Saturday, January 29, 2011

Eggplant Raita/Yogurt Dip (Katharikai Pachidi)

Eggplant may not be one of the top food in many people's favorite food list. But there are so many interesting and tasty dishes one can prepare using this vegetable. Eggplant referred to as Brinjal or Aubergine is technically a fruit and is a native to India. It contains numerous vitamins and minerals, plus eggplant contains phytonutrients, antioxidants which can help prevent damage from free radicals and protection from certain types of cancer. With so many nutritional benefits and also with a superb taste, there should be no reason why any body shouldn't try this recipe.

Preparation Time - 15 Minutes
Cooking Time - 2 Minutes
Serves - 2


Big Round Purple Eggplants - 2
Thick Yogurt - 2 Cups
Onion - 1
Salt - 1 Tsp
Cilantro - Chopped finely 1 Tbsp


Sesame Oil - 1 Tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 Tsp
Green Chili - 1 to 2 as per taste
Asafoetida powder - 1/4 Tsp


1) Wash and dry the eggplants.

2) In a medium open flame roast the eggplant one at a time, by rotating the eggplant once in a while, so that it gets evenly roasted on all the sides. Roast till the skin becomes charred and starts cracking. It is very easy to peel the eggplant after it is roasted.

3) Once the eggplant is completely roasted, remove it from fire and place it in a bowl and cover it for 10-15 minutes. This will ensure that the eggplant is evenly cooked on the inner side as well.

4) Once the eggplant is cold enough to handle with hands, peel the eggplant and mash it with your hands or a with a spoon.

5) To this mashed eggplant, add chopped onions, cilantro, salt, yogurt and combine thorougly.

6) Heat little oil, to this add mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds stop spluttering, add asafoetida and slit green chilies. Leave this for a few seconds and then transfer it to the raita and serve.

Note - You can add grated carrots, chopped bell pepper etc. But a simple eggplant alone or eggplant + onion tastes great.

Event Participation

1) This goes to Healing Foods - Eggplant event by Seasoned & Dressed an event started by Siri.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tomato Soup

How to make Tomato Soup

There are certain vegetables which can be had with out worrying too much about the carb count. Tomato is one of them, technically a fruit but used in cooking as a vegetable. Tomato is a very good blood purifier. It contains a host of Vitamins A, C and K and other minerals and is also rich in Lycopene a defense sytem needed to fight against free radical damage. The presence of antioxidants in tomatoes is said to be helpful in cleansing toxic compounds from the body. So there is no reason not to include this wonder vegetable(fruit) in the every day diet.

Cooking Time : 15-20min

Preparation Time : 5-10 min

Serves - 4


Tomato - 4 big (chopped)

Celery - 1 Stick (finely chopped)

Onion or Scallion - 1 or 2 Stalks (finely chopped)

Onion powder - 1/2 tsp

Garlic powder - 1/2 tsp (optional)

Pepper - 1/2 tsp or to taste

Salt to taste

Coconut Oil/Ghee/Butter - 2 tsp



1) Heat 1 tsp of oil and add the chopped celery and  tomato pieces. Cover and cook till the vegetables are softened, stirring in between.

2) Switch of the stove and let the cooked vegetables cool down.

3) Once the vegetables are cooled completely, transfer them to a blender and blend thoroughly till you get a nice smooth puree. (I have a vitamix so, I get a perfect puree and there is no need to strain and discard the fiber)

4) Heat the rest of the oil and sauté the scallion  and transfer the pureed contents to the pan and add water to the desired consistency.

5) Add the onion powder, garlic, salt and stir, simmer till the soup starts bubbling and then switch off.

6)  Now add pepper powder and  a dash of Ghee(clarified butter) or Coconut oil to the soup and serve.

