Thursday, March 10, 2016

Beluga Lentil Salad

If you are like me who likes the flavor of lentil curry but wish to have a dried version that gets carried well through the day or may be on a picnic day, you are in a right place. 

  • 1 cup Beluga lentils
  • 1/2 medium red onion chopped
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tbsp mustard
  • 2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1 tsp crushed black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • Baby arugula
  • Rinse the lentils and drain well, place it in a pan and cover 3-4 inches above with water. Bring to boil and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Make sure you don't overcook, they should still have a bite to it.
  • While the lentils are cooking, mix all the dressing ingredients together and stir well
  • When they are done cooking, run them through cold water to stop the cooking process.
  • Add the dressing, chopped red onion, raisins and capers to the lentils.
  • Add arugula or any other greens just before serving the salad.
Inspired from My New Roots.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Mung Bean Quinoa Wraps!

Sometime last month of the last year I posted Lettuce Wraps with Quinoa, Green Mung Bean Sprouts and Guacamole and back then I promised that I will be posting Mung Bean Quinoa chillas that you can use instead of lettuce leaves to wrap things in. So here it goes!!!

  • 1/2 cup of sprouted whole green mung beans
  • 1/2 cup of red or white quinoa soaked in water for 4 hours minimum
  • 3 tbsp white rice flour (Just to add some crispiness, but you can totally skip it if you want.)
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger
  • 1 small green chilly
  • Salt to taste.

  • Drain all the water from quinoa and grind all the ingredients in a blender. Make sure you add just a little bit of water. The batter should be of a spreadable consistency, not too thick not to runny. Check and add more if needed.
  • On a heated pan, start pouring a spoonful of batter and start spreading around to make a round. about 3 minutes on each side and it should have a nice golden red color.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sesame Jaggery Fudge - Tilachi Vadi

Makar Sankranti is the harvest festival and also marked as the arrival of spring in India. Sesame Jaggery Fudge is made on this occasion. This fudge (Tilachi vadi ) is made up of Sesame seeds, Jaggery, Ghee/ coconut oil. All of these ingredients adds tons of nutrition to the body especially in the time when it is made...the winter. A perfect combination of all these ingredients help lubricate the joints and nourish the brain while giving the warmth that is much needed during chilly winter month.



  • Roast the sesame seeds on low to medium flame until they get nice golden color. Keep aside.
  • Heat up coconut oil in a pan and add the jaggery into it. Let it melt and then add cardamom powder to it. Also add water and mix well. Turn off the heat.
  • Add the sesame seeds and the broken peanuts into jaggery and mix well.
  • Coat a plate with coconut oil and spread the above mixture on it.
  • Take a glass bowl, grease the bottom of the bowl with some coconut oil and spread the mixture evenly across the plate making an even layer. 
  • Mark the lines so that they will form nice squares. Let them sit for 30 minutes and then take the squares apart. You can also make them into diamonds but traditionally Tilachi vadi is made square shaped.

  • Traditionally these are made with ghee instead of coconut oil. You can't really make the difference between both versions. Both are just as delicious. The coconut oil version makes it perfect for vegans.
  • Addition of water helps the fudge retain it's softness and chewiness.
  • Make sure you use dark jaggery which is known as chikkicha gul in Marathi.
Happy Makar Sankranti to those who are celebrating!!!
Tilgul ghya goad bola....:)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Thai Curry with Vegetables!

Happy New Year to all my readers and followers! May this new year brings whatever you wish for!

Let me start off by declaring the intention of posting at least a recipe per week for the rest of the year. This is one of the resolutions that I have set for myself for the year 2015. I love the refreshing start of the new year, where everyone has opportunity to reflect on their goals for the last year, change any if needed and then try to stick to the new ones you have on the list. It's a wonderful process!

On that note ....let's move on to the first recipe for the year 2015!!!

