Monday, August 29, 2011

Quick Pizza

Pizza is an all time favorite of my kids.  Going out for pizza every week is not economical. I found this easy pizza recipe on the back of  a pita bread bag.  Just before Hurricane Irene came upon us I was bored to cook and decided to try this pizza. It was easy to whip up and tasty too.

1 bag(6) whole wheat pita round
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
1 C shredded mozzarella cheese
pizza seasonig(optional)
fresh basil, chiffonaded(optional)
Toppings of your choice:

To build:
1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400.  Toast pita for 3 minutes on a pizza stone or aluminum foil.  Remove from the oven.
2. Place pita on a foil or baking sheet.  Spread pasta sauce on pita.  Sprinkle with cheese, and top with your favorite toppings.  Bake for 10 minutes or till cheese is melted and edges of pita are crisp. 
3. Sprinkle with pizza seasoning and fresh basil. Serve hot.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Coconut -Lime Banana Bread

It's been awhile since I baked anything.  I read this recipe in a vegan book.  Coconut oil in this recipe gives a nice flavor to the bread.

2 C flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 C shredded coconut
11/2 C banana, mashed(3 medium)
1/2 C coconut,or safflower oil
1 C sugar
1 T vanilla extract
1/4 C plain yogurt
1 t apple cider vinegar
1 t lime zest

1. Preheat the oven to 350.  Lightly oil and dust the loaf pan.  Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add coconut and whisk it all together. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, blend the banana on low speed, changing to medium speed as the banana mashes more.  Add the oil, sugar, vanilla, yogurt, vinegar, and zest, and keep blending for 2 minutes, or until the mixture is uniform.
3. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the flour mix.  If using a hand mix, stir in flour by hand.  Blend for 1 minute, or until the dough is blended but still chunky.  Do not overmix!  Transfer to the prepared baking pan.
4. Bake for 60 minutes for a standard loaf pan or 40 mintues for the mini loaves, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean and the edges have pulled away from the pan.  Remove from the oven and let the pan sit  for 10 minutes before removing the bread and transferring it to a wire rack.

Warm the bread lightly in the toaster oven and spread a little butter before eating.


Add 1/2 cup of walnuts.
Try using wheat flour and brown sugar.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Navarathna Cake

When I was talking to my sister-in-law last week, she was making this sweet.  She told me that the recipe called for 9 cups of ingredients, hence the name Navarathna.  With the festival season upon us, I asked her for the recipe and tried it out yesterday.  It was pretty easy to make. It is just like 7-Cup cake. 

1 C cashew nuts
1 C almond,blanched
1 C freshly grated coconut
1 C milk
3 C sugar
2 C melted ghee

1. Process the first 3 ingredients to a paste in  a blender adding 1 cup milk little by little.  Keep aside.
2. Melt sugar in a heavy bottom pan with little water, on medium heat. Boil sugar till 1 string consistency. 
3. Add the nut paste, and keep stirring. Lowe the heat a little and continue stirring till the paste becomes thick.  Gradually add ghee with spoon.  When the mixture comes off the bottom without sticking, remove from heat and pour  evenly onto a greased tray. Cut into squares.  Allow it to cool before storing. 

This is a yummy dessert for kids.  Adults would love it too.  My husband who has a sweet tooth loved it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Creamy Pasta Florentine

Friends who know me well know that Thursdays are pasta days in my house. You could say my daughter is obsessed with pasta. I usually make creamy pasta sauce with milk, cheese and butter.  I found this low fat version in The 30 Minute Vegan. I made some changes to the recipe and made it yesterday for lunch. Everyone loved it!

12 ounces uncooked wheat pasta
11/2 T olive oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 T minced garlic
2 C chopped assorted vegetables(broccoli,cauliflower,carrots, green pepper,and zucchini)
1 C coconut milk(little more if required)
3 T minced fresh basil
2 T minced fresh Italian parsley
1 T dried or minced fresh oregano
1 t salt, or to taste
1/2 t black pepper, or to taste
crushed red pepper(optional)
1/2 C grated mozzarella cheese

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook until the pasta is just tender.  Drain, rinse, and place in a large bowl.
2. While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic, and cook for 3 minutes.  Add chopped vegetables, and saute till crunchy. 
3. Add coconut milk, lower the heat and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Add to pasta and gently mix well.  Serve warm with  salad,and garlic bread.

