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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Thank you and some comfort food

Thank you all you lovely people who are a part of Avial and Rasam and are sending your love across to me. I dedicate this post to all those who care to stop by and leave their wonderful comments.

Wishing everyone happiness and peace. Enjoy your day as it wont return until four years from today :)

Comfort food - coconut, curd and lemon rice :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Kandhi podi / Paruppu Podi ~ with almonds ~ Vegan and gluten free

Lunch menu definitely has atleast one thuvayal and/or a podi. They not only are a great way to induce protein into your diet but ingredients in them help in improving digestion, increase our intake of dals and much needed fiber. On a busy day, I do not mind finishing my lunch with a bowl of rice or broken wheat with a thuvayal and podi.

The twist
Kandhi podi or paruppu podi is a staple in most telugu and tamil homes. Among the variations I make, almond-paruppu combo is one of them. Whats also good about adding almonds is that oil from the almonds lends a distinct flavour and rules out the need for oil or ghee when mixed with rice.

You need: makes 3 cups
Tur / Tuvar dal / Kandhi pappu / tuvaram paruppu - 2 1/2 cups
almonds- 1/2 cup
Red chilies - 7-8 (i prefer medium to low spice)
salt- to taste
asafoetida - 3/4 tsp
peppercorns - 1 1/2 Tbsp
Sugar or jaggery - 1 Tbsp (optional)


  • Roast almonds til their skin starts to turn a little darker brown. (Do not over roast as burnt or excessively roasted almonds taste bitter)
  • set aside to cool
  • In the same pan, dry roast dal until it turns a little reddish and you get the aroma of tuvar. 
  • Transfer to same plate you set aside your almonds
  • Roast red chillies and peppercorns together (this may take 1 -2 minutes, not more)
  • When all the ingredients are cool to touch, Fine grind them with salt and asafoetida
  • Cool and transfer to an airtight container. If needed, refrigerate the podi (if made in larger quantities, and during summer - just to ensure that oils from almond do not spoil)

Serving suggestions: 

  • With Rice 
  • Stuffing for paratas
  • Garnish for pasta (yes, you read it right, pasta), salads, and regular stir fried vegetables. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Whole Wheat, cornmeal and raisin ~ Vegan bread

I have not been posting bread recipes of late. This time around I wanted to try using the bread flour (I avoid using refined flour in general).

This experiment was to see if bread flour would make any difference in density and texture of the loaf. 100% whole wheat baking at home results in a slightly denser loaf. I avoid gluten in the flour and gluten helps in making the bread fluffier. I do not eat store bought baked goods so its difficult for me to assess the difference in home made and store ones. 

You need: 1 regular loaf
Bread flour - 1 1/2 cup
Whole wheat (king arthur or similar) - 1 cup
corn meal - 3 tbsp
Active dry yeast - 2 1/2 tsp
Water - 1 3/4 cup (Warm) (includes 1/2 cup for activating yeast)
Raw / unrefined / Turbinado sugar - 2 tbsp
maple syrup or honey - 1 tbsp
salt - 1/4 tsp
Raisins - 4 tsp or 1/4 cup
Rolled (cooking ) oats - 2 tsp (to sprinkle on top) (optional)
Olive oil - 1 1/2 tsp
Indian Garam masala - 1/2 tsp (optional)
Bread loaf tin - 1

Flour mix - Mix in the bread flour, whole wheat, corn meal, sugar, salt, garam masala and raisins
Divide the oil and pour in 1 tsp into the flour mix
Use 1/2 cup lukewarm water and mix honey or maple syrup
Add yeast and leave it to froth for ten minutes
Pour in the activated yeast and fold in the flour mix. Keep adding the rest of the water in small quantities and knead the dough to a (roti or a pizza dough consistency)
Let it rest for five minutes and knead it gently (This is to activate the gluten in the bread flour)
Grease the loaf pan and dust it with a little flour and transfer the well kneaded dough
Let it rise for 3 to 3 1/2 hours
Bake at 375 F for 40 minutes
Let it cool. Slice and serve with some fruit butter or jam. it yummy as is !

yummily sliced by DH :)