A couple of my friends have been asking for the thai recipes. So here I am making their wish come true, posting one of the simple thai curries I make at least once every 2 weeks. It's delicious and perfect for those busy weeknights. I don't use tofu every time I make this curry because of the all the controversies around it. Also I don't really enjoy tofu very much. I replace it with chicken or sometimes just vegetables with more mushrooms in it to give the dish a meaty consistency.

Just cook up some rice in a presser cooker and make this delicious, versatile Vegetable Thai Curry in less than 20 minutes.

Thai food in general is very easy to make especially with the help of thai curry pastes that are available in the market. All of the flavors are packed in those bottles and when blended with thick coconut milk, all that is needed is good appetite :)

  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • Thai curry paste- about 4-5 tbsp. red/ yellow/ green. I used red for this recipe
  • 1 tbsp of fish sauce
  • 2-3 tbsp roasted grounded peanuts 
  • 1 tbsp of lime juice
  • 2 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water or vegetable broth.
  • Chopped vegetables of your choice- I used broccoli, bok choy and mushrooms
  • Tofu cut into cubes.
  • Salt to taste.

  1. Mix the sugar , lemon juice and fish sauce in a bowl and keep aside. 
  2. Pour in the coconut milk in to a pan and heat it up. When the coconut milk reaches a gentle simmer stir in the thai curry paste.
  3. Then add the vegetables and let it all cook up for about 7-8 minutes until the veggies are almost done. Also add in the tofu at this point and the peanuts as well.
  4. Add the sugar and fish sauce mixture and let it all heat up for about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the water or the broth to thin out the curry as much as needed. Bring to a simmer again.
  6. Serve over rice or noodles.

  • You can also use carrots, snap peas, onions, bell peppers, bamboo shoots, baby corns, potatoes, get the point!
  • Adding fish sauce might put some people off. But don't worry it doesn't taste like all fish. It just gives more deeper flavor to the dish with a little bit of extra saltiness.
  • The more you simmer the curry, the more thick and creamy it becomes so if you want to simmer it for a longer time, don't add the vegetables to early in the process. Just add them in for the last 8-10 minutes or so. Then thin out the curry with water as needed.
  • If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, try swapping soy sauce, hoisin sauce for the fish sauce.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Lettuce Wraps with Quinoa, Green Mung Bean Sprouts and Guacamole!

I hope you all had a great Christmas! Christmas is the time to enjoy with family and of course food. It is one of those occasions in a year where we all indulge a little or a little too much! 

Now that it's over why not nourish your body with some amazing lettuce wraps!

Here is what you will need-:
  • Lettuce leaves as many as you need for the wraps
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa- cook it as per instructions, add a pinch of red chilly powder and a pinch of salt while cooking.
  • 1/2 cup green mung bean sprouts- steamed with a pinch of salty water.
  • 2 avocados
  • 5/6 cherry tomatoes halved
  • Lemon Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
  • 1/2 white onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • Salt and crushed black pepper
  • cilantro
  • Organic GMO free Corn chips to top it off for some crunchiness

  • Prepare guacamole- In a bowl, mix in chopped avocados, tomatoes, onion, coriander powder, lemon juice,  chopped cilantro, salt and pepper.  Mash them up. Set aside.
  • That's it. Starting with quinoa, guacamole, bean sprouts, assemble everything on a lettuce leaf, roll and eat! Crack up some chips on the top.

If you are not a lettuce leaf fan, alternatively you can try making some quinoa and bean sprouts chillas shown in the picture. Chop some lettuce and mix in with the guacamole and other toppings. Please stay tuned for the recipe. In the mean time you can  try making Green Mung Bean Chillas or my Spring Onion/ Scallion Pancakes and use those as wraps as well.

Pick me up Please!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Homemade Hemp Milk!

Ever heard of Hemp Seeds??

If you are looking for a quick dairy-free milk alternative, you are in a right place! I am always on a lookout for a dairy free milk options and I make almond milk almost every week. Unlike almond milk, hemp seeds doesn't need soaking before blending, making it a very convenient last minute snack option. Hemp milk is delicious smooth, rich, creamy and it tastes amazing in smoothies. It it an excellent alternative for people suffering with nut and dairy allergies.

