Monday, September 30, 2019

Cilantro Scented Green Rice (Kothamalli Pulav)

Kothamalli Pulav (Cilantro Scented Green Rice) is a deliciously delicate flavored rice perfect with any meal.  Although named Green Rice, it has a medly of colorful veggies which adds color, flavor, texture and taste. Red Onion Salad, or Raita are perfect sides to this amazing rice, along with any dals or Bean dishes like Rajma I and II, Kadalai Theeyal or other curries, beans and salsa, etc. Kothamalli Pulav is gluten free, dairy free and oil free.


You may use any type of rice you prefer - Basmati, Jasmine, Red or Brown, short or long grain, etc. If you use brown rice, the amount of water as well as cooking time will need to be increased.

Your favorite spices and/or herbs maybe added for a variation.

6-8 Servings


1 bunch Cilantro, about 1½ cups
1  handful Spinach leaves
1 cup Onion, diced
1 clove Garlic, chopped
1 Jalapeño Chile, cored and minced (optional)
½ Green Bell Pepper, diced
2 cups uncooked Rice
¼ cup Carrots, diced
1 red Bell Pepper, diced
1 cup Corn kernels, fresh or frozen
¼ cup Green Peas, fresh or frozen
½ tsp Turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste
2½ to 3 cups Water


Rinse and soak the rice in fresh water to cover for 30 minutes. Drain and rinse well. 

Process the cilantro and spinach leaves in a blender with 4 tablespoons water to make a puree. You may add a little more water if needed. Reserve.

Heat a large pan (3-4 quart-size) over medim heat, reduce heat to low-medium, add the onion, garlic, chile if using, and bell pepper; cook stirring for 5 minutes over medium heat until the veggies are softened. 

Add the cilantro and spinach mixture, mix well. 

Stir in the rice and vegetables along with the turmeric and add the water - 2½ cups of water for white rice and 3 cups of water for brown. Add salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.

Turn the heat to low, put the lid on, and cook for 10 minutes for white rice (30 minutes for brown), undisturbed. Turn off heat and allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes.

This rice maybe cooked in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot (IP) also. Use the cooker from the beiginning instead of the pan. Follow manufacturer's directions on using the cooker or IP safely. For white rice cook the rice for 5-6 minutes (22 minutes for brown rice) after high pressure has been reached. Turn off heat and let rest. Allow the pressure to release naturally.

Stir gently with a fork to fluff up the rice a bit.

Serve hot with your favorite curries, frijoles, and/or vegetables.


Sunday, September 29, 2019

Kadalai Theeyal (Kerala Style Chickpeas Curry in Tamarind Sauce)

Kadalai Theeyal or Kondaikadalai Theeyal is based on Kerala style curries known as theeyal - aromatuc stews prepared with tamarind as well as roasted spices and coconut. Kadalai Theeyal is a tangy and delicious stew sure to become a favorite. Theeyal means burned or scorched - probably an allusion to the well toasted coconut in the masala!

This recipe is naturally gluten and dairy free and lends itself  to Onion/Garlic Free Option. Adjust the amounts of tamarind, spices etc according to your family needs.
Kadalai Theeyal

Check the post on cooking dried beans. If freshly cooked beans are not an option, canned chickpeas will work out; you may need about two 15 oz cans. Drain the canned beans, rinse and add to the recipe as described below.

If you have a piece of tomato languishing in the fridge, chop and add it to the Kadalai Theeyal. It not only enhances the color, but also adds to the taste.

Both the light colored and the brown chickpeas maybe used to prepare this stew. Any extra stew maybe frozen promptly for upto 3 months.


Masala to Roast and grind:
1 tsp Chana dhal
1-4 Dried Red Chiles 
1/2 tsp Whole Black Pepper
1 pinch Fenugreek seeds
2 tsp Coriander seeds
2 stems Curry Leaves
1/2 cup dried shredded Coconut (unsweetened)

1 cup dried Chickpeas/Garbanzo beans, cooked
1 tsp Salt or to taste
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 small Onion, finely chopped (optional)
1-2 cloves fresh Garlic, minced (optional)
1 tsp Tamarind concentrate
1 tsp Rice Flour
4 Green Onions, thinly sliced (optional)
4 Tbsp fresh Cilantro, chopped finely (optional)

Thalippu/Tadka :
1 tsp Indian Sesame or other mild oil
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp Urad dal
2 stems Curry Leaves, finely chopped


Sort the chickpeas, soak in cool water for 6-8 hours or overningt; cook the soaked chickpeas in  fresh water to cover in a regular pan or pressure cooker until soft but not mushy. Stir in salt and reserve.

