Holiday Menu Suggestions

It is a true winter day here in San Diego. I know my family is super excited about the upcoming holidays. I feel like holidays are all about indulging yourself and treating yourself to what else – great food! Food is a way to bring people together and it’s the simple pleasures in life that really matter.

Today’s menu suggestions are in line with the rainy weather here and includes: a steamy cup of vegetable soup, followed with Aloo Paratha, Tomato Chutney, Yogurt, Green Chili Pickle and for dessert Gajar Ka Halwa.

This meal can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner. For breakfast, I would suggest the Aloo Paratha served with Tomato Chutney. This menu is an old family favorite and reminds me of happy times with my family growing up! Enjoy!

Vegetable Soup Recipe by Manjula

Vegetable Soup

Aloo Paratha Recipe by Manjula

Aloo Paratha

Tomato Chutney

Tomato Chutney



Green Chili Pickle

Green Chili Pickle

Gajar Ka Halwa

Gajar Ka Halwa

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Hyderabadi Biryani (Vegetable Pulao)

Hyderabadi Vegetable Pulao is an exotic rice dish that combines spicy and aromatic vegetables served over rice. Rich with flavor, this is an extraordinary dish. You may also call this Biryani. This dish is made in two parts. First I prepare the rice with cumin seeds and cilantro. Then the vegetables are cooked separately with tomatoes, cashews, beans, green peas, cauliflower, and paneer. Top these vegetables over the rice and you have a mouth-watering dish!

Recipe will serve 4.

Ingredients: Hyderabadi Biryani (Vegetable Pulao) Recipe by Manjula

For rice

  • 1 cup rice preferred basmati rice available in Indian grocery stores
  • 2 tablespoons clarified butter or ghee
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • About 1 inch piece cinnamon stick (dal chini)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • About 1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped (hara dhania)
  • 2 cups water

For vegetables

  • About 3 cups mix vegetables I am using cauliflower cut into small floret, green beans cut into small pieces, bell pepper cut into cubes, and frozen green peas,
  • 1/2 cup paneer cut into about 1/2 inch cubes
  • 4 cups tomatoes chopped
  • 1 green chili cut into pieces
  • About 2 tablespoons ginger cut into small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1/8 teaspoon asafetida (hing)
  • 2 tablespoons coriander powder (dhania)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup cashew powder
  • 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala



  1. Wash rice gently changing water several times until the water appears clear.
  2. For fluffier rice, the rice should be soaked for at least 15 minutes prior to cooking.
  3. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Oil is the right temperature when one cumin seed dropped into the oil cracks immediately.
  4. Add the cumin seeds. When they crack, add the cinnamon stick and stir for a few seconds. Add the rice, cilantro, and salt. Stir-fry one minute.
  5. Add the water and bring to a boil, turn the heat to low. Cover the pan, and Cook 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the water has evaporated. Turn off the heat and fluff the rice with a fork.


  1. Blend tomatoes, green chilies and ginger to make a puree. If you prefer mild take the seeds out of green chili before blending.
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Over medium high heat oil should be moderately hot, add the cumin seeds, and asafetida, as seeds crack add tomato puree, coriander, turmeric, sugar and salt.
  3. Lower the heat to medium, stir the spice paste occasionally when it start thickening add cashew powder and cook until paste become the thick and start leaving the oil from side.
  4. Add all the vegetables and 1/4 cup of water, mix it well. Cover the pan and let it cook for about 5-6 minutes over medium heat stir few times in between. Add paneer mix and cover the pan, cook for another 3-4 minutes. Vegetables should be tender not mushy.
  5. Turn off the heat add garam masala and cilantro, stir and cover the pan for few minutes before serving.
  6. Serve the vegetable over hot rice.

Hyderbadi mirchi ka salan goes well with this pulao

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Aloo Chana Chaat

Aloo chana chaat is a spicy potato and chickpea snack. It’s very easy to make and is a favorite tasty treat of mine. This recipe involves marinating boiled potatoes and chickpeas in spices to make a great savory snack.

