Homemade All Purpose Cleaner


Vinegar - 1/2 cup
Borax - 2 tbspn
Liquid dish soap or castile soap - 2 tbspn
Orange oil or tea tree oil or eucalyptus oil or lavander oil - 10 drops

Dissolve borax in 1/2 a cup of hot water.Pour it in a spray bottle along with other ingredients. Top off with cold water & store it in a dry place.  Essential oil , borax & vinegar acts as disinfectant. Vinegar & soap helps to remove bodily oil & grease.  You can use this cleaner to clean bathtubs, tile & vinyl floors.  Do not use it on marble or granite surface since vinegar will etch the surface. Reduce the amount of vinegar when using on tiles.

Capsicum rice


Rice  - 1 cup
Bengal gram dhal - 3 1/2 tbspn
Black gram dhal  - 2 1/2 tbspn
Coriander seeds  - 2 tbspn
Cumin seeds  - 1/2 tbspn
Green pepper (capsicum) - 3
Onion - 1 nos
Cinnamon  - 1/2 inch
Cashews - 8 nos
Peanuts - 1 tspn
Coconut - 1 tbspn
Red chilli  - 4
Lemon - 1/2
Curry leaves
Coriander leaves for garnishing


Dry roast urad dhal, bengal gram dhal, cinnamon, 3 red chillies & cumin seeds. Powder it when it is cool. Cook the rice & spread it in a bigger vessel to cool. The rice shouldn't stick to each other. In a pan add some oil & season it with curry leaves, mustard seeds, peanuts, cashews & 1 red chilli. Saute onions & green pepper along with some turmeric powder. When the pepper gets soft add the grated coconut, salt as per taste & ground powder. Turn off the stove & mix the cooked rice. Squeeze some lemon juice & garnish with coriander leaves.

Mutter paneer masala or Mutter tofu masala


Paneer or Tofu - 1 box
Red onion  - 2
Tomato sauce - 5 tbspn
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tspn
Green chilli - 1
curry powder
Chilli powder
Cashew paste - 2 tbspn
Methi leaves or coriander leaves - for garnishing


Dice the onion & chilli finely & tofu or paneer to cubes. Fry the paneer pieces till golden brown. In a kadai heat some oil & add curry leaves, ginger garlic paste, onion & chilli one by one. Saute them for sometime & add the tomato paste, chilli powder & curry powder. Add salt to taste. Let it simmer for sometime & mix the fried paneer pieces & almond paste. Add some water if needed & cook for another 10 minutes. Garnish it with methi leaves or coriander leaves.

Chettinad Chicken

For paste
1 tspn each of coriander seeds, cumin & fennel seeds
3 no. red chillies
1" piece of cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods
2 cloves
2 tspn poppy seeds
4 tspn coconut
3 garlic
1" ginger
4 small onion or 1/4 chopped big onion

For Sauteeing
Curry leaves
Star Anise - 1
Onion - 1 large
Tomato - 2
Chilli powder - to adjust your taste
Turmuric powder
Chicken - 2 pounds or 1 kg

Dry roast all the ingredients given above for paste until it gives out a nice aroma. Grind into paste when cool.
In a pressure cooker season the curry leaves; star anise & kalpaasi. Saute the onions &  tomatoes. Add the cleaned chicken pieces & saute them with some salt till raw smell from the chicken goes off. Now add the ground paste, turmeric powder, chilli powder & saute them for 2 more minutes. Add water according to the consistency of the gravy you desire. This dish normally has a semi gravy(not too runny) consistency.  A teaspoon or two of yogurt can also be added at this stage to soften the chicken. Pressure cook in medium for 1 whistle. Open the cooker when pressure goes off and add some lemon juice & garnish it with coriander leaves. Enjoy the chicken with rice or roti. It goes well with almost anything.

