A few years back, when I found these rice sticks in a local Indian store here, It struck me then that I could Indianize it and make upma out of it. So, when we invited some friends over, I made this dish and luckily everybody liked it. Since then, it became one of the regular breakfast items at home. This is a very versatile item as it can be used as part of a main course for parties or as breakfast or for dinner too. 

Edited - Updated the pictures.

Ingredients -

Rice Sticks - 1/2 pkt
Mixed vegetables - 1 cup (chopped carrots, beans, peas, corn, cabbage)
Turmeric - a pinch
Onion - 1 medium (finely chopped - Optional)
Peanut-Coconut Powder- 1/4 cup (see the recipe here)
Salt to taste
Seasoning (oil, chana dal, urad dal, mustard seeds, dried red chilli, curry leaves)
Lemon Juice - 2 tsp

Method of Preparation - 

Break the rice sticks into manageable size and put them in boiling water. Let them sit in the boiling water until they are just about cooked. It could take about 5-7 minutes. Ensure that it doesn't sit in the water for too long since it could turn soggy. 

Immediately drain the water from the rice sticks and run cold water through it. 

In a heavy bottomed vessel on a medium-high flame, heat some oil and add the seasoning. 

After the mustard seeds start crackling, add finely chopped onions and saute them to a golden color.

Boil the mixed veggies separately and add it to the sauteed onions.

Put in turmeric and salt as per taste. Add the drained rice sticks and mix well for a minute. 

Switch off the flame and squeeze in the lemon juice and mix well. Serve hot or cover it with a lid till it is ready to be served.

This would be our first entry for the JFI-Breakfast event hosted by Suma of Veggie Platter.


Serves 3 Adults
Preparation Time 20 min

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Posted by Harini on Saturday, May 26, 2018

Mirchi Bajjis certainly evoke a lot of childhood memories for a lot of folks I know. My husband is surely one of them. He keeps talking about this particular street hawker in the street he lived as a child. Apparently that guy made these mouth watering Mirchi bajjis and the whole neighborhood would stand in line to have their share before the guy runs out of batter!! I would have heard this story from him umpteen number of times and I have heard similar stories from my friends and cousins who claim that their particular street hawker is the best.

Anyway, this recipe I make (read it as rarely make), is from my MIL who swears that this is the same recipe the street hawker (the one talked about by my husband) uses to make these bajjis. Initially I used to make mirchi bajjis using the banana peppers but when Jaya (my sister) visited us, she told us that there were a particular type of mirchis in the local Indian stores which are not too spicy and can be used for the bajjis. So I went and got them and here is how he enjoyed these on a snowy evening.

Edited - Updated the pictures. 

Ingredients -

Bajji Mirchis / Chillies 10 (See picture)

For the batter -
Besan / Chick Pea Flour 1.5 cups
Ajwain/Vaamu 1/4 tsp
Jeera 1/4 tsp
Salt as needed
For the Filling -
Sesame / Nuvvulu 2 Tbsp
Peanuts 2 Tbsp
Dry Coconut Powder 2 Tbsp
Dhania powder/Coriander powder 1 tsp (or Dhania seeds 1 tsp)
Tamarind juice 2 Tbsp
Salt as needed
For Garnish -
Onions finely chopped
Lemons cut into small pieces

Method Of Preparation -

When selecting the mirchis, make sure they are more or less straight and not curved up.

Wash Mirchis, dry them and make a vertical slit in each mirchi.

To prepare the filling - Roast sesame seeds, peanuts, dry coconut powder, dhania seeds and grind into a fine powder. Add Salt and Tamarind juice to make a thick dough. Don't need to add water, as the oil in the sesame seeds will bind the mixture.

To prepare the batter - In a mixing bowl, add besan, salt and coarsely powdered ajwain and jeera. Add water slowly and make a batter which is not too runny.

In a deep frying pan, add 3-4 cups of oil and put on medium heat.

Meanwhile, evenly fill in each of the slitted mirchis with small marble sized mixture. Prepare all the mirchis and keep them aside. (I used up all of the mixture for exactly 10 mirchis).

When the oil is hot enough, dip the mirchis in the batter and gently slide them in oil and fry until golden brown. Don't overcrowd the pan but in a medium sized pan, 4-5 mirchis would fit in.

Drain them onto kitchen paper towels and continue for the rest of the mirchis.

Serve them hot with chopped onions and a dash of lime juice. (Optionally, the fried bajjis can be redipped in the batter and fried again for the 'authentic Hyderabadi' taste!). But I opted out of it.

If the bajjis are wide enough, Feel free to make a vertical slit on the bajjis and add the chopped onions and a splash of lime juice to get that 'crunch' !!


Preparation Time 45 min
Makes 10 Bajjis

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BM #88 Week 4 Day 1 -

My brain was working hard to come up with something healthy for a snack when this idea of making Bajra cutlets struck! Actually it all started with me soaking bajra one night confident that I could come up with something  the next day. 

