Monday, February 29, 2016

Piyava Gojju (Tangy, spiced onion chutney/dip); Meatless Monday

Chutneys and dips form such an integral part of the Indian cuisine, especially so with the South Indian cuisine. No meal is complete without the presence of a chutney or gojju. Gojju is another Indian terminology for chutney or dip. We like it for breakfast to dip our dosas and idlis; we like it with our lunch and dinner to spice up the meals.

The plethora of chutneys available are amazing. You could make chutneys out of almost any vegetable. Today, I am bringing to you Piyava gojju as they call it in Konkani language. Piyavu means onion and gojju means chutney. So, Piyava Gojju literally translates into Onion chutney.

This recipe makes me nostalgic. It brings back memories of the times I spent in my aunt's home and her mother ( Indira mai) would make it to go with Paan polo or Neer dose. Till date, I think Indira Mai makes the best Piyava chutney. The spicy, tangy onion chutney makes for a perfect dip for the bland panpolo. It is also perfect for dinner with kanji. If you still have leftover chutney, you can use it as a marinade.This recipe is courtesy Mrs. Indira Pai.

Servings: 4-6


Onion: 1, medium-sized
Red chillies: 2
Coconut oil: 2 drops
Tamarind : marble-sized if using dried; 1/4 tsp if using pulp.
Salt: to taste
Water: 1/4 cup


Roast the red chillies in 1-2 drops of oil. Grind this with tamarind and water to a fine paste in a blender/food processor.

Roughly chop the onions. Add the chopped onions and salt to the blender/food processor. Pulse once or twice.

Remove from the blender.

Serve with dosas/crepes/ meals of your choice.

Stays fresh in the refrigerator for a couple of days.


I am bringing this to Throwback Thursday, Saucy Saturday and Angie's Fiesta Friday where  Josette @ thebrookcook and Lily @ little sweet baker are co-hosts. I know I am a little late for the party but I was busy having a birthday party for my daughter.

Cooking made easy:

Whenever you chop onions, make sure they you clean the knife right away as it otherwise makes your knife blunt.

Tip for healthy living :

Whenever you buy snacks, buy small packs. This will satisfy your craving and at the same time prevent you from overindulging.

Food for thought:

The days you work are the best days. Georgia O'Keeffe

Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Grilled Tofu with Sriracha

Today is an extra-special day as I have been given the privilege of co-hosting Angie's Fiesta Friday #107,with a seasoned co-host and an excellent blogger Margy @ La Petite Casserole. I hope I can stand up to the trust placed by Angie on me. If you don't yet know what Fiesta Friday is yet, it is time to check it out! It is one of the friendliest blogger parties ever! I joined Fiesta when I first started blogging two years ago. Over the past two years, I have made several friends at the Fiesta, learnt a lot from all the wonderful bloggers who party there. The best part about Angie's Fiesta is that everyone is so willing to impart whatever they know to you. This place is a blessing to new bloggers.Check out the guidelines here for coming to this party. Link up your posts at Angie's Fiesta and to both the co-hosts!

 I have created this recipe especially for my friends at Angie's Fiesta Fiday! I am looking forward to tons of chit-chat, sharing and caring over the next few days!!

Tofu and I have a kind of a love-hate relationship. What is tofu? Tofu is basically bean curd that is made by curdling soy milk and then pressing I into a solid block, just like the way cheese ( paneer is made).

 I like the concept of tofu and all the good things that it stands for, but I have never come to like the taste of it; until now! I have tried incorporating tofu in my diet on several different occasions. I have made scrambled tofu, I have substituted it in place of paneer and made our traditional paneer dishes like malai paneer, paneer chilli, I didn't like it. I have made stir-fry using Tofu; didn't like it. For some reason, it just didn't appeal to me. It tasted bland, weird.. I don't know.. Just not right. I used to often see my very good blogger friend, Sonal @Simplyvegetarian777 rustle up amazing tofu dishes. I would just look at her posts and let them pass.

Then one day, I went out to dinner at this Korean restaurant downtown. One of the dishes that we ordered was rice with vegetables and something. The name was quite fancy. When the dish was served it looked great and tasted out of this world! One of the items in that dish was slices of Tofu. It was so flavorful and delicious,  I cannot even describe! Looking at that dish, I realized that the trick for cooking Tofu and making it flavorful is marinating it right. Tofu is essentially bland with no particular taste. It is askin to an empty canvas. It imbibes the taste of whatever sauce that you put it in. This gave me a renewed determination to try Tofu again!

