Nankhatai Bars

Crispy exterior with a soft interior made with ghee, thandai masala, sugar, and a little bit of milk.  Nankhatai is a traditional Indian cookie similar in texture to shortbread.  There are many variations of flavors and flours used based on where in India you are eating this delicious cookie.
Continue reading “Nankhatai Bars”

Zucchini Moong Dal

As I raise my girls, it has become very important to me that they keep connected to their roots and one of the ways I do this is through food.  Lucky for me, they both love the typical comfort food fare of “Dal Chawal” or Lentils and Rice.  A twist on the traditional Moong Dal Fry, this recipe adds zucchini and is low in calorie but nutrient dense.

Ready in just 15 minutes, this has become my latest go to recipe when I’m tight on time.  Because moong dal cooks very quickly, I don’t soak them for more than 20 minutes.

Nutrition is also very important when I’m serving this dish as a main meal to the girls, and this dish doesn’t disappoint.
1 cup of zucchini moong dal gives you:

  • 156 kcal
  • 8.7 gm protein
  • 7 gm fiber


As to cooking it over the stove versus the instant pot, traditionally, the dal was boiled first then added to the spices.  I love just using one pot to make the whole dish so I usually add the uncooked dal into the spices/gravy mix then cook it in the instant pot.

I hope you get a chance to try out this delicious recipe and enjoy it as much as my family does.

Looking for more lentil/dal recipes?  I’ve got you covered.  Check out some of these amazing dishes:
Sprouted Moong Beans Sabzi Gujarati Style
Spinach Dal 
Instant Pot Kali Dal 
Adai Waffles / Lentil Waffles

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Sprouted Moong Beans Sabzi Gujarati Style

Growing up, my Mom would make these sprouted moong beans for dinner often.  I remember my brother and I were not big fans and would hate eating them.  Now that I’m an adult, maybe a switch has flipped?  I don’t know but I definitely love this recipe and could easily eat this dish 2-3 times a week.  Thanks Mom!

WHAT ARE SPROUTED MOONG BEANS?
Sprouted moong beans are basically moong beans that have been soaked in water then left in a warm place to germinate.  They are very popular in Indian and Pakistani cooking though many people across the globe are starting to embrace this food more and more.
Some of the more popular ways to eat sprouted moong beans is to add them in to salads and sandwiches, however, some of the more traditional ways to make them is to make a curry, a sabzi, and even dosas out of these delicious babies.

WHY SHOULD I EAT SPROUTED MOONG BEANS?
Because they are a powerhouse of nutrients.  These legumes are one of the best sources of plant based protein providing ~14gm in 1 cup cooked.  Take a look at some of these other benefits:

  • Fiber: 15.4 grams
  • Folate (B9): 80% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Manganese: 30% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 24% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B1: 22% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 20% of the RDI
  • Iron: 16% of the RDI
  • Copper: 16% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 15% of the RDI
  • Zinc: 11% of the RDI

WHERE CAN I GET SPROUTED MOONG BEANS?
Moong Beans are easy to sprout at home (I love this method provided by Piping Pot Curry) or you can find them at your local Indian or Asian grocery store.

So now that you know what I know about these delicious and nutritious legumes, let me tell you how to make them.  This particular recipe is my mom’s (I’ve not made a single change to it because it’s so perfect the way it is!) and I love the simplicity of it as it carries a depth of flavor too.

There are two methods of making this dish.  One is in the instant pot and the other over the stove.  I’ve given both versions in the recipe card below so feel free to try both to see which you prefer!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy these Sprouted Moong Beans as much as we do!

Here are the tools I used to make this recipe:

 

Methi Thepla

Growing up in a Gujarati household, anywhere we went, you were guaranteed to have theplas packed.  Whether we were traveling by car, plane, train, pretty much any vehicle, Mom would always have a foil packet filled with theplas.  I would always get annoyed that we would be the family opening a packet of “Indian smelling food” but guess what…. I am my mother now.  Quick to make, easy to pack, not much fuss and muss associated with them, and filled with nutrition, they are the perfect snack or meal to have.

Easy to eat anywhere on the go, similar to a thin tortilla, theplas are made by adding fenugreek leaves (methi) to the dough before kneading it.  Instead of water, this dough uses yogurt as a binder making it a healthy and delicious meal or snack.

