July 6, 2020

Verkadalai Sundal வேர்க்கடலை சுண்டல் | How to make Peanut Sundal | Vegan and GF

Verkadalai Sundal or Peanut Sundal is one of the Sundals we make for Navratri. Sundal is a warm Vegan and GF salad (or stir fry) made with soaked (and cooked legumes) , and based on each day of the week during Navratri the appropriate legume is used. 

I have already posted many sundals on this blog like:
  1. Kadalai Paruppu Sundal ~ Kadalebele Usli 
  2. Konda Kadalai Sundal ~ Black Channa Sundal
  3. Masoor Dal Sundal | Whole Red Lentil Salad
  4. Payiru Sundal ~ Green gram steamed stir fry ~ Moong Dal Sundal
  5. Avarekaalu Usli | Hyacinth bean Salad 
  6. Battani Sundal | Fresh Peas Sundal 
  7. Kabuli Channa Sundal 
  8. Sprouts Sundal 
  9. Fresh Rajma Sundal
Although we don’t fast per se for Navratri or any other festival, my Grandmom used to fast for Ekadashi (the 11th day in the fortnight).  I have shared a write up on the importance of fasting here, if you are keen. So dishes like Uppu Sajjige (semolina pudding) was the food made that day. Except for certain restrictions of no onion , garlic, brinjals and tomatoes, we don’t have any other restrictions on fasting days like these. 

Vella Aval / Sweet Jaggery Poha used to mandatorily be made on Krishna Janmashtami (which is the only day we actually fasted through the day to gobble on the goodies that evening after the elaborate puja :p) 

Farali Dosa  is my recent addition when I fast ocasionally although my grandmom used to make Instant Wholewheat Rava Dosa for some weekly fast that she had on Saturdays when she didn't eat rice.  

Along with Sundals, every day there is a rice variety (again without onion. garlic) which is offered to the Goddess during Navratri. 

9 Flavoured Rice varieties (without any onion - garlic or tamasic ingredients)
Of course, on the next day after Ekadasi (that is Dwadashi), an elabrate meal is prepared which I have written about here - this meal is called Dwadashi Paranai, and the food is not just entirely Satvik, but also healing and treats any stomach ailments and acidity due to over/ Under eating during the rest of the fortnights. 

So, food as medicine is what our ancestors used to follows. Which is why we have dishes like:

Nelli Pachadi (Gooseberry Raitha)
Poricha Sathamudhu / Poricha Rasam  (Rasam without tamarind. / tomatoes but in a peppery sauce)
Mor Kozhambu (water based veggies in a light yoghurt sauce)
Agatha keerai poriyal ( Agave Spinach Leaves stir fry with cooked toor dal) which is meant to cure mouth ulcers

which are part of the Dwadashi meal. 

Today’s is a quick and delicious Sundal that can be made not just for Navratri but also once a fortnight to boost the protein content for growing kids. Be sure to soak the peanuts for atleast 8-10 hours / overnight to reduce any flatulence/ stomach upset due to the high protein intake the next day. As with all Sundals, I prefer a fresh tempering than using a Sundal Podi (Spice powder) that’s made specifically for Sundals.

Would be keen to learn about your fasting recipes as we read on.

Verkadalai Sundal - Vegan and GF Peanut Sundal 
Prep time - 5 mins . Soaking time - 8 to 10 hours / overnight ; Serves : 3 ~4

What you need:
Peanuts - 200 grams
Oil - 1 TBSP
Salt to taste
Grated Fresh Coconut - 3 tsp
Chopped Coriander leaves - 1 tsp

Tempering : 
Mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
Grated ginger - 1 tsp (optional but recommended)  
Asafeotida - 1/8 tsp (skip for GF)
Urad dal / split black gram - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig (opt.)
Slit green / red chillies - few

How to:
Wash and Soak the peanuts overnight. Next day, change the water and drain again. Pressure cook for 4-5 whistles, Drain the cooked water (use this water in Dals / Sambhar as its very nutritious). 
In a pan, heat oil, splutter the tempering ingredients till the Urad dal turns golden brown, then add the peanuts, salt and toss well. 
Finish with grated coconut and chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot. 

Sending this to #254 Farali Farmaish (Fasting special Foods) under FMBH group


July 5, 2020

VIDEO RECIPE ~ How to make Aloo Shimla Zunka ~ Bell Pepper + Potato Stir Fry ~ No Onion No Garlic Side Dish for Rotis

Zunka is a maharashtrian side dish made with gramflour and onions, as a quick side dish to Rotis / Chapatis / Bhakri. Today, we see a quick take on Zunka with Potatoes (Aloo) & Bell Peppers (Shimla Mirch aka called Shimla in local language). This is :

  •  Gluten Free
  • Vegan
  • Satvik (No onion no garlic)
  • Quick (takes under 15 minutes)
  • Delicious to put together 
Ler's see how to make this dish. It can be served with Rotis / Chapatis and also goes well with Varan Bhaath (Dal-Rice). My household help taught. me how to make this quick dish, and during the lockdown, we made this many times and this is now a family favourite. 