Hemp seeds are excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, proteins and all the 10 essential amino acids along with potassium, calcium,phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin A and magnesium. Have I already sold it enough for you? 

Wait.. there is more!

Hemp seeds have anti-inflammatory properties which helps to repair tissues especially after exercise. So carry a nice big jar of homemade hemp milk when you hit the gym or go for a run next time!
Hemp seeds are highly digestible by the body and they are known as immune booster.

Here is what you will need-:
  • 1 cup raw shelled hemp seeds
  • 3 cup of water
  • 2-3 tbsp of maple syrup
  • 3-4 strands of saffron
  • 1tsp of alcohol free vanilla extract
This is a very basic recipe. You can alter this recipe any which way you like. After you try it for a couple of times, you will know what things you like mixing in it and what others you want to replace to make it to your own taste.
  1. Place the seeds and the water into the blender. Start blending at low speed and quickly move up to high speed for about a minute.
  2. Strain using a nut-milk bag which can be found at any health food store or online.
  3. Add your choice of sweetener. You can also add dates or honey instead of maple syrup. If adding dates you need to soak the pitted dates for 10 minutes and then add them while blending the milk in step 1. For maple syrup you can just mix it up after blending. Also add saffron and the vanilla extract.
  4. The milk can be stored in a glass jar for about 2-3 days.
Some variations-:
  • You can flavor your milk with cinnamon, cacao or a pinch of turmeric for flavor as well as beautiful color and some turmeric goodness.
  • To make the milk more creamier, add 1-2 tbsp of coconut butter to it while blending. It tastes even more delicious that way!
  • Try adding sunflower seed butter or almond butter while blending to make it more nuttier if you like. Personally I think hemp seeds have nutty taste and doesn't need any other strong flavors.
Try Peanut butter banana smoothie by replacing soy milk with homemade hemp milk or Blueberry smoothie.

 How about overnight oats mixed with homemade hemp milk for breakfast tomorrow?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Roasted Caramelized Butternut Squash with Cinnamon

And..... here I am posting after almost a year and a half! A ton of things happened during this time which kept me away from blogging. Not that I didn't have time, but my priorities changed over time and the blogging took the back seat. The love for food and sharing amazing recipes however were somewhere deeply buried in my heart and so here I am bouncing back....:)

Fall/ Winter = Butternut Squash!

It is stormy, windy kinda day here in bay area and nothing feels better than a bowl of soup made up of local, seasonal produce. Soups are a nice and warm way to end the day but  sometimes I feel more satisfied if I get to chew instead of gulp down something. Tonight, felt like one of those days. So respecting my bodies needs, I went ahead and roasted an amazing butternut squash that I got from my farm-fresh delivery box.

  • Super simple, sweet and super delicious!
  • For those who have sweet tooth.
  • For those who like to chew instead of gulp on a stormy night.
  • For those who eat with eyes first...seriously I mean look at that gorgeous color! Who wouldn't want to eat that..??

Here is all you need-:
  1. Butternut squash- peeled and cubed into 1-2 inches.
  2. Brown sugar- 4 tbsp. More if you need it to be sweeter.
  3. Cinnamon powder- 3 tsp. I like a lot you can adjust according to your taste. 
  4. Ghee/ clarified butter- 2-3 tbsp. 
Some of my readers have asked if I have an easy way to cut the butternut squash without getting my fingers cut or breaking the knife...:) Unfortunately I haven't come across any easy way of cutting raw butternut squash. There is a way to microwave the whole squash before you cut it.  Now since I don't use microwave in my house (I don't have one anymore and here is why) I wouldn't go for this option. Alternatively you can roast the whole butternut squash in the oven and then peel and chop the cubes and sprinkle with cinnamon, sugar and ghee.

I am guessing that since microwave softens the squash and makes it easier to cut, the oven should do the same thing. I will be trying it out next time and will update.

