Monday, April 17, 2017

Authentic Mexican Guacamole ; Meatless Monday

Guys, spring is here!!! Even though it does not feel like spring at times...But not to despair!! It will get warm soon enough! We have to now get our bodies ready for summer!!

We are always on the look out for healthy snacks: snacks that are not processed, low in calories and replenishes & rejuvenates the body. One such snack is Guacamole. Made out of ripe avocados, they are filling,nutritious  and flavorful and cooling! Avocados are known as butter fruit in India. 

There are many versions of guacamole. Some make it chunky, some smooth, some add tomatoes and garlic while others don't. I have the good fortune of working with quite a few Hispanics and therefore learn authentic Hispanic dishes. This particular version of guacamole comes from a coworker of mine. I first tasted her guacamole at a workplace event that we had and the foodie in me was impressed to say the least. I loved the freshness of the guacamole and that there was no overpowering taste of one single ingredient. I had to have the recipe.

 She was kind enough to share it with me. I love the ease of making this guacamole with no food processor or blender needed. I use my stone pestle and mortar to make it. This recipe also requires only 6 ingredients including the avocado! Since making this version, I have not made any other.. I like to eat it as a dip with quinoa chips, quesadilla and as a topping on my sandwich or in my wrap.

Today, I am sharing this delicious recipe with you.

Servings: 3-4

Prep time: 8-10 mins

Cook time: 0 mins

Total time: 8-10 mins


Avocado: 1 large, ripe
White Onion: 1/2 small, diced fine
Serrano pepper: 1, small, deseeded & deveined.
Lime Juice: from 1 small lime.
Cilantro: 2 tbsp, finely chopped
Salt: to taste


Deseed the Serrano pepper and chop it finely. Add it to a bowl.

Slice the avocado into 2. Remove the seed. 

Using a spoon, scoop it from the peel. Dice it into medium sized cubes. Add it to the bowl.

Add lime/lemon juice to the avocado and mix immediately. Otherwise the avocado will discolor.

Now add the chopped onion, finely chopped cilantro, and salt to the bowl.

Mix well. Mash the mixture gently to get the desired consistency.

Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Preferably serve immediately.


Cooking made easy:

One of the problems of avocado is that it turns black. This can be prevented by the addition of lime or lemon juice and also by leaving the seed in the guacamole. The guacamole with remain green even the next day!!

Tip for healthy living:

Eating low calorie dips made using naturally occurring foods like avocado is much better than the high fat and calorie dips that use sour cream, cheese and mayonnaise as a base!

Food for thought:

To live a pure unselfish life, one must count nothing as one's own in the midst of abundance. Buddha

Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Cornmeal Idlis

Have you ever thought of making idlis using cornmeal? Yes, it is possible and is absolutely delicious! It is especially useful if you have not soaked your lentils for regular idlis and want to make idlis next day for breakfast. These idlis can also be made instantaneously without any fermentation! How cool is that??

You can make it with or without adding any vegetables into it. I like to add some peas and carrots into the batter . Some people also use chopped green chillies and grated ginger. I don't like that in my idlis. I would rather pair it with a spicy chutney. Also, I want my kids to eat this and they don't like it if there are chillies in it.

This is a easy recipe wherein there is no grinding involved. Yogurt/curd is used to make the batter. A pinch of baking soda is added. The batter is allowed to ferment for 2-3 hours. I like to make mine at night and leave it on the countertop, ready to be steamed in the morning. If you want to make it instantaneously, use eno fruit salt instead of baking soda.

Servings: makes 16 medium sized idlis

Prep time: 15 mins + 2 hours fermentation

Cook time: 10-15 mins

Total time: 2 and 1/2 hours including fermentation time.


Cornmeal: 1 cup
Yogurt: 1 cup
Water: 1/2 cup ( may not need all)
Baking soda: a pinch ( optional)
Salt to taste
Coconut oil: 1 tsp + for greasing the pan.
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Urad dal (split matpe beans): 1/2tsp
Chana dal ( split chick peas): 1 tsp
Cashew halves: 1 tbsp


Dry roast the cornmeal in a sauté pan  it in a plate/ bowl and keep aside.