 I marinated it in a spices honey barbecue sauce and grilled it in my grill pan over the stove top. The result was a delicious tofu steak that is super-flavorful and made a wonderful side for my meal! The best part is that there is not much prep involved and is super quick and easy to make! Perfect for a weeknight dinner. All you would need to do is at some point ( read previous night)  marinate the tofu steaks in the sauce and leave it in the fridge. Extra firm tofu works best for this recipe.

Servings: 6  ( One 1.5 cms thick steak per person)


Organic Extra-firm Tofu : 1 package
Honey barbecue sauce: 1/4 cup ( any brand will do. ( I used some leftover gourmet honey BBQ sauce that I had).
Soy Sauce: 1 tbsp ( use gluten-free if gluten-intolerant ).
Sriracha sauce: 1 tsp ( you can use any hot sauce if you don't have Sriracha)
Olive oil: for greasing the grill pan.


Slice the tofu into 1.5 cms thick slices ( steaks). Keep aside.

Add honey barbecue sauce, soy sauce and Sriracha sauce to a bowl. Mix well.

Brush each tofu slice with the marinade and place in a bowl. 

Pour the remaining on top of it. Cover and keep in the refrigerator to marinate a minimum of 30 minutes.

Heat the grill pan on the stove stop on medium heat. Grease the pan using olive oil. When the pan is hot enough, place the tofu slices on the pan. Cook for 5 mins on low flame. Flip it over and cook for another 4-5 mins.

Serve hot with grilled vegetables, noodles or fried rice.

Enjoy! I am also bringing this to our friends at Throwback Thursday.

Cooking made easy:

As you can see, any combination of sauces with flavors that you desire could be used. I usually take a little bit of this and a little bit of that and see what comes out of it. If it is good, I share it with you all. You win some and you lose some. But you won't know until you have tried! Be creative!

Tip for healthy living:

Tofu is a great source of protein for vegetarians and vegans as it is one of those few foods that contains all eight essential amino acids. It is also an excellent source of iron and calcium and the minerals manganese, selenium and phosphorous.  It is also a good source of magnesium, copper, zinc and vitamin B1.  However, I personally prefer to use organic and non-genetically modified tofu.


Food for thought:

Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them. Albert Einstein

Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Set Dosa and Saagu ( Pancakes served with Vegetable Stew made with coconut sauce) ; Meatless Monday

This past summer, I went on a vacation to India. When I was there, we had been on a road trip to Shirali, Karnataka, where our family temple is located. Enroute there, we stopped for breakfast at a Brahmin hotel in Kundapur. The breakfast was delicious! 

There, I had the best set dosas ever! It was served with piping hot Saagu and coconut chutney. That with the filter coffee, totally made my day! Set dosa is nothing but  a bunch of dosas served in a set of two or four.

These dosas are never served alone. They are served traditionally with Saagu and coconut ginger chutney. 

Saagu is nothing but a spiced mixed vegetable stew in coconut sauce. This dish is part of traditional cuisine of Brahmins residing in the Mysore-Bangalore region of Karnataka State in India. This means that we never made it in our homes.

The other day, I was nostalgic and craving the Saagu. I immediately reached out to my high-school buddy who is a Brahmin residing in Bangalore (who also happens to be an excellent cook herself), for the recipe. She was kind enough to quickly send it to me via messenger! I immediately made it this past weekend and coupled it with the set dosa, which I also like! I was in Saagu heaven! It tasted every bit as good as I remembered and some more!! Thank you Smitha for the recipe!

It is very easy to make and is a filling, complete breakfast.

For the Set Dosa:

Servings: 3-4


Raw rice: 1 1/2 cups
Urad dal: 1/2 cup
Methi seeds: 1/4 tsp
Poha( beaten rice): 1/2 cup
Salt: 1 tsp( adjust as needed)
Sugar: 1 tsp
Water: for soaking and grinding
Coconut oil: to grease the griddle ( any cooking oil can be used).


Soak  rice, urad dal and methi seeds in water for 4-5 hours or overnight .

After the soaking period,  grind the above mixture with just enough water to make a fine batter.

Soak 1 fistful of poha in water for 10-15 mins. Add it to the above ground mixture and blend it together.

Pour everything in a bowl. Add salt and sugar and mix well.Let it ferment for 6-8 hours or overnight.

Heat a tawa/ griddle on medium heat, grease it with a little coconut  oil.  

Take a ladleful of batter and put it on the center  of the griddle. Spread it in a concentric circle to the thickness of a pancake. Cover and cook on very low flame until done. 

Flip the dosa and cook on the other side for a minute. I sometimes flip the dosa and sometimes I don't, as my kids  like their dosa milky white.

Serve hot with coconut chutney and Saagu.

Enjoy! I am bringing this to my favorite blog parties: Fiesta Friday # 107 which I am co-hosting with Margy @ La Petite Casserole  , Throwback Thursday #27 and Saucy Saturday.

