Thursday, December 31, 2020

Mango Launji (Sweet & Tangy Mango Relish)

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

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


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


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

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

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

Cool and serve warm or cold. 

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


Saturday, December 26, 2020

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

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

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


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

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

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

2-4 Servings


Dal Soup:

1/3 cup Red Lentils/Yellow Mung Dal

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

1 clove Garlic, minced

1 large or 2 small Tomatoes, diced

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

1 Tbsp Ginger, minced

1 Serrano/Jalapeño Chile, deseeded and minced

1/4 tsp Turmeric

1/3 tsp Cumin Seeds

1/3 tsp Fennel Seeds

1 1/2 cups boiling Water

2 Tbsp Coriander (Cilantro) include stems finely chopped

Tadka/Thalippu: Optional

1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds

1 stem Curry Leaves

To Finish:

More Boiling water as needed to thin soup

Salt & Pepper to taste

2 Tbsp Coriander (Cilantro) include stems finely chopped

Fresh Lemon Juice to taste


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Add Tadka/Thalippu if desired. 

Top with the corinander leaves.

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


Thursday, December 24, 2020

Lettuce Wrap with Tofu Filling

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Serve while the filling is still warm.

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


Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Easy No-Cook Instant Snack Pudding/Overnight Breakfast

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

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

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

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

1 Serving


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


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

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

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


Tuesday, December 22, 2020

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

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

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

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

12 Muffins/Servings


1 box (15 oz) Gluten Free cornbread Mix 

1 Tbsp Each - Flaxseed and Chia seeds, ground

3 Tbsp Water

1 cup Pure Pumpkin Puree, canned or homemade

1/3 cup dried finely grated unsweetened Coconut

1 cup Plant Milk

2-3 Tsp Sambar Powder (optional)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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