Recipe will serve 4.

Preparation time 30 minutes

Cooking time 10 minutes

Aloo chana chaat recipe by ManjulaIngredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups boiled chickpeas, garbanzo (chols, kabuli chana)
  • 1-1/2 cups potatoes (aloo) boiled peeled and cubed in small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon ginger finely grated (adrak)
  • 2 teaspoons green chili finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon roasted cumin seed powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black salt (kala namak)
  • 1/2 teaspoon mango powder (amchoor)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro (hara dhania)

For Garnishing

  • 1 tomato finely chopped
  • 6 slices of lemon
  • 6 green chilies mild
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or coarse salt


  1. Wash and dry the whole green chilies. Heat a small frying pan on low medium heat, add the oil and green chilies, and cover the pan. Shake the pan slowly to move the chilies around. Notes: it is important to keep the pan cover chilies will splatter. Cook the chilies for about 2 minutes turn off the heat, wait till it stop splattering and remove the lid chilies should be light brown if it is not cook for another minute. Remove and keep aside.
  2. Place chickpeas in a bowl and lightly mash. Add the potatoes and all the ingredients ginger, green chili, red pepper, salt, black salt, black pepper, mango powder, sugar, roasted cumin powder, lemon juice, and cilantro mix it well.
  3. Let it sit for at least fifteen minutes or more, chickpeas and potatoes will absorbed the flavor of spices.
  4. Serve the aloo chana chat with side of tomatoes, fried green peppers and lemon wedges.

How to boil the chickpea

Soak one cup of chickpeas for about eight hours or more, after soaking chick peas will be about 2-1/2 times. Drain the water, cooked the chickpeas in pressure cooker on high heat with 2 cups of water and no salt. After pressure cooker start steaming reduce the heat to low medium and cook for 10 minutes.

Serving suggestions

  1. Aloo chana chaat also makes a good lunch box meal.
  2. Serve this with tamarind chutney or cilantro chutney and you will have a new recipe.


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Milk (Khoya) Burfi

Milk burfi, also known as khoya burfi is a classic Indian sweet that can be served both as a dessert or snack. Milk Burfi is made with milk, sugar, and flavored with cardamom. Finish it with a garnish of sliced pistachios and you have a simply divine treat! This is a staple in most North Indian households and served on many occasions.

This recipe will serve 6.

Preparation time 10 minutes

Cooking time 25 minutes

Milk (Khoya) Burfi Recipe by ManjulaIngredients:

  • 3-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice strained
  • 1 tablespoon clarified butter or ghee
  • 3/4 cup milk powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1 tablespoon sliced pistachios for garnishing


  1. Heat the milk and lemon juice on a heavy bottom pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. As milk will start heating the curd will start separating from the whey, slowly it will separate into thick curds and whey will separate.
  2. Once the milk fat has separated from the whey, drain the whey using a strainer line with cheesecloth, or muslin cloth.
  3. Wrap the curds in a muslin cloth, rinse under cold water, and squeeze well. This process takes out the sourness from the lemon.
  4. Heat the frying pan on medium. Add butter and let it melt.
  5. Next add milk curd, and milk powder. Mix it well.
  6. Cook mixture on medium heat stirring continuously until mixture starts leaving the sides of the frying pan and becomes like soft dough. This should take about 12 minutes. Now this is known as khoya.
  7. Transfer the khoya into a bowl and let it cool off until khoya becomes just lukewarm.
  8. Mix the sugar and cardamom powder into the khoya and knead it for about a minute until everything blends together and become soft dough. Note: if you mix the sugar while khoya is hot that will make burfi soft.
  9. Transfer mixture to the greased plate and press firmly into a square or rectangular shape, approximately 1/2 inch high.
  10. Let the burfi sit for about one hour before slicing I prefer cutting in about 1-1/2 inch squares.
  11. For garnishing put few pieces of sliced pistachios on every piece burfi.