I typically think about making cutlets as they are very forgiving. Anything (?) can be mixed with Potato and bread and the usual masala to make cutlets and they surely turn out good! So my first choice for a healthy snack is to make cutlets. Moreover they are very much favored by kids at home! So here we are with these delicious and healthy cutlets..

Edited - In an attempt to update some old posts which are close to my heart, I am here with some better pictures.

Ingredients - 

Whole Bajra/Sajjalu/Pearl Millet 1/2 cup
Potatoes boiled and mashed 1 cup
Mixed Vegetables (Carrots, Corn, Peas and Beans) boiled 1/2 cup
Bread Slices 3-4
Salt as needed
Mirchi Powder 1/2 tsp or as needed
Garam Masala 1/4 tsp or as needed
Amchur Powder 1 tsp
Coriander leaves finely chopped 2 Tbsp

Method Of Preparation - 

Soak the Bajra over night and pressure cook. Please note that Bajra takes a lot more time to get cooked.  (About 5-7 whistles in the pressure cooker I use).

Gently mash the cooked bajra in a food processor. 

Make a powder of the bread slices. Usually bread is dipped in water and the water is squeezed. The wet bread is then added to the cutlet mixture. In this recipe, it needs to be powdered because the mashed bajra has water in it.

Add mashed potato, powdered bread slices and mashed mixed vegetables in a mixing bowl. Pour the mashed bajra and the rest of the flavorings as needed. Adjust taste as desired. 

Make a stiff dough and pinch a portion of the dough and make a disc (about 2 inches diameter) and set aside. Continue making the discs with the rest of the dough. 

On a hot tava, spray a little oil and spread these discs and cook on both sides until they get golden brown on both the sides.

Serve hot with ketchup or chutney of your choice or as we prefer make a chaat out of these cutlets!


Preparation Time 45 min (excl soaking and cooking bajra)
Makes 16 cutlets

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BM #88 Week 2 Day 3 - 

To conclude this series about Cauliflower, here is another favorite from our kitchen. I vary the spices as per my mood and everytime it gives a different flavor.

The kids usually don't require a dipping sauce. I serve them with noodles or pasta and they are happy.

Ingredients - 

Cauliflower Florets 2 cups
Broccoli Florets 1 cup
Carrots, sliced 1 cup
Olive Oil 1 Tbsp
Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Salt, Pepper, Paprika, Red Chili Powder and Cumin Powder as needed

Method Of Preparation -

In a wide mixing bowl, add the vegetables. Spray oil evenly coating all vegetables.

Sprinkle all the spices evenly tossing the vegetables so they are all evenly coated.

Preheat the Air Fryer at 400 °F for 3 minutes.

Toss the seasoned vegetables in the air fryer basket. And let the Air Fryer do the magic for about 25 minutes. Make sure the vegetables are tossed every 5-7 minutes.

Remove and serve immediately with a dip of your choice.


Preparation Time 

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BM #88 Week 2 Day 2 - 

After having chosen to highlight Cauliflower in this series, I had to get onto the 'Cauliflower Rice bandwagon', so to say. I bought the readymade cauliflower rice from the freezer section, added some spices and grated carrot for some color and steamed in the microwave.

Even if made from fresh cauliflower, I don't think it is a difficult one to handle. Just pop cauliflower florets in the food processor and steam and season it.

I have read in some reviews that oven roasting the cauliflower rice gives the best texture but takes the maximum time. Since we all know when salt is added to cauliflower and steamed, it leaves a lot of water making it soggy. So the trick is to add salt just before serving not giving enough time for the cauliflower to sweat.

Recipe Source
Ingredients - 

Cauliflower rice frozen (10 oz)
Carrot, Grated 3 Tbsp
Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Salt and Pepper as needed
Spring Onion for garnish

Method Of Preparation -

Empty the frozen cauliflower rice into a microwave safe bowl, sprinkle grated carrot and microwave it for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Salt and Pepper as needed. Fluff it, garnish with chopped spring onion and serve immediately.

I served it with some Potato Kurma.


Preparation Time 10 minutes
Serves 2

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Posted by Harini R on Friday, May 11, 2018

BM #88 Week 2 Day 1 -

This week I shall highlight one vegetable and showcase some interesting ways to enjoy it. As it is evident by the title, I have chosen 'Cauliflower' as my star vegetable this week.

My kids love cauliflower and so I am always looking at different ways to serve cauliflower to them. When I came across this Cauliflower Mac n cheese in my social media feed, I thought I should try and see if the kids like it and it was a super hit with them.

It is a fantastic after school snack for the kids.

Recipe Inspiration here
Ingredients - 

Cauliflower Florets 3-4 cups
Sour Cream 5 Tbsp
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Italian Seasoning, Red Pepper Flakes as needed
Cheese, Shredded 1/2 cup (or as needed)

Method Of Preparation -

Boil Cauliflower florets in salt water and drain. [I microwaved them in salt water for 6 minutes].

