Vada – Vadai (Keerai Vadai)

Vada or Paruppu Vada: Some snacks are available easily in almost all street corner Tea shops in Tamil Nadu and people love to  have them any time of the day along with a hot cup of tea.  One such favourite item is ” Keerai Paruppu Vada”.  It is a simple snack item consumed along with breakfast or just served as a snack in the evening with a hot cup of coffee or tea.  Traditionally it is served as one of the dishes  on the banana leaf along with other food items for festivals or weddings.  Ingredients such as Bengal gram dhal and greens etc make it a nutritious and tasty food item.

Parippu Vada

Servings: 5
Cooking Time : 30 minutes ( excluding the time for  soaking of dhal for 3 hours)


1. Bengal Gram Dhal : 1 full cup  ( 200 grams )
2. Onion : 2 no
3. G. Chilli : 3 no
4.Cloves Garlic : 2 no
5. Aniseed : 0.5 Teaspoon
6. Coriander and Curry leaves: 2,3 sprigs
7. Greens : 0.5 Cup
8. Salt : 0.75 Teaspoon
9. Oil (preferably sunflower or any refined oil): 250 ml

Paruppu Vadai

Method :

Wash and soak the Bengal gram dhal in enough water for 3 hours. Clean the greens and wash them well in water. Drain the water and chop them to tiny pieces. Chop the g. chili, onions, the coriander and curry leaves.  Then drain
the water from the Bengal gram dhal completely and keep a tablespoon of soaked dhal separate without grinding.  Put the remaining dhal in a blender along with aniseed, garlic pieces etc and grind them to a coarse pulp. To this coarse pulp add salt, one tablespoon whole dhal, chopped onions, g. chili, greens, coriander and curry leaves,  and mix them well.  Make small balls similar to a lime and flatten them with your hand to  round shaped vadas with the edges slightly thinner. In a skillet heat oil over moderate flame.  Fry them 5 or 6 at a time turning them to the other side once they are cooked to a golden yellow colour.

Tips: Adding a few leaves of cleaned chopped mint  gives a unique taste to the snack.  Greens suitable for this “vada” belong to the Amaranth family.


NATTU KOZHI KUZHAMBU: There was a time in our place when only chickens raised and reared in the back  yard of the houses were available for consumption.  Nowadays most people go for the readily available broiler chicken. Still some people prefer Nattu Kozhi (country chicken)  for it has a unique taste of its own which simply surpasses any meat though the cleaning and the preparations of the curry take longer and are somewhat cumbersome.


Cooking Time: 1 hour

Serving: 5


  1. Country chicken ( meat): 1 kg
  2. Shallots : 150 grams
  3. Onion: 2 (approximately 100 grams)
  4. Curry leaves: 4 sprigs
  5. Ginger Garlic paste : 1.5 Teaspoon
  6. Cinnamon: 1 small piece
  7. Cloves: 2
  8. Aniseed : 1 Teaspoon
  9. Cumin : 1 Teaspoon
  10. Pepper : 1 Teaspoon
  11. Chili powder: 2 Teaspoon
  12. Coriander Powder: 1.5 Teaspoon
  13. Grated Coconuts: 0.5 Cup
  14. Turmeric powder : 1 Teaspoon
  15. Salt 1.5 Teaspoon
  16. Oil : 25 Cup (preferably gingelly oil)
  17. Water: 3 Cups


Clean the chicken well with water and keep aside. Chop the onions. Peel and fry the shallots in a teaspoon of oil in a skillet and make a paste in a grinder. Fry the aniseed, pepper, cumin, cloves and cinnamon in a skillet without any oil lightly and before taking off the stove add the coriander and chili powder and fry for a couple of minutes. Powder the ingredients and keep it aside. Grated Coconuts should be ground to a smooth paste. Now use a pressure cooker to heat oil over moderate flame . First fry the chopped onions till they turn brown in color and then add the curry leaves along with the ground shallots, ginger garlic paste and fry well. Then add the ground pepper, cumin etc powder along with the cleaned chicken pieces, salt, turmeric powder and fry for a few minutes.  Add two cups of water  and cook well for 10 to 15 minutes closing the lid well so that the meat gets cooked well to become soft and tender.  Finally add the coconut paste with one more cup of water and let it simmer for ten minutes till the oil separates in the gravy.



Before the advent of readily available sambar masala powders in the shops, in the old days people had to make simple “ paruppu kuzhambu ” with tur dhal (red gram) and locally available vegetables without adding much spices etc. This is a specialty still liked by many folks in the interior south of Tamil Nadu.  Though it lacks the strong flavor and pungent taste of sambar, it has it’s unique taste and smell.

Servings: 3
Cooking Time: 1 hour


1.      Tur Dhal (red gram ) : 0.5 Cup ( 100 grams )
2.      Shallots (Small onion) : 10
3.      G. chili : 5 no
4.      Tomato : 1 small one
5.      Vegetable of your choice – preferably drumstick and 2 brinjals (Egg plant)
6.      Curry leaves and Coriander leaves – 2 sprigs each
7.      Cloves of garlic: 2 no
8.      Mustard : 0.5 Teaspoon
9.      Cumin Seeds : 1 Teaspoon
10.     Turmeric Powder: 0.5 Teaspoon
11.     Asafoetida : 1 pinch
12.     Salt: 1 Teaspoon
13.     Oil – Gingelly: 1 Tablespoon
14.     Coconut Gratings: 1 Tablespoon
15.     Water : 3 Cups

Paruppu Kulambu
Paruppu Kuzhambu


Wash the tur dhal and soak it in one and a half cup water for an hour. Clean and chop the shallots, tomato, vegetables and slit the g. chili. Grind lightly the coconut gratings along with half of the cumin seeds and 2 g. chili and keep aside. In a cooker boil the tur dhal along with the turmeric powder, garlic, asafoetida, 5 Shallots, 3 g.chili, tomato and the diced vegetables for 10 minutes till the dhal and vegetables are well cooked.  In a skillet add the oil and heat it over moderate flame and put the mustard seeds, the remaining cumin seeds, shallots, and finally curry leaves and fry for a couple of minutes.  Then add the cooked dhal with vegetables and add the salt and the remaining water with the ground coconut paste and let it boil for 5 minutes. Stir it well and before taking off the stove add the coriander leaves.

