Category Archives: Vegan



Millet Cookies

Quick, easy n hassle free

 specially, when busy on a shopping spree

Crumbly, soft, freshly made melting moments

Pure bliss, wonder baked goodies of enjoyment

Make warm memories and forever bring cheer

ūüéČOn X’mas and New Year!ūüéČ

Enough COOKIES for a cookie monster!

Prep time : 10 mins; Cooking time : 15 mins; Makes : 30 – 40 pieces

Ingredients  :

  • 500 gm s or 3 1/2 cups of Ragi | finger millet flour
  • 3/4 – 1 cup coconut oil or unsalted butter
  • 3 – 3 1/2 cups powdered brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt

Method :

  1. Preheat the oven at 170 C for 10 mins and evenly grease the cookie tray with a tsp of butter or coconut oil.
  2. In a bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients, namely flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon powder and baking powder. Then add coconut oil or melted butter and knead the flour into a pliable dough.
  3. Roll the dough into little balls and flatten them. On the front side, mark them with the back of the fork.
  4. Bake them for 12 – 15 mins and let them cool down completely on a cooling rack, before attempting to touch them!
  5. Store in an airtight container and enjoy with a cuppa of milk, tea or coffee.

Variations :

  1. Other flours, like pearl millet, oatmeal, almond meal, whole wheat, multigrain or all purpose can be used.
  2. 1 – 1 1/2 tsp dry ginger powder can be added.
  3. 1 well beaten egg can be added for a chewy texture.
  4. Chocolate chips and 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder can be added.
  5. Dry fruits like raisins, almonds, cashews and pistachios can be added whole or chopped.
  6. After kneading the dough, roll the dough into a cylindrical log with the help of a cling wrap and tighten the ends. Refrigerate for at least an hour, then remove the wrap and cut into circular discs and bake.
Finger Millet Cookies

¬† ¬† ’tis the season to be jolly…la…la…lllaaa!ūüé∂

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Season’s Greetings to all my amazing¬†readers!!!ūüéČ




What’s better than a crispy, crunchy Masala vadai?!
Maybe another Masala vadai?!
Want Patti sutta vadai
No more go to a Pappa kadai
To eat a Masala Vadai
All you need now, is to mirror
This recipe, from my quiver
Suda suda Vadais
Prep time: 1 1/2 hrs ; Cooking time: 15 mins; Makes: 20-25 vadais
Ingredients :
1 3/4 cup Kadalai paruppu /Channa dal /Bengal Gram
1 large finely chopped Onion
3 – 6 finely chopped Green chilies
1/2 inch piece of ginger (optional)
6 Garlic pods with skin
1 tbsp Fennel seeds/Sombu/Saunf
Pinch of Asafoetida (optional)
A few Curry leaves
Salt to taste
Water enough to immerse the channa dal
Oil to deep fry the vadais
Method :
1.      Take channa dal in a bowl and pour water to immerse it. Set aside for about an hour. Once the dal has softened well (on absorbing the water), drain. Set aside for about another half hour and grind it to a coarse mixture in a mixie.
2.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Grind garlic, ginger and fennel seeds (reason for the vadai’s wonderful aroma and flavour) in a mixer jar to a coarse paste, without adding any water. Set aside.
3.      Combine the ground garlic-ginger-fennel paste, chopped curry leaves, chopped onions and chopped green chilies, asafoetida to the ground channa dal mixture. Add salt and use your hands to combine everything together. Your vadai mixture is ready. The consistency should be thick and you should be able to shape it into vadais easily. If not making vadais immediately, refrigerate the vadai mixture.
4.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†To deep fry the vadai’s, heat a kadai and pour in oil. When the oil is hot, start shaping the vadai’s. Take a lemon sized ball of the vadai mixture and flatten it on your palm to make a thin disc. Pick up this disc with the other hand and slide gently into the hot oil. Repeat making more vadai’s and fry in batches. Fry on medium heat till golden on both sides. Serve hot, straight from the pan with a simple coconut chutney
Replace green chilies with red chilies. Skip onion and garlic. Add spinach, coriander or mint leaves.
In step 1, make sure the excess water drains out completely before grinding it to a coarse paste. If there is excess water, the mixture will crumble on frying.
How Masala vadai helps in our Nation’s unity, can be enjoyed looking at this scene by V.K. Ramasamy and Nagesh in the Tamil movie ‘Ruthra thandavam’


