January 28, 2019

Lemon Coriander Soup | Low Calorie dishes | Winter Soups

Soups have a special place in my heart - they can be as light or heavy as one chooses. As rich or as low cal as one pleases, and barring a few vegetables, most veggies lend themselves to a soup. As readers of this blog would know by now, I have over 30+ varieties of vegetarian soups (mostly vegan and practically all of them GF !).   

PIN THIS 21 soup link collection for your ready reference. 

This low-cal version of Lemon Coriander Soup was long in the making (posting) to this blog, and as the little one and I love this, we prefer this mostly to the Tomato Soup that the older girl chooses while ordering out. Mom loves most soups that I make, barring the cheese-based (and so do I) and the Oriental ones (think Manchow, Manchurian, Wonton etc) 

The poor husband, on his part would have soup as a punishment rather than nourishment (he gets his veggies sorted in the form of stir fries, stews, curries etc) and couldn’t really care much about soups (I secretly think he doesn't have the patience to sip through a soup and whenever we dine out too, he heads straight to main course and we are poor souls left with a bowl of soup in our hands.. Ssshh , but let’s keep this as a secret thought, shall we ? :-) )

Ahem, anyways, I have a majority and we have a good time making and consuming them ! Let’s steer to the theme on hand - LowCalFoods was the theme for week #180 of the #FoodieMondayBloghop and this theme was suggested by our member, Sujata Roy. 

Sujata has a great blog encompassing many cuisines, delectable bakes and I am so glad she suggested this theme. I believe that some of the high-cal or high-fat dishes can definitely be converted into low cal ones and most of my experiments have been successful so far.  

If you are an avid pro low-cal person like me, check out the following: 

Let’s come to the recipe for today-  Lemon Coriander Soup
{{a delicious GF & Vegan Soup that you would relish anytime, especially on a cold, rainy / wintery day !}}

Course - Snack / appetiser , Vegan and Gluten Free 


Prep time - 10 mins, Cook time - 15 mins, Serves - 3 

You would need:
15-min Homemade Vegetable Stock  - 3 cups (prefer the former)
Mixed veggies - finely minced cauliflower, carrot, beans
Spring onions  greens - 1 tsp (opt.)
Lemon juice - 1 TBSP
Finely minced fresh coriander - 3 tsp
Salt and pepper - to taste
Olive oil - 1/2 tsp
Onion (1/2) - minced very fine (optional)

How to:
In a soup pot / small pressure cooker, add the oil & saute onions till translucent, now add the salt, veggies and sauté for 3~4 mins. 
Add the veg stock or hot water and let it come to a rolling boil Pressure cook for 1 whistle (or in a soup pot) till the veggies are tender and al dente only. 
Now add the minced coriander, fresh ground pepper. Let it simmer for 3-4 mins 
Add the spring onion greens, lemon juice and switch off. 
Enjoy it hot or warm. 

January 26, 2019

GF and Vegan Ecuadorian Quinoa Stew with vegetables | Winter Warmers

Winter is officially still on in major parts of the world, except perhaps in parts of the Southern Hemisphere (and of course the city I love in which has, say, exactly 4-5 weeks of chilly weather which we love to call winter :p)  

We are looking at dishes from the Southern Hemishphere this week, and in the last of the series, we have this amazing stew / thick soup from Ecuador that's chock-o-block with quinoa and hearty winter veggies like carrots, turnips etc. We had this sometime last fortnight for supper and it was one hearty bowl of food. Hope you enjoyed the series of these dishes with Choclo Al Comino (Peruvian style Corn) and Gram Bouilli (a Mauritian black gram snack). 

Although I prefer using local produce, quinoa is one grain(?) that I love to use often as its so versatile and lends itself in place of rice beautifully. I had to use a bag of quinoa that was lying in the kitchen and this soup for this theme fit like a glove. 

