Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Pasta with Lemony Ricotta Basil & Thyme

Pasta with Lemony Ricotta Basil & Thyme is a quick and easy dinner especially on weeknights or when one needs a quick but hearty and comforting meal. Make the vegan ricotta a couple of days ahead. The only cooking involved is cooking the pasta. Once the pasta is ready, mix everything, plate, and enjoy!


If fresh gluten free pasta is not available, use dried. This pasta dish maybe prepared with your favorite dried pasta but the short shapes such as gemelli, fusilli, penne, etc work especially well.

Leftover pasta can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and gently reheated.



8 oz. fresh Pasta (Gluten free)
1 clove Garlic, mashed
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh Basil leaves, torn
3-4 sprigs fresh Thyme, leaves coarsely chopped
1/2 large Lemon, zest and juice
1/2 cups non-dairy Ricotta cheeze*
1 cup vegan Parmesan cheese
1 pinch kosher Salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
1 Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
Good-quality olive oil, for drizzling (optional)

Non-Dairy Ricotta Cheeze*:
1/4 cup raw Cashews or Almonds, soaked in warm water for 2 hours 
1/2 block (~7-8 oz.) Firm Tofu, drained well
1 pinch Salt
Fresh Lemon Juice to taste


Make Non-Dairy Ricotta Cheeze: If using almonds, it is aesthetically pleasing to remove their skins; but if brown specks of the skin are not a problem, use without peeling. Drain and rinse the nuts, process using a food processor until finely ground. Add the drained tofu, salt and lemon juice and process until combined. Spoon the vegan ricotta into a container and store in the fridge until needed. Vegan ricotta will stay fresh for about 5-6 days.

Prepare Pasta: Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. 

While the water is boiling for the pasta, prepare the sauce:
Combine the garlic, herbs, ricotta, Parmesan, lemon zest and juice, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl and stir to combine. 

When the pasta is al dente, drain, ans add it to the ricotta bowl and mix well to coat the pasta in the sauce. Sprinkle the red pepper flakes, if using, and serve immediately. Drizzle olive oil over each serving if you wish.


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Carrot Creme (Easy & Delicious Creamy Carrot Soup)

Carrot Creme or Creamy Carrot Soup is quite simple, yet, so delicious! Although we call it "Creme", there is no cream or other fat/oil in this gorgeous soup. Carrot Creme, just like its cousin Butternut/Pumpkin Creme, is naturally gluten, dairy, and fat free; the nuts and coconut provide creaminess and a small amount of natural fats.

Just a few basic ingredients contibute to a wonderfully scrumptious and creamy sunset-colored soup!  An abundance of fresh carrots prompted this recipe. The pepper provides a nice contrast to the natural sweetness of the carrots and nutmeg takes it to the next level of carroty scrumptiousness.

As there aren't many steps to follow other than the basic prep, the soup comes together quite quickly.

Onions and garlic maybe omitted; if you omit them, a pinch or two of freshly ground cumin maybe added.

Makes about 10 cups


6-8 Cashews, preferably raw
6-8 Almonds, raw
1 1/2 lbs Carrots, scrubbed and cut into large chunks
2 ribs Celery, cut into chunks
2 Potatoes, scrubbed and cut into chunks
1 clove Garlic, minced (optional)
1 small Onion, diced (optional)
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1Tbsp dried Basil
Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
1/4 cup Fresh Coconut, or 3 T dehydrated
1 pinch Nutmeg
Fresh Lemon juice to taste 

Optional Garniches
Freshly ground pepper/paprika/cayenne
Roasted Carrot slices/cubes
Grilled/Toasted bread, cut into cubes
Finely chopped Parsley
Coconut Milk, chilled


Soak the almonds and cashews in a cup of warm water while prepping the veggies.

Scrubb and wash the veggies thoroughly; peeling potatoes or carrots is not necessary. Prepare the veggies into large chunks.

Place the potatoes in a large soup pan with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 6-7 minutes.

Add the rest of the veggies, seasonings, spices, and cayenne if using, to the pan with a little more water if needed; cook until veggies are tender. Check occasionally to make sure there is enough water and the veggies do not scorch or burn. Let cool a little.

Place the drained and rinsed nuts with a little fresh water in the blender carafe and whirl until smooth.