Prep time: 10 mins; Makes: about ¬ĺ cup
 Ingredients :
  • 10 Whole dry red chilies
  • 1/2 cup hot boiling water
  • 11/2 inch minced fresh ginger
  • 6-9 garlic pods minces
  • 1 tsp soy sauce (optional)
  • 1 tsp Vinegar
  • 11/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 11/2 tsp Sesame oil
  • Salt to taste
Method :
1.       Soak red chillies in hot boiling water (switched off) for 10-15 minutes.
2.       Grind the soaked red chilies to a coarse paste. Remove to a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk well to combine.
Serve as a dip with momos, spring rolls or anything else.
Steamed Chewy Veggie Momos with the zesty red chilly dip



“Momos”, most sought-after

In company of friends ‘n’ laughter

South Asian dumplings

Packed with a melange of fillings

Served alongside a dip

A zesty relationship

Steamed or fried

Have you ever tried?

Making of Momos
Preparation time: 30 minutes; Cooking time: 15 mins; Makes : 15 -20


For the dough

  • 1 cup All purpose flour (Maida)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Cooking oil
  • Water as required

 For the stuffing

  • 3/4 cup finely shredded Cabbage
  • 2 finely chopped Green chilies
  • 1/2 cup shredded Carrots
  • 3 minced Garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 inch minced Ginger
  • 1 medium finely chopped Onion
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped Spring onion
  • 1 tsp Soy sauce (optional)
  • 1 tsp Cooking oil
  • 1/3 tsp Black pepper
  • Salt to taste
Method :
1.    Mix flour and salt in a medium bowl, make a well in the centre, add water little at a time and mix well. When it all comes together, knead well into a soft, smooth dough. Then add the oil and knead again for a minute. Cover the bowl with a plate and let it rest  for about 15 minutes or more.
2.      To make a filling, heat oil in a kadai/skillet. When hot add the chopped onions and white part of the spring onions. Reserve the green part of the spring onions for the garnish. When the onions turn translucent, add the minced garlic and ginger and saut√© for a minute. Then add carrots, shredded cabbage and mix well. Add soy sauce, salt and black pepper powder and mix well. Cook covered for 5 minutes till the vegetables are tender but still have some bite.
3.      Open, mix well, taste and adjust seasoning. Let cook for another 1-2 minutes uncovered. Switch off. Add the green part of the spring onions and mix well.
4.      To make the momos, pinch a small ball of dough and roll out with a rolling pin into a small disc about the size of a poori. Make these discs as thin as possible. To make perfect uniformly sized rounds, use a metal lid with sharp edges to cut off discs from your rolled out dough. Keeping the disc on the rolling board, place a tablespoon of filling in the centre of the disc and bring together the edges of the disc towards the centre and pleat like you would a saree. Pinch closed the pleated ends together at the centre for a purse shape. In the pictures the momos are made by making them into a crescent shape and then sealing the 2 ends of crescent to get a rose bud shape. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. 
5.      Place in a single layer in a bamboo basket or idli steamer and steam for 8-10 minutes. Serve hot with Red chilli dip or tomato ketchup.
1.      To quicken the rolling out process, roll out a big ball of dough into any hideous shape (it doesn‚Äôt matter) and then using the metal lid cut out several discs at one shot.
2.      Roll out the dough real thin so that the momos are not too doughy. You‚Äôll need to generously flour your work surface to roll out paper thin discs.
3.      You could try other shapes too as shown in the video link below.
4.      The bamboo basket usually fits well inside a kadai or idli steamer. Pour about a cup of water into the kadai or steamer and place the bamboo basket on top. The basket should fit snugly into the kadai or steamer but not touch the water. The bamboo basket has a slotted base through which the steam enters. Alternately you can use an idli or idiappam steamer as well.
5.      To avoid the momos sticking to the surface, line the surface with parchment paper, or lightly oiled banana leaf or cabbage leaves.
6. Crumbled paneer and crumbled soya chunks can also be included in the stuffing.
Gluten free version:
Rice paper sheets can be used for the cover.
Click on this well made video to see a live demonstration


