Besan Cheela| Pudla| Savoury Gram Flour Pancakes

When you think about pancakes, the picture that almost always comes to mind is that of a stack of pillowy, sweet discs, topped with loads of maple syrup or honey, sometimes with whipped cream and fresh fruits. There are, however, SO MANY other variety of pancakes out there! Today, I’m going to share with you all one such pancake recipe – Savoury Gram Flour Pancakes, more commonly known in North India as Besan Cheela. The Gujaratis know these as Pudla.

So, what exactly is a pancake?

A pancake is a cake – thick or thin – made on a griddle or pan of some sort. Batter, either sweet or savoury, is poured over a pan and allowed to cook. The batter may be of the instant variety – prepared just before cooking the pancakes – or it may be readied in advance and allowed to ferment.

Pancake varieties from around the world

Different countries have different versions of pancakes. The sweet pancakes described above are hugely popular in the USA, for instance. Then there are French Crepes, Italian Crespelle and Farinata, Vietnamese Banh Xeo, Jewish Potato Latke, Malaysian Apam Balik and Banana Roti from Thailand.

India has several varieties of pancakes too. Pudla or Besan Cheela, as mentioned above, Appam and Pathiri from Kerala, Patishapta from West Bengal, Dosa, Adai and Uttappam from Tamilnadu, Pesarettu and Sarvapindi from Andhra Pradesh, Alle Belle from Goa and Pitha from the North-East are some examples.

More about Besan Cheela or Pudla

These Besan Cheela or Pudla are savoury pancakes, extremely delicious ones at that. They are made with gram flour aka besan (usually powdered split Bengal gram or chana dal), which is slightly different from chickpea flour or garbanzo flour (powdered black or white chickpeas). I believe besan and chickpea flour can be used interchangeably, but I have never used the latter. Besan is what is commonly available in India, and is used in a variety of sweet and savoury dishes.

Coming back to the Besan Cheela or Pudla, they are super easy to make and quite nutritious too, full of the goodness of gram flour. Here, I have added veggies too, to make them more flavourful and healthy. These gram flour pancakes are completely vegetarian and gluten-free. I have used some curd here, but you can skip it completely in case you want to prepare a vegan version.

Savoury Gram Flour Pancakes for Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge

This post is brought to you in association with Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge, a fantastic group of food bloggers that I’m part of. Members of the group cook as per a pre-determined theme every month. We form pairs, and each pair exchanges two ingredients which should be used in the dish. Isn’t that so very interesting?

The theme for the group this month is ‘Pancakes’, wherein all of us are presenting different types. The theme was suggested by Archana of The Mad Scientist’s Kitchen. Archana has a wonderful blog, full of recipes for healthy foods, traditional Goan dishes and various baked confections. Her Mango Fool recipe has been on my to-do list for quite some time now, as has her Kande Pohe and Chana Cho Ros.

Archana happens to be my partner for the month too, and she assigned me the ingredients ‘gram flour’ and ‘onions’ to work with. I chose to use them in these Savoury Gram Flour Pancakes. You must check out the gorgeous, fluffy Japanese Souffle Pancakes Archana made using the two secret ingredients I gave her – vanilla and milk!

How to make Besan Cheela aka Pudla or Savoury Gram Flour Pancakes

Here’s how I go about it.

Ingredients (makes about 10 pancakes):

  1. 1 cup gram flour (besan)
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  4. Red chilli powder to taste
  5. 1/2 cup thick curd
  6. 1 small onion
  7. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
  8. 1 small carrot
  9. 1 small snack pepper
  10. 3/4 to 1 cup water
  11. Oil, as needed to make the pancakes
  12. Tomato ketchup, as needed to serve the pancakes (optional)


1. Take the gram flour in a big mixing bowl. Add in the salt, red chilli powder and turmeric powder.

2. Chop the onion finely. Reserve some chopped onions for garnishing later. Add the rest to the mixing bowl.

3. Reserve some chopped coriander for garnishing later. Add in the rest to the mixing bowl.

4. Peel and grate the carrot. Reserve some for garnishing later and add the rest to the mixing bowl.

5. Chop the snack pepper finely. Add to the mixing bowl.

6. Add the curd to the mixing bowl too.

7. Now, add 3/4 to 1 cup water to make a lump-free batter that has a pourable consistency. The batter should be runny, but not watery. Let the batter sit, covered, for 10-15 minutes.

