Monthly Archives: February 2011

Tomato & Onion Rice Flour Pancakes

Tomato & Onion Rice Flour Pancakes



Tomato & Onion Rice Flour Pancakes

Monday morning…we’re always running late in our house! Luckily I had already thought about what to make for breakfast last night. So I just had to get up and throw together this simple recipe for instant dosas.

Dosas are similar to pancakes but there are so many varieties and ingredient variations. A lot of times they are made with savory ingredients and eaten with chutney or curries. Dosas are one of my favorite foods to make and eat.

This recipe comes from “The Konkani Saraswat Cookbook” by Asha S. Philar. I made this version vegan, though the original calls for “buttermilk”. Rice flour is available in a lot of health food stores and Asian groceries. You can substitute other veggies such as grated carrots, finely chopped bell peppers, cilantro or radishes. In my version this morning I am using a leftover mixture of tomatoes and onions that weren’t finely cut so my dosas didn’t turn out as round as I usually like…oh well -that’s life!

Tomato & Onion Pancakes with Rice Flour

Makes 10 8″ dosas

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut (optional)
  • 1 + cup of water
  • 1 cup of coconut milk, soy milk, buttermilk or other milk
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 green chili, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 5-8 curry leaves (optional)
  • additional oil for frying the dosas

Mix the flours together in a bowl. Add the water and milk and whisk to a smooth paste, adding more water to make the batter pourable (it should pour off your spoon in a stream, not drop off in chunks). Add the onion, tomato, chilis (if using) and salt and mix well.



In a small pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves (if using) and remove as soon as the mustard seeds start to pop. Pour into the batter and mix.



Heat a flat skillet over medium heat. When it’s ready, put a few drops of oil on the pan. Spoon about 1/3 – 1/2 cup of batter in the center and smooth around quickly into a circle shape. When using chopped veggies in dosas, it’s difficult to get them perfectly round unless the veggies are chopped very finely. Put a few drops of oil on the top. Let it cook until it starts to get brown and crispy on the bottom. Flip over and cook the 2nd side until brown and crispy. Remove from the pan and serve with chutney.


Tandoori-Roasted Tofu Wraps

Tandoori-Roasted Tofu Wraps

Good Morning! Yesterday was our last night with the In-Laws. Sadly they are flying back to NJ as I write. We decided to make Tandoori-Roasted Tofu Wraps and Tandoori-Roasted Quorn for the egg-eaters with roasted cauliflower, marinated red onion, fresh mint and cilantro chutney wrapped in freshly grilled chappatis. These are equally delicious made with paneer, potatoes or gluten in place of the tofu or Quorn.

Some notes:

There are three components to this recipe, so be prepared to spend a little time in the kitchen. It’s definitely worth your time though, so just plan ahead a little to make it easier.

We use a commercial tandoori masala mix to save time. It isn’t the most healthy thing to eat, but we don’t make this very often. You can make your own tandoori masala at home. There is a cookbook called Classic 1000 Indian Recipes that has tons of masala recipes. Or you can just find one on the internet…

Same goes for the cilantro chutney – it’s just such a time saver to get a commercial chutney paste to use in these situations.

Another time saver is to follow these steps:

  1. Marinate the tofu and cauliflower (if using)
  2. Make the chapati dough (if making homemade)
  3. Prepare the onion and chutney and set aside
  4. Bake the tofu / cauliflower and set aside
  5. Roll out the chappatis and cook
  6. Assemble
  7. Eat!

Tandoori-Roasted Tofu Wraps

Serves 2-4

Tofu & Cauliflower

  • 1 pkg of extra firm tofu (not silken)
  • 2 cups cauliflower (or potato is yummy), cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup soy yogurt, regular yogurt or 1/2 cup almond milk or soy milk
  • 1/4 to 1/2 pkg Shan or other Tandoori Masala (or to taste)

Press the tofu for 1/2 hour to get as much water released as possible. In the meantime, make the marinade: Combine the Masala with the yogurt or soy milk so it is a gravy consistency. Taste for the heat level. You may want to add more masala. If it’s too hot, add more yogurt/milk. Divide into two batches. Cut the tofu into bite sized pieces and put it in one batch of the masala. Put the cauliflower in the other batch. Mix both all around to coat all sides. Allow to marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours up to overnight.

