Curry Powder

I decided to share my first recipe post on this blog again, particularly for the Fiesta Friday group. Curry powder blend is usually made at homes in Sri Lanka and therefore differs from house to house in the spices used and the blend ratio. The blend also differs for the type of curry it is used for. Today, I will share my mother’s special blend for vegetarian curries. Interested non-vegetarians can check out these earlier posts for the blend for fish dishes and meat dishes.

spicesThe south Indian musician that I am featuring today is P.Unnikrishnan. Trained in Carnatic music, Unnikrishnan has released several Carnatic music and devotional song albums. He was introduced to the playback singing world of South Indian movies by A.R.Rahman in 1994 and his debut song in the movie ‘Kadhalan’ won him a national award. He also has started dabbling in experimental music.

The first clip is an excerpt from an A.R.Rahman concert where Unnikrishnan sings his award-winning debut song.

The second clip is his lovely rendition of a famous poem by renowned 19th century Tamil poet Bharathiyar.

The last clip is of Unnikrishnan’s daughter, Uthara, who sings a short excerpt of one of her father’s famous movie songs. Uthara recently made her debut in the movie playback singing world at the age of 9 with the release of her first song ‘Azhagu.’

Hope you enjoyed Unnikrishnan’s voice! Do try out my mother’s recipe for her curry powder blend!

Curry powder

Amma's Special Blend Curry Powder


  • Dried red chillies – 100g
  • Coriander seeds(Kothumalli) – 100g
  • Cumin Seeds (Sinna seeraham/ Suduru) – 50g
  • Fennel seeds (Perunjhseeraham/ Maduru) – 50g
  • Fenugreek seeds (Venthayam) – 25g
  • Pepper – 10g
  • Curry leaves – ½ cup
  • Turmeric – 1 piece or 1 tsp (if powder is used)
  • Cinnamon – 2” piece
  • Cardamom – 4 or 5
  • Cloves – 4 or 5


  1. Chop up the dried red chillies and dry roast them. Keep aside.
  2. Dry roast the curry leaves separately and keep aside.
  3. Dry roast the balance ingredients together.
  4. Combine all and grind them together to make the curry powder mix. Store in an airtight container to use when needed.
  5. The ingredients can be scaled up for the desired quantity.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Spicy Curd Rice From Ahila!

Re-blogging Susan from Watch Hatch Fly‘s lovely version of the spicy curd dish… Thank you, Susan, for trying out the recipe and sharing! Warm greetings from sunny Colombo!

watch hatch fly


We spent the last several days at the lake.

I always pack food for the trip, because the lake is located in the twilight zone of Pennsylvania. It’s difficult to describe the area, certainly beautiful, very rural and NO grocery stores. There are a few little stores that will do in a pinch. They tend to carry only essentials (such as ammo or bait. It’s big hunting territory.)

Vegans don’t require ammo or bait, and the blackberries aren’t ripe yet. So, we pack!

I decided to bring Spicy Curd Rice from Ahila@A Taste of Sri Lankan Cuisine. Ahila kindly followed me shortly after I began blogging in October. She generously comments and visits regularly. She always says something about the dogs. Louie would like to say something back:


I had leftover chick peas, so I threw them into the rice. I used a dried Thai pepper that I bought…

View original post 136 more words

Thank you for the blog awards!

First, my apologies to Sanjana of Feeding the Sonis as I meant to pay forward her blog award a few months back but somehow missed it. Better late than never. So, here goes…
20140219-235158Thank you, Sanjana. I am honoured to be considered part of your WordPress blog family. Thank you for sending me feedback on my food posts regularly. I enjoy your posts as well and hope to try out a couple of the Fijian food on your blog sometime. For now, I would like to nominate the following lovely bloggers for this special award.

liebster-award1Next, I would like to thank Charanya of Yes! I’m Vegan and Malar of Malar’s Kitchen for nominating me for the Liebster blog award. I enjoy checking out the vegan recipe posts of Charanya and the kitchen experiment posts of Malar.

