Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sweet Potato Chutney

Sweet Potato Chutney is a delicious and healthy chutney especially for those who want to reduce the amount of coconut in their diet - the sweet potato replaces most of the coconut! Lime/lemon juice is preferable as it keeps the chutney light colored; but tamarind is perfectly acceptable too. Use either the cream colored or the orange colored sweet potato - both are good :D. I use green chiles and lime juice with the cream colored potato and red chiles and tamarind with the orange ones aka "yams". Paji's mom used to say that many restaurants use cheaper sweet potatoes instead of the more expensive coconut to reduce their cost; I believe it a delicious way to reduce fat in the diet :D.

Cream-colored Sweet Potato Chutney


1 medium Sweet Potato
2 Tbsp fresh or frozen Coconut, grated
1 or 2 Fresh Hot Green/Red Chile
1 sprig fresh Curry Leaves
Lime/Lemon Juice or Tamarind
1/2 tsp Sea Salt

1 tsp Oil
1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
2 dry Red Chilies
2 tsp Chana Dal
2 tsp Urad Dal
1 pinch Asafoetida
1 sprig fresh Curry Leaves, shredded


Juice the lemon/lime; or if using tamarind, soak a small marble-sized lump of it in a couple of spoonfuls of warm water for about 10 minutes. Tamarind may have seeds/shells; when soft, check with your fingers and remove and discard any seeds or shells.

Combine all the chutney ingredients with half the lemon/lime juice or the tamarind in the carafe of a blender and process into a thick smooth paste using about 1/2 cup water.

Pour the chutney into a bowl and flush the carafe with a couple of spoonfuls of water and add to the bowl. Add a little more water if necessary to adjust the consistency of the chutney and correct the seasoning with more salt/lemon as needed.

Prepare tadka/thalippu: Heat the oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds, chile, and the dals. When the mustard seeds start popping, stir in the asafoetida and then carefully add the curry leaves. Pour the whole thing into the chutney carefully (hot oil from the tadka might sizzle and spatter upon contact with the chutney) and mix well.

If not serving right away, I like to add the tadka/thalippu just before serving since I like the occasional crunch of the dals; they get a bit soggy (but not inedible or bad in any way) otherwise.

Serve with Adai, Dosa, Idli, Upma, etc. Enjoy!!

Key Lime Cheesecake Bars

This Cheesecake lends itself to decorating any way you like; particularly with fresh fruit! Beautiful and Divinely delicious!

Note: You might prefer the Graham cracker crust instead of the one given here; use half the recipe. Fresh berries such as blue/straw/rasp/black berries, cherries, kiwi, etc are all delicious for topping the cheesecake bars.

9 Servings


1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup Oats
1/2 cup Brown Sugar, packed firmly
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 cube Unsalted Butter (2 oz)

1 Pkg Cream Cheese (8 oz)
1/2 cup Sugar
1 cup Sour Cream
1/2 cup Plain Yogurt
1/4 cup Milk
1 Tbsp Corn Starch
1 pinch Sea Salt
1 tsp Vanilla
2 or 3 Juicy Key Limes
1 tsp Lime Zest
Assorted fruits for topping


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Make crust: Mix together the crust ingredients in the bowl of a food processor; pulse just until well combined. Alternately, cut the butter into the rest of the ingredients with a pastry blender or two knives. Press onto the bottom and sides of a lightly oiled 9" x 9" cake pan. Put the pan in the freezer while you make the filling. This step may be prepared a day or two ahead.

Bake the chilled crust for 15 minutes; cool slightly for about 10 minutes.

Have the sour cream and cream cheese at room temperature.

Make a smooth slurry of the cornstarch and milk.

Zest the limes first and then juice them.

Process the cream cheese and sugar in the processor bowl fitted with a metal blade until well mixed.

Add the sour cream to the cream cheese mixture along with the cornstarch slurry, salt, vanilla, lime juice and zest and process again until well combined.

Take out the cake pan from the freezer and carefully spoon the cheese mixture into the crust.

Bake for 35 minutes or until the cheesecake is no longer sticky when touched gently.

Cool the cake completely, cover and chill for about 4 hours or better yet overnight.

Top with fruits of your choice and serve. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dal Do Jeera (Mung Beans With Double Cumin)

Dal Do Jeera means Dal with double cumin; here it means cumin prepared two different ways - fried in the oil and dry-roasted. The warm, nutty, toasty flavors of both the fried and the dry roasted cumin seeds complement the dal deliciously. Easy to prepare and love, this dal is another one of our favorites. Leftovers, if any, may be frozen.

Mung dal, whole cumin seeds, peppercorns, and other spices are available in Indian Markets.

4 - 6 Servings


1 cup yellow Mung Dal
1/2 tsp Turmeric
Sea Salt to taste
1/4 cup Cilantro, finely chopped
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1/4 tsp Whole Black Pepper

2 tsp Ghee/Oil
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
3-4 Coin-sized slices Ginger, minced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 or 2 mild/sweet Green Peppers, chopped
1 Jalapeño or Serrano Chile, deseeded and minced


Sort and wash the dal well. Bring to a boil in enough water to cover, reduce heat and simmer until soft and creamy - about 30 minutes; add the turmeric and salt. Set aside. The dal may be cooked in a pressure cooker to shorten the cooking time.

Heat the ghee/oil in a saucepan (about 2 or 3 quart/liter size) and add the 1/2 tsp cumin seeds.

When the cumin seeds are fragrant and begin to pop, immediately add the onions, ginger, peppers, and chile with a pinch of salt; cook covered stirring occasionally until the veggies soften; sprinkle a tiny bit of water as necessary to keep veggies from sticking and burning.

Stir in the dal and simmer covered over low heat until the dal is heated through. A little boiling water may be added to thin the dal; dal can be served thick or thin according to your preference.

Turn off the heat and let sit covered for five minutes.

Toast the peppercorns and the cumin seeds in a small pan until fragrant and a bit browned - both cumin and pepper pop, dance and have a tendency to jump out the pan - just don't let them escape! Let cool.

Grind/pound the roasted cumin and pepper into a powder; mix into the dal.

Stir in the cilantro and serve hot by itself, or with roti/rice. Enjoy!!