Friday, August 31, 2012

Raspberry Strawberry Lemonade

Berries are always my favorite and love the bright colors in any recipe you use. Well lemonade is my favorite and usual drink I like to make during the summer. This time I combined strawberries and raspberries.

1 cup Strawberries
1 cup Raspberries
1 cup Simple Syrup
1/4 cup Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Water as needed

1. Puree the berries in a blender along with little water.
2. Strain it and place it in the fridge to cool.

3. Now mix rest of the ingredients i.e., simple syrup, lemon juice, water and the berry puree, stir it, pour it in glasses and add more ice if needed.

You Might Also Like:
Raspberry Mint Lemonade
Mango Banana Chocolate Milkshake
Carrot Almond Honey Milshake

Announcing Serve It Series - Serve It - Microwaved

This month's theme for Serve It series is Serve It - Microwaved. This theme is to break the notion that microwave oven is used only for reheating purposes. These days Microwave Oven has become almost a must for every kitchen. This little kitchen appliance makes our life so much easier. It is a great addition to the everyday kitchen and when we know how to use, it saves a lot of time and energy.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sambar Podi / Sambar Masala Powder

I am sure every home has their own version of sambar masala powder. Here, I share my version which we usually prepare at our home every time.

Nothing can beat my grandma's sambar and her sambar masala. Every Friday she used to prepare some type of sambar(If no vegetable is available, she prepares onion sambar). If she prepares it, I simply drink it instead of eating it with steamed rice. :-)

This sambar masala can also be used for other curries where we need to use red chilli powder and coriander powder. I accept there is a slight change in taste but for some recipes this masala adds very good taste.

Basic Information:
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Idle Time: 5 hours
Makes: 1kg of sambar powder (approximately)


Dry red chillies - 1/2 kg
Dhania/ Coriander seeds -  1/2 kg
Urid dal - 1/4 cup
Channa Dal - 1/4 cup
Toor Dal - 1/4 cup
Rice grains - 1/4 cup
Black pepper corns - 50 grams
Cumin seeds - 50 grams
Mustard seeds - 30 grams
Fenugreek seeds - 10-20 grams
Katti perungayam / Asafoetida - 20 gram, crushed (see notes)
Fresh Curry leaves - a big bunch, yields 1 cup approximately, optimum packing
Oil - 1 teaspoon


1) Sun dry all the ingredients for 5 hours separately.

2) On the same day, collect all of them and dry roast them in heavy bottom pan one by one separately until the ingredients gives a wonderful aroma. Rice grains should be opaque. I forgot to take picture of dry roasting coriander seeds and dry red chillies. Except those two pictures, all the other pictures are given here.

3) Dry roast curry leaves until they turn crisp.

4) Heat a teaspoon of oil and fry crushed, sun dried asafoetida for few minutes in another pan.
5) Allow the roasted ingredients to cool completely to room temperature.
6) Grind it using mixer/food processor to a fine powder. As I prepare it large quantity, I often grind them at Flour mills / Grinding mills.

7) Allow the ground powder to cool to room temperature by spreading it in a wide plate.
8) Store it in a clean dry air tight container.

1) If you are using katti perungayam or kootu perungayam, dry it well in sunlight and use. If you are not getting katti perungayam at your place, use a teaspoon of asafoetida powder. You can very well adjust the quantity as per preference.
2) If you are making this powder in large quantity, then store it in a big container. For daily use, store smaller quantity in small jar and refill the small jar weekly once using a dry spoon.This helps you to prevent bugs.
3) If you are not able to sun dry all the ingredients, directly you can roast them and make a sambar powder.
4) You can also add 25 grams of roasted poopyseeds/ kasa kasa for unique taste.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Besan Laddu

When I made besan laddu for the first time, it was a great flop. The gram flour I used was not roasted properly and because of it, all the laddus directly went to the bin. but, next time when I prepared it, I was very careful in roasting part and too cautious for not making the same mistake again.This time, I made perfect, tasty besan laddus. So make sure to roast the gram flour properly and thoroughly to avoid the raw smell of the gram flour while eating.

Basic Information:
Preparation and Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 15 - 17 laddus

Source: Manjula's Kitchen


Basen / Gram flour / Kadalai mavu - 1 and 1/2 cup
Semolina / Rava - 2 tablespoons

Ghee - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 3/4 cup
Almonds - 1/4 cup, sliced
Cardamom - 3 nos

Almonds or Pistachios - for garnishing


1) Mix both sugar and cardamom in a mixer and make a powder of it. Keep it aside.
2) In a kadai / wide pan, mix basen, rava and dry roast for few minutes. Add ghee to this mixture and continue roasting for few more minutes in low flame.

