January 13, 2018

Oats Methi Dhokla | Easy Steamed Dishes

The last in the series of Steamed Dishes is this amazingly soft and almost zero oil Dhokla. We have seen MTR Style Rava Idli from South India, Vegetarian Dumplings from the Indo Chinese stable and today we move to Gujarat with these yummy Dhoklas. 

I have a soft corner for Gujarati food and especially dhoklas, having made a few in the past. The repertoire of Dhoklas in Gujarati Cuisine, is enormous and as we prefer steamed snacks a lot at home, this is one list that will keep getting added and made too.

I made a few changes to the original Tarla Dalal recipe. These and more are in the Notes section below.

Other Dhokla varieties / Gujarati dishes on the blog:

Prep time : 15 mins, Steaming time : 12-13 mins, Makes : 18-19 medium sized pieces


  • Powdered Oats flour - 1/2 cup (1 cup = 200 ml)
  • Semolina - 1/2 cup
  • Slightly sour yoghurt - 1/4 cup
  • Salt - to taste
  • Methi / fenugreek leaves - finely chopped - 3 TBSP (original recipe had spinach / palak)
  • Sugar - a pinch (skip if using spinach)
  • Minced green chilly - 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
  • Oil - 1/2 tsp (to saute the methi leaves, if using spinach, you can skip this oil)
  • Fruit salt - 1/4 tsp (I used a combination of 1/4 tsp each of lemon juice & baking soda) 

  1. Mix the Oats flour, semolina, salt, yoghurt, chillies well and keep aside for 15 mins
  2. In a pan, heat oil, splutter jeera & saute methi leaves for 1-2 mins. Keep aside till cool and mix in the sugar.
  3. Mix the methi into the dhokla mixture and add 2 Tbsp of water and bring to a pouring batter consistency 
  4. Lightly grease a dhokla plate and bring a steamer to rolling boil with adequate water.
  5. Just before steaming, add the fruit salt (or its substitute) and add 2 tsp of water when it starts bubbling on top.
  6. Mix gently and pour into greased pan, steam for 12-15 mins or till a skewer comes clean
  7. Rest for 4-5 mins and cut into desired shapes and serve.

1. Next time I would dry roast the Oats first before powdering it.
2. The water quantity mentioned in the original recipe was quite off. So, I had to add 1 tsp of additional semolina to bring it to a normal dhokla (non-runny) consistency. So, watch the water and add little less than mentioned.
3. The chillies itself were very spicy, so next time I would add less spicy chillies or totally skip it. Howver with the chillies in the dhokla, we didnt need any accompaniment. It was just perfect as it is. 
4. Addition of toasted sesame might add a textural element to the soft spongy dhoklas
5. If adding spinach, make sure its completely dry when added as spinach releases a lot of water while cooking.
6. Rest well before cutting into shapes as they crumble easily.
7. If you want to make it vegan, cashew curd can be used although the taste may vary. 

This is for Steamed Dishes under BM#84

January 11, 2018

Vegetarian Steamed Dimsums | Easy Steamed Dishes

The second in the steamed dishes series this week are these yummy and filling Vegetarian Dimsums. While I had made Wholewheat Momos earlier, I used a mix of Wholewheat and Plain flour this time.

While there is one school and another which say Momos and Dimsums are not the same thing, there is another thought which says Momos are from Tibetan Origin and Dimsums are served in China as a main course or appetiser.  Apparently, the filling in Momos is substantial that it can be a meal by itself.

Personally, I love steamed dumplings although these dumplings are also pan fried , deep fried or even served within a soupy broth. Whatever your preference (and you can go crazy with the fillings as well - from shredded soya to tofu to stir fried vegetables or boiled eggs and shredded chicken or ham, the options are endless), these are sure to tickle your palate.

