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Cooking Class


Who will enjoy my cooking class?

  • Kids/Teens who love to cook
  • Girl/Boy married to an Indian
  • Anyone who loves to learn Indian Cooking


Spices and Aroma Kitchen_5

Spices and Aroma is a place to have fun with cooking. We are on a mission to make South Indian cooking easy and teach food lovers cook healthy dishes in a breeze. Indian cooking is no rocket science. It is simple if one follows the basic rules. The secret to the trade is all about bringing the masalas into a delicious harmony. The curries taste brilliant because of the combination of veggies or meat or sea food and different types of spices used along with it. The knowledge about the wet and dry ingredients and their usage in right proportions is all that’s needed to get started. At the end of my cooking sessions, you would feel that the wall around the highest echelons of the world isn’t all that high. I can say that Indian spices not only add colors and flavors to the food but also to our lives.

I am experimenting on healthy cooking and try to play around with local ingredients to create a dish with quality calories , for instance I replace heavy cream with silken tofu. I write about recipes that are South beach diet friendly (useful for individuals with weightloss goals) and for women with gestational diabetes. I stick to my routes, take my staple ingredients and carefully incorporate the global influences to create a new recipe that screams Southern Indian.

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In India, food is much more than sustenance. Spices and herbs have both medicinal and culinary significance. Food, mind and spirit are interconnected and this dietary approach to health was discovered thousands of years ago by a system called Ayurveda. My classes will carry information about the use of different spices to create a delicious Indian meal. Vegetarian food could be the way of the future! We have a wide range of lentils, grains, beans and vegetables to play around to create a magical meal. It makes you healthy and lose weight if eaten the right way. If you love Indian food and is curious to learn about vegetarian options, then my classes will help you gain some insights about it. The class include lessons followed by sit down meal.

My meals will focus on the theme:

  1. Back to basics
  2. Buy organic and locally grown foods
  3. Avoid processed items.
  4. Grow some of your own food.
  5. Eat at low on the food chain — at least one meat-free meal a day — since 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions come from meat and dairy production

Duration: 3 hours followed by sit down lunch or dinner

Before we start, make sure to read about my post on

Know-How of Indian Cooking


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The recipes mentioned below are to give the interested foodies an idea about Indian cooking. They can be customized as per your needs. Please note that all the cooking classes will start with a brief introduction and tour of Indian spices and my pantry.

No Cook Recipes will be taught to individuals who are interested to learn that. Please contact me for further details. My 4 5 year old boy makes them in my kitchen. Click here to see his posts.

    1.The basics of Indian meal

  • Understanding the Indian pantry
  • Masala chai – Tea prepared with Indian spices
  • Rotis – Indian flat breads
  • Mutter Paneer masala – Peas and Indian cheese curry
  • Indian butter milk flavoured with coriander, green chillies, ginger and other


   2. Southern Indian Meals

  • Sambhar – Vegetable and lentils gravy
  • Rasam – Spicy tomato soup
  • Aviyal – Mixed vegetable curry cooked in coconut paste
  • Tomato raita – Cooked tomato and spices in yogurt


  3. One batter infinite possibilities

  • Masala Dosa
  • Idli
  • Sambhar
  • Coconut Chutney
  • Paniyaram


4. Indian street foods – Series 1

  • Pav bhajji – Mashed peas and potato masala served with ghee-fried buns
  • Mango lassi – Delicious yogurt drink
  • Indian chaat chutneys – both Sweet and Tamarind variety
  • Pappadi chaat – Most favourite street food prepared with deep fried savoury disks, sev (gram flour noodles), chutneys and veggie mix


5. Indian street foods – Series 2

  • Paani puris – Small puffed spheres served with savory fillings and chutneys
  • Samosas / bhajji – deep fried vegetable fritters
  • Channa chaat – Salad with garbanzo beans
  • Neembu paani – Lemonade with a twist


6. Special Meals

  • Puris and bhajji – Deep fried dough served with mixed vegetable curry
  • Egg curry / Murg palak – Chicken with spinach
  • Bhendi masala – Spicy okra curry
  • Pulao/ Jeera rice – Basmati rice cooked with black cummin seeds and other
  • Raita – Yogurt side dish


7. Non-vegetarian series

  • Green chicken / Potato chicken
  • Mutton masala cooked with eggplant / with gongura leaves
  • Fish fry/ fish curry
  • Rice Dish
  • Yogurt Curry


For more details contact me here: vijithashyam(at) / spicesnaroma(at)




Start Here



Spicy Mangai Urugai

Raw Mango Pickle ( Mangai Urugai)

Thank you for being here and thank you for taking your first step towards learning a new flavor of Indian cooking. Spices and Aroma is a family food blog focusing on the cuisine of Southern India. You can learn more about us, on the about page.

