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"

November 24, 2016

Low Fat Sookhi Bhindi - for diabetics | Easy Side dishes

As a family, we love Okra / Bhindi / Lady finger as a veggie, my elder one is particularly partial to Bhindi & Karela (bitter gourd). Although am not fond of the latter, I eat it in specific dishes only. Today's dish is a super simple yet different version of the Okra stir fry (Bendekayi Palya) that I usually dish out for the rest of the family. My sister loves this Bendekayi Gojju (okra in tangy gravy)

Do checkout the steps below to get a yummy yet low cal dish. This side dish was served in the Diabetic Mini Thali posted early this week.

Ingredients (serves : 2)

  • Tender Okra / Bhindi / Bendekaayi - 10 nos
  • Oil - 1 tsp
  • Marination Mix : Garam Masala powder, cumin powder, red chilli powder, lemon juice (1 tsp), amchur (dry mango powder), Rasam powder, Sugar or Jaggery (1/2 TBSP)
  • Salt - to taste


  1. Wash, wipe and trim the Okra. 
  2. Cut diagonally into medium slices. 
  3. In a bowl, add the chopped okra, marination mix, give it a quick stir. Let it sit for 7-8 mins.
  4. In a non stick pan, heat oil, add the okra and on a very low flame, let it cook uncovered (about 10 mins). stir once in 2-3 mins so it doesn't burn. Sprinkle few drops of water from time to time if needed.  
  5. Once done fully, add salt , mix and serve immediately

Lauki Dal - Vegan & GF | Bottlegourd in lentil sauce | Easy Side Dishes

We made this Dal as part of the Diabetic Mini Thali featured here. Lauki or bottle gourd is something we have taken to liking only in the recent years. Today's is a super simple yet filling side dish for rice or hot rotis / phulkas. I haven't added any onion / tomato in this, but you can add as per your choice. 

Course : Main course, Indian
Served with : Indian flat breads or Steamed rice
Vegan and GF Lauki Dal (bottle gourd cooked with lentils)


  • Lauki / bottle gourd - 1/2 medium
  • split green gram / moong dal - 2 fistfuls
  • Turmeric - 1/8 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Tempering : oil 1/2 tsp, mustard seeds 1/4 tsp , jeera(cumin) 1/4 tsp, curry leaves, 1 slit green chilly 
  • Garnish : coriander leaves, Lemon juice (1/2 tsp)

How to make:

  1. Soak Moong dal in warm water for 10 mins. Wash, peel and cube the bottle gourd into 1/2 inch cubes.
  2. In a pressure cooker, add 1/2 tsp, temper the mustard & cumin seeds, add the curry leaves and green chilly. saute for 1/2 min
  3. Now add the cubed lauki, saute for 1 min, add turmeric, half the salt, soaked moong (along with the soaked water). Pressure cook for 1-2 whistles. turn off heat immediately, and release the pressure. 
  4. Adjust thickness with more water and add salt if necessary.  Mash lightly if needed.
  5. Let it simmer for 1-2 mins. Switch off flame.
  6. Finish with coriander leaves & lemon juice. Serve hot

Mini Thali Series 2 - Lauki Dal & 2 more in a Diabetic-friendly Mini Thali | Easy Mini Meals | Diabetic Eating

As mentioned in my Diabetic Mini Thali (1), we prefer non-rice or non-carb dishes during the week. Although around Dusherra / Diwali, the plan goes out of the window (sadly when portion control is  required most), yet we come back to simple mini meals like today's and make up for extra calories consumed (gulped) during the festivities.

One doesn't need to be a diabetic to eat this thali, but considering that the entire meal for 2 was made in 3 tsp of oil, its always good to indulge in healthy food, isn't it ?

So, here I am presenting 3 simple Mini Thalis this week as part of the same theme at Blogging Marathon # 70. They are simple to make, and easier on the wallet & tummy ! Do check them out and let me know how you liked them.

The recipes for the dishes are embedded at the end of this post.

So, we begin this week with a filling Diabetic Mini Thali

Prep time : 20 mins, Cook time : 20 mins ; serves : 2 adults

Spread consisted of :

  • Phulkas (puffed wholewheat flatbread / chapatis) - Vegan
  • Lauki Dal (bottle gourd cooked with split green lentils) - Vegan & GF
  • Karela Bhaaji (bitter gourd cooked with Onion and Tomatoes in very little oil) - Vegan & GF
  • Sookhi Bhindi (dry marinated Okra Saute)
  • Salad

November 18, 2016

Onion Podi Dosa | Spicy Vegan & GF Dosa | Breakfast dishes

After Begun Bhaja, we have our family favourite - Onion Podi Dosa featured under "Cooking with Tava" series this week at Blogging Marathon.  This Dosa is my elder kid's favourite and we have it regularly mostly for our Sunday Breakfast. 

