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Showing posts with label Vegan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vegan. Show all posts

Monday, May 2, 2016

PANAKAM ~ A Traditional Healthy Drink

Panakam is a traditional drink prepared in Indian households, particularly South India. One of the ancient recipes prepared by our ancestors to consume during summer and also distributed in temples on special occasions in summer. Panakam is a delicious combination of jaggery, tamarind juice, dry ginger powder and cardamom. The ingredients used tell us a lot about the wise choice and knowledge our ancestors possessed about what they consumed according to the season. Each of the ingredients used has its own health benefit and most importantly it balances the three doshas of our body.

I would call it an instant refreshing thirst quencher and definitely a healthy option when compared to Colas and other aerated drinks. It is prepared during Rama Navami festival (Birth of Lord Rama) as Neivedhyam (offering to God) in large quantities and distributed to all.

Refreshing, delicious. body coolant, thirst quencher, healthy, simple ingredients, no cook drink - Do we need another reason to prepare it? Here comes my twist to this wonderful drink, without spoiling its original taste at the same time not compromising on the healthy ingredients.

I had a good stock of lemons at home (a usual for summer) and wanted to put it to good use. Lemonade is nice but  I hate monotony! At the same time, I din't want to use it in cooking, I was looking for a drink. Ah! why not replace tamarind juice and prepare panakam was the instant thought. All excited to experiment, I started juicing the lemons but ho, I ran out of jaggery! Not wanting to use sugar, I used palm sugar syrup, which I prepare and store to use when required for sweet dishes. Also, it will give the colour which tamarind juice gives if I had used that. Enough said, let me give you the recipe now.


Lemon - 3
Palm sugar syrup - 1/2 cup (adjust according to tatse)
Water - 31/2 cups (adjust according to taste)
Dry ginger powder - a pinch
Cardamom - 3-4  


Cut the lemon and remove the seeds, squeeze the lemon by hand or using a sqeezer. Pour the lemon juice in a wide vessel or bowl and mix the palm sugar syrup using a spoon. Add water and give it a good mix. Please adjust the syrup and water according to your taste. Add the dry ginger powder. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the cardamom and add it to the juice. Mix well and serve. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016


The one thing that we all crave or wish to have when we have a cold is some good hot soup! At the same time who feels like preparing one with all the blending, grinding and boiling procedure when we're sick.. this recipe comes in handy and my go to recipe for such times! 

It's one pot, no grinding required, mild and soothing! You can prepare this soup with veggies of your choice. 


Serves 4

Carrot  - 2
Beans - 10
Frozen peas - 1/4 cup
Onion - 1
Tomato - 2
Garlic - 3-4 cloves
Cumin - 1/4 tsp
Clove - 2
Freshly ground pepper - 2 tsp or more as per taste
Turmeric - 1 tsp
Water - 4 cups
Oil - 1 tsp


Chop the beans into 2 inch pieces and the carrots into thick pieces. Slice the onions and cut each tomato into 4 pieces. In a pressure cooker, add oil and saute the onion and the veggies. After a minute or two add the tomatoes with salt, turmeric and pepper. Saute for 2-3 minutes and add required water. Check for salt and add more salt and pepper if you require. Close the lid, after 3 whistles switch off  the heat and let the pressure release. In a small kadai, temper cumin and clove. Open the lid and add the tempering to the soup. Mix and serve hot. 

Isn't this simple? 

Saturday, March 5, 2016


Potato is one versatile vegetable and loved by all. From soup to desserts it can be used in all! So here's another recipe with the versatile potato. Potato fingers is a good old recipe and I've already posted one of my Potato Fingers recipe but this one is a little spicy and different from that. Try it out, it's very simple to prepare. A very good evening snack recipe that can be had with rice preparations too.


Potatoes - 3 medium size
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Corn flour - 2 tsp


Wash, peel and cut the potatoes into long strips. In a bowl add chilli powder, salt and corn flour. Mix well. Heat oil and fry immediately. Serve hot. Add corn flour if you're going to fry it immediately otherwise add when you're going to fry them. 

Saturday, January 30, 2016


This dish pairs wonderfully well with fried rice and noodles. Since it's not very spicy you can have it like a starter or an evening snack too. Use homemade paneer for best results or buy the best quality available, that makes all the difference. Vegans can follow the same instructions and use tofu instead of paneer.


