Recipes with Barley

So here we are, the last day of the blogathon. Yayyyyy.. I completed it :-) It took me 5 years to write 100 blog posts   . So writing 31 posts in a month is some thing big for me. Except for the kiddo’s bday post, I kept all my non-recipe posts around food too. It was fun doing food related post.

It’s only January but lot of things happened within this month.  Not sure how this year is going to be. But this blogathon helped me to deviate from other worries and kept me going. I am really glad that I found some cool blogs, new blog friends and new readers. A warm welcome to my space and thanks to all :-)

Today, it’s going to be an informative cum recipe post. It’s all about Barley. (I am not going to talk about fermented barley, which is used in beer ;-)) One my friend was mentioning that barley water helps in weight loss. The word weight loss made me hooked to barley and I started reading about this grain a lot. OMG!!! I was so amazed by the benefits of this barley water. Weight loss is one among its benefits and you can read the other benefits here.

So I made a point that at least once a week we drink this amazing barley water and found a great idea to use the cooked barley also.

How to make barley water?

  • ½ cup of pearl barley
  • 4 cups of water


  • Wash the barley and add 4 cups of water, till the water comes to nice boil.
  • Let it cool and that’s it, barley water is ready.

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Note: It’s an acquired taste. If you want you can add a little bit of salt. But I got used to without salt. It doesn’t taste that bad.

So now what to do with that cooked barley? Of course Idli and Dosa.

The cooked barley was approximately 2 cups. So I soaked 2 more cups of idly rice and 1 cup of urad dhal and grinded to get the idly batter. I just kept my 4:1 ratio of rice to urad dhal. 4 cups of rice became 2 of cups of cooked barley plus 2 cups of idly rice.

Both idly and dosai came our really good. There wasn’t any big difference in the taste. We really liked it. It’s always good to add more fiber to your food. So this barley water, barley idly and dosa became staple in our household.

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Amma, I am Six!!!

Happy Birthday my dear vaandu :-)

It’s a Sixer!!! Our little vaandu turns six today. (To be precise, exactly at 00:03 AM and that’s the reason behind the scheduled time ) He is not a little fella anymore. Should I call him dude? Nahhh, he will be always our little bundle of joy. Our entire life revolves around him. As it’s a food blog, I haven’t posted much about him except for a couple, but you can find my parenting articles at IMC. He is growing fast, but I am not growing as a mom as fast as him. I have never let him stay without me for more than 10 hrs. I am very possessive about him. (If I explain the details, this will become a sentimental cum comedy post) I need to let go of these habits and grow up.

So what to say about him? As he is turning six, I am just posting some six random points about him.

  1.  He is still a blanky boy who lives in his imaginary world where Goddess Sita and Mooshaka (Lord Ganesha’s vaahanam (deity’s mount)) are his friends. (Thanks to Karadi Tales and Lord Ganesha cartoon)
  2. He is our sous chef and our helper (???)
  3.  He is an ardent fan of curious George and Caillou, now trying to become a fan of Sid the Science Kid.
  4. He is very passionate about cars, loves to learn about the car, their make and other details.(Do I need to say like M?). Sometimes I feel M and Vaandu loves car more than me. Sighhhhh.
  5. As of today, he wants to become a teacher when he grows up. (Just so you know our plans change every month.)
  6. He likes to jump a lot and we are going to celebrate his birthday in the same bounce place like last year. The bounce place party is on Saturday.

Friends who follow me in twitter might have seen this.. But wanted to share this again. He is our gift for sure. Love you kanna.

I am not baking any cake today, going to outsource from store. I don’t want any sodappal story on his birthday.  Will be making his favorite food for dinner. Poori and chole. :-) Thats it. :-) :-)



Chef – movie

I and M are movie freaks. Before kiddo was born, we had Netflix 3 DVD option and during weekends, we used to see all 3 movies on one day and return them back right away and wait for next 3 ;-) ;-). We are still movie freaks but with one difference. As I mentioned earlier we used to watch 3 movies in one day, now 1 movie in 3 days. That’s it. No big difference right??

