Sunday, January 3, 2021

New Year's Day Blackeyed Peas & Greens Salad

Spinach & Blackeyed Peas Salad

I love nutty flavorful blackeyed peas anytime; so it is easy to enjoy the Southern US tradition of including them and greens as part of the days meals. I have enjoyed the peas and greens in Soup or Stew or Curries but this time decided to use them in a new way. Et voila!

New Year's Day Blackeyed Peas & Greens Salad is simple, quick to put together and very hearty. Ready to use baby spinach makes this salad very easy to do even on a busy day. The blackeyed peas salad maybe made a day ahead; it is quite delicious on its own too. We love varying the lemon/lime/vinegar; all are delicious. 

2 servings


Blackeyed Peas Salad

1/2 cup dried Blackeyed Peas

1 small clove fresh Garlic, minced

14 small Red Onion, thinly slivered

1 Roma Tomato, slivered

1 small Green Chile, minced

1-2 Tbsp Lime/Lemon/Balsamic Vinegar

1/4-1/2 tsp Kosher Salt

Greens & Garnishes

4 cups Fresh Baby Spinach

Carrot Shreds

1 handful Cherry Tomatoes, halved

1 small Avocado, sliced or diced

Pickled Pearl Onions (optional)

1 tiny pinch Sea Salt

1 pinch Freshly ground Black Pepper



Blackeyed Peas Salad:

Sort, wash and soak the blackeyed peas for at least 30 minutes. Drain, rinse thoroughly and drain well. 

Cook in just enough water to cover with a generous pinch of salt until soft but not mushy. Let cool. 

When cool, drain off any liquid, add garlic, onions, green chile, your choice of lime/lemon/balsamic vinegar and mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings.


Divide the spinach between two bowl or plates. (Slice the spinach if the leaves are big).

Pile the bean salad on top of spinach and add carrots, cherry tomatoes, and avocado.

Top with a sprinkle of sea salt and the pepper.

Serve right away and eat while everything is fresh.



Thursday, December 31, 2020

Mango Launji (Sweet & Tangy Mango Relish)

Mango Launji, a delicious, tangy, and sweet pickle or relish, is fabulous served with any meal; we love  pairing it with Dosa, Adai, Roti, or Paratha, Rice or other grains, curries, and accompaniments. Delicious as a spread for toast or crackers with or without peanut/nut butters or vegan cheeses. Mango Launji with vegan cream cheese makes a tasty starter with crudités, warm breads, flatbreads, and crackers. It is very easy to prepare and is dairy, nut, oil, and gluten free. 

Although most delicious prepared with green mangoes, slightly ripe ones are fine too to make Launji. Store the Launji in clean airtight jars in the fridge or in the freezer for longer storage. 


1 firm Green Mango
2-3 tbsp sugar (to taste)
1 big pinch salt
1/2 tsp each fennel and kalonji seeds, 
1/2- 1 tsp red Chile powder
1 Big Pinch Turmeric
1 tiny pinch Asafetida (Hing)


cut  mango, add 2-3 tbsp sugar, a big pinch salt and keep overnight. 

Cook mango by bringing to a boil and simmer gently for 5 minutes. 

While simmering, Stir in the fennel and kalonji seeds,  red Chile powder and hing. 

Cool and serve warm or cold. 

Store any leftovers in a clean jar with tight fitting lid in the refrigerator.


Saturday, December 26, 2020

Fast & Easy Simple Dal Soup (Quick Red Lentil/Mung Bean Soup)

Fast & Easy it maybe, but this Simple Dal Soup is very flavorful and delicious too! It is hearty on it's own and goes with everything from Idli/Dosa, Rice, and fresh crusty bread or toast! Fast and Easy Simple Dal Soup is exactly that - add all the ingredients to one pot, bring to a boil and cook for about 20 minutes (a pressure cooker - Instant Pot or the stove top kind - makes it really a snap). Done! This lovely soup doesn't need a Thalippu/Tadka, the traditional finish, to complete it but certainly maybe added if desired. Awesome paired with Idli/Dosa/Upma etc instead of Simple/Masala Kadapa or Sambar for a nice and welcome change of pace.