India, a land of festivals with varying rich cultural heritage, celebrates ‘Navrathri’!

‘Navratri’, Sanskrit word meaning¬†nine nights, ends victoriously on ‘Vijaydashmi’ or ‘Dusshera’. These nine days, nine incarnations of the Goddess are celebrated¬†in various parts of the country following different rituals but the underlying essence is the same.

Some of the salient features of this celebration, in different parts of the country –

In the  North РOn Dusshera, Ramleela, a theatrical act of Ramayana is enacted, culminating by burning the effigies of Ravana along with Kumbhakarna and Meghanada, celebrating the victory of good over evil.

In the West РGarbha or Dandiya-Raas, a famous dance form is performed on all the nine nights and celebrated by people participating from all over the globe.

In the East – Durga Pooja is performed, where¬†exquisitely crafted and decorated life-size clay idols of the ‘Goddess Durga’ slaying the demon ‘Mahishasura’ are worshipped and then immersed in the river.

In the South – In Tamil Nadu, ‘Golu or Kolu’ – ¬†A set of steps displaying an arrangement of dolls, is set up in our home. The number of steps are¬†in odd numbers i.e 3,5,7 or 9.¬†The dolls are unique, antique, modern, hand made or ready made dolls. They are of deities, saints, leaders, plants, animals or also displayed in themes like a wedding, market, minature parks, zoo, sports stadium or any other suitable theme. An¬†exhibition signifying, all of the creator’s creations.

‘Marapachi bommai’, an inseparable part of the Golu, is made from teak or rose wood. These traditional wooden dolls are preserved for generations, depict husband and wife, representing prosperity and fertility. Authentic ‘Marapachi’ are rare and available only in Tirupati and Channapatna.¬†Likewise are the Chettiar-Achi pair which is invariably a thalai aati bommai, traditionally made in Panruti,¬†Tanjore, the place famous for its clay and workmanship. Decades earlier,¬†potters of Panruti used to make the dolls around a frame of thin wires, which gave the dolls a perfect shape and build. They were weightless too and women found it easy to lift them and place them on the steps | padis.¬†These dolls generally formed a part of the daughter’s wedding trousseau.¬†Golu dolls are treasured legacy, tokens of¬†the family‚Äôs proud possessions, valued aesthetically and sentimentally.

During Navaratri, colourful Golu dolls flood the markets as people add new ones to their collection. Yet, say many, the charm of old dolls is unmatched. Those days, the dolls were much bigger in size and yet proportionate. Even the facial expressions would be intact and the colours didn’t fade that easily. Earlier every single doll was hand-crafted individually, however these days, dolls are mass-produced using readymade moulds and hence the features aren’t sharp. Some neighbourhoods even conduct competitions and award prizes for the best Kolu of the year.

In the evening it is customary to invite relatives, friends, accquaintances for viewing the Golu. Women and girls are offered Vethala Pakku |¬†Haldi Kumkum.¬†Tasty and healthy Sundal, made with different variety of beans, is generally the ‘prasadam’ distributed to all, who come home and admire their creative efforts.¬†Vinayaka Chathurthi : Kozhukattai, ¬†Deepavali : Bakshanam and Navratri : Sundal are synonymous. Apart from Sundal, payasam is¬†also prepared for naivedhyam.¬†When we were young, we went to neighbouring houses, officially to see the Navaratri kolu but the main attraction was the sundal. When we came out of a house, we would open the pack | pottalam immediately to see what sundal variety was inside!

