Karela Pitlai

Bitter Gourd Pitlai

The bitter gourd (karela in Hindi or pagarkai in Tamil) is a veggie that usually inspires people to extreme love or extreme distaste. It is no star looks-wise, with a warty, bumpy green skin and big flat seeds. But it is the taste, evident in the name, that evokes the strongest passions.In India, bitter gourd…

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Vegan Palak Paneer

Vegan Palak Paneer | South Indian Lemon Rice

Palak Paneer is a popular North Indian dish that is on the vegetarian menu of just about every Indian restaurant. But for those of us who are vegans, this rich and spicy spinach-based dish comes with a catch – the cubes of deep-fried Paneer, or Indian cheese, puts it on our list of can’t-haves. Enter…

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Coconut Rice,

South Indian Coconut Rice

Whenever Desi and I would visit Madras, we almost always got swept up by relatives into a tour of various temples, including Sholingar and Thirupathi. Both Desi and I are not temple-goers, and my in-laws, I think, were hoping that those whirlwind tours, packed with as many deities as possible, would make up for all…

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Cabbage Kootu

Cabbage Kootu

My husband, Desi, was born and raised in Madras (or Chennai, although he insists on calling it Madras still) in a very traditional family. But when we got married, his parents and six siblings were more than welcoming to the new daughter-in-law even though she had short hair, didn’t wear saris and didn’t speak a…

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