This is my grandma’s take on egg fried rice. Growing up, this used to be a regular lunch box menu for me; a complete one-pot meal and simple preparation also, just scramble the eggs with the spices and add in the rice. These days, I spice it up a little bit by adding some extra green chilies and some whole peppercorns. This egg rice goes well with any spicy side dish. This time I have served this egg rice with cucumber raita and brinjal fry.

1. Cooked brown rice, 1 cup.
2. Medium-size red onions, 2.
3. Green chilies, 2-3 depending upon preferred heat level.
4. Whole pepper corns, ¼ teaspoon. This can be omitted if preparing for kids.
5. Fennel seeds, ½ teaspoon.
6. Curry leaves, a few leaves.
7. Chopped cilantro, for garnishing.
8. Eggs, 3. Substitutes like Egg Beaters also work well here.
9. Salt as per taste.
10. Ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon.

Slice the onions thinly and slit the green chilies into two. Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Add the fennel seeds and peppercorns once the oil is hot and fry them for a few seconds. Then add the sliced onions and curry leaves and sauté for a few minutes until the onions are tender. Next add the ginger-garlic paste along with the slit green chilies and salt and keep sautéing under medium flame until everything is well blended. Break in the eggs now and scramble the eggs until the eggs are cooked. Once the eggs are cooked, add the cooked rice, mix everything well, and let it sit under low flame for 5 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with any spicy side dish.


Mushroom and peas masala is a simple gravy I make to go as a side dish for chapathis or idlis and dosas. The flavor builds up slowly as the ingredients are added by one slowly and gets cooked. To add some thickness to the gravy I usually add some ground small onions along with a few spices. A very spicy and tasty gravy ideal for weekend meals.

1. Onion, medium size, 1.
2. Roma tomatoes, 2.
3. Button mushrooms, 1 small packet.
4. Fresh or frozen peas, ½ cup.
5. Curry leaves, a few.
6. Cilantro, for garnishing.
7. Salt, as per taste.
8. Garam masala, ½ teaspoon.
9. Turmeric powder, ¼ teaspoon.
10. Chili powder, 1-1/2 teaspoons.
11. Coriander powder, 2 teaspoons.
12. Fennel seeds, ¼ teaspoon.

To grind:
1. Small onions, 2.
2. Ginger, a small piece.
3. Garlic 3 cloves.

Grind the required ingredients into a smooth paste and keep aside. Dice the onion and tomatoes into small pieces. The mushrooms can be thinly sliced or quartered. Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Add the fennel seeds and fry for a few seconds. Then add the diced onions and curry leaves and sauté for a few minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the turmeric powder and diced tomatoes and keep sautéing until everything is blended. Add the ground paste now and keep frying until oil oozes out from the mixture. (Note that the ground paste must completely lose its raw flavor at this point). At this stage, add the chili powder, coriander powder, and garam masala along with the salt and keep frying everything under medium flame for 2 minutes until the spices lose their raw smell. Another teaspoon of oil can be added to fry the spices more quickly. Add the sliced mushrooms and peas and add enough water to cover everything, and let it simmer for 10 minutes until the mushrooms and peas are cooked. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with rice, chapathis, idlis, or dosas.

Dear friends, please check out my cookie recipe, which has also been published at the Xagave website, here .


Broccoli is a regular in my grocery shopping these days. I add them in almost everything from soups to salads and even dishes like dhals and variety rices. Sometimes I make this poriyal as a side dish with rice. I usually don’t add too much of masala or spices here. That imparts a bitter taste to the dish. I just add light seasoning and cook the broccoli until the they are tender but still have their color and crunch in them. The ideal combination for this poriyal are with rice and any spicy gravy like vatha kozumbu or rasam or even with plain curd rice.

1. Broccoli, 2 large heads.
2. Small onions, 3-4.
3. Dried red chilies, 1-2.
4. Mustard seeds, ¼ teaspoon.
5. Urad dhal, ½ teaspoon.
6. Ginger-garlic paste, ½ teaspoon, (optional).
7. Salt as per taste.
8. Curry leaves and cilantro for garnishing.

