Mixed Vegetable Pulav/Pilaf (Gluten free, Vegan)

Mixed Vegetable Pulav/Pilaf (Gluten free, Vegan)

This is an easy recipe and can be made for the lunch box or even for a party.

Recipe for Mixed Vegetable Pulav:

Ingredients: (Serves 6-8)

  • Brown Rice/ Basmati: 2 cups (soak in water for 30 mins)
  • Tomatoes: 3 medium (finely chopped)
  • Onions: 1 1/2 big or 2 medium sized (finely sliced)
  • Garlic: 3-4 (finely chopped)
  • Ginger: 1 ” piece (grated)
  • Green chilies: 1-4 (depending on your heat tolerance)
  • Mixed vegetables: 1 1/2 cups cut into bite sized pieces(carrot,cauliflower, peas, green beans)
  • Cinnamon: 2″ stick
  • Cloves: 4-5nos.
  • Peppercorns: 5-6 nos.
  • Bay leaf: 2nos.
  • Cardamoms: 4 nos.
  • Jeera/Cumin seeds: 2 tsp
  • Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
  • Red chili powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder: 1 1/2 tsp (heaped)
  • Garam masala: 1/4 tsp
  • Oil/ Butter/ Ghee: 3 tbsp
  • Water: 4 cups
  • Salt: to taste
  • Cilantro leaves: 2 tbsp (chopped) for garnishing
  • Mint leaves: a few (for garnish)

Method: 

  1. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker, add the whole spices (cumin, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, cardamom, peppercorn).
  2. When the jeera seeds start to sizzle, add the chopped garlic and saute on a low flame till it starts to brown.
  3. Add turmeric and the onions, salt and saute till the onions start turning pinkish brown.
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook till they are completely mashed and oil starts to leave the sides.
  5. Add the red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala and mix well.
  6. Then add the mixed vegetables and mix till the masala coats the vegetables.
  7. Strain the rice and add it and mix for 1-2 minutes.
  8. Add the water, mix and taste the water for salt and flavours.
  9. close the lid of the pressure cooker and cook for 2 whistles. Switch off
  10. Once the pressure drops open the cooker and garnish with coriander leaves(cilantro) and mint leaves. Slowly fluff the pulav a little.
  11. Serve the mixed vegetable pulav with raita.

 


Fennel (Saunf) Bulb Salad (with mixed fruits and carrots)

The fennel bulb is actually the base of the fennel(saunf) plant. It’s a shame that it isn’t used in India as it is edible and has some of the benefits of saunf. The fennel bulb is low in calories and rich in fibre and contains vitamin C and potassium. Fennel (saunf) has been used for ages for aiding digestion after meals and also as a carminative (relieving flatulence/gas) and the same properties are present in the bulb too. It has a mild saunf flavor and a lovely crunchy texture and is perfect for salads.

ChatPata Fennel Bulb salad

Try out this easy salad with mixed fruits. I just use whatever fruits and salad vegetables there are at home, so feel free to try out your own combination:

Ingredients for Fennel Salad:

  • Fennel bulb: 1/2 (finely sliced)
  • Carrot: 1 medium (cut into thin sticks)
  • Apple: 2 (cut into sticks)
  • Blue Grapes: 15 ( quartered)
  • Navel Oranges: 2 (thinly sliced)
  • Lemon juice: from 1 lemon
  • Apple Cider vinegar: 2 tbsp
  • Honey/Sugar: 1 tsp (optional)
  • Chaat masala: 1 tsp (optional-I love the Indian flavour it adds to the salad)
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Add the Apple Cider Vinegar and lemon juice, salt and chaat masala and toss.
  3. Chill in the fridge for at least half and hour.
  4. Toss again before serving.

 

 


Bell Pepper Fried Rice (Vegan, Gluten free)

Capsicum Rice (Indian Style Bell Pepper Fried Rice)

Capsicum or bell peppers are rich in vitamins A, C, K, niacin and folate along with copper and magnesium. The red bell peppers have more vitamin A and  C when compared to the green peppers.

