Brown Rice Cereal Puff Chiwda/ Kara Pori

This is a light and low-calorie snack that can be made in a jiffy.  I have used a sprouted brown rice cereal puff  here. This one has low sugar and is sweetened with coconut palm sugar. You can use any similar healthy cereal puffs or use regular puffed rice instead as well.  I have also used very less oil here.  An ideal savory snack for the festival season.

1. Any kind of puffed rice or rice cereal with low sugar, 3 cups.
2. Peanuts, 1/2 cup.
3. Broken cashews, 1/2 cup.
4. Puffed channa dhal (pottukadalai), 1/2 cup. I have not used it here this time.
5. Curry leaves, a sprig.
6. Chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon or more.
7. Salt, as per taste.
8. Turmeric powder, 1/4 teaspoon.
9. Asafoetida, 1/4 teaspoon.

Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil.  Add the peanuts and cashews and roast them under low flame until the cashews turn light brown and the peanuts are well roasted. Take them from the pan and keep aside. Now add another teaspoon of oil and add the chili powder, turmeric powder, asafoetida,curry leaves, the roasted nuts, cereal, roasted channa dhal and salt and keep mixing everything under low flame until the cereal is well coated with the spices. Turn off the flame and transfer into air-tight containers once cooled. Enjoy as a light snack with a cup of tea or coffee.

Spinach Asparagus and Quinoa Soup

I saw this recipe in PinInterest under detox soup recipes from PopSugar. This turned out to be one of hubby's favorite dinner recipes. This is a complete and balanced one-pot meal and the soup is filling all by itself. We don't need any bread or any other toppings with this as the quinoa delivers the needed carbs for the meal. I just saw the ingredients required for the soup and made it my own way. You can also roast the asparagus for a richer flavor. Make sure to add the pureed spinach at the end, so that the spinach does not overcook and lose it nutrients.

1. Cooked quinoa, 1/2 cup. To cook the quinoa, wash the quinoa thoroughly and cook it on stove top with 1-1/2 cups of water under medium flame. Fluff it with a fork once done. You can also cook the quinoa with a bay leaf for a different taste.
2. Asparagus, 1 stalk, cleaned and trimmed.
3. Garlic, 2 cloves.
4. Spinach, washed, 1 cup.
5. Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup.
6. Lemon juice, 2 tablespoons.
7. Salt and pepper as per taste.
8. Extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon.

Cook the asparagus by baking or boiling along with the garlic cloves and let it cool. Blend it along with the spinach into a smooth puree.  Add this puree into a pot along with 2 cups of water, cooked quinoa, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese. Let it simmer for 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and mix well. Garnish with extra-virgin olive oil and serve hot.

Masala Kichadi

I have been seeing many masala kichadi recipes online recently and got tempted to try my own. There was this one particular recipe in a Facebook group, which got my attention though I couldn't remember the site or the recipe. This recipe looked more like a pulav or briyani more than a kichadi. I made my own version and this one is a keeper for me. This was a big hit with the kids and hubby.  The rice that I have used here is Laxmi Brand Diabetic rice. I wanted to give this a try and it was ok. The rice was whole but when cooking in a rice cooker most of the rice was stuck to the bottom of the cooker, so I have been just cooking this rice on stove top only. Brown rice also works very well here and this one is a ideal one-pot and a lunch box recipe.

I did not use any ground masala here, the only paste that I have used here is a freshly ground garlic, ginger and fennel seeds paste crushed coarsely with a mortar and pestle. This is my grandma's style of cooking. She uses this paste in wonder her cooking was so good :) Try this method and see and you will never go back to grinding ginger and garlic paste and storing it in the fridge.

I have also parboiled the dhal and bit, so that the dhal is fully cooked and mushed up with the rice. I like this taste better than the taste of whole dhal. If preferred, you can just soak up the dhal and cook it with the rice.

1. Rice, 1-1/2 cups, washed and soaked in water for an hour.
2. Moong dhal, 1/2 cup, washed and soaked in water for 2-3 hours. You can also parboil the dhal until they are just tender. This gives a different taste to the dish.
3. Onion, large, 1, diced finely.
4. Tomatoes, 3, medium-size, diced.
5.  Green chilies, 2-3, sliced into two.
6. Garlic, 4 cloves.
7. Ginger, a small piece, the size of an almond, peeled and cut into small pieces.
8.  Curry leaves, a sprig.
9, Mixed cut vegetables like carrots, green beans, peas, etc, 1 cup.
10. Roasted peanuts, 1 cup.
11. Fennel seeds, 1/2 teaspoon.
12.  Bay leaves, 2.
13. Cinnamon, a small stick.
14. Cardamom pods, 2.
15. Cumin seeds, 1/2 teaspoon.
16. Turmeric powder, a pinch.
17. Salt, as per taste.