As we made these for dinner, the pictures are not clear as they were shot in low light minutes before they were served. I am sure to make it again and shoot them in reasonable daylight. I used a mixture of typical indo-chinese vegetables  but you may use any filling of your choice (it's actually a great dish to make with leftover raw veggies and clear your fridge at the same time ;-) wink wink :) )

Similar steamed dishes on the blog are:

Vegetarian Steamed Dimsums | Indo Chinese snack / appetiser | Vegan   
Prep time - 30 mins ; Cook time including steam time - 15 mins ; Makes - 8 to 9 pieces


Wholewheat flour - 1/2 cup  (1 cup = 200 ml)
Maida / All purpose flour - 1/2 cup
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 TBSP

Veggies - 1 cup (I used onions, shredded cabbage, grated carrots, broccoli, peas, cauliflower, beans)
Light Soya sauce - 1 tsp
Red Chilli sauce - 1/2 tsp
Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste (pls. note that the sauces also have salt, so use sparingly)
Oil - 2 TBSP
Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp (or to taste)
Green chillies (minced) - 1/4 tsp (or to taste)

Covering : Sieve the flours, add salt and oil, mix well. Add warm water slowly and make a soft dough. Rest for a min of 30-45 mins.
Stuffing : In a wok, heat oil, fry the onions and ginger garlic paste on high heat, add all the minced vegetables (make sure all veggies are finely diced to ensure quick cooking), toss on high heat and add salt and sauces + spices. Let it cool down completely.
Line the bamboo steamer with parchment / banana leaves / large cabbage leaves. Keep aside.

To make the dumplings:
Pinch out tiny portions of the dough, roll into real thin discs, add a tsp or two of the filing, shape into any shape you want (I tried the dumpling shapes quite successfully, and will better them next time). Repeat for entire dough. Gently place all the dumplings in the steamer. 
Place the steamer over a pan with rolling boil hot water. Ensure that only the steam reaches the basket and doesn't touch the water directly.
Steam for 8-9 mins or till the dimsums turn translucent. Give them a resting time of 2-3 mins and serve with spicy homemade schezwan sauce.

Sending this to BM#84 under Steamed dishes


January 10, 2018

MTR Style Rava Idli | Idli varieties

Of all the Idlis made at home, I love the MTR style Rava Idli. There is a story here that says the Rava Idli was invented when the rice was in shortage during the war. Whatever the story, there are very fond memories of eating these with some melted ghee on the side, spicy potato gravy and coconut chutney with my dad at the original MTR restaurant near Lalbagh, Bangalore. 

Sunday mornings were picked and we got there as early as 6:30am to catch our favourite seat by the window as hundreds of us looked forward to enjoying the simple pleasures of a south Indian breakfast, to be finished with piping hot coffee. Although I have never been a coffee drinker, I remember how my dad poured the coffee onto a saucer (or a davara, in most cases at MTR) and drank it straight off the saucer.  Socially, I may not approve it today, but the aroma of that coffee is something I would cherish as an onlooker :-)

Seriously, nostalgic today ! Let's look at some steamed delights this week, and this MTR style Rava Idli is the first in the series.

Other Idli varieties on the blog:

Use fine quality Rava / Semolina for best results. Off to the recipe now.

Rava Idly (or) Rava Idli - Steamed Semolina Idli - Indian Breakfast / Snack
Prep time : 45 mins (incl. standing time) ; Makes : 6 Idlis

Semolina (I used Bombay Rava) - 1 cup
Thick yoghurt (slightly sour is preferred) - 3/4 cup
Salt - 1/2 T
Oil - 3 TBSP
Tempering : Cashews, Mustard Seeds, Urad Dal & Channa dal- 1/2 tsp each + 1/2 tsp curry leaves (finely chopped fine)
Hing / Asafoetida - a tiny pinch
Baking Soda - 1/8 tsp
Grated carrots - 1/8 cup

Clean Semolina for any dirt or dust. Sieve once if required.
Heat 2 TBSP of oil, fry cashew halves till golden and crunchy, keep aside.
In the same oil, add rest of tempering, and fry till dals till golden brown. Add the semolina and fry till nicely warm and roasted. Keep aside till cool.
You may refreigerate this dry mix and use when needed.

To make Idlis, Mix 1 cup of above roasted Rava with 3/4 cup beaten curd, leave aside covered for 15 mins.
Bring an Idli steamer with enough water to a rolling boil. Add 1 tsp or two to the soaked semolina, the pinch of hing and baking soda and gently mix taking care not to overbeat.
Layer a little of carrot grated in a greased Idli plate, pour out the idli batter. Place a roasted cashew half on top. 
Similarly fill the other Idli moulds.
Steam for 8-10 mins. Slightly cool, demould and serve hot with Coconut Chutney.
I served it with Veg sagu (gravy)

December 31, 2017

Makuni | Sattu Paratha from Bihar | Healthy Breakfast recipes

As we step into the new year a few hours from now, looking back its been a great year on the healthy eating front. Although I didn't blog as much as I thought I would, its been a satisfying year on all counts. This month, for the Sshh Secret Cooking Challenge, I was paired with Priya Iyer who gave me Wholwheat and Besan as the secret ingredients. I had an inkling I would make either Litti or Paratha. Having used Sattu earlier in the Sattu ka Sharbat (two ways), I was excited to use this ingredient again and so this Sattu Paratha or Makuni (as its called locally) came about. 