You could add 8 cups of chopped spinach instead of vegetables.
The smaller shaped pastas(rotini, rigatoni, or elbows) work best.

Roasted Vegetble Pita

Once school starts I'll have to think of making lunch interesting for kids.  I came upon this pita sandwich in Low-Fat ways to cook Vegetarian and gave it a try. I've made roasted vegetable Panini. This is a new way to eat pita. It is simple and was easy to make.  My husband liked it.

1 large Italian eggplant
1 T freshly chopped parsley(dried would work too)
2 T fresh lemon juice(more if needed)
1 t olive oil
1/4 t salt,or as required
1/4 t pepper
1 large clove, crushed
1 large red pepper
1/2 C drained cannellini beans(white)
1/2 t ground cumin
2 pita bread rounds(6-inch)
1/4 C plain low-fat yogurt
2 T chopped green onions
coarsely ground pepper

1. Pierce eggplant with a fork, and place on a baking sheet.  Broil 51/2 inches from heat 30 minutes or until very tender, turning frequently.  Let cool; peel and coarsely chop.
2. Combine eggplant, parsley,and the next 5 ingredients in a bowl. Stir well and set aside.
3. Cut red pepper in half lengthwise. Discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper, skin side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Flatten with palm of hand. Broil 3 inches from heat 10 minutes or until blackened and charred.  Place in a plastic bag and seal.  Let stand for 15 minutes.  Peel and discard skin, and cut pepper halves lengthwise into thin strips.
4. Combine beans and cumin in a bowl. Stir well.
5. Spread toasted pita with eggplant mixture. Top with red pepper, bean mixture, yogurt, and green onions.  Sprinkle with pepper.

I found this very bland to my taste. So, I spiced it up with chopped green chili to the eggplant and crushed red pepper to the bean mixture.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Masoor Kichidi

Making nutritious food that everyone likes can be a challenge. A few weeks ago I saw a post on Facebook about kichidi and chokha. They are typical Bihari food.  It looked interesting. I searched for the recipes and decided to make them. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my kids loved them so much that my daughter wanted me to make choka again the next day.

1 C rice
3/4 C masoor dal(red lentil)
2-3 green chili, chopped
2 kokam flower
1 small tomato, chopped
1 T green peas
1/4 C cauliflower florets
1/4 t turmeric powder
1/2 t goda masala
1/2 t chili powder
salt to taste
Mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and curry leaves for seasoning

1. Heat 1 teaspoon ghee in a pan on medium heat.  Fry rice and masoor dal for a 3 minutes.  Keep aside.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pressure cooker on medium heat. Add ingredients for seasoning. Add green chili and vegetables.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Add turmeric, masala and chili powder. Add kokam and rice.  Pour 5 cups water to it. Close the cooker and cook for 20 mitues( 5 whistles).  Remove from heat and serve with pickle.

You can substitute 1 t amchur for kokam. You can also season cinnamon and clove.
I usually serve kichidi with kadi.

Red Pohi Masiyal(mulaikeerai)

One of the things that I miss about India is the varieties of Greens(கீரை) that we get there, especially in Tamilnadu. Indian stores carry a few types. I follow my mom and cook greens 2-3 times a week. The red pohi(முளைக்கீரை), and green pohi(பசலை கீரை) bring back memories of home. surprisingly, my kids do not complain to eat. I love to make it the way my mom makes it. 

1 bunch red pohi,cleaned and chopped(leaves only)
1/2 C cooked toor dal
1/4 t cumin seeds
2 green chili, slit
mustard seeds,urad dal, and dry red chili for seasoning
coconut oil for seasoning

1. Cook pohi with chili and cumin seeds with little water, keeping the pan covered.
2. Stir in the cooked dal. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove from stove, and season.  Serve as side dish.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Vege Taco

1 Package taco shell
1 onion, chopped
1small green pepper, chopped
1/2 zucini,chopped
4 mushrooms, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 green chili, chopped(optional)
1/2 C soy crumble,(soaked in hot water and drained)

To fill the taco:
1 small tomato, chopped
1 t chili powder
1 t soy sauce
1 small tomato, chopped
cooked black beans
shredded mexican cheese
sour cream

1. Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Add chili, garlic, oinon, and cook for 5 minutes.  Add drained soy crumbles. Cook for 5 minutes.
2. Stir in pepper,zucinni, mushroom, and carrot, and cook for 5 minutes.  Add chili powder, salt and soy sauce. Stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. 
3. Fill warm taco shells with the vegetable and the rest of the ingredients.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Methi Pulav

2 C basmati rice
1 small onion, sliced
1 bunch methi leaves, washed
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2- inch ginger, grated
2 green chili, slit
1/2 C green peas
1 small potato, peeled and cubed
1 T oil
1/2-inch cinnamon
1 clove,1 bay leaf
1/4 t turmeric powder
1/2 t chili powder
1/4 t garam masala
salt as required

1. Wash and soak rice in water for 5 minutes.
2. Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Add cinnamon, clove, bay leaf, chili and onion. Add ginger, garlic, and cook till onion is golden.  Add methi leaves and saute for 5 minutes.  Add turmeric and chili powder.
3. Stir in the vegetables and salt.  Add garam masala. Drain rice and stir into the pan.  Add 4 cups of water.  Mix well.  Cover and cook on medium -low heat till rice is done, or transfer to rice cooker and cook.
Serve with raita.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mirchi ka Saalan

This is a popular dish from Hyderabad, usually served with Biriyani.I got this recipe from a friend some years ago.  It is made with medium green chili. You could also make it with bell pepper or jalapeno.  

10 medium green chilli, cut in half and slit
1 large onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/4 C tamarind water
1/4 t brown sugar
2T oil
mustard, urad dal,channa dal and curry leaves, for seasoning
1/4 t turmeric
salt to taste

For paste:
1 T coriander seeds
1/2 t cumin seeds
3 red chili(change according to taste)
1 t sesame seeds
1/2 t poppy seeds
1 T peanuts
1 t grated coconut
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1/2-inch fresh ginger, chopped
1/2 inch cinnamon
1 clove

1. Boil water in a saucepan, and cook the chili with 1 teaspoon salt for 5 minutes.  Drain and reserve water.
2. Meanwhile, dry roast separately the sesame seeds, poppy seeds and peanuts. Roast the rest of the ingredients with a little oil. Process everything in a food processor with little water to make paste.  Transfer to a bowl.
3. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add seasoning, and cook onion till golden.  Add turmeric, and chili.  Cook for few minutes.  Add tamarind water and salt. Cook for 2 minutes.
4. Stir in the paste. Add the reserved water as required. Cover and cook on low heat till oil floats on top, stirring occasionaly. 
Serve with biriyani.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Thai Green Curry

Thai food is very flavorful with lot of vegetables and greens. I'm reminded of south indian cooking because of the use of coconut and daniya in many of the recipes. My kids love to go to Thai restaurant.  So I decided to learn how to make Thai food. 

1/4 C broccoli florets
1/4 C cauliflower florets
1/4 C snowpeas
1 green pepper, sliced
1carrot, sliced
1zuccini, sliced
11/2 C coconut milk
7 oz firm marinated tofu, cut into cubes
1T soy sauce
salt and pepper
few sprigs of fresh thai basil

Green curry paste:
8 green chilies, chopped
2T chopped scallions
1T chopped cilantro
2t chopped kaffir lime leaves(narthangai leaves)
1T finely chopped lemon grass
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1-inch fresh ginger, grated
1- inch galangal, grated or 1 Tbs dried galangal(sitharathai)
2t ground coriander
1/2t ground cumin
2T chili oil/ sesame oil

1. To make the green curry paste, put all the ingredients in a food processer and process until smooth.  Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until required.
2. Bring a large pan of water to boil, add the vegetables, and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and reserve water to cook rice or noodles.
3. Heat oil in a wok or a large pan over medium heat.  Add 3 tablespoons of the curry paste, and cook for a minute. Stir in 1/2 cup of the coconut milk.
4. Add the tofu and the vegetables, and soy sauce.  Cook for 5 minutes, then stir in the remaining coconut milk and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, add  basil, and cook for 5 more minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, and heat through.

Spoon over cooked noodles or rice.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Kids would love this delicious mexican wrap.  