Crush the garlic, ginger, and fennel seeds into a coarse paste. I used a mortar and pestle for this. You can also use a mixie for this. Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, and cardamom pods and fry for a few seconds. Now add the onions and saute for a few minutes until translucent. Now add the diced tomatoes, curry leaves, green chilies, ginger, garlic and fennel mixture, and turmeric powder and keep sauteing under low flame until everything  is well blended.  Now add 3 cups of water, salt, rice, cut vegetables, peanuts, dhal, mix everything well and let it come to a boil. Reduce the flame to low and let it cook for 15 minutes or more until the rice and dhal is cooked and all the water is absorbed.  The rice can also be cooked in a rice cooker with the same amount of water. Garnish with chopped cilantro and ghee if preferred and serve with any raita and pickle.

Carrot Ginger Soup - Low Calorie Soup Recipes

This was one the soups that I had made when my hubby was training for a bike marathon.  This is his fourth year of the marathon (organized for MS fund raising) completed successfully. I have been making soups regularly for dinner these days since we go for light dinners most of the days.  This is a different kind of soup if you are bored with the regular tomato-based soups. The combination of the carrot and ginger is very good and warming, especially on cold winter nights. The preparation of this soup hardly takes any time at all and they pair well with any kind of crusty breads.

  1. Carrots, 3, large, peeled and cut into medium-size cubes.
  2. Ginger, a small piece about the size of an almond, peeled and cubed.
  3. Bay leaves, 2.
  4. Chopped fresh parsley, 1 tablespoon.
  5. Fennel powder, 1 teaspoon.
  6. Vegetable or chicken bouillon cube, 1. I have used the organic, MSG-free cube from Sprouts. You can find similar kinds of these in any organic grocery stores.
  7. Salt and pepper as per taste.


Microwave or boil the carrots and the ginger together with enough water until they are tender and blend them into a smooth puree once cooled. Now add this puree along with 4 cups of water (2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock and 2 cups of water can also be used here instead), bay leaves, fennel powder, bouillon cube,  salt and pepper and let it simmer for 12 to 15 minutes under low flame until the soup thickens a little. Remove the bay leaves and garnish with chopped parsley and serve hot with any of breads.

Whole Wheat Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are my kids'  favorite cookies. These are our favorite to-go snacks with milk during the weekends when we watch a movie.  I have tried different recipes for these egg-less cookies before and finally came up with this improvised,  tried, and tested recipe.  The cookies can be made in no time at all if you have all the required ingredients.

1. Wheat flour, 1 cup.
2. Semi-sweet or any other chocolate chips, 1/4 cup.
3. Curd, 1 tablespoon.
4. Any sweetener of choice like stevia or splenda, palm sugar, or coconut palm sugar, 1/2 cup. I have used sugar since it was for the kids. You can also use equal parts or white and brown sugar.
5. Baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon.
6. Oil or butter, 2 tablespoons.
7. Salt, a pinch.
8. Milk, 2-3 tablespoons. You can add a little more if the dough is still dry.
9. Vanilla extract, 1/4 teaspoon.

Add the oil, sugar, oil, vanilla extract, curd, salt and milk in a bowl and whisk it until it reaches a creamy consistency. Then add the flour, baking soda, and the chocolate chips and mix until it reaches a dough consistency and we should be able to roll small balls out of them.  If needed a few extra drops of milk can be added at this stage. Gently press the cookie balls on a greased cookie sheet, leaving enough space between each cookie. They expand a little when they bake. Bake the cookies at a preheated 350 degree oven for 15-18 minutes once the edges start to crisp and turn brown. The cookies harden a little once cooled.

Black Bean Enchiladas

For some reason, I have been craving for these black bean enchiladas. I had them long back at a local Mexican restaurant and wanted to try them out at home as well.  I like the flavor of the sauce and cheese combination with the healthy beans, so I when gave a shout out in my house asking who is interested in having black bean enchiladas for dinner,  I heard three big  no's in the background :), hence decided that I might as well make it myself and make my own version with a healthy version instead of the over cheesy version.  The beans do not have any fat at all in them and the only fat in the entire dish is the 1/4 of cheese sprinkled over the enchiladas.  The tortillas  used here are the whole grain, flax seed tortillas.  I had a good friend come over for dinner and she loved them as well. I packed some for her to take it back home.  I am not sure this is original preparation, but loved my version.

1. Tortillas, 3-4, any type, medium-size ones.
2. Enchilada sauce, homemade or store brought, 1-1/2 cups.  I have used red sauce here, there are also green sauces available made with chilies. You ca swap them instead for a more different flavor and spice.
3. Black beans, 1 cup. I have used the dried beans here. I soaked them overnight. Pressure cooked them with just enough water with 2 bay leaves and a teaspoon of garlic salt. You can also use any other seasonings of your choice.  A pinch of Old Bay seasoning gives a very different taste to the beans. Another option is using canned beans. Rinse the beans and then add 1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt or other other seasoning.
4. Cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup or more.