For Goddess of knowledge,¬†Saraswati Puja is performed on the 9th day, books and musical instruments, are placed alongside the Golu.¬†Ayudha Puja is also conducted in South India.¬†Weapons, agricultural implements, all kinds of tools, equipments, machinery and automobiles too, are worshipped on this day. ¬†Vijayadashami, the 10th day, marks new and prosperous beginnings. Start ups on this day are believed to flourish. It is also the first day of school for many children,¬†learning any new skill on this day¬†assures definite¬†success in that field. On the eve of ‘Vijayadasami’, any one doll from the ‘Kolu’ is symbolically put to sleep and the Kalasa is moved a bit towards North, to mark the end of that year’s Navaratri Golu. After prayers, Golu is dismantled and packed up for the next year. To preserve the colour and maintain them intact, they are wrapped in a soft cotton cloth or¬†newspaper. Neem leaves are also sometimes used to keep termites and insects at bay.

Kolam – one of the many more creative exhibits during Navrathri!


Prep time : 15 mins; Cooking time 15 mins; Serves : 4 – 6


Ingredients :

  • 500 gms Mung beans
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp udad dal | black gram lentil
  • 3 – 4 broken whole red chilies
  • 3 stems of curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 th of a fresh coconut

Method :

  1. Wash and soak the green mung for 10 -15 mins. Drain, wash and pressure cook the mung beans with turmeric powder and 1/4 cup of water, till 3 – 4 whistles.
  2. Grate the fresh coconut. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a bandli | skillet and add mustard seeds, once they splutter add the udad dal. red chilies, curry leaves in that order. Then add the pressure cooked mung beans, red chilli powder and salt. Toss and mix well till the mung beans are dry and well coated with the seasonings.
  4. Garnish with grated coconut and it is ready to be distributed.

KONDAKADALAI SUNDAL | CHICK PEAS SUNDAL (same as for Varalakshmi Vratham)

Prep time : 9 hrs; Cooking time 15 mins; Serves : 4 – 6


Ingredients :

  • 500 gms kondakadalai | chick peas | kabuli channa
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp udad dal | black gram lentil
  • 3 – 4 broken whole red chilies
  • 3 stems of curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 th of a fresh coconut

Method :

  1. Wash and soak the chick peas overnight. Next morning drain, wash and pressure cook the chick peas with turmeric powder and 1/4 cup of water, till 3 – 4 whistles.
  2. Grate the coconut. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a bandli | skillet and add mustard seeds, once they splutter add the udad dal. red chilies, curry leaves in that order. Then add the pressure cooked chick peas, red chilli powder and salt. Toss and mix well till the chick peas are dry and well coated with the seasonings.
  4. Garnish with grated coconut and it is ready to be distributed.

Variations :

Sundal can be made with any variety of bean or lentil like Bengal Gram Dal, Black gram lentil, Red gram lentil, HorseGram, Black Chana, Soya Beans, Peanuts, Cowpeas, Black eyed beans, Dried Green Peas, Kidney beans or even fresh corn kernels (in trend, nowadays).


“Howdy Y’all?”, miss hearing this quintessential Texan welcome greeting, with a long drawl or a twang and of course Texas, where as the saying goes, everything is Big!

When we were posted in Texas, a couple of years back, we had to face evacuation due to Hurricane Katrina, closely followed by Hurricane Rita РAlphabetical order of women names Рwhy women?! cause they rock your world and could leave you with out your car and house!

‘Hunkering down’ (a phrase new to¬†me, until then) was an option we took for Hurricane Rita, were we stayed put and had a camping adventure in our own house without electricity for a few days.

Notable, was the way evacuation was handled. I was awe struck by a calm | composed | polite | respectful | organised | orderly evacuation, in times of adversity. Hats off Houston, Texas!