Add the cooked veggies with the cooking liquid to the blender carafe and process until smooth and silky. The veggies may need to be pureed in 2 or 3 batches. Be careful when processing hot mixtures in the blender; follow manufacturer's directions.

Although I prefer a regular blender for the silky texture it gives, an immersion blender maybe used as well. Add a little extra hot water as needed to get the right consistency; but not too much.

Pour the puree back into the pan, add a little water if too thick, and heat through. Let simmer gently for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Stir in the lemon juice to taste.

Serve hot with additional freshly ground pepper and your favorite garnishes.


Sunday, October 27, 2019

Sriracha Tofu Hack

Delicious, savory Sriracha Tofu is fabulous as is but makes a wonderful addition of flavorful protein to soups, wraps and sandwiches, stir-frys, etc - think luscious rice noodle filled pho, banh-mi type of sandwiches, filling for sushi, salads, and grain and veggie bowls. Srirach Tofu also makes a lovely starter (sprinkled with a few sliced green onions if you like) served with other starters and snacks.

Sriracha Tofu
It is well worth the small amount of effort to prepare - you get at least double the amount for less than the price of the ready-made and lots more flavor! Be warned though - Sriracha Tofu is so yummy, it is easy to eat the whole batch!

Extra Firm Tofu works the best but firm is acceptable.

For extra umami, mix in a little tamari when marinating/cooking the tofu. Tamari and coconut aminos  are gluten-reee sauces prepared without wheat. For best results, cook the tofu slowly and long over low heat. A little pinch of salt maybe added if desired.

5 Servings - maybe!


1 Block (~16 oz) Extra Firm or Firm Tofu
1/4 - 1/2 cup Sriracha Sauce
Tamari Sauce/Coconut Aminos


Drain the tofu thoroughlyand dry off with paper towels. Slice the tofu evenly into 10 slices crosswise. Have a small container with a tight-fitting lid ready to keep the tofu and sauce. Use the smaller amount for mild and the larger for spicy tofu. If using smaller amount of Sriracha, tamari will be needed for well seasoned tofu.

Spread a layer of the Sriracha on the bottom of container. Coat tofu slices on both sides with the sauce and place them in the container; it is fine to stack the slices. Pour any remaining sauce over the tofu. Tightly cover.

Place the tofu in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours or overnight for best results. 

When ready to use, warm a non-stick skillet with cover and place tofu slices in a single layer. Baste with some of the sauce in the contianer. Cover and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes or so until the sauce has been absorbed; turn the tofu slices to cook the other side. Cook until all the sauce is absorbed again and tofu is browned a little. 

Repeat with the rest of the tofu. 

Serve hot or warm. Delicious cold too if there is any left; think sandwiches or salads.


Friday, October 25, 2019

Creamy & Fresh Tomato Salad/Salsa (Salsa With Cashew/Coconut Cream & Peanuts)

Creamy & Fresh Tomato Salad/Salsa is an adaptation of Raita that sparkles with sweet, salty, sour, and spicy flavors. The cashew and coconut, both the cream and the toasted, add a sublime touch. Just like the traditional fresh tomato salsa, Creamy Fresh Tomato Salad/Salsa is sure to become a keeper! So, if you’re looking for a different take on the traditional salsa, just to change it up a bit, give this a try!

Creamy & Fresh Tomato Salad/Salsa is naturally gluten/dairy free and fabulous not only as a starter or snack with chips, tortillas, etc., but also as a lovely side with meals as well as a topping for baked potatoes.


Cashew cream: Soak 1/4 cup cashews and grind with a little fresh water until smooth using a blender. Save extra for topping potatoes, veggies, or cooking.

Unsweetened Coconut Cream: Chill coconut milk in the fridge until the cream rises to the top. Use this cream in the recipe; save the rest for another recipe like Tofu Curry or Easy Veg Korma.

Use plain non-dairy yogurt if cashew/coconut cream is not an option.

Use Roma tomatoes if possible as they are quite fleshy and firm. When using other tomatoes, their excess juices may need to be drained.

Use a little lime zest if lemongrass is not available. If using fresh lemongrass, save the rest for tea or broth.

As always, be careful when working with chiles; wear gloves and/or goggles, avoid splashes of juices on face and eyes.

