Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Vegan Dhal "Makhani"

Dhal Makhani is a signature Punjabi dish. It is nutritious given that rich in proteins from the lentils. This is my vegan version of the same.

  1. Black gram (ulundu) 1/2 cup
  2. Red kidney beans (rajma) - 1/4 cup, preferably canned 
  3. Jeera / cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
  4. Oil - 1 tablespoon
  5. Tomatoe puree - 1 cup (or made from 2 tomatoes)
  6. Ginger paste - 1 tablespoon
  7. Turmeric - a pinch
  8. Corriander powder - 1 teaspoon
  9. Chilli powder - 1 tablespoon
  10. Garam masala powder - 1 teaspoon
  11. Coconut milk - 1/4 cup
  12. Chopped coriander
  13. Salt to taste
  1. Soak the lentils in water for about 4 hours. Or alternatively cook the dhal in a very low flame or heat for about 30 - 40 minutes
  2. Heat the oil and season the jeera seeds
  3. Add ginger paste and fry
  4. Add tomato puree and cook covered for 3 minutes
  5. Mix the spices, salt and heat
  6. Pour the lentils and beans and cook covered for 5-6 minutes
  7. Add coconut milk  and let it simmer for a minute. 
  8. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Lazy man's Bisi Bele Bath

Bisi Bele Bath (henceforth referred as BBB) is the quintessential Karnataka breakfast or a quick lunch dish. To the initiated it is a kind of Sambar rice, though this definition will not do justice to the aromatic BBB.

An authentic BBB calls for grinding of spices and some elaborate steps. However this being a lazy man's BBB, there are a lot of approximations. Nevertheless I assure you that this does stand up to an authentic Kannada Bisi Bele Bath.

Ingredients (serves 2)

Rice - 1/2 cup
Thuvaram Paruppu / pigeon pea - 1/4 cup
Vegetables - chopped into 1cm long/cube pieces - 1/2 cup
  • Beans
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes 
  • Cauliflower
  • Green peas
Tamarind - 1 lemon size
Turmeric - a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tablespoon
Mustard - 1 teaspoon
Ulundu / Black gram - 1 teaspoon
Venthayam / Fenugreek - 1/4 teaspoon
Red chillies 3-4
Curry leaves - if available
Corriander leaves to garnish

Sambar powder - 1 teaspoon
Garam masala - 1 teaspoon (this is the difference between an authentic and my version)
Elakkai / Cardamom - 2-3 skin removed and crushed or ground

  1. Soak the lentils in water for about 15 minutes while you prepare the vegetables and other ingredients
  2. Parallel, soak the tamarind in another bowl of warm water
  3. Heat oil in a vessel and season with mustards, black gram, fenugreek seeds and finally curry leaves and red chillies
  4. Stir fry the vegetables for about two minutes
  5. Add the soaked lentils and rice. 
  6. Bring the ingredients to a rolling boil
  7. Add the masalas, turmeric and about a spoon of salt.
  8. Add the tamarind water. Make sure that there is about 1 cm of water above the ingredients - not more not less
  9. Bring the heat down to simmer or the lowest setting and cover the vessel
  10. Let it simmer for some 15 minutes as the water is absorbed
  11. Check if all the water is absorbed, if not open the lid and let some water evaporate. The final recipe should be slightly watery - neither be soupy nor firm like pulav.
  12. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve after about 5 minutes

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Buttersquash / Pumpkin pudding

This is a fairly simple recipe. I had a fairly large butter squash in my fridge which would not get exhausted inspite of my repeated sambars and pachchadis. So, sick of the usual spicy dishes, I tried out making a dessert.


1. Grated or finely chopped butter squash or pumkin - 1 cup
2. Soya milk or Almond milk - 1 cup
3. Sugar - 2 table spoons
4. Roasted cashews and raisins
5. Ground cardamon 1/2 spoon
6. Ground Cinnamon 1/4 spoon


Bring the milk to boil.
Add the butter squash and sugar and bring it to medium to low heat.

Cook for 5 minutes or until the butter squash is finely blended with the milk.
Add the cardamon and cinnamon and stir well.
Garnish with roasted cashews and raisins

Chill and serve :-)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Steamed Kale

"Are you a vegan? Where do you get your calcium? Do you take tablets"
"We eat Kale :-)" 

Though milk has higher specific content of calcium than green vegetables, it has been proved that calcium absorbtion from milk and dairy products is less efficient.  