Serving suggestions: with pasta, salads or soup, great with mixed veg gravy sabzi


  • Bread flour is a mix of regular refined wheat flour (maida) and is enriched with bromine and  barley
  • I intend to make whole wheat bread with out the bread flour 
  • This experiment was to prove to dear hubby that the store bought 100%whole wheat is not entirely whole wheat but had only 1/3or a little more of whole grain flour and the rest is refined flour.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Vegan Avocado Chocolate and raisin cake

I took out the avocado to make some Guacamole for dinner and guess what it ended up as - An eggless, low fat and dairy free Dark chocolate Avocado and raisin cake. I was never able to click a pic of this cake earlier. This time around, I had to document it :). It is whole wheat as usual...So here we go!

You need: for a small loaf or a 1" high 8" round cake

  • Whole wheat flour - 1 1/2 cup
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder - 3 1/2 tbsps
  • Baking powder - 1 tsp
  • Baking soda - 1 tsp
  • Sugar (I used turbinado) - 1 cup or lesser
  • Oil (sunflower or olive) - 1/8 cup  or 2 1/2 tbsps
  • Avocado - 1 small or medium - mashed well
  • Water - 2 cups  (if you use all purpose flour - it may require 1- 1 1/2 cup)
  • Lemon or White Vinegar - 1 tsp
  • Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
  • Raisins - 1/4 cup
  1. Combine all the ingredients and fold in the mashed avocado to make a smooth batter. 
  2. You can use a loaf pan or a round tray for this.  Grease and sprinkle some flour and pour in the batter
  3. Bake in the middle rack at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes (Make sure to check after 20 minutes of baking)
  4. Do the fork/knife test and if it comes out are done!

I left the cake to form a neat could take it out when the top layer is still moist :)

Grab a slice with your cup of tea..have a lovely evening :)

PS: Still to get the whole wheat pastry flour..but managing with the whole wheat from kroger as of now
Whole wheat makes the cake a little denser than the all purpose (maida) version
You can reduce the amount of choclate in the recipe

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Beetroot leaves and Moong Dal ~ Cooked in spicy coconut puree / sauce

Up for some green! (reds to be precise :-). Beet leaves in various forms are a regular feature at home...yum! So here is another simple, low fat, and very nutritious recipe.

You need: serves 2
Beet Leaves - 1 bunch
Moong Dal - 3/4 to 1 cup
Salt to taste
Turmeric - two pinches
Hing / asafoetida - a pinch or a little more
Kuzhambu or rasam powder - 1 1/2 tsp (you could use less)

For the coconut puree
Coconut - 1/2 cup (shredded)
cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
green chillies - 2
curry leaves - 4
pepper corns- 4 or 5
water - just enough to grind

Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Red chilli - 1
Curry leaves - 3 or 4
olive /coconut / sunflower oil - 1/2 tsp

Pre-soak moong dal atleast for 15 minutes
Drain the water out and keep the fluffed up dal aside
Wash beet leaves thoroughly and chop
Grind the puree ingredients together and keep aside
In a pan, start the tempering - add oil, mustard seeds, cumin, curry leaves, red chilli and asafoetida
When mustard crackles, add and lightly stir in moong dal (minus the water)
Cover and cook for a minute (medium flame)
Add the chopped leaves and stir well, cover and cook for a minute
Wait for the leaves to cook a little (they reduce in quantity)
add salt, turmeric powder and kuzhambu powder, saute well
add coconut puree and mix well...leave the pan covered until the leaves and the dal is well done :)
serve with rice or roti / bread


  1. Beet cultivation dates back to second millennium B.C. 
  2. Beet leaves and beet are a great cardiovascular food! - great for your heart and in treating anemia
  3. Beet leaves and the root are extensively used for treating fever, constipation and blood related issues
  4. The entire beet plant (stem, leaves and root) contain oxalic acid - making it a highly recommended oxlate food to treat kidney stones and other renal issues
  5. There is a lot dont discard those leaves - radish, turnip, carrots and every other root vegetable and their leaves are filled with nutrition :-) 

Two servings (two cups) of just this dish with a bowl of soup would make a great Brunch! Happy eating :)


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