Fenugreek leaves are an under appreciated green that I have not seen outside of Indian food culture.  Some of the healthy benefits they provide are:

  • lowering blood sugar
  • reducing cholesterol levels
  • reducing inflammation
  • increasing milk production for nursing mothers
  • help with appetite control

Adding in the yogurt to knead the dough helps provide calcium and protein.  I use a multi grain flour to make these and between that, the yogurt, and the fenugreek leaves, 3 of the food groups are already incorporated into these theplas!

Added benefit, “roti” and yogurt is one of the girls’ favorite meals so it’s easy to sneak in different veggies and they’ll gobble it up.

Try out these methi theplas at home and I hope you like them as much as we do!

From my kitchen to yours, enjoy!

Roasted Cilantro Mint Chutney

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Growing up in an Indian household, chutneys are a must. They are an integral part of any Indian household. Whether you are eating Dosa or Adai Waffles / Lentil Waffles with tomato or coconut chutney, or samosas with cilantro or tamarind chutney, or Kati Rolls or Bombay Masala Sandwiches with chutney used as a spread, it’s always prominent in Indian food.
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There are so many different kinds of chutneys prepared so many different ways, I just love the versatility of these dips.  I tried to a different approach to my Roasted Cilantro Mint Chutney by roasting the cilantro and mint with some cashews, chickpea flour, and plenty of spices.
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As you roast the herbs, they develop a char which carries into the final product and gives it just a hint of smoky flavor and smell when you eat it.
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I’ve used this chutney recipe to eat with Adai Waffles / Lentil Waffles, Paneer Cabbage Cups, Spinach Dal Paratha, Aloo Paratha, and Avocado Roti.  What will you eat it with?
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From my kitchen to yours, I hope this chutney becomes a staple for you!

Bhinda Bataka nu Shaak / Okra Potato Sabzi

Growing up, my mom would make traditional Gujarati food for dinner most days.  My brother and I loved eating a Gujarati thaali (not all the time) and one of my favorites was Bhinda Bataka nu Shaak.  The crunchy exterior of the potato that’s just soft enough to melt on the inside and the crispy okra to finish off the dish is just the perfect reminder of home to me.
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When I made this dish, I was so excited to share my love for it with kids.  I’ll be honest though, they didn’t take to the okra which broke my heart.  Sort of.  They ate the potatoes though.  But I’m going to keep trying to share my love of okra and hope one day they do like it as much as I do.
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But okra is so slimy!

Trust me, I know!  So my hack…. use frozen or pre-cut okra.  And fresh squeezed lemon juice.  Wait, what?  Yep, lemon juice helps break down the slime without turning your veggies into mush.
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Want to know something even more cool?  The “slime” (known as mucilage) actually contains soluble fiber.  Here are a few more benefits of eating okra:

  • High in antioxidants such as beta-carotene, xanthin, and lutein
  • Good source of Folate
  • Good source of Vit. C, Vit. A, and Vit. K
  • Good source of Non-Dairy Calcium, Iron, Manganese, and Magnesium

So try this delicious sabzi for your next Gujarati thaali.  It’s delicious and healthy and so easy to make.  Try it out!
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From my kitchen to yours, I hope this dish brings you the joy it brings me.

 

Roasted Masala Chickpeas

I’ve been making these chickpeas at home as a healthy snack option so I don’t turn to junk food and my girls have fallen in love with them too.  I initially started them with a basic salt, pepper, olive oil and paprika seasoning.  We love the basic and use them not only for snacking, but in salads, tacos, as a topping for soups (yup), and pretty much in anything I can add it to. Continue reading “Roasted Masala Chickpeas”

Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas Curry

When Sanaya, my eldest, was about 3 years old, we had gone to Pankaj’s cousin’s house for a play date.  Sanaya and her cousin Aarya are besties.  They’re only 2 months apart in age and our families have gone through the journey of parenting together since we were pregnant.

Anyways, this story is from a time when Sanaya was very picky about food, especially Indian food.  Though I feel like in her short life, she’s either been picky or a proper foodie.  Kids!
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My sister-in-law, Aarya’s mother had made a black eyed peas curry.  I remember growing up my mom making this often so I got excited but nervous also.  Will Saanu eat it?  Will she like it?  I’m hoping she likes it because I’m really trying to get the girls to have an appreciation for Indian food.
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Surprisingly, and luckily, she loved it and for once, ate most of her food without a fuss.  I felt like I found a magical key.  Since then, this is one recipe I make often for the girls, especially when I’m in a pinch as it takes less than 30 minutes to make.
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These black eyed peas are perfect for a weeknight meal.  Not only are they delicious and quick to make, they are also rich in fiber, protein and non-dairy calcium.
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Notes:
I soak them at the beginning of meal prep.  If you don’t want to soak them, simply increase the cook time from 12 minutes to 20.