Cut the broccoli into small bite-size pieces including the stalks and dice the onion finely. Heat a pan with a teaspoon of oil. When the oil is hot enough, add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add the urad dhal and the broken red chilies and fry for a few seconds until the urad dhal turns brown. Add the diced onions and curry leaves and sauté for a few minutes until the onions turn translucent. Then add ginger-garlic paste and the broccoli and mix everything well. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water along with salt and cook closed under low flame for 5 minutes until everything is cooked and the broccoli still retains its color. Garnish with curry leaves and cilantro and serve with rice or chapathis.


Recently I had an argument with my friend about white meat and red meat. According to her, white meat is not that much tasty compared to red meat, so she always prefers red meat, especially when she is preparing items like tandoori chicken, and we are still discussing about this :) I have been eating white meat chicken for the past 2 years and seriously I don’t find that much difference in the taste. White meat can also be equally tasty when cooked in the proper way. White meat chicken is usually from the breast and the fat percentage of this is very less compared to red meat, so this is ideal for people cutting down on the fat intake or for those on the lookout for heart-healthy foods. I usually check the label when I buy meat. The fat content of most of these products like white meat chicken or turkey will be around 0-1%, a little bit on the healthier side. In this recipe, I did not use oil for marinating the chicken. The only oil used here is to spray the baking dish. This is an almost fat-free chicken recipe if the yogurt is replaced with fat-free yogurt.

1. Chicken, I have used 3 white meat breast slices here.
2. Ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon.
3. Garam masala or curry powder, 1 tablespoon.
4. Chili powder, 1 teaspoon.
5. Coriander powder, 1 teaspoon.
6. Paprika, 1 teaspoon (I have used Spanish paprika powder here, this gives a nice color and some sweetness) this can be substituted with a pinch of food color.
7. Thick yogurt, ½ cup.
8. Salt as per taste.
9. Dried mint leaves, 1/2 teaspoon, (optional).

Wash the chicken well. Mix all the ingredients except the chicken into a thick paste in a bowl. Apply the paste over the chicken coating each slice thickly. Let it marinade for over an hour inside the refrigerator. Grease a baking dish with any nonstick cooking spray and arrange the chicken slices on the dish leaving sufficient space between each slice. Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked. Serve hot with lemon wedges and garnished with cilantro.


I had my first try with baked beans at a nearby Peruvian restaurant. This was served with rice, salad, and roasted chicken. The one I had was a little bit spicy and tasted good when mixed with rice. I have been searching for baked beans recipes online and in TV ever since. There are so many versions available for this. The main idea of baked beans is to slow cook the beans with all the spices either in oven or slow cooker or on stove top for about an hour or two, so that the beans build up all the added flavors gradually. The only ingredient that was common in every baked bean recipe was molasses or brown sugar. I came out with my version here using tomato paste instead of ketchup and Xagave instead of molasses. I even added some chili powder to balance the sweetness from the Xagave and I have cooked the beans in a pressure cooker. Pressure cooker also concentrates all the flavors of the beans and we had this as a light dinner along with some baked baguette slices.

1. Any dried beans like fava beans, navy beans or white beans washed and soaked overnight in water, 2 cups.
2. Onion, medium-size, 1.
3. Garlic, 3 cloves.
4. Tomato paste or tomato sauce, 2 tablespoons.(Ketchup adds even more sweetness to the dish with the Xagave).
5. Xagave, ¼ cup.
6. Chili powder, 1 teaspoon. (optional).
7. A mixture of dry herbs of choice, 1 teaspoon.
8. Salt and pepper as per taste.
9. Vegetable or chicken broth, 1 medium-size can.