Responding to Charanya’s 11 questions:

  1. What’s your favorite cuisine? My mother’s home-cooking.
  2. What would be the last meal you will love to eat? I’d prefer to drink some fresh, cool and clean water. I’d rather not go to my afterlife with a parched throat 😉
  3. What is your favorite vege? Paithangai/ Yardlong beans
  4.  Do you watch Game of Thrones? No.
  5.  If you are vegan, why? If not, do you think you could be one for few days? I am not vegan but the food in my home leans mostly towards vegan.
  6.  Is there anything your life wont be the same without? my mother.
  7.  What’s your favorite movie? Salangai Oli (1983).
  8.  Is there any color you loved as a kid? Blue. I still love the colour.
  9.  Is there anything you would change in your life if life had a rewind button? I would go back to those moments when I have judged situations viewed through very rigid lens and respond differently.
  10.  Do you own an iphone or an android? An android.
  11. 3 words that could describe you: Life long learner.

Responding to Malar’s 5 questions:

  1. Your Favorite tourist spot? Weligama bay area in south Sri Lanka
  2. Weekends what do you do? Mostly read.
  3. Have you done anything crazy? Definition of crazy is relative, I guess. For someone who has never danced since my childhood, a group of friends and I once danced to north African music playing from our truck in an otherwise empty car park at the base of Mauna Kea in Hawai’i. What can I say? It was a full moon night 🙂
  4. Who is your favorite Actor/Actress ? I generally have favourite movies rather than favourite actors but after considering the fact that Kamal Haasan seems to have acted in most of the Tamil movies that I have really enjoyed, I guess my favourite actor is Kamal Haasan. I do consider him South Asia’s best actor.
  5. Something which you love to do other than cooking: Travelling.

My nominations for the Liebster blog award are following lovely bloggers:

Instead of the questions, I only have one request to those accepting the above nominations. Please do share one of your favourite music clips on your acceptance/ nomination post.

To wrap up this post, I’d like to share a colourful folksy song from the movie Azhagiya Tamil Magan (2007) starring Vijay Chandrasekhar and Shriya Saran. Credits: music composed by A.R.Rahman, playback singers are Benny Dayal, Archith and Dharshana.

Thank you to all the readers of this blog! Have a lovely week!

Ginger Date Cake

As today is my eldest sister’s birthday, I felt like sharing one of her recipes today. I decided to bring one of the cakes she enjoys making to the Fiesta Friday together with some lovely music. The recipe is given below after the music fest.

DSC01177The featured musician today is Hariharan. He trained in both Carnatic and Hindustani music though he is foremost a prominent ghazal singer and has released lots of ghazal albums. While Hariharan started his playback singing in the late 70s in Hindi movies, he was introduced to the south Indian movie world only in the early 90s by A.R.Rahman. Since then, he has been awarded both state and national awards for some of his songs. Hariharan was awarded the Padma Shri award by the Indian government in 2004.

I first chose to share a ghazal piece from the launch of the album Hazir 2, Hariharan’s second one with tabla maestro, Zakir Hussain.

The second clip is from a concert where Hariharan sings with Chitra one of their songs from the movie Love birds, the soundtrack of which was composed by A.R.Rahman.

While selecting the last clip to share here, I was trying to decide between two songs. One used to be very popular on Sri Lankan television in the late 90s, Krishna Nee from the self-titled Colonial Cousins album of the music duo – Hariharan and Leslie Lewis. The other was a Bathiya and Santhush single with Hariharan. Finally, I decided to share the one with the Sri Lankan musicians.

Hope you enjoy the music as well as the cake!


Ginger Date Cake

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 250g self-raising flour (optional: can reduce the amount of flour and add roasted semolina ensuring that the total is 250g)
  • 250g margarine
  • 250g sugar
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 250g dates
  • 100g ginger preserve
  • Vanilla essence


  1. De-seed the dates and chop them up roughly before letting them soak in a bowl of hot tea.
  2. Chop up the ginger preserve separately and keep aside.
  3. Whisk together the margarine and sugar.
  4. Add the egg yolks and the vanilla essence and continue beating the mixture.
  5. Then add some of the flour, chopped dates and ginger preserve, egg white and mix well before repeating the process till all the ingredients have been mixed well.
  6. Bake at 180⁰C for around 25 minutes.