A simple yet enticing dosa, this is sure to fill you up and make a perfect morning breakfast / brunch option. Lets see how to make it... Check over 20+ varieties of Dosa / Uttapams here.

Prep time : 10 mins, Cook time : 1-1.5 min per dosa 
Course : Vegan & GF Indian Breakfast / Snack / Evening Tiffin
Accompaniments : tiffin sambhar and chutney or serve as is
Spice level :Medium

Ingredients (for 4 dosas):

  • Dosa Batter (or even use Idli Batter) - 2 large cups
  • Idli Molagapudi - 1 tsp per dosa (click here for the recipe)
  • Onions minced - 1 cup
  • Chopped green chillies, coriander and curry leaves - to taste
  • Oil - to pan fry the dosa


  1. In a tsp or two of oil, lightly caramelise / saute the onions with a pinch of salt and sugar each, and keep aside.
  2. Heat the tava, and lightly grease the top. Pour a ladle of flowing Idli / Dosa batter onto the hot tava and spread it around in concentric circles. 
  3. Drizzle few drops of oil and immediately top it with the Molagapudi, sautéed onions, chopped green chillies, coriander and curry leaves. Drizzle a few drops around the dosa too. 
  4. Let the dosa cook uncovered, After 1-2 mins on medium flame, flip only once for 30 seconds (PS - I cook only one side to a mild crisp texture).
  5. Serve it hot as is or with tiffin sambhar and chutney


November 17, 2016

Begun Bhaja | Pan Sauted Eggplant | Easy Side Dishes

This week on Blogging Marathon, theme is "Cooking on a Tawa / skillet / shallow pan" . Stay tuned to see 2 more dishes using this appliance

We begin with a popular side dish from the Bengali kitchen. Begun bhaja or pan seared eggplants is an ubiquitous part of the Bengali thali or even everyday meals. 

For the eggplant or the baingan (Bengali - begun), you have either the lovers or haters. Thankfully my family lies in the former category. 

I generally make palya (dry sauté), baba Ghanoush (middle eastern dip), vangibhath (eggplant in a flavoured rice ), vangi poha (poha / flattened rice snack with eggplants and spices) or even make kootu with karamani (black eyed peas) { My personal favourite}  or sambhar with this veggie. 

Have you also checked the cajun spiced GF and 100% flour free pizzas that can be made with this veggie ? You must try them if you a huge fan like my elder one. 

My husband's favourite is of course baingan Bharta, and he invariably orders it on the rare occasion that he eats out. 

And for this dish today, you need the large round purple brinjals (aka bhartewali baingan). Choose one that's firm and without too many seeds to get the perfect texture. 

Now, Let's see how to make this :

Prep - 10 mins ; cook time - 15 mins. Serves : 2

  • Large purple eggplant (tender n fleshy with almost zero seeds) -1 no.
  • Spices - turmeric, red chilli powder, amchur (dry mango powder)
  • Rice flour / besan (gramflour) - as required
  • Salt - to Taste
  • Oil - 4 tbsp (mustard oil works best, but I used canola)

  1. Wash and pat dry the eggplant. Cut into thick slices. Soak in salted water for 6-8 mins.
  2. Now pat dry again thoroughly. Remove all traces of water using multiple layers of kitchen tissues. 
  3. Mix all spice powders including salt as required in a bowl. Add the slices veggies , toss them to coat it evenly. Marinate for 7-10 mins. 
  4. Coat the marinated slices in a flat plate of rice flour or besan and shake off the excess flour. 
  5. On a medium hot fry pan / tawa,  grease the same with generous oil. add the slices one by one without overlapping (make two batches of the veggies if required). Let them cook on medium flame for 6 mins on each side or till done, flip them
  6. Once one side gets crispy. 
  7. Let both the sides get crispy. Serve hot with motar dal, rice and some salad. Also goes with hot phulkas (puffed wholewheat chapati)
Sending this to BM #70 under Tawa fried dishes 

November 12, 2016

How to make Choco Lava Cake | Cooking for One series | Easy desserts | Kids Favourites

After a soup and some breakfast under "cooking for one " series, let's move to an all time favourite dessert - choco lava cake . I followed Tarla Dalal's recipe for 1 serving and quadrupled it for 4 servings . 