Heat the oven to 350F. Cover a baking sheet with foil and oil liberally. Drain the tofu mixture of any excess water. Place the tofu on the baking sheet and put in the oven for 20 minutes. Take it out of the oven and stir it around – it’s okay if the tofu breaks up a bit but try to keep it intact. Put back in the oven and after another 10 minutes check on the texture. If it’s a good texture that you like, remove from the oven. If you want it firmer put it back in for another 5-10 minutes. I like to get a little crispy texture so when it’s almost done I crank up the oven to 500F and let it get roasted on the top for just a few minutes. Just be sure you don’t overcook it!

Now repeat the above steps with the cauliflower but check on it after only 10 minutes, stir it around and see if it’s cooked well-enough for you. Remove when you like the texture and mix it in with the tofu. Set aside.


You can use pre-made chappatis or even flour tortillas, but it’s so much better if you can get the atta or chapati flour from an Indian/Asian grocery store and make your own.

  • 3 cups of atta flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup or more water
  • additional flour for rolling out the dough
  • 4 tbsp oil (approximately and optional)

Mix flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup of water and start kneading the mixture into a dough. Keep adding water until all the flour is incorporated and you have a nice soft dough. Knead by hand for 5 minutes, cover and let rest for at least 1/2 hour.

Heat a flat skillet or griddle on medium heat. Pinch off a piece of dough about the size of a golf ball and roll into a ball between your hands. Place on a floured surface and roll into a flat circle about 6 inches in diameter. These are about as thick as a flour tortilla, but you can make them thicker or thinner if you like. If using oil, put a few drops of oil on the skillet and immediately put the chapati on top. Put a few drops of oil on the top side of the chapati and let cook for 30 seconds. Flip the chapati and allow to cook until it starts getting little brown spots. Then flip again to finish the first side. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Keep them warm wrapped in foil or some tea towels.


  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped mint
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 tbsp cilantro chutney

Place the sliced onion, mint and vinegar in a bowl and allow to marinate for at least 1/2 hour. The onions will start to wilt. When ready to use, just drain the vinegar from the bowl and set aside.

Put the chutney in a bowl and add water (if it’s thick) to make a sauce.


Place one or two (or three) chapatis on a plate and sprinkle the tofu and cauliflower over the center (about 1/4 cup or more depending on the size of your chapatis). Spoon 1 – 2 tsp chutney over all and then your drained onion/mint mixture.

Roll the chapati up like a burrito and either eat or secure with a toothpick to keep it assembled. Enjoy!

Indian-Spiced Apple Walnut Muffins

Indian-Spiced Apple Walnut Muffins

Hello! Last night I found a recipe on VegNews for Apple Walnut Muffins by Ellen and Jill Abrahamand. On a whim I decided to try it out and I’m so glad I did! This turned out to be one of the best vegan muffins I have ever made – the texture is great and the taste really comes through. I made a few changes to the original recipe like adding Indian-spices, using dried apples and adding fat to the topping. Their recipe is also gluten-free but I used plain old unbleached all-purpose flour. Please let me know how your muffins turn out if you make this recipe.

Indian-Spiced Apple Walnut Muffins

Makes 18 muffins

Preheat your oven to 350F. Prepare the muffin tin with oil or use liners.