8. When the batter has rested, we will start making the pancakes. Place a heavy pan on high flame and get it nice and hot. Now, turn the flame down to medium. Pour a ladle full of the batter in the centre of the pan. Spread it out using the back of the ladle. Drizzle some oil all around the pancake. Cook till the pancake starts browning on the bottom and appears mostly done on the top. Take care to ensure that it does not burn. At this stage, flip over the pancake and cook for about a minute on the other side. Now, transfer to a serving plate.

9. Drizzle some tomato ketchup over the pancake (optional). Garnish with the leftover grated carrot and finely chopped coriander and onion. Serve immediately.

10. Prepare pancakes from all the batter in a similar fashion.

Tips & Tricks

1. Use curd that is sour but not overly so. I used home-made thick curd.

2. I have used home-made tomato ketchup here. You can use a store-bought version, instead, too.

3. Adjust the quantity of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the pancake batter.

4. I have used a snack pepper from Gourmet Garden here. Gourmet Garden is a farm that grows zero-pesticide vegetables and greens hydroponically, and delivers all over Bangalore. I have been using some of their veggies, and marvelling at how very fresh and delicious they are. To read my review of Gourmet Garden produce, on Instagram, head here. I would highly suggest you check them out! Use my code TGND30 to get a 30% discount on your first order with Gourmet Garden!

5. You may use finely chopped capsicum instead of the snack pepper.

6. Finely chopped green chillies can be added to the batter too. I chose to use red chilli powder instead.

7. The turmeric and red chilli powder in the batter can be substituted with dried Italian herbs. You may or may not use the curd in this case, making the batter entirely with water.

8. Some people add a little baking soda or Eno Fruit Salt to make the pancakes softer. I don’t.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!


Masala Khichdi| Toor Dal Khichdi

The recipe I’m about to share today is for Masala Khichdi, literally a hug in a bowl.

Khichdi, aka comfort food

Khichdi ranks high in my list of comfort foods. A warm bowl of well-made khichdi, preferably drizzled with a little ghee, is as soothing to me as a warm hug from a loved one. There’s something about the simplicity of khichdi that makes it comfort food for not just me, but so many Indians across the globe, something that speaks to their hearts, isn’t it? So, how do I not turn to khichdi when the entire world is in a state of turmoil now, over the Corona crisis? I made this Masala Khichdi for lunch a few days ago and, as always, it helped smooth my fraying nerves.

Masala Khichdi, my way

While khichdi can be made using any variety of rice, I prefer using basmati for this particular Masala Khichdi. It is a simple affair, sans any veggies, with just onions and tomatoes going in. It is a very flavourful thing, though, ginger-garlic paste and assorted spices giving it a whole lot of oomph.

This Masala Khichdi is served with tempered ghee drizzled on top, which is the ‘cherry on the cake’. It makes the khichdi all the more fragrant and flavourful.

This is a completely vegetarian recipe. Skip the ghee to make it vegan or plant-based – not really recommended, but the khichdi will still taste great without it.

Skip the asafoetida used in the tempering to make it gluten-free. Most commercial brands of asafoetida do contain some amount of wheat flour and are, hence, best avoided when one is on a gluten-free diet. However, if you do find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, you can definitely use it.

One last note of caution – if the garam masala and other spices you are using in the khichdi are store-bought, don’t forget to check the labels for the ingredients used therein. Do make sure they meet your dietary requirements.

#CookingWithRice for Foodie Monday Blog Hop

The Foodie Monday Blog Hop is a group of food bloggers who showcase recipes as per a pre-determined theme, every week. The theme this Monday is #CookingWithRice, and all of us are posting different types of dishes cooked using rice. I chose to share the Masala Khichdi, an all-time favourite rice dish at our place, for the theme.

