Southern flavors…




    Rice and legumes play an significant role in Tamil cuisine. Lentils are also consumed extensively, either accompanying rice preparations, or in the form of independent dishes.Vegetables and dairy products are essential accompaniments, and tamarind rather thanamchoor is the favoured souring agent.



There are many different types of rasam based on the ingredients used. But the basic recipe remains the same, the recipe that is given below. The additional ingredient is added to the basic rasam to enhance and change its flavour. Some of the variations of rasam that I am familiar with are :- Poodu (garlic) Rasam, Pineapple rasam, Mango Rasam, Milagu (Pepper) rasam/ Milagu Saaru, Neem leaf rasam, Ginger rasam, Lemon Rasam


  • Tamrind – lime sized
  • Tomato – 1 (finely chopped or crushed)
  • Garlic – 3-4 cloves (crushed)
  • Green Chilly – 1
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp 
  • Water – 3 cups 
  • Salt – to taste 
  • Oil – 2 tblsp 
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 7 leaves 
  • Asafoetida powder – 1/2 tsp 
  • Coriander leaves (cilantro) – handful (chopped)

Rasam Powder ingredients:

  • Black Peppercorns – 3 tsp
  • Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
  • Corriander Seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Toor Dal – 2 tsp
  • Red Chilly – 2


1.Dry roast and grind everything under ‘rasam powder ingredients’ very coarsely. This is the Rasam powder.
2.  Soak the tamarind in warm water for 5 minutes to get tamarind juice.
3.  Heat little oil in a pan, add the garlic, green chilly and tomatoes. Let the tomatoes cook for while, until they become soft and juicy.
4.  Now add tamarind juice,  turmeric, salt, cilantro and water.
5.  Bring it to a boil then reduce the flame.
6.  Add the rasam powder and asafoetida. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Do not let it boil.
7.  In the meanwhile, heat oil in pan, add  mustard seeds and curry leaves.
8.  Once it splutters add it to the rasam. Garnish with some fresh chopped cilantro. Tasty rasam is ready to serve. Plain rice with rasam and paapad is an excellent combination.


  • Detoxifies the system
  • Reduces cholesterol and prevents heart disease
  • Good for common cold and flu




  • Raw Rice – 1/2 cup heaped
  • Moong Dal(Pasi Paruppu) – 1/8 cup +1 tbsp
  • Jaggery – 3/4 cup
  • Water – 3 cups(for cooking rice) + 1 and 1/4 cup(for jaggery syrup)
  • Ghee – 2 tbsp
  • Cashews – 8 broken
  • Raisins – 1 tbsp
  • Edible camphor – a very tiny pinch (optional)
  • Cardamom powder – a pinch


  • Dissolve jaggery in water, use hot water to dissolve easily. Then heat it up until for the remaining lumps to get dissolved, let it come to a rolling boil.
  • Switch off and strain to remove impurities.Then add edible camphor(a very tiny pinch not more than that), cardamom, set aside.
  • In a pressure cooker dry roast moong dal till golden brown.Then add rice and give a quick stir.
  • Add 3 cups of water and pressure cook for3-4 whistles until mushy.Mash it well.Then add jaggery syrup.
  • Add the jaggery syrup and cook well in medium flame for 5mins.If it starts getting dry add ghee and keep mixing till you get the pongal consistency.Finally add the ghee fried cashews,raisins and switch off.
  • Serve hot with ghee drizzled.

My Notes:

  • I used paagu velam to get the dark brown color. You can use normal jaggery too.
  • Pressure cooking time of rice depends on the variety of rice so adjust accordingly.New rice needs little lesser water whereas old rice requires more.
  • Pongal gets thicker in consistency after cooling down so switch off accordingly. If it get dry, while serving add little ghee and milk.


  • Has indegrients that  helps in the purification of blood, bile preventing rheumatic afflictions and disorders
  •  helps in the treatment of jaundice.
  •  It helps to regulate body temperature and hence is good for asthma patients.
  • It can cure cough, cold, migraine, fatigue and other similar health problems.