4-6 Servings


1 clove Garlic, minced
1/4 - 1 Serrano, Jalapeño, or Thai chile, cored and minced
1 Date, pitted Or 1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 Lemongrass, tender base only, finely chopped
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 fresh Lime, juiced

4 large ripe Roma Tomatoes, diced small
1 Jalapeño chile, cored and minced (optional)
1/2 small Red Onion, diced fine
2-4 Green Onions, thinly sliced
4 Tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
4-5 Tbsp Cashew OR Unsweetened Coconut Cream (see Notes)


2 Tbsp dried shredded Coconut, toasted
1/2 cup roasted cashews/peanuts, coarsely crushed

For Serving:

Tortilla chips
Rice Cakes, crackers
Warm Tortilla wedges


Make the dressing: Using a mortar and pestle mash the chiles and garlic with a pinch of salt. Add the lemongrass and mash to incorporate.

Add the date/maple syrup, mashing to combine, then the lime juice to taste and mix well.

Assemble the Salad/Salsa: In a mixing bowl, combine all the salad ingredients except the cashew/coconut cream - tomatoes, Jalapeño if using, red and green onions, and cilantro.

Pour the dressing over the veggies and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning with more lime juice as needed.

Fold in the cashew/coconut cream, top with coconut and nuts just before serving.

Serve with your favorite chips, crackers, tortilla wedges, etc. Tastes best when freshly prepared.


Sunday, October 13, 2019

Cilantro Pesto, Vegan and Oil-free

Beautiful emerald green Cilantro Pesto, Vegan and Oil-free, is quite similar to the Indian fresh chutneys, can have a little kick to it if the Jalapeño chile has some or all of the core left in. This beautiful pesto has an amazing number of uses; it is fabulous as a seasoning for veggies, bean, and grain salads, as a sauce stirred into hot/cold pasta, roasted veggies, and soups, spread on sandwiches and wraps, as a dip for warm bread, as a marinade for tofu, or diluted with some lemon juice to make a delicious salad dressing.... the list goes on.

Cilantro Pesto makes a great appetizer too: Swirl a spoonful or two into Hummus or place a spoonful in a small saucer to serve with your favorite warm breads/tortillas., 


Almonds, pistachios, cashews, coconut, or other seeds could be substituted for the pepitas; if using coconut in place of pepitas, it does not need roasting; fresh, frozen, or dried unsweetended coconut maybe used.

A cooked onion maybe added while processing the pesto.


1 large bunch fresh Cilantro, about 2 cups packed
1-2 cloves fresh Garlic
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Pepitas (Pumpkin seeds) OR other nuts/seeds, toasted
1 Jalapeño chile, cored for a mild pesto
1 tsp dry roasted Whole Cumin Seeds, ground fine
1-2 fresh Limes/Lemons, juiced


Roast the nuts/seeds you are using in a dry skillet without any oil to a pale gold. Remove from heat. Place the toasted seeds on a heat-resistant plate or bowl and set aside to cool.

Sort the cilantro to remove weeds and yellow or spoiled leaves. Wash thoroughly in several changes of fresh water. Drain well and trim off brown ends of the stems.

Peel garlic and trim the stem end.

Stem and cut Jalapeño -  for a mild pesto remove the core with the seeds and membranes using a teaspoon and discard; leave core in and/or use more chiles for a spicy pesto.

Place all the ingredients with half of the lime juice and process in a food processor container fitted with the metal blade or a blender until finely puréed. You may have to scrape the sides to push all the ingredients into the blades a few times. Taste and add more lime juice or seasonings to taste.

Spoon into a clean, dry glass jar and keep refrigerated until needed.


Saturday, October 12, 2019

Black-eyed Peas With Greens, Kerala Style (For New Year's Day or Any Day)

Black-eyed Peas With Greens was inspired by the Kerala style stews; this stew is an amalgam of ingredients found in both the U.S. and India. Tasty, Simple, good and good for you, what's not to love? Black-eyed Peas With Greens can be enjoyed as a soup or stew depending on the amount of water you add. Black-eyed Peas With Greens is fabulous traditional fare for New Year's Day to bring good luck and good health!

Other greens such as Chard, Kale, Collards, etc maybe added instead of spinach; but these greens are sturdier than spinach and would need more time to cook. Add them at the same time as the black-eyed peas to the pot and simmer until desired doneness is achieved.

