January 26, 2017

Chilli Cinnamon Almond Dip + a surprise giveaway !

When life gives you lemons, they say,make a lemonade. But when I was stuck with a whole batch of soaked Almonds (apparently to be made into Badam Katli (a.k.a Almond Fudge, but paused for lack of energy and time), I began to look for options which used up the soaked almonds. some of my BM friends gave me some options on our whatsapp group, & I made a batch of Almond Meal (to be used in these quick bread, muffins, kheer & cake recipes), but was wanting to make something else. 

As usual, trust the husband to come out with something totally quirky yet tasty. Made this delicious dip to go with the garlic bread, and coincidentally it was on my BIL's birthday so we all enjoyed this treat together. 

And voila talking of family , its been 6 years of blogging here, and full marks to my support system - my kids, mom and my ever patient husband :D without whom this blog wouldn't have reached you so regularly. And yes, a HUGE thank you to my readers & BM team for their constant encouragement & comments, the bar is now set higher to deliver superior content in every post :) 

Do check out the details of the surprise giveaway to ONE lucky reader at the end of this post !!  

So, without much ado, lets check out the last of the posts this week on Dips; hope you enjoyed the other two posts : Coriander-Mint-tomato salsa & Thakkali Thokku (quick tomato pickle). 

A special hug and thanks to dear husband for this quirky yet vegan, GF, lip smacking dip that I am sure will be made regularly. If you are a fan of dips, do try these out and let me know how you and your family liked them :)

Chilli Cinnamon Almond Dip - Vegan & GF dip
Prep time : 10 mins , zero cook ; makes : approx 100 gms 

You would need:
  • Whole Blanched almonds - 100 gms
  • Black pepper - 1/2 tsp
  • Cayenne pepper / red chilli powder / paprika - 1/4 tsp
  • Cinnamon - 1/2 inch stick
  • Olive oil - 2 TBSP
  • Salt - to taste
  • Parsley - 1/2 tsp (chopped fine)
  1. In a blender, blend all except salt. Check for salt and add salt and spice powders accordingly. Mix well. 
  2. Serve immediately with veg crudités / soup sticks or any bread :) Top with chopped parsley, some more olive oil, black pepper powder & cayenne pepper. 
1) This dip keeps well upto a week under refrigeration.
2) We found this to be a creamy moderately spicy dip. Adjust spice accordingly. 

And here's the giveaway details:
To celebrate happiness of completing 6 years of blogging, one lucky reader would be sent a surprise gift. To participate, all you need is check out the following rules:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sending this to BM # 72 under "Dips" Theme

January 25, 2017

Tomato Mint Coriander Chutney (Salsa) | Vegan & GF | Easy dips

Saw this rather interesting Salsa / dip at a Medical Practitioners website and noticed that most of the recipes didn't contain any fat / oil and worked on the basis of vegetables releasing their own liquid and that helped in cooking. I tried a few recipes from that website, and this is one we loved a lot. 

Pair it up with pretty much anything from crudités to nachos to wafers or even chapati / tortillas. Its vegan, Gluten Free and fat free - couldn't ask for more, isnt it?

Tomato Mint Coriander Chutney (Salsa) - Vegan, Gluten Free & Fat free
Source : here

What you need:
  • 3 cups fresh coriander (cilantro), washed and de-stemmed
  • 2 cups fresh mint leaves, washed and de-stemmed
  • 4 dark green chilies (I used mild variety)
  • 5 grams ginger (about 1 tsp)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt to taste (Approx 1/2 tsp)
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes
  • water - approx 1/4 cup (use if needed)
Optional Addons:
  • black salt
  • 1/2 medium-sized red onion - didn't use
  • 2 cloves of garlic - didn't use

How to make:
  1. Add the ingredients into a blender and blend them to make chutney.
  2. You might have to stop a few times to push the ingredients down towards the blades. Add a little water if required. Squeeze lemon at the end and mix well.
  3. Store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days or freeze.
This goes to BM # 72 under Dips / Chutneys

January 24, 2017

Tomato Thokku | How to make Thakkali Thokku | Vegan Tomato Pickle

If I am to choose an universal dip / side dish in my kitchen that's so versatile that it goes well with anything from steamed rice to chapati to Idli to Dosa to Pongal to Curd Rice to Akki Rotti to Upma to Parathas (and everything in between), I would bet heavily on this dip - Tomato Thokku (or Quick Tomato Pickle). It was around the beginning of December when I made this first batch when my sister and BIL were visiting, and it vanished in a flash.