Listed below are ingredients for the same. 


The detailed method is as shown in the youtube video embedded below. Hope you would view the video and leave your valuable comments there too.

Prep time - 5 mins, Cook time - 15 mins. Serves 2 ~3

What you need:
Potato - 100 grams
Bell Peppers - 150 to 200 grams
Gramflour - 3 heaped tablespoon
Oil - 2 tsp + 1/2 tsp (if needed)
Salt - to taste
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp

Mustard seeds -1/2 tsp
Methi dana / fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp
Jeera / Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp

Spice / Masala powders (adjust to taste):
Amchur / Dry mango powder - 1/2 tsp
Dhaniya / Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Mirchi / Red Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp

Please refer the YT video link below

June 30, 2020

Warm Barley Summer Salad with Kiwi and Roasted Peppers | Summer Salads

Salad and summers go hand in hand. Although technically , as I write this post its raining heavily since 2 days where I live. But its summer the rest of the Northern Hemisphere and barbecue and roasted veggies and salads make their appearance. 

Salads at home are mostly rustled and liked by the better half and I Personally love warm salads like today’s Barley Summer Salad with Roasted Veggies. The inspiration to use barley as a diabetic friendly ingredient actually came from my friend Archana’s Barley BhelpuriApart from the usual Barley Water , Barley Sattu Sherbet (Summer Drink). Navdhanya (9 - grains) Adai, the Barley-Beet Cutlet on my Instagram feed and Barley Dosa (recipe coming soon!), we pretty much dont use Barley that much - something I am glad that has changed now. 

But thanks to a pack that needed using up, I made this salad and another dish that features barley as a star ingredient. Barley as a grain has amazing health benefits as listed here, chief amongst them being diabetic friendly. Barley packs lignans, a group of antioxidants linked to a lower risk of cancer and heart disease. Barley’s high fibre content may also help prevent gallstones

If you have cooked pearl barley on hand, this salad takes less than 5-10 mins from start to finish.   

TIP: Reserve that cooked water to make a porridge. Or just drink it up as is in small quantities to beat the heat), As this was my main meal, I have used a larger quantity and medium spice. One can always add or subtract ingredients as preferred. 

Sending this salad to #Ssshh Cooking Challenge - Salads theme suggested by yours truly. I was paired with Priya Satheesh who gave me ingredients - Barley and Lemon juice- to make this salad. Priya's Kozhukattai recipe using Black Eyed peas (karamani) and Pineapple-Walnut Chutney interested me very much. Head to her blog to find out what she cooked for this theme! 

Every month, based on a common theme we have bloggers paired up who suggest ingredients and we cook based on that.  


Prep time - 10 mins, Soak + Cook time - overnight + 15 mins. Serves - 1~2

You need:
Cooked Pearl Barley - 1/2 cup (120 ml)
Vinaigrette - lemon juice 1 tsp, Salt.pepper, Red chilli flakes, Olive Oil 1 tsp - whisked well
Bell peppers - 1/4 cup
Onions - 1/2  medium (sliced thin)
Cucumbers - 2 TBSP
Kiwi (orchard fruits like pear / Apples work well) - 4 TBSP

I put together a short stop-motion video below with help from my daughter to assemble this quick and delicious salad. Hope you would also like this!

How to:
In a non stick pan or on an open flame, roast peppers till slightly charred.  (or toss them with warm olive oil for 1-2 mins). Cool and chop into bite sized pieces.
In a bowl, add the vinaigrette and the veggies. Mix well. 
Add the tossed peppers . kiwi and barley and stir once again
Check for salt and pepper / spice. Serve immediately along side any grilled meats or serve as a meal by itself on a hot summer day!

June 29, 2020

Lentils + Scallions Soup with Homemade Veg Stock | Gluten Free,Vegan,Soy Free,Nut Free

Soups are my to-go snacks for most school-day evenings. And the monsoons make them even more special to indulge in a variety of soups. Although the schools are running on the online mode, the craving to sip on a hot broth in windy days like these is always present. If you are a reader of this blog, you know we love our soups.  Do check out more than 25+ varieties of vegetarian soups on this blog.

And with my homemade vegetable stock (made with leftovers / peels / discarded parts of veggies etc), its a sure winner as I have a bottle of home-made , low sodium and very versatile stock always in the refrigerator. So a soup barely takes 15 mins if you have the stock ready.