Rasam powder

Red chillies - 4-5 nos
Coriander seeds - 2 tbspn
Toor dal - 1 tbspn
Channa dal - 1 tbspn
Black pepper - 2 tbspn
cumin - 2 tbspn
Turmeric - 1 1/2 tspn
Asafoetida (Hinge) - 1 tspn
Fenugreek powder (Methi seeds) - 1/4 tspn
Curry leaves

Dry all the ingredients under sun light (if possible) except for the powders & grind them till they become coarse. If you can't dry them under sun, dry roast just the curry leaves till it gets crispy & turn off the heat & add the remaining ingredients. Let them sit in the skillet  for some time. Your rasam powder is ready. The picture show above is not the actual quantity. It is just for picture purposes.

Paruppu podi

Toor dal - 1/2 cup
Black pepper - 1 tspn
Hinge - 1/2 tspn
cumin seeds - 1 tspn
red chillies - 2 nos
garlic powder -1/2 tspn
curry leaves

Dry roast all the above ingredients separately except for garlic powder. Grind the dry roasted ingredients together with salt & garlic powder. Paruppu podi is ready, so simple, isn't it? Store the podi in an airtight container. Podi will be fresh for 3-4 months. You may consume it by mixing it with rice & ghee.

Tea Masala Powder

Dry ginger powder - 2 tbspn
Black pepper - 1 tspn
Cinnamon - 1 inch
Cardamom - 1 tspn
cloves - 3 nos
Nutmeg powder - 1/2 spoon

Grind all the above ingredients together in a mixer or blender. Add 1/4 teaspoon for 2 cups while tea is boiling. Store any remaining masala powder in an air tight container for future use.

Door draft stopper

Things needed
Closely woven fabric
Pipe insulation - 2
Sewing machine

Measure the length & width of the door. Measure the diameter of the insulation. Fold the fabric lengthwise. Cut the fabric to the door's measured length plus 2 inches for seam allowance. Multiply the diameter of the insulation by 2 & add the width of the door + 1 inch for seam allowance. Measure this width from folded side & cut the fabric. Now sew the top & side of the fabric to make it into a pocket. Flip the pocket inside out. Insert the two insulation & make a stitch in the middle so that the insulation won't move back & forth.

Barley Tea

Barley tea is known as Horicha in Korea & Mugisha in Japan & China. Asians drink this tea to cleanse their blood & to calm down the nervous system. It also aids in relieving constipation & indigestion. It is made by roasting whole barley & it has toasted cereal flavor.Aside from being a popular comfort food throughout the world, barley is highly regarded for its many healthful properties. Studies have indicated that barley has the capacity to lower blood cholesterol and help moderate blood glucose levels. It is high in fiber, rich in vitamin B, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and is a source of calcium, protein, iron and phosphorus.
Roasted barley tea is a very popular hot weather beverage that’s noted for cooling down the body and cleansing the system. Barley-based teas are used as treatment for hemorrhoids, inflammatory arthritis and are believed to reduce toxicity and side-effects of radiation and chemotherapy.
For treating fever this tea should be sipped cold.For inflamed mucous membranes I find it is more soothing when taken warm. Because barley contains hordenine, a substance noted as useful treatment for asthma and bronchitis, it can help bring relief to sufferers.

Roasting Barley
Wash the whole barley in water, drain it & spread it in a towel to dry for sometime.You can roast it either in skillet or in oven. If you choose oven, spread it in a cookie sheet & put it in the oven at 350 degrees till the barley gets evenly browned. If you choose to do it in the skillet, dry roast them at medium heat till you get the desired color. The color can vary from golden brown to coffee brown. Darker the color,  stronger the flavor. After it cools down, store it in an air tight container.

Making Tea
Add 2 teaspoons of  roasted barley per liter of water & boil it. Let it steep for some time & strain the tea & drink it with honey or sugar.

Murukku / Chakli


Rice flour - 4 cups
Urad flour- 1/2 cup
Roasted split gram powder- 3/4 cup
(pottu kadalai)
Hing - 1/4 tspn
Ajwain - 1 tspn
Cumin -1 tspn
Chilli powder - 2 tspn
White sesame seeds - 1 tspn
Salt - 1 1/2 tspn or to taste
Butter - 2.tspn or 1/4 cup hot oil

Mix all the ingredients together except butter. Warm the butter or oil & add it to the mix. Make a dough with warm water. The dough should have the consistency of chappathi dough. Make the dough into equal sized kozhukattai (rounds) & cover them with wet  towel.