This is just assembling the enchiladas and baking them. Roll the tortillas with 1/4 cup of the beans mixture and a sprinkle of cheese and arrange them on a baking dish as shown in the pictures above. Once this is done, pour over the enchilada sauce over the whole dish making sure all the tortillas are covered with the sauce. I went a little overboard with the sauce, since I like them that way :)  Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the dish and bake them for 25-30 minutes until the sauce is all bubbly and the cheese is melted.  Let it sit for a couple of minutes and serve with sliced avocados.

Benefits Of Consuming Soaked Fenugreek Seeds And Almonds

This is not much of a post but is something that I have been doing over the last couple of years. These small steps everyday go a long way in diabetes management.

Consuming a teaspoon of overnight-soaked fenugreek seeds was suggested to me by an endocrinologist in India.  Aside from the numerous health benefits these wonderful seeds provide, they are  one of the natural sources for controlling blood sugar and consuming them regularly on an empty stomach every morning is said to have a good control on blood sugar and is also good for maintaining the cholesterol levels on the lower side.  One thing to note that is  the seeds are very bitter, so we have to make sure that we swallow them whole, may be with more water if needed.

Every night before going to bed, I make sure to soak a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds and a handful of almonds as well.  The almonds are an ideal mid-morning snack for me.  Along with this, I sometimes have a cup of green tea or Chamomile tea. The tea helps greatly to control the hunger pangs until lunch time for me. Try this and see and let me know how this works out for you :)

Soaking almonds are easier to digest and is also a good source of folic acid.

Here are some benefits of consuming soaked almonds: Keeps the digestion in track; good for heart; helps in maintaining the good fats to bad fats ratio; controls hypertension; helps maintains a healthy weight.

Guest Post by Jonathan Rowntree - What to Pack When You're A Diabetic

Dear friends, here is a very useful article, which will definitely come in handy for us while travelling:

What to Pack When You're A Diabetic

Diabetics lead active lifestyles too. They have families and jobs just like others. They take vacations and trips too. When you suffer from type 1 diabetes, it is extremely important that you pack the right things to take along with you when you travel to avoid complications with managing type 1 diabetes. Here are just a few things you should not leave behind: insulin, needles or other injection devices, other prescribed medications, blood glucose monitor, test strips, alcohol pads, lancets, your diet snacks, diet drinks, and food if you do not plan to dine out, your health care providers name and phone number, your health care insurance card, your medical bracelet, tag or necklace, and proper identification. If your doctor has told you to keep track of your blood glucose levels by log, then don't forget the log so you may continue posting your level.

This is one of the most important things you should never leave behind. Your doctor has prescribed insulin to help you better control your blood sugar or blood glucose level, and without it you may end up in the emergency room with high blood glucose. You may become dehydrated and experience other serious complications.

Needles and other injection devices
These are the only tools that help you get the correct dosage of insulin your doctor has prescribed and leaving these tools behind can cause you a great deal of stress. You can save time and money by not forgetting your injection devices.

Prescribed Medications
If you take medication in the form of pills or liquid to control your glucose level, then pack these things too. Make a check off list before packing to ensure you do not forget the most important things concerning your health.

Diet snacks, drinks, and food
You can save time and money by not forgetting to take your diet along with you. If you are traveling on a budget, then this will be an excellent idea. Eating fast food and fattening food on your trip can cause your glucose level to rise and you can become sick.

Alcohol Pads
Alcohol pads are extremely important to prevent infections when you are giving yourself an injection or checking your blood glucose level using lancets to prick your finger. Before taking your insulin injection, the area should be cleaned properly with the alcohol pad. After taking your injection you should clean the area properly with the alcohol pad.

Overall Diabetes Management
There are diabetic care teams that will help you reach your goals in overall diabetes management. Setting goals will help you better manage the disease. When you reach your goal in diabetes management, you will have improved your overall health and self esteem. A mental health counsellor will also benefit you. They can help you with emotional support, stress and anxiety issues. Reducing stress and anxiety is very important when it comes to regulating blood glucose levels. Packing the right things with you when traveling is also a part of good diabetes management.

Article courtesy of the sell diabetic test strips experts at DTS Buyers.

One Of The Top Seven Sites to Look for Diabetic Recipes Online by Healthline

Dear friends, I am very happy to announce that Gita's Kitchen has been chosen as one of the top places for diabetic recipes by Healthline. Thanks to all my friends and followers for their continued support and encouragement!