Wikipedia states:

Kale is considered to be a highly nutritious vegetable with powerful antioxidant properties; kale is considered to be anti-inflammatory.[1]
Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium.
Kale, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical believed to have potent anti-cancer properties.


This is a pretty simple one.


Kale leaves - chopped - one cup
Pepper powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Italian dressing - 1 teaspoon
Vinegar - 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Water - 1 cup

1. Boil water in a wide bottomed pan.

2. Toss together the leaves, salt and pepper in a smaller vessel / bowl.

3. Place it in the water bath and cover.

4. Cook under medium heat for 5 minutes.

5. The leaves are ready when they become dark green. A little more time they will become pale. Add a little water to the vegetables and cook covered for 2 minutes.

6. Remove from the bath.

7. Add Italian dressing and vinegar and mix.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Spaghetti Venkatano

This is roughly how I make pasta most of the time. Being a vegan, I can't use cheese and I am not a big fan of olive oil. However I like the variety of colours and flavours vegetables can offer. So here I go..


Spaghetti - 15-20 long sticks
Oil - 1 tablespoon
A variety of vegetables - 1 cup
(in the above pictured one I used chopped capsicum, zucchini, beans, corn, carrots, broccoli)
Cumin powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Oregano - 1 teaspoon
Chopped tomatoes / tomato sauce - half cup
Salt - to taste


1. Boil water in a wide bottomed pan, add pasta and half teaspoon salt and cook till it is al dente.
(It will be a sin if I don't use that jargon in a pasta recipe :-) Basically it means the pasta is cooked but still firm with a small raw core)

2. On another pan, add oil and heat it.

3. Fry the veggies with the seasonings in the oil.

4. Retain some water from the pasta and drain the rest.

5. Add a little water to the vegetables and cook covered for 2 minutes.

6. Add the tomatoes / tomato sauce and simmer for sometime

7. Serve the sauce over the spaghetti and serve.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mexican / Spanish Rice

Made Spanish / Mexican Rice. It more or less resembles our tomato rice, except for the following differences.

  1. The rice needs to be roasted in oil till it becomes golden brown.
  2. Olive oil is recommended and garlic needs to be added. I did not have them but used  Italian dressing while cooking rice which contains olive oil and garlic.
  3. In tomato rice, we use fresh chopped tomatoes, but Mexican rice, uses tomato sauce. 
  4. In tomato rice the cooked rice will be mixed with the tomato preparation, but in this all the ingredients are steamed with roasted rice. 
It tastes different and yummy.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My version of Parangikkai (puLi) pachchadi with Butter Squash - பரங்கிக்காய் பச்சடி

This is a version out of constraints rather than creativity. I have substituted grated coconut and grinding of spices into a paste. How? As described below :-)


Oil - 1 tablespoon
Butter squash - 1 cup chopped into 1cm cubes
Chopped / diced vegetables - 1 cup
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Ulundu seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Fenugreek / Mentiyam seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Sesame / Black Yellu - 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Green chillies - 2 long nicely chopped
Tamarind soaked in water - half cup
Potatoes - very finely chopped or finely mashed into paste - 1/4 cup
Salt - to taste


(Since this is not a standard recipe, I will write how I made it, rather than how to make it)

I coated the pan with a thin layer of oil and then roasted mustard, fenugreek seeds, sesame and ulundu seeds in a medium low heat. Then added the finely chopped green chillies and roasted them together. I moved it to a piece of sheet.

Normally, the spices and coconut would be ground to a fine paste, since I did not have the provision of grinding and neither had any coconut in stock, I took this approach:
Folded the sheet of plastic with the spices in it and hammered it. As for the gravy, I microwaved and mashed a very small quantity of potatoes. (Too much potatoes can give a starchy taste, so just right enough to give a gravy consistency)

Back to the pan. Heated a spoon of oil, sautéed the squash pieces with turmeric and salt till they are half cooked. Added a half a cup of water and cooked it covered for 3 minutes.

Added the mashed potatoes, tamarind water and powdered spices and boiled them under medium heat.

The aroma of roasted mustards and fenugreek was too tempting . :-)

(I had used only one chilli and when tasted found the sweetness of butter squash unbearable and had to neutralise it with half a spoon of chilli powder and hence the pachchadi lost it's yellow colour :-( )

That's all folks!