Put a piece of dough into the murukku press & & press them directly over the hot oil. Dough should remain covered in wet towel all the time to not let them dry. I make murukku with 1/4 cup of hot oil instead of butter while mixing the dough & there is not much difference in taste between the two. Therefore, diet conscious people can use oil instead of butter.

Kootu podi

Coriander seeds - 2 tbspn
Channa dhal - 1/4 cup
Red chilli -3 nos
Urad dhal - 1/4 cup
Cumin seeds - 2.tspn
Pepper   -  1/2 tspn
Poppy seeds - 1 tspn
Cinnamon - 1/2" piece.

Dry roast all the ingredients separately till it gets golden brown & grind them all. That is all, kootu podi is ready for use. Store it in an airtight container.This podi can be used while making mixed vegetable kootu. Please refer the recipe for the mixed vegetable kootu in this link. This podi gives nice flavor  & thickens the kootu.

Pakoda Kuzhambu


For Gravy
Onion   - 1
Tomato  - 1
Red chilli - 4 nos
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Poppy seeds - 1/2 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
Roasted channa dhal -1 tsp
Hing - a pinch
Coconut - 3 tsp

For Pakoda
Onion finely chopped - 1/2
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Hing - a pinch
Salt - to taste
Besan - 1/4 cup
Curry leaves
Coriander leaves

Dry roast all the ingredients for gravy except coconut. Let it cool. In the meantime make the pakoda by mixing all the ingredients from the "For Pakoda" section above with water. The mix should not be like a dough. It should be crumbly & should barely hold them together. Spread the pakoda mix over hot oil & fry them. You don't have to worry about shapes. Keep the pakodas aside.

Grind the roasted ingredients along with coconut. Heat some oil in a pan (you can use the fried oil as it gives nice flavor). Season it with hinge & curry leaves. Saute the ground paste & add salt & water to it. Add some tamarind juice & a pinch of sugar. When the gravy starts to boil, add the fried pakodas & simmer for another 5 minutes. Pakodas will absorb some of the gravy. So make the gravy little watery.

Oats Rava Dosa

Oats - 1 cup
Rava - 2 cups
Rice flour - 1 cup
Green chilli - 1 no
Curry leaves
Cumin - 1/2 tspn

Blend rava & oats in a blender or mixer till oats gets ground to a coarse powder. Add rice flour & other ingredients. Mix it with water & leave it for 10-20 minutes. Make the dosa as usual. You can premix rava, oats & rice flour & store it in a container. You can have delicious dosa instantly with the mix.

Homemade oxyclean

Things you need

1. Baking soda or borax-1/2 cup
2. Hydrogen peroxide-1/2 cup
3. Hot water- 1 cup

Dissolve either baking soda or borax in hot water & combine it with hydrogen peroxide. This mixture does a great job in removing stains from clothes to cleaning bathtub.You can substitute this for the chlorine bleach that you normally use. Test it in an inconspicuous area first before using.

Cleaning Silverware - Earth Friendly Way

Things you need

Aluminum foil
Baking soda
Silver wares to be cleaned.


1. Place a sheet of Aluminum foil in a pan and add a teaspoon of baking soda and enough water to soak the silver wares & boil them for few minutes.
2. Soak the silverware to be cleaned into the boiling water. Let it sit for 20 minutes or till the tarnish dislodges.

3. Ensure silverware is in contact with the Aluminum foil on all sides. You should manually turn them time to time if that is not the case.
4. Tarnish will settle down in the foil leaving silverware gleaming like new again.
5. Take the items out and rinse in cold water.Wipe them dry.

  • You can use old unused aluminum pans instead of foil.
  • You can even recycle aluminum foil boxes which you get from takeout.
  • Aluminum foil method is most helpful in cleaning smaller silver articles with patterns in them and silver jewels. You may use tooth paste for the bigger ones like plate or vessels. Rub the bigger articles with the paste (plain white paste & not the gel kind) using a sponge or nylon scrubber & wash them in cold water.