Dice the onion and garlic finely and sauté them in a pan with a little bit of oil until the onions turn translucent. Add these and the rest of the ingredients to a pressure cooker or pressure pan and mix everything well. There should be just enough broth or water to cover everything. This gives nice thick baked beans; too much of liquids give the baked beans a soupy texture. Pressure cook for 3-4 whistles. Once the pressure is released, garnish with chopped cilantro or any other herb and serve with rice, or any type of bread. (Note: I have crushed the beans a little bit with a spatula to give some texture to the beans.)


These cookies were made solely by trial and error method. I tried baking these cookies by throwing whatever I had in my pantry. The first time they didn’t turn out as I expected, I experimented with the ratio a little bit by adding Xagave the next time. This gave a slight sweetness to the cookies along with the raisins. They turned out perfect this time. The ingredients used here makes around 24 small size cookies. All the ingredients used here are natural, so these are pretty much healthy if had in moderation :)

1. Regular old-fashioned oats, 1 cup.
2. Whole wheat flour, 1 cup.
3. Peanut butter, 1 cup.
4. Butter or canola oil, 2 tablespoons.
5. Xagave or agave nectar, or any sweetener of choice, ½ cup or more depending upon sweetness.
6. Raisins, 2 tablespoon.
7. Mixed nuts like walnuts, almonds, and pistachios, 1 cup.
8. Cinnamon, 1 teaspoon.
9. Baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon.
10. Salt, a pinch.

Chop the nuts into small pieces by running through a food processor or by hand. Mix the oats, flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, nuts and raisins together in a bowl. Melt the peanut butter and oil in another bowl by microwaving it for about a minute. Add the Xagave to this and whisk the wet ingredients well and add it to the flour mixture. Knead everything slowly until it forms into a smooth pliable dough. If the dough is too sticky, it can be put in the fridge for about 30 minutes and then baked into cookies. Alternatively, if the dough is a little bit dry (this depends on the type of peanut butter used), add a few drops of water or milk and mix it into manageable dough. Roll the dough into small rounds and arrange them on a baking sheet leaving enough space between each cookie. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, let it cool, and enjoy with any hot beverage.


(Image source: Wikipedia)

I have been cooking with bok choy (Chinese cabbage) for quite some time. I usually add them to noodles and soups. This time I tried making a simple dhal with bok choy. Bok choy has a very mild taste and blends well with the lentils and the spices added in the dhal. I do not add tamarind for my dhal preparations since we usually have this kind of dhal with rice and rasam. Tamarind juice can be added according to preferences.

1. Moong dhal, 1 cup.
2. Bok choy, 2-3.
3. Small onions, 1 cup.
4. Tomatoes, small, 2.
5. Chili powder, 1 teaspoon.
6. Coriander powder, 1 teaspoon.
7. Sambar powder, ½ teaspoon.
8. Garlic, 3 cloves.
9. Mustard seeds, 1 teaspoon.
10. Cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon.
11. Asafetida, 1 pinch.
12. Salt as per taste.
13. Turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon.
14. Curry leaves, 1 sprig.
15. Chopped cilantro, ¼ cup.

Wash the moong dhal and bok choy well. Extract thick juice from the tamarind and keep aside. Chop the bok choy and tomatoes into small pieces. Peel the onions and crush the garlic coarsely. Take a pressure cooker or a pressure pan and add 1 tablespoon of oil. When the oil is hot enough, add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add the cumin seeds and asafetida let them fry for 30 seconds. Now add the small onions and curry leaves and sauté for a few minutes until the onions are transparent. I have left the onions whole here; they can also be diced and added. Now add the diced tomatoes along with the crushed garlic and bok choy and keep sautéing for a few minutes until the tomatoes are well mashed. Add 2 cups of water along with the moong dhal, turmeric powder, and all the powders, salt as per taste and pressure cook for about 10-15 minutes up to 3 whistles. Once the pressure is released, garnish with chopped cilantro, mix everything well, and serve hot with idlis, dosas, rotis, or rice.


