Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Healthy Simple Vangibath - with raw veggies

After years of reading health blogs and wanting to eat healthy, and a lot of trial and error later I have devised what works for me! Like most things in life, whatever I share here is what worked for me and I am willing to listen to your side of the story if you have some tips to share as well. 

I am a south indian. Which means I eat rice 4 times a day. No I am not kidding. I grew on a diet of dosas / idlis (i.e. fermented rice) for breakfast, rice with rasam/sambar/curd for lunch, masala avalakki/ gojju avalakki/kuttu avalakki(beaten rice) for tiffin, followed by rice /sambar/curd for dinner. You see my mom made chappatis/ puris/ gojjus / hasi hullis/ tamblis etc... But what I have listed above was the staple. No I was not overweight after consuming all of that rice... My body was used to that diet and I do not want to reiterate what I have written here.

So when I decided to start eating healthier, I was going to change my way of life. What I was used to eating and we have all been there. There's the enthusiasm on Day 1 and I would eat my big bowl of salad without any issues. Day 3 my mind would start negotiating with me about how rasam rice and aloo fry was so much more comforting that the raw veggies I was consuming and by Day 5 I would be back to square one with my mind asserting that "raw food is for rabbits".

If you are anything like me, then you would know that the above exercise has happened way too many times for me / you to trust ourselves that we would stick to the diet... My weight loss journey was an eye opener to me on how I could eat all of the same things but watch my portion control... 

It's funny how most people state "everything in moderation". Which literally means - have cake in moderation and it won't hurt you... but it look me a while to realize that it also means have raw veggies in moderation as well... 

I have read several posts where people talk about replacing one meat in the sandwich to raw tomato - and you are eating slightly healthier... And it finally struck me what I had done wrong all those times.

Of course I am not going to eat salads as it's not part of my daily diet, but I could include raw veggies into my daily diet of rice. And so, I have been doing this for a week now where I include raw veggies to traditional dishes.

Vangibath is a traditional kannadiga dish. I have already posted 2 recipes on my blog - 
vangibath with assorted veggies that my mom had prepared with recipe for vangibath powder

Traditionally Vangibath is made with brinjals and I am using brinjal/eggplant today with raw veggies..


1/3 cup rice cooked with 1 cup water in rice cooker
2 tblspn MTR vangibath powder, salt for taste
1/4 cup diluted tamarind water
veggies of choice(brinjal + raw veggies (if using - optional))
oil for tadka.

I used Mustard.
Traditionally Tadka (seasoning) is done with Mustard seeds, jeera seeds, bengal gram seeeds, urad dal seeds and a little curry leaves.
I am trying to keep the ingredient list simple and so I listed the absolute essential stuff.

Heat oil, add mustard seeds. When it starts spluttering add brinjal
Add diluted tamarind water, vangibath powder, salt.
When it's done - add raw veggies and switch off the stove.
Then add rice and mix.

Serve with raw cucumbers as shown/cucumber raita

Homemade Muesli - the best muesli I have every eaten (Sugarless)

When you are living alone, it makes sense to eat outside... It's easier on one hand but when raising a child along with you, one cannot often afford that luxury... I would anyhow need to cook for the kid, so I might as well cook a little more and eat the same food... Thank fully my son has reached the toddler age and we kinda eat similar food with his food a lot more mashed up than mine... I will write a separate post on what I feed my son now... but this is all about making breakfast easy!

You see - its simple to make dosa batter during the weekend. It would last a week for me if I were to make 2 dosas per day... But the idea of eating dosa and chutney podi / pickle gets boring and the dosa batter is no longer fresh on thursday morning inspiring me to add some veggies to make adai... Well long story short, when you are living alone - taking care of one's health is of primary importance. I can't afford to fall sick with a toddler depending on me and eating dosa made of old batter is guaranteed to make me go into depression over sour dosas if not make me sick! Plus I have DH's orders for me to eat healthy in his absence!!! 

And so - I decided that I would eat dosas for some days of the week and since I am a huge fan of make ahead foods Muesli is something else that I make on a routine basis.

Because I promised DH that my ingredient list would be fairly simple I am sharing my super simple, tasty and filling muesli recipe.