Dry roast all the masala ingredients except the coconut in a small skillet or pan. When the spices are fragrant and golden, add  the shredded coconut and stir untill deep golden brown; watch carefully and stir constantly as coconut burns quite easily. Pour out on a plate and let cool. 

Process all the roasted ingredients and the rice flour into a smooth paste using a blender.

Heat the oil in a large 3-4 quart pot and add the Thalippu ingredients except the curry leaves. When the mustard seeds pop, add the curry leaves. Curry leaves may sizzle a bit; so add them carefully to the pot. 

Stir in the onions and garlic if using with a pinch of salt and cook covered until softened. If not using the onions or garlic, go to the next step.

Add tamarind paste, turmeric, and ground paste; swish the blender jar with 1 cup of water to garher all of the aromatic paste clinging to it and add to the pot.

Add the cooked chick peas along with their cooking liquids and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Mash a few of the chickpeas with the back of the spoon and stir well. Remove from heat and let rest for about 10-15 minutes.

Stir in the green onions and cilantro if using. Taste and correct the seasonings.

Serve hot with rice/grains, rotis, a raita, any simple vegetable dishes, and papadam.

Kadalai Theeyal

Friday, September 27, 2019

Vegan & Gluten Free Stroganoff ( Pasta With Creamy Mushroom Sauce)

Vegan & Gluten Free Stroganoff  is delicious and easy to make. Served over a bed of spinach and arugula, it makes a very nutritious and complete meal. Other greens such as Swiss chard or kale may be substituted but would need to be steamed until tender first.

Stroganoff is perfect over freshly cooked pasta, grains, or steamed/roasted potatoes. For an even more substantial meal, add some Roasted Tofu.


Cashews make a wonderful vegan sour cream! Simply soak 1 cup of raw cashews for about 2-4 hours in plain water. Drain, rinse, and process using a blender with 1 cup of water and a pinch of salt until smooth. Scoop into a clean container and stir in a Tbsp of lime or lemon juice. Save any extra for other recipes.

4 Servings


1 lb White or Brown Mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 medium Red Onion, diced
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1-2 cloves Garlic, minced
2-3 sprigs Thyme
1 pinch ground Red Chile (cayenne) (optional)
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
2 Tbsp Brown Rice Flour
1 1/2 cups Cashew Sour Cream (see note)
Freshly ground Black Pepper
4 Tbsp Green Onions, finely sliced
4 Tbsp Fresh Flat-leaf Parsley, finely chopped

To Serve:
8 oz. dry Gluten free Pasta - freshly cooked 
8 oz. Fresh Spinach
4 oz Fresh Arugula
Coarsely chopped toasted Almonds


Heat a large wide skillet or sauce pan and add  onion and a pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat until softened adding a sprinkle of water as needed.

Add the fresh mushrooms with the rest of the salt and cook stirring; about 4-5 minutes.

Add the  garlic along with the thyme and mix well.

At first the mushrooms will exude juices - keep cooking and the juices almost evaporate and the mushrooms are cooked down.

Stir in the flour with the cayenne, if using, and cook until it is mixed well.

Pour about 1 cup hot water slowly in a thin stream while stirring constantly until there are no lumps; cook until the sauce thickens.

Remove from heat and let cool a little - about 5 minutes.

Gently mix in the cashew sour cream thoroughly and gently heat through.

Season to taste with freshly ground pepper and more salt if needed. Sprinkle half the green onions and parsley on top.

Combine the spinach and arugula leaves and divide among four plates. 

Divide the freshly cooked pasta and place on the spinach and arugula. 

Spoon the Stroganoff sauce over the pasta. 

Sprinkle with the rest of the green onions and parsley. Serve immediately. Pass the almonds. 


Thursday, September 26, 2019

VATHAL KUZHAMBU II (Tamarind Sauce With Freshly Ground Spices)

VATHAL KUZHAMBU II is a fabulous tamarind based kuzhambu, stew, or sauce with the amazing aroma that only Freshly Ground Spices can impart. Although similar to Vathal Kuzhambvu I, the fragrant freshly roasted and ground spices sets this one apart.

Enjoy Vathal Kuzhambu mixed with freshly cooked rice and Paruppu Thogayal, papadams, and vegetable sides.


