Cranberry Banana Nut Cookies
Having received the two jars of honey I won in the Raw Honey Contest on Foodie Blogroll in October, I tried out these healthy holiday cookies. They turned out great - lightly sweet, soft but crunchy with the oats and nuts. Happy New Year!
This goes to Aipi's Veggie/Fruit a month - Bananas event ideated by Priya.


Ingredients:

wheat flour - 2 cups
baking powder - 1 tsp
baking soda - 1/2 tsp
oats - 1/2 cup
honey - 1/2 cup
banana - 1 large, ripe
canola oil - 2/3 cup
yogurt - 1/2 cup
dried cranberries - 1 cup
pecans - 3/4 cup (broken)
walnuts - 1/4 cup (broken)

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (Fahrenheit). Sieve flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon together. In a separate bowl, blend honey, banana, yogurt and canola oil together with a hand blender. Then, add the flour mixture, slowly stirring it in. Fold in the oats, cranberries, pecans and walnuts. Place tablespoonfuls of the mixture on a greased cookie sheet and bake in a preheated oven for about 15 minutes until golden brown.
Chocolate balls
A friend of mine visited us with her kid. When the kid started throwing tantrums, my friend asked if I could bring her a cookie or chocolate to calm down the child. I hadn't stacked up enough treats at home, but thankfully, had the below ingredients handy. Within five minutes, I rolled out these chocolate balls, and the kid loved it! Makes a great holiday treat as well. With lovely wrappers, your delectable gifts are ready to go!


Ingredients:

milk powder (dry milk) - 1 cup
cocoa - 4 tbsp
sugar - 3/4 cup
butter - 1 tbsp
milk - 1/4 cup
chopped nuts - 2 tbsp (optional
raisins - 1 tbsp (optional)

Method:

Sieve milk powder and cocoa together without any lumps. Heat sugar, add 1/4 cup water and make a syrup. Add milk powder-cocoa mixture and stir in the nuts and butter. Finally, add the milk, mix well and remove from fire. Allow to cool and roll into bite-sized balls.

Notes:
1. Reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup if you prefer the taste of dark chocolate.
2. Use fat-free milk powder and milk if possible.
3. If overheated, the chocolate becomes hard and chewy.
Cranberry Beans Pilaf (Pulao)
The foodzie tasting box was an exciting entity I won in the Thanksgiving contest on Julia's blog. Thank you Foodzie and Julia! It contained two delectable, multi-layered Alfajores chocolate cookies, crunchy, melt-in-the-mouth caramel popcorns, parmesan flatbread crackers, colorful cranberry beans (with which I made this one-pot meal) and bacon peanut brittles, which I gave a friend, as I'm a vegetarian who doesn't eat bacon.


Ingredients: (serves 2)

cranberry beans - 1/2 cup
basmati rice - 1/2 cup
cabbage - 1/3 cup (grated)
carrot - 1/4 cup (grated)
mint leaves - 25 (fresh)
milk - 1 cup (fat free)
cashewnuts - 1 tbsp (broken)
bay leaf - 1
fennel seeds - 1 tsp
pulao masala - 1/2 tsp
oil - 1 tbsp
green chillies - 3 to 4 chopped fine (adjust according to taste)
salt - 3/4 tsp (adjust according to taste)

Method:

Soak cranberry beans overnight and boil/pressure cook until almost cooked, but not completely cooked. Drain and keep aside.

Heat oil in a saucepan. Add cashewnuts, bay leaf and fennel seeds. When it turns golden brown, add washed basmati rice and fry for a minute. Mix in carrot, cabbage and mint leaves. Fry for another minute and then add milk, pulao masala and salt. Allow to boil for a couple of minutes. Add prepared cranberry beans and microwave with a cup of warm water for 10 minutes.
Roasted Cauliflower - French Style

My husband hates cauliflower, and I love challenges. So I'm constantly on the lookout for some way to make it interesting enough for him to want to try it out, because I'm way too fond of it to let it go and way too lazy to cook multiple items. When I was wondering what to send to DK's AWED event hosted this month by Priya, this exciting French flavor presented the perfect option. In fact, I was tempted to add my favorite garam masala to this recipe, but decided to hold my horses in order to retain the "French" flavor :)



Ingredients: (serves 2)

cauliflower florets - 1 lb
olive oil - 1 tbsp
ground thyme - 1/2 tsp
fresh ground pepper - 1/2 tsp (adjust according to taste)
salt - 1/2 tsp (adjust according to taste)
onion - 1 (chopped fine)
garlic - 2 cloves

Method:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (Fahrenheit). Heat oil and fry onions for a couple of minutes. Then add crushed garlic, cauliflower florets, pepper, thyme and salt. Mix well. Bake for about 30 minutes until it just starts turning brown.
Asparagus Thoran (Curried Stir-fry)

Asparagus is supposed to be one of those negative calorie vegetables - which means that it takes more calories to digest than the calories it actually contains. Well, that's definitely an added bonus, given that this herb is rich in essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. So, I couldn't resist trying to make something interesting and spicy with it. Beans thoran being one of my favorites, it inspired me to put it to similar use.



Ingredients: (serves 3)

asparagus - 1 bunch (about 50 spears, chopped fine)
grated coconut - 3 tbsp
cumin seeds - 1 tsp
carom seeds - 1 tsp
ginger - 1 inch piece
red chillies - 5
turmeric powder - a pinch
salt - 3/4 tsp (adjust according to taste)

Method:

Soak coconut, cumin and carom seeds in water for half an hour. Pulse in food processor along with red chillies and peeled ginger. Cook chopped asparagus with salt and turmeric powder for about five minutes. Pour the coconut mixture on top and cook covered for a few more minutes, until the asparagus is cooked.

Notes:
1. While chopping asparagus, the thick, whitish end needs to be removed.
2. Add very little water to make the coconut mixture, just enough to make a thin paste. Excess water might have to be drained, causing loss of nutrients, or will make it soggy.
3. Use warm water to soak the seeds and coconut, to reduce the soak time.
4. Ginger paste (1/2 tsp) can be used instead of ginger.
Microwave Almond Milk Peda (Fudge)
While I was making this, a couple of friends stopped by (well...it's my birthday). With no time to cool and roll it out into pedas, I had to serve it to them as semi-solid halwa, but they liked the taste of it. After they left, I put it in the refrigerator, cooled it for a few hours and then shaped into pedas. This is so easy to prepare, and later became one of my personal favorites!


