Vegetable Cutlet

Vegetable Cutlet

Vegetable cutlet is a popular south Indian snack made with boiled vegetables and spices. This is a slightly different version of the vegetable cutlets you get at the south Indian restaurants. It is a deep fried snack but I shallow fry it on a non stick pan to make it less oily. You can have it as an appetizer or a tea time snack.

These cutlets can be prepared ahead of time and fried just before eating. You can freeze them and use them when required. The pungent and spicy taste of fennel seeds, garlic, and green chillies is the USP of these cutlets.

Vegetable Cutlet

If you find the cutlets dough watery, you can add ¼ cup of bread crumbs. This will soak the water and also add texture and flavor to the cutlets. I used the Japanese panko bread crumbs. You can use any bread crumbs. You can also use semolina (rava) to coat the cutlets. It adds crunch to the cutlets. You can deep or shallow fry these cutlets depending on your taste.

These cutlets should be served hot with fresh salad and tomato ketchup. Vegetable cutlets also go well with hot tea.

Vegetable Cutlet


Makes 16 cutlets

  • 3 potatoes chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 8-10 beans chopped
  • ¼ cup green peas
  • ¼ cup gram flour (besan)
  • ¼ cup rice flour
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • 5-6 green chillies
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic
  • Bunch of coriander (approximately ½ cup)
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds (saunf)
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour (maida)
  • ½ cup water
  • cups of bread crumbs or rava to coat the cutlets
  • oil to fry the cutlets


Grind the green chillies, garlic, coriander and fennel seeds to a paste and keep aside.

Pressure cook the potatoes, carrots, beans and green peas till they are soft. Once cooled, squeeze out all the water and mash the vegetables. Put the vegetables in a mixing bowl. Add the gram flour, rice flour, bread crumbs, ground paste, and salt. Mix well. Adjust the seasoning at this stage. Roll into sixteen oval cutlets.

Make a thin watery paste of all purpose flour and water. Dip the cutlet in this water and roll it in rava or bread crumbs. Refrigerate the rolled cutlets for an hour. Deep fry in hot oil or shallow fry on a non stick pan using little oil. Serve hot.

Raw Mango Rice (Kairi Ke Chawal)

Raw Mango Rice

Raw mango rice is the summer version of tamarind rice or lemon rice. Cooked rice is mixed with a paste made of raw mango, urad dal, chana dal and ground nuts.

Summers in Hyderabad can get super hot and my mom’s way to avoid getting into the kitchen is to cook dishes that can be made ahead and need very less time in kitchen before serving them. One of such dishes is the raw mango rice. It can not only be prepared ahead but is also good to beat the heat.


You can replace groundnuts with cashew nuts if you like. Some people also add heeng and grated coconut to the tadka. Green chilli is the only source of spice in this dish. You can add more or less green chillies based on taste and the spice level of the chillies you are using.


The quantity of raw mango depends on the sourness of the mangoes. Mix few table spoons of mixture at a time and keep tasting while mixing to get the desired taste.

You can prepare the mango paste in advance and store it in fridge for six to eight weeks. This is an excellent dish to transform leftover rice to a tangy treat.

Kairi ke Chawal


serves 2-3

  • 1.5 cup cooked rice
  • 4-5 tbsp oil
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • 10-15 curry leaves
  • 4-5 green chillies
  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • 2 tsp chana dal
  • 2 tbsp groundnut
  • 3 dry red chillies
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 cup grated raw mango
  • Salt to taste


Heat oil in a kadhai or thick bottomed pan. Add cumin seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add curry leaves and green chillies. Saute and add urad dal and chana dal. Sauté and cook for 1 min or till the dals are lightly browned. Add ground nuts and dried red chillies. Cook for one more minute. Make sure the dals or groundnuts are not burned. Add the grated raw mango, turmeric powder, and salt. Mix well and cook for two minutes mixing in between. Switch off the gas and mix and let the mixture cool for 2-3 minutes. Mix few tablespoons of raw mango mixture at a time in the cooked rice until you get the desired tanginess. You can store any leftover mixture in the fridge for 1-2 months.