Notes: Do not heat the milk on high heat, milk should separate slowly. Also some time milk will separate in small curds or sometimes you will not see the curds either way it will be fine.

Also try Besan Burfi 

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Eggless Omelet (Vegan)

This Eggless Omelet is similar to a variation of besan chila. I combine lots of vegetables including bell pepper, spinach, and tomatoes and then add in some light spices. Now you have a healthy and delicious choice for breakfast or light lunch. It is also vegan and gluten free!

This recipe will serve 2.

Preparation time 15 minutes

Cooking time is 15 minutes

Eggless Omelet Recipe by ManjulaIngredients:

  • 3/4 cup besan (gram flour) available in Indian grocery stores
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 green chili finely chopped, optional
  • 1/2 cup tomato seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped spinach
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup water to make batter
  • 2 tablespoons oil

Use vegetables quantity as a guide line, it can be little more or less, also change the vegetables to your choice.


  1. Mix all the dry ingredients together: besan, cumin seeds, black pepper and salt. Add the water slowly to make a smooth batter, the consistency of pancake batter or Dosa batter. Add the green chilies, tomato, spinach, and bell pepper. Mix well.
  2. Heat the skillet on medium heat (Use a non-stick skillet) skillet should be moderately hot. Test by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. Water should sizzle right away.
  3. Pour approx. 1/2cup of the batter mixture into the skillet and spread evenly with the back of a spoon. Starting from the center, spiral the batter outward evenly to form a circle about 7” in diameter.
  4. When the batter starts to dry, gently spread about two teaspoons of oil over it. Wait about 30 seconds; flip the omelet using a flat spatula.
  5. Press the omelet lightly all around with the spatula to make the omelet cook evenly. Turn the omelet three or four times, until cook well and golden brown on both sides.
  6. Repeat for the remaining omelet.

Serve this with mint chutney

Paneer Bhurji

Paneer bhurji is a delightful and spicy paneer dish. Paneer bhurji is a quick and easy recipe to make, made from crumbled paneer simmered in spicy tomato gravy. Paneer bhurji tastes great with roti, paratha, or even with regular bread! This is also makes a good stuffing for dosas or vegetable Frankie rolls.

Recipe will serve 2.

Paneer Bhurji Recipe by ManjulaIngredients:

  • 1 cup paneer cut in small pieces
  • 1 cup tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 cup green peas, I am using frozen green peas
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped green chilies
  • 2 teaspoon coriander powder (dhania)
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander (dhania)


  1. Soak the paneer in hot water with 1/4 teaspoon of salt for five minutes. Drain the water and crumbled the paneer. This process will make the paneer soft, if you are using the fresh paneer skip this step. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in sauce pan over medium heat; after oil is moderately hot add cumin seeds.
  3. After the seeds crack add green peas, and green chili stir for about one minute. Add tomatoes, coriander, salt, sugar and red chili powder, stir and mix well. Cover the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes till the tomatoes and peas becomes soft.
  4. Add paneer stir and cook for 1-2 minutes. Don’t cook the paneer for a long time as paneer will lose the softness. If it is too dry add few spoons of water. Lastly add chopped coriander leaves to paneer bhurji and mix.
  5. Serve paneer bhurji with rotis, plain parathas or with a toast.

Notes, if you are using the paneer bhurji for stuffing then don’t the water, bhurji should be dry in texture.

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Paratha Samosa

Is this a Paratha or Samosa! These Paratha Samosas are a delicious twist on traditional samosas and aloo parathas. Who doesn’t enjoy samosas or aloo parathas? Although the ingredients are the same as samosas, they are made like a paratha. And they taste absolutely delicious!  You can now enjoy both your favorites (samosa and paratha) at the same time.