For the batter:

  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup almond or soy milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups freeze-dried apples or dried apples, chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves (optional)
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Mix together the following in a small bowl and keep aside for the topping:

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup freeze-dried apples or dried apples, chopped finely
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp melted Earth Balance or other margarine

To make the batter: In a bowl, mix the oil, maple syrup, almond or soy milk, vinegar, and vanilla. In a larger bowl, mix together the walnuts, apples and sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. Sift in the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix all the dry ingredients together. Now give your wet ingredients a quick stir and pour into the dry, mixing by hand with a whisk or dough mixer. Don’t over mix. Measure into your muffin tin and top with 1 – 2 tbsp of the topping mixture. Press the mixture in slightly.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, turn 1/4 of a turn and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Breakfast Bread with Coconut

Breakfast Bread with Coconut

Good Morning! Today my Sister-In-Law and I made a breakfast dish called “Bread Usli”. It’s so easy to make and puts to good use any stale or last bit of bread that no one wants to eat! This is a common dish in India, often made for a quick breakfast or snack. There are so many varieties, but we adapted a recipe from “The Konkani Saraswat Cookbook” by Asha S. Philar. It is almost identical to the recipe given to me by my Mother-In-Law many years ago. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did…

Bread Usli

Serves 4

  • 15 slices of wheat or white (a combination of the two is best), chopped into small cubes about 1/2″ x 1/2″ x 1/2″
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp warm water
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • 2-4 red chilis
  • 5-8 curry leaves
  • 4 tbsp coconut (fresh, thawed frozen or desiccated)

Place the cubed bread in a big bowl. Dissolve the salt and sugar in 2 tbsp water. Sprinkle the water (using your fingers or a spoon) over the cubed bread, mixing the bread cubes so that the water is distributed pretty evenly.

Heat the oil in a large pan (a wok works well) over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds, urad dal, red chilies and curry leaves. When the mustard seeds start popping, reduce the heat to low and add the bread cubes. Gently stir, stir, stir, lifting the cubes from the bottom to the top. Keep stirring until the seasoning is mixed in with the bread cubes. Allow to heat for about 2 minutes over the low flame. When it’s done, sprinkle the coconut over the top and mix in gently. The texture of the bread shouldn’t be crispy or soggy. Serve.

Bread Usli

Garlicky Cilantro Chutney

Garlicky Cilantro Chutney

Garlic Cilantro Chutney

Hi! Today I made idlis (instant, not from scratch this time) with Garlic-Cilantro Chutney for my In-Laws who are visiting from Jersey. This is a simple chutney to make when you don’t have a lot of time to get food on the table. You can adjust the levels of garlic and chili to suit your taste. Be sure to use the cilantro stems because apparently these are the most flavorful part of the plant. Enjoy!

Garlic-Cilantro Chutney

Makes approx. 3 cups

  • 2 cups fresh (or thawed frozen) unsweetened coconut or desiccated coconut
  • 2 cups roughly chopped cilantro (stems and leaves)
  • 1-3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1-2 green chilis
  • 1/2 tsp tamarind paste (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup or so of water
  • 1 tsp coconut oil or other cooking oil
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • pinch of hing/asafoetida
  • 4-6 curry leaves

Place the cilantro, garlic, chili(s), tamarind paste, salt and about 2 tbsp water in a blender and grind to a fine paste, adding more water as needed. Add the coconut and grind until combined and it becomes a rough mixture (but not too smooth). Add a little water at a time if it is too dry. Pour contents into a serving bowl. Adjust salt if necessary.

For the seasoning: heat the oil in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, hing and curry leaves and allow to heat until the mustard starts to pop. Immediately remove from heat and pour over the chutney. Mix in and serve with idlis, vadas, dosas, sandwiches, etc.

