Samosa Puffs

Every Indian household is sure to have samosas for any occasion.  Whether we were visiting relatives or friends, at a wedding, holidays, celebrations of any kind…. well, you get the point!  Samosas everywhere.  When I went off to college, my mom used to make dozens and dozens and put them in large zip top bags that I would freeze and microwave them as I was in the mood for them.

My roommates and friends at college also benefited.  There were many nights sitting in our common room studying over samosas, sharing heartbreaks or girl talk or just hanging out.

These samosa puffs are a fun twist to the traditional samosas that are usually filled in a cone made of freshly  kneaded dough.  The girls had fun with the flaky pastry and loved that I kept the filling with the traditional potatoes and peas that they are used to.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy these delicious Samosa Puffs!

Chickpea and Tomato Soup

This Chickpea and Tomato Soup is healthy, delicious, carb-free and easy to make in less than 30 minutes! All you have to do is chop and simmer the soup until it’s done!  A family favorite, we add this to the rotation in the fall and winter months almost on a weekly basis!
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The girls love this because it is simple, yet flavorful and they have so much fun making it with me (and eating half the ingredients).

Though traditionally mild in flavor, I’ve added fresh and dried herbs as well as a small parmesan rind to bump up the flavor.  You will be amazed at the difference the cheese rind makes.  If you don’t have any, don’t worry … the soup is still delicious!
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To store cheese rinds, simply keep the rinds in a sealable plastic bag and place in the freezer indefinitely.  Pull it out whenever you are ready to use it.  Such a simple and delicious trick!

I did omit the pasta that is usually part of a traditional Italian Chickpea and Tomato Soup because I do serve this with bread on the side.  However, feel free to add in the pasta if your heart and belly desire.  Simply add in 1 cup of any small pasta you have at home (mini macaroni, ditalini, mini shells are some examples you can use).
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From my kitchen to yours, I hope this soup brings as much comfort and warmth to you as it does to my family!

Mango Lassi

Growing up, mango lassis were one of my favorite to order when we ate out at Indian restaurants.  The sweet mangoes, the tangy yogurt, and the hint of rose at the end of each sip…. oh so delicious!  The fact that mangoes are my absolute favorite fruit just adds to my love for this lassi!
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A summer time must have, even my girls look forward to having a glass almost daily which just makes my heart happy.  Easy to whip up, you don’t need much.  A blender and the ingredients are all you have to use.  I did use a dash of rose syrup to give it a summer-y floral hint which takes this lassi to a whole new level.
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Have this delicious mango lassi as an afternoon snack to cool down in the heat, or pair it with some delicious Indian food.  It pairs well with Masala Omelette for breakfast, or even a lunch time drink with a Desi Masala Bowl or with dinner when you try out this Instant Pot Chole.

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From my kitchen to yours, enjoy this delicious treat!


Spiced Pear Loaf

I love a traditional banana bread but I also love changing out the fruits and making different types of loaves.  This Spiced Pear Loaf gives me a peek into the fall with its hints of cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger; the sweet pear chunks added in… oh so delicious!
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This bread uses milk and oil in addition to the pear chunks to give it just the right amount of moisture.  Use a 1:1 ratio of whole wheat flour and oats for a healthy balance of carbs, and just enough brown sugar to combine with the warm spices to bring fall home any time of the year!
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Use this loaf for a snack during recess, packed in your lunchboxes, or even as a sweet treat post meals.  So delicious and scrumptious, you have to try it out!
IMG_7862From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious treat!

Easy Chicken Ramen with GF Noodles

I was never a big ramen fan until my sister-in-law Sarika took me to this tiny little ramen restaurant in Oakland.  I can’t stress enough how good that ramen was.  It was simply delicious with layers of flavor in the broth and each bite just filling you with warmth and comfort.
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Recently, Taste Republic and I decided to partner together to come up with some new recipes and when I saw their gluten free linguini, I knew I wanted to make ramen with it instantly.  Fresh pasta that are thin enough to substitute for traditional ramen noodles and they cook in just 3 minutes!
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This recipe literally took me less than 30 minutes to make and part of the reason is I used rotisserie chicken.  A perfect weeknight recipe that’s a little different from having to precook in an instant pot or slow cooker (don’t get me wrong, I love both of those devices!) and you can still make a delicious meal in 30 minutes – yes please!
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Here are a few more weeknight meals you may enjoy:
Greek Tortellini Salad
15 minute Masala Pasta
Sausage & Zucchini Linguini
Roasted Garden Salad
Instant Pot Tortilla Soup

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this recipe.
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What you’ll need:

*Disclaimer:  I have partnered with Taste Republic to use their gluten free pastas for my 30 minute meal series.  This recipe is a product of that partnership.