Oats - 2 cups
Honey - 1/2 cup
Coconut Oil  - 1/2 cup
Add Ins (2 cups)

I have used the following add ins. Feel free to browse your pantry and add what ever catches your fancy. I have added 
Nuts - Almonds/Walnuts
Dried Fruits - raisins / fresh apricots
Soulful ragi bites
Kelloggs Corn flakes , wheat flakes, honey loops.

Take one cup of oats in a bowl, add honey and oil and some chopped fresh apricots.

I used the oven as shown in the picture.
Spread the oat-honey-oil mixture in a tray and cook till roasted (it took me 10 min).
Stir half way.

I have used the microwave many times and it comes out equally well.
Use a microwave safe bowl, microwave for 4 min, stirring every 1 minute to ensure equal roasting.

Do not have a microwave or an oven? How do you think indians used to cook? Take a thick bottom kadai and roast the mixture the way we are traditionally used to roasting in sim flame. Keep roasting for 10 min and it will be done.

In a large airtight container, assemble the roasted oat mixture, remaining one cup of raw oats, and all the add ins. No need to add what I have added. DH loves Kellogg chocos, whereas I love my ragi bites... So it s all about what you wanna add   eat.

Take a bowl of your home made muesli, top with banana if using, and milk and enjoy your guilt free sugar free muesli. 

Stay healthy! There's a reason why they say "health is wealth".

Of course, no one is going to judge you if you eat store-bought muesli than take the trouble to do it all 
I have been there, done that as well.... We all have one of those days!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Cooking for One - Beginners Guide to South Indian Cooking

And so, somehow life pans out in ways, and you end up alone! So now I am raising my child as a single parent with DH no longer living in Bangalore with me and let me say life is tough! Every part of my day or week is well planned and I do not spend any more than 1 hour per day in the kitchen. This is because I have work issues, home issues, family issues, nanny issues, baby issues and plainly put I cannot afford to have "what do I eat" issues... 

And of course, I love to cook, so take out is not an option for me! I love my cooking :D

But DH doesn't know how to cook! So this is my way of teaching DH how to cook until he returns home, which will be a long long time anyway... So hopefully he picks up one or two of these dishes... 

But this series should ideally really help anyone starting out. I wish I had something like this explained to me when I was starting out... But over the years, after 5 years of marriage, and a hungry toddler later - I do know my way in the kitchen and I will share basic cooking with ingredient lists that are not more than 5 ingredients for all of you who have neither the interest in cooking nor the expertise - this should get you started.

Of course - we are going to cook rice today! One of the staples of south indian cooking... When DH left for his abroad trip that would last the next 10 months - he asked me to give him instructions on how to cook rice... And that's when I knew that my concept of teaching him bisibelebath was too complicated for the poor soul...

Without further ado, starting indeed with the basics!


Cooking rice is all about measurements. It really depends on what you are going to use that rice for! If it's about what you are using it for. The ratio of rice to water varies for plain rice, curd rice / pongal or pulao.

For plain rice : 1 cup rice - add 3 cups of water
For Pulao/biriyani/vangibath/mixed rice : 1 cup rice - add 2 cups of water
For pongal/curd rice/bisibelebath : 1 cup rice - add 5 cups of water

Rice - 1/3 cup (depending on how much you eat)
Water - 1 cup

Add 1/3 cup rice to a bowl that you would use to cook rice
Wash rice twice with tap water.
Add 1 cup drinking water to the washed rice

Keep the bowl in the pressure cooker and cook for three whistles.

The steps mentioned in the METHOD section to be carried out in the rice cooker bowl and then switch on the cooker, it will automatically switch off when rice is done!

Saturday, 22 March 2014


This is a catalog blog after all... A catalog of my life ! So I had to share with you all that I ate as part of the potluck yesterday... I have already discussed in detail how I prepared my contribution for the potluck - beetroot chocolate oreo cake. There were 12 of us who enthusiastically agreed to cook delicious food and I ate way more than I should have throwing into the wind the diet that I am currently in...

The cast of characters in no particular order :)

And of course a pic of my plate before I dug in !