Paneer/ Tofu - 250 gms
Onion - 1 (cut into square pieces)
Capsicum - 1 (cut into square pieces)
Spring Onion - 4 stalks (slice the white onion and finely chop the greens)
Ginger - 1 inch piece (finely chopped)
Garlic - 3 pods (finely minced)
Tomato sauce - 2 tbsp
Dark soy sauce - 1 tbsp
Green chili sauce 1/2 tbsp
Gingely oil - 2 tbsp

To coat paneer/tofu
Tomato sauce - 2 tbsp
Soy sauce - 1 tbsp
Green chili sauce - 1 tbsp
Maida - 1 tbsp
Corn flour - 2 tbsp
Chili powder - 1/2 tsp


Cut the paneer into 1 inch cubes and keep aside. In a bowl, mix together 2 tbsp of tomato sauce, 1 tbsp of soy sauce and 1 tbsp of green chili sauce. Coat the paneer cubes with this paste. Next, in another bowl mix 1 tbsp maida and 2 tbsp cornflour along with 1/2 tsp chili powder and little salt. Take the coated paneer cubes and gently toss them in this mix. Once done, take a pan, add 1 tbsp of oil and shallow fry the paneer till lightly crisp. 

 In the same pan, add oil (sesame oil/gingely oil gives a very good flavour) and saute the ginger and garlic, once they're brown add the onion, sliced spring onion whites and capsicum pieces. Fry till they're crisp and cooked. Now add the sauces, check for salt. Give it a good stir and finally add the paneer pieces and the greens. Toss and remove from flame. 

If you want a gravy, before adding the paneer, make a mix of cornflour and water. 1 tbsp of cornflour in 1 cup water, add this, let it boil and then add the paneer. 


Pumpkin is rich in Vitamin A, which aid vision. It is high in antioxidant and a good source of Vitamin C. Pumpkin poriyal is what all of us usually make at home. I came across a recipe which added channa or chick pea to it and I found that interesting. I don't remember the other ingredients of that recipe so did a basic poriyal with onion, pumpkin and finally added boiled chick pea. It was different and good.


Yellow Pumpkin - 250 gms
Onion - 1 sliced
Brown channa/ chick pea - 1/2 cup boiled 
Cumin pwd - 1tsp
Turmeric pwd - a pinch
Dry Red chili - 1
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Jeera/cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Sesame oil - 2 tbsp  (can use any oil) 


Wash, peel and cut the pumpkin into cubes. In a pan, heat 2 tbsp of Gingely/sesame oil and temper the mustard, cumin seeds and red chili. Add the onions and saute till light brown. Then add the pumpkin along with turmeric and cumin powders. Cook on high flame for a minute and then close the lid and cook on low heat till the pumpkin gets tender. I dint add water. Once it's done, add the boiled chick peas and saute for 2 mins till it gets coated with all the masala. Serve hot. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016


This smoothie is an ideal breakfast for kids as well as adults. It's vegan too! Made with Arabian dates and raw peanuts, it has all the necessary nutrients for a power packed breakfast. At home, I avoid using sugar as much as I can so I've used honey for this one. You can use sugar if you prefer.

*Peanuts are not only good in taste they're also rich in monounsaturated fats and numerous other nutrients that have shown to promote heart health. It's a legume and not a nut! They're rich in antioxidants and folic acid. They're low in carbs but packed with protein, vitamins, fibre and minerals. It has a low glycemic index, hence suitable for diabetic patients too.

Since we're using raw peanuts here, it should be soaked in water overnight or at least for 6-8 hours. This eliminates digestive issues caused by having raw peanut. Please don't skip this process. It is necessary.  


For a big glass of smoothie

Raw peanuts - a handful, soaked in water overnight. 
Arabian dates - 6
Honey - 1/2 tbsp 
Water - 1 cup or more


Blend the nuts with little water to a smooth paste, then add dates and honey. Use more water if required to get the smoothie consistency. Pour it in a glass and enjoy! 

Feel free to use any fruit of your choice along with dates or without dates. 
*Source - 

Monday, January 11, 2016


I love wholesome sandwiches, it's simple to prepare and filling too. Ever since I had a yummy sandwich stuffed with bell peppers and loads of mozzarella at a near by cafe, I wanted to re create the same at home. It was delicious and I gobbled all of it without the tomato ketchup (I usually need tomato ketchup for every bite I take) so you can imagine how good it was!