Tips:  This kuzhambu is suitable for rice mostly and people prefer the thinner version of this curry.  The coconut gratings can be added to the curry either ground slightly or as they are.



Kuzhi Paniyaram

Kuzhi Paniyaram (Sweet) is a traditional snack item prepared in the households of Tamil Nadu especially in the chettinad region. It is made using a special vessel with small molded depressions in it.  On special days and festival days, these paniyarams are made.  Both sweet and savory type paniyarms can be made with the same dough adding different ingredients. First we can make the dough and then divide it into two portions to make both the sweet and the savory type paniyarms.

Cooking time:  2 hours (excluding the fermentation time etc)
Servings: 8
1.      Raw rice: 1.5 Cup ( 250 grams)
2.      Par Boiled rice: 1.5 Cup ( 250 grams)
3.      Black gram dhal (Urad dhal  -white, skin removed): 0.25Cup ( 50 grams)
4.      Fenugreek: 2 Teaspoons
5.      Salt : 1.5 Teaspoon
6.      Coconut Gratings: 0.25 Cup
7.      Baking Soda (Soda bi-carb): 1 Teaspoon
8.      Kuzhi paniyaram vessel ( vessel with molded depressions for pouring batter)


Clean the rice, Urad dhal and the fenugreek seeds with water and soak in water for 3,4 hours and grind it to a smooth dough in a blender or mixie.  Add the salt and allow it to ferment for 5,6 hours.  Now mix the baking powder in a tablespoon water and mix it well in the fermented dough with coconut gratings and divide it into two portions for making both the savory and the sweet kuzhi paniyarams.

Kara Paniyaram

1.      Mustard: 1 Teaspoon
2.      Onion: 1
3.      G.chili : 1
4.      Curry leaves: 1 Sprig
5.      Oil: 2 Teaspoon
6.      Ghee (Clarified butter) : 0.25 Cup


Chop the onion and the g.chili. Heat a skillet with oil over moderate flame and add the mustard. Then add the other ingredients and fry them. Add it to the dough and mix well. Now keep the“kuzhi paniyaram” vessel over the flame and in every depression pour ghee and then fill it with the dough up to only 3/4th of its depth as the paniyaram will rise up. Use a spoon or thin stainless steel rod to turn the cooked paniyaram to the other side to be cooked.  Both the sides should be cooked evenly and the color should be light brown.  Serve it hot with chutney of your choice. Coconut chutney goes well with this.
1.      Palmyra jaggery (karupatti -unrefined palmyra sugar)- 200 grams


Make syrup with the jaggery and a table spoon of water over moderate flame for a few minutes and strain the syrup to remove the stones etc from it.  Add this syrup to the rice dough which is divided into two portions.  Mix well and make sweet paniyarams   applying ghee to the vessel.
Tips:  Fried cashew, powdered cardamoms can be added to the dough to get extra taste and flavor.


Nethili Fish Curry or Nethili Meen Kuzhambu is a traditional fish curry that is native to the south eastern districts for Tamilnadu. It is cooked in native clay pots generally. “Nethili” known as Anchovies fish in English is a tiny fish regularly available in Indian Coasts and it is consumed both as a curry as well as a fry.  All small fish like Anchovies, sardines etc., are good for health as they increase the good cholesterol of our body.
Nethili 1
Fish Curry
1.      Nethili Fish (Anchovies) : ½ kg (500 grams)
2.      Shallots : 50 grams
3.      Onion : 1 ( 50 grams )
4.      Garlic : 4 cloves
5.      Tomato : 1 ( 50 grams)
6.      Tamarind : 1 small ball
7.      Raw Mango : 1 small one
8.      Turmeric Powder: ½ teaspoon
9.      Chili Powder: 2 teaspoon
10.   Coriander powder: 1 teaspoon
11.   Mustard: ½ teaspoon
12.   Fenugreek : 1 teaspoon
13.   Oil : 1 ½ tablespoon
14.   Curry leaves: 2 sprigs
15.   Salt : 1 teaspoon
Clean the fish first by peeling off the head along with the intestine wastes and wash well with water and keep aside. Remove the skin of onion and shallots and chop into small pieces. Cut the tomato and the raw mango to small sizes. Use some water to squeeze the tamarind pulp. Using a mud pot enhances the taste of the fish curry being cooked in it.  Heat the oil in the mud vessel over moderate flame and add the mustard. It splutters and then sauté the onions and garlic till they turn translucent. Then you can put the chopped tomato, mango and curry leaves and fry for a couple of minutes. Then add the T.powder, chili powder, Coriander powder, salt, tamarind juice with one cup of water to the pot. Let it simmer for 5 minutes. Finally add the fish and allow it to simmer over low flame for 10 to 12 minutes till the curry thickens to your liking.
Nethili Fish Curry
Nethili Fish
Tips:  This fish curry remains fresh for a couple of days in the same mud pot and it even
tastes better after a day or two.