Ingredients:

almond powder - 1/2 cup
milk-mava powder - 1/2 cup
ricotta cheese - 15 oz
sugar - 3/4 cup
butter / ghee - 1 tbsp
milk - 1 tsp
sliced almonds - a few
saffron strands - a few

Method:

Soak saffron strands in a teaspoon of milk and keep aside. Mix almond powder, milk mava powder and cheese in a bowl.  Microwave for 3 minutes. Add sugar, mix well and microwave for another 3 minutes. Add ghee, stir a couple of times and heat for another 3 minutes. Add the saffron, stir a few times and return to the microwave for another 3 minutes. Remove from the microwave and mix in the sliced almonds. Allow to cool and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours. Take a lemon-sized portion, roll it between the palms and flatten out into a round patty. Repeat for the remaining fudge. 

Notes:
1. To make just milk peda, almond powder can be substituted with more milk mava powder.
2. If ricotta cheese is not available, unsweetened khoa can be used instead.
Fruity Chocolate Smoothie

Smoothies are my family's favorite choice of a simple meal. This recipe is an attempt to make it wholesome, with the succulence of fruits, the richness of milk, the goodness of grain and the cheer of chocolate.
This smoothie goes to the Virtual Party - Beverages event.


Ingredients: (serves 1)

ripe banana - 1 large
raspberries - 1/2 cup
hot cocoa mix - 2 tbsp
flax seeds - 1 tbsp (ground)
milk - 1 cup
ice chips - a few

Method:

Blend and Enjoy!

Note: If the sweetness in the fruits and cocoa mix are not sufficient, add a little honey.

Healthy Whole Grain Apple Muffin

Lazy weekend afternoons often come with the irresistible urge for snacking - the most challenging times for the health and diet conscious. I particularly enjoy baking a fresh snack at tea time, more so with the luscious apples in fall.


Ingredients: (makes 6 muffins)

whole wheat flour - 1 cup
apple - 1 (chopped)
walnuts - 2 tbsp (chopped)
oil - 1/3 cup
honey - 1/4 cup
applesauce - 1/4 cup
milk - 1/4 cup
wheat germ - 2 tbsp
flax seeds - 1 tbsp (ground)
baking powder - 1 tsp
baking soda - 1/2 tsp

Method:

Sieve flour with baking powder and baking soda ( I repeat this process a couple of times). Mix in the wheat germ. Keep aside. Take honey, oil, milk, applesauce and flax seed powder in a separate mixing bowl. Mix well. Now add the flour mixture and blend well with a hand blender. Then add the chopped apples and walnuts. Line a muffin pan and fill upto three-fourths with batter. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees (Fahrenheit) for about 25 minutes until golden brown. I'm sending this recipe to the Fruit in Baking event started by Meeta and Food Palette Red Event.
Mung fudge (Ashoka halwa)

This is a favorite south-Indian sweet, which is popular as a crowd-pleaser especially in weddings. A great Diwali pick too! With the chefs trying to keep the recipe a secret, and vastly different versions floating around on the internet, it took me a great deal of effort to figure out the "authentic" version and many iterations to perfect the recipe.


Ingredients: (serves 4)

split yellow mung beans - 2 cups
whole milk - 6 cups
maida / all-purpose flour - 2 tbsp
sugar - 2 1/2 cups
ghee / melted butter - 1 cup
cashews - a few
raisins - a few
orange food color - a pinch

Method:

Fry flour in a little ghee and keep aside. Pressure cook mung beans in milk until soft. Cool and blend to a smooth paste. Fry cashews and raisins in a little ghee and keep aside. Heat sugar in a pan and add about 1/4 cup water. Boil to a 1-string consistency. Add the bean paste and flour. Keep stirring continuously. Dissolve orange food color in a teaspoon of milk and add to bean mixture. Add ghee one tablespoon at a time and keep stirring until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and becomes semi-solid (halwa consistency). Garnish with cashews and raisins. I'm sending this recipe to the Diwali sweets and snacks event and MLLA#29 ideated by Susan.
Baked Samosas!
Samosa is a favorite Indian snack. But what keeps me away from it is the deep-fried part. The baked version uses way less fat and the layered effect of the fillo pastry adds to the taste. Now, I spend less time making samosas and they taste even better!


Ingredients: (makes 15 to 20 samosas)

fillo pastry sheets - 15 to 20
potatoes - 2 (boiled and peeled)
peas - 1 cup (boiled)
cumin seeds - 1 tsp
fennel seeds - 1 tsp (optional)
cashewnuts - 1 tbsp (broken)
green chillies - 2 (adjust according to taste)
oil - 1 tsp
butter - 1 to 2 tbsp (melted - for brushing)
salt to taste

Method:

Prepare the potato-peas mixture by frying cumin seeds, fennel seeds, cashewnuts and finely chopped green chillies in a teaspoon of hot oil and then adding the potatoes and peas with salt. Mix well and keep aside.

Brush a sheet of fillo with melted butter. Fold it vertically at the center into a rectangle. Brush with butter. Place 2 tablespoons or potato-peas mixture in one corner and fold into a triangle. Keep folding triangularly through the rest of the sheet. Stick the edges with a little water. Brush the top with melted butter. Repeat for the remaining fillo sheets. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees (Fahrenheit) for 10 minutes. Flip the samosas and bake for another 10 minutes until golden brown. Serve fresh with tomato sauce or tamarind chutney (Oh, I love it with the tamarind chutney)!
Spinach Potato soup
The nutritive value of spinach is well-known. But making kids eat spinach is one of the biggest challenges for moms. Potato being a natural favorite, forms a great combination with spinach. Here is a Thai-inspired recipe that was well-received when I invited my friends and their three kids for lunch.


Ingredients: (serves 4)

spinach leaves - 4 oz (about 100 grams)
potato - 1 large
peas - 1/4 cup (boiled)
coconut milk - 2 cups (thick)
vegetable stock - 1 cup
salt - 1 tsp (adjust according to taste)
pepper powder - 3/4 tsp (adjust according to taste)
butter - 1 tbsp
ginger-garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
lemon juice - 1 tbsp
fresh cream - 4 tsp

Method:

Pressure cook/microwave the potatoes until soft. Take washed spinach leaves in a sauce pan with very little water (about 3 tablespoons). Boil for about 5 minutes until the leaves are just wilted, but do not let them change color. Allow to cool, add boiled peas and blend to a fine paste. Keep aside.

