Monthly Archives: December 2015

Navy Beans and Beet Curry


This is a delicious and very simple dish.  It only takes 15 minutes to cook plus the extra time to cut the beets.  You can use either dried navy beans or canned ones.  If using dried navy beans, soak them in water overnight and cook until three quarters done.



  • ½ lb beets
  • 1 cup cooked navy beans
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • Salt
  • ½ of a small onion thinly sliced
  • Strand of curry leaves
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2-3 dried red chili broken into 2 pieces



  • Peel beets and cut lengthwise into two half.  Place the cut side on a cutting board and thinly slice them.  Cur each slice into about half an inch cube.
  • Add beets, water, coconut milk, and salt to a covered saucepan and cover and cook on medium flame for about 10 minutes
  • Add cooked navy beans to beets and reduce flame and simmer for another 5 minutes. If the curry becomes too dry, add a little water or coconut milk to make some gravy.
  • In a small skillet add cooking oil and add onion and sauté until golden brown. Now add curry leaves with onion and fry for another minute.   Add fried onions and curry leaves to beet curry and mix well.
  • Add dried red chili to the skillet and fry in the rest of the oil until red chili becomes very dark deep brown and crunch
  • Pour dried red chili and oil over beet curry and serve warm with rice.

Fruit and Nut Marmalade Bread


With Christmas coming, I wanted to make something special and so flavorful for breakfast.  Orange marmalade gives this bread a touch of orange flavor and the orange peel gives a distinct taste in every bite.  Adding almonds makes it even better – a crunch taste with raisins that gives a fruity taste.  This can be a perfect light breakfast bread on a Christmas day for the whole family.  Cut into thick slices spread some butter and Enjoy.



  • 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons coconut oil/butter (solidified state)
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons orange marmalade jam
  • 1 tablespoon orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon orange extract
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup whole almonds coarsely chopped



  • Preheat oven to 325 F. Line and grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan and set aside
  • Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
  • Rub coconut oil/butter into flour and mix until it resembles bread crumbs. Stir in the sugar and mix well
  • In a separate bowl mix together egg, vanilla extract, orange extract, marmalade, orange peel and 2 tablespoons of almond milk
  • Transfer liquid mixture slowly into the flour mixture and gently mix with a spatula. It should have a dropping consistency (not too sticky or not liquid like normal cake batter).  If the dough is too thick and hard to work with, add the one tablespoon almond milk.  If necessary, you can add but for me 3 tablespoons gave a very good consistency
  • Mix in raisins and chopped almonds
  • Transfer dough into prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour or 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean
  • Cool in tin on a wire rack for about 10 minutes and remove from tin and cool until room temperature. Since this bread is a bit crumbly, make sure wrap in a foil to retain the moisture.

Simple Butter Cake


I made this cake for my relative for Thanks Giving but waited to post since it would be more appropriate for Christmas or New Year.

When I say butter cake, this is the Sri Lankan version of the butter cake.  It is very simple just with 4 main ingredients.  But once baked it is heavenly tasty.  I did not plan ahead regarding the decoration.  So decided to make some simple flowers and then used a pastry brush to draw some stems and leaves.


Certain things to note here:

  1. The kind of butter used in the cake also make a big difference in the taste and fragrance.  You MUST use pure salted butter and the butter MUST be at room temperature.
  2. Since we don’t add milk, the consistency of this cake is a bit dry.  But the softness of the cake depends on the time you beat the batter and the speed of the electric mixer you use to beat.
  3. You must use pure white cane sugar.  The sugar must be fine granular and not the coarse one.


  • 1 lb butter room temperature
  • 1 lb pure white sugar
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 lb all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder


  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer first in low speed for about 5 minutes. Increase the speed to high and beat for one minute. Lower the speed back and continue to beat for another minute or two.
  • Add one egg at a time and continue to beat in low speed. After each addition of egg, beat for about a minute or two.  Once all the eggs are added, increase the speed to high and beat for a minute or two.  At this point the mixture will look creamy color, light, soft and fluffy
  • Add vanilla extract and beat for a minute.
  • Sift flour with baking powder. Add flour in 8 batches and continue to beat in low speed until the batter is smooth and creamy.  This will take some time since you have to scrap the bowl frequently to incorporate any flour into the mixture.
  • Grease a 13x9x4 inch cake pan with pure butter. Spoon batter to the pan spread evenly
  • Bake for about 45 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.

Butter Cream Frosting:

  • 1 ½ sticks pure butter room temperature
  • 3 cups icing sugar (powdered)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • coloring

Beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until soft and fluffy.  You can adjust the amount of sugar and butter according to your need.  For example, for spreading the frosting should be soft and spreadable – you would need more butter.  But for piping and making flowers, it has to be firm – add extra powdered sugar.