So here's the recipe for the yummy, hearty and healthy sandwich! I've been getting a lot of requests for vegan recipes, so here you go! This is Vegan too! Please feel free to use cheese if you're not a vegan! To add some flavour I wanted to use some quick pesto sauce (my recipe). You can omit this if you don't like pesto.


Bread - 6 slices (to make 3 sets)
Vegan Pesto sauce - 3 tbsp (recipe below)
Red bell pepper - 1 (thinly sliced)
Green bell pepper - (thinly sliced)
Onion - 2 (finely sliced)
Egg-less Mayonnaise - 3 tbsp 
Olive oil - 1 tbsp 
Freshly ground pepper for seasoning


To prepare the pesto sauce:
Pesto sauce is a combination of crushed garlic, fresh basil, pine nuts, cheese and olive oil. It originates from Italy. The traditional way of preparing, is by pounding the ingredients using a wooden mortar and pestle. Since it's vegan I haven't added cheese in my recipe. Also, instead of pine nuts I've used walnuts. I've also added a few fresh thyme leaves along with basil. 

In a mixer coarsely powder 4 whole walnuts, then add 2 garlic cloves roasted in olive oil or use it raw, 2 handful of fresh basil, a sprig or 2 of fresh thyme, 4 tbsp of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Using the pulse mode blend to coarse mixture. 

Bell pepper stuffing:
Heat olive oil in a pan, when hot, add the onion with a pinch of salt and saute till light brown, add the bell peppers and saute till they're soft, add required salt and a pinch or two of pepper. 

Assemble & Toast
Take a slice of bread and, apply the pesto sauce, add some filling and 1 tbsp of mayonnaise to another slice and close with it.  Follow the same for other slices. If you like it with cheese, add some grated cheese. I would suggest mozzarella  or cheddar or a combination of both for the filling and some butter to toast. 

Toast the sandwich in a pan with olive oil or use a sandwich maker. Enjoy the yummy goodness!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015



Brown chickpea boiled - 1 cup
Basmati Rice - 1 cup
Water - 2 cups
Onion - 2 sliced
Green chili - 1 slit
Turmeric pwd - a pinch (optional)
Clove - 2
Green Cardamom - 1
Black cardamom - 1
Cinnamon - a small piece
Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin/ Jeera seeds - 1/2 tsp
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Pudina leaves - about 7 leaves


Wash and soak basmati rice for 10 mins. Drain the water and keep it aside. Heat oil in a pan (you can add ghee if you wish), add fennel, cumin, green cardamom, cinnamon, clove and black cardamom and saute for 2 mins. Now add the sliced onions and salt. Saute till it gets brown and add ginger garlic paste, slit green chili. Once the raw smell goes, add the boiled and cooled chana, turmeric and saute for 5 mins. Now add the drained rice, salt, water and boil in high flame till 80% of the water is absorbed, then add pudina leaves and cover the pan with a foil and close the lid airtight. Reduce the flame to low and cook till the water is absorbed completely, this will take about 10-15 mins ( it took 7 mins for me ). Once ready have it with raitha. It goes well with my Capsicum peanut gravy

Friday, October 23, 2015


It's raining in Chennai now so how about some hot potato fingers to have by the window sill, enjoying the rain? Here comes the recipe for homemade, all time favourite potato finger- Indian style.


Potato - 2
Chili powder - 3-4 pinches
Oil to deep fry


Cut the potato into thin strips. Heat oil and when ready add the potato fingers and fry only till the potato turns pale yellow and remove immediately. Repeat this until all the strips are fried. Cool them. Heat oil (let it be smoking hot) and add the lightly fried and cooled potato strips. Fry till they turn golden brown. When hot and just out of oil, add the salt and chili powder and toss well. Here you go! Homemade potato fingers is ready to eat! You can add seasoning of your choice. Try black pepper and salt or add some chili flakes and oregano to make it Italian!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


This is one of my favourite dish and this yummy gravy goes well with ghee rice, biryani, Pulao , steamed rice and even roti. Usually prepared with brinjal as a side dish for biryani or ghee rice but I've used capsicum here. It's a tasty dish with roasted peanuts, sesame and has a tangy flavour. A good accompaniment for plain rice or other rice preparations. 


