Overnight Oatmeal Muesli

Start your morning with the Super quick, 300 calories healthy breakfast. 

1 packet or 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
2 dried apricots diced
4 oz non fat plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup fat free milk
2 tsp chopped nuts
1/2 cup fresh berries
1 tsp honey

How I make
1. Mix all the ingredients except the berries in a breakfast bowl and refrigrate it overnight.
2. In the morning add 1/2 cup berries

Hakka noodles/Chinese noodles

1 packet Hakka Noodles
1 spring onions bunch, sliced crosswise (I forgot to do it) greens and whites separated
1 cup cabbage shredded
1 cup thinly sliced multi colored capsicum
1 medium carrot, grated
1-2 garlic, finely minced
1/2 inch ginger finely minced
1 tsp White pepper powder (adjust as per taste)
2 tbsp Chings All in sauce  (If you don't have this use schezwan sauce or soy sauce, vinegar and tomato ketchup)
1 tbsp red chilli sauce (adjust as per taste)
Salt to taste
2 tbsp oil 

How I Made

1. Boil water in a large pot. Add noodles and salt to boiling water.
When noodles are about 90% cooked, drain noodles and run it under tap with cold water for a minute. Drain it completely and set aside until ready to use.

2. Heat up oil in a wide skillet. Once oil is hot add garlic, ginger saute for few seconds then add white part of spring onions,  capsicum, cabbage, carrots and toss on high flame for 2 minutes. Add sauces, salt and pepper and give everything a toss. 

3. Add noodles and saute for couple more minutes.

4. Garnish noodles with spring onions and serve it hot.

Note: You can add any other veggies. I did not have beans so I skipped it.  Adding bean sprouts also gives a good taste and increase the nutrition value of the dish.

Aloo methi/Potato Fenugreek Curry

Aloo methi is such a easy and a go to side dish which you can make in 20-25 minutes. Recently I had my cousin and her family visiting us from NY and this dish was on the menu and everyone liked it.

3 potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 big fresh fenugreek (methi) leaves bunch (use only leaves, wash thoroughly and chop it roughly)
4-5 finely chopped green chilies (adjust as per taste)
2 tsp coriander/dhania powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder/haldi
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida (hing)
4 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
White sesame seeds (2 tbsp for garnish, optional)

How I Prepare

1. Heat oil in a pan, add hing, mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Allow mustard seeds to crackle. Add green chilies and potatoes and stir-fry for about 5 minutes.
2. Add turmeric powder, coriander powder and salt. Cook covered for 5 minutes on a medium flame. The potatoes should be 3/4 cooked by now.
3. Add fenugreek leaves and mix everything nicely and allow to cook for 5 more minutes on low flame.
4. Add sesame seeds and serve hot with roti's.

1. If you don't like the bitter taste of methi leaves, then soak it in salt water for 10-15 minutes and then squeeze the water out and use the leaves.
3. Also increase or decrease the quantity of methi leaves as per your taste

Green Chutney/Hari Chutney

Green chutney also known as Hari chutney is one of those ingredients without which our Indian chaats are incomplete. Probably it is most favorite sauce for dhoklas, samosas, bhaji... etc. and also used as a sandwich spread.  The chutney can be stored refrigerated for up to a week without freezing.

Green chutney is mainly made from mint leaves and coriander leaves. In addition to these  leaves few other ingredients like lemon juice, green chilies and salt are added to this chutney. I recently started to add 1/2 green capsicum to get some thickness.. Add little cooking oil if you are going to freeze the chutney. Adding oil increases the shelf life of chutney. 

2 cups chopped mint leaves (phudina)
1 cup chopped coriander (dhania)
1/2 capsicum chopped  (Optional)
1 - 2 tbsp lemon juice (Required - Helps in preserving chutney's green color)
4 - 6 green chilies (adjust as per taste)
salt to taste
1/4 tsp roasted cumin powder (optional, if add enhances the flavor)
1-2 tbsp oil

How I Prepare 
Combine all the ingredients and grind to a smooth paste in a blender. Add little water if required.
Refrigerate and use as required.

If freezing it 
1. Add 1 tbsp of cooking oil, during the last stage of blending and give a quick mix.  
2. I pour the chutney into the ice cube tray and keep the tray in freezer for few hours.