Event Participation

1) This soup goes to My Culinary Creations: Soup Recipes Event.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Greens, Fruit, Nut & Veggie Salad with Yogurt & Honey Dressing

Eating vegetables raw is good as they retain the optimum nutrients required for the body. Cooking or over cooking leads to lose of nutrients, so try to include atleast one raw vegetable in your diet every day.
Salads are a good way to include raw vegetables in the diet. This is a very easy to make salad, the addition of fruits and nuts add lot of taste and make it very interesting to eat.

I had two cups of Organic Spring mix left out, a carrot,  bell pepper, half orange, a carrot and half an apple. Added handful of pistachio and sliced almonds and raisins. Addition of yogurt and honey made this salad taste almost like a dessert. Toss everything together and enjoy.

Preparation Time - 10 Minutes
Cooking Time - Nil
Serves - 2


Organic Spring Mix ( Baby Lettuces, Baby Greens, Endive, Radicchio) - 2 Cups
Organic Carrot - 1
Chopped bell pepper - 1/4 Cup
Chopped apple - 1/2
Diced Oranges - 1/2
Pistachio and Sliced Almonds - Handful
Raisins - Handful


Thick Yogurt - 1/4 Cup
Olive Oil - 1 Tbsp
Honey - 1/2 Tbsp
Orange Juice - 1 Tbsp


1) Add all the dressing ingredients in a shaker or container and shake it to mix well.

2) In a big bowl, add all the salad ingredients and add the dressing, toss, chill and serve.

Note - If you are looking for a salad for a person on diabetic diet, exclude carrots, raisins, apple and orange. Add cherry tomatoes, feta cheese and go for Balsamic Vinaigrette as salad dressing. But substitute the sugar in the salad dressing with Xylitol. Will post later on how to make Balsamic Vinaigrette at home.


1) This goes to Only Salads hosted by Chef and her Kitchen an event started by Pari.

3) This salad goes to The Seasonal Sundal event.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Kesar Peda (Saffron Infused Milk Sweet with Xylitol)

Peda is an Milk based Indian sweet done by simmering milk and adding saffron, cardamom and sweetner. This peda recipe is from Manjula's Kitchen and much simpler, easier and comes out perfect. I pretty much followed the original recipe except for substituting the Sugar with Xylitol. If you search for Xylitol recipes and information, you will find information stating that it can be substitute 1:1 for sugar. But it has a chilling feeling on the tongue which becomes more pronouced when added in equal amounts. So I have added only half the quantity, of the sugar mentioned in the recipe.

Now getting on to the recipe


Paneer - 3/4 Cup ( I used 4 Cups of Milk

Milk powder - 1/3 Cup

Milk - 1/3 Cup

Xylitol (Sweetener) - 1/4 Cup (if using sugar instead of xylitol go for 1/2 cup)

Unsalted butter - 2 Tablespoon

Cardamom powder - 1/4 Tsp

Saffron strands - pinch

For Garnish:

18 shelled pistachio seeds


1) Warm the milk and add the saffron strands so that it gets soaked for 10-15 minutes and the you get a nice orange color.

2) Heat a thick bottomed pan and add butter.

3) Once the butter melts add milk, milk powder, and paneer. Mix it well.

4).Cook mixture on medium heat stirring continuously until mixture starts leaving the sides of the frying pan and becomes like dough. This should take about 12 - 15 minutes. Now this is known as khoya.

5) Transfer the khoya into a bowl and let it cool off until khoya becomes just lukewarm and easy to handle with hand.

6) Mix the Xylitol and cardamom powder into the khoya and knead it for about a minute until every thing blends together and becomes a soft dough.

7) Divide the mix into about 18 equal parts and roll them into round balls. Lightly press it down with a pistachio on every peda, similar to a thumb print cookie.

8) Stays good for 3-4 days at room temperature and few weeks in the refrigerator and buy that mine was all done.