This week’s theme was suggested by Narmadha of Nam’s Corner, who has a great collection of traditional Tamilnadu recipes, baked items and fusion foods. I’m loving the sound of her Ghee Rice, Peanut Rice and Beetroot Rice, and can’t wait to try them out! Btw, you must definitely check her blog out!

Before we head to the Masala Khichdi recipe, let me tell you about some other khichdi versions on my blog.

Here you go:

~ Broccoli & Baby Corn Khichdi

~ Palak Dal Khichdi

~ Sama Rice Khichdi

~ Kashmiri Black Moth Dal Khichdi

~ Chatpati Vegetable Khichdi

How to make Masala Khichdi

Here’s how I make the Masala Khichdi.

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

  1. 3/4 cup basmati rice
  2. 1/4 cup toor dal
  3. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  4. 4-5 cloves of garlic
  5. 1 medium-sized onion
  6. 1 medium-sized tomato
  7. 2-3 slit green chillies
  8. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  9. Salt to taste
  10. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  11. 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
  12. 3/4 teaspoon amchoor powder or to taste
  13. 1/2 tablespoon jaggery powder
  14. Red chilli powder to taste
  15. 1/2 tablespoon kasoori methi
  16. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander

For tempering:

  1. 1 tablespoon ghee
  2. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  3. 2 dry red chillies
  4. 2 pinches of asafoetida


1. Wash the basmati rice thoroughly under running water. Drain out all the water. Transfer the drained rice to a wide vessel and add in 2-1/4 glasses of water. Pressure cook on high flame for 3 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.

2. Wash the toor dal well under running water. Drain and transfer to a wide vessel. Add in about 1/2 cup water or just enough to cover the dal fully. Pressure cook on high flame for 5-6 whistles or till the dal is well done. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. Meanwhile, chop the onion and tomato finely. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Keep ready.

4. Peel the ginger and garlic cloves. Chop roughly. Grind the ginger and garlic together, using a little water. Keep ready.

5. When pressure releases, get the cooked rice and toor dal out. Gently mash the cooked toor dal.

6. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a pan. Saute the chopped onion on medium flame till it browns, 1-2 minutes.

7. Now, add the ginger-garlic paste and slit green chillies to the pan, along with the chopped tomato, a little salt and water. Cook on medium flame till tomato turns mushy, 1-2 minutes.

8. Add in the cooked toor dal, salt to taste, turmeric powder, garam masala, amchoor, red chilli powder to taste and jaggery powder. Add water as needed to adjust consistency. I usually add about 3/4 cup as I like my khichdi runny. Mix well. Cook on medium flame for 2 minutes.

9. Add cooked rice. Mix well. Taste and adjust spices and salt. Add more water if needed. Cook for a minute on medium flame. Switch off gas.

10. Crush 1/2 tablespoon kasoori methi between your palms. Add to the pan. Add in the finely chopped fresh coriander.

11. Now, we will prepare the tempering. Heat the ghee in a tempering pan. Add the cumin seeds, dry red chillies and asafoetida. Let them stay in for 2 seconds, then add to the khichdi in the pan. Mix well. Your Masala Khichdi is ready to serve. Serve hot with curd or raita of your choice.

Tips & Tricks

1. I have used basmati rice to make this Masala Khichdi, but you can use any other variety of rice you prefer.

2. I cook the rice and toor dal separately – as opposed to dumping everything in a pressure cooker – because they need different cooking times.

3. You can add in more vegetables to the Masala Khichdi if you so prefer. I have used only tomato and onion here.

4. Lemon juice can be used in place of the amchoor.

5. I do the tempering at the very end so that the Masala Khichdi stays fragrant with ghee. You can use lesser or more ghee in the tempering, as per personal taste preferences.