Other dishes with Quinoa you may like:
Moroccan Chickpeas Curry with Quinoa and Coriander Curd
One Pot Bolivian Quinoa Stew
Colombian Quinoa-Mango-Avocado Salad
Mexican Sizzler with Quinoa Cakes
Watermelon Quinoa Salad with Lime and Chilli Vinaigerette
Quinoa Minestrone Soup
Quinoa Adai (healthy quinoa n lentil crepes) 

Today, we have Ecuadorian Quinoa Stew with veggies, adapted from here

Let's get to the recipe:

Prep time  - 15 mins, Cook time  - 15 mins, Serves - 3

Tri coloured quinoa - 1 cup (you could use any variety)
Winter veggies - cut into chunks (I used orange carrots, Turnips, cauliflower and sweet potatoes) ~ approx 1 cup - I microwaved them for 5 mins with a pinch of salt.
Veg stock - 2 cups
Salt and pepper - to taste
Tomato puree - 3 TBSP
Olive oil - 1 tsp
Dry Coriander powder - 1 TBSP 
Onions - 1 medium (minced fine)
Garlic - 3 pods (medium) - grated
Smoked paprika - 1/2 tsp ( I used red chilli powder)

How to:
Wash quinoa in 3 changes of water. Soak for 5 mins. Drain. 
In a soup pot, add the oil. Sauté Onions and garlic till onions turn slightly brownish. Add the soaked and drained quinoa, veggies and rest of the stuff except paprika. 
Let it simmer away for 10 mins till veggies are cooked but not mushy. 
Mash a few of the potatoes to give it a chunky, hearty texture like a soup (this step is completely optional, else the consistency would be like a normal soup)
Add paprika, adjust spices and serve hot/warm

Sending this to BM#96 under "Cook from Countries in Southern Hemisphere" theme.  

January 25, 2019

Gram Bouilli | Mauritian snack | GF and Vegan

Adapted from here, this is a quick to make high-protein snack that's perfect for those 4 pm cravings. I always have a bag of boiled chickpeas (black /white) in my freezer, so this took me exactly 7 mins from start to finish to make a single portion of this snack. But if you have soaked the kala channa (or black chickpeas) to make SundalChole etc, do try this out once you have boiled the channa thoroughly (cooked but not mashed). 

Thanks to Valli for this theme, I was also very pleasantly surprised to discover that Mauritian cooking is predominantly vegetarian and on this reference blog and many others, I ended up bookmarking many Vegan and vegetarian dishes to try in the future too :-) 

Personally, it was a very satisfying snack for me and I most certainly will make it again. I love the simplicity and ease of such snacks and I am sure my husband will also like it, albeit with a lot more spice :) 

Other recipes with Chickpeas on this blog:

Kabuli Channa Pulao (GF and Vegan Chickpeas Pulao)
Oven Roasted Chickpeas (GF and Vegan snack)
Flourless Chocochip Walnut Brownies with Chickpeas (Vegan and GF)
Qabooli-Aloo Chaat (GF, Vegan Cold Salad with Potato and Chickpeas)
Baked Falafels | Easy GF and Vegan Bakes
Methi Chole {GF and Vegan} | Easy Side Dish Recipes
Zero Oil Chickpea and Sweet Potato Salad (Vegan, GF and Diabetic friendly)Moroccan Chickpeas Curry with Quinoa and Coriander Curd

Let's get to the recipe. 

Gram Bouilli (Bouilli pronounced as Bwee, which means boiled) 
Mauritian Chickpea snack - GF and Vegan

Prep time - 5 mins, Cook time - 5~7 mins, Serves - 1

You need:
Boiled Black Chickpeas - 2/3 cup
Fenugreek / methi seeds - 1/4 tsp
Onion - 1 small (minced fine)
Paprika / Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt  - to taste
Olive oil - 1 TBSP
Curry leaves , green chillies - chopped fine (to taste)
Garnish - Lemon juice (opt.) + Chopped Coriander leaves

In a pan, heat oil and saute onions, Add chillies, fenugreek seeds and paprika, saute for 30~45 seconds. Add salt, boiled chickpeas and give it a good stir.  
now add the curry leaves and adjust spice / salt. Finish with lemon juice (if using) and chopped coriander.  Serve hot/warm as a snack or a side. 

Sending this to BM#96 under "Cook from Countries in Southern Hemisphere" theme

January 24, 2019

Choclo Al Comino | Peruvian Style Corn dish

This week we explore dishes from countries in the Southern Hemisphere. Any course / cuisine can be made as long as it has an origin from a country that is in the Southern Hemisphere. I find that the longer we search for unique recipes, the more I realise the world is a small place. 

