Saturday, May 28, 2016

Blackberry Lemonade ~ Day 127

A tangy and refreshing blackberry lemonade,  perfect for hot summer days.  

 Preparation time: 10 minutes
Yields: 5 cups

  • Blackberries - 1/2 cup
  • Organic Lemons - 2, washed well, seeds removed and cut into cubes
  • Sugar - 1/2 cup or to taste
  • Mint - few leaves
  • Salt - 1/8 tsp
  • Water - 5 cups
  • Ice cubes

  1. Place all the ingredients along with some ice cubes and 4 cups of water in a blender and blend until pureed, about 30 seconds.
  2. Strain the pulp through a fine mesh strainer.  Use a spoon to push the liquid through the strainer.  Blend the pulp again with 1 cup of water and strain. Discard the pulp.
  3. Serve the lemonade over ice.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Minestrone Soup ~ Day 126

Hearty, comforting and healthy Minestrone soup made with homemade vegetable broth.  This super nutritious soup is so easy to make and very versatile.  Feel free to add or omit any vegetable or beans to suit your palate. 

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

  • Olive oil - 1 tbsp
  • Bay leaf - 1
  • Tomatoes - 2, diced
  • Tomato paste - 2 tsp
  • Mixed vegetables - 2 cups, diced (I used potatoes, carrots, zucchini, red and green pepper)
  • Kidney beans - 1/2 cup, canned
  • Cannellini beans - 1/2 cup, canned
  • Frozen shelled edamame - 1/2 cup
  • Fresh Thyme - 1 tsp
  • Dried basil - 1/2 tsp
  • Dried oregano - 1/2 tsp
  • Ground black pepper - 1 tsp
  • Chaat masala - 1/2 tsp (optional)
  • Small shell pasta - 1/2 cup
  • Vegetable broth - 4 cups
  • Salt - to taste

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan.  Add the bay leaf, tomatoes, and tomato paste.  Saute for a minute and add all the vegetables and stir.  
  2. Add the thyme, basil, oregano, and black pepper, and chaat masala (if using).  Stir and add the beans, edamame, and the vegetable broth along with salt.  Bring it to a boil.
  3. Add the pasta and cook over medium heat until the pasta and vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Serve warm.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Homemade Vegetable Broth ~ Day 125

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Yields: 8 cups

  • Onion - 1
  • Carrots - 2
  • Cabbage - 1/4 small head
  • Green onion - 1 spring
  • Any greens - 2 springs (I used radish greens)
  • Garlic - 2 cloves
  • Parsley - 1 spring
  • Mint - 1 spring
  • Bay leaf - 1
  • Lemongrass - a small piece
  • Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Black peppercorns - 1/2 tsp

  1. Roughly chop the vegetables and place them in a large pot along with rest of the ingredients.
  2. Cover the vegetables with 8 cups of water.  Bring it to a boil over high heat.  Reduce to simmer nd cook for 1 hour,
  3. Strain the broth using a colander and discard the vegetables.  Strain again through a fine mesh strainer.
  4. Use immediately or cool and refrigerate for up to 3 days.  To freeze the broth, use freezer safe containers or bags.  You can also use the ice cube trays or muffin trays to freeze the broth. Once frozen, remove from the trays and store in freezer bags for 3 months.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Eggless Mango Cake ~ Day 124

I'm back after a short break with this irresistibly soft, moist, and delicious mango cake recipe.  I have bookmarked this recipe from Vaishali's blog a long time ago and never had a chance to make it until now.  Though the original recipe is a vegan version, I slightly tweaked it and added some Greek yogurt for some extra moisture and flavor.  However, if you prefer to go with a vegan version, see my notes for the instructions.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 to 30 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Recipe Source: Holy Cow Vegan

  • All-purpose flour - 1 and 1/2 cups
  • Baking powder - 2 tsp
  • Salt - 1/4 tsp
  • Cardamom powder - 1 tsp
  • Mango puree (fresh or canned) - 1 cup, if using fresh ripe mangoes, cut the sides and scoop the pulp out and puree in a blender.
  • Mango flavored Greek yogurt - 1/4 cup
  • Granulated sugar - 1/2 cup 
  • Vegetable oil or melted butter - 1/3 cup
  • Vanilla extract - 1 tsp

Note: For a vegan version, omit Greek yogurt and butter.
          Use 1 and 1/2 cups mango puree and 2/3 cups sugar, if not using the Greek yogurt.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a cake pan or bundt pan.
  2. Puree the mango pulp and set aside (if using the fresh mangoes).
  3. In a mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Mix in the cardamom powder.
  4. In another mixing bowl, whisk together the mango puree, Greek yogurt, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract until combined.
  5. Add the flour mixture and mix gently (don't over mix) until smooth.
  6. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  I baked it in a silicon bundt cake molds.
  7. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes.  Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Stuffed Pasta Shells in White Sauce ~ Day 123

Here is one of the ways to use the bechamel sauce that I posted yesterday.  This  hearty, delicious stuffed shells are easy enough to make for a weeknight dinner and a definite crowd-pleaser. 