All the adults took to this pretty well, and although it was spicy my little one preferred this sometime with her dosa breakfast. The elder one, however, couldn't be weaned away from her favourite Lemon pickle (her fav go-to side for pretty much everything :D)

I made this again with step by step sorely for the blog (as I personally love it a lot), and hope that for thokku (spicy dip) lovers out there among my readers, it would help you make a batch of this and enjoy :-))

This week, 3 dips are going to feature on this blog, and this is the first in the series. Stay tuned for next two days for the remaining and a surprise (Hint : Santa arrives again on this blog :D)

Thakkali Thokku - Spicy Tomato dip (or quick pickle)  | Vegan and can be made GF too
Course : Side Dish / Dip | Spice level : Medium to high
Can be served with : Any Indian breakfast to breads or anything that you fancy ;)
Keeps for 2-3 weeks under refrigeration; fresh batches can be made anytime during the year.

Prep time: 20 mins, Cook time : 45 mins, Makes : approx 400 gms of dip / pickle.

  • Fleshy red juicy tomatoes - 2.5 kilograms (5.5 lbs)
  • Oil - 1/2 cup (approx 120 ml) (Sesame oil preferred or use any neutral oil)
  • Salt - to taste , about 2 TBSP
  • Turmeric - 1 tsp
  • Jaggery - 1 TBSP
Spice powder mix:
  • Methi seeds - 1 tsp
  • Dry Red chillies - 12/13 nos
  • Kashmiri chillies - 4 to 6 nos
  • Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Oil - 1/2 tsp (opt.)
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp 
  • Asafoetida - 1/4 TBSP (skip for GF version)


Wash and wipe dry the tomatoes . Cut the tops of the tomatoes, and using a food processor or knife, chop each tomato into 1/8, coarsely puree them with some chunks intact. do NOT add water at all at any stage during the entire pickle making process.

Dry roast the ingredients one by one under spice powder mix. Ensure the methi seeds are not burnt else will taste bitter. If you need to roast the red chillies in oil, add 1/2 tsp of oil and fry on a low flame. Cool thoroughly and powder

In a deep pan, add half of the sesame oil. Splutter the mustard seeds and the asafoetida. Now add the coarse tomato chunk+puree mixture and turmeric. Stir once or twice, and let it cook covered for 8-9 mins covered till they are almost reduced by a third.

Now add the spice powder, 1/2 of the remaining oil, mix gently and let it cook on a low flame for next 10-12 mins on a very low flame till oil starts separating from the sides. (it would require your continuous watch over the stove at this stage, it may also splutter as the mixture gets thicker, so you may want to cover the pot while stirring every 30 seconds.)

When you see the original quantity of tomatoes reduce to 2/3 or even half, add in the remaining oil, salt, jaggery. Mix and do a taste test and adjust spices accordingly.

At the end of this stage, oil should start floating to the top (it will settle once bottled, so dont worry).
Cool thoroughly and bottle in a sterile glass bottle.

Refrigerate and use a portion with a sterile clean dry spoon as required. stays for 2-3 weeks under refrigeration.


  1. Chillies usage might vary with spice level. If you feel that the red chillies aren't hot / spicy enough, dry roast a little red chilli powder / paprika and add with the spice powder
  2. If you are out of Byadgi / Kashmiri chilli powder, use Kashmiri red chilli powder (after dry roasting it to remove any moisture)
  3. As its quite a spicy thokku, use in small quantities, especially to kids or anyone else who's not spice tolerant.
  4. The spice levels can vary depending on the quality / variety of the chillies used. Use your discretion for the same. 
  5. Some add garlic to this thokku, but we prefer this method. If using garlic, dice them fine and saute well before adding the tomato puree.

Sending this to BM # 72 under "Dips" Theme

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

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