My Recipe At "Healthy Diet for Diabetics" Cuban Black Bean Recipe

 Please check my recipe for Cuban Black Bean Recipe at
Cuban Black Bean Recipe

Lemon Chicken and Sprouts Salad - Healthy Lunches

Sharing one of my regular lunch combinations. These days I am trying to keep the lunch balanced and clean. In this particular combination, there is no fat added anywhere expect for the part where I sprayed the chicken with oil spray before baking. I keep turning the chicken a couple of times mid way while baking to get the desired color on both the sides. This chicken recipe is from friend's and is a very flavorful dish with just a few simple ingredients. I guess something magical happens when the chicken is marinated with the lemon juice :).....Most of my salad recipes are a little bit on the spicier side. I either add seasonings like chaat masala or jalapeno pickles or any other spicy dressing...that is the only way I can eat a salad!  This particular recipe uses only chaat masala and lemon juice and this combination is very good. You can also add some boiled chickpeas or any other beans and even some rice puffs in the end to make it a complete meal all by itself. This salad and protein combination when combined with a fruit makes a healthy low-carb and low-calorie meal, ideal for weight loss.

For the Lemon Chicken:

1. White meat chicken fillets or breast pieces, 4.
2. Juice of a big lemon or around 3 tablespoons of lemon juice.
3. Salt and pepper for taste.
Adding garlic salt and any other seasoning mix of choice also enhances the taste.
 I have also added a pinch of dried parsley and thyme.  They also give a good flavor to the dish.

Marinate the chicken with the above ingredients and let them sit in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours. Arrange them on baking sheet and spray on a nonstick cooking spray on each of the patties. Bake them at 375 degrees  for  25-30 minutes. In between keeping flipping them over to get a good color on both the sides.

For the Sprouts Salad:
1. Any preferred mix of salad vegetables and sprouts 1 cup.
2. Lemon juice, 1 teaspoon.
3. Chaat masala, 1/2 teaspoon or more.
4. Salt as per taste.
5. Chopped cilantro for garnishing.

Mix everything well and serve.

Crustless Broccoli Mini Quiche

Call them crust-less quiches or "egg muffins," these mini quiches are absolutely scrumptious and makes a healthy snack and is  kid-friendly as well. I make this often for breakfast or as evening snack for the kids.  I also make them with egg whites and they turn out well each time. This is also a good idea to sneak in broccoli in your kids' diet. With the cheeses and the attractive color, they wont even know that you have added broccoli. You can also add shredded chicken and any other vegetable like carrot, corn, or chopped spinach. A very healthy, low-calorie and low-carb snack when made with egg whites.

1. Eggs, 5 or 4 cups of egg whites.
2. Milk, 2 tablespoons.
3. Broccoli, 1 stalk.
4. Shredded Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons.
5. Shredded cheddar cheese, 2 tablespoons.
6. Dry garlic and parsley flakes, a pinch of each.
7. Salt, a little bit.
8. Ground pepper, as needed.

Break the broccoli florets from the stalk. Cut them very finely or you can also pulse them once in a blender until they are very small. Whisk the rest of the ingredients along with the broccoli until the mixture is frothy.  Pour them into a well greased muffin pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes until the quiches rise up. Serve them as a snack or along with a main course.

Little Millet (Saamai) Tomato Rice

With my recent health scare and changing apartment, I couldn't even think about blogging. I am settling down with the new routine and I am still not where I want to be health-wise.  Though I have not been actively blogging, I have been getting some good news on the blogger front. I recently got a mail from Health Line stating that they have chosen Gita's Kitchen as one of the top sites for searching diabetic recipes in the web. I have also been chosen as one of the top 50 food bloggers by Salis Online Magazine.  Feeling thankful for the little joys and also for the constant support from some of my blogger  and Facebook friends.

Coming on to the recipe, a perfect low-carb healthy one-pot meal, ideal for lunch box packing. The only thing to note is that the exact amount of water should be added (1:2). Too much water will make the millets a little mushy.

1. Little Millet or any other kind of millet, 1 cup.
2. Medium size onion, 1, finely diced.
3. Tomatoes, small, 4, chopped finely.
4. Green chilies, 2, slit into 2.
5. Ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon.
6. Mustard seeds, 1/4 teaspoon.
7. Chana dhal, 1 teaspoon.
8. Urad dhal, 1 teaspoon.
9. Fennel seeds, 1/2 teaspoon.
11. Turmeric powder, 1/4 teaspoon.
12. Chili powder or sambar powder, 1/2 teaspoon. (broken dry red chilies can also be used instead of chili powder, in this case add it during the seasoning along with dhals and mustard seeds).
13. Salt, as per taste.
14. Curry leaves and chopped cilantro for garnishing.

Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add the channa dhal, fennel seeds, and urad dhal and fry for a few seconds until they turn brown. Now add the diced onions and saute for a few minutes until the onions are tender.  Now add the chopped tomatoes, green chilies, curry leaves, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, salt and sambar powder and keep sauteing under low flame until everything is well blended.  At this stage transfer the contents into a rice cooker along with the millets, 2 cups of water and cook it in the rice mode. Fluff it with a fork once cooked, garnish with cilantro and serve with side dishes or pickle or chips. Alternatively the millets can also cooked on stove top with 2 cups water under low-to-medium flame until done.

Pallipalayam Chicken Fry (Kongunadu Cuisine)

My new found taste for Kongunadu Cuisine continues with many recipes that I have been trying for the last couple of days and this chicken fry is my favorite of all. I love this simple preparation yet the taste of this dish is very different and unique than any other chicken dishes that I have tasted. This recipe only uses small onions andd garlic and the only heat added to the chicken was from the broken red chilies and there are no tomatoes added here. This is a dry curry and the only variation that I did was to add some fennel seeds during the seasoning.A simple and satisfying dish when combined with rice and simple gravies like dhal or rasam. The original recipe is from the same "Kongunadu Kuzumbu Page" like my previous recipe.  Surprisingly the kids also liked this dish even though it was a little spicy for their tastes.

1. Chicken, 1 pounds, cleaned and cut into bite-size pieces. I have used boneless, skinless chicken pieces here.
2. Dry red chilies, 5-6, broken and seeds removed.  The original recipe used around 10-12 chilies. For us, just using around 5-6 was way too spicy.
3. Peeled small onions, 1 cup, chopped finely.
4. Garlic, 4 cloves.
5. Curry leaves, a few.
6. Mustard seeds, 1/4 teaspoon.
7. Salt, as per taste.
8. Chopped cilantro, 1/4 cup.
9. Turmeric powder, 1/4 teaspoon.
10. Fennel seeds, 1/4 teaspoon. (optional).

Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is hot enough, add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add the fennel seeds  and the broken red chilies and fry for a few seconds. Now add the chopped onions, curry leaves, and garlic and saute for a few minutes until the onions are translucent. Now lower the flame and add the turmeric powder, salt, and the chicken pieces and mix everything well. Keep the flame and keep stirring in between and let the chicken cook in its own juices. Once the chicken is cooked and the cilantro, mix well and switch off the stove. Serve hot as a side dish for rice, dosas or chapathis.

Saamai (little millet) Arisi Paruppu Sadam (Kongunadu Cuisine)

Any one pot, dhal-based dishes are a comfort food for me. I love these kinds of dishes since it is easy for lunch box packing as well. Recently I came across this Facebook page  and I am a fan of this site now. I love their simple narration filled with nostalgia and with all traditional recipes. The arisi paruppu sadam was inspired from this page. I chose millet instead of rice used in the original recipe and the  only difference in my recipe is that I added some vegetables and omitted the mustard seeds and made this as a one-pot, oil-free dish.  This pairs well with any spicy side dishes like potato fry, any non-vegetarian dish, pickles and chips. To summarize, this is a low-carb, oil-free, one-pot, tasty dish :)

1. Saamai millet or any other grains, 1-1/2 cup.
2. Dhal,(toor or masoor or moong), 1/2 cup.
3. Garlic, 2 cloves.
4. Green chilies, 2, slit into two.
5. Peeled small onions, 1 cup.
6. Chopped tomatoes, 1/2 cup.
7. Curry leaves a few.
8. Cinnamon, a small stick.
9. Cloves, 2.
10. Turmeric powder.
11. Mixed vegetables like carrots, beans etc, 1 cup. (Since this is a one pot dish, make sure to cut into big pieces, so they along with the rice and dhal without turning mushy). You can also cook the vegetables separately and add in the end.

Preparation (pressure cooker):
Add all the ingredients in a pressure cooker along with 2-1/2 cups of water and pressure cook for 15 minutes for up to 3 whistles. Once the pressure is off, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot. If preferred, ghee can be added on top before serving.

Alternate method of cooking:
Cook the dhal separately until it is mushy and keep aside. Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Add 1/4 teaspoon of  mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add the cloves and cinnamon stick and saute for a few seconds. Now add the small onions, curry leaves, garlic, and green chiles and saute for a few minutes until the onions are tender. Then add the turmeric powder and the chopped tomatoes and keep sauteing until everything is well blended. Now add salt and 2-1/2 cups of water along with the dhal, millet, and chopped vegetables and cook under medium flame until the millets and the vegetables are cooked and the dish reaches the desired consistency. Garnish with ghee and chopped cilantro and serve hot.

