September 23, 2019

Carrot Moongdal Rasam | Rasam Varieties | Can be GF and Vegan

Rasam (aka South Indian light broth) is our go-to dish after heavy meals, a long travel / trips, festival binge eating or even as a quick dish to make when hungry. Some rasam like the garlic pepper Rasam shots or tamatar Shorba are also served as appetisers / soup. As opposed to sambhar , rasams are generally devoid of lentils and are light broths. Fusion rasams like today's Carrot Moong dal Rasam or Tomato Onion Rasam also are welcome at home. 

In traditional Tambrahm households, Rasam as a nomenclature is forbidden to be used. Sattamudhu (coming actually from Saatru Amudhu - meaning nectar of food. Rasam is meant to be a flavourful, spice-heavy light broth which has digestive powers, and in a traditional sit-down meal or every day lunches, Rasam always follows a heavy-lentil kootu / sambhar.

Earlier, when I read paruppu rasam on some blogs (no offence meant to anyone here), I was actually amused as in our house rasam is made with paruppu (cooked lentils- mostly for dal) only. My grandmom and mom both made different rasams, mostly with toor or moong dal. 

My grandmom used to insist that the adi-rasam (the thick lentil portion of the rasam) contains more amino acids especially for growing children than just offering us to sip on the telu- rasam (the top portion of the rasam which is more broth like!)

It was only after a few years I learnt that tamarind water , some spices and salt could also constitute rasam. 

Anyways, the husband is not a huge fan of rasam, preferring his vettakuzhambu or sambhar anyday. My FIL and kids however love rasam for every meal. 

Why am I talking rasam so much ? Our friend priya has given us #rasamraga as the theme for foodiemonday blog hop and we are all off to making traditional / fusion rasams this week !

More Rasam varieties on the blog:

Today’s an interesting fusion kind of rasam with carrots and moong dal (of course I didn’t tell the kids there was carrots in it). The kids loved it, altho I felt it needed more tamarind , but overall the meal was a hit with rasam, brown rice and a avarekai Poritha kootu (flat beans in a lentil based spicy gravy).

Let’s get cracking :
Prep time - 15 Mins, cook time - 10 Mins ; Serves - 3~4

What you need:
Moong dal / split green gram - 2 handfuls 
Tomato - 1 large 
Tamarind extract - 1/2 cup 
Carrots - 1/2 medium (finely chopped)
Rasam powder - 1 tsp
Salt to taste 

Tempering :
Ghee - 1/2 tsp (replace with oil for a vegan version)
Mustard seeds, cumin seeds  - 1/2 tsp each
Hing / asafoetida - a generous pinch (skip for GF)
Coriander leaves - garnish 


How to:
Pressure cook moong dal with carrot and tomato 🍅 with a pinch of turmeric for 3 whistles. Once the pressure is released, Add 1 cup of water more and blend to a smooth paste with a whisk or blender. 
In a pan add the puréed lentil mix, tamarind extract, salt, rasam powder and bring to a gentle boil. 
Once the rasam starts frothing on top, switch off (don’t over boil any rasam - it loses its fragrance) 

Prepare the tempering with ghee, splutter mustard and cumin seeds with hing, add to the rasam. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot.  

September 16, 2019

Baked Broccoli Casserole | GF | Fall Recipes

Think Casseroles, think Fall ! 

India technically doesn’t have a “Fall” or Autumn season, but the veggies of Fall are abundantly available where I live through the year, barring a few. My personal favourite veggie bake would be this Low-Cal Veg Au Gratin. I also love using Pumpkin (a Fall favourite) in my Low Cal Pav Bhaji completely eliminating the potatoes thereby making it Fibre Rich and nutritious. 

Also, when looking for new recipes, I also tend to go savoury 99.99% of the time compared to a sweet dish, and this time was no different. If it’s a baked dish, then I doubly rejoice for it makes a new entrant on my kids’ Sunday lunch like this dish did. 

Traditionally, I make a red sauce GF pasta for the kids almost every Sunday  - a welcome change for them from the grind of Raam-rice or Roti-Dal through the week. It also gives me an opportunity to sneak in a few more veggies than I usually do. Today is a Broccoli-pasta bake that was very well received by the kids (the younger one L-O-V-E-S broccoli). 

The weather although rainy here, has been ultra pleasant last few days, and this warm bake was totally loved. I had bookmarked a few more bakes with apples and pumpkins (Homemade Pumpkin puree being a great egg replacer as well, I have a few pumpkin based breads here , here, here and here for you to check out !!) 