It's a family favourite and we used to order it regularly along with the pizza and garlic bread from dominos. 

But, all 3 of them are now made at home ! How cool is that ? :). 

For over 8 varieties of pizzas click here 

Do follow the timing strictly as per following recipe to get a perfectly gooey choco lava cake , so delicious that you will go back for seconds and thirds :)

Following recipe given for a single serve , you would need:

  • 1 tbsp Maida (APF)
  • 1 tbsp Sugar (powdered)
  • 1 1/2 tsp dark chocolate powder (or dark cocoa works fine too)
  • 4 tbsp Milk
  • Melted butter - 2 tsp
  • A pinch each of salt, baking soda & baking powder
  • A 20 gm chunk of good quality cooking chocolate (I used Morde Dark)

  1. Combine the flour, sugar and cocoa powder and sieve well.
  2. Add the salt, baking soda and baking powder and mix well.
  3. Add the butter and mix well.
  4. Add the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix well to get a smooth batter.
  5. Pour half of it into a microwave safe bowl and push the chunk of chocolate right into the center of the batter.
  6. Top it with the remaining batter, taking care that the chocolate doesn’t protrude out of the batter.
  7. Microwave on HIGH for 1-2 minutes or till cooked.
  8. Keep aside for a minute, unmould and serve plain or with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

November 11, 2016

Tomato Omelette - Vegan & Gluten Free | Cooking for One | Easy Breakfast

The next in this series under Bachelor Cooking / Cooking for one is Tomato Omelette. Till many years ago, I always thought Omelette meant making them with eggs, and when I saw it on my elder kid's school lunch menu. A few searches and I was ready to make them. 

This is a great breakfast / snack or even a filling dinner , especially when one is pressed for time - requires very little time and ingredients. So, a filling vegan & Gluten free breakfast is taken care of with this yummy and tasty Tomato Omelette. 

With a little prep, it can be dished out in less than 15 minutes if cooking for oneself . How easy is that ? Lets check out

Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time : 15 mins | Serves : 1 (makes 2 omelettes)
Tomato Omelette - easy breakfast or snack
Spice level : medium, difficulty level : easy; cuisine :Indian
Serving suggestions : Toast, ketchup / sauce and any beverage.

  • Besan / gram flour - 1/2 cup
  • Water - less than 1/4 cup
  • Onion - 1 minced fine
  • Tomato Ketchup/ sauce - 1 TBSP (optional, but recommended)
  • Ginger - grated - 1/2 tsp (optional)
  • Tomato - 1 minced fine (deseed and chop)
  • Coriander leaves, curry leaves - a handful (chopped fine)
  • Green chillies - 2 nos (or 1/2 tsp red chilli powder)
  • Turmeric powder - a dash
  • Salt - to taste
  • Garam Masala powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Oil - to fry the Omelette

  1. Mix all ingredients (except oil) to a thickish but flowing batter. 
  2. Grease a tava and heat to medium heat.
  3. Take a small ladle of the batter and spread it like a pancake. Drizzle oil around and a few drops on the pancake.
  4. After 2-3 mins, flip it and roast on the other side. Use oil again if required.
  5. Once done, serve it with toasted bread, sauce and coffee.  

November 10, 2016

Carrot Lentil Soup | Winter Foods | Cooking for One

Cooking for one can be pretty tedious especially for working professionals or even SAHMs (Stay at Home Moms) with a toddler / infant. This is a soup that can be rustled up in almost no time. 

First of these is a soup. As mentioned here, my kids love soups of most forms. With the winter here yet to smile upon us (it barely lasts 4-6 weeks), this is something we make thru the year, and I was surprised it was yet to feature on the blog.

PIN THIS 21 soup link collection for your ready reference. 

So, here it is - Carrot Lentil Soup. Takes under 20 mins to prep and cook. It can be done while you are in the shower after work (or a busy day at home). Do make this and let me know how you liked it...

