Monday, August 2, 2021



Ash Gourd, also known as White Pumpkin or Winter Melon is commonly available in India. We  call this  "Kuvale" in my mother tongue, Konkani. It is called, "Boodagumbala " in Kannada, "Petha" in Hindi, and "Neer Poosinikai" in Tamil.

It is rich in fibre and is good for health. 

Elsewhere in this blog, you will find other recipes for dishes made with Ash Gourd such as:-

Today's recipe is for a side dish made with Ash Gourd which I make often. I have adapted this from Poosanikai Rasavangi in Subbu's Kitchen. A rasavangi is a thicker type of sambar.  To simplify matters, I have called this Ash Gourd Curry for many readers who may not be familiar with the intricate differences between sambar and rasavangi. 

It goes well with hot steamed rice. 


  • Ash Gourd, 250-300 gms
  • Chana Dal, 1 tbsp 
  • Toor Dal, 1/2 cup 
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/8 tsp 
  • Tamarind, size of a lemon sized ball 
  • Salt, to taste
To Be Roasted & Ground To A Coarse Powder
  • Urad Dal, 2 tsp
  • Chana Dal, 2 tsp
  • Coriander Seeds, 1 tbsp
  • Fenugreek Seeds, 1/4 tsp
  • Byadgi Red Chillies, 6
  • Oil 1 tsp for roasting above ingredients
  • Coconut Gratings, 2 tbsp 
  • Asafoetida,1/8 tsp 
  • Curry Leaves, a few
  • Oil, 1 tsp for roasting above ingredients 
For Seasoning -
  • Mustard Seeds, 1 tsp
  • Curry Leaves, a sprig 
  • Oil, 2 tsp

Wash and peel the ash gourd, discard the core and seeds and cut into bite-sized cubes
Wash and cook the toor dal in adequate water with 1/8 tsp of turmeric powder in a pressure cooker for 3-4 whistles or till it gets fully cooked
Once the cooker cools, remove the cooked dal, mash it and keep aside
Soak 1 tbsp of channa dal in water for about 10 minutes
Soak the tamarind in warm water for about 10 minutes and extract the tamarind juice. Keep aside.

Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan and add the Urad Dal, channa dal, coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds and Bydagi Red Chillies and roast till the dals change colour
Transfer to a small mixer jar
Heat 1 tsp of oil in the same pan, add the coconut gratings, asafoetida and a few curry leaves and roast till the coconut gratings turn a light brown 
Transfer this too to the same mixer jar
Grind these ingredients to a coarse powder. Keep aside 

Cook the ash gourd in adequate water in a vessel along with soaked channa dal and turmeric powder till it gets done. The ash gourd should be cooked yet remain firm
To this add the tamarind extract, mix well and cook for about 5 minutes till the raw smell of the tamarind goes
Now add the cooked and mashed toor dal, the freshly ground coarse powder and salt to taste and mix well
Bring to a boil, then lower the flame and cook for another 8-10 minutes

In a small tadka pan, heat 2 tsp of oil and on medium heat add the mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the curry leaves and sauté for a few seconds
Add this seasoning to the Ash Gourd Curry 
Transfer to a serving bowl
Serve with hot steamed rice 

Thursday, July 29, 2021



One of the veggies that is often used in my house is Ivy Gourd. This is called Thondekayi in Kannada, 
Kovakkai in Tamil, Tindora in Hindi, and Tendle in my mother tongue, Konkani.

According to this article in Lybrate, Ivy Gourd has many properties that are good for our health.

Elsewhere in this blog, you will find recipes for other dishes made with Ivy Gourd, such as:-
Today's recipe is from my Home State of Karnataka. It is for a side dish called Thondekayi Palya. I have adapted this from the YouTube video for Thondekayi Palya from Sudha's Kitchen.

This dish is quite easy to make and goes great with rice or chapatis. 