 So, let’s get baking!

I have used my ever-dependable homemade Arrabiata pasta sauce, and used GF pasta. You could use any variety of pasta and sauce as you wish. You could also use the Broccoli in White pasta sauce recipe if you prefer. 

Prep time - 20 mins, Bake time - 15 mins, Serves - 2~3 kids

What you need:
2 portions Red sauce Pasta ( I used GF Fussili instead of wholewheat Penne) made with homemade Arrabiata pasta
Blanched Broccoli - 1 cup
Grated Cheese - 1/2 cup (I used a mix of parmesan and Cheddar)
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated garlic - 1/2 tsp
Red chilly flakes - 1/2 tsp OR crushed pepper - 1/4 tsp
Olive oil - 2 tsp + 1 TBSP to grease the baking dish


How to make:
Pre-heat oven to 180C/ 375F. 
In a pan, add olive oil. Saute the grated garlic, add the blanched broccoli and saute it well for 2 mins. Switch off. Add half the cheese and all of the prepared pasta with the sauce, mix well. Keep aside. Make sure the sauce isnt too runny pr watery.   
Grease a baking dish throughly. Transfer the pasta+broccoli mix to the dish. Top with the remaining cheese, salt, pepper, red chilly flakes / pepper and mix well. Bake for 12 mins and  turn to broil for next 3 min till you see the cheese bubbling on the top (baking temp may vary from oven to oven)
Let it cool a bit once baked. Serve warm as is or with some bread. The kids had this as a main course without any sides and it tastes delicious when warm.
More Fall recipes you may like......

Almost Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Cake

Sugarfree Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Muffins with Oats Streusel

Browned Butter Semolina Pumpkin Bread

Oven Roasted Vegetable Soup

Wholewheat Pumpkin Coconut Chocochip bread

Low-Cal Veg Au Gratin

 #FallRecipes was suggested by #poonam this week @FoodieMondaybloghop. Do check out her blog for some awesome wholewheat, low sugar bakes ! 

September 15, 2019

Round up of MLLA#130

Hosting MLLA is always a delight, and I love the simple, uncomplicated way it has grown to its 130th edition - which I hosted. 

Thank you Lisa, for another opportunity to do this. We have entries from 8 wonderful bloggers who have pitched in with their wonderful recipes.

Thank you , friends for your support and entries and sorry for the delayed round up ! 

Seema’s rustic and delicious Horsegram thick broth (saaru). Takes me back to my bangalore days - a little saaru, hot rice and the warmth on a chilly bangalore day .. bliss!

Lisa’s super healthy Hummus Bowls (and I LOVE HUMMUS and falafel, anytime, really :p)

Veg Hog’s filling Bean Flautas that could double up as a whole meal by itself

Archana’s Moringa Chutney Powder - to liven up all your meals as well as add a generous sprinkling of superfood !

Priya Iyer’s Kadhi Chutney - an awesome dip I found during this event. I think it would pair with everything :-)

My cousin Priya Vijay has sent me a wonderful Jain Matar Paneer , and Priya  posts real delicious meals from her onion-garlic free kitchen

Poonam who’s celebrating Shravan (the Hindu season of rains) with Besan Dhirde - makes for a light lunch as well.

And finally, from my own kitchen - Kollu Chutney (a vegan GF, Vegan dip with horsegram) to go with Idli / Dosa / veg crudités or even as a spread on toasted bread  

September 10, 2019

Whole wheat Poppy seed Dinner rolls for #breadbakers

Baking after a really long hiatus has its challenges. Somehow, the idea of baking kept postponing due to various reasons - Family member who’s been unwell for a long time, travel, personal commitments  and much more.

With these poppy seed dinner rolls, I hope to make bread (and in general) baking to be more often now. These rolls are soft and melt in the mouth, i took a short video too to show how soft these were , but it got unfortunately deleted before I could take a backup...  

Nevertheless, these can accompany your pasta or soup (which is how we ate them). 

These need just 60-75 mins resting time, and they can also be made with all purpose flour. I used stone ground whole wheat flour (a.k.a Chakki ka aata in local lingo) and they were fluffy and gorgeous. 