Note: Black-eyed peas cook relatively quickly even when unsoaked; so soaking is beneficial but optional.


2-3 Tbsp Coconut, dried unsweetened
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 dried hot Red Chile

1 cup Black-eyed Peas, cooked until soft
1 small Onion, finely diced
1 clove Garlic (optional), minced
3 Celery ribs, diced
1 Tomato, diced
1/2 tsp Turmeric
8 oz Spinach, coarsely chopped
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
1-2 Stems Curry Leaves, finely sliced


Sort, soak if desired, and cook the black-eyed peas in water to cover until soft but not mushy.

Masala: While the black-eyed peas are cooking, combine the following and grind finely using a blender with about 1/4-1/2 cup of water. Set aside.

In a large pot, cook the onions and celery with a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of water until softened. Add Turmeric, garlic and tomato and cook for a couple of more minutes.

Tip in the cooked black-eyed peas, and coconut mixture and bring to a good rolling boil. Add a little boiling water to get stew or soup consistency. 

Stir in the spincach and cook just until wilted. Remove from heat. Stir in the pepper and curry leaves.

Cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. 

Serve hot in bowls by itself or over cooked grains.


Thursday, October 10, 2019

Green Papaya/Chayote Squash Salad With Lime Dressing

Green Papaya/Chayote Squash Salad is a refreshingly delicious, crunchy, and flavorful salad that can do double duty as a salad of course and a lovely starter or snack. I love to use green papaya but cannot always find it; chayote squash or jicama are great substitutes!

For best results, the veggies should be cut into match stick size julienne pieces or large shreds; but not finely grated. This is where you can show off your fancy knife skills or practice it!

This is a great make-ahead salad; prepare all the ingredients upto a day ahead; mix the salad with the dressing 10-15 minutes before serving.

Note: If you use seasoned rice vinegar, omit sugar as the vinegar is already seasoned with it.


1 Green Papaya/Chayote, peeled and coarsely shredded
1 Carrot, peeled and coarsely shredded
1 Jalapeno chile, cored and thinly sliced
2 Green Onions, white and green parts, sliced diagonally
1/3 cup EACH fresh Mint & Cilantro, finely chopped
2 Tbsp Unseasoned Rice Vinegar
2-3 tsp Jaggery or Brown Sugar
2-3 Limes
4-5 fresh young Lime leaves OR1 tsp Lime Zest
1 Tbsp Minced Ginger
1 clove fresh Garlic, finely mashed
1/4 - 1/2 tsp Ground Red Pepper (cayenne) (optional)
Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
Black Sesame seeds


Combine the rice vinegar, sugar, juice from 1 lime, lime zest (if using finely sliced lime leaves, add to the veggies rather than the dressing) ginger, garlic, red pepper if using, and salt & pepper. Mix well.

Toss the veggies, herbs, and dressing together in a large bowl; taste and add more lime juice or other ingredients as needed.

Cover and chill for about 10-15 minutes before serving.


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Smoky Almond/Mame Pâté With Caramelized Garlic (Almond & Soy Bean Pâté)

Delicious Smoky Almond/Mame Pâté makes a lovely appetizer, snack or even a meal especially when piled on a toast or salad! This is similar to the other wonderful recipe Chickpea Salad Spread. I am using the Japanese word for bean here as I like the sound of it!

I thought I had a perfect name for the lovely brignt carrot-colored Pâté until I introduced it to friends as "Sal-None Pâté"; one friend had a hugely violent reaction and chided me for picking a horrible name! Her aversion to the name was so strong that I gave up the idea. Oh, the things One does to appease one's friends' sensibilities! :-)


Soak and cook the soy beans until soft but not mushy. Check How to cook beans for info on cooking the beans. You may also use canned beans.

If soy is not an option, use cooked great northern or cannellini beans instead.

Roast or cook the garlic cloves until they are soft and golden. Uncooked garlic maybe used also but will have a different flavor profile.


