Tuesday, January 29, 2008


India is truly a mosaic of varied cultures, and no aspect of culture asserts this fact as strongly as cuisine! The stark difference in ingredients, procedures and practices followed in different parts of India is a typical example -- and every cuisine has its share of unique features and abundant charm.

South Indian cuisine is no different. The subtle Keralite blends of coconuts and condiments coexist with the spicy curries of Chettinad, just as the fiery pickles of Andhra Pradesh complement the slightly sweetish cuisine of Karnataka. Like all other parts of India, South India too has a large repertoire of recipes to its credit, ranging from breakfast and the quintessential "tiffin" to main course dishes, snacks, festival or fasting foods, pickles, and the lot!

Typical South Indian snacks like pesarattu, sundal, appam, idlis, dosa, uttapas etc are served in restaurants across the country (especially in a typical South Indian restaurant) but when it comes to breakfast or snacks we usually reach out for easy options like upma, idli or a dosa, and that is what exactly I am presenting to all you foodies this time…. Not only are they easy to make and nutritious but also very filling. Combined with spicy coconut chutney and steaming hot sambhar is just enough to keep you going till lunch.

Transport yourself across South India with these recipes, and enjoy yourself discovering the unique features of this cuisine with easy recipes....

Rawa Idli
Soft and spongy rawa idlis can be made in a jiffy for a quick and satiating breakfast.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes. Cooking Time: 7 to 8 minutes. Makes 12 idlis.

For the batter
1 cup rawa(semolina)
¼ cup curds (dahi)
1 cup water
1 tbsp chopped coriander (dhania)
salt to taste

For the tempering
½ tsp mustard seeds (rai)
½ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
a pinch asafoetida (hing)
1 tsp urad dal (split black lentils)
1 tbsp broken cashewnuts
4 to 6 curry leaves(kadi patta)
2 green chillies, chopped
1 tsp oil
½ tsp ghee

Other ingredients
¾ tsp fruit salt
oil for greasing

For the batter
1. Combine all ingredients together, other than the fruit salt and leave aside for 10 minutes.

For the tempering
1. Combine the oil, ghee, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal and asafoetida in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes.
2. Add the cashewnuts, curry leaves, green chillies and microwave for 1 more minute.

How to proceed
1. Pour 1 cup of water in the base of a microwave safe idli steamer and microwave on HIGH for 1 minute. Grease the idli moulds using little oil.
2. Add the tempering and the fruit salt to the batter and mix well.
3. Pour 2 tablespoons of batter into each greased cavity of the idli moulds and microwave, covered, on HIGH for 2 minutes.
4. Repeat with the remaining batter to make 8 more idlis.
5. Serve hot with coconut chutney and sambhar.

Shepu Sweet Idli


All time favourite with a sprinkling of iron strength! Dill, besides making this recipe colourful and interesting also loads it up with iron.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes. Cooking Time: 15 minutes. Makes 15 idlis.

½ cup finely chopped dill (shepu) leaves
2 cups raw rice, soaked for 4 hours, drained
¼ cup freshly grated coconut
½ cup thick rice flakes (poha)
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup crushed jaggery (gur)
1 tsp fruit salt
salt to taste

1. Grind the soaked rice with the grated coconut to a thick smooth paste, adding a little water.
2. Wash the rice flakes, drain and add the buttermilk. Set aside for 10 minutes.
3. Grind the rice flakes in buttermilk to a smooth paste, add the jaggery and grind further till smooth. Add this to the rice batter.
4. Add the chopped dill leaves and salt and mix well.
5. Check the consistency and now add a little water only if required so as to get a thick batter.
6. Add the fruit salt to the batter and sprinkle a little water over it.
7. When the fruit salt starts bubbling, mix gently.
8. Spoon out the batter into greased idli moulds and steam for 8 to 10 minutes.
9. Serve hot.



The preparation which has put South India on every culinary hot spot of the world. Served traditionally with sambhar and chutney.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes.
Cooking Time: 20 minutes.
Fermenting Time: 4 hours.
Soaking Time: 2 hours.

Makes 8 dosas.

1 cup raw rice (chawal)
1/3 cup urad dal (split black gram)
2 tbsp cooked rice (chawal)
2 tbsp beaten rice (poha)
5 to 7 fenugreek seeds (methi)
salt to taste
oil for cooking

To serve
coconut chutney

1. Wash the raw rice, urad dal and fenugreek seeds. Soak in a little water along with the beaten rice and cooked rice for at least 2 hours.
2. Grind to a smooth paste with a little water. Cover and keep aside for at least 4 hours. Add salt and mix well.
3. Heat a non-stick tava and grease it lightly with oil. When hot, pour a ladelful of the batter, spread using a circular motion to make a thin dosa and cook on one side.
4. Pour a little oil along the edges while cooking. When crispy, fold over and serve hot.
5. Repeat with the remaining batter.
6. Serve with coconut chutney and sambhar.

When the dosa is cooked, put some potato bhaji on it. Roll to form a cylindrical shape and serve hot.

Rice Appe


Traditional appes made with rice.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes. Cooking Time: 40 minutes.
Fermenting Time: Overnight.
Soaking Time: 2 hours.

Makes 20 to 24 appes.

1 cup raw rice (chawal)
1/4 cup urad dal(split black gram )
1/4 cup crushed peanuts
2 tbsp chopped onions
1 tsp mustard seeds (rai/ sarson)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
2 green chillies, chopped
8 to 10 curry leaves (kadi patta)
a pinch asafoetida (hing)
2 tbsp oil
salt to taste
oil for cooking

To serve
coconut chutney

1. Wash and soak the rice and urad dal in lukewarm water for at least 2 hours.
2. Drain and grind to a smooth paste with 1/2 cup of water.
3. Cover and set aside overnight to ferment.
4. Next day, heat the oil in a small kadhai, add the crushed peanuts and chopped onion and stir for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, green chillies, curry leaves and asafoetida.
5. When the mustard and cumin seeds crackle, add this to the fermented batter.
6. Add salt and a little water if required and mix to form a thick batter.
7. Heat the appe mould on a medium flame and grease it with a little oil.
8. Pour a spoonful of the batter into each mould.
9. Cook till the outer surface becomes golden brown and then turn each appe upside down using a fork so as to cook the other side.
10. Remove and repeat with the remaining batter.
11. Serve hot with coconut chutney.


Mythreyee said...

That's the taste of the south. We call these as tiffin varieties.

zlamushka said...

This is a very interesting recipe. I am bookmarking this one. Lovely pictures.

Anonymous said...

great recipes especially the dill idlis. i have a question what is fruit salt, can i anythingelse be used in it's place

Archana said...

All of them look absolutely declicious. Tarlaji, its a very nice write as well. Thanks for sharing such lovely recipes with us.

Cooking said...

I simple love the pictures for the recipes you have taken.

Your recipes are really interesting and well written - the pictures make them look ten times better.


Madhu said...

Awesome recipe and pictures are mouth watering!! I take cooking classes as well, but Tarla's presentation is amazing.

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