Fast & Easy Simple Dal Soup is naturally gluten, fat and dairy free.


The red lentils or yellow mung dal cook the quickest on stovetop; other legumes such as split peas or brown/green lentils maybe used if you have more time or use the Instant Pot or the regular stove-top pressure cooker. The carrots maybe grated instead of dicing. 

The Simple Dal Soup maybe made with many variations. Onion and garlic maybe omitted and a pinch of asafetida substituted in their place. 1 cup of coconut milk maybe added to flavor and enrich the soup. Other veggies maybe added instead or in addition to the carrots; I love adding sweet potatoes or winter squash such as Kabocha, Pumpkin, or butternut squash. A teaspoon of fragrant Kasoori Methi (dried fenugreek leaves) maybe added at the end.

Fast & Easy Simple Dal Soup recipe maybe doubled or tripled, etc for meal prep for the week and freezes well. The soup maybe frozen for up to 3 months.

2-4 Servings


Dal Soup:

1/3 cup Red Lentils/Yellow Mung Dal

1 small Onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)

1 clove Garlic, minced

1 large or 2 small Tomatoes, diced

1 medium Carrot, finely diced or grated (1/2 cup)

1 Tbsp Ginger, minced

1 Serrano/Jalapeño Chile, deseeded and minced

1/4 tsp Turmeric

1/3 tsp Cumin Seeds

1/3 tsp Fennel Seeds

1 1/2 cups boiling Water

2 Tbsp Coriander (Cilantro) include stems finely chopped

Tadka/Thalippu: Optional

1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds

1 stem Curry Leaves

To Finish:

More Boiling water as needed to thin soup

Salt & Pepper to taste

2 Tbsp Coriander (Cilantro) include stems finely chopped

Fresh Lemon Juice to taste


Sort, wash, and soak the lentils/dal first for 30 minutes while getting all the ingredients ready. This will speed up cooking time. When ready, drain the lentils/dal, rinse thoroughly, drain and add to the pot,

Have a 2.5 to 3 quart or liter saucepan ready. Add the water and all the ingredients as you chop, measure out, etc.

Add the soaked, drained, lentils/dal to the pot.

Bring the veggie mix to a boil, turn heat down to low, keep the lid slightly ajar, and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until done to your liking. Legumes have a tendency to foam and boil over; to avoid boiling over and the mess, keep the lid ajar. Turn off the heat when the dal and veggies are very soft.

If using Instant Pot, add all the ingredients just like when using a stove top pan and set on manual for 9 minutes; let the pressure drop naturally at least for 10 minutes before proceeding to open the Pot according to manufacturer's directions. Follow manufacturer's directions when using a regular stove top pressure cooker.

Mash the soup with the back of the ladle a little to make it creamy, 

Stir in  about 1-2 cups of the boiling water to thin the soup (yes, this is typically a thin soup).

Season with the salt and pepper, and lemon juice to taste.

Add Tadka/Thalippu if desired. 

Top with the corinander leaves.

Serve Hot with warm Idli, Dosa or freshly cooked rice/grains if desired. Favorite breads, flatbreads, rolls or muffins also make delicious and filling accompaniments. 


Thursday, December 24, 2020

Lettuce Wrap with Tofu Filling

Lettuce Wrap with Tofu Filling is wonderful for casual family/company dining as well as a lovely starter.  

Use the smaller inner leaves from the lettuces; Belgian endives and green or purple cabbage leaves work well too. 
Instead of the shiitake mushrooms, other mushrooms maybe used.
Hoisin sauce (~1/4 cup) maybe used instead of the coconut aminos and tamari in the sauce given below; but it usually contains wheat so I don't use it.