Quesadilla, one of the Tex-Mex dishes, is a jackpot or should I say pi√Īata,¬†I hit upon, when in Texas, as¬†T loves it¬†and this healthy recipe is a keeper!

Vegetable Quesadilla

Prep time : 20 mins; Cooking time : 20 mins ; Serves : 4 – 6

Ingredients for the tortilla (organic and unrefined) :

  • 3 cups of Wheat flour
  • 1¬†cup Corn flour
  • 2 cups of water approx.
  • salt to taste

Ingredients for the filling (organic and unrefined) :

  • 3 onions
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 capsicum | green bell pepper
  • 1/4 lettuce or cabbage
  • 1 – 2 Jalapenos or green chilies
  • 3 sprigs of Cilantro | coriander leaves
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne | Paprika | Red chilly powder or flakes
  • Rock salt to taste
  • 200 gm s or as required Cheddar Cheese or any melting cheese

Directions :

1. Prepare the dough by kneading the wheat flour, corn flour and salt together to get a soft dough. Cover with a damp cloth, till ready to roll out the tortillas. Set aside.

2. Prepare the filling by finely chopping the onions, tomatoes, capsicum, cabbage or lettuce and green chilies. Squeeze in the lemon juice, add paprika powder and salt just before you prepare the quesadillas, as the vegetables will ooze out water, once salt is added. Set aside.

3. Grate the cheese and set aside.

4. Make round balls with the soft dough and roll out the tortilla on a tortilla maker manually or make them with an electric tortilla press. Cook the 2 tortillas well on both sides on a pan or an electric press.

5. Spread out on one tortilla, about a tbsp of the filling and sprinkle, grated cheese the amount you desire, all around on the vegetables. Cover by placing the other tortilla on top. If one is cooking, on a electric tortilla maker, then close the top plate over the bottom one but if one is cooking on the pan, place a heavy weight, like a heavy plate on top of the tortilla such that the 2 tortillas are sandwiched, well together and cook for 1 Р2 mins. Flip carefully, so as not to let the filling spill out and on this side again, close the 2 plates of the electric tortilla maker or if on a pan then place a heavy weight on the tortilla and cook for another 1 Р2 mins. Make sure to turn the tortillas around while cooking, so that they cook and brown evenly.

6. Cut them into even wedges or quarters and serve hot with salsa, sour cream and guacamole.

Vegan and Gluten Free Version :

Replace wheat flour by Pearl millet flour | Sorghum flour | Bajra atta | Kambu maavu or Amaranth flour | Rajgheera atta and dairy cheese by vegan cheese or tofu in the above recipe. Use only electric tortilla press to make gluten free tortillas. Serve hot with guacamole, salsa and tofu sour cream.

Buen Provecho. Adios, amigos!

Si, por favor, Gracias!



Varalakshmi Vratham Poojai is celebrated on a friday before the full moon day, in the Tamil Month Sravana (July-August). Worshiping Goddess Varalakshmi this day, is equivalent to worshiping Ashtalaksmi ‚Äď the eight goddesses of all¬†riches, prosperity, agriculural wealth, learning, love and peace,¬†fame and power, Strength, victory¬†and success.

Goddess of wealth and bestower of¬†boons (Varams) – Wow! I sure love to welcome her!¬†“Varalakshmi Ra Ve Ma Intiki“!

On the pooja day, Neivedhyam | Food offerings – Thengai Poornam Kozhukattai – sweet rice flour dumplings made with coconut fillings, Ulundu Vadai -savoury crispy fried doughnuts, Kondakadalai Sundal – tempered grabanzo beans and Pacharisi Idli – idlis¬†made with raw rice are some of the main items prepared. At the end of the pooja, married women and young girls in the house tie the turmeric anointed, yellow sacred thread ‘Nombu sharadu’.¬†These lovely delicacies make all¬†in the family want to welcome her even more!