Instead of OR in addition to adding onions or moringa pods (Indian veggie drumstick pods), fried sundried Manathakkali or sundaikkai vathal maybe added to the vatha kuzhambu at the end of cooking. Technically, it is the vathal that makes this recipe a "Vathal" kuzhambu :-)


Vathal Kuzhambu masala:

2 tsp  Toor dal
2 tsp  Channa dal
2 tsp  Urad dal
1/2 tsp  Fenugreek seeds
4 tsp  Coriander seeds
2  Whole red chillies
2 tsp  Pepper corns
A handful of curry leaves, 2-3 stems

Vathal Kuzhambu:

1 tsp  Sesame Oil
1 tsp  Mustard seeds
1/4 tsp Asafoetida/Hing powder
2 Red chillies, whole or broken into two pieces
2 stems Curry leaves, finely sliced
2 handfuls  Baby onions/drum stick pieces (Optional)
4 cups  Tamarind extract from a large lemon-sized tamarind
1 small marble-sized piece of jaggery, 1tsp (optional)
1/2 tsp  Turmeric powder
Salt To taste

1 tsp Rice flour + 2-3 Tbsp water (optional)


Soak the tamarind in 2 cups of warm water for about 15 minutes. Squeeze and knead and extract the juices into another bowl. Add 2 cups of water to the residue and squeeze and knead for a couple of minutes again. Strain out the juices and add to the first batch. Discard the solids.

Dry-roast all the ingredients for the vatha kuzhambu masala: Heat a small skillet or pan and add the masala ingredients in the order given one by one to the pan shaking and stiring after each addition. Roast to golden and fragrant, pour into a plate to cool completely, and grind into a fine powder using a spice grinder. Reserve in an airtight covered container.

Heat a pan with the oil. Add mustard seeds, red chillies. Once the mustard seeds start popping merrily, add the curry leaves carefully. Stir in the asafoetida.

Add onions/drumstick pieces and stir cook for 2 minutes.

Pour the tamarind exract juice in along with salt, turmeric and jaggery.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat so kuzhambu is simmering; cook until the onions/drumsticks become softened, about 10 minutes.

Add the vathal kuzhambu masala and mix well. Simmer for about 7-8 minutes or until the kuzhambu thickens a bit. If the kuzhambu seems too thin, add the rice and water slurry and cook for about 5 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from heat. Cover and let rest for 5-10 minutes.

Serve hot with freshly cooked rice or grains.


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Spicy Deviled Potatoes With Lime Dressing

Spicy Deviled Potatoes has a healthy tangy-spicy dressing without the usual mayo laden with fat! This is similar to the Roasted Potato Chaat With Tri-color Salad, another favorite, but the toppings and dressing sets it apart. One bite and you are hooked! Great as a starter for one or a crowd.


Dressing maybe made a day ahead without adding the fresh herbs; add them just before serving. 

Lemongrass: use the tender bulby bottom part; save the rest for tea or another use.

Potatoes maybe roasted ahead of time and reserved; warm them before filling and serving.

Fingerlings, small new potatoes, or large ones, etc maybe used to make Spicy Deviled Potatoes. The potatoes maybe roasted until soft, cooled slightly, carefully smashed without falling apart and roasted again until slightly crispy. Leftover baked/steamed potatoes maybe used to make this lovely dish.

For a mild dish use cored serrano chile; for a spicy dish, use a whole serrano or one or more of the Thai chile. Test them to see which works for you. Happy cooking!

Serves 2 - 4


2 medium Potatoes, roasted or steamed

The Dressing
1/2 - 1 Thai or Serrano chile, minced
Salt to taste
1-2 tsp Jaggery or Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2-3 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 small Shallot, minced
2 inches tender lemongrass, finely chopped OR 1 tsp Lime/Lemon Zest


Cut a slit in the potatoes and roast or steam until soft. When finished, reserve until needed. 

Make the dressing: While potatoes are roasting, squeeze the lime and leave the rind it the juice. Pound chile with a generous pinch of salt using a mortar and pestle until it forms a coarse paste. Add jaggery or sugar and pound to combine. Squeeze the juice from the lime rind, and add lime juice to chile mixture; mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Pour the dressing into a small jar and add all the herbs. Mix well, cover, and reserve in the fridge if not using right away.

