Minestrone Soup

A bowl of Minestrone Soup, hearty and wholesome, awaits your eager taste buds. Each spoonful transports you to a world of comfort and nourishment.
Continue reading “Minestrone Soup”

Instant Pot Kali Dal

**Original blog posted March 2020.  Updated March 2022**
Kali dal is a very popular Punjabi dish and one of those comfort food meals that my husband has grown up with.  It has also become one of Sanaya’s favorite comfort foods too so of course I had to find a way to perfect this recipe for both of them.  I would say this recipe rotates in our house at least every 2 weeks.

I love it for its nutritional content, loaded with protein, fiber and low in carbs and calories.  With all the rainy days we’ve had recently, this is one recipe I can’t pass up.  An easy, one-pot meal, this goes great with naan or rice.

Yep, I put a ton of jalapeños as a garnish.  Traditionally, it’s cilantro. But, it actually tasted good with the extra jalapeños on top!
A while back, we had a potluck and playdate with my friend Janani and her family.  I don’t remember what I made, but I do remember that both my husband and I fought for the last bite of her dal.  It was A-MA-ZING!  It had a burst of flavor to it that we were both impressed and he actually said it was one of the best dals he has had in his life…. that’s huge coming from a Punjabi!

Most recipes of this specific dal have a basic of three spices, and I’ve found pretty simple in flavor.  Works great for many but Janani’s recipe just had this burst of flavor, you didn’t want to stop eating it.

I begged her for her recipe, tried making it and failed.  I tried a few more times to the point my hubby was actually sick of seeing dal…….oops.  So I went to Janani’s house, had her tell me exactly what to do while I made it with her watching over me.  I’ve been using her recipe ever since, however, I did make a few changes to it.  I know, I know, why?  I changed a little of the technique on which ingredients she cooks in what order, and changed the ratio on some of the basic spices but they are all there.  The changed version is what I have listed below but if you’re interested in her original version, message me and I will send it to you.

When I talked to Janani about her recipe, that’s when I figured out it’s the spices and the amount of tomatoes that she uses which give the dal its integrity in flavor.  You really need to try out this recipe.  It’s so delicious!
If you don’t have an instant pot, follow the same instructions for a slow cooker and set slow cooker time for 8 hours.

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:


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!
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!
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).
From my kitchen to yours, I hope this soup brings as much comfort and warmth to you as it does to my family!

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!

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.
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.
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.
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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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)


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 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”

Spinach Dal Yum

Both the girls need their dal (lentils) at least once a week and I love it!  It makes me so happy that they turn to Indian food for comfort and norm.  I try to vary out the dals that I feed them so they get a variety of nutrients and flavors and I get to rotate my lentils. Continue reading “Spinach Dal Yum

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!).
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!
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!
So… what are you waiting for?!  Try out this delicious goodness and enjoy some comfort with rainbows and barley like me.

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

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!

Chicken & Rice Soup

Having a toddler who goes to daycare means germs, constant runny noses and lots of cuddles.  As a mom, I also have to think of foods that comfort her, taste good when she’s not feeling well and is something nutritious to help her get better soon.   What better than chicken and rice soup that is quick to make when your 2 year old won’t let you go but packed with protein, vitamin C and fiber.
I used some short cuts that I’ll show you along the way.  I hope you make some and enjoy a bowl of good comfort.


Boil chicken stock and add a chicken breast to it.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let it simmer for 25 minutes.  After 25 minutes, take the chicken breast out and shred.  Set it aside.

Chop some onions and red bell pepper and set aside (did you know that 1 cup of red bell pepper has 3 times the Vit. C that 1 orange has!).


In a non-stick skillet, melt the butter (maybe not that healthy ….)


Add flour and mix well.


Mix the flour and butter well until it turns golden brown.  You’ll be able to smell the golden deliciousness.  It’s very important to let the flour cook through otherwise you’ll have a grainy flavor that no one really wants to eat.


Add some turmeric to this.   Did you know turmeric is a great natural healer?  Among other things, it’s an anti-inflammatory plant and strengthens the immune system.  Pretty much what I need for my toddler when she’s not feeling well.


Add the onions and bell peppers and sauté for a few minutes on high heat.
Add the veggies to the stock pot and stir well.  Add the chicken back to the stock pot also.


This is my secret!  Ready made rice.  Not only is it rice – it’s brown/red rice, with kale….. and chia seeds!  This is my cheat.  I save time by not making rice on the side but it’s healthy and readily available in most grocery stores.  Add this pouch to the stockpot and stir well.


Add a small pinch of salt and pepper.  I didn’t add too much seasoning as the chicken stock tends to have a lot of sodium already.   Let the soup simmer for about 8-10 minutes so the flavors mix in well.  Serve hot and enjoy!