  • Thondekayi (Ivy Gourd), 500 gms
  • Channa Dal, (Bengal Gram ), 1 tsp
  • Curry Leaves, a few
  • Green Chilli, chopped, 1 
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/4 tsp
  • Tamarind, small gooseberry-sized ball
  • Jaggery, grated, 1/2 tsp, or to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, 2 tbsp
Grind To A Coarse Powder:-
  • Byadgi Red Chilles, 5
  • Mustard Seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • Coconut Gratings, 1/2 cup

Wash the ivy gourd, snip off the two ends and cut lengthwise into thin strips
Soak the tamarind in a little warm water  and extract the juice

In a small mixer jar, grind together Byadgi red chillies and the mustard seeds till they are crushed
To this add the coconut gratings and once again grind to a coarse powder without adding any water 
Keep aside

Heat oil in a thick bottomed kadhai and on medium heat add them channa dal and the curry leaves
Saute till the dal changes colour 
Add the chopped green chilli and sauté 
Next add the ivy gourd slices and sauté on low flame for 1-2 minutes 
Add a little salt salt and turmeric powder and mix well
Cover and cook on medium/low flame stirring from time to time 
Once the ivy gourd is half cooked, mix in the tamarind extract and grated jaggery
Add salt to taste ( remember a little has been added before) 
Cook till the ivy gourd gets done but remains firm without getting overcooked 
Lastly, add the freshly ground powder of red chillies-mustard and coconut and mix well 
Transfer to a serving bowl
Thondekayi Palya is ready to be served as a side dish with rice or chapatis 


Sunday, July 25, 2021



As foodies, my husband and I have been enthusiastic members of "Bangalore Foodies Club" a group for foodies on Facebook which has grown very rapidly in the last few years. There are more than 192, 000 members as of date. It is run efficiently by a team headed by our friend, Raunak Kundu. 

I would like to thank Raunak for having introduced me to products from ChefBoss. I had vaguely heard of this outfit so was keen to try out their products when he arranged to send across a hamper to us.

This had two products : Lucknowi Biryani Paste and Hot Garlic Cooking Sauce. 

Before getting to the dishes, a bit about what we learnt about ChefBoss. I liked the interesting line tossed up by them which goes, " Time To Chef It Up: Like A Boss" A visit to their website  shows their impressive and growing range of products. They describe their products of ready to cook pastes, gravies and cooking sauces as their culinary toolkit for you to explore Indian and international cuisine favourites.

 These, as of now, are in two streams : Indian and Chinese. 

I first tried out the Lucknowi Biryani Paste in which one can use either vegetables or chicken. The instructions are easy to follow. They claim the dish can be made in just three steps thanks to their paste which has all the ingredients needed to give a great taste. Of course, you do need to have cooked rice to start with. 

I made the Lucknowi Biryani using Vegetables and it came out fine. I used Basmati rice and Carrots, Beans, and Cauliflower, garnished with mint and coriander leaves. It was very tasty. I must mention here the distinct taste of Kewra and Rose Water ingrained in the paste. 

As lovers of prawns, I simply had to innovate and make another round of Biryani using the frozen prawns I had readily available and the Biryani Paste. 

This "Lucknow meets Goa" dish turned out to be delicious!

The Hot Garlic Cooking Sauce was aromatic and was great -paired with Fried Rice. This sauce can be made with Chicken, Paneer or Mixed Vegetables. I made this using Capsicum, Onions, Carrots, Beans and Cauliflower. This was garnished with chopped Spring Onion Greens. 

These products are a big time saver for everyone who values their time. The Ready To Cook Paste saves you the hassle of getting together all the ingredients and preparing them for the dish. 

Overall, I was happy with the taste and flavour of the ChefBoss products that I tried out. I plan to use more in the course of time.

Thursday, July 22, 2021



Sweet Potatoes are known as Shakarkhand in Hindi, Sihi Genasu in Kannada, Sakkarvalli Kilangu in Tamil, and Kannang in my mother tongue, Konkani. 

In addition to their distinctive flavor, we know that the sweet potatoes have several health benefits.

Elsewhere in this blog, you will find other recipes using Sweet Potato, such as:-

Today's recipe is for a side dish called Sweet Potato Roast. This goes great with our meal of rice and dal. In Konkani we call this Kannanga Bhajun Upkari.  

The special touch of adding dissolved asafoetida ( or what we call 'Hinga Udda" in Konkani) in the end is a must! 


