Thursday, December 1, 2011

24 days until Christmas

And it's giveaway time at Lock N Lock. Make a purchase at Lock N Lock and you will be automatically entered into the sweepstakes. Now, that is one more (very good) reason for me to go back to Lock N Lock again and again.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

$50 Lock N Lock Voucher for $20 from Eversave

If you are looking for some great gifts this holiday season, here is one to start with. You can get a Lock N Lock voucher worth $50 for just $20 if you are new to the daily deal site Sign Up here and you will receive a $3 credit valid towards any purchase. You can grab the LNL voucher here (this actually says $23, but you can use your $3 credit towards this purchase).


Monday, November 28, 2011

Cyber Monday deal @Lock N Lock - $100 GC for $40

Okay so here is the one and only Cyber Monday deal that I have purchased. Lock N Lock has a $100 Gift Card for $40/. You can order either a virtual gift card or a physical gift card (you have to pay S & H for a physical card). Hurry Up! This offer ends tonight.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Black Friday deals on new LNL website

If you are a regular visitor at, you might have already noticed their new look. If you have ordered with them previously, you might also know that you can enter either a Gift card code or a Discount code only. But, with the new website, you can redeem the gift cards and save the amount as store credit. You can use this along with the discount codes while ordering. There are lot of other cool features that you might want to check out.

Now, we know that its Thanksgiving and there are some great deals going on everywhere. They are on LockNLock too! Visit here for some great Black Friday deals. They are available 11/24 - 11/25. I have purchased a Cookplus Charming SS 13 piece cookware set for $119.99 (regular price: $435.90). Some other highlights are:

Lock&Lock Wings Stackable basket 3 piece set (Regular: $56.60, Sale: $19.99)
Silby Ceramic Baby Lunch Box Set, Pink (Regular: $48.44, Sale: $12.99)
Silby Ceramic Round Container 16 pcs Set (Regular: $84.00, Sale: $9.99)
Silby Ceramic Bake n Serve Storage Set, White (Regular: $42.00, Sale: $4.99)
Lock&Lock Slender Container with Flip Lid, 17.9 Cup ( Regular: $12.89, Sale: $4.50)

That's not all. The Mystery Box promotion is back (Event Period: 11/22 - 12/02). This time, you will have a better chance to get more for your money. With only $9.99, retail value of the items in the box will range from about $40 to $70. One in five boxes will have your favorite Lock&Lock food containers worth about $70. Probabilities are in your favor so get your Mystery Boxes now!!!

Wait, there's more. Find Turkey and get a free gift (Event Period: 11/22 - 11/27).
Have fun and happy shopping.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Betel Leaves Rasam in Speedcook pot + $50 LNL voucher for $18

There has been lot going on for the past few days. Me & DH feeling sick, my final exams coming up (thank god! this semester will be over soon), organizing our kitchen….And I have been cooking only those dishes which will be done in a jiffy. I had some betel leaves left from kartheeka masam pooja. So I decided to use them in the rasam that I wanted to prepare. I came across this recipe for the first time in an Indian food channel.

This dish was very quick and easy, thanks to my LNL Cookplus Speedcook sauce pan. Here are some of its features that I liked. This pot has fast and efficient thermal dispersion, which helped in boiling rasam quickly. I should also mention that this pot has measuring lines to indicate serving. I am glad that these measuring lines are embedded in the pot and not printed on it (I have had experience in the past with some pots from another manufacturer where the measuring lines erased after few uses). The handles are silicone covered which makes it easy to hold them even when the food is cooked on high heat plus the yellow color matches my Cookplus ceramic yellow pan! And guess what? It has a lid which when overturned can be used as a plate! How cute is that? I also loved the idea of pouring spout which makes it easy to transfer the contents of this pot into a serving dish. This pot is originally intended to cook ramen noodles and hence the knob on its lid has chopstick holders. I think this was well thought and innovative.  If you would like to buy this sauce pan, now is right time as you can buy a LNL voucher worth $50 for $18. See details at the end of this post.