In a saute pan, heat oil . Add mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add the urad dal,chana dal curry leaves and cashew halves.Sauté for few seconds. Add the cornmeal.
Roast on low heat until fragrant( around 5-6 minutes). Turn off the flame. Let it cool down.

Take this mixture in a bowl. When cooled down, add the cooked peas and carrots, salt, baking soda and yogurt. Mix thoroughly.

 Add the water little by little, mixing well in between until you reach the consistency of idli batter.

Let if ferment for atleast 2 hours.

When you are ready to cook the idlis, grease the idli mold with ghee/ butter fill it with batter until 2/3 full and steam in the idli steamer / pressure cooker ( without using the weight) for 10 minutes on medium- high flame.Turn off the heat and let it cool down in the steamer for another 10 minutes before taking them out of the mold.

Serve hot with sambar/ chutney or both.


Cooking made easy:

To make these idlis instantaneously, just add eno into the batter instead of baking soda. Make the batter and steam it immediately. When eno is added to the batter, the batter should not be kept for a long time. It loses its ability to rise.

Tip for healthy living:

Incorporating as many vegetables into all your meals not only provides you with the essential nutrients and dietary fiber, but also reduces the calorie value of the meal thereby making it healthier.

Food for thought:

Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery. Joyce Brothers

Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!

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Friday, April 7, 2017

Mangalorean Egg Curry with coconut

My household likes eggs in any form: scrambled, boiled, omelette.. You name it. We love the curried version: jhatpat egg curry, tangy egg curry, egg chilli. 

At times, I make the Curry with the Mangalorean style sauce which I usually reserve for fish or chicken as I often feel that I don't have to labor that hard to cook eggs. Today was one of those days when I craved for the Mangalorean style sauce. Traditionally this is made with freshly grated coconut. I have made this using coconut milk. You can use whichever method is convenient for you based on availability of ingredients.

Servings : 4-6

Prep time: 15-20 minsCook time: 15-20 minsTotal time: 30-40 mins


Boiled eggs: 6
Coriander seeds: 2 tsp
Cumin seeds ( jeers): 1 tsp
Red chillies: 4-6 medium
Methi seeds( fenugreek): 4-6 seeds
Black pepper corns: 1/2 tsp
Tamarind: marble sized ( if using tamarind concentrate, use 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder: 1/4 tsp
Onion: 2 medium-sized, chopped
Garlic:  3-4 cloves
Coconut oil: 1/4 tsp + 1 tbsp ( any cooking oil may be used).
Tomato: 1 medium, chopped
Green chillies: 3-4, slit
Ginger: 1 inch, minced
Curry leaves : 1 sprig ( optional)
Coconut milk: 1 cup
Salt to taste.


In a sauce pan or sauté pan, heat 1/4 tsp oil. In this roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, methi seeds, black pepper & red chillies one after the other. Keep aside in a bowl to cool down.

Once cooled down, grind the above roasted items with tamarind, turmeric powder, 1 chopped onion and garlic. Add just enough water to grind it into a smooth paste.

In the same saucepan, heat 1 tbsp oil.  Add the other half of the chopped onions. Sauté until it is transparent. Add the minced ginger, curry leaves , chopped tomatoes and sauté until the tomatoes have softened. Add the ground masala, coconut milk, salt and bring it to a gentle boil.

While the sauce it boiling, peel the eggs and slice it into 2 halves and keep ready.

Add the sliced eggs gently to the boiling sauce. Continue to summer for a minute or two.

Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves if you wish. I didn't have any so I haven't used any. 

Serve hot with rice/ bread/roti.


Serve hot.

Cooking made easy:

If you want perfect hard-boiled eggs here is an easy way to do it.
In a pot bring water to a boil and gently drop in the eggs. Let it continue to boil for 10 mins. Turn off the stove and cover the pot and keep it for another 10 mins. Drain the water. Perfect hard-boiled eggs are yours to enjoy!

Tip for healthy living:

Try to limit your egg consumption to maximum of 2 a day! Even though eggs have many nutritional benefits eating too many eggs can increase your cholesterol levels!

Food for thought:

Hope is such a bait, it covers any hook. Oliver Goldsmith