Category Archives: Side Dishes

Kollu (Horse Gram) Chutney


Kollu or Horse gram in English which I have never heard of until I came to the United States.  I believe it is quite common in India but no one knows this lentil in my family or town.  I saw this lentil in one of the Indian grocery stores and bought a packet which has been sitting in my cabinet for more than 6 months.  I have been searching for kollu recipes to finish off this bag.  Finally I saw few recipes and I took them and modified it according to my taste.  It was the first time I ever tasted some thing made with Kollu.  I have to say I kind of liked taste of Kollu it but wouldn’t say “Oh it was so great…”

This side dish is very easy to make and of course it is Vegan.  All together it took only about 20 minutes for me.  I used this as a Chutney with Idli.  I think it can also be used as a side dish for Dosas.





  • ¼ cup kollu
  • 1 tablespoon channa dal
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal
  • 3 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 3-4 dried red chilies
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Tamarind extract
  • Salt to taste
  • ¾ cup water at room temperature
  • For tempering: oil, curry leaves, ¼ teaspoon hing, mustard seeds.


  • Dry roast kollu on low flame until a nice aroma emits. Transfer to a dish and let cool to room temperature.
  • In the same pan, dry roast chana dhal, urad dhal, garlic, and red chilli together for about 3-4 minutes on low flame. Let cool
  • Add all the roasted kollu, roasted dals, garlic, chili to a food processor with water, salt, and tamarind and puree until smooth. It can be slightly granular which will give a nice crunchy taste as well.
  • Transfer the chutney to a serving bowl.
  • Add a little oil to a skillet and when hot add mustard seeds.  Once mustard seeds start spluttering add curry leaves and hing and fry for about 30 seconds.  Remove and add to the chutney and mix well.

Note: I have not given the exact amount of tamarind to be used.  Tamarind is sold as a ready to use paste (in bottles) or as tamarind pulp in packets.  If you are using tamarind paste, you can add it directly to the food processor with other ingredients. If you are using tamarind pulp, you have to add a small amount of pulp to a small bowl and add warm water to soak.  Then you have to squeeze it with your finger to extract the juice.  So depending on what you use, you may have to adjust the taste while grinding.


Tempeh in Coconut Milk


Tempeh – I know a lot of people might not have heard about it.  I have tasted fried Tempeh a while ago in a restaurant.  Since then I have been looking for this product and finally found this at Trader Joe’s and I was quite happy to convert this Tempeh into delicious dishes.

Tempeh is very nutritious packed with a lot of nutrients. Tempeh is a traditional soy product originating from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form. Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, but it is a whole soybean product with different textural. Tempeh’s fermentation process and its retention of the whole soybean give it a higher content of protein and vitamins. It has a firm texture compared to tofu.  Because of its nutritional value, tempeh is used worldwide in vegetarian dishes as an alternative for meat.  .You can read more about Tempeh here.

Today (for the first time) I made a dish that is similar to a Thai red curry.  I am planning to cook more varieties including adding to Quinoa or Bulgur dishes.  Keep an eye for more Tempeh recipes.  For this dish I sautéed the Tempeh prior to making the curry, which gives extra flavor.  But this step can be avoided



  • 8 oz Tempeh
  • 1 small red onion
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • ¼ inch piece ginger
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon red Thai curry paste
  • ¼ cup thick coconut milk
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ¼ cup frozen green peas
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • salt to taste
  • Lemon juice (optional)

Tempeh Cubes:


Fried/Sauteed Tempeh cubes:



  • Cut Tempeh into about 1/4 inch bite size pieces.
  • Add about 2 tablespoons of cooking oil to a skillet and once hot add Tempeh and sauté until golden brown on all sides.  Set aside
  • Thinly slice onion and garlic.  Chop ginger into fine pieces
  • Add rest of the oil to a saucepan and once hot add garlic and onion and sauté until lightly golden.  Now add ginger and sauté for another minute or two
  • Add Tempeh, coconut milk, water, Thai red curry paste, salt and cover and cook in medium flame for about 10 minutes
  • Add green peas and soy sauce and cook for further 3-4 minutes.  If the curry becomes too thick or dry add a little water or thin coconut milk to make gravy.
  • Let stand covered for 10 minutes for the gravy to get infused into Tempeh
  • Add lemon juice prior to serving (optional)
  • Serve warm with white rice.

Note: the curry will be delicious when it has some thick gravy.  So make sure to make it with gravy rather than dry.

Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli with Red Chili Flakes


I had some left over broccoli florets which is too small of a quantity to make any dish as is.  I had never cooked broccoli with any other vegetables except once with kidney beans ( Broccoli with kidney beans). So this time I thought to add one of my favorite root vegetable – potatoes.  Broccoli and potatoes – sounds strange.  But believe me, this is so delicious, quick and healthy.  I was out of the kitchen in about 15 minutes. Added fried onion gives this dish an extra flavor



  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 small potato
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • Oil for sautéing
  • Cooking spray
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt to taste



  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray oil to a small cookie sheet and spread broccoli florets in one layer.  Spray oil over broccoli lightly and roast for just 5-7 minutes (alternately you can also stem the broccoli for 5 minutes)
  • Chop potatoes into small cubes – almost the size of broccoli florets
  • Add about one tablespoon oil to a non stick skillet and add potatoes and sauté until they are golden outside and cooked inside.
  • While potatoes are cooking, in a separate skillet add a little oil and fry onions until golden brown. Set aside.
  • Once potatoes are cooked, add roasted (steamed) broccoli, fried onion, chili powder and red pepper flakes, salt and cover and cook for another 2 minutes. If it becomes too dry or start burning, sprinkle a little water at a time.
  • Serve warm with rice, roti or eat as is which is very healthy and delicious.