3. After few hours, take the chutney cubes out from the ice tray and store it in zipper lock. The chutney stays fresh for 2-3 months.

4. Take cubes as needed and defrost it.  It's ready to use. Enjoy !!!!

Storing Mint leaves (pudina)

Here in US everything you buy comes in bulk, same is the case with mint leaves. The bunch you get is similar to size of the spinach bunch or coriander and many times I don't need the entire bunch :( and not using it within a week or so... decrease the shelf life of the leaves and finally they end up in trash.  Finally I found a great tip to preserve them :) and there is no need to make chutney out of them or dry them or powder them. I have tried this tip multiple times and every time it's been a success.

Here goes the tip
(Leaves stay fresh like this for 2-3 months)
1. Separate the leaves from the stem.
2. Wash them and pat dry them.
3. Roughly chop if leaves are bigger  in size.
4. Take a ice cube tray, and arrange the leaves in it. Each cube should only be 3/4 filled with leaves.

5.  Fill the remaining 1/4 area of cube with cold water.

6. Place it in freezer for couple of hours.

7. After few hours remove the mint cubes from the ice tray and place them in zipper lock bag. Then seal the bag airtight.

8. When you are in need of mint, take a cube out. Defrost it and you have your fresh green mint leaves ready for use :)

Rice Vermicelli Upma/Akki shavige/

Akki Shavige is a breakfast delicacy in Iyengar family. You just need few basic ingredient from your pantry and make this dish. I remember eating it in Kadambam restraunt which serve authentic Iyengar cuisine in Bangalore. How to make it? I learned it from my husband :). It's very simple and quick.

Akki shavige(Rice vermicelli) - 2 cups
1/2 Capsicum chopped into dice size
4-5 Green Chili (adjust it as per your taste)
1/2 lemon juice (adjust as per taste)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp tumeric powder
1 red chilli cut into half
1 tsp urad dal
Few curry leaves
2 tbsp spoon oil
Salt to taste.
Few string of coriander for garnish

How I Make
1. Boil 5-6 cups of water in a pot. Once the water starts to boil, add vermicelli to it and make sure it is immersed completely in water.

2. Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes (check if vermicelli is cooked, it shouldn't become mushy). Using pasta strainer drain the water and run cold water on vermicelli.

3. Heat oil in a big pan. Once hot add mustard seeds, urad dal, curry leaves, green chilli,
red chilli, saute until urad dal turns golden brown.

4. Add capsicum and cook till 3/4th done, add tumeric, salt and vermicelli. Mix well and cook for 3-4 mins while stirring.

5. Add lemon juice and corainder mix it well and serve hot.

Bharwan Baingan/Stuffed Brinjal/Stuffed Eggplant

Here comes one more delicacy of Rajasthan, Bharwa baingan. It is stuffed eggplant curry made with  garlic paste and basic spices (red chilli powder, coriander powder, tumeric powder). I optionally add half onion to have more masala in the curry. For the Jain version of the curry both garlic and onion are completely skipped. 

8-10 small eggplant. Washed and pat dried.
10-12  cloves of garlic
1/2 medium sized onion
4-5 small green chilies (adjust as per your taste)
2 tsp red chilli powder
11/2 tsp coriander powder (dhaniya powder)
1/4 tsp tumeric powder
1/4 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
Pinch of hing
Salt as per taste
1/4 cup of water
3-4 tbsp cooking Oil

How I Make
1. Slit the eggplant length wise from the base towards the stalk, dividing first into half and making another slit dividing each into quarters.

2. Grind onion, garlic and green chilli into a paste. To it add red chilli powder, dhaniya powder, tumeric powder, salt as per taste and mix into a paste. Add little water if required.

3. Fill the cut eggplant with the above paste.
4. Heat the oil in a pan, add hing, mustard seeds, jeera, stuffed eggplant and any leftover paste and mix gently.
5. Cover and cook till the eggplant turn tender, stirring a few times in between. Sprinkle few drops of water if required to avoid burning of the eggplant and masala.
6. Serve it hot with roti's

1. Additionally you can add half tomatoes finely chopped while the eggplant is half cooked. This will give tangy flavor to the curry.
2. To check if the eggplant is fully cooked gently press the eggplant with a fork or toothpick.

