January 12, 2017

Khichdo - Sweet version | How to make Khichdo for Uttarayan | Festival recipes

Winter veggies make the most delightful of meals, and I await the fresh veggies that my local green grocer brings me to make Undhiyu, Palak Paneer, Aloo Methi and other local delicacies. Today is the last post in this week's festival series and lets see what we have here.

Oondhiyoo (aka Undhiyu) with Puri is another favourite dish in Gujarat to celebrate the local veggies that are typically grown only in winter. This is served with today's dish - Khichdo (Not to be mistaken for Khichdi) as a complete meal on Uttarayan. Khichdo served in both sweet and savoury versions, and I opted for the former. 

Its a quick to make yet simple, hearty dish. Although I had plans to serve it with undhiyoo, it called for too much labour to make both the dishes together on the same day, when we also celebrate the Pongal - Sankranti festival with a festival spread that was posted yesterday ! (Dear H is from Tamilnadu, therefore the Pongal varieties feature with my Karnataka upbringing, hey ! Somebody said "Two States" ? :D) 

Adapted from here with minor modifications.

Prep time : 10 mins + 1 hour soaking time ; cook time : 15 mins ; serves : 3 (small portions)

  • Lapsi / Broken wheat / cracked wheat / Fada (gujarati) - 1/4 cup
  • Channa Dal - 1 TBSP
  • Toor dal / Arhar Dal - 1 TBSP
  • Sugar - 4 TBSP (I used organic powdered jaggery)
  • Ghee - 1 Tbsp (or to taste)
  • Milk - 3/4 cup (you can use vegan milk)
  • Dry fruits - 1/2 tsp (chopped)
  • Saffron - a pinch - Optional
  • Cardamom powder , nutmeg powder, clove powder - 1/4 tsp (or a large pinch) altogether
  1. Dry roast the lapsi for 1-2 mins till just warm (optional but recommended).
  2. Wash and soak the lapsi + dals separately for 1 hour
  3. Drain, add adequate water and pressure cook for 3 whistles.
  4. In the same pan, add milk and jaggery / sugar. 
  5. Let it cook for a while. Soak saffron in warm milk for 2 mins and add it.
  6. Now heat ghee, fry the dry fruits. Add half of the fry fruits to the Khichdo.
  7. When the mixture is semi solid, turn off.
  8. Add the spice powders. serve warm or hot with remaining nuts sprinkled on the top.

We are celebrating BM theme with festival specials this week here at Sizzling Tastebuds. Hope you liked the previous two dishes 

Sending this to BM # 72 under "Festival Dishes" Theme

January 11, 2017

Baked Paruppu Vadai & a mini Pongal feast | How to make Baked Masala Vadai

As mentioned in yesterday's post, Pongal meal is a rather elaborate affair. Sankranti, Pongal, Uttarayan, Lohri - various names given to the festival celebrated over 13th/14th of Jan every year to mark the end of the harvest season and salute the Sun God as he enters the Makar (Or Capricorn) sun sign. Its also a farmers festival in which the sun of the soil pays homage to the soil and so most of the feasting is done using local produce.

Pongal as its celebrated in Tamil nadu is known for both the name of the festival and the sweet & savoury versions of the dish. Rice being the principal crop of the region, the eats are made primarily with rice. Similarly, Til (sesame) is used in Northern India & Maharashtra in the form of Gajak / Til Tikki & Til Gud respectively, while the same oil seed - Ellu (in kannada) / sesame seed is ostensibly used in a wonderful trail mix called "Sankranti Ellu Bella" in Karnataka region, more so Bangalore - Mysore regions. 

Today's is a mini meal we generally make for Pongal & Ugadi too. Only difference is no Mor Kozhambu (veggies in spiced yoghurt gravy) or Rasam (spiced lentil broth) is made on Pongal. On Pongal in fact, we make 7-kari kootu ( a medley of 7 veggies in a spiced lentil stew),  along with this mini meal.

Lets get to today's mini festive meal with Baked (and non fried) Masala Vadai (baked spiced lentil fritter). It surely added a zing to the usual Paruppu Vadai. I didnt add any onion-garlic to this baked vadai as it was for a festival meal, but one could add in if preferred. The baking time would differ then.