You can store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.

For Stovetop: Soak black eyed peas for at least 1 hour.  Then boil them in 4 cups of water for 45 minutes.  Drain and add to spices as indicated in step 5.  Add only 1 c water and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

For Slow Cooker:  Follow directions below and cook on low for 6 hours.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this Dal (Lentil)!


Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas Curry

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients:

1 c dried black eyed peas, soaked

1 onion, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1″ ginger knob, grated

1 bay leaf

1 tsp cayenne pepper

½ tsp turmeric

2 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp salt

2 c water for cooking

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp hing (asafoetida)

Directions:

1. Set Instant pot to saute mode.  Add oil and let heat.

2. Add cumin seeds and hing.

3. When the cumin seeds start to splutter, add in onions, ginger and garlic.  Saute for 3-5 minutes, until the onions are tender and translucent.

4. Add in the tomatoes and spices and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the oil starts separating from the tomatoes.

5. Drain the water from the black eyed peas and add to the instant pot.  Add the 2 c water and mix well.

6. Cover instant pot and set vent to sealing postion.

7. Change setting to manual/pressure cook mode and set timer for 12 minutes.

8. When the timer goes off, let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure.

9. Add lemon juice and give a quick stir before serving.

Serve with Naan or Rice.

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!

Punjabi Kadhi Yum

Kadhi is a very popular and a staple dish of India.  Different parts of India have their own version.  Sindhi kadhi has veggies in it; people from the state of Haryana put green chickpeas in theirs; South Indians also put veggies in theirs including squash, carrots, peas and potatoes; Rajasthani and Gujarati kadhi is usually a little on the thinner side while the Gujaratis also add okra in theirs on occasion and the Punjabi’s add pakoras to their version of kadhi.
I’m a Gujarati and so I’ve been raised on the thinner version of kadhi.  Even then, there is no one version.  Kadhi is usually yellow in color from the turmeric added to it but Gujaratis make a version without the turmeric in it and more sour yogurt is used – this type of kadhi is usually served at weddings.  Growing up it was one of my favorites and I would always ask my mom to make wedding kadhi when I was going home for the weekend.  I still call it that.  Yeah…. I know.

Just thinking of the word kadhi makes me reminisce home, comfort, and curling up with a warm bowl, eating it as a soup.  So when I married my Punjabi husband and was introduced to their version of Punjabi kadhi, my idea of kadhi came to a halt.  It was different from what I grew up with alright, being much thicker with more stuff in it than I was used to.  I think the biggest surprise, let’s say, that I had when having Punjabi kadhi was the pakoras that are put in it.
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My idea of a pakora is eating it on a rainy day with a cup of chai in hand.  Needless to say, this one took a little getting used to.  But, I’ve come around I suppose.  And as usual, I’ve put my twist on it.
There was a lot of experimenting the type of pakoras I wanted to use and the spices.  I remember one of the first times I made this, one of my best friends from college, Ashi, had come over with her family.  She’s Punjabi too so I was hoping to use her as a taste tester.  I’m so glad I did because she helped me figure out which spice would work and that adding a little more will only enhance the flavor.
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As for the pakoras, they are typically made from onion and potatoes but I wanted to give a “healthy” spin to something I’m frying (oxymoron, I know) so I decided to use spinach instead of potatoes.  And let me tell you, they taste sooooooo much better!
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My biggest change to this traditional recipe:  I finish off cooking the pakoras in the oven.  This makes them crispy and won’t “melt” them in the kadhi.  When I first started making this dish, my pakoras would disintegrate into the kadhi because they were too soft.  I found that toasting them in the oven helps keep their shape and they do soften up when added to the kadhi so you don’t taste the crunch but I love the toasted red color it adds.
From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:
For the Kadhi:
1 c Besan (chickpea/gram flour)
2 c yogurt
1 med onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1″ ginger knob, grated
1 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jheera)
3 dried red chilis, split in half
1 tsp turmeric
3-4 curry leaves
1 tsp cayenne pepper (Kashmiri Deggi Mirch)
1 ½ tsp coriander powder (dhania powder/ dhana jheeru)
1 ½ tsp cumin powder (jheera powder)
2 Tbsp Kasoori Methi
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt to taste