About Tamil Nadu

Language Spoken: Tamil

Capital: Chennai (previously known as Madras)

Nearest Airport: Chennai International Airport

Culture: Tradition of literature, music and dance. Known for Hindu temples, Tanjore painting and classical form of dance (Bharata Natyam)

Cuisine: Rice and rice based dishes. Meals are served in banana leaf instead of plate and eaten with the right hand. Traditionally prepared filter coffee is popular.

Popular Ingredients: Coconut, Curry Leaves, Tamarind, Mangoes, Jackfruit, Plantains

Economy: Agriculture, Leather Industry, Textiles, Engineering, Automobiles, Heavy Industries, Electronics and Software


Food from Tamil Nadu

Spices and aroma is a humble attempt to share my love for Southern Indian cooking. This is my canvas where I paint the different colors of tastes. For a girl born and brought-up in a typical Southern Indian household, the word spices and its aroma evokes a lot of cherished memories from the kitchen.

I started this blog in 2008 to document my achi’s (grandmother) and amma’s (mother) recipes. Over the last 6, 7 + years the blog has given me a great oppurtunity to grow and evolve as a food lover. I grew up in a house that believes in the concept of Ayurveda so I create menus with spices that heal your mind and soul. Being a molecular biologist working on clinical trials, science always fascinated me. So is food. I love to understand the connection between the two so my approach towards eating is “Food is medicine”.

I come from Southern part of India, that part of the nation where tamarind, curry leaves, coconut, plantains, jackfruit, mangoes and rice are popular. The diet by itself is gluten free as most of the dishes like idli, dosa, idhiyappam, uthappam, adai, aappam are rice based. We cook few dishes like kootu, poriyal, biryani with coconut flesh, coconut oil and coconut milk so my cuisine is vegan too. This space will carry recipes of authentic Indian dishes, of-course a lot from my mother’s, mother-in-law’s and grandmother’s kitchen and their cooking tips and tricks to survive the trade. I am experimenting on healthy cooking and different cuisines as well so you will find a whole lot of good menu ideas here. Most of my recipes are the ones that I grew up eating and I am tweaking few others with local ingredients. Being a typical foodie and a cook, I give importance on the freshness of the ingredients used. I love to shop in my local farmer’s market every week. There is no harm to shell out couple of more dollars to get the nature’s best and its a great way to support the community.

At Spices and Aroma, below is the list of popular categories:

  1. Gluten Free (225+ recipes)
  2. Vegan (90+ recipes)
  3. Vegetarian (150+ recipes)
  4. Kids Cook (Demonstrated by my 4 5 year old) and Kids Food
  5. Indian inspired recipes for Gestational Diabetes  (110+ recipes) & South Beach Diet phase 1  (100+ recipes)
  6. and much more!

Tamil Nadu Wedding Meal (Kalyana Sapadu) Photo Credit: Eva Blue

Food for Weightloss & Gestational Diabetes:

I have been on the heavier end of the scale since childhood. I wasn’t obese but I was chubby and during college, I went on diets that annoyed my mother. I did lose some weight but they came back right away. Later in early 20s like every bride in the world, I hit the gym, ate healthy Indian foods and lost close to 20 pounds for the big day and then the weight gain was back. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes during both the pregnancies and that’s when an alarm rang in my head and started to eat right. I ventured out in the market and came up with Indian inspired recipes with the ingredients I got in hand. I started with South beach diet and in 6+ months, I lost close to 20 25 pounds in 2011. I am working to get healthy to avoid being pre-diabetic so I still try to eat the right food. You can find Indian inspired South beach diet and gestational diabetes food here. Please feel free to reach out to me for cooking ideas. I will be more than glad to share my tips, struggles and story with you.

Multigrain Dosa with Brown Rice Dosa Batter + Soy Flour + Multigrain Flour (Sathumaavu)

Multigrain Dosa with Brown Rice Dosa Batter + Soy Flour + Multigrain Flour (Sathumaavu)

Our goal is to help you try South Indian dishes at the comfort of your home with ease and confidence. We are here to prove that there is more to Indian cuisine that just naan, butter chicken, saag paneer, samosa and dosa. We are sure that you will fall in love with it like we did.

Weekly Menu Charts

As a working mom, I realized my family runs like a well oiled machine if everything is planned and organized. On a attempt to make my life better, I created menu chart, pantry essential checklist, travel check list and 50 plus snack ideas to serve kids.

Here is the link to download the charts:

  1. Weekly Menu Chart 1
  2. Weekly Menu Chart 2
  3. Weekly Menu Chart 3
  4. Weekly Menu Chart 4
  5. Indian Pantry Essentials Checklist
  6. Travel Essentials Checklist (Domestic)
  7. 50 plus Snack Ideas for Working Moms
  8. 12 Practical Breakfast Ideas for Kids