Cool, peel and completely mash the cooked potato and keep aside.

Heat coconut milk and vegetable stock in a sauce pan. Add the spinach paste, mashed potatoes, ginger-garlic paste and salt. Cook for 5 minutes. Mix in the butter, lemon juice and pepper. Decorate with fresh cream and serve hot.
Chickpeas fry (sundal)
'Navratri' (nine nights) in India is celebrated primarily as a social networking festival (it has deeper religious connotations signifying the victory of good over evil). People invite each other to their houses for the traditional display of 'kolu' (dolls) and exchange greetings. Sundal, made of chickpeas, green gram, peanuts, snow peas and similar legumes is typically served to 'kolu' visitors.


Ingredients: (serves 2)

canned chickpeas - 2 (or 350 grams, soaked overnight in salt water)
grated coconut - 2 tbsp
cabbage+carrot - 1 cup (grated)
green chillies - 3 (adjust according to taste)
mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
black gram (urad dal) - 1/2 tsp
curry leaves - 1 stalk
lemon juice - 1 tbsp
oil - 1 tsp
salt to taste

Method:

Heat oil in a saucepan. Add mustard seeds and black gram. When it splutters, add finely chopped green chillies and curry leaves. Then add grated coconut, grated cabbage, carrot and salt as required. When half-cooked, add chickpeas (drained). Cover and cook until done (the chickpeas must be cooked, but still remain whole - not broken or mushy). Stir in the lemon juice and serve fresh.
I'm sending in this entry to DNSW C hosted by Akila and Susan's My Legume Love Affair event hosted by Divya (MLLA #28).

Notes:
The traditional version does not include grated cabbage or carrots. It's a healthy, colorful optional addition.
Banana Blueberry Milkshake
Having had a late snack, I wasn't hungry at dinner night, but very tired and sleepy. Now, skipping dinner would mean waking up and rambling around for a midnight snack. The luscious fruits presented the perfect option for a quick, healthy, light and filling dinner!


Ingredients: (serves 2)

banana - 1
blueberries - 1 cup
peach - 1/2
milk - 1 cup
ground flaxseed - 2 tsp
honey - 1 tbsp
ice cubes - a few (optional)
whipped cream - for topping (optional)

Method

Blend all the non-topping ingredients, top it with a little whipped cream if you like and serve fresh!
Spinach tamarind gravy (sambar)
Sambar is an everyday affair in a south-Indian home. It is usually made with "stronger" vegetables, but using spinach in sambar is healthy, though uncommon. The tamarind adds a tangy flavor to the spinach and my family loves this!


Ingredients: (serves 2)

spinach - 1 cup (finely chopped)
tomatoes - 2 (finely chopped)
sambar powder - 2 tsp (recipe provided separately)
tamarind paste - 1 1/2 tbsp
yellow pigeon peas (toor dal) - 3 tbsp
red lentils (Masoor dal) - 2 tbsp
mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
black gram (urad dal) - 1/2 tsp
asafoetida - a pinch
turmeric powder - a pinch
ghee - 1 tbsp
red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp (optional - depending upon how spicy the sambar powder is)
salt - 1 tsp (adjust to taste)

Method

Wash and pressure cook the dals in plenty of water with a little salt and turmeric powder. Heat ghee in a sauce pan and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, black gram and asafoetida. When it splutters, add tomatoes and fry for a couple of minutes until soft. Add spinach, sambar powder, salt and tamarind paste. Fry for 5 minutes. Add the pressure cooked dals and water if required, to obtain a thick liquid consistency. Boil for a couple of more minutes and serve hot with rice, idly, dosa, chapati, etc.
Chocolate burfi (Indian chocolate fudge / cheesecake)
Chocolate burfi is one of my personal favorites. It is so easy to prepare, that I love to make it for parties, festivals and any time I crave for something chocolatey.


Ingredients: (to make approximately 12 pieces)

unsweetened khoa - 1 1/2 cup
sugar - 1 cup
butter - 2 tbsp
cocoa powder - 2 tbsp
sliced almonds - a few

Method:

Heat sugar in a sauce pan and add a little water. When it reaches a 1-string consistency, add khoa, cocoa powder and butter. Stir for a few minutes until it thickens and the mass starts leaving the sides of the pan. Mix in half the almonds. Grease a plate and sprinkle a few sliced almonds. Pour the mixture into plate and decorate with the remaining almonds. Level the top with a flat-bottomed vessel. Allow to cool for a few minutes and cut into squares while still warm.
Vegetable Lasagna
We both love Italian food. Lasagna is the only dish my husband has ever prepared - and he rocks at it! I added my personal touch to it by preparing home-made pasta sauce.


Ingredients: (serves 2)

whole grain lasagna sheets - for 3 layers
carrot - 1/2 cup (grated)
yellow squash - 1
bell pepper - 1 (any color)
zucchini - 1
mozzerella cheese - 1 cup (grated)
red chilli flakes (or 2 crushed red chillies) - 1/2 tsp
basil - 1 tsp
oregano - 1/2 tsp
oil - 1 tbsp
salt to taste

Pasta sauce - 1/2 pound (about 350 grams)
OR
For home-made sauce (the personal touch adds to the taste!)
tomatoes - 4
tomato puree/ketchup - 4 tbsp
salt - 1/2 tsp
oil - 1 tbsp

To make sauce:
Drop tomatoes in boiling water for a few minutes. Peel off the skin and chop into tiny pieces. Heat a tablespoon of oil. Add chopped tomatoes and remaining ingredients for the sauce, stir and boil until thick.

Add basil, oregano, salt and chilli flakes into the sauce, mix well and set aside.

To make lasagna:

Cook lasagna sheets per instructions, drain and set aside.

Heat oil, add chopped/grated vegetables and salt. Stir and fry for 5 minutes.

Grease a baking pan. Arrange a layer of lasagna sheets to cover the bottom. Spread half the vegetables on the lasagna sheets and one-third of the sauce. Sprinkle some cheese. Place another layer of lasagna sheets and spread the remaining vegetables. Add half the remaining sauce and sprinkle some cheese. Place a third layer of lasagna sheets, spread the remaining sauce and top it off with the remaining cheese. Wrap the top with foil and bake in preheated oven at 350 F for 15 minutes and serve fresh.
Cracked wheat upma
Cracked wheat is extremely nutritious. My grandmother used to have this upma almost as her staple food. She is over 90 and still healthy...may God keep it that way.


