Category Archives: Quick meals

Going Lite with Kale Thoran



RP blogged about kale thoran last year. Ever since, it’s been a regular at our household. Coffee’s MBP ( Monthly Blog Patrol) is the perfect event to give thanks for the recipes from fellow bloggers. The theme this month is Going Lite. This was the perfect oppurtunity to thank RP for this wonderful healthy and lite recipe.

The beautiful leaves of the kale plant provide an earthy flavor and more nutritional value for fewer calories than almost any other food around ( Link)


Raw chopped kale leaves

While preparing greens, I have seen that urad dal is added along with mustard. But I used raw rice instead, as my mother would.

Kale Thoran ( original recipe here)

Kale – 1 bunch ( sliced fine)

Shallot- 2

Green chilies – 6

Grated coconut- 1/4 cup

Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp

Raw unccoked rice- 1 tsp

Oil – 1 tbsp

Salt to taste.

Add oil to the hot pan. Add mustard seeds and when they start to splutter, add the rice. The rice will start to puff up. Add the kale and give a quick stir.

In a small mortar, mix the shallots, green chilies and coconut. Just a coarse mix is fine. Make a small area in the centre of the pan and add the coconut mixture. Cover it with the kale like this. ( You can add the coconut to the kale and give a mix but my aunt used to make thorans this way. I happened to think of her and followed her method)

Cover and cook for 5 mins on low medium heat. Stir, add salt and cook covered again till the leaves are at your desired texture. Kale leaves take longer than other leafy greens.

kale-thoran-1.jpg Kale Thoran

Serve with rice.

Swap baked kale for potato chips- ??

Happy Birthday, Meeta.



When summer comes, the roses in our garden steal the show. We have a climbing rose that blooms with a vengeance. Even better, once the summer blooms are gone, they bloom again around fall. What better flower to celebrate Meeta’s birthday. Her dishes are glamorous, her pictures captivating and sleek, and her writing is lots of fun. She has invited us over to celebrate, and I had to make something elegant! Got to keep up, right?


Original recipe: Here

I made this dish when I was really hungry, and so measurements are approximate.

Make the pasta according to package instructions. I only made enough for one serving.

While the pasta is cooking, you can assemble ingredients for the pasta. I took about 15 basil leaves, a tbsp of pine nuts, a garlic clove, generous splash of rose water and streamed in olive oil into the food processor to make a pesto. Then I added parmesan cheese (grated), salt and pepper to complete the pesto.

Once the pasta is cooked, mix it with the pesto and decorate the dish using rose petals. You can leave the petals as it is. I made confetti like pattern by just slicing the petals into thin strips.

I was very very skeptical about the dish, but I ate every bite of it and enjoyed it. The aroma of the rose water is not overpowering. I think the aroma of the basil leaves blends well with the rose water. A simple dish made elegant with the sprinkling of rose flower confetti!!

Meeta, I hope you enjoy the dish and wish you a very happy Birthday!!

Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice



On our trip to Acadia last year, we had breakfast at a really cute place called “Two Cats“. It was a great place, great food and great ambience. You could sit amidst blooming lilacs and down their amazing stuff ( the best pancakes) with some fresh squeezed orange juice. Read another review here.

The place was so good that we couldn’t bear to have breakfast anywhere else during our stay.


And after coming home from the trip, I started making my own orange juice for breakfast. When winter came, fresh squeezed orange juice was replaced by piping hot tea. Now that summer is around the corner, it is time to bring fresh squeezed orange juice back.

How to?

I don’t have a juicer. So I just cut the oranges into two. Squeezed the oranges with my hands and using a spoon, added some of the pulp to it. Regulate the pulp content to your liking.

Serve chilled.



Oranges should be at room temperature to get a good yield of juice.

Submitted for Weekend Breakfast Blogging (brainchild of Nandita) hosted by Padmaja of Spicyandhra.

The theme for this month is Summer Fruits.

JFI Potato- Potato studded with cumin and crushed pepper.



Familiarity breeds contempt. We see it all around us. I think that is what is happened to the potato. Take a lot at these sayings and tell me if I am wrong.

A couch potato — someone who is glued to the TV and never exercises

He’s a cold potato. — someone who is not warm-spirited

Small potatoes — not much

Hot potato — a problem nobody wants to deal with ( Link)

Potato has never been a favorite in our home. We usually buy one or two when we need it. Anytime we bought any extras, they are left to sprout or shrivel, as the conditions in the kitchen permit. Inevitably, they end up in the garbage( the extra ones).

When JFI was announced, I bought 4 idaho potatoes. And after a consultation, this dish came alive.

Recipe :

Boil potatoes in salted water till cooked. Slice into quarters.

Spread cumin onto a surface. Take a potato slice and press the slice onto the cumin gently.

The cumin will attach to the potato. Fry this with the cumin side down on medium heat.

Remove from fire using tongs. Sprinkle salt. Serve warm.

I also applied red pepper on some potato slices.

To make things a little more happening, pour the remaining oil with bits of cumin and crushed pepper over the potatoes.