Today's dish, although Peruvian in origin, is so "Indian" in nature owing to the spices and more like the Corn Butter Chaat I had made earlier. Corn is such a favourite with my kids and all of us love the juicy tenderness of this all-season ingredient. With the winters, its a tad difficult to find good quality corn, but supermarkets do stock them. My kids always pick the Corn on the cob off the shelf when we go grocery shopping.

Without much ado, lets see how to make this Gluten Free snack and guiltfree snack (depsite the butter - Vegans can easily sub with vegan butter too :P). Serve it hot to enjoy the goodness. I bet this would be a hit in the monsoons too, and I cant wait to make this again :-)

Edit: Thanks to my dear blogger friend, Mir, she kindly let me know that Choclo is a white corn with very large kernels from South America. As this was not available, I have subbed them with the locally available sweet corn. It was wonderful learning about this. Nevertheless, the taste would remain the same, perhaps with a slightly different cooking time.  

More Corn recipes on this blog:

Makai Aloo Tikki (Corn - Potato Savoury)

Adapted from here, I made subtle changes for the kids and us. 

Choclo Al Comino - Peruvian style Corn snack - Gluten Free (Can be Vegan)
Course : Snack, Cuisine : Peruvian

Prep time - 10 mins, cook time - 10 mins, Serves - 3

You would need:
Sweet Corn / Corn Kernels - 2 cups (subbed for the original Choclo kernels)
Salted Butter - 2 TBSP (vegans can use any vegan butter)
Red Chilli Flakes - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Sugar - 1/2 tsp
Crushed Pepper - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Garnish: Lemon juice - to taste + finely chopped parsley / coriander

How to:
Boil the corn al dente. Should be cooked yet have a crunch. 
In a pan , melt the butter. Add the Corn, sugar, salt and saute for 1 min. 
Switch off the flame, add the spices. Garnish with Lemon juice and chopped herbs
Serve hot 

Sending this to BM#96 under "Cook from Countries in Southern Hemisphere" theme.  

January 21, 2019

Oats Masala Chaas | Oats Spiced Buttermilk | Summer Special

For this edition of #foodieMondaybloghop , the theme for Week179 was #foodmagbest. Seema who suggested the theme had two more exciting options which we voted on. I am hoping that the other two also will be actioned someday soon :-) 

Every blogger (food or otherwise) has this secret ambition of making it to the cover of a magazine. Keeping this in mind, my recipe is quick, and I let the photos shine through.

Oats Masala Chaas can be made more quickly than this recipe can be typed :-) No prep time, this is a great summer drink (actually anytime drink). I make this beverage usually when I need to pause from all the carbs that we usually consume during a week. My elder one loves this chilled, but has no clue it contains Oats (Ssshhh, certain secrets are best not revealed :p)

Rock and roll, let's make this quick beverage that I bet would replace the Coke and aerated drinks at your next party and wow them with a super healthy drink !
PS: Vegans can make this with rice curd or even cashew yoghurt.

You would need (to serve 3 adults):

Oats - 4 tsp (Lightly Roasted and powdered fine)
Thick yoghurt / Dahi / Curds - 1 cup
Chilled water - 2 cups
Ice - as required
Chaat Masala - to taste
Fresh Curry leaves and fresh coriander - handful each
Roasted Jeera / Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Crushed mint leaves - to taste (I used homemade dried mint powder)
Green chillies - 1/2 tsp (opt. but recommended)

Make it quick:

Blend all ingredients till frothy and smooth. Top with ice, more mint and /or chaat masala and serve immediately. You may also make it ahead for a party / potluck and refrigerate it. Serve when needed. 


January 20, 2019

Ragi Muddi : a Guestpost by Archana | Guestpost Series #15

In this month's edition of Guestposts blogging for Sizzling Tastebuds, we have my dear friend Archana doing a wonderful post for us - a healthy treat if I may say. I love Archana’s blog  - The Mad Scientist's Kitchen - for the simple, thoughtful recipes she posts, especially for geriatrics - an audience that is usually neglected. I have known Archana and her family, having met her a couple of times when we visit each other. We met Archana and her husband once at Goa, where we were holidaying, and it was indeed an afternoon that left us some wonderful memories. 

