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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



  1. Deepthi 3 years ago

    Hi Vijitha, I just chanced upon your site. I will spend sometime looking around but the meat of what i was looking for is in your menu charts!
    I am always amazed by wonderful women like you who take the time to share their experiences and knowledge with newer moms/ wives like myself!
    I thank you for this gesture and wish you much success.

    • Thanks Deepthi for stopping by and thanks for your wishes 🙂

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