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Chocolate Oatmeal Smoothie


Oatmeal is a great way to start your day. Having a bowl of hot porridge everyday can get really boring. Adding oatmeal to smoothies is a another way to enjoy this highly nutritious grain. You can add cooked oatmeal for a creamy smoothie or raw oatmeal if you like little crunch. If using cooked oatmeal in your morning smoothie, it's best to pre-cook the oatmeal the night before, to allow to cool completely. 

Usually I make oatmeal breakfast smoothie with some fruits like this strawberry banana oatmeal smoothie. So this time I thought to try something different and made this chocolate smoothie with oats, banana, almonds and dates. I added a little drinking chocolate to make it extra delicious. The sweetness from the banana, dates and drinking chocolate was perfect and I didn't have to add any extra sweeteners. Even kids would love this healthy smoothie, so do try and let me know how you like it.


CHOCOLATE OATMEAL SMOOTHIE RECIPE

{ Breakfast smoothie with oats, cocoa powder and banana }
Serves 1


Ingredients:

¼ cup rolled oats
5-6 almonds, chopped
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tbsp drinking chocolate powder
5 dates, pitted
1 small banana, chopped
1 cup milk
½ tsp vanilla extract

Method:

1. In a blender add oats, almonds and grind it to a fine powder. Now add banana, dates, ½ cup milk and blend until smooth.

2. Add remaining milk, cocoa powder, drinking chocolate powder, vanilla extract and blend until smooth. Pour into glass and serve immediately.

Notes and Tips
  • If you prefer cooked oatmeal in smoothies, cook it previous night to allow to cool completely.
  • Instead of drinking chocolate, you can also add any chocolate malt powder.
  • To spice up the smoothie, you can add a pinch of cinnamon.
  • You can add honey or natural sweeteners if you want more sweetness.
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Linguine With Lemon, Garlic And Thyme Mushrooms


When I'm in no mood to cook an elaborate dinner, pasta comes to my rescue. We mostly prefer no-sauce pasta dishes over creamy, pesto or other sauce based pastas. When there is no sauce, the flavor comes from the vegetables, herbs and spices and each time you can create a unique pasta dish. While googling for quick and no-sauce pasta recipes, I stumbled upon this Nigella Lawson recipe.

The original recipes calls for mushrooms steeped in oil, garlic, lemon and thyme which is then tossed in fresh hot pasta. I was not sure how raw mushrooms would taste, so I adapted the recipe slightly to suit our tastes. I tossed the mushrooms in olive oil and little butter and added more spices. The lemon zest and juice added a wonderful freshness to the pasta. What I love about this recipe is how quickly it can be done - while the pasta is cooking, get ready the sauteed mushrooms. Off to the recipe now!


MUSHROOM LINGUINE PASTA RECIPE

{ Linguine pasta with lemon, garlic, thyme and mushrooms }
Serves 2


Ingredients:

200g linguine pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
8-10 button mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp thyme leaves
1 tsp lemon zest
½ tsp red chilly flakes
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
2 tbsp shaved Parmesan

Method:

1. Cook the pasta according to the instructions given in the packet. Rinse under cold water and drain water completely.

2. Heat a large pan over high heat, add olive oil and butter. Add the mushrooms and toss well. Cook for 2-3 minutes without stirring.

3. Now reduce the heat to medium and add garlic, half of thyme leaves and mix well. Cook for 4-6 minutes until mushrooms have turned brown.

4. Add the lemon zest, red chilly flakes, salt, pepper and toss. Add the cooked pasta, lemon juice, remaining thyme leaves and toss well.

5. Cook for a minute and remove from heat. Top with shaved parmesan.

Notes and Tips
  • You can also use spaghetti or fettuccine pasta instead of linguine.
  • To cook pasta al dente, cook the pasta 1 minute less than the recommended time. Finish off cooking the pasta in the pan.
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Zucchini Dal


Zucchini or courgette is one vegetable that is available all year around. This healthy squash vegetable has high nutritional value as it's packed full of essential vitamins and nutrients and helps maintaining a strong immune system. Zucchini can be incorporated into our Indian food in different ways and this masoor dal with zucchini is one such simple and quick recipe.