Now the recipe….


For popu/tadka:

Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Hing/asafetida – 1 pinch
Curry leaves
Coriander leaves – as desired
Red chilies - 1

For actual Recipe:

Betel leaves – 2 large

Tomato – 1 large
Black pepper powder – ½ tbsp.
Turmeric – ¼ tsp
Amchur powder – 3 tbsp (or according to taste)
Water – 5 cups

1.   Heat oil in a frying pan. Add red chilli, mustard seeds, hing and cumin seeds and let them splutter and add curry leaves and coriander leaves as well.
2.   Add chopped betel leaves and fry them for a minute.
3. Add chopped tomato.  Add cumin powder, coriander powder, black pepper powder, turmeric and amchur. Fry them till the tomatoes become mushy.

4.   Now add water and boil the rasam for 10 minutes on medium high heat (with the cookplus speedcook saucepan, it hardly took 5 minutes for the rasam to boil).

You can serve this with rice and dal or take it as a soup in small quantities.

Living Social deal: Sign up to living social website here. You will get a $5 credit. Then go to this link (if you are already a member you can just click on this link and then log in, but you will not be able to get $5 credit). Click “Buy Now” button and use the $5 credit towards this purchase. The total should show $18 for new members.

And remember, there are a few LNL sets available here for either $9.99 or $14.99 for one day only i.e. only on November 21, 2011. (Update @November 22, 2011 7:27 AM - This deal is gone.)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Potlakaya Perugu Pachadi

Snake gourd/Potlakaya should be used for cooking before they get all woody and hard when the seeds inside mature. We used to have a vegetable garden in our backyard (thanks to my mom!) back home. Whenever there were one or two snake gourds (or whenever there was lot of homemade yogurt), my mom used to make this perugu pachadi, so that it will be sufficient for all the family members. And my dad loves any sort of perugu pachadi. It’s his all-time favorite. You can try tries this recipe with different vegetables like egg plant, zucchini etc.

Now, the recipe…..


For Popu/Tadka:

Oil - 1 tbsp
Chana dal - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves
Red chilies - 1

For actual Recipe:

Onions – 1 large
Chopped Potlakaya - 1 ½ cups
Yogurt - 1 ½ cups
Green Chilies - 6
Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
Water – ½ to 1 Cup


1. Wash potlakaya/snake gourd. Chop it into small round pieces. Squeeze and remove any and keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a frying pan. Add red chilli, mustard seeds, and cumin seeds and let them splutter and add chana dal, urad dal. Add curry leaves as well.
3. Now, add green chillies.
4. Add chopped onions, turmeric, salt (onions really taste good in this dish if they are cut length wise into half-moon shape. Please see the picture).

5. When the onions turn golden brown, add potlakaya/snake gourd pieces. Fry them on medium heat till they are cooked well. It took me 20 minutes to fry them. If you want you can put the lid for first few minutes.

7. Meanwhile, add water to yogurt and beat it well. Add water little by little till you get the desired consistency.

8. When the potlakaya pieces are done, add the beaten yogurt and fry it on low heat for couple of minutes.

Note: Instead of bottle gourd pieces, you can add eggplant (vankaya) or zucchini pieces as well. They taste equally good. If you don’t have any vegetables, you can make the plain perugu pachadi with just onions (in that case, avoid step 5 and add yogurt to onions). You can avoid adding water to yogurt; in that case it will be little bit thick. You can also reduce the turmeric; I like it to be yellow.

My Review + LNL Pre Black Friday Deals

Okay, so here is my review for the supporters’ gifts that I received this month. After putting them to a test, this is what I have to say…..

