Carrot Sambal: A Jaffna-style recipe


Re-blogging A Life(Time) of Cooking‘s post from 2008 sharing Jennifer Harvey’s version of Carrot sambal, Jaffna style from The Monk’s Cookbook.

Originally posted on A Life (Time) of Cooking:

There is a book that I love – The Monk’s Cookbook. It is full of wonderful, easy and always delicious recipes. Many of them are Sri Lankan in style, so not so far from Tamil style food (would be my guess). This is a quick side dish or salad.

The recipes are from an Aadheenam (Hindu Monastery) in Kauai, Hawaii. The founder of the Aadheenam, Gurudeva (Sivaya Subramuniyaswami)’s guru was Yogaswami from Jaffna, Sri Lanka. I have met many people who knew Yogaswami and experienced his siddhis. A strong sometimes fiery guru, onepointedly dedicated to Siva and to stillness through meditation. These recipes must originate from Gurudeva’s time with Yogaswami.

If you are ever in Kauai, visit the monastery and the magnificent temple being built there – handcarved using traditional methods in Bangalore, India and erected on site by half a dozen silphis who travel from India. (Photos…

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Manioca Curry

I am bringing another of my eldest sister’s curry to Fiesta Friday #33 – this time, a manioca curry.
Today’s featured music group is Junoon. This band was formed in 1990 by Salman Ahmad, the lead guitarist and songwriter of the group. This group were the pioneers of the rock sub-genre, Sufi rock. I first came across this group on MTV through their chart topping song, Sayonee from their fourth album, Azadi (1997). While I could not find the music video of this ground-breaking song on Junoon’s youTube channel, I did find this clip where the group played this song at a concert.

Two of the original band members, lead vocalist Azmat Ali and bassist Brian O’Connell, left the group in 2005 to pursue solo music careers. The next clip that I share here is from Coke Studio Pakistan’s youTube channel which featured this collaborative work of Azmat Ali and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, the nephew of Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Salman Ahmad, the Junoon founder, has continued the group with different musicians sporadically over the years and has collaborated with other international musicians for several fund-raising efforts. The last clip here is from the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony concert of 2007.

Hope you enjoyed the music of Junoon and do share which clip you enjoyed the most!

Manioca Curry

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • Manioca – 1
  • Turmeric – ¼ tsp + ¼ tsp
  • Salt – ¼ tsp + 2 tsp or adjust to taste
  • Garlic cloves – 3, grated
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Mustard – 1 tsp
  • Onion – 1, chopped
  • Coconut milk – 1 cup
  • Oil – 1 tbsp


  1. Boil the manioca with ¼ tsp turmeric and ¼ tsp salt. Cut the cooked manioc into smaller pieces and keep aside.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Add the chopped onion and curry leaves, grated cloves, mustard, 2 tsp salt and fry for a min or two. Add the cooked manioc and turmeric. Mix well.
  3. Add the coconut milk and cook till the curry thickens.
  4. Remove from heat and serve warm with rice.

Chickpea Curry

During my recent visit to my eldest sister’s house, I remembered to take photos of a couple of tasty curries she had made for lunch with my phone camera. I am bringing one of her curries, chickpea curry, to the Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck #10.


Over the last few months, I have enjoyed sharing some Sri Lankan and Indian music together with the recipes. I have decided to continue with a musical journey around the globe with the food recipes. Therefore, as today’s music selection, I am sharing a couple of clips from the two I consider the best Sufi singers of this half-century : Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (1948 – 1997), also referred to as the Shahenshah (meaning King of Kings) of Qawwali and Abida Parveen, who is also known as the Queen of Sufi music.

During my teen years in the U.A.E, I once accompanied my parents to a concert. When the guest singer, who was introduced as Pakistan’s finest musicians starting singing, I immediately recognized the song as the favourite of my Pakistani friends at my new school and which they kept playing repeatedly during lunch breaks.  The song was Dam Mast Qalandar Mast Mast and it was Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s concert. I admit back then I was not fond of qawwali music and it took a while to grow on me. I think I learnt to appreciate it after hearing them sung at Sufi shrines. The atmosphere creates an enhanced listening experience. It is only fitting that I share here the first qawwali song that I was introduced to.

A few years ago, during a brief trip to Delhi, I took a Sufi heritage tour with India Offtrack. Nirad Grover, part of the company’s core team, travel writer and my guide during the tour, recommended that I listen to Abida Parveen. I did that soon after and I have been impressed with her powerful voice since. This clip has been uploaded on youTube by Epic flo films and includes a summary translation of the lyrics at intervals.

Do share your memory of your first introduction to qawwali, if you enjoy listening to Sufi music. And, do let me know if you try out this chickpea curry!


