Sunday, September 30, 2012

A simple, home cooked south-Indian meal in 60 minutes

This post is a Sunday lunch I cooked almost two months back. So, what is special about this menu?
For one, this menu is simple and was done in sixty minutes. This exact menu used to take me almost three hours a couple of years back.
The second is the enormous time I took to writing this blog J I am not kidding here. My co-blogger and best friend, Aparna, is almost ready to oust me from this blog site for all the delays.
I hope all of you will try this menu in its entirety or some of the items from here. Enjoy the sappadu.
(From L to R - Rasam, Vathal Kzhumabu, Yogurt, Carrot salad, Baby Watermelon curry, Bitter gourd curry, and Potato curry. Rice, dal, ghee, and papad in the middle.)

For the rice and dal
Rice – 2 cups
Water – 5 to 6 cups
Toor dal – 1 ladel
Turmeric powder – a pinch

Wash the rice nicely to remove any impurities. Add 5 to 6 cups  of water to the washed rice. Take about a two glasses of water in the pressure cooker. Place the rice vessel inside the cooker. Cover with a lid. In a small hollow plate take toor dal, add a pinch of turmeric powder and water. Place it inside the cooker and close the lid. Place the cooker weight and cook for three whistles.

For the Vathal Kzhumabu and dal rasam
Vathal Kzhumabu:
Tamarind juice – 2 cups
Drumsticks – 4 to 6 pcs
Sambhar Powder – 2 or 3 tbsp
Fenugreek powder – a pinch
Salt to taste
Gingely oil – 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds  – 1 tsp
Peanuts or channa dal – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – 2 or 3

Heat oil in a kadai, add mustard seeds and allow it to splutter. Add the channa dal or peanuts and the curry leaves. Add drumsticks and the sambhar powder, salt, and fenugreek powder. Sauté well. Add the tamarind juice, stir well. Allow it to boil for about twenty minutes or until the gravy thickens. Remove from stove.

Dal rasam:
Tamarind juice – 1 cup
Tomato – 1
Sambhar powder – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Asafetida – a pinch
Coriander leaves – 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1tsp
Cooked toor dal – ½ ladel

Boil the tamarind juice, diced tomato, sambhar powder, salt, and asafetida. Boil until the tomato and tamarind are well cooked. Mash the cooked toor dal with a spoon or your hands and add 1 cup of water. Add it to the boiling rasam and wait for it to froth, roughly about two minutes. Remove from stove. In a sauce pan, add a teaspoon of oil and add mustard seeds. Allow it to splutter and pour it in the rasam Add coriander leaves.

For the vegetables
Potatoes – 4 medium sized finely cut
Baby watermelon (Kovakkai)  – ½ lb or 2 cups thinly cut
Bitter Gourd – 1 or 2 thinly cut
Carrot – 2 grated

Vegetable oil – 4 to 6 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 2 tsp

Salt to taste
Asafetida – ½ tsp
Red chilli powder – 2 tbsp
Green chilli – 1 or 2 finely cut
Lime juice – 2 tbsp

Three sauce pans with lids
Three stove tops

Take a saucepan, heat 2 tbsp oil. Add the diced potatoes, salt, asafetida and red chilli powder. Cover the saucepan and keep the stove at medium flame. This takes about 8 to 10 minutes to cook.

Take another saucepan, heat 2 tbsp oil. Add mustard seeds and allow it to splutter. Spoon out half the spluttered mustard into another bowl. To the rest of the mustard seeds, add the cut baby watermelon, salt, asafetida and red chilli powder. Mix well and add ½ of water. Cover the saucepan with a lid and allow it to cook on high flame. Add more water if needs be. Remove from stove when fully cooked and the water is absorbed completely. This takes about 15 minutes to cook.
  v  Baby watermelon takes a long time to cook and hence cooking on high flame with a covered lid is faster.

Take a saucepan, heat 2 tbsp oil. Add the thinly cut bitter gourd, salt, asafetida and red chilli powder. Cover the saucepan and keep the stove at medium flame. This takes about 8 to 10 minutes to cook.

In the bowl you have spooned out the spluttered mustard, add the grated carrot, green chillies, salt and lime juice. Mix well.

Appalam or pappad

Roast pappads in a microwave for about a minute. Add a cup of yogurt to the meal. This meal was for two adults. I have made the same for 4 to 8 adults by increasing the ingredients accordingly, but it still takes almost the same time.

Enjoy your simple home cooked food hot with your family.

Time calculation: The rice and dal takes 20 minutes, the vathal kzhumabu and rasam another twenty and the vegetables take another twenty. The important thing here is doing things simultaneously. A few years back, when I started cooking, I just could not do things together. I would do each dish individually—essentially I used only one stovetop at a time. Over the years, I have learnt to use all the four stovetops, thus reducing my cooking time considerably.


  1. such a sumptious platter... looks delicious.... grt effort... you can link this meal to my evnt...

    Inviting to join Ongoing Events
    Let's Party - Prasadam Special
    Taste Of Tropics - Authentic Indian Platter

  2. Thanks Ezcookbook. I have linked this post to your event.

  3. What Complete meal under 60 mins....

  4. Thanks dear ...but can u please link it again to this link as both events are is here given below...

  5. There is nothing like south Indian food. Period!

  6. Thanks Veena and Renuka. Ezcookbook I'll surely link the post again.

  7. That's a lot of food in 60 mins. I am in awe of the dishes on this plate, and will surely try them one by one.
    Love Ash.

  8. Thanks Ash. Do try them, they are yummy and easy as stated:)

  9. Omg, beautifully done, such a wonderful spread.

  10. Yummy combo meal looks tempting

  11. Delicious items in the inviting.

  12. wow! i love love love vathal kuzhambu. Love this fast track meal

  13. Thanks Ruchira. Do try it sometime.