Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Chettinad Therakkal -Tomato Onion Gravy for Idli/Dosa

Tomato Onion Gravy/Chettinad Therakkal with Dosa

Tomato Onion Gravy/Therakkal with Idli


This is simple and delicious gravy for Idli/Dosa. This watery gravy is a great hit among kids.

This can be made with just onion and tomato or we can add potato and brinjal. Both are equally delicious.

My friends use to ask me, 'aren't you bored to eat Idli/Dosa often’; I’ll tell that we never get bored since we make variety of Chutneys and Gravies for Tiffin.

Big Onion - 2

Tomato - 4 to 5 (according to size)

Potato - 1

Brinjal (small) - 4 to 5

Less spicy Red Chilli Powder - 1 tbsp. (add more if you prefer spicy)
Water - 3 to 4 Cups
Fresh Coriander leaves – to garnish


Diced Potato and Brinjal with Red Chilli Powder


Fenugreek/Vendhayam/Methi Seeds- 1 tsp.

Fennel Seeds/Sombu/Saunf - 1 tsp.

Cumin Seeds/Seeragam/Jeera - 1/2 tsp.

Asafoetita/Peringayam/hing – ¼ tsp.

Curry leaves – few

Oil – 2 tsp.


Appearing bubbles mean need more cooking time

Chop onions finely, dice tomatoes, potato and brinjal.  Pour oil in a deep pan, add the tempering ingredients, let the asafoetida roast well, add chopped onions, cook until golden brown, add tomatoes and saute them for few minutes, to make it soft and mushy. Now add the potato and brinjal, sauté for few minutes and toss in Chilli powder and salt. Then, add water and simmer for 10 minutes, until the veggies are cooked. Before switching off, check if there’s any raw smell coming from chilli, if so cook for few more minutes. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with Idli/Dosa. It’s a great combination for Idli/Dosa.

Tomato Onion Gravy for Idli/Dosa - Chettinad Therakkal

Monday, 25 March 2013

Mint Rice

Healthy Mint Rice!

Mint Rice is a refreshing variety of rice, unlike biryani it doesn’t require much spices and time to make.  But the wonderful flavour of mint makes it delicious as well as healthy.  Kids also love it, as it is plain and less spicy.  It makes great for lunch box too.



Basmathi Rice – 1 Cup

Water – 11/2 Cups

Mint leaves – 1 Cup

Small onions – 12

Garlic pods - 5

Green chillies – 2

Red Chilli Powder – ½ to 1 tsp. (according to spice level)

Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp.

Lime juice – 1 tsp.

Gingelly Oil – 2 tsp.

Ghee – 2 tsp.

Fresh Mint


Ground Mint

Pounded Cumin and Green Chilli

Cooked Basmathi Rice



Wash and soak rice in 1 and ½ cups of water.  Slice Onion and garlic, pound cumin seeds and green chillies coarsely, grind mint leaves with little water and set aside.

After 15 minutes of soaking, pressure cook rice and transfer into a big bowl.  Do not stir much, just add 2 tsp. of Gingelly oil and mix gently. Leave it for few minutes to cool.

Pour ghee in a Kadai/cooking pan, toss in pounded cumin and chilli, and add onion and garlic, sauté for few minutes until golden brown.  Add the ground mint and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes,

Then add the rice and mix thoroughly, careful not to break the rice.  Cook for few minutes in low flame, and switch off. Gently stir in the lime juice.

Serve hot with Cucumber and Onion Raitha.
You can look for Raitha Recipe under the Label, 'Vegetable Side dish'.

Mint Rice with Cucumber & Onion Raitha!


Sunday, 24 March 2013

Fluffy Pancakes

Fluffy Pancakes

Whenever we pass by McDonald's in the mornings, we can't help but observe the butter-smeared fluffy pancakes with dribbling Maple syrup. It's really tempting, but we don't have to head to McD every time we, rather our 'Kids' crave for Pancakes. We can do it at home and enjoy the same. Here's the recipe, which is very simple.


Plain flour – 11/2 cups

Baking Powder - 11/2 tsp.

Milk - 1 Cup
(Dutch Lady Full cream)

Water - 1/2 Cup

Sugar - 2 tbsp.