Kadalai Curry

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 20mins
  • Difficulty: average
  • Print


  • Chickpeas – 2 cups, boiled
  • Cashew nuts – 4 or 5
  • Cinnamon – 1” piece
  • Garlic – 3 or 4 cloves
  • Onion – 1
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Salt – 2 tsp or adjust to taste
  • Turmeric – ¼ tsp
  • Curry powder – 3 tsp or adjust to taste
  • Tamarind juice – ½ cup
  • Potato – 1, boiled and mashed
  • Tomato – 1, chopped
  • Coconut milk – 1 cup
  • Oil


  1. Lightly fry the cashew nuts with crumbled cinnamon and transfer to grinder.
  2. Add the garlic cloves to the grinder and blend the mix to a coarse paste.
  3. Chop the onion and lightly fry the onion together with curry leaves.
  4. Add the coarse cashew nut paste, salt and turmeric to the pan and mix well.
  5. Add the boiled chickpeas and curry powder to the pan. Mix well.
  6. Then, add the tamarind juice and let the curry cook for a couple of minutes.
  7. Next, add the boiled and mashed potato to the pan and mix.
  8. Add the chopped tomato together with ½ cup of water and cook for a min or two.
  9.  Then, add the coconut milk and cook till the curry consistency is right.
  10. Serve warm with rice or roti.

Stringhopper Kottu

The last recipe in this month’s Kottu series is my mother’s stringhopper kottu. Check out this earlier post on how to make stringhoppers, also known as Idiappam or Idiappa in Sri Lanka. You could alternatively use rice noodles, if you don’t have leftover stringhoppers. I am bringing this tasty meal to Fiesta Friday #31.

DSC01276I’d like to wrap up the A.R.Rahman music month with some clips from MTV Coke Studio’s youTube channel (I do very much enjoy the experimental music generated at the Coke Studio). The first clip is a Tamil song sung by his sisters, Rayhanah and Issrath Quadhri.

The second clip is a lovely fusion of Hindustani and Carnatic music with the vocals by Hindustani classical singer Ustad Ghulam Mustafa and his family.

The last clip is A.R.Rahman’s fusion take on lyrics by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore with Bengali singer Suchi and Chennai rap artist Blaaze.

Hope you enjoyed this special selection of experimental Indian music by A.R.Rahman! Let me know which clip you enjoyed most as well as if you do try out this recipe!


Stringhopper Kottu

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 20mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • Leftover cooked stringhoppers – 1 cup, chopped
  • Green peas, cooked – ¼ cup
  • Chickpeas, cooked – ¼ cup
  • Leeks – ¼ cup, chopped
  • Carrot – 1/4 cup , chopped
  • Tomato – ¼ cup, crushed
  • Garlic – ½ tsp, chopped
  • Ginger – ½ tsp, chopped
  • Onion – 1 tbsp, chopped
  • Crushed chillies – 1 tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil – 2 tbsp


  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Lightly fry the ginger and garlic and add the onion.
  2. Next add the tomato and crushed chillies. Add 1 tbsp water. Mix well and remove from heat after a couple of mins. Mash the mix together and keep aside.
  3. Heat another 1 tbsp oil in a pan and fry the leeks and carrots for a couple of mins. Then, add the cooked chickpeas and green peas and stir-fry for a few minutes. Add the mashed spicy tomato mix.
  4. Finally, add chopped stringhoppers and some salt, to taste. Mix well before removing from heat.
  5. Serve warm.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

More blog awards to pass on

I noticed that I have three nomination posts to acknowledge and pass on. So, decided to do that today.

First, I’d like to thank Lori from Creating Beauty in the Kitchen for nominating me for a Liebster award. Delighted to accept the nomination. If you have not visited Lori’s blog yet, please do so as her delightful healthy recipes and craft work will be sure to enchant you.



My responses to Lori’s 11 questions:

  1. What is your favorite thing to do (Besides cooking)? Travel
  2. What did you want to be when you grew up? Ambassador (Career diplomat) – this was my career plan from the age of five until I completed my first degree.
  3. What has been your favorite age so far, and why? The present. I try to live in the moment.
  4. Would you rather watch a movie or read a book? A book.
  5. Would you rather be inside or outside? I am very much an indoors person, except when I travel out of my city.
  6. If you could use one word to describe your home, what would it be? Mother.
  7. What is your favorite type of music? Carnatic music.
  8. What is your favorite song? It’s a beautiful day (Queen)
  9. Where is the farthest you have ever traveled? Hawai’i.
  10. Why do you like cooking? I like it when the people I care about enjoy the food I make for them.
  11. Sunrise or sunset? Sunrise.

I am combining my nominations for passing on this Liebster award with my nominations for the next award from Adorable Life blog. Thank you, Nimmi, for nominating me as part of your WordPress Family. Honoured and delighted to accept this special nomination. Within five months of starting her blog, Nimmi has shared many tasty recipes that she has been trying out. Do visit her blog, if you have not done so already.


My combined nominations for the Liebster and WordPress Family awards are for the following lovely bloggers:

Finally, thank you once again  Nimmi, for nominating me for another blog award – this time, the Inspiring blogger award. Appreciate it much.


I’d like to nominate the following fifteen bloggers, for the Inspiring blogger award, whose posts I enjoyed very much during the past week.

Congratulations to all the lovely bloggers and in lieu of questions, I’d appreciate it if you do share a favourite memory of yours, be it travel, music, movie or books.