Inplus storage basket

This basket is sturdy and looks very nice. Ours is a townhouse. So when we come back from a grocery store, I usually hold lot of bags just to avoid several trips up and down. I found this helpful to carry those grocery items all in one shot without hurting my hands. This is just the perfect size to organize diaper packs, wipes and other odds and ends in a changing table. The table looks so much neater with things tucked in these bins. This is a well-made product at a reasonable price. And I guess, this is a perfect solution to organize kids’ toys and books. Color on the wings is rich and vibrant (and who doesn’t want a pop of color in their room?). A blue one for my son’s toys and a pink one for my daughter’s toys is just perfect. With the wings , they also stack. When they are stacked, you can reach for things in a basket through the wide opening on front without having to lift the basket on top.

Airtight slender container

One word- Quality. This is a 1.1L airtight container. These containers are made of high-quality plastic - are BPA-free - and are freezer, dishwasher, and microwave safe! This lid has two openings, one big one small. It’s good that you don’t have to open the entire lid to use the contents in the box. We usually have 4 to 5 varieties snacks/ cereals for our toddlers at home. We get small packs at the local grocery store and not those very big ones at Costco  or Sam’s club. So I always wanted small dispensers and this is the perfect size. It is not huge. So my 3 year old can pour the cereal by herself. I taught her how to use the small opening on the lid.  However, I don’t  like the lid is not wide open while cereal is being poured out; but this is a very good feature when kiddos using it!!! We also buy that huge box of pasta from Costco which has individual boxes of pasta in it. So I open one box and put it in this container (and again this is the perfect size). I think that the plastic is clear and you can see the contents inside. The lids seal absolutely tight and seal everything in excellently. All in all, very satisfied with this product. This also has 1-cup, 2-cups, 3-cups markings on one of its sides, which I think is very useful.

Glass container set

I started calling this our family set. Because it has four glass containers 3.6 cup & 1.6 cup (round),  2.3 cup & 1.3 cup (Square) and are perfect size for each one in our family. The round ones for dad and daughter’s lunch; the square ones for mom and son’s snacks for their trip to the park. These containers are well-built and are high-quality. Food stays fresher MUCH longer. My husband took lunch in this container on Friday. He went out for lunch that day and forgot to bring the box home. On Monday, when he opened the box and the food is still fresh. I totally love them after trying them out! And, did I mention that they are leak proof? I think these would make an awesome gift! However, the type of material used for the lid is not mentioned anywhere on LNL website. So, just to be on safe side, I don’t pack the box to its fullest just to avoid the food contacting the lid.

Pre black Friday Deal: Now is the right time to buy these and other great LNL products because of the Pre Black Friday deal @LNL. When you use the coupon code PREBLK2011 you will get 50% off on the total amount that you purchased (after adding items to your cart, just enter this coupon code in the "promotion code" box). This is valid only for 5 days from Nov 16th through Nov 20th. So hurry, and stock up some gifts for this holiday season. Don’t forget to check out their CLEARENCE and SPECIAL sections for some great deals.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

$50 Lock N Lock Voucher for $15.70 from PlumDistrict

Today Plum District has an awesome deal! You will pay just $23 for $50 worth of Food Storage Containers and More from Lock & Lock! This is a savings of 50% off! But that’s not all. If you are new to PlumDistrict, Sign up here and your account will be credited with $5. Enter the promo code fabulous or pdx10 while signing up. Click on Today’s deals and select the Lock N Lock deal and then click Make It Mine. Your final price should be $15.70.

Please leave a comment to this post, if you have signed up using the above mentioned link.

