Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cool Summer Treats

The word summer brings to mind “Cool” ideas for either taking a vacation at hill stations or making cool drinks to quench one’s thirst. The season also brings with it, loads of cool vegetables and fruits like cucumber, watermelon, musk melon etc.

Among the fruits, watermelon is the first choice as the rich red colour of the fruit is very tempting and if it also happens to be sweet, then the juice of this wonderful fruit is heavenly.

Cool Summer Treats
Watermelon juice and watermelon snack

Ingredients for Watemelon juice

¼ of its size
Lemon juice
½ a lemon
Rock Salt (kaala namak)
A pinch
Pepper powder
1 tsp


  1. Wash the water melon under running water. Cut it into ¼ of its size. Then slice them.
  2. Remove the seeds and separate the red portion from the rind.
  3. Cut it into bite size pieces and put them in the mixer or food processor and run it for 2-3 mins.
  4. Add lime juice, salt and pepper and run it for another minute.
  5. Pour the mixture into the glasses and serve (optional) with a slice of lime

Makes: about 6 glasses

Watermelon snack
  A refreshing summer time snack

melon-ball scooper
If you have a melon ball scooper, then try this out.  
  • First halve the watermelon and with the help of melon ball scooper, scoop out the flesh of the watermelon and place it in a bowl.
  • Continue scooping out till you have the desired quantity in the bowl. Squeeze some lime juice on top and sprinkle “Chaat masala”. Shake the bowl gently so that the juice and the masala are evenly spread. Prick a few tooth-picks on top. 
  • And serve.

Juice can be served chilled by adding a few cubes of ice which I have omitted.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Broken Wheat Khichdi

Khichdi is served generally in the northern part of India. It is a mixture of rice and moong dal. It’s a meal by itself and is very healthy too.

Not to be confused with the khichdi from the GSB community (Konkani speaking ) which is sweet in taste and a mixture of jaggery, thick Semolina /Bansi rawa (broken wheat can also be used) and channa dal (split black gram).
In Tamil Nadu, Khichdi is called as "Pongal" and is slightly different from the way it is prepared in the north.

However this recipe is from the TV-personality and Chef, Sanjeev Kapoor which I found is not only healthy and tasty but also easy to prepare. Since it is liked by all in the family, I make it quite often.

Broken wheat khichadi


Broken wheat
1 cup
Green gram (moong) dal
½ cup
Carrots diced
¼ cup
Green Peas
¼ cup
As per taste
Turmeric powder
¼ tsp
For seasoning

2-3 tsps
Cumin (jeera)
1 tsp
Onions (chopped)
1 medium
Black pepper (whole)
Curry leaves
1 sprig
Green chilies
1 (or as per taste)
Ginger (chopped)
1/2 inch pc


  1. Wash & soak separately, green gram (moong) dal and the broken wheat in water for about 1 hour.  Then drain the water and keep them aside.
  2. Heat a pan on a medium flame. Add the seasoning ingredients one by one in the order mentioned above.
  3. When the onions turn translucent, add the diced carrots and green peas. Fry for a while and then add turmeric and salt. Mix well.
  4. Finally add the soaked and drained broken wheat and green gram dal. Give it a good stir.
  5. Add water. Now increase the flame. Once the water starts boiling, lower the flame to minimum, cover the pan and let it cook. This will take about 12-15 mins.
  6. Serve hot.


  • You can add any vegetables of your choice – beans, cauliflower, capsicum etc.
  • I used frozen greenpeas. You can use fresh ones too in which case it will take a little longer to cook.
  • This goes well with tomato & onion  raita. You can make any raita of your choice.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Karibevu (Curry Leaves) Chutney

In the southern part of India Karibevu (in konkani language) or curry leaves is used liberally as seasoning or "tadka" and when we have them in excess, we make chutney out of it. This chutney is so tasty and spicy that some of them even call it as "gunpowder" !

By the way, this chutney was prepared by my daughter.  She also gave me some for sampling. The taste was fantastic.

Karibevu Chutney
This photograph was supplied by my daughter


Grated coconut
1 cup
Bengal gram dal ( channa dal)
½ cup
Sprigs of  curry leaves
Dry red chillies
Asafetida (hing)
¼ tsp
A bean size
As per taste

  1. Wash curry leaves and pat dry them on a kitchen towel. Remove the leaves from the stem and discard the stem.
  2. Heat a pan and roast the Bengal gram dhal on a slow fire stirring constantly till light brown. When cooled, grind it to a powder (like fine sooji /semolina) and keep aside.
  3. In the same pan, roast the dry red chilies.  When the chilies are half done, add the grated coconut, curry leaves and asafetida. Roast these till coconut gratings turn light brown in colour and the curry leaves become crisp.
  4. Grind the above roasted mixture (chilies, grated coconut, curry leaves, asafetida) along with salt and tamarind to a fine powder.
  5. Finally mix the roasted and powdered gram dhal to the above ground mixture. Allow it to cool and then store it in a glass bottle.


