Category Archives: Dairy Free

Murungai Illai (Moringa leaves) Sothi


Moringa leaves or in Tamil “Murungai illai” is from the tree Moringa Oleifera that is one of the most nutritious leaves that you can find.  You can read more about this tree here. Moringa tree has been used in traditional medicine for a long time.  It bears the vegetable called “Drumsticks” in English or “Murungaikai” in Tamil.  But the most nutritional part is the leaves.  The leaves are rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Calcium.  It also has 3 times the pottasium of bananas.  Traditionally these leaves are used in various dishes.  The most popular one is the murungai illai varai (called poriyal in India) which is stir-fried leaves with coconut and sauteed onions.  Unfortunately it is extremely expensive and difficult to get these leaves in the North East of USA.  I will be posting the varai recipe hopefully some day when I get these leaves.

The leaves are a bit difficult to wash.  Since they are so small, when washing they tend to stick to your wet hands.  After washing dry them in paper towel to avoid any clumping.

Normally when sothi is made with murungai illai, other vegetables are not added.  But I added these vegetables to make it a wholesome side dish and more nutritional.  It actually turned out pretty tasty.  You can eat this side dish with rice, but goes very well with string hoppers (Idiyappam)


  • 1 small potato
  • 1 small Chinese eggplant
  • 2 green chilies split lengthwise
  • 2 pearl onions peeled and quartered
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • Salt to taste
  • pinch of tumeric
  • Strand of curry leaves
  • ¼ cup drumstick (Moringa) leaves
  • Lemon juice



  • Peel and cut potato into about ½ inch cubes
  • Split eggplant lengthwise and then split lengthwise again. Chop them into about ½ inch cubes
  • Wash drumstick leaves and dry in a paper towel.
  • In a covered saucepan add potatoes, eggplant, water, salt and cover and cook for about 7-8 minutes (until potatoes are three-quarter cooked)
  • Add curry leaves, tumeric, and coconut milk and bring to a boil and cook uncovered for about 2 minutes.
  • Now add drumstick leaves and cook just one minute uncovered
  • Add lemon juice just before serving.

Yields: about 2-3 servings as a side dish with Idiyappam


Tropical Fruit Crepes with Chocolate Drizzle



I have never had or even heard of “crepes” when I was growing up.  After I came to US, with the internet and so many recipe websites, blogs and recipe books I started making dishes that are not native to my place.  Initially I was into pancakes but as time went by I got a French cooking book as a gift.  That’s where I saw my first crepe recipe – a simple crepes with orange sauce – nothing fancy.  I started reading that and it was explaining how to swirl the pan to coat the crepes into a thin layer.  After reading that recipes, I wanted to make my own crepes and with that my crepe craziness started.  I started with simple crepes and overtime came up with ideas for filling and sauces.

With the weather warming up, I thought this would be the best time to make some crepes with tropical fruit filling.  Since I could not find any good quality fresh mangoes, I used frozen ones.  When it comes to pineapple, I am a bit lazy to peel and cut them and remove all the corky and thorny stuff.  So I used canned pineapple.  But if you can get the fresh fruits, I would say it will taste really amazing.




  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ almond milk
  • ¼ water
  • ½ teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon butter melted
  • Pinch of salt

Fruit Filling:

  • 2 cups cut mango cubes
  • ½ cup pineapple chunks
  • Little water
  • Sugar (optional)

Orange Sauce:

  • Juice of 2 large oranges
  • ½ teaspoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar


  • 2 tablespoons flaked coconut toasted until lightly browned
  • Powdered sugar for sprinkling
  • Chocolate sauce



  • Sift flour into a large bowl and make a well in the center
  • In a different bowl whisk together egg, melted butter, almond milk, water and orange extract
  • Gradually whisk the egg mixture into the flour and mix until the batter is smooth and free of lumps
  • Let stand for 30 minutes
  • Heat a small crepe/non-stick pan and brush lightly with butter.
  • Pour a little batter into the pan and swirl quickly to cover the base of the pan in a thin layer
  • Cook for about 30 seconds or until the edges begin to curl. Turn and cook the other side until lightly browned.
  • Transfer to a plate and cover with a towel.
  • Repeat with the remaining batter to make about 10 crepes. Stack the crepes between grease proof or parchment paper to prevent sticking.

Fruit Filling:

  • In a small saucepan add cut mangoes and pineapples and add a little water and cook until slightly mushy. Drain off any excess water and cut the fruits into tiny pieces.
  • If you prefer you can add a little bit sugar to enhance the flavor.

Orange Sauce:

  • In a small saucepan add butter and brown sugar. Once hot add orange juice and cook on very low flame until to sauce consistency.  Adjust the amount of brown sugar according to orange’s tartness.

To Assemble and Serve:

  • Place a spoonful of fruit mixture one-third from the edge of a crepe.
  • Fold the crepe into a cone leaving a little bit fruit mixture exposed.
  • Drizzle orange sauce around and on top of the crepes
  • Top with toasted coconut and sprinkle with powdered sugar
  • Drizzle with chocolate sauce

Yields: 10 Crepes

String Beans and Mushroom Curry

Last thanksgiving I made string bean casserole for a family dinner party.  Since it came out so good, it inspired me to transform it into an Indian style curry.  I omitted those specific ingredients and herbs that were used in the string bean casserole.  Instead I used the curry powder and chili powder to spice it up.  This goes well with either white/basmati rice or with naan or roti or even pita bread.



  • 6 oz string beans
  • 6 oz white/button mushrooms
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup sliced red onion
  • 1 teaspoon canola or cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • Salt to taste


  • Wash and snip off both ends of string beans and split lengthwise. Cut diagonally into about 1 inch pieces
  • Brush to clean mushrooms and slice them thickly.
  • In a covered saucepan add oil and once hot add onion and garlic and sauté until golden brown
  • Add cut string bean and add water, chili powder and salt and cover and cook for about 10 minutes
  • Add cut mushrooms, curry powder, turmeric, and cook for about 5 minutes
  • Add almond milk and uncover and cook until the gravy thickens into curry consistency.
  • Yields: 3 – 4 side dishes

Blueberry Orange Muffin


Blueberries are in season now and I I love them. I eat them as is, add them to salads and of course use them in a lot of baked goods.  If you search my website for blueberries, you will find a lot of recipes with them.  These blueberries are little gems packed full of vitamins and antioxidants.

I read somewhere online that “Amaranth” flour is quite nutritious packed with vitamins.  So why not use it in baking – it does not alter the taste or texture of the muffins.  But raw Amaranth flour has a distinct earthy smell which when used in baking does not show off that smell.  But if you don’t have Amaranth flour handy, you can always replace it with all purpose flour.

This recipe is not Vegan, but dairy free.  I have used almond milk instead of regular milk.  When replacing regular milk with any non dairy alternative, you have to make sure the consistency is same.  For example the soy milk I buy is much thicker.  I have tried adding a bit water to thin it but no luck.  Almond milk works very well especially light almond.


  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup amaranth flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup milk/almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon candied orange peel
  • 2 tablespoons crushed slivered almonds


  • Preheat oven to 375F. Line a muffin tin with 8 paper cases
  • Sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon
  • In a large bowl combine together egg, light brown sugar, oil, milk, and vanilla extract
  • Add the flour mixture into the egg mixture and mix until there are no lumps
  • Mix in blueberries, orange peel, and almonds until just combined
  • Spoon into muffin paper cases and bake for about 25 minutes.
  • Makes 8 medium/regular size muffins

Note: If your muffin tin has more than 8 cups, pour water for about ¼ inch into the empty cups.