Cooking is fun

(Yummy recipes for a healthy living)

Coimbatore street food - kaalan varuval (Mushroom fry)

 All I could feel while making this delicious mouthwatering and my all time favorite street food is "GUILT'. With every bite, every time it brings back happy memories and I stop feeling guilty. Ahh, there is that 'Circle of life' :P This is such a guilty pleasure and once I had the power to recreate my school day's favorite there is no stopping me from making this mistake :)

Huuuhh!! The oil, the frying, the frying again. The sweet taste of mushroom with the roasted onions and the spices makes it a wonderful food. Oh good, I am not sure if I should clean my drooling or just make another batch ;)

 This is such an easy food to make for a multi step recipe.

Preparation time - 10 mins
cooking time 20 mins
serves - 3 to 4


For the gravy base(spice paste):

  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
  • Coriander seeds - 2 tsp
  • cloves - 2
  • Ani star - 1 
  • Cinnamon stick - 1/4 inch
  • Ginger - 1/4 inch
  • Garlic - 4 or 5 (I used Ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp)

For Batter (Deep frying):

  • All purpose flour (Maida) - 2 tbsp
  • Corn Flour - 4 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
  • Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 2 tsp
  • Ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp
  • salt - to taste
Other ingredients

  • Diced Mushroom - 2 cups (I used button mushroom)
  • Diced onion - 1 big or 2 medium
  • Minced green chilli - 1
  • Cilantro / coriander leaves for garnishing
  • Lime juice for garnishing
  • salt to taste
  • Oil for deep frying



  • Wash and dice mushroom and onion. Mince green chilli and keep all of it aside. 
  • Then blend all the spices mentioned above for preparing the base gravy into a smooth paste and add a little water and keep it aside

  • Heat oil and meanwhile mix the batter to pourable consistency and set aside
  • Once the oil is hot on medium high, add the mushrooms in batch to the batter and fry it in the oil
  • Keep going until you are done with all the mushroom and batter. Any extra batter can be fried too.
  • Once all the mushrooms are nicely fried with the batter, in another sauce pan  heat oil and saute onion and green chilli.
  • When the onion turns translucent add in the blended spice paste and cook for a minute until the water is slightly absorbed and make a gravy with onion
  • Switch off the flame and add the fried mushrooms and sautee for a minute.
  • Finally serve and garnish with onion, coriander leaves and a squeeze of lemon juice.
  • Corn flour is a must, any other replacement din't work so well for me.
  • Keep your eye on salt and chilli. You will be adding both at all levels equally.
  • Do not add a lot of water to the paste, it will make the mushrooms soggy. Also try to saute mushroom into the base or fry fresh until you are ready to platter.
Enjoy and happy cooking :)

I definitely enjoyed making this and enjoyed even more while taking pictures. My daughter was helping me prop the table by including her ideas. I mean by bringing her toys :)

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Malai Kofta (Spicy version)

I know there is already a Malai kofta recipe in my archive. But this is my take 2, for people like my mom who want malai kofta to be little on the spicy side. "Happiness is, watching your mom enjoy your cooking" . Bliss !

The gravy itself is different from my previous version. I used veggie kofta for that recipe and gravy included paneer. Here the kofta is made of paneer. Also instead of deep frying the kofta, I used appe pan for frying. I love frying this way as I don't use the deep fried oil again. So this way I save so much oil which ends up in the sink later.

I enjoyed making this, while my 2 year old helped me peel the garlic pods :) This is still rich and creamy without adding cashew and paneer to the gravy.