To wrap up this nomination acceptance and passing it on post, I would like to share a lovely music clip. I have had this CD for over a decade now and had purchased it because it had one of my favourite musicians, tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, and one of my father’s favourites, South Indian violin maestro Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan collaborating together. Until recently, I did not know that A.R.Rahman was the keyboard player in this album and this was very early on in his music career. As this is A.R.Rahman music month on this blog, I am sharing this lovely clip from the Golden Krithis Colours album (1992).

Have a great week!

Paneer Kottu

This week features my favourite kottu under the kottu series – paneer kottu, which I am bringing to Fiesta Friday #30.
DSC01294Today’s A.R.Rahman songs are from his most recent movie work. The first clip is an excerpt from the concert in Mumbai promoting Imtiaz Ali’s movie Rockstar (2011) starring Ranbir Kapoor. The singers in this Hindi song clip are Mohit Chauhan, A.R.Rahman and his team together with Ranbir Kapoor.

The second song is a clip from MTV Unplugged.  The Tamil song is from Mani Ratnam’s movie Kadal (translation: Sea, 2013) with playback singer Shakthishree Gopalan.

The last song clip is from Imtiaz Ali’s movie Highway (2014) starring Alia Bhatt and Randeep Hooda. The playback singers of this Punjabi song are Sultana Nooran and Jyoti Nooran.

Hope you enjoyed the most recent of A.R.Rahman’s music! I am sure you will also enjoy this paneer kottu!

Paneer Kottu

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 15mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • Atta roti – 2, chopped
  • Paneer – ½ cup, chopped
  • Onion – ½
  • Green chilli – 1
  • Ginger – 1 tsp, chopped
  • Garlic – 1 tsp, chopped
  • Tomato – 1, chopped
  • Curry powder – 1 tsp
  • Oil – 1 tbsp


  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and lightly fry the onion, ginger and garlic for 2 mins.
  2. Then add the chopped tomato and continue frying for another 2 mins.
  3. Add 1 tsp curry powder and a little water. Cook for a min.
  4. Remove from heat and transfer pan contents to a blender. Blend the mix and then return the spiced tomato puree to the pan. Re-heat.
  5. Add the paneer cubes and cook for 2 mins.
  6. Finally, add the chopped atta roti to the pan.  Mix well and cook for 2 mins.
  7. Serve warm.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Bread Kottu

In my mother’s kottu series, I am including one of her dishes she calls the ‘bread kottu.’ Home-baked bread, when leftover the next day or two, never tastes as good as it does fresh. So, when we do end up with a few slices of such bread, my mother makes this kottu dish. I am sharing this at the Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck #8 as well as bringing a second kottu dish late to Fiesta Friday #29.

I received an interesting email a couple of days ago from Ellie Priestman, a researcher at Studio Lambert. After reading the email, I agreed to share the gist of it here on my blog. According to Ellie, Studio Lambert is an independent television production company based in London and “have produced a number of observational documentary and factual entertainment series including Undercover Boss, The Great Interior Design Challenge and the BAFTA award winning series Gogglebox. (More information about the company can be found at” They are currently planning a production for BBC2 and are “looking for lively and outgoing couples and families who will be happy to show us what happens in their kitchens and around their dinner tables. The series will very much be a celebration of food and family – so we’re looking for people who are passionate about cooking (and eating!) together.” So, if anyone reading this and living in the UK is interested, please get in touch with Ellie via email: or phone on 0203 040 6875.

DSC01255For today’s music as part of the A.R.Rahman series, I decided to select a few of his collaborative work with other international musicians to share here.

The first song is an excerpt from the self-titled album SuperHeavy (2011) of the five member group of Mick Jagger, Dave Stewart, A.R.Rahman, Damian Marley and Joss Stone.

The second song is a collaborative work with Persian American music group, Niyaz, from their album Sumud (2012). This song is their interpretation of an Afghan folk song.

The last song for today is an interesting one from MTV’s Coke Studio (2013), fusing Buddhist chants with traditional Arabic tunes and Indian music. A fan of Ani Choying, I love it the way she calmly sits in the midst of all the sounds breaking out wildly around her and continues her chant.

Hope you enjoyed the collaborative music of A.R.Rahman and the other musicians today as much as I did! Let me know if you try out this bread kottu recipe.

Bread Kottu

  • Servings: 5
  • Time: 20 - 30 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • Bread – 2 cups, chopped
  • Green peas – ½ cup
  • Carrots – ½ cup, chopped
  • Cabbage – ½ cup, chopped
  • Olive oil – 2 tbsp
  • Turmeric – ½ tsp
  • Pepper and salt, to taste
  • Tamarind juice – ¼ cup
  • Coconut milk – ¼ cup
  • Curry powder – 1 tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Chopped coriander leaves, for garnish


  1. Make the sauce first by cooking the tamarind juice, coconut milk, curry powder and salt to taste for about five minutes till the gravy thickens. Remove from heat and keep aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and add the vegetables and stir fry for a couple of minutes.
  3. Season with turmeric powder, pepper and salt.
  4. Add the chopped bread to the pan and continue to stir-fry.
  5. Just before removing from heat, add the sauce to the pan and mix well.
  6. Sprinkle with coriander leaves and serve warm.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.