Blogadda had sent me this book to review. I was extremely thrilled to receive the book. I thank Blogadda to have chosen me to review this amazing book Southern Flavours.

The first opinion as I flipped through the pages - authentic, simple and informative. Being a South Indian myself and hailing from Pallakaad, I'm familiar with some of the recipes, however, I have never prepared most of them myself. Its only when my mom is around, I get the courage to prepare some authentic South Indian dishes. I felt like I'm holding our family recipe book in my hand :-)

Southern Flavours is a collection of South Indian cuisines assorted from various parts of South India like Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. This book has a collection of recipes from her older books and about 50 new recipes, which makes this a great book.

The book is divided into various segments like Sambar & Kuzhambu, Rasam, Poriyal & Kootu, Rice, Snacks, Sweets, and Accompaniments. This makes it very easy to look for specific recipes as per need.

At the beginning of this book, various recipes of podi's such as sambar podi, rasam podi, etc are given which is the starting point of any South Indian cooking.

Moving on to Sambar & Kuzhambu, there is an array of choice provided. Its overwhelming to know there are so many types of Kuzhambu's available in a South Indian kitchen! The portions and cooking time look very precise. The steps are very easy to follow and exactly sequential. If followed correctly, one can be very sure of the success of the recipe. The Rasam's are very simple to make, yet are classics! Some Rasam's such as Mysore Rasam, Elumichampazham Rasam, and Mangalore Saar are great examples of how beautifully the dishes have been combined. The segments of Kootu has some mouthwatering recipes of Kaikari Kootu and Vazhakkai Milagu Kootu. It also has some classic Thayir Pachadi's as well.

The segment on Rice is also well written with beautiful pictures. Bissi Belle Hulli Godhi which is a Spicy Sambar with Broken Wheat dish from Karnataka is something one must try out. The snacks section has various South Indian specialities such as Kancheepuram Idli, Paruppu Adai, Pesharattu, Thayir Vadai and Moru Appam to name a few. The sweets mentioned in this book are amazing. Special mention for Chakra Pongal, Paal Payasam, Tengai Barfi to name a few. In the Accompaniments, there are some mouth watering Chutney's and Thuvayal's like Allam Pachadi, Karuvepillai Thuvayal, and Kothamalli Thuvayal.

The book also gives a couple of menu options which shows the paring of various recipes together, which I thought was a brilliant idea. Many of us may not really know which recipe goes well with each other to pull off an entire South Indian meal. Basic measurements have been given which is easy for anybody to follow. While the dishes cover a wide range from the intriguingly named "Sheela Auntie's Pulusu', a tamarind curry native to Andhra Pradesh, to Tamil Nadu's festive Vazahakai Pulli Kuzhambu which explores the delicate flesh of green plantain, there are friendly tips, too.

All in all, I think this is a fantastic book to have in any kitchen where one loves to go adventurous and loves to experiment. Being a South Indian myself, it was an eyeopener knowing the variety of food which can be prepared with simple ingredients. This book can be a very good gift for an amateur chef too. Its an ideal book for all those who wish to try out authentic South Indian dishes.

Chandra Padmanabhan, a graduate from Calcutta University, did her post graduation in education at Delhi University. She has long been associated with the publishing industry.

But it is cooking that has been her forte for nearly four decades. She is the author of three best-selling titles, Dakshin (Harper Collins), Southern Spice (Penguin), and Simply South (Westland). The last won the international GOURMAND Award for Second Best Vegetarian Cookbook in 2009.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!
On days when I'm really busy, I try to get past the cooking as fast as possible. I try not to make cooking an elaborate affair and keep it as simple as possible. The quickest thing to make on such days is a mixed vegetable rice or pulao. Its really something that you can fall back upon on days when you don't have too many vegetables or too much time!

In Maharashtra, we make something called Masala Bhath, which is very similar to Khara Bhath in Karnataka. Offlate, eating out during my lunch time, I've taken a liking to the Khara Bhath served in Adigas. Diligently, I have tried to dissect the flavors so that whenever I get an opportunity I could make it taste like that.

I made it last evening after a hectic day's work.