6. Make sure the rice and toor dal are well-cooked, before adding them to the pan.

7. You can use more green chillies and avoid the red chilli powder completely. I prefer using a mix of green chillies and red chilli powder in the Masala Khichdi.

8. You may skip the jaggery completely, if you do not prefer it. I would, however, highly recommend it, as it beautifully rounds out the flavours of the Masala Khichdi.

9. Moong dal can be used in place of toor dal. In that case, you can cook the rice and dal together, since moong dal cooks faster than toor dal.

10. I have served this khichdi with thick curd, lightly salted and sweetened with jaggery powder, topped with some coarse roasted cumin powder.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Thakkali Kai Kootu| Green Tomato Gravy

Presenting Thakkali Kai Kootu, a recipe from our family kitty

Do you cook with raw tomatoes? You know, those hard, green ones, which may or may not be speckled with red? There’s no ‘squish’ to them, as in case of a ripe tomato, but they do have a fresh, earthy feel to them and a beautiful tart flavour.

Green tomatoes! Aren’t they beautiful?!

I’m here today to tell you about something absolutely delicious we make using these raw tomatoes, called Thakkali Kai or Pacchai Tomato in Tamil. Read on for my family recipe for Thakkali Kai Kootu or Tamilnadu-style green tomato gravy!

Thakkali Kai Kootu aka Tamilnadu-style Green Tomato Gravy

Thakkali Kai Kootu for the win!

This Thakkali Kai Kootu is a specialty of my maternal uncle’s, who is a wonderful cook. I’m not a big fan of tomatoes, really, but this kootu happens to be one of my most favourite things. This is a heritage Tamilnadu recipe, very simple to prepare, but very delicious!

The green tomatoes lend a unique tartness to the kootu. A special paste made using roasted spices and coconut goes into the kootu too, which makes it supremely fragrant and flavourful. Served hot with rotis or rice, this Thakkali Kai Kootu is comfort in a bowl.

Is this Thakkali Kai Kootu vegan and gluten-free?

This is a completely vegetarian and vegan preparation, one that is suitable for someone on a plant-based diet.

Skip the asafoetida used in the tempering, and you can easily make it gluten-free as well. This is because most Indian brands of asafoetida include wheat flour to some extent, and should therefore be avoided in case one is following a gluten-free diet. However, if you can find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, you can definitely use it.

How to prepare Thakkali Kai Kootu or Green Tomato Gravy

Here’s how we go about making this kootu.
Ingredients (serves 6):

1. 4 medium-sized green tomatoes

2. 1/2 cup moong dal

3. Salt to taste

4. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

5. 1 teaspoon + 1/2 tablespoon oil

6. 1 tablespoon coriander seeds

7. 1-1/2 tablespoons chana dal

8. 2 tablespoons fresh grated coconut

9. 4-5 dry red chillies

10. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

11. 2 pinches of asafoetida

12. 1 sprig fresh curry leaves

13. Red chilli powder to taste (optional)


Top: Step 1, Bottom Left: Step 2, Bottom Right: Step 3

1. Wash the moong dal well under running water. Drain out all the water. Transfer to a wide vessel.

2. Chop the green tomatoes. Add these to the vessel.

3. Add about 1/2 cup water to the vessel, along with a little salt and the turmeric powder. Pressure cook on high flame for 4 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.

Top left and right: Steps 4 and 5, Bottom left and right: Steps 6 and 7

4. In the meantime, heat 1 teaspoon oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Reduce heat to medium. Add in the coriander seeds, chana dal and dry red chillies. Roast on medium flame for about 2 minutes or till the dal starts turning brown and begins to emit a lovely fragrance. Stir intermittently and make sure the ingredients do not burn.

5. Add the grated coconut to the pan at this stage. Roast on medium flame for about a minute more or till the chana dal turns a nice golden brown. Again, stir intermittently and avoid burning of the ingredients.