Looks like its kumquats season everywhere. I just couldn’t resist buying a big box of kumquats from the Chinese market where we do our weekly grocery purchase. Kumquats are very interesting fruits. The outer peel is edible and very sweet with the inside flesh a little bit sour. If something is sour, then there are chances that it could end up in a pickle ;) If you are a big fan of lemon pickles, you are sure to get crazy over these kumquats pickle. I have followed a very simple procedure here with some seasoning. I think this pickle can also be prepared the same way as usual Indian lemon pickles. The kumquats can also be left whole during pickling and pickle powder can also be added.

1. Kumquats, around 15.
2. Sesame oil, ¼ cup.
3. Mustard seeds, ¼ teaspoon,
4. Red chilies, 2.
5. Curry leaves, a few.
6. Chili powder, ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon depending upon preferred heat level.
7. Asafetida, a pinch.
8. Salt, ½ teaspoon.

Wash the kumquats well and cut them into halves or quarters (the halves can be soaked with another teaspoon of salt for an hour to two before pickling, we are cutting down on our salt intake, so I have omitted this step). Heat a pan with the sesame oil. Add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add the curry leaves and red chilies along with the asafetida and fry for a few seconds. Then add the chili powder and salt and let it fry in the oil for 203 seconds. Add the kumquats now and mix everything well. Keep cooking under low flame for 5-10 minutes until the kumquats are soft. Let it cool and transfer to an airtight container. This pickle stays fresh for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.


Dear friends,
I am happy to announce that my peanut chikki recipe has been published in the BetterBody Foods and Nutrition website. Check out my recipe at here.

Coming on to today's post,

I make masala pasta or pasta briyani when I am tired of making Chinese style noodles or with any tomato sauce. We prefer spicier versions of pasta like this than adding pasta sauce or cheese. This is also an excellent lunch box menu and also an ideal evening snack for us. I have not used whole garam masala here except the fennel seeds since they tend to break the pasta. I have used some whole grain pasta, which we brought from Ikea recently. These are real cuties and they seem to absorb the masala well.

1. Whole grain pasta, 1 packet.
2. Ripe Roma tomatoes, medium-size, 3.
3. Red onions, medium-size, 3.
4. Ginger-garlic paste, 1teaspoon.
5. Green chilies, 1-2.
6. Chili powder, ½ teaspoon.
7. Coriander powder, 1 teaspoon.
8. Turmeric powder, ¼ teaspoon.
9. Garam masala, 1 teaspoon.
10. Fennel seeds, ¼ teaspoon.
11. Curry leaves and cilantro for garnishing.
12. Salt as per taste.
13. Fresh or frozen peas, 1/4 cup.

Cook the pasta according to package instructions and let it cool. Dice the onion and tomatoes and slit the green chilies into 2. Heat a pan with 2 teaspoons of oil. When the oil is hot enough, add the fennel seeds and fry for 2 seconds. Add the curry leaves and onions and sauté for a few minutes until the onions turn translucent. Now add the ginger-garlic paste, tomatoes, peas, and green chilies and sauté for a few more minutes until everything is blended. Add the chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, and salt and mix well. Cook closed under low flame for 5 minutes until the raw smell of the spices goes and the mixture turns into a saucy texture. Now add chopped cilantro and pasta and mix everything. Let is sit for 5 minutes and serve hot.


With the same recipe, substitute the pasta with any leftover crusty bread and you have spicy masala bread, an idea evening tiffin with tea.


We tried this dish in a local Chinese restaurant recently. This was served as a starter. I tried to remember all the ingredients in the sauce and make the exact dish later that week. We had it with noodles. This can be served with rice also and the tofu can be substituted with any type of meat and vegetables and broccoli.

1. Tofu, 1 packet, I have used silken tofu here.
2. Small onions, 2.
3. Garlic, 3 large cloves.
4. Chopped cilantro, ½ cup.
5. Green chili, 1.
6. Low-sodium soya sauce, 2 tablespoons.
7. Chili and garlic sauce, 1 teaspoon. (I used a less spicier version).
8. Corn flour, 1 teaspoon.

