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February 17, 2020

Kidney Bean Sesame Seed Dip | Rajma Til Dip | GF and Vegan

Sesame Seeds (a.k.a Sesamum Indicum) are a fibre-rich, Iron-rich source that's been used in India foods for a long time now. The nutrition benefits of these seeds are so wonderful, it is also said to lower Cholestrol , blood pressure and Triglyceride levels. 

Indians use Sesame / Til Seeds heavily around Uttaryan (Makar Sankrant) where calcium is said to be absorbed best through Til Dishes like Chikki, Ellu Bella (Sesame seeds trail mix) and the like.

Sesame Ladoo (Til Ladoo / Ellu Urundai) is also given to young girls at the onset of their menarche to aid pain-free menstruation. A wonderful plant source of calcium and protein, there are many ways we can include this wonder-seed in our everyday dishes. 

Swaty - our host for this week @FoodieMondayBloghop has asked us to use super nuts and seeds this week. 

Today's dish was a meal by itself with some veg crudites, nachos, baked falafel and mediterranean-style oven roasted veggies : all in all an entire dinner that was plant based :)

Some sesame-based dishes that we regularly make at home include:

Yellina Chitranna (sesame flavoured rice - usually made around Ugadi / Lunar New year beginning)

Sankranti Yellu Bella (Karnataka special Sesame seeds -jaggery trail mix) 

Sesame Crusted Bundt bread

Onion Sesame Pull Apart Bread

Oo Ee Mu Chim (Korean Cucumber-sesame Salad)

Baked Sesame and Onion Savoury crackers

Let's get to the recipe now

You may use any plant protein (like chickpeas / kidney beans / Lima beans). I had a bowl of cooked kidney beans so went with it. 

Prep time - 15 mins, Cook time - Nil (doesn’t include soak and cook time for the protein base)
Makes - 250~300 ml of the dip, keeps for 2-3 days under refrigeration


What you need:

Cooked Rajma (One may use Canned too, but drain before using) - 1 cup (240 ml)
Sesame seeds roasted - 3 heaped tablespoon ( you may also use Tahini instead, if using that adjust salt and spice accordingly)
Salt and pepper - to taste
Sumac - 1/2 TBSP
Red chilli flakes - 1/2 tsp
Olive Oil - 1/4 cup (use in parts)
Madras Curry powder ( I used a mix of 1 TBSP Coriander powder and 1/2 TBSP jeera powder + 1/2 tsp pepper powder) - 3 TBSP
Lemon juice - 1/2 tsp

How to:
In a blender, puree the cooked rajma with salt and half the olive oil. Now add the rest of the spices, sesame seeds and blend at low speed, scraping down the mixture every few seconds. 
Serve dip at room temperature with crudites / falafels or any chips / wafers of your choice. 

January 27, 2020

Kakarakaya Karam Podi - Video Recipe | Andhra Special Bitter gourd Spice Powder

There are several people I know (me included) who would turn their nose up at eating bitter gourd / bitter melon, despite its health benefits. 

Goes by the name Bitter gourd, bitter melon, kakarakaya (Telugu), Hagalakayi (Kannada), Pavakkkai (Tamil), this has lovers and haters in equal proportion. Without this recipe, surely I wouldn't be attempting to eat bitter gourd on a regular basis. For the lovers of this veggie, this is a tasty, healthy podi that goes well with hot steamed rice and Idli / Dosa / Adai equally.

As the blog turns 9 today, I can’t help but reflect how much our eating and lifestyle habits have changed (for the better). With absolutely no knowledge of lighting or photography or plating or social media or facebook, it’s been a wonderful learning experience as I take into presenting recipes in healthier, ecologically sustainable formats. 

The family’s support in this journey has been undoubtedly massive as has the support and comments from readers and co-bloggers ! Thank you for the same and hoping to see more traction and movement as I gather more momentum to
Take this blog forward !!

As this is a video recipe, please do refer the video embedded below for the directions. The ingredient list however is given as below. Do let me know how you liked this recipe and video. Your valuable feedback is most sincerely appreciated. 

Renu had given us a theme where we could use secret / generally unused ingredients to make condiments for #Foodie Mondaybloghop

Prep time - 15 mins , cook time - 20 mins (or bake/ fry time as needed), 
Makes - approx 150 grams of spice powder.