Keep the roasted/steamed potatoes whole or cut in half and place them on a plate, slit/cut side up. Crush the middle portions of the potatoes carefully with a fork and make a cavity in the center to accommodate the dressing. 

Divide the herbs from the dressing equally over the potaoes and drizzle any remaining dressing on top. 

Serve as a snack, an appetizer, or as part of a meal. 


Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Mung Dal Cheela II (Mung Bean Crepes/Cakes)

Delicious Mung Dal Cheelas, crepes, or pancakes are eaten all over Asia by many a name! There are many versions in India as well as other countries. They are quite easy to make and may be eaten any time from dawn to dusk and beyond :) Added bonus: I add lots of veggies to the batter and make tiny cakes to offer as starters; these make fabulous party fare!

Cheelas, similar to the Dosas, may be made into thin delicate crepe-like pancakes or thicker. You can grind your own batter using whole mung beans or the split dal. In an effort to use whole grains more, I usually use the whole beans. I posted the recipe Cheela w/Mung Flour using readily available flour a while ago. Make cheela simply or with the added veggies and herbs, and you will have an amazing meal.


Instead of the fresh fenugreek leaves, dry fenugreek leaves, chopped spinach, chard,  kale, Malabar Spinach or other leafy greens may be added.

Sometimes, I also like to serve the cheelas stuffed with one of our favorite curries - Yum! Try Basic Potato, Scrambled Tofu, OR Sweet Potato Curry for stuffing; place a couple of spoons of the filling on one edge and roll up.

Mung dal, asafetida, chiles, fresh fenugreek leaves (dry fenugreek leaves = kasoori methi), etc are available in Indian Markets. 


1 cup Mung Beans or dal
1/2" knob fresh Ginger, chopped coarsely
1- 2 Jalapeño/Serrano chiles, sliced
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1 pinch Asafetida
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 small Handful fresh Fenugreek leaves (methi), chopped
Oil for cooking
Fresh Chutneys and/or Raita for serving

Optional Ingredients

1-2 Shallots or 1/4 Red Onion, thinly sliced
4 Scallions/Green Onions
1 small Bell Pepper, finely chopped
1 small Carrot, grated
1-2 cups Zucchini/Opo sqash, grated
1 handful Cilantro including the stems, chopped
1/4 to 1/2 tsp Red Chile Powder


Pick over the mung beans/dal, rinse and soak at least for 5-6 hours or overnight. Drain, rinse well and drain.

Process the mung, ginger and chile using a food processor bowl fitted with the metal blade until fairly finely ground; it doesn;t need to be smooth.

Add the salt, turmeric and asafetida to the mung mixture and process until combined well; spoon into a bowl.

Tip in one or more of the optional ingredients if preferred.

Add a little water, a tablespoon at a time, and mix well. The batter should be pourable and/or easily spreadable.

Heat a seasoned griddle or a non-stick skillet over low-medium heat; coat lightly oil (it is helpful to use a brush or a wadded up paper towel to smear the pan very lightly with oil).

At our homes, a tiny first one was made to check the temperature of the pan as well as the seasonings. Use one tablespoon of the batter for this; no need to spread. When the cheela is no longer wet and top changes color, flip over to cook the other side. When done, remove to a plate, cool a bit and taste. Adjust seasonings and add a bit more water if batter is too thick.

Pour about 1/3 cup of the batter into the hot pan and quickly swirl the pan or spread with the back of the spoon make an 8" circle. If you like, drizzle a few drops of oil around the edges of the cheela. Cover and cook for about a minute on low-medium heat adjusting the heat as necessary.

Loosen the edges of the cheela with a thin spatula and flip over to cook the other side.

Cook just for a few seconds or so until a few small brown spots appear; it will not get very brown. Do not overcook - the cheelas will dry out and will not be soft. Remove from heat and place on a plate.

Wipe the pan with the oiled brush or paper towel. Continue with the rest of the batter; any extra batter or leftover cheelas may be chilled in the fridge or frozen.

Serve hot.


Monday, September 23, 2019

Chayote, Mango & Apple Salad With Spicy Lime Dressing

Chayote, Mango, & Apple Salad is inspired by a favorite vegetable that is so underused: Chayote squash aka Buddha's hand, Bangaloru Kathrikai (eggplnt), mirliton, etc! With a balance of flavors, colors, and textures, Chayote, Mango, & Apple Salad is refreshing and delicious with any meal or brilliant as a starter. This is great in summer as well as autumn as there is an abundance of fruits and veggies available. Pomegranate arils make a very tasty and pretty addition.