6 cups chicken stock
1 whole chicken breast
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1  tsp turmeric
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pouch Seeds of Change Rice
salt & pepper to taste

Boil the chicken stock and add a chicken breast to it.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let it simmer for 25 minutes.  After 25 minutes, take the chicken breast out and shred.  Set it aside.
In a non-stick skillet, melt the butter and flour to it.  Stir constantly and mix well until the flour is cooked.  Add turmeric to it and mix well to cook.  Add the onions and bell peppers and sauté for 2-3 minutes.  Add the onions and bell peppers to the stock pot and mix.  Also add in the chicken and rice to the stockpot and simmer on medium heat for 8-10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Serve hot and enjoy!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

There have been a series of storms lately with only rain in the forecast.  Days like these always make me yearn for the some warm soup in front of the fireplace.  The fireplace didn’t happen, but here’s how I put my twist of Thai and Indian fusion on Butternut Squash Soup.


Heat the oven to 375º.  Add butternut squash to a sheet pan and drizzle with EVOO.  Add salt and pepper and toss so that all the cubes are evenly coated.  Bake for 45 minutes.


The aroma as these are baking in the oven fills my whole house and has me salivating.  The 45 minutes seem so long but these nuggets are so sweet and delicious when they’re done.   Let’s be honest… I definitely dipped into these and a little more than “a couple” were gone!  Luckily, I had enough left to make soup!

wp-1490376348179.jpgIn a pot deep enough to make the soup, sauté onions until they are soft and starting to turn a little translucent.  While the onions are cooking, grate in fresh ginger.

The fresh ginger adds a great zing and I love watching it sizzle as I grate it straight into the pot.


Next, I added all the spices – this is where the Indian comes in.  Cayenne, Cumin, Coriander, and Turmeric.  Mix it for a couple of minutes so you don’t have an uncooked taste of the spices in your soup.  If you don’t like spicy too much, feel free to cut out the cayenne pepper.


Finally, add in the roasted butternut squash and mix everything together.  Add the veggie broth, and a little salt and pepper.  You’ll probably want to taste at this point.  Remember, the squash already had salt on it before you roasted it so you’re really adding enough to bring out the flavors of the spices at this point.  Once it boils, add lemon juice, basil and the coconut milk to it (my Thai inspiration).  With an immersion blender, blend everything so you have a nice, smooth texture.


Let it simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes.  Enjoy with your favorite nostalgic memories.

1 butternut squash, seeded and cubed
1 med red onion, chopped finely
3 Tbsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
4 c Veggie broth
1/4 c fresh basil, chopped
1 can coconut milk
salt to taste
black pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 375º.  Add butternut squash to a sheet pan and drizzle with EVOO.  Add salt and pepper and toss so that all the cubes are evenly coated.  Bake for 45 minutes.
Heat EVOO in a soup pot on medium heat and add onions.  Add in freshly grated ginger and sauté 5-10 minutes until onions are soft and translucent.  Add in cayenne pepper, coriander powder, cumin seeds, turmeric powder, and cinnamon powder and mix well.  Add the roasted squash, veggie broth and salt and pepper.  Once it boils, add lemon juice, basil and the coconut milk.  With an immersion blender, blend everything so you have a nice, smooth texture.  Let it simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes.  Serve hot.

Hearty Veggie Soup

With the weather so cold out, and rain falling non-stop, I love turning to a comforting bowl of hot soup. My hearty veggie soup is a classic that I enjoy so much each time I make it. I usually make a large batch that lasts me a few days. With plenty of carrots, celery, potatoes and kidney beans, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do…….

Hearty Veggie Soup

Heat 1 tbsp EVOO in a pot over medium heat. Add in the garlic and roast for 30 seconds.


Then add in the red onions and saute for about 30 seconds.

finely chopped onions

Add in the potatoes, celery and carrots. I usually leave my potatoes in a bowl of water once they’re chopped until I’m ready to use them; this washes out a lot of the starch in potatoes.


Add tomato paste and mix well. Add kidney beans.

Kidney Beans

Add veggie broth, 1 cup of water, and mix well. Season with basil, oregano and salt. Allow soup to boil then reduce to low heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Stir occasionally so the veggies don’t settle to the bottom. Garnish with basil leaves and serve hot.



1 Tbsp EVOO
4 med red potatoes
5 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
2 (16oz) cans veggie broth
2 Tbsp dried basil
1 Tbsp dried Oregano
1.5 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
1 (15oz) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 c water


Heat 1 tbsp EVOO in a pot over medium heat. Add in the garlic and roast for 30 seconds. Add in onions and saute for 30 seconds. Add in the potatoes, celery and carrots. Add tomato paste and mix well. Add kidney beans. Add veggie broth, 1 cup of water, and mix well. Season with basil, oregano and salt. Allow soup to boil then reduce to low heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Stir occasionally so the veggies don’t settle to the bottom. Garnish with basil leaves and serve hot.