Thursday, February 21, 2019

Keerai and Rasam Thali | Indian Thali Ideas By Masterchefmom #005 | Gluten Free Meal

Keerai and Rasam Thali

Hi Supermoms,

To me, the real joy comes when I serve the food I have cooked to near and dears and  the instant happiness I see in their eyes when they look at the dishes I have prepared for the day.  I get my energy and enthusiasm when they thoroughly enjoy the food that I cook. 

Empty vessels and wanted to have more of what I cook, inspire me to cook much better and tastier the next day. It also gives me a great responsibility to cook healthy and wholesome meals that are nourishing both for the body and mind. 

I have started sharing the recipe links to the meals I cook on a daily basis. I hope to inspire a few of you to cook at home for your family and friends with loads of love. 

For, cooking with love 💖, provides food for the soul too. I am sure you will agree .

Today's Thali, has the following dishes: 

- Keerai Poricha Kuzhambu / spinach dal



Indian Thali Ideas By Masterchefmom  #005

Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom





Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Strawberry Puliyogare Thali | Indian Thali Ideas By Masterchefmom #004 | Gluten Free and Vegan Meal

Strawberry Puliyogare Thali

Hi Supermoms,

Using seasonal fruits and vegetables in every day cooking brings out the best flavours and colours in our plates . This strawberry season, I have tried variety of savoury dishes and each one turned out to be better than the other. 

The 'Strawberry Puliyogare Thali' was a weekend meal . I had prepared the strawberry puliyodarai/puliyogare the previous day and it was a massive hit. As my elder one was coming home for lunch , I wanted him to taste my new creation. Also he wanted my onion sambar. So, apart from the puliyogare,  I made onion sambar ( the family favourite) and made two vegetable stir fries to complete the thali. 

 I do not use much oil in cooking. So, for cooking the entire meal, I used around 1/4 cup of oil . Also, I try and alternate between coconut oil, sesame oil and ground nut oil. 

I made the sweet potato fry , just the way I cook potatoes. Here are the links to recreate this tasty, healthy and unique thali. 

- Strawberry Puliyogare/Puliyodarai ( Masterchefmom Special Recipe) 

I enjoyed cooking this colourful and tasty meal. Hope you have a similar experience trying out these recipes. 

I would love to see your creations . 

Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom




Strawberry Thokku | Strawberry Relish Recipe by Masterchefmom| Gluten Free and Vegan Recipe


Strawberry Thokku

Hi Supermoms,

I have already spoken in length about my love for strawberries and my experiments with it. I am now so comfortable with using strawberries in my daily cooking. I have shared so many of my strawberry recipes already. Today, I am sharing another great tasting strawberry recipe. 

'Thokku' in Tamil language means a 'mashed pickle' or 'relish'. Mango thokku made using grated raw mangoes is the most popular at home. As we all love spicy food , I was so happy to try out strawberry thokku using the same ingredients and method I use for making a traditional mango thokku. 

The only difference is that , since strawberry is soft, I preferred to chop them rather than grate them. Also, since strawberries are really delicate and reduce in quantity once cooked, you have to be careful while adding the spice. 

The sweetness and the sourness of the strawberries might vary from region to region. So, adjust the spice and the sourness( add lemon juice if required)  according to the strawberry variety . 

I cooked the relish using sesame oil as it is the preferred oil to make a pickle in South India. But, you can use oil of your choice. Also, I added just a pinch of  fenugreek powder in the relish as, too much will turn it bitter. 

Though I had cooked thinking that I would store the thokku for a couple of days, it got over in just one family lunch. I mixed rice with the thokku and served it as 'Strawberry Rice'. Everyone enjoyed the taste. It was simply delicious. 

A must try !!

Strawberry Thokku

Strawberry Thokku: 

Preparation time : 10 minutes
Cooking time : 25- 30 minutes
Serves : 4
1 cup = 250 ml cup

Ingredients :

12-14 strawberries ( roughly chopped)
pinch of turmeric
pinch of fenugreek powder ( you can powder 3-4 fenugreek seeds in a mortar and pestle) 
1/4 teaspoon powdered jaggery or sugar ( optional)
1.5 teaspoons Kashmiri Chilli powder ( adjust)
salt to taste

For tempering :

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sesame oil 
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds ( coarsely crushed in mortar and pestle)
pinch of asafoetida


Method : 

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in a heavy bottom pan or kadai/wok.
2. Add the crushed mustard seeds and pinch of asafoetida.
3. Now add the chopped strawberry, chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt.
4. Cook over low flame till the time, the strawberries, turn mushy and all the extra water is absorbed.
Chef tip : keep stirring to avoid the thokku sticking to the bottom of the pan or burning. 
5. Add this point, add one teaspoon of oil and continue to stir the mixture till the oil separates on the sides of the pan.