Capsicum with Eggs

Today’s guest blogger is Refinceyaa Patterson. She mentions that this dish is a creation of her aunt who runs a pre-school in Trincomalee and enjoys cooking. This dish is generally cooked at her home on Sundays or special occasions as it is a favourite of their family.


Courtesy of Refinceyaa Patterson

In the continuing South Indian movie song theme, today’s featured singer is Sujatha Mohan. She started playback singing while still at school in the 1970s. After a hiatus in her singing for most of the 80s, she became popular again when A.R.Rahman had her sing in several of his songs in the 90s. She won state awards for some of these songs composed by A.R.Rahman.

The first song clip is from the 2007 movie Mozhi (translation: Language).

The second song clip is another live performance, this time of Sujatha and Mano, of the song from Bharathiraja’s movie Kizhakku Cheemaiyile (1993). With music composed by A.R.Rahman, this was the song that made me notice Sujatha as a singer. I guess I am partial to folk tunes.

The last clip is not a song by Sujatha but that of her daughter Shweta Mohan, who started her playback singing career in 2006. In this clip, Shweta was invited for a surprise appearance on the set of a music contest where her mother is one of the judges. She sings a few lines of a poem by Bharathiyar, my mother’s favourite poet.

Hope you enjoyed the voice of Sujatha Mohan and do let me know how this recipe turned out for you!


Courtesy of Refinceyaa Patterson

Capsicum with Eggs

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1/4 lb (~100g) capsicum
  • 2 potatoes cut into small pieces
  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 large onion sliced
  • curry leaves
  • 1 oz Maldive fish (optional)
  • a teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 dessert spoon oil
  • 1 cup coconut milk


  1. Wash and cut the capsicum into four slices (lengthwise).
  2. Add salt, turmeric, curry leaves, onions, potatoes, tomatoes and the capsicum slices to a pan together with a little water.
  3. Cover the pan and cook for a few minutes.
  4. When the water dries up, add the oil and the optional Maldive fish to the pan and fry the contents for a few minutes.
  5. Now break the eggs over the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  6. Add a cup of the first extract of coconut milk to the pan.
  7. Bring the curry to a boil and take it off the fire.

Recipe source: Refinceyaa Patterson.

Mango Chutney

During a recent visit of my father to Jaffna, he brought back some mangoes from my mother’s childhood home. My mother said that the particular mango tree had been planted by her father. As the mangoes were half-ripe, cooking mangoes, my mother decided to make some chutney out of them. This is a simple, quick to prepare chutney. I have shared earlier a mango chutney recipe that my mother makes when she wants to store the chutney for a few days. I am sharing this instant mango chutney recipe with the Fiesta Friday group as well.

DSC01208Continuing with the theme of featuring south Indian singers whose voice I have enjoyed and appreciated along with the recipes this month and next, today’s featured musician is another of my mother’s favourite singers – renowned south Indian singer K.J.Yesudas. A classical trained musician, he began his movie playback singing career in the early 1960s. Yesudas is said to have sung and recorded over 50,000 songs over his five decade career in most Indian languages as well as foreign languages such as Arabic and Russian. I do not know how he managed the volume because it roughly translates to about 1000 songs a year. He was awarded the Padma Shri (1975) and the Padma Bhushan (2002) by the Indian government.

While selecting Yesudas song clips to share here, I decided to share first an excerpt from one of his older classical concert clips as he is foremost a classical Carnatic musician and I like his Carnatic music repertoire better than his songs for movies.

The second song is from the 1968 Malayalam movie Bharymar Sookshikkuka. This clip is a live performance of K.J. Yesudas with Chitra and Sujatha.

Wrapping up today’s music selection, the last clip is from a very famous popular Tamil song of Yesudas from the 1992 movie Mannan.

Hope you enjoyed the voice of K.J. Yesudas and do try out this chutney!