Fine Print:

May not be applied to taxes & shipping
Not valid for gift certificates
Must have at least $50 in cart to receive discount
No cash or credit back
No store credit for returned product; exchange only
No partial refunds accepted
Voucher valid only at 
Must create an account to receive discount
May not be combined with other offers
Limit 1 voucher per transaction
Expires 11/09/12

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lock N Lock products for review + Free $25 Gift Card

Being a Lock N Lock supporter is fun. I have received my first batch of LNL products for free. Now, I'm off to putting these to a test. Stay tune for my reviews. Meanwhile enjoy some of the pictures I have taken:

Are you interested in buying these and other LNL products? Now is the time to do so. Currently LNL is celebrating its 1st anniversary and is giving away a $25 gift card for those who spend over $100 (including S&H, taxes) in a storewide single transaction. This promotion is on till Nov 14th. So hurry up and stock up some great gifts for this Christmas. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Beetroot, Beerakaya thokku Chutney + $1 deals @Lock N Lock

Before looking at the recipe, let's talk some deals. Lock N Lock has $1 deals in their Clearance section, which means you can get those items for just $1. I have been eyeing on Borosilicate glass 0.5 and 0.6 cups, Zen style food container (3 cup) and the dinner spoons. So I think this is the perfect time to get those items. This offer is valid until Nov 14th. So, go ahead and grab them before they are gone (and try your luck with the free $100 gift card. The sweepstakes end Nov 7th). 

Ridge gourd/Beerakaya curry (made with milk) is one of my DD favorites. So, it is natural that we have this vegetable in our refrigerator almost always. Its skin is high in fiber and is edible. And it’s my DH policy that anything healthy should not be thrown away. And naturally, the peeled off skin find its way into beerakaya thokku chutney. I was so bored of the same chutney twice or thrice a week. So I was looking for some ideas where I can mix other vegetables in this chutney. I have found a couple of beet roots at the back of the vegetable tray and I wanted to use them. They were not big enough to make a fry for me and DH. And hence the dish beetroot beerakaya thokku chutney. When I made this for the first time, my daughter wanted it taste because of its enticing color. But it was too spicy for her. The next time I made it less spicy and she used it as bread spread!!! Now, off to the recipe.


For popu/tadka:

Chana Dal - 1 tbsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Dry red chillis - 3
Curry leaves
Oil - 1 tbsp

For the chutney:

Beerakaya Skin - skin of 2 large ridge gourds
Beet root - 2 small
Green chillis - 10 (more/less depending on the spiciness required)
Coriander seeds - 2 tbsp
Oil - 3 tbsp

Note: You may add popu/tadka/seasoning before/after grinding the beerakaya & beetroot. 


1.    Peel the skin off of beet root and wash and grate it. Keep this aside. Wash the ridge gourd skin.
2.    Heat oil in a frying pan. Add grated beet root and fry this for 5 minutes on medium flame.

3. Add ridge gourd skin, green chillies and coriander seeds and fry until the raw smell is gone.
4.    Grind the fried ingredients into a fine paste. Add little bit of water if you need to. Transfer this into a serving dish.
5.    Now heat oil in a frying pan. Add Chana dal, Urad dal, mustard seeds and cumin seeds and let them splutter. Add the curry leaves.
6.    Pour this over the beerakaya thokku and beet root paste. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Silby Ceramic Set (Review Event Prize) + Fall Back Special

Fall Back Special + Sweepstakes – Before showing you my prize, I would like to share with you all that Lock N Lock has some selected containers sets that are 49% off. But that's not all. One purchasing customer per day wins a $100 gift card till November 7, 2011. Winners will be announced on Facebook every day (gift card will be delivered in December). I'll be trying my luck. I hope you do too!

And now, drum roll........

I received my prize from Lock N Lock for the review event. A part of the prize was the Silby ceramic set. When I received these containers, they looked much more CLASSY AND ELEGANT than the pictures shown in the website. I was so impressed that I would like to purchase more of these sets for the Christmas season as gifts. The lids are made of clear plastic, so it is to identify what's inside. These are airtight and keep food fresh. These containers are lead free and the lids are polypropylene. Hence I don't hesitate to carry baby food in these containers. I have made pasta for dinner and served it these bowls. I should say that the size of these containers is perfect for portion control. I have been packing my DH’s lunch in this box. He told me he had several people asking him where he bought the box (thanks to LNL!!!). These containers resist stains which is very important for me because I use a lot of turmeric in the food that I cook. And I’ve had bad experiences with Tupperware which when heated would be stained yellow (from the turmeric used in food).