2 cups cooked Soy Beans (see Notes)
1/3 cup Toasted Almonds
1-2 cloves Caramelized Garlic (1 tsp)
1/4-1/3 cup Vegan Mayonnaise
1-2 Tbsp Dijon type prepared Mustard
1 Carrot, finely grated
1 rib Celery, minced
1/4 cup Dill Pickles/Cornichons, minced
1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/8 tsp ground White Pepper
2-4 Tbsp Lemon Juice, to taste
2 Tbsp fresh Parsley, finely chopped
2 Tbsp Fresh Dill, finely chopped
Salt, Pepper to taste

Optional ingredients
1/2 small Red Pepper, finely minced
1/4 - 1/2 tsp Cayenne
2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast, or to taste


If the soy beans are freshly cooked, drain (reserve cooking broth for soups or other uses) and let  cool completely.

Place the almonds in the bowl of the foodprocessor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse until the nuts are chopped well into crumbs and without any large chunks. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

In the same bowl of the food processor, add celery and the fresh herbs and pulse a couple of times. Spoon into the nut bowl. 

Tip the drained soybeans into the processor bowl and pulse a few of times until finely chopped but not pureed. If you like a smoother texture, go ahead and process until desired consistency is reached.

Add the rest of the ingredients (start with the smaller quantities of some of the items and add more as needed) and the reserved almonds mixture; pulse a few times just until mixed well. 

Taste and adjust seasonings, add a little more carrots or celery, etc. Mix well.

Scoop out the Pâté into a clean container, cover tightly, and let chill for at least 30 minutes. The Pâté is better if it is made a few hours ahead to meld the flavors. 

Pâté may be made a couple of days ahead and reserved in the fridge until needed; tastes fresh for about 5 days or so.

Serve Smoky Almond/Edamame Pâté cold or cool on toast, as filling for sandwiches or wraps, or as a dip with veggies, crackers, and chips.


Monday, October 7, 2019

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

Cauliflower Lemon "Rice" (Grain-Free Lemon "Rice") is a delicious alternative to the fun and fabulous traditional Lemon Rice using finely chopped (riced) cauliflower instead of rice. This is a delectable recipe that is easy for family meals or potlucks.

Serve Cauliflower Lemon "Rice" with crunchy papadams and your favorite curries as well as  Lemon Rice, Tamarind, or Yogurt Rice. To live for!!

Note: Heat the cauliflower just until heated through; remove promptly from heat as soon as it reaches desired tenderness. Since the cauliflower is finely chopped, it will become mushy if cooked too long. Mushy = No fun.

2-4 Servings


4 cups Cauliflower, riced (finely chopped)
1/2 - 1 tsp Oil (optional)
1/2 tsp Brown Mustard seeds
1 hot dry Red Chile, whole or broken into two
1 small pinch Asafoetida
1 stalk Fresh Curry Leaves, finely sliced
Sea Salt to taste
1/4 - 1/2 tsp Turmeric
2 Limes/Lemons

1/4 cup Roasted Cashews
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 generous pinch of salt along with the turmeric and cook until the cauliflower is heated through just tender. Turn off the heat and let cool a little.

Squeeze one of the limes/lemons and fold with a thin spatula to mix gently but thoroughly. Taste and add more as needed. 

Set aside covered for about 5 minutes for the flavors to meld.

Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature garnished with your favorite toppings. Delicious!


Sunday, October 6, 2019

Rice Noodles/Sevai II - Puli (Tamarind) & Thair (Yogurt) Sevai

Puli (Tamarind) & Thayir (Yogurt) Sevai are delicious South Indian gluten-free Rice Noodle treats, prepared for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. These make fabulous picnic fare as they travel well and can be enjoyed at room temperature. Dried rice noodles, readily available in Indian and Asian Markets, make quick work of making these wonderful dishes. 

Once you have cooked the plain sevai (rice noodles), it is transformed by adding the appropriate ingredients. Puli (Tamarind) Sevai is one of our all time favorites as is Thair (Yogurt) Sevai. Both are prepared in similar ways as Tamarind Rice and "Yogurt" Rice.

Plain Sevai

8 oz dry Rice Sevai aka Rice Noodles or Sticks

Prepare the sevai according to the package directions and drain well. If you salt the water to cook the sevai, you may not need much additional salt afterwards. Spread the sevai on a large platter to cool so they don't all stick and clump together into one big mass. Use the sevai in the following ways or check out Rice Noodles I; 8 oz of dry sevai should provide about 5-6 cups cooked, enough for the following recipes.

Divide the cooked noodles by taking out what is needed for Tamarind Sevai; what is left should be enough to prepare the Yogurt Sevai.

