Quinoa with Soya chunks and Veggies

Quinoa has excellent source of protein and fibre. I have been using it for a while now and tried different recipes with that. I used the Organic tricolour/white quinoa from Trader Joe’s.


Compared to the Indian sooji/broken wheat, I personally found Quinoa to be delicious. Buying this grain in India is expensive.

The benefits of quinoa are available in the following link Quinoa benefits.

Ingredients: (4 servings)

Quinoa – 1 cup

Vegetables of your choice (carrots/ beans/corn/ baby corn/potato/zucchini/peas/red or yellow capsicum,etc) – finely chopped – 3/4 cup

Onion(big) – 1

Tomato medium sized – 2 or pasta sauce – 2 to 3 tbs,

Soya chunks(small) boiled and drained – handful

Olive oil – 1 tbs

Green Chilli slit- 1

Mustard – 1tsp

Urad dhal – 1 tsp

Cumin seeds- 1 tsp

Asafoetida – a pinch

Curry leaves – 4-5

Salt to taste


I used a small pressure pan to cook this easy recipe.

  1. Heat oil in the pan and add mustard seeds.
  2. When the mustard seeds start crackling, add cumin seeds along with urad dhal and sauté them lightly.
  3. Add the green chilli, curry leaves, asafoetida and fry for few seconds.
  4. sauté onions till they turn translucent.
  5. Add the pasta sauce or chopped tomato and fry for a minute till they soften. (I used pasta sauce)
  6. To the above mixture add the veggies and fry for another minute.
  7. Pour 2 and a half cups of water to the mixture and add salt as required.
  8. When the mixture starts to boil, add the soya chunks along with quinoa and pressure cook for 2 to 3 whistles.
  9. Garnish with coriander if desired.
  10. Serve with pickle.

Served with fried Cashew and Kara Boondi for the kids:

quinoa_topped with boondi


Poondu karuvapillai milagu kuzhambu

Poondu(garlic) karuvapillai(curry leaves) milagu(pepper) kuzhambu(gravy) is another tasty south Indian dish that is prepared and served when one is recovering from fever or when the weather is very cold or as a special diet for feeding mothers. The garlic, pepper and curry leaves have lots of medicinal values and aid in easy digestion and improved lactation. This dish can be stored in the refrigerator and consumed within 10 days. This dish tastes best when mixed with rice and eaten with papad(appalam). Paruppu thuvaiyal is a good combination with this dish.

Poondu karuvapillai milagu kuzhambu:


Red Chilli – 4
Pepper corns – 1 tbs
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Garlic pods – 10
Urad dal – 1tbs
Toor dal – ½ cup
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Tamarind, lemon-sized, soaked in ½ cup of water for 10 minutes
Curry leaves- ½ cup
Gingely oil – 2 tbs
Asafoetida – ½ tsp


1. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan and fry all the above ingredients except the mustard seeds,turmeric powder, asafoetida and tamarind. Add ¼ cup of water to the mixture and keep aside for 30 min. Fine grind the mixture.
2. Heat 2 tsp of oil in a kadai and sauté the mustard seeds, turmeric powder and asafoetida.
3. Squeeze out the thick tamarind juice using 2 cups of water and add to the above mixture. Add salt according to the taste and allow it to boil till the raw smell of the tamarind dissapears.
4. Add the ground mixture to the tamarind gravy and stir constantly till there are no lumps.
5. Add 1 tbs of gingely oil and allow it to boil and stir constantly till the oil seperates from the kuzhambu(gravy).


Pitlai is another tasty south Indian dish similar to sambar. We do not use sambar powder, instead prepare with ground spices and coconut. This dish tastes best when mixed with rice and eaten with papad(appalam).

Many does not prefer Bitter gourd due to its taste even though it has excellent medicinal values.when bitter gourd is used as the main vegetable along with chickpea| Mochai(Field bean), you will start loving the taste of the bitter gourd due to the aroma and taste.

Brinjal Pitlai:
Brinjal Pitlai


Bitter Gourd, cut into thin circular pieces – 2-3

Toor dal, cooked – ½ cup

Chickpea or Field bean, cooked – ¼ cup (optional)

Tamarind, lemon-sized, soaked in ½ cup of water for 10

Refined oil – 2tsp

Mustard seeds – 1tsp

Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp

Coriander seeds – 2 tbs

Chana dal – 2tbs

Black peppercorns – 4-5

Dry red chillies – 2-3

Asafoetida a pinch

Salt to taste

Coconut, scraped – ½ cup

Curry leaves – 4-5


Ingredients Ground Mixture_Pitlai

  1. Squeeze out the tamarind juice and keep aside.
  2. Heat ¼ tsp of oil in a kadai and sauté the mustard seeds. Add the vegetable, turmeric powder, tamarind extract and salt. Allow to boil till the vegetable is cooked, adding water if necessary.
  3. Heat the remaining oil and sauté the remaining ingredients except curry leaves and chickpea or Field beans till the coconut is reddish brown in color. Allow it to cool and grind to a fine powder.
  4. Add the cooked toor dal, curry leaves, spice powder and chickpea to the bitter gourd mixture. Stir and cook for few minutes. Add water, if required to get the correct consistency.
  5. Serve with plain rice and papad.