And then the “I’m not a paper cup”. This is one cute cup. DH drinks a lot of coffee, and he loved this one. My only concern would be not to overfill the cup. The cap hole doesn’t have any closure (unlike those paper cups), so if you fill this cup to the top, the liquid may spill. I am not a coffee person. But, I found this one useful to carry soup for my outings with the kids. I close the cup with LNL plastic wrap and then put the lid over it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tomato Rice and Giveaway winner

One of my friends invited us for a get together and her parents were visiting her (aah, it’s good when parents visit us. I love the way they pamper us!!!) . Her mom prepared this tomato rice. That was my first time tasting tomato rice. And I had only one word to describe it HEAVENLY. I took the recipe from her and tried it when I had some friends come over. They really liked it. But, my addition to this recipe is the “SHAN biryani masala” powder. I put only 2 tsps of this powder, but it goes a long way. Also, DH loves soy chunks and DD loves green peas. Hence, I have added them as well. 

Before we get to the recipe, I would like to announce the winner of my lock n lock voucher giveaway. And the winner is......Meghan! Please check your email for further instructions. In case there is no response within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen.

Now, the recipe.....


Tomatoes – 5 (Vine ripe are the best for this recipe)
Basmati rice – 3 cups
Cloves – 4
Cinnamon stick – 1
Bay leaves – 4
Onions – 1 large
Cashews – 1/3 Cup
Soy Chunks – ½ cup
Turmeric – ½ tsp
Green peas – ½ cup
Water – 5 cups
Shan Biryani Masala powder – 2 tsp
Garam Masala – 3 tsp
Green Chillies – 4
Salt to taste
Oil – 3 tbsp


1.   Cook Soy chunks according to the instructions on the packet. Keep them aside.
2.   Heat oil in a frying pan. Add cashews and fry them until they are golden brown.
3.   Add cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and fry them a minute or so.
4.   Add chopped onions and salt and fry them until they are golden brown.

5.    Add chopped tomatoes, soy chunks and fry them until tomatoes turn mushy.

6.    Wash the rice and add it to the fried tomatoes. Add turmeric, garam masala powder. Fry this mixture for a couple of minutes.

7.    Now, transfer this to a rice cooker and add green peas. Add water and cook it.

     Serve this with raita and you will definitely love it.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sorakaya (bottle gourd) pulusu

Sorakaya is also known as Anapakaya/Bottle gourd/Lauki. I remember my mom making sorakaya curry with milk whenever she made pooris. Anapakaya curry has lot of water in it and balances the deep fried pooris. I also remember my cousin who grows her own organic veggies used to prepare sorakaya halwa for me. Aah! I always loved it. But, here I am presenting Sorakaya pulusu - my mom's way. Some people also call this as thootlu(poke) pulusu because they poke the Sorakaya pieces 4 or 5 times with a fork before cooking them. My mom uses tamarind sauce for the tanginess in this dish. I've substituted it with amchur powder. I have been using amchur powder for five years. It is made from sun-dried, unripe mangoes. It adds a tart and tangy taste to your food. You can get amchur powder from Indian markets and the ethnic section of some high end grocery stores. Now, the recipe……


For Popu/Tadka:

Oil - 1 tbsp
Chana dal - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves
Green Chillies - 5 (or more if you want it to be spicy)

For actual Recipe:

Oil - 3 tbsp
Bottle gourd/Sorakaya  - 2 small sized
Onions - 3 Large
Aamchoor powder - 
Coriander seeds - 2 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Red chilli powder - 3 tsp (or more if you want it to be spicy)
Garam Masala - 2 tsp
Cloves - 5
Cinnamon - 1 stick


1. Grind the Onions, Cloves, Cinnamon stick, coriander seeds into a fine paste.

2. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a pressure cooker and add the paste made in Step 1.
3. Fry this on medium flame until the raw smell of onions is gone. It took approximately 12 minutes for me.
4. Now add salt, turmeric, red chilli powder and fry for 5 more minutes.
5. Cut the Sorakaya into big pieces (don't peel off the skin) and remove all the seeds in it.
6. Add the sorakaya pieces, amchur powder. Fry them for 5 minutes on medium flame. 

