Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Spinach Green Tomato dal

The addition of green tomato to this dal gives it a tangy flavor. It's a one pot dal and all you have to do is season it when its done. Spinach dal with hot rice is comfort food at its best.
Spinach green tomato dal recipe

4 cups of chopped Spinach (or 2 cups of frozen spinach)
1 cup thuvar dal
2-3 green tomatoes
1 small onion
2-3 green chillies (adjust according to taste)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
A pinch of asafoetida
Salt to taste

For seasoning
1/2 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp jeera
2 dry red chillies broken
A few curry leaves
2 pods of garlic finely chopped

1. Pressure cook the thuvar dal with spinach, chopped green tomatoes and onion, green chillies, turmeric powder and red chilli powder.
2. Once done open the lid and add salt and mash the dal mixture.
3. In a pan season oil with mustard, jeera, dry red chillies, curry leaves and garlic. Pour into the dal mixture, stir quickly and cover the lid and set aside for all the flavours to incorporate.
4. Serve with hot rice.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Banana chocolate cardamom mini cakes (eggless)

I heard about spelt flour from Richa of As Dear As Salt during one of our never ending conversations about food. But I never baked with it until recently when I picked up some organic spelt flour from the Whole Foods Market. And it is one of the most versatile flours to work with. I loved the texture of this cake - moist, fluffy and crumbly at the same time. And it's eggless too! So, here goes the recipe. Adapted from Veg Inspirations. Check out the recipe here
Banana chocolate cardamom mini cakes recipe

2 cups spelt flour
1 cup almond meal
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup and it was a bit less) (see notes)
2 tbsps cocoa powder
1 tsp cardamom powder

Wet ingredients
3 ripe bananas
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup canola oil

1. Put all the dry ingredients into a big bowl. Mix well and set aside.
2. Mash the bananas and add the sour cream and canola oil and stir until combined.
3. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well. At this stage you can add chocolate chips, walnuts, pecans or raisins if you wish. I wanted to make it plain.
4. Pour into any mould you have. I had the bundt like moulds so used them. I baked some of them into muffins too. Use any baking dish you have at home. Just grease the inside of the pan/baking dish with unsalted butter or cooking spray.
5. Sprinkle turbinado sugar on the cakes or top them off with some chocolate chips or nuts (optional).
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes in a pre-heated oven.

1. I plan to increase the sugar to 3/4 cup the next time I bake this cake. If you are adding chocolate chips to the batter then 1/2 cup of sugar would be just right.
2. Also add walnuts or pecans if you like. Raisins would be a good addition too.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Onion and banana pepper pakoras

This is a recipe for regular onion pakoras with a spicy twist. I had a few banana peppers in the fridge and wanted to make my Banana Pepper curry. Instead I added it to the onion pakora mix. The result were mildly spiced crispy and yummy pakoras.
Onion and banana pepper pakoras recipe

Onion - 1 big (thinly slice)
Banana peppers - 5 (thinly slice just like onion)
Besan - 1 cup (add less or more if required)
Rice flour - 1/2 cup (adjust according to besan quantity)
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil for frying

1. Chop the onions and banana peppers and set aside in a bowl.
2. Add besan, rice flour and very little water and mix. Do not make it too thick or watery. It should be a dry mixture.
3. Add red chilli powder and salt.
4. Heat the oil and sprinkle the onion besan mixture into the hot oil. Keep turning the pakora so that it cooks evenly and becomes crispy.
5. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. This will hels absorb the excess oil and will keep the pakoras dry and crispy.
6. Serve with ketchup or Sriracha sauce. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Potato masala - pressure cooker recipe

This is a one pot recipe to make potato masala for dosa and poori. I got this recipe from my mom during one of our conversations about food. I would always follow the elaborate method of boiling the potatoes, peeling them and mashing them for the masala. This recipe is a shortcut and you can make it just before your guests arrive. 
Yields the same quantity you see in the picture