Meanwhile, whisk Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Italian Seasoning and Red Pepper Flakes into the sour cream and adjust the seasonings.

In a heated wide pan, transfer the drained cauliflower, stir in the sour cream mixture and sprinkle cheese.

Mix well until the cheese is melted and the florets are all well coated with sour cream-cheese mixture.

Remove from heat and serve warm.


Preparation Time 10-12 minutes
Serves 2-3

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BM #88 Week 1 Day 3 - 

The third Tofu recipe has become one of our favorites. The almond crusted tofu came out really good. The crunch of the almonds and the marinated tofu married well together. I served them with a sour cream-avocado dip (recipe coming up soon).

It was a bit disappointing that the ingredients fell short for the tofu I had on hand. But we enjoy tofu in all its variety so it was okay in the end. 

Recipe Inspiration here
Ingredients - 

*Tofu, sliced into finger shapes 14 oz pack
Wheat Flour 1/2 cup
Flax Egg - 1 Tbsp Flax meal mixed in 3 Tbsp of warm water
For the Almond Crust - 
Almonds coarsely powdered 1 cup
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Red Chili Powder to taste
For Tofu Marinade - 
Soy Sauce 2 Tbsp
Olive Oil 1 Tbsp
Garlic, grated 1 tsp
Salt as needed

* The flax egg and almond mixture were just sufficient for 7 oz of tofu. I baked the remaining marinated tofu as is, without the almond crust

Method Of Preparation -

Drain the Tofu and slice them into fingers. In a ziploc bag add in the marinade ingredients and toss the tofu fingers. Seal the bag and shake it well so that all tofu fingers are coated with the marinade. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Coarsely crush the almonds. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and red chili powder. Mix well.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Drain the marinated tofu, roll each tofu in the dry flour, dip it in the flax egg, roll in the almond mixture, arrange it on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake it for 10 minutes and flip them and bake for another 10 minutes until the almonds turn a shade of pink.

Remove and serve it with any dipping sauce of your choice.


Preparation Time 20 minutes + Baking Time 20 minutes
Serves 3-4

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Posted by Harini R on Saturday, May 5, 2018

BM #88 Week 1 Day 2 - 

Tofu being our family's favorite protein, here is another one which is a very customizable bowl of goodness. The vegetables can be changed as per preference or the chickpeas can be taken off the bowl the greens can be substituted with lettuce or cucumber or any other salad vegetable. The rice can be replaced with quinoa, couscous or any other grain.

The key component which we would not replace is the peanut sauce and also the roasted peanuts. I alter the ingredients as per what my pantry dictates and every time it is loved at home. 

The beauty of this bowl is that the possibilities are left to your imagination. There are vegetables, salad, protein, carbs and the options for the dressing are just as limitless.

Ingredients - 

Rice 2 cups
Tofu cubed 1 pack
Spring Greens as needed
Chickpeas soaked, boiled and seasoned as needed
Vegetables (Carrots, Cauliflower and Broccoli)  3 cups
Roasted Peanuts as needed
Marinade For Tofu - Soy Sauce 1 Tbsp, Apple Cider Vinegar 1 tsp, Salt, Garlic Powder 1/8 tsp, Onion Powder 1/8 tsp, Paprika 1/4 tsp, Sesame Oil 1 Tbsp
Seasoning for the Vegetables - Oil 1 Tbsp, Salt, Red Chili Powder, Garlic Powder 1/8 tsp, Onion Powder 1/8 tsp)
Peanut Sauce - Peanut Butter 1/2 cup, Hot water 1/2 cup, Salt to taste, Red Chili Powder to taste, Tamarind Date Chutney 1 Tbsp, Soy Sauce 1 Tbsp, Apple Cider Vinegar 1 tsp, Crushed Red Pepper to taste

Method Of Preparation -

Cook the rice in the method preferred. Set aside.

Cube the tofu. Mix the ingredients of the marinade in a ziploc bag or a plastic container. Toss the cubed tofu into the marinade. Cover the bag/container and shake it so the marinade is evenly coated onto all tofu cubes. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Bake or Grill the marinated Tofu.

In a wide mixing bowl, add the vegetable. Sprinkle oil and the rest of the seasoning for the vegetables. Toss them so the vegetables are evenly coated with the seasoning. Grill/Air Fry / Bake / Roast them and set aside.

Prepare the peanut sauce by combining all the ingredients listed under the Peanut Sauce. 

Assemble the Buddha Bowl - In a big bowl, arrange all the components - Cooked rice, grilled Tofu, Seasoned chickpeas, spring greens and grilled vegetables. 

Top it with the peanut sauce and roasted peanuts.

Serve immediately.


Preparation Time 30 minutes
Serves 4

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