goes well in this dish.

Yam is known as ‘Senai Kizhangu (சேனைக்கிழங்கு)’ in Tamil and Raw Banana (plantain) is known as ‘Vazhakkai (வாழக்காய்)’ in Tamil.


  • Yam and raw banana (peeled and cut to any shape but little big) – one and half cup each
  • Fresh coconut (grated) – 1 cup
  • Black pepper – 1 tablespoon (adjust as per need)
  • Mustard – 1 teaspoon
  • Red chilli – 2 no
  • Curry leaves – few
  • Coconut oil /any edible oil –  1 to 2 teaspoon

Senai_Vazhakkai_Erissery_Pepper_Seasoned_Yam_Raw_Banana_3 Senai_Vazhakkai_Erissery_Pepper_Seasoned_Yam_Raw_Banana_4

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Here is an interesting news report about the easily available Indian fruit Guava/Koyya Pazham/Amrood.

Guava_Koyya_Pazham_Amrood_Top_Indian_Fruit_Highest_Natural_Antioxidant_LevelDr D Sreeramulu from National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad (Endocrinology and Metabolism division) has found in his research that Guava (Koyya Pazham – கொய்யாப்பழம் in Tamil, Amrood in Hindi) is the healthiest fruit while evaluating the amount of natural antioxidant levels of 14 fresh fruits commonly consumed in India.

The fruits researched are: Apple, Banana, Custard Apple, Grapes, Guava, Indian Plum, Mango, Orange, Papaya, Pineapple, Pomegranate, Sapodilla (Chiku), Sweet Lime, Water Melon.

This establishes the fact that costliest fruit is not necessarily the healthiest fruit.

Here is a comparison of the fruits having antioxidant activity in mg per 100 gram. The highest is guava (496 mg) and the lowest is pineapple (22 mg).

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Palak Muthia (Spinach Dumplings)

Palak_Muthia_Spinach_Dumplings_1Muthia is a steamed dumpling seasoned with white sesame. Muthia is a staple food of Gujarat prepared with any spinach or bottle guard or any other suitable vegetable. This is prepared with gram flour (chickpea powder), whole wheat flour and with some spices.

Muthia  can be fried also. Both steamed, fried versions are tasty and healthy as they contain more vegetable or spinach.


  • Palak/spinach (chopped) – 2 to 3 cup
  • Besan/gram flour/kadalai mavu – half cup
  • Multi grain flour or whole wheat flour – 2 tablespoon Palak_Muthia_Spinach_Dumplings_2
  • Semolina/rava – 2 tablespoon
  • Sugar – 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin seeds – quarter teaspoon
  • Lemon juice – few drops
  • Turmeric powder – pinch
  • Oil (to add in dough) – 1 tablespoon
  • Cooking soda – generous pinch
  • Salt – as per taste
  • To grind coarsely
    • Green chilli – 2 no Palak_Muthia_Spinach_Dumplings_3
    • Garlic – 2 no (optional)
    • Ginger – small piece
  • For seasoning
    • Mustard – half teaspoon
    • White sesame – 1 teaspoon
    • Asafetida – generous pinch
    • Curry leaves – few
    • Oil – 1 tablespoon

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