Cabbage with Chana dal Curry/Patta gobi chana dal saag

Bored making the same old plain curry from cabbage? Here is an alternative, add some chana dal and you get yummy & protein rich curry. Coming from a Jain family my mom never used Patta gobi  in her kitchen and I never tasted it until I got married. After marriage I slowly started to eat cabbage and made different dishes out of it like plain curry, cabbage baath, cabbage pakoda etc.

Last week when I had cabbage in my pantry I was thinking of making a different curry out of it. I searched for north Indian on google and I found that Punjabi's make cabbage chickpeas curry, instantly I thought wow great, then I can make it with chana dal too, similar to chana dal duudi (bottle gourd) or chana dal karela.

This curry was an instant hit. Everybody loved at home. Eat with roti or rice its taste awesome.

Cabbage - 4 cups, finely chopped
Chana dal - ½ cup (Soak in water for 30-45 minutes)
1/2 onion chopped into small pieces (optional)
3-4 gloves of garlic, finely chopped
2-3 Green chilies, cut into slit
11/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp dhaniya powder (Corainder powder)
1/4 tsp tumeric powder
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 dry red chilies - broken into half
Few Curry leaves
Salt to taste
3 tbsp Oil
Pinch of hing (asafotedia)
Coriander leaves chopped (optional -  for garnish)

How I Prepare
1. In a microwave safe bowl, cook chana dal with water for 4-5 minutes. Don't cook it fully the dal should not turn mushy.
2.  Heat oil in a saute pan, add hing, mustard seeds, cumin seeds. Once they start to splutter, add red chilies, green chilies and curry leaves followed by garlic. Saute for few seconds and then add onion.
3. Once onion is cooked, add cabbage. Cook it for 2-3 minutes. Then add chana dal (make sure to drain the water), red chili powder, dhaniya powder, tumeric powder and salt. Mix everything nicely.
4 . Cover it with lid and cook it for few minutes. Check occasionally and if required sprinkle some water.
5. Cook the curry until cabbage is tender and translucent.
6. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve it hot.

If you don't have microwave or don't want to use it, alternatively you can boil the dal on stove until it is tender or cook it in pressure cook for 1-2 whistles.

Chana dal Karela

Here goes one more recipe from Karela :). My mom makes chana dal karela especially for us. Growing up as a kid I never tasted the bharwa karela. We used to eat only chana dal karela by leaving the karela pieces out in a plate :) but eventually got used to the flavor of Karela. Also this dish is a good way to start eating karela for all people out there who dislike karela's 

3-4 Karela, skinned and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 cup of chana dal, washed and soaked in water for 2-3 hours
2 tsp of tamarind pulp/paste
5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped into small pieces (alternatively you can use garlic paste)
2 tsp red chilli powder
11/2 tsp dhaniya powder
1/4 tsp tumeric powder
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
Pinch of hing
3 tbsp oil
Few curry leaves
Salt to taste
Coriander for garnish (Optional)
1 cup of water

How I Prepare
1. Sprinkle some salt on the cut pieces of karela and add some water and keep it aside, for 20-30 minutes. You can skip this step if you don't mind the bitterness.
2. Heat up the oil in a pan, add hing, jeera/cumin seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Allow mustard seeds to splutter. Then add chopped garlic pieces and saute for few seconds.
3. Lower the flame, add tumeric powder, red chilli powder, dhaniya powder, salt as per taster and little water. Mix everything up and allow masala to cook for 2-3 minutes.
4.Add tamarind paste, soaked chana dal and cook it for few more minutes with lid closed.
5.Squeeze water out of karela and add it to above mix. Add more water as required. Chana dal will need water to cook.
6. Allow the curry to cook for 15-20 minutes. Stir it occasionally until dal and karela are cooked.
7. Garnish with coriander and serve it with roti's

1. If you forgot to soak the dal in advance then boil the dal in microwave for 4-5 minutes.
2. Don't add all the water at once, add it as you need it. This gravy is supposed to be dry

Red Leaves/Amaranth leaves Raitha/Dantina soppu pachadi

Recipe from my hubby (Iyengar speciality). Got bored of making the same old sambhar or palya from dantina soppu. Try this refreshing raitha !!!!