Prep time - 15 Mins , resting - 75 mins and baking time - 15/18 min per batch 
Makes - 6 -8 dinner rolls 

What you need:
Whole wheat flour - 2 3/4 cup (here I used a 200 ml cup) 
Salt to taste 
Oil - 2 tsp
Water - 2/3 cup + 2 tsp more 
Yeast - 1 packet 
Italian Herbs - 1 tsp (used a mix of dried oregano and basil)
Onion powder - 1/2 tsp (unsalted)
Poppy seeds - 1.5 tsp 

How to:
In a stand mixer, add all the ingredients except poppy seeds and make a smooth , elastic dough. If Kneading by hand, make sure it passes the window pane test. You may require more or less water depending on the quality of the flour. 
Covered and keep aside for 60-75 mins or till doubled. Grease a baking tray or silpat sheet lightly.
Punch the dough gently and make 6-8 equal portions of the dough. Roll them in the base of your palm like buns / dinner rolls. Keep covered for 15 mins, when your oven is preheating to 180C/ 375F.

Once the rolls are risen, brush them slightly with warm milk or oil(I used this), and sprinkle poppy seeds on them. Bake for 15-18 mins or till slightly golden brown. Serve warm  

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. This month, the theme Baking with Seeds is being hosted by Stacy

Let's see what the other #breadbakers have dished out...

September 9, 2019

Lettuce Chickpea Salad | Easy Salad | GF and Vegan

Truth be told, I am a soup person while the husband is a salad person. Whenever we order out/in or cook at home, I prefer the soup and hubby always manages to rustle up a salad. 

So, the idea of a warm salad came from our early days of our marriage when he used to warm up few veggies (partially roast it actually) and with a drizzle of the vinaigrette, and trust me, it was a great meal to dig into especially after a long work day.

Today's salad is a warm salad too, and I love it a lot. I had shared some pics on my Instagram feed earlier too on another warm salad. This takes under 15 mins, entirely Gluten Free and Vegan. So, a great dish to dig into on any day : warm or cold.

Prep time - 10 mins, Cook time - 5 mins, Serves - 1

What you need:
Cooked Black chickpeas - 1/4 cup ( I used small kala channa, but you can use any chickpea/ cooked protein u have on hand)
Shredded lettuce - 3 handfuls
Shredded spinach  - 1 handful
Tomatoes - 1/2 cup (diced)
Red Onions -1 tsp
dressing : Salt, pepper - to taste, Lemon juice - 1/2 tsp, Balsamic vinegar 1/4 tsp, paprika 1/4 tsp
Olive oil - 1 tsp

How to:
In a pan, heat oil. Cool. Add the chickpeas and saute for 1 min, remove and add the shredded spinach and lettuce. In a bowl, add all ingredients. 
Whisk the dressing and add to the salad and serve immediately 

Salads in an Indian context are mostly Kachumber,  Kosambari - Kosumalli (lentils+cucumber/carrot t and then tempered). 

I have a few salads that the kids and me like:

Sweet potato and Chickpea Warm salad (most repeated salad at home :p)

Colombian Quinoa Salad with Avocado

Russian Olivier salad (without mayonnaise)

Lebanese Chickpea Salad with Zataar

Chinese style Smashed Cucumber Salad

Watermelon Feta Salad (and the husband's fav too!)

Bolivian Purple Cabbage and Broccoli Salad

Cuban Pineapple Strawberry Salad

Watermelon Quinoa Salad with Lime and Chilli Vinaigrette (my fav!)

This week at Foodie Monday Bloghop, Narmadha has given us #SaladStories to spin and weave our own salads. 

September 8, 2019

Baked Ivy gourd Chips | Baked Tendli Chips | Vegan and GF

Ivy gourd (a.k.a tendli / tondekai / kovakkai etc) is a rich source of dietary fibre. Great for diabetics, it’s a very versatile veggie. We normally make Maharashtrian Masale Bhath, stir fry / palya , Mangalorean style Kadle Manoli Sukka (Semi dry dish of tendli with chickpeas), Gujarati style Corn-Tindora Shaak, etc with this vegetable. My favourite however is the Tindora-Capsicum rice

Today is a delicious GF, vegan bake that can be had as a snack by itself or served with dal Chawal or rice / sambhar - rasam like we did. 

Quick to make, it doesn’t need any baby sitting while in the oven, except to toss it once every 6-7 mins. You can use either the microwave or the oven to bake this. I used the former and it was easy peasy to have a side dish while the main dal-Chawal was cooking on the stove top.

You can have this sightly crusty / crunchy or even slightly soft on the inside and crispy on the outside . Both taste equally good as a side dish.

Check out the detailed tips to help you if you are a novice baking / kitchen enthusiast. 

Let’s get to make this as I for Ivygourd goes to A-z recipe challenge event this month as we choose one ingredient from the alphabet every alternate month and cook from that ingredient. Head our to our group to know what else we have cooked from alphabet I this month. 