6. When done, transfer the roasted ingredients to a plate. Allow them to cool down fully.

7. When completely cooled down, grind the roasted ingredients together to a paste, using a little water. Keep aside.

Top left and right: Steps 8 and 9, Centre left and right: Steps 10 and 11, Bottom left: Step 12, Bottom right: The kootu when it has thickened and is ready

8. When the pressure from the cooker has fully gone down, get the cooked tomatoes and moong dal out. Mash them gently – not too much. Keep aside.

9. In the same pan we used earlier, heat 1/2 tablespoon oil. Add in the mustard, and allow to sputter. Now, add in the curry leaves and asafoetida. Allow them to stay in for a couple of seconds.

10. Lower flame to medium. Add the cooked tomatoes and moong dal to the pan.

11. Add in salt to taste and the paste we added earlier. Mix well. Taste and add red chilli powder if needed, otherwise skip. If the mixture is too thick, you can add in water too, as required.

12. Cook on medium flame for 2-3 minutes, or till the mixture thickens up and comes together nicely. Stir intermittently. Switch off gas when the mixture is still a bit runny – it thickens up further upon cooling. Your Pacchai Tomato Kootu is ready. Serve hot or warm with rice or rotis.

Tips & Tricks

1. Use firm, raw tomatoes that do not have any softness to them. The tomatoes should be fully green, green with bits of red, or red and yellow, but do make sure that they are unripe.

2. I used green tomatoes from Gourmet Garden, a farm that grows zero-pesticide vegetables and greens hydroponically. I have been using some of their veggies, and have been loving how fresh and lovely they are. They deliver all over Bangalore – do check them out! Read my review of Gourmet Garden produce, on Instagram, here. Use my code TGND30 to get a 30% discount on your first order with Gourmet Garden!

3. Make sure the roasted ingredients do not burn. Let them cool down fully before grinding.

4. I have used a mix of the hot Salem Gundu dry red chillies and the milder Bydagi dry red chillies here. You can use any variety you prefer.

5. If you feel the spiciness from the dry red chillies is not enough, you can add in a bit of red chilli powder. However, that is perfectly optional.

6. Make sure you keep the Thakkali Kai Kootu a little runny. It thickens up on cooling.

7. Adjust the amount of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the kootu you require.

8. Make sure the moong dal is fully cooked before adding it to the pan.

9. Adjust the quantity of coconut you use as per personal taste preferences.

10. Sesame oil (nalla ennai) or coconut oil (thengai ennai) works best in the making of this kootu.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Rose And Strawberry Lassi| Strawberry Yogurt Smoothie

Strawberries are in season now. I got a packet of Mahabaleshwar strawberries recently, and decided to use them to make some lassi. The Rose And Strawberry Lassi I churned up turned out just perfect, sweet and tangy, cool and refreshing. Considering the rising temperature in Bangalore lately, it’s just the thing to make!

Rose And Strawberry Lassi

What is lassi?

Lassi is a very Indian drink, with curd being the main ingredient. It has a thickish consistency, and is usually served chilled.

There are innumerable permutations and combinations possible with lassi – one can go as far as one’s creativity reaches! Broadly speaking, though, the drink can fall into any of these two categories:

~ Namkeen Lassi, i.e. salted lassi, which is a blend of curd, salt and various spices.

~ Meethi Lassi, i.e. sweet lassi, in which curd is blended with sugar. Usually, some kind of fruit is added to this kind of lassi.

Rose And Strawberry Lassi for Foodie Monday Blog Hop

The Foodie Monday Blog Hop group that I’m part of is celebrating lassi this week. The members of this group showcase recipes based on a pre-determined theme every Monday, which, this week, happens to be #CoolLassi. I zeroed in upon this Rose And Strawberry Lassi after much deliberation.

I love how the natural sweetness and tanginess of the strawberries blend with the sourness of curd, here. The hint of rose in the lassi makes it all the more refreshing and lovely.

Mayuri, the very talented blogger at Mayuri’s Jikoni, suggested this theme. Her blog is a repository of several traditional Gujarati dishes, beautifully executed fusion foods and delectable baked goodies, among other things – you should definitely check it out! Her Gujarati Magas, Methi Muthia Tuvar Nu Shaak and Raswala Muthiya have my heart. Her Namkeen Chocolate Bark, Beetroot Ammini Kozhukattai and Thandai Makhana Phirni are some examples of her creative fusion cooking, which I would love to try out some time.