Instant Pot Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup is one of my favorite soups.  Especially this instant pot recipe which takes only 4 minutes to cook!  It’s filled with delicious veggies and spices like ancho chile and chipotle powder to build a good depth of flavor.  Perfect for a hectic weeknight or a cold day, this tortilla soup is a great way to use up pantry essentials.  Continue reading “Instant Pot Tortilla Soup”

Rainbow Lentil Stew Yum

Rainy days always inspire a bowl of soup from my kitchen.  This particular stew is inspired from my love of including rainbows in my food.  Even better, it’s a one pot meal that’s easy to make with staple ingredients already in your pantry/fridge. Continue reading “Rainbow Lentil Stew Yum

Rainy days always inspire a bowl of soup from my kitchen.  This particular stew is inspired from my love of including rainbows in my food.  Even better, it’s a one pot meal that’s easy to make with staple ingredients already in your pantry/fridge. Continue reading “Rainbow Lentil Stew Yum

Cha (Chai) Yum

One of my favorite memories is coming home to a nice cup of hot cha (as many Indians call it, but also famously known as Chai) and hanging out with my mom talking about our day.  It didn’t matter if I was coming home from high school, college, or once I moved out, coming home for the weekend – cha was our time.  Especially during the cold, snowy winters, that cup of chai just worked wonders. Continue reading “Cha (Chai) Yum

Instant Pot Chole Yum

Growing up, one of my favorite North Indian dishes has always been Chole.  Whether we were eating at a wedding, an Indian restaurant, or requesting it as my special birthday dinner, Chole has always been a constant and a comfort in my life.  The aroma of it freshly made in the air, just pulls at you.
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There are so many different versions of making this recipe based on where in North India you are.  Sometimes, even in the same region, recipes differ vastly from home to home.  I prefer mine to have a thick red gravy, which is best achieved I’ve found by adding an abundance of tomatoes (and I really mean A LOT)  and spices.  The best part is that this dish is such a classic, you can never go wrong.  Serve it hot with rice, naan or Bhatura and be prepared to be wowed!
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From my Kitchen to yours, I really hope you enjoy this.

Ingredients:
1 c dried chickpeas, washed and soaked overnight (at least 4 hours)
1 ½ c water
1 Tbsp Olive or Avocado Oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1″ ginger, grated
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
3 med-large tomatoes, finely chopped
1 ¾ c tomato sauce
2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
2 tsp coriander powder
1 Tbsp Chole Masala
1 tsp aamchur (dry mango) powder
1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
2-3 bay leaves
½ tsp peppercorns
1″ cinnamon stick
cilantro to garnish

Directions:
1. Start the instant pot on sauté mode.  Add oil and let it heat up.
2. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter.  Add in the cinnamon stick, peppercorns and bay leaf.  Sauté for 30 seconds.
3. Add ginger and garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds.
4. Add in the onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes until they turn translucent and start shrinking.
5. Add in the tomatoes, cayenne pepper, coriander powder, chole masala, and salt.  Cook for 2-3 minutes until the tomatoes start softening.  Add in the tomato sauce and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
6. Drain the water from the chickpeas and add them to the instant pot.  Mix well with the gravy and cook for 2-3 minutes.
7. Add in the water and mix well.  Turn off the instant pot, cover with vent to sealing position and change setting to manual/pressure cook for 40 minutes.
8.  When the instant pot beeps, do a 20 minute NPR (natural pressure release).  If the pin has not dropped at this point, release the pressure and open the instant pot.
9.  Change setting to sauté, add in the aamchur powder and let boil for 3-5 minutes.  Taste and adjust for salt.
10. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve hot with rice, naan or bhature.

Enjoy!

Lentil Barley Soup Yum

A few years back, when I was sick, my husband brought home a veggie barley soup by Wolfgang Puck.  I fell in love instantly and now, it’s the first one I want when I’m feeling a little under the weather or even in the mood for some comfort soup.  There’s a heartiness about it without the fuss of heaviness to it.  As much as I love Chef Puck’s soup, I wanted to create my version at home.
For a couple of winters, I tried several variations but was never satisfied with it because none of them measured up to Chef Puck’s soup.  Well, how can anything really?  Anyways, I kept at it and I think I’ve found a great version that works for me.  I’m sure you will enjoy it as much as I do.
I found all of the produce at the farmer’s market, making it more sustainable, organic, and healthy (c’mon, we all know there’s more sodium in a can of anything….no matter how delicious it tastes!).
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I just love having fresh veggies, and for me, the more the better!  Added benefit, when my daughter was cooking this with me, she said, “Mamma, we’re eating the rainbow!”  Made me so proud as I’m trying to teach her to eat her colors to get a variety of nutrients.  Score 1 for Mom!
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If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll figure out that I’m a barley addict!  But really, what’s not to love?  It’s high in protein, high in fiber and has so much nutrition!
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So… what are you waiting for?!  Try out this delicious goodness and enjoy some comfort with rainbows and barley like me.

Ingredients:
½ c pearl barley
½ c green lentils
½ med onion, diced
1 med carrot, diced
3 ribs of celery, diced
½ zucchini, diced
½ yellow squash, diced
1 potato, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 bay leaf
1/3 c tomato sauce
4 c low sodium veggie broth
1 c water
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
pepper to taste
cilantro to garnish

Directions:
In a deep pot, heat olive oil and sauté onions until they are browned.  Add in garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds to let the aroma bloom.  Add in all the veggies and sauté for a few minutes until the veggies are tender.  Mix in the spices and bay leaf.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Add in the tomato sauce and mix well.  Cook for 3-5 minutes.  Add the barley, lentils, veggie broth, water, salt and pepper.  Mix well and cook covered for 30 minutes.  Taste and season with more salt and pepper if necessary.
Serve with a slice of garlic bread and enjoy!