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Healthy Eggless Whole Wheat Chocolate cake with Oreo biscuits

I am always in the quest for baking something new :) We had a potluck this week (pictures coming soon related to the potluck) and I had to bake my trusty recipe of beetroot chocolate cake adapted from Love Food Eat 

I know it sounds weird but the pics posted by Chinmayee were too tempting for me to not replicate the same.
I have now made this several times and while my recipe is slightly modified from Chinmayee's , I would say the result is just mind blowing..

On to the recipe :)

Because I was making this to a potluck, I decided to be a little indulgent and added Oreo biscuits to the cake batter to take things to the next level. I understand that it is no longer healthy but the cake base is perhaps the best fail proof recipe for a moist cake I have ever baked.


After Baking until the toothpick inserted came out clean , I garnished using silk chocolate flakes and crushed oreo biscuits 

You want proof as to how moist this cake is? Check out the picture below of a muffin I made with the cake base (no optional ingredients added) and see how moist the cake is inspite of adding no egg, no all purpose flour. I would attribute the softness to beetroot puree ! And nope - you cannot taste the beetroot flavor at all.. So it is a win-win situation where you get your moist cake as well as you no longer get the beetroot flavor.

I hope you try this recipe today! So what if you do not have an oven! Use your pressure cooker! Make it and let me know how it turned out.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Homemade almond butter

Sundrop Peanut butter reviewed here by me is one of the most popular posts on my blog. 
In an effort to recreate the same at home, I opened my pantry to find a huge box of almonds that I had bought whole-sale from Metro in Bangalore. So homemade almond butter it was going to be, not peanut butter. 
This is incredibly easy to prepare - all you need is raw almonds, a good mixie and a lot of patience. You grind, scrap the walls of the mixie bowl, grind some more, repeat the process over and again until you get the desired consistency of the creamy almond butter !

I hope you will try this and let me know if it worked out for you.

P.S. Excuse the bad lighting ! I made this after my son was put down for sleep at the EOD!!!

Enjoy your almond butter as is (if you are like me), or with some cracker/fruit/or add melted chocolate chips and make your version of nutella/ or ... Okay, you got it?!I will stop now!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Davengere Benne Dosa - Basavanagudi - Review

The husband and I are huge dosa lovers. We have dosa for breakfast on most days and when we do not feel like eating at home, we search for restaurants offering dosa for breakfast. 
Predictable lot aren't we?
We decided to hit the Davengere Benne Dosa joint near our home to have breakfast and I had to snap the pictures to show them to you. I have no idea how Benne Dosa originated from Davengere but this is a Darshini-style restaurant hat has carved a name for itself quite well. If you are not familiar with the word - darshini-style restaurant : it basically describes the fast-food kind of restaurant that has originated within the last 10 years in Bangalore where you can order south-indian dishes on the go and the restaurant has limited(occasionally) or most likely no seating capacity ! Which means you order your dosa and filter coffee (like most people do) and stand and finish your plate and go. It is much like how street-food is served and the very first Darshini-style restaurant that I had ever been to was Upahar Darshini situated on DBG road in Bangalore. Many such restaurants have opened up and today we are discussing the Davengere Benne Dosa and why it has carved a niche for itself in the Darshini market in Bangalore.


Before I go into detail - I would like to point out to you that the speciality of Davengere Benne Dosa joints is that their potato palya has no seasoning apart from salt. It looks just like mashed potatoes and I assume that they have just added a good quantity of butter and salt while mashing them. Having been used to the spicy aromatic masala dosa palyas, I find them a little bland in taste. 


This is a crispy dosa served with the traditional mashed potato-style palya and a watery chutney. I found the dosa to be extremely crispy as shown in the picture below. 

I love my south indian spices though ! So inspite of the aromatic buttery smell, I found this dosa to be bland for my taste buds!


Open dosa in certain restaurants have a lot of  things going on : some podi , raw vegetables, palya, chutney - over here , it was a more simplistic affair. But it hit the mark with the taste :) The dosa is sprinkled with a spicy chutney podi and topped with the mashed-potato-style palya and thick blob of chutney. The spices in the chutney podi complement the buttery- crisp dosa and the flavor of the butter and the podi complement the buttery-potato palya and everything falls into place !

I would definitely visit again to have the open dosa :)