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4

  • Jumbo pasta shells - 16
  • White / Bechamel sauce - 2 cups
  • Mozzarella cheese - 1 cup
  • Parmesan cheese - 1/2  cup
  • Chopped fresh basil - for garnishing
For the stuffing:
  • Extra virgin olive oil - 2 tbsp
  • Garlic - 3 cloves, minced
  • Onion - 1, medium, finely chopped
  • Tomatoes - 2, chopped
  • Spinach (fresh or frozen) - 3/4 cup
  • Broccoli - 3/4 cup, chopped
  • Red pepper flakes - 1/2 tsp or to taste
  • Ground black pepper - 1/2 tsp
  • Dried oregano - 1 tsp
  • Dried basil - 1/2 tsp
  • Fresh basil - 1 tbsp, chopped
  • Salt - to taste
  • Whole milk or part-skim ricotta cheese - 1 1/2 cups
  • Parmesan cheese - 1/2 cup

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Cook the pasta shells according to package directions.  Place the cooked pasta on a parchment paper in a single layer to prevent from sticking.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook until lightly brown.  Add the onion and saute until translucent and stir in the tomatoes and cook until soft.   Add the spinach, broccoli, oregano, red pepper flakes, ground pepper, basil, and salt.  Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally  Remove from the heat and let cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and the vegetable mixture.  Mix 1 cup of mozzarella cheese into the white sauce. Spread 1/2 cup of white sauce in a baking dish.  Stuff each pasta shell with the ricotta mixture.  Arrange the stuffed shells on top of the white sauce.  Pour the remaining sauce over the shells.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.
  4. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly.  Remove from the oven and garnish with basil.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Bechamel (White) Sauce ~ Day 122

Bechamel or white sauce is a French mother sauce made from flour, butter, and milk.  A variety of cheese sauces can be made from this rich and creamy base sauce.  Bechamel sauce can be used in pasta, lasagna, mac and cheese, and casseroles.  It is simply delicious when spooned over steamed vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach.

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Yields: 2 cups

  • Butter - 2 tbsp
  • All-purpose flour - 2 tbsp
  • Milk - 2 cups
  • Bay leaf - 1
  • Nutmeg - 1/8 tsp, freshly grated
  • Salt and white pepper powder - to taste


  1. Warm the milk in a saucepan.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the flour and cook until combined, stirring constantly for 1 minute.  Add nutmeg and bay leaf.
  3. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly.  Reduce the heat to low and continue to whisk until the sauce is slightly thickened and smooth, about 5 minutes.  Add salt and white pepper and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.  
  4. Turn off the heat and transfer the sauce into a large bowl.  Discard the bay leaf.  Place a plastic wrap directly over the sauce to keep skin from forming.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Green Beans Kari / Poriyal ~ Day 121

A humble and comforting stir-fry accompaniment to South Indian gravies like sambar, rasam, kootu or morkuzhambu.  Made with very minimal spices and freshly grated coconut, this beans kari / poriyal is one of my favorite.  

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

  • Green beans - 2 cups, washed and finely chopped
  • Oil - 2 tsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Chana dal or urad dal - 2 tsp
  • Sambar powder - 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida - a pinch
  • Curry leaves - few, torn
  • Salt - to taste
  • Freshly grated coconut - 2 tbsp

  1. Steam cook the green beans until soft.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet.  Splutter mustard seeds and fry chana dal or urad until golden brown.
  3. Add asafoetida and curry leaves followed by the steamed green beans.  Add sambar powder, turmeric powder, and salt.  Stir to combine.  
  4. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring often.  Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut.
  5. Serve as a side dish with rice and gravies like sambar or rasam.  

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Radish Greens Aloo Tikki (Potato Patties) ~ Day 120

Aloo tikki made with power-packed, healthy, and delicious radish greens.  When I saw the fresh bunch of  greens at the farmers market for a dollar, I couldn't resist buying it.  Loaded with nutrients and vitamins, radish greens are excellent in  dals, sambar, and stir-fries as well. 