Potato masala - pressure cooker recipe

Potatoes - 2 medium sized
Onion - 1 medium
Tomato - 1 medium
Green chillies - 2 or 3 (adjust according to taste)
Mustard, jeera, urad dal and curry leaves for seasoning
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Oil - 1 -2 tbsp
Lime juice - 2 tbsp
Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Fresh cilantro for garnish

1. Peel the potatoes and cut into cubes.
2. Chop the onion and green chillies.
3. Chop the tomatoes finely.
4. Pour oil in the pressure cooker and season with mustard, jeera, urad dal and curry leaves.
5. Add the onion and green chillies and saute until soft and add the asafoetida.
6. Next add the tomatoes and saute for 1-2 minutes.
7. Add the cubed potatoes, turmeric powder and salt.
8. Add about 1/2 cup of water and give it a good stir.
9. Close the pressure cooker and switch off after 3 whistles.
10. Wait a while and open the cooker and stir. Check for salt. 
11. Add the lime juice and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Serve with masala dosa or poori. I served the potato masala on the side with dosa and chutney.

1. If using for dosa add less water. 
2. Use a potato masher if required. I just use the back of the spoon to mash and stir the masala.
3. After opening the cooker if the masala is a bit watery, just let it boil for some time. Do not use the lid when boiling. This helps evaporate some of the liquid.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Zucchini and spinach saute

A perfect side dish for rice or rotis, this subzi can be made even with frozen spinach.
Zucchini and spinach saute recipe


Zucchini - 2
Fresh spinach leaves - 4-5 cups
Onion - 1 medium
Garlic - 2 cloves finely chopped
Green chillies - 2
Mustard, jeera and urad dal for seasoning
Turmeric powder
Oil - 1 tbsp
A few curry leaves

1. Peel the skin off the zucchini. Chop into medium sized cubes.
2. Wash the spinach leaves and chop finely.
3. Chop the onions.
4. Pour oil in a pan and season with mustard, jeera, urad dal and curry leaves.
5. Add the onions and saute until soft.
6. Next add the garlic and chopped green chillies.
7. Now add the chopped spinach and saute for a minute before adding the zucchini.
8. Add the turmeric powder and salt to taste. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes.
9. Remove the lid and continue cooking until the zucchini is cooked.

1. Do not cover and cook for a long time as the zucchini will let out a lot of water.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cracked wheat moong dal payasam - in a slow cooker

Creamy, sweet and yummy .... that's exactly how this slow cooked payasam tastes. With just a few ingredients and a slow cooker you can create this easy recipe for any occasion. 
Cracked wheat moong dal payasam recipe

(for a 3 1/2 quart slow cooker)

Cracked wheat (coarse) - 1 cup
Moong dal - 1/4 cup
Whole milk/evaporated milk - 4 cups
Condensed milk - 1/2 cup (adjust according to taste)
Jaggery powder - 2-3 tbsp
Elaichi powder - 1/4 tsp
Raisins - a few
Cashews (optional)
Ghee to fry the raisins/nuts and moong dal - 1 tbsp

1. Saute the moong dal in 1/2 tbsp of ghee.
2. Wash the cracked wheat and add to the slow cooker.
3. Add the sauteed moong dal.
4. Pour the milk and stir well.
5. Next add the elaichi powder and condensed milk and stir to combine.
6. Cover with the lid and set on low for about 2 hours. Give it a stir after one hour.
7. When 3/4 cooked add the jaggery powder and mix well.
8. Set the slow cooker on high for the next one hour.
9. If you see the payasam bubbling reduce the setting to low and continue to cook for another 30 minutes.
10. You need to cook until you get a creamy consistency. 
11. Garnish with raisins and cashews (if using). 