Kale and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad


Here is a very simple Kale salad with roasted sweet potatoes.  When I was working in New York City, I always go to the Whole Foods market to get lunch.  They have healthy salad bar and hot dishes – buffet style.  In fall, this Kale salad is one of my favorite.  They make this salad in different ways during fall season.  This recipe is somewhat based on what I bought at Whole Foods Market – based on the ingredients in the salad and taste.  They also sell a sweater version of this salad probably with some added dressings which I have not tried.



  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 4 oz fresh curly leave kale
  • 1/4 cup walnuts lightly toasted
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • Extra virgin olive oil + 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Feta cheese (Optional)

For the dressing:

  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure honey
  • salt to taste


  • Preheat oven to 375 F
  • Peel and cut sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes
  • Add cut sweet potatoes to a cookie sheet and generously sprinkle with extra virgin olive oil.  Mix to combine.  Bake for about 30 – 40 minutes.
  • Wash kale and dry completely.  Tear them into rough pieces.
  • Add the 2 teaspoons oil to a large skillet and saute kale for about 5 minutes.  If the skillet becomes too hot or the leaves start browning, lower the flame and sprinkle a little water at a time.
  • Transfer cooked kale and roasted potatoes to a salad bowl and let cool.
  • Mix in dried cranberries, and walnuts
  • Add salad dressing and mix well.
  • Transfer to 3 salad bowls and sprinkle with feta cheese if you like

For the dressing:

  • In a small bowl mix together all dressing ingredients

Quinoa with Roasted Beets, Beet Greens and Tofu


This year until last week I couldn’t find good fresh beets in the farmers market.  Last week when I went there, to my surprise they had really fresh beet bunches with fresh beet greens.  I couldn’t resist and bought a big bunch.  While they are fresh, I wanted to make some dish and came up with this one.  The dish came out really good, but I would have enjoyed if I had added some extra spice – like crushed red chili flakes



  • ¾ cup Quinoa
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 7 oz extra firm tofu
  • ½ lb beets
  • 8 oz beet greens roughly torn into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 3 medium garlic cloves finely chopped
  • ¼ inch piece fresh ginger finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seed roasted

For the Sauce:

  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon hot chili sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon rice vinegar


  • Add quinoa and water to a covered saucepan and cook uncovered until it start to boil
  • Lower flame and cover and cook until all water is absorbed – about 15 minutes. Set aside
  • Drain tofu on paper towel and cut into ¼ inch cubes
  • Peel beets and cut into thin cubes.
  • Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly spray cooking oil to a cookie sheet and spread cut beets and tofu in one layer.  Spray oil over the cut beets and tofu and roast for about 40-45 minutes.
  • To make the sauce in a small bowl combine together soy sauce, sesame oil, chili sesame oil, and rice vinegar. Set aside
  • Add cooking oil to a large skillet and add garlic and ginger and saute until they are lightly browned. Add beet greens and saute until leaves are wilted
  • Add roasted beets, tofu, and cooked Quinoa to the skillet and mix well
  • Add sauce mixture to the Quinoa and combine and cook on low flame for another minute or two
  • Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds
  • Serves 2 main dishes.

Bottle Gourd White Curry



  • 1 cup cut bottle gourd
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 3-4 shallots
  • 1-2 small green chilies slit lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon cooking oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon urad dhal
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
  • Curry leaves
  • Salt to taste


  • Slit bottle gourd length wise and remove seeds.  Cut bottle gourd into 1/2 inch cubes
  • Add oil to a saucepan and add mustard seeds
  • Once mustard seed start splattering, add urad dhal, and cumin seed and fry until urad dhal is lightly browned
  • Add curry leaves and fry for another minute.
  • Add cut bottle gourd, shallots, green chilies, water, coconut milk, and salt and cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Serve hot with rice.



Apple Pie Bread



  • ½ cup oil
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup soy milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground flax seek
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups peeled and shredded apple
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts


  • Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line a 9×5 loaf pan with parchment and lightly grease and set aside.
  • In a small bowl mix together ground flax seed and water.
  • In a large bowl beat together oil and sugar.  Combine flax seed mixture, vanilla extract, and soy milk into the egg mixture
  • In a separate bowl mix together flour, salt, and baking powder.
  • Mix in dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
  • Now add shredded apple, cranberries, and walnuts and gently mix with a spatulla
  • Transfer batter into the loaf pan and bake for about 60 minutes or a tooth pick inserted in the middle comes out clean
  • Let stand for 10 minutes in pan.  Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Source: Adapted and modified from Better Homes and Gardens apple pie bread