For Saagu:

Servings: 4-6


Green beans : around 10
Carrots: 1 medium-sized
Red potato: 1 medium-sized
Green peas: 1/2 cup
Tomato: 1 medium
Water : 2 cups
Salt: 1/2 tsp

To grind:

Freshly grated coconut: 1 cup
Green chillies: 2-3 ( can be adjusted as per individual taste)
Tamarind: marble-sized
Cumin seeds ( jeera): 1 tsp
Ginger: 1/2 inch piece
Cinnamon stick: 1 cms piece
Cloves: 2
Cardamom: seeds from 2 pods
Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
Water: 1 cup

For tempering:

Coconut oil: 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 sprig

For garnishing:

Chopped cilantro: 2 tbsp


Peel and chop the potato to big chunks. Chop the green beans into 1 inch pieces. Peel the carrots and cut them into 2-inch long, 1 cms thick pieces. Dice the tomatoes big. Add all the vegetables into a pot with the peas, salt and water and bring it to a boil. Reduce the flame to medium and cook until tender. Turn off the flame and keep aside.

While the vegetables are cooking, add all the ingredients listed under " to grind" to a blender or food processor and grind to a fine paste.

Add this to the cooked vegetables. Mix well. On medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Turn off the flame.


Heat coconut oil on medium heat in a frying pan/skillet. Add mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter, turn off the gas. Add this to the above pot.

Garnish with chopped coriander/ cilantro leaves.

Serve hot with Set Dosa, poori , flat bread ( rotis) or regular bread.
Can also be served with rice.


Cooking made easy:

Typically, for Saagu , the vegetables of choice used are carrots, green peas, green beans and potatoes. Do not fret, if you are out of any of them. Feel free to use whatever you have! The dish tastes good with most combinations of vegetables.

When I am making this dish, I cook vegetables as I chop. I chop and add the vegetables in the order of their cooking tome. I place the pot with water to heat up . As the water it heating, I dice the potato and add it in. Then comes the green beans , carrots, green peas and lastly tomatoes. This technique for me saves a lot of time. You should do whatever works best for you.

Tip for healthy living:

While serving a meal, try to serve as much or slightly more vegetables than the rice in your plate.

Food for thought:

All great achievements require time. Maya Angelou

Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Protein-packed Bites with Chocolate Chips.

With Valentine's Day around the corner, I had to make something sweet after all the savory items I have been making! Well, I must confess that I was kinda sorta forced into it. My 6-year old wanted me to make a Valentine's Day treat!

I figured we will make something that we could make together!! My daughter loves helping me in the kitchen. I didn't want it to be a sugary treat! I  wanted it to be healthy and nutrient rich . I remembered a Fit-girl recipe that I had come across.

I decided to improvise on it. I increased the amount of oats and rolled the shaped bites in toasted chia and sesame seeds, thereby making it even more protein rich! I also wanted to make it heart-shaped so I spread it on a baking sheet and used cookie-cutter to make heart-shaped. I rolled some of them in toasted chia seeds, a few in toasted sesame seeds and the rest in red and white sprinkles. 

The one with the sprinkles is for my kids. The chia and sesame seed ones are for me to eat while at work to curb the hunger pangs! It is perfect to snack on!

I am bringing these little goodies to my friends at Throwback Thursday #25, Fiesta Friday #106 and Saucy Saturdays.Angie's Fiesta Friday co-hosts this week are Steffi @ Ginger & Bread and Andrea @ Cooking With a Wallflower.

Servings: makes around 25 bites


Nut butter: 3/4 cup ( any nut butter will do; I used cashew butter).
Oat flour: 1 cup
Honey: 1 tbsp
Vanilla essence: 1 tsp
Chocolate-Chips: 3 tbsp
Chia seeds/sesame seeds: 3 tbsp, for rolling.
Sprinkles: 3 tbsp, for rolling


Toast the chia seeds/ sesame seeds by keeping it on a microwave safe plate in the microwave for 1 minute at a time, for a total of  2 minutes. Make sure you don't burn them.You can also toast them on the stove-top. Keep aside.

In a bowl, take the cashew butter, oat  flour, honey, vanilla essence & chocolate chips. Mix together to form a dough.

Spread the dough on a baking sheet/plate.It is preferred to line the plate/ tray with some wax paper. Keep it in the refrigerator for atleast 30 minutes.

Using a cookie cutter, cut out heart shapes ( or any shape that you desire) of all the available dough. Use the leftover dough to make little rolls using your fingers.

Take the sprinkles or the toasted sesame seeds/chia seeds in a small plate. Roll the prepared hearts and rolls in it.

Store in an airtight container.

Stays fresh for 3-4 weeks!