Salt - a pinch

Beaten eggs - 2

Olive oil - 2 tbsp.

Butter - to garnish

Honey/Maple Syrup/Hershey's Chocolate Syrup

Plain flour

Baking Powder



Beaten Eggs

Olive Oil



Sift and combine dry ingredients. Form a well at the centre, pour all the liquid ingredients and mix well with a whisk, to avoid formation of lumps. The batter should neither be thick nor be watery.

Dry and Liquid ingredients together

Mix with a wired whisk

Greased Pan

One spoonful of batter

Bubbles appearing

Fully formed bubbles

Golden Brown pancake

Smearing butter

Grease a non-stick pan and pour one big spoonful of pancake batter let it spread on its own. In medium flame, let it cook until bubbles appear all over, turn it over and cook for few more seconds. Transfer it to a plate and smear scraped butter over it. Stack up one over the other. Serve hot with Honey or Maple syrup or Chocolate syrup.
Also pancakes can be cut into wedges and conveniently packed for (School)recess-time, mid-morning meals.

With Hershey's Choco Syrup
Buttered Corn

My kids look forward to the pancakes along with warm buttered fresh corn for breakfast.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Mesmerising Ram Bhajans!

Jai Sriram!

There's something magical about Ram Bhajans and Ramayana, how many times we hear, we never get bored.

Here are some video links, Enjoy 'Rama Gaanam' and His Eternal Bliss!

Nama Ramayana from Telugu Movie Ramadas by Adithya Music:


Prem mudit man se kaho Rama Rama Ram by Meeta Ravindra!  So mellifluous!!
What a soul-stirring lyrics! Wonderful!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Beginning Reading

How to begin:

There are lot of Baby Concept Books, with lots of interesting pictures, to attract the babies. There are number of touch and feel books, with popped up pictures and flip-flap books.  You can start introducing books at a very early stage, babies are never too young to feel and see the picture books. 


Picture Dictionaries:

Picture Dictionaries are great way to start introducing wide range of vocabulary, esp. I love the Times Publications1000 Words series.


Slowly you can start reading books with large prints and lots of pictures.  Then you can read along taking turns with your child. 

Reader Level:

We can choose appropriate books according to children’s reading level using the ‘Reader Level’. Reader Levels are guided reading Levels, here is an example provided by Penguin Young Readers – this can be a general guideline.

 Level 1 – Beginning Reading
  • Simple vocabulary
  • Word repetition
  • Picture clues
  • Predictable story and sentence structures
  • Familiar themes and ideas


Level 2 – Reading with help

  • Longer sentences
  • Simple dialogue
  • Picture and context clues
  • More in-depth plot development
  • Nonfiction and fiction


Level 3 – Reading Alone

  • Multi-syllable and compound words
  • More dialogue
  • Different points of view
  • More complex storylines and characters
  • Greater range of genres


Level 4 – Advanced Reading

  • More advanced vocabulary
  • Detailed and descriptive text
  • Complex sentence structure
  • In-depth plot and character development
  • Full range of genres


Award Winning Books:


You can look for Award Winning books and read to them. Generally award winning books carry a message or more to educate and inspire the readers to be thoughtful and kind. These books provide great opportunity for us to instil values among children.


The popular awards are:

Newbery Medal

Caldecott Medal

Michael Printz Award

Moonbeam Children’s book award

Caldecott Honor Book



Popular Children’s book Publishers:


I’ve given a list of Popular Publishers who publish Children’s Books, both Fiction (imaginative stories) and Non-fiction (true/based on facts) Categories. You can look for books from these Publishers. You can find interesting collections from these Publishers. I've given their logos, for easy location. I've also included some of their popular books.


Usborne Publishing

Dorling Kindersley

Ladybird Books

Puffin Books

Scholastic, Inc.

HarperCollins Children’s Books

Penguin Young Readers

Usborne Publishing:











Dorling Kindersley:










Ladybird Books:



Ever Popular Ladybird Classics:







Puffin Books:







Very Popular Charlie and the Chocolate Factory from Puffin



Scholastic, Inc.














HarperCollins Children’s Books:







 Award winning Book from Harper Collins




Award winning book by Beverly Cleary - a Harper Collins Publication

Penguin Young Readers:










 Enjoy the books with kids, Happy Reading!