  1. 1kg chicken,washed and drained completely
  2. 2 large onions,finely sliced
  3. 2 tbsps chopped coriander leaves
  4. 1 tsp saffron
  5. ½ cup luke warm milk
  6. Salt to taste
  7. 2 tbsps ghee + 5 tbsps oil

8. For marination:

  1. ¾ cup thick curd/yogurt
  2. 8-10 chillies,make into small slit in them
  3. 1 ½ tbsps ginger garlic paste
  4. 1 tbsp red chiii powder (adjust)
  5. ¼ tbsp turmeric powder
  6. ¾ tbsp coriander powder
  7. ½ cup chopped coriander leaves
  8. ½ cup pudina leaves
  9. Juce of 1 lemon
  10. 1 ¾ tbsp salt(adjust)
  11. Biriyani masala ,make pwdder:

20. 8 cloves

  1. 1”cinnamon stick

22. 4 elachi

23. ¾ tbsp shah jeera

24. 12 pepper corns

Ingredients to cook rice:

  1. 4 cups of basmati rice
  2. 6 cloves
  3. 3 cardamons
  4. 1”cinnamon stick
  5. 3 bay leaves
  6. 1 marathi mogga


  1.   Marinate chicken with the ingredients called for ‘marination’ along with biryani masala pwd. Keep aside for 4 hrs or a min of 1 1/2 hrs. While the chicken is marinating, work on the rest of the preparation.
  2.   Cook basmati rice in lots of water along with bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, marathimogga, elaichi, oil, salt till its half cooked. Strain the water and spread the rice on a large wide plate. Allow to cool.
  3.  Heat 1 tbsp oil + 1 tbsp ghee in a vessel, add sliced onions, saute for 8-10 mts till caramelized. Remove and keep aside.
  4.   Add the saffron to the luke warm milk and combine well. Keep aside.
  5.   Take a wide deep vessel to prepare the biryani. Add 3 tbsps oil, add the marinated chicken and spread out over the vessel. Cook on high for 2 mts. Add a tbsp of oil over the chicken pieces. Reduce flame.
  6.   Spread half of the rice over the chicken layer, pour half a tbsp of ghee all over the rice, add half of the caramalized onions and spread over the rice. Next sprinkle a tbsp of coriander leaves and pour about one fourth cup of saffron milk over the rice. Over this layer, spread the remaining rice. Again pour half a tbsp of ghee all over, add remaining caramelized onions and spread over the rice. Finally sprinkle a tbsp of coriander leaves and pour remaining saffron milk over the rice.
  7.   Place lid and over the lid place a heavy weight and seal the edges with wheat dough. Cook on high flame for 2 mts. Remove the vessel from the stove and place a iron tawa. Allow to heat. Reduce to low flame and place back the biryani vessel on the iron tawa and cook biryani for 20-25 mts. Turn off heat and do not remove lid for 10 mts.
  8. 8.  After 10 mts, remove lid, combine gently and serve hot with raita and curry of your choice.



1cup ulavalu (soaked overnight)
small lemon sized ball of tamarind, soaked in hot water
3 green chilies slit length wise
10 button onions (peeled)
2 whole dry red chilies
10 curry leaves
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp jaggery (optional)
2 tbsp oilFor the Powder:1 tbsp whole coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
6 garlic cloves
Grind coriander seeds, cumin seeds and garlic cloves to a fine powder and keep aside.


  1. Soak overnight the horsegram (ulavalu) and boil it in 8 cups of water in a fairly large pot.
  2.  Boil till the dal is well cooked. Generally ulavalu will not have a mushy appearance as compared to other lentils like tur dal.
  3. The liquid has a dark brown chocolate color. Strain the liquid and 1/2 cup of cooked dal. The remaining left over dal can be thrown away. Generally its used by farmers as fodder for their cattle.
  4. Take 1/2 cup of cooked ulavalu and one cup of the strained ulavallu water and grind it to a paste. Keep aside the ulavalu paste.
  5. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter.
  6. Now add cuminsseeds,whole red chillis and curry leaves and fry for few seconds.
  7. Now add the shallots and green chillis and fry for 3 minutes.