Mangalore Rasam (South Indian Lentil Soup)


Rasam is a south Indian soup which can be served as a part of meals or as an appetizer. This thin consistency lentil soup is usually tamarind based and the seasoning differs from region to region or rather home to home. There are dozens of types of Rasam. This is the Mangalore rasam which is one of the best recipes of my sister-in-law.  A very simple and flavorful companion for our sambar rice lunches on Sundays.

Rasam Ingredients

The base of this rasam is not tamarind. You can use tamarind too if you like. Fresher the ingredients, better the flavor of rasam. Especially fresh curry leaves and coriander add to the freshness of this lentil soup. Crush or tear the curry leaves before adding to the tadka.

Rasam is usually a part of south Indian meal and is served along with sambar and curd. Rasam can be prepared ahead of time and tastes best piping hot with rice and ghee.

Mangalore Rasam


Serves 4

  • ½ cup toor dal (split pigeon peas) cooked and mashed
  • 2 cups water
  • 2tbsp rasam powder
  • Lime juice to taste (I used 3 tbsp)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves chopped

For Tempering

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • ¼ tsp urad dal
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • ¼ tsp asafetida (heeng)
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 2 inch piece of ginger (grated)
  • 2 green chillies slit
  • 1 tomato chopped


Heat oil in a kadhai or thick bottomed pan. Add cumin seeds, urad dal and asafetida. Add curry leaves, green chillies, and ginger. Sauté for few seconds. Add chopped tomatoes, little salt and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add rasam powder and mix well. Add little water (around 2-3 tbsp) and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the cooked dal, 2 cups of water, lime juice, and salt. Mix well and cook for 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add chopped coriander and serve hot with rice and ghee.

Tamarind Rice (Khatte Chawal)

Mom’s indeed are the best cooks in the world. Not because they cook gourmet food but they make normal food taste like gourmet food and that too in minutes. Khatte chawal (this is what my family calls it), known as pulihora/puliodare/puliyogare in south India is tamarind flavored rice with a tempering of nuts, lentils, and spices. This tangy rice is a common prasad at most of the south Indian temples.

This is not an authentic pulihora recipe but this is one of the best I have eaten apart from the ones at temples of course.

The taste and color of this dish depends a lot on the quality of tamarind. To get the best results, clean and soak the tamarind in water for 2-3 hours. It will be easier to get the pulp out. You can also add cashewnuts, urad dal, and grated coconut too. My favorites in this dish are the fresh curry leaves, asafoetida, and just a hint of jaggery.

My mom prepares the tamarind mix in advance and then it is just a matter of minutes to turn plain white rice to tangy and yummy south Indian delicacy. You can store the tamarind mix in fridge for up to a month.

This is a great travel food too. It tastes equally good when it is cold. Try to mix the rice couple of hours in advance before eating.


Serves 2

  • 2 cups cooked plain rice
  • 3-4 tbsp oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp asafoetida (heeng)
  • 3-4 green chillies slit
  • 4-5 dry red chillies broken
  • 15-20 curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp chana dal
  • 2 tbsp groundnuts
  • ¼ cup tamarind
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp jaggery
  • Salt to taste


Soak tamarind in ½ cup water for 1-2 hours. Mash the tamarind thoroughly using fingers and pass this paste through a sieve. Keep aside. This recipe requires a thick pulp so add as less water as possible.

Heat oil in a non stick pan or a kadhai. Add mustard seeds. Once the seeds pop, add curry leaves, green chillies, dry red chillies. Let them cook for around a minute. Add the chana dal, ground nuts, and asafoetida. Sauté and cook for 1-2 minutes till the dal and ground nuts are lightly browned. Be careful not the burn the dal and the nuts or they will taste bitter. Add the tamarind pulp, salt, red chilli powder, and turmeric powder. Mix well and let this cook on low flame till the oil floats on top (around 6-8 minutes). Keep mixing in between. Let it cool down a little.

Mix few spoons of the tamarind mix at a time in plain rice. You can add more or less mix in the rice based on your taste. If you like the rice sour add more mix. You can store the left over tamarind mix in fridge for upto a month.




Pesarattu (South Indian Savory Crepes)

Pesarattu (South Indian Savory Crepes)

What Childaa or Chilva is to Rajasthan and North Indian, Pesarattu is to Andhra Pradesh and South India. It is a crepe or dosa like snack made with split green grams (called Pesar Pappu in Telugu; thus the name Pesarattu).  It is a very filling and healthy breakfast.  It also has a variation called MLA Pesarattu which is made by filling the pesarattu with a layer of upma.