Small bunch of dantina leaves, wash it and chop it into small pieces
1 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon mustard
1 red chilli cut into half
1 teaspoon urad dal
Few curry leaves
Pinch of hing

2 cup of yogurt
Salt to taste

To Grind
1/2 cup coconut
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2-3 green chilli (as per spicy taste)

How I Prepare
1. Heat oil in a pan, add hing, mustard seeds, curry leaves, red chilli and urad dal and saute for few seconds until the urad dal turns golden brown in color.

2. Add the chopped leaves into the pan, give it a toss and allow it to cook. Once the leaves are reduced into half switch off the stove. Allow the mix to cool.

3. In a mixer add coconut, mustard seeds, green chill, little water and grind into smooth paste. 

4. Add the above paste, cooled leaves to the yogurt and salt as per taste and whisk it nicely 

Bharwa Pyaz/Stuffed Onion/Pearl Onion Curry

This dish comes out straight from our Rajasthani cuisine. Generally onions are used as an ingredient for other dishes; It's very rare you come across a curry which is just made from onion. This recipe is very quick and easy !!! It just needs basic ingredients from you kitchen pantry and dish is ready. My mom used to make this curry and serve with roti's often for Sunday night dinner after heavy lunch and breakfast on Sunday  Also you can make this curry when you are out of  green veggies.

Pearl onions (I got a small bag containing 15-18)
1 tbs red chili powder
2 tbs dhaniya powder
1/4 tsp tumeric powder
2 tbs tamarind pulp
Oil for tadka
Mustard seeds
Cumin seeds
Pinch of hing
Salt to taste
Few spoons of water

How I Prepare

1. Peel the skin of onions, and make half slit on both the sides of onion making sure you don't cut the onion into pieces (Similar to what we do for Baigan(Eggplant)). Also always cut from the bottom side.

2. Mix all the masala ingredients into a paste adding few drops of water.

3. Don't make the masala too watery.

4. Stuff the masala into the onions, while stuffing be careful do not wide open the slit it could break the onions.

5. Heat up the oil in a wide pan. Add hing, mustard seeds, jeera and then add the stuffed onion and left over  masala if you have.  Lower the flame give it a gentle fry.

6. Cover the pan with a lid and cook it for 10-15 minutes, occasionally give it a stir.

7. Serve it hot with roti or paratha.

Bharwa Karela (Stuffed Karela/Bitter Gourd)

Karela, hmmmmm... not a big fan of it while growing up but mom takes special interest in making the curries. It is one of her favorite vegetable. She has various different recipe for Karela. Last year when she was here for my delivery she thought me lot of Rajasthani dishes and Bharwa Karela was must to learn as it had become my hubby's favorite curry :).

4-5 Karela
8-10 Garlic pods
3-4 green chilies
1 1/2 tbs red chilli powder
2 tbs dhaniya powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 thick tamarind paste (Alternatively use lemon juice or dry mango powder)
1/2 tbs cumin seeds
1/4 tbs mustard seeds
6-8 seeds of Saunf 
Pinch of hing
Few spoons of water
Few curry leaves
Salt to taste
4 tbs of Oil (You need more oil for this curry then other regular curry)

How I Prepare
1. First peel roughly just the bumpy outer skin of Karela. Then with the peeler shave the skin and keep it aside as show below.

2. Once the Karelas are completely peeled, do a slit in between and cut into half. If the karela is too small you can leave it as is with just a slit.

3. Place the Karelas in microwave safe bowl, add little water, salt and turmeric powder and heat it for 2-3 minutes. This will make the karela a bit tender and remove the bitterness.  If you like the curry to be bit bitter then you can skip this step.

4. Allow the Karelas to cool down and then squeeze the water out and keep it aside.

5. Make a coarse paste of garlic and green chilli. To this add the Karela skin by chopping it into small pieces.

6. Add red chili powder, dhaniya powder, tumeric powder, salt, tamarind paste and make a paste as shown below.

7. Now fill the above paste into the cut karela. Keep the remaining paste as is.

8. Heat up the oil in a wide pan. Add hing, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, Saunf and curry leaves. To this drop the stuffed karelas, left over masala and gently give a toss.