Preparation time - 20 mins
cooking time - 40 mins


For Kofta

  • Grated paneer - 1 cup (heaped)
  • Grated veggies- 1/4 cup  (I used fenugreek leaves, carrot and cabbage)
  • Salt - to taste
  • Chopped green chilli - 1
  • Grated cheese - 1 tbsp
  • Bread crumbs - 1 tbsp (slightly soaked in milk for 2 mins)
  • Oil to fry kofta
For Gravy:
  • Onion - 1 cup
  • Garlic - 3 pod's
  • Tomatoes - 3 large 
  • Milk - 1/2 cup
  • Heavy cream - 1/4 cup 
  • Coriander powder - 2 tsp
  • Red chilli powder - 2 tsp
  • garam masala / kitchen king masala powder - 1 tsp
  • salt - to taste
  • sugar - 1/2 tsp
  • Lemon juice - from 1/2 small lemon
  • coriander leaves for garnishing
For Seasoning:

  • Ghee - 2 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • asafetida/ hing - a generous pinch


For Kofta:

Mix all ingredients mentioned in the list and make a thick dough. Make small bite size kofta balls dusting your palm with corn flour.

Heat the appe pan, add oil and fry the koftas until they are brown and crispy on the outside. Take them out and drain any excess oil. Keep them closed and aside until you are ready to serve or eat few before dinner ;)

For gravy:

Heat the kadai and once hot, add jeera and asafetida. 

Meanwhile first make onion and garlic paste and keep it aside. Second make tomato puree from 3 tomatoes. 

After the jeera splutters add in the onion garlic paste with a pinch of salt and saute until it turns golden brown. To that add in tomato puree, coriander powder, red chilli powder, garam masala, salt and sugar.

On a medium flame let the gravy cook until all the moisture evaporates. This may take 15 mins. Now to that add the half and half  (milk + cream) and let the gravy cook again for few more minutes. Add water or milk for the preferred gravy consistency. 

Pour the gravy over kofta just before serving and enjoy with hot parathas

  • If you don't' have an appe pan, coat the kofta balls with a layer of corn flour and deep fry.
  • Make sure to reduce the tomato onion gravy before add milk. More dehydrated = More creamy gravy (i.e) we can add more milk. Or go crazy by adding more cream :P 
  • For a healthier option you can soak cashew nuts in milk before starting to cook and make a paste and add it instead of cream.  

Enjoy and Happy cooking!
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Broccoli and Cheese soup

I was so excited to make this soup not just for its yumminess, but to use my all new 5 speed kitchenaid immersion blender. I know, Yayyy Right !!:) My husband gifted me for my birthday and I'm in love with it.

I used it to chop and blend. I've a feeling I am going to use it everyday. Now back to the soup :)

I love broccolis in my minestrone soup, but I don't go beyond that. We once bought canned soups for a easy meal replacement. Though it was quick and convenient, it had a lot of sodium content in it. So we quit buying canned items. But the good thing was, I discovered broccoli and cheese soup is not as bad as I thought it would be. Infact my daughter loved this soup.

I made lighter version of this soup with low fat cheeses and no cream / Heavy cream. It is textured and stomach filling. This can be done in less than half hour.


  • Broccoli florets - 2 cups
  • Chopped onion - 1/2 cup
  • Carrots - 2 small- chopped
  • Garlic pods - 4
  • cheese (cheddar / Mozzarella) - 1/4cup + 1/4 cup
  • Milk - 1 cup
  • Butter/ olive oil - 1 tbsp +1 tbsp
  • wheat flour - 1 tbsp
  • salt and pepper - to taste


Chop and steam broccoli florets with little water either in stovetop or microwave.

Then roughly chop /dice onion, carrots and garlic and keep it aside. Meanwhile heat the pot with olive oil or butter.

Once the pot is hot, add in the chopped onion and carrots and saute for few minutes until tender. Then to that add a cup of water and cover it with lid. Few minutes later add the steamed broccoli too.

Meanwhile in another pan, heat and add a tbsp of butter. Once hot, add a tbsp of wheat flour to that and keep whisking to stop forming lumps. Once the flour mixture slightly turns colour, slowly add in milk while whisking on low heat. After the milk mixture boils it will thicken, to that add the cheese and keep mixing until cheese melts.

Now add the cheese sauce to the veggies and mix well.