Bitter gourd - 250 grams
Oil - 4 TBSP + 2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Sesame powder - 1 heaped tsp
jaggery - 1 tsp (optional, i didn't add)

For the spice powder:
Tamarind - gooseberry size
Garlic pods - 8 to 10 (optional)
Urad dal / split black gram - 2 TBSP
Channa dal / bengal gram - 5 TBSP
Dry Red chillies - 10 to 12 (adjust spice)
Curry leaves - few
Coriander seeds - 2 tsp
Jeera / Cumin seeds - 1 tsp

Shelf life - about 30~45 days if stored under sterile conditions. 

Follow the YouTube video embedded below and check how to make this.

January 22, 2020

Kadale Manoli - Guestpost by Preethi | Guestpost Series #23

Continuing the #Guestpost series on this blog, we have a very talented food blogger Preethi, who blogs at Preethi's Cuisine. Hailing from Bangalore, but settled out of India now, we have similar roots in Karnataka Cuisine. Preethi specialises in no-fuss, healthy, hearty eats as is evident from her recipes on the blog. Thank you, Preethi for sharing your family recipe Kadle Manoli. 

Over to Preethi in her own words now.....


This is Preethi Prasad. I am  passionate about cooking . Being a  working professional, cooking helps me to destress. I am basically from Bangalore and currently  based out of Singapore.

I had never thought of starting a food blog even  in the  wildest of my dreams.My mom always wanted me to start a blog and whenever she raised this topic, I would  brush her off. I had a helper all these years, and  never bothered about cooking as it was taken care of by her. I used to cook once in a while, when I felt like or there was a demand for my signature dish.  

My helper left in September 2013 and since then I have taken over the realm of my kitchen. Initially ,I used to cook as if it was my duty and really did not enjoy it. From June 2014 my perspective towards cooking changed. I started enjoying it and wanted to try something new everyday in spite of my hectic schedule. My hubby used to tease me that I am bitten by a bug. Well this seems to be true as I enjoy cooking now and try and experiment in my own way as and when I have time. Kitchen has become my favourite place these days.

On May 1 2015, I was talking to my elder son about starting a blog and he helped me to create one. I must admit that kids these days are very fast.

I started this blog to document my recipes for the benefit of everybody. Being a Vegetarian, you will find mostly Vegetarian recipes here along with few recipes using eggs on special request from some of my friends. Most of them will not be on the Restaurant menu. You will find many uncommon but healthy and Yummy Recipes.

I would like to thank Kalyani for inviting me to do a guest post for her blog. I got to know Kalyani when she joined our Foodiemonday bloghop. She is an amazing blogger and has some wonderful recipes on her blog Sizzling Tastebuds  There are many Vegan recipes too. You need to check her blog to learn some wonderful recipes.She is basically from Bangalore and now based out of Mumbai.Glad to connect with her.

Coming back to the recipe….

I am sharing a delicious and quick recipe from Mangalore region called Kadale Manoli.This is a traditional preparation from Mangalore made with chickpeas and Ivy Gourd and is usually served on special occasions.I had this at my friends place and instantly fell in love with it. I make it often and have it with yogurt and skip rice. It is made with fresh grated coconut which enhances the taste and takes it to a new level.It has a nice sweet and tangy flavour.

Recipe for Kadale Manoli:

250 Gms Ivy Gourd / Tendli
½ Cup Black Chickpeas 
1 Tsp Cumin Seeds / Jeera
5 Kashmiri Red Chillies
½ Cup Grated fresh coconut
2 Tsp roasted Coriander Seeds /Dhania
½ Cup Chopped Onions
¼ Tsp Haldi / Turmeric
¼ Tsp Mustard
2  Cloves of Garlic Chopped
½ Tsp Chopped Ginger
1 Tsp Tamrind Pulp
¾ Tbsp Palm Jaggery
Finely Chopped Coriander Leaves
Few Curry Leaves
Salt to taste

For Tempering:
½ Tsp Mustard seeds
Generous pinch of Hing
Few Curry leaves
¼ Cup finely Chopped Onions
1 Garlic clove finely chopped

  • Soak Black chickpeas overnight .Pressure cook them upto 3 Whistles. Drain the excess water and keep it aside. Do not throw the excess water.
  • Wash and clean the Ivy gourd. Slit them vertically and cut each one into 4 parts.
  • Grind roasted coriander seeds ,cumin seeds , red chillies ,mustard seeds,haldi,few curry leaves,chopped ginger and garlic in a blender. Now add grated fresh coconut and pulse it to get a coarse mixture. Do not make a paste. Add very little water only if required.Keep this mixture aside.
  • Heat a wide bottom pan. Add oil. Once the oil is hot add crushed garlic ,hing ,mustard and chopped onions , tendli and curry leaves. Shallow fry tendli until it is cooked.Now add the ground masala and salt. Mix well and stir fry for about 3 minutes until the masala is nicely absorbed.Next step is to add palm jiggery , tamrind pulp and boiled black  chana. Mix well and allow is to cook on low flame until the flavors are well absorbed.Cook for about 2-3 minutes. Garnish with finely chopped coriander and switch off the flame.
  • Serve hot with Ghee, rice or Phulkas or Rotis. Enjoy!!!!!!!!!