Almond Flour Sesame Cookies


In my house we are almost gluten free and going kind of grain free too. But you will continue to see recipes with gluten and grain, because I have atleast a hundred sitting in my drafts. After going Gluten free, the first step one would look for is Gluten free flours like bean flours, I did try them and will also post it soon. But personally I didn't like the taste of bean flours. So when going through the other options, I landed in Elana's Gluten Free Sesame Cookies . This was my first try using Almond flour few months back and we all just loved it.  I bake all different kind of cookies now with Almond flour and with my own combinations and own recipes and will post them soon.

But getting on to this easy and delicious recipe, except for few variations given below I pretty much sticked on to the original recipe. I don't use Agave Nectar and substituted it with Maple syrup and added Almond butter instead of Tahini and used Ghee(clarified butter - with is casein free) instead of grape seed oil.

Preparation Time - 10 Minutes

Cooking Time - 10 Minutes

Serves - (Makes around 12-15 Cookies depending on the size)


Almond Flour - 1 1/4 Cup

Salt - 1/4 Tsp

Baking Soda - 1/2 Tsp

Maple Syrup - 1/4 Cup

Almond Butter - 1/3 Cup

Clarified Butter - 1 Tablespoon

Vanilla extract - 1 Tsp

Sesame seeds - 1/4 Cup

1.In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt and baking soda

2. In another bowl blend Maple syrup, Ghee, vanilla extract and Almond Butter to a smooth paste.

3.Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients.

4. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees Fahrenhiet.

5. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and roll in the sesame seeds

6. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and flatten and bake for 8-10 minutes until they become light brown.

7.Cool and store in a airtight container. Keeps good at room temperature for atleast a week.


Event Participation

This entry goes to Sugar High Friday # 73 - Grain free baking an event started by Domestic Goddess.

Kale Sambar(Stew)


Kale is the King of Greens along with Brocolli. Though greens in general are nutritious foods, kale stands a head above the rest. Not only is it one of your best sources of beta-carotene, one of the antioxidants believed by many nutrition experts to be a major player in the battle against cancer, heart disease, and certain age-related chronic diseases, it also provides other important nutrients. In addition to beta-carotene, kale posses other important carotenoids: lutein and zeaxathin. These carotenoids help keep UV rays from damaging the eyes and causing cataracts. Include kale as part of your daily Diet to get rid of your glasses.

Kale can be eaten in so many ways, steamed, baked, raw in salad or adding them to vegetable juices and soup. I had a big bunch and they taste the best when they are fresh and green, so to use them up I tried to add this to Sambar(stew) and they justed tasted great.

Preparation Time - 15 Minutes

Cooking Time - 20 Minutes

Serves - 4


Kale - 1/2 Bunch

Cooked Thoor Dal - 1 1/2 Cups (Cooked and mashed)

Water - 4 Cups

Tamarind - small lemon sized ball or a big goose berry sized ball( soak them in little bit of water, once it softens, adding 1/2 cup of water each time squeeze out the juice for 3 times and keep it aside. After soaking, take the softened tamarind and the top portion of the juice alone as you might notice little bit of sediments getting deposited in the bottom).

Sambar Powder - 1 1/2 Tsp or to your taste based on the spiciness of your choice

Salt - 1 1/2 Tsp or to taste

Rice Flour - 1 1/2 Tsp made to a thick paste by adding a Table spoon of water

Onion - 1


Coconut Oil - 2 Tsp

Mustard seeds - 1 Tsp

Asafoetida - 1 small piece or 1/4 Tsp (For gluten free avoid this)

Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 Tsp

Green Chili - 2 to 3


1) Wash, rinse and remove the thick stem from the kale and then chop them into fine pieces.

2) Add little bit of salt and water and cover to cook the kale till tender.

3) Remove the kale from heat and using a masher, mash them up nicely and keep it aside.

4) Heat a pan add a tsp of oil and add the chopped onions, once they are translucent add the extracted tamarind juice, remaining salt, sambar powder and boil till the raw smell is gone.

5) Heat another small, add the remaining oil, once hot add the mustard seeds, asafoetida powder. After the mustard seeds stop spluttering add  fenugreek seeds, green chili and once the fenugreek seeds slightly brown add it to the boiling tamarind juice.