Zucchini is quite a bland vegetable and the tempering of panch phoron (five spice mix) and kasuri methi, adds a good flavor to the dal and zucchini. Panch phoron is flavorful spice blend of cumin, fennel, mustard, nigella and fenegreek seeds in equal proportions. This dal can be prepared with toor dal or moong dal too. Zucchini dal can be served with plain rice, jeera rice or chapathi/roti and any sabji / stir-fry.


ZUCCHINI DAL RECIPE

{ Lentils with zucchini tempered with panch phoron / five spice mix }
Serves 2


Ingredients:

¼ cup masoor dal
1 small tomato, chopped
2 tsp oil
1 tsp ghee
1 tsp panch phoron
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½-inch ginger, finely chopped
1-2 green chillies, finely chopped
1 medium zucchini, cut into cubes
¼ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp coriander powder
¼ tsp red chilly powder
1 tsp kasuri methi / dried fenugreek leaves
¼ tsp sugar
Salt to taste
1 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped

Method:

1. Wash the dal well and pressure cook with tomato, ½ cup water for 3 whistles. Open and mash the dal well.

2. Heat oil and ghee in a kadai. Add the panch phoron and allow it to crackle. Add the onion and fry till they become soft.

3. Add garlic, ginger, green chillies and fry for a minute. Then add zucchini, turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chilly powder, kasuri methi, sugar and mix well.

4. Fry in medium flame until the zucchini has become soft. Now add dal, 1 cup water, salt and mix well. Cook for another 3-4 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Serving Suggestion ~ Rice and chapathi / roti.

Notes and Tips
  • You can use toor dal or yellow moong dal instead of masoor dal.
  • Take care not to overcook zucchini. It should retain its shape.
  • Add water and adjust the consistency of dal according to your preference.
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Iyengar Bakery Style Khara Buns


For this month's Home Bakers Challenge, the theme is buns and Priya gave us options to choose from cheese stuffed buns, Srilankan seeni sambal buns, khara buns and chocolate buns. All of them were wonderful choices and it was really difficult to chose one among them. I decided upon the Iyergar bakery style khara buns because I had heard many rave reviews about these savoury buns.

Iyengar bakeries in Bangalore are famous for these khara buns. Though I have been to the bakery few times, I have never tasted these buns. After taking the first bite, I understood why the buns were so famous. The buns were soft, slightly spicy and had a lovely flavor from the fried onions. These buns would be great with a bowl of warm soup or along with your tea or coffee. Store the buns in an airtight container and warm in the microwave before serving.

IYENGAR BAKERY KHARA BUNS RECIPE

{ Savoury eggless buns with onion, herbs and spices }
Recipe Source ~ Eat Live Burp
Makes 8


Ingredients:

1 ½ cups all purpose flour / maida
1 ½ tsp instant dried yeast
¼ cup milk
½ cup water
1 ½ tsp sugar
3 tbsp / 42 g butter, melted
1 tsp salt

For the masala:
1 tsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds / jeera
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4-5 green chillies, finely chopped
⅓ cup chopped coriander leaves
Salt to taste

To brush:
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp melted butter

Method:

1. Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. When it sizzles, add onion and fry till soft. Add green chillies, salt and fry for a minute. Remove from heat and add coriander leaves. Allow to cool.

2. In a large bowl mix 1 cup flour, instant dried yeast and sugar. Microwave milk and water for 30 seconds or until its lukewarm and add to flour. Mix with a spatula.

3. Then add the melted butter, salt and mix with a spatula. Add remaining flour little by little and mix with a spatula to form a sticky dough.

4. Transfer the dough to a generously floured surface and knead the dough for 8-10 minutes or until the dough is non-sticky and smooth.

5. Now flatten the dough with your hands to form a rectangle. Put the onion mixture, fold from all sides and seal well.

6. Knead for another 12-15 minutes or till the onion mixture is well incorporated in the dough, adding more flour if required.

