Maa Vilakku

Maa vilakku 1

I have been making maa vilakku for Karthigai Deepam for the past 4 or 5 years. It was not easy to make(atleast for me). After many fail attempts, I got it right.The consistency of the dough is important. If the dough is too watery, the lamp won’t hold its shape. So when you mix the dough after adding water, make sure you knead for at least 3-4 minutes after each addition of water. The heat from your hand and water will melt the jaggery as you mix. Use your hand to mix the dough. Add 1/2 tsp of water at a time to mix the dough.


  • Rice flour – 1/2 cup
  • Powdered jaggery – 1/2 cup
  • Cardamom powder – 2 pinch
  • Water – as required


  • Mix rice flour, powdered jaggery and cardamom powder together in a bowl.

Maa vilakku 4


  • Mix for 4 minutes using your hand.
  • Add very little water(1/2 to 1 tsp) and mix well for 4 minutes.
  • Add more water if required and mix really well after each addition until the dough comes together.
  • Make a ball using the dough and shape it into a lamp.
  • Place it on a plate.










Maa vilakku 3


  • Add ghee and cotton wick.


Maa vilakku 2



Pidi Kozhukattai

Originally posted on Uma's Kitchen:

Pidi Kozhukattai

Pidi kozhukattai’s are made specially during karthigai deepam. Kaara kozhukattai and innipu kozhukattai’s are made on this day. This is my mom’s recipe.

Ingredients for Kaara Kozhukattai:

  • Oil – 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/8 tsp
  • Chana dal – 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 5 leaves
  • Red chilli -1
  • Coconut – 1 tbsp, cut into small pieces
  • Water – 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Rice flour – 1/2 cup

Method for making Kaara Kozhukattai:

  • Heat oil in a non stick pan.
  • Add mustard seeds and wait till it splutters.
  • Add the curry leaves, chana dal and red chilli.
  • When the chana dal turns golden brown, remove the red chilli and add water and coconut pieces to it.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • When the water boils, add the rice flour and stir continuously for a minute.
  • Remove from heat.
  • When the dough is warm enough to handle…

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Chocolate Chip Muffins

Chocolate Chip Muffin 2

This yummy recipe for chocolate chip muffins is from Little sweet baker. Give it a try.

The ingredients below yields 12 standard muffins.


  • All purpose flour –  1+ 1/4 cup
  • Baking powder – 1/2 tbsp
  • Baking soda – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Chocolate chips – 3/4 cup
  • Unsalted butter – 1/4 cup,melted and cooled
  • Sugar – 1/2 cup
  • Egg -1
  • Buttermilk – 1/2 cup( Mix 1/2 cup milk and 1 tsp vinegar together and let it sit for 5 minutes)
  • Vanilla extract – 1/2 tbsp


  • Preheat oven to 425F.
  • Line muffin pan with liners.
  • Mix all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips together in a bowl.
  • Add sugar, egg, buttermilk and vanilla extract to the cooled butter and mix until well combined.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  • Fill the muffin pan with batter and bake for 5 minutes.
  • Rotate muffin pan. Do not remove it from the oven.
  • Reduce the cooking temperature to 375F. Let the muffins bake for 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Remove muffins from the pan and let them cool down completely on a wire rack.


Chocolate Chip Muffin 1

Orange or Teal Pumpkin?

Teal Pumpkin Project 1

Teal pumpkins are becoming popular this Halloween. It is part of the Teal Pumpkin Project. A teal pumpkin outside the home means kids with food allergy’s can get non-edible/ allergy free treats. More details can be found here.  I decided to give Mandarin oranges as treats. There will be lots of candy too. I am doing both. Gave the oranges a Halloween makeover by turning them into Jack-o-lantern’s using a permanent marker.  Which one are you going to choose?

Teal Pumpkin Project 2

Black Eyed Peas Vadai

Black eyed peas vadai 7

I tasted black eyed peas for the first time at my friend Suneetha’s home. The vadai’s were soft and tasted really good. She served black eyed peas vadai with capsicum tomato chutney. I got the recipe from her and tried it at home. It came out very well. I usually make medhu vadai and masaal vadai. It is nice to try something different for a change. I served the vadai with coconut chutney.