Ingredients for Capsicum Rice:

  • Cooked Basmati Rice: 2 Cups
  • Capsicums(bell peppers)-2 big cubed or 3 small (you can use coloured too)
  • Onions: 1 medium (finely sliced)
  • Cashew nuts (or peanuts): a few (optional)
  • Mustard Seeds: 1 tsp
  • Urad dal: 2 tsp
  • Channa dal: 2 tsp
  • Coriander Seeds: 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Dry red chillies(adjust spice level according to heat tolerance): 3-4 piece
  • Fresh Curry Leaves: 10-12 number
  • Roasted Peanuts: 3 tbsp
  • Garam Masala powder: 1 tsp
  • Oil: 2 tbsp
  • Ghee: 1 tbsp
  • Coriander leaves: 1 tbsp (chopped) for garnish (optional)

Method:

  1. Dry roast (no oil) mustard seeds,cumin seeds,urad dal, channa dal, coriander seeds, curry leaves, dry red chillies on medium heat till the rawness disappears and the flavors come out. Switch off and let it cool.
  2. Once cool, add the roasted peanuts and grind  to a make a fine powder.
  3. Heat oil in a vessel and add the sliced onions and saute till golden brown.
  4. Then add the sliced capsicums and cashew nuts(or peanuts) and fry them till the capsicum are still crunchy in texture. Add salt to taste and mix.
  5. Reduce heat and add the the ground masala powder, garam masala and mix well.
  6. Then add the cooked rice and combine.
  7. Garnish with the chopped coriander.
  8. Serve hot with raita.

Quinoa Pulav with mixed vegetables and green masala (How to make Quinoa Pilaf)

“Quinoa” (pronounced keen-wah) is a high protein ‘pseudo cereal’ (foods that are cooked and eaten like grains and have a similar nutrient profile). Quinoa is actually a seed and is rich in complete protein, fibre, the B vitamins and healthy monounsaturated fats. It is believed that substituting quinoa for grains like polished rice and wheat could improve the blood glucose levels in diabetics and the cholesterol levels . Also, since it has a high fibre content it is a good choice for those looking to lose weight (portion sizes still matter).

This pulav has a nice flavour since I used green masala( paste of coriander leaves, mint leaves, ginger and green chilies) and lots of vegetables.

Vegan Quinoa Pulav

Ingredients for Healthy Quinoa Pulav with green masala (Serves 4-5)

  • Quinoa: 1 1/2 cups *I use the cup that comes with the rice cooker (wash in several changes of water)
  • Mixed vegetables: 2 cups (green beans, carrots, broccoli, spinach)
  • Onions: 1 big (finely sliced)
  • Tomato: 1 no. (finely chopped)
  • Ginger+Garlic paste: 2 tsp
  • Pepper corns: 4-5nos.
  • Cardamom: 2 nos.
  • Cummin/Jeera seeds: 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon: 1/2″ piece
  • Bay leaf: 1 no.
  • Cloves: 2-3
  • Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder: 2 tsp
  • Garam masala: 1/2 tsp
  • Green chili: 1 slit
  • Water/ Chicken stock: 3 cups
  • Oil: 3tsp
  • Salt: to taste

For Green Masala ( Grind together):

  • Coriander leaves: 1 small bunch
  • Mint leaves : 10-12
  • Green chilies: 2-4nos. (adjust according to your heat tolerance)
  • Ginger: 1/2
  • Water: a little to grind

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a kadai, add the whole spices (jeera, cardamom, peppercorns,bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon), then add the turmeric, sliced onions, green chili and saute till the onions start turning golden brown.
  2. Then add the mixed vegetables, ginger+garlic paste and saute till the vegetables are half cooked.
  3. Add the tomatoes, 2-3 tbsp of the green masala, salt and cook till the tomatoes are all mashed up.
  4. Add the washed and soaked quinoa and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  5. Add 3 cups of water (or chicken stock) , taste for salt and cover and cook till it boils.
  6. Then turn down the flame and let it simmer till the quinoa is cooked and fluffy (sprinkle some water on top if needed). Stir occasionally and switch off when the quinoa is cooked.
  7. Fluff before serving. Serve with raita or with some gravy dish(paneer,chicken)

 

 


Cauliflower Sabzi (Cauliflower and tomato sabzi-No Onion)

Cauliflowers are a good source of vitamins like vitamin C and K , thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B6, folate, and beta-carotenes, minerals, proteins, antioxidants, phytochemicals and fibre. The sulphur content of cauliflower has been found to benefit heart health and fight cancers.

Ingredients for Cauliflower sabzi:

  • Cauliflower: 1 medium , cut into bite size florets
  • Tomatoes: 3-4 medium, finely chopped
  • Garlic(optional): 1-2 cloves, finely chopped
  • Green chilies: 1-2
  • Red chili powder: 2-3tsp (as per heat tolerance)
  • Coriander: 1tbsp
  • Cumin powder: 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds/jeera: 1 tsp
  • Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
  • Corriander/Cilantro leaves: 2 tbsp chopped (for garnish)
  • Oil: 3tsp
  • Salt: to taste

Method: 

  1. Heat oil in a kadai, add the jeera and turmeric powder, then the tomatoes and salt and saute till the oil leaves the sides.
  2. Add the cauliflower florets and mix well. Cover and cook on very low flame (you can also use a deep steel plate with sides as the lid and add some water on the top, the cauliflower will cook in it’s own water).
  3. Keep checking and mix well, sprinkle a little water if needed. Switch off till the cauliflower is cooked.
  4. Garnish with cilantro and serve as a side with rice and dal or with roti’s.