Serve as an appetiser with some chutney or as a side dish.



Head over to to Vaishali’s Happy Burp in Pune to give dear potato some well deserved show of affection!

Fried Green Tomatoes or Green tomato chips



Green tomatoes are real pretty, but it is hard to find recipes for them. Whenever I would look

at these beauties, all I could think of was ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’. So one day after grabbing some

green tomatoes from the garden, I set out on a recipe search. All the recipes basically involved

dipping in some kind of flour and frying it.

I could do that. Dip and fry. So I did and made these….

Step by step instructions:

After washing and drying the tomatoes, slice them into slightly thick rounds.


Take an egg and beat it. This is one part of the dipping process.

In a second plate, take some rava or semolina ( can substitute corn meal). Add salt and pepper to it.

Spice lovers, feel free to add some chili powder( do you see the potential here?).

Take a slice of tomato, dip in egg and then into the semolina. Drop into hot oil and deep fry.


Remove after the outside start turning a slight brown. Drop onto a paper towel to absorb the oil.Sprinkle some salt on top if you like and serve hot.

I had it with rice and curry. When Satish came home, I made a fresh batch and we ate it all by itself and was great.

I think the key is to have them while they are hot and just out of the oil.


Okra- I miss you!


Okra was one of my all time favorite veggies. But seems like I don’t have them enought these days, mostly because my husband doesn’t like it much. It is no fun eating something by yourself, but whenever this dish is cooked it is finished off almost entirely by me.


One of the special requests of my mother when I was a kid was the ‘vendakka chaaru kari’, which is okra cooked in coconut milk and spices. I don’t think anyone else at my house showed the same enthusiasm for okra. The other favorite way to eat okra was a quick saute, on high fire so that they don’t get slimy. I liked it more when my mother used to cut the okra into long strips. I used to make this for my roommates in college and drove them crazy with my insistence to cut them into these long strips. It takes much longer, but I believe they taste much better this way. My husband hates okra, and these days it is not that common on our menu, but anytime I see tender green okra I buy them. This has become a special treat for me. I do miss eating okra every week. Satish has gotten over his extreme dislike to them over the years, and this non slimy dish had a big role to play in changing his opinion.

Recipe method

The key is high heat, and okra that is dried after washing using a paper towel.
Slice the okra into rounds or into strips as shown in the picture.

Slice an onion into thin slices, and few green chillies split lengthwise.

When the pan gets hot, add some oil and mustard seeds. When the seeds splutter add the onion and green chillies, saute for 2 min. Once the onion wilts slightly, add the okra on high heat.

Don’t sir too much and use a lid to get the cooking faster. I usually just grab the pan by the handle and give a slight toss. Over medium-high heat, give it a few quick tosses and remove from fire after about 8 mins.

The time to cook the okra might change depending on the tenderness of the okra. Halfway through, add some curry leaves, torn into pieces. Adjust salt. Serve hot.
The okra cooked this way retains its color and the onions will be kind of sweet and crunchy.

This is my entry for ARF Tuesday hosted by Sweetnicks.

For a triple-powered punch against heart disease, eat some okra. It strikes first with an antioxidant job to atherosclerosis – that dangerous hardening and clogging of your blood vessels. The top antioxidant in okra’s arsenal is vitamin C which the World Health Organization has linked to a reduced risk of fatal heart disease. One cup of sliced okra has more vitamin C than a whole tomato. Although you cannot rely on okra as a single source of this important vitamin, it makes an interesting and nutritious addition to your diet. ( Link)

Stir fry noodles



After using some of the noodles for the salad, I had enough left over for a decent meal. The idea to make noodles for lunch hit me when the hunger pangs hit me and I needed to make something quick. There was nothing to reheat in the fridge, and this was the perfect oppurtunity to use up the noodles.

Last month when we went to New York City to meet up with our friends, we went to an Indo Chinese restaurant. I had almost given up hope of eating good Indo chinese food in the US. You can imagine my sheer joy when I landed in this restaurant. I forgot the name of the restaurant, but next time I go there I will be sure to fill you with the details. We had something called hakka noodles which were just yummy and this was my attempt to recreate it. After the dish was made, it was nothing like the original but still yummy.



Cook the noodles seperately in salted boiling water.

To a hot pan, add some sesame oil. Add some ginger and garlic chopped, followed by veggies ( scallions, cabbage, capsicum, snow peas, carrots etc.) and stir fry on high heat. For heat add a couple of slit chillies. To this add some soysauce, salt and a dash of rice wine vinegar. Stir well to combine. And that is it. Decorate with the green of the scallions and some sprouts.

Asian salad



We made some new friends and yesterday was invited over for dinner at their place. It was going to be an Asian inspired dinner and so I offered to bring an Asian salad. I decided to keep the salad vegetarian as chicken teriyaki was the main course.
The recipe was from this book. The salad was delicious and so light. Everyone enjoyed it. I added some cooked noodles on the top, which added a visual impact to the dish..somehow for me, noodles and ‘asian’ go together.