This recipe will make 4

Ingredients:Paratha Samosa recipe by Manjula


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (plain flour, maida)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons clarified butter or ghee (if you follow vegan diet use oil)
  • 1/3 cup water


  • 3 medium potatoes, boiled peeled and cubed into very small pieces, this will make about 2 cups of cubed potatoes
  • 1/4 cup green peas, I am using frozen peas thawed
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder (dhania)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon green chili finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon mango powder (amchoor)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (hara dhania)

Also need about 1/4 cup oil for cooking



  1. Mix flour, salt, and oil, add the water as needed to make firm and smooth dough. Knead the dough on a lightly oil surface for about one minute. Cover the dough and set aside for at least 10 minutes.


  1. Heat the oil in a frying on medium heat. Oil should be moderately hot. Add cumin seeds, as cumin seeds crack add green chili and green peas stir-fry about a minute add the potatoes and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes. Stir in garam masala, mango powder, and cilantro. Add more pepper, salt or mango powder according to taste. Turn off the heat.
  2. Let the filling cool to the room temperature. Lightly mash the filling.

Making Paratha Samosa

  1. Divide the dough in four equal parts and form into balls. Roll dough ball into about 7” circle. Place about 1/2 cup of the filling in the center and spread it over leaving 1” dough circle all around. Pull the edges of the dough in the center cover the filling. This will make about 4” thick pattie. Repeat and fill all the balls.
  2. Gently roll them in about 6” circle. If needed sprinkle little all-purpose flour to help it roll.
  3. Heat heavy sauce flat pan over low medium heat. Add about 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil to the pan depends on the size of the pan.
  4. Place the rolled paratha on the pan. When the paratha start to change color from sides, flip it over. Parathe will be light brown.
  5. Lightly press the paratha all around and flip. Shallow fry the paratha both sides until golden brown. You will have to flip the paratha 3 to 4 times.
  6. Paratha Samosa is the best served hot and crispy.
  7. If they are made in advance re-heat using a skillet or oven.
  8. Enjoy with hari cilantro chutney.


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Making Pizza on The Stove Top

This is a quick and easy recipe for Stove Top Pizza. This is just perfect for times when you want to enjoy homemade pizza and don’t feel like ordering take-out pizza or going anywhere! The best part is that you also don’t need to have access to a good oven.

Recipe will make two personal pizzas.

 Making Pizza on the Stove Top Recipe by ManjulaIngredients:

For Dough

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (plain flour or maida)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 tablespoons thick yogurt (curd or dahi) room temperature
  • 1/3 cup lukewarm water use as needed
  • About 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour needed to roll the dough


  • 1-1/2 cups tomatoes seeded and chopped in small pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  • 1/2 cup bell pepper cut into small pieces,
  • 1/4 cup mushrooms sliced
  • About 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese shredded


  1. In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
  2. Add oil and yogurt to the flour and mix it well, add water as needed to make soft dough will be little sticky. Sprinkle little dry flour over the dough and knead to make smooth dough.
  3. Cover the dough and let it sit for about 3 hours or more.
  4. In a saucepan heat the oil on medium high heat. Add all the sauce ingredients, tomatoes, salt, sugar, pepper, and Italian herbs. Cook for about 3 minutes till most of the water from tomato has evaporated and looks like a chunky sauce.
  5. Use the same pan and sauté the bell peppers, and mushrooms for 2 minutes until most of the moisture has evaporated but still they are crisp. Set aside.
  6. Knead the dough for few seconds and divide into two equal parts and roll them in about 10” circle, if dough start sticking to the rolling pin or rolling surface dust little more dry flour.
  7. Heat the heavy pan skillet over low medium heat, lightly oil the skillet and put the rolled pizza over. Let it cook for about 2 minutes until crust has nicely browned from bottom. Lower the heat to low.
  8. Flip the crust, brush it lightly with oil do it quick spread about half the sauce, cheese and topping. Cover the pan for about 3 minutes and check, cheese should be melted. Lift the pizza little from the side crust should be the nicely brown.