The ingredients below makes 8 vadai’s.


  • Black eyed peas – 1/2 cup
  • Salt – to taste
  • Ginger – 1 heaping tsp, chopped
  • Serrano pepper – 1 tsp, chopped
  • Onion – 1/3 cup, finely chopped
  • Fennel seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • Hing/ Asafoetida – 6 pinches
  • Curry leaves – 5 leaves
  • Cilantro – few strands, chopped
  • Oil – for deep frying


    • Soak black eyed peas overnight or for 4 – 6 hours.

Black eyed peas vadai 1

    • Drain the peas and grind them  together with salt, hing, ginger and  serrano pepper using very little water or no water to a fine paste.
    • The peas soaks up a lot of water. I did not use any water to grind the peas. You can use a wet grinder to grind if you are using more than 1/2 a cup of peas.

Black eyed peas vadai 2

    • Add onions, fennel seeds, hing, curry leaves and cilantro. Mix well.

Black eyed peas vadai 3

    • Heat oil for deep frying.
    • Take a small ball of batter in your hand and flatten it into a circle. Make a hole in the middle and slide the batter gently into the oil.

Black eyed peas vadai 4

    • Fry the vadai’s on medium heat. They should brown slowly.

Black eyed peas vadai 5

Black eyed peas vadai 6

    • Cook both the sides and remove the vadai’s onto a plate lined with paper towel.

Black eyed peas vadai 8

  • Serve hot with chutney of your choice.


I used one hand to make the vadai’s because I had to take photos as well. You can place the vadai batter in your left hand, flatten it using your right. Make a hole in the center using the index finger on your right hand. Transfer the vadai into your right hand and then slide the vadai into the hot oil gently.

Potato Salad

Potato salad 6

This recipe is from food network.  A very good side dish to serve when you are grilling. My family loves the taste of mustard. So I add 4 tbsps of mustard to the potatoes. If you are not a fan of mustard, start with 1 tbsp.  Potato salad is usually served chilled.


  • Potato – little more than 1 lb( 3 cups), peeled and diced
  • Salt – to taste
  • Mayonnaise – 3/4 cup
  • Buttermilk – 1/4 cup
  • Dijon mustard – 1 tbsp to 2 tbsp
  • Mustard – 1 tbsp to 2 tbsp (regular mustard that is used to serve hotdogs)
  • Ground black pepper – 1/4 tsp
  • Red onions – 1/2 cup, diced
  • Cilantro – for garnishing


    •  Place the diced potatoes in saucepan and cover it with water. Add salt.

Potato salad 1

    • Turn on the heat and cook the potatoes until it can be pierced using a fork but still holds its shape.
    • Drain the potatoes using a colander.

Potato salad 2

    • Let the potatoes cool down a bit.
    • In a bowl, whisk mayonnaise, buttermilk, Dijon mustard, mustard and ground pepper together until well combined.

Potato salad 3

    • Transfer the potatoes to a bowl.
    • Add chopped onion, chopped cilantro and mayo dressing .

Potato salad 4

Potato salad 5

    • Mix gently.
    • Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve cold.

Potato salad 6

Kozhukattai / Modakam

Originally posted on Uma's Kitchen:

Modakam 1

Modakam`s are rice flour dumplings with a sweet filling. It is made during Vinayaka Chaturthi as offerings to Lord Vinayaka. The filling is made out of white sesame seeds/ellu/til , shredded coconut, powdered jaggery and cardamom powder. Sesame seeds adds flavor to the filling.The sweet filling is called, Pooranam.

The rice dumplings can be made into any shape. You can make round,hill shaped or semi circle shaped kozhukattai`s.

To get perfect shapes,a modakam mold has to be used. You can get them in India.

Modakam 3

The ingredients below makes 6 to 7 modakam’s.


  • Rice flour – 1/2 cup
  • Water – 1/2 cup + 2 tbsps
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Oil – 1 tsp plus more for greasing the modakam mold

For the filling:

  • Shredded coconut – 5 tbsps
  • White or Black Sesame seed/ellu/til – 1 tbsp
  • Jaggery – 5 tbsps, grated
  • Cardamom powder – 2 pinches

Method for filling:

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