  1. Place the cubed butternut squash on to the baking dish in a single layer.
  2. Melt the ghee, remove from heat,  add sugar and cinnamon powder.
  3. Mix well and pour on to the cubes. Toss well with your hands. Sugar helps to give it a nice caramelized color and flavor when finished. 
  4. Place into a 400 degrees F preheated oven for about 20 minutes tossing once or twice in between.  They should caramelize nicely and should turn soft.
Grab a fork and enjoy while they are warm!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Green Mung Bean Chilla with Carrots and Radish Ribbons and Peas Tossed with Simple Lemon Dressing.

How colorful is your meal today?

While I was going through my pictures, I found this long pending picture of bright colors. I enjoyed preparing this meal as much as I enjoyed eating. The Green Mung Bean Chilla is my all time favorite. I always add different vegetables to the chilla batter like spinach, fenugreek leaves(methi), carrots, shredded cabbage, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, thinly sliced green beans and such. In this preparation I tried to balance the colors of the dish by mixing spinach in the batter and bright white and orange salad on the side.

Nutritional Benefits-:
Green Mung Beans- 
  • They are also know as green gram. They are famous for the protein that they have in them, but apart from that, green mung beans are also awesome source of iron. 
  • They are also high in folate, which is water soluble vitamin-B necessary in production of new cells, DNA and RNA. 
  • It's even better to sprout and then use them, as vitamin C which is found in sprouts is missing in the beans.
  • This crunchy and deliciously sweet root vegetable has ample amounts of  beta-carotene, vitamin -A, Vitamin K, minerals and anti- oxidants.
  • Carrots have tons of nutritional value attached to it. Vision health, anti- cancer benefits, cardiovascular benefits to name a few.
  • Another root vegetable high in Vitamin C.
  • Radish is excellent for digestion as it stimulates digestive juices.
  • They are beneficial for symptoms of flu, cold, cough, respiratory problem.
  • Radishes can dissolve phlegm, reinforce energy as well as clear a stuffy nose.
  • White radishes (the root and the leaves) work as natural antibiotics against some bacteria.
  • Radish is a good mouth and breath freshener, laxative, regulates metabolism, improves blood circulation.
There is an old saying about radishes - "When radishes come to market, nobody will go to pharmacies."

Chilla is traditionally made up of besan (gram flour) and spices. In this recipe, I haven't added besan at all. The batter is made up of sprouted green mung daal and soaked rice ground together with some chopped spinach thrown in it.
I have also added some ginger and garlic paste along with cumin and coriander powder. 

Soaking time-:Overnight/ 5-6 hours at least
Sprouting time-8-10 hours, depending on the weather.
Preparation time-:15 minutes.
Cooking time-:15 minutes
Serves 3-4 people

For chilla-
  1. Soaked sprouted green mung daal-1 cup
  2. Soaked rice- 1/2 cup or more if you want your chilla to be crispy.
  3. Ginger- 1/2 inch piece
  4. Garlic-1/2 inch piece
  5. Chilies-1small
  6. Chopped spinach-3/4th cup
  7. Cumin and coriander powder-1/2 tbsp each
  8. Salt to taste
  9. Oil for spraying 
For the salad-:
  1. Carrots- 1 medium
  2. White Radish-1 medium
  3. Peas- a handful
  4. Lemon juice-juice of half a lemon
  5. Salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Add the soaked rice and sprouted mung beans to the blender. Add ginger, garlic, salt, chilies and blend everything well.
  • Pour in to a pot and add cumin and coriander powder, chopped spinach to the batter and mix well.
  • Heat a griddle / tawa over medium heat and once it is hot, with the help of a ladle start spreading a the batter on the tawa.
  • Let it cook on one side for about 3 minutes and then flip and cook the other side.
Putting the salad together-:
  • Peel the carrots and radish from all sides and make the ribbons out of them.
  • Toss them together along with peas
  • Mix some lemon juice with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour it on top of mixed radish, carrots and peas.
This is a perfect meal to eat with your eyes first!!!

The eye pleasing meal is headed to 2 events.