Blend and Enjoy hot soup.


  • you can ignore carrots if you like
  • If you like a thinner soup, go ahead and add milk.
  • If you prefer smoother soup than textured soup instead of blending everything, just add in finely chopped broccoli to the cheese mixture.
  • Typically half milk and half heavy cream is used while making cheese sauce. If you are planning for a cheat meal, go crazy :)

Enjoy and happy cooking !

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Tomato Pickle

Few months back I went to one of my friends house where her mom had made andhra tomato pickle. I immediately fell in love with it. I tried to recreate the recipe (GOD BLESS INTERNET) and been obsessed with it ever since. This has actually topped mangai thokku in my pickle list. This pickle is so spicy, tangy and yummy. Cannot stop making and eating. If you are a tomato lover you can thank me later.

This is little time consuming if you want to make it from scratch, but totally worth it. This is so versatile too

  • A tbsp in rice - tomato rice
  • A tbsp pickle+ dal + water+ 5 mins microwave - Emergency rasam
  • Perfect accomplishment for Dosa / Idli / poha 
  • Chopped Tomatoes - 1 kg
  • Thick Tamarind pulp - 1/3 cup
  • Garlic - 5 pods (Optional)
  • Curry leaves - 1/2 cup loosely packed
  • Mustard seeds - 2 tsp + 1 tsp
  • Fenugreek powder - 2 tsp
  • Gingelly oil - 1/2 cup + as needed
  • Hing / Asafoetida - 2 tsp 
  • salt - to taste
  • red chilli powder - 5 tsp ( or to taste)
Heat a tawa on medium high heat and dry roast 2 tsp mustard seeds, grind using mortar and pestle and keep it aside

In the same tawa without switching off the flame add oil and add mustard seeds, Hing, curry leaves and garlic pods. To that add chopped tomatoes, tamarind paste and salt. Keep stirring occasionally until all moisture evaporates and slowly becomes paste. 

Then transfer it to a blender add chilli powder to it and make it to a fine paste. In the same tawa add a little more oil and once its hot add in the blended paste and cook it for few more minutes until the raw smells goes. Switch off the flame and add fenugreek powder and stir well.

  • If you have access to canned tomato paste, this pickle can be made in minutes. We can simply skip chopping and grinding.
  • Adding garlic truly enriches tomatoes flavor, but it is optional.
  • Curry leaves and roasted mustard seeds are important. cooking & grinding curry leaves with the tomato paste add extra flavor. If you want to avoid that you can also fry it separately and add whole leaves to the final pickle mix

Enjoy and Happy Pickling.
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Kothamalli vara podi (Spicy coriander powder)

This is definitely a must have podi in kitchen. My mother in law always keeps this handy and  I got caught up with this habit now. Having podi's like this has made my mornings so much easy.  This podi is so versatile it can be used in many recipes.

  • For Arachuvitta sambhar - vara podi + ground coconut + regular sambhar
  • For brinjal rice / vaangi bath - add this podi to brinjal fry
  • This is used as Pitlai podi
  • Add it to rasam and make it mysore rasam
  • Add this any kari to increase the flavor. Does wonders for potato fry.


  • Coriander Seeds - 1/2 cup loosely packed
  • Chana dal - little less than 1/2 cup
  • urad dal - 2 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tbsp
  • pepper corns - 1 tbsp
  • Red chilli powder - 15 - 20
  • Coconut oil - 1 tbsp


This only makes minutes to make this podi. It is basically sauteing and grinding. I make a batch with our usual sunday menu (Potato fry and arachuvitta sambhar) and save it for couple of weeks

Heat a coconut oil on medium heat and saute everything one by one. Leave it on the counter for couple of minutes, once it's cool down to room temperature grind it and store it a air tight container.

  • make sure to saute one by one. 
  • Saute until lentils is golden, coriander seeds turns color and releases flavor

Enjoy and Happy cooking.
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