Prep time : 5 mins, Cook time : 15 mins ; Serves : 1 (about 250 ml)


You would need: 

  • Carrots - 1 medium (I prefer the Orange variety to red ones)
  • Moong Dal OR toor dal (split green gram OR split pea) - 2 TBSP
  • Onion - 1/2 (halved will work as well)
  • Potato peeled - 1/2 no
  • Garlic - 1 pod (opt.)
  • Salt & pepper - to taste
  • 15-min Homemade Vegetable Stock  - 2/3 cup
  • Garnish - cream or butter (skip if vegan, or use vegan butter alternative)
  1. Wash, peel and chop the veggies. In a small pressure cooker (I used 2 litres pan), add the stock / water, chopped veggies, garlic, dash of salt. Close and pressure cook for 4-5 whistles. 
  2. Take your shower / finish checking the last of your emails for the day :-))
  3. Let the pressure release on its own.
  4. Puree all together. Sieve if needed (I didn't). Let it simmer for 2-3 mins. 
  5. Season with salt and pepper
  6. Finish with a dollop of butter / fresh cream or savour it hot as is :)

November 8, 2016

Garlic Cheese Bombs for #Breadbakers | Easy Appetiser recipes

Garlic is one of my family's favourite spices. I use it often to season soups or as a topping for pizzas or flavouring with my yeasted breads (dominos style garlic bread sticks, roasted garlic focaccia (which incidentally was also for #breadbakers) and Coriander-garlic pull apart rolls being the top favourites). The husband is also partial to this rather pungent spice, and when used in moderation, it can render a rather pleasing twist to the dish it's used in.

Today's pick is from my FB feed where I saw this 4 min video to make garlic rolls (source), so made my own twists with an Indian touch. It is my elder kid's favourite and she doesn't mind having this snack often ( I type this recipe out, I recall that I promised her a batch of these rolls , soon :-)) 

If you have a basic pizza recipe, use it ( as I did from a frozen batch of garlic bread brought to room temperature), else make a fresh batch of dough. . Team it up with any warm soup and you have a filling dinner or bite into the warm gooey cheesy goodness as is : either way, the end product is lipsmackingly delicious :-) Do try and let me know how you liked these. 

Thank you Karen for kindly hosting this month's edition of #breadbakers n for choosing a lovely theme with root veggies (my top pick was garlic the moment I saw the theme although am eager to experiment with potato / carrot / beets in yeasted breads). 

What I really love about this group is that the various monthly themes are so well planned in advance, and even the time of scheduled posting is pre-decided. Makes baking a breeze. Although am guilty of skipping a few editions, I do look forward to baking (and blogging) for #Breadbakers ...  

Adapted from here 

Let's get to the recipe:

You would need:

  • One batch of garlic bread sticks dough recipe 
  • (if you want to make a fresh batch of dough, head to the notes section below or even use your Basic Pizza dough)
  • Garlic pods - 10 medium pods 
  • Mozzarella cheese - 75-80 gms (cut into 8-10 chunks)
  • Olive oil - 3 tbsp
  • Indian spices : red paprika, chopped coriander leaves, roasted cumin powder

  1. If using frozen readymade / homemade pizza dough, bring it to room temperature. 
  2. With a garlic press, crush the garlic pods (or mince them fine). Warm the olive oil, add the garlic and saute them. Add the pizza seasoning, Indian spice, chopped coriander leaves (or just plain oregano + red chilli flakes), mix well and switch off the stove. Let the garlic flavour seep into the oil. Add salt to taste (keep an eye on the salt for you would be using cheese too, which is salty).
  3. Preheat oven to 180 C / 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment / silpat. 
  4. Divide the dough into 8-10 equal portions, flatten out one portion on your greased palm, stuff one portion of the mozzarella cheese, close up, roll the dough in the garlicky - spiced oil generously and place on the baking sheet. Similarly use up the remaining dough. Cover and let it rise for 10 mins (it won't rise much)
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 15 mins (or till the cheese melts). Brush with the remaining olive oil (or butter) - Serve warm as is or with a bowl of warm soup. 

1) Addition of Indian spices is totally optional. 
2) As I used frozen dough, I didn't bake for a longer time, if you want it slightly browned on the top, feel free to use a milk / egg wash (but keep an eye on the rolls, you dont want to burn them). 
3) For a basic homemade pizza dough (made with wholewheat), click here...
4) As I used my Garlic Bread dough, I used only the garlic flavoured oil for dipping. If using freshly made pizza dough or bread dough, you may add minced garlic while kneading itself. 

 Let's take a peek at what other #Breadbakers have dished out with the "Root Veggies" theme this month :)
#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.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to
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