  1. Dish it out- Lentils/legumes and vegetables
  2. Breakfast recipes- from My Culinary Creations.

Nutritional Benefits Source-:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tawa Bhendi Masala

Who doesn't like Bhendi/Bhindi/ Okra/ Lady's fingers/ gumbo??? It has a pleasant, mild taste and so it can really take any kind of masalas you can think of. I make bhendi in 3 different ways-:
  1. Bhendi fry- Which is stuffed with masalas and deep fried. I make it occasionally as it is deep fried.
  2. Masala Bhendi- Cut okra in a slightly big pieces and then stuff it with gram flour along with bunch of other spices. Sometimes I also put potatoes in this preparation, when I am short on Bhindi.
  3. Chinch gulachi bhendi- This is a very traditional maharashtrian version of preparing bhendi. It is kind of curry, which has jaggery (gul) and tamarind(chinch) in it. I am hoping to post this version in the near future.
Nutritional Benefits-:
  • Bhendi contains healthy amounts of Vitamin A and flavonoid anti-oxidants such as beta carotine, xanthine and lutein. Our bodies convert beta-carotene to Vitamin A.We all need vitamin A for healthy skin, immune system,good eye health and vision. When it comes to vitamin A, it's always a good idea to have more beta- carotene rich food than to consume supplements. Excess amount of vitamin A from the supplements, makes our bodies toxic.
  • They are also excellent source of Vitamin C.
  • The pods are also good source of important minerals like iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium.
Today, the recipe I am going to share with you is a little twist to Masala Bhendi. Tawa Bhindi Masala. Tawa is a fry pan which is round in shape, you can find it in any Indian kitchen as it is used to make roti's (Indian Flatbread) everyday. This recipe is very simple to make, and that's why this is the recipe for someone who is a newbie and would love to get into adventures of Indian cooking.

Preparation Time-: 10 Minutes

Cooking Time-: 15 Minutes

Serves- 2 people as a side dish.

  1. Fresh Okra/ Bhendi- 200 grams/ about 20-25 pods. Cut the top stem and discard and then slice the remaining into thin pieces.
  2. Tomato- 1 medium sized diced
  3. Onion- 1 small finely chopped
  4. Cumin Powder- 2 tsp
  5. Coriander Powder- 2 tsp
  6. Turmeric- 1 tsp
  7. Red chilly powder- 1/2- 1 tsp, depending on how spicy you like.
  8. Cumin Seeds- 1tsp
  9. Asafoetida- a pinch
  10. Cilantro- for garnishing.
  11. Salt to taste
  • Heat some oil on Tawa. Add Cumin seeds, asafoetida, turmeric and mix well.
  • Add chopped onion, saute.
  • Add chopped tomatoes, Saute.
  • After about 5 minutes when the onions and tomatoes become translucent, add the sliced bhindi.
  • When bhindi gets cooked, add the spices(cumin and coriander) and the salt.
  • Garnish with cilantro.
If you want you can certainly put other masalas like Garam masala. I usually don't because I like the mild taste of cumin and coriander powder, which I think goes well with the Bhendi. 
If you want you can add tomatoes or add lemon for the sourness.

Few Things you have to keep in mind  while cooking bhindi-:
  1. Never put a lid on bhindi while cooking as it will retain the moisture and will make it sticky.
  2. Always add something sour to bhindi preparation, it helps to reduce the stickiness.
  3. If you are adding lemon instead of tomatoes, always add at the end of the preparation when you turn off the stove.
You might have guessed by now that Bhindi is a sticky vegetable:) So stick with it and it will nourish you!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Steaming hot idlies- A great source of Vitamin B-12 for vegetarians/ vegans

Got to try some Idli Chutney while you are hanging out in southern part of India right??? Although it isn't really a hangout for me, I know for the fact that I don't need a reason to enjoy each bite of this wonderful hot steamed Idli!