Check out how to make Masala Vadai as part of this festive meal, which included:

Ingredients for Baked Masala Vadai:
  • Kadalai Paruppu / Channa Dal  - 2 cups
  • Tuvaram Paruppu / Toor Dal - a handful
  • Red chillies - 4 to 6 (not Kashmiri Variety) - adjust spice
  • Salt - to taste
  • Ginger grated - 2 tsp
  • Grated coconut - 3 TBSP (optional but recommended)
  • Turmeric - a dash
  • Coriander and curry leaves - a handful (chopped fine)
  • Oil - for basting the vadas - approx 3 TBSP

1) Wash and soak the dals separately with the red chillies for 45 mins - 1 hr.
2) Drain completely. 

3) Now keeping aside a handful or two of the soaked dal, grind the rest of the dals with turmeric, grated coconut, ginger, chillies to a coarse paste without ANY water. Remove to a bowl.
3) Now to the pulsed paste, add the whole soaked dals, salt, coriander and curry leaves and mix well. Do not add water at any stage, except while soaking as the vadais will go runny as well as absorb extra oil.
4) Cover the lentil dough with cling wrap and refrigerate for a max of 20 mins (this helps me every time as the salt coagulates under refrigeration and the vadais turn very crispy).
5) Divide into equal lemon sized balls and pat gently into a small patty. FLatter vadais make it easier to bake. Makes 20- 25 approx. 

6) Meanwhile pre-heat oven to 190 C. Spray oil on the prepared sheet & bake for 12 mins, flip and bake again for 6-7 mins till they are crisp around the edges. 
7) Serve immediately or store in an airtight container.

1) This will have a different texture from the fried vadas, so dont look for the golden brown colour, you can 'smell' the dal baking  after 10th min so keep an eye to avoid being burnt
2) Oven baking time differ from oven to oven depending on the moisture of the batter and thickness of the vadai, so reduce/increase time accordingly.

Sending this to BM # 72 under "Festival Recipes" Theme

January 10, 2017

Rava Pongal | Semolina - green gram pongal | Pongal Varieties

This week we present some festival recipes. And its a savoury dish thats served in Pongal at our home. Kids are now getting picky with the usual Ven Pongal & Chakkarai Pongal varieties, so we have ventured to make other varieties on festival days - both from an intention to consume millets / whole grains and also as a break from the usual fare. 

The pongal Menu is quite exhaustive at our home : Rasam is usually not made that day and that feast would be presented shortly. And any variety of Pongal cooked for the festival is eaten for breakfast (post the puja) and then we begin the lunch preps. Carbs / calorie count is for another day, isn't it? :-))

Today, do enjoy this Rava Pongal that Amma made and I loved to click (what bliss, right?;)) It's a signature dish of Amma's which she learnt from my youngest aunt (Mami) who makes this pongal spot on, every time we visit her! 

Do not scrimp on ghee, else you would get a dry consistency of this pongal which isnt appeasing. and yes , like most pongal varieties, this needs to be had piping hot as is or with Tiffin Sambhar / Coconut Chutney / coriander - coconut Chutney / Thakkali Chutney/ Gothsu (Spicy tamarind gravy : our preferred side dish) 

Off to the recipe. Before that a few more pongal varieties from my kitchen
Prep time : 10 mins, Cook time : 20 mins ,serves : 4
Semolina - Green gram Pongal | Rava Pongal | Dinner Ideas

  • Rava / Bombay Rava / Sooji - 1 cup
  • Moong dal / split green - 1/4 cup
  • Hot water - 2 cups (used as needed)
  • Ghee - 3 TBSP
  • Salt - to taste
  • Jeera (cumin seeds) - 1 tsp
  • Crushed pepper - 1/2 tsp
  • crushed / grated ginger - 1/4 tsp
  • Asafoetida / Hing - a generous pinch
  • Turmeric - a small pinch
  • Cashew bits - 1/2 TBSP
  • Curry leaves - few