6) Now add the mashed kale and thoor dal, rice paste and the remaining water and simmer for 5 minutes and then switch off.

7) Serve this with cooked quinoa or rice and enjoy.

Note - I like my sambar to thick like a stew, if you want it to be thin add more water and accordingly adjust your salt and spiciness at stage 6.


Event Participation

1)  This goes to Food Palette Series - Green.

2) This goes to MLLA-31 an event hosted by Bricole and started by Susan.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chickpea Sundal

Sundal is a boiled and sauteed bean dish with spices, coconut or onion. You can customize it to your taste, by adding chopped onions, carrot, cucumber or grated mango. Jazz it up little bit with a dash of lemon juice.
Very simple and easy to make but surely tastes great. You can have it as a snack or light dinner with a cup of yogurt or include this as part of your lunch, breakfast or dinner. Options are endless, but do try out and you will be glad you did.

Preparation Time - 0
Cooking Time - 20 Minutes
Serves - 4


Dry Chick Peas - 1 Cup ( Rinse, soak the dry chick peas with enough water overnight)
Salt - 1 Tsp or to taste
Curry powder - 1 Tbsp
Grated Coconut - 2 Tbsp
Curry leaves - few
Coconut Oil -1 Tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 Tsp
Asafoetida powder - 1/4 Tsp


1) Pressure cook the soaked chick peas with enough water covering the surface and adding the salt and half of the asafoetida powder for three whistles.

2) Drain the excess water and you can add this water to soup, stock, sambar etc.

3) Heat a pan, add a tsp of coconut oil. Once the oil is hot, then add mustard seeds. After the mustard seeds stop spluttering add the asafoetida powder, curry leaves and drained chick peas.

4) At this stage if you want more salt add and saute for 3-4 minutes, now add curry powder and grated coconut and saute for 2-3 minutes and switch off.

5) Enjoy.

Event Participation

This dish goes to Complete my Thali event hosted by Taste of Mysore an event started by Jagruti.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Payathamparuppu Sundal


Looking for a quick, healthy, low carb, gluten free, high protein snack. Then surely try this one and you will be happy you did. This legume is very easy to digest, high in protein and low in carb. Best for growing children, people who are on a low carb, low sugar diet, weight watchers. Make this simple sundal and have it along with your breakfast, lunch, dinner or even as a healthy evening snack.

Preparation Time - 0

Cooking Time - 25 Minutes

Serves - 2


Yellow Mung Bean(Split Mung Dal) - 1 Cup

Salt - 3/4 Tsp or to taste

Asafoetida powder - 1/4 tsp

Green Chili - 2 to 3 or to taste

Curry leaves - few

Grated Coconut - 1/2 Cup

Coconut Oil - 1 Tsp

Mustard seeds - 1/2 Tsp



1) Boil 2 cups of water and then add payathamparuppu (yellow mung bean) and cook till tender, add more water if you need. Make sure the dal is tender, well cooked and not mushed up. The excess water can be drained and added to sambar or any other dish while cooking.

2) Heat a heavy bottomed wide mouthed pan and to it add a tsp of oil.

3) Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and after they stop spluttering add asafoetida, green chili, curry leaves and saute for a second.

4) Now add the drained dal and salt and stir lightly for 2-3 minutes.

5) To this add the grated coconut, saute for a minute and switch off.

6) Enjoy.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pumpkin Olan(White & Red Pumpkin in Coconut Milk Sauce)

Olan is very popular South Indian(Kerala) Dish made with vegetables and Coconut milk. This Olan recipe is from my Sister and we all enjoyed this in our household and I am sure you will too.

White Pumpkin with a green and white covering can be found in Asian Indian grocery store. The inside of the pumpkin is snow white in color and has a neutral taste unlike the orange pumpkin with a sweet taste. The juice of raw white pumpkin is believed to be very good brain stimulant. Coconut Milk is a good source of a wide range of vitamins, minerals, potassium, folate and other vital nutrients. The bright orange pumpkin is loaded with an important antioxidant, beta-carotene. Current research indicates that a diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and offers protect against heart disease. Beta-carotene offers protection against other diseases as well as some degenerative aspects of aging.