An avid trekker, Archana's sense of humour is impeccable, and she’s (unknowingly) let me into a lot of practical parenting secrets that I follow. Archana also loves baking, and you can see a wide variety of breads and bakes on her blog. She’s a great team member and a confidante, and forever positive and grounded, and that’s one of the few qualities I greatly admire about her.    

Let’s read more about Archana’s recipe in her own words.Thank you , dear for doing this post. It means a lot. 

Ragi Mudde or Muddi as it is called in Karnataka is a staple food in rural areas. 

Many thanks to Kalyani for this pleasure of writing a guest post for her a healthy conscious blogger, this is indeed a great honour for me.

Kalyani and I met in the blogging marathon forum and have become good friends. I admire her dedication to sugar free, refined flour free vegan cooking at her blog Sizzling Tastebuds.  There are quite a few of her recipes waiting to be tried out in my kitchen one of them is this brownie.

Coming to my post:
Mudde is popular in Andra Pradesh also and it is nothing but Ragi or Nachne flour cooked and then made in balls. The accompaniments are rasam, vegetable generally a leafy vegetable.

In Andhra Pradesh, area rice flour or rice is added to make these dumplings and it is called ragi sankati. Ragi sankati is served with a simple chicken curry, chicken gravy or chicken pulusu in Rayalaseema area.

So the difference between ragi sankati and Ragi mudde is the addition of rice.
My first introduction to ragi muddi was when Amma made it in the evening. It was more like pithla or a watery zunka she served it with dollops of homemade ghee. 
Pappa, however, did not like muddi or even khichidi much. In fact, he was upset that we were eating Muddi.

Therefore, we started demanding it when he was on tour.  It was around this time I started listening to music and once in Dharwad, my hometown I heard Dr Rajkumar crooning about going home and eating muddi. So I was thrilled!!

Serve ragi mudde with rasam, leafy vegetables, if you are non-vegetarian with chicken gravy.

The reason I am stressing on consuming finger millets or ragi is that Ragi is rich in calcium and iron. Finger millet also helps in maintaining a steady GI and hence is useful for diabetics.

To prepare Ragi Mudde you can use ready store bought flour and it is simple enough for a bachelor to prepare. Have mudde for breakfast or lunch as it is advised to have ragi in the daytime.
The other forms in which you can consume Ragi are


Let us now head for the recipe of  Ragi Mudde.
I served Ragi Mudde with Raw banana vegetable, raw papaya salad and rasam but I suggest you serve it with Methi dal or Palak Moong dal, kossambri.

Ragi Mudde recipe | How to make Ragi Mudde | Ragi recipes

Serves: 1 person 
Preparation time: 2-3 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

  • ½ cup ragi flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp ghee 
  • Salt as needed
  1. In a saucepan, add water, salt, and 1 tbsp flour. Stir well so that no lumps remain.
  2.  Cook on a medium flame until mixture begins to boil rapidly.
  3. Add the flour remove the pan from the gas, and stir well to prevent lumps.
  4. The flour will absorb the water however it is still soggy.
  5. Put the pan back on the gas and cook on low flame until the dough comes together. I used the spoon to stir until the sides of the dough on the pan dried.
  6. Switch off the gas and leave the pan covered.
  7. Once the dough cools and you can handle it grease your hands with ghee and roll it to balls. You can also use water to moisten your hands before making the balls.
  8. I served with vegetable, saar and some salad.

January 14, 2019

Thalagam Kuzhambu | Pongal Special from Tamilnadu

It's amazing to note that most of our Indian festivals (and therefore rituals and food) revolve around the seasons  : Holi to celebrate the arrival of spring and Pongal / Sankrathi / Lohri to celebrate the Harvest Festival (much like the Thanksgiving festival of the West), Onam etc .

Today, as part of week #177 Harvest Harmony theme for #foodiemondayChallenge, we present traditional dishes made during these celebrations. 

