Moong and palak Shorba.

A filling and highly nutritious soup/ shorba which can be served as a meal on the days that one is rushed for time or would like to take it easy. The term Shorba comes from the Arabic word Shurba which means soup. It is generally thick and can be enjoyed with bread or on it’s own.

Ingredients:

100 gms Moong/ green gram

1 bunch of palak/ spinach

2 green chillies

1 inch piece of ginger chopped

7 cloves of garlic minced

1 onion sliced

1/2 tsp pepper powder

1 tsp cumin seeds

Salt

Lemon juice as per preference

1 tbsp Ghee/ clarified butter.

Method:

Wash and pressure cook the moong till mushy. Wash and chop the palak roughly. Heat ghee in a pan and drop in the cumin seeds. After they splutter drop in the sliced onion, ginger, green chillies and garlic. Roast on a gentle flame till the raw smell disappears. Drop in the chopped palak and roast till the palak wilts. Allow to cool. Tip in the cooled mixture along with the cooked moong into a mixer and grind to a smooth consistency. Tip it into a pan along with pepper powder and salt and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer on a gentle flame for five minutes. Switch off and add lemon juice as per taste. Serve hot.

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Tender mango Rasam.

An absolutely delicious mixer for rice which can be served as an appetizer as well is the tender mango Rasam. Tender mangoes which are slightly sweet as they are in the process of ripening are the best for this preparation. The texture of this Rasam is simply divine!

Ingredients:

One large tender mango washed, peeled and pressure cooked to three whistles.

100 gms Arhar dal pressure cooked and churned well.

3 green chillies

3 tbsps powdered jaggery

Salt

A large pinch of turmeric

1 tbsp Ghee/ clarified butter

1 tsp oil

1/2 tsp mustard

1 tsp cumin seeds

A large pinch of Hing/ asafoetida

1 dry red chilly

1 sprig curry leaves

Coriander leaves to garnish.


Method:

Pass the cooked mango through a sieve and collect the pulp in a vessel. Drop in the churned dal, salt, jaggery and green chillies into it. Add enough water and adjust consistency as per preference. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer on a gentle flame for five minutes. Heat the ghee and oil mixture in a pan. Drop in the mustard and cumin seeds and as they splutter drop in the asafoetida and dry red chilly. Toss and add the curry leaves and turmeric powder. Drop in the seasoning into the boiling Rasam and simmer for a minute. Switch off and garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves. Keep aside for the flavours to infuse for about fifteen minutes.

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Paneer, pepper, chilli fry.

The last four decades have seen a change in Indian eating habits. Dal, roti, rice, sabji though soul food, cuisine from all over the world is accepted but tweaked to suit the Indian palate. The Chinese cuisine is one such where the Indian chefs have experimented and churned out a number of delectable dishes. Posting a Paneer, pepper,chilly fry today which is served as a starter before a main course.

Ingredients:

400 gms malai paneer

1 large capsicum/ bell pepper chopped into large cubes.

2 large onions sliced into petals

Salt

Pepper

Cornflour

2 tbsps ginger, garlic, green chilly paste

Oil for frying the paneer

1 tbsp oil for seasoning

1 tbsp soya sauce

1 tbsp tomato ketchup

Method:

Cut the paneer into bite sized pieces. Malai paneer is extremely soft so needs gentle handling. Sprinkle salt, pepper and corn flour and toss gently to avoid breaking. Keep aside for ten minutes to marinate. Meanwhile slice the onion and bell pepper. Heat the oil in a pan. Divide the paneer into three batches and fry them on a gentle flame to a crisp golden brown, taking care to see that it’s turned over only after one side is thoroughly done. This is to prevent the paneer from breaking. Drain on absorbent kitchen towel. Heat one tbsp oil and drop in the chilly, ginger, garlic paste. Saute for a minute and then add the onion and bell pepper. Add salt and a generous amount of pepper. Toss. The bell pepper should retain its crunch, yet be semi cooked. Add the sauces and give a quick stir. Add the paneer pieces, toss well and serve hot.