9. Cover the pan with a lid and allow it to cook for 15-20 minutes on a low flame. Stir it occasionally and if water is required add spoon by spoon.

10. Once the Karelas are cooked, you will see oil coming out of masala. Also make sure you are not getting the raw smell of the masala still.

11. Serve it hot with roti. 

1. This curry stays good for 2-3 days at room temperature.  
2. Additionally you a fry the masala for 2-3 minutes before stuffing. 

Tropical Breakfast Smoothie

1/2 cup Greek non fat yogurt
1/2 cup Orange Juice (Calcium fortified)
1 medium Banana
1 cup Pineapple chunks (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup crushed ice

How I Prepare
1. Put all the ingredients in a blender and  blend into a smooth paste.
2. Drink it chill and its a great way to start your morning with this healthy mix

Mixed Berry Breakfast Smoothie

4-5 fresh strawberries cut into half
1/2 cup rasberry
1/2 cup blackberry
1 cup low fat or non fat milk
1 teaspoon honey

How I Prepare

Add all the ingredients into the blender and blend it into a smooth paste. You can add crushed ice too for summer mornings.

Healthy Corn flakes Chivda/Cereal Chivda/

Yes you read it right, Chivda from cereals :).  A healthy and great substitute to our regular traditional poha or deep fried corn Chivda. This recipe is simple, quick and easy to make.  This was introduced to me by our babysitter (Asha Ben)

1 bag of Corn flakes
1/2 bag Rice Krispies
1/2 cup fine Potato Sticks
1/2 cup Peanuts
1/2 cup Roasted Chana Dal (Phutana)
4-5 tablespoons oil
Pinch of asafoetida (hing)
2-3 green chilli chopped into 1/4 inch pieces (increase it if u like Chivda to be more spicy)
About 10-15 curry leaves
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 spoon red chili powder
Salt as per taste
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1/4 teaspoon Citric Acid (nimboo sat)

How I Prepare
1. Heat the oil in a wide saucepan over medium high heat.  Once hot add hing, green chili, curry leaves and stir it for few seconds. Add peanuts and roasted chana dal and fry it on low flame until the peanuts are golden brown.
2. Now add chili powder, turmeric, and salt. Mix it well on low flame.
3. Add Rice Krispies cereal, corn flakes and potato sticks and  stir the mixture gently, mix it well. Turn off the heat once cereals are warm enough.
4. Allow the Chivda to cool at room temperature before serving.
5. Store the Chivda in airtight container for several days. It stays fresh and crispy. It is a good evening time snack with tea or coffee.

P.S I made it less spicier so that my 14 months old toddler also can eat it. Just make sure to remove the chilies before giving it to kids.

Mamra Upma / Murmura Upma/Puffed Rice Upma

Puffed rice also known as Mumra/Murmure in North India and in Kannada we call it Kalle Puri or just Puri. Most commonly used for making Bhelpuri chat and  spicy mumra/puri mix. Kalle puri upittu also known as upma is more popular in north Karnataka. I generally make it for my weekend breakfast its light and easy to make.

This dish was introduced to me by my hubby. 

4-5 cups of puffed rice
1 large onion chopped into small pieces
4-5 green chilies cut into halves
1 tsp urad dal
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Few curry leaves
Coriander leaves finely chopped
1/2 lemon
3-4 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Water for soaking puffed rice
Chutney powder (optional)

How I Prepare
1. In a large saute pan, add oil and heat it up. Add mustard seeds, urad dal and saute it until dal is golden brown in color.Add green chilies, curry leaves and onions. Cook it until onion is translucent.
2. While onion is cooking, put the puri in strainer/pasta strainer and run it under the water in your sink. Make sure all the puri are getting soaked in water. If required toss the puri's with your hand couple of times when running under water.
3. Drain the water completely.
4. Add turmeric powder, salt to the onion mix. Lower the flame and add the wet puri's now and mix it nicely.
5. Close the pan lid and allow it to cook for few more minutes.
6. Switch off the stove, squeeze the lemon juice to above mix and chopped coriander leaves and mix it
7. Serve it hot by sprinkling chutney powder. Yum Yum!!!!