Thursday, September 19, 2019

Rice Noodles - Quick Stirfry or Soup

Rice Noodles - Stirfry or Soup is one recipe that you can serve two ways quite easily- it is just a matter of adding some hot broth or water! We adore both soups and stir-frys; so sometimes it is a tough choice - with this recipe you don't have to choose one or the other - you can live it up and have both!

Naturally gluten, dairy, and oil free!

2 Servings


120 g (4 oz) Rice Noodles (dry)
3-4 Green Onions
1/2 block Tofu (7 oz)
1 Tbsp fresh Ginger, minced
1-2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 pinch of Red Chile flakes
Salt to taste
1 Wedge Cabbage (about 1/4 of a small one), thinly sliced
1 handful Peapods (Chinese/Sugarsnaps), ends trimmed
4-5 Mushrooms
1 Carrot, cut in fine matchsticks or corasely shredded
Tamari/Shoyu/ Soy Sauce to taste
2 cups Vegetable Broth Or Boiling Water (for Soup)

To Serve

Bean Sprouts
1 smsll bunch Garlic Chives, sliced
1 Jalapeño Chile, sliced (optional)
2 Green Onions, thinly sliced
1 handful Coriander Leaves (Cilantro)
Chile-Garlic Sauce, Szechuan Chile Oil Sauce, etc


Soften the rice noodles according to package directions.

Cook green onions, tofu, ginger, garlic and chile flakes with a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of water in a wok, pan, or skillet for about 2 minutes stirring to make sure everything heats and cooks evenly without scorching.

Add cabbage, peapods,  mushrooms,and carrots; cover and cook for another minute.

Stir in the rice noodles, (boiling water if making Soup) and tamari/soy sauce and bring to a simmer. Turn off heat.

Serve hot with the herbs and condiments.


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Bisi Bele Bath (Indian Rice & Lentil Risotto With Assorted Vegetables)

Bisi Bele Bath (BBB) is a delicious Indian risotto and a one pot meal. Do include the cashew topping; the ocassional bites of the buttery tasting toasted cashews gives a sublime taste. I serve steaming hot bowls with a simple chopped salad or raita and some papadams for a very comforting and filling meal.

Although similar to the Easy Bisi Bela, this Bisi Bele Bath is made with freshly made spice masala. Bisi Bele Bath is a great recipe that lends itself to doubling, tripling, etc and can feed a small family or a huge crowd.

This recipe comes from the Indian State of Karnataka known for the gorgeous gardens, beautiful temples, architecture, and delicious food. Tamil Nadu and Kerala, neighborig states, have Sambar Sadam and Kadamba Sadam, similar but slightly different. All are made with rice, toor dal, and vegetables but the spices vary according to region.

Assorted Vegetables for BBB: Butternut Squash or a flavorful pumpkin, Green Beans, Carrots, Potatoes, Chayote/Opo Squash, Onions, Bell Pepper, Edamame, Eggplant, Green Lima Beans, Moringa Pods, Peas, Sweet Potato, Zucchini, etc. Choose the vegetables for flavor, color, and texture. Cut the vegetables into small 1/2" cubes.

8 Main meal Servings


BBB Masala: 
1/8 cup Coriander seeds
1/8 cup Chana Dal
1 Tbsp Urad Dal
1 tsp Whole Black Pepper
1 tsp Fenugreek seeds (Methi)
1 (1" piece) Cinnamon Stick
5 Cloves
3 green Cardamoms
1-2 dried Byadagi or Kashmiri Chile
1-2 Dried Red Peppers
2 Tsp Sesame seeds, black or white
1 small pea-sized lump Asafetida (or 1/4 tsp ground)
1 stems Curry leaves
4 Tbsp dried Coconut shreds (unsweetened)

Start roasting the dals and black pepper in a dry skillet; add other ingredients in the list after about a minute in the order given stirring in after each addition. Roast until lightly toasted and fragrant; pour into a plate to cool well. Grind to a fine powder. Store in an airtight glass jar or other container. The following amount of spices will make enough masala for 3-4 recipes depending on the amount used per recipe.

Bisi Bela Bath
2 Cups Basmati or Sona Masuri Rice
1 cup Toor Dal
2 Tsp Tamarind concentrate
4-6 cups Assorted Vegetables, see note
1 tsp Turmeric, divided 
2-3 tsp Salt, divided
3-4 Tbsp BBB Masala (see recipe above)
4 Tbsp Cilantro, finely chopped

1 tsp Oil
8 Tbsp Cashew pieces
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 pinch Asafetida
2 Stems Curry leaves, cut into fine chiffonade


Combine the rice and dal in a bowl, rinse well, soak in fresh water to cover for 30 minutes.

