October 26, 2020

Video Recipe - Easy 20 min Pholkopir Barfi for Diwali 🪔 | Cauliflower Barfi | Kabishambardhana Barfi | GF Cauliflower Fudge | Easy #DiwaliSweet

Cauliflower is one of the most sought after dishes at home- its so versatile and usually made into savoury dishes like Baked Gobi Manchurian, Aloo Gobhi (Potato- Cauliflower stir fry) or a family favourite Baked Gobhi Mussallam (Whole spiced cauliflower oven baked) .Preethi’s unique Nutty Cauliflower Rice caught my attention and I have it bookmarked too as does Archana’s healthy Cauliflower Tater Tots (which was originally my plan for this week). 

While cracking my head on what unique dish we can make with Cauliflower, I suddenly remembered a homemade Bengali delicacy that I had at a colleague’s place a few years ago in Kolkata. Along with the Niramish Kichuri (no onion no garlic , Begun Bhaja, Misthi Doi, my colleague’s mom had made this melt-in-the-mouth barfi with Cauliflower. So, I pinged her last week and thankfully, she remembered how her mother used to make it. Apparently its also called Kabishambardhana Barfi (a tribute to the poet)

Cauliflower Barfi a.k.a Kabishambardhana Barfi is a popular, yet not commercially made Barfi (Fudge) that was said to have been invented by Guru Rabindranath. Tagore for his 50th birthday !

The folklore varies from 50th to 60th birthday, and although its not clear if it was indeed invented then, this is still a delicious Gluten Free Barfi (Soft Fudge) that can be enjoyed throughout the year on special occasions. 

Needless to say, the kids were all too thrilled for I was making a sweet after ages, and this barfi disappeared within hours of making it. I halved the recipe given by my friend and ended up making some changes based on what I had at home. This makes about 10-12 medium sized barfis. I made it quite thin and if you make thicker ones, you can get about 8-9 pieces for the following proportions. 


The ingredients are given below. The method is part of the YouTube video embedded. If you are visiting our blog / YT channel for the first time, don’t forget to like and subscribe to our channel. If you do make this delicious barfi, please leave a comment on the blog and YT channel on how you liked it.

Pholkopir Barfi / Cauliflower Barfi / GF Cauliflower Fudge   

Prep time - 10 mins. Cook time - 20 mins. 

Makes - 8 to 9 large fudge pieces or 10-12 medium servings

Recommended storage:  Refrigeration

keeps for 1-2 days


  • Pulkopir / Cauliflower - 300 grams (washed, destememd and cut into small florets)
  • Powdered sugar - 150 gram (increase if needed)
  • Milk powder - 100 grams (I used sweetened milk powder) OR Khovya / Mawa (** See notes for details) 
  • Desiccated Coconut - 50 grams
  • Chopped nuts - 1 TBSP
  • Homemade Ghee / Clarified butter - 3 tsp (incl. that for greasing) 
  • Saffron strands (few) - optional
  • Cardamom powder - 1/8 tsp (opt.)

** Notes:

1. If using unsweetened Mawa / Khoya, increase sugar by 50 grams. 

2. Adding Saffron is optional, but it gives a lovely hue along with the rich aroma. I have powdered the saffron strands and cardamom along with the sugar for this recipe. 


See the embedded video in the recipe. 


October 10, 2020

No Rice Wholegrain Quinoa Adai Recipe | Gluten Free,Vegan Breakfast | Adai varieties

Adai for a South Indian is a protein packed Crepe (thick dosa it can be called), can be made easily and requires little or no fermentation. I make Adai very often with mixed lentils - and mostly add brown rice in place of the white rice. 

The funny part is no two Adai recipes are identical, its mostly a mix n match of whole lentils and ingredients I have at hand. To that effect, many adai varieties that you can find on the blog are:

Navadhanya Adai (9 lentils adai)

Drumstick Leaves Adai (Moringa leaves adai)

Classic Adai Dosa 

Quinoa adai (with rice)

-  Sprouts Adai

Today's recipe is a no-rice Adai with Tri-coloured Quinoa, whole grains and some spices. Adai by itself needs no accompaniment, although we like it with jaggery and some molgapudi on the side. I had some Kothamalli Thengai Chutney (Coriander Coconut chutney)  from last evening, so that was served here as well. You can also check out 20+ varieties of chutney (dip) that goes with Idli / Dosa/ Pongal here.

Quinoa - an ancient grain - is relatively new to India, but has been lapped up extensively as it can lead to replacing the traditional rice (including in this recipe). 

Although pricey, I do buy it occasionally. For this recipe, I had a pack of tri coloured quinoa that needed to be used up. If you dont have quinoa, you can substitute it with brown rice of equal measure.  

According to the article here, Quinoa has a majestic history among one of the most powerful civilisations on the American continent. It originated with the Incas in the mountains of Bolivia, Chile and Peru. It’s been at the forefront in these regions for 5,000 years. It was a staple for the Incas and is still a prominent food source for their indigenous descendants, the Quechua and Aymara people. It was a sacred crop to the Incas who called it the mother of all grains or chisaya mama. The legend states that the Incan emperor would ceremoniously plant the first quinoa seeds every year. 