Mix the corn flour, soya sauce, and chili garlic sauce with half cup of water. Keep stirring until there are no lumps in the mixture and keep aside. Slice the small onions into thin even slices, slice the garlic into very thin slices, and dice the green chili finely. Cut the tofu into even bite-size pieces. Heat a pan with some sesame oil and add the sliced onions, garlic and chili and keep sautéing until the onions are transparent. Add the sauce mixture now along with chopped cilantro and let it cook for 5 minutes. Once the mixture starts to thicken, add the tofu and let it cook for a few more minutes. Serve hot over noodles or rice.

Note: I have not added salt here as there is enough salt in the soya sauce. If needed, some extra salt can be added according to taste.


This is another lentil and whole grain combination I made for lunch one weekend. Since it was a Sunday, we wanted to have something spicy and filling and at the same time pertaining to our diet regimen. For me, kichadi is the best diet dish, very filling and tasty as well. This time I tried it make to healthier by substituting mung bean sprouts instead of lentils, and added lots of vegetables, and reducing the rice to one cup. I prepared chicken fry to go with this for me and for my husband I prepared oven-baked cauliflowers in tandoori style. This was a very comforting lunch for us.

1. Brown rice, 1 cup.
2. Mung bean sprouts, ½ cup.
3. Small onions, 2.
4. Mixed vegetables like cauliflower, carrots, and green beans all coming around 1 cup when chopped.
5. Peas, fresh or frozen, a handful
6. Cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon.
7. Cinnamon, 1 small stick.
8. Bay leaf, 1.
9. Cardamom, 2 cloves.
10. Cloves, 2.
11. Salt as per taste.
12. Curry leaves, a sprig.
123. Chopped cilantro, ½ cup.

Wash the rice well and soak it for 1 hour. Dice the onions and vegetables into small pieces. Dice the onion finely. Heat a pan or a pressure cooker pan with a tablespoon of oil. Add the spices and fry everything for one minute until good aroma comes from the spices. Add the onions now and sauté for a few minutes until they turn tender. Drain the water from the rice and add it to the pan. Add 3 cups of water, salt, chopped vegetables, sprouts, curry leaves and mix everything and cook everything until rice and dhal are cooked. A rice cooker also can also be used here. I used a pressure cooker for up to 3 whistles and cooked the rice. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with any spicy side dish.

Do check out some of my whole grains recipes, low in carb and calorie, which are ideal for dieting:

Oats sambar sadam

Oats pongal

Oats bisebelebath

Oats thayir sadam

Oats and cracked wheat rava idli

Cracked wheat rava pongal

Cracked wheat mint pulav

Quinoa pulav

Tomato soup with barley and pasta

Spinach and barley soup


Dear friends, I will be posting my recipe for the diet-series this weekend. Actually, I was very much excited about today’s post, so I had to post it first thing in the morning. Recently I was contacted by Robyn Shulsky from BetterBody Foods and Nutrition about their product Xagave. They mentioned some facts about Xagave like this is an organic agave nectar, which is low on the glycemic index, and has calorie saving qualities; Xagave is different from most other agave's on the market in a number of ways. One of the most substantial ways is its excellent cooking and baking properties, which sounded really interesting, since I use low glycemic index sweeteners instead of sugars in my cooking.

Yesterday, I received a package from them with a big bottle of Xagave, a wonderful cookbook, and some interesting articles about Xagave. This cookbook changed my notion of using agave nectar only for desserts. The recipes in cookbook cover a wide range of menus including salad and salad dressings; gourmet meals like pizzas, ham, jambalaya; and some intriguing desserts and drinks and even chocolate syrup. I am planning to try out the recipes from this cookbook and I will be posting them all here. I am happy about this cookbook, can’t wait to try out all the healthy recipes :)

Here are some more interesting facts about Xagave, which I have quoted from the book. All brands of agave are not the same. Xagave is the only brand that brings the benefits of both blue and white agave. Both blue and white agave are low GI food and both will save you thousands of calories if use in lieu of sugar. Blue agave has more naturally-occurring inulin than white; white has more naturally-occurring calcium than blue. Xagave brand combines the inulin from the blue with the calcium in the white. The Xagave blend creates a powerful combination of a low GI sweetener with inulin that makes Xagave the healthiest, best tasting and most versatile brand of agave in the market.