Quick Puli Or Tamarind Sevai - Peanuts are great here although cashews or almonds are good too. The brown chickpeas also go well with puli sevai. If Indian Sesame oil is unavailable, toast the seeds and seasoning without any oil and add about 1/2 teaspoon Chinese style toasted sesame oil when mixing with the noodles at the end.

Puliyodharai/puliyogare mix makes it easy to prepare Tamarind Sevai practically instantly; it is readily available in Indian markets; I like Mother's, Shakti, or MTR brands.

Serves 4


½ Tsp Oil, preferably Indian Sesame Oil
½ Tsp Brown Mustard seeds
1 Tbsp Chana dal
1 Tbsp Urad dal
1 pinch Asafetida (Hing powder) (optinoal)
1-2 dried Red Chiles, broken into two
1 sprig of fresh Curry leaves, finely sliced

1/4 - 1/2 Tsp Turmeric
2-3 Tbsp Puliyogare Mix
3 cups Cooked Plain Sevai (see above)
Salt or to taste
2 Tbsp toasted Peanuts or Cashew pieces
1 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Seeds


Have ready cooked sevai according to the package directions, drained well, and cool.

Heat a Kadai (Indian wok), a 2-3 quart pan, or a large skillet over medium heat.

Add the oil, mustard seeds, Chana dal and Urad dal along with the red cchile when the oil is hot; lower the heat and cover with a lid to keep the mustard seeds from escaping when the mustard begins to pop.

When the mustard seeds finish popping, add the asafoetida quickly if using, along with the curry leaves; cook for about a minute until curry leaves change color slightly.

Stir in the Puliyogare mix; stir for a few minutes or until well mixed. Remove from heat.

Mix in the sevai gently but thouroughly. Taste and add a little Salt if needed.

Serve warm or at room temperature garnished with the sesame seeds and cashews/peanuts.

We enjoy the Puli Sevai with Chopped Salad with lots of tomatoes, a whole bean Chundal/SundalAviyal, or Non-Dairy Mor Kuzhambu, and papadams.


Yogurt (Thayir) Sevai

4-6 Servings


2-3 cups cooked Plain Sevai

2 cups Non-dairy Yogurt
1 tsp Sea Salt

1/2 tsp Brown Mustard Seeds
1 hot Green Chile, cored and minced
1 Tbsp fresh Ginger, grated
1 Stem Curry Leaves, sliced
1 pinch Asafetida (optional)

To Serve:

Roasted Cashews
Finely chopped Cucumber or grated Carrots
Pomegranate Arils, Ripe Mango cubes, cut sweet grapes, etc 
Mango or Lemon Pickles
Gothsu or other curries


Combine the cooked sevai with the yogurt and salt in a bowl.

Heat a small pan and add the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add the asafetida.

Remove the pan from heat and carefully stir in the ginger, green chile, and the curry leaves with a pinch of salt.

Return to heat, add a teaspoon of water if too dry, and cook until the green chiles are softened.

Pour the spice mix over the noodle-yogurt mixture; stir well and check for seasonings; add a little salt if needed - yogurt sevai should have some salt but not be salty.

Let sit covered for about 30 minutes if you can wait :-). Yogurt Sevai gets better with a little rest allowing all the flavors to combine and marry. Yogurt Sevai is best the same day it is prepared.

Any leftovers may be stored in the fridge and served gently warmed as cold hardens the noodles.

Serve at room temperature. Sprinkle each serving with cucumber, carrots, pomegranate arils, mango cubes, chopped roasted cashews, etc if you like.

Traditional accompaniments are Mango/Lemon Pickles, Eggplant or another type of Gothsu, any curry, fried yogurt chiles, etc.


Friday, October 4, 2019

Paruppu Thogayal (Hummus-like Dal Chutney)

Mild and savory Paruppu Thogayal is a delicious hummus-like thick chutney or spread. It is practically instant because the dal is toasted and you don't have to prepare and cook the beans as in traditional hummus! It is usually served with tamarind flavored stews or kuzhambus like Vathal Kuzhambu I or II and Rasams. Paruppu Thogayal is wonderful with chapatis, toast, crackers, raw veggies, or mixed with freshly cooked rice or other grains. 

Frozen grated coconut is available at Indian and Latino markets. If fresh or frozen coconut is not available, use unsweetened dessicated coconut which is sold in Indian as well as middle eastern markets.