Mango Chutney

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • Mango – ½ cup, half-ripe
  • Onion – ¼ cup, chopped
  • Crushed chillies – 1 tsp
  • Sugar – 1 tbsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil – 1 tbsp


  1. Clean and chop up the half-ripe mango. Rub in a little salt and allow it to marinate while you do the next step.
  2. Heat a tbsp oil in a pan. Temper the chopped onion and crushed chillies for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the chopped and salted mango to the pan together with a tablespoon of sugar. Mix well and let it cook for a couple of minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and transfer the pan contents to a food processor and grind it.
  5. This simple mango chutney is nice on a sandwich.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan

Pavatkai Curry

Today’s recipe is a slightly different variation of bitter gourd/ pavatkai curry that my mother makes. The recipe for the more common way that my mother makes this dish is given in this earlier post.

pavatkaiContinuing with my sharing of Indian movie songs, today I would like to feature one of my mother’s favourite singers – S.Janaki and a few of the songs I like of hers. Janaki was born in 1938, started her musical training at the age of 3 and her movie musical career in the latter part of 1950s. According to my wikipedia source, she has sung around 20,000 songs in various Indian languages and won state and national awards for some of them. She made headlines last year when she refused to accept the Indian government’s prestigious award – the Padma Bhushan.

The first song here is from K.Balachander’s movie Varumaiyin Niram Sivappu (translation: The colour of poverty is red, 1980) starring Kamal Haasan and Sridevi. The music composition is by M.S. Viswanathan (MSV), who was more popular between the 50s to 70s. The singers are SPB and S. Janaki.

I couldn’t resist sharing another song from one of my favourite movies, Salangai Oli/ Sagara Sangamam (1983) whose music was composed by Ilayarajaa. This time it is a solo song by S.Janaki and the two actors/ dancers, Kamal Haasan and Manju Bhargavi, in the song are trained classical dancers.

The last song is a relatively more recent song from the movie Sangamam (literal translation: Confluence, 1999) and the music was composed by A.R.Rahman. The singers are Janaki (lead vocalist), Unnikrishnan and Madhumita.

Hope you enjoyed the movie clips and do try out this bitter gourd recipe!

Pavatkai Curry

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • Bittergourd – 1
  • Tomato – 1
  • Onion – ½
  • Green chilli – 2
  • Tamarind extract – 1 cup (light)
  • Coconut milk – ¼ cup
  • Sugar – 1 tbsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Vegetable oil – 1 tbsp


  1. Wash and cut the bittergourd into small pieces. Keep aside.
  2. Chop the chillies and onion. Lightly fry them in a tablespoon of oil in a pan.
  3. Add the chopped bittergourd to the pan and continue frying for a few minutes.
  4. Add the tamarind juice and salt to the pan. Cover and let it simmer for around 10 to 15 mins until the curry thickens.
  5. Chop the tomato and add it to the pan together with ¼ coconut milk.
  6. Add a tablespoon of sugar and salt to taste.
  7. Cover and cook for another 15 mins.
  8. Remove from heat and serve warm with rice.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan

Mulai Keerai Curry

Today’s recipe is another way my mother cooks mulai keerai (amaranth greens, I think the scientific name is amaranthus blitum). I have posted earlier the traditional way it has been cooked in my home across generations.

Mulai keeraiSince selecting the movie clips that I shared yesterday, I have been listening to lots of 80s and early 90s Indian movie music and remembering the stories behind the songs. I felt like sharing some over the next several posts. If you are not interested in reading about or listening to some south Indian movie songs, please skip directly to the recipe given below.

As today is S.P.Balasubrahmanyam(SPB)’s 68th birthday, I will share a couple of his popular songs. While not having had formal musical training, SPB’s natural inclination towards music made him drop out of his engineering studies and pursue a musical career in the 60s. SPB is most known as a playback singer, having recorded more than 40,000 songs in several Indian languages according to my Wikipedia source. In addition to winning several Indian state and national awards for his songs, he has also composed music for several movies, acted in some and given voice overs for popular actors due to his multilingual skill. The Indian government awarded him the high civilian awards, the Padma Bhushan (2011) and Padmashri (2001) awards, for his distinguished service.

