February 27, 2019

Ja Dai with Khasi Tomato Chutney - a Meghalayan Journey

At the outset, I must admit that I am a little weary of cooking North Eastern Cuisine, simply because most of it seems to be meat based. So apart from the following dishes from that region, I have barely cooked anything else. This month for Sshhh Secret Cooking Challenge I decided to venture into Meghalayan Cooking, mostly in part due to a friend from the Indian Army who was posted in the North East and how he regaled me with dishes that were still edible to the vegetarian palate. 

I was given ginger and garlic by my paired blogger Sujata Roy for this challenge, and it was a great canvass to search for dishes that used both these. But as I couldn't find any dish which uses these two ingredients mandatorily, I decided to make a combo meal - just for myself - Ja Dai with Khasi style  Roasted Tomato Chutney. The former was adapted from Harini's blog and the latter from Suma's

As I made just one portion for myself, the recipe will also feature the same. You may easily scale the recipe to make for your family. 

Other dishes from the North East featured on my blog are:

Vegetarian Thukpa (Arunachal Pradesh)

While I made this , I was reading Chef Saransh Golia's "India on my platter", and its so right that every 50-100 km , the geography of food changes across India. Similar dishes also rule some adjoining states, like the Thukpa is common across the North Eastern States and even in Tibet. 

Now, let's get to today's recipe.

Prep time - 15 mins, Cook time - 20 mins, Serves - 1


(A) Ja-Dai  - Meghalaya style Khichdi
Short grained rice - 1/2 cup
Oil - 2 tsp (mustard oil is preferred in Khasi cuisine)
Masoor Dal - 2 TBSP
Onion - 1/2 sliced
Ginger - 1/2 tsp (finely grated)
Turmeric - a largish pinch
Roasted Cumin powder -1/2 tsp (not in recipe, but I added)
Salt - to taste

(B) Khasi style Roasted tomato Chutney
Tomatoes - 2 ripe (mine were slightly under at the time of making this)
Onion - 1/2 medium (sliced thin)
Garlic - 2 large pods (or to taste)
Salt - to taste
Green chillies - 1 ~2 (adjust spice)
Finely minced coriander - 1/2 TBSP
Lemon juice - to taste (about 1/2 tsp)

Soak the dal and rice together for 10 mins and pressure cook with the turmeric. Let the pressure fall on its own.
Meanwhile for the chutney, roast the tomato, garlic and chillies one by one on a medium flame (over a grill) till they char a but at the edges. Cool and put them in a mortar pestle and smash it to a slightly chunky consistency.  Add sliced onions, salt, lemon juice and coriander - mix well and refrigerate till use. 
In a pan (for the Ja dai), add the oil, saute the ginger and onions well till it is fragrant and slightly roasted, add the cooked dal-rice mixture, salt and mix well (if there is extra water, let it evaporate till it reaches a khichdi like consistency). Add roasted cumin powder and adjust salt and spices.

Serve Ja-Dai with Khasi roasted Tomato Chutney as a combo. Enjoy the rustic meal ! 

Sending this dish to following events:

February 25, 2019

Pegan Cream of Cauliflower Broccoli Soup | Pegan Recipes

Vegan. Gluten Free. Paleo. Keto. Whole 360 - the whole galaxy of new age diets is promising - each in its own way :-)

A new baby was added to my dictionary last week - Pegan Diet

What is Pegan ?? I was flummoxed too when I first heard of it, and turns out Dr. Mark Hyman (the proponent of Vegan Pegan diet) created a mix of Paleo and Vegan (75% vegan and 25% proteins, which allows animal meat too) with a LOT of dos and donts :-)

So Paleo + Vegan = Pegan. Simple ? Actually it is :-) 

Our blogger friend, Veena who recommended the theme for #184 Foodie Monday Bloghop also gave a sneak peek into what was allowed and what wasn’t and by the mid of last week, I wanted to cry as almost everything I thought could be used was in the no-eat category :-) 