Drain the rice and dal, rinse well again, drain.

Place the rice-dal mixture in a large pot with half the salt and turmeric; add tamarind along with 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let cool while preparing the vegetables.

Heat the oil if using in another large pan and add the cashew pieces; stir and toast until they are pinkish gold. Remove from pan and reserve until time to serve.

Add mustard seeds to the same pan where cashews were toasted; no need to wash or clean. When the mustard starts popping, add the rest of the seasoning ingredients and stir well.

Tip in the vegetables; add the salt, turmeric, and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until veggies are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the BBB masala.

Gently combine the veggies with the juices and the rice-dal mixture. Add a little boiled water if the dish is not soft enough. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed.

Let Bisi Bele Bath rest covered for 5 minutes for the flavors to meld.

Serve hot sprinkled with cilantro and cashews.


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Kadalai Paruppu Chundal/Sundal (Savory Split Pea/Chana Dal Stir-fry)

Kadalai Paruppu Chundal/Sundal is a favorite recipe which turns split pea-like chana dal into a delectable dish. Chundals are savory or sweet South Indian snacks or sidedishes made with whole or split legumes. They are some of the typical and traditional offerings during Nav Ratri or Dussera celebrations which occur in autumn.

Chana Dal is a great source of protein as well as dietary fiber. Made from nutrient rich legumes, chundals are a low sodium food (as long as too much salt is not added!) with low glycemic index which makes it a perfect food for a healthy vegetarian diet. This recipe is simple to make with a few pantry staples and this vegan snack tastes great on its own or with meals.

Although not exactly the same ,Yellow split peas maybe used to make this Chundal also.

The dals and spices are readily available in Indian as well as most grocery stores these days.

4 Servings


1 cup Chana dal (split, skinless Chickpeas)
1 teaspoon oil (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Mustard seeds
1-2 Dry Red Chile, broken into two pieces
1 stem Curry leaves, finely sliced
1 pinch Asafetida
1/4 cup grated Coconut, fresh or frozen
Salt to taste


1. Sort, rinse and soak the chana dal in water for an hour. Drain the water, rinse well, drain again.

2. Add 2 cups of water and cook the split chickpeas until soft but not mushy. Alternatively you can cook them using a pressure cooker. If using pressure cooker, make sure not to overcook the dal. Let cool.

3. When cool, drain well; save the cooking broth for a soup or another dish.

4. Heat oil if using in a kadai or skillet. When hot, add mustard seeds and let them begin to pop.

5. Add red chiles, curry leaves and asafetida.Stir until red chiles brown a little, about a minute.

6. Tip in the cooked dal along with the salt; cook stirring gently until heated through. Stir in the grated coconut and mix well. Remove from heat, cover and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes. Remove the chiles before serving.

7. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.


Saturday, September 14, 2019

Curried Potato Hash With Tofu & Summer Vegetables

Curried Potato Hash With Tofu & Summer Vegetables is a bright and beautiful brunch dish with toothsome veggies to make it hearty! Although typically breakfast or brunch dishes don't include veggies, here the tofu, sweet corn and cherry tomatoes turn the traditional potato dish into a treat for the eyes and tastebuds as well as a powerhouse of nutrition. 

It is quite easy and quick - roast potatoes and tofu the day before and reserve in the fridge; in the morning just put everything together, and voila! you have a dainty dish to start the day right.


Use 1 1/2 -  2  cups cooked Chickpeas (garbanzos) instead of tofu for a variation.

For a spicy dish, add more Sambar powder and/or more Jalapeños.

4-6 Servings


1 block Tofu (14 oz), cut in cubes
12 oz small Potatoes, cut in wedges or cubes
2 Scallions, thinly sliced
1 small Jalapeño Chile, cored and minced
2 Ears Fresh Corn, or 2 cups frozen
1 cup Cherry Tomatoes, any color, quartered 
1/2 Tsp Turmeric
1-3 Tsp Sambar Powder
1 tsp coarse Salt
Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
1/2 - 1 Tbsp fresh Marjoram, finely minced

For Garnishing:
1 scallion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp fresh Cilantro, chopped(optional)
Hot Sauce for serving


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the tofu and potato cubes with a couple of generous pinches of salt, turmeric, and pepper. Gently toss to coat well.

