Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Very Veggie Biryani

I love food, and I love recipes – quick, easy ones!  One of my favorite dishes is Biryani – an aromatic rice recipe that has innumerable variations and can be eaten with or sans curry, is very filling and absolutely delish.  There is a baked version, but we‘ll stick with the quick stove top recipe here ;-)
Veggie Biryani
1 cup cooked rice (not sticky, preferably Basmati)
1/2 cup mixed vegetables, chopped (fresh or frozen, time permitting)
¼ cup onions – finely chopped (red/purple is my personal choice)
¼ cup ginger/garlic paste
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. biryani masala (available at Indian grocery stores)
1 tsp. green chili paste (optional)
2 tsp. mint leaves finely chopped (optional)
Cilantro, finely chopped, for garnish
Salt to taste


Heat oil in a pan. Add onions and sauté until translucent.  Add ginger/garlic paste and sauté for a couple of minutes.  Now stir fry the mixed vegetables until cooked.  Add the cooked rice.  Finally, add the masala and optional ingredients.  Mix gently until even.  Garnish with cilantro.  Enjoy hot!
Tip: Use a colorful assortment of vegetables to make your biryani pretty - tomatoes or tomato paste, cauliflower, carrots, peas or edamame, green beans and the list goes on...veg. it up your style!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cabbage Curry

That's the lunch I am currently enjoying at my desk - cabbage with lentils, and it's all spiced up!  It's a great combination, health wise and taste wise.  Make a bowl for yourself, and eat warm with bread, rice, or as -is:

Cabbage with Lentils

1 tsp oil
a pinch of mustard seeds
4 curry leaves (optional)
1 cup finely shredded cabbage
Lentils (chana dal - split yellow gram), pre-soaked for an hour or so
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 bowl shredded red onion
1 green chilli, slit or finely chopped
salt to taste
chopped fresh cilantro to garnish


Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds; when these sputter, add the curry leaves.  Stir for 10 seconds.  Next, add the onion and garlic, saute until pinkish brown.  Add the green chilli, saute.  Add the cabbage, salt and soaked lentils, and simmer covered, until cooked (stir and check in between!).  Garnish and enjoy!

Variations: Add greens, potatoes/yams, peas and carrots, peppers and broccoli, use your imagination for easy peasy healthy!  For extra flavor, add curry powder.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Thursday, July 5, 2012

What a Wonderful World

Come summer, all I ever think about is travel, and usually that is all I do - think about it!  Lately, I have come across so many articles where people have traveled to numerous countries and viewed several wondrous monuments.   Although I have not managed to launch my own travel undertaking (yet), I decided to embark on a journey around the world via the internet.  Here is one such breathtakingly real image of the Taj Mahal in India:



Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Appeal of Authenticity

I chanced upon one of Dr. Seuss' quotes this morning :

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."

In today's individualist, sometimes (cynics may read as "mostly") duplicitous world, authenticity is fast becoming an attractive trait.  People covet simplicity and the comfort of being able to just be (oneself).    This quote touched a chord in my heart today, as I am often given to being a people pleaser, and when stretched too thin, ache for the freedom of being (accepted as) just me. 

Since I am in such a philosophical mood today,  a mocktail seems fitting to nix the mope and lift the hopes (lame, I know!). 

Lemon-Cucumber Mocktail

3 cucumbers
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 tbsp agave syrup
1 cup water
Few sprigs of chopped fresh mint

Blend first four ingredients together and strain, garnish with mint. 

Cheers to being the authentic you!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Pleasure of a Good Book

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is to announce that I now have a new blog, in addition to this one, for my book reviews called Reader's Retreat.  If you are an avid reader, as am I, and I totally recommend reading as a great practice for anyone, please take the time to visit and feel free to post your comments and recommendations.  Like all of you great readers out there, I am always looking to fill any free time with a worthwhile book, and Readers' Retreat is the place to go for book recommendations and reviews*.  Check it out, yall!  Let me know what you think. 

*Note : Only one post so far on Readers' Retreat, first day and all. ;-)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

All You Need is Love

I had the pleasure of watching the movie 'The Help' recently and am profoundly impressed with it's portrayal of the individual and society.  It is a beautiful movie that evokes great emotions and inspires courage and hope. 

It reminded me of how selfish and ugly people can be, but how we can emerge as better individuals through our thoughts, attitudes and actions.  We can rise from being mere mortals to enlightened souls if only we allow our own inner light to guide us while on this journey called life.  It all starts and ends with love.  First, accept yourself, love yourself.  And then spread the love.

With that in mind, let us now venture into our kitchen and make ourselves something healthy to eat - fancy some Quinoa?  Quinoa (keen-wah)  is being touted as a superfood, being a protein-rich, gluten-free whole grain.  It's easy to cook and can be added to just about anything.  Let's throw some things together and make ourselves a delicious healthy salad. 

Quinoa Salad

1 cup cooked quinoa - soak in water for 10 minutes, drain water and rinse, then cook in vegetable broth until done

Add to this:
-Finely chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, jalapeno (optional - hot)
-Finely chopped dates and walnuts
-a few drops of lemon juice
-garnish with coriander.

No salad dressings required - just dig in !

Variations : You may add avocado, boiled potatoes, bell peppers, even pineapple for flavor and to get those fruits and veggies in. 
This salad can also be seasoned as follows:  Heat a tsp of oil in a pan, add a half a tsp of mustard seeds.  When the mustard seeds start crackling, add 2 curry leaves, a few coarsely chopped peanuts and a pinch of hing (asafoetida) to the oil.  Whole red chillies may be added for extra heat.  Pour this seasoning over the salad and mix.  Eat right away, with yogurt, or as-is, it is SO good!!