You can make the pesarattus thin and crispy or slightly thicker. To make the pesarattu thicker, keep the batter coarse. The consistency of batter should be like dosa batter. You can add asafetida, garlic, fresh coriander to the batter while grinding it but it is optional.

In North India, it is filled with grated paneer and in south its eaten plain or filled with a layer of upma or chopped onions. You can also add grated carrots to the filling if you like. This tastes best with coconut chutney or garlic chutney.

Pesarattu (South Indian Savory Crepes)


Makes 12-15

  • 1 cup split green gram (moong dal) soaked for 6-8 hours
  • 2 inch piece of ginger
  • 2 green chillies
  • ¼ cup chopped onions
  • ¼ cup grated paneer (Indian cottage cheese)
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil/ghee/butter for cooking


Wash the moong dal and soak in water for 6-8 hours. Drain the water and grind the moong dal, chillies, ginger, and salt to a smooth paste.  Add little water if required. The consistency of the batter should be like of a dosa batter.

Heat a flat griddle (tava). Spray or smear some ghee/oil and wipe it. Pour a ladle full of batter and spread it thin on the griddle. Top it with grated paneer and onions. Spray or drizzle oil/ghee/butter around the pesarattu. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Turnover and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Serve hot with coconut chutney or tomato chutney.

Quick Bisi Bele Bath

Quick Bisi Bele Bath

Bisibele bath is a dish from Karnataka but also popular in Hyderabad. It’s a spicy and sour mix of rice and lentils.  My mom uses left over rice and dal to make excellent instant bisi bele bath. It’s a quick makeover to the left over dal rice. Just add some mixed vegetables, spices and you have an interesting and delicious breakfast/lunch dish ready.

Hyderabad has numerous restaurants which serve a dish called sambar rice with veggies. This recipe of my mom comes closest to it. My mom uses the khatti dal that we prepare at home. You can use any toor (split pigeon pea) based dal. I haven’t tried this dish with other lentils yet. If you are using a dal which is not sour, add tamarind water while cooking.

You can use any vegetables you like for this dish but I prefer carrots, beans and peas. The main ingredients for this dish are sambar powder and the karampodi. They take this simple dal rice mix to another level. You can add or reduce the karampodi as per your preference of spice in food.  Bisibele bath can be served a breakfast or lunch. It tastes best when it is hot.

Quick Bisi Bele Bath


  • 2 tbsp oil
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • 4-5 dry red chillies
  • ¼ tsp asafetida
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • ¼ cup mixed vegetables chopped (carrot, beans, peas)
  • 1 small tomato chopped
  • ½ tbsp sambar powder
  • 1 tbsp karam podi (gun powder served with idlis or south Indian meals)
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp garam masala
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 cup dal (I used the khatti dal my mom prepares at home)
  • 1 tbsp tamarind water (optional)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp coriander
  • Salt to taste


Heat oil in a pressure cooker.  Add mustard and cumin seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add dry red chillies, asafetida, and curry leaves.

Add onions and vegetables and sauté for 1-2 mins. Add tomatoes and cook for 30-40 seconds. Add sambar powder, karam podi, red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala, and salt. Mix well. Add dal and 1 cup water.  Close the cooker and cook till the pressure is released once (one whistle). Switch off the gas after one whistle. Once the cooker is cooled, open and add rice and mix well. Close the cooker again and cook on slow flame till you get two more whistles. Open the cooker once it is cooled completely. Add chopped coriander and serve hot with papad and lime pickle.



Idli is my most favorite food. I can have it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This popular and healthy breakfast from south India is a sour dough preparation made with urad dal and rice. Dal and rice are soaked, ground and fermented overnight. The batter is then steamed in special idli moulds to get soft and fluffy idlis. This recipe is my mom’s recipe using urad dal and idli rava. These are the idlis you get in Hyderabad and for me these are the best idlis in the world. You can get idli in Hyderabad 24×7. There are famous road side joints which have people queuing up at even 2 am for soft melt in the mouth idlis.

Idli recipe looks very simple but getting soft and fluffy idli takes lot of effort and experience. It depends on the quality of urad dal and idli rava. If the rava is not washed properly, the idlis will turn out yellow. Adding fenugreek seeds to the urad dal will help the batter ferment well. If the dal is less, idlis will be hard. Some people add poha to the urad dal. But adding excess poha will make the idlis flat.  Adding bottled or cold water while grinding the batter also helps to make the idlis softer.