Here are some interesting facts about inulin and more details on agave.

Agave nectar


Since this was the first time I was Xagave, I wanted to try out a traditional Indian sweet, and out of the blue peanut chikki or kadalai urundai popped into my mind. It had been quite a while since I had this though this is a favorite snack for my hubby and I. We had stopped all these traditional sweets ever since we cut down sugars. Xagave really surprised me here. I was wondering whether the chikkis would set tight enough but it was totally worth try. The chikkis had set beautifully and I was able to even cut them. They were a little bit sweeter and had a gooey caramel texture. I had them out for 2 days and put the remaining inside the fridge. They were not too hard even when left in the refrigerator, so friends if plan on trying out this sweet, go ahead…it is worth the try, you’ll love it. Since I had used 1 cup of peanuts with 2/3 cup of Xagave, the carbohydrate serving of an inch of chikki is around 15 g, which is just one serving. This is ideal for a quick snack or dessert. Here goes my recipe:

1. Dry peanuts, 1 cup. (I used a regular roasted and salted brand).
2. Xagave, 2/3 cup.
3. Cardamom powder, ¼ teaspoon.
4. Ghee or canola oil, 1 teaspoon.
5. Salt, a pinch.

Add the Xagave to a pan and start stirring it under medium heat. Nonstick pan works best here for the contents to slide on to a plate without sticking. Once the Xagave starts bubbling, add the cardamom powder and salt and mix well. Then add the peanuts slowly and keep stirring continuously under low flame to prevent clump formation. The mixture will thicken gradually. Pour the contents over a plate smeared with oil or ghee and spread it evenly and let it cool. Once cooled, cut the chicks into small pieces and enjoy.


Rice usili is a classic dish prepared by my grandma for our lunch boxes when we were kids. I had completely forgotten about this until my mom reminded me of this when we were online. Rice or arisi usili is usually prepared with rice and any type of dhal. This dish is a combination between upma and pongal. The dhal will be still whole and gives a good texture to the whole dish. The seasonings used here are also very simple ones. I am not sure where this dish is from. When I asked my mom about this, even she was not sure about this. If anybody is familiar with arisi usili, please share your thoughts and memories in this post friends. I have followed my grandma’s exact recipe here except that I substituted the rice with cracked wheat.

Coming on to my recipe, I made a lighter version of this dish with cracked wheat. This was equally delicious and comforting as the original one. I had tried this for the first time last week when my hubby was away on a business trip. That day I had this meen kuzumbu. The next day, I had prepared kathrikai kothsu to go along with this and we had it for breakfast. My hubby loved this very much and in fact he had finished off the whole thing. I cooked the usili in rice cooker. Rice cooker cooking makes the usili very fluffy when compared to cooking in pressure cooker, so here is my next recipe in my diet series. This combination of lentils and whole grains is also awesome :)


1. Cracked wheat, 1 cup, (fine rava wont work so well here, I have used a little bit bigger variety, this can be substituted with bulgur wheat).

2. Toor dhal or moong dhal, ½ cup.

3. Whole pepper corns, ¼ teaspoon.

4. Cumin seeds, ½ teaspoon.

5. Red chilies, 1-2, can be left whole or broken.

6. Curry leaves, a sprig.

7. Salt as per taste.


Wash the lentils well and cook them until they are done half way through. The lentils should still be whole. I cooked mine in the microwave. I cooked the dhal for 15 minutes with just enough water to cover the lentils. When cooking the dhal in the microwave, add a drop of oil to prevent the water from boiling over. Drain the water from the dhal and add it the cracked wheat. Transfer the contents to an electric rice cooker, add ½ teaspoon of salt, and 2 cups of water and cook until they are done. The cracked wheat can also be cooked on stove top also under medium flame, stirring in between until it is dry. Heat a small pan with some oil. Add the seasonings one by one and fry for a few seconds until good smell emanates from them. Pour the seasonings over the usili and mix everything well. Serve hot with any side dish like sambar, kothsu, or chutney.