My personal take on this Pegan diet is that unknowingly, most of the Sambhar, Rasam & kootu (especially made with keerai/ Greens and toor Dal / Masoor Dal especially), even our humble Methi-Chole are already Vegan / Pegan in its own way!!  The Western world has however, glamourised this much like Yoga or Turmeric Milk Latte or Moringa, which are the rage now :-) 

While doing a month-long Proteins only Blogging Marathon that I did in 2017, I had learnt from here, here and here (to my utter delight) that both broccoli and cauliflower have more protein than a glass of milk, and have since then loved to make many many dishes using broccoli or even cauliflower as am veering to be a full vegan, and always on the look for non-diary / non milk substitutes for calcium and protein for the family and me.  
As we don’t eat eggs too (for the protein component of Vegan diet which generally is meat based), I started at  looking at plant based proteins and our dear friend Broccoli and almonds came to the rescue. 

The kids still love their once-in-a-month-only paneer dish and as I haven’t warmed to Tofu / Tempeh as yet (or even the nut based milk) , for now these cruciferous veggies - Broccoli and Cauliflower + a handful of almonds go into today’s Vegan (and Pegan) dish.

Linking this to both the events :

Dish : Cream of Cauliflower Broccoli Soup (Pegan Recipe)

Prep time - 15 mins, Cook time - 10 mins , Serves - 2~3


Almonds (soaked in hot water) - 15 nos. 
Cauliflower & Broccoli - 150 grams EACH - diced into florets
Onions - 1/2 minced fine - diced 
Garlic - 1/2 large clove, minced dine
Homemade veg stock - 500 ml
Salt and pepper - to taste
Ground nutmeg - a generous pinch
Cold pressed Sesame oil - 2 tsp


How to:
Peel the soaked almonds and keep aside. In a pressure cooker / Soup pot, add the sesame oil. saute the onions, garlic, broccoli and the cauliflower. Reserve some suited broccoli for topping. Add the homemade veg stock, bring to a rolling boil . Add salt and pepper at this stage and pressure cook for just 1 whistles. Let the pressure come down on its own.
Drain the Veggies (reserve the water) and puree them WITH the almonds to a smooth paste. Return the puree to the cooked stock , let it simmer, add the reserved broccoli , nutmeg. Check for salt and spices and adjust accordingly.
Serve hot !! 

February 24, 2019

Coriander Poha | Green Poha - GF and Vegan dishes

in the first of Gluten free / Vegan / Paleo dishes (the theme for this week) , we have Coriander Poha (or green poha as my little one calls it). Adapted from Anusha’s recipe, we made our little tweaks to suit the family’s preference. Poha or Aval Upma is so much a favourite at home, we have so many varieties already:

Poha / Beaten Rice / Aval / Avalakki is rich in B12 and so good for growing up kids , so its always part of my weekly menu rotation. This version of Coriander Poha is fortified with the Vitamin C rich fresh coriander leaves. Do make this as a variant and let me know how your family likes this.

Prep time - 10 mins, Cook time - 10 mins, Serves : 2~3
Gluten free and Vegan Coriander Poha (Can be nut free as well if you wish).

Thick poha - 1 cup (250 ml)
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Tempering : 1/2 tsp Urad dal, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp Cumin (opt.), Few Peanuts  or Cashews (opt.) , Few curry leaves

To grind:
Fresh Coriander leaves - 3 handfuls (or about 1/2 cup pressed)
Medium Onion - 1  (opt.) - I didn't use
Fresh Coconut- 1/4 cup
Green chillies - 1 to 2 (adjust spice, I used really hot chillies, sautéed in 1/2 tsp oil)
Cashews - 5 ~6 (skip for any nut allergy)


How to:
Wash poha under running water and drain in a colander. Cover and keep aside.
Meanwhile, blend all the to-grind ingredients to a smooth paste with 3-5 TBSP of water.
In a  non stick pan, add il. splutter mustard seeds, curry leaves, peanuts (if using) , urad dal and cumin seeds. Now add the ground paste and saute for 4-5 mins till raw smells disappears, add salt at this stage. 
Sprinkle few drops of water if its evaporating too fast . Add the soaked and drained poha and toss very well. 
Sprinkle little more water to make it slightly moist. Cover and cook for 1-2 mins more.
Serve hot as is. 