Makes about 1 cup


1/2 cup Yellow Mung dal or Toor dal
1/2 tsp Whole Cumin Seeds
1/2 tsp Whole Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Sea Salt or to taste
1 dried hot Red Chile (optional)
1/4 cup fresh/frozen coconut


Toast the dals, cumin, pepper, and chile if using in a dry skillet without any oil until the dal is lightly roasted and fragrant; pour into a plate and let cool.

Place the toasted ingredients along with the coconut and salt in the carafe of a blender.

Add water a little at a time and process into a thick chutney.

Scrape into a serving dish and serve.  If not serving right away, keep covered in the fridge until needed.

Paruppu thogayal will stay fresh if stored in clean jars or containers with lids in the fridge for about a week.  Enjoy!!

Chili Tofu

Succulent, saucy and pleasantly spicy Chili Tofu is an adaptation of the popular chili paneer and example of the Indo-Chinese fusion recipes. Flavored with tamari, ginger, garlic, coriander and cumin, it is the perfect blend of two distinctive world cuisines. Serve with rice, rice noodles, corn/rice tortillas for a delicious starter, lunch or dinner.

Use Thai chiles or serranos without removing the core for spicy hot Chili Tofu.

Roasted Tofu maybe used in this recipe; prepare it without the herbs and adjust the amount of spices as there is some in the roasted tofu also.

4-5 servings


1 tsp Garlic paste
1 tsp Ginger paste
2 tsp Corn Starch
1 tsp Tamari/soy sauce

Chili Tofu: 
1 14-oz block extra-firm Tofu 
1 large bell pepper (any color), diced
1 green Chile, like Serrano, cored and minced
1 tsp Oil
1/4 tsp Cumin seeds
2 tsp ground Coriander seeds
1/2 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
1 large Onion, diced
1-2 cloves  Garlic, mashed (1 tsp)
1 tsp Ginger, grated
1 cup Tomato Puree
1 tsp Corn starch mixed with 1/4 cup water
1-2 tbsp Tamari/soy sauce
Salt to taste
1/4 cup Fresh Coriander (Cilantro), chopped
2-4 Green Onions include white and green parts, thinly sliced


Swaddle tofu in kitchen or paper towels and place in a colander for 30 minutes with a heavy weight on top, to press out excess water. Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes and place in a bowl.

Mix the marinade ingredients with enough water (about 2-3 tablespoons) to make a paste. Spoon over the tofu and toss to coat.

Heat the oil in a nonstick or cast-iron pan and swirl to coat the surfaces well. Cook the tofu cubes over low-medium heat flipping to cook each of the sides until they are golden-brown on all sides. Remove to a plate.

Heat the cumin seeds using the same skillet or pan. When they dance and pop, add the ginger and garlic and onion.

Cook until the onions become softened and translucent. Add the coriander, black pepper, and minced green chile and cook for a couple of minutes unitl they soften.

Add the tomato puree and cook until saucy and thickened, about 7-8 minutes.

Add the Bell pepper, and stir until the bell pepper starts to soften and turns bright green but still has a bite, about 2-3 minutes.

Gently add the tofu cubes and turn to coat them with the sauce.

Add the tamari or soy sauce to the cornstarch slurry and pour over the tofu; this will give the tofu a nice shiny glaze. Cook stirring until sauce thickens and coats the tofu and veggies.

Remove from heat and let rest covered for 5 minutes.

Serve hot sprinkled with  the chopped coriander(cilantro) and green onions.


Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Rice Noodles I - 3 Ways - Simply Seasoned, Lemony, & Coconut (Quick Sevai - Simple, Elumichai, & Thengai)

Sevai or Rice Noodles are popular South Indian dishes one can cook up in a jiffy nowadays with dried rice nooldes for a quick and delicious gluten-free treat for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner! Plain dried rice noodles are readily available in Indian and Asian Markets.

Simple sevai is delicious but the Lemony and Coconut Sevai are simply fabulous with their tangy and aromatic flavors respectively. It is quite amazing how the addition of one or two ingredients transform the plain into sublime! Traditional Lemony Sevai does not contain any veggies; but I love to add them sometimes. 