How to make Rose And Strawberry Lassi

The steps in the making of the lassi follow.

This is a completely vegetarian recipe, one that is gluten-free as well.

Ingredients (serves 4):

1. 2 cups thick curd, chilled
2. 4-5 drops rose essence
3. 4 tablespoons sugar or as needed
4. 1/4 cup chilled water
5. 10-12 big strawberries, about 1-1/2 cup when chopped + a couple more for garnishing (optional)
6. Dried rose petals, as needed, for garnishing


1. Wash strawberries well under running water. Remove the tops from them and chop into large pieces.
2. Transfer the chopped strawberries into a mixer jar. Add in the rose essence, curd, sugar and chilled water.
3. Grind everything together to a smooth texture.
4. Pour into serving glasses. Your Rose And Strawberry Lassi is ready to serve. Serve immediately.

Tips & Tricks

1. Store-bought or home-made rose syrup can be used in place of rose essence. In that case, you might want to cut down on the quantity of sugar you use.
2. Adjust the quantity of sugar you use, depending upon the sweetness or sourness of the curd and strawberries you use.
3. Use ripe, sweet and juicy strawberries for best results.
4. Ice cubes can be used in place of chilled water.
5. Use curd that is mildly sour – not overly so – for best results.
6. The curd I used was very thick, so I used 1/4 cup chilled water to dilute it to pouring consistency. Adjust the quantity of chilled water or ice cubes you use, depending upon the consistency of the lassi you require.
7. Make sure the curd and water you use are chilled, for best results.
8. You can skip the rose syrup or essence fully, if you so prefer.
9. You may garnish the lassi with a few chopped strawberries if you so prefer. That is completely optional.
10. Serve the Rose And Strawberry Lassi immediately, once it is ready.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Orange Thol Gojju| Orange Peel Relish

Oranges are a much-loved fruit for many of us, I’m sure. However, most of us eat only the kernels of the orange and discard its peel. Did you know that orange peel is very much edible and is, in fact, full of nutrients too? Orange peel has a beautiful citrusy scent to it, the ability to add a lot of oomph to foods. I’m here today with one such recipe made using orange peel – Orange Thol Gojju!

Orange Peel Gojju!


More about this Orange Thol Gojju

Like I was saying earlier, Orange Thol Gojju is a delectable relish made using the peel from oranges. Sweet and sour and spicy, with just a hint of bitterness, this gojju makes for a great accompaniment to idlis and dosas, pongal and upma, rotis and parathas, and curd rice too. And, of course, it’s filled with the amazing, amazing scent of oranges!

This Orange Thol Gojju is a family recipe, the way my grandmother used to make it. It is a thicker version of the vattalkozhambu we make, prepared almost the same way. Not a tough task at all – it’s a very simple proceedure!

Other uses of orange peel

Orange peel is extensively used in the making of orange essence and cosmetics. It is also used in preparing candied peel, which goes into Christmas fruit cake. Apart from this, here are some interesting ways to use orange peel in your kitchen, from mine and my friends’ blogs:

So, the next time you eat some oranges, you know better than throwing away the peel, right? 🙂

How To Make Orange Thol Gojju

The detailed proceedure for making Orange Thol Gojju follows.

This is a completely vegetarian and vegan preparation, suitable to those following a plant-based diet.

To make it gluten-free, substitute the wheat flour used in the recipe for rice flour, and skip the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most commercial brands of asafoetida in India include wheat flour and, hence, are best avoided when following a gluten-free diet.

Please note that I have used home-made sambar powder here, which is completely gluten-free and plant-based. In case you are using a store-bought version, do check on the ingredients used.