Sattu is basically processed Channa Dal roasted over coal and hot sand, sieved & powdered (for simple purposes, its roasted gram powder). The recipe is a proteinicious, filling meal that we had for our dinner. I served it with some salad, pickle and yellow dal. We were full till the next day's lunch (yes, skipped breakfast too). It tastes reasonably good when cold too, so the next batch went into kiddo's lunchbox which she enjoyed again with pickle. Nupur's recipe had a detailed description of how this is made. As I had store bought sattu, I used the same. 

Before we move on, here's wishing all my readers and blogger friends a very successful 2018 ahead !!

Similar parathas on this blog:
Few ingredients that can transform an everyday meal into a delicious one. Let's see how to make it.

Sattu ka paratha | Flattened Indian bread stuffed with roasted gram powder and spices
Vegan ; makes : 4  ; adapted from : Nupur's recipe
Course : Snack / breakfast / Dinner 

Ingredients :

Covering -

  • Wholewheat flour / Atta - 2 cups
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Oil - 1 TBSP
  • Warm water - as required to knead


  • Sattu ka atta - 1/2 cup
  • Onions finely chopped - 1/2 cup
  • Salt - to taste
  • Oil - 1 TBSP
  • Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
  • ginger grated - 1/2 tsp 
  • Kalonji (nigella) seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Mango pickle with the pickle oil - 2 tsp (homemade or storebought)
  • Coriander seeds - crushed (opt.) - 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Red chilli powder / green chillies crushed - to taste
  • Coriander leaves / cilantro - 2 tsp (finely chopped)

How to make:

  1. Knead the outer covering to a smooth, semi soft dough (keep covered for 30 mins)
  2. In a bowl, mix all ingredients except oil. Now add the oil and bring it all together to a semi dry stuffing consistency 
  3. Heat tawa (griddle). Pinch out small portions of the dough, flatten into a disc of 4-5 inches diameter, put in a tsp or two of the stuffing, close carefully and roll out carefully like other parathas. 
  4. Place on a medium hot tava, Drizzle oil all around and cook till its nice and golden on both sides. 
  5. Serve hot (it tastes best that way !! ) with salad, pickle and yoghurt. Just this paratha and chilled yoghurt also tastes yum :-)

December 20, 2017

Baked Idli Fry | Gluten Free and Vegan Snacks

My husband has strongly believed that anything packaged well, sells. Even for the humble Idli. For a South Indian family, there’s hardly a week that goes by without dishing out Idli (or any of its batter offspirings like dosa / Paniyaram / Adai / Idli upma etc).

However, my elder one strongly believes that Idli is not for breakfast (or lunch or dinner) and is considered not worthy of human consumption. Contrast this with the younger one who HAS to eat her Idli-Vada - sambhar whenever we go out for a quick treat in the udupi restaurants that dot our city or ensures it’s on her daily breakfast ! (I think she favours the Idli ONLY coz of the crispy Vada). 

Be it as it may, I had to find ways of making the elder one eat idlis (moms don’t give up, do they!?)

No one would touch idlis made in the morning and Idli upma was Anyways out of the question (no wonder it’s not on the blog, and perhaps will never be- we all dislike it with equal gusto).

And so when the baked chilli Idli appeared as a snack, the elder picked up one piece grudgingly , ate it ...... and pretty much polished the plate with yummmm, oohs and aahs.

That’s saying a lot for 'disliking' Idli. And ratifying that marketing theory that my husband believes in : packaging !

Amma also liked it so that evening I made two batches back to back and yay !! no more left over idlis (secretly speaking, I think I will make and store extra idlis ONLY to
Bake this earth to addictive snack)

Gluten free. Vegan. Spicy. Low cal. Crunchy. Crispy. tasty - checks all the boxes .
If you are an Idli lover (or not), check out this yummy n quick snack.