Ingredients: (serves 2)

cracked wheat - 1 cup
chopped vegetables - 1 cup (Carrot, Peas, Cabbage, Onion, etc.)
water - 2 cups
green chillies - 2
curry leaves -1 stalk
mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
black gram - 1/2 tsp
oil - 1 tbsp
asafoetida - a pinch
turmeric powder - a pinch
salt - 3/4 tsp (adjust to taste)

Method

Heat oil. Add mustard, cumin seeds and urad dal. When it splutters, add green chillies and curry leaves. Then add washed cracked wheat and fry for a minute. Add vegetables, turmeric powder and water. Pressure cook/microwave for 15 minutes or until cooked. Serve hot.
Healthy cooking tips
1. Avoid using reheated oil as the toxins released could cause cardio-vascular diseases over time.
2. Brown rice is more nutritious than white rice. White rice is essentially a processed form of white rice, with most of the vitamins, minerals and fibers lost during the "processing".
3. Choose canola oil for baking and frying, olive oil for dressing over other oils and fats.
4. Prefer the use mung bean (dal) over others when possible as it is easily digestible.
5. Opt for the use of honey rather than sugar as a sweetener.

Of course, these are only guidelines and need to be used with discretion.
How to substitute sugar with honey
Honey has a higher sweetening power than sugar, so use 3/4 cup of honey to replace one cup of sugar. For smaller quantities like a tablespoon, the substitution can be 1:1. For baking, reduce other liquids in the recipe by 1/3 cup and add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda for every cup of honey used. Lower the oven temperature by 25 F to prevent over-browning.

If honey has crystallized, placing the container in hot water for 15 minutes will help return it to its liquid state. Honey should not be heated in the microwave as this alters its taste by increasing its hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) content.
Gram Fritters (Dal vada)
This crispy vada is generally made on Hindu festive occasions. My mom used to prefer this over any other variety of vada as this is quicker and easier. This is my husband's favorite too. Goes great with coconut chutney and makes an excellent tea-time snack as well, especially on a cold or rainy day!


Ingredients: (to make approximately 20 vadas)

bengal gram (chana dal) - 1/2 cup
yellow split pigeon peas (toor dal) - 1/4 cup
black gram (urad dal) - 1/4 cup
cabbage / onion (optional) - 1/2 cup (grated)
fresh mint/basil leaves - a handful (chopped)
red chillies - 2
green chillies - 2
salt - 1 1/4 tsp (adjust according to taste)
ginger paste - 1/2 tsp (or ginger - 1 inch piece peeled and cut)
turmeric powder - a pinch
asafoetida - a pinch
cumin seeds - 1 tsp
fennel seeds (saunf) - 1 tsp

Method

Wash and soak bengal gram, black gram and pigeon peas in plenty of warm water for a couple of hours. Drain and coarsely grind all ingredients together except vegetables and cumin seeds with as little water as possible. Add cumin seeds, fennel seeds and vegetables. Mix well and divide into gooseberry-sized balls. Flatten into small patties (vadas) and deep fry till golden brown. Drain on kitchen tissue. Serve hot with chutney/sauce.

Notes:
The vegetables should not be wet, as it would dilute the batter.
Tomato Gram Chutney
When I make idly, dosa, pongal or upma, I usually make coconut chutney as a side dish because it is the quickest. But when I need something tangy, this is a great choice. My husband loves the zing it adds to his food. On those rare occasions I make it, he keeps saying, "you should make this chutney more often".


Ingredients:

tomatoes - 4
red chillies - 3
gram flour - 1/3 cup
bengal gram - 1 tsp
black gram - 1 tsp
cumin seeds - 1 tsp
coriander seeds - 1 tsp
fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tsp
tamarind paste - 1 tbsp
turmeric powder - a pinch
asafoetida - a pinch
lemon juice - a few drops
coriander/cilantro leaves - a few (chopped fine)
salt - 3/4 tsp (adjust according to taste)

For seasoning:

mustard seeds - 1 tsp
cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
black gram - 1 tsp
curry leaves - a small twig
asafoetida - a pinch

Method:

Chop tomatoes into cubes. Heat oil in a frying pan and add cumin seeds, bengal gram, black gram, coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds and red chillies. Then, add tomatoes and tamarind paste. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add gram flour and fry for about 5 minutes, until the gram flour and tamarind no longer smell raw. Cool and blend into a paste with salt. Add lemon juice, coriander/cilantro and seasoning.
Low-fat potato roast
Potato is my husband's favorite vegetable and he particularly likes it in its deep-fried form. But due to the health hazards of fatty foods, I had to go out of the way to avoid these, much to his chagrin. That's when I stumbled upon this idea. He finds it delectable and I don't have to worry about health issues! This dish also became an instant party hit!


Ingredients: (serves 2)

potatoes - 2 large
red chilli powder - 1 tsp (adjust to taste)
cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
garam masala - 1/2 tsp
turmeric powder - a pinch
oil - 2-3 tbsp (just enough for the mixture to coat the potato slices)
salt - 1 tsp (adjust to taste)

Method:

Preheat oven to 400 degress (Fahrenheit). Slice potatoes into thin circles. Heat oil in a frying pan. Add turmeric powder, salt, cumin powder, garam masala and red chilli powder. Mix well and add potatoes. Stir well for a few minutes until the oil mixture is coated evenly on the potatoes. Place a foil in the baking tray and spread the potatoes in it. Bake for 15-20 minutes until it turns golden brown and serve fresh.
Dahi vada (Lentil fritters in Yogurt gravy)
Dahi Vada is a cool, mouth-watering Indian snack, especially great for a summer evening. It's a party favorite too. Of course, it takes a lot of effort to prepare, but the result is well worth it. I do not make it very often, but every time I make dahi vada, it gets over before I could turn around!


Ingredients: (to make 20 dahi vadas)

medu (urad) vada - 20 (refer recipe)
yogurt - 2 1/2 cups
milk - 1 cup
chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
chaat masala - 1/4 tsp
salt - 1/2 tsp
cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
mustard seeds  - 1 tsp
cumin seeds - 1 tsp
oil - 1 tsp

For garnishing:

green chutney (refer recipe)
tamarind-date chutney
boondi
coriander leaves - a handful (finely chopped)

Method:

Drop hot vadas in salted water. Soak for half an hour. Drain and place in plain water. Replace the water a couple of times every 10 minutes until the vadas are no longer oily. Gently press the vadas between palms and place in a deep dish.