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Cucumber, mint raita.

Here is a cooling and delicious raita flavoured with mint and a hint of garlic which goes extremely well with Biryani and Pulao. You can even serve it as a dip with kebabs and tandoori items.

Ingredients:

One bowl/ 200 gms of thick set curds

One small cucumber finely chopped

3 sprigs of mint

3 tbsps Coriander leaves

1 large clove of garlic

1 green chilly

Salt

A few drops of lemon juice

Method:

Whisk the thick set curd well. Add salt and keep aside. Grind the garlic, chilly, mint and coriander leaves to a fine paste with three tablespoons of curds. Drop it into the curd. Add the chopped cucumber and lemon juice. Mix well. Serve chilled.

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Horsegram Dhoddak/ uthappa

The GSB community makes use of horsegram in a variety of ways. I have posted a simple stir-fry, a soup and also a coconut gravy based dish made of horsegram in here.

Horsegram Dhoddak is a healthy and nutritious breakfast item which can be served with a chutney of your choice. Here I have served it with a roasted gram and coriander leaves chutney.

Ingredients:

125 gms split black gram/ Urad dal

125 gms horsegram/ kulith/ kollu

250 gms Idli rava

Salt

Oil

Method:

Wash and soak the urad dal and horsegram for five hours. Grind to a smooth paste in the wet grinder using enough water to get a batter of flowing consistency. Tip the batter in a vessel. Wash the idli rava, drain and squeeze out all the water. Add to the ground batter along with salt. Mix well and allow to ferment for ten to twelve hours. Heat a skillet/ tava. Pour a tsp of oil and some mustard seeds. After they have spluttered pour a ladleful of batter, cover and roast till browned on the underside. Flip. Roast on the other side as well. Serve hot with chutney of your choice.

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Tomato saar – 4

This was an experiment which turned out to be delicious. I was left with about four glasses of tomato juice and wanted to finish it off as soon as possible. I was wondering if I should make a soup and then I remembered that there was a half a tetra pack unused coconut milk lying in the freezer. I decided to make a Saaru which turned out to be simply amazing.

Ingredients:

8 tomatoes blended to a puree

Sugar, salt, pepper powder and a pinch of chaat masala.

100 ml coconut milk

2 tbsps Ghee/ clarified butter

12 cloves of garlic crushed

1 heaped tsp chilly powder

3 tbsps finely chopped coriander leaves

Method:

Blend the tomatoes in a mixer and strain the puree. Tip it into a pan and add the sugar, salt, chilly powder, pepper and chaat masala. Add water as required. The consistency should be neither thick nor watery. Bring it to a boil and allow to simmer for about five minutes. Heat the ghee in a pan and drop in the crushed garlic. Roast till the garlic turns a deep brown. Pour the seasoning into the boiling Saaru and simmer it for another five minutes. Drop in the coconut milk and coriander leaves. Keep stirring for a minute. Switch off and serve hot.

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Mixed vegetable Sagu

This mixed vegetable Sagu is a speciality of Mysuru, a city in Karnataka and home to the elephants and vast stretches of sandalwood forests. Served with Rava idli, poori or sett dosa, it is a fragrant and nutritious combo with all the above mentioned dishes.

Ingredients:

One bowl each of the following vegetables

French beans chopped fine

Carrot chopped fine

Potatoes chopped fine

Peas

One large onion

Half a bowl of grated coconut

1 tbsp roasted gram dal ( Daalia/ Purani/ Hurakadle)

A large pinch of turmeric powder

6 green chillies

5 cloves of garlic

2 inch piece of ginger

6 pepper corns

2 inch piece of cinnamon

4 cloves

1 cardamom

1 tbsp coriander seeds

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

A small bunch of coriander leaves

1 tomato

Salt

3 tbsps oil

1 large Bay leaf

Procedure:

Cook the chopped vegetables in salted water till done. Keep aside. Grind the coconut, onions, tomato, green chillies, roasted gram dal, pepper corns, coriander leaves, coriander and cumin seeds, turmeric powder, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger and garlic to a smooth paste. Heat oil in a pan. Drop in the bay leaf. Toss and add the ground paste. Roast on a low flame till it gives its aroma and the raw smell disappears. Add the cooked vegetables along with the water and bring to a boil. Cook on a slow flame for ten minutes. Serve hot.