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Yields: 15 patties

  • Potatoes - 3, large, boiled 
  • Radish greens - 1 cup, finely chopped with stalks
  • Oil - 2 tbsp + more for frying the patties
  • Ginger - 1 tsp, grated
  • Nigella seeds / kalonji - 1 tsp
  • Garam masala powder - 2 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1 tsp
  • Cumin powder - 1 tsp
  • Red chili powder - 1 tsp
  • Anardana / pomegranate powder - 3/4 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Chaat masala - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Fresh coriander leaves / cilantro - 2 tbsp, finely chopped

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet.  Add nigella seeds and fry for 10 seconds.  Add the chopped radish green and saute until soft.
  2. Add the mashed potatoes, ginger, and all the spices along with salt.  Mix well and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the coriander leaves.  Let it cool to the touch.
  3. Take a lemon sized potato mixer and make a thick round pattie.  Make all the patties and keep them aside.
  4. Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle.  Drizzle 1 tbsp oil and shallow fry the patties (4 or 5 at a time) until the bottom turns golden brown.    Flip and drizzle more oil around edges and fry until golden brown.  Repeat the process with all the patties.
  5. Serve hot with green and sweet chutney.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Pazham Pori / Ripe Plantain Fritters ~ Day 119

Pazham pori or Ripe plantain fritter is a traditional snack of Kerala.  The semi-ripe plantains are dipped in all-purpose flour and sugar batter and deep fried to golden brown.  These mildly sweet fritters are divine to munch as an evening snack with a hot cup of tea or coffee.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves: 6 to 8

  • Ripe plantains - 3
  • All-purpose flour - 1 cup
  • Rice flour - 3 tsp
  • Sugar - 2 to 3 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Baking soda - a pinch
  • Salt - a pinch
  • Oil - for frying 

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine flours, sugar, turmeric powder, cardamom powder, baking soda, and salt.  
  2. Whisk in water little at a time to make a semi-thick batter.  The batter should be of a dippable consistency.  Set it aside.
  3. Peel the plantain and cut into half.  Slice one-half of the plantain lengthwise into four slices.  
  4. Heat oil in a deep pan.  Dip the plantain in the batter and carefully drop it in the oil.  Deep fry both sides until golden brown.  Fry 3 to 4 plantains at a time.  Drain on paper towel to remove excess oil.
  5. Serve hot with tea or coffee.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Pavakkai Pitlai / Bitter Gourd Stew ~ Day 118

Bitter gourd or bitter melon cooked in tangy tamarind paste and mashed lentils flavored with a handful of roasted ground spices.   

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 6

  • Bitter gourd / Pavakkai - 3, slit lengthwise, seeds removed and chopped
  • Toor dal - 1/2 cup
  • Tamarind concentrate - 2 tbsp or thick tamarind juice - 1/4 cup
  • Oil (Sesame or coconut) - 2 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Urad dal - 2 tsp
  • Raw peanuts - 1/4 cup
  • Asafoetida - a pinch
  • Curry leaves - few
  • Sambar powder - 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Jaggery - 1 tbsp
  • Salt - to taste

To roast and grind:
  • Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
  • Chana dal / gram dal - 2 tsp
  • Red chilies - 4 
  • Black peppercorn - 1/2 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds / methi - 1/4 tsp
  • Freshly grated coconut - 2 tbsp

  1. Pressure cook door dal until soft and mushy.  
  2. Roast all in ingredients (except coconut) in the roast and grind list with 1/2 tsp oil until golden brown and aromatic.  Stir in the coconut.   Let it cool and grind to a smooth paste.
  3. Heat oil in a large saucepan.  Splutter mustard seeds and add peanuts, urad dal, asafoetida, and curry leaves.  Fry until golden brown.
  4. Add the chopped bitter gourd and turmeric powder.  Sautee for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the tamarind concentrate or juice along with sambar powder,salt, and jaggery.   Add two cups of water and simmer for 10 minutes until the raw tamarind aroma disappears.  Add the ground paste and bring it to a boil.
  6. Add the mashed door dal and stir to combine.   Bring the pitlai to a boil and remove from the heat.
  7. Serve with hot steamed rice.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Jeera Rice (Pulao) / Cumin Rice ~ Day 117

Preparation time: 5 minutes + 20 minutes soaking time
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