January 15, 2020

Rajma Pulav | How to make Kidney beans pulav | GF One Pot meals

Rajma Pulav - a delicious one pot meal has me in smiles. Smiles not because of the onion prices have dropped a bit,but smiles because the husband who’s a staunch Anti-Rajma campaigner asked for second helpings !!

Yay… I found a way to serve Rajma in a pure form (rather than sneak them in Rajma Pepper Quesedillas , the Mexican Baleadas Honduras or Multigrain Adai or the favourite Galoti Kebab, of course the fresh Rajma Sundal is quite welcome, but well, during Navratri). 

Some time ago, I also used fresh Rajma that my friend had sent over in these delicious GF / Vegan Rajma Sweet Potato Tikkis which were also well received. 

So, all in all we have another Rajma (Kidney bean) dish that can go to the meal rotation. At the A-Z Recipe Challenge this month, we have alphabet K. Each month we need to cook a dish from a particular alphabet which features the central ingredient name starting from that alphabet (in English)

So, its K for Kidney beans was my choice. Other close contenders for the alphabet was Kale (I bought a very expensive bunch but couldn’t make the crisps I want simply for lack of time!!) and Kohlrabi (which vanished into a poriyal and a paratha - recipe coming soon). 

But as I had a worthy winner in persuading the better half to eat Rajma in a delicious form, I shall definitely be looking at making this dish again.

Do try this nutrition packed version and let me know how you liked it.

Other similar One Pot meals on the blog you may want to check out + 26 different varieties of Khichdis and Pulao:

Kabuli Channa pulao (GF, Vegan)

Menthye Bataani Bhath (fenugreek leaves + peas aromatic rice - karnataka speciality)

Prep time - 15 mins. Soak time : overnight. Cook time - 20 mins+15 mins
Serves - 3~4 generously


What you need:
Kidney beans / Rajma  - 1 cup (soaked and cooked overnight to soft but not mushy texture) ; if using canned beans, be sure to rinse thoroughly.  
Basmati rice - 1.5 cups
salt - to taste
Mint and coriander leaves - a handful each
turmeric - 1/8 tsp
Dry masala powders : Coriander powder 1 TBSP, Red Chilli powder 1 tsp
Tomato - 1 medium - juilenned 
Onion - 1 small - sliced thin
Oil - 1 TBSP
Ghee - 1 tsp (skip for vegan version or replace it with 1 tsp oil or vegan butter)

Whole masala / spices
bay leaf 2 nos, green elaichi / cardamom 1 no,
Shahjeera - 1 tsp, large cardamom / Badi Elaichi - 1 no. 

Masala paste:
Onion - 1 large
Garlic pods -2 -3
Ginger - 1/2 tsp
Cashews soaked in warm water - 6 to 8 nos. (opt. but recommended)  

How to:
Wash and soak the rice for 15 mins. 
In a pressure cooker, heat the ghee and oil. Add the whole masala and saute for 30 seconds. Now add the sliced onions and saute further. 
Now add the ground paste and saute till raw smell disappears. Now add the soaked and drained rice and fry for 1-2 mins.
Add the dry masala powders and saute further for 1 min. Tip in the julienned tomatoes, mint and coriander leaves. 
Add the cooked rajma. Add 2 cups of water (or as much ratio you would use for the regular pulav - this depends on the type / quality of rice used)
Add the salt , mix well and pressure cook for 2 whistles. Let the pressure come down on its own.
Once done, fluff the pulav lightly with a fork and serve hot.
This tastes yum as is or with any raita / curd on the side.

January 12, 2020

8 Healthy Pongal Recipes you must try !

Pongal / Sankranti is around the corner. The festival of Harvest season is celebrated across India as Sankranti / Uttarayan / Bhogi / Pongal / Lohri etc etc. 

To celebrate This festival, try one of these healthy Pongal varieties (both sweet and savoury) and make your festival healthier and better !