Tips: make sure heat is low otherwise pizza will burn and not cook through.

you will also like to see the Vegetable pasta

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Lauki (Bottle Gourd) Halwa

Lauki halwa is a classic dessert that is simple and delicious! Lauki is also known as dodhi, ghia, bottle gourd, or opo squash. Lauki halwa is packed with all the nutrition of lauki and tastes absolutely divine. Just a few ingredients are needed for this dessert: lauki, milk and sugar.

This recipe will serve 4.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Lauki (Bottle Gourd) Halwa Recipe by ManjulaIngredients:

  • 2 cups lauki peeled and shredded, before shredding remove the seeds (bottle gourd, doodhi, ghia, opo squash)
  • 2-1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons ghee, or clarified butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground cardamom seeds
  • 2 tablespoons pistachio chopped


  1. Squeeze the water from shredded lauki after taking out the water lauki should be 2 cups packed. Set aside.
  2. Boil the milk on medium high heat in heavy bottom pan making sure milk does not burn. After milk comes to boil lower the heat to medium low and boil for ten minutes, until it becomes about 1-1/2 cups. Set aside.
  3. Melt the ghee in frying pan on medium heat add lauki and sauté for 3 minutes, or until it is tender but not mushy. Add milk mix well and bring it to boil, reduce heat to low and cook until mixture becomes thick. It will take approx. 10 minutes. Stir occasionally in between to prevent sticking.
  4. Add sugar, cardamom, and half the pistachios. Stir continuously and cook until mixture becomes of consistency of soft sticky dough, this will take approx. 3-4 minutes. Turn of the heat.
  5. Delicious lauki halwa is ready. Transfer it to serving bowl and garnish with remaining pistachios, and serve hot or at room temperature.

Also check the recipe for Chilled melon soup

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Aloo (Potatoes) Bread Pakora

Aloo bread pakora, bread stuffed with spicy potatoes, coated with gram flour and deep fry. Spicy hot aloo bread pakora is a tasty compliment for afternoon tea or served as an appetizer. Aloo bread pakora is crunchy outside, spicy and soft inside.

This recipe will serve 4.

Potato Bread Pakoras Recipe by ManjulaIngredients:

  • 8 bread slices, I have already trim the edges of the bread slices
  • 3 medium potatoes boiled peeled and finely chopped (this will make 2 cups of chopped potatoes)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric (haldi)
  • 1/4 teaspoon mango powder (amchoor)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
  • 1 green chili finely chopped adjust to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (hara dhania)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt adjust to taste

For Batter

  • 3/4 cup besan, gram flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon asafetida (hing)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt adjust to taste
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • About 3/4 cup of water

Also need Oil to fry



  1. In a bowl mix besan, salt, asafetida, pepper, baking powder and oil. Add water slowly to make a thick and smooth batter. Set aside.


  1. Heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat moderately.
  2. Add cumin seeds as the seeds crack add potatoes, ginger, green chili, turmeric, mango powder, and salt.
  3. Stir fry for about 3 minutes over medium heat. Add cilantro mix it well. Turn of the heat.

Making the Pakoras

  1. Trim the edges of the bread slices.
  2. Wet your palms with water, place the slice between your palms and press lightly making sure bread is moist, not wet.
  3. Roll 1½ tablespoons of the mixture at a time into round balls. (The size of the potato balls will depend on the size of the bread.)
  4. Place the filling in the center of the bread and mold the bread to completely cover the potatoes all around, giving a round shape. Repeat to make all the rolls. Before frying.
  5. Heat about 1 inch of oil in a frying pan on medium high heat moderately. To check if the oil is ready, put one drop of batter in oil. The batter should come up but not change color right away.
  6. Dip the potato balls into the batter one at a time, making sure the potato balls are completely covered with batter. Then, slowly drop them into the frying pan.
  7. Turn them occasionally. Fry the pakoras until all sides are golden-brown.
  8. Aloo bread pakoras will take about four minutes to cook.
  9. Cut them in half before serving. Serve them with mint chutney.