Capsicum - 1 big chopped into big square pieces
Onion - 3
Tomatoes - 3
Tamarind pulp - 3 tbsp
Coconut - 2 tbsp grated
Roasted peanuts - 5 tbsp
White sesame seeds - 4 tbsp
Chili pwd  - 2 tbsp
Coriander pwd - 1 tbsp
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Pepper corns - 5
Green chilli - 1
Gingelly oil


Heat 2 tbsp of gingely  oil and when hot sauté the capsicum in high heat stirring to avoid burning it. When the pieces start turning brown remove off the heat and keep aside. This will take 3-4 mins. 
Grind- onion, tomato, coconut, chili pwd, coriander pwd, turmeric adding little water and keep aside. Roast peanuts and sesame and grind separately without adding water. In a pan add 5-7 tbsp oil, (preferably sesame oil/ gingelly oil) when hot add pepper, ginger garlic paste, green chilli and sauté till raw smell goes then pour the onion masala paste. Add 2 cups of water. When they boil add the ground sesame and peanuts. Add salt, tamarind pulp and additional 1 cup of hot water. Close lid and cook for 25 mins in low heat, stirring when necessary.
When oil starts separating and the raw smell of the masala goes add sautéed capsicum and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and serve hot with ghee rice, biryani or Pulao


Millets - these small grain plants are primarily produced in India, who cultivates over 8 million tons every year, followed by a number of larger African countries and China. Millet is gluten-free, so Celiac sufferers can turn to millet as their source of grains, instead of wheat. There are myriad health benefits of millets. Regular consumption of millets is beneficial to health.  

Millet is  rich in fibre and the breakdown of glucose is slower.  It benefits people suffering from respiratory ailment, digestive disorders and high cholesterol. They reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes because millets are rich in magnesium, which regulates secretion of glucose and insulin. 

Now, there's enough reason to include millets in our daily diet. This sambhar rice, prepared with barnyard millet and little millet is not only healthy but tasty and pretty simple to prepare. A good option for packed lunch too. Enjoy this healthy tasty one pot sambahar sadam with Yam fryPotato fryCarrot and roasted peanut raitha or Chena kilangu roast

Once you start cooking with millets, you'll never want to go back to eating rice. In this recipe, I've added 2 types of millet and 2 types of dhal along with vegetables, which makes it a healthy one pot meal. I've used barnyard millet and little millet, please feel free to use any millet with any combination or just one millet. The same applies to dhal, I prefer mixing 2 dhals in all that i cook. You may use only toor dhal or only moong dhal too.



Barnyard millet - 1/2 cup
Little millet - 1/2 cup
Toor dhal - 3 tbsp
Moong dhal - 2 tbsp
Onion - 2 sliced
Tomatoes - 2 chopped
Beans - 10 nos chopped into 2 inch pieces

Carrots - 1 chopped into 2 inch pieces
Potato - 1 cut into cubes
Peas - 1/4 cup
Tamarind pulp - 3 tbsp
Turmeric pwd - 1 tsp
Sambhar pwd - 3 tbsp
Coriander pwd - 2 tbsp
Water - 5 cups
Green chili - 2 
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 6
Salt to taste
Finely chopped coriander for garnish
Cashews fried in ghee or oil - 10 


Wash and soak rice and dhal for about 30 mins. In a cooker, add 4 tbsp of oil, when hot add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida, fenugreek, curry leaves and green chilies. Don't slit the chilies, chop the ends and add. Then add all the curry powders, fry for a minute. Add sliced onions, tomatoes and sauté well for 3 minutes. Add the vegetables, sauté and add tamarind pulp, rice dhal mix, salt, 5 cups of water. Check for salt and spice level. Let it boil now close the cooker and reduce the flame to low. Cook for 25 mins and open once the pressure releases. Garnish with cashews and coriander. Enjoy millet sambhar sadam with appalam/ papad. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


A simple humble dish but a comfort food for me. Dhal Palak goes well with plain rice, ghee rice, pulao and roti. 


Toor Dhal - 1/2 cup
Palak - a small bunch
Onion - 2 finely chopped
Tomatoes - 2 finely chopped
Ginger - 1/2 tbsp shredded
Garlic - 4 pods chopped
Chilli pwd - 1/2 tbsp
Turmeric pwd - 1/2 tsp
Green chilli - 1
Kalonji/ nigella seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin - 1/2 tsp
Butter/oil - 3 tbsp
Coriander - chopped finely for garnish


Wash and soak dhal in water for 30 mins. Pressure cook with salt, turmeric, a drop of oil and 2 cups water for 7 whistles on high and switch off heat. Let it release on its own. Clean and wash palak. Chop finely.

