OotaThindi is a Kannada term that means Lunch and Tiffin. This blog tries to accommodate in its fold all things culinary with a primary focus on traditional Karnataka cuisine. However, it also draws from the vast repertoire of Tamil cuisine as well. The overtones of any interesting cuisine either from the rest of India or from the world over are also echoed in here. More the merrier, moreso when it comes to food..... Please welcome one and all....

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Mangalore Bonda

This is my first entry under the bonda bajji bonanza. One often wonders why all tasty things have got to be fattening!! This as the name suggests is a Mangalore speciality. Karnataka has different kinds of cuisines originating from different regions of the state. Even the dialect changes as we traverse this beautiful state and each region has a very distinct style of cooking. Mangalore/Udupi cuisine orginates from the Sri Krishna Temple of Udupi and is famous the world over. Udupi hotels are dotted not only across the subcontinent but are a household name across continents.
This goes well as a starter and also as tea time snacks.


All purpose flour or maida 1 cup.
Thick curds 3/4 cup.
Finely cut onions 2 medium sized.
Finely cut green chillies 3-4.
Finely cut coriander leaves 1 tablespoon.
Curry leaves, a few.
Salt to taste.
Pinch of cooking soda.
Oil for deep frying.


  1. Add the flour, cut onions, green chillies, coriander leaves and salt to a bowl.
  2. To this add the curds and mix well to form a batter of dropping consistency. Do not add water. If needed more curds can be added. It should be thicker than idly batter so that it can be gathered with fingers or a spoon and dropped into the oil.
  3. Keep the batter aside for 1/2 an hour atleast.
  4. Now, add a 1/4 teaspoon of cooking soda to the batter and mix well.
  5. Heat oil in a kadai. Once the oil is hot, pick up lemon sized batter with your fingers and drop it into the hot oil. A spoon can also be used for the purpose.
  6. At a time 5-6 bondas can be fried. Once they turn golden brown they are done.
  7. Relish with chutney or tomato sauce or just by itself.
  8. They should melt in your mouth if they have come out well. Enjoy!!!
Variation: Finely cut pieces of fresh coconut can be added to the batter. But, they tend to splutter in the hot oil. Hence one has to be very careful.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ginger Chutney

Ginger is not only a taste enhancer but also has tremendous medicinal value. It removes flatulence and the feeling of bloating due to gas. It is also helpful in the treatment of dry cough. Ginger chutney is relished with idly or dosa. It can also be mixed with rice and ghee and eaten. It is beneficial for new mothers also.


Ginger root 50 gms. chopped into small pieces.
Red chillies 4-5.
Grated dry copra 1/2 cup.
Tamarind size of a gooseberry.
Salt to taste.
Mustard seeds, curry leaves and asafoetida for garnish.


  1. In a kadai, fry red chilles with a quarter teaspoon of oil.
  2. Once the red chillies are done, add ginger pieces to the same oil and roast them for one minute. The oil is used to prevent the ginger from sticking to the kadai.
  3. Now switch off the stove and add the grated copra to the same kadai. The heat of the kadai will make the copra crisp and warm.
  4. In a food processor blend all the above ingredients with salt and tamarind with very little water.
  5. The chutney should be coarse and not very smooth.
  6. Season the chutney with mustard seeds, hing and curry leaves in oil.

Andhra Pesarattu

Pesarattu is a very famous breakfast item from Andhra Pradesh. It is made from whole green gram, hence high in its protein content. It is a variation of the usual dosa as it uses green gram in place of urad dal. It can be eaten with or without any accompaniment. Usually it is eaten with ginger chutney. This is because Pesarattu because of the predominance of green gram can cause flatulence. Ginger acts on just that and keeps the stomach healthy and light!!


Whole green gram/Hesaru Kaalu/Saboot moong dal/Payir 1-1/2 cup.
Rice flour 1/2 cup.
Red chillies 5-6.
Cumin seeds 2 teaspoons.
Curry leaves and finely chopped coriander leaves.


  1. Soak the green gram overnight in water.
  2. Next morning, add the red chillies to it and grind it coarsely.
  3. Add the cumin seeds, rice flour and salt to taste ; mix well.
  4. Optionally finely cut onions and ajwain seeds can be added.
  5. Add curry leaves and finely cut coriander leaves.
  6. Heat the tava. Smear a teaspoon of oil. Sprinkle water. Make dosas with the batter as usual.
  7. Relish with ginger chutney.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Pongal is a very much relished breakfast item in the South. It is referred to as Huggi in Karnataka. It is a combination of rice and lentils and hence is a perfectly balanced meal in itself. It is seasoned with pepper and cumin seeds and is savored with chutney or sambar or curds.


Rice 1 cup.
Green gram dal 1/2 cup.
Ghee 3-4 tablespoons.
Pepper 1 teaspoon, crushed.
Cumin seeds 1 teaspoon, crushed.
Cashewnuts 8-10 broken into pieces.
Ginger 1 inch piece, grated.
Curry leaves.
Turmeric 1/4 teaspoon.
Salt to taste.