Busy picture depicting the busy festival day! Thengai pooranam Kozhukkattai to the left, Ulundu Vadai and Kondakadalai Sundal on the right hand side Рneivedhiyam for Varalakshmi Vratham! “Varalakshmi Ra Ve Ma Intiki“!


Prep time : 15 mins; Cooking time : 1 hr; Serves : 4 – 6

Ingredients for the Thengai pooranam :

  • One big fresh Cococnut
  • 200 gms powdered¬†Jaggery
  • 9 green cardamoms

Method for preparing the Thengai pooranam :

  1. Grate the coconut. Peel and powder the cardamoms in a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
  2. Powder the jaggery. Heat it in a vessel along with about 2-3 tbsp water. Let the jaggery dissolve in the water, come to a boil, froth up and thicken to form a syrup with a divinely sweet aroma. Add the grated coconut and stir over low flame. Cook till all the water is absorbed and the fillings become sticky. Add the powdered cardamom, cool and keep covered.

Ingredients for the Kozhukkattai covering :

  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1- 2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp sesame oil

Method for preparing the Kozhukattai covering :

  1. In a wide bottom vessel, bring the water with salt and oil, to a rolling boil. Now add the flour in installments and simultaneously turn it with the handle of a long spoon for about 5 mins making sure no lumps are formed. Switch off heat. Keep covered till it cools down a bit and is bearable to touch. Knead well to a smooth dough.

Method for preparing the Kozhukakattai :

  1. Dip your fingers in little amount of sesame oil, grease your palms with it. Take a lump of the flour (arecanut size) and shape it into a cup with your hand and fill it with the coconut filling | thengai pooranam and seal it on all sides forming a conical shape. Make similar kozhukkattais with all of the flour and the filling.
  2. Place a few of them on Idli plates and steam cook them in batches, in a pressure cooker without the whistle for about 10 Р15 mins. Repeat the procedure till all the kozhukattais are cooked.
  3. Ready for neiveidhyam.

Tip :

Children can be involved in the last step activity of preparing the Kozhukakattai and make them feel a part of the ceremony. They love to prepare the kozhukakkattais and do a great job of it. Help from any quarter is welcome on a busy day of festivity!


Prep time : 2 – 3 hours; Cooking time : 30 mins; Serves : 4 – 6

Ingredients :

  • 2 cups Black gram lentils
  • 7 – 9 green chilies
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 10 – 15 curry leaves
  • 2 tsp salt
  • OIl for frying

Method :

  1. Soak the black gram lentils for 2 – 3 hours (soaking for a longer time results in crispy vadais). Drain and grind it well to a smooth dough with only salt in a wet grinder. In the meantime finely chop the green chilies and curry leaves, grate the ginger and add it to the dough. Mix well.
  2. Heat oil in a wok | bandli. Take little dough and flatten it out into a circle shape, on a wet piece of plaintain leaf or your wet palm. Make a hole in the centre using the finger. Gently slide it out and slide it into the hot oil. Cook well on both sides, till reddish brown on both sides. Remove it out with a slotted spoon, to drain off excess oil and place it on an absorbent paper. It is now ready  for neiveidhyam.


Prep time : 9 hrs; Cooking time 15 mins; Serves : 4 – 6

Ingredients :

  • 500 gms kondakadalai | chick peas | kabuli channa
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp udad dal | black gram lentil
  • 3 – 4 broken whole red chilies
  • 3 stems of curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 th of a fresh coconut

Method :

  1. Wash and soak the chick peas overnight. Next morning drain, wash and pressure cook the chick peas with turmeric powder and 1/4 cup of water, till 3 – 4 whistles.
  2. Grate the coconut. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a bandli | skillet and add mustard seeds, once they splutter add the udad dal. red chilies, curry leaves in that order. Then add the pressure cooked chick peas, red chilli powder and salt. Toss and mix well till the chick peas are dry and well coated with the seasonings.
  4. Garnish with grated coconut and it is ready for neiveidhyam.