Alternatively, you can use plain (filtered) water too to make any soup, but stock (and homemade at that - you save precious money too!) gives that extra body and oomph that plain water may not give. My little one loves the Lemon Coriander a lot, and my personal favourites these days are Apple Soup and Badam Palak Shorva (Almond Spinach broth)

Today’s soup came about as I was looking for Healthy Kid Friendly snacks for kids, as Narmadha suggested for this week’s theme for FMBH. We always boil lentils (Pigeon pea (Toor dal) or Split green gram (moong dal)) for Rasam / Sambhar as part of everyday meals. I especially loved Narmadha's Hot and Sour Veg Soup.

So, to make this, I cooked a little extra, and that adds a lot of flavour to this soup. I have added spring onion and a few more veggies. But you can always customise the veggies in a soup. 

This is totally GF and vegan, but feel free to toss the veggies in a little butter / ghee if you prefer.     

Prep time - 15 mins. Cook time - 10 mins Serves - 2~3 kids

What you need:
Homemade Vegetable Stock - 2 cups (1 cup = 240 ml)
Cooked lentils (I used Moong dal / split green gram) - 4 TBSP ( YOU MAY ALSO use raw lentils - soaked for 10 mins) 
Water - 200 ml
Turmeric - 1/8 tsp
Salt - to taste (if your stock is salted, adjust accordingly)
Pepper - 1/2 tsp
Spring onions  / Scallions (greens) - chopped - 4 tsp
Spring Onions (whites) - chopped - 2 TBSP
Garlic - 1/2 tsp (minced fine) - optional
Olive Oil - 1 tsp
Finely minced veggies - I used a mix of cabbage,beans,cauliflower - mixed - 3 TBSP  


How to:
  1. In a small pressure cooker / soup pot, add oil. Sautés the spring onion whites and garlic. Then add the turmeric, veggies and sauté them for further 2 mins. Now add the vegetable stock, water, salt and pepper. At this stage add the cooked lentils (mashed well) and half of the Spring Onions.
  2. Pressure cook for 3-4 Whistles. 
  3. Once pressure is released, check for salt and spices and adjust accordingly. serve with a garnish of the rest of the spring onions and mix well. 
  4. Serve hot. 

June 1, 2020

Balekai Bajji | How to make Vazhakkai Bajji | GF, Vegan Raw Banana deep fried Fritters

Monsoon - the very word conjures up memories of crispy hot pakora (deep fried lentil fritters) and many other monsoon treats, of hot soups, of chai (the Indian style milky tea), of lazing around in my grandmom’s armchair and gazing at the raindrops sliding down the window pane, of broken, lost and missing colourful umbrellas at school or college ☔️ and many more. 

And, brace yourself for a longgggggg post :) 

Food as en emotion ties us to different seasons in myriad ways. While to some, monsoon is a terrible inconvenience (think of the daily essentials / home delivery guys - the newspaper boy precariously balancing the paper on his Rickety bicycle while at trying to manoeuvre his way around seen and unseen potholes in the pouring rain, yet keeping the newspapers dry every morning while it reaches your doorstep without as much as a smudge or a drop of water. 

Or the Mumbai local train commuter who jostles for space , even a teeny weeny foothold on a crowded train in the monsoon all the while trying to catch the umbrella in the left hand while hanging on to life dear (and, a laptop) in the other only to be drenched in more water once he/ she enters the train with more dripping umbrellas all around him / her.

or the child like my younger one who’s been planning her first ever “head to toe monsoon drench session” ever since the summers (and the lockdown) set in a few months ago. Waiting and wishing for the skies to darken a bit ( and asking me everyday at twilight and dawn) - “ will it rain today, amma?” . Pure innocence and a hope.

And hope it is for the romantics who cuddle up on Marine Drive at Chowpatty (mumbai) in pouring rain, oblivious to people or the rain lashing around.

Monsoon brings to me some bittersweet memories - all conjured over the years. For the child in me growing up at Bangalore, it meant rains almost thru the year except for the summer vacation and Rains only meant one thing - you wear a rain coat and carry a handful of paper boats and let them sail on the tiny / large rivulets of water on the road outside your house. There was some satisfaction in seeing the boat - rickety as it was - sailing through to the end of the lane. When the rains stopped for rhe day, me and my friends would run to the end of the road to see whose boat had made it and whose was in tatters. 

And the next rainy day, rise, reset, repeat . 

Hope I tell ya !! 

And some stories that Archana set us thinking about this week at #249Monsoonmunchies. 

Hope is also that you aren’t bored with the post so far. If you have reached reading till here , then let’s make some bhajias with raw bananas - rhe perfect antidote to rain -washed evenings.