Chayote, Mango & Apple Salad
Chayotes are quite inexpensive and economical; even their seeds are edible and delicious. Mild, sweet flavored, crispy, and juicy, it is delicious cooked as well as in salads! For cooked chayote dishes, check out Touffee, Molakutal, Sambar, Aviyal, Olan, etc. The young and tender ones are particularly fab in salads. Enjoy getting to know this lovely veggie if you haven't already!


If you like a spicy salad, use the Thai chile, serrano with the core, or increase the chiles. For a mild salad, use a half or whole cored serrano chile.

If you have purchased cashews already roasted, toss them in a skillet and toast until slightly more golden; the well toasted cashews have an amazing flavor.

If the chayote is very tender and young, it is not necessary to peel; but the skin on more mature chayotes need peeling as they are a bit tough.

Try the various types of crisp pears or plums instead of apples for a delicious variation. Other vegetables that work equally well are green papaya, jicama, kholrabi, cucumbers and/or other crispy crunchy veggies.

Serves 4-6


1 Chayote, peeled 
1 large firm Mango, peeled
1 medium Crisp Red Apple
1 medium ripe Tomato, cut into wedges
1-2 green Onions, thinly sliced diagonally
1 small Carrot, julienned 
A little Salt
1 small Red Onion, sliced thinly into rings
a few Cilantro leaves for garnish

1-2 cloves Garlic
1 green Thai Chile OR 1 Serrano Chile
a generous pinch of Salt
1 Tbsp Jaggery (Indian brown sugar)
1 handful Cashews, roasted (about 1/2 cup)
1 large fresh Lime,  juiced - divided


Cut the chayote, remaining mango and apple into bite-size cubes, combine in a large bowl and toss with a pinch of salt and 1 tsp of the lime juice.

If you wish you can reserve some of the mango and apple pieces to garnish or decorate the salad. Mix the apple slices with a pinch of salt and a tiny squeeze of the lime juice (about 1 tsp).

Make the dressing: Carefully mash garlic and chiles with the salt into a coarse paste using the mortar and pestle. Avoid getting splattered with the juices. Add jaggery and mash until it is incorporated and dissolves. Add  about 3-4 Tablespoons of the lime juice and mix well. Pour over the chayote mixture.

Add the tomato to the mortar and crush lightly with the pestle to release the juices. Add to chayote mixture.

Tip in carrots and the green onions; gently but thoroughly mix well until combined. Taste and adjust salt and lime.

Arrange the reserved apple and mango pieces attractively on a serving platter. Pile the salad on top, Sprinkle cashews, cilantro leaves, and a few rings of the red onion on top.

Serve immediately or reserve the mixed salad and slices on platter separately for up to 30 minutes in the fridge. Just before serving, arrange the mixed salad on platter with the sliced fruit.

Chayote, Mango & Apple Salad

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Vattal Kuzhambu I (Easy Spiced Tamarind Sauce)

Vathal kuzhambu is a classic and traditional tamarind based sauce from South India. The name Tamarind Sauce doesn't do justice to this lovely kuzhambu; it is something people crave and wax poetic about once they have tasted it!

Vathals are sun dried vegetables and wild Southern Indian berries. The Vathals of interest here are dried berries known as Sundakai or chundakai (labeled as turkey berries) and manathakali (frgrant tomatoes); I think the correct name is manithakali which means peal tomatoes. These are available in some Indian grocery stores but are neither absolutely essential nor necessary to prepare or enjoy vathal kuzhambu.

This sauce is often made after weddings and festivals to give the digestive system a break from rich foods.Vattal Kuzhambu (the berry kind) mixed with rice used to be a popular travel food in the olden days because it stays well at room temperature for 2-3 days. 

While the popular combination is vathal kuzhambu seved over rice with Dal Chutney (Paruppu Thogayal) and pappadums, a lentil wafer, I like mine with not only the fabulous Paruppu Thogayal, but also a side of vegetable thoran, raita, and yogurt rice.


I love to use fresh vegetables like shallots or green onions, okra, moringa pods known as drumsticks in India, and eggplant in this recipe. The flavors meld well the longer they sit and you can store this kuzhambu for several days in the refrigerator; vathal kuzhambu prepared with the dried berries last for a couple of weeks.

If using the dried berries, use 2 Tbsp. Cook them in a little oil until browned and add to the sauce at the end.