Add milk, chilli powder, salt, cumin powder and half the chopped coriander to beaten yogurt in a separate bowl. Mix well. Fry mustard and cumin seeds in a little oil and pour it on the yogurt mixture.

Pour yogurt mixture over the vadas and refrigerate for at least half an hour. Just before serving, add remaining coriander leaves. Drizzle green chutney and tamarind chutney, sprinkle boondi and serve.
Green chutney
This green chutney is served as a side dish to idly, dosa, pongal and many other south Indian snacks. It is also used to spice up chaats and other North Indian snacks.


Ingredients:

coriander/cilantro - 1/2 bunch
green chillies - 1 (normal) 2 (spicy hot)
ginger paste - 1/2 tsp (or ginger - 1 inch piece - peeled)
salt - about 1/4 tsp (adjust to taste)

Method

Remove the stalks of the coriander and use only the leaves. Wash and grind with ginger, chillies, salt and a little water.
Savory Lentil Doughnuts (Medu Vada / Urad Vada)
Vada is a crispy Indian snack, prepared especially during auspicious occasions. When I was a kid, I used to eagerly wait for these special occasions especially because that is when my mom usually prepares this yummy snack.


Ingredients: (to make approximately 20 vadas)

black gram (urad dal) - 1 cup
split yellow mung bean (moong dal) - 1/2 cup
green chillies - 3
curry leaves - 1 stalk (chopped)
ginger paste - 1/2 tsp (or ginger - 1 inch piece - peeled)
salt - a little more than 1 tsp (adjust according to taste)
baking soda - 1/4 tsp
oil for deep frying

Method:

Soak black gram and mung beans overnight in plenty of water. Drain and grind coarsely into a thick paste, with minimal necessary water, along with the remaining ingredients, except curry leaves. Then add chopped curry leaves and beat till fluffy. Take a tablespoonful of batter on an oiled plastic sheet, make a hole in the center and deep fry till golden brown.

Notes:
1. For a quick turnaround, the black gram and mung beans can be soaked in warm water for about an hour, if there is not enough time to soak overnight.
2. If you like the vada to be soft instead of crispy, as the ones used for preparing dahi vada, replace mung beans with additional black gram and grind the batter to a smooth paste.
3. When the batter is ground coarsely, the vada comes out crispy.
4. Excess water while grinding the batter causes the vada to absorb too much oil.
Cottage Cheese in Spinach gravy (Palak Paneer)
This is one of my regular weeknight dinner items - served with whole grain tortilla/chapati/pita bread/naan, etc., it is a very wholesome and nutritious meal that can be prepared in just a few minutes.


Ingredients: (serves 2)

spinach leaves (palak) - about 150 grams (a couple of bunches)
fried paneer cubes - 100 grams
green chillies - 2
ginger paste - 1/2 tsp (or 1/2 inch ginger finely chopped)
cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
garam masala - 1/2 tsp
salt - 1/2 tsp (adjust to taste)
turmeric powder - a pinch
asafoetida - a pinch
lemon juice - 1 tbsp
oil - 1 tsp
water - 1 cup

Method:

Boil the washed spinach in minimal water for a few minutes until the leaves turn bright green. Cool and blend to a paste along with green chillies, ginger and the remaining water to a coarse paste in a food processor. Heat oil and add asafoetida. Add spinach mixture, turmeric powder, cumin powder, salt and garam masala. Stir and cook covered for a couple of minutes. Add paneer and lemon juice. Simmer for a couple of minutes and serve hot.

Notes:
1. If the spinach paste is overcooked, it turns pale. This should be avoided.
2. After paneer is added, the gravy should be simmered just enough to make the paneer soft. If undercooked, the paneer will be hard, and if overcooked, the paneer collapses.
Vermicelli Upma (Noodles)
A quick, light anytime meal, especially when served with chutney, pleases the taste-buds and provides nourishment - a blessing to the busy and industrious!


Ingredients: (serves 2)

vermicelli - 1 cup
carrot(diced)+beans(cut)+cabbage(grated)+peas(boiled) - 1 cup
mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
black gram - 1/2 tsp
cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
green chillies - 2
broken cashews - a few
curry leaves - 1 stalk
salt - about 3/4 tsp (adjust to taste)
asafoetida - a pinch
oil - 1 tbsp

Method:

Heat 2 1/2 cups of water along with vegetables and salt (for about 2 minutes on high if you use the microwave).
Heat oil in a sauce pan and add mustard seeds, black gram, cashews, cumin seeds and asafoetida. When it splutters, add green chillies and curry leaves. Then, add vermicelli and roast until it turns light brown (this step can be skipped if roasted vermicelli is used). Add the water+vegetables and cook until done.
Banana Walnut Cake
I make this when I need a snack that stays on for a couple of days. The bananas makes it flavorful and the nuts add a crunch in between. Without much fat and naturally sweetened in part by raisins and bananas, this is the perfect candidate for someone in search of a healthy snack.


Ingredients:

wheat flour - 1 1/2 cups
ripe bananas - 2 large
walnut (broken) - 1/2 cup
raisins - 1/2 cup
honey - 1/2 cup
canola oil - 3/4 cup
vanilla essence - 1 tsp
baking powder - 1 tsp
baking soda - 1/2 tsp

Method:

Sift flour with baking powder and baking soda. (I repeat it a couple of times). Preheat oven to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit). Add remaining ingredients and mix well with a hand blender. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes (until skewer comes out clean).
Tamarind gravy (Vatha Kuzhambu)
Vatha kuzhambu is a tamil brahmin specialty recipe. Hot, spicy and tangy, it tastes great with rice. I love the way my mother-in-law makes it.