Today, we see how to make “Thalagam Kuzhambu” that’s made in the Tirunelveli side of Tamilnadu and served with Manjal Pongal. We however, relished this as a breakfast with Rava Pongal (semolina and split green gram based Pongal). 

Let’s get to the recipe.

Prep time - 20 mins, Cook time - 20 mins , Serves - 6 adults generously 

Thalagam Kuzhambu - Pongal special Vegan, GF Side Dish
{This dish is also made for Aridra Darshanam around the Pongal festival}

Cuisine : South Indian , Course: Side Dish {This can also be a side dish for Chapati / Poori / Curd Rice or even Steamed rice)


Mixed vegetables - Cut into big chunks - 2 cups **
Tamarind - one medium gooseberry size - soaked in 1 cup of hot water
Salt - to taste
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Gingelly / Sesame / Coconut oil - 2 TBSP (divided use)

(**I used Ashgourd, Drumsticks (Murungakkai) Red Pumpkin (Parangikai), Chow Chow, Raw Banana (Vazhakkai), Arbi / Colocasia (Sepankizhangu), Flat beans (Avarakai), Sweet Potato and French Beans. Brinjal may also be used, but I didn’t use). You may use few or all of these  vegetables.  You may also add Mochai (shelled field beans)

To grind:
Coconut - 1/2 cup
Urad Dal - 1 TBSP
Channa Dal - 1 TBSP
Dry Red chillies - 8 to 10 (I used Guntur Chillies)
Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp (or a generous pinch)
Raw rice - 1 TBSP
Sesame Seeds - 1 TBSP

Sesame Oil / Coconut Oil - 1/2 TBSP
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Broken Red chillies - 1 or 2
Curry leaves - Torn

Method (See notes at the end of this for more details)

Stage 1 :

  • Soak the tamarind in very hot water and meanwhile prep the veggies. 
  • Wash and chop the vegetables into large chunks. 
  • Pressure cook these vegetables with ONLY turmeric and very little water for 1-2 whistles. release pressure immediately. Drain the water and reserve. The vegetables should be slightly soft and cooked but not mushy . 
  • In a pan, dry roast the sesame seeds and rice separately till they are nice and aromatic. Transfer to a flat plate. Add half the oil to the hot pan, fry red chillies, urad dal, channa dal , asafoetida till golden brown. Transfer to the same plate. 
  • Now switch off flame, and add the coconut and roast in the retentive heat. Barring 2 tsp of the roasted coconut, add the rest to the fried and “to grind” ingredients. 
  • Cool all fried ingredients and grind to a slightly coarse paste using 1/4 cup or more of water.  

Stage 2:

  • In the same pan or any thick deep bottomed pan, add the tamarind extract and add 1 cup more of water, let it come to a rolling boil and the raw smell of the tamarind disappears. Now add salt, ground paste and a little more water and let it all simmer in a thickish gravy and starts leaving on the sides. 
  • Now add the cooked vegetables and the drained water. Adjust salt and seasonings and let it simmer on a low-medium flame for 8-9 mins, stirring occasionally. Add the reserved 2 tsp of roasted coconut now. Once it begins to boil, prepare the tempering. 
Stage 3:

  • In a tempering pan, heat the remaining oil. Splutter the mustard seeds, curry leaves, broken red chillies. 
  • Pour the tempering over the prepared Kuzhambu and serve hot.
PIN for later

  1. Vis a vis the traditional sambhar, this has no methi or dhanya (coriander seeds) for the masala. Also, traditionally following vegetables are NEVER used in this kuzhambu - Tomato, Onion or Garlic. 
  2. Any combo of veggies can be used. I used what was available. Apparently a mix of minimum 7 veggies needs to be used for this. 
  3. Do not add salt while cooking the vegetables, a lot of water will be released and the veggies get overcooked. Pressure cook for just 1-2 whistles with little water and a generous pinch of turmeric.  
  4. This Kuzhambu thickens quite a bit over cooling, so add a little more water while it simmers and add salt so it retains the required consistency upon cooling. 
  5. It stores well under refrigeration for 3-4 days. Can be used with even Thengai SaAdam (Coconut Rice), Ellogarai (sesame flavoured rice) or even Thayirsaadam (tempered Curd rice)  

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