  • Sweet Potatoes, 3 or about 350-380 grams
  • Mustards Seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida, ( 1/8 tsp + 1/4 tsp to be dissolved in water)
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/4 tsp 
  • Curry Leaves, 1 sprig
  • Salt, to taste
  • Chilli Powder, 3/4 to 1 tsp
  • Coconut Oil, 2 tbsp or as required

Wash the sweet potatoes thoroughly 
Peel and cut them into thin strips
Immerse the sweet potato strips in water to avoid discoloration
Drain away the water and add salt to the sweet potato
Keep aside for 5 to 10 minutes

Heat oil in a thick bottomed kadhai and on medium heat add the mustard seeds and when they splutter add 1/8 tsp of asafoetida, turmeric powder, curry leaves and sauté for a few seconds

Squeeze out the water released from the sweet potato and add the sweet potato strips to the kadhai and sauté for a couple of minutes
Now cook this covered on medium/low flame, stirring from time to time, till the sweet potatoes get done
To this add the chilli powder and mix well so that it gets well blended
Check for salt and add only if required

At this stage if you want the sweet potatoes to be roasted even more, add a little more oil and cook till it gets further roasted as sweet potatoes suck up a lot of oil in the cooking 

Lastly, dissolve 1/4 tsp of asafoetida in a little water
Sprinkle this on to the dish and mix well. 
Switch off the gas and transfer to serving plate

Saturday, July 17, 2021

VAALI BIKKANDA SASAM -Malabar Spinach & Jackfruit Seeds Curry

 VAALI BIKKANDA SASAM ( Malabar Spinach & Jackfruit Seeds Curry )

Today's recipe is for an old favourite from our Konkani GSB cuisine called Vaali Bikkanda Sasam. The name comes from the two principal ingredients, Vaali or Malabar Spinach, and Bikkand or Jackfruit Seeds. This is a mildly spiced coconut-based curry with a distinct taste of ground mustard (Sasam in Konkani). 

I thank my friend, Gowri Baliga for reminding me of this dish by her post in a food group in which we are members. 

After making dishes with the jackfruit, we also put the jackfruit seeds to use! Elsewhere in this blog you will find recipes for:-

Malabar Spinach, called Vaali in Konkani, my mother tongue and Basale Soppu in Kannada, is particularly rich in Vitamin A. Jackfruit Seeds are rich in thiamine and riboflavin. 

We love this dish and I hope you will enjoy it too! 

Ingredients :-

  • Vaali (Malabar Spinach), 100 to 150 grams
  • Bikkand ( Jackfruit Seeds), 10-12
  • Coconut Gratings, 1 cup
  • Roasted Byadgi Red Chillies, 2
  • Tamarind, a small piece 
  • Mustard Seeds, 1 tsp + 1/2 tsp for seasoning 
  • Raw Rice, 1 tsp 
  • Jaggery, grated, 1 tsp or to taste, 
  • Curry Leaves, a few
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ghee/Oil, 2 tsp

Remove the spinach leaves from the stems. Cut the tender parts of the stem into 1 " pieces. Wash them thoroughly and roughly chop them. Keep aside
Remove the outer skin of the jackfruit seeds and soak them in water for some time
Lightly crush the jackfruit seeds
In a pressure cooker, keep the crushed jackfruit seeds in a vessel 
Cook them in adequate water for 1 whistle.
After the cooker cools, removed the cooked jackfruit seeds and keep aside
Ito this add the chopped Vaali and salt to taste
Cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes

In a mixer jar, grind together the coconut gratings, roasted dry red chillies, mustard seeds, tamarind and raw rice to a smooth paste adding just the required amount of water 
Add the ground paste along with the grated jaggery to the cooked spinach and jackfruit seeds
Mix well, add water as required to get a medium thick consistency and bring to a boil
Check for salt, and add if required
Lower the flame and allow it to simmer for 2-3 minutes and switch off the gas 

Heat ghee/oil in a small seasoning pan, and on medium heat add 1/2 tsp of mustard seeds, when they splutter add the curry leaves and sauté for a few seconds
Add this seasoning to the curry 
Transfer the curry to a serving bowl
Serve Vaali  Bikkanda Sasam as a side dish or as an accompaniment for steamed rice 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021



Yellow Pumpkins are called "Sihi Kumbalkai" in Kannada. We call this Duddhi in my mother tongue, Konkani, and Kaddu in Hindi.

They are rich in antioxidants and vitamins. This article in the Ayushakti website speaks of the Seven Amazing Health Benefits of Yellow Pumpkin. 