Creamy Green Lentils Curry

I don't prepare dhal makhani or any rajma curries at home since hubby is not a big fan off these.  I wanted to try an almost similar version with a regular lentil that we consume on a regular basis and came up with this dish.  This is a big hit even with the kids (especially my little girl who is very specific about not seeing any onions, tomatoes or mustard seeds or pretty much everything....then my little madam put up a show of almost throwing up saying that she threw up because I added the "black things" : ) .   A great and different side dish for chapthis and rice. I did not add any cream to the curry, just some almonds and cashews to give a creamy texture without making it too heavy. The combination of the green lentils with the gravy was very good. You can also use rajma whole masoor dhal here instead of the green lentils.

1. Green lentils or any other preferred lentils or legumes, 1 cup.
2. Onion, large, diced into big cubes, 1.
3. Tomato, small, 2, chopped.
4. Garlic, 2 cloves,
5. Ginger, a small piece.
6. Fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon.
7. Cinnamon, a small piece.
8. Chili powder, 1 teaspoon.
9. Coriander powder, 1/2 teaspoon.
10. Salt, as per taste.
11. Cashews and almonds, 2-3 of each.
12. Curry leaves, and chopped cilantro for garnishing.

Wash the lentils well and cook them until they are just tender and not too mushy and keep them aside. Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil and add the fennel seeds and the cinnamon stick. Fry for a few seconds and then add the diced onion, ginger, and garlic and saute for a few minutes until the onions are tender. Then add the chopped tomatoes and keep sauteing for a few more minutes until everything is well blended.  Let the mixture cool  and add the almonds and cashews to this and grind into a smooth paste. Dilute it with 3/4 cup of water and transfer the contents back to the pan on low heat. Add the chili powder, coriander powder, and salt and cook for 2 minutes on low flame. Finally add the lentils and let it simmer for a minute and garnish with ghee and chopped cilantro, curry leaves. This curry goes well with ghee rice, plain rice, chapathis and dosas.

Oats Yogurt (Buttermilk) Porridge

A very easy-to-make and healthy porridge, ideal for breakfast or even dinner during summer . I usually make this a little bit thick, so it is filling as well.  This can be had by itself or with any preferred side dishes. Here I have paired this porridge with a simple beans stir fry.

Ingredients (For 2 servings):
1. Quick cooking or regular rolled oats, 2/3 cup.
2. Ginger, a small piece.
3. Green chilies, 1, I just used 1/2 for this recipe.
4. Chopped cilantro, 1 tablespoon.
5. Salt, as per taste.
6. Yogurt, 1/2 cup.

Grind the ginger, chili, and cilantro into a smooth paste and keep aside.  Cook the oats with a cup and a half of water and the ground paste and let it cool. The consistency should be a little dilute and not too thick. Once the oats is cooled, add the yogurt along with some more water and salt and mix well. Dilute the porridge if it is too thick and serve with any preferred side dish.

Mushroom and Peas Curry (Mushroom Mutter Masala)

A different and tasty side dish when you are bored with the usual dhals, paneer and channa masala. The flavor combination of the mushrooms with the ground masalas blends well and we love with puris, chapathis, and rice.


Dry roast under low flame and grind into a fine powder:
1. Fennel seeds, 1/2 teaspoon.
2. Clove, 1.
3. Cardamom, 2 pods.
4. Cinnamon, 1 small stick.
5. Coriander seeds, 1/2 teaspoon.
6. Dried red chilies, 2-3, depending upon heat preference.

Other Ingredients:
1. Onion, medium size, 3, cut into large pieces.
2. Tomatoes, 2 medium side, cut into small pieces.
3. Garlic, 3 cloves.
4. Ginger, a small piece, cut into small pieces.
5. Mushrooms, washed and sliced thinly, 1-1/2 cups.
6. Fresh peas, 1 cup.
7. Salt, as per taste.
8. Chopped cilantro for garnishing.
9. Cashews, 1 tablespoon.

Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Now add the chopped onions and saute  for a few minutes until tender.  Then add the chopped tomatoes, garlic, and ginger and keep sauteing until everything is well blended.  Let it cool and grind the mixture into a smooth paste along with cashews. Meanwhile in the same pan, add one more tablespoon of oil and add the sliced mushrooms and saute for around minutes until the mushrooms are cooked. Then add the peas, ground powder, ground paste, along with some salt and 1 cup of water. Let it simmer for 5-7 minutes and turn off the stove. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with rice and chapathis.

Kids and Toddler Recipes: Cream Of Chicken Mac and Cheese

This is a different take on the regular mac and cheese with a tasty twist and is one of the favorite mac and cheese recipes for my kids. I make this whenever I am short on time on extra busy days. The dish can be prepared in a short time.  I usually stock up on the organic condensed soup cartons, bouillon cubes, and stewed tomato cartons from Sprouts. These always comes in handy when I am need to make something quick and tasty and without any artificial ingredients or preservatives. This mac and cheese is almost like assembling everything and the kids loves the chicken flavor in their favorite dish. Cream of mushroom soup can also be used instead of cream of chicken soup.