Sending this to BM#97 under Paleo/Vegan/GF foods theme

February 18, 2019

Moringa Molagapudi | How to make Murungukkai Molagapudi | #IndianSuperFoods

As I sit to write this post, I must admit it has been an unusual Monday Morning (with all its blues intact). I had written to my blogger friends about being with my little kiddo as she was unwell, and all of a sudden she woke up late, she cried to go to school, despite her fever !! 

Imagine my joy (and confusion - as the school bus had already left) that I would get the entire monday morning to myself - to click and blog and do a million other things on a busy Monday morning ! 

Except that there was a caveat -as if to say she was doing me a favour by going to school - when she said, "Amma , would you please pick me up from school instead of the bus and I want to take home food for my snack today?" Well, along with the missed bus, now I was to pack a snack too ? 

Breakfast was on the go with a hurriedly put together ill-shaped dosa that she munched in the auto :) 

Being a curd-rice loving family helps :p , and although she was ill, she didn't want to miss meeting her friends and off we rushed through the morning stuff, praying that the autorickshaw would beat every traffic light ... and reached the school with just 1 min to spare before the gates were closed !!

Talk about one crazy morning, and its almost time now as write this, to head to school to pick up the little lady. 

I wouldn't have almost done this post, except that I secretly did a happy jig when Vidya - our host for the week - announced #IndianSuperfoods as the theme for week#182 @FoodieMondayBloghop coz I had literally just made this spicy condiment with one of the SuperFoods that's doing the rounds of global cuisine  - Moringa {a.k.a our humble Indian Drumstick / Murungakkai (Tamil) / Nuggekayi (Kannada)}. 

Vidya's blog Masala Chilli is chock-a-block with healthy treats and bakes, and the theme she proposed this week is an extension of her healthy obsession with Natural foods ! 

Like the turmeric latte, Moringa is now a globally accepted SuperFood (our grandmoms knew better so as to include the leaves in Drumstick leaves Adai, Keerai Vada , Soups (Moringa soup recipe coming up soon!) or add the veggies to the Tiffin Sambhar served with most South Indian Breakfasts ( Idli / Dosa Or Uttapams / Pongal / Vadai). Containing more Iron per serving than Spinach, its often given to lactating mothers too. 

The most amazing thing about moringa is that all parts of this plant including its bark, roots, leaves, flowers, seeds, sap and pods are a storehouse of nutrients and antioxidants. Thus, this plant possesses innumerable health benefits and has the capacity of curing several diseases. For this reason, it is referred to as the ‘miracle tree’ and is widely used in traditional medicine. - source
When I recently asked on my Instagram page on what else could be made with a batch of fresh Moringa leaves that I had chanced to buy, there were so many new ideas, and one of them particularly interested me - spice powder / Molagapudi to go with idli / dosa. 

So, that's what it was - a new condiment to the spice-powder-loving-family that we are. And makes what to serve with Idly or dosa a no-brainer. I adapted the same method as my Pudina Chutneypudi and made this. Its a keeper and be sure to make small batches to keep the flavour intact. 

Let's get to the recipe now - Moringa Molagapudi - a GF, Vegan , spice powder as a condiment to go with Idli / Dosa/ Uttapams or even plain steamed rice
Cuisine : South Indian, Course : Condiments, Spice level - Medium to high


Moringa leaves - packed 2 cups (200 ml = 1 cup)
Urad dal - 2/3 cup
Red chillies - 8 ~ 10 
Asafoetida - a generous pinch
Sesame oil - 2 tsp (to fry the spices)
Dry Copra - 1/4 cup (optional but recommended)
Salt - to taste (about 1 tsp)
Grated Jaggery - 1 tsp