Potatoes and String Beans with Lemon grass


I have been looking for a recipe where I can use the lemon grass I bought earlier.  So I found this Vietnamese which I modified since I could not find the spices mentioned in the recipe.  So I used the red Thai curry paste instead of the spice powder.  But it turned out delicious and spicy.


  • 2 teaspoons cooking oil
  • 3-4 garlic finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
  • 1 stalk of lemon grass
  • 1 teaspoon red Thai curry paste
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ lb string (green) beans
  • 1 medium potatoes
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • Salt to taste


  • In a small bowl mix together red Thai curry paste and coconut milk and set aside
  • Cut both ends of lemon grass and cut into 2 pieces.  Smash the 2 pieces with a knife to release the flavor.
  • Split green beans lengthwise and then cut into about 1 inch pieces
  • Peel and cut potatoes into about ½ inc cubes
  • Add oil to a saucepan and add ginger and garlic and saute for a minute or until garlic turns lightly golden.
  • Add lemon grass and fry for a minute
  • Add chopped potatoes, green beans, chili powder, salt and red curry paste mixture, and water.
  • Cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until the gravy thickens.
  • Serve warm with rice or any flat bread (Indian Naan, Roti, Chappathi etc.)

Source: Adapted and modified from Vietnamese Potato and Green Been Curry

Sautéed Portabella Caps with Baby Bok-Choy


This is one of the most simplest and easiest recipes I have made.  For this recipe, it is good to use large Portabella caps instead of Portabells baby mushrooms.  The large caps has more distinct flavor and has a nice chewy texture when roasted.  Even though extra virgin olive oil is mainly used in salads (not for cooking), for this specific dish I preferred using extra virgin olive oil since it gives a distinct taste.  This dish can be served as a starter/appetizer with a warm bread roll or as a side dish with rice or sandwich


  • 2 caps large portabella mushrooms
  • 2 bunches baby bok-choy
  • 7-8 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds
  • Salt to taste


  • Cut Portabella caps into thick slices. Then cut the pieces diagonally into 2
  • Discard the thick base of bok-choy. Separate tender ribs from the leaves.  Chop the ribs into about ½ inch pieces.  Tear leaves roughly.
  • Add olive oil to a large skillet and add garlic and sauté in low flame until garlic is golden brown
  • Increase flame to high and add mushrooms and the chopped bok-choy ribs and sauté for about 5 minutes.
  • Now lower the heat and add crushed red pepper and bok-choy leaves and sauté until leaves are slightly wilted.
  • Add toasted sesame seeds and mix well. Alternatively you can sprinkle the sesame seeds while serving.

Yields: 2 side dishes

Source: Chelvi’s Original

Potato-Zucchini Nests



  • 1 large potato (yields 2 cups shredded potatoes)
  • 1 small green squash (yields 1 cup grated green squash)
  • Oil for frying
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chives to garnish



  • Peel the potato and grate with a coarse grater.
  • Wash the grated potato for about 3-4 times (The reason to wash after grating is to remove the starch.  Starch makes the potatoes to stick to a pan when frying/sautéing  So when you wash away the starch, it would be easy to fry).
  • Transfer grated potatoes to a large bowl.
  • Stir in the grated squash, salt and pepper
  • Divide the potato mixture into 4 portions of equal size.
  • Take each portion and make them into a ball.  Then flatten them between your palms to make a patty.
  • Heat oil in a skillet and cook 2 of the patties over high heat for about 1 minute on each side.
  • Reduce heat and cook patties on both sides until crisp (about 5 minutes).
  • Drain on paper towel.
  • Garnish with chives (optional)
  • Serve hot
  • Yields 4 patties

Zucchini and Mushroom in Coconut Milk



  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 6 oz sliced white mushroom
  • ½ cup red onion sliced
  • 1 green chili slit lengthwise
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½  teaspoon red chili powder
  • ¼ cup coconut milk


  • Slit zucchini lengthwise and cut diagonally into thin slices and set aside
  • Dry roast coriander and cumin seeds lightly and let cool.  Once cool grind to a fine powder
  • Add oil to a covered saucepan and sauté onion lightly golden
  • Add green chili and sauté for one more minute
  • Add ground coriander-cumin and chili powder to the saucepan and mix well.  Make sure the flame is set to very low.  Otherwise it will start smoking
  • Add zucchini, mushroom, and coconut milk and cook on medium flame for about 6-7 minutes.
  • If the curry starts drying out, sprinkle a little water – about 1 – 2 tablespoons.
  • Serve warm with rice or Rotis

Yields: 2-3 servings as a side dish.