Enjoy! Happy Valentine's Day to all!!

Cooking made easy:

Oat flour can be easily made at home. Just add the desired amount of old fashioned or quick oats into a blender/ coffee grinder and powder it until it is finely ground. Store in an airtight container and use when needed.

Tip for healthy living:

Try to feed yourself and your family a balanced meal whenever possible.

Food for thought:

Love unconditionally, without expectations. Suchitra

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Zucchini Boats; Diabetes Friendly Thursday

Food is what keeps us going!! Do I sound crazy?? Think about it, really! If we didn't have hunger, we would not be working. Food is at the center of all celebrations; birthdays, holidays, religious festivities, you name it! For that matter, even on a everyday basis, we think about food. What are we going to have for breakfast, what are we having for lunch, what shall we eat for dinner. If food is such an important part of our lives then it is essential that we enjoy our food. Just because we have some health conditions like diabetes, it doesn't mean that we give up / stop enjoying food. What it means however, is that we make the right choices that suits our body and makes it function maximally. There is plenty of food out there that is healthy and tasty.

This weekend on Valentine's Day, let us make something healthy and delicious for our loves ones. Team DFT has come together to bring you a collection of diabetes friendly appetizers.

So, lets celebrate Valentine's Day with Team DFTs  weight watchers and Diabetes Friendly appetizers.

                        Creating Recipes with a Cause! I am a proud DFT blogger. 
                                        To learn about DFT, Read this Link
                                        To view more DFT recipes, Click here!

My contribution to this is the very easy, very healthy, very delicious and almost calorie-free zucchini boats. You have to try it to believe me!!

This is one of those recipes that I fell in love with instantly. I have been making this for a couple of years now and every time I made it, it has been a huge hit. I have been meaning to blog about it for a long time now, but it didn't happen until now. You can find the original recipe here.

I am bringing these healthy treats to my friends at Throwback Thursday #25, Fiesta Friday #106 and Saucy Saturdays.Angie's Fiesta Friday co-hosts this week are Steffi @ Ginger & Bread and Andrea @ Cooking With a Wallflower.

Servings: 4 ( 2 pieces/ half a zucchini per person)


Zucchini : 2 medium-sized ones
Grape/cherry tomatoes: around 16-20.
Bread crumbs: 2 tbsp
Olive oil: 1-2 tsp ( for brushing the zucchini slices, may not need all)
Salt: to taste
Freshly ground black pepper powder: 1/2 tsp
Shredded cheese: 2 tbsp ( Any cheese will do; mozzarella preferred; can be adjusted as per individual preference).


Clean the zucchini and tomatoes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degree F.

Prepare a baking sheet by lining with foil or parchment paper and keep ready.

Slice the zucchini lengthwise into two slices.

Scoop out the seeds in the center using a teaspoon to create a groove running the length of the zucchini slice, thereby making a "boat".

Brush the zucchini slices with olive oil.

Slice the grape tomatoes into two.

Arrange the grape tomatoes in the groove of the sliced zucchini. You might need around 8-9 tomato halves.

Sprinkle salt and pepper on the zucchini and tomato. You can do this before or after placing the tomatoes.

Now sprinkle bread crumbs along the length of the boat.

Arrange the prepared zucchini boats on the baking tray.

Place the tray on the center rack of the oven and bake at 350 degree F for 20-25 minutes.

Take it out. Sprinkle some shredded cheese on each boats and put it back in the oven.

Bake for another 6-8 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Ensure that you don't burn the cheese.

Slice each boat into two pieces if the boat was too long. You can keep "as is " if you wish.

Serve hot.

Best when served immediately.

Cooking made easy:

If you don't have cherry or grape tomatoes, you could use slices of regular tomatoes.

You can be adventurous and stuff the boat with anything else that you feel like!

This could be also made using the broiler or the grill. It is much faster and can be ready in just 10 minutes!

Footnotes (Tip for healthy living):

Apart from being the very low calorie vegetable ( 17 calories per 100 grams,  Zucchini is one of the best sources of dietary fiber. It is a great source of manganese and vitamin C. It is also a good source of vitamin A, magnesium, folate, potassium, copper and phosphorous.

Tomatoes too are low-calorie food with much needed dietary fiber. It is a great source of vitamin C and lycopene, a powerful phytochemical with anti-oxidant properties.

Mozzarella cheese is a good source of protein and calcium. It should however be eaten in very small amounts. 



I am not a nutritionist or dietician. My knowledge and information is based on my research and reading from different resources. Please consult your doctor or dietician before making any changes to your diet.

Do Check out the other DFT contributors  and their links!

Food for thought:

Love is when the other person's happiness is more important than your own. H Jackson Brown, Jr.

Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!