Please send me any comments or questions! I would love to hear from you and any ideas you come up with to use chutney…

Deliciously Salty & Spicy Chili Poha

Deliciously Salty & Spicy Chili Poha

Salt & Chili Poha

Hello! Today for breakfast I tried out this yummy recipe from a new cookbook called “The Konkani Saraswat Cookbook” by Asha S. Philar. My husband was flipping through the pages and got so excited when he saw the recipe for “Meet-Mirsange Phov” (Konkani for Salty & Chili Beaten Rice). Apparently it is one of his favorite types of poha, so of course I had to try it out. I have to admit that whenever he gets excited about some Indian food that I have never tried or heard of I get a little bit upset! I ask him in a joking way “Why didn’t you tell me about this before?!?” So this is one of those recipes. If you come across thin poha / beaten rice at the Indian grocery, pick up a bag! You are going to like this one…here is my recipe adapted from “The Konkani Saraswat Cookbook”.

Salty Chili Poha

Serves 2-4

  • 4 cups thin poha
  • 1 dried red chili, toasted in a pan with a little oil
  • 1-2 green chilis (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup (or so) of water  (*see note below)
  • 1/4 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup frozen (unsweetened) coconut (you can use all desiccated coconut if you can’t get frozen coconut)
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 5-10 curry leaves

For the masala: Place into a blender the red chili, green chili(s), coriander powder, cumin powder, tamarind paste, sugar and salt. Add 2 tbsp water to start and grind the ingredients to a course paste. Add a little more water as needed, but try to use as little as possible. When it becomes a paste, add in all of the coconut and grind to a grainy paste (not too smooth, not too course). When done, move the contents of the blender into a bowl. You should have a very thick paste.

Now measure out 4 cups of poha. Do not rinse – just put straight into the bowl with the masala. Start mixing and mixing and mixing. It will take a few minutes. I used a flat rubber spatula to lift up from the bottom, almost like folding into a batter. The poha seems delicate but it isn’t so just mix it up well. Taste for salt.

Now make the seasoning by heating the oil in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. As soon as the mustard seeds start to pop, remove from heat and pour into the mixture. Mix and serve.

Note that at first the poha will seem raw or cardboardy but as the masala soaks in it becomes a little softer. However, this is a “dry” poha dish, so don’t add any liquid. Just wait for a few minutes for it to pull together before eating!

(*In the original recipe, it specifically states to not use water at all. However, I could not grind the chilis down without adding a little water. I adapted by using dried coconut so that it would soak up the water used in the grinding.)

Mung Bean Pancakes

Mung Bean Pancakes

aka “Pesarattu”, a very healthy dosa that we often make at home to eat for breakfast or lunch. We serve this dosa with garlic-chili dry chutney or butter & podi. The kids love eating it with ketchup! I got this recipe originally from my dear Mother-In-Law years ago. I have changed it slightly but the flavor is all true to the original.

Mung Bean Pancakes

Serves 4

  • 2 cups mung beans (whole)
  • 1/2 cup rice (long grain, white)
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • pinch of hing/asafoetida
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 green chilis, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped

Method 1: Soak the mung beans in water for 2-3 days, until they have just started to sprout. Start soaking the rice at least 2 hours before you will need it (for example, if your sprouts are ready and you are going to make the dosas the next morning for breakfast, go ahead and soak the rice overnight). OR

Method 2: Soak the mung beans and rice in the same water overnight.

When your mung beans and rice are ready to go, place them in a blender along with the cumin seeds, hing, and salt. Add water to just above the level of the mung beans. Blend to a fine paste/batter. This should be medium-thick – pourable but not too wet. Pour this mixture into a bowl and add the onion, chilis and cilantro. Mix well and check the level of moisture – it should be similar to a pancake batter but it will be a little chunky because of the added vegetables.

Heat a flat skillet or pan (I use cast-iron) over medium heat. When hot sprinkle about 1/4 tsp of oil into the pan and spread around. Pour about 1/3 cup of the batter into the center of the pan and quickly spread it out with the back of your spoon into a circle with a thickness of about 1/2″. Sprinkle a few drops of oil over the top of the dosa and cover with a lid. Allow to cook until the bottom starts lightly browning.

Flip with a spatula (and leave the lid off) while it browns on the bottom. When the color looks good, remove it from the pan and serve. These are definitely best eaten hot with chutney (but you can easily reheat them if needed).