Ingredients: (serves 3)

sambar powder - 2 tsp (refer recipe)
tamarind paste - 3 tsp
turmeric powder - a pinch
red chillies - 6 medium
salt - 1 tsp (adjust to taste)
oil - 2 tbsp
mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
black gram - 1/2 tsp
bengal gram - 1/2 tsp
asafoetida - a pinch
dry turkey berry (sundaikkai) or dry Eurpean Black Nightshade (manathakkali) - 1 tbsp (or) one papad (appalam - broken into pieces)

Method:

Heat oil and add asafoetida, mustard seeds, black graml, bengal gram, crushed red chillies and the dry sundakkai/manathakkali/appalam. Fry for a few minutes. Then add sambar powder, turmeric powder and tamarind paste. Fry for a minute and add water and salt. Boil for a few minutes to a thick gravy.
Cabbage Chapati Stir-fry
I like to include chapatis and whole-grain tortillas often in my dinner. But having been bored of an entire week of flat-breads with gravy, my taste buds wanted something different, but I wasn't quite yet ready for that indulgence phase. So, to strike a balance, I decided to try something new without letting go of the same nutrients. The concept of chilli paratha has always been quite appealing to me. So, in spite of stiff resistance from hubby darling, I decided to go ahead and try out that approach on my chapatis and tortillas. It turned out so good that he instantly appreciated it without even realizing it - and agreed to my plan that this will be added to our regular weeknight dinner picks!


Ingredients (serves 2):

chapati / tortilla - 5
cabbage - 1 cup (grated)
cumin seeds - 1 tsp
cashews - a few
green chillies - 2
curry leaves - 1 stalk
turmeric powder - a pinch
oil - 2 tbsp
salt to taste

Method:

Heat oil. Add cashews, cumin seeds (mustard, urad dal and asafoetida if you like). When it splutters, add cashews, green chillies and curry leaves and cabbage. Add turmeric powder and fry for a minute. Cut chapati / tortilla into small pieces and add to the cabbage. Add salt and stir fry for a few minutes until cabbage is cooked. Serve with a dollop of yogurt.
Fruit Chaat
I try to add as much fruit to my diet as possible. But sometimes, it is hard to bring myself to eat fruit. This was one of my attempts to "spice up" the fruits.


Ingredients:

seasonal fruits (cut) - 10 pieces
yogurt - 3 tbsp (optional)
sev/boondi - for topping
tamarind chutney - 1 tsp
chaat masala - a pinch

Method:

Arrange cut fruits on a plate. Drop a little yogurt on top of the fruits if you like it. Sprinkle chaat masala. Top it with sev/boondi. Drizzle some tamarind chutney and serve.
Sago fritters (Sabudana vada)
It was a cold, rainy weekend afternoon, and tea time. I was already fighting hard to resist the temptation for a warm, crispy snack, and there came my husband, asking if I could make some vada (fritters). I hadn't soaked anything or prepared to make vada, but I had potatoes at home and instant sago that soaks quickly. So, there goes my answer. But my husband hates any dish made with sago - or so he claims. Well, after 4 years of marriage, I'm now well aware of his pre-conceived notions and baseless dislike of every other ingredient. The good thing is that he doesn't always recognize them! In the case of this vada, he only noticed the potatoes in them and he found the snack absolutely heavenly. When I mentioned the sago in it, it was already too late for him to retract!


Ingredients

sago (sabudana) - 1 cup
potato - 1
roasted peanut - 1/2 cup (coarsely ground)
green chillies - 3 (chopped fine)
ginger paste - 1/2 tsp (or ginger - 1 inch piece - peeled and chopped fine)
red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
salt - 1 1/4 tsp
curry leaves - a few (chopped fine)
lemon juice - 1 tbsp
pakoda masala - 1 tsp (optional)

Method

Soak sago until soft. Drain and wash. Dry on kitchen tissue for. Cut the potato into 8 pieces of approximately 2 inches each and microwave for 4 minutes. Cool, peel and mash potatoes. Add sago and all the other remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly and make a soft but firm dough. Roll out into lemon-sized balls, flatten out into disks and deep fry in hot oil. Serve with chutney or sauce.

Notes:
1. Soaking time will vary depending on the sago - if it is instant sago, just wash and drain. If it is the hard sago, it needs to be soaked for a few hours, preferably in warm water so that it soaks faster.
2. Roll out the vadas into thin disks if you like it to be very crispy.
Pasta salad
This pasta salad is one of my frequent week-day dinner recipes. Simple, healthy and easy to prepare, it perfectly fits the bill!


Ingredients:

whole grain spiral pasta - 1 cup
zucchini - 1
yellow squash - 1
grated carrot - 1/2 cup
spinach leaves - 1/2 cup
chick peas (soaked overnight in salt water) - 5 tbsp
juice of half a lemon
olive oil - 1 tbsp
ground pepper - 1/2 tsp (adjust according to taste)
salt to taste
yogurt or any salad dressing (optional)

Method:

Boil pasta in plenty of water with a little salt. When cooked, drain and keep aside. Fry zucchini, squash and carrot with a little salt. When half-cooked, add chick peas and fry for a minute. Add cooked pasta. Add spinach, pepper and lemon juice. Mix well and toss in the olive oil. Serve with yogurt or any dressing of your choice.
Bhel Puri
A delectable, anytime snack, with the goodness of veggies and the crunch of savories, blended to perfection - I can never have enough of it! If I have visitors at teatime, this is the snack I usually serve them, and they invariably love it!


Ingredients:

tomato+cucumber+onion(chopped fine) - 1/2 cup
spicy bhel mix - 3/4 cup
tamarind chutney - 1 tbsp
chaat masala - 1/2 tsp
sev - a little (for topping)
coriander leaves - a little (chopped fine - for topping)

Method:

Mix vegetables, tamarind chutney and bhel mix in a large bowl in a rotating motion. (If bhel mix does not contain salt and spice, add a pinch of salt and red chilli powder. You can also add a tablespoon of yogurt if you like it as dahi bhel puri). Place heaped on a plate and top with sev, coriander leaves and chaat masala. Serve fresh.
Spinach stew (Dal Palak)
A simple, healthy side-dish that goes great with rice or flat-breads....also makes a great combination with tamarind-based gravies.


Ingredients: (serves 3)

spinach leaves - 250 grams (chopped)
tomatoes - 2 (chopped)
split yellow mung beans - 1/2 cup
red chilli powder - 3/4 tsp
cumin seeds - 1 tsp
ghee - 1 tbsp
turmeric powder - a pinch
cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
asafoetida - a pinch
salt to taste

Method:

Pressure cook beans with turmeric powder.
Heat ghee. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida. Fry for a minute. Add tomatoes and cook till soft. Then add the spinach, salt, cumin powder and red chilli powder and boil for 5 minutes. Mix in the beans and cook covered for a couple of minutes.
Sweetened rice dumpling (Modak / Kozhukattai)
This is made during the Hindu festival of Vinayaka Chathurthi, as an offering to Lord Ganesha, the god who removes obstacles. I love this yummy dessert, but I'm not a great fan of coconut. So my recipe substitutes half the coconut in the filling with milk solids (khoa) and it tastes great!