  1. Dry roast cumin, pepper. Powder this coarsely with the ginger & curry leaves (without any water).
  2. In a pan, heat 1 tsp. Roast the moong dal till nice aroma wafts out. Transfer to a plate. Soak the moong dal in 1/2 cup of water for 20 mins.
  3. In the same pan, add 2 TBSP more of rava / sooji and roast like you would roast for Upma. 
  4. Bring 2 cups of water to a rolling boil, add a pinch of turmeric and boil the soaked (and drained) Moong dal and cook till dal is just cooked but still firm
  5. Drain the water and reserve it. 
  6. In a non stick pan, add the remaining ghee, fry cashew. Add hing, rava, salt. stir well. Cook with 2 cups of reserved hot water (adding more hot water to make up 2 cups totally).
  7. Once the rava is cooked, add the powdered cumin-ginger-curry leaves-pepper mixture, moong dal and mix well. 
  8. Cook covered for 1 more min till it reaches Upma consistency (porridge like but not too runny or too dry).
  9. Check for salt and spices and serve hot with coriander - coconut Chutney / Tiffin Sambhar or even Gothsu   
Sending this to BM # 72 under "Festival Recipes" Theme

December 25, 2016

Thai inspired Cabbage-Peanut Salad | GF & Vegan Salads

Wishing all my readers a merry Xmas and Happy holidays 🎄🎅

Its Xmas and I haven't posted a single cookie / Xmas-approved post all this month. Have been travelling and busy with family / friends who are visiting us. Its  been non stop activities at the kids' school so they are keeping me busy.  

After yesterday's Low cal Cabbage Pakora, its time to cook with Cabbage - the chosen ingredient for the week. After the heavy food post the Xmas party, this is one salad thats sure to soothe your palate while filling you up with fibre and low carb calorie food. So, while I used what I had on hand, you can really go wild with any other ingredient that you fancy !

So, here's presenting a Zero cook, Low cal + Low carb Thai Inspired Cabbage-Peanut Salad. Ideal for that brunch or for those living alone in hostels / dorm or even for those lazy evenings when you can munch on a BIG bowl of this eat-as-much-as-you-like salad while surfing the net or binge watching those late night shows.

Prep time : 10 min, standing time : 30 mins (opt.); spice level : medium - high
Vegan & Gluten free Thai inspired Cabbage-Peanut Salad

Ingredients (serves 2 adults) 
{1 cup= 220 ml}
  • Finely Shredded Cabbage - 1.5 cups
  • Sliced bell peppers - 1/4 cup
  • Sweet corn - a handful - optional
  • Sprouted Moong (whole green gram) - 1/4 cup (or pretty much any other sprouts)
  • Roasted deskinned halved peanuts - salted or unsalted - 1/4 cup
  • Deseeded and diced tomatoes - 1/4 cup


  • Hot Red Chilly Sauce - 1 TBSP
  • White Pepper Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Sesame Oil - 1 TBSP
  • Brown sugar - 1/2 tsp (opt. but recommended)
  • Salt - to taste
  • Lemon juice - 1 TBSP
  • Tabasco sauce - 1/4 tsp
  • Olive Oil - 2 tsp


  1. Whisk all the ingredients for the dressing well, chill ahead for 30 mins
  2. Similarly mix all ingredients for the salad except peanuts and chill for 30 mins
  3. Just before serving, add the dressing to the salad, mix well, top with roasted peanuts and serve immediately. 

Sending this to BM # 71 under "One Ingredient - three dishes" Theme


December 24, 2016

Cabbage Pakora | Quick appetiser recipes | Vegan , GF snack

Cabbage is one of the veggies which have a love-hate relationship in most families, mostly belonging to the latter category. My kids aren't picky but cabbage is not a veggie greatly appreciated at home although the elder one does eat the cabbage stir fry with Rasam . I do disguise it in many ways - Cabbage Kofta curry, Cabbage Dhokla , and three more dishes featuring cabbage will be presented this week under BM # 71 theme "One ingredient, 3 dishes". 

First of this is a cabbage pakora. I make it similarly to Onion pakora. and this time it was shallow fried rather than deep fried, which the family liked a lot. Next time I may even try baking this but for now lets check the recipe. 

Stay tuned for two more cabbage dishes next two days ! 