**Spoiler ahead

My colleague recommended this movie and we rented it in YouTube. It’s a nice comedy-drama movie produced and directed by Jon Favreau, he also the main protagonist in that movie. He is professional chef in LA who gets into some issues with a food critic, resigns his job and returns to his home town Miami. There he finds a food truck, fixes it up and comes back to LA while selling cubanos. His son accompanies him from Miami to LA. There is some more drama to it but that’s the gist of the story.

After this Malayalam movie,” How old are you”, this movie made me think if social media is our friend or foe again. It is twitter in this movie. The first half shows it as a foe and the second half as friend. I am seriously worried how I am going to handle this social media thing when Vaandu starts using it.

Coming to movie the second half was so much fun. I really liked how they used twitter to inform their routes, menu and stuff.  The passion the chef has towards cooking amazed me. I am very much fascinated towards this food truck concept. Simple menu, you can change your menu as you want, sell at different places (of course you need license).  Kiddo was watching bits and pieces of second half and he was also fascinated by food truck. (First half not advisable for the kids)

We both started talking about our own menu and how we can sell and all those business tactics. ;-) ;-) It was total fun to discuss this concept with vaandu. I was so proud and hubby was looking at me and I know what he meant. My mom used to say the same too. “It’s in your blood right?” – this is what both my mom and M say. Yes my great-grandfather and my grandfather (paternal side) were running hotel and they had to close it for some reasons. (I haven’t seen both of them :-( ) My appa and my uncle got it into government sectors and that’s it no one thought about that. I don’t want to start that again either..  I enjoy coding as much as cooking. I need both. :-) I can be a chef but I don’t know if I can be a restaurateur.

Ok coming to the movie again we enjoyed the movie and a great time pass for sure :-) Let us know if you have any other movie recos.. :-)

Kiddo’s Imaginary Spaghetti

We can learn a lot from kids. I love their imagination. Are we (parents) stopping or encouraging their imagination? In my case I would say 50-50. The main reason to say no some time is because of the mess he creates and the cleanup part would be on me. He will be asking some day-to-day kitchen gadgets and stuff. I am fine with spoons, plates and stuff, but no glass ware and toasters.

Last week, he kept on asking for brown and white yarn that I was using for knitting. I said no right away and we went back and forth finally decided to give him some yarn. So gave him non-soft yarn and asked him what he is going to do with that? He said, it’s going to be a surprise amma and he is what my little fella did. – Spaghetti.

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He cut the pink yarn as spaghetti, drizzled some red paint on top which is the tomato sauce and soaked the cotton balls in brown paint and of course those are the meat balls. I would have never imagined this way. I was feeling little guilty for not giving it at the first shot.

Look here, he set up the dining table for dinner with his toy vegetables and fruits but took all the bowls and cups from kitchen. I felt so bad while cleaning it up but at the same time I can’t let it stay for a long time. :-) I ended up cleaning up.


As long as he is away from TV n iPad I am fine with this creativity but when it comes to cleaning …. Sighhhh.. God give me some more patience :-)

Between did you listen to this interview at IMC? It’s an amazing interview with Dr. Lalitha Appachu where she talks about kids behavior and education stuff.

Non Recipe : Sambhar Varieties

I always get this question from my friends, how do you cook/have sambhar daily? Don’t you get bored? I don’t know how or what to answer for this.  There are different varieties of sambhar. It’s just one generic word used for thick tamarind gravy.

I am trying to find if there is any exact word for Kuzhambu in english. Google translation gave me broth for kuzhambu. But I am not sure if we can say broth. I wish we could have different words in english to explain sambhar and kuzhambu.  The different types of sambhar/Kuzhambu varieties that I regularly prepare in our house are,