1. Condensed organic cream of chicken or mushroom soup. 1 small carton or a cup.
2. Macaroni pasta, 2 cups.
3. Mild cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup.
4. Grated Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoon.
5. Salt and pepper as per taste.
6. Butter, 1 tablespoon.

Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Meanwhile thin out the soup  by adding 1 cup of water and whisk everything together.  Heat a pan with a tablespoon of butter and add the soup along with salt, pepper, cheddar and Parmesan cheese and keep stirring under low flame until the mixture comes to a boil and the cheese is melted. Add the cooked pasta into this and cook for a minute and turn off the stove. Cream of chicken mac and cheese is ready.

Multi-grain Adai With Kara Chutney Recipe

This recipe request from one of my readers. She specifically wanted only multi-grain adai and also the perfect side dish to go with that.  We usually make kara chutney for adais and these adais also go well with  jaggery. I even use palm sugar or coconut palm sugar these days. The only difference between the regular adais and these ones are that I have added some more legumes, horse gram, brown rice, and barley to this ideal for a tasty and protein-packed breakfast or dinner.

Multi-grain Adai

Brown rice, ¼ cup.
Toor dhal, ¼ cup.
Moon dhal, ¼ cup.
Channa dhal, ¼ cup.
Urad dhal, ¼ cup.
Horsegram, ¼ cup
Any legumes or beans of choice like rajma, white beans, black-eyed peas, ¼ cup and soaked overnight.
Barley, ¼ cup, soaked overnight (optional)
Dried red chilies, 2-3 depending upon preferred heat level. These days I use only 1 chili since the kids don’t eat too much heat.
Curry leaves, a sprig.
Diced onions, 1 cup.
Cumin seeds, ½ teaspoon.
Salt as per taste.
Asafetida, a pinch.

Wash the brown rice and all the pulses and soak them for an hour. Add any of the legumes, which were soaked overnight to the rice and pulses mixture and grind it to a smooth paste along with the red chilies.  Meanwhile sauté the diced onions, cumin seeds, and curry leaves until the onions are translucent. Add the sautéed onions to the batter along with some salt. The consistency for the adai batter should be like that of a dosa batter. It should be thin enough to be poured from a ladle onto a pan.  Heat a flat bottomed pan and rub the surface of the pan with a soft cloth soaked in oil. Once the pan is hot, pour a ladle full of the batter onto the pan and gently spread them evenly throughout the pan. Pour a teaspoon of oil over the edges of the adai and let it cook under medium flame for a minute and then flip the adai to the other side. Let the other side cook for another minute or two and serve the adais hot with kara (hot) chutney.

Kara Chutney For Adai

Peeled pearl onions, 1 cup.
Dried red chilies, 6-8 depending upon preferred heat level.
Chopped ginger, 1 tablespoon
Tamarind, a small gooseberry size.
Salt as per taste.

Sauté the onions along with the red chilies and ginger and let it cool.  Grind everything into a smooth paste along with salt and tamarind and dilute with some water to get the desired consistency.

Note: This chutney is not usually seasoned. If preferred, regular seasonings of mustard seeds and urad dhal can be added.

Black-Eyed Peas and Eggplant Curry

One of the signature dishes of my mother-in-law. She usually makes it like a one-pot dish in the pressure cooker and then add the seasonings in the end (if you want a fat-free curry, you can skip the tadka part). I usually cook the beans first and then add them to the sauteed  vegetable mixture. A good combination with rice and just rasam or curd. This also goes well with chapathis and dosas. I usually make this with rice and rasam for lunch and rotate the same with chapathis for dinner.

1. Black-eyed peas, 1 cup, washed and soaked for 3-4 hours.
2. Diced onion, 1/2 cup.
3. Chopped tomatoes, 1/2 cup.
4. Eggplants, any type, diced into wedges or small pieces, around 2 cups. I used a small Japanese eggplant. Soak the cut pieces in water until it is ready to be cooked to prevent blackening.
5. Ginger-garlic paste, 1/2 teaspoon.
6. Curry leaves, a few.
7. Chopped cilantro, close to a tablespoon, for garnishing.
8. Turmeric powder, a pinch.
9. Chili powder or sambar powder,1 teaspoon or less depending upon preferred heat level.
10. Mustard seeds, 1/4 teaspoon.
11. Cumin seeds, 1/2 teaspoon.
12. Salt, as per taste.

Cook the black-eyed peas until tender and keep aside. I used a pressure cooker and cooked the beans for 7 minutes for up to 2 whistles. Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and let it splutter, Then add the cumin seeds and fry for a few seconds. Now add the diced onions and saute for a few minutes until tender. Now add the chopped tomatoes, ginger-garlic paste, curry leaves, and keep sauteing until everything is blended. Now add the turmeric powder, chili powder, and chopped eggplants and mix everything well. Add 1/4 cup of water and let it simmer for 5 minutes until the eggplants are cooked. Finally add the black-eyed peas, mix well, and let it simmer for 2 more minutes and switch off the stove. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with rice or chapathis.