Prepare a baking pan lined with parchment paper and spread the tofu and potatoes evenly in a single layer. Roast tofu and potatoes until golden, about 30-40 minutes. Stir midway after about 20 minutes so that the tofu and potatoes cook evenly. If made ahead, cool, and store in a covered container in the fridge.

If using fresh corn, cut the kernels from them.

Heat a skillet and add jalapeno and scallions with a spritz or two of water as needed and cook until they are softened. Stir in corn kernels, and cook until browned in spots and slightly caramelized - about 2-3 minutes.

Tip in the tomatoes, and cook for about a minute or until they begin to soften. 

Add the turmeric, salt, pepper. Gently stir in the potatoes and tofu cubes, sprinkle with the marjoram. Remove from heat.

Sprinkle with the scallions and cilantro if using on top and serve hot.


Friday, September 13, 2019

Salsa Caribeño (Caribean Style Multi-purpose Sauce With Coconut Milk)

Salsa Caribeño is a lovely, flavorful suace to top grains like quinoa, rice, millet, etc, or roasted/steamed veggies or potatoes (regular or sweet types). This salsa is delicious over Idli and Dosas too.

The dates lend a sweet touch and tame the heat. If you want to keep the salsa mild, use mild chiles or remove and discard the cores.


1 large Onion, slivered
1 Red Bell Pepper, julienned
1 medium Carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 clove Garlic, minced
2 large Tomatoes, skinned, seeded, and chopped
2-3 sprigs, Fresh Thyme (about 1/2 tsp dry)
1-2 Dates, pitted and finely chopped (optional)
Salt and freshly ground Pepper 
1 (15 oz) can coconut milk
1/4 - 1/2 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp Sambar/Curry Powder
1 hot Chile, Jalapeño, Serrano, Habanero,  (optional)


Choose Jalapeño for a relatively mild sauce, Serrano or Habanero for a bigger and bolder kick. As always, core the jalapeño to keep it really mild as sometimes they can be quite hot.

Keep the other hot chiles whole or with only a tiny slit on the blossom end if using so that they don't make the sauce insanely hot.

Cook the onion, red pepper, and carrots with a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of water in a sauce pan until softened; cover the pan and cook on low heat to prevent scorching. Add more sprinkles of water as needed.

Stir in the garlic and stir cook for about 30 seconds.

Add the rest of the ingredients and gently bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes. 

Let salsa rest for 5-10 minutes and serve hot or warm over steamed or roasted veggies, baked sweet/regular potatoes or your favorite grains.


Thursday, September 12, 2019

Many Bean Salad W/Grilled Corn

Many Bean Salad W/Grilled Corn conjures up a big bowl of glistening jewel-like beautiful plump beans from all parts of the globe! There are an amazing number of super nutritious beautiful and colorful beans in the world; red kidney beans, nutty garbanzos, white dry or fresh green lima beans, great northern beans, lentils, cannelini beans, edamame, black beans…the list goes on. Use your favorite beans; include at least 2 or 3 kinds for a visual as well as gustatory treat. Have fun getting acquainted with a new bean or two!


Frozen corn kernels maybe used instead of fresh; pan toast until slightly caramelized and a few brown spots appear. Cool before adding to the salad.

Since there are many beans in this recipe, cook a cup or pound of each type of dried bean ahead of time and save extras in ziptop bags in the freezer for future salads, Chili, soups, stews, or other dishes.

Alternatively, canned beans may make it easier rather than cooking a fresh batch of each bean. If using canned, drain, rinse, and drain again thoroughly. There is probably about 1 1/2 cups of beans in each can; use the whole amount to prepare a big batch of salad.or save the rest for Chili, many bean stew or soup.

Make a little or a lot; it is very easy to make bean salad for a crowd - if using more beans in the salad, increase or adjust the rest of the ingredients especially the spices and herbs to match the new proportions. 