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Masala Idli

Masala idli is a simple and easy snack. This is one of my favorite ways to serve masala idli. Adding the stir-fry salad to idli makes a very versatile dish. You can serve this as lunch, snack or salad. To make masala idli I am using the rava idli witch is quick and easy to make. This also makes a great lunch box meal as it is very healthy and satisfying.

This recipe will serve 4.

Masala Idli Recipe by ManjulaIngredients:

For Idli

  • 1 cup coarse sooji (samolinai)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup yogurt (curd, Dahi)
  • 3/4 cup water use as needed
  • 1 teaspoon ENO (fruit salt)

For seasoning the Idli

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seed (rai)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 green chili seeded and cut in length wise in four
  • 1 teaspoon samber powder optional

The seasoning is for half the idlies we are making other use next time

Utensils for Making Idlis

  • Idli stand – I am using the mini idle rack but you can use regular rack and cut the idli in four pieces.
  • Covered pot, large enough to hold the idli stand.
  • Alternatively, an egg poacher can work just as well, if you do not have an Idli stand.

For Stir- Fry Salad

  • 3 cups cabbage, cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper cut into thin slices (capsicum, Shimla mirch)
  • 1/4 cup green beans cut in half lengthwise and then into pieces 1-1/2” long
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Method to make Idli

  1. Mix semolina, salt, and yogurt, add water as needed to make a pancake-like batter. Set aside for at least 30 minutes.
  2. The batter thickens as the semolina absorbs the water. At this point, add a little more water as needed.
  3. Add approximately 3/4 cup of water to the pot. Check to make sure that the water does not touch the bottom plate of the idli stand. Bring to boil.
  4. Lightly grease idli plates with oil.
  5. Add Eno Fruit Salt to the batter and mix well. The mixture will begin foaming.  Immediately begin pouring into the Idli trays. Place the stand into the steaming pot.
  6. Cover the pot and steam idles for about 6-8 minutes on medium heat. Insert a toothpick in the center of one idli. If the toothpick comes out clean, remove the stand from the pot. Do not overcook idles, as they will lose their softness and dry out as they cool.
  7. Cool for just a few minutes before removing each individual idli. They should come out easily and not stick to the mold. Idles should be spongy and soft.

Seasoning for Idlies

  1. For this recipe we need to use about half the idlies, save other for next time.
  2. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add mustard and cumin seeds. When the seeds begin to crack, add the chilies. Stir for a few seconds add the idlies and stir-fry them for 2-3 minutes until idlies are lightly golden brown.
  3. Sprinkle the samber powder and mix it well gently, assuring idlies will not brake. Turn off the heat.

Stir- Fry Salad


  1. Heat the oil in frying pan over medium high heat.
  2. Add mustard seeds, as the seeds crack, add cabbage, bell pepper, and beans. Stir-fry three to four minutes, vegetables should be crisp, do not overcook.
  3. Turn off the heat. Add salt, sugar, black pepper and lemon juice. Mix well.
  4. Mix the idlies with stir fry and fold gently. Masala idlies are ready.
  5. Serve them warm or at room temperature.


  1. This is two part recipe and good thing is you can serve them both as a separate dish and they truly taste delicious and when you combine them both that really bumps up the taste factor.
  2. Idlies can be refrigerated for 4-5 days or freeze them for a month.

Check out the recipe for Mysore Bonda

Cream Cheese Sandwiches

Cream Cheese Sandwiches are simple and delicious. I added some crunchy cucumber, bell pepper and some mild spices.  These sandwiches are light and refreshing – the perfect afternoon snack.  Try these sandwiches for your kids’ lunch box.  This super simple sandwich is a hit with almost everyone.