The first is an upbeat song from K.Balachander’s Tamil movie Punnagai Mannan (translation: King of Smiles, 1986). This is the first song that SPB and Chitra sang together and features Kamal Haasan and Revathi. The soundtrack of the movie was composed by Ilayarajaa with A.R.Rahman, then a part of Ilayarajaa’s music team, at the keyboard.

The second clip is from a concert where SPB sings a song of his from the 1979 movie Pagalil Oru Iravu (translation: A night in the day), soundtrack composed by Ilayarajaa.

Hope you enjoyed SPB’s songs from the 80s as much as I enjoyed listening to several and selecting these two.

Now, for the recipe… 🙂

Mulai Keerai Curry

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • Mulai keerai – 1 cup, chopped
  • Green chilli – 1
  • Capsicum – 1
  • Onion – 1
  • Tomato – 1
  • Salt, to taste
  • Crushed chilli – to taste
  • Vegetable oil – 1 tbsp


  1. Wash the green leaves and chop them up finely.
  2. Cook the green leaves with a little salt and water for about 10 mins till the water dries up. Remove from heat.
  3. Slice the green chilli, onion and capsicum.
  4. Add a tbsp of oil to a separate pan and lightly sauté the three.
  5. Chop the tomato and add it to the pan. As per your taste, add salt and crushed chilli and continue to lightly fry for a few more minutes.
  6. Transfer the contents of the pan to the cooked green leaves. Mix and serve warm with rice.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan

Karunai Kilangu Curry

The recipe I would like to share today is my mother’s recipe for karunai kilangu/ elephant yam curry.

karunai kilanguI also felt like sharing some music clips. Today is the birthday of Ilayaraaja, one of South India’s famous movie soundtrack composers, who has composed music for more than 1000 movies (around 4500 songs). His debut in South Indian cinema was in the 70s and while he continues his work to this day, I think the peak in his musical career was in the 80s. Having grown up watching a lot of South Indian movies, I felt like sharing three of my favourite Ilayaraaja compositions in honour of his 71st birthday.

The first song is from one of my all-time favourite movies Salangai Oli (translation: the sound of a dancer’s ankle bells, 1983), the Tamil dubbed version of the Telugu movie Sagara Sangamam. The movie has a Bharathanatyam theme and has a great cast including one of India’s best actors, Kamal Haasan (featured in the song). The movie won the Indian national award for best music direction and best male playback singer (S.P.Balasubrahmanyam).

The second song is from one of my mother’s favourite movies, renowned director K.Balachander’s movie Sindhu Bhairavi (1985). This movie’s story has a Carnatic music theme running through and a great soundtrack which again won Ilayaraaja the Indian national award for best music direction. The movie also won the best actress award (Suhasini Maniratnam, featured in the song) and the best female playback singer award (K.S.Chitra who made her Tamil movie music debut through this song) for the song shared here. This song is a fusion of folk and Carnatic music.

The third song that I am sharing here is a song from Maniratnam’s movie Thalapathi (1991). It’s simply a lovely short song.

Hope you enjoy the music as much as you enjoy the curry! 🙂

Karunai Kilangu Curry

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: average
  • Print


  • Yam – 1 cup, chopped
  • Brinjal – 1 cup, chopped
  • Onion – ½
  • Fenugreek – 2 tsp
  • Tamarind extract – ½ cup
  • Coconut milk – ½ cup
  • Curry powder – 1 to 2 tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, as required


  1. Boil the yam for about 15 mins. Then, roughly chop into smaller pieces.
  2. Lightly fry the chopped brinjal and yam. Keep aside.
  3. In a pan, add a tablespoon of oil and lightly fry the chopped onion and fenugreek for a few minutes.
  4. Add the lightly fried brinjal and yam to the pan.
  5. Add the tamarind and milk to the pan together with curry powder and salt to taste.
  6. Cook the curry for about 15 mins and then remove from heat.
  7. Serve with rice.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan