Pala Musu – Green Jackfruit Curry

I have never ventured to cook jackfruit before, until JFI, that is. But this curry is the only form of cooked jackfruit I have had so far. And it happens to be my favourite one. Pala Musu in Tamil means Green Jackfruit. The beauty of this dish is its simplicity. No hard-to-find spices, no elaborate cooking method, what you find in your spice box is what goes into this dish. Onto the recipe now.


Green jackfruit – 2 cans or 1 small-sized
Coconut – ¾ cup, shredded
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Urad dal – 1 tbsp
Red chillies - 5
Curry leaves - few
Turmeric – 1 tsp
Sugar – 1 tsp
Oil – 1 tbsp


If using canned jackfruit, drain and wash them. Pulse the jackfruit pieces with turmeric in a food processor until they are shred into bite sized pieces. If using fresh green jackfruit, peel the skin, cut into fairly big pieces and pressure cook them with turmeric for 2 or 3 whistles. Now pulse them into bite sized pieces.

In a kadai or skillet, heat oil and splutter mustard seeds. Now add urad dal, curry leaves and red chillies. To this add jackfruit with asafoetida, salt, and sugar. Mix well and finally mix coconut.


This is ‘2’ in 1-in-3 jackfruit and my second entry to JFI-Jackfruit hosted by Jugalbandi.

1-in-3 Jackfruit


Jackfruit – Aptly called as ‘Gentle Giant’ by Indira. You should be aware that I was on a jackfruit hunt sometime back. Yes, I did make that dreadful trip to the Asian store. Though I couldn’t find incense sticks in the nearby aisles, I went on with the search. All for this month’s JFI hosted by Jugalbandi. I was being modest and searched the freezer section for frozen jackfruit pieces. Nope, no luck. Alright, no JFI entry from me this month :-(.

Suddenly a tap from my husband. I find him pointing his finger in one direction. To my surprise, there it is – A whole jackfruit. I was enthralled by what I was looking at for two reasons. One, I will be able to participate in this month’s JFI. Two, its been a long time since I had jackfruit. Armed with the 15-pound fruit and few cans of green jackfruit, I came home with a triumphant smile. I can now post not 1, but 1-in-3 on jackfruit. Gini, I hope this answers your question :-).

I didn’t know that there were two types of jackfruit until I read Injipennu’s post. Luckily, the fruit I bought was the varikkachakka variety, it was sweet as honey. Working on the fruit was fun too (Of course, with gloves on). The whole house was filled with the sweet smell of jackfruit.


I am not going to give you the specifics about jackfruit, its all here. I want to thank Jai & Bee (not only for the incense sticks idea) for instigating me to go look for Jackfruit. If not for you I wouldn’t have had even stepped in that direction. Thanks guys!

My entry for this month’s JFI is Jackfruit Halwa. This recipe is from my cookbook encyclopedia Samaithu Paar by Meenakshi Ammal. This halwa is not the typical chewy type, but a slightly crunchy one due to the sugar syrup, yet tasty.


Jackfruit – 1 cup, cubed into small pieces
Sugar – 1 ½ cups
Cashew nuts – ¼ cup, halved
Ghee – 2 tbsp
Elaichi or Cardamom – ½ tsp, powdered
Edible camphor – A mustard seed size


Mix sugar and ¼ cup of water and make a sugar syrup until it reaches one-string consistency. Add the jackfruit pieces and stir until the fruit gets cooked and blends with the sugar syrup. The mixture should be thick if you want to make pieces.

Roast cashew nuts in a tsp of ghee until golden brown. Add this to the jackfruit mixture along with the rest of the ghee and saffron. Take the halwa off the stove and mix elaichi and camphor.

Grease a plate with ghee and pour the halwa onto it. Cut into pieces while it is still warm.


Spring Cleaning - Stuffed Peppers

I have a few recipes up my sleeves for spring-cleaning my refrigerator. You know, that one carrot, those few beans and that half-an-onion lying around in the fridge not knowing what to do. This is one such recipe to make good use of those odd vegetables without wasting them.

In truth this is more of a method, than a recipe. You can vary the vegetables and the spices to suit your taste. To make it interesting, try using different coloured peppers, avoiding the green one. Peppers of each colour will significantly vary in taste - the yellow one is tart, the red sweet and the orange somewhere in-between.

I serve this over couscous or quinoa to take care of the carbohydrate part of the meal. Mildly flavoured rice may also work well with the peppers. Instead of serving the peppers over plain couscous, I have flavoured the couscous with herbs, as I always do. I have also added flaxseeds to make it nutritious. Chopped roasted nuts or roasted garlic clove will also be an interesting addition.



Large peppers – 2, 1 yellow and 1 orange
Leeks – 1
Zucchini – ½
Carrot – 1
Asparagus – 4
Tomato – 2
Garlic – 2 clove
Tomato paste – 2 tbsp
Chilli powder – 1 tsp
Sesame seeds – ½ tsp
Couscous - as required
Flaxseeds – 1 tbsp
Cilantro or basil, to garnish


Preheat the oven to 350oF. Mix couscous and flaxseeds and cook according to the directions given on the box. Once cooked, fluff the couscous and add chopped herbs. Set aside.

Shred the carrot, cut asparagus into rings and reserve the spears.

In a skillet, heat a tsp of oil, and add the onion, zucchini, asparagus rings, carrot and garlic and cook gently for 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, chilli powder and ½ cup of water and bring it to a boil and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat and add cilantro or basil.

Cut the peppers in half lengthwise and seed them. Place the peppers in a shallow ovenproof dish and season them with salt and pepper. Fill them with the above prepared vegetable mixture. Place the reserved asparagus spears on top of each pepper halves and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Cover them with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 5-10 minutes. If serving for kids, you can also add grated cheddar cheese at this stage and bake till the cheese melts. Garnish with herbs and serve over prepared couscous.

This is my entry for this month's Waiter, There's Something in My - Stuffed Vegetables/Fruits hosted by Jeanne of Cook Sister.

Dosakai Chutney – Melon Cucumber Chutney

Except for Tirupati and Telugu speaking neighbours, my association with Andhra Pradesh is limited. Andhra avakkai and Gongura chutney were introduced to me by those kind neighbours I had back in India. But G, who had done part of his schooling in Andhra is a die-hard fan of those spicy, mouth-watering (nose-watering too) dishes. It is for him that I started learning new recipes from Mahanandi, Sailu’s food etc,.

As an effort to improve my culinary knowledge of this cuisine, I got Cooking At Home With Pedatha from Mahanandi and was happy with the recipes I tried from it. This chutney, from that book, is not only tasty but requires minimal cooking. The cool burst of melon and the tanginess from the tamarind pairs well with Jowar roti.

I have done some very minor tweaks to the recipe to suit my family’s taste.


Dosakai (Melon cucumber) - 1
Urad dal – 2 tbsp
Red chillies – 2
Green chillies – 2
Curry leaves
Tamarind – 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp


Peel and chop the melon into small cubes.

In a kadai or skillet, take 2 tsp of oil and add urad dal. When dal turns golden brown add red and green chillies, curry leaves and asafoetida. Allow this to cool and grind it with tamarind pulp, salt and 2 tbsp of chopped melon to a coarse paste. Mix this paste with chopped melon and leave it aside. Given time, the salt draws moisture from the melon.

Finally, temper mustard seeds in a tsp of oil and add to the chutney.

Rotis with dosakai chutney and tomato dal.

This is my entry for RCI- Andhra Cuisine by Latha of Masala Magic.

Quinoa Upma

Upma – A savior for those women who have no idea what to cook for dinner. Sometimes with onion and veges, while sometimes with just some seasonings, upma can pretty much be prepared with what we have in our pantry. But one thing that stops me from having upma as often as I would like are the carbs . Rice, vermicelli, beaten rice, tapioca – lots of carbs, but lots of taste.

Quinoa, generally, considered to be a grain is actually the seed of a plant. They are an excellent source of complete protein – all 8 amino acids, which is essential for a vegetarian diet. Though it has received its long-deserved attention only recently , they can be substituted for almost any other grains in modern recipes. When cooked, they form a tail (which is the external germ of the seed), giving it an interesting look. More about quinoa – here.

When I first came across quinoa, I used them in tabbouleh, salads, etc, as mentioned in the box. Noticing its firmer texture, I took a chance and made upma. I also tried cooking it in a pressure cooker than on stove-top. Not only was it protein-rich, it was fan-tas-tic. Its light, delicate taste was just enough to make it at least once a week. This upma rocks, you can have it any day.



Quinoa – 1 cup
Onion – 1
Carrot – 2, shredded
Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
Chana dal – ½ tsp
Urad dal – ½ tsp
Curry leaves – few
Red or Green chillies – 4


Pressure cook quinoa with 1 ¼ cups of water for 2 whistles. After the pressure in the cooker has subsided, fluff the quinoa with a fork. Now, that’s optional if you are in a hurry.

In a kadai or skillet, take a tsp of oil, splutter mustard seeds. Add chana dal, urad dal, curry leaves, chillies and sauté till dal turns golden brown. Add onion, carrot and salt and cook the vegetables for 3 minutes. Onions should still retain their crunch. Add quinoa, mix and adjust the seasoning. Serve with a pickle.

This my Q entry for Nupur’s A-Z of Indian Vegetables.

Plantain Chips

I don’t get plantains so often in my city. I will have to drive for an hour to an Asian store to get ‘em. And naturally that doesn’t happen very often. But I had to visit the store this week (You should have guessed it by now. Yes, I was on a jackfruit hunt :-D) and I grabbed a few firm, big plantains.

Even though we are not big fans of deep fried foods, this one is an exception. Even the sight of potato chips is tiring these days. The recipe is fairly simple and doesn’t require double frying. Slicing them paper thin is the only requisite to attain store-bought crunch.



Plantains – 2
Chilli powder – ½ tsp
Asafoetida – ¼ tsp
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Salt – 1 tsp


Slice plantains paper thin using a mandoline. Separate each slice before frying, else they will clump up and not crisp in the oil. Mix dry powders together and keep it handy in a bowl.

Take about 2 cups of oil in a skillet on a medium-high flame. Fry plantains in batches, taking care not to overcrowd the oil. As soon as one batch of chips come out of oil, season them with the above prepared spice mixture, while they are still hot.

Allow them to cool and transfer to an airtight container.

Brown Rice Bowl

I was hesitant to try brown rice in the beginning. I was under the impression that it will be bland and chewy. Boy, I was in for a surprise. It was mildly chewy and nutty, and best of all, I liked it. Now it’s a regular in my house. It’s a one-pot meal, so clean up is a breeze.

I have used carrots and snow peas as I had them on hand. Other suitable candidates would be bell peppers, cabbage, broccoli, if you are not a fan of lightly cooked vegetables, blanch ‘em briefly before adding them to the skillet. Also, you can either marinade the tofu and just season with salt and pepper. The marinade that I used is lime juice, lime zest, dried herbs, salt and pepper.

You can find vegan version of worcestershire sauce (without anchovies) in many supermarkets/organic stores like Wild Oats, Whole Foods, Sprouts Farmer’s Market.


Brown rice – 1 cup
Snow peas – ½ cup
Carrot – ½ cup, cut into thin strips
Tofu – ½ lb, cut into bite sized pieces
Green chillies – 3, slit lengthwise
Ginger – 1 inch piece, grated
Soy sauce
Worcestershire sauce
Sesame oil – 1 tbsp


Cook brown rice with 1 ½ cups of water in a pressure cooker. In a skillet, on high heat, start adding ginger, snow peas, carrots, chillies and stir-fry ‘em. Give it a couple of minutes and add soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Add the cooked rice and adjust seasoning. Garnish with cilantro.


Next time I would try adding lemon grass (if I could get them, that is) as found here and peanuts.

Sorasam – Ginger Cordial

In the past, when medical facilities were limited, people sought for home remedies. They developed treatments, temporary or permanent, using simple, natural household ingredients. Not only are they inexpensive, they have no side effects too.

To me home remedies stand synonymous to grandmothers – simple, but wise. What was known to the older generation of India, has been passed down to younger generations, through word of mouth. These practices can still be found in modern households. I learnt this from my MIL and is quite useful in treating common stomach ailments like upset stomach, indigestion etc.


Ginger – 4 inch piece
Coriander seeds – 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Lemon – 1 or 2


Grind ginger, coriander seeds and cumin seeds together with 2 cups of water. Strain the liquid and add salt, sugar and lemon juice. Adjust ingredients according to your taste. Refrigerate this for 30 minutes. The top layer of the liquid will be clear while the chalky layer has deposited down under. Carefully strain the clear liquid and discard the murky liquid. I don’t peel the ginger as we strain the pulp.


You can also serve them mixed with sparkling water.

Mango Kulfi

“Kulfeeeeee”, the kulfi man at 10 in the night.

“Appa, appa, kulfi pa, please”- Me

“No no, you will fall sick. Look at the time, its 10” – Dad

But the kulfi man always comes at 10, “No pa, just once, pleaaseeee” - Me

Appa looking at Amma.

‘God! Make Amma give “that’s ok” nod’ – Me

“OK! But this is the last time” – Amma

“Sure Ma!” – Me, certain that this will not be the last time

I still remember the gleam in my eyes when I watched the kulfi man slice the kulfi and handed ‘em to me in a banana leaf. I knew I was sure to fall sick after eating ice cream at 10 in the night, but the temptation was inescapable. The texture, taste and scent – it was appealing to all my senses. Its been years since I had kulfi, and I no longer remember the exact taste and texture to recreate the recipe. But this recipe tastes as good as the one I had in my childhood days (as far as I could remember) and is easy as a snap.


Mango – 1
Condensed milk – 1 can
Elaichi – ¼ tsp, powdered
Saffron – few strands
Pistachios – ¼ cup, chopped coarsely


Puree the mango. If using canned mango, reserve the juice. Mix puree, elaichi, saffron and pistachios. Add only half of the condensed milk. Taste the mixture and continue adding milk (and the juice, if using canned mango) until the desired sweetness is reached. The mixture should taste sweeter than you prefer as it will loose some of the sweetness after its frozen. Pour into popsicle/kulfi molds and freeze overnight.


This is my entry for Barbara’s A Taste Of Yellow. Thanks Jai and Bee for letting me know about this event. This is also my entry for A Fruit A Month – Mango by Deepa of Recipes and More.

Leek Stuffed Kulcha

I had other plans for the ‘3’ in 1-in-3 – Leeks series, something like a tart. Instead I decided something Indian. Originally these kulchas are stuffed with red onions, so not buying leeks shouldn’t stop you from trying this recipe.

One thing to be noted in this recipe is that the filling should be dry and not soggy. So if your paneer is wet, squeeze the liquid with a cheese cloth and use the liquid to make the dough. Also, try using cottage cheese instead of paneer. Same rule though – drain the cheese well. With cottage cheese you get so much liquid that I find adding curd to the dough unnecessary.



Wheat flour – 1 cup
All purpose flour/ Maida – 1 cup
Curd – ¼ cup
Water – as needed
Baking soda – ¼ tsp


Leek - 1
Paneer – 1 cup grated
Green chillies – 2
Ginger – ½ inch piece, grated
Cilantro – A handful



Make the dough by mixing all of the ingredients. Oil the surface of the dough and keep it covered with a damp towel for at least an hour.