The consistency of idli batter should be like whipped cream. It should fall of from spoon easily. Do not over fill the mould. Leave some space for idlis to expand. Idlis can be enjoyed with different chutneys and sambhar. The most common combination for idli is coconut chutney and sambhar. I like it with karam podi.

Idlis make one of the healthiest breakfasts. Top the idlis with ghee or butter if you like.



Makes 20-30 idlis depending on the size of Idli mould

  • 500 gms (2 cups) Idli rava
  • 200 gms (3/4 cup) urad dal
  • 10 grams (2 tbsp) fenugreek seeds


  • ½ cup coconut
  • 3 green chillies
  • ½ cup yellow roasted chick peas
  • ¼ cup ground nuts roasted
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • Salt to taste

For chutney

Grind all the ingredients for chutney to a smooth paste using little water.

For Idli

Wash the idli rava 3-4 times under running water. Soak in water and keep aside 6-7 hours.  Wash the urad dal and fenugreek seeds 3-4 times under running water.  Soak in water and keep aside for 6-7 hours. Drain water from urad dal and grind it to a smooth paste adding little water. Drain the water from idli rava and add the urad dal paste to it. Add salt and cover and keep aside over night to ferment. Remember to leave enough space in the utensil for the batter to rise as it ferments. If the temperature outside is cold, keep the batter in a microwave or oven (do not switch them on) or any warm place.

Once the batter is fermented, mix it lightly. Pour the batter in greased idli mould and steam for 8-10 minutes. Check the idli and steam again for few minutes if required. Serve hot idlis with chutney and sambar.


Tomato Garlic Chutney

Tomato Garlic Chutney

Chutneys are an important part of south Indian cuisine. There are different varieties of chutneys in a typical south Indian meal. This tomato chutney is instant side dish made of tomatoes, garlic, onions with a dominating flavor of coriander seeds. I learnt this recipe in Bangalore and this is a true savior when you want to add that extra zing to your boring dal rice meals.

This chutney tastes well with the sour Indian tomatoes. If the tomatoes you are using are not too sour, you can add lime juice as per taste. Cook this chutney of slow flame throughout and keep mixing in between. Coriander powder tends to burn soon so it’s important to keep the flame low. This chutney tastes well with hot rice and a generous dollop of ghee. This goes well with hot puris too.

Tomato Garlic Chutney


  • 4 red tomatoes
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1tbsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 dry red chillies
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 10-12 curry leaves


Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan. Add cumin and mustard seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add curry leaves and dry red chillies. Add garlic and let it brown. Add onions and fry for 1-2 mins till they are translucent. Add the coriander powder and sauté for 1-2 mins till there is aroma of coriander. Add tomatoes, salt, turmeric and red chilli powder.

Cook on slow flame stirring occasionally for 5-7 minutes till the tomatoes are pulpy. Use back of a flat cooking spoon to mash tomatoes. Cook till the tomatoes become mushy and oil separates. Serve with hot rice and ghee.



Palakoora Pappu (Spicy Yellow Lentils with Spinach)

Palakoora Pappu (Spicy Yellow Lentils with Spinach)

For me Andhra meals is incomplete without Palakoora pappu. It is a spicy (sometimes not) preparation of lentils with spinach. Lentils and spinach are cooked with tamarind paste and green chillies and tempered with garlic and other spices. Hot rice, a dollop of ghee and lots of pappu and some pickle are sure combination to make you over eat.

Since it is the mango season and I love cooking with raw mango, this recipe includes raw mango instead of tamarind paste. The quantity of raw mango or even tamarind paste depends on the sourness of the mango/tamarind and taste as well. As with other recipes, it helps to soak the dal for 15-20 minutes before cooking. Of course, there are hundreds of recipes for pappu and this is my version of the healthy south Indian dal. I can’t say it is authentic or traditional but this is how I make it and it is a hit with my siblings and friends.

Crushing the garlic and tearing and lightly crushing the fresh curry leaves between your palms just before adding them to hot oil will add a lot more to the flavour. Some people add tomatoes and onions also to the tempering. You can taste the cooked dal and add more green chillies to the tempering if the pappu is not spicy enough. This tastes best with plain rice and a dollop of ghee.