Quinoa has made a comeback to kitchens worldwide, just like millets has in India. For the adai batter, I ferment it for about 90-120 minutes before making the adai, but many prefer to make it immediately too.  

Sending this to this month’s edition of A-Z Challenge where we explore any ingredient of our choice alphabetically  

Let's get to the recipe now:

Prep time - 5 mins. Soaking time - 6 to 8 hours, Grinding time - 25 to 30 mins (In a stone grinder, might take longer in a mixer grinder), 

Makes - about 20 servings

Left over Adai batter can be refrigerated for upto 2 days and made into delicious paniyarams the next day or the following day. 


1 cup = 200 ml

What you need:

Whole Moong dal (green) - 1/2 cup

Whole masoor dal - 1/2 cup

Channa dal (split Bengal gram) - 1/2 cup

Quinoa - 1.25 cups

Millet flakes - 1/4 cup ( you can buy it online or in a neighbourhood store) or simply sub with white / brown rice flakes

Dry Red chillies - 6 to 8 (adjust spice)

Salt - to taste

Sesame Oil - to make the Adai (approx. 1/2 tsp per dosa)

Add-ons (recommended) - turmeric 1/2 tsp, homemade Moringa powder - 2 TBSP, Chopped coriander leaves - 4 TBSP

How to: 

  1. Wash the quinoa thrice over and soak in water along with the dry red chillies for 6 hours . In a separate bowl, wash all dals and soak it too for 6 hours. 
  2. Half an hour before grinding, wash the millet flakes several times and soak it for just 10 mins. 
  3. Grind all 3 components together in batches to a smooth paste. 
  4. Add salt + add ons listed above. Mix well. 
  5. Ferment for about 1-2 hours.
  6. Mix the batter well.
  7. Pour out 1-2 ladle full of batter to a hot skillet. Spread it out evenly like a thick dosa.
  8. Drizzle sesame oil around it generously, turn the flame to medium
  9. Let it turn golden brown, flip and cook on the other side for 1/2 min more
  10. Serve hot with any chutney of your choice

October 5, 2020

Instant Medu Vada with homemade Urad Dal Vada Mix | Instant Urad Dal Vada recipe | DIY Kitchen Hacks

Are there days when you crave for Medu Vada (aka Urad dal vada)  (I certainly do so, especially on weekends), but forgot to soak the dal? Fret not, for we have an Instant version of the Medu Vada / Vadai (Tamil)/ Uddina Vada (as its called in Kannada) or simply Vada (in Indian English). 

We already have so many vada varieties on the blog: 

the ubiquitous Vada Sambar 
Anjaneyar Kovil Milagu Vadai (Hanuman ji ka special vada) 
Street food special and a tea time special Masala vadai  
Karnataka special Maddur Vade
my hubby's favourite (Tamil) Iyengar Thayir Vadai
Rasam Vada , 
Bread Dahi vada 
my personal favourite Keerai Vadai (greens vada)

So how do make this Instant Vada ? 

Well, its from a homemade Urad Dal Vada Mix (recipe below) that you can prepare at home - very easy and economical too (rather than buy the commercial packets laden with preservatives). 

Let's talk Lentils - Urad Dal in your favourite idli and dosa contains much needed nutrients such as dietary fibre, magnesium, potassium and folate? Potassium contributes to the maintenance of normal blood pressure while Magnesium contributes to reduction of tiredness and fatigue. Black Urad Dal kali (porridge in Tamil) is particularly given to young menstruating girls to regulate the monthly periods too. Urad dal is a source of Calcium which is needed for the maintenance of normal bones.

Urad dal of course makes for a particularly nutty and tasty filling like in Poonam's delicious Urad Dal Kachori. Poonam's blog is filled with delicious dishes and amazing pictures and I especially love her presentation of traditional dishes from India. This week we explore "Lentils" as a theme and do join us to find out what the others have dished out. 

Today's recipe is a 2-in-1 recipe with 
a) How to make readymade homemade Instant Urad dal mix
b) How to use the readymade mix to make Instant Urad dal vada / Medu Vada

To make the homemade Urad dal vada Mix, we need :
1 cup of Urad dal (split black gram)
Salt - to taste
Soda bi carb - a pinch

  1. Wash the Urad dal in a colander twice or thrice as shown in the pic collage above.
  2. Spread to dry on a thin white clean cloth till its full dry.
  3. Grind it in small batches to a smooth powder (Urad dal takes quite an effort to powder, so advised to powder in batches)
  4. Sieve it well thrice over.
  5. Add 1/4 tsp salt and a pinch of soda bi carb and sieve it once again to mix fully.
  6. Store this in airtight containers / ziploc bags and use when required. 
  7. Recommend to put it in the freezer to use when required. 