Chapathi/Roti Upma

This is one my foodie friend's recipe. She had been raving about this recipe and asking me to try it with any leftover rotis and parathas and I did try it finally. I just followed her exact recipe and the taste and flavor was very good. Peanut lovers will like this style of upma. Adding peanut powder at the end  gives a good taste to this upma. Nice variation from the usual kothu chapathis or chili chapathis that I usually make and is  healthy as well!

1. Leftover chapathis, shredded into small bite-size pieces, 2 cups.
2. Onion, medium-size, 1, diced finely.
3. Green onion, 1-2, slit into 2.
4. Finely chopped ginger, 1/2 teaspoon.
5. Curry leaves, a few.
6. Tomato, 1, chopped.
7. Turmeric powder, a pinch.
8. Chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon.
9. Salt, as per taste.
11. Mustard seeds, 1/4 teaspoon.
12. Urad dhal and channa dhal, 1/4 teaspoon each.
13, Roasted or raw peanuts, 1 tablespoon.
14. Peanut powder, 2 tablespoons. (roast around 10 peanuts and grind them into a coarse powder).
15. Chopped cilantro for garnishing.

Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add the urad dhal, channa dhal, peanuts and fry for a few seconds. Now add the diced onions and saute for a few minutes until tender. Add the diced tomatoes, chopped ginger, slit green chili, curry leaves and mix everything well. Add the chili powder, salt, and turmeric powder and keep sauteing under low flame until everything is blended. Add 1/4 cup of water now along with the shredded chapathi pieces and mix well. Keep frying under low flame until the dish turns dry. Add the powdered peanuts and cilantro and mix well and switch off the stove. Serve hot by itself or with pickle or curd.

Side Dish Idea: Baked Jalapenos with Chaat Masala

The name says it all; not much of a recipe but I love this very much and I had to share it.  I had this recently at a nearby Indian restaurant. This was served alongside with a thaali. Though the concept was very simple, these bakes jalapenos were the perfect accompaniment for the thaali and tasted so good.  The next day as well I was craving for these and I made the same for lunch. These  go very well with any rice dishes especially variety rices like curd rice, lemon rice etc.

You can use either jalapenos or any other mild peppers for this.  With a help of a spoon, remove the seeds and the white part. Arrange the peppers on a baking dish and sprinkle some chaat masala powder on each and spray them with any oil spray. Bake them at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until they are soft. You can also leave the stem intact for a nicer presentation.

Cauliflower Achaar (Pickle) Curry

This recipe is from my close friend during our Virginia stay. She is from Pakistan and we loved this dish when she cooked this for us the first time. The taste was very different and the recipe was also very easy to prepare, a very different preparation from our usual cauliflower curry.  The main ingredient which adds so much of flavor to the dish is the pickle masala, which adds a big flavor to the cauliflower. I usually serve this rice and chappathis.

1. Cauliflower, washed and cut into small florets, 2 cups.
2. Diced onion, 1 cup.
3. Green chilies, slit into 2.
4. Ginger-ginger paste, 1 teaspoon.
5. Curry leaves, a few.
6, Chopped cilantro, 2 tablespoon.
7. Mustard seeds, 1/4 teaspoon.
8. Cumin seeds, 1/2 teaspoon.
9. Achaar masala, 1 teaspoon. (If the powder used is spicy, cut down on the chilies).
10, Turmeric powder, a pinch.
11. Salt, as per taste.

Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add the cumin seeds and fry for  a seconds. Now add the onions and saute for a few minutes until they are tender. Then add the ginger-garlic paste, curry leaves, green chilies, turmeric powder, achaar masala, salt, and the cauliflower florets along with 1/4 cup of water and mix everything well.  Cook closed for 10-12 minutes until the cauliflower is cooked and the dish turns a little dry. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve as a side dish with rice and chappathis.

Kids Snack Box Idea: Pancake "muffin"

A simple breakfast/snack that I have been packing for my picky eaters these days.  Sometimes when they do not want to eat anything for breakfast, I pack these kinds of snacks, which they typically have after their morning play break at school. I pack some orange juice or milk along with this as well.

This a mess-free version of a regular pancake, ideal for toddlers who are starting to self-feed. Use any preferred homemade of store-bought pancake mix. You can add any chopped fruits like apples, berries, or even mini chocolate chips and sweeten the batter with syrup, honey, or sugar. Pour the pancake batter into the greased muffin pans and bake them for 10 minutes in a 350 degrees preheated oven. Remove the muffins once cooled.