Cut the leeks into small pieces, wash and dry a little bit. Mix with other ingredients.

Take a lemon sized ball from the dough. Roll into thick puris. Place a tsp of the filling. Seal and cover fully. Roll again.

Cook on a tawa over low flame on both the sides. Kulcha is done when it slightly puffs up with brown spots on both sides.


Leek-stuffed kulcha with avakkai (mango pickle) and very-berry smoothie

Leek-Potato Soup

“This is potato soup, but there is something else in it, other than potato, with a subtle flavour” – G, my husband’s reaction when I served this soup for the first time. That is exactly how I will describe this soup too. The delicate flavour of leek turns this otherwise plain soup, into a delectable one. With its velvety texture and creamy taste, this soup is worth trying.



Leek – 1
Potato – 3, small
Oil – 2 tbsp
Flour – 1 tbsp
Milk – 1 cup
Tortilla chips – for garnish


Boil the potatoes until soft and keep aside.

Heat oil in a soup pot. Sauté leeks in medium flame until softened. Reduce the flame and add the flour. The flour will change colour and release a nutty aroma once it is cooked. Now add the milk and bring it to a boil. Add the cooked potatoes and allow the flavours to blend together. Season with salt and pepper. With a hand blender, blend the soup leaving small chunks of potato. Adjust the thickness of the soup by adding more milk. Recheck the seasoning and serve with tortilla chips for crunch.

Psst!! If you want a more divine soup, omit flour + milk and substitute with cream. And, that is ‘Creamy Leek – Potato Soup’. Did somebody say something about calories??

Leek-Tofu Quiche

Leeks - This week's 1-in-3

The first time I bought leeks, I neither knew what they were nor how to cook them. Well, most of the times, I buy vegetables without knowing how to cook them. This comes out of frustration of mundane use of the usual vegetables – cauliflower, carrot, cabbage. Sporadic availability of the Indian vegetables is also part of the reason.

Since I learnt that they belong to the onion family, I decided to substitute them for onions in a soup. Even while I was sautéing, I knew I will love this vegetable. And I did. Though it wouldn’t hurt substituting leeks for onions in most of the recipes, their subtle, but sweet flavour will stand out without overpowering the other flavours. Leeks are more apt for people who hate the strong taste of onions. More about cleaning leeks here.

Leek-Tofu Quiche

The moment I laid my eyes on this recipe in Vegetarian Times, I knew I had to try it. I did tweak the recipe a little bit. But one bite was enough to win over my heart. This one is a keeper.



All purpose flour – 1 cup
Egg – 1
Soymilk – ¼ cup

Dried thyme leaves – ¼ tsp
Baking powder – ¼ tsp
Salt – ¼ tsp
Olive oil – 2 tbsp



Leek – 1, cleaned and chopped
Firm or extra-firm tofu – ½ lb.
Garlic – 2 cloves
Green chillies - 2
Sun-dried tomato – 4
Walnuts – few, roasted and chopped
Bread crumbs – 1 cup
Juice of 1 lemon
Cilantro, chopped
Olive oil – 1 tbsp


Preheat oven to 3500F.

Make the crust by mixing all the ingredients together and pressing down into a springform pan. I used two 4.5 inch mini springform pans. Bake them for 8 mins.

Reconstitute sun-dried tomatoes in hot water, if they are not packed in oil.

To make the filling, heat oil in a pan, sauté leeks, garlic and chillies until softened. Mash tofu with a fork in a separate bowl. Add salt, sun-dried tomatoes, bread crumbs, walnuts, cilantro, lime juice and sautéed leeks. Spoon the filling into the crust and bake ‘em for 40 mins. Cool and serve with a side salad.


Leek-Tofu quiche with garden salad and mango lemonade

Vegan-friendly tip: For the crust, use 1/3 cup of soymilk and omit the egg.