8. Add the strained ulavalu water and let it boil. Add salt, jaggery and turmeric pwd.

  1. Now add the ground pwd, ulavallu paste and tamarind paste and let it cook on low heat for 20- 25 minutes stirring occasionally and till you get a thick soup like consistency.
  2. Serve hot with rice and a generous amount of fresh homemade butter or cream.
  3. Generally the butter is melted and added to the soup and rice, mixed and eaten. UlavaCharu is a very tasty dish, relished more during winter times as its supposed to give heat to the body.





  1. Rice ada -1/2 cup
  2. Jaggery – 1 1/4 cup
  3. Thin coconut milk – 1 1/4 cup
  4. Thick coconut milk – 1/2 cup
  5. Coconut bits or thin small pieces – 2 tbsp
  6. Cashew nuts -2 tbsp or 5-6
  7. Raisins -2-3 tbsp

8. Cardamom powder -1/4 tsp

  1. Ghee – 1-2 tbsp +2 tsp


  1. Bring water to rolling boil, switch off and add the ada. Let it soak for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, drain the water completely and rinse the ada 2-3 times in cold water. This is done to prevent the ada from sticking to each other. Drain the water completely. Keep it aside for some time.
  2. Dissolve jaggery in half cup of water and strain it to remove impurities if any
  3. Heat 2 tsp of ghee and fry the cashew nuts, raisins and coconut pieces separately. Remove from pan.
  4. In the same pan, heat more ghee and fry the ada in medium or low flame for 4-5 minutes.
  5. Now add jaggery water to the ada and cook in medium flame until it thickens.
  6. Once it thickens, add the thin coconut milk (1 1/4 cup). Cook on medium flame until it thickens again.
  7. Once it thickens, add the thick coconut milk, fried cashew nuts, raisins, cardamom powder and coconut bits. Mix well and switch off the flame. Do not cook after adding the thick coconut milk.

8. Delicious Ada Pradhaman is ready. Serve hot or chilled.




1. 5 medium Potatoes, chopped chunky
2. 1 medium Onion, chopped chunky
3. 4 green chilies, split lengthwise
4. 1/2 teaspoon ginger chopped fine
5. 1 1/2 cup Water
6. Salt to taste
7. 1 cup Thick coconut milk (first milk)
8. 1 tablespoon Coconut oil
9. 1 teaspoon Mustard
10. 6-7 curry leaves

  1. To a deep pan add potatoes, Onion, Chili, ginger, water and salt and let cook. Now mash a few potatoes to let the gravy thicken.
  2. Now add coconut milk to it and let boil. Turn off the heat.
  3. Heat oil in a frying pan. Add mustard and let spluter. Now add curry leaves, give a few strokes and pour it onto Ishtu.




Tuvar dal (tuvaram paruppu) – 1/2 cup
Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
Urad Dal – 1 teaspoon
Red chilies – 6
Coriander seeds – 1 1/2 tablespoons
Curry leaves – 5 springs
Coconut (grated) – 1/4 cup
Shallot onions(small red onions called sambar onions in india) – 25-30 (cleaned and peeled)
Mustards seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
Hing (Asaefoetida) – 1 pinch
Green chilies – 2 (slit)
Vegetables of choice (brinjals,carrots, french beans, pumpkin, yam) – 2 cups (chopped into big chunks)
Tamarind pulp – lemon sized ball of tamarind soaked in 1/3 cup of water.
Salt – 1/4 teaspoon (or to taste)
Jaggery or brown sugar – 1 1/2 teaspoons
Oil – 2 tblsp