Clockwise from top left featured in the above collage are:

Wishing all my readers and friends a very joyous and happy Pongal and a happy new year ahead.. 

January 8, 2020

Methi Jowari Bhakri | GF and Vegan | Fenugreek and Sorghum Flatbread

Changing lifestyles, one meal at a time can be rewarding. There was a time when baking white bread (or actually eating them regularly for sandwiches) used to be my favourite. I still love the aroma of baking bread, don't get me wrong. But eating them on a regular basis isn't happening, both for health and awareness reasons.

Its the start of a bright new year, and my friends and me at VEGAN GF Group bring you Gluten Free Indian flatbreads this month. Join us as we explore many Indian Flatbreads that are traditionally part of the Indian Cuisine.  

t’s an easy, healthy and nutritious flatbread that’s vegan and gluten free. I had already posted jowar Bhakri with ennegayi (a North Karnataka speciality) earlier. This is a take on the same flatbread but enriched with iron and calcium rich fresh methi (or fenugreek) which are so abundantly available in the winters.

The little one and me are quite fond of Bhakri for dinner so I make this often. Of course patting this requires a bit of practice and patience , so give this a try often to get the perfect flatbread.

Other GF Flatbreads are:

Prep time - 15 Mins , cook time - 10 Mins, makes 4 servings 


You need:

1 cup = 200 ml
Jowar flour - 1.5 cups
Fresh Methi leaves - 1/2 cup (chopped fine)
Ajwain / carrom seeds - 1/8 tsp 
Salt - to taste 
Finely chopped coriander leaves - 1 tbsp
Hot water to make the dough
Oil - 1/4 tsp for each bhakri

How to:
Chop the methi leaves and sprinkle little salt for 3-4 mins, squeeze out excess water. In a flat plate, add the flour, sprinkle of salt, methi leaves and ajwain. mix well for 1-2 mins with your hands. Add hot water as needed, and make a stiffish dough.
On a greased plastic sheet / parchment / banana leaf, pinch out the dough and pat down with your hands. Dip hands in water to ease the patting down. Make a circular disc of 7-8 inches diameter
Cook on a hot griddle / tava on both sides, drizzling little oil. 
Serve hot with any pickle / Curd for a healthy meal

December 31, 2019

Benares Special Aloo Shalgam Matar ki Sabji | No onion-no garlic | Gluten Free and Vegan Side Dishes

Originally from Benares, the winter veggies of Shalgam (turnip) and fresh peas add oomph to this dish. It can be made in stir fry or gravy form. But as I was not keen on using the pricey onions , I made this in a pressure cooker in a semi dry form. It’s delicious with simple, everyday spices and a few more different spices that make it lip smacking .

Both mom and my husband asked for second helpings with hot chapati for dinner which was a fabulous idea to serve it with. I had tasted this while I visited Benares (Varanasi) many many years ago and while looking through my ingredients that my paired partner Aruna gave me (Shalgam and cumin) {for Sshh Cooking Secret Challenge where a paired blogger gives you two ingredients to prepare a dish for the theme of the month}, this is a side dish am sure to make again ! Check out her blog to know what dish she has prepared. 

Other dishes from this state of Uttar Pradesh on the blog, which ranges from simple dishes and the irresistible kebabs to exotic Mughlai dishes:


Let’s get to the recipe :

What we need:
Shalgam (tender turnip) - 3 medium
Potato - 1 large
Fresh peas -3 large handfuls
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp
Cumin / jeera - 1/2 tsp
Green chilly - 1 or 2 (slit lengthwise)
Garnish - chopped coriander leaves 2 tsp

Dry masala powders:
Dry ginger powder -1/3 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp (adjust spice)
Dhaniya powder - 1/2 tbsp
Jeera powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Garam Masala- 1 tsp
Amchur / dry mango powder -1/2 tsp

For the semi dry gravy (blend into coarse paste)
Tomato - 2 medium
Ginger - 1/2 tsp

How to:
Prep the veggies - cut the turnip into largish or small chunks (as desired), peel and cut the potato into same size.
In a pressure cooker, warm some oil. Splutter the cumin seeds and sauté the green chillies. Now add the tomatoes , ginger and salt and sauté for 1-2 mins till it turns soft & oil leaves the sides.
Now add the dry spice powder, veggies and toss well.
Add 1/2 cup of water and pressure cook for 1-2 whistles.
Let the pressure drop on its own.  Stir once,add chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with phulka / chapati

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