Ingredients:

rice flour - 1 cup
grated coconut - 1/2 cup
khoa (unsweetened) - 1/2 cup (can be replaced with grated coconut as well)
jaggery - 3/4 cup
oil/ghee - 1 tsp

Method:

For the filling:
Wet the jaggery with a little water and melt it in a frying pan. Add coconut and khoa. Cook until thick, with a few drops of ghee. Allow it to cool for a few minutes. When it is still warm, make small, dime-sized balls and set aside.

For the covering:
Heat a cup of water. When it starts to boil, add oil and rice flour. Stir and mix well. Sprinkle some more hot water as required to make a soft dough. Allow to cool until it is just warm enough to handle. Take a gooseberry-sized ball of dough and shape it like a cup with oiled fingers. Place the filling in it, cover it and shape the top like a little beak. Repeat the process for the remaining flour / filling until all the modaks are shaped. Steam-cook for about 15 minutes until the modak's outer covering looks slightly transparent.
Sambar powder
After trying out a variety of store-brands, I decided to make my own sambar powder. Taking inputs from a variety of sources and trying out a few permutation-combinations, finally figured the below formula which works great for me. I don't think I'll ever buy sambar powder again...


Ingredients:

coriander seeds - 1 cup
dried red chillies - 2 cups
bengal gram (chana dal) - 1/4 cup
black gram (urad dal) - 1/4 cup
fenugreek seeds - 1/4 cup

Method:

Dry roast all the ingredients separately until they give a nice aroma. The gram should just start turning light brown. Allow to cool and dry grind everything together.  Store in an air tight container and it lasts a while (even for a few months).
Cottage Cheese in Tomato Yogurt gravy (Shahi Paneer)
This delicacy is a favorite in my home. It is one unbelievable combination of healthy, tasty and easy to prepare. Served with whole grain flat breads, it is perfect for dinner - wholesome, yet light. Makes a great party pick too!


Ingredients: (serves 2)

fried paneer cubes - 4 oz (about 100g)
tomatoes - 3 large
ginger paste - 1/2 tsp (or 1/2 inch piece of ginger finely chopped)
yogurt - 1/4 cup
milk - 1/2 cup
red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
garam masala - 1/2 tsp
cashewnuts - 2 tbsp (broken)
salt - about a teaspoon (adjust to taste)
clarified butter (ghee) - 1 tsp

Method

Heat ghee. Add cashews and finely chopped tomatoes and green chillies. Cover and fry until tomatoes are soft. Add beaten yogurt and fry for a couple of minutes. Cool and blend to a coarse paste. In a frying pan, take the blended tomato mixture and add salt, chilli powder, ginger paste and garam masala. Boil to a thick gravy. Add milk and paneer cubes. Fry for a couple of minutes and serve.
Cabbage-Cumin fried rice
After a long day at work, I got back home to find the refrigerator almost empty, except for some cabbage. With neither the time nor the energy to cook anything else, this very simple, yet healthy, hearty meal was a godsend.


Ingredients:

basmati rice - 1 cup
cabbage - 1 cup (grated)
cumin seeds - 1 tbsp
oil - 1 tbsp
green chillies - 2 (chopped fine)
turmeric powder - a pinch
cashews - a few
salt - 1 tsp (adjust according to taste)

Method:

Heat oil. Add cumin seeds and cashews. Fry for a minute and add green chillies. Then add washed rice, cabbage, salt and turmeric powder. Stir fry for a couple of minutes. Add 3 cups of water and microwave for 15 minutes or until rice is cooked.
Green gram vegetable kichidi
With a lot of green gram left in my kitchen and not much else, I was wondering what to do with it. It was a long time since I made kichidi. That's when this healthy, wholesome dinner idea presented itself, and I prepared it in just minutes.


Ingredients (serves 2):

green gram - 1 cup
carrot+cabbage+peas - 1 cup, chopped
green chillies - 3
curry leaves - a twig
cumin seeds - 1 tsp
turmeric powder - a pinch
lemon juice - 1 tbsp
oil - 1 tbsp
salt - 1 tsp (adjust according to taste)

Method:

Heat oil. Add cumin seeds, curry leaves and green chillies. and fry for a minute. Add washed green gram, vegetables, turmeric powder and salt. Pressure cook with 3 cups of water till done (do not overcook). Add lemon juice and serve hot.
Radish in tamarind gravy (sambar)
This is one of my weekend lunch items. My husband likes traditional south Indian food, but these types of foods take a while to prepare. It is the sambar powder that makes or breaks this recipe. I make my own sambar powder, which works great.



Ingredients:

radish - 1 (peeled and sliced)
split yellow pigeon peas (toor dal) - 1/2 cup
sambar powder - 2 tsp
tamarind paste - 1 tbsp
turmeric powder - a pinch
red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp (optional, depending on how spicy your sambar powder is!)
salt - 1 tsp (adjust to taste)
clarified butter (ghee) - 1 tbsp
mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
black gram - 1/2 tsp
curry leaves - 1 stalk

Method:

Pressure cook pigeon peas with turmeric powder. Heat half the ghee and add curry leaves. Then add cleaned, peeled, sliced radish, tamarind paste, salt, sambar powder and red chilly powder. Fry till cooked and add prepared pigeon peas. Boil for a few more minutes. In the remaining ghee, fry mustard seeds and black gram. When it splutters, add to sambar and cover immediately. Serve hot with rice, idly, dosa, etc.

Notes:
Sambar powder might be a quicker alternative, but adding freshly roasted and wet-ground mixture of a teaspoon each of the bengal gram, black gram, coriander seeds, 1/4 tsp of fenugreek seeds, 3 red chillies and 2 tbsp coconut powder adds a special taste to the sambar.
Cluster beans fry
I was so delighted when I found cluster-beans in the nearby Indian store (never seen 'em there before!). It is one of my favorite vegetables, maybe because of its sheer rarity in my life. Back home too, we hardly get to eat it, as my parents gave up this vegetable during their trip to the holy city of Kashi (Varanasi).