Idli/ idly is one of those delicious nutritious snack/lunch item that I can eat in any season of the year. It tastes even better in chilled winter when you can enjoy them dipping in the spicy hot Sambar. In summer I usually prefer the idli with coconut chutney. It also tastes great with number of different kind of chutney's as well, but coconut is my personal favorite. (Scroll down to see other options for the chutneys)

The mixture of rice and Urad daal makes a perfect carbs-protein combo which I absolutely love. The fermented batter increases the vitamin B-12 content in the food. It's a great item to include in a vegetarian/ a vegan diet. Fermentation of Idli is caused by the air-borne wild yeast which is drawn by the urad daal and fenugreek seeds from air.  Being steamed, idli is easy to digest.

So let's get cooking..:)

Soaking time- 4-5 hours

Preparation time- 15 minutes.

Fermenting time- overnight/ 10- 12 hours depending on the temperature.

Cooking time- 15-20 minutes.

Makes 10-12 idlies depending on the size of your idli maker.

  • 2 cups of parboiled rice or any short to medium grain rice
  • 1 cup of skinned whole urad daal. 
  • About 2 tbsp of fenugreek seeds.
  • 4-5 tbsp of cooked rice/ soaked poha
  • Salt to taste.
  • Cooking oil spray for coating the idli moulds.
  • Start by washing and soaking rice and urad daal and fenugreek seeds separately in a room temperature water for about 4-5 hours.
  • If you have a wet grinder, which I am thinking about buying, you will get awesome results, but if you don't have one, you can certainly use a nice blender. Grind the rice and the daal seperately and then mix together well. While grinding the daal you can add the fenugreek seeds into it and then grind. Make sure you make a smooth paste. while grinding the rice add the cooked rice or soaked poha to it. This is what makes idli soft and  fluffy.
  • Mix both the the batters together and don't forget to use your hands to mix it well so that the heat from your body will help in starting the fermentation process.
  • Cover and keep the mixed batter aside to ferment overnight or at least 10-12 hours.
The above procedure is the general guideline to make the idlies. However there are some variations that you should know about.

  • Different types of rice results in to different end result. Please remember to use short to medium grain rice. I have used the parboiled rice and sona masuri as well, both work well.
  • You can also use black lentils with the skin on it instead of skinned whole urad daal. The only difference you will notice is ,you will see the black fragments of the lentils into the batter and the idlies won't have the white color.
Fermentation Guidelines-:

  • If you are happened to be in a hot climate, you can keep the batter in the corner of your kitchen in a glass or a stainless steel container. Cover it lightly with the lid, don't close it completely.
  • The fermented batter doubles in size, so make sure you keep the batter in a container which has enough space needed for the batter to rise.
  • If you live in a colder region, or making idlies in winter you have a few options to ferment your batter well-:
  1. Heat the oven to the lowest temperature. Turn it off and then keep the batter inside the oven for the whole night.
  2. Without turning the oven on, just turn on the light in the oven and keep the batter inside to ferment overnight.
  3. If you don't have the oven, just keep the batter in the warm place, near your cooking range or in a warm corner of your kitchen.
  • After the batter ferments, and whenever you are ready to make the idlies,  add the salt to taste and mix the batter. Do not overmix, as the trapped air bubbles will get released. We need these air bubbles as they help make the idlies soft and fluffy.
  • Spray the idli maker and keep ready. Add a spoonful of batter into the idli moulds and steam them for about 15 minutes on a medium to high flame.
  • When done allow them to cool down for a minute and then take them out of the moulds.
  • Enjoy the hot idlies with your favorite chutney.
I have tried my idlies with my Split Pea Soup in place of sambar and I loved it. It was a great change in taste to the traditional idli- sambar combination.

Some of my favorite chutneys-:

Coconut- Coriander chutney is at the top of the list when it comes to my personal favorites,which is pictured above. The recipe of which will be coming in my next few posts. When I make only chutney with idli and not the sambar, I sometimes like the dry chutney. Here are some of my favorite chutneys.
If you have your favorite chutneys that you enjoy with steaming hot idlies, I would love to try them out. If you try any of my favorites, I would love to hear about it too.

These idlies are headed to Priya's May 2013 edition of Healthy me & Healthy us event hosted by Jayanthi.