1 tsp sesame oil
14 - 16 oz Firm/extra firm Tofu
3 oz fresh Shiitake/Other mushrooms, diced
1 Carrot, shredded
2-3 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
2-4 cloves Garlic, minced
1-2 Shallots thinly sliced
Red Pepper flakes (optional)
1-2 heads Belgian Endive/Butter/Romaine lettuce

1 1/2Tbsp Each Coconut Aminos & Tamari (Soy sauce GF)
1 Tbsp rice vinegar

4-5 scallions thinly sliced
3-4 Tbsp roasted Peanuts, chopped
2-3 Tbsp toasted Sesame seeds


Wash lettuce, drain thoroughly and separate the individual leaves; slice the larger Romaine leaves in half horizontally. Wrap in paper towels, put them in large pastic bags and reserve in the fridge.

In a small bowl, combine the sauce ingredients: coconut aminos, tamari, and rice vinegar.

In a large skillet, add 1 tsp sesame oil and bring to medium heat. Add mushrooms and tofu and cook without disturbing until the bottom is golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Stir and break up any large pieces of the tofu and cook until browned . 

Reduce heat to low-medium. Pour in sauce into tofu mixture; stir to mix well. Cover skillet with a lid and cook for about 3-4 minutes. 

Remove from heat, stir in the carrots, ginger, garlic and shallots along with the red pepper flakes if using. 

Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. You can add a little bit of sugar or a little more soy sauce depending on whether you prefer sweeter or saltier result. 

Serve while the filling is still warm.

Place the prepared lettuce leaves onto a plate. Spoon the warm filling into the center of the leaves. Garnish with scallions, peanuts and sesame. Eat right away.


Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Easy No-Cook Instant Snack Pudding/Overnight Breakfast

Easy No-Cook Instant Snack Pudding or Overnight Breakfast is one of our favorite everyday go-to recipes. Although the Pudding maybe eaten immediately, I like to allow the chia seeds to soak and bloom so it can be enjoyed as a thick, creamy pudding. It is a perfectly filling and satisfying breakfast/snack rich in fiber/pre and probiotics for gut health, heart healthy fats, anti-oxidaents, as well as proteins and complex carbs. This works well with or without nuts and grains. I like adding a little or more of the oats depending on if this is a snack or breakfast. It is fat & dairy free; it is also gluten free when you use gf oats.

Use the plant milk yogurt for the added bonus of gut-healthy and immunity boosting probiotics. For a sweeter snack or breakfast, add 1-2 chopped Dates. If you like, a scoop of protein powder maybe stirred in as well.

I often make a mega batch = triple/quadruple etc = for the week to enjoy this lovely No-cook recipe for snacks as well as breakfast.

Another lovely variation is to add some grated apple or chopped or mashed bananas whether for enjoying immediately or overnight. 

1 Serving


1 cup plant Milk/Yogurt 
1-2 Dates, chopped (optional)
1 T Chia seeds
1 T ground Flax seeds
1 T Hemp hearts
1/3 cup Wholegrain Oats, gluten free (optional)
1 cup Berries/Fruit, fresh/frozen thawed
1-2 T sliced Almonds/or nut/seed mix


Combine plant milk/yogurt and the chia seeds in a bowl or jar. I like using a 1 quart wide-mouth jar or a big bowl. Mix well. 

Stir in the dates if using along with the other seed and grain ingredients, cover, and reserve in the refrigerator. 

Top with berries/fruit and the almonds or nut mix.


Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Easy Pumpkin Cornbread From Mix (Gluten, Dairy, & Oil Free)

Easy Pumpkin Cornbread From Mix is easy as it is wholesome; just put everything in a bowl, mix and bake.There's not much searching for the various ingredients or measuring involved. The pumpkin puree and the spices really take the muffins to another level of delectability. 

The pumkin puree, coconut, and the flax/chia seeds eliminate the need for oil or eggs. GF cornbread mix is one of the few ready to go products that I like to have on hand for times when you need an easy way to make something fabulous to go with a lovely cup of tea.

Although I am partial to crusty muffins, it is good baked as a loaf or in a 13" x 9" pan too. We love the added fragrance of the mild Sambar Powder spices in these hearty muffins.