Sambar powder maybe homemade or purchased. It is readily available in Indian markets.


2 teaspoon Tamarind concentrate mixed in 2 cups of water
1 teaspoon Oil (preferably Indian Sesame oil)
1/2 teaspoon Mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon Fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon Channa dal
2 dry Red Chiles
1/8 teaspoon Asafetida powder
2 cups Vegetables (see Notes)
2 stems Curry Leaves
2-3 teaspoons Sambar powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Salt (to taste)


Heat oil in a saucepan over low-medium heat. When oil is hot, add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, red chilies, and chana dal; when the mustard starts popping, add asafetida.

Add curry leaves and vegetables and stir cook for couple of minutes.

Add sambar powder and turmeric; stir for a few seconds until mixed well.

Pour in tamarind water and salt, bring it to a boil. Let it cook on low-medium heat until the liquid reduces and thickens a bit.

If you want a thicker consistency, mix a teaspoon of rice flour with a couple of tablespoons of water and add it to the kuzhambu. Bring it to a boil and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes or so.  Remove from heat. Taste and adjust salt.

Serve hot with freshly cooked rice and your favorite sides.


Saturday, September 21, 2019

Tasty Mushroom Burger (Vegan, Gluten Free Burger)

Tasty Mushroom Burger, naturally Vegan and Gluten Free burger, is toothsome and delicious one of the best results in burger recipes. The oats, nuts, and rice flour etc help to form well without falling apart. If you do not eat fungi, check out the Lentil Loaf and Black Bean burgers recipes for patties without mushrooms.


All the vegetable ingredients maybe finely chopped or grated by hand or by using a food processor. I used the food processor for finely chopping all of the ingredients which made it quick and easy; as the last step, I pulsed the sunflower seeds and oats and that cleaned the bowl nicely - an added bonus!

Have fun with the seasonings: change them according to your personal preferences.

These burgers freeze well; for best taste, use them within 3 months.

12 Burgers


1 lb Mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 medium Red Onion, finely chopped
2-4 Tbsp Parsley, finely chopped
2 medium Carrots, finely chopped or grated
1-2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Jalapeño chile, cored and minced
1/2 cup raw Sunflower Seeds Or Walnuts, coarsely ground
1/2 cup Rolled Oats (GF), coarsely ground
1/2 cup Rice Flour
1/2 tsp ground Turmeric
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 Tbsp Chile Powder
1 Tbsp Tamari, Shoyu, or Soy Sauce (GF)
Salt, Pepper, to taste

Oil for coating the pan

To Serve:
Homemade Gravy
Buns, Bread (GF)
Onion Slices
Tomato Slices
Pickle slices
Vegan Mayo


Prepare all the vegetables (see notes above) and place them in a large bowl as they are done.

Prepare the sunflower seeds and oats (see notes above) and add to the bowl.

Add all the spices, herbs, and seasonings.

Mix in the rice flour thoroughly; the mixture should hold together when formed into a ball or patty. If too wet, one or two more tablespoons of rice flour maybe added.

Heat a skillet (non-stick works well for this) and coat the pan with a thin film of oil. Form the mushroom mixture into patties and cook on low-medium heat until both sides are browned.

Alternately, the burgers maybe arranged on a parchment lined baking sheet, lightly brushed with oil and baked in a 400-450 F oven for about 20-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Flip the patties after 15 minutes.

Serve hot with homemade gravy or burger style with toasted buns/bread and lettuce, tomato, and condiments.


Friday, September 20, 2019

"Cheezy" Potato-Onion-Celery Soup

"Cheezy" Potato-Onion-Celery Soup is a simple and soothing soup that is very satisfying as well. A friend introduced a cheesy version like this luscious Leek-Potato Soup to us a long time ago. I have made it gluten-, dairy-, fat- free and Cheezy too!

I often make this soup with leeks, zucchinis, and carrots. You are not limited to using just these veggies by any means; use any veggies you like. Anyway you end up with one delicious soup!

Variation: Use 2 or 3 large leeks instead of the onions. 

4-6 Servings


2 medium Onions, diced (about 3 cups)
1-2 cloves Garlic (optional)
2-3 ribs Celery (about 2 cups)
1-2 Carrots (about 2 cups)
2 large Russet Potato, cubed (about 1 cup)
1 small head Cauliflower/Broccoli, separated into florets (about 5-6 cups)
6 cups Water/Vegetable Broth
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Sea Salt or to taste
1/2 tsp Freshly ground Black Pepper
4-5 Tbsp Nutritional yeast
1/4- 1/2 tsp Cayenne
1/2 cup Parsley, finely chopped
4 Tbsp fresh Chives or Garlic Chives, finely sliced
Lemon juice to taste (about 1/2 lemon)


Prepare the veggies: they can be done ahead or as you go along.