1. Cook the tuvar dal till tender then mash it nicely.
2. Heat 1 tblsp oil in a heavy bottomed pan and roast the fenugreek seeds till light red, then add 1/2 tsp urad dal and let it saute till they change colour too.
3. Add the red chilli and coriander seeds.
4. Add 3 springs of curry leaves and the grated coconut and roast.
5. They should all turn light brown and aromatic.
6. Cool and grind to a fine paste with a little water.
7. Heat 1 tblsp oil in a pan. Add the mustard seed.
8. When they splutter add 1/2 tsp of urad dal and the hing. Fry for a minute.
9. Add the onions and green chillies and the rest of the curry leaves.
10. Add your choice of vegetables. Fry till you get a nice aroma.
11. Add a little water. Cover and cook till the veggies are done.
12. Extract pulp from the tamarind and add to the vegetables.
13. Add salt to taste and crumbled jaggery (you can use brown sugar also i think) and cook till the raw smell of the tamarind disappears.
14. Add the mashed dal and the ground masala.
15. Mix well and add a little water if required.
16. Simmer for a few mins.
17. Serve with dosas, idlis or rice



Basmati rice – 1 cup (cooked)
Mango – 1 cup (Grated)
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Urad Dal – 1 tsp
Channa Dal – 1 tsp
Ginger – small amount (chopped)
Red chillies – 2
Green Chillies – 2
Curry leaves
Turmeric powder – a pinch
Salt – to taste
Oil –  tblsp

1.Heat oil in a pan, pop mustard seeds, Urad dal and Channa dal.
2.Add Chopped ginger, Red chillies , Green chillies, Curry leaves and Turmeric powder.
3.Add Grated Mango, Salt and saute well till mango is tender.
4.Add Cooked rice and mix well.
5.Garnish with Cilantro.



Besan – 1 cup
Jowar flour – 1 cup
Rice flour – 1 cup
Bajra flour – 1/2 cup
Wheat flour – 1/2 cup
Chilli powder, Corriander powder, Cumin powder, Garam masala powder – 1 tblsp each
Turmeric – 1 tsp
Grated Jaggery – 2 tblsp
Chopped Onion – 1/2 cup
Chopped Coriander (Cilantro) – 1/4 cup
Garlic – 2 tblsp (finely chopped)
Salt – to taste
1. Mix all the above ingredients and knead with enough water into a soft dough.
2. Cover and let the dough rest for about 10 minutes. After that make small balls of the dough.
3. Pat each ball with fingers on a wet muslin cloth or a greased plastic cover to roll out the thalipeeth. (You can use a big ziploc cover too. Wet your hands before patting.)
4. In the meantime heat up the tawa.
5. Drop 2-3 drops of oil on the thalipeeth and put it on the hot tawa. Put the rolled out thalipeeth such that the top touches the tawa.
6. Carefully remove the cloth/plastic cover from the thalipeeth.
7. Let it cook well on both sides.
8. Serve hot with dry garlic chutney or yoghurt or raita or fresh coconut and chilly powder.




1 cup prawns (shelled and deveined);

5-6 dried red chillies;

2 cups scraped coconut;

1 medium onion, finely sliced;

1 tsp coriander seeds;

1 tsp cumin seeds

7-8 cloves of garlic;

½ inch piece of ginger;

½ tsp turmeric powder;

½ tsp sugar;

2 tbsp tamarind pulp;

2 tbsp cooking oil;

salt to taste;

3 cups of warm water for extracting coconut milk.

1.      Wash and drain the prawns
2.      rub them with salt and turmeric and keep aside.
3.       Extract thick and thin coconut milk from the scraped coconut.
4.      Grind all the other ingredients except the tamarind pulp adding a little water.
5.       Heat the oil, add the ground spices and prawns and sauté.
6.       Pour in the thin coconut milk and boil for 7-8 minutes.
7.       Add the tamarind pulp, sugar and the thick coconut milk.
8.      Boil for 1 or 2 minutes more.
9.       Adjust the consistency with a little more water and the taste with a little more salt if necessary.


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