White Pumpkin - 2 cups(Slice into thin squares an inch in dimension)

Orange Pumpkin - 1 1/2 cups

Green Chili Slit into half - 4 or increase it if you want it more spicy

Salt - 1 1/2 tsp or as per taste

Water - 1/4 cup

Coconut Milk - 1 cup

Cooked Black eyed bean - 1/4 cup

Coconut Oil - 2 tsp


1) In a pan add white pumpkin, orange pumpkin, green chili, salt and water.

2) Cover and cook till pumpkin is evenly cooked.

3) Now add the cooked black eyed bean and coconut milk to the cooked pumpkin.

4) Simmer for 5 minutes add 2tsp of coconut oil and switch off.

5) This tastes great with both roti and rice.

6) Note there is no tempering or garnishing in this dish.

Event Participation

This Olan goes straight to the Kerala Kitchen.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fruit & Nut Pie(Raw)

Looking for a quick, delicious and easy dessert. But at the same time without any refined sugars or flour.
Then this dessert is perfect for you. Made with healthy Almonds & iron rich dates and topped with berries, pineapple and kiwi. This not only tastes amazing but looks very pleasing too. Whip some Organic raw heavy cream and xylitol and pipe this over to create an healthy fruit pie and enjoy.

However if you are looking for diabetic friendly dessert, this is not for you. Dates are very high in sugar (fructose). Even though it is a natural form of sugar, this will definetly spike your blood sugar count. So please look for recipes using Xylitol or Stevia if you are on a diabetic diet. You can find lot of dessert ideas in this site itself using Xylitol, so be sure to check it out.

Preparation Time - 10 Minutes
Cooking Time - 0
Serves - Makes 1 Pie


Almonds -1 Cup
Pitted Dates - 1/2 Cup
Powdered Chia - 2 Tbsp

For topping
Cut berries, pineapple and kiwi pieces


1) In a food processor add the dates, almonds and chia powder and process till you get a fine powder.

2) Scoop it out of the food processor and into a circle plate and using your hands, press them gently so that the top is all even out.

3) Now refrigerate for an hour or so, that the pie hardens.

4) Now top with freshly cut fruit pieces and serve.

Event Participation

Saturday, January 1, 2011


This is the basic curry powder recipe, which can be used for Curries, Sundal (Bean Snacks etc), Sambar, Rice. This powder can be easily prepared and stored in a air tight container at room temperature for atleast few months. Because the ingredients are dry roasted, the powder doesn't go bad and stay at the room temperature for few months. Adding this curry powder to the dishes you prepare give a nice taste and flavor. You can also add coconut to the ingredients listed below, but the ground powder has to be kept in the refrigerator and the shelf life is around 1 week. A tsp of fennel seeds and a cinnamon stick can also be added to give a nice aroma to this powder. You can add 1/2 cup Channa dal and 1/2 Cup Peanuts to get a nice sweet taste. There are lot of  different variations you can come up with and there are various dishes you can add this powder to. The options are endless, do try out and you will be happy you did.
Preparation Time - Nil
Cooking Time - 20 Minutes


Coriander Seeds - 2 Cups
Channa Dal  - 1 Cup
Urad Dal - 1/2 Tsp
Dried Red Chili - 1 Cup or to taste


1) Take a heavy bottomed pan, keep it in medium heat.

2) Dry roast channa dal for 5 minutes, then add urad dal, coriander seeds and dry red chili and roast till the color turns slight brown. (Make sure it is brown and not black. Keep stirring to make the ingredients are evenly roasted).

3) Let the roasted mixture cool down for few minutes.

4) In a dry blender, grind the roasted ingredients to a coarse to fine powder and store in a air tight container after the powder completely cools.

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