Prep time - 10 Mins ; Bake time - 16 Mins in all (could vary from oven to oven or microwave depending on your settings and moisture content)

  1. Choose tender ivygourd for this , discard any reddish slices while you slice them. 
  2. Wipe before and after slicing the veggies- you would need to take away maximum moisture before adding the marinade and baking it
  3. Marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes for best results 
  4. You can cut them into roundels or lengthwise. We always prefer lengthwise Tendli, and it looked more like french fries so that’s how it turned out to be :)
  5. If you are marinating ahead of time, don’t add salt. Add the salt just before baking. 
  6. You can increase or decrease the oil and spice depending on your family’s preferences. Too much or too little oil can alter the taste considerably.

Tender Tendli - 250 grams - washed , sliced into quarters lengthwise and wiped dry (spread on a kitchen towel and wipe gently)
Chaat masala and pepper to taste - for topping 
Oil - 2 tsp + 1 tsp for basting 

Besan / chickpea flour - 3 heaped tbsp
Rice flour - 1 tbsp (I used brown rice flour)
Salt - to taste 
Red chilli powder- 1/2 tsp
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp 
Jeera powder - 1/3 tsp 
Coriander powder - 1 tsp 
Sugar - 1/2 tsp (opt.)
Amchur / dry mango powder - 1/2 tsp
Black pepper powder- 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp 

Method :
In a large bowl, add the marinade ingredients and whisk well. Add the sliced veggies and slowly cost the veggies with the marinade, sprinkling few drops of water if needed. Cover and set aside for 15/30 minutes minimum.
Meanwhile preheat oven to 160 C. Grease the baking dish with 1-2 tsp oil. Place the marinated veggies on the baking dish.
Bake for 7-12 mins flipping them once midway and basting it with oil. Bake again till crisp. 
(I microwaved on high for 8+6 +2 —a total of 16 mins till crisp flipping them over repeatedly) 
Sprinkle chaat masala & Serve immediately as a snack or with dal/Chawal. We had this for dinner along with rice/ sambhar 

If you are a fan of Tendli like us, do check out the following dishes on the blog!

September 2, 2019

Solkadi with a twist | How to make Solkadhi | Gluten Free Beverages

Solkadi is a classic beverage served mostly during summers mainly in Goan & Coastal Maharashtrian households. Its had as an appetiser or mixed with rice and eaten. I had made its cousin - Futi Kadi earlier. The kokum and spices that go into it makes it an excellent coolant and has amazing digestive properties too. Thin Coconut milk (either homemade or store bought) is used as a base.

To know the twist in this dish, read further. 

This week at @Foodiemondaybloghop, Mayuri has asked us to present naturally coloured foods. So, while I played ping pong between beetroot and spinach all week long unable to zero in on one this, finally I made this beverage with kokum (a Konkani ingredient which is tart like tamarind). 

Let's see how to make this Zero Cook beverage that can be rustled up in less than 15/20 mins. But make sure to serve it chilled after refrigerating for 2-4 hours. The flavours really steep in while its resting. 

Solkadi - Gluten Free appetiser | Cuisine - goan & coastal maharashtrian | Spice level - moderate 
(Can be vegan too!)

Prep time - 10 mins , Zero cook , serves - 4 

Kokum - 15 petals (fresh or semi dried)
Water - 1 cup
Buttermilk - 2 cups*  
Salt - to taste
Garlic - 1 large pod (grated fine)
Sugar - 1/2 tsp (skip if preferred)
Roasted Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Chopped chillies - to taste
Chopped coriander leaves - 1 tsp (for garnish)

(Traditionally made with coconut milk, but folks at my home don't like the taste of coconut milk in any dish - this was my twist)

Method: (step by step pics shown below in collage)

Soak the kokum in water for 1/2 hour. Extract the juice, adding 1/2 cup water if required. If using coconut milk, make it at home or use store bought. I used buttermilk.
Into the base (coconut milk / buttermilk), add the kokum extract, rest of the spices and salt. Mix well. Chill for 2-4 hours and serve cold.

If making fresh coconut milk at home, some people grind the garlic and chillies along with the fresh grated coconut and use the thin extract of this mixture as the base. I preferred to add the garlic as is. As I was serving it to the little one too, I soaked the chillies in the Solkadi for 1 hour and then took it out before chilling it again. 

In case like my family, you too don't like Coconut milk, make this absolutely easy breezy beverage for the hot summer days with Kokum - Futi Kadhi :)

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