4-6 servings


3-4 cups Total Assorted cooked Beans: Kidney, Black, Pinto, Garbanzo, White, Black-eyed, etc
1/2 cup frozen green Lima beans, cooked
1 ear of Corn, roasted and cooled
1/2 cup EACH fresh Green & Wax Beans, cut in 1 inch pieces, cooked until tender
1/4 - 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1 Jalapeño/Serrano Chile, cored and minced (optional)
1 cup Roma Tomatoes, chopped
2-4 Tbsp fresh Parsley and/or Cilantro, finely chopped
2 Tsp fresh Thyme leaves, chopped

2-3 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar Or Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 - 1 small Date (optional)
1 clove fresh Garlic, peeled and trimmed
1-2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tiny pinch Cayenne
Salt to taste 
Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste


Prepare the beans; cook the chosen beans until soft but not mushy. Let cool. Or see notes on using canned beans.

Grill or roast the corn on the cob; let cool. Steam the beans until crisp-tender; quickly plunge in iced water to stop cooking; drain thoroughly and add to a large bowl. Cut the kernels from the corn cob and add to the beans; discard the cob or save for making Vegetable Broth. 

Whirl together all the dressing ingredients using a blender; taste and adjust any of the ingredients until just right.

Combine the rest of  the salad ingredients with the corn and beans in the bowl.

Pour enough of  the dressing to moisten the salad well. Add more dressing as needed, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. 

Cover and refrigerate for about an hour or two for the flavors to meld. Many Bean Salad maybe prepared ahead; it will keep quite well for a week in the refrigerator.

Serve garnished with more fresh herbs sprigs.


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Mirchi Ka Salan (Green Chile Curry In Tamarind, Peanut, & Coconut Sauce)

Mirchi Ka Salan (Green Chile Curry In Tamarind, Peanut, & Coconut Sauce) is a wonderfully fragrant, rich, and nutty curry with Chiles for vegetables! We love this Hyderabadi recipe which can be mild or spicy hot depending on the choice of the chiles. It is worth making a big batch for the week; as the chiles soak in the flavorful sauce, they get more delectable.


I generally like to use Shishito chiles which are usually mild; when a spicy dish is needed, jalapeño chiles  (cored or left whole) may be used.

Garam Masala maybe homemade or purchased.

4-6 Servings


4 tbsp Peanuts
1 pinch Fenugreek seeds (about 6-7 seeds )
3 tbsp Sesame seeds 
1 tsp Poppy seeds (optional)
2 tbsp dry Coconut 
1-2 cloves Garlic
½ - 1 inch Ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
½ cup water, as needed to blend

1 tsp Tamarind concentrate + ½ cup Warm Water
2 tsp Oil, divided
12 mild/hot Green Chiles with stems
½ tsp Brown/Black Mustard seeds
½ tsp Cumin seeds
1 stem fresh Curry Leaves, cut into a fine chiffonade
½ medium sized Onion, finely chopped
½ tsp Turmeric
½ tsp Kashmiri Chile powder
salt to taste
½-1 tsp Jaggery/Brown Sugar, optional
2 cups Water, use as needed
½ tsp Garam Masala
3-4 tbsp Cilantro/Coriander, finely chopped


Prepare Masala:

Dry roast peanuts until lightly toasted and browned; tip onto a plat and let cool. Roast separately the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, fenugreek seeds and coconut each for a few minutes until fragrant and add to the peanuts. Let cool completely.

Transfer peanut mixture to blender carafe along with the ginger and garlic, and blend to smooth paste adding a little water as needed. Reserve until needed.

Prepare Salan:

Add the tamarind paste to the warm water and let it dissolve. Reserve.

Green Chiles: Heat a kadai/pan, add 1 tsp of the oil and sauté the green chiles with a pinch of salt until softened; remove to a plate and reserve. Core the green chiles especially if using hot chiles. Making a slit on the side and using a small spoon to remove the core may help keep the stems intact.

Add the remaining oil to the same pan, add mustard seeds and cumin and let them sizzle for a few seconds; when mustard seeds pop, add curry leaves, onions and a pinch of salt and cook until soft over low-medium heat and beginning to color. Sprinkle a bit of water as needed to keep from scorching or burning.

Tip in the prepared masala paste, tamarind water, jaggery and salt along with turmeric and chile powder. Add about 1 cup of water to the blender carafe, swirl to gather all of the masala, and add to the pan.

Mix well and add up to 1 more cup of water if the salan is too thick, cover and simmer for 30 minutes over low-medium heat.

Add the fried chiles to the salan, sprinkle the garam masala on top, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Stir in cilantro/coriander, and let rest for 10 minutes. Mix well, taste, and add salt if needed.

Serve mirchi ka salan hot or warm with rice dishes like a biryanipulav or other grains, roti, naan,  Idli, Dosa, etc.