For the Pakoras:
1 lg yellow onion, sliced thinly
1 c spinach, roughly chopped
¾ c chickpea flour
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp carom seeds (ajwain)
½ tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp salt
oil for frying

Directions:
For the Kadhi:
In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk yogurt to a smooth consistency.  Add in the gram flour and continue whisking until all lumps are smoothed out.  Transfer to a deep pot, add in 4 cups of water, salt and turmeric.  Mix and simmer on low-medium heat.
In a pan, heat oil and add cumin seeds, dried red chili, fenugreek seeds.  Once the fenugreek seeds are light red in color, add in curry leaves and let cook for 30 seconds.  Add in the onions and sauté until they are golden brown.  About 5-6 minutes.  Add in the garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute.  Add in the cayenne pepper, coriander powder, cumin powder and mix well.  Let it cook for 2-3 minutes to so the spices bloom.
Add the onions to the kadhi and mix well.  Cook on low-medium heat for about 30-45 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.  The kadhi will thicken as it cooks.  Add more water if it is too thick.  When it’s done, turn off stove and add in kasoori methi and stir.

For the Pakoras:
Add the onions and spices in a bowl and mix well.  Let it rest for about 20-25 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Add in the spinach and gram flour and mix.  The water released from the onions will help bind the batter together.  It should be a little on the thicker/dry side but if it is too much, add water 1 tablespoon at a time.
Using a spoon, drop medium sized pakoras in hot oil to fry.  Pull them out when they are just under done and lay them on a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up excess oil.
Transfer to a baking dish and bake for 5-7 minutes to make them crispy.

Add the pakoras to the kadhi and serve with steamed rice.

Enjoy!

 

Sabudana Patties

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If you’re an Indian, especially a Gujarati – you’ve grown up eating Sabudana Khichdi all your life.  For those of you who are clueless about this particular savory dish, let me explain.  Sabudana (or Tapioca seeds) are these tiny little white balls that look like bubbles.  I always thought they were aptly named since Sabudana literally translates as Sabu = Soap and Dana = pieces/bits (though they had nothing else in common with soap thank goodness!).

Growing up, we always had this on Saturdays or specific religious days.  It was this tradition that I always looked forward to every week – piling up my plate with sabudana khichdi and smothering it with Mom’s fresh, homemade yogurt.  Mmmmmmmmmm!

Sabudana Khichdi is usually made with potatoes, peanuts, serrano peppers and some cumin.  Making it into patties is a more recent trend versus the traditional cooking it up in a pot style.  Here’s my version of the patties! Hope you enjoy it!

In a large bowl, measure out 1 1/2 cups of Sabudana.
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Wash it out 3-4  times so all the white filmy residue is gone.  Fill the bowl with water, cover and let it soak overnight.
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The next morning, drain out the rest of the water from the sabudana and set aside.
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Meanwhile, boil and mash the potatoes.
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Add in the Sabudana, cumin, serrano peppers, ginger and salt.
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Mix until it becomes a dough-like consistency.  Everything should be sticking together.
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Form 2″ disks
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In a non-stick skillet, add some olive oil and let it heat up.  Add the patties and let them cook and crisp up for 3-5 minutes on each side.  Don’t flip it constantly as that will take longer to cook them and will probably break the patties.  You can tell that it’s cooked through when the color of the sabudana changes from white to translucent.
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You will get approximately 16 patties out of this.  Serve hot with yogurt on the side.  Enjoy!

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Ingredients:
1 1/2 c uncooked Sabudana
3 med sized potatoes
1-2 serrano peppers (depending on your spice level), minced
2″ knob of ginger, grated
1 tsp cumin
salt to taste
olive oil to pan fry

Directions:
Wash and soak sabudana overnight.
Boil and mash potatoes.
In a large bowl, mix together the mashed potatoes, drained sabudana, cumin, peppers, ginger, and salt.  Mix well to form a dough.  Make 16 2″ disks.
In a non-stick pan, heat the olive oil and add the patties to pan fry.  Each side will take 3-5 minutes.

Serve with yogurt and enjoy!