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Spinach, cheese and corn grilled sandwich.

A healthy, delicious and filling preparation, the spinach, cheese and corn grilled sandwich is a hit with young and old alike. I usually prepare the filling beforehand when I am expecting guests as all it requires is for it to be grilled.

Ingredients:

Brown bread or any Sandwich bread

250 gms or one bunch Palak/ spinach washed and finely chopped( please discard the stems)

250 gms corn kernels par boiled

1 tbsp each of Chilly flakes, mixed herbs and pepper powder

Salt as required

2 tbsps APF/ maida

250 ml or one large glass milk

Mozzarella cheese grated / 3 cubes of processed cheese. I used Amul cheese cubes.

2 tbsps of butter

12 garlic cloves finely chopped

Cheese singles/ slices of cheese

Method:

Heat the butter in a pan. Add the minced garlic and roast to a golden yellow. Drop in the chopped spinach, par boiled corn and saute till the spinach wilts. Add the maida and roast for a couple of minutes. Drop in the salt, chilly flakes, mixed herbs and pepper powder. Toss for a few seconds and then pour in the milk. Bring to a boil and add the cheese. Cook till it comes to a semi solid consistency. Keep aside. Butter the slices of bread only on one side. Place them in the grill or on a tava, buttered side down. Place a cheese single/ slice and two or three tbsps filling over the slice and cover it with another slice of bread, buttered side up. Grill till done. The same goes for those using the tava/ skillet as I did. The bread should be toasted to a crisp. Cut and serve with tomato ketchup or a Thousand Island dressing.

This quantity makes 10 – 12 sandwiches.

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Microwave savoury peanuts.

An extremely easy to make and delicious option which can be served as a starter or with drinks are these microwave savoury peanuts. You can also add them to roasted puffed rice and garnish it with finely chopped onions, coriander leaves and a dash of lime.

Ingredients:

500 gms raw peanuts washed and drained.

2 tbsps Coriander powder

1 tsp Cumin powder

1 tsp Kashmiri chilly powder

1/4 tsp Turmeric powder

1/4 tsp Asafoetida

2sprigs curry leaves finely chopped

2tsps oil of choice

Salt as per taste

3tbsps Besan/ chickpea flour

3 tbsps rava/ semolina/ sooji.

Method:

Sprinkle all the above mentioned powders on the drained peanuts. Add the Besan and Rava and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle a little water while mixing if you find the mixture too dry and the besan and Rava fail to stick to the peanuts. Add the finely chopped curry leaves and oil. Give a final mix and tip the peanuts into a microwave safe tray. Microwave for two and a half minutes. Mix and keep microwaving it for a minute each time till the peanuts are crisp. The whole procedure takes around eight to ten minutes. Allow to cool and bottle.

Note: Take care to see that the peanuts are microwaved for a minute each time and then tossed so that they are turn crisp evenly.

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Breadizza

When one wants to make a quick healthy snack for children the easiest, quickest and an extremely delicious option is making some breadizza. A close cousin of the Pizza, but much easier to prepare.

Ingredients:

All the below mentioned ingredients can be used as per requirement.

Bread slices.
Tomatoes, red, green and yellow Bell pepper and onions sliced
Black olives.
Tomato ketchup, oregano, chilly flakes, pepper and salt.
Grated cheese.

Method:
Butter the slices of bread on both the sides. Heat a griddle. Roast them on one side. Apply ketchup on the roasted side and pile it with the veggies, olives, herbs, salt pepper and cheese. Roast the other side till crisp and then microwave for half a minute for the cheese to melt. Serve with tomato ketchup.

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