  • Basmati rice - 2 cups
  • Cumin seeds / Jeera - 4 tsp
  • Bay leaves - 2
  • Cinnamon stick - 1 
  • Cloves - 4
  • Salt - to taste
  • Oil - 1 tbsp
  • Ghee / clarified butter - 1 tbsp
  • Water - 4 cups

  1. Wash and soak the rice for 20 minutes.  Drain.
  2. Heat oil + ghee in a large saucepan.  Add cumin seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon, and cloves.  Fry for 15 seconds.
  3. Add the rice and saute gently for 2 minutes.  Add 4 cups of water along with salt.  Bring the water to a boil.  Simmer and cover the saucepan. 
  4. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the rice is done.  Remove from the heat and gently fluff the rice with a fork.
  5. Serve hot with any dal or curry.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Tomato Onion Thokku / Pickle / Spicy Relish~ Day 116

A simple, spicy, and lip smacking Tomato onion thokku / relish recipe to go with a variety of South Indian dishes like Idli, Dosai, or any rice dish.  It makes a yummy spread for sandwiches, roti, chapati or paratha as well.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours
Yields: 2 cups

  • Ripe Tomatoes - 10
  • Onion - 1, large, very finely chopped
  • Sesame oil - 1/4 cup
  • Mustard seeds - 2 tsp
  • Red chili powder - 1 tbsp or to taste
  • Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida - 3/4 tsp
  • Powdered Jaggery - 2 tbsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Fenugreek powder - 1 tsp

  1. Wash and pat dry the tomatoes.  Cut the tomatoes into chunks.  Place the tomatoes in a blender and puree.  Keep it aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large deep saucepan.  Splutter mustard seeds.  Add asafoetida and the onion.  Add a pinch of salt and saute until soft and translucent.
  3. Add the chili powder and turmeric powder.  Fry for 10 seconds.  Add the pureed tomatoes along with salt and jaggery. Stir to combine. 
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low.  Cook until all the moisture evaporates and until oil separates, stirring often.  Add the fenugreek powder, stir and remove from the heat.
  5. Let it cool completely and store in a sterilized glass jar.  Refrigerated pickle should stay fresh for 2 to 3 weeks or up to one month.
  6. This thokku / pickle goes well with idli, dosai or any rice dish.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Peach Iced Tea with Lemon Grass and Holy Basil ~ Day 115

Light and healthy peach iced tea infused with natural herbs like lemon grass and holy basil (Tulasi), a refreshing drink perfect for hot summer days.  

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

  • Peaches - 2
  • Sugar - 1/4 to 1/2 cup ( I used palm sugar) or to taste
  • Lemon grass - a small piece, crushed
  • Holy basil (Tulasi) or any basil - 7 to 8 leaves
  • Ginger - 1 tsp, grated
  • Tea bags - 2
  • Water - 4 cups

  1. Wash and cut the peaches into bite size pieces.  Place the peaches, sugar, lemon grass, ginger, and holy basil in a saucepan along with 1 cup of water.
  2. Gently bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the peaches are soft, about 15 minutes.  Remove the lemon grass and discard.
  3. Blend the mixture to a smooth paste.  Strain the mixture using a fine mesh strainer.  Let the peach syrup cool.
  4. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil.  Steep the tea bags for 5 minutes.  Discard the tea bags and Let the tea cool completely.
  5. To serve:  Mix the peach syrup with the tea, stir, and refrigerate. 
  6. Pour the tea into your favorite tall glass, top it with lots of ice and enjoy!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Chocolate Covered Almonds ~ Day 114

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Yields: 1/2 cup of each Dark and White Chocolates

  • Almonds - 1 cup
  • Bittersweet dark chocolate - 2 ounces, high quality
  • White chocolate - 4 ounces, high quality
  • Turbinado sugar or any coarse sugar
  • Sea salt
  • Korean chili threads (optional)

  1. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.
  2. Place the bittersweet dark chocolate in a microwave safe bowl.  Melt in 30 seconds increment, stirring after each increment until completely melted and smooth.  Alternatively, you can use the double boiler to melt the chocolate.
  3. Stir 1/2 cup of almonds into the melted chocolate and mix well to coat.
  4. Using a fork, lift the almonds one at a time, shake the excess chocolate and place it on a parchment paper.  Repeat the process with the remaining almonds.  
  5. Sprinkle with sea salt and turbinado sugar.  Allow the chocolate to set completely.  The chocolates can be refrigerated to speed up the setting, 

  • For the white chocolate coating, repeat the same process as dark chocolate.  After coating sprinkle some finely chopped Korean red chili threads (if using).
  • Store the chocolate covered almonds in the refrigerator.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Gongura Pachadi / Red Sorrel Leaves Chutney ~ Day 113

Gongura pachadi or chutney is a classic and authentic dish of Andra Pradesh.   It is prepared with a tangy and sour-tasting leaves called  Red Sorel.  In Tamil, it is called Pulicha Keerai.   Typically, crushed garlic is added with a tempering to the chutney.  Though I love garlic, my folks not so much.  Hence, I skipped the garlic.  Feel free to add, if you wish.  

 Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Yields: 1 cup

  • Gongura / Sorrell leaves - 2 bunches, separated from the stalks
  • Dried red chilies - 8 to 10
  • Coriander seeds - 2 tbsp
  • Urad dal - 1 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Fenugreek / Methi seeds - 1 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Sesame oil - 4 tbsp

  1. Wash and spread the gongura leaves on a kitchen towel.  Let it dry in a shade until completely dried.
  2. In a small skillet, dry roast the red chilies, coriander seeds and urad dal until golden brown.  Remove and add the fenugreek seeds.  Roast until fragrant and light brown.  Remove and roast the mustard seeds until it starts to pop.   Let the roasted ingredients cool and grind to a coarse powder.
  3. Heat 4 tbsp oil in a skillet.  Add the dried gongura leaves and saute until wilted and soft, about 5 minutes.  Let cool completely.
  4. Add the sauteed gongura with the ground spice powder along with salt and pulse until combined.  
  5. Transfer the chutney into a clean, dry glass jar and store in a refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.  
  6. To serve: Mix the chutney with hot steamed rice and a generous dollop of ghee.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Leftover Dal Palak Poori / Lentil and Spinach poori ~ Day 112

This is a perfect breakfast or lunchbox recipe for fuzzy kids who refuse to eat dal and spinach.  I made these pooris with a mildly spiced, leftover keerai masiyal (mashed spinach and dal).   You can make rotis or parathas with the same dough as well.

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Yields: 25 pooris

  • Leftover dal palak or dal - 1 cup
  • Wheat flour - 2 to 2 and 1/2 cups
  • Salt - to taste, for the flour
  • Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Oil - for frying
  • More flour for dusting

  1. Combine dal and flour with enough salt for the flour.  Knead into a smooth and tight dough.  If the dough sticks to the fingers, add more flour and knead.  Coat the dough with 2 tbsp of oil and cover.
  2. Heat oil in a deep pan.  Take a golf ball size dough, dust it with flour and roll into small discs. Make 8 to 10  discs at a time and place it on a parchment paper.  Do not stack the pooris.
  3. Slide the rolled puri one at a time into the hot oil.  With a slotted spoon, gently press the poori and splash hot oil over as it puffs up.  Turn it over and fry until golden brown on both sides.
  4. Drain on paper towel.  Repeat the process with the rest of the discs and dough.
  5. Serve hot with your favorite subzi or curry.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Semi-homemade Vegetarian Mexican Pizza ~ Day 111

Here is an easy to make semi-homemade Mexican pizza recipe (or is there a recipe?)  

  • Tostada shells or Tortillas 
  • Refried beans - 1-16oz can (I used organic vegetarian beans)
  • Black beans - 1-15oz can, drained and rinsed
  • Shredded Mexican cheese - 1 pack
  • Hot salsa or sauce - 1 cup
  • Green pepper - 1/2, finely chopped
  • Red pepper - 1/2, finely chopped
  • Tomatoes - 2, finely chopped
  • Black olives - 1/2 cup, sliced
  • Scallions / Green onion - 1/2 cup, finely chopped
  • Sour cream - for garnishing

  1. Place the canned refried beans in a saucepan and heat it through.
  2. Take one tostada or tortilla and spread the refried beans. Drizzle some hot sauce on top.
  3. Place another tostada shell or tortilla on top.  Spread some hot sauce.
  4. Top it with the veggies.  Place it in a microwave and cook for 40 seconds.
  5. Remove and top it with cheese and the green onion,  Microwave for another 30 seconds or until the cheese melts.
  6. Remove and cut into wedges and serve with sour cream and guacamole.

Note:  If making four or five pizzas at a time, using an oven works well.
Place the prepared pizzas with veggies in a baking tray and bake it in the hot oven (350 degrees F) for a minute or so, and then top it with cheese and bake until the cheese melts.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Sopapillas ~ Day 110

Sopapilla pronounced "soap-ah-pee-ya" is a traditional New Mexican fried bread.  They are served in two ways: stuffed with beans and meat or as a dessert, drizzled with honey or cinnamon sugar.  It tastes similar to bhatura without the tartness.  