Cabbage Pakora - Vegan, gluten free snack with Cabbage 

Prep time: 15 mins, Fry time : 15 mins, serves : 3

  • Shredded cabbage - 2 cups
  • Besan / gramflour - 1/2 cup (or as needed)
  • Rice flour - 2 TBSP
  • Salt - to taste
  • Oil - 3 tsp + 4 to 5 TBSP for shallow frying
  • Spice powders : Red chilli powder, turmeric, jeera powder - to taste
  • Crushed ajwain (carrom seeds) - a large pinch
  • Asafoetida - a pinch (opt.) - skip for GF version

How to make:

  1. Wash and shred cabbage into thin shreds (I used a mandolin to shred cabbage into super thin thread like texture). Sprinkle little salt and leave for 5 mins. Squeeze out all the water. 
  2. Now add the rest of the ingredients (and do check for salt), including the 3 tsp of oil (except that oil for frying) and mix well with your hands.
  3. Sprinkle 1-2 tsp of water if required to bind it to a rather thick mass (not flowing / dripping consistency). 
  4. Heat a shallow pan and grease with oil. Take small portions of the cabbage pakora mixture, flatten it out and shallow fry drizzling a little more oil, on medium heat on both sides till crispy. 
  5. Serve immediately (gets soggy on storing these for more than 2-3 mins)

PS : you may also deep fry these, in which case it can be served upto half an hour after which it will turn soggy. 

Sending this to BM # 71 under "One Ingredient - three dishes" Theme

December 12, 2016

Sookhi Matar Gobhi Sabji | Cauliflower and peas dry saute | Vegan & GF Side dishes

The last under seasonal produce is using two of our favourites - cauliflower & green peas. Both are abundantly available in winter and are freshest when used immediately. My local green grocer got some tender peas and fresh cauliflower and we had to make this immediately. Altho I make this thru the year with frozen peas, there's something about fresh produce that makes you go for that second helping.

Gluten free, vegan and simple - this is a side dish that's a sure family favourite and pairs well with dal+rice or even Rotis/ Chapatis / phulkas. This can be made ahead & refrigerated in bulk too for those living alone, and re-heated in small portions over the week. 

Hope you enjoyed the seasonal produce theme this week with  Paneer Pudinawaale & Methi-Aloo Paratha

Prep time : 10 mins, cook time : 10 mins, Serves : 2

Matar Gobhi Sabji - vegan, gluten free side dish

you would need:

  • Cauliflower - cut into medium sized florets - 100 gms
  • Fresh peas - 50 gms
  • Potato - 1 large (about 40 gms) - opt. 
  • Onion - 1 medium
  • Tomato - 1 medium
  • Jeera (cumin seeds)- 1/2 tsp
  • Green chilly - 1 no (slit or minced)
  • Ginger - 1/2 inch
  • Salt - to taste
  • spice powders : turmeric, red chilli, garam masala, jeera (cumin powder) - to taste
  • Oil - 1 tsp
  • Garnish : coriander leaves + lemon juice (opt.)


  1. Wash, chop & Par boil peeled and cubed potatoes, peas and cauliflower for 6-7 mins. They should be 80% done. I usually pop these three veggies into the microwave with a pinch of salt for 5-6 mins. 
  2. In a pan, add oil, splutter jeera. Add the onions and chilly., saute, add turmeric, ginger and saute again till onions turn translucent
  3. Now add the chopped tomatoes & saute till tomatoes turn soft. Add salt at this stage.
  4. Add the spice powders and the par boiled veggies, sprinkle very little water and cook covered for 4-5 mins till the veggies are done (avoid shaking or tossing them repeatedly - they would lose their shape and texture).
  5. Check for salt and spices. Adjust if needed
  6. Serve hot garnished with coriander leaves & lemon juice

Sending this to BM # 71 under "Seasonal Produce" Theme

December 11, 2016

Methi Aloo Paratha | Fenugreek leaves and potato flatbread | Vegan dishes

After yesterday's Paneer Pudinawaale using one favourite herb - Mint , we move onto another of our winter favourites - fenugreek leaves or Methi (as its locally called). I do have access to methi leaves through the year, but in winters, the quality of the methi is delicious, and we cook with this almost thrice a week.

Methi Thepla is my elder kid's favourite, and today I made a twist with the usual Thepla and made a thickish Paratha. This tastes good when hot, but equally tasty when carried for a lunchbox. Team with a tomato relish or even a pickle and some curd for a filling meal.