Chop onion, celery and garlic.

Peel the potatoes if necessary and cut into 1" cubes.

Trim the ends off the zucchinis and dice.
Add the onion, celery, and garlic along with turmeric, a couple pinches of salt and pepper and a little water into a large soup pot (about 6 quart/liter size), cover with a lid, and sauté over low-medium heat for about 5 minutes or until softened.

Tip in the rest of the water/broth into the pot, raise the heat and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and keep the soup at a gentle simmer.

Prepare the carrots, potato, and cauliflower/broccoli; add each to the pot as you chop them with a little more of the water/broth as needed.

Simmer with the lid slightly ajar for about 15 minutes, until the veggies are tender.

Turn off heat and remove lid. Allow the soup to cool slightly for 5 minutes or so. 

After cooling, carefully scoop the soup into a blender carafe (you'll have to do this in a couple batches most likely) and add in the nutritional yeast and optional cayenne, if using. Carefully blend the mixture, starting at a low speed and increasing the speed until desire consistency is reached.

Puree the soup so that there are no big chunks but it still has some texture. Using an immersion blender makes this task quite simple.

Pour the puréed soup back into the pot. Heat the soup until steaming hot but not boiling.

Now, stir in the lemon juice, to taste, about 1 teaspoon at a time. The lemon juice brightens the soup.

The soup should stay fresh for a week in the fridge. To freeze, place cooled soup into a container or glass jar, leaving 1 inch at the top for expansion. Secure lid and freeze for up to 1 to 2 months.

Ladle into bowls and serve hot. 


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.
Bisi Bele Bath with Carrot Salad
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.
Veggies for Bisi Bele Bath
Bisi Bele Bath with Tomato and Papadam
Ingredients: For 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.


Bisi Bele Bath with Carrot Salad

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.


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Cauliflower Yogurt Rice (Grain-Free "Yogurt Rice")

Cauliflower "Yogurt" Rice (Grain-Free "Yogurt Rice") is a delicious alternative to the traditional Yogurt Rice using finely chopped (aka riced) cauliflower instead of rice. Naturally gluten and dairy free, this is a delectable recipe that is easy for family meals or potlucks.

"Yogurt" Rice is usually served with Indian mango, lime/lemon, or other pickles; it maybe accompanied by your favorite curries and Lemon/Lime Rice or Tamarind Rice. To live for!!

2 Servings


4 cups Cauliflower, riced (finely chopped or coarsely grated)
1 tsp Oil (optional)
1/2 tsp Brown Mustard seeds
1 hot Green Chile, whole or cored and minced
1 small pinch Asafoetida
1 stalk Fresh Curry Leaves, finely sliced
Sea Salt to taste
2 cups Non-Dairy Yogurt

Toppings and Garnishes:
1/4 cup Roasted Cashews
Pomegranate Arils
Ripe Mango, diced
Carrots, shredded
Fresh Cilantro, chopped


Heat a large skillet and add the oil if using, mustard seeds, chana and urad dal, along with the red chile. Cook stirring over low-medim heat until mustard seeds pop.

Add asafoetida, curry leaves and the cauliflower rice; mix well.

Sprinkle a pinch of salt and cook until the cauliflower is heated through and just tender. Turn off the heat and let cool completely.

Mix with the yogurt and fold with a spatula to mix gently but thoroughly.

Set aside covered for about 5 minutes for the flavors to meld. Taste and adjust seasonings before serving.

Serve at room temperature or cool garnished with your favorite toppings and accompaniments. Delicious!


Monday, September 9, 2019

Kariveppilai Kuzhambu (Curry Leaf Sauce W/Tamaraind)

Tangy/spicy Kariveppilai Kuzhambu is delicious with the aroma of fresh curry leaves which are the stars rather than a garnish or an afterthought! It is wonderful with rice and simple veggie dishes especially after enjoying rich festival fare. Curry leaves (kariveppilai) are considered medicinal and healthful so it is often prepared for women after childbirth and convalescents.