6 tortilla, fajita size
1 onion, sliced
1 red pepper, cut into strips
1 yellow pepper, cut into strips
1 carrot,cut into strips
1 jalapeno, sliced(optional)
1 t cumin and daniya powder
1/4 t chily powder
1 t soy sauce
1/2 T corn flour

1. Heat oil in a pan on medium-high. Saute jalapeno and onion. Add the rest of the vegetables and saute till crunchy.
2. Add cumin, daniya and chili powder. Add salt to taste. Add soy sauce and corn flour. Stir for a couple of minutes. Remove from stove and keep aside.
3. Heat a skillet and warm the tortilla on both sides. You could warm it in microwave too.
4. Place the tortilla on a plate. Spoon the vegetable mixture in the center.  Sprinkle with cheddar cheese or mexican cheese.  Fold the both sides like a flap. Serve with sour cream.

You can add tofu sausage or vegetarian chicken strips to the vegetables.

Monday, August 15, 2011


1red pepper, cut into strips
1Carrot,cut into finger size strips
5 florets cauliflower
1small onion sliced
6 flour tortilla(fajita size)
1/2C Mexican cheese/shredded cheddar cheese

1. Heat oil in a pan and saute all the vegetable for 5 minutes.  Add required salt. Remove from stove.
2. Heat a skillet, and toast tortilla till warm.  Place the vegetables on one side of the tortilla. Sprinkle cheese.  Fold the tortilla to make it look like half circle.
3. Place the tortilla back on the skillet and toast. Place another skillet on top of the quesadill and press till cheese is melted. You can use a panini grill for this or a quesadilla maker.
4. Cut quesadilla into 3 wedges. Serve with sour cream and mexican salad.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pudalangai Kootu(Snake Gourd)

Snake gourd is a rare sight in the Indian stores. I buy it as often as I can when in season.  My mom makes a delicious dry curry with it. Koottu is made with vegetables and dal. It is thicker than sambar and can be eaten with rice or roti. Yesterday I made koottu with snake gourd. A friend of mine said that it is one of her favorite South Indian dishes. I'm posting this recipe for her. 

1 Snake gourd, seeded and chopped
1 small round eggplant or potato, chopped
1/2C cooked thoor dal
1/2t channa dal
1/2t raw peanuts(optional)
mustard seeds,urad dal, red chili and curry leaves for seasoning
1/2t sambar powder
For masala:
1/2t dhania
1/2t channa dal
4dry red chili(per taste)
pinch asafoetida

1. Cook snake gourd and eggplant in little water with channa dal, peanut, sambar powder,1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder, and little salt in a pressure cooker(3 whistles).
2. Meanwhile, roast the ingredients for masala with 1 teaspoon oil and powder.
3. Take cooked vegetable in a medium saucepan. Add cooked dal and powdered masala.  Add salt as required. Mix and heat thoroughly for 2 minutes.  Season and serve with rice.

 Notes: Adding potato or eggplant with snake gourd gives the koottu a nice consistency. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Morekuzhambu(South Indian style Kadi)

I just got back from my vacation.  After a week of eating outside, my kids were longing for some Desi food.  Morekuzhambu  is one of my daughter's favorite dish. Yesterday I made it with okra.  I love yogurt based dishes. After our marriage, when I found out that my husband did not like curd, I was disappointed.  I did not make any curd based dishes for a year. Slowly, my husband's palate developed. He loves to eat these dishes now.

5 okra, cut to 1 inch pieces
1C fresh curds
1t turmeric powder
1/2C grated coconut
3 small green chili
2 dry red chili
1/2t rice, soaked in water
mustard, urad dal, red chili, and curry leaves for seasoning

1. Heat 2 teaspoon oil in a medium saucepan. Saute okra with a little turmeric and salt for a 3 minutes. Add little water and cook till tender. Turn the stove off.
2. Meanwhile, blend coconut, rice, and chili with a little water in a blender.
3. Beat the curd in a bowl. Add turmeric and salt to taste. Mix the coconut paste to the curd.
4. Stir curd mixture to the okra. Heat the morekuzhambu till frothy on all sides. Season and garnish with cilantro. Serve over white rice.

You can soak 1/2 teaspoon  dhania, 1/4 teaspoon  jeera, 1/4 teaspoon channa dal, 1/2 inch ginger, 1/4 teaspoon rice in water and blend with coconut.  This is Tanjore style.
You can use eggplant or pumpkin too.