3) Initially the mixture looks crumble. If you keep on mixing it, you can see that the crumbled mixture will bind together and not sticking with the pan. When the besan mixture turns light golden brown and not sticking with the pan, remove from the pan. It took 10-15 minutes for me as I did it in very low flame.
4) Transfer the mixture to the bowl.

5) When the mixture is warm, add sugar, cardamom mixture (as said in step 1) and almonds.

6) Mix it well and start making laddu. I made laddus when the mixture is warm to make perfect shaped laddu with the help of melted cold ghee.

7) Once you are done with making laddu's decorate it with crushed almonds or pistachio.
8) Cool to room temperature and store in a container.


1) Roasting part of the besan is important and make sure to roast it correctly for perfect tasting besan laddus.

2) If you are not able to form laddu shape, add little more warm ghee to act as a bind factor. Use very little quantity.

3) Increase or decrease the almonds as personal preference.

Library east side doors.  The inside doors came off and went to the shop for repair and now we are installed them.  We are also taking the screen doors off to go in for repair.

Library east side doors.  The inside doors came off and went to the shop for repair and now we are installed them.  We are also taking the screen doors off to go in for repair.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hurricane Isaac Raises Gas and Energy Prices in South Carolina

Hurricane Isaac To Cause Increase in Energy Prices

Hurricane season is always a time for concern for southeast coastal areas like South Carolina, and this year is no exception. With the arrival of Hurricane Isaac in the gulf, this will be the first named storm to hit the United States this season. Though South Carolina and other east coast areas were spared a direct hit from the storm, Hurricane Isaac is still dumping rain and bringing storms to the South Carolina area. After missing Florida, tropical depression Isaac was able to make it into the gulf area and develop into a powerful, slow moving hurricane, also breaking up outer bands of the storm allowing it to dump rain all the way into South Carolina.

Hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico not only threaten and damage states in the coastal area of the gulf , they also effects the majority of the United States energy prices.  With the majority of the United States oil and natural gas production being located in the states along the gulf's coastline; Hurricane Isaac has forced oil and natural gas companies to halt production until the storm passes.  With the lose in production, Americans can expect to see gasoline and natural gas prices to rise in the near future.  Most news coverage and analysts are predicting to see spike in the price of gasoline and natural gas to linger around for weeks to come.

The prices of building products also tend to fluctuate with gas and energy prices, as it requires gasoline to get materials to suppliers, in addition to suppliers having power bills, and other related energy cost in storing the materials. Also, when hurricanes and other natural disasters occur, building products may also spike, because supplies will be directed to the hardest hit areas, limiting quantities of materials to other areas of the country.

If your a South Carolina resident who has received rain or storm damage from the outer bands of Hurricane Isaac, then you may need a contractor to help you with repairs.  If you do sustain storm or rain damage, then now may be the time to make energy efficient upgrades. If your a homeowner or business in need of building repairs, then give MBS & Company of Myrtle Beach, SC a call today.  With service areas all over South Carolina, MBS can help you with all your repair and remodelling needs.  Contact us through any of the ways below, and we hope everybody comes out of this hurricane season safely. 

Contact Information:

MBS & Company
530 Piedmont Ave.
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
Phone: 706-951-0158

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Onam Special 2012 - Ulli Paavakka Theeyal - Onion & Bitter gourd Curry In Spicy Tamarind Gravy



The spice and tang of the Theeyal beautifully complements the coconut and curd based sweetish curries like Avial and Kaalan in the feast. My family likes to savour Theeyal ( Puli Kozhambu ) with steaming hot rice topped with a spoon of fresh ghee. Similar to  Puli Inji, Theeyal  can also be enjoyed with curd rice. A lick of Theeyal is very refreshing after binging on  Paruppu Paayasam and Nendirampazha Halwa !


Fresh grated coconut - 1/2 cup 
Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp 
Split chickpeas / Bengal gram dal - 2 tsps 
Red chillies - 4 
Sesame oil - 1/4 tsp 


1. Dry roast the coconut gratings on low flame till it turns light brown in colour. 
2. Remove the roasted coconut on to a plate and add oil to the same kadai
3. When the oil is hot add the coriander seeds, Bengal gram dal and red chillies. 
4. Roast the ingredients on low flame till they emanate a pleasant aroma. 
5. Cool all the roasted ingredients and grind them into a slightly coarse powder and keep aside.