Khara Bhath

2 cups rice, washed, drained,
carrot, chopped,
3-4 green beans, chopped,
1/2 cup of cauliflower florets,
onion, chopped,
tomato, chopped,
1/4 cup green peas, pealed,
2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste, freshly ground,
6-7 whole cashews,
4 tbsp oil,
salt to taste

Masala - 1:
1 tsp shahi jeera,
2 bay leaves,
2 cinnamon sticks, small,
1 star anise,
badi ellachi,

Masala - 2:
1/4th cup green coriander, coarsely chopped,
1 handful of mint leaves, coarsely chopped,
4-5 green chillies,

1.) Put oil in the cooker in which you would be making the rice. Separately, grind all the ingredients of Masala - 2 and keep it aside.
2.) Add all the ingredients of Masala - 1 and wait until it releases its aroma.
3.) Add the ginger garlic paste and onions and stir fry until golden brown.
4.) Add the chopped vegetables and stir fry for 5-7 minutes.
5.) Now add the rice and stir fry for some more time.
6.) In a separate pan bring 4 cups of water to boil.
7.) Pour the boiled water in the rice and vegetable mixture.
8.) Add the ground Masala - 2 and stir well.
9.) Add salt to taste and pressure cook.
10.) Garnish with fresh coriander and cashews.
11.) Serve hot with green coriander chutney.

Khara Bhath

This is a great comfort food on a weekday for some jahtpat dinner :)

I'm sending a bowl full of this khara bhath to Let's cook - Rice event 

I always try to think of innovative ways to include fruits into my son's diet. He is quite picky with fruits. I normally try to incorporate fruits in juices, milkshakes, or into any baked product. Last weekend I picked up some very good looking pomegranates. I'll be honest, I was tempted to take some pictures for my photo blog. Today, I picked up the camera and went on a clicking spree :)

This is one of the best pictures I took today!


Any how, post the clicking marathon what do you do with all the pomegranates in your hand? Pomegranate milkshake ofcourse :)

Pomegranate Milkshake - 1

1 cup pomegranates,
1/2 cup chilled milk,
1-2 tsp sugar,

1.) Blend the pomegranates, sugar and milk in a blender.
2.) Remove and strain through a seive to remove the seeds.
3.) Pour into a glass. Decorate with pomegranates and serve chilled.

Pomegranate Milkshake - 2

This was just in time for my son to have once he was back from school :)

I feel like a newbie all over again. I've not updated this blog for more than 2 years now. Its just that my schedule has become pretty hectic now. But I've made a promise to myself to update atleast 1 post per week.

In this post, I'm sharing my Walnut Brownie recipe with you. Its the most amazing recipe I have and I have always received overwhelming response from all my customers for this one. Since its New Years, I decided to make Walnut Brownies instead of the regular cakes or cookies.

Walnut Brownie - 2

80 gms cooking butter,
150 gms dark cooking chocolate, broken into pieces,
120 gms castor sugar,
1 tsp vanilla essence,
80 gms flour,
20 gms cocoa powder,
1/2 tsp baking powder,
1/4 cup roasted walnuts, coarsely chopped,

1.) Preheat the oven to 175 degrees, for 10 mins.
2.) Grease a baking tin ( 9 x 9 inch) with butter and line with butter paper.
3.) Stir the butter and chocolate in a saucepan over a bowl of boiling water till melted. Set aside to cool a little.
4.) Beat the eggs together with the sugar. Add the vanilla essence and continue to beat until fluffy.
5.) Sieve the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder.
6.) Mix the melted chocolate mixture with the beaten eggs and sugar till evenly blended.
7.) Fold in the flour mixture slowly.
8.) Add half of the chopped walnuts and mix well.
9.) Pour into the greased and lined baking tin. Sprinkle the remaining walnuts and bake till the knife comes out clean.
10.) Cool and cut into squares.

Walnut Brownie - 1

This can be served as is or with vanilla ice-cream and lots of chocolate sauce drizzled over it. Either ways it tastes yum.

I also have a photo blog to my credit. You can check out some pics that I have put up there.

Happy New Year!

PS: This post goes out to Vardhini's Bake Fest hosted by Pradnya this month, ABC Series - Desserts, Chocolate Lover, Cooking Concepts - Chocolate Fest, and Chocolate Mela

The old year went by in a jiffy. The New Year is already here. If I look back, I think 2011 was a good year, both personally and professionally. I have overcome many fears, inhibitions, sadness, anger, and reached a state of calmness. I traveled a lot and made many new friends. I learnt how to believe in friendship and how to believe in the power of love. I met some very interesting people who taught me how to trust another human being once again.

On the professional front, I broke all records. I'm proud of myself, because though I didn't know I had so much potential, I knew I could push myself to achieve more. I did what I believed was the right thing to do. It did pay off!!! All in all a fantastic year!

For 2012, professionally, I have set higher goals for myself and personally some desires...

Here's wishing everyone a fantastic year ahead. More power to all you wonderful girls out there...