7. Pour enough water and pressure cook the sorakaya pieces. Wait until the pressure is gone and then remove cooker lid. Transfer this into a serving bowl.
8. Now heat oil in a frying pan and add Chana dal, mustard seeds and cumin seeds and let them splutter. Add the curry leaves. Now pour this over the pulusu. 

Sorakaya pulusu is ready to be served with rice.

Friday, October 28, 2011

News, News, News

Dear readers, before announcing the "news" lemme introduce you to someone. 

Lock N Lock has been famous for its containers with 4 way locking system. But that's not all. They have a wide variety of Ceramic coated non-stick as well as stainless steel cookware, Tableware, Kitchen tools, supplies, Cleaning products, Storage solutions, Water bottles, Lunch boxes, eco cups, glass, ceramic, BPA free containers and so on. Visit their website here to learn more about their product line. I have been using their products and I love them so much that I gift LNL products to my loved ones and they are always excited to receive them.

And now, drum roll please.......I am glad to announce that I have been selected as a Lock N Lock Supporter. As a supporter I will be getting FREE Lock&Lock products every month during the active period (which is Nov'11 - Jan'12) and I will have to review those products. I am so excited to be chosen as a LNL supporter. Mainly because I love LNL products and it would be fun to review them. I am looking forward for this exciting journey. Stay tuned for some honest reviews.

Meanwhile, you can browse through some of my previous LNL product reviews here:

1. LNL Plastic Wrap (Look for the review by bnhmom)
5. LNL Cookplus Ceramic Frying Pan (review by Cooking4two)

Happy reading.

Dondakaya/Tindora Pakodi Fry

When we were kids, dondakaya/Tindora was one of the few vegetables that we used to eat without any complaints. Me and my brother always loved it. When I came to US, the party style dondakaya fry really attracted me. Dondakaya....deep fried with pakodi and cashews.....I mean what more can we ask for. But I am always worried with this recipe because it's deep fried. So I prepare it only when we have guests coming or when DH feels like eating it. Here goes the recipe:

Recipe Source: sailusfood

Note: The original recipe asks for ginger garlic paste and maida/all purpose flour which I omitted. I have added besan, rice and corn flour to give it more pakodi flavor. You can also add grated coconut or onion which are totally optional. You can follow the same recipe for goruchikkudu kaya/cluster beans. Pressure cook the beans and follow the method given below from Step 2.


For Popu/Tadka:

1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 sprigs fresh curry leaves
2 green chilli, slit
Cashew nuts - 5 tbsp (Optional)

For actual Recipe:

Dondakayalu/Tindora - 1 lb
oil for deep frying
Besan/Chickpea flour - 4 tbsp
Corn flour - 4 tbsp
Rice flour - 4 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp (or more if you want it to be spicy)
Grated coconut - 1 cup


1. Wash the dondakayalu. Slice them lengthwise.
2. Now, add the tindora/dondakaya pieces, besan, rice flour, corn flour, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric and mix them well such that the dondakayalu are well coated. Keep this aside.

3. Heat oil for deep frying and when it is ready, slowly drop the batter coated dondakayalu into the oil and deep fry to a golden shade. Remove onto absorbent paper.

4. Now heat 1 tsp oil in a frying pan. Add cashews and fry them till they are slightly golden brown.
5. Now add. Chana dal, mustard seeds and cumin seeds and let them splutter. Add the curry leaves and green chillies.
6. Now, add the grated coconut and fry it for 5 minutes (or more if you don't want it to be raw) on medium flame (if using onion, fry it until the onions are cooked).
7. Add the tindora pakodi and fry for 5 minutes on medium flame. Tindora/Dondakaya pakodi fry is ready to be served with rasam/sambar or as a snack.