How to:
On a low flame, dry roast the washed and completely dry moringa leaves till slightly crisp (Tip : sundry the leaves like I did for a day or two and u can use it directly without dry roasting). Remove leaves from pan after dry roasting them
add oil to the pan and dry the dal and chillies one after one till the dal turns golden brown. Switch off the flame and add the dry copra and saute for just a min. Cool the mixture completely.
Now grind leaves + spice mix in batches in a coffee grinder or a small jar. Add salt and jaggery , adjust spices.
Store in an airtight container

Similar spice powders on the blog you may like

Flaxseeds Chutneypudi

Poondu Podi (Garlic flavoured spice powder)
Pudina Chutneypudi - Mint based spice powder 

 Mint based spice powder  

(Chutneypudi is a generic Bangalore term for a condiment / spice powder that can spruce up anything from Rice to Upma to akki rotti (flattened spicy rice bhakri) to paratha or bread and anything in between :p)

Godhi Chutneypudi (chutneypudi made with wheat kernels) 

Bangalore special Chutneypudi

Idli Molagapudi

Paruppu Podi (mixed lentils spice powder)

February 13, 2019

Moong Dal Khichdi for #HealthyWELLthyCuisines

This is a post that's very close to my heart (no, that's not Valentine fever :p) for various reasons. Although Moong Khichdi is seemingly easy to make, getting the mushy , perfect texture is a challenge, especially for the Khichdi-lover that my husband is. 

Forget comfort food, he eats this all the time while travelling and at work, especially when he knows that the next meal may be too late for his rather tight schedule. So, I had to make this several times to get the perfect consistency, texture and taste that he waxed oh so eloquent so many times :-)

So what's great about Moong Dal Khichdi, the snobs might ask? Well, it :

  • Is the ultimate Comfort food (after Rasam-rice, for me :p)
  • Soothes tummy upsets
  • Is Filling and real food with almost no prep time- gets done in a jiffy (ask harried moms and bachelors :D)
  • Totally customisable - from bland to spicy to hollering-hot {Again, any combo of lentils and rice would work here (mostly!)|}
  • Tastes great with or without veggies
  • is made differently in every household, each with its own ratio of rice to lentils, and each yummy in its own way
  • is easy on the stomach, especially after the I-swear-this-is-is-the-last-time-I-am-eating-outside-food phase :-)
  • is Gluten free and vegan (mostly!)
  • Makes a filling meal with simple yoghurt, papad and pickle ! 

So, Moong Dal Khichdi, full of lentils (which is another reason you should be making this for the protein content) is my dish for @HealthyWELLthy Cuisines's"#LegumeAffairAtHW" - theme suggested by Seema for this fortnight as well as MLLA #125 hosted by @Seema, original event by Lisa & Susan and the original MLLA page 

More Khichdi and One Pot Meal options:

Prep time - 5 mins, Cook time - 10~15 mins , Serves - 2

What you need:

Short Grained Rice - 1 cup (200 ml)
Cinnamon stick - 1 inch (optional)
Chopped veggies - I used 3 tsp of carrots and a handful of peas (one may also use cauliflower, broccoli, onions, garlic etc)
Badi Elaichi (Large cardamom - black) - 1 no. (opt.)
Split green gram / Moong Dal - 2/3 cup 
Salt - to taste
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Hot water - 4 ~ 4.5 cups (depending on the rice variety) 


Ghee - 1 tsp (use oil for vegan version)
Split green chilly - 1 or 2
Grated ginger - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp (skip for GF)

Chopped fresh coriander - 1 tsp

How to make:

In a pressure cooker, heat half the oil / ghee sauté the rice and the dal for a min or two till fragrant. Add the veggies, cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric, half the salt + hot water and pressure cook for 4~5 whistles. Let the pressure come down on its own.
In a deep bottomed pan, add the oil or ghee, make the tempering with the ingredients above and add to the cooked khichdi. If the Khichdi is too thick, add a tsp of two of hot water at a time and adjust the consistency.
Adjust salt and spices and serve the khichdi piping hot with yoghurt, papad and/or pickle (hot Khichdi is best coz it gets mushy and lumpy when cold). 

Other recipes for this theme have been :

Sending this to following events

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