7. Grease a large bowl with oil and place the dough in it. Cover and keep in a warm place for 1 - 1 ½ hours or until the dough doubles in size.

8. Once the dough has risen, knead for another 8-10 minutes, to remove any air bubbles. Divide into 8 equal portions and shape them into buns.

9. Place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cover and keep in a warm place for 45 minutes - 1 hour.

10. Preheat the oven to 200 C | 400 F for 10 minutes. Brush the tops of buns gently with milk.

11. Bake them at 180 C | 350 F for 15-18 minutes or until the buns turn golden. After removing from oven, brush them with melted butter.

Notes and Tips
  • If using active dry yeast, dissolve the yeast in lukewarm milk and water along with sugar. Leave aside for 10-15 minutes or until it becomes frothy.
  • Adjust the amount of green chillies according to your spice preference. 
  • Kneading the dough well to form a non-sticky and smooth dough is important to get soft buns.
  • After adding the onion mixture, the dough will become very sticky. Knead the dough well until non-sticky, adding extra flour if required.
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Onion Rava Dosa | Instant Rava Dosa


Making dosa batter needs some planning and preparation like soaking rice and dals, grinding and then fermentation. When you run out of dosa batter or forget to soak them, instant dosas like rava dosa or wheat dosa come as a saviour. Rava dosa is a popular South Indian breakfast item made of semolina (rava/sooji), rice flour, all-purpose flour and spices. It's an instant dosa which does no require any soaking, grinding or fermentation.

Making a crispy and laced rava dosa takes some practice and patience. Here are few important tips in getting a perfect hotel-style rava dosa:
  • The consistency of the batter is one of the keys in getting laced rava dosa. The batter should be thin and flowing. If the batter is thick, you will not get the crispy laced dosa. If batter is too thin, the dosa will break.
  • The tawa should be nicely hot while pouring the batter. To test if the tawa is hot enough, sprinkle some water on the tawa and it should sizzle and evaporate right away.
  • The batter should be quickly poured in a circular motion starting from the outer edges, then filling the gap in the center. Do not pour batter over again or fill the small gaps or spread the batter. The batter will spread by itself and fill some of the gaps.
  • Rava dosa takes longer time to cook than regular dosa. If you try to remove the dosa before its cooked, it will break. Cook in medium heat to get perfectly crispy and golden dosa.
You can skip the onions to make a plain rava dosa. Onion rava dosa tastes best when served hot. I served these crispy dosa with coconut chutney and sambar


ONION RAVA DOSA RECIPE

{ Instant dosa recipe with semolina, rice flour, all-purpose flour, onion }
Makes 6-8


Ingredients:

½ cup rava / semolina
½ cup rice flour
2 tbsp all-purpose flour / maida
1 small-sized onion, finely chopped
2 green chillies, chopped
½ inch ginger, grated
Few curry leaves
¾ tsp black peppercorn
½ tsp cumin seeds  / jeera
Pinch of asafoetida / perungayam / hing
Salt to taste
Sesame oil / nallennai

Method:

1. In a large bowl add rava, rice flour, maida, asafoetida, onion, green chillies, ginger, curry leaves, pepper, cumin seeds, salt and mix well with a whisk.

2. Now add 2 ½ to 3 cups water and mix well with whisk to make a thin flowing batter without any lumps.

3. Heat a dosa tawa over high heat and let it become hot. Pour a ladle full of batter in a circular motion starting from the outer edges and fill the gap in the center.

4. Drizzle 1-2 tsp of oil around and over the dosa. Cook in medium heat till the dosa turns crisp and golden. Fold dosa and serve immediately.

Serving Suggestion ~ Coconut chutney, tomato chutney and sambar.