 

 


Bhindi Peanut Masala (Okra in peanut gravy)

This is a gravy style bhindi masala with peanuts. The peanuts add a lovely flavour to the gravy.

Ingredients for Bhindi in Peanut Masala: Serves 4-6

  • Bhindi/ Okra: 250gms (wash well and dry completely)
  • Roasted peanuts (skinned): a big handful
  • Tomatoes: 2 diced
  • Green chilies: 1-2 nos. (depending on your spice tolerance)
  • Garlic: 4-5 cloves
  • Ginger: 1/2 ” piece
  • Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder: 1 tbsp
  • Cumin powder: 1/4 tsp
  • Garam masala: 1/4 tsp
  • Red chili powder: 1-2 tsp (use more if you like it hot)
  • Bay leaf: 1 no.
  • Cumin seeds/ jeera: 1 tsp
  • Oil: 4 tsp
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Dry the okra/bhindi and cut into one inch pieces.
  2. Heat about 3 tsp oil in a kadai and add the bhindi pieces. Stir fry till the bhindi turns a little brown. remove from flame and keep aside.
  3. Meanwhile, put the tomatoes, peanuts, green chilies, garlic and ginger in a blender and blend to a fine paste (without adding water).
  4. Heat a teaspoon of oil in the same kadai, add the jeera , turmeric and the bay leaf then add the paste, salt, red chili powder, cumin powder, garam masala and coriander powder and saute till the oil leaves the sides.
  5. Then add the fried bhindi and mix well. Add about a cup of water and simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Check for salt (and spices), serve with rice and dal or with roti/phulkas.

 


Appam ( Fermented Rice Pancakes)

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Ingredients for Appam (without yeast):

  • Raw Rice : 2 cups
  • Coconut: 1 cup grated
  • Salt to taste
  • Baking Soda: 1/2 tsp(traditionally made using toddy or yeast)
  • Water as needed for grinding
  • Oil for greasing pan

Method:

  1. Wash and soak the rice for 5-6 hours (you can soak it in the morning, then grind it in the evening).
  2. Grind it in a mixie along with the coconut and water till you get a smooth paste.
  3. Let it ferment overnight. In the morning add some salt, baking soda and some water and make it into a smooth batter.
  4. Heat a non stick appam chatti ( or a mini wok) on medium heat. Pour a ladle of batter in the center, then swirl the pan to spread the batter on the sides of the pan (the centre should be a little thicker than the sides)
  5. Cover and cook for about a minute.
  6. Uncover, add a little oil along the sides of the chatti/wok.
  7. Remove the appam (if you want it crisper, cook a little longer till the edges start browning) and serve along with stew (veg/chicken) or chutney or curry (chicken/ goat/ egg).

 

 

 

 


Spaghetti Squash (and a Low-carb dish)

So what’s so great about me putting up a photo of a plate of spaghetti??
Look more closely-that’s not your regular spaghetti-it’s a SQUASH!!!!! A couple of weeks back when I was chatting with my brother, he had mentioned that he had recently tried spaghetti squash and that got me intrigued and I quickly put it on my shopping list. I found it quite easily,but I wasn’t too sure if it was the right one as it looked no different from the rest of the squash where it was kept( I guess I was expecting something which at least vaguely resembled spaghetti),but the label on it very clearly said “Spaghetti Squash” and also had cooking instructions (thank you very much).

The instructions said that I could either bake it or microwave it-I microwaved it on high for about 7-8 minutes(after piercing the rind) and let it cool for sometime before cutting it open-and voila, there was the spaghetti just staring at me-beautiful!!!

Spaghetti squash

I hadn’t even thought of what to do with it. I could make spaghetti(after all it was named after it) or I could use it as noodles. Since this was the first time,I settled with a simple spaghetti dish with sauteed vegetables along with grated Parmesan cheese (you could try adding chicken, meatballs).  The result was a nice crunchy dish( and it was all vegetables!!) which was very filling.

Spaghetti Squash

Next time I’m going to be a little more adventurous and try out something new-maybe a salad, or maybe a stir-fry dish,or use it as noodles. Any suggestions??

Question: How would you like to try out Spaghetti squash?