Onion - 1 
Bitter gourd - 1 
Black Chickpeas ( pre soaked ) - 2 tbsps
Tamarind - the size of a big lime. 
Salt - 2 tsps 
Sambar powder - 2 tsps 
Powdered jaggery - 1 1/2 tsps 
Sesame oil - 1 tbsp 
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp 
Asafoetida powder - 1 pinch 
Fenugreek seeds - 1 pinch 
Ginger - 1'' piece ( peeled and slivered ) 
Red chillies - 2 ( broken ) 
Curry leaves - a few 
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch 


1. Soak tamarind in warm water, and extract the thick juice and keep aside. 
2. Peel and slice onion into long slivers. 
3. Wash and chop bitter gourd into one inch long strips. 
4. Heat oil in a kadai and add the mustard seeds. 
5. When the mustard seeds splutter reduce flame and add the fenugreek seeds. 
6. Add asafoetida when the fenugreek seeds become reddish in colour. 
7. Immediately add broken red chillies and then the ginger, and curry leaves. 
8. When the seasoning is ready add the chopped onion and bitter gourd. 

9. Saute for a few minutes and cover and cook on low flame. 
10. When the vegetables are almost done add turmeric powder and the presoaked Chickpeas. 

11. Stir for a couple of minutes and pour the tamarind juice into the kadai
12. Add jaggery, salt and sambar powder and let it cook on medium flame till the raw smell is gone.


13. Finally mix in the Theeyal podi and cook for a few more minutes till the oil separates.

Enjoy the Ulli Paavakka Theeyal along with the other Onam sadya dishes. 

Vegetable Masala Dosai

My Mom and Dad are here, looking after me and my Bala Kutty. Mom Never Allow me in the kitchen these days, she wants me to take Good rest, but my dear hubby wants me to Cook!!!! What to do? So, Me and My Mom have divided the Kitchen Duty among ourselves. Weekdays Amma and Weekends Me!!! So Last Weekend, My Daddy asked me to make Masala Dosa for Breakfast. But Amma doesn't like Potatoes, so i made this Vegetable Masala Dosa and they both enjoyed these without any guilt!!!!

2 Cups Dosa Batter
2 tsp Gingely Oil

For Vegetable Masala
1 Large Potato
1 Large Carrot
2 Medium Capsicum
1/2 Cup Peas (I used Frozen)
1 Large Onion, Chopped
2 Medium Tomato, Chopped or 2 -3 tsp of Tomato Paste
2 cloves of garlic, shredded
a small piece of ginger, shredded
1 tsp of Red Chilli Powder
2 tsp of Coriander Powder
1/2 tsp Garam Masala Powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
2 sprigs of Curry leaves
Coriander leaves for garnishing
Salt to taste

The Masala
  • Peel the Potatoes and carrots and Cut them into cubes. Chop Capsicum thin. 
  • Heat oil in a Pan, Splutter mustard seeds, add curry leaves, Onion,Ginger and Garlic. Saute until onions turn Pink.
  • Add Tomato Paste or Tomatoes and the dry masala powders(Red Chili Powder, Corinader Powder, Garam Masala, Turmeric Powder) and Add half cup of Water. Let this Cook until Tomatoes turn Mushy or till the oil separates.
  • Add the Veggies now,add Salt and another half Cup of water and Cover  and cook till the veggies are cooked. This takes about 10-12 minutes in medium flame. Garnish with Fresh Coriander leaves and Take it off the Stove.

To Serve
  • Heat a Non-Stick Pan, a little oil to the pan and wipe it well with a tissue paper in a circular motion. This coats the pan uniformly with oil. 
  • Pour a laddle of Dosa Batter in the center of the pan and spread it using the back of laddle in a circular motion. Dot the sides with a little gingely oil.
  • Let the top side Cook. Some like it crisp and some like my Son likes it Soft, So cook according to their taste buds.

  • Sometimes the dosa might stick to the bottom of the pan, In such cases, Heat the pan, Pour a 2-3 tsp of Gingely oil in the pan, Let it sit in a Simmer flame for 2 minutes. Then Wipe it well with a tissue Paper. The Pan is ready to make Crispy, Tasty Dosa!!!! This Works for me all the time.
  • Try to have two separate pans for Dosa and Chapthi/Roti.
Sending it to Dish it out - Potatoes and Bell Peppers, happening @ Tomato Blues, Event by Vardhini of CooksJoy