Ingredients:

cluster beans - 500 grams
chilli powder -  1/2 tsp (adjust according to taste)
turmeric powder - a pinch
mustard seeds - 1 tsp
cumin seeds - 1 tsp
black gram (urad dal) - 1 tsp
asafoetida - a pinch
salt - 3/4 tsp (adjust according to taste)
oil - 1 tbsp

Method:

Finely chop cluster beans. Heat oil in a pan with mustard, cumin and black gram. When it splutters, add asafoetida, trumeric, salt and chilli powder. Add cluster beans immediately and mix well. Fry with a little water until cooked.
Cabbage Uthappam (Savory pancake)
This is a simple variant of the south-Indian starter (well, I'm using the term a little loosely here....it is very filling by itself!). The cabbage adds a touch of crispiness (and health!) to the delicious pancake.


Ingredients (makes 6 to 8 uthappams):

thick Dosa batter - about 250 grams
grated cabbage - 150 grams
finely chopped green chillies - 2

oil for frying

Method:

Pour batter on a warm frying pan. Spread cabbage and chillies. Add a teaspoon of oil around the uttappam. Cook on low heat until golden brown. Flip and cook for a couple of minutes. Serve hot with chutney.
Cumin-Pepper rasam
This rasam does not contain tamarind and is very good especially when suffering from a cold. My husband doesn't like rasam, but when he is sick, this becomes his favorite food!


Ingredients:

tomatoes - 2 large
split yellow pigeon peas (toor dal) - 1 tbsp
whole black pepper - 1 tsp
cumin seeds - 1 tsp
carom seeds - 1/2 tsp
clarified butter (ghee) - 1 tsp
mustard seeds - 1 tsp
oil - a few drops
fresh coriander leaves - a few

Method:

Fry red gram, pepper, cumin and ajwain in ghee and allow to cool. Dry grind in a mixer and keep aside. Cut tomatoes and blend into a pulp. Boil tomato pulp and pepper mixture in 2 cups of water. Fry mustard in oil and when it splutters, add to the rasam. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.
Veggie Pasta
Who doesn't like Italian food? Well, this flavorful, healthy pasta is one of my regular weeknight dinner recipes. Light, yet filling, it is just perfect!


Ingredients:

whole grain pasta (rotini) - 2 cups
diced carrots + peas - 1/2 cup
yellow squash (cut) - 1
pasta sauce - 7 tbsp
olive oil - 1 tbsp
oregano - 1 tsp
basil - 1 tsp
juice of half a lemon
grated parmesan cheese - 2 tsp
freshly ground pepper
salt to taste

Method:

Boil pasta, carrots and peas in water until cooked and drain. (Do not use a lot of water, and try not to throw it away - it has nutrients!) Fry pasta sauce in olive oil for a minute along with squash, oregano, basil, salt, pepper and a teaspoon of cheese. Add cooked pasta and vegetables. Stir well for a couple of minutes and remove from fire. Squeeze lemon and serve with a topping of the remaining cheese.
Crispy rice balls (Seedai)
Seedai is a melt-in-the-mouth south-Indian snack, usually prepared for Krishna Jayanthi (Janmashtami), the birthday of Lord Krishna, the Hindu God of love and divine joy. This is perhaps the only Hindu festival celebrated at midnight. I love this festival because it gives me enough time to prepare these delicacies after getting back from work :)



Ingredients:

rice flour - 2 cups
urad flour - 2 tbsp
coconut (powdered / ground) - 2/3 cups
cumin seeds - 1 tsp
sesame seeds - 1 tsp
butter - 2 tsp
chilli powder - 2 to 3 tsp (adjust according to taste)
salt - about 1 1/4 tsp (adjust according to taste)
water - about 1 cup

Method:

Lightly roast the flour in butter and add all the ingredients. Mix well. Make a stiff dough. Roll out into small round/oblong shapes and deep fry till golden brown. Drain on a kitchen towel, allow to cool and store in an air-tight container.
Tomato Crepe (Dosa)
The touch of tangy tomato adds a zing to my plain crepes. I first got the idea at my office cafeteria when I was working in Bangalore. But whatever approach they follow, I could hardly taste the tomato in it! However, the very color of the dosa, with the tint of orange, was tempting enough to make me try out my own version of it.


Ingredients:

dosa batter - 250 grams
tomato - 3 medium-sized
oil for frying

Method:

Cut tomatoes into big pieces and blend without water in a food processor until there are no lumps. Add to the batter. Heat a frying pan. Pour a small quantity of batter and spread into a thin crepe. Add oil along the edges. Fry on low heat till crisp (preferably without flipping). Serve with hot spicy green chutney.
Mung Bean - Carrot curry
Whenever my mom makes carrot curry with mung beans in it, I love the combo curry. Mung adds a nice touch to the taste of carrot, and they go well together.


Ingredients:

grated carrot - 1 cup
split yellow mung beans - 1/2 cup
green chillies - 3 medium-sized (adjust according to taste)
curry powder - 1/2 tsp
oil - 1 tbsp
mustard seeds - 1 tsp
cumin seeds (jeera) - 1 tsp
black gram (urad dal) - 1 tsp
curry leaves - a twig
lemon juice - a few drops

Method:

Add 1 cup water to mung beans and microwave for 5 minutes. Take oil in a sauce pan and add mustard, cumin, black gram and curry leaves. When it splutters, add green chillies and fry for a minute. Mix in the mung beans and carrots. Stir for a few minutes and mix in the lemon juice.
Instant veg upma
This is a versatile Indian convenience food item. Whenever I don't feel like putting in a lot of thought or effort into my cooking, this is the perfect go-to candidate - a wholesome meal without a great deal.


Ingredients:

mixed vegetables (cabbage, carrot, peas, beans, onion) - 1 cup
broken rice / semolina - 1 cup
green chillies - 3 (adjust according to taste)
oil - 1 tbsp
mustard seeds - 1 tsp
cumin seeds (jeera) - 1 tsp
black gram (urad dal) - 1 tsp
curry leaves - 1 stalk
salt - 1 tsp (adjust according to taste)

Method:

Take oil in a sauce pan. Add mustard, cumin and black gram. When it splutters, add green chillies and curry leaves. Add rice / semolina and fry for a few minutes. Mix vegetables and stir for a couple of minutes. Add 3 cups of warm water and microwave for 10 minutes until cooked and serve hot with chutney.
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