Recipes: Ginger Pepper Rasam

GG had been on this Hallyu craze recently and wanted to eat Bingsu at a newly opened shop at the food court near our home. I accompanied her and BB. All I did was take a few bites from them but came down with a sore throat almost immediately! My solution was to make a traditional pepper rasam to which I added some ginger, both which are good for throats. You can also have this as a soothing soup when you are sick or when it is cold and rainy outside.

Ginger Pepper Rasam


  • 1 cup Toor dal, washed and cooked till it is soft and mushy
  • 1 small lime sized tamarind, soaked in hot water for 20-30 minutes and then the juice extracted
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2-3 dried red chillies
  • 1-inch piece of ginger
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp jaggery (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander leaves to garnish


  • Blend together the peppercorns, dried red chillies, ginger and 1 tsp cumin seeds with 1 tomato into a smooth paste and keep aside.
  • Smoosh the tamarind and drain the water into a pot along with the cooked dal.
  • Chop the other tomato into quarters or eights and drop it into the pan.
  • Boil for a while till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away, around 5-7 minutes.
  • Now add the blended paste along with salt and jaggery and let it boil till the tomatoes are completely cooked. Switch off the gas and start the tempering.
  • In a smaller pan, heat the ghee and when hot, add the mustard and balance cumin seeds. When they pop, add the curry leaves and asafoetida and stir before pouring it into the rasam.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot as an accompaniment to rice or as a soup


  1. If you don’t have jaggery, you can use sugar instead or even omit it completely.
  2. If you don’t have tamarind, you can either use 1 tbsp tamarind paste (which you can get at any Indian store) or use lemon juice. If using lemon juice, add it according to taste at the very end, just before serving.
  3. If you are planning to have this as a soup, omit the dal and follow the rest of the recipe.

Recipe: Instant Raw Mango Pickle

instant-mango-pickle-4Last year when I was in India, my mum made this and I really fell in love with the recipe. I was actually eating it like a snack, it was that tasty. I saw how she made it and came back and replicated a couple of times at home. I made this recently and thought to share it with everyone.

It’s a very simple and easy recipe with all ingredients (except the mangoes) which can be found in your kitchen. It also hardly takes any time to make, with only the cutting the mangoes the slightly tedious task.

This pickle stays good for a couple of weeks in the fridge, but it’s best to eat it soon. It also does not have any curing time, unlike traditional pickles.

instant-mango-pickle-1Instant Raw Mango Pickle


  • 1 green, raw mango, chopped into tiny pieces
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional)
  • 2 tbsps gingelly oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds


  • Wash and dry the mango and chop it into very small pieces
  • In a large pan, add the chopped mangoes, salt, sugar (if using), red chilli powder, turmeric powder and 1/4 tsp asafoetida and mix well.
  • In a smaller pan, heat the gingelly oil and when the oil starts smoking, put the mustard seeds and let them pop. Then add the asafoetida and pour the hot oil into the mango mixture. Mix thoroughly and store in a glass jar in the fridge.





Recipe: Chow Chow Ginger Chutney

Chow chow or Chayote is a very versatile vegetable, one which takes on the flavour of the ingredients that you use to enhance it. I make a chow chow chutney which BB loves, but this time I added some ginger to it, to add some kick to the chutney. This went very well with rava idlis which I made and will go well with other south Indian dishes like idlis and dosai.

Chow Chow Ginger Chutney


  • 1 chow chow or chayote
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • 1-2 inch piece of ginger, for peeled
  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • 1 tsp chana dal
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 6-7 dried red chillies
  • 1 small lime sized ball of tamarind
  • 1 tsp oil
  • Salt to taste


  • Peel the chayote and remove the inner seeds. Chop them into small bite-sized pieces and keep aside
  • In a pan heat oil and when warm, add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds splutter, add the urad dal and chana dal.
  • Add the dried red chillies and let it brown slightly. Add the ginger and let it brown for a few seconds. Add the tamarind and let it cook for a couple of seconds.
  • Now add the chopped chayote and a bit of salt and let it cook till the chayote has completely cooked.
  • Remove from the flame and keep aside and let it cool completely.
  • In a blender, blend the chayote with the coconut and blend well till it becomes a smooth paste. Add salt if needed.
  • Serve with any bread, flatbread or idli, dosai etc.