Lets get to the recipe:

Methi Aloo Paratha - Vegan flatbread with Fenugreek leaves + potato

Prep time : 15 mins | Cook time : 15 mins ; Makes : 6 parathas
Served with Yoghurt / pickle  / Quick Tomato Chutney

  • Wholewheat flour / Atta - 1.5 cups (1 cup =200ml)
  • Fresh fenugreek leaves - sorted and chopped fine - 1/2 cup
  • Potato - boiled & peeled - 2 nos (médium - about 100 gms)
  • Salt - 3/4 tsp
  • Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
  • Roasted & Crushed coriander seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Dry Spice powders - red chilli, Cumin (jeera) powder, Garam Masala (opt.) - to taste
  • Warm water - to knead
  • Oil - 4 TBSP (divided use)

Optional add ons:

Grated ginger, shredded veggies, grated garlic & onions, minced green chillies


  1. Boil, peel and mash potatoes and keep aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add the chopped methi leaves, sprinkle a little salt and keep aside for 5 mins till it leaves a little water.
  3. Now add the mashed potatoes, turmeric, crushed coriander seeds, flour, salt, dry spices, and mash well till potatoes are incorporated into the flour. 
  4. Sprinkle warm water a little at a time, and knead to a semi soft dough. Apply a TBSP of oil and knead once more.
  5. Keep covered for 30 mins atleast. (I generally make the dough overnight and bring to room temperature the next day before rolling out the Parathas)
  6. Heat a cast iron tava (skillet). 
  7. Make equal portions of the dough. 
  8. Roll out thickish parathas with a rolling pin of sizeable thickness.
  9. Roast on a hot tava on one side (drizzle a little oil). 
  10. Once done, flip over the other side and cook oil its well cooked
  11. Serve immediately with Quick Tomato Chutney or cool a bit before packing into the school / office lunchbox

Sending this to BM # 71 under "Seasonal Produce" Theme

December 10, 2016

Paneer Pudinawale | Easy Paneer Dishes

We enter this week's theme of "Seasonal Produce". .  Fresh, green Mint is abundantly available in the winter, and so this dish is a treat for those chilly evenings, when this makes an absolutely great dish to serve with Roti / Parathas. 

Paneer is one of the most sought after ingredient at home - my elder one absolutely loves it, and although I make it atleast once in a fortnight, she wudnt mind having it more frequently.. 

We make Zero Oil Palak Paneer, Paneer Kulcha, Spinach and Paneer Cheese Tarts, Shahi Paneer Masala regularly, but my favourite till date is Methi Chaman : there's something magical about fresh (or dried) fenugreek that makes it so earthy and perks up any dish.

Talking about perking up a dish, and we wouldnt want to miss out on Mint.

Pudina as its called in most of India, this is a fragrant herb that can be easily grown even in a tiny balcony at home, and is used in garnishing everything from ice creams to Salads & Raithas to Mocktails. So, lets get to the recipe...

Paneer Pudinawaale - Side dish for Rotis / Kulcha / Naan / Flatbreads / Pulav

Gluten Free (Can be made Vegan too)
Cuisine : North Indian
Spice level : Medium

Prep time : 15 mins ; Cook time : 15 mins ; Serves : 4


  • Fresh Paneer - 400 gms (Can use Tofu for vegan version)
  • Oil - 1 TBSP
  • Spice powders : Coriander powder, Cumin Powder, Red Chilli powder, Garam Masala
  • Salt - to taste
  • Onion - 1 medium
  • Tomato  - 1 medium
To Grind:
  • Fresh Mint / Pudina - 2 handful (about 30 gms)
  • Cashewnuts - 8 to 10
  • soaked Poppy seeds - 1 tsp
  • Garlic - 2 pods
  • Ginger - 1 inch


  1. Soak the cashew nuts & poppy seeds separately in warm water for 10 mins. grind these with the Mint, ginger and garlic to a smooth paste.
  2. In a pan, add the fresh paneer cubes in 1 TBSP of oil, saute them till slightly crispy, reserve in a bowl of warm water to remain soft (this is totally optional, you can add the fresh paneer cubes as is too, which I did)
  3. Saute the Onion and tomato in 1 TBSP oil for 3-4 mins. In the same pan, add the ground mint paste & saute well for 3-4 mins till raw smell disappears. Add the salt, spice powders and let it simmer on a low flame. Add 1/4 cup of water if need be to make a thinner gravy.
  4. Check for spices and slowly add the fried paneer (drained), let it simmer on very low flame for further 2-3 mins.
  5. Serve hot with any Flatbreads / Pulav