This week I will be posting the dishes, which I have been making for the past few weeks for my husband (a part of his weight loss plan and he has lost more 20 pounds so far…so I guess my dishes seem to work :). My next 2 recipes are also in the same combination of lentils and whole grains. Meals or soup like these, especially the combination of whole grains with lentils and vegetables are filling and healthy too and doesn’t make us miss out on our favorite foods. The soup recipe I have posted here is more or less sambar rice we make, but a little bit on the healthier side with lots of veggies and brown rice. This makes a complete meal by itself with a salad on side. I used a pressure cooker to cook the soup for fast cooking. This can be done on stove top too, it takes a little longer to cook the lentils this way but the taste is the same.


1. Lentils like green lentils, or masoor or moong dhal ½ cup.

2. Brown rice, ½ cup.

3. Onion, medium size, 1.

4. Diced tomatoes (fresh or canned), ½ cup.

5. Mixed vegetables, chopped into small pieces, 1 cup.

6. Cumin seeds, 1 tablespoon.

7. Coriander seeds, 1 tablespoon.

8. Salt and pepper as per taste.

9. Mixture of dry herbs, 1 tablespoon.

10. Garlic, 2 cloves.

11. Any seasoning mixture, 1 teaspoon.

12. Vegetable broth or tomato juice, 1 cup ( I sometimes use V8 tomato and vegetable soups, this gives a nice color to the soup and increases the veggie servings too).


Grind the cumin seeds and coriander seeds and keep aside. Dice the onion finely and crush the garlic coarsely. Heat a pressure pan or cooker with some oil. Add the diced onions when the oil turns hot and sauté for a few minutes until they turn brown. Add the canned tomatoes along with the veggies, crushed garlic, lentils, 3 cups of water, broth or tomato juice, salt and pepper and mix everything well. Cook for up to 3 whistles and let the pressure down. Add the ground powders and dry herbs now and mix everything well. Ladle hot soups into bowls and enjoy with a dollop of sour cream or nonfat yogurt on top.

A lighter version of the same soup made next week and served with salad.


Salmon cakes are almost like crab cakes. These are excellent starters for get-togethers, takes no time to prepare if you have canned salmon on hand. I even had the leftovers as an evening snack. I have Old Bay seasonings here since they go very well with fish. I have also coated the cakes with bread crumbs for some extra crispiness. These can also be made the Indian way with chili powder and garam masala.


1. Cooked salmon, 2 cups. (I used 1 big can of Trader Joe’s salmon).

2. Small onions, 2.

3. Green chilies, 1 (optional).

4. Chopped cilantro, ¼ cup.

5. Any kind of seasoning mixture, 1 teaspoon.

6. Salt as per taste.

7. Egg whites, ½ cup.

8. Whole wheat bread crumbs, 1 cup.


Drain excess water from the salmon by placing the meat in a sieve with another vessel under the sieve. After 15-20 minutes most of the water must have drained out from the salmon. Meanwhile dice the onions and green chili finely, sauté them with some oil until transparent, and let it cool. Add these to the salmon along with chopped cilantro, salt, and seasonings and mix everything well. A little of bit bread crumbs can be added to the mixture if it is still wet. The mixture should be dry enough to form patties out of them. Make small patties from the mixture and keep aside. Heat a pan with ½ cup of oil and prepare a work station beside the stove with the patties first, beaten egg whites in a bowl next to that, and the bread crumbs in a plate next to the egg whites. When the oil is hot enough, dip the patties in egg whites first and coat them in the bread crumbs. Shallow fry the salmon cakes until they are golden brown, and serve hot with any sauce. Alternatively the cakes can also be baked at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes by arranging them on a greased baking sheet.