  • This preparation lasts for about a month without refrigeration.
  • This chutney tastes good with curd rice or with Rice & dal combination.
  • You can also sprinkle this chutney on buttered bread slice. It tastes good.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Radish (Mooli) Upkari

After the radish-top soup, I decided to make this dry curry from the radish and the left over leaves. I make this upkari quite often. Besides it is also very tasty, healthy and  easy to prepare   It tastes specially good with chapattis.

Radish Upkari


Radish with leaves
Onion (chopped)
1 large
Mustard seeds
1 tsp
2 -3 tsps
Fresh green or red chilies (split)
As per taste
Turmeric powder
½ tsp
For Garnish

Freshly Grated coconut (optional)
1 tbsp
Coriander leaves (chopped)
1 tbsp


  1. Separate the radish from its leaves. Wash them thoroughly in water. Chop the leaves finely and keep aside.
  2. Scrape and grate the radish. Sprinkle salt on it and keep it aside for about 10-15 minutes. Then squeeze out all the water from the grated radish. (Do not throw away this water as it can be used for making soup) Preserve the squeezed out water in the freezer if you are making the soup a few days later.
  3. Heat a pan with the oil. Add to it mustard seeds and when it starts spluttering, add the chopped onions and chilies. Stir for a while till the onions are slightly browned.
  4. Add turmeric and the grated radish (from which all the water has been squeezed out). Stir well on a low flame.
  5. Next add the finely chopped radish leaves and mix well.
  6. Add more salt only if necessary (as the same has been added before).
  7. Do not add any water - but if it starts sticking at the bottom, sprinkle a little water on top. Keep stirring (for about 5-7 mins) till the green leaves wilt and is cooked. Remove from flame.
  8. Garnish with freshly grated coconut and chopped coriander leaves.


  • You can also make this dish without the radish leaves.
  • One tsp of lime juice when added to the "upkari" enhances its taste.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Radish-Top ( Radish leaves) Soup

Radish or “Mooli” or “Moolangi” as it is known in India is not liked by many because of  its slightly pungent taste. Moreover, the leaves of the radish are generally discarded which I feel is a waste of fresh greens.
I have also observed that the radishes sold in  the markets are generally without its leaves (at least in the southern part of India). Since I make soup out of it, I actually go hunting for it. Everybody in my family simply loves this healthy soup. Its very refreshing during the hot summers or even during the cold season.

Radish leavesThis reminds me of an incident in Bangalore sometime back (before the super market days). I used to buy vegetables from the local cart vendor who comes regularly. One fine day, I noticed that he had fresh radishes but without its top (leaves). When I told him that I need the radish leaves too, he said he will bring it the next day.
So, early next morning, he gave a loud call as usual and signaled frantically. So I went down to have a look and he happily showed me a gunny bag full of radish leaves!! I told him that I need only a little for making soup & “subji” (curry).  He looked shocked to hear that I actually eat this! He told me that I can take the whole bag and he will not charge me a penny!! Now it was my turn to get shocked! Imagine carrying a gunny bag full of radish leaves !! Apparently he gives it away to feed the “Bakris” (goats) and “Gayis” (cows) as he put it. I took a small bunch from the lot.  This goes to show how popular the radish leaves are in this part of the world !

This soup is crunchy and tastes good with just a few ingredients (onions, butter and pepper) but I have added a few spices to make it spicier. Ofcourse, you can try your own version.

Radish Top Soup 2


Radish-Top (Fresh green leaves & stems only)
2 (leaves from 2 radishes)
Onions (chopped)
1 medium
Butter or ghee (clarified butter)
1-2 tsps
1 tsp
As per taste
Cumin (jeera) powder
1 tsp
Tomato puree
1 tbsp
White vinegar or lime juice
1-2 tsps
3 cups
½ a cup


  1. Wash the radish tops (leaves and stems) in water. Chop them finely and keep aside.
  2. Heat a saucepan with ghee or butter. Add to it the chopped onions. Fry till they are translucent.
  3. Add the chopped radish tops and fry till they are wilted. Add salt, pepper, jeera powder, vinegar and tomato puree. Stir well for a few minutes.
  4. Add water and allow it to boil and cook for about 5-7 minutes or till done. Remove from flame.
  5. Serve hot with croutons.

Serves: 2

For the Croutons: Take one or two slices of bread. Apply butter on each slice. Cut them into cubes and spread it on a greased baking tray and bake in a hot oven (250 degrees C) for 5 mins or till they turn golden brown.
This is a healthier way of making croutons than deep frying them. If these croutons are to be used later, then store it in an air-tight container


  • For the cold season a spicier version can be made by adding cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and a little more pepper.
  • Tomato ketchup can be used instead of tomato puree.