Category Archives: Quick 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.


Coconut Almond Granola with Matcha Yogurt



Here is a quick and easy breakfast – if you are in a hurry to run to work or to run errands, here is what you can do (actually that is what I do).  Have a bag of granola in your office or home.  May be keep a small carton of plain yogurt in your office fridge as well.  When you run out of the door make sure to grab some berries and nuts.  That’s all.  Once you are settled just mix and match the ingredients to make your wholesome breakfast.  That is how I eat breakfast on a week day.  But I take my yogurt in a small rubber maid container.  You might be wondering why?  Because I always make yogurt at home.  Home made yogurt has a distinct taste and flavor as opposed to any store bought yogurt.  Trust me, I have bought several brands of yogurt including the organic ones.  But none came close to a home made yogurt.  I will be posting a recipe on that soon.

So back to this recipe.  Recently when I went to Trader Joe’s they were giving samples of their organic toasted coconut granola.  I tried and bought a bag.  Until now, it has become my favorite granola. Unlike other brands this one has so much of ingredients in there, especially they are so generous about each ingredients. To mention a few lot of dried flaked coconut, toasted chopped almonds etc. Below is an image of that bag.  Now I am so hooked to this granola, I have been buying only this one for the last few months.

Now to the matcha green tea powder.  I have heard a lot about this green tea powder. But I thought to give it a try after reading a blog from Vegan needs  for a breakfast smoothie which used the matcha green tea powder.  So I tried it with my special granola bowl. It was heavenly delicious.  I topped with blueberries and goji berries.  But you can use other berries such strawberries, raspberries or even blackberries.  Since the granola had a lot of nuts, I did not use any nuts.  If you prefer you can top with your favorite nuts. In the recipe below I have not given the amount for the topping since I will leave it up to you.



  • ½ cup coconut granola
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ teaspoon matcha green tea powder
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • Blueberries for topping
  • Goji berries for topping


  • Mix yogurt, Matcha powder, and agave nectar together
  • Set aside about 1 tablespoon granola. Put the rest of the granola in a small bowl
  • Pour over the yogurt and sprinkle with the reserved granola
  • Top with blueberries and goji berries
  • Serves: 1 serving

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.

Wholesome Pancakes from a Mix


I know Monday’s – all the fun and chores over the weekend, and here we are back to another Monday.  Today was not so cold and I felt like something fruity.  While I was shopping for cereal yesterday, I found this “Hudson Mill” pancake mix and immediately grabbed it.  I don’t even know what made me grab this box – may be the colorful packing or the ingredients ?  :).  I made pancakes from this mix a couple of times and yes, they were really good.  I have tried the whole wheat buttermilk pancake mix and the one with flax seed.

So this morning I thought to give it a twist.  Throw some goodies into it and see how it turns out.  I had some fresh blueberries in the refrigerator and some fragrant toasted granola in my kitchen cabinet.  I added these to the mix and the pancakes turned out fantastic – soft with bubbly blueberries and a little bit chewy from the granola.  So here is the recipe according to the package directions:


For the pancake from the package:

  • 3/4 cups pancake mix
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon oil


  • 2 tablespoons toasted granola
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries


  • Make the pancake batter according to package directions (mix all the pancake ingredients)
  • Add granola and blueberries and mix
  • Add a little butter to a pancake griddle or skillet and when hot, add a spoonful of batter and cook for a minute
  • Turn over and cook for about one to two minutes
  • Serve with your favorite syrup and butter if you like

Enjoy this simple but a wholesome healthy breakfast.

Makes about 4-6 pancakes.

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.



French Toast with Strawberry Compote


After a long 3 weeks out on vacation to my country, when I came back I felt like I want to cook something that is my own comforting food.  It was nice see my friends and family in Sri Lanka and I got to try a lot of traditional Sri Lankan food like appam, traditional curries, sambal etc. – out of those I will be posting some recipes shortly.  But now that I am back, I am on a rock and roll cooking.  This morning when I woke up, it was a bit chilly and I still have not done my groceries completely.  So what ever I bought when I landed, I used to make this dish.  This french toast recipe was adapted from all recipes and modified to my taste.



  • 2 medium eggs
  • ½ cup milk (I used 2% milk)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 slices of white or whole grain bread (I used whole grain bread)
  • butter to spread on bread and for skillet
  • about 6 strawberries cut length wise
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2-3 teaspoons water
  • powdered sugar


  • Add strawberries, water and 2 teaspoons of sugar and cook on very low flame until strawberries are soft but firm.  If needed add little bit of water at a time
  • In a bowl mix together milk, egg, sugar, and vanilla extract and transfer to a flat dish like a pie plate
  • Lightly spread butter on both sides of bread
  • Heat a skillet and drizzle with a little butter.
  • Now dip a slice of bread in the egg mixture and add to skillet and cook until golden.  Flip to other side and cook to same consistency.  Continue cooking all bread slices.
  • Cut each french toast diagonally into a triangle.
  • To serve place 2 french toasts (4 triangles) on a plate and top with strawberries and some syrup.
  • Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Source: adapted and modified from French Toast in all recipes page

Note: Spreading butter on both sides of bread reduces french toast becoming mushy after cooked