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Yields: 18 Sopapillas

  • All-purpose flour - 2 cups
  • Baking powder - 1/2 tbsp
  • Sugar - 1/2 tbsp
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Vegetable oil - 1 tbsp
  • Warm water - 1 or more cup
  • Oil - for frying

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour,baking powder, sugar, and salt.  Make a well in the center and add 1 tbsp oil. Mix well.  Add water little at a time and make a soft dough.  Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.  Cover with wet paper towel and rest for 20 minutes. 
  2. Heat oil for frying.  Divide the dough into half.  Roll the dough into 1/8-inch thick rounds.  Cut the dough into squares 4x4 or smaller.  Cover the pressed dough.
  3. Gently place the square (one at a time) into the hot oil.  Press the square gently while splashing hot oil on top. Once puffed, turn it to the other side and fry until both sides are golden brown.  Drain on paper towel. Repeat with the remaining dough.  
  4. Serve immediately drizzled with honey or cinnmon sugar.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Dal Panchratan / Five Lentils Curry ~ Day 109

Dal - Lentil
Panch - Five
Ratan - Jewel

Dal Panchratan refers to five different kinds of lentils, which is cooked in onion tomato gravy and spiced with fresh spices.   This healthy, nutritious, and protein packed dish pairs beautifully with hot steamed basmati rice, roti or naan.  Enjoy making this comforting and flavorful dal. 

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

  • Toor dal / pigeon peas - 1/4 cup
  • Chana / bengal gram - 1/4 cup
  • Split moong dal / green gram - 1/4 cup
  • Split or whole black urad dal / black gram - 1/4 cup
  • Masoor dal / red lentil - 1/4 cup
  • Oil or ghee - 2 tbsp
  • Onion - 1 big, finely chopped
  • Tomatoes - 2, finely chopped
  • Green chilies - 2, slit
  • Ginger - 2 tbsp, grated
  • Garlic - 2 , cloves, grated
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Red chili powder - 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
  • Garam masala - 2 tsp
  • Curry leaves - few
  • Salt - to taste
  • Coriander leaves / Cilantro - for garnishing

  1. Wash all the dals / lentils and pressure cook with enough water until soft, about 4 whistles.  If you are using whole black urad dal, then soak it separately overnight or for a minimum of 4 hours.  After soaking, combine with the rest of the dals cook until soft. 
  2. Heat oil in a saucepan,  Splutter cumin seeds.  Add asafoetida, green chilies, onion, ginger, garlic and curry leaves.  Saute until onion turns translucent. 
  3. Add turmeric powder, coriander powder, and red chili powder.  Saute for 30 seconds.  Add the tomatoes and cook over low heat until oil separates.
  4. Add the cooked dal / lentil and salt.  Mix well.  Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Mix in the garam masala and coriander leaves.  
  5. Serve hot with rice, roti or naan.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Caprese Pasta Salad with Thai Basil Vinaigrette ~ Day 108

Summer is almost here and I am seeing lots of fresh herbs and greens at the farmers market.  Today, I got this amazing smelling, fresh bunch of Thai basil to make pesto.  While the washed leaves were still drying, I quickly made this lightly spiced vinaigrette for this refreshing salad.  It is a breeze to make this salad and can be made ahead and refrigerated.  

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 8 minutes
Serves: 6

  • Any pasta like fusilli or penne - 1-16oz bag ( I used brown rice penne pasta)
  • Fresh mozzarella - 2 cups (more or less), cubed  
  • Cherry tomatoes - 2 cups, halved
  • Thai basil or sweet basil- 2 cups
  • Garlic - 1, clove
  • Jalapeno - 1 (optional)
  • Dried oregano - 1 tsp
  • Lemon juice - 1 tbsp or to taste
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 4 tbsp
  • Salt & Pepper - to taste

  1. Cook pasta according to instruction on the package.  Drain and let cool completely.
  2. Meanwhile, place the basil, garlic, jalapeno (if using), oregano, lemon juice, and 2 tbsp olive oil in a blender.  
  3. Blend until smooth.  Add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil, salt, and pepper.  Pulse two or three times.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, add the mozzarella, tomatoes, pasta, and the vinaigrette.  Toss to combine. Check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed.  
  5. Serve immediately or chill and serve.