Kariveppilai Kuzhambu is nicely spicy but not necessarily hot even though there are red chiles and black pepper in the line up; they add flavor and a nice kick. You can increase them if a hotter sauce is required.

I have used tamarind CONCENTRATE here; if using regular tamarind paste, more maybe needed. If using dried tamarind, use a lime-sized ball (about 2 Tablespoons) and soak in 1/2 cup of warm water for about 10 minutes, knead well, and strain the juices. Add 1/4 cup water to the pulp and knead again. Squeeze out the pulp, fibers, and seeds and discard the solids; add the juices to the first batch.  


Toast together:
1/2 tsp Oil
1 Tbsp Urad Dal
2 dried Red chilies
1/2 tsp whole Peppercorns
1 large bunch fresh Curry Leaves
1 pinch Asafetida (Hing)

1 small marble sized lump Jaggery
2 tsp Tamarind Concentrate + 1/2 c Water
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp Turmeric

1 tsp Oil
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 stem fresh Curry Leaves


Heat the 1/2 teaspoon oil in a small skillet or kadai and toast the urad dal, red chiles, and peppercorns until the dal begins to color. Stir in the curry leaves and keep stirring and toasting until the leaves are crispy. Remove from heat and stir in the asafetida (hing). Pour onto a plate and let cool. When cool, grind into a smooth paste with just enough water to make blending possible using a blender.

In a kadai or pan heat the oil and add mustard seeds. When they dance and pop, add the curry leaves carefully and stir.

Pour in the tamarind water mixture and bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Stir in the ground paste; add a couple of tablespoons of water to the blender jar to gather any remaining spice paste and add to the pan.

Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes.

Serve hot or warm with freshly cooked hot rice accompanied by simple veggie dishes like cabbage or green beans thoran and fried or roasted papadams.


Sunday, September 8, 2019

Veggie Sloppy Joes Indian Style - Quick Pav Bhaji

Veggie Sloppy Joes aka Quick Pav Bhaji is a melange of vegetables that may be mashed well or left  a bit chunky. It is as nutritious as it is delicious.

Traditionally Pav Bhaji is served over toasted and butter-slathered soft buns specially made for this dish; you may use any buns, bread slices, flat breads, pita, or tortillas.

Pav Bhaji Masala is readily available in Indian Markets. If Pav Bhaji masala is not handy, no worries. Here's the recipe for it.  

Pav Bhaji Masala/Spice Mix:

1 Tbsp Coriander seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Fennel seeds
1" piece Cinnamon stick
1 black Cardamom, use seeds only
1 tsp Black Pepper
3 Cloves
1dry Red Chile
1 tsp Aamchoor (Dry Mango Powder)

Combine and grind the above spices to a fine powder. If you like, the spices except the Dry Mango Powder maybe very lightly toasted first, cooled, and then ground. Store in a small clean airtight jar.

Veggie Sloppy Joe/Pav Bhaji:

1 Onion, peeled and chopped fine
2-4 tsp Ginger, minced
1 Green Chile, minced
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 Tbsp Pav Bhaji Masala (spice mix)
1 large Tomato, chopped
1 large Potato, cut into small cubes
1 Carrot, diced small
1/4 small Cauliflower, small florets
Handful of Green Beans, thinly sliced
1 Bell Pepper, finely chopped
1 cup Peas, fresh or frozen
1-2 pinches Black Salt (optional)
Salt to taste
1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro, finely chopped

To Serve:
Gluten free or Regular Buns/Bread, toasted
Vegan Butter
Chopped Red Onions
Chopped fresh Cilantro
Lemon/Lime wedges 
Chaat Masala


Cook the onion, ginger, and green chile with the turmeric and a pinch of salt in a large pan with cover over medium heat; sprinkle water as needed to keep the veggies from drying out or scorching.

Stir in the spice mix and tomoato and cook until the tomato softens - about 2-3 minutes.

Add potatoes, carrots and cauliflower with about 1/4 cup of water, black salt if using, and a couple of generous pinches of salt. Cook for about 10 minutes stirring occassionally adding sprinkles of water if needed.

Stir in the bell pepper, green beans and peas. Cook for about 7-8 minutes or until veggies reach desired tenderness.

Mash the veggies with a potato masher or the back of the spoon until coarsely mashed. 

Taste and adjust the seasonings. Stir in the cilantro.

Serve hot over freshly toasted and buttered buns or toast. Pass bowls of onions, cilantro, lemon/lime wedges and chaat masala etc. for topping.