6. Switch off.

Your Strawberry Thokku is now ready !

You can mix the thokku with rice or once the thokku is completely cool, transfer it to an air tight , clean, odour free container .

Strawberry Thokku

If you like this recipe, you can also try my Amla Rice/ Nellikai Sadam  recipe . 

Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom




Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Semiya Upma | Recipe to make the Tastiest Semiya Upma | Tiffin Recipes By Masterchefmom

Semiya Upma |

Hi Supermoms,

Semiya Upma or Vermicelli Upma is one of my favourite tiffin dish. I have always enjoyed Semiya upma with a teaspoon of sugar. They are match made in heaven. It hardly takes 10 minutes from start to finish and does not require any fancy ingredient. 

The best part of this upma is that it has saved me multiple times on situations like these 😅

- no exciting vegetables in my fridge
- no mood to cook any thing elaborate 
-when ordering food is not an option
- when I have to cook for myself 
- dull and gloomy day 

Though my family does not feel so excited when I tell them that upma is on the menu, over the years I can proudly say that I have converted two upma haters to upma lovers. Upma making is  a skill and when made right, you are sure to enjoy this delicious tiffin .

Coconut chutney or tomato chutney pairs very well with this upma. You can make this upma with roasted or non -roasted vermicelli. I always use the roasted one as I like my upma to have a great texture . 

There are so many versions of upma.Today's recipe is the simplest and the most tasty and family approved one. A must try !

Semiya Upma |

Semiya Upma :

Preparation time : 2 minutes
Cooking time : 12 minutes 
Serves : 2
1 cup = 250 ml cup

Ingredients : 

1.5 cups roasted vermicelli /semiya
3 cups water
salt to taste

For tempering :

2 teaspoons ghee/clarified butter
2 teaspoons oil ( I used sesame oil)
1 teaspoon channa dal/Bengal Gram 
1/2 teaspoon urad dal
3-4 dry red chillies ( torn roughly)
1 sprig curry leaves ( torn roughly)
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds 
Minimum Ingredients


Method :

1. Heat a heavy bottom kadai with ghee and oil.



















2. Add the channa dal, urad dal and when then start browning a little , add the mustard seeds, dry red chillies.
3. When the seeds start to splutter, add the curry leaves.
4. Now add three cups of water and required salt.
5. When the water starts to boil, add the roasted vermicelli.
6. Cook over medium to high flame, stirring occasionally.

7. The mixture will take 6-7 minutes to cook.
8. When the extra water is  absorbed , switch off. 
Simple and the best tasting Semiya upma is now ready to be served.

Semiya Upma |

Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom







Monday, February 18, 2019

4K Healthy Thali | Indian Thali Ideas By Masterchefmom #003| Gluten Free and Vegan Meal



Hi Supermoms,

I have heard many of you share that more than cooking, deciding what to cook is always a challenge 😁. Also, when we cook everyday, there will be days when you need some motivation to decide the menu of the day. 

I hope my 'Indian Thali Ideas' will inspire at least a few of you to enthusiastically cook various dishes at home everyday. Food cooked at home are healthy , wholesome and so full of love. 

Today's Thali is the one I cooked on a weekday. You must be wondering what  '4K' is ? 
The 4K's in this thali are Kari, Kosumalli , Kootu served along with Kai Kuthal Arisi . 

The hand pounded rice/Kai kuthal arisi  cooked in a mud pot tasted so good along with the Kootu, Kari and Kosumalli. 

For the Ladies Finger fry/Vendakkai Kari, I added thinly sliced onions and few crushed garlic cloves. The rest, I used the recipe that I have shared in the link below. 

Here are the recipe links to cook the 4K Healthy Thali :

Kari ( Ladies Finger Fry)
Kootu ( Mud Pot Village Style Dal)
Karamani Kosumalli ( Black Eyed Peas Salad) 




A fibre rich , tasty and wholesome weekday meal. 


Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom








Saturday, February 16, 2019

Herbal Rasam | Herbal Soup | Rasam Recipes By Masterchefmom

Herbal Rasam

Hi Supermoms,

'Rasam' or the South Indian Soup is an integral part of my everyday cooking. In fact, regular readers already know that rasam is one of my most favourite dishes to cook. They say that making a great tasting rasam is not easy and requires years of practise.  