    • Araichu Vitta sambhar – This is the typical tambram sambhar.  This sambhar has toor dhal and veggies cooked with freshly prepared sambhar masala with coconut and I do this only during weekends.
    • Kuzhambu – This is typical day-to-day kuzhambu, It has veggies but no coconut and is prepared using dry sambhar powder.
    • Vathal Kuzhambu / Puli (Tamarind) Kuzhambu – This is doesn’t need toor dhal and this can be prepared quickly. Vathal is dried fryums or dried veggies. You can also use veggies. The veggies that are used for vathal kuzhambu are small onions, brinjal, okra.
    • Mor/Buttermilk Kuzhambu – Butter milk sambhar, no dhal but with freshly prepared masala which has coconut in it.
    • Gojju/Gotsu – Same like vathal kuzhambu but with jaggery added and its mostly used as side dish for ven pongal
    • Sambhar for idly/dosa or tiffin sambhar – This can be prepared with toor dhal and moong dhal or moong dhal alone or with masoor dhal also with mixed veggies. Coconut is optional in this sambhar.
    • Milahu Kuzhambu – As name says, pepper plays the major role. No dhals.
    • Theeyal – Kerala delicacy with lots of shallots and coconut
    • Avial – Thick gravy with  lot of veggies cooked with fresh coconut masala
I know there is more to this list. Each and every area has its own special kuzhambu, like Tirunelveli sodhi or Chettinadu Puli Mandi.
Let me know if I have missed anything. :-)

The San Francisco Ferry Building Market Place

Whenever friends and family come over to place, we take them to San Francisco. What to say about this city? It is the financial center of CA, restaurant city and the home of Giants and 49ers. :-)

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I am not going to talk about this city, but just about one place – The Ferry Building Market Place. The Ferry building or the Pier 1 is the port of SFO. Every time we go with friends, we just see this place from outside and directly go to Pier 39, which is the fisherman’s wharf and from where most the city tours start.

When I saw this episode of Ina Garten, I was so surprised. The Ferry Building Marketplace is located along the Embarcadero at the foot of Market Street. I am living so close to this place and I don’t need to drive even. Take Bart (Train) and get down in Embarcadero and less than a mile walk, I am there at SFO ferry building market place.  We started to go to SFO exclusively for this market place.

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So what we get here or what’s the specialty? In short I would say its food lover’s paradise.  Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday you have farmers market. You get locally grown fresh produce. You can find artisans cheese, breads, flavored olive oils, ice creams, restaurants, flavored vinegar, and of course fish and meat and more. I am sure I might have missed something. You can find the list of shops here. When you enter the ferry building you will be    welcomed with the smell of cheese, fresh bread and cookies and freshly brewed coffee.

What we do here?

  •         Get a piping hot coffee and mac n cheese for the kiddo and enjoy them watching the ferries depart.
  •         Go to the exclusive mushroom shop to see the different varieties of mushroom.
  •         Taste different varieties of olive oils and bread.
  •         Wait in the biggggg queue, minimum half an hour at Humphryslocombe to get the plain vanilla ice-cream. It may be plain vanilla but the richness and creamy texture yummmmm

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  •         Visit the farmers market and get fresh fruits.

If you visit SFO, do allocate some time for this marketplace. You can even plan your brunch/lunch here.

See who I found in the building? The Father of our Nation. You can read about this statue more here.

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Sodappal Stories

How can this blogathon get completed without my sodappal(disaster) story? Before getting into my sodappals, I want to write a letter to myself by myself. So let me get that done first.

Dear Vidhya,

When you cook during festivals or for any get together, one dish will be a sodappal for sure which is ok. So don’t worry about it too much. All is well. (Arasiyal edulam sahajamappa.*)

Please while cooking don’t watch TV, especially your favorite shows. You tend to add ingredients either too much or forget completely. Poor hubby and kiddo.

Please uninstall the scribd and amazon kindle app from your phone. You multitask while reading and watching TV but when the kid does the same thing you say no. How can that be possible? Either let me him also multitask or you don’t do that.


I know I need to read that letter a zillion times. Hopefully I learn this at least this year, especially the third point. Ok enough of the serious part, now comes the comedy part.

Sodappal 1:
It was bhogi morning. I was planning to do kuzhambu, Aval kheer and seppankizhangu (Arbi) curry. A simple menu and planned to pack the same for lunch. I think I will be only person to microwave arbi for 12 minutes. I don’t know why I did and what made to press 12 minutes in microwave. Arbi was overrrrrr cooked. It became mushy and goooyeee. What would I do now? First thought of dropping the idea of making the curry. But then I didn’t want to waste the arbi also. So I ended up adding lot of oil and frying it. ( I don’t usually use more than 2-3 tsps of oil.)