Ingredients (makes about 1 cup):

1. 3 medium-sized oranges
2. A big lemon-sized ball of tamarind
3. 1 tablespoon wheat flour or rice flour
4. 1/2 tablespoon oil
5. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
6. 2 pinches of asafoetida
7. 2 dry red chillies
8. 1 sprig curry leaves
9. Salt to taste
10. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
11. Red chilli powder to taste
12. 1/2 tablespoon sambar powder or to taste
13. 2 tablespoons jaggery powder or to taste


Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Bottom left and right: Steps 3 and 4

1. Wash the oranges thoroughly. Pat dry using a cotton cloth.
2. Remove the skin from the oranges. We will be using only the orange skin in this recipe – the kernels you can consume or use as desired.
3. Using a sharp knife, scrape off all the white part from the inside of the orange peel (as shown in the picture above). Discard the white part, and retain the scraped orange peel.
4. Chop the scraped orange peel into small or large pieces, as desired.

Top: Step 5, Bottom: Step 6

5. Soak the tamarind in a little boiling water for 15-20 minutes, for it to soften. When it cools down enough to handle, extract all the juice from it. You can add in a little more water to help with the extraction. Keep aside.
6. In a small cup, mix together the wheat flour or rice flour with 2 tablespoons of water, to make a lump-free slurry. Keep aside.

Top left and right: Steps 7 and 8, Centre left and right: Steps 9 and 10, Bottom left, centre and right: Steps 11, 12 and 13

7. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the mustard seeds, and allow them to sputter. Add in the dry red chillies, asafoetida and curry leaves. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.
8. Add the chopped orange peel to the pan. Reduce the flame to medium. Cook on medium flame for 3-4 minutes or till the peel starts to soften. Stir intermittently to prevent burning.
9. Add the tamarind extract to the pan.
10. Add salt, red chilli powder and turmeric powder to the pan. Mix well. Cook on medium flame for about 2 minutes, or till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away.
11. Add about 1 cup of water to the pan, along with the sambar powder and jaggery powder. Mix well.
12. Add the wheat flour or rice flour slurry to the pan, little by little. Stir well, to prevent lumps from forming.
13. Continue to cook on medium flame for 2-3 more minutes or till the orange peel gets cooked through – it should lose its hardness, but not get too mushy. By this time, the mixture would have thickened up and the raw smell of the sambar powder would have gone. Switch off gas at this stage. The Orange Thol Gojju is ready. Serve it warm or at room temperature, with rotis, rice, upma, parathas or dosas.

Tips & Tricks

1. I used Kinnow or Kinnu oranges with soft, thin skin to make this gojju. You can use the peel from any variety of orange you prefer.
2. Make sure you scrape off all the white portion from the inside of the orange peel. Otherwise, the gojju might turn out overly bitter.
3. I have used the peel from 3 medium-sized oranges to make this gojju. You can use more or less, depending upon personal taste preferences.
4. Adjust the quantity of red chilli powder, salt, sambar powder and jaggery powder as per your taste preferences.
5. You can use either wheat flour or rice flour to make the slurry. I have used wheat flour here.
6. Make sure the slurry is free of any lumps. Add it little by little to the pan, stirring constantly to prevent the formation of lumps.
7. Adjust the quantity of water, depending upon the consistency of the Orange Thol Gojju that you require. You can even keep it runny, like a vattalkozhambu, in which case it would be an Orange Thol Vattalkozhambu, which can be eaten with plain rice.
8. If you don’t require the gojju to be thick in consistency, you can skip adding the slurry altogether.
9. I have used home-made sambar powder here. You can use a store-bought version too, instead.
10. Stop cooking the Orange Thol Gojju when it is still quite runny in consistency. It thickens up a bit upon cooling.
11. The sambar powder I use is only moderately spicy, so I have added a dash of red chilli powder to the gojju. If the sambar powder you use is quite spicy, you can avoid the red chilli powder altogether.
12. Any leftover Orange Thol Gojju can be stored refrigerated, in a clean, dry and air-tight box, for 4-5 days. Make sure the gojju has fully cooled down before transferring it to the box.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me in your comments!