  1. To remove bitterness from the bitter gourd, rub salt all over the cut bitter gourd slices and leave it for 15-20 min and rinse off the salt and the water beneath the vessel. Squeeze the water out of the bitter gourd.
  2. You can alternatively use vegetables like brinjal or drumstick or kothavaranga (cluster beans) instead of bitter gourd. instead of bitter gourd.

Vatral kuzhambu

This dish is an all-time favorite to the traditional Tamilian. This may be prepared with a whole slew of fresh vegetables or marinated and dried(vatral) vegetables. This dish tastes best when mixed with rice and eaten with papad (appalam). Vatral is prepared by soaking the vegetables like manathakkali(black-nighshade), sundakkai(turkey berry), kothavaranga(cluster beans) in buttermilk, salt and dried in sunlight. These are also readily available in super-market.
When small onions is used as the main vegetable, the tangy taste of the tamarind, the aroma of the small onion in combination with curd rice, tastes like ambrosia.

  • Onion Vatral Kuzhambu
  • onion vatral kuzhambu

  • Manathakkali Vatral Kuzhambu
  • Manathakkali vatral kuzhambu

    Small onions, pealed or ( manathakkali| sundakkai| kothavaranga | Brinjal vatral or Fried Papad or onion and garlic together| Drumstick) – 1 cup
    Tamarind, lemon-sized, soaked in ½ cup of water for 10 minutes
    Sambar powder – 2 tsp
    Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
    Fenugreek seeds – ½ tsp
    Toor dal – 1 ½ tsp
    Red Chillies – 1 or 2 as per your taste
    Asafoetida – a pinch
    Curry leaves – 5 to 6
    Gingely oil – 3 – 4 tsp
    Salt to taste

    1. Heat the oil in a kadai and sauté the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, red chillies, toor dal and asafoetida till golden brown.
    2. Add the curry leaves, any one of the above mentioned vegetables and fry for 1-2 min. Add the sambar powder and fry for another 1-2 min till golden brown.

    3. Squeeze out the tamarind juice and dilute this juice in 2 cups of water by repeating the process. Add to the fried mixture. Add salt to taste.
    4. Allow it to boil till the mixture thickens.
    5. Serve with papad and plain rice.

    1. If the ‘kuzhambu’ is too watery and does not thicken, add 1 tsp corn flour in ¼ cup of water and allow it to boil till the mixture thickens.
    2. Instead of vegetables, if you select fried papad, follow the method as mentioned above and add the crushed papad at the end.

    Poondu Milagu Jeeraga Rasam

    This rasam tastes good and has good aroma. Pepper and cumin aid in digestion and have good healing effect when consumed during cold or fever. Toddlers too would love the taste of this rasam. Do not stir the rasam for toddlers and mix with dal and rice dotted with ghee.This rasam may be served hot as a soup.

    Milagu jeera rasam

    Garlic pods, pealed – 5
    Jeera – 2tsp
    Black pepper corns – 2 tsp
    Toor dal – 1 tbs
    Coriander seeds – 1tsp
    Curry leaves – 10 – 12 leaves
    Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
    Asafoetida – a pinch
    Ghee – 1 tsp
    Tamarind, lemon-sized, soaked in ½ cup of water for 10 minutes
    Salt to taste


    Ingredients Ground mixture
    1. Soak the Jeera, black pepper corns, Toor dal, coriander seeds and curry leaves in ¼ cup of water for 20 to 30 min.
    2. Grind the soaked mixture along with garlic coarsely.
    3. Squeeze out the tamarind juice using 2 cups of water and boil the juice with asafetida and salt. Stir well and boil till the raw smell of the tamarind disappears.
    4. Add the ground mixture and remove from heat when the mixture turns frothy.
    5. Taste and adjust the salt and add water to increase the quantity.
    6. Heat the ghee in a pan and sauté the mustard seeds and add it to the rasam.
    7. Garnish with coriander leaves, if required.
    1. Do not grind the mixture finely as the rasam will become too hot to eat.
    2. You may discard garlic if you do not like the taste of it.

    Poondu(Garlic) Kuzhambu(Sambar)

    Garlic has long been considered a herbal “wonder drug”, with a reputation in folklore for preventing everything from the common cold and flu to the Plague!

    My Father-In-Law believes that eating this dish keeps his body warm especially after his oil massage 🙂 Enjoy the taste and aroma of this dish.

    This is my entry to the event JFI – Virundhu:Garlic for the month of April, 2008.