In a pan heat oil, when hot add cumin, slit green chilli, garlic and ginger. Add nigella seeds, onion and sauté till they turn golden brown. Add tomatoes, chopped palak and chilli pwd. Sauté till it becomes mushy. Now add the cooked dhal, required water and bring to boil. Check for salt and switch off heat. Garnish with coriander.

Monday, July 27, 2015


Potato and broccoli fry tastes great with any rice preparation, roti or simply relish it like a healthy snack. The potatoes are crisp and the broccoli is cooked soft which makes it a nice combination. Try this and you're sure to like it.  


Potato - 3 medium (cubed)
Broccoli - 1 whole (small size)
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds / Jeera - 1/4 tsp
Sambhar pwd - 11/2 tbsp
Turmeric - a pinch
Salt to taste


Wash and clean the broccoli. Cut them into big florets, don't cut them into small pieces, it might get mashed while boiling. Boil the florets in a wide vessel with little salt for about 5 mins. Drain the water and let it cool.  In a non stick pan, add little oil, when hot add the mustard seeds and let it crackle then add the cumin seeds. Now add the cubed potatoes, turmeric, sambhar pwd and give a good mix. Cook till they turn little brown and then add the broccoli. Don't add water while cooking this, may be little oil if necessary. This gives a nice crisp to the potato but make sure it's cooked in non stick pan. Check for salt and turn off the heat. Serve hot. 


A quick and easy to make side for rice. I like it with hot sambhar sadam. This is a non spicy and tasty preparation, can be made without onions too. 


Carrot - 4 (grated)
Onion - 1 (finely chopped)
Peas - 1/2 cup
Green chili - 2
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric - a pinch
Salt to taste
Curry leaves - 5


In a kadai or non stick pan, add little oil and crackle the mustard seeds. Add curry leaves and green chilies. Chop only the ends of the chili, needn't slit or break into halves. Now add chopped onions, little salt, turmeric and saute for 3-4 mins. Add grated carrots and saute for 2 mins, add 1/4 cup water, close the lid and cook for about 5 mins in high. Add more water if it gets burnt, open and check in between. Once all the water has been absorbed and the carrots are cooked, add peas. I use frozen peas, in case you're adding fresh peas, boil them separately and add now. Mix well, let it cook for about 2 mins, check for salt. Serve hot. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015


Aval upma/poha is made with flattened rice (beaten rice) or aval as we say in Tamil. This dish is prepared with onion and potato and makes a wholesome breakfast or even a snack for kids. Its a healthy and tasty Maharashtrian recipe, popularly known as batata poha. Its mildly spicy yet flavourful and filling. A simple and yummy dish which doesn't require any curry powder or strong spices. 


Aval/beaten rice - 1 cup
Potatoes - 2 medium (small cubes)
Onion - 1 big (finely chopped)
Green chili - 1 (slit)
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds  - 1/4 tsp
Oil - 4 tbsp 
Salt to taste
Lemon juice - 4 drops
Coriander leaves - for garnish


In a kadai or non stick pan, add oil and let the mustard crackle. Now add the green chili and chopped onion along with little salt and turmeric. Saute for 3 minutes and then add the washed, peeled and cubed potatoes with salt. Cook in medium heat, till the potatoes have cooked well. This will take about 10 -15 mins. Meanwhile wash and soak the beaten rice in water not more than 2 minutes. Once the potatoes are cooked, lower the heat, check for salt and the add the drained beaten rice to the potato mix. Squeeze out all the water before adding it into the pan. Give it a stir, add the lemon juice and mix gently. Switch of the the heat and garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot. If you like peanuts, you can add some roasted peanuts to this.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


A very spicy gravy that goes well with roti, dosa, idli and even hot ghee rice. The aroma of ground masala gives this dish a true chettinad touch. Do try this dish and I'm sure you'll love it.


Mushroom - 200 gms
Onion - 1
Dry Red chili - 6
Green Chili - 1
Pepper - 1 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Garlic pods - 6
Ginger - a small piece
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 4
Coconut milk - 1/4 cup


Grind all the ingredients except mushroom, coconut milk and salt. Add little water and grind to make a paste. Clean and chop mushrooms. Heat oil in a kadai and add the ground paste. Cook in low heat till the raw smell goes, this should take about 5 mins. Now add the mushroom and salt. Give it a good mix ,add 1 cup water and cook in low flame for 15-20 mins stirring every 5 mins. Once the mushroom is cooked, add 1/4 cup coconut milk. Stir well and switch of the heat. Hot and spicy mushroom gravy is ready to serve.