Friday, November 15, 2013

Curry Leaves Gravy

Curry leaves (karuvepilai), is an inherent ingredient for most of Indian & Srilankan cooking, mainly because they grow well in tropical - sub tropical climate (thanks to encyclopedia :). It is high on minerals such as iron, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins.

Mostly, it is used as a garnishing ingredient for its flavor and is mostly discarded (rarely does anyone eats curry leaves unlike coriander & pudhina). However, thanks to our grandmothers, we can make better use of these leaves & enjoy the full benefit by consuming them in better forms.

One such rich dish is curry leaves gravy that can be had with hot rice, idlis, pongal etc. You can store it for some time and refrigerate it for longer use. So, here you go...


Curry Leaves : 2 cups (preferably fresh but you can use dried ones too)
Green Chillies: 4-5 medium
Small Onions : 10-12 finely chopped (some use small onions as is; if rqd, you can use chopped big onions)
Chili powder : 3-4 tspn (as spicy as you need it)
Coriander powder: 
Tamarind: Lemon Size (Extract juice)
Salt : To taste
Mustard Seeds: 2 tspn
Uradh dhal : 1 tspn (half white)
Jaggery : 1 piece (optional)
Gingely Oil (til ka thel): 2 - 3 tbspn (oil allows you to store it for a longer duration)
Asafoteida (Hing): 2 pinch

  • Grind the curry leaves with green chillies to a smooth mix
  • In a non stick pan (or better a mud kadai), add oil
  • Add mustard seeds. As they crackle, add uradh dhal. Next, add the onions. 
  • Fry till the onions turn pinkish.
  • To this mix, add all spices, salt, and hing. Follow it up with Tamarind extract and curry leaves mix
  • Add water to allow the curry leaves to cook till the raw smell is gone
  • Stir and cook till the oil separates as a top layer
  • Add the jaggery (if rqd) and remove from fire
  • Allow it to cool before you store it in any dry air-tight container 
Note: If you have used high amount of oil then it can be kept outside, else, its preferred to refrigerate it. 

Serve it with:
  • hot rice & gingely oil
  • hot idlis / dosas
  • spread on bread as S/W
  • spread on rotis / paranthas 

Potato Spinach Dry Curry / Aloo Palak ki subji

Been attempting sweet dishes for a while now but me being a spicy person ;) had to balance it out with some spicy dishes. Potatoes are a given in anyone's kitchen and when you have some green fresh Palak (spinach) leaves, it will take just about 15-20 mts to make this medium-high spice dry curry.


Potato - 3-4 medium, boiled, peeled, & diced into cubes (ensure they are not over cooked)
Spinach - 1 cup (Cleaned & chopped)
Big Onion - 1 medium
Ginger - 1" slice chopped
Green Chillie - 1 slit (optional, only for flavor)
Chillie powder - 2 tspn (as spicy as you like)
Coriander powder - 1.5 tspn
Mango powder (amchoor) - 1 tspn (optionally, you can use sour curd)
Cumin Seeds - 1 tspn
Oil - 2-3 tbspn (as oily as you like it)
salt - to taste
asafoetida (hing) - a pinch


  1. In a pan, add oil. As it heats, add the cumin seeds. As they crackle, add ginger, green chilly, and onion.
  2. As the onion turns pinkish, add the powders, salt, hing and saute for a minute
  3. Then add the spinach and allow it to cook till it turns tender by covering the pan (it will cook in the water from spinach itself)
  4. Remove the lid and add the diced potatoes
  5. Allow it to cook for a couple of minutes so that the spices mix with the potatoes
  6. Garnish with coriander leaves or kasoori methi (dry methi leaves) or mixed dry herbs
  7. Remove from fire; Serve hot with chappatis or rice
Some cook the spinach separately and add it to the end. You can make it as spicy or bland as you like it. A healthy yet tasty dish for kids as well.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Fig & Date Cake / Halwa

Dry fruits & Nuts prove to be a healthy and tasty ingredient for any many of your sweet dishes, baking, etc. I tried an interesting sweet dish suggested by great chefs like Tarladalal & Sanjeev Kapoor using Figs & Dates as the main ingredient. Turned out to be a healthy yet tasty sweet dish & the key being it doesn't require Sugar (unless you want to make it more sweety; even then you probably can try using jaggery rather than sugar)


Figs : 12-15
Dates: 12-15 (seedless)
Almonds: 15
Cashew: 12
Pistachio: 12
Raisins: 5-10 (optional)
Desiccated Coconut: 2-3 tbspn (optional)
Ghee - 1/4 cup 

  1. Soak figs & dates separately in a bowl of hot water for 10-15 mts
  2. Drain and make a puree using very less water (Separately & ensure dates are de-seeded)
  3. Chop almonds, cashews, raisins, and pistachios. You can chop them or coarse grind it in a mixer 
  4. In a pan, add the ghee. To it add the fig and dates puree. Stir well and cook in medium heat till the moisture is gone (10 mts ~)
  5. Then add the chopped ingredients. Continue to stir and cook for another ~ 10 mts. 
  6. Add the desiccated coconut and stir. Cook for another couple of minutes. As the mixture starts leaving the sides of the pan, remove from fire.
  7. In a tray or glass vessel grease some ghee. Remove the mixture from fire and pour it into the tray.
  8. Spread evenly and allow it to cool (about an hour)
  9. Cut it into desired pieces and serve 
Happy since it was approved by my 'Aman', a 7 yr old :)

Alternate Method:

  1. Chop the dates & figs very finely (1 cup). In a pan, add a tbspn of butter / ghee. Then add 1 tbspn of condensed milk
  2. To this, add the chopped ingredients and fry them for 2 mts
  3. In another kadai, I fried the remaining dry fruits & nuts (cut into fine pieces), 2 tspn of desiccated coconut in a spoon of ghee
  4. After 2 mts (Step 2), remove from fire. Add the fried ingredients. Add 1-2 spoon of powdered sugar (if rqd).
  5. Allow it to cool a bit & make it to the desired shape. Easy to make them as ladoos.