Other Monsoon munchies on the blog that we love, include:

Lemon Coriander Soup (our all time fav!!!)
Pasta Pakora (leftover cooked pasta, and voila, we have a delicious snack)
Paneer Chilly Bites (quick to make when the temptation kicks in)
Chilly Cheese Sandwiches (needs no introduction :p)
Keerai Vada (Greens added to Urad Dal Vada batter and deep fried)
Chawal ke Pakore (leftover cooked rice turned into a tasty yummy snack)


Vazhakkai (as Raw bananas are called in Tamil) is a healthy source of dietary fibre and we use it regularly in our cooking - to make avial , podimas, curry , kerala style erisseri etc . Today we use firm, green fresh raw banana to make bajji (tamil word for bhajia / deep fried fritter). 

Prep time - 15 Mins | fry time - 15 Mins | makes - 15 servings 

What you need:
Raw banana / vazhakkai / bale kai (kannada) - 4 medium sized 
Oil to deep fry : 1-2 cups 

For the batter :
Besan / gramflour / kadalai maavu / kadle hittu - 1 cup (200 ml)
Rice flour - 1/4 cup or heaped 2 tablespoons 
Salt - 1 tsp or to taste 
Haldi / tumeric - 1/4 tsp
Crushed ajwain / carrom seeds - 1/4 tsp 
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp or to taste
Chopped coriander leaves -1 tsp (optional) 

Peel the raw banana and slit them lengthwise in flat strips and reserve them in mildly salted water 

To make the batter - 

sieve both the flours, add salt, spices. Mix well. To this, add 4 tbsp of hot oil , mix with the spoon till the hot oil is incorporated in the dry flour mix.
Slowly add water - little by little- to take the batter to a thickish consistency. Rest it for 5 mins.

To fry:
Keep a deep bottomed pan / kadai with oil for heating.  Let the heat be on medium-high. 
Slowly dip a few pieces of the soaked ( and drained) pieces of the raw banana strips into the batter
Shake off excess batter and gently slide into the hot oil. 
Fry till golden brown on both sides.
Serve immediately with coconut chutney or just as is / with tomato sauce / green chutney.
Wash them all down with a generous cup of Indian masala chai . 
And make more memories with the monsoon once again :)

May 31, 2020

Udupi Style Kayi Sasive Chitranna | ಉಡುಪಿ ಶೈಲಿಯ ಕಾಯಿ ಸಾಸಿವೆ ಚಿತ್ರಾನ್ನ | No Onion, no Garlic Dish

Traditional Udupi Cuisine was set up formally a few centuries ago by the pontiffs like Madhwacharya etc who set some basic rules about cooking. It is said that Udupi Cuisine is a Temple Food Cuisine, which means that onions, garlic, Aubergines (and a few other vegetables including Tomato ) are abhorred in the cuisine. Coconut is used predominantly as its abundantly available owing to its proximity to the Western Coastline of India. 

The Temple town of Udupi is famous for the Krishna Temple where devotes partake of a simple but ultra delicious lunch served as Prashad (or offering to the Lord). 

Served on Banana leaves, this is a lunch that devotees don't miss out while visiting the temple. It is often believed that as the food is made for the LORD, even simple dishes like Rasam , Tambli or Pineapple Gojju etc taste ultra delicious. 

Think Udupi Cuisine, Think Masala Dosa, Urad Dal Vada (a.k.a Uddina Vade in local parlance ) or the humble Idli. It is said that the several Udupi eateries around the country took influence from the teachings of the saints, and till recently, followed them in their restaurant menus. 

Today, me and Seema - my paired blogger for this theme (suggested by Jayashree) for Cooking Secret Challenge - cooked with the same set of ingredients - Tamarind and Mustard seeds as the secret ingredients. Head over to her blog and see what she has cooked - a delicious Kumbalakayi huli 

Today’s dish is Kayi Sasive Chitranna - a delicious No Onion, No garlic dish that’s prepared mostly on festivals and social occasions and is considered a delicacy in Karnataka Cuisine.  Kayi - means coconut and Sasive means Mustard.

Both Red and green chillies are accepted as part of the spice paste. but I used Red Chillies (incl the Kashmiri variety for that bright colour) as that’s the way I remember having eaten (nay, wolfed) this growing up in Bangalore. 

This keeps upto 3 days under refrigeration. Let’s get to the recipe now. The method is shown in the YOUTUBE Video embedded herewith. I do hope you would leave your comments on the blog link here as well as the youtube channel.  


Prep time - 15 mins | Cook time - 20 mins | Serves - 4

Raw rice (Sona masoori / any short grained rice - Basmati may not work here) - 200 ml
Oil - 3 TBSP (split use)
Salt - to taste
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida / hing - 1/4 tsp (skip for GF)

Masala paste:
Mustard seeds - 2 tsp
Tamarind - one medium lemon sized
Red chillies -4 
Fresh / frozen coconut - 1/2 cup
Byadgi OR kashmiri chillies - 5 nos.
Cumin seeds / jeera - 1/2 tsp
Jaggery - 1 tsp

Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Peanuts - 2 TBSP
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs

For the detailed method on how to make this click on the following Youtube Link. 

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