May be that is the reason I always get tempted to simplify the steps for you to make a good rasam. There are so many different varieties of rasam that you can make and each tastes so different. 

The weather change here is leading to the spread of so many infections and rasam is the best home made medicine - soothing and healing. You an use herbs that are available in your garden like Tulsi, Omavalli/Karpooravalli/Ajwain leaves and betel leaves to increase the strength of the rasam. 

I only had mint and coriander leaves in stock and used them. The rasam tasted amazing and was so soothing to drink . I added juice of lemon and orange to get the benefits of both the citrus fruits. Also, orange juice adds light sweetness to the rasam that helps  balance the flavours. 

Do try this rasam and you will love cooking and feeding this rasam for yourself and your family.

Herbal Rasam


Herbal Rasam : 

Preparation time : 5 minutes
Cooking time : 30 minutes
Serves : 4 
1 cup = 250 ml cup

Ingredients :

1/4 cup pigeon peas/toor dal/ tuvar dal ( cooked with pinch of turmeric and whisked well)
3-4 cups water 
3/4 teaspoon peppercorns
3/4  teaspoon cumin seeds/jeera
1 teaspoon coriander seeds/dhania
1/2 " ginger ( peeled)
2 small green chillies ( halved) 
1/2 cup mint leaves 
1/2 cup coriander leaves along with stalk 
2 teaspoons lemon juice ( freshly squeezed)
1/4 cup orange juice ( juice of 1 small Indian/Nagpur orange) 
salt to taste 

For tempering :

1-2 teaspoons ghee ( If you are vegan , use coconut oil)
1/4 teaspoon dry neem flowers 
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
pinch of asafoetida
2-3 curry leaves ( torn roughly into small pieces) 

Note : I cooked the toor dal in an earthen vessel/open pot. For 1/4 cup of dal, I used 2 cups water to cook it . Whisked it well using a wooden hand whisk. You can also cook the dal in a pressure cooker using 1 cup water . Also, I have not used any mixer/appliance to powder the spices. The rasam tastes best when hand pounded using the mortar and pestle. 

Method :

1. Add the cooked and whisked dal to a heavy bottom vessel and add 3 cups of water and start cooking over low flame .

2. Coarsely crush the peppercorns, cumin seeds and coriander seeds.
3. Add it to the diluted dal .
4. Now, coarsely crush the ginger and green chillies and add it to the rasam mixture.


5. Add salt and allow it cook over low flame for 7-8 minutes.
6. Taste and add more water if required.
7. Crush the mint and coriander leaves using the mortar and pestle and squeeze the juice into the rasam.


8. Continue cooking over low flame for another 5 minutes or till the time you see the rasam frothing on the sides of the vessel.
9. Add the lemon and orange juice and immediately switch off.

10. Heat an iron ladle with ghee and temper with ingredients given for the same.

11. Close the lid of the vessel immediately after tempering so that the flavour does not escape. 

Your delicious herbal rasam is ready to drink or to be served along with rice. Fire roasted papad/appalam tastes best with this rasam. So soothing and comforting for the throat. 

Herbal Rasam

If you like this rasam , do try other rasam varieties. 


Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom






Friday, February 15, 2019

Roasted Vegetable Pasta | Recipe and Stepwise Pictures to make a Roasted Vegetable Pasta

Roasted Vegetable Pasta

Hi Supermoms,

Pasta is a big favourite at home. I make pasta at least once a week. It is really exciting to try different pasta recipes. I have been wanting to try the roasted vegetable pasta for quite some time. I had the experience of watching my friend Lena cook a roasted vegetable pasta in brown butter and I really enjoyed the taste. 

My oven was giving me some trouble and I had not been using it often. Recently, the problem got fixed and I was so excited to try out the roasted vegetable pasta. It is a great way to add vegetables like beetroot and yellow pumpkin into a pasta. 

Frying mint leaves in ghee and adding crumbled paneer/cottage cheese makes this pasta even more tasty. If you like your pasta to have some sauce and do not prefer to have it dry, you can grind half of the roasted vegetables and make a sauce. 

Roasting the vegetables takes about  forty minutes to an hour. So plan your meal preparation accordingly. I have used penne pasta but you can make this recipe using your choice of pasta.