PS - I am told the deep fry version tastes good too. But who’s gonna try when we have so many baked-not-fried dishes on this blog.

  • Day old idlis (refrigerated of course) works best. If using fresh idlis, chill for an hour atleast.
  • Spice levels is totally your preference . For the first batch I used red chilli and garam masala. 
  • Second batch has Idli molagapudi and black pepper powder. Both tasted equally yum.
Other Idli varieties on this blog - 
Baked Idly Fry - GF and Vegan Snack
Prep time - 10 mins, bake time - 12-15 mins per batch. Serves - 2~3

  • Idlis - 10 nos ( I used the Toor Dal Idli or Thuvaram Paruppu Idli)
  • Oil - 2 tbsp + 1 tsp for basting
  • Red chilli powder, salt, garam masala, pepper powder, or Idli Molagapudi (fiery lentil spice powder) (gunpowder), thecha (garlicky spice powder)- to taste
  • Salt to taste (note the idlis also would be made from slightly salted batter)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180c / 365F. Line a baking tray.
  2. Cut the Chilled idlis with a sharp knife into thick wedges. Make equal sized wedges
  3. In a bowl, add the Idli wedges, salt, oil , mix of whatever spice powders you want. Mix and Marinate for 1-2 mins (over marinating makes them soft and soggy quickly)
  4. Place the wedges in a baking tray. Spray some Oil over the top.
  5. bake for 8-9 mins, flip over and crank up the oven by 5 degrees more and bake for an extra 3-4 mins or until crispy. Keep an eye lest they burn or turn brittle.
  6. Take out from oven and serve warm and crispy, as is with some ketchup or sauce. 

 This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2017    

December 18, 2017

Baked Gobhi Musallam | GF and Vegan

This week, we are moving to Flourless Bakes at Bakeathon,which include some GF and Vegan treats as well. One of the challenges as a baker is to do flourless baking (mainly bakes without all purpose or wholewheat flours or even those who may be allergic to yeast). 

We had reasonable success with Cajun Spiced Cheesy Aubergine PizzaBaked FalafelsCheesy Hasselback PotatoesVeg Au GratinBaked Herbed Potato WedgesGrilled Kabab PlatterBaked Cornflakes Chivda,  etc. 

I had my eye on this Tandoori Gobhi Musallam which was completely baked and could be  the  centrepiece of your party. The nice thing about this is that it can be had as an appetiser (in dry form) as was with the original recipe), or go with your flatbreads - Naan / Tandoori Roti / Kulcha in a wet gravy. The first time I made this, it was heavenly with plain Phulkas and some salad for a very satisfying meal. Anuradha had stuffed this with spiced paneer and served it dry, but I didn't stuff and also wanted to make it vegan. So do check out what catches your fancy.  

Whatever your preference, do check out this recipe. The winter around us has such lovely cauliflowers in the market, I am tempted to make this again even as I type this recipe.  Use fresh, clean, firm cauliflowers (small to medium sized) to control your baking process as you would be baking this as a whole unit.

More such Mughlai dishes you might like (Although I am a huge fan of Mughlai cuisine, am yet to do justice to the cuisine on the blog) :

Prep time : 45 mins ; Cooking time : 10 mins; Baking time : 15-16 mins (depending on the size of the cauliflower) ; Serves : 3 - 4 

Reference : Anuradha's video 

Baked Gobi Musallam - GF and Vegan Appetiser  / Side Dish ; 
Cuisine : Indian (Mughlai)


  • Medium Sized Cauliflower - 1 no.
  • Oil - 2 TBSP
  • Clove, bay leaf, cardamom - 2 nos
  • Salt - to taste
  • Coriander leaves - 1 tsp (fine chopped)
  • Chaat Masala - 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric - 1/2 tsp (divided use)


  • Oil - 1 TBSP
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Onions - 1/2 cup
  • Tomato puree - 2/3 cup
  • Cashew nuts - 2 tsp (soaked in warm water)
  • Garam Masala - 1 tsp
  • Red chilli powder - 1 tsp (or to taste)
  • Crushed Kasuri Methi -1 TBSP
  • Salt to taste