So here is what I got. Fried Arbi – To be honest, it was pretty good. (Magic of oil.. I don’t want to say how much I added ;-) ;-) )

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Sodappal 2:

It was a weekday and one of our friend was coming over for dinner. I was planning to make poori and bhaji, that’s all. No fancy dinner and all. Kiddo was playing and I was watching TV (one my favorite show and I was into it) and cooking. That’s the mistake I did. Happily added 3 tbsps of  besan for aloo bhaji and added it to the bhaji without even realizing it. Thank God, I tasted it. The bhaji became so thick, added lot of water and salt. It was tasting like raw besan soup. If I add something, something else was missing.  I was thinking of fixing it again, but I didn’t want to take a chance as we invited the friend. Ended up making another dish and I had the bhaji twice just to punish myself and thrashed the rest :-( :-(

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* famous dialogue from the tamil movie Suriyan which means these are very common in politics.

Sajja Boorelu Bajra Deep Fried pancakes ~ Andhra Special for Indian Cooking Challenge

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I don’t know what bit me this year. I think something got into me. I signed up Blogathon, Blogging Marathon (both Jan and Feb), Good reads book challenge, Half Marathon Challenge and this Indian Cooking Challenge. Crazy right. Lets see how long this goes.

You can read about this challenge here. Basically you will be given with the recipe and its source and you need to try and post it on 15th of the month. So obviously this is not my recipe and the recipe source is here.

So what I did? Went through the recipe, converted the gms to cups and tried 1/4 of the mesaurement. (What if it becomes sodappal, disaster? )

Here is my measurement and the method


  • Bajra Flour – 1 cup (I used store bought flour)
  • Jaggery  – 1/4 cup
  • Grated coconut – 3 tbsps
  • Sesame seeds – 2 tsps
  • Cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Water for mixing – 1/2 cup
  • Oil for deep frying.


  • Add 1/2 cup water to jaggery and heat it till the jaggery melts, strain and allow it to cool to room temperature. I added cardamom powder while heating the water.
  • Now mix the flour, coconut and sesame seeds. Slowly add the jaggery water and mix it like chapati dough.

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  • Heat the oil for frying and meanwhile we can do the other steps.
  • Make small balls and keep it ready.

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  • Now take a ziploc bag and apply some oil.
  • Press the small balls in the zip loc and spread it out as much as you can.

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  • Fry these bajra thins in the hot oil till they are golden.

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My husband who is my official taster (does he have a choice? ) tasted this and and and and and and and and… He was happy. His comment was its like vellai sedai but in thattai version. :-) :-)

Thanks ICC for teaching me a new dish.

Non Recipe : Cook books that I treasure

I have mentioned these before that most of the recipes in my blog are passed on to me by my amma. But there is a couple of cookbooks that I treasure and every now and then I do refer them. I recently read that “No two cooks can cook the same dish in a same way”, which is a true statement. Even though my mom taught me to cook, her Vathal Kuzhambu and mine will have 6 differences for sure. Basically in this blog you will find all the day-to-day recipes in my style and some new experiments that I tried will full credit to the original recipe source. So coming back to books, here is the list.

Cook and See: The tamil version is Samaithu Paar by Meenakshi ammal. She is one of our favorite (me and my mom) chef and author. Amma follows all her recipes especially the festival food recipes. She couldn’t find the tamizh version so she got this English version and gave it before my wedding.

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Dakshin By Chandra Padmanabhan: After coming to US, I found this book in Folsom library and instantly fell in love with the pictures and recipes. I really liked the tiffin and podi varieties. So wanted to buy my own copy and here it is.

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These two books are gifted by my colleagues for my birthday. I love salads. My friend Tami made me fall in love with salads. Knowing my interest in salads and eggless baking they got me these books.

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Apart from all these my Amma still copies down some recipes from TV shows and every time when I travel or when she comes she will send/bring it along. I don’t know if I will have this much energy to write and pass it on. Besides I don’t know if I will be able to write Tamil as fast as my mom. After my 12th grade I never got a chance to write a lot in Tamil.

Anyways here they are:

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