Notes and Tips
  • Make dosa immediately after making the batter. There is no need to rest the batter.
  • You can use a cast iron tawa or non stick pan to make dosa. No need to grease the pan before making dosa.
  • Mix the batter well before making each dosa as the ingredients would have settled down.
  • After making each dosa, turn up the heat and wait for the tawa to get hot before pouring the batter.
  • Rava tends to soak water. So if the batter becomes thick after making few dosas, add little more water and adjust the consistency.
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Begun Bhaja | Bengali Eggplant Fry


Begun bhaja is a classic Bengali dish made using eggplants. Eggplant slices are coated in spices which are then shallow fried. The traditional recipe uses just turmeric powder, pinch of sugar, salt and fried in mustard oil. The use of minimal spices highlights the flavor of the eggplants. You can also add other spices like red chilly powder or garam masala to spice it up and use any cooking oil if you don't like mustard oil. 

The long and fat variety eggplants are used to make this dish as they have more flesh and not much seeds. These pan fried eggplants are little crispy on the outside and soft inside. Begun bhaja is best served hot with khichdi, dal chawal or roti/chapathi and dal. You can have these as a snack too. I served this eggplant fry with chapathi and Bengali masoor dal and must say it was a delicious combo!

BEGUN BHAJA RECIPE

{ Bengali dish with pan fried eggplant coated in spices }
Serves 2


Ingredients:

1 medium-size eggplant / brinjal (long fat variety)
1 tsp turmeric powder
Pinch of sugar
Salt to taste
Mustard oil or vegetable oil, to shallow fry

Method:

1. Wash and pat dry the eggplant. Cut into round slices of about ½-inch thickness.

2. In a bowl, mix turmeric powder, sugar and salt. Add eggplant and toss well. Place the eggplant slices on a plate and set aside for 5-6 minutes.

3. In a large pan, heat oil. Place the eggplant slices and fry both sides until crispy and golden brown. Place on a paper towel to drain excess oil.

Serving Suggestion ~ Khichdi / dal-chawal / roti and dal.

Notes and Tips
  • You can spice up the eggplants by adding red chilly powder and garam masala.
  • Use fat and long variety eggplants (the one used to make bhartha). You can also try with round purple brinjals but choose ones with less seeds.
  • Do not slice the brinjal too thin. It will cook fast and will not turn crisp. If you cut it too thick, it will take more time to cook.
  • Eggplants absorb lot of oil. To reduce the oil consumption, you can coat the slices lightly with rice flour.
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Beans Thoran | Green Beans Coconut Stir Fry


Thoran is a Kerala-style vegetable stir-fry with coconut, green chillies tempered with spices in coconut oil. It pairs well with any South Indian gravy, specially sambar and moru curry. Thoran is also one of the important dishes served for sadya. Have a look at other thoran recipes that I have posted sometime back.

Today I'm sharing a simple and easy thoran recipe using green beans. Beans are a good source of vitamin C, folate and dietary fibre and iron. One important tip while cooking green beans is not to overcook it otherwise all nutrients will be lost. This sadya style beans thoran is a no-onion no-garlic recipe. We enjoyed a simple meal with rice, moru curry and this healthy beans thoran.


BEANS THORAN RECIPE

{ Kerala style green beans and coconut stir-fry }
Serves 2-3


Ingredients:

2 cups chopped green beans
Pinch of turmeric powder
Salt to taste

To grind:
½ cup grated coconut
¼ tsp cumin seeds / jeera
2-3 green chillies

To temper:
2 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp split urad dal
1-2 dry red chillies, broken
Pinch of asafoetida / hing
Few curry leaves

Method:

1. Grind coconut, cumin seeds, green chillies to a coarse paste adding 1-2 tsp of water.

2. In a kadai, add the green beans, turmeric powder, salt, little water and cover and cook till the beans are soft.

3. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When it splutters, add urad dal, red chillies, asafoetida, curry leaves and fry till dal turns golden.

4. Add the coconut paste and saute till the raw smell goes. Then add the cooked beans, salt if needed and fry for 3-4 minutes.

Serving Suggestion ~ Rice and any South-Indian gravy.

Notes and Tips
  • Take care not to overcook the beans. Also covering and cooking the beans helps in reducing the loss of nutrients.
  • You can also add a small piece of ginger while grinding.
Read More >>