Recipe: Pooshnikai Kootu aka Ash Gourd Stew


Another typical tambram food, which I made for the first time for the sumangali pooja. This was really good with a medley of tastes. A keeper which I plan to make often.

Pooshnikai Kootu aka Ash Gourd Stew



  • 1 medium sized pooshnikai or as gourd, chopped into small pieces with the seeds and fibres removed
  • 3/4 cup toor dal or red gram dal, cooked with a pinch of turmeric till mushy
  • 1/3 cup chana dal or bengal gram dal, cooked with a pinch of turmeric
  • 2 tsps coriander seeds
  • 1.5 tsps bengal gram dal
  • 6-8 dried red chillies
  • 4-5 tbsps grated coconut
  • a lime sized ball of tamarind, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes and the pulp squeezed and the juice removed and kept aside. Alternatively use 2-3 tsps of tamarind paste
  • 2 tsps oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp urad dal or black gram dal
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste


  • In a large pan, take the chopped ash gourd and cook it with just enough water to cover the vegetable. Add some salt and turmeric powder.
  • When the ash gourd is half cooked, add the juice of the tamarind and let it cook till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away.
  • In the meantime, in another pan, with 1 tsp oil, fry the bengal gram dal,  coriander seeds, dried red chillies and the coconut until the coconut looses all it’s moisture and becomes dry. Blend this coconut mixture into a smooth paste. Add a bit of water if needed to do this.
  • When the ash gourd is cooked, add the cooked toor dal to the ash gourd and let it mix well. Bring it to a boil and then add the blended coconut paste and let it boil for around 5 minutes
  • In a seperate pan, heat the balance oil and when warm, add the mustard seeds, urad dal, asafoetida, curry leaves and red chillies and stir for a few seconds till the urad dal is brown the curry leaves are crisp.
  • Season the kootu with this and remove from the gas. Serve hot with a rice of your choice or any flatbread.


Recipe: Pudalangai Kootu aka Snake Gourd Stew


This is a typical tambram recipe which is made in perhaps every household at some point or the other. But surprisingly I had never made it before and so when I had to make it for the Sumangali pooja, I had to rely on my tambram cooking bible – Cook and See by Meenakshi Ammal. I am reproducing the recipe as it is published. Even though I was cooking it for the first time, it was yummy and I realised, I actually liked it a lot.

This recipe is pretty standard for a kootu, in that it has the vegetable, some dal and a coconut spice blend. What was different was that instead of chillies, the coconut was blended with black peppercorn, which made the difference in taste.


Pudalangai Kootu or Snakegourd Stew


  • 2 snake gourds
  • 1 cup moong dal, washed and cooked with a pinch of turmeric powder till it is mushy
  • 4-5 tbsps grated coconut
  • 1.5 tsps peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp split urad dal
  • 2-3 dried red chillies
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • salt to taste


  • To chop the snake gourd, slit it lengthwise first and remove all the seeds and fibre from inside. Then cut it in half lengthwise and then into thin slices horizontally.
  • In a pan cook the snake gourd with minimum water, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder and some salt.
  • While the snake gourd is cooking, in a blender, blend the coconut, peppercorns and cumin seeds to a fine paste and keep aside.
  • When the snake gourd is cooked, but still keeping its shape, add the cooked dal to it and mix gently. Now add the coconut paste and add a bit of water if needed. Kootus are generally thick, but you can adjust the thickness of the dish as you like.
  • Check for salt and when it comes to a rolling boil, let it boil for five minutes and switch off the gas.
  • In a smaller pan, heat the oil and when it becomes warm, add the mustard seeds. When the seeds crackle, add the urad dal, asafoetida, curry leaves and dried red chillies and let the dal brown and the curry leaves become crisp. Pour this seasoning into the kootu and serve hot as an accompaniment to rice.