  1. Slightly warm both the rice and dal in a kadai.
  2. Pressure cook the rice and dal after adding 6 cups of water.
  3. In a heavy bottomed kadai, heat 2 tablespoons of ghee. Fry the cashewnut pieces and set aside.
  4. Now add pepper, cumin seeds, grated ginger and curry leaves to the ghee along with a pich of turmeric.
  5. Mash the cooked dal and rice mixture well and add to the kadai. Add salt to taste.
  6. Mix well so that the cooked mixture, salt and the seasoning blend well. Add cashewnut pieces in the end and mix
  7. Serve hot with chutney or an accompaniment of your choice.

Kashi Halwa

This is a simple sweet made from a very healthy vegetable - the white pumpkin. In Ayurveda, the ancient system of healing in India, pumpkin occupies a very special place of prominence. By drinking the juice of pumpkin on an empty stomach in the morning, joint pains can be alleviated.


White pumpkin grated 2 cups.
Sugar 1 cup.
Kesar or Lemon Yellow Colour a pinch
Saffron strands soaked in a tablespoon of milk; a few.
Ghee 2 tablespoons.
Almonds and cashew nuts chopped into small pieces 2 tablespoons.


  1. Pressure cook the grated pumpkin till one whistle. Do not add water to the pumpkin.
  2. Allow it to cool. Then squeeze out the water from the pumpkin and keep aside.
  3. Measure the squeezed out pulp. It it is 2 cups, take exactly 1/2 the quantity i.e. 1 cup of sugar.
  4. Add the sugar to the squeeze out water and place on medium flame in a heavy bottomed kadai.
  5. Once the sugar has melted, add the squeezed pumpkin into the kadai.
  6. Cook on slow fire till halwa consistency is reached. Keep stirring in between.
  7. Add the colour when the pumpkin is 3/4th cooked.
  8. The halwa is done when it starts sticking to the vessel.
  9. Now add the ghee and mix well. Also add the saffron strands soaked in milk.
  10. Switch off the stove. Add cardamom powder and the fried nuts. Mix well. Serve hot or cold.

Variation: 1/4 cup of crumbled koa can be added when the pumpkin is 3/4 cooked.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


This is a a very popular Kerala dish. It is a stew that can be had with rice or as a side dish/vegetable. For novelty, one can even have it with chappathis too. This dish is usually prepared with either yellow or white pumpkin. This recipe uses a combinatin of both varieties as a tasty deviation.


A mixture of yellow and white pumpkins cut into 1-1/2 inch long pieces 2 cups.
Grated fresh coconut 1-1/2 - 2 cups.
Green chillies slit vertically 3-4.
Coconut oil 1-1/2 tablespoons.
Salt as per taste.
Curry leaves for garnish.


Add lukewarm water to the grated coconut. Run it in a blender and extract thick coconut milk. This is the first extract.
Repeat the process two more times to get the second and third extracts.
Boil the cut pieces of pumpkin in the watery third coconut milk extract till it is 3/4 th cooked.
Now add the slit green chillies, salt as needed and the second extract and cook for a few minutes till the veggies are fully cooked.
At this point mix 3/4 teaspoon of cornflour or rice flour in 1/2 cup of water without lumps and add it to the gravy to thicken it.
Finally, add the thick first extract of coconut milk. Allow it to boil and immediately remove it from fire.
Add a tablespoon of coconut oil and curry leaves and close the vessel with a tight lid to preserve the aroma.
Tip: The quantity of green chillies can be varied according to one's tolerance. Generally this is a bland dish, not spicy at all.

Pepper Rasam

The Upanishads, the ancient spiritual literature of India, describe God as "Raso vai saha". Translated, this means that the Divine is present in all things as their essence. Rasa or rasam therefore means the quintessential component of any cuisine. The following recipe is a spicy concoction from the Tamil cuisine, learnt from my mother-in-law. During a cold or on a cold wintry evening, there is no subsitute for this fiery- soury Milagu rasam. In its anglicized version it goes by the name Mulligatawny soup. The famous Revered Swami Vivekananda is known to have been an adept at preparing it.


Pepper(milagu) 1 teaspoon.
Jeera(cumin seeds) 1 teaspoon.
Coriander seeds 2 teaspoons.
Red chillies 3-4.
Curry leaves 12-15.
Tamarind of a size of a lemon.
Tomatoes 2-3 medium sized.
Toor dal/Togaribele/Tovaram paruppu 1 teaspoon.
Turmeric a pinch.
Salt to taste.
Coriander leaves for garnish.


Roast in a little oil the pepper, cumin, coriander seeds, red chillies and curry leaves till they give out a good aroma.
Grind the above ingredients into a coarse paste adding little water.
Prepare Tamarind water by soaking the tamarind in water for about 1/2 hour. To the pulp add 2 tumblers of water.
Place it on the stove in a container. Add a little turmeric, 1 teaspoon of Toor dal, the ground paste, asafoetida and salt. Bring it to boil.
Now cook the tomato in water and make a puree by churning with an egg beater. Add this tomato water to the boiling rasam.
If needed, optionally, cooked garlic flakes(1 or 2 pods) can be added also.
A tiny bit of jaggery can also be added if desired.
Boil the rasam for about 15 minutes.
Add seasoning of mustard seeds, red chilly, cumin seeds, and asafoetida in ghee.
Add finely cut coriander leaves for garnish.
Serve hot with rice and appalam. It can also be drunk as a soup.