1. The jaggery powder gives the payasam its color.
2. You can skip the moong dal and make the payasam with just the cracked wheat.
3. Cooking time varies depending on the size of the slow cooker.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Tawa Pulao

This is an awesome recipe that uses left over cooked rice. Considered as a popular street food in Mumbai, this recipe uses pav bhaji masala that gives it an unique taste. The street vendors make this pulao on the tawa and that's where it gets it name from. I used a regular non stick kadai/pan to make the pulao. This recipe is adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor's recipe. Check out this link for his recipe.
Tawa Pulao recipe


Cooked basmati rice – 2 cups
Onion - 1 medium chopped lengthwise
Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Carrots – 1 (diced into small cubes)
Frozen green peas – 1/4 cup
Green Bell Pepper – 1 diced
Canned tomatoes  – 2 to 3 tbsps
Oil – 1 to 2 tbsps
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp (adjust to taste)
Pav Bhaji masala powder – 1-2 tsp
Salt to taste
Fresh cilantro for garnish

1. Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. Once they splutter add the onions. Saute until soft and add the ginger garlic paste.
2. Add the green peas, bell pepper and carrot, cover and cook until almost done. Next add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 1-2 mintues. Reduce the flame to low and add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt and pav bhaji masala and stir until it blends with the veggies. You don't want to burn the spices.
3. Add the rice into the pan and stir well. Check for salt and add more if you need at this stage.
4. Garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve with raita.

1. I added the tomato after the veggies were 3/4 cooked. This helps keep the pulao moist.
2. If you like the rice a bit more tangy, you can add a few squirts of tomato ketchup along with the tomatoes.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Lime pickle - mom's recipe

A bowl of yogurt rice with home made lime pickle on the side is enough to take me back to my childhood. My mom always had a bottle of lime pickle in the fridge. I never tried making it myself until recently and it turned out to be just like what my mom used to make. 
Here is the recipe:

Lime pickle recipe

Lime - 10 medium sized (chop 6 of them and juice the remaining 4)
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1/4 cup (change according to taste)
Salt - 1/4 cup (see notes)
Methi powder - 1 tsp (roast and grind into a fine powder)
Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
Mustard - 1 tsp
Oil - 2-3 tbsps

1. Cut the limes into medium sized pieces and transfer to a pyrex/glass bowl. Add the salt and turmeric powder. Add the lime juice, stir, cover and set aside on the countertop for 3 days. Stir the lime mixture once every day.
2. On day three you have to season the lime for the pickle.
3. Pour oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. Once they splutter add the asafoetida and switch off the stove. 
4. Wait a couple of minutes until the oil becomes luke warm. Then add the red chilli powder and methi powder. Pour on the lime mixture and stir until completely incorporated. At this stage if the pickle looks dry then heat 1-2 tbsps of oil and add to the pickle. 
5. Cover and set on the countertop for one more day. Transfer the pickle to an air tight jar and store in the refrigerator. You can leave some pickle outside for daily use. Replenish as needed.

The refrigerated pickle will be good for a couple of months.

1. The salt seems a lot but the tartness of the lime offsets the salt. Will be just right for 6 limes. I used Salt Sense low sodium salt.
2. You can use lemons too, but only the ones with a thin skin. If you use the regular lemons that have a thicker skin they will not soak well and the pickle will be dry and the lemons will be too hard to chew.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Chow chow carrot poriyal

This is a recipe I have recreated from the menu of one of my favorite Indian restaurants (read Udipi Dosa House). Popular for its fresh vegetarian food the menu featured poriyals, kuzhambu, sambar and chutneys that tasted like home cooked food with the right amount of spices. 
Chow chow carrot poriyal recipe

Chow chow - 2
Carrot - 3 medium sized
Onion - 1 medium sized
Fresh grated coconut - 2 tbsps (frozen grated coconut will work too)
Mustard - 1 tsp
Red chillies - 2 or 3 (adjust according to taste)
Curry leaves - a few
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp
Garlic (optional)
Fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)

1. Peel the skin of the chow chow and carrot and cut into small cubes. Chop the onions and set aside.
2. In a pan add the oil and mustard seeds. Once they pop add the red chillies and curry leaves. 
3. Next add the onions and saute until soft. At this stage you can add garlic if using. 
4. Add the chopped chow chow and carrot along with turmeric powder and salt. Do not add water as the veggies will release water.
5. Reduce heat to medium cover the pan and cook for about 5-7 minutes stirring a couple of times. If you leave the cover on for too long the veggies will become mushy.
6. Remove the lid and add the grated coconut. Continue to cook until the veggies are done. 
7. Garnish with fresh cilantro just before serving.