How to make the Instant Vada with the homemade batter. We need:
Urad dal mix - 1 cup
Water - 1/4 to 1/3 cup
add on spices : Chopped green chillies, Grated fresh coconut, ginger, Chopped curry leaves cumin and crushed pepper - all to taste
veggies - optional - Minced onions / grated cabbage / Grated carrots

  1. Take 1 part of the batter, add the add on spices and mix well. Add water 1/4 to 1/3 cup depending on the batter and urad dal flour quality to get a thickish batter as shown in the collage below.
  2. Fluff the batter with a whisk till well aerated.
  3. Make small roundels like the normal vada, pat it on a banana leaf / plastic sheet and make the dough nut shaped vada.
  4. Deep fry in medium flame till the vadas are crunchy golden brown.
  5. Serve hot with Tiffin Sambhar / Darshini Sambhar

October 1, 2020

Mexican Rice Burrito with Cumin Roasted Cauliflower and Taco Ranch Dressing | Easy Dinner Ideas

Think Mexican, think vegetarian Burritos/ Tacos / Enchiladas. The family loves Mexican Cuisine so we make it regularly at home. Yes, I agree the prep work is just too much, but with a veggie-loving family, its a great way to get kids to eat their weekly quota of veggies easily with Mexican Cuisine, don’t you agree?

What comes to your mind when you think about Mexican cuisine?

How about a Mexican Sizzler
Esquites (warm Corn Salad)? 
Swati's Nacho Soup
A Indo-Mexican fusion dish - Jain style Taco Bhel  
Mayuri's Nachos and Mango Salsa - a fun dish that I have bookmarked for the kids
A quick Baked Tortilla chips for a snack

Or ... Mexican Burrito?

Yes, today is a delicious Mexican Rice Wraps with Cumin Roasted Cauliflower, Salsa and Taco Ranch Dressing

Wraps are like a convenient one pot meal, Yes, 2 hours of prep time is demolished in minutes, but just consider the advantage - fewer utensils to clean up ! 
Huge Bonus there, isnt it ?

The advantage of these wraps are :
  • Totally customisable with veggies / fillings of your choice
  • Mess-free
  • Drip free.
  • Top / Fill in any condiment of your choice
  • Any base of your choice - corn tortillas / flour tortillas etc.. I have even seen recipes with leftover chapatis / Indian flatbreads.      
Narmadha’s idea of Mexican Cuisine for Sshh Cooking Challenge made me think a little bit more.. and we got a filling dish. Her Oven Roasted Potatoes dish surely got me excited.. 

My partner for this challenge Swaty gave me garlic and cumin as my secret ingredients and I used them in each of my two dishes. Check out her blog to see the delicious Black Bean Salad with Tacos she’s dished out with the two ingredients - Chilli flakes and Lemon juice - I gave her. 

And, do pin this recipe and let me know how you liked it… 

Lets get to the recipe:


Base 1 - Tortillas
Base 2  - Tomato Salsa (Recipe below) 
Dressing  - Taco Ranch dressing (recipe below!)
Topping 1 - Roasted Cauliflower (recipe below)
Filling 1 - Mexican Fried Rice with Jalapenos (click for recipe)
Filling  2 - Salad veggies

(A) To make the Tomato Salsa:
Deseeded Finely chopped Ripe tomatoes - 1 cup
Onions-  2 TBSP (finely minced)
Tomato sauce / Ketchup - 1 TBSP
Salt, Pepper - to taste
Finely chopped jalapeño / green chillies - to taste
Lemon juice - 2 tsp
Finely chopped coriander - 1 tsp

How to:
Mix all ingredients together, chill in a bowl to serve


(B) TACO Ranch Dressing:
Hung Curd - 4 TBSP ( you can sub with sour cream as well)
Eggless Mayo - 2 TBSP
Taco Seasoning - 1 TBSP
Dried Garlic powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilli flakes to top

How to:
Whip together the mayo and the hung curd (or sour cream) with a few ice cubes. Add the seasoning and garlic powder. Mix well. Top with chilli flakes and serve. This dressing goes with anything from tacos to salads to grilled veggies (or chicken). Make a small batch and refrigerate till serving. 

(C) Cumin Roasted Cauliflower:
Medium Sized cauliflower  - about 300 grams - cut into bite sized florets
Rice flour - 3 TBSP
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Piri Piri Masala - 1/2 tsp
Pepper powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilli flakes - 1/4 tsp
Salt & pepper - to taste
Oil - 3 TBSP (split use)

How to:
Blanch the cauliflower florets in mildly salted water for about 6-7 mins (or till 70% tender). I microwaved it for 8 mins. 
Drain all water and pat them dry. 
In a bowl, add the florets, rice flour, the spice powders and salt n pepper. Add half the oil and mix well. 
Let it marinate for 30 mins minimum
In the meanwhile, preheat oven to 200 C. 
Add the remaining oil to the marinated cauliflower and slightly grease the baking sheet.
Grill for 10-15 mins till slightly brown (you can roast them all the way through to golden brown, but I cut back a bit as my oven temp settings was cranky, so they look blonde) 

PART 2 : How to assemble

Take a Tortilla, apply the ranch dressing at the base. Add few TBSP of Mexican Fried Rice. Top with salsa, roasted cauliflower, salad veggies and make a wrap. Top with more taco dressing if needed
Customise the fillings / assembly process to suit your palate. 

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