Collard Upkari (a Mangalorean style stir-fry)

LoveToTakePhotos / Pixabay

Collard Greens

“Upkari”(or stir-fry) is a very simple vegetarian dish which is a regular in most Mangalorean households. You can make ‘upkari’ with any vegetable (cabbage,beans,radish, string beans,etc) or with any green leafy vegetable. ‘Upkari’s’ are traditionally made by adding the chopped vegetable/leaves to the tempering along with one or two slit green chillies and cooked till done. At the end, a garnish of freshly grated coconut(Mangalore is a coastal town in Southern India and has an abundance of coconut trees,and hence the use of coconut in almost every dish) is added which gives it the characteristic flavor.
I’ve modified the recipe for the collard upkari by adding some chopped onions, and a pinch of asafoetida(hing) as I like the flavor it adds to the dish.

Ingredients for Collard upkari:

  • Collard leaves (or any green leafy vegetable) : 1 bunch (chopped)
  • Green chilly:1-2(slit length wise)
  • Onion-1/2 medium (finely chopped) optional
  • Coconut: 2-3 tbsp(freshly grated/frozen)
  • Salt to taste

For the tempering:

  • Oil: 1tsp
  • Mustard seeds: 1tsp
  • Urad dal: 1tsp
  • Asafoetida/hing: a pinch(optional)
  • Curry leaves: 3-4 (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds and urad dal.
  2. When the mustard starts to pop, add the asafoetida and the curry leaves.
  3. Add the chopped ginger,slit green chillies and onions and saute till the onions turn translucent.
  4. Add the chopped collard (or any of the other vegetables/green leafy vegetables) and stir-fry for 10mins.
  5. Then add a little water, salt to taste and cover and cook till done.
  6. Garnish the collard upkari with the coconut scrapings. Serve hot with a dash of lime (goes well with dal and rice).
Note: You can add 1/2 cup of split moong(wash and soak for 15 mins-add at step 5 with the water) or cooked pulses(kabuli channa) to add some protein to the dish.

Q. Which is your favorite recipe with greens?


Sabut Masoor ki dal (Whole Pink Lentil Soup)

In a move to popularize the use and intake, 2016 was declared by the United Nations as the ‘Year of the Pulses’. The aim of this was “to heighten public awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production aimed towards food security and nutrition”.

Dals, pulses/legumes are a staple in the Indian diet for years, but it has not a popular food item internationally. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO): “In a balanced and diverse diet, the nutritious seeds can be consumed every day alongside fruit, vegetables, herbs, cereals and other fresh foods. Pulses provide an affordable alternative to animal protein. Additionally, they are rich in dietary fibre, vitamin B complex, and minerals, such as calcium, zinc, and iron.Food and nutrition education can promote the consumption of pulses.Food and nutrition education programs are crucial for teaching adequate pulse consumption in order to maximize the absorption of nutrients: For example, matching pulses with cereals to obtain a complete protein, consuming them with vitamin C (e.g. ascorbic acid) in order to increase iron absorption and avoiding to eat them with tea or coffee which, in contrast, would limit it “. Researchers have shown that eating whole pulses and lentils can lower cholesterol levels.

Ingredients for Sabut Masoor ki dal:

  • Whole pink lentil (sabut masoor): 1 cup (washed and soaked for an hour)
  • Onion: 2 medium (diced)
  • Tomatoes: 3 nos.
  • Ginger: 1 ‘ piece
  • Garlic: 3-4 nos.
  • Green chili: 1-2 (as per your heat tolerance)
  • Coriander/cilantro leaves: 3-4 tbsp chopped
  • Garam masala: 1 tsp
  • Chole Masala: 3 tsp (or as per your taste)
  • Oil: 2tsp
  • Jeera/cumin seeds: 2 tsp
  • Bay leaf: 1no.
  • turmeric: 1tsp
  • Hing/asafoetida: a pinch
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker, when it is hot add the jeera/cumin seeds, bay leaf, turmeric powder and hing.
  2. Add the onions and fry till they start turning brown. In the meanwhile, puree the tomatoes with the ginger,garlic and green chilies.
  3. When the onions start to brown, add the puree, the garam masala, chole masala, salt and stir till the oil leaves the sides.
  4. Drain the soaked sabut masoor and add them to the masala. Mix well, then add two cups of water.
  5. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and let it cook for one whistle. Switch off.
  6. Let the pressure drop, then open the lid, check for spices, salt. If it’s too thick you can add a little water and simmer for a few minutes.
  7. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with rice or rotis.

To make a soup– Follow the same method but add a cup of seasonal mixed vegetables (green beans, carrots, cauliflower, etc) and chopped spinach when you add the sabut masoor/pink lentils (Step 4). Then close and pressure cook for one whistle. When you open the cooker, add water to make it into a soup consistency  and let it simmer. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leave  and add a dash of lime. Serve hot. Makes a very filling soup.