Roasted Vegetable Pasta

Roasted Vegetable Pasta :

Preparation time : 10 minutes
Cooking time : 60 minutes
Serves : 2
1 cup = 250 ml cup

Ingredients :

2 cups penne pasta
2 medium size beetroots ( peeled and cubed)
1 red carrot ( peeled and chopped)
1 capsicum/bell pepper ( chopped)
200 gm yellow pumpkin ( peeled, de-seeded and cubed) 
6-7 garlic cloves ( peeled and mashed roughly)
2 teaspoons oil 
1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder
1/2 cup mint leaves 
1 tablespoon ghee/clarified butter 
150 gm paneer/cottage cheese 
salt to taste 

Method :

1. Mix the chopped vegetables , garlic cloves with a teaspoon of oil and chilli powder , nut meg powder and dry Italian herbs ( optional).
2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper/butter paper .
3. Spread the vegetables on the parchment paper and bake it in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees C for 45 minutes or till the time the vegetables are well roasted.

4. While the vegetables are roasting , heat ghee in a pan and fry the mint leaves till they are crisp and switch off. 
5. Boil the pasta , drain and mix it along with the ghee roasted mint leaves and set it aside.

6. Heat a wide pan with ghee or oil , add the roasted vegetables, pasta , mix well  and switch off.

7. Add crumbled paneer and serve warm. 

Your delicious roasted vegetable pasta is now ready. 

Roasted Vegetable Pasta

Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom






Tamil Nadu Style Manchatti Kootu | Village Style Claypot Curry | Gluten Free and Vegan Recipe

Tamil Nadu Style Manchatti Kootu

Hi Supermoms,

Claypots/Earthen vessels are called Manpathiram or Manchatti in Tamil . Cooking in earthen vessels is not new to us. It has been used extensively for cooking by our ancestors. The clay pots retains the nutritive value of food and also the food cooked in clay pots are so much more tastier than when cooked in any other cook ware. Clay pots are economical and also easy to maintain. 

Today's recipe - the Village Style 'Kootu' , is a  thick, spicy curry with a mix of vegetables and freshly ground spices. The kootu is wholesome with so many flavours to tickle your taste buds. Typically, vegetables like yellow pumpkin, baby pumpkin, white pumpkin, drumstick, brinjal are used to make this kootu.  You can use either one or more of the above mentioned vegetables.

Small variety of brinjal tastes the best among all other vegetables. I have not been getting good variety of small brinjal/aubergine/eggplant here and so used baby pumpkin. But I recommend you to try this recipe with baby brinjals. 

You can also try this recipe using steel vessels/pan but you will get the most authentic taste only when you use earthen pot /manchatti. 

You can use mix of Salem chillies and Byadagi chillies . I have pan fried onions and tomatoes to make a rich kootu masala. However, instead of grinding you can also add it along with brinjal . 

I served the kootu along with rice and hot ghee. Mix the kootu with rice and enjoy a hearty meal. 

Tamil Nadu Style Manchatti Kootu

Tamil Nadu Style Manchatti Kootu | Village Style Claypot Curry : 

Preparation time : 10 minutes
Cooking time : 35-40 minutes
Serves : 4
 1 cup = 250 ml cup

Ingredients ;

250 gm baby pumpkin ( peeled and cubed ) 
1/2 cup toor dal/pigeon peas
3 cups water
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
salt to taste 

For the Kootu Masala ;

2 teaspoons oil 
1 onion ( sliced)
2  tomatoes (chopped) 
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon urad dal/husked and split black gram
1 teaspoon channa dal /Bengal gram 
3 dry red chillies 
1 sprig curry leaves 
1/2 " ginger ( peeled and chopped)
5 garlic cloves
10 roasted groundnuts 

For tempering :

2 teaspoons coconut oil ( or oil of your choice)
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
pinch of asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon dry neem flowers ( optional) 

For garnish :

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice ( optional)

Method :

1. In a pan, heat oil and roast the ingredients given under 'For the kootu masala' till they turn light brown and fragrant.
Chef tip : First roast all the dry ingredients, remove and set it aside. Then fry onions and tomatoes till the tomatoes turn mushy.


2. Grind the roasted ingredients into a thick paste. Add water if necessary while grinding .
3. In a manchatti/clay pot, wash the dal and add water and turmeric powder.

4. Place the manchatti over low flame and start cooking.
5. When the dal is half cooked, add the chopped baby pumpkin and continue cooking.
6. After 10 minutes , add the ground kootu masala, salt and cook for another 10 minutes or till the time the pumpkin cooks completely. 
Chef tip : If the kootu becomes thick, add water and adjust the consistency.

7. Switch off , add lemon juice( optional) and temper with ingredients given for the same. 

Your delicious Village Style Manchatti Kootu is now ready . So flavourful and so delicious.

Manchatti Kootu

Do try some more kootu varieties ;




Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom









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