Spicy red kidney beans curry (Rajma masala)
Dark red kidney beans is an excellent source of protein, fiber and iron, among others. I try to include at least a cup of this every week in my meal. Here is one recipe that makes a great combo for flat breads.


red kidney beans (rajma) - 1 can
tomato - 2
onion - 1
green chillies - 2
plain beaten yogurt - 1 tbsp
ginger-garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
garam masala - 1 tsp
cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
oil - 1 tsp
turmeric powder - a pinch
asafoetida - a pinch
salt to taste
grated cheese - 1 tsp (to garnish)
chopped coriander - 1 tsp (to garnish)


Heat oil. Add asafoetida and fry chopped green chillies. Add onions and fry till they turn golden brown. Add finely chopped tomatoes and fry till soft. Then, add garam masala, cumin powder, ginger-garlic paste, red chili powder, turmeric powder. Blend in the beaten yogurt and mix well. Cook covered for a minute and add kidney beans. Add a little water if required (such that the beans are just covered in the mixture). Allow to cook for a few minutes with a little salt if required - until the beans are tender, but not completely crushed or mushy. Top it with grated cheese and chopped coriander. Serve hot with flat breads.

1. Canned beans contain salt - so, additional salt needs to be added carefully, only if required.
2. The tomato-onion mixture should be completely soft - with almost no solid pieces standing out.
Milk Kesari
A variant of the simple kesari, I loved this when a neighbor made it as an offering at a religious family function, got the recipe from her and tried it out.


sooji (rava) - 1 cup
milk - 1 cup
water - 2 cups
ghee - 6 tbsp
raisins - 2 tbsp
sliced almonds - 1 tbsp
cashewnuts - 1 tbsp
orange food color - a pinch
saffron extract (kesar essence) - 1/2 tsp


Warm up the water and milk separately. Dissolve orange food color in a tablespoon of milk and set aside.

Roast cashewnuts in 2 tbsp of ghee until golden brown, drain and set aside. Roast the sooji in the ghee until it no longer smells raw and starts turning pinkish. Add lukewarm water and keep stirring to avoid lumps. Once the water gets absorbed, allow to cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Then add the lukewarm milk and continue stirring. Mix in the food color and saffron extract. Let it spread evenly. Once the mixture becomes semi-solid and reaches halwa consisteny, garnish with roasted cashews, sliced almonds and raisins.
Curry Pepper Gravy (Karuveppilai Milagu kuzhambu)
This gravy comes in handy especially when someone at home is having a cold or fever - a great, traditional home remedy. My mother-in-law makes it almost every week as part of her regular menu, and that helps prevent cold and flu in the first place.


fresh curry leaves - 1 cup
turmeric powder - a pinch
salt - 3/4 tsp (adjust according to taste)
oil - 1 tsp

For roasting:

pepper corns - 1 tbsp
split yellow pigeon peas (toor dal) - 1 1/2 tsp
split red pigeon peas (masoor dal) - 1 tbsp
black gram (urad dal) - 1 tsp
coriander seeds - 1 1/2 tbsp
bengal gram (chana dal) - 1/2 tbsp
red chillies - 2 small
fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp
cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
oil - 1 tbsp


Wash and soak fresh curry leaves in a cup of water for about half an hour.

Heat oil and add the ingredients listed for roasting. Fry till golden brown. Allow to cool, dry-grind in a food processor and keep aside.

Grind the curry leaves to a fine paste in a food processor with a little water.

Heat a teaspoon of oil, add mustard seeds and half a teaspoon of black gram. When it splutters, add the curry leaves paste, and brind to a boil with 2 cups of water. Add the dry gram powder and salt. Boil for about five minutes until the mixture thickens a bit. Serve hot with rice.

Use the water used to soak the curry leaves for boiling the gravy - do not throw it away, it contains nutrients!
Shahi bread pudding
With my sweet-tooth striking again, and not a lot of ingredients available handy to work with, I had to put together a little snack for the weekend. While the idea was in my head for a while, the New Year was the perfect opportunity! Hope this New Year brings health and all the happiness we wish for!


white bread slices - 8
butter - 2 tbsp
sweetened condensed milk - 1 can
raisins - 1/2 cup
apple juice - 1/4 cup
vanilla extract - 1 tsp
whole milk - 3 cups
sliced almonds - a few


Soak raisins in apple juice for a couple of hours.
Remove the crust from the bread and cut into triangles.

Butter the bread and place in a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Broil in preheated oven for about 5 minutes, until golden brown.

Boil two cups of milk with half a can of condensed milk, until it is mixed thoroughly and starts reducing. Remove from fire and add the soaked raisins.

Arrange bread slices in a baking pan and pour the prepared milk mixture. Soak for half an hour. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees (Fahrenheit) for about 20 minutes, until set.

In the meantime, prepare the shahi topping by blending together the remaining one cup milk, half can of condensed milk  and vanilla extract. Bring to a boil until it starts reducing and add sliced almonds.

To serve, take a portion of the pudding in a dessert bowl and pour a little of the shahi topping.

The pudding can be served dry or with the shahi topping, as per individual taste. My husband likes the dry version while I prefer the topping!
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