Thotakura stems fry

My DH likes green vegetables. When I met his friends for the first time, they asked me if I can cook. And then, they gave a hint that whatever I cook would definitely please him, if I put any sort of green vegetable. We laughed over it! But soon, I realized that they were not joking. He would love to eat green leafy vegetables every day of the week. One day, he saw me throwing away thotakura (amaranth leaves) stems. I usually cut those off and make thotakura pappu (lentils)/ pulusu/ fry. So he then came to me and told me that he had a recipe in mind and not to throw them away. The recipe is pretty simple, yet it tasted great. To me, it tasted like asparagus fry. So here is the recipe for you.......


For Popu/Tadka:

Chana dal - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Split urad dal - 1 tsp
Curry Leaves
Oil - 1 tbsp
Dry red chillies - 1
Green Chillies - 4 (or more if you like it to be spicy)
turmeric - 1/2 tsp

For the actual recipe:

Thotakura stems (from 1 or 2 bunches of thotakura)
Pallilu karam/ Dhaniya karam/ Idli karampodi. - 1 tbsp (Optional)

Note: You may also add a few amaranth (thotakura) leaves to the fry.


1. Heat oil in a frying pan. Put chana dal, mustard seeds, red chillies, urad dal and cumin seeds. Now add green chillies and curry leaves .
2. Now, add the thotakura stems and fry it until the stems are soft. To add more flavor, you may put 1 tbsp pallilu karam/ Dhaniya karam/ Idli karampodi.

Enjoy it with rice and rasam.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Kakarkaya (bitter gouard/karela) fry

Bitter gourd has many medicinal values. Lectin present in it lowers blood glucose concentrations and also suppresses appetite. People with diabetes are advised to take bitter gourd juice every day. It can be used for preventing and treating malaria. But, this is one vegetable that I hated as a child. My mom used to take the juice out of it and made us drink almost every other day. There are different ways in which you can cook this vegetable. It can be deep fried (or stuffed and baked) with palli podi (ground nut powder), or used in pulusu or even pachadi (chutney). But, I like the way my mom cooks it with onions and jaggery. Here is the recipe:


For popu/tadka:

Chana Dal - 1 tsp
Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Split urad dal - 1 tsp
Curry Leaves
Oil - 1tbsp
Green Chillies - 4 (or more if you like it to be spicy)
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp

For the actual recipe:

Karela/Bittergourd - 5 to 6 medium sized
Buttermilk - to boil the karela pieces
Onion - 1 large
Jaggery - 2 tbsp (or more as per your taste)


1. Cut the edges of each bitter gourd and smoothen the surface. (To do this, take the non sharp end of a knife and rub it against the bittergourd up and down. This will take away all the ridges and teeth off of the vegetable).
2. Chop the bittergourd in small pieces, you can use or discard the seeds.
3. Take the chopped pieces and buttermilk into a pan and boil them until the pieces are tender. When they are done, take the pieces out and squeeze the liquid.
4. Heat oil in a frying pan. Put chana dal, mustard seeds, urad dal and cumin seeds. Add green chillies and curry leaves.
5. Add the bittergourd pieces from Step 3. Fry them for about 10 - 15 minutes on medium flame and then add onion (If you don't want to taste the bitterness of the vegetable, deep fry the boiled pieces and then add onion). Fry them until the onion is well cooked.
6. Now add the jaggery and fry the pieces for 5 minutes. Kakarakaya fry is ready.

Note: The water that is collected after squeezing the bittergourd pieces in Step 3 can be consumed with some salt or sugar. If you don't like to put jaggery at the end, just add a couple of tablespoons of pallilu karam podi (peanut powder).