For the dressing

Fresh lime juice 4 tablespoon
Olive oil 3 tbsp
Sesame seed oil 1 tbsp
Soy sauce 1 tbsp
A good pinch of brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
Garlic clove finely sliced- half clove
1 fresh chilly, seeded and finely sliced
1 large handful of cilantro and basil, chopped ( I only used cilantro)

Mix all the above into a bottle and shake vigorously. I didnot measure all the ingredients, just rough measurements and adjusted the taste.

For the salad

Combine veggies( I used thinly sliced bell pepper, finely sliced cabbage, cucumber diced, scallions, snow peas, broccoli sprouts)

Noodles: I cut the noodles into about 2 inch pieces, cooked in boiling water.

Heate some sesame oil, add some sliced scallions, ginger,soysauce . To this add the cooked noodles and give a quick stir. Add to the top of the veggies. This step takes the salad a step up from ordinary.

Decorate with toasted sesame seeds and cilantro!!

Tale of two pestos



Parsley leaves and flower
Althouth we make pasta quite often, we have never made pesto before. Pasta and pesto sound so close, no wonder they are made for each other. I had some parsley growing crazy in my garden and some of them had started to flower which meant that if I dont act quickly, they would all be gone and not edible anymore. So we had to act fast. Meanwhile Satish had been craving for pasta for some time. And finally it seemed to be the best possible time for some ‘pasta with pesto’.

I just read the rules of herb blogging and it requires you to write somehting about the herb. Makes sense, but I hardly know anything about parsley except that it is used in Italian and Meditteranean cooking, and also have two forms- the curly one and the flat leaf one. The ones I grew were flat leaf . They hardly require any special growing conditions. I never watered them regularly, they just grew on rain water. I definitely had to search for more info on this herb and this is what I found.

Parsley is the world’s most popular herb. It derives its name from the Greek word meaning “rock celery” (parsley is a relative to celery). It is a biennial plant that will return to the garden year after year once it is established.Parsley is among a small number of foods that contain any measurable amount of oxalates, naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals, and human beings. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating parsley.(Info from here.)

One of the blog posts in The Traveler’s Lunchbox some time ago had been on pestos, and it had somehow stuck to my brain. So I found the recipe, but unfortunately it did not have a recipe for parsely pesto but it did have one for a sundried tomato pesto (Pesto Rosso). It looked so fab that we had to try that out. Now as for the parsley, this recipe came to my aid.



Parsley Pesto Ingredients( I did not measure any ingredients, just combined them all and tasted it to balance all the ingredients.)Parsley, pine nuts, parmesan grated, salt, garlic and extravirgin olive oil.
Now we all know linguini is cooked as it is, I mean in its all entire form (not broken).But recently we had eaten at an Indo Chinese restaurant in NY City and I had loved the hakka noodles which looked like linguini broken into small pieces. So that is what I did with the linguini…broke it into 3 parts.



Linguini with two pestos– sundried tomato pesto and parsley pesto.

Made a batch of each pesto and mixed it with pasta. We were very satisfied with both pestos. The remaining pesto was used as a sandwich filler. We still had leftover pesto which we had with some bread and cheese.




This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging held by our own Bachelor Boy.

Tagged , .

Green Blog Project _ Radish Pachadi ( radish in yogurt)



Finally after days of eyeing them, I finally decided to uproot some of my radishes. Aren’t they pretty? Radishes are very easy to grow and hardly any maintenance. They mature very fast. These were grown in some organic garden soil with no fertilisers whatsoever. I plucked out 5 plants today to make some pachadi.

Radish in ground a2.jpg

Pachadi in Kerala, or atleast in Kottayam is a mix of fried stuff( onions, ginger, chili and/or any other veg. like carrot,beetroot ) added to yogurt. The dish is spicy and hot, and is a wonderful side dish.
These red radishes arec2.jpg not usually available in Kerala. So, this happens to the first time I am using radish in a pachadi. The whole process takes about 10min and is quite healthy too.


Radishes cleaned and cut into small pieces 5 small or half cup

Few radish leaves cut into thin shreds

Onion diced fine 1/4 cup,Chilies 2 or 3 finely chopped, Ginger 1/2 tsp chopped, coriander leaves-i tbsp roughly chopped

Oil 1.5 tsp, mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp, salt 3/4 tsp(variable)

Yogurt half cup or more


The method is really simple. Heat a small pan on medium heat. Add oil, crack the mustard seeds. To this add onions,ginger and chilies. Stir till it is soft and turns slightly brown (4 mins). Add radishes and leaves, cook for 2 more min and remove from fire. The radish will be just cooked and still have a bite to it. Sprinkle the coriander just before you remove it from the stove.You can let it cool or store it in the fridge if not using immediately.

When ready to serve, take the sauteed ingredients andmix with yogurt. Adjust salt depending on the sourness of the yogurt. Serve immediately. If you let it sit for some time, the yogurt gets a purple hue from the radishes. It is beautiful!


I had this with rice accompanied by rasam from SH.

My submission for LG‘s Green Blog Project.