Recipe will make 2 sandwiches

Cream Cheese Ssandwiches Recipe by ManjulaIngredients:

  • 4 slices of bread I like to use firm bread
  • 1/3 cup cream cheese
  • Cucumber about 4 inch long English or seedless (kheera, kakdi)
  • 1/4 bell pepper this will make about 1/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper (capsicum, Shimla mirch, pahadi mirch)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro (hara dhania)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ginger finely shredded, I use zester to shred the ginger
  • 1 green chili finely chopped, optional and adjust to taste


  1. Peel the cucumber leaving the stripes unpeeled. Shred the cucumber, after shredding squeeze the water, we need about 1/4 cup shredded cucumber after squeezing the water. Set aside.
  2. Cut the bell pepper in very small pieces and squeeze the water and pet dry, need about 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper.
  3. In a bowl mix all the ingredients, mix will have a texture of thick spread.
  4. Spread the mix on two slices of sandwich bread, then close sandwiches with other slices of bread.
  5. Remove the crest from the bread all sides and slice them in two parts. For clean cut keep the sandwiches aside and slice them after about half an hour.
  6. Serve these sandwiches as a snack, or they are grate for lunch box, or picnic.


  • These sandwiches stay good for a day at room temperature or you can refrigerate for 2-3 days.
  • You may use this spread for crackers.
  • You will also like to watch Finger Sandwiches


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Masala Bell Pepper (Capsicum)

Bell pepper is also known as capsicum or shimla mirch. Masala bell pepper with great blend of spices, makes a very enjoyable side dish. This can complement any meal. Masala bell pepper can be served with roti, paratha or puries. I enjoy this with side of dal fry and plain rice.

This recipe will serve 4.

Masala Bell Pepper (Capsicum) Recipe by ManjulaIngredients:

  • 3 medium Green bell pepper seeded and cubed in 1/2” pieces this will make about 3 cup cubed bell pepper (capsicum, shimla mirch)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1/8 teaspoon asafetida (hing)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon coconut powder (gola)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon sesame Seed powder (til)
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder (dhania)
  • 2 teaspoon fennel seeds powder (saunf)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Chili Powder (lal mirch)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Turmeric Powder (haldi)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon mango powder (amchoor)
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice


  1. In a small bowl mix most of the spices, coconut powder, sesame powder, coriander powder, fennel seeds powder, red chili, turmeric, salt, and sugar. Set aside.
  2. In a wide frying pan heat the oil moderately over medium high heat, add cumin seeds as seeds crack add asafetida. Add bell pepper mix well lower the heat to low medium. Cover the pan and let it cook for about 3 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle the spice mix. Mix it well coating all the bell pepper. Let it cook about 3-4 minutes covered, do stir in between. Cook the bell peppers until they are tender but still little crisp.
  4. Turn off the heat, add the mango powder and lemon juice mix well.
  5. Masala bell pepper is ready.
  6. Enjoy!



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Oat Dosa (Spicy Pancake)

Instant Oat dosa is an easy recipe that is perfect for busy families. Sometimes you want to make something that is easy and hassle free and of course healthy.  Oat dosas are instant dosas and make a great breakfast or any time snack. This gluten-free dish is made with oats, rice flour, yogurt, and a few spices. I am also adding cabbage and carrots for texture.  This will definitely be a staple in my house.

This recipe will serve 2.

Instant Oat Dosa Recipe by ManjulaIngredients:

  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 cup yogurt whipped
  • 1/8 teaspoon asafetida
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 green chili finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon cilantro finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ginger finely shredded
  • 1/3 cup cabbage shredded
  • 1/3 cup carrot shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon ENO
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons oil


  1. Grind oats to make fine powder. Add all the dry ingredients except ENO rice flour, asafetida, salt, and cumin seeds mix it well. Notes: ENO is added just before making dosa.
  2. Add yogurt mix, add water as needed to make batter consistency of dosa or pancake mix. Set aside for about fifteen minutes.
  3. Add green chilies, cilantro, cabbage and carrots mix it well.
  4. Place a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Grease the skillet lightly. Test by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. The water should sizzle right away.
  5. In a small bowl take about ½ cup of batter and add ¼ teaspoon of ENO mix it well batter will become little frothy.
  6. Pour the batter mixture into the skillet and spread evenly with the back of a spoon, about seven inches in diameter.
  7. When the batter begins to dry, gently spread one teaspoon of oil over it. Wait about 30 seconds, then flip the dosa using a flat spatula.
  8. Press the dosa lightly with the spatula all around to assure even cooking, turning two to three times. Dosa should be golden brown on both sides.
  9. Repeat for the remaining dosas.
  10. Serve oat dosa with your choice of chutney, I like with tomato chutney.