Elsewhere in this blog, you will find recipes for dishes with Yellow Pumpkin such as:-

Today's recipe is for a side dish made with yellow pumpkin which has been adapted from Sihi Kumbalkai Gojju by "Simpleallagi Ondu Aduge", a popular Kannada cookery channel on YouTube. 

It does not call for the use of onion and garlic. Many may find this useful during days when they wish to avoid these ingredients.


  • Yellow Pumpkin, 500 gms 
  • Mustard Seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • Curry Leaves, a sprig
  • Asafoetida, 1/8 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/2 tsp
  • Tamarind, size of a small gooseberry
  • Jaggery, grated, 2 tsp, or to taste 
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, 1 and 1/2 tbsp 

To Be Ground To A Smooth Paste 
  • Coconut Gratings, 3/4 cup
  • Red Chillies, 6  ( 4 Byadgi + 2 Guntur) 
  • Asafoetida, 1/4 tsp
  • Fried Gram, (Hurigadle), 2 tsp 
  • White Sesame Seeds, 2 tsp 
  • Mustard Seeds, 1/2 tsp 

Wash and peel the pumpkin and cut into bite sized pieces, discarding the core and seeds. Keep aside
Soak the tamarind in warm water and extract the juice. Keep aside. 

In a pan, first dry roast the white sesame seeds, then add and dry roast the red chillies ( 4 Byadgi + 2 Guntur)  

In a mixer jar, grind together the coconut gratings along with the dry roasted red chillies and sesame seeds with fried gram and mustard seeds to a smooth paste adding just the required amount of water 
Keep aside 

Heat oil in a thick- bottomed kadhai and on medium heat add the mustard seeds
When they splutter add the asafoetida and curry leaves and sauté for a few seconds
Add the turmeric powder and the cubed pumpkin and sauté for about 2 minutes
To this add 1/4 cup of water and cover and cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes stirring from time to time
(Remember that pumpkin gets cooked very fast) The pumpkin should get cooked yet remain firm
Add the tamarind juice,  the freshly prepared ground paste, salt and grated jaggery to taste and mix well 
Add 1 cup of water or as needed to get the desired consistency 
Mix well and bring to a boil 
Reduce heat and let it simmer for 1-2 minutes stirring from time to time 
Switch off the gas and transfer to a serving bowl 
Serve Yellow Pumpkin Gojju as a side dish with steamed rice or chapatis 

Friday, July 9, 2021



In my house, I make it a point to make dishes using raw/green bananas from time to time. They can be used in a variety of dishes and also have numerous health benefits.

Today's recipe is for a simple yet tasty side dish called "Kele Upkari" in my mother tongue, Konkani.  Green Bananas are called Vazhakkai in Tamil, Baalekayi in Kannada, and "Kachcha Kela" in Hindi. 
"Upkari" is nothing but a stir fry in Konkani. 

Elsewhere in this blog, you will find recipes using green/raw bananas such as :-
For Kele Upkari, more commonly we do a seasoning of mustard seeds, red chillies, asafoetida and curry leaves.

Sometimes, for a change, I prefer to use garlic cloves for seasoning as it gives, I feel, a better flavour to the dish. This is a matter of individual taste. 


  • Raw/Green Bananas, 3 or about 500 gms
  • Red Chillies, 3-4, broken into pieces
  • Garlic Cloves, 8-10
  • Coconut Oil, 2 tbsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Coconut Gratings, 2 tbsp, for garnish

Wash the raw bananas, snip off both the ends, peel and cut them into cubes
Immerse these cubes in water to avoid discoloration
Lightly crush the unpeeled garlic cloves 

Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan and on medium heat add the lightly crushed garlic cloves
Saute till they turn golden and give off a good aroma
Next, add the broken red chillies and sauté for a few seconds

To this, add the cubed bananas (after draining away the water) and salt to taste
Saute till the raw bananas get well blended with the seasoning
Cover and cook on medium/low flame, without adding any water, stirring from time to time till the raw bananas get done
Remember that raw bananas get cooked very fast
If you want the Kele Upkari to be more crisp you can roast for longer time adding more oil

Switch off the gas and transfer to serving bowl 
Finally garnish the Kele Upkari with coconut gratings
Serve hot as a side dish with the main meal of rice and rasam