12 Muffins/Servings


1 box (15 oz) Gluten Free cornbread Mix 

1 Tbsp Each - Flaxseed and Chia seeds, ground

3 Tbsp Water

1 cup Pure Pumpkin Puree, canned or homemade

1/3 cup dried finely grated unsweetened Coconut

1 cup Plant Milk

2-3 Tsp Sambar Powder (optional)


Mix flaxseed and chia with the water  in a large mixing bowl and allow to sit for about 5 minutes or so until a gel forms.

Pulverize the coconut using a blender or food processor if it is too chunky or coarsely shredded.

Add the rest of the ingredients, mix well and let rest for 10 minutes. 

Spoon into an oiled 12-cup muffin pan or a 13 x 9 inch pan.

Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes on top rack or until done.

Cool for about 5-7 minutes and turn out on a wire rack to cool completely before storing in a container. 

Enjoy the muffins warm with your favorite beverage; we love these muffins with a cup of piping hot Masala Chai.


Saturday, September 5, 2020

Quick Creamy Pumpkin Soup w/Thyme-scented Pumpkin seed Topping

Creamy Pumpkin Soup
Quick Creamy Pumpkin Soup is ready within 15-20 minutes! This is one of my go to soups anytime I need a quick, easy, homemade soup. A can of pumpkin puree, a little coconut milk, some simple seasonings, and Et Voila! - comforting and flavorful pumpkin soup is ready!

Canned pumpkin makes this soup go fast but needs the help of spices and fresh herbs to breathe freshness. Pumpkin perks right up when smoky cumin, along with warming combination of ginger, red pepper (cayenne), and freshly ground black pepper. Thyme adds that fragrant freshness and a few sprigs can be added without a lot of fuss and the woody stems removed at the end. The dates add delicious caramel flavoer as well as a touch of sweetness. Don't forgo the topping; the delicious spice and crunch of the toasty thyme-scented pumpkin seeds amp up the flavors and adds the crowning touch!

Thyme-scented Pumpkin seeds make a wonderful snack or starter in addition to making a lovely topping for soups or salads. They also make a delicious and different garnish for all types of dishes where you want a lively flavorful crunch.


Freshly cooked or frozen pumpkin, winter squash or sweet potatoes maybe subbed for the pumpkin. Instead of the dates, 1-3 tsp Coconut Sugar/Maple Syrup maybe added.
Thyme-scented Pumpkin seeds are very easy to make and can be made up to one week ahead.

2-3 Servings


1 small Onion, finely chopped
1-2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 (15-16 oz) can Pumpkin Puree
1/2 can Water OR Veggie Broth
1-2 Dates
2 Tbsp fresh Thyme
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/8 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp ground Cumin
2-3 pinches freshly ground Black Pepper
1 pinch ground Red Pepper (cayenne)
1-2 tsp fresh Ginger OR 1/4 tsp dry
1 pinch Nutmeg
1/4 cup Coconut Milk/Cream

1/4 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup toasted Pumpkin seeds 
2 or 3 sprigs fresh Thyme 
1 pinch Red pepper flakes (optional)
1 pinch Sea Salt 


Make the topping while the soup is simmering. Heat olive oil in a small wok or skillet. Add the topping ingredients and stir for 2-3 minutes. If using raw pumpkin seeds, toast them until lightly browned and then add the rest of the ingredients. Cool and store in an airtight container until ready to serve. Freeze any extra topping for longer storage.

Make the Soup: 

Cook onions and garlic in a 2-3 quart/litre pan until soft. 

Add the pumpkin, water or broth, dates, and spices, thyme. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 4-5 minutes. 

Remove from heat and stir in the coconut milk/cream.

If you prefer a very smooth and creamy soup, cool slightly and puree the soup using a regular or an immersion blender.

Gently warm the soup again just until hot. Taste for seasonings and add salt/pepper to taste as needed. If you prefer a thinner soup, add a little boiling water.

Serve topped with the thyme-scented pumpkin seeds. 


Creamy Pumpkin Soup