Once you have cooked the plain sevai, it is fun to make it into two or three different types by adding the appropriate seasonings and other ingredients. Here directions for Simple, Lemony and Coconut Sevai are given. The other favorites are Puli (Tamarind), Sweet Sevai, Ellu/(Sesame) Sevai and Thair or Yogurt Sevai; recipes will follow soon.  Although simple sevai is an everyday dish, it also can be dressed up with roasted cashews or peanuts for special occasions!

Plain, Coconut, and Lemony Sevai
Plain Sevai

1 lb dry Rice Sevai aka Rice Noodles or Sticks

Prepare the sevai according to the package directions and drain well. If you salt the water to cook the sevai, you may not need much additional salt afterwards. Spread the sevai on a large platter to cool so they don't all stick and clump together into one big mass. Use the sevai in any or all of the following ways; 1 lb of dry sevai should provide an ample amount, about 8 cups or so.

Usually plain sevai is dressed first as simple, lemony, coconut etc., it may be served plain also with your favorite curries or chutneys.

Simple Sevai
Serves 4 (This is not pictured)


3 cups Cooked Sevai

½ Tsp oil
½ tsp Brown Mustard seeds
1 Tbsp Chana dal
1 Tbsp Urad dal
1 pinch Asafetida (Hing powder) (optinoal)
1-2 dried Red Chiles, broken into two
1 sprig of fresh Curry leaves, finely sliced
Salt or to taste


Heat a Kadai (Indian wok) or a large skillet over medium heat.

Add the oil, mustard seeds, Chana dal and Urad dal along with the red cchile when the oil is hot; lower the heat and cover with a lid to keep the mustard seeds from escaping when the mustard begins to pop.

When the mustard seeds finish popping, add the asafoetida quickly if using along with curry leaves and the salt; cook for about a minute until curry leaves change color and become crispy.

Stir in the sevai, mix gently but thouroughly. Sprinkle a little water if the sevai is dry. Remove from heat, taste and add salt if needed.

Fish out the chiles and discard.

Serve hot, warm or at room temperature; Delicious with Arachu KalakkiNon-Dairy Mor KuzhambuPlantian CurryPazhanurrukku, papadams, etc. Enjoy!!

Plain, Coconut, and Lemony Sevai

Lemon/Lime Sevai 

1 Recipe Simple Servai (see above)
1/2 tsp Turmeric
3-4 Tbsp juice of lime or lemon
3-4 Tbsp toasted Cashew pieces/Peanuts

Follow the recipe for Simple Sevai. Stir in Turmeric and lime or lemon juice; stir gently to mix well. Taste and adjust salt and lime/lemon. Stir in roasted peanuts or cashews before serving hot, warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!!

Thengai Or Coconut Sevai - Cashews are best with this one.
Serves 4


½ Tsp oil
½ tsp Brown Mustard seeds
1 Tbsp Chana dal
1 Tbsp Urad dal
1 pinch Asafetida (Hing powder) (optinoal)
1-2 dried Red Chiles, broken into two
1 sprig of fresh Curry leaves, finely sliced
½ cup finely grated Coconut (fresh/frozen) OR 1/4 cup Dried
3 cups Cooked Sevai
Salt or to taste
3-4 Tbsp toasted Cashew pieces


Prepare the sevai according to the package directions and drain well.

If using dried coconut, add about 4 tablespoons of water to the coconut to reconstitute before starting to cook; 10 to 15 minutes of soaking should suffice.

Heat a Kadai (Indian wok), a 2-3 quart pan, or a large skillet over medium heat.

Add the oil, mustard seeds, Chana dal and Urad dal along with the red cchile when the oil is hot; lower the heat and cover with a lid to keep the mustard seeds from escaping when the mustard begins to pop.

When the mustard seeds finish popping, add the asafoetida quickly if using, and curry leaves; cook for about a minute until curry leaves change color and become crispy.

Stir in the coconut and saute for 5 minutes or until the coconut is golden. (If using dried coconut, rehydrate and squeeze out excess water before adding to the pan.)

Mix in the sevai gently but thouroughly, sprinklling a little water if required and heat through. Remove from heat and taste; add a little salt if needed. Let rest for 5-10 minutes.

Fish out the chiles and discard before serving.

Serve hot or warm, garnish with the cashews, and Authentic Sambar, Arachu Kalakki, Non-Dairy Mor Kuzhambu, or other favorite curries and papadums.