How to make ghee at home

 Now a days there are lots of brands of ghee available in the market. They advertise it as Manal Manalaai Nei - Sand like textured ghee. I have grown up eating ghee that was made at home. Dad will purchase biutter - the Oothukuli butter from the famous Thayar Dairy stores in Ranganathan Street, T. Nagar, near the railway station. The butter will be pure white. I am not sure now if it is cow butter or butter from buffalo as the butter that I get now a days are slightly yellow in colour. The ghee made from this store bought butter at home smells great and the whole house will be full of that smell for almost the whole day. The best part of it is we kids get to eat a small ball of the butter which definitely we look for. The butter is not table butter. It is saltless and is of a smooth texture. I find that texture lacking in today's store bought cooking butter be it of any brand. 

The steps to make butter at home might look very simple but one have to be careful enough to make it perfect. The heat should be medium and the butter once gets to the liquid form should be stirred constantly so that it doesnot settle at the bottom and get burned. 

In a hard bottom pan place the solid butter and start melting it in a normal heat. Once the butter melts, then reduce the flame to medium and start stirring. When the butter have melted it will be in a kind of opaque state. When it starts bubbling reduce the flame even further and keep stirring so that it does not over flow. At this point of time, the aroma of ghee starts coming and the liquid turns transparent and you can be assured of that the ghee is ready. 

Remove the pan from flame and rest it on a solid surface. Once cold transfer it to the ghee pot. There will be sediment at the bottom, it can be used in various ways. Let me share that in another post. 

Tomato Kadayal - Thakkali Kadayal

 Every other day we struggle to find out a side dish for idly, dosa or roti and chappati. When I came across one such dish, I decided to give it a try ofcourse with improvisation.

Tomato - 8 nos medium sized (I used the country variety as it will have the required sourness)
Shallots - 8 nos
Green Chilly - 2 nos
Red Chilly - 2 nos
Curry leaves - a few
Coriander leaves - 1/4 cup finely chopped
Salt - 1 1/2 tsp
Hing - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Gingely oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Thuvar Dal - 2 cups (pressure cooked and mashed well) - Optional

Peel and chop the shallots into 2. Chop the tomatoes in a chopper or cut them into small cubes. 
In a pan heat the oil and add mustard seeds, when it splutters add the cumin seeds, hing, turmeric powder and saute a little. Slit the green chillies and add it to the oil along with red chillies. Add half of the curry leaves to the oil and saute it well. 
Add the shallots to the oil and mix it well. Keeping the flame in low and stirring it will turn it glossy. Add the chopped tomatoes and 1/2 cup of water. Increase the flame and let the tomatoes cook. Mash it well with a masher and add salt and bring it to a boil. 
Add the remaining curry leaves and the coriander leaves. 

Serve it hot with idly, dosa or chappati.

To serve the same with rice, add the cooked and mashed dal.

Manathakkali Vathakuzhambu

 When we say Vathakuzhambu we in our family end up voting for either shallots vathakuzhambu or Poondu Vathakuzhambu. But my personal favourite is the manathakkali vathakuzhambu made using dried manathakkali vathal. Mom used to make it with fresh green manathakkali too. But this one gets thicker by the day and tastes too good in the night or the next day. Though the best combination with this is Keerai koottu or Keerai masiyal, I also prefer it with potato kara curry.


Manathakkali Vathal (Better to use the unsalted ones) - 2 spoons
Tamarind Paste - 8 table spoons
Curry leaves -  few (optional) 
Gingely Oil - 6 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Water - 200 ml

For tempering:
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Channa dal - 1 tsp
Hing - 1/2 tsp

In a hard bottom pan add the gingely oil and when hot add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add the channa dal and hing and mix well. Now add the manathakkali vathal and fry it in the oil when it is fried and becomes dark brown add the vathakuzhambu powder and saute well in the oil. Now add the salt too. Mix the tamarind paste in the water to a thick consistency and add it to the pan and allow it to boil. When the water reduces and the oil starts floating on top it is the right to remove it from flame. Accompany it with sutta appalam too. 

Keerai Masiyal - a quick and simple recipe

 In this fast moving world, we have to eat healthy and nutritious food. To enable this we are getting cut fruits, chopped vegetables too. We are also getting chopped spinach too. But even if you dont get chopped spinach you get cleaned spinach all that you need to do is just chop it using vegetable cutter or chopper. Once this is done, cooking gets very easy.

Greens - 1 bunch or chopped greens 3 cups
Oil - 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Whole Urad dal - 2 tbsp
Asafodieta - 1/2 tsp
Red Chillies - 4 nos
Salt - 1 tsp + 1/2 tsp 

Wash and clean the greens. Add 1/2 tsp of slat and wash it again. Ensure it is free of sand. You can even wash it for 3 to 4 times. 

In a pressure cooker add 1 spoon of oil and  10 ml of water. Add the washed greens and cook it for 3 whistles. Rest it till the pressure can be released. Open add 1 tsp of salt and mash it well. 

In a tadka pan add the oil and when hot add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add the urad dal, asafodieta, red chillies and add it to the greens. Mix well. It goes well with Vathakuzhambu, rasam rice and curd rice.