Sending this to BM # 71 under "Seasonal Produce" Theme

November 25, 2016

Mini Thali Series 3 : Keerai Sambhar & two more | Easy vegan & GF Mini Meals | Diabetic Eating

After yesterday's Mini Meals (Series 2) with diabetic theme, today's is another healthy and filling Homestyle Mini Thali - nothing fancy, yet vegan, GF and diabetic friendly + also satvic (no ginger / onion / garlic) . 

Keerai / Soppu (or greens in general) have high fibre content and help in absorption of vital nutrients. I am indeed fortunate to have an ample supply of fresh greens through the year where I live, although the range / variety is limited, we make various dishes with the greens as part of a standard weekly meal plan. 

With her varying tastebuds, one thing that my elder one LOVES anytime is the Methi Thepla (which I am surprisingly yet to post). The family as a whole is partial to greens so we lap up pretty much all the greens we can lay our hands on. 

Other dishes we make with greens are:

.....and many more....

Lets get to the Homestyle Thali today. We have (anticlockwise from top):

  • Keerai Sambhar (Red Chawli leaves / (Lal Maath in Marathi) in lentil gravy)
  • Vazhakkai Podimas (Raw Banana lightly spiced stir fry)
  • Steamed White Rice
  • Moolangi Kosambari (radish raw salad) 

Amma made this Thali, and we devoured it (post of course clicking a perfunctory clicks which gave no opportunity to style these better). Of course, as a homestyle thali theme this week, it was ok to have a rustic and simple meal like this. 

Lets get to the recipes - all the following ingredients make a meal for 3 adults.

(A) Keerai Sambhar :

We need:

  • Greens - 2 cups (washed, cleaned/ sorted and chopped fine - Palak / spinach won't work here, but you can use a mix of greens like Mustard greens, Methi, Palak, Chawli (arakeerai))
  • Toor dal / split gram - 1/4 cup
  • Oil - 1 tsp
  • Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
  • Sambhar powder - 2 tsp
  • Tamarind paste - 1 tsp
  • Jaggery - 1/2 tsp 
  • Salt - to taste
  • Fresh / frozen coconut - 2 tsp
  • Tempering : Mustard seeds, Channa dal (split bengal gram), red chillies - 2 nos, Asafoetida (skip for GF dish)


  1. Wash the greens well several times under running water. Drain and chop finely. While doing so, soak the toor dal in hot water for 15 mins.
  2. In a small pressure cooker, add the chopped greens, turmeric, half of the salt, soaked dal, 1/2 cup and pressure cook for just 2 whistles. Let the pressure come down on its own
  3. (If not using a pressure cooker, saute greens in 1/2 tsp oil and add soaked dal, required water and let it cooker till the dal becomes mushy - it might take a while in this method)
  4. In the same cooker, mash the greens+dal mixture lightly, Add remaining salt, tamarind paste, sambhar powder, jaggery and let it come to a simmer. 
  5. Check for salt and spice and adjust accordingly.
  6. In a small pan, prepare tempering with oil, mustard seeds, channa dal, red chillies, hing (if using) and pour onto the simmer dal
  7. Finish with grated coconut and let it simmer for 1 more min.
  8. Serve hot with steamed rice or even Ragi Mudde (finger millet dumplings) for a rustic meal.
Notes: This sambar is quite thick so add little water as indicated. A runny sambhar loses taste after simmering. 

(B) Vazhakkai Podimas - Raw Banana steamed and dry saute.

This is similar to the spicy Potato Podimas. Except for the following changes:
Pressure cook the trimmed raw banana with skin for 2 whistles - peel and chop (Alternatively peel and cube into bite sized pieces) 

(C) Mullangi Kosambari - Raw radish salad tempered. 

Click for recipe here (just skip the moong dal & coconut here and proceed)

Stay tuned for a third homestyle thali tomorrow :)

Sending this to BM # 70 under "Thali Series"

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