    Poondu kuzhambu

    Ingredients for 2 members:

    Garlic peeled – 1 cup

    Black peppercorns – 1 tsp

    Coriander seeds – 1 ¼ tsp

    Cumin seeds – 1 tsp

    Channa dal – 1tsp

    Toor dal – 1 tsp

    Urad dal – ¼ tsp

    Red chillies – 1 or 2 as per your taste

    Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp

    Gingely oil – 1 ½ tbs

    Tamarind, lemon-sized, soaked in ¼ cup of water for 5 minutes, juice extracted

    Salt to taste



    1. Heat the 1 tsp of oil in a pan and fry all the above ingredients except the mustard seeds, garlic and tamarind. Allow the mixture to cool.
    2. Grind the tamarind juice and the fried ingredients together. Grind them till it becomes a paste. Keep this aside.
    3. Heat 1 tbs of oil in a kadai and sauté the mustard seeds and garlic until the garlic color changes to slightly brown.
    4. Add 1 or 2 cups of water to the above mixture and heat till the garlic is half cooked.
    5. Add the ground paste and salt to the above mixture. Remove from heat when the garlic is well cooked.
    6. Garnish with coriander leaves.


    This dish will be thick in consistency and can be stored in refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.

    Mor kuzhambu(yoghurt gravy)

    The preparation of this dish is very easy and tasty when you keep all the ingredients ready. Typically, in south Indian homes, this dish will be prepared at least twice every month and the ideal combination for this kuzhambu would be paruppu usili. As the intake of coconut and dal is more, for easy digestion of food, Poondu milagu jeeraga(Garlic pepper cumin) rasam is prepared along with this dish.

    For this recipe, I have used saeppa kizhangu(Colocasia esculenta) as the main vegetable. In the tips section, there is mention of other vegetables that could be used instead of Colocasia.

    Mor kuzhambu


    colocasia esculentaColocasia esculenta(saeppa kizhangu), steam cooked, peeled – ¼ kg

    Sour curd, whisked – 2 cups

    Green chilies – 3 or 4 as per your taste

    Ginger, a small piece – 1

    Cumin seeds – ¼ tsp

    Toor dal – ½ tsp

    Channa dal – ½ tsp

    Coconut, grated – ¾ – 1 cup

    Curry leaves – 5 to 6

    Coconut oil or refined oil – 2 tsp (coconut oil enhances the taste)

    Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

    Asafoetida – a pinch

    Turmeric powder – a pinch

    Salt to taste


    1. Soak the dal in water for 15-20 min and finely grind it along with green chillies, cumin seeds, ginger and grated coconut.
    2. Mix the ground mixture to the whisked curd.

    Ingredients step 2
    3. Heat the oil in a kadai and sauté the mustard seeds, curry leaves, pinch of turmeric powder and asafoetida. Add the steamed vegetable (collacasia) and fry for a minute.
    4. Add the curd mixture and salt and allow it to cook on low heat, stirring continuously. Remove and garnish with coriander leaves, if required.


    1. Other vegetables that may be used – brinjal(big or small), white pumpkin, cucumber, lady’s finger, drum stick, potato, manathakali vatral, sundaikkai vatral and so on
    2. For use later, do not reheat this dish in the stove; use microwave oven instead.
    3. If you are using any of the following vegetables – lady’s finger, small brinjal, manathakali vatral or sundaikkai vatral, fry them in oil and then add to the curd mixture.
    4. If you are using any of these vegetables – brinjal(big), white pumpkin, drumstick or lady’s finger, then steam cook them with salt and water.
    5. If you prefer using more coconut, then you may discard the dal and grind only the green chillies, cumin seeds, ginger and grated coconut and follow the procedure from step 2.
    6. If the consistency is too thin, add 1 tsp of rice flour to 3 tbs of water and add to step 4.

    Beans Paruppu Usili (lentil crumble)

    Ever since my childhood, I used to bug my mom to prepare this paruppu usili for me every week. It’s a lentil crumble that may be prepared with vegetables like beans or banana flower or cluster beans or onion and so on. Even without the vegetable, this dish can be mixed with plain rice dotted with ghee. This dish tastes best with banana flower(vazhaipoo). Please refer to the following link on the procedure to cut the flower https://ssriranjini.wordpress.com/2008/02/14/vazhaipoo-vada/

    The combination of paruppu usili, mor kuzhambu and Garlic pepper jeera rasam makes a tasty south Indian main course.

    Beans Paruppu usili

    Ingredients (For 2 members):

    Toor dal – 1 cup

    Channa dal – 1/4 cup

    Beans, chopped – 1 1/2 cup

    Urad dal – 1 tsp

    Dry red chillies – 3 or 4

    Turmeric powder – a pinch

    Asafoetida – a pinch

    Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

    Curry leaves – 4 or 5

    Refined oil – 3 to 4 tbs



    1. Soak the Toor dal and Channa dal in water for 1 hour.

    2. Drain and grind the dal coarsely with dry red chillies, salt, and asafoetida .

    Dal mixture Fried mixture

    3. Steam cook the ground mixture(2-3 whistles in a pressure cooker or keep it in the oven for 6-7 min till there is no moisture in the mixture). Allow it to cool and crumble it using a ladle or your fingers(using the fingers is better)

    3. Cook the beans or other vegetables separately and drain out the excess water.

    4. Heat oil in a pan and sauté the mustard seeds, urad dal, turmeric powder and curry leaves. Add the crumbled mixture and the cooked beans.

    5. Fry the mixture as per your liking(I like it to be fried,crispy and separate granules as this tastes good).