Veggie Burger (kala Chana Burger)

This is a healthy, delicious and nutritious veggie burger. The main ingredient for the patty is kala chana also known as Bengal gram. Kala chana is protein-rich and healthy. I used kala chana and potatoes with spices to make patties. Then, I garnished them with vegetables and chutney. This is my friend Sarita’s recipe. I have tried many veggie burgers and this is by far the best one! You will love this veggie burger.

Recipe will make 6 burger.

Veggie Burger recipe by ManjulaIngredients:

  • Burger buns
  • 2 tablespoons butter soft

For patties

  • 1/2 cup kala chana also known as Bengal gram
  • 1 cup potato boiled peeled and mashed
  • 2 teaspoons ginger chopped
  • 1 green chili cut into 3-4 pieces adjust to taste
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro chopped (hara dhania)
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds coarsely ground
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder (dhania)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon mango powder (amchoor)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper adjust to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons oil

For garnishing

For both chutney check my web site I have done these recipe earlier


  1. In heavy bottom frying pan heat 2 teaspoons of oil and stir-fry cabbage and bell pepper for about 2 minutes, they should be still crispy. Sat aside.
  2. Wash the Bengal gram changing water 3-4 times, and soak them in 3 cups of water for at least three hours. Cook them in 2 cups of water until kala chana is soft and tender, after it comes to boil it should take about 20 minutes. Notes: Cook them without salt whole lentils cook faster without salt.
  3. Drain the remaining water.
  4. Grind the Bengal gram (without adding any water), ginger and green chili in food processor. This will become grainy and thick dry mix.
  5. Remove from food processor and add potato, cilantro, fennel, coriander, red chili powder, mango powder, garam masala, salt and lemon juice, mix it well. If it is too dry add little water as needed. Divide them in six equal parts and make them in thick patty.
  6. Heat the skillet over medium heat, grease the skillet generously and put the petties over. Grease the patties from the top and grill from both sides until they golden brown. It should take about 8 minutes.
  7. Next grill the buns lightly butter.
  8. Assemble the vegetable burger one side of the bun spread the cilantro chutney put petty over, put some grilled veggies and drizzle the tamarind chutney.
  9. Delicious veggie burger is ready to serve.

These patties can be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days or patties can be freezed for about a month. Veggie patties you can also serve them as an appetizers with chutney.

Veggie Burger Sandwich also good for lunch box


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Fruit Smoothie

This Fruit smoothie is a delicious and healthy drink, and also quick and easy to make. Fruit smoothie is one of my favorite summer drinks. This great smoothie consists of cantaloupes, strawberries, and yogurt with a touch of ginger giving a nice and tangy taste. Try this recipe for the perfect almost-summer drink.

This recipe will serve 3.

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Fruit Smoothie Recipe by ManjulaIngredients:

  • 2 cups cantaloupe cut into small pieces (kharbooja)
  • 3-4 strawberries cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup yogurt (curd, dahai)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, adjust
  • 2 teaspoons ginger juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 cup orange juice freshly squeeze
  • 1 cup crushed ice


  1. Put the cantaloupes and strawberries in a blender and process on high speed until smooth, add yogurt, orange juice, ginger juice and sugar blend until everything mixed well. Add ice blend on high speed until there is no ice and smoothie is little frothy. Pour into glasses and serve.


Fruits should be ripe but do not use overripe fruits. Sugar needs to be adjusted depending on the fruits.

You will also like to try Arugula and Melon Salad and Chilled Melon Soup