1. Garlic imparts a nice taste to this recipe.
2. Serve with sambar, vathakuzhambu or rasam.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Pal payasam - Slow cooker recipe

Hi foodies 

It's been almost five years I have been away from my blog. A busy life with kids, relocating to a new city, moving to a new house et al has kept me busy all these years. It's been so much fun browsing, collecting and trying out recipes posted by all of you.

My never ending passion for food and cooking is bringing me back to blogging again. From cooking and tasting simple recipes to trying out exotic and complicated ones I have realized that my heart lies where comfort food is. Simple, home made and healthy meals with a few easy to find ingredients is just about enough to make my day. 

This blog will also feature vegetarian weight loss recipes which will be really handy if you are trying to lose weight. Over the last few months I have been taste testing semi-home made recipes which will be easy on your wallet and of course help you lose weight too. It worked for me and it can work for you as well. 

You will not see a new recipe everyday on the blog, but I will keep up my effort in posting something new and interesting as often as I can. A big note of appreciation to my fellow bloggers - sailusfood, onehotstove, talimpu, amadteaparty, aayisrecipes, akshyapatram, saffrontrail, and many more who have been active in the blogging world. I have been following your posts all along. 

The recipe I have chosen today is pal payasam/rice pudding. I made this in my slow cooker and it turned out excellent. With a few ingredients and very little effort you can make this simple dessert ahead of time. The slow cooker does all the work for you. This recipe is adapted from the cookbook - 'The Indian slow cooker' by Anupy Singla. I have made a few changes to the original recipe. A detailed post on how to use a slow cooker will follow soon.  

The ingredients mentioned below are for a 3 1/2 quart slow cooker. Double the ingredients if using a 5 quart slow cooker. Infact, you can simply use a 5 quart slow cooker for the same ingredients too.
Pal payasam - slow cooker recipe 
(makes about 6 cups) 

Basmati rice - 3 tbps (soak for atleast 30 minutes) 
Whole milk - 6 cups 
Sugar - 1/4 cup (Use less or more according to taste. For me the payasam was just right, not too sweet). 
Elaichi powder - 1/4 tsp 
Ghee - 1 tsp 
Chopped cashews - 1 tbsp 
Raisins - a few
Saffron - a few strands (soak in warm milk for a few minutes) 

1. Put the rice, sugar, cardamom and milk in the slow cooker. You can either add the raisins now or garnish at the end. 
2. The cooking time is 3 hours. Cook on low for the first hour and cook on high for the remaining 2 hours. Feel free to change the setting to low if you see the payasam bubbling away. Every slow cooker works different. (see notes) 
3. Stir the payasam every hour. (see notes) 
4. Once done set aside. Add the ghee to the pan and saute the raisins, chopped almonds and cashews and add to the payasam. 
5. Garnish with the soaked saffron milk. 

Serving tip: Spoon the payasam into small bowls and garnish with rasins, almonds, cashews and saffron. If making ahead, cover each bowl with a plastic wrap and refrigerate. This payasam can be served chilled or warm. 

1. The amount of rice in this recipe seems less, but once cooked it will be just right. 
2. I always use the slow cooker when I am at home and I can adjust the settings if required. On the contrary, slow cookers are meant to be used overnight (if making oatmeal for breakfast) or when you are away and want to get back to a home cooked meal. But if too little liquid is used for cooking it can dry out the food or if too much is used it might spill over. I personally recommend not leaving your home when using the slow cooker. I follow this rule for all the appliances in the house, mostly as a safety issue. 
3. Also peeking into the slow cooker is not allowed while cooking. It increases the cooking time. But with Indian cooking, it's good to stir the contents a couple of times, not too often though.