  1. In a large pot of water, get 3-4 cups of water to come to a rolling boil with some cloves, bay leaf, cardamom (till the aroma seeps in). Now add a pinch of turmeric and salt. Trim the hard stalk of the cauliflower and secure a firm base and place in boiling water. Cook and cover for 8-9 mins or till slightly tender, but not mushy. Drain the water (apprtenly the filtered aromatic water can be used to knead a flavourful dough for the parathas). 
  2. Now preheat oven to 180 C. Grease a baking dish big and deep enough to fit the whole cauliflower. 
  3. In a pan, add 1 TBSP oil. Saute the onions till translucent. Add the turmeric, tomato puree, spice powders, and let it slowly simmer till oil separates. Make a paste of the soaked cashew nuts and add to the puree - simmer for an additional 1 min till the raw smell of the gravy vanishes.  Add the crushed kasuri methi and mix well. 
  4. Pour this gravy into the greased deep baking dish. Place the drained cauliflower and sprinkle chaat masala and few coriander leaves and bake for 14-15 mins till nicely baked and golden. (towards the end of the bake, I added some leftover gravy over the cauliflower too and that gave a nice tinge and tang to the bake). You may need to tent the baking dish mid way if you feel that the gravy is drying / burning up too fast. Top with a little lemon juice and more garam masala if you wish.
  5. Serve warm as an appetiser or as a side dish. 

 This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2017    

December 15, 2017

Baked Falafels | Easy GF and Vegan Bakes

In the last of the baked-not-fried series, I have this Baked Falafels. This is the third element of the Lebanese / Middle Eastern spread that was served with Baked Pita and Beetroot hummus. The kids and the husband loved it a lot,and although it was too much prep work for a day, I guess the smiles made my day.

So, sit back and enjoy the guilt-free Baked Falafels. Originally these are round in shape and deep fried, but these were flattened a bit to bake it thoroughly. This is a great proteinicious and GF / Vegan snack so it makes a meal by itself. I haven't frozen these baked ones, but I am sure they keep well for a week.

Indulge in this as well as the rest of the meal on a lazy weekend while I see you on the other side of this weekend with a new theme. 
So far on the Bakeathon running all this December:

Baked Pepper Sev
Baked Masala Buns
Baked Namakpare
Baked Bhindi Kurkure
Baked Pita Bread
Baked Cornflakes Chiwda

Other recipes with chickpeas are:

Kabuli Channa Pulao - Gluten free and Vegan | One Pot Dish | Easy Lunchbox recipes
Chickpeas + Sweet potato salad
Moroccan Harira
Tikki Choley chaats 
Punjabi Chole

Similar Tikki / Kebab varieties:

Prep time : 25 mins ;  Bake time : 20-22 mins per batch; Makes  : about 1 dozen Falafels (medium sized)

What you need:

  • Cooked and drained chickpeas ( soaked and cooked previously) - 2 cups (1 cup = 200 ml)*
  • Tahini paste - 1 tsp (I used roasted sesame)
  • Garlic - 4 to 6 pods (adjust to taste)
  • Salt and pepper - to taste
  • Coriander leaves - 3 tbsp (finely chopped)
  • Coriander powder - 2 TBSP
  • Garlic powder - 1 tsp
  • Onions - finely minced - 5 TBSP
  • Olive  Oil - 3 TBSP + 2 TBSP (to baste)
*if making from scratch, soak 1 cup of chickpeas for 8-10 hours. Cook with a little salt till soft and slightly mushy. Drain and use. 1 cup of dry chickpeas will render about 1.75-2 cups of cooked chickpeas, so soak accordingly. 

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 200/210 C. Line a baking sheet.
  2. In a food processor, first add the boiled chickpeas, salt, tahini, garlic and mince well. 
  3. Now add the rest of the ingredients except onion and coriander leaves and slowly blend to a thick doughy paste.
  4. Add the onions and coriander, mix well and set aside for 5 mins. 
  5. Pinch out equal portions of the chickpeas mix, flatten them into tikki / kebab kind of falafels. 
  6. Place in a greased tray. Finish with the rest of the falafels.
  7. Baste them with oil (or use baking spray, but they need to be well greased on all sides)
  8. Bake for 8-10 mins on one side, flip and bake over on the other till slightly dry yet crispy
  9. Cool on a baking rack. 
  10. Serve warm with Pita, hummus and a salad

This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2017    
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