Palakoora Pappu (Spicy Yellow Lentils with Spinach)


Serves 2-3

For Pappu

  • 1 cup split pigeon peas (toor dal) washed and soaked for 15-20 mins
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 inch piece of ginger grated
  • 4 green chillies slit
  • ½ cup spinach chopped
  • 1 raw mango chopped (substitute with 4-5 tbsp tamarind pulp if not using raw mango)
  • 2 ½ cup water
  • Salt to taste

For the Tadka

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 10-12 garlic cloves crushed
  • 2-3 dry red chillies
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 10-15 fresh curry leaves
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida


Put all the ingredients for dal in a pressure cooker and cook for 3-4 whistles or till the dal is cooked enough to be mashed with back of a spoon.

Heat oil in a kadhai or a heavy bottomed pan. Add the mustard seeds. Once the seeds pop, add curry leaves and dry red chillies and sauté. Add crushed garlic and cook for one minute. Add turmeric and asafoetida and cook for 20-30 seconds. Pour this hot tempering over the cooked dal and mix well. Cook the dal without lid on slow flame for 3-4 minutes. You can add little water, if the consistency is too thick.

Serve with hot rice and pickle.



Sambar rice was the fixed Sunday lunch menu for us in Bangalore. This spicy and sour south Indian cousin of dal is made with lentils, vegetables, spices, and tamarind pulp. The taste of sambhar varies from state to state or for that matter family to family. For me and my family, my aunt makes the best sambar in the world. So much so that, every time we visit her or any get together at her place, we make her cook sambar rice always. This has been going on for years now. This recipe is my version of sambar.

Pigeon peas and tamarind paste are the base for sambar and rest of the ingredients vary from family to family. My siblings and I are very picky with vegetables and this particular recipe is my invention of staying away from the vegetables my mom puts in the sambar. She adds okra, carrot, beans, bottle gourd, and even kachri which we all kids religiously fish out and make a mountain of it in the plate 🙂 By the way, I too add carrots and beans to sambar occasionally.

I prefer this simple and no frills sambar for my Sunday lunch or with Idli, dosa or vada. In Bangalore, or I can say whole south India, people eat sambar with almost any savoury snack be it Pongal, Upma, etc. The guys here at Ananda Bhavan and Komalas in Singapore serve sambar even with Biryani.

I prefer sambar with hot rice and crunchy mini poppadums. It makes my Sunday lunch extra special and I get to sleep again after over eating the heavy sambar rice meal.



  • ½ cup yellow pigeon peas (toor/arhar dal)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 inch piece of ginger grated
  • 8-10 curry leaves (kadipatta)
  • 1 green chilli slit
  • 2 dry red chillies
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida (heeng)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp sambhar powder (I prefer 777 madras sambhar powder)
  • ½ cup tamarind water*
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt to taste


  • ¼ cup boiled/steamed mixed vegetables (carrots, beans, drumsticks)


Wash and soak the dal in water for 15-20 minutes. Drain the water. Add dal, 1 ½ cup water, and little salt in a pressure cooker and cook for 3-4 whistles or till the dal is completely cooked. Mash the dal using a blender or whisk and keep aside.

Heat oil in a kadai or thick bottomed deep pan. Add mustard seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add the grated ginger and sauté. Add the curry leaf, green chilli, dry red chilli, and asafoetida. Cook for 20-30 seconds. Add chopped onions and cook for 1-2 minutes or till the onions are translucent. Add tomatoes and salt. Cook for 3-4 minutes or till the tomatoes are mashed when you press lightly with the back of a spoon. Add the steamed vegetables at this stage if you are adding vegetables to the sambhar. Add red chilli powder, turmeric, and sambhar powder. Mix well and cook for 4-5 minutes mixing in between. If the paste is too dry, add 1-2 table spoon of water. Add water and tamarind water and bring to boil. Add the mashed dal and sugar. Let the sambhar cook on slow flame for 3-5 minutes. Add chopped coriander and serve with hot rice.

*Be careful with the amount of tamarind water you add. The amount depends on the sourness of the tamarind you use. If you are using the store bought tamarind paste, it is a good idea to dilute it and add half of the tamarind water first and then add more as per taste.